Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Easter Sunday

As we celebrated the resurrection of Christ on Easter Sunday, we were also able to have a few pictures of our boys taken. As you can see, they are growing into handsome young men.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Friday, April 3, 2009

Future Veterinarians

Today, I took four of the boys and we headed to Athens to the University of Georgia for their annual Veterinary Hospital day. Each year the college opens it's doors to the public so that people can tour the animal hospital, see exotic animals, and learn alot about animals and their medical care.
We had a GREAT time and I think we really learned alot...at least Mom did!
We started off in front of the hospital where there were several pens set up that housed animals such as a camel, a kangaroo, two llamas, dairy cows and calves, and so on. We were able to view a real cow stomach and learn how it functions. Pretty gross, but interesting.
After that we went through the exotic animals exhibit where we petted a snake, took a look at turtles, skinks, iguanas, and other types of reptiles. That was pretty interesting, though very crowded with schoolkids on a field trip.
Next we decided to take the tour of the actual hospital where surgeries and all sorts of other procedures are performed on dogs, cats, horses, and I guess any other animal. We waited in line for about 45 minutes, at which time I decided that my children are NOT ready for Disney, and then we were able to tour. There were no major operations taking place, but we saw a couple of dogs under anesthesia and a horse that was a little frustrated after it's treatment. It was a good opportunity for the boys to see real medical care and I know that Jacob really enjoyed it.
By this time, we were all starving and we had plans to meet up with some other homeschool families for lunch. We all brought a picnic and it was a good change for the boys to refuel and take some time out for tag on the lawn. We did have to keep them from climbing the trees, but other than that there were no major problems.
Finally we were ready to go to the Teddy Bear Surgery Center. This is really neat and worth the trip just for this one area. There is this huge room set up just like an emergency room, except multiple stations, with a triage, pre-op, an finally surgery tables. The children were able to bring stuffed animals from home that needed stitches and were shown how to sew them up!
In triage, they listened through the stethoscope for a heartbeat, checked temperatures and reflexes, and blood pressure. Then on to pre-op where they gave their animals some gas to put them to sleep and put in an IV. Finally on to surgery where the vet students stitched up the bears with the assistance of the children. It was really cool! As you can see in the pics, the children wore gowns and masks, and really got into it.
The last thing we did was hit the face painting booth and take a bathroom break before getting on the road to head home. Overall, it was a wonderful time and a field trip worth taking. I am already looking forward to next year!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Another Glimpse of Hope

Last week was a challenging week in our house. The rain came down several days in a row and everyone was beginning to show signs of being indoors way too much! The children were snapping at one another and Mom was feeling like catching the next plane to wherever...as long as no one who needed anything from me would be there!!!
But, just as I was beginning to lose all hope that my children are actually walking along the path we are laying out for them, God blessed me with a sweet reminder that they are getting it!
My oldest son, Ben, was scheduled to leave on a 2 day trip to Savannah, Ga on Monday morning. He has been studying Georgia History all year and this event was to be the culmination of all the things he has been studying. Of course this required an early morning as he had to leave our house by 6:00 a.m.. I went to his room around 5:30 to wake him but instead he was already up. He was sitting at his desk with several folded pieces of paper around him and as I entered, he declared, "I'm writing each of my brothers a note, like Daddy does when he goes on a trip."
Each note told of how he would miss them and challenged them to behave and be helpful. It also promised a gift when he returned and he shared how he would miss them and be thinking of them. It was sweet, to say the least, and it was a reminder to me that I am glad we have chosen to homeschool because it truly has strengthened the relationships of my children over the years.
Moments like these are like glimpses of hope to a weary mother. All day, every day I pour my whole life into my children in hopes that they will rise above some of the struggles I gave into when I was young and that they would choose to live differently than the culture they are surrounded by.
The culture says that little brothers and sisters are aggravating and that teenagers should surround themselves with other teenagers and hang out. But in our family, we believe that family is a gift from God and the older have the privilege of guiding and influencing the younger to grow in wisdom and maturity. We have always taught that each person in our family has a responsibility to the others to lead them and love them and encourage them on to good works. However, teaching something and seeing it embraced are two different things. There comes a point in our children's lives when they have to choose to embrace what they have been taught or not. When children are young, they don't have alot of choice...they must live by our standards. But as they grow older, they must choose to believe in our wisdom and walk the paths we have laid out for them. I think we are at a place where some of our children are entering into this phase of choosing and, to be honest, I am anxious about it more than I would like to admit.
Perhaps it is a fear of failure, perhaps I despair as I see the culture around us, or maybe it is the sinfulness I constantly see in myself and my family members, but either way there is always the nagging voice in the back if my mind wondering, "Will they choose to live for Christ or not?" It is not a one time decision, but a moment-by-moment decision and in their immaturity I often see that Self wins out.
However, God is faithful and when I am at my weakest point, He will take the veil off of my eyes for just a moment and enable me to see that we are on the right path...my children are maturing (however slowly)...and our family unit is stronger than I see on a daily basis. I am thankful for these moments because it encourages me to look beyond what I see - to walk in faith, not by sight - and to trust what God is doing in the hearts of my sons. Though it is not evident every moment, it is still there and growing stronger every day.