Sophomore Year

Last year at this time, I was anxious about Gracyn beginning her high school journey. There was definitely a learning curve figuring out time management, and other junior adulting aspects of life. Freshman year was more than survived and I am so glad that as we begin the Sophomore year that we have some experience behind that will gird us for the year ahead.

I can’t stop thinking about how in just three short years she will launch!

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And that fuels my anxiety on a whole new level. It’s amazing how you can go from worrying about starting to high school to getting ready for college in just 365 days. I’m learning that each year of high school is filled with steps on the road to higher education. Every step counts. I’m not sure I understood that when I was on my own road, the way I do now.

One thing I’m sure of is the need to pray that God would guide us as only He can in this process. He knows what’s ahead and while there is work to be done on our end, we can trust.

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She’s grown a lot in the last year, not only in stature but in so many other ways. This year will be challenging, but we know she can meet the challenge head on. Every high schooler is required to write and publish a book this year. I’m so glad this wasn’t on tap for Freshman year! Gah! Thank you, Jesus!

By spring, she’ll have penned a book. This makes me want to break out in hives just thinking about it, but we have confidence in our teachers who will guide them each step of the way.

She is also, to my delight, going to be taking a film photography class with a top notch film photographer in the area. I’m probably going to peek at the notes. Shhhh… But, really I’m excited to see what photography becomes for her. This isn’t about my love for it.

There is just so much ahead that excites and scares and so many other feels. It just feels like a ball has been thrown into motion that can’t be stopped.

Know what I mean?

 

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So, what’s been going on?

I can’t believe it’s been almost two weeks since I blogged. That alone shows me that giving up Little Things Thursday was the hard, but right decision for this season of my life.  I want to thank everyone who stopped by to thank me for the 4 years of hosting and those who just generally gave a few words of understanding. Each Thursday since I have missed our little community here, but am so thankful that Tamar is carrying the torch!

I don’t plan to let weeks roll by between blogging like these past couple weeks, but I did just need some time to focus on being the mom and helping my family get started with the new school year.

So, what’s been going on around here lately?

August 17-01-2016

Our 2016-2017 homeschool year is now in the second week. We’ve started well, but I tell ya, those 6:30 mornings have been hard! Coffee, coffee…and lots of it.

Gracyn begins in September, but she has plenty to work on before the first day.

I’ve also been getting back into a meal planning and cooking routine. I don’t know what it is about summer that makes me say, “meh” to having a plan, but once school begins I become more proactive with making sure I’ve thought through our food situation. Tomato pies with homegrown tomatoes have been on the rotation, and I even attempted a Thai dish this past week. I have some skills to develop on that, but it was a valiant effort.

August 17-02-2016

We also busied ourselves fulfilling a birthday request for an updated room for Gracyn’s 15th birthday. We realized that this is most likely the last big re-do before decorating a college dorm room. Gah! Seriously?

I mean, we do have 3 full years before we need to send one off to college, but I know how this time thing works. Tapestry and bedding are from Urban outfitters. There are fairy lights around the perimeter of the room, and a desk to the right of the door for all those studying days ahead.

And speaking of studying…the PSAT is October 15th and Gracyn is studying for her driver’s permit. I truly am in some alternate universe, it seems. I’ve definitely turned a parenting bend in the road and have no idea what I am doing or how to make sure we are on top of all the stuff! #firstkid

We are figuring it all out and starting to talk colleges and degrees and scholarships. We are trying to verse ourselves in all of it to make sure we make the most out of each step in the process.

We bought study guides and SAT vocabulary cards to get going on prep.  Got tips? Send them my way.

That’s our slice of the world these last couple weeks and it surely feels like new territory in so many ways. I guess that will be lots of blog about in the days ahead!

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Our House…

In the middle of our street…

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…on a Tuesday morning…

Linking with Songography and Black and White Wednesday

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September

There are just a couple days of September left, but she was good to us!

So many new beginnings came this month. The biggest was our oldest heading out of the home a couple days a week for school. She attends Monday and Thursday classes, and works at home the other 3 days.  The classes are challenging and the work load can be intense. It’s a great push for college prep! She writes 2-3 essays per week, which shocked me, but I can see how that is developing her so much.  She got a 100 on her very first essay comparing To Kill A Mockingbird with Pride and Prejudice.

September 26-2015

I’m happy to report that she has 3 A’s and a B in her studies, so far. Algebra 1 is proving to be the nemesis, so I spent my Friday night brushing up on Order of Operations so that I can help tutor. Algebra was never my strong suit, but together we will learn!

I whipped up some breakfast burritos this month to help the morning rush and to feed the kids something that would sustain their bellies until lunch.

Do you guys like vintage Pyrex? I have been scouring antique shops for a set and finally found a pristine collection in the Cinderella series. The pattern I found is one that I remember from childhood. I don’t know who had this pattern, but I remember it in someone’s kitchen. I needed a set of mixing and serving bowls desperately. I was down to one.

September 25-2-2015

Fall began, and so did my Wednesday Night, Mommy Needs a Work Night, Starbucks. That’s the official title.  I’m using this time to catch up restructuring my photography business.  I’ve realized that there are some changes that I need to make that will help protect my over-arching goals and if I can’t do that, then I’ll need to stop.  I don’t want to stop, so it is time to strengthen my backbone in some key areas.

Soccer began again.  It’s a new beginning in that we changed from a beginner’s league to a real rec-league with some rock-star type players.  My boys are a bit outclassed at the moment, but it is pushing them to new heights, which is exactly what they needed. I’ve already seen them digging deeper to develop. We weren’t getting that at the other league after 5 years.  It was a perfect entry point, but it was time to move on.  They are going from 1 practice and game per week to 2 practices, 1 skill camp night, and 1-2 games per week.  They love playing, so we want them to truly develop the skills they need to succeed. They were always the better players at the former league and well, if that’s the case, that’s as far as you develop.  Being with stronger players will only make them stronger.

Homeschooling the boys has been great.  They are growing by leaps and bounds, which makes the schooling enjoyable for all. We are taking school on the road on Mondays while big sis is in classes. That change of environment is just the boost we need to stay revived.

So September, thank you for being a great start.  We are looking forward to the rest of fall and finding the good in it!

Linking with Good.Random.Fun.

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Little Things Thursday

I am still working through some film shares from my recent rolls spanning spring-summer.  I guess they are a fitting tribute for saying goodbye to summer’s season.

Newsie Aidan Film 01-blogIf you’ve been around a few months, you might remember the Newsies session I shot in spring. I shot most of it digitally, but brought my trusty antique Minolta along with a roll of film. For funsies. This already feels like a long time ago.

Gosh, I tell you, I’m ready for the pace of the cooler season when things start to slow down a bit.  This week alone had me trying to get dismissed from jury duty due to being a homeschooling parent, setting up a rigorous orthodontic plan for my oldest, overseeing 3 grades of schoolwork, two soccer games, 2 soccer practice preps, playing taxi, refereeing sibling squabbles, cleaning house, trying to exercise, and cooking umpteen meals after shopping for said meals and putting up all the groceries. Does anyone else loath putting groceries away, or is it just me?

I guess all the above just grants me rights into the parenting club. I’m not special. We parents are all juggling the very same things. I wouldn’t trade any of it because I know that it’s a privilege to be the anchor of a home, but when breathers come I am grateful.  To me, fall is a great big old sigh of relief. It’s like getting an invitation to hibernate from all the busy of the season just passed. Every thing begins to settle into a familiar routine and growing pains of a new school year have passed. I’m looking forward to being through all the adjustments of late and soaking in a bit of the quiet recreation that fall affords.

How about you? Are you ready?


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Unwritten

Staring at the blank page before you

Open up the dirty window

Let the sun illuminate the words that you could not find…

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Today is where my book begins. The rest is still unwritten.

2015 has been the year of questions both answered and unanswered.  The main question I faced was how to stay afloat in a sea of waves that I felt were carrying me every direction except the one that I wanted to go.  This summer I faced a moment of surrender to the rocky seas.  I realized that the waves were not meant to harm, but to push me in the best direction.

I felt very much that my future was already written and that it wasn’t one that was excited me.  It wasn’t one I would choose for myself, if I held all the power to choose.  I was feeling stuck in the mud, as my former toddler use to say when he didn’t want to do something.  The mud was self-inflicted and imaginary. All he had to do was stand up.

I, too, had to stand up.  Once I gave up the fight, so to speak, I started to see bits and pieces of the shore. Though everything was certainly not perfect, the pieces were falling into place.

God was in the business of providing some needed change that would shake up the monotony of right here. Through that, I began to see anew that I could trust Him with much larger things.

If He could provide a school for my daughter and more time outside the four walls of home for the rest of us, He could provide for the other concerns of our hearts.  But, first and foremost, He was just concerned with my heart that was starting to lose hope. I felt a very real call from God to just turn from my striving and seek Him.  The real answer to all my questions.  That was exactly what I needed and still need each day.

God showed me that while He has certainly written my future, it isn’t second best to my imaginings.  His plans are bigger and better than any dream I could dream.  Right here, with exactly what we have, at this exact moment, is good.  But not just good, BEST.

I guess you could say that He is disciplining me in trust and contentment.

I’m living with my arms wide open to God’s plans for us, whatever they may be.  I still pray for those little heart’s desires, but I won’t break if that’s where they stay.

This new school year is so different already and I’m encouraged by all the growth I’ve seen both in me and my students.  All I have to do is be faithful to the day’s work. Fruit is on the vine.

Linking with Good.Random.Fun, Songography, Black and White Wednesday, and Wednesdays Around the World.

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First Day Jitters

The first day is in the books for Gracyn, our Freshman.

First Day of School

There were the usual jitters upon drop off, but she was all smiles at pick up. She kicked the year off with a bang by getting a 100 on her government quiz!

We are pretty sure that she will be just fine as the year goes on, even though it will require a lot of her academically speaking.

Socially, it is promising to be just as great.  She met a few new kids on the first day and had her first social this past weekend.  One of the kids hosted a s’mores bonfire for all the high school students at a get to know you gathering. The high school only has 100+ students so they will have a pretty intimate group with many chances to develop friendships.

These are exciting times!

Linking up with Randomosity, Black and White Wednesday, and Wednesdays Around the World.

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Little Things Thursday

It’s a big day around here, which will explain my absence in blogland this week. I “officially” have a high school Freshman today!

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Kodak Ektar 100 on Minolta SRT 101

Today is the first time since Kindergarten where I am releasing my child to be educated by others. It’s a big step. For us both.

It’s not that we have felt others couldn’t teach our children, it’s more that we fell into a way of education that felt right for those years between 1st and 8th grades. But, the time for change and help came around winter of last year.  We could sense a need to fill that wasn’t there before.

We have always said that we would take this homeschool journey one year at a time and consider the needs of each child individually.  At this stage, for this child, it was time to explore other options. She will begin a hybrid type education today.  There will be campus days and home days. There will be dances, plays, and time to be with peers.

And, the next four years will be rigorous.  She hasn’t even had her first day of school and she has already written an essay comparing/contrasting Pride and Prejudice with To Kill A Mockingbird. Her choices.  She has studied for Government and completed a project for Government. She has completed 3 lessons of Algebra I, and has begun reading for her Literature class. There will be several quizzes on day 1.  

I’ve merely been the assistant in helping her navigate this transition from all me to a slew of educators with new expectations. So,we’ve been busy and I’m still on the hook.  I may not be teaching the classes, but I am still to be the supplement and guide ensuring that all is well.

There are butterflies this morning, but I know that this is going to be great.


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Little Things Thursday

Today is day 4 of our new school year and so far, things have gone extremely well  It’s always a blessing to get through the first few days with not one kid crying over work. In fact, our little Jasper told me last night that he felt so much better now that school has started  I wasn’t super sure what he meant, but at the same time I knew exactly what he meant.

Routine is a friend.

beginning of school week 2015

Sure, summer can be a great refresher of souls, but it has an expiration date. Too much and it starts to stink. I get that, and it was true for me as it was for him. The kids have had nothing but praise for their new endeavors, which is a balm to this weary Mama’s heart.

Weary. Yes, weary. The weeks before school began were intense with working. Not only did I have to wrap up summer activities and plan school, but I also had a huge editing project to finish. Two actually. My brain really started to melt from computer time. This explains why I have only posted phone shots here lately. I could not edit one more thing at the time. I’m actually giving myself the freedom to not edit personal work for a couple weeks, or until I feel up to it again. Whichever comes first.

I’m seeking to live more mindfully. I was feeling more robot than human over the summer. So, I made some changes. I’m waking earlier, which sounds counter intuitive. Hello 5:45 A.M.

It’s helping me focus my heart, soul, and mind at the beginning of the day before the fray begins. School is over by 1:30 P.M. The house is clean. I’ve exercised. Meals are served. Tasks are completed. And, I’ve gotten some rest time to just enjoy before doing it all over again. That’s a huge bonus because I really stink at the rest thing.

I’m still behind on blogging due to the projects I was working on, but my plan is to carve out time on Saturdays to blog for the week rather than freaking out the night before trying to pull something together. My blogging needs to reflect authenticity of life not scrambling to post. Now that school is back, I don’t think there will be a lack of things going on with all the new horizons and all.

Well, I hope you all are enjoying your remaining summer or are enjoying the first weeks of school routines. Drop a line and let me know!


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Little Things Thursday

Welcome back to Little Things Thursday. Once again, the week has gotten away from me. We’ve been in Back to School prep mode here. Yep, we are one of those weird states that goes back to school in early August.

So, we’ve been spending our days shopping for pencils and notebooks. The school room has been tidied and I’m fiercely guarding it lest someone musses it up. I think I’ve said, “Touch nothing” several times. Our big haul of books arrives today, I hope! Nothing like 4 days to go to dig into the curriculum. It’s not my first time at the rodeo with either the 3rd or 5th grade programs, so it should be old hat. Gracyn doesn’t officially start her hybrid school until after Labor Day, but she does have a paper due the very first day. It is a comparison paper in which she will compare Pride and Prejudice with a book she read last year…TBD. She will work on this while the boys are in school.

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New bedding was a surprise this week. I rolled over in bed one night and heard the sheets rip. They weren’t super old, but ripped nonetheless. And any old excuse to update everything would do, so I did. I just love neutrals, and went that direction. I love the calm of a simple color palate.

Gracyn is back on Doggie Day Care duty with Harls. Harley’s mom is a teacher and has already gone back to work, so we get to play a bit with this guy during the school year. Our Pomston, Rosie, is sweet on him. Harley acts nonplussed, but he enjoys her attention.

And finally, Curly Sue decided to let the hair stylist flat iron her hair for kicks. She looks so pretty, but we love her curls, too. She is looking like a 9th grader here and I’m not sure I like that too much. This year is definitely going to be one of many transitions, but I have faith that it will be good.

How’s the rest of your summer shaping up?


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