Tuesday, August 30, 2011

I am a teacher

It has just donned on me that I am a teacher.  I think the fact that my job as a homeschool teacher doesn't require a degree led me to discount my work.  Then it hit me - I don't have a teaching certificate, but I have students.  I have people under my influence.

I hope and pray that I am more than just an educator imparting information onto young brains...  In the ways that Mr. Morris, Mr. Lane, Mrs. Allen, Ms. Crispino and Mr. Custer were teachers - I pray that I am that kind of teacher.  The kind who shares more than knowledge.  The kind who writes permanently on the pages of a young person's life.  The kind who sees the whole person - the heart, the potential, the needs.  The kind who feeds.  The kind who encourages and nurtures.

This job - my job - comes with tremendous responsibility.  And it's a tremendous honor.  How on earth was I chosen to be among the ranks of those wonderful teachers who've gone before me?  I pray that I am able to do for my students what they did for me.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Hair Theory

Zach:  "I know why women don't grow hair under their armpits.  It's because they already have too much on their heads."

Sunday, August 28, 2011

I cannot believe I did that!

I cannot believe I did that!

I repeated that about 30 times between the finish line and home.

Gina, Jodi and I went out for a practice trip through the tri course this morning.  We set up our little transition area, and decided to stay together this morning for our practice.  We waited on the slowest swimmer...and they waited on the slowest runner (me).  My rockstar friends even did a cheer to spur me on when exhaustion was getting the better of me!  We had one long transition that included loading all three bikes back into my van.

From start to finish - never stopping the watch - it took us 1 hour and 46 minutes.

As I was running, I thought about how I might need to have a shirt made between now and the race.  It would read, "Cheer for me...  I'm DYING here!  Tonya"

As I crossed the finish line (ran through the gauntlet of cheering women who run faster than I do), I did some quick math and determined that my shaky legs got through the run in 34 minutes.  That was the fastest 5K of my life!  How did I do that?

I can officially say that I'm ready.  The race is 13 days away and the girls and I are going into it with confidence.

This has been the single biggest physical accomplishment of my life.  I am learning a lot about endurance, discipline and determination; trying at almost all times to channel the inner competitor that surely must live somewhere within me.  Pushing through pain and wanting to win do not come naturally to me. 

To my husband...the keeper of our children for countless hours over these last couple of months.  Thank you!  I could not be doing this without your support and encouragement.  You are the funniest and most sarcastic person I've ever met.  You are a relentless tease, but my biggest cheerleader, and just the perfect organizer, bike service man, run route creator, and whisperer of encouragement for me.

My favorite Bryan quotes...

When a friend's comment on Facebook read, "You are ready", you quipped "Ready to die!" (I'd been lying on the kitchen floor after an exhausting work out about 10 minutes prior.)

When I marveled at the fact that I could barely bring myself to run the entire RFM 5K route prior to race day in the spring and now I'm running 3-4 miles several times a week, you said: "I cannot believe you haven't gotten any faster!"  (At the time I wasn't much faster.)

And then there was your sweet message on my Facebook...  "At first it was a TRYathlon (and I thought you were a little crazy), but now it's a triathlon.  And you are ready.  So proud of you!"

Thank you, Bryan.  I love you.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


The boys and I just finished our first book of the Bible - John.  I loved the sweet time we had reading and discussing what was going on.  I loved the nights that we really needed to be going to sleep, but they requested "just one more chapter".  Nothing breaks bed time like just one more chapter -- of the Bible!

As we were wrapping up tonight, Zach begged for the one more chapter (which actually would have made for a second extra chapter)....taking us into chapter 1 of Acts.  Since it meant the beginning an entirely new book, we agreed to start tomorrow.

There are many things to love about John, but right now I'm smiling about the final verse.

"Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written." John 21:25

If that doesn't inspire passionate prayers and sweet dreams, I don't know what does.  So grateful for a savior that offers so much to learn from and aspire to.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Another budding reader

Monday night I went out to the park to swim and bike.  When I got home, I found Luke reading to Bryan and Zach, with Zach taking video.  He snapped a few pictures too.

Luke's reading has completely taken off this week.  He hasn't put down the books...and he's drawn just like his brother was to Dr. Seuss.  What incredibly entertaining and inspiring books for my young readers.  I'm so grateful.


Boys, I've said it a million times...  If you can read, you can teach yourself anything.  Never stop.  I'm so proud of you both.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Back to school

I love these two pictures.  They tell a tale of two brothers!  One who had collared shirts and plaid shorts on his back-to-school shopping list, the other who just made his list as he went along - the more sarcastic the better.

One who's serious and methodical in everything he does.  The other born cracking jokes and flying by the seat of his pants. They are two very different young boys, but very much the same too.

They are both in school now.

Zach is in 2nd grade at our local elementary school.

Luke is in kindergarten at the homeschool enrichment center where I teach.

We are so excited for what this year will bring!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

T Minus 4

Luke is over the moon with excitement and anticipation.  He received a letter from Mrs. Graber today, welcoming him to her kindergarten class.  Included was a picture of Mrs. Graber with her son.  He will also be in Mrs. Graber's class.  Luke lit up like a Christmas tree!  He just couldn't believe he was finally laying eyes on his teacher and one of his classmates.  I can't wait for them to finally meet.  He is going to love it!

So...  With great anticipation, we finished buying school supplies today.  Luke is stoked to finally have to buy supplies!!  He's a BIG kid now!

And we put the kids to bed earlier.

But Zach didn't stay in bed.  It's 9:18pm and he's sitting on the couch behind me.  I have promised to wake him up very early tomorrow.  He will regret not going to bed on time, but I'm pretty sure I will regret it more.  Someone will be cranky ... but hopefully it will help him to understand the need to go to bed on time!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

T Minus 5

We have enjoyed every minute of summer.  Late nights.  Lots of ice cream.  Lots of time spent with cousins and friends.

It caught up with Luke this morning.

9:53am and he was still fast asleep.  In my bed.   (Confession:  I love that he still sleeps with cuddlies and blankies - and in this case a cuddly that is a blankie!)

We're going to have to party a little less hardy between now and Sunday night. 

Monday, August 8, 2011

T Minus 6

It's back to reality in six days.  We are (frantically) savoring these final days of summer.  Doing things we won't be able to do once the kids and I are in school, I'm teaching part time, and Bryan returns to full-time work.  The first of these transitions begins in a week, the next two days later, the next a week later, and then Bryan should go back to work a week after that.

Till then...

Today Luke recovers from yesterday's noon - 9:30pm playdate.  Zach recovers from that same playdate, plus a sleepover.  No one bothers to brush their hair before noon.  Zach and I are still in jammies.  Zach hasn't yet brushed his teeth.

Bryan and Luke are Wii bowling in the dark.  Zach is building Bionicles, grateful that Bryan and Luke are providing the glow from the TV and allowing him to use the tabletop lamp.

I will take a run - probably on the treadmill.  And eventually I'll clean house and double check Zach's school supply list to make sure we've got everything.

Today we're chillin'.  Maybe I'll send Bryan out for a Redbox this afternoon.  Or we could watch the Notebook or Message in a Bottle off the DVR.

Next week we'll hit the ground running.  I'm grateful for today's down time.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Best laid plans?

I took the kids with me to shop for a dress for Bryan's class reunion tonight.  As we scoured the last of the stores within a 15 mile radius of our house, we found ourselves at the Saks Fifth Avenue outlet.  With crystal displayed on tables just inside the door, and beautiful gowns hanging all around us, I gave the boys a firm order:  "Touch nothing."

A few minutes later, I look up to see Luke rubbing a gown on his face.  He has a serious love affair with soft fabrics.

I reminded him not to touch and, of course, he asked why.

Me:  "Because everything is very fancy and very expensive.  Look at this beautiful white dress here.  Your grubby hands would get it dirty and it costs $385.  And it's so pretty, a lady might like to get married in it.  She won't want your dirty hands on her wedding gown."

Luke:  "You can buy it.  For our wedding.  It would be beautiful on you."

Me:  "Buddy, you need to grow up before you can get married.  It will be a long time before your bride will need to shop for her wedding gown."

Zach:  "So...  Can you and Luke just go into any random church and kiss and be married?"

We came home without a dress, but I sure got a lot of laughs out of our excursion.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

First Annual Family Canoe Trip

I have often said that I dream of things like traveling by RV, camping, sending my kids to camp, going to family camp, taking canoe trips, white water rafting, hiking, etc...  Don't get me wrong - Fiji and long cruises sound dreamy too - but I'm more of the keep-it-simple, spend-time-with-my-family-on-a-budget type.  I'm definitely not a Disney girl.  You can keep your amusement parks and costumed characters...

That said, this past weekend was a dream come true for me!  We went on our church's first annual family canoe trip.  I have encouraged Bryan for years to take the boys on the father/son trip, but it's never worked out.  This year I decided they were going - no discussions - but when I went to register them, I stumbled upon the FAMILY trip!

Best stumbling I've ever done.

Over the weekend, we enjoyed the campfire every night with friends.  Played in the inflatable water park.  Socialized at the pool party.  Canoed eight miles.  Ate three meals a day with friends.  Received a great message on Sunday morning.  Worshiped the Lord by acoustic guitar.  Played on the playground.  And watched Zach conquer some serious fear on the ropes course.

Have I mentioned how amazing that young man is?

A year and a half ago he wouldn't go up in a McDonald's Playland play structure and this weekend he did this...


And earlier that morning the entire family was challenged, as we faced a great deal of thunder, lightning, and pouring rain on the river.  There was no where to go, so we cuddled together on an island, praying and reassuring the kids that we were going to be fine.

And we were.  Once the rain stopped, the cloud cover was a welcomed relief from the hot sun!  We had a wonderful time the rest of the day.

We are already looking forward to going again next year.  Best camping weekend ever!

Look who's FIVE

Since we were out of town on Luke's birthday, we have not yet celebrated with our extended family!  However, before we left we did manage to squeeze in a little party with a couple of the kids' friends.


And we celebrated over a campfire on his BIG DAY at our church's canoe trip.  Everyone made such a big deal out of our boy turning five.  We couldn't have asked for more!

Luke, you are a blessing to everyone who knows you.  Your sense of adventure, humor, wit, charm, determination, thoughtfulness and creativity are such a gift! You and your brother are the best things Daddy and I have ever been a part of.  WE LOVE YOU!  Enjoy your sixth year of life.  I can't wait to see what another year brings for you.