Friday, March 23, 2012

It's Friday and my brain is mush


This picture has absolutely nothing to do with this post.  But curls and freckles make me happy and I could use a little happy right now.  No, there's nothing wrong.  Life is busy and full and wonderful, but I'm so ready for the weekend.  I have quite a few almost-finished blog posts in the works, but instead you're going to get my end-of-the-week ramblings.

1. Spring officially started this week, and I already have ants in my kitchen.  I've tried a handful of natural ant killers/deterrents that didn't work, and now I'm watching the ants do a victory parade around the little store-bought ant bait stations I set up.  Because we had such a mild winter, the big fear for this spring and summer is that it will be really hot, allergies will be awful, and we'll have lots of bugs.  Maybe we can spend the summer in Alaska.

2. I'm feeling a little sorry for the public school kids this week.  It's their spring break and it has rained  all. week. long.  Last week (our spring break) was sunny and mid-70s and next week will be too.  It's been nice to have the rain make everything so green, but I'm guessing there are some frazzled moms in my neighborhood right now.

3. I've always known I'm not a great blogger, but I really provided myself with a laugh yesterday.  I got a copyright notice this week from You Tube concerning a video I made -- something about the music.  It was a video I made of our vacation to Michigan in 2009, which I posted to the blog.  Or at least I thought I did.  I loved that video, and they had a link to the video in the email, so I clicked it.  It was then I discovered I had the video set to private use and didn't even know it!  So no one on my blog could see it.  I then realized that it wasn't the only video I posted to the blog that I had set to private -- one was even a give-away announcement.  So I'm guessing those blog posts didn't make much sense and that's why no one ever said, "Cute video!"  Yes, I homeschool my kids -- why do you ask?

4.  Speaking of homeschooling . . . we've been on a roll lately, getting lots done.  I think it's that summer-is-almost-here-so-let's-get-as-much-done-now-as-possible syndrome.  Anyway, today I had a noon meeting at Anna's school I had to attend.  It's about a 25 minute drive to her school and I drive the afternoon carpool, so it didn't make sense to drive home after the meeting and then turn around to drive back to school.  Instead, I decided we'd do car school.  After the meeting we put the seats down in the back of the van, set out a blanket and some pillows, and got to work.  We finished almost everything on the planner for the day.  The only problem is that I accidentally left the headlights on while we did car school, so the battery died.  And I didn't discover the battery was dead until the kids were being let out of school.  And it had started pouring rain.  Again.  The power doors to the side and back of the van wouldn't work, so the kids were having to crawl over each other with heavy backpacks to get in and escape the rain.  The principal had to flag down some teenage boys to jump-start my car.  

5.  Then I thought I should call my hubby to let him know everything was okay (because the first thing I did when I realized what a mess I was in was to call him and whine).  But I couldn't find my cell phone anywhere.  When I got home I used the home phone to call the cell phone so I could try to figure out where it was hiding.  It had fallen inside the tissue box I keep on the floor of the car.  So glad I had the sense to call while that battery was still charged, otherwise I probably would never have found it.

6.  We have pretty much nothing on the schedule for the second weekend in a row!!!  I'm hoping to do a little photo organizing tomorrow.  You probably thought I forgot about that little challenge of mine.  I didn't forget, but I've been slacking a little.  In January I moved the furniture in our school/craft/guest room, which meant moving all the boxes of photos.  It took me a couple of hours, so I counted that as my January organization session. ; )  In February I spent a couple of hours cleaning up photos and videos on my computer, so I counted that, but never blogged about it.  I really need to get back on track for March, but I better hurry, because the month is almost over!

Have a great weekend!  


Monday, March 19, 2012

March Madness (1000 Gifts)

It's March Madness, haven't you heard?  I'm having trouble figuring out if it's a reference to college basketball or the unreal weather we've been having.  Early last week I saw a friend post pictures on her blog of redbud trees in bloom and I figured it did seem early, but she lives in a state to the south of us.  But then a couple of days later all the pear trees in our area burst into bloom.  Our weeping cherry tree, magnolia tree, and peach tree came next.  Our area is full of wild red buds (just not in our yard) and those just bloomed today.  It is glorious out there!  Sadly, the pear trees are already starting to turn green -- the blooms will be gone before we know it.  So we're trying savor every moment.






As far as basketball goes, it's been an exciting week too.  Our Baylor Bears have advanced to the Sweet Sixteen!!!  But it definitely wasn't a walk in the park.  If you could have seen us as we watched Saturday night's game, you'd get such a chuckle.

We have very basic cable, which means any time there's a sporting event we want to see, it's not on a channel we get.  I was all excited though to find out that for four dollars we can watch all the games online.  So we signed up and brought the game up on my laptop, setting it on the kitchen table.  

Marc's and my television habits have changed a lot over the years.  Before we became parents we watched TV quite a bit.  Once the kids were born we just didn't have as much time, but we'd still find a little screen time.  Then the series LOST ended and that was the end of us watching TV as a couple.  So sitting in front of my laptop like it was a TV was something neither of us were accustomed to anymore.  

From the beginning the game was tense, and we were fidgety.  My initial instinct was to spend some time online, but it was my computer we were using to watch the game.  So I grabbed the bag of green beans I planned to use for our Sunday dinner.  I started snapping off the ends.  Grace quickly asked if she could help, because she loves doing that sort of thing.  Marc must have noticed the therapeutic effect bean snapping was having on me, because he quickly said, "Let me have some beans."  With three people snapping two and a half pounds of beans, the work did not last long.  But Baylor was giving us all heart attacks, so we then occupied ourselves by shooting three-pointers with the green bean ends into the compost bucket at the other end of the table.  I'd like to think that somehow we were telepathically helping Brady Heslip score his 27 points, but the truth is that Heslip is a tad more talented than us. ; )

When that was done, I made a bowl of popcorn to keep my hands busy.  I started thinking this must be why Charlotte Mason encouraged training her students in handicrafts.  Knitting sounded really appealing at that moment.  Too bad I don't know the first thing about knitting.  But as the second half progressed, Baylor went on a run and I didn't need popcorn or knitting, because Marc and I were too busy giving each other high-fives and pounding the table in glee.

March Madness indeed.  We have high hopes for our Bears who will next play Xavier, but we also know the reality of college basketball.  Most of our church family is in mourning for a team that didn't fare so well.  Baylor's success could last as long as the blooms on the pear trees.

So we will continue to savor the moment and count God's gifts, which unlike March Madness, never end.

175.  Snapping beans with two of my favorite people.

176.  High-fives with my husband.

177.  Watching television with my family.  No, I'm not advocating wasting hours on end watching junk, but something must be said for sitting together sharing in something fun.

178.  An amazing year for Baylor athletics (sorry if that seems like boasting, but over the years we've had so many lows that most of us alums are pinching ourselves in disbelief).

179.  Spring trees in bloom.

180.  My favorite snack -- popcorn.

181.   Still going strong --my hot air popper that was a high school graduation gift.

182.  Which reminds me of my faithful alarm clock that's even older than the popper.

183.  Spring Break!  Anna had last week off from school, so we took a break from homeschooling too.

184.  A short get-a-way to Great Wolf Lodge -- a Christmas gift to our family from my dad.

185.  Having kids that are old enough to navigate GWL on their own. Marc and I actually made a couple of visits to the adult only hot tub.  I was able to relax at our table with a book a few times. 

186.  Water slides and lazy rivers.  Adult time was very nice, but we still had lots of fun playing with the kids.

187.  Spring break weather that seems like early summer.

188.  Getting my toes painted by my oldest daughter.  Bright turquoise. : )

189.  Watching Anna swim in her last meet, and being so proud of her.

190.  Being able to work on a project for Anna's school with a dear friend I haven't spent much time with lately.

191.  Having an impromptu lunch with that friend plus another friend I've spent even less time with lately.  We used to all be Bible study leaders together, so I've missed praying and bonding with these two ladies. 

192.  Finishing a really good book and having my husband snap it up almost immediately.  It's rare that we have the same reading tastes, so it's fun to talk about a book together.

193.   Play dates.  Ryne and Grace had friends over on Saturday.  So nice to have a weekend where the schedule makes that possible.

194.  Nursery duty at church.  We had a baby drought at our small church for a few years, but God has answered my prayers, and last night Anna and I played with two darling baby boys.  

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Hanging up my badge

Based on the title your initial thought probably was that this would be my farewell to blogging post.

Trust me, I've considered writing such a post many times, but something keeps drawing me back to blogging despite my frequent and lengthy breaks.

Your second thought might have been that this is the post where I announce I'm quitting homeschooling.

Trust me, I consider that possibility on an almost hourly basis, but God keeps giving me the strength to last another day and another year.

No, this post is where I declare I am no longer a swim team mom.

Anna's last swim

I've mentioned before about our struggles juggling two full time sports. Last September Anna made the decision to focus on track over swimming. She loves swimming, however, and wanted to pursue a couple more swim goals, so she decided she would finish out the short course swim season and then quit swim team for good. It made for a very busy fall and winter.  So much so that there were probably more sighs of relief than tears when she had her final meet last weekend.  But there were definitely a few tears along the way, both of sadness and frustration.

She almost met her goals for the season: She got the time standard she wanted in her 200 breast stroke and got to attend the Division 1 meet she was aiming for and dropped more time there. She missed the time standard in her 100 breast by less than a third of a second {heartbreaking!}, so she wasn't able to swim that event last weekend. Her relay team at the Division 1 meet also missed a team record by 7 hundredths of a second (she dropped time on her split though - yeah!). 

Anna went to a final practice on Monday, bringing over a hundred homemade chocolate chip cookies for her friends.

Some of you might be rolling your eyes, thinking I'm being a bit dramatic. I'm not trying to be over-emotional about this -- it's just that I really love watching her swim. It's a wonderful sport that was good for our family in so many ways. It's a particularly good sport for homeschoolers and offers some flexibility that you don't find in team sports.  We've also learned some valuable lessons through swimming that I wouldn't trade for anything. 

It takes a disciplined and motivated person to be a competitive swimmer. At this age a swimmer really needs to be in the pool at least five to six times a week, so they must learn to make good use of the little free time they have. A swimmer becomes good at setting goals and determining what needs to be done to achieve them. Anna has been able to apply this discipline to her academics and in running track.  Not so much with doing her own laundry, but we're working on that. ; )

Some might say that I'll still be a swim team mom since all three kids still plan to swim for their summer swim team this year. I would argue that while summer swim team offers a glimpse of the competitiveness and discipline of year-round swim team, it's not the same. A swim team mom does not get her badge until he or she has paid more in one month for swim team expenses than the monthly mortgage payment (for us, usually every August) or driven her child to a 5:00 a.m. practice in a blinding snow storm. If you live in a warmer climate a tornado or hurricane is sufficient. A true swim team mom has a highlighter and sharpie in possession at all times (for marking up heat sheets and for the swimmer to write their events on their leg or arm). A true swim team mom doesn't mind driving 7 hours to attend a meet in which your child swims less than 7 minutes.  

Oh, yes, as a tired mom, I was ready for it to end.  But it still makes me sad.  Good thing spring track started this week, so we never had a chance to find out what having loads of free time is like. {sigh}