Monday, December 19, 2011

Disney Cruise

For our 15th Anniversary, Connor's 13th Birthday and the twins turning 10, we decided to go on a Disney vacation complete with a cruise.  It was a once in a lifetime kind of trip and was so worth it!  Our beloved Mr. Vic came on the cruise with us and that made it even more magical!

Here's a few pictures:

In the port, so very excited to get onto the boat where they announce your entire family as you cross the thresh hold.

The first hidden Mickey on the way to our cabins.

The absolutely beautiful chandelier, just an example of the beauty of the ship.

Through out the ship, there were lcd panels that looked like pictures until you passed them and they moved. With a detective pass you could find all the lcd panels and pass your badge over them and it would reveal a hidden mystery.  We certainly got our exercise as we ran over all 11 decks.

 The kids area- no parents allowed!

 Mr. Vic and Scott dressing for the Pirate Party.

 The kids bunks in the cabin.  So fun!

The Sailing Away Party on the Family Pool Deck complete with the Aquaduck, the slide that went over the ship!

Mr. Vic's cabin and the animal towel that the hospitality staff made nightly.

 Scott's favorite spot on Castaway Cay, Disney's private island. 

I love the beach and Goofy!

Mr. Vic and Caileigh headed off to snorkel in the bay and find all the hidden Mickey statues under the water.

One of my most favorite things, the dual waterslides into the ocean!

At the Royal Palace for dinner everything is royal, even the bread baskets.


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Thankful Cloth

When the kIds were little, we used to make turkeys and write all the things we were thankful for on the feathers. The kids refuse to do that now that they are so huge, so we are going to have a thankful cloth. I saw this idea in the Focus on the Family magazine. You take a Thanksgiving Tablecoth and each person writes what they are thankful for each Thanksgiving and you have a written record of God's yearly blessings and providence.

I am actually going to run out now and buy one!

P.s. Kohl's has Thanksgiving Tablecloths on sale!


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Balance part 2

Balance in Homeschool

One of the best things about homeschooling is that you can tailor each child's education to that particular child. One of the worst things about homeschooling is that you have to know or at least take a pretty good guess about what individual child needs. The shocking thing is that I don't always get it right the first time. This thought haunts me at night and keeps me searching message boards, reading yet another book and buying even more curricula looking for just the right one. I will admit that a good 70% of my time is either spent actually homeschooling, reading about homeschooling, talking about homeschooling or thinking about homeschooling. This might qualify as an obsession.

The first several months of the school year is spent just trying everything out, the next in evaluating how everything is working, by January I have changed several things and then it is time to start thinking about the next year.

I always start the year overly ambitious and add on too many things, by mid September I am taking things off the kids schedule. As I spoke about in Balance part 1, I have been trying to add in some balance to my life and I have had to take a seriously look at some of our academic choices so that both the kids and I can achieve a little more balance. The first thing I had to do was take a long hard look at where Caileigh and Collin are. They are only 10 and in the current pattern they would graduate very early. I had to take a serious look at how much I would have to push in the next couple of years to be able to have them ready for high school and after a struggle with my pride I talked to Scott about giving them an extra year in middle school. Scott sees things so much more calmly. I thought I was sharing some earth shattering news and he just said, "that seems like a good idea, that way they can off to college at 18. They would finish the history cycle like you want before high school wouldn't they?". I replied, "yes", and the conversation was over with a "Good thinking, honey". I stopped pushing the twins quite so hard and school has gone smoother and I am at a lot more peace with that decision.

I have had to think about Connor's schooling as well. I have had to think about where we want him academically and what we actually need to do to accomplish that. I have had to balance the academic workload to the extra-curricular activities that we deem important: piano, karate, and Bible Bowl. I also need to give the poor boy time to read a fun book, to play with his brother and sister and to hang out with his friends. Life cannot be academics alone. ( I know, those of you who know me well are asking yourselves if I am feeling okay..)

For me, balance requires me to stop pushing so hard but for others balance might be pushing a little harder. When I worked at a Focus on the Family, Dr Dobson always said, "Be a student of your spouse and your children.". I find this to be so true, when I become a student of my kids I become more cognizant of what they need, not what I want. I learn to balance academics with outside life and give all of us a little down time. I schedule a fun activity at least once a day and I make sure I play with them.

I am working hard at being what God wants me to be and to be the wife, mom, teacher and friend that He desires me to be. Apparently, that means that I have to be more balanced and not as driven. It is hard for me but I do have to admit that home has been a more peaceful, fun place to be.


Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Balance part 1

Sometimes, it is hard to find balance.  Balance between the have -to and want- to.  Balance between being a Mom and a Homeschool Mom.  Balance between being a Mom and a Wife.  Balance between work and play.  This year, I have found that I am not so great at balance.

This year has felt like a year of all work and no play.  There are some key areas that I have found lacking in my life.  Areas that I have let go and they have cost me.  God has been really dealing with me heart in the matter of balance and showing me areas in which my pride and my lack of balance is wrong and is costing me.

The first area that God has shown me that I have been seriously lacking balance has been in my marriage.  Everything is mostly fine but this year has the one of the first years that I have not felt that deep connection to my husband and it has been my fault.  I was so focused on making sure everything else was running on all cylinders that I let my husband fall from my top priority list.  I even forgot my Anniversary this year until Scott reminded me and it was my 15th!  ( I know, I know, so horrible!) As the end of September rolled around, I realized just how big of a problem this could potentially be.  At first, I blamed my husband, cause that is so much easier than taking the blame myself.  Then God grabbed me by my collar and kept me up all night.  In order to finally go to sleep, I promised that I would try the "Love Dare".  I knew we had it in the house and it would be a tangible way of putting my husband first in my time.  It was amazing just how quickly my marriage and my attitude changed after putting my husband first.  I think there is a Bible verse about that somewhere....

I remembered all that advice I give to young Mom and new homeschoolers about taking time to date your spouse and I made time.  They haven't been big dates but little ones to go get ice cream or go dream big about where we want to be or even just have a quick dinner at Wahoo's.  We have had a great time and have re-connected in those quiet minutes.

Balance is hard to find but I am going to strive to attain it.   Next, balance in homeschooling...


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Let it Snow!

It's snowing! It is supposed to snow a bunch! I made Scott open the curtains so I could watch it fall to the ground. I know by March that I will be far less excited about snow but the first snow of the season is a joyous event. That it is supposed to be a substantial snow makes it even more exciting.

Let it snow!

Thursday, October 06, 2011

My Little Man

My Little Man is curious - within reason.

My Little Man is so very handsome.  I love his curls.  He doesn't like them as much.

My Little Man is an explorer, again within reason.  His cautious soul keeps he and his sister out of trouble.

My Little Man loves his big brother.  They are best buds, which is something we have worked long and hard at.

My Little Man puts up with his crazy and annoying Mom.  

My Little Man only puts up with so much annoyance and then he's done.  Be warned.

My Little Man loves to test his theories and wants to make sure he is right.

Collin is my snuggle buddy, the first one to sense if Mom is sad or worried or tired.  He's the first one to give me a hug and tell me that I am beautiful.  He is also the first one to tell me if he thinks I am wrong. Particularly if I don't agree him.  He also has a bit of Tom Sawyer in him.  I think he convinced Caileigh and Connor to do his laundry for several months before I figured out what he was doing.  Collin wants to do what is right.  He is black and white and detailed.  He loves God and is working on tempering judgement with mercy.  Collin is the most like his Daddy which makes me smile as they talk Star Wars, or walk along or agree that we extroverts are out of control.  Collin is competitive, he is a force to behold on a soccer field or anything that involves Mr. Vic.  They have a longstanding rivalry.  Collin is diligent but might like to rub that fact in his sisters nose.  Collin is protective, you do not want to mess with those he deems as his.  His sister, his Mom, his friends, his Daddy, his brother and his Miss Mo.

Happy 10th year Little Man, even several months late.  I love you and am so glad you are mine.


Saturday, August 20, 2011

Goal setting

Each year we set new goals for our kids in three areas - spiritual, personal and academic. It helps us to be deliberate in training our kids to be purposeful in our parenting for we know that every moment counts. We know that we now have less years with our kids in our home than we have already had and that reminds us again to be purposeful. We want our kids to be prepared academically, spiritually, and with the necessary life skills to be ready for whatever God has for them later.

And honestly, looking at these sweet faces, aren't they worth the extra thought and planning it takes to be deliberate?

For more info as to how to set up goals, see my blog on Family Purpose.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Friday, August 05, 2011

Created to be Unique -

Every summer I see yards that are beautifully manicured, every flower is in the perfect place, every bush has been planned out to make a harmonious whole. At least once each summer I think, "I need to put more of an effort into our yard, my flower beds should look like that". There are people that I pass that I think that too. "I should put more of an effort to be that put together. I could be more stylish, more tailored.". In the end though, whether it's because I am too lazy or that's just not my style, I grow to appreciate what I have and who I am. My flowers reminded me of that this evening.

Once upon a time, I planted these flowers in our front flower bed. I don't think I even paid attention to whether they were annuals or perennials. They were pretty, so I planted them. Every year since then, they come back all over the yard. They come back in strength and number each year and in the most surprising places. Each year, I get excited to see where they are going to crop up next. They weren't planned, they aren't supposed to grow alongside the sidewalk but they do and I love that. It makes smile. They are a little wild and unruly but they are pink and burgundy and white and are going to grow whether you like it or not. My backyard is like that too, a little overgrown and unruly but so very peaceful. It's me and in the end, I feel comfortable and content there.

Caileigh came out while I was pondering all of this and I just once more wanted to remind her that she was created to be unique, she's not like anyone else and God has a special and unique plan for her life. There may be others who are more polished, or manicured or prettier(not that I think that's possible, I find her to be beautiful) or have a better schedule or may be a better cook but that God made her special and unique, just the way He wanted her to be.

As Moms, I think we often compare ourselves to other Moms to our detriment. God made us unique and He gave us unique children who need us. Not someone else but us, and with His help we can be the Mom, the wife, the friend, the daughter that we need to be. I often pray that God make me the Mom that my kids need me to be.

I learn so much from other women in my life, how to be a better cook, how to parent better, a great new curricula that will change our lives. I am challenged by great Godly women to manage my home better, to make my husband breakfast and lunch a couple times a week, to speak more respectfully, to say sorry immediately but in the end I am grateful to be me. I can be a better me, but still the unique person God created me to be.

Today, I want to remind us all to be the Mom, wife, friend that God created us to be. Comparisons are odious or odorous as Shakespeare says and God made us to be unique. Be content in being who God made you to be, He doesn't make mistakes.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Tuesday, August 02, 2011


I have finally figured put how to post from my iPad. You might hear more from me now!

School is about to start up in full force in my house so I am working on schedules, chore charts and everyone's yearly goals.

I have also cracked down on any whining and complaining as well as any dawdling that has crept up on us during this summer. I know we will better off if I deal with those issues now rather than waiting for school to begin.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Thursday, July 21, 2011

My Girl

Caileigh and Collin just turned 10 and so I wanted to post a little about each of them. This post is about my girl, the Princess.

My girl is ... dramatic. She doesn't get called dramagirl for nothing.

My girl marches to the beat of her own drum.

My girl loves adrenaline.

My girl is beautiful and her twin is handsome.

My girl loves a new adventure, a new place to explore.

My girl is infinitely curious.

My girl is brave. She will touch anything, including banana slugs which none of the rest of us would.

My girl is silly.

My girl is also kind and loving. She loves little ones and has endless patience with them even though she has no patience in the rest of her life. She is smart and witty and is learning the ancient art of sarcasm, within limits, of course. My girl loves Jesus and wants to help the whole world because He loves the whole world. My girl lives life to the fullest, forgives and forgets quickly. My girl is crafty. I have no idea where that comes from. My girl is learning to control her tongue and her quick anger, not an easy task. My girl is charming and impulsive. She is a delight to be around and brings joy to my life everyday.

Happy 10th Birthday, Caileigh Girl!

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Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Family Ties and the Beach

I've mentioned before how I think that every family should take a road trip to see how their family ties and family relationships are faring. You can see a lot in a 17 day trip in the same car, staying in the same hotel rooms with an occasional stay at family members. You see the good, the bad and the ugly, clearly in very close range. Our family desperately needed the togetherness and mostly we saw great things in our kids and the relationships between the three kids.

When our kids were younger we worked very hard at making sure that they were friends. We made sure they treated each other with respect, talked kindly to each other and loved each other better than they loved themselves. In those early years we stressed that if you could not be kind and loving to your siblings then you were not allowed to have play dates with your friends. We stressed that we are to give our best to our family and our friends. We talk respectfully to each other in our home and if we don't we say sorry. We work out conflict with words and we look for the sin in our own hearts before accusing another. We outlawed tattle telling unless it was a case of personal danger ( we had to put that rule into place because Caileigh was likely to do something crazy and I needed to know). If our kids are having a conflict they know it is better to work it out themselves before Mom has to step in. I usually wait until they clearly can't compromise before I step in but then there serious consequences if Mom has to step in for all involved. Yes, the kids have conflicts and they disagree but they are quick to resolved the issue and move on.

We can see the fruit showing in their relationships with each other. Even squished in a seat, sharing the same room and having only each other to talk and play with for the majority of the vacation, they showed such sweet patience and love with each other.

I saw this shown even as Caileigh was picking out her birthday present. She was trying to decide whether to get a scooter that was pink or one that was black and red. Caileigh chose the black and red one because she wanted to be able to share with her brothers and she didn't want them to look silly on a pink one. We had to get the pink one because it was the only one left, so I told Caileigh that the boys would just have to be secure in their manliness and ride the pink one anyway, but I really appreciated her thoughtful heart.

Do the work early, when they are still in the toddler and pre-school years and you will see the fruit in later years.


Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Summer Craziness

Okay, so I know I haven't posted in well, forever, but I have several very good excuses.

1.  I can't figure out why my lovely i-pad won't let me post.  I had several very witty posts planned while I was off at a convention but I couldn't get it to work.  Technology is sometimes my nemesis.

2.  I have been busy.  Really, really busy.  Along with all the at home stuff, I have been speaking and working at homeschool conventions since March.  I love talking and speaking about home schooling and to home schoolers but it does not leave me much free time time when I get home.

3.  I went on a working vacation for several weeks squeezing in two convention in the midst of hanging out with family in the pacific northwest, hanging out at the beach (which was wonderful), sightseeing and just spending much needed time off with my husband and kids.

So, I have a lot of good reasons but I am sorry for not posting in so long.

I think I'll post some pictures of our craziness and maybe you'll forgive me.

  My cousins and I.  Stephanie and Laura both have sets of twins, too!  Somewhere we have pictures of all the twins but I can't find them right now.  I apparently terrorized Steph and Laura with stories when we were kids.  I remember none of that.

Aunt Marci and Uncle Mitch.  Don't they look lovely?  Two seconds before, Uncle Mitch had his finger in her ear and she was sticking out her tongue.  I love them!

 Laura and her husband, Todd.  I love the two pictures together.  Todd said something in his quiet way which just set Laura off laughing.  I love that.  I am not sure why I don't have one of Steph and her husband, Dave.  Did I mention that the two sisters married two brothers and lived back yard to back yard?  We had sooooo much fun hanging out and laughing.

 My Uncle Mitch and Caileigh.  The older I get, the more I realize that Uncle Mitch and I may have similar personalities which scares me.  It also means that he and Caileigh share a similar personality.  Be afraid, very afraid.

8 adults and 10 kids around a campfire making s'mores is chaotic but very fun.

Water fight!

Football was great fun other than the times that the grown-ups (yes, Uncle Mitch, I mean you) ran over the little kids in their quest to win.  No emergency trips had to be made so we were all happy with that.

We had a great time but what I loved most was the camaraderie between family members who all love Jesus, have a great sense of humor and kids who are delightful to be around.  All of them from little to big.  I love being around kids who are well loved but well trained, they are a blessing.  My kids fit right in and had a wonderful time.  I think we'll have to plan many more cousin parties.