Monday, July 27, 2015

EG and Me

We left some of our people at camp yesterday. I know they will have a blast. The two big girls have been before. But, this is Boop's first time for the whole week. Crazy!

It stresses me out to leave them there. But, I know they are in good hands. So many of the kids friends were there. We also know quite a few of the counselors and know the director and his other staff fairly well. Not to mention one of my favorite mom's is cooking all week. So, those bases are covered. I guess the real stressful part is Boop remembering basic hygiene and to put on sunscreen!

Anyway, that leaves me and EG together for the week. That is crazy too! I have never spent so much alone time with her. Last night she got DQ and we watched a movie. Today I played Little People with her and she has helped me clean and we walked the dog. (Many of these things my bigger people usually do.)

Tomorrow we will cook together and run errands and I will take her school shopping. Wednesday she has a playdate with a new friend. That will be weird, too, because I depend on the big kids to be my babysitter during playdates. Hmmmm. I will have to be on my toes. Thursday hubby is home so I think we will surprise her with lunch and a movie. And then Friday is pick up at camp. (Maybe fit swimming at Sissy's in there somewhere.)

EG is really good about playing by herself. Although she does crave interaction and she loves to talk. So far she hasn't said she misses them during the day. The night is the hardest because she is all alone in her bedroom. I miss my big people too but am enjoying my alone time with my baby.

If this week is like any of our other weeks, it will fly by regardless of how many people we have in the house . . . .

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Youth Group

It has been my experience every time I join in on our church's youth group, I take away so much that applies to me.

Sunday night, one of the youth leader's brought out a rope that was close to 80 feet long. It was to represent eternity. He taped about 4 inches of that 80 foot rope with bright red tape. It was a representation of our life, here on earth, in light of eternity. In other words, if we live an average of 80 years and we trust in an eternity promised us by God through His Son Jesus, than that red portion is our entire earthly life. Such a small, small, small portion. Ya with me so far?

And, that as a 16 years old, your life is about 20% complete. In other words 20% over. At 16. Most teens, especially when they get their license feel like life is just beginning. That when high school is over or graduation from college happens, that is when life truly begins. Maybe when you get married or have kids or get a real job, that is when you really start to live a real life.

But, his challenge was, at 16, you are right in the middle of life. That just because your young you don't have to wait to "live life." That teenagers can be making choices now that effect their eternity and the eternity of those around them. He encouraged those youth to be thinking about eternity NOW and to be thinking and doing and acting on how to share the good news of Jesus to as many as they can and challenging them to be thinking about how many they could be taking with them to eternity in Heaven. They are living their real life right now and it has great importance.

I have no idea how many were listening. I saw some paying attention. I saw others on their phones. But, I know I was listening! If at 16, a life is 20% over, I was busy doing the math at how much of my life here on earth was complete/over. It challenged me to stop thinking about the "cares" of today and really focus on words, actions and deeds that have eternal consequences for me and those around me.

I don't fear death. It brings me great comfort to know that I will spend an eternity on a new earth with God, Jesus and all of those who have chosen to put their faith and trust in Christ. But, for the last 40% (fuzzy math at best) or so I have on this earth, I want to make it my goal to make an eternal difference to as many as I can. No matter where I am or what I am doing.

I have no idea what it will look like for me from day to day. And sometimes I just need to do the very next thing that brings honor and glory to God. And that can be as simple as reading a book to my "baby" or joyfully doing a task that hubby has asked me to do or serving breakfast in a poorer part of town loving those kids and sharing the Gospel. Or maybe someday it will include traveling to a foreign country being the hands and feet of Jesus to those who have never heard the goods news before. I just don't know. But, one thing I do know, is I am going to be more intentional with my remaining 40% here on earth . . .

Friday, July 24, 2015

Just Horsin' Around

Most girls, at some point in their lives, love horses. I know I did. Right now, EG has given up dance and I have to find something she can be involved in. For weeks she talked about horses. Thankfully I have a friend who has a horse or two and was willing to let her try it out and see if this is something she really, really likes.

She got to groom the horse and help put on the saddle and bridle. She got a lesson and loved it! And my friend said she was pretty good to boot! So, I am working on a way for her to experiences horses this fall. A few things need to fall in place. But maybe just maybe I have a cowgirl on my hands . . . 

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Changing of the Seasons

This has been an interesting summer for me. For some reason it has really hit home that I do not have a baby in the house any more. (Last night we measured her and she is 4 feet tall!) In the last couple of weeks my baby has worn the dress that NG has on in this picture. And it just threw me for a loop. How can that be? NG just wore that dress a couple of years ago!  Ha, ha! EG is almost at the age NG was when EG was born!

Maybe it is because I have been school planning for a high schooler. Or maybe because part of the summer has been going through old toys and clothes and school books. Maybe it is because my baby can actually fix her own breakfast. Maybe it is because my very first baby will be 18 in less than 4 years. Or maybe because next week, 3 of the 4 will be going to camp together. 

Anyway, I am still crazy busy but it is different. I am actually busy doing some things that I have an interest in. Things I never had time to do before. Things that God has placed on my heart and put before me.

It has made me sit back and kind of ponder "Where do we go from here?" "What should be our focus going forward?" For so many years I was just kind of in survival mode. Just making it through the day. Some days we still are just trying to make it through but I feel there is more "wiggle room." Now, not so many physical demands (except for maybe driving my almost teen and teenage around) but maybe more mental, emotional and spiritual "demands."

For so many years, we all went everywhere. Together. Whether it was the dentist or the grocery store. Now I can actually go get my hair cut. Almost whenever I want to.  Because they are old enough to stay by themselves. I was at the grocery store two weekends ago and the cashier asked me where my helpers were. It was strange.

Part of me is sad. I have been praying over a lot of really great things we could do going forward. Really trying to open my, our hearts, to ways that God would have us to love and serve and sacrifice. And part of me is super excited about that because I know God has a plan for us that I probably can't even imagine. I just look back over the last 15 years and think about how He has brought us from a newly married couple who were told we couldn't have kids, to a family with four and homeschooling. I know for a fact God does amazing things!

I know EG (or all of them for that matter) aren't babies anymore. Hubby sometimes has to take a double take at NG because he sometimes thinks she is me. But, I guess, no matter what, my babies will always be babies to me. For that I am truly thankful . . .  

Wednesday, July 15, 2015


It is amazing to me after 9 years of homeschooling I am still making adjustments. But, some things work and some things don't and I have got to just be flexible.

I think one of the major changes is I will allow more visual learning. At the moment, I have at least one child who really learns better by not just reading something but visualizing it as well. So I guess I will be in search of good historical fiction movies etc.

I have added the iPad to our schooling tools. One of my students takes the iPad when she reads. She can look up any words she doesn't know and actually listen to how they are pronounced. I also will use it when I read with each kid. If there is something I think they might benefit from by seeing an actual picture, we will stop and look it up. Like Abigail Adams' home for instance. Or a particular flower.

The other great thing I added to our day is "looping." We loop chores and extra school subjects. We spend a lot of time reading during the day. We read about science and history on a daily basis but we don't always get to the timelines and the Latin words. So, I have this list of about 8 school related subjects and each day we do one. One day it might be a spelling test. Another day it might be a nature study. Once we have hit all 8 things, I just start at the top and go through the list again. That way I can focus on all the major reading yet still make time for some of the extras.

I do the same for chores. The kids have their morning chores which they do every day. But, in order for us to homeschool and do extra curricular activities I need a little help around the house. The house can get pretty messy considering we are in the house day after day. All day long. Anyway, I made a list of about 6 chores and each day we do one. It may be cleaning bathrooms. The next day might be the 15 minute timer to straighten or go through loose ends or random things that need to be done. Again, once we have gotten through the 6 chores, we just start our list all over again.

The kids have their "work for hire" chores and they can grab a card and do the chore and get paid. The new procedure is if no one picks any of the cards, the chores eventually end up on the looping chore list under the 15 minute timer. I have done paid chores numerous ways and they always end up being way more work for me to keep track of. So this is new for this year.

We have these super cool printable maps I got. The organizer of the maps looked at all the books from a bunch of different curriculum and coordinated the maps that go with each book.  So I print off maps for almost every single book the kids are reading. This way they have a visual of where the story is taking place. And they are learning geography too! There are probably close to 500 maps from ancient Egypt to a current world map. From Jamestowne to Elizabethan England. (The maps are a personal favorite!)

I have said numerous times in the last two weeks we are going to start school. Today we attempted a little bit. Hopefully by the time summer is "officially" over, we will be well on our way to some type of rhythm. At least that is my goal today. I like schooling in July and August when it is super hot so we can take days off when it is cooler. Plus, we take our yearly beach vacation when everyone else goes back to school. And this year we are planning a trip to Wisconsin to see family. So, we need to make up the days somewhere. And summer, when it is brutally hot outside, seems like a good time to me. . .

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

On the Road Again

Because I am a little crazy and figuring I am not getting any younger, I went ahead and signed up for our city's next half marathon. They changed the route. It will be more scenic but much more hilly!

I started training about 3 weeks ago. I am taking it slow. Up to 2 1/4 miles this week. It is amazing to me how quickly my body has forgotten that we have done this before . . .