Friday, March 28, 2008

Time for Change

Hello there! I am afraid I haven't have time nor inclination of late to blog. I have been reading my favorite blogs but haven't commented much. I have been feeling "quiet". There are times I go through every few months when it feels like time to listen.

It seems lately lots of my blogs are talking about schedules. Perhaps the change of seasons inspires us to take another look at our schedule and see if we can tweek it to better fit us and our families. I am no exception.

I find my schedule to be ever changing, especially our homeschool schedule. I always have to be aware that the time will come when what I am doing no longer works. Then it is time to be flexible!

In general our schedule works like this:

Kids up and dressed and teenager showered by 7:30 a.m
7:30 a.m.: Tyler doesn't independent Bible/Greek Word
8:00 a.m.: I gather with all the kids and read/study the Bible.
8:30 a.m.: The whirlwind of school for grades 4, 5, and 9 start.
11:30a.m.: I make lunch. Youngers empty dishwasher and Tyler empties trash.
12:00 p.m.: Lunch
12:30 p.m.: School starts back up.
2:00 p.m.: The dream is to be done with school and have an hour for the 4 of us to clean and do chores.
3:00 p.m.: Free time.

At 3:30 p.m. my life gets crazy. I am all for my kids being in activities but this year it is too much and I am just counting down the days until the beginning of June when most of it ends. So, from 3:30 p.m.-9:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday we are shuttling kids to their activities. We are not consistently gone and either dh or I are here most times, just not all of us together. Friday is easy because every other Friday all we have is a 30 min. drum lesson for Christian and then we are home.

Have I lost you yet? Well, here is what has happened. My schedule isn't working because I am too busy and I need some real spring to give me a needed boost of energy. So what is failing?? Homeschooling. It is not failing but has faltered a bit. Yes we are doing our work. But because of my exhaustion I am letting them do too much independently and I need to better schedule them so that I am spending the proper time actually TEACHING and PREPARING. It is awful discouraging to get behind in correcting and then realize one or more of them have gone amuck and that I have let them practice doing something wrong over and over because I wasn't keeping short accounts!

So, what I am doing is making them more independent when they clean and less independent when they school. While they clean I'll correct papers and print and photocopy the things we need for school and planning the next day. Normally I know in my head what I want done for chores and I direct them as they go. But now I will need to get it all scheduled and written down for them so they can go on without me.

It will be good in the end. These problems always end up as blessings because in the end the house runs smoother for it. :) For example, when I hurt my back the kids had to learn many more chores and much more about how to run a house. So now, when I am up and moving, I am still reaping the blessing of them being more able to help and run things. My trial forced me to teach them what I should have taught them anyway. Well now it is time to up the level! More about this in the coming days...

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Why I am Thankful to Homeschool

There are many reasons why I homeschool. It is hard to pick a top reason but definitely at least in the top 3 is that by homeschooling we are much closer as a family.

When you are together as a family almost 24/7 you cannot brush problems under the rug. There is no waiting until they step on the bus for peace. Peace must be a priority of everyone in the family. Homeschooling gives us accountability to work through character issues and tensions. We live, we love, we fail, we sin, we confess, we forgive, we love, and on and on!

The blessing in all that hard work is that we are very close as a family. We do so much together and we learn more every day about getting along and loving completely and giving each other grace and mercy.

Below are a few pictures. The first three are from Tyler's (14 years old) Biology lab in which he had to dissect a cray fish. It turned into an adventure for all three kids. There was lots of "ewww, and peee-ew and then many giggles!" But in the end they learned probably more about cray fish then they ever wanted to know! LOL!

Now this morning, and this inspired my post, I walked into the living room to find Tyler helping Rachel with her Math. This just turned me all to mush!! I snuck my camera in and took this shot before the moment was over!!

Homeschooling is such hard work, I won't tell anyone otherwise. But it is soooo worth it all!! If I had it to do over again I would definitely make the same choice again!!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

New York City!!

We arrived at our hotel in Queens at about 1:00 p.m. on Thursday. Within an hour we had dropped our stuff in our room, eaten a quick lunch and headed to the Subway. Off we went! The Subway was a bit scary at's very loud and moves and jolts...then there is the fear of getting off in the wrong place! We got that mistake out of the way that first trip, but fortunately discovered our error and got on the right Subway back to where we were suppose to be!
Rachel and I headed to the American Girl Place while Robin and the boys shopped in Rockafeller Center.

Here is Rachel in front of Samantha's display. She is loving every minute of this!

Here she is, in the cafe.

After having Tea in the cafe we went the Musical "Circle of Friends." It was SOOOO wonderful!! All the girls and adults in the show obviously had lots of vocal training! The songs were very "Broadway" in style and there were lots of great lessons in the story: "Never Give Up", "Be a True Friend," "Don't Love People for Their Riches or Fine Clothes or Popularity but for Their Heart", "Don't Look Down on Someone who Doesn't have as much as You," that sort of thing.
After the show, the young actresses came out to sign autographs.

While we were in American Girl, the boys and Robin went shopping and to "Nintendo World". There they found lots of Game Boys set up in the store to play as well as 23 (yes they counted!) Wii machines with flat screen TV's to play on...yes they were quite content! ;)

We wish we would have brought our ice skates!!

The buildings are a bit taller than in Maine...yeah QUITE a bit!

The kids quickly adjusted and became pros at travelling on the Subways!

One Day 2, we decided to do our sightseeing...

It's pretty expensive to take the ferry to Ellis Island, so we chose the FREE ferry that goes BY the Statue of Liberty. Yes, she looks just as beautiful from afar!! :)

Next we headed to Ground Zero, the sight where the World Trade Center stood. This was a sobering trip, especially right after viewing "Lady Liberty." Rachel was too young to remember 9/11 so she had lots of questions for us. It is a story difficult to tell, that there would be people out there who desire in their hearts to murder so many men, women and children.

This is the church across the street. I had read about it in a Karen Kingsbury book but was not sure it was real since the book was fiction. But it is. The rescue workers slept in the church on cots and they were ministered to there. How appropriate that a church would do this important work. Today there is memorobilia inside from pictures to letters from adults and children, to fire helmets and anything else you can imagine from that dark time. The tone inside is hushed as people move around the room from spot to spot. I did not feel right taking pictures inside. There was a funeral feel to it and I felt disrespectful to pull out my camera. (This was a historical church previously and you can see the seat where George Washington sat while there.)

This is a memorial bell dedicated to those who died on 9/11. It is in the front yard of the church. Behind the children, across the street, is the empty spot where the towers stood. :(

Next we headed toward the Empire State building. In a light moment, we found a replica of the Statue of Liberty. Why did we go out on a ferry when she was right on the street? HAHA!!

Yep, we were on the top of that building!! It was very cool to look around the city from so high! We could see the Statue of Liberty and were amazed at how far we travelled underground on the Subway.
Having come from the World Trade Center I could not help but think about what it would feel like to be attacked when you were so high up from the ground.

Now here is the REAL reason we were in the city!! Tyler had two soccer games on Saturday!! Here he is warming up in goal. It was not a good day for pictures; there was heavy winds and rain and even thunder and lightening. It was a bit of a monsoon!! I stayed with the younger kids in the hotel so they would not be out in that weather.
Tyler's team lost their games, but Tyler was excited to have played in the Old Met Oval where Pele once played!!

It was a great trip. There are so many people, so many languages. I am not a city girl, I love the country, but if I were to live in NYC it would be for ministry! There is such a concentration of people with very obvious needs. I found myself praying for people individually that I saw on the Subways and streets. In the city you can reach so many more people at a time it seems. It would be hard to live in the city, but at the same time how exciting to be used of God!!

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Back from the "Big City!"

"New York City is the whole world under one roof." Christian Twombly

The above quote was my 11 year old son's overall impression of New York City as a response to seeing so many different peoples and cultures in one place. This is where we were and this is why I have been away from the computer. I knew my husband wouldn't want me announcing on the internet that we left our house empty!! :)

We were there because our 14 year old son, Tyler, had two soccer games in Brooklyn on Saturday and we decided to go as a family and see the city!

I will write more later as we are just now in. But it was an exciting few days where we saw New York City:

From top:

(The kids on top of the Eiffel Tower checking out the top of the city.)

To bottom:

(The kids on the Subway, checking out the city underground.)

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

I'll be away from the computer for a few days.

The above is a picture of Kettle Cove in Cape Elizabeth, Maine. It is a beautiful spot and my way of reminding myself that summer WILL come!!

I will be away from the computer for a few days. I'll see you all on Monday or Tuesday!

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Super Sunday

I hope you are having a Super Day! Today was a quiet day. Rachel was not feeling well so she and I stayed home from church while the guys went to church. I missed being able to go to church but I am so thankful to go to a church with so many wonderful people to miss! I will get to hear the sermon online which is another blessing.
Here is a dishcloth I knitted up recently. It is a dolphin leaping over the waves. I really enjoyed making it! Very fun! It was designed by Rhonda White ( and I knitted it on size 7 needles:

Now I must warn you if you decide to knit any of these designs because you saw them here that I knit left handed so all my pictures come out opposite of the pattern! Yes, I am backwards!! So YOUR dophin would be jumping in the opposite direction!!

I did some knitting today too, not too much though. Here's what ended up in my lap as I was trying to knit!! LOL!

This poor dog needs some grooming love! Maybe tomorrow...

I have 4 different knitting projects and one quilting project going! Oh, that is bad! One knitting project is my sock. I got nervous about turning the heel. I need to just dive in for better or worse! As for sewing I need to just get out my sewing machine and leave it up. That is the only way to get anything done!

Speaking of finding a place to leave up my sewing machine, I have a yearning to move the furniture around in the house and change things up. Yes, such is the restlessness that is March! C'mon spring!! On the bright side with all this snow, I could actually dunk a basketball like Michael Jordan!! How you ask? Well, just look at the hoop! I think I can reach it... LOL!