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Chasing Babies... Growing in Grace: September 2011

Monday, September 26, 2011


Aren't these lovely!?!  Tornado and I grabbed some pics of them this afternoon.  They are an early birthday present from My Beloved.

That's right... tomorrow is my birthday.  I'll be thirty-three.  And I'm fine with it.  Really.  I love birthdays.  Basically because I get presents.  :)  Who wouldn't.  It's true that as we get older the presents get fewer, but my sweet mom still sends a big box of wrapped up presents every year (they came today... thanks mom!)  And of course a sweet gift from My Beloved's parents (wearing the beautiful necklace right now... couldn't wait.  Thanks Mom and Dad!) 

This year I told My Beloved that all I wanted for my birthday was a date... dinner.  Just the two of us.  Not on my birthday of course, so I'm cooking for my own birthday.  But Thursday night we've already got a sitter lined up. 

The flowers were a bonus.  Isn't he sweet!?!

But I wonder... could I have a birthday present from all of you?  I know... tacky to ask.  But what can I say?  I'm tacky. 

Things have changed so much around here over the years... children have been added, I'm wishy washy with my posting here and there, I've reduced the amount I post overall... not to mention the content.  I am wondering who you are... how many of my "old" readers are still around and who are you new ones lurking in the shadows. 

Have you never left a comment?  Do you leave comments all the time?  Would you take a minute to say hi.  Let me know long you've been around, too.  And I'd love it if you'd leave me a question.  It can be personal, technical or anywhere in between.  Hey, if it's too personal, I don't have to answer it, right?  (Same goes for the technical ones!)

So that's it... I'd love to know who you are.  And I'd love to know what you want to know about me.



And I'll see what I can do about answering in the next month or so.




Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Encourage Hollywood to Make more Quality Movies!

Have you heard about the new movie Dolphin Tale?  If, like me, you have no TV and are not keeping up on these sorts of things, you probably haven't.  But it's apparently a good clean movie for your family!  Read below to see what Sally Clarkson is saying about this movie.  Her son has been working with them and there is a big push to get as many people as possible to be there opening night... this Friday, September 23rd!
Calling all Families! Calling all Moms! Calling all Homeschoolers!
Join thousands of families nationwide to see the movie Dolphin Tale on September 23 together. It makes a statement to Hollywood to rally behind movies that “get it right” and tell great stories without all the junk, twaddle, and moral compromise! This movie has all the good stuff we want more of and is truly entertaining and inspiring from ages 5-95!!!
It’s time the conservative Christian Family and Homeschool community shows Hollywood we have a voice. But how? We need a story we can support and get behind, a story that affirms who we are and what we stand for.
Dear Friends, Dolphin Tale is such a story!
This is a family movie that will inspire, instruct, and bring you to tears because of the great story line. This movie even has two homeschool kids who play the main roles! (The casting agents went to a local support group in California and found them!)
The bottom line is that the Homeschool Movie Club wants to show Hollywood that the those of us with Christian and strong family values are a big enough market to support other great movies with traditional, conservative family values. I am hoping you will be a part of this great opportunity with me!

Watch the Movie trailer as seen on my side bar.
Watch a short clip from movie about Cozi being homeschooled.
Visit the Homeschool Movie Club website.
Visit the Homeschool Movie Club blog.
Read Sally's full post to get more information on the background of this movie!

I'd love to know if you're going to see it... and what you think! 


Thursday, September 15, 2011

the 2011-2012 School Year

(Scroll down to see the list and skip all the blah blah blah) 

Plans.  I make them.  And I make them.  And I make them.  (Keep in mind that each time I make them they look different than before.  Completely different.)  It's following through with my plans that I'm not so good at.

I've found over time (Time?  How?  My oldest is four.  Whatever, that's not the point.) that I'm not a big fan of curriculum.  Perhaps it's because it's too structured.  Perhaps it's because I'm not disciplined enough.  Perhaps these two reasons are very good reasons why I should be using a completely pre-planned curriculum.  But I'm not.

I did have big plans to follow the "Well Trained Mind" way of doing things this year.  I got the book again and started making clear notes as to what parts of it I'd implement this year.  I really love the classical approach... especially in history study.  I was so excited.

Then when the Lyme's hit and I spent hour upon hour on the couch with my husband's iPhone, I stumbled on an approach I'd never heard of.  I started to get as excited as I could with the little energy I had.  I read and read and read and read.  Then I read about a book I knew I wanted to read.  But the new and expanded version wouldn't be out till later that month.  Ugh!  "I have time to read now!"  But I waited.  And though I still have a tiny bit left, I absolutely loved the book!

Still do in fact!  And it is this book and what it teaches that I'm implementing as our home school method.  (Husband approved!)  The Whole-Hearted method.  I'm not going to go into to much detail about the method here, but when it comes to homeschooling, they breakdown things into five categories (for lack of a better word).  Discipleship (the foundation), disciplined studies, discussion studies, and discovery studies (these three represent the body of the "house" of their method), and discretionary studies (the roof over the top).

Have I lost you?

Ok... I'll give you a little more information on these five.

Discipleship studies are all the things I would like my children to learn that help to "make disciples" of them.

Disciplined studies are the basics... the "three Rs"... for the most part anyway. 

Discussion studies... basiclly literature, history and fine arts.

Discovery studies... nature, science, creative arts, and other interests.

Discretionary studies are anything else we (the parents) think should be included.  You'll see below what we've decided to include for this year.

There... does that clear things up a bit better? 

So what does this look like for us?  Ah... I thought you'd never ask.  But I was going to tell you anyway.  Don't worry.

At first I wasn't sure.  The thought of turning all those concepts into some sort of weekly schedule was daunting.  And what first trimester pregnant woman with 3 kids 4 and under has the energy or time to deal with something so huge.  I was beginning to think we were never going to start the "school year" simply because I didn't know what or how to plan it out.

Then the idea came (from someone else I'm sure).  No lesson plans and curriculum... goals!  And not weekly ones either.  Goals for the year.  What would I like to say we did when we arrive at next summer.  Or at least what would I like to say we worked on doing. :)  Low expectations are my friend!

That said... let me introduce you to my insane looking list of goals for the 2011-2012 "school year" for my 4 year old (five in December).

Discipleship Studies
  1. memorize at least 25 verses/passages of Scripture (one down!)
  2. work on memorizing the catechism
  3. daily Bible reading
  4. learn at least 10 new hymns (1-2 verses of each)
  5. learn about the Bible (how we got it, names of books, etc.)

Disciplined Studies
  1. practice reading aloud most days (he does this without me asking him)
  2. read good literature together
  3. learn vocabulary from reading, pause to learn and practice using during the week
  4. handwrite personal notes and stories (he asks how to spell and I tell him... letters are how he does them)
  5. begin practicing handwriting skills (focusing on letter formation) sometime
  6. introduce copy work???
  7. dictate letters, stories and summaries to mom (focus on sentence formation) - at his level
  8. learn to tell time
  9. learn money
  10. learn to add and subtract numbers up to 10, with manipulatives

Discussion Studies
  1. read good literature together
  2. read about and discuss ancient civilizations and the Old Testament
  3. read missionary biographies
  4. explore geography through history and other reading and life
  5. explore 4 different artists and their work
  6. explore 4 different musicians and their work
  7. read and enjoy poetry together
  8. memorize 3-4 poems

Discovery Studies
  1. allow time to explore drawing with different mediums
  2. basic art introduction
  3. build with "Wooden Logs", Legos, wooden blocks, etc.
  4. provide opportunites for creative play
  5. observe and read about seasons/weather
  6. make a scrapbook of a dozen common wildflowers with leaves (naming them, describing, etc) - in the spring
  7. do the same for leaves and flowers of 6 forest trees (fall and spring)
  8. observe birds around us... know 6 birds by song, color and shape 
  9. go on nature walks and keep a journal of observations (dictated to mommy) and drawn himself

Discretionary Studies (the extra things we want to work on)
  1. care for own hygiene (teeth, bath, hands, etc.)
  2. sweeping with a broom
  3. spreading with a knife
  4. peeling vegetables (supervised, of course)
  5. cutting with a knife (supervised, of course)
  6. grating cheese (supervised, of course)
  7. stirring without making a mess
  8. cleaning bathroom sink/counter/mirror
  9. planting own garden - in the spring
  10. piano lessons???

Looks a little crazy for a four year old, doesn't it???  Keep in mind that we're not going to do all of these every day.  Or even every week.  For example... we grabbed a leaf from a tree at church the other day.  One of these days we'll look it up.  :)  And then one day we'll put it on a piece of paper.

Also remember... this is looking back from the end of the year.  And if we don't do it all, I don't really care.  If he doesn't want to learn to write correctly yet... we'll wait.  Mostly, we're going to read.  And read.  And read!  Together.

I'd love to hear if you have questions about any of this.  I'll be more than happy to share specifics in a future post.  And if not... I'll just talk about what I want when I want to.  :)  Either way, our school year has "officially" begun, without grandeur, without ceremony.  We're just learning together... some days.  Other days we just play and clean.  :)  We really need to clean!


Sunday, September 11, 2011

Where I am now and how I got there

Don't miss the background to this story and my little test of faith.  

I'm doing better and better with this "new" realization of baby number four every day.  Whereas initially I was terribly embarrassed about the thought of four children (like it's this huge shame on our family???) and being pregnant "again!", God has been slowly changing my whole mindset.  To the way it was before.

Like I said.  I always wanted a big family.  And the more I read around the web, the more I want as many kids as the Lord will bless us with.  So what happened?  I can only say that Satan saw a weakness and began spinning his lies on unsuspecting me. 

So how did it all change?  What helped me turn my corner?

One Sunday helped me turn my corner.  Sadly, I don't remember what the one man in our Sunday school said that first made me stop and think... but it was awesome.  IF ever I do remember, I'll be sure to tell you, as I had big plans to do before waking one morning the realization that I could no longer remember what it was.  :(

The other big help came that same morning, while, in tears, I shared with another lady in our Sunday school about our pregnancy.  And how I can barely manage the three I already have... how can I do one more?  Especially an infant.

She shared something from John Piper. He was counseling with a man who was overwhelmed and just couldn't do it anymore.  So Piper asked him, "You can't do it anymore, but can you get through the next eight hours?"  "Well, yeah, sure.  I can get through the next eight hours."  "Okay then, let's just get through the next eight hours." 

Wow.  In the middle of my own selfish pity party, I had forgotten the simple lesson of Matthew 6:34 ~ "Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."

Each day certainly does.  And I was looping my exhaustion (from Lyme's Disease and early pregnancy), morning sickness, children's misbehavior, etc. etc... today, with the exhaustion, heavy work load, projected behavior issues, etc. etc.... later.  Of course I can't do all that!  And God doesn't even intend for me to worry about it all.  

Can I get through today?  Sure, it may not go smoothly, but I can get through it.  

So I'll just keep getting through today... one day at a time.  

Once that weight was off my shoulders (and heart), the panic lost it's hold, my vision cleared and my faith could return.  

More to come... Is a big family really all that bad?

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Thursday, September 8, 2011


This is our vocabulary list from today.  For my four year old.

It's not what you think.  We don't memorize these words, and we're not getting them off a list.

Starting today, as we come across words they don't understand in our reading, we take a moment to look them up, talk about them and write them down.

Would you ever guess that this list came from Genesis 1???  I mean, if you had no idea. :)

(I let the kids take turns picking the colors we used to write them out.  They liked that part!)


Monday, September 5, 2011

A test of faith

Don't miss the background story.

June was a rough month for our family... for me.  Lyme's Disease had knocked me off my feet in the early days and had kept me there throughout.   My mother in law was here with us in those early days, then my mom was here.  They played with the kids and kept up with the house while I lay around, for nearly four weeks!.  This was the last thing I'd expected at the end of the month.

I knew right away, but it was a few days before I shared my inklings with My Beloved.  Deep down I was hoping it wasn't really true.  That with a couple more days I wouldn't have to tell him.  But deep down I knew better.  I was pregnant.  

My mom was here still, but we didn't say anything.  To anyone.  Not even each other.  It wasn't real yet if we didn't talk about it.  And maybe... maybe it wasn't real.  Maybe my antibiotics or the Lyme's Disease were causing this false alarm.  Maybe.  But we still knew better.

It was three weeks before we bought and took a test.  It came up from time to time in those days, but only briefly.  We told no one.  Still I kept thinking that until I saw that word, I could be wrong.  And I really didn't want to make that kind of announcement and be wrong.  So we waited.  And then there it was.  Clear as anything.

It was real.  I breathed a deep sigh and went back to bed.  It was real now.  We didn't say anything in church that morning.

Deep within me I struggled.  I did want more children, but not now.  Not yet.  My baby isn't yet one.  I'm still nursing.  I'm having a hard enough time with the three I have now.

Slowly over the next few weeks we told more and more people... close friends, parents, and eventually our pastor, church and email list at large.  Then you.   

But nothing really changed for me in this time... except that my "morning" sickness was getting worse and worse everyday.  I knew I wanted this baby, but at the same time, I struggled with feeling like I didn't want this baby... not right now.  To be honest with you, there were many times and many days in those weeks (month+) that I didn't want the ones I already had.  I watched my sister in law change a diaper while we were in Michigan and I horribly thought of how I didn't want to care for an infant again.  I struggled through discouragement, depression to some extent, and moments of despair.  The tiniest part of me was thrilled to get to have another little one.  The rest of me was (and sometimes still is) terrified.

How could I feel this way?  How could I hope it wasn't true?  How can I be, dare I say it, embarrassed?  Do I not think this should be God's decision?  Do I not believe that He is sovereign and trustworthy?  Do I not believe that children are a blessing of the Lord?

I smiled and accepted the congratulations as we shared our news with each new person, but inside I was cringing.  How would I do this?  I can't even handle the three I have.  How can I insert a newborn, and the schedule and sleep depravity it ensues, into this

Several ladies received our news without the thin veil that usually held back my tears.  But then I only felt ashamed at my lack of faith.  Is my God not still God of the universe?  Is He not the one who gives the grace for every moment?  Do I not trust Him with the details of my life?

I was shocked to find that, for all my talk, I didn't.

Still to come... Where I'm at now and how I got there.

(Photos:  In lieu of pics that matched my post, these are a few that make me smile.)

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Thursday, September 1, 2011

A little background

I've always wanted a big family. I'm not sure what started that dream, or when, but I remember talking about it with My Beloved before we were even engaged. Five seemed like a good number to both of us.

I'm not sure what fed that number, or where it came from. Five.

Then I was pregnant a mere 15 months into our marriage. I was ready sooner. My Beloved could have waited longer. We decided after we'd been married a year to just let whatever happen... happen. All of a sudden the realities of even one baby came crashing into our lives. Pregnancy. Ugh. I was sick all. the. time. for 8 months. Then I got some time off (for good behavior?) and was sick again in labor. And let's just say that the other "discomforts" of pregnancy weren't winning anyone over in this household. I'm definitely not one of those glowing, easy pregnancy women. At all.

Then that sweet baby was born. With nursing and weight gain issues. Not to mention the month long recovery time for me after the birth. So far, we were 0 for 2 on the "pleasurable experience" scale as far as My Beloved was concerned. The rest of infancy??? 0 for 3.

I pumped from the time he was 3 months (he'd only gained a little more than a pound) until he was 6 months, living on a cycle of pump, wash pumping things, bottle feed, wash bottle things, pump again. It was all I could do... especially in the middle of the night.

My Beloved had all but decided there was no reason to ever do this again, when I was pregnant... again.

I was mostly through my first trimester when we found out, and I wasn't sick. That was encouraging. Until the first day of my second trimester when I began throwing up. For the entire second trimester.

Still... as much as I do not enjoy pregnancy, I was open to more if the Lord would allow (read: I wanted more.) I was actually disappointed when we learned via ultrasound that we were having a girl. Not because I didn't want a little girl to raise, but because I figured the chances of getting a third baby were better if I didn't have a little girl yet. Now I knew this would probably be my last baby.

Then she came, and it was so much easier the second time around. The birth part at least.

But I was right. My Beloved was done. No more pregnancy. No more babies. I didn't agree, so I hoped quietly. Isn't that terrible? Finally I saw the error of my ways (that summer I realized what submission was really about) and stopped hoping we'd have more children. I knew that I needed accountability in that too, so we joined some friends who were having a yard sale and sold all the baby things we weren't still using. Clothing. High chair. Toys. Everything. Then we donated what was left.

Then October came. There was a new life within me once again. But a week later, that life was gone. We grieved, but I came away from that determined to be more careful. My doctor recommended that I not become pregnant for at least three months so that my body could recover. I didn't tell her that it wouldn't be a problem, but I was thinking it.

Then it happened again. Pregnant. (Read these posts for some details on how I was feeling.)

My Beloved is a God trusting man, and though things weren't going according to his plan, he adapts pretty quickly to God's. I am constantly encouraged by his faith in this way!

My sweet Little Man came and with him a peace that God would do in our lives what he would do. And that I could submit to my husband's decisions, whatever they were. I would be content with the little ones God had provided already, and, if in His will, I would welcome more children however and whenever they would come. He is sovereign after all... why should I know what is right for our family?

Then came a test of faith...

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