Monday, August 24, 2009

Today Was Full

“You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.” Psalm 23:5 (NIV)

Today was a very full day. It was full of the moments that I thought I would encounter when God called me to homeschool. It was full of frustrations, full of meaningful discussions, full of opportunities to get to know my children better. It was full of object lessons, full of messiness, full of playing with friends and enjoying all the small moments.

Topics covered today:

1. My dear sister in law Beth is so very patiently waiting to welcome a little girl from the foster care system into her heart and home, she came by a close call last week. When discussing (I think the topic of hand me down clothing) Laura mentioned, "That's right, they sold that girl to another place" While I corrected her facts, I got the chance to remind Laura that sometimes we have to wait for things, even things as precious and important as a child who is longed for.

2. Jack had soccer practice tonight. As a boy who can be quite a bit stubborn when faced with something he is not used to and does not particularly want to do, I had to remind him that sometimes we have to do things we don't want to. I added to that, "We must listen to our coaches. Coaches should be respected in the manner that you are expected to respect your parents and your teachers." After discussing consequences to another display of dissatisfaction on the soccer field (punishment to include two days with absolutely no computer time) that little boy went to soccer practice and participated in a scrimmage that you could tell filled his little heart to overflowing with pride and team spirit. Right actions lead to joy.

3. We learned that flexibility leads to a lot of moments full of joy. After their Kardio Kidz PE class at the YMCA we joined our friends at the library playground for some lunch and some fun. This was more of a lesson for Mommy, since I should have sent us home to have the babies nap and the "schooling" start. As it turns out we had plenty of time for both.

4. We learned about why we turn off the computer during lightning storms, we learned that Ben Franklin was once a child just like everyone else, we learned that root beer and ice cream taste sweet after a hard night's soccer practice, we learned a bit more about each other, how to play with and respect each other. James learned how to catch a ball while sitting in his stroller. Laura learned how to throw a ball to James without hitting him in the head.

So our day was overflowing with moments, we were busy, but the day day wasn't busy, it was full. And so is my heart.

New Blog Deco

So, instead of doing the millions of chores I should have been doing after the long day of running around I did, I instead chatted with my mom and my in-laws on the phone most of the night and then proceeded to finish playing around with my blog. My friend from church has a blog about her amazing family. . .ThatPriceFamily . . .and I saw how pretty she had made her blog from designs at this website . . . Delightful Dots . . .to try to upgrade my page as well. I had been wondering for a while now how to make my blog as pretty as some of the others I have seen. I am pretty happy with the results!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Does God Laugh at Us?

Last month when John left, and the thought came to mind that I would have extra time to scrapbook in the evenings . . . .do you think God

a) shook his head with a grin
b) broke out into a big smile
c) or just about peed his pants with a huge belly laugh?

. . . yes, I am aware that God probably doesn't wear pants, nor does he have to pee, but potty humor is "in" at my house right now so just go with it.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Laura, did you give James a snack?

Laura: "Yes, I gave him a snack"
Mom: "What was it?"
Laura: "A cookie"


Matthew 11:28

Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. KJV

Megan fell asleep in her highchair while there was much busyness going on. Even in the midst of weary, busy days this is what God wants me to do . . .but instead of resting in a highchair, he wants me to rest in Him.

Jeremiah 31:25

For I satisfy the weary ones and refresh everyone who languishes.

James and his car

This keeps James busy for a very long time. I even let him play with it inside. It will occupy both Laura and James while I am working with Jack on his schoolwork.

I found it on Craigslist with a friend's help. It is the best money that I have spent on anything in a long time. Sometimes the other children try to get into it.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Something Hit the Van

Something hit the van . . .I was just driving when I heard a very loud noise, looked back and saw this . . .

of course, I was inside the van. . .but it doesn't look much better from that view

I hope I didn't scare the kids when I yelled, "Is Megan okay?" in what might have been a very loud voice. She was okay.

Laura was a bit worried when we pulled off the road onto some grass, she thought the police were going to get us and we would be in trouble. I got Megan's carseat out of the base from the other side. Every time I closed a door more of the glass would fall off.

This is the area around Megan's seat. Glass was everywhere, but none landed in her seat at all. God's protection was great.

Now is this is, by no means, the most awful thing that could have come my way today. But I guess while God saw that I was praising Him for being my strength and my wisdom these past few weeks, he wanted to give me one more thing to glorify Him about.

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.

I will say of the LORD, "He is my refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust."
Psalm 91:1-2

My friend was at the YMCA. I was headed there so the kids could take their homeschool PE class, and so I could exercise as well. She was so kind as to load up all the kids in her Big Honkin' Van and take them to my house (with a brief stop at the Burger King, which is no doubt what my kids will remember most about today). Then she took the two older ones to her house with the rest of her crew so that I could relax and get stuff done. Isn't that great?

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Okay, so I am a day late . . .but I had to share in the NOT ME MONDAYNESS going on over at Jennifer McKinney's blog (Stellan's mom)

There are probably a lot but I'll only discuss last night!

When faced with a soccer practice that was to start in 90 minutes and a son that had too-small soccer cleats . . . I most certainly did not contemplate (and just about attempt) to color the pink stripes on my daughter's old soccer cleats black so that my son could use them (instead made a run to the sports store on the way to practice . . .) I would never think of doing such a thing to my son! (fear not, he is now the proud owner of some black and red nike soccer cleats)

And of course, I DID NOT forget to pack that son's soccer ball and water bottle. Nope, I ALWAYS pack up all that is needed for my children's activities the night before so that we are never unprepared. No one would ever make their son practice in 90 some degree heat in GA without a water bottle (situation mended by trip to Sonic after practice for a round of rootbeer floats)

and I didn't let my daughter sit at a picnic table during my son's practice and allow her to talk the ear off of a nice gentleman (who was the dad of one of her Kindergarten classmates) for the entire 45 minute soccer practice. I would never want to miss all that talking!

God's strength

I can't recall a time when I have been stretched further and thinner than these last few weeks. I have never felt so humbled . . .as God constantly calls me to rely on His strength, His wisdom, His grace. God has proved himself faithful, minute minute . . .hour by hour . . .and I will praise His name.

I posted the above comment on my facebook page. I have a lot on my plate. I know some people have more, some people have less. Some have a lot more with a lot less support than I have. With my husband deployed, my kids just being kids, my job actually calling me into work, an activity to go to Sun, Mon, Tues, Wed, and Thursday nights, homeschooling, and stuff like laundry I am stretched a bit thin. Added to it the challenges ahead of me as our church works through the One Month to Live book and a new role that I am serving in at church . . . I found myself crying out to God. . . ."I just can't do it all" to which he responded . . . as you can guess . . . "that's right, you can't. I can."

So my night ended with my OMTL devotional, some paperwork for a skills day at work this week, and then began with an early wake up call by some of the smaller members of my family.

And I used the time, not to take care of the dishes in the sink . . . but to pray.

1. I prayed for the "attitudes" that have been surfacing in my house since John has been gone. The worst offender was me . . . and I asked God to work on my heart that I may set the example and that the kids would come around.

2. I prayed for confidence in my new role in church which proved to be a bigger challenge than I had originally anticipated. Just another opportunity to grow.

3. I prayed for my husband, for his safety and for his activities today.

4. I prayed for strength and patience, and I prayed for transparency to share the work God has been doing on my heart with others.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Roman Food

Well, at least according to the recipe in our Living Long Ago book. It was bread, soaked in milk, cooked in olive oil, and served with honey. Everyone liked it. I was glad I tried it.

An Amazing Baby

I just noticed that Megan has had her first tooth pop through. Pretty typical for my children to pop their first teeth at 4-5 months. The amazing thing is that besides some drooling, she has not had any issues. She even slept for about 11 hours last night. She is really working hard at obtaining favorite child status . . . coming out with hair on her head and not turning everyones' world upside down while cutting teeth . . . if she avoids ear infections and ear tubes I may just buy her a car!

Explode the Code Phonics

I found this information on the Sonlight Forums and I thought I would post it here, for my benefit of reference as well as for others. I use some of the ideas already, like writing in the answers when my ds5yo gets tired of writing, or letting him just tell me the answers. Stickers would be so much more fun though!

I'm on my third child using ETC, and I thought that I would share some of the tricks that have made it more fun for us:

1. If the child is on the young side, it is OK to skip the writing stuff.

2. Using colored pencils or crayons to fill in the answers brightens up the book a lot.

3. Stickers (or stamps or colored pencils or markers...) can be used to fill in the little boxes. (Some of the questions are mark the yes box or the no box, others are mark this box if this is the right sentence.)

4. On the page where the child fills in the blank using words from the word bank. You can use a crayon to mark a different color in each blank and then have the child circle the right word in that color instead of writing the word in the blank. (See #1)

5. On the spelling pages, you can use letter stickers, letter stamps, or just take dictation. (See #1)

6. ETC does not work for every child, and if it is not working it is OK to drop it and try something else. (...and it is OK to come back to it later if you want to.)

A Few Hours of Chaos

Ahhh, Yesterday . . .

It started as a wonderful Saturday, the weather was nice, we had a relaxing day ahead of us. One of my friends (more so the husband of one of my friends) was displaying such generosity as he mowed our yard for us while my husband is *out of town*

Later on, after we got back from some errand running it got to be about time for me to start thinking about the possibility of being called in to work. My work schedule is such that I call at 5pm to see if they need me from 7p-7a. If they don't need me right away then I am placed on call.

Well, usually around 3 pm things start getting a little pressure-cooker-like for me. I am afraid that sometimes that anxiety rubs off on the kids.

It started off simply enough. James (1 yo) bumped his mouth on something. I didn't see what it was, but most likely a kitchen chair. He had a little blood, but it wiped away well enough. A few moments later Laura, seeing her little brother with a bit more bleeding, went to pick him up, "So that he could bleed on my shirt instead of the floor" (very thoughtful). Now Laura is a strong girl, and she has demonstrated many times that she is capable of picking James up, but this time she lost her balance and fell over. James landed on top of her (she was kind enough to cushion his fall) She, however hit her wrist on the bookshelf, and James apparently hit his nose on the same area. She was in enough pain that I considered taking her to the ER. (If anyone knows me, that is a big deal. I once let Laura get pneumonia when she was 3 because I figured that fever would go away eventually . . .)

When I called work and they didn't need me, I then asked our babysitter to come anyways so that I could cart Laura to the ER. (She said, "It really hurts here Mom", as she pointed to her wrist, "And it is sharing the pain all the way up to here", pointing to the middle of her arm) Shortly after I arranged for the sitter to come, James was playing with Megan in her swing and ended up knocking that on the floor. (No more swing on the table) It landed in a good position and Megan had no negative effects.

So I took Laura to the ER (and Megan too, so as not to overwhelm the babysitter) and fortunately there was no visible break. They said they treat it the same way, however, so Laura has a beautiful gray splint on her right arm. She is happy to wear it, and it gets her out of a lot of the writing portion of her homeschool work this week.

Today we made it through just fine. James' nose is a bit swollen, Laura needs her brace on because it is painful when it is off for her. But Megan and Jack are just fine.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Practicing the Presence of God

I came across a question on a board that I visit often. It was posted by a busy mom who really had a hard time spending serious time in prayer. It reminds me a lot of my own life. Busyness sometimes gets the better of me, and I find prayer-time hard to come by. (Wake up before your kids is a great idea unless one surprises you at 5am, teething!) I posted some of this on that thread. The following comments are just a personal reflection on my prayer life.

For me it is a lot like Practicing the Presence of God. It is a book by Brother Lawrence, written sometime in the 1600's I believe. It is involving God in your everyday. Here is how it works for me:

In the mornings when I wake (usually around 5 with a baby) I say a prayer similar to what was mentioned before, dedicating my day to God, asking for His hand to guide me, to focus on what is important, open my eyes to those who need my help, and I pray that at the end of the day my day will be something I can present as pleasing to God.

During the day I whisper prayers here or there. I heard a suggestion of leaving your Bible open on the counter, say to Psalms, and read a quick line or two before you load the dishwasher or fold the laundry. Meditate on the scripture while you scrub, cook, fold etc.

Pray that God opens your eyes to his works. A beautiful bird on your tree in the front yard (while you whisk your children to the grocery store for the milk and diapers that you desperately need) can be a reminder that God is there, and that He loves you and cares about you. I love flowers for that reason. They do nothing but grow (hopefully) and declare the wondrous works of the Lord.

Words of thankfulness offered up to the Lord when you get a big hug from a child, or a big fall ends with just a little bruise instead of a broken bone . . .(not that the trip to the ER the other night has anything to do with this thankful thought) that conversation is a wonderful thing to have with the Lord.

Grand times of meditation and long conversations with God are very important, as are study in His Word, but for the times when a few moments of silence is hard to come by, or you fear that taking 15-20 minutes while your children are awake will result in cleaning up a sticky gooey mess, practicing that conversation is a great discipline to develop.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Roll Over!

There she goes!

Next step, crawling!

Our Two Newest Additions

Here are Jack and Laura with some plants that we bought from our neighbor. She has a gloriously landscaped yard, and sells plants occasionally. The kids picked them out themselves. Jack's went in the front of the house because it needs sun, Laura's went in the back because it needs shade.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Usborne Books

I don't know how many of you know that I am actually an Usborne Books Consultant. I use that term very loosely . . .I signed up a couple years ago when we were in VA. There was a great deal on the starter set and there are absolutely no minimum purchases that you have to make when you are a member of Usborne Books. You do, however, enjoy a 20% discount on your purchases, and make a good profit when you host catalog shows or home shows.

The products are excellent and for that reason alone I joined. Check out their website!

There is a super fabulous deal going on now where you can join for, get this, 15 dollars plus tax. The shipping is even free. You get 10 books (the started package), loads of business materials, and 6 months of the e commerce website. Just 15 dollars gives you the discount. The first year I joined I placed an order for birthday presents for friends and some family members. These books (and other fun activities) make awesome gifts.

If you are curious how to join, just comment here, or send me an email and I'd be happy to fill you in. The 15 dollar deal is good only until Aug 9th, and the price steadily creeps up until the end of August.

Trying to Schedule and Organize Homeschool

Over on the Sonlight boards (which I frequent almost daily) there is a thread on sharing your schedules. I know everyone must handle their IG differently. I really messed myself up this year by starting with Core 1 before realizing that Core K was the better choice for us. I retained my Core 1 Science, but didn't start until a few weeks later when the IG (which was delayed) arrived.I love the Core 1 Bible so I stuck to that.Plus we have a few other things added in.

Basically, that removed any chance of operating off of a cute little IG, and I had to find a different solution.Here is what I do:I obtained a blank schedule from:

This website is jam packed full of resources for homeschooling and beyond. On that blank template I pencil in the plan for the week. I typically have about 3 weeks filled out at a time.The pencil is handy because some days my son will forge ahead into more math pages, other days we will skip a chapter in the read alouds because I a baby woke up or we need to go to the pool with some friends. I just erase and add it to another day.We are about 6 weeks into homeschooling, but in various different spots in the IGs. So I wanted a way to make the schedule more permanent, in case years from now we have to prove what we did our first year of homeschooling.

While I love the working template from , I needed more space for my permanent copy. So I found another great template on a different website:

The schedule lets you list the books you used, and fill in the blanks. She also has a generous space for notes. The best part is you can basically do the copy and paste thing and most of your hard work is done.

Unfortunately I am not computer savvy enough to figure out how to post it here, so if you want to see it leave a comment in the comment section, or you can zip over to my yahoo group and join. I have it stored under the files there.

Laura Babysitting

Sometimes Laura likes to look after her little brother. Usually this means playing on the floor, wrestling, and otherwise general merry-making. Today, it meant the pack'n'play. He is amazingly content in it, that is, until he sees me walking by.

And in case you are wondering about her chin in the last few posts, she scraped it on the bottom of the pool at the YMCA.

Quick . . .Who does this remind you of?

Kids Can Clean!

What's the best way to stop siblings from fighting on a Saturday afternoon? Cleaning! They were all excited to help once the chores were handed out. Laura really wanted to wash the dishes in the sink, but I only let her dry them, because if you want something done right you should really do it yourself.

Other fun tasks they like to do are vacuuming (no, they don't get everything vacuumed up, but they get the middles very well) and washing the windows (sometimes it is hard to tell if there were more streaks and prints on them before or afterward) and wash the floor with spray bottles and towels (they usually sing, "It's A Hard Knock Life" from Annie when they do this chore) Don't let them fool you though, they love it and sometimes beg to do it. Sometimes.

Or perhaps Laura is just trying to earn extra allowance to buy this. She was watching an infomercial and fell in love with the product.

But here is some proof about the kids: