Scenes

Although I’ve been trying to post on the blog every day, the time just gets away from me, and before I know it, three days have passed! Here are scenes from the last few days.

The F’s do much better in the evening if we spend their after-school time outside. While we run out to the nature center once or twice a week, this has also become a recent favorite…and the bonus is that it’s just down the street from us…

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They have been obsessed with the storybook Roxaboxen (just like the Rensner kids used to be), so this spot has become their own personal Roxaboxen, and they’ll play pretty peacefully (most days) until almost supper time.

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See that row of jars? That’s the F’s new allowance system. (For those of you who like details, each kid gets their “age.” So Fiffer has 9 daily chores and gets $9; Feffer has 7 daily chores and gets $7 (he turns 7 today!); Feff has 6 daily chores and gets $6 (he turns six the end of April). 10% goes to church, 20% goes to savings, 60% goes to spending money, and 10% (my favorite) goes in the “family tax” jar for trips to get ice cream, etc.) We’re hoping it will increase responsibility, decrease the “gimmes,” and build some money sense. I realize that’s a lot to ask from a few mason jars, but we’ll see how it goes.

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For Hayden’s last quarter of physics, we decided to ditch the dry textbook and do some more hands-on work. We purchased a physics set and have been diligently working our way through it. I love Thames and Kosmos, so the forthcoming complaint is a small one compared to my love for their products. BUT…here it goes. In this set, you build a model and then use it for several experiments. Great. Well, this stupid boat took quite a bit of work…see how we had to make a sail and tie it to the mast…plus we’re still getting the hang of their diagrams…so…it all took a while. And then we turned the page to see what experiments we were going to do with it and found…nothing. There are no experiments with this particular model. Apparently, you’re just supposed to build it for the experience? I don’t know. Note to self: before building any models, make sure they’re going to be used for something.

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And, finally, this has been the evening reading for Hayden, Jason, and me this week.

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The St. Louis Shakespeare Company puts on two school matinees every year. Things were too hectic to go this past fall, so Jason is taking Hayden next week. (I’m already taking so many days off work in the next couple of months , so I’m sitting this one out.) Obviously, the play is best enjoyed if you’ve read it first, so that’s the current project. Such fun.

I love my life. Most days:)

Why He’s Still Alive…

Feff has been a toot lately. I don’t know if it’s spring fever or growing pains or what, but sometimes he about drives us crazy. Thankfully, he occasionally does something like this…which…when combined with his cuteness…keeps him alive…

We were eating supper, and Fiffer was talking about their mom. As she continued her story, Feff leaned over to Hayden and said, “Don’t worry, Hayden. She’s not talking about our mom.”

Bless his heart.

Invitations: Check

So…this happened today…

187 invitations! Oy!

Quincy has always wanted to get married at our church. After all, she was just 18 months old when we moved here; this is definitely home. But, as we started planning…and realized that we wanted to invite the whole church…we quickly recognized there wouldn’t be room in the sanctuary for any extended family…which would be a bummer. So. The wedding will actually be held at the reception hall…in a different room from the actual reception. Because getting married “at our church” is more about the people than the actual building. And we’re pretty sure a lot of the church’s people will be there.

Why? Because it’s a morning wedding…on a SUNDAY morning. The wedding will actually be a small part of the Morning Prayer worship service. When we first approached our church elders and council about this plan, we suggested that they hire a substitute pastor for that day…for any members who would rather just attend “regular” church at Faith on that day. Without discussion, they all quickly agreed that wouldn’t be necessary…that everyone would want to come…and if someone didn’t…they could just go somewhere else for one Sunday.

We are so blessed.

 

This Kid!

Good heavens, I love her so much!  She is our family funny bone, and my right-hand woman. She fills our house with laughter and fun. We are so, so blessed.

Yesterday, she juggled at the Early Learning Center, where Feff attends. She gave five separate 15-minute shows, and we both had so much fun. I think I’ve mentioned before, but kindergarteners are the best audience ever. They are old enough to realize that what she’s doing is pretty awesome, but young enough to be wowed by everything…like the bag of apples she brought out…even before she started juggling them. I love to watch Hayden give these little shows. The juggling is impressive, to be sure, but I also love the easy, funny way she has with the kids. She gets such a kick out of them, and it shows.

Here are a few action shots from yesterday.

That last picture may or may not be a little guy who isn’t supposed to have his name or face on social media…shhh. (I couldn’t resist…check out their delight with one another!)

Today, she and I met Jason for lunch (a Friday tradition). Her phone died yesterday, so her dad went in to the store this morning to see about a replacement. It turns out that you can’t really find a “dumb” phone anymore, so…drumroll, please…she was very surprised to be the first Rensner child to own a smart phone.

She was so surprised…and grateful…and happy. Her dad commented to me tonight that he doesn’t think he’ll ever forget her reaction. So fun. Of course, one of the first things she did was text her dumb-phone-owning siblings to point out that she is, in fact, the favorite (something they all claim anyway). And then she texted them again. And again. Nothing improves an already awesome gift more than a little good-natured gloating:)

This is just one of the many selfies she took this afternoon…

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This kid.

Details, Details, Details

Evidence that wedding planning is in full swing? My bank statement is riddled with transactions with Etsy. Thank heavens some people in this world are crafty.

Counting down the days!

Montana

Sunday morning, I slipped out of church after communion and drove to McDonald’s, where I picked up Dillon. He and I drove to Indianapolis, where we met the director of a children’s home, who then boarded an airplane with our son and headed to Montana.

Yes, indeed. Dillon is gone. Again. And we are processing. Again. I’m afraid that this processing might go on for a while, so I apologize ahead of time for that. I have a feeling the blog will finally pick back up.

In a nutshell, things had gone from bad to worse here at home. Our efforts to protect ourselves and the rest of the family were coming up short, no matter how hard we tried. The bullying, stealing, lying, and threatening only increased. The boy failed every. single. class. for third quarter. He was disciplined again and again and again at the high school.

The incident that finally brought things to a head was that he threatened to harm one of his teachers. Ironically, you can threaten to kill your parents and nobody (probation officer, judge, police) can take any action…since it was just a threat. But if you threaten to beat your shop teacher over the head with a hammer, there’s a lot of action. As far as I know, no one even asked the shop teacher if he had thought about changing his assignments…or his discipline policy…or his very personality. Amazingly, the powers to be were in quick agreement that it was just wrong of Dillon to threaten the man. Who knew. (Do I sound bitter? I am…a little. I’m working on it.) With expulsion on the horizon, we finally jumped out of the boiling water (like the almost-doomed frogs) and made the decision that should have been made months ago: Dillon can’t live here. Honestly, I’m not sure he ever can again.

We have high hopes for him in Montana. We do. These people seem to know what they’re doing. There’s plenty of outside work in a beautiful mountain setting. The school is part of the children’s home, so the young lad won’t be able to play the games he was able to play at the last home…or here, for that matter. We pray without ceasing that our son will see the light.

Besides praying, we…sleep. At least I have been. Oh, sure, I’ve been going to work…and tending the other kids. This evening, I even cleaned the bathrooms…which was a pretty major accomplishment. But I’m weary. Whatever stress hormones have been fueling my very existence have finally dropped off. Alleluia. And…good night.

Making our Mark

This is our sixteenth year of homeschooling.

However, besides homeschooling Hayden this year, we also have four children in the Effingham public schools. They are in four different schools, and today I had the privilege of talking to three of them.

At one school, our little lad is causing significant trouble in the parent pick-up line…enough that we’re considering other options.

At another school, our slightly bigger lad punched a kid in the mouth today…and knocked out teeth. (They’re both in first grade, so surely the teeth were already loose…right? right?!)

At yet another school, our quite-a-bit-bigger-at-least-physically lad had to serve a two-hour detention today…his third of four. There is some talk (at least to the boy…we can’t seem to get anyone to return our calls) of possible expulsion if the boy doesn’t pull it together.

Wow. Did I mention we have homeschooled for almost sixteen years now? Largely off the grid. You’re welcome, Unit 40.