Tuesday, December 30, 2008

This and That

You can usually guess that when I am not blogging I am just plain out of time. The last two weeks have been a lot of fun, but just not a lot of time to share it. So here goes:
-We traveled to West Virginia the weekend before Christmas to see Bruce's family. That was a lot of fun with family that we do not see very often. We had not seen one of Bruce's brothers in over a year. Fun with family, but not so much fun in the small MPV van for 8 hours one-way loaded down with 7 people, gifts, and luggage.
-We spent Christmas Eve putting together a fish aquarium and hiding it. That night we went to church and then over to the Detweiler's. Just imagine 5 children under 10who are sooo excited they do not know what to do with themselves paired with 4 college age boys who love to get them even more excited. Needless to say we had a hard time with bedtime that night.
-Christmas morning brought lots of joy and Micah was so cute. He just sat back and watched it all. Oh yeah! That morning also brought dead fish. The pet store said our aquarium is a death trap. We evidently have an exorbitant amount of chemicals in our water. Kind of scary!!
-The day after Christmas 12 house guests descended upon us. My family came to celebrate Christmas. Crazy, but lots of fun.
-Next day, a new PUPPY!! Yes, I am crazy. When we had to get rid of Rusty my husband said we could get another dog if it fell under this long list of criteria. Not only did it have to meet all of this, but we could not pay a lot for it. Well, he thought I could not meet the challenge, but I did. We have the best little dog now. I will post a picture later.

Now we are just trying to lie low until it all starts up again. In the middle of all of this we have had illnesses, my back has been out, and the regular everyday commitments which do not stop.

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas

December has flown by and I can not believe it is Christmas Eve. Our children are beside themselves. This is the first year Jack gets it and he is sooo excited. We are looking forward to spending Christmas with Micah. Who, by the way, has taken every ornament off the bottom of the tree. If you are coming over just look at the top. He is just getting into toys that make noises. The other kids are all looking forward to him opening the presents they bought him. I started a few years ago taking the children who were old enough to understand shopping for their siblings. They have a $5 limit, but they love it. I realize not all is lost on their relationships when they seriously ponder over what each one would like. They then talk about it for days. "I can't wait for you to open my present to you!" I think that has become one of my favorite Christmas traditions.

Well, I have not wrapped the first gift and I have to go the the grocery store and the pet store(Zach is getting an aquarium.). So, I need to get busy!!

I pray you are all able to celebrate our Savior's birth with loved ones and that your time together is joyful. May this new year bring wonderful blessings from God upon you and your families. Merry Christmas from the the Etter family!

Monday, December 15, 2008

I Am So Excited

My favorite movie growing up was The Sound of Music. I know, I am a nerd. Well, our friends called to say they had tickets to hear the Von Trapp family sing with the Philadelphia Pops Orchestra and they wanted to take Bruce and me with the two older children. They have no clue who we are going to see so I am making them watch the movie tonight. Sarah will love it, Isaac will consider it torture. My saving grace will be that our friends think we will get to go backstage and meet them. Isaac will think that is great. We will get them and Maria Von Trapp to autograph our book. I know. What a geek I am! You should have seen me the day I was answering the phones at Veritas Press and someone asked to speak to Marlin. I said he was not available. May I take a message? She says, "It is Maria Von Trapp. He knows how to reach me." You have to understand. I remember being about Sarah's age and singing all of the songs from the movie over and over and over again. I thought I was Julie Andrews.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Busy, Busy, Busy

I am sure I am not alone when I say I have been too busy to blog. We leave to visit Bruce's parents next Thursday and then we will be home on Christmas Eve. You know what that means! I have to be ready by Wednesday. Ahh! That takes a week away from my Christmas planning. I hope to finish my shopping by Monday and then we will start the baking and candy making. So this is our list. What is on yours?

Chocolate Covered Cherries
Peanut Butter Balls
Molasses Cookies
Chocolate Chip Cookies

Thursday, December 4, 2008

The Blessings of this Past Year

My husband and I just recently took a trip to Williamsburg. On the way he told me that I needed to calm my high-strung self down!I was shocked. I did not quite see myself as high-strung.(Joke!!:)) He also likes to let me know quite often that I am a glass is half empty type of girl. As I am contemplating this last year,because that has to be done, I decided that we have been given many blessings and I do not want to ever come across as not seeing God's grace and sovereign hand in our lives. He has blessed us beyond measure. Yes, the contested adoption, salmonella accompanied with seizures and a hospital stay, bringing all of the kids home to stay, a major job change,and deciding for me to teach a History class have all brought stress to our lives. But, each of these things have also brought about great blessings.

This adoption has shown us that there is nothing we can really do to protect our children. Yes, there is common sense to keep them safe, but when you have to really come to the place to know that their lives are completely in God's hands, well, that is humbling. It is also humbling when you think that his mother very realistically could have chosen abortion.It has been very rewarding to watch God work in her life.We are thankful for the bond God has given us with her. It has been a great blessing to have our faith strengthened this way. We have also met wonderful and hopefully life long friends.Of course the privilege of being his parents has been the biggest blessing.(When this is all over I will show you his picture. He is so darn cute!)And 2 1/2 weeks in Hawaii was not bad either.

Our decision to home-school again was not taken lightly. When Isaac first started his academic career we did not see traditional school on the horizon. When we were given the opportunity to put him school we jumped on it. I now see it as God's providential way of helping us home-school without guilt or regret. Yes, we all feel those things on a daily basis with our children, but I can honestly say that if a great Classical Christian school were right down the street I would still choose to home-school.Because there is one and we have chosen to home-school. We may change our minds one day, but for this time God has blessed us tremendously by allowing us to all be at home during what has been quite a stressful time.

Bruce's job change came with the need for some adjusting and sacrificing. Life has definitely been different for us. It is always hard to make a job change when you were completely happy with the other job. We have made these adjustments and are all thrilled with the change. To have three meals a day together and his involvement in their schooling has been a huge blessing. We get two comments quite often. "I'll bet it is really hard to have your husband home 24/7." and "How is he REALLY doing not being in a physical classroom.?" I am going to truthfully answer them once and for all. I LOVE having him home. He is my best friend and I do not tire of him being here. Yes, we do have our times of needing to be alone like everyone else, but I have not found it to be anymore often than when he was working out of the home. And, yes, he misses his students, but loves his new job. He does not feel inhibited by teaching online and misses those students when he does not have them again just as he does those in a physical school. We have been blessed with this opportunity.

While my decision to teach does bring a little stress it is also a blessing. I have loved studying our church history and my students are great. They are so smart! They ask theological questions that I did not think about until I was an adult. I love my class!

So, if you are still reading, just know that yes, we have had quite a year, but we love our God, we love each other and we are so happy with what God has done with us and for us. We are excited about the coming year. Who knows what lies ahead? I do know it will be from God and because of that we can rejoice.
I am always astounded to see the amount of books that come across the desk of my friends at Veritas Press. Everyone wants them to preview a sample in hopes of putting it in the catalog. As you can imagine there are a good number of books that do not even get a second glance. If it looks good it gets a second glance. If it looks really good it gets a chance. We happen to be that chance a lot of times. It is very rare that I take any of it and completely change what I am doing. I usually just use them to supplement what I am already using. Well, I just received a few language books and I am very seriously thinking of replacing the spelling curriculum which we are using. I am loving it. I will let you know.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Animals Have Feelings Too

So, Sarah decided she had something really serious to tell me. She was so nervous she needed to have her dad help. Bruce says, "Sarah has something to tell you." Sarah says, " Mom, I have decided to become a vegetarian." I ask, "Why?" Sarah, "Animals have feelings too!" She has decided the less meat she eats, the fewer animals that have to be slaughtered. If you have ever met Sarah you would know 'She ain't no bigger than a minute.'(Sorry, my southern side had to come out for a second.)She rarely eats a full serving of anything. I was not sure what to do with this information, but after explaining that I would not make her an extra meal and she had to eat what was served to her when she was a guest in someones home, we decided to ride this wave. She is very serious.

On a side note, we inherited two birds this weekend. One died within 24 hours, the other injured his beak. We are not good pet people. As soon as I came upstairs from hearing Sarah's news I found the dead bird. You can imagine how this went with little Miss. Animals Have Feelings Too. Needless to say, I went out and bought another bird. Just so you know, I hate birds and have sworn I would never own any.