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Monday, October 30, 2006

Rain Or Shine

"A friend loves at all times."
Proverbs 17:17

Madison & Abigail

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Skating Fun

We went to our first homeschool skating party of the school year. Our homeschool group meets once a month to socialize and skate. It is also an opportunity to sign up for field trips, parties, competitions, etc. It's always good to see everyone and watch the children interacting with each other. I love to watch how the children form groups that contain all ages. They interact with each other based on what they enjoy instead of how old they are. I think this prepares them for real life so much better than being grouped with their own age every day. As always, we had a great time. I'm so thankful for our homeschool association!

Friday, October 20, 2006

Our Cruise

Jeff and I had an absolutely amazing time on our cruise. The weather was beautiful and the experience wonderful.
We arrived in Mobile to board the Carnival Holiday around 12:30. We were able to board immediately. The Mobile port was so great compared to what we experienced in New Orleans 4 years ago.

We ate lunch on the ship while waiting to sail. For the rest of the day and Sunday at sea, we lounged around on the decks and enjoyed the activities, food, and shows on the ship. The Holiday has a new 9 hole golf course that was not there the last time we were on it….how fun! It was very windy on Sunday, but beautiful. It was so great to just relax all day and then dress for the dinner and shows at night.

Sunday night was Formal Night for dinner. It was fun to dress up, get our pictures made, go to dinner, and then enjoy the show afterwards. We met a nice couple, Alan and Julie, at the show Sunday night. We sat around afterwards and got to know each other and ended up hanging out with them a lot on the ship and at Cozumel. We enjoyed them so much and hope to see them again some day. We arrived in Costa Maya around noon on Monday. It was great watching the ship approach land. We were able to dock at the pier and hop right off of the ship to start our day there. Jeff and I took a taxi to the beach and enjoyed great Mexican food and drinks until it was time for our snorkeling tour at 2:00. The waters were very rough because of the high winds, so we had to work hard to stay up with the guide while snorkeling. The reefs were great and very close to us because the water was quite shallow. A lot of the tours were cancelled because of the wind, so we were glad that this one still ran. Afterwards, we relaxed some more on the beach before walking downtown to shop. I use the term “town” lightly as it was, in fact, no more than a worn path with tents and primitive housing where the locals sold their products. It was humbling to see the culture and how they lived. There was a nice big pool and commercialized shopping near the port, but I’m glad that we shopped where we did. It was a more realistic view of Costa Maya.
We took a taxi back to the port and made it to the ship in time for sail away. The water at Costa Maya was beautiful and the experience fun, but we didn’t want to get left there!!
We were very tired from the day when we got back on the ship. We dressed for dinner and a show and then turned in early. We surprised ourselves by staying up until after 1:00 for the first two nights on the ship, so it was catching up with us.

We arrived at Cozumel around noon on Tuesday. Most of the piers had been destroyed by Hurricane Wilma a year ago, so we had to anchor away from the one pier that they still had and tender in. That experience was much better than I expected it to be. The small boat took us right to the port and was there waiting for us when we arrived back at the end of the day. It wasn’t bad at all.
We met up with our friends at breakfast on the ship that morning, so we ended up spending the day with them. I’m so glad that we did…it was an amazing day! We all took a taxi to downtown Cozumel and signed up for a snorkeling tour. We shopped a bit while we waited for the tour then spent the next few hours snorkeling and enjoying each other. The other couples on the tour were very friendly as well, so we had a great time. The tour took us to three different reefs. The water was VERY clear and blue, so visibility was amazing! Afterwards, we shopped a little more and had lunch in an outdoor restaurant. We got taken a bit on the prices, but were able to laugh about it later. Hey, everyone needs to get ripped off in Mexico at least once! We had bragged a bit too much about the great prices that we managed to get on our snorkeling tour. It all evened out in the end and was all worth it. We laughed so much together that day and enjoyed it to the fullest!! We were very tired from the day and the VERY hot sun that we’d spent it in, so we all napped when we got back on the boat. We went to dinner that night and met up with our friends again afterwards for the show. We hung out with them at different areas of the ship for the rest of the evening and even did a little dancing! We were amazed when we realized, while eating ice cream on the lido deck after dancing for a while, that it was 2:30 in the morning..haha!! I don’t know how long it had been since Jeff and I stayed up that late together. We had a amazing time!

Needless to say, we slept in Wed. We mostly relaxed and ate that entire day at sea. It was so great to just be able to get up in the morning and spend the day doing absolutely nothing but what we felt like doing at the time. The weather was warm and calm. We went to dinner and a show that evening, but didn’t stay out and about like the night before. Sadly, we had to get things packed up to leave the next day. While I hated for our trip to end, I really missed the kids. How did I handle being so far from them for so long? I just couldn’t think about it too much. Once, when we were approaching Costa Maya, I thought about how much space, water, and time were between me and them and it felt scary, but I just had to not dwell on it. It was made easier by the fact that they were with Jeff’s parents. They were so wonderful to watch them so willingly. I don’t know how to thank them enough. How wonderful it was to come home and hear the kids say that they wanted to stay longer. They were SO HAPPY to see us and missed us, but had as wonderful a time as we did. That was amazing for us!!!
There is no way to put a price tag on what Jeff and I got from this trip. I encourage every married couple to get away and spend time alone together. While Jeff and I were on that ship and in Mexico, we remembered who we were when we first fell in love. It’s not that we wanted to stay there, but it was so great to recall who we are and who we were before becoming parents. We know each other better and love each other more for the time that we spent together. We are better together and better for our children because of what we shared. When the trip was over and it was time to come home, we were able to bring that with us. It is, however, why we went to begin with!

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Pedro's Journal

Because I've learned so much about History through the fictional books that I have read, I wanted to teach my kids the same way. We have been reading "The Story of the USA" in History and have recently finished the chapter on Columbus. To go with it, I checked out a book from the library titled, "Pedro's Journal...A Voyage with Christopher Columbus August 3, 1492-February 14, 1493" by Pam Conrad. Pedro, the fictional character, sailed with Columbus on his voyage to America and captured the experience in his journal. While this journal is only fiction, the writer uses what is historically known about Columbus and his trip to write the book. It put the kids right there in the ship and on the journey. It also taught them some bad things about Columbus that they didn't know, but that is all part of History...no need to sugar coat it. All in all, it was a great journey for the kids to go on with Pedro. Next, I am going to check out one about the pilgrims journey to America and the start of the colonies. I'm so excited to be able to incorporate these books into our curriculum. I LOVE TO READ!! I have learned so much through books...fiction and non-fiction. I think the fictional books are great tools for learning :).

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Our 1 Year Anniversary!

Today marks one year that we have been homeschoolers! We celebrated the special day by taking off...oh the joys of homeschooling!!
It seems like yesterday that we spent that first uncertain day making our dream of homeschooling a reality. The kids still say that it was their happiest day of school. The experience has been everything that we dreamed it would be and more. I've watched Madison, Patrick, and Carter grow, not only in book knowledge, but also spiritially and emotionally. Jeff and I have been able to teach them about God and our faith in a more personal way than we ever had the opportunity to before. Questions have come up in the middle of our school time that at one time would have gone unasked. Because of our free evenings, we are now more involved with things at our church that we just didn't have time for before. Not only are we involved in them, but the kids are enjoying being there....it is so great to see that. This has truely been a wonderful-blessed year. I thank God for opening the door for us to teach our children at home. I pray that it will be His will to allow us to continue through another year!
Here are the kids on the first day of homeschooling and with their first projects of that same week.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

5 More Days!

In five days, Jeff and I are leaving for our cruise :). We are so excited! It's hard to think of leaving the kids for 5 days, but we know that they will be in good hands and have a great time with Jeff's parents next door. I was worried that they would be upset about us going without them, but they are so excited about getting to stay there that they don't care where we are going. I look forward to the time with Jeff. It has been 4 years since we got away like this together, and the last time was so great for us. It's good to sometimes step back and remember how it all started.....and mostly how much has come from it. I can't wait!!

Friday, October 06, 2006

Madison's Latest Interest

Madison has discovered sewing and loves it! I have helped her with applique and cross-stitching in the past, but now she is enjoying just hand sewing different things. She cut one of her tshirts down the front and asked me to show her how to sew a button and buttonhole so that it would button at the bottom. She cut a v-neck into it and asked me to show her how to sew two little stars onto the sleeve. She is making a karate jacket for Carter :). The cute thing is that he is very excited about it. She is hooked. I let her use my sewing box and whatever she needs from it. Right now, she is sitting in her room making a little green purse out of some material that I gave her. She found a snap set in my box so she is using that as a closure. She is going to give it to her niece, Jayden. Tomorrow, I am going to take her to buy some new material and simple apron pattern. I am going to take my sewing machines down and show her how to cut a pattern and actually sew it with the machines. She is so excited....so am I!!!

Monday, October 02, 2006

Happy Birthday Caiden!

My nephew, Caiden, celebrated his 9th birthday yesterday. It's so hard to believe that he is that age. He is only 6 weeks older than Patrick.
The kids had a great time at his party. It was at a martial arts gym, so they got to play a lot of cool karate games. Carter has been asking to take karate, so this was particularly fun for him. The highlight of the party for them was getting to each break a board with their hand. They loved it.