Monday, December 22, 2008

A Productive Day

The first official day of Christmas vacation is off and running. Almost all the kids are involved with projects which is how I like it!
Social Butterfly is busy baking her dad's favorite "thumbprint cookies". These will be her Christmas gift to him. It's become a tradition. Social Butterfly has done a great job making most of the gifts she is giving this year.
Jetter is outside doing a science experiment. He is seeing how the frigid temperature affects bubbles. If only the dog would quit trying to catch them, he could see that they last alot longer in the cold. Jetter will go shopping with me and Dad tonight to get the Christmas gift he will give to his sibling. He also is making a couple of special gifts, but I'm not sure he'll be done by Christmas.
Builder is destroying, or I guess I should say constructing something out of a large television box that he found in the basement. He's asking for a saw so he can add windows. I think I'll have to lend a hand with that one.
The Little Guy is busy eating. This is a productive thing for him. He needs to eat so he can get bigger. I've found a gluten free bread that he actually likes, as long as I toast it and spread it with lots of butter. It's made from brown rice. We've tried several varieties of gluten free bread and this is the only kind he, or any of us, will actually eat.
Night Owl is, well, he's the one that's not being very productive. He's still sleeping. But really, the way he's growing, I can see why. I can't keep him in clothes that fit. I told him I was going to sew lace onto the bottom of his jeans, just like Mom Mom threatened when Dad was a boy.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Snow Day!!

I wish I had my camera. The snow just keeps coming. I hope Dad can make it home from work okay. The van is in the shop getting fixed and I have a Ford Explorer with 4 wheel drive that I am renting while it's there. I'm glad to know that I can go out if I HAVE to, but I'd prefer to just stay at home, drink my tea, and watch the snow fall!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Another storm on the way!

In the midst of trying to finish up Christmas shopping, baking and decorating, not to mention getting to the grocery and taking the van to the shop to have it serviced, we have another snow storm looming. We could get up to 10 inches again by tomorrow morning. I love the snow, I just hope I can get the van fixed and a few groceries in the house before it hits! Night Owl's hoping he has another snow day tomorrow which will make his Christmas break extra-long. The kids here at home are hoping that too!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


Staying focused is getting more and more difficult around here. The kids are wondering how they can think of school work when Christmas is less than 10 days away. I am wondering how I can think of school work when there is so much to do and so little time! As a classroom teacher, these were the days filled with making Christmas ornaments for Moms and Dads, watching videos, and playing classroom games. The kids were so excited it was hard to teach anything of much substance. I guess I should just accept that it's the same way with homeschool. There are only 3 that I'm teaching though! It should be easier than this! Ah well, we'll get there. Just like every other year, at the end we'll look back at all we accomplished and be thankful.

Happy Anniversary Dear!

It's hard to believe it's been 19 years!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

More Snow!

Night Owl was thrilled to wake up yesterday and learn that he didn't have school because of all the snow. He'll be just as happy today (when he wakes up!). The main roads are clear, but the busses can't get down a lot of the back roads so they cancelled again. Of course, this will give the rest of the kids another day off since that was our deal - if Night Owl has a snow day, the Academy of the Good Shepherd does too.
I don't mind, it's giving me time to get going on my Christmas baking and candy making. (The turtles promise to be extra yummy this year thanks to the wonderful gift of fresh pecans sent from South Carolina by my sister-in-law!)
This Saturday Dad and I will go Christmas shopping. We're going to do it all in one shot. It could be interesting!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Nick Names

Why are we using nicknames for our blog? Well, at one time I read that it is important not to use real names in a blog, just for your own security. Since I hope to start adding pictures soon I decided the nicknames would be a good idea. I realize this blog is only read by those who are invited, so the security issue is minimal, but the kids thought it would be a fun idea anyway!
Our oldest son didn't really care what we used for his nickname so I came up with "Night Owl". This is the kid that just starts his homework at 10:00. It's exasperating to Dad and I but he's managing to get good grades. Thankfully, homework usually doesn't take too long. He's always been that way though. When he doesn't have homework he reads until late at night.
"Social Butterfly" was my suggestion for our only daughter and she decided that would be a good nickname. This is the child that doesn't know a stranger. We laugh because when she has a lemonade stand in the summer cars literally line up down the street! She knows the neighbors better than we do. We're not sure where she gets it, but we're glad to have such a wonderful ambassador for our famiy.
"Jetter" is the name the 3rd child came up with. It fits! This child rarely walks anywhere. He climbs, somersaults, or "jets" to his destination. The problem I'm having lately is keeping the "jet" fueled. This child doesn't stop eating!
"Builder" is the name the 4th child chose and it fits well. He's quite creative and will use anything to build whatever is on his mind. He also happens to be the one that makes the most messes in the house. I try not to get too rattled about it, but we are currently working on building better habits regarding cleaning up our messes!
"Little Guy" is a name we need to change. We're not sure what nickname to give him yet though. There's "Happy" because of his constant good nature, but I think it sounds too much like one of the Seven Dwarfs. We'll have to wait and see what we come up with. Either way, he's certainly a blessing!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008


We have several Advent traditions and I don't realize how much the children enjoy them, or even notice them, until I leave one out! Of course there's the Advent Wreath. We put it on our dinner table and Dad reads a special prayer and lights the candle(s) each night. I think that is the main tradition that we have had for as long as I can remember. But there are other things we do as well.
First there is the creche. We don't set up the whole thing, just the stable and the animals. We also have some shepherds that are watching the sheep off in the fields this year. Thanks to the traveling Mary and Joseph that Wes got for me last year, we now have Mary "with child" riding on a donkey and Joseph leading the way. They will travel through the house and arrive at the stable on Christmas Eve.
I also have a very large collection of Christmas picture books. Each day of Advent I randomly pull one out of the pile and read it to the kids. Some of these are fairly new, but most of them have been around for quite some time. Since we only read them around Christmas time, they are always well received. Some of our favorites are by author, Tomie DePaola. We also like The Christmas Miracle of Jonathon Toomey, but I wish I could read it without crying!
There's also the Jesse tree. Each day there is a story from scripture that traces the history of the family of Jesus. Of course it starts with Adam and Eve, then it goes through the old testament, highlighting the stories of people like Noah, Abraham, Ruth, and David, all the way to the birth of Christ. The kids will hear the story and make an ornament each day. This year, instead of a Jesse tree, we have a "Jesse Garland" that stretches across the top of the entry to our sunroom. This is not traditional, and the kids weren't sure about it at first, but now that I've hung the garland they like the way it looks so I guess the idea passes. We will hang the ornaments from that instead of putting them on a tree.
Finally, we have the Advent Calendar. Every year we have arguments over who gets to open the door. This year, I found some that were very inexpensive so they each get their own. Surprisingly, I think they preferred the arguing! Having their own takes the joy out of it and they don't act too thrilled. I can't win.
Of course, there is the Christmas tree too! With the little ones, we've gotten into the habit of waiting until we were only about a week from Christmas to get the tree. This was hard for me at first, but it's so hard to keep little hands off the ornaments that it's worth it. This way, the tree still looks decent on Christmas and there aren't ornaments broken, or being used elsewhere in the house for things like army guys!
Along with all these traditions we are also offering special prayers this year. My nephew is in boot camp for the Marine Reserves and by his letters it sounds like life is a little tough for him right now. We are praying for him and his family, especially during Christmas when he will be unable to come home. We are also praying for Morgan, a little girl at church who has cancer. She's so little to suffer so much. Please offer a prayer for her.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008


Yesterday morning, with all the snow, our neighbor called and asked if "Night Owl" could come shovel his ramp and walkway. That meant he had to get up a little sooner than he liked, get dressed, shovel the snow, then come back and get showered and ready for school. He wasn't thrilled. He didn't want to do it ... but he did. He's learning the value of helping a person in need and I'm proud of him. Dad helped too of course. He snow-blowed (blew?) the neighbors driveway. I'm proud of him as well. Night Owl has big shoes to fill! I'm glad his dad is such an awesome example and teacher.

Monday, December 1, 2008


I have to admit it, this is the Michigan that I love. Everything is blanketed in snow. The tree limbs sag under the weight of it. Everything glistens as the sun starts to come up. Everything is ... very... quiet. The kids are all sleeping in because Joel has a two hour delay which means The Academy of the Good Shepherd does too! What a peaceful way to start Advent. I hope the rest of Advent is peaceful too, but the coming of Christmas is so exciting around here that "peaceful" isn't typically the word I use to describe this time of year. Maybe, somehow this year will be different...but I doubt it!

Saturday, November 29, 2008


We all enjoyed the trip to Frankenmuth! We had lunch at the Bavarian Inn, which included an accordian serenade and a visit from Santa. The food was good, but I think the atmosphere was better. The restaurant has several dining rooms with Old Bavarian decor including waiters and waitresses in Bavarian costumes. Ours was called "The Alpine". The adults and Joel ate true German food, the younger kids ate the usual: chicken strips, cheeseburger, or pizza. After lunch we got outside just in time to see and hear the Glockenspiel, which told the story of the Pied Piper of Hamelin. The horse-pulled carriages, Glockenspiel and German music made it all very quaint, something I think the kids are sure to remember. Here's a link if you want to see some pictures: Unfortunately, my own camera still isn't working so I have none to share. I hope your's turn out Grandma. After leaving the Bavarian Inn, we all went to Bronners Christmas Wonderland, which was way too crowded! We didn't stay long, just enough to get the kids hyper and the adults exhausted. I was thankful for turkey leftovers to pull out when we finally got home.
Today Mom and Frank head back to Dayton. We hope and pray they have a pleasant trip home and are truly thankful to have spent some time with them. Maggie and Fred we sure miss you, especially at holiday time. We pray that your Thanksgiving was nice and we are glad you are home from your trip to Hawaii!

Friday, November 28, 2008


It was such a blessing to have Grandma and Grandpa here for Thanksgiving dinner last night. The food was good, but the company was better! Frank added his name to our tablecloth so I'll be doing the stitching on that, hopefully before next Thanksgiving! We'll also add Isaac's name and handprint this year.
Today we are continuing the celebration with a trip to the famous Bavarian Inn and Bronners in Frankenmuth. It should be lots of fun!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Busy Day Ahead

With Thanksgiving tomorrow, the day ahead will be busy! I'm glad I scheduled a day off here at the Academy. Night Owl will be at school, but the kids here will get a break while I prepare for tomorrow. We're all looking forward to seeing you Mom and Frank. Drive safely!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Reason For this Blog

So often in our day the kids or Dad or I will say or think, "we should tell Grandma and Frank, or MomMom and PopPop about that!" But then, in the busi-ness of the day these thoughts are set aside "until there's time". Unfortunately, as most people know, the time doesn't usually come. So, in an attempt to seize the moment we've created this blog. This is our small attempt to stay connected; to let you, our dear parents and grandparents know what's happening in our busy lives. My plan is to update on a regular basis, but please don't be too disappointed if a day or two goes by without anything new. Life can get a little crazy around here!
Blessings to you and, as we approach Thanksgiving, we want to let you know how thankful we are for you and that we hold you all close in our hearts and in our prayers!

Friday, November 21, 2008

New Blog

Just new the world of blogging and trying to figure it all out!