Sunday, November 25, 2012


We had the blessing of being able to drive just a few short hours over to my folks house for Thanksgiving. Given that we homeschool and that my husband's a pilot, we don't always hold the most typical schedule - especially on holidays.  This Thanksgiving Dennis was on call so we really weren't sure how the holiday would play out.  We hedged our bets and arrived a few days early just in case we'd have to have the big meal on a Wednesday.  All this shuffling of the schedule naturally affected our homeschooling days as well.  I suppose we could have taken the whole week off, but to those of you teaching math to non-math gifted kids, you know how easy it is to lose momentum once the train is rolling.  With this in mind, here's how the week went.

Tuesday was a travel day and upon arrival, a fishing day too.

Hoping to catch "The Big One".

  On Wednesday we found out Dennis would most likely not be working so we pushed the big meal to Thursday. Wednesday was a day for indoor surfing. 

Kat tries out boogie boarding on indoor wave.

Thursday morning was a great time to head out to the St. Pete Times Turkey Trot.  The kids ran (and we walked) the 1 mile Gobbler. 

When we got home my mom put the turkey in the oven.  Dinner was scheduled for 4pm and it was now about 11am.  What to do for 5 hours?  Let's see... how about... algebra!  "What?" exclaimed Emily and James in disgust and protest.  "You want us to do school on Thanksgiving?" I know it may seem harsh to some people, but the truth is, we homeschool so we can teach and learn when it is convenient for us.  We take days off when others have to go to school. Why should we not do school on days when others have off?  This did not go over well with the kids, but once we got the math problems on the table and started working, they resigned themselves to this form of torture.  Actually, all we wanted to do was a little review so they wouldn't be so lost when we got back into the swing of things.  It was meant to be helpful, not punishment.  Emily and Kat got their work done fairly quickly, but this time it was James who need a little extra review.  Although it took longer than expect (and there may have been a few tears)  truth is it was time well spent.  Persevering through things we don't want to do - like math - when we don't really want to do them - is one of life's great lessons. 

If we want to our kids to think and act 'outside of the box', then we really have to take them 'outside of the box'.  This time it meant algebra on Thanksgiving. Next time it will be something different. Who knows, maybe I'll have them write their blog on Christmas Day.  Humm.. now that's an idea!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Then and Now

One of my favorite things to do is get together with family especially the ones who I don't get to see too often.  A couple years ago we lived a few miles away from my husband's sister and her family.  Both our families got together for weekly meals in addition to holidays, birthdays, and other special events.  I loved that the cousins were growing up together and becoming good friends in the process.  Then their family moved to Tennessee and the following year we moved to Florida.  Now we are more than a few miles apart, we are a few states apart.

I know the cousins miss each other greatly. We do as well; however, I'm beginning to really appreciate and enjoy visits that are spaced further apart but are more in depth and personal.  Gone are the days when we'd rush to swap stories about our week while handing out juice boxes and wiping running noses only to rush off quickly to be home before bedtime.  Now when we get together we have several days to carry on multiple conversations not only about the current events in our lives but also parenting philosophies, homeschooling, careers, religion, home improvement, politics, etc.  So much to discuss with plenty of time to move past the surface... that's what I like. 

I also love seeing the changes in our kids.  I know they did a lot of growing up when we lived close by, but now that I haven't seen them for a few months I can hardly believe the maturity and development of each child.  This picture was take in 2006 when we still lived in Illinois. 

Kat, Lauren, Anna, James, Jared and Emily 2006

Anna, Emily, James, Kat, Lauren, and Jared 2012

The changes in personalities over time are also remarkable. Silly, loud, whiny, and fearful, have turned into studious, mature, kind, and helpful (and I'm referring to all of them as a whole and not one in particular).  They're just great kids and I'm so blessed to be able to see them change.

Here's a picture from The Factory in Franklin, TN. This was taken in 2010.

  This picture is was taken just two years later.

It goes without saying that the kids have their favorites. Kat and Lauren have been two peas in a pod from the very beginning.


This year it was sweet to see that Anna still enjoys Emily's company best.


Of course that's not to say that all the girls don't get along great together too.


Probably the tightest of the group has to be James and Jared.  I know they're both boys, but it's more than that. These two seem to have a special bond held together closely by similar interests and mutual respect. 
 And finally all those attempts at the perfect group photo.  I think neither the kids nor parents will remember them fondly, but there's no denying all the 'ooos and ahhhs' once the picture is taken.  I'm so glad we made the effort to capture them together over the years.  I must say it is getting easier.

Thanks Nesbitt family for another great visit.  In a few months we'll get back together and do it all over again.  We miss you guys!