The Saturday 7

A day early this week because...

1. I am leaving tonight to head to Philly for the weekend. Every year my generation of my dad's side of the family gathers to talk about our family foundation, and our present and future work there. It's a fun weekend to catch up with family I haven't seen in a few months, and a nice break from the home routine... since no solo trip to Philly is ever complete without stops at REI and IKEA! :) I'm looking forward to being a few hours south too, because tomorrow we are supposed to have 4-5 inches of snow and high winds here. Yuck... this is April... where is spring?!  March was much warmer than this! All the lovely daffodils that bloomed last week are in for a sad surprise...

2. Yesterday I finished my Bible-in-year reading program that I started in Dec. 2015. There was little fanfare; in fact the only acknowledgment was from my brother-in-law Joel on the Bible app (apparently it alerts your "friends" there when you've finished a reading plan?) Anyway, (not that I'm  complaining; I actually haven't personally spoken of this accomplishment to anyone before now!) my biggest takeaway from my chronological reading of the Bible is simply that it is a testament to the faithfulness of God. I know this is nothing groundbreaking, but this past year really cemented in my heart the sureness of His faithfulness. Through all of humanity's foibles and self-centeredness, He is faithful. He faithfully leads us on, and He can be trusted. He will faithfully lead ME -- and He can be trusted.

I think another reason why I am so deeply satisfied with the completion of this plan is that it's been a LONG time coming. I remember being in high school and attempting to make my own Bible-in-a-year plan by painstakingly looking up the last chapter of each book of the Bible, adding them all together, dividing by 365, and then handwriting each day's chapters into a little daily calendar. I'm sure I got bogged down somewhere in the OT and gave it up when I fell behind. I tried again off and on over the years, never successfully--  the last time was I think about 5 years ago, when I attempted to add a reading plan to my RSS feed and listen to it being read aloud each day. I remember being distracted when summer rolled around and I was outdoors all day every day and I (once again) fell behind. The Bible app has a great "catch me up" feature that will bump up the current day of your reading plan so that if you fall behind you don't have to give up all hope (as I am apparently so prone to do) and to be honest, I think that is what ultimately enabled me to finish... 16 months and a week after I started! Not sure I'll ever do it again, but it was definitely worth the effort.

3. Homeschooling is going well. We are steaming ahead hard and fast toward the finish line at the end of next month, and I'm already planning curriculum for next year. I'm going back to Sonlight (after two years away from it; one using piecemeal curriculum and one using My Father's World). I like to have next year's plan squared away before the end of the current year so I can milk every ounce of fun and freedom out of the summer... without having to bother with it or think about going back to "real life" in the slightest! Summer is my jam!

Next year may be my last year homeschooling, as Tristan has expressed interest in starting at the charter school in 5th grade... and it certainly would not do to leave Olivia behind! We've been thrilled with our experience at the charter school this far, and I have no regrets having our big kids there. Yet I'm so very grateful for the years I've been given at home with my kids. There is nothing like the magic of the early years-- learning to read, write, add, reason-- seeing their minds open and hearing the questions they ask. As hard and challenging and as being a SAHM mom is, and as absolutely exhausting and endless as it can seem, I feel entirely lucky that I've been able to be home with my kids for these early, formative years. It is the greatest blessing.

4. Hallie is turning 11 in two weeks... I remember being 11 and telling my brother that 11 was my favorite number... not because I WAS 11, of course, just because that HAPPENED to be my favorite number. Haha. Will will turn 13 this summer, and Dan and I will be well on our way to being parents of big kids. And while Olivia (at six) isn't entirely big, she's really not little either. I love having my kids close together though; it's so fun to be a cohesive family and do things all together and be able to all be able to enjoy and experience things together! I remember growing up and one of my parents having to stay back/sit out/wait in the car while the baby/toddler napped (for a decade or more!) and while it was still great, it really makes me appreciate the gift I've been given in being able to spend so much quality time doing things WITH my kids. Hiking, biking, kayaking, picnicking, adventuring-- it's all so fun and it's such a gift to be able to be with them! I don't ever want to take it for granted!

5. Will is heading to DC tonight with his Boy Scout troop. It's about a 3.5 hour drive (gotta love living within a few hours of the major east coast cities!) and they will be tent camping tonight and tomorrow night. Tomorrow they are going on a 7+ mile hike through the capital and visiting several monuments and historical sites. Scouts has been such a great opportunity for Will and he really loves it... it's so neat to see your kids find their niches and thrive!

6. Dan rotates through taking the kids out for breakfast one-on-one, and a couple days ago it was Olivia's turn. While at breakfast, she asked him if he knew she had two moms. (This is something she and I have openly discussed in the past.) He was a little taken aback, but she confidently "filled him in" to the fact that she has two moms, one in Ethiopia, and said that she would like to go back and visit her one day! What a big concept for a little six-year old! Whenever it comes up, we remind her that everyone in her birth and adoptive families has nothing but immense love for her. I hope that later in life, her earliest memories are secure in the knowledge that she was, and always has been, so loved.

7. I'm kind of out of things to say. I feel like I stink at this weekly recap thing ... I thought it would be a way for me to think and look back at what I did each week, but it looks like I tend to get all rambly and philosophical and run with thought tangents instead. I actually had to pull up iCal to see what I'm missing from this week's recap. How sad is that! Anyway, on that note, I am now reminded that Hallie had her annual flute recital on Sunday. She did great! I am proud of my musical and artistic girl. All our kids are so different and unique and they love completely different things. I love it and hope that I'm able to foster and encourage their individual strengths!

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