Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Elliot X


It was  "Good" Friday 2005 and Elliot Daniel came into the world a week earlier than expected. 
 We didn't find out what we were having with either kid. Some surprises are really great.  My first impression upon holding my new born son was that he looked like his dad, which is funny because one of my first impressions of Jane was that she looked like me.  They are in fact mini versions of their parents. 

Can you take too many photos of a sleeping baby? I don't think so. We switched to a digital camera when Elliot was a baby and lost hundreds of photos from his first few months. We learned our lesson quick and now back up our photos. 
I am not sure he is even playing in this picture we might have given him a controller while Uncle Aaron played for real.
This is him enjoying life. 

He lived three of his years overseas. During that time he used chopsticks and developed a liking to dried seaweed. 

Homemade lanterns for Mid-Autumn Festival. 
I love everything about this picture. 

His comedic timing rivals the greats our time. 

A boy and his father

The life of a catalog model

not sure if his first love is video games or popcorn. 

How did he get a chipped tooth?
Skateboard, soccer, wrestling..
No he was answering a question for Junior Bible Quiz at church and chipped it on a chair. 

A boy and his mother. 
Elliot on a boat, this is how he feels about that. 
I love everything about this photo too.

He has my heart forever.  Happy Birthday Dan!

Monday, March 23, 2015

What do you do?

The question I kid asked a lot these days. What do I do now that the kids are in school?

The first week, I would walk upstairs make a bed, fold laundry then come back down to the kitchen stand there for 5 minutes- thinking " what next?"
I could think of a hundred things to be doing when I was teaching 4th grade Math, but here I was alone in my house at 10 am on a Tuesday and my mind was going blank.

* Exercise :
Not as much as I could/should. But I have managed to do 30 minutes of exercise on a semi-regular basis.  If it warms up outside, I plan on spending more time walking or riding. However it is Michigan and this might not happen before the kids get out of school.

* House stuff- meal planning/cleaning
I am a little surprised myself that the house is not spotless.  I think for me it comes down to motivation. Just because I have the time doesn't mean I will use it to clean.  Yes right now the house stays tidier and getting dinner on the table is less stressful.
 Free time for me is just that, free and I am using it.  Which of course leads me to guilt, the favorite companion of many women. I choose to let it go and not rule my life.  A pinned recipe, a read book,  a like on Facebook, a cup of tea all these things might happen today before I scrub a floor and I will not let it ruin my day with guilt.

*Bible Reading
This sounds spiritual but right now it is practical.  In January Nathan and I entered a 90 day Bible Reading plan. Reading an average of 15 chapters a day. This is a lot easier if I don't have to teach 5 subjects to two kids. I might have fallen behind if I was still homeschooling.

*A little lonely.
 I miss having the kids around.
I have not took a test to determine  if I am an introvert or and Extrovert.
 I can be alone, I do enjoy my own space and my own time. I can be happy reading a book on  a bench or comfy chair for an hour, I like solace.  But I have a limit, at some point I need to have other people around me.  I am guessing I lean on the extrovert side, everything is more fun if you have someone with you -Shopping, eating, traveling etc..  When the kids were at home all the time I was trying to carve out my alone time, now they are gone I am trying to carve out my people time.  Made a little more difficult by the fact a majority of my people time was with other homeschoolers. I can't ask those moms over for Coffee they are teaching their kids.

This season has been given to me and I want to be purposeful in how I spend my days.
Somedays it is easy to exercise, practice Spanish, clean, study the Bible all by 2:45.
Other days 2:45 rolls around ( the time I have to leave to pick up the kids from school) and the greatest accomplishment was getting my teeth brushed. It is life- right?

 I am thankful, blessed and try not to take for granted the life I have been given.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Five for Friday

For my cousin's kids birthdays they made this duct tape Olaf pinata.
In theory it is less dangerous because you hit it while it is stationary and not swinging around.
 I don't think the parents could have guessed that they had made an impenetrable fortress, a veritable stronghold that guarded the treasures inside.  You could say it was genius if the goal was to tire kids out by them playing a hundred rounds of beat the pinata.
Adult intervention was eventually needed and Olaf was cracked and  the kids received their goodies. 

I have been on a french/Paris kick lately that was started off by Julia Child's book " My time in France" She makes France sound like the best place on earth.
My time in France ( 1 and half days) as a young teenage girl: I got lost, people were rude, and I didn't even get a really good chance to taste the best of french cuisine. Yet I still found it a lot of fun and intriguing and would love to go back to. 
One of my favorite movie quotes. "Paris is always a good idea" Audrey Hepburn- Sabrina
This particular book had fun illustrations/insights as the author describes her first time in France and a subsequent trip with her husband. I read it while sitting at the library.  It made me want to learn French and explore the quaint country side. And like most things about France it made me hungry.
I read it during the first week the kids were enrolled in school. I read the whole book in one setting. I didn't even need to check it out. 

Roller skating was my main recreation as a young child.
  Our local rink has "homeschool" skate days due the large homeschooling community. The kids have picked it up and I am glad it something we can all do together.
 We were able to join this  homeschool skate day because the kids had a half day at school.  We don't want to lose our connection with our homeschool friends and enjoy the opportunities to hang out with them. 

Aunt Dee playing tabletop Foosball with Elliot.
Aunt Dee, recovering from chemo, came down with Uncle David to visit us. They took us out to San Chez in downtown Grand Rapids.  Tapas are always more fun when shared with others and we had a great time. 

Downtown Grand Haven hosted and event where store owners would put living statues in their store fronts.  

Our favorites -Addams Family, Popeye, Cruella De vil.. 

living dolls from outypants on Vimeo.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Throw Back Thursday

Throw Back Thursday

March 2009

A link to one of my very first blog post.

What I really liked about reading this old post, was the tidbits that my old mind would have never remembered. I am glad I started blogging once we relocated.
 I did not remember the instance of Elliot waking up at 4 in the morning and being frustrated that Jane wouldn't play the board game "Trouble" with him.  I find this amusing for the cute story it is and that it could be the same conversation today..

Also included in this TBT
 a video.
During our trip to Bangkok we left our GoPro camera in the taxi.  The camera has no view finder/no back screen to view photos. But two buttons and settings for photo or video. We also kept ours in its waterproof casing. Not a typical point and shoot, so knowing if it is on or even if it is taking a picture or photo might not be that easy to determine for a first time user.
 When we got our camera back (thankfully we kept the number of our taxi) We found this video the taxi driver ended up shooting.
 I don't speak Thai, which I am guessing is what is being spoken in this video.  It might be offensive or have bad language. If anyone can translate that would be great.  At one point you can hear him say in English. Who are you?

lost camera bangkok from outypants on Vimeo.

New Year Happenings

Xin Nian Kuai Le
Year of the Ram
Although I have been quiet in my blogging. the Sweeney family has been very active. The biggest change happened when we put the kids in school. 
This was during "Spirit Week" Jane is part of  the largest class in the school there are 29 6th graders. 
 Jane attended Tri-Unity for the four year old program in 2007. She is back row third from the right.
I was told her class has always been large, she has quite a few classmates from pre-school that still attend.
Elliot has 11 students in his 4th grade class.  Before he arrived there were only three boys.
Mandy, the one in the suspenders, has been my friend for 14 years.  The decision to enroll Elliot was helped by the fact he has known his teacher and her family his whole life.  Mandy said they had been praying for another boy to join the class. 
Reading month- Pajama day.. The kids read a picture book to their classmates. Elliot picked "Little Critter"

Our 2014 school year got off to a slow start and I felt we never really got into a good routine this year. Jane seemed bored and Elliot was frustrated. I was worried that their academics were suffering.
 I was impressed with the staff and the atmosphere of Tri-Unity and felt it was a door God was opening for us to enroll the kids.
Academically the kids are doing pretty well, which has brought me much relief. We can see where they need improvement but homeschooling hasn't been a complete flop in the academic department. 
 Elliot loves recess.
 Jane's teacher has nothing but praise for her.
Recently both kids got picked to recite special memorized speeches/verses in front of the school. 
Elliot and his recorder.  When he brought it home from music class he announced he was done with playing piano. I replied a recorder isn't a real instrument and piano lessons will continue.   I am glad he is being taught the recorder.  I do prefer to listen to him practice piano as it is much more forgiving on the ears when a wrong note is played. 

Elliot's binder for the first couple of months was this vintage trapper keeper. We found it a thrift store last year for .50c. 
 I guess it was too vintage, the plastic rings eventually broke. 
Other happenings.
Jane and dad spent a day on the slopes. 

Last year we had one of the snowiest winters ever recorded. This year we have had one of the coldest. The schools shut down one day because the temperature was -25. 
 I am hoping this doesn't mean next year we will have one of the coldest and snowiest winters ever. 

 Our American Heritage Girls troop, had a skate night at the Byron Fun Spot. 
  At the rink they have this fun photo opportunity.  
That is Nathan in that shot. I agree with that statement.