Thursday, June 23, 2011

Aerial Views

As promised, here are some of my favorite aerial photos from flying with Lionel. I have a ton of photos that I'll share over time, but for now, here is a small taste.

Lionel is the pilot, I'm the photographer...the perfect combination, don't you think?? OK, here goes:

So, there you have it....a few photos I've been able to capture from the air. I'm sure you'd all get a kick out of seeing me in the back seat snapping photos away. I go from one window to the next, leaning, contorting my body in ways I never knew I could, just to capture that 'perfect' shot. Who knows, if they offered me a seat up on the wing, I just may accept! Well...ok, maybe not, but you get the picture....right?

More to come soon. I have SO many. =)

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


Lionel really should have a new nickname. It should be Flyboy. He LOVES to fly. He is passionate about it, and is determined to get his pilots license before his driver's license. It's kind of exciting really. I couldn't be prouder!! He began to take flying lessons last August, so it's been nearly 1 year already. He is now an official flying club member, has his medical pilot certificate and just the other day, got his own brand new headset.

He has been doing well in his lessons. He's been taking off and landing since his very first time up (they don't waste time!) and now he knows how to do all the pre-flight and weather checks. He is learning so much and he has a wonderful Flight Instructor, so I have every confidence he will do well.

Here he is with one of the planes he flies:

Doing the pre-flight check. This is THE MOST IMPORTANT part about flying! Taking-off and landing are minor compared to this, believe it or not. Safety first!

Once the pre-flight check is done, he can head out towards the runway and prepare to take off after a simple engine check.

Lionel has done a great job landing the plane! I love flying with him.

After the flight is over, they put the plane back into place and tie it down.

Some of the best moments are while we're up in the air. Everything looks so different from the air, it's incredible!! I will post some of my favorite photos in my next post.

Pray with me as I continue to pray for my son. Pray that God will bless him with safe flights, knowledge on how to fly, and wisdom when needed. There are days when he flies without me as a passenger in the back. Those are the days I seem to pray most. It's not that I can do anything to help him while we're up in the plane together, but watching him take off into the 'wild blue yonder' alone (with his instructor but no parent) is very difficult for me. We, as parents need to hold our children with open arms. They belong to God alone. I am literally letting my son 'fly from the nest' as he grows and matures. It's not easy, but God gives me the grace, the peace and the comfort when I need it most. It's all about faith, and trusting Christ in ALL things!!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Submarine Field Trip

What a great day the kids and I had while visiting a submarine and Naval Base on a homeschool field trip! Before our 'official' field trip, we got to walk around the submarine museum and go down into a nuclear sub. I had never been on a submarine before, and most likely I won't go down again...those things creep me out, but it was so much fun!! Here's the sub we went on:

It wasn't only disturbing to know we were under water and had no way out but through the opening in the top, it was scary to know that only a few yards away from where we were, the nuclear reactors were sitting. Old as they may be (this is now a retired sub), they still must be unsafe to be around. Radioactive materials don't just go away! I don't generally get claustrophobic, so the fact that it was cramped and uncomfortable inside, didn't really bother me. The small doorways were a bit hard to walk through though because you have to not only duck your head, but step over and through. Here's Lionel posing in one of the the doorways:

This door doesn't look as small as most because it's not, but the lower we got in the sub, the smaller the doors got. It was kind of funny actually!

Sweet-Pea kept joking that she was going to find "The Button" and push it. See?? Good thing she's not planning to join the Navy. Ha ha ha!

While we were there, it was exciting to see a crew coming home! This sub was out on active duty and was scheduled to return this afternoon at 2:30. It arrived at the sub base not a minute too soon or too late- that's the Navy for ya, right on time! I'm sure the family members of these guys were very excited that they were finally coming home! I thought it was cool to see the men standing on the top of the sub while it was coming in...just like in the movies. =)

After our visit at the museum, we were transported to the Naval base where we got to ride on a submarine simulator. That was SO COOL!! Lionel and Sweet-Pea got to run the controls and cause the sub to dive down several hundred feet, then make a quick return to the surface...the kind of return where the sub jumps it's nose out of the water then settles back down into the water. This simulator is not for the weak at heart!

The officer (bottom center) is setting up the simulator for our 'ride'. I'm in red, just behind him, Lionel is behind me (can't see him sitting there) and Sweet-Pea is on the right sitting at the main controls...probably still looking for "That Button".

Here is part of the group on their return to the top after diving down deep. You really do need to hold on or you'll go flying. Sweet-Pea is in purple sitting near the officer, Lionel is at the bottom in the red/blue shirt.

Some of the kids who came with us on the trip posed with the officer after their 'mission' was over. What a great time we had!!

This field trip was one of my favorites. We had never done anything like this before, so it was quite a treat. We also learned a lot too....things I could never teach at home in our classroom.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Snippets from the past year

Like I mentioned last night, I'm not going to take the time to write about everything that happened last year, but after thinking it through I decided to mention some of the highlights month by month. This way when I look back on my blog there's not a huge gaping hole of information. I'm such a Type-A person, that it would bug me to no end if I didn't. It's like reading a book and finding a few chapters missing in the middle. They're not ultra important, but they are still a part of what makes my life...'my life', so I'd like to remember them just like I want to remember the other parts. Make sense? Probably not, but that's OK, not everyone understands me. =) Anyhow, here's a quick year(and a half)-in-review. Feel free to completely skip reading this entry if you want to. I won't be offended at all because it's really here for me.

Here goes:

  • January 2010: I injured my foot and spent a while on crutches. Nothing else exciting.
  • February 2010: Enjoyed time with friends and family over fun game nights, Valentine's dinner and more.
  • March 2010: Lionel turned 15 years old! He also had major surgery on his knee. He did well, but it wasn't without lots of pain and lots of physical therapy after. I'm happy to say that his knee is perfectly fine today and he's not had a problem since.

  • April 2010: Rob celebrated another birthday. Zachary got to put his Biology tools to good use as he dissected a few specimens, and Sweet-Pea and I got to meet some great skaters face to face after seeing the Stars on Ice performance. Here she is with one of them...Sasha Cohen.

  • May 2010: The definite highlight of our year...a 2 week vacation in Walt Disney World!! We saved up for years just to go on this trip. It wasn't the first time I'd been there (my parents brought us several times while growing up) but Rob and I had never been together, and the kids had never been at all. It was so exciting experiencing it through their eyes. We had a blast! Soon after coming home, Rob and I celebrated our 16th wedding anniversary too. =)

  • June 2010: This month was when Lionel made the decision to take flying lessons. He is now pursuing his dream of flying planes with the hopes of eventually going to the Air Force Academy in Colorado. Lord willing he will!! We are so very excited for him! He also went to Ohio this month with the youth group (and our church's Bible quiz team - who won 1st place!) for a National Conference. He came back a changed young man, and we were so very proud of him.
  • July 2010: Sweet-Pea turned 9 this month! She celebrated by having an American Girl slumber party...her first one. The girls had a great time together. I also got to spend a "sister's weekend" with my older sister. We hadn't talked in almost 2 years, so we took the time to reconnect, heal and move forward. It was the best thing we did and I am so thankful to God for the opportunity! I'm going again next month for another great weekend away with her...can't wait. Here we are posing for a funny photo together just to laugh about how silly it was to waste those 2 years apart (I'm the one on the right with the knife!! Ha ha!)

  • August 2010: My sister and her family (all 6 of them) came up to spend a few days with us. We had an awesome visit with them all, and the cousins were so excited to finally spend quality time together. I also got to go up to Camp-of-the-Woods with a friend (and my 2 kids) for a day, just to take photos and walk around. I worked there for 10 years as a teen and loved every minute of it. Such a great place! The highlight of this month...Lionel officially started his flying lessons!!

  • September 2010: Homeschooling had already begun in August, but we activities resumed with the homeschool group that I lead, with a family picnic, great boating field trip around the local islands and more! We did a few family hikes up to Kent Falls, and enjoyed the cooler weather. Sweet-Pea also continued her skating and Lionel resumed his violin lessons after a short break. Life was back in full-swing after a nice relaxing summer.

  • October 2010: Autumn is the best time of year! We took a few nice family day trips to some of our favorite places....Sturbridge Village, Yankee Candle, Deerfield and more. We truly enjoy being together as a family and we take advantage of it every minute we can. I'm so thankful for children and a husband who love family, field trips, and travel as much as I do!!
  • November 2010: We enjoyed the first snow of the year in early November. I had yet another birthday (right on Thanksgiving Day)....goodness, they just keep popping up every year! =) I turned the big 45 in 2010....does that mean I've reached the top of the hill, or is that at 50? Either way, you're only as old as you feel and I don't feel a day over 100. Ha ha Actually I don't feel old at all...I'm enjoying life and aside from a few signs of wear and tear on my body, I still feel rather young. Thanksgiving was rather dull aside from my birthday. It was the first one we spent all alone - just the 4 of us. To be honest, it was kind of sad. All my life I had huge family Thanksgivings, but this year it was not meant to be. Sigh...
  • December 2010: We had a homeschool-free month this year! No schooling at all...just for fun. We started extra early this year, so we enjoyed a guilt-free holiday that lasted for 5 weeks! We baked, decorated, baked, cleaned, baked, visited with friends and oh yeah...we baked! ha ha! Christmas was wonderful. We had the in-laws over and we celebrated with lots of fun, family and food!

  • January 2011: New Year's Day was SO MUCH FUN!! We had an Open House for family and friends. It was so much fun, that we can't wait until New Year's Day 2012 to do it all over again. It was also a NYC month for us. Lionel flew he and I over NYC. All I can say is "WOW!" If you ever get the chance to go over the city in a plane (only 1,000 ft up) then do it!!! I also got to spend a day in the city with Rob as we went to see the Phantom of the Opera, my absolute favorite Broadway Musical!! We had a great day and enjoyed the city while snow fell on us.
One of the photos I took while flying over NYC:

Waiting for the Phantom to begin!

  • February 2011: SNOW!!! To say we got a lot of snow this winter would be an understatement. It snowed long and hard. Know what though? I loved it! I enjoyed every minute of it, even the shoveling. Watching the snow get higher and higher was a riot. At one point we had to walk through a narrow path about 3 1/2' high just to get to our front door. We haven't had snow like that in years. Lionel also started to make progress on his HUGE Lionel train layout. Photos coming in a later post I'm sure. Here I am standing in the snow...barely!

  • March 2011: Tea parties, flying, Play Doh, museums, photography, and field trips sums up the bulk of March. Lionel turned 16 this year which was very exciting!! We celebrated big and he got to open up his Time Capsule that we had stored away from when he was 1 year old. Inside were letters from my parents (both deceased), Rob's parents, Rob and I. Also included was a letter written to him from our Pastor from the day he was dedicated to the Lord. It was a very tearful afternoon, especially when he read the letters from my parents and from our pastor. Pastor Dave passed away only 1 week earlier after a long battle with cancer. These letters will always be precious to Lionel, I'm sure.

Getting a little emotional while listening to the letters being read out loud to him. He started to read them but couldn't make it through...not that it was easier for us either. =)

  • April 2011: Sweet-Pea and I got to go meet more skaters at the Stars On Ice show once again. This year was better than last! We got there early, talked to several of them and got to watch the show from the front row, right in the center of the rink. The only better place to be would've been right on the ice with the skaters! Rob celebrated his birthday this month, Lionel had his 16th birthday party (a couple weeks after his actual birthday) with friends, and we had our big homeschool Literature Fair, where both our kids brought home 1st place trophies for their work!! What a great month!
Sweet-Pea and Kurt Browning!!

Lionel as 'Sherlock Holmes'

Sweet-Pea as 'Jane Austen'
I made this dress for her too! First time sewing like that ever!!

  • May 2011: May flew by, mainly because we went away for a couple weeks down to Virginia. What a great trip! We went to Williamsburg, Newport News and Virginia Beach/Chesapeake Bay areas. We enjoyed seeing the many places full of history, before heading home via Charlottesville where we stopped in to see the Waltons Mountain Museum...such a fun place! When we got home, we had our homeschool group graduation and before we knew it, June and the heat of summer arrived!

Phew! That pretty much brings the blog up-to-date...sort of. I took you on the turbo tour of my life from the past year and a half. Lord willing I won't ever let time go by again like I did. Now...on to our regularly scheduled posts.... thanks for being so patient with me and sorry for such a long post.

A New Beginning...

I thought about deleting this blog and starting over completely, but I just couldn't. I couldn't erase the incredible memories that were recorded here, both good and bad. So...instead of such a drastic change, or the pressure of trying to update this blog with everything that I missed writing about, I've decided to just continue writing as if I never stopped. I will also try not to think about the year of blogging that I missed. Sigh.....

That being said, my first official post will begin tomorrow.
Night friends, it's good to be back!

Friday, December 03, 2010

OK, OK, I get the hint!

I know, I know...I've been a very bad blogger lately!

A regular conversation between my son and I goes something like this:

Lionel: "Did you blog yet today?"
Me: "Nope, not yet."
Lionel: "Why not?"
Me: "I don't know."
Lionel: "You know, it's been a long time since you've said you were going to post something."
Me: "Yeah, I know...I just don't have the desire to keep it up anymore."

That's when Lionel shakes his head. So... to get him off my back in honor of him, I'm posting today! I do miss it but honestly I haven't been that inspired. This past year has been quite a many changes and new things happening in my life, yet I'm enjoying them so much more than I enjoy blogging about it. Does that even make sense? Probably not.

Now that the holidays are upon us I should make more of an effort. I wanted to blog about our homeschooling adventures here and keep it as a reminder of all we've been through over the years together, but I've been very negligent in my efforts. Can I make up for lost time? Nope...not gonna happen. That's how I used to scrapbook....I'd get all crazy trying to play 'catch up', so I learned not to let it stress me and to simply move on from that point.

So, that being said, I will post about our Thanksgiving Day and a little about what we've been doing the past 2 months and then just try harder to post more often. That OK with you, Lionel?? I love you...thanks for the much needed 'push' to get me going again!!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Scenic Sunday - #18

One of my favorite places on earth!!

(Click on photos to enlarge for a much better view!)