Thursday, December 29, 2011

New Year's Resolution - Pictures

It's not too early for resolutions, right?  Here's a biggie for me.  My goal is to print all desired digital pictures to date.  We are talking over 8 years worth!!!  GASP!!!  I know, I know!  I did print a few here and there, but mostly for giving to others.  This will be a big job and one in which I will be looking for bargains on 4x6 prints.  I can't even calculate the cost of this project!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Dog Vs. Helicopter

Hubs got his own toy for Christmas - a remote control helicopter. Our dog just isn't quite sure what to think about it!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The past couple of months have been a roller coaster ride.  This is why I haven't blogged much.  It's hard to blog when so much is going on and life is already passing by so quickly.  Sometimes, I feel like my head is spinning.

My brother's mother-in-law passed away a couple months ago.  She had Parkinson's and it finally took its toll.  My 99 year old grandma, who lives 350 miles away from me, and whom I dearly love, is not doing well.  She has a closing heart valve and melanoma on her face.  The heart valve has been closing for years and I don't think doctors expected her to live as long as she has.  She's a tough lady though.  Having birthed and raised 12 children (no twins) would make a person stronger, I would imagine.  Either that, or it would kill ya!  My grandma still lives in her home, but this has been an issue since she needs round the clock care.  She doesn't think she does, but, she does!

Just after we returned from our second trip to my Grandma's (within 2 weeks), we were told that my aunt passed away.  She lives near my grandma, so the decision to not attend the funeral was a hard one, but necessary.  Hubs was out of town on business and it would have been too hard for me to make that trip again, only two days after we just returned.

Then, just a few days later, a mom from our former co-op had a massive heart attack.  She was revived after going six minutes without oxygen.  After several days, the ventilator was removed and she passed.  Her daughter saw the whole thing happen.  She was homeschooled until she graduated in 2010.  I can't imagine the heartbreak this family is going through.

In that same week, a farmer, well-known in the community, passed away.  He was only in his late 40's and left a wife and five children behind.  My grief over all these losses could be unbearable if I allowed them to be.  I cling to God and ask Him to never let me take any moment for granted. 

So, as you can imagine, school has been tough for me.  It's been hard to focus.  But, we're meandering through.  And when I look back, I realize that even though we aren't as far along as I wanted to be by Christmas, we learned so much!  And it was all God's perfect timing.  We completed Augustus Caesar's World last week, which ended at the birth of Christ.  Well, it briefly covered portions of Jesus' life and ministry, but the timing of His birth was perfect.

I'm so glad we stuck with reading that book.  We skimmed over parts of it, due to violence, or when I got that deer-caught-in-headlights look.  Trust me, parts of it was no picnic to read, or to hear!  But other parts made up for it.  It's strange how that book flows... or doesn't flow.  Some chapters were so easy to read, and others weren't.  I wonder what the next book will be like.

We haven't stuck with reading the read-alouds.  The Bronze Bow was so interesting, too.  I can't remember how many chapters we read, but with all the chaos, we stopped reading it.  The girls have been reading their own books.  Emily has even been reading much of our Bible lessons.  Katie is doing much better as well.  I think it's finally starting to really click with her.  Don't get too excited, she still has work to do.  But, I'm amazed at her progress!

If I don't catch up before Christmas, I hope it's a great celebration for everyone!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011


Bare with me.  I'm just a little behind on posting. :)

Our Thanksgiving was an unusual one.  We always leave town for this holiday to spend it with my extended family, including my 99 year old grandma.  This year was no exception.
We started off in Nashville, a tradition we started a few years ago.  We enjoyed spending some time at Yogi Bear's Jellystone Campground even though it rained almost the whole time we were there!  We made the best of it and had a great time.

The campground had a beautiful display of Christmas lights set to music, and a huge tent set up with a small ferris wheel, bounce house, spider jump, and slide.  Kettle corn, hot chocolate, funnel cakes, and other yummy treats completed the festivities.

We also went to Opryland Hotel to see all the beauty it holds inside and out...

This tree is HUGE and beautiful!!!

Look how pretty...

This year, Opryland had colorful sets displayed for movie characters...


Kung Fu Panda:


Puss in Boots:

Wednesday morning, we pulled out and headed to my grandma's in Southern Illinois.  We set up at the campground there and waited for my parents and brother to arrive.
Since my grandma wasn't feeling well and turned in early, we went on to dinner to our favorite pizza place in the area.  After a stop at Walmart, we headed back to the campground.  That's when we hit the deer.  It was really late and the deer seemed to come out of nowhere.  The truck wasn't operable so we had to have it towed.  Thankfully, my aunt graciously lent us her vehicle while we visited. 

My grandma is on an emotional roller coaster and doesn't feel well most of the time.  She has skin cancer on her face and a closing heart valve.  She didn't come to Thanksgiving dinner, which is the first one she has ever missed.  It was sad not having her there.  I counted only 48 people at dinner (I might have missed a few), which is low (by almost half) compared to other years.

We did a little Black Friday shopping.  There is a LifeWay Christian Store nearby that had some great deals.  Jason dropped Emily and I off at the door.  She went one way with part of my list and I went the other.  We were in and out of the store in 13 minutes!  We went for breakfast at Cracker Barrel and went to a couple more stores before heading over to my grandma's.  She was feeling much better and wanted us to come over for a Thanksgiving meal on Friday.  She and my aunt had cooked a turkey on Thursday and we all made the side dishes.  It was a fantastic day!  I felt so blessed.

This is my grandma with our kids and my brother's kids:

Since the truck would not be fixed before we had to go home, we left it and the camper, there.  I'm so thankful to have so many generous family members who offered and was able to help.  My cousin's husband towed our camper to their house, where it stayed for two weeks.  And my parents let us drive their car home (they towed it behind their motor home) and keep it until we got the truck back.

We drove back to Illinois this past weekend and got the truck and camper.  It was nice to visit with family again, even though it was just for a short time.

Interestingly, on the way there, we were directed to detour around the highway due to an undetermined amount of cattle loose on the road!  At least five of them were hit by vehicles, but thankfully, only one person was treated with minor injuries.  While travelling that stretch of the highway on our journey back, we saw blood stains all over the road.  I later found read that it was black Angus and it was dark when some were hit.  You think a deer is hard to see on the road at night, imagine a black cow!  It was crazy.

Sadly, when we returned home, I received a message from my cousin informing me that my aunt had just passed away.  In addition, a mom in our former co-op had a massive heart attack and is in ICU, not expected to recover.

This has been a very trying season for our family but I'm thankful that the Lord continues to comfort and bless us with His word, family, friends, and bits of enjoyment sprinkled in here and there.