Horses and Chickens, Sidewalks and matter where you call home, a Mom's Heart Beats the Same

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

My Very Favorite Baby Gear

My “new” mommy years have spanned a decade now. My oldest is 10, my youngest is 6 weeks old and I have a few kiddos inbetween.

I thought it would be fun to share my favorite baby gear for those of you like me who get a thrill out of this kind of thing.

I have the Keekaroo Peanut Changer diaper changing in the “Chocolate” color. Which I’m thinking will come in handy when we start table foods. Or, hmmm, maybe not. Ewww if it gets missed during a clean up. Anyway, I picked the color because the rest were TOO bright and it looks cute in my baby’s pink room.

This changing pad is fabulous! I can move it from room to room, which I actually did this morning when I got up to use the bathroom and heard a loud something coming from my daughter’s bassinet in my bedroom. It is soft, easy to clean, and somewhat attractive. The best part is if you get a little messy...go ahead and clean it up with wipes and it’s done! No stripping of the changing pad cover, throwing it in the wash and leaving the pad coverless for a week or two (before you remember to put it back on and get the changing pad all grossy gross in the mean time).

I got a Moby Wrap when my third child was four days old. I’m not quite sure how I was able to parent my first two without this lovely wrap! (I had a carrier, but it was nothing by comparison). My children live in this for the first several months of their lives. It is WONDERFUL...just ask my little one who is snoring in it right now!

The Blooming Baby Bath is a new one after this baby. She did not enjoy our first go at it. But every bath she’s had since has been such a pleasure that I think my 5th child will get bathed more than the rest of them combined. It is so soft and SO CUTE (the yellow one is at least) and it’s GREAT for pictures. She smiles and enjoys her baths so much and it’s easy on the back. I bathed all the others in a baby bath on the floor of the bathroom. So uncomfortable and stressful for everyone. I just keep all her bathing supplies in the kitchen and do this in the midst of the hustle and bustle of our day. Lovely!

I purchased this Baby Trend Snap n Go stroller on craigslist and I can’t tell you what it means to me. It is so light and so easy to maneuver and getting the car seat in and out is a cinch. I love babywearing...but in a cold climate it isn’t always so convenient to get your newborn in a carrier to go in a store. And sometimes you need somewhere to put the baby. And carrying those car seats around is HORRIBLE on my back and neck. So, I officially love this product. ***I use a Chicco Keyfit 30 infant seat which is a new venture out of Graco world for me with this baby as well. I really like the ease of the seat...installing it in the car and getting baby in and out of the straps. It’s a winner.

The My Brest Friend pillow is the bomb. I started out using the “boppy” pillow with my first four. I always used it approximately twice and then handed it off to whomever happened to be the toddler to use to hold the new baby. They sag down and the baby and everything else sags with it. My back and neck were always killing me with the constant nursing the first four times around. I have no complaints this time around. Baby stays positioned where I want her to stay and it’s the pillow is comfortable. I can walk around with her on it and in the early, early days, I would walk around with her asleep in my arms and use it to help me hold her so I wouldn’t get too tired. This is an essential.

We got this Arm’s Reach co-sleeper bassinet on loan from a friend. At 6 weeks my baby is just now letting me put her in it for one of her night stretches of sleep. Even before she would sleep in it, it was nice to have by the side of the bed, to know she was safe and wouldn’t fall off the edge. It is wonderful to be able to scoop her in and out of the bassinet without having to get up out of bed.

I started using Gumdrop paci’s with baby #4. I love how they are one piece like the hospital no fear of the sucking part separating from the other part. It is perfectly shaped for a breast fed baby as well. AND the casing of it kind of cups around their little faces. Plus, they are kind of cute for a paci, and the little attachments for them are adorable (we have the ice cream one and the candy bracelet one). My kid’s choir teacher gave us this super cute little clear bin that has some colorful painting on it with our baby’s name personalized on the side. We store her paci’s in there and it is the cutest thing. Too bad she doesn’t really care for them and it looks like she is trying to get her thumb in her mouth.

I have the Iglesina Fast Table Chair waiting up in my daughter’s closet. We got it in red. The purple one is definitely cute but didn’t think I’d like it in my living space. Not that bright red is what I’m going for, but it may be a bit better. I look forward to using this. It seems comfy and easily on and off. We eat outside a lot and moving a high chair in and out was annoying with the other kids. This looks like it would wash up easier and I love the fact that you can fold it up into it’s own bag when we’re on the go...which with 5 kids we will be more so than with any of the others.

OK, that is all for now. Just thought I’d share what I’ve been loving.

****Edited to add on...
 I can't believe I forgot about THIS product. It is an absolute MUST HAVE and is truly miraculous. With my first baby I used traditional swaddling method with a big blanket. With baby #2 I got the Target kinds with velcro. Nice but the velcro was noisey and when he pulled out of it it would wake him up. I got this blanket with kiddo #3 and have used it now with 3 babies. It is A.MAZING. When they are little they CAN NOT escape their swaddle and it keeps them asleep longer. I have really sleepy babies and this might partially be why. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the Miracle Blanket.

Also, I just ordered these little booties from Amazon last week. The girl brand are really hideous looking next to my daughter's adorable outfits, but they STAY ON HER FEET! They don't come off during feedings or in the car or playing on the ground. This is true of robeez too, and I like Robeez when they are older. But having something soft for a newborn is nice. Plus they grow so fast and shoes don't last long at this age and these are CHEAP! Love them!!!

Friday, November 15, 2013

When God Says "No" ~City Mom

I’m currently pregnant with my 5th full term baby. When I saw the heart beat at the doctor’s office and knew this pregnancy would be viable, I began to pray, along with my husband & children, some specific prayers.

That I would not get polyhydramnios (translation: “many waters” or too much amniotic fluid, that happened with my last 3 pregnancies and I desperately wanted to avoid the misery and worry that accompany this condition).

That I would not get gestational diabetes. I have always had this fear of diabetes. So much so that I was CONVINCED I had it in every pregnancy and I get tested for it from my family doc as often as my insurance will allow.

That I would have energy and feel good during this pregnancy, as I’m usually miserable for the duration.

I’ve felt pretty decent this whole pregnancy, but to make a long story, slightly shorter, let’s just say: I have gestational diabetes AND polyhydramnios. OK then. We decided, we’ll adjust our prayers. That my GD would go easy on me and that my poly would stay under control. My poly has grown and I’ve needed medication to help with the GD. As the prayers adjusted, they were added to as well. Our baby is flip flopping around in an unstable position and it is best to get head down by 36 to 37 weeks or else they want to try an “external cephalic version.” We began praying for and doing anything we could “naturally” to work on her position asking God we could avoid the version. By 37 weeks baby was still in a wonky position. So, we prayed, “alright God, if we have to do the version, please let it work. Please help her get her head down and help us to avoid surgery.” We’ve been praying for a head down baby and the avoidance of a cesarean section for weeks now. I went in for the version yesterday and it was unsuccessful. My doctor recommended thinking about planning a birth date via c-section, and also offered another shot at the version, with very little hopes that it would work next time.

About a week ago, I began to whine inside. It’s not fair! I’ve been asking and asking and asking! My kids have been asking God. What is this going to tell them about You? Don’t You hear us? Why do You keep saying no? Don’t You care? Why should we keep asking? I’m almost afraid to ask, because I think you will do the opposite of what I’m hoping! I admit it...I fell into defeat. I didn’t want to, but we had been so faithful! We even fasted for a short time from media and some of us from food to show God we meant business! We went into this thing with COMPLETE trust that not only COULD God do these simple little things we were asking, but He WOULD do them. And it feels as if all we hear is “no, no, no, no, no, no, no.”

As I began pouring out these rebellious thoughts of mine, knowing that God knew the interior of my heart anyway, I may as well be honest. He then began laying different things on my heart. First of all, I kept hearing (not audibly, in my heart) “Call on me. I will help you. I’m listening.” Then He laid the Steven Curtis Chapman song on my heart “Still Listening.” I began journaling the words and tearfully listened to the song, but I wouldn’t budge to say just “help.” Then He filled my mind with the following thoughts:

When your cousin was begging me for health and life on behalf of her child, was I there?
When baby’s die useless deaths in poor countries every day, am I there?
When your friends have lost babies they've carried for 20-40+ weeks, was I there?
When you’ve lost friends in car accidents or disease over the years, have I been with you?
In natural disasters, in moral failures, in cancer, in useless killings, am I there?

And then...even more chilling:

When you almost lost your own life in Latvia, and thousands prayed on your behalf, I said “yes” and though you suffered, you lived.
When you made mistakes in relationships and you wanted to get married but felt you weren’t worthy of a godly husband, you asked, I said “yes” and gave you a husband that loves you far beyond what you could have asked me to provide.
You were told when first married you’d likely never bear children. You asked me for a child, and you’ve been pregnant 7 times. I said “yes” and your home is now filled with joy filled laughter and noise and little people I’ve entrusted to you for this time.
You have been fearful about each of your previous births ending in c-section and every time you’ve had the vaginal birth you wanted, which has allowed you to have more babies. I said, “yes.”
You wanted (not needed) a bigger home for your family in a quieter neighborhood. You asked, I said “yes” and even gave you extra land on top of it.
You asked me for a chance to take your kids to Disney World and the finances to provide it, I said “yes” TWICE...and the 2nd time you didn’t even ask.
When two of your children had atypical cells on their head and you asked for their safety and removal, I said “yes.”
And on and on and on it went. All the yes’s...from safe surgeries, to bringing my family safely home from camping trips...He has said “yes” far more than “no” in my life.
You do NOT understand my ways. But in the times I’ve said “no” to you and to others, my grace has been sufficient and my purpose larger than your own. When I’ve said “yes” I’ve given you gifts you did not deserve, but I showed you my kindness and generosity, blessing you, not because of YOU but because of me.

The days that followed have led to a jumble of prayers...adjusted prayers. Still begging God for things to go my way, because He keeps showing me in His word that He wants me to make my requests known to Him. But today, He opened my eyes to the gifts He’s been giving me in the “no’s.”

The Gift of Gestational Diabetes: God is teaching me self-control, turning my heart from simple things like worldly pleasures, and increasing my capacity to love someone else more than I love myself (as He is helping me manage this for our baby’s sake and future).

The Gift of Polyhydramnios: As people make rude comments about my size or badger me telling me I should have had the baby two months ago, I’m reminded that the tongue holds life & death. How do I want to use mine? To bless others or curse? I get to see my baby twice a week on ultrasound and see how perfectly she is getting along. My faith is increasing as I’m forced to trust God with an outcome that is out of my control.

The Gift of a Baby with an Unstable Lie: I’m gaining compassion for those who plead and ask for healing or progress and feel like You are silent or saying “no” yet, realizing you are still our Father & Friend.

The Gift of the ECV Not Working: Again, I’m forced to grow in thinking of others going through far worse circumstances who do not get their ideal way.

The Gift of Having to Consider a C-Section: I’m growing in empathy for women who have never had the birth plan they desire. I’m learning to give up control.

So much of what we are facing right now is frustrating. But as my kids watch me, I hope they are seeing that their mom can be intimately honest with the Lord and that He is bringing me to a place of humility, learning I can not demand of Him my agenda.

Now, once again, my prayers are shifting. Sure, I’m still sharing my desires with Jesus. But for the first time, today, I was able to simply ask for His wisdom in any choices I have to make and for His ultimate will to be done. Right after submitting to this, I was worried that an impure motivate seeped in: If I submit, maybe this will manipulate the Lord and THEN He’ll do what I want. Ugh. But He helped me confess and showed me in His word He understood and then led me to this prayer after reading Philippians 2 this morning:

“Heavenly Father, I confess my hidden motives of selfish ambition and vain conceit. I admit that my heart still seeks its own. Forgive me, Lord! Replace my selfishness with the selflessness of Christ, Who laid down His life for me. Replace my ambitions with the attitude of Christ, Who purposefully took on the very nature of a servant. Teach me to love and to live as Jesus did. As Christ was made in human likeness, so also may I be transformed into the likeness of Christ.

I exalt the glorious name of Jesus Christ the Lord. He alone has defeated the enemy. He alone has paid the full price for my sins. Now He has been exalted to the highest place, and His is the name that is above every name. One day every knee will bow before Him in worship and every tongue will confess that He is Lord, to Your glory, Father. Even now I bow at Your feet, confess His name and plead with You to transform me into His image.”

Amen, Amen, Amen.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Quiet Time~WITH the Kids~City Mom

This blog has been silent for an entire year. I'm good with that. I've had a lot of "real life" ministry and part of it has been encouraging families, part of it has been music, and most of it has been just plodding along with my own gang.

I am still blogging, but it is a private blog I've set up for my children. Memories, funny things they say, and things we're learning as we are walking more and more by faith and grace.

I thought this was shareable with others though...and maybe, just MAYBE someone else might be blessed by the idea.

Life with Homeschool has been HARD lately. We are all learning how to function as a FAMILY instead of selfish individuals (and I'm the leader of that pack). We are learning to speak the truth in love (instead of anger). We are grappling with new facts, harder lessons, and MORE PEOPLE that need "schoolish" attention. All that plus the 3rd trimester of a pregnancy and let's just say, some days have been wearying. I've felt desperate at times, at a loss, and not knowing how to pull it all together~especially tending to all of our heart conditions. Of course, God in His kindness, has shown me again, to lean not on my own understanding. Why do I need that lesson over and over? I've always been OK with "mommy seasons" where maybe the most Bible reading I'll get is glancing over my kids handwriting sheets and my prayers are on the fly or during our "family times." That hasn't been cutting it lately. But how do you do it all? Get enough sleep: ha! Exercise. Eat healthy. Meal plan. Organize. School kids. Taxi kids. Get everyone to appointments. Keep a clean house. Keep husband priority. Shower. Brush teeth. Get in the Bible and pray regularly?

Well, this may be just for a season...but, I'll take it. Even if Baby Cinco changes it all up in a couple months!

I have a quiet time with the kids! After breakfast, I give everyone 15 minutes to tidy rooms and beds, get dressed, brush teeth, etc. Meanwhile, I clean up the kitchen and set the tea kettle to boil. I then call them down and they each get their mug with their choice of decaf. coffee/hot chocolate/tea and  one little "tea time" kind of cookie treat.

Then I set the timer for 20 to 30 minutes, depending on our plan for the day. I bring their tray of mugs (COVERED mugs...essential here...believe me. I made a trip to the dollar store after learning this the hard way) and a bin of "Bible" books I collected from the book shelves in our home. When the timer starts, we are not allowed to talk/answer the phone or text/argue/touch each other, etc.
The kids have access to journals, pens, prayer cards, and Bible books and devotions.
Mom gets to read her Bible, journal, and pray. My little ones just look through the books and the older two do their devotions and read. It is so simple and so wonderful. Of course an easy consequence is to take away the treat or drink if we find ourselves not complying to the "quiet time" rules we agreed upon. Easy. We just daily talk about expectations we can agree on for this time. I have found a lift in my least for the first hour or two of the morning. Nice! We do our "study" of the Bible together after lunch...where I am teaching them how to select a passage of scripture and really STUDY what it is saying to us. That's fine. But it doesn't replace the quiet sitting, and listening, and pouring out of hearts that happens in a devotional time. That kind of space needs to be created. And when you're in the busy stage of life I am in, sometimes you have to be extra creative in how to get that space.

If you happen to stumble across this post, please share below some of the creative ways you've come up with to take that much needed quiet time. Especially if you have kids around you 24/7!

Monday, September 24, 2012

The misconception of a perfect life.....Country Mom

Do you ever feel like everyone else has it all together and you never will?  As a homeschool mom, my kids are home more than they are gone....messing things up, tracking things in, leaving dirty dishes in places that aren't the sink.  Sometimes I think I just can't  keep performing the fruitless task of recleaning what I've just....there is little recognition, no  permanence in anything I do around my house, no reward.   And I think about the fact that everyone probably thinks that I have it together.   Let's face it...we don't let others see us at our worst, we don't want to expose the ugly parts of our lives, the messy parts, the hurting broken parts.  Whether it's a messy house, a barn that needs to be mucked, a struggle with anxiety, problems with finances that seem to permeate every area of life,  or stresses in marriage..... we don't want people to see that stuff...we don't want to let people in to the uncomfortable mess of our lives.....we just want others to see the good stuff.  The problem is, it's that messy stuff that God uses to grow us into who he knows we can become...and it's the uncomfortable stuff that others need to see.    A few months back I read a book called "Permission to Speak Freely"....a book about being honest, specifically within the relationships of our churches.  The idea that stood out to me the most is this....paraphrased....

"Someone may be waiting on us to speak our struggles...waiting for permission to share their own trials, and pain, and sin.  If we neglect to share ours, we rob them of the opportunity...and we rob the next person that would respond to them, and the next person and the next person.  We have to be willing to be speak freely about the messes in our lives and to create an environment where others can do the same."

What a freeing thing it would be to be able to share our struggles and then give others permission to do the same.   How much healing would there be if we could all do that with just a few people.  

I have some perfectionistic tendencies, and I want things to be a certain way in my life, but honestly, they are seldom the way I envision....and maybe that's okay.  As a homeschooler that has brought one through to graduation, have 2 more still at home, I have the suspicion that many of us tend to tell all that we are doing right....we show the pictures of the perfectly posed field trips, the first day of school at the dining room table looking so happy(it's seldom that cheery any day after I right ?  :)   We brag about the the things we do right but fail to mention when our kids aren't doing.  It puts unrealistic expectations on everyone....making us think that we aren't measuring up to a goal that isn't even attainable. 

In my own life I'm striving to be real, striving to be honest about my shortcomings....and I have so very many.   I want others to see that I'm very imperfect, that I'm forgetful,  that I have dishes in my sink when I go to bed many nights,  we have days where unschooling sounds really really good,  our house gets messy, we eat ramen for lunch many days, and I fall short more times than not.   

So next time I post pictures of our gourmet meal that we just made I think I'll post a picture of what our kitchen looks like after we finish won't be pretty.

"Everything will line up perfectly when knowing and living the truth becomes more important than looking good."  ~ Alan Cohen

Thanks for listening to my ramblings......

Country Mom. :)

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Camping Birthday Party

Happy 7th Birthday Peebs!

You are 7 years old today! There are no words to express my profound love for you Peebs! I remember clearly the first time I held you and heard the words "it's a boy!" I remember marveling at your sweet little face. Your hands! They were so distinctly "male" and they have the same look and shape to them today, 7 years later. I let you sleep 8 hours the first night you were born (the nurse was NOT happy with me). We were both so exhausted from your long journey into this world. The second night you were not so sleepy. The nurse came in and told me I was doing a commendable job, but that I needed some rest and to please let them have you down in the nursery for a bit. I knew she was right, and reluctantly yielded you into her care. I nuzzled down into my hospital bed, aching with loneliness for the baby I had thought of for 10 months in my body and grown to adore in the short few hours I had to hold you. I quickly however, gave in to sleep. Within 45 minutes you were back and another nurse said "he doesn't want anything, we can't keep him calm, you have to take him back mama!" "Gladly!"

Gladly, will I always accept you into my arms and my heart dear boy. How dearly we all love you. Your infectious laugh, your endless energy, your intelligent/inquisitive mind, your love for truth and love for God; all of these things are so evident to all you meet. I am captivated by your servant's heart. The way you take care of the little people in our house with affection and tenderness. The way you assist daddy or I with all of the family chores that need to get done. I am blown away by your desire to follow God. At the age of three you spent an evening struggling with forces unseen as you grappled with the idea of sin and death and ultimately, it was the night the Holy Spirit called you to Himself. We stayed up late that night (even after your big sister went to bed) and you yielded yourself to a Power and Love that is greater than the Universe. Since that day, you have grown in holiness, knowledge, and desire to serve a way that challenges me and motivates me. We love your non-stop chatter and how you love to talk, talk, talk about anything and everything that comes to mind...peppering every conversation with deep questions about how life works. You are an amazing boy and I am so blessed to be your mommy.

I hope you always remember your 7th Camping Birthday Party! You are a great outdoorsman and it was fun to plan your party with you in mind! I love you & forever!!!

Making cakes for four kids has gotten more stressful. But a tent and campfire and tree cake you wanted...and that is what you got!

Camping themed coloring sheets helped all the guests to warm up to each other. 

You proclaimed M.W. as one of your new best friends. M won the "pin the flame on the log" game by coming closest!

There's no better way to get acquainted then to rub bare feet together, right? All in the tight space of a 3-man tent.

7 boys came to celebrate your big day. Along with you and your brother and sisters, that made 11 kids!  Plus mommy, daddy, Papa, Nana, and Mr. Mud. Each of you had a bag with a tent and campfire on it with your name. On the back was a "nature hunt" list which you were just about to do in this picture.

After the nature hunt...your guests alternated between hiding your gifts in the woods behind our house and making their own "trail mix" mixture.

It wouldn't be a normal party at our house if we didn't do SOME type of fishing! Especially at a CAMPING themed party! This was some strange fishing though. Putting your line into a tent?

Cute fish!

This s'more filled bucket is what you were fishing for. Everyone got their own s'more kit when they went fishing...tied to the end of their line.

You hunted for your gifts with your friends. They played hot~cold with you and then they brought your gifts into a circle. You took a camping pan and spun it. Wherever the handled landed is the gift you opened next. This was the most AMAZING group of kids you could really imagine. SUCH nice boys. It was a 3 hour party, but I could have kept them here much longer! Such delight and such laughter! I'm so happy you have such nice friends Peebs!

JuBe bought this little lego set with her own money. She spent almost as much time getting ready to celebrate you as mommy did! She made you two incredible cards, wrote and illustrated a story for you with all of your 1st grade vocabulary words, wrote out a scripture verse on a paper she colored that had a camping theme.

Odes paid the tax for the lego set. He is now broke.

Each guest got a campfire to go with their cake.

Happy Birthday to you!

A mentos/pop geyser tube took place. This may just need to be a birthday tradition with Mr. Mud.

Football and water games followed cake and ice cream.
Your regular camping buddies, Mr. Mud and his boy's spent the night with you and your siblings and daddy in the back yard last night. Mommy stayed inside. :) You have to camp at a Camping party, right?

The next morning as we pulled into the garage on the way home from church we heard from the back seat "I'd like to go out to lunch" coming from your seat. At first I said "no" but you reminded me how much it meant to you last year when the two of us went to lunch together. I told you I'd feed everyone else first and then we were off. "Where would you like to go?" I asked. "Where do YOU want to go mommy?" I explained it was your birthday pick. In a timid shy voice you said, "well, would it be OK to go to McDonald's?" Off we went to get you a happy meal and to have some alone time...discussing your party, your gifts, your siblings, what you want to be when you grow up (used to be a pastor, now you want to be a Builder ---ahhh, so THAT is why you keep asking me how thick the walls of our  house are. You want to do the digging part though). You asked me how many more years you had left to decide what you wanted to be when you grew up. I love getting to be alone with you Peebs man.

Grandma & Grandpa and Papa & Nana celebrated with a pizza party tonight!
You picked the "5 meat Papa Murphy" and with bloated guts we went around the table and each of us shared with you things that we love about you (a birthday tradition in our family).

You don't like lego's do you?

Happy 7th Birthday to our sweet boy!
You. Are. Loved!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

She Ponders All These Things in Her Heart

...but Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart...

Mothers...across centuries, across cultures, across religions, we are all the same. Mary the mother of Jesus had Luke to record her treasures. Some of us ponder and then pen them in a baby/remembrance book or a blog like this ... but all of us have those moments, big and small that we treasure.

I have had lots of those treasurey kinds of pondering moments with my kids over the last week or so. So many that I've lost several of them. They weren't the BIG kind of pondering know, like Shepherds coming after angels told them your Son was born, or Kings bringing extravagant gifts of worship. But little things, that make my heart swell toward my kids and give me the title "Mommy."

As I'm sitting at the piano and singing "Jesus, Light of the World Shine Upon Us" JoJo joins me and begins to play a counter melody. Then she adds lyrics "Elmo the potty. Nah, nah, nah, nah, nah, nah"

JuBe whispers in my ear "I don't think you got your money's worth out of the foot rub I gave you the other night. How about another one while you read to us before bed time Mama?"

Peebs..."I like when you lead worship at church Mommy. What do you do again though? I forgot? Do you sing or play piano?" (ahem...4 to 5 out of 7 nights, I tuck them in bed and go downstairs and both play piano and sing as they fall asleep....and last Sunday at the worship service I did both play & sing)

JoJo after tinkling on the floor right before she got to the toilet "I'm sooooooo sorry Mommy. You happy with me?" (Oh, how could I be anything but happy with you, lovely girl?)

Odes: "Mommy, let's do that thing where I hide under the blanket in my room and then you lay on me and ask everyone else if you know where I am and then yell for me to come to bed now. Do I always ask you to do that?"

Peebs: My sweet, talkative, yet quiet-spirited, servant-hearted boy/man...taking care of little siblings, and taking on large tasks without being told. We went into the back yard and saw that our 6 year old son had set up a fire pit we had been wanting to set up...all on his own. It was perfectly done...we wouldn't have changed a stone!

Odes: "Your hair looked creepy and your face looked shiny in college."

JuBe: "Why am I getting a callus on my toe?" Me: (not really sure why I said this) "because you're becoming a young lady now." JuBe: "Oh, you say that because you have them. But, I don't think calluses are lady like. You certainly aren't." Me: (feigning offense) "What do you mean I'm not lady like?" JuBe: "Samantha's lady~like Grandmother (story figure from the late 1700's) would never chase her kids around the house and laugh hysterically and say weird stuff like's not lady~like." Me: "OK...I'm going to take this and say 'thanks.'" JuBe: "I like you mom."

JoJo: Any time we ever ask a question during school, she raises her hand and yells "I know, GOD! No, no Jesus! I got it Woo hoo!"

Odes: "you should really take off that swim mask mama. It doesn't do good things for you."

Peebs: "Mommy, I don't understand why they put words like 'jab' and 'ram' in my readers. These are not words I care to read about."

Peebs: (yelling into the next room) "JuBe! I can read 'yak' now!"

JoJo: "let's race mommy!" (in the pool) "I get the gold, you get the silver!" She is two and can barely dog paddle, but insists on winning every time.

JuBe: A good and loyal friend...always wanting to give in her friendships, but never seeming to be a push over. I love her strong, constant, sweet spirit. Learning to speak her mind, while remaining kind and respectful...a quiet, strength-filled dignity surrounds her as she grows in humor and creativity.

Peebs: upon understanding the reason for an exclamation point at the end of a sentence, yelling every sentence that he reads which ends with one.

Odes: "I'm really not comfortable talking about this with you mommy. I mean, it's just uncomfortable to say how I feel about you singing in front of the whole church."

JoJo: "Call me Catty now. Cuz I want a Ruffy/Catty birthday party. But, then, call me Bongo, cuz I like my monkey."

Odes: "Is that your breath or your feet mommy? Just sayin'"

JuBe: "If I won the American Girl contest for a trip to D.C., I'd take YOU Mommy!"

Oh, so so so so many things just fill up my heart as the days fly past. It's so easy to get caught up in all of the "stuff:" driving to appointments and striving for timeliness, getting through curriculum and assignments, breaking up fights, meeting needs, shaping character, mopping up "accidents," getting beds made, toilet reminders, teeth brushing reminders, putting stuff away---endlessly, making meals, cleaning up meals, giving medicine, kissing boo-boos, looking for the last band-aid, listening to 15 billion knock-knock jokes (or worse, listening to the 20 minute long joke a cousin shared at camp~for the 15th time)...
but in the midst of it all...there are little things to ponder-to treasure and store away. To remember, because the "days go by slowly and the years slip away quickly" and one day, they will be pondering their own little treasures in their hearts.

So so so thankful for my sweet babies and all the joy and love and lessons we are learning together. Thank you Jesus for my family!

Monday, August 27, 2012

First Day of School!

I made a special "celebration breakfast" for the first day of school.

Our first "Calendar Time" was "challenging" to say the least. Getting back into a groove after running around with no schedule and two adults around all the time will take some time.

We start in our "school room/play room" but certainly don't stay there. That is mostly "school headquarters" where we store our toys/books. This is JoJo/Catty leading us in the pledge.

Spinny came out! Spinny is the brains of our homeschool and holds all of our plans for the next several months. I love spinny. After taking out "week 1" I distributed each child's work for the week and they were responsible for putting it in their folders/box.

JuBe storing her work for the week. 

Peebs loading up his folders.

Odes putting his work in his box.

Jo getting her work all organized in her box. This is my 4th year of homeschooling but my FIRST year of homeschooling with no "baby" no pregnancy and no diapers! Sure, it takes a little time out of my day to remind her to go and to help her get re-dressed. Why do toddlers have to take off EVERYTHING before they go? But, no diapers! It's CRAZY how nice that is!

We did a little "craft" and while I finished laminating it...they had to take a quick break to "build something." Alrighty then.

The theme of "hard start" is what I have captured here. There was a lot of fighting and tears going on which I did not capture on film. They don't like it when I catch them in a bad mood (can you blame them?) We had a hard time getting this picture to happen...

This was our craft, which is a bit hard to see, but I didn't want to share close ups on the blog. I traced each of their hands on patterned paper. Then we wrote their name and year in school and laminated them. They're all going on a "ring" with a tab that says "school year 2012-2013." It's so sweet to see their little hands all piled up on top of each other. 

This does look creepily like a seance...but they were just getting in a circle for "Bible time."

We started our new curriculum and began memorizing the order of the books of the Old Testament. Each card has key information about each book of the Bible on it. 

JuBe deep in thought about a Math problem during "one-on-one" time with Mom. We do some things in group, but each kid got their "mommy time" for lessons in my office. Then they went off to do their individual work. 

Peebs during "mommy time." He ate it up! We had such a good time and he is learning SO much. My big 1st grader!!! I didn't get photos of the little one's mommy time because it was mostly us reading books and being crazy in the play room. We all read together later on the couch...and I don't have pictures of Geography either, because we haven't quite finished yet. The big 3 are playing while we wait for the baby princess to awaken from her glorious slumber!

It occurred to me a couple weeks ago, that I should pre-plan lunches like the "normal moms" (I'm using lots of quotation marks, aren't I?). This went off like a BANG! They loved the little containers and cute little compartments and I loved having lunch done ahead of time so all I had to do was take it out of the fridge and we were ready to go!

So cute...inspecting the little cubbies to see what I had packed. 

Lunch was a hit. Geography was not. It was a mass of tears and general over-tiredness...let's hope when we start up again in the next 20 minutes or so, all goes better than before!

The big kid's finished work goes in a slot for me to look over in the afternoon time. Just thought of that today. I felt pretty genius.

All in all it has been a good first day. I'm glad I didn't cave in and just let everything go. I didn't want to begin a pattern. Staying disciplined isn't exactly my "strong-suit"---using quotes however, apparently is. We figured we'd go with David's work schedule...and take off on the same days as him, instead of the district we are in. 
It was a fun day with good/rigorous/fun work accomplished. I would say however, that the most beneficial education is probably taking place right now as they roam around the garden and pick foods and play and bike and set up shop on the front porch when the sun gets too intense. They are loving, relating, learning about the world and it is so precious I can't stand it!