Wednesday, November 30, 2011

A Vision

"Without a vision, the people will fail".

I have found this to be so very true in my own life. In the areas where I have a "vision" or very clear and specific goals in mind are the areas that I do extremely well in. To say that I am a goal oriented person is putting it mildly. If I have a goal, come hail or high water, I'm going to meet that goal. Failure is not an option. Quitting is unthinkable. The only time I give up is when I have absolutely exhausted every option given to me. I'd much rather fail than quit. I'm pretty stubborn that way.

On the other hand, I can look around my life and see the areas that I am just floating along...or worse, struggling with. Those are the areas that I have no goals, no vision. No idea where I'm headed. Maybe a vague thought of a plan: "one day, I'd like to...", or "maybe I should think about trying ______". No way are those plans going to go anywhere, I guarantee. I just can't dig in and apply my heart to things that must not matter very much, or else I'd have a clear plan.

This summer, I had the goal of having my garden produce. Regardless of the worst drought in TX history, I was going to produce. I'm probably one of the only people in my county who was crazy (dumb?) enough to go through with it. And I did it. I had my garden. Even now, I have fresh tomatoes to eat.

While this vision business applies very much to my personal life, it is probably most evident when I wear my Homeschool Mom hat. When I have clear and defined goals and vision for what I want, and exactly where I'm going, I get there. When you know where you are going, the simple thing is to find the curriculum that gets you there. If it doesn't exist, I just make my own. The subjects that are clear to me are the ones with which we excel. The ones that I just can't see where I'm going are the few that we flounder on.

That's what I'm tackling and refining this week. After a nice vacation and break, I can see some things clearer, and am able to take a step back and re-evaluate for the coming rest of the year.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Vacation, part 3

Friday we planned to visit the "quaint shops" on the Strand and do some seashell hunting in a place that we had found. However, the shopping venues didn't excite us (we didn't see much, if any "quaint shops", so we gathered our shells fairly quickly (it was coooold!), and headed home. We were just outside of Houston when the Mr. decided we should visit NASA while we were there. This was totally unplanned, and neither of us had any real idea where to go, or what we would do when we got there, but away we went. We found where we were going, and had lunch first. We stayed until they closed at 5. Our only regret was that we wished we had arrived even earlier. We listened to a presentation from an astronaut, and took the tram tour, which included seeing parts of the Johnson Space Center and one of the control rooms, along with one of the Saturn V rockets. Of course, we also did as many of the other exhibits as time allowed as well. We learned a lot, and we all had a lot of fun.

Vacation, part 2

The next day we went to Moody Gardens. We had passes to see all three pyramids, go to the 3D movie, and have a paddle boat ride around the bay. We arrived when the doors opened, and left when they closed. It was a very full day, and we enjoyed every minute of it!

Here is our paddle boat, "The Colonel". It is a replica of the boats from the 1800s, and The Colonel is an honorary member of the Texas Coast Guard. On the boat, we learned quite a bit about Galveston history and the history of the Moody family.

We had a great time!

We ended the day eating Cajun seafood at Bueno's on the Beach- a very yummy informal place that we loved.


Last week, we headed down the shore to Galveston for 3 days. It was the first vacation we've taken in 5 years, and to say that we were all excited was an understatement!

We knew it would be pretty cold with the exception of out arrival day (which was still only the upper 70s), so we chose that first day to head to the beach. Galveston's beach isn't spectacular by any means. You won't find any white fluffy sand, as the tide keeps the sand wet all the way up to the seawall. However, none of us cared! The children had never seen the ocean, or played in the sand. Within about a minute of hitting the beach, they stripped their shoes off and started running.

The baby wasn't at all sure about this sand and water thing.

One jumped right in to play in the sand with the "plow" that he had made and brought with him.

It didn't take long until the first one sat in the water.

More followed shortly.

They slowly got braver and braver.

Even the baby finally stood in the water and accepted that his beloved toes were not going anywhere even though he couldn't see them.

The baby and I went back to the hotel room to rest while the olders and the Mr. swam for the next couple of hours. The did venture way out to ride the waves, and they tried to make sand castles (but the sand was too wet). They came back dripping and freezing cold. We decided to take a swim in the heated pool for a bit.

After that, we rested and lounged around the hotel, drove around the island for a bit exploring, and headed to The Fisherman's Wharf for the best seafood I think I've ever had.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Ikea and Rodeos

Last week was a flurry of activity. First we had the field day, then several family members came down with the Change of Season Cold, then we took a day to go to Dallas to install a new server for the biz. The whole family decided to make a day of it in the big city. We left much later than I would have liked (at 10), but we arrived right at a good time to eat at our favorite Turkish restaurant as their lunch rush was at a close.

From there, we went to the server facility. Instead of dropping off D as I sometimes do, I opted instead to stay. The 5 children and I took over the lobby for almost 2 hours (a bit longer than the estimated time). We played Euchre and got almost through a game of Stone Age.

Then, for the reason I came alone- IKEA! My first trip to an IKEA. Wow. I found it to be a little intimidating at first, but once we understood the concept, we jumped right into the showroom and had a great time. The Mister is redoing my craft room for my birthday, so I wanted some desk components, and organizational items. We did come home with the desk cabinets, but the organizational things I had on my list. I think they were in an area of the market place that we must have skipped over, but we were all too tired to go looking for more stuff.

Saturday brought the small town Rodeo and the "Farmer's Market" (I use that term very loosely here). For something that I spent the better part of a month preparing for, it didn't amount to hardly anything at all. Not worth it. I think I'm just going to go ahead and set up an online store.

Sunday brought beautiful weather and gardening and outdoor projects all day. That's my kind of day, for sure! We're still on burn ban, so there is a lot of trees and debris, both from our work as well as from all of the dead trees that have already fallen. We look forward to being able to clean all of that up soon. We were able to get other stuff tidied up, and we marvelled that there were weeds growing in the cactus garden. Weeds need rain to grow, and we just haven't seen hardly any weeds all year!

Monday, November 7, 2011

First Annual Field Day

Last Tuesday (Nov 1st), in honor of our two year anniversary of moving into our house, we had our first annual field day. We would have done it last year, but we had a baby instead ;)

The oldest 4 participated, and we all had a blast! The Mister and I planned the event not really sure exactly how hard to make some of our events, and not sure how well the 4 (ages 12-6) could compete with each other. The events turned out really well, and we were pleasantly surprised to see how well the youngest could keep up! Some of our events need to be harder for next year, and the children are already practising to compete better!

First up was the leaf identification contest. Each child was to go in the woods and bring back 4 specific varieties of shrub/tree. Clearly this was too easy! All four of them reappeared within a few minutes!

Then the knot untying contest. #1 won, with #4 coming in a very close second.

Next was the balancing competition.

This was one that needed to be much harder for next year. #3 was smart enough not to goof off, so she handily won.

Next was a race across the property, they had to race and also find an object that they couldn't see from the starting line. #4 got a 5 second head start, with #3 about 3 seconds after that. #1 barely pulled out the victory. It might have had a different outcome if they had known where they were going!

Next up was the slingshot. #1 won that one, with #4 coming in very close.

We were a little worried this one may hurt herself:

But she did just fine!

We also had ball bouncing, long jump and triple jump. #4, #2 and #1 respectively won those events.

The finale was the .22 shoot. 5 balloons were tied to the fence and each child had 5 shots to pop them.

#4 went first. It was his very first time to shoot the youth .22 riffle.

He popped two, and was tickled pink about it!

Next to give a try was #3.

She was very frustrated. She's too girlie for such things.

While everyone did very well, it came down to #1 and #2.

We had to have a tie breaker.

By the skin of his teeth, and much to his relief, the well earned win went to #2!