Sunday Journal: Pink Adventures and Wooden Spoons

lunch at a favorite restaurant

lunch at a favorite restaurant

Today hurt. Today was our last “official” Sunday with our church family. My Sunday School class gave me a lovely blue platter as a goodbye gift. Sparkles received a little cross pin from one of the sweet ladies that always chats and hugs her. I’ll miss these people…more than I know how to express. I managed not to cry at church but blubbered on the way home. I turned up the music so the kids wouldn’t notice. I know that will find another church home and feel very blessed. But I also know that every church is a beautiful and unique expression of the Body of Christ.

Oldest learning a ballad for medieval history

Oldest learning a ballad for medieval history

We worked on the house this week, finishing the deck. The house inspector also came this week and we are anxiously awaiting his report so we will know what else we need to do before putting out home on the market. I also set a date for the movers. I’ve also hosted realtors, termite inspectors and movers. I feel like our life is being summed up by pounds, flaws, and net worth.

This past week I started working on downsizing some of our belongings. So far I’ve packed about five boxes of stuff to be donated to charity shops. Some things were just too precious to donate and I found beloved friends willing to adopt my treasures into their homes. I also came across some things in the back of my kitchen cabinets that I didn’t even know I owned. I found

playing at the splash pad

playing at the splash pad

two pressure cookers, about a dozen Christmas platters and some of my Grandmother’s canning equipment. I think my mom has been stashing stuff at my house in secret…kinda funny and a little weird.

This week I will continue to purge unneeded items and start giving the house a thorough cleaning. Mostly just the windows…we cannot do too much until after the movers clear the place out. Then I’ll have to arrange for carpet cleaners and clean the house from top to bottom. A part of me wants to hire someone for that job…I’m not looking forward to cleaning the house and keeping my four kiddos occupied in an empty home.

Despite all the meetings and preparations for moving we did manage to fit in some fun this week. I took the kids to meet with friends at the local splash park. Actually, we went twice this week. The kids had a blast and both times I forgot to put Littlest in his swimming trunks! Not that he cared one bit. All this moving business has turned Littlest into a needy little boy. He’s been my constant shadow all week…poor fella.

Sparkles with pink tips at church this morning

Sparkles with pink tips at church this morning

I had some fun with Sparkles this week. We put in the permanent pink dye in her hair this week. The Kool-aid trick was fun but she wanted something a little brighter and a little longer lasting. This time we bleached her tips so her hair would absorb the dye better and then applied the pink dye. Both times I used the baggie trick and it turned out super-duper cute. She loves it and that is what matters to me. My mother would never do something like that with me and I learned to quit asking at a young age. I remember promising my newborn girl that I would do all the fun things with her she asked of me. My mom used to bury herself in romance novels and my brother and I eventually learned not to bother her if she was reading. I remember getting whipped with a wooden spoon because my little brother needed a band aid and he was too afraid to ask her.  I started learning how to get through life without needing her for anything. Looking back I can see she was just trying to endure a miserable marriage. I guess my brother and I were the chains that kept her prisoner.

my fortune

my fortune

I prefer plastic spoons to wooden spoons. I reckon it is because wooden spoons were mom’s choice of instrument for punishment. I keep a few wooden spoons in a container on my kitchen counter. I remember mom when I see them. I remember what it felt like to be an unwanted nuisance to my mother. I never want my children to feel that way about me. So, I keep the wooden spoons as a reminder to never make them feel unwanted. I have my moments when all I want is a little peace and quiet…but as soon as I walk into my kitchen I’ll see those wooden spoons. They convict me and are a witness to my weak moments. I’ll never be a perfect mother. But so long as my kids know that I love them and want them then I am content. I was tempted to put the wooden spoons in the donation box this week. Instead I put them back on the counter. I need them on those days when motherhood is so overwhelming. Children need their mother’s love, they need to know that no one believes in them more than I do. The spoons remind me to be compassionate and to pray. I see those spoons and remember how blessed I am to be a mother.

Linking up with Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers

Sunday Journal: Kiddie Pools and Smoke Bombs

 

Oldest and Mama Quilts at birthday party

Oldest and Mama Quilts at birthday party

The humid sweltering heat of summer arrived this week. Going outdoors was something akin to strolling through molten waves of sun-kissed steam. Perfect southern summer weather. Most people are complaining about the heat but since I can still vividly remember the fifteen inches of bone numbing snow…I’m still friends with the heat.

After a stormy and rainy Friday this weekend was perfect. Saturday we grilled for lunch and then attended a couple of birthday parties. My husband took Sparkles to a Princess Ariel birthday party and I took the boys to a lovely outdoor party at the park. We spent the evening at home setting off smoke bombs and a few fire-works.

boys raking up some straw for bunnies

boys raking up some straw for bunnies

Sunday morning we attended church. I’ve been skipping Sunday School for the past couple of months. I used to chat with a friend and sometimes help her out with some things during the hour. But since she moved I’ve just skipped class and read (The Way of the Pilgrim is my current Sunday book). I usually talk a bit with people and then get out my book as everyone gradually makes their way to class. This Sunday one of my friends came back for me and took me to class. I wasn’t too excited at first but I am glad she chose to listen to the Holy Spirit and returned for me. This Sunday School class focuses on the Scripture passages from the sermon. Since I attend the service after the Sunday School hour I felt well prepared to listen to the sermon. In that moment my Sunday

Sparkles on Popsicle Sunday

Sparkles on Popsicle Sunday

mornings went from “meh” to “on fire”! My Sunday morning was awesome in a spiritually quiet kind of way. So thank TH for dragging me to class with you…really!

Our school week was great. We are only working on a half schedule for the summer term. I felt kinda sick the first part of the week so the kids had it really easy! Oldest and I finished A Proud Taste for Scarlet and Miniver and started Queen Eleanor, Independent Spirit of the Medieval World. I had no idea of the influence of this past queen on the world.  She is one of those responsible for passing on the ideas of knights and courtly love and the romantic tales of King Arthur. She is amazing! In my own youth I read everything I could find on King

pool time fun

pool time fun

Arthur and knights of chivalry.  This week I learned that Queen Eleanor played a role in passing these stories to us…and eventually to me. I felt a connection with the deep past. I’ve spent this week in my own past remembering my love for Merlin and King Arthur…mourning the loss of my brother…witnessing Queen Eleanor’s fingerprint on my own childhood. Life is strange sometimes. We’ll spend another week with Queen Eleanor in our studies before moving on to Robin Hood.

Sparkles has asked me to dye her hair tips pink. I am not opposed to the idea but I made sure my husband was okay with his daughter having pink in her hair. He is so later this week I’ll post a pictorial and DIY on pink hair tips. After some research I’ve chosen the Kool-Aid method…tell you about it soon!!!

Linking up with: Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers

Some favorite posts:

Dwane Thomas’s blog He has had some very thought provoking posts the past few weeks.

Beautiful Feet Books Blog I’ve been looking forward to these posts about homeschooling veterans…these ladies have some wisdom to share. I’m also looking forward to Melissa’s journey through BFB’s Modern American and World history since that will be coming up for us next. Melissa blogs at Reflections from Drywood Creek which I have enjoyed reading the past few years.

Nelson Brothers This article into the imaginary play world of the Nelson brothers brought me to tears. I didn’t even realize I was crying until I came to the end of the article. My brother and I had an imaginary world in which we played together. We designed maps, castles, histories, battles, and empires. We spent many hours preparing military campaigns and carefully positioning our mounted knights, infantry, and catapult units. Looking back I can tell that we were heavily influenced by our father’s military position. Some nights he brought his maps home. He would study those maps and their different layers and carefully plot out artillery placement. My mind was thinking on these things as I read the article. My brother survived a motorcycle wreck the summer before his senior year but suffered a terrible head injury. A wound so traumatic that he cannot remember our years of play together. So the tears flow and the boy I call brother is still gone. A doppelgänger resides in his place. Blood may be thicker than water but I think it is the shared memories that give blood its color and thickness.

Habits of the rich verses habits of the poor….something to think about especially as the children get older. Maybe I need to start modeling some of these habits…

The spontaneous, living in the moment mom that just enjoys being right here-right now…yeah, I’ve lost sight of her too. From Finding Joy

The best “how to lesson plan for the homeschooling mom” I’ve ever read from Notgrass

Circe Institute on Redeeming Time “Time lost is time in which we have failed to live a full human life…”D. Bonhoeffer  You might want an extra cup of coffee or two before diving into anything from the Circe Institute or make sure the kids are asleep at least.

Weekly Wrap-up: The Bittersweet Last

no more booster seat

no more booster seat

Motherhood is full of wonderful moments…life-changing beautiful moments. Nothing compares to holding your child for the first time, the first tentative smile, first steps and words. Motherhood is a privileged witness to triumphant moments from the first precious moments of life…but there is a sharper side as well. Over the years I’ve come to treasure those wonderful firsts for each of my children because, on the other side of those firsts are lasts. I didn’t pay much attention to the lasts with my children in the early years of motherhood. Maybe I was too exhausted. Some of those lasts moments slip by without notice…the last time they drank from a sippy cup or quit sneaking into bed with us during the night. I’m more watchful of last moments now. They are quiet reminders of impending

curb side service

curb side service

independence. On Saturday Oldest rode in his car seat for the last time. We didn’t realize it until we cleaned up the van the next day. I expected him to still need his booster seat when testing him without it…but he did not. I snapped a picture of his grown up moment. I cried…he’s a little less boy and a little more grown.

The ice-cream truck (a van actually) came up to our drive-way this weekend. They know where we live now!! Today, I showed the kids they could get a whole box of fudge pops for the price of just one from the truck. They were not as impressed as I had hoped.

birthday party friends

birthday party friends

This week we attended a birthday party for a sweet little friend. She didn’t want any presents for her sixth birthday…just quarters to donate to a children’s charity. I enjoyed visiting with homeschool families I hadn’t met before and dear friends I hadn’t seen in ages. Oldest decided to play with the birthday girl’s little brother (the same age as Littlest) so her mom “could host the party without worrying about him”. He took on the task without anyone asking and I decided not to point out that the little fella’s dad was also doing the same…

ice-cream treats

ice-cream treats

This week is the end of our first (of five) term of the 2014-15 school year! We are also a few days ahead of schedule in all of our subjects…except math. We will not be on grade level in math until January. The kids wanted to celebrate completing their first term with ice cream after school is finished for the day. They also want to order a pizza but they haven’t talked me into it yet.

Littlest

Littlest

Today Littlest (who is only three) informed me that 7-4=3. I was a bit shocked he could tell that but he does hear math drills everyday. I asked him if he could tell me 7-3. He told me I was big enough to know the answer and didn’t have to tell me. Then he skipped off laughing like a little mad man. I’m pretty sure we can just skip Kindergarten and I’m beginning to worry he’ll get kicked out of pre-school…

DSC05158 (640x480)History and science lessons ended up in the same time period this week for the middle two. Oldest is still studying ancient Egypt for history but he reads their history text (Story of the world vol. 3) on his own time. This week we (I never heard of it either) are learning about the Thirty Year’s War and Blaise Paschal. Christianity is a central them in both narratives. The kids are struggling to understand the animosity between Catholicism and Protestantism. They want a clear good guy and bad guy…and there isn’t one. I added the book “A Piece of the Mountain” about Blaise Paschal to our

Sparkles

Sparkles

science study because I wanted the kids to be aware that science and religion do not have to oppose one another. Paschal accepted Christ as an adult and the book covers his struggles with faith as well as his scientific brilliance. So far it is their favorite book in our science studies. This weekend they will finish their labs on Galileo with their dad (so happy he does the labs with the crew) and then move on to Sir Isaac Newton next week.

Linking up with: Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers

 

Weekly Wrap-up: Friending the Screw-up Fairy

Cincinnati homeschool convention

Cincinnati homeschool convention

So much has happened in the past two weeks I’m not sure exactly where to begin! Last week my husband left work early because of a kidney stone. I ended up taking him to the emergency room when it did not pass and he could no longer endure the pain. My sweet friend Mrs. Cuddle-me stayed with the kids so I could stay with my husband. After a few hours they sent us home with pain meds and we hoped the stone would pass on its own. The stubborn stone never did pass. I wanted to cancel my trip to the convention in Cincinnati but my husband refused to let me stay. He insisted I go and have fun. So on Thursday morning Mrs. Cuddle-me and I hit the road. He stayed home with four kids and a troublesome kidney stone. My friends Mama Quilts and Makrothumia remained on stand-by in case he needed help. He never called anyone…

Mrs. Cuddle-me at the wheel

Mrs. Cuddle-me at the wheel

Mrs. Cuddle-me drove the entire trip. She chauffeured me around like I was a princess. We’re a great match for trips: she likes to drive and I prefer the passenger seat. Early on in the trip her vehicle started to act up. She shut off the cruise and it drove fine the rest of the trip but the “check engine ” light would pop on every now and then. I thought maybe we should turn around but she wasn’t concerned at all. I realized at that moment my friend was far braver than I. Our next mishap occurred in Verona when the keys were inadvertently locked in the vehicle. I won’t say who was responsible but

in Verona after the local police rescued us

in Verona after the local police rescued us

I wasn’t in the driver’s seat. I also made her show me the keys every time we got out of the vehicle.  Verona doesn’t have any Pop-a-locks so we had to wait for the Boone county police to break into our ride. Thankfully, we didn’t have to wait long and we were back on the road.

Before heading to Cincinnati we checked in with the Sisters in Erlanger. We were blessed to stay in their guest room for our convention trip. I stayed in that very room several years ago (16 years ago!!!) hoping to be accepted into the community. Stepping into the room and remembering my younger self…was disconcerting. One of those past meeting the future

the key to out room in the Monastery

the key to out room in the Monastery

kind of moments. I was heart-broken the first time I stayed in the monastery guest room. I gave up my deepest dreams in that room and accepted God’s urging to religious life. All I have ever wanted was to be a wife and mother…nothing else. I laid those dreams down in that room, sacrificed my heart and embraced God’s will. Now my dreams are reality…I am a wife and mother to four beautiful children. I am beautifully blessed…maybe God blessed me with my heart’s desire because I chose to obey Him. I’m not sure why I am so blessed but I am truly grateful. Anyway, I had a moment there…

Cincinnati, the big city

Cincinnati, the big city

After checking in with Mother we headed to the convention in Cincinnati at the Duke Energy Center. We arrived before the vendor hall opened and went to a conference by Martin Cothran on Classical education and the importance of Logic. Oldest begins pre-logic this year so I took plenty of notes and am looking forward to learning along side him. Mr. Cothran is a very good speaker and I recommend stopping to listen to him if you ever get the chance.

the Passionist Nuns' Monastery

the Passionist Nuns’ Monastery

We then made our way to the vendor hall…so huge!!! I made my way over to the Christian Light Education booth and made my order with them. I finally decided to switch from MathUSee (or MathUDon’tSee as my husband says) to CLE math. They helped me figure out where to place my crew (one year behind!!) and we will get started in math once the Light Units arrive. I also spoke to the developer of the Spelling You See curriculum and decided to go with their program after reviewing several spelling curriculums. Even though looking at all of the books in the vendor hall is fun the real treat is speaking with all of the people who put their heart into developing and writing the various curriculums. Later this week I will post about my favorite five booths and

the monastery guest room

the monastery guest room

share my tips on attending a homeschool convention. I made most of my purchases on Thursday night. That evening I met Kris at the Geography Matters booth (she hosts the weekly wrap-up) and got to tell her just how much she means to me even though we had never physically met until that very moment. My first year of homeschooling was so very lonely and every time I had a concern about my homeschool I would turn to her blog (and Hodgepodge Mom’s blog) for help and guidance. They were my mentors and it meant a lot to me to be able to tell her in person and thank her for her ministry to those of us just starting on this homeschool journey. I really wanted a picture with her but I was too shy to ask.

032 (3)On Friday I met Susan Wise Bauer. I was a bit star-struck and forgot to ask how to go through Writing With Ease at half-pace. The writing curriculum is supposed to be for fifth graders but is now considered a little too hard for most fifth graders and they recommend tackling it at half speed or waiting until sixth grade. So I’ll have to figure that out now but it was cool to meet her…not that she’ll remember. That night we ate at Cracker Barrel and found a mug that said “I see the Screw-up Fairy has visited again”! Mrs. Cuddle-me and I decided that was the theme of our trip. Several things went wrong (too many to mention!!!!) but we mostly kept our humor and everything did work out just fine. She witnessed me at my very worst when I flipped out because my husband needed some medicine and the doctor’s office didn’t come through for him. She helped solve the problem and sent her husband on a mission of mercy for my husband. After witnessing me break down she declared there was nothing scary about me at all. After this trip I decided she was the sister I never had but always wanted!!!

yours truly trying to use chop-sticks!!!

yours truly trying to use chop-sticks!!!

We left the convention early on Saturday and went to a hibachi and sushi restaurant for dinner. At first we were going to go to a restaurant called Chipotles but my husband recommended against it. We also discovered that Siri could not pronounce “chipotle” (try it out if you have an iPhone!). I had never been to a hibachi restaurant and had no idea what to expect. I quickly texted my husband to ask what to order and he gave his advice. He was excited for me to experience something new and completely out of my comfort zone. He joked that any meal that didn’t come with toys was a bit out of my element!

Sunday morning we visited with the Sisters before heading home. Despite the terrible storms we made it home safely. Littlest was so mad at me that he hugged Mrs. Cuddle-

hibachi

hibachi

me first!!! The kids and I took my husband to the hospital Monday morning and thankfully he was able to have surgery the same day for the kidney stone. Later, Mrs. Cuddle-me stayed with my crew again so I could be with my husband as he recovered from surgery. I am so blessed to call her “friend”!! Without her the kids would have had a long night in the ER and a very long day at the hospital.

084 (2)The kids started swimming lessons this week. Middle Boy is making great progress in overcoming his fear of being in the water and actually swam this week!!! I am very proud of him and thankful the head coach of the swim team is spending so much time teaching my crew to swim…of course it helps that everyone else is still attending government school during lessons. I worked getting everything back to normal for my crew this week and next week we will dive back into our school work.

Linking up with: Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Not Exactly a Weekly Wrap-up: Turning Three and Halloween

Littlest turned three on Monday. In true three-year old fashion he had a one hour temper tantrum on his birthday. His antics were so amusing I took a picture to remember the moment by…Three is such a tough age. I’m not sure if it is worse on the three year-old or the rest of the family. But, it is also a really cute age full of discovery and wonder. I am saddened because babyhood is passing away before me…evolving to boyhood. I want to weep and store this year in my heart and pray the time passes a little slower because at the end of this coming year will be a little boy. This is a year to cherish…soon he will not sit in my lap to eat his meals. All too soon he will be a little boy and my name will be “Mom” and not “Mommy”.

Halloween is closely followed by Littlest’s birthday. I’m not a huge fan of the holiday. My atheist parents loved Halloween and it was the one holiday we celebrated when I was a kid. Today, well…it bothers me. I do not purchase costumes for my kids very often and I have been careful to buy one’s that can easily be reused over several years. We keep it low-key and mostly go to various church sponsored events and a quick walk around the neighborhood.

Today, was beautiful. We spent the day together and went to The Land Between The Lakes. The fall colors were breathtaking and I enjoyed the drive with my family. We went to The Homeplace just across the border in Tennessee. The Homeplace is a working 1880’s farm. The place is amazing and is like a living museum. When we get to the Westward Expansion I plan to visit the place often. Today happened to be their Fall Harvest celebration and the staff that works on the farm were preparing for their annual Thanksgiving meal together. Even though the meal was only for the staff (dressed in period costume and using a wood stove) they answered questions and told us about life in the 1880’s. My kids were invited to help cut wood for the kitchen stove. I’ll share pictures next week and more about The Homeplace.

Homeschool went well this week. I am planning changes in our schedule for next week. I’ll share what worked and what didn’t next week.