Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Just Another Day in the Life

I am so glad to have a man around the house when Mr Man is gone. He is taking care of the pool now. Always a good thing for me, when there are 5 little mice floating in it. Eewwww. But Lizzy wanted to see them all. I really didn't even want to see as much as a glimpse of the tail hanging out. Jefferson got one out of the jacuzzi too! Way to go My Little Men! (and yes, we're still swimming!)
Hide and Seek. Who'd have thought they'd still fit into the TV armoire? Freaky!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Do the Scriptures Reign Paramount?

I've said before that there are many reasons to home school. For us, to begin with, it was a matter of training their character. How can we do that if they are under someone else's influence all day? Family unity was a close second. I grew up very close in age to my siblings, but never really knew them as friends for life, which is what they are. Somewhere down the list is academics. Mr Man and I were not at all prepared for the rigors of college life coming from the public schools. But that can be overcome, really. There was actually a lot of wasted time.

The most important area should be our children's spiritual walk. We can't force them to know Christ, that's the Holy Spirit's job. But Deuteronomy 6:5-9 talks about teaching or impressing upon our children 'diligently'all the things God has commanded. When we sit at home, walk along the road, when we lie down and when we get up. That pretty much covers our day doesn't it?

Teaching them what God commands doesn't happen in a classroom. Probably not even in some of the Christian classrooms. But 'doing life' together brings the situations to light where we can model and talk about what God loves and expects. When they see us care for others, speak words of kindness, work through disputes, take care of our home, just to name a few, they are seeing the work of God in and through us. It is a high calling to be sure. And I fail daily. There but for the grace of God go I. He is constantly molding and making me into the woman He wants me to be. As I allow Him to do this, my children see that too. They see the real me, not the one that gets ready with a smile and cookies for them to come home from school. (no offense, mom. I appreciated the cookies! and the smiles) But they see me through the whole day. The good, the bad and the ugly.

So I am challenged to put His Holy Word at the forefront. The forehead isn't such a bad idea. Then we'd see it and remember God's promises.

"I am much afraid that schools will prove to be the great gates of hell unless they diligently labor in explaining the holy scriptures, engraving them in the hearts of youth. I advise no one to place his child where the scriptures do not reign paramount."
Martin Luther

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Around the House

Mr Woodpecker on a Saguaro. Lizzy's working on her Bird Field Guide
She's throwing out some seed to attract them.
Derrick worked for 2 days replacing this door jam and frame to be ready for the painters today. Only to learn, our painters backed out on the job!! Oh well. Back to getting references for a new company.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Today is Your Birthday...

I awoke to the Beatles singing "Today is your birthday.." I was quite surprised!

Egg and sausage casserole and sticky buns aroma were wafting upstairs.

Aah, then the coffee.

It was a glorious way to wake up.

Never even heard the kids get up at 7 to get my special breakfast ready.

Such a sweet morning.

I opened cards and presents, requested items were given. Very nice. Crocs, a lighted/magnified mirror and a surprise box of pretzels.

The doorbell rang, and little Samuel Hamlin was standing there with a birthday balloon, followed by little sister Elliana and mom Anissa. What a nice surprise.

She got me my new favorite shopping bag, it folds flat!!

It's a lovely start to my day. Now off to do life!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

An Ordinary Day

Reading, in comfort
Loving Hollie, our yellow lab
Emma doing her penny experiment, not to be distracted by little brother.
Aah, and what should we have for lunch? Soup is the order for today.
3 kids are fighting little colds.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Aah, the Spa

Some girlfriends and I went to Westin Kierland for 2 nights, after I returned from the funeral. What a respite it was. I also went to our worship team retreat Saturday and sang and worshipped and fellowshipped for a few hours. Talk about another respite! Back to the resort, these girlfriends and I have committed to 'journey through life together' and we did a recap of our last 10 years. WOW, good and hard. Good to see what God has brought us through. Hard to see what God has brought us through!

Bagpipes played at sunset daily. (click on pic to enlarge, the lone piper is standing down in the grass in a white shirt)
My Tennessee girlfriend Pam Pierce
And one of my other dearest friends Jules.
Can't really post any other pics, because we were in our jammies!A few families joined us Sunday afternoon to play,
float down the river and slide down the water slide! Here's 'Auntie Otto' with those cute Thompson kids, minus one.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

What's in a Home Schooler Mom's Day?

Being gone the last 4 days, I was asked many times what I do. What does my day look like? And a few times, I was reminded of the things I don't have the opportunity to do. Then God will remind me with a glimpse, a blessing, why I am doing this.

6:30 AM - Time with God, time with Derrick, time for myself
7:30 AM - Wake the troops
8:00 AM - Breakfast and devotions
8:30 AM - Chores
9:00 AM - School work
Noon - Lunch
12:30 - Chores/Laundry stuff (every day)
1 - 3 - School, reading with younger kids
3:00 - Tea Time
3:30 - music practice with whomever needs it
Some kids are free reading, finishing work, 3 days a week they can do the computer at this time.
This is when I get my stuff done. Some days I'm still working with kids. My favorite days are preparing dinner with the girls, or a tea time treat. But usually, before I know it, it's 5pm. I sometimes sneak in to my computer to do this blog or check email, when kids are doing chores. But it's a short time.

This morning I found myself looking at a catalog. Whoops. That's when the coveting comes in. "I want my house to look like that" "Oh I wish I could get curtains here" "We need to redo and paint the bathrooms". I know we got a lot done this summer. But nothing was really 'decorating'. That's the fun part I miss. And shopping. Somehow I don't have that time to find that special gift for a friend. I feel like I'm taking a shortcut if I order online. The easy road. Even if it's something they want. I guess I don't feel like I made any sacrifice to get it.

I love my life, I guess I just had some reminders this weekend. I love that my kids love 'home' and want to be here. I love that they want to read all day, and have the opportunity! I love that they want to make something, spur of the moment, and can. I love that they have to work out whatever comes up. They're together all day. I love that they're being prepared to have a family and want that. I also love that they are learning self-motivation, self-learning and a work ethic that will carry them through life.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Hard but Good

My dad and his older sister Margaret.

My sister Karen, Dad's sister Margaret, me, my cousins Kay and Cindi and my Mom.

Cousin Kay, Uncle Ed (Lois' husband) my cousin Vicki's daughter Ckira, my niece Emilie, my cousin Bruce's daughter Emily.
Uncle Ed and his brother-in-law, my Dad.

It's strange to answer the question: did you have a good time with your family this weekend? Of course some knew it was for my aunt's funeral. Others knew she is now whole and in heaven. So how to answer? It was a hard reason to come together as a family, but a good time being together. Especially to celebrate a life well-lived. I hope it was a time when we could look at our own hearts and lives. What will they say when we're gone? She had a great house, she was always going to the gym and looked great, she had a good paying job. Or will it be, she took care of her home and family, had a job that blessed others, she reached out to neighbors, helped those in need. Loved those she was with as much as she could.

And God will say, "well done, good and faithful servant, welcome home."

There were.....
Lots of hugs and tears.

Lots of laughter and stories.

Lots of catching up.

Lots of promises to stay in touch better.

But all of it good and memorable.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

First Day of Co-Op

3-5 graders reading "Henry Huggins" outside.
K-2 graders reading "The Relatives Came" as they could see the beautiful desert rain.

As we drove to our first day of co-op, Alex confided that she had prayed for rain. She loves it when it rains out here in the desert, far from the smelly city I guess. But the mountains and clouds were just gorgeous. It did rain, and was cloudy most of the day. What a treat!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

A Bouquet of Newly Sharpened Pencils

"Don't you love New York in the fall? If I had your address, I would send you a bouquet of newly sharpened pencils."
.... remember what movie that's from?

Fall in many parts of the country marks a significant change of pace, a change in the weather and a definite upswing in commitments. The pace picks up a bit as schools start, vacations come to an end. The rush to buy school supplies and new clothes is on. The evenings are getting cooler, leaves are beginning their descent. More dinners, fund-raisers, parties. A new season of sports begins. Lessons start, concerts abound. It's a sweet time before the holidays as we settle into a new routine.

Our co-op begins tomorrow morning. Each Monday, 14 families join together to ease the home schooling load. My real desire to co-op, is when the subject is a little out of my comfort zone. (Notice I said 'a little', because when it's just a little out of my comfort zone, I think that is a challenge to meet head-on!) But high school Biology isn't something I wanted to tackle at home! And come to find out, with God's grace and blessing, this co-op has become much more than meeting the needs of the harried home school teacher. It is a place where moms and kids sharpen and challenge each other. Where we can build each other up and go through life together. I am always amazed at the giftings of these women. I have always been open to other adults speaking into my children's lives. And what a blessing these have been. I am so grateful as we start another year together.
Getting our materials ready
Here is what we are doing:
Alexandra (15) History/Constitution/Elections, Biology, Literature
Dexter (13) the same as Alex
Emma (10, almost 11) History/Constitution/Elections, General Science, Literature
Lizzy (8) Constit History, Zoology, Literature, Theatre/Music
Jefferson (7) Five in a Row, Theatre/Music

At home we'll complete the American History, Saxon Math, grammar, Bible and French. Add to that choirs, guitar, violin and piano.

It will be a full year. We are blessed to be together.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

The Legacy of Aunt Lois

Aunt Lois (standing), my grandma Shepherd (sitting), cousin Ann and her daughter Molly. 1985

My dad's older sister Lois passed away yesterday. She had been battling lung cancer for several years, having never smoked or been around people who do. She worked in a doctor's office of all places. She leaves behind wonderful uncle Ed who is still a child at heart at the age of 75 I think. He is the funnest grandpa. Always new toys to play with when children visit. They were a great combination because Lois collected dolls. She has a gorgeous collection going back generations.
Lois and Ed have 5 biological children. Ann, Dan, Bruce, Vicki and Rodney. They also had several foster children through the years. Their home was such a welcoming place. They are the legacy Aunt Lois leaves behind.
We are all hoping to be together there in Huntington Beach next week, to celebrate her life and reconnect as siblings, cousins, aunt, uncles.

Aunt Lois and my mom in 2006

Uncle Ed playing with Jefferson

Just another of Uncle Ed's strange gadgets/toys!
We'll miss you Aunt Lois, but it's a comfort to know you're not suffering anymore and we'll see you again!

Monday, September 1, 2008

2 Days for a Birthday Boy

It was a hard start to the birthday boy's Sunday morning. Not much sleep and the fact that we had choir. He really couldn't believe he had to go to church on his birthday!
Aaah, his favorite cinnamon rolls helped!Family, Macaroni Grill for lunch, and "happy Birthday" sung en italiano!
Then, a surprise in the parking lot. A real basketball hoop. Goodbye Little Tikes.
Woohoo, daily shooting practice begins.

Monday to Peter Piper, finally!
Zachary Morelock, Nicky Dunham, Jefferson, Connor Green, Samuel Hamlin
Patiently waiting for Sissy to light the candles.

Everybody gets hugs.
Look at those skinny Hamlins!Emma Grace got some Daddy time today.