Thursday, January 30, 2014

A Bit of Comedy and Setting Goals

Not that those go together at all...but today they do.

"In my dream, I heard Fern throw up."

"One more day until the sleepover."

"Fern likes my water bottle."

"My neck is itchy."

"What time are we leaving?"

"Look at what I did to my paper.." I express my surprise at how a paper could be crumpled so beautifully...

"What does this mean?..."  (referring to a math concept discussed so many times I dream about it)

This is just a very small sampling of what I may hear on any given day in about 3 minutes time.  I guess it's no wonder that I want to crawl back into bed by 8:30 some days.  Not to mention the way they make it a competition as to who can tell me the most in the shortest amount of time so that before one is even done finishing their sentence of meaningful thoughts, the next one is already starting theirs as if they are on the edge of a world record award for most thoughts told to Mom in the shortest amount of time.  

Best mom ever, I am.  I do love talking to them, but I guess I prefer it to be somewhat meaningful at least part of the time. 

Anyway, I got the crazy idea this past weekend that we should all write down goals - and learn how to measure them and give time limits, etc., etc. 

I found a couple of worksheets online for my husband and I to use and another one online for the younger girls, but I was stuck for something for our teens.  I wanted something with a spiritual category which was left out on anything I saw online for teens. 

So I put together a little packet for the teens...a questionnaire about three people in their lives (they have to know them personally so no Selena Gomez or Tobuscus, thank God) that they admire and why.  Another couple sheets with these categories: Family, Spiritual, Education, and Social.  I included a quote from James Cash Penney:  "Give me a stock clerk with a goal, and I will give you a man who will make history.  Give me a man without a goal, and I will give you a stock clerk."  I loved this especially coming from a man whose name is on over 1000 stores in this country.  (Also interesting, he started working for a small chain of stores called the Golden Rule stores because that rule was so important to them.)  The last sheet in their packet was an official goal sheet (only for education) so they could write down specific goals, how to measure them and time limits.  They have to sign them and we will look them over from time to time.  I told them I wouldn't look at the other sheets so they could really write their honest thoughts and feelings.  Hopefully, our son won't take that to mean he can draw pictures of Hobbits on them or write about Bilbo as a person he admires (although I guess that wouldn't be so bad).  

I haven't even approached it yet with the other girls, but hopefully that will happen this afternoon if we can get past all of the other interesting thoughts they'll undoubtedly want to share.

Had to post this - this cardinal was sitting in a bush right near the window this weekend and she just is so beautiful...and fat!!!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Texture Tuesday, Volume 7

Linking up with Kim for Texture Tuesday.

Simply cold...

edited with kk_3003

edited with kk_0405

It was -14F when we woke up this morning...

We have never seen weather like we've seen here in northern Indiana for the past couple of weeks...we definitely have snow and cold temps but not like this.  Looking ahead to a colorful spring!

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Book review: Lone Survivor

Warning:  this is the longest post I've written yet, but that's how much this book has affected me.  

When I first saw the previews for the movie Lone Survivor I knew I wouldn't be able to stand watching a story like that. For someone who needs a tissue after even slightly touching commercials, I knew this movie would reduce me to someone I wouldn't be proud of no matter who I went to see it with. 

But just like stories of the Holocaust, I also felt that I owed it to them to know their story. So I got online to the library to reserve said title. It had a waiting list so I added my name and was looking forward to the email that would announce that I was next in line to read it. 

I got it Tuesday and I knew from the beginning this one would be tough to put down. Well it's a good thing the kids had a snow day Friday because I read for about four straight hours which never happens around here.   I could not put it down. The house could've been burning down and I would have had my nose buried, and I finished it!

It's so hard to know where to start when writing about a story like theirs.  First of all, I was impressed with his upbringing and family life. He seemed like a great kid with great parents, etc., etc.  The training to become a SEAL took up almost the first half of the book but I totally see why. What they go through and the number of guys that drop out, is amazing. 

But then you get to the real meat of the story. I don't even know how they do it. Not just SEALs, but any of our military service people.  Being in a different country that's about as opposite as ours, and being around people that have such a (misplaced) hatred for us would be unnerving to say the least. Then they learn about a very important mission coming up that keeps getting delayed...get ready, no wait...get ready, no wait.  That alone takes a lot of fortitude in my book!  

The mission itself is so high pressure and the terrain they have to operate in is so difficult, but these men are driven to succeed no matter what - no matter what - and all the while looking out for their brother servicemen. 

I can't even write about the details of the mission and what happened and hope to do it any kind of justice.  The most important things I took from their story are strength, commitment, honor, and the Christian values that the branches of the armed forces are based on. 

The amount of strength these men have - both physical and mental - is astonishing. The training they go through that tests both of those strengths on a constant basis at first seems almost inhuman but then you realize that it has to be done that way. I know (at least I hope I remember for a very long time) that every time I want to complain about the mundane tasks of my life that I very often complain about, that I will be humbled. 

Their commitment to the branch of the military that they're in is impressive; however, their commitment to each other in life and death situations is beyond admirable.  Further words escape me...

They showed supreme honor in precarious situations because they have values and they respect human life - unlike the very enemies they were sent after.

Their Christian values were of utmost importance in the decisions they made and I was continually surprised and yet disappointed at the same time as I agree with all the sentiments of the author regarding the power of certain government officials and the power of the American media.

I think this should be mandatory reading for anyone above the age of, maybe, 15, and my teens will definitely be reading it.  I think it's important for our young people to realize what goes on outside of their usually very comfortable surroundings and what other people do to keep them comfortable.

I would want the author to know how much they are all appreciated - it seems like no words would be enough to express that.  I would want him to know that even though it may not seem like it, I think there are an awful lot of Americans that have the very same values that they do and try their hardest every day to live their lives according to those values. 

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Glad to see the sun

I knew the sun would come out today - if only to save my children from the misery of being with my crabby self :)

A good dose of vitamin D delivered via the sun is so good for the psyche!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Ups and downs of schooling at home

Mostly downs right now...This winter has really effected my ability to stay focused and on track with school.  At least I'll blame it on the weather.  It has been so cold that we can't really go anywhere for an outside activity - we did get to go tubing last weekend but that was the first outdoor activity in what seems like many months.  It just really brings me down. And then I get crabby or ultra quiet and I'm sure the girls are wondering what's wrong with me...but I can't help it. Yesterday afternoon the sun was shining so brightly so that was helpful but we still can't really do anything outside.  

When I get in these moods, my brain goes places it shouldn' if I were working right now I wouldn't have to spend so much time with them (awesome)...or...if I were working right now we might not have to always worry about money...or...if they were in school right now they'd probably be better prepared for high school.  I've said it before but that's the single worst thing about homeschooling is the constant questioning if what you're doing is the right thing. 

I will stand by my original convictions on why homeschooling would be best for them (for now) and I will have to be confident that at least I am trying to prepare them as best I can - which hopefully will count for some small measure of success.  

The sun will come out...tomorrow...

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Turning 40...

I turned 40 yesterday.  I thought maybe I would have some great things to say about entering a new how it's making me think differently or how it's making me appreciate things more, or all the new goals I have...but no. 

I woke up to find cards in the kitchen from the kids and from Eric - all funny - was a good start to the day.  A good friend stopped by to drop off a dozen roses and some chocolate - love her!  I received birthday wishes throughout the day via text, Facebook, and phone - it's so nice to be thought of :)

As I hear/read a lot - age is only a number.  You're only as old as you feel.  40 just does not seem like anything to get excited least not any more than any other number. 

I really don't feel any differently.  The only thought that crossed my mind yesterday was that my life could very well be half over.  But that's why we're here to begin with, right?!  If anything, it's a wake-up call...I better get busy working on my salvation...Lord knows, I have a lot to do!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Texture Tuesday, Volume 6

Linking up with Kim for...

This is our first day back to school so there will be a lot going on but I always look forward to Tuesdays!

{Above photos edited with Kim's ruemarion texture in overlay at about 50% opacity}

These past few snowy days make us all a little stir crazy, but we have enjoyed watching the sweet birdies and wondering how in the world they survive out there.  Fern has fun watching the birds too!

Monday, January 6, 2014

The Big Freeze of 2014

Well, the first two days of school after Christmas break have been called off due to snow and very cold temps.  The lowest temp we recorded today here at the house was -16 with a wind chill of -37. BRRRR...

The three younger girls, however, aren't getting so lucky!  We had such a light schedule 2-3 weeks before Christmas that we are starting tomorrow anyway.  And we're not even starting until 10:00am. 

The snow is very pretty, but it is terribly cold.  The kids took cups with hot water out on the patio and threw the water up into the air.  I don't know what you call what happened, but no water hit the ground - it looked like steam.  It was cool.

The younger girls went outside the day before these cold temps hit and built a snowman whom they named Olaf II.  (The snow was really coming down.)

 They'll be on that slide again least that's what I keep telling myself :)

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Gingerbread house winner!


love the photo-bombers in the background

Our annual gingerbread a.k.a. graham cracker houses...

My mother-in-law joined us this year and she had the great idea of using popcorn as snow! Cute!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

First day of 2014

We had dinner with some friends last night at Papa Vino's which ended up being funny which is a good thing because it could have been frustrating but we chose to laugh about it instead! We had reservations, but they were so busy, they stuck us in a corner in front of some shelves with some items for sale also about 10-12 feet away from the band.  They gave us two small round tables just put together and we could barely hear each other...but...the food was good and we enjoyed our time out.  

We spent the rest of the evening at their house with some pretty hyped up children while it snowed like crazy outside.  We drove separately so Eric could pick up Josh from a party that was on the opposite side of town.  It took him quite a while because of the roads.

Today we just took it easy which is so nice to do.  We played a game the kids got for Christmas called Bezzerwizzer.  It is a trivia game with some fun twists to it and it was fun :)

We watched some Christmas shows that we didn't get a chance to see before Christmas...

Fern stared at some birds outside while I played around with a new free camera app I downloaded - Camera 360 Ultimate. 

 I don't usually make "resolutions" because I personally think they're a little bit silly or maybe that's just my excuse because I probably wouldn't keep them anyway.  However, I got this journal and haven't written in it for two and a half years!  I tried it as a prayer journal but then it seemed too much like work to think of just the right way to word things. I intend on writing in it more often but just in bullet point style.  I'm only going to jot down a few highlights (or low) from each day.  Nothing fancy. 

Happy New Year!!!