Saturday, September 26, 2009

The Busy Life

Climbing trees with new friends in Carpinteria

The last couple of weeks have been a blur of activity -- “home” schooling, field trips, running around town (both in the car and on foot), starting new classes and thinking a lot about what’s important and what it means to live with purpose.


There hasn’t been much home in homeschooling lately. We have been running around a lot – helping out with our church’s weekly food distribution, going to Community Bible Studies, park days, drama class, speaker’s club, soccer practice.

We also went to Disneyland for the Unofficial Not-Back-to-School Homeschool Day and participated in a wonderful science program at the Discovery Cube. And then I drove up to Carpinteria for a ridiculously spontaneous camping trip with the kids. If it sounds a little too much, it is, but somehow I think I have worked myself into even more activity. Next week we start Girl Scouts and a basketball skills class. I’m just glad that the piano teacher comes to our house.

Making water vapor clouds at the Discover Science Cube.

In a hurricane simulator ... also at the Science Cube.

All this activity has meant that the kids and I have to rework our schedule and expectations. I have found that the kids, particularly my 11-year-old, is much more motivated to work hard on “school” work when we have time. And I have found that I can squeeze in household chores like food preparation and laundry at times that I hadn’t before.

What is more difficult for me is letting go of the expectation that we will get to all the wonderful curriculum that I would like. I’m a big fan of Sonlight curriculum (a classical/Charlotte Mason type of homeschooling program). And I have dozens of great books that I would love to read to the kids and discuss. But we can’t do it all. I just have to believe that for now, the other things we do are valuable.

Hanging with friends at Disneyland.

Disneyland's Unofficial Not-Back-to-School


I’ve been getting more serious about our Malibu Marathon training. Born to Run turned out to be a very inspiring book. It made me think about running for the pleasure of a good run.

Kip and I ran 17 miles together last Sunday and it turned out to be a lot less pleasurable than I had hoped after finishing the book. I don’t know if it was the jump in mileage, from 11 to 17 miles or the fact that I didn’t eat anything before hand, or that I let myself talk myself into quitting early – but we only made it about 14 miles running and walked the last three back to the car. They were slow, painful miles and I decided it would have been easier to have continued running.

At any rate, Kip decided it was his last Malibu Marathon training run, which was a little sad for me. But I appreciate that he was motivated by wanting to spend more of the weekend with the kids. He realized that with going to work and band practice, he was already away from them enough without spending every Saturday morning running.

So today I made my first really long run alone. I went about 18 miles. (I don’t have an accurate way of measuring, but I ran three hours and 15 minutes.)

It was actually a great run. I discovered that my chepo MP3 player has a radio, so I tuned into NPR and listened to a wonderful program on the economy. It was so engaging that I actually forgot to stop running at the end of my route.

Living Life

As I wrote about recently, we lost our dear friend Brian just a couple weeks ago. His death was unexpected and tragic in many ways. And the whole experience left me grieving and wanting to live life more purposefully.

One regret I had during Brian’s memorial service last Sunday was that I wished we had gone camping together. About four years ago he planned an epic surfing/ camping trip in Mexico, and we told him we were going to go. We bought a tent, packed the car and then realized a major rainstorm was rolling up the coast of Mexico.

So we canceled.

And if I could do it all over, I would have gone. Not because that weekend would have changed anybody’s life, but Kip and I would have enjoyed spending that time with Brian and his family. And now that opportunity will never come again.

So Tuesday morning, as I was running and thinking, I decided the next time I got a chance to go camping at an inconvenient time with a dear friend, I’d go.

And then the phone rang and my friend Heather said, “I wish you were going on our camping trip.”

So I looked at the calendar and made some adjustments.

Wednesday Kip sailed Brian’s wife and his parents and siblings out to scatter Brian’s ashes over the ocean. I met them later at a restaurant for final memorial, good-bye.

And then I came home, loaded up the car and took the kids camping.

By the time we got to the campsite it was dark, so I had my first experience of putting up a tent alone with only the light of my flashlight. But I did it and we had a great little camping trip.

There were several homeschooling families there, so the kids enjoyed hours of beach play, biking around the campsite and good-old campfire fun. I was glad I went.

We will hit the books next week -- if nothing better comes along.

Camping with the kids. My friend Patty is keeping order here with all these guys hyped up on smores.

Oh yeah, we have been making alot of applesauce too!

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