Sunday, May 31, 2009

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Last Day of School

I periodically check out Facebook and this past week everyone was posting about how it was the children's' last day of school. And it occurred to me Thursday was our last day of school. It was somewhat of a nonevent. We tried to finish up our week's worth of work but fell a little shy. We managed to finish copywork and math and our assigned chapters in Our Island Story, Pilgrim's Progress, Seabird and Pagoo. But we didn't get to Parables of Nature, Wind in the Willows and Heidi. I figure we can read those at night before bed.

Most of the posts I read on Facebook were moms saying they were so excited about the summer. I am too because I have big plans to get to things done that I just don't have time to get to during the school year. But to be honest, I don't ever get it all done. In fact, I am happy if I get half of it done. OK, if I get any of it done. I do kind of like the routine of school every morning. The kids have a purpose and aren't wandering around the house aimlessly. But, during the summer the morning is the best time to play outside. About 11AM things start to heat up and get real humid. So, in the morning out they go. Late afternoon is for the redneck pool.

My plan is to have the kids do a little math everyday regardless. It is one of those subjects that is learned better with less struggle if you just keep up with it. Thankfully the girls don't have a problem with that. They like math. Especially Little Mama. Well, I guess that is enough for today. Back to enjoying the second day off from school . . .

Friday, May 29, 2009

Sleep Swap

Our nephew has come to stay with us for a little while so we have had to rearrange our sleeping situation just a bit. It has been a long time coming anyway. EG has been in our bedroom for the past 7 months. Longer than any other baby. It is definitely time for her to sleep in her crib. The biggest reason we have not moved her is because we were just not sure what to do with her. On nights that daddy's alarm goes off at 4AM he has been sleeping in the front room/Coco's room/guest room. Now our nephew has the front room and daddy has our room, EG and I have moved into Boop's room and Boop has moved into the girls' room. All temporary. The plan is to have EG and Boop share a room for awhile. The crib is in there. And eventually move her into the girls room. (Plus, I thought by now she would be sleeping through the night :) But right now my concern is Boop crawling into the crib with EG in the middle of the night when she cries. He would want to "help." So last night Boop and the girls were up until 10:30. Reading, giggling, talking. That is a half hour past my bedtime! I think Nature Girl and Boop were still awake when I finally went to bed!

We are enjoying having our nephew here. He has been a huge help already. The kids absolutely adore him. And follow him everywhere. Poor guy. But he is used to it, though. He is second in a large family. So he knows what it is like to have little ones around. Right now he is in the process of stripping the wallpaper in the school room. And he has watched Boop while the girls and I ran to the mall. Oh, and have I mentioned having another adult to talk to during the day. Daddy likes having him around. So far he has gone to the movies with him and is trying to get a fishing trip together. Tonight they might go watch the baseball game at a wing place. And he has help with the lawn. We just might get use to having him around . . .

Thursday, May 28, 2009

It's Cool in the Furnace

Last night was the girls' church musical. They have been practicing most of the spring. This year's theme was based on the Old Testament story of Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego (or Abendable as Little Mama calls him) and the fiery furnace. King Nebuchadnezzar made an idol that all were to worship. Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego knew that they were to only worship the one true God. Punishment for not worshiping the King's idol was to be thrown into a fiery furnace. And they were. But God did not forsake them. He protected them in that furnace. What a great story of faith. And one that I just learned in the last 5 or so years. I had always heard the story of the lion's den. But after studying the book of Daniel, I learned this story as well. OK now back to the kids :) I enjoyed the musical for so many reasons. It is usually a smaller crowd and you can see every kid on the stage and there are some characters! I know the girls are happy to look out and see a whole row of family. Last night was daddy, Coco, Mickey, me, Boop, Sissy and EG. And a couple of their friends came. My sister and I spent quite of bit of time chuckling. The kids are so good and they work so hard and some of the moves and expressions are priceless. I think one lady turned around and gave my sister and I "the eye" because we were a little loud. At first I felt kind of bad. But then I thought about it, it is all part of it. You clap when they do well and giggle when the kids are silly or doing unpredictable stuff. Heaven knows my girls were being silly at times. Another show goes down in history. Aaahhh, the voices of little angels . . .

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Memorial Day Weekend

A lot of pictures, I know. Thanks to Sissy. Well, we got to my mom's right before dinner. We had brought a couple of games because the weather predicted rain. We unpacked and had dinner and the kids swam a little bit in between rain drops. The highlight of the evening for me anyway was playing a little bit of Texas Holdem with adults :) I only played a couple hands though because I knew I would be up quite a bit during the night :) I left hubby, Alex and Sissy to continue on until the wee hours of the morning. Ahh to be young again - hee, hee.
Saturday morning brought intermitant rain. Thanks to Aunt Teresa the kids did a little swimming over in her pool across the street. But by lunch time things had cleared up and it was off to the beach for sun, fun and fishing. Going to the beach with four kids is somewhat comical. We had sooo much stuff. Have you ever seen the beginning to the old show "Yes, Dear." The family from the show is struggling through the parking lot with strollers, rafts, towels, bags and a beach umbrella. I so totally felt like that. It was another windy day so the beach umbrella was useless. I was not about to sit in the sun with a 6 month old and no shade. So EG and I left the others there to tan, fish and play and we took a pleasant drive down Gulf Boulevard. It really was nice. I got to see some of the places I used to hang out at when I lived down there. We got back to the beach in time for everyone to pack up. It worked out perfectly. Just enough time for the kids to play and the boys to fish. Although they didn't catch anything :(
That night daddy was able to get the hot tub working so that was way cool! Sissy held EG and daddy and I, the other kids and Grandma were able to get in. Wow, what a treat that was! I LOVE sitting in hot bubbly water!! It just seems to wash all of your cares away. A hot tub is on my wish list now!
Sunday Grandma, Sissy, and Alex took the big girls to church. Daddy took Boop shopping and I had the house to myself (except for a napping EG). I sat on the couch in the sun room and read. Currently reading "Babbit" by Sinclare Lewis - very interesting book. Another nice surprise for the weekend :) After everyone got home we went up to Beef O'Brady's to eat some lunch and watch the ACC Baseball Tournament. FSU lost - bummer. That evening we had a small gathering of close friends for a graduation party for Sissy. We had great food and wonderful conversation.
As always the day to go home comes much too quickly. Before we left we were already making plans as to when we would see Grandma again. I think it is her turn to come to see us ;)
Anyway, our trip home was not near as eventful as our trip down there. It still took us 5 hours. We will continue to find away to make our traveling just a little bit easier . . .

Monday, May 25, 2009


Our 4-4 1/2 hour trip to grandma's turned into a grueling 7 hour drive. We had felt pretty good about ourselves because we managed to get out of the house by 9:18. We had promised the kids Mickey D's for breakfast so that was our first stop. Within the next half hour we had two potty breaks (one of which was daddy's :). It was already 10:15 and we hadn't even made it to the county line yet! We should have known it was going to be a long trip. We had at least two more potty breaks and a stop for lunch. About 2 hours away from my mom's house we ran into a terrible storm. Daddy and I were looking ahead down the road. We could see the storm coming up to us. It was black, the rain was falling sideways and it was moving really, really fast. The next thing we knew we were right in it. The rain was unbelievable. The wind was incredible. We could see just a couple of feet ahead of us. Boop was scared, Little Mama was crying and Nature Girl said she wanted to go home. I don't usually worry about driving in the rain but I even asked daddy to pull off to the side of the road. All of a sudden there was a loud thud like crash into the windshield and the wiper broke off. Now we really couldn't see. Daddy slowly eased off the road into a parking lot. As we were talking about what happened daddy confided in me that he thought there was a tornado. I thought a branch or something had smashed into the windshield. Apparently there was just a very, very strong wind that just ripped the wiper right off the blade arm. As soon as the rain let up daddy got an umbrella and went out and fixed the wiper. Once again I was thankful for the man I had married. I think we had one more potty stop and a stop for gas before we finally made it to grandma's. I still can't believe it took us a whole day to get where we were going. More pleasant stories about our weekend tomorrow . . .

Friday, May 22, 2009

Bonus Blog

So, my intention was not to blog a post until we got back on Tuesday. But, last night is a story I don't want to not write down. We had had a busy day and bedtime was rather late. As everyone was piling in bed it came to Boop's attention that he did not have Lion which is his lovey. He has not slept without it. EVER. Every one in the house searched for like a half hour. The irony is we had spent the whole evening cleaning and straightening so we knew where ever it was it was hidden pretty well. It was getting even later and later and no Lion. Every once in awhile daddy has a really good idea. And last night was one of them. Daddy brought Boop his very special shirt that he wears hunting in Wisconsin. It was bought at Cabella's! He told Boop to cover himself with it until we could find Lion. Boop was very thankful but very serious about his new lovey. Later on I found Boop's lovey in Little Mama's bed. I looked up at Little Mama and she was very thoughtful. She said "I prayed to find Lion. I didn't want him to sleep without it." She had tears in her eyes. I took her out of bed and sat with her on the couch just to talk with the sweetest girl God ever made. We talked about God and about praying. She told me she prayed the day before to have daddy come to tumbling (and he did.) She also told me she prays for things that she doesn't end up getting. I told her that God knows what is best for her and sometimes it isn't what we want. But He loves us.

So, when I put Little Mama back to bed I check in on Boop. He was sound asleep IN daddy's shirt. I had wanted to take a picture but couldn't find the camera. This morning, the first thing Boop did was bring out daddy's special shirt and make sure he got it back . . .

To Grandmother's House We Go

We hopefully are leaving in a couple of hours to go to Grandma's. The dreaded 5 hour car ride and today it is suppose to rain the whole way. Hubby took the night off so we could pack last night and be in the car for breakfast. He even promised the kids McDonald's this morning. But, as with all of life "The best laid plans of mice and men . . . " We had a hiccup and spent a lot of last night on another last minute project so we are behind our schedule by about 2-3 hours. Hubby and I are a lot a like in that we like to have a plan. And we don't like when our plan gets sidetracked by things that we have no control over. But, yet again, another lesson to me that no matter how hard I try, I really have no control. Over anything! So we are up bright and early and plugging along. We have a goal to be on the road by 9. No matter what, at some point today we will be at Grandma's for sun and fun with the fam. Have a wonderful Memorial Day weekend. Be back on Monday (or Tuesday ;) . . . .

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Foreign Languages

For the last three years I have unsuccessfully taught my children Spanish. I have about four years worth of classes under my belt. And if and when I ever go back to school I want to get a degree in Spanish Literature, Art, Culture etc. So when I was trying to decide what language I wanted the kids to learn, Spanish just seemed like the natural choice. Especially considering where ever we go everything seems to be written in English and Spanish (topic for another post if I am ever brave enough.) Anyway, I have workbooks, flashcards, sticker books, CDs of music. Well, you get the idea. One day last week I was looking over some of the E-mails I get from a homeschool group I belong to. Normally I delete most of them because they don't pertain to me. But one of them caught my attention. It said French tutor. I had just read on Ambleside Online (the website I use for choosing books, curriculum etc.) that Charlotte Mason recommended French sto be the first language learned. Charlotte Mason's thoughts on that were once French was mastered/learned all other languages would come much easier. Of course I liked the idea of that but in reality I knew it would never happen. There was no way I could teach French. I haven't a clue about the French language.

Well, I opened the E-mail and a lady was offering her services as a French tutor. Near as I could tell she was recently married, was from Switzerland and had married into one of our more well known homeschooling families. I E-mailed her just out of curiosity about how young she started, what the cost would be, etc. She is on her way back to Switzerland next week and was willing to look for things to teach younger kids. So, I think in the beginning she will come once every other week. Just so we can get our feet wet and see if French is really for us. She also said she would teach me and Little Mama right along with Nature Girl. And the price I thought was relatively inexpensive. I am soooo excited. I am looking forward to her coming to our house and teaching us a beautiful language. . .

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


My kids are watching the season finale of dwts (Dancing With the Stars) this morning before school thanks to the DVR.

EG rolls to get where she wants to go.

She is trying to crawl. She gets up on her knees with her face down in the carpet. Then she picks herself up and her bottom falls down. She will be one that has rug burn on her knees!

We are getting ready to go to Grandma's for the long Memorial Day Weekend.

Daddy is working this zone so he stopped in for breakfast. The minute he walked through the door he got a call so had to turn around and leave right away :)

Daddy informed me yesterday that they are having a shift bid at work. In other words you tell the department what shift you would like to work. Daddy put in a memo as to why it would be a hardship for him to go to nights. Yikes!

Tonight both of my girls have been asked to help at their gym to train the new teachers. They are used as helpers to show the new teachers how to teach tumbling.

Today is auditions for a real ballet production of the Nutcracker. I am trying to encourage Nature Girl to try out. I believe God has given her a gift of grace and I would love for her to use it. She doesn't want to and said she doesn't really have a reason. I am a little bummed :(

Little Mama would love to but it is for 7+. Go figure!!

Tried to make green bean baby food this week. My first disaster. First I steamed them so long I burnt the pot. Then I tried to puree them and it just jammed up the blender. Once I opened the blender to get them out it smelled like burnt green beans. I threw them all away. I decided to go with Gerbers for the green beans ;)

Crazy Florida weather. It has been in the low 60s at the end of May. Today it is so windy we have to get all the toys out of the backyard that might fly away.

We have had our redneck pool up since April and have been only able to use it once. It rained so much the other day, it filled up the pool and the sides collapsed and all the water went rushing out.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


We can't be there already. Actually I am a little surprised it took this long. EG has been working on her fingers for months it seems like. And teeth are one of those great unknowns. Little Mama had teeth at four months. I found out when she bit me while nursing. Nature Girl didn't get teeth until she was a year old. And then got her back molars first. Some nurse when she was born saw something white in her mouth and told me she already had teeth. I since found out that it was actually a ulcer type thing. Not really a tooth at all. So, yesterday, as EG was putting my finger in her mouth for the umpteenth time, I felt a sharp hard thing. A TOOTH! That could explain a little grumpiness and the instinct to shove EVERYTHING in her mouth. We have been talking about instinct in school. We are reading Pagoo, the story of the whole life of a hermit crab, and how his Old Pal Instinct guided him to eat and swim for survival. EG has been a great example of human instinct. On Sunday, she had stuck both fists in her mouth. The pictures are of her efforts to relieve her instinct to chew . . .

Monday, May 18, 2009

One of Our Favorite Places

This morning we went to Wakulla Springs. One of our favorite places to visit. It is a state park with natural springs and tons of Florida wildlife. Even alligators! They have glass bottom boat rides and the water is so clear you can see straight down like 100 feet! It is where they filmed Creature from the Black Lagoon and Tarzan (original old movies). They have a lodge also. With no televisions in the rooms or phones. They have a greatroom in the lobby that has a large checkers table. Last year when we went they had an archaeological dig. That was an unexpected surprise. They had some extra teacher like people around who talked with the kids about what exactly they were doing.

Today we went down to celebrate a friend's son's birthday. Oddly enough, it was 61 degrees with a brutal wind. The kids hung around the grill to get warm! My friend took the kids on a nature walk and had them run to warm up. They played on the playground. No swimming or boat rides today. Sixty-one degrees and everyone was bundled up. Once the kids quit complaining about the cold they had a great time. We get spoiled living in Florida . . .

Saturday, May 16, 2009


Every mother I know suffers from some type of guilt. The American Heritage College dictionary defines guilt as: 1. The fact of being responsible for the commission of an offense. 2. Culpability of a crime or lesser breach of regulations that carries a legal penalty. 3. Remorseful awareness of having done something wrong. b. Self-reproach for supposed inadequacy or wrong-doing. 4. Guilty conduct; sin. If you ask me those are pretty tough words. Now, I can only speak from my experiences. Yes, I have felt guilt over many choices I have made. Some I just didn't know any better. Some I just didn't care. All are forgiven. But forgiveness isn't the topic this time. I think a lot of moms feel guilt when they shouldn't. We compare ourselves to what others do and we can't do that. We all are so different. We have different families. We have different circumstances. No two families, no two moms are the same. I have felt guilty for a time about some mothering choices I have made but in retrospect, I have made decision based on information, knowledge and the person I was at that time. I couldn't have done it differently unless I had different information, was a different person etc. My most recent bout with guilt was just trying to keep up with another mom. She barely knew me but she had the power to make me feel guilty. She had answers to all my problems. But they were all based on her life and her experiences. But when I realized her circumstances were different, she had different priorities, and I let God take control, I was able to release the guilt. So many things in life are gray areas (ugh). There are no right or wrong choices per se. I do think if I find myself defending my position because of guilt then maybe I need to do some outward and/or inward examining. Change may not be necessarily but maybe just getting my heart right. There are things in my life I don't feel the need to explain because I am following God and he has pointed me in that direction. Those decisions I don't feel the need to explain. Those decisions don't bring guilt. At least not in my experience. It is all the things I try to justify that bring guilt. And if I am trying to justify them then maybe I need to pray about them and try to listen for God's response. I would have to say, right now, I am guilt free. For this moment. I am sure that will change. Sooner rather than later. . .

Friday, May 15, 2009

Check Up

Today is EG's six month check up. I know I can't believe it either. Six months!! It seems like just yesterday our family grew by one more precious baby. In the beginning I was soooo stressed. Number two and number three just kind of fit right in. They got with the program right away. EG not so much. She isn't a bad baby by any stretch. In fact, we went to IHop yesterday for lunch and you hardly even knew she was there. All the kids did very well. She has constant smiles. Never cries. And when she does, it is a fake cry. The minute you pick her up and hold her she is fine. Right now she is sitting in her brand new highchair waiting for me to get in the shower. She is just cooing and playing with her toys. I guess in the beginning I just forgot how quickly that chunk of time passes where they need you constantly. And I guess when you already have a decent size family to take care of it can get to you. Just not having enough time and hands. Just the other night I was talking to daddy about how when you are right in the middle of having a newborn you just don't realize it passes so quickly. As I have told you before I am a slow learner ;) Anyway, daddy got a dear in the headlights look knowing where I was going with the conversation. But I didn't ;) I am good :)

Anyway, back to EG's check up. I am always so expectant. I know she is healthy but I always hinge what I am going to do next on how much weight she has gained. Every time I say "if she gains a lot of weight we will start working on her sleeping through the night." And every time I go she gained like the bare minimum amount of weight so whatever plans I have for her are put on hold. I need to go with no expectations and just be happy that she is happy and healthy.

Well, I am fixing to go and wake her, feed her and load everyone up. I will be back in about an hour and a half with her report ;)
Once again I thought she had gained a ton of weight. She just seems so heavy to me! But it was 14.29 and she was 26 inches long. The doc of course said everything was great. Not to worry about the weight. She is obviously healthy and happy. The female doctor we have is awesome. She is a relatively new mom so is so totally understanding. The kids love her. She always talks with every one and asks questions. This time Boop told her that EG had rolled off his bed (which she hasn't). And Nature Girl told her that I beat them to make them go to sleep (which I don't). I expect DCF (Department of Children and Family) at the door any day . . .

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Introducing . . .

my Sissy. She has a blog. She is just testing the waters so to speak. So if you have a spare moment and you want to see what a single, twenty something college graduate thinks and writes about, I encourage you to check it out . . . . . .

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Apparently I Am Too Old . . .

to do a cartwheel. So this is my story: On Monday the girls were in the front yard practising their tumbling. I was feeling my oats and decided to do a cartwheel (successfully I might add) and a couple of handstands. All is well. The girls thought I was cool. Effect achieved. The rest of the evening was fine. About 12:30AM, my first EG feeding, I noticed my neck hurt - bad. I continued to nurse EG and get her back in bed thinking I had slept funny. During the second middle of the night feeding I still had the same problem only now it was down to my angel wing (shoulder blade.) I finished feeding her and then tried to settle in for a few more hours of sleep hoping the problem would go away. When I got up yesterday morning I was sore but I was able to move around and do my thing. By school time I was in pain. I am not a medicine taker. I have to be almost crippled before I even take a Tylenol (for many different reasons.) Anyway, I grabbed the Tylenol bottle and there were two left. I took them, didn't think anything more about it and the pain subsided to a level that I was able to continue school and do my housework (rats!!) It still hurt but it was manageable. By the time lunch was over the pain had come back and it was getting worse. I knew the littles would be going down for a nap so I was just trying to make it till then. All of a sudden the pain was excruciating. I must have done something to aggravate my injury. I was in tears and moaning it hurt so bad. I tried to call daddy, CoCo and Sissy. No one answered which only heightened the pain (I think I was panicking.) Finally I was able to reach Sissy at work. By then I was on my knees by the couch just sobbing in pain. My sister talked with me for a few minutes and I was able to refocus off the pain and gather my wits. By then daddy had called and said CoCo was on the way. Then the pain started to spasm and I called daddy back because I was scared and didn't know what to do. He offered to call the ambulance but I didn't think that was necessary. How embarrassing "How did you injure yourself?" "Ah, showing off to my girls by doing a cartwheel." "And how old are you?" "Yea, but it was only a cartwheel." Anyway, the meds CoCo brought I had to check to make sure I could take while nursing. A call to the docs office got me a prescription of Percocet. The people at the doc's office were a blessing (and so was CoCo). It was daddy's long day to work so I was by myself until after nine. The Percocet kicked in and all was well. It still hurt but I am pretty sure I didn't care. It made the middle of the night nursings doable and this morning so far so good. We will see what the rest of the day brings. I will try to take it easy but life goes on. I promised daddy no more cartwheels. . .

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Mother's Day 2009

I had two requests for Mother's Day. The first was to be able to work on my cards and the second was to watch the baseball game on TV. I was able to spend quite a bit of time working on cards but the baseball game wasn't on TV. Even though the paper said it was. One out of two isn't bad. So instead I watched an episode of House that I had never seen before. It truly doesn't take much to make me happy!! Anyway, we had a very nice day. Went to church and came home and just relaxed. Daddy and the kids did most everything which was basically just give me some down time. Daddy made one of my most favorite dinners, chicken quesidillas. And Sissy and Alex came over and got our new wireless laptop working and showed me how to use one of my Mother's Day presents, an Ipod nano. Boy is that cool. After dinner the kids gave me a barrage of Mother's Day gifts. Little Mama had given me three pieces of really pretty jewelery (that Grandma had let her keep when she had moved) and she made me a beautiful card with a dollar in it. She had wanted to give me all of her money but I graciously talked her out of it. Nature Girl gave me a beautiful ring (that Grandma had let her keep when she had moved), Boop gave me a bunch of his books. Each of the gifts was something of their's that they were willing to give away. To me!! They all spent the afternoon wrapping (I could hear them.) They were all so excited to give me their gifts. They were all so wonderful. Truly the best gifts are the ones that come from the heart . . .

Monday, May 11, 2009

The Patience Myth

So, on Friday I finally went and had my hair cut after 7 months I think. It was great. It was nice just to sit there and let someone take care of me for a change. I went to a teaching salon so I even got a bonus head and shoulder massage along with my haircut and style all for $12! The lady was really very nice. She was older and really very easy to chat with. So we got to talking (yea! adult conversation). Of course she asked about me and I told her I was a homeschooling mom with four kids and I gave her the ages. She then told me that she thought about homeschooling. So we got to talking about it. As many people say when you tell them you homeschool, especially when you have a house full of kids, "Wow, I just don't have the patience for that." And I always, always try to make people understand, I DON'T EITHER. I want to clear up the myth that you have to have patience to be a homeschooler. It is definitely not a qualification. If anything, I think God called me to homeschool because I needed to work on my patience (or lack thereof.) I always feel bad. Like people think I am something that I am not. Ask my kids, they will be more than happy to tell you I HAVE NO PATIENCE. But, I do think I have more patience then I did three years ago. Maybe. I always want to make it clear, you don't need patience to be a homeschooler. I would never want someone not to homeschool because they don't have patience. I always want to advocate for homeschooling, for anyone who is led by God . . .

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Saturday, May 9, 2009

End of an Era

I cry. Every time. My girls dance. There is just something about how those little girls, who can drive me to distraction so many times during the day, can get up on stage and look so beautiful and dance so lovingly for God. I cry. Every time. I choke back the lump in my throat. I always wish I have Kleenex to wipe away the tears (and mascara). Even writing this, I cry. I am not an outwardly emotional person but they bring me to tears and to my knees in front of my Heavenly Father and I give Him such a heart felt "Thank You" for blessing me with these beautifully, wonderfully made creatures. This year was bitter sweet. They have grown and learned so much. Nature Girl with her grace and beauty. Little Mama with her enthusiasm and joy. It was hard for me to comprehend that this is the last time my baby girls will dance for Jesus on the stage. I cry. I know the future holds so much more and this was just a season. A wonderful season to give me a glimpse of the beauty on the inside my lovely, growing, ever changing girls . . .

Friday, May 8, 2009

Tidbits for Today

Just a little catching up with the family. I went today and actually had my hair cut - yippee!! It had been 7 most ;) It was great!! Sissy did wonderful with the kids, as always.

Yesterday we had to get ballet tights and the little shop is on a lake so we decided to take a walk around. Which we have not done in many months. The kids had a blast climbing on the climbing tree. I told the kids I need to start bringing my camera where ever we go so I could have gotten a picture of all three of them in the big live oak tree. Nature Girl climbed the highest. Little Mama had a blast jumping off numerous times. Boop made it to the first sitting spot. Then he watched all the people going by with Ipods. "Mommy, he has an Ipod." "Mommy, she has an Ipod and a dog." Etc., etc., etc. Ipods are a big thing in our house. Nature Girl got one from Sissy for her birthday and I am getting one for Mother's Day!

The lake has tons of ducks. Some are mallards as Nature Girl pointed out. But there are others that are nasty ducks (not suppose to feed them). While we were walking around two of the nasty ducks (Muscovy ducks I think) were seriously fighting in the middle of the lake. I double checked because it is spring you know :) Anyway, they were fighting apparently over a female that was swimming near. The fought hard and we watched the whole thing. It was kind of like a cock fight I imagined. Brutal to say the least. Anyway, we sat there for at least 5 minutes watching in amazement. Towards the end of the fight, one duck was completely submerged by the other one. I thought for sure it was over and the weaker one was a goner. About 30 seconds later they both were under the water. 30 seconds after that you see the weaker one pop up about 10 feet away from the victor. He was trying to make a graceful escape. The bully started to chase him. Meanwhile, a third male duck came up to the lone female :) Aahhh so interesting watching male behavior :) The kids thought the whole thing was pretty darn interesting and so did I!!

Little Mama took EG's soft building blocks and made a dog just for her.

Nature Girl is going to get her own blog over the summer. She wants it to display a different puppy picture everyday.

Boop said that his mayonnaise on his hot dog bun looked like Nature Girl dancing with the stars.

Tomorrow is Nature Girl and Little Mama's very last ballet recital. End of an era (until EG that is.)

Just a few happenings going on around our house. Once again getting ready for a busy weekend . . .

Thursday, May 7, 2009

More Babies?

On our way home from ballet yesterday Nature Girl asked "Mommy, our we going to have more babies?" She asks this pretty frequently. She would like to have 9 other brothers and sisters. Where she gets that number from is beyond me. We have a friend who has 10 kids in their family maybe that is it. Who knows. We have told her that we probably are not going to have any more children in our family. I do believe that God intends for us to let Him decide how many children are in our family. I have envisioned myself in Heaven saying "I know God. I limited Your blessings but I gotta tell ya, I am not sure I could have handled anymore." "Yes, I know perfectly well it was a lack of faith in You." But, most of it right now is obedience to my husband. God has put him in charge of our family and he would rather our family not get any bigger. He loves the children he has right now and does not desire to have anymore. Most days I am in agreement with him. But, there are days that I desire more. If hubby was on board, I would definately have more. It is a constant struggle as I try to obey God . . .

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Homeschool Refocus

I think if you choose to homeschool (led by God) it can be about so much more than just an education. When Nature Girl approached the age of five we started to consider what some of our options were. I have a very dear friend who is a homeschooler and she would, in love, always mention homeschooling as an option. My response was "Oh no, that is NOT for me." I was pretty sure I wanted NG to go to this really great Christian school across town. Then I got pregnant and their tuition pamphlet. So then we explored a school run by the local college. I even had NG tested to see if she could get in. But during that time I started to have a change of heart. I can't really explain how it happened. I don't remember really praying about it. All I remember was when the test results and admissions paperwork came in the mail from the school, I prayed all the way down the driveway that she wouldn't get in. Part of me wanted to homeschool but I wasn't sure daddy was on board and I didn't want to consciously make that choice.

In the beginning it was all about academics. I bought the greatest curriculum in a box. It had it all. Language arts, science, history, Bible. I had to add math and reading. It was a five day schedule and to get it all done everyday I think it took like 2-3 hours. Given my nature we had to do it all, everyday. We had to finish the schedule of the week during THAT week. If we got behind or if NG got sick, I would stress. We were not really flexible. We didn't take days off that were not scheduled. I stressed NG out and I stressed me out.

As we finish up our third year of homeschooling, adding a second student and two babies. I have learned a few things about homeschooling. The only schedule I have to keep is mine. My kids don't have to keep up with public school kids. We can go four days a week. We can have school during the summer. And most importantly homeschooling is not just about education! That is the hardest one to really grasp for me. Yesterday morning instead of starting school right at 9 we heard a strange sound. We went out front to try to figure out what it was. We searched all around and found the sound coming from the live oak tree. We kept looking. Finally we figured out it was a woodpecker. I bet we sat and watched it for about 15 minutes! It really was pretty fascinating. Our school day for two kids is 2 hours, maybe 2 1/2. We take days off to celebrate other homeschoolers birthdays. We focus on manners, habits, Godly character (right now is modesty). Those things that are eternal. We work on patience, attentiveness and doing things right the first time. I would much rather have two perfectly written "a"s then a whole page of terrible writing. We read great literature written years and years ago. Did you know that most of the Disney princesses are taken from stories written close to 100 years ago. I did not know that. We have read the original Beauty and the Beast and Aladdin and the Forty Thieves, just to name a few.

The reason for this post is I ran across an article "If I Could Do It Over Again, Here's What I Would Do Differently . . ." These are a few of the comments that spoke to me. As long as we continue to homeschool, I am going to try to keep these few things in mind:

"I wouldn't worry so much about formal schooling and academics in Preschool, Kindergarten and Grade One. There would have been less (or no) worksheets and more time to have fun. I would have spent more time outdoors and given my child the tools with which to explore and create."

"Less curriculum, more reading and enjoying my children."

"Relax more about my expectations and have more fun with the kids, realizing that life is full of learning."

"I would play more while they are young. I would also focus on training in good habits and wait for the academics."

"I love homeschooling. If I could change something, I would have more patience. The lord is using our homeschooling journey to help that department." THIS IS SOOOO ME!!

"Homeschooling is a progression and most people go through the same steps. School at home . . . de-schooling . . finding your own way (unschooling, eclectic, etc.) -- this all seems necessary . . so I would not change anything. (Well, maybe I would try to spend less money - especially in the beginning.)" SO TRUE!!

"I'd worry less about getting book work done every day and make more opportunities to learn through play. I will never regret the enjoyable times, only that there weren't more of them."

"Enjoying them more, not getting caught up in the tyranny of the urgent. Letting go of what other people think. Making sure that I had their heart as opposed to outward obedience." WORKING ON THIS BIG TIME!!!

"I wouldn't procrastinate so much. The time has just flown away. "I'll do that with the children in one minute, (one hour, one day, one week)", and the time is gone."

"Stop stressing about how much we get done in a year. The is no hard & fast rule that "Math Textbook A" needs to be finished in "X" amount of time. The beauty of homeschooling is that you can relax and let the kids move at their own pace."

"I would not force-teach a skill when it was clearly straining. I have learned that if I wait for more signs of readiness, or present it in very small and unimposing ways, there is an "I can" attitude and ambitious spirit that comes along and takes a child much much farther."

"I would concentrate more on a home "education" and less on a home "school." At first I tried to reproduce a classroom at home. That was a mistake. Education has nothing to do with a classroom and everything to do with the heart and mind." MY GOAL FOR NEXT YEAR :)

"I would relax more and enjoy the process. Teaching a child isn't like aiming a fire hose of knowledge at them and expecting them to drink from it. It is more about forming relationships and connections even if they aren't reading or performing at grade level. It is more important to just handle the subject matter at the child's pace."

My reasons for homeschooling have changed so much in the past three years. They have gone from my only option to a way of life for us. It is far from perfect every day. My family and I have a lot of growing in Christ to do. But I am so blessed and thankful for the opportunity that God has given me. Obviously I am a homeschooling proponent and very thankful for my very good friend who encouraged me . . .

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

"Making" Baby Food

I know this isn't a new concept but it is to me. After four kids you would have thought I would have tried just about everything by now but that is just not so. I had heard of making baby food before but I thought "why." It comes in cute little jars already done. Why take the time. Plus, I thought it would be something that would be really hard. I was wrong. Yes, you heard me I was wrong. About a month ago when I contacted the lactation consultant about my latest nursing dilemma she suggested giving EG sweet potato. Not the kind in the baby food jar but actually baking it, pureeing it and feeding it to her. Ugh, that was just what I needed. Something else to do in my already overwhelming life! I had been given that advice once before. Little Mama had a weight issue when she was about 5/6 mos. Someone gave me the advice to feed her avocado. Needless to say I didn't take that advice but now wished I would have. Anyway, the lactation consultant suggested the sweet potato as an alternative for formula so to speak. Well, I have come along way since Little Mama's weight issue so I thought "what the heck." I baked some sweet potatoes about a week or so ago, mashed them up and gave them to her. She loved them. I froze the left overs in little chunks and pull one out and let it thaw everyday for dinner. For breakfast I buy extra bananas so they get ripe and every morning I mash one of those. Yesterday we tried avocado for the first time. I just cut it in half and mashed the "meat." She had that for lunch. I have since bought a butternut squash and pears. I baked the squash, pureed it and froze it in ice cube trays. That will be our next food to try. The pears I need to steam and freeze but I think they need to ripen more. It really has been kind of cool to do this. It makes me feel so domestic! We went out for dinner the other night and I wasn't sure what I would do about the baby food. I ended up just bringing a banana and a little chunk of sweet potato and when the time came just mashed it up and gave it to her. It worked out beautifully. I plan to add baby cereal in a couple days as well. Just to have a back up. I guess there are three main reasons I have chosen to make the baby food this time around: 1) I like the idea of the least processed the better, 2) it helps me deal with the fact that I am not the greatest nursing mom and 3) it is WAY cheaper. Who knows how long it will last. But for now I feel it is the best choice for EG and me . . .

Monday, May 4, 2009

Weekend in Review

Our weekend started with Grandma driving up for Sissy's graduation. She got here right at dinner time and we had a nice meal of homemade pancakes, bacon, two kinds of sausage and poached eggs. Sissy and Alex joined us as well. I felt honored that she ate dinner with us considering it was graduation weekend :) Of course, Sissy, Alex and Grandma went out for a little while after dinner to celebrate ;)

Saturday morning started early as usual. I was so thankful that Sissy decided not to walk for graduation. As proud as I am of her, I really, really didn't want to sit in the Civic Center for three hours with four kids. Plus, daddy wouldn't have been there because he had to work. Sissy and Grandma went shopping for household essentials because Sissy has just moved into a new place. The kids and I had a relaxing Saturday. I think I even read a little and tried to take a nap! Later on in the afternoon we placed our "bets" on our Kentucky Derby horses and got ready for Sissy's graduation dinner at Andrew's. What a great choice Sissy (and Grandma) made for dinner. It was a breezy evening and sitting out side for dinner was great. At post time we all went inside to watch the race. It was really very exciting. Boop's horse won! His horse was 50-1 odds!! I think Boop walked away with a whole $1.50. Just enough to buy him a HotWheels car at the grocery store! Dinner was fabulous. The company was delightful. And the kids were very well behaved!

Sunday morning brought Grandma's departure. Which is always hard. She was suppose to leave by 11:00. But the girls were watching Kit Kittredge and Grandma watched it with them. Then it was performance time. The girls donned their ballet recital costumes (because Grandma won't be here for the actual recital) and did a little part of their dances. Next came lunch and dodge ball in the front yard. Yes, Grandma played along. Unfortunately I had to feed EG so I missed out on the game! The girls said Grandma was so slow that even Boop was able to catch her ;) Out of the mouth of babes. Grandma finally had to leave. Little Mama came in my room, her hands in the air, a sad look on her face and a pouty lip and said "I miss her. She was fun to play with . . . "

Saturday, May 2, 2009

The Kentucky Derby

Today is the 135th running of the Kentucky Derby. The first race of the Triple Crown. Another Connell tradition we have is watching it together as a family and betting on it! A couple of days before the race I will look for the racing silks in the newspaper. If I can't find them there I look online. It looks like a full field of horses this year. Sometime today each kid will pick their favorite horse (or silk colors). They will draw a shirt on a piece of paper and then color it in to look like the horse they have chosen. Then we each toss a quarter into a pot. About 5 o'clock we will turn the TV on to listen to all the prerace hype. There is always some really inspirational story about a jockey or a horse. We enjoy watching all the pageantry. The big hats. We watch the horses parade down the track to the starting gate. The horses are all geared up, prancing around. We help the kids figure out which horse is theirs and get the number for them to watch for. It is always a little exciting watching the horses load into the gate. (I think I wanted to be a jockey when I was younger :) There is usually one or two that balk and give the handlers some trouble. Then you just wait. And finally the gate goes up. We sit glued to the TV trying to figure out who is who. In the beginning it is so hard because they are all grouped together. Then around the second or third turn they start to separate. We all are yelling and screaming especially if one of us is winning. It is so unpredictable. We have watched races that were runaways and ones where you didn't know who was going to win until the very end. Always the most exciting two minutes in sports! If one of us has picked the horse that wins, you get to keep the quarters that were in the pot. If no one wins, we leave the money in the pot until the next race and then add more to it. After the Derby there is the Preakness and the Belmont . . .

Friday, May 1, 2009

Congratulations Graduate

Some time today my little sister will be taking her FINAL college exam. She was on the 6 year plan and tomorrow she graduates! To her defense, she has worked two jobs the majority of her college career and she has lived on her own. I think she might have changed her major once (maybe twice :) Anyway, I am so proud of her. In an era where kids are handed everything, she has managed to stick it out and succeed. I have always told her she will have traits and characteristics that most of the other graduates won't have. Just for the mere fact that she has had to do everything on her own. I know it isn't the way she wanted it and I know it isn't the way her parents wanted it but I honestly believe it is for the best. She hasn't been handed anything. She has had to work for what she wants. She has learned how to budget and live within her means and she has learned time management. There have been times when she has had to borrow money, but hubby has never hesitated to loan it to her. One, she always paid us back with interest in babysitting and second, he always saw her working. It wasn't like she was expecting the help. Or that it was due her. Admirable traits for a women in her early 20s. I know she is excited and a little apprehensive. But as I told her in a text "It can be very exciting u can do whatever u want with ur life." How awesome is that . . .