Monday, September 16, 2013

ANOTHER new chapter

Last Monday, I started something that Jason & I have been talking about for years.  I. Started. Homeschooling. The. Boys.  Yep.  Just when I was supposed to be sending Luke off to 2nd grade, Jonah to Kindergarten & Gideon to preschool, we decided to keep them all at home.  With me.  All the time.  Am I crazy or the best mom ever?  Hopefully, somewhere in the middle.  Honestly, right now, I'm still in the "This is awesome!!" mixed with the "What have I gotten myself into?!?" stage.

We are homeschooling through the national program called Classical Conversations ( ).  I have actually only known about CC for about a year and only started considering it for our family since the spring.  This program takes a classical approach to learning (studying & memorizing the subjects that stand the test of time) with a Christian worldview.  Perfect for us, right?

Our journey to this point, has had the hand of God all over it.  Let me give a few examples:
  1. I first really learned about CC from a college friend's blog ( and one of my best girlfriends from Brownsville.  What a blessing to have the knowledge of these 2 ladies to help me my first year!
  2. While talking to my friend on the phone about this one night, I said, "Lisa, God's just going to have to make $500 fall out of the sky to pay for Luke's tuition."  The NEXT DAY, someone gave us $500 for no reason.  When we decided to homeschool Jonah, too, $500 more fell from the sky.
  3. When we decided to go with CC, I wasn't sure if there would be a local group in the Pac NW, much less in our area.  Long story short, our chapter meets in OUR church.  Yep, as in 1 mile from our house.  Awesome!
  4. Thus far, all our homeschool expenses have been taken care of.  Whether it was a check from my mom, a resource mailed from Lisa, a gift card from Jennie, a borrowed laminator from Theresa or discovering that the library lets you print out 70 pages from the computer per week for free (Yea, baby!), we have not had many out of pocket expenses.
As my blogging record shows, I am not sure how often I will update you with our homeschool progress, but I did want to let you know what is going on with our family as we start yet another new chapter.  Thanks for all the prayers!

(sorry mom, having problems uploading pics, will try again later)

Friday, July 12, 2013

A Camping We Will Go...

I have fond memories of camping with my family as a child.  We had a "pop-top" camper that we took to many a state park.  We thought we were living the high life with the fold-up dining room table and air conditioner that our camper had.  And nothing, I mean nothing, was better than the individual sized cereal boxes that we had for breakfast on those camping trips.
Mmmm.  Can't you just taste those s'mores?

This week, Luke attended Boy Scout Day Camp at Flowing Lake Park in Snohomish (about 15 miles from our house).  The director was using 3 campsites for activities during the day, but, of course, didn't need them at night.  So we were able to camp there for free!  Here's what I learned from our week of camping:

1.  I am a diva/baby.  I know this will not come as a shock to my husband or father, but I like my mattress, my dishwasher, my hot & cold running water, my 2-ply toilet paper.  A lot.  When I don't have these "necessities", I can get cranky.
2.  I miss birds.  I've mentioned before that we basically have 2 kinds of birds where we live; crows & seagulls.  So hearing wrens and larks and woodpeckers this week was sheer joy.
3.  I L.O.V.E. trail mix.  I could seriously eat it for every meal.  Why don't we eat it for every meal?!?  I'm not sure anyone else in my family got more than a few handfuls of that crack-a-licious goodness.
4.  I may never camp more than 15 miles away again.  Every morning, the little boys & I would leave camp and come home.  I would bathe them and myself and do laundry.  We could eat as civilized people at our dining room table and watch cartoons.  Then, in the afternoon, we would drive back to camp to spend the evening with Jason & Luke.  Seriously, it was a perfect camping set-up.
5.  I am thankful that we don't live in a dump, near a dump or on top of a dump.  Our campsite was next to the camp's huge garbage bin.  Any time the wind changed, it reeked of trash.  The first night I even dreamt of garbage men chasing me.  Since the campsite was free, we had nothing to complain about, but it reminded how thankful I am for our wealthy living.
6.  I will not use a port-a-potty.  I just can't do it.  I try to convince myself that it's no big deal, but I can't.  Point in case:  Last night 2 toddlers across the road woke up at 2 a.m. screaming bloody murder.  Not just a few yells or whimpers, but 10 straight minutes of loud decibel screams.  Needless to say, I couldn't go back to sleep & couldn't stop thinking about needing to, um, powder my nose.  So up I got and went to the port-a-potty that was 50 yards away, right?  Nope.  I walked for 5 minutes to the closest restrooms.  Mind you, I was cursing my roommates the entire way for making me watch all those horror movies in college.  But, I decided, being murdered by a serial killer hidden in the camp was a better option than using the port-a-potty.  Can you blame me?

Luke, reading to his brothers, around the campfire

Friday, June 28, 2013

Free is never, well you know, free

I'm such a wonderful mother.  I had great (FREE) plans for the boys & I to do today.  I saw an ad months ago for "Free Friday Playdate" at the Seattle Children's Playgarden on June 28th.  It looked interesting, new & most importantly, free.  Free parking even!  I found a park nearby the SCP that had a new spray water feature & had it all planned out.  So when the weather girl promised a hot & beautiful day today, we were off.

(Pre-catastrophe; notice the bunny riding the bike!)
The SCP really was a neat experience.  There were spots for the boys to dig with shovels & hoes, a nice little playground, water feature, bunnies & ducks, and flowers & plants blooming everywhere.

We grabbed lunch & had a picnic at the aforementioned neighborhood park.  The boys changed into their swimsuits and were off to the spray features.  It was sooo hot (80°) and the boys loved the cool water.  There is a playground right beside the spray park, so after they tired of it, we went to play on the playground. 

Luke & Jonah were chasing each other & Luke jumped off the top of the twirly slide, like he's done a hundred times before.  (Now, unless you have multiple boys, it's going to be hard to understand.  The phrase "boys will be boys" is just so true.  They just want to climb, jump, throw, and kick everything that comes their way.  I'm not even going to begin to tell you about the tree that they climb up 2 stories high at one park...ooops.)

Anyway, I think his slippery Crocs messed up his take off from the slide & made him land awkwardly.  He cried pretty significantly & I helped him up.  He wasn't bleeding and no bones were sticking out, so like the good mother I am, I made him go back to the spray park and wash all the wood chips off.  (What?!?  You would have made him do the same thing!)  He was still crying, which is not normal for him, and I knew something was wrong.  Jason met us at the dr & had the hard job of watching Luke get the painful x-ray & usual probing.  He'll get a cast next week and yes, will most likely not get to swim the majority of the summer.

So my wonderful free plans will most likely end up costly us hundreds of dollars.  Like I said, aren't I a wonderful mother?

(What Luke is doing right now; after Jonah's incident, he couldn't wait for his turn to stay up late & eat ice cream)

Thursday, May 2, 2013

TGIT (Thank Goodness it's Thursday)

Thursdays are "date night" for Jason & I.  We don't get to go out every week, but most weeks we do.  We started having regular date night a little over a year ago.  We had been in Seattle around 9 months, and we knew something had to change.  We were getting burnt out & needed some time to be alone, just the two of us. 

Since we don't have family here & no one that we could regularly dump the boys with, the search for the babysitter began.  That is a story in itself, but we ended up finding Maxine.  She is definitely a godsend and so good with the boys.  We are so thankful to have her!

Our dates are usually to whatever restaurant we have a gift certificate or Groupon to, but the weather dictated our adventure tonight.  The weather has been so wonderful this week, that we decided to go bike riding.  Jason found a bike trail that's about 10 miles away.  What a find!


The Burke-Gilman (bike) trail is my new favorite.  The paved path curves around the northwest shore of Lake Washington.  While Jason watched the trail and other bikers, I gawked at all the lake houses we passed.  Not to mention the views of Mt. Rainier!  We passed, I mean were passed, by dozens and dozens of bikers.  It reminded me of why people move to Seattle; why we put up with rain 9 months of the year; why the NW is so wonderful.  Like I said, my new favorite. :-)

Me in my awesome helmet & sick, tricked-out ride

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Forty Days without Facebook

A few years ago, a good friend of mine told me that she was giving up chocolate for Lent.  I was surprised.  Kelli wasn't Catholic and I had always thought that participating in Lent was just something that Catholics did.  She told me that she had decidced to specifically give something important up (chocolate) for 40 Days (from Ash Wednesday to Easter) in order to focus more on Christ and his sacrifice for us on the cross.

I thought it was a great idea.  Even though the Bible doesn't mention it and Lent is an invention of the Roman Catholic church, I, personally, still think it can be a good thing (when not taken to a legalistic extreme).  Yes, as Christians, we are supposed to sacrifice all 365 days of the year for Christ.  And, yes, we are to daily deny ourselves of things for him.  But in this land of spoiled and home of the glutton that we call America, it's sometimes hard for me to really feel like I'm giving anything up.

Since that conversation with Kelli and her chocolate, I have given something up each year for Lent.  Honestly, it's mostly been chocolate related because that is something that I LOVE.  This year, though, I read a friend's post that she was giving up FB for Lent.  I liked it and decided to do it.

So during my 40 days without Facebook, what did I accomplish?  Well, I memorized the whole book of Matthew, climbed Mt. Rainier, taught the boys 40 Bible verses, and...just kidding.  Of course, I didn't do any of those things.  I'm still doing good just to get my quiet time in the Bible done most mornings.  I found that time I usually spent on FB, I just filled with other distractions (hello, Pinterest).  BUT, every time that I thought about FB, missed FB, or was tempted to just peak at FB, I remembered why.

I remembered that coming up was the "Superbowl" of all days for Christians, as my friend Jennifer puts it.  This day, Easter, is the most important of all days of the year for us.  It is the reason we live.  The reason we read the Bible.  The reason we set ourselves apart from the world.  The reason we move across the country and leave our wonderfully comfortable lives behind.

He took my punishment.  He defeated death.  He is risen.  And 40 days without Facebook is just a minuscule way for me to thank him.

Saturday, March 9, 2013


I must confess.  I have a love affair with something that is not my husband.  (Chocolate doesn't count!).  I love the mountains!

I have always loved the mountains.  I come by it naturally.  My mother has a love affair with Colorado & the Rockies, so I know that some of that rubbed off on me.  I grew up in the hills of TN, but they are nothing compared to what is here in the Northwest.

The Cascades (from our recent trip to Leavenworth)

Since moving to Seattle, I have been obsessed with the those mountains.  I will ignore my boys, interrupt conversations, and nearly drive off the road just to look at them.  I STILL gasp every time that I see Mt. Rainier.  It is truly awesome.  It is just this HUGE, snow-covered rock that demands attention.  It's visible for hundreds of miles.  It's on our license plate for Pete's sake!

Rainier in the background of the Space Needle (not my photo)

Besides Mt. Rainier, we have the Olympic Mts. & the Casade Mts. flanking us on the west & east, respectively.  After turning out of our apartments onto North Road, our street immediately runs into a major road called 164th.  While sitting at the stoplight there, I can look to the east and see the Cascades.  Then when I turn west onto to 164th and head up the hill, I can see the Olympics.  So hypothetically (if the clouds weren't constantly there), I could see 2 mountain ranges every day; just on my way to the grocery.  See?!  Can you blame me for being a little obsessed?

I'm not the only one suffering from MO (mountain obsession), though.  Who can forget that the "hills are alive" as Maria sang about them in The Sound of Music?  Songs and poems have been written about them.  Men die just trying to reach the top of some.  They are a wonder to behold.  I am amazed how my fellow Seattlelites can look to those mountains every day & not wonder who created them.  And how they cannot want to know more about that Creator.  Because when I see them I just want to break out in song.
"Your love, O Lord, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies.  Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains, your justice like the great deep."  Psalm 36:5

Last look when leaving the Cascades back towards Seattle

Monday, January 14, 2013


Today is my grandmother's Murr's funeral.  When I got dressed this morning, I automatically put on my funeral clothes.  Even though I can't be there, it just felt right to do so.  I'm not at the funeral by choice & by circumstance.  I could have begged, borrowed or stolen the money for the airfare, but having the stomach flu this weekend sealed the deal on the decision I knew was best. 

My last picture with Murr

Like most in this situation, I am overwhelmed with grief.  I feel like I can hardly breathe.  But at the same time, I am so thankful.  Thankful that:
  • My grandmother is a Christian.  I don't have to worry about where she will spend her eternity.  What a blessing!!
  • I got to spend three glorious nights with her.  We didn't plan our Christmas trip to TN as such, but God did.  I got to spend one terrifying night with her at the hospital & 2 nights at hospice with her.  She was awake, alert, coherent & talkative with me during some of that time.
  • I had 35 wonderful years with her.  I know that I am blessed more than most with the time I got to spend with her.
  • She died rather quickly.  I know she didn't feel like it at the end, but she spent less than 2 weeks in the hospital/hospice, which really is a blink of the eye.  She didn't have cancer, Alzheimer's or a dozen other things that so many have faced.
The boys' response to her death has been interesting.  Luke simply said, "O.K." when I told him.  In all fairness, though, he and Jason did have some deep discussions about heaven & Christianity later on.  Jonah gasped when I told him & said, "So now it's just Grandpa?"  He also had a ton of questions about eternity.  Gideon's response was:  "Awww. (pause)  Maybe I can get another one."  No, my sweet, we can't.

And that's one thing that I've gotten out of this week.  I want to be irreplaceable, too.  Don't you?  I want people to think I was the best mommy, wife, daughter, friend, neighbor, whatever, so that there will never be a replacement.  I want to live bigger, be nicer, smile more, be friendlier, more serving, so that my presence will be known to others.

One of my favorite pictures of my irreplaceable Murr & my mom, spring 2010

When I asked Murr Sunday night what her favorite Bible verse is, she shared these two with me:

" all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your make your paths straight."  Proverbs 3:6
"A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit dries the bones."  Proverbs 17:22
And, indeed, HER merry heart did just that.