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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Apples & Pencils: It's School Time

We are now in full swing with routine and busy schedules. Tim and I decided to get the kids enrolled with campus classes this year through the Meridian Parent Partnership Program as we have been involved with Mp3 now for 4 years. It has provided us with great accountability and access to fantastic resources. I've been extremely pleased and I'm excited to see how the kids respond to both science and writing classes. 
A few weeks ago we went to a Mp3 orientation where we met the kids' teachers and spoke to Teacher Jeff, our SLPC (student lesson plan coordinator). Jeff has been our SLPC for 3 years going on 4 and has watched Addison come out of her shell as we started with email weekly contacts and now have phone conversations without fear. Every year we re-evaluate and decided which is best for the kids, but so far have come back to home school being the best for our family. 
I'm excited this year as I have a few text books I can teach from for both kids. 'The Story of the World', geography and social studies along with Math-U-See are all the same just adjusted to the grade level. This makes it organized and easy to track for me. With a toddler running around being more than interested in school, I've had to get creative with activities for Myriam during our morning routines. I feel like I have a pre-school going on at the same time! Thank goodness for Pinterest with more than enough ideas and printables for me to provide the little busy one to be entertained and stay out of our way! 
There are so many different options for home schooling families these days.  You can keep your 24 hour day full if you did them all, but for us less is more. The kids have everything they need for their school grades so no worries that we just do math and call it good. Each kid learns and excels at different rates which can be frustrating, but also allows the other to shine where the opposite struggles. Nothing is sweeter than watching Addi see Charlie struggle and having her come alongside and help him with letters and sounds. They can fight like the best of siblings, 
but also understand they need each other as well. 
So, for now we attempt to keep schedules and routines along with other obligations. The kids have campus classes on Monday and Wednesday, as well as the paper route in the morning too. Thursday's are creative art classes with Brenda Calvert which Addison has done before and Charlie now in his first year. Brenda has had a huge impact on Addison's art ability and giving her a passion to draw and create. I'm excited to see Charlie's artistic skills blossom this year!
Besides the laundry piles and refills of coffee in the morning, 
this is our life for the next year. 
Being at home is a sacrifice as I don't have all the time in the world to keep my floors sparkling clean and junk piles properly put away. (Disclaimer: I'm don't live in a pig sty. The kids are clean and I swear by Clorox wipes.) Our little life doesn't work for most, but it seems to work for us. 
Here's to 2014 and all the up's and down's of playing the Teacher Hat and Mommy Hat all at the same time. 

A Double Digit Sweet Celebration

I can't believe Addison is ten.
I remember waking up in the recovery room holding our baby girl for the first time. Well, actually the nurse and Tim had to hold her as my body was still numb from drugs and I was a bit exhausted from the surgery and HOURS earlier. Either way, our lives changed that morning at 2:22am. 
God has been faithful to our daughter. God has gifted Addi with a heart FULL of compassion and a silent, but strong, presence that adds sweetness to any room. Her quiet spirit is refreshing in such a loud world and her courage stands out like a tall oak tree. 
Addison thinks beyond the moment and sees how her decisions will impact other's. She cares for those in need and will go the extra mile to put a smile on someones face. God has HUGE things in store for our Addi Jean. 
I rarely have to ask Addison to work harder during school hours as she gives her best and often asks for more school work. Besides dragging her feet on completely her house chores, Addison is a helper at home too. Charlie and Myriam are blessed to have a big sister that, although a fantastic button-pusher, will always stand up for them, snuggle them, help them and love them no matter what. 
As a busy mom myself, I'm blessed to have a busy bee in training constantly following me. 
This year Addison requested a roller skating party with no cake or cupcakes. Low key and as always, never wanting the focus on herself. Unlike Uncle Jason who crept his way in for a group photo bomb! It is a blessing to see your daughter be lifted up, encouraged and accepted for exactly as God intended her to be. Thank you girls (and family!) for a great, sweaty roller party!

{ Missing BFF Annie who was home sick. }

{ Hungry roller chicks. }

{ Tatar Tot getting a photo opt with Auntie. }

{ Charlie & Myriam did a great job with the assistance of the walkers. By the end of the party, Charlie was on his own! }

 { Winning her heart over with LEGO Friends. }

 { Had to come home and cool off in the sprinkler. }

We closed the day off with a family BBQ and S'moresma's! 
Addi - Daddy & Mommy's prayer is and will always be, that you have a personal relationship with Jesus and allow Him to direct your steps. Be strong, be brave and let others see the beauty inside of you that we see everyday. We pray for protection over your sweet little life and that God would do great things that point back to Him. Thank you for letting us mess up, ask for forgiveness and have plenty of redo's as we raise you up to be a courageous daughter who seeks to follow Jesus. 
We love you so much and praise God for the ten sweet years He's given us to parent you!
Happy Double Digit's to you Sweetie!

Monday, September 15, 2014

3rd State Down in a City of Trees

This past weekend I was able to tag along with Tim to visit Lied Lodge in Nebraska City as he prepares to renovate the property. He's been there a few times now and every time comes home with high praises for the simple beauty of the Arbor Day Foundation Lodge as it sits on rolling hills with orchards of many kinds, acres of trees and historic buildings. It's one thing to talk about and completely different to see it! STUNNING! 
The place is gorgeous! The roads leading into the lodge are lined with gorgeous, old homesteads and endless hills of corn stalks and soy bean fields. Once you're on site, you're met with a grand lodge facing handfuls of varying trees, beautiful walk ways over wooden bridges, white barns and mansions and nothing to do but soak it all in. 
I'm quite jealous of those working on this project as they get to see the colors change in season and experience the Nebraska hospitality. 
The bonus of this trip was that there was a race the same weekend assisting me in my goal of 50 by 50!  I was invited to run with the Arbor Day Team which added a little pressure to perform well. I convinced Jasmine to run the 10k instead of the 5k and glad I did! We pushed each other and ended up coming in 1st and 2nd in our age division…out of 37 runners total! Talk about a small town race! We ran on gravel roads, through cemeteries, past corn fields and what seemed like circles for 6.5 miles. Doug, the man in charge, Lance and Tim drove around cheering for us in 37 degree weather at the start line. Everything happened out of the back end of the mini van and thankfully we had the guys at certain locations directing us at turns as the hot pink arrows were at times hard to follow. 
I was happy with our run and can't wait for the next state!

{ No start guns here. Just a school yard, "ready, set, go!" call out got us running! }

{Thanks to the couple boy scouts who provided the water stations. }

{ Coming through strong at the end! Tim introduced Jo to S'moresma's on the last trip. }

The trip wasn't all just about the race.  
We were able to enjoy relaxing dinners, nighttime walks, the ability to sleep in, surprisingly pleasant sounds of crickets and hours of reading time. We were blessed to be in the company of the Ellis's on this trip and look forward to the next trip! 
On Saturday we visited The Tree Adventure where Jasmine found her inner squirrel. This place was like Stoney Ridge Farms on steroids with 50 foot tree houses, trails, hazelnut and apple orchards, hour long hayrides and much more. I wish the kids would have been able to enjoy this, but too bad. They were having fun with Auntie and my parents at the corn maze, parks and no, not just one, but TWO trips to McDonald's. The older two kids watched 'Dolphin Tale Two' as my poor father experienced the "hand-down-the-poopy-pants" toddler child which resulted in duct tape around her waist later. 

{ I like us in human form better. }

{ J. Sterling Morton Mansion built in the early 1800's. }

{ My Love. }

On our warm stroll back to the lodge, we crashed the wedding site which all four of us were in awe of from it's simple, romantic, rustic beauty. Everything from the chandeliers to the fall flowers and special touches; this was a dream wedding location. I will do free wedding hair for anyone willing to fly me on site to this location just so I can experience a wedding in this venue!

{ Morning board walk through the trees. }

What stood out most from our four day, three night get-away was the hospitality from Doug & Shawn and the people of Nebraska! Thank you for the tasty display of appetizers and delicious meal along with all the welcome room treats. It was a pleasure visiting the Husker's territory and seeing more of God's landscape. 
See you all in April!

{ Doug & Shawn…how I ended up in the middle is still in question! }

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

A Heated Summer Recap

In a nut shell, this is what our summer recap looked like:
  • Melissa & Michaela moved out into their new home.
  • Took girlfriends to Hawaii on a surprise trip!
  • Watched Melissa kiss a frog in attempts of a prince.
  • Charlie suffered his first dog bite and has overcome his fear of dogs! Helps to have gifts too.
  • Grandpa Doug's dog had puppies and Addi pet sat for many hours/days which allowed her to fall in love with puppies. Nope. Not going to happen.
  • Bought a $60 swimming pool. Killed the grass in the process of cooling off.
  • Spent endless hours splashing in the new pool.
  • Started our foster license. 
  • Considering ending the process after heart breaking decisions were made.
  • Charlie, after a dog bite and allergy attack, created a snorkel. Hilarious.
  • Went camping at Bridal Falls in the rain and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.
  • Myriam had her second seizure.
  • Myriam was mellow for a few days that followed. Refreshing, but in the wrong way.
  • Addi had her last swimming lesson from Teacher Shannon.
  • Enjoyed many fresh blueberries from Uncle Bob's farm
  • Ate far too many calories from S'mores intake.
  • Made progress in the Windmill project.
  • Survived melting heat conditions with sweet watermelons and dips in lakes and pools.
  • Moved the older two kids downstairs to their "big kid" bedrooms. Adjustments still in place.
  • Went on many dinner dates with My Love and friends.
  • Had a garage sale at Cookie Grandma's.
  • Sold lots of junk on craigslist too.
  • Kids spent a week on the boat with Papa & Nana.
  • Mom got lots done when they were gone!
  • Killed most of my potted plants. My Green thumb forgot to make an appearance this summer. 
  • Took in local activities: The Fair, Farmer's Market, Parade's & Festival's, Lynde' 500 and more
  • Charlie attended and loved his basketball camp.
  • Kids had many sleepovers.
  • Participated in 2 road races. (3rd by the end of the month)
  • Enjoyed picnics, hikes and trips to local parks and beach areas
  • Created so many memories that will last a lifetime just being with the kids. 
And now can safely say, Mommy is ready for Fall!

Saturday, August 30, 2014

For The Sisters...

It's no secret who my running inspiration is: My Hero. 
My sister Traci has ran a race for 7 and a half years full of treatments, needles, surgeries and many up's and down's with tumor markers. It's been exhausting and stressful to say the least BUT, 
God is STILL SOOOOOO good to us! 
Never has He left My Hero's side or our family standing strong behind her when she's too weak to pick herself up. 
Taking each step towards the finish line is all for my sister…
Last month my sister-friend told me, with a heavy heart, that her sister too, had recently been diagnosed with breast cancer. There is no stopping this beast that has stolen too many lives and lost hope for many futures. My heart broke for Lorna's battle she now has to fight.
I pray Lorna feels the support, the many prayers and fight from her friends to keep her chin up as she faces many fears with this disease. 
The depression looms. The fear of the unknowns can rob your every thought and place doubt for tomorrow as breast cancer can be unpredictable. It's a scary thing. 
I was honored to run for both the sister's today. Traci and Lorna are amazing Godly women who put their faith in The One that can heal and wipe every tear from their eyes. I have so much respect for the torture they have to go through in order to fight cancer. They are brave, strong and able to stand against anything that comes their way. 
Cancer will NOT tear them down. It can NOT take their faith away. 
They will never be alone in the battle because they have more than family standing behind them ready to catch. There is an army of prayer warriors on their side! Today I was honored to fight and run for these two beautiful women. 
We love you Lorna and Traci!

{ the sisters }

{ Carb loading the night before. I never turn down the opportunity. }

{ Ready to go with bib numbers and treat bags. }
Check out www.northcountyroadrun.com for more race information.

{ It gets crazy out there past mile 13 }

  Mom & Gwen walked and ran a little of the 10k together. Never met, but had plenty of time to get to know each other!
Both being nurses, they had much in common too.
I'm SOOOOO proud of my Mom who completed the course with a 1:23 chip time!
Go Mom!

 { Addison & Annie walked with Tim on the 5k course. }

 { I beat my last year's 1/2 marathon time by 6 minutes. We were all pleased to finish. }

{ Post-race treats }

{ My Mommy Runs for my ROCK STAR Auntie! }

Lorna & Traci: Never for a second think you are alone. Know you are loved by many!

Friday, August 29, 2014

Summer Splash

Once the boys left for their boy's only camping trip on Sunday, the girls and I made a quick trip to Bellingham for a runner's errand and lunch. All Addi asked for was a picnic lunch date at a park of her choice. Part of me feels a little bad for ditching the big extended family potluck, but with the guys gone I wasn't feeling up to it on my own. 
( Sorry family. ) 
So, with Subway in hand, the little ladies chose Cornwall Park…little did we know the water would turn on while we were there! Thankfully I had extra clothes packed but of course, no towels. It was the perfect way to cool off, have some fun and enjoy a little lunch. 

{ A park style baday…}

{ Mickey was in spray park glory! }

{ Need to work on her runner's pose. }

{ Making friends no matter what the age…or if they even asked for it! }

{ yeah…that's disgusting. I'm so proud. }

Summer, it's been real fun. Thanks for the awesome sunshine!