Wednesday, January 28, 2009

For My Homeschooling Friends

I have been looking around for a cheap way to help the kids with math practice and found an awesome math worksheet site. Today we are doing a fun math that is like Bingo. It is a Valentine's Day puzzle. The site is called (Click here.) It even has algebra, fractions and metric conversion practice. That will certainly help when we are in Mexico where they use the metric system.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Change in Departure Date

As we are getting closer to our departure date, it is becoming more clear exactly how things will be working out. Previously I had set our departure date as April 20 but with some recent changes, we will actually be leaving either Sunday, April 12 or Monday, April 13. A very dear friend of ours in Sacramento is setting up a time for us to be able to talk with people from their church and share about Esperanza Viva and our calling there. This is very exciting for us as it will be another church contact. It could only be arranged on April 13th or 14th so our departure date had to change.

As we are looking at what we need to bring, we are also slimming down things again. Jim is going to start bringing things to San Jose that he can take back to Mexico with him on his visits to San Jose. He will need to go back to San Jose about every four months to check on some things for Adrian. This is helpful in trying to get some of the curriculum we bought for school down to Mexico. I have purchased things that we are not going to use until a couple of years from now, so those things we do not need down there right away. So, I am sorting through more to take just what we need to start with.

Today we continued to go through our storage room at my mother-in-law's house and we were able to clear out a whole lot more that is going into the storage room in the shed. When we get closer to leaving, we will move Jonathan's bed over to her house so she can use it when guests come over.

It is still a bit mind boggling that we leave in 2-1/2 months. In weeks it is just 10-1/2 weeks away. Yikes! Please continue to pray for us as we walk into this next season of our lives. That is all for now. We'll keep you posted.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Packing Curriculum

We are now down to 2-1/2 months before our departure to Mexico. In the past weeks I have been putting together our curriuculum for homeschooling. Knowing that we won't be coming back for up to two years, I have needed to purchase two or more years of each subject. So, what you see in the picture is what we are bringing so far. I am trying to keep all of our books to no more than what will fit in these three boxes. This has been very hard. I have gotten rid of far more than this by bringing old curriculum to a local homeschool store that sells used curriculum on consignment. This has helped pay for some of what we have purchased.

The thought of bringing only what fits in our car is a bit overwhelming at times. We will have a cargo carrier on the top of the car and we have a shelf that hooks into the hitch on the back of our car. That will add a little more space of which I am extremely grateful.

I think that is all for now. I will keep posting as we get closer to our depature date which is now looking like it will be closer to April 13th instead of the 20th.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Trampoline is Out of the Pond

Today, Jim and his brother, Luke, took the trampoline out of our neighbor's pond. Our thoughts were confirmed - it is pretty messed up and there is no fixing it without getting parts from another trampoline. So, Jim is looking at Craig's List to see if there is another trampoline he can buy to use the parts from.

Doesn't look good, does it?

This piece is bent really bad.

This piece is totally broken off.

Fortunately the wind was not blowing as hard today, only 20-25 mph. Hopefully tomorrow will be better and the wind will be gone. It is supposed to be 10-15 mph during the day then only 5-10 mph at night. Yea!

New Pictures of our Grandchildren

We have had the privilege of watching our grandchildren a couple of times in the past few days. It has been wonderful to have them here. I also took the chance to take a few updated pictures. So, here they are. I am really going to miss having them come over when we move to Mexico. I thank the Lord for the technology which will allow them to send pictures and for us to see then on web cams.

Preston - 16 months old.

Dylan - 4 years old

Brooklyn - almost 3 years old

Victory - 2 months old. He is now 10-lbs. 1-oz. which is amazing. Kristen said he gained over 1-lb. just in the last week. He has gotten quite chunky in the two months since he was born 7 weeks early.

Grandma and Preston

Sunday, January 18, 2009

So How Windy is It?

In the Portland area, there have been reports of 60-71 mph winds. The wind has been whipping around the house the past three days. Last night when I left to pick Jim up from the airport, our trampoline had moved about 20 feet from right outside our kitchen window to the side of the yard where the gate is. I was amazed it see that. This morning, Jim went out side to do something and called to me. He asked me to look and see what was missing. I looked and the trampoline was gone! It had been picked up and ended up in the neighbors pond, 100 feet away. It was taken by the wind over a four foot fence. Unbelievable but you can see it for yourself... I guess that's one way to get a bigger yard over night.

More Spanish News

Well, I did my interview with the Rene at Esperanza Viva today. I don't feel like I did very well but I also know that I am continually learning. It was hard to understand Rene since the connection didn't seem very good. He had to ask a couple of the questions in English because I just couldn't understand them. I think I was able to answer them okay but not as well as I would have liked to. It is hard over the phone though. Facial expressions say a lot about whether the other person understands what you are saying and I get a lot out of hand gestures and facial expressions when someone is talking to me. So, all that to say, I know I need to learn a lot more and I am learning more and more every day. I need to do more listening to native speakers so that I can understand when someone talks to me. So, tonight I was listen and watching Cheaper by the Dozen in Spanish. I also put on some of my Spanish worship CDs. I will keep plugging along and just hope they don't want to send me to Guatemala for language school.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Learning Spanish

Hola amigos y familia, ¿Cómo están? Estoy muy bien. Yo estudiaba mi español hoy porque voy a tener un examen en la manaña con el staff en Esperanza Viva.

Oh sorry, I guess I have really been studying my Spanish the last couple of days. :o) I feel that I have finally crossed over a plateau that was keeping me from progressing and now that I seem to be over the hump I am excited about learning more Spanish.

I had my tutoring lesson in Spanish yesterday and after trying and trying to learn the different tenses of the verbs I finally got it. Right after that, I found out from Jim that Rene, one of the staff from Esperanza Viva in Mexico, is calling tomorrow to do a phone interview to assess my level of Spanish. What timing! I am a little nervous but I know I can speak in Spanish when I am pushed to it. With only three months to go, there isn't much time to get this down. I know that the majority of it will be learned when we are in Mexico and then I will have so much more opportunity to practice. Anyway, if you would pray for me that I would do okay I would greatly appreciate it.


Monday, January 12, 2009

Getting Back to Normal

Well, school is back in session and we are working at catching up on some things since we got a little behind during the Christmas tree lot season. The kids are not real thrilled with doing two or three lessons of grammar and math but that is life.

I have also been putting together a curriculum order for the next two to three years. Some things I have to wait on because I am not sure if they will work but some of the curriculum, I have used in the past with great success so we will order those with no problem.

We are now down to approximately three months out from our move date. I found out that Jim's last day at work is April 11 so we may leave before the time on our ticker by about a week. We'll see where we are at the time. By that time, Kristen and her family will be moved into our house here and we will be staying next door at my mother-in-law's house. That will be quite cramped but we will manage.

I am continuing to bring stuff to Good Will. On Saturday, I brought four or five more boxes and bags to Good Will and one more box of books to the curriculum store to be sold on consignment. I was able to get our office cleaned out on Saturday and it really looks good. The thing I know is that I will have to do that again several more times before we leave.

We sent out our support letters and tear off cards. We have heard from some people that they have received them. We are trusting God to provide for us. Every time I start to get worried if we will be funded, I hear God speak and say that he has it in control. So, I need to do my part and rest in Him. At the beginning of the school year we read a book on the life of George Muller and it was quite encouraging when it comes to thinking about our support. We also have some friends that went on a short term trip to Poland last October. We saw God provide for them at the last minute which was very encouraging also. I have seen in the past that God is many times a God of the eleventh hour. But I have also seen times when he is the God of the eleventh hour and fifty-ninth minute. Have you experienced that also? One thing I know, God is our provider and he will continue to show himself faithful in this area.

We are getting more and more excited about our move. I am even beginning to dream about it. There is sadness also though. The thought of leaving our grandchildren and adult children behind is hard but I know that God will be with us through that also.

Well, that is all for now. I just wanted to update you on where we are at.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Day 2 at Great Wolf Lodge

Well, we started the day sleeping in until almost 9:00. I am not sure how we did that except that Jim says it was probably because of the room darkening curtains and says that we need to get some room darkening curtains at home. That may help if the room stays darker. We then went to breakfast and filled up on the buffet. Since we ate so late, we told the kids it was brunch so until dinner we would just snacking on the food we brought with us.

If you remember from yesterday's blog, our van was having trouble so after breakfast Jim took the van to the Mazda dealer in Olympia and found that there service department is not open on Mondays. So, he drove the van back to Portland and dropped it off at the Mazda dealer there. After that her rented a PT Cruiser and drove back up here. That was better than taking a chance that the car would totally break down with all of us in it tomorrow.

While Jim was gone, Jonathan vegged in the hotel room and Erin and I went swimming. We went in the wave pool and down the River Canyon Run Slide which was a lot of fun. Erin did talk me into doing the Howling Tornado one more time. During the day it is dark in the tunnel since the light comes from outside which means it's not near as scary. In fact, it was actually really fun. I will most likely go on it again later in the day. I wasn't too sure about going down it at night again but I did it and again, it wasn't as scary. I just always want to be facing forward and not going down backwards.

The other thing we have been doing is going on a Quest. The kids chose to get a wand for a souvenir and the wands are use in the Magiquest Game. It is basically like a scavenger hunt where you go around with clues and point the wand at the different things, like stars or jewels, etc. The wand registers the things you get and once you get everything on the page you are trying to get, you receive a rune stone. Once you have all the rune stones you go on to fight the dragon and get other things. It gets harder as you move up. Both of the kids had fun but I think Jim and I had a lot of fun also.

Tomorrow we plan on finishing the Magiquest Game, doing some more swimming and having a great time before we go home.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

A Short Vacation to Great Wolf Lodge

For years, Jim has saved pennies and other coins in a big water jug. Once the jar is full, we would do something fun with the kids. Our two oldest children would probably remember paying for a day trip to Pier 39 in San Francisco totally with quarters. We would pay for lunch, tour boat cruises, souvenirs and everything totally with quarters. Well, when we moved from our old house a year ago to where we live now, we had a 5 gallon water jug filled with coins. Jim was not in town when we needed to move it to the new house and it was too heavy to pick up so the kids and I had to tip it over and rock it back and forth to get all the coins out. We then put coins into zip lock bags and transported them that way. Now, with the help of a Coin Star machine, we didn't need to count the coins, we just brought them in to have the machine count them. We ended up with over $350.00 from pennies, nickles, dimes, quarters and some dollar coins. We told the kids we would take them to do something special. So, we are on a two night vacation at Great Wolf Lodge in Grand Round, Washington. It is a huge indoor water park with a hotel. When we were driving up here, about an hour out of Portland it began to snow. Funny thing is, I took the chains out of the car yesterday to make room in order to bring stuff to Good Will. It continued snowing and it is now almost 8:30 and it is still snowing. This has been an interesting trip as our car started acting up on the way here also. With it jerking upon acceleration and the check engine light on, we drove the last 20 miles praying that we would make it. Tomorrow, Jim will need to look for a place to get it checked out. Wouldn't you know it, the warranty expired 500 miles ago.

It's hard to see, but it is snowing out there.

It was also hard to get a picture after dark. My camera doesn't take good night pictures.

There is a water slide here called the Howling Tornado. You walk up to the top of the building where the water slide starts. From there you go into a dark tunnel and make a drop down into a funnel where you repeatedly swish and swirl 30 feet up the sides of the funnel, before making a safe splash landing. Erin and I went on the tube another mom and her daughter. At the bottom of the slide, the girls were screaming that they were ready to go again. The other mom and I were rather speechless with stunned looks on our faces. It was my first and last time going on it. Erin immediately went back up to go and went six times before we were done.

After playing in the water park, we went to the restaurant for their buffet. The food was really good but a bit on the spendy side when we were planning on leaving and going to cheaper places to eat. The car giving us troubles kind of put an end to that thought. Just as we were leaving the restaurant, the power went out. We knew it had been windy out. The generators got the power back on right away except in the water park. So, we ended up not being able to go back tonight. There will be more time for swimming tomorrow though.

God has truly blessed us. We booked a room with a balcony and when we got here, we received a room with a patio on the ground floor. Jim went to ask about it and they gave us a balcony room on the fourth floor. They said that they were giving us a large concession. When we got to the room, we found out that they really did. We went from a room with two queen beds and a sofa sleeper which was nice, to a room that would have cost more than twice as much. Our new room has two queen size beds, a separate area with a corner fireplace with the couch/sleeper sofa and it has a separate master bedroom with it's own bathroom with a king size bed. Wow!

We thank the Lord for the blessings he gives us.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Can you believe it is the year 2009 already? It is amazing how fast time is going by. Kristen was over last night and was looking at her four year old son and asked how he is getting so big already. I ask the same question about my kids? How do I have a 23 year old daughter who has four children? And my youngest is 10-1/2 years old and growing up so fast. Time is just flying by us. It makes me think that we really need to take the time to make the most of each day. This year is a year of change for us and I want to be sure that when we are making these changes that we are making the most of the time we have left here in the US. I hope to be able to make more time for my adult children and my grandchildren so that I have wonderful memories to take with me. My prayer is that each of us grows closer to our Lord and Savior.

We look forward to working at Esperanza Viva Youth Home with the kids and staff in whatever capacity they have for us. It is still unknown the specifics of what we will be doing but we will keep you all informed. During this next year we ask that you would pray for our family to adjust to this transition (especially the kids), that we will continue to gain a better knowledge of the Spanish language, that the Lord would provide for us and that we would continually stay in His will. Thank you for your prayers.

God bless you all in 2009!