Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Back To School: 18th Edition

Well. Our summer came and went like a flash!

I began our 18th year of homeschooling on Tuesday. Thankfully, I had Julie here to help me with the fun, cute, and yummy special back to school snacks!

These are the adorable sugar cookies Julie made!

I did some simple decorating to make the first day of school special. No one (including me!) was really ready for school to begin again, so I was hoping that some fun decorations and special snacks would make the inevitable a little more bearable. 

 I reused this banner I found on the Target bargain aisles last year.

 I stayed up too late sewing seven cloth napkins and a table runner out of this fun school fabric. (I actually just cut and serged the edges.) I only had enough fabric to make seven napkins, but that worked out ok since I have only two students this year! Julie and I ate breakfast with Leah and Small Sam, and seven napkins were still enough when we all ate together at suppertime. (Jimmy, Me, Julie, Big Sam, Clay Leah, and Small Sam)

 My fiesta dishes matched the colors in the fabric perfectly!

I created 10 clues for our annual back to school treasure hunt. It gets harder and harder to think of new places to hide clues each year. I think I had some repeats this year, but maybe Leah and Sam were too young when I first used them to remember. 
The last clue led them to their school desks where I had their "treasures" displayed.
(It gets harder to be creative with the treasures each year too!)

 Sam's desk

Leah's desk

 Leah's treasures.....
new notebooks, a folder, pencils and lead, candy, and these super cute pretzel pencils lovingly made by Julie

Sam's treasures were the same---just different colors.

For the first day, we did only a Bible lesson, math, and science. I spent a good bit of time reviewing their daily checklists and what would be expected of them in each subject. I decided to ease them into a full day of school this year.  Yesterday and today we did only Bible, math, and science. Then we are off until next Wednesday, because some of our family will be attending a wedding in Virginia, and then Jimmy is off for a couple more days after that. When we start back next Wednesday, I plan to add English (reading and composition) and Sam's Sonlight. Then on the following Monday, August 13, they will begin doing their complete daily checklist of subjects. 

 Leah's Checklist

Sam's Checklist

The number beside each subject indicates the number of days each week they are to work on each subject. For most subjects they will complete one lesson per day. I asked Leah to set a timer when she is working in algebra, biology and literature for 45 minutes, and just stop after that. 

We started our school year earlier than normal because Julie is expecting her baby girl in about 5 weeks. I wanted to get as much school done before the baby comes.

Happy Back to School!

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Back At Home

So I've been home for almost a week. I attended two weddings last weekend, unpacked and washed lots of clothes, and started back to school yesterday. No, we are not done with this school year yet. We will be done by next Friday, June 8. I am determined for Leah and Sam to both finish their math books, and they will by the end of next week. We will have a shorter than normal summer break, because I plan to start them back at the end of July. I want to get some school done before Julie's baby arrives, because I know I will need to take some time off for that. Our summer break is not actually shorter than normal, it is just broken up differently since we traveled to Florida and Romania in May.

I am almost in panic mode regarding what I have to accomplish the next two weeks....besides finishing up school, I am teaching VBS at our church next week, and the week after that I am teaching at RYC. I spent most of this afternoon preparing for my VBS class, and I hope to start on RYC planning tomorrow. I am teaching (with three other wonderful ladies) 3rd and 4th grade again this year. This is my fourth or fifth time teaching this age group.

My house is also super, super dirty! It has not been cleaned since the end of April. Sam's room and walk-in closet look like an episode of hoarders, and Clay's college stuff is filling up Olivia's room. Plus Julie's room is full of her wedding presents and five fully packed suitcases! I am not sure even where to begin! My plan is to just start cleaning my house today. I am just going to start in one room, and keep going, little by little until it is all done. It may take me a month! :)

I pulled out my master clean out list I made back in January. I have only checked off January's tasks so far. But I am determined. After I get my house cleaned from top to bottom, I plan to begin tackling that clean out list. We will see.

Life always gets in the way.

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Romania Days 14-16

May 20-22

On Sunday, we slept in a little bit after our late night arrival the night before from the Transylvania 100 Race. Julie and Big Sam's church's worship service and Bible study begin at 5:00PM, so we had time to wash clothes and buy groceries before preparing for the service (which meets in their home).

Since we had so many clothes to wash (from the muddy race), Jimmy made Julie a clothesline on her balcony. I was able to wash many loads in one day because they dried so quickly on the balcony.

Here are a few pictures I took on our walk to and from the grocery store.

 I guess McDonald's is everywhere! However, I never saw a Chick Fil A over here.

 I'm not sure WHAT this is.....

 Romanian parking spot

 more examples of Romanian parking
Cars are parked everywhere you look here.

Monday was our last day before heading back home. We spent this day packing and visiting the city center one more time. Jimmy took the kids to the closest park to play while I did some packing before we went to the center.

 We bought this banner while shopping one last time in the center.
We are on Julie's balcony.

 The suitcases--packed and ready to go.
Yes, there are nine of them! Three and a half of them have our stuff in them, and the rest have Julie and Big Sam's belongings that we took home for them. 

 This is the stairway that leads to the top (4th floor) of Julie's apartment. (They live on the top floor.)

 in the city center

 in the city center

 the underground bathroom in the city center

 This is where we ordered our lunch. We got the wraps that they are known for, and they were delicious!

 I can't remember what this building is, but it is a focal point of the city center.

 This was a cool soccer ball in front of the mall in the city center.

 We enjoyed Starbucks one last time together.

Sam is taking a picture of his Gumby and Pokey.....he poses them in various places when we are traveling and takes pictures of them.

Monday night I completed our packing, and then began stressing a little bit over whether or not the suitcases would fit in the vehicles that were carrying us to the airport. Dan was taking some of us in his car, and Big Sam borrowed a minivan from an American evangelist he recently met in Craiova. That was so very kind of him to let us borrow his minivan! Since the minivan was parked four flights of stairs below, and since we did not want to leave all our luggage in the vehicles overnight, Clay and I measured the size of each suitcase, and then we measured the interior of the minivan and the luggage carrier on top to see if the luggage would actually fit. Based on our calculations, and if Dan's car could hold three suitcases, everything would fit.

We set our alarms for 3:45AM, and tried to sleep.

Tuesday morning, May 22, came early, and Jimmy carried all nine suitcases downstairs. Then Clay and Big Sam placed them in the two vehicles, and yay! They fit! We left for the Bucharest airport at 4:45AM.

We made it to the airport about 8:40, and thankfully, quickly made it through security and passport control and then found our gate. We left at 10:00AM for a short plane ride to Istanbul, Turkey. We had about a two hour layover there that passed by quickly. We sampled some Turkish delight, Jimmy and I got coffee, the kids got Turkish ice cream, and then we began the long walk to our gate. We had to go through security again before we could enter the seating area to wait to board our plane. I even had to take the cover off my off again, we were swabbed, inspected, etc. 

We boarded our plane bound for Atlanta, Georgia, USA at 1:30PM local time. We were on that airplane almost 14 hours before we deplaned in Atlanta! It was about 8:00PM EST in Atlanta when we landed. Somewhere up in the sky we gained/lost? seven hours, and on our way home to Mississippi we gained another hour (or lost an hour? I am not sure!) Anyway, once we finally arrived at our house, it was Wednesday, May 23, 2:30AM. We had been traveling about 29 hours, I think. 

Since our long flight was mostly during the daytime hours (for what our bodies were accustomed to), I slept only an hour, maybe. I watched three entire movies:  You've Got Mail, Gone With the Wind, and Wonder. We were served two full meals and had self-service to sandwiches, dessert, and beverages. 
Jimmy brought compressions socks for the whole family to wear on the trip back, and they made such a positive difference for me. My ankles did not swell at all, and my legs did not hurt like they did on the trip over. I also got up and walked around the airplane at least ten times on this trip. 

IT WAS SO GOOD TO BE BACK IN THE USA!  I could tell immediately that we were on American soil as soon as we entered the Atlanta airport! We had to go through passport control one more time and were briefly questioned one last time, and then we were released to gather our luggage and go to our car! 

We fit the suitcases in my vehicle....six in the back (I folded down two seats) and three on the back on a carrier on my trailer hitch.


I am gradually getting over the jet lag.  The first 2-3 days I was profoundly sleepy at 5:00PM, and was in bed by 9:30PM, but by midnight or 1AM, I was wide awake!

We left Thursday morning to go to Alabama for Parker's wedding (Lynn's son). We got back home from that late Friday more traveling for us for at least a couple of weeks!

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Romania Day 13

Saturday May 19
Today was the race! The Transylvania 100. This race featured the following distances, all starting at different times:  20K, 30K, 50K, 80K, and 100K. Big Sam ran the 50K, and Dan, Jimmy, and Clay ran the 20K. This was NOT a road race, but a trail run (hike, actually for most of it I believe.)

Big Sam, Jimmy, Clay and Julie left our Airbnb at 5:30AM for the 45 minute ride back to Bran where the race would begin at Bran Castle. Dan, Tami, Leah, Sam, and I left at 8:00AM. Big Sam started running his race at 7:00 AM, and Dan, Jimmy, and Clay began at 11:00AM. The three 20K runners actually boarded a bus at 10:00 AM that took the 20K runners to a drop off point, and they ran back to the finish line.

 Clay, Big Sam, and Jimmy before Big Sam began.

Dan, Clay, and Jimmy before they began.
It was cold and rainy.

 Jimmy with our English friend, Jane! She is holding the cash Jimmy used to buy his shirt.

On the buses....ready to be taken to the drop off point.

The following pictures were taken with Jimmy's phone while they ran the race.

 Let me just say that these photos do not make me want to do a mountain trail run!

While the men were running......the girls, Sam, and I shopped.

 Sam getting a music lesson from this vendor.
(He bought the flute!)

 Enjoying lunch at a street vendor.

 waiting in the rain for the men to finish

 The finish line was right here in front of the castle.

 Yay! Here comes Clay!
He finished in 4 hours, 15 minutes, 34 seconds.

 And here come Jimmy and Dan!
They finished in 4 hours, 19 minutes, 49 seconds.

And not too much comes Big Sam!
He finished (50K) in 8 hours, 37 minutes, 19 seconds.

We were so proud of them! No one was injured, and except for being soaking wet, extremely muddy, and exhausted, all was well!

The happy, muddy finishers!

The runners changed into dry clothes, and then we began the long trip back to Craiova (remember, it took us 8 hours to get here!) But thankfully, even with a long stop for supper along the way, we were home before 11:00PM.

Waiting for dinner in the fancy restaurant in Pitesti.

Leah's fancy dessert!