Our Family

Our Family
Benaiah, Justin, Melinda, Abishai, Keturah, and Jared

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Year 2, Day 59: Just Average

Well, today was just average for most of us.  It was emotionally draining for me, but I'm not going to focus on that.  You all heard about it on Facebook.  Just some emotional things hitting me all at once that needed to get out.  So, it got out.  And the kids were excellent about it today, doing their schoolwork, leaving me alone, and not even fighting.  Go them!  We got through a lot this afternoon, too, even with Mr. Antsy Pants, I mean Justin, couldn't sit still.  Jared worked a full day with some meetings.  I never stepped out the door today so I have no idea what the weather was like.  Benaiah went to school.  Abishai started calling his "babas," "ba-bees" instead because some of the adults do.  He also said, "Nigh-Nigh," and was concerned about cars going through the "wa-we" car wash.

Ah, preteens who forget how to listen.  I told him to read the instructions.  I didn't tell him to open the can of crescent roll dough and do it without me.  Anyway, I was going to have him spread butter, sugar, and cinnamon inside the crescent rolls and then roll them up to make cinnamon rolls.  I'm not sure if he un rolled them properly or not to begin with because they came out looking like biscuits.  But when I went in there to check on him, he had already started to put cinnamon, sugar, and a pinch of salt on them.  He had heard Grandma say that salt brings out the sweetness of the sugar more.  And yes, he did do it start to finish all by himself, including the oven  I think we have a baker on our hands.

They look great!

I was fixing the mistakes on Keturah's loom and Abishai wanted to join in.  He called it the "wa-we vroom vroom" aka car wash.

Keturah promised me she would do a little more work after screen time today and she did without complaining!

Eeek! It was good thing I was right there and took the cars off after he walked away.  I don't want the tension getting messed up from the weight of the cars.

Justin asked me to print off some sheet music for him, although he really doesn't know enough theory yet.

Yes, you read it right, it's music from Minecraft.  But it's kind of pretty.

Although Abishai wanted to knock them all down, Keturah and Daddy had fun playing the classic game of Guess Who.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Year 2, Day 58: Feeling Yucky

The temperatures have gone from 70 degrees to 30 degrees and that makes for a really hurting mama.  I woke up this morning with restless legs and achy all over (not flu though).  It was overcast, too, today, and I wasn't the only one feeling yucky.  Several of the homeschool co op moms said the same thing, and so did Jared.  Not sure what's going on with my stomach either.  But, we made it through the day. With a couple of moms and a few kids absent today, we all had to pitch in at lunch time, despite how we felt.  Slow and steady was how the day went.

We did find a listing of a house that is extremely promising, so that was a plus.  But when it comes to discussions about how to set up house or what changes we need to make in schooling, makes for some tough discussions because we simply don't and probably won't totally agree.  Conflict is exhausting and my brain can't handle most of it.  And it doesn't help my pain levels either.

But the house is promising and maybe, just maybe I can start dreaming again.  I've had so many dreams that have been drastically changed that it's simply too hard to dream and get my hopes up.  Because every time I do, I feel like Satan is right there next to me kicking me in the stomach.

And that's how I feel tonight.  Tomorrow we'll be home all day and we'll get right into our work because we have other events, like looking at homes, later on in the week.

Nothing out of the normal happened with the kids today.  They all did their normal thing.  Keturah is excited about putting lots of color on her very first research poster.  We've never done a research poster in our homeschool.  Justin didn't want to "complicate" things, so he picked the top two lesser known USA monuments to do his poster on.  Have I told you that they have an awesome history teacher?  She and I had some great talking time today while the kids did math games and had their gym class.  Abishai didn't want baba to ride on the ride on toy with him at Grandma's house.  And he wanted to sit in Keturah's seat on the ride home.  Benaiah's somewhere doing something, hopefully homework.  And I can't find my headphones and I just want my pillow and blankets.  Jared's watching his comedy shows and reading emails.

All his idea, Abishai started "walking the line" in the gym today.

He was saying "foo foo" as he walked the black line.  I think he though they were railroad tracks!

Playing with geometric shapes!

Doing one of the harder puzzles!

These guys built this big tower of shapes and wanted to keep going!

Aw, poor Socks wanted to come home with us!  We are excited to have him back in a couple of months!

Next time when we are on a true family vacation, I will beat Gary and Shauna at Scrabble!  Check out this score I made on the word "quit"!  102 points!!!!!!
Tomorrow is a new day.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Year 2, Day 57: Another Quiet Day

Yes, it's almost too quiet around here.  Which makes me lazy because I don't have to stay on top of things.  Not much to tell, so I'll just share the pics.

I found a page on Facebook called, "Canada, Eh?" and spent 30 minutes scrolling through pictures that were funny memes, or sayings, (some anti USA sentiments), and was so happy that I understand most of what they were alluding to.  Loved this one, though, especially since we are studying that this week in history!

It's funny and cool to make your cars drive off a cliff.

It's also funny to make your son trip trying to get in and out of the kitchen.  Justin is starting to really spurt up, too.  But always lanky!

Justin is such a lightweight.

Waiting on lunch.  Let's eat cars, Mom!  Keturah is sitting in the lower baby seat and Abishai has the high seat.

Because of their sassy attitudes and continuous bickering between them, I didn't allow these two any electronic time today.  Surprisingly, they did cooperate and have a grand time playing games together.  Which proves my point that they don't have to fight all the time!

Keturah made a lot of puzzles.  AND, we were able to match up a missing piece from the little things I meticulously saved when we moved with its' puzzle!  Yeah!  One mom I know likes to find random puzzle pieces and throws them out.  Then she can say, well, the puzzle is missing pieces, we can throw it out now.  Nope, not this mom!  I save every piece and every sock and eventually I do make matches!

Like this!  I think I now have all the wooden blocks from a geometric set together in one place again.  I also have a nearly full domino set that I believe was my brother's.  And then the bucket is full of two sets of jenga blocks and the new clear box taken from another box is all the new Thomas trains and sets.

Justin and I palyed Bibleopoly today!  He won!  It's a much quicker game than regular Monopoly because the goal is to build a church and not to own everything on the board.

We also did all the experiments that were in this month's Magic School Bus monthly subscription package.  We hadn't tried the other ones we got yet.  The subscription was a Christmas present for the family.

Anybody remember this 80's toy?  I have made all the samples on both sides of the box that my parents saved that goes with the set.  I used to sort the colors and sizes, too.  Keturah likes this set a bit.  I made the parrot from the back of the cardboard box.

Having his dinner, complete with his car friends, at church while his siblings do their thing.

And so it begins!  Yeah for Keturah!

Now who's the king of the world?  Don't worry, I was very careful to step away only for a second and he was very obedient.

There's glass between him and I in this little triangle made by the open doors.

Sneaking up to the top portion of the old gym at church.

Watching the big kiddos play ball.  He LOVES the big kids!  In fact, he tapped several times on Benaiah's friend Ethan's leg to get his attention.  I can only imagine being that small and looking straight up at these giant teenagers.  He wants to be with the big kids a lot.
This picture was taken 6 months ago.

And this one was about a month ago.  I don't know about you, but Benaiah's changed a ton lately.  I think he's taller and heftier.  He's just so big!  Ah!

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Year 2, Day 56: Quiet Weekend

It's always hard to come with material for the blog when we have quiet, sabbath type days.  We LOVE it though, when we can just be home for most of the day, doing this or that like today.  I told the kids and Jared yesterday that today was a catch up day from the week to do some quick decluttering and clean up.  And that's what we did.  Kids took baths.  The floor got vaccummed.  Launrdy from two days ago got folded and put away.  The books on the school table were restacked, extra stuff was removed, and book bags are ready for Monday.  Dishes were done.  Jared and Justin played minecraft for 3 hrs straight.  Although I do get somewhat annoyed when Jared plays with the kids via screen time (video games or youtube), instead of doing the things I want him to do (like bring in a certain box), he definitely deserves that downtime as well.  It's something I need to get over, but it's still hard.  And he did bring in the box I wanted tonight, after I loudly said, "I hope you got that box!" without even looking to see if he did.  Whoops.  I said I was sorry, don't worry.

I could have done so much more today, but just didn't push myself.  I caught up on some YouTube videos myself and played around with some of my own games.  But, that's ok.  I will try to do more tonight and tomorrow, which is another stay at home day until the evening.  Of course we had church tonight and we have youth group and choir tomorrow.  Nice and easy and normal routine.  I'm looking forward to being at church for 2 hours tomorrow because I can spend 1/2 hr to 1 hr walking around inside the building for exercise and then the rest of the time is for reading and cross stitch.  Oh man, I've become my mother!!  She would sit at my sister's swim practices or at our youth group meetings and knit or sew small quilt pieces, and maybe she read some, too.  But I don't remember that.  I do know that Grandma Howell and lots of the other moms at youth group would meet in a class room while us kids did our thing and prayed for us and for each other.  My mom would pray with her eyes open and her hands agoing on her knitting.  And I KNOW that their prayers made a difference because we were a pretty tight knit little group and most of us, if not all, have continued to remain in the faith and have strong connections with the church wherever we ended up living.  I'm still friends with the moms of my friends and my friends, if only to see how their kids are doing on Facebook.  Great memories.

Meanwhile, my little introverts are reading machines!  Well, I'm not sure if I wrote about this before, but here goes.  Back when Benaiah was starting to learn to read, Grandpa Johnson voluntarily told him that he would pay Benaiah $0.05 a page for his reading.  Well, that tradition has continued on with the other kids.  When Keturah reads, she's to come tell me about what she read.  Justin did that as well, but now he has to write book reports.  Thankfully, they both read books for pleasure that they don't report on, so the focus is not all on the money.  I forget when Benaiah stopped doing this little incentive, but it probably was when he started mowing and snowblowing for money.  We've kept track over the years, but I only have a document that goes back two years.  So, here are the current stats for these two: Keturah has read 4585 pages and has earned $229.25.  Justin has read 9418 pages and has earned $470.90.  That's crazy!  All for just reading over the last two years!  Now, we have always insisted that they give 10% to the church every time they have paid, so they have.  But, the problem is that we have also let them spend every penny of the other 90%.  Most of the time, it has gone to Legos.  Keturah did buy her $50 cd player with some of her money.  Therefore, from now on, we are encouraging/insisting that they do their 10% tithe, save 50% for LONG term savings (more than a year) and then they can spend the other 40% however they like, even saving it up for a year and buying a bigger Lego set or something.  We are so proud of our kids for being such great readers.  And sometimes, I have to remind myself, that wow, I really did teach them all to read, didn't I?  It was more like guiding them and drilling them and them being willing to learn, rather than me being a great teacher.  Cool!

Speaking of teaching, we have a ton of Jenga blocks and Justin and Keturah like to make two Jenga towers with them.  They call this version, "The Twin Towers" game after the Twin Towers in NYC that fell on 9/11.  I have no problem with this because at least they are remembering something we learned in our history lessons!  And they aren't being disrespectful of what the event was, like they are not laughing hysterically when the Jenga towers fall.  That's pretty neat!

Another neat thing is that we got information back on whether or not we can get a mortgage and if we can get one at a decent rate.  And we were amazed at how well our credit score actually is and what we can "afford" and what rate we can get!  Praise the Lord!  So, that's one more step closer to making Indianapolis our permanent home again.  I know that there is the "perfect" home out there for us.  We are looking every day and so is our agent.  We'll know it when we see it.  And it will be all because God put it there and it will be in His timing, just like the Beech Grove home was and our rental in Charlottetown.  Now onward to putting together everything I need to get the taxes done!  It's very intimidating, but if I can get out there and do Zumba and meet new people and try new homeschool methods, I can certainly put my hand to the plow and get these silly taxes done!

We went from 70 degrees to 30 degrees in one day!  We woke up to a bit of snow on the ground and it was freezing cold walking into church tonight.

Jared pointed out that the snow fell on the east side of the buildings and cars this time, which is unusual.  Most weather in the midwest comes from west.

The camera is facing north, so the right side of the picture is the east.  See the snow on the cars?  Cool observation!

Fast forward about 10 hours.  After church, we went through the car wash with the van.  Jared had bought a bunch of car washes a couple of months ago to use this winter.  Abishai was very scared when we all went through the carwash.  He had watched Grandma's car get washed, but he wasn't actually in the vehicle.  Keturah thought the car wash stuff was hysterical.  I don't the kids and I had been in the carwash in over 5 years!  Anyway, right across the road from the carwash was Chick-Fil-A.  Jared teasingly told us not to look, so of course we did.  The kids didn't ask for it, but Jared had another craving for some.  So, we wait in the car and he walks in not knowing what he was going to get.  He thought that maybe if he got the party tray it would be cheaper (but it actual wasn't).  He didn't really know how many nuggets he would get and such either and how much it would cost!  Whoops!  He just had this huge sheepish grin on his face when he got back in the car.  And he didn't get anything for me.  Boo!  The kids enjoyed their bedtime snack once we got home and I had a spoonful of the honey mustard sauce.  There is nothing like Chick Fil A honey mustard sauce.  Believe me, we have tried every kind of honey mustard out there.  Jared has his nuggets with a fried egg.  And there's leftovers for breakfast! 

Abishai loves to read, too.  So I pulled over Grandma Howell's childhood rocking chair and put in front of a braided rug that was hers or her mom's, in front of the fire that Daddy built.  Abishai does ask for books a ton.  And he has a big stack that are his favorites. He was even "reading" this one to himself and pointing out certain things on the pages that I usually point out.  Then we read some more in the other room in our favorite yellow nursing chair.  Books, books, and more books.  Perhaps in the new house I'll be able to get them all out again.  I just knew I didn't want to get out everything and have to repack it all a year later.  I need to go through and donate some to a poor community or something.  I do think about how some kids don't have access to books because their parents can't take them to the library and can't afford to buy them.  And it puts a huge disadvantage in learning for them.  Maybe instead of toy drives at Christmas for poor folks, we need some book drives.  I think next time I will donate books instead of the toys.  Or like at the toy store when they have a bin for the Salvation Army or something.  Sigh.  We are way blessed and can't possibly read everything we have.  I'm so glad that all my kids love to read and I tribute that to their grandparents and their Daddy reading all the time.  I don't read many physical books anymore, but I do "read" a lot of articles and listen to a lot of podcasts to keep learning.  Grandma and Grandpa Howell would be very pleased with this picture, and I know Grandma and Grandpa Johnson are also very proud of all their grandchildren's successes in academics and good habits/character/morals.

Year 2, Day 55: Highs and Lows

It was one of those up and down days emotionally and physically and mentally.  So, we are all a lot worn out.  We started the day gathering up our "snow" gear because we were heading to the ice rink to ice skate!  First time and only time for the year, boo!  We ALL said we've missed skating SO MUCH! We went with our field trip homeschool group and got a really great rate that included renting the skates.  Yup, after 4 years of bringing your own skates and having to pay only $1 or $2 to skate, we had to rent skates and the discounted rate was $5 and $6.  I think normally it would have been around $11 per person or something.  And for the non Canadians, when you say the word "skate," it means ice skating.  Down here in the south, skating usually mean roller skating or roller blading.  Anyway, it did feel kind of weird that we were gathering up our coats and hats and mittens and the high today was 70 degrees!  Even inside the rink it felt really warm!  When everyone else was still in their lightweight jackets and mittens, our kids had short sleeves and no mittens.  But it was like riding a bicycle.  You never really forget how to skate.  I think Keturah went around 15-20 times.  Justin lost count and Benaiah made it to something like 50 rounds.   The pictures below will show you how Abishai did.  And yes, I got on the ice, too, for about 5 rounds before everyone else was ready to go home.

Then we had some lunch and had naptime at the in laws before the other big fun event for the day, which was watching "Finding Dory" at the church for Family Movie Night.  Abishai did not sit very still at all for the movie and so Jared and Abishai ended up in one of the preschool rooms for most of it.  Keturah sat with her friend Sarah and Justin hung out by himself.  I hadn't seen "Finding Dory" yet, although we got it for Christmas.  It was cute.  It touched on Dory's backstory right through to a year after "Finding Nemo."  It wasn't as good as Nemo though.  Bummers.

But with the highs, come the lows, and yes, it was the teen again doing his thing, pushing the emotional buttons of his mama, and mama reacted poorly to her buttons being pushed.  Nothing more than your average squabble.  I love how intelligent Benaiah is and that we can have some pretty mature discussions.  And even when he or I feel like blowing up, we both try really, really hard not to raise our voices.  We don't hurl curse words or throw objects.  There can be so wounding and hurt feelings for sure.  But I think it's part of us both growing up and learning how to relate.  Unfortunately, it's not very fun to watch, and can hurt those around us, too.  We live in a fallen world, a broken world, and we are very broken people.  I have confidence that we will get through this stage, but it's really hard sometimes and I really, really don't like that the teen and I aren't on the same page.  I want him to grow up.  I don't mind him doing big things like apprenticing at church.  I won't even mind or cry that he's going to be driving within the next year.  And I won't be bemoaning when he goes off to college.  I just don't like playing the mind games because I've never been good at it.  Thankfully, Jared is great at playing the middle man and keeping us calm and on track.  He's our neutral third party a lot of the time.  But still, I wish we could skip this part of childhood.  But we can't.  So, we press on.  And as one of my mentors have said to me, "You are on one end of the rope and the child is on the other end.  YOU need to just plant your feet in your standards and beliefs, aka, Jesus, and hold on for dear life while that child thrashes about trying to figure out where the boundaries are, who he/she is, and how they relate to the world around them.  YOU be that anchor and never let go." So, I take a step away from the discussion, take a deep breath, regroup, replant my feet, and step back into the conversation.  And keep doing that over and over again.

I would just rather change a million diapers than play mind games with a teen.  It's just not where my strengths are, but maybe by the time Abishai graduates high school, I will have this raising teenagers thing down pat!

As promised, here's today's pics:

Our Canadian gets his first try on ice skates!

These skates are so tiny!

All ready!

What are these things on my feet?!

I'm not so sure about this!


And away they go!

Daddy and Benaiah (and the lady belongs to family to a family we've known our whole married life.  she is 9 months older than Benaiah and has switched from regular dancing, to skating!)

Wee!  I've missed this!

Look, Ma, no coat!

4 out of 5 of us.  Abishai made it through one lap of the ice rink, and then near the end, he and daddy hit a rough patch and fell down.  Thankfully, no blood and just a little goose egg on the forehead.  But it was enough to scare him and I couldn't get him back near the ice again.

Let it go!

So adorable.

Abishai loved just watching everyone skate while eating his snack.  Yes, we know, these two guys are twins.

Crazy faces from Benaiah.

I see you, Daddy!

Mama skated, too!  And no one really fell much.  Just like riding a bike!

Kind of odd to see an American flag in the ice rink today.  I'm way too used to seeing a Canadian flag when we go skating.  We were at the Perry Park Ice Rink in Greenwood, IN.

Long story short, each room of the preschool/elementary wing at the church have a theme related to how the goal is to help kids grow up and be shipped out to the world.  So, in the big room they have this huge poster of a truck.  And of course little man loved seeing it!  We also saw a monster truck on our way to the ice rink this morning!  They take the big wheels off and put little ones because the big wheels would make the truck to wide for the truck bed.  I also saw some local minor "league" Indy car type racing RV and semi on my way home from my doctor's appointment yesterday.  The month of May, racing month, will be here soon!

He's got his very own popcorn!

Move your feet, loose your seat big brother Justin!  When Justin complained about it, Abishai meanly said, "I sit!"

And we received and opened another LootCrate box.  It was billed and shipped before I caught it, otherwise, my budget says I can't be buying these.  But at least this one was an excellent box with a $15 set for the Lego Deminsions video game, a thermos Lego Batman head, a power rangers t-shirt, tetris style magnets, a power rangers pin, and some literature.  And the box turned into a robot! The theme was "build."  Everybody will get something this round!  Woot! Woot!

And we'll regroup tomorrow and clean house, because when you are away several days in a week, the house gets trashed!  We just have our normal evening activities at church on Saturday and Sunday.  Yeah!  I real Sabbath!