What we’ve been up too…

And here I was, planning to get back to blogging and do it regularly, but as this post is almost two months later, that clearly didn’t happen.  But what did happen was that we had a great summer with our family and friends which ended way to quickly.   And then… well I hinted at this a long time ago, but this fall we made a huge decision for our family going forward,  we started homeschooling!!!!   Yes folks, it’s true, we decided to pull our children out of the public school system and start teaching them at home, it’s kinda exciting.  And that probably explains why I haven’t had much time to breathe, let alone blog.

It’s been about 6 weeks and I can cautiously say it’s going well… although I can pretty much guarantee this won’t be a blog where you come to for homeschooling advice.  Rather, we are likely to be the blog that other homeschoolers visit so that they can feel good about themselves… haha    But we are creating a daily routine for ourselves and things do seem to be getting learned so that’s good.   I’m cutting them some slack right now because I KNOW without a doubt that none of my children would have ever flung a math book across the room at school, but at home that can seem like a good thing to do.   I guess trying to set up structure and routine in a place where you feel the most comfortable isn’t the easiest.  But we are persevering.

And the kids are doing really good, and seem to be enjoy being at home.   They really like the fact that if they hunker down and get their work done, it leaves them more time to do what they want to do.  And I like that we can tailor their education to each of their strength’s and weaknesses…  which also means we have to work around my strengths and weaknesses.  Weaknesses in the plural.  Homeschooling is humbling, it really is.

On a lighter note,  I want to take this moment to brag that our William came in 2nd in his cross country meet last week, way to go William!

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He couldn’t run in the Public School’s Cross Country meet this year, but ran in the Christian school meet instead.   There was still a large crowd and Jason thinks there were over 75 boys in his race, maybe more, so we were really very proud that he did so well.  I’m not sure where he got his speed from, maybe from his dad, but it certainly is fun to watch.

I wish I had been able to be there, but as it happens  I was in Toronto at SickKids that day.   I had been asked by the PACT team if I would come and speak at a seminar they were holding on palliative care, and I was very honoured and so said yes.  My mom came to be our substitute teacher for the day, and my dad came with me to Toronto.  I thought that I might cry too much or take too long, but praise God, it all went well.  There was a question period afterwards and I really enjoyed that, the students of the course asked me questions and one of the Dr’s on the team sat with me and facilitated as well as asked me more questions, and I just thought it was a really neat experience.   Not only was I pleased to give back to SickKids in this way, but I was able to see lots of our 4D staff, and one of our nurses from the CCU, as well as some members of the PACT team I hadn’t seen since last August.  Going back to SickKids is always bitter-sweet – but going there makes me feel close to Ava so it’s all good.  Jason and the kids wished that they could have joined me, so we are hoping to go back again soon.

As far as the other kids and what they are up too… Sarah is doing pretty good with her diabetes and her pump – she actually deserves a whole blog post for an update which I will do next.  And Sophia is just her happy sunny self… although lately it seems that she is fed up with being the youngest child.  She is taking to heart every time she doesn’t get to do something or feels left out – it’s tough being five years old.   Erik is programming his heart out  – which means he is still doing things that befuddle me completely so that’s good I think.   Jason is keeping busy as always and I am so thankful for such a wonderful supportive husband who takes such good care of us all.

I wish I had some recent pictures to show you, but I’ve been terrible and haven’t been taking pictures lately, so I will have to leave you with some that we took during our vacation in August.  These first three are pics of us sending off Chinese lanterns to remember our sweet little Birdy.  Jason found them for us and we loved sending them off… they were beautiful and it felt very fitting…

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And here are the four turkeys all together…

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So that’s what we’ve been up too in a nutshell.   We are so thankful for all of our blessings and God’s mercy towards us… it’s amazing.

Ephesians 3:20  Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think,according to the power at work within us,
21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

 

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Distraction…

So believe it or not, while all the previous posted events were unfolding in our lives, we were actually on vacation at Jason’s family cottage on the beautiful shores of Lake Huron.  And far from ruining our vacation, we could even see God’s hands in arranging to have us up there as opposed to being at home while everything happened.  A beautiful distraction in the midst of a storm.

And looking back, it was a wonderful time, a chance for Jason and I to grow closer together and to just enjoy the four beautiful healthy children God has already given us.   And knowing that we have a rocky road ahead, with the crazy balancing act of caring for kids that we already have, while dealing with a child with a heart problem, we enjoyed the opportunity to make some memories and pour out some extra attention on them now.

Here is Erik waterskiing… he’s crossing the wake now and we’re so proud…

We don’t get to ski that often, Lake Huron is barely ever calm enough, but when it is, watch out, you can bet Jason will put a boat in the water quicker than you can  say ‘motorboat’.

Jason really wanted to teach William to ski this year, and he got up!  He didn’t stay up though, that whole instinctive pulling his arms into his chest was his down-fall each time, but at least he got out of the water thanks to grandpa coaching him…

Sarah is still content to just go tubing…

And Soph loves her boat rides…

This is one of our favourite parks…

Sophia opted to get her face painted one morning in town, our little butterfly…

Oh Sarah, our resident rascal…

Good thing I got a picture of Erik’s card-house before it fell…

The kids enjoyed some quality time together playing cards under the awning…

Sarah made some lunch for herself, with everything neatly laid out… all she’s missing is the banana for her wrap!

My brother and his wife and two girls stopped by one morning for breakfast one morning on their way through…  sweet little blondies…

And who can resist a baby… not Sarah!

A dad and his kids…

And a mom and her girls…

Thank you Lord for such a wonderful time together, a shelter from the storm and for the 4 healthy children you have already blessed us with!

Pre-March Break fun…

So last week saw us head once again to Sandusky Ohio for our second annual trip to the Kalahari – a huge indoor water-park.   We traveled first to my parents and left this one in the tender loving care of Oma and Opa.  Sophia is still a little hesitant when it comes to have fun in the water and so we opt to leave her behind for lots of fun and cuddles with Oma and Opa.

It’s not a bad trip through Ohio even if you are trying to catch up to friends who got ahead of you, but we did catch up and rolled into the Kalahari as a convoy.   The kids are always excited to see this site out their windows…

And it is a blast.    However once again I failed to really capture the moments on film, probably because I was too out of breath from climbing flights of stairs to go on just one more tube ride with the kids.    I went on 3 rides that I hadn’t been on last year and we found hot-tubs this year that we didn’t know existed… like how on earth could we miss the hot-tubs?

This year we were looking forward to Sarah being tall enough to go on some of the bigger tube rides with us.  So how do I introduce my little 5 year old to these rides?    I take her on a “zip coaster” ride that’s how!   The only problem was I had never been on this ride and it proved to be rather fast and a bit crazy.     Even though I was extolled the virtues of the ride all the way through (Whoosh… “AUGGGGG!!!!!!  Isn’t this fun Sarah?”) it seems poor Sarah will never be the same again and may never darken the line of a water-slide again until she’s grown.   I guess she can’t been blamed now when she says that her favourite ride is the hot-tub.  Silly mama.

Erik and Will had a blast and never stopped, except when they were hungry.   And since we went with friends this year they had a great going on the rides with friends and trying out rides that I was even to scared to go on.      And we loved having our friends with us, other adults that didn’t have tattoos so that we wouldn’t feel so out of place.  Honestly, this place is tattoo heaven,  everyone and their kids had them (honestly, there were girls that couldn’t have been more than 15!)   We really wonder if people who have tattoos get a deal on their admission.

Oh – I didn’t take many pics, but here is one of the park taken from the window in the hall..

This pic doesn’t even show half of the park!  But it is fun and very watery as Sarah pointed out.  The last morning she was very tired and was pretty sure she didn’t want to get wet again and was saying that she didn’t like the water park because it was ‘too watery’.   Yup, a too-watery water-park.  That’s how you know you are a very tired 5 year old.

So it’s good to be home now with the 6 of us.  It’s good that we are on March Break so that the kids can get used to the time change and it’s good that once again we made some memories that the kids will be talking about until we go again next year!

Enchanted Berries and Gobelygook

Another summer vacation spent on the shores of Lake Huron, playing with the kids, biking, swimming, hanging out with friends, reading novels (I read 7 in 2 weeks!!!) or just soaking up the sun on the beach.   Every year’s vacation is different, this year Jason had only one week of holidays, but the kids and I went up a week early and that worked out OK because we had friends at the cottage next to us. I kinda hoped they would help me out a little, but they far exceeded my expectations when they watched my kids swim while Sophia was napping, chased my umbrella down the beach and even had us over for dinner.   I was very blessed.    As an extra bonus, their kids kept our kids occupied all week and they all got along and had a great time playing together. And that’s when Gobelygook juice was born…

Erik and his friend Abby mixed up some kind of juice (lemonaide, water & soda water) and ‘sold’ this drink to the other kids…  and they all actually drank it out of the little Dixie cups from the bathroom.   Soon all sorts of drink stations were popping up around the cottage…

And then not to be out-done, Erik had to bump it up a notch…

He was afraid of someone stealing his oh-so-secret recipe you see and then some other drink’s followed with names that went from bad to worse.    And did you know that orange juice ferments?  I didn’t, until just before we left I found a plastic juice container that was filled about 1/2 way up with orange juice and who knows what else.   It bubbled strangely when I grabbed it and when I opened it, the lid made a loud pop and it fizzed like crazy, and yes, it had definitely turned.    Next time I better keep a closer eye on the kids.

But the kids found lots of other ways to entertain themselves (so mommy could stick her nose in a book. )  One afternoon I gave them garbage bags and watched them dig ponds industriously for ages…. I feel so lucky to have gotten this shot of Sophia…

Of course with daddy (Go Big or Go Home Colley) the digging takes a whole new meaning.  This little project

progressed to this…

which ended up as this…

Our good friends from Michigan were up by then and I admired how 2 grown men could take such pleasure in trying to figure out how to line a big hole in the beach with plastic, keep it in place and fill it up with water. I was very very very proud.

We also do alot of biking at the cottage… there is a historic light-house just the right distance away for biking and while I have in the past made Sarah with her little legs and training wheels bike this, thanks to Grandpa we could pile the girls into a bike trailer this year and that was wonderful and much safer. And Sarah knows that you don’t eat the berries on the bushes on the sides of of the road because as she gravely informed me, they are enchanted.   I think that somehow Disney might have steered her wrong on this one,but if enchanted has the same effect on her as ‘poisonous’ would then I’m pretty sure she won’t eat those berries.

We were sad to leave,  but rested and relaxed with lots of good memories of friends and fun and walks on the beach and playing in the park and watching Erik water-ski.   Although it makes me want to be on permanent vacation in a shack on a lake somewhere, it’s good to be back at home.

Oh and stay tuned for pics of this little monkey’s before and after hair-do!

 

 

JC + LC = LOVE

Erik is many things as I have shared before here – but he is also very sweet.   This was a surprise that he made for me yesterday on the fence…

It makes me just a little teary.  First off – it’s cool to have kids old enough to do things like this for you and secondly, I love the fact that he knows that  Jason and I love each other!   I guess we’re doing something right… something… and that feels good in the times when you feel like you are probably doing most everything wrong.

But now it’s March break and we are SOOOO excited to have this time off of school… and I’m excited about not having to herd four kids out the door at 8:30 in the morning…  insert huge sigh of relief here.   

We were lucky and got a head start on March break this past week when we packed up, dropped Sophia off at Oma’s (thank-you Oma!) and headed to Ohio to the Kalahari Resort with its indoor water part (I have to thank Grandma and Grandpa here too).  We had an absolute blast.  It was so much fun, their indoor water-park rocks, they even had a great indoor playground for the kids and of course they had an arcade.  Oh arcades, kids love them,  but they just suck your money and you don’t really get anything in return.  But they are smart over there at the Kalahari… I mean really thinking because you have to walk smack dab through the arcade to get to the water park…   oh the lights and the sounds that just lure the kids in.  Gee whiz.

We did have a great time that went largely undocumented as we didn’t have a camera with us.  Our new camera is too big and bulky and we haven’t replaced our point and shoot that got sand in it this summer.  We had Jason’s phone so we took a few pics… here are the kids in the lobby, I know it’s terribly exciting.

And Sarah riding the carousel at the arcade… again, so exciting for her at least.   For me it was very slow and went around about 50 hundred million times.  Thankfully she waved at me every time it went around.

So we were back late Thursday night   and Friday was supposed to be a school day, but we woke up to snow, yes lovely lovely snow, and the buses weren’t running, so we had a snow day!  Everyone was happy about that, especially me as I didn’t have to find my way out of the chaos of coming home to properly send the boys to school in an organized fashion.

Yesterday we played in the snow because I was hoping it was the last snow of the season.. yeah right… but we made a family of snowmen in the perfect packing snow…

And here’s Will playing with Sophia and making her laugh like crazy.  He is SO good with Sophia and I have a sneaking suspicion that he is her favourite sibling.  Even when Sophia was ‘lost’ at church this morning we weren’t that worried because we knew that Will – her faithful shadow would be with her.  And he was, he was just following her wherever she wanted to go, even if that was going where she wasn’t supposed to.   She’s one lucky little girl.    Just like I’m lucky with my wonderful family and a whole March break to lounge around in pajamas and hang out with friends, yahoo!