Friday, January 20, 2012

Kicking and Yelling

For as long as I can remember, I have had a love of anything related to martial arts.  The beauty of the movements, the power behind the kicks and punches, the discipline . . . it's always left me in awe.  I never got very far myself with lessons.  However, my nephews are now blackbelts (forgive me but I don't remember if it's 3rd or 4th degree) and they both teach classes.  I enrolled Noah and Savannah as early as 4 years old and quickly realized it was a big mistake after watching them run circles around the dojo instead of paying attention.  They enrolled about a year later, and we proudly watched them break boards and earn their yellow belts.  It's been a while, again, since they've had lessons.  Mostly because we couldn't keep up with the cost of everything and a tiny bit because they seemed like they were losing interest.

So today Noah started private lessons with my nephew, James.  I LOVE the fact that the lessons are one on one because Noah learns so much better that way.  He doesn't do very well with distractions.  I also LOVE that my nephew is the one teaching Noah.  As far as I'm concerned right now, James is a rock star.

I'm hoping that Noah will want to stick with it this time . . .he seemed to be loving every minute of it.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Coming Soon . . .

I guess I need a place to put up all of the pictures of things I've sewn.  I'm working on an album now, so hopefully it will be ready to view in a few days (if Thom helps me) or a few months (if I'm doing this on my own).  Thanks for the interest!!!

Thursday, January 12, 2012


It finally happened.  We have the first real snow of the year, which is pretty amazing since we're already into January.  Noah and I are all cozy inside with the fireplace going.  He just got in from shoveling snow and, being a good mom, I of course greeted him with a big cup of hot chocolate complete with marshmallows.  Looks like we'll be going skiing after all.

So I'm thinking . . .

Am I the only one on the planet who really despises snow?  I'm reading all of the facebook posts about how everyone is so happy to see the snow.  I've been dreading it.  I mean REALLY dreading it.  Now it's here.  It's cold, snow is blowing sideways, and the world looks to me like a coloring page that hasn't been colored in--all dead and dreary.  PLEASE someone show me the beauty in all of this.  I'm trying to not be a complete poop about the whole thing, but this really isn't my time of year.  I would prefer to hibernate until the first thaw, like a grouchy old bear.  Maybe I equate winter with being sick, and cold, and tired.  All I know is that the lack of sunshine really messes with me and makes me sad and grumpy.

Remember this?  How on earth is this beautiful??

My kids have been counting down the days until we go skiing.  I guess I was secretly hoping that the snow wouldn't come and we would go directly to the water park.  I, on the other hand, am counting down the days until we leave for Florida (30 days) and I can sit under a palm tree and watch the geckos run.  I'm looking forward to hearing the ocean waves, feel the salty spray on my face, and feel the hot sand under my toes.  I'll settle with just seeing the sunshine and any color other than grey.

So seriously, am I the only one who hates winter?  Are there any others like me out there??

Monday, January 9, 2012

Follow the Drinking Gourd

Noah and I had the chance to go on a field trip today giving us an opportunity to learn about the Underground Railroad.  As a newbie in the homeschooling world, I'm always thrilled when something new and exciting presents itself.  Especially when it's been planned out for me since most of the time I'm winging the whole teaching "thing".  Though we've been studying ancient civilizations right now, I dutifully downloaded as much internet information as I thought an eight year old brain could handle.  Last night we had a mini lesson on what the Underground Railroad was, why it was needed, lyrics to the song "Follow the Drinking Gourd" and a short biography of Harriet Tubman. We got through most of it before Noah's eyes glazed over and he started to drool.

This morning Savannah was so jealous of Noah's upcoming adventure that she actually asked to stay home from school so she could go too.  This is my child that gets angry with me if I make a dentist appointment during school hours.  At the beginning of this school year she told me in no uncertain terms that she NEVER wants to be homeschooled.  This morning she said that she thinks that she should be homeschooled next year and Noah can go back to public school.  Hmmm.

We left our house towards the nearby nature center where the field trip was being held.  While we waited to be transported back in time to the 1800's, we checked out the snakes, turtles and stuffed owls (which were quite scary if I do say so myself).  Unfortunately, we were told that no cameras or cell phone pictures were allowed which is why I don't have any cool pictures to post.

First, our group was led by the "conductor" through the woods as we were escaping toward the first safe house.  We were told that we had to travel quietly since the bounty hunters were after us.  We learned some fun facts along the way while we were looking for the "sign" of red longjohns with the flap open hanging in the front of the house.  When we arrived, we had to give the signal . . . knock three times then tell them we were a "friend with friends".  There we heard stories told of what the slaves did during the day, how they were sold away from their families, how the "spirituals" or songs they sung had hidden meanings, the hardships they endured trying to escape to freedom, that the children were expected to do an adults' work at the age of 6, and we learned about the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850.  Each safe house had a different message and activity . . . painting quilt squares representing hidden messages, dressing up to try to stay hidden among the people, and hiding in secret areas of a cellar.  At one  home we were greeted by an older woman pointing a rifle at us!  She was definitely my favorite.  At the very end we all escaped to Canada, which was our destination, and were welcomed with songs of "Free at Last".

I was quite impressed!  I'm hoping Noah was too.  I'm thinking he must have gotten something from the experience since he was singing "Free at Last" most of the way home.

They will have this experience open to the public on January 28th.  I'm thinking of going back with Savannah.

Saturday, January 7, 2012


Skiing: the art of catching cold and going broke while rapidly heading nowhere at great personal risk.

Our annual family ski/waterpark trip is quickly approaching.  I do not like the cold.  I do not like snow.  I do not like falling down.  However, I know my kids and husband are excited and counting down the days until we leave with the same anticipation as they counted down the days until Christmas.  So I will bundle up and take one for the team.

Honestly, if I'm being truthful, I really did have a good time last year.  

Mostly though I'll be looking forward to sitting in the hot tub in the Dells after we make it through the skiing adventure.  

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Gramma and Pop Pop

This year we convinced my parents to spend Christmas with us.  My sister and I agreed that Christmas just hasn't been quite the same since they moved to Florida so we plotted together along with my daughter (Pleeeeaaaasssseee Gramma, please come because I miss you).  It was a really wonderful Christmas this year, even with some of the stresses that the holiday season inevitably brings.

I have had some downtime and have spent a lot of time just reflecting on things.  After the recent funeral I attended, where I watched a family say goodbye to their father, I was so struck at how blessed I am to have my parents in my life.  The truth is, this man was only 5 years older than my own father.  I look at my parents as invincible sometimes, able to do anything.  Yes, they may have slowed down a bit . . .but just a bit.  I still see my mom as energetic, able to conquer the world.  She's someone you just don't mess with and you don't stand in her way when she has made up her mind.  Anyone who knows my mom well is laughing and nodding their heads right now.  And my dad, well, he's always been my hero.  Quiet, gentle strength is how I would describe him -- always dependable.

I am lucky.  I am blessed.  And my children are blessed as well because they are amazing grandparents.

Savannah and Gramma have an incredible bond.  I've learned now that the way to get Savannah to do just about anything is through Gramma.  Me:  "Savannah, isn't this dress pretty?"  Savannah:  "Eww Mom, you can't seriously think I'd wear that!"  Mom with same dress:  "I like this dress.  Savannah how bout this one?"  Savannah:  "Oh Gramma, that's the prettiest dress I've ever seen!!"  Yeah, It's pretty much like that with everything.

During our vacation I had gone out to run errands and Noah was home with my dad.  I am kicking myself now for not getting pictures of the scene I came home to.  The house was so quiet I didn't think anyone was home.  As I walked up the stairs I saw Noah and "Pop Pop" both sprawled out on the floor chatting and putting together legos.  I can't explain the warmth in my heart at that moment and how it blessed me completely.  However, Dad, I still blame you to this day for all the sticks and rocks Noah comes home with.  Dad had told Noah to "go play with a stick and a rock" when he was little.  He is still absolutely obsessed with sticks and rocks.

So Mom and Dad, thank you.  Thank you for giving my kids this gift.

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