Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Exhausted, but not defeated

The boys after getting to view the inside of this fire truck - and try on the gear!

My Joshua

Joshua enjoying the arts & crafts time at VBS in July.

The cross on the top of the church's steeple. I love the white cross with the blue background.

It has been a very long few weeks. It has been so long since I have updated this blog that sometimes I wonder if I really have time to manage it! But I will try to keep up for now...

We had our new Village Missions DR and his wife come visit last weekend. We had a really good visit with them. We enjoyed the Wilkinsons (our DRs in WA and AK), and only got to meet with the Doebler's twice before the districts were changed. So now we have the Jacoby's. They travel with a travel trailer, which is wise. That way, they can take their own home with them on the road. Our boys really enjoyed getting to tour the inside of their trailer. Three of them wanted to use the bathroom! But we had to draw the line somewhere. We played Wizard with them Friday night. They picked it up pretty quick. Walt even beat us all - which he enjoyed!

Monday, Jeremy's day off, we stayed around the house until mid afternoon to get some things done around here. Jeremy wrote everything that we have been wanting him to do up on the white board, so he could physically see his "to do" list. He was able to mark 4 or 5 things off by the time we were done on Monday. Then we called some people from the church to ask about any hiking trails nearby. They told us that we could visit their property which is right on the Trinity River, and hike their trail to the river. So we did. We let the boys wade around in the river, which had a pretty steep bank. They could only go in a few footsteps. At one point, Micah had climbed on an underwater rock, and lost his footing. Jeremy had Anna strapped to his back, and was sitting up pretty high on the bank. I had rolled my pants up, and was wading, too, but only to my ankles. Anyways, I saw Micah go under the water, and then pop back up. But he couldn't regain his footing and went under again. The next time he came up, he was farther out. I knew he would soon float out into the middle of the river. I lunged at him, and grabbed him as quick as I could. My heart was beating so fast! I am so thankful that I saw him in time, and that the Lord gave me quick reflexes to catch him before it was too late. After I got him back to shore, and he had stopped crying, the man who owned the property (and came with our family to the river) said that he could hear my heart beating! I wouldn't be surprised if it was beating that loud.

Today was the second week of Pioneer Club. I forgot to count how many kids we had again this week, but I'm guessing around 20 or so. Quick update: Jeremy says we had 27 today for Pioneer Club. Silas gets to go this year, and is very excited about that. Today, the leader's husband came to teach the oldest group (the Trailblazers) about how to use a compass. They all thought that was pretty neat. And Robert (as he likes to be called now) informed me that he told them compasses are pretty reasonable at Big 5. He said, "I don't know how much 'pretty reasonable' is, though."

This morning, Jeremy spoke at the chapel at the Christian school. We took all of the kids. They did fairly well. I had to take the younger 4 out about the time Jeremy started talking. But they were quiet during the flag pledges, singing, and prayer time. Josh said he wants to go again the next time Jeremy speaks for chapel.

Our school seems to be going okay. I seem to be really having a struggle with Joshua. He's really dragging his feet when it comes to Math, and he is usually very easily distracted with everything else. I get so frustrated when everytime I come through the room to check on them, he is not paying attention to his schoolwork. I've been getting so discouraged, even wondering if I'm doing the best thing by keeping them at home. But Jeremy reminds me that he would be doing the same thing even if he were in school, and they would give him labels, and maybe even give him medication. I know he is 10 physically, but I don't think he is quite 10 mentally. I'm wondering if I am just being too hard on him. It feels like he is just being lazy about his schoolwork, but Jeremy thinks that maybe I need to let him go at a slower pace. I am worried about him getting too far behind on his math book, and other things. But Jeremy seems to think that he will catch up eventually when his mind catches up with his body.

Annalee is getting so close to walking. She is trying so hard to take steps. I can't believe how big she is getting. And we have been working with Zeke to potty train him, and he is doing a very good job! He gets jelly beans for going in the toilet, instead of in his underwear. He was dry all day today, and yesterday, too, I think. It is such a relief for me. Any time we would forget to change his diaper, and he was in it too long, he would start to get the spots back that looked like his staph infection. It is nice not to have all of those red spots in his diaper area.

I think that is all for now. I just wanted to update you, dear readers, on the happenings in the Hayek household. And to vent frustrations about school not going the way I think it should. But even just getting it out, I feel better. When I brought my frustrations to my husband, he reminded me that he wouldn't do any better in a public (or Christian for that matter) school. And yes, we want them to learn the academics, but we feel that the Christian influence is so much more important. Also, most of what Jeremy and I remember learning has been since getting out of high school. I remember bits and pieces of my formal education, but not nearly as well as what I have learned since. So I know that God has still called us to homeschool our children, and knows what is best for them. And so I will continue on in faith that He will use my efforts, as feeble though they seem, and turn them around for the best for my children...and especially His glory.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

My Shadow

Jeremy took this picture yesterday of Annalee. I was trying to make a pot of coffee, and she found me in the kitchen and used me to stand up on. She was content to just stand there, so before she could move on, Jeremy took a few pictures.

We officially started school this week. We try to school during the summer, so that the boys don't forget everything, and it's not such a shock in the fall. But this summer, we took a break for the VM conference in June, and never quite got around to doing school again. So Tuesday and Wednesday, the three boys watched movies that we have borrowed and needed to return. The Planet Earth series is excellent, and we really enjoying watching them. They seem to learn a lot from them as well. The photography is excellent, and the boys like watching the diaries part where they talk about filming the movie. We groan and roll our eyes every time they talk about millions of years, but overall the series is very good. Today, they actually did some bookwork. Rob did some math, and bemoaned the fact that he missed 7 on his math lesson today. So I encouraged and reminded him that we haven't done school in two months, and that he will get the hang of it again soon. Before we quit in June, he was doing all of his lessons with only one or two wrong. He really seems to do good in his math...a lot better than I remember me doing! Oh, yes, I said three boys - Silas is now in the bunch! I let him stay up from taking naps with his younger brothers, and he and I work on his school. I have a couple of books that I use with him, and he is so excited to be doing school like his older brothers. I just have some workbooks, but think I will need to work with him on letters, etc. He is really wanting to learn his letters, and wants to know what everything spells. I'm not sure he's quite ready to learn to read, but I think he's getting close.
As for our new, healthier diet, Jeremy just found a way to make us milkshakes with no sugar or ice cream! He blended up a drink for me the other night, and it was delicious! So we shared it with the boys, and they loved it, too. He uses bananas, frozen grapes, lemon cucumber, milk, ice, cocoa powder, and vanilla. For Silas' birthday, he wanted a cake with no sugar (he remembers when he had too much sugar, and it made him throw up!). So I found a recipe in one of my cookbooks for a chocolate cake without sugar, which was really yummy! I didn't have all the ingredients on hand for the icing, so we had to use store bought icing, but once in a while is okay. We also made ice cream using agave syrup instead of sugar. I found a recipe for single serving ice cream, so we put the ingredients into Ziploc bags, put them into a bigger Ziploc bag with ice and rock salt, and shook them for 10 minutes. Then we put them in the freezer to harden up a bit more. That was also a hit with everyone. Jeremy and I liked it so much we had to make some for our friend from Yale when she visited us this weekend.
My husband just came over with another milkshake. Gotta go! ;-)

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Visitors, Visitors and More Visitors!!!

Annalee in the new dress Nana and Papa bought her. Isn't she beautiful?

Silas, with the birthday hat on.

Silas, with a big 5 year old grin!

All of the kids with cousin Erin. Oh, and Daisy, too.

The last couple of weeks at our household have been a whirlwind of visitors and activities. About a week and a half ago, my parents came down to visit us for a week. While they were here, we celebrated Silas' birthday - he turned 5. (Where have the last 5 years gone? It doesn't seem that long ago that we were living and ministering at Yale!). The day before Silas' birthday, we took the boys to Bounceapalooza. It's a place in the mall that is full of bouncing castles. The boys all had fun. But Silas tends to overheat quickly. He spent at least 15-20 minutes of the hour we were there laying on someone's lap. Last Thursday, my nephew came up from the San Francisco area to visit with us and my parents. It was great to be able to see him, too.

My parents and nephew left here Saturday morning. Later that morning, we went to the parade that was here in town. Labor Day weekend was Big Foot days. It was a fairly short parade, but afterwards, we went to the park. They had a fair type thing going on. It's as much of a fair as our small town has. There were vendors, and lots of food vendors. They had one bouncy castle, and one booth of games. But we had fun anyways.

Sunday afternoon, our friends from Yale came to visit us. So far, they have been down every few months. They only come to stay for one night, but they make stops along the way. The boys really love their visits! This time, they stayed Sunday night, and Monday we all drove into Redding together. We let the boys play at a park that had a water volcano. They really enjoyed that. After lunch, we went to Turtle Bay - a hands-on discovery place similar to OMSI. Jeremy and I purchased a family membership, so that anytime we are in Redding, we can take the boys for free. After that, our friends left for home, we finished our shopping and came home. The next hurdle is school....