Wednesday, July 30, 2008

A Familiar Scene








This is a familiar scene at our house. Brendan loves to read. He also likes to share that love with his siblings. I totally get him when it comes to books. There are many things he does that I do not understand but I love that we have this in common. He is always hopeful that I will come back from a garage sale or a used bookstore with some treasures for him. I try not to disappoint him. Josh will sometimes say that he has enough or too many books but he and I know there is no such thing. Right now he is reading The Chronicles of Narnia. I had put half his books out in the garage to de-clutter the house and he said he needed to get some of those out because he needed other books to read. He had already read and re-read the stack remaining on his shelf. I suggested a few from our shelf and he chose The Chronicles of Narnia. He has really liked them and is reading them at a pretty good pace. He carries them around with him and even took the next one in the series this weekend in case he finished the one he was on, which he did. He likes to be prepared. Next he says he wants to read The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings. I'm hoping to encourage some independent learning this school year. I'd say he's well on his way.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Opposites Attract

It always surprises me when Josh and I have opposite ideas about something. We usually are very like-minded - I always figured we were the exception to the rule that opposites attract. Of course, there are the common male-female differences. We fit a lot of stereotypes. He likes war movies, action movies, dumb comedy movies; I like drama, romance and light-hearted comedy. He likes to watch just about any sport on tv; I like to watch any home improvement show.

Our goals and visions are often very similar, though. So it was surprising to me today when I wanted to go order new windows and he wanted to just get the house ready to sell as is. I decided to go along with it for two reasons: one, it will mean getting a lot of little things done and that is always good and two, if we don't get any offers right away, we can still get new windows. Notice submission wasn't a reason. I'm not very good at submitting quietly if I feel strongly about something. I usually share what I'm thinking and why I think it's right and why I think he's wrong. But this time, it seems to be a win-win situation.

In spite of this new goal of having our house ready to sell in the next week or two, we didn't really do much tonight. I think I need to make a list and map out some objectives. I think of things that can be done during the day but it'd be easier to do them when the kids are in bed. Then when the kids are in bed, the couch looks so comfy. And my laptop just calls to me. And remember I said before that Rachel and Owen aren't napping in the morning now? That makes my free time at night even more precious. I know if there is a list made, Josh won't rest until things are crossed off. He's opposite of me in that area, too. It's a good thing or we'd never get any projects done. I love starting things but tend to fizzle out about halfway through.

One project that will be fun is the shopping for a few new accessories. I can get motivated to do that all on my own. :)

Monday, July 28, 2008

Practice

There is something to be said for practice. Since writing a few days ago about how hard it was to go places with Rachel and Owen, I decided to start practicing. Last week, Brendan had basketball camp from 9-12 every day. So one day after dropping him off, I went to a store with Tori, Rachel and Owen. Tori pushed Rachel in a cart and I pushed Owen. It went really well! We shopped for probably 45 minutes and no one was extremely cranky, although Tori did complain towards the end about all the walking.


I have also stopped putting Owen and Rachel down for their morning nap. This has gone much better than expected. They are playing well and don't act unusually tired until lunch time. It also helps if we go somewhere to break up the morning. Quite a different way of thinking than what I am used to - before I never wanted to go anywhere until evening. I can see where this will be good for all of us. I can also see where I could get into trouble with this because more often than not, I would choose to go to a store and most likely find something to buy that I did not need. We will also have school starting in another month and I need to be disciplined enough to stay home and get it done. It's a time of transition though. I think as they adjust to not napping in the morning and as I adjust to not getting that break, it will be easier to spend the whole morning at home.


My next thing to conquer with Rachel and Owen is taking them outside to play. It's just easier to stay inside with them when I'm by myself. But they really enjoy playing outside and I know it's good for them.


I felt like I accomplished a lot today. I hadn't done laundry this weekend so that needed some attention. After 4 loads, I'm about caught up. I also took the kids to swimming lessons. Tori had a friend over for the day so I set up the slip-n-slide and a small inflatable pool. They enjoyed that all afternoon. After supper, I took her friend home and then we stopped at Target to do some shopping - another trip out with Rachel, Owen and Tori - more practice! After getting Rachel and Owen in bed, I vacuumed and swept the floors and did some more laundry. It felt good to sit down tonight!


Last Thursday, I went up to my hometown to visit with my 3 friends from high school. It's amazing how we can pick up where we left off. We go back and forth between sharing what is going on currently in our lives and reminiscing about old times. It was a great night. I have a picture of the 4 of us but want to scan one of us from high school and can't get my scanner to work. Hopefully I can get that done soon.


On Friday, my sister came up from Indiana. We went out to a late movie and did a little shopping. Then Saturday, my parents and brother came down for the day. It was so fun to hang out together. We grilled and spent time outside and it just felt like summer. One of the best parts about the weekend is that it was kind of spontaneous - I found out about it Thursday afternoon! As much as I like planning and looking forward to things, I love surprises, too. Sometimes surprises are easier to enjoy because I don't have expectations.


In my last post, I talked about a song that means a lot to me right now. This gave a friend of mine an idea to create a cd of songs that have been meaningful to us throughout our life. I love the idea but I'm not sure I can narrow it down to one cd. She said I can do a book of cd's. :) I have been thinking about songs non-stop. I think it will be interesting to see the progression and if my tastes have changed. Don't worry, I'll post my list as soon as I get it figured out! She also asked that we say why the song is meaningful - I'm looking forward to that because I love analyzing things. I wish I could turn that off sometimes.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

You're Gonna Miss This

She was staring out the window of that SUV
Complaning, saying "I can't wait to turn 18"
She said "I'll make my own money, and I'll make my own rules"
Mamma put the car in park out there in front of the school
Then she kissed her head and said "I was just like you"

You're gonna miss this
You're gonna want this back
You're gonna wish these days hadn't gone by so fast
These are some good times
So take a good look around
You may not know it now
But you're gonna miss this

Before she knows it she's a brand new bride
In a one-bedroom apartment, and her daddy stops by
He tells her "It's a nice place"
She says "It'll do for now"
Starts talking about babies and buying a house
Daddy shakes his head and says "Baby, just slow down"

Cause you're gonna miss this
You're gonna want this back
You're gonna wish these days hadn't gone by so fast
These are some good times
So take a good look around
You may not know it now
But you're gonna miss this

Five years later there's a plumber workin' on the water heater
Dog's barkin', phone's ringin'
One kid's cryin', one kid's screamin'
She keeps apologizin'
He says "They don't bother me. I've got 2 babies of my own.
One's 36, one's 23.Huh, it's hard to believe, but ...

You're gonna miss this
You're gonna want this back
You're gonna wish these days hadn't gone by so fast
These are some good timesSo take a good look around
You may not know it now
But you're gonna miss this"


I first heard this song by Trace Adkins when I was watching CMT and running on the treadmill. I got choked up, which will come as no surprise to those who know me well. It happens easily and often, especially when thinking about my kids getting older. It is such a struggle for me right now to enjoy the stage they're in, especially Rachel and Owen. They are constantly testing limits and trying new things. I keep thinking about the future and how nice it will be when they're a certain age and can do certain things. But I know this time is precious and will be gone so quickly. I have an 8 year old and a 6 year old to remind me of that. I look at their baby pictures and I wonder how it's possible that they are so grown up now. I literally bawled like a baby at Tori's ballet recital. Not just some tears - sobbing. Biting my lip to keep from gulping out loud. And I didn't even have kleenex. I couldn't believe that beautiful, poised, grown-up girl on stage was my little baby.

So here is a video of the moments I will miss someday. I absolutely love it when the kids spontaneously play together. They were listening to a cd called Philadelphia Chickens by Sandra Boynton and were giggling and having a great time. Enjoy!
video

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Conversations and Book Clubs

I have said different times that I enjoy blogging because it is an outlet for all the conversations I have in my head. Now, instead of conversations, I write blogs in my head! Something is not right with me. Then, of course, when I sit down to write, I can't remember what it is I was thinking about. I'm sure it was deep and profound. :)


I belong to a book club that meets once a month. When we started, we met every other month but after a couple years, decided we were ready to commit to every month. Many of our husbands work together so one of the first rules was "What happens in book club, stays in book club". It makes it a safe environment to share and know that it's not going to be spread around the office. Or anywhere, for that matter.


We had our July meeting last night and it was a great time. We read The Red Tent, by Anita Diamant. It's about Jacob's daughter, Dinah, from the Bible. I thought it was a great book, but there were some discrepancies between the story and the account in the Bible. I had to keep reminding myself as I was reading it that it was fictional and wasn't intended to be fact. Having said that, the story really gave you a feel for that culture and what they valued and how they lived. It also made me more curious about the account in Genesis. So often I read the Bible quickly instead of letting it sink in. I don't question what it doesn't say. I don't picture the scene. This novel made it seem real to me.
We had a good discussion last night about the book. That is typical for our group, though. It's an excuse to get together but most of us actually read the book and sometimes even take notes while we read it. I like reading books chosen by someone else, especially when it's something I would never pick on my own. It stretches me and makes me think. It's also fun to find new authors that I really like.


Here is a picture of the ladies in the book club:

This isn't the most recent but I liked this one better and it's my blog so I get to pick. :)





Thursday, July 17, 2008

Halfway Through Summer

I'm not ready to think about summer being over but the days keep going by. This year, I have really felt the urge to be gone from home. To have a summer house on a lake and live there for three months. I'm not sure why I have felt more restless this summer. Maybe because when I'm home I think about getting it ready to sell and that is overwhelming. There is always something that needs to be done.


Maybe I enjoyed our vacation up north a little too much this year. This is a picture of my family up there. I did love being by the lake and always having people around to talk to. I really miss that when I'm home with the kids. I think I would enjoy living in a commune. Depending, of course, on who the other members were. But I loved taking turns fixing meals and eating with a big group of people. I loved how we all just helped each other out with things that needed to be done. And I loved the conversations and the fun activities. How great to be able to easily coordinate a baseball game just by going outside and saying, "Anyone want to play baseball?" I know it's not realistic but it's fun to dream. I'm so glad we decided to do it again next year.


I think I need to start getting out of the house more with all the kids to run errands or go to the library. It is such a hassle with two toddlers and one reluctant 8 year old but it'd probably be good for us occasionally. I haven't been regularly going to the library and I miss that. I know Tori and Brendan would enjoy that - not sure how Rachel and Owen would do there. They're not the quietest toddlers - in fact, they can be quite ear-piercing and I wish I wasn't being literal. But maybe we can start practicing with a couple of quick trips and work our way up. I need to figure out how to make this lifestyle enjoyable for me while also being content in the stage of life I'm in. It is not a stage of life that makes getting out of the house easy or even necessarily enjoyable and yet, if I stay home all day, every day, I go a little crazy. When will it get easier to go places with two toddlers? I thought it'd be this summer but I was being optimistic. Let's see - next summer they will be 2 1/2. They'll listen and hold my hand and not run away and not scream then, right? Just humor me. :) Tell me it's possible.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Pictures!

I realized it's been awhile since I posted pictures. I've been awfully wordy lately. So here are some pictures for you patient people! These are from our camping weekend.



Shelby, Tori and Blake playing in the "house", aka play-yard.


Brendan and Travis with their video games. Nothing like being in the great outdoors!

Yea, Daddy's here! Tori tries to keep the smoke out of her eyes. (It doesn't work)

Blog-hopping

Is blog-hopping an addiction or an illness? Either way, I have it. I love to go to my friends blogs and start looking at blogs off their lists and then looking at blogs off those lists until suddenly I have no idea how I got to where I am. Then I have to save the blog under favorites so I can find it again because I am fairly certain I won't be able to recreate the path that got me there.

Last night I found some great things while blog-hopping. The first was some blogs on saving money and using coupons. I used to do this a lot but haven't made the time recently. I'm going to try it again and see how it goes. I don't have a lot of time to shop and don't like running around to lots of stores so I'm still a little skeptical but also excited at the possibilities. I printed off a few coupons for Target tonight and it was thrilling to see the total go down from $45 to $36.

The second thing I found was the lyrics to this song, Stained Glass Masquerade, by Casting Crowns. I haven't really listened to their music much before but these lyrics just spoke to me. It's so hard to be real and honest and not give a pat answer and fake smile.

Is there anyone that fails
Is there anyone that falls
Am I the only one in church today feelin' so small
Cause when I take a look around
Everybody seems so strong
I know they'll soon discover
That I don't belong
So I tuck it all away, like everything's okay
If I make them all believe it, maybe I'll believe it too
So with a painted grin, I play the heart again
So everyone will see me the way that I see them

Are we happy plastic people
Under shiny plastic steeples
With walls around our weakness
And smiles to hide our pain
But if the invitation's open
To every heart that has been broken
Maybe then we close the curtain
On our stained glass masquerade

Is there anyone who's been there
Are there any hands to raise
Am I the only one who's traded
In the altar for a stage
The performance is convincing
And we know every line by heart
Only when no one is watching
Can we really fall apart
But would it set me free
If I dared to let you see
The truth behind the person
That you imagine me to be
Would your arms be open
Or would you walk away
Would the love of Jesus
Be enough to make you stay

I know there have been so many times when I just didn't feel like going to church. I didn't feel like seeing people and watching everyone be so friendly and happy with each other. I didn't feel all happy inside and didn't want to fake it. I wanted to sit at home and wallow in it. But those are the times I should go. Those are the times I need to focus on God and what He has done for me so I can say, like Dave Ramsey says when someone asks him how he is, "Better than I deserve." I don't need to fake it but I need to change my perspective and my focus and singing praise songs and reading the Bible are the keys for me. Then I can be true and honest and share what I am going through while at the same time say, "Praise God, I'm doing better than I deserve."

I should have combined this with my last post - it's all about perspective. God, I'm trying to learn but I know You'll have to teach me over and over.

Perspective

Yesterday I was having a bad day. At least it felt like a bad day to me. Then today I found out that a friend's husband had decided he didn't think he was interested in fulfilling his vows to be there for better or for worse. Suddenly, my bad day didn't seem as bad anymore. It's all about perspective.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Camping

We enjoyed our short weekend away. The kids and I left my parents house around 1:30 and got up to the campground around 3:30. Rachel slept for about 20 minutes and Owen was awake the whole time. He sat directly behind me in the truck and discovered that he could reach my seat belt so for part of the trip he would pull as hard as he could on my seat belt, forcing me back against the seat and then let it spring loose. He thought it was hysterical. I prayed each time that he would find something else fun to do. He also enjoyed kicking the back of my seat. I learned to not put Owen behind the driver seat.


We got into our cabin and I was a little disappointed. It had a musty odor and had lots of dust and cobwebs. It wasn't really a cabin - more like a cross between a mobile home and a camper. It was fairly spacious so that was nice but it had the same bathroom as a camper - even the toilet. Not fun. It had a window ac unit, which was nice, but the sides to connect it to the window frame were all torn and bugs could come on in. I will be a little more choosy next time I rent a place to stay at a campground.


The campground itself was nice and we were right across from Josh's family. The weather was pretty nice and Rachel and Owen slept really good while we were there so that was great. Josh got there around 9 Friday night. He drove the van to the campsite but couldn't park there because there was only one vehicle allowed so he unpacked and then drove to the overflow parking lot. Tori said, "Mom, is daddy going to live with us?" :) She was a little confused why he came and then left.


Then Saturday night, I used the bathroom and noticed a sewer-gas-type smell. Josh went in and noticed it, too. We got ready for bed and walked by and it was worse so he shut the door. Around 4:30, I woke up and went to use the bathroom and it smelled worse than a port-a-potti in there so I walked across the park to the bathhouse, mumbling the whole time about having to pay $100 a night and not even have a bathroom that works.


Sunday morning, Josh went down to the office to tell them about the bathroom situation and also to see if the check-out time could be extended from 12:00 to 1:00 so we could eat lunch with his family. They were quite firm about the check-out time and said there were no exceptions and then also said that the tank probably needed to be drained for the bathroom. I'm not sure why they didn't do this before we got there. There is no possible way we filled it up the 24 hours we were there.


So we proceeded to spend the rest of the morning packing up instead of visiting with his family and then ate lunch on the way home. Needless to say, we will not be staying there next time. It's too bad because the park was beautiful and there were lots of things to do in the area. It was small enough that the kids could ride around by themselves as long as we knew where they were planning to go.


Laundry calls - the one major downfall of going away. I do love having things to look forward to and am sad that I don't have any more trips planned. It is good to be home again. I just wonder how long I can make it before I start planning something else. :)

Friday, July 11, 2008

Update

Josh just called and said he will be able to come up camping for the weekend! Yea! We're so excited that we'll be able to see him later tonight. He'll have to work a little this weekend - the campground has free wi-fi, which is why he's being allowed to go - but it will be so great to have him there. I'm going to head up early with the kids so we can get unloaded and have some play time with cousins this afternoon.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Clarify

After re-reading one of my last posts, I feel like I should clarify what I mean when I say "camping". By camping, I mean that we will be staying in a campground. I have never stayed in a tent with my kids and I don't plan to until Rachel and Owen are at least 3, if then. We reserved a cabin this weekend with a kitchen, bedroom and bathroom so it will actually be nicer than a hotel. If this hadn't been the case, I would not have attempted this without Josh.

Brendan, Tori and I drove to our house today to get our things. Josh met us on his lunch hour and helped load up the truck and then we went out to lunch. It was good to see him again and I feel better about this weekend knowing I have all my "stuff". It's such a comfort to me. :)

He also told me about the work situation and I have a sliver of hope again. It's a small sliver but it's there. I keep checking my phone to see if he called to say he was coming. I'm not counting on it and I'm trying to tell myself that it won't happen but I can't squelch that small sliver. I so badly want him to be there. We haven't seen him a whole lot the past two weeks and we're ready for family time.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Then and Now


When did this transformation take place? I love looking back at pictures from the early days and trying to find glimpses of who they are now. An expression or a personality characteristic. I love this stage between baby and toddler - sweet and cuddly, wanting to be independent but not quite there yet.

All By Myself

Our family camping trip this weekend will be slightly different than originally planned. Josh found out on Tuesday that he would have to work. I was still holding out hope that things would change but he said today that even if work gets better, he still has to stay around in case something goes wrong. Now, of course, I'm hoping that he works a lot this weekend so he can at least get overtime pay if he can't go on vacation with us.

My first immediate thought was that I would cancel our reservation and have to break the news to the kids. I knew they'd be disappointed but figured they'd get over it. Then I started to consider taking the kids by myself. Josh's family will be there and I know they'll help when possible but there will still be a lot for me to do on my own. After thinking it through, I think with a little organization and prep work done ahead of time, we'll be okay. It won't be as relaxing and I'll miss him a lot but we'll be okay. I'm still really upset with his employer for making this mandatory but we'll be okay.

We used to own a camper but sold it last summer for various reasons. I had thought that maybe someday we'd go tent camping as a family and thought it would so much simpler than packing a camper full of things. Apparently, it is impossible to be prepared for every possible situation (which is what I like to do) and pack simply. I hate getting somewhere and thinking of something that would have been nice to have. I have said different times that I actually enjoy preparing for a trip more than the actual trip - it's something I'm working on. I want to enjoy the moments more. Hopefully I can enjoy lots of moments this weekend. :)

Monday, July 7, 2008

And Still More Creativity . . .

These bags were made by my cousin's wife, Julie. Aren't they awesome? She used handles from J0-Ann's instead of ribbon. I love how these ladies took a simple idea and created such works of art from it.


I'm up visiting my parents again this week. Their church is having VBS and Brendan and Tori enjoy going. Their cousins from Petoskey, Josh's sister's family, also attend and that is a big bonus for them. We're all going camping this weekend in Gaylord and then will swap kids for the following week so the kids are really looking forward to such quantity time with their cousins. They get along really well so it's fun for us as well.


I also started and finished a really good book today - I told you I had free time. :) And I'm a fast reader. It's called The Dogs of Babel and it was a great book. I got hooked early on and couldn't wait to get back into it. Excellent book. Now I'm worried that I didn't bring enough books with me. I might have to ask Josh to bring up some more for this weekend.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Creative Mind



Check these out - my Aunt Linda took the placemat bag idea and just ran with it. This is just what she's done since vacation. Meanwhile I am almost done with my laundry. I really do have free time, I just spend it on other things, like checking this blog to see if I have comments. :)


I recently read a really good book called Me, Myself and Bob, by Phil Vischer. He created Veggie Tales and this tells that whole story - how he created it, how it fell apart and what he did afterwards. I saw a video of him speaking at a conference and thought he had a really good message so when I saw this book at a garage sale (25 cents - love it!) I snatched it up and read it in a couple days. He talks about having a dream and having God fulfill that dream and then watching that dream die and making sense of it, especially when that dream was doing good things for God. I really liked his point that God wants a relationship with us first and he wants us to just walk with Him. We don't have to get so worried and caught up in what we should be doing and feel like we always have to be doing something. Micah 6:8 "He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God." What a great verse. It's just that simple.




Friday, July 4, 2008

Even Though You Know

I was thinking about the title of my blog, More Than It Seems, and the verse that says I will know fully even as I am fully known. There are times when I want to be fully known and then other times that I wish I could keep things hidden. There is a song by Rebecca St. James titled Psalms 139 that I love. It's a short, simple song but so powerful. One part in particular always gets me. She sings, "You search me, you know me. You see my every move. There is nothing I could ever do to hide myself from you. You know my thoughts, my fears and hurts, my weaknesses and my pride. You know what I am going through and how I feel inside. And even though you know, you will always love me. Even though you know, you'll never let me go. I don't deserve your love but you give it freely. You will always love me, even though you know."

The thought that God knows everything about me and still loves me is so unbelievable to me. When I'm in church, dressed up and singing praise songs, then it's not hard to believe that God loves me. Or when I'm having a good day with the kids then it's not far-fetched. But when I'm having a really bad attitude about something or just being selfish and really wanting my own way, He loves me then? I've noticed in my own life that it's so easy to tell my kids I love them when I'm putting them to bed and am about to get a break from the whining or crying or just parenting in general. But it's a lot harder for me to say in the midst of all that. I'm so thankful God's love is bigger than the ocean and higher than the heavens and deeper than the sea. I remember singing a song that went like that.

Paul prayed this for the church in Ephesus: "And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge - that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God." Ephesians 3:17-19. I want this to be my prayer, too, that I will be able to grasp this love or at least get a better idea of this love.

Photo Shoot

Tori - age 6

Rachel - age 17 months

Owen - age 17 months


Brendan - age 8



I was at my parents for a few days and my dad took some pictures of the kids for me. I can upload the photos to Sam's Club and then have prints made. I love being able to get them immediately and all at the same time. I started taking pictures myself of Rachel and Owen because the thought of going to a studio was so overwhelming. Then my dad got a really nice camera so now I let him do it when we get the chance. I love getting their natural expressions. My next goal is to get pictures of all 4 kids together and also some of Rachel and Owen together.
-pictures taken by Lee Rhodes

Thursday, July 3, 2008

One Big Happy Family


Here is a picture of my mom's family on vacation. We all went to a local restaurant for their pizza buffet for one of our meals. They graciously seated us in their back room so we had it all to ourselves. I'm sure they appreciated having us contained in one room, too. The noise level was high at times. :) The food was delicious, the service was excellent and it was a nice change of pace.

I think it's pretty amazing that a group of this size (42 on the average for the week) actually gets along so well and really wants to spend a week together. Most of us don't see each other except for a couple times a year but because of our heritage, we recognize what an important thing family is.
I should also note that we're not crammed in tiny spaces together - we do recognize that having some personal space is important and perhaps vital to getting along together for a week. But being with people who genuinely care about each other helps, too. :)


-photo taken by Lee Rhodes

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Why Do I Homeschool?

I am frequently asked this question and still don't have an answer ready. Ironically, it is usually asked by fellow homeschoolers, not by those who choose to not homeschool. I could speculate on why that is but will choose to not do that here. This is also usually one of the first questions I ask when I discover someone else who has decided to go this route. I'm not really looking for a new answer - just some confirmation that I'm not the only one out there crazy enough to do this.

I should clarify - I have lots of reasons why I homeschool but have a hard time articulating it to others. It's kind of like asking someone why they have kids - what answer do you give? There isn't really one main reason - it's a lot of little ones and even those sound superficial or shallow when said out loud. What it really boils down to is that I want to.

No, I don't want the responsibility of choosing my children's curriculum every year and deciding what they should learn and how. And no, I don't really want to spend every waking minute with them. I like my quiet time and time with other adults! I'm not a fan of dissecting anything or doing major projects.

But in spite of all these things that I don't want to do, my heart tells me to homeschool my kids. The idea of sending them to a brick building on a yellow bus seems so strange to me.

When Brendan was born, I had already decided that I wanted to stay home with him and be the one to take care of him. Thankfully, Josh agreed with this decision and supported me 100% - financially, emotionally, physically, any way he could. We had talked about homeschooling and the different ways it appealed to both of us, even though both of us had gone to public school. So it was kind of the plan all along but at the same time, I wondered how I would really feel when Brendan turned 5 and the big day came.

I can't begin to tell you how relieved I was to not send him to school. Why did he need to be gone from home 4 hours every morning (or now all day at most schools) to learn his abc's and numbers and how to write his name? I know at most schools they are trying to teach more at kindergarten but that is another topic. Why did he need to wait to get a drink when he was thirsty? To sit at a desk? To only go outside for a brief period of time when he was told? Why did he need that much freedom taken from him?

Every day that year, I watched him play with toys and become more independent and helpful around the house and play with his sister and learn to entertain himself and I was so thankful that he was home.

I have struggled with homeschooling - there have been different times that I have wished I could send them somewhere else. This last year was especially challenging with Rachel and Owen. When I would get them down for a nap, the last thing I wanted to do was go find Brendan and Tori and do some schoolwork.

Through this process, though, I can definitely see God working in my life. And I see fruits in their lives as well. I like that we share so many experiences together. I like that they are with their family more than friends. I like that they have more free time to read and draw and use their imagination. I like that our schedule is flexible and we can go visit family or take a vacation whenever we want. I like that I can learn more about my kids and how they think and learn and that I can give them the freedom to learn at their own pace - there is no competition or right or wrong age to learn skills.

For those who are not homeschooling, this post is not about you so don't get defensive about it. This is about me and why I am doing what I do. I'm not going to try and say what is right or wrong. I know that for me, homeschooling is right. And again, Josh agrees 100% and supports me in any way possible and I am so incredibly thankful for that.

There is more I could say but maybe it will have to wait for another time. I feel I have rambled on long enough. And there is no photo to make this more interesting! I realized today that I started this blog to share more about myself and my family. I've shared lots about my family but hadn't shared much about myself so decided to dive right in.

Perfection


Is there any other word to describe this? Whoever came up with this idea was a genius. I love s'mores. Yesterday was the perfect night for them, too. The wind calmed down and my dad got a fire going - just a small one though so we didn't have to wait too long to roast the marshmallows. Rachel and Owen were in bed so I could relax and enjoy the fire and concentrate on roasting marshmallows. They tasted so good.
I usually try anything that is supposed to taste like s'mores. I've tried the keebler cookies - very good. I got hooked on those one summer and then they stopped making them. Same with the ritz crackers - they made delicious little s'more sandwiches and then stopped. Little Debbie has one out but it's too much marshmallow. I'm not a big fan of marshmallow candy - just the real deal when it's soft and melty. I do like the S'more cereal but not as a cereal - just a yummy treat right out of the box. Yum!
-picture taken by Lee Rhodes

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Water, Sand and Sun



Here are some pictures of Rachel and Owen in Lake Huron. They loved it. Owen was a little more cautious at first than I expected but after he got over the waves (I think it perplexed him that they'd come and go on their own), then he plunged right in. His favorite thing to do was fall over face first in the water so he'd splash himself. Unfortunately, a few times he was a little too deep and the water was so shocking that he took a deep breath and inhaled a big mouthful. He choked and spluttered and then did it again.
Rachel would walk into the water but not go very far unless holding someone's hand. And she did not want to fall into the water. She'd walk very carefully to avoid it. So funny how different they are.







As you can see, the water was clean and clear, except for the occasional fish head floating around (gross!). But the beach was really nice and was shallow for a long way out. They really enjoyed the time at the beach, although Rachel did protest (quite loudly) when it was time to rinse off.

We were able to reserve the same place for next year - yea! It's so nice to know the tradition can continue for another year.

-pictures taken by Lee Rhodes - thanks, dad! :)