Friday, January 31, 2014

January fun

Baking on a cold day 

Settlers of Catan board game::our family's new favorite

Family 5k with friends

Pillow forts

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Good health habits in 2014

The day after Christmas I finally got in gear and developed some healthier habits.  The first step was joining the YMCA as a family.  We knew this membership would be helpful for my husband to have a place to walk as he continues to recover from back surgery (we live on a busy street).  For my oldest son, he could continue training for 5k the warmth of the gym and not the bitter cold.  And my younger son is playing basketball and there is a full court and training room for his sport.  Our daughter loves it all, especially the hot tub and swimming pool, which we need to visit more often.  We have required the children to exercise at the Y with us at least 3 times a week, which is such a good pattern for them to learn now.  Personally, I set a goal of exercising 30 days in a row, without missing a day.  I achieved that goal on Thursday, so I am pressing forward and setting a new goal for 60 days in a row!  I have found that the track and the Zumba class scratch my itch.  Maybe I will venture out and try new things this month!

Besides the exercise habit, I have given up my beloved, but evil-on-the-hips, Dr. Pepper habit.  Instead, I am drinking 72 ounces of water each day.  I have found that it tastes better in my Tervis cup.  That cup has magical powers that make any water taste cool and fresh.  In the past, the 8-glass-a-day water rule was really overwhelming for me.  But with my magical cup, I have only missed the mark a day or two in the last month. 

Along with these two big changes, I have been extremely careful with my nutrition.  I eat around 1500 calories a day.  Because sugar and carbohydrates are so high in calories, and I am hungry at meal times, I do not eat them hardly at all.  It's not that I am trying to only eat certain food groups, I just want the most food for my calories!  I eat a lot of fruit, vegetables, yogurt, and proteins- nuts twice a day usually.  We drink and eat organic as much as possible, but always with chicken, milk, and beef.  We are in the process of planting container gardens on our deck to have access to organic produce again, since we left the farm.  I am so excited about that opportunity, as it is so expensive and there are no farmer's markets open this time of year!  Salads and vegetable-based soups are a favorite, as well as hummus and almonds.  I usually have meat or chicken at dinner and always a banana and peanut butter smoothie for breakfast.  I am thinking of trying almond butter this week.  Love all-natural fruit popsicles, too!  I think I have found a reasonable, healthy diet. I keep reminding myself that this investment in my nutrition is more valuable than I could realize.  It's not cheap or convenient, often.  But it is valuable!

I have been very pleased with the results.  I feel very energetic, and have no problem exercising after we get home from school or later in the evenings.  Before, I would often drag myself through the rest of the afternoon and evening.  Also, I have had some pretty intense digestive pain and issues since going back to teaching in the classroom.  But that issue has gone completely away!  I was thrilled when I weighed on Thursday (4 weeks in) and I had lost 10 pounds, which exceeded my goal of 6 pounds a month. 

So I am going into month 2 with excitement and hope.  I have a few goals I want to reach between now and March:
-exercise 60 days in a row (total)
-lose a total of 20 pounds
-stay the same course!!

"People are fed by the food industry, which pays no attention to health...and treated by the health industry, which pays no attention to food." ~Wendell Berry

Sunday, January 19, 2014

My brainy boys

The boys both qualified as 1 of 3 from their grades for the school spelling bee.  Last year they qualified, as well.  But last year Joshua won for the grammar school and Jackson missed his first word, "cloudy" which he spelled "cloudly", due to nerves.  In an effort to keep the humor going, he referred to every rainy day all year thereafter as a "cloudly day".  Glad he learned to laugh at himself!

Joshua, a little bit bummed still that he didn't hear the word correctly.  He recovered soon.
Grammar school competitors
This year the boys were better prepared.  Our prayer was that they would only miss a word if they did not know the spelling, and that they would show the love of Christ as either winner or loser.  Neither of them won, but our prayers were answered, nonetheless!  Jackson went out on the word "rosin" and Joshua's word was "frump" but he heard "flaunt" and spelled the wrong word.  I think they were good sports, and realized in the end that it was an honor to be in the spelling bee.  Praise to God for their gifts and talents!  My imagination could be entertained for days on end imagining what He will use these boys to do for His kingdom in the future, God willing!  What precious boys they are!

"I know nothing in the world that has as much power as a word. Sometimes I write one, and I look at it, until it begins to shine."  -Emily Dickinson
Logic school competitors
Jackson beside his friend who won!  (His little brother won the grammar school fun!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Basketball season

This basketball season has been a good one for Joshua.  I love seeing another side of him when he is on the court.  It takes a lot of encouragement and practice for him to be aggressive.  He is just so, VERY laid-back.  But we have spent some extra time with him this year at the YMCA, and he has made such improvement already. 

I love watching his intensity, yet he always has a big smile on his face during the games.  He really loves to play, and of course we love to watch him.  He is actually really good at defense, as he is learning to keep his eye on the ball and rebound, while really covering his opponent.  It's fun to watch!

Each game he has fouled a player once.  I love that he gets one foul!  One foul means he is being aggressive.  Two fouls is iffy.  Three fouls might mean he is a cheater.  Yes, ONE foul, makes me smile.  Did I mention I have NO problem with competitiveness?

I am very thankful that my two boys, one who is a bookworm and writer and the other who loves to build and needs time alone, are both really enjoying their respective sports this year.  With one in the throws of puberty and the other following close behind, I know it will be really important to have a healthy outlet for the overflowing testosterone.  I am so thankful that the Lord has provided them cross country and basketball, as sports have not been a big part of their lives on a consistent basis.  I am looking forward to a great season!

"In the dust of defeat as well as well as the laurels of victory there is a glory to be found if one has done his best." 
Eric Liddell

Saturday, January 04, 2014

Booklist for January & February

The Pattern of God's Truth, Gaebelein
Recovering the Lost Tools of Learning, Wilson (again)

Divergent trilogy, Roth

5 Conversations You Must Have With Your Son, Courtney
The Pleasures of God, Piper

How exciting would it be to read all of these books? My bedside table stack would be empty and I could restock!


Resolutions are controversial. Some think they are a waste of time, or just fuel for disappointment. But I love to dream of what-could-be, and I love to set goals. I fail sometimes. But I succeed sometimes, too. I think it's exciting to reassess and start over.

1. Read a chapter daily in the Bible and another book from my booklist, at least.
2. Use my camera often. Blog at least once a week.
3. Go on some type of date, even for coffee, with my husband once a month, at least.
4. Take one of the children somewhere special once a month. Each child gets four special dates.
5. Follow my fitness plan. (Use my fitband to follow plan. 40 week challenge)
6. Be intentional with extended family relationships.
7. Spend more "fun time" with friends. Join a Bible study.
8. Try 4 big art projects this year.
9. Complete at least 5 house projects
-Paint powder room
-Hang chandelier in kitchen and Lydie's room
-Hallway collage
-Master bedroom makeover
-Hang more pictures in basement
*Maybe...paint kitchen cabinets* *
10. Complete all papers for level 1 classical education certification.

Are these attainable? Maybe not. But I'm excited to give them a try! Welcome, 2014!

"For last year's words belong to last year's language. And this year's words await another voice. And to make an end is to make a beginning. "

Thursday, January 02, 2014

My word for 2014

I am so excited for a new year!  For me, 2013 was a good year.  I have really enjoyed living back in the city.  I continue to enjoy teaching.  And I have enjoyed so many memories with my family, including a couple of wonderful trips to the beach and a trip to Disney World.  I love the ages/stages of my children right now.  Of course there has also been disappointments, trials, and exhaustion.  But overall, it's been a good year!

This is my seventh year to pick a yearly word.  It's like picking a reoccurring theme for the year, because once it is chosen, the Lord uses it often in my life.  This year my word is: Listen.  The idea is that I want to LISTEN to God eagerly, through prayer and His word and prayer.  Also, I desire to LISTEN to the people that God has/will place in my life and then serve them.  I hope this idea of listening will allow me to be more intentional and consistent in my time with God, have more one-on-one time with my family and friends, and in seeking personal conversations with those who need me to hear them- students, peers, children, non-believers. 

"Give ear and come to me; listen, that you may live.  I will make an everlasting covenant with you, my faithful love promised to David." Isaiah 55:3

::Good words::

“There is a kind of listening with half an ear that presumes already to know what the other person has to say. It is an impatient, inattentive listening, that despises the brother and is only waiting for a chance to speak and thus get rid of the other person. This is no fulfillment of our obligation, and it is certain that here too our attitude toward our brother only reflects our relationship to God. It is little wonder that we are no longer capable of the greatest service of listening that God has committed to us, that of hearing our brother's confession, if we refuse to give ear to our brother on lesser subjects. Secular education today is aware that often a person can be helped merely by having someone who will listen to him seriously, and upon this insight it has constructed its own soul therapy, which has attracted great numbers of people, including Christians. But Christians have forgotten that the ministry of listening has been committed to them by Him who is Himself the great listener and whose work they should share. We should listen with the ears of God that we may speak the Word of God.”
Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together: The Classic Exploration of Faith in Community