Thursday, December 31, 2009

Just In

Just received this book from Amazon.ca. A little Christmas present for myself.

I am looking forward to reading it in light of my son's recent struggles. As well as, my own struggle with depression/mood swings due to insomnia and PCOS. Not sure what I will find in here but looking forward to the read. The title itself could cause some conflict :o)

It might take me awhile to read it but I'll tell you what I think. Anyone else read it?

Obviously this will be one of the first books on my 2010 reading list.

Another I plan to read is Amusing Ourselves to Death by Neil Postman.

Full list coming soon. Is February still considered soon?

It didn't really seem much like Christmas this year.

We normally bake cookies, build gingerbread houses, make wrapping paper and more. This year we dropped many things due to moving, my husband being on call through Christmas and sickness. After the babies double ear infection on Christmas eve, my sore throat and feeling crummy on Christmas day we went off to visit family to come home with a cold. Sounds pretty lame....eh?

I like tradition and this year my circumstances came in conflict with all of those. At first I was disappointed but it became (by grace) one more opportunity to SEE things for what they really are. Another opportunity to rely and to lean on the fact that my greatest need has already been met. Met in the little baby in the manger who grew to manhood to set me free. Changes ones perspective. Once I got all that straight we had a very Merry Christmas. Though different in appearance just what he designed.




The tree comes down today and the boxes come out.


Want to come over for a packing party?
Sorry, no cookies but lots of yummy coffee.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

The Weather Outside is Frightful


We found a new place to rent.
This is how the baby looked at me when I told him we had to move in January. I think he's a little concerned. He really doesn't want me to but all his blankies in a box.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Merry Christmas

Can you believe that our desk top crashed twice in three weeks? After the second crash our laptop then died three days later. I went a whole three days with out the Internet or email. I must admit how surprised I was at the difficulty of that. A little embarrassed too. I tend to be the "I can live without technology person" and I can but not painlessly. :o)

We still haven't recovered all the pictures, school stuff or address book but haven't given up hope. We don't have the means to run out and buy new or fix these quickly.

We have to wait. Waiting is good as we are being reminded in our Advent devotions daily. Waiting causes us to yearn and be more grateful. Anticipation is so God engineered to make us curious, excited and joyful.

I anticipate a well working computer (that isn't slow...this one takes FOREVER to load a page) at some point and a New Year around the corner. Most of all I look forward to celebrating again Him who is amazing grace, born in a barn so that I could be whole and free.

I won't be around much, between broken computers, moving house and celebrating Christmas life is full. I look forward to regular posting again in the New Year. Pictures of the new house to come (when we have them ).

Have a Merry Christmas.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

No More Blackberries

I have been rolling around in my mind this one piece life that Ann talks about. Joy posted about the divided life this week bringing it to my attention again. If only I had a brain that didn't forget and a heart that didn't stray.

I started blogging and writing to record, reflect and remember the gospel in everyday life. It wasn't until about 7 years ago that I understood the gospel in its entirety even after being a Christian for almost 12 years. I had heard only part of the gospel. The cross was not central, it was my ticket to salvation but not my sustenance for daily life.

As I have grown in the gospel, doctrine has become my friend. The sound teachings of God's truth are an ever faithful and safe companion in life's ups and downs. What I am finding as time goes on, is there is more to this then just doctrine and clear truth. Not an addition to the truth but a widening of it. There is a beauty to the gospel that I have not seen so clearly. I have been equipped with truth, with sound thinking (most of the time and not perfectly), and a love of His ways but there is something more. Where Ann speaks of the one seam life, the lack of divide between the scared and secular; seeing, being and worshiping in those mundane moments of life.....this is grace, beauty....the gospel in the everyday. Being thankful for THIS moment, being present right NOW. Relishing in a child's story instead of thinking about my next chore, seeing the task before me as worship instead of dread.

Tonight I had a small glimpse. As I cleaned plates after dinner I was overwhelmed with gratefulness over those four dirty forks and plates. My cleaning them meant we were full, my children are here with me.....they are content and laughing in the other room. Beauty in the mess and dirt of life.

These moments are few and far between. That I see clearly the gift of God's goodness and grace in the mundane repetitious moments of life. I long for more of it...am asking to see more often and more clearly. For the gospel, for truth to run so clean and fresh through my life that there is no sacred and secular....that all would be worship.

I can know all I want about doctrine and the word. But living it out and the application of it is where life gets ugly. Finding the beauty and grace in each day, in each moment is making things mesh between what I know, how I live and who He is.

This particular part of Ann's post struck me:

Too often I fear I miss the burning bushes and just eat blackberries.

“Earth is crammed with heaven,
and every common bush afire with God;
but only he who sees takes off his shoes.
The rest sit around it and Pluck blackberries.”
~Elizabeth Barret Browning

Do I see the presence of an ever-present God in the now and take off my shoes? Or do I sit around eating blackberries, oblivious to the holy ground of this moment?

Exasperated, I raise my voice to holler for kids to come... and stuff my mouth with blackberries. As I mutter over mittens and boots dropped at the back door, I tear the seamless weave. As I lecture in disgust over beds unmade, juice runs from my mouth, dripping on the torn scraps of my life. Do I not think that God is here, present with me? Do I forget that this moment is worship, as meaningful as Sunday morning in the sanctuary? Why do I rip up the fabric of my life, tearing God into a scrap there, so I might do as I please in this fragment here? Sunday mornings find me unfolding my seamless white prayer shawl, spreading it over bowed head.

I yearn to be done with the insidious plucking of blackberries off burning bushes. They stain the white of one pieces. I desire to live bare foot: all is holy ground. Time to forsake the scissors and give up cutting and piecing. I am taken with the wonder of white stitches on seamless white cloth.

With a one piece shawl wrapping me, I set out for a one piece life.


Reading the entire post is well worth your time.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

So, the Book

You might expect it to be a heavy theology book that made such an impact on me during my retreat. Far from it. Yet it is something I think is of great importance, as well as a form of daily worship. The book I read is called In Defence of Food by Michael Pollan.


When I mention a form of daily worship don't think I've gone off my rocker. What I mean is how we eat and what we eat has a direct effect on how we function and live. Should we not see those choices as part of an opportunity to do the best for our bodies in order to do our best for Him? In North America especially, Christianity and food have no connection except that there is food at every event ( at least in my church). I would say this extends to North American culture as a whole. We have so much food, that little is considered about that food. We have what we want, when we want it and in abundance. We of my generation know little of food except the food industry. Food comes from the store and fast food restaurants. We consider little how far it traveled, if it was ripe when picked, or how the animals we eat were treated or raised. We have no clue where our food comes from or who is growing it.


Now, Mr. Pollan's book has nothing to do with Christianity and food. It does have much to do with knowing where your food comes from, how it is processed and those effects on your body. He also very effectively addresses the marketing plans of big food companies looking to make food about money and not health.


My eyes were so opened to how I view food and it's packaging at the store. Though I buy our meat at a local meat farm where I see the cows living in fields and eating real grass and buy our produce at a spray free local farm (as much as possible) I still was being swayed by the marketing ploy of "nutritionism". I was not looking at food as well....whole foods but the little parts they might contribute to my health. So I would be sucked into buying a food that tauts a certain type of nutrient instead of realizing that eating whole food is more important. If it has more then 5 or so ingredients then it probably borders on the line of being a food product and not real food.


His advise is too shake the hand of those that feed you. This got me to thinking. Though I do this in some ways there are still more ways to work on this. Like eating in season instead of buying green house grown modified distance traveling food. How this will actually look day to day I haven't totally figured out. Now that we are moving much of this will be delayed till we get settled.


But over my retreat weekend I did make a 4 week rotating menu plan that I come across in blogland. More on that later and the link to where I found the idea.


I do recommend reading this book if only for the eye opener. To be more aware. I also want to add that I don't think you are missing heaven if you eat beef from the grocery store and processed food. Just last night I was trying a new recipe...it failed disgustingly and we went to Wendy's. Aaron was working late, we had just spilt hot chocolate all in my silverware draw, all over the floor and stove top and everyone was just grumpy. I was done...those are the times we eat junk because it's easy.

Bit by bit I hope to make more changes. For me there is such a connection between living wholly for Him and eating whole food. It's not the gospel by any means but it's important to me and a gift I can give my family. Especially my one child who seems more sensitive to additives and preservatives. I have a long way go especially with my carb and chocolate addiction and my tendency to eat when bored or stressed. All material for another discussion. :o)


Let me know if you do read or have read this book. I would love to hear your thoughts.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Steadfast Love


41. Constant patients from above


42. Faithfulness not based on my faithfulness


43. Hope


44. Never failing forgiveness


45. Ever comforting truths


46. Warm breezes for cold hearts


47. Full plates carried by another


48. Sight to know this is not my home


49. God's sovereignty even in the choices of others


50. A great helper in my time of need.


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Guess What?

If you happened to read #40 on my One Thousand Gift list this week you might have a clue.

I am still in shock myself.....we are moving again. This is our 4th move since 2006. As a renter you are forever at the mercy of other people's choices. Our landlords want to live in their house so we move on.

I was planning to start a new series of posts related to the book I mentioned reading on my retreat. Now that chaos has descended I will postpone that till things settle.

Things will probably be quiet around here for a while. Not only do I have normal life to live, which alone can be challenging, now I am in hot pursuit of a place to live.

Oh...to own! That is my dream.

Monday, November 16, 2009

1,000 Gifts

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing,


give thanks in all circumstances;


for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.


1 Thess. 5:18


31. honesty

32. quiet

33. hard work

34. good friends

35. good books

36. time to think

37. watching the wheels of discovery in my children

38. yummy homemade bread

39. community worship

40. sturdy apple boxes for my beloved books (see next post for why)



To start at number one.




holy experience

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Solitude




My weekend away was a great time to rest and think. This is my first time ever going away alone. My husband has gone to visit his family with the kids so I can school plan and get some house cleaning projects done. This weekend was for me to just be and wait on the Lord. A real gift!




One of my favorite parts was the uninterrupted reading times in the chair above. I devoured a book in three hours with out having to stop once except for a bathroom break :o) I plan to share about that book later this week. It is something I have been working to change much of over the last year or two and really enjoyed this read.

I also enjoyed extended times in the word and prayer. Something I so miss in the early mornings and late nights of homeschooling, small children and long houred jobs.

To simply wait on the Lord. To listen. To pour myself out.

I have come to understand that I spend little time asking for help. I have a helper who is ready. A helper that is willing and waiting...whose sole job is to show up for me and provide what I need for whatever is in front of me. I am on a learning curve to access that help. There is something in the asking, in the needing, in the letting go that comes in no other way. It isn't since the death of our son Jonah that I have felt so desperate, walking with Isaac in his struggles. Even though I can still despair at times.....God IS bigger!





This Psalm was a big part of my meditation over this weekend.


My Soul Waits for the Lord
Psalm 130


1Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord!

2 O Lord, hear my voice! Let your ears be attentive to the voice of my pleas for mercy!

3 If you, O Lord, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand?

4 But with you there is forgiveness, that you may be feared.

5 I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I hope;

6 my soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen for the morning,

more than watchmen for the morning.

7 O Israel, hope in the Lord!

For with the Lord there is steadfast love, and with him is plentiful redemption.

8 And he will redeem Israel from all his iniquities.



Plentiful Redemption leaves me with much to think on.


I am truly grateful for the opportunity to come away. It's owed all to my very kind husband who man-ed the fort while I was away.


I have recently been listening to a song based on Pslam 130. Get a taste of the song here.
Click #9.


The munchkins had to check out the bed and make sure it was fit for mama to sleep on.

Monday, November 09, 2009

1,000 Gifts


21. Hard morning hugs from my son


22. Eli's baby dancing


23. My cozy blanket in my favorite chair


24. The branch and twig shelter my kids built in the front yard


25. Chocolate milk


26. Early morning boy smile


27. Powerful impacting quotes


28. Nice pens and paper


29. The beauty of cursive writing


30. Tomorrows



To start at the beginning go here.


For an opportunity to be thankful with your kids this month take a peek at my friend Cara's blog.



holy experience

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Real Life Around Here

It's been a bit crazy around here to say the least.

My father in law is on the mend. They took the vent out almost two days ago. He sat up in bed and called us on the phone last night. Nothing but the kindness of God. Thank you for your prayers. We are grateful to have more time to spend with Papa.

We finished up our Occupational Therapy appt. this week. On top of ADHD and ODD Isaac has Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD). This understanding has been the most helpful to date in affecting daily life. I am just beginning to understand what is it, it's triggers and how to help him. So much more to this but little time to share right now. Honestly, I am overwhelmed on a day to day basis but fully trust that God in his kind wisdom has a plan in all this. It is SO difficult to watch your child struggle like this. Please pray for our family.

Eli is REALLY walking. He does an awesome crab walk across the room. He still falls over but is becoming a toddler minute by minute. Where has my baby gone! He is such a happy and cuddly baby. He has a very soothing effect on us all. No matter the kind of day we have, we all gather at night to laugh and play and giggle with him. He is a true joy!

My sweet Journey has decided she wants to be a Zoologist or Animal specialists of some kind. She wants to volunteer at the shelter and a place called Dog Town where they rescue dogs who need help. She also is a blessing to her brother Isaac. She has amazing patience with him and tries very hard to help him succeed. Not a hint of resentment so far...and trust me she would have grounds for it at times.

Aaron is working LONG hours building his department at work. I miss him but in due time things will settle down. Grateful he has a job.

Me, well I am off tomorrow afternoon on a 2 day personal retreat. I am going to a place that has solitude rooms...doesn't that sound nice. I will add more tomorrow if I have time, if not see you next week.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Monday, November 02, 2009

1,000 Gifts



11. 1 Peter 1

12. The availability of God's word at my fingertips and eye shot EVERYDAY!

13. Color ~ especially brilliant earth tones

14. Tomorrow's filled with fresh mercy

15. Isaac reading ten sentences with ease and joy.

16. Drooly baby faces

17. The bright red and orange of fall leaves. Just so peaceful to me.

18. The wind as it blows those fall trees

19. My husbands job

20. My local church (they are a bunch of amazing god loving people)


To start at the beginning go here.



holy experience

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Choosing the Better


I had a choice this morning during the baby's nap to vacuum, clean, fold and organize which has such a sense of satisfaction to me. I can easily confuse that feeling of peace associated with a job well done, with the eternal peace that passes all understanding. They are not the same.

Choosing the first over the later, is being too easily satisfied. Being lulled into rest by this temporal and visual satisfaction is a cheap substitute for the real amazing peace provided in grace. A rest you can't find anywhere else.

So, by grace I made my way up to my bedroom crawled into my comfy chair under my favorite fleecy blanket and RESTED. Yes, my body ceased moving but this rest was for my soul. Drinking in the word, the truth. Pouring out my heart. It felt like a water fall, all those things gushing from my heart, yet I landed in the warmth, safety and comfort of His hands. He carried the burden and care of my ill father in law, my husband, my sick kids, my tired body.

When I came down stairs the house was still a mess. Cheerios on the floor, dust bunnies in the corner, laundry on the couch and toys on every flat surface.......and all it did was make my heart glad. There are toys everywhere because I have three healthy children. Those same children have been provided clothes to wear and food to eat. We have a warm pleasant home to sleep in every night.

So bring on the dust bunnies and cobwebs because not only does a family live here but the Lord of heaven and earth who provides all we need for life and godliness. He truly is our peace and provision.
Thank you Lord, that for this day in your grace and mercy....I chose the better thing.
My prayer is that I do the same each day knowing full well when I don't, your provision of mercy is enough.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Prayer Request

Edit: My FIL did make an improvement today (Nov. 1). He is still very sick but they are thinking he will pullout of this. That's our continued prayer. Thank you for praying for him and our family.


My father in law is in the hospital. He was taken via ambulance yesterday for breathing problems they found were related to pneumonia. He also has H1N1, Supra ventricular Tachycardia and his kidneys won't function.

They had to put him on a ventilator a few hours ago.

Please pray for him, for my MIL , my husband and his sisters.

I just dropped my husband off at the ferry to go see his father. He was told to come now.

It's pretty serious.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

A Sample of Heaven

During our circle time over the breakfast table in the morning we are reading Randy Alcorn's Heaven for Kids. We are very much enjoying reading this together. It is stirring great questions and thoughts. One such time occurred this morning.

We were reading from page 62.


It's like when your mom or dad lets you have a tiny piece of turkey or dressing to sample just before the Thanksgiving meal. It's not enough to satisfy you, but it's good enough to help you think about how delicious the whole meal will be!

All our lives, even if we don't know it, we've been dreaming of the New Earth - the heaven that will last forever. Whenever we see beauty in the water, wind, flower, animal, man, women or child, we see just a sample of what heaven will be like.



My daughter immediately piped up and said "There's our little sample of heaven", pointing at her baby brother. I could only smile and agree.

She then went on to ask me if I would rather be here on earth when Jesus returns or be with Him when He returns. This started a beautiful conversation. She has really been paying attention!




Our little sample of heaven.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Fall Adventure






Three things I find such joy in ......color, nature and my children.

Monday, October 26, 2009

1,000 Gifts


I have decided to join Ann's Gratitude Community.

This season of life is a great time to recall and record all the many gifts God has and will continue to give me and my family. I bought a separate little note book that I plan to fill with 1,000 blessings and gifts from God. As I fill the note book I will then fill space here each Monday (or Tuesday). It will be like a well worn path of God's grace and blessing unfolding in our lives.

I look forward to focusing my heart on those many things that I receive yet don't deserve. It's a discipline for me at this point. My prayer is that it becomes a blessed habit....a joy.

Bare with me it may be awkward at first.


So here goes...


1. That I know grace

2. The quiet of the early morning

3. The crisp air as fall comes

4. Words and books

5. Each of my six children ~ the 3 on earth with me and the 3 in heaven rejoicing

6. Poetry

7. Good hot coffee

8. Home education

9. Democracy

10. Classical Music



I tried to put the Multitude Monday Button on my side bar but I'm having problems.
It's too big to fit...any ideas?

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Crash and Burn


Edited to add:
All was recovered including my precious pictures!

Desk top crashed.

Hopefully haven't lost my pictures....I could cry.

My whole Homeschool world is in jeopardy too.

The computer is off to the doctor. Even my computer geek (very handsome) husband can't fix it.

Not good!


I will now back up weekly....learned my lesson.

Amazing how much of my world is in that big black box.

Thankfully not the most essential part!

Thursday, October 22, 2009



We made our planned trip to the Aquarium yesterday as a family. Aaron was able to join us which was an added treat. If you know me in real life you will know the idea of taking three kids into a very busy city then into a busy public attraction is not my idea of fun :o) My husband, fortunately for my children loves doing this kind of thing.

The Aquarium has always appealed to me because of its serene and quiet nature (minus all the people). Marine life live mostly in silence. Though they communicate their lives are buffered by the watery world they live in. To me it has always seemed a welcome sound barrier. As I pass the beauty of life God has made I find such rest and peacefulness. Truly beautiful, unique graceful creatures. Jelly fish are especially fascinating to watch.

So you can imagine my shock when they have now introduced a 4-D Theatre to the Aquarium. I had no idea what I was getting into. Foolishly, I took my son Isaac with me. It was a sensory overload nightmare. He couldn't handle it and we had to leave. It is such a learning curve to consider these things constantly. We have so much more to learn. Journey really wanted to try it so I returned with her. Big mistake! Though the scenery and marine life were beautiful and so real life in 4-D, the other sound and sensory effects were not. The chairs were rigged, and there were gadgets to spray you and poke you. What ever happened to taking in the creation as is....why do we have to have it enhanced, bigger, better, louder and animated.
Isn't the amazing works of created life enough simulation. I just don't get it. I think the most disturbing thing is that once exposed to this kind of stimulus....we just crave more. I can so see this turning into something much more dangerous then a video at the Aquarium. The crazy thing is most people loved it and wanted to go back again. I can only think that they are going back for more "sensory input" and not the marvel of creation.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Slow Down Baby!


Yesterday my little man took his very first step all by himself. He was showing off for friends at church and his mama missed it. When we got home, with his personal cheering section (big brother and big sister) he demonstrated his new talent.

I swelled with pride as I watched this little guy venture out only 12 days past his first birthday. He is so eager to get into the middle of all we are doing. Yet, secretly in my heart I wanted him to slow down, to be a little baby for one more day.

I remember when Journey was a baby waiting for her to grow up so I could talk with her, play with her, teach her and relate in a different way. Oh, that I knew then what I know now. Time runs away with our kids if we are not careful. When it is intense I can long for their independence yet the older they get the more I realize the independence comes all too fast.

So October 18, 2009 marks the day Eli starts stepping out on his own. He still grabs for my hand though and trust me, I am right there waiting to catch him.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Remembering

This past Wednesday was Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. I only discovered this through reading Raising Arrows a new blog I've come across.

So today I remember.

I remember a little boy so wanted and so missed. Jonah Ethan was born April 19, 2002 and died a few short minutes later. They said he would most likely die in utero and he didn't. They said he would never make it through labor and he did. Mama is so proud of you! His little body couldn't handle the outside world so he went to Jesus in my arms. He never opened his eyes but when I said his name he turned toward me and lifted his little arm. He knew my voice. I will forever be grateful for that huge blessing that God gave me in that moment.

I will never know your quirks, your laughter, even the color of your eyes but one thing I do know is you are free and happy. A son who will never know sin or the hard ships of this life. You have the very thing I long for....the arms of Jesus.

Jonah, we love you, we miss you and look forward to seeing you again. You will forever be remembered as a great gift that changed our world forever.




Also remembering:

Sarah Grace ~ gone to heaven March 2005 @ 12 weeks

Abraham ~ gone to heaven September 2007 @12 weeks



If you would like to join others mothers remembering their babies join them at She Looketh Well.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Taking the Plunge!

Today I started my first diaper trial. You pay $40 and get a variety of the newest types of cloth diapers. All in Ones (AIO), One Sizes, Pocket Diapers, fitted with covers....I opted out of the pre-folds. Been there done that!

Ain't that the cutest little cloth bum you ever seen!
I used cloth with Journey and Isaac. Cloth diapering was a little more archaic ten years ago. I sold or gave away all my diapers when we thought we were done. So when Eli came along I bought some old fitted diapers and have been using them. Now that he is so mobile and a heavier wetter I have decided to take the plunge and buy some of the "Mercedes Benz" of the diaper world.
I have the diapers to use for two weeks to decide which ones I like best. I plan to buy 10-12 diapers and then use my old diapers as back up. For the longest time I kept telling myself I couldn't sink a few hundred dollars in diapers. Now I wish I had done it sooner. Even though Eli only has at most 2 more years in diapers, the amount of money we will save is still so worth it. I am excited about the newer diapers because they are easier to travel and go out with, have fewer leaks and are easier for daddy to use.


We are going from these



To these

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Six weeks on...One week off

As I mentioned awhile ago, we are homeschooling for six weeks and then taking week seven off. I must say....I really like this approach. This is our first week off since school started. I love the change of pace and the kids do too. I also am enjoying simply drifting in my thoughts as I clean. Amazing what we can be grateful for :o)

This is day three and we see progress. We do our morning routine the same and then do some read aloud depending on Eli's noise level :o) When he goes down we get to work....or I should say "I" get to work. The older two are off to Playmobile, Lego or stuffies for the next two hours. This is turning out just as good for them as me. They are getting to play for hours at a time which doesn't happen much during regular school weeks. Playing is so important.




These are the areas I am tackling this week:

  • Switch winter clothes in/summer out ~ done
  • Clean behind computer desk ~ done (largest dust bunnies this side of the border)
  • Organize toy area in garage ~ done
  • De clutter baby toys (where do they all come from anyway) ~ done
  • Pack up outgrown baby clothes to sell on Craig's list ~ almost done
  • Dust and organize my room, hang a picture or two (can you see the running theme that I dislike dusting on a regular basis)
  • Organize school shelves
  • Vacuum couches, under couches and stairs
  • Clean behind change table in upstairs bathroom (fearing large dust bunnies there too)

I enjoy simplifying and decluttering. It just feels so good.

The more I have, the more I have to move it and clean it.

Less stuff, less work, less thinking, less time!

I always ask my self when I used something last and unless it has a good reason for sitting idle....out it goes.



This is the garage prior to cleaning. I haven't taken the after picture yet. I should hurry up before it looks like this again. I find bins for each type of toy helpful for storage but not the best for little hands to put back by themselves. Small space requires stackable storage but also daily maintenance.....that's why I need every 7th week off.

Off too vacuum the garage for the finishing touch.

Oh, and our fun field trip from our week off is actually next Tuesday. Aquarium here we come!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Growth

You know you have grown when you look at this.....




And not immediately panic.

Between the dishes, the bread maker and the craft bin the blood pressure is rising. What you can't see is the Tupperware cabinet contents all over the floor courtesy of my very cute 12 month old or the craft all over the table.

In the past a scene like this would have invoked much internal stress that would then, in a less then loving way, spill into the outside world. I have found going from two children to three has done me in :o). I surrender! I have read all the rules of housekeeping and organization and implemented many of them.

In the past, to accomplish the clean organized exterior I would become military no fun mom. I'd have a clean house but grumpy unhappy family. So not worth it.

Until I can get a grasp on doing both I will choose the messy counter top over the messy heart.

The stuff on the counter isn't what they remember anyway, it's the smile on my face and the things we create.

And just so you know I can't go the bed with it there....so it will get addressed at some point :o)

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

One Year Old


Happy Birthday Eli

You went from this:


To this:


In a very short time.

Time truly does fly when your having fun.

Much gratefulness to express when time permits.


I love you baby boy,

Mama

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

School Year 2009-10 continued

This year I am doing school six weeks on, one week off with the exception being between Canadian Thanksgiving and Christmas. I think we will go 8-9 weeks for that session due to being off for two weeks over the holidays.

I am looking forward to this rotation. It is working well so far. We have 1 1/2 weeks left before our first week off and I can see the need for that week already. I hope to plan the next 8-9 weeks of school, re-organize high traffic areas, switch clothes for winter and deep clean a few places in my house and take one field trip...probably to the Aquarium. We will play Language and Math games a few times that week plus piano but other then that we are off. I might, if time permits have a baking day to do a bunch of muffins and cookies ahead of time. I find when school is in full swing I have little time for anything but learning, basic cooking, folding laundry, time with my man, sleeping and hopefully reading. I'll let you know how the first week off goes.

As for Isaac's 1st grade year....we are still figuring some of that out. Due to the recently diagnosed ADHD, ODD and possible sensory processing struggles we are doing basics only. He tags along with our Zoology 3 and loves it. Facts are his thing and trust me he doesn't forget any of them.
For language, right now, we are using Rod and Staff grade 1 reading program. I posted awhile back about how much I loved Rod and Staff. Now that we are into it daily I am not sure it is the best fit for us. It's like pulling teeth to get him to do it each day. He keeps telling me how boring it is. I am planning to go to something with more bells and whistles to see if that works. If not then it isn't really the resource but the child :o)

I am thinking of trying Sing Spell Read and Write or Learning Language Arts Through Literature due to all the hands on cut and paste activities. I might just go back and try Phonics Pathways along with Explode the Code again. He definitely isn't your sit down and read a list of sight words kind of guy.

For math we are using Right Start Level B . It is going well. It has a lot of hands on activities and very few worksheets at the level. They make much use of the abacus and Asian based math instruction. We really like it.

The following is what I am most excited to share. I have found some fun supplemental material on line.

I have made these letter feet to provide opportunity to move during lessons. I put them on the floor and he jumps to the correct letter as I say the sound. We have started blending them together as well. They take time to make but I am making them as we go. I will continue with these no matter what we end up using.


I am making these letter puzzles too. I print them on card stock and cut them out. He so enjoys taking all the different pieces and making the letters from the pile. I started with the lower case letters because the feet are upper case. I plan to make the puzzles for all the lower and upper case letters.


This is our traveling school file box for Isaac. I figured since he is on the move, his school stuff would need to be as well. We can wheel this from the kitchen to the living room and then store it in the garage when needed. Everything we use is at our finger tips.


The bonus is, it was free. Gotta love a bargain!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Resources for our 2009-10 School Year

It's taken me forever to get to posting this. I usually provide links to everything we are using but it takes extra time. That's what google is for right? So there are only links to something you couldn't find on your own.

Journey is 9 years old and in 4th grade.

  • Rod and Staff Bible (she loves doing this)
  • Rod and Staff English Grade 4
  • Rod and Staff Cursive Writing
  • Spelling Doo Riddles
  • Still undecided on Writing (any ideas?)
  • Horizons Grade 4 (we did first 50 lessons last year~was a breeze after Singapore 3 but starting in the middle of a curriculum this year has proven not a good idea)
  • Spelling Workout Book D
  • Story of the World Volume 4 Modern Times (we are really liking the mapping and outlines)
  • Apologia Elementary Science Zoology 3 (this is our favorite science curr. She is coming out with an Anatomy book~ Jan 2010 that we plan to start in February. I think a Chemistry and Physics book is in the works. )
  • Typing free online (I like using this :o)
  • Chronicles of Narnia Novel Studies by Veritas Press

I plan to make a lap book accordion time line with our SOTW this year. We are also covering some Canadian history by watching a BBC series and making notebook pages. The big change for this year is the 6 weeks on and 1 week off rotation. More on that when I post about Isaac's grade 1 year in my next post.

Baby is awake and due to piano tonight dinner is at 5pm. Gotta get crackin'

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Good Reads

Joy @ Life in the Making
is doing a series of post on allergies to milk and diet changes they have made as a family. Several of her children have struggled with allergic reaction's to dairy including her recent newborn. She also shares about behaviors related to food additives. I am just beginning down this road with one of my own children. The first post is titled Beauty and the (food) Beast and the next second post is here. Well worth the read.

Heather @ Stepping Heavenward
posted an article she read entitled The Cloistered Homeschooled Syndrome. We need to train and teach our children (male and female) to be thinking responsible adults. The influence we will have in their lives has to transition to an adult relationship and not stay parent child once they are grown. I am not there yet with the adult child but I know I need to be making choices toward them being ready for adulthood at 18 ish. That starts now while my oldest is only nine.

I don't typically read much by the Pearls because I don't agree on many points but this article is well worth some thought in my opinion. I see it as a healthy warning and a means to check our own heart motivations. Though I do admit I might have trouble sending my 22 year old daughter into an unreached tribe by herself.

I have also recently started reading Neil Postman's, "Building a Bridge to the Eighteenth Century How the Past Can Improve Our Future". Not Christian worldview at all but interesting all the same. History, the past has always been intriguing to me. Not just the facts but the thoughts and ideas that influence us today.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Craziness

Between........

The foot work with buying one van and scrapping another

Visiting friends who are home from overseas

A baby who thinks one nap a day is a good idea even though he's still tired

Feeding and educating three kids

A husband on call all weekend and working late

I've been a little preoccupied. :o)


Still planning to share what we are doing with school....one of these days?

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Six Random Things

1. We just bought a new (to us) van. I'll post pictures once Aaron gets home with it. (Like you really care what it looks like). This is another clear evidence of God's care for us. The van is 10 years old on the outside but has only 10,000 km on a brand new motor. Being the daughter of a mechanic I actually do care more about what is under the hood then the exterior. That being said the van looks great all around.

2. Confessions! The picture to the right, of Aaron and I is ten years old. Now to my credit I couldn't find a more current picture of us together, alone and actually looking presentable. Maybe we will take a new pic one of these day but of coarse I still look just like that :o)

3. Circle Time this morning in school was a disaster. It was chaos and not because of the struggles my 6 year old has with self regulation and hyperactivity....oh no! The culprit this time is the littlest male in our family who has decided that the playpen is a prison and not a play ground. He made it very clear this morning he would not be caged. So we sang and played with the baby instead. Let's hope he doesn't think that's the new plan everyday.

4. I think my PCOS is back......Grrrrr!

5. We are making some diet changes around here related to helping Isaac (more on that later). I have discovered that my all time favorite indulgence chocolate milk has of all things, color and artificial flavor. I never read the label before and I am disappointed. So what did I do? I bought a litre of it last night to drink all by myself as a formal goodbye. I will have to make my own recipe now but I am very picky about my chocolate milk.

6. Do you know that I was well on my way to becoming a Marine Biologist. I was accepted in a Marine program at a college in Delaware and was fulfilling a childhood dream. But I never went, something fell through ...like the $$$. Long story. But anyway, I bet you didn't know that about me. There are some days in this stay at home homeschooling calling and adventure that the ocean seems much more appealing then the kitchen sink.


Happy Wednesday!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Show And Tell

I have recently started visiting Melissa Stovers blog, A Familiar Path. She is a fellow homeschool mom and loves taking pictures, often of her very cute kids. I love taking pictures and playing with my camera and she has inspired me to do just that.

Melissa has a weekly feature of her blog called Show and Tell. You take pictures and share. It's pretty simple but helps me be more purposeful about getting interesting and creative shots.

This is my first week joining in on the fun.
The pose was purposeful but the coloring was on accident.
I really don't know what I am doing :o)

I love playing with a mirror in my photos, We have big mirror doors in our entry way which has caused me to play around with it a bit more. All the smudges on the mirror don't help much.

Note to self...clean mirror before picture taking!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

A New Chapter

Everyone has a story. Moments of victory, great joy and also times of sorrow and excruciating loss. We are all changed and grow through these things we face. God in his perfection has good plans for each of us though not always comfortable nor our first choice. Our story has had much sorrow. More recently, much joy with the birth of baby Eli and Aaron's much needed stable and decent paying job. Life on many fronts has become more comfortable. The growth we have gained through the times of loss and pain are priceless. They are like treasures never dreamed of nor expected. It's only in distance that I can look back and see the foundations God built for what he had down the road. I have more faith now then I did then......I have SO much to go back too when life gets crazy. The evidence of His grace not only on the cross but in my little part of the world is undeniable. He really does provide ALL I need for life!

So armed with this we move into the next chapter of our story. A place that I do and will need much faith as I walk what He has laid out for this family, my family.

I am bit of a wimp. A controversy wimp to be exact. I started blogging to share, to grow, to write and encourage...to be encouraged. As I became more involved in the blogging community I began to see that strong convictions and words often were rewarded with criticism and sometimes flames. People due to anonymity were willing to say things they might not be wiling to say face to face. This really bothered me. I wouldn't call myself a people pleaser but I definitely don't like unnecessary conflict so I avoided any topics that might stir the pot. I see the possible conflict involved in this topic as necessary. In order to grow and learn there must be pressure, stretching and yes, conflict. I see this with my kids, my marriage and friendships, even in my relationship with God. I as a parent need to find and give the best I can to my children and train them up in the way they should go. What I am learning has changed how I see some things that I was pretty sure about.

As I have briefly mentioned before our son Isaac has been diagnosised with ADHD and also ODD (Oppositional Defiant Disorder) along with some possible sensory issues. In the Christian community there are many different ideas and thoughts on psychiatric diagnosis. Are they real or just entrenched sin and lack of gospel centered thinking? Is a disobedient bratty child simply due to permissive parenting? If we discipline more consistently and diligently the child will turn around right? Is first time obedience the be all and end all of parenting? If it is, are you a failure as the parent of the difficult child? What is inability to understand the consequences of your actions compared to childhood folly? Could diet really have an impact on behaviors? Do we use drugs?

These are all questions I have been grappling with for along time. In attempt to grow and process I will start to grapple with them here in this little space in cyber world. I do so with some reservation. I can only trust that the differing opinions and conversations would be based on a desire to encourage one another and learn. I don't have all the answers, not even close.

As we start this conversation and I begin to write this chapter of our story, pray for my son, for our family and please share your own experiences. I find such beauty in the sharing that takes place from one life to another. I believe that is part of God's story for man as we await His return.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Love These Baby Eyes

Eli John 11 months old

Irresistible!


Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Official Kickoff


Yesterday kicked of the new school year. With tradition we headed out as a family for a big pancake breakfast. Considering both boys rise around 6 am we got started bright and early. We then took a leisurely stroll (to walk off the pancakes no doubt) and headed home.

Each year we have a treasure hunt in our house for the fresh new school supplies. I am a sucker for new pencils, markers and our new obsession Twistable Crayons. I like these because my son Isaac can press hard and not break them, as well as, not be tempted to peel them instead of pay attention :o) I had fun shopping! This was the first year I could buy most of what we needed in one shop. I bought enough white cardstock to last the entire year.



I love the smell of new paper! I know.... a bit nerdy.



To put our new supplies to good use we sat down and made our notebook covers for each subject. They have fun tailoring the covers to what they are studying for the year. We use stickers, makers, printouts, etc. Isaac's notebooks inevitably have cars, bugs and dinosaurs on them because we all know they transcend every subject of study.


Today we worked through our first full day of academics and it went well.





Of course we couldn't leave little Eli without a notebook.

He didn't really decorate it but simply tried to eat it.

Boys will be boys!

(Stay tuned for more of the changes we have made for this year. I had intended to post that before the start of school but battled a nasty cold all weekend. )

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Mrs. Clean On Strike


I have come to the conclusion that in order to stay sane in home educating this year something has to go. Between a very academic 4th grader, a struggling and difficult 1st grader and a very cute but mobile 10 month old, I feel stretched. Switching from one mode to the next is material for another post.


What goes this year......my clean house! I like to keep my house pretty clean. I have finally accepted that the dirt will have to live along side of us if I am to keep the priorities where they should be.

I am making things easier on myself and hopefully it will all come out in the wash (sorry couldn't resist). My three biggest helpers are above. The cute kid has learned to clean bathrooms this past year and I have learned to accept the nine year old version of clean. She is improving all the time. The other two gadgets are the best! My swiffer vacuum keeps my floors de-crumbed and is easily used by any child...even a 6 year old boy who likes to pretend it's a rocket. The other is a magic cloth mop. Even if I just use water it works "magic". Armed with these three babies I am well on my way to sticking to a decently clean house.



One thing I have changed is my cleaning bucket mentality. I have paper towels and vinegar water spray bottles under every sink in my house. Cleaning takes 5 minutes when everything is right where you need it. The great thing is the kids could drink the cleaner and be fine....though have some nasty burps.

I never used to do paper towels in order to be more green but it is one of those things that had to change. Right now, creating another load of laundry to clean my bathrooms just doesn't appeal to me. With doing cloth diapers I am balancing things out....right? I also have a swiffer vac upstairs so I don't have to carry it up and down. It's handy for use when I need it. I usually would never have two gadgets....it just about killed me to pay $30 for the first one. But when the battery started to die on the old one I moved it upstairs and bought a new one for the bigger downstairs.

The other change to help in this area is a 6 weeks on, one week off schooling schedule. The 7th week will be for major cleaning and organization projects. No matter how organized I am I tend to not maintain it. By 6 weeks it all needs doing again. I plan to have Journey do a novel study that week and fun stuff with Isaac. I am sure Eli will follow me around and try to undo all the order I am creating that week.

I am sticking to cleaning my kitchen, floors, bathrooms and keeping up on the laundry as the weekly priorities. The 7th week will be for deeper stuff like under the kitchen sink where the trash goes....yuck! This doesn't include the meals and general tidy which is daily as well. Being in a small house makes general tidy a must. The kids play room really is the living room so organization of toys is key to survival. I have evolved from scheduling my cleaning to having a list of what needs done in a reasonsable amount of time and doing as the moment presents itself. For example, when Eli is in the bath I can clean the toilet next to him and the counter as well. I have a pattern of swiffering the upstairs hall right after putting my morning load of laundry in the machine. Journey and Isaac also have a chore chart and do many of these task once a week themselves.


So the keys for me this year are:

  • Being organized in each room for the cleaning (paper towels and spray bottles)
  • Staying on top of the laundry (a momentous task for me)
  • Cleaning when the moment presents itself
  • Sticking to the priorities and not getting caught up doing other cleaning (that time is coming)
  • Continue to train my daughter and son in helping around the house.

Just a little picture of the mighty mobile mess maker of the family.


You can't put anything down with out risk and he is a huge threat to my book collection right now :o)

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Priorities and Plans.

I am working on getting our routines and rhythm's down for the fall. I have accepted there is no way to get it ALL done when the kids are home all day. Over the past year or so I have struggled with the Ideal vs. the Reality. I had a notion of what I wanted the schooling, homemaking, and service at church to look like and it hasn't really ever looked like that. I have finally come to place of accepting what is right in front of me instead of wishing for what it "should" be like. There is much peace in my heart over this and in my home :o)

This has in part contributed to not planning like a fiend this year and getting all my "ducks" in a row. I don't have ducks anyway, who by instinct follow their mother in cute little lines. Rather I have three very distinct, different and unique kids. I've always had this idea that order would fix all the problems. It is certainly a tool to get from one place to another but not the be all and end all. I am discovering the real "fixer" is in paying attention to the relationship (w/Him and them) and being at peace in each day as it comes. If peace comes from skipping math that day, so be it. I can't skip math everyday but stopping to get to the root of that lack of peace solves the real issues. I would tend to push through and finish. But finish at what cost?

So I look to the priorities this year and not the plan though it serves it's purpose. My hope is to see all the "interruptions" to the plan as an opportunity to stick to the priorities.

Over the next few posts I am going to hash out some of the practical things I will be doing different this coming year.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Time Away

We've just returned from our annual August trek to the Island. We have three guys in our family that have a birthday within a week or so of each other, one of them being our son Isaac. It was a great time of catching up and remembering.

As you'll see above my header picture has changed. Same location different picture, and different time of year. The cliff in the picture is where we released the ashes of our son Jonah, who would now be seven years old. I visit that cliff each time I return to the Island. It is absolutely beautiful and peaceful. It is one way of remembering, acknowledging and embracing Jonah's life and the grace that it brought us.

I am finishing up school organizing this week, as well as, having my two nieces visit for a few days.

I leave you with a sunset I enjoyed from my time on the Island. My soul finds such peace and refreshing in the solitude and beauty of nature.

The city just doesn't cut it for me!