Thursday, April 24, 2014

Thankful Thursday - April 24

thankful thursday
It's been a week. Again. Life just keeps dropping trouble on our plates. The short version is that evidently the entire family has decided to fall apart due to the trauma of the heart transplant experience at the same time. I am extremely thankful we had already jumped through the hoops and red tape, and had a family counselor lined up before everyone lost it.
I am thankful we were able to start a family filled Easter Sunday with a quiet morning of just the five of us. I am thankful we have money to indulge in some gifts for the kids. I am thankful I didn't actually lose the gifts we bought the girls in Disneyland last September. I am thankful for the smiles and appreciation from all three kids.
I am thankful these cousins got to spend time together. I am thankful they are growing up only an hour's drive from each other; I grew up much further than that from my cousins. I am thankful for their unique personalities and similarities.
I am thankful for the friendship of my sister-in-law [1]. I am thankful for the time I got to spend with my niece, L [2]. I am thankful my Dad is around and enjoys his grandkids [3]. I am thankful for the chance to watch Z's brain work [4]. I am thankful for this serious little face [5].
Yesterday, ODD and I went to see the Venice exhibit at the Portland Art Museum. I am thankful for the time and money that allowed for this trip. I am thankful my husband's work schedule is flexible enough to allow him to stay home with YDD. I am thankful for time to talk with my girl. I am thankful she doesn't really like coffee [1]. I am thankful for the chance to talk about art with her [2 & 4]. I am thankful for her sense a style and how tired she was from walking at the end of the day [3]. I am very thankful for the one on one time with her; we both needed that.
I am thankful for her eye which draws mine to art I would likely overlook. I am thankful we can take pictures so she can have the images of favorite art at home. 
I am thankful for the smile the pink wig caused. I am thankful for new books arriving on my porch. I am thankful for the library and the ability to preview books before buy [which we did with 3/4 books above].

Saturday, April 19, 2014

What We're Reading - April 19

My girls have been reading rather a lot this week, so I decided to do a separate post.

YDD's non-fiction reading; these are all children's picture book length. She didn't like 7 and didn't finish it. She really liked 6. All the rest were good and read at least once. 5 is a graphic novel style which she found very appealing.
1 - Nelson Mandela by Kadir Nelson
2 - The Water Dragon by Li Jian
3 - The Fantastic Adventures of Krishna by Demi
4 - The Knight, the Princess & the Magic Rock by Sara Azizi
5 - The Great American Dust Bowl by Don Brown
6 - The Snake Goddess Colors the World by Li Jian
7 - Chinese Fables by Shiho S. Nunes
8 - Locomotive by Brian Floca

YDD's fiction reading; she likes all these books. 1 & 3 are from the same trilogy. 2 & 7 she is rereading. 
1 - The Palace of Laughter by Jon Berkeley
2 - The Capture by Kathryn Lasky
3 - The Tiger's Egg by Jon Berkeley
4 - The Year of the Dog by Grace Lin
5 - The Flint Heart by Katherine Paterson & John Paterson
6 - The Blue Fairy Book by Andrew Lang
7 - The Dragon in the Sock Drawer by Kate Klimo

DH read this one far quicker than I expected given he's in grad school. It is a HUGE book with tiny print and he finished it in less than a week. Sanderson is an awesome author or so I hear. I may need to read some of his work myself. Everyone else in the family loves his stuff.
ODD and my reading for the week. ODD 1 & 2: "DS suggested that I read Leviathan. I really enjoyed it. Leviathan is about an alternate history. Some countries use fabricated beasties, and some countries use great mechanical machines. It's a fascinating book, 5 out of five stars." What I was impressed with was she read a book and a half of this series in one week. My art girl has rarely taken that much time to read this school year.  I am working on books 3 & 4; enjoying both but sad I haven't finished either.
1 - Leviathan by Scott Westerfield
2 - Behemoth by Scott Westerfield
3 - The Autistic Brain by Temple Grandin
4 - Wicked Intentions by Elizabeth Hoyt

My Homeschool Mother's Journal - April 19

 Homegrown Learners

In my life this week… ugh. It was a week of ugh! and NO! Seriously no more!
On the blessings side, this was last Sunday afternoon. It always amazes me how happy just being outside makes my people. ODD and I didn't even really go in the sun because we sat on the porch. Didn't matter because we were still happier.
In our homeschool this week… the last two days have been regular school days thank God. Those days helped keep me sane. I will also have to admit we've gotten more done than I would have expected. We're delving into The Black Death deeper because ODD is fascinated by it and YDD is happily tagging along. ODD finished chapter 15 & 16 of Life of Fred: Mineshaft; she's irritated with the conversions necessary because the US hasn't switched to the metric system. This week she's converting Fahrenheit to Celsius and ranting "WHY DO I EVEN NEED THIS?!?!?" So we've hit that point in math. I have arranged for the girls to take their state testing in July. I am pleased we can push it outside our regular school year, and we still have a few months to reassure girlies about their math. That's the only area they are both a bit unsure. I am thinking/hoping the testing is going to boost confidence.

Daddy gave YDD the box from our new lawn mower and she LOVES it. Spent a day reading in it.
Helpful homeschooling tips or advice to share… I had planned to test in June to get it done with, but YDD really wanted to not test in her birthday month. Since she's not looking forward to the test, I took her input and now we have a workable compromise. Tip? Figure out how and where you can compromise and what can not be. Everyone is happier.

This week's art . . . ODD posted a work in progress on her blog.
This week's art from YDD. She called this The Council of the Bears. Also, our milk froze and she was fascinated with how it looked on her cereal. Nut.
What we're reading . . . I wrote a whole separate post because YDD is reading so much.

Places we’re going and people we’re seeing… we got to go to the tulip festival on Monday:
ODD snapped some pretty danged good pictures from the car.
Here's my post with lots of beautiful pictures.

My favorite thing this week was…
This is what dinner looked like one night this week: every kid with a book.
I’m thankful … DH was able to work late the first 3 days this week so he could take 2 days off to focus on a group project for school. I am deeply thankful I am not in a class with group projects that my grade depends on. I am thankful we were able to attend Good Friday services at our church. I am thankful the family is starting to look forward to our coming beach vacation. I am thankful DH didn't get more hurt when a bugie cord snapped back at him; HUGE blessing. I am thankful our counselor was able to fit ODD and I in another day this week, and I am thankful our next appointment is Monday. I am thankful for 2 days of hitting all our school subjects; I really needed that accomplishment this week. I am thankful we are not hosting Easter this year; I am thankful my mother in law is hosting. I am thankful we have Easter outfits all ready to go. I am thankful I have our trial Krav Maga class scheduled and I am thankful ODD is excited about it.

I’m praying for… help. Less stress. Wisdom.

Something I am ogling or have my eye on… my new mattress!! We got it!! Water heater on hold until we see how much it's going to be to fix a car, but we did get a new mattress for our bed.

A photo, video, link, or quote to share (silly, serious or both!)
My berry is showing life! My strawberry plants all how blossoms and 3 of my raspberry sticks have green growing. YAY! 

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Thankful Thursday - April 17

thankful thursday

This week. Man this week. My kids are rocking my world and I am struggling to think straight.

I am thankful I am not on this parenting journey alone. I am thankful for God's help every step of the way. I am thankful God paired me with my husband; we are good partners in parenting. I am thankful for our counselor and how she fit us in yesterday. I am thankful the next appointment is not so far away. I am thankful for a friend who took over some planning for me; it was a wonder and a blessing to watch her work. I am thankful for all the reading YDD has done this week. I am thankful ODD is talking to me and the counselor. I am thankful we have a week at the beach coming soon. I am thankful Oregon does not have restrictive homeschool laws. I am thankful dinner is already started for tonight. I am thankful I have no appointments today. I am thankful for my husband's full-time paychecks. I am thankful my husband got his week of hours in three days so he's home the next four days. I am thankful my husband is making waffles for breakfast this morning. I am thankful I have state testing for my girls arranged. I am very thankful I can push the testing out to July; YDD didn't want to test in her birthday month of June.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Field Trip: Tulip Festival

Monday we were supposed to have two appointments, but they got cancelled so I decided to head out to The Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival with the girls. We ordered some bulbs from the farm last year by a particular deadline, and received a free season pass to this year's festival. YDD and I have been twice so far, but this time the weather was perfect. We ate breakfast before heading out to the fields for a couple hours. I am hoping to head back at least one more time this season.

ODD took these shots. We noticed she took shots from very different angles than her sister and me. The artist eye at work.
More of ODD's work. Her favorite is the big one on the left.
ODD spent most of her time like this. YDD and I left her there while we wandered. If she moved, she would look for us and wave. We would loop back to her spot and check in with her. I was so thrilled to have my artist girl and my nature girl happy with the same outing.
And I was thrilled with the happy faces. ODD took the picture of me, and the ones of me & a girl, I took in the selfie style. 
I actually only took the picture of YDD sitting in front of her favorite tulips. ODD took the rest of these. YDD and I walked and walked that day.
My work. I love the poiky shape of the tulips on the top left.
Also my work. It is so amazing to be out on the fields surrounded by all this beauty. Pictures simply do not capture the experience.
YDD took these pictures. I wish I had a camera to take pictures of her taking pictures. While her sister drew, YDD wandered around taking pictures and I trailed after her. I didn't realize until I put this collage together that YDD picked all flame colored tulips. It's one of the bulbs she wants to add to our yard this season.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

My Homeschool Mother's Journal - April 12

 Homegrown Learners

In my life this week…Last weekend all five of us went to visit with my husband's heart donor's mother. Tina is a lovely lady who is hurting over her son, Nic's, death. It was good to spend some time with her, and I am so thankful we continue to pray for her. She is moving forward with a new marriage and a degree almost completed. But moving has meant she left the home she raised her kids in and that Nic has never seen this new home. A tough time of transition for her, and we continue to pray. I had my second counseling session on Monday and somehow those 45 minutes fly by and I feel like we've barely scratched the surface. I also saw my primary doctor on Monday and he's really frustrated with the hematologist I had been seeing which was very nice confirmation for me. I have a new hematologist, but haven't made an appointment; it's on my To Do List. I will say I am passing some milestone of feeling better and that has been fabulous. I am trying to keep my focus on the progress made and not on how I still don't feel very good. Progress made means I am on the road to feeling better and that's way better than life 3 weeks ago.

In our homeschool this week… MWF all went according to plan, but TTh we jumped the tracks. Tuesday I hit the wall and ordered bellowed a cleaning day. There were tears for everyone which I am very sad about. Thursday was supposed to be an orthodontist appointment for the boy during which the girls and I would hang at the library and school; afterwards it was on to Captain America. Except it was the wrong date for the orthodontist, so no school got done. We went to lunch, the movie and grocery shopping.

Wednesday we spent an hour on the porch working on history.
This week we learned about Constantinople falling, and so of course I had to hunt up this song for the girls. ODD is still mad at me for making her listen to such a silly song, but I doubt they will forget that Istanbul was Constantinople and now it's Istanbul and not Constantinople!

This week's art . . .
Discovered on my camera; it is ODD's work.
Places we’re going and people we’re seeing…
Friday we met with our local homeschool group to learn about Portland. ODD ran the computer portion, and YDD was unthrilled to have her picture taken.
1 - ODD and a friend being the bridge for playing London Bridges. 2 & 4 - The girls checking out the firehose that was part of this week's historical trunk. And yes that is BearBear laying next to YDD. 3 - YDD trying to foil my picture taking during London Bridges; I am calling it a draw. I got the picture, but it's not great.
My kiddos favorite thing this week was… Captain America!

My favorite thing this week was… Captain America! I deeply appreciate the family time the Marvel Universe gives us. It is often very difficult to find activities that the 18YO Aspie, the 12YO and 9YO will all engage in together. The first common ground we had was Harry Potter. Avengers and Agents of S.H.E.I.L.D. and the rest of the universe is our current family bonding activity and I am thankful for it and all the people who work to make it possible.

Things I’m working on… still with the carb loading. I tried to start weaning off but my body is so not ready for that yet.

I’m cooking… soup! I have newly discovered the beauty of soup. I had heard how you just make a soup out of all your leftover produce, but the problem with that is I don't really like veggies. The idea of eating veggies floating in broth grosses me out. Enter blended soup.  My friend, Wendi, has been feeding us before Bible Study at her house and she blended all kinds of veggies into her soup. Here's the amazing part: MY KIDS ATE IT AND SO DID I. Thus began my own experimenting. I made a sausage soup that I blended all the veggies and and beans, and then added chunks of sausage. The kids just asked for spicier sausage. I've started eating a veggie soup for lunch that is onions, carrots, bell peppers [all veggies that have carbos] in broth, and then add spiciness. I blend that all up and freeze in 1 cup portions. After I reheat it for eating, I add 1/3 cup feta or gorgonzola cheese. I am eating more veggies than I ever have, and it's just the veggies I need and I love that.

I’m thankful for… my God who loves me and never leaves me. It's been an emotional week, and I would have broken long ago without the strength and presence of my God.

I’m praying for… Tina and her family. My cousin who is looking for work. My oldest daughter.

I rewarded my kids this week by…
 not requiring them to make up our lost days. We're just letting those go.

Something I am ogling or have my eye on… we are so close to a water heater and mattress, people!

A photo, video, link, or quote to share (silly, serious or both!)
Last Saturday, YDD and I visited the tulip field for the first time this season with her Sunday School teacher. A fun outing but cold and windy! What I love about this pictures is that I did not retouch or anything; that's what it looked like. God is an amazing artist.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Thankful Thursday - April 10

thankful thursday

I am thankful for my husband taking lead in disciplining the boy child. I am thankful for some light shed on me by my counselor; the insight has started to impact my world. I am thankful for help. I am thankful for praying family and friends. I am thankful for a friend who just can't take the texting and picks up the phone; she makes me smile every time. I am thankful ODD talked to me this week about a really big issue in her world; I am so very very thankful she didn't keep it to herself. I am thankful we can make changes quickly; this week I dropped softball for her and looked into starting Krav Maga. I love that can happen as quickly as circumstances change. I am thankful for the anchors of music and art in her life. I am thankful for all the buds and changes Spring brings. I love noticing all those changes with my youngest. I am thankful I've never gotten back into my lights out at 8:30p and out of bed at 4:30a because my oldest girl has needed to talk later than 8p. I am thankful for the opportunity to be a blessing in DH's donor's mother's life; I am thankful we had the chance to celebrate with her last weekend. I am thankful we found a new God Time book for ODD that she likes; we've been struggling with this in recent weeks and it's lovely to have it resolved. I am thankful God is not done working in me. I am thankful He is with me always. I am thankful. As I struggle with life and dealing with all my life entails, I am thankful. Even when I have to work to find it.

In May 2010, I started writing down my thanks in a single notebook. I had been writing them in my journal but found they got lost in there. When I wanted to go back and read what I had been thankful for, I got mired down in the trouble I was pouring out to God. I grabbed a spiral notebook and just started writing in it. This notebook does not contain all my thanks; I have never carried it around with me or written in it every day. It is a tool that helps me in practicing the discipline of thanksgiving. It is a record I've gone back and read when I need encouragement. I am thankful that this week I filled that first notebook and started a new one.