Saturday, June 30, 2012

A Little Perspective

Yesterday my gratitude list included
Air conditioning, electricity, and water.
Today I was grateful for safety.
I am blessed that adversity
Enables me to be thankful
For grace.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Summer Days

I always start summer with a grand plan.  This year I have hopes of art, novels and field trip.  So far, we've done a lot of swimming.  No complaints there.  The local swimming pool offers a family membership for $125 and we've already gotten our money's worth.  We are so thankful for an area pool that is clean, safe and fun.

We've  also spent time at our library.  The public library runs a reading program that includes incentives for reading and weekly activity programs.  All of us are taking part in the reading program. H13 has already completed her requirements with 40+ hours of reading.  K15 has completed 15+ hours of reading.  S10 and M7 are about half way through their requirements.   H13, S10 & M7 have enjoyed the activity programs learning about nocturnal animals and night photography.

Since returning from vacation, we've spent time daily weeding the garden and taking care of the animals.  Our ten turkeys arrived the week after vacation and 115 chicks arrived this week.  The turkeys are already starting to feather.  The chicks are a mixture of Araucana and Rhode Island Reds.  The Araucanas have markings that make them resemble chipmunks.  We'll enjoy watching them for the next four weeks or so until they stop looking like cute chicks and become chickens.

H13 and I are working on some summer reading beginning with Frankenstein.  S10 is tackling The Lord of the Rings trilogy after ripping through The Hobbit in a few days.  M7 isn't so interested in reading but she spent last week at soccer camp honing her skills.  She has plans to be a professional soccer player so her time is well spent.

Coming soon we have 4-H camp. S10 and H13 will be spending a week at camp while M7 will have her first over night camp experience.  Our anticipated field trips include a visit to Blennerhassett Island and the outdoor drama Tecumseh! I'm also hoping to find a Shakespeare performance for us to attend nearby. We'd like to see Taming of the Shrew or one of the historical plays.

No matter what happens for the rest of the summer you can bet we will be enjoying every one of our summer days.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Moments Like This

Today on the way to church, I had one of those moments when the curtains are drawn back and everything becomes crystal clear.   In an instant, I found myself, for just an instant, able to see how divorce seems like an option.  My moment occurred when, on the way to church this morning, my beloved husband uttered the words, "Your van smells like cat piss."

For me, the comment about the smell of my van was a source of irritation.  I had to take a deep breath and then say a quick prayer that the Lord would help me find something to be thankful about in this situation. 

I was able to list:
I never have to worry about not being able to recognize a gas leak as long as my husband is around with his super-sensitive smeller
My stuffed up nose was a blessing if the car truly did have that odor
No one else was complaining or gagging
My well-used van was running and able to take us to church even if the odor wasn't desirable
The windows worked and the day was beautiful for a breezy ride to church
My super-sensitive smeller husband was going to church with me in my stinky van

Admittedly, the last one was a bit hard to come to.  And in that moment, the moment where I had to stop and search for gratitude for the man that I married, I realized that THIS is how divorce happens.

In my life, comment about the smell of my van, while momentarily irritating is, over a relatively short time, buried under positive interactions.  Those interactions happen with my husband, with my children, with the world around us.  I don't really have time to dwell on the smell because there is too much rapid fire good coming down the road.  But, if I didn't have all that good, it would be all too easy to dwell on the smell.

I am so thankful that my husband is loving.  I am thankful that his positive comments outweigh his negative comments.  I am thankful that I'm able to put the irritating comments into perspective and move on.  I'm also thankful that for just a moment I got a clear vision  of how important my reactions are in shaping my world. 

Please, don't misunderstand, I'm not saying that with a little positive thinking all relationship problems can be solved.  This morning, my choice to be thankful created a day for which I could easily be thankful.  I am thankful that, more often than not, the choice is mine.  I am thankful for the moments like this that remind me how important it is to be grateful for all good and to think on these things.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Weekly Recap: The First Week of SUMMER!

This week we slept late, went to the pool twice, had several doctors appointments and began getting ready for vacation.  Summer is looking great!

The kids got their CAT scores back and everyone is fine for next year.  I'll be getting those copied and sent in to the appropriate people tomorrow.   Finalizing the paper work really brings our year to a wonderful close.

Here are our highs and lows:

High - Not having school.
Low - Nothing.

High - The pool and meeting Dustin.
Low - The rain today so we couldn't go swimming.

High - Being lazy.
Low - I don't have one.

High - Summer.
Low - Having warts removed.

High - Finishing the gift for my sister's birthday.
Low - Not being able to find an affordable kennel for my dogs.

Curriculum 2011-2012: A Year in Review

Just for the record, I want to spend a few minutes reflecting on what worked and what needed more work.  Hopefully, this will help us with our choices in the future and give information to others that might help their curriculum selections.


The Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading
Rod & Staff English 2
Prima Latina
Chemistry for Christian Kids
Story of the World 3
Math on the Level
Singapore Math 2A & 2B

Overall, M7 had a great year.  She is now an independent reader and loves math.  The change from Math on the Level to Singapore Math surprised me but it's a good fit for her.  She loves workbooks, brightly colored pages and seeing how much she has done and how much is left.  Singapore is a great fit for her.  Prima Latina was also a good fit for her.  As the year went on SOTW became easier and more interesting for her.
Rod & Staff English 4
Spelling Power
Writing Strands 2
Latina Christiana
Chemistry for Christian Kids
Story of the World 3
Math on the Level
Life of Fred Fractions

The big hits for S9 this year were Writing Strands and SOTW.  History is by far his favorite subject.  Another successful thing this year was keeping all his work in a spiral bound notebook.  This year he also wrote summaries and recommendations for his assigned reading.  Next year we are going to add a breakdown of literary elements.

We totally dropped the ball on Spelling Power.  I like the program but somehow it never seems to get done.

Analytical Grammar
Spelling Power
Writing Strands 4
Latina Christiana
Chemistry for Christian Kids
Story of the World 3
Math on the Level
Algebra I from Great Courses

H12 loved Analytical Grammar and her Algebra professor James Sellers.  Latina Christiana got the job done and we stuck with it all year.  Giving her reading assignments related to our history topics and having her write summaries was a great way to play to her strengths.  While H12 loves to write, we need to find a way to focus her gift.