Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Speaking of Surrendering...

In my last post I talked about my word for 2015 being SURRENDER.



WHAT?!

I honestly thought Silas was our last. So while this wasn't my plan or Daniel's plan, we are surrendering to God's will. And we are choosing excitement and joy for this brand new life. We aren't finding out the gender this time again.
   
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Okay so I was worried about Daniel's reaction when I discovered I was pregnant during a random pregnancy check (I test every month because I need Progesterone supplements ASAP or I can miscarry). I have never done anything special in telling him I'm pregnant. I always just hand him the stick. No one throws a parade for me when I pee on the thing lol.

Anyway he is heading upstairs after breakfast the day I had taken the test and I race up after him and pull him aside. The test was one of those Clearblue Weeks Indicator Digitals so it clearly said PREGNANT and then predicts how many weeks from conception. There's no squinting to see if there's a second line with this test!

My actual test.

I show him the test and before he says anything I say, "We are going to choose to be excited!" He looked at it and.... laughed! And then said, "Oh man, I'm going to get teased SO bad by the guys!"

Phew! I worried for nothing. He has been nothing but a dear. He's been calm, he's been sweet. He made it abundantly clear, even before Silas was born, that he was done. So that was why I was worried about telling him, worried he'd be stressed and upset. But when God gives you a baby how can you look at that sweet gift and not praise Him, not thank Him?

So baby #6, we are eagerly and excitedly waiting to meet you, to feel those kicks, see your profile on the sonogram. We will cherish each moment of this last pregnancy, last newborn-ness, last breastfeeder, last toddlerhood...

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The Scrabble board photo is mine. I wanted a fun way to tell the news. One day all the girls were gone to Nonna's house so I sat at the table and put this board together (it was harder than I thought it would be since there are limited amounts of letters!). Daniel picked them up on his way home from work. When the girls came in Daniel was grinning like a maniac so Elaina kept asking, "What is going on?!" We showed them the Scrabble board and I told her to read the words. She read all the words in this monotone and once she said, "six kids" her eyes got really big and she said, "You're pregnant?!?!"

Elaina was so excited and overwhelmed with emotion she cried (happy tears). Zoe was so overwhelmed with emotion that she cried (not happy tears). Abigail was just chill and smiling, totally laid-back and taking it all in. The boys had no idea what was going on. I asked Judah later if he wanted another baby and he said, "Ummm... no thanks!"

Now Judah is adamant that baby is a boy. If you so much as say there's a chance it could be a girl he gets extremely upset. Uh oh! Mommy and Daddy both think girl but we won't know until birth day. Hopefully by then Judah won't mind either way lol.

After we told kids I took this pic of the Scrabble board and texted it to family and friends and Instagram. It was a fun way to tell people without them feeling pressured to react face-to-face (something I've noticed when telling people in person lol). Everyone is excited.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Surrender

I must admit I've never been one who was into resolutions. I see I'm not alone in this. Resolutions seem to say, "I suck and don't like who I am" rather than "I can transform and blossom into who I am meant to be". Well there probably is plenty I should change but those are daily choices I have to make. Will I work out today? Will I choose the healthier food options? Will I be calm and patient or short-fused today? Making a resolution doesn't change those daily choices that I was making just the days before the clock struck midnight to a new year.

I rather like the whole idea of choosing a theme for the year instead, one small word. Something unique for me to focus on. Instead of trying to change who I am I can bloom further into who I am. I've always heard churches come up with catchy little rhymes for the year, like "Setting Captives Free in 2013" but never really thought of asking God for a word specifically for ME and my growth. Besides it seems like those catchy churchy mottos fizzled out pretty quick, yeah? I am finding that a lot of people who choose one small word tend to reflect on it and put more emphasis on it because it becomes a part of them, rather than a list of resolutions on the fridge door. It's for personal growth rather than impersonal tasks.

So this past fall I really started to think about 2015. And for awhile now I just keep coming back to the word 'surrender'. 2015 has a huge TO DO list already, lots of changes in our home and in my business. I can get so overwhelmed by the dailies and discouraged (and angry) when things don't go my way or get done when I want. I didn't wait for the new year to discover and begin to focus on my word. In fact I don't think you have to either. Perhaps if  6 or 8 months down the road I feel God tugging my heart toward a new focus then I'm alright with that. Don't get hung up on the whole "year" thing and just focus on the spiritual season you're in instead. Could be 2 months, could be 2 years.

I'm learning patience. Learning to surrender my plans, my ways, my everything. Don't get me wrong, I'm no martyr. This isn't a woe-is-me post. It's a good thing to surrender to His will. Who knows me better? Who knows all and is all? Who has my back? Who is a doting Father who wants to bless His children, not strike them? As a rebellious sinner it's still hard, this won't be easy. I've been bent on doing things my way for quite a long time.

I've already found that my plans don't always go accordingly anyway. Time to surrender, to be still, to rest. To take it day-to-day and not panic if there are hiccups. I have to admit that I'm kind of afraid of the word "surrender" because it makes me feel really vulnerable and weak, which is perhaps what leads to humility and the whole surrendering bit. I think I'm just afraid of what I have to lose in order to grow.

There are a few things I'm willing to share here where I've already had to surrender my plans:
-My business (it's temporarily closed at the moment)
-Homeschool (a continual surrendering to be their teacher because it wasn't originally 'in my plans' when I first got married and thought about kids)
-My home (repairs not getting done quickly)
-My future home (I feel unrest where I am at, like I'm not where I'm supposed to be)


I keep hearing, "Be faithful with the little..." which is a huge part of surrendering because if I had it my way I'd leave this money pit to someone else to deal with if I could (ouch, sounds so ugly to admit). Of course, by law, all known issues have to be presented to potential buyers of a home and we are law-abiding citizens so a buyer would therefore knowingly take on those projects but... still, I really need to surrender my hastiness and focus on taking care of this home and lovingly. I have to surrender my will to want to be out of here ASAP to when God guides us to go. Part of the reason we are upset about where we are is because we hastily bought this house out of impatience to be out of our rental. I don't want to be in a position where I pressure us to move before our time to move.

Goodness I feel like my sleepy late-night typing has led to such a rambly post but perhaps it spoke to someone out there in the vastness of the Internet. On one good note taking my business off my plate for awhile frees up a lot of time for blogging, which I dearly miss and think about almost daily!

Do you have a word/theme/motto/focus?

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Good grief!

My husband left a comment on my last post: "When are you going to post again?!"

Uh now, duh! Cool your jets, Danny-boy.

So my youngest little man is 17-months-old and his "two" is already showing. He knows what he wants and what he doesn't want, for sure. He has been known to throw himself on the floor and put his head in his hands and cry.

But he also laughs and laughs. He'll throw his head back and laugh, then put his hand over his mouth while laughing (so cute!). His newest thing is raising his eyebrow at us with the most serious face, as if to say, "Are you kidding me?"

He was looking out the window when I said his name and caught him off guard, ha! But he's so adorable. (Ignore the trash bag outside; it's actually a bag for the thrift store that I set outside so kids would stop getting into it!)


His haircut is making him look like such a big boy! He's got the reddest eyelashes and eyebrows.


I got this picture of Judah-boy today. He and I went outside for a little bit and I managed to get one good shot of him (the rest were blurry because he won't stay still). The things this boy says! He just turned three and he's pushing every button he can push one moment... and then melting my momma heart with his sweetness the next moment!


Judah likes to put his forehead against mine and talk to me eye-to-eye. I call him "my boy" and so he started calling ME his boy lol!

Getting pictures of all five kiddos isn't always easy. I was doing selfies with one child and then they all slowly made their way to me and I managed to get us all in a shot! On my PHONE! Technology, let me tell ya...


My oldest needs to stop looking so grown up all the friggin' time.


Another walk and had the kids pose before the setting sun...


Here's our pumpkin from a few weeks ago! It's probably the best pumpkin we've ever cut into. The seeds were really beautiful and delicious. We named our pumpkin "Happy"! He doesn't look so happy anymore... he's pretty rotten. :-D


Monday, September 1, 2014

Dreaming

Our heads are full of daydreams lately. We've been scrubbing, cleaning, simplifying, destashing, recycling, cleansing. Working to get this old house into an attractive state for potential buyers. Sometimes I just want to throw my hands up and say, "Just put it on the market as-is and let's see what happens" but it's not practical. We have to put a little money into it in order to sell it at a price that allows us to pay off our mortgage on this house yet have enough to put down on another.

This is stressful.

The Zillow app was on my phone once.
The baby accidentally deleted it.
I resisted putting it back on my phone.
I finally re-downloaded it.
I have dozens of houses hearted.

I'm trying to learn to be content. I keep telling myself that maybe this is one big test. To be faithful with little in order to be blessed with much. And "much" isn't riches. "Much" is just a different way of life. Actually a simpler but harder way of life. "Much" is more responsibility. But more on that another day.

So we continue to daydream, continue to try to love on this old house. I cannot wait to see this house with a fresh coat of paint on it. It was a nasty taffy pink when we moved in and it's still a nasty taffy pink 8 years later. I'm thinking a pretty shade of blue or green, maybe even yellow (who doesn't love a yellow Post Victorian house?!). Now if only these guys Daniel called to come out would finalize the day they'll come out (they're people we know, not some random strangers).

A new season is coming. I'm scared, anxious, excited and thrilled!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

So far, so good

Week one of school done and about to embark on week two! My kids were so excited the night before our first day that it was like trying to go to bed on Christmas Eve.

I had heard "Charlotte Mason" in passing but never really took the time to research her or her methods. I don't like to put myself in a box. I like flexibility and eccentricity. I felt that to get into a single method or "genre" would be limiting. But one fateful night when I was reading blogs I came across the words "Ambleside Online" and was hooked immediately. The way Charlotte Mason encourages strong minds and great character is exactly everything I'd have hoped for as a growing child and how I'd like my kids to learn. It leaves so much room for flexibility. It's not an online school (no assignments or grades to turn in) but a community and a free curriculum that other parents have devoted countless hours in creating and piecing together. 

Our first day of school started out with Bible reading and poetry. Then we did our other readings, copywork and art. We were done before 9:30. I sat there, dumbfounded, because last year we were doing school work well after lunch because of dragging feet and having too much work. Honestly I feel like we have a bigger workload this year with more difficult subjects/reading but the way it's all laid out makes it fun and makes it a breeze (thus far; I'm sure we'll have "those days").

We did miss our math curriculum this week, though. I ordered it late so I'm sure that'll tack on maybe 30 minutes? I'm not sure yet but maybe even less than that. One major thing that Charlotte Mason stressed was: QUALITY, not QUANTITY. We are taking an entire year to read a single book, to chew on it and weigh it and learn it. Of course the kids can whip through other "free read" books as fast as they want, I'm only speaking of the scheduled readings. And wonder of wonders kids begin to live the books they read by acting them out and using their imaginations and showing that they are retaining the information.

So far we're all loving it! They get their work done, we have tons of time to play outside, bake, build blocks and get imaginative. I have time to cook meals, get some of my business work done without stressing about finding time (like I did last year! And I get cranky if I don't find my work time!), clean and *play with my kids*. Isn't that part of why homeschool is magical? The special time we get with the kids?

Silas and Mommy hanging out on the porch:

 He's such a goofball! He just started making this face at me!

Saturday, July 26, 2014

This Year..............

The beginning of the school year is full of so much motivation, determination and spirit! By the time winter break rolls around you're definitely in need of the break. We are starry-eyed with the thought of all we will do this school year...

 We will bake and cook!

We will enjoy our new classroom setup!


We will make-believe...

We will play and learn sportsmanship!

 We will get outdoors...

And explore!

And pretend!

Make new discoveries (he's watching ants carry a peanut).

Enjoy God's beautiful creation...

Express ourselves!

Get messy and creative.

READ!

 And we will dance and care for our bodies!

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Our goals are to slow down, explore, learn many new things, dive deep into literature, take new chances that might be scary at first and just have fun.

Personal goals for Elaina (age 9) would be to practice better penmanship and writing, memorizing poetry and Scripture.

Personal goals for Abigail (age 7) would be to strengthen her reading skills and helping her to build her self-confidence. She needs to do an "outside-the-home" activity. She has shown interest in clay sculpture and piano (she got a weighted keyboard for her birthday and already taught herself a song just by listening to the notes!).

Personal goals for Zoe (almost 5) would be to allow for more freedom in expressing herself artistically, allow her more opportunity to help in the kitchen since she shows passion for cooking and to be more independent in age-appropriate ways (pouring her own milk, putting her laundry away).

***As a homeschooled child himself, my husband made it very clear to our kids that they had to choose an outside-the-home activity. He didn't get to do that and wishes he had. Elaina and Zoe both already attend a professional ballet school and ministry. Abigail needs to make a choice. The boys are too young but will get to choose something when they're older.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Just a Walkin'

This week has been a week of many firsts. Silas, 13-months-old, is officially a walker. He stands right up and toddles all over the house. Mostly following me around like a lost puppy, whining and crying for attention. His love language is definitely physical touch and he wants to be held constantly... or he's perfectly content to climb all over you the moment you sit on the floor near him.

He also says "buh buh" for bye-bye, signs "more" and "all done", will immediately stop what he is doing and get to the front door as fast as he can when someone says, "Is Daddy home?" He has got some serious dance moves and rhythm! He loves to shake his head no but has yet to say the actual word. He sleeps through the night *most* nights. He nurses maybe once a day and loves putting his hand down my shirt. Like he will get ticked off and keep putting it back if I remove his hand from my shirt. He now does it to other people, like his 9-year-old cousin and his aunt, when they watch him.


Oh my binky boy. He's so funny with these things. I tell ya - babies either really love them or really hate them. Elaina was a binky baby. My other three gagged on them, no matter the brand or size. Silas will speed crawl to his binky, pick it up and pop it in his mouth. At least he can keep it in his mouth on his own! Elaina could NOT. I was the mom driving with her arm stretched behind her to hold the binky in for Elaina or it would be nothing but screaming from the backseat.

If I pluck that binky from him he'll grab it right back, grin and put it back. Oy I don't look forward to weaning him from it but when the time comes... the time comes.


These photos are not edited. He's my little GINGERbread man! He may end up being my only blue-eyed baby. Zoe's blues have turned green. I hope his hair stays like this but I do notice it's getting blonder lately.


He's going to need a haircut very, very soon. I'm constantly brushing his bangs to the side.

Other newness this week: Judah wore underwear for a full day! He turns 3 in September so we're right around that potty-training time. He's had a lot of accidents. He's still trying to figure out all the sensations and trying to figure out how to hold it and then let go once he reaches the potty. I should time him sometime. I think he's sat on the toilet for about 40 minutes once. He just sits there looking at books, singing, talking to me, we'll watch Vines on my phone, etc. I've noticed that he pees when he cries.

The first time he sat on his Thomas the Tank Engine potty seat (it clicks to the regular toilet) he was sitting there for FOREVER. Momma was busy and starting to lose patience. Honest I try to be calm and sweet. But he started unrolling the TP when I turned around for a few seconds so I snapped, "Judah do NOT do that!" He started crying..... and peeing at the same time! It shocked him so bad he stopped crying and then we all did the potty dance.

Today one of his sisters made him cry so he started coming downstairs to get me and peed on the way down. So... yeah I'm noticing a trend here. Crying = peeing.

His obsession is Thomas the Train. So his potty seat is Thomas. He has a Thomas potty book that came with a Thomas potty-success chart and Thomas stickers, his underwear is Thomas... He got a big Thomas stuffed pillow/toy thing for choosing to be a big boy and going potty (carries it everywhere) and has a handmade Thomas pillowcase, handmade Thomas blanket, etc. I'm NOT a person who gets into the characters. But somehow 'the little engine that could' has weaseled it's way into our home BIG time.

I tell him that Thomas doesn't like to be peed on so he has to try to hold it and not pee on his Thomas underwear. He still makes mistakes and Thomas and Friends have needed a good cleaning but we press forward. I can see the anxiety in his eyes when he has an accident so I giggle and smile. He immediately melts into a grin and his eyes relax. I try to let him know it's OKAY and we can clean it up. Then I talk to him about how it felt when he needed to go and encourage him to try to do that in the potty next time instead. He always tells me a cheery, "Okay!" Not sure how much he's understanding but it's probably more than I realize.