Fall Ain’t so Bad…

That time change came just in time to save my sanity!  I’ve enjoyed waking up in the SUNLIGHT for a change!  Of course, the trade-off is driving home in the dark every night.

But, the leaves have really become  so absolutely gorgeous.  The kids have been playing outside and we’ve been taking bike rides just to enjoy the cooler weather and beautiful views.   Here is some of what we’ve been doing the last few days:

Technically this is an "Ali-Alley-Oop"!

Swoosh!

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Lies, Lies, Lies..

I’m not in the habit of lying….well, until recently.  And I’ve told enough lies in the last 6 months to put Pinocchio to shame!  But, it was for a good cause.  It just got VERY confusing towards the end when I couldn’t keep my lies straight anymore.  Which is why you should NEVER LIE!  Oh, what tangled webs we weave, when we practice to deceive!”.  YIKES!

It all started about 3 years ago.  We lied then too.  We told Jesse and Jacob we were meeting Mom at PF Changs for their 13th birthday.  We loaded up in Mom’s motorhome and headed towards Tulsa.  But, then we turned east and kept going.  We ended up in Chicago!  It was a great way to celebrate their passage into the teenage years.  We visited friends who were living in Joliet that were involved in a “church plant” mission that Jesse & Jacob had been financially and prayerfully supporting.  We wanted them to have heroes like this.

Jesse & Jacob in Joliet, Illinois for their 13th birthday.

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Secretariat Rides Again…

Grandma and Grandpa Frantz were here for a visit this week and they recommended we go see “Secretariat” at the theatre.  They had already seen it twice and thought a third trip would be just as exciting!  So, Friday night after work we headed over to the local cinema to see this wonderful family-friendly movie.

First, before I lose track of anything sensible, the movie was very well done.  The information might not be exactly accurate but the basic truth of the horse, the races, his amazing stamina and his legacy are on the mark and a good reminder for those of us who were too young to remember.  Secretariat won the Triple Crown in 1973, an amazing feat that has only been reproduced 11 times since 1900.  It was a truly amazing story of a family’s determination to believe and hope the unthinkable in the most unlikely choice for an athlete.

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Homeschooling…The 5 R’s: Readin’, Writin’, Rithmatic, Ridin’ and Remodelin’…

 

Our schoolroom.

 

I’ve never understood why everyone doesn’t homeschool their children.  I’ve wanted to homeschool my children before I even knew I was going to have children!  It was just something I was passionate about the first time I heard a story of the notion.  I remember telling Darin about wanting to homeschool when we were first married and he thought I was crazy.

Later, when we were both crazy, we embarked on a long but happy career of homeschooling our kids!  Darin is the Principal and Substitute Teacher.  He gets the respect.  I’m the regular teach…I get the fun!!

Today Darin walked into the “school room” (aka Dining Room) and made a gasp (just to be funny).  I’m sitting there in my bathrobe teaching Phonics…isn’t that what everyone wears?  It was cold…I like my bathrobe and our dress-code is a bit lenient!

Homeschooling hasn’t been easy.  At times it’s been grueling and I’ve wanted to fire myself.  But it’s absolutely the only thing I would ever consider doing.  I know my kids better than anyone on this planet…I know their tendencies, their weaknesses, their giftedness and I’m prepared to change my methods to help make their strengths more obvious and their weaknesses honed into assets.  And more important than anything, everything we learn is sifted through Genesis 1:1. God created Math and English and Science…even Algebra.  That is what makes homeschooling so worthwhile. I’m not just teaching so my kids will be gifted, but to know they are a gift.  I’m not pushing them to be geniuses but to have a Christian worldview that makes them know the genius of God.

Today we had our classes all going at the same time, as usual.  I’ve never been very good at juggling…2nd grade math with 7th grade science…phonics with algebra…grammar with biology!  But, somehow, it all goes along pretty smoothly.  The older boys are doing a study of Christ through the four gospels.  Ian and Ali are starting with the Old Testament.  We’re practicing our handwriting and writing our lab reports.  Thank the Lord I have Jacob to be my able-bodied assistant!  He keeps everyone organized and on schedule.  He fills in and teaches Ian & Ali’s math when I’m at work.  And he runs a mean copy machine…

 

Brock & Braeden had a science experiment...notice the eye protection! Safety first!

Now sometimes people find out we homeschool and worry that our children are “sheltered” or “poorly socialized”.  I have alot of really good answers to those comments that I usually keep to myself to avoid losing my Christian witness (is idiot in the Bible?).

But, speaking of “sheltered”…my poor kids.  We went on a bike ride today.  I had promised we would take to the open road and do a little spin around the neighborhood.  I know this sounds normal to most of you but for us it was a first time event.  Not because I’m sheltering the kids…I’m simply lazy.  And it’s not really because I’m all that lazy, we just have never had everyone up and riding bikes before.  But, the time had come so we did it.

I will back up this little story by saying the last time we (Jesse, Jacob & Brock) rode a bike on concrete was at least 4 years ago when we lived in Verdigris.  The boys would ride up and down the street.  Braeden had a horrible time learning to ride a bike (I think it’s called fear) so he stuck to his roller blades but Brock rode a few times before we moved to the country, where everything is rocky and downhill with the exception of the places that are wooded.

Ian and Ali learned to ride their bikes out here on the gravel and grass…to me that makes them incredibly talented….or desperate.  They work HARD going up and down the gravel driveway or out in the bumpy grass…really hard.  And some of the time they didn’t have working hand-brakes.  It was like a science class right there…gravity, momentum, inertia…pain.

But, we dusted off my bike and Braeden took the it’s helm.  Brock got his chain lubed up and raised his seat as far as it could go.  Although he looked a bit peculiar with his knees rising above the steering wheel, he said he could handle it.  Ian mounted his steed after his hand-brakes were fixed.  And Ali, the wisest one in the bunch, donned her safety helmet and took off on her “girl bike”.

Me?  I walked.  It was the strangest bike-ride I have ever been on!  I couldn’t figure out how to coast!!

 

 

My biker gang...

The kids rode their bikes halfway down our driveway to the hill then got off and walked their bikes up the remainder of the half-mile journey to the gate.  Then the magic happened…we opened the gate and they pedalled onto the asphalt and glided down the road….glided…and coasted….and glided….!

I felt horrible.  Ian said, “Mom, thank you so much for letting us ride.  Look, I’m coasting”.  Brock said, “It’s like riding on glass!”. Braeden added, “This is my first time to ride a bike on a real road”.

Yep…sheltered…

We had fun.  We went about 1 1/2 miles down the road and back again…up hill both ways.  I had just a bit of trouble keeping up since they were gliding and coasting and speeding WAY ahead of me.  We learned “road etiquette” and I’m sure the neighbors now think Ian’s name is “MOVE OVER”. But the kids were over-joyed.  They were ready to go mile after mile after mile (until they realized their rear-ends were getting a bit sore.).  Jacob & Ruthie joined us as well and their tails were dragging by the time we got home!

 

 

Ruthie joined the pack.

But, we can’t play all the time.  So, part of being in the Ponderosa School of Reality is we had to do a little manual labor.  The boys mixed up some loads of concrete and hauled them into the house where Darin was doing some foundation repair on our new addition.  Ian and Ali had already helped Darin rip up some floor boards and dig some holes in the ground. They just needed the concrete!

 

 

Hard at work mixing concrete...one load after another until 16 loads were completed.

It was a very ingenious plan to pour the concrete through the floor boards!  It was also a very messy plan…but, once completed the floor will be braced to stop the floor joists from being a bit too “limber”.  Live and learn…

 

 

The concrete made it's way into the new addition one load at a time...16 trips.

By the end of the day we were tired.  We had learned about vowel-consonant blends, practiced our downstrokes, read a book about the red jet, told time on the hour, read Genesis 1, reviewed all our adverbs, studied the origins of science, blew up a balloon with vinegar & baking soda, solved for x, figured out that evolution is simply a hypothesis and NOT a theory nor a fact, reduced fractions, reminded ourselves that anything is possible with God, started chapter 9 of “The Swiss Family Robinson”, discussed Christopher Columbus (his real name was Cristoforo Colombo!), found the Tropic of Cancer and Capricorn and refreshed our memories about gerunds.

We also explored distant lands on our bikes and built a firm foundation.

And when all was said and done it was a GREAT day, just like I imagined years ago when Darin thought I was crazy…

 

A tooth for a tooth…

 

We brought our Oklahoma State University attire to the heart of Oklahoma University School of Medicine. They needed a little color...

 

Well, today was the day that some wisdom teeth just had to go!  We’ve known about it since July, but here it is already October 7th so off to the Oral Surgeon we went.

Braeden & Brock are on a schedule to have surgery on their lower jaw sometime in the next few months.  They’ve been wearing braces nearly a year which puts them in a good position for correction of their underbite.  The procedure requires that their lower jaw be cut, slid forward then screwed back together.  The incision is right where their wisdom teeth are now, so they have to go!

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You Know You’re Home When…

It’s like we’ve never left!  We’re right back in the groove again.

I was late the first day back to work because the battery had died on the van.  The blood machine at the clinic wasn’t working properly and delayed labwork I needed before proceeding with surgery.  My first case was putting to sleep a sweet, aged Golden Retriever while her family sobbed uncontrollably.  My cat spay ended up being pregnant. The door knob at the back of the clinic fell off, locking us indoors.  The knob on the cold water in the bathtub is broken.  And the air-conditioner can’t keep up with the heat so the clinic is hovering around 80*F by late afternoon.

Just one thing after another!  We’re back home!!

We’re still laughing though.  It was so good to see the girls at work.  They really are family to me and I missed being around them during the last 3 weeks.

It’s good to have a sense of humor. We had a client drop by this week who has a chronically ill dog and so far the medicine hasn’t been working.  They really need to proceed to a specialist but they were hoping that antibiotics would be the simple answer.  The debate over what to do with the animal was getting difficult…when she eats she vomits, she can’t take her medicine but the next step is going to a specialist but they really don’t want to do that. Eureka!  They found an answer….stop feeding the dog!  WHAT??!!  Now why didn’t they teach me that in veterinary school?

Today when we got ready for church we all breathed a sigh of relief.  I love the church in Bermuda but it was so nice to walk out the door, load up in the car and drive straight to church.  At one point I yelled to the kids, “Hurry up…we have to catch the bus!”.  They all looked at me like I was crazy.  Then when we got in the car I said, “Now remember, when we get to town we’ll probably have to walk in the rain”.  Yep…they think I’m ever crazier.

It was just fun to revel in the freedom of driving to the door of the church, rain or shine.  And we were so excited that we showed up nearly an hour early!  And we all fit on our regular row…3 row, left of center.

Gas is only $2.39 per gallon and we drove straight to church…yep, we’re home.

Bermuda Vacation 2009: Day #20

Well, we did it…we came home.  I was kicking and screaming (quietly in my heart) and Darin was leaping for joy.  He had done his time on the “Rock” and was ready to head back to our little green acres.  I was ready to stay there forever in my own little world of denial!

Totally unlike anything we’ve ever done before, we actually woke up early, had all our suitcases packed, stripped all the bedding and vacuumed the house.  Strange.

I think at some point I opened my big, fat mouth and said, “This is awesome!  We’re all ready to go and we’re having any stress!”.

Then the taxi never arrived…and then he called and he was lost (Bermuda is only 21 square miles…you can’t get too lost!).  We figured after getting advice from Mom he’d be there in 4 minutes.  But, 4 minutes became 14 minutes and now it’s raining.  We’re standing out in the driveway looking for him so he doesn’t miss the turn onto our street.  But, with the rain, we had to move the party into the garage.  We must have looked a bit silly all crammed in the single garage with our luggage…everyone was out there except Darin.  He was inside waiting for the phone to ring again.

The gentleman pulled in 30 minutes late when the rain was coming down heavy.  He backed up to the garage door and we loaded the best we could.  Darin reminded him that we were supposed to be at the airport in 7 minutes…then the race took off.

We started off down Middle Road (logical choice) but when we got to Burnt House Hill he turned off to Harbor Road!  I’m not sure what his reasoning was.  Harbor Road is beautiful.  It’s my choice when I’m going into town but it’s wiggly and narrow in spots.  For most of the way, you could never pass anyone.

So, now I’m thinking, “He’s purposely going out of his way since we complained about him being so late!”.  It didn’t help that the man had a very unusual voice…like he was suffering from severe laryngitis.  I couldn’t understand a word he was saying over the van noises and the rain.

From there he took another turn and another twist and we were on roads I’ve never been on…ever.  We ended up just west of Flatt’s and then he took North Shore road again.  The least I can say is we certainly got the scenic route!  He was zipping here and zapping there.

We got to the airport in 37 minutes.  I patted him on the shoulder and said, “You should be a race car driver” and he replied, “I used to.”.  Great.

Waiting at the airport

Waiting at the airport

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