Saturday, December 18, 2010

The kids have been changing and I have not documented a thing.  Even my photography has fallen behind. I discovered that when I was creating calendars for Christmas presents that the month of January contained only a couple of photographs.  I am sure my kids will forgive me for missing ONE month of their lives, but I know that 2010 will be an easy, easy year to scrapbook.  I don't think I have one photo of Ethan in his Halloween costume or at his Christmas play.  It wasn't just Ethan either.  Everyone got a bit short-changed this year, including me and blogging.

I have to let it go.  It was beginning to stress me out.  There were times when I felt the urge to write.  I felt I had something to put into visual words, but time slipped away.  As soon as the mood struck, it was gone again.  So, I have a little look at my year at the beginning, but with some gaping holes here at the end.  Here is my attempt to connect some dots.

In October we took an extended family trip to Doughton Park in NC.  It is only about an hour and a half from the house, but the landscape changes quite dramatically and suddenly, you are in the mountains.  It is rustic and a lesser travelled area of the Blue Ridge Parkway which we really like.  The hiking trails are gentle and there are plenty of apples to pick along the way.  This year's trip couldn't have been any better.  The weather was gorgeous and we had a lot of down time just lazing around on a blankets under trees while the kids explored the areas around us.  I can still feel the warmth of the sun, the gentle breeze while reading a great book. 

Later in the month, we had a swim meet which yield some pretty decent drops.  The swim meet fell on the same day as the BBQ Festival in Lexington which I did not realize until after we had signed up for the meet.  We had to miss the festival which was very disappointing for the kids.

Next, we went with the swim team to the CORN MAZE just outside of High Point.  The kids also went panning for gems and minerals there.  That place is fun, but a bit of a racket.  I don't really enjoy wandering around in a corn field, but we were with another family who had a wonderfully keen sense of direction.  That made it a bit more bearable.

The elimination of market renting was a bit of a surprised to us, but in the end turned out to be a nice break from the hectic Octobers we have experienced in the past.  I miss having the clean house, but not the move.  I have been slowly cleaning out the house over the past months as the house just needs it twice a year if I want to maintain some sanity.

Halloween quickly approached and the kids chose the following as their costumes:
Ethan:  a banana (bizarre and completely not understandable)
Sadie:  Diva Ladybug (taking a sweet ladybug to another level)
Lily:  Pumpkin Princess (very cute)
Although we bought pumpkins this year, we never got around to carving them.  See, I told you it was a terrible year for traditions.   Ethan went to Halloween sleepover on the night that the girls went to our church trunk or treat.  Thus, I have a picture of the girls and not him.  We went trick or treating the next night in Willow Creek, but I forgot the card to my camera. We didn't have time to stop by our neighbors or to go to the church down at the end of our street because it was a school night.  Again, more traditions that were not upheld.  But, the kids had fun and that is really the point of it, right? 

Ethan brought home a report card with one B, the rest As.  I felt terrible for him because the B was only one point away from an A. If he received all As, then he would get texting on his Ipod, but alas he didn't.  Frankly, I can deal without him having the texting for quite a bit longer.  Therefore, it might be the only time I am happy for him to get a B. Ethan lost three teeth in the last week.  A little strange, but I understand quite normal for this age.  He seems to have settled into school and found his place in his class. Socially, he fluctuates between groups, which I think it probably best.  He has been quite helpful and responsible lately.  In fact, I would almost say that I see some maturation regarding taking ownership of schoolwork, swimming and life, in general.  The results have been a higher level of success in all areas.  It has been a great life lesson for him to see what hard work can achieve. 

Sadie, based on my grading, also received all As.  Homeschool is moving right along and the only subject area in which we seem to struggle is getting her motivated to write.  She can do it, but it isn't her preference.  Instead, she gravitates towards math.  I taught her how to do long division yesterday.  Her response, "I could do this all day.  I loooooovvvee this!"  Clearly, I did not contribute to that part of her being.  An area in which I must make more effort is in her socialization.  Sadie loves to be around people and thrives on playdates with friends. Despite swimming several times a week and her attendance at Faith Academy every Tuesday, Sadie lacks the amount of interaction that she needs.  Therefore, I am going to add some classes through High Point Home Educators on Monday that will not interfere with her regular schoolwork.  They are merely add-on, fun classes like cake decorating.  In general, I see more maturation with her choices and self-control.  After much deliberation and indecisiveness and several conferences later, Sadie has decided to continue swimming.  She took a week off to decide and ultimately determined that she does like it enough to continue.  I won't get into all the details that I think contributed to the seesawing, but in the end, she made the decision.

 Lily had a perfect O report card and loves school and her friends.  When there was a snow day this week, she cried because she wanted to go to school.  What a difference this year makes!  She has developed into a fantastic reader and I imagine she will be in full-on chapter books by the end of the school year.  She reads with such expression, too, which is so cute.  She is still ridiculously in love with snuggling and hugs.  And, she still does not have her front two teeth.  They have been out since June, but the dentist assures me that they are there, just slow to come in.  I don't know that I can say she has improved in swimming, but she likes it.  I am sure she has, but she is not the most coordinated little child.  It will take a little while.

So, we enter into November.  Sadie turned 9 and had a spa party at a place called Arts 2 Zebras.  Many girls from her class last year came which made Sadie feel good.  Her cousin, Gray, was notably absent, but that is just the situation at the moment.  Jay took her to get her ears' pierced which was a cool dad/daughter thing.  She has been asking to have this done for well over a year and we linked it to some behavior changes.  She feels very grown-up now.  We had the family here for Thanksgiving and the turkey, injected with spices and deep-fried, was divine.  For once, the family hung out for most of the day watching movies, playing games, etc.  My mom, Aunt Sue, Ethan and I played a game called WhooNu.  We laughed so hard - well, really cackled, that Ethan wondered, out LOUD, how any of us got married.  He said we were just too loud.  Oh, the words of a 10 year old!  Somewhere in this month we had some family portraits done, the results of which are nothing short of miraculous.  Editing is a wonderful thing and I could not be happier with the shots.  Later, the girls and I attended the High Point Christmas parade.  It stung just a tad that Ethan did not want to go this year.  However, we enjoyed watching the various groups.  It was a little nice to know that Ethan regretted his decision upon our return home.

December has rolled around and with it, I have tried to redeem some of our family traditions.  All the Christmas cards and party invitations have been mailed.  The presents are purchased and mostly wrapped.  We had our annual Christmas Craft Saturday with one other family where we made several ornaments.  And, we have completed this year's service project, Bags for the Bus Stop.  The kids made goody bags with hand warmers, candy, hand sanitizer, lip balm, a hand written note, and a few other things to give out at the central bus stop in our town.  Living here, you almost have to have a car, because public transport is just not that widely available.  The bus stops usually don't have shelter and the wait times can be long.  Last week, I pulled the van up and let the kids pass out over 40 bags to the people waiting.  They were so graciously received.  Some of the older ladies even hugged the kids and said, "God bless you."  The kids returned to the car glowing and excited.  Giving is always more rewarding that receiving.

Another swim meet yielded our best results of the season.  The hard works is finally paying off for Ethan as he had 4 new time cuts and is very close to 2 more cuts of the next level.  Sadie is now ridiculously close to new time cuts in 6 events.  I expect a bit of a blow-out at the next meet.  Overall, the kids seem satisfied with what they are achieving and therefore, I need to be as well.

The school Christmas program was Tuesday.  Ethan played the part of one of the WEE three kings.  It was the most hilarious part of the program.  It was a perfect fit for him.  That was his last Christmas program.  Sniff sniff.   Lily was very into the program and performed her songs and motions quite enthusiastically. 

The remainder of the traditions include a drive to look at holiday lights, a visit to Santa and a piano recital on Sunday.  We also have our company Christmas party and our little friend party this week.  I have some baking to do and of course, cleaning and grocery shopping in preparation.  Should be a hectic, but really joyous week!

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