Sunday, September 29, 2013

How Time Flies

It's hard to believe that 27 years ago I became a big sister!  It was something I had wanted for numerous years. 

Those that know me, you are probably doing the math.  Yes, I have a brother that is quite a few years younger than me (and I'm not sharing how many).  In fact, I tell most people who ask, that we were pretty much 2 only children that happened to live in the same house briefly.

Not only has time flown by, but my brother is now flying in his own way.  A couple years ago he found his passion.  I'm so proud of him for following it (a bit scared if I think about it too hard), and doing it so well.

What is his passion?  Jumping out of perfectly good airplanes (and helping others do it too).  He is currently a parachute rigger (gotta pay the bills right).  This has allowed him easy access to be able to parachute himself.  In fact he did his 150th solo jump yesterday.  His ultimate goal is to do tandem jumps (where someone is attached to you) and also be an aerial videographer / photographer.  He has a few more solo jumps before he can do either of those, but he's well on his way.

So proud of you little bro!  Love you to the sky and back (safely I pray)!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Branching Out

This evening, my daughter tried a new group activity.  Anyone who knows my daughter, knows she's very shy (at least for a while), so I was curious to know how she would do.

So what was this new thing?  Girl Scouts (Brownies specifically).  She had a great time.  And can I say, it brought back memories for me as they spent some time learning the girl scout pledge and one of the songs.

Did she open up completely?  No.  But I think her troop is going to do just that, given a little more time.  And we are both looking forward to the next meeting.

Painting with different media (her favorite was bubble wrap).

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Beauty is a Beast

As my regular readers know, in March of 2012, we bought a short sale that needed quite a bit of work.  In addition to the typical things (like paint), we've had to replace a pool pump, do lots of tree trimming and yard work, and clearing out junk that the previous owner left behind.

Wow!  Looking at these pictures, I forgot how much she left behind in just the front hall.

Another thing we had to do was to remove all the carpet in the house.  The previous owner had cats and she let them do whatever they wanted all over the house.  Needless to say, that left some nasty carpet.  Add to that the fact that the cats had flees and the carpet had to go.  Immediately.

So before we actually moved in, we spent 2 months (on the weekends) ripping out all the carpet and installing laminate flooring in all the bedrooms.  We decided that we wanted to tile the hallway that had been carpeted, but that wasn't as urgent since we wouldn't have furniture in those areas to move around.

We took a few months to find tile that would work on Craig's List and at the local Habitat for Humanity store, and then hubby got to work.  Slowly.  He's done tile before, but this time was different.  He wanted to make a statement.  And he was doing it on the diagonal which meant more cuts.

But I think you'll have to agree, it turned out very well.

Coming in from the front door (that we don't use)

Such detail

Grouting = almost done = big smile

You know what I just realized?  These pictures were taken before the trim was put back, so it looks even better!

And how long did it take from the time we ripped out the carpet till he was done?  About 16 months.  But beauty like this is worth the wait.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Problem of My Own Creation

You know how yesterday I said I was really busy.  Well, today I realized that while I was so busy, I screwed something up.  I have a deal I'm working on right now that is VERY time sensitive.  As in, I had papers that were shipping to me for receipt today.   I have to sign them and send them out tonight for delivery tomorrow.

This morning when I tracked the package, it said it was undeliverable.  I did a little digging and I'd given the wrong zip code.  And guess what?  Rather than call the phone number listed on the express mail overnight package (um, that means urgent right?), the post office decided it was undeliverable and they were going to send it back to the sender.  ACK!

I tried calling the local post office multiple times and no one answered.  I called their toll free number and got stuck in their phone tree for 10 minutes.  Then I finally got in the customer service phone cue and decided to drive to the post office for the zip code it was mailed to, hoping that maybe it would still be there.

Moments before I got to the post office, a man picked up the phone and told me there was nothing he could do, and I should try to call the local post office.  Well, I'd tried that already and they never picked up, so I told him I was on my way there.  When I got to the post office, I told the gentleman at the counter what had happened.  He went into the back and about 3 minutes later came out front with my package.  Praise God!  He told me it was in a stack that was set to be picked up only 30 minutes after I got there.  Again, praise God!

So what did I learn?  I'm going to double and triple check addresses from now on.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

A Blessing and a Curse

Well, today it was made official.  My mentor has decided to leave the team I joined, in order to venture out on her own.  I have no doubt she will do great on her own.  I do however wonder how well I will be able to handle things with her gone.

I don't doubt my skills in general.  But besides being the first person I go to with questions or to commiserate, she's been handling 1/2 of all the new buyer leads that the team gets.  Now I'm going to get them all.  That's a good thing and a bad thing all rolled into one.  Good because it gives me the potential for more money, but bad because it means I will most likely be busier.  Possibly much busier, especially since we are coming up on our busy time of year. 

If you think about it, pray for me.  I've had a busy day that's given me an example of what my future could be on a regular basis, and I'm not sure I like it.  Fits and spurts of busy I can deal with, but I want need down time on occasion too, and I want to be able to participate in some of my kids school / fun activities.

Sunday, September 15, 2013


One of the questions homeschoolers hear the most is, "How do they make friends?"

Well, for starters, our family goes to church.  That means they make friends at church.  In fact, we get together will a small group of friends from church on a regular basis and the kids have a great time together.

Bowling with friends from church = fun times
Another thing our family does is participate in co-ops in the area.  We have joined 4 groups.  One we joined for the science, history, and Bible classes taught once a week.  These classes are made up of about 20 other kids.

History class
Another group meets once a month and learns about marine biology.  I would say about 20 showed up to the class this month.  Yes, it's a second science class but it's hands on learning at the beach.  We just HAD to take advantage of that, especially since my daughter loves sea animals.

Investigating animals caught near mangroves.

The other 2 groups are all about field trips and fun get togethers.  So far we've gone roller skating, swimming at a local pool, and gone on a tour of the local food bank.  And we're signed up for numerous field trips already with them scheduling more each day it seems (I have to be picky just because of the cost and time - I do have to leave time for teaching too).

Only second time roller skating for the kids.

My kids went off the high diving board.

Learning about how the food bank works.

And after how much our kids enjoyed martial arts camp this summer, we decided to sign them up for this school year.  So far they are having a great time.

Daughter getting recognized for doing a good job during class.

My husband taught a group of homeschoolers about robotics last spring and he intends to do it again this coming spring.  That is something he and our son do together.  And I'm thinking of signing my daughter up for Girl Scouts so that she has something that's her own too.

One thing I really love about homeschooling is that our kids have learned that they don't have to socialize with kids who are their age.  They have friends who are older and younger than they are.  I think it makes for more well rounded kids.  Not only do my kids have the opportunity to interact with and emulate older children, they are given the opportunity to inspire younger children.

I must say, when we first began our homeschooling journey in the Washington, DC area we didn't have all these options.  I had another friend I knew that was homeschooling children of the same age, but that was it.  There were no co-ops, group field trips (those discounts are amazing), and large play dates.  Besides moving to somewhere warmer where our family can (and does) spend more time outside, it has made homeschooling and socializing so much easier for my family.