Sunday, October 12, 2014

Honest Eva

I have very seldom, if ever, written here about myself, personally. And the reason is that the purpose of this blog has been to record my family's lives, stuff we do, not necessarily my personal thoughts. Any photos that I take I like to write about about so we don't forget them. However, I don't usually take photos when my kids are fighting, when I snap at them or when I'm stressed out, feeling lonely or bitter. Those things happen a lot but they don't make it into the blog. I mostly take photos of happy things and I think that's how most people are. You don't take a photo of a fight. 

Recently, however, I have felt convicted about something very important to me:  Honesty.

I very much value honesty, sincerity, frankness, truthfulness, openness and straightforwardness. I don't know if it's a part of my DNA, if it's been crafted into me through my upbringing and experiences or a combination of the two. I am a very honest and transparent person. Very much like Candor in the Divergent series (3 books I recently consumed), if people could be more vulnerable with each other, every one would be better off. How many interpersonal problems could be solved by honesty: "You hurt my feelings when you said that. Oh I did? I'm so sorry! Please forgive me." Bam, done. Honesty is one of my core values and something I genuinely like about myself. Terry likes this about me too. I like to think my friends like that about me but I don't know. I have a hard time with friends.

The thing is, I think I have been holding back lately. Factors involved in that could be primarily insecurity, having a baby and being more stay at home, homeschooling and therefore being more stay at home, and again, insecurity.

I like to think that I'm not insecure. But if I really look deeper at any problem or unpleasant emotion that I have, insecurity has a lot to do with it. And that seems odd to me because I also like to think that I don't care what people think. I had a very bad experience right before I went into high school where all of my friends ditched me and said very awful, appalling, horrible things to me. Did you read where I said when this happened? Yeah, I went into high school with no friends. I had to start over. And this sort of thing (bullying) is regrettably, pretty normal anymore, but it doesn't make it any less devastating. So right there, when that happened to me, I made some promises to myself. 

#1 I wasn't going to care what anyone thought about me anymore. That had been part of my problem. I changed who I was to fit in. Turned out it didn't work and I was becoming a genuinely terrible person. Therefore, I thank God for taking me out of that group. 

#2 Another thing I wanted was to be even more honest, though I think I still had been up until that point (my family just doesn't beat around the bush about things). I was going to be who I honestly was and not try to be like who others thought I should be. I like that.

#3 One other thing I changed about myself, unknowingly, was that I was going to trust people less. And that change was bad. I thought that I didn't need anyone if that's how they treated you. I am still working on this one. It's difficult. 

So, I still value not caring who people think I should be and honesty, but to be honest (tired of that word yet?), I have been failing a little. In my own mind I have begun to care about what people think of me. I'm always thinking I "should be" this or that. Or I "should be" like her or them. Or that I "shouldn't be" like how I am. And some of those things are true, but most of them are not. Most of them are lies. And I have been swallowing those lies. I am an absolute sucker for some of those lies. And then for good measure, I project those lies onto other people and then all of the sudden, they are the ones telling me who I should be. And then I'm angry with them for having unrealistic expectations of me, all without them saying a word. Works good right?

If I could just be honest it would be a lot easier. So that's what I'm doing here. All over again in my life, I'm going to try not to care about who I think I should be and who you think I should be. If I have let you down, I am genuinely very sorry indeed. I never want to hurt anyone. But I am who I am and I will let people down unknowingly. Paul was all things to all men, but I have a hard time with that. 

So who am I? 

I am shy! I am an introvert. I would prefer most of the time to be alone. When I'm around too many people or have too much going on, I get really stressed out.

 Going to youth group every week is very difficult for me. The wall of sound hits me and I want to turn right back around and go stand in a corner and observe. But I don't. I push myself all the time (if you think I don't, I do). I go stand in a group of people and try to think of something to say or ask. Terry makes it look so easy. He tells me all of these questions I could ask. It's not that easy for me. Literally, when I'm standing in front of you not saying anything, it's because there is absolutely nothing in my mind to say. I'm completely blank. Seriously. I have thoughts flying through my head all the day long but somehow when I have to talk to someone I don't know well (which is anyone I'm not married to) I have nothing to say.

I don't like being too busy

If I don't have an appropriate amount of downtime, I am a mess. I get more emotional and needy with Terry and cranky with the kids and all around unpleasant. I need alone time. I am totally not a party planning or party attending or large groups kind of person at all. I am not the life of the party. I am not all fun all the time. I am probably not even all that friendly, but I do try. If you knew how hard all of this people stuff was for me, you would know how hard I do try. My husband is a youth pastor forgoodnesssakes! I'm supposed to be "friendly" and "loving" and "giving" and "nice" and "outgoing"  and all that kind of stuff. Well, if you didn't already notice, I'm not very good at any of it. 

I am who I am and I don't need to be like someone else. I'm doing the best I can and am attempting to trust and obey God where I'm at. God loves me right where I'm at but He doesn't leave me there. He works on me every day. I'm not the same person day in and day out, whether or not you or I see the change. His grace is sufficient and He is transforming me. He is faithful to accomplish His will in me. I am not the one that has to change me. HE changes me. He is the one who made me an introvert in the first place. Will He now turn around and say, "That's not good enough. You have to be an extrovert so everyone, including me, will love you." NO! And yet, those are the lies I believe.

So that's why I'm writing this post. I want to say sorry for letting people down and ask for their forgiveness and grace. I have not arrived and will never arrive until the day I die and can finally go to that city. I cannot wait. I hate all these lies and expectations and unspoken thoughts and feelings. Why can't we all just be honest? If I hurt you, tell me. If you hurt me, I'll try to be brave and tell you. 

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

apples, pies, peels

It's apple harvest time! Or it was the last week of September. A very next day after the kids picked up apples, there was a another ton load of apples dropped on the ground. It was incredible - that ground had been clean of apples just the day before! So when we finished dinner, we headed out to pick apples and clean up grounded and bruised ones.  



Samuel was not much help. But Ezra was. A little too helpful actually. He kept chucking the good apples on the ground and putting bad ones in the buckets. Mommy had lots to keep her busy. 



We picked these five buckets! All the grounded apples went into the field behind our house and it's been fun to watch the deer come nightly to eat them. 



It's been wonderful not having to buy apples every week.



The following Sunday, I heard what has been become known as "the carb call." It was a dull, cloudy day and I just wanted to bake. And eat. Terry wanted apple pie. I put him to work peeling the apples.



Noah is strange and likes the peels of the apples the best. His very favorite snack is apple peels smeared with peanut butter and a banana slice on top.



I made an extra pie to share with connection group the following night. 



Noah likes the apples peels and I like the carbs. I am pretty addicted to these homemade pretzels. Since my baking took all afternoon, that night we had apple pie and pretzels for dinner :)


fall sprinkler afternoon

Thursday, September 23rd was a really fine day. We took a break from the history reading I had planned to do and played outside instead. Well, the kids played and I took pictures and made some rhubarb bars with the last of the rhubarb.

Before Ezra came out, Evie and Samuel had been running through the sprinkler and spraying eachother. Once Ezra arrived Evie was so nice as to shield him from the spray. Perhaps Samuel was helping too...



Ezra is so darn cute. He absolutely loves playing outside.



He did not love getting sprayed. But what kid could resist not doing that to a baby just to see what they would do?! And what mom would stop them when there was a funny picture to be taken? Okay, perhaps I'm a bad mom.  



"EVIE, THAT IS COLD!"



He's my baby and he is cute :) 



Yelling baby. 



Pretty cold water.



But lots and lots of fun. Mr. Four Teeth.  



The last of the whatchamacallit blooms.  



Evie was kinking the hose so he could play with the water safely. 



Until she wasn't kinking the hose anymore... 



Big sister getting warm and dry. 



Our apple tree did great this year. There were probably about as many apples on the ground as on the tree. The deer loved them (the bruised ones) once we put them in the field. As for the humans, we have been eating the good ones. 



Apples! 



Sandy bottom. He sure loves that sandbox.



More grounded apples. Oh, and a super cute baby.



Terry wanted the kids to pick up all those apples before he got home. I had to crack the whip a lot to get them to do it. There was a ton of them though! Even Ezra was helping :) 



Ezra kept knocking the bag over in his haste to help. Noah was so annoyed. 



This water puddle is too cold mom! 



While the kids worked on the apples, I transformed this...



...into these rhubarb bars. And then I had it with eggs for breakfast for the next week (it has oatmeal in it! and fruit!). And Terry had it whenever he walked by. Good thing he's not home all day like me.

drilling math

After school ended last year, I had good intentions to continue to do some school through the summer. That didn't happen! So when we started up again this year, it was a little rocky. It's a lot better now, 

Evie had forgotten a lot, especially math. At the end of Kindergarden last year, she was nearly through the first grade math book. We found out pretty quick that she had forgotten all of her addition facts. Before we could start subtraction, we really needed to have those addition facts memorized. So we stopped the math book and just worked on drilling those facts. I had been doing this for a couple weeks with hardly any progress. A friend suggested I use cards. For some reason, this seemed to help more. It could be because they were cat cards, which made her more excited about doing her addition. The visual blocks helped too. I'm happy to report that she's doing much better now. We're about ready to start back in our book.



Samuel is a champ at entertaining himself. Of course, I should mention how he's come a long way from what used to happen during school: making huge messes and spending lots of time in the pack and play for being naughty. Now-a-days, he often gets out a game and plays with the pieces. This day it was Blockus. Today it was The Game of Life.



Noah is naturally better at math than reading. He struggled more getting back into reading. Mommy struggled being patient (and failed more than I succeeded). But I'm also happy to report that both of us are doing better. I guess on this day I was having Noah drill his multiplication facts, though it's amazing how quickly he remembers them. His mind works better than mine does, that is for sure.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Samuel's first day of school

At the very end of last school year, Samuel started at the Communication Preschool a mile down the road at South Canyon Elementary school. To make a long story short, when Samuel turned three the doctor referred him for speech therapy (because he sounded like a caveman). But since our insurance wouldn't cover it, the speech therapist suggested we check with the school district. They could have come to our house but thought he would benefit from more than a single visit a week. They recommended this preschool let by a speech therapist, I attended once with Samuel and really liked his teacher and what they were doing. So Samuel got in like a month of preschool last year.

He's back there again for this whole year. His first day was one day after Noah and Evie began at home, Tuesday, August 26, 2014.



How cute is my little caveman? But actually, his speech has improved quite a bit. We do the speech preschool homework and work on the cards the Children's Care speech therapist gave us while we were still up there.



Daddy drops him off twice a week and then goes to work. An hour and a half later the three kids, Snap and I go pick him up.
Bye bye Samuel!


We bought him his very own backpack this year instead of the huge, old one of Terry's he used last year (the blue and orange one behind him which he loves) and a Spiderman notebook for his homework. He very much enjoys school and his teacher says he's doing great and improving steadily. Check out that cheesy, excited smile :)

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

first day of school 2014/2015

This is will technically be our 9th year homeschooling. We count from the very beginning:  Noah's birth. We have had to teach him everything since then after all! But more officially, we've been doing this since he was three for preschool in 2008. Crazy looking at this old post from that time.  

After that, there was formal Sonlight preschool when Noah was four. Here's all of our books, which was crazy because it was JUST preschool and he did not need all of that stuff! It was definitely more like kindergarten or even first grade! I was so worried though.

Then we had so much curriculum left over and I didn't want Noah to be the youngest boy in his class (April 19 birthday) that we decided to hold him back for kindergarten. So when Noah was five, we did preschool again, using up the other half of our Sonlight preschool curriculum. 

Finally then there was Kindergarten when Noah was six.

For First Grade in Rapid City, Noah was 7 years old and Evie did preschool at four. 

For Second and Third grade Noah was 8 years old and Evie did Kindergarten at five.

And this year, for third/fourth grade Noah is 9 years old and Evie is doing 1st grade. I've decided that Noah is too old to be doing 3rd grade and he's ahead already so we're pretty much doing 4th grade work this year.

That was a fun trip down memory lane for me! Wow, we've come so far already.

In South Dakota, in order to homeschool, all you have to do is fill out a little form and get it on file with your school district. Evie and I took care of that on the last possible day - the Friday, August 22nd, before school started in Rapid City (and our home) on the 25th. She wanted her photo taken in front of the School Administration's funny blue fountain. 



So Monday, August 25th, dawned clear and bright and we started school. I had good intentions of getting Noah ahead in some subjects over the summer to get him closer to 4th grade work, but that did not happen. So we started cold turkey. This is what I found when I went down to the nearly remodeled school room:  The kids are also learning piano this year. Not Samuel though. Just Evie and Noah.



One last relaxing rest on the couch before we buckled down. 



Okay, so maybe I took some photos real quick first. Here's 1 year old Ezra who is learning to...walk better. Yeah. 



Next is three and a half year old Samuel who is continuing to improve his caveman speech through some speech therapy and the school district's communication preschool. 



Goofy six year old Evie is doing first grade. 



Firstborn (in every sense of the word) Noah, who is nine, is essentially doing 4th grade. 



I had to get a group shot before we sat down at the table together and realized how difficult it was to begin after a long summer break. Here we are blissfully unaware.



Everyone knows home schooled kids are "weird" so here you go.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

another bike path ride

I have realized lately, or rather remembered, that I really enjoy being outside. In high school my email address was outdoorsy5221. Ha! Terry and I joke that I should be called "indoorsy" now. 

So anyway, I feel better about life the more I'm outside. However, since we homeschool, I'm home all day every day with all four of my kids! Sometimes the walls start to close in and I feel I must escape. I would like to get out into the Hills more - it's just lovely living here! But nap times always throw a wrench in hiking some place "far" away. It seems easier to go for a bike ride through town on the bike path. On Friday we went on our third time down the bike path in the last month or so. 

The leaves are just starting to turn here and it was so picturesque that I got out my cell phone and took some photos while I was riding. This is back behind the disc golf course



You can see Mr. Dinosaur on the hill :)






Next to the creek by Sioux Park.



Rapid Creek is quite high these days - I think perhaps they are letting out extra water from Canyon Lake since they're going to drain it to re-do the dam. Under this bridge by McDonalds, the water wasn't as deep as it appears and was fun riding through.



This is coming up on Omaha Street with M Hill rising up. The School of Mines students were actually all at the park for the annual white washing of the M so we got to ride right through them and see them washing all the white paint off themselves in the creek. 



Once we made it to Memorial Park, we parked our bikes on the bridge and enjoyed the view for a while.



Ezra was especially glad to get out of his seat.



Me and my baby.



Noah and Evie were "so bored" so they got on their bikes and rode around the flowers pots. 



I love the creek and would be in heaven if I could ever live by one.