Archive for March, 2012

Spring Break #1, 2012

March 31, 2012

I love homeschooling.  I think I’ve mentioned that here before.  I love it for several reasons…. one of them being the freedom to make and follow (or not) your own schedule.  So, way back in August when our co-op moms were deciding on Spring Break, we picked the first week of April.  That sounded good to all of us.  Done.  Bam.  Then last week we got a call from my husband’s brother asking if we wanted a week of company for their Spring Break.  SURE!  So today wrapped up Spring Break #1.

Next week starts Spring Break #2, only because it was already on the schedule and we don’t have to go to class on Wednesday as per usual.  The Crosby’s will be doing school work, but it will be a tad relaxed.  And everybody said…. AMEN! 

Spring Break #3 will be later in April, when our son has a cycling race in Monterey.  We don’t plan to bring any school work on that trip either.  I did alert the pupils that the same amount of math, history and English will need to be done by the end of Spring Break #3….  in order to keep the water flowing in the primed schoolwork pump. 

See why I love homeschooling?  Here is a photo tribute to spring Break #1, 2012.

Street Hockey Championship in the cul-de-sac.

The Metate Trail in the Spur Cross Recreational Area…. HUGE saguaros!

What would a hike be without some planking?

And to finish off hike #1…. some ruins. 

Spring Break #1, Hike #2 at Black Canyon Recreation Trail

The cacti are just beginning to bloom their AMAZING blossoms.

And we discovered there was a river at the bottom of the trial….. that we didn’t plan on… in time, water or food… so we will return to this hike someday when we are prepared.

Goodbye Spring Break #1.  Hello Spring Break #2!  (I love homeschooling.)

Keep Your Small Children Off the Streets!

March 21, 2012

It’s that time of my life again…. I’m getting old fast.  My little blond haired son who stuttered and yelled every word while he ran instead of walking anywhere…. just got his driver’s permit.  He was three-years-old about six months ago.  How does this keep happening to me?  In the past few years, every time he would comment on my driving (like suggesting that I could have made it through the light I stopped at) I would tell him to add two more months past his 16th birthday for a possible driving date.  Funny how he stopped commenting about six or eight months ago…. hoping I would forget all the months that were added. I have not.  What do you think I am?  Old?

Before my 15 1/2-year-old got his permit, I mentioned to my husband that I’m not real comfortable riding with my eldest son behind the wheel.  The last time he drove the van was in 1999 and HE WAS THREE!  He hit a fire hydrant and the van got a hole bashed in the rear bumper. Yes, he went in reverse AND drive!  It’s all still so clear in my motherly-horror-of-horrors-memory.  Back to my comment to my husband.  He responded as a more-than-confident father, “He’s a great driver. He’s a guy. He’ll do fine.  He’s my son.”  I rolled my proverbial eyeballs. Our 18-year-old daughter did an involuntary sputter/choke/laugh.  She then questioned, “What does Dad know that the insurance companies don’t know?”  GREAT question.

Thankfully, my eldest son actually IS a confident and safe driver so far.  We have not ventured onto the highway yet, but his success in parking lots and side streets is quite good.  I’m actually feeling more confident now than when my very nervous and cautious daughter started this process three years ago. 

Two student drivers down.  Two to go.  God help us!

Math the Colombian Way

March 19, 2012

(This picture has nothing to do with this post…. but it’s cold outside, so I picked a snow picture!)

Math is different around the world.  I’m convinced of that.  My husband was taught math in Canada and he DOES NOT do multiplication the way I was taught here in the good ol’ US of A.  And he’s not converting from metric either; he simple learned a funky, three-step process to do the facts, and I merely memorized them.  On occasion, I do use my fingers for the nine’s times tables, but that’s only really late at night. [You know... hold up your ten fingers.  Bend down the number you are multiplying by nine.  Read the tens and ones with the remaining fingers.  I.e.  9x4  Hold up your ten fingers.  Bend down the fourth finger from the left.  There are three fingers standing on the left (tens = 30) and six fingers still standing on the right (ones = 6)  Hence, 36.]  But my dear husband’s process has you subtracting and adding numbers up and down from the number you started with.  And you’re supposed to remember all these numbers as you go.  Too many steps for my little brain.

Today, at the kitchen table while teaching math to the little Colombian princess, I was assuming that Colombians learned addition differently than I did.  Here are the equations and her answers:

15.   5 + 4 =  24

16.   3 + 8 = 27

Get it?  I didn’t.  For a LONG time.  Finally I explained that it was a pre-test and I didn’t expect her to know how to do those problems yet.  THEN I SAW the DOTS.  She draws little dots and counts them.  For the first problem, she drew 15 dots, 5 dots and 4 dots.  She counted them all and wrote the correct answer!  SHE WAS INCLUDING THE NUMBER OF THE PROBLEM!  Hahahaha!  And she DID know how to add them ALL!  So after we got it all ironed out, it was smooth sailing.  Colombian math is just like USA math, but probably not like Canadian math! (If I can help it!)

My Son Wears a Unitard…..

March 12, 2012

…. but thankfully, he’s not dancing with ribbons at the same time!  He is riding for a foundation called Team Winded that raises awareness of asthma.  We are THRILLED that he has this opportunity and gets to associate with top-notch individuals who are making Team Winded function!

That’s him on the right with the Night Rider glasses on.  I love the team’s orange booties because it makes the riders so easily identifiable on the track! Today was Austin’s first category four race.  Cycling begins at category five and they work their way up to one… and professional.  We’ve been told that it usually takes about ten years of riding to hit your prime… that will be age 24 for Austin.  It’s a long term goal, but he is passionate, determined and sturdy!

Here is an informative article about The Winded Foundation:  http://www.freedomwaymagazine.com/winded-foundation-works-raise-asthma-awareness

God has brought many amazing opportunities into this young man’s life…. this is by far one of the coolest!!!  Thank you, Team Winded (Jay and Tisha!) for sponsoring Austin and having the vision to grow riders! These guys range in age from 15 to 18 and Austin is one of the youngest on the team.

(Austin is third from the right above and in the middle below.)

The World just got a little Smaller

March 11, 2012

For the first time since we have been home from Colombia (15 months ago) we Skyped with our Colombian friends who live across the street from the house we rented.  Oh, we miss them.  Oh, we miss Cali.  Oh, we need to go SOON!  They asked when we are coming to visit.  The plan in the back of our heads is when Nora is older… but how older?  I don’t know.  I told our friends maybe when she is 12.  That’s four years out…. that seems so long not to visit with them and hug their necks.  It was so heartwarming to see their smiling faces and hear their rapid Spanish…. that I can hardly understand!  And of course it was on a night when I looked THE WORST! I had a massage earlier and my hair was greasy… no make-up.  But I’ve never smiled so big!  Nora came and said hello to them and asked why they weren’t speaking English.  In her logical little mind she speaks English… and she used to be able to understand them… so they MUST speak English!  Oh boy.  We need to get her back into speaking Spanish before we travel.  Skype made the world just a little smaller this week!  Thank you, Skype. 

WordPress, who posts this awesome blog you are reading, recently started a new feature that shows where your readers are on a map of the world.  This expanded my view of this humble blog and made the world just a little bit smaller in my mind.  Last week there were readers on MSJ from 54 different countries!  I couldn’t believe it either.  This brought even more questions to my mind…. do they read the English language?  Did they stumble on MSJ because of pictures that have been posted?  Are they all service men whose US wives tell them to read MSJ?  Do they come back and read again?  Are they copying down my insightful ideas and spreading the love in their own country? And where in the world are Myanmar, Anguilla and Seychelles?  So as the world shrinks and we begin to sing a round of We are the World, I wanted to extend my international WELCOME to the many faces who come here!  I am honored and humbled (and stunned, quite frankly!) 

Yet Another Rude Awakening

March 9, 2012

These past two weeks, I have been appalled, shocked and dismayed as I have investigated “Christian” colleges that my daughter is interested in attending and heard reports of several state universities.  I’m not sure which surprised me more (albeit, I realize I’m a morally straight-up, nicely sheltered prude…. and proud of it most of the time) the fact that a professor at a nearby “professing” Christian college relayed to me that less than half the staff THAT TEACH at the college believe that the Bible is inerrant…. OR…. the fact that the dorms at the big state college here in town have co-ed dorms and BATHROOMS!  WHAT?  SO much has changed since our college days… oh…. my…. word.

With my daughter by my side, we introduced ourselves to a psychology prof whom she would be taking classes from if she attended the school we were touring.  He asked if I had any questions.  Boy howdy, did I!  My first one was about the professors believing the Bible’s innerrancy…..my second was an inquiry about his personal beliefs and worldview.  I didn’t reserve these questions solely to the psychology department…. I thought it was even more apropos to ask the dean of the Christian studies program.  “Most of the profs in the Christian Studies department believe like you do, Mrs. Crosby.”  MOST!?!  I’m more concerned about the few that don’t…. EVEN having a teaching job in that department.  Good gravy!

(Here’s my daughter with her suitcase packed ready to jump on the college train.)

My questioning ended with the Christian Studies gentleman with an inquiry if there were any required religious courses.  He quite satisfactorily affirmed that yes, all students must take Worldview.  (That could be good or bad, depending on what that prof believes!!!)  Larisa chimed in at that moment and said that she had already taken Worldview.  The prof asked what college she is transferring from.  She replied that she is a senior in high school.  He then cross-examined about what school teaches Worldview.  “I’m homeschooled,” she answered.  With eyes as big as the free frizbees they were giving away, he turned back to me and queried in disbelief, “YOU taught Worldview to your highschool homeschooler?”  “Yes,” I admitted a little more timidly than my questions had been delivered, “I thought it was really important.”  He actually shook his head at me.

After my questions were exhausted… as well as my little brain trying desperately to wrap itself around these ideas that are accepted by most now-a-days…. my daughter turned to me and said, “Wow, Mom, those were tough questions.  I didn’t know you were going to ask questions like that.  Good job.”  What was I supposed to be asking?  “Do you give scholarships for being really cute?” (I wish!)

I’m feeling older and more prudish as each day passes.  I’m relating more to Noah than to the world we are surrounded by.  In and not of, baby.  All the way.

300,000 TODAY!

March 6, 2012

Yes, in the next hour or so, the hits on this humble blog, My Sister’s Jar, will surpass 300,000.  The number is astounding to me.  Let me give you some back history… several years ago (I just tried to figure out what year it was, but I’m 45 and can’t remember things like that… sigh) I attended a writer’s conference in New Mexico where there were several seminars one could take in.  I perused the list and chose several… the ones I recollect include: contract negotiations, writing the perfect proposal, selling your wares to publishers, adding humor to your writing and narrowing down your pitch to elevator length.  Distinctly I remember reading one particular description that caused me to guffaw and roll my eyes.  Ready?  It was simply titled “Blogging”.  My thoughts at that time included, but were not limited to the following: Who would spend all that time writing for invisible people?  Who would read some random person’s ramblings? How do people even find “online journals” to read? And WHY would anybody care what a stranger is writing? What is the purpose of blogging? And so on. And so on.  That was during my PBL (pre-blog life).

Upon my arrival home from the conference, my husband and I met with a couple whose lives are engrossed with computers and programming and podcasts and tweeting and a whole bunch of other techy stuff I do not understand.  BUT, he explained blogging to me… and I didn’t stick in one little toe to test the water… I did a cannonball into the deep end of the internet writing swimming hole. 

Those questions I asked myself earlier about blogging have not all been answered.  I still do not understand exactly where 797 people come from in a single day who read my blog.  It is inspiring to me, and quite humbling, to be frank.  I often ask my husband, “Who are these people?” When someone comments, I get a little hint as to who they are… where they are from… how they stumbled upon My Sister’s Jar.  But those are precious and few.

My prayer is that people will be inspired by stopping here to live life to the fullest and possibly take a jump into some of my favorite topics: family, marriage, laughter, writing, adoption, homeschooling, being a Christ follower, raising boys, sewing, traveling, gardening, losing weight, traditions, America the Beautiful, saving money, and being a mom.

I’ll wrap up this bit of blogging hysteria with a meek and awe inspired THANK YOU, to my dear readers who keep coming back to read.  It’s for YOU, invisible friend, that I keep rambling on (and it is cheaper than therapy for me!)  XOXO

A Crazy Lady

March 4, 2012

A close friend of mine has six kids.  I have thought many times about how crazy I would be if I had six kids.  Then I realized that one of hers is away at college…. so there are only five at home.  (See, my math skills from kindergarten are still functioning!)  Five kids still seems like a lot in my mind.  That’s a lot of mouths to feed.  She also homeschools… and that is a lot of kids to school.  Then it dawned on me that I have four kids.  That is only one less than five kids.  I’m so close to being crazy in my own mind… it’s a little scary. 

That was just one of my brilliant realizations as I was away from my four kids at a scrapbooking retreat this past weekend.  See how relaxed and focused I can be if uninterrupted? 

God has been showing up in all the details again… yes, again.  Remember a few years back when I had the word/topic of “honor” brought before my blinkin’ eyes six times before I realized the God moment???  Well, praise be to Baby Jesus and the angels who watch over us, this time it only took THREE times for me to catch on to “Praying for my Children.”  Our pastor spoke on intentional prayer last weekend… especially about parents praying.  Then my Dad showed up on my doorstep with another book in hand called The Blessing of Obedience, an amazing autobiography of a man and wife who prayed and heard from the living God.  THEN… I had already caught onto the subject, but simply to confirm my new direction of focus, I spotted only one workbook of interest at a second-hand store this weekend…. The Power of a Praying Parent.  And I bought it for $1.49. 

The six childrened-friend was also away with me and I mentioned this pattern of focussed prayer for my children.  She acknowledged that it may be what is needed NOW in my life to fend off what might have happened had I not listened in church, read my dad’s book and found the used workbook … all on prayer for my kids.

Amen.  That’s it.  Amen.


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