Wednesday, July 30, 2014

July Review of Goals



This month has been filled with swimming lessons, a CC Practicum, and John still working a lot.  Thankfully, his turnaround is over, so he's been home more lately.  I haven't gotten as much done this month as I would have liked, but I'm not too disappointed.

Personal Goals:
  • Read through my book list.  I read three books on my "to read" list plus several others.
  • Continue walking on the treadmill three times a week for twenty minutes.  Fail.  I haven't even thought twice about it, but I do plan to start back in August.
  • Look for a job.  I'm still stalled.
  • Go through every room in the house, one a month, to clean out unwanted and unneeded items.  I'm sick of the clutter!  I worked on the library one week and got rid of a bunch of books; then I tackled our filing cabinet.  Oh, the stuff I found in there!  But I got it (mostly) done.
  • Write one letter or note a month.  Fail.

Goals as a Mother:
  • Do something (like a playdate) with someone (and her children) once a month, whether it's having someone over for lunch, going to someone else's house, or heading out for a field trip together.  I had lunch with a new friend, but my children didn't come.  Does that count?
  • Continue having one fun day in school a month.  I didn't even think about it.
  • Continue taking my children on one field trip a month.  No field trip, either.
  • Do a service project with my children every month.  Fail.
  • Teach my children to do more around the house, like mopping and folding clothes.  What a great way to build their self-esteem.  I made an effort this month to wash only one load of clothes that needed to be folded each day.  (E.g.  John's work clothes don't need to be folded since they get hung up.)  I concentrated on working with my older three children on folding clothes with the goal that soon they will be able to fold an entire load without me. 

    Goals as a Wife:
    • Continue monthly date nights for John and me.  John was too busy this month.
    • Do something weekly to make John feel special.  (I got this goal from Tracey at Girls to Grow.)  I did a couple of things.
    Goals as a Family:
    • Continue having another family over for supper once a month.  Again, we were too busy with John's work schedule.  
    • Start having Game Night once a month.  Nope.
    • Continue our family devotional time.  Nope.
    How are you doing with your goals for the year?

    Monday, July 28, 2014

    July Reading

    She can't read yet, but isn't she cute pretending?

    July was a good month for my reading, as you can see.  I have enjoyed being off from school, having more time to get chores done, and therefore having more time to read.  I even got three books crossed off from my "to read" list*, although I actually only read two of them.  I was inspired by Tracie reading eight of hers in one month!  Here's what I read:
    • A Natural History of Dragons:  A Memoir by Lady Trent by Marie Brennan.  This book crosses Jane Austen with Anne McCaffrey, Elizabethan England with dragons.  Since I enjoy Austen and I appreciate a good fantasy, I loved this book!
    • One Thousand Gifts:  A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are by Ann Voskamp*.  I had heard (mostly) good things about this book and looked forward to reading it...but I just couldn't.  I forced myself to read the first two chapters, but when I found myself skipping paragraphs hoping to find her point, I gave up.  The flowery, poetic language was distracting from her points which were good, and I gave up for the same reason I don't read her blog.
    • From Forgiven to Forgiving:  Learning to Forgive One Another God's Way by Jay Adams*.  This book should be read by all Christians since so few understand really what forgiveness is.  It has nothing to do with apologizing or even forgetting another's sins.  Instead, forgiveness is a promise that one will not bring up the other's sin to the one forgiven, himself, God, or others.
    • My Brother, My Sister, and I by Yoko Kawashima Watkins*.  I read So Far from the Bamboo Grove a couple of years ago, and this book continues the true story of the author's family once they made it from Korea to Japan after the end of World War II.  These three parentless children (their mother had died, and they didn't know what had happened to their father) made their way in war-torn Japan with almost nothing.  This book is hard to read because of how hard their life was, but it is worthwhile.
    • Murder at the Mikado by Julianna Deering.  A fun mystery set in 1930's Britain, you can read my review here.
    • Angels Flight (The Trials of Kit Shannon #2) by James Scott Bell and Tracie Peterson.  I read the first one in this series and liked it well enough to read the second.  In this one, Kit takes the case of a Mexican accused of murder in 1904 Los Angeles and has to prove his innocence despite the cards, including racial prejudice, being stacked against him.
    What have you read lately?

    Thursday, July 17, 2014

    Thankful Thursday


    We've had another good week this week except for John working so much.  Hopefully, that will be over very soon!  Here are a few things from this week for which I want to thank God:

    • clothes that fit (and even ones that are too small :)  )
    • swimming lessons...
    • that are almost over!
    • a babysitter who can come on a weekday.
    • lunch with a new friend...
    • without children...
    • which means adult conversation!
    • ice cream in the freezer.
    • an understanding husband.
    Praise God from Whom all blessings flow -- even the ones that are unlooked for and unasked for.

    For what are you thankful this week?

    Wednesday, July 16, 2014

    Book Review: Murder at the Mikado by Julianna Deering


    In this third Drew Farthering book, an old flame approaches the protagonist when she is accused of murder.  Of course, Drew's fiancĂ© does not like this turn of events but is determined to help Drew solve the mystery of who killed the stage owner/leading man...and to get it done before their wedding!

    I enjoyed this book with its setting in Britain in the early 1930's.  Drew's and Madeleine's relationship is sweet and appropriate, and the other characters are believable and interesting.  The first two books in this series were also interesting reads.  I recommend this series if you're looking for light-hearted, good, clean fun.

    I want to thank Bethany House for my review copy of this book, but my opinions are my own.

    Monday, July 14, 2014

    Book Review: Get to Know King David by Nancy I. Sanders


    Get to Know King David by Nancy I. Sanders tells the story of David beginning with his anointing as king and continuing through God's promise to send the Messiah through his line.   Some of the stories are shortened and edited for younger readers, like David's adultery with Bathsheba, but David's love for God is clearly portrayed.  The book includes many interesting facts about ancient Israel as well as pictures of what it looks like now.  And Sanders adds some of David's own words from the Psalms as she relates each story so we can know really what David thought.

    My children enjoyed this book.  Of course, their favorite chapter was the one where David killed Goliath, but what child doesn't like that story?  My only criticism was that it was hard to read sometimes because it was geared toward younger readers -- short, choppy sentences.  But I liked the way David's story was told, and I'm sure I'll read it again to my children.  I especially appreciated how God's salvation plan through Jesus Christ is tied back to David; I think that was my favorite chapter!  :)

    I want to thank BookLook Bloggers for my review copy of this book, but my opinions are my own.

    Friday, July 11, 2014

    Finished Object Friday: A Blue Knitted Baby Blanket


    I feel like lately I've just been making baby blankets for girls, so I really wanted to do something blue.  I found this pattern in this book, and it turned out to be easier and quicker than I expected.  Wasn't that nice?!

    I made this blanket small (like I usually do) so that it can be used in a bassinet or car seat because I enjoyed that size, and I hope that others do, too.  Since I don't have any plans for this blanket (none of my friends are pregnant with a boy), I will probably just donate it to our local pregnancy center.  I had fun knitting it, and that was enough.

    Have you worked on anything "crafty" lately?  Please share!

    Thursday, July 10, 2014

    Thankful Thursday: Swimming Lessons and More


    I wish had some pictures of my children swimming, enjoying their lessons, but I forget.  We started our second round of lessons this week, and they are doing great!  Mary is the only one not taking lessons, but she didn't need another Water Tots class.  She loves the pool and cries when I don't put her bathing suit on.  Here are a few more things for which I'm thankful this week:
    • The end is in sight for John's turnaround.  We're not sure exactly when it will be over, but it's coming.  Finally!
    • IHOP's 56th birthday celebration on Tuesday.  Short stacks were only $0.56 so the five of us (John couldn't make it) ate for $3.03 not including tip.
    • The mosquitoes didn't arrive until last week.  They're bad enough to keep us holed up in the house, but they were late this year.  Last year, they got bad at the beginning of June.
    • Air conditioning.  Need I say more?
    • New legos (that my children bought with their own money) that keep them busy for hours.
    • Of course, for God's mercy which He lavishly bestows upon me.  Praise God from Whom all blessings flow!
    For what are you thankful this week?

    Monday, July 7, 2014

    Going Through My Library This Weekend


    Last week was a busy one for us with CC Practicum on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, and then John's birthday was Thursday.  We had swimming lessons the two weeks before that one, so we've been pretty busy lately.  Finally, on Friday we had a day with (gasp!) nothing to do!

    I got started going through the library while my children played happily.  It seemed like they were happy to be home, too, for a day of rest.  I started by sorting through my homeschool books by whether we will use them this year or not.  I moved the ones upstairs that we won't need this year to get them out of the way.

    Then I started pulling my books to the front of the shelves.  Someone (probably several "someones") keeps pushing them back against the wall.  And I realized that I didn't have enough room for all of my books; some were resting on top waiting for places.  So I pulled a few books out that I would like to read to my children and made room.

    Now for the fun part!  Things were still going well, so I decided to tackle my "to read" books.  I probably have about forty books waiting to be read, in three different stacks.  I sorted through them and divided them generally by topic and found places for them to wait to be read in my shelves.

    Saturday was another quiet day at home, and I decided to tackle my crochet books.  I've been accumulating them for almost a decade, and I had some that I don't need/want anymore.  Thankfully, there are several people on PaperBackSwap who want these books.  Whoohoo!  More books for me!

    Now I smile whenever I walk into my library!  There is an order to my books, and they look so much neater.  However, I do realize that no one else might notice the difference!

    In case you're wondering what kind of order I keep my books in, here it is:  Most of my books are alphabetized by author.  I have a section for biographies, though.  There are a couple of other sections, too:  one for John's and my school books, one for my crochet books, and one for Bibles that we don't use regularly.

    Did you enjoy this post?  Do you enjoy your books as much as I do?  How do you have your books sorted?

    Soon I need to go through my old crochet magazines.  Any suggestions?  Tear out the patterns I like and toss the rest?  Keep the whole thing?

    Thursday, July 3, 2014

    Thankful Thursday: Happy Birthday, John!



    Today is my sweet, wonderful husband's birthday! We have been married for 13 and a half years, and honestly I cannot remember what life was like before that. Actually, I do remember a little bit: it was awfully lonely. Here are just a few of the reasons that I love my husband:
    • He is a godly man.
    • He loves our children and me more than himself.
    • He is a great husband.
    • He is a wonderful father.
    • Our children adore him.
    • He supports me in my role as a wife and mother, and never, ever makes me feel bad for staying home with our children.
    • He's awfully handy, like when he built the chicken coop and swing set.
    God has blessed us in other ways this week, too.  We spent three days at a Classical Conversations Practicum where I learned more about CC and its vision for our children which was really neat.  The children had so much fun at CC camp; this was the first time they had done anything like this, and it was a wonderful experience for them.  One of those small things that God likes to orchestrate was that Rachel's teacher has a daughter recovering from melanoma.  So she understands the importance of not getting too much sun.  Since many people don't understand (or think I'm being paranoid), it was so nice to leave Rachel in this woman's hands and not worry about anything.  

    Today we're spending a relatively quiet day since we're all tired!  The five of us from camp and John from working so much.

    What are you thankful for this week?

    Wednesday, July 2, 2014

    Loneliness Part 3: What to Do about It?


    Now that we've established that almost everyone we meet is lonely, and we've looked at causes for our loneliness, what are we supposed to do about it?

    Honestly, I'm not sure.  I mean, I took a trip all the way from Texas to Georgia because of my loneliness.  But here are a few things I've tried, and I hope that you have some suggestions for me, too.
    • Go where people are.  Obviously, you're not going to meet anybody by sitting at home.  You have to go where other people are.  Church is the best place, in my opinion, because you are likely to meet other with similar values since they are Christians, too.  If you have children, you can also try story time at the library, homeschool groups, or maybe there's even a moms' group you can join.
    • Get out of your comfort zone.  Sometimes, you have to take the plunge and try something that you're not comfortable with.  Do you remember the retreat I went on all by myself?  Sometimes, you have to do things like that.  I didn't make any good friends there, but that also wasn't why I went.  I've been to homeschool moms' get-togethers by myself, and that was tough, too.
    • Be friendly.  Start talking to the people around you.  If you go to story time, you can't expect the other mothers to befriend you just because you're there!  Go meet them!  See if they want to do lunch afterwards.
    • Be persistent.  If your invitation doesn't work the first time, try again.  Of course, if the other person keeps telling you "no," you probably want to move on.  
    What tips do you have for someone wanting to meet people and make friends?

    Tuesday, July 1, 2014

    June Review of Goals


    John has been working a lot lately with the turnaround, so anything that involves him didn't get done this month.  He's been working thirteen days with one day off for the past six weeks, and it's exhausting for him and for us.  We miss him, and we're ready for his regular schedule!  And when you add his busy-ness to our being gone for ten days, well, some things just didn't happen.

     Personal Goals:
    • Read through my book list I read one book from my list and several besides it.
    • Continue walking on the treadmill three times a week for twenty minutes.  Fail.  I haven't even thought twice about it. 
    • Look for a job.  I'm still stalled at my resume.
    • Go through every room in the house, one a month, to clean out unwanted and unneeded items.  I'm sick of the clutter!  I cleaned out Daniel's closet and started the library.  I also cleared a bunch of clutter out of my bedroom.
    • Write one letter or note a month.  Fail.
    Goals as a Mother:
    • Do something (like a playdate) with someone (and her children) once a month, whether it's having someone over for lunch, going to someone else's house, or heading out for a field trip together.  We got together with several friends while visiting Georgia.  Fun!
    • Continue having one fun day in school a month.  Last Saturday was Paul Bunyan Day.  We celebrated with flapjacks for breakfast, several books about Paul Bunyan, and a Disney movie. I enjoyed the opportunity to explain to my children what a tall tale is.
    • Continue taking my children on one field trip a month.  We made it back to the planetarium for a neat show about black holes.  
    • Do a service project with my children every month.  I told my children to pick out some toys and books that they don't play with anymore so we could donate them to the local pregnancy center.  I was pleasantly surprised at the ones they picked.
    • Teach my children to do more around the house, like mopping and folding clothes.  What a great way to build their self-esteem.  They got to help pack for our trip.  It was the first time, and they seemed to appreciate it.
    Goals as a Wife:
    • Continue monthly date nights for John and me.  Nope.  Too busy.
    • Do something weekly to make John feel special.  (I got this goal from Tracey at Girls to Grow.)  I don't think I've done very well, but in my defense, John hasn't been around much.
    Goals as a Family:
    • Continue having another family over for supper once a month.  Nope.
    • Start having Game Night once a month.  We have played lots of games lately, but no game night.  I still can't decide if I should be proud or embarrassed that Daniel (6) can beat me at chess.
    • Continue our family devotional time.  Nope.
    How are you doing with your goals for the year?