Tuesday, August 04, 2015

Coming back . . .

Four months!  Can you believe it's been so long??  I didn't have time to write.  Then I had too much to write.  Then I couldn't figure out where to start!  So I'm skipping the past four months . . . my "end of school" recap.  My end of Ranch Year.  A miscarriage.  An amazing summer vacation.  The new start to a school year.  Fast-forwarding so to speak to today.

We have five boys with us now, ages 8-12.  We started school on Monday.  My own kids started home school on Monday, as well.  Home school "lite" really.  We are easing and teasing our way back into routine, but none of us could wait another day really.  I'm learning to jump in and not wait until things are "perfectly planned," whether that be new chore routines or cooking lessons for Shannon or school days.  Heidi is growing up too fast and has entered a very intense season of parenting.  I keep telling her she is too young for some of this behavior nonsense but she doesn't listen!

So all in all- life is full and I love it.  Is it crazy?  Totally!  Trying to train a wild 8 year old to fold clothes and make a bed, to be quiet when it's time to be quiet.  To be respectful.  That life here is safe.  It takes a lot of talking and teaching.  And he is just one.  Days can be like a marathon from 6 am to 8 pm (when all are in bed), filled with many sprint moments (7-8 am and 7-8 pm are my crazy hours, pray for me then!).  But at the end of the day, I wouldn't trade it for the world!

I HOPE to get back here more regularly, but for now . . . a photo recap of the last months!  Because pictures do tell the story!

Waaaaaaaaaay back to April- we rented an amazing condo with friends and explored Saint Augustine!  Early mornings at the beach and old city!  Love this place!

 The fort is an amazing historical and interesting place to visit!

And not much beats an early morning at an empty beach!

As we moved from April and into May . . . lots of tree and rope climbing!

Pushing through with school!  We finished an amazingly hard "read aloud," and both kids surprised me with their desire to listen and enjoy a hard book ("The Wheel on the School").  We pushed through with very routine mornings, which worked very well.

Little glimpses of goodness (as my friend Janet would say) delighted me, in a hard emotional time (which I now know was because I was in those early weeks of pregnancy, ugh!).

Heidi continued to enjoy her "best friends."

And be everyone's favorite entertainer!

We watched Shannon prepare for her ballet recital (at this crazy colored studio!!).

And then we did some hair and makeup and got to watch an amazing worship-dance recital!!

Forest and I had a great time at Shannon's recital! It was at the Holy Land Experience, decorated by the TBN . . . so for example, toilet stalls with MIRRORS!  I mean, who doesn't want to watch themselves use the loo?  Ew!

We finished FIRST GRADE!!!!!

We had some amazing rain storms and some awesome puddles! 

We celebrated a few last birthdays (cupcakes in a cone!).

I printed 100 pictures from the school year and we enjoyed the memories during our last few weeks as a cottage.  

Someone got her hair cut!

I cranked up the exercise in preparation for a summer hiking trip and because I couldn't figure out why I was gaining weight (again, now I know it was pregnancy!).

Lots more pool time! 

Good-byes to the boys.

Summer sunshine!

A whole lot of packing . . . 

And then off to the airport and summer vacation we went!  Not only were we ready for a break because goodness, it was a long year . . .but four days before our boys left, we unexpectedly lost a baby.  Unexpected because I hadn't known I was pregnant.  Unexpected because once I realized I was having a miscarriage, I didn't realize I was between 15 and 16 weeks along.  Unexpected because we didn't expect to lose a baby.  So I was MORE than ready to get on that airplane and go on vacation!

Post-it notes buy some great time on an airplane!  If one happens to be travelling with a wiggly and non-sleeping almost 2 year old!

Taking random pictures of ourselves bought some time too! 

And then we made it!  NY!  I truly was refreshed in all ways through exercise and nature. So amazing!

And with that, I pause for today . . . . 

Thursday, April 02, 2015

April Musings

It's that time of year . . . dirty feet, dirty clothes, dirty arms . . . by ten in the morning.  Long days and longer evenings, with everyone outside playing until 7:45, then a mad dash inside to have everyone in bed by 8.  Kids change clothes multiple times a day, water is filling up buckets to splash in and cool little bodies off.

I'm loving the time outside- the green trees finally, the smell of Jasmine blooming, the amazing sky and water as we enjoy "spring," with temperatures in the mid 80s!  Swimming pool is open, adorable sun dresses are out and new bathing suits are getting lots of use.

Ballet pictures and preparation for the big recital in May . . . mommy learning to do her first "real" ballerina bun . . . with Forest going wild and Heidi "helping" do makeup and hair.  Fun times.

Our boys have been spending hours on this old boat that's in my back yard- sword fighting, fighting off pirates on the high seas and heading to the blackberry patches.  Which are overflowing with huge blackberries already!

Personally, this has been one of the hardest months on record.  We got three new boys this month, one of which most definitely was the hardest kid we've had in 14 years of house parenting.  My heart breaks for him and his family, he needs help.  But like we aren't prepared to teach a deaf child or a blind child; we don't have the one-on-one resources this little one needs.  He was released today and there is a huge peace in the house already. The other seven are doing well . . .and spring break starts tomorrow.  

We are looking forward to ten relaxing days.  We are spending three at a beach house in St. Augustine with friends . . .CANNOT wait!  The rest will be here- trying to find a balance of much-needed physical and emotional rest, house stuff and the usual.  But we've made it to April and the year gets much easier from this point forward!


Thursday, March 05, 2015

Marching into March

Well it would appear I have fallen off the blogging planet . . . I have a hard time finishing a post, because of time . . . and so then I never actually get anything published.  Today, I will,  no matter how unfinished.

All in all, life is GOOD around here.  Good does NOT mean easy but it does mean we are fed, clothed and loved.  We have been . . .

creating with playdoh

Enjoying some warm weather (alternating with cold) and trying out new playgrounds!

Birthday parties for friends and American girl dolls (and copy-cat Heidi who wasn't invivted!).

Legos, legos and more legos . . .

 The first warm day we had, we dashed to the beach!

School is plugging away.  We have our weeks where it is super easy to sit down and do our work.  And other weeks where it seems a challenge and a matter of discipline, for teacher and students!  Forest has decided he is "ready" for Kindy work, so I'm enjoying the flexibility of homeschool and starting him.  We are starting super easy and light.  Keeping Heidi occupied is a daily challenge.

Our boys!  We had quite a drastic change from 8 to 5, between December and the first week of January.  All three losses were VERY unexpected and completely out of our control.  None had good resolution or good-byes, reminds us how short our time with each boy can be.  We got a new guy last week and are getting ready to get two more within the next two weeks, EEK!  I think training new kids is probably the hardest part of the job, after this many years.  Remembering all the new things to teach, learning a new personality (which often includes respect and authority issues), etc.  I'll be glad when they are in, trained and life settles down.

I guess that's about it for today!  As promised, proof that we live . . . Love!