It has been a while since I've posted anything. We'll just blame that on moving, a slow Internet connection, and lots of little children.
Those are always convenient things to use as excuses, and people seem to be satisfied.
So here's the scoop on our lives:
Yes! We are now in a house! For those of you that know the area, it's very near the Salem Church Library. And two minutes from Ukrops! It has its quirks, which will be unquirked as soon as the plumber decides to show up. Again. I can't really blame him for taking his time, as there are quite a few things for him to fix. Wait a minute, I CAN blame him! Huh. Anyway, the house will be PERFECT when the master tub, washing machine, dishwasher, and right side of the kitchen sink are in working order.
But even so, it is a WONDERFUL house. It is a split foyer, with a family room, laundry room, bathroom, and large garage downstairs. Upstairs is a living room, kitchen, dining room, bathroom, three bedrooms (and the master has a bath), and a screened-in back porch (with ceiling fan!!) next to the deck, which overlooks a large fenced-in yard. We've divided the bedrooms into our room (and Jon in his crib), a boys' room, and a girls' room. We LOVE having a living room and a family room. And we LOVE not having a lot of stuff. Most of our stuff is still in storage, as we will be moving again shortly (more about that below), but we are taking 10 boxes at a time out of storage and paring down. This is because we are realizing how relaxing space is and how stressful non-essential stuff is. Right now each kids' room has a set of bunk beds (and the girls' also has Edee's toddler bed). And that's it. Clothes are in the closet. And I love it. The kids play much more happily together with no toys to fight over, and it's so easy to maintain the house. There are some things we don't have right now that I will want to keep (photos, books, shelves), but there are LOTS that I don't (excessive clothing, videos, chintzy toys that shouldn't have made the first cut, stupid junk I've kept for sentimental reasons).
Ethan left for twelve days (right before the van was stolen) candidating for a position as a pastor in a small church. He was offered a call (that's the presbyterian way of saying they want him). Due to the fact that another church had already asked him to candidate, he (and I and Edee [20 mos.] and Jonathan [3 mos.]) will be traveling to another state for him to candidate there as well. Then, if they issue him a call, we will have to pray for the Lord's guidance in deciding which call to accept. Either location is fine with me. Here's a hint: we will no longer be on the East Coast.
We have one! And it doesn't have the word "mini" in front of it. It's a 12-passenger with two benches (we'd have to stick another bench in if we truly wanted to um... passenge 12 people). It's a 1999 Ford Econoline, with...drum roll...60,000 miles. Can you believe it? The price was outstanding. Everything looks brand new on it. And everything works. I've never owned a car where everything works. The driver's side window, the interior lights... My parents generously provided financing for us. This might have something to do with the fact that it took all three of their cars to get us to church.
Is it any sort of clue that I've read The Old Schoolhouse Magazine's article on Mary Hood (known as "The Relaxed Homeschooler") three times?
I'm trying. I'm really trying. Ben (6) reads to me regularly. He's a very good reader. I'm reading Paddington Bear to him and Lily (4). We are reading through Mark and memorizing some Psalms. We have been doing Ann Voskamp's A Child's Geography (love it! love it! love it!), and we checked out a DK book on weather from the library with easy experiments included. We've started Cozy Grammar just for the heck of it (I think he's still a little young for grammar, but oddly enough, he loves it). My friend Kendra's advice to just get the kids outside and let them love nature on their own has proven to be true. He researches bugs and snails and other boy things all on his own. We've been doing some Walmart workbooks, which has him practice stuff like alphabetizing, following directions, etc. I know I'm lax in the math department, but that has to do with our math stuff being in storage still. So until that gets unearthed, we're practicing with the 100 chart and skip-counting.
Lily is still doing her 15 minutes of phonics and sitting in with Ben on his stuff. All in all, it probably takes us 1-1 1/2 hours to do the "formal" schooling part. Which fits in nicely with the younger four's nap.
So that, grouped together with normal life (what's that??), constitutes our schooling right now.
And you know what? I'm honestly OK with that. Ben is learning and maturing and loving his life. Lily serves as an able classmate and enjoys having time to help me and call it school.
So that's where we are with our Home, Job, Van, and School.
Although currently, I'm sitting at my parents' house waiting for the wash to finish. And yes, loving their high-speed Internet.