Sunday, December 4th, at the Home of the Croslands

Because our weeks are so busy these days, I like to spend time preparing for the week on the weekends.  Yesterday I made homemade granola and homemade Greek yogurt.  I baked bread.  I cut veggies for my lunches.  I got caught up on laundry.  I kept up with dishes.  I made an easy dinner of taco soup in the Instant Pot.

Today has been just as busy!

For my self care, I slept in today!  Usually we will go to church, but it was Robert’s weekend to work so we didn’t.

I made sure to take my medicine, fermented cod liver oil, whole foods vitamin, and B12.

I prepped for the day with my daily docket.

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I did a little planning for the groceries I’ll need to buy this week.

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Levi did homework (mostly stuff that he missed from being out Friday and his weekly spelling/reading) while Ethan re-did some of his work (then colored a picture).

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The kids and I cleaned up the house.  They cleaned their rooms and picked up their stuff out of the living room.  Levi dusted.  Ethan vacuumed and mopped.

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I cleaned up the kitchen and what was left in the living room.  I made my bed and cleaned up my room.  I did the dishes multiple times.

The house looks great and ready for the week!

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(I love our little house!)

I worked quite a bit on my Step 4 Inventory for AA.  I’ll work on it more when the kids are in bed tonight.

Levi and I baked mini sprouted whole wheat pumpkin banana muffins.

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I prepped lunches for the week (for the days that I’ll be in town).

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Breakfasts will be homemade granola over homemade Greek yogurt or the pumpkin banana muffins.  I’ll have fruit with them.

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I sliced homemade bread for the week.

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I prepped dinner and right now I’m waiting for it to cook in the Instant Pot.  I’ll be blogging about that once I find out if it turns out or not!

Here’s a sneak peek :-).

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Lastly, the kids will take showers, then Robert will clean the bathrooms (I HATE cleaning bathrooms so Robert does that to help me out!).

Tonight we have worship here at camp!  I’m looking forward to it.

This is what a Sunday looks like at the Home of the Croslands!

Eating on a Budget, My Stockpile, and Upcoming Meal Plan

We are in a time of survival and saving money.  I grocery shopped for the first time since being out of rehab and I was impressed with myself!  I spent $88 and will still need to spend another $50 max… so that’s a total of $138 for 2 weeks.  Not bad!

How am I spending so little on groceries?

  • Mostly store brand
  • Cheap meats
  • Inexpensive meals
  • Bulk snacks vs pre-packed
  • I bake my own bread and most breakfast foods
  • I stock up over time so I don’t have to buy much at once (this is a BIG one… it’s how I make things work!)
  • The kids eat breakfasts and lunches at school for free (but they’ll be home this week!)

A few things that I bought that are NOT “whole foods” but are time and money savers (or they are things we just enjoy!):

  • Pop tarts (mainly for when during the week when the kids eat breakfast at school but need a little something before they get to school… so something I wouldn’t have bought until recently)
  • White cheddar Cheez-its (keeps me from buying snacks in town, and we all love them)
  • Generic saltines (cheap, easy snack for the kids after school)
  • Taco seasoning
  • Ranch packets
  • Onion soup mix

Other things that ARE whole foods that I just bought the cheap versions:

  • Chuck roast
  • Ground beef (2 lbs)
  • Cheese (shredded)
  • Carrots
  • Broccoli
  • Cucumbers
  • Spring mix
  • Triscuits (somewhat processed but made with only 3 ingredients!)
  • Canned diced tomatoes (4 cans)
  • Rotel (3 cans generic)
  • Enchilada sauce (made with just a few ingredients)
  • Salsa (I bought Picante Sauce this time)
  • Canned beans (black and pinto)
  • Canned corn (2 cans)
  • Tortilla chips (somewhat processed, but only a few ingredients)

I also bought things like bar soap for Robert, conditioner, some Christmas lights, etc.

The foods that I will still have to buy (in the next 2 weeks):

  • Frozen mixed veggies and broccoli
  • Fresh produce: bananas, grapes, lunch veggies (broccoli, carrots, cucumbers), avocados, celery
  • Milk
  • Butter
  • Cage free eggs
  • Whole wheat pasta
  • More Coke Zero

My Stockpile/Foods I Already Had:

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Baking Items, Oils, Sweeteners

Breakfasts

  • Organic toasted O’s
  • Honey Nut Cheerios
  • Puffins
  • Pumpkin steel cut oatmeal (in the refrigerator)
  • Breakfast cookies (almost out… then to make some more!)
  • Organic steel cut oats
  • Organic rolled oats
  • Organic quick oats

Dairy

  • Organic whole milk
  • Half and half
  • Sliced provolone
  • String cheese
  • Tillamook mild cheddar block
  • Sour cream
  • Butter
  • Cream cheese
  • Triple zero yogurt (stevia and chicory root sweetened)
  • Laughing cow cheese

Meats and Eggs

  • Chicken thighs
  • Flounder
  • Salmon
  • Link sausage
  • Pork chops
  • Round steak (I make something call onion steak with this!)
  • New York strip steaks (2)
  • Smoked turkey (Greenburg!)
  • Natural Jimmy Dean breakfast sausage
  • Hormel natural lunch meat
  • Cage free eggs
  • Canned tuna

Beverages

  • Bai drinks
  • La Croix sparkling water (berry, peach/pear, and cranberry raspberry)
  • Teas of all kinds (cold brew and hot teas)
  • Coffee (different types… Texas pecan, classic 8 o’clock, and hazelnut water processed decaf)
  • Almond milk

Breads

  • Sprouted bread (Trader Joe’s and Central Market brand… frozen)
  • Homemade whole wheat bread
  • Joseph’s pitas and Lavash bread
  • Corn tortillas
  • Mixed corn/flour tortillas
  • Low carb whole wheat tortillas

Produce

  • Bananas
  • Apples
  • Potatoes
  • Onions
  • Tomatoes
  • Broccoli
  • Carrots

Pantry Items/Canned Goods/Snacks

  • Dry pinto beans and black beans
  • Brown rice
  • Quinoa
  • Dried herbs and spices
  • Hot sauces (Sriracha and Franks)
  • Sabra Roasted Garlic Hummus
  • Ramen (we bought it for backpacking but we like it now and then)
  • Organic mac n cheese (3)
  • Canned green beans (2)
  • Organic canned tomato sauce and paste
  • Black bean pasta
  • Popcorn kernels
  • Bragg’s Nutritional yeast (we like it on stove-popped popcorn)
  • Goldfish
  • Peanut butter crackers
  • Wasa crackers
  • Organic apple sauce
  • Apple cider vinegar (Braggs!)
  • Amazing balsamic vinegar (made in Santa Fe, NM)
  • Garbanzo beans (canned)
  • THM Protein powder
  • THM peanut flour
  • THM integral collagen
  • Skippy natural peanut butter
  • Stevia Kitchen jellies
  • Polaner jelly
  • Organic canned pumpkin
  • Organic coconut milk (canned)

Frozen

  • Frozen fruit
  • Frozen stir fry veggies with sauce

Etc

  • Condiments (Creole mustard, yellow mustard, Dijon mustard, olive oil mayo)
  • Dressings

Vitamins/Fish Oil (I already have these on hand… I will only buy them as I can afford it… probably not again until I’m not driving to town every day):

  • Garden of Life Vitamin Code raw whole foods vitamins with probiotics and enzymes (I only take 2 capsules instead of 4 to make them last longer… they’re expensive!)

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The meals that I have planned for the next few weeks:

Breakfasts

Lunches

  • Sandwiches on homemade bread
  • Wraps
  • Organic mac n cheese (for kids)
  • Finger foods (lunch meat, cheese, veggies, and sliced fruit)
  • Leftovers

Dinners

  • Roast with potatoes, onions, and carrots (crockpot)
  • Grilled chicken thighs and veggies
  • Burrito bowls (brown rice, pinto beans, tomatoes, cheese, avocados, and sour cream)
  • Stir fry (sliced pork chops, frozen stir fry veggies and sauce)
  • Onion steak and frozen veggies
  • Baked potato bar
  • Cheese enchilada stacks, beans, and rice
  • Southwestern soup (basically a taco soup with black beans)
  • Smoked turkey, mashed potatoes, and broccoli
  • Turkey pot pie
  • Turkey noodle soup
  • Thanksgiving meal with family
  • Grilled steaks (when the kids are at my parents’)
  • Leftovers!

At this point, I am happy with the balance that I have found.  In the coming months I hope to stop drinking Coke Zero and so much sugar in my coffee… but I’ll get there.  At the moment I’m just surviving!

Almost Done Here

I have been in treatment for 25 days now and leave on Thursday. Last night started the discharge phase of treatment with a silent reflection time (5 hours).

I have learned so much.

One of the biggest things is that I have been trying to do things on my own, and I haven’t been seeking God to help me with my addiction (partly because I was in denial that I was addicted). Part of the twelve steps in the program teaches that we have a higher power (my higher power is my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ) to give us what we need to overcome addiction along with the twelve steps, having a sponsor, etc.

I have gained a lot of new, good friends. I have been reminded over and over again that I’m worth the work. I am loved by my creator and He wants me well.

A lot has changed because of my time here. I am no longer homeschooling. For 90 days I will be focusing on recovery (driving to town 5 days a week to go to AA, see a counselor for Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, and something called EMDR). After that AA will ALWAYS be part of my life. I will go twice-three times a week probably forever. Robert and I have gained a new found communication that has been lacking. I have come to realize that I have a lot to offer because of my mental illnesses and this new found addiction. God can and will use it for His glory.

I have started to see the good in who God made me to be. At the beginning of my time here, I couldn’t come up with anything positive to say about myself. Everyone in my process group had so many great things to say about me and I couldn’t see it. I am seeing a lot of the things now.

I have been voted president of our community this week. It has been fun and interesting. I’ve never been voted for anything in the past so it boosted my self esteem a lot.

I start discharge group tomorrow at 8am. I will go over how to focus on my mind, body, and spirit in my recovery.

God is good… and I have seen Him working so much here. I can’t wait to get home and see how He will use me there!

My Name is Courtney, and I’m an Alcoholic

I haven’t been around in weeks. My life has changed completely. I don’t even know if this will post because I’m on a antique computer with really crappy internet, but I thought I’d try.

I knew I had an alcohol problem and was trying to stop on my own, but it wasn’t working. A few weeks ago Robert was out of town. I got drunk 4 out of 5 days. That Wednesday morning I woke up and knew that I had to do something BIG to overcome this… just going to Celebrate Recovery once a week and trying on my own wasn’t going to work any longer.

I emailed my sponsor (through CR) and asked her for information on local treatment centers. She immediately sent me 3 that she said are all really good. I tried one and found out that they were out of network through my insurance so I wouldn’t even dream of being able to afford it.

The next one I called was La Hacienda.

Everything looked good until they told me that the doctor would be billed separately from the center and it would be an additional $3400. I told them there was no way I could afford that, and he said… give me some time and I’ll see what I can do. About an hour later he called me back and told me he made it work, and all I had to pay was the rest of my deductible.

The next day (while Robert was still out of town), I packed my bags and headed for Hunt, TX.

I cried from Wednesday through the first hour that I was here. It was the hardest decision I have ever made. I knew I would be leaving my babies behind for 30 days and I hadn’t even seen Robert in almost a week by this point. Life as I knew it would never be the same. I wanted to stay home where it was comfortable, but I knew that if I didn’t make this decision, I would potentially start making some very dangerous decisions. Plus, as I’ve learned since I’ve been here, alcoholism is very deadly.

I am on day 17 now. And while it is very difficult some days, I actually love it here. I have made some really dear friends. We have lots of fun. I am learning SO much. And I am working the steps of Alcoholics Anonymous.

I had to make the very difficult decision about a week in that I would have to put the kids in school when I get out. The expectation is 90 meetings in 90 days when I get out of here and there was no way I would be able to do that and homeschool. It was a very difficult decision to make… but once I made the decision, everything fell into place and I got a lot lighter. The kids will start school in the next few weeks and they are SO excited!! I had no idea how much they wanted to be in school. If I’ve learned anything, it’s that maybe our family isn’t meant to be a homeschooling family. Anytime I try, the kids end up back in school… and they are always super happy about it. They will be going to Rocksprings Elementary. The bus picks them up at the end of our dirt road, so it’s not a ton of driving them to school.

I will be driving an hour and fifteen minutes one way, 5 days a week to go to AA. I will do AA online on the weekends. I will see a counselor twice a week to do EMDR (I’m not even sure what it stands for). I’ve been told many times that it’s one of the best forms of therapy for dealing with loss that I have been stuffing with alcohol for years.

The biggest thing that I’ve learned is that I CANNOT take another drink. In any form. It will immediately lead to a relapse, and I will end up back here (which I cannot afford, so it’s not an option! ha!). It’s also a disease that I cannot help. It’s part of my DNA. It started the moment I took my first drink. I am powerless to alcohol.

Please be praying for me and my family as I finish up my time here! I would appreciate it greatly!

This Week!

This week has gone so well!  I know it’s only Wednesday, but I thought I’d share a few things that have happened so far!

We have such a nice routine.  We are up by 8:00, I do my Bible study and drink coffee, then shower, then eat breakfast, then we all do chores.  We start school at 9:30 and finish by lunch time or shortly after.  After we finish, I finish up my chores and the kids play outside!  Then I have nothing left to do until we make dinner!  So… I either blog, read, take a nap, or watch Gilmore Girls while the kids play outside.  Life is good!

The special thing about this week is that the kids are actually telling people that they love school!  Levi wants to do extra work, and both the boys’ reading has improved greatly!  Levi’s writing has also improved a lot in just 5 weeks.

We also started history for the boys and science this week.  It has gone SO well!

Karis absolutely LOVES her history.  Every single day she tells me how much she loves it.  When I told her that she was going to be using it from now on, she got all giddy!

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Levi started the next level in math!  He’s officially in first grade math.  The other two kids congratulated him as he was jumping up and down!

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Ethan and Levi are on level two of Explode the Code.  We started at the beginning and are moving through it pretty quickly.  They are doing really well!

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We listen to this during school.  It’s nice and calming (along with my pumpkin candle!).

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I’ve been using these readers along with Saxon fluency readers for the boys.  I love these, but I wouldn’t buy them again because they were SO expensive!  They work well now that I have them.  The fact that Ethan can read this means that he has come a LONG way!

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Levi’s writing has come a long way in five weeks!  This is his copywork from week 1 and week 5.

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He did both sentences by choice.

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The boys started their new history this week and they’re learning lots!

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We also started science this week and they all love it so far!  We’re doing our first project Friday!

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Karis is learning how to take notes while I’m reading.  She’s new to it… this will get better over time :-).

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The one thing I will be working with Karis on is writing complete sentences!  This will look different in the coming weeks!

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I thought I would share what the kids’ spelling looks like because no one ever talks about this particular curriculum.  It’s called Building Spelling Skills and it’s by Evan Moor.  I really like it and the kids have been doing well with it!

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Family Camp Part 2

Family camp was everything our family needed and more.  But I will say I’m so thankful to be home.  We left early so that we could have two full days before school/work begins again.  We have today to just rest, and tomorrow will be a full day of unpacking, laundry, house cleaning, etc.  In the meantime I’m still working on organizing!  It’s my favorite thing to do :-).

The second half of the week was just as relaxing as the first half.  Honestly, we did a handful of activities, but the majority of the time the kids were happy in the game room.  We spent a lot of time in there!!

Robert, Karis, and Ethan went mountain biking twice.  They also did the zip tour.  Levi can’t ride bikes and he was too light to do the zip tour so he can I just hung out.  It was really nice.

Wednesday night was date night.  It was beautiful in the prayer garden; each couple had their own little table separate from everyone else.  We enjoyed steak with colorful veggies, finished off with some cheesecake.  It was nice to be able to just sit and talk with my love without distraction.  Throughout the meal there was a young lady playing violin, walking up and down.

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Levi blew me away with his passion in worship this week!

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Karis and I did the “Madhatter’s Tea Party” Thursday after they did the zip tour!  We had so much fun!

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Thursday night was Route 66 night!  The kids had a blast!  They bowled, hula hooped, drift triked, had a pie eating contest (just whip cream of course), and ate a ton of yummy unhealthy food!

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The last day was pretty low key.  Levi played black light dodgeball and had a little dance party in the black lights while the older kids were with their daddy.

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The bouncy house was open again.  They loved this obstacle course!

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They got to do some crafts, then they went into the nerf room (no pics).

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Our time at camp came to a close at about 3:30 when we left.

We will definitely be back next year!  Lots of memories were made!

Santa Fe and Family Camp, Part 1

We’re at family camp at Glorieta in New Mexico right now.  We are currently having rainy day activities which means the kids are in the nerf room and craft room.  The adults are hanging out in the coffee shop and doing a bunch of nothing.  I have been reading, but I decided to take a break and write :-).

Before family camp, we enjoyed some time with my in-laws.  We went to the children’s museum in Santa Fe and ate some really yummy food.  The next day we drove up into the Santa Fe National Forest and had a picnic in the Holy Ghost canyon.

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This is a green chile cheese burger (without a bun) and green chile stew.

Tacos

This is quinoa and poppyseed crusted avocado tacos (with corn, lettuce, and salsa), amazing pinto beans, and rice.

 

We’re only on day 3 of a 7 day family camp.  It’s been pretty awesome so far.  The first day was so fun as the kids got to play fun games, play in a bounce house, and do an obstacle course with a blind fold.  Then, they got to play in a foam pit for a few hours (which is amazing by the way).  Yesterday involved a guided hike to the lookout, relaxing, and more time in the foam pit (they can’t get enough).  Yesterday evening we had dinner with just adults.  We had amazing food and a couple of hours just chatting with our old and new friends.  Today has been so amazing because we have been so relaxed!  Everything about this family camp is relaxed.  I was dreading it for a long time because I expected it to be go, go, go, but it has been just what we all needed.  Another perk is that anytime through the day, we can drop the kids off in child care and do what we want.  So far we have taken advantage of that twice and took naps.

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I love watching Karis worship.  Beautiful.

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This is Sydney, our counselor this week!

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These girls are best friends for ever.  They are always together at home and at camp.

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This is the greatest invention ever!!  A foam pit!!  The kids have spent much of their time there.  It is fantastic.

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Top of the look out!

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The kids leading Levi through the obstacle course.

 

Tomorrow Ethan, Karis, and Robert will be going mountain biking while Levi and I play in the game room. Thursday we will be doing the zip tour (probably just Robert and the big kids).  We have western night and route 66 night coming up as well as date night tomorrow night.  Date night involves steak :-).  Everything about this camp is perfect.  I look forward to next year already!

So far the worship and speaking have been fantastic.  The worship leader is great and the speaking has been so applicable to our family and marriage.  Yesterday we talked about having a purpose in discipling our family.  The goal with this is to figure out what each of the family members is gifted with to bring others to Christ, and come up with a purpose statement for our family.  Today they talked about bringing others to Christ and discipleship through relationship.  The biggest thing I got out of this is that our children are PEOPLE and we need to treat them as such.  They used a teaching tool to help us learn how to listen to our spouse and children better to overcome obstacles and disciple our children.

Then, while I was reading while it rained, I ran across this (reading the book For the Children’s Sake):

“Take a small child on your knee.  Respect him.  Do not see him as something to prune, form, or mold.  This is an individual who thinks, acts, and feels.  He is a separate human being whose strength lies in who he is, not who he will become.  If his choices made now and in the future are to be good ones, this person must understand reality and see the framework of truth.  In the shorthand of language, we called this “knowing.” The child is a person who needs to grow in knowledge.”

“Charlotte Mason was, however, a realist.  She accepted the little child as he was.  She did not romanticize him, but she appreciated him and looked with wonder at what she found.”

 

So for now, the biggest things that I have gotten out of the speaking are that we need to have a purpose as a family for discipleship and bringing others to Christ.  Also, I need to treat my children as people… listening well and loving them well.  I often am short tempered and shut them off instead of listening for a chance to disciple.

I can’t wait to see how the rest of the week plays out!

Life Goes On

It’s been a little while since I’ve posted on here.  I have been taking a break and journaling personally as I worked through some things.  I can say right now that I am feeling much better with my anxiety, and my hyperventilation syndrome is under control (for now).  I’m “holding my breath” because I know it can come back.  I really feel that the medicine that the doctor put me on has made a huge difference because it stopped after about a week of being on the meds (over the course of a few days).  I also think all of the processing and working through things has made a huge difference (and talking through homeschool things with a friend here who has been homeschooling a long time).

We decided to go ahead and start summer.  When I first started homeschooling I just *knew* I would homeschool year around and just take breaks as we needed.  But it came more and more clear as we were going along that Ethan was struggling.  He was becoming more and more frustrated.  I decided to move him back to level 1 of the reading that we were doing and he was even struggling with that.  I knew at that moment that it was time.  He needs a break.  So, I called it.  I have been going back and forth, but the decision has been made.  We might start school early, though (July).  We’ll see.

The kids have been through so much this year.  We moved 6 1/2 hours away from what they have known as home for many years.  We started homeschooling last summer and stopped because I decided they needed a break.  I went through a severe bout of depression, and I’m sure they felt it.  I ended up putting them in school because of this depression.  I now regret that decision, but that was the best I could do at the time.  I think, now, that putting them in school actually made Ethan slip further behind.  His reading is not near where it was this time last year.  I don’t know for sure.  I could be wrong.  I don’t have any other explantation, though.

My plan for the summer is to start out with them just reading 20 minutes per day, then I might add in some math fact practice over time.  I’m going to keep it light, but I don’t want them to lose any skills.  Today went really well and they each read to their stuffed animal.  It was fun.  Ethan didn’t even complain much.  He chose the books and he actually seem to read them better than the reading book with the curriculum.  Levi read so well.  He read 3 books with ease that I thought would be too hard for him.  Oh, and we have a subscription to ABC Mouse, and they enjoy that!  Karis is reading her favorite book series again.  I guess I can’t complain.  She reads all the time.  And if it’s the same series over and over, she’s still reading.  Plus, it improves fluency and comprehension to read over and over again.

They play outside the majority of the day.  It’s so beautiful right now so it is perfect.  We have to keep them with-in our yard (because of some poor decisions on their part), but they seem to find plenty to do with-in their boundaries (we have a large yard with no fence).  Right now they are mixing dirt and water to make “cement” and Ethan is using it to make a “road.”  Ethan and Levi love playing with their cars in the dirt and mud.  They’re a mess, but they’re being kids.  It’s perfect.

When they do play inside, I am learning to embrace the mess that they leave behind.  I am learning a balance with this.  I can’t handle a mess all the time.  So.  They play and make a mess, then they take 10-15 minutes to clean it up.  It works well.

We will probably spend a lot of time at my parents’ this summer.  It’s nice and relaxing there and the kids can swim in their pool all they want.  It’s also a great way to get away from the craziness of camp during the summer.  We love it here, but it can be a bit much sometimes.

Summer has officially started here, with the summer staff moving in yesterday.  We had a blast last night welcoming them with dinner, speaking, worship, and introductions of the full time staff and their families.  I don’t know how much I can be involved because of the kids, but I will do my best.  We will be a part of something call a HAF (home-away-from) home.  A group of students will come here to have a meal that isn’t a dining hall meal.  It’s real fun!  We got to know some summer staff last summer that are back this year.  It’ll be good to see them as well.  Karis and Ethan will be going to camp the first week of camps and they are so excited this year.  Last year they were super scared and nervous, but this year they can’t wait!

Well I keep trying to upload some pictures and wordpress won’t let me.  If you’ve read this far, thanks for reading!  This is just a little update of what’s been going on around here.