Dress Crazy Day


This week wrapped up our 12th week of homeschool co-op, which means another semester has come to an end. For the last day of classes, everyone is encouraged to dress crazy. 

My kids looked like this - shorts overtop of pants and mismatched clothes. 

I decided to go all out this semester in my craziness. Gray hair wig. Flour in my eyebrows. Granny dress with sweater. Cane. Knee-high pantyhose, with one rolled down by an ankle. Granny shoes. Walked with a shuffle. 

Dress crazy indeed! 

End of Era of Schooling


Today marks the end of an era in our schooling. Not our homeschooling, but in my husband's education. Today he turns in his very last assignment for his very last class.

Since the summer of 2008, he has been working to obtain his Master's Degree in Library Science. It's been a long trek, generally involving just one class per semester. That is the load he could handle while working full-time and managing the rest of life (home ownership, family, etc). 

All but two of his classes were web-based, enabling him to participate from the internet at work or home. One class met for 5 consecutive Saturdays in Indianapolis. He tackled that one summer. Another met at a nearby college one night a week. All others were done online.

He is now on the other side of classes like Library Systems, Scholarly Communications, Grant Writing, Intellectual Freedom, Information Architecture for the Web, Cataloging, Collection Development, and Library Management. 

Now we just wait for his diploma to arrive! Well, that and figure out where we will vacation in September when we plan to take a "real" vacation for the first time, spending at least a week traveling and adventuring to new and far off places.

Congratulations, my dear! You've persevered and now are at the end of the journey. Well done!

Financial Goals Achieved


I mentioned in this blog post last fall that we set a realistic, but stretching financial goal for paying off a large chunk of school debt. 

Our goal: an extra $5,000 in 10 months put towards debt principle. 

I am overjoyed to report that the 10 months is over and we've surpassed our goal! Slow and steady, we were able to put any extra money we could find towards our goal - Christmas cash and work bonuses included. The bulk of it was the money I earn from our church as the part-time secretary. 

We made our goal even before received our tax refund and were able to put another $1,700 towards paying down debt. 

AND all of that is on top of the "minimum monthly payments" that we kept making but did not count towards this goal. 

It is empowering! It is a great feeling to know that we can do this. 

Our long term goal remains to have our student loan debt paid off by the time my husband turns 40 in 2015. That's 2 years to work our plan and make it happen. The last 10 months have inspired us to sacrifice, to work like crazy and get rid of this once and for all!

Here's what motivates us towards that end! Oh, what a happy day that will be!

Shooting Marbles


My hubby wanted to learn how to play marbles. He looked it up, then created a "board" to play on - by drawing the huge circle on the back of a scrap piece of carpet. And all of a sudden, marbles became the new favorite game at our house. 

Who would've guessed that our 5-year-old son beats the socks off the rest of us!

Happy Spring


It's spring, according to the calendar. Nevermind the fact that we had snow and hail today! 

Here are a few pictures I took earlier this week, with signs of spring popping up all around. 

My son showing off a juicy worm he found! 

Tulips coming up, not blooming yet, but getting close. 

Daffodils and hyacinths in the backyard. 

The garlic in our garden is already shooting a few inches out of the ground.

My daughter took this picture of a bird in a puddle in the backyard. It was entertaining to watch him bathe! 

Welcome, Spring! 

Princess Outing


Last Saturday our local Chick-Fil-A had a Princess Milkshake Party for girls. Any young ladies dressed up as a princess received a free milkshake. 

They also got a mini-manicure and made themselves a tiara.

Fun times for a princess. 

We turned it into a mini Daddy-Daughter date. My hubby dressed up in shirt and tie to accompany the "princess" to the surprise location. They had a good time together. In a few weeks, this same Chick-Fil-A is hosting a mother and son outing that I'll take my boy to. 

Thank you, Chick-Fil-A for free family fun!

Expecting Again


We're expecting a baby, again. 

It is hard to describe the emotions at this point. 

Sure, we're excited. Thankful for the ability to conceive, especially after years of infertility and loss. The preciousness of life is not lost on us.

But our excitement is tempered. We've been down this road before and it's ended badly.  

In less than 2 years time, we've now conceived 4 times. A predictable pattern is emerging. 

Miscarriage within the 6-10 week range. 
Conceive again 6-7 months later. 
Repeat again.   

We've been on this roller-coaster and frankly want off
This ride rattles us to the very core every single time. 
It simply hurts.

"Cautiously optimistic" is my husband's phrase. We're excited. We hope for the best, which we assume would be a baby in our arms around Thanksgiving time. We hope that this is the time that the pattern stops. May this be the time that it ends differently. 

May this be our year of Jubilee!

Keeping Track


I'm the type of person who stays on top of everything. 

Something misplaced at home. Ask me, I know where it is.

Husband needs to remember when some important meeting is. Ask me, it's on the calendar

Birthdays. Anniversaries. Special events. All are on the calendar, with reminders posted a few days in advance when necessary. 

Keeping track of everything is important to me. It makes me feel in control. It gives me the illusion that I can't be caught off guard, that I'm as prepared as possible for what might come. 

And keeping track of significant days helps me remember. 

I love my daughter. I wouldn't forget her birthday, because I love her and want to celebrate her life. 

I love my son. I wouldn't forget his birthday, because I love him and want to celebrate his life. 

Keeping track of it all for my earthly children is do-able.  It would be impossible for me to forget a name or birthday.

Keeping track of it all for my heavenly children is harder. Their names don't get mentioned often, though they go through my head regularly. Grant. Hope. Isaac.

Even their "birthdays" aren't days to celebrate and aren't remembered by many. "Birthday" was the day they went to heaven as a tiny baby. Due date was the birthday that wasn't meant to be

Forgetting a child's birthday would be like indicating to that child that they aren't loved or aren't special. 

I put tremendous pressure on myself to remember, to keep track of my heavenly babies. I don't want them to feel unloved. And so dates swarm in my mind, flooding me with emotions of grief and mourning and longing for what is not. 

June 29, 2011
February 5, 2012
February 23, 2012
October 17, 2012 
October 19, 2012
May 19, 2013

I don't want to forget. Yet I feel like I'm sinking in trying to keep track

A peek into the mind of this grieving mama.

Field Trip: Ag Days


  We recently attended Ag Days at the county fairgrounds, along with our homeschooling friends Leah, Ada, Gunnar and Waylon. Fun times!

Animals to pet and learn about.

Farm tractors to climb around on.

Free milk and cookies at the end of it all! 

We love Ag Days! It's free. It's very convenient for us, as a location. And it touches on agriculture, which is something that was a huge part of my childhood but not so much for my children. 

PS: Here's my blog post and pictures from Ag days 2012

Another Box Day


We use a curriculum called Sonlight.
The most exciting day of our school year is "Box Day." 
This is the day when our boxes arrive from Sonlight, containing dozens and dozens of books and materials we will use for the next school year. 

Oh how excited we are for each box day! 
Here are some pictures of my daughter with her 5th grade curriculum that arrived last week. 

Excellent resources for studying the lives of some missionaries, for science materials focusing on anatomy, our favorite math curriculum Teaching Textbooks, a kit for teaching calligraphy, and over 50 other titles that we are looking forward to exploring in 5th grade! 

One book - Blood and Guts - got quite a reaction from my daughter!
Just for fun, here is the link to our 3rd grade box day
 and here's the link for last year's 4th grade box day

(I enjoy looking at those older posts, to see how far we've come in our "love of learning." We started using Sonlight because we had tried other curriculum and found it just didn't fit well with our family. We were on the verge of throwing in the towel with homeschooling. Then we tried Sonlight and are enjoying school more than I thought possible. We love Sonlight, in case you can't tell, and look forward to continuing to use their excellent curriculum for the remainder of our time as homeschoolers)



After what seemed like a very long winter, spring has finally sprung in our part of Indiana!

Spring means windy days that are perfect for flying kites. 

Spring means beautiful flowers. My sister-in-law gave me these and I have very much enjoyed them. And I saw my first daffodil bloom of the year today in my backyard.

Spring means it's time to grow things. We've begun planting some of our garden items - the ones that need to start indoors before being planted outside. But in this picture you see twirly-birds in numerous stages of sprouting. My daughter found all of these on her own and it delights my heart. Hands-on science taking place in the backyard

We're so very excited for spring! 

Has spring sprung where you're at yet? 
If not, hang in there - it's coming! 

Family Photo Friday


Friday is here again - the first Friday of April already.
Here are a few photos from our week.

My son brought his favorite stuffed bear Cinnamon to visit the library where Daddy works. Cinnamon got a ride on a book cart and was able to go through the book drop! What a fun field trip for the little bear! :-)  

Our bird Weezy goes through phases of high-energy and freedom and also phases of restfulness and quiet. Recently, she was quite energetic, flying all around the house. At one point, she landed on the rim of the trash can. Ay, ay, ay.

Daddy has been busy with school these days, finishing up final projects for his very last class. As he works on his iPad, my son likes to work alongside of him with his toy computer. Like father, like son.

Happy weekend-ending!