Looking out my window… an overcast day today. Fall is tenaciously hanging on here and the snow is yet to fly. We’ve had a couple frosty mornings and seen the snow creep all the way down the mountain, but then the chinook winds blow and it all warms back up again. Winter’s coming though; the forecast for next week is calling for the clouds to clear off some and the temps to start falling.
I am thankful… to be settling in to our own home and no longer in transit, for the long fall giving us time to get settled in here, to see my husband excited about going to work, for a homeschooling community to be part of, and for a good sharathon for the radio station this year.
One of my favorite things… curling up with my husband at the end of a long day.
I am wearing… a striped sweater and a pair of jeans that I need to patch where my cell phone is wearing a hole in my pocket.
I am creating… lesson plans. Slowly, but surely we are adding subjects to our school schedule as we get curriculum ordered and figure out how it’s all going to work this year.
I am hoping… for good traveling weather when we go to Soldotna in a week to visit my sister’s family and pick up our suburban from my brother.
In the garden… it’s nothing fancy, but with some help from my boys we have a spot to dump kitchen compost scraps and leaves they’ve raked up from the yard. We’ve also been cleaning out some of the garden beds, prepping them for winter. Meanwhile, Matthew has been hard at work digging up the numerous volunteer trees that were attempting to take over the yard.
In the kitchen… I’m a bit frustrated with the cooking/baking options in this kitchen (an old finicky stove top, a tiny old wall oven that can’t fit my cookie sheets, and a microwave/convection oven combo that isn’t quite on par with a traditional oven though I’m grateful for the extra baking space), but we’re figuring out how to make it work for us and hoping for the possibility to upgrade things soon.
In the nursery… she’s walking! And quite pleased with herself about it.
A look at my week: For those curious – prices on fresh produce at our local grocery store.
Looking out my window… lots of sunshine and a cooler start to the day which is quite helpful when packing and prepping the car for a VERY long trip.
I am thinking… after a year of ‘not sure when, hopefully soon’, leaving this week feels almost unreal. It’s strange to look ahead at what the temps will be like at our different stopping points and see an actual forecast instead of just the average temps for that time of year.
I am thankful… that God sent the bulk of the rain around us yesterday allowing us to do most of the packing. Instead of a 60% chance of rain most of the day we only had a short sprinkle here.
One of my favorite things… smiling, happy kids.
I am creating… I accomplished my goal of finishing the outline of the cross stitch I am working on before this final trip to Alaska. Now to begin filling in the lines.
I am hoping… we can fit everything into the car and trailer without much trouble. Not sure we’ll be able to use the trailer for sleeping (thankfully the tent is plenty big for us all), but if we can at least have access to the stove without having to unpack a lot of things I’ll be happy.
I am hearing… 12:30 – kids chattering as they eat lunch, Kara blowing her nose (Poor girl has been hit hard by some type of allergy here this week. Hoping it clears up quickly as we travel north.)
Looking out my window… it’s dark now and still warm out when I went out to the car a little while ago. Still getting up into the 90s here in AZ, but the dry heat is much to be preferred to the humidity we experienced on our trip through Texas.
I am thinking… You know how that last hour of a long trip just seems to drag? That’s how it’s feeling as we near the end of our home service time. Scott said he had senioritis (like in high school). LOL I think road weary would be a mild way of saying how we feel. Even the kids are struggling. The hard part for me is knowing I’m going to want to crash when we finally get there, but then comes all the unpacking, trips to town for furniture and groceries, and the need to getting going on school before it gets much later into the school year. God is gracious though and I know he’ll provide the energy needed. And sometime in the not too distant future we will be settled in and be reestablished in the routines of our family.
I am thankful… for a husband who is willing and able to work on cars. No major repairs this time, but we have new shocks and spring helpers on the van and trailer which should make for a better ride as we head north.
One of my favorite things… sharing some ice cream with my husband at the end of a long day.
I am wearing… jeans and a plaid turquoise blouse.
I am creating… lists – lists of clothes my kids need for winter, ideas for camping meals while traveling, where to stop along our route north, and what we will need to set up house when we get to Alaska.
I am watching… with all the traveling and visiting it’s been awhile since we watched anything but we took some time the other night to relax and watch Ready Player One.
I am hoping… that Elaina will adjust quickly to the Alaska time zone so that she won’t be wanting to get up at 4am (7am central).
In the kitchen… I am looking for meal ideas that are quick and easy for camping. We try to do as much camping as we can while traveling to cut down on cost. However, setting up and taking down the tent every night means less time for cooking and of course there’s limited space in the cooler for fresh ingredients. On quick trips we often do a lot of sandwiches, but the trip north will probably take us around 2 weeks so some variety would be nice. If we pack things right we’ll have access to the stove in the camper trailer.
In the nursery… Elaina is cruising rapidly around the furniture and has figured out how to crawl under and over things to get around our makeshift baby gates. Of course it’s much easier when Thomas just moves things aside to get past and leaves it open for her to get through.
I am hearing… a blessedly quiet house. The last few nights Elaina chose to talk/cry until late despite obvious exhaustion, but tonight she went down without a problem.
Looking out my window… a cloudy, kind of muggy day after a nice rainstorm last night. I don’t mind AT ALL having a high of 97 today instead of the 108-115 that we’ve been getting this last week.
I am thankful… for God’s provision and the little or not so little things he does to encourage us… supporters who increased their monthly giving putting us at 70%, a church who gave a special gift to pay off Thomas’ ER bill, being able to buy groceries today because the guy we bought Elaina’s pack-n-play from said God laid it on his heart to refund our money, Elaina ‘sleeping in’ and not waking at 5am to eat the last couple days.
In the schoolroom… we’ve finished off the official school year; although we are still doing some schoolwork every afternoon during ‘quiet time’ to keep the older ones occupied (mostly school computer – Khan Academy and ReadTheory) I’m looking at doing a few things differently this fall just to give us a break from the norm. I read recently about the need to take a gap year not just being an end of high school thing, but sometimes needed before then. I don’t think taking a year off from doing school would be the right thing, but maybe a gap year from doing our usual curriculum would be a benefit, especially with all the transition in our lives right now.
In the nursery… a blessing to staying in this house the last few weeks has been Thomas learning to go up and down stairs by himself. Of course Elaina is watching this intently and although she hasn’t yet figured out how to climb, it won’t be long. At 8 months old today she’s in full on crawling mode, pulling up on everything and starting to cruise around the furniture.
I am hearing… 1:45pm – boys playing with Legos, Elaina playing in the playpen, the AC running
As we travel around visiting friends and raising support we talk a lot about why we need your support to get to the field (in our case Alaska) sooner rather than later. We mention the growing engineering ‘to do’ list that awaits Scott’s arrival there and his limited ability to fix things over the phone/internet despite the amazing technology we have today that can allow remote access to equipment. However, there’s another side to our need to get to Alaska. Our family needs a place to call our own.
School: I mentioned briefly last week about my struggles in planning for school this next year when a lot of the curriculum that we would normally be using this next year are packed in boxes and waiting for us in Alaska. (The teacher’s books for Kara’s and Ben’s next levels in math, the history book for Matthew, etc.) The uncertainty of where we will be next month, much less 2 or 3 months from now adds to the struggle of planning. When we set off on this support raising adventure last year I did my best to make our homeschool portable, but this has meant not doing a lot of the ‘fun’ stuff like history projects and science experiments because we just can’t haul all those supplies around with us. Never mind the awkwardness of trying to do a science experiment in someone else’s kitchen or not having a place to display that history project.
Babies: I have a 2-year old little boy who is constantly getting into everything. Pretty typical, but how many of you have dealt with that in other people’s non-childproofed homes? I don’t mean for a few hours or even a weekend, but for months on end. His favorite activity right now is getting into bathroom cabinets and playing in the toilet. Normal interests for a 2-year old. You’ve probably dealt with this in the past or are currently depending on the ages of your children. I’m sure you employed such methods as child locks on cabinets and baby gates to guard certain areas of the house. That doesn’t work when you are living temporarily with someone else. I can’t install child locks on other people’s cabinets and we don’t have the room to add baby gates to our luggage. He ends up spending far more time in the playpen (which is getting smaller as he gets bigger) then I would like for him. Plus just as he gets used to a new place with its unique set of things he can or can’t touch we move on and the battlefield changes. He is also leaving behind the world of baby toys and looking for things that do more than just rattle and squeak. We have plenty of Duplo’s, sorters, and other toddler toys, but of course they’re all packed in boxes waiting for us to get to Alaska.
I also have a very active 7-month old little girl who started crawling and pulling up on the furniture this last week. This morning she pulled the box of school supplies off the shelf spilling it and dumped the kitchen trash over on herself. Again, par for the course with a little one; but I can’t rearrange your house or replace your furniture to make it more baby proof. Adding her to the playpen makes it even smaller. Another struggle with a fast growing baby is sleeping arrangements. She has no more growing room in the travel bassinet and can climb out of it if I don’t get to her as soon as she wakes up. We have a nice crib – packed and waiting for us in Alaska. She is also starting to eat solid foods. Making your own baby food is much cheaper and healthier, but not an option when you are traveling. I have a little baby food grinder to use to turn whatever meal we are having into baby food. Can you guess where it is? Yup, packed in a box waiting for us in Alaska.
There are so many other things I could talk about: trying to satisfy my engineering-minded 10 year old’s need to create/invent things without being able to collect cardboard or other random items for him to use, helping my 15 year old deal with the difficulties of leaving behind friends and not being able to do normal teen stuff like get a job or learn to drive, my 13 year old’s need for physical therapy to help with her severe scoliosis, or my desire to ‘nest’ and make a home for my family.
Words of Life, words of Hope
Give us strength, help us cope
In this world, where e’er we roam
Ancient words will guide us Home.
-Ancient Words by Michael W. Smith
These lyrics have been in my thoughts a lot lately since they do a good job of summarizing how I’m dealing with where God has put us right now. He is teaching me a lot about relying on Him and being content in all circumstances. I count my blessings and am thankful that He is meeting our needs each day. Yet, just like finding joy in all things doesn’t mean that life is always great and you’re happy all the time, learning to be content and thankful doesn’t mean circumstances are not difficult. Yes, it’s possible to live out of a suitcase for an indefinite period of time, but the mental wear and tear over time is significant.
So I ask that you take some time this week to really appreciate the home God has given you and to ask yourselves is $20 a month too much to ask to help get us to the field? 100 people giving $20 a month would have us fully supported and heading to Alaska. I could make comparisons like it being the equivalent to one coffee each week at Starbucks or a trip to the movies; or point out that it’s only 65 cents a day. Our ministry may not be as glamorous and providing children in Africa with clean water, but the need to provide people in rural Alaska with Living Water is just as real. We can’t get to Alaska, we can’t fully engage in the ministry to which God has called us without your financial partnership.
Looking out my window… the morning shade from the tree in the backyard is fading as the day gets warmer. It’s a tiny backyard, but the trampoline is providing plenty of exercise and incentive for my kids to spend time outside.
I am thankful… for these weeks house-sitting for friends. It’s been over 9 months since we have been in a house by ourselves; and while most of the time sharing a house with others has gone fairly smoothly and even been beneficial (I got spoiled having my mom there to cook and help with the kids after Elaina was born), we desperately needed some family alone time.
I am creating… a non-baby related cross-stitch. This is the first time I’ve done one on linen instead of Aida cloth which has been interesting.
I am reading… Rethinking School: How to Take Charge of Your Child’s Education by Susan Wise Bauer. Being on the road instead of settled in our own home as well as having a high schooler now has prompted Scott and I to have several discussions lately about the realities of what works and doesn’t work for us and our kids in homeschooling.
I am hoping… that during our time here we can get Elaina to fully switch to this time zone and stop waking up at 5/6 am which makes her (and me) cranky the rest of the morning.
In the schoolroom… I’ve always enjoyed the slow down at this time of year when most of the subjects have been completed for the year meaning the school day has gotten shorter and we switch to doing school in the afternoon to take advantage of the cooler mornings to be outside. Usually I’m deep into researching and planning for next year, but I’m in a bit of a conundrum this time as I look ahead and realize that because raising support is taking longer than we had anticipated a lot of the curriculum I will need for next year is packed in a box in Alaska.
In the kitchen… we took the night off from cooking and went out for a belated celebration of Father’s Day and our 18th anniversary. It’s not often we are in a big city like this, so it was fun to splurge a little and take the kids to some place a little nicer than usual.
In the nursery… when Elaina isn’t on her knees rocking or trying to pull up on things, she is army crawling across the floor to get to whatever has caught her attention.
I am hearing… the keyboard clicking as I type and the A/C running in an otherwise quiet house with the kids all in bed.
Looking out my window… the sun is shining and it’s starting to warm back up again! Spring has been slow in coming, but we’re starting to notice a lot more tractors out and about getting the fields ready.
I am thankful… that my kids had such a good year in Awana and that all of them were able to finish their books. They were so excited to have ‘real’ Awana with books here and keep asking me what kind of Awana they will have in Alaska.
I am hoping… my brother James has a safe, uneventful trip north and that he makes good time. He volunteered to drive our suburban pulling the trailer with all our stuff in it up to Alaska for us. Wishing our original plans of traveling with him had worked out and hoping it won’t be too much longer before God allows us to follow him north.
In the nursery… decided to try Elaina on some solid food the other night, but she didn’t show much interest. Thomas on the other hand, as soon as he saw me get out the baby cereal, started begging for some. He ate the rest of what I had made to try on Elaina and another whole bowl of it. I decided to try giving him some oatmeal for breakfast instead of the usual cold cereal/ crackers that he only picks at; he definitely liked it. He’s finally started showing interest in using silverware; I guess this would be good practice.
I am hearing… 10:40am – Grandpa watching The Price is Right, Ben playing with Legos when he’s supposed to be doing schoolwork, Elaina coughing while in her jumper (she’s got another cold).
A moment from my week…
Looking out my window… there’s some sunshine making it through the thin cloud layer and the wind has calmed down to a light breeze. The forecast is calling for more cold, wind, and snow again over the weekend. Spring weather is like a yo-yo; up one week and down the next.
I am thinking… the recent switch to Daylight Savings Time brought to my attention once again articles about how the time change causes stress which leads to higher rates of heart attacks and other medical issues. If the lack of sleep from a one hour time change, the equivalent of changing time zones, can cause such problems, what does that say about the sleep deprivation of new moms; especially ones who do a lot of traveling and changing time zones.
I am thankful… for an awesome church here in Nebraska.
One of my favorite things… taking walks with my kids. Now if I could just remember to take pictures next time.
I am hoping… for good news from a church that is considering supporting us.
I am learning… this morning I was reading an article by Walt Whitman about George Fox and Shakespeare to help Matthew with a history project (http://www.bartleby.com/229/5022.html). It definitely stretches this sleep-deprived mommy brain, but feels good to read something beyond Dr. Seuss. Just don’t ask me to think about such things after 4pm.
In the school room… somehow, by the grace of God, we are managing to keep up with the schoolwork despite all the traveling. It was hard not taking regular breaks every few weeks last fall like we were used to in our year-round homeschooling, but it definitely took the stress off while traveling to not worry if our schedule didn’t allow for doing school every day. We found out very quickly that trying to do schoolwork while driving does NOT work for our family (too many experiencing motion sickness as a result).
I am hearing… 12:20 – Elaina talking as she chews on her toy while rolling on the floor, dishes clattering and water running in the kitchen as various people get their lunches.
Prayer request: Over the last several months Lydia’s spine has decided to curve sideways instead of growing straight and she has developed a serious case of scoliosis.
Moment from my day/week/month…
Looking out my window… a warm, sunny day; if a bit windy. Hopefully a lot of the mud gets dried up today.
I am thinking… it’s only a little over a month before we begin the journey north (with a few stops along the way to visit family and friends). Praying for God’s provision in the support we need.
I am thankful… that Thomas’ frenectomy (tongue-tie revision) went well. The last few days have not been fun trying to get him to open his mouth enough for me to do the stretching/massaging that needs to be done to avoid reattachment. But the mouth rest/bite guard I ordered came today which is making it much easier.
One of my favorite things… baby smiles. Seriously, who can resist.
I am creating… quilt pattern possibilities for when we get up to Alaska. The quilt that has been on Scott’s and my bed has gotten quite worn and needs replacing.
I am wearing… jeans and a turquoise/grey sweatshirt that I found at the church clothing exchange last Saturday.
I am hoping… that our passport applications are processed quickly and with no complications. Thankful that all the paperwork could be filled out ahead of time online and that God sent along an off duty employee who was willing to help (two of the regular employees had called in sick that day).
I am learning… to trust God to provide. It’s a daily struggle despite the many instances He’s given me to look back on.
In the kitchen… tried making Cactus Bread tonight (desert pizza). Not bad, but needs a few adjustments.
In the school room… we had fun taking a day off from visiting on our trip last month to go see Mt. Rushmore. The kids all had fun completing the Jr. Ranger program and learned a lot.
I am hearing… 12:20pm – kids getting their lunches, Scott playing with Elaina, Grandpa watching basketball; 9:30pm – girls watching Daddy play Terraria, Matthew taking a shower, Mom & Dad talking in the kitchen.
Moments from the last month…