Wednesday, October 24, 2012

A Reason to Celebrate!

Five is the turning point from toddlerhood to big kid, don't you think?
If that's so, then it's official:  Carolina is a big kid now.

 Tradition at our house is to lay out the Birthday Spread of loot, decorations, and
 cards on birthday eve after the birthday person has gone to bed.
As the children have gotten older, they've participated in the endeavor - and I'm
particularly glad about that when it comes to blowing up balloons!

I asked this little girl what she'd like for her birthday, and she told me "powdered doughnuts" and also...
"twisty straws".

In true Carolina nature, it was a simple request and easy to oblige.  It doesn't take much to bless
this little lady.  She has a content spirit.  She is an uncomplaining, patient, sweet heart.
She does everything with deliberate method, cannot sleep for a nap, but knows when it's bedtime
and konks out when her head hits the pillow at night.
She's a trooper and will hike over hill and dale for hours without a snivel.
She sticks by my side in the store while I shop and doesn't appear to weary.
She is easy to overlook.  Her wheel never seems to squeak.
She is amazing.

It was delightful to dedicate a whole day to showing my Carolina how much we love her -
from powdered doughnuts and pink balloons, to tea party and cupcakes, to Pink Panther
cartoons before bed.
We even got out her baby book and looked through every page, retelling her story.
It was quite a day!

I hope you know how thankful I am for you Carolina.
Our family wouldn't be nearly as full of sunshine if we didn't have YOU!

Happy Birthday darling girl!  
Happy Birthday to our Carolina Truth.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

When what's important... isn't really that important.

The fall season is drawing to a close, believe it or not.

Just tonight, my children entered the kitchen in a fevered frenzy, exclaiming that there was "this much" snow on the porch!  What?  I wasn't expecting snow - not yet.  I'm not through with brightly lit trees and not quite ready for freezing temperatures.

As the summer was closing in on us, AJ and I discussed all the things we'd like to have wrapped up before winter: fence stretched, gates set, culvert replaced, bridge completed, pit dug for next years outhouse...
Just a "few" things that shouldn't take "much" time, and as we half-grinned at each other and shook our heads, we came up with a plan.  It was this:
Let's just enjoy our children.

To make the fishing, hunting, hiking, wrestling, reading, and Sunday fall color drives the first priority.
After that, whatever gets done is bonus.  The time is passing too quickly.  We' aren't going to remember The Fall of 2012 as the year we set gates or replaced culvert pipe, but I bet we remember the apple picking trip with Gramsie and Pops.

The implementation of our goal has taken more effort that I would wish, but deliberate planning and action is required for we two who'd happily sit on the porch with coffee and follow that with tractor work and some clothes-sorting.  We had a couple precious days between business travels lately in which to cram in stuff needing to be done, and this is how we spent it...

Yesterday we took the family and went fishing with Clay.  He's been wanting to try a new spot where the fish were less predictable and the scenery fresh.  No fish on the hook, but Zack hooked Clay in the ear.  Apparently there were large trout flirting around the bait, and a beaver and muskrat to be seen in the river.

This morning AJ and the boys went deer hunting up the ridge behind our house.  No deer, but a good 5 hours of tromping in the woods, which some of that party really eat up! :-D  "Lots of sign mom... of elk and deer.... and we saw thee most gigantic Snow Shoe Hare!"

There was even a bit of time this weekend for culverts, and moving rock, and buying a bear-proof garbage containment solution. 

These couple days have felt like Christmas!  Clayton had made some apple pies which we indulged in nibbling throughout the day, and we sipped cider.  Put Whipped cream on top of our coffee, and ate soup.
This evening it's time to lay out the day (and week) ahead, to plan school assignments, and send sibling-elves off to their secret corners in preparation for Carolina's birthday.  Treasures are dug out of drawers and wrapping paper bits fly.

Lots of mercies to revel in these days and nights.
I'm reveling.
Cold temperatures, snow and all :-)

Thursday, October 18, 2012

In Which I Relinquish all Appearances of Coolness and Embrace Reality.

I had a hard time settling on a title for this post.  Among some of the options I considered were:
"Raisin' 'Em Redneck" and "We Call it School" and "We are "THOSE" Homeschoolers"
and you know what I mean by that last one, don't you.  I bet most of you are grinning because
you either know some of "those" homeschoolers, you attempt not to be one of "those"
homeschool families, or... you are one. :-)

For those of you in the dark, there's a bit of a running joke we (homeschooling) moms enjoy
about the homeschooling stereotype.  I won't digress into exactly what forms this stereotype takes,
and each of us likes to embellish with our own brand of humor, but basically, no one likes to be
lumped into a box and so we resist any outward appearance of fitting some definition that's well
Heaven forbid we appear... dorky.
And here I insert (somewhat tongue-in-cheek) that homeschoolers have been trying to eradicate
that stereotype since the dawn of homeschoolism!
 I would know; I'm a K-12 homeschooled veteran dork myself.

My flesh can't help agree with my girlfriends - fellow moms, most of who were also home schooled -
when they refuse to drive a van until every other possible options has been exhausted.
And if they have to drive one, they'd prefer their progeny didn't disembark wearing outfits that matched
their siblings', or were arrayed in an excess of plaid or camo.  Don't we already draw enough attention
to ourselves by our numbers, or the fact that we're grocery shopping as a family event at 10am?

Despite my own aversion to being stereotyped, I'm not one to make a decision based on what other
people think.  If a thing makes sense than we do it.  If a monstrous vehicle is practical and serves our
needs well, we drive one.  If it makes sense to buy the same boots for everyone, we do.  If my
children like camo, leather belts, skirts with jeans underneath... I've been known to turn away a
discerning eye now and then for the joy of watching them be their own unique persons!

All this to say, it's become clear to me in recent years that the truth is:
we ARE "those" homeschoolers.
It'd be really great to be those cool homeschoolers, but then look at who my kids got for a mom.
I'm not complaining, just pointing out the obvious. :-)
I can't help but laugh.  I mean, just LOOK at us?!! 

The truth is such an irony sometimes!
And yes there really is a point to all this blather.

Today, my son Zachary invited his sister Susanna to go hunting with him.
While they were off on their venture, 
Clayton and Olivia built an "Almond Roaster" and a fire, 
and "roasted" almonds.
Zachary returned with his grinning sister 
who was holding a handful of limp squirrels by their tails.  
Then he showed her step by step how to gut and skin them, 
and roasted all three over Clay's fire. 
 The four siblings moved on to roasting (or at least blackening)
other things such as marshmallows, apples, and fingers.
And faces too.  

About the same time, while I watched the smoke rise beyond the picture window,
on the floor of my living room,three-year-old Bryce lounges with his blankie.
Little sister Aloria sits beside him and tenderly strokes his head.  
He knows he is loved.

It looks to me like the kind of life many children only dream of - the kind of friendships
most people never experience, love extended truly and without strings attached.

All of a sudden it doesn't seem to matter that we look like vagabonds and rednecks.
The important part is shining bright from underneath the soot and camo.

Now you can believe me or not when I say these are relatively common scenes in our home.
Sometimes there is more noise and less tolerance, but overall, this is what I get to be a part of
every day.

I've known for a long time that good character is not defined by outward appearance.
I also know that the playing field levels out quite a lot with with the advent of maturity.
There can be an awful lot of insecurity underneath a "cool" exterior.  Whatever we do or don't
drive, however we choose to dress, who we associate with, how we speak, what we say...
if in the end it doesn't come from a heart that loves Jesus and cherishes people
more than any of these external things?
It doesn't matter how together we appear.  It amounts to very little and maybe nothing at all.

And these are the conglomeration of thoughts, chuckles, sighs, and bright praise I found myself
reveling in today as I took in the amazing-ness of the people I call my children.
I'm really really thankful for them, and all the ways the Lord grows me up through being their mom.

And it almost (just almost) makes up for my being... dorky.  ;-D

Words Not Necessary

Sometimes there's just not a lot of room left for words.