Wednesday, August 20, 2014

random happenings

We made a Costco run yesterday, and in doing so, Drew came across a book he has been wanting and asked me to buy it for them.  (We will all eventually read this book.)  Being the book lover and nerd that I am, I couldn't resist one of my son's requests for me to buy him this book.  Jonah promptly said to me, "So since you're buying Drew this book, will you take me to Academy?  I want another Nerf gun."

Lord help me.

Of course I said no to Jonah.  I did tell him that if he wanted me to buy him a book that I would.

But not a Nerf gun.

I don't get these boys of mine, strange creatures that they are.

Anyway, Drew came home and started reading.



And reading and reading.  He's about three quarters of the way through said book.  It's Divergent.  He's reading it now, and as soon as he finishes it, it will be Graham's turn.  I'll wait until last, then hopefully we'll all watch the movie together.

More school work ensued today.  We've had a really great couple of weeks, and as much as that thrills me to say, I'm almost scared to type that!  Maybe I won't jinx myself.

Our day got started with a huge breakfast.  Well, huge for us, since I don't normally make breakfasts of this magnitude.  We had sausage and toast and eggs.


Since I was making eight pieces of sausage, two for each of them, I figured I'd go ahead and make sixteen pieces so they'll have another good breakfast for our school day tomorrow.  I love it when my brain kicks into gear and thinks ahead like this~trust me, it doesn't always happen.  ;)

Toddley came home early with a migraine-type headache and took a nap.  While he napped, Graham and Drew cut the grass.


God love this boy...he doesn't just cut the yard, he cuts it and sings and dances his way through working.  He cracks me up, this kid of mine.  I'm so glad he is so happy!  He makes me smile.

We had lunch, the boys finished their work, I took Graham to church early to set up for tonight, then I settled in and watched a couple episodes of this show.


Army Wives.  I love Netflix.  Have I mentioned that lately?  This is my latest addiction.  I love television, period.  I'm almost all the way through season one of this show.  Where have I been, though?  I guess having all these boys makes me not know about certain shows.  Parenthood and now this.  It was my reward to myself for a great (motivated) three days so far this week.

That's about it for this week~we're looking forward to tomorrow, when we go to our homeschool group.  Enjoy your night with the ones you love most.  Love to all!

Monday, August 18, 2014

afternoon habits

One thing I most love about homeschooling, besides all of it, are the lunches we have.  I love being able to feed my children a hot lunch everyday.  They love to eat good lunches!  I normally make something halfway healthy, but today they made hot pockets.

I also love those days when the work is flowing so smoothly, and the reading material is so interesting, that they say to me, "Let's keep going!"  That, my friends, is a great and near perfect day.  This is the boy that wanted to keep going today.


If you ever only take one piece of homeschooling advice from me, who is in no way an expert on this subject, it's that you should consider doing The Mystery of History with your kids.  I cannot stop reading this book and find myself reading over the shoulders of my kids.  The history buff in me is so excited over this book, and apparently, so is my Noah.  He loves history and today he read "his" story in this book.

Another thing we have done today is watch two full episodes of this show.


If you don't know who these people are, then I feel sorry for you!  This is Chip and Joanna Gaines, from HGTV's Fixer Upper.  A friend of mine enlightened me about this show and I am hooked.  We took a nice long lunch break today, and now that we're finished with school for the day, we're watching another episode.  :)

That's about all we've done on this day, with the exception of making a very quick run to Kroger for some dinner items for tonight, then we came back home.  It's been a good day for us, and for that, I am thankful.  Love to all.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

on a lighter note...

My last post was kinda heavy, so I thought I would lighten it up for today.  First, I need to say thank you to anybody who has been praying for us this week.  Ahem, Phyllis.  This has been a really great week so far.  My boys have been super productive and have already gotten most of their week's worth of work finished.  I am especially proud of Graham, who had a hard time with time management last year.  He's had to finish a lot of work this week for chemistry, in order for him to go to his first class tomorrow.

So, thank you.  I appreciate your prayers!  I also know a few of my friends pray for me daily.  Ahem, Andrea.  :)  I love you both!


My loves.  :)

Anyway.

After the school work was completed yesterday, we left home and headed to Costco, Chick Fil A, then dinner out with my in-love's.  Interesting fact about Jonah~he cannot survive without chocolate milk each day.  It's his coffee.  That was one thing we had to get yesterday, chocolate syrup.  God love him.  He was a happy little camper this morning.

We then went to Chick Fil A so Graham and Drew could fill out their hours for this week.  I'm going to brag for a minute now, so if this repulses you, then exit this page now.

I am very thankful for these jobs that they have!  Chick Fil A is such a great company to work for, and I love that at this location, they get to fill out the hours they want one week in advance.  They may not get exactly what they want, but if they don't fill in a certain day, they will not work on that day.  It's great for times they're unable to work because of school, or a church activity or vacation.

I am also proud that they're making money, and that they're saving their money.  All kinds of life lessons are wrapped up in this, two of which are the fact that they're learning to be good stewards of their time and their money.

I'm done now.

They filled in their hours, then we went to Corky's.  An old friend of Todd's family and his wife and children are in town, so we met them and enjoyed a yummy dinner and getting to know them.  I was in my happy place, because the mom of the family is a librarian, so we talked books.  And we all know how much I love books...and talking about them.  :)  She also homeschools, so I enjoyed talking with her.

After dinner, they said they wanted to try Jerry's Sno Cones while they were here, so we went with them.


A major perk of homeschooling~getting to do fun things like this on school nights.  :)  There was only a small line and the weather was amazing.  I tried a new flavor too, almond joy.  You would think that chocolate and ice wouldn't be good, but oh my goodness.  You would be wrong, because it was delicious!  I love anything coconut.

Graham, Noah and I left a little early because we had to go to my friend's house to pick up the chemistry book she is loaning us for Graham to use this year.  In driving to her house, we passed Bellevue.  (A mega church in Memphis.)


I love these crosses.  They're at a place that is very visible from the interstate.  And yes, I was driving while I took this picture, but I did slow down and Graham was helping me steer.

The boys got in bed pretty late, so we slept in a little.  Today our day has been peaceful.


Graham is doing chemistry, history and Spanish today.  Drew is doing history and Spanish.  Jonah and Noah were given the opportunity to go to work with Todd and will do their history, Spanish and spelling on Friday.  And this is a typical day in the life of us.  We actually do school at home, in case any of you were doubtful.  ;)  The subjects not mentioned are the ones that they've completed for this week.  I told you, they have been super busy and productive.  It's those prayers, so keep it up!

Well, laundry is calling me.  I pray all of you have a wonderful day.  Love to all.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

when bad things happen

On a day when our news is filled with such terror and tragedy in some parts of this world, what are we to do with that information?

I think first and foremost, we should take it to God.  The older I get, the more I realize that instead of talking about it and rehashing it over and over, just to take it straight to Him in prayer.  That sounds like it could be a song, huh?  It is, in fact.

"Have we trials and temptations?
Is there trouble anywhere?
We should never be discouraged;
Take it to the Lord in prayer.
Can we find a friend so faithful
Who will all our sorrows share?
Jesus knows our every weakness;
Take it to the Lord in prayer."

I have learned the importance of taking things like this to God through some encouragement we received this summer through my homeschool group, Renewed Moms.

Another thing that I am doing is that I am using this information as a teaching opportunity for my kids.  One thing that is utterly terrible right now is what is happening in Iraq to the Christian people.  Horrific things that I won't even write on here, because you all know what I am talking about.  We're taking the time to pray for the persecuted people over there and it's showing them that we are a privileged people in America.

It's teaching them empathy.

Another news story we have talked about today was Robin Williams.  This story was a huge lesson for them, in that no matter how wealthy and famous a person is, if you don't have Jesus as your Lord and Savior, you will not find your self worth in anything but Him.  You won't find worth in alcohol or drugs or any other kind of addiction.  It's one thing to have an addiction, it's something else to have an addiction while battling depression.  It's okay to acknowledge that you need medicine and to take that medicine and to get the help you need.  But this man was not alone in his life~it might have seemed like that, but none of us are ever alone.  Jesus is right there, if only we accept Him and confess our sin and our need for Him in our lives.

In homeschooling my kids and in a day and age that is so terribly sad for our world, I am so grateful for the opportunity I have to do this, and I thank God for it every single day.

I know not everyone is called to homeschool, but I am and for our family, this works best in our lives.  This post isn't about trying to talk you into taking your kids out of public school, trust me.  We had great experiences at our affluent schools here in The Ville, but God called me to homeschool.

My point in this post is this~talk to your kids about this stuff.  Chances are if you don't, someone else will.  Take the negative and try and put a life lesson in it, or look for the good, or just thank God that He is sovereign and in control.  I find that the more I shelter or hide my kids from things, the more appealing it is to them.  I would much rather be the one to have these kinds of heart to heart conversations with my boys, and I know much of you would agree.

Remember to take the time to pray for our world right now, too.  Find some Scriptures and pray them over your family, over our country, her leaders and our state and local leaders.  One of the passages I like to pray is found in Ephesians 6, and it's all about putting on the armor of God.

Also, it's okay to keep the television turned off.  I'm not even turning the thing on much nowadays, except maybe for the couple hours yesterday, when we were done with school and wanted to watch Shark Week on Discovery or Top Gear on the BBC channel.  (Mom of boys problems.)  Even last night we kept it off...we went to visit a friend, then came home to play cards.  After our two games, we went to bed.

I encourage you to just pray~it's okay to be sad, it is not okay to be fearful.  God did not give us a spirit of fear, but one of power, of love and of sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7).  If you're fearful, pray this verse.  And take comfort in the fact that God is in control.  Even in tough times, He never leaves us, never forsakes us, and for that I am thankful.


Love to all.

Monday, August 11, 2014

a little bit of what our homeschool day looks like

In case you wondered, I thought I would share how our days are supposed to go.  Notice I said "supposed to", not how they always go.  Homeschooling four kids is a dance~sometimes it is smooth and sometimes it's full of toe-stomping moments.  We have learned to go with the flow.

I plan out what their week will look like in advance.  I have two very type A kids, who love to have a schedule and a calendar.  They are really good stewards of their time and are the two that will work ahead to have a day off.  I don't mind that they do that, I just have to keep up with it.

I will give them what is due for the week, and they work toward that goal in various ways.  Sometimes one boy will do all of his math for the week in one day.  Another boy loves to do everything on his computer and save his work to a flash drive.  One boy likes to start with math everyday and another boy likes to do his math last.

They're all very different.

They work for a couple hours, then they take a break.  Today we started with a family meeting around the table as we ate breakfast.  I told them my expectations for this year and they gave me their word that they would meet them.  We had a devotion together, then we prayed.

Tomorrow when they start their day, they will begin on their own with quiet time.  That might include reading from a devotion book or it might just be reading the Bible...but they are expected to read their Bibles everyday.  From there we will all eat breakfast together, then we'll start on work for the day.

When they stop for a break, that's when we'll fold laundry, they'll go put all theirs away, we'll make beds and get dressed.  All this takes about thirty minutes, then they'll start working again, until twelve thirty.  We save the fun stuff for the afternoon, like science and history.  Anything that has to do with experiments and maps is always fun for boys of all ages.

We work until it's done or until frustration kicks in, and when that happens, we step away for a while.  Our way of homeschool isn't perfect by any means, and most days I feel like I'm not doing it right, but it's what works for our family.  They like the feeling of being in control of their day, and this way gives them that.  They also like to plan ahead, and again, this way is great for that too.

I feel so fortunate to be able to do this with my kids, and I love mostly every minute.  There are days when I want to scream and pull their hair out (Ha!) and when I just want a few minutes of not being asked a question, but truthfully, the positives far outweigh the negatives of homeschooling four boys.  We love our routine and they love it as well.

I thought I would share some pictures of what our first day for this year looked like.


Actually it's just this one picture.  The rest of the boys worked upstairs today, but at this point, Noah had gone through a couple of subjects and was reading his library book.  Jonah did this, too, but Crash didn't snuggle with him like he did with Noah.  Did you know that Noah is the animal whisperer?  This boy is so good with animals of all kinds, and I am convinced that all of our pets love him the most.

And then, because they had such a great morning of hard work, we all decided that we needed a mental health break.  They headed to the park on their bikes and I sat down to read.


Crash finally stopped his crying long enough for me to get started on this David Platt book.  Yes, the dog cries when they leave him here.  He loves them and does not love me.  ;)

Our first day has been great!  I couldn't be happier with how today turned out.  I pray you've had a great day, as well.  Love to all.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

outreach

I've been feeling a tug to do more lately.  Give more.  Pour out more.  Love others more.  I've also been feeling a tug to simplify our lives.  So I've been clearing out some clutter.  I don't mean actual clutter, I mean clutter of the spiritual sort.

Whatever that means and whatever that looks like.

I've been saying "no" to things that are of little importance and saying "yes" to things that are more important.  That being said, yesterday, the youth at our church had another outreach opportunity.

We joined with the Miracle of Redemption church in North Memphis and gave a carnival, of sorts, to some neighborhood kids.  We had some games, and there was face and fingernail painting.  (Guess which one I got to do?)

It was really, really hot, but these kids were happy to be there.  And our kids were, too, and so was I.

I loved having the chance to smile at them and talk to them and paint their sweet little fingernails.  Sometimes it's not comfortable to participate in outreach, in fact, rarely is that the case.  It's always a stretch of some sort, but it is always worth it.

I encourage you to find something to do~whether it's loving on someone, or praying for them, or buying food for someone in need~do it in the name of Jesus.  And see what happens to your heart.

Here are some of the sweet little faces we loved on yesterday.


 
The top little girl is Tammy, and the boys with Drew are Peanut and Jordan.  See those precious and beautiful smiles?  It was so worth the feeling of melting in the heat.

I pray your Monday is wonderful.  Love to all.

Friday, August 8, 2014

some things

Looking back at this week, I don't know where it's gone!  I think it's gone quickly because Todd has been out of town the past two nights.  He comes home today, though.  :)  I do not love when he travels, and though he works a lot of nights with the sheriff's department, it's different when I know he's coming home.  He had several jobs in and around Nashville, so that's where he's been.  I am thankful that he's gotten to spend time with his brother and sister-in-love and nephews, though.  He doesn't get to see them often, and I know he's enjoyed his time with them.

He left on Wednesday, which is where I'm picking up.  We hung around our house that day.  I had a sweet friend come over for a bit, to look at our homeschool stuff.  I gave her some books to use and we enjoyed catching up.  I love that with her, we always just pick right back up to where we were.  She's awesome like that.  Right before she got here, we got some of our school books in the mail!


We got our math and Spanish, and on Tuesday we got our vocabulary.  Graham also got his laptop in the mail, but it was missing part of the bundle package that should have been shipped with it, so we took a quick trip to Best Buy to remedy that little problem.  I'm so proud of Graham~he is such a responsible young man.  I dropped him off and let him handle it all, and ten minutes later, out he came with a big smile on his face.

After that we went to Chick Fil A for Graham and Drew to fill out their hours for next week.  Then we came home for a bit and headed to church.

I took this picture of their room after church~I love their sleeping quarters.


There's those Christmas lights again.  ;)

They had a friend sleep over Wednesday night, one who hasn't started back to school yet.

Thursday found us at home all morning, then we had to leave for a new mom's tea at our homeschool group.  We were there until three thirty, then I took Graham and Drew to work.

We had dinner there last night, because I had to go back and get them at seven.


Yesterday, August 7th, was his one year anniversary of working for Chick Fil A.  He still loves it!  Don't you love Jonah in this?  He never smiles like that, so I love the picture of him.  And Graham was laughing because I took forty-eight pictures to get this one.  (Not really.)

When we left here, we headed to meet up with my in-love's and went here.


Bill Oldham's campaign headquarters.  Yesterday was election day and we went here with the in-love's to watch the results.  Except that it was really crowded, it smelled weird and it was hotter than Hades.  So Graham stayed, because he spent the night with Mimi and Papa, and the other boys and me came home.

Drew wanted to go to bed but stayed up with us (kinda) to watch this show that I have been waiting for!


Jen (and Brandon) Hatmaker's My Big Family Renovation on HGTV.  We watched both new episodes, which were awesome and funny, then we all hit the hay.  Jonah slept with me last night, to keep me company.  ;)

Well, I must go do laundry now.  Bigger and better things await.  Love to all!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Tuesday

We actually had to wake up (fairly) early this morning and get moving.  I made appointments for Graham and Drew to get haircuts and we had to be there by ten (it's thirty minutes away).

It's so funny to me that Drew loves this day.  We go to Gould's Academy and they get the royal treatment there, for a grand total of twelve dollars.  At one point today, Graham said that five girls were running their hands through his hair, telling him how much they loved it.

:)

I never got a picture of Graham, but I did get one of Drew.


So handsome.  I really like his hair, and the crazy curly mess it is.  Graham's looks great, too, it's quite a bit thinner.  God love him, he inherited his mama's hair.

After this, we booked it back to The Ville and went to our church to meet my friend and co-teacher, Scottie.  She brought three pizzas for lunch, and we killed them~we were all starving!  We talked about who we needed to make contact with in our class and then we worked on the new room we were moved to last Sunday.

And yes, we decorate our Sunday school rooms at the First Baptist church.  It's like it's a competition to see whose room looks the best.  Not really, but seriously...I feel the pressure!  ;)  I'm excited about our room, though, and considering the fact that neither of us have the money to spend on things like this, I think it looks great.  And it was all free!

Anywho.

I am almost done with the book I'm reading, 7, by Jen Hatmaker.  I think you can find it for your electronic reading device for $2.99.  You should buy it!  I might still, even though I'm borrowing my friend's right now.  So many times I have wanted to highlight something she said that stuck out, but then I remembered that it didn't belong to me.   But then again, I won't buy it, because the whole point of this book is cutting down on excess.

Our homeschool curriculum started arriving today!  I'm trying to be more frugal with our money, so I've been buying bits and pieces for a while now.  Graham got his chemistry a while back, but I am more excited about what came in the mail today.


I was flipping through this, and I think that all of the boys are going to love it.  At least, I'll keep telling myself that.

Tomorrow our Spanish will be here!  We ordered from Rosetta Stone this year, and there are five years.  And Jonah and Noah are doing Spanish this year, too, along with Todd and myself.  I can't wait!  Our math should be here any day, and then we will be all set for our year to start.

Another thing that will be here tomorrow is Graham's new laptop.  He's been saving his money, and he finally got around to ordering the laptop he's been wanting this past weekend, while there was no sales tax.  I'm so proud of him, for saving his money and not being in a huge hurry.

On our agenda for tomorrow is church.  And that's about it.  :)  I can't wait!  I love the Bible study class I go to each week, except for last week, when I skipped.  I will not be skipping tomorrow night, though.  I hope your day was great!  Ours was busy, but fun, and I feel like we laughed all day.

Days like that are good for the soul.

Love to all!