Friday, May 20, 2016

Any April Highlights?

I only took pictures one day in April.  That's it.  Which makes me wonder if it's even worth doing an April highlights post?  Not that we didn't do anything!  We were plenty busy, me with my class and Kylen with his usual activities plus a few extras.  He attended a birthday party and an all day writer's workshop for Christian teens.  The one day I took pics was a good one though!  A family outing to Riverfront Park and a new restaurant.

The restaurant we tried is called The Wandering Table.  Their menu changes over time depending on the seasons and products available.  We decided to opt for choosing our own price.  $35 per person brought us nine courses!  It was fun seeing what would come out next, but the waiting was tedious.  They warned us from the start that the wait between courses can be long, but I didn't realize how quickly we would run out of things to talk about!  Definitely the kind of meal you want to do when there will be an abundance of conversation.  The other downside was that nearly every course had a sweet component.  Kylen didn't care for some of the dishes, so I had a hefty helping of those, and before the end I was feeling nauseous.  I'm guessing it was just a fluke the chefs didn't realize, since they are always adjusting their menu.  Our favorite dishes were the deviled eggs with maple syrup and bacon and the popcorn cauliflower.  In fact, Greg was inspired to look up and send me a link for a popcorn cauliflower recipe!  It really was fantastic, and we'd never heard of such a thing.  The other courses were a salad, sliders, wontons, duck, grilled asparagus, a rice cake, cucumber salad, and dessert.  We all felt it was definitely worth experiencing once!

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

March Highlights 2016

I'm finally getting a March post done!  It was nice having the month off from co-op.  I still spent tons of time on my class, but it was great not having a weekly deadline for completed lesson plans.  March highlights included birthday parties, new restaurants, and Easter.  Kylen chose the last week of the month for his spring break, but it wasn't much of a break!  He had a couple extra youth group events that took him away a good part of two different days.  He had fun though.  :)

The birthday parties ranged from turning 40 to 19 to all the way down to one!

We had a fun evening out with my brother and his wife: laser tag and frozen yogurt.

We finally tried out a restaurant called Meltz with fancy grilled cheese sandwiches.  While the food looks amazing, for some reason I wasn't feeling the love.  Maybe I need to try something more simple.  My taste buds were overwhelmed by the strong flavors!  I did enjoy the mac and cheese soup.

Easter is a holiday I really like to celebrate with others.  Last year, we had two families over.  This year we just had one family join us.  I could see inviting a different family over every year.  It's fun sharing our traditions with new people!  :)

What's Up with Me?

I am SO behind on blog posts!  I didn't get a March update done, and now it's nearly May.  My co-op art appreciation class has been sucking almost every bit of free time, but it's almost done!  Only four more weeks!  This class hasn't just been about filling my teaching requirement.  It's also been a chance to really learn art history.  In a way, it's almost like taking a college course, only rather than reading assigned books, writing essays, and taking tests, I'm wading through ridiculous amounts of information and turning it into a half credit high school class.  I don't regret teaching, but I also am really looking forward to switching gears in June.

Have I not done this almost every year with almost every class?  Yes, but never to this extent.  I've only taught one yearlong class before, and never one with credit.  Teaching a class with credit is a whole new level of responsibility.  I don't plan on doing it again, although I would love to reteach this class next year, now that all the work is done.

So my life has consisted of my art class, diet, and spiritual growth, with a few outings thrown in for good measure.  :)  I'd like to elaborate on the spiritual growth.  It's funny how you can go for years thinking you are doing well in your Christian walk, and then you start seeing stuff about yourself that isn't so great.  It's been terrible, wonderful, and humbling.  I could write pages and pages about it and how it all started and all the things God brought together to bring me here.  It's overwhelming, and it makes me want to cry, in a good way.  Basically, what it boils down to, is that I really need the Lord.  Well, duh!  But no, I desperately need Him to help me through this major growth spurt, and it is so incredibly awesome.  I am hoping to heal from insecurity going back to childhood, insecurity I didn't know existed.  I always blamed other people and circumstances.  And I was secure in my relationship with the Lord, or so I thought.  But God's been showing me problems that affected friendships and fellowship outlets.  I'm scared I won't be fixed, I have no idea how I will be fixed, but I believe God is able.  And I don't believe He would show me these things unless He means to fix them.

Some of the things that came together to bring this about included changes in friendships this year, changes in outlets for fellowship, reading The Hiding Place (never have I cried so much reading a book), changes in parenting associated with Kylen growing up, lack of time due to the art class, a revelation on the importance of humility (learned through co-op women's Bible study), and just very recently - as in the last few days - a realization of how negative I am in my thoughts.  It started with discovering that I am a very judgmental person.  I am constantly evaluating and judging everyone and everything all the time.  And then we heard a fantastic sermon about thoughts on Sunday.  I would like to move away from negativity and toward positive communion with the Lord.  I would like my focus to be more on thankfulness and praise than on analysis.  I would like to break free of these hindrances that have affected me my entire life.  I want to love people, and I have been trying to do that all along, but I'm not sure I've made much progress.  Maybe I will now.

Thank you, Lord.  Thank you for opening my eyes.  I want to grow!

Thursday, March 3, 2016

February Update 2016

It was a typical month: school, co-op, a few outings.  Highlights were Valentine's Day, tubing, and the tea fundraiser I posted about.  A few other items of interest . . .

Experimenting for my art class!  This is a page from Wreck This Journal Everywhere.  Floating in water.

Our co-op had a Victorian tea field trip at The Roosevelt Inn.  I went without Kylen, because he's not big on outings with silly girls in frilly dresses, sipping tea and making polite conversation.  ;)

This window reminded me of Beauty and the Beast.  A single rose . . .

My uncle's family invited us to play laser tag.  Greg and Kylen already had plans, so it was just me.  It figures that the one time I go without them, I have my best games ever.  Of the many times I've played, I have MAYBE gotten a third place once.  Never a first.  I also do not do well when there are fewer players than the high 20's.  I got a 3rd out of 30 players the first game, which was amazing in itself.  But the second game . . .

I got a first!  That was a first!  And with only 16 players???  It was like a miracle.  My feet are usually too sore to walk fast enough to keep up with people as they move about, and the fewer the players, the harder to find.  I also have a difficult time going up ramps to the higher levels and often have to hang out on the bottom floor.  This night, my feet were in unusually good shape, and I was more mobile.  Even then, it's remarkable that I did so well.  I don't remember getting a first place even back before arthritis.

This meant a lot to me.  I grew up doing lots of competitive physical activities with family: volleyball, basketball, hockey, soccer, etc.  It's been tough not being able to participate or performing poorly due to disabilities.  I can only explain this as a gift, and I'm going to treasure the memory.  :)

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Dessert Tea Fundraiser

I was recently blessed to attend the 2nd annual dessert tea fundraiser for Open Arms Pregnancy Care Center with a friend.  I was SO impressed by this event!  Being someone who enjoys teas, it was a wonderful experience.  From what I heard, the event has grown quite a bit since last year.  People volunteer to host tables where they are in charge of decorations and food preparation.  The theme was Love Life, and many people took a Valentine approach.  I thoroughly enjoyed walking around and seeing the variety of styles.

I had never participated in a silent auction before, but I enjoyed that part as well.  They had an option for purchasing items outright instead of bidding, and the item I most wanted was purchased that way after only a few bids.  I was disappointed, but I still won another item, a basket full of goodies.  And I got it below it's value price!

Our hostess did a wonderful job.  Her table was one of my favorites, and the food was thoughtfully planned.  Truly a feast for the eyes!  She even made the nametags!

Our table didn't have all it's food yet when I took these pics, hence the empty pedestal.  Isn't it pretty though?

Some of my other favorites.

This was the item I was hoping to win.  After I saw it was purchased, I took a picture.  :)

Our hostess.  :)

This gives an idea of the size of this event.  Look at all the tables!  I took this shot from my spot.  Our table was at one of the corners of the room.

I'm already looking forward to next year's fundraiser.  Maybe I'll even host a table!

Tubing On Silver Mountain

When I was a kid, one of the highlights of winter was tubing down my grandparents' hill.  We no longer have access to that hill, but I've been wanting Kylen to experience tubing.  I've had a hard time getting motivated to make it happen, but I finally decided to ask my uncle's family if they would go with us, since they've tubed at ski resorts before.
View on the drive up.  There was some fog here, but it was a beautiful clear day at the resort.  We seriously could not have asked for more perfect weather.

Cousin Paul was able to join us!  And just look at that blue sky!  The sun was hurting our eyes!

A huge bonus was riding one of the longest gondolas in the world: 20 minutes each way.  It went fast!  I thought it was cool seeing more snow as we got higher.  One thing to note is that the gondolas really need some TLC.  The windows are very scratched up, and the one we rode going up smelled like someone had spilled a bottle of alcohol inside.  Yuck!

We arrived plenty early at the lodge, so we hung out, ate lunch, and visited.  Even though we brought our own lunches, we shared some yummy fries.

I was pretty nervous about how much walking there might be, but there wasn't much at all.  Riding the "magic carpet" was great.

Unfortunately, it was so regulated that a lot of the fun was taken out.  We couldn't form chains, and there was a guy who told us when we could go down.  It was worth going once, especially when you add in the gondola and hanging out with family, but I don't know that I would do it again.  I'm still hoping Kylen can eventually experience something closer to what I did. 

Silly guys!

We all agreed that we never enjoyed a cup of hot cocoa more.  Something about coming in after two hours of tubing, being cold - it was amazing.  And we had brownies and cinnamon rolls for dipping.  Heaven.

From the gondola on our ride back down.

We stopped at Wendy's for a bite to eat.  Overall, it was a very nice outing!