Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Happy Birthday, Daniel!

Dear Daniel,

Wow!  Ten years old.  I cannot believe you've hit double digits.  Seems like you were just born, like you were just running around as a toddler, like you were just a completely uninhibited, inquisitive little boy.  Now, despite your continued, inquisitive nature, you're the older boy egging the little kids on in their entertainingly uninhibited and inquisitive ways.  You've become a bit more reserved, a little older, a little more mature, a little bit of growing up.  

It makes me sad...and happy.  I miss those baby days.  Okay, not the diapers or the up-at-night crying, but I miss your baby face and crazy exploits.  They have been replaced with this older, handsome kid that is growing, much too quickly, into a young man.  Time, slow down.  

Seriously though, I'm enjoying this stage.   I didn't know that I would. There's something about it.  Laid back, maybe...  Old enough for a little independence; young enough to be carefree.  Not a baby but not a teenager either.  Relaxed.  We're playing football (and by "we," I mean "you"), swinging on tire swings, fishing at the lake.  You're young enough to want to play on the playground but not so young that I have to be right there to catch you when you fall.  

You weigh upwards of 95 pounds!  Solid, all muscle. Your blonde hair keeps getting a little darker, and those piercing, blue eyes are gonna win over some, sweet girl one day.  But all that can wait.  

We're still homeschooling, and you're enjoying your co-op classes again this year.  Writing, science, PE, among others.  Some days are better than others, but I think you're doing a great job!  You're in fourth grade this year, and with that, came an increase in my expectations and an increase in your work load.  I will say that doesn't always go over well. Ha!  

You'd much rather be playing football or researching football or writing notes on your football scorecard chart you made or researching football stuff you want to purchase.'re really into football...more specifically, SEC and UGA.  I love it, and you're awesome to watch the game with.  I did think I may need to keep the blood pressure cuff nearby during various parts of the games, though.

I guess you're changing, and it's hard on a mom.  Your interests change.  Your looks change.  Your attitudes change.  All these things change so fast! As a busy mom, I don't always realize this until I look back.  Then, Bam! There it is.  I begin to think of all your lasts.  The last time you climbed up in my lap to read a story. The last time you climbed up in our bed during a thunderstorm.  The last time you wanted to play with action figures or toys of any kind, really.  (Legos are still cool, though.) But you, my precious son, are growing up, and it is a pleasure to have a front row seat.  You are a spectacular kid, and I am blessed beyond measure to be your mom.

I love you more than words can say.


Saturday, September 6, 2014


What a great time the kids are having in co-op!  Enrichment classes, writing, science, art, geography, PE, ballet, fun, fun, fun! I'm not sure which classes are their favorites, but I'm loving the whole shabang.

There was something special about packing their bags and gathering supplies.  With homeschooling, I think the only one who ever really gets excited about school "starting back" is me, and this year, even I wasn't really excited.  I was overwhelmed and underprepared.  It's hard to prepare with your students surrounding you. All. Day. Long.

Thankfully, things are beginning to improve.  We're getting into a routine, and that is helping.  We're evaluating our schedules and trying to spend more time at home and less time on the go.  The kids are growing up so fast, and before long, they'll start going their own ways as they develop interests and get involved in other activities.  For now, we're maxed out on commitments.  I feel desperate to guard our time because it seems there's always something vying for our attention.

Friday, September 5, 2014

On asking permission...

The day has come that my children are embarrassed by me, or I guess I should say that they are worried that I will disclose information that will embarrass them.  I suppose I’ve earned it by sharing the day-to-day funny stories of antics they’ve found themselves to be a part of.  So they have respectfully asked that I obtain expressed permission to share the details of said antics.  It’s such a bummer because they do the funniest, most amazing things that I would love to share, and this request has most certainly interrupted my thought process.

I wish I could share the crazy things Ethan did when he woke up from surgery after having his tonsils removed.

I wish I could share Daniel’s concerns on his first day of co-op.

I wish I could share what Hannah worries about when she yawns.

I wish I could tell you all about Grace’s ideas concerning where kittens come from. 

But alas, I cannot.  I have to obtain consent…from my kids.  I do love them so, and their opinions, worries, anxieties, so on and so forth matter to me.  I don’t want them to be uncomfortable. I don’t want them to be mad at me over this.  I don’t want them to clam up and not talk to me about important things out of fear that the whole world will find out the inner workings of their thoughts and concerns about life in general.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

First Day of School

After surgery
So have you ever read the story of Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No-Good, Very Bad Day? That was our day, our first day into the new school year.  It was July 28, 2014. Maybe it wasn't that bad, but good grief, we had a rough start...

I woke up with the worst gall bladder attack I've have in many years.  I couldn't walk or move.  It was horrible.  We got started late.  I shouldn't have started at all, but for goodness sake, it was the first day.  And I needed a sick day?!  Crazy talk.  I couldn't do that on the first day.  It would throw off my entire year!!

I slept a little late, and started to feel better enough to start our school day.  Breakfast?  What? Get dressed? What?  You mean they need to eat breakfast and wear something other than pajamas all day?  And of course, they have to really enjoy said breakfast, slowly since we're starting school and all, and we have to clean up the mess from said breakfast. Then, the clothes must be just right since we're not going anywhere.

It was getting late, and we've NOT even STARTED.  I thought I was going to have a nervous breakdown.  Then, we all came to the table.  It was Bible reading time, and WE were going to have a good attitude, weren't we?

Now, we were on to table work, and not 30 minutes into grammar/language arts, I got my first, "I hate grammar.  What is the point of this?"  We hadn't been into school for 30 full minutes. I enlisted Daddy to come help out with this attitude.

Hungry?  Again?  They just ate breakfast?  We've barely made it into the school day.  Now, they wanted a snack?

We actually made it through the varying levels of math and language arts... I stagger them, so they can all be working on something.  That was a success.  Lunchtime came, and again with the meal mess.  I started to feel sick again and instructed the kids to do silent reading while I rested a minute.

Then, I heard something outside my bedroom door. I saw a beautiful, little brown haired, seven year old sneak into my room.  I didn't open my eyes but a crack, and there was her sweet face.  My precious Hannah.  She pulled the throw blanket over my arms and said, "If you don't feel good, we should pray.  I will pray for you."

And there it was.  My sweet girl, praying...for me...on what felt like a terrible first day.  Oh, the conviction. The reassurance.  The Lord reminded me through her of all that I already knew.  Things may not be picture perfect, but something must be going right.

Why do I homeschool?  For moments.  For time.  For them.  For me.

It's what is right for our family.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

On being terrified...

They say drowning is silent.  I've never experienced this particular fear.  There was one time, Ethan wasn't swimming well and slipped into the deep end.  He didn't see where the deep end dropped off and had to be rescued.  That was the moment I enrolled them all in swimming lessons.  I wasn't going to have that ever happen again.  Not for a moment if I could help it.  If we were to be near water, they would be capable of swimming.

Recently, it happened. It was silent, and there wasn't much time left.  He was three years old.  His mother was chatting and hadn't barely even turned her head to speak.  I'd done my "headcount" several times.  You know- 1, 2, 3, 4 children swimming and laughing. I thought to myself, Okay, we're good. I can see them. I can hear them. People who are really drowning cannot shout for help.  They are physically unable as their lungs are truly filling with water.

His mother was a stranger to me and obviously, loved her children...all boys 5, 3, and 1.  Before she came over to the pool, she had been pushing them on the swings and letting them play on the playground.  I had no idea he couldn't swim.  I'd heard her tell him that he could sit on the edge and touch his feet in the water, but no one heard him slip, quietly, off the entry steps.Then she looked over and shouted, "He can't swim!"

But there he was, silent, with terror in his eyes. Unable to speak. Unable to move. The water was at mouth level.  It looked like he was standing up.  But the fear on his face will be forever etched in my memory.  It happened so quickly.  One second he was dipping his feet in the pool.  And the next, he was minutes, seconds away from drowning.  Daniel was close by, so I screamed, "Grab him!  Put him up on the steps!" So Daniel picked up that frightened, precious, little fella and carried him to safety.  He came out sputtering, coughing out water.

Never have a few short seconds mattered so much. We could have been on the opposite end of those much needed moments. I shudder to think of how different that afternoon could have been.

My prayer is that God would be ever with us.  That He would help us to focus in this world full of distractions...

Monday, July 14, 2014

Vacation 2014

We absolutely love going to Amelia Island!

Our kids are at the perfect age for relaxation at the beach.  They aren't begging to go places.  They are perfectly content to spend hours playing in the waves, perfectly content to spend hours catching little critters while the tide comes in and out.  Deron and I would help them navigate the waves.  We'd watch them play while we sat in our beach chairs, talked, planned, and enjoyed time together.  

We got to the condo Saturday afternoon, went grocery shopping, and walked along the beach to a restaurant our first night.  It's not as much fun walking along the beach in July as it is in May.  We were sweating and tired and decided not to do that again.  It's much hotter at the end of June/beginning of July than it is Memorial Day week.  

The entire week was filled with spending hours at the beach and hours at the pool...That was it.  Not much but just what we needed.

The fireworks on the fourth were amazing.  People were all over the place, shooting off fireworks...literally, everywhere...  Right beside us, people were shooting off very large, very powerful fireworks.  They weren't little sparklers.  They were huge; they were loud.  Grace was not impressed...

The week ended far too quickly.  I could have stayed a bit longer.

Beach Trip 2014: The Girls

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Happy Birthday, Grace!

Dear Sweet Grace,

You are my littlest.  My youngest.  My baby who’s not such a baby anymore.  We sure are enjoying this season with you, dear one. It’s been fun and interesting and never, ever dull. 

This has been a year filled with new activities, new experiences, new friends, and giant leaps outside of your comfort zone.  What happened to my shy and bashful little girl?  You’ve turned into quite an expressive and confident young lady.  No longer a preschooler but a grade schooler who is trying new things, talking to new people, and cultivating facets of her personality I didn’t even know about.

You participated in a co-op this year and experienced the realm of an actual “classroom” experience.  You enjoyed classes in nature notebooking, geography, ballet, and sign language.  Next year, you’re voluntarily taking classes separately from Hannah.  Last year, you wanted her in all your classes, but this year, you’re looking forward to some classes based on interests all your own.  The jitters of being left there have turned into smiles and, “See ya later, Mom!” sentiments.

You're growing bigger and taller every day, and besides flu season and the health scare we had with your leg, you've had a relatively healthy year.  You are getting very tall!  You’re still skinny, minny, but your legs have grown at least a foot… And your eyes. Oh your eyes seem bluer than ever before this year.  Your bangs are finally growing out, and you've already gotten a tan this summer.  Just a beautiful little girl, inside and out!

Watching you grow up is exciting and bittersweet.  There are so many firsts for you, lasts for me.  Even with swimming lessons.  I thought we’d need one more refresher session for you this year.  Not so.  You proved me wrong with one cannon ball jump into the deep end.  Little did I know that last year would be our last year of real lessons.  You’re reading more and more, and while I’m still an active participant in that learning experience, you’re proving to be quite a natural in that area.

When did you grow up so much?  And while I want to encourage character and independence, I also want to foster a sense of family and togetherness.  I want you to know what is important and what is NOT.  I just love you so much and I’m so thankful to God that He would bless us with such a time as this.

Happy 6th birthday, my girl!
Love, Mom

Monday, May 12, 2014

Tuesday, May 6, 2014