Friday, June 29, 2012

Summer Days

Cupcake waiting for surgery with Scotty (dog)
What have we been up to?  Well, it seems we can't get done nearly as much as I think we should.  Everyone's answer to that is "Mom, it IS summer, you know."  So, the momma is trying to sort of take it easy too.

Cupcake had surgery again for new tubes in her ears.  She thinks it is super cool that the doctor gave her a container with one of the old tubes in it.  He thinks there is about a 50% chance that once these new tubes come out, the eustachean tubes will have developed properly in her ears.  These will probably last her another year. 

Muffy is learning to quilt.  She made a beautiful ballet themed quilt top in pinks and purples two years ago.  I've finally gotten around to showing her how to do the stitches to put it together.  She's doing a great job.  She said, "This is really hard, takes a lot of patience, but I can do it." 

E- and S- at the ballgame
 S-boy had a few productive days this week.  He pressure washed the entire deck and put together patio furniture for us.  He is also the chief "pool skimmer" for these hot days.

E's been busy making snow cones on a daily basis.  His most requested flavor is green apple.  He also makes watermelon and cotton candy flavors.  He often recruits one of the girls as his helper.  Today with temps over 100, he was our favorite guy!  Never knew how much I'd like snow cones.

Both boys took in a ballgame with their dad this week, while the girls and I went to Moonberries, a frozen yogurt shop.  However, we really wanted to try the Purple Penguin but could not find it.  Someone please give me directions!

I had a nice time at the beach last weekend, getting to know some ladies in the church better.  It was good to get back to my family though.  I'm at 15% on Little Dorrit which is a good place to be because I'm far enough into it to understand what is going on, and I began Total Truth by Nancy Pearcey, on Biblical worldview.  My brain cells might have to work overtime on that one. 

Being silly at Lowe's-- we are such regular customers!
Matt did well with the kids in my absence, and even did some reorganizing in my laundry room!  Muffy girl helped him in the clothing department, so hopefully they looked okay while I was gone.

We are looking forward to next week to celebrate the 4th.  Happy Independence Day everyone!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Banana Pudding and other News

We've enjoyed some mild temperatures for June, relaxing just a wee bit on our big front porch.  The kids swam on Thursday, but found it to be a bit chilly.

Everyone worked harder this week at being more productive with summer assignments, music practice, and housework in general.  It is a blessing when they begin to see that something needs doing without me asking.

Our little water bug!
Cupcake was sad on Monday when her beloved Mr. Darcy's doggie life came to an end.  Mr. Darcy belonged to her Aunt Missy, but we've all played along that Mr. Darcy was Cupcake's dog that had to live with Aunt M. When I had to break the news to her, she sobbed and then told me she needed to call her daddy at work.  That little girl loves just about every animal out there, but Mr. Darcy was by far her favorite.  When we would visit, he would lay in her lap so contentedly.  She picked some flowers to put  on his grave.  She'll miss him, but NO, do not even ask, we do not feel bad enough to buy her a dog.  She can borrow her other aunt's dog that lives across the street.  ...In other not so good news, Cupcake's ear development has not progressed since the placement of the tubes.  The doctor believes she is experiencing a lot of pressure, which may be causing the return of some unwanted irritable behavior.  She doesn't have much air space for the vibrations, thus affecting her hearing again.  So, she goes in for surgery for new tubes in both ears in a couple of weeks.

Muffy has been busy entertaining Cupcake (to which I'm very thankful), drawing pictures, and coming close to finishing the delightful Mary Poppins.  She also made banana pudding from her Paula Dean kid's cookbook.  We all enjoyed that very much!
Muffy's banana pudding, S- the taster!

S- parted company with his rental violin.  Purchasing it would have meant robbing the bank (okay, not really, but anyway...).  The shop owner had three violins in our price range ready for us when we arrived.  He had S- try out a G scale on all three to compare sound, and to see if he'd "bond" with one.  Well, of course, he "bonded" with the most expensive one (without knowing price at all to bias decision).   I think S- and his new violin are going to be a great team.  Besides playing music, he is reading Oliver Twist.  It will be great fun to watch the Masterpiece Theater version with him when he finishes reading it (which will probably be quite some time from now).

E-'s wagon rides, helmets needed!
E- completed his Math-U-See Delta course today.  Hooray for E- mastering three digit multiplication and long division.  We'll begin the Math-U-See Epsilon on Monday.  It is primarily on fractions, which he's had exposure to already in previous curriculums, so we hope to go through it quickly.  He's also resumed Kidnapped, by Robert Louis Stevenson.   Other highlights have been making paper airplanes, singing country, and pulling siblings for wild rides in the wagon.

There just isn't much to post about Matt and I.  I've been extra tired, so we've both just been pushing through the routine, with a little time to read in the evenings.  Hey, no one ever tells you this, but when your kids get older, you actually end up with less free time!   I love them all though, and the ages and stages they go through so quickly.

I'm going to the beach with some ladies from church next week, so unless dear husband gets motivated to blog, there won't be a post.  Don't feel sorry for him; he'll be fine, but my house might never be the same, and if you see my kids out and about their clothes probably won't match!   Hee, hee, hee.
Delighted one girl, terrified the other.  Any guesses which?
Cupcake's version of a catbird!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Every spring I long for the summer break from homeschooling.  Don't get me wrong, we are all enjoying a more flexible routine.  However, for maybe the first time ever it has finally dawned on me that summer is all too short and realistically I'll probably only get 1/8 of my "want to do" and "need to do" lists completed.  So, anyway I sort of feel like a deflated balloon on this realization.  But, that is probably a good thing because the things that actually do get crossed off will probably surprise me and be "hoorah" moments.

We had a wonderful time with our other homeschooling friends from church on Monday at a nearby park at the lake with a picnic lunch, playtime, and fellowship.  This was our second annual end of the school year party with kids from toddlers to fourteen year olds.  I took E and S, along with two other kids out on the paddle boats.  I had one condition:  THEY had to do the paddling while I relaxed in the back.

An important lesson was learned this week.  When your hand-me-down shoes from your son wear out, it is NOT OKAY to buy some from Wal-Mart, when the purpose of the shoes is for running.  OUCH!  Ordering decent shoes is on the list of things to do right away.

The children have had a bit of routine this week with math, chores, and music practice in the mornings with quiet reading time in the afternoons.  The boys and I have been hammering away at finishing The Story of the Greeks, so we can begin Story of the Romans which have to be done this summer.   We are eagerly awaiting a replacement motor for our pool pump, so we can add swimming back into our afternoons.  Instead of swimming this week, S and Muffy have been listening to one of the Andrew Clements books on CD.  We've played several rounds of the Cupcake's Lost Puppies game and UNO Attack with her.  Also, E has made snow cones for us from his new snow cone maker he bought with his lawn mowing money.  He also got a pie maker machine but hasn't tried it out yet.  He likes to make his popcorn and snow cones inside his tree house.

I've had Muffy reading the Sarah, Plain, and Tall trilogy.  She's done with the first and is now in the middle of Skylark.  I can't wait to watch the Hallmark movies based on the book with her-- some of my favorites.  She's also reading Mary Poppins.  It is supposed to be very different from the Disney movie. She'd also like to report she is now the proud owner of a 1/2 size violin.  She's technically still so tiny she should be in the 1/4 but her teacher thought she's gotten close enough now.

Our family for fun read-aloud is Who, Me? from the Castleberry Farm Mystery Series.  Even the older boys love this series about another homeschool family.  They all think it is cool that the family also adopted a couple of  children from Russia.

I get a half-check for finishing a small wall quilt top for my kitchen.  It is a folksy birdhouse.  Maybe with it being so small I can get it quilted sometime (then I get a full check to my list).  My reading this week has included the Tozer book and Eternal Impact (about discipleship) by Phillip Downer.  Tozer has been challenging reading but thought provoking.   For example, on the attribute of omniscience, Tozer writes, "Could God at any time or in any manner receive into His mind knowledge that He did not possess and had not possessed from eternity, He would be imperfect and less than Himself."    The book is stretching my understanding and view of a very holy, unchangeable, mighty God!

Hope everyone is off to a good start for summer!

Friday, June 1, 2012

The Flying By Month of May

Well, I've been negligent in keeping up over the last few weeks.  The month of May kind of flew by for us.  First there was standardized testing, then a surprise get a way with the dear husband, followed by a last week of school and our homeschooling conference.

6200 ft.  Water Rock Knob
Matt planned months ago for a weekend trip to Balsam, North Carolina where we spent our honeymoon at the Balsam Mountain Inn.  The inn was built in 1908, formerly Balsam Mountain Springs Hotel, originally with 100 rooms.  It is a beautiful old three story inn with first and second floor full length porches with enough painted green rockers for all the guests, natural air conditioning (good old mountain air), and no televisions and telephones.

In the early 90's it went through major renovations with a new owner that pretty much saved it from demolition, adding in bathrooms, creating Balsam Mountain Inn with fifty rooms.  BTW, Mom Yvonnie, if there really was an Elm Creek Quilt Camp like in our books, I imagine it would be something like this old inn.  On our first night, we had a wonderful meal of steak for Matt, fruited pork chop for me, yummy salad greens, carmel brie with apples and crackers as our appetizer, and twice baked potatoes.  We topped off our meal with a shared dessert---- oreo chocolate truffles with ice cream.  I think that might be the best dessert ever!!!   After dinner, we spent a couple of hours enjoying the view and good uninterrupted conversation together from those porch rockers.  The next day, we did some mountain climbing  (okay the climb was technically only .5 miles but was SO steep) and then shopping in downtown Waynesville, especially enjoying a store with primitives and folk art type items.  Also, I found a new favorite NC artist, Teresa Pennington, whose color pencil pieces of birds, trees, fences, and other beautiful natural surroundings are so gorgeous and life like.  I purchased two small bird prints for my guest room (and no I've not finished those curtains yet).   Of course a get-a-way without kids would not be complete without a visit to a quilt shop, but I only bought two yards of fabric total.   After dinner, we returned to the inn and enjoyed hot tea in the red bead board library (love that room), while trying to read some of Dicken's Little Dorrit.  We returned home to happy children and happy grandparents, so all is good.
S laughing over I Love Lucy

E at Darryl's on Thursday after conference
Last weekend was super busy with Muffy's worship dance recital and our NC Homeschool conference.  Due to her rehearsals and recital, we canceled our hotel reservations in Winston Salem, and drove back and forth Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.  The girls and I stayed home while Matt and the boys attended on Thursday.  The Muffy girl stayed with Grandma and helped her take care of her little cousins on Friday, while the Cupcake was able to attend the children's conference held on site where we were.  Muffy joined us after her recital for the last of the conference on Saturday.  Matt, the boys, and I were very impressed with John Stonestreet, from Summit Ministries and The Colson Center in his sessions on Christian worldview. ...Muffy smiled beautifully and danced lovely with her class to "Open The Eyes of My Heart".   Grandma did an excellent ballet bun loaded with hair spray.

Muffy sewing a special present
For the most part, I've given the kids the week off.  They've enjoyed many hours of Monopoly (one game that isn't even done yet), time in our above ground pool, family reading time, and maybe even what might be called pure laziness.  Next week though, a summer schedule will be put into place including music practice, reading time, quiet time for a certain six year old, and time to once again establish good habits and chores that have been neglected of late.

Cupcake's new flower garden
Oh, we have a very important house guest just for half of the weekend--- Cupcake is thrilled to have her Gracie Girl visiting while Aunt Courtney and Uncle Caleb are away.  Would you believe I'm even going to give her the guest room with an old blanket covering my bed?  Cupcake asked Muffy, "So do we have seven people now?"  By the way, in case you don't know-- Gracie Girl is a D-O-G.

Happy summer everyone.