Monday, March 31, 2008


Painting with water (they did such a good job I could wallpaper a room with all their creations!).

See how our lima beans have grown!

A new use for our abdominal exercise machine (which had been a wonderful little valet for my clothes in our bedroom!).

Ready....set......GO! Paper airplane wars.

Here is the winning plane. Sleek, isn't it? Son G named it "Arrow Two" (apparently there is also an "Arrow One").

Our son who lives with SPD had an exceptionally good day today!! I am so very thankful. Our therapist said when we first began working with her that her goal was to get him to smile more. He has such a beautiful smile and a great sense of humor, but some days neither one shows very much. His therapist will be very happy to hear tomorrow that he smiled a LOT today and seemed like a regular, happy kid. Thank the Lord!
I am fairly certain that we are reaping benefits from his occupational therapy and listening therapy, but I also believe that concerted, fervent prayer is making an enormous difference. I'm so thankful to serve a LIVING God, who is powerful and yet personal. He is good!

Saturday, March 29, 2008

His own desk

On a happier note, I made a little "school" area for Little Man this weekend. We school at our kitchen table and have very nearly outgrown its size. There is no room for the older 4 to have their work spread out AND have Little Man there doing some type of activity. I have at times had a pity party that our house is not bigger (shame on me!), but realized I would have to find a way to include him that works with our current situation.

All I did was bring a Little Tikes table upstairs from our basement toy room, but he thinks it's the best thing since sliced bread! (of course, I tidied, de-cluttered, and deep cleaned the family room first, which took far longer than carrying the table upstairs!) I explained that this was his very own "school table" and he would have special activities to do here that were only for school time. His little table is right next to the kitchen table, so he is with us yet not encroaching on his siblings' work. A wonderful solution for now!

Thank you, Lord, for the space to do this, and for the Little Tikes table that we already owned. Thank you for blessing us with our Little Man. Help me to model what it looks like to include him so that the older children won't be frustrated or overly distracted from their work. Help me to focus on the larger goal of brotherly love rather than how much academic work we accomplish. And thank you for our house. Compared to most of the world, we are rich indeed.

Emergency trip to the Dentist

Our Little Man fell last night with his mouth open and knocked one of his front teeth loose. It easily wiggled but didn't fall out, and bled alot for a long time. When he woke up this morning he had dried blood all around his mouth, poor guy! So we went in to the dentist first thing after breakfast (which he didn't eat), fully expecting that his tooth would need to be pulled, but it didn't! Most baby teeth that get knocked out of position will re-affix themselves in their new position and then just hang out as normal until the permanent tooth underneath pushes it out. There is a chance the tooth will not stabilize, in which case it *will* need to be pulled, but we are anticipating a complete and normal healing. For now his mouth and part of his cheek are swollen and he is eating very little, but I'm thankful it was not worse!

Some of the ladies on the TOG yahoo group have been talking about the kinds of injuries and accidents that happen to our little people. It's not only amazing that they survive childhood, it's also amazing that we survive motherhood!!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Happy Anniversary!

Happy Anniversary mom and dad! (my in-laws) We rejoice with you in 52 years of wedded bliss!!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Sprouts have been planted!

Today was the day! First we took the plastic gloves out of the window where they'd been sprouting for nearly 3 weeks.

Then each boy labeled popsicle sticks with the names of the sprouts he was planting. We have peas, peppers, wildflowers, lima beans (ick), and basil.

Then came the reeeeeally tricky part.......pulling the seeds and roots off the wet cotton balls!

After they'd all been carefully planted, they were carefully watered by C, G, and L respectively.


In other news, my hubby MADE his deadline this past Monday!! Praise the Lord! Actually, the deadline was really Saturday before Easter, as that is when the consultant flew to Japan with the completed software. He had to pull an all-nighter Friday night, but it is D.O.N.E. You have no idea how relieved I am! Today he went to the office for the first time in about 3 weeks and it was weird not having him home!
Also, I'm sorry I steered you wrong with the previous post about the space shuttle. Apparently it landed about an hour before we were supposed to see it travel across the sky! I went to nasa's website and they have an outdated schedule listed there. So that explains why we weren't able to see anything though we searched diligently for half an hour! Little Man was the most disappointed. He insisted on being wrapped in a blanket and held by his daddy the whole time, waiting expectantly. The next time the space shuttle is visible, he wants to get in a plane and fly up to meet it. :-)
Our daughter got her stitches out this morning. Based on our 4 hour wait two weeks ago when the injury first occurred, I packed up virtually our entire schoolroom, with plenty of snacks and activities for Little Man, and off we headed at 8:30 a.m. Wouldn't you know they had us in and out in 40 minutes! Her foot is very sore and looks bruised. The Dr was a little concerned about it. But the cut itself is definitely healed up enough for the stitches to be out. Now we put ointment on it, watch it and continue to pray for complete healing.

Space Shuttle again!

The space shuttle Endeavour, the international space station, and an unmanned cargo carrier called an ATV (automated transfer vehicle) will all be visible this evening beginning at 9:29, eastern time. The ATV is supposed to rise first, in the southwest sky, followed by the space station, followed by Endeavour 19 seconds later. They should be visible for several minutes as they move across the sky. If it's not cloudy where you are, go take a look!

Thanks for the heads up Susan!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Hannah Montana

This post is going to show how old and fuddy-duddy I am! Hey, at least I'll admit it. :-)

Most of my readers have probably heard of Hannah Montana, and if you haven't, she's a teen actor/singer sensation. She stars in a tv show, in which she plays a singer whose identity is secret from the rest of her life. In real life, she also travels around giving concerts at which she performs as her character "Hannah Montana". Confused yet? I'm not sure which came first, the real life concerts or the tv show (I think it was the tv show but someone correct me if I'm wrong).

She came to our city a couple months ago in the dead of winter, and there were tween and teen agers (along with their shivering parents) lined up around the ticket booth for DAYS before the tickets went on sale. I'm not kidding!

Our children have heard of her and have been very curious about her. Some of their friends are huge fans. I have seen her interviewed a few times in real life and she seems like a pretty normal kid with her head screwed on straight, which is saying a lot about anyone from hollywood. So for the last two Saturdays our family has watched her show. As a person, I liked it. As a parent, I didn't. There was quite a bit of kissing, lying, deceiving, and sneaking going on. There WAS a moral to the story at the end, and a good teachable moment, but I felt it was lost by all the junk that had gone on in the previous 28 minutes.

I feel that my kids are too young to see young people kissing. They just don't need that imagery. Seeing us, their parents kissing is different. I would prefer they think of a married kiss when they think of kissing, and not a teenage crush kiss. I know they will see and hear about that soon enough, but not yet. It's just not necessary. And for the record, it was her older brother who was kissing on the show, not her.

We had a good conversation about it with our daughter. After we explained our concerns, she said she could see those things too. She said the next time we watched it she'd try to look for those things that were inappropriate or "bad". So we've decided to watch it with her a couple more times and then make a decision as to whether or not it will be part of her regular tv diet. I'm leaning towards no, but there may be a larger value here in teaching her to analyze the shows that she watches. And there also may be a larger value in teaching her there are times when it's worth it to stand alone. We shall see.

Again, I'm so glad for the wisdom God gives! (And please don't take offense if this is something your family enjoys!! Every family is different, and since this is my blog I get to write about ours). :-)

Update on Chores

I have been a happier homemaker since putting daily chores right on my kids' assignment sheets for school. We don't do them every single day, but by far most days we do. I have had my entryway rugs shook out and the floor swept every Monday for the last 2 months! Our 5 year old son does this job. Are the rugs perfectly clean? No, but they are cleaner than when he started. If any of the dirt gets shaken out, it's an improvement! As Flylady likes to say, "housework done poorly still blesses my family." (my paraphrase)

Between the 7 year old and 8 year old, the toilets, floor around the toilets, and sinks in both bathrooms get wiped down with baby wipes twice each week (and thoroughly cleaned once by me). It is rather amusing to me that the 7 year old has magically gotten better with his aim since having to do this job! Score one more for the chores team!

Our daughter does not enjoy doing the laundry, but she's learning to do it faithfully without complaining, and her attitude is more important to me than the actual laundry.

So, we have yet to conquer the dust, and I am still in charge of most of the piles that multiply throughout the house, but at least we're maintaining our baby steps pretty well. Lord, help us to keep doing "the next thing."

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Easter Eggs and Easter Baskets

Easter morning! Here are the children with their Easter baskets, filled with some traditional candy as well as practical things like new underwear (I'm a mean mom) and socks, and pencils. This year I also found some small lego sets on sale, so the 3 middle boys got those as well. Little Man got a new Eric Carle book, and our daughter got a new watch.
Saturday evening, coloring Easter eggs! (I don't know why all these pictures look pink, but I guess it's appropriate!)

Saturday, March 22, 2008

The Calendar says it's Spring, but......

Good Friday

We had such a wonderful Good Friday! It wasn't a day of celebration as much as a day of remembering and of worship (tomorrow will be a huge day of celebration!!). Our church has done a wonderful stations of the cross display for the last few years. I'm not that familiar with liturgical language, but for those of you who may not have heard that phrase "stations of the cross", it involves sitting and reflecting on Jesus' suffering at 7 different points beginning with His prayer in the garden of Gethsemane and ending with his burial after crucifixion.

I was originally not planning on going this year, because we took our whole family last year and it was pretty much an exercise in keeping everyone quiet, chasing the 2 year old, shushing everyone again, and telling them to keep their hands off the props. NOT a worshipful experience for any of us. But when my friend Susanne mentioned it again, I realized that with my hubby working from home I could take the older children two at a time, so that is what we did and I am so glad we went!

Our church uses almost its entire (large) foyer for this, and black fabric is hung from floor to ceiling as "walls", helping to block out light. They have printed the corresponding scripture on large posters to go along with each station, and there are places to sit and read these scriptures and pray and reflect for as long as you'd like. It's also pretty hands on. In the station where Pontius Pilate washes his hands, absolving himself from responsibility for Jesus' death, there was a bowl of water and a towel, so we could each wash our hands too. In the station that reflects on his beating, there were quite a few props from old plays/musicals our choir has done. There was a fake pillar with chains hanging from it, and a whip and wooden staffs. We read the scripture at that station and talked about how Jesus was flogged (beaten), hit in the head with a staff, spit upon, and slapped and hit. We talked at length about WHY this was done to Jesus, and why He endured it. It was very powerful.

I took L and C first, and when we went there was no-one else there. It was very quiet and we had the opportunity to spend lots of time at each station. At the crucifixion station they had erected a wooden cross and had paper and pens, nails and hammers available. We were to write a message, or our name, or whatever we wanted to write on the paper, and then nail it to the cross. L and C spent quite a bit of time thinking about the sins they wanted to write on the papers. C decided not to write anything at all, but L had me help him write something he was sorry for on his card, and then we nailed it to the cross. The cross was full of papers from previous worshippers. I think it was a powerful visual to my boys that it was OUR sins which nailed Jesus to the cross, not His.

When I took the older two children there were many others there and we had to wait before proceeding into each station. It wasn't quite as worshipful an atmostphere, but still very meaningful.

Our whole family then attended the Good Friday worship service in the evening, which was another wonderful time to reflect on Jesus' suffering and all He went through for us. For me. I can't comprehend love like that, but I'm so grateful to live in it each and every day.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

A Conversation with our Daughter

This week I taught our daughter a new "dress-up" to use in her writing. We discussed strong verbs, that is, verbs that have more impact because they are not over-used. Then we started a banned words list. She can no longer use the words "go/went" or "say/said". She must use synonyms for these words. I could tell that she felt very grown up to learn this, but also that she was struggling a bit with thinking of suitable synonyms.

8 year old G: What is this pink posterboard for?

Daughter: It's for my banned words.

8 year old G: What are banned words?

Daughter: They are words I can't use anymore when I'm writing. See, I learned about strong verbs and we're going to write the weak verbs on this posterboard and then list other words to use instead. And I have FIVE dress ups now that I have to put into each paragraph!

Me, smiling.

Daughter: Why are you smiling like that?

Me: I'm just smiling because you're getting older and are learning so much about how to write well.

Daughter: Yeah, but it's kindof hard.

Me: I know, but you're ready for it to be harder. After all, you'll be in middle school next year.

Daughter, with a horrified look on her face: Middle School????? Please don't make me go to middle school!!!

Me, realizing she thought I meant she'd go to a brick and mortar school: Oh sweetie, I meant you'd be in middle school at home. Daddy and I would never decide to send you to a classroom school without talking with you first.

Daughter, much relieved: Oh, good!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Today's little daily things

Tonight was a MOPS night. Great speaker and great topic, "Media and your children". I was immediately convicted that my hubby and I watch too much tv. We are pretty good at limiting our children's viewing, but we don't limit ours as much. Something to work on!

Our CD player stopped working a few days ago so our son who has SPD has not had listening therapy at home since then. This is our third CD player that has broken (in about 5 years). I usually buy the cheapest one at Target, but I'm tired of them breaking so I may have to spring for a more expensive one. Actually I would love to buy him a personal CD player so he can wear it in his little CD player fanny pack (which came with the headphones) and be mobile while he's listening.

My hubby's glasses broke today. The earpiece broke off the stem. I told him he'd have to be a geek until next payday and wear his glasses with tape around the break. He smiled at me and said he's be a geek for a lot longer than that! (he's a really cute geek though). His big deadline at work was extended another week (by the client) so this is his big push week. Hopefully he can get everything wrapped up by Saturday and enjoy Easter.

We did history in the van today. We are reading about the French and Indian war. I read while the children colored. Yes, the van was parked. :-)

Little Man stayed dry through Tiny Tots at church this evening. Yay! He seldom goes at church, so I have to take him potty right before we leave the house and then again as soon as we get home. He was very excited about getting a big plastic egg full of jelly beans from his Tiny Tots teacher.

I am trying to plan our day on Friday. We don't have co-op and aren't doing school at home. I'm torn between doing some fun outing with the kids, or some kind of activity that focuses on Christ's sacrifice. Maybe we can do both? Any ideas?

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Reading Fanatic

Our daughter has become me. I am thrilled! When I was her age I walked a mile to school and a mile back, reading the whole way. My nose was nearly always in a book. Today as we left the house to take her brother to his occupational therapy, she read the whole way to the van, the whole way there, while we sat in the van, and the whole way back. I had assigned one chapter today. She read three. Such is the lure of a truly good book!

I can't take all the credit for this, of course (much as I'd like to!). Some children who are exposed to good literature from infancy and are read to for hours on end, as all our children have been, really don't have their own love affair with books until they are much older. I have tried hard not to expect that all our children will be strong readers. So perhaps that is why it is so wonderfully thrilling to me that at least one of them IS!

I am having to really speed read to stay ahead of her in this book. In fact, she is ahead of me at this moment. But it's a great book that's hard to put down, so I'm sure I'll catch up quickly. ;-) What book is this you might ask? Yesterday she began Calico Captive, which is the true story of a young lady and her family who were captured by Indians and sold to the French during the time of the French and Indian War (1754-1763). It's very gripping.

I am so thankful for good books! And I'm so thankful that my own parents read to me, read their own books in front of me, and still read for pleasure. My mom took us girls to the library each week with a large cardboard box which we would fill to the brim. The next week we'd return all those books and fill up the box with new ones. When I was old enough I was allowed to ride my bike to the library, where I would fill up my bike basket with gems that I had picked out all by myself. It was during that time that I fell in love with biographies. I read the entire shelf of biographies at my elementary school library, and most of the biographies at the public library! I can vividly remember getting my very own library card. Wonderful!

When I was in 6th grade I read the unabridged version of Little Women. It drew me in so completely that even though it was about 3 inches thick (I am not exaggerating) I read it while walking to and from middle school, which was about half a mile each way. I made the mistake of staying in at recess to finish the chapter where Beth dies, and I cried so hard that I was embarrassed when everyone else came back in after recess and wondered what had made me cry!

In 7th grade I read The Longest Day, which is a story of D-Day told from many different perspectives. It was fascinating and horrifying all at the same time. I learned so much about honor and duty and sacrifice from that book. It left an indelible impression on me.

As our daughter reads more and more fluently and makes more of her own choices for what to read in her free time, I pray that I can continue to guide her towards truly great literature, while also allowing her the freedom to read about some topics that may seem more "adult" for her age (such as my reading of The Longest Day at age 12). That's a fine line sometimes. I'm so thankful for the wisdom God gives!

Thanks mom and dad, for instilling in us girls a great love of books and language, and in doing so, blessing your grandchildren even before they were born. And thank you for giving us such good books as gifts. They are treasured and well loved (as the velveteen rabbit was loved!), and they encourage us to continue reading to our children and passing on to them a love of books. In this day and age, it's so much easier to turn on the tv than to pick up a book, so we need all the encouragement we can get!

We are very excited to take our son G on a date to the library to get his own card, when he turns 9 in May. We did this with our daughter when she turned 8, and now it's his turn. He wants this desperately. I can't wait to see his face when he realizes what we're there for!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

The Weekend in Pictures (with a few words)

I hung a couple new hooks in our basement stairwell where the kids hang their coats. One of my small but frequent annoyances has been taking out the Awana stuff from everyone's backpacks on Thursday and putting in co-op stuff. Where do I keep the Awana stuff in the meantime? To solve this problem I hung a basket on the top hook. This is the new home for our Awana vests and Tiny Tots shirt in between Wednesdays. The hook below the basket is the new home for our son C's "church bag" - his quiet activities for worship service. I am a happier mommy now. As my friend Amy says, "it's always the little things." (and I'm kindof proud of the fact that I did this all by myself!!)

On Saturday evening we went to an event at another church (the church where we meet for co-op). They were hosting the "Stand Strength" team, which is a group of power lifters who lift, break and bend things with incredible strength, all the while weaving scripture into their demonstration.

Here's Little Man waving his glow stick during praise and worship at this event.

Getting ready to break through 20 patio bricks, 10 with each elbow. This was truly amazing!

Lifting a 400+ pound telephone pole.

Inflatables!! (I know these are blurry pictures, but the children wanted me to put them on my blog) :-)

Earlier in the day on Saturday I had a successful buying experience at the homeschool book fair. Here is most of what I bought (most of it for next year), minus our Math U See materials which will be coming in the mail this week. That pile alone will be about 8 inches high!

Spelling, grammar, phonics.

I couldn't resist a few books to include in our current history study, and a couple for next year.

A few new art supplies and a cool new lace-up activity for Little Man to use in his "schooltime" next fall (he asks to "do school" all the time!).

Saturday, March 15, 2008

We love co-op!

Yesterday was our day at homeschool co-op. We love co-op and I'm so thankful for the blessing it is to our family! On Thursday evenings I don't like co-op, because I'm usually up later than I want to be preparing for the day (packing up backpacks and snacks, planning my lessons). But on Fridays I love co-op. I love teaching. I love that we have to get up and be somewhere at a certain time (that's really good practice for homeschoolers). I love that my children are being taught such interesting and educational things. I love that my children are making friends. I love it that I am making friends! There are really so many wonderful people in the world, have you ever thought about that? I used to think that I knew all the best people in the world, and now I know that there are many "best" people I haven't met yet!

The two classes I teach are so much fun. The junior gym class is very high energy of course, and very physical. The drawing class is great because the kids are older and it's delightful to interact with them. I have a helper mom this session who is just as excited to be there as the students are!

Our sons G, L and C are all in one class together called "Magic School Bus", and each week they use a different Magic School Bus book to learn about an aspect of science. Last week it was seeds and they brought home a plastic glove with different seeds "planted" in each of the fingers of the glove, with wet cotton balls to make them sprout. Today we will be transferring the seeds that sprouted to little pots, and later this spring we will transplant them into our garden!
Yesterday in this class they learned about bees and honey. They each brought home a small piece of actual honeycomb, and they quizzed their daddy and me on bee facts all evening long. They love this class! (and I do too! It assuages my guilt that I dropped the ball with our science book this year).

Two of our boys (G and C) are also in a recorder class together, where they are learning to play the recorder. They love this class and I love that they do it at co-op and not at home. :-)

Our daughter G is in a sculpting class that is just fabulous, the Kids of Courage class again (where they learn about christian children who are persecuted for their faith), and my drawing class.

Yesterday after co-op a friend of our daughter G came home with us and spent the rest of the afternoon/evening here. We have been trying to get them together for a playdate since before Christmas, so they were thrilled. G's foot seems to be healing nicely so far. No signs of infection (thanks for asking votemom!). She is still favoring that foot quite a bit, and she says that she "feels it" but it doesn't exactly hurt. There are only one pair of shoes she can wear that don't press on her stitches, so she may look a little "interesting" at church tomorrow.

Today I will be going to an annual homeschool book fair in my area. This is a large book fair, with vendors coming from far away states, and I generally buy a good portion of our curriculum at this fair each year. I will see lots of homeschoolers that I know, so it will be fun!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Blessing Day turned into "Afternoon at the ER"

Shortly after lunch, as we were about to take our little friend back to his house, our daughter fell while doing a handstand and her foot landed on the metal frame of her brother's bed, slicing it open nearly to the bone. There are some pics at the bottom of this post, so if you're squeamish you'll want to avoid them.

Honestly, it looked horrible. There was quite a bit of blood at first, and we saw white inside, which we thought was bone (turned out not to be). I felt afraid but was trying to remain outwardly calm for all the little people. I loaded everyone into the van, returned our little friend to his home, and headed to the pediatric ER about 30 minutes away. Our daughter got a wheelchair ride into the ER from the parking lot, which she thought was pretty cool. We got a room right away where our children (including the injured girl) were soon mesmerized by cartoons on a cable station, something we don't have at home!

Our daughter was such a trooper all afternoon. I am very proud of her. She was slightly disappointed that she only got 3 stitches to show for it. We thought there'd be at least 20! I am so thankful it wasn't worse. We did have a long wait for those 3 stitches (and have to return to the ER to have them removed in 2 weeks. They were adament that we had to return to THEM to take them out) but everyone was well behaved and even Little Man, who was missing his nap, behaved like a perfect little gentleman. By the end, though, everyone was very tired and very hungry.

I predict an easy school day tomorrow with naps in the afternoon. :-) And though I would never wish an injury on any of my children, I am thankful that it happened to one of our kids and not our little friend!

Blessing Day

Yesterday was a good school day. Our son who lives with SPD (sensory processing disorder) had a good day after several really hard ones, so I was very grateful. Daughter G wrote another really good paragraph using the IEW principles. Now that I have a handle on it, I'm so excited to continue using this wonderful writing program! Son G is almost done with his Math U See workbook, and son C is almost done with his "Get Set for the Code" phonics workbook. They always LOVE to finish workbooks! I started reading a new book outloud that everyone is enjoying very much (The Matchlock Gun). We made a big Sam's Club run so now we have lots of food!

We were able to wash some large bedding at the laundromat for our "illegal" friend who is being deported soon. I was happy to do this for her, as I have been unable to help much until now. When I took the bedding to her last night, she was having a hard time getting her 2 year old to settle down to sleep. So I offered to hold the fussy newborn while she laid down with the 2 year old. For about an hour I did my "baby whisperer" thing (that's my nickname in the church nursery!) while she rested. She had had a hard night the night before with hardly any sleep and had a bad headache. Her husband is still sitting in jail, waiting for the necessary paperwork to be completed so they can be officially deported, while she is juggling the demands of two school aged children, a busy 2 year old, and a little newborn not quite one month old who is up several times in the night. Bless her heart! I found out she is just 24 years old. Definitely young enough to be my daughter (yikes!). My motherly instincts took over and I asked if I could stay the night and help her with the baby. She was much relieved. I am so grateful to my husband for giving the gift of his time, so that I could bless this family. It is doubly meaningful as he is working on a huge deadline this week. Thank you honey!

I spent the night last night either holding a precious little new boy, or sleeping on the couch 3 feet from him, or scraping my fingernail along the bottoms of his feet to keep him awake while he nursed in the night (it sounds worse than it is!). He slept very well between feedings and his mother got a solid 2-3 hours of sleep inbetween each one. But I could tell she was still exhausted this morning, so after getting her two older children off to school, I brought her 2 year old home with me for the morning so she could nap.

He has been here nearly two hours and so far it's going very well! He and my 3 year old Little Man are confined to our living room/dining room playing with trains (thank goodness I still have baby gates!) while the rest of us are doing school at the kitchen table. We are having several interruptions, but I explained to the children this morning that this was Blessing Day. We have an opportunity to bless this family and this tired new mama in a small way today, and they are helping play with him and being very kind and gentle. My son with SPD even asked me if he could say the "jail" word to our little friend or if he shouldn't talk about it. I was so proud of him for thinking ahead like that! I love my kids.

If you feel led, please keep this family in your prayers. They are in red tape limbo, with no fixed date for when they will be reunited and able to leave the country together. We are grateful for more time to help this family get packed and ready to leave, but the longer they are here, the longer the father is separated from his family. The wife has such a wonderful attitude though! I am so proud of her, and so grateful to the Lord for helping her come so far in just a few weeks. God is good. All the time.

Monday, March 10, 2008


We are having an awful time adjusting to daylight savings time, anyone else having that problem? It's only an hour, but for some reason our bodies just haven't caught on yet. We allowed ourselves to sleep in today and start school late in the morning. Luxury!!

We had a pretty good day in school today. Not super great, but not super bad. Daughter and I had a WONDERFUL writing lesson. Somehow during late fall/winter I let our IEW (Institute for Excellence in Writing) slide. Ummm, I think it was because I didn't finish watching the dvd's so I had nothing new to teach the kids (insert wry smile here). My friend Laurie went through her IEW notebook with me while we were in Dallas and amazingly, through my sleep deprived fog, something clicked!! (thanks Laurie!) So I re-implemented it today, teaching 2 new dressups, and G wrote a really great paragraph about life on a southern plantation. I was actually kindof blown away by how creative she was at putting her dressups into the paragraph. So that was really encouraging! I now have a plan and a vision for her writing for the rest of the year, and I'm excited about that!

My hair desperately needs to be colored, but I have to wait 3 more weeks. We're talking waaaaay more than the roots now. I actually measured about an inch and a half of gray this morning! Fortunately I have curly hair so it's not quite so noticeable. Also fortunately, I am tall. This is probably a good lesson in humility. Of course, it would show greater humility if I had said nothing, so I'm obviously not there yet. :-)

I hung a Happy Easter yard flag today. It is flapping gently in the breeze above 5 inches of snow. I am so ready for spring!

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Cheap Entertainment

Sitting on the riding mowers at Lowes!

Thursday, March 6, 2008


Our 5 year old son C learned how to whistle last week! This is very exciting because *I* can't even whistle! He is so pleased that he knows how to do something that mommy cannot do.

Little Man kept a dry pullup all day on Tuesday. Today we changed it 3 times.

The spring session of homeschool co-op starts tomorrow. The children are all very excited! I will be continuing the same classes from winter session, junior gym (14 little bodies in that class, including our sons L and C) and drawing (8 delightfully older students in that class, including our oldest!). I found some great new movement activities/games on the internet this week for my junior gym class. Since many of the students are returning I didn't want to do all the same things again. This is one of those times when I love the internet! Modern technology is a wonderful thing.

We had craft night at MOPS last night. I made two really beautiful cards. I can say they are beautiful because I didn't think them up or do any of the cutting beforehand, I just assembled. I think hand stamping cards every so often would be a really fun thing to do with some girlfriends! There were 2 new babies there. Very sweet and precious.

My husband has been working from home almost exclusively for the past 3 weeks. I LOVE this!!!! He is working very hard on a tight deadline, so all the developers agreed to work from home where they will not be interrupted and asked to make fixes on less important programs. They also save lots of commute time. He met another developer (a homeschool dad of 13!) at Panera Bread one day last week when he was having a case of cabin fever and they worked together all day surrounded by freshly baked bread. Since this began he has been on time for dinner almost every night. I am going to really miss him when he goes back to the office in a couple weeks.

As part of history today we used our initial stamps on wet wax for the first time. We bought each of the children their first name initial stamp in Colonial Williamsburg last fall and gave them as stocking stuffers at Christmas. Today we wrote notes for our little red mailbox and sealed them with wet wax and our initial stamps. It was fun, but a bit harder than it looks.

Thursday is our daughter G's day to teach her younger brother C a Bible lesson. She read him the story of Esther and Xerxes today, and then quizzed him quite thoroughly to make sure he had picked up on all the important points! When she was satisfied that he knew the material, they did a craft. She is quite the little teacher!


7 year old son L: "Oh, that is just precious!" (unfortunately I can't remember what he thought was so precious!)
3 year old Little Man (very seriously): "It's strange that Lightning McQueen has a mouth. He's not *supposed* to have a mouth."

Me: Because he's a car?

Little Man: Yes. Cars don't have mouths. (he continued to look at me very seriously for a moment and then flashed me a huge smile. I had to scoop my heart up off the floor where it had melted).

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

The Dallas Adventure, Part 2, Being There

It is hard to describe how wonderful last weekend was in Dallas. I've been trying to think of a way to convey how special and rich it was, and the only way I can describe it is to say that I truly believe it was a very small slice of heaven. I was only there for 22 hours (and 5 of those I was sleeping!) but I came away so spiritually refreshed and emotionally full.

This is a group of ladies that I have grown very close to over the internet through the Tapestry of Grace yahoo group. Some of them have been on-line friends (and even real life friends) for many years. My own participation in this group of women has been less than 2 years, but we have truly bonded through so many life experiences and through praying for one another. We do a cookbook each year, have secret sisters at Christmas time each year, and these things really help us to know and love one another. Some of the women in this group have become especially good on-line friends to me, emailing privately on a frequent basis and even talking on the phone.

I am so blessed to have a strong support network of real life friends and relatives, and also a "virtual" support system of homeschooling moms. Truly these are among the richest blessings in my life, and I am so grateful to God's goodness in giving them to me!

The tone of the weekend was so loving, warm, accepting, welcoming. It was like we had known and loved each other for a long time but had just never seen each other's faces. Which, in fact, is exactly true! Another thing I appreciated so much was that the focus truly was on the Lord. HIS goodness, HIS leading in our families and our homeschools, the ways He has used us in each other's lives for HIS glory. We were reminded so eloquently by Corrine that this was not about us at all. It was all about HIM.

We had such a glorious time of praise and worship on Sunday afternoon. As I listened to all the women's voices raised in praise to God, I felt bathed in God's presence and just overcome with gratitude for allowing me to be there. To be physically present in that moment was such a gift. I found myself just mouthing "thank you Lord" over and over and over.

Though the focus was most definitely on the Lord, we did have a special little something planned for our beloved leader, Dody. Dody started this yahoo group 5 years ago with about 4 other families and now there are over 1400 families represented! She has ably moderated the group since its inception, and recently God has directed her focus elsewhere and she had announced to us that she was stepping down as moderator and passing the torch to our new leader, Mel. Mel is an absolute sweetie (I just felt so drawn to her) and I know she will do a fabulous job. So Mel and the other assistant moderators hatched a plan to "bless Dody's socks off". They even created a new yahoo group for everyone in the original group EXCEPT Dody, called (appropriately) the "bless Dody's socks off yahoo group". On this yahoo group we began planning ways to bless Dody and say thank you for her years of service and sacrifice to us.

We did manage (barely!) to pull this off and it was a complete surprise to Dody. After our worship time on Sunday, we sat Dody down in the middle of the room and began blessing her. Here she is opening her first blessing, a new GPS unit for her car! She has begun a new business as a realtor in a pretty remote area, so the GPS will be extremely helpful to her!

Then we got a little more personal. Months ago we had begun sending in pieces of fabric to Laurie, who is a wonderful quilter. Laurie put her life on hold for about 2 or 3 weeks in order to make this beautiful wall hanging quilt for Dody, with scraps of fabric from dozens and dozens of women. Corrine also worked on the quilt with Laurie, and here they are presenting it to Dody. Corrine is on the left, Laurie is on the right.

She was also given two beautiful scrapbooks (which I did not get photos of), one full of personal pages from all of us (these are the pages I stayed up until 12:30 a.m. finishing the night before I left), and the other full of signature blocks made from scraps of fabric that each lady had sent in, along with the story behind why that fabric was chosen. These are beautiful, beautiful scrapbooks! I wish you could see them!

So after all the gifts had been given, Dody's socks did indeed get blessed right off!!

I was so privileged to meet so many funny, smart, humble, godly, and amazing women. Here I am with just a few of them. Oh, and when you see us with leis around our necks, these were made and given to us by our new moderator, Mel, who lives in Hawaii!

Me and Dody.

Me and Beth (the only woman I had met once before!).

Me and Karla.

Me and Laurie.

This last photo is a picture of me with my friend Marsha. I have written about Marsha before on my blog (I encourage you to read that post here.) Because of the way we have bonded and loved each other from a distance all these months, I was anticipating finally meeting her face to face with much excitement! It was a joyous moment when I could finally put my arms around her and hug her like I have wanted to do so many times. She is a very special lady, and I am so grateful for the opportunity to meet her!
God is good! I came home with fresh encouragement to keep pouring myself out for my family and friends. God gives abundantly, MORE than we need (see Luke 9:12-17 to read it for yourself!), and what I pour out on a daily basis does not have to be conjured up by me, for God gives to me so that I can give to others. Once again, it's all about God.
There is already talk of another get together, and I'd love to attend that one also. But I'm not sure I will attempt to fly standby. :-)