We Did It

Proper May wrap-up post coming at the end of the month, but this seemed worth noting in a post all its own …

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May 13, 2017

Eleven years from the time Carl started to teach himself Greek so as to better understand the Bible, the catalyst for this whole journey, four years after actually starting seminary, he has graduated with a dual MA in New Testament and Biblical Languages.

I am always the forward-looker, so it’s easy for me to say, “And now on to the PhD at Cambridge!” but I am trying to curb that tendency this weekend so as to properly enjoy and appreciate this step, the completion of this season, this accomplishment.

It’s been quite the ride.

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September 18, 2013

When we arrived in Boston, Joy was almost six and Grace was four. Now they are nine and a half and almost eight. We still have the summer left before we leave the area, but this graduation really does seem like the ending of this season in our lives. It was with full hearts and the weight of four years worth of memories that we celebrated yesterday. There have been heavy burdens and many struggles along the way, but overall the memories are joyful. I am so thankful for every part of this season, the good and the hard.

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Senior Banquet, 5/5/2017

And OK, yes. I’ m SO excited about the next season, too.

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New and Improved

When our kids were really little – like, baby and toddler – I spoke loftily about how they would always share a room, how even if we lived in a place where they could have their own bedrooms they wouldn’t, that learning to compromise and share and work with another person was so important, and that sharing created a special bond between siblings even if they hated it sometimes.

Then, when they were about five and three and we were living in a house with four bedroom, I found myself putting them in separate rooms. Gracie had started a habit of whispering to her sister half the night, and Joy was getting cranky and miserable from never having a place to go where her sister couldn’t follow. The guest room was transformed into Joy’s room, and life became much happier for everyone.

Now we’re in a two-bedroom apartment, and not-sharing is not an option, though at this point all of us wish it was. Joy is deeply introverted and high sensitive, and is reaching the stage of wanting her space to be neat, tidy, organized, and open. Grace is a chatterbox with no sense of boundaries, and still likes everything she owns to be out all the time, scattered everywhere. Things get tense.

While we can’t give them their own room – and safety rules on campus mean we can’t even let Joy go outside to play by herself – Carl and I did put our heads together to come up with a plan for making life a little better for them.

Behold: desks.

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We cleared out probably half their toys and even some books (weep) and rearranged their room to be able to give them each their own desk, on opposite sides of the room. The desk is each girl’s own space, which the other one is not allowed to touch without permission. Eventually I plan to rearrange the books left in the crates so that the ones that are more Joy’s interest are with her desk, and the same with Gracie.

And we probably lost our security deposit with these, but I don’t even care:

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Above each desk are two shelves, also for that girl alone, for trinkets and special things. And books, of course. The shelves transform the feel of the entire room; I love them so much!

We also bought some rolling carts with drawers, and shallow boxes to go under the bed, and are in the process of organizing their remaining toys so that they are clearly labeled and separated. I’m also thinking of some decorating improvements – new curtains, maybe even an area rug to go over the nasty brown carpet everywhere in the apartment.

It’s not a perfect solution, but what ever is? It’s better than it was, and that’s enough for now. Hopefully, when the girls look back on their years here while Dad was in seminary, the good memories will be the ones that have stuck.

Refreshment

I grew up in the foothills of the Adirondacks. Mountains are my home territory, so to speak. They are where I feel the most refreshed, the most myself.

We don’t live near any mountains right now – none closer than an hour’s drive, at least – but we do have something else within a stone’s throw of our apartment, something that gives respite and encouragement both, something that exhilarates with just one breath.

I refer, of course, to the ocean.

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That’s Joy, in the pink jacket, happily exploring the tidal pools and climbing rocks.

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This rocky shore is about fifteen minutes from our home. There are closer beaches, but we wanted to explore someplace new.

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Climbing boulders while the tide comes in, never knowing when your path is going to get cut off by water, is most definitely an exhilarating experience.

Sometimes we get used to it, having the entire Atlantic at our feet, so to speak. And then sometimes, like this weekend, our first trip to the shore after a long and miserable winter …

It takes your breath away once more, and you can’t believe how lucky you are to be living here, even for just a few years.

School Days, Here Again

I am (not really) guiltily sitting in my comfy chair right in the middle of our school day, because Carl has temporarily taken over math class with Joy and Grace is drawing, which doesn’t require supervision. Joy and I, we try our best, but our brains don’t work the same way at all, and nowhere is that more apparent than with math. I do my best to explain things, and she gives me a blank stare; she does her best to follow directions, but I can see she doesn’t really understand any of it; and despite my trusty and well-beloved teacher’s manual, we end up getting stone-walled every time.

(“You’re making it harder for yourself because you’re worrying more about getting the right answer than about learning how to do it,” he just told her, and wow, there’s some life application right there.)

Carl and Joy have much more similar ways of thinking, and so he took some time out of his studies/lunch break from work to sit down with her and help. And even though she’s frustrated because he’s actually making her think through the problems instead of blindly following orders, she’s starting to get it.

(We’re not sure yet about how Gracie’s brain works. I’m starting to suspect it’s on a completely different plane from any of ours.)

School has swooped in and taken over our lives again, both Carl’s school and homeschool with the kids. Joy got about halfway through first grade by the end of the year last year, so we are finishing that up and then will be starting second grade. I love not being tied to the school’s grade system (a bonus of starting a year early with her) so that we can proceed at our own pace, and take eighteen months to get through first grade math if necessary.

Carl is taking a Harvard class this semester, which is pretty cool. That started last week; the rest of his classes start this week. Once again we are changing our rhythm to adjust to his pattern of work-and-class, and figuring out a good balance between school-and-free-play with the kids.

And in the midst of it all, I still try to find the time to tap out a few words here and there. Last night I churned out 3,000 words between 8:30 and 10:30, which was awesome except then my brain wouldn’t shut off and I stayed awake until midnight trying in vain to not keep concocting snappy dialogue and frankly ridiculous plot twists.

It’ll take us (read: me) a little while to get accustomed to the new schedule, but that’s all right. It’s all part of the adventure of seminary-and-homeschooling.