Friday, January 14, 2011

Hey There!

It's hard to know what to write after taking so much time off! 

Here's a little "recap" of what's been going on here:
We took a two week break from school at Christmas which was extra-fun as our oldest son Nate was home from Ft. Benning, GA where he is stationed in the Army, *plus* our oldest daughter Micah and her husband Joshua were in town!  I love having the dining room table extra-full!  
A quick, blurry Christmas morning photo with all dozen kiddos!

January 3 we were back to school here.  I love being "back to normal" in routine here after a break, but I'll readily admit that the spring semester is more difficult for me, motivation-wise, than the fall semester.  Once March arrives we have a myriad of outdoor activities to attend to, the older boys' lawn mowing business begins in earnest, the baby goats take extra time, the garden needs to be put in, etc, etc.  We do get all of our state requirements met, but inevitably I end up feeling like the schoolyear ends with a "fizzle" rather than ending strong.
 In addition to my busy homeschooling schedule with 10 children here at home, I have been thrilled to be exercising outdoors pretty much every day again now that I am getting past my hip surgery last October.  I began cycling outside in December and added running at the end of the year.

I have been super-encouraged to be learning "correct" running form this time around.  Check out ChiRunning for some fabulous running info.  Tom even purchased a spot for me in a local ChiRunning workshop as a birthday gift!  I found the 4 hours to be very, very helpful and highly recommend attending a workshop if you have opportunity.
Tom and I on my birthday
The ChiRunning book and DVD are also full of information enabling you to teach yourself proper running form, if you study and apply the principles.  One thing that I haven't done yet, but I think would be very helpful would be to have one of our children videotape me running so I can watch and get a better idea of mistakes I am making.  I'm afraid that what I *think* I'm doing and what I really look like when running are two totally different beasts! 
 Just a little word of encouragement: after having 12 children I am no svelte teen super-athlete runner.  I am getting stronger and more fit each time I go out and run though.  So I say, don't worry about what you look like.   It doesn't matter *what* anyone else thinks.  Just get out there and do it! 

One of my favorite memories from our Christmas break was a four mile trail run that I was able to take with Tom, Nate and Jake.  The dirt trail ran up a bluff overlooking a river near us... there were switchbacks and rocks to look out for, with stunning views as a reward.  It was fabulously fun!
Bringing Jemima Puddle Duck home
A few weeks ago Tom and I went out to our favorite local lake to work out... me on my bike and him running.  When we stopped in the parking area a lone duck waddled up to us, looking for a handout!  She was most certainly someone's pet that had been dumped at the lake.  We agreed that if she was still there when we finished our bike/run, we would try to catch her and take her home to live on our little farm.  She was still there when we returned, so hungry that she practically jumped into my arms.  She rode home on my lap, looking out of the car windows like a dog.  Adorable!  Jemima Puddle Duck is now happily at home in our chicken coop.  The "girls" (our chickens) were a little wary of her at first, but have warmed up admirably.
Timmy's favorite activity right now... Brio.  He spends hours every day building and playing with his trains.

Other things I've been thinking about:
  • Project Life: I am completing last year's album and am excited to be embarking on a new year.  Last year I stuck pretty close to one photo/day, adding in occasional "filler" photos when I missed taking a daily photo for some reason.  This year I am going to be a little less structured, simply including photos from each *week* on each two-page spread.  I also want to add more ephemera~ receipts, pictures drawn by the children, etc to the album.  Check out Ali's posts here and here for some great inspiration. 
  • If you are a blogger using Blogspot, check out this post telling you how to back up your blog!  I have learned to be very diligent about backing up my computer, both to an external hard drive and off site (using MOZY), but had never considered backing up my blog.  Apparently it can all be lost. 
  • Have you chosen a "word of the year" for this year?  While it can be tempting for me to make New Year's Resolutions, I find prayerfully choosing a "word of the year" to be much more meaningful.  My word this year? "Here."  As in striving to be fully engaged in what I'm doing and avoiding the deeply-ingrained tendency that I have to multi-task my way through the day.  More about that in another post soon.  If you are interested in the concept of a "word of the year," check out this post by Ann at Holy Experience... or this one.  Also, Ali Edwards has this good post.  If you have chosen a "word of the year" this year I'd love to hear about it in the comments section below!
That's it for now.... I've missed "hearing" from everyone!  Hope you are having a fabulous week!


  1. Awesome slice of life post! Thanks for sharing. :)

  2. Oh I've missed your beautiful updates and YOU :-) You are awesome....out running, saving ducks and continually being creative. I love it!!

    I'm so glad to hear you're feeling great and getting stronger. You inspire me to get up and go but I'm doing good right now to make it up off the couch :-) (22 days left till baby pops out) but I'm okay with that right now.

    Hugs sweet friend~ Cinnamon

  3. Wow, can't believe you are running already!
    The duck is adorable--I'm so glad ya'll were able to rescue him (her?)

  4. It's so nice to see you again and your beautiful pictures. My husband saw your duck picture and read the journaling to me he was so happy and impressed with you, said these are good people and I like them already. But of course I already knew that a long time ago. What an action packed week your family has had, love to hear your stories. Happy belated birthday. Hooray for you out and running, way to go. The word your chose for 2011 is perfect and I can relate to that one. This year I'm choosing art ( all kinds, scrap, kid crafts, my craftts,sewing,etc.) and the word TIME, to spend more time with extended family and my own family. This year my PL 2011 is going to be more of stuff/paper/notes/tickets and such. It was hard to keep up on the pictures for me this past year. I made a whole post about my ideas for the album on my blog if you want to read about it. Take care, sorry this is so long, too much to say. Have a great week and Happy New Year.

  5. Dear Susan,
    What a treat!
    We have missed you so much!
    My Maggie & I were thinking of you so much as we are trying to get started on 'family' journals!
    Welcome back & great to see yall you look wonderful & happy be-lated Birthday!
    Praising the Lord that your back up & out & running about! :)
    P.S. See you sooner!

  6. Oh yes...I have missed you my friend!! But, I do understand...oh I do!! :)

    Your photos for this post are great!

    Happy belated birthday!!

    Way to go on the *proper* running form and the perseverence to do it at all...yaaaay!!!

    Many blessings to you!


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