Monday, August 30, 2010

Ho Hum

We are chugging right along in homeschool, albeit it's a slow, jerky kind of chug.  2 of the new books I ordered already got here, the rest are due today.  This, I think, will make our days a bit more organized.  I researched the books we would need from the library and hit that today.  Check!  Bought more milk for my sweet boy who now adores milk.  Check!  New tire and inner tube for Jack's bike (which as he will kindly inform you or anyone else in a mile vicinity that he's not been able to ride for OVER 8 WEEKS - the horror.)Check!  I felt downright productive this morning.  And then we came home.  And all steam that I thought I had ran clear out of me.  If you find it let me know, cause I'm gonna need it.  After some soup for lunch I found myself lying down for not one, but two naps.  Ok so I really didn't nap, but it was awfully nice to have to lie down with Ryan first and then Will later:)  I may, or may not, have kindof sortof dozed during the latter of the two naps.  But only for a minute. I swear.  So, we regrouped.  Circled the wagons.  Whatever other turns of phrases you might care to insert here...I got my crap together and we met back up at the table.  I with my Diet Dr. Pepper, they with their water, cause no Jack, life is not fair and yes caffeine will stunt your growth (wink, wink nudge, nudge if you see my kid and he asks just agree with his parents on this one, pretty please.)  We got through LA, Math, History and a lively discussion on why the Spaniards might knowingly lie about finding cities of gold. Any help with that last one would be greatly appreciated. 
Ok, off to drop Jack off at golf, swing by Wal-Mart, pick Jack back up and eat some dinner.  I know I'm tired - how 'bout y'all?

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Catch Up

We are into our 3rd week of homeschool and yet again change is in the air.  This is sadly a post w/o pics, as I am writing on the fly, headed out to celebrate my sweet friend Kimberly's bday!  Yeah for a girls night, but boo for not time left in the day to do this:(  Oh well.  So here's the low down:  I bit the bullet and ordered some books that we really needed to proceed with school. I felt a huge weight lifted once I placed those orders, really knowing that we are doing this.  We went with MCP math for both, Truthquest History for both, and then I picked up Learning Language Arts through Literature for EK (I had bought one used for Jack a while back,) and then also got some various books for nature study and science.  I'm really amped because this will simplify alot of things for me and hopefully make school a bit smoother for all involved!
Ryan is still scooting around and is starting to try and pull up on things.  He is finally drinking his milk so we're completely off formula now!  And thank goodness for that - saves us about 20 bucks every week and a half!
He's really doing great eating "real" food - loves pasta, mac-n-cheese, peas, and mango:)  I still get tickled when he and Will are in the bath together - I think he might outgrow his big brother sooner rather than later! 
Will is still a handful, but our consistency seems to be paying off.  He can be quite a pill with his siblings, pinching and hitting when things don't go his way, but he seems to just be so dang frustrated that they won't HEAR him.  We'll just keep on fighting the good fight:)
Ella-Kathryn and Jack got to go to Silver Dollar City with their friends and they had a blast! It was such a nice treat for them.  Of course it wouldn't be a day if one of the kids didn't make me blush.  Apparently, when they were all in the Marvel cave, EK told her friend that it was "cold as hell" in there!  All of the kids just stood there, not sure what to do or say, until the friend of the older brother asked Kimberly what they should do about that?  She asked do about what, to which the big bro told her what EK had said.  Thank goodness my sweet friend can take this kind of think in stride and merely turned to EK and told her that we probably shouldn't say things like that!  Of course, EK quickly turned and placed the blame on her big brother saying that Jack had taught her that!  Oh dear :) 
So, there you have it - another exciting update on our crew!  I've got more pics to post, so hopefully I'll find some time tomorrow to get that taken care of. 

Sunday, August 15, 2010

August Birthdays

August is chock-ful of birthdays around here.  Ryan's is the 5th, my mil's is the 11th, Jeff's the 13th, Ella-Kathryn's the 15th, and my dad's is coming up!  So, we do alot of celebrating:)  This week alone we've gone out to dinner, hosted a BBQ and then EK's friend party.  Whew!  But it's been such a sweet time - experiencing the celebration of Ryan's first birthday was truly amazing.  As I've said before, looking back to his rocky start makes the birthday all the sweeter.  And, my baby girl is 6!  Oh man alive - that one is a hard pill to swallow.  She wants a sister so bad, and I will NEVER be done having babies, except that my husband is SO done, so we're at a bit of a crossroads.  I still have a heart to adopt (no more biologicals for us thanks so modern medicine:)) and Jeff most certainly says no.  When explaining this to my daughter, I made the mistake of telling her that only God could change daddy's heart, soften it to the idea of adoption.  So, every night now she prays,"Dear God, please soften daddy's heart so we can have a brown baby girl."  Oh my goodness - I am hoping God answers this one!  But, this will be a great lesson in spiritual discipline (praying,) obedience (for when He gives us an answer,) and understanding (because I don't foresee Jeff's heart changing on this one!) 
In the meantime, we are in the throes of some major sin-exposure.  Homeschooling and the intimacy of relationship that occurs in this new "all-kids all-the -time" environment has brought to light some glaring heart issues, for them and me!  I am trying to embrace this:)  God has given us the time together so let's use it well!  If that means skipping a math page in favor of addressing the sin, then I'm all for it.  But, as you all well know, dealing with sin is rarely easy.  Not often is it just, let's sit down and talk about it, read some scripture, pray and ta-da, you're fixed!  Tempting to handle it that way, but I've not had success with the hit-it-and-quit method.
So there you are - a quick update of us.  The pics are from the parties - Ryan got his cake Fri night - loved it!  EK had a great time at her party too:)  Sweet girlfriends and thoughtful gifts - hope they stay friends forever!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

I'm Full of It

What in the world is going on with me?  Is this the 3rd post in 24 hours?  Good gravy y'all.  Well, here it is.  I"m full of it.  Now, now Karen, not that "it".  I'm full of, well, Him.  There has been this tide of His mercy in my life over the past 2 weeks.  Coming home from FL and leading up to homeschooling - in between, conversations of moving, talks with dear friends who will apparently miss me (who knew I was miss-able;) pulls to join or not join a bible study; struggles over discernment for being a godly wife and speaking what I believed to be truth (or did I just want to be right?); fighting my sin of wanting to control my children rather than instruct and lead them; not falling on my knees in humility to ask for grace and direction instead of clawing my way through the day desperate for the rest that only quiet time with His Word can provide; and really just miserable for Him.  Looking back over the past few years, it is with wonderment that I can see how He drew me up from the desolate pit out of the miry bog and set my feet upon a rock making my steps secure.  He put a new song in my mouth a song of praise to our God.[ Psalm 40:2]  It is also heartbreaking to acknowledge that even with this miracle, in my sinfulness I find myself inching back towards that pit.  No matter how clearly I see the miry bog and know its darkness, there is in the Christian walk a point of exhaustion I think that comes sometimes in the constantly seeking after Him.  A weariness that can be overcome quite efficiently by following that same route - seek after Him.  Yet, in that moment of choice, the hole seems so easy.  Just step over the edge and fall.  And so it is with renewed humility that I hold on to the hem and find myself hanging back over the side of the pit, legs dangling, heaving in the effort to do my share this time so that He didn't  have to pull me out entirely on his own strength - ha!  That's a good one.  As if I somehow helped Him drag me up and over!  Nevertheless, here I am.  Hope renewed and desperate for Him.  The new week holds promise.  Fresh starts.  Grace and mercy all around!  Praying that your week too is full of fresh starts, even if you're no where near a pit:)

Oh Happiness

*****NOTE:  Pause the playlist player at the bottom******
I LOVE this song.  I love the David Crowder Band - they're different, thoughtful, inventive, awesome:)  My kids are mildly addicted to this song - Jack says they rock out to it at HWY34, which is his "Sunday school."  We rock out to it in the car, at home, everywhere!  And the "message" is so simple, but amazing - His grace is enough for us, and the whole human race.  It's an incredible free gift; one that shouldn't be taken for granted.  Hope you enjoy - and hope that it gets stuck in your craw like it does mine!

What Was I thinking...and other questions that will keep me up tonight

Today was our first official day of homeschool.  Ummm.  Yeah.  So I think the best thing I can say about today is that not one child in our family was harmed, physically, psychologically (at least we won't know on that one til much later in their lives,) or otherwise.  One dog was yelled at excessively, but honestly that's really nothing new.  I rolled my eyes to the heavens in a dire plea for patience and hope approximately 227 times and that is the exact number of times my prayer was answered, albeit temporarily!
So, we did have some good moments.  Jack enjoyed the on-line math, although his joy quickly evaporated when he realized that there were indeed more than 2 problems to the activity.  Ella-Kathyrn made us all laugh when in attempting to write the numbers starting at 20 in decreasing order , or as I so poorly explained "backwards," she promptly, in Amelia Bedelia fashion, began "02, 91, 81"etc!  Poor girl, she really was quite confused, but once I sat down with her, she breezed right through it:)  Will thought today would be the absolute best day ever to not be happy about anything.  At all.  There was much back and forth from his bed to diffuse the meltdown,s so I know that tomorrow I will need to have more out for him instead of just telling him to go find something to do.  Ryan did quite well, scooting about from room to room.  His recent mobility has eased his separation anxiety for the most part, while it has increased the need for my attention to him as he has also discovered that lamp cords ease teething pain.  Oh dear! 
I was up past midnight last night fretting about today.  All day I felt on the brink of tears.  Yet, at the end of the day, I still believe that this is the right choice for our family.
It is now Sunday afternoon and I need to add on to this post.  I prayed every night last week for the Lord's guidance.  I truly felt that the way we were doing school was not right for our family.  Math was taking too long.  I was frustrated trying to meet each child where they were in their lessons etc.  Remembering back to when we first started looking into homeschool, I was struck by Charlotte Mason and her methodology.  We probably won't do the whole shebang, but pretty close.  The main idea is spending more time reading and narrating, rather than doing workbooks, and formal lessons.  Establishing good daily habits, memorization, and reading are key components.  We will scale back math to 10-20 min. blocks, rather than 30+.  This alone will probably save my soul!  The kids can draw, play with Legos, or something like that while I read to them, but Will can participate in this too.  We're taking a field trip down to the Dickson Street Book Shop, one of my all time favorite haunts in Fayetteville, to gather up some more books.  I've been talking this place up all weekend hoping that the kiddos will be excited to go - not sure it's working!  Keep your fingers crossed that we can find the rest of the books we need and we'll keep you posted on our progress this week.

Friday, August 6, 2010

One Year

It's truly amazing what a single year can bring.  This time last year we were anxious and worried as our newly born son had been whisked off the NICU after an emergency c-section the night before.  Jeff and I were talking about how in some ways it is so difficult to remember sitting next to Ryan's NICU bed day after day, pleading with God for grace and mercy for this child.  On the other hand, there are moments when those emotions punch you in the gut.  The intensity of the fear and helplessness truly stop you in your tracks, causing you to suck in your breath.  We could of have lost him.  I asked Jeff, "was it really as serious as I made it you to be?  Was I overly concerned?"  He said no.  In fact we probably will never truly understand just how sick he was - his Dr.'s hardly knew what kind of infection he had.  But this story has a happy ending.  He is totally fine!  As the pics show, healthy and happy.  So here's a run down of who Ryan is at the end of his first year:
  • you still love Praise Baby!  And thank goodness for that since it will occupy your attention for a bit while we try to get some things done. 
  • while I don't know your exact weight, you are definitely a healthy boy! 
  • it was difficult for me to not breastfeed you, but there have been some definite pluses to formula - anyone could feed you, and of course see above point:)
  • in spite of a mother who fretted over every milestone (would there be delays?) you reached each one in your own time, which was pretty much right on track anyway
  • you hate to be on your tummy - really not a fan - and thus the "scootch" was born: you don't crawl, you scoot in a sitting position, all over the place!  You're actually pretty quick too, and it's funny to look down and see you at my feet when you were just in another room:)
  • you have 2 bottom teeth and the one on top is pretty much in too
  • you are just now beginning to enjoy chunkier foods - after the great vomiting all over mommy incident of 2010 in Chick-fil-A, this is a great relief!
  • you enjoy the water - pool, ocean, bath - again, after a period in which you screamed bloody murder anytime you were in the water, this is greatly appreciated and made our summer much more pleasant!  You splash and squeal.  Even the salt water didn't bother you. 
  • you love your brothers and sister, but aren't afraid to fight back if they annoy you:) 
  • you wear a size 4 diaper and 18mo clothes, although it depends on the fit
  • you love your dogs and don't mind getting up close and personal with them, letting them lick your hands, face etc.  You do mind mommy coming along behind this activity to disinfect you!
  • you have a ton of hair, have already had 2 haircuts the most recent was the day before you turned one - we cut off all of your curls but I'm certain we'll see them again soon!
  • you did experience some pretty intense separation anxiety from mommy, but now that you're moving, that seems to have passed - and not a moment too soon!
There is so much more to who you are now, but enough for now.  You are loved, and we are grateful for your life!