Tuesday, February 28, 2012

She's Got the Wild Eyes

Dear Hannah Lou,

You can now add mountaineer to your short, but every growing list of careers in your short life span. You have figured out a way to remove yourself from the confines of your crib walls. You shimmy down like an escaped prisoner who has just found freedom and yet, when i find you in the hall you stand there staring at me and saying" Hii" with blankee in tow.

The boys spied on you the other day, hiding themselves in your closet so they could figure out, just how you did this amazing feat for a barely 19 month old. The watched as you strategically dropped blankee down first, making sure she was laying in freedom. Then, you pulled with all your might and balanced on your chest, with your feet flying behind you and swung around so you could carefully lower your body to the floor. You are amazing and terrifying!

You escaped from your bed no less than 50 times and had 6 hours of sleep one night and no nap the following day. The wild eyes frantically darted to and fro as you searched from something to grab, shake, hold, scream, cry and wildly cackle. You finally fell asleep on the living room floor after dinner.

So, we thought we might be you a crib tent. Honestly, not wanting to pay $60 for a tent that only YOU need, we began to think of other more economical ways. We took your mattress support out and put the mattress on the floor so that now you have castle walls around you instead of mere gates. Yet, you figured out a way to shimmy up that too like a mountain climber. You figured out that if you were able to produce friction between the pads of your feet and the crib bars, you would be successful. So, you did. Laying in bed, at 6 am and being struck on the head with "babeee!" was quite a wake up call.

Now, you remind more of a circus animal. Daddy has thoughtfully tied a sheet over your crib on all four corners so you can no longer escape at night and nap time. You wave to us within the calming darkness of your crib and quietly sleep the night and nap time away. I do, feel, however, that it is only a matter of time....while you lay there quietly scheming the day away , that you will break free from this barrier as well. Hannah Lou, we do love you!

Please however, slow down a bit, coloring green crayon on Daddy's new computer, our walls and doors and eating toothpaste and sitting at the edge of the bathroom counter with the medicine cabinet wide open makes life just a bit exhausting. I cannot complain, however, you are the MOST polite baby I know saying thankful for everything....especially when you find Papa's special, sweet cereal , rip the box and bag open and help yourself to it on the floor of the kitchen. " Dank you Mama, dank you!"

Thursday, February 23, 2012


Last night Ben asked if I would make a Ramen noodle salad that he loves. its pretty much ramen noodles, almonds, sesame seeds with romaine lettuce, cut up vegetables, onions and a homemade dressing. Anyways, he prefers chives over onions and mentioned in passing if I could get them. Well, I did and organic at that.

I came home from the grocery store and he was pleasantly surprised that I had bought the chives and I set to work preparing the salad. As we all sat down to eat together, EVERYONE was enjoying the salad and then Ben goes, ' Whoa, these chives are strong enough to clear a nostril" ( haha, love that word nostril).  He continues on, " Chives normally have a real, sweet mild flavor but these ones, wow!". He silently, for the rest of the meal, pushed his chives off to the side where I kept picking them up and putting them on my plate. I thought they were great!

We put the kids to bed and were relaxing together watching the Republican Primary when there was a commercial break and I jumped on the computer to check my email. Benjamin came into the kitchen, looks in the sink and asks, " Were you planning on throwing out the good parts of the chives?" Not quite sure what he meant I said, " What?". He then continued, " All the good parts of the chives are sitting in the sink."

Dumbfounded, I just looked at him and said,  I thought that was the part you DIDN'T eat! He just started laughing so hard he could hardly stand it. He stated, " I wondered why when I came into the kitchen that the roots were missing but all the green parts were still here!'

Hahahaha! There we sat  consuming the roots of chives in the salad, cleaning our nostrils and me asking for Ben's extras- what's wrong with me???!!

So, now I know..you eat the green part, you cut off the bit of the root and do not eat the white part- and yes, I did cut off the bit of the root. That is why I felt that these "chives" were such a rip off- I mean seriously I paid over $3 for a tiny stump of food. Such a culinary chef I am :)

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Glimpses of Life with Hannah Lou ( "Nannah")

I"m happy that I ate the green marker

I am not happy that you took it from me

I think its funny that I tried to color your new Apple keyboard with my green,markery hands

I am so much fun! We love you Hannah

You are so big right now. You hoidinish climb out of bed and wave at all of us in the hall with your high pitched, " Hiiii". You say Mama, Daddy, Jyah, Iah, Papa, Nana, Puppy, Mine, Me, Oo ( food), baby, Siii ( outside), pity ( pretty), bye, dank you, ove you ( love you), yuck, dirty ( thirsty), cookie, "staaa" (stop), one on ( come on) - that was a phrase she got from me in the van with SLOW people driving in both lanes ....haha! 

You are into everything, you remind me of an on going party where  you fly and float from thing to thing to thing and pull, touch and spill. You are constantly running around with markers or pencils in your hands from who knows where and there are always markers, pom-poms and craft feathers laying in the kitchen after you have decided that you were too good to play with them anymore. 

Daddy was a bit upset last night when you dumped all his prize possessions behind the bed and walked away with a half a deck of cards. You think its funny to smile at me from the opposite side of the door and say " Byee" and shut the door on me, wait for me on the other side and then laugh and take off towards the stairs.

You love babies, any kind of babies and especially sister's babies . You need " dee-dee" with " Bobbi" ( blankee with Bobby-lou her pink squeaky pig. You give kisses, love it when Daddy plays rough with you and never want to stop being tossed around.

You are a pretty healthy eater and love frozen vegetables, fruit of any kind, sandwiches, soup, beans, and cookies. When we make chocolate chip cookies you are more than happy to accommodate me with a taste, or two.

You do not ever watch tv. You won't even sit for 2 seconds to watch a "baby" movie. You'd much rather run around and open, shut, pull, take apart and learn about your surroundings. You are a busy, loving little chica and I"m in love with you. When worship music comes on, your arms immediately go up and you start praising the Lord. Your heart is so beautiful. You always yell "Mama!" when I start to sing because you want me to stop so you can start. I love you and all your floofy, crazy, messy, loving, slobbery goo-ness that makes you, you Hannah. Love you and happy almost 19 month old bday - slow down  a bit please!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Grow Old With Me Please

Out of the blue, I could not sleep last night and then when I finally did fall asleep I had the most realistic and intense dream ever. Ben and I were around 100, married for around 80 years and we were laying in bed late at night and I just held his hand and looked at him with the most indescribable peace and said, " Baby, I do not think I am going to be waking up tomorrow. I think I will be meeting Jesus tonight."

Years that had turned into decades that had turned into a half of a century that had turned into a lifetime of love, heartache, memories, laughter, sadness, growing and family was coming to an end, this side of heaven. He held my hand and we decided to call up our family.

As we turned on the lights in the living room, for it was late at night, car upon car upon car of first, second, third and fourth generations began filling our living room. Ben and I sat in two chairs. He sat quietly, holding my hand and as I had each family divide into their respective heads, Jayden's family, Austen's, Moriah's, etc. I walked around and blessed them.

I looked each child, grandchild, great grandchild, great-great grandchild in the eyes and spoke a blessing upon them. Speaking the word of God into their hearts and declaring promise for their lives. After this moment was over the families mingled and the small children ran wild in the house and Ben and I sat and just took it all in.

We observed more than interacted. Laughter filled the air and the presence of God- just an indescribable peace was in our home. I felt so sad, knowing that my time on earth was over, but such an expectant peace at what lay ahead of me and the five children that I would finally be meeting in Heaven. My heart lept inside of me knowing that Ben and I, by God's grace, gave this life our all. We sacrificed and poured into our children and children's children the love and grace and peace of God. The feeling was overwhelming.

Even now, I am crying because the dream was so real. Finally, for the final time in my life on Earth and slowly got up and asked my great-great-great grandchildren if they wanted to make chocolate chip cookies with me. For decades I had been the warm hearth of baking smells and love that my family had grown to expect and love.

Standing over the kitchen aid, the children clamored and we broke the eggs and they poured the flour, and it spilled everywhere, and I didn't care. I  kept looking at Benjamin through the crowds and laughter and whispering, " Thank you, thank you for our life together" and tears crept into his old eyes and he just kept blowing me sweet, gentle kisses and saying, " thank you".

After the cookies were baked and the families had given me their hugs and love and I embraced my children extra long because I knew, I knew my time was ending. Ben and I slowly, very slowly walked to our bedroom and we laughed and cried and got ready for bed one final time. We held hands and he kept saying, " Please don't go to sleep yet, I'm not ready to say goodbye". SO we talked and reminisced more and we had so many memories, so many beautiful memories. Finally, my old body overcame to sleep and I kissed him one last time and looked him in the eyes and said, " Thank-you for loving me and for our life together." We held hands, we fell asleep.

May we finish well and finish strong. May our home be filled with generation upon generation of God-fearing children and grandchildren. My our love and life be a testimony to them. By God's grace. Amen.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Books Bring Comfort

This year, I made a list of the chapter books I wanted to read with the kids and to the kids. Many times, at night, Ben will read a chapter of a book prior to the Bible. This is such a precious moment during our day because it creates a shared adventure. Laurence Housman writes in his book, The Unexpected Years:

These family readings formed so satisfying a bond between older and younger that I can hardly think of family life without it; and I marvel when I hear of families in whose upbringing it has had no place.

There are shared experiences and trails unearthed because of a good book. I am a bit of a book snob and I want my children to grow up that way too. The color of the imagery and the poetic movement of the words is so incredibly important in painting a timeless picture for a child. Some of the books on my list have made it due to friends talking highly of it; others, recommendations or plain curiousness of books I have yet to read. Here is a list of some of the chapter books I hope to accomplish with my children this exciting year:

* Mr Popper's Penguins ( already started)
* The Borrowers
* Winnie the Pooh ( classic version)
* Betsy Tacy series 
* The Light on Tern Rock ( already started)
* The Knight's Castle ( already started)
* Charlotte's Web
* Little House in the Big Woods
* Stuart Little
* Indian in the Cupboard
* Paddle to the Sea
* Smoky: The Cow Horse
* Chitty-Chitty Bang-Bang
* Peter Pan
* Mary Poppins

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

It Hasn't Rained in 25 Years!

 I just pee my pants now? I mean seriously, could life for just one second go " according to plan"? Over five months ago, I began planning a home school group trip to the Renaissance Festival for Elementary school day. There are no rain checks and per their website, " We have yet to be rained out". Come today.

We all arrived at Starbucks around 8:30am ready for a fun filled, educational day of jousting, birds of prey, sounds, shows and so much more. The forecast stated, 40% chance of rain. Well, my cup is half full so I said, 60% chance it will NOT rain. WRONG!

The rain was coming down a little too quickly for me as I sat in my van in the Starbucks drive thru. My friends and their entourage of children waited in their vans and we all looked at each other with cheesy, uneasy smiles. " This will be fun right?"

Our plan was to go as a group, separate into smaller sub groups and then regroup for lunch. Sounds great, huh? Well, some things became confused so we ended up arriving in 4 smaller groups to the festival. At this point the rain was down pouring and I sat in the van scrambling to put coats on my already three shirt layered children.

Apparently, in the rush of putting things in the car, I forgot to pack a coat for Austen. Thankfully, I had an extra flannel shirt, a poofy blue vest and he had three layers on already. I think we'll be alright. I maneuvered the double stroller around lakes of mud with two other friends at my side with their each four children ( love you Angela and Alanda) and their strollers. I warned my kids with a very heavy look, " Do NOT get your shoes intentionally wet". The last thing I needed was purposefully soaked shoes when I couldn't' help the downpour from above.

We huddled together at the entrance waiting for another sweet friend of mine, who has four children, oh 5 and under and here she comes, with an amazing beach umbrella. Funny thing is, once we entered into the festival, I lost sight of her. How that happened, I could never begin to explain. Mary, I hope you made it out alive!

My mascara was running down my cheeks in black streaks and a local wiped my face off with her dress. That was generous of her. She stated that we could find shelter under the Shire. So, the shire was were we headed. Well, its raining so everyone and their mother is under the shire. I have no idea what the man was talking about, all I cared about was getting out of the rain.

The rain, started coming down harder. Now, instead of just lakes of mud, we now have rivers and tributaries to feed those lakes and small streams. Slosh, slosh, soaked, soaked. My friend asked a stranger ( no stranger danger fear here) for a map. It is now 10:00am and we have been here for about 15 minutes. The jousting was something the boys really wanted to see and it would be really fun to watch. There was a show at 10:00am so we started darting through packs of students to push our way through the mud and the wet to see a redeeming jousting tournament.

After my sweater boots were now soaked to the my literal bone, we stood staring, half way across the grounds at an empty jousting arena. There would be no jousting today. The look on Jayden's face crushed me as I knew how much he had been looking forward to so many of today's events.

So, as we trudged through the " wild, wet weather" we passed a juggling show. The men were juggling flames, sitting on unicycles ( there is a good combination with rain). The show, all 1 minute that we caught of it, was pretty interesting. After the show abruptly ended we all looked at each other with this drenched, distraught, tired, why are we still here look and decided to leave. Yet, prior to leaving we had the youngest of our bunch ride the FREE butterfly ride.

This redeemed a few moments for Riah as prior to the ride and thereafter, she screamed uncontrollably about a finger that hurt her. I think she was so cold and wet that she didn't know what to do with herself. She was inconsolable. I held Hannah in my arms the entire time we were at the festival as she refused to sit in the stroller and I'm so thankful that Jayden was a man and pushed my stroller all over kingdom come because it was much too hard to maneuver them both.

The rain, kept coming, harder and harder. We were soaked and I felt bewildered. Seriously, is this seriously happening? Of course, why WOULDN'T it happen? We get to the van and as all three of us mamas are quickly ushering our children into our vans, soaked and cold, blasting the heat when Riah starts screaming that she has to go potty!

Thankfully, I have very prepared friends, thank you Alanda, who has a portable potty in her trunk. AMAZING! Riah peed, a TON, we took all of our wet coats off in the car and I decided to save the day, as much as was possible, and throw each child a box of candy hearts. That was, until I whipped Jayden's box and hit him square in the center of his face, corner side out. Then there were more tears, crying and apologizing.

I exited the wrong way, made a right turn and took a METAL pole and scrapped my ENTIRE van- yes, the van that we just fixed. Can I just scream now? Finally, we exited and started on our way home.  My friend calls me and we can't stop laughing. I can hardly talk I'm laughing so hard.  This is LIFE.  OH, and I was coordinator of this event, but  my battery on my phone became wet so that caused my phone to stop working for awhile too.

We are home now, bellies filled, cupcakes baking soon and warm pajamas on watching a movie. Happy Valentines' Day. Huzzah!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Why I Love Valentines Day

Miss Hanns and I were strolling through Target tonight as I was searching for some sweet little treats to hide for the kids tomorrow on our annual Valentines Day hunt. The kids look forward to this everywhere and I do to. Ben and I really, honestly, don't do a whole lot for each other on Valentines day. No, its not because we are cold, heartless, unloving souls whose romantic flame has died out a decade ago. Its merely for the practical reason that we both have birthdays in February and seriously, we are just OK.

Watching people frantically scan the aisles for that "perfect", last minute chocolate heart, overpriced candies and flowers actually does something for the soul. Love is still vibrant in this world and people still love to express their love, true love to others. I felt quite energized hanging around all the frantic love birds...maybe because I didn't feel all to frantic, I had my card and have had it for weeks.

I remember my first Valentines day with Ben and I walking home after church. It was bitter cold, the snow crunching underneath our feet and we stayed outside for over 25 minutes just kind of staring at each other, nervous to give each other our gift and our card. Then, his friend, Russ Davis driving around the corner "stalking" us and making us feel even more uneasy- thanks Russ.

I kept thinking, what if he doesn't like it, what if its dumb, or stupid or embarrassing. I"m sure he was thinking the same thing....actually, knowing him, he wasn't- I'm just strange like that. Anyways, finally, we exchanged gifts and cards. I have EVERY card and email we have ever written to each other- saved for a lifetime.

Our first year of email correspondence, I would write the number 1,2,3....88....100, etc. at the top of each email.  I loved rereading them over and over and over. I was in LOVE. The years have past, make that 14 years and I still LOVE him and love receiving his emails, hand written notes and now, texts.

Love, however, means something different now, and it means something deeper now. There is so much more substance to it. Part of me, wants to go to the local grocery store and buy him a stuffed snoopy with a small heart shaped chocolate stuck on him ( yes, my first valentines gift to him- give me a break I was hardly 16!).

Valentines is just a day, yes. Love is an action each and every day. Its a choice. I love Valentines because, like other holidays...it just gives pause to remember and to try a little harder, each day, to express your love and live for someone other than yourself. So, happy Valentines day!

15 Bean Sociology?

Tonight I made 15 bean soup and it smelled amazing and tasted amazing but that is not what was so sweet. Jayden, amidst commenting on how much he LOVES beans, looked up and held a bean in his hand. " Mama, this soup is just like the world. They all have one creator, are made up of the same type of things but look different on the outside, just like all of us."

Amazing Jayden, I paid a lot of money to learn what you stated with a $1.67 -2 lb bag of beans. So, next time you are eating 15 bean soup, remember- " God made you special, and He loves you very much"

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Days Are A Blur

Sometimes, when I'm bored, I reread some of the blogs I have written. I laugh out loud, literally, at the moments that were captured by a few key strokes and a few dedicated minutes to capture that particular moment forever.

I cannot remember my days unless I look at a calendar. If you asked me what I did Thursday, without referencing a calendar I could not tell you. My days blur together, like paint dripping on a canvas that is uneven- those are my days.

Our days are full to the brim and yet things keep coming. Life doesn't slow down. I realize this. I don't slow down, I realize this. Yet, taking a few moments to blog, to write down a moment, or two really aids in looking back and embracing how full life is.

I pray that I will always dedicate moments to blog a bit so that when the kids are grown and life " slows" down- is that an oxymoron, I can look back and laugh and shake my head at the crazy, painted life we led.

If you don't write these moments down, I encourage you too- its made me feel so appreciative of the here and now as well as how quickly time slips.

Friday, February 10, 2012

I Hope They Don't Smash Our Van!

Ahh yes, will it ever end? I mean seriously I am getting pretty sick of putting money into our cars. Yes, it is still THOUSANDS less than buying a new car but it is so inconvenient and never happens at a good time. Today, after a month of my wheel constantly locking up and us praying in the spirit for it to unlock each and Every time...the wheel would not unlock at all, today.

I only had a valentines party for the kids to get to that was 20 some miles away and we had planned on going as a family. Now, plans changed. Ben ended up staying with Miss Hannah Lou who stripped off a dirty diaper, left it on the floor and was found dancing on the computer box. Keep the party rollin' Hanns.

The rest of us, on the other hand, crammed into the civic and drove down in the heart of the land. I had made sure our valentines cards, 24 per child, were signed and stickered the night before. My grocery list, coupons and meal list was prepared the night before, the Bingo games were set out the night before. Yet, this minor inconvenience of my van threw the whole morning off.

Life seems to do that, to us, a lot. I was so frustrated but just by observing others as well as trying to self reflect and become more like Christ each day I chose to put my feelings aside and give God praise. This wasn't really easy to do when all of my expectations, as well as money, was out the window. Yet, on the way to the party the kids and I gave praise to God for who He is- God you are faithful, you are just, you are true, you are holy, you are loving, you are our refuge, our guard. Our spirits were lifted.

We needed to leave our party early in anticipation that my van would be towed and fixed today. Yet, the tow man arrived, took one step inside my van, looked at Ben and I and stated, " I will need my mechanic to come out here and help me with this."

An hour later, the mechanic had torn apart my engine to get to the neutral button, whatever the heck that is, then they rolled it out of the odd shaped driveway, with a special mechanism, almost tipping it on its side, then scraping my front bumper on the ground, then almost tipping it again. I am serious! This was terrible to watch. Austen almost broke down in tears wondering if our trusty van was going to make it out there.

It did, we have yet to hear form the mechanic. We praying it is is a key lock cylinder. Let me tell you, you never wait to have kids or take vacations until you are "able". We will take them regardless because the opportunity will NEVER present itself otherwise.

Please pray that our vehicles, especially my trusty van, lasts another 5 years. I do not CARE what the outside looks like. I"m not into that "image". I just need a reliable family mobile that will get me and the kids from point A to point B with out much fuss.

We are saving, our next car will hopefully be almost new, low mileage and paid in cash...but for now, I am so content with my trusty '99 van. I do NOT want another one. So, here's to waiting for the dreaded phone call tomorrow. Ben and I expect the most expensive fix ( since that is what typically happens to us)....maybe we'll be surprised.

God is still faithful. I just need my van to be.

  Ps, does anyone else remove a car seat only to find that a months worth of crackers, fruit and snacks have been stored underneath and Ben found a black Costco hot dog hidden under the drivers seat...I had wondered where that beaut went and why my van smelled so rancid :)

Times Alive!

Ok, I have to share this awesome program that I purchased for Jayden and my subsequent children after him. They will love, LOVE learning multiplication from this program. If you know anything about me and how I teach, my methodology is very interactive and multi sensory. I get very, VERY bored with "brick and mortar" techniques and my children do too.

I understand that benefits to classical education, but honestly, there has to be more ways to learn than just reading and reciting. Come, Times Alive. The curriculum site that I write for,http://thecurriculumchoice.com , had a review about this program and I have to admit, I fell in love right away and ordered it that evening.

Jayden has been really struggling with learning his multiplication by just memorizing. After sitting in a presentation this past summer at our annual home school convention and listening to a speaker talk about fun ways and memorable ways to help with spelling , I realized that math should be learned the same way.

Times Alive uses songs and word pictures to reinforce the multiplication facts. The songs are so cute and catchy and I have literally ALL three kids walking around singing " Thirsty six, thirsty six". See my next post for a preview of this amazing program. I purchased the cd rom for 1/2 price !! You can't beat $24 for a great program.

When we go back to our Horizons math now and run into multiplication problems, Jay immediately rattles off the answer and he smiles while doing it. We have had this program for 1 week!!! To me, that shouts success...so , if you are bored or having a child struggle check it out! I am so impressed!

Times Alive Sample 6x6

The Knighthood

This past week we have been very engulfed in our study of chivalry, knighthoods, castles and kings. Jayden informed me that he is now a page because 7 is the age that a boy's training would have started. To say we have been busy this week would be an understatement. The week started off with a body presentation at a theater downtown, a National Geographic Event where a speaker talked about rowing across the Atlantic and the Pacific Oceans, celebrating my birthday( I was given 4 skeins of yarn- hollah baby!), an amazing art class where the boys learned to paint with Rembrandt techniques, a valentines day breakfast and party and tomorrow- a birthday party.

Above was just a synopsis of our extras, school still continued on this week and we have been working very hard, all of us, on our studies. Obedience to the king. The kids have had sword fights, reenacted a medieval castle life including peasants, squires, prisoners, queen, king, nobles, lords and livestock.

Austen spent hours building a Lego castle. We played MANY castle themed games. If you know anything about our family, we love games and my game closet is a testament to it. We are a bit obsessed :) Jayden beat me in checkers and we are hoping to play chess this upcoming week which means i have to learn chess, this upcoming week.

The kids all designed and created their coat of arms. Something that I have really enjoyed is the enthusiasm that all there show in our unit studies. Moriah's is more free style, but she understands the concept of what we are creating, Austen's is a little more detailed and Jayden is very detailed, looking at a book to create symbols that actually meant something back in the Medieval times. Some of the books we are reading are in the sidebar listed under in Amazon.

We are still working on memorizing the books of the Bible and the armor of God. Glory to God!

   10Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. 11Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. 12For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. 14Stand firm therefore, HAVING GIRDED YOUR LOINS WITH TRUTH, and HAVING PUT ON THE BREASTPLATE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS15and having shod YOUR FEET WITH THE PREPARATION OF THE GOSPEL OF PEACE16in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17And take THE HELMET OF SALVATION, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
Ephesians 6:10

yes, those are roses in the background because my husband is AMazing!

We went hiking a week ago and it was gorgeous. We have found a trail that is great for the little ones and easy for the older ones to run ahead and explore. We are loving our county park membership ( thank you family) and hope to try new hikes each week as we enjoy the outdoors and the breathing of fresh air.

Hannah was not thrilled that she could not stand in the center of this contraption. 

the best of friends

sweet picnic in the backyard

Monday, February 6, 2012

Out With the Old

Tomorrow I am buying some new workout/running shoes. These trusty shoes have gone through three years of running, working out, a 25K run and countless squats and push ups. I love these shoes, they are shot. I cannot even run outside with them anymore because they are so worn down. They have visible holes, no tread, and yes at times, they smell.

I loved wearing them out. I love wearing anything out. It gives me such an accomplished feeling. I feel so excited to buy some new shoes tomorrow and thinking of all the great workouts and runs I will have in those babies . I used to buy a new pair of shoes every year but thanks to indoor gyms with childcare memberships, I can deal with an older pair, longer and not have to worry that my hips are going to shatter under the lack of absorbency.

I work out, I run, I love being as healthy and balanced as I possibly can be. However, I work out for sanity, for stress release, for " me" time and for fun. There are so many reason I stress to others to make working out, even 30 minutes a day, apart of their lifestyle. I will never stop. Even when I was pregnant, I worked out, swam and lifted weights.

There is nothing more releasing then sweating through a very stressful day and coming out breathing strong and realizing that there is always tomorrow. Home schooling can take a lot out of a person, especially when life doesn't really stop or slow down when you wish it would. Goodbye trusty shoes, you have been amazing to me and I thank you for all the miles we have gone through together. Don't worry, I'm not throwing you out, we'll still hike together until your mesh falls off and the soles become as thin as flip flops, I'll find a use for you.

Painting Is Never "Neat"

Today, Jayden went to a really cool body performance with some friends so the three other ones worked out with me and then we went to our local grocery store to buy some art supplies. I have checked out some really fun books at the library geared towards preschool and kindergarten ages and can't wait to dive into and create all the fun projects.

morning hair :)

One of the books focuses on the zoo. Each craft is simple but reinforces a different zoo concept. Riah and Austen love painting and crafting and wasted no time opening up the paint and free styled it. We recycle now which I am so excited about because I hate wasting and that also lends itself to many craft options because they were not thrown away.

There is newspaper everywhere, paint everywhere, pipe cleaner and pom poms and some great looking imaginative "flying" squids, an oatmeal container that is a robot and Riahs' very girly painted egg crate . I am not quite sure what it is, but it screams " girl" with glittery pipe cleaners and turquoise, fuchsia and purple paint drying.

The kids are having quiet time and then i will take each one to do our language arts and math and then hopefully create some more to our castle landscape today. What better day to make our home more messy than Mondays, right ? :)

Thursday, February 2, 2012

God Fills In The Gaps

This was the topic of our Mid Year Refresher.  Can I just mention how thankful I am for this group of dedicated, Christian homeschoolers who vigilantly watch legislation, encourage homeschooling parents and offer many many resources to us that are out there. I never understood the magnitude of stating, " yes I will home school" until I started jumping into it.

This past year has been a challenge, to say the least. We are accomplishing so much but at the same time my idea of school has been a bit "unorthodox" for the organizational and methodically part of my brain.

When I was seven I would sit in my bedroom and color coordinate my closet . I still remember having theses hideous shades of burnt yellow ( yes Mom, you know what color I'm talking about) and then the reds, blues, greens, pinks, and hanging them to stay together.

I would "deed" every book to someone in our home and some of our books still have the deeds in them. I saved my very first notebook, full of lists, as well as many other notebooks full of poems that I wrote. I organized our basement with a game section, art section, listening section. and toy section.

I am a very organized person. Yet, right now I look around my home and I have pictures ALL over the fridge, rooms that are in need of a pick up every single day, a kitchen that is never quite "tidy" and a school environment that is vibrant and fun but not quite orderly.

What do I mean by this? Well, when you throw a one year old into the mix life just gets interesting immediately. Hannah is really coming into her own person lastly. She LOVES to do origami. The girl is fascinated with it. The problem is she doesn't sit with one paper and fold it quietly. Oh no, she wakes up from her nap, comes down with her " dirtsy" ( drink) and "deedee" ( blanket) and whips open the craft cupboard and dumps 100 pages of small squares of origami paper on the floor, scooting around amidst them, dripping her water and then bumbles away.

Then she wants to help us color but trips into our castle now requiring apart of it to be taped back up. She wants to help and be apart but allowing her means that expectations need to be let go.

I am so thankful for this past years refresher because the speaker just emphasized how important it was to realize that God fills in the gaps. We give our best, we do our best but ultimately, there will be gaps in every child's education. Those of us who our now homeschooling and went to public realize HOW MANY gaps there really are!

Everyday, I commit to giving the kids my all. Everyday, I feel like there were some parts that went great and other parts where it "failed". That's life. I am thankful that God has our back and that I can trust that He  has their best interest at heart.

Creating 'Everyday' Memories

Our past few days have been spent reading the bible, playing games and learning about obedience all the while practicing it out on a daily basis :) Yesterday, the kids and I cut and began the coloring process of our mini castle. We have moved on to the Medieval time period. Talk has been on chivalry, knighthood, peasants, castles and swords.

The kids have all been having jousting tournaments, sword fighting and Jayden now has a nice bump on the side of his face to prove the ruthlessness of "some" knights in training.

Our days are full of chaos, correction, caring, comforting and kindness. We are working on memorizing all the books of the Bible, learning Psalms 119:9, doing sword drills where Jayden sees how fast he can locate a verse and Austen works on comprehension of the verse.

Mother Goose nursery rhymes on kings and queens have dominated much of our breakfast reading and I am a bit intimidated by making their king and queen outfits. They are learning so much more than I am teaching them and I am thankful for the unschooling environment we are creating in our home.

Life is our tablet, God is the author and we help create the words. Just yesterday, the kids were talking about barons and kings and knights and I cannot believe how much of teacher Jayden is and how much the others learn through his reading. He sits and reads many of the books I check out from the library on our topic, then he talks about it nonchalantly with Austen and Riah and then they create the world for themselves, running rampant upstairs and outside.

Today, let's hike. Let's end up on an adventure we hadn't foreseen and come out victorious. This is our life, nothing spectacular just life.