Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Back in the Saddle...

I see it has been quite a long time since I have last updated my blog. I have discovered that when the mood strikes me to actually write something down, well, those are the things that are to be written in a journal. When I write is when I sort out my thoughts and ideas and think out loud about what is going on around me. I can't say I'm a big fan of writing for fun. :) I know this is where my son gets it from. He struggles as I did on what to write and how to present it. But this blog is a chance for me to update friends and family on the goings-on around here. So, I will try again to start updating it more often. :)

You know, I am not even sure where to start! I guess I will confess that I am soooo glad that classes are almost over! I think both myself and kids are ready for a change of pace. I've been making a list of fun things to do over the summer. Included are crafts, cooking, and visiting local places. I'm trying to decide how to approach this...do I let one child pick an option per week? Do, I put all the options in a hat and have them draw for it? Not sure yet. But I'm looking forward to trying new things! If you have any ideas, let me know. :)

Matt and I celebrated out 12th anniversary last week. This is the second time we have celebrated it! Yes, can you believe it? Last year both of us were sure that it was our 12th anniversary. This past April comes and we are re-calculating in our heads how long we've been married...12 years???? Whaaa??? But at least we remembered it this year! In years past, we'll remember it off and on up until the day of and then we'll both forget. Yeah, lame, but after 12 years what do you expect? ;) This year Matt made plans for us! I was soo excited! I had warm fuzzies all evening cause I felt so special. A real date that I didn't plan! We saw The Vocal Majority perform. It is an all men's acapella (sp?) group with about 100 men in the Dallas/Ft Worth group. There are Vocal Majority groups all over the US and I think even the world and they all get together and perform. The DFW group has won first place for the last 12 years and I can see why. They were great!

Another great thing lately is that Matt and I have been having more date nights. Mostly we just go out to dinner and then head back home. But it is a great break for us. Sure is expensive to get a sitter tho! We do have a teen that we really like. She does a wonderful job with the kids. But I was just talking to her mom today and she was saying that she would be willing to swap babysitting between us moms. She has 5 kids and well, when you have 4 or 5 kids you always feel a little bad when you swap babysitting with someone who only has 2 or 3. :) That's great news for us financially, but I feel bad for her daughter. We'll see how this pans out. Not sure!

We have Mother's Day coming up. I have planned a party at our house...ok, well, I sent out the invitation. But I told the boys that they were going to cook. So far, we have 4 cooks! :) And if it doesn't rain then we can send the kids in the pool. Yay! I felt the water today and it was really nice. Still a bit chilly for me to jump into, but the kids will get in. Tomorrow it's supposed to get up to 90F! I hope we get that or close to it on Mother's Day!

One last thing before I head to bed. Ok, make it 2. :) My goal is to update my blog weekly. I think that is pretty realistic for my schedule.

The second thing is that I am reading the bible with a friend for fun. :) I have never read the bible thru. just couldnt' get there. Well, my friend is going on a mission trip and one of her mentors gave her an article which basically talks about thinking about reading the bible like you would a great book. Read it here and there, whenever you can. Skip the genealogies! Yay! Skip all the laws and technical stuff. Yay! That's what bogs me down. Oh, and while you are reading the only 'homework' you have is to underline any verses that stand out to you. Once a week you get together and each take 10 min to read the verses you underlined. That's it. Only the verses, not talking about why even. Then you share anything you want to pray about and then pray. I can do that! I am excited about it! Our goal is to finish by October. I think that will give me enough time. Unfortunately, I have now misplaced the bible I am underlining in. But I'm not reading tonight as it is now time for bed. :)

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Matt Got a Promotion!

Yay! Congrats babe! Matt's (now former) boss took a position at another company leaving a nice spot open. It is a position that Matt was wanting to move into. He had a couple of interviews, was expecting a couple more, but they came back and offered him the position. Hooray! This move also provides the finances for Emma to go to Coram Deo Academy next year. Thank you Lord! I'll admit, I was worrying about that. I figured if continuing at this school was the direction we were to head in then the financial issues would work out, but it's always a little disconcerting when you are not sure HOW those issues will resolve. A few days after we heard the great news, the kids and I baked and decorated a surprise cake for Matt and chanted "You're number 1!" as he came in the door that evening. He was so surprised and loved it! He even thought the cake looked beautiful, which, well, if you have never decorated a cake and then tried to write 'Congrats' with the icing.....it's not a pretty site. lol! As we surprised him with the cake, Matt surprised me with some beautiful roses! It was a great night all around!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

He's a Smart Little Boy

Ok, so after realizing that the little boy knows his letters and sounds I decided to let him watch LeapFrogs Word Factory dvd. Keep in mind that until today he has watched it a total of 2 times. After his bath today he says, "Hey mom, you know what 'w' and 'at' (he's saying the sounds those letters make), you know what word 'w' and 'at' make? he he! It makes "wat!" Dat's not a word!!" But the fact that he put the two sounds together and made a NEW word amazes me. I think he is going to be a smart one, too! I have too many smart kids. How lucky can one mama get!

On another note, we have the kids Scout Family campout this weekend. We are going to be smart this year and just go for the day. :) It will be a long day, but the kids will have fun. I know they would love to stay the night, but I know that I don't have it in me at the moment and I don't think Matt's up for that adventure at the moment either. We also have fundraisers going on that I am not a fan of yet I am thinking I ought to put a little bit of effort into it this year. I think I will go to my friends that 'swap' fundraising stuff with and see what we can do. argh! I hate the stuff! But I wonder if the kids would be bothered that they are not participating. I used to be a bit bothered by not participating when I was younger. I think we'll ask a few people and see what we come up with.

Monday, October 5, 2009

My Littlest Boy is Getting Big

I am excited yet sad. My littlest boy, who in my mind is still my baby boy, is getting big. I asked him if he could stay little and he said, "Ok, I can do that. I can stay 4."

It started when I realized that he knew his letters. I have not taught him that! He has learned them from tv and the computer. I let him play different educational dvds on the computer as his 'school time'. Well, apparently he has been paying attention. I quizzed him on them last week and saw that he knew almost all of them! Awesome! So, today I decided that I would teach him the sounds that the letters make....he knows almost all of them too!!! Can the boy read already?? No, not yet. I can still teach him something. So, today we did his first reading lesson. I wondered if he would be ready to sit still and have a decent attitude about it, but he did great. He understood what I was saying and asking him to do. He followed the directions really well which REALLY surprised me b/c he does NOT do that when doing chores. Surprise surprise... :) And we had fun together. I loved it. Honestly, it's been awhile since I have enjoyed homeschooling. It's been difficult getting all of Ethan's schoolwork finished and it has put a strain on both of us. So, Austin and I spending time together was such a nice breather for me. I realized that he's ready for 'school.' He's had a difficult time lately. I figured that it was because I was spending so much time with Ethan trying to get him ready for school. I think that is part of the reason. But I also think he is ready for something more. He's been bored. So, now that I've gotten Ethan and Emma's school schedules sorted out it is time to work on Austin's. I am really not sure what to do with him yet. It needs to be simple, but he really need to have some fun. He is a very playful boy.

Oh, and he can also already count to 20....learned it while playing hide n seek! It's amazing what the younger ones learn from the older ones...

Monday, September 21, 2009

I Got It!

We are a month and a half into the school year and I think I am finally figuring out how to get all three children schooled while keeping Anna from coloring on the walls. Yeah, I got it with my 4th child. None of the others colored or wrote in the walls or themselves for that matter. I have learned that if it is unnaturally quiet in the house then that means Anna has a pen, pencil, marker, whatever, in her hand and is using it on something she shouldn't. How does she get them??? Well, since the other kids use writing implements and leave them laying about, Anna immediately grabs them and puts them to work. She needed a bath today for all of the pen marks all over herself. Then she looks at me and goes, "uh?" as if to say, "now what do I do?" I have to laugh, but if she draws on the wall again I will definitely scream...there's still pencil on the wall I have not been able to get off. Any suggestions?

Ok, so with Ethan going to Coram Deo on Tuesdays Thursdays, I have to help him with homework on MWF. And I have learned that I really can't do anything else with Austin or Emma re: school on those mornings. It is all about school with Ethan and keeping Anna out of trouble. I have been using T Th to run errands and get school for Emma together lately. But now those mornings will be filled with me schooling Emma and keeping Anna out of trouble. Ok, what about Austin and school? I am already giving up part of my precious afternoon quiet time to get certain things done with the big kids while Anna is napping and it is quiet. I can't give it all up....it is my sanity saver! It finally dawned on me today how to do it! Today, Ethan and Emma went for piano lessons and it was just me and the two little ones. We did school! Keep in mind, it's not hard stuff at all and includes play doh of course, but it's just finding the time to give them uninterrupted attention. And 'school' doesn't even have to be or need to be every day for Austin. Only a couple of days a week. Ethan and Em also have a spanish class at a friends house on Wed afternoon. I am planning to spend time with the little ones during that hour as well. Sigh! I am so glad things are starting to fall into place with school.

Now it is time for bed. Two posts in one night!

Nite all!

Soccer Season has Begun

Soccer practice for Ethan and Emma started about 3 weeks ago. We finally saw the fruits of our labor (yes, me driving to and from 2 practices each week dragging ALL the children around is labor!) :) at their first soccer games this past Saturday. Their first games were schduled for last week but we were rained out! It has been raining for about 3 weeks now! Finally it has stopped and allergies and soccer have resumed. Anywho, on Saturday Matt took Ethan to his afternoon game and then had a few hours of 'guy time' together. Ethan came back all smiles. :) I was so pleased to hear that Ethan is now more aggressive in the game this year. Yahoo! That is great progress for him! He always ran around and tried to kick the ball when it came to him, but he was still cautious about getting into the swarm of boys around the ball. Now I hear from Matt that he is getting in there! Go Ethan!

And cute little Emma, I knew she would be timid with soccer because well, that's the way she is in new situations. She did not participate in her first practice because she was so scared. We went that day with her telling me she had a stomach ache (result of her being so worried). I felt her pain, but I knew we still needed to go and at least watch. I knew this step of going into completely unfamiliar territory and not knowing anybody, not knowing how to play or what was expected of her was going to be hard. Well, that first day of practice was hard on both of us. :) It was new territory for me to figure out how to deal with her in this type of setting. She is very different from Ethan in this situation. But I have to say that I was proud of her. Emma did not practice the first day (but I did manage to get her close to the field where they were practicing while she was clinging to my leg...made it easier to get her closer anyways), but the next practice she was ready. Slightly timid, but she went out there with a great attitude and participated and did a good job. I was so proud of her because I know how hard that can be.

So, this past Saturday was her first game. She said she was all ready for it. Went out on the field and warmed up. Was in there for the first quarter....the game started, she looked completely lost and scared. I felt so bad for her! She had been so brave to go out there to begin with! She looked towards me and I encouraged her and cheered her on as she ever so slowly walked towards me. She held it together until she got a hug and just cried! We talked about it, watched the game, saw what she could do out there, talked about what Ethan used to do. After a bit I asked if she wanted to try and play 3rd quarter and she said yes! I couldn't believe it! Yay! (ok to give you background, I was used to Ethan who, last season, when asked if he was ready to get back in the game for the 3rd or 4th quarter would say, "Uh, no thanks!" whaaaa????) It's 3rd quarter, the coach (who is so kind) has put her in a potition to defend their goal. She did a great job! She stood there (which was much less confusing to her) and when the ball got close to the goal, over she ran to the swarm of girls to go kick it out of the way! She did it about 3 or 4 times! It was during this quarter that Matt and the boys arrived. I told him what happened and he was impressed with her attitude and performance. Go Emma!

It is at times like these that it is exciting to me to see which path my kids will take. It is fun to see how they slowly mature and deal with whatever comes their way. Ethan had not been aggressive with the ball for the past 3 seasons, but decided to go for it this time. Big step for him. Emma faced a brand new situation and passed with flying colors. I am so proud of them!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Michigan Summer Trip

Our trip to my in-laws went great this summer. :) We decided to head up during summer-time this year so that the kids could get outside and play more and so that we could attend one of the family reunions and see more relatives in one fell swoop. We had been going up during the winters, but now that the kids are older and bigger they need to get outside and get running around. So, we went up for the Minier Corn Roast. :) And boy was the corn yummy! They cook it outside in a big bathtub at grandpa's house. It absolutely poured that day! Then the rain let up and the sun came out which made it a bit humid and hot. I had to chuckle b/c I am used to that sort of weather down in Texas, but the northerners are not! They didn't care for it. :) Well, I don't care to steam outside either, but I was glad to see that I must be getting used to the south because it just didn't bother me as much as I thought it might. We had a great time seeing all the cousins and (for me) re-meeting various aunts and uncles. I told them I needed a family tree with pictures of the people so I could get it all straight. Well, I sort of got a family tree, but no pictures. Maybe that will be my project next year. Line'em all up and take their pictures individually for a family tree for myself.

The corn roast took place towards the end of our trip. When we arrived we didn't see the kids for about two days except for meals. They had a blast playing outside with their cousins. It was cute to see them all getting along so well the first several days. Then they all took turns pairing up with different ones. I loved that they got to play outside so much. They enjoyed grandma and grandpa's yard and cows and the pine trees. Then there was the very cool set of huge pine trees in the front yard that created a natural 'cave' inside for them to play in. We went over to the neighbor's house one evening for a marshmallow roast. The kids played on the swingset and we all took turns at knife throwing. I really like that! Everyone went to the zoo one day. Another day Uncle Jim took Ethan and Matt out shooting rifles. Then Austin, Emma and I got our turn a few days later. Things like that are what I love! I'm so glad my kids have the chance to try these different things out. So very different from what we do around home on a day to day basis.

Matt and the kids and I took a 'family day' and drove 1.5 hrs to swim and enjoy the beaches of Lake Michigan. It was beautiful! I grew up in MI (the eastern shores) and never saw beautiful sandy beaches like those. The 'beaches' are all rocky where I was. The kids loved playing in the sand, being buried in the sand, playing in the water and walking along the docks. It was a great day. To top it all off, not only did we get some FABULOUS FRESH blueberries (if you've never had these blueberries from up north you are missing out!) from a roadside store on the way home, but grandma Debbie and Aunt Julie got together a birthday party for Emma when we arrived home! It was Emma's 6th birthday! It was so incredibly sweet to see her cousins give her presents that were their favorite items! Georgia gave Emma one of her stuffed animals she really liked and Savannah gave Emma a bag of jewelry and hair stuff that she treasured. Matt and I told Emma she would get a new bike when she got home. Em liked all of her treasures.

And the trip up to MI and the trip back went well. We stopped and saw the St Louis arch on the way home. I didn't go up the arch after I saw the 'elevator' that took you to the top. I am claustrophobic and it would not have gone well for me. I felt like I missed out a bit until I saw pictures Matt took while they were all up there. OH! Just as bad! It was so cramped and they only ended up being up there 5 minutes before they came back down. The other thing that made me glad I didn't go up was that they ended up in a 5 seater car with NINE people in it!!! Lots of children sitting on laps and in between seats....it makes me queasy just thinking about it.

Arrived home, very glad to be home. It's always exciting and fun to go on vacation but then it is always great to come home again...to your own bed...your own couch. :) I had a crazy week of gathering books and school supplies for Ethan before he started school and we have been going ever since. It was pretty stressful figuring out how to do school with Ethan at home and making sure everything got finished. But I feel like both Ethan and I are figuring it out. We are getting into a groove. Now I just have to spend some initial teaching time with Emma to get her comfortable with what I will expect of her and then I think she will be able to do a good portion of work on her own with me just reviewing things with her at the end of the day. And Austin, well, I'll fit somethings in there for him. I had a great plan to schedule everything, but it is very difficult to schedule anything with Anna being so little. So, we will just play it by ear each day and somehow the kids learn and we have fun too.