Friday, December 14, 2018

What I Enjoyed This Week: Mary!

All ready for her performance!

Mary's birthday was yesterday.  Since we do not throw birthday parties, we let our children dictate how they want to spend their days.  Mary asked for doughnuts for breakfast, Raising Cane's for lunch, and Ham and Spinach Pie for supper with a clown face from Baskin Robbins for dessert.  (The rest of us has a scoop of ice cream.)  For entertainment, Mary wanted to go to the pool; we have a membership at an indoor pool.  Children under seven have to stay within arm's reach of their parents, so she was thrilled not to have to do that anymore.  Finally, she was able to go down the big slide all by herself!

Here are a few other things I enjoyed this week:
  • Mary's recital last Saturday.  Watching her beginner class perform was precious.
  • not having our normal extracurricular activities.  I remember how busy we were last year during December, so I cancelled piano lessons.  And Mary's ballet classes ended last week.  Hooray for an empty week!
  • meeting friends at the zoo
  • taking Mary's birthday off from school.  I'm ready for a break from school!
John's mother is coming into town today, so we're looking forward to a visit with her.  Also, we plan to finish Mary's birthday by a trip to the Lego store which we postponed until Anna arrived.  Mary really wants to pick out some new Legos for her birthday.  Tomorrow afternoon I am running another 5K, and in-between the trip to the Lego store and the 5K I need to make a Peppermint Trifle for our church's Christmas dinner after church on Sunday.  

What did you enjoy this week?  What do you have planned for the weekend?

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Happy Seventh Birthday, Mary!

Seven.  What a great age!  Mary is starting to be less of a little girl and more of a big one, although she is in no hurry to grow up.  :)

Mary loves playing with legos and showing off her creations.

What she really loves, though, is ballet.  She is thrilled to be taking classes this year.  And I enjoy seeing how much she loves it.

She may not get too much from the lectures on the history tours we take, but she finds things to do to occupy her attention.

She learned how to ride a bike without training wheels this year!

She loves her little sister -- most of the time.  ;)

Mary wanted this picture taken because the saguaro cactus is about the same age as she is.

She is such a good sport about all of the trips we take.  She has fun on them, too.

I look forward to watching Mary grow and mature during this next year!

Friday, December 7, 2018

What I Enjoyed This Week: Getting Ready for Christmas

We bought our Christmas tree last Saturday and decorated it on Sunday.  Our children had such a good time looking through their ornaments, remembering them and trying to find the best place on the tree to hang each one.  Every year we buy each child a new ornament; this year we bought most of them at the Grand Canyon because it was such a fun trip.  On Monday I got out the rest of our Christmas decorations, so our house is now as decorated as it gets.  :)

Here are a few things I have enjoyed this week:
  • listening to Christmas music
  • reading Christmas books to my children
  • watching the dress rehearsal for Mary's recital
  • watching George H. W. Bush's funeral.  I enjoyed the music and hearing the eulogies, especially his son's.  Wasn't that amazing?!
  • attending John's work's party for children.  We all ate too much junk food, but aren't you supposed to do that at a party?  ;)
Tomorrow Sarah Beth has a soccer tournament, and Mary has her recital.  John and I are going to have to "divide and conquer," as we like to call it.  Since I've seen Mary's dance several times at her lessons and again the rehearsal, I will take Sarah Beth to her afternoon game while John goes to Mary's recital.  

What did you enjoy this weekend?  What do you have planned for the weekend?  Did you watch Bush's funeral?  What did you think?

Friday, November 30, 2018

What I Enjoyed This Week: A Couple of Excellent Books

Mary was so proud of this lego house she built!

This week Hannah has continued with her potty training, and honestly I cannot believe how well she is doing.  I have my fingers crossed, holding my breath, waiting for the other shoe to drop.  But she is just quietly going about her business like it is no big deal although the newness is wearing off.  Her potty training has been a great excuse to stay home which I have really enjoyed!

Here are a few other things I enjoyed this week:
  • no CC.  My younger children are through with their Foundations and Essentials, and I am done tutoring until after Christmas.  Sarah Beth still has a few weeks left, so we still have to get up to drive her there.  
  • Extravagant Grace:  God's Glory Displayed in Our Weakness by Barbara Duguid.  This book has opened my eyes to the next stage of my Christian walk.  I feel like a door has been opened through which I will one day walk, but for now it is enough to be able to see through it a little bit.  The author shows how God does not just save us from our sins; He uses our weaknesses and our sins to show us how dependent we are on Him for every good thing we do.  When He withholds His power, He shows us how powerless we are without Him.  All of this adds up to a very good thing:  His glory.
  • The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows.  I have read this book before, and I loved it.  After I watched the Netflix movie, I wanted to read it again, so I am.  It's still very good!  This book tells the story of the German occupation of one of the Channel Islands during World War II through letters sent by the people who lived there to a fictional author who wants to write a book about it.  
  • Switching up our schoolwork.  Usually, we start with Bible first because it is the most important subject.  Then we move on through our other subjects until we get to math which is last.  Lately, we have been starting with math and the other individual subjects and finishing with the ones that we do together like Bible and CC review.  We have all enjoyed the change!
I look forward to a quiet weekend at home after tonight.  Tonight I am meeting several ladies from our CC group for supper.  Good food and wonderful fellowship!

What have you enjoyed this week?  What do you have planned for the weekend?

Friday, November 23, 2018

What I Enjoyed This Week: Thanksgiving and Not Potty Training

Since this week looked to be fairly quiet, I decided to use it to potty train Hannah.  I must admit that it is one of my least favorite parts of raising children.  I figure that I am in good company, however, because one of my friends, who has more children than I do, thinks its one of her least favorite parts, too.  Anyway, Hannah is doing great!  While she still has plenty of accidents, she knows what she is supposed to do which is half the battle, I think.

Here are a few other things I enjoyed this week:
  • John being home.  He was supposed to be out of town for work, but he was able to stay home because things were not going well at the plant here.  Silver linings, right?
  • a simple Thanksgiving dinner.  Since I had thought John was not going to be home, I planned to take our children out for dinner on Thanksgiving.  But when he found out he was going to be home, we decided to cook a simple meal.  Simple but yummy!
  • seeing Hannah's sweet, shy smile when she has a success.  She seems almost a little embarrassed to be happy that she did what she was supposed to.  :)
  • no school yesterday and today.  
  • Sarah Beth's soccer game last Saturday.  Her team played hard and won their game!  Since it was up in the Houston area, I took her to the game, leaving my other children at home with a babysitter.  I enjoyed the time with her.  It doesn't happen often.
We have no plans this weekend which is lovely!  

How was you're Thanksgiving?  What else did you enjoy this week?  What do you have planned for the weekend?

Saturday, November 17, 2018

What I Enjoyed This Week: A Party and Cold Weather

At our CC party.

I mentioned last week that the weather was starting to cool off, and it got cold earlier this week.  Cold for us means highs in the 40s which, I understand, is still pleasantly warm in some parts of the country.  :)  I like a touch of cold weather -- as long as it does not stay too long!  Thankfully, it warmed up as the week progressed.

Tuesday was our last day of CC until the new year, at least for my younger children and me.  Since it was our last day, we had a Thanksgiving party which was great fun!  Sarah Beth still has four more weeks since her Challenge year meets more times.  But I'm looking forward to my time off from tutoring, having more time to get some things done around the house.

Here are a few more things I enjoyed this week:

  • John being home for supper a couple of times this week.  He has been working crazy hours lately.
  • finishing up Rachel's soccer season.  No more practices for her!  Although she is a little disappointed.  
  • being able to wear cold weather clothes.
  • having fun in my Essentials class.  Since it was our last one for the semester, there was little new information, so we spent most of our time playing games.  The kids loved it!
  • getting my email back under control.  I had accumulated twenty or thirty emails which drives me nuts.  At this moment, I have seven.  Much better.
  • getting some much needed errands done yesterday.  
Sarah Beth's soccer season is not over yet, and she has two games this weekend which I look forward to watching.  Other than that, we have no plans.

What did you enjoy this week?  What do you have planned for the weekend?

Friday, November 9, 2018

What I Did Not Enjoy This Week: The Time Change

Mary got her costume for her ballet recital in December.  Do you think she likes it?!

Did the time change knock you and your children for a loop like it did to us?  Oh, my!  Monday was not a horrible day, but it was close.  I'm so glad we only have to deal with time changes twice a year!

While I did not enjoy the time change itself and I'm still not sure if I like the idea in theory, here are a few things I did actually enjoy this week:
  • coming to terms with not having time to write more on my blog.  I'm thankful for my readers who are sticking with me despite this.
  • Last Flag Down:  The Epic Journey of the Last Confederate Warship by John Baldwin and Ron Powers.  I bought this book on our Charleston trip, and it is fascinating!  Did you know that the Confederacy had a ship that sailed all the way to the coast of Alaska to disrupt the Union whaling ships there?  I didn't, either!  I am learning so much from this book!
  • Legacy of Mercy by Lynn Austin.  This book is the sequel to Waves of Mercy and continues the story of Anna who feels torn between her biological family who are poor immigrants in a small town and her adoptive family who are high society in the late 1800s Chicago area.  I have loved all of Austin's books, and this one is no exception!
  • a trip to the fire station today for a field trip.  
  • cold weather.  Yes, the weather turned during the night, and I realize that I will probably be bemoaning the cold soon.  ;)
We are supposed to have a couple of soccer games tomorrow, but it is raining right now.  They might be cancelled, dragging this season on forever, it seems like.

What did you enjoy this week?  What do you have planned for this weekend?

Saturday, November 3, 2018

What I Enjoyed the Week: Dressing Up and Ice Cream

We lost Hannah's special little blanket while in Charleston, so I made her another one this week.

One of the tutors at our CC campus had a great idea for class on Tuesday:  the children could choose to dress up as their favorite book character and talk about them for their presentations.  It allowed them to dress up without actually celebrating Halloween, and most of them enjoyed it!  Those who did not want to participate just brought a regular presentation and did not dress up.  While we did not go all out (since we did not start thinking about it until Sunday), we did dress up using materials we had at home.  Unfortunately, I did not get a picture.  :(  Daniel dressed as Will from the Ranger's Apprentice series while Mary and Rachel went as fairies from a series of stories about different fairies.  Even I participated, as I dressed as Velvet from National Velvet.  Sarah Beth's class did not participate, and Hannah did not care one way or the other.  :)

Here are a few other things I enjoyed this week:
  • achieving a new personal best time in my 5K last Saturday.
  • Celia Garth by Gwen Bristow.  One of my friends lent me this book when she heard that we were traveling to Charleston.  It tells the fictional story of a young woman in that city during the War for American Independence.  I enjoyed reading about life in Charleston under British occupation although "enjoy" probably is not the right word because of the British atrocities.  
  • Baskin Robbins on Wednesday.  It has become a tradition to get ice cream when everyone else is out trick-or-treating.
  • soccer practice and games.  My girls actually had their games last weekend and practice this week!  
Rachel and Sarah Beth have a game each this weekend, and I am running another 5K.  Other than that, we don't have any plans.

What did you enjoy this week?  What do you have planned for the weekend?

Friday, October 26, 2018

What I Enjoyed This Week: Busy Times

How much do you think Hannah enjoyed her cookie?

Oh, my goodness!  What a busy week!  After our fantastic trip to Charleston, I felt like I needed a week to recover, or at least a couple of days.  Did I get them?  Of course not!  ;)

After our return on Sunday, we were able to get almost everything unpacked.  I took Monday off from school so we could finish unpacking, go grocery shopping, recover, and get ready for CC on Tuesday.  We had a great day at CC, but as always it was exhausting.  Then Wednesday afternoon, I took Rachel north of Houston to an appointment.  That took all afternoon and evening, time I enjoyed with her, but wishing we could have stayed home.  Thankfully, yesterday we were home most of the day; we only had to leave for Mary's ballet class although I had to go out last night for a CC meeting.  I have no plans to leave the house today for which I am extremely thankful!

Despite the busy-ness, I had a good week.  I did not get everything done that I had wanted, but I feel like I accomplished the important things.

Here are a few things I enjoyed this week:
  • being home!
  • our new facility at CC.  We outgrew the last one which is an excellent problem!
  • spending so much time with Rachel Wednesday
  • the sun which finally came out Thursday afternoon
  • good fellowship last night at our meeting
Tomorrow Sarah Beth and Rachel have soccer games -- if the fields aren't too wet, a problem this whole season.  I am also running a 5K, and I feel ready for it.  While I know I will not win, I do hope to get a new personal best time.

What did you enjoy this week?  What do you have planned for the weekend?

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

A Recap of our Wonderful Time in Charleston

We just returned from a wonderful trip to Charleston where we took another tour with Landmark Events.  I cannot recommend this company enough; if they offer a tour anywhere near you, do yourself a favor and join it!  I highly doubt that you will be disappointed.  

Or you could do like we do and drive to a tour that is not near you which is what we did last week.  2700 miles.  We had a great time even though John was not able to be there.  :(

Isn't this door in St. Michael's Church beautiful?

The first day, we visited Fort Moultrie where the American War for Independence started.  Unfortunately, I did not take any pictures there.  Afterwards, we visited the Huguenot Church which is the only Huguenot church still being used as a Huguenot church, and it is hundreds of years old.  We learned how the dispersement of the Huguenots after the revocation of the Edict of Nantes benefitted many places in the world, especially the area around Charleston.  Then we visited St. Michael's Church which had this lovely stainless window.  We also toured a couple of cemeteries and learned about influential men like the signers of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.  To end our day, we took a tour of the Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon.

We started Wednesday at Fort Sumter where the first battle of the Civil War occurred.  Actually, we started the day by riding a ferry out to the fort.  That was fun!  We saw a few dolphins and enjoyed the wind in our faces.  

While there, the children had a relay race carrying various flags from the Confederacy.  I think Daniel is carrying the South Caroline Civil War flag.  Rachel and Mary participated, too, but I didn't get a good picture of them.

Then we visited the H. L. Hunley, the first submarine to sink a ship in warfare.  What an interesting artifact from the Civil War!  The story of how it was made, how the men learned to sail it (is that the right word?), and how it sank the Housatonic, is all fascinating.  Adding to its intrigue is the search for it, how it was found 150 years after it sank, how they identified the men who were aboard, and the restoration process.   We had a wonderful docent which made the experience that much better.

Thursday morning, we drove to the Old Sheldon Church ruins.  Isn't it beautiful?!  Both the British and the Union troops burned it.  We learned that they did this because the patriot preachers and the Confederate preachers gave such fiery talks about independence and secession, and they wanted to stop them.  

Thursday afternoon, we toured Boone Hall Plantation which has the distinction of being one of the few places to still have slave quarters -- not in use, of course.  They were built of brick which is why they have lasted so long.  We learned some interesting things there about plantation life, how slaves were treated, and how many slave owners did not even want to own slaves, but they did not know how to get out of it. 

On Friday, we visited the Yorktown, a retired aircraft carrier.  I didn't take any pictures there, either.  Actually, I was the only one who did any touring of it; my mother took my children through the submarine tied up next to the Yorktown.  Since I'm claustrophobic, I thought I should sit that one out.  My children really enjoyed it, though.  Later that night, we had dinner on the fantail.  That was neat.

Have you been to Charleston?  Have you visited any of these places?  What did you think?

Saturday, October 6, 2018

What I Enjoyed This Week: The Sun!

I started this new blanket a couple of weeks ago, and I really enjoy it.  I have been knitting easy patterns lately (since Hannah was born, really) because I did not feel like I had the mental energy to work on anything that required some thought.  But I decided to tackle something more difficult this time, and it is going well.  I have made a few mistakes, but I am learning to catch them before I get too far down each row which saves me a lot of work.  :)

This sun actually came out this week a couple of days after raining almost every day for the past three weeks.  Soccer games and practices had been cancelled, so that has not been any fun.  But finally, my girls were able to practice this week.

Here are a few other things I enjoyed this week:
  • A Southern Woman's Story by Phoebe Yates Pember.  This book was an amazing look at the inner workings of a hospital in Richmond during the Civil War.  The author tells about her adventures and misadventures during her years of being the hospital matron.  The misspellings, poor grammar, etc. just lend to the authenticity of this book.  
  • the sun!
  • being able to go to CC this week since we had to miss last week due to a sick child.
  • having a neighbor who was willing and able to pull my van out when I got it stuck on our property
  • having supper with a couple of friends
  • a field trip yesterday to the Crocodile Encounter
  • antibiotics for sick children
Rachel has a soccer game today, but that is all that we have planned for the weekend.  I am glad about that because I have a couple of busy weeks coming up, and I could use some time at home Saturday to get ahead.

What did you enjoy this week?  What do you have planned for the weekend?

Friday, September 21, 2018

What I Enjoyed This Week: An Unplanned Trip to Houston

Neither of my girls had their soccer games last Saturday due to all of the rain we had had the previous  couple of weeks.  Since we were confronted with a Saturday with nothing (John thought) to do, he suggested we head up to Houston to do something fun.  My ever practical side squealed, "No!  I have too much to do!"  But I looked again at my to-do list and saw that I really did not have that much on it, and John helped with a couple of the necessary chores.  So we were good to go!

First we visited the Children's Museum.  Boy, was it crowded!  It seems that we weren't the only ones who needed to get out of the house that day.  But our children had a great time, and now we have a membership so we can return at another time when hopefully it will not be so crowded.

Then we did a little shopping at Costco.  I bought a membership a few months ago, but John had never been.  He wanted to see what it was like, so we dropped by and picked up a few necessities like chocolate chips.  :)

I must admit that I am glad that John convinced me to release my plans for last Saturday so we could go have fun with the family.

Here are a few other things I enjoyed this week:
  • the sunshine!  It did not rain all week although it is supposed to start again tomorrow morning early.
  • soccer practice.  The fields finally dried out enough for practice on Wednesday, so each girl was able to have one practice with her team.
  • there are other, little things like finishing a knitted blanket and reading a good book.
Rachel is supposed to have a game tomorrow, but there are supposed to be thunderstorms so we will see.  Sarah Beth is off this week.  John and I are going out tonight for date night!  Fun!

What did you enjoy this week?  What do you have planned for the weekend?

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Does Rest Have to Mean You're Alone?

Being an introvert, when I want to rest, I want to be alone.  Alone with a book, alone with my knitting, alone with my thoughts.  Is there any other way to rest from my work, really?  But Courtney Reissig in her book Glory in the Ordinary helped me to rethink my views with this quote:
What is the difference between rest and play?  Is it resting to read a book to your child?  Is it resting to eat dinner when you open your home for hospitality?  It can be difficult to discern what is work and what is play when it all melds together.  But if work is about people, our rest is as well.  Just as we are tempted to view our work as done for our own glory, we are tempted to view our rest the very same way.  I see this in my own life when I lament my lack of rest, when what I really mean is that I haven't had a break from my kids in a while.  I can rest while watching a show with them.  I can rest while playing soccer with them outside.  I can rest while eating dinner with them.  Sometimes rest is watching Netflix by myself, and sometimes rest is eating pizza in the living room with my kids.  (page 109)  (emphasis mine)
Instead of immersing myself in a book or leaving the room when my children turn on the tv, maybe I should play a game with them or watch tv with them.  As Reissig says, if my work is about the people in my home, shouldn't my rest be, also?

Don't get me wrong; I will always enjoy the fleeting moments that I have by myself.  But maybe, just maybe I can learn to rest while spending time with the people I love most.

What do you think?  Can you rest while doing something with someone else?

Friday, September 14, 2018

What I Enjoyed This Week: Soccer and NOT More Rain

It only took four daughters before I started playing with hairstyles.  

Last Saturday, I was worried about rain with my girls' soccer games.  Thankfully, God held the rain off for both games, at least while I was there.  I had to leave Rachel's game early to take Sarah Beth to get her team pictures taken, and after I left, the bottom fell out, and John and our other children got drenched.

We were concerned during Rachel's game when the other team scored two goals shortly after the game started.  But they fought back and tied it up.  After I left, both teams scored one more goal, ending up in a tie 3-3.  I am really proud of that tie because the other team was bigger and more aggressive.

Sarah Beth has come a long way since she started soccer two years ago.  Back then, she did not start games and played defender.  On Saturday, she started at center forward.  Then she scored two goals!  We are really proud of her hard work and increase in ability.

This week it has continued to rain.  And rain.  And rain.  With the storm in the gulf, we were afraid there might be flooding this weekend.  The Lord has been gracious to our area after two years of flooding, and He kept the rain to small enough amounts that there was no major flooding.

Here are a few things I enjoyed this week:
  • We had the week off from CC.  I love this schedule:  four weeks of CC, then a week off.  It gives us time to catch up on any weeks that we may not have learned well enough, and it also gives us a week off from getting up early to make it to class.  (Honestly, I don't know how people get their children to school on time every day.)
  • I enjoyed this extra day in my week without CC.  Since CC takes the whole day, when we don't have it, I feel like I've been given an extra day in my week.  Instead of cramming everything into the other four days of the week, I had five to spread things out in!
  • My children started piano lessons this week after their summer break.  Instead of teaching all four at once like last year, their teacher and I decided to split them up:  Rachel with Mary and Daniel with Sarah Beth.  Everyone said that it worked much better.
Rachel's soccer game for tomorrow has already been cancelled.  Most of the fields in our area have been closed because they are so wet, and the people-in-charge do not want them torn up.  We are still waiting to hear about Sarah Beth's game.  Since it's up in the Houston area, it may actually happen.  They have not gotten as much rain as we have.  

What did you enjoy this week?  What do you have planned for the weekend?

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Needing to Rest is Not a Weakness; Even God Rested

Sometimes when I get tired and feel like I need a nap, I berate myself for it.  I mean, who has time to be tired, to rest?  And yet, honestly, who doesn't have time to rest?  Resting was instituted before the Fall when everything was still "very good."  It is not part of the curse.  Here are some thoughts of Courtney Reissig in Glory in the Ordinary:
It's a common misconception that the need for rest points to flaws in our personhood.  I once heard someone say that sleep is for weak people, implying that to sleep is to admit defeat.  In our self-sufficient culture, that is the exact opposite of the persona we want to display, isn't it?  Personally, when I am confronted with my weakness, limitations, or need for a nap, I am bothered and feel like I don't measure up to my own standards for excellence.  It grates on me.  A number of years ago someone told me that only God gets His to-do list done.  And I'm not God, so I should stop trying to measure up.

The need for rest and reprieve from our work goes back to the beginning of creation, when God created Adam and Eve in His likeness, His image.  Work is one of the ways that we bear God's image, but rest is another....  Rest is a God-designed gift meant to point us back to the One who created us and sustains our weary hands in our labors (Ps. 127:2).  If the God of the universe, who wants for nothing, rested, then we His image bearers, who are in want of everything, need rest.  (page 98)
How do you feel when you are tired?  Do you feel like you're admitting a weakness?  Or do you take it as a sign that you actually need some rest?  After reading this, I am more willing to take a break when I need it instead of pushing though my weariness to get one more thing done.

Friday, September 7, 2018

What I Enjoyed This Week: Not the Rain!

It rained all week long!  Thankfully, it did not rain all day every day; the sun did come out a few times, but we still received a lot of rain while being stuck in the house.

Other than the rain, it was a fairly normal week with CC, Mary's ballet class, etc.  Here are a few more things I enjoyed this week:
  • Labor Day.  John was home all day!  He even cooked supper for us!!
  • no soccer practice.  ;)  No running girls to practice and picking them back up.
  • The Story Peddler by Lindsay Franklin.  After hearing about this book, I decided I wanted to support the author since she is a homeschooling mother.  And the book sounded interesting.  I was blown away when I started it, however, because it's so good!  I have read about a third of the book so far, and I can't wait to finish it.  Tanwen, the story peddler, can make stories come alive with streams of light from her fingers.  For some reason, her power -- and others' -- is a threat to the king, so she has to flee for her life.
  • the sun -- when it came out.  :)
We have two soccer games tomorrow, in the rain probably.  Ugh!  Those are our only plans for the weekend along with getting the girls' pictures taken for soccer.

What did you enjoy this week?  What do you have planned for the weekend?

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Book Review: Night Night, Sleepytown by Amy Parker, Illustrated by Virginia Allyn

Because my toddler and I loved Parker's previous Night Night, Train, I was thrilled to get a copy of this book.  It has the same type of delightful illustrations coupled with fun rhymes.  On each page, the reader and his/her child say "night night" to people in different occupations, reminding both how they are needed to make one's town run smoothly and well.

If we had received this book first, maybe we would have liked it better.  But we were spoiled by the first book which was so wonderful.  This one is nice, but sometimes the poems feel forced instead of flowing naturally as they did in the first book.  We still like this one, don't get me wrong; it is just not one of our favorites.

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

Friday, August 31, 2018

What I Enjoyed This Week: Getting the Roses Clipped

Clipping the roses went well last Saturday, I'm pleased to say.  It took us about an hour, and most of my children were agreeable most of the time.  ;)  After I asked him, Daniel even said that he felt pretty good after his hard work.  (He was in charge of emptying the wheelbarrow onto the burn pile.) Honestly, I felt proud of my work, too, afterwards, and I looked around the yard to see what else could be done.  But it's fall, so it's not the time to plant a garden or even just a few flowers.  Maybe I should reread this chapter in early spring!  A huge limb did fall in our yard Wednesday, so I imagine we will clean it up this weekend -- or at least John and our children will!  ;)

Here are a few other things I enjoyed this week:
  • Saturday evening, John took our oldest four children to a Houston Dash game.  That team is Houston's professional women's soccer team, and they had a great time.  I enjoyed having a quiet house.  :)
  • Some Danger Involved by Will Thomas.  A man at the end of his rope becomes the assistant to an enigmatic detective in Victorian London.  I thoroughly enjoyed this book, especially the characters.  While I don't know if the author is a Christian or not, he does treat the faith with respect.
  • I was able to get out by myself for a couple of hours Wednesday afternoon.  I got my hair cut and ran a few other errands that are difficult to do with children in tow, like running into Hobby Lobby for one skein of yarn.
  • Glory in the Ordinary:  Why Your Work in the Home Matters to God by Courtney Reissig.  This short little book gave me a new perspective on the household chores I do everyday.  Honestly, I found Reissig's ideas to be revolutionary for me, as I explained in this post.
  • Carry On, Mr. Bowditch by Jean Lee Latham.  What a wonderful book!  It is required reading for Sarah Beth's Challenge A class, but if it weren't, I would require all of my children to read it.  Nat Bowditch is an amazing example of someone who is self-taught.  Despite less-than-ideal circumstances, he takes the initiative to learn new things during the time of the founding of our country.  Yes, it is based on a true story.
  • This morning, I took my children to a Not Back to School Party for homeschoolers.  They had a great time playing with new and old friends while I enjoyed socializing with adults.  :)
We have our girls' soccer game schedules, and they start next Saturday.  I think we are going to enjoy a quiet weekend at home.

What did you enjoy this week?  What do you have planned for the weekend?

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Imaging God by Bringing Order out of Chaos

While I have never thought the work in my home was unimportant, I have often thought that it was tedious and, at times, almost meaningless (why mop a floor when a child is just going to spill milk on it again anyway?).  But then I read this quote in Glory in the Ordinary:  Why Your Work in the Home Matters to God by Courtney Reissig, and the way I view housework was transformed.
So in light of God being part of the work that we do, being hidden in the work that we do, how do we as image bearers image Him in such ordinary tasks as housework?...  A task that does this clearly is when you bring order out of chaos....  You take a room that is cluttered and in disarray and organize it and declutter.  Order out of chaos.  You clean and disinfect a refrigerator that is growing things that are hardly edible.  Order out of chaos.  You sort, pretreat, wash, fold, and put away piles of laundry.  Order out of chaos. 
With every ordinary task you do, you are bringing order into this chaotic world that we live in.  While it might feel hardly God-like, I assure you that it is. 
God, staring at the vastness of time and space, spoke creation into existence out of nothing (Gen. 1:1-3).  God quiets storms to a whisper (Ps. 107:29).  And most of all, God in the flesh brings order to our chaotic souls by dying on the cross and giving us His righteousness.  (pages 51-51)
I had not thought that I could be imaging God by the simple, tedious, almost meaningless chores that I do daily around my home.  What a revolutionary idea!  "Bringing order out of chaos" has become my new mantra.  When I pick up toys after my children's bedtime, I think, "Bringing order out of chaos."  When I load the dishwasher with dirty dishes for the umpteenth time that day, when I fold clothes out of the seemingly never-ending laundry basket, I think, "Bringing order out of chaos."

My new mantra has brought new purpose to my daily chores.  And I love it!

How do you feel about your housework?  Does this quote help to bring additional meaning to it?

Friday, August 24, 2018

What I Enjoyed This Week: Ballet

Since last week was our first week of school, we are adjusting to our new routine of doing school every day.  Last week was hard since my children were tired from other activities, but this week has been much better.  Thankfully!

Mary started ballet classes yesterday, and she loved it!  She has been wanting to learn to dance for years, but it has been hard to figure out how to make it happen.  Finally this year, things came together in the right way for her to be able to take classes.  She grinned the whole way through her lesson.  :)

Here are a few other things I enjoyed this week:
  • Rachel loves her new math curriculum!  She now looks forward to math, and one night she even asked if she could do extra lessons.  But, of course!
  • our second week of CC went well, as did my tutoring.  We changed the layout of the classroom, bringing the parents and students closer to the front (and me!), and it was so much better!
  • some friends drove down from Houston to visit a local aquarium with us.  We had not seen them in a while, so it was wonderful to catch up with them.
  • Rachel is turning into a voracious reader.  Well, voracious may not be quite the right word, but she does enjoy it.
As I mentioned earlier this week, tomorrow we are going to trim our rose bushes.  I'm not sure I'm looking forward to it, but it will be nice to have it done.

What did you enjoy this weekend?  What do you have planned for the weekend?

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Using Household Chores to Build My Children's Self-Esteem

I started rereading Kay Wills Wyma's book Cleaning House this summer with the goal of reading one chapter and implementing her suggestions every week.  That did not happen.  My goal was too lofty to achieve on that timetable, so I changed it to reading one chapter every month and striving to work on each chapter's goals that month.  I think I am still behind, but I wanted to let you know what we have been doing.

While I love the idea of having my children do more around the house (so I can do less), that is not the ultimate goal.  What I really want to do is to build their self-esteem.  You know the pride you feel when you have done a job well?  That is the feeling I want them to have, so they learn to do hard things, getting that wonderful pride that comes when they finish.

The first chapter/month deals with teaching children to clean their rooms.  Pretty simple, right?  That is exactly where I needed to start.  :)  Wyma decided to pay her children $1 every day to make their beds, pick up any toys and/or clothes that are on the floor.  Well, I have three children who need an incentive to clean their rooms, so I can't (and won't) afford that.  But they are happy (most of the time) to do this chore for a quarter.  That I can afford.  It also gives them a little extra spending money.  We're doing well with this chore, so we've moved on.

The second chapter/month involves getting children to cook supper once a week.  I tailored it to my family, and I decided to have one child help me in the kitchen for a week, and they would rotate weekly.  The end goal is that each one would cook supper by himself, I'm not sure yet how often.  They don't get any incentive for this help except that they get to help make the menu for the week.

To be honest with you, this goal is hard for me.  When it's time to prepare supper, I'm tired.  I just want to do it myself and be done with it.  So we're still working on this goal.  For the most part, however, my children are glad to help, even asking whether it is their week.  And when they have helped prepare supper, it is worth it all to see the pride on their face as they brag to their father.  :)

Even though we are still working on the second goal, I decided to move on to the third:  yard work.  This one will be difficult for me, too, since I am not much of an outside person.  And I do not like yard work.  So this month will be stretching for all of us, hopefully in a good way.  I have already informed my children (and my husband to keep us accountable) that we start Saturday by trimming our roses.  While they are not thrilled with this information, they have not complained about it too much -- yet.

(What is it about roses here?  They seem to be the ubiquitous yard decoration, kind of like the azalea bushes in my hometown in Georgia.  Every house has some.)

I will let you know how this weekend goes.  I dare not look ahead to the next chore because I am a little afraid of what it might be.  :)

How do you get your children to help around the house?  Or do you just do it all yourself?

Friday, August 17, 2018

What I Enjoyed This Week: My Mother and Learning to Ride a Bike

No, my mother did not learn to ride a bike this week, and neither did I.  :)  We already know how!

But my did mother come for a visit last week.  As always, we had a great time visiting with her although I wish I had taken some pictures while she was here.  She spent a lot of time playing games with and reading books to my children.  We all enjoyed her visit.

This week we started school, here at home and with our CC campus.  I must admit that my children did not have the best attitude about their schoolwork.  Probably they were still a little tired from my mother's visit and their trip to a water park with John on Wednesday.  Being tired will make anyone a little crabby, won't it?

Here are a few other things I enjoyed this week:
  • we saw the Incredibles 2 movie two weeks ago, and we all loved it.  Even Hannah sat spellbound on my lap through the whole movie.  What made it so memorable was that it was all of our children's first time to see a movie except for Sarah Beth whom I took to see Frozen several years ago.
  • I had my first parent meeting with our CC Essentials class last Monday.  It was nice spending time with the ladies whose children I will tutor.
  • after picking up my mother at the airport in Houston, we went to Half Price Books.  What a neat store!
  • on Saturday, I attended a workshop on The Lost Tools of Writing which is Sarah Beth's new writing curriculum.  I had no idea what it was all about until the workshop, so it was very helpful.  What was so impressive was that it was taught by a high school junior!  She's completed several years of CC, and I'm always impressed by these Challenge students.
  • John taught Rachel and Mary how to ride their bikes without training wheels last weekend.  They're so excited!  And I'm so proud of all of them!
  • soccer started this week.  Sarah Beth and Rachel are both playing, and it looks like they have excellent coaches this season.
  • Tuesday was our first day of CC, and we enjoyed that.  I especially enjoyed not being director! :)  There are several new families which is always fun.
  • as I mentioned before, John took our oldest four children to a waterpark on Wednesday.  They all had a great time!  They've been looking forward to it since last year.  School had started in our area, so there weren't many people there which made it that much more fun.
  • meanwhile, I was home with Hannah, and I enjoyed that!  We ran a few errands, then I got some things done at home.  It was fun only having one child for a day, and Hannah loved being an only child -- for a day.  :)
  • The Clockwork Sparrow by Katherine Woodfine.  A few teenagers solve a robbery mystery that occurs in an early 1900's department store.  Although this book is written for children, I found the character development to be fairly good, and the twists and turns of the plot kept the book interesting.  I plan to read some more in this series.
  • Why My Name was Keoko by Linda Sue Park.  This book tells the story of a young girl and her older brother during the decade when Korea was occupied by Japan before it was liberated after World War II.  It was an informative yet sad book to read.
We have a quiet weekend planned, and we play to savor it since soccer games start soon and with them busy weekends.

What did you enjoy this week?  What do you have planned for the weekend?

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Book Review: I Am: The Names of God for Little Ones

I was thrilled when this book (I Am:  The Names of God for Little Ones by Diane Stortz, illustrated by Diane Le Feyer) arrived for me to review.  When I read it to  my toddler, she loved it and started calling it her "Jesus book."  You can probably tell from the title of this book that it tells a little about several names of God:  God the Father and God the Son.  It has a nice distribution of names from throughout the Bible.

However, I did find a few problems with this book:
  • Jehovah Jireh, the Lord will provide.  In the Bible, God reveals this name to Abraham when he almost sacrifices his son Isaac but does not because God provides a ram as a substitute.  However, in this book, the author implies that all this name means is that God will provide us with food and take care of us.  This name means so much more!  God doesn't just give us food, but He supplied us with a sacrifice to take our place so we will not be punished for our sin.  
  • Jehovah Rophe, the Lord Who heals.  The story with this one is when Naaman is healed in the Jordan River.  But the Lord revealed this name to the Israelites when He made bitter water sweet at Marah (Exodus 15).  Although the author used a different story to illustrate the name of God, I don't think it dilutes the meaning at all.
  • Rabbi, Teacher.  This pages tells about how Jesus taught about God, but Jesus is God!  It makes it seem like He isn't.  The author should have made a distinction that Jesus taught about God the Father.  
Don't get me wrong about this book, please!  I enjoyed this book, and I'm glad to have added it to our library.  The criticisms I found are fairly small, some may say nitpicky.  But I like and expect accuracy in my books about the Bible for me and for my children.  

All of the negatives about this book, which aren't many, are completely taken care of by the pages about Jesus as Savior and King of Kings.  This book clearly relates that Jesus died for our sins and rose from the dead.  And my favorite page of all was the last one when Jesus will return and make Heaven and Earth new.  What hope this page gives to us and our children!

I will continue to read my daughter her "Jesus book" because it is just that good.

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

Friday, August 3, 2018

What I Enjoyed This Week: A Quiet Week and a Finished Blanket

Another finished blanket for our local pregnancy center.

We had a quiet week at home, almost too quiet, as we didn't always know what to do with our time.  But my mother is coming next week, and the week after that we start school again.  So I decided to appreciate our downtime this week.  :)

Here are a few specific things I enjoyed this week:
  • We met some friends at the pool and had a great time with them.  I really appreciated having someone to talk to.  :)
  • Both Sarah Beth and Rachel won their prizes for summer reading!  In our county, it's done like a raffle, and you get more tickets by reading more.  My oldest three children earned the maximum amount of tickets for their reading.
  • I always love it when I finish a blanket because I get to start something new!
  • I really appreciate our new CC director.  She is doing a great job getting things together this summer, and I have to admit that I have been enjoying not being director this year!  ;)
This morning, we have orientation for our Classical Conversations campus, and we look forward to meeting new families as our campus has grown over the summer!

We plan to see the new Incredibles movie tomorrow, but other than that, we hope to have a quiet weekend.

What did you enjoy this week?  What do you have planned for the weekend?

Friday, July 27, 2018

What I Enjoyed This Week: A New Refrigerator

The deliverymen were barely out of the driveway when my children started decorating the new fridge!

While I do love our new refrigerator, I do not like the reason we had to get it.  John discovered water leaking from the freezer Tuesday morning, water from the ice melting.  So we quickly moved everything worth saving into either a cooler (for the refrigerated stuff) and our deep freeze (for the frozen stuff).  Then, of course, we had to buy a new one.  Ugh!  We are fortunate to have a local appliance shop which will deliver the next day, so we were only without a fridge for a little over twenty-four hours.  I'm so thankful for that!

Here are a few other things I enjoyed this week:
  • going to a Honeybee Expo on Saturday with Mary and Sarah Beth.  We had so much fun tasting different kinds of honey and doing some crafts about bees.  Sweet Mary knew I wanted to go, so she volunteered to go with me.  Then Sarah Beth decided to go, too.
  • meeting friends at a museum Monday.  It is set up like a children's museum, so our children had a great time playing with the different exhibits.
  • having a slow week.
I'm hosting an Usborne Books Party tonight as a fundraiser to purchase insurance for our CC group.  Then we have a busy day tomorrow!  In the morning, the kids and I are running a race:  mine is a 5K, and theirs is shorter, for children.  Then we're going to a friends' house to swim and have supper.  

What did you enjoy this week?  What do you have planned for the weekend?

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Why I Decided that Being (Five Minutes) Late Isn't Such a Bad Thing

I am one of those people who like to be on time, even a little bit early.  I don't like to be late, and I want to make sure that I get where I am going with plenty of time to spare in case something happens on the way. Too often, however, my children are casualties of my wanting to be on time.  I end up yelling and screaming at them to hurry up so that we can get where we are going on time.

One day I read something by Gary Thomas where he said that it makes no sense to throw my husband under the busy, so speak, in order to look good to a stranger.  On another day, I read something about not harming my children's spirits.  And God used these two different thoughts to start my contemplation of something:  what if it's more important to protect my children's hearts than it is to get somewhere on time?

I first came to this realization one day as we were eating lunch, preparing to leave for piano lessons.  What would really happen if I let my children finish their lunch in peace and get ready without my yelling at them to hurry?  We might be five minutes late.  Would five minutes be worth the damage done to my children's spirits?

I thought about this again when planning for Practicum.  What would the results be if we were five minutes late to Practicum because I didn't yell and scream at my children to hurry?  Well, my children would be a little late to their camps, but that's not a big deal.  And I would be a little late to my session, again not a big deal.

In other words, I decided that being five minutes late would not be worth damaging my children.

Do you know the peace that I had when I made that decision?  It was wonderful!

Now don't get me wrong:  I am talking about being five minutes late, not half an hour.  I still think it's rude to be late, rude to whomever is waiting.  And you have to do a good bit of planning sometimes to be on time.

However, children are children, and they don't always realize what time it is or what they should be doing so you can leave on time.  And, let's be honest, if/when we're late, it's usually my fault for not warning them adequately about when we need to leave.  When I come storming out of my room running late, it's not fair to my children to start yelling at them to hurry when they had no idea that we needed to leave any time soon.

So I decided to try to warn them better about when we needed to leave and to relax a little if they weren't quite ready when it was time to leave.

If you have a problem getting places on time, this post is not meant to make you feel better about habitually being late.  Rather, you need to figure out why you're always late and work on that.  Here and here are two posts that might help.

However, if you're always on time, but it involves yelling and screaming on your part, this post is for you.

Are you usually on time?  Does it take yelling and screaming on your part, or have you figured out how to be punctual without that?  :)

Friday, July 20, 2018

What I Enjoyed This Week: Camp and Puzzles

Since Daniel had camp this week, we were a little busy, but not really.  We just had to load up the van to take him and then pick him back up.  Other than that, we were home the rest of the day which I enjoyed after our busy week last week.

The local college offers a children's camp every summer which has several different offerings at different times kind of like college classes.  So Daniel is taking a chess class, Math Magic, and Flying High, and he's having so much fun especially in the chess class.  Finally, he has people to play chess against, people he can't beat easily.  :)

Meanwhile, the girls and I worked on puzzles.  Several puzzles.  Five hundred piece puzzles.  One thousand piece puzzles.  Hard puzzles.  Easier puzzles.  I really enjoyed working with them solving these puzzles, but mostly I appreciated us all working together for a common goal.  Sarah Beth even picked out a 300 piece puzzle to do with Mary while Rachel and I finished up our hard puzzle.  Wasn't that sweet?

Here are a few other things I enjoyed this week:
  • getting back to my Summer Learning Plan.  I have taken a few weeks off for various reasons, and it was good to get back to it!
  • staying on top of the laundry.  :)  Since Daniel had to wear the same shirt every day for camp, I had to wash it along with a load of other clothes.
  • The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett.  This book is one that Sarah Beth has to read for her Challenge class this year.  I'm trying to read all of her required books so I know what's going on in her class.
We don't have much planned this weekend, and I'm enjoying every slow weekend we can get before soccer season starts back up.  

What did you enjoy this week?  What do you have planned for the weekend?

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

A Few Things I Learned at Practicum

Last week at Practicum, I received my training to tutor the Essentials class in the afternoon sessions.  There was great information shared there.  But in the morning sessions, we had a wonderful speaker Sandy James who imparted much wisdom.  She told many stories about her own children and other children whom she knows, and it was encouraging to hear that we haven't failed as parents if our children drift when they leave our houses.  My favorite analogy was that children are like baking a cake:  if you check them in the middle before they're "done," they are raw and gooey on the inside.  You have to wait to assess them after they are completely "baked."

Here are a few quotes I wrote down that spoke to me; I thought you might appreciate them as well:
  1. Isaiah 54:13.  "All your children shall be taught by the Lord, and great shall be the peace of your children."  Our speaker repeatedly brought us back to this verse, emphasizing how God will meet us and our children as we sit at the kitchen table doing school.  She also told us that the Hebrew word for "peace" is "shalom" which means nothing broken, nothing missing.  We can trust God that, when we teach our children, at the end of it all, there will be nothing missing, nothing broken; their education will be complete.  
  2. Discipline is an automatic reaction to vision.  If you have a vision for where you want to end up with your children as you homeschool, you will be disciplined to get there.  For example, when I'm training for a race, I don't mind as much getting up in the morning and running hard.  I have a vision.  When I'm just running for exercise, it's so much harder.  
  3. If you begin with the end in mind, the middle won't trip you up.  Again, if you have a clear vision of your goal, you won't get sidetracked when things get difficult before you get there.
  4. I have nothing better to do with my time than disciple my children.  This quote was my favorite, and the one I most needed to hear because I tend to forget it.  Speaking with them, discipling them, listening to them is so much more important than the book or blog I'm reading or the task I'm trying to complete.
  5. People (my children) need me when they need me, not when I am ready to be needed.  Isn't that the truth?  It seems that my children only need me when I'm busy doing something relatively important.  It's inconvenient; they're inconvenient.  But that's the way God designed things and how He can use our children to make us more like His Son.
Do any of these quotes speak to you?  Have you heard anything interesting lately?

Monday, July 16, 2018

Book Review: Where Hope Begins by Catherine West

When Savannah's husband moves out in anticipation of a divorce, she is devastated and has no idea what to do next.  So she moves a few hours away to live in her parents' vacation home in order to sort things out and figure out what to do next.  While there, she meets her neighbors:  elderly Clarice, her nephew Brock, and his daughter Maysie.  Savannah learns how to deal with past trauma, current pain, and the possibility of reconciling with her adulterous husband as she interacts with her neighbors in her painful circumstances as well as theirs.

The story in this book is a good one, one worth telling.  The author clearly communicates the pain and hurt that Savannah feels as her husband leaves her for another woman and how hard it is for Savannah to trust him again when he wants to reconcile.  However, the writing was a little simplistic. There were too many short and incomplete sentences.  Used once in a while, they are a great tool for emphasis, but West used them too often in this book.  Tighter writing and better editing would have made this good story great.

However, I do recommend this book because it's not a typical story, but it is a redemptive one.

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

Friday, July 13, 2018

What I Enjoyed This Week: CC Practicum

The only way I could get out the door on time!

Whew!  This week was busy!  We had Practicum for Classical Conversations where I receive the training I need for tutoring.  While I do that, my children have camp.  We all had a good time learning and spending time with friends, but it was exhausting.  We had to leave at 7:45 each morning, and we didn't get back home until after 5:00.  And it was an hour drive each way.  Tiring, but good!  I'm so glad that we went, and I received tons of great encouragement and new information.  But I'm so glad it's over for the summer.  :)

Here are a few other things I enjoyed this week:
  • being home Thursday.  We only left the house to pick up the groceries yesterday.  Meanwhile, I caught up on laundry and other household chores that were neglected because I was too tired to deal with them when we got home.
  • friends at Practicum.  Usually, my children and I attend without anyone else from our CC campus, but this year we had several friends go with us which made it that much more fun.
  • a trip to Half-Priced Books.  There was one on the way home from Practicum, so we just had to stop in one evening especially since we hadn't been to that location before.
  • John being fine with easy suppers all week since I was too tired when we got home to cook.
I plan to run a 5K tomorrow morning although I have to admit that I don't really want to.  ;)  Other than that, we have a quiet weekend planned.

What did you enjoy this weekend?  What do you have planned for the weekend?

Friday, July 6, 2018

What I Enjoyed This Week: Time with my Little Girls

This dress was Rachel's and she loved it.  Now it's Hannah's turn to dance around in it!

John took Sarah Beth and Daniel to hunt prairie dogs over the weekend, having left Thursday morning early and returning home Monday evening.  They had a great time even though they got too much sun.  But isn't that what usually happens when you're outside all day?

Meanwhile I stayed home with my little girls:  Rachel, Mary, and Hannah.  Since I did not want to sit around all day, bored or worse, watching tv, I tried to think of some fun things we could do that didn't cost much, if anything.  Thursday and Friday were easy since Rachel and Mary were finishing up their swimming lessons.  We took a trip to the library on Saturday.  Of course, we had church on Sunday, and I took all three swimming Monday morning.  We were busy enough so we didn't get bored, but we really were not busy at all.  I found the right balance.  Oh, and we did watch a few movies.  ;)

Here are a few other things I enjoyed:
  • John's birthday Tuesday.  Since he wasn't sure when they would get home from their hunting trip, he took Tuesday off, too.  So we had him home with us Tuesday and Wednesday.  It was wonderful to have him home for two weekdays in a row!
  • I have been doing Jen Wilkin's Bible study God of Creation through LifeWay, and it is wonderful!  She pulls together different parts of the Bible that I hadn't realized were so connected.  She also digs in deep into the first chapter of Genesis (that's as far as I've gotten) and shows the patterns that are there and why they are significant.  I have already learned a good bit.  If you're interested, LifeWay has the videos up to view for free here.  
  • I took all of the children swimming Thursday evening which they all enjoyed.  I have fun watching them have a good time, especially Hannah because she smiles the whole time.
  • my new treadmill.  Actually, I have been enjoying it for several weeks now.  When we took our tour of the Southwest, I ran on a few hotel treadmills, and they felt magical.  :)  I felt like I could run all day long, and they showed me how poor my old treadmill was, how hard it was to run on it.  So my sweet husband bought me a new one when we returned home.  While it's not as magical as the hotel treadmills, it is much, much better than my old one.
  • the rain.  It rained a couple of times this week, and we have needed it.
  • doing a puzzle with my girls.  Our library has puzzles that you can borrow, so we picked one out and have had fun figuring it out.  I especially enjoy it when all of my daughters are gathered around the table working on it.  Yes, even Hannah.  She is usually sitting on my lap putting pieces together that we take apart when she isn't looking since they don't really go together.  :)  Daniel does not enjoy puzzles.  :(
I have a busy week next week, so I will be using Saturday to get ready for that.  Hopefully, I will get most of my to-do list done so I can relax and enjoy Sunday.  

What have you enjoyed this week?  What do you have planned for the weekend?

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Happy Birthday, John!

John returned home last night from a hunting trip with Sarah Beth and Daniel.  They drove up to New Mexico to do some prairie dog hunting which apparently is a lot like Whack-a-Mole with a gun.  :)  Hopefully, I will have some pictures for you on Friday.  

Happy birthday to my wonderful husband, John!

He's a great father...

as he helps our children negotiate their surroundings.

As you can see, they all love him very much.

He even does projects with our children.

I'm so glad that God gave me such an incredible husband! 

Hmmm.  I think I need some updated pictures!