Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

I'm a day late...again...on posting for Thanksgiving Day!  Our day turned out a lot different than I had envisioned.  I was looking forward to a day of relaxation and family time.  We did get both, but not in the way I had planned.  We headed to Yorkton, about a 4 hour drive, to look at a vehicle and came home with a 2006 Suburban.  Hopefully this vehicle will be a  good purchase.  It should fit us and all our stuff for our trip to BC for Andrew and Lu's wedding.  Yah!  Our Tahoe has been having issues for over a year and our mechanic can not figure out what is wrong.  The Tahoe looses power at any given time.   The motor runs, but there is no power to drive.   We pull over, flashers on, turn off the engine, wait a few minutes and start the engine again and go.  Sometimes we can drive hundreds of kilometres and the next day we can only drive 2 kms.  I lost count of how many times this happened yesterday.  I'm guessing well over 30 times.  I'm hoping and praying we can fix this and sell the vehicle.  In the mean time it will be wonderful to have a vehicle that works well.
Anyhow...on to Thanksgiving.  I am finding the older I get and the more I learn, the more I love Thanksgiving.  It is the one celebration that does not involve extra purchases, (other than some specialty foods perhaps) such as Christmas and Easter.  I love that we take the time to really focus on all of our blessings.  This year was especially meaningful.  I've been taking the time to write down what I am grateful for on an almost daily basis.  It is a challenge some days and I'm ok with that.  I hate forcing something, however, the more I consciously acknowledge all I am blessed with, the more grateful I am.  Here are some of the things I have written in my "Thankfulness Journal"...
238) Early morning mist.
246) Soft cuddles from Jackson.
251) Smell of harvest in the air.
258) Joy on Malia's face at a job well done.
268) Glow in new mama's eyes.
270) Me having a melt down.  (Sounds odd, but it's good to know GOD is in control)
274) Alex willingness to do chores.
297) Freezer meals.
307) Bright fall colors
323) Gentle back rubs from Raina
351) Short dates with Martin
Most of all, I am thankful for a God that offers grace, forgiveness, and mercy each and every day; and for my lovely family who make me laugh every day! :) 

Friday, October 11, 2013

22 Years

This past weekend Martin and I celebrated our 22nd wedding anniversary.  We had planned to go out for supper, with the kids of coarse, because Jackson still gets stressed when we're not around.  However, our weekend was a whirlwind of activity and by the time Saturday rolled around we were more than happy to have a low key family supper and movie at home.  Yesterday we managed to sneak away for a few hours in the afternoon while the little ones napped.  (Insert looooong sigh!)  It felt so good to grab an icecap/coffee and go for a stroll along the beautiful riverbank in Saskatoon.  The air smelled of poplar trees...as they only smell in fall.  The air was warm and the sun was shining. It was just what we needed!
I  know it sounds cliché, but our wedding day feels like it was only a few years ago and I usually feel just as young, although the pictures tell a different story! lol.   Time has flown by and what an adventure it has been!
According to statistics, our marriage should have ended many years ago.  We married young.  (At least I did! ;)  We had very little in the way of finances.  We have renovated/restored several homes...one still isn't done after 10 years!  (It drives me crazy!!!)  We've experienced many major changes in our lives, all  which are considered huge stressors.  In the past 7 years we have lost both my parents to cancer, left a church we attended for 12 years, adopted 3 kids, experienced major financial stress, dealt with many surgeries and illnesses, and began homeschooling.  Yes, according to statistics...our marriage shouldn't be happy.  However, we are happy!
Yesterday I asked Martin what has made our marriage work. His response was a simple, but true answer..."We love each other!"  Corinthians 13:4-7 says "Love never gives up.  Love cares more for others than for self.  Love doesn't want what it doesn't have.  Love doesn't strut, doesn't have a swelled head, doesn't force itself on others, isn't always "me first", doesn't fly off the handle, doesn't keep score of the sins of others, doesn't revel when others grovel.  Love takes pleasure in the flowering of truth, puts up with anything, trusts God always, always looks for the best, never looks back, but keeps going to the end."  Perfect love looks like this.  Unfortunately, our love for each other isn't always perfect.  We fight.  We hurt each other.  We're downright rude and mean sometimes.  In fact the past few years have been downright hard!  Sometimes we don't even like each other.  But at the end of the day we are determined to make it work.  The neat thing is that we complement each other.  One is more willing to ask for forgiveness. One is more willing to forget about the incident.  One can't sleep until things have been made right.  One focuses more all the good times and intentionally talks about them.  One is the gas and the other is the brake.  One is a dreamer.  One is a realist.  Both of us are 100% committed!  Add an immeasurable amount of God's grace and mercy and somehow it works!  We are each others best friend and we still love each other after 22 years!

This man of mine never ceases to amaze me!  He does what is right.  No matter how much it costs him.  He has been "a reluctant spouse" each time we have adopted.  But somehow he puts his human selfishness aside and loves on our children with his whole heart, working hard to bond with each one.  He puts family before work.  He is quiet in all he does.  In some circles he is seen as less than  "a godly man" because he isn't vocal about his love for God and he's not one to pray in front of others.  He'd rather live out his love for God.  He regularally visits with the down and out...those the church generally sees as a failure.  He comes home weekly with stories of how someone has shared their heart with him.  He listens with a caring and loving heart.  He comes home from work exhausted, but still pitches in and helps with the dishes, household chores, the kids...whatever needs to be done...without a complaint.  I am blessed to have him in my life!!!

"You know when you're in love when you can't fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams." — Dr. Seuss
Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.
Lao  Tzo
PS:  Thanks to Chantel Klassen for the wonderful photos!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

First Month Back to School

The first month of school has come and gone.  And I'm still alive to write about it!  lol!  What a busy month.  We began a week late due to a mix up with the boy's online classes and Malia's curriculum arriving late.  We've been trying to catch up all month...and we did!  So much so that the boys have already completed about 25 % of this years work! Malia has completed 40 days worth of school work.  I have decided I really need to relax...a LOT, and have more fun with my kids.  We are beginning to see the benefits of homeschooling, even as I mourn that which our kids are missing out on. 
In spite of this being a crazy month, our kids have been super happy.  There is a calm in the air that is unusual for this time of year.  A peace that has settled on our kids.  At the moment, I wouldn't trade it for the world!  Here are a few pics of what home schooling has looked like this month.
I did manage to get a quick shot of the kids on their first "official" day back to school.

The boys have taken their bows and arrows out almost every day.  Something they used to not have time for.  We're beginning to think it may be time to get a more serious bow for both boys.  (Sorry for the poor quality photos...someone dropped my lens and it's not working like it should)

Malia's been riding her bike a lot, showing off to her little siblings.  :)  Malia has been loving home schooling.  She was so angry when we first told her, because she knew she couldn't pull the wool over my eyes, and that I will make her redo her work every time it's not neat.  For the most part this has not been an issue.  She works incredibly hard and has the neatest printing ever.  Her letters are formed perfectly.  She's only had a few episodes where she has pretended she didn't know what to do.  I'm enjoying the opportunity to fill her love bucket and have been showering her with praise at every opportunity.  I think it is the beginning to true healing and bonding for this sweet girl of mine and it is beginning to show.
Recently Raina commented "Mom, you look so bootiful!" Something she says almost daily...I may end up with a swollen head! lol!  I responded by telling her how beautiful she was.  She didn't think she was beautiful because she was wearing old pjs.  I explained that beauty has nothing to with clothes, or hair, or jewelry; but rather that she was beautiful regardless of what she was wearing.  Malia piped up and said "Yah!  You're beautiful!  Just like me!  I have beautiful eyes, beautiful hair and my cleft lip is beautiful too!"

The boys are taking online classes, which means I do not have to plan or mark their work.  I help out when they need help and monitor to make sure their assignments are completed on time.  My biggest fear was the amount of time they would spend on the computer.  It turns out that they can easily finish a days work in a few hours.

Alex didn't want anyone to see what he was working on...

Each day the kids get a mid morning break...recess.  My sanity time!  :)  Morgun has been playing with the little ones a lot and their imaginations are on fire.  We simply HAD to eat lunch in the play fort one day. 

The boys were good sports and played along.  I think they actually really enjoyed themselves.  Honestly who wouldn't?  It was kind of cool!

At the moment the kids work in various places...at the kitchen table or in the Lego room.  It drives me crazy having school stuff everywhere.  Hopefully the patio will be ready soon so we can move everything school related into there.

We've been enjoying weekly visits to the library, which usually means a day in town.  The kids are loving it!  We've even done some crafts.
Morgun has been playing Lego with the girls and they came up with this neat house...filled with detail.  The board on the left shows construction workers in the process of building a house.  Love their creativity!

The boys have spent hours and hours out in the garage making throwing knives.  They've each made several, improving on them each time.  Ahhh!  Makes me smile to see all the good that is coming with our decision to home school.

As much as I feel we had a great first month, there are things I want to improve upon.  I want to have more of a schedule.  We've been trying to start school at 9 am each day, have a 15-30 min recess and then be done school by noon.  Some days we've been successful, and the next, not so much.  I really need some sort of routine.  At the moment half of my craziness comes from not enough routine.  In the next months our goal will be to schedule in more free days to focus on the artsy and fun side of school.  I would also love to take one day a week off just to focus on all the housework, bookwork, etc.