Monday, October 20, 2014

Looking Back

We’ve been thinking about Mom B. a lot lately. And I’ve been missing blogging a lot lately.  It seems so strange to write after so long. A whole chunk of my life has been left out of this blog. It’s hard to pick up and write when my whole life was picked up, shaken up and set back down. I’m still working on finding my new normal.

I think that’s what’s got me thinking about Mom B. again. She was my sounding board. The listening ear that was always there…unless The Bold and the Beautiful was on – all bets were off at that point. Victor and Nikki were all we talked about during that sacred hour. But I digress.

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I miss her, I miss her laugh. I miss her asking me if she had a blue eyed grandchild yet, with that hint of accusation in her voice that I was the brown eyed one who broke her grandkids eyes. I miss having pictures of her with Bree and Ellie in her arms.

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But more than that, in these days were nothing seems to be done from start to finish, in these days where nights are often sleepless and days are spent teaching, cleaning, running errands, selling popcorn/candles/candy bars, making sure uniforms and leotards are clean, putting ballet shoes in the dance bag, and, and, and…. I miss her perspective. I miss the wisdom that came with having to lay down so many of her wants to a disease that stole the life she envisioned. I miss her laugh until you can’t breathe, give the kids the stemmed glasses to drink their after school juice, use the good china for everyday perspective. I know she didn’t live that way, because I am married to her son. Winking smile But the fact that she wanted me to live that way stands tall. IMG_9705

 

So today, my house is a huge mess… and I tickled my almost teenage son until he was out of breath with laughter and then had a book club style discussion about the latest book Becca had read. My garden is more weeds than plants, and I cheered on my girls as the rode scooters watched Hope show me her special jumps on the neighbors trampoline.. I have piles of laundry to sort as I change from summer to winter clothing and I laid my baby girl on her tummy and watched her roll over for the first time.

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I there are a dozen half finished jobs as I look around our cozy home and so much was accomplished today. Maybe tomorrow I’ll dig out the stemmed glasses.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

And Ellie makes 5.

Wow, do I feel like a slacker. Our newest addition is now two months old. So without further ado, meet our Eliana born the end of May weighing in at 7 lbs, 11 oz and measuring  20” long.

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Everything about the birth/ hospital eexperience was amazing. My doctor was so gracious  in helping me come up with the best plan for Ellie and I. Because Bree’s birth was so difficult we decided on a 39 week induction. She helped pick a nurse based on the problems we had with the nurse I had with Bree. I can’t say enough about how incredible they both were. IMG_9951

Labor was both long and short. It took forever to get started and once it really started it was over in less than an hour. Doug was an incredible partner through the whole thing. Ellie was so alert and responsive right away. She  was sucking her thumb before she was 30 minutes old. Of course, everyone commented on the hair. (They still do!)

My parents had taken the big kids home with them the night before and came back to see us just a few hours after Ellie was born. We ordered pizza and had a party in the room. Bree’s expression in this picture is totally cracking us up. Smile

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Grandpa was holding the Ellie when the kids came in. (I think Bree was a teeny bit jealous.)

Grammy with her newest grandbaby.

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Papaw with Ellie.

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One of my sisters, her fiancé and my niece also came to visit. We kicked everyone out after a couple hours because this mama was tired and still in some pain. (Imagine!)

Over the next several days at the hospital we had tons of visitors. It was such a blessing to have so many share in our joy. Here are some of my favorites.

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Papaw talking to Ellie. I think Ty’s a bit jealous of Papaw. Winking smile

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Watching Daddy change a diaper.

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Daddy’s in love. Smile

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So tiny compared to Daddy’s hand.

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I still can’t get enough of her.

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Sleeping.

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Dressed and ready to go home.

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The teeny tiny bandage for her heel stick. So sweet and sad.

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One more picture before we were headed home.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Things I’ve Heard This Week

 

Cabin fever sets in pretty fast in our little house. This winter seems to be particularly brutal for about the whole country. One of the upsides of a small house, kids with cabin fever and a need to keep an ear on thing if not an eye on them is the little tidbits I overhear. These are some of my favorites from this week.

Hope after wrapping Bree in a blanket, “Mommy you’ve got a big package over here.” “Is it something I’ll love?” I ask. “It’s Breeley!” Hope announces. Breeley crying, “But I wanted to be a little unicorn.”

Breeley came up to me the other evening, “Mama, Hope and me are gonna play. Don’t ruin it all up with bedtime, okay?”

Older child: “Mom, do you ever hear God talk to you during the day?” Me: “Sometimes, if I’m listening.”  Child: “Well, sometimes I hear God talking to me and sometimes it seems like Satan is trying to get me to do the wrong thing.” Me: “What do you do about that?” Child: “I just say’ Jesus, Jesus, Jesus.’”

Hope and Breeley quibbling over a toy, Hope: “Bree I had that first.” Bree: “Ask real quiet for it back like this, ‘quiet whispering sounds.’” Hope whispering: “Bree can I please have it back?” Bree: “I can’t hear you.”

I wouldn’t trade my stay at home life for the world.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

When Things Get Crazy (Homeschool Update)

As I mentioned in the last blog post, there was a whole lot of crazy last year.

A lot.

And that meant there were changes all around to keep some sanity going. Especially in the area of school. I had been using pretty much the same thing for years. The same curriculum, schedule, expectations. After all, consistency is good, right?

At the start of the 2012-2013 school year I made a major change trying to adjust to homeschooling with a toddler on the prowl. It was a good curriculum, Charlotte Mason style (which I love) and I was so excited to dive in. It was all good until I realized my kids hated it. Seven weeks into the school year and my kids were already threatening a coup. Oops! So we went back to our old way of doing things as I researched some options to bring more of the Charlotte Mason style that we loved to our school hours again.

This time, it worked. Can you say blessed peace again. :) I'm still making some tweaks here and there. As I continue to get more experience, I'm learning more about the kids learning styles. Homeschool curriculum has exploded. There are so many choices and that it's almost daunting at times. I'm grateful to have the chance to explore new curricula and find what meets my child's learning style.  Math has proved to be our hardest area to find that. I was a devout user of a mastery style math program that emphasized manipulative. There was so much I liked about it until about 3 grade. We tried to struggle through it, but the two oldest went from liking/excelling in math to really struggling. Ty is now using Teaching Textbooks and Becca is using Saxon.

I am in love with our new history program. The Mystery of History has shown me, a self proclaimed history geek, how little I knew of ancient history. We are loving going through the first book that features traditional ancient history along with showing where Biblical characters fit in. It's honestly a little hard for me not to get too far ahead of the kids in reading the book because I love it so much. We absolutely love the activities and ease of lessons. She gives a huge amount of detail in short segments that are easily remembered. And for my craft loving, kinesthetic learners the activities provide wonderful reinforcement. The short writing exercise everyday helps jog their memory for tests and quizzes while leaving room for originality.

We are using Apologia's 6th Swimming Creatures this semester. It's going to make our spring break trip so much more fun having new found knowledge of the ocean. I can't wait to check out the local estuary for the first time. We have used these books many times as references for other studies we were doing, but this is our first time to jump in and work through the whole book. The kids love the activities and the gorgeous pictures throughout the book. The younger two enjoy listening to the stories and leafing through the pages as well.

For English, we have jumped into Winston Grammar and All About Spelling. We are using the same literature book that I read through. It's so much fun to revisit those stories. Currently we are working through Robinson Crusoe. Since we have had such frigid weather this winter, we love to grab a huge blanket and snuggle on the couch as we take turns reading. We also journal or do copy work daily.

We still attend our weekly co-op. Ty and Becca love the art and gym classes there. They also take science and an elective each semester. Hope goes to a few first grade classes as well as the kindergarten class. Bree attends the preschool class. I'm so blessed to have two very dear friends teaching the younger girls. They come home with so new skill every week. This year I taught music first semester and am teaching first aid this semester to 5/6th grade.

It's always a work in progress. I'm learning every season has it's own challenges and those are learning opportunities too. Even if it just means me showing the kids how to put one foot in front of the other on hard days. Or how to show kindness when everyone has been cooped up too long. Or doing your best with the challenges that are in front of you and never giving up even if the results aren't what you hoped for.

I'm so grateful for the chance to teach my children and try to never take it for granted. So many are fighting for the same privilege. I'm trying to treasure these short years through the long days. I'd love to hear from some other homeschooling moms on what works for you!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

What a Year!

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted. About a year ago, I felt I needed to step away from the blog for awhile. I had no idea what the year held for me then.It’s been one heck of a year of growth. One year of unforeseen changes. One year of questions and delayed answers. One year of friendships I never knew could exist. One year of saying goodbye to dreams of friendships I’d hoped would grow. One year of learning how little I know about being a wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend, teacher and servant. One year of learning how great and powerful my God is. One year of seeing things torn away and standing with empty hands and a heart full of faith that He would rebuild and redeem.  And as it unfolded, I knew exactly why God had asked me to lay this down for awhile. It has been a year that required solitude and prayer. A year that changed my life forever.

I’m looking forward to catching back up with some of my bloggy friends and keeping family in the loop. I’ve tried to keep up with you as best I could. I’m hoping to post a few pictures of the past year, but I don’t think I’m going to even try to promise myself I will “catch up.” There is just too, too much. One very exciting change for our family is this!

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Eliana is due to arrive late May/early June. We are beyond excited God has blessed us with another little girl. Ty and Bree are thrilled to have girl. Bree, because at her age girls are in and boys are well, boys. Ty is excited to keep his own room. Although, he has admitted to a tiny bit of disappointment. Becca and Hope were rooting for a boy, but quickly decided a girl is fine too. We all are looking forward to being able to snuggle her!

Hopefully I can keep up a little more regularly since this is the baby book I keep for my kiddos. And Ellie is going to need one!  

Monday, March 4, 2013

Fingerprints, Footprints

Doug and I are so blessed.

*Blessed to have found each other.

*Blessed to be parents.

*Blessed to have four healthy kids.

*Blessed to be a part of a loving family.

*Blessed to be part of a loving church.

*Blessed to have great friends.

*Blessed to have a home, a job, live in a free country.

This list could go on and on. I look around and am so, so grateful for the many gifts we have.

Of course we have our challenges too! And right now, we are in the midst of a very challenging season in our lives. As I sat and mourned some losses today, some hurts and worked on forgiveness, I was reminded of a lesson God taught me a few years back.

A close friend of ours lost his mother. It was so hard to see the loss and know that he was grieving. As I sat to write out a sympathy card, I was at loss for words. I had no idea what to say to this couple who were so wise and loving that would be of any comfort…especially since I didn’t know his mother. I remember sitting at the table, pen in hand, praying for words. I clearly remember the words that came into my mind, “You may not have known his mother, but you know him. You know what his life looks like. Although you never met her, you can see her fingerprints in his life.”

As a young mother, those words from the Lord struck deep in my heart. Parenting is hard work and it has life long ramifications for our children. How I love, how I forgive, how I encourage peace, how joyful I am, all reflects in the life of my children. The fingerprints I leave will show in their life.

Never forgetting free will, I am reminded over and over of the chance I get to help set my kids on the right path. The choices Doug and I make will leave marks on them for a lifetime.  Sometimes it’s daunting. Sometimes it’s encouraging.

Our kids are growing up so quickly. I see how much my influence is diminishing with our oldest children. Friends opinions rival ours. They (rightfully) seek out council from people at church, in our homeschool co-op, at their activities. I’m so grateful for each of these friends who helps to shape and mold our children. Their fingerprints will leave marks on my children too. Their hearts will help shape my children’s hearts.

So as I’m watching my kids mature, change, become the people God has created, I’m feeling blessed. I’m watching them make their own place in the world. And I’m remembering a song that Rich Mullins used to sing. My prayer is that as my children walk through this world, they will leave footprints of grace. And go on to leave their fingerprints on the next generation.

http://http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1QqrOfO3E0