“Good news from the graveyard!”

Mission at San Juan Baptiste
Mission at San Juan Baptiste: Alan and I visited this beautiful site a few weeks ago.

That sounds like a terribly morbid title for a post, doesn’t it? 😉 Don’t worry. We haven’t actually taken to haunting “dying holes.”

But I DO have several bits of GOOD news!!! They are, in completely random order, as follows:

#1. Have I mentioned a thousand times yet that this is the LAST WEEK OF SCHOOL?????  I have NEVER been so excited to see the last day of school arrive. This whole first-year-back-to-teaching, all while relocating the family across the country, schmorgasborg kicked my rear end up one side and down the other.

BUT, it was also good. There is always good to be found in a thing, well more like USUALLY.

Alan and I, when we were first married, agreed to steer clear of words like “never” and “always”. I think if we stuck to that idea, we’d argue over silly things a whole lot less!

What good came out of home schooling this year?

1. I grew leaps and bounds in my faith. I learned to pray more, and I learned to count on God to answer those prayers. I was humbled, and being humble is a highly desirable trait.

2. Joshua’s attitude is so greatly improved, it makes me giddy just thinking about it.

3. The boys grew so close to each other. They were close before, but now it’s almost ridiculous. Joshua came running out of the bathroom the other day, where he’d discovered a preschool’s business card. “Mom, tell me you’re not going to send Daniel to preschool next year!!” the surprise and consternation ringing in his voice.

“Well, yeah…why wouldn’t we?”

“Well, for starters, then he wouldn’t BE with us!” Joshua explained, as he crawled onto his home base, the trampoline.

“Oh, Okay, well let me calm your fears. He’s only on a waiting list, and it would be a place he could go while you’re at Classical Conversations,” I explained.

“Well, okay then. That would be all right.”

I did not tell him that it would also be Wednesday, maybe even Friday….but we’ll cross that bridge if he comes off the waiting list. Yikes!

4. I learned so much more about my children. I now can say with 100% assurance that Caleb does NOT have ADD. He listens intently, and he absorbs like a sponge. I had no idea. Joshua, on the other hand, definitely needs to lessen his amazing ability to tune people out at will.

I got to finally be a fly on the wall of their learning processes. They are such opposites, these two boys. Joshua doesn’t test well because he flies through his work, carelessly. However, the boy can memorize ANYTHING, practically instantly, and I have been rather impressed!

Caleb just lives to have fun, and he thinks the classroom is fun. I’d put Caleb back in school in a heartbeat, but then Joshua would be all alone. Caleb loves structure, and he wants to know exactly what will happen each day, before it happens. He needs to see the plan.  Sometimes I make up the plan as I go along, and that’s really not even hard or weird to me, so this was sort of a problem for Caleb.

That’s why I’m trying so hard to plan next year out, in more detail, in advance.

Confession time: While I love to make plans, I rarely actually LOOK at my plans. I rarely look at that day’s calendar, which drives my poor husband crazy. I commit events to memory, and that works 90% of the time, and when it doesn’t….I end up owing dentists large sums of money for not showing up for my appointment.  Yep. I am that lady.

I go to grocery stores with detailed lists, but then I think I have them memorized and never look at the list while I’m in the store. This works okay for me, but I inevitably forget something that was on Alan’s part of the list.  Why do I do this??? I think it’s time I start admitting that 90% memorized isn’t so reliable. I have got to learn to start looking at calendars and lists.

I have to know. Am I the only one that makes lists and then doesn’t read them?? Someone, tell me I’m not alone!!!

Okay….back on track here…..good news….

Destin, Florida, 2012

#2. Beach trip with my mom and sister-in-law coming up!!  Wahoo!! We’re talking the beautiful, HOT, white sands of the GULF OF MEXICO, ya’ll.  So excited!!  Would someone please tell auto correct that ya’ll IS a word. I refuse to spell it “yawl,” like it wants me to!

#3. I get to sing in church next weekend! I LOVE singing. I’m singing with a group, not the group in this video. We’re doing a bluegrass song, in honor of “Hillbilly Sunday.” I wondered if I should be offended that there’s a whole themed out Sunday ridiculing what could be interpreted as my people, but I decided to just accept it and move on.

Here’s the song, and the title of this post:

 

Can’t wait!

 

Pssst!  Please don’t forget to enter our giveaway!  Click here We’ll be giving away free Polish pottery this week!!

Celebrate!!! Polish Pottery Giveaway!

potterygiveaway

 

In honor of our VERY LAST week of school, we are teaming up with Polmedia Polish Pottery and Boleslawiec Stoneware and Ceramika Bona to bring you the very first GIVEAWAY on this website!  Wahoo!!! Balloons!

Polish pottery is so unique and beautiful. I’ve had several friends with exquisite collections of Polish pottery, which they purchased while they lived overseas. I always just looked at it and drooled.  See, now you know where my babies get that drool problem from… 😉

Now I have discovered that you can purchase genuine Polish pottery, imported from Poland, right here in the United States! Just go to this website to check it out: artisanimports.com

The plate that the company provided me as a sample is made by a company called Cer-Maz, or Ceramic Bona. My regular plates are plain white, which is nice, but after 13 years, and half of them chipped and broken later….it sure was fun to get to use this beautiful plate:

I don’t know which is lovelier, the pie or the plate! :) I’ll take both!

The boys liked it too. They argued over who’d get the blue plate. :)

These plates are ceramics, as I mentioned before, and obviously, they are made in Poland. This also reminds me of my grandmother. She was the most gifted ceramic artist I’ve ever known, with a house full of ceramic creations and awards. She made her own blue speckled plates. Maybe one day I can convince one of my cousins to let me have one of those…

I know you’re wondering, so I checked the stats on Polish Pottery for you, and YES! These ARE:

-dishwasher safe

-microwave safe

-oven safe to 480 degrees

-lead and cadmium free

-hand painted……um WOW!

I thought I’d share a few of my favorite patterns, all manufactured by Cer-Maz, and all available for purchase at artisanimports.com.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Please share this giveaway on your Facebook page! A winner will be selected soon, and of course, the results will be announced here and on my Facebook page. How do you enter? Just click on the Rafflecopter above. Either leave a comment or follow me on Twitter.

Thank you so much for supporting me through our first year of home schooling and our first year in California. It’s been a wild year, and we are ready to celebrate summer!

“Of all animals, the boy is the most unmanageable.” Plato

IMG_0976
This week I am reading Little House on the Prairie to the boys. It’s the perfect ending to our year in American history. We read Little House in the Big Woods earlier this year. Big Woods was NOT a hit. There was moaning and groaning galore whenever story time arrived.

I made them listen to the whole thing anyway. I’m not always as sweet as I look…
I have been pleasantly surprised to discover that the boys are actually enjoying Little House on the Prairie. I was tired today, so I decided it was time for a school movie.
Netflix! I typed in “Little House.” Sad to say, Netflix does not have it. Thankfully, YouTube does, and the pilot was almost exactly like the first three chapters of Little House on the Prairie! The boys LOVED IT. I’m excited to share this series with them.

Meanwhile, Netflix gave me suggestions for shows “like Little House”. Leave it to Beaver. Joshua and I have been laughing hysterically. We’re watching episode 1, and Beaver’s antics are CRACKING us up!! I had no idea that Beaver is so funny. I guess it’s because I’m a boy mom, but this show looked like real life to me. If you’ve never seen it, it’s free on Netflix.

We have had a great week with Alan’s parents visiting. We are always needing to call in reinforcements. I don’t know what it says about us that we LOVE getting help, but there you have it.

Yesterday, I thought it would be nice for the boys to do a small living room presentation for the grands, on a few things they learned this year.

Sounds innocent enough, until you remember that we’re talking four different age groups forced into one room, competing for attention. Caleb kept leaning on or bumping into Joshua, just for fun. Joshua kept inserting “fart” into the timeline song, and John David either pestered the performers or sat in my lap and cried at the top of his lungs.

There was disciplinary action taken in the middle of the show, and when it was all said and done, I feel like this embarrassing show summed up my first year of home schooling.

The boys were, amazingly enough, still able to show off that they had learned an incredible amount this year. I just can’t decide if the price of sanity was worth it or not. Jury is still out.

On days like this, where I feel like all I do is discipline my children, and I wonder if I am a complete and utter failure as a parent. I wonder why God trusted me with four little boys. I spent more time this year focusing on their behavior than I would have ever dreamed.

Occasionally, there are voices of reason.

Today, Caleb was sulking over the fact that I wouldn’t buy him the $20 Spongebob movie. When his buddy Weston came over after school, Caleb shared his woes with his friend. Weston said, “Well, of course she’s not going to pay the money.”

Caleb calmly said, “Yeah, of course. Let me put on my shoes.”

Have I mentioned how thankful I am for Caleb’s friend Weston?

It’s important that our resident Beaver have friends that are positive influences. 😉

Each of my boys has such a different personality. I have my highly moral leader, my sweet but mischievous and adventure-seeking classic American boy, my type A personality, chef, and baseball player, and my very set in his ways, introverted, not so mischievous (so far) toddler.

 

I wish yall could see Daniel at tee-ball practice. It is pure entertainment. He is SO into it. He has that glove READY. He is insistent in begging for his turn at bat. If they are taking turns at fielding, then he is insistent on securing his turn at fielding. He practices at home. He runs after the ball with gusto. He fights off other kids trying to get the ball, kids on his own team. Baseball is his GAME, and he is so happy to be a part of it.

all about tee-ball!
all about tee-ball!

He wore his whole uniform to practice this week. It’s not required, but it makes him happy. In fact, he’s wearing it again today. He’s in there napping in it right now.

serious business
serious business
fielding
fielding

He may be the shortest player on the field, but he has the heart. :)

These pictures brighten my day, when I’m feeling beaten down from my own parenting failures! I will never be the perfect mom that I want to be, but I can get back up and put forth my best effort.

“Correct thy son and he shall give thee rest; yea, he shall give delight unto thy soul.”  Proverbs 29:17

“As you know, we consider blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.”  James 5:11

“When Jack Burns needed to hold his mother’s hand, his fingers could see in the dark.”
― John Irving, Until I Find You

Boys are God’s way of telling you that your house is too neat!
— Author Unknown

But this one’s my favorite and it sums up my LIFE;

My mother had a great deal of trouble with me, but I think she enjoyed it.
— Mark Twain

Actually, that Mark Twain quote made me cry! I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE these children. I’m a terribly impatient teacher, but I still think I’m a good mother. I DO enjoy and empathize with them. Sometimes at night, when they are in bed, and they are hungry because they did not eat enough of their supper, they call out, “Mom, I’m hungry!” And I can’t. I just can’t. I sneak them up a piece of cheese or a banana, something with no crumbs, of course. It makes them so happy. I just try to make sure that no one knows, but now there, I’ve said it.

Alan won’t mind. I’ve seen him feeding them at night in the kitchen too. Of course, I look at him and shake my head and say, “Tisk. Tisk. Softie.” But really I’m glad.

We are who we are, and raising children is HARD, but it’s great fun too.

Point Lobos: a boy's dream
Point Lobos: a boy’s dream

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The SHINE Blog Hop

THIS is why people go to Yosemite: Photoblog

Half Dome, Yosemite National Park

Yosemite is so beautiful, and yet it’s like the Grand Canyon: there’s no way for pictures to do it justice. This is a place you really should go and see yourself! We are attempting, with these photos, to show you why people love Yosemite National Park!

The Homestead Bed and Breakfast Cottages

I also want to tell you about an immaculate place to stay that we found. Now, if you are trying to see Yosemite without spending any money, I have good news for you. You can camp on the park for nothing more than your park admission fee.

I don’t camp. Nope. I do not. The last time I went camping was in 2003. Alan was in Iraq. I had not seen my friend Katie in a while, and she invited me to go camping at this big Christian concert event called One Day, in Sherman, Texas. It was like 100 degrees. We slept in tents. I didn’t know any of the songs the bands were singing. We washed our teeth using water bottles, and we used port-o-potties.

I do not use port-o-potties. Yes, I know I’m sounding like a diva, so you might as well know that I have decided that I’m okay with that. I’m an adult. If I don’t want to sleep on the ground, I don’t have to. :)

That camping experience truly made me empathize with Alan. I couldn’t get him out of my head that day. He was in 130 degree IRAQ, wearing “full battle rattle”, and there I was wilting in 100 degree Texas, in summer clothing. I decided that while I still felt desperately sorry for my husband, there was no reason I should subject myself to that heat any longer, so I hugged all of my dear Alabama friends, got back in my car, and drove home. They stayed there and camped another night! Now this may make me sound like a wimp, but I think it’s just pure good sense. 😉

Just so you know, I don’t think any of you will melt at Yosemite Camp grounds. With that altitude, I doubt it gets too hot. I looked it up. It gets as high as 89 degrees in the summer, but the nights still get as low as 32, so take your warm blankets and shorts, if you’re camping!!

For non-campers like Me: Try The Homestead Bed and Breakfast Cottages  This place is beautiful and clean, it’s just 10 minutes from Oakhurst, and it has Wifi! You get the personal touch of a bed and breakfast, with the privacy of a cabin. This was so much more peaceful than a hotel stay! I just cannot tell you!

The Homestead Bed and Breakfast
The Homestead Bed and Breakfast

 

We stayed at the Country Cabin.
We stayed at the Country Cabin.

 

We didn’t hit the road until lunch time on day 2 of our trip. (For Day One details, click here)

We stopped off in Oakhurst and picked up more of those incredible BBQ sandwiches from Alice’s Cookhouse. As I said before, coleslaw INSIDE the sandwich–who knew!

We actually ended up doing more driving than hiking in Yosemite because we wanted to cover a lot of ground in only one day. This worked out just fine, but I was disappointed that I didn’t get more exercise.

First stop: Giant Sequoia trees

Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias
Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias
This fallen tree is so old, there are photos of the Buffalo Soldiers posing on this fallen tree, on their horses!
This fallen tree is so old, there are photos of the Buffalo Soldiers posing on this fallen tree, on their horses!

There is a loop you can hike and see 10 or so of these giant trees, and the loop is only around a mile. This would have been more exciting if we had not already been to Henry Cowell State Park, where they have Redwoods, in Santa Cruz. We are such spoiled tourists! But here are a couple of impressive new things we got to see:

Giant Sequoia
Forest Fires: Surprisingly important to the life cycle of the forest!
Forest Fires: Surprisingly important to the life cycle of the forest!

The forest fires actually help to spread new sequoias. For many years, well intending people stunted the spread of these trees by putting OUT fires. Isn’t that funny!? As it turns out, the fire heats up the cones, which releases the seeds inside of them.

tiny pinecones of the Giant Sequoias
tiny pinecones of the Giant Sequoias

 

 

“The Grizzly Bear” tree

Are you curious as to the difference between a Giant Sequoia and a Giant Redwood?

Well, I certainly was, so I looked it up for you and made you a little chart:

              Giant Redwoods                                    Giant Sequoias

  • live up to 2,000 years                          live up to 3,000 years
  • branches: up to 5ft in diameter           branches: up to 8 feet in diameter
  • Bark: up to 12in. thick                          Bark: up to 3 feet thick
  • Can reproduce by seed or sprout        Reproduce only by seed
  • Grow taller than Giant Sequoias          Typically shorter than Redwoods
  • grow in moist, coastal Nor. Cal.             live at higher altitudes, require periodic dry heat: Nor. Cal.

Driving up to Glacier Point, which is at over 7,000 feet above sea level, there was still snow on the ground!

snow, still on the ground, in mid-May
snow, still on the ground, in mid-May

 

Glacier Point is a must-see. These views!!!

the half-dome of Yosemite
the half-dome of Yosemite
Yosemite National Park
Yosemite National Park
Yosemite National Park, at Glacier Point
Yosemite National Park, at Glacier Point
Glacier Point, Yosemite National Park
Glacier Point, Yosemite National Park
Glacier Point, Yosemite National Park
Glacier Point, Yosemite National Park
one of the many waterfalls of Yosemite
one of the many waterfalls of Yosemite
Yosemite National Park
Yosemite National Park
April, eating an Ice cream at Glacier Point
April, eating an Ice cream at Glacier Point

 

Yosemite
Yosemite

 

But let me warn you about the bathrooms…..they are a lot like port-o-potties:

I got really good at squatting...ewwww
I got really good at squatting…ewwww

 

Just for the record, Alan took that picture. I would never….but apparently I would share it on the internet, so I don’t know what that says about me…

Back to beauty:

Yosemite
Yosemite Falls
Alan and me at the Mariposa Grove
Wow.
feeling on top of the world
Alan and me at Glacier Point

We, in our matching sunglasses, decided that we were the King and Queen of Souvenir t-shirts. Yep. We bought Yosemite shirts too.

Yosemite
Bridalveil Fall
so silly

Yes, we did do some rock climbing, and obviously I was quite proud of myself.

“Are you coming, April?”

Alan, probably wondering if I was coming, or if I was just going to take pictures of myself.

Glacier Point

Tunnel View

These beautiful rapids are near Yosemite Falls.

IMG_1647

This morning we slept in again, and then we headed home. Right now we are at the library, working hard again.

Hope you enjoyed the photoblog!

“For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities-his eternal power and divine nature-have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse” (Romans 1:20)
1{{To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David. }} The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handy work.  Psalm 19:1

The Blonder Side of Life

Running Away from it All: Yosemite Day One

San Luis Reservoir

Day One: You know we love a road trip.

Today we did something wild and crazy. We left our children with Alan’s parents, and got ourselves out of town! Does Alan have big, important projects due on Monday? Yes. Do I have important things to do Monday? Yes. Do we have children recovering from illness? Yes.

Do we have a wonderful life that we are thankful for and don’t actually NEED to RUN away from? YES! We just needed REST. Alan needed to go to bed at 9, and I need to sleep all night and wake up at 7–like a wild woman! We just need to be together, just the two of us, and remember who we are, outside of our jobs and our stress.

So excited!

Yosemite National Park, here we come!
Sometimes you just HAVE to get away.
First, we had a road trip, just a few hours. Alan drove. I built next year’s school calendar for Pacific Christian Academy. I got all the way through quarter 3, and then the Doritos and soda kicked in and I felt a little like hurling, so I put all the books away and just enjoyed the rest of the ride.
Why do I eat things that I KNOW will make me feel terrible? Bad decisions, repeating mistakes: One of life’s mysteries.

It looks beautiful, but don’t touch it. Now that we live here, we know that that tall, brown grass that covers everything is actually full of thorns. Yow!

The drive was, of course, beautiful. Endless, endless farms and ranches, mountains, valleys, hills, and plains. God just shows off in California.
Only one thing missing. Facilities. I can neither confirm nor deny if anyone peed on the roadside for the very first time. 70/ounces of water/day is a lot; that’s all I’m saying…

Ah, so nice!

And then we saw it: our little piece of paradise: a one bedroom cottage, with a kitchen, a gas fireplace, a gigantic bathtub, and…..WIFI.

So comfortable! You gotta visit this place!
This mirror reminds me of the ones they sell in Mexican border towns. I bet that’s where they got it. Now I wish I had bought one in Mexico myself!

We are so happy. We even took a couple selfie in a mirror, just like the “young people” do. 😉

We found an awesome BBQ joint!

After hours of seeing no sign of civilization, we were pleasantly surprised to hear that we are staying 10 minutes from the town of Oakhurst. By this time, it had been three hours since the Doritos/Coke mistake, so we headed on over to a BBQ joint in town, Alice’s Cookhouse. I love finding pulled pork BBQ in California. This is the food of my people. It just feels like home!

Did you see the wall sign behind Alan in the above photo: “Vegetarian” of Indian origin: meaning “bad hunter”. LOL!  Meanwhile, this place forever changed my ability to enjoy an ordinary BBQ sandwich!

YA’LL!!!

They put put coleslaw in the sandwich, right on top of the pulled pork. I couldn’t get over it. SO DELICIOUS! Now I just need to learn how to make coleslaw…
Tomorrow: we hike Yosemite. That will be the really good pictures! Don’t worry. I will share.

Tonight: Alan passed out at 9pm, and I’m plotting ways to get the whole family to this amazing vacation location!! That’s the thing about vacationing without the children. We needed the rest so badly, but I just keep thinking, “Oh, the boys would love this!!” And they will! Boys, I think this looks an awful lot like “Science Camp.” 😉 Field trip planning is in the works!

 

Do you boast about the faithfulness of your friends?

This weekend is a big deal.

-Tomorrow is Caleb’s 24 hour EEG to test for seizure activity.

-We have family arriving to help us out.

-JD has a double ear infection and conjunctivitis.

Poor thing just fell asleep without me even trying to put him to sleep.

-Daniel has a touch of croup. Don’t worry. Croup is not contagious. It is a barking cough resulting from the size of his air passages when he is sick. Only some small children get this problem, and Dan is our only child to ever have it. It happens every single time he gets sick. We are giving him cough meds and making sure he’s breathing okay.

-Alan is back from being out of town.

-We are going to see Yosemite National Park–which as it turns out, is not all that far from our house.

You should have heard the boys. Caleb had to write sentences using days of the week in his seat work time this morning. He wrote:

“Monday is the worst day ever.”  (Hmm It starts young–the disease of Mondaycomplaineritis)– I see lots of funny cat pictures complaining about Monday on social media in your future, Caleb.)

“Tuesday is when Dad comes back home.”

He actually asked me, “Mom, can we hang the big ‘Welcome Home’ sign and bake cupcakes that say ‘Welcome home, Dad’?”

Dear Caleb, he was gone ONE night. Apparently, Caleb remembers nothing of his early childhood, the time he ran to the wrong dad at the airport, or the months that they only saw Daddy on the weekends. One night away from Daddy is now a big deal. This struck me as really funny!!

You know, I was never one to judge the women who complain because their husbands work late hours or take frequent trips with work. No, it’s not the same as a deployment, but it can be equally as stressful. I remember the two years that Alan worked in Alabama and got home each night between 7:30-9:30. I was way more miserable during that phase than I was during any deployment. When Alan was gone for months on end, I would build a new routine and new circles of friends that didn’t include Alan, or I would just move close to my parents and hang out with them. It’s a little sad that it has to be that way, but you deal, and you move on.

I found the phases where Alan was only sort of present much harder. That’s one thing that’s difficult about graduate school. There have been quarters that weren’t too bad, okay, really there was one good quarter, and the rest have been terrible. Even when Alan is not in class, he has so many projects, papers, and homework problems to do that he does not have much time for kicking back with the family.

Alan does a wonderful job of prioritizing us in, though.  It’s hard, but we make it happen. It just means he does family time between 5:30 and 8, and then he hits the books until midnight. Then he begins the whole cycle over again bright and early….sometime before I’m even conscious. Some nights the bed is empty when I fall asleep and empty when I wake up! The man doesn’t sleep! He makes breakfast for the kids and he helps every single way he can. I can’t tell you how thankful I am!

Having a husband in graduate school can be stressful, but in other ways it can be good. Alan works on school work while I work on the things I didn’t get done that day. I have lots of hobbies, so this is not a problem. You know, I haven’t watched t.v. since Caleb was a baby.

Speaking of Caleb……I can’t even explain this one:

I can’t even….I have no idea.

 

I want to share these WONDERFUL, ENCOURAGING things that have been going on around here:

1. This morning at 3am, I texted my friend Kristen that I would not be able to walk with her. I was up with JD from 12-3am. He was hurting. He puked on Alan. It was one of those nights. No way would I be awake at 6am.

Kristen arrived at my house in the late morning bearing muffins. Thank you, Kristen!!  They were so yummy and moist!

Can you tell that she’s a minister’s wife? Ya’ll. Minister’s wives are a whole other breed of person I have decided. I don’t know a single one that doesn’t give all she has in serving the Lord. They are the most dedicated, dependable, cheerful women. I praise God for them, and I feel like I also am learning a lot from them.

2. This afternoon I called my nurse practitioner friend, Hillary, over to examine JD. We live in dread of doctor visits. You would too if you had to drag four boys into a room the size of your bathroom. Hillary assured me that JD did in fact need antibiotics. I’m happy to report that he now has them.

I also told Hillary that Coach Cox from coachcox.com is going to be so disappointed in me. I was supposed to start my kettle bell workouts on Tuesday, and here it was Wednesday night, and I had still had no opportunity to go to the store and purchase a kettle bell. Tuttutut.

Coach Cox, I will be be working out tomorrow!!

In true Hillary style, she came through with a loaner for me until I can make it to the store. She’s a minister’s daughter. Do you see a theme?

I think only the negative stories get told about generally good groups of people. I’m going to make it my mission to tell more of the positive things that God and his people do!! This is an idea that I got from a book I’ve been reading in the Bible study that Hillary leads. The book is called Praying with Paul, by D.A. Carson and Brian Tabb. The authors of this book remind us of how Paul got excited about the good deeds done by Christians, and he encouraged others by boasting about the faithfulness of their friends! It’s like that feeling you get when you read about heroic or noble deeds. We need to hear these things!!  We need to fill our minds with good because goodness knows the evildoers of this world will commit enough horrors to make our hearts feel down!

So excited about reading more of this book with my friends!
Do you know I would have never met Hillary if it weren’t for my friend Susie? She gave me Hill’s contact information while I was still in Virginia. I sent Hillary a Facebook message way back before we even moved here, but I never heard back from her. I thought, “Oh, hmm, maybe I was too weird,” and I decided not to bother her again.

Thankfully, Hillary contacted me once I arrived in California, and without her I would not know so many of the darling women that I call friends! What a blessing!!

God blesses us at every turn. He provides friends where we had none. He gives, and gives, and gives.

I’ll leave you with one humorous quote from today, and then I had better go to sleep:

Joshua asked me this morning, “Mom, can I please trade one of these seat work assignments for reading the Periodic Table book and writing about an element? Please! I just want to read and write about elements.”

Is this my kid because I would never???

Then a few minutes later he asked, “Can we get this Physics book?”

I might have choked on my water. So here’s my tip for the day. For your 3rd grade and up kids, buy one or two of this series of science books. They are really good, but I can’t promise that you will love them as much as Joshua does.

“We ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers, as is right, because your faith is growing abundantly, and the love of every one of you for one another is increasing.

Therefore we ourselves boast about you in the churches of God for your steadfastness and faith in all your persecutions and in the afflictions that you are enduring.”   2 Thessalonians 1:3-4

Have a great weekend!

 

 

This post is listed in the Weekly Wrap up at Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers! Check it out!

 

Life in Northern Cal: Modeling Good Habits and Helping the Homeless

There are so many exciting things going on in our chilly little Northern Cal world, it’s hard to keep my head on straight!

Alan is in the middle of a mid-term schedule that has him pretty stressed. He actually has to go out of town later this week to test out a drone parachute that he designed. Woohoo!

Alan and I are so different. No one would ever, in a billion years, ask me to design ANYTHING. Thanks to this design project, Alan and I now share the love for Brittany’s, which is a delightful craft store, similar to Hobby Lobby!

John David’s language abilities are exploding. He still speaks in small phrases, but it’s just adorable to hear him talk. Meanwhile, he and Daniel have developed an obsession with baseball caps. Daniel wears his tee-ball team hat, which is blue, and JD wears a red Nats hat. They run around like this, feeling so important. Daniel even wears his to bed.

Daniel wears his full uniform at all times that he can get away with it. He’d love nothing more than to wear it to church, bed, and everything.  Alan is very excited to have a son that likes baseball as much as he does, and they go out in the yard and practice together. I just love to hear it.

Sometimes I start to think that our little family is getting over the hump of the exhausting baby/toddler phase. Then we experience a full family outing failure, and I am reminded that the hump is still a mountain to us.

The boys’ end of the year CC program was pretty much a total disaster for Alan and me. First, Caleb, while on stage in the large group opener, made faces. Meanwhile, JD kept crying out. Well, you can’t keep a crying toddler in an auditorium, so we kept taking turns walking out with him. Since we were up and down with JD, Daniel took that to mean that he could be up and down and up and down and up and down too, so we left Tuesday night feeling like we only have one kid that knows how to behave in public.

It was a humbling experience. Really, we live feeling pretty humble. Managing four kids: hard for us–others make it look easy. Homeschooling: hard for us–others think it’s big fun.

After Caleb left the stage from the opener, where he was making the faces, Alan whispered to me, “You might need to go say something to him.”

But Caleb was on the other side of the room, sitting with his class, and the show was well underway.

“Maybe Lindsay (Caleb’s tutor) will say something to him. Lindsay’s good that way.”

She did. We were safe. No more faces for the second performance. PHEW!!!

Once a children’s church worker told me this story about my children, “I heard someone talking, and I couldn’t believe it when I realized it was Joshua. He’s supposed to be the shy guy, right? So I called him over and made him sit by me. After a while, I told him he could go back to his seat, but he could not talk any more. He said, ‘Yes, sir,’ and he went back over there and never uttered another word. That’s really great! I mean, hey, a kid that listens to instruction!”

So no, our kids aren’t perfect. No one’s are, but I’m going to go on feeling good about them because they do listen to instruction (most of the time), and most importantly, they have precious hearts.

Daniel was eating his lunch the other day, and he asked, “Where’s JD?”

“Napping,” I said.

“Oh, Me see him sleeping on the monitor. He’s precious,” Daniel giggled.

Oh yes, he IS precious, and so was the little boy talking about him, with the sun butter on his cheek and the baseball uniform on, even though it wasn’t game day.

LOVE!!!!
LOVE!!!!

 

Caleb has always been a big defender of the underdog. Don’t even get me started on how much I ADORE the way he randomly heats me up cups of coffee and brings them to me throughout the day.

Recently Joshua has become a huge advocate of the poor and the homeless, especially the homeless. He wants to go around giving them all tents. He talks about it day and night, every day, which warms my heart, but it also challenges me.

These kids have a need to SEE us helping the poor. Yes, we do give money to causes and church, which help the poor, but the boys are wanting to SEE us do that. I’m not sure how to go about it. Does anyone have any specific suggestions? We’ll be happy to take ideas!

“Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the LORD, and he will repay him for his deed.”   Proverbs 19:7

We only have three weeks of school left, yall!  This is so exciting!! I can’t tell you how relieved I feel.

Next year’s curriculum!

Planning for next year is underway. This is paramount. Every weekend this year, I had to work on plans and organizing the next week’s school work because I was unable to prepare last summer, thanks to the move. THIS year, if I can get most of that done before the school year starts, I will have more free time DURING the school year. So maybe my house will be cleaner, but most importantly, I will have less stress!

Alan’s parents are arriving this week to help with the kids. This will give me some extra time to plan and Alan and I a little time together. We’re hoping to go to Yosemite National Park. We are hoping to do a lot of hiking,  and speaking of exercise….I got a blog opportunity that I’m excited about last week.

Coach Cox from this website: coachcox.com offered to be my personal trainer this month for free, and all I have to do is tell you all about his service.

I’ve mentioned before that I get offers for services and products like this, and I rarely take them on, but the idea of focusing on living more healthy sounded like something I need.

My goals: 1. Lose a little of this mum tum. (Yes, I do realize my gut is protruding.)

2. Have more energy.

3. Just take better care of myself in general because motherhood requires putting yourself on the back burner a lot, and I let it go a little far this year.

We are able to take care of others better when we first keep ourselves healthy. Plus, as they say, “More is caught than taught,” so our kids need to see us modeling good habits.

So my first challenge:  Drink 70 ounces of water/day! Justin figures up how much water you should drink based on your body weight, so that’s my number.

It’s only been two days, but I’m doing great. I told one of my friends here about the water thing. She said, “Is that hard for you?”

Um, yeah! Normally I drink like 20 ounces of water/day!

I’m also supposed to be eating more nutritionally and working out 3 times/week. I’ll let ya know how that goes this week. At least I’m drinking my water, so you know, yea me!!  :)

Best thing about this whole online personal trainer thing: I get an app on my phone to track what I’m doing. He sends you exact work outs, complete with videos, tailored to your needs, and you can ask any questions you need to ask. So far, I think it’s AWESOME. I will let yall know more about this as I get further along in the program!

Speaking of trying to take better care of myself, guess what else I did?

Mother’s Day 2015

I CUT MY HAIR. This is really only a big deal to me. Most people I know didn’t even notice the change. It had been a YEAR since I got my hair cut, so this felt like a great, big deal. Alan was so tired of hearing me gripe about my hair, he finally made the appointment for me. Thanks, Alan.

Caleb, me, and my new hair. Next week: Perhaps I will make it to make-up.
Caleb, me, and my new hair. Next week: Perhaps I will make it to make-up.

I think Alan’s statement the day after my haircut sums up this whole year of adjusting to California, learning how to home school, taking care of 4 little boys, and just my general experience over the last year. He said, “It’s so good to see you back to yourself. That hair cut was really what you needed to get your confidence back.”

Boo-yah. April is back. 😉

“Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God. They are brought to their knees and fall, but we rise up and stand firm.”         Psalm 20:7-8

 

 

 

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