Sunday, May 5, 2013

Has it Really Been That Long?

I truly can't believe it has been 9 months since my last blog post!  Wow!

There has been so much going on in our lives.  Some good. Some great. Some troublesome. Some difficult. But no matter what it is, we are just attacking it day by day.  We are not the ones in control.  It is my prayer that as we move through this seemingly endless season of our lives that we show the love of the One who is in control.

Here is the scoop on the last 9 months...

Princess TD

Wow!  She is turning into such a sweet young lady right before our eyes.  She is about to be 10 years old, but has such wisdom.  School for this year has had its challenges.  She is capable of completing all of the work, but just like every other student out there, she would rather play than study most days. Especially in the very mild and beautiful weather we have had for the past few months.  Hey, I am right there with her!  I would rather be playing than teaching, cleaning, paying bills, etc. Academically, she is doing great.  She loves math, science, reading and history.  She is less fond of grammar, but does very well. She is still struggling some with spelling, but that has greatly improved this year.

She is still enjoying American Heritage Girls and is in her first year in the Explorer Unit.  She is such a good helper to the Unit and to me as the Unit Leader.  She and Little TD help me set up the room and break it down at almost every meeting.  She still loves to earn badges and has deepened her interest in several badges she earned as a Tenderheart.  Her goal this year was to earn the Presidential Service Award.  She didn't want to just earn the award.  She wanted to earn the Gold!  She looked everywhere for opportunities to serve others.  I rejoined a ladies Bible study, and she volunteered in the nursery.  She absolutely loved it and adores all of the kids.  Because of this, and our regular volunteering at a food pantry, she accomplished her goal!  She earned 107 hours of service in 1 year!  I am so proud of her!

She is still our little budding ballerina.  She loves ballet and this year we added modern.  She loved both classes and just completed her Grade 2 exam.  This year her confidence, grace and poise has just blossomed.  I love to see her stand tall and be proud.  She is completely opposite of how I was at the same age.  I absolutely hated being tall!  She is proud and confident and loves the fact that she can reach the pedals and see over the steering wheel of a Ford Mustang at the age of 9!  (Well maybe her love of sports cars is more like me than her daddy!) She is just over 5' tall and so very proud of it!

Little TD

What is there to say about this sweet boy!  He is so kind, generous and tenderhearted.  He is growing like a weed and just keeps getting taller and taller overnight!  School for him is going well.  He is my get there and just get it done kid.  He wants to keep going until it's done so he can play.  While Princess TD actually has true independent work, he is trying to keep up there with her.  He is calling his handwriting and math his independent work.  I think it's funny that he feels he can do math without instruction.  Well, maybe not so funny, he can do most of it without help!  Reading and spelling are his struggles this year.  It seems like just as he is about to take off, something happens and he forgets everything he learned.  I have come to the conclusion that what I am currently doing with him is not working and I am looking for new solutions for next year.  I will keep you posted there.

This year was Little TD's first year in scouting. He has wanted to be a scout for so long and go camping with his friends like Princess TD does with AHG.  This year we joined the Cub Scout Pack at the same church where we do AHG.  It has turned out to be a pretty good year.  He has completed his Tiger rank and will be bridging to Wolf this week.  He is having so much fun and can't wait to get started on the Wolf requirements.

He played basketball for the second year with Upward.  He had great coaches this year and Mr. TD even stepped in to help with the coaching of the boys playing post position.  He has some natural talent (which obviously comes from Mr. TD and not me!), but needs to spend more time working on the basic skills.  But hey, he's only 7, so he's not quite old enough to play professionally yet! ;-)  He has also been playing catch with the neighbor boy who plays baseball.  I am still hoping to have my ambidextrous boy be a pitcher for the St. Louis Cardinals...a mom can dream, right?!?

Mr. & Mrs. TD

I think we have had the roughest 9 months of our lives.  Being a parent raising children, homeschooling, working, maintaining a home and being the only caretakers for an ailing parent is not a fun place to be.  I have heard this called the "sandwich generation."  That sounds great, but sandwiches are good and this is not a good place to be!  It is hard to care for someone who doesn't want to be cared for, and doesn't want to care for herself.  I know in my heart that this is the right thing to do, and I am so completely blessed to have a wonderful husband who will support me through this time.  I know this is hard on him. I know this is hard on my kids.  This is hard on me.  I have spent quite a bit of time looking for resources to encourage me on this journey.   I am looking for something from a Christian perspective on caring for a parent while raising young kids.  There is not much out there. It was suggested that I journal my journey (which I am doing) and publish it.  I have heard that said several times by several people who do not know each other. I don't know about publishing it, but I may consider blogging about it on a separate blog.  Please pray for me to know if this is something that I should really consider.  I don't want to add something else to my plate, but I feel like I need to tell my story.  Maybe it is to make me feel better and confirm that I have actually extended forgiveness.  Maybe it is because someone else needs to know that healing and forgiveness are available to them.


Tuesday, July 24, 2012


"Those that fail to learn from history, are doomed to repeat it"

- Winston Churchill

My kids love American history.  It makes sense.  At a very young age, Princess TD learned she shared her birthday with our country and naturally that intrigued her.  Of course, Little TD has always been intrigued by the boats and the wars.  He is a boy after all!

Our curriculum spends two full years studying American history before moving on to covering world history.  There are many reasons for that but the one that resonates the most with me is that younger children do not understand their vastness of their city, or state, or country, let alone the world.  It just makes sense to start with an overview of our country’s history and then branch out from there.  So, for the past 3 years we have been covering American history. 

There have been a couple of times that the knowledge they have has surprised me.  One night as Jay Leno was doing his Jaywalking segment, they had 5 questions about America.  I knew all of the correct answers, but I was curious how much Princess TD would know (at the time, she was the only one in “school”).  When it was over, I wrote the questions down to see what she would say.  She got all but one question right!!  In all fairness, the one she missed we hadn’t studied. Now I know this is for humor, but there are many Americans who don’t know our country’s history.  That is a shame.

Square250x250 Back in March, Kirk Cameron did a live release of his documentary Monumental.  I was unable to attend the live event because our local theaters sold out before I could get tickets.  The following week, I ordered the DVD.  It came in this week.  I watched it this weekend while Mr. TD napped since I knew he wasn’t as excited as I was to see the film.  I thoroughly enjoyed the film.  I was a bit distracted by the precious little ones playing camping on the other side of the couch, but I own the movie, I can watch it whenever I want!

Well, Little TD and Princess TD were not distracted too long.  Little TD heard Kirk mention the town of Scrooby, and he pops his head over the back of the couch and says, “Hey! I know that! That’s where the Pilgrims hid and worshipped God!”  He also knew that the Speedwell did not make the trip to the New World.  He said, “It got a hole in it",” as soon as it was mentioned in the film.  Princess TD remembered the Pilgrims getting stopped at the beach and said it happened twice, before the movie did.  She also remembered that they stayed in Amsterdam for a bit before moving on to Leiden.  Once they began investigating the monument in detail, they went back to playing camping.

This was just confirmation for me that even with all of the unintended breaks we have taken from our school, they are learning and I am not ruining them! 

If you are a history buff and want to learn more about why our country was founded, I highly recommend this film.  It is family friendly, so don’t feel like you have to see it without the kids.  In fact, show it to them.  They may learn something that they wouldn’t be taught in school.


Monday, July 16, 2012

Back to (Home) School

With everything that has been going on in our family life over the past two years, schooling has somewhat fallen to the back burner more often than I would truly like to admit.  But we have been plugging right along, slowly but surely.  Originally when we decided to homeschool, it was a year to year plan.  Now, not so much.  We are planning to homeschool for the long haul.  I can’t even begin to tell you how freeing that decision has made this journey. 

This has become our lifestyle.  Everything we do has some aspect of learning.  For example, tonight at the dinner table, we were talking about the sad event of three people being struck by lightening over the weekend.  We all feel bad for the people affected by the tragedy and the kids will pray for them forever.  (That is how they are. Once you make their prayer list, you never get missed and are prayed for daily, at least once.) But Mr. TD was able to turn it into a learning experience to talk about what to do (and not to do) if we are caught outside during a lightening storm.  Being the curious children Princess TD and Little TD are, they began to ask some in depth questions about electricity.  Let me just say for the record how grateful I am to have married an electrical engineer!  While, I can adequately answer their questions, I was so glad to have Mr. TD around to patiently explain the concept of electricity flow to them.  They have an understanding of those concepts that I didn’t have until college…after I met Mr. TD and he explained them to me!!  Thanks hon!

So, as so many of our homeschooling friends are gearing up for the new year and searching and researching curriculum, we are set!  Thanks to a very sweet homeschooling mom who pointed me toward Heart of Dakota when I was searching for something for Princess TD to use for Kindergarten, we are set until Carrie stops writing curriculum, which I hope is not until her children finish high school!

Two years ago, I ventured to Arlington, Texas, for the Book Fair there because that is the closest location where Carrie Austin, the author of the Heart of Dakota curriculum, comes for homeschool convention season.  I made the trek because I was concerned about Princess TD getting too far ahead too quickly.  There is a pretty big skills jump from one guide to the next and I was afraid Princess TD would not be able to keep up with what was required.  Carrie was so very helpful and suggested that I don’t have to do everything as written and do what Princess TD could handle, gradually increasing it as she could handle more.  That is exactly what I did and she did great!  Carrie also suggested taking a year and a half to complete Bigger Hearts for His Glory so she would be more ready to tackle Preparing Hearts for His Glory.  That would also move her from the younger end of the age ranges to more of the middle of the range.  That was my plan.

However, due to the circumstances of the last two years, it took us longer than what was expected to complete Bigger.  But, that puts us right where we need to be! Even with all of the missed school time, Princess TD is right where she needs to be.  Her skills are such that we can jump right into Preparing and not have to do it half time, or slow anything down.  She is ready!  Even out of all the turmoil, we are being blessed!  Praise God!!

I have tweaked the curriculum to change some things that were not working for us.  I thought I might need to change the spelling program for Princess TD, but in the last couple of weeks, her spelling has just taken off!  She seems to all of a sudden be getting it!  So, I think we’ll stick with what we are doing for now!

You may be thinking, what does all of this mean?

Well, for one, I can go to the THSC Convention & Family Conference in a couple of weeks and just enjoy myself!  I don’t have to be on a mad search for curriculum.  I don’t NEED to buy anything!  I have everything I need and I can just have fun.  Secondly, this tells me that we are on the right track, for now. 

We are blessed!!


Tuesday, June 19, 2012


We are getting there!!!  I think we are getting close to the point where we can be adjusted to the "new normal" around here.  Maybe...

Just as we thought everything was going smoothly, the clinic where mom's doctors were closed!  Yes closed! Shut their doors!  All of the doctors, nurses and staff were fired with 5 days notice!  So, we have found a new PCM and are kind of sitting back and waiting to see where all of her specialists land.  Hopefully we can still see at least a few of them (we are up to 7 doctors now...maybe 8 soon!).  Taking her meds has continued to be a struggle, so I finally made the decision to have someone come in and give them to her.  This has been such a relief.  I don't have to check her pills when we visit, we can just visit!  We do however have to pay for it, and right now, that is the stress point for me.  I am trying to figure out how I can pay for this and everything else.  I really hope my sister and brothers will actually help out there!

While it seems like all I have done is take care of my mom for the last 7 months, we have had a little bit of fun time!  I won't take the time to do a post on everything, but I will give a few highlights!

  • In January and February, Little TD played basketball with Upward.  He had an absolute blast and he actually has a little bit of natural talent!  Yeah, he gets that from his dad!
  • All ready for his first game!
  • Princess TD continued this year with ballet.  She is improving all the time.  I love to see how her attitude and posture changes when she puts on the black leotard and pink tights.  It is amazing to see how poised she becomes!  She will be moving up a grade and taking ballet 2 nights a week and modern 1 night a week (thankfully modern is on a ballet night!).  I can't wait to see how much fun she has!
  • Just before Exams
    Butterfly at Dress Rehearsal

  • In January we took a family vacation and met my aunt and uncle at Disney World!  We stayed a week.  It. Was. So. Much. Fun.  Little TD said that he wanted to fly home, change out the clothes in his suitcase and come right back!  I think my aunt and uncle were a bit weary by the end of it...they may need more of a break than that!  Ever since I was a little girl, my uncle has been trying to get me to ride roller coasters with him.  I can remember standing in front of the Wabash Cannonball at Opryland at about 9 years old and refusing to go on it with him.  Well, he got his wish!  I finally rode a coaster with him...Expedition Everest.  It was so much fun!  We rode it 2 more times!  Maybe next time I won't be as congested and we can do a few more!
  • Little TD finished Kindergarten and has moved right in to 1st grade.  He seems to be keeping up and wanting to learn more and more every day!  He just adores building with Legos, and is always asking to get more.  He wants more sets of course, but mostly he wants more "creation" Legos (as he calls them) so he can build from his imagination!  He does very well with that.  It may be time to look into some Lego robotics for him in another year or so...when he's old enough!
  • Princess TD is almost finished with 3rd grade. Somehow we have finished some of the subjects, but not all of them...I am not sure where we got so far off in the schedule.  We just need to finish up a little bit of history, learning about the Wright brothers.  How can I not finish that and take the opportunity to discuss flow over the wing, wind tunnels and their experiments with air flow, and all of the things about fluid dynamics that make me giddy!
  • Princess TD is till involved in American Heritage Girls.  She completed her 3rd year as a Tenderheart and her Sacagawea Level Award.  She has moved up to Explorer and she is already working on badges and service hours!  I will be moving up with her as I take over as the Explorer Unit Leader. 
  • She's an Explorer now!
  • Our year of activities is technically over.  AHG is done.  Ballet is done. Whew!

Then summer starts.

  • Both Princess TD and Little TD participated in a VBS last week. It was an old school VBS and they love it!  I got some nice time with my girlfriends, almost uninterrupted!  (Love ya are so cute!)
  • This week they are both in basketball camp.  They are both having fun and I think learning new skills.  Little TD told me today that he just needs to grow just 1 more inch and then he can dunk!  Yeah, well, he plays on a 6 ft. goal!  Princess TD, bless her heart, plays like her Mommy!  Although with Daddy coaching her at home, she will likely have me beat very quickly!
Well, those are just a few things that have been going on here.  Even with all of the turmoil, we are still taking time as a family and having fun!