Monday, March 31, 2008


I can't believe it's been nearly a week since I have blogged! Life has been crazy! We successfully finished testing and I think the kids did pretty well. They focused, took their time and really tried - that's all I can ask! Thanks for praying! We will know the results in about eight weeks.

I have some exciting news - there is a new love in my life: My new washer and dryer!!! We have been saving for awhile and researching for the right one - and we finally went for it! They are made by Fisher-Paykel, a New Zealand company! One of the reasons we settled on this pair is the fact that they are small. Our basement door and stairs are narrow - 27" - and we needed something that would fit in the basement. As you can see we were a little wrong on the dryer. The black marks you see on the side were a result of the dryer not being quite narrow enough! Oh, well! It's in the basement - no one will really see it and Andy says he's going to get some Rustoleum and paint it. The washer is still 3.7 cu. feet - bigger than my old one. My old washer was rusting and dropping bits of rust in the wash, leaving nasty little rust marks on various pieces of clothing. I LOVE this new set! The dryer is a top load dryer - so cool! Except I am a bit short to reach the bottom of it! I have to have a stool to reach the small things! The other cool thing about my new dryer is that it collects the lint in a little bucket and I just have to pull the bucket and dump it into the garbage!!! No more lint dust everywhere! Sarah really like this feature:She just laughed when she saw the little happy face! It even thanks you for using it! So silly - but I love it!

Not much else is going on. We have 34 days of school left. I know I shouldn't be counting, but I am ready to focus on something other than school. I am already planning our schedule for the summer and writing out the jobs that I would like to accomplish. It feels good to know that there is a plan for the summer - though Andy's schedule is looking rather crazy! Pray for him as everything comes together for the next few months.

Daniel has been a real ham lately and has loved having his picture taken - here is an example:He's so cute - isn't he!?!?!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Busy Easter Weekend!

Our weekend started off by heading up to Andy's parent's Friday afternoon. We made a few stops along the way and finally got up there about 6:00 pm. The kids had a great time getting their Easter gifts (Matt - Bionicle LEGO (VERY excited about this!), Sarah - a Littlest Pet Shop set, and Daniel - a toy truck that he LOVES) and creating gimp lanyards with the new EZ Gimptool they purchased at A.C. Moore on the way up. They also got a gimp kit from PopPop and Grammy that they can't wait to use. After finally settling them into bed (right PopPop!?!?!) Lois and I ran to their SuperCenter WalMart which I LOVE. I so wish they had one here in Philly. I had to get supplies for the Easter Egg hunt that Andy puts on for the kids each year!

The next morning the kids woke up and we had the Easter egg hunt. Daniel was a riot. He's not very good at looking for things by direction - he looks everywhere except for where you are pointing! But he had fun. Matt and Sarah also had a blast trying to find the harder placed eggs. After the egg hunt Matt, Sarah and I headed off to the Smith's. My friend, Donna, had a birthday party for her daughter. We had not seen them in months - far too long! Matt had a great time playing with Zachary and Ian and Sarah had a good time with Courtney and Emma. I had fun talking with Donna. It's funny how we don't see each other for so long and can pick up right where we left off! She is an amazing mom and friend! I hope to see her a lot this summer.Sunday was Easter and the kids awoke to their baskets at the breakfast table. Almost all the candy was from CVS - so I didn't pay anything for that! They were happy with what they got. Then they dressed in their Easter finery - thanks to MomMom! and looked VERY smart indeed! See for yourself!After church - which was crowded with visitors - we went to my mom's for the day. The kids had fun visiting with their cousin Sam. Daniel entertained everyone with his guitar playing show! He loves to entertain!

Monday came fast and now we are in the middle of testing. Two days down, two more to go! They are doing pretty well. Please continue to pray that they would stay focused and do their best.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

So Funny!

We use the Discover Card as our credit card and we pay it off every month. The reason we use it is for the Cashback rewards. I usually get the Borders or Olive Garden gift cards and the occasional SEARS for Andy. Well, we have accrued a number of points and so I decided to see what other partners they dealt with and guess what......! CVS is one of their partners!!!!! So I ordered a gift card and I can't wait until it gets here! Now I don't have to spend ANY out of pocket money!!!! This is sooo cool! Can you tell I'm a little excited!!! I know it's silly, but I just had to share!!!

The Proverbial Wall.....

We have hit it. We are tired. I know this point comes every year with homeschooling - usually it has come earlier - but it does come. We are tired of the curriculum, tired of working all day, and just plain tired! Rainy days don't help either (even though I love them!). So what do I do when we hit the wall? We stop. Matt completed Math, English, Spelling, and Reading. Sarah completed the same but Phonics and Vocabulary as well. We then ordered Pizza Hut - thanks to the Book It program - and went to Target to get some gifts for a birthday party we have this weekend. I have learned that there is no sense in pushing to get things done for the sake of checking them off the master list. They won't learn anything anyway. So for today we took a small break. Tomorrow will be another day to complete things and Friday is a half day. Next week is testing and we will only do history, civics, science, art, health, and music. These things, according to my kids, are the "fun" things. Please continue to pray that testing will go well and we will get accurate results.

Today, I also took off from the "big kids" to focus on the "little kid"! Daniel and I took out blocks and built towers to knock over with cars. He has this great belly laugh! We had fun! Daniel has a set of see through blocks that have a letter stamped on one side. Each item within the block correlates to the letter stamped on it. So in the 'B' block there is a 'bunch of bananas'. Of course, the teacher in me, had to go over what was inside the blocks. He thought this was so much fun and kept asking what was in each one. I am still amazed at his math ability. He can count to 12 and can tell me how many objects he has - like two blocks. Associating numbers with things is a big thing for a 2 year old! He definitely has a math mind - like his father! Though I recently heard that intelligence is inherited from the mother!?!?! Not likely in this case! I really have to work on focusing more time on my sweet baby. It really relaxed me!

Monday, March 17, 2008


Today was the first day in three weeks that Matt has completed ALL of his school work scheduled for the day! YEAH!!! Did I plan any less? NO! Is he capable of doing the work that is scheduled for him? YES! Today proved it. When he puts his head together and cooperates it goes well and he completes the tasks. Was it a smooth day? No, not really, but he got it all done! And I am extremely happy. Tomorrow is KidSport and I only schedule the morning work as we have to leave by 1:00 p.m. and don't get home until 3:30 p.m. When we get home its get dinner ready and get out the door for Kids Club. Tuesday's are crazy - but I really love KidSport and will do it any day of the week! I also planned a half day for Friday so that we can go to Andy's parents and spend some time with them. After this week we only have eight more weeks of school! WOOHOO!! 40 days! I am ready for the break and so are the kids, though we still do "things" throughout the summer to keep them on track. This summers goal is to learn our math facts backwards and forwards. I have several games planned to help meet our goal. I just think math is so much easier when you don't have to "think" about the facts - the extra step. I am also planning on a lot of reading - both my own and the kids! Only 40 more days!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Great Day

Friday was a great day! Andy and the kids left with the Hinson boys around 10:00 am - and didn't return home until almost 8:00 pm!!! You would think I would have gotten everything on my list completed - but do you know how long it takes to wash and fold and put away 10 (yes, that is TEN!) loads of laundry? I also cleaned my bedroom and went through several containers in which things that have no official home (or no time to put in their official home) have gathered and it was time to find homes or give them away. I also spent an hour outside in the front yard cleaning the trash that has gathered in our little fenced in area all winter. It looks so good right now! I love it when it is clean. I can't wait to plant my flowers - only about two more months until I can!!!!Andy and the kids had a blast with the Hinson's at Grammy and PopPops. They also loved visiting the farm where they retrieved the seasoned soil. Daniel is in love with cows! He was so excited! Andy said Daniel and Kyler really got along well and seemed to enjoy each others company. Here is a picture that Matt caught of them "talking". Isn't it cute!!! I pray that they will grow up to be fast friends.

Matt had a good time with Paxton. As Paxton gets older Matt enjoys him more. Before Matt didn't really know what to do with a "little" kid, but Paxton will be six next month and has really grown a lot in the last year. They had a fun time wrestling on the mats.

I'll let the rest of the pictures tell the rest of the story. It was a good day for all!Kyler thought it would be fun to go swimming!

You can't see the water, but Daniel thought it was fun to pick up the sandy dirt and let it fall from his hand into the water. Kyler enjoyed throwing rocks and seeing the water splash. It was a beautiful day! I so can't wait until spring!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Early Christmas?

Going off the previous post - I believe Christmas may have come early for me this year! Why, do you ask? I believe I may get a good portion of the day off of homeschooling tomorrow! Andy has to run up to his parents to get some manure for a garden he and some other members of the staff are planning and he has offered to take the kids with him. Frank is going up with him and taking his boys so Andy thought it would be good for our kids to tag along and get some fresh air. I am tingling with anticipation - giddy beyond belief that I may actually get caught up on the laundry and clean several rooms before someone comes along and tears thing apart!!!! I may actually get the fingerprints off the glass doors! I may get to clean my kitchen windows that have been driving me absolutely CRAZY because they are so dirty! I really am a neat freak/ clean freak by nature - but three kids and a crazy schedule have caused me to reduce the number of hours I can put to such tasks. Matt and Sarah are only able to go if they get their school work done by the time they have to leave. Sarah stayed up until 9:00 pm and has everything but Math to complete. Matt has a little more - Math, spelling, and Literature. But if he puts his mind to it he can get it done. It all depends on what his frame of mind is like. If he is diligent in doing his work and not goofing around, I may allow him to finish his work on Saturday. Hopefully, he'll wake up in a good frame of mind and get right to work.

This afternoon proved to be interesting as I received a phone call that my sister had been rushed to the hospital for an irregular heartbeat and high blood pressure. Thankfully, she is well and was released. The doctors believe that the episode could have been caused by either stress or a virus. The flu is going around something terrible at the school in which she teaches. It made Matt and Sarah nervous as they were concerned about their cousin Sam. I think it made Matt think as he asked if I had ever heard the saying "You never know what you got till it's gone" (he has heard it through a TobyMac song). I said yes and we had a good discussion about how we should appreciate the people and things in our lives each and every day.
"Does that mean school, too?" he asked.
"Yes, school too!" I said.
"I appreciate homeschooling as I know it may be gone someday." he said.
I think he is starting to see the struggle we are having in homeschooling. I know he likes being homeschooled - he just doesn't like the work. What he doesn't really understand is that he would still get work no matter where he did school. I know a Philly school would be easier - but he would be bored out of his mind!!! This week has been going better. He was behind up until yesterday, but he was diligent and caught up and now he may have the blessing of going on an unexpected trip! I hope he sees that when he is faithful in doing what he is called to do, he is blessed. Please continue to pray for his young faith and that he would continue to grow in his relationship with the Lord.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

KidSport at Philadelphia Biblical University starts today!!! YEAH!!! I LOVE these next six Tuesdays. I love the fact that I can sit and talk with other moms while someone else is dealing with Matt and Sarah. It is during these next six weeks that I realize why many moms opt to send their kids to school. It is easier, but I am glad (for the most part :-) ) that Andy and I have the most influence on our children's character and their behavior. But the break is nice! We only have 48 more days of school left. That includes testing that will take place the week of March 24th. When we test we have a lighter week of school. We usually don't do math and Grammar. It depends on how long the testing takes for that day. Please pray that the kids would show exactly what they know and don't know. Testing is required for both of them as they are in 3rd and 5th grade. PA law says that all third and fifth students must be tested. Many people say it is a reflection of the students knowledge, but I always feel it is also a reflection on what and how I am teaching them. Please just pray that they would do as well as they can.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Art Show

Sarah held an art show/ auction today! It was so much fun! She gave each of us a number to hold up and started all the pictures at a penny. Can you tell we have taken our children to auctions before?!?! We have decided that Daniel should NEVER be given a number as he keeps bidding higher and higher! He was even out bidding himself! He was a riot! The two pieces that are pictured here brought in the most - 20 cents a piece! All together she made 71 cents. She has some pieces left for tomorrow as Andy had to leave to get ready to speak tonight. Maybe she'll make more tomorrow!
Andy went to Bethany E.C. Church's Missions Banquet to speak about the ministry tonight. I decided to stay home as we are losing an hour tonight and it is already 10:15 pm and he isn't home yet. The kids do not handle lack of sleep well and Matthew is already behind in some of his school work from last week. I believe lack of sleep is a huge factor in our kids behavior. Anyway, Andy was showing a slide show with the music of Randy Stonehill's "Who Will Save the Children?" tonight. It is pretty powerful. I'll have to see if I am able to upload it to the blog somehow.

Please continue to pray for Matt and me and we work through life. I realize that part of this is growing up and letting go, but we are also dealing with authority issues and lack of motivation to finish tasks. We have decided to go back to basics with Matt and walk him through how we are to treat others and think less of ourselves and work with each other. Currently he is just not making wise choices and is letting his anger get the best of him. Please pray for me that I would keep my cool and really find out what the heart issue is so we can not just get surface behavior, but true heart behavior.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Living in Philly

Some of you may know, but many others probably don't, what a daily struggle it is for me to live where we live. I love what we do and I love who we work with, but I hate living in the city. My dream as a kid had always been to live in the country. I think mostly it centers around fears of all the things that go on and in the city. I grew up in an area very similar to the city and witnessed a number of different things. I certainly NEVER wanted that life for my kids. So, when God called us to Philadelphia I really struggled with that call. I still do. Everyday I have to wake up and give the day to God and the fact that we live here. I have to give my children over to Him for protection each and every day. I know we should be doing this no matter where we live. So it's good I live in Philly or else I would certainly be oblivious to this fact and take it for granted that they were safe and not give them over to Him everyday. Today I was made keenly aware of God's protection of my children. Each day we take a walk to the playground at the end of our block. It is one of the last "green" places in our neighborhood and is slated to be the new elementary school for our neighborhood. Since this is the case no one takes care of this playground and it has become a terrible eyesore. There is broken glass, trash in abundance and this:Yes, seven needles. Five still with their points. Sarah found these. It makes me sad to think that my eight year old daughter (1) knows what a needle looks like and (2) that she has to constantly be aware of these things. I thank God that she knows to come to an adult and tell them about these things. We gathered them up and threw them away so that no one else would get hurt. Please continue to pray for our children as we raise them in the city. Pray for God's protection and that they would grow up without fear, but know God's strength and power in their lives.

On a lighter note this is our rockin' baby:He thinks Sarah's swing to her Loving Family Doll House makes a great pair of glasses! He loves this Backyardigan's guitar he got from Grammy for Valentine's Day. He is always rockin' out! I just happen to get a good picture this time! He usually runs away from the camera. Like the little curl on the left top side of his head? He needs a haircut! He gets one on Friday.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Busy, Busy, Busy

We have had several busy days. It started Friday with going to Giggleberry Fair at Peddler's Village. We LOVE this place! The kids always have such a great time there. We met my parents and my sister and her son Sam. There is Giggleberry Mountain which has tons of things to climb around in and balls to shoot and toss and slides - it's just crazy! Daniel LOVED it! There are also games to play to earn tickets. The kids earned a bunch of tickets and turned them in for different trinkets. We actually get quite spoiled here because a friend of my mom's works here and she gives us the wrist bands to go into the mountain and on the indoor carousel. We only go once a year because we do not want to take advantage of her generosity. She will not take no for an answer! We are so blessed! Daniel especially loved the cotton candy that our friend gave to him!Saturday the kids went with Andy to Home Depot as they have a woodworking class the first Saturday of every month. They had a fun time building race cars. Daniel has been carrying his around ever since. That evening we went out to dinner with the Curry's. They were supposed to go out for a romantic dinner for their birthday's, but their babysitter got sick. So they invited us to go out with them to the Old Country Buffet. We had a coupon!! We had a good time as we haven't had a chance to sit and talk with them for a while.

The rest of the week we have been doing school and trying to get through things. I am struggling with trying to figure out if I am demanding too much of the kids or not enough. Matt is struggling to finish the assignments given and I am not sure if it is because it is too much or he's just unmotivated. I believe it is the latter. My next dilemma is how to motivate him. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated! We continue to pray and trust God for the answers as to how we should raise our children. In the meantime, here are some pictures to see what has been going on!Sarah in the Giggleberry Mountain shooting at me with the ball gun!