Monday, May 25, 2009

Sunflowers & Caterpillars

A couple of things I forgot to mention in my “Mondays” post…

My mom planted some sunflowers with the kids a couple of weeks ago. They’ve been having a blast watching them grow & “tricking” them by turning them away from the window & seeing how they grow back toward it.

About 3 months ago I had the opportunity through our homeschool group, to order some caterpillars so that we could “grow” butterflies. It was so cheap I just couldn’t pass it up. Manda especially loves butterflies, but I knew all the kids would enjoy it. Last weekend Ben built us a butterfuly house…just a 1x2 frame with screen. We’ve had the caterpillars for just over 2 weeks now. They’re all in their cocoons now & hanging on the roof of the house. We’re excited to hopefully be able to see at least one of them when it’s coming out of the cocoon.

One other thing I keep forgetting to mention…I’ve been trying to get to the pool in the morning 3 days a week to do laps. It has felt really good to swim again & Ben has noticed a difference in my mood tooJ. Although I hate getting up early…once I’m in the pool I enjoy it…& I like coming home & starting the day at a good time. Lately I’ve been doing 40 laps which originally took me a half hour. This morning I cut 2 minutes off my time…I know it’s nothing to speak of, but it feels good to know that I’m making progress.

Mondays with Heidi

I'm thankful for…answers to prayer. I’m learning not to take little answers to prayer for granted!

I'm listening to…Steven Curtis Chapman online radio station, kids chatting.

What's for supper tonight…Chicken Paprikash with Sour Cream (similar to stroganoff).

Highlights from last week…2 very cold soccer practices & a trip to the library…No swimming lessons last week because of the long weekend, but we went as a family on Monday. My dad, Andrew, & Trina joined us (& one of Drew’s friends) which was a lot of fun. I LOVED swimming with my dad when I was a kid & it’s been a long time since I’ve been swimming with him. I can’t wait till our kids are old enough to play the games with him that we used to play as kids…Shark when we were little…then Marco Polo.

On Thursday we had the last visit for the year with Benjamin’s facilitator. It was wonderful to wrap that up…now all we have to do is a few odds & ends! Friday was full day. I met with Pastor Kent in the morning to go over some VBS stuff…can’t believe I only have a month & a half to get that all ready! We left straight from the church for Calgary. We were going to Calaway Park with a friend of mine who runs a day home. I was excited because she had free tickets for us…and I needed a fun day with the kids with all the stress we’ve had lately. Well, I got the day with the kids but Calaway wasn’t meant to be. We got there & discovered they were closed to the public. Kim had checked online, but missed the fact that they weren’t open till 5pm…which we still don’t understand because the free tickets she had said they were valid that day, but not after 4:00…so how do you use a ticket that’s valid before 4…when they don’t open till 5? Ah well, we headed to Bowness Park to let the kids play so we could visit. It was nice to be outside with the kids away from the stresses of life for a few hours.

Twice this week, Tuesday & Friday, Ben poured & finished pads late into the night. On Tuesday he was up every 2 hours through the night to go & trowel…not conducive to a good nights sleep! Friday was a bit better because it was warmer that day…he was home by 2am. We were both super tired by the end of the week though & looking forward to doing a bit of catch up.

After sleeping in on Saturday, we had high hopes of putting a garden in our back yard. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a couple of years, but wasn’t ready to do the work to prep it. I decided this was the year. We borrowed a rototiller from my parents, ready to prep the yard. My dad had said we could use it, we just had to get it to start…it hadn’t run in a long time. We didn’t think it would be a big deal…well, my dad failed to mention till yesterday that this was the same rototiller that he had pulled the motor out of…when he was about 12 years old! Needless to say, it’s been around for a whileJ…not that you’re old Papa…it would be old even if you only had it since I was a kidJ. Anyways, Ben fiddled with it for quite some time on Saturday to no avail. Meanwhile I worked a bit on my flower beds with my mom who had stopped by with some ferns for me. I’m not going to be able to plant flowers this year, which I’ll miss a lot, but I really appreciate having some perennials there that come up every year…and a lot of them have come from my mom…thanks so much Mom…and it feels good to clean up the beds & make them look nice again.

Since we were so busy outside on Saturday I didn’t get the VBS stuff done that I needed to for Sunday…I ended up staying up waaaaaay too late to get it done…coupled with the late nights of the week…we were exhausted. We often nap for a bit on Sunday afternoons, but yesterday Ben & I both fell asleep on the couch for nearly 4 hours while the kids played computer/xbox games! I guess we were tiredJ When we got up, Ben took Manda to do her special night, which I’ll write about separately…they had a blastJ.

What's happening this week… Swimming, soccer, & finishing school! This weekend I’m super excited about the family reunion we’re going to on my dad’s side of the family! I’m especially excited to see my cousin Beckie. We graduated together, but weren’t very close in high school. In the last 3 years or so though we’ve had a chance to get to know each other again…even though we live 4 hours apart. It’s been so nice to have someone who knows where I’m coming from & understands me. I can’t wait to give her a great big hugJ. I’m also very excited to see my Auntie Debbie. She’s more like a friend than an aunt as we’re pretty close in age, but it’s been a long time since we’ve spent any extended time together. It’ll be great to catch up. And the rest of you…yes I’m excited to see you tooJ.

I am missing…not feeling tired. Ben & I have been working at getting our sleep schedules back on track, but in the mean time, I’m exhausted.

I am praying for…Ben. Not having work has been stressful for both of us, but I know it’s especially hard on him. I love you Ben & I appreciate everything you do for our family!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The Inner Battle

Two weeks ago I mentioned that Benjamin will go to school in the fall & promised more info. When Ben & I decided, nearly 3 years ago, that I would homeschool, we agreed from the start that we were going to take it a year at a time & see what God had in store. We both felt that most likely at some point the kids would go to school, but we weren’t sure when. Around the end of September, beginning of October I hit a wall. I had filled my plate too full & was an emotional wreck. A combination of starting a new kid’s program at our church, along with trying to teach Benjamin, do program with Amanda, run the office end of our business, & somewhere in there try to just be a mom & wife was too much. I wasn’t myself & it was wearing off on the kids...they acted out more & weren’t themselves either.

I knew something had to change, but at the time I wasn’t seeing the whole picture & how the kids were being affected. I’m so thankful that Ben saw what was happening. Once he brought that to my attention, we agreed that I needed to eliminate everything I was trying to do that was non-essential. We spent some time talking about what could go. I realized that there weren’t any big things that I could eliminate right was just a bunch of small stuff that had added up. One thing we talked about though was that maybe next year Benjamin should go to school to give me a break. At first I agreed just because I knew that I physically couldn’t do it like that anymore. The more I thought about it though, the more peace I had about it. There were pros & cons, as there are to anything, but I felt OK with it. God gave me peace about giving up the pros of homeschooling & taking on the cons of public school.

As the year went on, things got better & better. We got a routine figured out with Kid Connection so that wasn’t nearly so stressful & Benjamin got into the swing of school again so that went more smoothly. I had eliminated a lot of little things & felt like I was doing OK. Between about the end of November & sometime in January or February I was feeling good about school. Benjamin was doing really well & I didn’t feel stressed out by it at all for the most part. I started to think that I could do it again in the fall just fine. In about March Ben & I talked about it again. I realized that although I had been trying to convince myself that I could do it, deep down, I knew I needed the break. Besides, that wasn’t the only reason we thought it would be good for Benjamin to go to school.

Benjamin relates to adults & younger kids very well, but he hasn’t had a lot of chance to meet & get to know kids his own age. There are only a couple of kids his age in our church & although we’ve kept him in swimming, hockey, & soccer, they don’t give the opportunity to really make friends because he doesn’t see them enough. We want him to have the chance to find someone he clicks with & can be buddies with, instead of just having to be friends with the one kid he’s around even if they don’t get along well. Anyways...that’s one reason. Secondly, Amanda’s program has also really taken a hit since September. I have done very little with her since September, which isn’t fair to her (she makes so much progress when she’s on program & I don’t want it to be my fault that she’s not moving ahead) & it’s also a waste of money (this program is worth every penny, but if I’m not doing it then it’s waste of a lot of money). I need to let Benjamin go to school so that I can focus on Amanda & really work at getting her program done & helping her catch up.

Deep down I knew all of this, but I was still trying to convince myself that I could do it. I really didn’t want to give up the things that I love so much about homeschooling. Ben & I agreed that I should just go talk to the vice principal (who goes to our church) to ask questions & see what our options were (I considered sending him to school part time & homeschooling part time). I put this meeting off for over a month...just dreading admitting to myself that the best thing was to send him to school. The longer I put it off the more it nagged at me...the more God was tugging at my heart, making it clear that I needed to just do it. At the same time though, the closer I got to going to that meeting, the more peace I had once again. By the time I met with Connie, God had made it clear to me that doing the half & half idea wasn’t an option...I needed to let go. I have the papers nearly filled out to register Benjamin and at the beginning of June him & I are going to sit in on a grade 2 class so that he can get an idea of what it’s like to be in the classroom so that he can be more prepared for the fall.

So there you go...that’s a little bit of what happened to bring us to this decision. God is good. There are still pros & cons...there always will be. I will miss the freedom of being able to take days off when we want to & working on our own time frame. I will miss teaching him about Jesus through all different parts of school (not that I’ll stop doing that, but it’ll be different). I will miss having Benjamin at home & I’m sure there’ll be new struggles for him as he adjusts, but I’m excited to see him make friends & share his love for Jesus. I’m excited for him to have the opportunity to do so many of the classes that I couldn’t offer him.

Previously when I had suggested the idea of going to school someday to Benjamin he had been adamantly against it. I was never really sure the reason, but once we had made this decision, I was nervous about how he would respond. I should have known that God gave me peace for a reason...because it was HIS plan & HE was working it out! Anyway, we decided to make it an exciting thing for Benjamin by taking him out for ice cream to talk about it. We dropped the younger 2 off at my parents & headed into town. Benjamin knew we were having a meeting but he didn’t know about what. We got our ice cream & sat down & told him the news. His first reaction was that he didn’t want to, but almost immediately when Ben started explaining the benefits to him, changed his mind. I know it’ll be an adjustment for him, but he’s super excited...which in turn gives me an extra measure of peaceJ.

I’m so thankful for the peace that God gave me about this decision. I pray that as we prepare Benjamin to take on this new adventure, that He would give us wisdom. I pray that Benjamin would adjust well, be able to make good friends quickly, & be confident in who he is in Christ.

A Tuesday/Wednesday with Heidi

Well, I’m late again…I actually started this yesterday but didn’t quite get done…so here it is…

I'm thankful for…Ben. We’ve had very little work in the last week & a half so he has spent a lot of time at home. I’ve really enjoyed the family times we’ve had…it has helped take my mind off the stress of not being able to pay bills. I have also so appreciated all Ben has done around the house in the last couple of weeks! Our yard looks sooooo much better & it feels so good to have those odds & ends wrapped up. Thank you honey for all you do for our family! I love you!

I'm listening to…Benjamin tossing a game chip in the air learning probability for math, Kirby playing a game, Manda chatting.

What's for supper tonight…hamburgers! I’m excited to make burgers for the first time this spring…just wish there was no snow on the ground & it was nice so we could eat outside!J

Highlights from last week…More swimming, soccer, & school. I got all my pictures caught up that I had people waiting for so that felt really good. Ben didn’t have much work last week so we spent quite a bit of time hanging out as a family & working on the yard. Ben built little picket fences to put around my flower beds & raspberries. Fudge kept walking through them & it was driving me crazy so this is a way to teach him he can’t go there with something that looks really good too! I ordered 10 caterpillars through the homeschool group I’m a part of so that we can raise some butterflies! We finally got them this weekend & the kids are super excited. Ben even built a butterfly house for us!

On Thursday I did Amanda’s re-evaluation with her ND over the phone. (If you have no idea what I’m talking about & are interested, check out this post: I have been very discouraged with Manda’s program since about September when I started Kid Connection. With so much going on I just wasn’t finding the time to get her program done which in turn made me even more discouraged…etc. I’ve been partially dreading & partially looking forward to this re-eval. I didn’t want to hear that she’d made no progress, yet I half expected to hear that because of how little I’ve done. At the same time I was looking forward to starting fresh & getting back into the swing of things. Anyways, I was very pleased to hear that she has indeed made progress even with the little I’ve done & I’m going to do a condensed program over the summer so that I can get back in the swing of things without having tons to do through the summer.

On Friday we ended up with unscheduled plans…going to a funeral. A young man who used to work for us, was killed in a work accident. I actually knew him from school…he used to be on my cousin’s bus so whenever I would go to visit her after school I was witness to the fact that he was a trouble maker. When he came to work for us he was in the process of working with some good friends of ours who were mentoring him & helping him turn his life around. We didn’t see him for a long time after he was done working for us & I still had it in my head that he was living life his own way. I’m not sure why I had this in my head…I knew our friends were working with him & that he was going to church with them…and they talked about how he was changing. Lord forgive me for judging when I didn’t know his heart! We decided to go to the funeral mainly just to support our friends who were really close to him & it hit them hard. I am so thankful that we went. Lance had married into a strong Christian family & was living for the Lord. I think many times I would have been skeptical about whether they were just making it out to be that way so that everyone could feel good about his life…but it was very clear that this was real. Jesus was real to him & he was living for Jesus. I look forward to seeing Lance in heaven someday.

We decided not to go camping on the long weekend…we just really don’t enjoy all the people & it would have been so wet & mucky, so we decided to just do some family stuff instead. On Saturday we went for our first bike ride of the year (first one since Benjamin taught himself to ride a 2-wheeler). The kids love doing this & we had a lot of fun. On Sunday Ben did his first special night (see here for explanation: with Benjamin. Benjamin loves doing science projects & I don’t do enough with him. He had gotten a book from the library about water projects & there was one he really wanted to do that was too complicated for me so I suggested they do it for his special night. They ended up missing a couple of parts so it’s not quite finished, but they had fun working on the flood alarm together & then challenging each other in a few games.

What's happening this week…Swimming lessons & soccer… Tomorrow Benjamin’s facilitator (the teacher who “oversees” his schooling) comes for our last visit of the year. We’re super excited, because Benjamin will be done nearly all of grade 2 by the time he gets here tomorrow afternoon! On Friday we are going to Calaway Park with a friend of mine from high school who runs a day home. We enjoy getting together for field trips & a chance to catch up. I’m very thankful for this trip…we could not have afforded it, but Kim was able to scrounge up free tickets for all of us! It’ll be a good celebration for the end of the year for BenjaminJ. Hopefully Ben will do special days with both Amanda & Kirby this weekend as we’re gone next weekend…but we’ll see how it goes. Other than that, it’s just day to day life…

I am missing…having work! Struggling not to worry about how we’re going to pay bills…

I’m going to add a new topic this week…

I am praying for…Lance Orr’s family & friends…& his wife Becky who is expecting their first child…that his death would bring people to know Jesus…especially his family & the people he worked with…I’m so thankful for how God was glorified at his service.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Mondays with Heidi

I'm thankful for…all we’ve been able to get done on our yard & house while Ben hasn’t had work.

I'm listening to…kids doing a puzzle together.

What's for supper tonight…The Thigh Who Loved Me (yes that’s the name of the recipeJ) with noodles & broccoli salad.

Highlights from last week…Swimming lessons, soccer, & school… We didn’t have a whole lot up last week…it was nice to catch some things up. I got 2 sets of pictures done which takes a load off my shoulders…one more set to go. Ben hasn’t had work since Thursday or Friday, so he helped me get some stuff done in the yard. Every year the mill just west of town has one day when they offer free bark mulch. On Friday I headed over to with the pickup to get a load. I was hoping to get 2 loads for us & then pick up my parent’s trailer to get a load for them (my dad was gone). Well, either they didn’t have as much mulch this year or there were more people who showed up early. I managed to get 2 loads, but not the third before they ran out. On Saturday, my brother Andrew & 2 of his friends came to work at our house for Mayqueen. Mayqueen is a fundraiser the highschool does every year. It’s a competition between the grades to see who can raise the most money. Students get contracts around town to work. I have great memories from Mayqueen when I was in school & have enjoyed having them help me do yard cleanup each spring. This year they raked, picked up garbage (along with the poo job that I designated to DrewJ) & spread bark mulch. For a few years now I’ve been working at getting a border of mulch around all the bushes & trees in our yard to help clean it up. We finally got it all done this year! We ran out of mulch at the end & couldn’t do as thick as I wanted in some spots, but it looks good! Yesterday we headed to Calgary right after church. Benjamin & I went to a performance of “Beethoven Lives Upstairs” put on by the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra. We studied that story for school & it was a great way to wrap it up. Once that was done we picked up a few things we needed & then hung out at Chapters till it was time for our supper reservations. I’m so thankful my hubby made reservations…I didn’t envy everyone waiting at the door! All in all it was a different Mother’s Day than usual (we usually stay home or go out west, or I go to the greenhouse), but we had fun.

What's happening this week…Swimming lessons & soccer… I need to get pictures done & of course there’s always laundry. Ben doesn’t have work for tomorrow so we’ll probably try to get some kind of house project done. On Thursday I do Manda’s re-evaluation for the neurodevelopmental program she’s been on. Generally we go to Okotoks for the re-eval & meet with them, but because money is so tight we opted for the cheaper phone version. I’m disappointed we don’t get to go see them because it always helps to hear them say how much she’s grown, but I know this is best for right now. As for the long weekend…who knows. We hate camping on the long weekend because there are way to many people out west…and the weather isn’t looking great anyways. The kids have been begging to camp though & we never go enough…so if Ben doesn’t have work again…who knows…J

I am missing…having work! Struggling not to worry about how we’re going to pay bills…

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Mondays...err...a Wednesday with Heidi

Monday came & went & I completely forgot to write…so here I amJ

I'm thankful for…the fact that Benjamin is super close to being done grade 2!!! He finishes his last math lesson this week…next week spelling is done…then it’s just a few odds & ends to wrap up. I’m also very thankful at how well Benjamin responded when we told him he’s going to school for grade 3 (more on that in a separate blog).

I'm listening to…quiet! Just the hum of the computer & my typing. The kids are having a blast outside enjoying spring!

What's for supper tonight…I don’t know…I had to plan supper 4 times last night…after all that frustration I’m not ready to think about it yet!

Highlights from last week…The kids are enjoying swimming lessons & soccer. Kirby really wishes he could be playing soccer too, but it helped last week that Ben came to practice & kicked a ball with Kirby while we watched. I got my haircut last week which was interesting. I’ve had some bad experiences with hair dressers so I decided to try someone new. My issue with hairdressers has always been when they try to push me to change my hair drastically when it’s just not “me”…either that or I ask for a trim & they take 4 inches. Anyways, this time I had it in my head I was going to let her change it, I wanted something new & fresh…it has been a year & a half since I had it cut so it was long overdue & in dire need of a cut. So I got there & told her generally what I was looking for, but that I was leaving it up to her. It’s the first time in my life that I’ve had a hairdresser take off less than I wanted! She very much kept it “me” which I appreciated. At first I was disappointed that it wasn’t new or different, but I quickly decided I couldn’t complain…it will be easy to get a bit more taken off next time! We had a great supper with Jonny for his birthday & a fun trip to the library. Friday was a busy day…I went to Red Deer with the kids to do my shopping, but didn’t leave till 2:00 so it was rushed & late. Saturday we went out west for the first time this year!!! It felt sooooo good to get out there. The best part though was that we got to take James, Cheri, & Max along. It’s been so good to have them home, but we really haven’t spent that much time with them. It was great to catch up a bit & just hang out together. On Sunday we enjoyed going for lunch with some people from church & then I had a very needed, long nap!

What's happening this week…Swimming lessons & soccer…and not a whole lot else…hopefully that means a chance to catch up on overdue projects! On either Friday or Saturday Andrew & some friends are coming to do yard work for Mayqueen. I’m very excited to get the yard cleaned up & bark mulch spread! Sunday is Mother’s Day…which I’ve had planned since SeptemberJ…I don’t usually do that…but one of the things I did with Benjamin for school this year is “Beethoven Lives Upstairs”…it’s a CD that using a partially fictional story to tell the story of Beethoven’s life…all with his music. Anyways, shortly after I decided to do that I found out that “Beethoven Lives Upstairs” is being done by the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra on (you guessed it) Mother’s Day. So…we’re going to head to Calgary all together…Ben will hang out with the younger 2 while Benjamin & I go to the orchestra & then we’ll do something together for Mother’s Day (that part I haven’t plannedJ).

I am missing…having enough work lined up so that it’s not a constant worry. Not that I should be worrying anyways…more of a test of faith…and we are being tested.