Saturday, March 22, 2014

Lucky Little Leprechauns!

So remember t-ball tryouts??  They were pretty awful..  Actually, they were about as bad as they could be! Savannah was petrified, there was a giant crowd, and all the other girls had been playing for years, whereas we didn't even know what hand the glove goes on.  I was so proud of Vannie for wanting to play, but I doubted if I could handle the stress!  The other parents were talking about All Star teams and championships... and I was worried about the pink of Savannah's outfit not matching her gloves and bat.  I'm serious... it was rough!!!  

After deciding to go to just one practice before we called it quits, we showed up with our t-ball gear.. and our tears.  Savannah was extremely shy and nervous and as everyone arrived with their monogrammed bat bags and softball socks on, I could feel the pressure mounting!  I was probably more anxious than Savannah, but I tried to follow Grammie's advice.. HAVE FUN!  That's the most important thing here! No stress to get it right, no pressure to achieve greatness, no tension because everyone's watching... just have fun!  And after a few pep talks and showing Van a few basic steps, she did it! She started having fun. :))


Sadie at bat!

Two amazing parts of t-ball??  Uncle Nathan is the assistant coach... and we got to practice in Grammie and Pops' lot!!  I think that's the exactly the start we needed!

Way to go, Sadie!!

Swing, batter, batter, swing!!

I spy you, sister!!

Running the bases with Rylie!!

Blurry picture.. but that smile meant the world to me. :))

The teacher in me is always ready to get to work... but on holidays, it's like I can't contain it!  Celebrating holidays, big ones and small ones, are my absolute cup of tea! I love it!!  I'm not the best at getting it together ahead of time, but I try to wing it. ;)
On St. Patrick's Day, the kids woke up to drink 'Lucky Leprechaun Liquid'... or milk with green food coloring, ha!  I forgot the Lucky Charms, but they didn't seem to mind.

Some of our cousins came over and after reading 2 books about the wee leprechauns, we made Magical Leprechaun Jello.  We couldn't find the sneaky leprechaun, but we knew he was around because as soon as the milk hit the powder, it turned from white to GREEN!!!  (Disclaimer: I am really cautious about telling make-believe stories to my kids, including stories about Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny, and passing these stories as truth. There is only one truth I care to teach my children and it's the truth of the Gospel.  That being said, we do enjoy getting to pretend and make-believe and use our imaginations... as long as everyone understands that it is just that... pretending.)

Screaming, "Jell-O! Jell-O!' at the top of their lungs, haha!!

Throw your hands in the air if you love St. Patrick's Day!!

Heather made Paula Deen's Carrot Mac & Cheese with a Pretzel Crust and I made her Tex-Mex Chicken Salad Wraps with an Avocado Dressing! Oh my gosh, delicious!!  I actually didn't mean for dinner to be green.  I'm just good like that. ;)

And a little lime water to finish off the night... 

Simple and small holidays are sweet enough. But when you have a giant family to celebrate it with, there just isn't anything better.

Being on Cloud 9... with our 9 Month Old!

This past week, we had an amazing surprise! Our favorite Kees family drove in from Texas to spend a few days with us as Jason prepared to take his Entrance Exam into the New Orleans Seminary!!  They are currently planning their move from Ft. Worth to Anacoco, LA!!!  In homeschool language, that means that Hezzy and Jase went from living 5 hours away.. to only 1 hour away!!  5-1= 4 hours closer to us and that means major excitement around our house!! :))

Here is our gorgeous Baby Kate! Look at those baby blue eyeballs!!

Here is Sadie and Rylie, enjoying a little ice cream with their cousins!

Poor Kate had to learn how to play rough with the boys!  
They kept pulling her hair and pushing her down... BOYS!

JuJu Bear Judey Man!

Sweet Baby Grant!

Beautiful babies and their mommas::



Before they headed south, we all went out to eat at our new local eatery, Farm Fresh! 






G-man is 9 and 1/2 months and I thought I should give a little update!  He has two bottom teethies and his first top tooth just broke through a few days ago! He is so smiley and so happy.. definitely my easiest baby so far!

He is crawling and pulling up, even standing by himself for a few seconds before plopping down!

He said, "Da da" first, but "Ma ma" wasn't too far behind. ;) He loves to babble and his giggle may be the cutest thing ever!  His brother and sister adore him and dote on him constantly!  He is definitely the baby!

He recently had his first ear infection and that was really sad. :((  Other than that, though, he has gotten through his first 9 months with nothing more than the sniffles!  Here's my shout out to breastmilk! :))  As difficult and inconvenient as nursing can be, it is SO worth it.

Showing off his pulling up skills..

Yayyyyy!!

Wade and I were just talking the other day about how fun this baby stage is.. the playful interaction between him and us, his sweet personality coming out, and even the freak-mom-out put-everything-in-your-mouth phase... It is all SO cute!!

This pic had to stay because of the red/golden hair...  He is my Olympic torch, my lucky penny, my little redhead and my heart is overwhelmed with love for this boy!!

Baby Grant, as always, my prayer for you is that you come to know and love Jesus and desire to serve Him all the days of your life.  I pray that you use your infectiously happy self to lead others to Him and that you always know how very happy you have made our family.  We are so proud of you and are enjoying every giggly, smiley, sunshiny day that you bring. I love you so very, very much!!
Happy Nine Months!!

Friday, March 14, 2014

Deciding to Homeschool

This post is for me.

I want to remember this post when the school days get hard, the crafts get messy, and the time between waking up and going to sleep are a blur.  This will be a good reminder of the Lord's faithfulness to me when I asked, "What's next?" and 'Lord, are You sure??"  ;)

Savannah asked me several, several months ago to teach her how to read.  We competed in our local library's reading contest last summer and read over 110 books together.  She continually asked me to read another book and after we read them, over and over again, and I would beg for a break, Savannah would keep flipping through the pages, looking at the pictures, and making up her own story.  That's when the first thought of teaching Savannah myself crossed my mind.

 I really just wanted to teach Van how to read, maybe do a few math problems together with the toys that were already out on the floor. Nothing major.  Definitely not in place of public school..
And then, I began to pray.

First, I met a friend at story time who was currently homeschooling her 4 small children.  She generously offered to show me her books, her supplies, her methods.  There was also a woman in our lifegroup that had homeschooled her 3 children and was eager to show me how she did it!  It was the jump start I needed to seriously consider homeschooling and I began researching different curriculums. Wade, surprisingly, was immediately on board.  He wants our children to know and love Jesus more than anything and if this was where the Lord was leading, then what were we waiting for?  I also talked to my mom, sisters, and closest friends, all of whom were so supportive and encouraging! Finally, I had this strange unrest in my spirit.  I longed to be a teacher again. I missed it!  I had a horrible first year of teaching so you would think I would never want to go back.. and I don't!  But the thought of getting to read children's books and add cookies together and make leprechaun pudding with my own children while learning about colors and shapes and animals.. well, the idea was intriguing, to say the least!

Still, I was nervous.  Was I qualified??  Did I know enough to teach my daughter everything she needed to know for kindergarten??  I have 3 babies who all still need a lot of Mommy time!  How would I find the time to homeschool?!  Turning it over to the Lord one night, I prayed this prayer, "God, if homeschooling is what you would have me do, make it so obvious, so clear.  I want to explicitly know this desire is from You!  If you want me to homeschool, you will have to put it in my hands. Literally. In my hands."   

Three days later, at lifegroup, the same woman who had talked to me about what it was like to homeschool her 3 children came to me with a stack of papers and while placing them into my hands, she said, "I just thought you might be interested in seeing this...  I printed out for you the Top 2013 Homeschooling Curriculums." Ahhhhhhh!!  Without anyone knowing the prayer of my heart, the Lord had answered.

I immediately nailed down my favorite curriuculums and after researching for days, I picked one that was quite repetitive on the Top Curriculums list... the Alpha Omegas publication, Horizons.  Not only was it a best-seller, but it had won several awards for its advanced lessons.  I was excited and eagerly awaited for it to arrive.  As soon as the box got to the door, I tore into it!  Seriously, it was like Christmas at our house!  Everyone was screaming and jumping and squealing... you know how we do! :)) However, our excitement quickly turned to dismay when I looked through the workbooks. This wasn't for kindergarten... this looked like my third grade curriculum in public school!!!  I started to panic.  Like Peter, I took my eyes off of Jesus and what He had clearly asked me to do, and became overwhelmed by the waves, pages after pages of hard concepts.  Telling time, making change, regrouping.. and that was just in the first workbook.  How in the world was I supposed to do this with my four year old?!

Again, I cried out to God, this time with a little more doubt in my heart than before. "God, are You sure?  Did I miss something?? There is no way..  Please, please help me! Whatever way You choose, whatever that looks like, help me.. and help me to recognize that help when it comes!!"  You know what happened, right?? Within 24 hours of that prayer, my precious neighbor, who is a first and second grade teacher (!) was at lifegroup and I mentioned to her how some of the workbook concepts were so very difficult and I just didn't know if Savannah was ready for them.  Kelli asked to see the workbooks and immediately began saying, "Oh! Here is a game you can play to teach that!", "Here is a song to teach this!", "Here's an idea to teach that... this really works well for my students!" It was like a breath of fresh air! A peace that surpasses all understanding! She encouraged me, counselled me, and advised me in different methods of teaching the content, making the whole curriculum seem so much more do-able, so much more approachable to me.  It was confirmation of the clearest kind.

Lastly, I read the most amazing book called, "When You Rise Up," by R. C. Sproul, Jr.  If there was any doubt left in my heart, it was completely erased after reading this book.  I know that I am qualified to teach my kids, because God gave me kids.  I'm a parent; therefore, I am a teacher.  I want my children to know, recognize, and love the enemy without becoming the enemy.  I will render unto Caesar what is Ceaser's... but my children are not his.  They are God's and I will render my children unto Him.  I don't know what the future holds for us but I look forward to documenting this new road the Lord has called me on.  I can say with absolute certainty that I have been called to homeschool Savannah for kindergarten and I'm thankful  that the Lord already knows the plan He has for us, plans to give us hope and a future.

My God has called me to this.  My God will see me through.

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.