Sunday, August 31, 2014

To Abi, on your 3rd birthday!




Abi,

You are such an amazing little girl.  I'm so glad you're mine.  You have such energy and spunk!  You have such an amazing little sassy side but are so kind and gentle and sweet.  I LOVE how you adore your brothers and sister.  You are always quick to be mommy's helper and you don't want to be left out of anything!

I love watching you grow and learn.  Already I feel like you are such a verbal little girl - sometimes slurring words together in your hurry to communicate and other times slowly and carefully choosing your words to articulate your thoughts.  You are so little with these flashes of big-kid that I'm just not ready for yet!

I'm thankful for your heart, your love for life and your easy smile.  Your a stubborn kid, but I can't wait to see how you will use that to stand up for what you believe in and to serve people around you.  God crafted you, my precious second daughter, in such an exciting, unique way and I cannot wait to see how you continue to grow.

Love,
Mommy



For your birthday dinner you asked for:
Chicken tenders, tater tots and broccoli

For your birthday cake you asked for:
Strawberry short cake (although mommy made you chocolate cupcakes too because I didn't think you'd actually eat strawberry short cake...I was right :)

Your favorite toys are:
Don't Break the Ice with your sister and your baby dolls

You don't like:
Being told no or when mom forgets to have a cup in the fridge for you in the morning :)



Kiddo, don't ever forget I love you!

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Kindergarten Homeschool - Week 1


I have an official Homeschooler!  Ok, not quite "official" as I don't have to register her with the state for another year, but as far as I'm concerned, we're official this year! 

I have had a great time and completely stressed out about what, how and when to teach Grace.  She is such a smart kid and I have been searching through ready-made curriculums, piecing subjects together and of course had the complete "what am I thinking" meltdown.  After I went through all that and my husband gently reminded me that at the Kindergarten level I can't really mess her up, we settled for a pretty simple routine.


Calendar - Basically we talk about what day of the week it is, the day number, what the temperature is and what it looks like outside.  I want her to start to understand the mechanics of how a calendar works and begin to put weather and temperature together - I also want to move to "and what does that mean for how we should dress?"  It is basically a fun, quick start to our morning and while she draws in what the weather looks like, I have time to make sure I'm not missing anything for reading or math!


Reading/Writing - We are using "Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons" that I borrowed from Stephanie (my homeschool friend, mom of 5!).  So far so good!  We are moving slowly but just like I remind Grace, we want to take it slow now because when it gets harder we want to be at the right pace.  There is a writing portion at the end of each lesson so that covers our writing section, but we also incorporate writing into Bible and as we get more proficient at letters we'll do more writing activities.

 
Math - We are using a first grade math book this year that is set up for a classroom.  I again think that activities are too simple but we will soon be getting into things she hasn't seen before so those will require more time and repetition.  I think this pace is good for us now and we are working on things like counting higher numbers, using a number line and memorizing the names of the higher numbers.

Bible - My goal here is to pick a verse each week then do various activities with it.  We'll write it, memorize it, illustrate it, talk about meaning and why it is important, etc.  This week we are doing Philippians 2:14 (Do everything without grumbling or complaining) which I picked specifically so that as we are getting into this new routine I can remind her to do it cheerfully, although I've gotten no complaints so far.

Read Aloud - Right now we are reading Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm.  I was going to start with Little House on the Prairie but I couldn't find one in time so I picked up this book for $1 at Target!  I told her there is a movie based on the book so when we finish reading it we'll have a movie night.  At a chapter a week it will take us a little while.  My goal here is to expose her to good books but also to see how she does with story line retention, focus and not immediately seeing resolution to the story.  We might switch to picture books, but I want to see how she does before we make a decision here.

This schedule so far has given us about 45 minutes of desk time.  Now, I know that she needs active time but I think at this age the rest of her day is active so it's ok to have her sit still for some time.  She is also a great "worksheet" kid and has the desk mentality, at least for now, so she enjoys this structure.  We will spend time outside of scheduled "school time" to do some hands on things - baking, measuring, cause and effect, etc.  I'm just not concerned about formally doing much more than reading, writing and math at this point.

I'm excited to be able to move at her pace, enjoy learning with her and have this quality one-on-one time with her.  We have a happy, busy family and I want to make sure she gets the focus that she needs!  I want my children to get a quality education, at their own pace and really excel and I can't wait to see what this journey will look like. 
 
 

Saturday, May 10, 2014

i...

I...

tear down walls, one brick at a time.

wipe tears.

create a safe place.

pray for protection of angels.

cry out to Jesus.

bind up hearts.

bandage up boo boos.

love fiercely.

protect honestly.

nourish bodies and souls.

encourage.

create.

dream.

fight.

speak truth and life.

offer advice.

try not to hide.

but I also fail.  and I'm not perfect.  and I don't want to ever pretend to be.  it is of no value to anyone around me if I can't own my shortcomings and point to Jesus even through those.  all of the list above is only by His grace and His power.  On my own, I am still just a kid who is trying to figure things out.  in His power there is hope and redemption and grace and justice and forgiveness and healing.

how great is it that I am nothing on my own.  oh what He can do with this lump of clay.  mold me and make me God, continue to create and refine me.  give me wisdom for when everything hurts and I don't know how to put people myself back together.  I will seek and find rest in You.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

The things I'm not doing

I think on this season of life it is sometimes hard to celebrate accomplishments because of that looming feeling of things not being completed. I feel like the list of things I want to do but am not accomplishing is enormous.

I love to work with teen girls, but that is not something I can fit into my schedule. Reading, studying and pondering seem to take a back seat to potty training and diaper changing. I am still working on an updated chore chart for myself....roughly 3 weeks after I started the process. Meal planning just scares me, but something has to be done.

I want to think and grow and inspire and encourage and I know that in some ways just being real about how things are right now is the best way to do that, but oh I long for more. I want to plan homeschool and teach Sunday school well and so I will focus on my home life first.  But I want to be able to say yes to heading up the church rummage sale or helping with the other church ladies projects and be able to just follow through on those things.

I am happy with where I am. I am happy with my little ones and would not exchange this season for a season of freedom without them, but the struggle to balance it all out is a skill I have yet to master.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

What My Days Look Like

i know we have a lot to catch up on.  we'll get there. right now i thought i'd just give you a taste of what my normal day looks like.

8am - Wake up and shower.  I may be up with the boys at this point but I try to leave them in their cribs until I am out of the shower.  (And yes, cribs - we got to borrow one from a friend, so thankful!).

8:30am - Get boys dressed and fed.  Abi dressed maybe.  Think about breakfast.

9am - Breakfast

10am-12pm - House chores, errands, counseling, park fun, coloring, games, whatever.  This is our anything goes time slot.

12:30pm - Lunch for all the kiddos, tv show for the girls

1pm - EVERY KID NAPS!  OR ELSE!

1pm-3pm - I work from home, clean, do projects I can't do with kids...ya know, those things.  I wish this were a longer window ONLY because I always feel like I'm playing catch up.  Ah well, it's a season.

3pm - Homeschool...which consists of learning letter names and sounds right now although the kid already knows most of them.  We are going to start Learn to Read in 100 Easy Lessons soon!

3:30pm-5:30pm - House chores, outside time, whatever.  This is a flexible window but usually at home because I don't wake kids up from naps so there is little predictability. Feed the boys somewhere in here.

5:30pm - Start thinking about dinner, get kids cleaning up

6:30pm - Family dinner and clean up

7:30pm - Watch a bed time show with the girls, feed the boys and get everyone ready for bed.

8pm - Everyone in bed, story with the girls.

At this point my days start to look different :)
Monday and Tuesday I work from 8-10pm from home
Wednesday is date night!
Thursday is Bible study at our house
Friday I get some time out of the house starting around 7
Saturday and Sunday are family days!

So there, that's my normal life...with my crazy family :)