Monday, November 28, 2011

Back to School - Week 14! (CLOUD WEEK)

Sorry I'm a little behind in posting this. Quincy was feeling sick last night, and I'm feeling it today. Boo!

Anyway, HERE is the lesson plan! Enjoy!

Friday, November 25, 2011

A Little More Like Him (Three Years Later)

Usually, I am an open book. Lately, I haven't had that same liberty. Life feels a bit overwhelming right now, and I'm spending lots of my days just trying to figure out what God is up to in our lives. I'm pressing forward in serving Him the best I know how, and in being who I believe He's created me to be, but I have so many questions, concerns, such a full plate. I know everybody has seasons like this, just sort of fighting the funk. I didn't really want to write anything at all today, but I figured I might regret it later. So, be forewarned that this may turn into a bunch of emotional vomit.

Today marks three years since the death of our second son, Ransom. That's so strange to me because in many ways it seems like yesterday, and in other ways it seems SO long ago. I know this was a pivotal moment in my life and in the life of my family. Nothing has been quite the same since. There's no going back once death has touched your life so intimately. We still talk about him, and Ephraim has lots of questions and ideas about this brother he never knew. It's really interesting to get a child's perspective on the loss and to hear him verbalize his thoughts on death and Heaven. At dinner tonight, we were all talking about how awesome Heaven must be, and how Ransom must really love it there.

As many of you know, we've been living with my parents for the past few months and renting out our townhouse ('cause we sure can't sell it!) in the hopes of buying a new primary home while the prices are still so low. My parents have been extremely thoughtful and generous with us, but it is still a challenge. I struggle with this constant feeling of being in the way. Don't get me wrong, they aren't doing or saying anything to indicate that, but it is how I feel. I'm wondering if, even while renting the townhouse, we'll have a chance of getting approved for any sort of financing, since it seems like the economy is just getting worse and worse. My Dad has been seriously ill. Hopefully he won't be upset at my sharing this here. He will be fine very soon, but his initial diagnosis and outlook a few months ago was very bleak. Our main moneymaker, CrossEyed Design, has lost a few clients due to the continued economic crisis, and it is still scary and unpredictable to live as a self-employed family. It's frightening to watch business after business shut their doors and wonder about the prospects of your own business and financial future (or present). I'm still working part-time doing medical transcription in the early mornings, as a subcontractor for another company, and I'm having a rather successful go at an Etsy shop, but those two things naturally decrease my sleep and increase my stress. I'm trying to keep those things balanced with being a mom and teacher to my little ones and volunteering once a week at 2nd Mile. I've also taken up running, which is crazy and something I never thought I'd do, but just last week I ran 25 minutes without stopping! Go me! I actually started doing that to help deal with some of my stress, and it certainly helps.

Anyway, I didn't share that long list of concerns just to complain to you, but to share something that I think is really weird. How do any of those things compare to losing a child? They don't... but I'll be honest, I have struggled SO much more with those things than with the death of my son. I've said this several times, but I feel like the major crises of our lives (death being one of them) really push us toward or away from God. On the other hand, the continual stuff of life and the ongoing struggles, they have a way of pushing us all over the place! There have been good days and bad days around here. There are nights when I go to bed having a pity party about falling asleep in the same room that I grew up in, and other nights being so thankful that I have parents who are willing to let us give this a shot. Today, I experienced that same emotional range when remembering Ransom. There is part of me that is still so sad to have had to tell him goodbye, and another part of me that is so grateful that God let me be a part of that experience. I suppose that duality is part of our humanness. We can feel both of those things, and both of those things are true, and God is working in all of it.

I don't know what God is up to in my life right now. I am not sure where He will lead us. I know we will follow. I know I'm better equipped to follow because of a little boy in Heaven, who God used to shape me and mold me into someone a little more like Him.... and I know He is using all of the other things and struggles in my life to do the same, if I will let Him.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Back to School - Week 13! (HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!!)

We are takin' the week off, 'cause we can! We'll still be doing some Thanksgiving crafts, so check them out over at Luv Boopa.

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("Glitter" in web graphics always makes me laugh.)

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Back to School - Week 12! THANKSGIVING CONTINUES!

HERE is this week's lesson plan.

Apparently, I was off on last week's Bible lesson. Quincy is starting "The Good Samaritan" with Ephraim this week.

We are continuing with last week's memory verse. This one is kind of tough with lots of big words!

For crafts, we'll be doing a couple of pilgrim crafts and a super cute turkey gratitude jar. Check out the pictures below.

I am changing up the reading this week because I found a book that I find really exciting. I'm kind of a history nerd in some ways, so when I found "Pilgrim Voices:  Our First Year in the New World," I was very happy! It is a collection of passages from diaries and journals written by the pilgrims themselves, matched with a beautiful collection of paintings by Shelley Pritchett. I have pre-read most of the book already. A great deal of the language will be WAYYYY over my 4-year-old's head; however, I will still read very short excerpts to him, and then explain what was written to him in simple language. I love reading things that were written by the pilgrims. It's fascinating! Hopefully my enthusiasm will rub off on little man and he'll find it fascinating as well. I might also take him back to visit Ft. Caroline later in the week, and am hoping to get a St. Augustine trip on the books for next week! You better believe I'll be checking out Simply St. Augustine when making my plans. (Yes, that was advertising.)

Finally, I'm excited to have found this other book at the library, "Pilgrim Foods and Recipes" by Sarah Florence. I haven't looked at all the recipes in the book, but we'll be cooking up some concoctions real soon. ;)

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Great Park Adventure - Adolph Wurn Park

Adolph Wurn Park was our destination for today! It is on the Southside, off Dean Road, and seems to be the location of a local Pop Warner football league.

As you can see, this park was founded in 1955, with the park and pool given by the Wurn family.

And in Florida, a pool is a GOOD thing!

These three pictures all show Ephraim trying to do some sort of trick and falling at the last second. :)

HUGE parking lot and plenty of extra parking on the street!

Basketball courts.

A little walking path around some water....


(Aspen said, "Hold you, Momma! Ducks, SCARY!!!" hahah TERRIFYING!)

I don't know what this thing is, but it is really leaking. There is water actively coming out of it. I'm sending a message to the parks people, but I am curious. Does anybody know what it is???


Two baby swings. Unfortunately, the big kid swings were nonexistent. You can see where they once hung, though. Too bad for me!

We spent most of our time today on this little 4-way seesaw. Fun!

The football field is really beautiful and well-maintained. It is locked, so you can't go in and vandalize it! Teenagers are foiled, once again! :)

Covered pavilion with bathrooms, and I imagine, a concession stand during Pop Warner season.

I decided I'd like to install one of these little numbers between my children and my desk. It will give me a bit more time to get things done. :)

I didn't spend much time sitting on the bench. It wasn't so comfortable.

I tried to take a picture of this piece of equipment. I'm not sure what it is. It's a bar that goes straight across, with nothing on it. It doesn't look like anything is missing either. Also, there are no ladders to climb up the sides. Any thoughts?

Bye bye!

Well, Adolph Wurn was a fun little park. Unfortunately, there was some litter throughout the park and some other obvious problems (leak, bench, swings, etc.). On the other hand, it is clear that this is a well-used park, so that sort of thing is going to happen in a park that is frequented by the locals. I'd like to go back on a Pop Warner day just to see how the place is hoppin!

Anyway, I'd say it's worth checking out!

Here is its website, and its amenities are listed below.

Park Amenities

Basketball Lighted1
Bike racks2
Car Parking86
Concession Stand1
Perimeter Site Fencing
Picnic Tables2
Playground Equipment6
Security Lighting
Swimming Pools1