Sunday, August 31, 2008


I am tired today. I am tired everyday. I suppose most everyone I know is tired so once again I try not to complain. This is one reason I have a blog. I can complain in writing and those who want to listen can continue reading and those who don't care can exit out! My hubby is home this weekend so we always make it a point to go to church no matter what because it is so rare we can go as a family. But I just can't do it this morning. Have I said I am tired? I am so tired my body aches. Probably because I spent yesterday house cleaning (see post from yesterday ;). We have to be at my brother-in-law's this afternoon and I just know I can't make it through the whole day running around. Have I mentioned I was tired? I would use the word exhausted but I am too tired to use spell check to see if I spelled it correctly . . . .

Saturday, August 30, 2008

House Cleaning

Ugh!!!!!! I HATE those two words. I am not a house cleaner. Just ask my mom and mother-in-law. Apparently my lack of house cleaning ability was part of their lunch time conversation this week. I have a few strong thoughts about house cleaning beside the fact that I HATE it. First, we try to keep things neat. But, with 6 peoples things in one house (soon to be 7) the clutter and stuff can easily over run us especially if I am not diligent in keeping it at bay. Most days I am - if I have the energy to keep after everyone to put their stuff away and to help out. Honestly though if I have one bad day where I just can't the place is a wreck!! We are home all the time. There isn't a time when my kids are away that I can devote to just cleaning. (Honestly, even if there was I wouldn't jump on the task right away - my list of things I would rather do will come later.) When I clean I have three little persons under my feet wanting to help, stepping on clean floors, playing with the cleaning supplies etc. Now these are just excuses and I know that :) We have people over for dinner, play dates, lunch and visiting constantly. I always have things neat and clean then. But, if my house isn't immaculate I just assumed people would see my three young kids and me 7 mos pregnant and give me a pass. Is having my house immaculate worth the frustration and aggravation that my family usually gets the brunt of????

Things I like to do instead of clean:
Read my Bible
Spend time with my husband
Read one of the many books I have started
Play a game with my kids
Go to Barnes and Noble (or Walmart)
Read to the kids
Post to my blog
Read other blogs
Get things ready for the next day of school
Organize anything
Make cards
Bake bread or cookies
Do laundry
Meet some friends for lunch

The list could go on and on but you get the idea. I would like to think people come to our home because of the fellowship not because what the house looks like. Yes, it is important to have a clean and neat home but I think it is more important to have a relaxed home full of happiness and love. . . .

Friday, August 29, 2008

Nature Study Pictures

The Nature Gang

The Creek

Newly discovered flower - Beaked Butterfly Pea

Deer Track

Well worth the trip . . .


We were driving down the road this week and it was a rainy day but the sun was trying to break through. It was later in the afternoon so it made for a beautiful skyline. Grayish, blackish, blueish clouds with a light blue sky and golden rays flowing out from behind the clouds. Some how the topic of Heaven came up. (Maybe because the sky looked heavenly.) Anyway, Nature Girl wanted to know if PopPop, her grandfather who passed away two years ago, was in his castle looking down from up there in Heaven. The question did not trouble me a bit. We are not afraid of death in this house. Don't get me wrong nobody wants to die but there is a comfort here that if and when someone does pass away and if they have Jesus in their heart there is a castle and a crown waiting for them in Heaven. They get to see God and Jesus face to face and they get to see all of their loved ones again. There will be streets of gold and no tears. There will be singing and angels. The Bible tells us so. My family has had to deal with sickness and death a couple of times in the past couple years. I know there are many who don't like to talk about it and not sure maybe what to say. I have always felt that yes we should be sad, we can be mad, we can feel sorry and sometimes not understand but I want my children to know that this isn't all there is. We have hope in eternal life with Jesus. So yes Nature Girl, PopPop is looking down from his castle in Heaven . . . .

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Nature Study

A big part of our little homeschool is the study of nature. Charlotte Mason believes until about the age of 6 little ones should be able to explore the great outdoors and make natural connections on their own. We have the Handbook of Nature Study which we read once a week. It gives facts about insects, mammals, flowers etc. It is about 3 inches thick! I have in the past let Nature Girl pick what she feels like studying within the curriculum suggestion. So last year's first semester was mammals so we studies dogs, horses and tigers. This semester is insects so we are studying mosquitoes, butterflies, praying mantis just to name a few. The beauty of it at this stage is there isn't much prep work for me. We read the Handbook, we might get a book or two from the library (preferably living books), maybe go on a field trip and then we go out into nature. Tomorrow is our first nature outing other than our back yard. We are going with another family which makes it nice. We will return to the same place every week to observe what we happen to be studying but also to notice the changes in the creek, foliage, flowers, animals and insects. I am not required to teach and it is even suggested I don't talk. I just let the kids experience what they see and make their own connections, associations, relations. We bring along a sketch book and they are encouraged to draw something that catches their eye. We then look up its name and then Latin name. This is science for the next couple of years. I think I can do this. . . .

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The Story of Boop

My almost 3 year old son is unique. Well, at least to me anyway. Having had the girls first a boy has been a surprise in so many different ways! I still can remember when we had our 20 week ultrasound done. The two girls, my husband and my mom were all there. My husband thought for sure it was another girl. He was destine to be in a house full of women (the dog is female as well). My mom swears that when the doc said it was a boy my hubby's face turned white, white, white! He was soooo surprised!! When Boop was about 18 mos he was sitting in his highchair eating his dinner. He wanted a cookie or to get down or something. I told him in order to get whatever it was he wanted he had to clean his clean - meaning eat all of his dinner. He preceded to pick up his plate, dump all the food off of it and wipe it clean with his napkin. He had cleaned his plate!! Needless to say he got whatever it was he wanted. He loves the garbage man. On garbage day he can hear the trucks going around the neighborhood. When the rumble starts coming down our cul-de-sac he gets so excited. I open up our garage door and he runs into the driveway and watches the garbage man so intently. When the garbage man is done he honks his horn and Boop waves. I am teaching Boop to say "thank you" as well. I figure those guys need all the encouragement they can get. All I can say is boys are so excitingly different . . . .

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Big Boy Bed

Yeah!!! We have made it through one nap and one night in our big boy bed. Yesterday I decided it was time. The little guy is almost three and he had about 4 inches left in his crib. I didn't want to rush the transition. It was a hard decision. In his crib he can't get out (or at least didn't try.) I would lay him down for a nap and bedtime and he didn't move when he slept. When he woke up he would talk to himself or sing and when I was ready to go get him he would still be laying the exact same way that I put him in the crib. I was scared to death he would figure out his new found freedom in a big bed. The girls were afraid he would go venturing in the night and find his way to their room to torture them :) I said if he did, just come get me. I know better than to get a false sense of security. It is only a matter of time when he figures out he can get out of his bed on his own. I will cross that bridge when we get there. For now I am just taking pleasure in the fact that he "likes playing in his big boy bed" . . . .

Monday, August 25, 2008


I am an impatient and sometimes very easily upsetable (I know not a word ;) mom. There, those are my confessions for a rainy Monday morning. Yesterday in church our pastor talked about hypocrisy in our walk with Christ. Some of the "problems" we have as Christians can be related to our "do as I say not as I do" attitude and our inability to love as Christ has loved. If I was to be so bold as to say there may be a draw back to homeschooling it is my children's opportunity to see my short comings day in and day out. Now, I do believe that schooled kids get to see their parents shortcomings on a regular basis as well but maybe not as consistently. In my heart of hearts I believe God allows this to grow me and my children, my family in a closer relationship to Him. I am not perfect. Ultimately it doesn't have anything to do with me. God is in control - He is the comforter, the encourager, the guider, the rule maker, the ultimate disciplinarian and the ultimate lover of all of His children. That doesn't relieve me of the responsibilities that God gave me to His gift of children. I ask Him for guidance and relief from things that I do that I know are not godly. I get frustrated when my prayers are not answered on my terms. Yesterday, the pastor gave an admonishment and encouragement. We need to DAILY come HUMBLY before God and confess our sins, ask for forgiveness and ask for guidance. Then we need to listen and obey. I am good at the first three parts when things get rough. Not so good on the listening, obeying and the daily part . . . .

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Little Mama

My middle child, my baby girl has more of a maternal instinct then I do. No, it is true. She has a baby that she carries around constantly. Her name is Sarah. She gets her diaper changed, fed and PJs put on before bed. I am not sure I knew how to do any of those things by the time I had my first child. I didn't teach her anything she just does it. She will walk around with that baby on her hip talking to her, comforting her when the baby is fussy. Little Mama would love to baby her baby brother but at almost 3 he wants nothing to do with that. She pats my tummy and asks about Baby C. She wants to know what her responsibilities will be when the baby is born. I am very excited that she is showing an interest. I praise her for it and always tell her she is going to be such a wonderful mother when God blesses her with children. I want to encourage that because in self evaluation I am so lacking in that area. It didn't and still doesn't come quite so naturally for me. Don't get me wrong, I love being a mother. I believe with all my heart and soul it is what God created me to be, I just have to work at it and pray about it a little harder then some. . . .

Saturday, August 23, 2008


Yesterday we had a playgroup date for lunch. We have a pretty large homeschool community within our local area. Anyone who knows me knows that I don't like large groups especially if it is full of people I don't know. So last year a mom that I knew kind of well (because our daughters became friends in ballet) formed a small playgroup that was made up of about a half a dozen families and included me. I think there were 7 moms and like 18 kids. Anyway, I loved it. It solved my problem of having to meet people I didn't know. We would make dates to go to the park together or field trips or lunch. We have continued our group this fall. There are so many neat things about our little group:

1. It is planned and I can put on the calendar.
2. We get to do the neat things in our area with other like minded families.
3. My children get to develop relationships with other children outside our immediate sphere of church and family.
4. We go as a group and can get discounts.
5. We have done things such as a cookie bake and a tea that gave each girl a chance to recite a scripture verse or poem they had been working on.
6. The children interact with other children of all ages. The big ones play with the little ones etc.

But I think I would be remiss in not mentioning that one of the biggest benefits of our little playgroup is the opportunity for the moms to get together and talk. We talk about all kinds of things from school to decorating to gardening to nutrition. I have enjoyed immensely the time I have spent with these women. I have never come away not feeling so thankful for the families that God has placed in my life whether it be for a season or the long haul. Yesterday those women gave me such encouragement whether they knew it or not. I consider each of them a girlfriend which every woman needs . . . .

Friday, August 22, 2008

Hurricanes and things

As an earlier post mentioned, I am not good on rainy days. I will admit because we are sort of in the beginnings of Tropical Storm Faye it gives us a little diversion. We can watch the gusts of wind outside and monitor both weather channels to see what is going on and what to expect. Because of where we live tropical storms and hurricanes are a threat but not like if we lived on the coast. So, sometimes it is hard to take them seriously. Prepare, prepare, prepare - we don't and haven't yet. With three smaller kids, a dog and a husband who if a severe storm or hurricane did come would have to leave us to go help others we should be overly prepared - you know have a plan. Cans of food, bottles of water and tubs filled to the rim. But we don't. Unfortunately my hubby thinks a lot like I do. When he was at the grocery store Wednesday (yes, he goes to the grocery store) he thought about provisions. He came home with two cans of ravioli. More than I came home with so I can't complain. All that to say, we are meeting friends for lunch today. Bring on the wind and rain . . . .

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Deputy Daddy

How many of you can sit in one room and hear your children talking to their father in another room and hear him say "Oh, no that one just goes bang." When I hear things like that it reminds me how different our lives are sometimes because of what our daddy does for a living. He is a deputy sheriff. It is one of the reasons we homeschool. He works shift work so he works a lot of weekends and he goes to bed early because his shift starts before dawn. Most days I don't think about what he does. Then something happens. I was talking with my pastor one day and a call came in. It was my husband. I ignored it the first time but then he called back so I clicked over to take his call. (I am a horrible wife for so many reasons :) When I finally gave him a chance to speak he said "I have been involved in a shooting." He had been shot at and had to shoot back to defend himself. My heart stopped, my world stopped. He had the next few days off so we were able to talk about it and regroup. On another occasion my husband and I were discussing our differences in disciplining our children. I felt like I was always the bad guy. He said point blank "Do you know what I do for a living? I deal with conflict all day long. I don't want to do it at home too." WOW!!! How could I have been so stupid. I guess our family life is a little different then others. He wears a bullet proof vest to work for goodness sake ;) Now daddy gets to go to bed early on the nights when his shift starts the next day. And at night when he gets home from work one of the kids brings him a cool drink and he gets to hang in the bedroom uninterrupted until he has shaken off the day. My husband has been with the sheriff's department for over 15 years and I am still learning how to be a cop's wife . . .

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Learning Styles

We have hit a wall. Yesterday, I called my hubby frustrated with our school performance. He asked which child was I have a difficulty with and I said both but for two totally different reasons. He said, "It seems like every year in the beginning of the year you have one of those days." I started to think about it and he was right. I was just expecting it within the first few days of school not well into the first month. I have learned that it isn't just the child who might need a little adjusting but me as well. As parents, we approach everything with expectations according to our world. As our children grow they develop expectations, perceptions and ideas according to their world - what makes sense to them. As parents (and teachers) it would benefit us to figure out how are children perceive the world they live in. When I first started homeschooling I read a book called "The Way They Learn". Nature Girl was just five and Little Mama was 2 1/2. I learned some things I didn't know about myself and my family. Especially how I learn or perceive the world. So, I decided to pull it out again and read it given the day we had yesterday. In the first one and a half chapters I learned so much. I am CS (Concrete Sequential) and Nature Girl is, as far as I can tell so far, (CR) Concrete Random which means she and I "speak a different language." (I am now just trying to figure out Little Mama's style ;) After determining what type of learning style you and your children are and what that means, the rest of the book goes on to give practical advice on how to communicate and teach to each type of learning style. It takes many years to really determine a persons learning style and that is just the beginning, of course. And all of this does not make me an expert by any stretch of the imagination. But, it is another tool I can use to better help me and my children learn and communicate with each other. I am excited to continue to read the book and I think I am going to make it a reading must every year before school starts . . . .

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Benfits of Homeschooling

Normally I wouldn't get into the pros of educational choices but yesterday was the start of public school in our hometown and the subject came up more than once so I thought I would give a short list of all the benefits I see to the choice my family has made:

1. We don't get up until 7:30 AM.
2. School doesn't start until 9:00 AM and we are done for the day by noon.
3. We have every afternoon free to do whatever we want so the kids are able to participate in a number of extra curricular activities.
4. We don't have homework.
5. We can focus the school day on what interests the kids.
6. We can do school outside on beautiful days.
7. We go on tons of field trips.
8. We have every Friday off.
9. We meet friends for lunch during the week.
10. If a child is struggling, I can take extra time to work with her.
11. The teacher/student ratio is exceptional ;)
12. The children's biggest influences come from my husband and me.

I suppose I could go on and on but for now that is it. In Deut 6:6-9 God says "And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates." I believe God has directed our family to fulfil this instruction by homeschooling. It works for us today . . . .

Monday, August 18, 2008


We have been back to school for about two weeks now. And honestly things have been going better then expected. We have gotten into a rhythm and I think because Little Mama and Nature Girl are both doing school it has helped. This week one of our extra curricular activities starts up again - ballet. This is the girls least favorite activity. When my hubby and I talked over the fall schedule we were trying to decide what, if anything, should be cut from our current schedule. We have been doing gymnastics for 5 years, ballet for 4 and AWANA for 4. But with Boop getting older and baby number 4 on the way things needed to be simplified. At least that was my goal. The girls love tumbling and it is something that Boop enjoys as well. I can usually get every ones classes at the same time, the gym is seven minutes from our house and it is cheap. The kids love AWANA, it is close, I volunteer (which we always need more) and how can you argue with additional scripture memorization, the pinewood grand prix and AWANA games. Then there is ballet. The girls don't care for it (but most of their good friends go), it is farthest away and it is pretty expensive. So, you would think that ballet would get the ax. Well, I got to thinking, about 4 years ago during Christmas time my oldest daughter was in 3 yo preschool and 3 yo ballet. This was going to be the first time I would experience as a parent my child on stage for the preschool Christmas performance. Grandpa, both grandmas and her aunt were there. I was so excited. It was not at all what I had expected. Nature Girl was having a bad day. She didn't want to go on stage and even the teacher was a little frustrated. In the end I had to go on stage with her so she would sing. I would be lying if I didn't say I wasn't a little disappointed. I was even more concerned because later on that afternoon we had her first ballet recital. At this point, I was preparing for the worst. I was a "new" mom. All these things were important at the time - they were a reflection on me and plus I just didn't get it. So, we get to ballet and we go into the Fellowship Hall and I see my baby girl on stage. I am very anxious. There is prayer and the music begins. I cannot describe in words the beauty that I saw from my baby girl. I sit here with tears in my eyes as I type. She was beautiful - she was God's perfect gift to me. Sure she didn't do the dance perfectly but her countenance was like an angel -she was so graceful and so intent on following her teacher's directions. I cried and cried and cried. There was my baby on stage dancing for Jesus with all of her heart. Needless to say we are still doing ballet . . .

Sunday, August 17, 2008


Before I had children I read all about loveys. The blankets or stuffed animals or other such things that kids carry with them always like Linus' blanket in the Snoopy cartoons. My first child didn't really have a lovey until we got rid of the pacifier (I guess that was her lovey.) Then she became attached to her "Puppy." Puppy is a larger beany animal that one of her grandmas had given her shortly after she was born. Puppy was left one time in a hotel in Alabama. That was the one and only time Nature Girl ever had to go without Puppy. In the event that Puppy didn't make it home I searched all the local stores and the Internet for a replacement. They don't make Puppy anymore. After a phone call to the hotel Puppy was "put on an airplane" and sent home to us. Thankfully God looks out for the little things too! My middle girl has her soft blankie. It IS soft and it is lavender and has her name on it. She would take it everywhere if I let her. But, I can't keep up with the kids much less all the things they would like to bring with them even if it is just to the grocery store. The little guy has "Ya-ya" which is Lion. It is very soft on the outside and has satin on the inside and a soft lion's head on the top of it. By child number three we finally decided we were going to take the advice of all the books and buy two loveys for Boop so if one got lost we would have another. Well, when we tried to buy a duplicate the only place we could find it was on Ebay for almost three times its original price. We decided to take our chances . . .

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Nature Girl

One of my favorite stories about Nature Girl happened when she was about 2 1/2. We had a newborn/infant in the house and I was tired and worn out from lack of sleep etc. At the time, the girls had separate bedrooms. I had put Little Mama down for the night and had just done Nature Girl's nightly routine. Nature Girl still slept in a crib. (Big fan of cribs until they out grow them or become unsafe :) Anyway, each night NG slept with the same 3 or 4 stuffed animals. She was tucked in her crib with her animals all around her, we would do our thing and then shut the door. One morning when I went into her room to get her out of her crib there were a dozen animals in her crib. At least twice as many as what she usually slept with. At the time, I wrote it off as sleep deprivation on my part and didn't think anything more about it. Well, it happened the next couple of nights. I was truly puzzled!!! So one night my hubby and I decided to leave the door part way open after our nightly routine. About a half hour later I peeked into Nature Girl's room. Here she was like a little elf scampering around the room collecting stuffed animals and then crawling back into her crib. I wished I would have gotten it on video. It was the cutest sight I have ever seen. I was relieved because I was seriously doubting my sanity!! Needless to say Nature Girl got a big girl bed a couple of days later . . .

Friday, August 15, 2008

The Tooth Fairy

It was a momentous day yesterday. My baby girl lost her first tooth. It had been loose for a couple of weeks but I figured we had plenty of time before the big day. Well, yesterday during snack time she kept saying "Mommy, feel my tooth." She would go around the table and ask everyone to "feel her tooth." I tried to explain that we didn't need every one's germy hands in her mouth. Finally I agreed to put my finger in her mouth and give it a little wiggle. When she opened her mouth I gasped. (I have a queasy stomach.) It was just hanging there. Yikes. My oldest said "Lean over I will pull it out." Before I even had a chance to protest, Nature Girl had Little Mama's tooth in her hand!! I was stunned for a couple of different reasons. First and foremost that Nature Girl was just willing to put her hand in her sister's mouth and yank away. Second, because that means my baby girl is growing up. I don't think anything prepares a parent for the inevitable growth of their children. No matter how many teeth have been lost . . .

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Rainy Days

Ugh. Day number three of rain which in my opinion is one of the harder parts of homeschooling. In our little school we spend a lot of time outdoors in nature observation, science and physical education. Not to mention our house seems awfully small with all four of us cooped up all day. We tend to bicker a little more and have a little less patience. Of course, the house is messier because every toy gets hauled out. Even the ones that are usually ignored. During school hours, if one or two of the little guys get restless (even the seven year old) my solution is "Go play outside." Obviously not an option when it is raining. I try to stay away from the TV because I believe my children need to learn to occupy themselves when there is "nothing to do" (whine, whine). I will admit though there are days when a movie is necessary if for no other reason then my sanity. But, there is a bright side to rainy days and that is the creativity that blossoms when the complaining and whining stops. Yesterday my kids were mailmen. The each had a box that they fit around them to carry mail. They collected different size pieces of "mail" and put them in the box. For some reason they thought they needed a hat and then the went around for about 45 min delivering mail two separate times! The little guy needed me to write mail on his box to be official. I think he even slept with his mail at nap time. Little Mama even brought me a check in the mail. She can deliver my mail anytime! Nature Girl who is seven even got into the act. Maybe it makes rainy days worth it . . .

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Mikey and Strawberry

Have you ever tried to take a picture of a hummingbird?? Well, we tried this morning. This is the best picture of the bunch. The hummingbird is to the right of the feeder. What wonderful creatures they are. As part of our schooling experience we have put a hummingbird feeder right outside the window of where our dining room table is. So, whenever we sit down to eat a meal we are blessed with a hummingbird or two having their meal. They "eat" for about 10 seconds and then they are gone. Like a flash. I have tried to follow where they go but I loose track of them within seconds. The kids love when the come to eat. Near as we can tell there are two but I am sure there are more. One is named Mikey because "he likes it." The other Little Mama named Strawberry because the kids say it has red on its tail. They have better eyes then me :) They are so tiny and "soft" looking. Nature Girl asked about whether or not it could be a pet but I told her they would be miserable in any kind of captivity. God did not make this animal to be caged. We have had the feeder for a couple of months and we all still get excited when Mikey and Strawberry come to dine . . . .

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

For the Love of Reading

Nature Girl is reading: Brave Emily (American Girl)
Nature Girl's Favorite books: Meet Molly, Boxcar Children, In Grandma's Attic, Mouse and the Motorcycle, Capyboppy

Little Mama is "reading": Blueberries for Sal
Little Mama's Favorite books: Knuffle Bunny, Bad Dog Marley, Richard Scarry's Please and Thank You Book

Boop is "reading": Are You Going to be Good
Boop's Favorite books: Are You Going to be Good, Cars, Toes are to Tickle

Family reading time: The Lion's Paw

Monday, August 11, 2008

Spinach Lasagna

If you are my friend or even someone I know remotely and you are in need of a meal you get spinach lasagna from me. In my friend, church and homeschooling circles there is always someone who has just had a baby, a sick family member, surgery or a death in the family. As part of our school, I want to stress that being a part of a community is to help those in need. Because I have younger children we don't necessarily get out into the city community yet. (That will come soon.) So in the meantime we prepare and deliver meals to those in our immediate community. It isn't always to someone we know well which is a stretch for me. I worry whether or not they will like my lasagna. Or, if I delivered it too soon or too late. Or, if there is enough to feel everyone. But, I need to remember that when those same people go out of their way to deliver me a meal I am soooo grateful I don't care about anything else. Just that someone cared enough to provide for a need. Off to make a spinach lasagna . . . .

Sunday, August 10, 2008

The Sabbath Day

I am not good at napping. It is hard for me to sleep in the middle of the day. Sleeping is something I do when I am thoroughly wore out at the end of the day. I make my children rest or at least play quietly. My husband LOVES to take naps in the afternoon :) I usually end up stewing because everyone can "catch a few winks" but me. I try. I usually end up feeling guilty. So I read, make cards or sort something. But, God is pressing upon me the fact that He rested on the Seventh Day. God rested. Yes, He accomplished much in those first six days but He rested. It is even one of the Ten Commandments Ex. 20:8. So, maybe it is OK on Sunday to put my feet up, lay my head down and think peaceful thoughts free of any guilt . . . .

Saturday, August 9, 2008


Every once and awhile my husband's family gets together. It usually isn't something that is planned in advance and it isn't any kind of major family gathering. Just a couple brothers, their wives and kids end up at another brother's house for some reason or another. My husband has 3 brothers and 1 sister (she's in PA). We have a total of 15 nieces and nephews (plus our three) so when one or more are gathered it is usually a pretty good time. And so it was last night. Swimming and an impromptu dinner. Part of the fun is watching the kids play with one another. Last night the ages ranged from a 19 year old girl to an almost 3 year old boy with a 14 year old boy and 14, 8, 7, and 5 year old girls in between. It is neat to see cousins play together - all of them. It doesn't matter age or gender - they all play. The older ones watch out for the younger ones. The younger ones don't give the older ones a moments rest. It is a beautiful sight. But, as much as I enjoy watching the kids play I enjoy watching the dads/brothers play. Yes, they play with all the nieces and nephews but they goof around with each other as well. It gives a wife an inside look as to what her husband's life might have looked like growing up. The grown up men are just as capable of child's play as the children. Truly a sight to see . . .

Friday, August 8, 2008

Bedtime Routines

When my first child was born she had her days and nights mixed up for close to 6 weeks. After that she would sleep at night but it was a fight. (She didn't like sleeping during the day either.) Everyone told me "Get a bedtime routine." So I did. Bath, story, bottle and in bed by 8:24PM. When she finally did start sleeping through the night I was adamant about the routine. Bath, story, bottle and in bed by 8:24. Peaceful sleep. It didn't matter what we were doing or where we were. It was bath, story, bottle and bed by 8:24. It worked and I wasn't about to risk any changes to the routine that gave me peaceful nights sleep. My family made fun of me. I didn't care. I had a system, a plan and it worked. When baby number two came a long it was a whole lot easier - mostly because I knew more. The bedtime routine was the same - bath, story, nurse, bed but I wasn't such a stickler for the 8:24 part. I enjoyed time with both girls at night. We would read together. We said a prayer which I still say to this day: "Dear Lord, watch over my babies as they sleep. I pray they sleep well through the night and into the morning. I pray that You put Your hedge of protection around Daddy, Mommy, Katie (squeeze hand), Olivia (squeeze hand), Cooper (in another room), Grandma, Grandpa Joe, Nona Kris, Coco, Sissy, Uncle J.J., Auntie Karla and baby C." Then we say thanksgivings and any prayer requests, we give kisses, hugs, water and good nights. When baby number three came along I still stuck to a routine but the timing over the years has become a little looser. I take baby boy to his room after we all read together and rock and say prayers with him for a few minutes. We cover ourselves with a blanket that my mom started when my sister was born almost 24 years ago. Then he gets big boy hug, big boy kiss and in his crib he goes. We have a little conversation then sing a little song (currently "The Lion Sleeps Tonight"), we put "medicine" and socks on his feet. He talks to himself or sings to himself for a few minutes and then falls asleep.

I have learned so much over the last 8 years about children and routines. I am a big believer of routine. It helps with a feeling of security when the little guys just know what is coming next. Over 8 years I can list on one hand the number of times my children haven't gotten a bath before bed. Now, we all read on the couch and the bath might be at 9:30. It might be a 5 minute rinse off but it is still part of the routine. I would be lying if I said I wasn't a little bit concerned about baby number 4's prospective sleeping habits. One thing I can tell you for sure is he/she will have a bedtime routine . . . .

Thursday, August 7, 2008


I love it when a plan comes together. Today is the day of a much anticipated playdate. This particular family has two daughters the exact same age as my two daughters. They have taken ballet together for the last couple of years and have the same interests such as the American Girls. We are going to have a tea with cupcakes. My girls don't know it yet! Cupcakes in the middle of the day - almost unheard of in our house. This is a very special event for them. They are cleaning their room and the living room without any prompting from me! I am in a t-shirt and gym shorts. My oldest asked me if I was going to change before they got here :) Yes, I am going to change. The only downside of this little get together is the knowledge that my little guy has of no boy for him to play with. As I was putting him down for a nap yesterday he said "Does Ms. ------- have a baby boy?" I had to tell him "no" but that he could play with me and Ms. ------. That seemed to satisfy him for the moment. We shall see. I kind of hope baby number four is a boy . . . . .

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Labor Stories

and why I think they are important. . . . It has come to my attention after birthing three children that the type of labor and deliveries I have had have proven to be indicators of each child's personality. Nature Girl for instance was a month early. For a first time mom the whole thing was a little dramatic. She was ready to come out weeks before then and by the grace of God held out as long as she could. After about 30 minutes of pushing she was here. She is an ask forgiveness rather than permission kind of gal. If there is something she wants she goes to whatever length necessary to make it happen. When she is ready to do something nothing stands in her way. She is all about her time frame. And "no" or "I can't" aren't words she chooses to understand. I have no doubt that these traits will serve her well in the future.

Little Mama on the other hand didn't want to come out. She was quite content right where she was and after 2 1/2 hours of hard pushing I was settling for her to stay in there as well. She is stuck to me like glue. She loves to be near and to help and to be loved on. The womb was a great place for her ;)

Boop was a breeze. Very laid back delivery. Everything went as expected. No drama. His personality to a tee. He is pretty much everything as expected. Now I do understand he is number three so a lot plays into that as well. But, it has been very interesting for me to see the correlation between labor and delivery and personality traits. Maybe I will do a scientific study when I am finally done with my own labor and delivery stories . . . .

Tuesday, August 5, 2008


Yesterday we started our first day of school. This year I have a kindergartner and a second grader. I need way more organization then I have had in the last two years. This year we actually start at a specific time and each subject, theoretically, is to start at a certain time. And, each subject is to last a certain amount of time. All this to get school done by lunchtime!! In a number of ways I love when school starts. I am all about organization and a system and a plan. We seem to have better days when the kids know what to expect. Yesterday even Boop was able to play by himself for most of the school time. The dog and the fish get fed when we have a plan. Teeth get brushed when we have a plan. Rooms get straightened when we have a plan. I am learning, though, that every plan has to have a certain amount of flexibility. When we originally started homeschooling I flexed for everything and ended up way behind. I think last year we did a little better but still ended up a little behind. This year we started 2 weeks earlier in anticipation of the flexibility I will need in November when Baby C is born.

I love sitting on the couch teaching my very own children how to read. Me, I teach them how to read! It blows my mind sometimes. I also get to teach them what is important in life. It isn't all about academics (although that is important.) I get to teach them morals based on a biblical way of life. I know there are no guarantees but in the end I will have known I did my very best (whole other subject :) They also get time for baking and sewing and cardmaking and mosaics and ballet and tumbling and animals and music and art and I could go on and on and on. And almost nothing my children do shocks me - I am with them constantly and know for the most part what each child is capable of. There have been a few surprises but nothing yet that has been our of character ;)

But, there are frustrating days as well. Days I don't understand why they don't get what to me is a very easy concept. Or days when Boop wants all of the attention. Or days when I am just plain tired and I just want to sit on the couch and watch mindless TV. Or days when daddy is home and all the kids would rather play with him then do school. Or when there is a ton of house work to do and we are having company and certain things just don't get done (things that used to be really really important to me :) Or days when I am just plain impatient with anything and everything. Those days seem to be coming more often the more pregnant and hot I get!

But in the end, I know this is the right choice for our family for this season in life . . . .

Monday, August 4, 2008

Blog Beginnings

My original blog name was going to be Humble Housewife not because I am one but because I want to strive for that everyday (Proverbs 31:10 "Who can find a virtuous wife? For her worth is far above rubies.") But that name was already taken, so I settled for Life on Tara. (One of my all time favorite books is Gone With the Wind.) My reasons for the blog are three fold I guess: 1) Writing is therapeutic for me. I find if I can write down my thoughts, feelings, and ideas I am better able to deal with them - sift through to get to what's really important. 2) My intent is to share just about everything I have the time to write down. Sometimes it will be funny and sometimes it might not :) Why include both?? Because that is the way my life really is - sometimes funny and sometimes not - ha, ha :) and 3) I want my childrens' stories written down someplace. If you would have told me 10 years ago I would be a stay at home homeschooling mother of 3 with one on the way I would have told you you were cracked. I give God all the glory for putting me on this path. It was definitely not me. I am excited about growing and changing into what God ultimately wants me to be. And it is all being accomplished through my husband, my children, my family! Thanks for sharing the journey with me. . . .

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Typical Day

So, I was going to write my very first post on my very first blog. As I sit down to type my youngest son who is 2 1/2 and has been sick today just asked me in his most pathetic, sad, pouty voice to come sit with him on the couch. How can a mother refuse. I live to post another day . . .