Tuesday, 31 May 2011

It's Really Okay

  Most of the kids are settling into beach life, but all this unstructured time- up close and personal with everyone, isn't always easy for some.  One of the kids has been bumping into everyones feelings with all his defensive weapons drawn and giving us all the opportunity to learn to love without expectations.  
  This is a good place to heal.

Monday, 30 May 2011

Nobody Was Bored

  One of the reasons our family chooses to go to the Outer Banks in North Carolina is that there isn't a whole lot to do here.  No amusement parks or water slides or a board walk with tons of shops.
  Just sand and water.
  Every day.
  Entertainment seems over-rated down here.

Sunday, 29 May 2011

Doing Nothing on Purpose

 Waking up this morning to the sound of waves crashing.  Watching the kids running up and down the beach - swimming, digging.  
  Peaceful and happy.
And nobody loves it more than Elijah with his half a conch shell treasure.

Saturday, 28 May 2011

Real Life in the Rear View Mirror

  The countdown started 351 days ago....the day we left the beach last year.  This morning, after plowing through the month of May, which had about four thousand events, we packed the van and headed out for the beach.  Each mile closer to the ocean we got the more I could feel my worries and responsibilities flying out the window.  
  I'm ready for this vacation- starting with a night time sand crab hunt.

Friday, 27 May 2011

We Got You Covered

  Tonight was Kelly's baby shower and the "sistahs" turned out in full force to ooh and aahh over all the adorable baby outfits and to let Kelly know that her new baby had an army of aunts just waiting to spoil her.  I loved listening to them laughing, remembering and reassuring her that they were but a phone call away.  
There is a wonderful security in a group of sisters that stretches all the way around your joys and fears and needs.

Monday, 23 May 2011

Number 3 with a Cap and Gown

  And on Sunday our 3rd daughter graduated from High School.  Molly lives in another part of the state and we traveled a few hours yesterday to celebrate her accomplishment.  She hasn't lived with us for many years and her path both to our house and through and out of our home has been difficult for her.  Although she hasn't lived with us, we have been behind her every step through her journey into adulthood.  Life will not be easy for her and she often chooses paths that make it even more difficult, but yesterday was a testament to her tenacity.  Despite moving more times then I can count, often in the middle of a school year, she did the work and accomplished this milestone.  You're awesome Molly and we love you!

(Stay tuned when next week our oldest grandson graduates as well.)

Saturday, 21 May 2011

The Finish Line

  Today was amazing, inspiring and perfectly wonderful.  We had 12 seniors in our homeschool community and today we had a full out graduation - complete with caps and gowns and "Pomp and Circumstance".  Our guest speaker was Elizabeth Smith, wife of Mike Smith, President of H.S.L.D.A.  
  As each family came up and shared a little about their graduate, I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that choosing homeschool was the best thing we could have done for our girls.  
  AnnaClaire and Grace - we are so proud of you!  

Friday, 20 May 2011

Everything Grows When it Rains Continuesly

  Tonight after dinner James and I took a walk out back to our garden/orchard and everything is looking green and zippy after about 30 straight days of rain.
  Each of the kids has their own little garden square with one tomato plant, two ears of corn and another vegetable that they chose.
   We checked the fruit trees and found our first small pears, apples and peaches.
All being happily pollinated by the bees.

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Can I Freeze Them Right Here?

  These are three of my favorite teens - Eleanor my granddaughter and Emma and Isaiah my twins by other mothers.  They are a delight to homeschool - always wanting to know more about whatever we study and they are kindly enthusiastic about every dumb thing I think of to do.  
  But the thing I love best of all, is their their innocence.  They are thirteen and they don't have phones, dates or attitudes.   A perfect day for them is to learn about the Vikings in school, write a play about them and act it out for the family that night.  
  Being homeschooled means you can be your own kind of cool.  And they are!

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Full of Grace!

This is Grace and Gracie - alike in more than their name.  
Each had less than a perfect start in the world.  Both were given life by a mom that couldn't care for them.  God had a plan for both of these girls - and for the families He would entrust them to.  He placed them as babies in the arms of moms who see past their difficulties and struggles and who love them beyond reason.  
Are they hard sometimes?  Yes!  Wild?  Absolutely!  
They are also an incredible gift 
and Leslie and I are blessed to be their moms.


Sunday, 15 May 2011

Chain Gang of Love

As often as having 9 sons and 5 son in laws can be overwhelming loud and annoying, when it's time to get some work done around the house, it's a whole lot of "man power".  This weekend James needed to mix and shovel 14 tons of cement for the floor of his workshop and they showed up to do the job.  I did my part by serving pizza and tons of water and telling them all how much I loved them.

Saturday, 14 May 2011

I'll Meet You at the Check Out

  As much as I love going to Lowe's - the garden center is amazing- and I want every closet insert and organizer product they sell- going with the boys is not my favorite.  Why do they all have to ride the cart and why was the cart designed to steer sideways instead of straight and why can I hear them from one end of the huge store to the other?  Not amusing.  But I did find just the thing I needed for my hanging plants and James and the boys found boring boy stuff.

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Just Drop Her Off

  My daughter Lane and family are working on hiring a contractor to get their new house ready to move in to, which means well be seeing a lot more of them, as the house is right around the corner from us.  My granddaughter Layla will be starting Kindergarden this fall and on the days her mom is working she'll get on and off the bus at our house.  Can I just tell you how excited I am!  I love when the grandkids are part of the every day life - its so much sweeter than just visiting.  

Sunday, 8 May 2011

Just the Way it Always Is

 It's Mother's Day and as much as I appreciate all the blessings and gifts from my children, my thoughts are mostly on my mom.  She has given me the gift of living easily - no worries from my past, no regrets...just encouragement and  joy for life and knowing that she approves of me fully and without reserve.  In this picture from when I was two I see  the same feelings between us that we shared today while we sat together on her porch.  I love her and she loves me. 

Thursday, 5 May 2011

National Day of Prayer

Our town celebrated National Day of Prayer on the steps of the courthouse today.  A small number of people turned out-mostly homeschool families and the local Catholic priest.  The Jr. R.O.T.C. group from the local high school raised the flag and we sang the Star Spangles Banner and said the pledge of allegiance. Together we prayed for the country - to return to God and to repent of our sins.  We closed with a hymn.  I liked our town a lot today.

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Not Even Remotely Whipped Into Shape

 Life in a large family is often, at best, controlled chaos.  I used to have much higher standards.  Simple things like knowing for sure that everyone was wearing socks and had brushed their teeth in the last 24 hour period.  I can't tell you how many times I have gotten to town and realized that not only did my boys not wash their face from dinner but had the entire menu printed on the front of their shirt. It's embarrassing the things I've had to let slide.  They move in a wiggling writhing mass that I am unable to subdue.  So when I say, "stand together for a picture", it's not a pretty sight.  
Funny, but not pretty.

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

The Long Haul

  Homeschooling has been a checkered career around here.  My two homemade daughters, Kirsten and Kara,  attended public school -Kindergarden through High School.  Another child was asked to leave public school (don't ask) and thus began our adventure into homeschooling. Some of the kids have been been half home educated and half through the schools.  One year in October I woke up and decided that four of the kids would enroll back in school that day.  
But AnnaClaire and Grace are our first two homeschool graduates.  We hung in there together and made it through.  Never once did public school look appealing (you know on those days when everyone hates math) or was considered for a moment as an option.  The girls and I have read through World History, Eastern Hemisphere Countries and American History (thank you Sonlight!) and we talk about our favorite missionary stories and real life heros and heroines and never have I learned so much or loved so much.  I know what my girls think and they know what I value and it has been good.  I'm excited to launch these two wonderful girls into adulthood!