Saturday, November 26, 2016

Oh Christmas Tree

Friday, Thanksgiving weekend ... and off we went to cut down our tree.
It's so nice that we just have a short walk to find the perfect tree!

This year, Landon measured from the floor to the ceiling.
14 feet.
He took his tape measure and measured trees in the forest.

Decorating is always a bit chaotic, as the kids are super crazy wound up.
But it's a fun day.

And just like that, it feels like Christmas!


Pineapple casserole.
and blueberry pie.

We go to Grandma and Grandpa's every year for Thanksgiving.
Because Grandpa grew up on a farm, consuming many turkeys, he doesn't like turkey.
So, we eat beef.
Grandma likes to make blueberry pie instead of pumpkin pie.

It's a very untraditional traditional dinner.

Every year, Grandma hangs 11 pair of socks on the mantle.
The kids get $50 in each sock.
The adults get $100 in each sock, along with a $200 gift card to Honey Baked Ham.

Typically, the grandparents head to AZ after Thanksgiving.
This year, they are staying until right after Christmas.
As it's their 10th year going to Tucson, and many of their friends have stopped wintering there, they don't have the same excitement about going anymore.
So we will also have a Christmas brunch at Matt and Jena's on December 23rd.

It's a fun tradition ... and a highlight for the kids, as they are given much money with which to shop.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

In Heat

This has been one of the longest weeks - ever!
Dixie started bleeding last Saturday the 12th.
We've kept them apart for over a week now.

Yesterday, she went into heat ... sending "hormones" across the air waves.
Dash is going absolutely crazy.
He can't keep himself from her.
It's been almost impossible.
Dash has broken out of his cage twice now.
He has tried to break through the window to get to her.

With April birthdays, they are only 7 months old.
She simply isn't old enough to be a mama yet.
This is the first of 3 cycles that we will have to endure before she's 2 years old and can have pups.

They will make beautiful pups together.
But until it's healthy for them to do so, this is our scene...
one dog goes in, one comes out ... one is in the house, while the other is out.
It's overwhelming and exhausting, but I wouldn't trade these beautiful dogs for anything.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Challenge B

We just finished week 12 of Foundations and week 13 of Challenge.
I have no idea where the semester went!
It's been an absolute blur!
I remember the anxiousness I felt in July, knowing that I only had 2 students who would be in my class this year ... Shiloh and Micah Hemness.
I debated, right down to the last minute, whether or not I wanted to do all the work of directing for only 2 students.
I hoped that Stacy Bolton might come back or that a new family might join us.

Melissa Hemness ended up with 7 kids in Challenge A, after having 3 in A the year before.
Landon was thrilled to be in her class, especially since Chance would be in there.

In the end, I have truly enjoyed this class.
I've loved the learning.
I love knowing what Shiloh is learning, and staying one step ahead of her.
I love hearing their papers and their thoughts.
They are both diligent workers and excel regularly.
It's a rare day that one of them shows up unprepared.

I have truly enjoyed directing B.
I'm not certain if I want to do it again next year ... but part of me wants to, as I've already done all the hard work, so it'd be much easier next year.
Landon has communicated that he wants me to direct his class.
So, I might just have to do it for him.
I know I can't direct Ch-1, as I can't handle the extra work load of starting all over again with the learning.
It's strange to be thinking about this now, as it's only November, but contracts are typically signed in January for the following year.

I absolutely love CC.
The longer we are in it, the more I love it.
I couldn't imagine homeschooling any other way.

Friday, November 11, 2016


I was in much need of a sounding board.
Steve has been meeting with a guy named Terry.
I just couldn't bring myself to start over with someone I didn't know.
I needed a friend who has known me for a long time,
who has seen the highs and lows,
who knows some of the struggles I have faced.
I thought of two people, Leeann Stutzman and Joni Balian.

When Frontier sent an email that flights to Bozeman were discounted, I jumped on it.
I flew out on Tuesday and came home late last night.

I loved being with Joni.
We literally sat and talked almost the entire time.
Joe, Lydia, and Kendra are the only 3 at home.
All the other Balians have gotten married, except Anna, who is at her DTS.

Joni is a great sounding board.
She listens well and doesn't judge.
She offers input and encouragement and shares her experiences.
It's such a gift to call her friend.

Home has been hard.
There's been much conflict between Shiloh and Landon ...
and me and each of them,
and Steve and me,
and Steve and them.
The Littles certainly play a role, but only a small one.
I wish I knew how to overcome my anger and frustration, and not be a part of the conflict.

I'd like to have Joni's words stick with me for a long time.
I wish I could just wave a wand.
But I know nothing is that easy.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Blurred Lines

Buying the Red Barn has been one of the greatest gifts ... ever!
The most challenging part of it is working with my family.
It's wonderful and hard all at once.
Mom runs the books, invoices, payroll, etc.
Dad answers phones, gives tours, and is the legal voice.

Our trip to California sent us into a tail spin.
Spending a week together created more stress and less togetherness.
When we got home, the conversation began ...
and dad began accusing Steve of losing heart.
Then he said that if Steve's heart is no longer in this business, he can "sell" his share back to me.
{i.e. write him out of the will}
That just hurts.

It was just about a month ago that I took myself off the email thread for the business.
I decided it was just too much to get the emails and not carry a heavy load.
I know I need to devote my time and energy to homeschooling.
But lately, Steve has decided that I need help.

So, the lines are blurred at home ... who's schooling?  Who's running the business?
And the lines are blurred with my parents ... who's the boss?  Who's responsible for running this business?

It's been really hard lately.
Especially when my parents assume we have "lost vision".
As we are caught up in a re-zone, it's pretty hard to be moving forward with vision.
The vision is to facilitate weddings.
When we reach the end of wedding season, we want some time to just rest.
Rest does not mean a loss of vision.

I don't know how to navigate through this disfunction of mixing family and work.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Too Much Candy

This year, the kids were not interested in selling their candy to the dentist.
So, it just might be the last year we go to much more than a trunk or treat.
They ended up with far too much candy ... and I know it will be a battle to keep them from eating it.

But they sure were cute!
Sawyer - Iron Man
Landon - Obi Won
Liberty - Betty Boop
Shiloh - a Flapper

We went to Flatirons on the 28th, then Aspen Ridge for a Trunk or Treat.
Shiloh and Landon are just getting too big for this ... so Steve says.
And the Littles, well, they are just adorable dressing up and all.

It has become far more than I ever intended.