Sunday, September 30, 2012


Change is in the air. Can't you feel it?  I can. For some reason, I can.  I love this time of year. I love autumn so much.  It is the crispness in the air, school supplies, learning, new adventures, rebirth.  I love the colors and festivities.  It is the time of the year, when the earth casts off the old, preparing for new things.

I feel exactly the same way right now.  The last 18 months have really been a struggle for me in many aspects.  I have just kept on going through it all. However, I don't feel that way anymore. I feel an awakening and a need to cast off the old and start anew. I don't just want to go through things, but to experience life and taste of the goodness it has to offer. I want to live it to the best of my ability.

I guess this means it is time to reassess what I am doing and to set new goals for myself.  Next Saturday is the marathon. This will mean the completion of two for the year.  It has been a good thing because it has given me something to do. As hard as it has been, I am glad this was my marathon year.  But I am ready for new things. And like I have unequivocally stated before, there will be no more marathon years in the future.

I feel a restlessness inside of me.  This usually means it is time for a big old road trip. I think I am going to break out my map and see where I want to go.  I want my kids to experience awesome new things and savor also. I want to take them along on a ride with me.  And just like I read in the book, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years, I want to make my life an interesting story.

As you can see, I don't really have this narrowed down to specific goals, but I am working on that part of it. I am pretty much just rambling.  But here is the one thing I know for sure. I have a great desire to reconnect with God on a deeper and more meaningful level. I think I have been a wayward child and I know it is time to come home. Once I do that, I know that I can do anything. And I will.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Chugging Along

I checked here on my blog and then was like, holy crap! I haven't blogged anything in a week.  I guess I have been a bit busy.  It has been a good week for me.  First of all, I get to taper on my running, because the marathon is next week. It is great to look at the schedule and see that you only have to run 3 miles. It is a nice change. I need to get an 8-miler in tomorrow and then I really just have 26.2 next Saturday. I am ready and glad to be done with it.
And mark my words, this will be my last marathon!!  Tie me up and send me to the looney bin if I even flirt with the idea of doing this again.
As for the rest of this week, it has just been school, school, school; a whirlwind of a week.  The boys continue to progress nicely in their studies. They also are plugging away at football. There are four games left on their schedule.  They probably have one of the toughest schedules. in the league.  Regardless, we are  thrilled they got a 'W' last week.  I hope they play well tomorrow. The game is in Fallon.
Playing with some masks we got from our travels. The left one is from Nicaragua and the right one comes from Hawaii.
Harry and Julia continue to grow and I can feel a certain level of maturity starting to settle into our lives. And let me insert a heavy exhale right here.  Thank goodness.  It still is craziness in these parts, but I feel that I have definitely gotten over the worst of it.
When we do homeschool co-op on Thursday, Julia and Harry go to a preschool class and they are doing great in there. Eli has been bumped up to real classes. He takes Music in Motion and a manners class.  I am still teaching a history class for boys called Horrible History: Tudors, Explorers, and Pirates.
I also realize it is about time to start teaching Eli how to read.  I am not that concerned about it right now, but the time is fast approaching and I think he is ready to start.
Julia still loves it when I take her picture. She is also obsessed right now with a Disney Princess sing-along DVD.  She watches it all the time and then asks me to sing a specific princess song, like Pocahontas or Ariel. And she still gets wistful when she thinks about the color pink.  Just the other night we saw pink clouds in the sky, and she tucked her hands under her chin in a demure pose and smiled so happily at the pretty pink clouds.  And she still loves to pick flowers, especially pink ones, from the neighbors yard.
Harry is really growing up. His obsession with cars is fading a little, but he always finds something to fill the void. Right now, he really loves coloring. I am surprised at how good he is at it.  He will sit at the table for long periods of time to color.  It is even better when he does it with Eli. The two of them are light years ahead of where Raef and Zach were back then, when it comes to coloring.
And just the other day, Harry was talking to me about hair. I asked him where all of his hair went, since he just got a haircut a week ago or so.  He told me that it went into the garbage.  What a smart boy.

I guess we will just keep chugging along.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Sweet Boy

I love those sweet moments. This kid is full of them.  Our new neighbor Brenan had a birthday last Saturday...8 years-old.  Raef took it upon himself to gather up some of his Legos and other odds and ends he thought Brenan might like.  He put it in a box, wrapped it up (with duct tape), made a card, and all those extra touches any 10 year-old boy would love. You know, like red licorice taped on top.

Love this kid!

Friday, September 14, 2012


Julia was doing a bunch of poses while standing on a box. It was so adorable. I was talking on the phone and she was giving me these faces. I had to take a picture.
Then Eli wanted to pose...
And of course Harry couldn't be left out.  What a sweet moment.

But then Julia wanted to pose again...and Eli...and Harry.  There might have been some pushing, hair-pulling, and eye-gouging.  But I am going to focus on the angelic aspect of this moment.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Picture Perfect Moments

Here is my beautiful, adorable, sweet, interesting and a bit mischievious Ju-wah.  Love my little girl.
And miracles do happen.  Zach at the park, in an outfit that actually matches. It was a proud moment for Mama.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

The Last Few Days

I have had a lot of fun these past couple of days.  On Thursday night I met some girlfriends from church and we went out for a birthday celebration.  Me and 5 other ladies all have birthdays this month.    It was great being able to hang out and relax...and eat, of course.
Super cool ladies, Lanae, Anna, Yvonne, and Julie.
On Friday, my little ones wanted to play the violin.  Lessons will be coming in the near future.  Oh boy, I get to pay for lessons for FIVE children. 

After the violin was put away, we headed over to the park.  I am so sad, because our very best homeschool friends, the Lindsey's, are moving back to Texas at the end of this month.  Boo hoo.  But we still had fun doing bottle rockets.
When Julia's bottle landed, Eli had the audacity to pick it up for her.  She fell apart and cried, cried, cried.  Her life was OVER!  Eli gave her the bottle and offered a few words of comfort.
Eli and Harry especially loved this bottle rocket activity.  They kept filling their bottles up with water and shouting with glee when the thing went flying into the sky.  It was some good times.
I decided to go ahead and run my 18-miler last night, since Rinar had to run his and the boys had a football game in Fernley today.  Somehow we had to get it all in.  And boy, have I ever told you that running that far totally sucks?  Phooey.  I was in pain.  The pain really started to wash over me like an acid bath, after I was finished.  But at least I didn't have to run today, right?
And I am never running a marathon again!  Have I said that before?
Then today (Saturday) was my birthday.  Oh boy! The kids were mostly so good today.  When they woke up this morning they were fairly pleasant.  That was a nice change of pace.
We then headed over to Fernley, which is about 1 hour west of Reno, for the boys football game.  It was a rough one.  The Fernley team was really good. It was a close game in the first half, but not so much in the second. We lost 19-0.  Raef really had a rough time. He came out in the 3rd quarter because he was sick.  I am pretty sure it was dehydration.  He threw up several times on the way home and is still not feeling that great. Poor kid.  For next week's game, they will be drinking lots of water, starting Friday!
When we got home, Rinar took me out for some birthday fun.  But not before I got a few presents.  The best was this card signed by all my kids.  The long message is from Zach.  He loves me so much even if I think I am mean.  Harry did the lovely squiggles to the left and Julia did the delicate circles on the bottom left.  Eli signed his name as well and even drew a heart.  Raef drew lots of hearts.  Aaahhhh! So sweet.  I also got another guitar and a new electric toothbrush.
But the best part was the serenade from Julia.  She sang happy birthday to me a million times. It was so adorable.
Rinar took me to Johnny's Ristorante.  It was truly fantastic. I highly recommend it.  Then we went to the Reno Ace's game.  We were in the box seats right behind the dugout.  Rinar had a major hook-up.  And then in the second inning, my name appeared on the scoreboard, wishing me happy birthday.  That was super cute. Oh, my kooky husband.
It was a fun day and now I can just march right on to 40. It will be here before I know it, I guess. I have four years to wrap my head around that.


Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Homeschool Curriculum

I have to share something I am really excited about...


What!?!  Me, excited about some nerdy science stuff?  Why yes, I am.  As a homeschooler, I am always looking for ways to freshen up the day, do something exciting and stimulating that will keep my kids engaged.  I realized that the science aspect of our school year was almost completely non-existent.  I started poking around for a good curriculum to add to the mix.

And this is what I found...

"The Elements" (Digital Download)

I was grateful that they posted the first two chapters on their website.  It intrigued me and so I just bought the whole darn thing.  Best purchase, ever.  This lady knows her stuff.  I wish someone had taught chemistry to me this way when I was in high school.  We have done three chapters now and it has been a huge success. The book is engaging, simple, but not simplified.  For example, chapter three is all about the structure of an atom.  We talked about electron clouds, electron order, and then electron configuration, like the  neon atom is 1s2 2s2 2p6. Does this look familiar to anyone?  I mean, it is scary-looking stuff, right?  Wrong. Not to my kids.  They picked it up so fast. And you should see the way their eyes light up when I tell them to get out the chemistry stuff.  Zach begs to read the paragraphs out loud. He loves it so much.  This is the way learning is supposed to be.

Ellen McHenry has also written a follow-up book called Carbon Chemistry.  It is organic chemistry for middle school kids.  I can't wait to tackle that next.

We have also had much success with a new Latin book I found called Getting Started With Latin.  I love it way more than the last one we were doing.  It has a logical order of building Latin skills for the very beginner.  I probably spend 5-10 minutes a day doing Latin with each of my boys, and they are building a solid foundation. I don't think any education is complete without Latin.  It is invaluable.

Getting Started With Latin

I think now that my boys are well into their tenth year of life and 5th graders, I am finally hitting my educational stride.  I wouldn't say that it gets any easier, because that would be a gross exaggeration.  I still yell and lose my temper. There are still a lot of tears and resistance, but it is worth it. I can see connections being made. I believe in the process and know that in the long run, it will pay huge dividends.

A Week of Pictures

There is no cohesive theme in this blog today.  But I thought I would share some cute pictures from the last week.
Harry likes to color.  I think for a two year-old he is pretty darn good at it. Luckily, he has a thing for orange paper. This makes it easy to distinguish his scribble masterpieces from the other scribble masterpieces that are lying on the floor in various locations around the house.  The kid is quite proud.  And who knows, at some point he may graduate to yellow! Or green! Or blue! But for now, it is orange, thank you very much.
We took the kids to Lake Tahoe last weekend, before public school started. It was fun to hang out with friends from church and enjoy the nice weather, while it is still here.  Julia and Harry were a cute little pair on the beach chair, eating cookies together.
She has a wild smile and a thing for chocolate. This is her smile pose for the camera.  A bit demonic. Maybe a little inkling into her very "strong" personality.

And sometimes, something really cool a random nap on the couch right when I have to make dinner.  It is like the whole house can take a deep breath and exhale.

And in completely unrelated news, look what happened at the park.  This totally cracked me up.  She ran over a bicycle.  They had to dismantle the bike with a wrench to get it out.  Just glad it wasn't me!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Condo on Wheels

The condo in St. George has been sold.  We are now out of real estate for the time being. But we did get a new "condo" of sorts. We bought a camping trailer!  This toy goes well with Rinar's new truck he got a few months ago. 
Finally, we were able to take it out for a little spin and give it a try.  We went to Prosser Reservoir in California. It was fantastic.
It was a beautiful Labor Day weekend. There were many simple, wonderful moments that we shared together.  We went down to the reservoir and the kids had tons of fun chucking rocks into the lake. There wasn't any sand, but we always enjoy rock-chucking.  Zach and Raef did a little bit of swimming also.
Here, Eli is showing off his muscles.  Nice, huh? And, of course I forgot Julia's swimsuit, so she did it European style.

After our visit to the lake, we came back and the kids played keep away with the football, they took turns riding on the skateboard, they jumped on rocks, and built a big fire.  It was fun feeding the fire with pine needles. 

Then it was story time.  Eli listened to Zach's impromptu story, and then he told a story of his own.  It was hilarious.  He started making up a story and then Zach continually tried to mess him up.  Eli would say  something like, fire and then Zach would say, "wire? tire?" etc.  They were laughing and thought it was the funniest thing ever.

At night, the highlight for the little ones was the head lamps. Harry, especially, was in heaven.  It got dark and they whipped out the lamps and walked around and looked at stuff.  It was the bomb-diggity.

After the babies went to bed, we stayed up and played a couple of games of Yahtzee.  The boys loved it.

In the morning we ate pancakes and bacon, played outside some more, and then wrapped it up for our short ride home. 

I am excited about this new chapter in our lives.  In the future, we will be planning a lot of family vacations and activites around camping and our condo on wheels.  There will be many wonderful memories made together, and I can't wait.
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