The LORD lives, and blessed be my rock, and exalted be my God, the rock of my salvation
2Samuel 22:47

23 March 2010

Family Reunions {Part Two}

Friday was the day our family got to spend time with my Dad's side. The morning started out with a trip to my Uncle Bob's home. He owns a paintball field and business on his acreage. The boys weren't the least bit interested in paintball - they just happened to bring their camo gear with them! {ha ha!} Grampa Bill, the older 3 of our guys, Bob and Uncle Bob got busy playing and shooting and doing paintball things. Unfortunately for Langston, he was too little and missed out on all the fun. He did, however, get to make a Starbucks run with his Mom while the guys did their target practice.

{Serious Fun}

Uncle Bob was so great and patient with Ryland. Here he is showing him how to hold the gun correctly and shoot. This visit was definitely a highlight for the boys!

After Uncle Bob's, we followed my Dad past the scenic Skagit Valley tulip and daffodil fields on our way to the quaint little town of La Conner, WA. The daffodils were in bloom and the tulips were threatening to begin their magnificent display. There are millions of blooms that light up this whole section of the county during April. It is amazing and one of my very favorite places/times in the whole world.

After a delicious lunch at the Calico Cupboard, we drove out towards Anacortes and up Mt. Erie. From the top of the mountain we were able to hike just a ways to enjoy scenic views of the San Juans, Canada, Whidbey Island and other parts of the Puget Sound. We also were able to see all the fields of yellow below- which were the daffodil fields we had just driven by.

This in one of the views from the mountaintop- looking out towards Whidbey Island and Deception Pass.

We then headed into Burlington where we met up with more family. My Dad and Auntie Sue were able to gather together all of my cousins from Auntie Sue and Uncle Bill's family, plus their spouses and children. We were very excited and humbled that everyone would travel and take the time to come and see us. It was really, really neat. Here above is a picture of my niece, Chloe'. {Our boys were very excited to get to see the same cousins from the previous day, as Heidi was able to make it up to Burlington this evening as well}

We met Trevor and Megan's little Kaylie. She was so much fun to hold and just a doll! This was the first opportunity we had to meet Megan since she and Trev were married and we were thrilled to get to see their cute family. Ty and his kids, Tucker and Tia, were at this gathering, along with Marla. Cousin Traci and her husband, Pete, along with their three daughters also made the drive up to visit. It was so great to see all of them - humbling is the only word I can really use to describe how we felt that everyone could come for a visit.

{Auntie Sue and Hollie}


{Trevor and Kaylie}

{Auntie Sue and Uncle Bill}

It was a huge blessing to be with Auntie Sue and Uncle Bill after praying so much for Uncle Bill when he had major heart surgery a few months ago. We are so thankful for God's faithfulness in bringing him through it all.

{Bob, Ryland and Heidi - air hockey}

I realized after going through the pictures from this night that I missed a few people- namely Grampa Bill. However, I do know he was kept awful busy chasing Langston around Chuck-E-Cheese the entire evening.

{Hollie and Heidi}
It has been a whirlwind week...

Family Reunions {Part One}

Thursday was our day to spend time with Hollie's Mom's side of the family. We met Mom, Aunt Jamie, Heidi and Matt for brunch and then headed out to my grandparents home for a day of visiting. Mom and Jamie made a wonderful lunch for all of us, and later Mom cooked us up a wonderful lasagna supper. We were so excited that so much of the family showed up: Hollie's cousins Billy and Kristen, and her boyfriend Gerry, and Heidi and her 3 girls, besides Mom and Jamie. Gramma and Grampa know how much Ry loves his tie, and surprised the boys with new ties.

Gramma got out the penny jar and dumped them in the walkway. The boys had so much fun 'digging for treasure'. Langston was much more enthusiastic about finding as many rocks as possible...

Grampa is full of stories and history and we could sit for days and listen to him. I'm not sure what the conversation was here, but it wouldn't surprise me if he was telling the boys about the War.

Langston decided to pick on someone his own size (ha, ha!) and Billy was such a good sport, despite being beat in the head with a baseball bat. {You can see he's terribly miserable :-) }

Ryland seems to have forgotten all the training about how to treat a lady, and gave Kristen a surprise attack with his bubble-sword-turned-light-saber. She gave him the chase of his life, and he loved every step of it.

It was a beautiful spring like day, so we were able to spend a lot of time outdoors. Langston attached himself to this baseball bat, and Great Gramma.

And when we moved indoors, he challenged Great Gramma to a duel...

While Ryland challenged Great Grampa to some wrestling {Looks like he's got you beat, Ry!}

Our boys thought it was SO fun to get to hang out with their very own cousins. Ryland said "I never knew I was a cousin!" Heidi's girls are {L to R} Cosette (8), Kylie (15), and Chloe' (11).

It was such a blessing to be able to spend the day with family.

{Hollie, Carol, Gramma, Heidi, Grampa - and the top of Langston's head, as he fell into deep sleep on Great Grampa's lap at the end of the day.}
And the next post...Family Reunions Part 2. Signing off from Ogden, Utah...
Hollie for the gang

15 March 2010

Beach Bums

This picture is for all our Nebraska Oregon it is unlawful to pump your own gas, so I just had to take a picture of our station attendant and Bob overseeing her filling our van. Also, it is unlawful to make a right hand turn on red. Just a little road trivia in case you are planning a trip out here anytime soon! :-) It was absolutely beautiful today. We drove from Lincoln City north to Pacific City, where Bob's grandparents used to live. He took us by all the 'old places' and his Grandpa's home, and had a chance to walk around and remember some happier times here. Then we got to go to the beach, the moment the boys had been waiting for for a long time...about 1500 miles ago long time.

This is Haystack Rock at Cape Kiwanda, Pacific City. The beach really is picturesque and perfect. Ryland had been telling us all about how he was going to swim in the ocean when we finally got there. And we have been telling him all about how he can't swim in this ocean right now because it is too cold, but maybe he could dip a toe in just to see how cold it is.

And then Ryland tripped and fell as he was running from a wave and got buried and soaked - and he loved it and said "I told you I was going to swim in the ocean!" and then went back for more. But, he did take his tie off and asked me to keep it safe for him, in case of future falls.

Braden and Tarver racing with the waves. The game is, you go out as far as you can, wait for a giant wave to break and don't start running until it is just about to reach you. If you can make it up to the beach before the wave gets your feet wet, you have won.

And then Ryland decided to try swimming again. {And again, and again...}

Our guys made great beach bums today...

Mr. Soggy pants here was a literal beach bum. Sorry, I couldn't resist.

From Pacific City we drove Hwy 101 north to Tillamook. This is what most of the trip looked like.

We made a quick stop at the Tillamook cheese factory {this counts for field trip hours, by the way!} and stocked up on some Northwest specific groceries for supper. The cheese factory offers free cheese curds at the end of the tour and Bob and I both have fond memories of 'squeaky cheese' from our many visits to Tillamook when we lived out here. If you have never had cheese curds, then you probably won't understand squeaky cheese, but let's just say it was a hit with the boys.

While in Tillamook, we had the opportunity to visit with Grandpa's friend, Dotty. We have never met her before so we were thrilled to give her a hug in person.

After the beach, cheese factory and a nice visit, we were hungry. We drove north once more, and stopped for lunch and some window shopping in Cannon Beach. I ordered clam chowder, again. It was heavenly.

I wish you could smell this. I wish I could bring some back home to share with you all. But you really need to be near the water to enjoy it to its fullest.

In Cannon Beach we found a kite shop. Ryland found the cutest little kite ever...

And when we landed in Seaside this evening, we walked from our hotel down to the beach to fly it. And boy, can this kiddo fly a kite. Braden and Tarver found all sorts of shells: sand dollars, clams, mussels...and Langston ate sand and had a blast throwing it. And Ryland ran, and ran, and ran, and ran. So much so, that the 2 block walk home almost did him in because his legs had run out.

{My Guys. Seaside, Oregon.}

Our supper tonight: Tillamook cheese, crackers, apple slices and Aplets & Cotlets. I forgot the smoked salmon while we were grocery shopping, otherwise this would have been a square Northwest meal.

08 March 2010

'Life' is our classroom

A few weeks ago, my Gramma asked if I would post a picture of what our classroom looks like. Because home education is not confined to a specific room, I thought I'd share what a somewhat typical week would look like for our family. {Because home educators have the freedom to pursue the best interests of their own specific families, no other school looks like ours or the same as any other, for that matter.}

I think to best sum up what our classroom looks like it would be this: LIFE. We truly take advantage of every opportunity to learn all that we can. We are intentional in the fact that we are to raise adults and not children. Not that we aren't enjoying our children being children (of course we do!), but we try to keep in mind the big picture. The purpose of our parenting is to raise commendable, responsible adults who are growing up with a sincere love for our Lord, compassion for the people around us, an awareness and appreciation for the blessings they have been given {there is a world around them that doesn't always look like our small town}, and a respect for work, in such that they will one day be able to care for their future families in a way that will be obedient to the Word of God (i.e. being a single income family). It is our desire to equip them with the tools they will need to be leaders in their future homes, churches and communities.

So, with all that being said, here are a few snapshots of our different classrooms that I caught while we were 'in school' last week: At least once a week we visit our local library. All our children have their own library cards and are responsible for their own accounts (late fees, etc.)

Saturday morning chess club at the local coffee shop
{Taught and organized by another home educating family}

Our drama club and constant entertainment- the Preschool class!
Oh, and they count as our class pets, too!

One of our science classrooms with a guest instructor, the Superintendent and Principal of our school {a.k.a. Dad}
Here, they are building a weather station and discussing all the features, what they mean and how they work.

Character training classroom
{also how they earn their tuition and pay for their 'hot lunch' :-)}

Even our Preschool class has homework. Langston is working on a project from 'Career Day' in his 'Things People Do' book.

Our playground {one of many}

Three of our eleven home library shelves. This is where the bulk of our school-specific books are kept. We have been using Sonlight curriculum for the last five years along with many supplements, as we have found other books of interest. We will be adding yet another bookshelf in a few weeks after we visit the Nebraska Christian Home Educators Conference in Lincoln.

The 'office'. I love my copier and printer and it has been so convenient to have for our school days. Our school Principal gave it to me for a birthday present a few years ago. Isn't he the greatest?

Our teacher's lounge. We love Starbucks.

This is our botany science lab {we have science labs all over our house}. Here we are growing lettuce for winter salads and some baby seedlings to place in our garden in another month.

The big classroom

For our morning subjects, we are generally upstairs poring over books, reading and discussing together. In the afternoon, we transition to the basement for subjects such as math and language arts, where we have a nice big table to do our work on.

One of our music classrooms

Preschool at the pool

One of our current P.E. subjects is swimming

And last, but certainly not least, this is how we start our day. We gather in the living room to sing a hymn {this month we are learning 'O Worship the King}, read our Proverb for the day, do a devotional type Bible Study {we are currently studying Determination } and pray for many, many things. God has been so gracious to our family.

"But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness... Matthew 6:33

*Not pictured are the many service projects we are blessed to participate in, frequent play dates with our many friends, serving people in our home, field trips {we have a BIG one coming up}, Cub Scout group, speech club, and many more.
Life is our classroom.