Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Traveling With the Fam

While visiting my mom this past week, on a rainy day, we went to a local mall. This particular mall had an inside ice skating rink. My first reaction was "hey, we need to do this." Of course cooler heads prevailed. As much as I wanted the kids to have that experience, I came to realization, yet again, how much a family of six (maybe five depending on their fee scale) would have to pay for such a treat. To be honest, I didn't even look.

The day before, we wanted to visit the aquarium where the dolphin Winter lives, from the movie Dolphin Tales. When we looked up online to see how much it would cost, we were astounded. It would have been close to a hundred dollars! And, honestly, there didn't seem to be all that much to do except look at the dolphin. I didn't take a whole lot of time checking it out because I knew it wasn't going to happen.

Then about a month ago (maybe longer), I wanted to take the kids to see the Titanic Exhibit at a local museum. Again, I was flabbergasted at the cost for me and the kids. I have come to the conclusion, that a lot of these places price the average families right out of the possibility of enjoying them. Which is a shame.

At the mall, we settled for Starbucks for everyone. And sat watching all the others skate. It wasn't the perfect plan. But, it was something we could do together. And that usually is my goal . . .

Friday, November 25, 2011

Notable Notes on Thanksgiving

Thankful to see my hubby home safe and sound. Hugged him and did't want to let him go!

Mom, hubby and Sissy had Thanksgiving duty. I had kid duty.

Enjoyed a wonderful Thanksgiving with mom and sister and fam. First time we have all been together for Thanksgiving in a number of years.

The kids swam on Thanksgiving Day! Have to love the holidays in the South.

Did our first Black Friday Shopping. Ever. Well, hubby did anyway. Saw an ad in the local paper on Wednesday for Yankee Candles for $4.99. Hubby was up at 7:15AM to go get us all some. Store didn't open until 8. He came back with coffee though. Went again at 7:45 and could only buy 3. Picked up Sissy and LM and went and bought 4 more. Success!

On the way home from Grandma's Boop played with the turkey fryer oil funnels for almost the entire 5 hour trip! I love boys!

Found out that lollipops and the iPod are a great way to keep EG quiet on the long car ride. It was hilarious to hear EG "singing" in her carseat. I turned down the Christmas music just to hear her.

On the way to my mom's we all wished every toll booth person a Happy Thanksgiving. On the way back all 7 of us told all the toll booth people to Have a Merry Christmas. Many were perplexed. Some just stared and one or two laughed. Just trying to share the love. ;)

All and all a pretty good holiday week . . .

Monday, November 21, 2011

Thankful For

God's presence in my life.

I wake up almost every morning at 5:30AM. It is my quiet time. Time to pray, journal and read my Bible. Most of the time it is me talking to God. In all honesty, not much of my quiet time is listening.

The listening part has seemingly been coming around 6:30AM while showering. God takes that time to use the warm, cascading water to open up the pores of my soul to listen to and accept what He needs to say to me. It is never very intentional on my part. It is usually just a quiet time when the things that are troubling me tend to reverberate in my brain. And in my heart.

Yesterday morning when I was showering, and stewing about what the kids had to wear to church, God assured me that it doesn't matter what is on the outside. That He only truly cares about what is on the inside. I had to breathe a sigh of relief because my oldest girl doesn't have much in the way of "church" clothes in her closet at the moment. (I believe it is important to be respectfully dressed when going to church but that isn't what this post is about and I will save my thoughts on that for another post. Maybe.)

In the beginning of the week, as I continued to struggle with a pride issue with one of my children, God put the book of Proverbs on my heart. In between my shampoo and conditioner. So, that morning, I made a decision to stop our normal Bible/History/Geography time and focus primarily on Proverbs for the next 31 days. Talking about and discussing God's wisdom and knowledge and the necessity of seeking good Godly wisdom. And the blessing that come with gaining wisdom.

When I allow God to speak to me, His answers are so much better than anything I can ever come up with. I am asking God to continue to shower me with His wisdom . . .

Friday, November 18, 2011

Ryan Sprague

I had the opportunity to listen to Ryan Sprague talk last night. Ryan Sprague is a former FSU football player, homeschooling dad to four little boys, one with Cerebral Palsy. He came to talk to one of our homeshool groups about relationships.

This has been an interesting topic for me. Courtship vs. dating. In fact a friend of mine and I just sat down about a week and half ago to talk with a mom who is successfully navigating this interesting stage in life.

Mr. Sprague did not discuss those particular topics but just the foundation of human relationships in general. Based on Scripture. And, even though, much of the time he was talking to youth and parents of teenagers, what he had to say was sooooo applicable to everyone in the room.

First thing he did was quote Ephesians 6:1-4. The first three verses command children to respectfully obey their parents and if children choose to willfully obey their parents, God promises a blessing for them. He told the youth that no matter what their parents decided for them about dating/courting that they are to humbly obey them. And God promises to bless them.

The last part of the verse tells parents not to exasperate their children. That when parents set goals and boundaries and questions come up from children, take the time to teach and train their children as to why they set the boundaries they did. Mr. Sprague is all about "because I said so" but he also feels there are plenty of times in life when conversations about goals and boundaries and family rules need to be explained and taught to children. So the child as a basis for why the rule or boundary has been set.

Mr. Sprague believes in family, family, family. It is the parents responsibility, with the guidance and direction from God to lead the family, teach the family, protect and guide the children. And he is very, very passionate and educated about it.

His main purpose last night was to give the foundation of a biblical marriage and how that translates into a teenager's desire to date. Dating/courtship is not mentioned in the bible. It is a relatively new concept in the last 100 years or so. So, when discussing courtship or dating we need to go to the relationship that God does discuss and that is marriage.

This is what Mr. Sprague believes Scripture teaches "Marriage is a human relationship that is a picture of God's divine relationship with His church." Based on that foundation, divorce is not an option. Because if our marriage is a reflection of God's relationship with the church and God does not leave us, in fact He sent His Son to die for us to maintain that relationship, then we, as a human reflection of that relationship should not divorce. Ever. He said we could debate the exceptions in the Bible and he has read both sides of the issue but that wasn't why he was there. He wanted to give a Biblical foundation for all relationships.

So, based on the fact that the marriage relationship is based on the above picture of God and church, courting and dating should be discussed in that context. Teenagers should not be asking at what age can I date but what do I need to do to be mature enough to enter into that type of permanent relationship. What do I need to learn to be the head of a family? What do I need to learn to be a submissive wife?

He reiterated over and over again, that marriage isn't a warm, fuzzy, what have you done for me lately feeling. And that is why so many marriages end. "It isn't what I expected." "I don't love him/her anymore." "It is too hard."

Some how the marriage relationship has become all about the individuals. It is a selfish relationship based on what one spouse can do for the other spouse to make them happy, fulfill a need, provide a home, children etc. He said every marriage relationship begins in adultery because we love ourselves much more than we love our spouse. Society has turned it into that. Divorce happens because "we love ourselves more than we are willing to love our spouse." That was huge to me. I can see that in my own marriage.

No teenager should date/court until they are ready to sacrifice for someone else. Because that is what an exclusive relationship is. Marriage is sticking through the inevitable tough times. Cancer, death, financial problems.

I think that I need to show my children the God designed plan for marriage. In word and deed. And I think some of those ideas and seeds need to be planted now, while they are still young. I come from a divorced family. My husband comes from a divorced family. And the odds would say that hubby and I don't have a great chance of success.

Even though we did not have this type of idea going into marriage and yes, I am sure I married my hubby for some selfish reasons, we both knew that divorce was just not an option. I now understand better why.

Mr. Sprague was wonderful. And he talked about a bunch of stuff that is so contrary to popular culture. But he was strong and passionate about what he believes. And he talk was based on Biblical Truth. I hope to hear him again sometime in the future. Maybe with my preteen girls in tow . . .

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Alone Again

I am so thankful that my hubby doesn't travel very much. I am not that good at being a single mom!

Monday hubby left for his annual hunting trip. And the past two days have flown by. Just with activity and life in general. I would say the hardest part for all of us, though, is nighttime. EG keeps asking for him. Boop has said on more than one occasion he misses his daddy.

When he is away, the kids take turns sleeping with me. Last night was NG's night. EG was very disappointed when she came in my room this morning, saw someone sleeping on hubby's side of the bed and came to the realization it was NG, not daddy. LM said she started to cry (I was in the shower.)

Boop sleeps with a sweatshirt of daddy's. They hear the garage door open around dinner time and look expectantly at the door and some say "daddy?". I admit, some of the sounds I associate with hubby make me think it is him.

Life just doesn't seem right without him here . . .

Monday, November 14, 2011

Happy, Happy Birthday EG!!

She is officially 3! Where has the time gone! It seems like just yesterday hubby and I were in the delivery room with a baby ready to be born and no midwife or nurse! Thankfully a nurse showed up before hubby had to put on rubber gloves! And the midwife showed up right after that!

A remarkable story we will never forget. A remarkable daughter that I know touches all of our hearts in a very special way!

Many more details to come about her fabulous Pretty in Pink and Sweets for the Sweet birthday party put on by my sister's new company m&m event design. Every little girl, at some point in their little life, should have such a wonderful celebration of birth . . .

Friday, November 11, 2011

Some Mondays, Thursdays or Fridays

Some days when hubby is home, I try like the dickens to have some type of school day. It can be difficult though. He is usually running in and out. Working on some, way more fun project than math.

Last Friday I just threw up my hands. Our morning consisted of this:

What's a homeschooling mom to do . . .

Monday, November 7, 2011

Random Thoughts

With regard to my baby turning three in a week:

The fertility doctor that told me I couldn't have kids unless I harvested my then 13 year old sister's eggs had no idea what he was talking about. Glad God had a much different plan for me and the whole family.

Sleep is overrated.

The threes are WAY harder then the twos.

Life would be oh so boring without her.

She definitely has the I'm the baby of a passel of kids syndrome.

She is way too smart for her own good. And for my own good.

The neighbor man says "I have never seen such a little girl so tough."

Everything about her from her delivery to her personality is unique to our family.

Shoes are still optional.

I am sure I will be contemplating more about her in the next few days. Those were just a few of my random thoughts today . . .

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Friday, November 4, 2011


The kids and I listen to a local contemporary Christian radio station. It has positive, encouraging songs. And no commercials.

Because they are totally listener supported, about twice a year they have a pledge drive. When we first started listening to the station, I didn't like the pledge drive. To be honest, it kind of annoyed me.

But, as time went on and I listened to one or two more pledge drives, I started to kind of understand why people would send money in or want to support the radio station on a regular basis. I can't tell you how many times, when we have been in the car, that K-Love has "saved" the day. There are some songs I really like and speak directly to my heart (I love music.) There are times when the kids aren't getting along and one of their favorite songs comes on and they all stop and sing along.

The other day, hubby had EG in the car going somewhere. When he got home he said that she knew almost all the words to every song that was played. To me, it is special to hear my kids sing about Biblical truths. And, a lot of the songs are quite catchy. Very up beat and modern for lack of a better word.

Anyway, last month during Meals on Wheels, we had K-Love on. And it happened to be during their pledge drive. Earlier during the pledge drive week, the kids had mentioned supporting K-Love. They wanted to donate. Well, they wanted me to donate.

After tossing the idea around and talking to hubby about it, we came up with this idea. Considering the kids don't make "serious" money, I wanted to figure out a way that they could support K-Love monthly and it be a little bit of a sacrifice to them and not be an extra expense to us.

Once every two weeks, on Wednesday we get fast food between EG's tumbling class and church. They love Taco Bell or Chick-fil-A. It is a treat. So, I asked was it worth it to them to give up a trip to a fast food joint once a month to support K-Love. I figure it costs about $20 to feed the whole family and that is what they wanted to donate monthly.

Little Mama and Boop were pretty sure right away. Although they asked if they would ever get to eat out again. I said of course, that we were just giving up one of our "scheduled" fast food dinners. Nature Girl took a little more time deciding what she wanted to do. But, eventually by the time we got home from MOWs she had made up her mind to forgo a fast food meal and donate as well.

They were after me for the rest of the day to call. I know hubby and I could have contributedwithout making them choose. And honestly I wanted to support K-Love as well. But, I was hoping to teach them that sometimes helping others or supporting others is a sacrifice and a choice.

I am thankful that we are in a position to do it. Because I know that the songs that K-Love plays have been a blessing to me, many times over . . .

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Halloween 2011

Monday night we had our annual Fall Festival. Hubby made his wonderful chili and we invited a bunch of friends, with a bunch of kids!




The kids. (EG wouldn't stay still long enough for me to get her picture alone. She was a dinosaur and she was ready to go, go, go.)

The whole trick or treating gang . . .

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

On Wisconsin

Last week was our homeschool geography fair. I love that our little group of homeschoolers does fun things like that. I let the kids decide if they want to participate and how much or how little they want to do.

This year, because all three were participating, I picked the state for them, to do as a family. I picked Wisconsin for a couple of reasons. First, we are planning a trip there in January. And second, because I am originally from there. I thought I could help a little more and learn a thing or two.

Honestly, I was so amazed at what I learned about Wisconsin. Here are just a few things: cranberries are grown there, Green Bay is the toilet paper capital of the world, Green Bay is the oldest city, the Republican party was started there and a bunch of really interesting people were born there. Our research could have gone on forever. It was hard to narrow down our focus.

We decided on Wisconsin: Not just America's Dairyland. We focused out all the different kinds of things that Wisconsin grows and produces and manufactures. We decided to serve cheese (a given), cranberries (an unexpected) and brats (a treat). Every last bite was eaten.

We included a little bit about the Packers and the weather. Little Mama had put together 8 pieces of paper and colored snowflakes on it. It represented the 100 inches of snowfall that Northern Wisconsin receives almost every year. A lot of people commented on that.

I learned a lot of history (which I am sure I was taught at some point before.) And, I hope the kids learned a thing or two also . . .