Monday, June 27, 2011

Motivational Paragraph

Do you wish you had a motivational paragraph you could dwell on, something to help you become all you can be? Sort of along the lines of Khalil's motivational tapes from Veggietale's Jonah movie ("You are a skilled metalworker . . .")? Yes? Well, here is something sure to fit the bill, straight from Henle's classic Latin I text!

You are good men. Therefore you praise peace and virtue and pray for all men. You do not prepare (for) war because you are not eager for fame and victory. You do not attack neighboring cities; you do not seize the towns of neighboring tribes; you prepare swords and legions, not on account of war, but on account of peace.

Or maybe it is more motivational in Latin . . .

Estis homines boni. Itaque pacem et virtutem laudatis et pro omnibus hominibus oratis. Bellum non paratis quod non estis gloriae et victoriae cupidi. Urbes finitimas non oppungnatis; oppida gentium finitimarum non occupatis; gladios et legiones non propter bellum sed propter pacem paratis.

Now go and improve yourselves!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

. . . And After

Well, before any "after" shots, here is one "in the middle" picture. We moved all the toys into the entryway first, leaving the big pieces of furniture--a bookshelf, an armoire that was a home to stuffed animals, and a black desk--in the living room. Wow--that's a bunch of toys! Now you can see why we don't have big birthday parties for the kids!

With all the cleaning and moving, several missing things came to light, such as puzzle pieces, and several Little People. We were also able to find the matches for all 9 pairs of cowboy boots that own. I kept 4 pairs upstairs and put the rest in the basement!

So here is our new schoolroom. I still have all my books in the study, in those 3 big double bookcases, but the boys can do their work here. And we put the laptops on the black desk, where you can see Luke, so now we won't be tripping over the cords! I put all my science stuff, plus other misc. school stuff, in the big armoire back in the left corner. Close the doors, and the clutter is gone1 What a concept! We do need to get another lamp for the front of the room. The one torch light was fine for a playroom, but we need a bit more light for schoolwork! I am VERY happy with this room. It is going to be so nice this year!

And here you can see some of the new playroom. It's right off the kitchen, so it's even easier to toss the toys which somehow migrate into the kitchen back into their home territory. And the room has French doors, plus a door going into the kitchen, so I can close them all when the girls are too loud! Well, I probably won't, unless we're having Rivendell over or something, but it's a nice option! Everything fit into the new room except our keyboard, which is currently still in the entryway, right outside the bathroom. Convenient! That will not be its permanent home, however. I've moving it down to the basement. The girls are enjoying the new playroom just fine. We do need to get something to shorten the chandelier chain though--I bonked my head on it a few times already!

Before . . .

When we were in Ohio, I had a reorganizing brainstorm one night. The day before we left to drive to Ohio, we had a Rivendell meeting ar Siri's house. Siri lives in a beautiful old house, and we met in her dining room/schoolroom, which is a huge room at the front of the house. She has a big table in there, along with lots of cupboards, school desks, filing cabinets, etc, as well as plenty of room to move around the table. I left thinking how nice it would be to have so much room. Our dining room is where the boys are doing more and more of their school, and that is often where the laptops end up. But we don't have anything against the wall, so there are always cords stretching to the wall, which are huge tripping hazards! I also store all my science lab supplies in the dining room, and we have this really comfortable pink chair that our neighbors gave us when it didn't sell at a garage sale. So things are pretty crowded in there!

Here are Luke and our neighbor, playing the computer, with school clutter surrounding them. You can see the pink chair in the corner.

This is a better view of the lovely wire shelves, pulled straight from our garage just because I needed SOME kind of shelves right away, where my science lab supplies are. The big box on top is the microscope. And there on the floor is my new (to me) copy of TOG year 2! As a side note, the almond joys on the table are NOT mine. Anyone who knows me knows I absolutely detest coconut with an undying loathing. Just wanted to make that clear.

We do, however, have lots of space in our playroom--which is technically our formal living room, except there is obviously nothing formal about it, LOL. When we moved in (7 years ago?!?!), we knew we didn't want or need another room with a couch, especially one which we never used. So we made the room a playroom, and it has worked out great. We have always had lots of kids playing in it! You can see I didn't trouble myself to really straighten anything up before taking these pictures. I'm all about keeping it real, LOL. But it is a bigger, wider room than the dining room, which got me thinking . . .

So my big brainstorm was to switch the two rooms around, and make the dining room the playroom, and the living room the schoolroom. Wednesday we had friends over in the morning, but starting that afternoon, moving the rooms was our big project for the rest of the week.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Happy Birthday, Nathan!!

Nathan turned 14 today! I can't believe it! It occurred to me tonight that I only have 4 more birthday cakes to make for him before he leaves for college! Wow--that doesn't seem too far away.

For his cake, he requested the Civil Air Patrol command patch. My 10x15 pan was too skinny, so the patch was longer than it should be, and not wide enough. Oh well. It tasted good, and the patch doesn't have a complex emblem involving eagles, globes, and the like, so I was happy enough!

Nathan is leaving early tomorrow morning to go to Allegheny Outback, the adventure camp for high schoolers at White Sulphur Springs. He is beyond excited, so it was really the perfect birthday for him! The L's are driving up and dropping him off, along with Jessica, who is also going. Then she will stay at WSS and work on staff for 2 weeks, and we'll pick Nathan up Friday afternoon. We are planning on continuing on to visit Bob's parents for a night. We'll have to stop at the hotel first for him to shower and change clothes, I am sure!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

More Water Fun

Sunday after breakfast and packing up our room, we headed back over to Rose's.
Bob, Nathan, and Luke decided to go kayaking. They went all over the lake, and Nathan even got his feet sunburned from having them sticking straight up for so long!

Rose took the 3 girls on a paddle boat ride. I thought Grace would be afraid and Faith would be fearless, but instead Grace, once she got situated, was pretty comfortable, kicking her feet in the water, and Faith had a death grip on the boat! At the end of the ride, though, Rose pulled up by the dock and got Anna out, setting her in the shallow water, since Anna said she wanted to get wet. Grace and Faith set up such a loud wail that Bob thought something was wrong and came leaping out of his kayak to help! Then the girls just played in the little wading pool there by the dock, LOL.

Rose has a golf cart with a cute little tralier to get stuff from her house down to the lake, and Luke loved driving it (and the girls loved riding in it). Why walk when you can drive?!

Here is a picture of Bob's sister Jane and her husband Terry with Micah. Terry was helping Rose install some trim, and Micah was giving him a hand with the drill . . . Terry and Micah had already bonded the day before when they both took a nap on Rose's side porch! Jane was a huge help with the girls. Rose's house is across the street from the lakefront area, and drivers zip by her house, so Jane helped the girls cross numerous times. She also watched them play on the trampoline, read them books, and just really helped keep an eye on them, which was so wonderful especially since I had to nurse a lot and just be with Micah. I know I wouldn't have had nearly as enjoyable of a time without Jane and Terry's help with the kids!

Ann and Wally's daughter Christi and her husband Andres were also there, along with their 6 month old daughter Jasmine. We both brought our bumbos, and Micah and Jasmine looked so cute sitting next to each other! Micah is about the same size as Jasmine, which is so amazing to me. What is in my breastmilk this time?! Jasmine got to go on some boatrides (she even fell asleep!), but she was not a fan of the water in the wading pool! Next year, she'll be right there in the mix with the older girls!

So we had a really fun weekend, and the drive back was much less stressful than the drive there! Of course, when we got back home, our house definitely looked like we had been gone for 2 weeks, come home for 2 days, and then left again. It was so messy! It's taken us these past 2 days to get it in some kind of shape again! We're not going anywhere this weekend, except to meet my parents halfway and pick up Caleb and Jonathan. Did you miss seeing them in the pictures?! We missed having them, although I think it was nice for the older boys in that they were able to do more things with Bob. Actually Jonathan has been fighting off some kind of virus the past few days, so he hasn't even been having that great of a time at Grandma and Grandpa's, poor guy. Hopefully he turned a corner today and will be back to himself tomorrow, so he can enjoy the rest of his week. We look forward to seeing them again on Saturday!

Weekend at Rose's

On Friday we drove up to NE Pennsylvania, to the house of Bob's sister Rose. It was her birthday, so we had a big party on Saturday to celebrate her! The drive was hectic (you really can't leave D.C. on a Friday afternoon--it took us one and a half hours to drive 20 miles!), but once we got there, we had a fantastic time. Five of Bob's six siblings were there, along with their families, and it was great to see everyone. We had the party Saturday afternoon, complete with a cake made by Bob's sister Ann, but we celebrated the whole weekend! Rose lives in a beautiful old house on a lake, so there was lots to do.

One thing I did a lot of was rock in the big porch swing with Micah! Rose's porch is so big and restful, with a lovely view of the water.

Rose took us on boat rides! The 3 girls went on some too. I thought maybe they would be scared, but they loved it! Even I was able to sneak away Saturday afternoon while Micah was napping to go out. The weather was simply gorgeous the whole time we were there, which was such a blessing.

Nathan, Luke, and Bob, among others, went tubing! They have this inflatable raft thing with handles, so you hold on tight, and the boat pulls you across the water! Luke was not a huge fan, and I knew I would hate the water splashing in my face, but Bob and Nathan thought it was great fun!

We also went paddle-boating. Here are Bob and Luke. They went out for forever, all over the lake, which was quite a leg workout. Bob and I went out too, but not as far or as long!

That's what we spent Saturday doing. Jane and Terry brought sparklers for the kids, so before we went back to our hotel, the kids had a ball lighting those in the front yard! We got back to the hotel and to bed around 11:00, and the kids especially were exhausted--they slept until 9:00 the next morning! Then we headed back over to Rose's for a few more hours of fun on Sunday.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Home . . . Briefly

This is a few days late, but we made it home from Ohio safely Tuesday night. The drive was uneventful, and we even met Bob at McDonalds so he could take Nathan on to Civil Air Patrol. The most interesting part of the drive was when we stopped in eastern Ohio for lunch at Taco Bell. This exit has a mall and a strip mall, so imagine our surprise when, as we pulled in to the parking lot, we had to wait for an Amish horse and buggy to go by! They pulled into the bank parking lot adjacent to Taco Bell. One guy hopped out and went inside while another man and 2 ladies waited patiently for awhile. I know it was awhile because we were all also waiting patiently for Micah to nurse, LOL. As we got out, eventually, the man came back, and they all trotted off.

We listened to more of Tom Sawyer on the ride, until Faith and Micah got too loud as we got close to Virginia. One chapter was about this end-of-school recitation event they had. I was gratified to hear that one selection mentioned was "The Assyrian Came Down", otherwise known as "The Destruction of Sennacherib". We memorized this poem during memory work this past year! In fact, Daniel McC put it to music, with a modified version of "O Worship the King". So funny to sing that tune with those words! "And there lay the rider, distorted and pale, with the dew on his brow and the rust on his mail . . . " [Did they even have mail back in Hezekiah's time? I think not.] Well, I don't think we'll be singing those words in church any time soon anyhow, LOL.

We were only home 2 full days before packing up and launching back out again, this time to NE Pennsylvania. We visited Bob's sister Rose at her beautiful old house on a beautiful lake. Lots of Bob's family was also there, and we celebrated a big milestone birthday for Rose (35, LOL). It was tons of fun, but I'll post more about the weekend later.

So we're actually down 2 kids right now. We left Caleb and Jonathan with my parents for a little over a week of special "Grandma and Grandpa Camp" time. They have already been to Magic Castle with Amy, her mom, and Jacob, and to the Neil Armstrong Museum. There's more fun on tap for next week, and then we are planning on meeting halfway and picking them up Friday.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Reunion Weekend

So this past weekend was my 20th high school reunion, and I had more fun than I really thought likely! It was so great to see people I hadn't seen in years and talk to them. I was going to post a few pictures, but for some reason my laptop is running really slow tonight, and it's not working. Another time . . .

My relaxing weekend started Friday a little before noon when Amy picked me up. We met our friend Julie, who now lives in PA with her husband who is a pastor, for lunch at Panera Bread. Julie doesn't live too far from Bob's family, and for awhile we used to drive over to their church Sunday mornings when we were visiting Bob's family. But as we had more and more kids, that just became logistically more than we could do, so it had been several years since I had seen Julie. We caught up on each other's lives over lunch, then we did a brief bit of shopping at Kohls before heading to a nail salon to get manicures and pedicures together!

The last time I had anything done to my nails was when we were out in Utah for my cousin's wedding back in May 2008, and I got a pedicure and manicure with my Aunt Claire and sister-in-law Melinda! I think this is a nice tradition every 3 years, LOL. It was just so relaxing and fun. The lady who did my nails was the salon owner, and she kept commenting on how beautiful and strong my nails are. Not to brag, but I really do have nice nails, for some unknown reason. When they are long, they look like I have a French manicure, without me doing anything to them! I told the lady it was all the prenatal vitamins I take, LOL!

Friday evening was the first official event of the reunion, and it was casual. Classmates met at Marion's Pizza and ordered what they wanted. The invitation specifically said "classmates", not spouses, which we all thought was really weird. Bob was not in town, so it was a moot point for me, but I'm sure if he had been in town he would have come with me anyways. There were a few other spouses there. There was a big turnout for this event--like 50 classmates, out of about 110. Everyone talked and talked and talked. In retrospect, it was kind of nice without spouses. I think people stayed longer and talked more because they didn't have to worry about entertaining their poor spouse who doesn't know anyone and is bored to tears! I went to a Christian high school, and there was definitely NOT any sort of "meat market" atmosphere of people trying to flirt or hook up or anything. It was just really fun to see old friends and visit over pizza! Amy, Julie, and I had all come together around 6:45. We were thinking we would leave around 9:00, since surely 2 hours would be plenty long, and we would be looking for excuses to go! Ha! It was after 10:00 when I finally looked at my watch, and I was so shocked--time really flew by unnoticed! We scooted on home so I could nurse Micah!

Micah was the only flaw in the day. He did NOT want to take a bottle either in the afternoon or the evening, so Mom just ended up holding him with his pacifier in so he would sleep until I got home. I had just left formula, since he had some formula before we left on this trip, and he took it just fine. I decided to go ahead and pump some Saturday morning, in hopes that he would like a breastmilk bottle better. I also went to Walmart and got some nipples with a smaller hole, since Mom said he didn't like the milk sort of dripping out at him. I was pretty nervous when Amy, Jason, and Julie picked me up Saturday night for our dinner at a country club, however. I kept expecting my cell phone to ring with Micah screaming bloody murder in the background! Thankfully that did not happen, and he happily drank the bottle. I had only pumped 3 1/2 ounces because we had a really busy day Saturday, and that's all I had time for. It was fine though, because I was really ready to nurse when we did get back Saturday night.

Before we went out to dinner, the kids and I went over to Amy's house Saturday afternoon after lunch. Julie and her kids came, as well as Julie's sister Tricia, who was 3 years ahead of us at DC, and her kids. We 4 moms visited while the kids played on the slip-n-slide and ran around. That was a really fun afternoon, but all too soon it was time to ehad home so I could get cleaned up and dressed up!

The dinner was at a country club down south, and there was a smaller turnout of classmates here. Again, it worked out just fine, as it was easier to talk in-depth with a smaller number of people. I had longer conversations with several old friends. It is really neat to see where people are and what they are doing. I know I never expected to be a homeschooling mom of 8 back in high school, and other people have had changes in their plans as well! I thought my classmates all looked really good! We're aging well, LOL. And none of us can believe it's been 20 years, because, well, we don't FEEL like we're close to 40!

Saturday night it was 11:00 before I looked at my watch! I couldn't believe it! I probably could have talked until they closed up the place, at 1:00, but I was definitely feeling the need to nurse at that point! I was very relieved to hear that Micah had done much better when I called home as Jason drove us all back. And I was very relieved to take my dressy black sandals off. My feet were killing me!

The reunion weekend continued for me Sunday. The kids and I went to Amy and Jason's church, which is also where Julie's parents go, so she and her kids came there as well! We took up 2 long rows! After the service, we all went out to eat at a Chinese buffet. It was so nice to catch up with Julie's folks as well!

So this was truly a memorable weekend, filled with a lot of laughter! I was a little nervous, especially Friday night in the parking lot of Marion's, but I very quickly felt like I was back among old friends again, with nothing to be nervous about! I had a thoroughly enjoyable time both days, and I am definitely looking forward to the next reunion! And in the meantime, at least we have Facebook, LOL.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Catching Up With Old Friends

This weekend is my 20th high school reunion, and I am really looking forward to catching up with friends from back then. But I have actually already started catching up with old friends on this trip! The nice thing about Wright-Patterson AFB is that people often end up back there, so it's a great place to run into people from the past! So far in this visit, I have caught up with 3 friends from way back.

1. Beverly and her husband Ted were stationed at W-P back when we were stationed here, and we have kept up through the years. Their family stayed with us back in September while they saw the sights in D.C. Ted is now deployed in Afghanistan for a year, but we met Beverly and her kids at a park near my parents' house Saturday morning and had a lovely picnic lunch there.

2. Marie and her husband Fred were stationed at W-P back when I was in college, right after Bob and I were married. She and Fred had just gotten married as well, and he and Bob worked in the same organization. We even all went to the same dining out! Marie and I both graduated from Cedarville, and we only reconnected because we have another set of friends in common, one of Bob's old bosses! We met Marie and her 7 kids, plus one friend, at the pool Tuesday afternoon. It was broiling hot, but we had such a nice time visiting while the kids splashed away. Marie's husband is deployed to Germany right now, and Marie is getting ready to take the kids over there for 60 days to visit--fun!!

3. Dawn and her husband Fred were stationed with us in Colorado. We were in the same childbirth class before Nathan was born, and after their son Fredrick was born (just a few weeks after Nathan), Dawn and I were in the same moms walking group at Peterson AFB. We had such a great group of ladies! Dawn and Fred eventually followed us to W-P, so we went to each other's kid's birthday parties and had play dates together. But as frequently happens in the military, we both moved, our Christmas letters with new addresses got returned, and we lost touch. Thanks to Facebook, however, we reconnected! They are stationed back here at W-P, and Dawn and her 3 kids came over and visited Wednesday afternoon! It was so wonderful to see them again, and to catch up with Dawn! It turns out her husband is also preparing to deploy as well, although his deployment will be state-side. I know some people complain about Facebook, but it is certainly a wonderful tool for finding and keeping in touch with people you don't live anywhere near!

Now, I am sure you can see the common link here--all 3 of these ladies have husbands who have or will be deployed. Clearly, if you are friends of ours who have been stationed with us before and are now stationed at W-P, it is just a matter of time before your husband will be deploying! Just a warning--so sorry!

But now I am looking even farther back in time, as I think about seeing people from high school. Tomorrow Amy and I are having lunch and getting manicures and pedicures with Julie, our good friend, who is coming in for the reunion from PA. I am so excited to see her, since it's been several years! And then we have dinner at a pizza place Friday night and a more formal dinner on Saturday. I am a little nervous, I'll be honest, but I am so glad I'll be going in with Amy and Julie! The three amigos, LOL.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

We're Here!

We made in to Ohio yesterday after a long day of driving! Actually, we had a crazy long day before yesterday as well! Luke popped a wire off his braces over the weekend, so I was able to get him in to the orthodontist at 11:15 on Tuesday. I nursed Micah, then passed him off to Nathan and took Luke. On our way home we got a few things for the trip at Walmart and made some copies at Office Depot for Latin class. Once home, I ate lunch, nursed again, and then had Latin class. After we finished, I nursed again, passed off Micah, then headed off to a Rivendell planning meeting. We had a productive time, with another surprise announcement from Siri, the queen of surprises, and then I rushed back home again to nurse. I again immediately passed Micah off to waiting arms, then leaped back into the car to take Nathan to Civil Air Patrol. After eating a quick bite of dinner, I actually had to do some packing! I got everything into suitcases, but I pooped out before loading the van. It was soooo hot and humid too. I wasn't very motivated!

Wednesday I was up and nursing by 7:00, but since I had to load up the van, we still weren't able to leave until 9:45, after I nursed a second time. That makes for a long day already! Micah did really well on the trip. He smiled at whichever brother was by him, and he played with his dangling toys, for the most part. He also obliged by taking his binky when he was up before it was actually time to stop. He did decide he was done with the carseat the last hour of the trip, and he spent that time loudly protesting his imprisonment, but still--not too bad. We were remembering a trip we made to Hershey Park when Grace was about the same age, and she screamed the entire way up and back, which is only a 2 hour drive or so!

Faith, however, was not so cooperative. She pitched quite a few temper tantrums, complete with loud wails. I'm sure she would have been just fine, had she been allowed unfettered access to her snack bag, but alas, we cruelly took it away. We were listening to Tom Sawyer on CD, but we had to turn it off after Columbus because she and Micah were just so loud! We put on a TobyMac CD and cranked that up nice and loud. It didn't drown out the sound, but it was distracting enough for me. That is one nice thing about the big van--the sound isn't so compressed! For the trip back, though, I am definitely moving Faith's carseat right behind my seat. Her seat was in the middle row, out of reach of the long arm of the law, as it were.

Speaking of the big van, it really wasn't as tiring to drive it as I had expected! I think it is just so fatiguing to drive in the city, where there are lots of turns and lane changes. Out on the open road, however, it was fine. And I found I actually prefer driving the entire way, rather than sitting in the passenger seat. In that seat, the engine thing in the middle pokes way over where your legs go, so you really can't straighten your legs out. The driver's seat, however, has plenty of leg room, so it is much nicer.

So we're here, and we are filling up our schedule with seeing friends! I'm looking forward to a relaxing week here!