Nov. 2012

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Cullums Under Construction

Happy Advent, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you all!

The year 2010 has brough the Cullums "Under Construction".

September we began building our new house. The house is located on 102nd Ave in Seminole Florida about 5 minutes from our current house and 1 minute from Kyle's parents. It is the same land where Kyle lived with his parents from elementary school through high school. We are trying to do a lot of the work ourselves so we anticipate completion to be around Thanksgiving 2011. It has been an entire family project with Kyle, myself, all 3 of our children, Kyle's parents and Kyle's brother and cousin helping out. Isaac and Eli have loved playing in the dirt and riding on the backhoe with Grandpa Cullum. We are extremely grateful to have this opportunity to build a home that meets our needs and helps us continue with our goals for our family.

Kyle rode a 100 mile bike ride with his brother Sam in October and I am in the process of training for a half marathon on January 8th with my sister in law Amber Cullum. Both the rides and runs have pushed us past our limits but its always good to complete something you never thought you could.

We are so grateful that Florida Electrical Service continues to find work this year. We continue to hear of more and more construction based companies down sizing and closing in PInellas County. Kyle, David and Steve have worked long hours this year in hopes of continuing to find work for the company.

In May I was approached to direct our homeschool community Classical Conversations Largo. I took on the job and have been busy throughout the year making sure our school days run well and the community is healthy. It has been a lot of work and forced me to continue to strengthen my weak areas of leadership. We continue to be so thankful for the Classical Conversations community and how it holds us accountable to academic excellence and has brought great people into our lives.

Prema at 11 years old started middle school in the fall. She is in a self contained special education classroom for students with multiple disabilities. She remains in 2 joining classrooms most of the day and is fully supervised whenever she is mainstreamed with other students. In the mornings her curriculum focuses on academics and in the afternoons she is learning life skills. Prema is loving school this year. The new environment brings some challenges as she is the only deaf student and therefore a full time interpreter is required. On the positive side she is functioning at the same level as her peers so she is able to be instructed in small groups providing her the socialization she craves. Prema started her 2 year braces treatment in January 2010 and got her first set of glasses in September 2010. She is looking very mature.

The boys have kept us very very busy this year with their endless creativity and energy. Isaac at 5 years old continues to do well in his school work. He is really enjoying math this year. He is always leading Eli and other children in complex imaginary play usually pertaining to be Kings and Knights, farming, playing a Rocker baseball game, living in the land of Narnia, etc. Eli at 3 years old loves to join in Isaac's imaginary worlds as the comic relief such as the mascot at baseball games or the wild horse. Eli is still fascinated with living creatures such as bugs, insects, and other animals. He often tells us he wants a pet. He is a very deep thinker and asks us all the hard questions about faith and death.

Even though the letter seems to paint a really "beautiful" picture of our family, our character is constantly "under construction." We have 5 VERY strong willed people living together. We have been tested in our obedience, patience, acceptance, perseverance, compassion, forgiveness, kindness, orderliness, joyfulness, and faith. We pray that through the process we really are becoming beautiful for each other.

We look forward to what 2011 brings.

Michelle for Kyle, Prema, Isaac and Eli

Eli had been helping Kyle fill in the sides of the footer

Sam and Kyle working with the cement pump man and Chuck

Isaac proud he helped pile the wood

Prema pulling cut tree roots from the foundation sand

Eli riding with Grandpa Cullum in the Backhoe

Isaac and Prema riding on the swing in the backyard tree (interesting story we wanted to remove the tree but the city said we'd have to pay them $10,000 to remove the tree. So instead we changed up the house plans and are happier with the tree and house designs now.)

Frog Prema caught. She loves to spend time catching frogs and lizards and tame them to sit on her shoulder or arm.

Dirty faces we see often these days!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Another Embarrassing Eli Moment

Eli was at the top of the play structure on a fairly busy Sunday at the park. He decides to pull down the front of his pants and pee right through the climbing wall landing. We saw it coming. We shouted "Eli don't..." and the stream arched its way down to the ground. Thankfully no one was directly under him so everyone seemed to be dry.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Cranky Kids and Their Imaginations

Isaac and Eli have been cranky the past few days. Prema's brain just doesn't seem to be functioning very well. A lot of it probably has to do with the time change and waking up earlier since it is brighter in the morning.

Our sons have wonderful imaginations. Here is a sample in regards to why Isaac has been cranky the last few days.

A few days ago in the morning I asked Isaac "Why is it that you are so cranky today?"

Isaac: "Well I am just so tired."

Me: "if you are so tired why don't you just sleep in a bit longer."

Isaac: "I have had to wake up for winter training the past few days."

Me: "Winter training? Last night you were talking about waking up early to sheer the sheep." (Isaac and Eli have a "farm" with lots of animals that they tend to throughout the day. We are reading Farmer Boy by L.I. Wilder so they are acting out all the things they here Almanzo doing in the book.)

Isaac: "Nope it is winter training time but tomorrow morning I have a break so I can sleep in a bit longer and not be so cranky."

then last night Isaac was tell Grandpa Cullum that he has winter training right now. Grandpa Cullum thought it was training season for the Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving morning, as did I. Last night Isaac informed us that the winter training is for his Rockers Baseball team which practices in the winter and not in the spring. Isaac has a pretend Rockers teach, which rarely loses and made it to the World Series. They play games just about every day. Eli is their mascot. The colors are blue, gold, yellow and red. For each adults birthday recently Isaac has made each person tickets to the Rockers home opener on April 1 2011 vs the Devils. The game happens to be on his own birthday.

We love their imaginations. There is something new everyday that we chuckle at listening to them at play. The only bad part is that sometimes their imagination can lead to more work for us as we discover that "plowing the field" means ripping out all the grass in an area of our lawn or "ice skating" means throwing dirt all over something so they can slide with their feet. I just take deep breaths and remind myself to cherish the memories and am thankful their brains are working instead of sitting idle in front of the TV.