Tuesday, May 31, 2011

First Semester Down

Tay has finished her first semester of college and did really well, no big surprise there. She made three A's and one B. She was really nervous going in to the college environment, but found that she loved every moment of the semester. She met lots of new people, had amazing teachers, and studied hard. There were times when she complained about the homework load, but she found that the stuff she was working on was pushing her to work harder than she ever had to before. She came to appreciate the growth she saw in herself academically. She started liking her public speaking class and passed that with flying colors. She found that she isn't that bad of a speaker once she got over a small confidence issue. She was not a nervous wreck when it came to Finals week which was a little odd knowing her personality type.

Taylor's personality has grown so much since the beginning of the semester. She is more outgoing and actually likes meeting new people! She will miss her teachers and classmates from this semester. Taylor's english teacher knew she was a punctual person, so when she didn't show up early for the final last Thursday he and the rest of the class began to worry. She was only a few minutes late, but by the time she had gotten to the room she found that her classmate had tried calling her three times because the class thought she might have been in car accident or something since she wasn't there on time! ha ha. The teacher told her that they weren't going to start the final until she got there, which was really nice of him. The funny part was that three other people came in way after her and nobody said a word to any of them about being late.

She can't wait for Fall Semester to start. She has registered for four classes already, but she might add another depending on her schedule. We are praying that everything goes well in the Fall for her and that she continues to stay focused on her education as well as she has this semester.

Monday, May 30, 2011

What Can You Do With 32 Hours?

My father-in-law called on Wednesday and said that he was arranging food donations and had secured the use of a huge grill for 3 days and was going to Joplin, MO for the weekend to cook and feed people, did we want to go?? Well, yes, we did want to help out. I contacted Calvary Chapel Joplin and started making plans to take donations from our church to theirs. Everyone blessed the trip with their prayers and their generosity. So early Saturday morning we made our way down the highway, 13 people in all and one Abby-dog), our 12 passenger van (so full we had to take out an entire bench seat to fit it all), two fifth-wheel RV's pulled by two trucks (stocked full of more stuff) an SUV pulling the huge grill and one truck not pulling anything. God blessed us with a location that was very condusive to feeding many workers, as well as families still camped out on their property throughout the area. In 32 hours we fed 1500-2000 people. God was able to use what some might call little, to do much. We met survivors who needed a hot meal and some prayer. We fed military, search and rescue, demolition crews. CC Joplin came to us and collected the donations we took from our church. Other people and churches dropped off food and donations at out site and we were able to get it to people who needed it. Sometimes we think that if we can't help big, then it's not worth trying. God can make your little HUGE! Our family was so impacted that we are already trying to figure out when we can go back. We saw the dedication of the workers and the searchers, the military and mobile triage units. We may not be able to sift through rubble, or swing a hammer at this time, but we can cook and grill. And we can make sure that they get fed. From the 89 year old man that won't leave his property, to the Airborne MPs who have to patrol all night for looters. We can at least give them the basics of food cooked with all the love that we feel for them. This trip we were only given 32 hours, next time we pray for God to bless us with more time and more food. We will post pictures when we are able in the next couple of days. Please keep praying for these people, and rest in the hope and awesomeness at the sight of the Body of Christ alive and kicking in Joplin and so many other devastated areas! We will also share some pretty amazing stories that we heard first hand from survivors! For now, we are all going to shower (since we can't stand to smell eachother) and go to bed, and thank God for the blessing of a roof over our head, running water and electricity!!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Hard to Believe!!

It seems like just yesterday Ryan was running around (getting into everything!) with that great big smile of his and his huge to-die-for dimples! Now he is almost a grown man. I can't believe that in 4 days he will be 15. Where did the time go. I often wish I could have some of that toddler time back so I could do it over. This time around I'd clean less and play more. I'd not be worried about the muddy hand prints all over, I'd look at them with tenderness knowing that someday they'd be gone. I'd snuggle a little more, and get just one last sweet toddler kiss. God is gracious and he gives me glimpses of my "baby Ry-guy", it might be in his laugh, or a certain expression, and those dimples and eyes!! I can still look into those deep chocolate eyes and see my little boy, all grown up. I pray that he finds wisdom and God's calling for his life. I can also be comforted that my God loves him even more than I do, hard to believe, but true :-)
Ry and Jack playing around. If these two don't look like clones, I don't know who does!
Hey, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea called, they are looking for their stunt guy!!
Tay and I promised we would only publish serious pictures on his birthday, so we had to sneak the goofy ones in earlier! We love you Ry-guy!!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Curriculum, Curriculum, OH so many choices!!

Well, for any of you that know me well enough, I need a 12 step program for curriculum junkies! Atleast, I used to! I get tired of researching to find the right fit for a certain kiddo to only find later that I just wasted a lot of money. And these days we are striving to be diligent stewards of God's resources, so curriculum mistakes are costly. I have to remind myself to consult my husband and pray and listen to what the Lord has to say. I seem to get into trouble when I rush ahead on my own plans :-) I'm sure none of you reading this post have EVER found yourselves in the same spot on an occasion or two?? Well, I am getting ready to start a switch that I have agonized about for months with Alec and Jack. Actually, we start tomorrow. The boys have been pouring over the new books and I have had to hide some of them to keep Alec from reading them all before we even start! I have decided after years with My Father's World, that we are switching to Heart of Dakota. The level we are using is Bigger hearts For His Glory and it covers American history. It is just right for Jack and where he places in writing, reading and language arts, and they have an extension package that lets Alec learn along with him but at a higher level. I think this is just what both boys are needing right now, so I am praying it is a good fit for us. Ryan and Olivia are going to be using the Diana Waring History Alive curriculum. They have been working through Romans, Reformers, Revolutionaries, and will start World Empires, World Missions, World Wars in October when it goes to print. The most astounding thing (and it truly is, just ask Taylor!!) is that I am following the HOD (Heart of Dakota) guide as written. What you might say, no tweaking, no substitutions?? No switching things around? NO, I am actually going with the plans. What a concept!! Well, I guess I should say, check back in a few weeks and we'll see where we are at!! ;-)

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Jack's Head Gear

Jack finally got his head gear! We have been waiting two years for his six year molars to finally decide to show up! I guess they missed the memo that said that he turned six two (now almost 3) years ago. He has to wear this everynight and as many hours during the day that he can stand. He will still have to have extensive surgery when he quits growing to completely correct the problem, but the severity of the surgery should be cut by at least 50% if the head gear works as it should.

I have been so proud of him. He has done all of the care himself, including turning the key that spreads the apparatus anchored in the roof of his mouth. He has taken all of this a lot better than we could ever have imagined and are very happy and blessed because of it.
Here he is turning the key that will cause the jaw expander to get wider to help spread his top jaw apart and move it forward.

Monday, May 2, 2011

A Little Recap

Since life has had us running like crazy the past few months we have not had time to put new posts up since before Christmas. So here is an update, hopefully with a post with pictures to follow in a few days. Schooling at home has changed a lot in our house since January because I have not been home. I, Taylor, have been going to East Central College this semester which has taken up a lot of my time. My mom has taken it really well so far, though those first few weeks were some what chaotic and stressful for her. She didn't know what to do without her right hand gal at home helping her. She soon got into a new routine, but I on the other hand had some trouble managing my time between school work and serving my family. I felt as though I was not helping out as much as I should be so finally one day mom sat me down and told me to work on my homework, that she and the kids had everything under control. The funny part was I thought she was joking, but to my amazement the kids really did help her! I was floored and wanted to know why they hadn't helped like that before. I guess it just took a little motivation, like me not even being in the house, for them to notice that mom can't do everything on her own. It has really brought out helpful spirits in each of us these last few months.

Ryan and Olivia have been going to SLU ( Saint Louis University) a few times a month for AIMS (Adventures In Medical Science) classes. They listen to a lectures about things such as the heart and circulatory system and then go to a lab to dissect a pig heart. They have gotten to dissect a pig heart, cow eye and a sheep brain. During their lectures they usually get to see 3D images of cadavers or other body parts. We didn't think Ryan's stomach could handle the dissection part, but he really enjoyed the lecture and the lab.

Grandma went with mom and the kiddos on their Symphony field trip in February. I was in class all day that Tuesday so Grandma took my ticket. We are happy to say that she truly enjoyed herself. They all had a great time listening to music from Romeo and Juliette and West Side Story.

My Spring Break was March 18th through the 28th, so mom let the kids have a little break in the middle of mine so we could do some fun stuff. I was able to go an a field trip with them to the History Museum, which is a favorite of mine. We visited the Holocaust museum for the first time and listened to an amazing woman who had survived the Holocaust. She spoke about the beginning of the Nazi movement, her family, how the relationships changed in her small town and how she made it over to the states. She has since then married, had 3 children, 12 grandchildren and 23 great-grandchildren.

Over our break Olivia, Jack and I went to visit Aunt Kristen, Uncle Eric and the twins for a few days. The girls are in gymnastics classes at a YMCA over in Waterloo, IL. We made sure we were there to see them go to their class. They are getting so big so fast. Somehow there needs to be a way to stop them from getting any bigger for at least a year, just so we can enjoy the cuteness a little longer. They talk like little 30 somethings, they love to talk on the phone and tell you what words you are not allowed to say. Teagen loves to sing and make up her own songs here lately. When a Francesca Battistelli song comes on Joy FM, especially "This Is The Stuff" she just starts singing along. Mairin has been trying her mothers' patience lately with the potty training issue. I think Kristen has finally broken through the Mairin stubbornness and has her going on the big girl potty at least twice a day now. We all told her we were very proud of her, but her sister had something else to tell her. Teagen and Mairin talk about wearing "big girl undies" (though it comes out more like big OLE undies). They have come to the conclusion that when you "join the big girl team", or start going on the potty, that you have now joined a soccer team. So Teagen kept telling Mairin that she was not allowed on the team because she was still wearing a pull-up. Ha ha ha, those two are hysterical. Now Teagen has congratulated Mairin on "making the team".

Poor Jack has now gotten head gear to fix his under bite. He had to use a "key" to turn the metal contraption in the roof of his mouth each day for the first two weeks. Now we are past that part, but he still has to wear the outer part which sits on his forehead and chin. He has a bar that connects the pieces from his forehead to his chin along with another piece in front of his mouth. There are brackets in his mouth that have hooks on them. He takes two rubber bands places them on the hooks in his mouth, then rests the exterior head piece on his face securing it with the other ends of the rubber bands. He has been a really good sport about wearing the head piece in public, but he only has to wear it 12 hours a day. If he wears it while sleeping then he doesn't have to wear it very much during the day.
Happy Late Birthday!
We love you and hope your 19th year is filled with love and happiness.