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Been Busy…With Pictures

Sorry I’ve been gone, but with my husband gone last week, I’ve been a little lot busy!  While he was gone wasn’t too bad, but as soon as he hit the door we have been running!  Here is some of the stuff that has been going on in the last few weeks.

A my 7-year-old daughter had her father/daughter dance with AHG.  Here is a picture of them.

2014 AHG dance

 

All of the pictures had the sun in their eyes, so some my husband was smiling, but A, had her eyes closed.   This was the best that I got at home.  They had a great time.  A ate too many sweets and had an upset stomach for some time during the dance.  I need to remind her to limit her sweets next year!

Also, we had 2 birthdays recently.  My husband turned 47!  How can I be married to someone who is 47?  Crazy!

tonys 47th b-day

Right after my husband’s birthday is my son R’s birthday.  He turned 15.  Wow!

R's 15th birthday with T in the background.

R’s 15th birthday with T in the background.

We have been outside when the weather is cooperating.  L loves being outside.  It should be  a fun summer!

L loving being outside.

L loving being outside.

We got three chicks from a teacher at school.  They are cute!  L loved looking at them.  When my husband took one out of the brooder to show her, she wanted to grab them.  She about ripped the head off of one.  We did want to get a picture of her with the chicks, but she was grabbing at the chicks and we were worried about their safety.  Here she is distressed because she really wanted to hold a chick.

L crying because we wouldn't let her hold the chick.  She about killed it 10 seconds before this picture was taken.

L crying because we wouldn’t let her hold the chick. She about killed it 10 seconds before this picture was taken.

J, our oldest, and a senior in high school was named Salutatorian of his senior class.  We are very excited and proud of his accomplishments!  He should qualify for some additional scholarships because of this achievement.

J was named Salutatorian of his senior class!

J was named Salutatorian of his senior class!

I just love this picture of L eating a muffin, so I had to add it!

 

L eating a muffin.

L eating a muffin.

We had the chess tournament which was a Friday night and Saturday all day.  The boys held up great.  They didn’t do as well as they hoped, but now they realize that they need to keep practicing so that they improve for next year.

 

 

T and S after finishing up the chess tournament.

T and S after finishing up the chess tournament.

S and A had to dress up as their favorite fictional character for a school assignment.  S read Charlotte’s Web and went as Wilbur the pig.  A read all of the Fancy Nancy books that our local library had and then dressed up like her.

S as Wilbur the pig for fictional character day

S as Wilbur the pig for fictional character day

A dressed as Fancy Nancy

A dressed as Fancy Nancy.

Here is M being nice and pushing the girls on the swings.  L just loves him.  She calls out his name a million times a day and I have to remind her that he is in school.  He just signed up for PSEO, so he will be taking 2 college classes next year.  He will only be a junior in high school next year, so by the end of his senior year, he will have about a semester of college credits completed!

M being a nice big brother and pushing his sisters on the swings.

M being a nice big brother and pushing his sisters on the swings.

R has been working on his forge.  We recently were able to acquire coal which has really opened up his options as compared to the charcoal which he has been using.  It burns much hotter than the charcoal did.

R working on his forge.

R working on his forge.

Anyway, that is some of the things that we have been up to.  How about you, what have you been up to?

Ann

 

 

 

 

 

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Sunday Night Chit-Chat

Thanks to Carla at My 1/2 Dozen Daily for hosting this every week.  I think I will join in!

That sure was a good book!

That sure was a good book!

 

What..

  • Are you reading:  A Secret Gift by Ted Gup.
  • Are you watching:  America’s Funniest Home Videos
  • Are you looking forward to this week:  Easy dinners as hubby is out of town.
  • Is one thing you did last week that you don’t want to repeat this week:  Scrambling around the house getting it cleaned up before the guy came to measure for new carpet on the steps and hallway upstairs.
  • Was your best moment over the last week?  My oldest son J, was named Salutatorian of his senior class!
  • Is your #1 goal for next week?  Stay on budget with food and household.
  • Song can’t you get out of your head?  Nothing, I’m not into music at all.
  • Best/Worst financial decision over the last week?  My best decision was to stick to my grocery budget like it or not!
  • Is something that you’d like to learn to do?  I’d love to learn to knit, but now is not the time.  Maybe in 5 years or so when life settles down some.

How about you, what are you up to?

Ann

 

College Visit with J

wright state picture

 

J, my oldest is 17 years old and will be heading off to college in the fall.  It’s hard to believe in a way.  In another way, it seems like it is time.

He is a great student with over a 4.0 average.  He is ranked 5th in his class.  He was accepted and offered academic scholarships by every school where he applied.

He had a PSEO class (college class while in high school) in the fall and got an A.  He is taking his second PSEO class now.

He was a direct admit into the college of engineering.  He is planning on studying Biomedical Engineering and Pre-Med.

I feel like he has learned all of the lessons of high school and it is time for him to move on.

We went to visit the school he will be attending in the fall.  I have been there, but I wanted the official honors tour.  I wanted to see the honors dorms, the fitness center, the classrooms, etc.  I was impressed!  It was nice with all of the newest technology.  The biggest lecture hall holds about 200 or so seats.  My college lecture halls held twice that.  All of the classes that aren’t general education have a maximum of 30 students!  The library is equipped with smart boards for group projects.  Everything on campus is pretty close.  The dorms are a little off of campus with a short 5 minute walk to get there.

The hardest thing for me to get used to is that they don’t have dining halls like we had.  Now, there are restaurants, fast food etc.  This college requires a meal plan for those who live on campus.  The students get a set dollar amount put onto their card and the card can be used all over campus.  I believe it can be used at the bookstore, coffee shops etc.  I’m not sure my son can make it the whole semester without running out of money.  He loves Dave Ramsey and took one of his classes in junior high and now as a Senior he is taking Financial Peace as a graduation requirement.  He says he can budget the money with no problems.  I guess we will have to wait and see.

The good news is there is a big grocery one-half a mile away where he can get breakfast stuff and snacks to stretch his meal plan.  The dorms have a microwave and mini fridge in each room.

I’m paranoid, I know, but he is my first heading out into the big, bad world.

How about you?  Any changes heading your way?

Ann

Making Kids More Independent

My husband and I have been changing the responsibilities of our children.  He thinks I am too easy on them.  I do what I have pretty much always done.  I cook, I clean, I do laundry, I grocery shop.  I do all of the mom stuff.  Since I don’t work outside of the home, I feel like it is my job to keep things looking good around the house.

My husband feels entirely differently.  He feels that our big boys 17, 16, almost 15, and 12 are very capable of doing chores etc. around the house.

I know that they are capable.  I know that they can do chores and they have several that they are each responsible for taking care of.  They don’t always do the job to my expectations, of course, they are kids.  We are working on it.  My husband thinks that they grow more and more capable by making them step up and handle more responsibilities.  He is right.  I know down deep that these kids have to be able to take care of their laundry, be able to cook, and clean a dorm room or apartment, etc.

The hard thing for me is letting go of the stuff that I have always done.  I always did the cooking.  Now one child does the cooking each night.

I’ve always done the laundry.  Now the kids are taking turns.  They must wash, dry, fold, and have each child put their things away.

I’ve always cleaned the kitchen and started the dishwasher.  Now the children do it.

It is a big relief to me mentally to know that I am teaching my kids how to manage on their own, but who is with me that it is hard to follow through with it.  It is hard to see them running low on clean laundry (they don’t seem to mind), it is hard to stand there in the kitchen pointing out all of the stuff that needs to be cleaned up after dinner and not do it yourself.  It is hard to see them struggle with something that I could do quickly and easily.

I have to keep my eye on the big picture.  They will be moving on soon enough.  I have to prepare them to the best of my ability to be successful with all things.  Boys need to know these skills.

How about you, did you prepare your kids to be out in the real world?  What are the critical skills that they should know?

Ann

Planting Grapes

I have been wanting to add some fruit trees or bushes to our garden area for some time.  At the same time, I’m kind of scared to do it.  Trees are fairly permanent and I really have no design for how I would like things to be.  I am more of a fly by the seat of my pants gardener.  I want a lot of different stuff, but it all takes time and money.  I don’t always have the time or desire to work after I have hastily purchased the crop.  For example, for many years I bought all of the garden stuff–miracle grow, compost, bamboo stakes, etc. only to be gung-ho in the beginning and then it is a huge mess of weeds by the end of the growing season.  I am trying to mend my ways.

This year I finally purchased the grapes that I have been wanting off and on for years.  They were on clearance from Lowe’s for $3 for a gallon container.  I am super excited.  I have been reading about growing grapes in our area.  I purchased a soil analyzer.  Our pH is 7.  I never knew that before.  Grapes here like it at 6 to 6.5.  Thankfully, not too much of a difference.  I just found out our neighbor has grapes that have done well, so that is encouraging.

I enlisted the big kids to help me get going.  They dug the holes for the plants.  They drove the fence posts into the ground and A actually put the plants into the ground.  She is such a plant lover.  She notices every flower we pass.  She loves being in the garden.  She is all about the details.  For example, I had the kids dig down one foot.  We placed some soil acidifier in at the 12 inch mark, then replaced about 6 inches of soil to let the roots get started. As we replaced the dirt, A sprinkled the rest of the soil acidifier around the grape bundle.  We did this same process on all 3 plants.  She watched each boy (the 3 older each did one complete plant).  She made sure they had all of the steps done in order.  She corrected them if they went out-of-order or didn’t do everything exactly correctly.  They get annoyed with her, but she pays attention and knows what to do and when to do it.

Here are some pictures.

Concord Grapes bought on clearance for $3 each.

Concord Grapes bought on clearance for $3 each.

Digging the holes.

Digging the holes.

Making sure the holes were dug 12 inches deep.

Making sure the holes were dug 12 inches deep.

Sprinkling soil acidifier in the soil.

Sprinkling soil acidifier in the soil.

A explaining the process to J.

A explaining the process to J.

After planting, but before we had them up on the  wire.

After planting, but before we had them up on the wire.

Grapes on the stakes.

Grapes on the stakes.

Grapes strapped to the wire.

Grapes strapped to the wire.

Feeling Great!

We have been off of school for a week now!  I am enjoying driving the kids around much less!  We have set up a routine where the kids do an hour of reading, some chores, some school work, and then a project that I want to work on for a while, and then something fun for the kids. The bigger kids also have special  projects that they are working on in addition to what the little ones are doing.  For example, M is working on his Eagle Scout project, J is working on College stuff, and R is working on getting more organized. So far it is working well.  I have an excel spreadsheet on the fridge with boxes for each kid to mark off.

Here are a couple of pictures of our leisure time reading and working on projects.

J and S reading and enjoying leisure time this summer.

J and S reading and enjoying leisure time this summer.

A buried herself in cushions to read because she was freezing cold.

A buried herself in cushions to read because she was freezing cold.

So far we have been to our local Y’s outdoor pool.  The little ones loved it, but the big kids said it was freezing.  Since they were out of the water, it gave us some much-needed time away from the little ones just to talk.  It was nice.  We also went to a local flea market where my oldest works on the weekends.  We waved to him while we were there, which was super fun for A.  Girls are so much different from boys.  Here are a couple of shots of the flea market.

Pony rides for $5.

Pony rides for $5.

A riding "Chocolate Chip"

A riding “Chocolate Chip”

A loving on a horse statue.

A loving on a horse statue.

A hanging on a gorilla statue.

A hanging on a gorilla statue.

A getting her picture taken with a snowman in June.  Only in Ohio.

A getting her picture taken with a snowman in June. Only in Ohio.

We are off to a great start this summer!  Now to stay consistent.  It is not easy for me, but with a plan it should be easier.  Here’s to some much-needed rest and relaxation!

We Are On Summer Vacation!!!

Today is our first day of summer vacation.  I have been super busy over the month of May.  But as of today all of our school stresses are over.  Also, Cub scouts are done for the summer.  American Heritage Girls are done for the summer.

While there are a lot of things that I wont have to do like get up for school, quiz the kids on school work, help with school projects etc.  there  are some things that are in full swing now.  We have to get our 4H projects up and running.  We have to have J study for the ACT, look for colleges, find a newer vehicle, apply to colleges, apply for scholarships etc.  That will keep him busy all summer, I’m sure.

I am planning on keeping fit.  My friends and I are working on a workout schedule for the summer.  So far we plan to workout at 7 or 8 am,  5x per week.  I am planning on doing Cross-Fit 2x per week, a spinning class 1x per week, a long run on Saturdays, a 3 mile run 1x per week, and sprints 1x per week.  That should help me achieve my goal of running the 5k without stopping by the end of the year.

I am excited to be less scheduled than I have been.  The kindergarten year of being at school 3x every day has worn me out!  The good news is that I don’t have to do that schedule for 5 years when L is in Kindergarten.  In the fall everyone except L will be in school all day.  It is good, but a little sad at the same time.  This is the first time in 14 years that I won’t be at school during midday to pick up a preschooler, a pre-kindergartener, or a kindergartener.

I’m ready to have some fun, relax, and get some stuff done around this house.  I have my garden in and I will include pictures in my next post.

Here’s to a fun summer!