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Chasing Babies... Growing in Grace: March 2009

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

A Week in the Life of... Me: Monday

I do like to be up before the kids... but at somewhere around 7, they woke up... and I just wasn't out of bed yet. I brought them back into bed with me where I nursed and Tornado looked at books while My Beloved slept in a bit. This started me off running behind.

Once we were out of bed, I cooked up the steel cut oats I had soaked Sunday night while making My Beloved an omelet per his request. The kids played nearby.

Once my Beloved was gone to work, it was our turn to eat (oatmeal takes longer to cook). Sweet Pea finished her breakfast first (something has been bothering her lately and she gets extra fussy during meals), so we changed and dressed her while Tornado finished up. When Tornado was done (around 9am), I cleaned him up and we headed to the potty to remove the night time diaper, go potty and get him dressed for the day (complete with underwear).

By 9:15ish, I set the kids down to play in the living room and I sat down to some unplanned computer time. I hadn't been here long when My Beloved called with news that a dear friend's husband had died early that morning. I took some time to cry and pray and hug my babies before trying to call and tell her I love her. That phone call could fill a post in itself, but I'll leave it be.

Now is was time to clean up the kitchen some. Sweet Pea and I put away the night dishes while Tornado played some more. Next (at about 10 am) was potty time again. I settled Sweet Pea in her bed for nap time and Tornado on the big potty for potty time.

From there (running about an hour behind my dream for the day and completely missing a couple items on my dream list) Tornado headed to the kitchen to do dishes together. Basically, Tornado plays with a couple small cups in the water while I wash dishes and reach around him to put them in the dish drainer. He loves it and I know right where he is. It works well for us. As he gets older and more able, he will get more responsibilities during dish time... rinsing and putting dishes in the drainer for me.

Next I rinsed the beans again and filled the bowl up to soak with hot water for the rest of the morning. Then it was off to "corner time". Tornado wasn't having the best attitude. We put him in the corner when he has a bad attitude or fusses and whines when we ask him to do something. It's been pretty effective. We were there for a good bit of time too. Long enough for him to have an accident and therefore need potty time in the middle. While I waited for him to stop crying and fussing (the prerequisite for getting out of the corner), I straightened our room and then sat to read my book (Christy) for a few minutes. I've taken to doing that while he's in the corner. I have to be right there making sure he stays in the corner, and the only corner in our home is in our bedroom... so I get to read. It makes the otherwise painful time a bit nicer.

Once he finally got out of the corner, I dried and put away the dishes and then we headed to the living room for Circle. Our circle time schedule follows the same order each day with occasional variations. Just after we settled on the floor I heard Sweet Pea awake (an hour early), so I grabbed her to join us. We then resumed...We sing the Days of the Week song (someday I'll get our calendar set laminated and then we will do that too), pray for our missionary of the day, Daddy, and someone else in our family (or occasionally friends as yesterday we prayed for that lady whose husband died.) We then practice our previous memory verse/s and work on the new one we are learning (John 3:16-18). Then it's time for fun songs, followed by the hymn we are learning. We've been doing "It is Well with My Soul for a while now... I need to either add a verse (I'm leaning in this direction) or start a new hymn since he knows it very well and even sings it on his own sometimes. Then we head to the kitchen table to do his Bible Story Sticker/Activity book. I'll highlight this someday.

Potty time for Tornado and nursing for Sweet Pea was next... then lunch prep. While the kids ate their lunches, I worked on dinner prep. I browned the ground beef for the chili and ground the wheat berries into flour for the corn bread.

After lunch Tornado went potty again and then I put him down for his nap at 12:30. It was a bit early, but since Sweet Pea woke from her morning nap so early, I started the afternoon routine early too.

My Beloved called to say he was on his way home for lunch while I was adding all the spices and beans and tomatoes and such to the dutch oven for the chili. I then made sandwiches for us for lunch (really good ones by the way... totally hit the spot for me!) Sweet Pea played nearby while we ate, occasionally coming by to beg bits of food from Mommy.

Once My Beloved was back to work, I spent the next half and hour or so policing nap time, hoping to get Tornado to sleep so I could put Sweet Pea down (they don't do well being put down at the same time). I eventually gave up and decided to try it... putting Sweet Pea down before Tornado was asleep. I then had to police that too. I grabbed my book and leaned into the corner there where the door was closed so I could correct the children as they needed. Finally they were quiet enough to head to my computer work.

I spent the next hour working on several business things that I was behind on and the next couple hours after that trying to organize and figure out our garden plan. This is a priority as we are behind schedule on this as well. (Of course I got up to stir the chili several times in here too.)

At 5 I looked at the clock and was surprised to see what time it was... especially since the kids were still sleeping. I jumped up and worked on mixing the ingredients for the corn bread, dry in one bowl and wet in the other since I didn't know exactly when My Beloved would be ready for dinner.

Once things were mixed, I got the kids up, and My Beloved was home shortly thereafter (5:15ish) and Sweet Pea nursed. A friend of ours came 20 or so minutes later to help us cut some wood for our raise garden beds. Of course Tornado wanted to watch... and couldn't unless Mommy was with him, so we all took breaks and watched the excitement.

Finally we sat down to dinner at 7. My Beloved headed out to work on the digging up of our garden area (it's not level and needs to be for our purposes) after dinner and I worked on cleaning up the kids and getting them ready for bed... nursing, potty time, jammies and songs. Daddy came to the back door (caked in mud) for prayer time and then I tucked them in around 8.

I cleaned up the kitchen and did dishes while My Beloved graciously offered to run to CVS for Sweet Pea diapers (we had one more). Around 9 we sat down on the couch together... My Beloved, me, and 4 loads of unfolded laundry. We folded and watched a program online. When we finished, we watched another program and headed to bed.

Wow... sounds like a longer day than it felt like. :) I'll try to have pictures of today.

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Monday, March 30, 2009

A Week in the Life of... Me: Sunday Report

As I said yesterday, I'm sharing this week as "A Week in the Life of... me." That's right... however much I do or don't do, you'll be here for it. (Sorry. But I need the accountability to get it all done.) Most of the things on my to do list for the week are normal things I do every week... others are things I'm supposed to do every week and never get to. All in all, I should have a fun, busy and productive week... unless the kids have anything to say about it. :)

Since our weeks start with Sunday, I'll share a bit of yesterday with you... then check in tonight for today's happenings. Maybe.

We completely missed church yesterday. We were out late Saturday trying to encourage friends who were on the layoff list from last week. We had a blast, but got to bed late... too late to even consider Sunday School. All was well and good though, because Sweet Pea was fit to be tied (whatever that means) and we ended up skipping church too, not knowing what was wrong. We did our grocery shopping instead and managed to recover the house in the afternoon.

I did 2 1/2 days worth of dishes and cleaned up the kitchen. Next was the meal plan (I actually have one this week. Just for dinners so far... though I was hoping for more. Here it is:

Monday: Spiced Chili (Taste of Home Cookbook p. 68) and Corn Bread

Tuesday: Roast Chicken, Mashed Potatoes, Asparagus

Wednesday: Beef Roast, Soaked Brown Rice, cooked carrots

Thursday: Some sort of chicken casserole (with left over chicken from Tuesday's dinner)

Burritos (homemade tortillas, refried beans (homemade--I've never tried this recipe before... we'll see), leftover beef roast, shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, shredded raw cheese

Saturday and Sunday will have to be decided later... I didn't get that far yet.

After evening church (we teach the children's choir Sunday nights) I cleaned up the kitchen from dinner and got a couple loads of laundry done, organized a couple shelves in our pantry... and the ironing while we watched something online. The house no longer looks destryed... and since My Beloved had projects going that had to be finished, it was nice to start the week with a neat(er) house. Oh, I also soaked some kidney beans for tonight's chilli and soaked some steel cut oats for this morning's breakfast. I was feeling very accomplished yesterday. I wrapped up the evening by making a schedule/list for today... so nice to remember at a glance what I wanted to accomplish today.

Today's plans are pretty normal. Lots of laundry folding, dinner prep and time with kids... with some garden planing and work in the middle there during nap time. Hope you all have a great day.

Check out MPM for more menus!

Just received word that a dear older lady in my church (one whom I am close to) lost her husband this morning. Please be praying for her... just the thought of anyone loosing a husband hits me so hard... I can't imagine loosing My Beloved, and this couple had been married so much longer!


Sunday, March 29, 2009

Up and Coming

I've decided to make a decision, two decisions as a matter of fact... and I got my husband's blessing and everything.

#1 - Affective immediately, this week is "A Week in the Life of..." week here at Stay at Home Mommy. And whose life are we going to be following? Why, Babychaser's life of course! (ehem... that's me, in case any of you missed that.) On some deep level (to be completely forthcoming) I'm hoping this will keep me accountable to actually do all the things I'm supposed to do this week. We'll see.

#2 - With the economy being what it is, and with our 5% pay cut taking affect on the 15th, I am officially assigning our family with a frugal challenge for the month of April. This could be huge! It means a lot of work for me... since in the last couple months we've done a lot of eating out due to necessary convenience (i.e. I didn't have dinner ready). While there are a couple projects going on around here that will require that we spend money (a greenhouse My Beloved is building and a water/power generator thing he is working on), we will otherwise try to reduce extra spending to nothing! Groceries? Yes, we can have those, but no little extras. No eating out, no ginger soda splurging, no late night doughnuts (did I mention that we have a couple weaknesses in our quest to healthy eating?) That's right... no spending!

Anyone want to join us??? We're starting .


Friday, March 27, 2009

What God Doesn't Do

God doesn't raise his voice when I do wrong.

God doesn't shake his head when I make bad choices.

God doesn't yell at my disobedience.

God doesn't loose his patience with my childish ways.

God doesn't get frustrated with my slow progress.

God doesn't have to fight tears in anger when I rebel... again.

God doesn't wish I'd just be quiet when He's had a hard day.

God doesn't wish I'd learn my lesson so He can move on.

God doesn't wish I'd just grow up.

God does love us unconditionally.

Love is patient.
Love is kind.
Love is not jealous.
Love does not brag.
Love is not arrogant.
Love does not act unbecomingly.
Love does not seek it's own.
Love is not provoked.
Love does not take into account a wrong suffered.
Love does not rejoice in unrighteousness.
Love rejoices with the truth!
Love bears all things!
Love believes all things!
Love hopes all things!
Love endures all things!

1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (italics added for my own personal reflection.)


Thursday, March 26, 2009

Our Garden: Starting Seedlings

This past week/weekend we started our garden. Realistically, we've been planning for months and months, so I guess you could say we started in the fall. But for the sake of keeping you all with me here, we started... we planted seeds. I mentioned that we are brand new at this! And so as I share with you the things we are doing, feel free to leave comments such as "you're doing WHAT?" or "You know, you're doing it wrong!" But leave them nicely... I'm pretty sensitive. And though I am always working on my fear of man issues, I haven't arrived yet, so I'm pretty sensitive. In fact, perhaps the two examples I gave are better examples of what NOT to say. :) I will still welcome any advice or ideas or encouragement though... I love comments!

Ok, there... now that I've said all that. Where was I? Oh yeah, gardening. We really are so excited to be starting our first EVER garden. And yes, we are a bit overzealous. But it's what we are doing... so we are ok with that.
We started Wednesday or Thursday of last week with these... our broccoli and Brussels sprouts. (I think you are looking at the broccoli, but I could totally be wrong about that.) We saved and save through the fall to collect and cut in half all our milk containers so that we could use them. Then we actually did... and we've decided not to use the rest of them... just not as great as they were supposed to be. I'm sure we'll still use the tops later... maybe... for something else. Otherwise, we'll just get rid of them.

Saturday we went to the gardening store and found this actual plant starter thing. It holds 36 little baby plants. We got two of them, but only 27ish plants needed to be started over this last weekend, so we only have the one out so far.

(Just an aside: The green plant with pink around it is the flowerless daisy plant My Beloved brought home for me a couple weeks ago. It just happens to be in the picture. But I thought it added nice color.)

Have you ever tried soaking your seeds before? I'd never even heard of it until I read this book (the whole gardening strategy we are following this year!) So we got out all these little cups (sippy cups to the rescue!) to soak our seeds over night. the Oregano, Marjoram and Thyme had such little seeds that we just put them in the dirt right away.

Did I mention that we are planning to grow 7 different varieties of tomato? It's true. We want to be able to can a lot of them in salsa, tomato soup, diced, etc. It's my way around the BPA in canned foods from the store. Make your own. :)

Here is the overall list of what we have started so far... in alphabetical order if I can:

Brussels Sprouts
Cayenne Pepper
Jalapeno Pepper
Tomato, Amish Paste (supposedly great for canning)
Tomato, Besser
Tomato, Big Red
Tomato, German Pink (also good for canning)
Tomato, Old Virginia
Tomato, Porter (another for canning)
Tomato, San Marzano

I think that's it for now. We plan to do another grouping of starter seeds inside this weekend. My Beloved will also be clearing a flat spot of ground out behind the house and building our raised boxes this weekend. Turns out our source of soil won't be ready until the following weekend, but I'm pretty sure the work he has for this weekend will take all his time anyway. I'll try to get some pictures!

Blessed gardening!

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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Good with the Bad

Monday carried a bit of both. In sad news, the difficult economy has finally hit our circle full force. My husband's office had to cut 17ish people on Monday (which is a large number when only 80 people work there in the first place.) We are blessed that he still has a job, but so many do not... many who we are close to and are so sad to see go. When you work for a ministry organization like this one, it hits everyone... especially since in the 80 something years since their inception, they have never before had to do lay offs. It was a sad sad day. In addition, the rest of the office is getting a 5% pay cut. We know God is in control, and we are trusting in him. We will just be buckling down a bit more. This is one more reason we are glad to be gardening this year!

In a bit of joy, Sweet Pea said her first word! "Bye-Bye"... though it sounded more like "ba-ba". I would have assumed she was just babbling, but she did her first wave at the same time... and then did it over and over and over. We were sitting together in a chair when it first happened and she saw what a reaction she was getting from me. She was getting a kick out of the attention and we had lots of fun saying bye bye to each other. What joy! I only wish we could bottle that stuff and share it with the others!


Sunday, March 22, 2009

Our garden: why

In yet another effort at healthy/natural living, My Beloved and I are attempting our first garden. I don't think anyone will disagree with the fact that fresh produce is best! Best in regards to taste and in regards to nutritional density! It's just best.

Planting a garden is also the way to go in today's economy. While in the past several years we've been wanting to start a garden to help live more frugally, this year we've decided that it may become necessary. I haven't delved into the economy and the state of the world (present and future) too much here on my blog, but don't think that means it isn't something we are discussing and preparing for in real life. This may be a topic that we begin exploring here down the road, but for now, suffice it to say that if food is going to get expensive (and by that I mean too expensive), then we want to have our own supply.

Back to the healthy side of things: In the grocery stores, we have begun changing the things we shop for, and by that I mean we are buying more and more organics, especially where produce is concerned... this is expensive, but to avoid the pesticides etc, it is much better.

There is another reason we are growing (hopefully) our garden this year... BPA. (You can read what Wikipedia has to say about it here. Info about BPA in canned foods is here.) Yep, almost all your canned foods and soda's are lined with plastic containing BPA, a toxic chemical linked to cancer, infertility, birth defects and more! We've recently removed as much BPA from our home as we can figure. But the last item on the list is canned foods (I know, that probably should have been first.) It's hard to get rid of canned fruits and veggies... especially in the winter. We've reduced to almost never using them, but our garden is another step to being independent of canned foods. We are hoping to grow enough to eat and can our own (in glass mason jars). We'll see how that goes.

Let me say this... we are true novices. Neither of us have ever gardened before (at least not successfully!) And we are a bit ambitious (our plans are bigger than the average beginner's should be). And I plan to share it all with you. Success or failure. Now may be the time to add that, not only have we never done this before, but we don't have the greatest set up for a garden... not great light anyway. But we press on... and hope the Lord will multiply our light. Oh, and we haven't exactly cleared it with our landlord yet. And since we are hoping to put it in the front yard (our "backyard" is somewhat non-existent) and he lives next door... we really feel the need to clear it with him first.

I'll be back with pictures and stories from this years garden experience! :)

Any one else plunging into spring with garden plans? Or seeds sprouting in their kitchens? Or anything else?

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Thursday, March 19, 2009

Cherished moments

Tornado’s up from his nap. He was crying. Woke Sweet Pea up on his way out (door opening and all… not his fault.) Somewhat fussy… still tired I guess because he’s asleep in my lap now while I work at the computer. He never does this. I know I can't let him stay much longer... but I don't want my baby to wake up yet. Then he becomes my big boy again.

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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Saturday morning

My Saturday morning started like... well... none I can think of so far. I was in a wonderfully deep sleep. Comfortable. Warm. Dreamless, as far as I could tell. It was wonderful. Then something... what is that? Is that a noise? Talking? Yelling? Something was moving me from the depth of my sleep to the surface... back to my bed, and then beyond. Is that a toddler voice? And is it yelling?

Indeed it was. Tornado was sitting on his bed yelling at the top of his lungs (the same lungs that share a room with his sister), "Mommy, help cover." And it was 4:00 am! He yelled this at the top of his lungs over and over and over until I woke enough to comprehend the situation, and then until I could grab my robe and stumble down the hallway and into his room. I covered him up with ALL THREE of his blankets and made my way back to the warmth of my bed.

4:20 am: Repeat... "Mommy, help cover." Over and over again until I could get out of bed, grab for my robe and stumble back down the hall to his room. This time, however, he was still laying down and still covered up. Wondering at just how awake he actually was, I tucked him in, and went back to bed. Trying to find ANY comfortable position, I practically watched the time go by. Every noise and creak the house made, I heard. Then the humidifier kicked on and I could swear nothing was louder. Finally, around 4:40, I talked myself into getting back out of bed to turn it off. I was never going to be able to fall asleep with that craziness.

5:00 am: More yelling from the kids' room. "Ear hurts..." "Bottom hurts..." "Ear hurts..." I made my way back down the hall and opened the door to see what was wrong now. I talked with Tornado. Asked him which ear hurt. Kissed it. Tucked him in again. Returned to bed.

5:15 am: Repeat.

5:20 am: Repeat. I lay in bed, uncomfortable and unable to fall back to sleep.

5:40ish am: Sleep comes.

6:00 am: "Ear hurts." I toss the covers back over the bed. My Beloved makes a noise that makes me believe he knows I'm getting up... again. About this time I'm starting to suspect there may actually be something to this "ear hurts" claim. You see, I believe we had ourselves a little bit of the "boy who cries wolf" syndrome. You never can tell when there really is a "hurt" or not. Tornado has taken to saying just about anything hurts at just about any time. But after the 6th or 7th time he showed me the same ear that hurt, I began to wonder. Still, I tucked him in and headed back to bed.

6:20 am: Repeat. I said something to My Beloved upon my return this time... something about thinking Tornado's ear must actually hurt. I then cuddled back up to MB and dozed off.

7:00 am: Repeat. I brought Tornado into our room to sleep on the floor. Regular complaining of ear pain and "get up" came for the next 45 minutes until I finally gave up.

7:45 am: Potty time with Tornado.

7:50 am: Enter kitchen to work on breakfast, see mouse poop on my freshly washed dishes. The same dishes I'd spent more than an hour washing the night before. I almost gave up at this point.

I won't bore you with the crazy details of the rest of my day or weekend. Suffice it to say that Tornado had an ear infection with high fevers and a lot of ear pain. Poor kid. I was thankful to have Daddy home all three days to help, as Tornado was very fussy and needy... for Mommy.
What a cherished thing to be the one person my little ones want when they don't feel good. I just need to remember that in the thick of it sometimes.

Still I can't help but laugh at the memory of Tornado yelling out full voice at 4 in the morning, "Mommy, help cover." It was a great moment. :)

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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Top Five Weekend Blessings

In no particular order...

One very sound sleeper!
Two extra bucks back when you buy Children's Tylenol!
Three days My Beloved was home to help!
4:00 am wake up call that made me laugh (at least later it did)!
Five minutes of rest... here and there.

I hope you had a blessing filled weekend too!

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Friday, March 13, 2009

Ok... I just can't stand it

You regulars (who don't read me via Google Reader or some such thing) may have noticed that I've changed my header. It was time for a change... and I'm just dying to know what you all think of it? So, for those of you who rarely actually come over here... check it out and let me know. :)

And if you don't like it... say something like, "tell me how the weather's been", or better yet, what should I change next time. :)

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Question on keeping our children with us

I received some great comments on this post about keeping our children with us. One particular comment included the following:

Jennifer said,

If I had permission to be an authority for you (which I am not qualified for and not asking for), I would want to know the following:
-are you still providing play time for them with children their own age?
-are you making sure they are receiving Bible-teaching on a level they can understand at home since they aren't in an age-leveled class at church?
-are you ensuring your children are respectful of the space other adults need in your classes and in worship?
-really? you're doing this over plastic toys? do you genuinely believe that 1-2 hours a week with those toys will harm your children?
-how will your children learn that there are different rules for different social settings? It makes sense to want to avoid the behavior that comes after some of these settings, but do you have a plan for helping them understand this?
-do you have a plan to integrate them back in with their peer group at church?

Wow Jennifer, what great questions. I do appreciate your thoughtfulness and I'll try to answer. Let's tackle this in order, shall we?

1. Re: playing with kids their ages, Sweet Pea is just 1 year (and a few days) and doesn't care about kids her age quite yet. :) Tornado (2) has a couple friends at church and enjoys playing with them after church for a few minutes each week. We also get together to play on occasion. Sunday evenings My Beloved and I teach the children's choir (ages 4-7) and Tornado really enjoys playing with those kids during the play time and sings right along with them. Overall, he is still only 2 and he does get practice playing with his sister. Beyond that, we are looking forward to the warmer weather that spring and summer bring and hope to spend more time at the park and such then. I'm sure this will be a continually changing thing as they reach new ages and stages.

2. Re: Bible teaching… yes. At least 3-4 days a week Tornado and I are spending time learning. We sing songs, many of which are “church” songs, songs which are actually Scriptures set to music, songs about the attributes of God, and we’ve begun learning some of the old hymns. It is such a treat to hear Tornado sing It is Well with My Soul all by himself, or to request “When peace like a river” during our song times. It is my hope that learning these songs will make it easier for him to participate in our church services as well as to begin learning the great Bible doctrine imbedded into so many of these songs. We work on memorizing Scripture too. In fact, Tornado already knows Genesis 1:1 and can say it complete all by himself. We’ve begun John 3:16-18 in the last few days. Another part of our learning time is a Bible lesson of sorts. We have been using a Bible activity and coloring book that includes a number of stories. Each day we read a part of the story and do the sticker pages. These last couple weeks we’ve been reading about Noah, little bits at a time. He loves this activity. I believe he is learning more during times at home with me than he would during an hour of blocks, snack, singing and story in Sunday School, and definitely more than an hour and a half in the nursery playing with toys.

3. Re: respecting the space of others in the adult services and classes: We require our children to sit still, either beside us or on a lap during this time. While we let Tornado “socialize” before our Sunday School class begins, once it does, he is required to sit quietly. Now, don’t think this is easy for either of them. They aren’t perfect every week, but we are learning. That is, after all, what this age is all about. Training, training and more training.

4. Re: the plastic toys. No… really, that has nothing to do with our decision. It is however an afterthought. We added toys to the decision we made long after we made the decision to keep our children with us. It is however an added benefit of not putting them in the nursery. Children are much more sensitive to the chemicals that are leached out of the plastic toys and into their skin (or their mouths when they chew on them)… so we try to keep those chemicals away from them as much as possible.

5. Re: different social settings: As our children get older and have more and more opportunities to be in different social settings, we will teach them what is expected. This summer when we make our regular visits to the park, Tornado will have the opportunity to learn that we must take turns on the slide, or not throw wood chips or sand. In the mean time, I don’t think he is at a loss. As I think about it a bit, it occurs to me that he is already learning how to act in different social settings… just not the ones that are created for him. The social settings he is learning are more realistic… ones he will need to know for the rest of his life. He is learning how to behave in the church service, or to sit quietly while someone is talking or teaching. He learns that he must respect God by being quiet during prayer or the reading of God’s Word. I think these are just as important.

6. As far as integrating my little ones back into their peer groups at church someday? There will come a day when our little ones are ready to go off to a Sunday School class all their own and benefit from the teaching of another Godly adult. This day will probably come at a different age for each of our children, as their readiness will probably come at different ages. We trust the Lord to lead us when the time comes… just as we are trusting him in the decision He has led us to make now.

Now, all that said, I am so deeply encouraged that it wasn't hard to answer these questions at all, as they were all things we've either talked over or thought about already.

Thanks again for your questions! Anyone else have some thoughts?