Sunday, September 25, 2011

I Love a Parade

Our small town is great about parades.  There are three or four per year, and they come right up Main Street, which is three blocks from our house.  Yesterday was the homecoming parade.

Okay, first I have a gripe.  When the AMVETS start the parade, dressed in their uniforms and carrying the big flags, shouldn't the parade watchers stand?  Shouldn't we salute or put our hands on our hearts?  It really irks me when people just sit on their rears while these men and women of valor walk by carrying our symbol of freedom.  True, I don't know if it's a hard and fast rule that we should stand, but it seems a respectful (and easy!) thing to do.

Next in the parade came the fire engines carrying the football players. (BTW, they received more honor than the veterans.  No contest.)  The head coach is a wonderful Christian man.  We've known him for years.  When he was a kid, he actually went to the camp my husband now directs.  (He's a few years older than I am, but I went to camp with his youngest brother.)  Bill's wife and sister volunteer in the kitchen for a week each summer, and their girls help out with the dishes and bathrooms.  To top it off, Bill is a great coach.  = )

Samuel loved the parade, but he was a bit concerned at first.  He loves to SEE the fire engines...
 ...but not HEAR them.

 Here, Lydia and Jeffrey are warming up their hands before the candy gets thrown.

 The High School Marching Band

Samuel asked me to take this picture.  This was his favorite part of the parade (besides grabbing candy).

We now have enough Tootsie Rolls to last us until...well, I guess I never feel like we have a Tootsie Roll shortage, so...forever?

Friday, September 23, 2011

Three Down, Three to Go

One of the things I do to help Dave with the camp ministry is cleaning for retreat seasons.  We have plenty of summer staff, so I don't have to do much of that then, but spring and fall keep me pretty busy (especially when you consider we're either trying to finish up or start our homeschool year).  In the spring, we only have two or three retreats, BUT they take place before our big clean-up weekend over Memorial Day, so everything has been sitting collecting dust and bugs and cobwebs.  (Sometimes I find a dead mouse or two.) Thankfully, the groups are fairly small and I don't have to clean a lot of buildings.  The fall retreats number between six and eight groups.  This year, we started with seven, but one cancelled.  Today, I finished cleaning for retreat #3.  I'm halfway done.  = )

I don't mind cleaning--that much.  I mean, sure, there are several things higher up on The Things I Like to Do list.  But, cleaning has a sort of instant gratification that appeals to me.  I also like to see old things made new again, or dirty things made clean, I guess.  If only I knew they might stay clean for a little while.  There's the rub.  Also, it's interesting to note that the cleaner camp gets, the messier my house is.  For example, I've cleaned ten toilets so far this week--none of them here.  Hmmmm....  I've got a busy weekend ahead of me.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Happy Birthday, Dave!

Today was my hubby's birthday.  I love him so much.  I can't tell you how thankful I am for him.  He's always been a good provider.  He's a hard worker.  (Those two things often go hand-in-hand.)  He's got a good sense of humor.  He's also great at opening jars and killing spiders and going downstairs in the middle of the night to investigate an out-of-place noise.

But wait...there's more....

He's a great Dad.  We have four kids, all with different needs and speeds.  Of course, neither of us are perfect parents, but we're committed to raising these guys for God's glory.  Some of the things Dave is really great about regarding the kids are: buying the perfect birthday presents, teaching them computer stuff, reading to the older kids, taking the younger ones on outings, emphasizing how they should respect their mother, and consistent discipline.

Still more....

He's an excellent husband.  I have complete trust in him on multiple levels.  He is committed to me.  He understands when I just need to "express" versus needing a solution.  He gives me time without the kiddos when I need it.  He supports me in homeschooling.  He makes me laugh.  He encourages me.  He loves me.  (This list is not exhaustive.)

But he's even more than that.

He loves the Lord.  He loves the Word.  He makes a point to grow in wisdom and knowledge based on the truth of the Bible.  And I don't mean just head knowledge, but the kind that changes you from the inside out.

I definitely married up.

Friday, September 16, 2011


I just completed my first lesson in Japanese via Rosetta Stone.  I love it!  It's tricky though!  Japanese, that is, not necessarily Rosetta Stone.  I like the idea of Dynamic Immersion.  It's kind of like a puzzle, and I like puzzles. 

I got 88% for my first "grade".  I think I would've done better had I figured out earlier how to have the English transliteration above the pictures instead of the Japanese characters.  I know--without a doubt--that I'm a visual learner.  There are sections of the lesson where you need to repeat the sentence back after the native speaker says it.  That's really hard for me to do when I'm only seeing unfamiliar squiggles and specks.  Someday, I'd like to learn all of the characters (and I'm SO glad they're in the program, because the kids are excited about that too!), but for now I'd just like to pronounce things correctly.  Really, who knows what I said tonight?!

A pleasant surprise was waiting in the Rosetta Stone box--a 36-week lesson plan!  I was wondering how on earth I was supposed to divvy up these lessons for the kids.  It's all laid out for me.  Nice.  (I have Version 3, Homeschool edition, BTW.)  It looks like I'm responsible for providing some kind of "Cultural Activity" (read: field trip) for weeks 9, 18, 27, and 36.  We don't live in a highly Japanese-populated area.  I'll have to do some digging on the internet.  Should be fun though!  Now I'm sort of wishing we were doing Sonlight's Core on the Eastern Hemisphere.  Oh well.  Maybe I can throw a couple of those read-alouds in as part of our Cultural Activity.  I'm really looking forward to this.  = )

P.S.  FYI, so far, "domo arigato Mister Roboto" has not come up.  I'll let you know.

P.P.S.  Can you believe I posted two nights in a row?!  (Don't get used to it.)

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Summer to School Switch

So we're not sick anymore.  Sorry about the lack of posts.  Perhaps you thought we'd all died.  Well, we're alive and kickin'.  All is well.  Busy, but well.

We started our homeschool year on August 29th.  It's been going wonderfully regarding Emma (8th grade) and Jeffrey (6th).  They've taken the reins of their education more this year than any other, and it's exciting to see them be more independent and learn some time management, as well as the subject matter.  They each have a list.  Emma's is an actual list with check-off boxes, while Jeffrey's is a grid which shows a week-at-a-glance.  They do whatever they can on their own (without me) before lunch--which is quite a bit, actually.  After lunch, we discuss readings, do science experiments and map work, and go over anything they didn't understand.  They've really been doing well, and I'm quite proud of them. 

Lydia?  Well...I think she just needs more time to adjust from summer freedom to the school year.  I think that's all I'll say about that right now. 

Samuel has needed to reorganize his day as well.  He feels like he's lost his playmates since they're all busy doing school.  Lately, I've started the school day by reading to him (he's almost four) for a little while.  I also bought a couple of workbook-type-things he could do so he wouldn't feel left out.  If I spend a half-hour with him straightaway, then I'm almost guaranteed a full hour after that without interruption.  It's like his attention tank gets filled, and then he'll go upstairs and play with his Cars cars for a long time.  This is a great discovery, since Lydia does require my full attention at this time.

Swimming lessons and Awana started this week.  Youth group started last week.  Dance starts next week.  It's busy, sure, but I've carefully prayed over activities for this school year.  I'm at peace about all that's going on. 

You know what else starts next week?  The Sing-Off!  YAY!