Monday, August 30, 2010

Home Coming

Home Sweet Home.

When I arrived yesterday evening I was greeted by Tanner first.  He grabbed me around the waist and just snuggled in.  So sweet!

Then Jared charged the door, grabbed me up off the ground and just squeezed me in half for a good 30 seconds.  Once I recovered from his hug I greeted the rest of the babies.  Brennan and Graham were being "cool" and acted as if they hadn't noticed my arrival.  Twerps :)

Anneliese was just waking up from her nap so I recovered her from the crib.  She giggled and kept pointing at me.

My house was clean and my family desperate to see me.  Can't beat that, that's for sure!

If you'll notice my picture taking dwindled as the trip went on.  Our camera broke.  It won't even kinda turn on.  If you'll remember this post about camera envy I've had my eye on a fancy new camera but the price tag was a bit intimidating.  Well, let the saving begin.  With 5 children I really don't want to be without a camera.  Thankfully we have camera phones for now.  With the Mega Pixel being low and not having a flash it's convenient but doesn't take the best pics in my opinion.

I'm impatiently waiting for Wendy to forward all the pics I took on her super cool DSLR.  She was super generous and just let me take tons of pics.  I had a couple people ask for more on the beach pics, but I'm pretty cautious about  posting pics of myself or anyone else in swimsuits.  It really is just glorified underwear.  So, there aren't going to be any bathing beauties shots :)  I'll have more to share as soon as she figures out how to send massive amount of data via email on a windows machine (it's so incredibly simple on a Mac, just saying).

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Running On the Beach

I got up this morning and headed out for my training run. It was such a beautiful morning. I was supposed to run 2 hours 45 min. Wendy thought I was brave for attempting my run on new terrain.

I ran 2 hours (12 miles or so) and had to stop. I was getting sun scorched. It was an amazing experience. I'll finish up the other 45 this evening in Georgia.

Running in sand is easier in some regards. The hills of KC offer more of a challenge but the sand of the beach is an entirely different challenge.

I typically wear a camel back during long runs so having water available only at specific points was really difficult.

This is me right before I headed out.  As fatiguing as it was, it was an incredible blessing to watch the sun rise as I ran and also pick up beautiful shells for the boys along the way.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Ocean of My Dreams

It's official!!  I will see the beach and soon!

It may sound silly to some, but I am 33 and haven't ever been blessed to see the ocean.  I have friends who claim to have a love and draw to the ocean and sandy beaches.  As a Kansas girl it's never been something I could relate to.

My precious husband, who was blessed to have a Daddy that worked for TWA, has seen more than his fair share.  He keeps trying to tell me it's no big deal but I can't help but wonder...

My friend Wendy from Joplin called me the other day and simply asked, "What are you doing this weekend."

Not a whole lot, is typically the answer :)  Her hubby to be has been deployed for a year and will be home soon.  He sold his vehicle when he left and now needs a replacement.  Fortunately for us he found just what he FLORIDA.  She and I are flying out early in the am and picking up the jeep.  We're heading to Daytona Beach for a day and half, driving to GA (that's where he's stationed) to drop the jeep off and then flying the rest of the way home.

Right now I'm in panic mode trying to organize my family but even still I'm SO excited.  Anita has offered to take the kids so she'll have the younger three until Sunday.  Brennan and Tanner have a birthday sleepover tomorrow night at the Dilley's.

It's crazy to me that it's all working out on such short notice.  What a super cool trip!!  I can't wait!  Did I mention Danny (the hubby to be) is paying for me to go so Wendy won't have to do it alone?!  Could it get any better?!!!  Plus I have a super long run on Saturday (2 hours 45 minutes) and I'll get to run it in Florida on the beach.  Umm Okay, I can handle that :)

I can't wait, have I mentioned that?  I'm SO EXCITED :)  Lots of pics to follow :)

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Smells Like Fall!

-The kids and I have had the Roths this week for a couple days. We were so blessed by their company. Anneliese just loves Abbie and thankfully Abbie was gracious and more than willing to play with her little shadow.

-I sold some stuff, babysat a bit and lo and behold I have enough money to take my Personal Trainer exam. I wasn't so sure I would be able to come up with it anytime soon so I backed off studying a bit. I got online today and registered for the 17th of September! After I registered I called the Director at the Y (whom I previously spoke to) and left him a message letting him know I'll be employable soon. I just want to give praise to our God. He made a way when there seemed to be no way. I really believe this is the direction He's leading me since He's making it so obvious. Time to seriously hit the books!

-Running in the cooler weather is amazingly wonderful. I really needed a pick me up at this point in the training and cold fingers first thing in the morning was it! I also picked up a cheap pair of headphones that have the headband vs the inner ear buds that refuse to stay put. I had gotten into the habit of running in silence vs wrestling with the obnoxious buds. I picked out some great Christian rock tunes and headed out. It's unreal the difference in my outlook and enjoyment of the run. Another big boost was thinking I was in week 11 of training only to realize that I'm actually finishing up week 12.

-School is long, but going well. I think it will be better once the boys really get into the swing of things. For now, Brennan and Tanner think it's seriously unfair that they are at the table at least twice as long as Elijah. First grade starts off pretty basic. I'm super pleased with Tanner. I've always worried about him keeping up and any bit that he was behind in previous years seems to have dissipated. He's right on with his grade level and with A Beka that's impressive. There are just tiny remnants of the dyslexia that plagued him severely just a few years ago. I'm so proud of his sweet self.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Elijah on 2 Wheels!

Jared and I bought Elijah a big beautiful red bike when our old bikes went missing. He has been super intimidated by it so my mom picked up a smaller one with training wheels at a garage sale. He's been riding it for a while now. I noticed a few weeks ago that he is really balancing well and not relying on the trainers. I couldn't convince him to get on his shiny new bike but he was willing to remove the training wheels off the smaller bike. I held him up briefly and he just rode off!! My favorite part was him saying, "I wish Daddy was here!!" He asked me to call him home. Knowing how busy Jared is preparing for Wednesday night church starting tomorrow night, I offered to video it and then call Dad. Eli was so proud to share his news.

We called Daddy and Eli was able to talk to him while he watched the video I sent him via text (how awesome is technology?!!!). Elijah was grinning ear to ear and said, "It would be funny if you called Dad home and he came thinking he had to punish me but really it was good news. Wouldn't that be funny?"

Poor kid has had a rough go lately making good choices. It is so precious to see him have a great day and obviously feel so proud of himself.

Man, I love my brown bear :)

Late Bird Gets a Deal?

We've all heard the phrase "Early Bird Gets the Worm."  Well thankfully for me,  my procrastination saved us a ton on school supplies.  Since I don't have a list to work off of I typically head out a few days into school when I have a better idea of what the kids will really need.  This morning I headed out and picked up what each boy needed in their favorite color.  When I got home I pulled everything out onto the kitchen floor.  We all sat in a circle as I dispersed their color coded items.  The kids opened the packages and began organizing their new stuff.

Brennan was giddy and even said, "This is like Christmas!!"  They each have their own supplies and I spent a grand total of $4 per child.  That's amazing in my book!  They actually asked to do school earlier than we normally do.  I understand that this is probably only going to be today, but hey I'll take what I can get :)

In case you were curious, Brennan is blue, Tanner is green, Elijah is red.  Graham also got a few odds and ends but he hasn't really settled on a favorite color yet so he got a hodge podge. 

Monday, August 23, 2010

Naked Rat

SUCH A Full Weekend!!!

-This weekend was full of cake...lots of cake :) Saturday we had the Anderson's over. I made Ethan a Goomba cake to celebrate his birthday. It was special to me because we've been celebrating birthdays with the Anderson's since Ethan was a newborn. It was great to have the kids together again. They had a wonderful time.
-Sunday was Nathan's birthday. Since he's my favorite little redhead I promised to make the cake of his choice. He thought about it and had several different ideas, but he finally landed on a Kung Fu Panda cake. Whenever I make a new cake I always google images to get ideas. I wanted it to be obviously Po and not just a panda. As Jared says, "The best tasting Panda ever!"
Nathan was absolutely precious when he saw it. He told me, "It's just awesome Shannon!!!" Keep in mind he's 4. He pulled everyone from the hallway (at church) and brought them in to see it. He even grabbed me and said, "Look at my cake Ms. Shannon!!." I reminded him that I made it for him and he said, "That's right!! Thank you!! It's Awesome!!"

-Last night we had our 4x4.  At 6:30 the Roths, Carvers, Redways, and a Boczek all showed up for homemade enchiladas.  I made my best batch of salsa to date.  I seriously could have just eaten the bowl of salsa with some baked tortilla chips.  YUM!  The 4x4 was a great success as we all sat around the table and giggled for hours.

-For all of you women out there I have a link I'd really like for you to follow.  It's about birth control and I think it's exceptionally well written and a must read.  Check Amanda out over at My Life In a Healthnut Shell.  In this blog article she has great information.  It's important to be informed when making these decisions for your body and for your family.

School Days School Days

Today is the boys first day of school.  We do things a bit lot differently in the Altic household.  I thought it would be funny to represent that in the boys first day picture.  This is fresh out of bed, partially dressed, still with sleep in their eyes. 

We have a very casual morning of games and breakfast.  I typically work to get all their school stuff organized and we hit the books around 11 or so depending on the toddler.  If Anneliese is agreeable we'll do a few things before lunch, if she's not we'll start school at 1 when she goes down for nap. 

This has been our routine for the last several years due to having babies.  I assume once Anneliese joins the ranks of the educated we'll have a more traditional schedule.  For now, it helps Mom to have one less vying for attention.

I am eager to see the growth that is bound to happen as my boys take on another year.  It will be amazing to see Eli master reading while Graham starts out with the basics.  I'm on the verge of having 4 out of 5 literate.  That alone is a big deal for this home schooling mom.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Running Barefoot-ish

These are my new running "shoes."

Vibram Five Fingers are a...well they are for...I bought them because...

Just watch this:

When I first heard about running barefoot I was super intrigued like I mentioned before. I like the idea of running how God created us to.

This morning was my first run. I bought my Vibrams off eBay and got a great deal on them. I was proactive and went to the running store and was fitted for them before I started shopping. I wanted to make sure I got the right size since they are not US sizes. The problem is they are all handmade and each pair varies slightly. The pair I tried on at the store fit great. The ones I actually own feel short. I am very aware of the ends of my toes. That is a WEIRD feeling.

The good news is they are very sought after and I know that if I need to sell them on eBay in order to get a larger size I won't have any trouble.

As far as running this am, it was very different. My left foot (the one I broke last year) was actually pretty sore during the run. There is still some weakness apparently. I have blisters on the balls of both feet. Saturday I'll wear my normal running shoes and then try these again on Monday. You're supposed to work into them gradually.

They sure are goofy looking but if I can alleviate knee pain and reduce risk of injury AND save money on sneakers I'm game!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Against The Grain

***Disclaimer:  This article is not about whether or not you home school, it's about the general idea of doing the right thing regardless of what that "thing" is for you.  My "thing" right now is home school.***

I have several directions I could go with this blog article.  I have a lot of things running through my mind so bear with me as I work through it :)

Jared and I are convinced that home schooling is right for our children and our family.

If Jared were to say to me today, "Fine, go ahead and enroll the kids in school."  I wouldn't do it.  Most of you know that I've struggled over time with wanting to do home school.  It's not that I don't think it's what's best for them, it's just hard to do the "right" thing.

Even if you don't home school I'm sure you can relate to the "right" thing issue.  It's just easier to be selfish and self serving.  Doing the right thing often requires self sacrifice and discipline.  For example, this marathon training.  I've decided to run this race in October and the "right" thing to do is the training.  If I don't discipline myself to train then I won't be able to run the race.  It's that simple.

I've told Jared in the past that I keep waiting for the day I will wake up and be all about home schooling.  He said a lot of things we should do aren't fun and exciting.  Just because I don't wake up in the morning giddy to pay my house payment doesn't mean I shouldn't.  A lot of what we do as adults is the mundane and just part of being a responsible adult.

This idea was a big eye opener for me.  There are a lot of things that I do daily that I don't really enjoy (dishes, laundry, watching what I eat).  It was in this moment that I realized the issue isn't the task but my heart.

At what point do we do the right thing because it's right, not because it's fun or liberating in some way. 

Back to my "right thing," home schooling.  Any reason I come up with for why I don't want to do it are selfish.

-I don't like being left out of the masses as they prepare for the mass exodus to the public school buildings.
-I don't want my kids to be excluded from things or be considered different or odd.
-I don't like being cautious and worried about reactions every time someone asks my kids what grade they are in and where they go to school.
-I don't like my friends/acquaintances feeling as if my choice to home school somehow passes judgment on their choices for their kids.
-I don't want to be left out or rejected in any way. 

Ministry can be very isolating as people guard themselves around us.  Add homeschooling and I feel down right lonely at times.

Romans 12:2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, in order to prove by you what is that good and pleasing and perfect will of God.

John 15:19 If you were of the world, the world would love its own. But because you are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. 

1 Samuel 16:7 - "The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart." (NIV)

As much as I would like to do what the majority do in order not to stand out and appear "weird" there is no question we are in His will when it comes to home schooling our children.  I do not have a single reason to send them that isn't selfish or self serving in some way.

My issue is not one of being in His will but more a matter of my heart.  Doing the right thing, regardless of what that is for you, is still the right thing regardless of how hard it is.

Monday, August 16, 2010

So, What's Up?

It's been 4 days since I posted so I feel obligated to blog.

Problem is there just isn't much to write about.

I ran 2.5 hours on Saturday and my body is so sore.  Typically I don't feel much muscle soreness after my runs since I go so often.  I've been struggling to go up and down stairs.  This morning was a 20 minute recovery run and I have to say the first 1/4 mile was a bit painful.  The overall run though was wonderfully brief compared to Saturday.  That was just insane.  It's hard to imagine that within the month it will lengthen to 3 hours and 20 minutes.

I've done some serious organizing of all our school books.  I have a hefty stack of duplicates that I'm thinking of listing on eBay to help pay for a couple more curriculum books I'd like to get for Brennan.  I'm eager to get started and as soon as our books arrive from Abeka.

Have you ever heard of barefoot running?  It's super intriguing.  I was drawn in at the idea of running as we were created to.  I watched a little infomercial online and the speaker kept referencing how we are designed.  As a Creationist, I was definitely happy to hear someone elude to God even if they were unaware they were doing it.  The idea is a lot of impact injuries are due to the fact the standard running sneaker makes a runner be a heal striker (your heal hits first in your stride).  When we walk barefoot we are typically mid-foot strikers.  When we strike with our heal the impact is felt primarily in our joints causing knee and hip pain.

I purchased a test simulator online so I could practice my Personal Trainer test before taking it.  It's a little intimidating due to the cost.  I am pleased that even though I still have 4 chapters to read I passed with a 79% (70% required to pass).  The simulator is supposed to be about 5% more difficult than the actual test and is supposed to be used as a study tool.  I found it extremely helpful and very encouraging.  I figure finishing the book and studying where the test says I'm weak I should pass with flying colors.  I can't wait to be certified and applying for jobs!

I guess I had more to say than I realized! 

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Random Hot Topics

-Got Cheese?  My kids have made up a new game.  I'm not real sure what it is other than I have been told more than once that I have the "cheese touch?"  Apparently Cheese touch is much like tag and once you have it you must pass it on.  The trick?  If your fingers are crossed you cannot receive the dreaded cheese touch.  They are so goofy.  My absolute favorite is Graham announcing, "cross your thingers (fingers)!!  Mommy has du cheese touch!"

-Our Y membership has expired but due to the high heat index we were able to with the Coker's this morning and swim for free.  We swam for nearly 2 hours and the kids had a great time.

-I'm still studying away and have finished chapter 12 and plan to complete 13 (out of 18) this evening.  The last few chapters are much shorter than the beginning and I'm making quick progress.  I was hoping to test on Aug 28th and regardless of whether I'll be ready or not study wise, we can't afford it yet.  It's $250 to test and with school materials and such it's just going to have to wait.

-I ordered the remainder of our school books.  We have been so blessed, the cost of school for this year is minor (about 1/10th) compared to what it would have been if we had to just order it all outright.  The Lord knew what we could afford and He's provided.  I'm eager to get started simply for the routine of it.  Summer freedom is fun, but schedule and consistency brings peace in a household like ours.

-The boys are desperate for cooler weather.  Let me rephrase that, my kids need to burn some energy outside.  They are teaming with unspent energy and are driving each other and their mother crazy.  I heard a rumor Saturday is bringing cooler weather.  YAY

-Anneliese had a baby doll in her stroller.  She walked around to the front of the stroller and said, "Hi, Baby!"  She said it so sweet and loving and then she picked up the baby, put it up to her shoulder and started patting her back.  Girls are so different.

-Week 9 is coming to an end in my marathon training.  Week 10 starts Monday and I'm still plugging away.  I was sick with a super bad chest cold last week and sat out on 2 of my runs.  Apparently I lost my momentum with that break.  I've had a hard time wanting to get going again.  Thankfully, I've refused to let that stop me.  It would be rather defeating to come this far and quit.  I'm running about 25 miles a week and I am eager for the Fall weather.  I really think cool weather will bring renewal.  This humidity in and of itself is exhausting.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

For Jared, My Dance Partner

Altic Cousins!

Last night there was a strange happenstance.

After a lot of teasing, planning, and last minute babysitting arrangements the Altic cousins collided at Casa Agave in Lawrence.

It seems that since we've all grown up and have families of our own, getting together with the cousins is a thing of the past.  It was so nice to get together giggle, and chat the night away. Here is a picture of the cousins and spouses, minus Craig, Doug and Tracy:

This is a picture of just the cousins:
There are more pics on my facebook if you want to browse through them.  I know that my sweet mom in law was desperate to be there so I took lots of pics just for her :) 

Saturday, August 7, 2010


As most of you remember the boys had their bikes stolen a few months back.

As we worked through replacing them, one by one our little Graham fell to the bottom of the priority list.  It's unfortunate being the youngest of 4 boys.  Jared and I prioritized Brennan and Tanner first simply because they had nothing else to ride.  Next Elijah, but still not as urgent since he still hasn't mastered a two wheeler.

Graham has a trike he rides and for a time he had an older bike that was Brennan's.  Graham, being 4, left his bike right next to (but completely out of sight) Dad's van and it got caught in the wheel rendering it useless.

Poor Graham lost his awesome bike (looked just like a dirt bike) to thieves and his junkie hand-me-down bike to carelessness.  We discussed purchasing him a new one, but it's difficult to spend $65 (he had a specific one picked out) on something that he will quickly outgrow.  This is what he wanted:

Not to mention Anneliese probably won't want a black and neon orange Jeep bike for her first cycling experience.  It's a little less painful to purchase something new if you know it will get used by multiple children.

Today Ms. Jess came over to hang out and help me with a Wal-Mart run.  I promised the boys we'd stop at any sales we saw.  There was only one and we found our deal of the day.
Sitting on the edge of the driveway was a dirty abandoned bike with two flat tires.  I told Jess, "See how much that is!  We can fix it."

How does two dollars sound?  I pulled the cash from my wallet and loaded it up.  Once we got home I worked it over with some Green Slime for the tires and adjusted the seat to the right height.  It was still "wobbly" according to Graham.  Next I adjusted the training wheels and then washed the whole thing down.  It may not be a Jeep bike but it looks just like it and for $2?!

I believe that smile says it all...priceless.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Green Machine!

I received a phone call from Ms. Jane this evening asking if my boys would like a "Green Machine." Being the domestic goddess that I am, my mind immediately went to this:
Assuming she wasn't planning to recruit my children for carpet cleaning I replied, "I don't think I know what that is."

Apparently Riley was wanting to pass on a Green Machine.  He had purchased it with his own money a couple years ago.  He asked Ms. Jane if he could sell it.  She passed on the Craigslist/Ebay experience and suggested he just donate it.  His reply, "Only if we can give it to the Altics."

So my boys are the proud owners of a super cool new...thing.  I'm not sure how to describe it so here:
After noticing Brennan's eyes were closed I said, "One more time Bren, with your eyes open." So now here's the Green Machine with Graham and a surprised Brennan :)
Thank you Deskis family!! You are so incredibly generous! We are grateful to have you as a part of our church family.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Morning Heat Wave

Our trip to Deanna Rose was short.  We only stayed a hour.  It was insanely hot and we got there around 10.  We actually loved all the new stuff they've done.  The entrance is totally different and beautiful.

Eli's only desire for the trip was the two story slides.
He took Anneliese up the stairs and down the slide once and she loved it!
Eli headed back up with Anneliese in tow, but she fell. She fell down several wooden stairs and ended up covered in dirt and two huge goose eggs on her head. Sweet girl cried and cried.
We headed out at 11 and went to the Red Robin near Deanna Rose only to find out that it had a fire Monday and they weren't open.  Since we had gift certificates we drove clear over to 95th and Metcalf.

The food was great and the kids chowed!  Jared ordered a burger.  I had a turkey burger and side salad, Anneliese had grilled chicken and fries, Graham ordered a pizza and Eli ate a cheeseburger.  This was all that was left of our Red Robin feast:
We were so glad to get home to our nice and cool house. Anneliese crashed for almost 4 hours. We love having our Daddy home.

Dessert? The icing on the cake was Brennan and Tanner coming home safe and sound from their week at West Central Christian Camp. Thank you Ms. Jess for giving them an amazing experience. They were just giddy.

A Quick Note

-Yesterday Cindy C. and I took our babies to the splash park in KCK.  We had a blast and the kids played for two hours.  Only down side is spray sunscreen.  I apparently missed a swipe on Anneliese's right arm.  Since this is my first season with a two piece (Tank top, normal bottoms) It didn't occur to me that there may be a 1/2 inch strip across my back that needed sunscreen.  My lower back is fried, but only about 1/2" by 6".

-I have been frantically processing what it is we're going to do for school this year.  We have used Abeka from day one and it's an extensive and very expensive curriculum.  My concern is with my working this year is if it will be too much.  After seeking council from several I was still undecided.  Until last night...I received a random email from Cory C. on facebook asking me if I knew anyone who used Abeka because she had some.  It just so happens she has Graham's complete curriculum for this year (preschool), and next year K5, plus Eli's complete curriculum for this year, brand new...not written in.   Jared has been awesome and has asked to take on some of the schooling especially for the older two.  It's our plan not to change curriculum to lessen my responsibilities, but shift the work load a bit.  I see this as an obvious answer that we should stick with Abeka and a huge blessing.  Thank you Cory for allowing God to use you to bless our lives!

-Today we are taking the younger three to Deanna Rose and Red Robin.  Jared and I debated on waiting until the older boys get home.  We decided that they are having an awesome time at camp and it would be nice to do something for the younger kids.  So off we go!