Friday, July 28, 2006

First Day of School Traditions

I remember that when I was growing up, back-to-school traditions made the whole experience of starting school somewhat exciting. I read an article a couple years ago about the importance of having back-to-school traditions even for my homeschool kids, and I realized it was something I had neglected. Since we don't really need new school clothes, or lunch boxes, and such, I have come up with a few things all our own.

On the first day of school, each kid gets some kind of treats. Since they don't normally carry lunch boxes with packaged foods, these things are a real treasure in our house, so each year I give the kids an assortment of their own packaged chips, cookies, and candies. This year it was all in a gift bag with some new school supplies (don't care how many crayons or pencils we have, you just have to have new ones to make it feel like the first day of school!), and some individual drinks.

There are, of course, new school supplies, although over the years I have discovered that we need less and less replaced every year. One of the boys got a new backpack this year, but not all three needed one. One got a pencil pouch. Nobody really needed a binder. They all get new pencils, colored pencils, and I stock up on art supplies and such.

Our first day of school is a preview day. There are very few "real" assignments. We design portfolio binder covers--this year we did them on the computer with photos of the boys and cute individualized graphics. I take their picture with all their new books for the school photo album. And we look over all their materials and do any introductory lessons or reading.

One of the things I did with Josh this year about two weeks before we started was to help him make a list of all the things he thought he'd be doing in ten or fifteen years. We came up with things like married, dad, homeowner, church member, and he thinks he might like to have a job (he keeps insisting as a video game tester!). Then I sat with him and we brainstormed all the skills or knowledge you need to have or do those things. Although I didn't get and grand oooohs or aaaahs, I'm hoping I've given him a little of the practical reasons for why we do this stuff.

The first week has been a little less organized than I planned. Rather than being: "Wow, what a first week!", it's been more . . . well . . . normal. But I'm excited about what we are doing, and about all the new and additional challenges we will face (like how I'll homeschool three kids with a toddler around, and when I'll get to the gym for some much needed exercise!).

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

I Am Just Plain Tired!

In spite of a restless night, I made it through a delightful day. As I mentioned earlier, Josh went to Wet and Wild, so I took the younger boys and some other friends to the beach. Now you might think that everyone who lives near the coast of Florida makes regular pigrimages to the beach. Not so. In fact, I always had sort of a love/hate relationship with the beach as a kid. Maybe part of it is that I burn so easy. Maybe I just don't like all the work of packing and driving, only to get sticky, sandy, itchy, and have my eyes burned by salt water. But today was a different kind of trip--odd, since I am now the mom who has to do most of the work.

Today I took five kids and a teenager to the beach. I swam in the water with the boys, and LOVED it! We ate sand affected food and LOVED it! I got totally fried (you'd think I'd know by now that sunscreen washes off in seawater!) and . . . well . . . OK, did't love that part. I'm tired, and my arms and back hurt, but hey! I had fun. I think the kids had fun too!

Two Firsts

**Sniff, sniff**

**sob, sob**

My oldest son just went off on his first junior high trip. They went to Wet and Wild today . . . on a bus . . . and he's leaving now, at 5:45 in the morning! Now I know I've done week-long camps and stuff like that, but somehow this is different! Worst of all? He packed his own stuff! I basically did nothing! He didn't sleep last night he was so excited. For hours he tossed and turned in my bed (hence, I didn't sleep either!), and told me he finally went downstairs to read and eat an apple. That was the second first--he had to get up in the middle of the night to eat! Oh, brother! I'd better install those key-locks on the pantry and 'fridge!

The only shining moment for mom? He's still too lazy to put his own sunscreen on!

Monday, July 24, 2006

Sweet Andrew

Andrew is like lightning. He is full of energy--energy that can be destructive or beautiful, depending on where he hits. The boys came home from their dad's today. They were full of stories of adventure from the week. I listened to every one, and never got tired of the chatter or the constant teasing and quarreling. Guess I missed it, even though I enjoyed the quiet. We went to some friends' home for lunch, and when I came home I was a little tired and decided to rest for a bit. I was watching a movie, and Andrew came in to lay down beside me. Before I knew it, he crashed, and slept from about 7pm, until a half hour ago. (It's now 1:30am!) Just like lightning, he quickly burned himself out!

He's having a small snack and then we're going to bed. We have to be up early to start school tomorrow. (I'm such a mean mom!) While he was snacking, I took some pics of him with my snazzy new digital camera. I'll tell more about that later.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Hello! I'm Still Breathing!

This week my boys are staying with their dad. I have enjoyed the break and have played with friends almost every day. Last night I was out late (No, I did NOT have a date!), and I collected mail when I got home. In the mail was a letter for each of the boys . . . from our credit union.

Dear ****,
Please accept our condolences on your recent loss. We would like to assist you with the closure of hte account titled in the name of the late Lisa ***** . . . .

I thought,"What? I'm dead? And nobody told me?"

Funny, I don't feel dead (not that I'd really know what that feels like). And I somehow managed to get out of bed this morning and get ready for the day. Of course, if I'm dead . . . do I have to pay my bills?

Note: What actually happened, is that my account was flagged. Banks and credit unions watch death notices and flad accounts where names are mentioned. Somebody just forgot to take the flag off my account. I'm quite releived that I'm still alive.

Friday, July 14, 2006


The younger boys have been camping all week. They asked me Sunday night if they could camp, and have asked every night since then if we could leave it up one more night. They LOVE the tent! I LOVE not finding someone has sneaked into my bed in the middle of the night. But am I crazy letting two little boys camp alone? Don't I know some weirdo prowler could sneak into the back yard and steal off with my children? What AM I thinking?

Don't worry they're safe! This is how they like to camp:

AJ asked Wednesday if we could keep the tent up one more night. I said I'd think about it (I'm really ready to have my living room back!), and he said, "Mama, I really LOVE this indoor camping!" I'm right there with ya, buddy!

Hmmm . . . think maybe I could convince the Den Master in Cub Scouts to try it?

Update on Eye

Well, Monday was my last cruddy day. I have not introduced too many of the things I removed from my bed back into it, so I don't really know if or what might have caused the reaction. I have had a couple of fleeting moments of my eyes feeling itchy or like they were getting "sticks" in them, but I just put some drops in and it seems to clear up. So the mystery remains . . . just that. How weird is it that I'm blogging about my eye infection? Surely I have better things to share! Well, just in case you wondered!

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Dum . . . Da dum dum!

Seems I have a mystery on my hands. This morning I woke up and my eyes were oozy and crusty . . . again. So I have to do some asking around and some elimination to figure out what is going on here. I've already done some Internest querying, but haven't found a single thing that has eye discharge without being conjunctivitis. My suspicion is that it is an allergy, and I stripped my bed and put all new linens on it and only a couple pillows. Still, I woke up cruddy. Any suggestions?

Monday, July 10, 2006

The Eyes Have It . . . er . . . Thankfully, They Don't!

Last night was a test. I don't think I did too well, but I survived it. I started fighting an eye infection of some sort last week. It started in one eye, then the next night was in the other. Since I want my new camera much more than I want good health, I decided to not spend a hundred dollars or more on a doctor's visit and Rx, and went online to look for some cheaper home remedies. Passing up the bats wings soaked in pig pee, I decided to use chamomile tea compresses, and watered down honey. It seemed to work . . . until last night!

Yesterday, I could feel it starting again--just some itching, and the sensation that a stick was in my eye. By last night, it was really bothering me, and the other eye was beginning to feel itchy too. In fact, it bothered me all night, so much so that I didn't sleep well. When I did sleep, I had a very weird dream (something about being attacked by pirates and having only a broomstick and some baseball bats--I really need to be with girls!), and woke up suddenly with my heart racing (we weren't dong too well against the pirates!). Between dozing a little and waking with my eye aching or oozing, I laid in bed and worried--about the constant drain on my finances, about what I would do to earn income if I lost my sight, about how mad a friend might be if I called and woke them up in the middle of the night with crazy worries . . . . You know, it really doesn't make sense now, but it seemed to then.

I also worried about the two other appointments that I had scheduled today and how I would get to the doctor on top of it. See, this is where I am comforted by believing in a sovereign God. In the midst of my crying, I did a lot of praying. It was mostly just, "I'm tired and I don't know how, but HELP!" but it worked. Deciding that my sleep is definitely worth the doctor's fees, I called to make an appointment this morning. They needed to fit me in--only an hour after Andrew's appointment to get his cast removed, and half way across town! But I trusted that although it didn't make sense to me, God would somehow work it out. And He did!

Today I got rid of half my garage mess (I had a pick-up scheduled), especially the BIG stuff. Andrew got his cast off, had new X-rays taken, was examined by the doctor and had a new splint-like brace made, all in under 45 minutes. And I arrived at my eye appointment ten minutes early! What was wrong? NOTHING! My eyes are perfectly healthy and he couldn't see any sign of infection.

So I'm thinking there are only a few explanations. I had a bug in my eye. (yes, there are reasons to suspect that, but I won't go into them!) All my tears washed away the infection. Or maybe miracles do still happen. And me? I'm kind of partial to the latter explanation.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Celebrating the Fourth

Every year our church has an Independence Day picnic on the Sunday evening before the fourth. This is what the boys did this year.

Andrew decorated his bike, then had fun with all the room to ride.

Stephen got a new skateboard. Since he couldn't ride it decorated, he decorated his helmet instead.

Josh tried to keep Mom from taking pictures of him. Silly boy, he should have known I'd get him sooner or later! Josh is in the "let's just kind of hang out" stage.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Celebrating Independence Day

Things have changed a lot in the way I celebrate the 4th from when I was a kid. When I was younger, my aunt lived near downtown, so we had a big family celebration at her house. After a huge dinner, we would walk down to where my uncle worked and go up in his tall office building to watch the fireworks over downtown. The fireworks were great, the food wonderful, but for me it was all about family--aunts, uncles, and lots of cousins, and my grandma, of course!

I still celebrate with family, but the celebration has changed a lot. Tonight it was me and two of the boys. (Josh spent the night with a friend.) I asked them what they wanted to do, and being boys, what they really wanted was to blow things up! So this morning we went and bought some fireworks. We had hot dogs (all-American!), and ice cream, and played games together. The surprise God had for me was that we joined up with the family across the street to explode the firecrackers. Their daughter and son-in-law and four grandsons were over, so my boys had four other boys to be wild with. And of course, it was great fun blowing things up! Best of all, I didn't have to light a single one!

My family, and my celebration may have changed in thirty years, but we are still celebrating together. I hope that my boys look back on wonderful memories of family fun and being together.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Summer Road Trip!

Friday we spent the day in Gainesville. I LOVE the library system there, and I had books that were very overdue, so we hit the library first. Then we went to the Florida Museum of Natural History--after getting lost on the UF campus and driving around for hours looking for it! We took some friends with us, and had a great time.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

And I Buy Toys Why?

Thursday I caught AJ playing with . . . batteries! He had pulled the box of batteries out and was setting them up all over the floor. And he was thoroughly entertained. I'm thinking I could save a lot of money this way.