Ski-Bums

We’ve been hitting the slopes hard these last few weeks.  I told Kevin I haven’t felt like this since high school; actually excited for winter and slightly sad that it will come to an end. I love it all. Spending time doing something I love with my family. Examining each small snowflake that falls into my hands. Swishing through pine trees, heavy with mounds of white sparkly snow. Sitting down to a lunch of piping hot chili, fresh from the giant thermos, steam obscuring our faces.  Happily sipping hot chocolate and listening to Jane’s Addiction on the drive home.   This is how to beat the winter blues.  

In some ways, I’ve felt like we’re cheating. Surely we’re not supposed to be having this much fun? This often? Surely we need to conform to the societal norm of the 40 hour workweek? But I’m reminded that we only get one life to live, and it’s too short not to spend it doing what you love. I’m reminded, or maybe just discovering what it’s like to truly live. 

   
    
 

2015 In Review

 

Since I posted absolutely nothing for 2015…

 

I must’ve been more than a little busy, which is more than a little true.

Homeschooling:

We finished our second and hardest year of homeschooling thus far.  We had a lot of growing pains in our second year of homeschooling.  Curriculum misfits, motivation problems, learning blocks.  Thankfully, my academic advisor set me up with an excellent reading tutor for Selah, which has lead to lots of success in reading for her, as well as a few epiphanies for me as far as curricula and learning styles go for my children.  This has made our third year of schooling go much more smoothly.  I have been able to find and choose much better curricula for my kid’s learning styles.  I’ve also been able to let go of the brick and mortar school model- meaning we don’t spend all day doing school.  We get all our subjects done, and we move on to other projects. This makes for  a much happier me, and thus, happier children too.  We also started doing science and social studies together  which simplifies further.  No point in doing 4 different types of science studies and 4 different years of history.  (Ugh!)  One of the most helpful things I have learned with homeschooling, and this may sound like a no-brainer to some, is that if something is not working, it is absolutely okay for me to change it. In the past, it has been hard for me to let go of things that were just drudging on in the name of seeing things through to the end.  This is not a bad thing all the time, however: if your kid isn’t enjoying it, and neither are you, there probably isn’t any learning happening.  Misery isn’t necessary.

 

Health

I joined a gym this year, which is something I thought I’d never do.  Alas, my sister convinced me to go.  Not just to the gym, to classes at the gym that started at 5:15 in the morning.  Yes, you read that right.  This night owl was getting up at 4:30 a.m. five days a week to go work out.  I stuck it out for about nine months, even through my sister quitting, until I realized it just wasn’t working for me. All that hard work and dedication and not a pound lost to show for, and my pants were feeling a little tight. Which is to say, my weight gain wasn’t muscle I had gained from lifting weights.  (I did enjoy feeling a bit stronger and being able to help lift heavy things with my husband, like couches. So, there’s that.)  In September, I cut down my gym attendance to two days a week, at 6 am, instead of 5 am. I added in extra cardio, and am still weight lifting.  I am also getting a solid 7 to 8 hours of sleep a night, and no longer stressing out about having to get up at the butt crack of dawn. Lo and behold, pants are no longer feeling tight, and weight has gone down a smidge.  I’ll take it. This year, I resolve to stay active and have as much fun staying active as I can, and see how that works out for the ol’ physique.

 

Travels and Such

In October, I did something I have never done in my life.  I flew alone to visit my sister in Phoenix.  It was one of the most exhilarating experiences I’ve had in a very long time.  I hadn’t flown in 13 years, since Kevin and I flew to New York in February of 2002.  I love to fly.  I think I have mentioned before, that I would love to be a flight attendant in another life. I spent four lovely days with my sister, Hannah, and totally let loose.  Which means that I actually drank a Vanilla Coke.  (I can’t remember the last time I had a pop before that!)  We went and saw “The Martian” at a fancy theatre with reclining seats, shopped, ate at a gluten free bakery (I didn’t know what to eat, I had SO MANY CHOICES!) It was a great trip I hope to repeat again in the near future, and this time I want to drag my OTHER sister with me! Sister weekend 2016!

As a family we traveled to visit my Father-in-Law on October 21, 2015,  otherwise known as “Back to the Future Day.”  The theatre in his town was showing a double feature of the first and second movies, so we hopped in the trusty Suburban, in the wee hours of the morning and traveled 6 hours so we could all watch it together.  It was hugely fun, and I am SO glad we did it!  We were also able to see the new house he shares with his girlfriend, and it was really neat to see the masterpiece that she has constructed and decorated there!

 

In November, we drove down to Phoenix to spend Thanksgiving with Hannah and her in-laws and my parents.  It was quite a success, and the dinner was fabulous, as was the trip to the zoo.  It was over too quickly. (Unfortunately, Ariel and Jer weren’t able to join us this year due to some extraneous circumstances. Wah!)  We made a pit stop in Canyonlands, near Moab, Utah on our way down and spent the day gallivanting around with Kevin’s mom and brother and sister.  It was one of those days that was just a beautiful gift, and we all were the better for it.  Incredibly fun and life-giving.

 

 

We also made a few trips up to Telluride this year, as has become a sort of tradition for us.  This year, one trip took place on my 29th birthday.  (What!?  I’ve been 29 for 7 years now.  It’s great!)  My sister and her littles came with us, and we rode the gondola and wandered around Mountain Village, taking in the sights.  We ended up eating dinner at this great place, which I have forgotten the name of.  We all had a great time, of course, and resolved that next year we need to bring our suits so we can float down the river with everyone!

 

Earlier in the summer, we grabbed Kev’s mom and went up I-70 to hike up to Hanging Lake.  I was worried the kids were going to groan about the hiking part of it, so I had bribed each of them with $2 a piece if they could make it up and back without so much as one complaint.  Thankfully, this worked!  Selah and Rory nearly ran up the trail.  We reached the top in record time, and enjoyed our lunch at the top.  After we got back down to the bottom, we decided to go on up to Aspen and trek around there a little.

 

For Kevin’s birthday, we headed up to Aspen again, towing the trailer behind us, filled with all our bikes.  Of course, the main idea was for Kevin to be able to skate at the best skate park in the state up there, but we were thwarted by rain.  Fortunately, the clouds broke just long enough for us to get a few miles in on our bikes.  Rory and Selah did great on their bikes, and only slightly terrified us near the steep parts.

 

In September, Kevin and I headed over the mountains (and through the woods) to Red Rocks, to take in a Duran Duran concert. It was only the second time we have ever left the kids over night.  We decided to avoid all the construction on I-70, and went over Independence Pass, which did not disappoint.  What beauty from the top of the world!  By the time we hit FairPlay, Sunday traffic was backing up.  We were lucky to reach Red Rocks right when the concert was starting.  The opening band was Chic, which was quite fun to dance to, and Duran Duran was amazing. We returned to Red Rocks the next morning to run the stairs, and hike around a little bit, and had an enjoyable trip home via I-70.  The construction wasn’t so bad.😉

 

New Developments

In 2014, I cut off all of my hair.  It has been one of my most favorite hair cuts to date.  By the end of 2014,  I had dyed it dark brown with purple highlights, which was fun.  Later in the year, I decided it would be even more fun if you could see the purple better, so I went platinum and boy did the purple show up then! Squee!  Then I decided to add some turquoise too.  Then I got tired of having to match my outfits to my hair, and so went just platinum for a while.  Still very much loving my pixie cut, and the creativity it affords me. Next up is pink sort of concoction.  If you’re lucky, I might just post a picture of it.

In September-ish, Kevin began construction on a studio-shed for yours truly.  This has been a long time coming, and a much anticipated event.  At the moment, it is completely built, roofed and has a lovely two panel door with windows.  It is waiting for several windows and some electricity to be added when it warms up a bit around here.  It has a loft, which is especially exciting, because I can put a bunch of pillows up there and make myself a comfy reading nook.  Also a great place to go when I’m mad at Kevin. (HA!  Like that ever happens… snort!)  Needless to say, I am looking forward to many hours of creating out there when it is up and running, and am forever grateful to Kev for all his hard work and support of my endeavors.  What a guy!

Christmas this year was a blur already.  It was especially magical this year though, with almost a foot of snow falling the day of.  We enjoyed Christmas Eve with Kev’s mom and grandparents.  I brought a lasagna, and we all opened presents together and were content to just be in each other’s presence for a while.  Christmas morning I woke up with a nauseating migraine.  Ugh.  Thankfully, coffee and tylenol helped to get rid of it, along with some fresh air and playing in the snow.  We cooked a turkey dinner (one I had reserved for Thanksgiving, before we decided to head down to Phoenix) and my parents and Kev’s mom came up and chilled with us.

A week before Christmas, we decided to take the plunge and buy our little family season passes to the local ski resort.  We have been immensely pleased with this purchase already. After taking lessons in January of 2015, the kids are pretty mobile, and have been chugging right along with us this year.  It has been a lot of fun to see one of our dreams come to fruition.

IMG_0526

 

This year has also been different from the others for me in that I’ve maintained a list of each and every little thing that I perceive to be a gift from God.  It can be anything.  A quiet moment of solitude, a tiny snowflake, or the cacophony of happy children running through the house together.  It has really altered my daily view of things, and been very helpful in maintaining my joy.  It is something I plan to do for as long as I am able.

 

A Thousand Reasons to Give Thanks

 

 

The Way of it…

So, some days… homeschooling doesn’t go so well.  Or maybe it is just a bit more challenging, more often than I expected it to be this year.  Or maybe it’s my attitude (probably more often than not.) Or maybe I need to really get rid of the distractions… (Helllooo, Facebook, anyone?)  Or possibly it’s just because this has been kind of a rough year…

Last year, being wet behind the ears with it, I employed a few things to kind of help us get by.  They were computer programs mostly, that the kids could work independently on. It was fantastic, because it freed up some time for me to do my normal “around the house and such” things.  I still had a bit of a life. (Ha!)

This year, I am “taking things a bit more seriously” and have thrown out the “patch jobs”, as I call them. Instead of doing math and language arts on the computer, we’re… not.  Which means a lot more one on one teaching time for me.  This is not a bad thing; it’s just a time consuming thing.  Also, this year, Selah is a first grader, and therefore requires a bit more focus from me as well.  So… I’m stretched a little thin.  Throw in soccer practices, church youth group, and hubby’s schedule, and I’m stretched so thin, I’m transparent.

These changes have required me to be a little more disciplined.  (Just when I thought I was doing so well!) I am not a morning person.  But if I want to get a jump on my day, get a work-out in, have a few minutes of solitude, I have to get up early.  This is hard for me, especially with winter drawing near and a comfy warm bed hugging me tight in the morning.  (I really should have requested some in-floor heating!)

So yeah, everything is not always roses and sunshine. Homeschooling has (quite a few) difficult days.  But I’m chalking it up as learning experience, and opportunity to grow and change for the better. And I trust that with every hour of hard work I log, things will get easier in the future.  (Right?!)

Post Script:  And next year, maybe next semester, I think I will try to find some legit computer programs to help lessen the load for myself a bit.  No shame in that!

Miss Selah

Momma and Miss Selah. #myprincess

This girl has been the cause of many giggles, proud moments, and exasperated ones, and lots of heart-tugging thoughts.  She is in the stage of asking questions about everything.  “Why” questions.  I know, this is a stage most kids go through at about the age of four.  But for Selah, it’s seven.  Which also means some of the questions are harder than your average 4 year old would ask.  She is incredibly impressionable right now too, and takes every word that is said literally and seriously.

Last night, daddy brought us home some piping hot fries for a treat.  He said to me that he knew the fries would steal my heart.  Later on, he encountered Selah, sitting bolt upright in her bed, eyes wide, looking a little flummoxed.

“Daddy?” she says in her tiny little high pitched voice, “is it true that french fries will steal your heart?!”  Poor girl was terrified her heart was going to be missing the next morning.

Lately she’s had an obsession with the word “illegal.”  She doesn’t totally understand what the word means, but she gets the gist of it.  I have been asked all manner of questions about which things are or are not “illegal.”  We were learning about columbines last week.  (And as a side note, you should know that Selah absolutely loves flowers and gardening of any sort.) I mentioned that it is illegal to pick them in the wild.  A few minutes later, a crushed looking Selah dissolved into tears in my lap.  When I finally got her to tell me what was wrong, she said, “I don’t wanna go near any wild columbines anymore!  They’re illegal!”

And my personal favorite, she calls us older people, “adultments.”Selah made a fairy house. She specified that it was the tooth fairy house, since the tooth fairy is real, but other fairies are not. #imagination #logic

Things I’m Learning

Today, in school, for Beau’s history studies, we were learning about Wagner’s epic opera, The Ring Cycle.  I recognized it, when we played it, although I had never known what the title was, or who has composed that particular piece of music.  I hear it often in movies and TV shows.  You’ve probably heard The Ride of the Valkyries too.  What surprised me though, was how it brought tears to my eyes and made me tingle with emotion when the first women breaks into song, even though I have no idea what she is saying.  So, apparently, opera makes me cry. Who knew?  Yep,  I’m learning amazing new things every day, and in every which way

Homeschooling has been kind of awesome that way.  I’ve learned so much history that I never even broached in my school years.  My math skills have gotten a kick in the pants I never saw coming.  I am learning so much.  (And I *think* my kids are too.)  One of the biggest and unexpected benefits of homeschooling is feeling like I have a purpose.  I know what you’re thinking, “but, you’re a mother and wife! You already have a huge purpose!”  That is true, I do.  However, if you were ever, or are in my shoes, you know how the day in and day out of being wife and mom can leave you feeling a little less than important or like you’re making much of a difference in the world.  I like homeschooling because I get to see so much more of how my kids are growing and changing and becoming amazing people.  I get to be an even bigger part of sculpting and influencing who they are.  And watching your child “get it”, like with reading or math for the first time, is so incredibly neat. Right now, I’m having the totally unique experience of watching Selah “click” with math.  She is really starting to understand it and excel.  It is so exhilarating!  I am glad to be on this journey.

Date Night

So… that date night I mentioned? Kevin and I decided to go up to the property so he could show me what he’s been doing up there, and so we could try out the new hammock I bought. We picked up some sushi and drove up there. Kevin has really done a lot! He rented a skid-steer last week, and built some road up to the top of the property and started excavating a little bit where we want to put our future home.

The View

At first I thought we were crazy for wanting to move up here, what with the 30 minute drive up a somewhat scary road, the remoteness of it all. But then I look at this view and think we’re crazy for wanting to stay in town!

It will probably take a while (several years) before we actually move up there… but until then, we can come up and tromp around and enjoy whenever we want.

Looking to the East

This is looking to the east, maybe a little bit southeast.

Hanging the Hammock

Kevin cleared out an area on the lower part of the property for picnicking and camping fun. I bought a hammock, since it was something I have wanted since I was a little kid, and we have the perfect trees to hang it.

The Pick-nick Spot

Success! Then Kevin has to try too- it is a 2 person hammock, after all.

Room for Two

So much fun! I haven’t giggled that much since I don’t know when!

Hammock fun

It was quite chilly up there… so we kept our shoes on. And doubled up on our jackets.

Hangin in the hammock

(Oh yes, and the hair is quite blonde right now.)

Great date! Can’t wait to go back up there again.