Monday, June 30, 2014

June 2014 in Status Updates


  • In our 14.5 years of marriage, we have hardly ever bought new furniture. We've hardly ever bought furniture *period*, even used. But my couch has been driving me crazy for 3 years now, and so we've been looking... Tonight we found a discounted one at Ikea and decided to buy it. I'll finally enjoy sitting on the sofa again! Happy.
  • My kids are enamored with their tadpoles. And a couple of the little guys now have both pairs of legs and are looking like miniscule frogs. Naomi has spent hours watching them and squealing over their cuteness. The small things in life...


  • We saw a water snake at the creek today. It was tiny and struggled to pull itself up onto a rock, presumably to warm up! I have no idea what kind it was... Water was delightful, weather was perfect, and trees were so green!
  • Ethan is making up his own words to "Mary, Did You Know?" using Lord of the Rings as his topic. "Gollum did you know that your precious ring would one day fall in lava? Gollum did you know that your precious ring would someday be stolen?"
  • Tired of dealing with tadpoles and froglets. As happy as they make my kids, trying to figure out food and new habitats is stressing me out.


  • Re-started "Couch to 5K" today due to our lapse when we were away for 9 days. Have to say, though, the same regimen was easier today than the first time. Naomi called me "cruel" for making her run and getting her hot and sweaty. Ha! I hope it's not too late to change her attitude so she can spend the rest of her life pursuing health, even when it's uncomfortable!
  • Drank hot tea (British-style) and read picture books aloud ("Bread and Jam for Frances" and more), on this 'cool' Spring day. Now going to go run/walk the creek trail in our continued "Couch to 5K" effort. Froglets are still alive and keeping the kids tickled pink with their cute hops and climbs...


  • Ethan walked downstairs joyfully declaring, "This is the heaviest hour of my life!!" Huh? "I've never weighed 65 pounds until now!" he clarified, having just taken a bath and weighed himself on the bathroom scales.
  • I've been encouraged to be Ethan's advocate, and not take "no more therapy" as an easy answer. He'll see his therapist today and I'd appreciate prayers. I'm really a coward inside and don't like the idea of fighting for him, but I know that as his mom, that's what I need to do.


  • Oh.My.Goodness. Just saw "Belle" in the cinema tonight and loved, loved, loved it!! Complex, beautiful, inspiring ... I would add it to any curriculum on abolition, and will even likely have my (young) kids see it (though there's one scene I'd skip for kids younger than high-schoolers). Hard to believe I've seen no conversation about this amazing film...
  • If you know what a sedentary night owl I am, you'll know I'm serious about exercise when I was up at 8 on a Saturday morning to jog/walk the creek trail. Took Josiah this time, and the same regimen that had my legs hurting and my face red and dripping, didn't even break a sweat on him.


  • Realizing it's kind of confusing to read/listen to TWO mysteries by the same author at the same time (i.e. back and forth). I'm enjoying Connelly's crime novels a lot, but sometimes get the characters and facts mixed up when I listen to one only in the car and read the other at bedtime!


  • Since I'm new to jogging, is it normal that my shins hurt?
  • Love it that my older kids still enjoy reading new picture books when I get them from the library. Despite their advanced abilities, they still like the magic of clear and simple stories combined with beautiful illustrations!
  • Pursuing a second opinion regarding Ethan's speech. Hopefully talking to a private therapist today or tomorrow about an evaluation...
  • So cute to hear Ethan singing "A Thousand Years" (Christina Perri) around the house. We discovered it when we watched a youtube video about a family who adopted a boy with Down's Syndrome, and have loved the song ever since. (The song starts at about 3:40, but the first part is good too!)
  • Jogged/walked by myself today, even though the creek was swollen with rainwater and I had to go back and forth on the small stretch that was dry between two crossing points. Can't believe how much my legs hurt while I'm jogging, but so happy to keep pressing on. I've never been good about long-term follow-through or self-discipline. Praying this time is different...


  • Happy that our townhouse association is finally dealing with the lack-of-drainage issue in our communal backyard. Slightly annoyed that it means our front yard is now full of tire tracks and clods of mud. Oh well. All for a good cause. Hope the new drainage system works so we can get out our back gate without walking through a mud puddle!
  • No way. Just discovered that one of my new homeschool friends is a speech pathologist, and to top it off, she lives only 10 minutes away from me. Going to try to get her input before I have Ethan seen at a private center. How cool is that?!
  • Please pray for my mom-in-law ... she had outpatient surgery this morning, but then bled for hours at home. At the E.R. tonight, found out she had an arterial bleed and finally got it cauterized. She's staying overnight and hoping that the spot doesn't re-open and start bleeding again.
  • I don't know whether to laugh at Ethan's self-confidence or fall over in amazement that he knew to use "I" in this sentence... from a phonics worksheet he did this afternoon. 


  • Absolutely livid at the response my MIL received yesterday when she hemorrhaged after outpatient sinus surgery but was told to stay at home for hours (trying to stop the bleeding herself), then ignored for hours at the ER, and then treated with un-sterile instruments. It was failure upon failure, and I think her story should get reported online and in print. Any ideas for how best to do that?
  • School today: took the kids to the National Speech Championship of NCFCA. Wow, it doesn't get any better than hearing the finalists give their incredible, hilarious, well-polished humor pieces. The kids and I were laughing so hard! Wish we could have gotten a dvd of them -- they were that good!


  • Not sure I can handle being a National Speech Championship quarterfinal judge again ... just about broke my heart to have to rank eight amazing pieces, knowing that some might not go on because of my choices, even though every single one was absolutely stellar.
  • After months of being "stuck in a rut" with my cooking, I finally got a 'new' cookbook (used, at a bookswap), did some actual menu planning for this week, and have been making some different dishes. What fun to try new things! Most of the family is happy ... all except for Ethan.


  • Going to the speech finals one more time today ... next year the national championship won't be happening in the D.C. area so this is might be our last chance to hear such amazing presentations for quite a while. (Won't be judging today -- phew!)


  • Just introduced my family to "Regarding Henry" ... and cried --*again*! Every time I see that movie, I blubber!
  • Came upstairs to discover Naomi at our computer reading this article and asking me to explain it to her. Love that my kids care about what's happening in the world...
  • My parents have now been back in America for a full year, working on Luke's adoption and trying to figure out employment that whole time. A week ago, my dad finally got word that the state of Virginia will honor his California medical license and let him practice medicine here. Georgia, on the other hand, is requiring lots of remediation, which would take both time and money. Praying for them to find just the right job and home...


  • Happy Father's Day to my Dad who raised me to love the world's diversity; to enjoy math, science, music and literature; to have an arsenal of happy camping memories; and to know that I am loved ... and to my husband who is Dad to my own children, who reads to them daily, sings to them each night, shares his love of history with them, wrestles, speaks Arabic, and plays strategy games with them. I love you both more than I can say...
  • Signed up to do a survey for our local Christan radio station, as they're trying to figure out what to play more and what to play less. Didn't realize there were going to be 390 songs to evaluate, though -- that's a LOT!! Glad it's fun and pretty quick work. Naomi's amazed at how many songs she's learned...
  • Have been attending our local church for the past 4 months, but have remained uncertain about it for the long-term. Today decided to go back to one of the churches we'd tried a few times back in the fall, and feel so refreshed! The teaching was great, and deep conversations afterward were like water to our spirits. Sure wish the church search was an easier process...


  • You know, if someone had decided (how many hundreds of years ago) to make "to lie" and "to lay" SO different that they never intersected (i.e. no form of "to lie" was ever written "lay"), there would have been so many fewer problems with the two words. I know: really deep thought for the evening (But on my mind since I'm trying to teach my children grammar!!)
  • Watching our first World Cup 2014 game: Iran v. Nigeria. Too bad the commentary is all in Spanish!


  • Today has been a day of pain -- not major and not mine, but troublesome nonetheless. Naomi's had a kinked neck; Josiah's had an upset stomach, headache and the trauma of allergy eye drops; Ethan fell forward off his chair and hit his lower jaw on the table, cutting his tongue and bruising his chin in the process. Pain-free though my own day was, I had to hear a lot of bellyaching!
  • We've been planning a camping trip for August, but hear that the mosquitoes are really bad where we'd thought of going. Since mosquitoes find me from miles around and feast on me and the kids like you wouldn't believe, I now feel like switching gears and doing something else. Or I could just daily bathe in a deet solution.


  • My nephew is visiting, and since it's in the high 90's, I've got the kids inside 'til the worst of the sun is past. I love it: they're not playing the Wii or watching a video ... they're playing a rip-roaring game of Dominion!! (strategy board game)
  • Being the hottest day yet (98), I'd planned to take my nephew and kids to a "splash park" and also invited my 5-year-old neighbor last-minute. Only to get there and discover that because the public schools are STILL in session, the splash park is closed. Pity the preschoolers, toddlers, home-schoolers and mamas who wanted a place to cool off today! Never mind: we came home, got out our hose, bucket, and bowls and had a massively fun time cooling off homemade-style! I think the kids loved pouring water on me and hearing me shriek
  • Making a youtube playlist for Naomi based on our recent Christan radio survey. Back in my day, the equivalent was sitting with a blank tape in a recorder and pressing "play/record" every time the right song came on the radio.


  • Found this oldie tonight... Seemed relevant given that today my recycling didn't get picked up as it should have. I had a conversation with my kids & nephew about the fact that I could have just put it out with my trash, but didn't. I'm trying to convince my more rural relatives that it's worth it for them to recycle, too, even though it's a bit more work since it means a trip to the recycling center. Talked with the kids about how each person on our planet saying "I'm just one person -- what I do doesn't matter" makes for a lot of pollution!
  • 'Tis the season of cold drinks! Making jugs of iced coffee and mint iced tea, instead of mugs of hot coffee and tea. If it weren't for mosquitoes and excessive sweat while exercising, I might actually enjoy summer (more)!


  • So lovely that Ethan got to spend one-on-one time with Mimi (Steve's mom) tonight ... he loves to talk and read aloud but doesn't usually get much attention without his siblings' interference or competition. Grown-up and child both relished the time together!
  • Finally saw the Lego Movie ... laughed a lot, enjoyed a few good messages in it, questioned a lot of other messages in it and discussed them with my older two on the half hour drive home ...


  • Saturday = Hands-on Real-life Education. Steve and his dad have torn out our dilapidated lower deck and are re-doing our upper deck. Kids are helping!
  • Our backyard used to have a wooden deck right outside our door, and a lower wooden deck beyond that. The lower deck is now gone; the joists of the upper deck have been strengthened; and the wood from the upper deck has been flipped so that the whole thing is in better shape. Now to stain the wood and deal with the mess left behind from the lower deck. Great job, Dad, Steve, Josiah and Ethan!!

  • Enjoyed having Meredith Omland over for dinner and Apples to Apples today So nice to have company, to hear what God's doing in her life, and to learn more about Mexico (her adopted home).

  •  Reading an amazing book called "Show Them Jesus" -- after all I've done with education and children's ministry, this is still blowing me away. Will write more when I finish the book... Also enjoyed another Sunday at United Wesleyan Church, and feeling more & more like it could be the right place for us...

  • Going cherry-picking today ... it's about time, as it's been four years since the kids have picked any fruit in a farm/orchard, and even longer since I've been fruit-picking!
  • I taught our 5-year-old neighbor how to play Othello and now Naomi is patiently playing a game with him. I need to take care of cherries!
  • Pitting cherries!!!! Now I'm glad I stopped at thirteen pounds, instead of getting even more. Thank goodness for extra hands (though some are less willing than others)...


  • Reading quality literature out loud to older kids = great opportunity to learn vocabulary! With the help of our trusty dictionary, just today we've worked on the words genteel, aplomb, malediction (using Latin roots!), and besom.
  • Weeding and pruning with the kiddoes ... my, how the warm weather and wet rains grow everything! The day started out cool enough to do such work outside, but we're heading in now because it's hot and we need a break! Thankful I have three kids who help with such tasks...


  • Ecuador's goalie was AMAZING! Too bad they didn't make any goals themselves, though...
  • Kids and I just finished "The Land" (by Mildred Taylor). Wow, her books are so good. It's really helped the kids understand more of what life was like in the South, around the turn of the century. Highly recommend for upper elementary or middle school (and adults!!)
  • Math puzzles for breakfast today ... my kids are solving them way faster than I did!


  • Amazing goal by Germany!!!
  • Special brunch with hand-picked cherries! The kids say "it's worth it" but they're not the ones who spent hours pitting... Still, it was VERY yummy. Probably worth it!
  • Most Delinquent Parent of the Year Award goes to ... ME! Finally getting around to giving Ethan a "half birthday" party this weekend because I never gave him a party in December and then failed to make up for it in January or February. Sigh... He's pretty excited about it and doing it now means we can play outside games and water activities!
  • Thinking about starting a tiny children's vocal ensemble in the Fall ... So far everything I can find regarding existing children's choirs in the area are either A) associated with a church (and thus presenting only on Sunday mornings), B) costing $550-1200 (no I am not joking!!!), or C) over an hour away. Not sure I'm capable of leading a vocal group myself but my daughter is getting desperate!


  • Went on a twilight walk with Naomi and she saw her very first flying bats (vs. hanging in a cave). I wish I could have recorded her reactions -- she was super excited and squealed the whole time about how much she loves bats and aren't they cute and she 'just couldn't believe' she was seeing BATS!
  • Finally getting some summer business ... two new students today!
  • Ethan's tongue is having a hard time wrapping around the words "Knick knack paddy whack" in "This Old Man" ... Kind of funny, but trying to slow it down for him so he can actually learn them. It's working!
  • Facebook themes for June: anniversaries, end-of-school pictures, and VBS. None of which apply to me. Feeling a bit 'out of it'!


  • Organizing two birthday parties within 3 days of each other -- Yikes! Being very low-key about food and decorations, though, since games is really my forte, and I usually over-worry about the unimportant stuff. Letting it go this time!
  • So glad we have a neighbor our age (actually a bit younger, and actually two neighbors since they're a couple), who's fun to talk to and who's done the PhD thing ... it's good for Steve to have someone to chat with, who can understand a tiny bit of what he faces.


  • Showed the kids "Radio" tonight. Such a great movie, full of redemption and encouragement.
  • Kids coming in 20 minutes. Think we're ready. Happy half-birthday, Ethan, my little extrovert!!
  • Another great morning at United Wesleyan Church ... so nice to actually look forward to Sundays again!


  • So cute to hear Josiah and Ethan making up scenarios together with Ethan's new "story cubes." I thought they'd sleep in this morning after all the excitement of yesterday and our late night, but no, they were up early playing with new things!!
  • Had a bucket and a pile of all my five biggest mixing bowls sitting on my front step yesterday as we were winding down the party ... STOLEN. Not cool. I used those mixing bowls ALL the time since I cook and bake from scratch for my family of 5. Really ticked off.

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