Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Taxes are Done!

I am feeling like I have just rolled a load off of my shoulders that I have been carrying around for months on end! I knew we were going to owe this year and I have been dreading it. We had someone else work out the taxes this year because I have the business, and we were worried I would make a mistake.

To our horror, the results were worse than we'd anticipated. I have just been praying about it since the verdict was handed down. It felt wrong. One of the most frustrating things was to not know how it happened. I have always done the taxes on my own and I can tell what hits hard and what gives us a boost.

So, I asked my wonderfully supportive husband to go get the papers back from the tax company for my chicken-hearted self. I plugged it all in and, lo and behold! I saved us 2/3 of what the company was going to have us pay! How is that possible? Because the Lord is good! Now we don't have to borrow money from my little sister! I know some who owe don't like to pay until the very last minute, but I went ahead and filed and paid that day. Now I am done. Money is gone, *sniff*, I have nothing to worry about any more.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Ah, Spring?

Sprig is in the air. That is a good thing, right? My friends all endure the winter months with their eyes firmly fixed to the promise of spring. Spring has all this romantic attachment to it, too. It is all about new life, Easter, garden planting, cleaning, freshness. Ooh-la-la! I like all that stuff, too, which makes it even harder to not like spring!

My darling husband has spring allergies that are so bad, just getting to the car from the front door without a sneezing attach or BFF headache is a challenge. When you have to do everything outdoors without your life mate, it just loses some of its color. Plus, people keep saying it is warm, but, frankly, I am cold!! On top of that is knowing that on the heels of spring comes summer.

The summer season is such a source of stress for me. Our homeschool group enjoys taking advantage of the weather to get outside more. I like that. And I really like getting out of town for tours. After nine months couped up in this little town, the prospect of dealing with non-local businesses is mouth-watering! But, the heat really gets to me. I become unsafe, more susceptible to fainting. And there really isn't anything I can do about it. It is just hot and my body doesn't do hot.

So, while my friends can barely keep up with schooling for the pure joy that fills their souls as they step out into the sun, I fight down the foreboding dread that wells up inside me. I set my eyes to the fiery colors that are promised to come with autumn.

Praise the Lord for his creation. He truly has something for all of us. It just isn't my turn right now to enjoy the weather!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Is That Safe?

Ew. My son just ran in to let me know that the dog and my daughter just did the grossest thing. After hearing about it, I have to agree. They were all exploring the backyard and on the end of a stick was slug. My daughter gave it, clean end first, to my dog just to chew. But the dog went to the other side of the stick and 'sucked' up the slug. Blech!

Taxes are Done!

Praise the Lord and Glory Hallelujah! I'm gonna jump down, turn around, touch the ground and praise my Lord!!

I did them myself, and saved us about 2/3 what a company was going to charge. Crazy, especially since I have to do all the work of hunting down documents and documentations. I might as well plug in the numbers, right?

Praise Him, from whom all blessings flow!

Only problem is that is it 9:42 and I can't seem to get myself to switch gears from finances to school. I don't think we can get it all done before our Get Fit class. I know it is probably wrong and self-defeating to be so all or nothing, but if we can't finish, I hate to start!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Short legged Chihuahuas

We were working in our God's Design For Sex series. I work with each kid individually, reading a chapter each assignment. With my son, we got through the chapter and I was asking if he had any extra questions. I always hold my breath at this point.

The response is so unpredictable with both kids. I can get anything from, 'nope, thanks!' to 'how many pencils can you hold in your hand at one time?' to something actually on topic. My son said that he did have a question. "How do dogs do it? I mean, does one roll over?"

There is no limit to where this time will lead! I answered his question best this non-dog-person can. He cracked himself up and said, "Well, I guess we should hope that the boy is never a chihuahua!!" He laughed for a solid three minutes, and could not stop giggling enough to get anything worthwhile out of him for the rest of our lesson. He tickles himself. ...and me!

Old Friends

I just sent off an old friend this morning from a wonderful evening and morning of visiting. She let me know earlier in the week that she was coming this way and asked if she could spend the night here.

It was such a treat! We haven't had out of town guests in a long while. And, we were able to welcome her into our school morning. I have never had anyone join us for school. I don't want to put pressure on my kids to perform. I don't want one morning to represent homeschooling to anyone who is against it or on the fence about it. I love homeschooling and talk about it all the time, but I guess I am pretty private and protective of our own school days.

My kids aren't perfect. Nor am I. I have always imagined feeling that we would be too vulnerable to allow someone to observe or participate with us. But I am so glad we did this. Normally, I would have just skipped school, and made up the lost time later. But we are only on the first day of our second week. I don't feel it is good for the kids to be off routine before we are even settled in to it yet.

Last night was a lot of fun. We just chatted. Shared about life, caught up on news and shared about our churches. I appreciate her love for the Lord and that it is bigger than her desire for others to conform. We are sure different!! Some are so uncomfortable with our differences, we can't really talk church. But we were able to without having to defend ourselves or compare what we do to anything else. It was a great visit.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Pass the Corn, Please

So, I have had this blog for...a year? Not quite a year? However long, I haven't really understood what a blog is. Is it a diary? A series of soliloquies? A way to quench the exhibitionist in us? I couldn't figure it out.

I watched the movie Julie and Julia, and have been thinking about it. But first, I must say that was a GREAT movie! And both lead actresses just knocked it out of the ball park! The onion slicing scene was so perfectly wonderful. Art.

Anyhow, as I have pondered the purpose of blogging and other things, like our society, the makeup of family and such, I think I may have hit on an at least an aspect of the heart of blogging. Because the makeup of family is changing, and biological families are spreading far and wide, we haven't the local unit that once defined it. And because of our microwave, multiple calendar, hustle life-styles, even within the new definition of family, it isn't easy to get everyone together with any regularity. And finally, because of our technological age, we are able to access information and even relationships by using technology, the idea of blogging comes to be.

If I am understanding it correctly, blogging is our new generation's version of the family dinner table. We update people on our lives. We discuss issues important to us. We share something of ourselves to keep us rooted and connected to something. The dinner table is something of a dying phenomenon. We eat in the car, in front of the TV, separately, on the run. We don't have the regularity that the dinner table once represented and provided for family conversation. Just because that is disappearing, it doesn't mean the hunger for soul nourishment is gone. On the contrary, our need to be heard, to matter, is rising. I think the practice of blogging is being used to fill that need.

This revelation gives me great peace and a new excitement about blogging. I like human connection. I like sharing ideas and the funny things that happen through my day with people who can grow to care and relate. Now that I like it, I guess it is extra sad that no one reads this blog!

Our First Math Meltdown of the Year

Well, we are only on the last day of our first week--because of our weekend and KidsROCK school day, it takes a full seven days to get in our four days of school!

We have had the first big talk about the math attitude. Ugh! Will the ever outgrow it?

Friday, March 19, 2010

First Day!

Today was what we call our Shin Dig for Club PALS. It is our kick-off and parent training day for the coming session. We are learning about contentment this session. It was a great day talking with the ladies, walking them through the classes and getting to know one another a little bit more. I love KidsROCK so much, and what it offers. Club PALS offers what is he epitome of KidsROCK: personal connection, acting love. Our motto is Homeschool Support and Enrichment. This is it in a nutshell. Every new session gets me all fired up for what we can do for each other.

This afternoon, I taught a Young Learners Class, which is a cross between preschool and Sunday School. We watched A Snoodle's Tale. Oh, I love that movie. I forgot it makes me cry! I took pictures of the kids, let them decorate foam frames to put them in, plus a bookmark. We made birdseed names, build with manipulatives, and played with Oobleck. Lots in a two hour period.

I love those little ones. They are so honest and trusting. It honors me to be trusted, so I really take it seriously. I like to be direct and honest right back to them. They deserve it.

I enjoy their wonder and awe. I love how there is none of that pride that tempers the excitement in older kids. They aren't having to impress anyone, or worry about being teased for not knowing something. As a result, they are free to get really into things. That kind of intensity and openness is priceless and I want to encourage it--to stay off that self-awareness that kills the self.

Man, kids are great!!

A Really Wild Baby

I am updating my email and listening only vaguely to the conversation going on behind me between my kids. It is getting a little bit more passionate, so I stop them and ask for a recap.

My daughter wants nine more dogs. I allow them to continue after I crawl back up into my chair. My son--ever the pragmatist--is telling her all the problems with this plan. Who will take care of them, cost of food, the mess in the house, too hard, too hard and too hard.

My daughter--ever the optimist--says that it would be easy! At the sight of four bugged eyes, she modifies her statement. It would be work, but only like having a really wild baby, and then proceeded to name some of our more busy toddlers in our homeschool group!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Speech! Speech!

In our Communications lesson today we did our first two speeches of the year. The program is called 'Say What You Mean,' and I highly recommend it.

Anyway, the first speech was to simply introduce oneself. Name, age, favorites, etc. My son stood. I clapped. He wriggled in discomfort. Now, this kid doesn't have a shy bone, I am telling you! He waded through is speech and sat down. I asked what was wrong. He said that he was so uncomfortable. My daughter, whose bones are predominantly shy, immediately diagnosed him: stage fright.

The word alone set my son on edge. He said that he got up to do the presentation for the History Faire without a problem. He enjoys talking to groups. He said it was just too small of a group to do it here. I think he was as uncomfortable with having stage fright as the stage fright itself.

I told him I understood. Sometimes a large group is less intimidating than a number more intimate. I praised him for making it through, he got more details as he continued to talk and I said that he'd gotten more comfortable just be pushing on.

I was instantly corrected. He had NOT felt more comfortable. He said that he felt like crying at the beginning all the way until after he sat down. He did not like it at all. Well!! We are off to a great start!

My daughter did great, as either child does with the other struggles. What is with that?

The next assignment required the kids to describe a picture in as much detail as possible. Again, my son went first. He did a little better with his comfort level, but one thing just struck me as so funny. He was describing an outdoor shelter off of a building. He kept calling it an 'upping.' I had no idea what he was trying to say, so I just kept encouraging him to move on. He couldn't get past it, though, and continued to describe and define the word he was looking for. Finally it came to me. Awning. Or, in my son's head, "on-ning." Isn't that great?

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Does it Count for a Foreign Language Credit

I was making bread in the bread machine this morning. As I was setting the program, it was beeping its way through the selections. My daughter in the other room, was matching it beep for beep.

After about ten echoed beeps, my son asked her to stop and she responded that she was learning to speak timer. :)

Bug vomit!

Last night my boy and I were sitting together enjoying a quiet moment. He was telling me about his day. Earlier in the afternoon, he had been outside on the phone with his cousin. This is an all time favorite activity for both boys, which will be evidenced without room for doubt in just a moment. The both have gotten in trouble for rushing through chores or school to get on the phone with one another and ignoring incoming calls to continue their conversation.

But yesterday afternoon was a unique display of loyalty. Apparently a bug flew into my son's mouth. So what does he do? He threw up! Twice!!!!

As he was telling me, ever so nonchalantly, I looked at him in shock. This is my boy who can't stand anything to do with sick, from the medicine to the suffering symptoms--like vomiting. He cries when he throws up. And now, he is lounging and telling me that he did it twice today. He thought my shock was because of some other reason, and he worked to assuage it by assuring me that he had 'leaned over the trampoline.' Well, that's a relief?

I asked him why he didn't come in to tell me. He looked at me like I was growing flowers out of my ears. 'I was on the phone.' Of course.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Funny Girl

Just a couple of snippets from her sweet mouth.

We were watching TV, and heard a scream from the back. My husband (of 13 years, that is fun to say), walked back to check on the situation. He asked our daughter why she was screaming (I don't know anyone who truly delights in screaming like she does, but she does get in trouble for it). She quickly apologized and said that she had just 'extincted' a town on her computer game and 'got a little proud.' Ain't she cute?

Today is the second anniversary of her baptism. I have the dates for both kids marked in my yahoo calendar, along with the story of what brought them to the decision. So this morning, I read it to the kids and said, 'happy birthday.'

Just now she approached me and asked if we could do something really, really special as a family, you know, since it is her 'bath-tized' birthday. :) She's always been a little literal. lol She's a crack up.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Back in the Saddle Again

Wonderful, wonderful! We are back at schooling. Ah! How I love it.

I stayed up late with darling husband watching TV, then reading (a most boring book). But I was so very proud of myself for getting up right at 7:30 despite the last several nights without good sleep. I popped up, got onto breakfast, woke up the girl (the boy was just waiting on me to come out of the room) and was ready to go.

My plan was to start at 8. Our days are ruled by 8am. We start after 8, and every subject takes half again as long, every failure is doubly devastating, and every distraction completely derails us. I don't know what it is. But when we start at or before 8, we are in a Disney cartoon. The children are all sparkling and glistening with adoring eyes for their loving mama. Squirrels scamper to sit on the couch to bathe in the lessons. Eight o'clock is an important thing!

So imagine how I felt when I finished checking my email and readied myself to begin with Bible and prayer (and now hymns!) and I glanced at the clock on the monitor corner. It said 8:54. What??? It was like we'd hit DEF CON 5--or is 1 the most urgent?

"Daughter of mine, check the calendar over the couch; read it to me!!"
"My son, check the calendar in the kitchen!! what does it say on the 14th?"
I start frantically typing in the search field 'Daylights Savings 2010 schedule.' I got a page for South Americans who are falling back this time of year, for what it's worth. Finally it processes that my daughter is all excited because it says 'church meeting.' I file away for later that I will have to tell her (again) we changed the meeting day. But son is saying, 'daylight savings time begins.'

The computer isn't broken. It is 9:00 am. How deflating. The squirrels run for cover. First day of the new year and we were already behind.

Praise the Lord for not caring about clocks as much as I do! We had a great day of school, starting out with learning three new hymns. 'Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus; Amazing Grace and Holy, Holy, Holy. We made our own passports for Geography--My girl's included pictures from Texas, Oregon, Hawaii and Grass Valley. They flew through math--a remarkable miracle all by itself. A resounding success, even if everything was an hour later than planned. No meltdowns, no non-school rabbit trails.

We can't afford that hour tomorrow, because we add Get Fit to the schedule at 3. We will hit the college track to do some fitness things with KidsROCK, including the timed mile! Man, I will be giving myself lots of room for improvement! I have been shamefully lacking in discipline with my own physical fitness. In fact, you could say I am quite consistent about it. :)

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Last day of vacation!

Tomorrow is our first day of the new year. I told the kids last night that today would be our last vacation day. My girl just sort of wrinkled her nose and didn't respond. I whooped and hollered like someone at a football game and told her I wouldn't stop until I heard some cheering from her. Stubborn gal refused!

I asked why she wasn't excited about the new year. She said that she didn't like school. Where are those homeschool catalog moments, huh?? She then asked if she was going to be in the fourth grade. I stalled.

We are doing our school years in such a funny way and we went back a couple of levels with the year we just finished. The level we are beginning is a condensed version of levels three and four. We will continue to push through our school year (with the will of God) and eventually get to my son's grade level, but for now we are still a little below -ish.

So, I stalled.

Finally I said that we don't really do grades, but she could tell people she was in the fourth grade come fall--that would be when kids her age would start fourth grade. I am of the mind to answer that question in keeping with peers relative grade level, because I honestly think that is why adults ask--it is just a question to ask. I don't' think most people really care.

This answer (without the explanation) didn't make her feel better. I can understand. I mean, I told her she was in third grade, then we did finish the year, and now we are starting a new one. What is there to celebrate when you are still in the third grade??

I asked what grade do you want to be in. She said 100th. I said, 'sure. You are in 100th grade!' Then she stopped giggling and said that she really wanted to be in the fourth grade. My heart softened. Of course you are in the fourth grade, gal!

Then she got up and did the most disturbing dance with the ugliest gleeful face!! She was so happy! LOL I had to grab the camera before the 'rhythm' ran out.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Dual Citizenship

As Christians, we try to live with dual citizenship; we try to get along in this world and in the Kingdom. We know we aren't supposed to be of this world. We know we are sojourners, waiting for the things of this world to pass away. But how do we pull off being only visitors when we must be here so long, when we need to get schooling, housing, work? Honestly, I think we give up.

Even the church gave up. Churches today do not look like churches in the Bible. They are organized like businesses. Throughout time, we have modeled ourselves after organizations in the world. We adpoted their terminology, practices and pictures of authority.

Families gave up. There is an expectation for teens to rebel, even among Christians. The divorce rate among Christians equals that of non-believers. We've adopted the world's way of coming together; we date.

When we live with a foot in each world, it is a little silly to wonder why things aren't working out so well for us. At our adoption into the family of God, we renounce this world and all the things in it. We need to renounce its practices, as well. We need to have faith that God is what He says He is, means what He says He means.

We believe in theory that Christ as leader is good and right. We believe in theory that a child can come to Christ and not rebel. We believe, in theory, that two people can meet, stay pure, marry, and stay married.

But then the 'practical' side takes over. While Christ can lead, how can you really expect a number of people to come together and NOT have some organization, NOT have a leader. It doesn't make sense to do it otherwise. It would be chaos!

While God can bring two people together, and it is possible for them to not be alone, not exchange emotional or physical intimacies until their wedding day, it just isn't practical in this day and age. People need to 'test the waters.' Everyone dates. Girls go away to college, move out of the house and start careers. How can you actually court with the daughter living 3 hours away? We've just got to trust her to 'be good.'

While marriage lasting forever is ideal, sometimes it just isn't practical. People outgrow one another. Sometimes one grows and the other stagnates. What about abuse? There are many practical reasons to end a marriage.


What if we gave up citizenship of this world entirely? What if we threw practicality to the wind and actually trusted God with more than just our lips? How about trusting Him to be the head of His Body? How about following Biblical instructions regarding the formation of marriage? That may give us the help we need to follow His will to maintain marriage throughout life!

We must remember His ways are not our ways--but that His ways are to bless us. The wisdom of this world is foolishness in Truth. We have the Holy Spirit in all His wisdom to lead us, bless us and protect us. What more do we need?

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The legacy of Grandpa Stan

I said I have had lots to ponder in the days following my grandpa's passing. One of the things that struck me so resoundly at the memorial and lunch was the constancy of character that was my grandpa. He was Grandpa, Dad, Friend, Son, Brother, Husband, and whatnot. But within those roles, he never changed. Every person who shared about Stan said the same thing!

He loved games, stories--true and otherwise--jokes, hard work, and the Lord. He couldn't sing, but that didn't stop him from singing ever grand kid to sleep. He loved the outdoors and the honesty of a hard day's work.

Everyone attested to this. And it wasn't a forceful, willful thing. It just was. Grandpa just played games, with neighbors, siblings, church friends, sons, wife, grand kids. We all who knew him played a game with him.

We all who knew him heard stories. They were great stories, though the story was far more important than the facts. We all heard the same jokes over and over again. In fact there was a point where he just numbered his jokes and called out 'Number 7!' and we all knew the joke and laughed. We'd all gone on a hike with Grandpa, knew to pick a good walking stick. Grandpa took everyone he knew on fishing trips. Anyone who knew him could attest to the hard work he put into life. He didn't shy away from getting dirty and sore, or learning a new skill to get the job done.

And my grandpa loved the Lord. He read His Word every day. He went to church and loved the people there. He raised a family to know Him and serve Him. He cared in a way that could only be done with the Creator as the source.

He sang without being able to carry much of a tune, he cuddled fussy babies to sleep, he opened his home to everyone with the Spirit's hospitality.

I love the example this man has been for me. I love that he was who he was. Strangers got up to speak about him, and I knew exactly what they were saying, because I'd seen it with my own eyes.

I love that I am descended from love. I had almost forgotten, thinking I would need to reinvent the wheel and begin a line of love for my kids. But the memorial reminded me love has come before me. Grandpa is a great picture of God. Never changing, solid, doing the right thing day by day and letting it add up on its own to a legacy.

The sins of the father

Going to my grandpa's memorial has brought up so many feelings and so many topics on which to reflect. I was really content to not go because I am eager to avoid family drama, and what family lacks drama? There is a lot of pain surrounding the care and death of my grandpa. His sons blamed my step-grandma for not giving him proper care. But there was no inclusion of my step-grandma into the family. They've been married almost 20 years, but she was never fully welcomed. Because of that, I guess she never felt safe to admit needing help caring for Grandpa. She feared being removed from the picture--that they would take him away from her. She would have had to give him up as dead if she'd allowed the four sons in. Ultimately, that played out.

But this current pain and contention is only the most recent layer of suffering in this family. There are decades of deceit, selfishness and secrets among the brothers and their wives. This has trickled down to the next generation. In fact, I think it is the next generations--Grandpa's grand kids, the Cousins--who've borne the most pain, awkwardness and insecurity. We were never involved in divorce, business fallout, substance abuse or philandering. Our parents were up to their necks in it and used us to help them feel not alone, to hurt others, or just as sounding boards. As the grown-ups separated, they took the kids. We were pulled away from family, given limited perspectives about why we couldn't be with family and we filled in the gaps with our small, still-maturing minds.

The results are pretty disastrous. We are a generations of individuals who struggle with insecurity, not having a place to belong, grudges all our own plus those we've adopted from the stories we've heard. We have abandonment issues, Daddy issues, attachment issues, commitment issues... We think ourselves less than, or at least we think 'they' think we are less than. Let's face it. In the family world, we are all a little off center.

If only we can leave the past behind, leave the parents to themselves, to work out their own issues. We can just remember our games in the basement, before all the troubles reached us. We can allow that we all grew up hearing who knows what, but that it doesn't matter. We are the Cousins. A new generation with memories of Grandpa and surrender to the Lord can raise us above the muck. We can start again.

Coming Together

Yesterday was our 13th anniversary. We had a nice lazy day after the travel and visiting with family. I read a book called Breathe that I really enjoyed. Then a dear family friend watched the kids so Brian and I could go out to eat and come home to watch Netflix. Very nice time.

We started--without any commitment beyond today--to read the Bible as a family and pray before bed. Last night we read Genesis 2. My girlhad great questions about how man was formed. I read the notes in the Life Application Bible about marriage corresponding to the end of the chapter. It spoke of the oneness, lack of shame and completion we can find in marriage. I liked also a note about making Eve from Adam, rather than dust, to further signify that we are truly one.

The timing was perfect--as God's timing is--with our anniversary and the book I'd just finished. I have been thinking about the formation of marriage quite a bit lately. In the book Breathe, the setting is 1883 Colorado and we get to read about a couple who come together in marriage. I was considering the short amount of time it took for them to marry, and yet the assurance both had that it was good and right.

I think it is interesting today how we have so many options in life--education, careers, and travel open the doors wide to our futures. With so many choices, and so much to explore, and the time it takes to do so, there is not a need to couple up so quickly. There is also an attitude about these things: if it doesn't work, change it. There are always other options. Leave, seek something better. There was a time that people stuck with a company for their entire careers. That is a far less common phenomenon nowadays.

Sadly, I think this attitude has been adopted for our view of coupling. People date extensively, move in together, do everything but exchange vows, but then move on when things get tough. That is not to say that once the vows are exchanged, a commitment exists. There is still a sense that if things don't work out, we can just move on.

I suppose the improvements made in the health industry and the resulting lengthening of our life also play a factor to our lives without commitment. There is no sense of urgency to get married and start a family these days. Ladies can reasonably put off having their first babies to an age double that of generations past. No hurry.

I don't necessarily think that is a bad thing. But I think it is just a factor in the decline of healthy, loving, Biblical marriages. With so much distraction, so little call for commitment, it is hard to stick out the hard times or to see your marriage mate as a lifetime partner. I want to teach my children that the options and advantages available today doesn't preclude God's design for us to come together as He ordains for our entire lives.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Home from the memorial

We had decided it was just not financially feasible (or wise) to go to my grandpa's memorial when we discovered just how much we owe in taxes this year. Even so, in what felt like a whirlwind, which was actually just a big ol' snow storm, we changed plans and hauled out.

What is normally a 3 hour drive to my sister's turned into at least a 7 hour drive-plus-mountainview-parking as we worked to get over Donner's Pass. The next morning we made the final three or four hours to my hometown where the memorial was held. We missed a couple of functions, including the grave site service, but we made the memorial and lunch.

On the mountain, we had an uncle stranded ahead of us who was freed by a tow truck and my dad and step-mom behind us. He cut off the freeway and took surface streets to pass us. We sat on the road among semi's, big pick-ups with snow tires, and completely untried motorists who couldn't just sit, but insisted on spinning and sliding in the snow. By the time we could start driving again, there was no semblance of lanes or order of any kind.

I was so proud of all the kids--the two legged ones and the four legged one. Sitting for an hour isn't easy for me, a supposed mature woman. They made the trip with awesome attitudes.

The memorial was really beautiful. All four kids of the second son spoke or sang. My older sis presented a slide show. Three sons spoke. One couldn't bring himself to do so. Afterwards, at the lunch, we got some fun photos of family, got to catch up with several cousins I haven't seen in a decade or so and the next generation got acquainted running around the room together.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Round Table Discussion--and ladies

Last night was KidsROCK's Round Table Discussion. We used to do these, and they died out for lack of interest. Now, we have lots of interest and I love it! We reinstated the meeting in January and it was so enjoyable. As people were leaving, they were asking for the next meeting date.

So, we met again last night, Mar 1. Already people are asking for the next one. One lady couldn't make it for a friend's emergency, and she was hoping there was another planned as solace. Another lady has already offered her home for the next meeting. The enthusiasm is a wonderful gift and serves as a fair litmus test for our calendar planning.

Something that struck me as funny was the extreme difference between last night and the January meeting. the first meeting had several husbands present. I think dads are pivotal to successful homeschooling. It is a soap box of mine and I try to remember to not step on any toes when I talk about it.

Dads can give an air of waiting for us to fail, or can come in as reinforcements when things get rough. They can question everything mom does from chores to scheduling to academics. Or they can check in, but with an air of trust and respect--which can be a real gift when mom may not be feeling so confident. Depending on how dad approaches homeschooling, the home can be a haven of stability and support or embody the air of a cold war.

With that in mind, I really like the dads at meetings like this. I think they get a chance to hear from other families that the struggles and fears are normal and worth pushing through. I think those who are fully convicted that homeschooling is best for the kids and the family can really be a source of encouragement to other dads who aren't so sure this is a totally sane venture. And on top of all that, homeschooling and KidsROCK are both family ventures, so having the head of the family there just makes sense.

Last night, however, was an all-lady event. We talked babies, birth, periods, and cute kid stories just as much as we talked homeschooling. I gave so much more latitude at this meeting about our topics and focus. We were really all over the place, even when I posed a question for discussion, we were on rabbit trails before the end of the first sentence. I was mindful of the differences as we moved through evening, and I was OK with it.

We ladies need to just talk sometimes. We need to share frustrations and fears, plus hopes and silly stories in a safe place. Those intimacies grow friendships more than all the 'shop-talk' in the world. And if those friendships do develop, there is an established source for any homeschool questions arrive in the future. I feel like we just expanded the time frame of the Q&A to everyday access. I like that.

But I still like those men!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Break Time

we are enjoying the break from school right now. I am eager to get back to routine, but for the first time, wondering how we will maintain some of the aspects we've developed over this break. Usually, not much in the way of productivity happens on breaks. Screens, screens, screens and fighting is our normal fare.

But this time, the kids have played lots of board games, and I am trying (with white knuckles) to be faithful to an exercise routine. I wonder how to be good about fitting in these things when we get back to schooling. It is important to me to work them in as natural parts of the day we won't do without.

I am looking forward to summer. That is such a funny thing for me to write! I can't really stand the heat, but I am anticipating the longer days, earlier sunrises and getting more done without having to wake up before the sun. Last summer was really great for us. I pray we have another blessed season--maybe I will change my mind about my least favorite time of year!