Saturday, August 30, 2008

"Whatever you do, work heartily...."


This is what happened when I told three year old Rebekah to butter the bread for dinner. I'd say that's work well done.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Raspberry Picking

We took a detour from our regular schedule today to take advantage of the beautiful weather and a nearby farm with fruit calling to be picked. I grew up in rural Indiana enjoying the benefits of large gardens, an apple orchard, corn fields, chickens and cows all in sight from our front door. God has seen fit to place us in the growing suburbs, but most of our county is rich farmland. Today was the kid's first exposure to picking berries. They did great and worked together to pick ten pounds of berries total.




"Look, mom, we caught some berries!"


There was some eager tree climbers for picking these gorgeous blue plums.


We packed a lunch and ate it there on the orchard's porch store front. We loved the apple cider slushies. No one had much of an appetite due to the number of berries consumed in the field. When they were started to get tired and hot I told them to go ahead and try a berry or two. That certainly motivated the older ones to pick as many as they could. Little John, however, just parked himself in the grass and began devouring whatever was in his bucket.


I wouldn't trade my job for any in the world.

When we arrived home the little ones were overdue for a nap and we were able to fit in some uninterrupted school time. We also washed berries and made this delicious treat for Daddy. The other berries are now packed away in the freezer for the winter months when our hearts will be warmed with memories of today.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Embarrasing Moments


The other day my daughter and I went for a walk. The topic was "most embarrassing moments". I shared a few of mine to her amusement and then she went on to tell me a story that I had never heard. It happened two years ago.

Being that I normally work on Saturdays I miss out on all fun it seems. At the end of the school year Sean does his best to visit as many graduation open houses as he can. This means that he takes all the kids with him. I don't want to know about how many pieces of cake they eat on those weekends.

The word is that while going to one of these parties, Sean, six children and a few Korean students who he was transporting walked into the wrong home. They saw all of the cars parked along the street and just assumed that the party was in this one particular house. Since it was an open house, they just walked right on in the front door to find a very horrified lady watching TV in her pajamas. The lady screamed loudly and the group of about ten ran as fast as they could.

When I brought it up later the kids that remembered burst out in hysterics. What a great story. I'm glad I asked.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Changes


The mothering of girls is no small task. Not only are girls relationship driven, but they are filtering life through a range of emotions that is constantly changing. On top of that, they are watching their mother with they eyes of a hawk and becoming intuitive to any feeling that I am experiencing.

I've never considered myself an overly emotional person. (Those who know me are laughing right now. Can you say, "Understatement"?) It was actually very difficult for me to share any emotion growing up. I'd easily share my ideas, dreams, thoughts.... but I would keep the feeling part to myself. Once I had processed everything then I would share it with my mom or my best friend. Emotions just didn't flow freely. Sadness, anger, bitterness, disappointment, nervousness.... just welled up inside me and I pushed it back somehow.

I've certainly outgrown that dilemma. It is in large part to the Lord's work in my life. The Lord has softened me in many areas and when dealing with matters dear to Him, I simply can not hold back emotion, though I might try. It's a good thing. Allowing myself to actually go through the process of emotions has lead me to call out to Him for help instead of waiting for my brain to figure it all out.

Of course, I expect my girls in their hormonal fluxes to be more emotional and difficult at times. It is the walk of a woman to learn to control reactions and extremes. I don't expect my girls to be perfect at this. It's a lifetime process and a little grace needs to be given.

But I know they are watching me. They are picking up on my emotions a bit more everyday. "Mom, are you frustrated?" "I was going to talk to you, but you seemed too busy." "Are you worried about something?" "I think that you are mad at me." I know that my time has come. They are waiting to see if this woman, their mom, is able control her own reactions and extremes. I am the example God has seen fit to provide.

Today has been a tiring day emotionally for us girls. Several bouts of tears and frustrations related to school, along with some discipline for disobedience, has worn this mom down. I admit that I've lost it a few times and spoken harshly. I've asked for forgiveness and received some much needed hugs.

Before bed I announced to Lydia that in the morning I expected to see her in clean clothes. She was not only to wear clean clothes, but something from her drawer that she has not worn in a month. She has favorites and has been known to wear them for days on end if no one is watching. I've attributed this to the fact that she must be comfortable to be happy. But I know that she will miss out on much in life if she is only willing to stay with what is familiar.

I told her to pick something out or I would. Surely that would be motivation enough, right?I found her in her room sobbing and looking through her drawers. Frankly, I wanted to scream, "JUST TRY SOMETHING ON!!! I want to end this day!" But, by God's grace, I did not. We looked through the choices. We talked about why she liked some things and not others. I was literally biting the side of my mouth in order not to freak out. She cried some more. "Mom, I'm glad I have clothes to wear. But....I just want to wear something that looks.....more grown up. I'm so sorry.... Nobody cares. I mean, I talked to Miriam and she cares, but she just doesn't understand what I'm going through. Mom, everything is changing." (sob, sob, sob)

Come to find out, she has been trying to talk to me about it for a while and when she got up the courage last time, I blew her off. So she's been wearing what she has and doesn't know what else to do. My girl is changing. Her tastes are changing, her perspectives are changing, her hormones are changing.

And thus, my mothering of Lydia is changing as well.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Pray

My friend Alaina and her husband are in the midst of a storm right now. They woke up this morning to The call. They are in the next state in the hopes of adopting another son. Please pray for them in the coming hours and days.

Rewards


With our first week of homeschooling under our belts, I'm optimistic. The kids have embraced the rules and the new routine. Notwithstanding the complications of the hour each morning they all want my attention at the same time, we are getting the schoolwork accomplished by about 2pm. The house doesn't look all that bad, either. With each of the kids doing 5 chores a day, it's adding up quite nicely.

Some say that being at home is a
thankless job. Well, it's not exactly a paying job, but it is full of rewards that are priceless. These are some of my wages for this week.

(top) A painting by Lydia with ALL the words spelled correctly:) That is a true gift right there.

(next) Miriam made our bed and put this on top.

(next) Hannah conducting her own experiment about creating a vacuum and then demonstrating it for the family. (video to come when it will download)

(last) I found this when 'grading' some phonics homework. I love brown-nosers.

"Not until after 4:00"; I love it!



























Tuesday, August 12, 2008

New Eyes

Today I took Betsy to pick up her first pair of glasses. I remember very well the day I got my glasses in third grade. Such a range of emotions surrounded this permanent change in my young life.

Elizabeth was precious examining herself in the mirror and unable to keep from smiling. She could hardly wait to show the family.

On the way home and I remembered something that my mom gave me several years back. It is a typed page written by her that describes the day that she took me for my glasses. It is such a blessing to have this record of that day. More importantly, I cherish this insight into her thoughts as a young mother. In a sense, it's like reading my mom's blog. I hope that my children find my words in the years to come as a window into my heart for them.


Look Mom New Eyes

We had just drove our car to the optometrist office for our daughter's first pair of glasses and the excitement was overwhelming. This was the day she had been waiting for. All the questions came pouring out. "Will the kids still like me? Will I still be pretty to you and Dad?" How thankful we are that she had shared all these fears with us. We reassured her that she was the same beautiful wide eyed child we had always loved.

Our name was finally called out by the receptionist and she sprang out of her chair. The doctor placed the new glasses on her head and she turned to the mirror and shed that same beautiful smile we had always seen (except for a few teeth missing). It was the same old Monica. All the fears were gone. It seems children always look so studious and wise when they wear glasses. She seemed like a miniature grown up as she listened intently on how to care and clean her new "eyes". The doctor explained that if she complained of any blurry or fuzzy vision to call. So out we went into her new world. The doctor said that she had never seen bricks on buildings or leaves on trees. So it was a new world for her.


I reminded her of what the doctor had said and that I could not look through her eyes, but only she could tell me if the world seemed blurry. I had to smile as she promptly corrected me. "Oh, mommy, someone else can see through my eyes." I dumbly asked, "Who?" She said, "God sees through my eyes."
What real insight children seem to possess. As a mom who loves all her children and tries to shelter them from this world when I'm able, I needed to be reminded that God is in this child. And in this case He is helping her to see the world through His prospective. Isn't God good to His children?

We arrived home to find Joseph riding his bike on two wheels and solo for the first time. Do we all have to grow up in one day? Give this mom's heart a break!
video

Monday, August 11, 2008

Setting the tone

We celebrated the end of summer break with a great day at the Indiana State Fair. Tomorrow Sean officially reports back in as a teacher. And we are now hours away from the beginning of the school year. Seriously, where did the time go?







This year we have a 6th, 5th, 3rd, 2nd grader and a very eager Kindergarten. I'm looking forward to getting back into the routine and the ways in which homeschooling serves to bring our family closer. Teaching forces me to turn off the world and sit and be with my children. I so enjoy the exchange of ideas that learning requires.

Don't get me wrong here. Not every day is met with sharpened pencils and smiling students. There are many struggles and obstacles, but we work hard to overcome them together. Never is God's answers to prayer more evident than when it comes to homeschooling.

Tonight I "introduced" each of the kids to their new books. They were so excited and obviously forgot some of the moaning of last Spring. I love that.

We also had a meeting and set the routine and rules for the year. All the kids had input in thinking about what makes school work well. These are promises that we make to one another and a commitment to help our day run as smoothly as possible. Little do they know that these really are boundaries for me. I would much rather fly by the seat of the pants and live life spontaneously. That, however, would be to their educational detriment and the house might implode on itself. I'm not kidding.

So here's a look into our routine and rules for 2008-2009. May the Lord be with us.

Rules:

1. No TV or computer until after 4pm. So do not even ask if you can do either of these before that time.

2. Do not cry until you have talked with mom first. After that you can cry if you need.

3. Do not interrupt when someone is getting help.

4. No answering/calling on the phone during school hours (unless it's Dad or an emergency).

5. All books must be put away at the end of the day. No excuses.

6. We will drink at least 2 glasses of water throughout the course of the school day.


Routine:

7:45-8:15 Everyone awake, dressed, bed made, breakfast complete

8:15-9:00 2 chores, brush teeth, get organized for school

9:00-11:30 School (morning snack)

11:30-12:15 1 chore, lunch, free time

12:15-3:30 children done with school work will rest and read/free time
Continue school work

3:30 2 chores/ Mom fix dinner

4:00 Free time

5:30 Dinner and one clean up chore

6:00-8:00 Family worship/evening activities

Lights out by 9:00

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Thanks for your patience

Sorry for the delay-

the random winners drawn by Rebekah herself are-

18mo-2T- eally

2T- Kim

3T- Shannon

4T- Catherine

Could each of you send me your addresses and I'll get those out?. I pray that these are a blessing to you and your little girls.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Theology

I've been reading through an Usborne book with Joseph at bedtime. This one is about the earth and space (of course). The book was talking about the mountains being formed over a period of millions of years and we were talking about our Creator God who spoke the mountains into existence. Joseph's eyes got bigger and bigger as the conversation went on.

"Mom, God does not have a mom."

"You're right. Why do you say that?"

"Because God doesn't need any help. He doesn't have a mom. He can do whatever he wants."
*sigh* "Who made God then?"

"No one made God. He is eternal. He has always been and will always be."

"Oh, yeah." pause. "Did you know God can walk on water? He does not splash and play. He just walks on the top. Goodnight, mom."

"Good night, son."

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

I'll be back

Our computer is acting crazy and I won't have the luxury of Sean's work laptop because he's taking it with him to Dallas this week. So, I'm going to be getting a lot done here that does not involve blogging or emailing or reading posts. It's not too late to sign up for the dress giveaway. The deadline is Wednesday at 11:59 pm. I'll let you know who wins as soon as I do.

Blessings and ta ta for now.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Dresses

Since taking down the crib, I seriously do not have the emotional energy to just drop off these precious dresses at Goodwill. Having five girls has resulted in a lot of dresses. I've enjoyed dressing up my girls each Lord's Day as well as making it a regular part of their wardrobe in their younger years.

Rebekah will no longer be able to wear these and it would do my heart good to pass them on to other families who would be delighted to have them. So if that is you, please enter a comment with your name or email address so that I can contact you if you are a winner. I will randomly draw the winners next Wednesday, August 6. Oh yes, and let me know which group(s) you are interested in.

Also, feel free to pass along this post so that others may join in. Thanks!!
18 months-2T

2T

3T
4T