My Goodness……

I have not been here in ages.  I don’t really like making excuses. but I just deleted three separate posts that I began (one, weeks ago!) but left after having problems uploading photos and not being able to edit them.  I’m not really sure why things are happening as they are, but I have a feeling it might be a problem with our web host. I am using WordPress for this blog and I really like the ease of use but they are telling me I need to update. I think our web hosting site is so far behind the times, I cannot update to the newest version on WP. I am suspecting this might be a probable cause of my difficulties publishing my entries.

‘Nuff said!

Winter has been long and somewhat brutal this year! We have endured some long spells of cold temperatures that were well below “normal”.  We didn’t have huge amounts of snow, but the cold temperatures and wind has caused more weather alerts to pop up on my phone than I ever remember.  Thankfully, the cold is diminishing….little by little. We have even had a few days that felt *warm*!

One week ago, we were given a “Winter Weather Alert”, meaning that we might see some rain, freezing rain, and possibly snow.  Why that alert wasn’t upgraded to a “Winter Storm Warning” is beyond me! We actually wound up with about eight inches of snow!  It began with a pounding rain early in the evening, changing over to freezing rain, and by 10 pm, it was snowing like crazy!  And the snow!  When I began shoveling Sunday morning, it was like shoveling water….it was heavy! But….it warmed up on Tuesday and Wednesday, and much of it disappeared!

On Tuesday afternoon, I took Murphy outside and he immediately scrambled up onto a snowbank Mark made with the plow. That pup went absolutely crazy, rolling around in the soft (heated by the sun) stuff.

I was afraid he would roll right off the bank, but the snow was so soft, it conformed to his body!

Things have been moving right along here in the Bristolwood.  Michelle is currently looking for a job. She wants to remain in the area, so she has been searching locally. Ben is attending Finger Lakes Community College and is doing very well.  At this point, we are seeing that home schooling didn’t harm either child. (Although they might say otherwise!)

Mark and I are still getting together with friends every Tuesday night. It is a blessing to have such friends and it is a blessing to be able to get together as we do!  We gather around the table for breaking of bread….and wow!…the incredible meals we get!!!….and then Mark and the “girls” practice music together.  Sometimes there are eight or nine people, other times, twelve or thirteen.  I really look forward to these times!

Now I have a great favor to ask.  If you are inclined, would you please pray for a friend?  His name is Mike and he is needing a miracle. I won’t go into details, but God knows Mike and He knows all about the situation.  Basically, Mike needs a healing touch from God.  Thank you, in advance!

Well, I am getting a bit antsy for kinder weather so we can get outside more.  Right now, the wind is a-howling and it is pretty chilly out there. I think the Beatles summed it up fairly well…….. “Little Darlin’ it’s been a long, cold, lonely winter!” Now…..let’s hope “Here comes the sun”!

The Graduate!

On her way, in the car!  Michelle was feeling a tad nervous, but also quite confident!

We arrived and found our seats. As the ceremonies began, there was lots of hoopla, with bagpipes and a procession of deans, the Provost, the President of RIT, and the graduates. It was quite spectacular, all in all.  What I forgot to say is that for Michelle’s college…The E. Philip Saunders College of Business…the whole thing was actually two days! The ceremonies began on Friday afternoon, with the convocation. This was with all the graduates of RIT…to the tune of thousands! I think there were about 3,500.  The convocation included a speaker who graduated several years ago and works for Microsoft. He invented Kinect for the X-Box 360.  The convocation concluded with President Destler  giving the deans of the various colleges the diplomas of the graduates.

At this particular ceremony, I sat next to a young lady who was graduating from the College of Science. She was so cute…she had a paper due just before the hoopla, so she worked on it and then decided she would attend the ceremonies as an observer. But, she also kept hopping down from her seat to her grandfather’s wheelchair, making comments to him. He was 90 years old, and she had asked him to travel from Florida for her graduation.  She told me she is one the youngest of his fifteen grandchildren, and the first to invite him to a graduation! We talked and it was fun having her next to me!

On Saturday, we went back in the early evening for Michelle’s graduation ceremony. More bagpipes and processions!  There were almost four hundred graduates from Michelle’s school.  Michelle got a little surprise.  She, along with four other students, maintaining a 4.0 average, will have their names engraved on a plaque which hangs in the college! Wow! Once again, our “homegrown” girl has impressed us with her diligence!  I spoke to her yesterday, and she said, yes, she often felt like she was spending all her time on schoolwork and why?  It really did feel good to hear that there was recognition for all her labors!

Well, all the gala is done now. Michelle walked down the graduation aisle although she is now completing her last two courses, online.

So, here is our graduate…..

Yup, that’s our girl!

Congratulations, Michelle! A job well done!

How Quickly Time Flies

This post was actually written yesterday, April 27, but I was having trouble posting it with my phone due to poor reception!

This is Michelle sporting her medallion she received at the Outstanding Undergraduate Scholars event…she looks like she owns the world, doesn’t she?

Today she picked up her cap and gown for graduation.

This picture isn’t the greatest, but in the bag is her cap and gown along with honors cords and the tassel. She is most excited about the tassel which she wants to hang on the rear view mirror!

All I know is, it seems just a short time ago,  I sat down at the kitchen table and began teaching a little girl to read and write, and facts about math.  I watched as that little girl gracefully ingesting required information and then moving right along. By the time she was fifteen, she had finished all the required classes.  She had conquered language arts, history, science, and  Bible…and had even accomplished subjects that made my knees buckle, like physics and pre-calculus. It seemed that hurdles placed in her way were merely there as a challenge to hop on over, whereas in my own mind, they proved insurmountable mountains.

It was such a short journey, but I am so glad we took this route. I now look at a confident young woman who looks ahead to the future!

Wild Windy Weather!

After the Dancing Wings on Wednesday, it was the Wild Winds on Thursday!

We went out for a Chinese buffet simply because it was a beautiful day and why spend a beautiful day inside?

After eating, we decided we would walk off some of the overstuffed feeling by taking a walk at the Seneca Lake State Park.  It is kind of a tradition for us. Eat. Walk. Enjoy.

We arrived at the park and decided to take the road near the lake….

We *knew it was a little windy, but….

Well, now that the passenger side of the car has been power washed, let’s do the driver’s side!

These photos were all taken near the breakwall and it was vicious! The funniest part of all of this is that our particular area had no high wind warnings at all.  I had a couple of alerts come up on my cell phone, as I have various places we often visit set to alert me of any crazy weather.  When I got home, the weather info set to my area said the wind was gusting up to forty-three miles per hour.  I think it might have even been more by the lake!

And here is a nameless soul…..(notice the trees in the background)

And last, but not least, there were three men out playing in the water!  Boy, you should have seen them flying!!!!

The temperature reached into the lower 70’s, so it was mild, but the wind?  Phew………………….


Thoughts on Homeschooling, An Incredible Ceremony!

It is so hard to believe that next month, Michelle will graduate from college.  It was only yesterday that our little girl began her education. We decided that homeschooling was the route we wanted to take.  We just felt it would be a great way for a child to learn.  After all, it is parents who train their children to use the potty, tie their shoes, and many other life skills. Why not reading, writing, and arithmatic ? There are so many different curricula available, and many come with explicit instructions for parents.  Homeschooling is not just for the kids…it is an adventure in learning for all involved if done properly.

Michelle proved to be like a little sponge when it came to learning.  By completion of kindergarten, she had mastered the skill of reading and was well on her way. We had chosen a very work intensive curriculum for her kindergarten and first grades.  She flew through the coursework as though it was playtime.  I must note at this point that both of our kids were very, very active. The best way to settle them down was reading.  Michelle is two years, three months older than Ben and when they were very little, I daily read fifteen to twenty books a day.  That was how we spent our “free time”.  Sometimes, I read so much that my voice would actually disappear! (I always used different voices for each character in their books)

After Michelle’s intense kindergarten and first grade, we changed curriculum to workbooks through another publisher. One of the prerequisites for this curriculum was a survey of a child’s skills to properly place the child, grade-wise.  When Michelle took the barrage of testing, it was determined she was best suited to enter the third grade. This meant she skipped second grade.  Her basic reading, writing, math, and science levels were all well above the grade 2 level,  so we placed her in third grade.  We ordered her curriculum and she began working on computerized coursework. I was a bit apprehensive at first,  wondering at the wisdom of skipping a grade,  but she proved definitely properly prepared for the work she was given.

Michelle was fairly self-motivated when it came to her schoolwork, although there were times when we had to encourage her to “finish up”!  As time progressed, she learned to work almost totally by herself, and by grade 12, she rarely asked questions.  She aced her pre-calculus and physics studies, briefly asking Mark for help from time to time when stuck on a problem or concept. Mark’s Mechanical Engineering background was intense in math and science, so he was more than qualified in these areas.  Michelle never had problems with history and when language arts presented any challenge, I was up for that, loving this area.

Michelle had completed all of her “public schooling career” by age 15 and she began attending Finger Lakes Community College. Before beginning there, she took a test to see if she was properly prepared and when I asked about her results, the administering person assured me I had “nothing to worry about”.  Michelle proved that the work was a “piece of cake”.  She would come home from college and write down each assignment and would then write an amount of time she felt needed to complete the work.  Each day was spent using the allotted time on the assignment. Michelle did a fantastic job at FLCC and was discouraged by one course…Statistics, in which she received an A-. Every other course, she completed with an A.

After finishing up at FLCC, Michelle planned to probably attend one of the state colleges, although she also had her eye on a small private university located not too far away. It was “on a whim” that she applied to Rochester Institute of Technology.  Their E. Philip Saunders College of Business was one of the highly-ranked business schools in the United States.  Michelle was accepted and the rest is history!  She maintained a “perfect” 4.0 average throughout her studies and is set to graduate in May.  (She is actually taking two more courses and finishing in August, but given her record, the school is allowing her to receive her degree in May.)

Last night’s ceremony was entitled Awards for Outstanding Undergraduate Scholarship 2012-2013. The ceremony took place at the Gordon Field House and Activity Center which is an enormous complex housing tracks, a gymnasium, swimming pools, ice arena, and even more!  It was a very colorful and delightful experience!  It began with two bagpipers…

and then a processional of the Deans of the various schools, the President of RIT, and then the Scholars. The Deans wore the colors of each individual school, resulting in a rainbow of color on the stage!

Note: I could kick myself for not making proper adjustments for the lighting in this building.  Please excuse the excessive orange color, but be advised (this said tongue-in-cheek) that the school’s colors include a lot of orange!!!

There was a brief message by the president of RIT, Dr. William W. Destler.

The presenter of the scholars was Dr. Jeremy Haefner, Provost and Senior Vice President, Academic Affairs.  In presenting each of the scholars, he read a brief statement given by one of the student’s professors, attesting to the student’s outstanding characteristics. The scholars are chosen from the student body and must have at least a 3.85 of a possible 4.0 average and have completed at least 125 quarter credit hours of study. (2/3 of the total for a baccalaureate degree) Other factors account for selection such as creative work, service, civic activities and research.

Note: okay, so this is a funny picture….just look at the face of that dean looking at Dr. Haefner.  Gads, how did I ever catch this one???

After Dr. Haefner congratulated each student,  the student was then presented a bronze medallion by President Destler, then congratulated by the dean of the college the student attended.  The medallions were designed by the late Professor Hans Christensen who was a renowned silversmith. He chose an Athenian owl which symbolizes wisdom and on the opposite side where the scholar’s name is engraved, an olive branch.  Here is Michelle as she crossed the stage.

We each received a booklet with a listing of the scholars.  This listing included where they attended high school and gave a brief overview of accomplishments.  It was interesting to note that there were four other students who were homeschooled, two of which are studying engineering. Each scholar had been given the opportunity to invite a teacher or professor who made an impact on their life and of the sixty-one who were invited, over thirty were in attendance.

After the awards ceremony, the scholars, along with their guests, were moved into another area of the (amazingly, incredibly! large) gymnasium for a catered meal. We had been sent information regarding the event a couple of months ago and were asked to make a selection of a meal.  The choices were a vegetarian meal, a chicken meal, or prime rib.  We had prime rib and it was delicious!

This was certainly a night to remember! I will post a photo of the medallion later…

And the Project Continues…

In the last post, I showed the six holes Benjamin dug.  Well, what I did not show was the holes filled with concrete.  That’s right!  The same day Ben dug the holes, he mixed a bag of concrete for each hole and dumped it in.  He worked into the dark, Mark and I holding flashlights for him to shovel the concrete into the holes!

Ben didn’t want Murphy to fall into the holes, after all…..

Sooo…an explanation.  The threaded rods embedded into the concrete in the holes are for “adjusting the building” in the event there is some settling since the excavation was only recently done.  Mark and Ben really wanted to get this project underway, so they didn’t want to wait to see how the land might shift a bit.  Mark’s solution was the rods which make it possible to shim the building using a jack to lift a corner if need be.

In the above photo, Ben placed the bottom rail of the building in place and his holes lined up…perfectly!

After filling the holes and making sure everything was going to fit together, (and it did so, perfectly!) Ben once again tamped the ground where the rails would lie, leveling all along the way!

Now the weather has been terrificly mild thus far, but today was another story.  It turned much colder and snowflakes were in the air as Mark and Ben fitted 2 x 6 inch pressured treated boards for a foundation under the metal rails.

After Ben finished working yesterday, he wanted to go to a Chinese buffet.  We agreed it sounded good, so we all went out.  On the way home, Mark pulled over alongside the road where folks were selling Christmas trees. The kids were over the moon. They picked a huge Blue Spruce that needed about a foot cut off the bottom!!!

Yes, it does need to be decorated. In the meantime, my kids had me laughing.  They are so much bolder than I!

They told the fellow selling the trees they thought this tag said ten dollars.

The guy shrugged his shoulders and muttered “okay.”

Such a deal……



Another (Birth) Day!

Today we celebrated Michelle’s twentieth birthday… just does not seem possible she is that old. Where did the time go?

Michelle and Ben designed this day according to Michelle’s wishes.  Michelle’s boyfriend, Jacob, arrived here shortly after 7:30 am, as planned.  Ben made waffles and bacon for breakfast.  After breakfast, the kids watched television for a bit.  Then Michelle opened presents and we were off to Canandaigua to purchase items to pack for shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child.

After our shopping was completed, we were on to Victor, to the Olive Garden Restaurant.  We had a nice time there and the photo above was taken there….Michelle kept asking me not to photograph her while she was eating, but I really wanted a good photo of her! This will have to do.

A very busy day, all in all and everyone is exhausted.  Even Murphy.  For one reason or another, he insisted it was time to arise at 3:30 this morning. Argh…..this has been an incredibly long! day!

Ho Hum….Ho Hum

A relaxed day today, doing nothing noteworthy or exciting.

Mark and I went out for a little ride this aftenoon.  We both were feeling the need to escape.  I think it has to do with the weather!  It is so hard to believe it is already September.  Can anyone tell me where this year has slipped off to?

Michelle begins her senior year in college on Tuesday.  She has opted to take some of the most difficult courses this quarter.  I think she is anxious to finish up. She is getting so close now!