Friday, June 17, 2016

It's been a year, plus some weeks and days...

It has officially been a year, plus some weeks and days, since we first began our family blog. Goodness, it went by so fast. (At least for me.) So much has happened and we have all grown in a multitude of ways. 

Our first post was an introduction to our family. Now seems like a good time (a few weeks ago would have been a better time, and was a part of my plan...) to do an update on each of us; what we are up to, learning, involved in, etc. 

Dad has had a constant supply of work. We love having him at home so much, because even if he is involved in designing a house on his drafting board, or inputting things on the computer, or sending emails, or composing invoices, we can still walk by his office and see him. As long as the door is not closed we know we can go in a share whatever little event just took place, or conversation we had, or something we learned, or ask a question, or just grab a hug and a smile. (Within reason, of course. His work is important and if all 7 of us walked in individually every 10 minutes...yeah, no.) He has client meetings most every week that take him out for several hours, but most of the time he is at home. One of his biggest projects in process the last several months has been the House of Dreams

He is still heading up Christian's schooling as well. 

Dad has also gotten back into regular daily workouts again, after having a bit of a break in the fall/winter and he and Christian are doing some workouts together. 

Ever since we moved to our current house eight years ago, Dad has been dreaming about and planning our pool. Now his dream is finally going in! We should be swimming within the next three weeks. 

Mom and Dad both have enjoyed blessing our church body, and being blessed in return, by leading our church’s largest engagement group. We love being able to open our home every other week and share life with our church family. The relationships we have formed with different ones over the past few years are priceless and run deep because we have spent the time getting to know them and listening to their stories, so that we can pray with them and cheer them on as we all walk through this life together. 

As always, Dad’s big “carrots” to work so hard are to glorify the Lord, provide for his family, and get to our "second home," Maui. 

Mom has been resting and relaxing and tak- nope, she's had plenty to do! In keeping with her love of organization and efficiency, she has continued systematically going through stuff all over the house, discovering new things we no longer need, rearranging things we do need to be in more accessible places, and making sure it is all orderly. This gives her great joy. Its amazing how the house seems to breathe easier with less “stuff” everywhere. 

As always, Mom has been schooling the littles. At this point, she has it worked out so that all she needs to do is read aloud to them, listen to Gabe and Mia read (on occasion), do a little bit of math and language arts instruction, and double-check all their work. Even though it is summer, school will continue. At most, a full school day for the littles takes two to three hours. Mom is not stressed about keeping a tight school schedule, she would much rather cultivate a love of learning and have the kids be mostly independent with their work. 

Getting everyone to their various commitments and managing everything takes up a considerable amount of her time, of course. In the midst of that she enjoys spending time encouraging other moms and, in turn, being encouraged. She has also been studying the science behind habits. She says it is truly fascinating!

A large goal of both Mom's and Dad's is to reduce stress as much as possible. I know that sounds impossible with a family of eight, who homeschool, work from home, host church gatherings, have people seeking their counsel, etc, etc, etc. However! I did not say reduce all stress. For Mom, one way to do this has been getting rid of things we don't need because she is not then worried about cleaning and managing all that extra stuff. For Dad, having Christian do an online math program reduced the stress of teaching, grading, answering questions, etc. Those are just two examples, they have been very good about targeting many different points of stress and finding solutions to the issues. 

This summer she is looking forward to sitting by the pool reading. (While keeping up with everything else.)

Chloe is entering her senior year of school and beginning summer college classes for dual credit. She is in a ten week Federal Government class online and at the same time she is taking a Learning Frameworks class for the first five weeks and a Speech class the second five weeks, those two are both on campus from noon to 2:20, Monday through Thursday. Also, she is doing an online Algebra 2 program. 

She is still working for the photographer; editing, assisting with a few shoots, and cleaning in the studio and is still very much enjoying all of it.

Although rain and schedule complications have made it less frequent recently, Chloe still enjoys riding horses at the neighbor’s every Sunday afternoon she can. 

As always, she has been consuming books by the ton (basically). Currently she is into “good fantasy and sci fi.” 

Also, she has enjoyed compiling music playlists on Spotify. “Music is my life” are words she has claimed. 

Last but not least, Chloe has continued writing sporadic blog posts and has four different novels at various stages of development. 

Christian is entering his tenth grade year and is taking the same on-campus classes as Chloe and the same math. On top of that he is about to start Biology and will continue working on his Spanish program. 

If he has extra time, he may work some for a couple of our neighbors and Aunt Cendei, as needs arise. 

As he just finished Driver's Ed, he now has his permit and is anxious to drive as much as possible. 

At church he has enjoyed learning some more about guitar, drums, and the sound board. 

Ava is entering her sixth grade year and is so amazing all she needs Mom for, schoolwise, is to double-check her work. She has been rising by 7:00 most mornings in order to complete the bulk of her work before breakfast. 

If I am not hogging whatever baby is around, Ava is. She has enjoyed expanding her skills and is very good at putting them to sleep. Whenever I have Kate and when Sofia was coming, she is a huge blessing to me. 

Like Chloe, she has been devouring books. She enjoys the “Nancy Drew” series, anything that has anything to do with ocean creatures, particularly dolphins, and she just finished reading “The Hobbit” at Chloe’s recommendation.  

She just finished a couple of months of art class and is enjoying learning to sew. 

Gabe is doing great in school and is right on track with his age level. He is about to begin fourth grade, which is hard for all of us to believe. 

A few weeks ago he was invited by his gymnastics coach to join the boy’s competitive team, entering on Level 4. His practice schedule is Mondays 3:30-6:30 pm, Wednesdays 9:00-noon, and Thursdays 3:30-6:30 pm all summer. This totals 9 hours of practice every week, as opposed to the one hour a week class he’d been taking for the last couple of months. He is very excited about learning how to do new tricks and getting even stronger, and we are all SO proud of him. 

Gabe still loves listening to history CD stories and building with his legos and all three littles enjoy playing with plastic horses together. 

His reading skills are improving and he really enjoys history books. 

Mia is technically about to begin second grade, but she’s been doing second and third grade level work for a couple of months. We’ve been calling her a genius since she was two years old, but the older she gets the more true it is. She loves school and is known for jumping up and down screaming in excitement over a new math book. (The rest of us have memories of running away crying at the mention of a new math book.) 

Mia enjoys doing whatever the rest of us are into. She is reading the same “Nancy Drew” books that Ava is, she’s still taking the one hour a week gymnastics class, she loves helping with Kate, is trying to write books, and wants to learn to draw portraits and play the piano. 

She is her own person, a mixture of all of us, but totally different at the same time. (The genius factor is, I’m sure, part of it.) 

I just graduated high school and that is still sinking in for me. Nope. Still having trouble grasping that I'm in college. Actually, this is really starting to hit me. Wow. *Deep breath* *Exhale* Okay then.

This summer I am taking two online classes. The first is the same Learning Frameworks class that Chloe and Christian are taking and the second is Art Appreciation.

I am also nannying again for the same family I worked for last summer. They have three children, four, three, and one. I will watch Kate some, but it will be more sporadic as her new sister is due to be born at any time and thus her mommy will not be working for a few months. I will continue to babysit for the small group on Monday nights as far as I know.

In addition to my various childcare jobs I run errands for Mom and Dad as needed and, of course, help get my siblings places.

I am also looking at becoming a fitness/wellness coach, a majority of the work being done through Facebook. (When I start that, I will explain how it all works.)

And I would like to set up a Facebook page to offer portraiture as something people can hire me to do. (Again, when I do that, I will give y'all more information. Both of these are things that have been on my radar for a while and I've been holding off to make sure I had other priorities in place first.) Obviously I'm still drawing some, however, I've been working on my current portrait for *gulps* over three months. (So, time to draw has been a priority I've begun to work on...)

I am back to exercising regularly! I used to be very good about working out a couple of years ago (during my busiest two years of high school), but between a lot of different things, I lost the habit. Then when I was working at getting back into consistent activity every week, I hurt my foot doing the sprint workout and had to not do anything for over a month. But, I'm finally all healed up and am exercising 5 days a week; three days of weight lifting and two days of more pilates/yoga stuff. I'm working at stretching more as well. Of course, I'd love to go for runs and do Cize, but I can't do everything... Unfortunately.

I play piano most every day and am continuing to compose songs. I'd like to try combining my poetry  and musical skills to write lyrics too, but I've not taken the time to do so yet. The last several months I've been playing the keyboard at church during the worship and prayer service as well. That was way out of my comfort zone when I first started and it was definitely different learning to play with other people and follow a leader, but I've come a long way and every week it seems easier.

Aside from blogging and journaling, I have not done much writing. I have lots of writerly aspirations, but others things are higher priority for me right now.

And there you have it!

I hope y'all are being encouraged, getting some laughs, and being reminded that God is our source of joy and gratitude.

1 comment:

  1. Learn how to play the guitar and worship God thru it. Music is a way of worship though, Every Sundays during church service we sing songs of worship, i'm now learning how to play the guitar so in that way i could participate next time we attend mass. Learn to play too check this site


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