Monday, December 31, 2012

Going on an Adventure

I went to see The Hobbit with the Hubby last night.  Setting aside the amazing scenery and the merits of the movie, the thing that stood out to me the most was this--there just aren't a lot of opportunities for quests these days. I read a lot of books about pioneers, adventurers, people conquering the wilderness.  But where would an average, suburban girl with normal life responsibilities go to have a quest?  What is there to do in the middle of a settled country where I could have this conversation--Can you promise that I will come back?  No.  And if you do, you will not be the same.

So, barring any unforeseen opportunities coming my way, I will have to settle for no quests.  I will have to make my own adventures, which are a few steps below quests.  (These could also be construed as New Years Resolutions)

Here are my adventures for 2013 in no particular order:

1. Build my new garden area to include raised garden beds, fruit bushes, and a hoop house or green house of some sort.  Can, freeze, or dehydrate the surplus for winter eating.  (I have done this before in small quantities but I've never grown much more than we could eat at the moment)

Overgrown mess

Current state of affairs--how it is right now (with some snow added on top)

2. Add $6000 more to our emergency fund above the amount that we are already saving.  (We're saving to pay cash for a new-used-van in the next 1-2 years so we need to beef up the fund)

3. Cook vegetable-rich, healthy meals and add ten new family-approved recipes to my menu rotation.  Find a new "fall-back" meal when I don't know what to make--my current one is Mexican food and Hubby is sick of that.

Lots of fruits and veggies

4. Get moving.  Walking, lifting weights, using the elliptical machine, the punching bag--doesn't matter what as long as I do something on a daily basis.

5. Finish out my 52 Weeks of New Challenge.  Keep on saying yes to new things and experiences.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Disney World

A few years ago Hubby and I started talking about taking our kids to Disney World.  We both agreed the prime time to take them would be when Joy was five.  All of our kids would be potty trained, done with naps, tall enough to ride most (or all) of the rides, old enough to last the whole day, but not so old that Disney would be boring.  This was that magical year.

Our trip started with Lizzy and Joy's first airplane ride, and the first trip that David would really remember.  The last time David flew was on a trip to visit family in Colorado when he was three.  About all he remembers from that experience was throwing up before we even started taxiing out of the gate.  (We later realized he had the stomach flu which he shared with everyone)

The girls loved flying.  They acted like it was a thrill ride at Disney.  David, on the other hand, was a bit more reserved.  In fact, I was starting to wonder if maybe he didn't have the flu six years ago after all.  But he was fine once we reached cruising altitude.  Joy was so cute.  She made me a present in co-op art class and made Daddy wrap it.  She brought it in her carry-on so that I would have a present to open the next day on my birthday.

Daddy and Joy
Our first day at the parks we went to the Magic Kingdom.  The first ride we took the kids on was Space Mountain.  The girls were super excited to go on the ride at first.  But as we were getting off the ride, Joy gave me a dirty look and told me that she was never, ever going on Space Mountain again.  Oops.

I woke up to Joy singing Happy Birthday and holding out her present

The one ride I really wanted to go on was It's A Small World.  Hubby and FIL were not too keen on this idea, but since it was my birthday, they placated me and went on it anyway.  Just as we reached the final room with the grande finale of loud music, our boat stopped, went backwards, forwards a little, stopped, repeat.  I laughed so hard at Hubby's and FIL's faces as they had to endure even more of the song.  It was awesome.

Meeting Ariel--a dream come true for Lizzy

Monday morning we met a friend and his wife, who are both Disney employees, at the gates of Animal Kingdom.  Mr. Jim and Ms. Patty were super generous to meet us every morning so we could get free admission to the parks (all except Magic Kingdom because they just reopened Fantasy Land so they aren't allowing free passes until April).  We started our day with an African Safari.  We saw some really cool animals--including a giraffe who walked without touching distance next to our truck.  Only the rules prevented us from reaching out and petting the magnificent animal.

Then we took David on a second roller coaster.  This one not only was a belly acher (meaning it went down hills), but it went down hills backwards.  His response at the end was to thank God that he didn't die.  But he said it with a smile so it must not have been too bad.

Mr. Jim all dressed up in his work uniform

Tuesday we went to Epcot.  I think this was the favorite park for the kids.  They loved the Test Track but especially Soarin' and made us get a second set of fast passes so we could ride Soarin' again later in the day.  Joy's favorite ride was a simulator where you designed your own track first.  We came back in the evening so we could watch the fireworks show, which was awesome and well worth it.

Joy and Lizzy and the big golf ball
All tuckered out from the fireworks

Wednesday we stayed at the condo and took the kids swimming for the better part of the afternoon.  Joy learned how to float on her back, Lizzy learned how to tread water, and David spent his time tackling anyone who got within arms reach of him.  The kids loved swimming outside on the last day of fall.

Playing chess at the condo resort

Thursday we went to Hollywood Studios.  Of course we started the day off with a bang.  First the guys went on the Rockin' Rollercoaster, which goes upside down.  It was so fun that they came running out and insisted we all go on it.  After the ride was over, we were looking at the pictures they took of us on the ride.  I noticed that Joy's eyes were closed in her picture.  I asked her why she had her eyes closed and she told me that she was so scared that she kept her eyes closed the entire ride!  But then she asked if we could go on it again.  LOL!  Lizzy loved it and had the biggest smile of the whole trip on her face.

Lets go on that again!

Friday we went back to Hollywood Studios and everyone except Joy and me rode on it again.  Joy chickened out just as we were about to get on the ride.

Please don't make me ride that again!

We had a great time and made a lot of memories with Grandma and Grandpa.  The only reason they kids weren't crying when it was time to go home is because they knew Christmas was only three days away.

Watching the parade from the best spot in the house

 The flight home was awesome.  On the way there it was cloudy the entire way.  On the way home it was clear.  At one point I looked out the window and saw the Smokey Mountains.  And they were smokey.  You could see clouds hovering over the peaks.  It was beautiful to see them from the air and to know that come this summer, we will be taking a vacation to hike in those very mountains.  I can't wait for our next family adventure.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

What Was I Like When I Was Little???

With the birth of my niece in October and my nephew earlier this month, there has been a lot of talk around the dinner table about babies.  After spending an extended time around my niece over Thanksgiving, David asked us if babies did anything more than eat, sleep, cry and poop.  Not really, dear.  Which of course led to all of the kids wondering if they cried a lot and wanting to know who cried the most.

The questions have become a regular part of our dinner discussions.

Mom, which one of us cried the most?  Lizzy
Mom, which one of us slept the most?  David

David fell asleep anywhere and everywhere

Mom, which one of us snuggled the most?  Joy
Mom, which one of us made the most messes?  David, by far.  Nothing was safe.  We had to block off the book shelf or he would sit there and fling the books over his shoulder.
Mom, which one of us drooled the most?  Joy.  She was wearing bibs until she was eighteen months old and still managed to soak through them.
Mom, which one of us walked first?  David and Lizzy both walked right around their first birthdays while Joy was a bit...slow...and waited until she was fifteen months old.
Mom, which one of us was the most curious?  David.  He would enter a room and "case it" for anything he could touch, take apart, or examine.
Mom, who was the messiest eater?  Joy.  Nuff said.

Joy eating spaghetti

Mom, which one of us liked to look at faces the most?  Lizzy.  She was fascinated by faces.
Mom, who was the best eater as a baby?  Joy.  She liked everything.  Then Lizzy who liked food once she was around a year old.  David was the picky eater who gagged and threw up on anything with texture.  Who would take a piece of meat and stow it away in his cheek like a chipmunk for hours rather than actually eat it.  Who hated every food that wasn't battered and deep fried, or came in a sausage tube.
Mom, who hated wearing socks?  Lizzy.  Every time we put socks on her, she'd whip them off and throw them on the ground.  We lost so many socks (and shoes) because of her.
Mom, who threw their sippy cup into the penguin pool and the lion exhibits at the zoo?  David.  Though Lizzy was the one who threw her sippy cup out the window of the car.

The kids beg for stories about when they were little.  They want to know what they were like, funny things they did, when they accomplished skills.

I started keeping a journal of the funny things the kids said or did a long time ago so I would remember these stories.  I wrote down their stats so I'd know when they first took a step, when they first smiled, when they lost their first tooth.

When I first started keeping records of these moments, I did it so I would remember twenty years down the road.  While I may have a decent memory, there are a lot of things that I forget if they're not written down.  Now I keep a record because they are important to my kids who won't remember that when their new baby sister came home from the hospital, and we went over to Grandma's house for the first time, that they slammed the door in my face and told me to take said baby sister back to the hospital.  Or the time that we went to the beach to watch the sunset and David stood on the shore, held his hands out and yelled STOP! to the waves.  Or the moment yesterday when Joy floated on her back for the first time all by herself and then stood up with the biggest smile of pride on her face.  Or the time when Lizzy rode her bike without training wheels for the first time and after her ride, turned to me and said, "That wasn't so hard after all."

Lizzy riding her bike without training wheels for the first time

A simple way to give my children a history of their lives.  The reason why I am always taking pictures everywhere we go even though it annoys Hubby.  I won't remember these moments if I don't write them down or capture them in a picture.  That moment of pride, that spaghetti face, the child asleep at the table.  Precious moments that I want to treasure forever.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Learning To Swim

Joy started taking swim lessons when she was almost three.  I signed her up for a pre-beginners class that is basically meant to get kids used to the water and to develop rudimentary swim stroke skills.  The first summer she took lessons, she spent the entire time clinging to the teacher for dear life any time he pulled her off the platform to swim.  I think she only accomplished two skills out of the fifteen necessary to pass to the next level.

The summer she turned four, she did a little better.  Rather than cling for dear life, she only clung tightly.  Her instructor managed to escape her lessons without claw marks.  She marked off three new skills that year.

This past summer she got even braver.  She jumped off the side of the pool from standing rather than sitting, and even attempted jumping once into the instructor's arms versus having to hold onto his hands at all times.  She practiced her swim skills while holding onto a kick board, and held onto her instructors hands versus wrapping her arms as tight as she could around his arms.  It was a successful session with her marking off ten out of fifteen skills.

Later in the summer after lessons were over, I took the kids swimming at a local lake several times.  The water level was about 2.5 feet for a good stretch.  Joy practiced "swimming" by walking her hands along the bottom of the lake.  Then one day I looked over and she was actually moving through the water doing her own version of the front crawl!  It was a very big day for her.  Since then she has practiced her front crawl every time she's gone swimming to the point that she can now swim about ten feet by herself before she runs out of breath and has to stand up.

Despite this accomplishment, she has adamantly refused to even try floating on her back unless someone is holding onto her hands at all times.  Every time we go swimming, I have her try it a few times, and the second I try to let go, she stands up.

Today we took the kids to a pool.  As usual, I tried to teach Joy to swim on her back.  She floated just fine but refused to let me let go.  And then a while later I look over and see Joy lean her head way back, put her arms out and float on her back all by herself.  I cheered so loud for her that Hubby told me to quiet down.  She spent the next hour alternating between the front crawl and floating on her back.

I learned something through this.  Whenever I tried to get her to swim, I always led her out to deeper water because that's where I could more easily stand up.  Deep water is over Joy's head and scared her when I would let go because she knew she couldn't just stand up if she sank.  She taught herself to do the front crawl in shallow water before moving onto deeper water.  She refused to float on her back in five foot deep water today but attempted it on her own in three foot deep water.

Joy is a gal who wants to learn new skills and be brave, she just needs to learn them first in a controlled environment where she can "save herself" if things go wrong.  She shows up in my kitchen to help me cook dinner in an apron, two oven mitts, and safety goggles.  She loves to cook but she doesn't want to get messy, get teary eyed from onions, or burnt on the stove.  She didn't walk until she was fifteen months old when her brother and sister both walked by their first birthdays--not because she couldn't, but because she didn't like falling.  She was just fine walking as long as she could hold onto something or had something right there that she could grab onto when she started to toddle over.

It is no secret to me which parent she takes after.  I loved ice skating and gymnastics and had dreams of being in the Olympics.  The only problem standing between me and the gold medal was a fear of falling.  I didn't want to try "dangerous" tricks because I didn't want to fall and risk getting hurt.  Even now I hate taking risks and trying new things that could lead to my getting hurt.  Hubby suggested we get away for a weekend this winter and go skiing.  I've skied once in my life and all I remember about that adventure was being out of control on a hill and not being able to stop, yelling "Look out!" right before I smacked into a guy that I liked at the time.  Visions of broken ankles and legs swam through my head at Hubby's suggestion and led to my rejection of his idea for something a little less...dangerous.

But I long to be brave, to learn new skills.  I just want to learn them first in a controlled environment where I can "save myself" if/when things go wrong just like Joy.  And so I continue to push myself this year to try new things, learn new things, do things even if they scare me.  Because the only thing standing between me and success is my own fear--sometimes justified, but usually not.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Grandma and L'Hôpital

I got an email from my mom yesterday morning that my Grandma fell and broke her hip.  She was walking at the mall and went down.  They were waiting for the ambulance to come and transport her to the hospital.

I was stalking my mom for news as she went up to the hospital while I was stuck at home with the kids and couldn't go up to see Grandma until Hubby got home from work.  In one phone call my mom asked me what it was that David wanted for Christmas because Grandma was insistent that mom buy it for him.  I laughed into the phone.

"Grandma is laying in a hospital bed with a broken hip, facing surgery, doped up on morphine, and all she can think about is making sure David has a Christmas present???  She can have a pass this year.  Tell her to focus on getting out of said hospital bed in time to make it to our family Christmas."  But Grandma would have none of that.  David must have a Christmas present.

I went up to see Grandma last night after dinner.  The last time I visited a Grandparent in a hospital bed was my Grandpa.  He died a few days later.  So seeing my Grandma in a similar situation was a bit unsettling at first.  Thankfully she was chipper and bossy, ordering my Grandpa around as usual, and joking about all the "sweet young thangs" at church who were after Grandpa (by young, she meant they were in their 70s).  Her makeup was perfectly done up and she kept patting her hair into shape.  That's Grandma, worried about how she looks even while laying in a hospital bed.  

Grandma pulled through surgery to place a rod in her hip like a champ.  With a little physical therapy, she should be up and walking in a few days.  It could have been worse and I'm very thankful it wasn't.  But all this thinking about Grandma got me to thinking about my memories of her.

-Grandma made the best cinnamon and sugar toast.  I don't know what she did different, but I've never had better.

-Grandma served root beer flavored ice cream.  I loved it.

-Grandma had a sunken garden in her backyard that was like walking through the Garden of Eden.  It was beautiful.

-Grandma had a TV in her kitchen and let us watch cartoons over breakfast.

-Grandma sewed me (and later my girls) Raggedy Ann and Andy dolls.  Plus a really big doll that looked like me.

-Grandma sewed clothes for me that fit my Barbie dolls.

-Grandma took me to a flea market for the first time.

-Grandma let us stay with them on many occasions for the weekend--just us kids.  She was good tucker-inner.

-Grandma taught me to play Hearts and other card games.

-Grandma taught me to paint with oils.  I still have the pictures I painted with her nearly twenty years ago.

-Grandma cackles when she gets together with her sisters.

-Grandma had a wood fireplace in her basement that she let us roast marshmallows over one Christmas.

-Grandma always served root beer in cool green glasses from the wet bar in the basement.  And now that they moved to a condo, she still serves root beer every time I come over.

-Grandma always makes pie for family holiday meals.  Apple, sometimes pumpkin, blueberry, or cherry.  Her crusts are perfectly crimped and look like a magazine cover photo.

-Grandma gives good hugs.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Home Improvement Project--Taking Out A Sink

This weekend at my family birthday party when everyone was honoring me, my Hubby said that he really liked how I am one of the least helpless people he knows.  I will get an idea in my head, research how to do it, and then do it.  Rarely will I ask Hubby for help--basically only when something requires muscle power that I don't have.  I think it's funny that he mentioned that even before I tackled my latest project.

There is a sink in my laundry/mud room.  From the day we moved in, I have hated that sink.  It is too small for any real usefulness that would come with a laundry/mud room.  The faucet swivels 90 degrees in either direction--translation: swivels beyond the sink bowl so that water can freely flow all over your floor.  While too small for real muddy projects, it is housed in a big cabinet taking up 2 square feet of prime laundry/mud room floor space in an already small room.  

Before--Excuse the mess of the laundry

Every time we all get ready to leave the house, we are all tripping over each other trying to get to our shoes and jackets.  Whenever we come home, we are all tripping over each other, blocking the door for people to come inside, preventing people from getting to the shoe rack, the coat hooks, the doorway into the house.  The room is tiny when you add five people, and it's made even tinier by a useless sink.

About a month ago I was digging around in the cabinet under the sink looking for a new bottle of laundry detergent when I stopped to look at the workings under the sink for the first time.  I'd always just assumed there was bare floor under the cupboard, but further inspection proved otherwise.  TILE!  I noticed WALLPAPER behind the cabinet.  A little light bulb went off in my head.  I could remove this cabinet and not have to redo the flooring or wall covering in this room.  DING!  DING!  DING!

Saturday Hubby went to the store to buy the necessary supplies to cap the drain pipe.  Sunday, after a quick internet search on the topic of removing sinks to learn if there was any critical step I needed to know about, I got out the screw driver and got to work.    

What was left after removing the sink

Off came the water supply hoses.  Off came the drain pipe from the sink.  And finally out came the screws that held the cabinet to the wall.  And then I was left with a dilemma--the parts that Hubby bought are not the right parts.  Hmmmm...

All the freed up space--Beautiful

Back to the internet to figure out what I need to buy to finish the project.  I love the internet.  

PVC permanent cap--Check

Brass compression cap--Check

Off to the hardware store to buy said parts.  I felt very prepared and like I could knock out this project in one trip to the store.  Brought said parts home only to realize I bought all the wrong parts.  Grrr... I HATE when that happens.  

Today I went back to the store to buy what I hoped were the right parts.  I knew what I was looking for, I just needed to find them.  After some searching and asking a nice employee for help, I walked out of the store with what I needed.  I came home, screwed them on, and voila!  A completed project!  

What the right parts look like installed

Every time I walk into the room, it feels so open and airy.  I love it!  Now I just need to find the right bench to go in there to store our shoes, hats and gloves, and provide a seat for putting shoes on.  If I can't find the right one, I will just have to pull out the tools, dust off my woodworking skills, and make one myself.  (The old sink will be going to my inlaws who are putting a new bathroom into their cottage--so the sink that annoys me will be put to good use)

Friday, December 7, 2012

Trees, Babies, and Killing Dinner

I was bored yesterday afternoon and wanted to get out of the house.  I knew my preference for a walk wasn't going to fly with the kids, so I told them to suit up and get it in the car.  All their requests to know where we were going fell on deaf ears (my favorite way to do things as it both builds anticipation and cuts down on any whining if they don't want to go to said place).

Back in October when I ran the 5K, the girls discovered a hollow tree that they've been begging me to revisit so they could show it to their brother.  I finally took them back yesterday.  David got to go inside the hollow tree.

After taking turns in the tree, we walked down to the river.  But with my kids, nothing is ever just a short jaunt to anywhere.  Oh no.  They all took off prancing through the woods like two-legged deer looking for paths and other fun things.  This is how they discovered their very own beaver home, otherwise known as a bunch of fallen down trees.  They were in heaven.  I ended up sitting on a log for over an hour while they played all over the trees discovering every nook and cranny that they could squeeze their bodies into.

Can I fit in there without getting stuck???

I got to do something amazing this week.  I met and held my newest, precious, little nephew.  He snuggled up and I didn't want to let him go.  I threatened to take him home from the hospital with me, but my brother reminded me that the alarm would sound if I tried it.  Right.  But I did offer to babysit so I could get my hands on him again.

One last picture to give you a laugh.  I was excited about the dinner I had planned for yesterday.  I've made this dish before, only I always used bone-in chicken pieces.  I had the bright idea to use boneless skinless chicken thighs, thinking it would turn out the same.  I got distracted with trying to order Christmas presents for my girls for their Grandma to give them.  I forgot about dinner in the oven.  By the time I went to check on it, dinner was a bit...crispy.  We ended up tossing dinner and going out to our favorite Mexican restaurant.  The whole way there the kids thanked me for ruining dinner so we could go out.  I haven't done that in a really, really long time.  Hubby was just happy that I didn't throw it out the back door like I did with the fish ten years ago.

Formerly known as chicken, brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes and onions

Week 15 in the series of 52 Weeks of New

Thursday, December 6, 2012

A Little Something Extra

I started getting my car's oil changed at the Hyundai dealer in town after my Hubby bought his car there.  The dealer sent us a mailer that advertised their oil changes as only being $14.99.  I couldn't pass up such a great price.

I usually took my car to one of those quick places where you either wait in your car or sit in a dingy waiting room while they change the oil.  Imagine my surprise when I went to the Hyundai dealer for the first time.  "Right this way, ma'am"  as I was led to a plush waiting area with a TV, juice and water bottles, popcorn, cookies, and a kids play area.

I only had Joy with me, who was three at the time.  She was busy playing in the play area when the owner walked by.  She took one look at Joy and walked back the way she came.  Next thing I know, she's offering Joy a stuffed frog to keep.

After my car was ready, I walked out to get it and noticed something strange.  My car was clean.  Huh.  Apparently they wash your car at this oil change place.  I buckled Joy in her car seat and went to get into my car.  That's when I saw the red carnation on my dashboard.  A flower???  How strange and nice.

Today I informed the kids it was oil change day and they cheered.  They love waiting there with me--free popcorn and juice, fun legos and other toys.  And I enjoy sitting in a comfy chair and reading a book.  I no longer wash my car on my own because I know it'll get done when I get my oil changed.  I am a faithful customer of the Hyundai service center because not only are the oil changes cheap, but they throw in a little something extra.

Which begs the question--Do I give people a little something extra when I meet them?  When I have them over to my house?  Do I smile at others?  Brighten their day?  Make them feel special?  Important?  Loved?

I have been reading the book Kisses From Katie by Katie J. Davis and I am learning a whole lot about what it means to really love others with the heart of God.  Katie is a young missionary to Uganda who didn't set out to be a missionary.  She just felt the call of God and responded not knowing what God had in store for her.  She has a heart that truly loves others--a Mother Theresa heart--that looks past filth, disease, ugliness, and poverty and sees God's child, a person who matters and is important and is beautiful and worthy of love.  She is constantly giving a little something extra to every one she meets.  No one goes away from her presence not feeling uplifted and loved.

I desire a heart like that--a heart that burns with passion for the lost.  A heart that burns with love for the needy.  A heart that finds no rest until it has given a little something extra to the people that I meet.  A heart that loves like Jesus loved.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The Silliest Things That Seem Useless...Aren't

One of the things that we are supposed to do weekly as part of our homeschool curriculum is to play the Geography Game.  We are learning about the different continents and the people who live there, so as we learn about each continent we are learning the countries that make up each continent.

The Geography Game is simple.  Each player has a game board with a continent on it.  Each player takes a turn drawing a card with the name of a country on it and has to place a token on the correct country on the map.  If they're wrong, the card goes to the next person until every one has had a chance at getting it right.  And so on.

The game is silly.  Simple.  I dislike it and thought it was a waste of time at first.  And yet my kids love it and beg to play it every day.  Yesterday we played the South America version.  Today we played the Europe version.  Slowly my children are learning the names and locations of all the countries in the world.  Slowly I am learning, by default, the names and locations of all the countries in the world.  Apparently there is a reason why this game is included in our curriculum.

There are a lot of things that seem so simple, maybe even silly, yet make a big impact.

Sometimes after reading the Bible day after day, it can become just a rote habit.  I do it because I should, but I don't always get a lot out of it.  And then a verse comes along and speaks directly to your heart.  Today's scripture was one of those.

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. 
Timothy 3:16-17

I started thinking about my mother-in-law who started memorizing scripture over a year ago.  Through daily work and effort, she now has an arsenal of scripture in her brain that she can pull out at any time to address just about any situation.

It's always exciting when I am talking with someone and am searching for an encouraging or useful thing to say to their situation and a scripture pops into my brain that speaks right to the conversation.

There is only one way to get to the point of being able to have a scripture at the ready for all situations: rote memorization of scripture.  Playing silly games like the Geography Game; something that seems so simple and silly but is surprisingly effective.  Yesterday when I was worrying about something, I stopped myself with scripture:

Do not worry about tomorrow for tomorrow will worry about itself.  
Each day has enough trouble of its own. ~ Matthew 6:34 

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Monday, December 3, 2012

Take Every Thought Captive

Hubby and I were laying in bed Saturday night chatting about the kids.  I told him about how the way the kids do math is the perfect example of their individual personalities.  Friday morning all of the kids were sitting in the living room working on math.  I asked all of them if they needed help with their lessons.

David insisted that he didn't--but he really did but only admitted he needed help after working himself into a total frenzy where he was super upset.  Lizzy insisted that she did need help--but she really didn't and then moaned and groaned for ten minutes about how she didn't get it when she'd just done pages of the same problems yesterday.  Joy said that she could do it herself, but I read the directions to her anyway--which she completely ignored and just colored in her math book however she wanted.

Then I expressed my concerns about David's lack of writing and spelling skills.  For a highly gifted child who can read at a very advanced level and can do math like it's nothing, it makes no sense to me why he cannot spell and why all of his writing assignments look like chicken scratch with atrocious grammar, sentence structure, punctuation, capitalization, etc.  I've tried just about everything I can think of to help this child and nothing sinks in.

I should have seen it coming.  The doubt and thoughts of my homeschooling abilities not being good enough. That David would be an excellent speller and writer if he were in school.  Trying to come up with a way where we could afford to send him to private school in the fall since I'm clearly failing him.

I was praying in church, these thoughts running through my head, and I recognized them for what they were--Satan's attacks on my confidence.  Filling me with doubt and confusion and fear of failure.  I told those thoughts to shut up and go away, that I refused to believe the lies.  The thoughts vanished in a puff of smoke.

And then I realized something further.  I hadn't had a moment like that in a long time.  This used to be how I thought all. the. time.  I was paralyzed by every decision I had to make.  I could not make a decision without analyzing every minute detail, second guessing myself, worrying that I was making a mistake, a captive to fear of failure.  I was the reed blowing in the wind.  I used to drive my Hubby crazy!

I came home from church with a plan.  Our current spelling program clearly isn't working, so I ordered a new one, All About Spelling, that I had been considering for a while and had even gone so far as to purchase the teacher's manual last year to look over.  We're going to approach spelling like I approach math--an essential subject that we do every single day no matter what.  We will review the phonograms over and over until they are permanently embedded in David's brain.

I will make Hubby teach David all his spelling tricks--apparently there is a secret word code that I knew nothing about until last night.  When you encounter a word you have never seen before, you can look at the word and try to find patterns or roots from other words--like parsimony.  Hubby asked me how I would say that--par/sim/uh/nee.  Wrong!  He pointed out that he'd recognize that "imony" is also found in alimony and testimony.  So he'd know parsimony is actually--par/si/mone/ee.  Huh.   You learn something new every day.  And this is why Hubby always skunks me whenever we play any word games together.

I'm so glad that today's brush with stinkin' thinkin' was short lived and that I can now recognize it for what it is--lies.  That I am no longer a slave to worry and stress and anxiety.  To be able to come up with a plan in less than 24 hours is nothing short of a miracle considering where I started from.

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