We’re not huge Halloween fans in this house, but we do celebrate. Usually this involves me throwing together inexpensive versions of whatever the kids want to be this year the day before or the day of Halloween. This year, Drew said he wanted to be Link from the Legend of Zelda (again) and I gave him a hard time about always choosing to be the same characters. So he decided he wanted to be a Minion (from the movie, “Despicable Me”, which I highly recommend, by the way.) I had to kind of chuckle about that, because I ended up being the one that bore the brunt of my own suggestion. I had to make the minion costume, and of course, he wanted the complicated one (although, I admit, I would have chosen the same one if it were up to me.) So what you see with Drew’s costume is in fact constructed by me. Poster board, a cheap plastic bowl, yellow spray paint, blue fabric, a black Sharpie, duct tape, a mason jar lid, black pipe cleaners, aaaand some good ‘ol hot glue is what’ll make an inexpensive (relatively) minion. I was still putting the thing together 30 minutes before we took off to go Trick or Treating. It was worth all the effort though.
As I was making it, Beau started to get pretty excited about it, and he said to Drew, “Dude! People are gonna love your costume! They’re gonna scream and say, “It’s a Minion!” To which Drew replied, “Nuh-uh, Beau! You don’t have the power to see into the future!” (These sorts of spats are pretty common between them right now.) Of course, Beau was right, and Drew got many compliments and people pointing and screaming, “Look! It’s a Minion!”
Selah is the Little Mermaid, Rory is a Fairy, Drew, of course, is a Minion (Paul, to be precise) and Beau is Jack Skellington from “The Nightmare Before Christmas.” (Which is as scary as I will let my kids get, for the record.)
It was pretty cold this year, and we didn’t make the rounds of our entire neighborhood (we never do) but a good time was had by all. I breathed a sigh of relief when all was said and done, and am now looking forward to Thanksgiving and Christmas- which are my favorite!
On Septemer 21st, I participated in the MS Muckfest! It was a 5 mile muddy obstacle course run benefiting the Colorado and Wyoming MS Society Chapter. And I’m happy to say, we met our goal and raised over a $1000!
My dad, my lifelong friend, Shondia, and I participated in the run together. My sister, Ariel, was supposed to run with us, but was under the weather, unfortunately.
This was my very first time doing anything like this. I have never run a 5k, let alone a mud-run! I was quite nervous waiting at the starting line. It felt like all the butterflies in my stomach had leaked out into my muscles, making them all loosey-goosey. I guess that’s better than tensing up!
We started off the race with a bang, getting hosed down, and showered upon. Then we immediately came up to three dirt hills with water in the valleys, that got progressively higher and deeper. The second hill was so steep on the way down, there was nothing to do but sit on your butt and slide down. I was getting baptized with mud, it was now or never!
Then climbing my way out of that one (after I made sure the gal in front of me was securely up) I started running and realized I was carrying about an extra ten pounds! Yippee!
There were about twenty obstacles on the course, including giant bouncy balls suspended from a bar that we had to push our way through, a fireman’s pole, a few nets we had to climb up and over, several mud pits we had to crawl through and at least 2 miles of winding steep deer trails. At one point we had to grab onto a rope because the incline was so steep (and our shoes were particularly slippery.) There was also a climbing wall over a large pit of mud, a spinning rope swing, and a couple of platforms where we had to jump into a 6 foot deep pit of muddy water. I watched Shondia, who is five foot two, go completely under on the first one!
All in all it was really a great time, and we felt especially accomplished when we finished. Overall, we finished 189th out of 1,210 people and 69th out of 653 women. Not too bad, I say!
The muddy hills. I’m in the pink- right next to the guy in the red shirt and bandana. The girl in front of me kept on slipping down. When it was my turn, I sunk my fingers as far as I could into the dirt to get a good grip. It worked, but I think I still have dirt under my nails.
At the finish! I thought we were actually going to be somewhat “clean” after jumping off a swing into some not so muddy water, but then we had to crawl through some more tunnels, and this mud was particularly well… muddy.
Even though there were a few times during the race where I was thinking I was crazy to have done something like this, I definitely want to do it again next year! With a bigger group. It was way too much fun! Seriously.
I’m a little back-logged here… but hey, at least I have something to post about.
For Labor Day, we headed up to my old high school “stomping grounds,” Rifle Falls and the fish hatchery with some friends and family.
I had not been back up there since I graduated (15 years ago!) so I had forgotten what a great place it was. (Seeing as I was ready to do anything to get out of the town where I went to high school, that isn’t really a surprise.)
Rifle Falls is a (you guessed it!) water fall (actually 3) and there are also lots of caves to explore and a very mild hike you can take. It’s great for active kids (and kids who whine when you walk more than a quarter of a mile.)
And the Fish Hatchery is fun, just to watch the hordes of fish all together. (Just watch out for the cranky employee!) Unfortunately, I didn’t get any pics at the hatchery. I was too busy trying to make sure Rory didn’t fall into one of the holding tanks with the fish.
Too much fun…
…sounds so… official. HA! Yeah right!
I have had a lot of people ask me how I’m liking homeschooling. I love it. It’s awesome, and I wish I had started it sooner. It is such a good fit for our family, and my personal strengths. I have such a tremendous amount of peace and just “rightness” about the whole thing. And I am happy and content. (That is huge!) I know I’ve said it before, but when you are unhappy, you need to stop and examine your life and figure out what is causing it, and fix it. (That is a lesson I wish I had learned sooner!)
Now, that is not to say that we don’t have our hard days. We do. After all, we are all still human. I am a female, and have lovely hormonal swings (lovely?! HA!) Sometimes things don’t go as planned. But I’m learning to let it go, to not hold so tightly to my perfectionist ways. I’m learning that we all have a lifetime to learn, it doesn’t all have to be done today or this year.
The kids are really enjoying homeschool too, and we have had some big successes lately. Beau, who still struggles with his motivation and focus here and there, worked very hard this week and was able to get a 100 percent on his spelling test. This is huge. (Drew got a 100 percent too, but that’s a regular thing for him.)
I am loving all the perks of homeschooling. There have been several beautiful, perfect temperature fall days recently, and we’ve done our school work outside. Next week, we’re planning on taking a trip into the nearby mountains and enjoying the scenery and fall colors (that’s if the snow actually melts.) We’ll be able to call that science and P.E. and maybe even art, if we bring our cameras!
If there is one thing I would say to moms who are thinking about homeschooling, it is this: It is not as hard as you think. Once you get your curriculum picked out (that’s the hardest part) and start to dive in and get in a groove, it will come pretty easily. There will be days when you have to remind your kids to stay focused a million times, but the benefits, and that precious time spent with your kids, far outweigh any disadvantages.
Somehow… I stumbled across this blog tonight. It couldn’t have come at a better time. Recently there have been quite a few changes happening in our lives, we’ve just gotten settled back in after what amounts to a 3 week vacation, and well, we are just busy busy all the time. I have had very little “me” time, if any. So what happened? I started yelling at my kids again, and feeling like a very crappy Mama. So I am feeling great that I came across this blog tonight, and I am going to take this challenge: I am not going to yell at my kids for 365 days. Hopefully I wont ever yell at them again, but hey, I AM actually human. I know… you had your doubts.
So if you want to join me- please do. We can keep each other accountable.
I wrote this a couple of weeks ago, and I thought I’d still share it just to show where I was at.
“Time for a little honesty and little spilling of my guts. I’m exhausted. These past few months have been a drain on me like nothing else in my life ever has. (At least, that’s what it feels like to me.) It has been hard for me to pinpoint exactly what is causing the exhaustion, so I assume it’s just a cocktail of everything that has been going on.
A large part of it has been a plethora of upsetting news and happenings. Many people who are dear to my heart are going through some REALLY hard things right now. It has been one thing after another. To the point where I have cried out to God, “Make it STOP!”
I have learned something very important about myself; I’m no good at putting other people’s problems aside and not letting them affect me. I have felt everything so intensely lately, that it has almost been too much. (As a side note: I believe my desire to one day become a counselor has been squelched. It would probably ruin me, not to mention my poor family.)
This week, just when I thought things might be on their way back to peaceful, if not to joyful or happy yet-we received some MORE upsetting news. On the last day of school, my son’s teacher informed us that the headmaster had told her my son’s testing
scores (for TCAP, NWEA and DRA, I assume) were not where they needed to be and he needs to be held back. I cannot tell you how frustrating an irritating this was for SO many reasons, and on SO many levels. (On the last day of school? Really? You tell me this on THE LAST DAY OF SCHOOL!) And if you’re like me, after the initial shock wore off, my head exploded into a million other questions and emotions. Where do we go from here? Can this be repealed? Can we catch him up? Will this even help?
Can I punch the headmaster in the face?
So, my husband and I are kind of at a crossroads of sorts. We are examining how we live our lives, and deciding what to change and where to go from here. “
Since then, Kevin and I have decided to pull the kids out of “school” and teach them here at home. We found a program within the district that will help guide us on choosing curriculum and keeping the kids caught up with their testing as well as financially supporting schooling and extracurricular events. We hope to be able to go with this school.
When I finally let go of the old school, a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders. (!) I told Kevin a couple of days later, “I actually feel happy. I haven’t felt happy in months!” I had no idea that it was affecting me that much. I had just been grinning and bearing it, because it had to do with my kids education. The next time I feel unhappy-I will root out the reason and change it.
Something I have learned through this is that happiness is not something to ignore the absence of. It’s more than just a feeling; it’s a state of being, and indicator of the status of things in your life. If it goes missing, you’re not supposed to just endure patiently until it comes back. You find out why your happiness is gone and you make changes that will hopefully bring it back. (If slowly but surely.)
I have a ton of peace about this decision. I can’t say it’s how things will be forever or even next year, but I feel that it is just right for this year. I’m excited about the possibilities of teaching my own children. I’m glad that I won’t be handing them off to someone else (I barely know, for that matter) to raise for a large chunk of their waking hours.
In full disclosure, I’m a little nervous. I’m under no illusions that this will be easy. I expect it to be a difficult challenge, but one that I am fully qualified to take on. I am sure there will be days where I am pulling my hair out and wondering why I made this decision. (But like choosing to have kids) I’m sure there will be many rewarding days and that the contentment, fulfillment and trouble will be worth it. Plus, I’m ready to see my kids blossom for myself. I’m looking forward to getting to know them better than I already do. I’m ready to see their confidence built up. I’m ready to see them feel happy more often then not too.
So that is the journey we have chosen. I’m very much looking forward to this year- and absolutely gloating over the fact that I don’t have to eat, breath and sleep the “other school” starting in July! (Or ever again.) Huzzah!