Thursday, October 31, 2013

Family News Late October

I really do NOT know where the time has flown ... my mind is still mostly stuck back in May, and here it is, mid August Late October.

We've been amazingly tired this summer ... everything seems to take 4 times longer than we plan for it to take, and our enthusiasm is at an all time low.   I wouldn't call it depression ... more like burned out, and when the kids feel burned out, you know the family has been under a lot of stress.   But such is life.  We'll happily take the blessings and keep putting one foot in front of the other, because the important thing is to finish the race God has set before us ... God doesn't mind if we walk slowly, or if He has to carry us.  Just as long as we keep following Him.

I have a ton of pictures to post ... so HOPEFULLY over the next few weeks, I'll catch up with the pictures and you can see what we have done / or didn't do.   So I'll just give highlights of family news.

Tim is working again as a manager for McDonald's.   While reluctant to return, it has been wonderful to expand the food budget.  Other than more variety in our meals, not much has changed.  Tim recently finished volley ball reffing season, and basketball will start up soon.  Unfortunately, often McDonald's schedule prevents him from getting the best paying games.   Tim has been quite exhausted keeping up with his schedule - working 7 days a week - either McDs or reffing.   He still tires rather more quickly since his heart attack, and he's more prone to "snapping".    He's still doing his radio show, and that seems to be the highlight of his week.

Kendra has now published 4 books, and has dozens in various stages of completion.  Her last, The Ankulen, is really good.   It starts off rather flippantly, but by the end, the spiritual depth is amazing.  She still has several classes to finish for her diploma.  For English, she has to write a research paper (she can't decide on the topic - but is open for suggestions).   For Science, she has Biology, Chemistry, and Physics.  For History, she needs to finish Government, American History, and Modern World History.   And for Math, finish her Alg 2 and Trig.   She is my over achiever, and this has slowed her down - the books never tell her enough, and she can turn a 3 week class into a full year without trying!   Recently, we discovered some college history courses offered online for FREE - so instead of doing the high school curriculum (which she still intends to read), she will do the online work as well.   I'm not really worried, she is the type of learner that once she has finished these classes, she will likely be able to CLEP out of many college course if she wants to.  Her main passion is writing books.   She has been babysitting to make extra money - and hopes to get on at McD's or somewhere soon.   She also has been spending more time with her lap harp lately.

Vannan is about halfway through 10th grade, and while Algebra 1 is giving her fits - she tackles the problem until she gets it.   She often redoes a chapter several times.  In other areas, she does quite well.  She has never been my star pupil - but she has an ear for music and loves to play piano and violin as often as she can.   She hasn't been able to get back to her volunteering with horses since she fainted this spring - mostly due to the distance it is from our house and the fact that Tim now works and can't come get her if anything happens again.   On the other hand, she has started working for McDs and has enjoyed having a regular paycheck - though she says it really doesn't go very far.  She puts half of each check into a savings account for an equestrian college that she has her eye on going in 3 or 4 years.   She has a 5 year plan and a less defined 10 year plan, and while she's not really sure where she will go from there - she is determined that horses will be a part of that plan.   We have been praying for her to have more opportunities to work with horses.  Much of the rest of her check goes to pay for her new cell phone and paying relatives to give her a ride (much cheaper than paying for a  car and gas and insurance).

Joel is in 3rd grade.  I can hardly believe that!   He reads almost anything I give to him - especially if it has anything to do with Science.   I would LOVE to give him a Kindle that has a text to speech ability (because he doesn't always pronounce words correctly) - but the new ones do not seem to have the ability.   Between what I've picked up free and what I can get from the online public library - Joel could happily read for several years.   He loves science and history - has a knack for Math and English - but like the rest of the family, struggles with spelling and phonics and penmanship.  Recently, Joel got to go on his SECOND VACATION!   He spent a week at his cousins house with his Aunt Viv.   One of his older cousins took the time to help him put together his helicopter kit - I think that and the board games were the highlights of his visit - and the cooking.   Joel LOVES putting things together - like his legos, art projects from recycled items (I'm constantly cleaning the "trash" out of his room), and digging tunnels outside for his cars.   I wish we had more room for his train tracks.   Joel has recently taken on more chores since turning 8.   He helps wash dishes, cleans the tub after baths, sorts laundry, collects dishes, takes out the trash, and helps keep toys picked up and put away.   He also asks 10 questions a minute.   We recently went through his winter  clothes - and he's now wearing most of the "to grow into" stuff.  Now needing size 3 shoes and size 10 clothes to have on hand for him to grow into.  We were recently blessed with a coat that is slightly big - so now I don't have to worry about the smaller coats not lasting the winter.  Awesome!

LaRue just turned 4.  Her party is Saturday.   She absorbs knowledge like a sponge - and may end up being the smartest of the bunch.   Ironically, she's caught on to some of Joel's spelling words.   She's a delightful child and fairly easy to manage most days - not that she is without her stubborn streak.   She's a girly girl - like Vannan - loves pinks and purples and sparkles and glitters, dolls and playing house and kitchen, cleaning and sweeping and sorting laundry ....  except don't touch her hair!   Things have to be "just so".   She's my only picky eater - and while much of what she eats is actually healthy - it can be frustrating that she wants a few items:  cheese, chicken, celery, cucumbers, peanut butter, carrots, meat (but no bread), bananas, banana bread, yogurt (especially strawberry), blue berries, strawberries, melons ... etc.   But refuses tomatoes, lettuce, hamburgers, macaroni, most sandwiches, apples, brocolli, cauliflower, potatoes, green beans, beans, peas ...    She has been doing a small amount of school work each day, and catches on to new items quickly - such as rhyming words.   This one's going to be like schooling Kendra - once I get her reading, she'll absorb it all.  Her feet have been growing - and now she has bigger feet than her 2 older cousins who use to hand down shoes.   So now I'm hoping she gets at least one pair of size 11 shoes for her birthday party.

Me?   Well, I'm hanging in there.   I turned 45 sometime during the summer.   I do enjoy teaching the kids - it's fun to adapt and redo lessons to match their learning styles.   I've had more  than the normal amount of headaches this summer - eye strain and stress.   Nothing we can do about it - I've had them since I was 9 or so - so not really a big deal normally.   Our schedule has been changing - people taking on new chores and trying to remember who does what can be draining.   I have found myself doing a lot of hiding though - being a shy, task oriented introvert, I deal with stress by disappearing - into a book if I can.   But I've found myself doing almost no blogging as a result.   I wish this translated into a more organized house ... but if anything - it's getting worse.   I keep thinking that I need a truck or something to put things into as I get rid of stuff ... though I hate seeing things go to the trash, so I try to find friends or relatives that need what I'm getting rid of .... and some stuff I would really like to sell .... like LaRue's toddler bed.   Prayers would be appreciated.   We could really use a bit of extra money for the coming holidays, and we still have stuff from our car accident that we are dealing with.   On the positive side .... um .... well .... Tim has been bringing home meats, salads stuff, and nuts.  The kids have had snacks (apples and raisins and nuts).   People give us clothes and shoes almost as soon as we need them - that's amazing - often I've not voiced a need in that area yet.  While there are plenty of things we wish we had ... I can't complain that we are going without anything.  We have clothes to wear, food to eat, we have blankets and stay warm enough to sleep, and we have water to wash clothes and ourselves ... I really can't complain.  I was going to say that the roof doesn't leak  (not badly) ... but lately it has been leaking at the joints and top of windows.   We've been praying that someone be willing to climb up there and put the goo stuff on the trailer roof while it is dry, or at least spot Kendra ... as she is not afraid of heights and still limber enough to do it.

I don't know if we'll be sending out Christmas cards this year - We only got 8 in the mail last year.  Are they out of style?   I'll still hand out in person as many as I can.  I need to return to working on Anniversary and Birthday cards.  I don't forget any of them ... I just fail to act on what I remember.  Sigh.

Hugs to all.  Hope to hear from anyone who is still following this blog.   I can't tell if anyone noticed I wasn't blogging.  I know most of those I blogged for ... either no longer have computers or they've died or they keep up with us on Facebook.   But that's life.  Things change.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Early May - New School Room Arangements

These are pictures from Early May

Cleaning out the corner where the computer desk sat ... we've put this desk into storage
and Joel's desk to the right is now in his room.
Jr. Church Craft

Baby Vultures that were nested in our back yard

Remember we have a HUGE back yard - so these guys were not very close.
Rhoda's boys needed a nest of birds to watch during the spring for their
school assignment.
while they could not find any robin or blue jay or other small bird nests,
they did come upon a nesting vulture.

It was fascinating to watch them.
Kendra enjoys dressing up as her book characters.

This is one of her hair dos that she created.
She has a TON of hair.
Each strand of braid is as thick as all of my hair in a braid.

This is the first dress that I ever made.
For Kendra!

A small part of our backyard.
I was going to take a picture every sunday ....

well ....

A moth on one of  the kids walking sticks.
Another corner of the school room cleaned.
More moths.

Rue drew a car.
More working on the school room.

Joel made two walkie talkies - 

The table was turned and we started sorting through it all
My new desk area...

Which hasn't worked out so well.

I'm a "spread out to work" person,
and the small desk doesn't allow me to spread out.

I do know how to compact things ...
but when I do,
I don't use it.


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