Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Didn't Really Intend to Take a Break

Pin It Well, I didn't PLAN to take a blogging break, but it appears that I have.  I have a bunch of half-written blog posts that I need to finish and will ... eventually.  Right now though, I'm personally feeling quite yucky and lazy.  I was actually looking outside earlier and just hoping for a thunderstorm because it seems appropriate for my mood.

While I'm sitting around being all BLAH though, the Lord is doing great things.  Great indeed.

Josh and Jessica's story ... Parker, Daniel, and Josslyn's Story ... The Story the Lord Wrote ...

Just go read.  They'll be seeing their children for the first time VERY soon.  How awesome to have been able to follow this from the very beginning.  How awesome to see the effect that it has had on my children.  (Um, that would be one of the half-written posts.  More to come on that.)  I can't wait to see the ways the Lord continues this, like the ripples on a pond when a rock is thrown in.

And so that's it.  Nothing to see here, but tons of stuff to see over there

I'll catch up again soon.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

A Bunch of Stuff

Pin It 1.  My mom should have her final chemo treatment today.  Please pray that she is healthy enough to receive it and will make it through it with no complications.  This round has been incredibly hard on her and we will all be happy when it is DONE.

2.  Today is my husband's birthday.  He is 49.  I don't think I'm old enough to be married to someone who is 49.  I was a child bride.  Or not.

3.  My friend Jessica is leaving in a few days to visit the children she will be adopting!  It is so exciting to just see this all come together.  I cannot wait to see those three little darlings!  Pray for Jessica, and her husband and kids during the travel process.  I think the three kids will be home in about a month! 

4.  I won a blog giveaway that I absolutely love and had to share it with y'all!

Pardon the weird angle photography.  I didn't realize how weird it really was until I uploaded the pics.  You can still see how gorgeous it is!  It matches my kitchen perfectly and looks so great on our wall.  I. LOVE. IT.
Oh?  You'd like to know where it came from?  I'll be GLAD to share!
It's from an Etsy shop - Fa Sew La Stitches!  She has so many cute things in there!  Click on over and see!

5.  I've had a couple of giveaways of gift cards from CSN Stores over the past few months, but just recently ordered from them for the first time.  It was time for a new car seat for the little one.  I searched all over comparing prices, and they had the seat that we wanted for the best price.  I ordered on a Tuesday, chose free standard shipping, and had it installed in my car by Friday!  Awesome!  I will be ordering from them again.  (Oh - and by the way - if you ask a five year old his opinion regarding his new car seat, he will study them very closely and then choose the one that has TWO cup holders rather than just one.  And if his friend's seat is red, red will be the only color that he will consider.  So we had to search for a red car seat with two cup holders.)

Okay, I think that's it.  Oh - neither Fa Sew La Stitches or CSN Stores requested that I tell you about their fabulous products.  I just did because I thought you should know!  :)

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

This HAD to be shared.

Pin It I had a post written for today but after reading one on another blog yesterday, had to postpone mine so I could share this one. 

Y'all know I how I love me some Ann Voskamp.  I just love her perspective on life and am constantly challenged when reading her blog to look for the beauty in the ordinary. 

This post from yesterday really spoke to me.  Screamed at me, really.

I just can't even put into words.  Looking at my own 12 year old who is just so grown up ...

The days are numbered. 

I don't want to miss a one.

Now go read Ann's post if you haven't already.  Then realize that the days are indeed numbered, and go enjoy every single one of them.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Gratitude Journal

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161.  Just for spring.  I love spring!

162.  Blooming azaleas.  I know they don't last very long, but they sure are pretty when they're all blooming.

163.  For five year old little boys who are very much cuddle-bugs.

164.  (Trying to make a positive here ...)  For being given AMPLE opportunity to teach a child what it means to keep her behavior above reproach.

165.  And for getting to see her heart and learn what is important to her, as we've had some pretty heavy discussions lately.

166.  For a fun date night and for the super yummy food from Pappadeaux.

167.  For seeing the light at the end of the tunnel for this school year and for the motivation that the light brings even when it's still a ways off.  This is the most difficult time of the year for me and school because I am ready to be DONE after spring break.  Usually we're doing the Christmas lessons at this time, so at least this year we're on track and I can actually see that light, no matter how far off it is!

168.  For other mamas who share my desire to raise godly kids and are willing to do hard things to reach that goal.

169.  For unexpected laughter from the mouths of babes.  The little one greeted the mailman the other day with "Hi Mr. Mailman!  My dog hates you!"  Thankfully the mailman has a sense of humor!

170.  For grace and forgiveness, both to give and to receive.

I will be linking up with A Holy Experience today.  Hop on over to read the lists of other people.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Week In Review

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Ahh ... the Weekly Wrap Up, which at this point is more a monthly wrap up because I have been negligent!  School has been kind of on the back burner lately.  We're getting our work done, but there have been so many extra things going on that life hasn't felt like it's revolved around school the last few weeks.  I have to say (or shout!) THIS HAS BEEN NICE!

We're back in the usual swing of things now I think, and on the final rush to get it all done to end by the end of May.  We'll see if that actually happens or not, but as of now, we're on schedule.  We've finished week 25 (WOOT, that means ten to go!) and lesson 125 in the numbered classes (WOOT, that means 35-ish to go!  They average about 160 lessons.)  We don't stop math for the summer, but English, reading, science, history get a nice break.

So ... this week?  We're still in Rome.  We are enjoying Rome.  We learned all about Hannibal and about how Rome got so big and powerful.  (And I would not be a good mom of multiple children if I didn't point out that Rome's strength lied in WORKING TOGETHER and not FIGHTING AMONGST THEMSELVES.) 

We are talking about Galen in science and I think we're all enjoying learning about the beginning of medicine.

This is all relating to the oldest as she is reading The Mark of the Lion series by Francine Rivers.  (These are my favorite fiction books E.V.E.R. - because there is super extra emphasis if I put a period behind every letter!)  She is learning about the Roman culture and reading about it at the same time, and the second book follows a doctor so it's extra exposure for her.  Don't tell her, okay?

Let's see ... for extra this week, and to enjoy St. Patrick's Day, we wrote a few limericks.

This one was a collaboration:
In our backyard we have a tree
Around it flies a big bee
One day I got stung
That bee, it got flung
And then I came in to pee.

This one was from the middle one:
I had a pet lizard named Scurry
I caught him one day in a hurry
I fed him bugs
He didn't like hugs
When he died, my eyes were quite blurry

And this one was from the oldest:  (she was not having a happy day that day, can you tell?)
I'll always be behind the fence
It's true my life seems so dense
I used to be free
Happy as could be
But now I'm trapped and intense
(We don't lock her in, if you were wondering!  She was referring to the neighbor's dog.)

And so that's it for our week!  I'll be linking up with Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers today.  Hop on over to see some more weekly wrap-ups!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

The Mom Heart Conference Part 2

Pin It Do you ever have great plans to do one thing or another and then get distracted by 476 things that need to be done, or just plain ole' regular distractions (um ... facebook, anyone?) and then realize that ninety minutes have gone by?  Um, yeah.  Me too.

Another topic that was brought up at the conference was to be intentional in our lives.  To me, this is saying "hey ... don't sit around and waste your time (on facebook or whatever) when it would be so much more preferable to set out with a plan and to do it.

If I am intentional with my time for myself - I get up early (which I usually do anyway, at least when I'm not tryign to recover from daylight savings time.  HATE time changes!) and plan to do my devotion or Bible study, or even to just sit in the quiet and take a few minutes for myself, then I'm in a much better frame of mind to start my day.

If I am intentional about loving my children - I KNOW the middle one needs some specific encouragement from me, and I KNOW the little one needs lots of hugs and snuggles to get his day started, and I KNOW the oldest one needs me to tell her to put her phone away (okay, probably not the point ...) and I intentionally set out to do these things, then maybe they will be in a much better frame of mind to start their days too.

This part of the conference really spoke to me about my mornings.  Mornings around here approximate chaos.  This one wants to eat, this one also wants to eat, but something totally different, this one needs to be dragged out of bed but then hits the ground running, this one gets out of bed easily but needs to be cuddled for a while, this one will sneak in and turn the TV on given half a chance, and this one starts pleading to have the day off of schoolwork.  Oh, and somebody usually needs to go somewhere and the dishes probably need to be done.  This does not make for a pleasant morning experience for anyone.

The thing is - it's the same every morning, and every morning feels like putting out a bunch of fires.  Why??  We all know what everyone needs and expects.  Maybe if we all awake expecting to intentionally meet those needs and expectations, then we can start off our days better, which will follow through.

We're giving it a try, anyway.  :)

The other thing, also revolving around being intentional, is for me to make every effort to notice the good character traits my children have.  I want to notice good behavior of course, but they need to recognize that more than behaving well, they need to have good character traits.  It's easy to notice this child's beautiful smile, and this child's very pretty shiny hair, and this child's cute freckles, and doesn't really take a whole lot of effort to compliment them on these things.  Noticing compassion, or thankfulness, or ... ahem ... tenacity ... ;) takes a little bit more effort on my part.  I want to intentionally notice these qualities and point out to my children that I notice them and appreciate them.

So ... those are my observations from the conference.  I really want to go again next year.  This year I was a little distracted missing my family and seeing my online friends IRL for the first time.  I took a lot away from it still though, and I am SO glad I went!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Wordless Wednesday - the Hairy Vegetable

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Giggle ... Heritage Festival, Hairy Vegetable.

Put these kids into a bumper car and some serious aggression comes out!

Love the sizzler! 

This was so funny.  He wasn't big enough to spin it, she wasn't strong enough.  Eventually they gave up and just threw their hands into the air and went along for the ride!

Music Express.  I think the middle one would have just done this over and over.

He was so excited to be tall enough to ride it.  Then he decided he didn't really enjoy it all that much.
The foot sticking out on the top left?  That would be the oldest.  You know, the one who didn't want a pass this year because she doesn't enjoy rides all that much.  Riiiiight.

And a little retro.  One of my favorite pics ever.  This is from two years ago.  :)

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Conference - Mom Heart by Sally Clarkson

Pin It Finally!  I'm going to blog about the Mom Heart conference!

I came home and people asked me to tell them about it and I found that I couldn't.  There wasn't a whole lot of processing time during the conference, and then we got home and hit the ground running.

The theme of the conference was perfect for me though:  My Mom Heart Matters.  Sally Clarkson is a fabulous speaker, very engaging and very real.  THOROUGHLY enjoyed her!  I think I would have totally loved to sit down and enjoy a cup of tea with her!

One of the areas in which I struggle is feeling like I don't matter.  I'm the maid, the nurse, the cook, the nanny, and the teacher.  All of this is fine, but it's so easy to get bogged down in all of the STUFF and not take care of myself and then get all resentful.  Not only that, but somehow I've bought into the lie that I MUST do all of this stuff, and taking care of myself is fine as long as it doesn't interfere with the important stuff that I have to do.  Somewhere along the line I convinced myself that it is selfish to take a few minutes for myself.  I totally get that it can become a selfish thing, but it's okay to get up in the morning and enjoy a cup of coffee and sit in a quiet house.    

Someone just recently told me that our children are not going to grow up and say "hey!  You know what?  My mom was always on top of the laundry!  That is what I appreciate about my mom!"  (Although - I do have to say - my grandmother was a STELLAR dishwasher packer.  I have inherited that fine skill.  So maybe there will be some appreciation for my laundry ability to trickle down.  Beside the point though!)  I don't want to be so bogged down in the STUFF that I can't enjoy my life.  The laundry will always be there - just today I got every bit of it sorted, washed, dried, folded, and put away, and guess what.  The laundry basket is filled again.  Such is life.

So ... my takeaway from the conference?  I matter.  My heart for my family matters.  It's okay if I leave the laundry some days and just relax and laugh at the silly antics of the kids, or sit and read a book.  Yeah, I know it still all has to be done, but maybe if I can relax a little, then when it has to be done, I'll be refreshed enough to enjoy it, or at least get through it with a happy heart.

(I will never be refreshed enough to enjoy vacuuming.  Just saying.  There is no refreshment in the world that would make vacuuming enjoyable.  Unless my vacuum cleaner starts spouting out Vera Bradley bags and camera lenses, I will always detest vacuuming and will pass that task off to someone else in the family.)

Okay, there are two more points that she hit during the conference that I want to blog about.  I think this is long enough for today though, so that will have to wait until tomorrow.

Monday, March 14, 2011

1000 Gifts - 151-160

Pin It Wow, it's been a WILD few weeks.  Between my mother-in-law visiting, my "date" with the middle child, going out of town myself for a few days, then spring break and our local Heritage Festival, there hasn't been a ton of time for blogging lately!  Hopefully now I'm back in the swing of things.  We're on the countdown until the end of the school year now, so we'll see how well the blogging keeps up!

In the meantime, I have some praises and gifts for which to be thankful!

151.  Having a nice break from real life and being able to go meet and hang out with sweet friends.

152.  Coming home from that break to a family that missed me and being able to put my hands on my sweet family again.  The break was SO nice, but coming home was equally nice!

153.  Small towns and their festivals.  This past week was our festival and the kids all had so much fun.  The weather was perfect most of the week too, added bonus!

154. That my friends I met last weekend - I've known them for years online, but had only met one in real life before - were exactly who I thought they would be.

155.  For laughter and how much funnier things are at 1 am than they are at 8 pm.  For just being able to relax with friends and giggle.

156.  For grace applied exactly where it has been needed.  I have needed it in lots of areas recently and have just been reminded again and again that His grace is sufficient for me.

157.  For Words With Friends, my latest distraction.

158.  For learning that my youngest two, who fight like cats and dogs, really love and enjoy each other.  They hung out together most of the time at the carnival and really were sweet to each other.

159.  For a day to sleep late and stay in jammies and eat leftovers and be lazy.  I think we all need that from time to time.

160.  For the assurance that even when the world is in turmoil, God is still there.

I will be linking up with A Holy Experience today.  Hop on over to read more thankful lists!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Wordless Wednesday - the weekend

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Okay, so apparently since my last post was also a Wordless Wednesday post, I have taken a week off.  Oh, and this is my 500th post.  Seems like for post #500, I should have something worthy to say.  I don't.  I'm still recovering from my weekend vacation and overwhelmed with getting back into routine and stuff.  I will post about the conference eventually, but in the meantime, just some pics will have to do.

First, Valerie and I visited with Paula Deen.  My flight from Houston to Jacksonville ended up being delayed by three hours, so our time in Savannah was cut short.  :(  We did go to a yummy restaurant and walked around a bit, plus visited the Paula Deen store, so it was still good.  :)

Friday night after the first session, we all loaded up and went to Chipotle.  Yumminess!  Of the girls in the pic (I'm in green) I had only met one before in real life.  We've been on CMF together for years though.  It's really interesting meeting people for the first time that you've known for years!

This was Saturday, again with the CMF girls.  Thinking that I should put a big "I AM NOT PREGNANT" disclaimer and rethink that shirt.  Or blame it on the wind.

Sunday driving home, we had to stop and take a picture of Harley in front of the sign for Harleyville.  Awesomeness!

And that's it.  I promise to post about the Mom Heart Conference soon.  For a teeny preview - it was done by Sally Clarkson, and it was fabulous.  I really really enjoyed it!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Wordless Wednesday - the middle child

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I know I've said over and over that the middle child and I had a mother-daughter date last weekend. We had such a good time! I just wanted to share a couple of pictures of her from the weekend.
How she spent a significant portion of the weekend.

One of the outfits she picked out for herself.  She just looks so grown up in this picture!  Almost can't believe that's my little girl!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Hey, I'm a Belieber Now!

Pin It Oh yes I did go there on the title of this post. I kind of can't believe it myself! :-P

This past weekend, the middle one and I went on a mother/daughter date. I did this with my oldest when she was nine, and it was the middle one's turn. It was fun to get away with just her; she's the middle one, so it doesn't happen a whole lot that I get alone time with her. We went out of town overnight and had a great time. As I said yesterday, we did a lot of shopping, ate some fabulous food, went swimming, she dragged me into the exercise room, and did some talking. This child is SO cute. Now she knows what the vending machines in women's bathrooms are for. Apparently she always wanted to know that. So cute.

The mall had a movie theater, and we had a couple of hours to kill. I had decided that if the movie happened to be starting within a few minutes of us walking by the theater, we'd go see the Justin Bieber movie, Never Say Never. I knew she had been wanting to see it, and I knew how delighted she would be to be able to come home and tell the oldest all about it. That's the thing with middle ones - it's very rare for them to be able to do things first. Of course I didn't tell her that it was possible that we would see the movie. Well, we walked by the theater at 3:15. Movie started at 3:20. Alrighty then.

At 3:20 on a Friday, I figured we'd have the theater pretty much to ourselves, and we did. My plan was to break the rules and play "Words With Friends" on my phone for as long as a) people played me back and b) my battery held out. That didn't happen, and not only because my child kept saying "MOM!! Did you not SEE and HEAR the PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CELL PHONE so that you don't disturb other people sign?"

But then it was okay, because I kind of got into the movie. It was sweet; home movies of a mom devoted to her really cute and sweet little boy. He kind of had me from the beginning, when an obviously very talented 4-5 year old was playing the drums and his mom asked him what he wanted to be when he grew up. Expected answer: rock star. Actual answer: "I want to be a crossing guard!" Very cute!

I am still surprised that I enjoyed it. From watching him interact with his family and friends, to seeing the behind the scenes concert stuff, to watching the people who promote him show that they really care about him, to just seeing him - from having a bit of a petulant tantrum to being (what appeared to be) genuinely caring about his fans, I left there with a new appreciation for him and his music.

I suspect that part of the intent of the movie was not so much to entertain kids who are already Justin Bieber fans, but the parents who are forced ... guilted into ... chosen ... to take their children to see it. It worked. Oh, and having a very excited movie date singing along next to me certainly didn't hurt!