Friday, December 18, 2009

Christmas Bags!


At the beginning of the Christmas season I created, with the help of my amazing and oh so talented sister in law, some cute Christmas bags. The idea behind these were to fill them each day with different books, movies, crafts or bake good to create during the season.... Well, as with any idea that I have there is always a little tweaking. However, I do have to say that coming into the Christmas week, very shortly, we didn't end up doing so bad.

Here is a list of some of the activities, etc that we did while remembering the Christ is the reason we celebrate...

Playmobile Nativity set-opened and played with
Christmas sticker book and magnet book - thank you Grandma this was a huge hit!! Especially w/ Austen
Gingerbread house- was so excited to make my first gingerbread house as well
Advent-each day! We love that as well
Lots and lots of Christmas books from the library...I think I checked out every book that had the word Christmas in it :) Still need to get to parts of In The Big Woods and Best Christmas Pageant Ever

Christmas cookies-baked so many and the boys did a great job helping
Decorating the tree with lights AND ornaments ( we finally got to those yesterday)
Singing Christmas songs
Christmas crafts that are a secret as they are for family
Christmas movies, ie; Frosty, Little Drummer Boy, Puncinello, Rudolph, and Charlie Brown's

Still no Christmas cards but at this point I'm not going to stress about them....maybe I will start a tradition....Spring time cards since that is my favorite time of year any ways. Overall, I feel that we did a lot of fun activities thus far and still have a whole other week to go!

We truly focus on Christ being the center of the season. I dont mind the whole Santa Claus thing but the most hilarious thing is neither of my boys have ever really cared about him or pretending he exists so we don't even focus on santa. Instead, we spend the entire month teaching and training our children on why Christ came, what the means for us now and what we need to do with it. We love Christmas!! Merry Christmas!


My precious children.....if my heart could explode with love, it would and fall gracefully on them....

Dirty Doors

Tonight I was picking up, preparing for tomorrow. I was bringing odds and ends toy trucks and plastic horses from the living room into the boys' room. As I was closing their door I noticed smudges, dirt, jelly, crayon smears, and a myriad of many other materials smeared over their door. I don't really ever look down at their door or have the time to slowly remove myself from their room area to my next area. Life is a little busy. As I walked into the kitchen to grab a washcloth to wash away the fun of the day, a smile crept across my face.

Those smears, they are evidence of fun, of laughter of enjoyment of life. I can hear their laughter radiate throughout the halls as the three of them run back and forth from each other's room. The many times where they asked me for a cracker, a cookie or a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. The times when they raced and chased eachother outside as I watched from the window.

There are times that one needs to watch from the window to accomplish some give task. However, how do you spend your time as your kids are running to and fro? Are you running with them, are you laughing with them? Are you embracing moments that are but a finger print ready to be washed away?

Admittedly, there are times that I watch more than I run. Call it having more than one child, a lack of prioritizing or homeschooling two children, raising three and managing a it whatever you want but my children will remember my running. They will remember me engaging in an active battle of water guns and my laughter....oh, they will remember my laughter and my sense of humor and my love, oh my love for them! Oh, how I love them!

Doors, they can always be washed....children will not always be a step away from a water fight...I encourage you to embrace!! Embrace them while they are young, embrace them while they grow older so that you might never regret the moments that were had or the moments at hand....but always reach forward with arms open wide for a hug.... love them, for they love you so!

Friday, December 11, 2009

What Is Time Management Mean To Me?

I have been really pushing my workouts lately, trying to challenge my body in a new dimension. I enjoy the challenge as well as the sweaty feeling when done. A job well done. Today, I woke up and just felt an inert desire to skip the workout and stay home. A stay home we did. There has been a Family Fun craft I have been meaning to do. I will not say what it is as the kids made it for their grandparents. However, we completed it and it looks fantastic.

I feel that when I dedicate and spend quality time at the gym, giving back to myself I am able to take so much more time for the people that matter most in my life, my family. So many times you hear harried mommas explaining in exasperation, " I just don't have time for myself" . Personally, I feel that this is a cop out. I homeschool, have a family on an unconventional schedule, three kids under 5 and manage a home. I have 30 minutes for myself to get the sweat going, the endorphins flowing and the stress out of my body.

Maybe, I don't have time to do everything that I want to do....but that's ok, this is a choice not a demand. I have chosen to welcome children into our lives....we, my husband and I , have chosen to set up our lives the way they are...however, I have not chosen to let myself go. I challenge you, if you are a stay at home mom or a mom that works....give yourself 30 minutes, minium, every day to give back to yourself, your body and see what changes happen in your stress levels, your organizational levels, not to mention your health.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Frugal Living

Have I ever mentioned that I love saving money and love seeing how I can make it stretch? I truly do. It's a challenge to me and such a sense of gratification by caring for and using what God has blessed us with. I believe in being good stewards of what you have. Whether that means maintenance on vehicles, ie: oil changes, cleaning and caring for appliances in other preventative measures or simply looking for new ways to wear the same shirt with different accessories, etc.

This is a very materialistic world. How do we combat that but still, for us fashion conscious mommas, still look cute and in style? Hey, if wearing whatever the wind blows your way fits you, then by all means do it! Me, on the other hand do prefer to do my best putting on a reasonably cute and fashionable attire most of the time. How do I do this, you then ask, without breaking the bank? Easy! I do NOT buy when the fall line or summer line first come out. I wait at least until mid season and pay no less than 60-75% off the original retail price. A few years ago, when I was pregnant with my daughter, I walked out of Gap Maternity with over $300.00 worth of maternity clothing for only $27.00. Talk about a savings! I felt so good and enjoyed every moment that I wore those outfits. Because they are name brand, which is what I almost always go for , for a plethora of reasons, I am able to resell them for pretty much the clearance price that I paid for them, thus not losing any money in the process.

I also enjoy accessorizing. This is probably one of my favorite parts of an outfit, huge earrings, cute necklaces, scarves, shoes etc. These are all ways to boost your favorite shirt/skirt. Make the most of what you have and do not hoard. If you have not worn something in over a year, get rid of it or donate it. Clutter overwhelms and encourages us to feel frustrated and desire more. Why do we desire more? Because we can never find the "thing" we are looking for as it is hidden under mounds of other " things", so we go out and purchase another.

Now that we are homeschooling, I can see how managing money and resources is going to benefit us all in the long run. I am such a planner and enjoy looking far enough into the future to plan and anticipate, but not so far that I am living there. I learned that lesson the hard way. Jayden is doing so well in school that at 5 and 1/2 I am anticipating him ending his Saxon Math 1st grade by mid February. So, instead of waiting.....and paying a high price at the home school convention or off of the main site, I searched around and purchased what I needed for a mere $20.00. That is almost an $80.00 savings! See how much fun that is! I can see how homeschooling can be as expensive and inexpensive as you would like to make it. I would like to fall somewhere in the middle. I know that my husband and I can give our children a better education than anyone else can, but how to do it without breaking the bank. I have found so many resources online, in books and magazines than I know what to do with. One, that I am reading now is " Ultimate Book of Homeschooling Ideas".

There are some amazing ideas in here. One that I loved was taking math concepts, adopting it to an interest of the child, ie: dinosaurs, and creating a large map with fields, rocks, caves, woods and ponds, then make nests out of grass and put "eggs" ( small circular holes) and work double facts, multiplication, etc. out of this. I love this idea for many different reasons. One, it takes math and makes it hands on and interesting as well as applicable to a child. Two, it is not hard to create nor expensive. There are so many geography games, writing activities, literature activities, etc. that I could get lost in the book. Again, these are all ideas that do not break the bank but also take invested time over some monetary costs. It's how you want to play the game. I enjoy saving and making our money go as far as we can. My husband and I love that I can stay at home due to financial decisions that we made in high school! Yes, the financial decisions you make at such a young age will effect you for the next 10-15 years of your life. So, what are you going to do? How will you steward the money God has given you in the life situations He has placed you in?

A Day of Stickers

Today I resolved to spend a lot of time, quality time, with Austen. I enjoy him so much and he is so precious to me and so much fun. He is so much fun and very tactical. We sat down and completed a huge Christmas sticker book today. We had so much fun! Just sitting together, working on where baby Jesus went, ornaments, the shepherds, etc. He enjoyed it so much and I enjoyed working with him alone. We spent hours pouring over the stickers together, laughing at the snowmen and where he placed the carrot noses and pointed stick hands. Kissing his sweet, soft smelling hair and the feeling of him cuddling up next to me with no interruptions. I have been praying for my Austen lately. The other day, we found him standing on top of Jayden's bunk hanging on the curtain rod. The next day, taking a spray bottle and spraying these beautiful, floating, fragile ( yeah, I know, they are in their room more for me than them) Pottery barn dragon flies....then finally, yesterday Moriah was covered with teal marker, all over her face, neck, Austen's hands, cheek, the bathroom walls, sink and countertop..... I know he is three but baby, something needs to change. I started thinking..... Austen plays a lot...but not necessarily with me.... so my new goal and desire is to really pour into Austen, as I did with Jayden. I love being with him. He is so hillarious as he talks in a high pitch voice and pretends to be a female cat named " Joyce". He make silly faces at Riah and she laughs her head off. He cries if I'm not in the room and states that he , " thought you went to the circus". He is my lovers, will always be my lovers and I look forward to tomorrow investing into his life, individually by doing more stickers and painting a surprise for the grandparents for Christmas. I love you Austen, you are valued, you are special and you were created by God for powerful things. Be blessed my child. Come Jesus and fill his spirit with your love and acceptance. You, Austen, are a valued member of our family and we need you!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Christmas is here

Yesterday was fantastic. As I posted the previous day, I have been really working hard on being more purposeful with my time and doing little improvises throughout the day. The boys wanted to work on a wooden truck that you construct and paint. So, the night before I laid out all the paints and paper that we would need as well as finding paintbrushes. Also, I unloaded the dishwasher which is a huge head start in the morning with all the bowls, spoons, spilt milk and cereal going on. An empty dishwasher means sanity. I also laid out black construction paper and all the supplies we would need to do our CHristmas craft for that day.

The next morning, besides not putting a movie in right away, which I need to work on, we went right into crafting. We painted the truck, constructed it and allowed it to dry. Then, we proceeded in making our sheep hand prints and talking about the Shepherds and what happened during the birth of Christ in the Bible. The boys really enjoyed this and Austen wanted to create two sheep. If I knew where the cord was to post pictures of , I would but will find that later. I was even so impressed with the fact that I rememberd that Jayden was in the book it club for Pizza Hut and we had a zoo day scheduled to see the Komodo Dragons as well as all the other wonderful animals at the zoo. I was not stressed, able to keep up with the clutter and enjoy my children to the fullest as well as call ahead to Pizza Hut and order two personal pan pizzas for pickup at 11 and then head to the zoo.

I am still amazed at how small, little insignificant steps can lead to such monumental moments. I also completed one whole strawberry shortcake felt food for Moriah and that totaled to almost 3 hours....yes, they take me forever but are so cute!

Christmas cookies and Hot cocoa were eaten and enjoyed, Christmas music played in the background and I felt at peace in my heart. My children were able to play and carry on as usual and I felt very, very peaceful. I am reading a book right now about what it means to be a family manager and how to manage time, etc. The book is so inspirational that I may, in the future, quote some of it. I love staying at home and am determined to do it with excellence. I believe in taking time for myself, ie: my workouts, planning my time wisely, educating my children, spending time with my husband and managing my home with effiency. I love this journey! I am so excited to share all of my experiences with some other young mom, someday. There are very few women mentors out there, and that is so sad to me. More than anything, young mamas and wives want a mature, Christian, woman mentor who will come along side of them encourage and take part in their lives. I cannot wait to do this for someone..... I will not waste all my insight and and learning experiences on only myself.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Some days are like this

Today I have just been very frustrated. I feel that I put too many expectations upon myself and when the don't come through I just become very frusterated at that....I have been thinking about ways to simplify my life....Yesterday I donated probably half of a warehouse to Goodwill and could do more. I have letters sitting around my house to be mailed out, yet I don't buy stamps. Breakfast in the morning can seem so frusterating at times, planning for Jayden and Austen's school, meal planning, etc.. so that I have been brainstorming ways to simplify my life by little steps....for example, when I have letters written to go out to people, but no stamps I feel like I am letting someone down...but instead of going out and getting stamps, I just keep pushing the letter around. I no this makes no sense to anyone but that's ok sense no one really reads this it's like I am pushing the guilt around all day, all here are my little ideas to get rid of some guilt, over expectations and proceed on with freedom and less stress

1. Never write a letter until I have stamps with me.
2. Buy stamps once a month, first of the month
3. Set breakfast setting up the night before
4. No movies in the morning- this throws our whole routine off!
5. Read 1-2 chapters of my novel per night
6. Work on my project for 1/2 per night and if I am feeling great at it keep going
7. Do not waste time on the internet unless everything else is accomplished
8. Enjoy my babies and smile more- I know for those of you who know me, I am always smiling but I feel this is something I can do even more

Put PB&J away as soon as I use it- otherwise it just keeps getting cluttered on the counter....

So I will try to adopt some of these policies.....I feel they are attainable and enriching to my life...wasting time on the internet, tv, etc. only takes away from precious hours of creativity...yes, sometimes they are needed...but for me, they make me feel behind and non pray that I am able to do these. I am just very frusterated today....thank goodness tomorrow is a new day!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

My son, the pastor

Last night was the most precious night that I've had in awhile. It started off earlier that morning. Jay had crawled into bed with Ben and I and started crying...he said, " please pray, please pray I just had a dream of a dragon in the bathroom and I am scared." So I started to pray, asking God for peace for Jayden, a comfort, etc.

Later that night, we were all getting ready for bed and Jay started crying and asking me to pray again as he was scared. I just felt the Holy Spirit come upon me and got out the bible. I started sharing with him who satan was and what he has set out to try to do, etc. Jayden asked what the real satan looked I went on to share what the Bible has to say about him. How he is a father of lies, how he tries to scare us, make us think he is powerful, etc. Well then, we began to talk about heaven and hell and he just started sobbing. The most heart wrenching sobs. He cried out, " Did Great Grandpa know Jesus??" and I said, " Oh yes honey, he did...he is with Jesus now!" and then looks at me, tears streaming down his face, " Do you know Jesus?" " Yes! Jayden I do. I love him" Does Daddy know Jesus?" Yes he does and he loves Jesus too and asked him into his heart...." " But , what about Austen, he hasn't" and he just starts sobbing and he is walking down the bunk bed ladder and goes " Austen, do you want to ask Jesus into your heart, to live there?" and Austen said, " yes" and Jayden said, " I will tell you what to say, you just repeat after me" " Dear Jesus, I love you, please come live in my heart. I love you in Jesus name Amen"

There, right in their precious bedroom one son asked Jesus into his life while the other led him to the Lord. Isn't this what life is about???! Isn't this what parenting is for. These children are not our own, they are Gods. God is the one who has formed them, created them for His own will. We, as children of God, can choose to follow that will or do our own thing but we were created to praise and worship him and to share with the world about His coming, love and salvation.

Jayden started crying again about being scared and I just kept praying over him, " You are a strong man of God, you are destined for greatness. You are called to a purpose of authority over satan. You will use the sword of the spirit to strike down the enemy. You have power over him because of Christ who lives in you!" and he said, with tears, " I don't feel very strong" and I just start crying as my heart is breaking at his purity, honesty and vunerability. I said, " Do you remember Gidieon in the bible?? He didnt feel strong either, he didn't feel brave either but what did God say, ' Be strong and courageous'". God fought for Gideon. What a precious, precious moment in the lives and hearts of both of my boys. This is my story, this is my heart.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Tea Time

I was inspired by my friend Cheryl's post, Moms In Need of Mercy, as she talked about the idea of tea time and allowing time to just rejuvinate. I am taking up this challenge and incorporating tea time, after nap time and quiet times with my babies. I think this is a wonderful idea and a fun way to just usher in the late afternoon/early evening hours prior to dinner. I do not really have an acquired taste for tea, but this must change. I will keep trying the raspberry zinger. Hahaha. I do not even have a cool tea kettle or tea cups but this must change as well. I am creating some food for my daughter for Christmas, that are all related to tea time. I will post when I am finished....maybe if I get good enough I'll put it on etsy.

I love this idea of tea time...if only it wasn't 9:00pm and my house was a disaster I too would settle in for a nice cup of tea.....a few sips here and there and who knows, maybe I'll look one day and actually be loving the taste. I know my sister in law impresses me with her taste for tea......

Tea Time....I love it! I will look up some recipes for sconces, biscotti, or muffins and post what I have found..... How fun is this!


Yesterday we accomplished much, to my amazement. I feel the key to my homeschool success is not putting on a movie first thing in the morning....and believe me, it is so easy to do. I, most mornings, prefer to wake up slowly and quietly reading the bible while the boys watch a movie. However, this routine needs a little tweaking. Yesterday, Jayden was the first up and I decieded, at 6am to get started on his math. We went through 4 lessons! Then we went on to his SSRW and completed step 11. At this point, Austen was now up and we started on geography. This has got to be my favorite part of school as I have an intense passion for geography and history. My Grandpa used to sit us on his lap and spin the globe showing us where we lived, how he hitch hiked across the US, and all the grand adventures he had growing up. I truly believe that is where my love for the world began.

We are studying Egypt this week....but after further anaylysis there is so much biblical history associated with Egypt that this will probably take us a few weeks. We created our Egyptian flag, made a picture of stamps and told a story ( hieroglyps) and I read about the Israelties crossing the Red Sea. How exciting to show the boys that the same Red Sea that is in the bible, that Moses and the Israelites crossed is located on the globe. We talked about faith, how Moses told the Israelties that " The Lord will fight for you, you need only to be silent". I love that verse in Exodus!

There are so many faith walks in life yet if you are able to relinquish all control and allow God to move in your heart and in your life, knowing He is fighting for amazing is that! I loved the opportunity to pour out my heart to the boys and share with them the persecution of the Christians in Egypt. We prayed for them, layed our hands ( fingers) on Egypt and prayed that God would send protection to them and care for them, giving them boldness.

Today, at the library, I picked up a bunch of books on Egypt, Egyptian food, etc for our party at the end of this unit. I had such grand ideas for fall/Thanksgiving unit for the month of November but will have to wait until next year as the month has literally slipped away from me. Overall, I felt very accomplished at the end of the day....mix that in with Thomas the Train, pretending and laughter and it was a great day!

Friday, November 13, 2009

How do you Explain the Unknown to A Child?

Today Jayden was doing school at the table and I was working along side of him, helping him w/ his drawing as well as mopping up a sticky floor that had been doused with sugar falling out of the pantry. He looked up at me with tears in his eyes and said, " Momma will you die when I am still a kid?" What a heartbreaking question! I said, " Jayden, I want to be here and watch you grow for many, many years and I plan on being apart of your life for a long time." Then he asks, " But will would happen to me if I was a kid and you would die?" I said, " Jay, Daddy would take care of you."
" But what would happen if Daddy and you both died?" He is now sobbing at this point. " Baby, then Grandma and Grandpa or Nana and Papa would take care of you. You would never be alone."

" But then, what would I do when I got there?"
" Got where?"
" At the airport?"-sobbing
" Honey! you would never fly by yourself. If something happened to both Momma and Daddy Grandma and Grandpa and Nana and Papa would be here in a second taking care of you. You would never, ever be alone"

What a heartbreaking conversation to have with my buddy. I kept quoting scripture how no matter what happens to us on earth, your heavenly Father will always provide, protect and care for you. How hard not to be able to promise my precious son that I will always be here. I dont' know, but I do know that God will. He will never leave you nor forsake you. "Peace I give you, My peace I leave you, not as the world gives but as I give so do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid"

God , I ask that I will be able to watch my babies grow up and mature but God if I am ever taken before that please let them know that I love them, will always love them and that you will never forsake them. Make yourself real to Jayden, Austen and Moriah. Show yourself faithful to them, for you are faithful.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Frusterating times at the Playground

What a beautiful , cloudy warm day. We enjoyed a very productive day of school and some wonderful time with friends at the park. I do have to say though, why is it that my son Jayden always seems to be singled out for exclusion?? I can't think of anything more frusterating and angering to me than this. Today, at the park we came to play, to enjoy time with friends. Jayden and Austen were playing with a huge group of kids and appearing to have a good time. Then, upon closer inspection there was some friction occuring. Me, being the very Momma Bear that I am and observant of what is going on head over to inspect. As I arrive some child is declaring that " All kids 6 and under are not part of the club and are excluded" . Excuse me, did someone stop and ask you to be the all performing club president of the park? That would mean that both my boys could not "play" or be apart of what they were doing. The lovely child was very adamant stating, " I dont' trust them...." Did I ask you if I cared if you trusted them, brother they just want to play tag, not be apart of your "club". I could not believe my ears. I do not think that just because a child is homeschooled means that he will be kind but this was unbelievable. How unkind and rude can you be?!

I feel that Jayden is faced with these types of situations over and over. Maybe I feel the way I do because I was faced with them over and over as a child and now being on the other side, in the sense that I could careless about being included/excluded from anything or nothing, I feel very passionate about protecting my child. Jayden has the sweetest, purest heart out there. Do I think he is perfect, absolutely not but he does know how to treat someone with kindness.

Sometimes I get so angry that this happens to him over and over. I feel, at times, that God is really building character in him and working him through this to give him so much empathy and understanding to the underdog. As a parent, however, this is very hard to watch. In all honesty, if I could I would set aside my personality and beat anyone that tried to mess with my child. That is how strongly I feel about protecting my children. Now you can go with what I said and run with it, but hear me out what parent wants to see their child hurt and would do anything to protect them? Show me! I am not a violent person nor do I advocate violence but if just once I could say everything that I was feeling/thinking in that very moment of seeing the crushed look on my son's face than maybe I would feel better...if not for a moment.

I believe that God calls us, however, to a higher standard. I can't pummel every child that tries to exclude my child. That would not only advocate violence but is not who I am. I can, however, teach MY children how to treat others, how to include, encourage and defend the underdog. I said to Jay tonight, " You know bud, there will always be kids that don't know how to treat others, or how to be kind but we can still be kind back, we can still show God's love. That doesn't mean that we are doormats and let someone walk over us but we will not return evil for evil or insult for insult"

In the meantime, I will always advocate for my children, they are mine and I was born a Momma Bear, that I will never change.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The starting of a children's book.....would love to submit someday....

Where Is The Cookie Moon?

Momma where is the cookie moon? I can't see it.
Is it behind the dark, thick clouds?
Is it behind the sleepy, still tree?
Is it behind the Strong, Stoic Mountains?
I can't see it?

Where is the cookie moon Momma?
I need to see it. I need to follow it with my eyes, I need to watch it follow me as I move in the car, I need to see it as I stand outside in the darkness.

Momma, where is the cookie moon? Can I eat it? What does it taste like? Will it always be round? Will it always be yellow? Will it always be there?

Momma, where is the cookie moon? I can't see it.

My child, the cookie moon is in the sky, sometimes it plays hide and go seek, sometimes it shows its large face for all to see. That is the cookie moon; it is beautiful but not dependable.

Me, my child, will always be here. I am not like the cookie moon. I do not play hide and go seek where you have to look for me, I do not make you wonder where I am or if I will be around. I will not hide behind the dark, thick clouds, I will not hide behind the sleepy, still trees, and I will not hide behind the strong, stoic mountains.

I am here, right here. When you wake up in the middle of the night after a bad dream, I am here. When you feel scared and alone I am here. When you need a kiss after being in bed, I will be here. I, my child, will help you look for the cookie moon but the cookie moon will never have to help you look for me.
Today we had a very successful day of school. Jayden is doing amazing with his math. I had to do something and asked him to get started on some concepts on his worksheet. He said, "Momma, what letter is at the end of you?" " u Jayden" then he turns his paper around and showed me what he had written, a smiley face with the words " I lov you" That was the most precious thing he could have ever done to touch my heart. I love him so much. Austen worked on his states puzzle and is getting so good at finding where all the states go and who they are next to. Overall, it was a pretty calm and relaxing day. Each day we pray for peace, a diligent heart, wisdom and grace. Today I could definetly tell that all of those were being put into place.

We came back on our flight from out of state a few days ago. It was a great flight except for Moriah and her crazy wiggly body. The boys did amazing. We have not used DVD players on the flights for quite some time and the boys do great without them. They read stories, ate plenty of non sugary snacks and listened to their books on cd, courtesy of the library. As we left quite late at night, the kids slept for the majority of the flight.

Austen was hillarious in the airport. Watching him was like watching a small version of a business man rolling his carryon around. He had a hat on, with hair sticking out the back, pulling his Thomas the Train carryon and a black jacket over his jeans. He knew exactly where he was going and it was so precious! I just love that boy.

Tonight, Austen came to Ben and I and said, " Tomorrow after Milo ( Jayden) and Joyson's ( Austen) naps can we play the ocean game? " They crack me up. Everywhere we go lately they are meowing and pretending to be cats. They talk in high pitched voices and argue over if something is a boy or a geel ( girl). Precious , precious friends they are.

We are onto the Yellowhouse Mystery for Boxcar Children and are really enjoying the book. I went out and bought all the ingredients that go along with the story, as I have the cookbook, so we can make the food that they eat as we read it. The days just fly and sometimes I'm not sure if they can ever slow down but I love embracing this time with my babies, as they will always be my babies.

Last night, Jayden came into my room over and over and I was getting really frusterated with him. Then the last time, I was playing some Kari Jobe, some of my favorite worship music, and I just felt the desire to pray over Jayden. He wrapped his arms around me and we rocked back and forth and I prayed for him. A prayer of music over his life, annointing over his voice, his fingers. It was a precious moment where I felt the Holy Spirit just fill the room and touch Jayden as well as myself.

Children are a precious gift from God. Being a mother is the most beautiful job that one could ever have. NEver take it for granted. There a lot of women out there who mother children, but there are not a lot of women who are Mommas and nurture them. Challenge yourself to view your position as one of influence, full of passion and grace.

Thursday, November 5, 2009


We have been on our family vacation, minus Daddy, for the past two weeks. It has been a very interesting trip so far. The first week and a half we were all sick. There is nothing more frusterating than coming from so far, spending so much money to see family that you don't see that often and being sick. The boys have done so well but have had some major meltdowns along the way. Moriah came down with bronchitis and an ear infection and me, a sinus infection. What can you do? Nothing.

I feel that there are so many times that I need to learn how to outwardly express patience and understanding in a much more active sense. We waited and waited amidst all the rashes, coughs, colds, throwing up and finally our day arrived. The son was shining, a beautiful 60 degrees and the leaves all turning different shades of yellow, red and orange around us.

We ventured outside, bundled up from head to toe and swung. We swung higher and higher, we laughed, we breathed the sweet scent of fall. I turned and watched my three world stand surrounded by an array of swirling, crisp fall leaves. They engulfed him and moved quickly around him. He ran and chased them desperately trying to catch them. I watched. I stood still. I absorbed the moment in my mind, in my heart and soul. It was a beautiful moment, Austen chasing leaves, the leaves moving never stopping only to fall just ahead of where Austen was. Isnt' that like life. Sometimes we lose the joy in the journey because we are chasing something that isnt ready to be caught. Sometimes, in life, it's fun to chase a dream to think about it and learn about it even when we know it is out of reach. Austen did and I watched and smiled and laughed. He is my joy.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Encouragement for today

I aboslutely love my job. I love staying at home with my babies and taking care of my husband and family. I love having the time to learn new hobbies, read books on many different subjects and really invest in my families lives. Today, I just had a verse going through my head so I thought I would share it,

" Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary. " Galations 6:9

The most beautiful and frusterating thing about raising little people for God's glory is not seeing immediate gratification. However, if we stay steadfast into what God has called us to do then we will reap....but ONLY if we remain on course and constant. Ironic, we all grow weary but the bible addresses that as well..." They that wait upon the Lord will renew their strength" " The joy of the Lord is my strength" " I can do all things through Christ who give me strength" " Come to me all who are weary and I will give you rest for my yoke is easy and my burden is light"

God knows that life can be hard, frusterating, overwhelming and tiring. However, the bible mandates that we not lose heart. However, the only way to humany accomplish this is to supernaturally rely on God's strength, " For in my weakness He is made strong"

Sunday, September 27, 2009

How do you fill your time???

This past week has been incredibly busy for me, my family. It has finally stopped today and I am looking forward to this upcoming week with not too much on the calendar. I am really into books that force us to think out of the box from the status quo toys, " Elmo, Mickey Mouse, Dora, etc" and make us channel our childrens energies into more creative, unhibited play. I do not think there is anything wrong with branded toys as my sons have a slew of Thomas the Train Wooden Railway sets and trains. However, I read in this book once that when children are only given toys that they have seen on tv, videos, etc...they loose that ability to make it their own. They no longer desire to give it , it's own personality but rather the personality that was chosen for it by the producers or creators of the product. I kind of go in spurts of what is my passion to read and research about. For awhile, it was just focusing on the lost art of play. I try hard for my kids to do puzzles, play dough, color, read, dress up, go outside. Do not feel condemed if you have a playstation, but I personally feel that my boys, especially, will have so many opportunities for those types of games that I would rather get down at their level and play " Rat a tat Cat", " Silly Faces" or" Go Nuts" ( just a few of my millions of favorite games with my babies) .

I love watching their faces discover, to go outside and explore and learn. To build confidence outside the confines of a television. Do my children watch movies, absolutely, but for the most part, there are exceptions, it is a very small porportion to what else they may have done on that particular day. I encourage you to allow your children to explore, to not stock up on the branded toys but rather invest in some quality NON noise making toys and watch as your children light up. I am a huge advocate AGAINST the pressure to enroll your child in many different activities. I was not always like this, I wanted Jayden and Austen to be in everything. They will be involved and enjoy being involved at church, soccer, co ops, etc. However, I highly recommend the " The Hurried Child" as well as " Einstein never used Flashcards". These are great books that really put into persepctive how we, as Americans, force ourselves into the mindest that we needed to always be going and doing and being involved.

I am fighting hard against that; especially after this week. I love being busy to an EXTENT. I do not want my schedule filled every day, every hour. I want my children to be able to play together and not live out of a van. Is it so important that we enroll our babies in sports at 2/3 or that we foster a loving relationship with them and delay the enrollment to , gasp, 7/8???? Just some food for thought. I do enroll my boys in soccer and they are not 7/8 but we also say no to some things too. We need to use our time wisely. Especially those of us who are homeschooling. This is such a critical and important time, not only in our childrens' lives, but ours as well. Enjoy this time, don't spend it being overstimulated and feeling pressure from society to have your child enrolled in the highest this or the best this. Spend your time cuddling up and reading together, simmer some homemade hot cocoa on the stove, pop some old fashion popcorn and breathe. Laugh. Realize this is life.

I encourage you to be wise with your time and not waste it foolishly. Many times, when God calls us to our families we are able to say no to some things now so that we can open our hearts and say yes to many things now. I have trusted God with this area of my life and feel such an immense peace that I do not want to use this precious time of staying at home filling it with as I like to call " fillers". A perfect example as of recent. My children and I are members our cities science center. We were able to go get a preview of the robotic exhibit as well as SID the Science Kid( I told you I was not completley against branded things) . Well, Sid was arriving mid afternoon which meant that we delayed arriving to the museum until smack dab in the middle of nap hour. Oh joy. We drove an hour to the science center, spent the time amongst hoards of children, lines, and parents trying our best to get a chance to do some hands on activities. My oldest son melted down only about a thousand times, and he does NOT do that often. My middle son was amazing and my daughter ran away countless times, throwing herself to the ground, me picking her up, her squirming to get out of my arms, all while we waited IMPATIENTLY for Sid and a simple picture. I was irriated, tired and grumpy. My children were as well and we snapped a lovely picture of the boys with SID as Riah screamed from stroller and left immediately to enjoy a silent hour ride home.

I say this to make this point, was it worth all the hassel, the driving and the stress just to "do something" Sure Sid is great, but we spent about 5 seconds with Sid and about 4 hours of high stress with my children, traffic and a slew of people. My conclusion is no. This was one of those times where I chose to do something not based on what was best for my family or myself but what I thought sounded like a good idea, a great opportunity. It turned out frusterating and deflating. What have a I learned, once again, priortize my time, spend it in prayer and say no to opportunities, there are not such things as "once in a lifetime opportunities" if it is not the right timing. We drove home, the kids all fell asleep and I stopped and bought myself a java chip frappuccino...ahhh, now that was bliss!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

This past week has been amazing! My Mother in Law visited for about 9 days and we had so much fun. One of the greatest benefits of homeschooling is the flexibility in our schedules. We were able to taylor our needs to what the day held. We spent an afternoon hiking in Payson. It was beautiful and the boys found a snake skin, lovely, lizards, sticks, and cool air. I enjoy getting away from the city much of the time and welcome these retrieves into our daily schedule. I also started hand sewing a special project for Moriah's Christmas present. I am not posting any pictures until after is complete, but I am quite impressed with the progress this little project has made and thankful to my MIL for helping me along the way. I am not naturally a seamstress; God knows that better than anyone; however, I truly enjoy learning new things and hobbies. Jayden is onto letter "U" and we are almost done with the inside race track for SSRW. I am very excited about this as I am ready to move on to new things. I love homeschooling. There has defiently been some frusterating moments; however, the great ones truly outweigh the others. Jayden is now in two different co ops, activities at church and soon to sports. Austen is also enjoying being apart of all of his best friend's activities. Today, we worked on many different activities, one being his science experiments for his co op. We are observing dried peas compared to fresh peas and making comparisons, etc. It is pretty interesting and simple. I checked out a million and one books from the library yesterday; not a huge surprise. I am getting ready to incorporate a whole new section to our workboxes and I have only a trillion ideas to go on. One book, The Dangerous Book for Boys, is full of great ideas ie: rope tying, cooking, nature collecting, etc. that will be so much fun to add. The possibilities are endless. God is so faithful, if we hold true to him and allow Him to guide our steps life will be so much less frusterating, maybe not more clearer but less frusterating and full of peace.

I am gearing up for Oktoberfest; not because I am into beer, I am not, but because I am proud of my German heritage and will pass this along to our children. I am so excited to try different German recipes, listen to the music, learn some new words and embrace my culture. Will post pictures later this week or early next week.

Friday, September 11, 2009


Today was an absolutely crazy day! It started off early and I had to get my workout in and shower before pictures, lunch and a new science co op that Jayden has started. I had the kids pictures taken today and it was an absolutely hillarious event. We arrive and the photo studio is actually running on time , which doesn't happen all that often. I have the kids color coordinated to the T and they are looking so adorable. I was only concerned with Austen because last year, we had to crop his picture from the picture of all three of the kids due to his less than desire to smile. He, however, suprised me as he flashed smile after smile and was winning my heart every second. The one that suprised me was little Miss Angel girls. She would not stop crying after the sibling shoot. There was no ball, "tickler", flower or doll that would soothe her heart. She wanted nothing to do with those devices, rather she only wanted me. There is one shot that is totally heart breaking and hillarious at the same time. There she is, with her little head wrap on, tears streaming down her face, her mouth open and turned down, looking up at the camera. SNAP. A moment in time that I will not forget. She looked so pitiful I could only laugh and hug my angels. She is growing up so fast. She says "hi", " Mumma", " Dadee" " ank you" and a few other did this happen so fast? I love watching her walk, read stories to herself and love on her animals. She is such a mamacita and it is so precious to watch her and her gentleness.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Our past few days

Whew...our past few days have absolutely flown by with much going ons. I have started a new system, a sketchy rendition of the famous " workbox" system that many homeschooling parents are doing. However, due to our very limited space and my intense desire to always abhor clutter I have found a different solution. If you are not familiar with workbox system, for visual goal orientated people like myself, it is amazing. Google it and the site will do much better at explaining it than I will. I am using a crate, $2.50 at Walmart, with colorful hanging folders. I have 12 hanging folders for Jayden. I put a different activity in each and when we get through them all, we are done for the day. He loves it, Austen loves it ( as I pair up Austen's fun with Jayden's) and I love it. I feel so accomplished and organized by the end of the day and the school part of our day flows very smoothly and without constant getting up and searching for things, etc. I am truly loving homeschooling and want to make a success out of it. I knew, however that organization was my key to that success. Here is what the past couple days of our workboxes/folders looked like

Art- painting bugs
Bug Stamping
Science Experiment
Read Insect books
Draw/Diagram anatomy of insect body ( Jayden took it upon himself to now only draw a diagram but do a comparison of two insects as well :) )
Cut out places insects live/glue in nature journal

Write letters to families
Play Dough
Independent reading
Geography ( didn't get to that)
Audio book-draw picture
Library Story time

I am so excited about this new system...I love the fact that learning is an ongoing, every moment type thing. Yesterday, the boys really wanted pancakes. Now, I make amazing waffles and they truly are amazing along with homemade syrup. Pancakes, on the other hand are completely different. In my opinion, the take a lot more work , are a lot messier and not as tasty. However, the boys wanted them so I said, "No problem, buddy" One and a half hours later, my kitchen splattered with batter from an out of control mixer, egg shells lining the counter, the smell of thick, dry burnt dough stuck to the frying pan and a lovely scent of smoke filling the kitchen. Yummm, want to join us???

The 2nd round of attempting at these pancakes gave the appearance that they were going to be tasty and as Jayden put it so kindly, " Wow, those look wonderful" Alas, they were as dry and disgusting as the previous ones. The boys ,however, wanted to eat the pancakes and blue syrup that I had made. I , on the other hand, wanted nothing to do with those pitiful, parched pancakes and began to search high and low for cereal, there was none. So, I started cracking eggs and pouring flour for a third time that morning with a growling stomach inorder to create my amazing apple cinnamon waffles.

Fifteen minutes later, I sat down at the breakfast table, ignoring the dripping noises of batter behind me and enjoyed my waffles. I explained to the boys that I still needed to learn new things and still needed to make a million and ten mistakes before I would get certain things right, ie: the pancakes. I further used this opportunity to encourage them to never give up. Maybe the kitchen , or the project or the process will look absolutely disastrous to someone on the outside but you can turn around and see that what you just created was a beautiful attempt at learning something new. That is a lot to say for many people who chose to never step out.

I will attempt the pancakes again, with a new recipe and a renewed outlook. They will come out, if it takes me the next 4 years. We are only failures if we stop trying and we will stop trying when we live with the fear of failing. Our children will learn from how we live. My children will see me attempt and fail over and over again, but what they will not see is me surrendering. What they will see is my success and the hardwork that came Before it, not after. I refuse to give up!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

We just came back from an amazing time up north. The air was a little cooler than where we are from and we were given , by a friend of my husband's, 3 day stay at a very nice resort. We relaxed, hiked, ate and swam together. We had a great time as a family and enjoyed the change of scenery for awhile. On our second day of our mini vacay, we decided to visit one of our beautiful state parks in the state. We arrived with the expecation of possibly siting a lizard, or two on our hike. We piled out of the van and started walking to the visitor center. As I took my first step down on the concrete stairs I saw a glimps of something slithering immediately below my foot. My brain had a split second delayed reaction before I saw an even longer something moving near me. I screamed the loudest I have screamed in mere decades and flung my body backwards, using the concrete slab as my pillow. My hands went out and I ended up pushing Austen down, hitting his head against the concrete. I'm screaming, he's crying, Jayden's exclaiming, Riah is sitting in the backpack and Ben is staring in astonishment. It was a scene that would have won us the 100,000 grand prize on America's Funniest Home Videos.

My logic for flinging myself back was I had almost stepped immediately on his, the incredibly long, snake's head. I have lived in my state now for almost 3 years and have hiked every where. Not one time, ever, had a come upon a snake until that very day. I did not know if it was a rattle snake and was prepared to protect my unassuming 3 year old from it's fangs. It, however, was a very long, over 5 feet, gopher snake who, according to the ranger, is cranky but not venemous. I have not felt that immense surge of adrealine as I did at that second. My life, flashing before my eyes.

After our "amazing" encounter, I was fulfilled and felt no need to come upon any more wildlife for that hike. We did, however, see many lizards, turtles and a hawk. We will be making a desert book of our sitings and posting it on here later. Jayden later stated to me, " If you get bit by a rattle snack, don't you go blind?" Wow, Jayden, that thought is so comforting! We did make it out alive , from our hike into the wilderness. We saw some amazing sights, beautiful red mountains, walked across peaceful brooks and took turns sharing eachothers' water, throwing rocks into the water and listening to the wind. It was a great day and we ended it with ice cream and a swim in a pool and hot tub that over looked God's amazing creation. We are so blessed.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Grand Canyon

Here is my heart at the Grand Canyon earlier in July. We had a great time celebrating with friends up north, in the cool of the mountains and then camping at the Grand Canyon National Park for a night. We hope to fit in some more camping trips yet this summer/fall. They are so fun and the kids absolutely love them. Nothing like hot, gooey smores over an open fire with the smell of burning wood in the air. So precious!
Ok, I'm feeling a tad overwhelmed by every creative idea that is flowing in my brain right now so I thought that I would just start making a list that way I can just revert back to this and say, oh yes, I remember that idea. I am thinking of doing the workbox idea with much variation. I feel this will keep me on track and organized and Jay and Austen moving in the direction that I was hoping are some ideas for Jay's workboxes:

bible verse/worship
learn to play harmonica
games, ie: max, go nuts, etc.
Unit Study activity ( which this concept overwhelms me just thinking of it)
Read boxcar children book
Unit study activity
Play trains
Dress up
This is me Journal Entry...kinda pricey but I'm thinking w/ all the work done this may be a worthwhile investment as well as keepsake
Weekly letters to friends/family
outing, ie: zoo, science center, movies, park, hiking...
co op
reading to oneself
building blocks
math activity
Sing Spell Read and Write

Ok, this is just a few of my ideas...I literally have a million screaming to come out but I'm like...ahh, how do I do this...I think I just need to organize my thoughts and now I feel a little better. I love homeschooling and just want to do am looking into the whole Apologia science books since Jayden loves, loves we shall see...alright...

Friday, August 14, 2009

The beginning of our journey

I have decided to blog our homeschooling journey/adventure because this is something I hadn't asked for or sought out. This is something that God has birthed in my heart about two years ago and I am so thankful to follow Him. I have so many ideas and thoughts about homeschoooling that I figured I might as well write them down to chronicle our daily lives with pictures, thus creating memories in a simple form. I hope you enjoy reading, find inspiration and encouragement for whatever walk you are on. Be blessed!