Friday, December 31, 2010

Christmas Fun

I love that Connor still will give Mom big hugs. Not in public though or if any of his friends can see him but I'll take what I can get, of course it helps if I appeal to his stomach with his favorite Christmas breakfast.

Remember the post on "The Last Straw"? Scott took ths further and made a stable of presents to surround the manger of secret acts of kindness for Jesus. It helped to cement the idea further that Christmas is about Jesus.

La Posada with our friends. We had a great final night of our "Christmas Around the World" Unit study by celebrating La Posada. The kids went to several neighbors homes asking for shelter for Mary and Joseph and were rudely turned away. ( I had asked the neighbors ahead of time) We then knocked at our house and Scott was the good innkeeper and invited everyone in for a wonderful Mexican fiesta.

The Annual Cookie Party. We had a food from around the world potluck and made cake balls and Sinterklaas bags to give to neighbors.

Zoo Lights with the entire family. It was the first time we had gone and we loved it. Yeah for Alex for planning a great family outing!

Happy New Year to all and May God Bless Your Coming Year!


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Joy in Serving Together

One of my favorite things is to serve as a family. The entire family served during our church's Christmas program, "Reel to Real". Scott played his french horn, all the kids sang and I directed the Kids Choir. Even though the kids and I had to spend the entire week practicing (oh wait, we had one evening off) and Scott raced from the airport to the dress rehearsal, I loved every minute of it. Through the weekend of performances and tear down everyone did a great job and was willing to step it up. I love my family and I love serving Jesus with them.


Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Gingerbread House

I have recently read a thread on a message board commenting that one reason to have your child in a traditional school setting is so that your child doesn't miss making "fun crafts". I think home schooling is a great oppportunity to do these crafts and have the time to REALLY do them. Not to mention the fact that we also had a story and lesson which pointed us back to the reason of the season - Jesus!

Did I mention that we made it from scratch! A new experience for all of us but we are so happy with the end result.

It helps to have a friend or two that are willing to go along with your schemes and jump in for the fun.

Tomorrow's challenge - Cake balls and Sinterklaas bags with 16 children from age 2 - 14. Home schooling is awesome.


Sunday, December 05, 2010

The Last Straw Again

Several years ago, I bought a book called "A Candle in the Forest" which is a compilation of Christmas stories by Joe Wheeler. (click on the title of the blog post for a link to the book) One of the stories is called, "The Last Straw" by Paula MacDonald and is about a family whose children can't stop bickering and fighting. The Mom remembers a tradition her Grandmother told her about where each person in the family writes their name on a piece of paper and then they each draw a name and play "Secret Angel" for a week. Each time someone does a kindness, like make a bed or does someones chore secretly they can place a straw in the nativity to prepare a place for Jesus when he comes on Christmas Eve. Thus, their home is transformed from a place of bickering and anger to a joyous home where each member places each others needs first.

Each year, I read this story out loud and then we draw names each week for several weeks during the Advent season. We have a basket and strips of fleece that can be placed (secretly) in the basket every time we do a kindness for another family member. Then on Christmas Eve, after everyone has gone to bed, Scott and I place a "baby Jesus" in the basket and put the basket under the tree.

We have found this to be a great way to prepare our hearts and home for the coming Christmas celebration. It's one more way to have "J.O.Y". (Jesus, Others then Yourself)

***Edited later to add: If you have older children "who are getting too smart for their britches" as my Grams says, you might want to state that they are not to purposely try and figure out everyone's Angel. It does not bring love and harmony to a home - trust me.


Friday, November 19, 2010

Captured Moment

One of the great side benefits of home schooling is the relationship that can develop between siblings. All of my kids have a great relationship ( of course, we don't really allow them not to) but recently during a family portrait session this was once again dispayed. Caileigh and Collin arranged themselves for these shots and I love them. I love the sweetness between the two and the way Collin cares for his sister. I think much of their relationship harkens back to the training we gave them when they were little, Collin as the Knight- Protector and Caileigh as the Princess. Click on the title, "Captured Moments" to go the original blog on this subject.
I love these pictures and the moment in time they captured.


Thursday, November 04, 2010

Learning Eternal Perspective

"He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose." - Jim Elliott

The kids and I are reading "Christian Heroes: Then and Now - Nate Saint" in school and is an amazing reminder of eternal perspective. These five men knowingly and willingly gave up their lives to bring the gospel to a tribe in the Amazon who lived in the stone age. They purposefully did not use their guns on the men who killed them because they did not want to kill men who did not know God. They died to give these men life - eternally.

Reading real stories of missionaries is a great way of encouraging kids to do great things for God and teaches great lessons in eternal perspective. "Christian Heroes: Then and Now" have a huge list of missionaries to choose from.


Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Harvest Festival

So, I thought I would update you on how the Harvest Outreach went. It went no where at all. We set up games, planned candy and had all our kids waiting but no one came until it was too dark and even then not a ton of kids came to the door. So, this means I get to go back to hiding! Yeah! I'm pretty happy about that! We did have a great time with our friends, who are willing to play along with my crazy schemes. They are are very patient and long-suffering friends. We pulled homemade taffy, bobbed for apples and made yummy caramel apples topped with chocolate, heath toffee, almonds and sea salt. We drank a gallon of spiced apple cider and had wonderful baked mac n'cheese supplied by my friend who can REALLY cook. I love having friends that can cook. It means I don't have to.

The real blessing of the day came unexpectedly. Our pastor encouraged us to do a "flash mob" to the grocery store to buy canned goods for the local food bank. After service, everyone quickly went to the store to buy some groceries and brought it back to church. We have over a thousand people at church - the grocery store was a zoo but it was such a treat to see everyone at the store doing something for others. The lines were long but it didn't seem to matter, except to the people who were there to do their weekly shopping but most of them got into the mood when it was explained what was happening. Several people handed money to people from our church to go buy more. Our friends ( previously mentioned), had stayed at the church to help (and because they are better Christians and go to the early service) to pack up the food so we decided to go inside and see if any other hands were needed. There was bags and boxes of food everywhere and they needed sorted, checked for out of date items and packed, so everyone jumped in and started helping. 2.5 hours later we finished but it was such a blessing to be a help. None of the kids whined about lunch or that they were tired or didn't want to help anymore. They were as thrilled to be helping as we were (it didn't hurt that their best friends were there too). I love my kids, they are amazing. To top it all off, someone anonymously sent pizza for all of us to have for lunch!

So, the outreach I planned didn't go anywhere at all but God had a different outreach planned. What I loved about the day was that we were all in the mindset of outreach and putting God and others first so we were able to jump in and be the hands that He needed us to be. It was a great lesson that we need to be willing to be the blessing that He wants instead of being focused on our own efforts.


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Neighborhood Harvest Outreach

I dislike Halloween - immensely. I don't like taking my kids trick or treating, I don't like other kids trick or treating at my door, I don't like the idea of adults purposefully scaring kids and I don't like houses decorated in spiders and ghouls. I just don't like it. We usually run away, go see a movie, spend the weekend in the mountains, or go out to dinner. Anything to get away from the holiday.

But.... we have been praying for our neighborhood, going on prayer walks, bringing goodies to our neighbors, anything we can do to try and be a light and reach out to our neighbors for Christ. Usually, our church does a Harvest festival as an outreach but the entire church has been learning about telling others about Jesus and getting out of our comfort zone and making relationships for the purpose of outreach so this year they have asked us to bring the Harvest festival to our neighborhoods.

Oh, what to do? Did I mention that I dislike Halloween, but how often do kids come to my door asking for something (other than the girl/boy scouts) and the entire neighborhood is out in force? We have also been reading about missionaries that came to the people where they lived and began amazing ministries by merely making relationships and loving the people for who they are. Which again brought to mind all the families that would come to our house. It seems like an opportunity that shouldn't be missed.

So, I am busy planning an Harvest style outreach in my yard for Sunday evening with some friends. I think we'll have apple cider, some games borrowed from church, apple bobbing and who knows what else. I'm trying to think of something to give out with the candy that will bring light to the darkness. Any ideas?


Monday, October 25, 2010

Great Resources

I've been planning our Christmas lists and our Christmas unit study and came across some of my favorite resources so I thought I'd share.

The Family Nights Tool Chest from Heritage Builders. I love ALL of them and have used them since my kids were young. There is a Holiday:Family Night Tool Chest which I love and have used until the kids have memorized all the devotionals. Great, great, great books! Amazon has them.

Seeds Family Worship cd's. Seeds of Courage, Seeds of Faith, Seeds of Praise etc... We love listening to these great cd's that have good music (not annoyingly kiddy) that help us to memorize Bible verses.

Jotham's Journey - a nightly advent storybook. It gets a little monotonous but it really helped to make sure to set aside time to do advent nightly. There are two other books in the series.

I'll add more as I think of them.


Thursday, October 21, 2010

Food TV

The Food Network is either my new best friend or my worst enemy. I can't decide. It all depends on the moment. Like whether they just taught me how to make Slow Cooker Oatmeal that cooks overnight and is amazing in the morning or it's 10:00 at night and I'm watching, "The Best Thing I Ever Ate : Sweets". Seriously, 10:00 p.m. is too late to watch a show about dessert because it's too late to go find those desserts and if I did find them, I know I would be 10 lbs heavier in the morning. It's just cruel.

Anyway, this is just a public service announcement to all of you busy Moms. Alton Brown's , "Overnight Oatmeal" is so quick, yummy and creamy that you HAVE to give it a try (click on the blog title for a link). It's healthy and delicious! Then to make it even better, his "Leftover Oatmeal Bread" is some of the best bread I've ever made and again, it's healthy and delicious. I mean breakfast and bread made in no time at all, it doesn't get any better than that.

You can thank me later. Really, I expect thanks for sharing.


Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Kids Who Love to Read

I found Connor in Caileigh's room - which cracked me up.

Book Basket outside the kids rooms.

"What, Mom? I'm busy reading?"

Isn't he the cutest? Collin playing a game based on a book he had read.

Getting back to her exciting book.

I read this article and found it really disconcerting (click on the title of the blog for a link). The thought that we need to allow and indeed, encourage our kids to read books that are purposefully rude, gross and/or inappropriate to get them to read is appalling. There are so many great books and stories to read that it seems criminal to allow the horrible ones. We have three children who love to read and we don't stoop to this level of degradation. We should encourage our children to read that which is encouraging, worthwhile and well written. I firmly believe the adage that 'you are what you read", for what you read goes into your head and then moves to your heart. We want our children's heart to be filled with good not evil. Following you will find a list of things that we have done to encourage our kids to be readers.
1. Read, read, read! Read to your children from the time they are small until they are out of your home. My dad continued to read to us until we grown and even then. Read great books like all the Little House books, the Chronicles of Narnia, Anne of Green Gables or Charlie in the Chocolate Factory. I remember getting in trouble for trying to read ahead, Dad always seemed to stop at the really good parts.
2. Limit screen time - computer, t.v. and video game. They will find something to do and hopefully books will be a part of that!
3. Have books available for them to read. I have bookshelves in almost every room of our home. If they want to read, I have books available. We also borrow around 50 books every two weeks and have "book baskets" filled with library books on every level of our home.
4. Make a mandatory quiet time each day and before bed in which they read or listen to books.
5. Make books a reward. My kids get books as presents, rewards for a job well done and sometimes we just go buy some books for fun.
Remember to read every book your child read before they read them especially as they get into chapter books. Make sure you know what they reading. I pre-read all of my kids books and then if there is anything questionable , I either take it away or use it as discernment training. I will have the kids read a chapter of the book and then we discuss the elements of the books, what the Bible says about those things and how we could choose better in our lives and perhaps why the author choose to use that element in the story.
There are a number of really great books of books lists that are available. I like "Honey for a Child's Heart" by Gladys Hunt. I have many books about great books to read. I also love "The Well-Educated Mind" by Susan Wise Bauer for teens and adults.
After I read the above article, I went on a search for my children and these pictures are what I found. I was pretty happy.


Capable and Responsible Kids

I don't have much time but I saw this article (click on the title Capable and Responsible Kids to view article) and thought how true this was. When I mention to people how my kids (12,9 &9) can do all their laundry from beginning to end, make themselves a balanced meal, clean a bathroom and many other things they do each day, I either find people are shocked or are apalled. Is it child abuse? Is it child slave labor? Is it mean and uncaring? I don't think so. Kids need to be responsible. They need to know these things - boys and girls. They should know how to change a tire, maintain a home, mow the lawn, make a bank deposit, make a grocery list and balance their budget.

We do our children a great disservice if we fail to teach them these things. Someday, they will be out on their own and the more capable they are now, the easier it will be then. Our parents and grandparents had the right idea. Read "Farmer Boy" by Laura Ingalls Wilder and compare your kids to the capable Wilder's. You might be shocked in comparision. Read it to your kids and explain how capable the Wilder's were and how capable your kids are as well.

When they are little, teach them to pick up their toys, straighten up their room, and put their clothes in a hamper. By 3 and 4 teach them to wipe off a counter top (I like clorox wipes) and put all the shoes in their place. Daily chores are a good thing. "What Every Child Should Know Along the Way" is a great book with lists of chores and activities per age group. I have used this since my kids were little. It's a great resource and can be found at under the GFI store. We don't have all of these things down but we have a good portion of them done.

Let's not raise imcompetent kids. We won't be preparing them well for whatever God has for them.


Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Responsible Words

This week at church our family learned that we need to be responsible with our words. We have a "family church" experience called Rush Hour, "Where kids bring their parents to learn", which introduces the topic that the elementary kids are going to delve into deeper during their Sunday School classes. What Rush Hour does is to involve the parents in what the kids are learning and gives both parents and kids a common Biblical lesson to work on through out the week. We, as parents, have the responsiblity to teach our children about God as clearly stated in Duet 6:6-7 ,

" These commandments that I give you to you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home, when you walk along the road, when you lie down and you get up."

Rush Hour often gives us a starting place, which we love and often reinforces what they have heard at home. Anyway, this week's message was that we are to be responsible with our words which reminded me of a lesson I did when my kids were younger.

When my kids were younger I had them memorize this verse from Proverbs 16:24,

" Pleasant words are like honey comb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones."

I talked to them about what pleasant words were and how they also talk about how we say things, with respect and kindness. I then had them try a honey stick and we talked about how sweet those words are and how when we use pleasant words it leaves a sweet taste in their mouth as well as how healing they are to others. I promised that I would be paying attention to their words (including no whining and complaining) and would give them a honey stick ( or m&ms or whatever sweet thing you choose) when I caught them using sweet words.

On the other hand, the Bible says in Ephesians 4:29,

"Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouth."

I equated unwholesome talk with the the taste of apple cider vinegar (or molasses or bitter herbs - whatever the child dislikes) and had them taste it. Unwholesome talk being whatever is mean or unkind, disrepectful, whining or complaining and doesn't build up or heal. I also promised them that I would be listening for any unwholesome talk and that they would get the vinegar if I caught them speaking vinegar words.

I paid extra special attention to the kids talk for the next week or so, leaving the honey and vinegar in plain sight as a reminder that they could choose what kind of words ( and food) they used. I still will ask my kids if they are using honey words or vinegar words and if they are healing or hurting others with their tones or their words.

It's important that we, as parents, also are very careful with the words and tones we are using in our everyday lives. We will be held accountable just as we hold our kids accountable.


I wrote this a couple of years ago but as my kids are heading into the teen years, I am realizing how important this training is in the early years. Now, I can just ask them are those honey words or tones or are they vineagar tones and words. It is a quick reminder for my kids to get a hold of their tongue quickly.

Friday, September 03, 2010

Homeschool Fun

Making a worm habitat.

Mapping the neighborhood to show how maps are made.

Candy clay map.

Coloring paper dolls from around the world - showing that God loves the whole world.

Documenting the back yard habitat.

It's important to have fun in school. It makes such great memories and sometimes they are learning while having fun. I love MFW for that very reason - they schedule fun into the curriculum. I love that - scheduled fun while learning. Does it get any better than that? I don't think so. Oh, to make it more palatable to our teacher sensibilities, technically, it's hands-on activities - not fun.

I may change the scheduled fun activity a bit or tweak it, but because it's scheduled in, I feel compelled to follow the TM and make time for it even if the floor needs washed or laundry folded. Sometimes, I need the reminder to do something fun and that kids often learn more from the fun activities ( ummm, hands-on activities) than from when I am reading to them or are having them narrate ( shocking, I know!).

My kids have played, I mean worked, for hours now with some candy clay I made to make globes and maps of the 7 continents and an accurate map of the street. I have planned dinner, made muffins, called a friend and am now wasting time on the computer. We love learning.

If you are home schooling , or even if you are not, mix learning with fun, you'll be amazed at the results.


Wednesday, September 01, 2010

"Let me fry you an egg"...

This spring, I heard Susan Wise Bauer of the Well Trained Mind, speak at the Midwest Homeschool Convention on the things that her parents did really right and did not do as well. One of the things that caught my attention was how her Mom dealt with melt-downs. We all have them and sometimes, our kids have them. This is different than continual whining or complaining which needs to be disciplined (see post below). This is the, "I just can't seem to get control and I know I'm in the wrong but I just can't do it" melt down. All three of my kids had one of these today. I knew it was coming because we are three weeks into school and haven't had one yet so we were due. Susan Wise Bauer's mom, Jessie used to ask her kids, " Do you need a sandwich? A walk? A shower or do you need to take a nap?" ( or something to that extent) when they were in the midst of a melt-down. Growing up, my dad used to ask if he could "fry you up an egg". Either way, sometimes we need to take a moment and help our kids learn to handle these melt-downs. Taking care of our physical needs can sometimes put a screeching halt in these melt-downs.

For younger elementary kids, tell them "We need to get self-control over our emotions and then we'll take a break for a minute" Maybe go outside and run around for a couple of minutes and then get them a snack and try school again. For older kids, ask them to get self-control and allow them to go to their rooms to do that if needed and then have them take a walk or a run and have a snack and maybe move on to another subject for awhile and then hit the hard subject after a bit. Connor often needs a walk outside and success at something else and then he can look at the subject with a clear head. Oh and don't forget to give them a hug and let them know that it'll be okay.

I found this to work in hard discipline days too. Sometimes we just need to break the cycle and get control. A step away from the emotions can often be just the breakthrough needed.

I needed a nap today. Caileigh needed a hug and a snack, Collin needed a hug and to play with Holly and Connor needed to go to his room and then switch to something different for a bit. We all made it and school ended on a successful and positive note. Whew!


Monday, August 16, 2010

Eternal Perspective on Grammar (who knew)

Connor started Rod and Staff English today and lo and behold in the first lesson, both Connor and I were shocked to learn 1.) The Bible talks about word usage and word understanding. 2.) That learning grammar and writing skills had eternal value. I can firmly tell you that I was totally in the dark about that fact as was my son.

We learned that Speaking and Writing are important contributions to God's Kingdom. We must be able to tell others about Jesus and that words must be understandable to be beneficial (I Cor 14:9, 19). Writing can encourage believers, even generations upon generations, with their future hope (Rev 14:13). We looked up several more verses that related to this topic ( I didn't even know some of these existed) and then discussed some of the authors that Connor enjoys and their impact on Christianity. Take for example C.S. Lewis, Oswald Chambers or even Max Lucado. If these greats of the Christian faith could not put an intelligible, interesting and grammatically correct sentence together, would their ministry been as effective. The answer is an obvious no.

The lesson also warned us that God will judge us on our speaking ability (Col. 1:28). We must use words for His glory. Think of the damage that great but evil speakers have done to our world, Hitler or Darwin and conversely what Godly speakers have done like Billy Graham or Abraham Lincoln.

I was amazed at the eternal perspective that an otherwise simple English lesson taught Connor and I today. Who knew?

Connor then ended the lesson with, "Ah man, now I really have to do grammar because of the eternal perspective. What a shame."


Sunday, August 15, 2010

Family Reunion

A few pictures from the Family Reunion. We had a great time with Scott's family but now it's time to get ready for school.

We made a new schedule for school and new chore charts and are starting a rolling start with an official start on the 23rd.

I can't believe summer's almost done.


Saturday, July 10, 2010

The Messiest Art Party Ever!

The twins had a great 9th Birthday. On their actual birthday we have always made it a tradition that Scott takes Collin for a "boys" birthday treat and I take Caileigh for a "girls" day. Whatever grandparents are here get to go as well. This year Scott, Vic and the boys went to Boondocks to play mini golf, lasar tag and bumper boats and Mo, Alex, and Caileigh and I went for tea and then a visit to the American Girl store. All of us had a great time at our respective events. This allows the twins to have a time focused on each of them, then they have a blow-out huge party with all their friends. This year we had a "Messy Art Party" which was so fun!

I made two kinds of cupcakes and then Caileigh and I made moldable chocolate clay and candy clay for each guest to decorate their cupcakes with and then eat and enjoy. We had spray paint art, sand art, chalk art, confetti balloons, face painting, painting inside the castle and hat decorating. It was amazingly fun!

I can't believe my babies are 9. They are more precious to me as each year passes. They are fantastic young people and I can't wait to see what God has for them. Happy Birthday Loves!


Thursday, July 01, 2010

Just a quick note to say that summer is a great time to work on some of those character traits that we don't always have time for in the school year. I usually pick one or two traits and find a Proverbs for them to write and memorize and give extra marbles for the marble jar for when they show these traits. When they have 20 marbles, we may go to a movie (many AMC theatres have really cheap kid movies on Wed mornings), go swimming, pick out a new book or go have ice cream.

Some of the things we work on may be:

Obeying right away, not saying, "but Mom..." (I hate that), picking up after themselves, having a good attitude on chores, getting along with siblings etc.

Proverbs has verses to cover all of that! It's like the author of the book knew us so well that He gave us specific guidelines! : )

Summer is also a great time to work on things like cooking, doing laundry (from beginning to end), mowing lawns, putting toys away and those life skills that will be handy when school rolls around again.

Mine are working on keeping the kitchen clean (like Mom likes it) and laundry from beginning to end. Somehow Caileigh and Connor know how to do these but sneaky Collin has slid by without these skills. Not any longer, to his chagrin.


Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Bragging Rights

I just wanted to brag on my family for a moment. They are so incredible and I wanted to take a moment and share that. So please, forgive a Mom's and wife's proud brag.

Collin is an amazing little man. He can be as ornery as a mule with a sly little smile and with an evil grin he will take you down at table football or soccer or miniature golf - just ask Mr. Vic. He is also one of the sweetest guys with a heart that loves to tell others about Jesus. I was giving the kids my goodnight call while I was on a trip and he asks, "Mommy, can I pray for you? You are working so hard and I want to pray over you." My eyes misted over as he prayed protection and blessing over me. Collin always wants to do what is right and just and fair and he will let you know if you are not doing what is right (poor Caileigh gets this a lot). I can't wait to see what God has planned for his life.

Caileigh just cracks me up. She is a party waiting to happen at any moment in time. She is a bright spot in the day of everyone she meets, rarely has a frown and will give you her last dime. She has grown and matured so much in this last year and has really tried, "to do the right thing", which is really hard for this quick witted, curious, independent little girl. She makes friends at the blink of an eye and forgives and forgets offenses as quickly. She loves with her whole heart, soul and being.

Happy Father's Day to my wonderful husband. This summer, I have been doing some traveling to a few home school conventions and while I am gone, Scott has picked up the kid slack. I am so grateful to have a husband who will gladly take the kids and all their activities and just run with it. He never makes me feel that I am not doing my job at home and is always happy and willing to hang with the kids. I am so blessed to have him.

Connor is one of the most gentle and kind young men I have ever known. I am so proud of my young man. He held, talked and played with this 4 month old baby girl for a long time at a barbeque. Kids were running around and playing and Connor sat there rocking on the swing and loved on this baby. He can talk and play with kids his age too but I love his sweet spirit and his heart for little ones. His little cousins love him because he's never too busy to play with them. Someday he will make an amazing Dad, just like his amazing Dad.


Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Canyon Vacation

The family at the Grand Canyon - minus Miss Mo because heights are not her favorite things.
The beginning of the red rock terrain which was to last for the next 6 days.

Bryce Canyon National Park - amazing. The kids with their beloved Alex.
The kids memorializing all the Westerns filmed in Monument Valley. They crack me up!

Brighty, the famous Grand Canyon Donkey, which conveniently had a book written about it by Marguerite Henry and sold at the gift shop. See, school is everywhere

Scott switched jobs and had a week of floating holidays to use or lose so we grabbed the kids and the Gulas family (our adopted grandparents and Aunt, whom we love with all our hearts) and headed to Arizona and Utah for a 6 day tour of 5 National Parks. It finished out our school year and was a great time.

On a parenting note, it really pays to teach your kids that they are best friends and are to love each other more than themselves. We drove a lot and didn't have one cross word, one argument or fight the entire time between them. It was amazing. I am so proud of them. Scott and I had more cross words then they did. ( Hey, it happens) I find that this is one of those unforeseen benefits of home schooling, they don't know that they aren't supposed to like each other. We have also taken a firm stand on this, if they can't get along with each other then they lose the privilege of being with outside friends. We have only had to enforce this once or twice but we really want them to have a close, life long friendship. (Cause otherwise, all family Disney vacations won't be as fun)



Caileigh rocks at soccer. It's amazing how much concentration she can put into this. It's one of the few places she does.

Connor turned 12 and saved enough money between his own savings and birthday money to buy a 32 gig i-touch. He is a very happy boy.

Caileigh has really found the joy of reading this year. She reads everywhere just like her big brother and Mom.

Every spring the town floods the streets while checking the fire hydrants. This is one of my kids favorite indicators of summer coming.

Easter morning with Alex. Daddy was plaing in the orchestra at church so we met him there.

Collin running his heart out at soccer. The boy has a serious desire to win. He scored his first goal and Daddy took us out to see a movie to celebrate!