Looking Back, Looking Forward

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It’s that time of year when the school year is ending, and the kid’s birthdays are coming near. The time of year when I get all philosophical and introspective.

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I start looking at photos and reminiscing about the old days. The days that seem so fleeting, years that went by all too quick.

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Like all parents, I ask myself how did this happen? How is it possible that I now have a house full of teens? How is it possible that they all look so old?

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At the same time though I am looking forward. Looking to the future and all that it will bring. Kids in college, kids moving out of the home, more time for myself, maybe even a second career? And it is exciting to think about these things that will come and about all the memories we have yet to make.

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So I am allowing myself a few days of reflection which I often take at this time of year. A few days to be sad about time slipping by so fast and excited about time that has yet to come. I sit here and look forward while also looking back. It’s not a bad place to be.

Salt Lake Comic Con – Doctor Who

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The kids and I had an opportunity to attend the Salt Lake Comic Con this last weekend, and I am so glad we made the trip. We have old friends that live in Salt Lake, and they told us about Comic Con, and how Matt Smith, Billie Piper, and Karen Gillian of Doctor Who would be there. When I heard that I knew I had to get tickets and take the kids.

The drive was great even if it was long. It took us about eleven hours to get there from Southern California. The weather was cooler though, and it was raining and snowing, which made for a nice change of scenery. Like all good homeschoolers, we passed the time listening to audiobooks (How to Train Your Dragon narrated by David Tennant and Cards on the Table, a wonderful Agatha Christie book that we all enjoyed). When we tired of audiobooks we jammed out with Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra. Nothing makes me happier than to hear the kids sing all the old songs that I used to love so much when I was a teenager.

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Once we arrived in Salt Lake City we headed straight to Comic Con. We only had a few hours there as it was late, but the next day we spent the whole day there and had a great time. Honestly the only reason the kids and I went was for the Doctor Who panel and photos, and that was all on Friday, our main day there. We spent the day browsing through all the booths, standing in various lines (for hours) and watching the Doctor Who panel.

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Of course our favorite part of the day was taking photos with the Doctor and his companions. I don’t think the kids will be forgetting this day anytime soon!

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We headed home on Saturday and stopped in Vegas for a night. It was better for me to break the drive up, and I cannot resist a stop in Vegas. A slot machine had my name on it (damn you Wonder Woman slot machine that reminded me of my childhood!) and I had some down time while the kids hung out in our hotel room. It was a wonderful short trip (even if Autry was a little under-the-weather), and just what we needed to break up the winter blues.

A New Year

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This last year my blog was severely neglected. Many factors led to my neglected blog, but I was never too happy about it. Although I had very little time to spend here, I seemed to spend a great deal of time lamenting the fact that I wasn’t posting. Obviously I missed writing here, and I knew I needed to get back to it.

This year I am hoping to make more time for my musings about homeschooling and other topics. Already I seem to be back in a place where this is possible, and I am feeling quite excited about it. I do find it harder to figure out what to write about though. One reason is that all the kids are getting so much older. How easy it is to write about your preschooler or elementary aged child and their going ons. It is so much harder to write about the tween or teen child because there is a level of privacy and respect that needs to be followed. Obviously I am not the first blogger to come across this problem, and I am sure I will find a way around it. After all there is so much I would love to share about this stage in our homeschooling as it is an exciting and rewarding stage.

For today I want to share what the kids are doing on our first day back to school after a long Christmas break. It is a perfect morning here. The kids are all content and working both independently and together on various subjects. I am sitting back and taking it all in. I am aware these days that our time together is numbered. In a few years the twins will be off on their own, and the boy and I will have a couple years left together before he too is off in the world. I am so aware of this now as the kids inch ever closer to adulthood, and I find myself sitting back often and looking at them, listening to them, enjoying every laugh and word and movement that they make.

Today the girl woke up and had an online class for two hours. I made her a latte and took it to her while she was hard at work. The boys listened to Writer to Writer together, and then we all discussed what books we are going to write this year. Autry joined us at this point, and it was so satisfying to hear them all share their ideas with each other. Silently I watched them and thought to myself that writing books together as a family has to be one of the best bonding experiences there is.

Later in the morning the oldest boy started his online class, and the younger boy and I worked on math and handwriting. Then the younger boy read five chapters of Lauren Ipsum: A Story About Computer Science and Other Improbable Things. He is now listening to a Neil Gaiman book which he loves. I know he loves it because he comes out of his room every five minutes or so and excitedly tells me what is happening in the book.

Presently the twins are studying in their rooms. Autry is writing an essay, and Tru is working on computer science. So much of their work is independent now that they are older which is both wonderful and a little sad. Mostly wonderful though as it frees up so much of my time.

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As for me I am getting ready to take our ever faithful companion for a walk. For although the kids may be older and more independent, Kingsley will always need me. Sometimes I complain about this fact, but really dogs are wonderful companions and a perfect remedy to the parent who is transitioning from being a mom to young children to a mom of young adults.

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Happy 4th Birthday to our wonderful dog Kingsley!

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The oldest boy wanted a dog for so long, but I put it off for many years because I had my hands full with three young children. When the twins turned ten though I felt it was time, and I am so glad I made that decision.

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Kingsley has made our family complete. He cuddles, plays, and comforts us all. He is there to welcome us home when we have been gone for the day, he is protective of the family, he is funny and laid back. Basically Kingsley has been great.

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Thank you Kingsley for being a part of our family.

Creating Two Rooms out of One

 

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The kids and I downsized a great deal when we moved in April. I wanted to simplify our lives, get rid of clutter, and pay less rent. Because of this we lost a good deal of square footage and I had to get creative with space.

One problem I faced was that my youngest son needed a bedroom, a space of his own, but in our new place we were short a bedroom. Our living room was a fairly large room though, so I decided to turn the space into a cozy living room and a bedroom for the boy.

It took me a few weeks of researching, purchasing, and rearranging to get a space I was happy with. I decided to use IKEA Billy bookcases to wall out our living room and to separate the two spaces.

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I still needed a wall for the front of the boy’s space and decided to go with the Nomad system which I discovered online after days and days of searching. I am very happy with this product as it was easy to put up, works great, and is fun to look at. The boy loves it!

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We lined the back of the bookcases with removable wallpaper to make it a little nicer for the boy. He chose an ocean wave pattern in blue.

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The boy and I really like the way everything turned out, and all of us are all surprised by how much more we like our smaller space.

Free Bowling

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A friend told me about this great bowling program that allows kids to bowl free. I signed up the family and today we went out for a couple hours to play a few games with friends.

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If you are looking for something to do with your family this summer I highly recommend signing up. Kids are free, adults are only $24.00, and unlimited shoe rental is $10.00. It can’t be beat!

 

Weekend Fun

A selfie of us girls before we head up to Long Beach.

A selfie of us girls before we headed up to Long Beach.

My mom, the girl, and I went to the travel show in LA today.  It was so much fun for us as we are planning a trip to Europe soon. We were lucky enough to hear Rick Steves talk which we all enjoyed. The girl and I  watch all of his shows so to see him in person was a delight.

photo 1 (27)We were especially excited to meet him and get his autograph and a few pictures too.

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While the girls were out at the travel show the boys were at an antiquarian book fair in Pasadena with their grandfather.

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They seemed to have had as good a time as we did. For two boys who love and collect books the fair was heaven.

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The boys came back with over 60 photos of books. Here are a few of the their favorites.

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