Sunday, August 29, 2010

Wow this has got to be my biggest monthly update ever, in the end I cut out things, just so I didn't make you too tired of me!!!
I hope you enjoy catching up with our family and our going-ons. August was a busy month and September is looking just as busy.
Read on , you know the drill scroll down till you hit July, then you are all updated.
You may have to hit the box that says "older posts" at the bottom to see all of this month.
Just what are these for you ask?
Jack's parents asked us to come to their big shin dig, in honor of a few joyous milestones, and so we are going.

I have known about this trip for months and yet told very few (some of you I will be contact to set up visits with as soon as I get of this blog).

And I have really searched my heart as to why. First I thought it was the effort of the trip, getting 3 children packed, and then traveling 3000 miles is work. Then I thought perhaps it is the time of year, I love September in Indiana, and really don't want to escape it then, I would rather leave it when its cold and muddy. But, no that is not it, then today in church it hit me HARD tears just started flowing from my eyes.

I will be visiting my childhood home, and the one who made it home won't be there. I am crying as I type this but I want you all to know I am sorry for not telling you sooner, and I apologize in advance if I seem a bit quiet, or distant, its just my heart is full of emotion, of grief and fond memories of a woman who made Vancouver Island home to me.

Now read the post below and have a laugh on me! Cause I know my mom wouldn't want me crying too long. She loved to laugh and see others laugh, and I intend to laugh when I am with you all too.
I Promised I would be Honest with You

I wanted this blog to get you to really know our family just as we are. I don't want to write us into a mold that we are not. I don't want to lie and say we are "that family" you know the one where the hubby comes home after a long day with a smile on his face to a spotless house with the smell of pot roast in the air, all three children reading books way past their grade levels, all clean and ready to wait on their parents every command.
YEAH THAT IS SO NOT US. So here is a little secret that might make some of you blush, but I know its going to make most of my family and friends roar with laughter. Do you want to know why the work on our Sherman home came to a slow crawl for a while, our bed got delivered, and Jack and I just couldn't stop ourselves from "napping" whenever we went over to work. Some of that "napping" was the married sort, but most of it was just really truly catching up on REMS!
So now that we are moving over to fixing up the final home to rent, this bed above worries me. It is the reason I think that although we could get it done by mid winter I know it will be late spring, cause this is our old bed, we left behind at that location, and it is already calling our names!!!
Our Zoo goes to the Smokey Mountains.
Ripley's aquarium in Gatlinberg TN
A night of rock jumping and current surfing!

Our family

The cabin we were blessed to stay at.

A very exhausted Courtney on the ride home.
This spring my redhead runner called me up and made me an offer I could not refuse. Turns out she has connections, and could get us a 4 bedroom cabin in the smokey mountains for her family and my family to enjoy for a weekend for a steel of a price. I of course could not refuse and we consulted the calender and came up with a time.
I am so glad we did. The weather was wonderful, and our children get along so well together. Each morning the redhead and I enjoyed a 3 mile walk/run/climb through the nearby hills, laughing and talking as we went.
There are so many good pictures of the trip it was hard for me to narrow it down and show you all a few, but this month is already rambling on, so I just picked some highlights.

I have started training again!
After weeks of short runs and walks due to my vein surgery I am finally upping my mileage for my October half Marathon. However I am experiencing the same old problem, what you see above is chaffing and I get it every where, it doesn't hurt, MUCH, but it doesn't look good. I have tried
changing to seamless everything, running in biking shorts that go to the knee, applying anti-chaffing cremes, and using plain old petroleum jelly, but nothing works, anyone got any ideas, before I have perminant chaffing scars?
A day for the Littlest Two Of Our Family Zoo

Seeing this touched my heart, the two of them hand in hand just shaking with the anticipation of the adventure.
And this is where that adventure led them. They spent 2o mins stuck way up in the air waiting for the roller coaster to work, while their mother on the ground couldn't help but feel her heart beating out of her chest, as she recounted stories of roller coaster horrors. They were safe though and got off asking to do it again! Crazy pair!!!

And this would be my eldest's idea of fun at the amusement park, the log ride, and the swing ride, he went on maybe two others. Good thing his ticket was free from the library summer reading program cause we certainly didn't wouldn't have gotten our money's worth from that ticket. He is definatley more like his mama, I get too sick to do the rides my two youngest do.

My youngest two were riding this while their big brother did the log rid, and then proceeded to do it again and again. Thrill seekers I tell ya!

And this is the bench that Jack and I sat on while the kids enjoyed the ride. No free library tickets for us, although we didn't care, were not big roller coaster riders any how. We just sat back and chatted the day away.

The finishing touches
I am happy to report, the Swaysee home is done and rented.
Jack and I are going to go their this week and finish off some outdoor work, but thanks to Craigslist the inside is already filled with our tenants furniture!
Now we just have one more home to finish, which was our original home but we are waiting till October to start that. I would love to have it rented by January, but knowing how we work I think I am safer to say sometime Springtime 2011.
Its that time of year Again
Yes its fall in Indiana. I am fully aware that fall doesn't officially start till late September. But here in Indiana it seems to arrive by the middle of August. Maybe its because that is when the schools go back or maybe its because that is when outdoor soccer season starts up. Or perhaps its because, that is usually when the worst of the humidity is over, and there is such a pleasant breeze each evening and morning, that beckons to you to grab a cup of tea and head for the porch swing and just simply sit a while.
My boy Aiden back in the saddle again. You may have forgotten, or perhaps I didn't post it, but Aiden broke his collar bone sledding down a hill this winter (he is my dare devil child) So he had to miss out on most of the indoor soccer season. He is happy to be back on the field, that's him in the red shirt and red tie dye socks.
Courtney and her math at the soccer practice. Courtney is well lets just say she has a very short attention span. When I get her math books they are generally done well but it takes her forever, and its not that she doesn't know the material, she just rather get distracted then get it done.
School days are doing well this year so far. I made a very organized school year, for the kids to follow. I will print it below cause I love seeing what others do.
Huizinga Academy School Day
Wake up 8 am
session 1: 8:30 to 10:00
This session the kids can do on their own, first time I am actually not needed till 10:30. They do their spelling on-line at (love this site just punch in your children's lists and save and it does the rest). The also do a computer based reading comprehension program by that brought my boys up by 2 grade levels in reading comprehension in their standardized testing over last yr. They also do math drills and memory cards.
I am love the freedom this session give me, cause it means I can enjoy running and biking in what has to be the most beautiful weather we get all year, instead of heading to the Y to the treadmill and spinner's bike cause it is too dark for me to safely workout outdoors in the dark. I do however do one spinner's workout a week cause I would miss my fellow spinner's if I didn't.
I also love this cause Jack doesn't go to work till 11 so this allows me to hang out with him more in the mornings.
10 to 10:30
Morning Snack
I have taken to insisting that all 3 children head outside for the remainder of all breaks after they have eaten if the weather allows, they can bring books or coloring if they want but they must go outside. This is my time to whip around the house and get it organized of the day and tidy for the evening. I also use the time to make any appointment based phone calls so I am not interrupted by school questions.
session 2: 10:30 to 12
Language arts with mom.
I am busy answering questions the entire hour and a half usually. Each child is in a different grade and so has a different set of worksheets and assignments to do in this area each day. I do however managed to keep the laundry going, and sometimes clean up my e-mails and check my FB status during this time.
12 to 12:30
session 3: 12:30 to 2
2 times a week this is group science class
3 times a week they sit together and listen to their history on CD, bible on CD and Spanish on CD, while I catch up on some sitting work (coupons, bills etc) and then quiz them both orally and in written form when they are done.
2 to 2:30
Afternoon Snack
My kids are like me they eat 2 snacks and 3 meals a day, otherwise they are not much fun to be around.
session 4: 2:30 to 3:30
Math hour.
Thomas gets this all done by himself (computer math) Aiden and Courtney right now are needing help with their workbooks but by October they also will be on computer based math.
I love teaching textbook, for computer based math, it is an excellent program worth every penny of its steep price (see I do by some expensive things). My only thing I don't like is my required school yr is 180 days and their lesson plan is for 140 days, now I guess we don't have to do math every day of the school year, but I really prefer to, so I fill in either the first 40 days or the last 40 days of the year with workbook style math. Thomas however is using those 40 days to slowly work up to being at grade level, he is almost there.

I have divide the day into different sessions cause sometimes we have distractions that are out of our control, so on those days I mark down what we got done and make up the rest another day.
To prevent boredom we are a part of a local home schooling Co-op that we love, it is a bit of a drive but we enjoy listening to books on CD while we ride. I try to pick books that the children might not think to pick to read themselves, and it seems to be working so far Aiden has asked to read books by two of the authors we have listened to.
Just this year Jack and I decided the children were not doing enough recreational reading to keep them at grade level. So we decided to assign them a fiction book and a non fiction book or historical fiction book each week. If the books is not done by Sunday they are not allowed computer or video games or movie watching till the books are done. They are keeping reading logs on the books they read. Courtney and Thomas are doing well with this, Aiden has spent pretty much every Sunday doing nothing but reading so as to catch up.
Our Camping trip
We did end up doing the country hick "rigging" of our pop-up (tent trailer), and took the kiddo's camping at a nearby state park, where the younger two attended nature day camp during the day. Thomas spent his days doing a bit of school work (before you call me a mean mommy, I was trying to get them ahead in the school year so we can take off 3 weeks for our coming visit to family) . He spent the afternoons off exploring by himself, one afternoon he and I rented a peddle boat, I have always wanted to go on one. It was so much fun, and quite the work out, I am hooked now, I can't wait to go again and at just $8 an hr for rental, I think I will!
The boys hanging out in the pop-up playing DS and watching VHS' tapes. Yeah I know we are suppose to be camping, enjoying the great outdoors, and we did, but hanging out in the pop up turned to be the favorite activity of choice.
Courtney chowing down on a banana, she loved the pop-up she played in it so much the week we had it up at home, I figured she would be bored of it by the time we left. Although she spent most of her free time, wandering the camp grounds on her bike.

Our home sweet home for 2 nights and 3 days, and we even took the family dog. Can't see the duct tape or homemade supports at all can ya! See I told ya country hick style works every time.

Boys never grow too old to throw rocks in the water.

Aiden after! (see below for before)

Aiden before, he discovered what he called cliff climbing, he would run up the cliff then run down as fast as he could and plunge into the water, his sister soon joined him.

The Salamonie!

Oh and did I mention I couldn't help but join Aiden and Courtney. Cliff climbing looked like so much fun, but I forgot my suit up at the trailer, so well....... a sports bra and bikini briefs are almost as good as a suit right. Don't worry there was no one but us in the area. And if I didn't tell you I know my kids will so I thought I would fess up now.

Jack cooking our dinner, on our little BBQ.
All in all we had a great time, but we do know one thing, we are going to look into an air conditioner unit (second hand) for our little pop-up it is just to hot and humid here, and Jack is use to working in a air-condition environment so he doesn't do well in heat, and Aiden has always overheated quickly, he got mild sunstroke once this summer, but the water and being indoors this trip kept him from having it again. So its either and air conditioning unit or we wait till its still warm enough in day to swim but it cools enough at night for sleep.

I am so proud of my redhead runner!

I remember our first married paper budget, and we have had numerous since. I don't pretend that I am a perfect manager of money, I don't think there is a person out there that is perfect. God doesn't ask for us to be perfect either, He simply asks us to be good stewards with what He gave us.
Yet God has blessed me with financial wealth out of very tragic circumstances, that still today if I could I would give every penny back and have those people back in my life again, but I can't.
That said, I thought long and hard and prayed long and hard before I spent a penny of those blessings, knowing that those who gave it too me worked hard to see it passed on, and the way I spent it seems to be attracting attention. I was asked to give a MOPS financial speech this winter (mother's of preschoolers), where I talked about building a financial legacy using what you have been given wisely.
And then came this proud day shown above, my redhead runner, asked me and my "oh so sarcastic she could be my twin" brunette (I LOVE YOU!!! IF YOU ARE READING THIS KRISTINA,YOU KNOW IT'S TRUE) to sit down with her and make a budget that would work for her family.
It was a great morning crunching numbers. And I can say that although they had a bumpy first week the redhead just told me the other day that a budget it working! and that makes me smile!
I told you I get out of control when I bike ride.
(this photo above is a reenactment of the morning, although the redhead has not been substituted she was in no mood for photo's the day of the actual event)

As I mentioned before sometimes when I get on my bike I just get an urge in my brain, perhaps my helmet is too tight, who knows but once that urge hits nothing can stop it.

It was a Monday morning this time right around 6:30 am the sun finally rose, and I jumped off the couch where I had been waiting for the last hour and a half and ran for the bike, my water bottle, trail mix, my runners watch (also keeps track of bike ride distance and speed) cellphone and mp3 (only worn in one ear on back roads I promise!).

Within the first block I realized the weather was just right, it was too gorgeous for a piddly 10 miler, nope I was heading to my redhead runners house and she was going to make me her special oatmeal.

14.5 miles later and just over 1 hr, I made it climbed off the bike and slowly opened her door, to find her just as I suspected, fast asleep. I woke her with one of my very loud "HEY IT"S ME", and then proceeded to jump on her bed (yes you bet I did).

After wiping the sleep out of her eyes, she did get up and make me breakfast, and we chatted for about 30 mins, before I hopped on my bike and headed for home. Round trip just over 30 miles!! I LOVE BIKING SEASON!!!!
A Fun Evening with Friends
We started off the first good weather month (April) with a BBQ at our house for the children's baptism. It was decided right then and there the families needed to get together more often this summer. Well it didn't end up being every other weekend like planed but it did happen about once a month. The pictures that follows are taking at my redhead runner's parents home. I love it, her dad keeps it as up kept and green as a four star golf course (actually its kept better than any golf course I have seen around these parts) And the backyard pool is incredible well planned out, with outdoor access to a full bath including a shower stall, lots of pool side seating and a screen in porch with a great view of the pool (which really came in hand this night). And if you are wondering what sort of hedge is around the first pic. well that is a corn field, really I live in the Corn State, so could it be anything else!!
When we arrived it was sprinkling, so most of the mom's and dad's hung out in the screen porch watching the crazy kids swim. You know my favorite part of this picture, the polar pop, 32 cold ounces of sweet tea (well actually 2/3rd unsweet, 1/3 sweet lite on the ice, I got a figure to maintain ya know) Could anything be better than sipping tea and hanging out with buddies. Our chef for the night. For some reason the men all showed up late that night so Lynn had to be the man and stand in and BBQ. She and I both had working hubbies that had to miss out on the event, so we joked with each other that we made a couple, since she maned the grill and I knitted while she did it.

After dinner entertainment included zipping down the hill on the tractor!

Thomas is too big for the tractor, so he made up his own way to get down the green lush hill fast!

These three were not as interested in leaving the backyard pool. That is my Aiden on the slide and "little Aiden" watching him, with thoughts of when will I be big enough for that, I am sure dancing in his head.

Several frogs were unfortunately manhandled a bit too much that evening. (oh and as for the pin Courtney is wearing, I swear I did not give it to her! Her friend did, she found it in her grandma's attic, if you met this couple you would totally understand).

Pond's are big here in Indiana and stocking them with catfish is common. Courtney caught her first fish that night, followed by two more. Turns out she is a great fisher lady.

As for my redhead runner, well she caught one, all season, and it wasn't the night pictured. But I love her anyway.

A view of the pond!!!