Tuesday, January 8, 2013

New Friends, Fun Questions & No Pictures

Today was a beautiful day. It was almost 60 degrees outside, so we spent some much-needed time outside running off pent up energy. Per the state of TN, the kids only have to have 1 hour of P.E. a week. I am pretty sure we got a full month's worth of credit in this afternoon! It was just that nice outside.

I have pics, but my computer is a little quirky and has decided that it is on vacation this week, so I'm hoping that it will soon come back to "work" so I can upload a few pictures that I have taken. Blog posts are always more fun to read when there are pics that go along.

Anyhow, while we were outside today, the boys got to play with a new neighborhood friend and I got to meet his mother. It's been a year since we have lived in our new home and we are still meeting new friends.


The really cool thing about this new (to me) neighbor is that she recently resigned from her job the same month that I resigned from mine. We both resigned to be stay at home moms. Even more awesome than that is that before she resigned, she was a teacher at the school that my kids went to when the whole suspension issue happened. Once I mentioned it, she immediately knew who we were. I don't know whether to be happy or embarrassed about this tidbit of information. I mean it was nice to be able to talk to someone who kinda had some background about why we are not fans of public schools without having to tell of our horrifying experience but at the same time I know I behaved like a mad woman during that ordeal. Who knows what people think of me! LOL!

But as the conversation carried on, New Neighbor Friend began asking me a few things about home schooling and mentioned that she was considering that option for her child.

I was honored to be able to answer a few questions, and in return she offered some valuable teaching ideas from a former-teacher's perspective on some of the stuff I am kinda struggling with in the teaching department. It turned out to be a very productive meeting!

I am well aware that I am still a home school rookie, but I finally understood the eagerness that all the other home school moms had when I would ask them questions when I was considering the option for my children. I was through the roof excited when I had the chance to answer some of her questions. I just hope I didn't scare her.

She asked the all famous "what about socialization" question to which I responded something like "It's not so much the socialization that I struggle fitting in, it's usually the actual schoolwork we really have a hard time finding time for." I then proceeded to tell her about our social calendar that looks kinda like this:

  • Monday - Basketball games for D
  • Tuesday - ballet practice for L & E 
  • Wednesday - Mission Friends, GAs and RAs
  • Thursday - Drama Practice for D, B, & L  
  • Thursday - Bible Drill for an hour for D & B
  • Thursday - Evening Basketball games for B
  • Friday - Basketball Practice for D & B
  • Friday - Occasional evening game for D
  • Saturday - Morning basketball games for B & D
  • Sunday - Church
I also keep an extra child in the home and we also play outside with neighborhood friends any chance we get, so I would venture to say that we are fairly squared away when it comes to being socialized and that my children really do not miss out in that area because they are not in government run public institutions. 

Then she asked "How much does it cost?" My response: "$54,000 and 95 dollars per child each year."

Her reaction was priceless. :) Once she realized that it was technically only about $95 per child per school year. The other $54,000 is what I gave up each year to be able to stay home to teach & love on  my babies.

Worth every penny. Every bit of it. Worth every penny.

Monday, January 7, 2013

The proof is in the pictures

I would not be the first mother in the world who has claimed that her husband is the best father in the world. And I'm pretty sure I won't be the last. However, I seriously doubt that many mothers could provide a muster of photographic evidence to support their claim. Today, friends, I have done just that. I now present to you proof of just how awesome of a daddy my husband is. 

These pictures were taken a few weeks ago when my daughters had "Mommy and Me" day at ballet. Yes, I said mommy and me. Our girls are in two separate age groups in ballet so in order for the both of them to have their mommy at "Mommy and me" day, I would have had to do back-to-back classes of ballet for two hours. While this is not impossible, I can tell you from last year's experience that it is far from enjoyable. After about 15 minutes I was sweating, my muscles were cramping and I'm pretty sure I broke both of my big toes. 

This year, my oh-so-charming husband agreed to take on "Mommy and Me" day with our oldest daughter so I would only have to do one hour of ballet. I must say, he held nothing back. Ha! Here he is warming up by doing leg raises. Please take note that he is smoking the mommies. LOL! I was laughing so hard! He's such a good sport.

After the warm up, the mommies practiced their Arabesques. Again my precious hubmeister took his form very seriously.  

Then the finale: All the mommies gathered around in a circle with their daughters and together they would run from one side of the circle to the other and do a "puddle jump" at the halfway point. The cool thing about this picture is that it shows that my husband was not the only daddy there. A fact that really helped him relax and just enjoy his time with Lydia.

He completed every thing asked of him, even when they had to do the splits at the end. He tried his best. At the beginning he tried his best to avoid being in the lens of the camera, but he quickly realized that I had no shame when it came to capturing these moments on camera. I would just run right out in the middle of the floor to get a good snapshot. At that point, he just tried his best at ballet.

He is such a trooper. A great husband. The world's greatest daddy. Bar none. :)

Sunday, January 6, 2013

3 down, 1 on stand by and 46 to go!

Recently, the kids and I went on an impromptu lunch date with some dear friends. We went to Lambert's about 2.5 hours away. It was kinda crazy how it all came about. The night before, we had decided after some very poor planning on my part to drive up to see a very precious internet friend of mine, Crystal Masionis, who was at the time, dying of cancer. She has since went on to be with the Lord and is now free from that nasty disease. But as I was mentioning, my planning was terrible and as it turned out, we did not have the money for me to make the trip up to see her at that moment, and I would save up to go see her at a later date. That never happened. To this day I regret not lacing up the boots and saying "Let's make this happen." And just doing whatever it took to see her, but we really had no idea how pressing the matter was because, let's be honest, we were all hoping she was gonna hang around a little bit longer. Crystal was a fighter. Everyone that knows her knows that she was a fighter, so it was not an uncommon thought that "I'll just come next week instead". This time, though, God's plan involved just a very brief fight at the end from Crystal. It was clear that He was ready for this saint to come home. Her mission here on earth had been completed. And she did it well as I posted about that several years ago when her health was strong. Well, clearly I digress.

So after I decided we would not be able to afford to go up north to meet Crystal at that time, we had already told the kids we were going on a vacation, so they would have been bummed if we did not do anything that day. So we decided to take them to Lamberts. As we crossed over into the Missouri state line, I immediately wanted to pull over and get some pics of my kids by the state sign. Probably just because it was funny that we went 2 states away just to eat lunch and come back. So we did. It was a cute picture of All the kids that we had with us except Elysa who refused to get in the picture.

Well, whatever sparked the idea to take the pics by the state signs is responsible for all future photos as well as these next two. The Mississippi picture was taken when we were headed back home from visiting the Church of Brook Hills in Alabama. No, we did not get a picture with the Alabama sign. The kids who had been bickering, were asleep at that point. It was worth driving right past it to get us a little closer to the house. :)

This last picture was from our most recent vacation to East Tennessee and the North Carolina Mountains. We had so much fun. We visited with family, we snow tubed, we did some shopping, and we ate at some pretty great places. Oh! And we took pictures with another state sign.

An adorable picture if I do say so myself. So what started out as something just to be funny, has turned into a family tradition. We love taking our pics with the state signs. And we all have the hopes that one day we'll have visited the whole country and with photos to prove it!

Now if you'll excuse me, I need to wrangle up enough of my family to get down to the Tennessee state sign. There is no reason that one shouldn't be at the top of the list.

A family closet for six, please.

That title cracks me up. I've realized that I have such a "mommy" mentality when the idea of building a new closet in our home excites me more than the possibility of getting to go out for a date night.

Well, maybe not. I really love date nights with my hubby, but I tell ya, I am pretty stoked about this closet. I asked my husband about 3 months ago to let me enclose a portion of our garage, since we don't park our vehicles in there, and make it a large family closet. Much to my delight, he agreed.

Today, I actually went and purchased the 2 x 4's to frame a wall that will be used to divide the garage in half. The rear half will become our new closet and will be the new home for ALL of our family's clothing, shoes, undergarments, bedsheets, coats, and any other linens. Basically, if it goes in the washing machine, then dryer, it will eventually end up in this closet. No more separating all the clothes and running them all over the house with every load of laundry I wash. No more washing clothes that fall down in the closet, but were never worn, just because it is easier for my kids to throw them in a hamper than to hang them back up. No more putting the off-season clothes in plastic tubs and then in the attic every few months because there is no closet space for them. No more storing beloved hand-me-downs in containers then forgetting about them until my kids have outgrown them. I am so optimistic that this closet will solve all of these problems and give us a little extra breathing room in our tiny 3 bedroom 2 bath home at the same time.

I haven't taken any pictures yet, but I will most definitely take before, during and after photos for this DIY project. I'm sure it will be interesting. Hopefully it will be interesting in a good way, though, and not "interesting" like Friday was when I got so tired of telling the kids to quit slamming the door to their bedroom that I ended up taking the door to the girls' room off the hinges and put it in the garage. Nothing like having your husband come in the door after a long day of work and asking "So, um, why is there a door in the garage?"

Ahhh, good times!

Friday, January 4, 2013

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!

Titles are so fun, ya know? They can tell you so much about a book or an article or they can totally throw you for a loop. This post may be an example of the latter because there isn't a single picture that I am about to post that has snow in it. But as I was debating and debating on what to write about tonight, and going through a few pictures from the last few days I got to thinking how neat friendships are. No two are alike. Of all the friends I have, each friendship brings with it a different chemistry that makes it unique and set apart from any other.

The same holds true for my kids. Over the course of the last several days, we have had the opportunity to spend time with some old friends and make some new ones and it has been such a joy to watch my children playing with their friends. I get to see so much of their personalities that don't always surface when they are only with me. I love it!

Wikipedia, while not the best source for citing references, states "Although statistically possible, it is very unlikely for any two snowflakes to appear exactly alike due to the many changes in temperature and humidity the crystal experiences during its fall to earth." With that regard, friendships are a lot like snowflakes: Perhaps it would be possible statistically speaking for there to be 2 relationships that are exactly the same in every dynamic, but it would be extremely unlikely for that to happen because both friendships would have to undergo the same experiences with the same surroundings and the same background, upbringing, reactions, feelings, and thoughts. Let's face it, even if all of these factors did line up perfectly, we still have no guarantee that an identical friendship will form. Because we are unique and independent and we respond to our situations differently. Praise the Lord! Because that is what makes each friendship so very unique and special. There isn't another one like it.

So to all the uniquely special friendships in my life and the lives of my children I say "Let it snow! Let it snow! Let it snow!"

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Fourteen:Fourteen in Twenty-Thirteen.

Happy New Year! Can you believe it's 2013?! I mean, for this '80s baby, I am still in a little shock when I think that we are living in the 21st century and it is just completely unimaginable that we've been here for a little over 12 years now! Wow! Remember Y2K? Weren't we all supposed to die because our computers weren't smart enough to roll over to 1/1/2000? How funny to look back at all that chaos and to think, "for what"?

But it is true, we are here. In the 21st century. Still being clearly outsmarted by computers. And still making resolution after resolution with each new year that arrives. But all of that changed for me last year when I changed my name to Oxymoron and resolved to not make any more resolutions.

Instead I decided to jump on board with the "one word movement". Well, not with the official "OneWord" movement. I just googled that and I am not too sure what that is all about, so I am in no way endorsing (nor linking up to) that specific movement, just to be clear. But generally speaking I jumped on the bandwagon with other folks who decided to choose a word, one word, to meditate on throughout the year. A word that they reflect on periodically throughout the year and try to filter day to day situations through a lens that has this one word at the forefront. Trying to see the world in a different way, or to experience life to its fullest by thinking on what this word means to them personally and generally.

Last year I chose the word discernment.  I had many big decisions on my plate to make and lots of stuff going on in many areas of my life and the word was just perfect for my "one word". Did I think about the word every single day? No. But making a big deal about choosing a word for the year sure kept it in the back of my mind and there were many times, particularly while I was driving that I would think on things going on in my life or decisions at hand and the word discernment would come to mind and I would be reminded not make a decision based on how I felt at the moment, but to pray, seek the Scriptures, and to discern what God's Will was for that specific situation in my life. 

For me, choosing a word proved to be a great alternative to choosing a new year's resolution. Did I make some decisions throughout the year that were not wise and were fruits of little discernment? Of course. But the great thing about choosing a "word" over choosing a "resolution" is that when I look back at the year in review, I am able to see times where I did make wiser choices because I spent so much time this year thinking on the word "discernment" that when a decision needed to be made, I was quickly reminded to use Biblical discernment beforehand. That's a success in my book. Rarely, if ever, have I made a "resolution" that I actually stuck with. 

This year I have chosen the word still.  I was really leaning towards faith or joy as my "word" for the year as we have learned a great deal about both in 2012 so I was thinking it would only be appropriate as our "theme word" for 2013. However, while pondering the thought of which word to choose, I came across the story of the Israelites fleeing from captivity while Pharoah's army was ordered to go get them and bring them back into captivity. Then I read Exodus 14:14 and it was my light bulb moment. "The Lord will fight for you, you need only to be still."

I do a lot of fighting. I would never call it fighting. I might call it being proactive, planning, striving, defending, preparing, doing good deeds, or being a good mommy/wife/neighbor/example. Most of the time my fighting lands me in situations far more desperate than where I was originally, so this verse hit me like a ton of bricks: the same God who rescued me from the pits of slavery is still in control. And if I would just take the time to quit planning and just be still, he will get me through.

Due to varying translations, it is hard to get an exact count as to how many times the Bible contains references for believers to "Be still". But as my pastor said in a sermon recently, "How many times must the Bible command us to do something before we obey?" 

So for me, still will be my word and Exodus 14:14 will be my verse for 2013 as I strive to grow closer in my relationship with my Savior.  There I go striving again. 

Lord, teach me to be still!