Sunday, January 31, 2010

Saturday, January 30, 2010

The Variations of Homeschooling

Yesterday we went to lunch with a fellow homeschooling friend. Of course, part of the topic of conversation was homeschooling. My friend is in a "co-op" that I am interested in. The co-op is based on a type of learning style called classical. Just from my brief conversation with her I gathered it has a lot to do with memorization in subjects such as history, Bible and science. It meets once a week for a couple of hours. There is no parent participation, except that you can't just drop your kids off, you have to sit in one of your child's classes.

Then I have another friend who is part of a co-op that is called LIFE. From what I gather it focuses on physical education and other kind of broader topics. If I understand this co-op, each parent has to participate, either childcare or teaching one of the classes on a rotating schedule. I know of a couple of other co-ops similar to this.

There is also a "school" that recently opened that is designed to assist homeschooler. I know even less about this one, except that it meets 2 1/2 days a week.

As we were leaving our lunch date, I ran into another homeschooler who is in the midst of her first year homeschooling. She mentioned how she was kind of nervous in the beginning so picked a certain kind of curriculum that literally walked you through every aspect of homeschooling. What questions to ask your kids and when they answered they even gave you what to say next. I think it was workbook based. The mom mentioned that now that she was more comfortable with homeschooling she is willing to explore other options, maybe something with a little more flexibility.

Then last night I got an email from a friend telling me that she and her husband were seriously considering homeschooling next year. I was thrilled!!

All that got me thinking about the journey I have taken so far as a homeschooling mom. In the beginning I was so nervous. How was I going to teach all of those subjects? Where to begin? Because I love reading I kind of knew I wanted a literature based curriculum. I either heard about or some one recommended Sonlight. I loved it, but it was pretty intense, not very flexible. Then someone turned me on to Charlotte Mason and that just seemed like more of a perfect fit for us, more what I envisioned homeschooling to be. And I have been using Ms. Mason's philosophy ever since.

I will probably tweak it a little more for my kids next year. After having done this for a couple years I feel more comfortable with my strengths and weaknesses. Plus, I have a little bit better understanding of what my kids strengths and weaknesses are.

All of the homeschooling conversation yesterday just made me reflect on where we have been and where we are going. So, all that to say, homeschooling is a journey and I can only take it one year at a time. And enjoy knowing that it can be changed, tweaked, customized to fit our ever changing needs . . .

Friday, January 29, 2010

Calendars, Post It Notes and Notebooks

Just a few of my other addictions. I am so excited when Walmart or any other such store has notebooks for 10 cents. I think I have about 3 left from the last time that happened. I use notebooks for grocery lists, to-do lists, prayer journal, church and Sunday School notes, notes from my daily Bible readings, workbook for whatever "help" book I am reading. I have a fancy one that I use for long term to-do lists and party and event planning.

I couldn't live without Post-It notes! I have a large supply of them and use them for reminder notes and book marks. They can be found in a book, in my diaper bag, on the coffee machine. I take one with me when I go shopping at a store like Walmart or Target. At one point, while taking Experiencing God, I had the weekly Bible verse written on them hanging on my bathroom mirror, to use as a memory tool. (Wished I would have invested in 3M or whoever makes them.)

What would I do without my calendar. Well, at this point I have three of them. I just got another one in the mail yesterday. The first calendar or schedule is our school one. It is done weekly and lists out all the books and things we need to get accomplished for the week. I have one for each girl and as we read books or do math or science we check it off our list. The next calendar I have is monthly and then broken down into weeks with sections for a prayer list, reading list, journaling etc. In between months it has stories and quotes from Charlotte Mason. I was hoping the one I received in the mail yesterday would combine our weekly school schedule and my appointments calendar. But, I just don't think it is going to work. I got it for 1/2 price because we are half way through the school year. I took time yesterday to fill out the month of February and the first week of February. It has a shopping list and a reading list for each child, it has a budgeting spot and a field trip spot. It also asks a weekly catechism question and quotes from well known Christian writers. I like it, but I don't think it is going to work. I am giving it the month of February to see if I can use it.

What I want is a school year calendar. It would have a monthly calendar and then in between each month would be a weekly calendar, maybe broken down into hours with a place for subjects and notes. Then it would have "notebook" paper for each week. A place where I can put notes from school and a to-do list for the week, maybe even add a chore chart. It could also have a place at the beginning of the month for goals for the month, possible field trips or activity or library trips or service projects etc.

I would like one "calendar" that could take the place of my weekly school schedule, my fancy notebook and my monthly calendar. Then I would only have to keep up with four notebooks instead of like seven. Oh yeah, all for like fifteen bucks . . .

Thursday, January 28, 2010


So, Nature Girl, Boop, EG and I went to Wednesday night dinner and service at the church last night. Our original intent was to go as a family but with Little Mama being sick, she needed to stay home with daddy.

The plan was for her to eat dinner with daddy. Toast and grapes for LM and leftovers for daddy. Then if we did not get home before daddy's bedtime, Little Mama would hang with him or she would watch a movie on the couch in the living room. She opted for the movie on the couch in the living room.

When we got home around 8ish, the bedroom door was open and daddy was asleep. Little Mama was on the couch watching a movie. One of the first things she said was "Wow, I looked around and I was the only one here. It was kind of weird." Now, she wasn't alone, daddy was resting/asleep in the other room. But, I suppose she could probably count on one hand the number of times she has ever been "by herself." It was a little strange to her.

She is my communicator. She loves to talk. She is great at narrating and telling a story. Never at a loss for words. She talked non-stop from the time we got home until the time she fell asleep. I couldn't help but wonder who she talked to while she was alone for those few minutes last night . . .

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Today . .

started at 6AM with a shower. By 6:20 EG was up (for the 5th time in the last 7 days - usually she sleeps until 8ish). By 6:45 Little Mama was awake. A little strange. By 8:00AM I knew why she was up so early, she is sick! Ugh, I hate that for her.

I tucked her in our bedroom with the T.V. on. First, to keep her happy. Second, to keep her away from everyone else. Nature Girl's chore today was to go all around the house with disinfectant wipes and wipe EVERYTHING down. Which I am pretty sure is too late but it makes me feel better.

Nature Girl and I proceeded to do school (and actually did very well.) Last night I was "researching" on the Internet Spanish explorers that we have been reading about and found some really great things for her to read and do! An "interview" with Pizarro and a crossword puzzle on Magellan. Anyway, it is amazing what what we were able to get accomplished because it was just the two of us. Boop did his thing at the table with us.

EG, ahhhh, EG. Not really sure what is going on with her. Not sleeping. Not eating (unless, of course, it is off the floor - I think I am just going to put her meals UNDER her highchair). Very fussy lately and gets easily frustrated. I would blame it on teething but she is only missing four smaller teeth. I guess I could blame it on the fact that lately she really doesn't have a schedule. Some days two naps, some days one. Some days in bed at 8, some days in bed at 9. Or, maybe, that's "just how she rolls."

Anyway, I am hoping to get to church tonight. Minus Little Mama and daddy, who will be watching Little Mama. I will watch the basketball tonight. Great rivalry game. Not what I thought the day would look like when I went to bed. But, maybe, that's how we roll . . .

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Girl of Many Words

She just stares at my lips when I talk. You can see her little brain just soaking it all in. She is saying to herself "Hey, I can do that." Sometimes she moves her mouth and occasionally, very softly, she will try to repeat a word that I am saying to her.

The other night, as she was getting ready for bed, she was all cozy in her P.J.s and I said to her "EG you need to find your baby doll and bear." (The two things she HAS to sleep with.) And she took off towards where we keep her toys. She looked and looked in her toy area. She knew, understood, exactly what I was asking her. She understands so much!

I know the other kids were this way. But, it is amazing what you forget.

Last night we kept her up later than the other kids. Daddy wanted to spend some time with her and she was in a pretty good mood. So he and I started talking about her amazing "vocabulary." She says deer, dada, mama, NG (tee-tee), Boop (Coo-Coo), she tried LM but too many letters, CoCo, GaGa, (two grandmas), mine (ine), pray (ay and she folds her hands), please (ease), baby (baba), ear, eye, bye-bye, puppy (papa) and a lady at church Sunday, swears she said "amen" after the preacher was done praying.

A lot of the words you know what she is saying because it is near by or she is pointing at it. We, of course, think she is a genius. Just like we did with the others! I, we, just love this age . . .

Monday, January 25, 2010

Church Family

I am so excited. The church we belong to for over 15 years finally has a senior pastor after searching for almost three years.

It has been a long hard road for our church and many did not think the church as a whole would survive. There were many times over the last couple of years that we have contemplated leaving. But, I am so glad that we didn't. The church body has learned so many things about itself as a whole and as individuals. I have learned so much about God's house and myself!

But, the most amazing thing about our new senior pastor is he has been a member for the last 27 years! He met his wife through our church, he was an associate pastor of our church, his children grew up in the church, he married hubby and I, and dedicated two of our children!

I was moved to tears yesterday when the elders called him to be our senior pastor. The whole church got up and clapped.

For so many years our church family was like a second family. And I cannot wait to see what God has in store for us now. Above all else, I know our new senior pastor will do his best to follow God's will for our church . . .

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Card Making

One thing I enjoy doing is making cards. I haven't made any in awhile except for my Christmas cards this past year. I did make 5 already for next year so I don't get in a jam like I did this year!

Most of the cards I make are for my friends. They order them for teachers' gifts or birthday invitations! I have made a couple of packages of "Thank You" cards for baby shower gifts. I have made Boop's birth announcements and all my Christmas cards since 2005. I am pretty sure I have made all of the girls' birthday party invitations.

I am not creative, at least I don't think so. But, I see a design in the catalogue or something some one else has made and I change it, modify it, add to or subtract from it and I end up with an original.

I am pretty sure I haven't made any money whatsoever on the deal. If you ask hubby I am sure he would agree. I enjoy it and making cards for some one else gives me a reason to do something I enjoy! I would like to have time to do it every week just to keep cards handy if some one wants to buy them or if I need one for a birthday or some other occasion. At the beginning of the year, I toyed with the idea of really pursuing my craft. Do little venue craft shows etc. But, now I am not so sure. That might have to wait another year or so.

But, my sissy called me a couple of days ago and asked me to make some bridal shower invitations and some bachelorette invitations. So, that will keep me busy and my creative juices flowing for now. It will also give me another great reason not to do housework. Just kidding. Sort of . . .

Friday, January 22, 2010


Not the kids. Mine. The kids, oddly enough, have a system right now that works pretty well. Every Sunday I print them off a chore chart for the week. Monday through Saturday it is basically the same things. I have it broken done into different parts of the day: stuff to do before school, stuff to do before lunch, stuff to do before we go anywhere or daddy gets home and stuff to do before bed. When they have completed the task for that day they check it off (LM or NG help Boop). I ask them for it periodically to make sure they are really doing what they say they are doing ;)

Each day they have a chore assigned to them. Anything from Boop taking out the garbage to NG vacuuming to LM cleaning windows. Depends on the day and my mood. We have been doing it since school started in the fall. It needs to be tweaked occasionally but it helps to keep the house in some type of order.

Now for me!! I do Flylady and get her email everyday. I don't do any of it. But, it does draw attention to the things I ought to be doing. A friend of mine has a list of chores for the week and sets a timer for 30 minutes and does her chores for that long. I liked that idea. I am a list person and love checking things off. I thought about it a little longer. As things are going right now, I just didn't see where I could get 30 minutes to set a timer and clean. I will admit I am not very organized and spend a lot of time "putting out fires." And, I can get sidetracked and waste precious time. Where oh where in my day could I set a timer for 30 minutes and just do chores? I needed to tweak that really good plan for my life.

So, I came up with 15 minutes. Surely I can get 15 minutes to do a chore. Start small, get a little organized, work my way up to 30 minutes. I just looked at my computer clock and it is 4:50PM. I literally JUST sat down for the first time today to start my post. I have been running all day. Yes, my chore is done but I still have to make dinner and fold one more load of laundry. I have not checked my email, Facebook or blogs all day! It feels good to accomplish something that NEEDED to be done. But, I don't know if I can keep up this pace every day. I am old and tired. I might need a new plan . . .

Thursday, January 21, 2010


First, we did Meals on Wheels today in a torrential down pour. There were cars in ditches every where and roads closed. Thankfully, daddy at the last minute, decided to go with us.

Second, we are watching Modern Marvels (or Marbles and Marbles as Boop calls it). The show, today, is on snack food. Ooooo, yummy. The last segment they had on was about snack cakes. Twinkies and the like. I asked the kids had they ever had a Twinkie. They had not. In fact, they had never heard of them before!! Have your kids??

I told them our next trip to the grocery store will include a package of Twinkies . .

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Prayer Life

There is a book coming out in August entitled "Confession of a Prayer Slacker." How do I know this you might ask? Well, because the author happens to be a wonderful friend of mine, Diane Moody. Now, I have not read the book but the title describes me PERFECTLY and I cannot wait to be one of the first ones to read it!

All that to say, I am not a prayer warrior. In fact, up until this past Monday I was totally a "prayer slacker." I did not regularly pray at all. Well, that is not entirely true. I have tried to incorporate prayer into my life in some form or fashion but it isn't anything that I have ever been really happy with. I hate to tell a struggling friend "I will pray for you" because I am scared to death I won't.

When my kids were really young and early morning wasn't an option, I opted for the raindrop approach. I pray for a minute or two while in the shower, while going potty, while trying to fall asleep, in the middle of the night when I had a newborn. You get the picture. And for the most part it is me asking God for something for myself, patience, tolerance, a joyful heart. Well, you get the picture.

I have read books on prayer. Power of a Praying Wife, Power of a Praying Mother. I have learned mnemonics to help me pray. I believe in the power of prayer. I have studied "The Model Prayer." Well, you get the picture.

While reading EG her daily scripture verse from my "Power of a Praying Parent" calendar, I came across this: "Prayer is acknowledging and experiencing the presence of God and inviting His presence into our lives and circumstances. It's seeking the presence of God and releasing the power of God, which gives us the means to overcome any problem." (Emphasis added.)

That has stuck with me, BIG TIME. "Most assuredly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you." John 16:23

So, this past Monday I got up 15 minutes early and started a prayer notebook. I try to remember to put down prayer requests from others and from my LifeGroup. I always thank God for all of the blessings He has given me and my family and thank Him for giving me His Son. I always pray for my hubby and my marriage and me. I pray for each child. Then, depending on "who's day it is" (each child has two days a week assigned to them for various chores etc.), I take extra time to pray for that child, getting specific on what he/she/I am struggling with. I put all of this in my journal and as time goes on, I will be able to see how prayers have been answered. Then, I ask God to lead me in prayer for specific individuals or events or projects or whatever He wants to lay on my heart.

I have managed to do it three days in a row. I hope it will continue. I am a little more hopeful this time around because I already have the habit of getting up early. What is 15 more minutes in order to release the power of God on my life and all those who I can pray for . . .

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The New Ride

It is a blue/green/gray color. They call it slate green.

It has a 6 disc CD changer. I can hook my iPod up to the radio. It has electronic doors and tailgate. Heated leather seats. Room for 8. The middle bench seat can change into 2 captains chairs by removing the middle storage/seat. Storage in the floor. The back of it has a well that fits the stroller perfectly. It has 3 temperature controls - driver, passenger, and the kids. The way back seats have lights for reading. By far the best feature is the sunroof!!

It matches my pink and green John Deere tag I got at Christmas ;)

I wonder how many times I am going to come out of the grocery store looking for my old van . . .

"Me Time"

That has been a topic on my homeschooling email loop. As with a lot of things, "me time" depends a lot on my own family. "Me time" is a great concept! But, I don't think it is necessary, for me, in my family, to make me a better mom or prevent divorce or screaming at the kids or any other reason for "needing" "me time."

In fact, during this season in my life, our life, it adds more stress. For this season in our family, daddy prefers me home. He has a stressful job (deputy). So, it is my job to attempt to make our home a type of sanctuary. And, right now, in our life, if I am not home things get pretty chaotic. Well, they are chaotic when I am home but I provide a buffer, I guess. Well, I am not really sure what I do when I am home, but for right now daddy prefers me here ;). And I am more than OK with it.

The flip side is, if there is something I really, really want to do, I go with daddy's blessing and absolutely no guilt. And that happens every once in awhile. And I am totally OK with that. For the most part, I prefer it that way. As a friend of mine said "If you are trying to get out of the house because it is stressful. Then that stress has to be picked up by some one else."

I take my "me time" where ever I can get it and boy do I enjoy it and appreciate it and don't take it for granted. Doctor and dentist appointments are wonderful. I always take my "for pleasure" book. I try most mornings to get up about an hour before the kids and pray, read my bible and any other parenting/child rearing/marriage book I am currently studying. We try to have quiet time every day but that can be hit or miss depending on what is going on. The kids are usually in bed at a reasonable hour, which provides me down time at the end of the day to do whatever. Sometimes "me time" is just taking one, two or three kids as oppose to ALL the kids. Right now "me time" is a spontaneous trip to Lake Ella. Or sending the big kids outside to play with the neighborhood boys. Or when daddy decides to take the big kids to the movies and it just happens to be at EG's nap time. I works for me, for us, during this season.

"Me time" is a great concept if it doesn't become a thing that I feel is owed to me. "Me time" is a great concept if it doesn't cause undue stress on the family as a whole. Our lives are made up of seasons. And I am fairly certain there will be a season, sooner rather than later, that I will have more than my fill of "me time" . . .

Monday, January 18, 2010

Fun, Fun

It is here. About an hour ago the salesman from the Honda dealership delievered our new minivan. I have to admit, it is cool.

We immediately figured out where everyone was going to sit and went for a ride! One kid said "Hey, I can see out the window." I am pretty sure that had to do with the window actually being clean, as oppose to new :)

What a great day to be out cruising . . .

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Saturday, January 16, 2010


We are now in the hunt for a new mode of transportation. Over the Thanksgiving holiday it become somewhat apparent to us that we need a little bit more room in our car. We had to have my BIL take some of our stuff when we traveled. We just didn't have room. Now part of the problem was, I had to pack the car myself and was not able to put stuff on top of the car. We don't travel much, just to Grandma's a few times a year but I would like to be able to go by myself and right now with all the baby stuff we need and 2 boosters seats and 2 carseats etc. we just don't have room in our 10 year old van. Not to mention we can't have a friend come with us anywhere unless they don't need a booster or carseat.

The van is also starting to nickel and dime daddy. Little things are going wrong. Some worth fixing, like brakes ;) And some, like the keys not starting the car sometimes, have to be worked around.

Our first thought was a great big, beautiful Yukon. It has room for a passenger or two more. And honestly I liked the thought of driving one of them. So trendy. So grownup. (Plus, it could tow a bigger camper ;) So we started to check them out. But, after closer inspection, there really wasn't anymore room for stuff. So we started looking at an XL and then a Suburban. The prices for used ones is outrageous and really not all that much more space. Then daddy checked out their ratings in Consumer Reports and they did not rate well at all.

But, he did see that the Honda Odyssey rated really well. So, now we are in the process of looking for a Honda Odyssey minivan. (Although I don't see how they have much extra room.) This afternoon we will start our hunt. I don't know how medium size families do it. If you are a medium size family, please let me know what you do ;) In the meantime, I know daddy well enough to know, unless we find a big time bargain, it could be awhile . . .

Friday, January 15, 2010

Shopping Experience

I decided last night, because daddy was working late, to take the kids to the mall for dinner and some shopping. We had Gymbucks and gift cards to spend! What a great time we had. Except for a couple minor incidents, our trip went very well.

But, the best part was just to see the difference between my two older girls! From the minute I found out I was having a second girl, I just assumed they would look alike. Don't ask me why because truly it makes no sense. But, from the moment Little Mama was born it was very evident that they were nothing alike. They don't look alike, they don't act alike, they have totally different motivations etc., etc., etc. And shopping yesterday just proves the uniqueness of each of my children!

Our first stop was Gymboree to spend our Gymbucks. This was my first time taking advantage of their program. It is a great thing! Because of the Gymbucks I had earned over the holidays, I basically received 50% off my entire purchase! For this store, I gave the kids guidance as to what they needed or what I was willing to spend money on.

EG got two new outfits for the price of one:

Boop doesn't need any more winter clothes right now but he wanted a pair of sunglasses:

Katie needed a dress for a wedding she is invited to and picked this out all on her own:

Little Mama didn't need anything in particular. But she loves skirts. This she can wear to church or when we go out:

The best part was our trip to Justice. They had gift cards from Auntie Karla. It was essentially their money to spend how they wished. I had basically two guidelines: 1. they needed to buy clothes and 2. their outfits had to be modest. The following is what each girl picked out. I am still chuckling over the absolute polar opposites of my two older girls! One spent every last dime. The other didn't want to spend too much. See if you can tell which is which ;)

I am still smiling over our experience last night and how much it told me about my girls. I honestly cannot wait to take them shopping again . . .

Thursday, January 14, 2010

This Semester's Schedule

Monday through Thursday this is what we do:

6:15AM Mommy wake up and shower
6:45AM Coffee and quiet time
7:30AM Girls' quiet time
7:45AM Breakfast and chore charts
8:30AM School
10:15AM Snack and nap for EG
10:30AM School
12:30AM Lunch
1:00AM Free time/Run Errands
4:00PM EG nap/rest time
(5:00-7:30 Mondays and Wednesday gymnastics)
5:30PM EG wakes up
6ish Dinner
7:30ish Bath time
8ish Free read time (or watch sports ;)
8:30ish Everyone in bed
9:30ish Lights out for big girls
10:30ish Mommy's bedtime

Friday is a relaxed school day of math and maybe a field trip. Saturday we get to sleep late and the kids can watch a little TV in the morning or play their video games. Sunday is up early and get ready for church.

Monday we start all over again . . .

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

My Girls

Last night the girls and I watched the basketball game. The boys were in bed! They were so cute. When the score would get close they would hide under the blankets and then yell "Did they score?" One player was up at the line for a couple of freethrows. Nature Girl asked "Is that Kitchen?" She knows the players! Little Mama would chant and cheer. We watch sports together a lot. But I thought last night was especially amusing because it was just girls!

(Maids Costumes)

Then, this morning, around 6:14AM I here pitter patter in the kitchen. A minute later my alarm went off. Little Mama came in and said "Can you stay in your room?" I said sure. I was just getting up to take a shower. To say the least I was very curious. A minute later both girls came in. They explained to me that they wanted to make my coffee and breakfast but every thing was out of their reach and they weren't real sure how to make coffee!! I was floored!!!! I gave them great big hugs and told them how appreciative I was! But, if they wanted to go back to bed, I would wake them at 7:30 and then they could make breakfast and I would help when they needed it. They both broke out in big grins and happily went back to bed.

At 7:30, when I woke them for their quiet time, I found them both in the top bunk. Like two peas in a pod . . .

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Service Project Number Three

There was much talk over the weekend (actually this whole past week) about homelessness in our area. A bunch of the families on my homeschool loop have even found a temporary home for a couple of ladies and helped them with money, possessions, doctor appointments and jobs etc.

There are hundreds of homeless in our area. And this past weekend it was going to be well below freezing at night. Saturday's paper mentioned how churches up north open up to allow the homeless to stay the night. A light bulb went on in my head. We have a huge church facility that could easily house quite a few homeless for a night or two. Sunday morning I mentioned it to a friend just as a passing thought.

Then, the preacher, during his sermon mentioned how the physical building of a church really belongs to those who are seeking, those who are lost. By the time I got home, I had a whole plan arranged in my head for opening up our church to the homeless. I ran my thoughts and ideas through hubby and a good friend of mine (and her husband who happens to be a deacon.)

By yesterday morning I was making a few preliminary phone calls to the Red Cross and the Salvation Army. We have a large facility but a relatively poor church so I knew we would need help with security, food and other resources. By 8:30AM I was ready to call a pastor and give him my proposal.

The pastor I talked with thought I had a good idea and he had even thought of something like it over the weekend. I forwarded him all the info I had gathered and said that we would be available for whatever he needed. He asked if we would be able to sit up at the church last night and I said "sure." Although the kids and I would not be able to stay all night. And then I left the rest in his hands.

We took a few minutes during school to talk about the homeless. And what that exactly means. We discussed, just a little bit, what I was doing and why I felt I needed to do it. We talked about the fact that the homeless are probably just the kind of people that Jesus ministered to. And if we are to grow more like Jesus every day then we should make an effort to minister to them as well.

After I had called the pastor, hubby found an article on the local news website that said a couple of other shelters had been opened the day before and a lot more beds had become available. The front page of the newspaper had a story about homeless shelters opening with the aid of the Red Cross etc. About an hour later I was sent an email by my pastor saying that after speaking with a couple of local aid agencies that it wasn't necessary at the time to open up the church.

I am so relieved the problem had been addressed. And I am thankful that I stepped out in faith. I am thankful for a pastor who was willing to listen. And I am thankful for a church that was willing to step out in faith.

It didn't turn out like I thought it would :) But, it was an important lesson for me to learn to be available to His calling. And, now I know that when the issue comes up again, we as a church body are willing and a little bit more prepared then we were last week . . .

Monday, January 11, 2010


Sundays, after church, sometimes seem a little out of whack around here. It seems like, when we get home from worshipping the Lord with great music and excellent teaching, there should be a peace that stirs the heart, a peace that surrounds the house.

But, it seems to me that Sundays are not always so peaceful around here. The holiness doesn't make it home from church. I know much of the problem lies with me most of the time. I just expect, because it is Sunday and we just spent the last 2 1/2 hours learning about God and worshipping Him, that when we get home everyone will be on their best behavior. Including me. No sinning allowed on Sundays ;)

BUT, that doesn't usually happen. My expectations are always so vastly different from what really happens ;) Every one is hungry and maybe a little tired. We are in church clothes which are not always the most comfortable - pretty dresses, dress pants that can't get dirty etc., etc. etc. The baby has missed a nap. The house is usually cluttered because we left so early. We are a little off our routine.

But, I have also decided, that Satan comes to visit us for about 30 seconds on Sundays (other days too but that is a different blog post ;) I don't believe Satan can be everywhere at once so he doesn't spend a whole lot of time here on Sundays because he has so many other houses to visit, who have made it a priority to go to church. I decided yesterday, that part of the problem (not all of the "problem") is that on Sundays Satan works extra hard to frustrate those who truly want to follow Christ.

I don't like to give Satan too much credit. A lot of the "problems" I have being a Christian come from just my plain old disobedience to God. But, I do think Satan works a little overtime on Sundays . . .

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Memory Lane

Daddy brought home pictures last night from his last two trips to his hunting ground in the Frozen Tundra. There were only about a dozen but boy did they bring back memories for me. He hunts every year at my uncle's place where my brother and I used to visit about 30+ years ago.

As the kids and I were looking at them again this morning, I told them how it was one of my favorite places to go as a child. There were hundreds of acres to explore. Always all kinds of animals, domestic and other wise.

When we first started visiting my uncle's on the weekends, there was no running water and no electricity. And we didn't care! There was NEVER any T.V. and never a phone. All weekend long we would listen to Waylon and Willie (I have some songs on my iPod). We would fall asleep listen to Honky Tonk Heroes and various other blues artists (in part where my love of all kind of music comes from). When we were inside during the day we would play 21 and War.

But most the time my brother and I would play outside. Have picnics on the hillside watching for deer. Play in the hayloft of the big barn while dozens of cows would be feeding down below. We would see lynx footprints in the snow. And watch fish swim down the little creek that the bridge to the house crossed over. In the winter the little creek would freeze over.

And, if we were really lucky, on Saturday night it would snow really hard and it would be impossible for us to leave Sunday to go back home. The drive way was at least a mile long and up hill to get out! Sometimes when we would arrive late on a Friday, the gate would be locked and we would have to walk the length of the "drive way" to the house surrounded by cows.

There was a small mountain which we named Mount Uncle. My dad either embroidered it or cross-stiched it on teh back of a denum shirt.

On Saturday afternoons sometimes we would go into town (of about 500 I think) and go to the bar. My brother and I would play the pinball machine over and over again.

One year my dad took his Rambler down there and used it to "round up" one of the horses. They hit a ditch in one of the pastures, dropped the transmition. I am pretty sure that was the end of the Rambler.

We spent Halloween there one year. My uncle took a flashlight and would go to the windows and shine the light up in his mouth while peering in the window. Oooo, scary!

There were the greatest maps hanging on the kitchen wall. Like the kind you would see in a classroom. I loved those maps and honestly, when the kids and I do geography now, occassionaly I think about them. I think that inspired my love of geography! I will have to check with daddy to see if they are still there.

Their was the blue room, which my brother and I slept in.

There was always a huge fire outside and the adults would hang around it until the wee hours of the morning.

We were never allowed sugar. I learned to love GrapeNuts cereal with honey.

One time we bought some live ducks from a neighbor and killed them, defeathered them and had them for dinner.

There was a wood burning furnace, so in the mornings it was always very chilly.

During hunting seasons, when my brother and I played outside (just around the house) we had to wear orange.

We would find old decaying barns with cow bones all around them.

The last time I was there, Little Mama was 18 mos and Nature Girl was 3 1/2. It was during hunting season and the guys that were there were some of the same guys that were there 30 years ago during hunting season. The kids and I stayed in a hotel for lots of different reasons. Our plan is to go next year. But who knows. That is many months away.

As the kids and I were looking at the few pictures and I was noticing some changes, I told them some of my fondest childhood memories are from that place. I have many more memories from there and maybe some day I will share them. If I can figure out how to scan pictures, I might add them later too . . .

Friday, January 8, 2010

What to Do, What to Do, Part Two

During the week Little Mama and I had talked about the commitment to being on a gymnastics' team. A friend of mine told me gymnastics "is your life" when competing. So, Little Mama and I talked about what all that meant for our life as a family. We talked about how our priorities had to be God and family. And that because of the time commitment to training and traveling and the activities of the other kids, there would not be a whole lot of time left for other interests. Or going as often to Grandma's or Wild Adventures.

But, I also wanted her to know that we supported the opportunity for her to at least check it out. To see how it goes. To see if it was doable. To give the whole thing a trial run. To see if she even liked it.

Well, last night at dinner, LM informed us she did not want to compete. She wanted to be in the class that they originally promoted her to. She just wanted to go to tumbling for fun right now. And be able to go to Grandma's and Wild Adventures. I know Little Mama's heart. She wanted everyone to be happy.

We talked a little bit more about it and I made sure that it was her decision not pursue competing. And she seemed OK with it all. I told her what an honor it was to even be chosen. I also assured her that maybe in a year or two, if she was still interested we could look into it again.

Sure, part of me wanted her to compete. I think more for me than for her. But, I can honestly say that when she made her decision, I was relived. One less thing to worry about . . .

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Family Rules


1. Always be kind. “Let your gentleness be known to all men.” Philippians 4:5

2. Obey immediately. “Children obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right.” Ephesians 6:1

3. Be happy. “A merry heart makes a cheerful countenance.” Proverbs 15:3

4. Never lie. “Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord: but they that deal truly are His delight.” Proverbs 12:22

5. Treat others the way you want to be treated. “This is my commandment, that ye love one another, as I have loved you.” John 15:12

6. Do not whine or complain. “Do all things without murmurings and disputing.” Philippians 2:14

7. Show respect to adults. “Yes, all of you be subject one to another and be clothed with humility.” 1 Peter 5:5

8. Do not tease mommy or daddy. “Honor your father and mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you.” Exodus 20:12

9. Share your toys. “There is one who scatters, yet increases more . . . “ Proverbs 11:24

10. Always to your best. “Do you see a man who excels in his work? He will stand before kings.” Proverbs 22:29

We will be learning and memorizing these throughout the year. Me too . . .

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

School Begins

We started Monday but ended up doing Meals on Wheels both Monday and Tuesday. It was such a great route that we were home by 10:45. In time for EG's nap and some math sheets. Oh boy, the kids were excited (sarcastic button.)

I know how hard it is to transition from vacation to education so I figured we would just take it slow. I have to admit, this time around I wasn't as excited to start back. I really was enjoying just kind of hanging out. Things were getting done around the house and we enjoyed going to the Jr. Museum and to lunch with friends and having play dates and making cookies. . . well you get the idea.

We are starting a new semester which means a bunch of new books to read. So, I thought today I would just list them. Nature Girl is at the point where she can read a lot of her own history, literature and science books. BUT, I can't bare not to read them too. So, I am not sure how that is going to work. Anyway, the following are their books from our curriculum Ambleside on Line.

Nature Girl's Books
For Bible:
How the Bible Came to Us
Polished Corner Stones for Girls

For Manners:
Polite Moments

For History:
An Island Story
This Country of Ours
Trial and Triumph

For Geography:
Marco Polo

For Natural History:
The Handbook of Nature Study
Secrets of the Woods

For Science:
Science Lab in a Supermarket
The Story of Inventions
Exploring Creation With Zoology 1

For Poetry:
William Blake

For Literature:
Parables from Nature
American Tall Tales
Tales from Shakespeare
The Heros
The Princess and the Goblin

Little Mama's Books
For Bible:
Polished Cornerstones for Girls

For History:
Trial and Triumph
An Island Story
Fifty Famous Stories Retold
Viking Tales

For American History:
George Washington

For Geography:
Paddle to the Sea

For Natural History/Science:
Handbook of Nature Study
James Herriot's Treasury for Children
The Burgess Bird Book

For Poetry:
Now We Are Six/When We Were Very Young
For Literature:
The Aesop for Children
Beautiful Stories from Shakespeare
The Blue Fairy Book
Just So Stories
Parables from Nature

The following are just a few of the "free read" books that the websites suggests for nighttime reading: Peter Pan, St. George and the Dragon, Charlotte's Web, Little House in the Big Woods, Men of Iron, The Water Babies, Through the Looking Glass, Swallows and Amazons, The Saturdays and King of the Wind.

Books, books, books!!! I LOVE school . . .

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

What to Do, What to Do?

Yes, I am a proud mama. I think that both Nature Girl and Little Mama have different gifts and strengths. NG is so graceful. Little Mama is very flexible. Both girls opted out of ballet this year and I was OK with that. They didn't enjoy it as much as tumbling and honestly the real reason they had to choose was that every afternoon I didn't want to drive around town bringing them to various after school activities.

That worked for a semester. But, then we went to the Nutcracker and both girls really enjoyed it. It started me thinking about Nature Girl's gracefulness. I thought it needed to be explored. So, I contacted the ballet company about auditions. They recommended a class for girls interested in auditioning. I signed NG up (against her will I might add.) The thought process was, we'll give it a try, a real try. If she doesn't like it, if I don't like it, if she doesn't cut it, then we let it go by the wayside. But, I felt, feel, it is important to at least explore the avenue.

A little while after that (or maybe even before that) Little Mama's tumbling coach approached me about her potential for the competitive gymnastics team. Wow, so very cool!! It seems LM is a little bit of a natural gymnast. Weeks went by and no one from the gym mentioned any more about it. So, I made plans accordingly. Signed both girls up for tumbling (horrible times I might add) and signed NG up for ballet class. It was going to be a busy semester but we would get through it. I figured by the end of this up coming semester we would know if NG had what it takes to be in the Nutcracker.

Yesterday I get a call from the gym. LM has been offered a spot on their Level 2 competitive team. Yea!!! Sooo exciting!! This is the deal: she will train the spring and summer and compete in the fall, she will be at the gym Tuesdays and Thursdays from 3:30-6:30, no breaks like they do for the recreational side of tumbling, in the fall she will compete approximately every other weekend mostly in the area although she said there might be overnight trips and some Sundays. Of course, being a mama, I am thrilled for LM. Nobody deserve recognition more for a great "can do" attitude and willingness to try.

Now, what to do, what to do? As it stand right now we will be at the gym Monday through Thursday and NG will have ballet on Thurs. Absolutely, totally not what I wanted to get into. (We will be able to eat dinner together every night.) But what is a mother to do? I think both girls should have an opportunity to explore their gifts. But, I don't want those things to be a priority over family.

Daddy and I chatted about it last night. He says whatever I want to do is fine with him. He will help when he can but I know that isn't something I can count on because things come up. I will pray about it and in the meantime we will do what we have to do for now. I will cross the bridges of gymnastic competitions and the performance of The Nutcracker when (and if) I have to.

Right now, I think, I want to give the girls' their shot. We will see how it works out. If it gets to be too much we will reassess over the summer (or before if we need to :). But, for now, I am excited about the girls opportunities to grow . . .

Monday, January 4, 2010

It Is What It Is

Yesterday, like most Sundays, I have the distinct pleasure (sarcastic button) of getting four children plus myself ready for church by 9:15. It has taken me a number of years but if I do say so myself we do pretty well, for the most part. I have a plan and we do a little prep work the night before. But the day of, it is always a little chaotic.

We arrived at church yesterday a few minutes late (we are working on that also ;) Anyway, as I was dropping Boop off in his Sunday School classroom, the teacher (a mother of a large family) commented on how nicely he was dressed. Of course I said thank you and just mentioned that his black shoes, which matched his black pants, were two sizes too big in hopes they would fit next year. She nodded and said she had been there. Then I went on to draw attention to the fact that his socks were navy and not black. I explained I just couldn't find the black ones. Her response to me was "Some times you just have to let those things go. My son doesn't even have matching socks on this morning."

It was nice to hear that from someone who has so much experience in raising a Godly family!
I know it is important to look nice. If for no other reason it shows respect for your host or, in this case, respect for God. My children are always clean (well except for the toothpaste I saw on Boop's chin as I dropped him off) and their clothes are clean. Not always matching, but clean ;)

Sometimes it comes down to the choice of going how we are or getting nervous and upset about the way the kids are dressed or whatever. And I honestly don't think I am suppose to flip out over such things. If anything, maybe I just need to be a little more prepared. It is a work in progress. I have never had 4 kids before :)

Anyway, I feel, no matter how they look what is really important is what is in their heart. That is a work in progress too . . .

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Oh, To Be Needed

Yesterday I had a plan. I always have a plan. Yesterday's plan was to do NOTHING! Yesterday I turned 42. Old. So NOTHING (except watch football) is what I wanted to do.

After sitting on the couch for a few minutes watching football, I started to feel a little strange. I am not used to doing NOTHING. A few minutes after that Little Mama needed tape. It wasn't in the tape drawer. Where was the extra tape? As I got up from the couch daddy said "Sit down. I'll get it." Ahhh how sweet :) Then I said "Do you know where it it?" "No" came daddy's reply. "It's OK, I know where it is. I'll get it." I think I needed a reason to get up and DO something ;)

A little later I decided it was time for a shower. As I got in to take a quick shower it dawned on me "It is my birthday. I am going to take a nice, long, hot shower." Not two minutes into my nice, long, hot shower, EG came in followed by Little Mama. EG fell over the stepping stool and started to cry. Little Mama tried to help her.

My first thought was "Geez, I just wanted to take a nice, long, hot shower. On my birthday." Then this grin came over me. I AM NEEDED. ALL THE TIME. THEY NEED ME. At that very moment, for some strange reason that thought was sooo cool to me. I kind of giggled and hurried up with my shower.

Don't get me wrong, they can survive with out me and there are a lot of days when I sometimes think "If I hear, 'Mommy' one more time . . . " But, it dawned on me, I am kind of the glue of this family unit. The cohesiveness. The one constant thing, all day, every day. I am it. 24/7.

This is my job. This is who I am. This is right where God wants me. Right now. It is kind of cool to be needed . . .

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy 2010

I hope that every one has a JOYFUL New Year!

Happy New Year Everyone . . .