Friday, December 14, 2012

Saying good-bye to 2012

The year 2012 was an eventful year for us but you would never know it from my pictures or blogs.  Maybe I was living "in the moment" and didn't take the time to capture much on film or maybe I was overwhelmed with the moments or maybe it was a combination of both.  I am hoping to do better in 2013 but before we get to resolutions, lets talk about things that were accomplished. 

A NEW HOUSE!!!  We finally have a beautiful new house.  I still can't believe it's ours.  It fits us so very well and it's everything I wanted and more.  We hosted my dad's family Christmas and we had 36 people here and it was great!  Yes, it was crowded at times - mostly in the kitchen - but the kids had a great time playing and the adults had a great time visiting and we are already planning on hosting it next year and hopefully more will be able to come. 

Training for a marathon!  I can't say I have ran a marathon - but I did train for one and I am proud of that.  I ran 20 miles! 

Homeschooling!  I now have 4 students - a 7th grader, a 5th grader, and 2 kindergartners.  Teaching kindergartners is not my specialty - I'd much rather teach pre-algebra.  Most days they have lots of play with a short reading lesson and I'm okay with that.  Sometimes Brendan and Tori are the "teachers" and do worksheet pages with them.  And on Wednesdays, they get to go to our homeschool co-op and enjoy some truly talented teachers, Mrs. Fannin and Mrs. McGee.  They do art projects and unit studies and all the things that I think sound fabulous but never get around to doing. 

Tori takes art, music, Latin, creative writing, science, and U.S. Geography at Pioneers.  I teach math, grammar and spelling here and then help her with work from Pioneers.  Brendan takes creative writing, science, history, art and workshop at Pioneers and I teach him pre-algebra and grammar here.  It is a good balance for us - we're only gone one day a week but the kids get a chance to learn from other teachers and it helps lessen my responsibilities.  And the teachers at Pioneers do a great job and have a passion for their subject.  We all love our day at Pioneers and also love being able to get up late the next day.  This year I am working in the accounting office instead of in the classrooms and I absolutely love it.  I love working in an office setting and keeping track of money coming in and going out. {And yes, I did use the word love a lot in that paragraph.  Feel free to leave me a comment with other words I could use.  :)}

Brendan played baseball this year and is now playing basketball for the homeschool team.  He isn't sure which one is his favorite.  It seems to be whatever one he's currently playing.  Tori started taking jazz and tap this year and decided to take a year off from horseback riding.  Rachel started ballet this year and seems to really enjoy that.  Owen thought about flag football but didn't like playing in the games - he'd rather play in the yard with Josh and Brendan.  Maybe in a year or two he'll be ready.  He's still drumming and sounds great.  He seems to be getting more into music, too.  He's always the one asking me to turn up the volume in the van and asking the names of songs. 

The first month of teaching all 4 kids was a little rough.  It was hard to not think about how much easier it would be or how much I could get done if all were in school.  But after we got into the swing of things and we all adjusted our expectations, I found that I still really enjoy having them home and being in charge of their learning.  This is definitely what God has called us to do.  And until He lets me know otherwise, we'll keep on doing it. 

I didn't intend to write a Christmas letter but there you go.  You're welcome.  And now that you have this rosy version of our perfect life, next time I'll write about a real day. 

Saturday, October 20, 2012

My dream house

We first saw the listing for this house in March.  And we were like, "yeah, right.  That is so out of our league."  We actually weren't even looking yet and hadn't gotten our house on the market but our realtor was still sending us info about houses that would consider a land contract.  Our plan b (or plan c, depending on the day) was to rent our old house and buy a house on a land contract if we couldn't sell our house.  This was something we had been thinking about for two years since the last time we tried to sell our house so our realtor kept us in the loop for land contract possibilities.  This one, however, was a bit out of our price range.  So we scoffed at the listing and said we wouldn't want it even if we could afford it because it needed to be redecorated and had lots of pink on the inside.  Yes, I realize that I was grasping at straws, looking for negatives. 

Fast forward about 6 weeks - we have a full offer on our house after the 3rd showing.  It was crazy fast.  Our realtor hadn't even put the updated pictures on the website - and I worked hard at getting those pictures!  But that is not something you complain about when you have a full price offer after only being on the market for 10 days.  We started calling banks to get pre-approved and looking at houses.  There was some questions about getting financing because of some previous rental properties we had purchased so we decided to look at this house in case a land contract was still our only option, although we still didn't think we could afford it. 

We walked through it and loved the floor plan.  Loved the space.  Didn't love the pink.  Didn't know if we'd love a master bedroom on the 2nd floor.  But overall, loved the house.  Which made it really hard when we looked at other houses that were priced a little lower.  There was always something wrong with those houses - needed too much work (we had done enough projects already, thank you very much), driveway was too steep or too small, yard was too small, subdivision was too closed in, rooms felt small.  It was hard to complain about those houses because they were all bigger than our current house but we had this feeling that we didn't want to be doing this again in 5 years - we wanted it to be permanent this time.  We didn't want to settle for okay. We wanted to find something that felt like home.    

Then, we found out the sellers lowered the price on this house.  And we got financing.  And we crunched some numbers.  And thought, maybe, it would work.  We negotiated and agreed on a price.  The inspection went well.  The timing was just about perfect - we had to be out of our house by July 1 - the sellers were already out of this house but needed to move a few things yet.  They graciously agreed to let us move in if we didn't mind their things being here for a couple days.  And before I knew it, I was living in my dream house. 

My kids have friends over now and it doesn't feel like they're taking over the house.  It's not so big that we lose each other - we're still mostly together in the kitchen or family room in the evenings.  But it's big enough to have family and friends over and not feel like we're sitting on top of each other.  It has everything on my list that I was looking for and then some.  I even like having a master bedroom on the 2nd floor.  It's perfect. 

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Attempting to run a marathon

I don't know if I'm ready to talk about this yet.  It's easy to say that I came close and I did more than a lot of other people and I tried hard and gave it my best but the fact remains, I didn't finish.  I trained hard and I ran a lot of miles and I tried to make sure I was prepared but still, I didn't finish. 

I remember watching my mom iron my dad's shirts once and asking her if it was annoying to have to iron all those shirts for him and she said, "only if I think about it".  Which made me smile.  But I get it. 

If I don't really think about what I didn't accomplish, then it's not a big deal that I didn't finish.  I can feel good about the accomplishments I had along the way.  I ran 20 miles on a training run and felt great!  I ran 22 miles on the day of the marathon! 

But when I really examine my feelings about the marathon, the one thing that stands out the most is that I didn't finish. 

The course was beautiful, the weather was mild and cloudy.  I was trying to drink water and stay hyrdrated and I had lot of GU (energy gel) packets.  But somewhere around mile 14, I started to not feel great.  My stomach was kind of rolling and when I tried to have some GU, it didn't go down very easy.  I tried to drink more water but still kept stopping to walk.  I'd get a burst of energy and run for a few minutes and then walk again.  I kept thinking it was mental and I just needed to push through.  I tried GU again with the same results.  Ick.  Then, about halfway through mile 21, I started feeling a tingly sensation in my arms and legs and knew that wasn't good.  I told the girls to go on without me and they asked if I wanted them to flag down a car and I said yes.

There was an ambulance ahead so we went there and they asked if I needed to go to a hospital or if I wanted a ride back to the finish and I said a ride back would be fine.  My friends went on ahead (after repeated assurances that I would be fine and they should go- they did not want to leave me behind).  I waited for a car with the EMT's and they checked my pulse, which was on the slow side.  I sat down on a cooler and then the car came.  I went to stand up and apparently, I went really white and almost passed out.  At that time, the EMT's decided to give me a ride in the ambulance and I was just glad someone else was calling the shots because I didn't like how I was feeling and just wanted to feel better. 

They took me to the medic tent and after a few attempts, finally got an iv started.  I laid there and listened to the people around me and wondered how my friends were doing.  A little bit later, I heard someone say that yes, Angie Hall was in the tent, but no, they could not come in.  And I smiled and couldn't wait to get out to find them.  The iv was almost done and I was feeling pretty good (just freezing!) so they unhooked me and helped me sit up and then stand.  I walked out and saw my friends and got hugs and heard about their finish and got some food (I was so hungry!) and shivered because I was still freezing and walked back to the car.  I was so happy for them and so happy that I was feeling better and so happy it was all over. 

We went back and showered (and I was so happy to have a warm shower) and then got some more food (so happy to be eating again!) and we had fun hanging around.  I wasn't too sore and joked about running another one soon while I was still in shape because I wanted to cross that finish line.  I wasn't too upset about not finishing but didn't really think about it.  I figured I was just handling things really well. 

After we got home, I started to see people who knew I was planning to run a marathon.  And all of a sudden, my story sounded really lame.  "I felt okay and ran 2/3 of it and then started feeling bad and went back in an ambulance.  I don't really know what happened.  But I'll try again!"  I just wanted to hide for awhile.  Because instead of being someone who ran a marathon, I was someone who tried but didn't succeed. 

I had high hopes of trying again in June but it was really hot that weekend.  Since I'm fairly sure that dehydration was the culprit for my first failed attempt, I didn't think it'd be good to add heat when I tried again.  So I decided to run the one in our hometown that was supposed to be on a nice, flat course.  How cool would that be?  Support from friends and family, running in the fall, training on the actual course - sounded perfect. 

Then I found out the course wasn't flat.  At all.  And I was having trouble staying motivated for the training runs.  And I got really nervous about trying again and failing.  So now I am setting it aside for another time, maybe next year.  And I'm wondering if I didn't handle it as well as I thought.  I'm thinking there might be some issues going on subconsicously with me and running.  I need to make it something that is for me, not for anyone else.  It's great to run with friends but it needs to be something I will do even if no one is out there with me.  If I can't do that, maybe I don't want it bad enough. 

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Promises, promises

I know, I've let you down.  You don't have to say it.  I can tell by the look in your eyes.  I said last time I would write more about my marathon experience and I talked about how we had an offer on our house and had to move but didn't know where we were moving and then what do I do?  I leave you hanging all summer.  And now, it's September and I'm finally back and you know what?  I'm not going to talk about either of those.  Not just yet. 

We started back to school last Monday.  For us, that meant getting up around a regular time (except for Brendan - that boy learned to sleep this summer!  So I had to wake him up at 9:30 - rough life, I know), eating breakfast, and doing some math and grammar before playing.  No big deal.  I bought some new curriculum this year and was excited about starting out.  Mostly.  It was nice this summer not having to think about it but I did feel ready for a routine and a plan to our day. 

This was how our day started:  I did spelling and grammar with Tori and the new books were great.  Rachel and Owen came down about 5 times in 20 minutes asking if I was done yet and if I could do school with them.  Brendan finally came down and I got him going on grammar and vocabulary.  I started math with Tori and a few minutes later, Brendan was ready for math.  I went over his math lesson and then went back to Tori, who needed more help.  I went up to work with Rachel and Owen and they decided that learning to read was boring and practicing writing letters and numbers was even more boring.  But they didn't want to color or play with playdough - they wanted to do real school!  I have no idea what they were expecting exactly, but clearly I was not delivering!  At this point, Tori comes up with her math and is very frustrated and still not done.  And I am thinking, "Why do I do this?  How many more years of this do I have?" 

It has been a struggle this year for me.  For the very first time (I swear, this is true), I have felt envious of my friends posting about their kids going back to school.  I imagine the quiet house (I'd have all 4 of them gone!).  I imagine the work I could get done and the breaks I could take and the sense of accomplishment I'd have at the end of the day.  And oh, the grass looks so much greener over there. 

Then yesterday,we went to our homeschool co-op.  And this year, I have a new position there.  I am working in the accounting office.  At a computer.  On a desk.  Entering things in a computer.  Adding things up.  A cupboard full of office supplies.  I LOVE IT!!!!  I really should have majored in accounting.  It has actually made me think about the idea of getting a regular office job and sending the kids to school.  But yesterday, I talked to the other ladies in the office about how I was feeling.  And they totally understood and said they've been there before.  They both have older kids and some homeschool graduates and they shared some positives they have seen from homeschooling their kids and how they were so glad they stuck it out.  They talked about how they feel now that they are almost done - or at least closer than I am.  And there is some sadness that it's coming to an end for them. 

Today, our day went really well.  Tori's math wasn't even that painful.  We all had a great day together.  Among all the posts and status updates about how people are finding so much time to get things done with their kids gone, I read a post about finding time for projects during the season of homeschooling and it was exactly what I needed to read.  After turning down invitations to run or workout because of needing to be at home teaching my kids, all the kids seemed to really appreciate me being here today.  It just confirmed that this is the right choice for us right now.  And it's all going to go by so fast. 

It was definitely not the smoothest start to a school year.  But the waters are calming down and we're on the right path.  Now to just stay the course.  And I promise - I will not wait 3 months to write again and I *will* talk about the marathon and our new home.  Which I absolutely love.  Not to leave you hanging or anything. 

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Still here . . .

. . . and so much to say.  Where to begin?  The year is almost half over.  I mentioned before in a previous post (which I should provide a link to but I am tired, people) about some goals I was working towards:   completing a marathon, reading the Bible in a year and selling our house. 

The marathon has not been completed but that will require a separate post.  I'm close - oh, so close - but not quite there yet.  I am still hoping to finish one by the end of this year. 

I am up to date on reading my Bible!  I *love* having it on my Nook.  That has really worked for me.  I have occasionally gotten a day behind but have been able to catch up within a few days. 

We listed our house on Tuesday, May 8.  We had two showings on Saturday, May 12 (same day as Brendan's birthday gathering - that was fun).  We had another showing on Thursday, May17.  And received an offer on Thursday, May 17.  And then walked around in a daze all weekend.  Lots of mixed emotions going on around here.  We have lived here for 14 years!  That is the longest I've ever lived in a house.  My kids have grown up here.  We have worked hard at improving this house and making it work for our growing family.  So I was feeling a bit sad and melancholy at the thought of saying good-bye to this place.  I have been told that the wife of the couple buying it loved it and said it felt like home when she walked through.  That put a smile on my face and helped my heart feel better.   

Besides feeling a bit sad over leaving this house, there is also some apprehension because we don't yet know where we will live after we move out.  We are house hunting but time is getting away and it is looking unlikely that we will be able to find a house and close on it before we have to be out of this house. 

It's a blessing that this sold so quickly - I only had to get it ready for 3 showings this time!  But we never expected it would happen this fast.  We thought we'd have a year to see what was out there.  So for now, we are looking into rentals, looking at houses for sale and hoping an answer becomes obvious soon. 

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

marathon training - double digits

Last Friday, I went to South Haven with a group of friends, two of whom are training for the marathon with me. (There are actually 4 of us but one is out right now due to an ankle injury - we're hoping her ankle heals quickly and she can join us soon!) We had our first double digit run - 10 miles. We had run 9 miles the week before and I felt pretty good so I wasn't too worried. Until we turned around after running 5 miles and had the wind about push me off the road. Wow, where did that come from? After another mile, it started snowing. Big, fluffy snowflakes that had a knack for going right in my eyes.

Blink, blink, blink.

Then those big fluffy snowflakes became little pieces of ice and sleet. Ouch.

After we were all soaked, the snow turned fluffy again and began sticking to us. My head was so wet and cold, it was like a giant ice cream headache. Are we almost done? Just 1 more mile.

The end was in sight. We were back home but not quite at 10 miles. It was 9.8 miles - is .2 miles really a big deal? Sometimes, it really is. We had gone too far to not be able to say we ran 10 miles. So we ran past the drive until we got to 10 and then enjoyed a great weekend. And ate whatever we wanted with no guilt whatsoever.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Living a full life

I am still here. I am not sure why I have been so quiet but I want to try and remedy that. So, here's an update.

I am training to run a marathon. I haven't really grasped that yet. I'm training with 3 other friends and so far, the training schedule isn't bad. We've been running 3 miles two times a week (some run more because they're overachievers) and then a 6 mile run on the weekend. Tomorrow we have a 7 mile run and it will start to increase. I looked ahead to April and it was kind of overwhelming. So I'll take it one week at a time. We're planning to follow the run-walk strategy and run for 5 minutes, then walk for 1 minute. We haven't run this way yet so we might tweak it.

I have started reading the Bible in One Year - again. Last year I tried this and made it to May. But this year I bought the actual Bible instead of printing the plan from the internet. I also bought it for my Nook, which means I can always read it as long as I have my Bible, Nook or iPod with me. So far, it's working great and I've read it every single night. I'm very hopeful that I can keep this up all year.

We are getting ready to try to sell our house again. This time, we are going to rent a storage unit and try to empty it as much as we can to show off the space better. We are also trying to stage it better. I am working on the contentment area but feeling okay about moving on to something bigger if possible. Brendan recently expressed an interest in having his own room. He is 11 and Owen is 4 - that's a big gap. And it will seem really big in a couple years. I don't know if he would ever be desperate enough to move to the basement but that is an option if we're still in this house. Trying to think positively but I like having a back-up plan. I'm not sure how the idea of a "back-up plan" fits with the whole idea of faith but that is another discussion for another day.

It seems like I'm trying a lot of things *again* this year. Running a long race (last year was the half marathon and I'm doing one of those again, too), reading the Bible in a year, selling our house. I hadn't realized that before. I'm learning from past mistakes and not giving up. That's exciting to think about. This is going to be a great year.