Happy New Year

December 31, 2008 Categories: Holidays , This and That | 5 Comments  

I just read over last year’s “Happy New Year” post, and now I’m in a funk. Last year, I wrote about all the things I’m grateful for, but some of those things aren’t the case any more. For instance, the tentative peace with our neighbors only lasted until April. We’re in debt again, thanks in part to our vacation – which was totally worth it – and thanks to Kevin’s van going belly-up and gas prices going through the roof. We are more involved in our new church – I was involved in the Christmas program – but I still cried when I came home from singing at the ladies’ Christmas party at our former church. Which makes me wonder if that longing and hurt will ever be gone?

It doesn’t help that for the second year in a row, we were sick over Christmas. First, I did something to my left hip, resulting in back spasms on Wednesday, the 17th. Back spasms that gave me horrible flashbacks of back labor. Not fun. Thank God, I was well enough by Sunday to sing at church, but I am still on muscle relaxants and still sleeping sitting up on the couch, because laying down puts me in immense pain.

Then, after the Christmas program, the stomach flu hit. Kevin first, then Josiah, then Jonathan. I had a bit of an upset tummy for a couple days, and thought I had got off easy, but no such luck. Last night the grand-daddy of all stomach bugs felled me, the details of which I will spare you, but let’s just say it wasn’t pretty. I’m somewhat better today, but so, so tired of not feeling well.

Side note: To give you an idea of how the past few weeks have gone for us, the power supply on my laptop just went out in the middle of writing this post. Sigh. I’m on Nan’s computer, and Kevin’s on the phone with Michelle’s husband who used to work for HP to see if I could borrow one until I can get one shipped to me.

I did have a follow-up appointment with my doctor before I got too sick, and he’s referring me to a chiropractor for my back and a neurologist for the headaches and dizziness that don’t seem to want to quit. I’m hoping that 2009 will bring some answers.

But, I don’t want to spend my New Year’s post complaining about everything that has gone wrong. I need to switch my focus, or this post-holiday funk won’t be lifting anytime soon. So here are the things I’m grateful for:

~ I’m grateful that Kevin is still working, with no end in sight.

~ I’m grateful that my freelance writing has provided extra money when needed, and kept us from going into even more debt.

~ I’m grateful that the kids are all happy and healthy, colds and viruses aside.

~ I’m grateful that I am still able to homeschool the kids.

~ I’m grateful that Natalie and I are close, in spite of a few puberty-related bumps this year.

~ I’m grateful that Noah is growing into a young man with the heart of a helper.

~ I’m grateful that Jonathan has a desire to do right, and that he has a repentant heart when his actions don’t line up.

~ I’m grateful that Josiah has taken on some extra-curricular activities, like Tae Kwon Do and archery, when he used to want nothing more than to stay at home with the family.

~ I’m grateful that my sisters and their husbands and kids are all healthy.

~ I’m grateful that Dad didn’t hurt his hand worse than he did, and that it seems to be healing well.

~ I’m grateful that the doctors were able to figure out what was wrong with Mom, and that she’ll be able to have surgery to fix it.

~ I’m grateful for Michelle, a friend who is a kindred spirit, and for her boys – who are wonderful friends to my boys.

~ I’m grateful for online friends who have expanded my world.

~ I’m grateful that no matter how bleak and discouraging things may seem, God is in control, and I can rest in that.

Happy New Year!

Jonathan’s Reading – December 2008

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Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules by Jeff Kinney
The Littles by John Peterson

Josiah’s Reading – December 2008

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Pinky and Rex and the Just-Right Pet by James Howe
Commander Toad and the Dis-Asteroid by Jane Yolen
George and Martha Round and Round by James Marshall
The Littles by John Peterson
Stink: The Incredible Shrinking Kid by Megan McDonald

Noah’s Reading – December 2008

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Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules by Jeff Kinney

Natalie’s Reading – December 2008

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True Friends by Robin Jones Gunn
Starry Night (The Christy Miller Series #8) by Robin Jones Gunn
Seventeen Wishes (Christy Miller Series #9) by Robin Jones Gunn

Read Alouds – December 2008

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Monks and Mystics: Chronicles of the Medieval Church by Brandon and Mindy Withrow
The Crippled Lamb by Max Lucado
The Christmas Cross by Max Lucado
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
The Family Read-Aloud Christmas Treasury
The Travels of Francisco PIzarro by Lara Rice Bergen
The Travels of Marco Polo by Alex Bandon

2008 in Review

December 29, 2008 Categories: Blogging , This and That | 1 Comment  

It has become my custom to post a year-end wrap-up by posting a short snip from the first post of each month throughout the year. Since I do a lot of review posts, I will use the first post of a personal nature for each month. It’s always fun to look back over the course of a year.

January 3, 2008 – Kindred spirits

I am re-watching You’ve Got Mail. Close to a perfect film: Meg Ryan, Tom Hanks, witty dialogue, and books. Early on in the film, Meg Ryan’s character, Kathleen, talks about what her mother did when she started her bookstore. That she wasn’t just helping children find books, but she was helping to shape who they would become, because the books we read as children have a direct effect on the kind of people we become.

I started thinking about the people who helped me find the books that shaped who I have become. And wishing that I had a way to thank them, to tell them what a profound impact they made on my life.

February 1, 2008 – Links for Friday

It’s Friday! Anyone got exciting plans for the weekend? Kevin’s hoping to take the kids sledding tomorrow. It’s snowing – again. It’s pretty wet, though, and I have a feeling we’re going to have a big mess by the end of the day.

When I remember thinking we had a lot of snow last year, and compare it with what’s out there right now (and still falling), I have to laugh.

March 4, 2008 – Mean mom

I’ve been a mean mom today. How, you ask? Well, I’ll tell you.

~ I made Jonathan do both the drill sheet and the worksheet from his Saxon math lesson today.

~ I made the kids listen to a “really, really” long chapter out of The Greenleaf Guide to Famous Men of the Middle Ages – and then, I had the sheer nerve to ask them questions about what I had read. I considered reading a second “really, really” long chapter, but I thought that might be pushing a bit past the limits of matriarchal mean-ness….

I confess, I’m still a mean mom. Though our Christmas break has involved much less reading and much more game-playing on the kids’ part than I would like. I lose some of my steely resolve when I’m not feeling well.

April 2, 2008 – Love and books

“Some years ago, I was awakened early one morning by a phone call from a friend. She had just broken up with a boyfriend she still loved and was desperate to justify her decision. “Can you believe it!” she shouted into the phone. “He hadn’t even heard of Pushkin!””

Thus starts the essay It’s Not You, It’s Your Books from The New York Times Sunday Book Review. What do you think? Is literary compatibility a requirement for love?

I think not. Kevin and I have been married thirteen years, and our tastes in books are as different as night and day. For Kevin, it’s all non-fiction history, and mostly about World War II. For me, it’s just about anything that’s printed in a book. And he doesn’t really like to talk about books. When he makes the mistake of asking, “What are you reading?” – his eyes glaze over after the first few sentences. He says, “That’s what you have Michelle for.”

This hasn’t changed much, but that’s okay. There’s more to marriage than book-compatibility. :)

May 8, 2008 – 2007-2008 School year wrap-up

We’re not actually finished with our school year – won’t be until Friday, June 6th – but things are starting to slow down as various curricula gets finished or heads into review mode for the last few weeks. In most ways, it’s been a very good year. The only disappointment has been that we won’t finish history on time, and we didn’t do as much art as I’d liked. But we added a more intensive grammar program and Latin, so it all balances out, I suppose.

This reminds me that the New Year is generally my time for looking ahead to August and the next school year. Natalie will be entering 7th grade – junior high!

June 3, 2008 – Historic evening

As of tonight, there will be a black nominee for president on the ballot in November. Regardless of how you feel about Senator Obama’s politics, can we just take a moment to reflect on the historicity of this event?

July 3, 2008 – Links for Friday

Happy July, everyone! Can you believe that June is over? It went very, very fast – mostly because we were so incredibly busy.

Any plans for Independence Day? We’re heading to Mom and Dad’s for the day. Dad’s got some leftover pre-cut catamarans from camp, so the kids are going to make cool wooden sailboats, and then we’re going to head to Chewelah park to float them in the creek. We’ll have chicken and potato salad for dinner, and then celebrate my sister Marni’s birthday. Her 29th – my baby sister is turning 29! How did that happen?

Marni and Hans are settling in well in St. Louis after a couple rough months. I still miss her like crazy, though.

August 3, 2008 – Long vacation post, with pictures

We’re home! We slept in our own beds last night, but I still feel like I’ve been run over by a truck. Why is having fun on vacation so exhausting?

Our vacation was an amazing experience – one I hope we can repeat sometime in the next couple of years.

September 3, 2008 – I’m afraid to vote

Yes, that’s me. My name is Carrie, and I’m a terrified voter. I’ve had so many thoughts about the upcoming presidential election rattling around in this brain of mine, and I kept thinking I should organize them and write a post of some sort. Well, it was either organize my thoughts, or write a post, because I don’t have time to do both. So I’m posting, and you’ll have to excuse the disorganized (and probably long) mishmash of a post this will be.

Let’s start with a little background, and then I’ll get myself in trouble right off the bat. Sounds promising, huh?

I overcame my fear and voted for President-elect Obama. I’m still convinced I made the right choice.

October 1, 2008 – Political blogging

There’s something I’ve noticed as I’ve been reading blogs lately. And I’m not talking strictly about political blogs, but also about general bloggers who occasionally mention politics. Once a blogger has decided on a candidate – or if they are strictly a party-line voter – their blog posts reflect this in an unswerving way.

Blogging about politics and my decision to vote for a Democrat was certainly an eye-opening experience. Sad to say, some of the most hateful comments I received were from professing Christians.

November 7, 2008 – The election, my birthday, links, and nine winners

I don’t have many links to share this week – I’ve been too busy to do much surfing. I will say that we watched the election returns and speeches on Tuesday night. The kids and I watched Schoolhouse Rock, particularly the song “I’m Going to Send Your Vote to College” and talked about how the electoral college works. We tracked the votes on our map, with red and blue stickers. Since we live on the West, they were able to stay up long enough to see almost all of president-elect Obama’s speech, but Noah was nodding off toward the end.

I cried often, with true amazement that our country has elected a black president. Only fifty or so years ago, Barack Obama would have not been allowed in certain restaurants, would have had to sit at the back of the bus, would have gone to a segregated school. But this is 2008, and he is our new president. Noah wondered why I was crying: “Why are you sad? You voted for him, didn’t you?” I tried to explain, but I’m not sure if he understood.

December 1, 2008 – Stop this week, I wanna get off!

Today was my least busy day of this week – it’s all downhill from now. Sigh.

I got through it. :)

That was 2008 in review – blogwise, anyway. I’m sure I’ll post something more reflective as the New Year approaches.

Links for Friday

December 26, 2008 Categories: Holidays , Movies , Writing | Comments Off  

Happy Boxing Day! I hope you had a wonderful Christmas. We did – it was simple and lovely, in spite of the sore back and tummy bug and Dad’s hand.

My back is doing much better, although I still can’t sleep laying down. The first day I had the spasms, they were calming down by bed time, so I slept in bed. When I woke up in the morning, my back seized up again, so I’ve been sleeping sitting up on the couch with a pillow behind my back. Last night, I tried bed again, and ended up moving to the couch at 2 am – just too painful. I have a follow-up appointment on Tuesday to talk about the back, as well as the headaches and dizziness. Hopefully, the doctor will be able to find some answers.

We’re being lazy today. The boys are playing on the PS2 games they got for Christmas; Natalie’s playing Nancy Drew and the Curse of Blackmoor Manor on her computer, with frequent help from me. It’s a lot of fun – I’ve installed it on my laptop! I’ve been browsing Barnes & Noble’s list of bargain books. I will have to do some laundry later, but I’m not planning on anything else productive today.

Here are some links to enable you in wasting a bunch of time today, as well:

~ Moviefone’s 50 Best (and 10 Worst) Movies of 2008

~ 2008 Pop Culture IQ Quiz – How well did you pay attention to the truly unimportant things this year? I scored 10 out of 15.

~ Disney has backed out of financing Walden Media’s The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. Wlden is now shopping it around to other studios – I sure hope they find one.

~ One author shares her timeline for getting a novel published.

~ This woman’s pencil drawings are amazing.

Merry Christmas

December 24, 2008 Categories: Holidays | 1 Comment  


May your Christmas be filled with the joy of the season. I hope your home is filled with loved ones and laughter, and that your Christmas celebration is one of grace and peace.

(The above print is available at AllPosters.com.)

Please pray for my dad

December 23, 2008 Categories: Prayer | 6 Comments  

I would appreciate some prayers and good thoughts sent my dad’s way. He was working on a birdhouse that someone had asked him to make for a last-minute Christmas gift, and sliced the thumb and middle finger of his left hand on his skill saw. The middle finger only needed a couple of stitches, but the pad of his thumb was almost completely severed. The doctor re-attached it, but isn’t sure if the blood vessels will heal correctly. If they don’t, the pad of the thumb will die and fall off, and he will need plastic surgery to build that back up. Prayers for a quick and complete healing would be greatly appreciated.