May 29, 2006

My First Race

Saturday morning I woke bright and early at 4:15. I didn't intend to get up QUITE this early, but I was having, um, some stomach issues, and I figured I'd stay up and see if I could head them off before leaving for the race.

I picked Sarah up at 5:45, and we drove over to the Sunrise Mountain area. I had never before been over to that part of town, and it was beautiful. The weather was nice (?!) too--quite cool, a pleasant surprise for this time of year in Vegas. However, the wind was gusting--up to 37 miles per hour, according to the weather web site I checked! Just what I needed for running my first 10K!

Sarah has done several races before, but this was her first 10K. Being my first race period, I listened to her advice. We walked around to warm up, shivering in the cold. How strange to be cold after nearly melting in the days and weeks before! But we figured the cold wind would be nicer than running in the heat.

Thankfully, Sarah had driven the course earlier in the week so we would know what we were in for. This gave us a chance to be mentally prepared, as the course was WAY more difficult than I would have even attempted had I known before I registered for the race! But by that point it was too late, and I figured, hey, why not try?!

The first part of the course was 2 miles uphill. Then we turned south and did kind of a roller coaster thing, up a hill, down a hill, up a hill, down a hill, which gave us a chance to get our breath back a bit. As we were on this section, runners at the front of the pack passed us on their way back!

Sarah and I stayed together for the first half of the race. The last 2/10th of a mile right before we turned around were up an extremely steep hill. (OK, maybe not "extremely" steep, but much steeper than anything I've ever run up before, and it was even difficult to walk up, it looked like.) Sarah was a bit ahead going around the turnaround and kept outpacing me. I had told her that I didn't want to slow her down, so I was glad she kept going at a pace that was comfortable for her. I had thought things would get easier for me since I was now going downhill--here's where my long legs could be used to great advantage! Unfortunately, by the time I got to about the 4-mile mark, my stomach started giving me problems. I felt slightly nauseated, and I ended up walking up one of the smaller hills on the roller coaster part. I was proud that I hadn't walked at all during the uphills on the first half of the race, but by this point I was more concerned about not throwing up than I was about my initial goal to run the entire distance.

I made it to the top of the 2-mile stretch and coaxed my legs to keep going. I did walk several very short stints, just to quell my stomach, and I ran a VERY slow pace. When Sarah and I had talked about our goals initially, we thought it would be great to finish somewhere between an hour and an hour and 15 minutes. At this point for me, however, I decided that simply finishing would be just fine with me! I got passed by older people, some of whom could easily be grandparents, but I kept chugging away.

Sarah came back and met me close to the finish line. It was the longest 2 miles I've ever done! I've never even come close to throwing up in all my athletic experience, not even during "difficult" practices, so this was an unusual sensation for me. I was so happy to be finished, and I didn't even care what my time was.

We cooled down and sat on the ground to wait for the raffles and awards to the top runners. The first place male runner finished the course in around 36 minutes, I think. WOW! The first place female finished in about 44 minutes. Still wow! I was so proud of Sarah--she placed 5th in our division with a time of an hour and 4 minutes!! I about fell over when I saw that my own time was just a hair under an hour and 15 minutes!! Not bad, considering the hilly course, gusty wind, and upset stomach!!

I gained my appetite later on in the day and did manage to get some rest after my shower. :-) Ted struggled with some stomach issues on Sunday, and Charis did as well, so I'm wondering if we had a mild bug of some kind. At any rate, my first race was definitely a success.

Oh, and I won a price in the raffle drawing--a $25 off coupon for The Athlete's Foot on the purchase of my next pair of running shoes! What a blessing! I've been needing to go shoe shopping for awhile but decided to do the race in my "old" comfy shoes, so now I can get some new ones for $25 off! Woohoo!

May 24, 2006

A Challenge

Every month I receive an e-newsletter from Steve & Teri Maxwell, the authors of Managers of Their Homes, an excellent resource for home schooling moms (and beneficial for non-home schooling moms as well!). I was extremely challenged by the June article for moms and thought I would post the link here in case anyone else might like to read it. I find myself struck to the core every time I read one of their articles, because they really hit me where I need it most!

The June article talks about self-discipline...or lack of it. It is well worth the read if you have ever found yourself thinking, "Why can't I just do what needs to be done?!" Teri Maxwell believes that the issue for us as adults is not necessarily a lack of self-discipline but rather a problem with obedience. Ouch! How sobering to realize that my decisions such as whether to get up on time, whether to check my email or read blogs, etc. are not as simple as "I'll do what I feel like doing, when I feel like doing it." It's a matter of, "Am I being obedient to what the Lord wants me to do with my time?"

There is a time for email and a time for reading blogs, but honestly...I spend way too much time doing these things. Right now, for instance, I should be out in the garage sorting through things for our sale on Friday, or perhaps putting books in boxes. So, on that note, I will close here and go do what I need to do!

P.S. If you read the whole article, I'd love it if you left a comment here to let me know what you thought of it!

May 23, 2006

It's Official!

On Friday we signed our lease paperwork, so we are officially getting ready to move into our new house! The owner wasn't there, but the agent we were working with told us that the owner is extremely flexible--he's letting us get into the house as soon as we get the keys (probably on the 26th), but not charging us rent until June! So that is a huge blessing and just one more confirmation that this is the house for us. I can hardly wait to be in and settled with everything organized!

In the meantime...I've picked up some boxes from a lady who didn't need them anymore, begun collecting items for a garage sale, and have slowly been changing our address on things like magazine subscriptions. We still aren't sure if our phone number will change; likely it will, since we are ready to quit "using" Vonage plus paying for Impulse Telephone services. (That's a whole other story--please don't ask!) The plan is to get Cox's phone service, since we already use them for our Internet. Until we can get on the phone with them and set things up, I'm not going to contact any of the other companies to make changes. Sigh. There's so much to think about!

Ted has Friday off, so I'm planning to have our garage sale that morning. Whatever doesn't sell will go to Mercy Ministries at church--that much less stuff to have to figure out what to do with in the new house! It's amazing that I have dresses, skirts, shirts, etc. hanging in my closet that I have not worn in literally years. They still look cute and all, and most of them still fit even, but I'm just not wearing them. At MOPS a few weeks ago our speaker talked about organization, and I loved her 2 questions to ask about each item in your house:

1. Do I NEED this item?
2. Do I LOVE this item?

The key is the present tense "do," not "did" I need or "did" I love this item. At one time, yes, I loved those dresses! But not anymore! So why am I keeping them?!

I'm also whittling down our too-small baby and kid clothing items. We just have so much stuff, it's ridiculous to keep it sitting in our closets. This has been an emotional issue for me, and at the MOPS meeting when the speaker talked about items that are hard for us to get rid of, I finally put words to what I've been thinking and feeling about it. In some way, I've thought that if I give our baby items away, I'm in essence saying we're "done" with our family. I wasn't (and still am not) ready to say that, because I trust God to do what He likes with our family. But I finally freed myself from feeling obligated to keep STUFF just because we might have another child. I figure if we do have another baby, God will provide whatever we need! I'm not planning to get rid of ALL of our stuff, but I can certainly cut down on what we do have, and I'm enjoying the opportunity to pass on some baby and toddler clothes to other MOPS moms who have need of them.

Since we're just moving 3 miles down the road, we're not too stressed about getting things in boxes. It will be so nice getting the keys early and just taking trips as we can to unload stuff a bit at a time. I think our big furniture moving day will be a week from Saturday, but that could always change, I guess! Ted is taking all of Memorial Day week off work to get things transferred. Some items will have to go in boxes, obviously, but we're hoping we can unload them and put them on the shelves, then reuse the boxes. It will be a luxury to be able to put things away as we take them over there instead of having all our earthly possessions dumped in the middle of a new house in one day! This time around we'll have approximately 2 weeks to get things situated.

Guess that's it for the house update...

May 17, 2006

House Update

OK, in the midst of all my drama, we are still working towards our move-out/move-in date of June 1! Our "dream house" is indeed the one that we get to move into, and I am very excited. Our application was officially accepted yesterday, and Friday afternoon we go to the office to sign the paperwork.

Yesterday around 11 a.m. I got a call from the realtor who is listing the house we are currently living in. He wanted to come do measurements of the rooms and take pictures for the web site. Yikes! He said he'd be here at 4:00. So I immediately became a whirlwind cleaning maching! (This was a good thing--it got my mind off my depression and helped me focus on something tangible.) I should have taken before and after pictures. ;-) Seriously, my house looks wonderful now, and should a realtor need to show it to anyone, provided my children don't move in the next 2 weeks, we should be good to go! Ha!

Anyway, I was able to de-clutter a lot of areas and help the rooms look bigger, etc. So when the realtor finally arrived at 5:15 p.m., he told me that he had actually found pictures from the last time the house was sold, so he didn't need to take any! Whew, sure wish I had known that BEFORE busting my tail to get the house looking so good! Oh, well. At least the yard is mowed and the house looks great. It's been too long since I had mopped last anyway. :-)

So the house is already listed, but I am hoping that perhaps we can get away with no showings until we're out of here. Is that possible in the Las Vegas market?! Some folks have asked if we would want to purchase this house, since it's in a foreclosure situation and is listing for less than the value. The answer is a resounding NO. First of all, even at "less than market value," this house is much more than we can afford to buy! For those who aren't familiar with the LV market, this home is nearly 2100 square feet and is being listed at $360,000--which is LESS than the owner purchased it for!!! So, no, we are not going to buy it! With only 2 years left in Las Vegas, and maybe even less, there is no way we are going to get ourselves tangled up in home ownership.

Besides, we now know that we can rent a much bigger house on a corner lot with a huge yard! Tee hee! God works in mysterious ways. If you are on our email list, you'll get our new address once we actually sign the paperwork. We may change our phone number, too, but we're still not sure about that.

We thank the Lord for providing such a wonderful house for us to live in these past 9 months, and we thank Him for providing another wonderful house for us to--prayerfully--live in the next 2 years, or for however long we are here.


What a week. The last couple of days were really difficult for me. I began to worry that I was truly dealing with depression. I just wanted to sleep, and I felt so exhausted--physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually--yet couldn't get any quality rest. The fact that Mother's Day ended up being a depressing day for me was totally unexpected. I felt as if I had faced the trial of losing a child and had, in a sense, "passed the test." My heart and my mind know that God is in control, He has a plan for my life, He has a reason for everything, etc. So when I found myself lapsing into uncontrollable sobs the last couple of mornings, I couldn't understand myself. Why is it so hard--still?

Thankfully Ted and I were finally able to talk last night. My poor husband. There are things about me that he will never understand, and I guess I just have to accept that. He really does try. The fact that he accepts and loves me no matter which way my mood swings speaks volumes.

So this morning I am still struggling with extreme exhaustion, but I'm not out of control emotionally. I'm somber, maybe a bit melancholy, but (I hope) I am past the difficult part--for now. I've learned from the last few days that I have little control over how (and when) difficult circumstances affect me, and I just need to accept the pain and grief, deal with them with the Lord's help, and be ready to move on after giving myself the time I need to work through things.

May 15, 2006

I Think of You

Dear Aliana,

I thought of you today. Your voice wasn't among the childish shouts of "Happy Mother's Day, Mama" that greeted me when I came downstairs this morning. Your name wasn't on the cards I received. I didn't get to hug or kiss you, but I thought of you.

I would have been showing by now, wearing maternity clothes and watching my belly grow. I would have been feeling your little hands and feet move inside of me. I would have been praying for you and wondering what it would be like when I finally got to hold you.

Mother's Day this year just wasn't the same.

Your big sister and oldest brother stayed home from church this morning. They were sick, and Daddy stayed home to take care of them. After taking Arden to his class, I went to the church service, and I thought of you.

At home I changed diapers and read stories. I ate a wonderful meal that your Daddy made for us. I gave medicine and hugs, and I thought of you.

I took a long nap. I'm sure I would have done that if you were still alive inside of me, too. Babies always make me tired. :-) When I woke, I thought of you.

Four months ago today I was in the hospital, thinking of you, thinking of nothing but you. I cried when I lost you, even though I knew you were going to heaven to be with Jesus. I made it through the next few weeks, thinking of you.

And my heart began to heal. I went for days before I remembered that I should have been pregnant. Then something would remind me, and I would think of you and shed some tears for you.

Life is full, and life is sweet, and I cherish the gifts God has given me. I spend almost all of my time taking care of my most precious gifts: your Daddy, Charis, Tobin, and Arden. And sometimes, I'm so busy doing what needs to be done at That Moment...that I forget. I feel happy, blessed. I actually forget that not so very long ago I was anticipating the gift of YOU. Not so very long ago, I was wondering where we would fit a crib for you in this house that already holds 5 people.

And now we are preparing to move into a new house, a house that would have been plenty big for a baby. And I think of you.

Your sister asks if we can get a baby brother or sister, and I think of you.

I hold up baby clothes and items, wondering what to keep and what to give away, and I think of you.

I lie awake at night, listening to your Daddy breathing deeply, and I think of you.

Tonight, I am thinking of you.

May 13, 2006

House Hunting

On Wednesday we saw 4 different houses. The last of the 4 seemed to be the closest to what we wanted, and we went home feeling fairly good about renting that house. There were a few drawbacks, however, namely:

* Extremely small back yard (even smaller than we have now) with no landscaping at all
* Kitchen was built to accommodate an island, but the owner chose not to "upgrade" and put the island in, thus leaving a huge open space in the middle of the kitchen with little cabinet space already in existence
* No matter where we would have put the dining room table, it would be been a little trek to and from the kitchen (it would not have fit in the middle of the kitchen, despite the great space where the island should have been!)
* 2-car garage instead of 3-car like we have now
* "Squished" feeling--located in the middle of a street with little to no space between houses

At the same time, we felt that we could live with these things, especially since the house has 5 bedrooms (one of which is downstairs and would probably have ended up being my stamp office) plus a huge loft area that would make a GREAT school room and play area!

Of the 4 houses we looked at, two were close to base and two were about 5-6 miles from our house now (closer to base than we are now). We had thought that perhaps we wouldn't mind living close to base--maybe Ted could even come home for lunch again like he did in Ohio!--but the more we drove around that area of town, the more we felt that we really do prefer to stay close to where we are now. The neighborhoods were nice and new, and the houses certainly had plenty of space, but it was just a feeling we both had--we don't want to move clear across town, even though it would save Ted some commute time. Our church and friends are over here, so we prefer to narrow our options accordingly.

So on Thursday our agent sent us the link to what looked like the Dream House. We got very excited when we read about it, especially since the "price was right." We couldn't wait to see the house, and we got to view it yesterday. It happens to be located in the same neighborhood as the family who hosts our small group Bible study, so it's quite close to where we are now but would put us even closer to church and shave a few miles off Ted's commute each way.

Would you believe...
* 4,000 square feet
* Ranch-style house
* 4 bedrooms, each with their own bathroom (well, two bedrooms share a Jack-and-Jill bathroom)
* Master bedroom is enormous, with a closet and bathroom that we could sub-let! (OK, not really, but they're huge!)
* Built-in office with double doors
* Gi-normous kitchen with beautiful cabinets and appliances
* Corner lot, so LOTS of yard space for the kids to run around in!
* Fire place
* 3-car garage
* Gated community (nice, especially since we just heard about another break-in attempt on our street, just 5 houses down from us)

The ONLY drawback is that the backyard is not landscaped, and the owner has no intention of doing anything with it. It's just gray dust and rocks. I don't think that would stop the kids from enjoying it, but it IS awfully dusty. We might see if we can put in some cheap astro-turf and maybe get a play ground and sand box to put in later when we can afford it. There is a cinder block fence around nearly the whole yard, but the sides have been open for awhile. The owner did agree to complete the fence or else put gates in, as dogs have been pooping in the back yard. I asked our agent to find out if they will clean up the poop for us as well!

So, considering that this house has MORE than enough space (we will even have a guest room when you come to visit! Hint hint!), and considering the neighborhood is beautiful, the location is perfect, and we probably could not find a better deal, we submitted our application fee and paperwork today. The owner is in town and is anxious to get this house leased as soon as possible. It's apparently been available since November.

Assuming all goes well with the application, we hope to begin hauling stuff over June 1. We've had a lot of people offer to help us already, and we're so thankful for that (and will definitely be calling on everyone we know to help us!). We're close enough that as soon as we have the house key, we can begin making trips back and forth. In the meantime, we have stuff to weed through, a garage sale to prepare for, and boxes to round up and begin filling. It's an exciting time but a daunting task--the desert heat is definitely settling in (though I know it will get worse), and we're expecting company Memorial Day weekend and traveling in late June.

Thank you for your prayers! We will keep you posted!

May 10, 2006

A Shocking Bit of News


Yesterday we received notice that our landlord desperately needs to sell the house we are occupying!

While on one level the news came as a tremendous shock, when I stop to think about it, I can honestly say that I feel God was preparing us (or at least me) for this to happen. My brother and his wife are going through the same thing, and I had just been thinking about them and praying for them during my morning run yesterday, and the thought went through my head: "What would we do if we were in that situation?" And then I didn't think about it anymore. I had no reason to think we would be put in this situation, let alone that day!!

Also, the children have been playing "moving" the past week. They did this last summer in preparation for our upcoming move. Additionally, we had helped friends move, so they were all hot to trot, packing every toy, book, blanket, and stuffed animal inside Tobin's closet, which they dubbed the Moving Truck. However, out of the blue, the kids began play-acting another moving experience several days ago, hauling toys up and down the steps and proudly announcing, "Mommy, we're MOVING!"

So, when Ted and I told the kids last night at dinner what was going on, their responses were reassuring. "Oh, good!" Charis said. "I've been wanting to move to a new house!"

"Me, too!" Tobin added.

*chuckle* At least we're not traumatizing them!

Technically we have until August before we absolutely have to get out of the house, but Ted and I agree that we might as well do this sooner rather than later. I do not want to deal with house showings with three small children!

This will be the third summer in a row that we have moved to a new house:
July 2004--moved from Ohio to Maryland
August 2005--moved from Maryland to Nevada
?? 2006--move from one Las Vegas home to another!

Poor Arden will think that summer means moving! That's all he's known his short life! :-)

Sooooo. Now we begin the house hunt. It will be nice to be able to do this as a team, since Ted had to make all the decisions pretty much on his own when he came out here last summer. We have been hooked up with a realtor who seems very nice, and we're looking forward to seeing some houses in the next few days.

There are definitely pros and cons to the whole situation, but we choose to focus on the pros. Here is a partial list:

* Perhaps the boys won't have to share a room in the new house. Sleep issues have been a major ordeal of late.
* We hope to shave some time off Ted's 30-40 minute commute one way to work.
* A new garage means we won't have to deal with our possessed garage door opening system, which often takes 5 minutes or more to make up its mind as to whether it wants to go up or down. This seemingly small part of life has been maddening enough to nearly cause me to ruin my testimony in front of the neighbors and the children.
* Maybe we'll get a laundry room that's big enough to turn around in!
* Maybe the water won't take forever to heat up in a different house!
* We'll have the opportunity to truly sort and organize all the STUFF that seems to keep piling up. In fact--we'll HAVE to sort and organize!
* We can have a garage sale!
* We can put our friends to work helping us haul boxes and furniture!
* We get to meet new neighbors!
* Maybe we'll live closer to a library?!
* Once again we are reminded that we are simply pilgrims passing through this life...and, as Corrie ten Boom said, we are learning to hold loosely to the things of this world, because it hurts too much when God pries our fingers off them.

We'd appreciate your prayers on our behalf as we prepare to transition again. We know God has a reason for everything. We're thankful we've had the chance to be in this house for the time we've been here and to meet the friends/neighbors in this area. I know God's purposes will be accomplished in and through us.

May 07, 2006

Sunny Saturday

OK, so just about every day in Las Vegas is sunny, but yesterday was a gorgeous day all around!

I started the day bright and early--Ted and I had intended to sleep in, but we ended up waking close to the usual time. He's getting more and more like his dad (who used to wake at 4:30 a.m.) every day!

Sarah and I had planned a 6-mile run, so I picked her up at 6:45 and we drove to the parking lot of Smoothie King. We had a great run, and once again I beat my farthest distance to date. It's so much easier running with a partner! I would never be going these distances (let alone be this consistent in exercising) if I didn't have her to spur me on. We treated ourselves to a smoothie after we were done, the perfect way to end a run that lasted approximately 1 hour and 8 minutes!

Meanwhile, back at home, all the kids were also rising and shining. There is NO sleeping in at this house! Just wait 'til the kids are teens, though, and I'm sure Ted and I can have some fun then. ;-) Ted was valiantly attempting to put graphics into the Commission Bible study, for which I have finished writing the text. (There may be revisions, but at least we have a working draft.) However, the kids were, well, being kids, and it was extremely difficult for Ted to get much done.

I showered and packed a picnic lunch for the kids and myself, and then we went to the park and met our neighbors Lyn and her 4 girls there. The kids played, played, and played some more. The park is a smaller one, so not so crowded--in fact, we were the only ones there for awhile. The park has a tarp-covered play area plus a water play area, with fountains and giant water guns, pouring buckets, etc. The kids loved being able to get their swim suits on for the first time this season and run around! Lyn and I had fun visiting and watching them.

A little while after we had (mostly) eaten our lunch, Ken and Sarah and their kids joined us. I had called to tell Sarah that Lyn and I were going to the park and to invite them to come with us, and we were all glad it worked out for them to come. I ended up calling Ted around 2 p.m. to see if he wanted to take a break and come join us, so he did. All in all, we were at the park for 4 hours! And Ted did get a lot of work done on the Bible study, so that's good. Our goal is to get it mailed before Memorial Day weekend.

After we got home and unloaded all our stuff, Ted gave the kids their baths while I got an hour-long nap. Nice! Then we decided to go to Sweet Tomatoes for dinner. Yummy! We got home around 6:45 p.m., read stories, and put the kids straight to bed. With no nap on Friday or yesterday, plus all the activity, they conked right out! Poor little Arden actually fell asleep in the van on the way to the restaurant and didn't wake up when I unbuckled him and carried him through the parking lot!

May 05, 2006

English Lessons

A couple of funnies from the kids...

1. Last weekend Ted's brother Joel came to visit us. He and Tobin were playing catch with some stuffed something or other. Tobin kept exclaiming, "I catched it!" Joel helped him learn the past tense of "catch" and practiced with him a bit. Tobin was getting the hang of the right word, and then he announced, "Look! I'm caughting it!"

2. Yesterday morning Charis and I were going over one of her last AWANA verses for the year. It was "Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you." She asked what "forsake" means, and I told her it meant to leave or go away from. Her face lit up with understanding. "Oh!" she said. "Daddy forsakes us every morning when he goes to work!" Obviously Mom needed to clarify a little! I can't have my child running around telling people that her father forsakes his family!

May 03, 2006

Reading Lessons

About a week or so ago I began using the 100 EZ Lessons book with Tobin (Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons is the actual title). We just finished lesson 8, and I'm finding that we really need to keep whizzing through these first few lessons so that he doesn't get bored. The boy is already reading words like "mat," "sat," "am," and "seat!" I was getting ready to have him point under the letters and sound out the words when he rattled them off, just like that! Obviously he has been picking up a LOT from our reading times together and of course the ever-popular Starfall web site, of which I am now a huge fan. :-)

I told Tobin I would get him his very own set of readers when he reaches lesson 100. He's loving his sticker chart that we made for him. He gets a smiley sticker after completing each lesson. We did two lessons today, and though he begged for more, I don't want it to be a race! I doubled up with Charis when we went through the book last summer/early fall, and I don't mind doing that with Tobin, as long as I'm comfortable that he's at a level where we can do that and not make him feel bored or resentful of the activities. I'm already combining and skipping a lot--I told Ted last night that I'm so glad I've done this once so that I have a feel for what the purpose of each exercise is and don't feel obligated to do EVERY SINGLE (boring) THING!! What freedom it is for a home schooling mom to realize that we're not tied down to what anyone else thinks we should do for our children! ;-)

Anyway, I'm very proud of Tobin and am confident that he'll be reading on his own before long. The boy just turned 4! But Charis learned quickly and is now reading long books with words such as "jealousy," "enraged," "snarled," and "growled." (We just read Snow White & the Seven Dwarves, the 64-page Disney version from the library!)

Speaking of which, after reading/hearing the story of Snow White for years and years now, it finally occurred to me today that there are some interesting spiritual parallels in that fairy tale. Think about it...

Wicked Queen = Satan
Snow White = Eve in her innocent state
Poisoned Apple = Adam and Eve's sin
Prince Charming = Christ

I'm sure some deep theological discourse could be written at this point, but I will quit here. ;-)

One more comment: I was impressed with the comparison Charis drew between Snow White and Cinderella. She noted that both princesses were forced to do chores (or at least it's implied at the beginning of the Disney version of Snow White...she is doing chores when the prince comes and they begin singing at each other, a rather odd beginning for a relationship, if you ask me!) And though they had to do a lot of work, Charis noticed that they both did so sweetly and without complaints. What a GREAT lesson! I commented that it must be the mark of a true princess to be able to work without whining! Something for both Charis AND Mom to remember. :-)

May 02, 2006

Our Home School Day

As much as I try to stick with a fairly regular routine, it seems that a lot of times our activities are completely random! When I returned home from running this morning, Arden was sitting at the breakfast table, eating cereal at 6:35 a.m.! Ted said he had come downstairs crying because he was so hungry. I know for a fact that all of our kids ate a GREAT dinner last night, but all 3 of them woke up apparently starving! I guess they're growing!

I had a stamping workshop last night, and this morning as I looked around the house, it looked like a complete disaster. I don't mean to bag on Ted, because I know what it's like to try to bathe all 3 kids and get them down for the night. That in itself is quite a job. However, because I wasn't here to help, and because cleaning is not the highest priority for Ted OR the kids, well...the house looked like a tornado had hit it.

It's very difficult for me to mentally set aside the clutter and focus on things like home schooling, so we took an hour to clean the house this morning. I had to keep giving the kids little assignments to keep them on task, but overall they were somewhat helpful, and by the time 9:00 came, the house looked much better.

I, however, had a few business things I felt I needed to take care of before getting involved in school activities, one of which involved a phone call that ended up lasting close to a half-hour. So the kids played quietly (for the most part), either coloring or building with the Wedgits Tobin got for his birthday. By the time I finished my phone call, I was just ready to snuggle with the kids and read, read, read.

So we did! Forget math, handwriting, phonics, and other workbook stuff. The kids picked out some stories, and we gathered a bunch of Sonlight books and cuddled and read for probably 45 minutes to an hour. Then we (well, Charis and Tobin) acted out the story of David and Goliath. Tobin rushed to the landing and looked down the stairs, yelling out, "WHO WILL FIGHT ME?!" As David, Charis collected a herd of stuffed animals for her "sheep" and then traveled to where the Israelite army was.

I discovered that, like me, Charis is not an impromptu gal. She wanted to read lines from a David & Goliath book we have. :-) Tobin, on the other hand, is just like his dad--a total and complete ham! He did a great job as Goliath! Both kids had fun, and after they went through the scenario once (I made sure Charis didn't actually sling any "stones" at Tobin!), they continued to play a bit while I grabbed some water for my parched throat.

Then Charis and Tobin decided to go outside and play, and Arden chose to play with our Mighty Mind set. I sat on the floor and helped him with some of the puzzle cards, and then I prepared lunch while the big kids came in and played Uno. (OK, I did play a couple of rounds with them first!)

I had Charis do her handwriting practice page a bit later, while I read some more to the boys on the couch while she listened in. She's doing great with her writing, and I was proud of her for buckling down and working hard when she probably would have rather been sitting on the couch with us. Perhaps later this afternoon I'll have her work on her math practice page, as I was planning for her to take her "test" tomorrow. But if she doesn't do it today, we can do it tomorrow! She's got a good handle on the 8 family addition facts...what she doesn't know off the top of her head she quickly figures out with the manipulatives.

So, all in all, while our morning went NOTHING like our "normal" schedule, it was fun and productive anyway! One more reason I'm thankful to be able to home school our kids.

Right now Tobin is coloring, Arden is napping, and Charis is playing in her room. It's quiet in the house, and that probably won't last long since Arden has been asleep probably an hour and a half now. I enjoyed a short nap in his room as well!

Guess I'll sign off here. I have some reading to do for our small group study tonight. Hopefully later I can post more.


Having a running partner is either going to kill me or else really get me in shape! I ran over 3 miles with Sarah Sunday evening, 2 of them up and over a nearby bridge that gave us both quite a workout.

This morning we planned to meet bright and early as part of our renewed commitment to exercising consistently. I felt like a penguin as I plodded down the street towards "our corner" where we usually meet. I figured we'd go about 2 miles or so, for a total of 2 3/4 or 3 by the time I got back home. Little did I know what Sarah had been cooking up!

"Ya think you're up for 4 miles this morning?" she asked when I met her. Yikes!

Since we had gotten up and going by 5:45, I had the time...but did I have the stamina?! Sure enough, we made it. I didn't go with her all the way back to our corner, choosing instead to run a more direct route home, but still, all told, I ran 4.5 miles this morning! Not bad, considering I had only planned on 3 at the most!

I'm thankful for a friend like Sarah, who encourages and challenges me to do more than I would have thought I could possibly do. Don't tell anyone, but a small part of me is actually starting to like running!