Monday, June 30, 2008

House of Order Week 1 Report

It should NOT surprise anyone when I say that this week has reaffirmed what I learned LONG ago: It always takes SO much longer to get something done than I think it will! And I really thought I was being realistic in my goal-setting.

BUT, having said that, it really has been a good week.

We now have a completely decluttered and reorganized kitchen. We donated the equivalent of three VERY large boxes of perfectly useful household goods - and it sure felt good!

The decluttering and organizing in the "back" of the house has also begun. We're still in the "making-more-of-a-mess" stage, but we ARE making progress. The girls are very much looking forward to doing some donating and having decluttered rooms, and I can't wait to reclaim our schoolroom!!

Also this week:

Jelly had her regular Tuesday night piano class. None for the Doodle this week, as her teacher is on vacation. I (almost always!) love hearing them practice!

Both girls had daily swim lessons. This is the fourth summer we've taken advantage of the aquatics program through Parks and Rec. Reasonable prices for reasonable progress on the girls' water skills. With four lessons still to go this week, Jelly has distinguished herself as the best backstroker in the class, with the best side-breathing freestyler honor going to Doodle. They're both doing very well!

Woody and I have also done some swimming WITH the girls this week. Twice we've availed ourselves of the hospitality of our friends and their beautiful backyard pool! The girls get extra opportunity to practice their strokes and diving, and Woody and I get to work out without sweating! We each did twenty laps on our first swim day, and upped it to twenty-five the second time. The girls love being able to swim with mama and daddy, too!

The girls and I worked together on our regular weekly "home blessing" on Saturday morning (while Woody was at a rehearsal) to prepare our hearts and house for the Sabbath. Dusting with the FlyLady feather duster is actually kinda fun! They don't especially enjoy the vacuuming (they trade off weeks doing the dining room, since it involves moving all the chairs), but they are getting pretty good at it. We all LOVE the results!

Saturday night we went to a patriotic concert (where Woody was the heart of the tenor section)and ice cream social sponsored by our community and hosted by our stake. It's an annual tradition that we really enjoy - especially the tribute to the armed forces. Yeah, our country is a mess, but it is still "a choice land" and we're grateful to live here.

Our Sabbath was a wonderful one, though a bit busier than some. The girls and I got ready while Woody (as counselor in the Stake Sunday School) supported a Teacher Inservice Class held for the instructors in our ward at 7:30 a.m. (See the Inner Dad for a bit more church info.) We returned home for a light lunch after ward choir rehearsal, and then I actually slept most of afternoon while Woody and the girls watched a movie.

You KNOW what they say about all work and no play. :o)

I'll let you know how THIS week goes -- better get started.

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Friday, June 20, 2008

Missing Month

When I realized that it has been over a month since I posted anything, I decided I'd better at least make an attempt to get current.

I've been complaining for a couple of weeks now that the writing muse has deserted me. It isn't that there has been nothing to write about... on the contrary! We have been busy with some very good things going on in our lives and the lives of friends and family.

In the past month:

Woody and I celebrated our 12th anniversary in Santa Barbara, CA, which included attending a Celtic Woman concert at the Santa Barbara Bowl while the girls had a wonderful long weekend visiting and staying with various extended family members.

Doodle did a fun family night. She did a great job! You can read about it here.

We traveled (yup, paying over $4 a gallon for gas for our minivan!) to Vancouver, WA, for the confirmation of our much-loved goddaughter, SwimChick. While we were there, the three girls also filmed a video (which they had previously developed and scripted via telephone conference calls and the magic of IMing) for their Cinderella Stories Around the World Unit Study. A wonderful time was had by all and the trip was WAY worth the price of the gas! :o)

Woody's mom and stepdad began a 12-month Family and Church History mission in Salt Lake City, UT. The girls are LOVING having penpals! They are incredible people, and we're prilled (pleased and thrilled) to know them! We are ALL excited about what they're doing. Their example of service is renewing our desires to serve! They've been in training for the past two weeks, and we can't wait to hear what their assignments will be!

Jelly, Doodle, and I attended a fun(Relief Society enrichment)cooking class called, "Dough, Re, Mi," in which we learned to use prepared doughs and mixes to make all kinds of fun meals while singing or otherwise making a joyful noise in the kitchen. lol The girls (the only kids present) especially loved being included with the "grown-up ladies" in the hands-on portion of the class. Go pizza balls!

We attended, and Woody sang with the Anaheim Mormon Chorale at, the funeral service of an amazing man who gave much to his family, friends, country, and church. His life will continue to serve as motivation for all who knew him.

Woody has taught, and we have attended, two of four Summer Institute classes on the Savior of the World. The classes will continue through July. He has learned and taught the rest of us so much already! Studying the life and mission of Christ has really lifted my spirit.

Jelly had a birthday, which we celebrated with a Patriotic Pool Party on Flag Day, June 14th. She had a fantastic time partying with friends and family! We extended the celebration by having two of the cousins stay for a sleepover - creativity abounded as the girls beaded and each pair of sisters made a cute card, which they presented to their devoted daddies the next day on Fathers' Day.

Piano classes continue once a week, with the girls still enjoying practicing. Each new song or skill increases their enthusiam. It's "music to a mama's ears!" :o)

Public school ended for the year, and though we school year-round, the girls have already had a chance for a playdate, a beachtrip, and an afternoon of swimming with public-schooled friends. One of the things we LOVE about our schedule is that we have the freedom to take days off when WE choose.

And speaking of school, we are winding up with Cinderella Stories Around the World. This unit was originally intended to be a 10-day HOAC co-op, but we KNEW we wanted to go more in depth. Our goal was to finish before Daddy's official "vacation" begins, but we're not quite going to make it. We'd rather extend our deadline a bit than hurry to finish what has been an awesome unit!! More on this later.

We had a chance to feed the missionaries who are serving in our ward. Daddy made his famous meatloaf. Yum! We committed to prayerfully select a family with whom to share "The Family: A Proclamation to the World." (To read the whole proclamation, click on Additional Information when you get to the link.)

Woody is in rehearsal with a community choir for the Annual Anaheim Hills Patriotic Concert hosted by our stake in conjunction with community celebrations for the 4th of July. The concert and ice cream social are held at the stake center every year on the Saturday before the 4th. It is a neat opportunity to be involved, whether you're singing or listening!

We're preparing to spend our official afore-mentioned "vacation" here at home. Our goal is to declutter like crazy, to simplify our lives, and to share the abundance with others. Our work will be offset by LOTS of swimming - two weeks of lessons for the girls as well as workouts for ALL of us. Our aim is to work toward a leaner lifestyle - for us AND for our home!

We start tomorrow. I'll let you know how we do.

We'd sure appreciate your prayers - we're gonna need all the help we can get!!!