Taking Life One Step At A Time

Taking Life One Step At  A Time

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Trip South - Take 1

It has been awhile since my last blog. Getting ready for vacation took every spare minute! But, we are finally on the road and, although exhausted, thoroughly enjoying our trip. Here's an overview of what we've done so far:

Monday: We actually made it out of the driveway around 8:30 am. It's pretty amazing that we made it out so early. My goal was 8, but I was thrilled with 8:30.
We spent the day driving to St. Louis, MO.

We arrived in St. Louis around 3:45 pm. We had just a few minutes to hug Sara and drop off our stuff before heading out to Dino and Alison's house. Alison made us a wonderful dinner and we enjoyed hanging out with old friends.

The kids tried their hands at Guitar Hero and Wii Boxing. It was quite hilarious to watch! And, of course, David and Zack loved beating up on Dad!

We finally returned to the Wescoats' around 9:45 pm. We spent a little time chatting with Charlie, Becky and Sara and then sent the munchkins to bed. They had a hard time settling down, but I have a feeling that's going to be the case throughout most of the trip. :)

Tuesday: On the road again by 8:00 am. It was a VERY LONG day of driving. We got stuck in stand still traffic, took a different exit, missed another one, ended up in Alabama (!!) and took much longer to complete our trip. We finally arrived in Athens around 10:15 pm. Nobody got to bed until close to midnight. I'm glad that day is behind us!

Wednesday: Had a great day just hanging out with the cousins and Aunt Christy. We saw the Tree that Owns Itself, a Double Barrelled Cannon and got some really delicious cupcakes and carrot cake.

Had a wonderful dinner, enjoyed some time outside in the warm sun and got to bed at a decent hour. Josh and Jim also went out and listened to some music together in the evening. Overall a really great day!

Thursday: This was our day on our own. We drove around Athens a bit, checked out a bookstore and got a Georgia shirt for Josh's mom, went to an actual book bookstore, and had a terrific picnic lunch and playtime at a park.

We're now catching up on laundry and preparing for another day of driving tomorrow. Florida, here we come!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Complaint Cure #4

This week I'm thanking God for ...
- 14 years of dating my wonderful husband!!
- Beautiful flowers that he thoughtfully gave me in recognition of our 14 years.
- New glasses
- Chores accomplished
- Only one more week to survive until vacation
- Good health for our family
- wonderful hymns and songs of the faith
- a good, albeit cold, soccer season that is almost over
- mapquest
- a nice conversation with my brother
- inter-library loans
- gorgeous weather today!
- friends on the mend from H1N1
- winter clothes and indoor heating
- authors who can write entertaining and emotive stories
- free tickets to the Creation Museum for our vacation
- the wonderful new coat hanging system that my patient husband slaved over
- the great generosity of my parents and the way they have loved on my children for the past few months
- hugs from little arms first thing in the morning
- that Christ is our high priest who stands between us and eternal death

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


Our house has become a home for arthropods, invertibrates and other creepy crawlies. Nobody warned me that homeschooling would force me to embrace insects, and yet, here I am with a houseful. Thankfully the ones I know about are caged!

Josh and the kids have been studying insects and other such gross things in science lately. So, we are now the proud owners of 5 tadpoles, 10 painted lady butterfly larvae and a few dozen ants. Until yesterday we also had a large spider, an asian beetle and a dragonfly. We had to get rid of those last night though, because the spider was creeping me out and the dragonfly (or flying dragon according to Gabe) was not allowing us to sleep at night.

Most of the kids are fine with the insects being under our roof, but our youngest is totally freaked out. Two nights ago, he was up every half hour to 45 minutes asking us to let him sleep with us because of bugs in his bed. I finally got to sleep at 5 am. That's what made me put my foot down about the flying dragon. No more of those. I think it's the name that really freaked the poor kid out. Who wouldn't be scared of a flying dragon?!

We're excited especially about the butterflies, ants and tadpoles - although when we ordered them, we didn't realize that we'd be on vacation shortly after receiving them! The butterflies are going to tour the southern states with us, the ants will have to fend for themselves and we're asking friends to tend to the frogs. I just hope we don't miss any great transformations. I thought 2 weeks in the car with four kids was going to be tough. Now we're taking 10 caterpillars and are responsible for their very lives! Hmm. We'll see how that goes.

So, here's a warning to any of you homeschooling moms out there. Be advised that homeschooling means doing ALL those crazy things that other parents can leave to the public school teachers - like keeping creepy crawlies in your house for "study". The things we are willing to do for our kids ... Yeesh.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Complaint Cure #3

Thanking God for ...
~ FUNNY, FUNNY children!
~ A wonderful husband who's willing to go sit through an hour of dance so that I can have time at home.
~ Warm outdoor clothing. An abundance of it!
~ Jars with lids that keep bugs for science study from crawling all over my house.
~ An early Christmas with family today
~ The incredible generosity of my parents.
~ An enlightening and interesting parenting conference this weekend.
~ My list making skills. :)
~ Hot chocolate on cold days
~ Goodwill
~ the ease of doing laundry in my own home
~ the forgiveness I am daily shown by God
~ His patience with me
~ The beauty of fall
~ A husband who can really preach well! (Thanks for the awesome sermon on Sunday, hon!)

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Freezing in October

Thought everyone might like to see how cold it was at our 8am soccer game yesterday morning. Brrr. Notice the frost on the ground. They were smiling at this point because we had just arrived. But by 9 am, everyone was miserable. The poor kids had to be out for 3 hours at soccer games. I guess that's the price we pay for living in Wisconsin!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Great day and rough night

Yesterday, the kids and I attended our first gym class with our local homeschooling group. We LOVED it!! They are starting out with a football unit - which of course they boys all love. David and Zack were able to find several boys around their ages and had a blast. In fact, they continued to play football for another 40 minutes after the class ended! Abby and Gabe were in the younger group of kids. They also had a great time playing red light green light, kicking a soccer ball, playing duck duck goose and in general running around to get energy out.

Meanwhile, the moms who were not involved in teaching were able to just chat and watch the kids. I can't begin to describe how encouraging it was just to get out and have adult conversation! I hadn't realized how much I was missing it until I stood talking with complete strangers for an hour and a half! I think this group will end up being as much for my sanity as it will be for the kids to get some energy out.

We were especially looking forward to a field trip tomorrow to a pumpkin farm with the homeschool group. However, my youngest began throwing up last night around 2 am. Unfortunately, I had not yet fallen asleep, so instead of just a late night, it became an all-nighter. Yup, he didn't fall asleep again until 6 - which meant that I didn't either. I try to take care of the kids at night because I know Josh has to get up and work the next day. He is usually very good about shouldering his share of the nighttime ordeals, but right now he's got a sprained ankle. It's swollen to about double in size and is bruised all over. Needless to say, he's not walking well and I didn't want him to do have to do the stairs. So, the joy of cleaning puke fell to me. The thing that bothers me the most though (aside from seeing my little boy sick) is that we'll miss the field trip tomorrow. I think we may have to plan a Monday trip just as a family since the kids would really enjoy it.

On the upside, despite only two hours of sleep, we have accomplished a days worth of school today. I decided to let Abby have the day off since she's so far ahead on everything and we are pushing art off to another day. But, I must say, I'm proud of myself for patiently working with the kids despite being tired. That's something I wouldn't have been able to do (at least not graciously) a few weeks ago. I guess we are all learning and growing through the homeschool experience!

And, another great thing ... Josh and I got to go on a date last night. Obviously, this was before we knew any kids were sick. But we had a delightful evening talking over dinner and laughing together at a movie. What a wonderful midweek treat!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Tea, frogs, eyes and life

I feel like I have sand in my eyes.

I went to the eye doctor today and after 2 1/2 hours (!!!) finally left with contacts in hand and new glasses ordered. Phew! I'm not totally sure how I feel about the contacts. The ones I have are just to try out for a week. The prescription isn't exact, but since I was a little anxious about having them in my eyes, they gave me some to try for the week.

I've had them before. But I had the gas permeable kind before (the hard kind) and within an hour of putting them in, my eyes would be bloodshot and in great pain. These are soft and are feeling much better. I'm still not sure I want to keep them though.

Beyond that, life has been quite hectic this weekend. An old friend from Lakeside, Beth Weaver, came with her fiance to speak at our annual Women's Tea at church. Beth and Jacob stayed with us and we had a wonderful time getting to know Jacob and getting reaquainted with Beth. She did a wonderful job speaking at the Tea and it was so interesting to hear about God's work in Papua New Guinea.

One thing I found especially interesting was how quickly Abby took to them. All the kids did but Abby was the one always holding hands with them or sitting on their laps. She has certainly come out of her shell!

This week we have our first gym class with our homeschooling group. I am looking forward to getting to know some more homeschool families and the kids can't wait to make some new friends. We also have a field trip planned with them on Friday. It looks like we have a pretty busy week coming up, but that's good. Busy - good. Hectic - not so good. This weekend was hectic. I'm ready for some normal busy!

Oh! And we are now the proud owners of five tadpoles. I really can't say that I'm happy to have slimy little things swimming around in my dining room, but the kids are excited. We've been getting water from the lake at the park to put them in. It looks dirty, but Josh said it's probably the healthiest stuff for them. Hopefully they'll all survive and we'll someday be the proud owners of 5 little frogs. I honestly hadn't given any thought to what we'd do with the frogs until the tadpoles came in the mail. At least we have a good 11 weeks or so to think about it. Anybody want some frogs??

Complaint Cure #2

This week I'm praising God for:
- a machine that takes a picture of the inside of the eye instead of going through the terrible dilation drops. :)
- a great time at the Women's Tea this weekend
- reconnecting with an old friend and making a new one
- restored health to our family
- hugs from little arms
- a husband who is willing to shop with me
- sugar and spice tea
- new glasses (which will be coming soon) and contacts
- hand-me-downs
- sweaters
- fresh green beans
- the flexibility of homeschooling
- athletic children - or at least children who enjoy athletics!
- indoor plumbing
- Beverly Lewis novels
- libraries: the free store!
- warm blankets on cool nights
- the fact that God is the same here as He is on the other side of the world
- the fact that the Church is not limited to just our little congregation
- the One who provides all that we need and so much more!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Less than stellar

I've been having a tough week. It did start off well though. Monday was terrific! We've decided that trying to do school on Mondays while Josh is taking his day off is just too much. He wasn't resting and we weren't getting time with him. So, this week we switched to a Tuesday to Saturday schedule. Great on Mondays, terrible on Saturdays. But worth it hopefully.

Anyway, on Tuesday, the awful part of the week began. I got really sick. It has turned into a nasty cold, but on Tuesday I was sure I was dying. I spent the majority of the day sleeping either in the bed or on the recliner. We somehow managed to get school done, but I couldn't tell you how - or what the kids were learning. Josh was at work, so I was trying to entertain the four kids by myself. Not fun. I'm much better by today (thursday), but it has been a long haul.

On top of that, the annual women's tea at church is this weekend. I organize the tea and make sure all details come together. Plus, I'm hosting a table and planning the menu. Needless to say, I don't have time to be sick. And, we're hosting the speaker and her fiance at our house for the weekend. I really want to be well - not just to have a healthy house for them to come to, but also so that I can enjoy their visit. I haven't seen this friend in about 15 years - maybe more.

And it gets better! Wednesday, we decided to try an art project that is really more of just a fun craft. The thing I had planned just wasn't going to work, so instead I decided to try making "bubble snakes" with the kids. I had seen the idea in Family Fun Magazine and had wanted to try it all summer. You cut the bottom off of a plastic bottle, wrap a washcloth around the bottom and secure it with a rubber band. Then, you dip the cloth in a dishsoap solution and blow through the bottle. It makes a really cool set of bubbles that snake to the floor. The kids loved it - except for one.

Although I had explained to the kids how to breathe out (and had even demonstrated it), I had one in particular who was determined to suck in. (And no, it was not my youngest!) As you can guess, he got a mouth and lung full of dishsoap! He then spent the next half hour spitting and crying and causing all sorts of trouble. So much for a fun craft. That ruined the fun for everyone. Ugh.

I knew not all weeks would be great with homeschooling, and we've definitely experienced a less-than-terrific week thus far. I've actually been dreading the first time of me being sick and having to teach. I'm glad it's behind me now and I have survived. The one thing that concerns me is that I'm now starting to lose my voice. Now that won't be good. How in the world do you control four crazy children with hand motions??!!! Oy.