Tuesday, June 29, 2010

40 years

My parents celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary this past weekend. They often celebrate their anniversary by going to The Bavarian Inn in Frankenmuth. This year, they wanted all of us to celebrate with them and we happily obliged!

A program from the restaurant showing the reservations for the day

There we are - in the Geneva room

I didn't take any pictures of the meal but we were well fed and enjoyed a family-style fried chicken dinner. It was wonderful having a private room and not having to worry about the little ones so much.

Happy Anniversary, mom and dad!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

A low moment

I hit a low as a mom the other day. I let Brendan down in a big way. And the pain of that hit me so hard, it took me a couple of days to recover.

I know I'm not perfect. I was never under that illusion. And I know my kids know I'm not perfect. I get angry, I make mistakes. But I think this may have been the first time that one of them was really counting on me and I blew it.

Brendan went to the overnight basketball camp at Spring Arbor University last week. Josh took him over there on Sunday afternoon for check in. It was hard letting him go. He didn't know anyone else there and he would be staying overnight until Thursday. He had a key to his room and had to keep track of that. There was a lot more freedom and responsibilty than he's had before.

Check-in did not go entirely smoothly. I feel the need to explain some things, while at the same time not excusing what happened. I sent the registration in for the camp, along with the deposit money, at the beginning of May. We never received any confirmation that he was signed up so I called last week and was told yes, they had his name down. We looked on-line to see where they needed to go to check-in and the only thing we could find was a map on the brochure on-line that had the fieldhouse circled so Josh took him there. He called me at 3:20 (check-in was from 3-5) and said there were tables set up but no one was there. I looked on-line again and could find no other information. He decided to drive around and saw people going in one of the dorms. Sure enough, that was where they needed to be.

Monday night, we went over to see one of the games. It had said on-line that parents could visit the camp at any time and that there would also be an awards ceremony at the end of camp. The only thing on the brochure said that check-out was at 1:00 pm on Thursday. I asked Brendan that night if they had said anything about the awards ceremony and he said no. I went over to a table that had schedules posted on it and it said camp ended at 12:00 on Thursday. I wondered if the awards ceremony would be then but also thought that was lunch time so I figured they'd eat lunch and then come back for the awards and check-out. Since it wasn't explicitly stated that way, I thought I should ask someone. But I didn't. When we were leaving, Josh told Brendan he'd come back Wednesday to watch him play so I thought I'd have Josh ask someone then. But I didn't.

Thursday morning came and I was really looking forward to getting Brendan and bringing him home. I wondered if I should go over early to see what was going on, just in case the awards program was early, but I also had the other kids with me and convinced myself that it would be at 1:00 because that was the only information that had been sent home.

I don't think I'd make a good mystery writer because I'm pretty sure you can see where this is going.

I loaded up the kids around 12:40 on Thursday and drove to Spring Arbor. I went to the fieldhouse first and no one was there. Then I realized that I didn't know what dorm he was in. I called Josh and figured out where it was after driving for a few minutes. I walked in the dorm with just my keys and the kids and realized I didn't know what room he was in. We walked through some halls and finally I found someone to ask and they pointed us to the third floor. I saw someone coming out of a room and asked if he knew where Brendan Hall was and he said, "Oh, Brendan, here she is." Brendan came out with his eyes a little red and just said, "Where were you? You missed the awards." He was one of the last ones to get picked up and had been waiting for about an hour. The awards had been at noon and then the campers were free to leave - there was no lunch that day.

Can you say "ouch"? My heart still hurts a little thinking about it.

I apologized and explained to him how I had been trying to find him and how I had thought the awards were at 1:00. He got over it pretty quick - I think he was just relieved that someone was finally there to pick him up and take him home. It's taken me a couple days to process it and be able to think about without tears. I think what really hurts is knowing that is just the first of many times that I will disappoint him. That even with all my good intentions, there are times I will just screw up and hurt him.

He seems to have recovered with no major scars. He had a great time at camp and talks about it all the time and just casually mentions that I was late picking him up. I cringe but I'm working on it. I realized two days later that as I was walking the dorm looking for him, there were two young boys sitting there waiting for their ride. So I wasn't the only one who didn't get there for the awards. That helped a little.

I want to tell my kids that they can always count on me but there are times when that isn't true. I don't want it to be like that and I will do my best to be there (next time I will ask questions) but I am human and I make mistakes. Now I get to teach them about grace and forgiveness and also about One who they can always count on. I guess that lesson is worth the pain.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

To sell or not to sell?

Actually, that should be "To list or not to list?" because the real question isn't about selling our home - we can't control that. The real question is if we want to keep it listed and have the option of selling it.

I know this will come as no surprise, but I go back and forth about this. Since we've had our house on the market for over a year now, we decided to stop putting off doing some things. Like getting a new swingset. Putting in a new adjustable basketball hoop. Just things that we didn't do last year because we didn't want to invest more into this house if we were just going to be leaving. Now we're realizing that this might be our home for longer than we originally thought and we're trying to make the best of it. Utilizing our outdoor space is definitely one way to do that! We're also planning on putting in new windows and re-doing the kids rooms upstairs later this summer or early fall.

At one time, we thought we'd take it off the market for 2-3 years and make these changes and save up money. Then we thought maybe we'd leave it on while making these changes. Yes, showings can be a pain but there haven't been many of those. Then we talked about taking it off the market for a couple months and possibly putting it back on.

The verdict? Still don't know. {grin} We'll see what the situation is in August and I'm sure I'll be bringing up the pros and cons to Josh many times until then! I can say this with certainty - I am learning to be more flexible and to not get attached to how I think things should be. And what is the point of living life if you're never learning anything new?

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


I am so sorry but I accidentally deleted some comments left on here. And they were very nice ones, too! I meant to publish them but can't find them so I think I clicked on the wrong button. :( Just so you know, it was an accident and not intentional at all.

The problem has been solved. Apparently it was a blogger error and not a user error.

My Family

Last Saturday, we had a photo shoot by my friend, lidija Fremeau, of LAF Lines Photography. lidija is a very talented and creative photographer. I love seeing what she catches on film! Here are a few favorites from our morning.

Ahh, books

I truly do love books. When I saw this new blog design, I just knew it was for me. It gave me that same feeling that I get when I step into a book store - I just want to sit and soak it in. I want to have a big pile of books next to me and no clock. You can ask those who have gone with me to a book store - I tend to forget that there is such a thing as time. Or that some people don't like to spend hours in a bookstore.

We recently had a garage sale here and I set out about 3 or 4 boxes of books. I know we don't have space to keep all the books that I bring home but boy, I wish it was less painful to let them go. My dream is to someday have a room that has about 3 times as many bookshelves as I do right now. And I bet even then, I'll have to go through and get rid of some. Or maybe open up a used bookstore of my own. :)

The Natural

Brendan pitched for the first time this last Sunday. He's been talking to the coach (his dad) about it for a few weeks and practicing in his spare time and the coach decided to give him an inning to see how he did. He did great! He was able to get three outs with the first three batters and only pitched two balls.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Decisions, decisions

I wish decisions came easier to me. I wish I could just look at the facts and make a choice and not look back. I realize that sometimes I will make the wrong decision. I know that's inevitable. I just wish I wasn't plagued by self-doubt immediately after making a decision.

We finished our school year about 2 weeks ago. I had made some decisions for our curriculum for next fall. (I think I love this time of year, by the way. I love being close to finishing up one year of school and getting a break and playing outside and having lots of time to read and finding new things to use for the next year that will make it even better than this year.) There were still one thing I wasn't sure about - what math to use for Tori next year. She'll be entering third grade. She's made a lot of progress this year in many areas. She aced almost all her spelling tests. She's picking up books, regular chapter books, and reading them on her own. And laughing out loud to herself, which makes me smile every single time. But math is still not her strong suit.

So I researched some curriculums and looked up samples on-line and looked at their diagnostic tests to see where she'd place. According to these tests, she needs to do 2nd grade math. This took awhile for me to accept. If I'm homeschooling my children and my daughter is a grade behind in math, doesn't that mean I'm failing? Some of you might see it that way. I think I would be failing if I moved her to 3rd grade math when she still hadn't grasped some 2nd grade concepts. It is more important to me that she understands the basics of math before moving on.

Once I accepted the idea that she would be working on 2nd grade math, then I had to decide what math curriculum to get. We had been using Math-U-See. It was good for 1st grade for her but last year I noticed that Tori was becoming dependent on using the blocks. It also wasn't enough review. She was forgetting addition after working on subtraction. I was looking at Saxon Math, A Beka, Horizons, Christian Light, . . . there are so many choices out there! I looked at some sample lessons and was drawn to Christian Light. It's a workbook format - no writing out the problems. (Hmm, I should look into this for Brendan - that might take care of a lot of grumbling!) It uses a step-by-step spiral approach, which means a new lesson is introduced, with some practice problems and then review problems. There isn't much teacher preparation required - very important to me. It's moderately priced.

As I was looking at it, I realized that it might be the kind of thing where Tori could work on it this summer. Maybe she could start their 2nd grade math now and work through the summer. We might be able to skip some lessons or combine a couple even. I talk to Tori about it and she likes the idea of having a little workbook to work on this summer. It sounds like a plan!

I go to order it . . . and become paralyzed. I don't know, maybe I should pick a different math program. Maybe I should just get the workbook from Sam's Club for this summer and work with her myself and then just move on to 3rd grade. Maybe I should just give her the summer off and work on flash cards and do 2nd grade math this fall. On a whim, I google "Best math curriculum for homeschoolers" and find a website article called "Choosing a homeschool math curriculum". This article was written with me in mind, there is just no other explanation for it.

One of the first sentences I read said that as long as the curriculum was of decent quality, the teacher was more important than the book. Hmph. So, it's up to me. Not to make sure I choose the right one, but to use whatever I choose in a way that works for us and that makes sense to Tori. Well, I can do that. And that is one of the reasons I love homeschooling. I love the freedom to try new things, to create our own schedule, to find what works for us. The books are ordered and we'll be starting our math summer school session as soon as they arrive.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Trying to catch up

I know, it's been forever. I'm still here, though! Here are some pictures of a few things that have been going on. And this was only one weekend!

My nephew, Barrett, was dedicated.

Grandma Judy sewed up the hole in Owen's blankie. It was getting kind of scary letting him sleep with something that could easily get wrapped around his neck!

Brendan had his 10th birthday. I can't quite believe my oldest is 10. I refuse to think about how many years he has left at home. Not even going there.

And my brother became a college graduate! I'm on the left and my sister is on the right.

Lots to write about house stuff, homeschool stuff, and some good books I've read but that will have to wait for another post.