Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Rainy Days and Mondays

After studying Mt. Everest, Mountaineer Andrew Paul created his own ice pick and oxygen tank, haha!!  Love his creative mind!!

I had the kids cut out all kinds of different foods they would pack to climb a mountain and Vannie made granola bars and water!!

Moving on to our next unit, we were ready to explore Oceans in Science..

..and China in Social Studies!! The kids loved this theme a lot, they were very fascinated with the dragon heads in the parades, listening to the Mulan soundtrack (that counts, right?! Ha!), and reading Chinese children's stories (who else remembers Lon Po Po in the ginkgo trees from grade school?! That one has stuck with me since 2nd grade!)

Speaking of Mt. Everest..... ha!! Grant climbed our mountain of laundry and was so proud!!

Sweet little thing!!

What better way to start off our week on oceans than to have one grow right in our own front yard?! The rain had stuck around for a few days and the kids were thrilled with all the front yard flooding going on.

Big brother, middle brother.

Middle brother, little brother.

It was freezing, it was so gross and sloppy, it was such hard work.. but these kiddos weren't asking for anything better.

Riding through the ditch made for the biggest splashes!!

These little monkeys convinced Sister to come out and join them!!

Ummm, is this a bad idea....?? 

Haha, she was going for it!!

(I let Vannie caption this one!!)
this was the best day ever I loved it savannah wrote this I love my brothers
To be honest, I couldn't wait to get them inside and wrapped up in thick, warm towels. I felt cold and wet just watching them, haha!! But I let them play to their heart's content, and although they were covered in mud and goosebumps when they were finished, those huge smiles and sweet memories were completely worth it.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Back to School

After a nice, long winter break, it was time to hit the books again!! We started our My Father's World unit study on India and this was our library haul for the week!!

We watched videos of the Taj Mahal, read lots of stories about Mount Everest climbers, and even had a Jungle Book movie night!! My favorite part of our homeschool days are these read-alouds.  They add so much to our learning experience and the kids enjoy it so much, it doesn't feel like 'school' at all.
I've been reading The Read Aloud Family by Sarah Makenzie and it has been packed with research, helpful ideas, and encouragement that reading aloud WORKS. I basically have her whole book underlined, ha! She says, "A childhood filled with stories that inspire and nurture the heartbeat of a hero within us is one of the simplest way we can love and prepare our children... It's about transforming and shaping their hearts and minds. It's about nourishing their souls, building relationships, and forging connections." More than just the facts of each country, I hope my kids remember the pleasure we all got from cracking open a fresh, new library book. I hope they smile when they hear a German fairy tale, an Indian fable, a Japanese haiku, or one of our favorite American stories and remember our daily afternoons of reading together.

Kate even joined us one day for school, reading and watching the Indian story, Rikki Tikki Tavi. The kids role-played the story after and it was so cute!!

Grant loved reading all the books with elephants in them!!

Best little friends!! These two get along so well. And Kate was wearing my Kindergarten graduation dress that Grammie made 27 years ago - SO SWEET!

After singing our continents song and finding it on the map, we scaled our Mt. Everest couch, we hid from Shere Khan, we trumpeted with the elephants, and then we ran outside to indulge in ice cream after a hard day's work.

The longer I homeschool, the more I recognize the journey we're on.  My ideas of what homeschool should look like have changed. Traditional schooling has been all I've ever known (and collegiately trained in!), yet I desire something different for my little children than a sterilized room, desks in a row, #2 pencils in hand. More on this soon, but these pictures remind me of how we are growing and developing our homeschool life.. in a most delightful way.

Baby Rhett is always happy when his siblings and ice cream are anywhere nearby. They are usually willing to share a lick or two, ha!!
Surprisingly, Savannah and Andrew's most favorite part of the week's topics was learning about Mt. Everest. They wanted to know how long it would take to climb, how cold it would get, what foods you can bring to eat, what you would do/leave behind if you reached the top.. it was awesome letting them take the lead in how much we learned about it. We read "To The Top" in one sitting, a 4th grade level book, but one that they could not get enough of and recalled amazingly afterwards.

((We were all especially fascinated that the climbers at the top who die along the trail are perfectly preserved for years afterwards, since it's freezing and too high up for any animals or helicopters to get to them. There are 200+ bodies on Mt. Everest!! Yikes!! Who even knew?! I'm opting out of that hiking trail!!!))

This unit was so enjoyable and made me so excited for the weeks ahead!! Our spring semester was off to one cool start, hahaaa!!

Monday, May 14, 2018

Our January Birthday Boys!!

On January 17, Andrew woke up to birthday pancakes with candles and sprinkles!!

We sang Happy Birthday right off the bat because birthdays make us all so happy and giddy!!

Andrew had a facetime call from Hezzy and Kate..

..and then he got to open ONE present before Daddy got home early from work!!

Andrew picked CAMO as the theme for his party this year and this was the best I could do, ha!!

Happy Birthday to our favorite seven year old son!!!!!!!

Jenny and all of her kids came over to celebrate with us - fully decked out in all the camouflage!!!!!  What sweet girl cousins, haha!!

8 precious dears in this one picture!

That's one handsome buck!!

Finally getting to open up all of his gifts!

Grammie picked up a cake and we decorated the top with all kinds of hunters/dogs/ducks/camo pieces.. Andrew loved it!!  He took them all off to play with, though, before I got a picture, ahh!

My kids all have the same food request every single year - RIBS!! 

I never knew how much fun it was going to be to have a little boy!! I always imagined a house full of blonde curls, pink dresses, and sparkly heels. How different the Lord's plan has turned out to be, ha!! Baseball is the name of the game around here, camo (or just undies) is the preferred outfit of choice, and hatchets, guns, and dirt piles are an everyday necessity. I never knew how much I needed them. My boys and my Vannie are my nearest and dearest friends - muddy boots, bug guts, and all.
One of my favorite Andrew memories is from several months ago when we were all going fishing in Jena. Andrew was taking his job of getting everything and everyone ready very seriously, telling all the kids to get their boots on and explaining who would do what once we got to the pond. Since I didn't have any boots, he looked at my outfit (all black and gray), and thoughtfully said, "Mom, you can wear your black tennis shoes. And then you'll blend in with the mud and you can be our mud monster." Well, thank you, son, for that most important job on fishing day, hahaha!! Silly boy!

Pallets on the floor with everyone is the best kind of sleepover!!

Best little 7-year-old buddies!!

This girl and her ribs are not easily separated..

Her daddy has taught her well, haha!!

Two days later, Wadie turned 32 years old!! And since I still have the birthday card from Wade when I was turning 13, this is SO incredible to me!! We've celebrated lots of birthdays together, Wadie, and each year is more wonderful than the last. Who knew that could even be?! I am so thankful.

The kids made Daddy lots of birthday cards..

..and we celebrated with one of our family's favorites - Cinnamon Rolls!!

This was the funniest thing in the world to me and I had to save it!! I had been reading "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up" by Marie Kondo and while she has so many amazing ideas, tips, and tricks, she's pretty extreme in her care of her possessions! She sets everything up vertically (cleaner, clearer space) and thanks them for a job well done. When I told Wade about what she says, well, he lost it!! Hahah!! So that night, I glanced in the kitchen and found this!!

Everything on the counter was lined up with handwritten notes like, "Caught being good!" and "I am a hard worker." Hahahaa!! I about died!!
Waaaadieeeeee.  You make life so much fun!!!!!  Every day is the best day when I'm with you!!  You are funny and kind, wise and honorable, and it is easy to love you more with each passing year.  You make it easy for me to adore you!! I love you and I love this life we have together.  Happy Birthday, my bear bear.

Happy Birthday to you, too, my Andrew!! You are a constant surprise to me - I have watched you grow in leaps and bounds this year in your maturity, academics, and heart. You play more baseball than anyone I've ever known, never without a glove in your hand or a ball within immediate reach.  You are brave and strong, smart and wonderful. You are creative, constantly coming up with games that keep your little brothers following you every part of every day. They all want to be just like you, Drew, and I pray that you will lead them to the King. I am praying for your sweet heart, as you are asking more and more questions about Jesus and how to be saved. I know He is working on your heart and that brings me to tears.  Thank You, Father. Bring the work You are doing to fruition, calling Andrew unto salvation.

You are a daily delight, my Brother Bear, and I am forever grateful for you!! Happy 7th Birthday!!

About Me

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From childhood friends to high school sweethearts, and now newlyweds and brand-new parents, Wade and I can only thank Jesus for His incredible blessings. Our three children are the ULTIMATE gifts from God and we pray that our lives glorify Him. He is our everything.