Friday, March 7, 2014

A Day in the Life {Thursday Style}

I enjoy reading day-in-the-life posts from other bloggers and have always wanted to write one myself. Not because I think my days are particularly inspiring or that you'll glean great ideas, but just to sort of capture the moment. I wish I had written down what a day in my life looked like 10 and 15 years ago, because there is so much I have forgotten. It's also easier to see all the little ways God blesses us each day when looking back over our days. So in the spirit of capturing the moment, I give you a somewhat typical Thursday at Blue House Academy.

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Thursdays are one of my favorite days of the week. It's one of the two days a week the girls get to work from home instead of going away to school, so I enjoy the extra time with them. I also love Thursdays because it means we survived the busiest day of our week, Wednesday, and because we have no commitments outside the home until evening. And this particular Thursday is even better because we don't have anything going on in the evening -- indoor track ended last week and outdoor track doesn't start until next week. I've been looking forward to this day all week! Here's how it played out . . . .

6:00 a.m. I don't set an alarm on Thursdays. I just let my body decide when it's time to wake up, but it's rarely later than 7:30. This morning, Marc's alarm makes the decision for me. Sometimes I can sleep through it, but this is not one of those mornings. No biggie, I'm happy that I will get some blissful peace and quiet before the rest of the family is up. Ironically, Marc goes back to bed for another hour of sleep, but he had a busy night the night before. I change into my workout clothes, grab my Bible study materials, and head down the hall to the school room.

6:15 a.m. Well, this was unexpected! Anna comes into the school room to print a paper for school. She has some pretty big assignments due this week and next, so I guess she's getting an early start. Usually, she stays up late Wednesday to study and sleeps in on Thursday. We chat quietly for a few minutes. She let the dog out before she came upstairs and now he's barking to be let in, so I go downstairs to let him in. She's brewing some tea, but I start the coffee maker. It's chilly in the kitchen though, so I head back upstairs and curl under a blanket. I'll go get my coffee and some breakfast in a little bit.

6:55 a.m. Now Grace appears in the school room. What's going on with my family today? She's usually the last one to get up. She immediately sits down at her desk to start school work, but I force her to go make some breakfast for herself.

7:15 a.m. I hear Ryne stirring in bed. He used to be the first one out of bed, sometimes as early as 5:00, but now he seems to be naturally settling into a teenage sleep pattern. He drags his lanky body downstairs for breakfast around 7:45, and around that time Marc leaves for work.

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Despite all the commotion and interruptions, I get some nice time in the Word. I read the notes for my Bible Study Fellowship lesson, plus the daily devotion and an article in Tabletalk magazine. Good stuff! The BSF lessons on Matthew have been so very convicting this year -- oh, I can be such a Pharisee sometimes! And Tabletalk? I adore this magazine! The devotions are covering the book of Romans this year, and today's passage speaks of the glory of the atonement and Jesus as our mercy seat, so now I have one of my favorite hymns floating through my head. And then there are the articles -- I think I might like the articles even more than the devotions. Today I read "Glorifying God in the Routines", which you can read for free here.

8:00 a.m. I always have great intentions of preparing for homeschooling the night before, but I rarely do it. So now I have to check yesterday's work, write Ryne's assignments on the white board, and gather any library books or other materials we need. I also check email at this time. In the middle of this, Grace asks me to administer her spelling test. She's one of a small group of students in her class that is given a harder spelling test, which she takes at home rather than at school on Friday when the normal spelling test is given. I'm crediting that to the five seasons of All About Spelling she had as a homeschool student.

8:45 a.m. I print out a worksheet Grace's teacher emailed, make my bed, and "fluff" the laundry. I like saying fluffing the laundry, because it sounds more pleasant than I never took the laundry out last night and now I have to reset the dryer to try and get the wrinkles out. Normally I wouldn't even be doing laundry on Thursday because it's Anna's laundry day, but I was in Denver for 5 days and got back Monday night, messing up our normal laundry schedule.

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9:00 a.m. I'm starving! I kind of forgot about breakfast. I know. You're supposed to eat within 30 minutes of waking up, but at least I do eat breakfast. Today I even take time to make my favorite breakfast. I chop up a zucchini, a red bell pepper, and some onion and saute them. I transfer half the veggies into a container for tomorrow's breakfast. Then I scramble an egg into the remaining veggies and add a touch of cheese. Normally, I also add a tiny sprinkle of crumbled pork sausage that I store in the freezer (just enough to add some yumminess, but not enough to add a bunch of calories), but we're out right now. Must cook some sausage this weekend!

I never did drink the coffee I made hours ago, and now it's turned into a dark sludge because half of it evaporated. The coffee habit is still pretty new to me, and it shows in my coffee-making skills. I attempt another cup, but this time it comes out looking a little transparent. I add a tablespoon of creamer and it turns white. {sigh} I've had this problem a few times now -- the filter gets bent and covers the coffee, so the water is hardly touching the coffee. I'm able to reuse the coffee grounds and, finally, attempt three is successful. Or at least as good as it's going to get from me.

The laundry wasn't the only thing that didn't get done last night; in between making eggs and coffee I clean up the kitchen mess from last night. Thankfully, it wasn't too bad.

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9:45 a.m. Grace has stolen my spot on the sofa to do her reading for school. She was just finishing up, so I banish her back to her desk and reclaim my throne. I then review yesterday's math assignment with Ryne.

9:55 a.m. I take a 30-second moment of silence to savor the warmth of an imperfect cup of coffee, curled up under a blanket, on my throne. I've been waiting for this moment all week. : )

9:55.30 a.m. Time to reserve some library books, send an overdue email, forget to send another overdue email, and read three blog posts. One of the blog posts is about Amazon specials for the week, including the dish soap I use, so now I need to check if the price is better on Amazon or through the wholesale group I'm part of, and it turns out the wholesale group has the better price, and this is how I go off on tangents and waste a lot of minutes in my days.

10:45 a.m. Oh, dear! Ryne's assignments, written on the white board, look the same as they did an hour ago, which means there must be a problem with math. Sure enough, 3.8 seconds after I have this thought, he stomps into the room, frustrated by one of his last math problems. I give him some tips and he stomps (slightly less dramatically) back to his bedroom.

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You might remember me complaining about Grace's messy desk. It is better this year, but as you can see she still likes to spread out as she works. And, yes, she is still in her jammies, her hair hasn't been combed, and she remains that way the entire day.

She recites the introduction to the Declaration of Independence in a semi-convincing British accent, although that might not have been appreciated as much back then. Or perhaps many of them still had British accents? Focus, Kellie, before your brain goes off on another tangent!

Grace is pretty much done with her school work! She has a lighter load than usual, because she is supposed to be working on her science fair project that's due next week. We're very behind on this but are making it our weekend priority. First, we were delayed because every time she picked a topic, she found out someone else had already picked that topic, so she wanted to change (apparently 5th grade girls like to experiment only with food, and preferably food that contains sugar). Then I was busy getting ready for my Denver trip, and then I was in Denver. Now we're down to the wire and are approaching panic mode. She's doing something with marshmallows, and because of my trip I haven't even been to the store this week. I'd throw in that my dog ate the science experiment, but I think you're growing weary of my excuses. I know I am. ; )

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12:00 p.m. Remember when I said I changed into my workout clothes? It wasn't just so I could sit on my throne. It's treadmill time! I've been debating for months about whether I should blog about my exercise routine, but here's the CliffsNotes version: About a year ago, I started the Couch to 5K Treadmill program and have been pretty consistent with it, except for the month between my two Denver trips in the fall. I "run" three days a week for 30 minutes at a turtle pace, plus a 5 minute warmup and a 5 minute cool down and some additional time for stretching. Two days a week, I do a 40 minute strength training DVD. Because of my turtle pace, I don't actually run a 5K in the 30 minutes; I focus my efforts more on improving my speed and keeping the length of my workout manageable for my schedule. For the record though, I am able to go for the full 5K and will sometimes do that on Saturdays when I have more time (and I'm getting pretty close to that 30 minute goal!).

I did get off my routine when I went to Denver, so I'm expecting this to be a hard day. My body gives me zero grace if I miss a day in my routine.

12:10 p.m. TobyMac is singing will not quit, and I'm trying to decide if I believe him.

12:13 p.m. Mr. Mac was right; I decide I'm not going to quit because 1) I haven't not completed a "run" since October, and 2) I don't want to have to admit when I write this post that I quit. So thank you for motivating me to keep going. ; )

12:20 p.m. I'm not going to quit, but that doesn't mean I'm not going to die. I was right; my body did not like getting off schedule last week, and this is torture.

12:45 p.m. I'm convinced after every run that I have lost half my body weight in sweat. Unfortunately, the scale never confirms this.


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12:50 p.m. It's a beautiful day outside, so even though I have no intention of leaving my house today, I do walk outside for a minute to cool off and snap a picture of the quickly melting snow. It's pretty early to be calling it quits for winter, but this just might be the last of the snow we'll see this season.

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12:50 p.m. I head upstairs (treadmill is in our basement) and find Anna eating lunch and Ryne preparing lunch for Grace and himself. He's making his specialty, couscous. Anna made herself diced sweet potato with scrambled eggs. I prepare a salad (topped with sun-dried tomatoes, sunflower seeds, avocado, a hard-boiled egg, and an olive oil and vinegar dressing). I also reheat a small bowl of leftover curry vegetable soup (not quite as healthy as it sounds, but very yummy). Anna and Ryne finish eating and then return to their school work. I then notice Grace never came down to eat her lunch. Ryne forgot to tell her it was ready! So Grace and I eat lunch together. I do not know how that girl actually manages to eat, because she chatters the entire time. I love her enthusiasm for life.

1:15 p.m. Fluff the laundry, again, and then take a shower.

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1:30 p.m. Finally fold the laundry, and realize that there's been a wet load in the washer since yesterday. {D'oh!} I transfer the wet clothes to the dryer (there was no funky smell), and throw a new load in the washer.

It's Ryne's laundry that I just folded, and so I roll it over to his room for him to put away. He does all the laundry steps, except folding, which is on my list of things to teach him for this year. Need to get on that, because he's much better about doing things in a timely manner than I am. I bet he'll never use the fluff setting.

Speaking of chores, they have been doing them today. Ryne is so much better than the girls, and he actually does more chores than they do. Our chore system needs reworking, because needs and abilities have changed over the years. But Grace did take the recycling out with just one reminder. {sigh}

1:45 p.m. Check email and grade papers. Grace and I go over her work for the day, and then I spend some 1:1 time with Ryne. Grace draws pictures. At some point, I fold a load of laundry, without having to fluff, and transfer another load to the dryer. I keep thinking I will go make a cup of tea in a few minutes, but I never get it done.

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Do all teenage boys yawn 20 times a day? 

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4:25 p.m. Grace and Ryne finish reviewing their Bible memory work from last year and school is done for the day. We're normally done by 4:00, but Ryne didn't have school on Monday because my return from Denver was delayed a day and the girls had a snow day, so we've been trying to catch up all week.

4:30 p.m. I fold the last load of laundry, and Marc comes home from work. This is early for him to be home, but he ran an errand for Anna that had to be done in the afternoon. After he changes into comfy clothes, he and I consult on a DIY project that we started a year ago. Okay, the truth is he started it a year ago and has been waiting ever since for me to paint it so he can finish the assembly. {hanging my head in shame}

4:45 p.m. Anna and Ryne head outside for a run for about an hour. I change into my painting clothes and head to the basement. Grace is playing Minecraft, and Marc is taking a business call. After their run, Anna and Ryne recruit Grace to do some core work with them. After a shower, Ryne finally gets his screen time.

We rarely have nights with nothing on the schedule, so I am taking advantage of this time to paint. It takes me almost an hour to get everything ready, and then more time for sanding. It's going to be amazing when it's done, but at this rate I don't know when it's actually going to get done. By dinnertime, all I've accomplished is a coat of primer. You want to know what it is, right? Hopefully it won't be another year before I get to do the reveal. ; )

7:30 p.m. I prearranged for Anna to make a simple dinner tonight, so we are having nachos. If you are noticing the lack of vegetables my children have been eating today, don't worry, I am too. Trust me, we do much better other days, but it does take effort, and I didn't make that effort today. Tomorrow is another day. . . .

I paint for another hour, then take my weary body up to bed. The painting has made my back sore, and I am chilled to the bone from being in our unfinished basement for so long. Anna must have found some time to be on Pinterest because she emailed me a pin, but I know she and Grace also spent some time cleaning their room since Anna has a friend spending the night tomorrow. Ryne and Grace go to bed shortly after I do, although Ryne will stay up at least an hour to read. I read for about 15 minutes and then turn out my light and fall asleep almost immediately.

There's nothing remarkable about our day-to-day routine, but a lifetime of unremarkable days somehow brings some amazing results. I'm so grateful for the rhythm God has guided us into, and for the freedom to also relax our routine at times, whether it be in not eating our veggies or fluffing the laundry multiple times. The days we lock ourselves in the house may be outnumbered by the days we run from one place to the next, but even the busy days provide so many blessings. Writing out our day helps me remember to be grateful for every moment.

Remember the Tabletalk article I read? It pretty much set the theme for my day:

We hear Paul's instruction of "whatever you do, do all to the glory of God" (1 Cor. 10:31) and we wonder how that squares with the "have-to's" of our everyday lives. Grace sheds light on our mundane. Grace can transform the "have-to's" into "get-to's" as we live for His glory.

God is so good!

Friday, February 14, 2014

Two Generations of Princesses

Happy Valentine's Day!

Oh, boy, do I have a treat for you today. First, let's start with my lovely daughter, all dressed up for last weekend's school formal.

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Sadly, I got very few pictures this year. The poor darling was coming down with a cold and was running late, so I had about five minutes to get some pictures, unlike last year when I took hundreds. Plus, it was very, very cold and snowy outside, so I couldn't do pictures outdoors. I pushed the dining room table out of the room, and decided that would have to be good enough.

Anna is a tough athlete, but she knows how to get her princess on. Just check out her Pinterest board. She had her heart set on this dress for months.

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The price was definitely right: free! That's because the dress once belonged to her mom, yours truly.

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Woo hoo! Another opportunity to get to see my 80's self, big Texas hair and all. I also carried the same handbag (not shown in my old pictures), which actually belonged to my mother. So Anna's ensemble spans three generations. She wasn't wild about the sleeves, so we had a friend convert them into wide straps. We did have to have the dress taken in a little, but the amount was small enough to not damage my pride too much. ; ) Like her, I was a sophomore in high school when I wore the dress. I'm thinking her choice of shoes was a tad better, or maybe it's my cream colored hose that has me cringing. At least it's better than the year I layered black hose over dark green to get a two-toned effect. We won't go there.

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What fun to have your daughter wear your old clothes! I'm emphasizing old, because in case my darling daughter is reading this I'd like her to know that's it's not okay to "borrow" things from her mother's closet and not return them, especially since they are way too big for her! Momma doesn't look like she did in high school anymore. ; )

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Once upon a time . . .

Note: Remember a year ago when my blog design disappeared and in frustration I took a long break from blogging? Well, I actually did write a post about Anna's first formal, but just couldn't bear to hit "publish" when my blog was naked. Well, tonight she is at her formal again, so I decided to resurrect this old post. I haven't had a chance to look at today's pictures yet, but hopefully I'll have some nice ones to share next week.

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Once upon a time, there were two little princesses. They lived in castles down the street from each other. They loved to dress up for pretend balls. They went to princess preschool together.

Then they became grown-up princesses.

The End.

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Waaahhh!

Why do they grow up so fast?! Anna and her best friend since preschool recently attended their school's annual Protocol formal.  It's a no-date affair, so thankfully we haven't had to worry about Prince Charming sweeping her off her feet yet, although Marc was so kind to point out that Anna is only 3 years away from the age when I met and fell in love with him.

Waaahhh!

Anyhoo, she had a grand time. They actually had to attend a training session a couple of weeks before the event, so they could learn about proper etiquette and manners, such as how to properly greet someone or which utensil to use and when. Good stuff! Maybe I should have her coach me. : )

The actual formal consisted of a ride in a limo, an elegant dinner, and then entertainment by a magician with a Christian message. Before dinner there was a reception that parents could attend, and students were encouraged to practice all those people skills they learned. I didn't get to go to that part because I was sick, but Marc was able to attend.

Throughout the evening, the girls and guys were paired up (usually two girls to a guy because the girls outnumbered the guys this year), so although the school wasn't promoting the whole dating thing, the boys and girls weren't totally segregated either. Definitely different from my high school experience, but I really appreciate the way the school organizes this event. It is fun, but a good preparation for adulthood as well.

I'm having trouble adjusting to all the growing up that's been going on at the Blue House. It's going by waaaayyy too fast. My baby is going to formals, and if she'd ever study for the test she could be getting her driving permit. And then there's Ryne, who recently passed Marc in height and wears a size 12 shoe.

Waaaahhh!