Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Rocky Peak Trail

So we decided yesterday that we should do something we have been wanting to do since we moved here-go hiking!

We are surrounded by the gorgeous Santa Monica mountain range, but had not gotten out on the trails yet, until yesterday!

It was a beautiful day, clear blue skies, 75 degrees, and a day off!  Off to the trail we went!

We parked and walked up to the Rocky Peak Trail, and what is the first thing we saw? 

A snake.

Yeah, a snake, just all coiled up in the middle of the trail.

I took a ton of pictures of him, but didn't realize till later, that my camera was set on manual, and I hadn't adjusted it for outside :( 

Anyways, he wasn't a rattler, Mike said he was a king snake, and he appeared to be not feeling so hot. Another guy on the trail got a huge branch and moved him into the brush.

Once I figured out my camera issue, Mike and I did get some great pictures of the kids and the view.

 Love this picture, they look like little ducks :)

Brothers enjoying the view.  

They chose this pose!!

Notice they are up high, I'm not :)

Two beautiful girls

My silly boy.

Beautiful!!  Can't wait to take some winter pictures when everything is GREEN!!!

Exploring a little cave.

I think this is where I decided I really like hiking- on level ground, that is paved, when I'm wearing flip flops :)

Friday, May 27, 2011

I'm Enrolling the Kids in School!!

I knew that would get some attention :)

Too many amazing things have happened in the last 24 hours!

Well, about a week ago I was looking for home school options.  Groups, co-ops, organizations, anything that would assist us in our journey as home school parents.  And as I was looking I ran across an organization that called themselves a home school charter school...

It's called River Oaks and here is their website.

I couldn't comprehend just what it was they were offering, but it really sounded like what we have been looking for, well, forever!

So, Mike and I went to the parent meeting last night, and it was like meeting a long lost relative.  I absolutely loved meeting the director of the school, Resa Steindel Brown, and listening to her speak about the brilliance found in all children was beyond amazing.

One of the original reasons we started home schooling, so long ago, was because we believed that God created our children, all people, special.  That they have been gifted with special abilities and talents.  And I believe that once you discover those talents and focus on them your child will thrive and grow, and there will be no stopping what they can do!  And I could never really wrap my mind around how I could help my kids find their specialness, while they were away from me for so many hours a day.  So we brought them home, and hoped we would be able to help them identify what God had made them for and raise them up in that.

Now of course this school is a public school so they cannot use the name of God, but everything that Resa spoke of last night was exactly what I believe God has charged us with as parents.  He tells us if we raise them up in the way that they have been created that they will not depart from it, and that is exactly the brilliance that Resa is so very passionate about. 

This school is a public school, they offer LOTS of workshops for kids and parents to participate in and the only requirements are: monthly assignment turn ins (to show we are fullfilling state requirements, and those assignments count as our attendance), and state testing (which they call worksheets :).  That's it!!!  We can still use our curriculum.  We don't have to go to the school any number of days, just have to be sure to turn in or assignments once a month.  I am still the kids primary teacher, and can participate in the classes alongside the kids! 

We will have access to teachers who can teach the kids, languages (as well as getting rights to use Rosetta stone at home!), computer programing, science labs, robotics, art, music, and the list goes on and on.

And guess what?  It's a public school so it's all free!!!!

I know, I know it is almost too good to be true.  But then I found out they have very limited enrollment, and almost cried.  We really, really, felt like this is the place for our kids and for us as parents.

Well, I called this morning and I have an appointment to enroll the kids next Tuesday!!! 

I am so excited!  It will be the first time Kylee, Seth, and Joshua have been enrolled in school!

Okay, so that went fantastic, Faith's braces got put on yesterday without too much trauma or drama, AND I went to the dentist and had a great cleaning with out any visible issues!

Woo Hoo!


Monday, May 23, 2011

Kinda Deep for a Monday Morning

Two posts in one day? It's like feast or famine on this blog!

Today as I was running, singing, praying, praising (yeah, I'm sure it's a sight to behold, but it's my own personal God time) and I got to thinking about how we, I, praise God.

Until a couple of years ago, I would say I knew how to balance disappointment when I didn't get what I wanted, with still praising God for his greatness, knowledge, power, and goodness.

About 10 years ago, Mike and I went to a Jeremy Camp concert and he told a story about his first wife. How told how much he loved her, how happy they were as a young married couple, and then she was diagnosed with terminal cancer.  He told us about her on her sickest days how she would not be able to move, but would raise her hands in praise to God.

I really wanted that kind of a relationship with God.

And thought I had it.

I mean, things hadn't always gone our way, we had experienced job loss, friend loss, moving away from family, money woes, and in all these things we were able to thank God for what He did provide. This isn't to say we weren't confused by the direction, and His method of accomplishing what needed to happen in our lives, but we didn't doubt His decisions were for our ultimate good.

We praised Him.

Then, we lost our friend Todd.  At that moment, nothing seemed to make sense, especially not God's plans.

And, here, I will share not my proudest moment. As his family stood around his hospital bed, singing, as he took his last breaths, I begged for God to please just do a miracle and let Todd live. And as Todd took his last breathe I told God I would never sing to Him again.  Actually, in my head, I was screaming it.

I was mad.

Understandably so. I know God felt my pain, but in those moments of my greatest sadness, instead of balancing my anger with God's majesty, I lowered my arms and told Him He was not worth my praise.

That is hard to admit, and not one of my finest moments, but it's the truth.

It took about two days for me to realize I was completely wrong, and beg for His forgiveness.

Now, I'm not saying that I shouldn't have been- mad, sad, angry, terrified, frustrated, confused- God understands pain, and can handle our feelings, even at their ugliest.  But there is a difference between being mad, sad, angry, terrified, frustrated, and confused, and telling God He is not worthy.

We are quick to say "Praise God!" and "He is Good!" when our loved one lives, or the house doesn't get foreclosed, or our relationships are good, or you do get the promotion, or you don't lose your job, or the test results are in your favor, but what about when the opposite is true?

Do we still think He is good and praise Him when things aren't going our way?

That is the kind of relationship I want to have with the Creator.

So, I'll keep trying.


Charters and Braces

Where did May go?

I can't believe it is almost June!

This week is an exciting week, not only are we finishing up our school year, but faith is getting braces, and I have a meeting with a perspective homeschool charter school for fall!

Faith's braces have been long awaited. Until we moved here, we were told by two prior orthos that her jaw would have to be broken and set when she turns 18. When this new guy told me we could try braces, I almost kissed him! But it is going to be a long process, so pray for her, and me :)

And, the homeschool charter school, I will discuss later in the week, my hopes are up pretty high and I don't want to make it worse if it doesn't work out :)


Thursday, May 5, 2011

Faithfully Yours

Have you checked out this blog???

If you haven't, go there now and read it!

Go ahead, I'll wait :)

Yeah, my kid is the author of that blog, and let me tell you she BLOWS me away!! I mean I knew she was smart, but she is so wise also. How did she get so wise?

She will be 15 in one month and if I had been HALF as wise then as she is now, man, I think my teen years would have looked a whole lot different!!

Well, I hope you take the time to read her thoughts, and show her some blog love :)


Monday, May 2, 2011

One Year

I'm not sure how this is going to go...

Tomorrow marks the one year anniversary of my mom passing away.

It was both a good and a bad thing.  She had been sick for a very long time.  It wasn't a big surprise when the moment finally came.  We had been preparing for it for years.  We even had several dress rehearsals.

I remember the day the nurse pulled me into my mom's hospital room.  I was just a little girl.  They wanted to explain to me that my mom was now a diabetic, and would have to give herself shots.  She didn't want me freaking out when I saw it for the first time, so they explained the whole thing to me, in detail, so that I would understand why she would have to do this.

I remember the day, as an adult, when I first saw her half-gone foot.  For about a month, I had been taking her to her doctors appointments because she couldn't drive while her foot was "hurting" her.  The appointment was to clean out the wound on her foot.  I had no idea what this wound looked like, but in my simple mind, she had a cut on her foot.  I took her to the appointment and waited out in the waiting room for her to finish up.  She called me back to ask me something and I got the first view of her poor decimated foot.  It was at that moment that I knew she would loose her first limb.

I remember the day when my dad called me to tell me that her other leg was in danger of being amputated.  All I could think of was how was she going to make it on no legs?  She had poor balance on two legs!! 

I remember the morning I got a call from my dad, a few years back,  telling me that I had better get a plane ticket and come out, mom didn't have long to live.  My dear friends Todd and Paula gave me a ticket to go and see her.  And you know what she did after the doctor told us it was the end and we should say goodbye?  She lived.  Yep, she turned around, got better left that hospital and even went off the dialysis machine! It shouldn't have surprised us, this was the second time she had done this.

I remember the night I was sleeping on my mother-in-law's couch because she had just had surgery and I was helping her out, and the phone rang.  My Mom was going to the hospital, and would most likely have to have weekly dyalisis treatments from then on.  Her kidneys had given up.

And she lived like that for a couple of years.  She was tired a lot.  Her quality of life was poor.  She was very unhappy and felt really sick and tired much of the time.  Whenever I would go and visit her, I always said goodbye, like it was the last time, because I knew that it potentially was the last time I would ever see her. 

I remember the day my dad told me that the doctors suggested she be put in hospice.  I was out running.  I was a mile and a half from home, and I got off the phone and cried and ran the rest of the way home. 

It was a hard road for her the last ten years of her life, so her passing was a good thing.  We were happy she was out of pain, and wouldn't ever have to go and have another shot, blood draw, shunt insertion, dialysis treatment, hospital visit, or limb removal.

But this last year the sting of being motherless has been hard.  It is a really lonely feeling.  I am not going to pretend that my mom and I had a perfect relationship, because we didn't, it was far from perfect.  But what I do know is that she loved me more than her own life.  I know that she did the best she could.  And isn't that all that is required of us as moms? 

That we do the best we can.  

I miss her today, and although I am glad she isn't hurting, I would do anything to hear her laugh and have her talk to the grand babies she cherished.