Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Yearly Post

  I was doing well today, I thought, by making a trip to Portland and back to see my mother's family as there were a few left in the area from the reunion that I could not make it to over the weekend. Seems people pick the most inconvenient time to get sick and need surgery and then two days of intensive care management before dying. This is the part of medicine that I really really really do not care for; the part where people are dying and you try your best to prevent it but realize once again that sometimes it is that person's time to go and that you can't control it. Still makes it hard.
Anyhow, I was reunited with a former resident from Ohio this evening and was blessed to get re-acquainted with him. He mentioned very nicely that this blog was not exactly the most up to date, so here you go.
  Since the last post, over a year has passed. The kids have all done quite well in their home school program Classical Conversations, and the older three all got extra credit for mastering a large body of knowledge. Another year of AWANA (Bible club) has finished with good effect, and we were able to take another very fun family vacation. Since the family survived without drowning or getting eaten by sharks last year on Maui, I tried to shake them again with another more extreme sport; canyoneering. We took a week and went to Utah to visit some National Parks. We spent several days hiking and canyoneering in Zion National Park, which was by far our favorite.
  One of the PA students that rotated with me this year convinced me to take the family through some canyons, so I got them all wet suits and tied them to ropes and forced them to explore some beautiful slot canyons for two days in Zion. They were all troopers (the water was REALLY cold), and I think next time I suggest a new experience, I may not have any company, but they did amazingly well. Jan and Alec even let me belay them down a 90 ' free hanging boulder. I don't think I would have let anyone do that to me at that age.  Jan and Alec also hiked Angel's Landing with me, and by myself it was no big deal as far as hikes go, but when you realize one off-balance move or slip and you are dead, it becomes a completely different hike (especially when some people's children trip and fall on basketball court conditions).
  They all were hiked out I am sure, but hung in there with us and we all had an amazing time in perfect hiking weather. End of May is the perfect time down there. Ever since we returned the weather has been scorching.
  The kids learned to rock climb at Smith Rock State Park (in preparation for the Utah canyoneering adventure), so we can add that skill to the bag as well. The year has already been full of interesting operations, family, good friends, and great experiences. This summer promises lots of soccer, a few 5k and maybe 10k races, piano, violin, and guitar lessons. Maybe in another year or so I will get a chance to sit down and post something else.

Monday, April 29, 2013

First Vacation

Now that we are back, I can hardly believe that we were really there. In the 12 years since our family began, David has not been free to not work or study. In October 2013, David took his last test and passed it. He still works hard, but is more available than he has ever been since I have known him. He planned and researched and saved and set up a trip to Maui for 7 whole days. No work, no study, although he did end up at the hospital in the middle of the night a few hours before we left. We got on the plane and I couldn't believe it was really happening.
David enjoys tormenting, er, keeping the kids in suspense, so until the night before we left, we didn't tell them where we were going. We got up early in the morning, flew to Seattle and then got on a  6 hour flight to Maui. 
11/2 hours into the flight we were served beverages and little packages of dried pineapple mixed with nuts and crackers. I was sitting with Anne, and made a serious misjudgment. I picked all the dried pineapple out of her package and mine and let her eat it. 60 seconds later, I looked over and she was scratching her tongue with her fingernails and saying "Mom, my tongue itches." Then her lips began to swell. I felt physically sick from fear, and prayed that God would keep her from a life threatening reaction. I also gave her Benadryl, and thought about the fact we had 4 hours until we landed, and even if we turned around we were still 90 minutes away from land. I clutched my ziplock bag containing two
Epi-Pens in it and thought about how they were supposed to give you a total of 40 minutes to get to a hospital for treatment. So I prayed some more, and watched Anne's lip grow larger. Thankfully, 30 minutes later the swelling began to subside and the itching was gone. 
Because we started early, and because of the time change, we arrived on Maui at 11:00 in the morning! We quickly bought groceries for the week, and went straight to the beach.

All four of the kids took to snorkeling easily and we spent hours every day swimming and looking at fish and eels and turtles and coral. 

We played hard and slept hard.

Even Anne and Pati swam out long distances and enjoyed exploring the reefs. What a beautiful place. 

We wore rash guards and 110 sunblock and went inside for 2 hours in the middle of every day and managed get only mildly sunburned.

David is at home in the water and loves the ocean. We all gained a lot of confidence from just following him around, and looking at the things he pointed out to us.

We are grateful to God for the time we spent together, and for the beautiful place we were able to enjoy.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Silent but harmless

It has been an exceptionally long time since I have posted anything, but not because I was busy working, or studying to take my board exam again, or out for a run or bike ride, or taking my board exam again, or helping the family with something, or passing my board exam finally, or anything else. Just have been swept up into the stream of life for a bit.
  Not much has changed with us here in Central Oregon. We are nearing the end (in another month or so) of the second year of the kids being a part of Classical Conversations (home school with a weekly day of in-class activities), which has been very good for them all the way around. Kristi has been a tutor for one of the younger classes this year, and so has had even less than no free time. Pati is beginning to read a bit, and we just learned yesterday that she will be getting glasses. Nobody believed that she really required them, and this probably has nothing to do with her amazing fashion sense and desire to accessorize whenever possible, but she is pretty excited about them, and I suppose a picture will be posted at some point.
  Anne is still struggling with allergies, but seems to be much better than she was 3 or 4 years ago, and she is still breathing, so we are grateful.  Amazing what Kristi can do with so limited options for ingredients. She especially does well in school and is our accountant or at least our organizer. Alec is growing quickly, and is still interested in most anything that involves a ball or running around or poikilothermia (he has a leopard gecko). He enjoys school more this year, and especially the socialization as he seems to slowly become some sort of hub where he is placed.
  Jan is growing up very fast, and devours any academic pursuit with intensity. She has very much enjoyed the challenge of study, memorization, and reads late into the night most nights (but don't tell, cause her parents don't know). Now if she could just remember to remove her contacts and replace them with glasses before she realizes she doesn't have solution and is forced to borrow some from her sleeping parents at 23:30, she might get away with more unnoticed. Transparence is good.
  All of the kids have really seemed to settle in here, and have adapted well to moving to a new place with new people. AWANA has been a platform they excel at and enjoy very much. Jan also does Horseless Horse 4-H (yep, she still rides her stick horse... much less maintenance), all of the kids are involved in gymnastics after their day doing school in Redmond, get to see Grandpa Carne and Grandma Maria on a fairly regular basis, hike and bike and attend birthday parties, and are able to see their grandparents and cousins on a much more regular basis.
  I have settled in to work fairly well, I think. The people I work with are incredibly nice, and have gotten me into shape again. There are several who run, hike, mountain bike, road bike, and ski so I have been able to pick up new skills and the gear that goes with them. Kristi and I were able to go downhill skiing a couple of times this year for the first time since we were married, and that was really fun.

The kids all have taken lessons and have learned to downhill this year, so that has been fun to supervise. We are starting to think we may be here for a while, so are pursuing finding a home with some land and a shop so we can engage in more activities. who knows, maybe even plant a garden or get a pet that is not a rodent or a gecko.

Saturday, June 30, 2012


In this picture Jan and Alec are wearing evidence of a great accomplishment for their 2011-2012 school year. Sometime late in 2011 they both decided to try to become "Memory Masters" which required a lot of time and effort beyond what I required of them. They worked hard and passed several intimidating tests, earning the title of Cycle 3 Memory Master, along with those T-shirts! I am grateful to the Lord for His leading, and for allowing us to be apart of a day a week schooling together with others, for classroom time that was interesting and motivating to all four of the kids.

And now, school is out! I mean it is out for most of the family. While the rest of us have discarded formal schooling and are out fishing, swimming, biking and reading, David continues to work hard on studying for another big test coming in the fall. 

He does get breaks from work and study and living so close to trails and mountains means that during study breaks he can be outside with us! A friend took him out cross country skiing late in the season and I thought the pictures he brought back were so beautiful.

All four of the kids are doing well on two wheels and David has taken the two oldest on a few mountain biking trails. The highlight of Alec's spring was catching this 16 incher in Ochoco Creek. Catching is much more fun than fishing.

This is Anne waving at the cheering crowd during her race a couple Saturday's ago. Pati was too busy running to wave.

Much to my amazement those around me are already planning and purchasing school materials for next year. I know I will have to do that soon, but not quite yet. We are enjoying a few weeks of summer break before jumping into planning for next year.

Been thinking about perspective, and how mine is generally not the right one. I am amazed at how much I need to be reminded of what I already know, have already been taught, have already read and learned.  (Incidentally, that is something that sometimes wearies me about parenting. It not only frustrates me when my children do this, it frustrates me that this is true about myself.) One of the main things I do during the day is remind the children that their perspective is not the only perspective.  "Try to see things that way that others see them." But it isn't just that. It is trying to see things the way that God sees them. I remember that being one of the main lessons I learned in my school, at my parents kitchen table,  that real wisdom is seeing things from God's perspective. Working with myself, and with my children I see how purposeful we have to be to even see things from ANYONE else's perspective except our own, let alone trying to see things the way that God does. We are all still working on this. That kind of schoolwork isn't over for the summer!