Sunday, March 6, 2016

Weekly Wrap-Up {Decisions and Celebrations}

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Daddy's little girl

It's been a full weekend, so I'll try to keep this update short and sweet!

Let's start with last Sunday... I volunteer in our church nursery during the Sunday school hour. It's a small church, so I usually only have 2-3 toddlers to watch, but this time a grandma brought her 4-week-old grandson to the nursery and asked if I could watch him for Sunday school. Are you kidding me?! The last time I got to hold a newborn that long was probably when Grace was born. I'm convinced if everyone started out their week holding a sleeping, cooing 4-week-old baby, the world would be a much happier place. : )

Monday and Tuesday were pretty routine -- school and activities. Algebra went much better this week. ; )

Wednesday got a little crazy because we added a new furball to our family. I'll formally introduce him in a day or two. He's currently curled up with his head on my feet as I type.

Thursday morning Marc, Anna, and I sat down at the kitchen table for two hours, trying to help her decide where she wants to go to college. She needs to accept or decline a scholarship to one of her top choices this coming Wednesday, so the time has come to decide if that's where she wants to go. Unfortunately, the deliberations did not bring a decision. She is blessed to have some wonderful options, so it just might come down to a coin flip on Wednesday.

Saturday was Anna's last Protocol with her Christian, classical school. It is always a highlight of the school year, and this year was extra special since she is a senior. The event always starts with a parent reception at the elementary campus. The dads escort their daughters to the front entrance of the school where they are greeted by one of the male students who then escorts the girls into the reception. We take pictures, nibble on appetizers, listen to a presentation about etiquette in the real world (Marc was the speaker two years ago), and then we take more pictures as they are whisked away in a limo. Then the kids attend a multi-course dinner and some sort of entertainment. Parents can attend the whole evening, but this was the first year Marc and I attended the dinner/entertainment portion and we had a wonderful time. The venue was a lovely historic hotel and the entertainment was a magician/illusionist with a Christian message. It was a wonderful evening!

After Protocol, the seniors hung out at one of their classmate's house for a few hours, so Anna didn't get home until 2 a.m. Nevertheless, she and I got up early to drive two hours to visit a church near the college she trying to decide on, hoping that might help make the decision easier. I always love visiting other churches because it's such a great reminder of our unity in Christ, but this was a particularly wonderful church to visit. She said she could definitely picture herself there, but she still just can't decide if that's the school for her.

I think the next few days might be interesting! Please pray. : )

Have a wonderful week!

Friday, February 26, 2016

Weekly Wrap-Up {Catching Up}

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Eek! I got a little behind on my weekly wrap-ups after our Disney trip in January. It just seemed like for several weeks in a row I was moving from one urgent matter to the next, and as soon as I knocked one off the list a new one was added. I'm not going to go through all of them, but here are a few of the things that have kept me busy:

Transferring the thousands of pictures I took on our trip caused my computer to have a mental breakdown, resulting in an emotional breakdown on my part. After three trips to the Apple store, we narrowed the problem down to a glitch in my Lightroom software or my lack of computer organizational skills or a combination of the two. ; )

College financial aid forms are torture. For those of you who've been through this, you know what I mean. For the others, college is highly overrated; just move on to Plan B. ; ) Seriously, I've learned some BIG lessons the hard way. Check the individual school's FAFSA deadline -- not all of them are March 1, like I was led to believe. Some are February 1, and trust me, January 30th is not the best day to learn this bit of info! I did get it done by February 1 and breathed a deep sigh of relief. But the relief was short-lived because then I learned on February 2 that there is another financial aid form called the CSS Profile, and it was also due February 1. And CSS is even worse than FAFSA. I was pretty sure they were going to ask the color of my underwear at some point.

One of my least favorite things to do in life is go shopping. Yet, it seemed like every weekend there was some new outfit to be bought -- a dress for Anna's Protocol, a business casual outfit for the scholarship luncheon (ended up that half the kids wore jeans, but at least Anna looked nice), and a suit for Ryne's Protocol (thankfully, Marc took over the responsibility for that one) One thing I didn't have to do much shopping for was for a car (SUPER thankful that Marc likes to do that!), but I did end up driving to Oklahoma to pick one up!

I'm no longer a minivan mom! It was a little bittersweet to say goodbye to our faithful Toyota Sienna (shown below on one of her last major road trips, camping in northern Michigan), but she was up to 265,000 miles and it was time for her to get some rest. She was truly one of the best cars we've ever had and I'm pretty sure she could drive herself to Denver with all the trips back and forth she made. Lots of great memories were made in that car!

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We replaced her with a used Hyundai Santa Fe, and of course, we found out a few days after bringing it home that the AC wasn't working. Yes, I'm thrilled to add one more urgent thing to the list.

Anna finished the last of her college applications on February 15th, so now we just wait. Except that some schools don't care about other school's deadlines, so things might get a little complicated in March. She was awarded a nice scholarship at a school she really likes, but she has to let them know if she'll accept it before she finds out if she's accepted to another school high on her list. You know, if I didn't personally know moms who've survived this whole college process, I'd never believe it's possible.

Homeschooling is going fairly well. Ryne continues to work hard; I continue to lag behind. We did manage to squeeze in a field trip to the Federal Reserve Bank a few weeks ago, which was very timely since he's studying economics this semester. We've both been doing very well with algebra  the last several weeks (I've mentioned before that I take the tests for each chapter to make sure I understand everything he's working on), but today was a disaster. We both got stuck on a review problem and I was convinced the answer key must be wrong, even though it was not listed in the corrections. So I texted Anna a picture of the solution and asked her if it was correct, which she affirmed. I'm pretty sure they're both wrong. Let's see . . . Mom who didn't do so great at algebra way back in 1985 vs. Steve Demme of Math U See. Or me vs. my daughter whose favorite subject this year is calculus. You'd bet on my odds, right? ; )

One little bit of fun news is that I got a new lens for my camera so I can take macro photos. It just arrived yesterday, so I've only tried a few photos, including the top picture of the dreaded algebra problem. I'm learning you need a very steady hand for macro photography (which I don't have) or you need to get out the tripod (which I always find cumbersome). Nevertheless, I'm determined to get some good practice in because spring is coming and I want to get some great up-close nature shots.

Hope your January and February were great! I'll try to get back on track with regular updates. : )

Happy Homeschooling!

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Weekly Wrap-Up {Disney!}

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This will be a very short Weekly Wrap-Up because we are currently on our way back from an eight day trip to Florida!!!

The trip, which has been in the works for more than a year, was a gift from my dad to our family and my sister. Growing up, my sister and I were blessed with many wonderful family vacations. My parents weren’t big spenders, but travel was always a priority. We mostly visited National Parks and any place with a mountain, but we also made a visit to Disney World way back when Epcot was being built. Fast forward a generation, my kids love every single Disney movie and have always wanted to go to Disney World. My dad wanted to give the kids that opportunity, even though he wouldn’t be able to travel with us. Of course, we had hoped we’d be able to show him pictures and tell him of our adventures, but when he passed away last August we knew that the trip would instead be in celebration of his life.

And what a celebration we’ve had this past week! We were at Disney for 5 days and Universal for 3 days (just 2 at the park, 1 at the hotel pool). One of my biggest hesitations about the trip was that I knew I didn’t have the time to plan such an adventure, but my sister — a certified project manager — said she would plan the entire trip. She mapped out every detail on a spreadsheet and we didn’t miss a thing we wanted to see at either location. We met princesses and characters (yes, even teenagers like that sort of thing!), rode thrilling rides, and ate EVERYTHING! My sister and I relived childhood memories like flying through Space Mountain and spinning in teacups. The kids made lots of new memories. Anna even spent an evening auditioning to be a Disney princess and almost made it through to the final cut (more on that later)! The weather did prove to be a challenge at times (cold and sometimes wet), but overall it was an amazing trip. We are so thankful! Thankful for my dad’s love for travel and adventure that he passed down. Thankful for the many hours of planning my sister invested. Thankful for the many ways God blessed us on this trip.

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Of course, I took a million photos, so hopefully I will find time to share some of those later this week. : )

It will be hard leaving the magical life behind, but hopefully the happy memories will keep us smiling as we rest our sore feet and settle back into reality (and the low single digit temperatures waiting for us back home!).

Have a wonderful week and happy homeschooling!