Monday, February 28, 2011

Keeping Limitations from being Frustrations

There are things I'd like to do...
  • Drive a few hours to meet up with a sweet friend this week
  • Go clothing shopping for me... kid-free
  • Spend the afternoon reading a book I've been wanting to finish
  • Really clean the house, declutter, clean windows.... serious stuff;)
But folks, that isn't the 'season of life' that I'm in right now!!

Sure, I get moments to chat on the phone or email friends. I can shop on the bargain racks on my weekly grocery run to Wally World. I can read for a few moments before I fall asleep at night, or sneak into the bathroom... LOL!! And even if I really cleaned.... it wouldn't look like it after a day or so with my crew:)

I really struggle with not letting my 'seasonal' limitations become frustrations.
I can get soo aggravated with myself, my kids, my husband and my "life" sometimes.

I was reading through this amazing chart again... I read over it often (I printed it off the 1st time I read it and have a copy next to me at my desk)!!!! How often am I discouraged and frustrated about trying to have it all... look good, kids well-behaved, time to myself and all the right boxes checked off because they are completed???

Yet my heart yearns to be the "Abiding Mom"!!! Who doesn't, right!! And as I read through that column, I see what her focus is...

it's being focused on the Lord - understanding her place in HIM (aka - grace) and then forming relationships with her family/kids that encourages them to focus on HIM (aka - more grace), too!!

How I've missed it.

praying that this week....
I am focused on becoming more like Him,
I am forming relationships with my kids, not just doing school/activities with them,
and being thankful for this 'season' and all I GET to be apart of.

81. a week of lessons planned
82. a quiet weekend
83. gap-py, cute, little teeth

84. an abundance of girl clothes to hand down to a little sister who dresses herself

85. an encouraging mother-in-law willing to listen
86. challenging words to chew on and apply
87. listening to my son read
88. the first blossoms... reminder that spring is coming

89. giggling coming from outside

90. joyful screams when Daddy gets out there with them

91. homemade "safe for us" doughnuts;)

May the words of my mouth

and the meditation of my heart
be pleasing to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.
Psalm 19:12-14

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Saturday Morning Sleep In & Another Standing Pic

Two of the boys enjoying some "sleep-in" time;)

This was another of my favorites from our outside "standing pics", but this one is SOOC and doesn't have the boots:)

SOOC Saturday

Friday, February 25, 2011

Weekly Wrap -Up

I love doing these Wrap-Ups.... I love spending moments to look over our week and remember all we did;) Usually at the end of each day I look at the needing attention house and try NOT to look at the crazy. messy. school room, I am a little discouraged at all that didn't get completed each day.

But on Friday afternoon/evening to look at the week... it's encouraging!! Gives me the motivational push to plan the next week!

And while you may not be officially holding me accountable.... it's also a degree of accountability! I take the time to take pics and to help the kids finish the tasks we start (something I struggle to do a lot more than I realize).

So thanks for reading my incredible long Weekly Wrap-Ups:)

Again, our Bible Time was spent working on Awana verses and activities;) We also reviewed Psalm 19 daily...

and this week I got to use an example of how one of our verses encouraged me to do the right thing since it had already been hidden in my heart. My kids KNOW when I have a bad attitude... and it was a very teachable time for them and me.

Reading/Language Arts
In an effort to start "engaging" Lydia more at her level, she and I have continued to work on Bob Books.

I found with Chris (and now Lydia) it was helpful to sound out the words found in a book before we started it and then read through when he was familiar with the words. Using the wipe board and letting them erase the words they sound out has been the method what works the best here... they LOVE doing it that way:)

She has also started using some Kumon workbooks for the handwriting basics.... she's soo cute when she works:)

I do handwriting "practice" when they are first learning how to write (and the again at cursive). And I'm super lenient... as long as I can read it, I"m good! I know I was taught good "penmanship" in grade school, but honestly I write how I write and everyone is soo different in their handwriting... so while they are young and just learning clearance/cheap workbooks work for me.... and then lots of copywork to practice keeping it neat:)

Chris had a normal week... I think we read 3 out of the 5 days, but at least one of those non-reading days he brought me a book to read to him about 'how his eyes work' LOL!! I LOVE that he is getting to the point where he wants to know what books say....

after that night, he did his reading very cheerfully... yay!!

And Anna has had a normal week, too... with copywork, cursive, spelling lessons/practice, alone reading, reading with Mommy, daily Grammer lessons and a "book report".. she's been busy:) She'll tell you 2nd grade is tough;)

BTW... we DO have a table that we use as a desk... but for some reason the floor and couch are sometimes more used;)

Chris and Anna are continuing to work through Saxon, one lesson at a time!! I just LOVE Saxon though... it's the perfect amount of hands-on/teaching for us. And we usually only use one side of the practice worksheets, unless they get it wrong on the 1st side or need some extra practice;)

I often wondered how people can school multiple age groups at one time.... one of Chris' Saxon activities was easily adaptable for Lydia. So they did the activity at the same time with differing levels:)

Ordering the cards... smallest to biggest
notice Chris has 1-20 while Lydia only has 1-10
Matching the cubes and then adding 1 extra
(learning the plus 1 addition facts)


This week we read through a couple of Venus books. We filled in our Venus chart and did the little planet order song. We meant to look up more facts/pictures about Venus on the Internet, but that was the morning my computer wouldn't connect :(

I have plans of making planet models... hoping to get put together soon. But I really need to beef up our science lessons!!!

During a math lesson, Chris was practicing counting backwards and we got sidetracked into a conversation about how they count backwards when they launch rocketships;) Little did we know it was the DAY of the Discovery launch.... so Friday morning we watched that launch via YouTube;)

We had a very fun history week:) YAY!! It's soo much fun to be able to incorporate activities and projects into our history learning;) So we were very thankful for the fun and simple activities in Story of the World this week, as we looked at the start of feudalism, roots of English and castles:)

One of the 1st activties was using Play-Doh to show all the different influences on the English language;) It was a visual I'll remember and the kids will definitely remember the day Mom let them MIX the Play-Doh!!

We also learned how to play Fox and Geese... a Medieval kind of Checkers game. Anna obviously was at the better age to learn this game;) She challenged Brian and I to play:) She beat me twice and then I finally got a turn to be the Fox;) She's ready for Brian now;)

And on Friday as we read the section on Stone Castles we got to work making one (of cardboard, of course). We had inspiration from some blogs, here and here:) ACtually it was the inspiration, along with our readings, for Anna and I... Chris created his own masterpiece, very Chris-like;)

Here are the 'works in progress'...

And then our final products:)
Chris wanted to create the Dark Knight's castle;) Too much reading;)

On Thursday we ventured out to meet our homeschool group at a Dunkin Donuts. We were met with a HUGE crowd... like 39 kids total;) Inside with such a big group meant we had to wait our turn as they took in groups of 6!!

We waited and waited (the bored pics in the collage).

AT first it was a little annoying, but when we finally went I was thankful we were the last group. The tour guide (aka the amazing DD staff member who was soooo patient with the kids) saw that we were the last group and that my kids COULDN"T have the donuts they were letting the kids make, so she actually gave us a tour telling the kids what each step was and what the equipment they used was and did:)

Definitely worth the wait and the lesson on patience;)

After the DD adventure, we met up another family at an indoor fast food playground:) Next time we'll have announce earlier that we can all meet up at McD's:) But it was great to sit with another mom and enjoy a semi-quiet lunch:)

We also visited another homeschool family and let the kids play a bit:) The kids LOVED being at her house and have already asked numerous times when we can go back:)

I also tried to stop by the mall... but by then it was after 3:30... with 4 kids with no naps (Nate had only cat napped) and a tired mom... the few things I had hoped to try on, I hung back on the rack and left before any of us had a "meltdown" :)

A Great week:) Looking forward to another;)

I'm linking up to Weekly Wrap-up at Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers

The Mango Seed

I LOVE mangos...... LOVE!!!

I know it stems from my summer in Taiwan while in college. It was an amazing summer working with a church, a youth group and a women's ministry. I learned so much... in fact, it was during that summer that I felt sooo strongly that I needed to attend seminary to learn more about the Bible to teach others.

Being immersed into the culture (at least during the day) was awesome!! And I definitely developed my taste for mangos.... fresh perfectly ripened mangos:) unfortunately, nothing I've eaten in the US comes close.... but it's too tempting not to TRY:)

This week Nate and I busting into a mango... and Nate got to chew on the seed;) Great for a teether;)

1st Taste
Not quite sure what to think...
Going after it;)

He did a great job with it!!

Funniest thing though was that the seed is really slippery and Nate kept loosing it by holding it too tight. I 'd see him looking for it....

wasn't in his bib?
wasn't next to him in the seat.... on the left or right?
wasn't on the floor?

Found it behind him... must have went right over his shoulder :)

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Things that Start with L

You Capture's theme this week is L... the kids helped me brainstorm some fun ideas.... including Lollipops and Legos (which we have plenty of).... but I never did get pictures of them :(

so here goes, from the pictures I DID take this week;)

Learning.... Chris working hard on his Doubles Addition Facts:)

Lump of Play-Doh.... explanation coming on our Weekly Wrap-Up :)

Little Brother in Big Brother's boots :)

Lydia ... my sweet Lydia;)


He's coordiNATEd

I hear something at the door....
it's sister!!
I"m going to show her what I can do
ok... that's enough
it's easier like this...

You can find some other picture posts at 5 Minutes for Mom, Go Graham Go, To Be Thode and any other linkys I find !!!

***My ever so clever hubby helped with the unique title:)

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Tiny Talk Tuesday: Freaking Out & Wagon Trips

So far Lydia's food allergies have been minimal... she still has them. But her reactions have been very minor, so she doesn't have that "fear" of a reaction that the older kids have.

This week she found some candies we had and wanted to "try" one... even though one of the last ingredients was a part of egg. Here is her reasoning;)

Sunday at lunch the kids started another conversations about babies coming out of tummies. While I was in and out of the kitchen they were talking about all they know (which isn't much... not yet!!).

Chris is my thinker. He looked at me and asked point blank,"How does the baby get in there?"

And I'm not sure the initial answer I gave him. But he wasn't pleased with my detail. So he asked more clearly, "Mom, what is the first step?"

I confidently answered, "First you need a Mommy and a Daddy."

Chris shook his head like he got it and the conversation was over... for now;)

And the reason Brian wasn't in on the above conversation was because he was having to make a hospital visit. We had a man rushed to our local hospital Sunday AM and then transferred to a larger hospital.

Anyway, the kids asked why they couldn't go with Brian and I told them that our friend was sick and that he might be in the ICU and kids usually can't go in there.

Good grief.... I was very serious with them, but they BUSTED out laughing!! And then as sooo as one caught their breath they said slowly," I C U" or "I see you".

I"m blaming this "joke" on the Awana van kids who taught my kids that spelling "I CUP" out loud is funny!!

I'm sure there was more this week I am forgetting especially since Chris has been soo giggly lately... must still be on that Valentine candy high???

Oh..... and two sweet moments!!

One sweet moment was Lydia, my little peacemaker, offering to give me her special Christmas present necklace since I didn't have one like hers :) Such a doll she is;)

The other was Anna pulling Nate around the yard in the wagon yesterday;) She's a great big sister;)
She's a great big sister;)

Monday, February 21, 2011

One Thousand Gifts & my list continues

In my 'free' moments this week and weekend I have been savoring the words of Ann@ Holy Experience from her book One Thousand Gifts.

Oh, it's been challenging and yet, refreshing...

I say 'savoring' because I pause often to think and wonder, relate and re-evaluate.

I have really, really loved her words about the Lord's Supper and the term eucharisteo. What a great word-picture of the relationship between thanksgiving and joy.

And so I continue to count... to be thankful and find joy.
(and find more 'free' moments to read some more!!)

69. days where only hats were needed

70. a note of thanks and love from my child to me;)
71. baby falling asleep while nursing in my arms
72. campfire with friends

73. graham crackers and chocolate ready for hot marshmallows

74. a friend capturing my own quest for a s'more

75. light that illuminates the profiles of those I love soo much

76. GRACE that has been given to me, that I am learning to give freely to others
77. a plate of cookies to enjoy and share

78. church ladies who serve so sacrificially
79. new faces at worship worshiping
80. a new week with my sweet ones

The life of the godly is full of light and joy..
Proverbs 13:9
**may this be true of me and those in my house and those I love;)

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Weekly Wrap Up: Schooling with Flexibility and Park Days

We learned the final verse of Psalms 19 this week.... yay:) So now we're practicing and reviewing... I would soo love for the kids to say it on video sometime. But more importantly they are hiding God's Word in their hearts and we completed a whole chapter... perseverance;)

Anna is reviewing the books of the Old Testament for Awana. It's been a little of a family thing since everyone hears her/us practicing. I was surprised the other day while singing the little memory song how much Chris knows.... LOL!!... he;s just there picking it up as well:) And for those interested I love the Wee Sing Bible Song version... I learned them as a kid that way and still know it;) And my kids love it too;)

We've been reading and reading some more... more as a group and me reading aloud, though. We finally got to the library on Friday, so the kids could pick out some non-history/science books. Maybe they'll read (and flip through) a little more independently with books of their choice;)

Chris worked on OPG 3 or 4 days this week.

Lydia really has lost interest in OPG... so I'm working on sight words, rhyming families and Bob books with her right now. I feel like it's a "set back" but there is really no reason to PUSH when she isn't ready. And she is loving sight words and BOB books, so I feel like I'm not totally giving up on teaching her reading.

She's always on the look-out for someone to help her read a Bob book.... this moment of her and Chris (I posted a similar one yesterday!) on the couch together, was too precious!

For Anna's free reading she's been working through the Cul-de-Sac kids series. They are written by Christian author Beverly Lewis. She seems interested in them since those are usually the first thing she grabs during her own "free reading" time.

And it's begun:) Anna officially started multiplication... oh, boy:) She's been soo excited and I got a little nervous about first starting to teach her the concepts of groups of 10, etc!! As we gathered the supplies she started spouting off the multiplication facts she already knew....

hmmm?? ALL the ones I was supposed to be teaching her??? She confessed (LOL!!) to studying the multiplication chart that we have in the school room waiting for her to start multiplication... she 's been trying to find patterns within each number family;) So she told me why 10's were soo easy.... oh, well for teaching her:)

Lydia is hanging in there during math... matching and doing puzzles!! She's been practicing counting to 20. And learning the number families with us... we're working on 4 and reviewing 2 & 3!

Chris is chugging away at Saxon Math:) He loves it and would MUCH, MUCH rather do two math lessons than any reading:) I do try to make completing his worksheet fun when he starts to get bored... his favorite this week was using his fingerprints instead of coloring in the boxes;)
(and yes, I did turn the table so next week all the letters should be facing the right direction!!)

We read more Sun books .... like Sun by Steve Tomecek (cute and informative)...

and then started learning about Mercury. We've enjoyed a series of planet/solar system books by Seymour Simon. I liked the real pictures and information versus the drawings of the planets. Really hoping our library carries more of those for the other planets;)

We're trying to keep track of some of the information we've gathered in a planet chart. So this week we started writing in the chart... Lydia was just too precious with her chart. She told me when we started," Mommy, I like when we color and do maps, but I really like these things"... as she held up her chart:)

We started the week with more Viking invasions.... yay!! I actually was excited because we got to read through some more norse myths as well as bake our Viking Bread... finally:) And Hiccup even joined us in the kitchen for a bit:)

And we learned about some notable British and European leaders of the Middle Ages, like Alfred the Great, William the Conqueror and good 'ole Harold;) We had plenty to color and read;)

One resource I decided to purchase when we started the Middle Ages was Famous Men of the Middle Ages by Poland & Haaren (there are a lot of similar titles out there). I love how they compliment Story of the World and bring to life some of these characters that don't have much written about them for children (at least not what I have access to). Anna and I have read several chapters about different men together and I was pleasantly surprised when she could read almost 90% alone ... so now we can take turns reading:)

Other ( & what I learned this week)
I was soo thankful that some plans worked out for us to meet some homeschooling families from our homeschooling group at the park on Valentines Day. It worked out soo well, even with the crazy wind...

can I say that the wind messed with the parents more than the kids.... some loved chasing all the stuff each time we had a big gust. After the kids' example, the parents tried to not let it affect our time either. Amazing what our kids teach US each day and week!!

And on Friday we went to the park for another lunch meet up with Andrea and Shannon's crews! It was such a beautiful day here... I think at point the car thermostat said "80"!!! So nice;) Definitely worth focusing on the basics and leaving the rest for another day;)

Another week to remember;) To be thankful for all that was completed together;)
And I'm linking up to Weekly Wrap-up at Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers
even though we got plenty of socialization this week:)