Saturday, May 10, 2014

Confession: I Might Be A Little Lazy...Sometimes...

We were at the beach this weekend for a wedding and two of our kiddos had pretty major falls. Jaidyn fell off of a picnic table bench right on her head. The sound that was made when her head hit the ground was quite nauseating...like a melon falling on the ground and cracking open. She was apparently fine though. She cried pretty hard for a few minutes and then wanted me to put her down so she could get back up on the bench. Caleb also had a nasty fall that I really expected teeth to be missing afterward. Poor kid...we were heading back to the car from the beach and he stepped off the edge of the sidewalk, lost his balance, and with his towel wrapped around him like a burrito he could't catch himself from falling and his chin met the sidewalk with yet another melon cracking sound. Geez Louise! It's been enough to make me want to somehow strap all three of them in my ergo baby and permanently attach them to myself.
Now let me back up a second and say that I am by no means a "helicopter parent." I very much believe in giving my kids space to learn and explore and kind of figure out things without me hovering over them. Like Miss Frizzle from the Magic School Bus says, "Take chances. Make mistakes. Get messy." I would say that's kind of our mantra. But I'm laying in bed tonite thinking about my kiddos, trying not to worry about them making it to their next birthdays. I know it's a mom thing. Once you have kids you never stop worrying about them.  I don't worry as much about my eldest because she is an overly cautious individual, but my son is very accident prone, and my youngest is a wanderer. I have lost her more than once I hate to admit.
I am mulling through in my head about trusting God for the safety of our children He has blessed us with and trusting our kids with the their own abilities.  But then there's this thought of...what if I am just lazy sometimes? Now, in my defense, taking three young children to the beach or the pool or the playground can be an exhausting task. I'm not complaining. I love taking my children places. I love them being with me. But that doesn't make it any less exhausting. And with each child I have had I am positive I have lost brain cells. My mind just doesn't work the way it used to. I'm thinking it may come back eventually. I'm hoping... So I feel overwhelmingly scatterbrained at times. But am I lazy sometimes? I have to confess that I think I am. I guess this is another one of those balancing acts as a parent...trying to find the balance between me hovering over them and protecting them from every little boo-boo that may come their way and me sitting back and letting them just totally do their own thing.
I know, or I think, this gets easier the older they get. I believe two of the most important things you can teach your child right out of the womb are obedience and self-control. If they can get a grasp on those two things they will be able to handle freedoms and responsibilities a lot easier, they will be able to adapt to new surroundings a lot easier, and they will just be a joy to be around. It takes time and a lot of energy to instill these in them but it is worth it. All that to say, our children are a work in progress. I am a work in progress. I am still learning obedience and self-control. Obedience in things like putting God first in my life, disciplining my children, and being content with what God has given me. Self-control in things like spending, and my thoughts, and my tongue. 
I have no intentions of becoming a "helicopter mom" when my kids get up in the morning, but I am going to work on being a better protector and guide to them. That's my job...or at least two of my jobs. I am going to give my worries for their safety over to God and trust Him because He is our Protector and our Guide, our Jehovah-Raah (The Lord is my Shepherd.) I am going to be thankful for the grace He extends to me in my shortcomings and be gracious to my children in theirs. And maybe I'll go do a few sudoku puzzles in an effort to boost brain cell power. But for now, at 3am...I'm going to bed!


I just love my little family!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

The Balancing Act

So our family just got over a stomach bug...yeah... It actually was not as terrible as ones we've had in the past. So far Hailey is the only one that has not gotten it and hopefully it will stay that way.
With the time I've had away from schooling the last couple of days I've really had a chance to sit back and mull over how homeschooling is going for us.

In the homeschooling community, I feel like there are two extremes. On one end you have the idea that homeschooling should look and feel exactly like a regular school with the pledge of allegiance, seat work, and so on. On the other end you have the "unschooling" philosophy which essentially is strictly interest-based learning...throw the curriculum out the window and see where the day takes you. I'm trying to figure out where the pendulum falls for us as a family. The last several weeks I have really struggled with balance. Most of life is a balancing act so homeschooling really isn't any different.

Fortunately, with homeschooling, you can kind of make it look like what you want it to look like. Initially I would say if traditional school at home were 0 and "unschooling" were 10, I would land somewhere around 7. I like the idea of interest-based learning. It makes
sense and I think it works with our personalities and the phase of life we are in. However, I need structure. I need a lesson plan for the day. I need curriculum. I like being creative but I do need an idea of what to teach the kids. I also need an idea of what the day is going to look like. We have always worked off of a schedule and it's what our kids are used to...and it works for us.
That being said, I need to figure out how to make this work. Seriously. It's not that it isn't working for me at all. Some days are great. I feel like we accomplished things. Other days...not so much.

I've done quite a bit of research and here are some things I am working on right now to try to make this work better...
-Establishing a rhythm- I know that the times homeschooling has worked the best for us have been when we had a rhythm to the day. Not necessarily a schedule...just a rhythm. This is a struggle for the phase of life we are in with an almost 2-year-old (enough said!) But I do know it is very important for me and the kids to have some consistencies to our days.
-Planning, Planning, Planning- I really need to do a better job of reviewing the curriculum a couple of weeks ahead of time. If I know what is coming up I can do a better job of  "going with the flow." I'm a big picture person so if I know what the big picture is I can plan our days and weeks around what we are to learn- I say we because I have actually learned a lot this year =)
-Incorporating the younger two- (Instead of just trying to preoccupy them) Some days this is easier, some days not so much. Most days Caleb just wants to go outside and play (Me too, me too!)) and Jaidyn usually just likes to destroy things =) But I know it is doable. So if I plan better I can plan things that all three can do. Yesterday I worked with Hailey on math using unifix cubes. Caleb and Jaidyn started off counting with us but then Caleb started making a race track with them and Jaidyn took some and started stacking them over and over again. So it was a win for today. I need to try to incorporate them in at least one activity a day.

This past week has been off for us because of sickness, but I hope to start implementing these things in the weeks to come. I keep reminding myself that this is a phase. The ages our kids are now are fun ages, but they have their challenges and it will (hopefully) get easier as they get a little older. I think the important thing for me to remember is my kids are a gift and the ability to homeschool them is a gift and and I need to cherish them and daily ask God to help me walk through that day with love and grace and wisdom. And take one day at a time...


Monday, August 19, 2013

A letter to my firstborn on your first day of Kindergarten:

This morning my beautiful baby girl will start Kindergarten. Where has the time gone? It seems like just yesterday we were meeting you in the hospital for the first time. I think back to when it was just me and you and Daddy and we would pick "wowies" together and eat "molt and mutties" for breakfast and watch "meemos" in Mommy and Daddy's bed together.
I know you have told me at times that you really want to go to school. And to be honest, sometimes, as a mom, I feel guilty that you won't get to do a Kindergarten graduation and you won't get to do class field trips and you won't get to do stations and have art class and all the other fun things that go along with "going" to school.
But, I want you to know that Mommy and Daddy have prayed very hard about this and we really feel like homeschooling is what God has for you and for our family right now and, honestly, I am excited about it! I am looking forward to spending time with you. Time...it's a precious commodity these days. And I am looking forward to seeing each milestone you pass. I am looking forward to taking you and your brother and sister on field trips. I am looking forward to seeing how your relationship with them grows. I am looking forward to getting up in the morning and seeing what new adventures the day holds.
I know you are nervous about learning to read. Don't be. You will be a great reader. You are already an avid storyteller and I look forward to you learning how to put your stories on paper. You are going to learn so much this year and you are really going to do great. Your Mommy and Daddy believe in you. Trust God to carry you through the days that are hard. Look for beauty in the things around you. Be positive. Be confident in who God has made you. Know that your Mommy and daddy are praying for you on a daily basis. We love you so very much and we know that God has a special plan for your life.

Love,
Your BIGGEST fan 
Mom

"And I am sure that God, who began the good work in you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on that day when Christ Jesus comes back again." Philippians 1:6
"For God is working in you, giving you the desire to obey him and the power to do what pleases him." Philippians 2:13
"Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. If you do this, you will experience God's peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can comprehend. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:6-7

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Rudder!...

Our community group this past year was a pretty close group. Close...and talkative. Through the course of the year, we came up with a system for bringing us back into focus or bringing us back to the topic at hand when we would inevitably hop on the rabbit trail. I cannot remember this signal's origin, but whenever we veered too far off the main track someone would put their hand vertically on their forehead as if splitting it in half and say, "RUDDER!" This, of course, symbolized a ship's rudder and how the rudder is what keeps the ship going in the right direction. We used this signal many, many times.

As I was having my quiet time this morning, I was just thanking God for how He has always provided for us and was asking Him to give our family direction and I felt Him whisper to me,

"Let me be the rudder of your heart." 

I love the Psalms and I have been reading through them lately and time and time again God has told me through His Word that He is our hope. That He gives direction to those who follow Him.

"Psalm 39:7 "And so, Lord, where do I put my hope? My only hope is in you."

Psalm 37:23-24 "The steps of the godly are directed by the Lord. He delights (He DELIGHTS!) in every detail of our lives. Though they stumble, they will not fall, for the Lord holds them by the hand."
 (When I read this verse, I envision Jaidyn toddling around. She is doing well walking, but she still gets off balance and ahead of herself sometimes so I hold her hand, and that keeps her from falling over when she stumbles.)


Psalm 32: 7-8 "For you are my hiding place; you protect me from trouble. You surround me with songs of victory. The Lord says, 'I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you.'"

Psalm 37:4-5 "Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you your heart's desires. Commit everything you do to the Lord. Trust Him and He will help you."  
(A good friend of ours explained this passage that God does not give us everything our heart desires, but rather He changes our heart so that it matches His desires. So that He literally gives us our heart's desires.)


What comfort we have in knowing that He delights in the details...in the small things...and big things in our lives. He cares for us, and if we allow Him to direct us...allow Him to be our rudder...we need not worry about what tomorrow holds. So when my heart gets anxious. When I find myself on the rabbit trails of fear and doubt and confusion, I can mentally, and sometimes if necessary...physically, put my hand on my forehead and shout, "RUDDER!"

Saturday, August 3, 2013

We Can't Go Today...


Last Saturday I had a wedding to do and Randy was going to help me so my mom came over to stay with the kids for a little while. She told me about the conversation she and Caleb had about the Evangecube we have and it went something like this...
   
     Caleb: "Mimi, this is Jesus dying on the cross."
     Mom: " It sure is."
     Caleb: "When was that?"
     Mom: "It was a long time ago."
     Caleb: "...I sure do miss him..."
     Mom: "Yeah?"
     Caleb: "Do you think we could go see him?"
     Mom: "Well, probably not today."
     Caleb: "Oh, dat's right. Daddy's got the car."

   LOL

And then one day last week he and I were sitting outside right after nap time, just the two of us and we had this conversation...

     Me: "Hey buddy. I just love you so much."
     Caleb: "Why?" (We are in the "Why Phase." Good times.)
     Me: "Because you are my boy."
     Caleb: He looks up at me with the expression on his face in the picture above and says...
   "And, cuz I'm cute!"

This boy is cute and he knows it!


Saturday, March 16, 2013

Poor Third Child

I haven't blogged in...forever. I happened to hop on tonite and scrolled through my blog and realized my poor third child has not made an appearance yet. I will blog about her birth...eventually. I will blog about Christmas...and Hailey's birthday...and our snow day this year...eventually. But for right now, all I have in me is to introduce my sweet, spunky little third child, Jaidyn Grace.




Sunday, November 4, 2012

Day 4: Beauty For Ashes




  A little over a year ago we welcomed these two sweet boys into our family. Today is Orphan Sunday and I am thankful to have Christian Abiti Somers and Joash Negalegn Somers as my nephews. These sweet boys and their story have touched my heart and so many others around them.
  I am so thankful to have been able to witness God miraculously changing lives and turning ashes to beauty and sorrow to joy. Their parents, Shane and Summer (my husband's sister and her husband) struggled through infertility for years and wanted so badly to be parents and to have little ones to love on and God brought these two precious little boys into their lives and then as a bonus blessing he gave them a sweet baby girl, Avalyn Makeda Somers, that Summer delivered in April. God is still working miracles. God does care for the orphans.
  The Bible tells us that true religion is caring for the widows and orphans and I am so thankful that Shane and Summer answered that call and that we are able to be a part of these little guys' lives..



BTW...I will not be posting for the next couple of days. Randy and I are going out of town for a few days and I don't know that I will have internet access.