Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Dream Vacation

There was a thread on one of the forums I frequent that asked what everyone's Dream Vacation was. I scrolled through and read some of the standard answers: a mountain retreat, a Caribbean escape, a Mediterranean tour etc. My answer? HOME. ALL TO MYSELF. (well, maybe with my hunny...I do like him an awful lot.) have home all to myself: no questions to answer, no nagging to do, no cleaning up other people's messes whilst they are busy making more messes, no running errands with an entourage. I might--just might--actually be able to slow down enough to think. I could have a spare moment to clean up those places that pile up with stuff. I could read! Or quilt...or finish painting the kids' rooms.

It seems that my dreams have come true for this weekend. I have a wonderful mother-in-law who will be taking the kids for the weekend, without my even asking her to! Oh the things I shall do! I'm off to write a list so that I can make best use of my time. (I love lists.)

Friday, January 23, 2009

Happy 10th Birthday Andrew!

Just before we left the land of snow to return to the land of overcast skies, we celebrated our Andrew's 10th birthday. We had some people over, ate some wonderful hamburgers and hotdogs (at Andrew's request) and cut into a huge chocolate cake.

Andrew is a quiet fellow. He has a tender, appreciative heart. He is often hard to shop for, because he doesn't naturally think about things that he wants. He is a thinker, and has started some great conversations with questions such as "What exactly is fire?" He's an amazing reader, typically preferring classics such as Tom Sawyer and Robin Hood (although he did just read the first Artemis Fowl book, so there's some current stuff in there too). He makes us laugh with some of his mispronunciations (devel-OP-ment).

We love you Andrew!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Haiku for the Errant Turn Signal

Ever blinking light
Falsely suggesting intent
Unaware driver

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Piles and Piles of STUFF

I'm always amazed at how long it takes to get everything really put away after returning from a trip. I just can't believe the amount of STUFF. There is the typical laundry, of course, and the entourage of books that follow me around everywhere, but it's the small miscellaneous personal items that seal the deal. I'm sure that adding Christmas presents and decorations into the mix didn't help much. I find myself singing "All my life's a circle, sunrise and sundown..." and wondering how many circles I'll make until I feel caught up. (Ha! Caught up? What's that?)

Here's the proof:

Boy Stuff (and no--I didn't arrange it like that for the photo):Girl Stuff:School Stuff:Christmas Stuff (gathered but not put away):My Stuff (as yet untouched and unpacked):
Ahh, the life of a mom. Ain't it grand?

Thursday, January 15, 2009

I Love Snow

I absolutely love snow. For the last 6 years I've lived in a place where there is snow (or the possibility of it) from October to May or June. Most people who live here get to a point where they start dreading the onset of another winter, but not me. I love it. I don't even mind shoveling snow or driving in it. It feels like I'm living in the middle of God's artist palette; I'm constantly awed and amazed.

5 months ago we moved back to the L.A. area, where we lived before removing ourselves to Tahoe. It was a necessary move, since my hunny was down there for work nearly every week. God has blessed us tremendously by allowing us to keep our home here in Tahoe, where I've been enjoying a lovely snowy respite for nearly a month. In 4 days we'll be returning to the land of sunshine, so I've been preparing myself to say goodbye to the snow.

This is the snowy creation of my 8 year-old daughter Melinda:

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Digging in My Heels

I seem to always be thrust into a new stage of life before I am ready. That may not be saying much; I'm not big on change. I do often think of future changes, in order to prepare myself when the time comes--but somehow they sneak up on me anyhow. When some good friends decided to move away, I said, "I'm not ready for these to be The Good Old Days".

Another example: I was prepared to send Timothy off to public/private school upon the entrance of 9th grade. He would be 14 years old, and I would be ready to see him off into the world. Now, out of the blue, plans have changed and we are planning on sending him to private school in 8th grade. I feel like I have to prepare myself to say goodbye to him. I'm not ready. I don't want to.
13 years ago my mom and dad gave me this mug, celebrating the fact that I was to be a new mommy. I found it in my kitchen cabinet last week, shoved way in the back behind all of the mugs that get regular use. I pulled it out, contemplated it affectionately, and have been using it daily since. (Is that the mommy version of escapism? Instead of huddling up, rocking back and forth and humming?) I can't believe it's been 13 years. I can't believe I'm about to have one of those teenagers. I can't believe that I'm old enough to have a teenager! I can't believe that these 2 wonderful years that I've been blessed with, 2 years to homeschool my oldest son, 2 years of relationship building, character training, laughter and tears, is about to come to an end. I can't believe that I was engaged to be married when I was 5 years older than he is now, but that's a discussion for another time.

13 years ago, when I was pregnant with my first child, I was told "Enjoy them when they are young, because the time goes by so fast." About 15 minutes later, all 4 of my children had progressed out of diapers and I thought, "Not fair! I made sure to enjoy them, but the time still went by too fast!" The days may be long, but the years certainly are short, aren't they?

Saturday, January 10, 2009

What's on Your Nightstand?

Mine is getting a little ridiculous. These are not just the books on my "To Be Read" list, these are the book on my immediate "To Be Read" list. Right--like that's all going to be read immediately. There are 5 non-fiction books, 6 classics, 2 modern classics, 2 Sonlight books, and 1 junior fiction book. Maybe it's time to get my fingers off the keyboard and put my nose in a book.

An Apple a Day

My kids have been on an apple kick for 2 months at least. I keep waiting for them to have their fill and move onto something else. It's only a matter of time--I know from experience (having lived through The Great Banana Craze of 2007). We've sliced and cored so many apples recently that we've streamlined the procedure to the point of having only 1 piece of waste per apple, even without using the apple corer (a huge improvement from the 2,000 pieces we started at). We've eaten so many apples that my sons are beginning to discuss the subtleties of different varieties. Here's what we ate yesterday:

Friday, January 9, 2009

I am SO accomplished!

Today I:
- gave myself a pedicure and painted my toenails (high time, I tell ya, high time)
- actually ate some veggies (that is, if carrots count)
- went to the grocery store AND got school done (no small thing)
- rinsed and dried wet laundry (that has been waiting for me ever since my washing machine stopped working on Wednesday)
- taught my kids about Tchaikovsky (and found out that the poor guy was not a happy fellow)
- finished a book about Shakespeare (another home run for Bill Bryson)
- actually answered the phone when it rang (no joke!)
- finally started putting away the Christmas tree (that is, I had the kids do it)
- considered furthering my education through online courses (because I have so much free time)
- watched the 2nd half of Anne of Green Gables (last night's leftovers)
- let the kids make their own breakfast, lunch, AND dinner (and I have the mess to prove it)
- picked up 3 million articles of snow clothing (some of which I'm certain do not belong to us)
- sprinkled the remaining ice-melt on the glacier in our driveway (there wasn't nearly enough)
- scheduled next week's school assignments (is it ok to admit that I enjoy it?)
- taught Melinda to subtract double digits with regrouping (she caught on quite remarkably well)
- taught Andrew to multiply 2 2-digit numbers (he's a pro already)
- said "STOP" 800 times (at least)
- cuddled with my kitty cat (in bed...while I heard the garbage truck drive by my house...because I forgot to put out the trash)

Wow. I just may be capable of putting a positive spin on anything!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Progress Reports

This is our first year homeschooling all of our children (it is the 2nd year for our 12 year-old). It is going really well so far. Before restarting lessons after the holidays, we had "Teacher-Student Conferences". Melinda is doing very well across the board. Andrew is doing very well apart from the occasional lapse in positive attitude. It was generally agreed that Timothy needs to put forth more effort, which goes hand-in-hand with me expecting more out of him, I suppose.

Chris and I also had a discussion with Timothy regarding high school. It ended up in a different place than I thought it would, so now I'm in the process of reorganizing my thinking, and researching many things for the next school year. Next year Timothy will be in 8th grade. We began homeschooling him with the idea that we'd homeschool through middle school, and then let him return to a brick and mortar school for high school. Not surprisingly, Timothy has another case of "the grass is greener on the other side"...or in the other school, perhaps. He'd like to return to school next year instead of the year after.

Since we began homeschooling Timothy, we have also started homeschooling the other kiddos. We have also moved, so schooling options are different. What this means for me is that I have less time to get him "caught up" to where I'd like him to be before returning to school. And so, with the planning and panic that entails, I am off running--trying to decide what our plans will actually be, and how we are going to get there.

And that is where I leave it for now. Incoherent ramblings and indecisiveness will no doubt be available on my other blog (that's partly why I made another blog, after all).

Sunday, January 4, 2009

My Apologies to Owen Meany Fans...

But I just CAN NOT finish reading this book! When reading a book of 617 pages, one would expect to become somewhat interested in something before the halfway point, right? One of the characters perhaps? Part of the storyline maybe? The writing style? The font?

(can you tell that it isn't often that I actually read 300+ pages of a book and then decide to quit reading it?)

I have officially put A Prayer for Owen Meany (John Irving) away, and will not be picking it up again. It is done for. It is on it's way to or the donation pile.

I would love to hear from those of you who have read and enjoyed this book. Tell me what you enjoyed, what you got out of it, anything at all. You needn't be worried you'll spoil the ending for me, since I've no plans on picking it up again. I'm off to something vastly more wonderful--Jane Austen. *sigh*

Friday, January 2, 2009

Snowy Thoughts

It's a lovely snowy day in Tahoe. There is a deep seated satisfaction in this quiet whitewashing that never fails to leave me serene and reflective. I'm unable to ignore the greatness of God on a day such as this. Some things that I'm thankful for today:

-A family that loves me.
-Espresso. Mmmmm.
-A husband who is my best friend.
-I do not own a chihuahua. Whew.
-The privilege of homeschooling.
-Colors. And my eyeballs with which I can appreciate them.
-A great God who cares for someone who is as insignificant as I am.