Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Pajama Day

Well.....as I sit here sipping my lukewarm coffee I am enjoying a more relaxed pace today.  So often I jump out of bed and feel like I am off to the races until the moment I have all the kiddos tucked back in bed about 14 hours later.  NOT TODAY!

Last night....much to the kids delight....I announced that today was our annual PAJAMA DAY!  That is a special school tradition.....Usually once a year (sometimes twice) the kids get to sleep in a little (until 8) and then are awakened to breakfast in bed.....

followed by some of their school work in bed.......

They get to keep on their PJ's until lunch.......

and it just gives the whole day a much more relaxed feel. 

I like PJ Day!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Our Week in Pictures

I haven't blogged about our daily activities much this week so I thought I'd use tonight to do a short re-cap.  It's Thursday so that means co-op.  I have several pictures from today:  This is a shot from history class where we were learning about the Nile River.  The kids each made a model and are very excited to see if their "crop" of grass seed grows along the Nile.

The preschoolers have so much fun on their outdoor adventures!  So cute!  They have the BEST science teacher ever!  We LOVE our Co-op teachers!

The Girls Art class has been learning mixing colors and the color wheel!

Have I mentioned that I love Co-op!  These women are "my people".  LOVE THEM!


Yesterday was Wednesday....which means gymnastics!  The girls LOVE gymnastics.  The Twinkie boy did NOT love going......

Twinkie Boy does love speech though.  He gets to go every Monday and Wednesday and while it is very disruptive to our schedule...it is VERY worth it.  Twinkie Boy has a severe speech disorder called Apraxia.  He has come so far and his teacher is amazed at how vocal and smart he is.  Some children with Apraxia never gain speech and especially children who have as severe of a disorder as my sweet boy!  I am soooooo proud of him and I ADORE his speech teacher.  She makes it fun!

This is the rest of the crew working while Jack does speech.

Another WONDERFUL part of our week was The Girl setting the table.  Yes she is taking a manners course at school and one of the things they are learning is how to set a proper table.  She did a great job and the little ones have gotten so excited they are now begging to set the table!  LOVE IT!

This is my favorite picture of the week.  I love it because as I was rushing about the house I happened upon the girls and they were playing the sweetest game.  Twinkie girl was having devotions with the BABY.  It made my heart smile.  Granted its a reading book.......not a Bible.....it still blessed me to see them playing "devotions" and being so kind to each other.....THEY ARE NOT LIKE THIS ALL THE TIME....I PROMISE.

 Okay....these next two pictures are Odyssey of the Mind pictures.  I'm sure I will periodically blog about Odyssey.  It became a big part of our life last year.  It is probably one of the hardest yet rewarding activities we have ever participated in.  It is a HUGE time commitment but THE BOY learned so much.  Here's a short Odyssey overview:
Odyssey of the Mindis an international educational program that provides creative problem-solving opportunities for students from kindergarten through college. Team members apply their creativity to solve problems that range from building mechanical devices to presenting their own interpretation of literary classics. They then bring their solutions to competition on the local, state, and World level. Thousands of teams from throughout the U.S. and from about 25 other countries participate in the program.

Last year was our teams first year.  The kids did great.  It was so hard....UGH....I can't believe we signed up for this again.....but it really was worth it.  About half our team returned and about half of our team is new members. 

This Monday our team selected their long term problem which they will spend the next 7 months solving and preparing for competition.  Above is a photo of the kids practicing solving a "spontaneous problem".  They had to build a structure as tall as they could using only index cards and they could not speak.  They had 3 minutes to "plan" without talking and 4 minutes to "solve it".  They were judged on the height of the structure and on how they worked as a team. 

Another highlight of the week was that we finished painting TWINKIE GIRLS room.  It's PINK!!!!  She loves it.  Here's a picture of her in her big girl bed....a gift from a dear friend (THANK YOU MARCI)
And Randy switched out the Cars light that was hanging in her room for a GIRL light.  He did good!

A cookout with the neighbors!  FUN!

As I look back on our week.....I think WOW we were busy!  However....I then remember so is the rest of the world.  A very wise friend/mentor of mine (Linda) told me years ago that everyone has the same 24 hours each day and that we choose how to fill them.....but one thing is for sure we will all fill them. 
My constant ambition is to choose wisely....and I don't always....I check facebook too much, I watch too much TV, I don't sleep enough, and I play bubble burst too much while I watch TV :)  (That is for you Randy).  So I do not have this altogether...at all!
However my sweet friends husband (Shay) has also taught me 2 of the most important focuses of my life.  To INVEST in what matters and to be INTENTIONAL.  As I look back on the week.....I see what matters and what doesn't.  What is worth the investment and what is not.  I'm thankful for my Co-op mommy friends who are investing in me and my kids. 

Love you all sorry this was so long and so random.....but I had a lot I wanted to share.  I'll try to be more intentional next time :)

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Where did the weekend go?

Well....it's late Sunday night and the weekend is gone.  I am wondering where it went?  Monday is just a few hours away and I feel very unprepared for the week ahead.  I am feeling spent, empty, sad, unprepared, and like I have nothing to offer those who need me this week.....

I hate feeling this way....but I am what I am :)

I am just trusting that God can do something....because I cannot.

I know part of the problem is I'm tired:  So I need to get some rest and I'm sure everything will look better in the morning!  I know part of the problem is I haven't been eating well or exercising enough this week...so I'm in a funk!  So even though I don't feel like it I'm going to set the alarm....and I'm going to get up and workout tomorrow morning and get back to eating healthy.

I know part of it is that I have been giving out a lot and haven't spent enough time alone with the Lord.  So as soon as I'm done blogging I'm going to read a few verses and "fill my cup". 

I know I'm sad....because Joan died, and her family is hurting, and a lot of people I love are moving away (Pastor, Scarlet, Jason, and Charity) so I'm just going to have to be sad :( for a little while.  I am happy though that they are all walking with the Lord....I'm just sad for me :(

I'm unprepared because I have about 10 loads of laundry I should have folded this weekend and put away that is littering my floor along with a very dirty van that is going to be driving 7 kids tomorrow morning....I know I shouldn't care  and stress so much about things that don't matter, but I hate for other people to have to ride in my dirty van.  I need to shovel it out so they will fit! 

My prayer is that God will fill me and that I will be emptied of myself.  I pray I will focus on people and loving and investing and not on things and cleaning and impressing.  I am so thankful that God allowed me the privilege of sharing a season of my life with Joan, Pastor, Scarlet, Jason, and Charity.  I am a better person for knowing them all.

Now off to fill my cup and fold my laundry :)
I can't believe I am posting this picture....but I'm just trying to keep it real.  When I say I have laundry to fold all over my floor I mean....I have laundry to fold all over my floor (plus there is one in the washer and the dryer).....YEP I am unprepared!


YAY!  I finished this!  Now the kids just have to put their stuff away in the morning!
Feeling better already :)

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

I Know This Much is True

It's been a sad week for our church family.  It started on Sunday with an announcement from our beloved Senior Pastor that it was time for him to step down.  Our sweet Pastor has led our church for 23 years (I think that is right).  He is a Godly man and he is a good man.  I believe he is following God's leading and so I agree with him that it is time....but it is still hard.  Losing someone you love is never easy.  He became my pastor when I was about 14 years old.  He was present when Randy purposed to me in front of the entire church!  He performed our wedding ceremony, He came to see each of my children when they born, He ordained Randy as a deacon. He buried our sweet baby Matthew.  He spoke God's truth into our life on a regular basis.  He prayed for specifically for our oldest son Andrew and for him to develop leadership as he became a man. He baptized Andrew.  He was present and participated in a Knighting Ceremony for Andrew.  He has invested in my family and in me and I am going to miss him!

Goodbyes are hard.
As I was busy processing this loss I was caught totally off guard.....I received a call from a precious girlfriend early Tuesday morning that Joan had died.  Joan is another pastor at our churches wife.  She has been battling pancreatic cancer for about 7 months.  She had come through chemo and surgery and things were looking good.  We were praising God.  I thought we had seen a miracle.  I thought she was going to defy statistics.  I was not expecting that phone call.  I was devastated.  Not just for the personal loss of a godly, humble, sweet lady and not just the loss to our church of a sweet servant but for the loss to her family.  I can not imagine.  I wish I had words to comfort them or a magic wand to take away their pain but I do not....BUT
This Much I Know.....
1.  God Gives and God Takes Away May the Name of the Lord be Praised.  God does what he wills when he wills but it does not change God or his worthiness of our praise.  This was such a hard and painful lesson for me after losing our sweet baby boy but it is a verse from Job that God gave me during that time and it became an absolute Mantra/Life line for me.  It reminded me regardless of how I felt that God deserved my praise.
2. God's Grace is sufficient.  I remember feeling I could not survive and about 1 year after losing our sweet baby I realized a whole year had gone by.  It was all a haze and it was all foggy and I didn't know how we had gotten through that year and how I could move and function but I know now it was only God's Grace.  He poured it out on me through his word and through his people.  It really is enough....alone and without anything else his grace IS enough.
3. I learned that I don't know what God is doing and I won't understand all the whys but it is okay to ask why.  God could handle my questions.  He could handle my pain.  NOTHING IS WRONG WITH ASKING WHY.  However....we will never fully understand why.  I heard it explained as all of our lives are like a beautiful masterpiece tapestry and we only see the small piece in front of us and while we can see some of the beautiful work that Christ is doing we have no way of being far enough removed to see the entire beautiful masterpiece God is creating through all of our stories.
4. I learned that God is good ALL the time.  That is easy when life is good but that is one hard pill to swallow when life is collapsing around you.  However God gently and lovingly taught me that His character does not change with my circumstances.  OUCH!
5.  I learned that people say really stupid things when your hurting....but I also learned that people do it out of love and a lack of knowledge NOT out of trying to be mean.

Pain hurts and this life is full of real pain and real hurt and real suffering.  I am so glad that I have a God who works all this pain for good.  I don't understand it and I don't always feel it.....BUT I know this much is true.

I love you all and am praying for you.

Saturday, September 11, 2010


Well I thought I'd share a little about Co-op on Thursday because it is such an important part of our schedule.  First off I must confess we were late....AGAIN....this time 5 minutes late because I ran out of ink in the printer really late on Wednesday night and decide not to run to the store....but leave early the next morning and stop at my Dad's office (I tried to call Dad but didn't get an answer and figured you wouldn't mind) and use his copy machine.....and guess what....I didn't leave early enough!

I started Co-op with the little ones and really enjoyed watching them listen to their Bible stories, sing their songs, and color.  They start the day out so excited to be together.

Then I headed to the elementary where we were learning about Nomads and how they began to settle once they discovered that seeds falling on the ground would grow crops and that they could plant food and turn from being Nomads into farmers.  So we were discussing how they would build homes from what they had around.  We tried our hand at building our own little village.  Boy it was hard!  Much harder then we thought it would be...but we had fun!

This Thursday was extra special because Daddy met us for lunch at co-op!  Unfortunately I didn't get a picture but he really was here.  The first time in 3 years....but it was really nice to have him stop by.  All the kids loved seeing him (and so did I)

After lunch I had a little break and got setup for art.  I again didn't get any pictures but we sure did keep busy.  The preschoolers made a glue/powder paint picture.  They were messy but they turned out nicely.  Now a question.....
What do you guys suggest.  The TWINKIE BOY (who is 4) has had a meltdown...kicking, screaming, crying....both weeks during art.  I think it bothers him that I am sharing my time/attention with other kids besides him and his sisters.  I'm not sure what is going on or how to handle it.  It is very disrupting and I'm really hoping this doesn't become a problem.  My assistant is great and she took him out and he calmed down, came back, and apologized....but I'm not sure what is going on.  My assistant suggested making him my helper and letting him hand out things, demonstrate things, etc.  So I started doing that and it did seem to help....I'll see how it goes next week.

Here is a picture of one of our wonderful teachers doing science with the preschoolers.  They all love their puppet friend "Dr. Mommy"

How cute are the little scientist in their lab coats!

I'll try to take more pictures next week!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Guess What We Did Tonight?

We had so much fun tonight.  It has been a tough week at our house.  I've had a cold.  The BOY and the BABY have had ear infections and everyone has been playing musical beds at night making a good night sleep very hard to come by. 
After a busy, sleepless, grumpy week....we were ready to get out of the house and have some fun!


Which is very rare for 2 reasons:
1.  It's just hard to find something 7 people between the ages of 3-35 find enjoyable
2. We don't have money to go out much.......

So this was our first family trip bowling EVER....AND WE HAD A BLAST!

We went to the new bowling ally in Mebane and we did have to wait a little while but not too long and there was plenty to keep our attention while we waited.

Each of the kids had their own unique bowling technique and they each seemed to really enjoy the family time.

The BOY had a great time and did a really good job, not only bowling, but helping his brother and sisters bowl.  It was really sweet.

/They loved seeing the pins fall!

One of the funniest parts of the night was watching Daddy bowl :)  Randy is a pretty decent bowler but check out that ball....It flies mid air and then THUD....hilarious...we had some laughs!

After the big bowling extravaganza we had dinner out at Andy's which the kids loved!  The TWINKIE BOY was thrilled with his kids meal car:

AND THE GIRL LOVED SHARING an ice cream sundae with Daddy:

We had to sit at 2 separate booths at Andy's because the big table was taken....but we were right next to each other.  It was a very special and very fun night!


Tuesday, September 7, 2010

A Pretty Typical School Day

Today was a busy and normal day at our house.  I woke up a little later then normal, around 7:00, because I couldn't get to sleep last night but other then that the rest of the day went pretty much normal.  We had breakfast, did our family devotions, got dressed and did chores and then started school. 

School Goes pretty much like this:

While THE BOY works on Health (2 days a week) or Typing (2 days a week) and THE GIRL works on her handwriting. I do preschool with the THE TWINKIES AND THE BABIES.  Preschool is usually a story that goes along with our weekly theme, theme songs, a very simple craft or activity that goes with our theme, sometimes a game too, then we work on Bible Verses for Cubbies, and do some simple Letter of the Week activities.  That is pretty much their formal schooling.  THE GIRL usually finishes up her handwriting and will do some of the Preschool activities with the little ones.

 If THE BOY finishes up before preschool is over he starts on his Math Program.  His Math is computer based.  After Preschool I get a special toy for the little ones to play with in the Den and then I start to work with THE GIRL on her Phonics, Reading, Spelling, and Writing.  It's usually close to 10:00 by this point and we take a short break.  Today we ran a few quick errands: picked up a check and went to Costco. 

Then SURPRISE: We got home around 11:00 or 11:30 and my mom was at our house.  I forgot it was Tuesday!  My mom (the BEST) takes time out of her life each Tuesday to invest in my kids and help me!  In the summer she takes ALL the kids every Tuesday to give me a day off and during the school year mom takes the kids one at a time to spend time with them one on one (which is really important to me and something I can't do as much as I wish I could) so today was Audrey's turn.  I NEVER forget Tuesday's....I look forward to them and so do the kids....but all day today I thought it was Monday!  Nevertheless mom was there and Audrey was thrilled that it was her turn!

Around 11:00 we get back to the books: THE BOY does his History and Guitar and THE GIRL does Math with me.  The Little ones watch a TV show selected by me during this portion of our school day.  It is usually something like BOZ, Strawberry Shortcake, or Berienstain Bears. 

Then we have lunch together.  After lunch I read to THE BOY while the TWINKIES and GIRL played upstairs.  Next, I read to THE GIRL and the TWINKIES while THE BOY did his Reading.  By this time it is around 1:00 and that means ROOM TIME!!!  This is when everyone goes to their room and plays by themselves quietly for 1 hour.  Usually THE BABY and sometimes THE TWINKIE BOY will fall asleep.  The other 3 just use this as free time to play quietly and they all enjoy room time and so do I!!!!!  I use Room time to check emails, grade papers, prep for school, read, make phone calls, etc.

After room time the kids can get a snack if they are hungry and then I work with THE BOY on his Spelling which is definitely his biggest area of weakness scholastically.  I also am accessible for him while he works on Writing assignments, Vocabulary, and Grammar.  THE 4 younger kids play together during my one on one time with THE BOY.  THE BOY then Reads and finishes his day by doing any Co-op homework: today he had Spanish, a Writing Outline, and began memorizing the first 12 countries in Africa.  Tomorrow for co-op he will have to use his Writing Outline to write a rough draft and finish memorizing the first 12 countries in Africa as well as answering some Geography homework.  While THE BOY is doing the last of his work THE GIRL and I do History and some Explode the Code Worksheets.  The Little ones are either sleeping or playing or doing art most of the afternoon.  Sometimes I will let them watch another show. 
We finished up today around 4:00 and I spent the next hour working on some Cross-stitch gifts I'm making for some friends for Christmas.  Then I started dinner.  We had dinner and Randy did baths while I straightened up.  Then we just had some family time as we tucked the kids in.  I played a game of Yahtzee with the TWINKIE BOY, Read a book to THE BABY and TWINKIE GIRL, played Tic-Tac-Toe and memory with THE GIRL, and hung out and talked to THE BOY. 

I am EXHAUSTED.....but I'm somewhat engrossed by a show Randy and I discovered yesterday called HOARDING....YIKES.....It makes me feel much better about my substandard housekeeping skills.....YAWN I better go to bed soon.....tomorrow is a REALLY BUSY DAY...all the regular stuff plus gymnastics, speech, and I have to clean my Dad's office (my part time job) and go grocery shopping.....MUST SLEEP!


Monday, September 6, 2010

My Birthday!

Wow what a wonderful weekend I've had.  I have been spoiled and loved on and just so blessed by my sweet friends and family.  It all began Friday evening with a cookout with the Randy's parents, grandma, and his sister's family.  We enjoyed a yummy dinner on their back porch and the cousins all got a chance to play together.  We had a good time.

Saturday Randy and The TWINKIES and THE BOY went to Home Depot to pick up a few things for some projects at the house...and I got to take THE GIRL and THE BABY on errands: Goodwill, Library, pick up a gift, Walmart, Teacher Store....AND we had a yummy girl lunch at a local sandwich shop.  It was so much fun!  I always enjoy spending time with the kids in smaller groups so I can really enjoy them.  The girls had fun too!

Saturday Night my parents babysat and Randy and I got to go out to dinner with a few couples to celebrate my birthday.  It was fun to get together.  We talked and laughed and talked and laughed.  It was wonderful and refreshing.  I'm so thankful for the gift of friendship!

On Sunday the celebrating continued.  Randy and the kids treated me to lunch at my favorite lunch spot.  Saladelia's!


THEN we got to spend the evening at Mama's.  We ate another YUMMY meal.....My Mama can Cook:

Mama had everything decorated.  She always makes us feel so special.

My sister Stacy made my favorite cake (chocolate with white icing) AND she made personalized cookies for all the kids.  The kids LOVED the cookies and I LOVED the cake.  Thank you Stacy!

My grandparents were able to join us for dinner too.  I LOVE spending time with my family!

The highlight of the evening was firefly catching with Daddy!

Then today: I woke up and Randy had gone to Brugger's to get me breakfast.  Then I spent some time reading (one of my favorite things to do), I took my time getting ready and then went shopping alone.  It was nice.  I had several gift cards and really enjoyed spending them!  When I got home I started painting THE TWINKIE GIRLS room (which is something I've wanted to do for a long time) and then went out to dinner with Randy's parents.....I'm going to POP from all this eating!!!  I am so blessed to have such loving friends and family and I really had a wonderful birthday. 

Hope you all had a WONDERFUL long weekend.  Can't believe tomorrow is Tuesday.  I better get to bed soon!


Thursday, September 2, 2010

Our First Co-op for the 2010-2011 School Year!!!

Co-op began again today.  In case you don't know me well I'll let you in on a little secret.  I LOVE our Co-op.  It is a HUGE blessing to me and to my kids and to their education.  It is also however a LOT of work. Our Co-op is made up of 14 families: Including 6 preschoolers, 6 1st-2nd graders, 4 3rd-6th graders, 8 7th-8th graders, 6 9th-10th graders, and 6 11th-12th graders.
 I started last night preparing for today (not my lessons....they were planned long ago....just my preparing to get out the door).  We packed the 3 little ones backpacks with a change of clothes and they each got to pick out one toy to bring.  The BOY had his backpack and books packed and also had to bring his guitar, computer, basketball shoes, and Gatorade.  The GIRL has been ready for weeks.  Bookbag packed and re-packed several times.  Let me tell you the apple did not fall far from the tree with The GIRL.  Then....I loaded my things.  We also picked out our clothes and had them all laid out and ready to go.  So you can imagine my surprise when I was up by 6:30 and proceeded to shower, do makeup and hair,dole out cereal for breakfast, make sure everyone was dressed with shoes on, make 6 lunches, get the van loaded, kids buckled and be pulling out of the driveway by 8:40....AND WE WERE STILL LATE!!!  Yep....My van was on empty, I forgot to feed myself, AND we had to go back home for THE BABY'S blanket.  We were only 4 minutes late.....but still....LATE! 

Co-op was fast, fun, and exhausting:
This year I am an assistant for the Preschool Bible/Music Hour
Teacher for the Elementary History Class
Teacher for the Preschool Art Class
Assistant for the Middle School Art Class

THE BOY is taking
Has a free period: in which he has to do a Math Lesson and Practice Guitar (he has this because we are doing a different History program then what the Co-op is doing)
and right after Co-op he has Basketball Open Gym for an hour and a half.

THE GIRL is taking
World History Ancient Times

THE TWINKIES and THE BABY are taking
Devotions and Music

Everyone was so happy to be back at Co-op and to be able to visit with our friends again!  Thursdays are long and a lot of work but it sure is fun and definitely worth it!  Now I have got to go to bed because tomorrow morning will be here soon!
Sweet Dreams!