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Sunday, April 26, 2015

It's birthday week!

It is officially birthday week at our house for a certain little boy. Since we will be on vacation for his real birthday, May 1st, we are having a few little celebrations. So at the last minute I invited my parents, my sister and her fam over on Friday evening to celebrate Holden. We had gotten him a scooter and I wanted him to have a few days to play with it before we left home. We've saved two small gifts to travel with that he will open on Friday when we are in Orange Beach. Holden was ready to tear into his gifts.
 He got some new clothes and a new soccer ball from my parents.
Uncle Dan, Aunt Amy and his cousins surprised him with a new beta fish and the whole set up. They chose a beautiful blue one, which is his favorite color. He has named it Jelly. :) He is so proud of his very own pet. And the brothers love to watch it swim around as well. Abe is regularly saying "see sishy?"
He chose a candy bar cake. Chocolate is his love language. This boy is crazy crazy crazy for anything chocolate!
 He is never too sure about all of the spotlight. The face above is the same one we see when he scores a goal in soccer. So excited for himself, but not really wanting all eyes on him.

I'm looking forward to celebrating this boy a little more on Friday at his happy place. The beach!

Monday, April 13, 2015

Catching up.

It's time for me to catch up over here on the blog. Easter was a fun celebration this year.
 Egg hunt with some cousins.
 Their Easter morning goodies from us...beach towels and candy plus flip flops and sunnies for Abe. Funny thing, we had gotten them sand toys to put in the middle of table for our upcoming beach trip. Then we both completely forgot to set it out. Ooops.
My handsome boys on Easter morning.
 Holden does many hours a week of homework. It's like a prison sentence to him. A prison of homework...that does sound miserable. Truthfully it is. Even for me! I made an effort to change it up a couple of weeks ago by working on it outside. Oh my...that might have slowed us WAY down that particular day. It was beautiful out and every noise and moving thing was a huge distraction. In theory it was a good idea.
 Another day, he set up monkey to watch him work. He is completely attached to that monkey and I hope he is forever and ever. :)
Picnic lunches and silly conversations in the front yard.
Pax took a few weeks of swim lessons and showed some improvement. I'm hoping to work with him more on vacation in a few weeks.
This sweet boy spends hours a day with his nose in books. I think it's the cutest thing. If he is reading and I ask him to do something he attempts to do the task while continuing his book. Which sometimes results in running into walls or just moving more slowly than a turtle. The boy can't get enough reading time! Amen for books! I wish I had the same amount of time to devote to fun reads.
 We had an outdoor sprinkler on the trampoline day. But the little one just wanted to sit and enjoy a popsicle.
This boy has a real fascination with "piderman". I think it started because he was obsessed with our Spiderman book. 
And just a cute picture from after lunch yesterday. He looks happy here but he threw a few fits throughout lunch with some extended family. And once we were in the car headed home, he was asleep within 3 minutes. Sunday lunches can be hard! I'm really not sure why we attempt them each week.
The boys are 3 weeks into soccer. This is the first year with them playing on the same team. Holden scored 3 goals in both the first game and the second games. Holden scores a lot because he is pretty good. But also because he doesn't like to pass the ball. :) I'm hoping it's just an age thing and he will grow out of it. We played soccer as a family yesterday and tried to work on the passing part. But the boy just doesn't want to give up the ball, even if a team member is wide open! :) Pax scored 1 goal in the very first game and won the medal for the character trait of the week, which was being a good listener.

That is a recent catch up on our spring happenings!

Friday, April 10, 2015

On homeschooling and sacrifice...

We are very close to finishing up our second year of homeschooling. This year has been....different than last. That may be the phrase I use after each year. I'm not sure why I thought that since Kinder/Pre-K went so peaceful and smooth that every year after would follow the same...but I sort of did. It's been much more of a challenge for many different reasons. Abe no longer has that morning nap which means afternoon would make the most sense to complete school. But I have a boy that really does not do school work well in the afternoons. He's tired. He becomes cranky. And it's very hard for him to focus, think and work during the afternoons. We've had some stronger personality conflicts this year. I'm not sure if that's the best way to word it, but I'll leave it at that. We enrolled Holden in a class to give us a break from one another. He just goes 2 morning a week. I thought it might be helpful. The break was helpful. The school situation, not so much. And for another slew of reasons I realized this type of class was not the answer for us at this time. He has three more weeks of class. And even though grocery shopping and errand running will be more challenging this summer I am SO ready for this class to be over. And he is too.
So we said that we would take homeschooling one year at a time and evaluate as time goes. With these struggles, some might assume that it's time to throw in the towel and enroll them in a traditional school. Some have even advised me in that direction. But that's not the route we are taking. Honestly I don't know what our year will look like next year. I don't know what curriculum we will use. I don't know what time of the day we will do schoolwork. I don't know if anyone will be enrolled in anything extra...though I plan to look into some PE programs. I don't know if my house will ever get organized and clean again. :) But I know my boys are going to be home for another year. When we ventured into homeschooling I can't claim that God clearly told us to do this. It was not a huge matter of prayer...just as most people don't make it a huge matter of prayer before they enroll their children in traditional school. It's just the next step in our culture and so people move forward. We had just always felt a pull towards homeschooling. Now after two years, I sense this being more than just a preference for us. Especially me. It's my days that are really affected by our decision. What I realized a few months ago, when well meaning friends suggested I quit homeschooling, was that I don't feel released from the job. From the outside looking in it might make sense to quit. It's hard. There is clearly an easier alternative. Take that alternate route! But at this point, God wants us here. God has asked us to be obedient in this. I don't know if it's for my growth and maturity or for my kids any more. But it's more than a pull and preference at this point. It's a step of obedience. And not everyone is going to get it. And not everyone wants to get it. Most seem to have an opinion about homeschooling. Even if they try their hardest not to express that opinion, I can sense it. But I don't answer to everyone else. And ironically, I have no opinion on the direction someone else takes for educating their child. Even if you "unschool". I don't care. Have fun with it. For God's glory, play all day. :) In my favorite devotional of all time (Ann Voskamp's One Thousand Gifts Devotional) I read a couple of months ago "A sacrifice of thanks lays down our perspective and raises hands in praise anyways - always. A sacrifice is, by definition, not an easy thing - but it is a sacred thing." Homeschooling is a sacrifice. It's one of my sacrifices. God uses different people, in different ways, touching different lives for His good purposes. Currently, my main place is home. A new friend reminded me of this scripture about a month ago.
Keep your eyes straight ahead; ignore all sideshow distractions.
Watch your step, and the road will stretch out smooth before you.
Look neither right nor left; leave evil in the dust. Proverbs 4:26-27
I feel like in the world of homeschooling it is tempting to look around and compare your child to those in traditional school...and either feel prideful of where your child stands. Or to feel anxious if they are "behind". Pride and anxiety. Both sins of the heart. So this girl full of wisdom reminded me, "don't look to the right or the left". A lot of pressure is removed when we walk in the steps God has directed us in and leave the outcome to Him. So yes, we are few weeks off from enjoying our summer. At the end of the month we will be taking off for a family beach trip and kicking off our summer early...homeschool style.