Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas Cheer

It's hard to believe Christmas has already come and gone this year. We took the week off from school, enjoyed some indoor down time, and had alot of fun projects to keep us busy. The kids have decorated gingerbread houses, strung popcorn garlands, made glitter snowflakes, decorated cone Christmas trees, and built snowmen of Rice Krispies. Josephine was planning on performing a Christmas Recital for friends, but we ended up coming down with colds and were unable to invite them over. For your listening pleasure and to show her what a proud mama I am of all the hard work she's poured into her piano practice, I'm posting her "recital" on youtube. In addition, there is a piece of cheer from my Favorite Four. Merry Christmas to all, and to all a Good Night!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Express Herself

My little fashionista is at it again. Adela is my child with a style all her own. Although she is concerned with others opinions at times, she likes exploring her own ideas and expressing herself in her own unique way. As long as it is modest, I see no need to reign her in...superhero costume to the store, homemade paper jewelry as gifts, clothes on backwards so pockets are more convenient...okay, maybe I'll draw the line at bedsheets for headgear out in public....but still, what fun it is to see what she comes up with next!

A chilly day at Homeschool Camp

Zoom in to see the decoration of code

A wardrobe malfunction

Not quite sure:-)

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Let the Cold Begin

We've made it to December without too much snow. And frankly, compared to last year, we've made it to December without too much illness. We've been in relatively good health. However, winter is upon us and thus begins the "cold" season.

The temps have dropped and unfortunately so has the wellness factor. We are a household of ick. It seems when little Eben catches something, so do we all. I wonder why??? Click here if you are curious. I'm also sure this doesn't help!!!


When I was nearly 14 years old, my parents sat us kids down at the dining table and made a very important announcement: another child was on the way, making us a family of seven. I was going to be a big sister for the fourth time. I remember feeling SO torn...I loved my siblings and knew I would love this one too, BUT I would be gone from the house by the time this sister started actually making memories. I made it my mission to make a permanent and lasting impression on her heart so that she would know I was her biggest sister and would be there for her and love her always. When Shayla, a.k.a. ShadyLane, arrived I adopted her and quickly became her "second mommy." We were close, we still spite of that mean thing called "distance." We made each other tapes of our voices, talked on the phone, wrote letters and colored pictures. She was even the precious flower girl for my wedding.
Last month, my littlest sis got married. It was a very nostalgic event for me (not that everything in life revolves around me, but after all, this is MY blog;-). My "first" little baby was grown up and getting married!!!! And to make it even more strange, my other little baby girl, Thessaly, was her flower girl!!!
How fast life sweeps us along. How quickly we turn the corner and face the newest challenge or see life repeating itself.
Here are some long awaited and much anticipated pictures of all my "kids."

God has blessed me richly, wouldn't you say?!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

If You Give Your Kid A...

If You Give Your Baby Oatmeal,He'll Need To Take A Bath.

If You Give Your Daughter an Empty Hallway, She Won't Be Able To Resist.

If You Give A Boy A Push-Toy He'll Somehow Make It Into A Car.

If You Give Yourself Over to the Father,Your Cup Will Runneth Over!

Click Here to find out what happens...

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Buried Treasure

Josephine has taken to digging for buried treasure. At first, it was just fun digging a hole at the bottom of the hill. Last week, she actually unearthed something. She found a lead Civil War toy soldier.This of course inspired her to dig even further.Today she unburied a 1936 penny. Not sure if they are worth much, but it sure has been exciting to discover buried treasure. It also leaves us with many projects to research...Civil War, the history of the penny, the age of our property, what to put in a time capsule, and oh, so many more!!!
What buried treasures am I busy looking for today?
What am I trying to search and find?
Proverbs 2 compares the knowledge of the Lord to buried treasure.
"If you seek it like silver, and search for it as hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the Lord, and find the knowledge of God."
Proverbs 8 assures us if we choose instruction and knowledge over silver and pure gold, it's even better than jewels; nothing we desire can be compared to it.
I think it's time for me to take out my shovel and get to digging in that Good Book; I need to find me some buried treasure!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Just Out of Reach

Often I take the kids on walks though our neighborhood in the late afternoons. It's an excellent way to wind down the day, review what we've learned, recap and complete conversations that were started earlier, or just reflect on whatever's on our minds. Our halfway point and highlight of the walk is a small bridge that crosses over Flat Rock Brook. The kids look forward to this point because they love watching the water, spitting and making ripples, finding frogs, but most of all they obsess over a beautiful white rock that lays down below. Each time we cross it glows up at us, looking like a hidden treasure. Each time they rush to look at it, hoping no one has taken it or moved it from it's precious position. Each time they long to unearth this treasure and tote it home.
A few weeks ago, they got their wish. The water was low enough, they could wade across and dig up their "precious." Upon bringing it up from it's home of many years, they discovered the bottom was not as polished, smooth, or special as the top that caught their eyes. They realized it was heavy and weighted them down. They brought it home, cleaned it, and wrapped it in a special place.
Now, we go for walks and there is nothing special waiting for them. They come to the bridge and are quickly ready to go on. They look down and their eyes only see what is missing instead of the special treasures that still rush beneath. Josephine stated what was on all of their minds, "I think the rock was much more special when it was down there where we didn't have it."
This scenario has been haunting my mind. How often do we long for things, thinking "if only I had..." How often do we beg the Father for things that we think will make things perfect. He sees the whole picture. He knows if it will indeed bring happiness or if contentment will be lossed once it is obtained. He knows if our obsession has an ugly underside. May God help us to be content with what we have, be thankful for the beauties that surround us, and trust Him to know what is best.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Mmm, Mmm Math

As a fun addition to our normal Math (no pun intended:-), we decided to get down and sticky with some M&Ms. It was fun for the whole group. We predicted, sorted, counted, graphed, and ate. Sure there were M&Ms spilled here and there, and yes, there were sticky fingers and messy mouths, but Mmmmm, was it fun!
At the end of our group chart, we came down to only 49 M&Ms with the yellows and reds tied for first. We only needed one more to complete our masterpiece. We used the hunt for the missing M&M as a good way to clean up the basement. Two days later, Thessaly found an M&M under the laundry basket. For the rest of the week, she ran around the house singing her own praises, "I'm the hero because I found the M&M!"In case you wondered, the reds won!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Halloween Yet?

Who says costumes are just for Halloween?
Girl Wonder
Wonder Woman
Is that Bob, the Tomato?
A couple of incognito Super Heroes I spotted in a local movie theater.


The theme for the past week seems to be Unravel. While I have been busy with the daily activities of parenting, homeschooling, and rearing four children, my kids have taken it upon themselves to explore/empty/unpack/unravel whatever they can get their hands on. Take for example, my new roll of paper towels....It was unrolled all of the way from the kitchen, ,down the basement stairs and throughout the basement floor to act as a white carpet for two little brides. Then there was the new box of tissues (yes, we have already started emptying these by the week due to runny noses brought on by two weeks of chilly temperatures) was set out one morning and within 10 minutes emptied by a little boy with an endless supply of "yuck". He truly wiped his nose on each of 200 kleenexes! Now we travel upstairs to the bathroom...I won't even bother telling you how an entire roll of toilet paper ended up filling the, we are looking in the bathtub that has mysteriously turned pink. It seems a brand new bottle of my luxurious Bathsoap that smells of perfection each tired morning was squeezed out by middle sized hands to create a bubble bath all by one's self. Moving back downstairs to the schoolroom, we find a roll of yarn for school projects and crafts unravelled around and around the basement toys, desks, chairs, and tables to create a spider web of fun. And last, I end with a glimpse into the living room/dining room where as I type I see dumped and scattered a tub full of crayons creating an obstacle course on the rug and a table cloth made from emptying a package of napkins accented with a bulk sprinkling of salt and pepper.

Yes, my children have active imaginations that create and play with every imaginable item within their grasp. It seems for our next lesson, we should put into practice "waste not, want not."

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Enlighten Us, Thess!

While eating fried chicken, Thessaly announced in her Big Girl Listen-To-Me-Voice, "Be Careful when you are eating the chicken! You don't want to swallow a bone." I was so proud of her for remembering and being cautious. She then looked at me with her big eyes, making a scary face, and continued, "If you eat the bone you turn into a SKELETON!" At least she gets the being cautious part!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Deep Thoughts by Jo

"Mommy, you know what I've been thinking about lately?" When I hear these words from my oldest daughter, I know it's going to be a good one. This week her thoughts are pondering how "saying something can change everything." She explained how if she or someone else says something at any particular moment, it can totally change the events that follow. She says that words can make us feel a certain way we weren't feeling before, make us do something or not do something we were going to do before. They just change everything, and we don't even realize it.

For fun, we googled Bible verses on the power of the tongue. There are so many verses that warn us to guard our tongue, yet we (meaning me in particular) throw words out there without a second thought. Proverbs 18:21 states exactly what Jo was trying to get at, "Death and Life are in the power of the tongue."

With a daughter like her, I'm more and more aware of the "sword thrusts" and "healing" my words can bring (Prov. 12:18).

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Sister-Brother Day!!!

Saturday, we celebrated Sister-Brother Day. What is Sister-Brother Day you may ask? It is a designated and much anticipated day our family chooses to celebrate, appreciate, and enjoy our sisters and brother whom the Lord has brought into our home. A dear friend of ours suggested celebrating siblings several years ago and it has become a treasured ritual around here. The kids buy gifts for each other, pick a fun event they all agree upon, and spend the day being sweet and kind to each other. This year we started out the day with a yummy cinammon roll breakfast around our family table where SO many awesome and heartfelt conversations have occured and are surely to come.

We opened gifts, played games,and then headed over to Chuck E. Cheese.

One of the things I LOVE about this day, is how they do everything together, and believe it or not, there's NO fighting.

It boggles my mind to think how my kids have been raised in the same house by the same parents, yet each one of these precious children is special in their own individual way. Josephine is such a nurturing tenderhearted big sister. Adela is a bundle of energy and fun. Thessaly is a sweetheart who loves attention and going with the flow. Eben is the little brother who adores his big sisters and is adored in return. Here is a video we took that surprisingly captures each one's personality perfectly.

Sister-Brother Day Video

Sure, they all have flaws, but amazingly it carves a closer groove in my heart to love and treasure them all the more. How much more our Father in Heaven looks down with love to us fabulously flawed souls, each with our own individual talents and weaknesses. May we each appreciate and harmonize with our sisters and brothers the Lord has chosen to bless us with along the journey.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

When Mommy's Away

I always find it interesting to take a look at my phone after it has been in the hands of my kids. When they go off and take pictures, I never know what to expect. Here are a couple that gave me a chuckle.

Thessaly's self portrait.

Josephine...a little too happy, and a little too toothless.

Someone catching Thess in the act of playing in the sink. Now we know why the waterbill was so high.

Adela acting out "Happily Ever After" with the dolls (gasp) kissing.

These kids sure do make life interesting!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Falling Short

Going out the front door of my house is a process. It requires a checklist of events in my head to make sure we all get out with our heads still attached.
1. Did everyone go potty?
2. Do we all have shoes on?
3. Why are you bringing that toothbrush?
4. No, you can't take 5 dolls and 10 separate outfits!
5. Hold the door for your sister this time so her ankles don't get caught.
6. Where did Eben put my keys?
7. Who took my cell phone out of my purse?
8. Straight path to the van, we aren't going on a nature hike this time.
9. Lock the door with two hands, because of course it wouldn't cooperate and be easy.
10. Buckle the impossible carseats that require a jigsaw puzzle degree.
This is a regular routine as we exit the premises. In all of the busy-ness, the other day I drove all of the way to the library, unloaded the van (I'll spare you the checklist for this fete), only to discover I left the library bag full of books and our library cards sitting on the front porch. With great frustration, but trying to make light of the situation, I calmly explained to the kids how we had to go back because mommy had made a mistake. We piled back in the van, Eben singing background music of "We gotta get out of this place!", while I commended the girls for their patience in the situation. Adela tilted her head in an understanding and sympathetic manner and consoled me with, "It's okay, Mom! Remember, we all have come short of the glory of God."

Love it!!!

May the Lord have mercy on me, for I come short oh so often.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Check out my BARGAIN!

On occasion, I'm known to pull over the van, hop out, and pick up a great "roadside" bargain....a.k.a. trash. I was raised that often one man's trash is another man's treasure. I remember being mortified as a child when I was told to get out of the van and grab something that my parents saw on the way home, certain that every kid in school was going to see me. Now, I can't help myself; I guess it's in my blood. Josephine pegged it right when she observed yesterday, "Mom, you fuss at us to clean up all day and then you go digging in other people's trash cans for more things!" Okay, honestly, I don't go "digging" in trash cans, but... hey, would you pass up a perfectly good , practically brand new, folding lapdesk? or a box of crystal glasses labeled FREE?

I just have to share this one bargain. It's not a trash can story, but it was a great deal. I was just about to head out across town to pick up some school chairs for $15 each, thinking I was getting a pretty good deal. When lo and behold, I came across a craigslist ad for a school table with 6 chairs all for $15!!! Just 5 minutes away!!! Do you have any idea how much these retail for??? I am certain that we will find Plenty to do with this one!

Yes, it's true... I love me a great deal!!!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Life Cycle on the Fast Track

After our first two weeks of school, we have just completed an ENTIRE life cycle. Although, yes, I may have aged extremely since the start, I'm actually referring to the life cycle of our butterflies. Our little baby caterpillars grew up. They shed their skins, made their chrysalises, and did their thing. Those poor little bugs probably got more attention than any other bug in the world.

They were faithfully fed, watched, and entertained.

Josephine even tamed them to climb on her arm. Our field trip to the Bronx Zoo, let us witness butterflies galore in the Butterfly Garden. Then we took some caterpillars for a spin on the Bug Carousel.We went on a 4-D adventure with Dora and Diego chasing butterflies through the jungle.

And then, alas, our babies were no longer babies and we released them into the big world. It was fun to watch them fly, but oh so hard to see them go.
Now the girls are "empty Netting."I'm thankful the Lord is letting my babies stay with their mama a bit longer than two weeks. Adela wanted to keep at least one, pinning it's wings down to stay forever. As awful as that sounds, in about 11 years, I may be tempted to do the same:-)

Friday, August 20, 2010

Contemplations of a Three Year Old

Thessaly has always been a deep thinker, but lately her musings have taken a spiritual and yet very practical turn. Often on our drive to church services, our little "motor mouth" opens a window into how she thinks. Here are a few gems from the latest drives:
When the angels come to get us, I hope they don't drop me.
Will there be night time in heaven? Will we have to take naps?
Where is Jesus now? How come He doesn't fall through the clouds?

Is Jesus still bleeding? How did He get clean after He died?
Do you think Jesus took showers or baths?

When we go see Jesus will you still live with me?

The precious thoughts of my baby girl help to keep our dear Savior ever present in our daily thoughts and conversations. Keep thinking, Thessy!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Organized Chaos

The goal this month is to organize the chaos. Since our last move, I've been on a mission to no longer be lost in the clutter. I have begun to throw out a good portion of what comes into the house, but the damage is already done. Apparently, unaware, I trained my brood to save, collect, and keep every little thing their tiny hands got a hold of. While going through room after room (which by the way, I have now decided I'd be content living in a one room house), I found stashes and bags that were tucked away and forgotten...not only by my handfull, but also yours truly. What was I thinking...was I really going to use that placemat from the restaurant for schooling purposes?! In the mix of the junk, I did find a few gems that had been missing. I don't know how they got there, how they were forgotten, and now that they are found I know they won't end up with the junk again.

Going back to school this week, I knew I had to be on top of things or it was going to put us all in the nuthouse. We now are organized not only in our clutter, but also in our chores and school schedules. It's amazing how smoothly things run when a plan is in place. A little fore-thought and all is perfect (except for when a certain baby doesn't take a nap, or a precious toddler needs help in the RR, or a well-meaning big sister spills a drink all over the counter, the stack of mail, and the floor). Seriously though, we're trying and it's working...gradually, but surely.
While I'm organizing every little aspect of our lives, I decided to clean out our internal selves as well. Our hearts and souls can always use a good cleaning and organizing. We've been regular in our nightly devotions and prayers, but now we're adding a morning study to the breakfast and an alphabetical Bible verse to the mix. When I take a good look at the "stashes" stowed away in my heart, I see a lot of sorting and organizing that needs to take place. After cleaning out, I've found some precious gems of His that aren't getting pushed aside again.
May our school year stay organized and clean both in our spiritual and secular studies.
It's never too early to start's Eben helping do chores already... setting the table (or should I say setting the booster seat) and Thessaly enjoying the Listening Center.