Thursday, August 29, 2013


"Isn't it weird how grapes get all wrinkly in the sun as they turn into raisins, but our skin gets all wrinkly when it's been in water for a long time?"   The musings of Jeffrey are quite...well...amusing.

I love how Dave plays Jumpstart with Samuel (5yo) online.  He's such a good dad.

Lydia's friend just got back from a week-long vacation.  We were hoping to have her come sleep over once before school starts next week, but Rylie is sick.  So, the girls are doing Google Hangout (it's like Skype) so they can spend the evening together.  Oh, also...Lydia is now a vegetarian--not vegan, though.  "I can't live without my dairy," she says.  "I'm from Wisconsin, you know."  Little Miss Drama.  If I could roll my eyes any harder at that girl, I think they'd fall out of my head.

Back here I mentioned that Emma is weaker than a year ago.  Since that post, though, Emma has had a change of heart towards exercising and physical therapy!  Yay!  We still have a ways to go, but she's definitely forming new habits--and of her own accord.  Turns out, I won't need to be as much of a nag as I'd thought!  I have a feeling that some of you have been praying about this, and for that, I thank you.

Phoebe (our cat) keeps bringing us gifts.  We locked the cat door last night since we were sick of her leaving dead things on the porch (it's enclosed).  So, on the front steps today, there was a dead mouse.  Off to the side...a dead chipmunk.  All over both...some kind of carnivorous bees!  I couldn't even pick up the stiffs for fear of being stung, and the mail carrier was coming!  She was so brave though.  She climbed right up our steps to get the out-going mail.  (I was on the grass, getting ready to spray the carcasses.)  "Neither snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor blood-sucking bees stays these courageous couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds."  ~ Herodotus, slightly altered

Friday, August 23, 2013

Guess What?

Guess which musical our homeschool group is performing this year!

Go ahead...guess!  

There's only one minute left in my brain....

It's Anne of Green Gables!  The musical!

Some of you already know this, but I played Anne in our college production of AoGG (the play, not the musical).  You can imagine how excited I am to be involved in this story again!  

There are actually several versions of AoGG, the musical.  (Who knew?!)  Our director has whittled it down to four different scripts.  The director, the assistant director, and I will meet next week to try to make our final selection.  (I'm the vocal director, so Cheryl wants my opinion on the score for each script.)  

I've spent a good portion of the day reading scripts and listening to songs.  While I was reading, I laughed out loud in many spots--especially as I remembered Sue's Mrs. Blewitt and Jodi's Mrs. Lynde from our college days.  I also cried when Matthew died.  My dad was a quiet guy, much like Matthew Cuthbert.  Made me miss him.  He was so proud of me for being in that play.  When I came home for summer break, Dad organized a "showing" of the video at my home church .  I was a little embarrassed, but I loved him for it.   

Thursday, August 22, 2013


Last night the sirens went off at about 7:30PM.  Funnel clouds were sighted a few miles from us, but I'm not sure if they actually touched down.  Still, we had wind speeds of 60-70 mph.   And, sadly, a woman died in her car a few miles north of us.  A tree fell and crushed her.

The part of town featured in this video clip is less than three blocks from our house:

We didn't have any damage to our property--just a few small branches littering the yard--but our next-door-neighbor lost part of his fence, his flagpole, and almost his motorcycle.

This HUGE tree limb came crashing down last night.

It tore away from the tree at a hollow spot.

This is how it looks this morning, after some clean-up.

The flag pole is horizontal--right above the garbage can.
(The garbage can had been righted by a neighbor already.)

Amazingly, the tree branches fell around the motorcycle.  

Not a scratch on it!

Since the tree branches were covering half of the street in front of Chuck's house, the guys from the city came to clear the road.  It was almost 10PM by that time, so Lydia and Samuel got out of bed to watch from the upstairs window.  The chainsaws were roaring, the truck was beeping and flashing, and the skid-steer loader was shoving the cut branches out of the way.  (I wish I'd had my video camera for that.)  So, the kiddos got to bed kind of late, but they wouldn't have been able to fall asleep with all of that racket anyway.  Needless to say, it was an eventful night!

This morning, Dave helped Chuck cut up the rest of the tree limb and haul it to the dump.  I'm not sure how many trips they made.  The went around and collected some other limbs and branches from our neighbors, too.

How much wood could a (wood) Chuck chuck?

Dave and Chuck chucked a LOT of wood!

Meanwhile, Lydia and Samuel made the best of it!

The kids are in front of our house.
Chuck's house is that way >>>.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Homeschool Schedule

Okay, so I'll be working on our homeschool schedule over the next few days.  I'm doing it in pencil, of course, because there's always so much I need to tweak.  But if I go into this year without a plan, it's going to be complete mayhem.

I spend some time in prayer before I start--not that I expect God to say "Do swimming lessons on Mondays and Wednesdays, not Tuesdays and Thursdays."  I do ask for wisdom, though, and the ability to process upcoming details (including Dave's schedule) so that I can minimize surprises.  In the past, I've been too ambitious in our schedule, much to the dismay of my children--or myself!  I'm going to be more careful to make this year challenging, yet doable.  I'll build in more flex time at the beginning of the year, too, until we get into the swing of things.

Sometimes, I need to delete something on the schedule. Or I think to myself, "Hmmm...we never did get around to that, did we?"  Then, guilt sets in.  I was recently reminded of how the Apostle Paul meant to visit Rome on his way to Spain.  As far as we know, Paul never got to Spain.  He did get to Rome, but not in the way he expected.  Likewise, we may never get to Spain, but the Lord will bring us to Rome in His own way.  I just hope our homeschool journey doesn't include a shipwreck.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Our Growing Family

I can barely remember life with only two children.

In this picture (above), Jeffrey is about 28 months old, and Emma is double that.  He's almost caught up to her in height.  
Except for the Nuk in his mouth, you might think he and Emma are twins.

I think Dave is taking this picture, which explains why he's not in it.

I'm pregnant with Lydia in this one.

Here's Lydia!  She's about six months old in this shot.  She was so chubby!

Dave officiated our friends' wedding.  We clean up pretty good!

2007 Summer
This was taken about three months before Samuel was born.  
Jeffrey and Lydia could grow Kool-Aid mustaches like rock stars!  
Camp's theme was "Growing in the Son"--a farm theme.  (I love this one.)

2007 Winter
I think Sam is about nine (?) weeks old here.  I lost the pregnancy weight quickly this time because I went lap swimming a few times a week.  Then, stupid Daylight Savings Time switched back and messed up our feeding schedule, so I ended up letting my swim pass expire.  DST is a pet peeve of mine, but that could be an entirely different blog post.  Grrrrrrr....

We had a pirate theme at camp this summer, hence the ship's wheel.  This is the first summer that Emma had her own wheels (motorized scooter).  
It was also her first year of MDA camp.

My Mom has joined us for this picture.  She comes to one of our family camp weeks every summer.  She also volunteers as camp nurse each year for a youth week.  You can count on her yummy camp-made cinnamon rolls while she's here!  I don't know what we'd do without her.  

"Girls on this side, boys on that side."
It's funny how Sam is a little carbon copy of Jeffrey, 
while the girls couldn't be more different--inside and out.

We took 70 shots to get this picture for our prayer card.  *rolls eyes*

It only took about 45 shots this year.

This photo was taken about nine months after the 2012 picture.  
Look how much Jeffrey has grown in such short time!  (Compare his height to mine.)  That explains all of those weeks of sleeping in!

My thoughts as I look through these pictures:
  • Dave really likes the tan polo shirt with the navy camp logo.  He's wearing it in four photos.
  • No make-up with my all of my hair pulled back is not the best look for me--especially when I'm pregnant.
  • I am truly blessed!  What a wonderful family the Lord has given me!
  • Time is fleeting.  I would love to go back and relive some of those days when the kids were little.  So, I resolve to enjoy Today while it's here!  Time marches on, and ten years from now I may do another post like this, wishing I could come back to 2013.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

"What I Did for Summer Vacation"

Summer isn't quite over, but the busy-ness of a new school year is rapidly descending.  I think we'll start homeschooling on September 2nd or 3rd, but I might wait one more week.  Our women's retreat is from the 6th-8th, and I end up cleaning quite a bit for that.  It's still not going to pass a white glove test (it is camp, after all), but I clean more deeply for women's retreat than anything else.  It usually takes me about 20 hours.  I was able to deep clean four of the cabins a couple of weeks ago though, so those will only need a "regular" cleaning.  That will help.  In any case, we might not start school until Sept. 9th.  Or maybe we'll just do half-days during my super-duper cleaning week.

Re-reading that paragraph makes me thankful for the flexibility of homeschooling.  (And yes, I do realize that if all of the kids were in school, I'd have more time to clean.  But that's not the point.)

Okay, so here's what I did this summer:

Decluttered ~ I'm still working on this--and will be for the rest of my life, it seems--but I was able to pare down and sell a bunch of things on our town's classifieds page on Facebook.  I probably made about $120.  It was putzy, though.  I also went through all of my homeschool curriculum.  There were lots of things that I knew we wouldn't use anymore.  It was all good stuff--just not the best fit for our family.  And since Sam is starting kindergarten, I sold several of the pre-school things.  So far, I'm up to $325 on Amazon (minus shipping costs).  Over the last couple of days, I reorganized the Secret Room.  It looks very much like the photos in the link, but with a few more bins.  The basement still needs a lot of work.  I'll take some before and after pic's.  It's going to be dramatic, since it's such a disastrophe down there.

Deleted ~  I deleted my Facebook account.  That was a big deal for me, which is why I keep bringing it up, I guess.  (Sorry.)

Taught ~ We did a few weeks of school over the summer, but not quite as much as I'd planned.  Story of my life.

Played! ~  Living at a summer Bible camp is still a lot of fun, even though all I can mostly see is the work that needs to be done.  Lydia and Samuel help to remind me that life isn't all about work, though.  We had many, many fun times together down at the lake.  I also enjoy watching the campers enjoy camp.  And the Family Camps are always a treat for me.

Ran ~ Okay, I only ran a handful of times, but I got up to running a mile straight without dying walking.  For me, that's an accomplishment.

How was your summer?

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Now Back to Our Regularly Scheduled Program

Camp is done.  Aaaaaahhhhhh....

Well, the "everyday" camp season is over.  We still have retreats through the end of October.  Since our next retreat isn't until September 6th, our family has a nice breather.  We moved back to our house in town on Saturday evening, and I've been trying to get reorganized around here.  The laundry baskets are empty; the cupboards & fridge are full, but I've still got books to put away.  I had brought boxes of books to camp because we tried to do some homeschooling during the four youth weeks of camp.  It was more challenging than I thought it'd be.  We only get so many warm weeks here in WI, so we probably got more P.E. done than anything else (i.e. swimming, outdoor games, canoeing).  It's hard doing bookwork when the temps are in the upper-70's and it's gorgeous outside--especially when you're on a lake with a nice, sandy beach.  Yep, we're suffering for Jesus.

This will likely be my most challenging year of homeschooling, regarding demands on my time.  I've got a kindergartener, a 3rd grader, an 8th grader, and a high school sophomore.  Since Samuel (K) can't read yet, I'll need to be hands-on with him for most of his--albeit short--school day.  Emma (10th) works independently on many things, but she's got a heavy literature year ahead of her (she wants to be a writer), so it would be ideal if I could read her books in order to discuss them with her.  She'll also be writing lots of papers and stories--which I will have to grade.  Those are more involved than simply checking a multiple-choice test.  It'll all work out.  I just need a plan.

Part of my plan involves identifying time-wasters and getting rid of them--or at least diminishing them.  Facebook was definitely a time-waster for me.  I assume that my timeline is completely gone now.  I deleted my account on July 28th.  Facebook sent me an email saying that they would keep it at a "deactivated" status for two weeks before deleting it completely, in case I changed my mind.  I didn't.  I miss FB some, but not as much as I'd thought I would.  I mean, I miss the people, of course, and I do feel a little out of the loop, but I don't regret my decision at all.

Other time-wasters...?  Does cooking count?  *wink*