Friday, September 27, 2013

We Have Arrived!

Today we reach a major milestone, Lyle and I. Our children are both now legally adults. We have successfully raised them. We take full credit, of course, for the beautiful young ladies they have turned out to be. And now, we are done. We can sit back and enjoy our empty nest, basking in the satisfaction of a job well done....
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Oh! Except for one thing... they actually do still live with us, so our nest isn't really empty.

Oh! And another thing... I still have the rest of this school year to homeschool.

Oh, yeah. And they still ask us for advice. Several times a day usually. They don't always choose to follow our advice. But they do ask.

And I worry about them. Especially when they are out and about with their friends. Or driving home from work late at a night on dark country roads.

I fret about the future. Where will they be in 5 years? 10?

Come to think of it, I'm not sure I'm ready for them to be all grown up. But here we are.

And our parenting job isn't really over.

And we really can't take credit for the beautiful young ladies they truly are. That credit has to go to God for the wisdom He was so gracious to provide every time we asked. And to friends and family who have so faithfully come alongside us over the years.

We are blessed.
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Happy 18th birthday, Sweet Becky!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

An Exceptional Mother

Going through old family pictures lately, I liked this one of my mother and her daughters taken about 1974. (I especially like how my bright blue socks coordinate so well with my yellow and white dress! Probably there was some minuscule speck of blue in the floral pattern that I thought the socks "matched.")

I have an exceptional mother... and that's not just my opinion, many of my friends tell me so. One of the things I most appreciate and admire about her is how much she has always enjoyed her children. She had 5 of us in 5 years (with a set of twins, as you can see-- so we were spaced about a year-and-a-half apart). We usually lived in small houses and things were often chaotic, so it's hard for me to imagine actually enjoying having 5 little kids underfoot. You would think she would be relieved to send us off to school so she could actually get things done, but she wasn't. She actually liked having us home, and dreaded to see school start in the fall. Homeschooling wasn't a "thing" in the 1970s, or she probably would have done that.

And now, she's an exceptional grandmother. My kids call her almost daily. I wonder if the other 9 grandchildren do, too. She always has time to listen to their most trivial news or to offer advice. Laura has learned that if Mom doesn't know, Grammy likely will. I want to be like that when I grow up.

Happy birthday, Mother! We love and appreciate you!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

New Crochet Projects

I love to try out new crochet patterns, especially smaller projects that work up quickly and are easy to take along in the car. Here are some new wash cloths and pot holders I experimented with this summer. Now available in my Etsy shop... just in time for early Christmas shopping!

What are your favorites? I always like to get input on colors and styles.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Late Summer Camping

Setting up camp. 
The highlight of the weekend:
4-wheeling with friends.
My view:
Looking over the shoulder of my Driving Man.
Deep woods creek. 
Our camp site at night.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Co-op Classes

Our once-a-week homeschool co-op started this week. I think it's going to be a great year!

Each student has the opportunity to take up to 3 classes per 8-week trimester. Becky's classes for this fall are: Science, Guitar, and Home Ec. I'm glad she has the opportunity to do her science labs in a classroom setting... and guitar's not something I could teach her at all. She took guitar last year, too, and really enjoyed it, so is happy to get to continue it. Home Ec is mostly just for fun, but I expect she'll learn a lot in that class, as well. This first week the girls made no-bake cookies. Yum!

Each parent is required to teach at least 2 classes per year. Silly me agreed to teach 2 classes this trimester. I don't know what I was thinking!

Yes, I do. I love teaching, and I'd just as soon teach as assist in a class. So I'm teaching a teen lit class on The Lord of the Rings trilogy (one book per trimester), and I'm also teaching a preschool lit class. I have to admit that having those classes back-to-back was pretty intense this week, but now that I've gotten to know the kids a little I'll know better how to plan for next week.

I have 9 students in my Lord of the Rings class. I had assigned reading to do before the first class, and I was so proud that every single student came to class having done their homework. They are very enthusiastic about this series. Honestly, I agreed to teach this class because several were begging for it after my Hobbit class last year, and not because it's my favorite genre of literature. Not surprisingly, the kids know way more trivial details about Middle Earth than I ever cared to know. However, I think we'll have great class discussions using the Progeny Press study guide to bring in scriptural applications to the story.

My preschool class theme is "Storybook Friends." There are 8 little ones in this class. Some are 3 and some are 4, and the difference between the two ages is very obvious. It's amazing the difference one year makes in attention span at that age. The children are adorable, though, even if they are wiggly. It's been years since I've worked with preschoolers, so I'm really looking forward to it. My storybook theme this week was Curious George. I read Curious George and Curious George Takes a Job to the children. I made little "puppets" for each them by printing out bookmarks and gluing "George" to a popsicle stick. The kids loved banging the popsicle stick on the table while we played "Five Little Monkeys Jumpin' on the Bed." I also found an adorable oversize Curious George coloring book at WalMart that I tore apart and distributed among the children. They had fun coloring and/or scribbling depending on their abilities. Next week's theme will be Winnie-the-Pooh.

The fall trimester runs through the months of September and October, then we'll have a two-month break for November and December before the winter trimester starts up in January. I'm sure it will go by fast.

I'm trying to savor each moment of my last year of homeschooling.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Sunday Afternoon Drive

When the most-thoughtful-husband-ever surprises his wife with a new camera...
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...(which she "needs" for blogging purposes, of course)...
... he should just naturally expect to be asked to take her for a scenic drive...
 ...on a sunny Sunday afternoon in September...
...just to try it out.
 Don't you think?
Then when he cooks supper on the backyard grill just as the sun is setting...

...that's what I call a pretty good day!

{For those of you to whom the technical details matter: 
My new camera is a Nikon Coolpix L820 with a 30x optical zoom. 
I am very happy to have it!}

Friday, September 6, 2013

Around the Place

My mums are in bloom. 
It seems a little early, but I'm not complaining. 
They are beautiful.
 The Girls are looking more matronly all the time. 
Peony is the prettiest, in my opinion. 
More importantly, we appreciate their diligent egg production.
The sunflowers are beginning to fade. 
It will be interesting to see how many make seeds that we can roast. 
We have several varieties, and they don't all make edible seeds.
The leaves on the Japanese Maple tree in our front yard are getting darker. 
They'll soon begin to fall.

It's definitely September!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

44 Years Ago

About lunchtime today, I got an interesting text message from one of my aunts. She asked if I knew the address of the house my family lived in back in 1969.

I was 3.

Now... I do have a pretty good memory. And I remember quite a few things from when I was 3. But the address of the house we lived in is not one of them.

Another aunt and uncle were trying to find the house, but couldn't remember the address. I suggested asking Mother. They had already done that. She didn't remember either.

We moved away from there that year and don't really have connections there anymore, so I couldn't figure out why they wanted to know.

As it happens, this particular aunt is my Dad's sister. She visited my parents there as a young single lady in 1969. And this particular uncle is my Mother's brother. He was in college there in 1969. And so... my parents played matchmaker. Uncle Keith and Aunt 'Nette had their first date from our house in that small Indiana town 44 years ago today.
 I wasn't much help on their search. All I could remember was that our house had a big front porch and an upstairs. I remember playing on the porch with my twin sisters and baby brother.
Sometimes teen girls from our church would come and take us for a walk.

Later my aunt texted back that they had found the house! I guess they kinda knew the neighborhood well enough to drive around until they found it. So they got an address.
I immediately headed for Google Earth and found a picture of the house as it is now. I thought it was interesting to see how the street and sloping driveway match in the pictures. The tree is different... and a building is gone.

And those sweet little tots? Well, we're all middle-aged now.

Ain't technology grand? Betcha they couldn't done this 44 years ago!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Late Summer Fragments

Lately I've been so busy living and taking care of other business that I haven't taken time to blog.

 And that's too bad, because I really do miss it. It seems the longer I go without blogging the more out-of-the-habit I become, and I think it's time to fix that right now!
It's been a lovely summer... and now that Labor Day has passed and the weather has begun to feel more like fall, I am looking forward to shifting gears and enjoying my very last year of homeschooling. This is year #16 for me. It has gone by so fast.

Becky said the other day, "Mom, I can't believe I'm going to be a senior. Can you?"

No, honey, I really can't.

[sniff]

It's all good, though. It really is.

***

This past Saturday we got to go to Silverwood for the second time this summer. Amusement parks have never been our thing, but since Laura worked there this year we've had the opportunity to go for free. That has been a new adventure for us.
This time we wanted to try out some of the rides we didn't get to when we went earlier. Our first ride of the day was the ferris wheel which is where I took this picture. The ferris wheel is a good ride. I like it.

What I do not like is roller coasters. I had ridden one a few times years ago and never really just loved it, but I was persuaded to try it again. See the big, long one to the left? The high part of it is all the way to the back. It's a really long one. That's the one I was talked into trying. I thought it might be a little bit fun. But it wasn't. At least not for me. 

I squinched my eyes shut and buried my face against the strong, steady shoulder next to me, and I didn't open 'em again until the car came to a complete stop at the end. At one point my backside actually lost contact with the seat of the "car" and I thought I would surely fall out and go crashing to my death. But the seat belt and safety bar... plus that strong, steady hand I was hanging onto for dear life... kept me securely in place. 

Lyle actually loved it, but then you probably figured that out. He's always all about speed. 

"Never-ever again," I told him as we disembarked.

"Never?" he asked in disbelief.

"Nope," I said confidently. "Was not fun."

Laura's with me on that, so she and I visited one of the shops and then sat and people-watched while Lyle and Becky tried another roller coaster.

Anyway, the people-watching is great fun!

***

Other August activities have included:
  • Early morning quiet times on the back deck. I've enjoyed our crop of volunteer sunflowers. We had 3 or 4 plants last year. We didn't plant any this year, but they kinda took over the garden spot anyway. 
  • A camping trip up the river, just the four of us. It was a very laid-back, low-key kind of camping trip, but it was good to get away and catch up as a family.
  • Berry picking. This summer I've picked strawberries, huckleberries, and blueberries. Just wish I knew where to find a blackberry patch. They're my favorite!
  • Riding lessons for Becky. It's been so neat for her to finally get some hands-on experience with a real horse after years and years of being passionately interested in them.
  • Cook-outs in the back yard with family and friends. We enjoy outdoor living during this time of year.
  • Sunday afternoon drives with my sweetheart.
  • Crocheting. I've been re-stocking my Etsy shop for the Christmas shopping season. It will be interesting to see what sells.
  • Lesson planning. Not only for my own homeschool but also for the homeschool co-op we participate in. I'll be teaching two literature classes. I'm looking forward to it.
And so... that brings you up-to-date on what's been going on here. 

Talk to you again soon!