Thursday, December 31, 2009

what a year!



2009 highlights:

We've had a thoroughly wonderful, and challenging year! A lot of great stuff... a lot of hard stuff (I miss you so much, Amy!) Nothing worthwhile is EVER easy. I know I've got to take the good with the bad (and I know that is a cliche... totally). BUT, it is true. And there was a lot of good stuff!



Danielle got her braces off! The result: a great, beautiful, terrific smile!

Mark worked as an ICU nurse. Result: Mark questions his sanity, and decides to go for the advanced practice degree with my complete and total blessing (translation: another 3-4 years of school).

Tommy participates in the spelling bee - makes it to regional competition. What kind of a spelling word is goatee?



Katie started home schooling with us! Now I question my sanity on most of the school days. The child does. not. sit. She broke her collar bone last month, remember?




Camping and hiking... hiking and camping... I'm looking forward to more "posh" camping with a pop-up instead of a tent... maybe this year.

Home school conference! (!!!) What an amazing, motivating, hopeful, faith- instilling conference to attend. The speakers and workshops were amazing. I've already signed up for the 2010 conference.




Genetics consult... what can I say? We are all created perfectly for Him, by Him. There are no mistakes. There really are no right answers, either, except that He knew us all before we were knitted in our mother's womb, and He holds us in the palm of His hand.

Mud run for Mark -- he got muddy, and dirty, and had a blast running.

Allergy consult- 4 out of 5 of us are receiving allergy shots, now. I'm considering buying stock in zyrtec and flonase. Avoiding wheat does not improve behavior in my autistic child; it only causes strife and breeds defiance. Nor does wheat cause him to break out or have an anaphylactic reaction. We will limit exposure to allergens, but not completely avoid them. This makes everyone (the entire family unit) a bit happier.

Florida for 2 weeks: Sweet, loving, wise G-ma with all her stories, and pictures. A lovely two weeks with a lovely lady, and wonderful family.

Florida for Thanksgiving! A tradition that dates back to before I was married! I love our family! Plus, this year, my parents celebrated forty years together by going on a cruise!

Belvedere Plantation. A beautiful place to celebrate Fall!

A little golf --Tommy played some.

A lot of dance... need I say more?!

Oh yeah... I started blogging. I love it.

Happy New Years Eve!!!!! May we all have a blessed 2010!!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

the in-between week



I'm always very contemplative this time of year...

It's the in-between week. The week where Christmas is over and the New Year is looming...

I feel motivated to get organized and make new year resolutions; and I feel a bit melancholy about allowing things to become disorganized, and not being able to follow through on all of last year's resolutions. I suppose this is the way of life. It probably isn't unique to just me. I've been really thinking a lot about simplifying things, getting rid of some clutter, and tightening up the schedule. Then, I think about how happy things are right now with almost no schedule ( It is called un-schooling... it sounds like educational suicide to me, but it seems to work for many). Oh, to achieve that balance... I can only pray for wisdom!


I need to mention that many prayers are needed right now! My best friend's mother is in the hospital recovering from a lower lobectomy for lung cancer. My neighbor's father -in -law is in the hospital with cancer, cellulitis, and problems related to the cancer. My little dance friend's mother is in the hospital with blood clot issues. People are traveling, and getting sick. I'm praying a lot... prayer is just a running dialogue, lately, between God and I ... I know I can do better, though!

What a happy Christmas season it has been! We've had way too much sugar, and stayed up too late, and slept in too late... but my, has it been fun. It has been relaxing, too (and hyperactive at times). I've discovered that TV is not harming the children in the short run (but the sugar might be... we're trying to fix that), and sleeping in just feels good. More important is that I feel like I've been able to focus a bit more on the reason for Christmas. I'm not trying to fit the Bible in between dinner and homework, because it is part of our home-school day. And that is just really, very cool!



The husband has been working so hard, and has been running around so much. I've decided to cook again (ham dinner turned out OK on Christmas Eve). The slow cooker may be the way to go for me. I like throwing everything in a pot and being done with it (at the end of the day, I am so done! So it's nice to do dinner earlier). I like trying to be more home-maker-ish for Mark, especially when he has been working so hard. I just don't always succeed! Again, this is the way of life. We just have to keep trying!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas Eve!


It's been very interesting here! The snow plows were still trying to clear roads yesterday (Virginia is just not equipped for a heavy snow), thank goodness my husband had the presence of mind to go ahead and get the 4 wheel drive model of our car when we bought it two years ago! We may only use it every other year, but it is sooooo worth it!



(Snow generates a lot of laundry, and very wet floors!)

Snow play has been fun, but I think the novelty is already wearing off... my kids just want to stay in their pajamas today.

We are celebrating Christmas with Mark tonight because he is on duty tomorrow. So, in a few short hours we will be keeping an eye on the chimney for Santa Claus, I will then attempt to feed my family a ham dinner (remember to pray for me, I have zero cooking ability), and then we will go to church tonight to celebrate the birth of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ!
I love, love, love Christmas Eve church services! The candles and music are so beautiful, but I love the feeling of being at church celebrating the miracle of Christmas.




Saturday, December 19, 2009

The Background Fairy: Free Blog Buttons - Teal Birds

The Background Fairy: Free Blog Buttons - Teal Birds



Such cool art and stuff! I liked the santa button!

Let it snow...

Last night... out the front door...
This morning... out the back door...



We are literally snowed in. The last storm that dumped this much snow on the state of Virginia happened before I had kids that wanted to go out and play in it! I love a good snow storm... I love the gift of being forced to STAY HOME. I wonder at the beauty of God's marvelous creation... is it true that no two snow flakes are the same? Really? I ponder the global warming scenario (18 inches, 28 degrees... this is the south). I really hope we don't lose power (I like heat inside when it is cold outside). I'm thankful for a hard working husband (48 hours ON duty for the citizens of Fairfax). I pray for warmth and safety for everyone in the midst of a perfect storm...

Katie...

Tommy...

Danielle...

All had fun playing this morning! All are now inside... drying and thawing out!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Still slightly crazy...


Danielle celebrated her birthday last Sunday (the "day after"). She had a party at a spa that is just for little girls. So, it was funny that all of the girls at the spa party getting pedicures had danced the night before in the Nutcracker.

The Nutcracker was awesome! I know there was a lot of (self-induced) stress trying to make rehearsals and a lot of busy-rushing-around to make it work, but it was fun and exciting. The dress rehearsal was awful, and I think most of us had our doubts about the performance going well, but it really did go well! Even though Katie had to perform in a sling, and we were all soooo tired, it felt great to be a part of a production. I felt like a real ballerina for the past two weeks because I've been working so hard... my feet and toes are a mess (I really need a pedicure!), but it felt good and real.


Now that the entire family is able to breathe again, we are all getting in the Christmas spirit. I wore Christmas tree earrings this past week, and pulled out the candle lamps for the windows. I've been talking to the kids about preparing our hearts for Christ, not Santa Claus. It just feels better, lately. I'm looking forward to Christmas. I'm remembering that it is really the most wonderful time of the year!


Danielle and I went to see the Rocketts last night... WOW!!!!!!!!!! SO COOL!!!!!!! AMAZING!!!!!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

first try at video blogging

I am totally waiting for my computer to import CDs for the various i-pod/ MP3 devices in the house. It is taking a long time. So... I'm going to try to attach a video (actually 2) to this post.


Last weekend, Danielle got to perform a lyrical dance, and tap dance for a local tree lighting ceremony (Katie was supposed to tap, but, well, broken clavicles aren't sympathetic to dance routines).


video
video

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Still here!



I have wanted to write an entry to my blog ever since we've returned from our Thanksgiving journey... But...


A. I'm crazy (it's actually a Vitamin D deficiency... I have to get sun and Vitamin D supplements...)
B. Our Nutcracker production is this Saturday (definitely contributing to the crazy diagnosis)

C. We are taking up a second residence at the dance studio (6 days out of 7 per week, 4 out of 5 family members)

(Danielle getting ready to perform a praise dance for church)

D. Katie cartwheeled and broke (yes, broke, x-ray confirmed) her collarbone (it is not only uncomfortable, but it is cramping her fashion sense of style)



(Katie, pre-incident)

E. Homeschooling three children, all with different learning styles and learning issues

F. Only two whole days have I spent time with the husband because of work, school- work, and dance (I did get to see him the night of the injury... there is a silver lining when the man can meet us at the Emergency Department in uniform)


(Oh, yeah... it has snowed twice so far... not a lot of sun, which you need; it helps your body absorb vitamin D)

G. I did mention crazy, right?!

Friday, November 27, 2009

The PoohBearious


I love the husband.... I will always and forever be cognizant of this
man's entire presence in my life. It hasn't been an easy marriage, but things
worthwhile (our relationship, our commitment) usually never are (easy, that is).

There have been ups and downs (I know that sounds like a cliche); there has been hurt and joy. We are not unloved, though. We have been blessed beyond imagination. While we both have experienced difficult personal conflicts, the support we receive from one another has sustained us through our less-than-perfect moments. We have balance that way, I think. And I know God is orchestrating movements in our universe that are beyond our comprehension.

Ours is a high energy, stressful life-style. 24 hour shifts, school, and family activities contribute to a very busy, fairly scheduled existence. Because of promotions, family pressures, and career commitments we have to make choices that aren't always pleasant (but they aren't always UNpleasant, either). We have many, many challenges to navigate in regards to raising our children (they are just all so different!). We have lots of stuff to decide day, after day, after day...(it really never stops!).

We have had some romance, and a lot of passion, too. If anything, we are passionate- not always on the same page, but always passionate.

Mark is incredibly driven, and always very motivated. He throws himself into his projects with amazing effort and focus... Which is interesting... We don't always see eye to eye on which projects should get priority. But Mark always gets the job done. Failure is not an option!


I'm writing this because I miss him. I'm with my sweet, wise G-ma, taking advantage of the limited time I have left with her on planet Earth, and he is working so very hard so I can do these things, like visiting with her, and exposing our children to her amazing love and wisdom. And I'm actually very thankful for him. Just as I need to remind myself (frequently) that God chose me as a mother for my children; I need to acknowledge that He chose me to be Mark's wife. It is an amazing privilege.


God says in Jeremiah, "I know the plans I have for you!"


I need to trust and have joy in His words... I may not understand the plans (or methods, or reasons)... But I know they exist in His glory.

Sweet G-Ma with her 7 great grandchildren!



The best part of thanksgiving is being thankful for all the blessings that God has blessed you with!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Is that real?!



(photo from fotosearch)

Oh my Goodness!!! The sun is shining!!! My eyes need to adjust!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

New Moon

(from Regal Cinema web site)

NEW MOON was sosooooo good. I had a totally fun time staying out late! It was very, very fun to just sit and watch Twilight on the big movie screen, have it fresh in my mind, and then to sit and watch New Moon. I really, really (REALLY) think the actors did a great job! And even though movie popcorn has something like 60 grams of saturated fat, I enjoyed that, too! Extra butter, of course! It is fascinating to see how some fans are just sooo crazy (not me, for sure)! I did wear an Edward Cullen t-shirt. I did not dress up as Jane, though, or Alice, or Victoria for that matter. The team-Jacob crowd was pretty rowdy... but there were plenty of sighs for Edward, as well!


I am contemplating not participating in The Nutcracker performance next year, due to poor nutrition (we eat out too much because of crazy dance schedules), exposure to swine flu (I witnessed several children pressing their noses against the windows, doors and mirrors), and lack of general mental well being (probably related to toxin build-up from over application of hand sanitizer gel, and anti-bacterial wipes). We are officially insane until the 12th of December!


I have learned that children do not need blue gatorade. Blue gatorade will make them evil, and make them laugh uncontrollably for approximately 2.25 hours. Straight, I'm not even kidding. Even if blue gatorade is only a dollar and your child begs for it, I urge you to resist on grounds of preventing a felony. This is my public service announcement for the day!


Pray, please, for safe and happy Thanksgiving and travels. One of my best friends is travelling, one's mom is in the hospital (at press time) getting tests, and one is moving into a new house. I will be praying for health, speedy recoveries, good news, peaceful packing, and safe travels.


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

2 more days...

(from movie images site)

There are only two more days until the NEW MOON premiere! I can not wait to see this movie! I have not been to a movie on release night sine Terminator 2 came out in the 90's. So, yes, I am going to the 12:01 am showing. I am also going to see Twilight on the "big screen" which is showing at 9:00 pm. Am I a nut, or what?! I even have a t-shirt (team Edward, of course).

So, just a few quick updates:

The rain has stopped! For three days in a row, now, it has been sunny. The leaves are so wet, they are making my whole family itchy and slightly irritable (or is it just me?).

(Tommy with his groundhog... have I mentioned he LOVES groundhogs?!)

Tommy is learning integers. I can't believe I have to re-learn algebra, so I can (hopefully) teach it to him. I forgot all about exponents, and negative numbers, and FOIL. The crazy thing is, Danielle is only, like, 12 lessons behind him. I'm sure I'll forget it again before Katie gets to it, so I will have to re-learn it one more time!

Truth: I've never really read Junie B. Jones. I am reading it now to Katie, because I let the other two read her when they were reading independently. Katie isn't reading independently, but likes Junie B. I guess the kindergarten teacher read The Mushy, Gushy Valentine last year. I do not like Junie B. Jones. She is rude, a bit of a bully, and her grammar is terrible! The kids love her. Bummer. They all love her. I am so not a hip mom with this Junie B. Jones business!


(rehearsing)

Crazy insanity may be setting in with this family over the next few weeks. The Christmas tree is hopefully going up this weekend, since we will be visiting sweet, wise G-ma for Thanksgiving. When we return home there will only be 12 day left of rehearsals for the Nutcracker! So, that is just a way crazy schedule... I will be praying for health (please no swine flu or strep!), and patience. It's such a wonderful time of year (for real - not being facetious); it would be lovely to stay in good health! It would also be lovely to be peaceful!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

just a list!

(image from freeautumnimages.com)


Things I am loving this November:

The dance studio being closed for Veteran's Day (Thank you, military!), and having said Wednesday off from crazy studio-dance night!

Country music being played by the neighbor boy while he is raking leaves (too bad he isn't raking MY leaves).

Re-reading New Moon (the movie comes out on the 20th!)

Coffee with my neighbor while the kids jump on her trampoline.

My new i-phone (it is waaay cooool!).

warm days...

bright leaves...



Things I'm not loving so much:

Lots of rain and clouds!

Old, dead leaves piling up in my driveway, on my porch, across my lawn (and they are almost always wet from the rain, so hard to rake!).

Cold mornings (hello! Does anyone else have toes that are constantly frozen?!).

$900. calculation errors and lots (and lots) of worrying about Christmas presents... this happens to everyone, right?

Well... there is more good than bad!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Twilight Watermelon

I am soooooo excited about New Moon coming out (November 20th)... I am a huge Twilight fan! My dad gardened this cute little watermelon out of his garden, so we took a picture... Danielle and I love it that it reminds us of Twilight. She keeps asking if I've blogged about watermelon-twilight!

It was even edible! We all had a bit of the cute, pink fruit inside.


Well, it has been a good week (over all) here in Virginia. We still haven't had a full day of sunshine, but I think I'm coping OK. The time change is always a little hard to deal with at first, too. I know it is just an hour, but it gets dark so early, now! I'm ready for bed at 6:00!

We got to hang out with some of our best friends on election day. Eileen is the big sister I got to choose in my life, thanks to God. She has seen me through all sorts of drama! It was a great afternoon. The boys, though, got sooo dirty! And mine was the one who ended up soaking wet! I think he was literally rolling around in a mud puddle.




(Katie doesn't really wear pointe shoes, but she was pretending with mine.)

We've been very busy rehearsing for The Nutcracker. Our performance is at the beginning of December, so everyone is getting stressed out and nervous. I need to remember that it is all self-inflicted! Good times, good times...

Tommy has been researching the validity of jackalopes this week, and Danielle said she can't really play with her American Girl dolls, since they might be real, and might be looking at her while she sleeps (not, you,too, Danielle!)... and Katie is about to get a new home school curriculum because she just does NOT learn like Tommy and Danielle do. It's all good.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Halloween!



I can't believe it is November 1st! Danielle commented that this has been the fastest year of her life! I told her that they only get faster.

Tommy, the pirate!!

Katie, or Sharpay?

Danielle, or Dorthy?! Oh, and Toto of course!

We had a fun Halloween. It rained, but that only seemed to make my children more determined to go out. The temperature was nice, though, in the 70s. I think it may have been the warmest, and wettest Halloween we've ever had! Now we have soooo much candy! I think we will be hyper for a month!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

forward motion



My goodness!! It is rainy, and bleary outside. I find it harder, as I get older, to be cheerful inside when it is so gray outside. I've always known that some members of my family have seasonal affective disorder, but I've never characterized myself as being one of them! We need to see some sunshine, here in Virginia. We haven't had a full day (of sun) since I-don't-know-since-when!
We also stayed in our pajamas most of the day, which probably doesn't help with the mood. I really have just wanted to go back to bed for most of the day. I guess we all have days like that, right? We did get a lot of things done in home-school, though. We got through Jacob's twelve sons, and facing his twin brother again. We did prime and composite numbers, addition by eights, lots of language arts, and some writing, too.

Kid updates:

Katie remains very fidgety! She read a lot, today, though! She is even sounding out words without looking at pictures, first. I've been really focused on this, lately, with her.

Tommy totally was in a "bring it on" type of mood today. He was really dedicated with his work, but also very edgy. He ate lots of pizza (non-gluten-free) on Friday, though, so I think he is crashing off of the gluten-high.

Danielle was distracted today, too. I think the weather and Katie bouncing continuously at her seat may have contributed to that! She is working so hard, though!

And the husband:
The husband got an unexpected promotion. He has been phasing into a new role at work, so even he has been somewhat distracted. (I'm telling you, it is the non-sunny weather!)

So:
Despite all of our distractions, we are all moving forward. I'm thinking that is better than falling back. It is refreshing, actually, to have good news lately!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Fall

K





(daily drop cap by Jessica Hische)

Thanks, Amy! I found my letter, too! My lovely, (lives in Twilight land) best, friend linked this letter website on her blog. I think it is a beautiful "K"!


We are having a beautiful Autumn! Despite the rain and labile temperatures (38degrees in the morning, and 75 degrees in the afternoon), the foliage is beautiful! Everything is bright orange and red; this evening's sky was a brilliant blue. We even had a pink sunset to enjoy. Praise God for showing us his majesty. Danielle said tonight, "Wow! God really painted the sky tonight!"


Always, my love!


We had a costume party at our dance studio last night and performed "Thriller"... It was loads of fun. The kids, of course, love dressing up. I have to admit, I enjoyed being a zombie ballerina. The rain stopped just in time for the party, too, which is just way cool.

Tonight at church I learned about simple worship. The sermon was really, very good. The pastor spoke about Isaiah seeing the Lord on his throne, and God asking, "Whom shall I send?" (to proclaim His message), and Isaiah replying, "Here I am. Lord send me!" Having faith and trust in God, and trying to live my life with purpose, for Him, in spite of the challenges I struggle with, are my greatest endeavors. The sermon reminded me that worship is pivotal in my relationship with Christ, and my aspirations to live how God would wish for me (for all of us). I love that going to church helps me feel good. It is refreshing, as well, to gain new perspective from the lessons that are being taught from the week's Bible verses.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Good stuff

'T' still likes swords, and is an official "collector".


'D' is wearing an apron from my best friend 'A' ( lucky in the land of Twilight).

First of all -- many thanks and praise to our Lord and creator! So many wonderful things are happening this fall: my cousin is about to have her second baby (a sweet baby girl), my husband got an unexpected promotion, so far we don't have swine flu, and school is underway, and the children seem to actually be learning. My son thinks that Pharoh should have been sued for taking Sarai as a wife, 'K' is actually starting to finally "click" with reading, and 'D' is off and running, and really can write in cursive when she tries to. It has been a good week, even though we all feel "under the weather" (literally - it's been raining for three days)... but it isn't swine flu!

I am praying today for one of my bestest friends. It is the anniversary of her father's passing. This man's life is remembered and celebrated. He and his family are just awesome. He is missed and loved! I pray that his entire family have comfort from the Lord today. She and her husband get to travel next week, so prayers are also appreciated for them - to have fun and be safe!

We are crazy busy with dance, as well. The Nutcracker production is under way. Rehearsals have started. It is fun, but busy. The rest of the fall season will fly by, I'm sure!

I'm trying to memorize Proverbs with my youngest. This week's message is "Pleasant Words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones." Proverbs 16:24. How true this bit of wisdom is. We all respond better to praise than rebuke. I'm trying to practice this in spite of three crazy kids and a busy house and schedule! It really is good advice!!!


All tired out at the end of the day!