Sunday, November 27, 2011

Thanksgiving 2011

We started a Thanksgiving tradition in recent years. For years we have made hand turkeys (it's fun to see how the kids' hands have grown) and list or draw pictures of what we are thankful. Later on we think over the last year and come up with the number of things that we are thankful for equal to the number of years that we have been alive. We usually jot them down as we travel to and from where ever we have Thanksgiving dinner to give us some fun memory lane time in the car. This year we went to my cousin Crystal's house for dinner on Thanksgiving then we went on to Rochester to spend the night, played with Chris and Miranda's kids in the morning while they worked, then went over to Brad and Karen's house for their Thanksgiving dinner (Karen had to work on Thanksgiving) with their family and a few of their friends.

Anyway, here are our lists for 2011 that we came up with along the way. They are not in any particular order and they are not necessarily the things that we are most thankful for but here they are.

Abigail (she got excited and went on and on but I made her stop at 6 because she is *almost* 6 "2 days to my birthday!!"
1. I met great grandma Maas
2. We got 2 skateboards
3. My friends & family
4. Legos
5. God
6. Train trip

1. My scooter
2. The skate boards
3. The Barbies
4. The train trip
5. My family
6. Our trip to South Carolina
7. Legos

1. School
2. Friends
3. Family
4. Legos
5. A house to live in
6. The color bag that I got for my birthday
7. Went to visit Uncle Russ, Aunt Camy & Malachi
8. We went on a train trip for 2 weeks!
9. I got a whole bunch of beads

1. I has lots and lots and lots of sleepovers
2. Lots of vacations
3. We have Legos
4. My family
5. My friends
6. I got to go to a cool aquarium & cool museums with the Baers
7. We get to see the Files
8. Lots of playdates
9. I'm still homeschooled
10. I could spend a lot of time w/ Grandma & Grandpa Maas
11. I could finally meet great grandma Maas

1. Jesus - salvation He gave on the cross
2. Sonja LeeAnn Maas- for all her love and support and that she is my best friend
3. Caleb Josiah Maas - how he protects his sisters and is a good kid
4. Hannah Elizabeth Maas - she's a good mommy and has a tender heart
5. Lydia Esther and her tender heart and funny ideas
6. Abigail Eve , my silly Cracker who makes me smile and laugh
7. Passed Step 1
8. Passed 2nd year of medical school
9. Passed medicine and peds rotations
10. A place to stay and didn't have to move
11. Good neighbors upstairs
12. Our date at Winter Weekend and being able to go to the Olympic Complex Lake Placid
13. I could fly out to California and G&G Reynolds paid for it.  Spent our 12th anniversary with my wife.  Went to my grandma's 90th birthday party.  A G9 for $125 for an anniversary present for my wife
14. 100 road bike off craigslist
15. A new wardrobe mostly from thrift stores or at thrift store prices
16. Camping trip to Indian lake
17. We could meet the Winklers
18. Lord willing getting a stipend and housing for RMED
19. Legos - good deal on craigslist for them
20. God is in control of my life
21. We could go to Wyoming for Christmas
22. We could go down to Charleston and see Russ and Camy
23. I'm still enjoying medical school
24. Date nights with Sonja
25. I'm getting stronger and I can do pull ups
26. I got to go to the Flash Bus tour in Buffalo
27.  My lemon/lime tree off the side of the road
28. My drafting table,  my bowling alley table, & The Hoosier cheap off craigslist
29. That home schooling is going well for Sonja and the kids
30. That so far my clerkships have allowed me time at home.
31. For all of God's provisions above and beyond our needs and so many of our wants

1. God's grace
2. Glenn's love and support - he's my best friend
3. Glenn is in medical school and doing well
4. Homeschooling is going well with my 6th, 4th, 2nd & 1st grader students.
5. Spent Christmas in Wyoming w/ Glenn's family
6. We didn't have to move this summer
7. Good new neighbors upstairs
8. God's faithful and super-abundant provision
9. My Hoosier that I use to store my homeschool stuff
10. The chance to borrow curriculum both last year and this year from friends
11. Neighborhood Youth Rec Program at SU - free gymnastics, soccer, basketball, zumba & yoga for the kids -free PE
12. Caleb - he's a good big brother
13. Hannah - she's made lot of progress in reading this year and is a good helper
14. Lydia - her creative imagination
15. Abigail - she makes me laugh
16. Our routine with school this year - it's going so much better!
17. Flute choir
18. Homeschooling friends
19. Our trip to South Carolina to visit Russ, Camy & Malachi and see their new house
20. Imagine RIT
21. Train trip west with Steve & Debbie. Got to see so much of our beautiful country pass by out the window and met up with Steph & Brody, Kendra, Doug & Jack (note to future Amtrak travellers: Julie lies)
22. Fine reunion in Iowa. Met many "Fine cousins," went swimming, had cream can dinner, and visited with Grandma & Grandpa Reynolds and Aunt Billie
23. Went to Grandma Maas's 90th birthday party in California, enjoyed many beaches, stayed on a yacht, saw/ met Maas relatives, ate at In-N-Out
24. Wandered Chicago on our layover on the trip home, went to a Lego store and ate deep dish pizza
25. Swam in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans this summer
26. Monthly visits to Waterloo to see Grandma & Grandpa Nelson
27. Missio Church and pastors that constantly step on my toes and have a passion and vision to reach Syracuse for Christ
28. Northridge Church now has full service videos online
29. Our neighborhood. It's the friendliest place to live. I would never live anywhere else in Syracuse but the westcott neighborhood
30. We didn't buy a house. God really new best on that one!
31. It's looking like we are moving to Montour Falls in the spring for RMED and God is providing housing and a scholarship through them
32. One Thousand Gifts
33. My brain, AKA my iPhone that I don't use as a phone. It has helped me organize my life in many ways.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Drill Time

No matter how bad this winter is I think we truly have no reason to complain because this fall has been so nice! We were hanging out outside again this afternoon in our shirtsleeves (I was wearing a sweatshirt - the kids just had on t-shirts). Yesterday morning we had a 2 hour delay before starting our school day because the weather was so nice out and the forecast said that it was going to start raining at noon. I figure if public schools can have a 2 hour delay for bad conditions we ought to have a 2 hour delay for nice ones. I figure it is one of the many perks of homeschooling :)

This afternoon as we were outside the kids started chatting with a lady that was walking a dog past our house. Dogs and little children are always fascinated when they walk past our house because our front yard looks like so much fun with all the kids scattered around. The lady asked the kids if they had had a half day of school today. Hannah told her no and the lady was kind of puzzled. She asked where the kids went to school and Hannah told her that she was homeschooled. That always makes me nervous. Any other homeschool mom would probably understand that nervous feeling I get in my gut wondering what the reaction will be to that information. How many questions am I going to be drilled with? What other homeschooled kids has this person been in contact with so is their response going to be extremely negative or positive? I suppose most people who are told that we homeschool are pretty unfazed by the information but some people get very upset. I always have this fear in my heart that I am going to be attacked because I homeschool. (I know, I shouldn't be a people-pleaser. Homeschooling is what God has called me to do for His purposes and I shouldn't worry what people think but I do not like being attacked.)

Thankfully this lady has had pleasant experiences with homeschooled kids before, some relative of hers homeschooled their children who are now young adults and they are wonderful kids. I got asked a few of the normal questions: "Do you get together with other homeschool moms and do things?" "Do you go to the conferences and stuff?" (she mentioned LEAH so I'm assuming her relative had gone to the LEAH conference before) and "Do you homeschool all of these kids?" (the answer to that one was "No, that little boy lives upstairs and did have a half day today because he goes to Ed Smith. I only homeschool my 4.") It was actually a pleasant conversation and she mentioned many benefits of homeschooling that a kid that went to regular school doesn't have. I'm thankful for conversations that go like that, where I am not attacked and questioned to no end. As the lady was walking away she said, "You know, one thing I always hear that people worry about with homeschooled kids is that they are socialized. I think that your kids are doing just fine. They socialize very well." Well - at least they've got one thing right. ;)

I got props from the little girl who lives upstairs too. She was sitting with Hannah while Hannah was working on her grammar for today, waiting for her to get done so that she could play and she started asking me questions about homeschooling. Kids ask different questions than adults do. I can't remember what she asked but she seemed intrigued with the idea and told me that I was doing a good job teaching my kids.

So, I got props from a random stranger and the 10 year old girl from upstairs. I guess it did my people pleasing heart good. The real question though is: Am I glorifying God in how I am homeschooling? I really don't know the answer to that one. I never know if I am doing enough, teaching the right things, requiring enough, preparing them for the right things. I do know that I am being more faithful to my calling this year but I am growing weary and am really looking forward to break soon for Thanksgiving. This year, more than ever before, I am feeling the brunt of the full time job I have educating my kids and the other full time job I have in doing everything else I am responsible for around here. I am so thankful for our God who gives me all that I need for life and godliness. I know that I am needing to spend more time with Him so that I can know Him more so that I will become more like Him and represent Him well everywhere I go.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Whirlwind Week

Well, I tried to blog this last night but after typing for a while lost it all... oops! So here goes again.

On Friday night after supper while we were waiting for Glenn to call for his pickup from the schospital where he was on call (he finally called around 8) the kids were wondering what their after supper chores were. That was kind of odd because we change chores on Sundays and usually, by Friday, they know what their responsibilities are for each part of the day... not this week though. When Caleb figured out his after supper job was wipe the counters and put food away he realized that he hadn't done that all week long. We wondered why then realized we hadn't really been home to do after supper chores all week because....

Monday was Halloween. After picking Glenn up from the schospital at about 6 the kids threw on their costumes and we took them up and down our block and the next one to the south. Caleb dressed as a Star Wars guy, Hannah was a doctor in Glenn's old lab coat, Lydia was a nurse, and Abigail was Ariel from Little Mermaid. They had fun and got some good candy (it's no wonder people drive their kids to our neighborhood to trick or treat!). We were back home by about 7:30 after visiting with our neighbors up and down the street and ate dinner on the porch and started giving out the candy we'd bought to trick or treaters. I think that the kids often have more fun giving out candy than getting it. We only had about 65 trick or treaters this year because we were gone during peak time. I'm sure it would have been closer to 300 had we been home all night.

Tuesday was a normal school day (after we got over the candy excitement and graphing the candy that they had gotten trick or treating - our annual day after Halloween tradition). After supper I took the kids with me to flute rehearsal because Glenn had a review session. They went to bed when we got home so they didn't get their after supper chores done that day either.

Wednesday Glenn was on call so we decided to get some school work done in the morning then head to Montezuma Wildlife Refuge for a field trip on our way to Waterloo to visit my grandparents. The lady that was working there gave us a bit of an education on what birds we might be seeing that were there as a stop off in their migration as we went on the wildlife drive. We were able to look through a telescope to watch some of the birds in the shallow pool near the visitor center so that was fun. Besides the normal Canada geese and wood ducks we were also able to see some Northern shovelers and a heron. After the wilderness drive we went to Grandma and Grandpa's where we visited with them for a while, did a bit of yard work with them then ate dinner with them and AmyJo, Kyle, Zach and his friend. We always love our monthly visits to Waterloo and I am so thankful that we only live about an hour from there! After dinner we went up to Paul and Amy's so the boys could have a nerf gun war and the girls could have a tea party. We got a call that Glenn was done and ready to be picked up at 8:15 and when we hadn't even left yet so, we left at about 8:30 (after getting our booster seats back) and didn't get home until almost 10.

Thursday, after feeding the kids, I had the opportunity to go on a bit of a date with Glenn while our friend and her son came over to play with the kids. We actually went to a meeting about RMED but it took place a Phoebe's (a restaurant I've always wanted to try but SO thankful we got to do it with someone else paying!) It was a delicious meal and we learned quite a bit about what is expected and got news that Montour Falls is offering us housing and a stipend which was an unexpected blessing from God.

So anyway, our week was busy and that is why the kids didn't know what their after supper jobs were (except Lydia who, a few days, had to do supper dishes the next morning). Our weekend was fun too. Yesterday morning the kids had Neighborhood Youth Rec at SU and did gymnastics and zumba as well as played some soccer and basketball. I am very grateful for that program. After NYRP the kids and I went to Syracuse Stage's Open House. We were able to watch some short scenes from plays and hear some songs performed by SU students then watched New Kid, their traveling Children's Tour. After New Kid we were able to go on a back stage tour of the theater. It was neat to check out the craft, scene, prop, and costume shops and other rooms back stage. We were really excited to be able to check out various things that they were making getting ready for The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (which opens the day after Thanksgiving and runs through New Years that we, hopefully, will be able to go to!) including the white witch's gown, the stone table, the sleigh, the beaver's stove, Mr Tumnus's fireplace, and various masks and other props. We had gone to the open house last year and had a lot of fun and were so glad we could go again this year! After the open house we considered going to the zoo to catch the last of squish the squash but were too tired so we went home. This afternoon we were able to go out and rake a bit and enjoy this beautiful fall weather then we came in for popcorn and a movie. We watched several episodes of Paddington Bear that we had borrowed from the library. I don't know when I've laughed so much. He is so funny!

So much to be thankful for during this busy week. Thankful also that we occasionally have boring weeks that aren't so much of a whirlwind!