Tuesday, October 26, 2010


Today I felt it necessary, while folding laundry, to review and re-evaluate the reasons why we are homeschooling. You see, I had a rough morning. In fact, lately it feels like we are kind of in a rough spot. It feels like I am pulling teeth to get any of the lessons done. And I really hate that. So here are some of the reasons why we decided to homeschool:
-my husband's slow time is over the winter and right before harvest, so for us to travel anywhere together as a family, it would have to be right when school is starting or during the middle of the year.
-I want to encourage close relationships between my children. I want my girls to be each other's best friends. I have seen too many families drift apart once older siblings start school and feel more pressure to fit in with their friends and feel that is isn't "cool" to spend time with younger siblings or the family in general. I know this doesn't happen in all families, but knowing how I treated my younger brother and sisters when I was a teenager, I don't want this to happen in our family. And I am not saying that it couldn't happen in our home anyway, but I think homeschooling will discourage it.
-I want to iron out any relationship issues I have with my children now, when they are younger, then have them in school the majority of their day and only have a couple hours with them each day, and not realizing we have some issues until they are teenagers and til then, it could be too late. This is the one reason I have to remember when I am doubting myself. I'd rather deal with this now, then when they are in their teens. But it's still hard.
-I also don't like that school gets them the majority of the day. I only would get the morning, which is rushed, trying to get out the door to catch a bus, and a couple hours in the evening which would be spent doing homework, any extracurricular activities and the whole bedtime routine. Not much time for cultivating relationship. Not to mention that they would be tired and cranky, and not the most pleasant.
-I do believe that this is God's will for our lives in this season right now. And that is the most important reason of all. It's just hard when I have had a challenging morning, and I can hear the voice in my head saying that I am a terrible mother, that I am ruining my kids, that I am a bad teacher, that they aren't learning anything, why don't I just give up? But then I also have to remind myself that God doesn't condemn. He will convict, and He definitely has, when my attitude has been less then the best, but He will not condemn me, call me names, or make me feel like a loser. That is the Devil. The one who opposes anyone who is trying to live out their Holy calling, God's plan for their life. Who doesn't want to see close, loving families. He would rather have us running in a hundred different directions, not eating a meal together, or enjoying each other's company.
I know homeschooling can be a polarizing subject. I believe that it's a personal decision, something that God has to call you to do, because it's one of the hardest things you will ever do. I went to public school and had a pretty good experience. But that was 13 years ago and a lot has changed since then!
So I am glad that I had this little review. It's good to reflect and remember why we do the things we do. Just have to push through this tough time, the view from the mountain top will be beautiful!

the view from my front porch

Saturday, October 23, 2010

In the Moment

I have a confession to make. I don't always love being a mom. There. I said it. But it's true. I had no idea how hard being a mom would be. How I could get so frustrated and angry. At myself. Being a parent is one of the hardest jobs you will do because it forces you to look at yourself and all your flaws and have to deal with them. And I really don't like those kinds of self-evaluations! And there is the constant double standard of the way I can hold my children up to this high standard, that I demand they follow, yet I feel justified in my less then stellar attitudes when they fall short. Yeah, like I have it all together. Like I live in a constant state of perfection, where God never has to discipline me. Uh, huh. Like God never has to exert patience where I am concerned. Hmmm...
I get tired of breaking up fights. of refereeing, of cleaning up, of being needed. Dying to self is hard. Choosing the unselfish path, the selfless path, is difficult. But thank goodness we serve a God who delights in helping us, who never runs out, who we can run to, who will fill us up if we only ask. I just need to train myself to call on Him for help instead of feeling sorry for myself and getting frustrated and angry.
I was reading a blog a couple of weeks ago of a mom who was exhausted. She was giving her kids a bath and as she pulled each one out, she realized that one day she will miss this. Miss the messes, miss the reading books before bedtime, the chaos at mealtimes, the dirt and mud. Because one day, these little people will grow up and move out and have their own lives. Sure, they will come to visit, but the house will feel empty. Alone.
I was looking at some of Alaina's 5th birthday pictures, and there was one that just caught my eye. It was of Alaina, and I could see she was totally starting to lose that little girl look and moving more into a big girl look. It made me feel a little panicked. Like time is ticking away....which it is. I know with Landon, I am definitely enjoying the baby stage more now then ever before. Because I have understood how fast it truly goes. Because before you know it, you have a six year old, who is an individual with different ideas, who is watching everything you do and is very quick to call you out if you are just one time inconsistent. And it is this older stage that I need to learn to enjoy a little more. A little more grace, a little more mercy, a little more love, more hugs and kisses and snuggle time. Explaining and talking about things instead of thinking they are too young or they will just do it because I said so! There is a definite need for immediate obedience, but there is also a time for explanation and discussion as to why. Which is what I struggle with. Taking the time. What am I in such a big hurry for anyway? I need to remember that I am planting seeds in a life that one day I hope to witness a harvest in. Sometimes pulling the weeds, watering the ground and fertilizing it can get tiresome, sometimes downright annoying because you just dealt with that weed yesterday and it's back again, but in the same way God extends his grace and mercy to me, I need to be extending that to my children. No strings attached.
These are just some thoughts that have been swirling around in my head lately. I think the most important thing in this season of my life right now is to learn how to be present with my children, my husband, and most importantly my God. Because once I figure that out, everything else will fall into place. To be in constant conversation. I have my mind so focused on a needed quiet time, where I am uninterrupted for an hour. That's just not my season right now. And I need to learn to adjust. To be flexible. God hasn't gone anywhere. He is willing to meet me wherever I am. It's me. I need to quit putting God in a box of "I can only meet with God during a scheduled quiet time" and see Him in my everyday life. Talk to Him while I wash dishes, hang out laundry, wash the floor, and scrub the bathtub. He will meet me wherever I am. Wherever you are. Right Now.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

11 weeks

Here is our 11 week old boy!! He is growing way too fast. I expect him to start laughing any day. Sometimes we can get a little giggle out of him and then he smiles and looks a little confused as to what he was trying to do. And I think he is going to start waking up cooing soon as well, which is so nice. I hate to hear him waking up crying.

This picture is of Landon in the Philly's cap my mom got for him. It's a little too big yet, but it won't be long until it fits. Maybe in time for our big trip back to Pennsylvania for Christmas!

I am just loving all the free smiles he is throwing our way right now. It's so fun when they can interact with you. Only thing is, this boy is nosey! I don't remember my girls being so curious at this young of an age. I thought that happened when they were a little older. Landon will stop his feeding to look around if he hears his sisters. And my heart just melts when he stops nursing and smiles because he hears their voices, or his daddy. So sweet! We are just loving our baby. In fact, Alaina has been telling me multiple times a day that she wants a baby sister. Now. Like yesterday. I tried to explain to her that she has a baby sister and her name is Charlotte. But no, she wants herself a little baby. I also tried to explain to her that babies don't stay small, that they grow. To which she looked shocked, and then disappointed. Lets not rush this Alaina!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Homemaking Link up

I am linking up over here today. Check out some thoughts on homemaking.
I am celebrating my #2 daughter's birthday today and picking up my cousin from the airport for a week long visit!!!! Yay!!!! Pictures sure to follow.....at some point. Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Somebody's turning 5!

Alaina Grace is turning five today! Hard to believe five years ago, around 2 a.m., Alaina Grace was brought into this world, caught by her daddy, sans midwife! What a crazy night that was! And what a wild ride it has been with this girl since. As you can tell in the above picture, this girl is one imaginative, silly, tomboyish, sassafras kind of girl!

                HAPPY BIRTHDAY ALAINA!

Monday, October 11, 2010

How to make your home sing...link up

I linking up today over at Women Living Well. Today's challenge is to play peaceful, worshipful music in your home today, and to speak in a quiet, calm voice. I also have my candle lit from last week's challenge. I love the smell of fall wafting through my house this beautiful fall morning!
On my stereo I have playing some of my favorite. I love Travis Cottrell's cd, Jesus Saves. Every song on the CD speaks to me in some way. I wrote about that CD before, here. I also have a CD from Gateway Worship, and a group of 4 CDs called Home Again, I found them on the CBD website. They are very calming, acoustic praise and worship CDs. I used to have music playing throughout the house all day, but when I started homeschooling last year, I got out of the habit because I wanted to limit the distractions for my daughter, since her two younger sisters were enough of one! :) But we are taking this week off because my cousin is coming to visit for the week, so the music will play! I love to put all my CDs in and let them be shuffled. It's amazing how in the afternoon when the kids are laying down, God meets me in my living room. I don't know what song will play next, and just when I need it, He creates the best playlist. I love those moments.
This morning I was laying in bed and heard my girls just after six, so the speaking calmly and peacefully will be a challenge! I have already had a few spats this morning because three little girls got up too early, but hopefully I will be more intentional today about watching my tongue. I'll let ya know!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Home Sanctuary

I am linking up over here today. I love to read her blog on ideas and tips for cleaning, and just making your home a sanctuary. Happy Friday!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


Another way home can be peaceful to me is when everything is running like clockwork. When the kids and I have a routine down, and it's working! Now this doesn't happen everyday, probably not every other day....when you have four kids six and under in the house, and one is only nine weeks old, there isn't much predictable in life. But we can strive and aim for routine. One thing that keeps our house running smoothly is a schedule. And by schedule I run more by a routine schedule then a time schedule. And flexibility is always important because, lets face it, things come up. Like my husband may call me for a ride from a field right before I am ready to start school, or one of the girls may spill something all over the floor, or, my favorite, you are just ready to walk out the door and your darling newborn decides to load his pants. Yes, life happens. But I like to get up in the morning with a plan. With a goal. And I thought I would share my weekly plan with you......
Breakfast Responsibilities:
Alaina & Charlotte: dry breakfast dishes
Mom: lunch prep (we eat our dinner at lunchtime)
Morning Devotional: we are reading from the book of Mark right now, and also the book, Leading Little Ones to God (Sonlight curriculum)
Larissa is to bring out the laundry
Lunch Responsibilities:
Charlotte: set table
Larissa: dry and put away lunch dishes
Kids: pick up toys before quiet time
Breakfast Responsibilities:
Alaina & Char dry dishes
Mom: lunch prep
Devotional: Bible and Leading Little Ones to God
Larissa: clean girls' bathroom
Mom: clean my bathroom
Char & Alaina: gather towels to wash
Lunch Responsibilities:
Alaina: set table
Larissa: dry and put away dishes
Kids: put away toys before QT
Breakfast Responsibilities:
Alaina & Char: dry breakfast dishes
Mom: lunch prep
Devotional: Bible and Leading Little Ones to God
Larissa: help strip beds
Mom: bedding
Girls: dust bedrooms
Lunch Responsibilities:
Char: set table
Larissa: dry and put dishes away
Breakfast Responsibilities:
Alaina & Char: dry breakfast dishes
Mom: lunch prep
Devotional: bible and Leading Little Ones...
Larissa: wipe down bathroom
Char: roll out mom and dad's laundry
Alaina: girls laundry basket
Lunch responsibilities:
Alaina: set table
Larissa: dry and put away dishes
Kids: pick up toys before QT
Breakfast Responsibilities:
Alaina & Char: dry breakfast dishes
Mom: lunch prep
Devotional: bible and Leading Little....
Larissa: wipe down chairs
Mom: vacuum
Girls: dust living room
Lunch Responsibilities:
Char: set table
Larissa: dry and put away dishes
Kids: pick up toys before QT
Mom: vacuum
Breakfast responsibilities:
Char & Larissa: dry breakfast dishes
Mom: clean kitchen
Char: help with any laundry
Lunch Responsibilities:
Alaina: dry dishes
Larissa: set table
Kids: p/up toys before QT
Mom: wash floors
I will usually sit down and plan our meals out for the next two weeks.

This is our routine for the week. I try to stick with it as much as possible. On Mondays I will also try to get to the store. I plan our meals out for two weeks, so I only go to the store every two weeks. We live over a half an hour away from the grocery store, so I try to write as extensive of a list as possible, because I just can't run to the store for a forgotten item. We also only do school four days a week. The other day is a catch up day, or a baking day with the girls. Our evenings are typically low key.
I read the book "Homeschooling at the Speed of Life", by Marilyn Rockett, and she included a CD rom of printouts of different schedules and plans that you can personalize to your life. I use these to write out my schedule and it hangs on a bulletin board in my kitchen. I also hang my menus there and grocery list. It's nice to have everything in one place.
I love to hear about others' schedules and routines, and ways that they choose to organize their homes, in hopes that I may learn something new that may save me time. Feel free to share yours......

Monday, October 4, 2010

A Haven

I linked up today to the Women Living Well blog. Courtney is talking about how to make your home a haven. This week's challenge is to light a candle and every time you see the flame, you are to offer up a prayer for peace in your home. I like having lit candles, especially cake candles. They smell so nice and cozy. But today I made a special effort to pray for my family and that peace would reign in this house. It's been a while since I have done that. And as I did that today, I started thinking about what speaks peace to me, and how my home conveys that thought. One thing that I did when I first got married and moved out here to Arizona was to pray over each room in my house, that it would bring peace and comfort to all who entered. We sold that house and then moved into our current house. I was just thinking today about whether I prayed over each room in this house. I can't remember. That is something that could be done again.
Things that speak peace and comfort to me are fires in stoves or fireplaces, lit candles, the smell of something baking or potpourri on the stove top simmering away, soft blankets, big over sized chairs and sofas that you sink into (not so great for the back, though!), a hot drink (coffee!), soothing music, quietness, and kids playing well together. I must confess some days I feel as though that last one is a dream, rather than a reality. And more than our home feeling like a peaceful haven for friends and visitors to come too, it's also got to feel that way to my husband and my kids. A lot of times it feels like when my husband walks through the door, I am ready to vent to him about my day. How tired I am, how the kids fought, which one I had trouble with, how school went, and on and on it goes. Do you think he enjoys coming home to that? Probably not! I am trying to teach myself to wait, to discuss those things after he's had a chance to sit down, relax, and the kids have gone to bed. That verse in Proverbs comes to mind, you know, the one about a nagging wife? I don't want that to be me! And  I don't want to be the wife who tears down the walls to her home. I also want our kids to feel as though this is a peaceful home. A place they want to come home to, to be in, to live life. To have the freedom to make mistakes and try again, and not be ridiculed. I have a long way to go, but God is changing my heart, opening my eyes to the ways in which I can improve the life of our home.

Linking up to making your home a haven

I am linking up here today. I already have my candle, and once I get my contacts in and drink my cup of coffee, I will trust myself to light it! I have always wanted to have a cozy, warm home. A place where people feel welcomed and at peace. I am going to try and remember everytime I see my flickering candle to pray for peace in my home this week.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Firsts of Fall

I wanted to share some pictures I got this morning of harvest. It is full swing here at our house. I love the smell of the corn in the air. Here are some action shots of Nate and my father in law, Ray, working this morning.

 And here are some pictures of Landon. He has started smiling and I wanted to try and capture it. Unfortunately, baby doesn't cooperate during a photo shoot and flash those handsome smiles, like he does at his five in morning feedings!

 Big sister is trying to get him to cooperate here. She doesn't quite understand that he is not ticklish yet...and doesn't think this is lots of fun.

 Aren't we done yet, Mom?
 Here is all of our crew (minus me...somebody has to take the picture!) Our future farmers of America!
 I still haven't mastered the art of getting everyone to look at the camera at the same time. I think it might be a few years until this happens!

 Larissa took this shot of me and my papoose in his moby carrier. I really like this thing. It is a little awkward getting into it at first, but one you get the hang of it, it's great. And it's really good on my back. Which is kind of important!

 Running home. It seems like southeast Arizona hasn't gotten the memo yet that fall is here. It's still in the low 90s. But this was our morning. I cut off some cornstalks and tied them to my porch posts and we got some pumpkins the girls are going to paint. We don't carve here because it's still warm and the pumpkins just rot. Plus I have a lone chicken around who might decide to eat the pumpkin if it's carved and that would mean we'd have some disappointed chicks around here! I want to find some mums and marigolds to plant yet, and then maybe I'll show my fall display. Have I mentioned lately that I just heart fall?