Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Mommy Survey

My kids gave me a survey to fill out this week.  I thought I'd share their questions and my answers with all of you.

Dear Mommy,
We want to know more about you.  So, If you will, please answer these questions and then return the paper.  We love you, The Kids

1. What do you like best about each of us?
It’s hard for me to choose something I like best about each of you, because I like all of you just the way God made you, so I will choose something I like about each of you, but please understand that it’s not the only thing I like about you.

Kent:  I like the way you play the piano.  I enjoy listening to you practice.

Katy: I like how you like to learn how to do your doll’s hair in different styles.

Kaomi:  I like how you want to help with the babies and the love you show for them.

Felicity:  I like how you love to play with your dolls and animals.

Clark: I like how you are enthusiastic about life and your carefreeness.  You just like to have fun.

Quinn: I like how you almost always pick me a dandelion when you go out to play.

Colt: I like how you squint your eyes closed when we are praying, while looking at us to see if you are doing it correctly.

Kade: I like how you like to dig in the dirt with a stick.

2. What is your favorite flavor of cake? and how do you like it?
I like homemade chocolate cake with homemade chocolate icing.  I also like yellow cake with homemade chocolate icing.  I 
               like strawberry short-cake, too.

3. What is your favorite song?
I have lots of songs that I like and I’m not sure if I have a favorite one.  I like lots of hymns.  I like the songs from “The Sound                of Music.”

4. What is your favorite meal for lunch or supper?

I like yummy leftovers for lunch.  I like grilled chicken and steak with salad and/or 
vegetables.  I also like Mexican food like: tacos, quesadillas, and tamales.

5. What is your favorite fruit?

I like strawberries.  I like raspberries, too, though sometimes I’m not a fan of their seeds.

6. If you could make us do anything what would you like us to do?

I would love for each of you to love Jesus and trust him with the plans he has for your life.

Also, I would like you to obey Daddy and Mommy immediately every-time, and I would like you to try to keep your rooms and the         game room a little straighter, by putting away your things as soon as you are done using them.

7. If you could go out with somebody all day who would you go with and where would you go.

I’d love to go out with Daddy all day.  I’d like to go to Ikea, play miniature golf, and enjoy an unhurried yummy meal (not sure                 what).  or I’d like to go hiking at a waterfall.

8. Please will you give us 5 interesting facts about yourself?

1.  I think it would be fun to stay in a houseboat and sail down the Mississippi 
    River.  Though it is probably different now than it was in the late 1800’s.

2.  I pray that God would help Daddy and I to be a good examples of Godly parents for each of you to be able to draw                                experience from when you have your own children.

3.  I like to enjoy God’s creation outside:  beautiful days, green grass, blue skies, 
    sunsets and sunrises, birds, flowers, animals, wind, rain, snow, etc.

4.  I like to grow things to eat in my garden.  I like to water my garden and pull 
    weeds.  I enjoy being able to serve fresh vegetables and fruit that we grew.

5.  I like to sew.  Mimi taught me how.  One day I hope to teach my own children how to sew, too.

Bonus:  I like to prepare and cook meals, more than I like to bake.  That’s probably why we don’t have freshly baked                                          cookies, cakes, pies, and breads very often.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Joy and Heartache

Just before Valentine's Day we joyfully shared with our families that we were expecting another baby.  Telling our children included a pre-birthday celebration with cake and baby related presents.  Kaomi was the first one to vocalize the idea we were presenting them through the presents that they were opening.

Cake for our party

Presents for announcement

Over the next couple of weeks we talked with joy about the new baby.  The kids were attempting to come up with names for us to consider and everyone was excited with the anticipation.  My Dad and Mom gave me a great new maternity shirt for my birthday.

We had studied Psalm 139 in our Biblical worldview class, we had studied it in our Adult Bible Fellowship class one Sunday, I had studied it in my personal devotions, and Jeff had discussed it with our family one evening during family devotions.  All of this was before we shared the news with our children.

Sadly, our baby passed away when I was eleven and a half weeks pregnant.   We looked at the tiny baby and truly the words from Psalm 139:13-16 returned to my mind and I knew it would be okay.

"For I you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb.  I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.  My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place.  When I was woven together in the in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body.  All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be."

Our baby's tiny thread-like fingers on a tiny hand, the eyes, nose, veins were all wonderfully made and God knew how many days our baby would live.

Jeff built a little box and we buried our Baby "J" as a family and mourned as we realized this was the only thing Jeff would build for this baby.

God knew that our joy over this baby would only be a short number of days and his peace is comforting.  The heartache is something I've never felt before, but all I could pray in the following days was "Thank you God for a beautiful baby."  Our children brought comfort they don't even know they were giving through their impromptu hugs, unexpected comments, laughter and smiles, piano practice of the song Blessings and others.

Thoughts of a grieving father:
I just can't imagine going through this without a deeply rooted relationship with my Creator. February 24th was by far the most emotionally difficult day of my life...I felt a pain and deprivation I have never felt before. It is a mystery to me...how can I so deeply miss someone who I have never met? Why do I love this unborn child so much? I can't fully describe it. I didn't understand my own emotions and I still don't (many who know me would be surprised that I even have emotions). Those emotions are even welling up as I write these words...6 weeks after that day.

And yet, through it all there was never a moment that I doubted God's goodness, sovereignty, or mercy. Never was I angry with him. Never did I question his authority over my life...over all life.  I am saddened, and yes, even still experience moments of sorrow, but who am I to question the Almighty Creator? Who am I to say he made a mistake or that he owes me something better? I have to believe that this plan...that I did not choose...that I did not want...is the best plan for me and my family.  I also have faith that my sweet baby is at perfect rest with Jesus, and he will never have to experience this life with sin and pain and sickness. I rejoice that God chose this special path for my baby, and as Su said above, we still got to experience joy for a short time because of this blessed child. Appropriately, we have chosen to call our baby 'J' for the joy and peace we all experienced through the whole thing, even until now.  Without God, we would have all the emotional pain and sorrow, but none of the hope, peace, and joy.  I couldn't survive without that, without Him.

When you see me, you won't see my sorrow because of the words of Psalm 139:

Psalm 139:1-6
[1] O LORD, you have searched me and known me!
[2] You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
you discern my thoughts from afar.
[3] You search out my path and my lying down
and are acquainted with all my ways.
[4] Even before a word is on my tongue,
behold, O LORD, you know it altogether.
[5] You hem me in, behind and before,
and lay your hand upon me.
[6] Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
it is high; I cannot attain it. (ESV)

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Funny Quote of the Day

This evening I noticed Quinn laying around in the living room and I thought that he probably hadn't been to the bathroom in a while.  I told him to go potty.  As he was walking toward the bathroom I heard him mutter, "It's about time someone told me to do that.  I've been needing to go."

Friday, September 16, 2016

Historical Fiction Reading Projects

Today the kids presented life-sized characters from the books they have been reading.

Kent with Joris

Kent read The Winged Watchman by Hilda Van Stockum and made a posterboard character with cloth clothing.

Katy read A House of Tailors by Patricia Reilly Giff and made a paper doll character.
Katy with Dina
Kaomi read Pioneer Cat by William H.  Hooks and made a mask for her to become her character.

Kaomi as Kate 

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

A Little Fun at School

     This year I have 6 students and 2 babies.  I was feeling overwhelmed by trying to teach from 3 teacher guides and keeping up with grading and making sure everyone was completing their assignments in a timely fashion.  I also have 1 student who I was feeling needed a lot more teaching with instruction and less assignments to have to read and complete on her own.  So when we restarted at the beginning of August we decided to try something a little different.
     Now I have one main teacher guide, I copied a couple assignments from another one for one of my students and I'm using a very small amount of the third teacher guide.  We've combined everyone into one class wherever possible.  I'm finding my days much easier to get through and we are all working together, so everyone's assignments are similar and easy for me to grade.
     My 3 oldest students bring their assignment notebooks to every class and I give the assignments for everyone or individual assignments as needed and they write them down.  For any assignments that I need to make sure are completed or are due at a later date I write down the assignment on a master checklist along with the "due date" and check them off when they are complete.  Having my master list helps me to know who still has to finish an assignment and helps me remember to check up on each person as needed.

   So you may be wondering how does this all fit together.  We are using a structured day with scheduled time for individual work, classes I teach, and Kindergarten.  Kent (7th), Katy (6th), and Kaomi (4th) begin their individual work at 8:30 every morning.  I write the list of individual work on a white board and the fist three to four items are what they need to make priority for this time.  It usually begins with: study dictation, science, math, and complete any previous assignments.  While they are getting started I am finishing up getting the babies fed and settled for the morning and making sure I have everything I need for the day ready (including my breakfast if I didn't get it earlier).  Often I send Felicity (Kindergarten), Clark (Kindergarten), and Quinn (preschool) to play outside in the backyard.  Sometimes they play for 20 minutes and other times for an hour.  At 9:30 we all join together for Bible (everyday) and Biblical Worldview ( 2x/week).  We complete reading and I give assignments and then the oldest three work on their assignments until 10:25.  At 10:30 I try to have some activity boxes out for the Kindergarteners and preschooler.  They have fun playing while I teach Language Arts.  Language Arts consists of dictation, grammar, writing, and reading.  Usually, we work through those items in that order.  Sometimes there is just an assignment for them to complete by the next class, and other times there is instruction time.  If anyone needs to work directly with me for one of the assignments we try to fit this in before 11:30, when I teach Kindergarten and Preschool.  From 11:30-12ish we cover math, fine motor skills, handwriting, and storytime.  Then we break for lunch.  We meet back again all together at 1:30 for history often the babies are with us during this time as well.  Felicity, Clark, and Quinn each have their own history notebook that they draw a picture that I assign them to work on while I am reading the lesson.  Today they drew Patrick Henry giving his speech :)  After history I read storytime to Kaomi, unless our lesson was a long one.  Then I teach reading to Felicity and Clark.  They each need to work with me by themselves, so I rotate who begins, since there are some days that I can't fit teaching them both in.  I try to be done with them by 3:15 and then I am available to the oldest students if they need to see me for any of the assignments they are working on.  I try to be all done being the teacher by 3:30, so I can take a short break before afternoon chores and dinner begin.

     Overall I like the way this is working for us.  The older kids don't have quite as much freedom as they've had before to just plowing through everything and finish quickly, but they are welcome to do that with their individual assignments.  We are definitely seeing where they need to work more on their own time management, but hopefully we can continue helping them learn and the skills that go along with that will grow too.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

July 2016 Update

     This month we celebrated the 4th of July with a family get together with Jeff's brother and their famliy at their home and and evening fireworks watched from our front yard.  The fireworks weren't as fun as sometimes, but we enjoyed spending time together.  The weekend of the 4th Jeff and I tackled a few projects around the house and got Quinn moved upstairs to the boys room before putting up some decor in the nursery and moving Kade into the crib.  Colt (our night owl) still sleeps in the living room or master bedroom, but I hope to transition him to the nursery soon.
     Then Katy and Kaomi went to VBS at our church, followed by a busy week cleaning the bedrooms.  Kent got to take a trip to New Mexico with Grammy and Jeff's sister and brother-in-law.  Then Katy and Kaomi attended Kid's Praise Camp at our church for a week and participated in three productions of "The Kingdom Connection" and they really enjoyed it.
     I've also worked on cleaning my closet and bathroom this month trying to tackle some much neglected cleaning before we start back to school.  I worked on some school plans and have redone our schedule to include most of the kids in several of the classes we have this year.  We'll see how combining grades works for us, but just looking at our tentative schedule is providing a sense of relief for this teacher/mom who was having trouble trying to fit in "everything" for three different levels.  We have plans to start back to school on August 8th, so this next week we will be trying to put any final details on getting ready for school and I am going to work on cleaning my sewing room/guest room.