Sunday, September 21, 2008

Our First 9 weeks In Public School

Friday was the last day of Graycen's first track in the public school system. She was met in carpool line with a homemade banner and a truck full of balloons.

Granted, she attends a charter school which is run a lot differently than a traditional public school, but here is my review, none-the-less.

From Graycen's mouth, " I love it a lot--almost as much as being at home with you." What can I say about that? My girl loves me and wouldn't, purposely, hurt my feelings for anything. I know that she loves school. I can tell by the way she talks (and talks, and talks, and talks) about it. She *loves* her teachers--all of them. Her math teacher was jogging through town with her dog the other day and Graycen spotted her through the car window. She rolled down the window to scream hello to her. After her teacher screamed hello back, Graycen rolled up the window and said, "That's funny. Mrs. ______ didn't tell me that she had a dog." It cracked me up, because she thinks of them like they are her buddies.

She also *loves* learning. Her school delivers all of that week's papers, tests, etc. to the parents via the "Friday folder". Graycen stands by my chair with her folder each week, just waiting for the opportunity to go through it with me and see her test grades. When I read them to her, she goes NUTS-O!! She jumps up and down screaming and wants to call Nathan right away. It is so funny! She loves getting good grades and when she has been given bonus points on a test, LOOK OUT!

Now for MY notes on the past 9 weeks:

Growth. That would be my one word summation of the last 9 weeks. Graycen's public academic career started off a a little rocky as she had a playground...altercation...on day seven. I thought at that moment of putting away her backpack, reselling her uniforms, and bringing her back home. However, we didn't. We spoke with her, spoke with her teacher, and spoke with her principle at length. Nathan and I decided to use it as a teaching opportunity for Graycen . We, under close observation, allowed her to figure some of it out for herself. I saw a growth in her from that situation which included her deciding that the person who offended her probably just "needed a friend". I was extremely proud of how she handled herself.

Academically, Graycen has been challenged more than I could have offered her at this time. That is just my being honest here. I still believe that homeschool is the best IF (and that is a bolded IF) you can do it. I hope that the Lord has it in His plans for my children and I again in the future. Right now, this is what my girl Graycen needs. She is learning and loving it. She is social and making friends. Much like I enjoy watching her face during a fireworks display as she is amazed with each and every burst, it has been a thrill to see her experience so many "firsts" over the past few months. She has had her first-first day of school, her first presentation in front of the class, her first field trip, her first standardized test (I realize that this shouldn't have been her first, but...). The list could go on and on.

Graycen is not ashamed of the Gospel and I have been told (by a regular "lunch parent") that Graycen's lunch table is often the site of a major theological discussions, hehehehe. She prays for one little girl in particular every night and I am sure will do everything she can to get this little girl to church with us one Sunday night :o) This part has been God's little lesson to me about getting outside of my comfort zone.

We are pleased with how this is going, so far, and are looking forward to having her home for the next few weeks until track 2 begins (I am now a BIG fan of year-round school calendars-BTW). As much as she loves her days at school, I will never grow weary of driving up to the carpool line each day and seeing her when she spots our truck. I kid you not that her expression of excitement about seeing us hasn't changed since the first day of school. She ALWAYS lights up in a big smile and waves, sometimes even jumping up and down. She bounces into the car and begins to download every bit of info from her day at a rapid pace. Her youngest sister, Annagail, always gets a hug as Graycen passes her in her car seat and Graycen always holds both Annagail and Ella's hands on the ride home. She still enjoys being the "oldest" sister (not the biggest as MaryEvelyn likes to point out) and I enjoy watching her enjoy that.

It hasn't been a walk in the park getting used to living on someone else's timeline and I would be a liar if I told you that many mornings I *wished* that I could have her sitting around my table instead of dropping her off in the carpool line. However, I am almost daily affirmed by her growth and her excitement about attending school.

SO, I am off to enjoy three weeks of having my oldest "baby" home with me. We have plans to have no plans and to play and play and play some more. Now that I am unplugged during the day--I almost got through the post without mentioning it--she is about to experience a whole new level of peace her during the week. Hopefully, it won't be another first (heehee), but will at the least be a nice break for her to rest and rejuvenate in during her school break.

Happy Track-Out!!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

I may have to change my blog title!

Really. I used to think I was so busy, but I am finding that I just wasn't prioritizing correctly. I am sitting here now in a clean house. The laundry is caught up. Dinner is all cleaned up (that used to be Nathan's job!) and I have had a cup of teawith my feet up! The kids went to bed happy and only after we played and played and played some more. They went to bed giggling even!! Isn't that insane?!?!?!?! I actually took pictures of myself sitting with my feet up reading my Bible yesterday at one o'clock. I will post them tomorrow.

I am finding that getting rid of the chaos in my life has opened up so much room in my life for PEACE!!!

Nathan is loving this. It has been great to see him come home from work. You can see it on his face--refuge. It is what I always wanted him to feel, but I was just too busy being...busy.

*By the way, I promise this will be my last "I can't believe how much I love this change!" post. I know. You get it :o) Thanks for hanging in there.

Monday, September 15, 2008


Today was a GREAT day with no distractions. I got things done in the house and I played with my babies. It was fabulous! I am current with my responsibilities here and my children had a completely present, completely focused Mama today.

I knew that I would get so much more done here with the computer off, but what I wasn't prepared for was how much PATIENCE I had available for my children! It was great. Kids will be kids, so of course my children gave me reasons to flip out today. The difference is that I was available to them to train them how what they were doing was wrong. I wasn't rushed and forcing them to behave like children years above where they are.

I really enjoyed myself today! Nathan asked me tonight if I was anxious to get online and, considering that the kids have been down for an hour and a half and I am just signing on, I don't think I did. I started a "Computer to-do list" for things that I think of during the day that I would normally have looked up immediately. I am going to go look up a few of those things and then it is bedtime!

Thank you for all of your encouragement! I am happy that more than 3 people read my blog :o) Hehehehee!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

The Busy Mama-Unplugged.

Don't get your hopes up! There is still no album drop date scheduled for my highly-anticipated, acoustic, bohemian-style versions of your favorite nursery rhymes!! hahahaha... I just feel (yet another) need to be completely honest with all three of you that take the time to read my blog :o)

It IS a new day here for the busy mama. Nathan and I have talked, at length, about some of the issues that I am dealing with. It sounds cliche', but that man knows me like he knows his name. It is a helpful thing to have a husband that is truly your best friend, when you are facing an internal struggle and you are seeking righteous resolution.

Basically, I tend to be a black and white seeing person. I have grace and I have mercy (to a fault probably), but I still look for people to teat me the way I treat them. That isn't always the reality of the situation, is it? At the ripe, old age of 34, I am still struggling with this. Am i the only one?

I have allowed myself to get snared by traps set by principalities who do not have my best interest or my spiritual well-being at heart. I have done this because I have allowed my eyes to be tempted off of MY God-ordained responsibilities and goals; my blessed life as a mother and wife to, arguably, the best family ever :o). Essentially, I have allowed my eyes to be tempted off of God for a short time.

Through the outlet of the Internet, I have been able to stay current and I have been able to communicate instantly with people. when you have a LITERAL house full of kids, however, being current and having access to instant communication aren't always the best tools to have in your arsenal. For me (and speaking only for me), I am distracted by it. I am often (maybe daily) annoyed by it. It has effectively taken up too much of my time and far, far too much of my energy. There is no scandalous affair to report, don't read THAT into this, for goodness sake!!! I have just gotten too used to having a "whole world" at my fingertips that has nothing at all to do with diapers, grocery lists, or flashcards. I have spent this weekend completely focused on my family and it I feel renewed in those efforts. We have gotten a lot accomplished in a little bit of time and it has reminded of just how well the Lord has equipped me for this role. This weekend has started me on the path to being refocused.

The next step is that I am going offline during the day. The computer will be off until after 7:30 pm (bedtime), Monday through Friday. I will have time at night to check in on my sweet friends' blogs and take care of emails. I still need this beast for the convenience of locating necessary materials for homeschooling, Graycen's homework, menu planning, etc. I just need to get my focus BACK onto my family and off of myself for a while. Self-centerdness is a corrosive disease, much like rust, that will eventually breakdown even the core components of the body it leeches itself to. It is contagious and it is destructive. It has no place in the heart of a mother.

This un-plugged time is exactly what I need and I am, so honestly, looking forward to it.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

com·pe·ti·tion –noun
1. the act of competing; rivalry for supremacy

leads to

ag·gra·va·tion - noun
1. an increase in intensity, seriousness, or severity; act of making worse

and is

waste·ful –adjective
3. devastating or destructive

These are three words that should be PASTED (as in GLUED PERMANENTLY) unto the fridge (or foreheads) of a lot of women.

I am sure that until the day I die, I will carry this question with me. Why the competition? Why do most women feel the need to size themselves up by other women in completely different circumstances?

I just don't get it. There are so many fabulous friendships, fellowship, and ministering that could go on if MOST women would just stop the competition. It is sad to the point of being tragic if you think about it.

If you find yourself doing this, I have to ask you exactly WHAT it is that you need to be superior over before you can finally just STOP?

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

This HAS to be good sign, right?

My children laugh in their sleep. I kid you not.

Nathan told me the other night that Annagail (our 18 month old) was full on belly-laughing while sound asleep last night. It was one of those things that is so funny, the teller of the story can't keep from laughing long enough to get the story out.

Tonight, Nathan and I were watching TV and I hear laughter coming form my son's room. We tiptoe in to find him laughing hysterically in his sleep. He is laughing so hard, that he is slapping the bed! It was all we could do not to join in. I have never seen that before, but I figure it has to be a good sign that he is having a good childhood--at least in his dreams, right?

Monday, September 8, 2008

Judgment With Mercy

This morning, I had a confrontation with one of my daughters. It wasn't anything dramatic, but it was a recurring problem that we have had with this particular daughter. She lied. As most adults (hopefully) know by now, telling a lie means that you have to KEEP telling lies in order to facilitate the original lie. Like I said, this isn't our first time around this bend with this particular daughter. Honesty and truth, I imagine, are like any other boundary that children stumble upon and feel the urge to test the limits of. So, that is what I assume we are going through.

In trying to convince my daughter to tell me the truth this morning, I explained that she was breaking fellowship with me by lying to me. I explained that the Lord knew the truth and that nothing went on under the sun without His knowledge. She sat stone-faced, declaring her innocence. Although she is testing the limits of trust and honesty, the Lord did not bless her with a good poker face. Finally, I explained that I WOULD eventually find out what she has done and that with each additional lie, her consequences were rising. It was then that she confessed.

As I spoke with Nathan about the consequences she needed, we agreed that the consequences needed to demonstrate to her, if even in a very small way, what it felt like to have broken fellowship and the disappointment and pain that comes with it. We decided that it was time for her to lose a webkin; not for a day or a week, but forever.

I sat her down and explained all of this to her. She had a very sad look on her face, but went and picked out one of her three webkinz to give up; her lil' pig, "Oinky". I don't think she realized what "forever" meant until I took her to the computer to remove the webkinz pet from her account. Then she became hysterical. She wasn't throwing a fit, but she had quite obviously realized that she would no longer have this pet EVER. She sat next to me at the kitchen table crying. Then something very, very special happened.

As she sat there crying and asking me over and over for another chance, my three year old daughter quietly snuck into the kitchen behind me, reached up to the table when she thought I wasn't looking, and replaced "Oinky" with her own lil' pig webkinz. I sat there speechless with HUGE tears welling up in my eyes. My 3 yr old, in love for her sister and in an overwhelming desire to end the pain that her sister was feeling, was willing to give up her stuffed animal. At that point, I was frozen and didn't know what to do. Should I continue in the consequences for one daughter's sin or should I reward the compassionate and sacrificial heart of my 3 yr old?

I sat and thought about it for a little while and I realized that I can probably come up with COUNTLESS ways to teach my one child about the dangers of lying. On the contrary, there are not ENOUGH compassionate people in the world. I was given a true glimpse of fruits of the spirit growing in the heart of my 3 yr old and I don't think that I can pass up the opportunity to feed and water those!

Needless to say, "Oinky" has now taken semi-permanent residence on my computer desk and is awaiting his fate when Nathan comes home. I think that there are times in parenting when flexibility is as important as consistency. That may sound like a contradiction of terms, but just like we will be judged harshly by our Heavenly Father, we will also receive mercy beyond any that we will ever deserve. Praise the Lord for Grace, right?

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Photohunt: Strings

My interpretation of this week's topic is

This is my oldest with her "Papa". I just LOVE this image of him holding her. You wouldn't know that she was 7 yrs old by the way she is curled up in his arms.

Since the day she was born, Graycen's heart has been tied to her Papa's in a very special way.

I love everything about this image. My two favorite things are the look on her face as she squeezes him and the juxtaposition of the sketch of my husband's face (as a child)
over her shoulder.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Happy Anniversary to US!!

We got a wonderful anniversary gift this afternoon.

NATHAN GOT A GREAT JOB OFFER!! He heard from the company he interviewed with earlier in the week. The offer was better than we hoped for. They are perfectly happy with him being a student.

We were happy about getting out alone for dinner tonight, but after hearing the news about the job, not even the RAIN from the tropical storm could dampen our joy!

Here we re under our um-ber-ella-ella-ella-yeah-yeah-yeah!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Happy 10th Anniversary Nathan!

I didn't know that I could possibly love you more than I did on September 5, 1998. Little did I know that the Lord would intercede. Now ten real years later, I am again wondering how I could ever love you more than I do RIGHT NOW. You are, truly, my best friend and I am humbled by the Lord's blessing on me through you. There has not always been ease in our lives, but there has ALWAYS been love.

Our first ten years, created this beautiful family we have. In the next ten years, I will see you walk across the stage and accept your degrees. I will see a ministry born into your heart that I know the Lord is preparing for you now. I am so excited about all that the Lord has in store for us! In ten years, we will think back to THIS day and will be amazed at how much our love has continued to grow and at how much the Lord has continued to bless us.

I love you!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

A few quick updates:

Nathan is still sending out resumes and applying all over. The 2nd interview he had went very well and we should her something any day now. Until then, we are leaning on the everlasting light. We still aren't shaken. Our children are oblivious to the fact that Nathan is without work and that is just as it should be.

Graycen, our 7 yr old missionary, is steadfast on her mission. The little girl at her table is being prayed for, by name, each and every night. Graycen does not mince words. She is asking the Lord to move in this little girl's heart and to bring her to Him. She is faithfully taking her Bible each day and reading to her whenever she can. I cannot TELL you how proud I am of this little girl. Pray for her, would ya? I know that there are greater, more eloquent evangelists out there, but I am not about to discount God's ability to use my sweet daughter MIGHTILY in the life of this little girl and her family.

The rest of us are just floating along fine. I am seizing every opportunity I can to get some extra work done here in the times Nathan is here. All good things goin' on here :o). I will keep you posted!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

As I type this (Tuesday,10:38 am), Nathan is entering a job interview. It is his second interview with this company and the job sounds very promising. As always, we want God's will to be done regardless of how WE feel about it.

Would you join me in lifting him up right now? I am praying that he will shine above the other applicants and that they will see that he is not only a very hard worker, but someone with a strong work ethic, a level of loyalty and honesty that exceeds most, and that he is very skilled in his field.

Dear Father,
I love you. I offer you praise today because you have sustained us; not only in ways of physical provision, but more-so in ways of faith. We are not shaken by this detour in our lives. We are confident that your holy hand is on us and is guiding us. Please keep your precious hand on us. Especially now Lord, I ask that you have your hand on Nathan. Strengthen his spirit to show his confidence. Strengthen his mind to display his wisdom. We want what you want in us and with us Lord. We don't want any more than that.
Thank you for loving us and for sending your son, Jesus, to die for our sins. Thank you for raising him three days later, so that he could sit with you and intercede right now on my behalf. I love you!~Amen