Monday, August 1, 2011

First Day of School: The Reality of Homeschooling

"First day of school! First day of school!" I can't think of the first day of school without thinking of Finding Nemo. Cole went through a phase when he was 2 that he begged for that movie everyday. The first scene scared him so we always started it with Nemo singing, "First day of school!" But I obviously digress.

We started back at The Huddleston Academy, or whatever we are calling it this year, today. It was a good first day all-in-all though definitely trying at times. Getting back into a routine is always easier on paper than in reality.

As we were finishing up this afternoon and I was checking things off that we did, I began wondering what school really looks like at the homes of other homeschoolers. Before I actually began homeschooling, the picture in mind was way off. I had this picture of me reading stacks of wonderful books, the boys engaged asking challenging questions, and begging for more. Of course, this was going in a clean home with the boys helping me cook in the kitchen. I know I'm a dreamer.

In reality, we do have stacks of wonderful books, but I have one child who begs for more, another who declares "he hates school" at least once a week, and a little one who wants nothing to do with any of it unless it's time for his "wetters" (aka ABCs). There are sometimes tears (occasionally by me). Some days we get everything on our list done, but more often than not, something gets left out. The house is sometimes clean, the laundry basket is rarely empty, and some days we order take-out for dinner.

While it's not the ideal dream that I had in mind years ago, there are those beautiful moments that I would never trade. I remember the week reading clicked with Cole. It had been such a struggle for both of us and, then, he got it. I still remember him reading a book to me that week and hugging me so tight afterward. Or watching all three of them re-enact together one of our literature books. Then, this morning, Jason reviewed what parts of the Old Testament they studied last year. I was amazed at what Cole and Connor have retained and love hearing their versions that are in light of their unquestioning faith. In truth, homeschooling isn't easy but has been a huge blessing in our lives in many ways. I am so thankful that God led us to this path for our family.

Oh and one last thing from today, Cole informed me when we started math that he completely forgot how to subtract and he just wants to add this year. It was only an 8-week break and math has been his strongest subject. This is one of the many excuses I will hear this week. ;)

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

My Baby is Four Today

I'm having major issues today with my baby being four. It just can't be. I am in denial. Seriously, it seems like only months ago I was sitting in the hospital waiting room telling them, "No, thank you, I'll stay and wait for a bed to open up. I've been in labor for well over a week now and I do not want to go home until this baby is born." And he's kept us on our toes ever since.

I asked Caleb what is it like being four and he replied, "I'm REALLY a big boy now." He's so excited about four and has been telling people all day.

He got to have a fun, family party on Saturday with some of his cousins, aunts, uncles, and grandparents. Today, we went to play at Chuck E. Cheese (or Chucky Cheeze-its as it's called by our boys for some reason) and then to dinner at the Cheesecake Factory. It's been a big day for a brand new four-year old.

He are some pics of our "REALLY big" birthday boy from Saturday and today,

Monday, February 14, 2011

Our Little Valentine is 5

Connor turned five years old today. I truly cannot believe our little Valentine is that old. He is still the sweetest boy I know (yes, I have two other boys, but Connor is just plain sweet and the other two can be known for something else ;0) ). These days he is into reading more than anything else. He reads everything and if he can't, he starts asking me what it says but I am only allowed to read the "really big words" and he'll get the rest. His favorite foods are a surprise to almost everyone. He loves broccoli, spinach, salad, and just about all the veggies mommy makes. Of course, cheese still tops the list though. Don't get me wrong, he loves a cupcake or piece of candy, but only one a day for him. The dentist told him once to limit sugary things to one a day and our little rule-follower gets very concerned on days like today (which happen to be Valentine's Day AND his birthday) where multiple sweets were offered to him. That's our Connor James.

I told him I wanted to take some photos are our new 5 year old today and I thought I'd share a few.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Mommy Exercise Plan

I've been wanting to shed a few pounds and get into better shape for awhile now, but just have not stuck with anything really. We've been eating healthier (I know "healthy" is a highly subjective word these days, but we are trying to eat more whole foods, traditional foods, and not processed or refined foods), but my weight has pretty much remained the same. Some friends told me about the site, My Fitness Pal. This is a great, FREE resource for helping keep track of calories, exercises, weight, etc. Also, you can add friends on there which is an awesome accountability tool.

So, I know my biggest problem is twofold- sweets and lack of exercise. Keeping track of everything I eat really helps cut down on the sugar, but I still needed to exercise. Well moms, apparently all you have to do is let your children know you want to exercise everyday and they will get your hiney in gear.

Here's what my "Mommy Exercise Plan" has consisted of this week,
  • Seeing who can do the most jumping jacks in a minute
  • Letting the boys trade off who sits on my feet while I do sit-ups and "bonk" them on the head
  • Chasing the boys around the park, house, or pretty much anywhere
  • Taking the boys and dog (having a 70lb dog pull you along is whole 'nother kind of workout) for a walk
  • Them laughing at me and urging me to do one more "game" on Wii Fit
  • Seeing which boy I can lift higher with arms and then with legs (the obviously answer is Caleb since he's almost 20 lbs lighter than the other two)
  • Letting Cole lead me in stretching (I wish I had videotaped this)
I don't need a gym membership. I've got three little "trainers" running around me daily.

Monday, January 24, 2011

The Bible Alone is Enough

As I continue on this exciting journey of reading through the Bible in 90 days, I have realized one thing that I think is helping me is that I'm reading the Bible on it's own. I'm not reading any commentaries, not using a Study Bible with notes, or stopping to looks things up online. I'm a researcher by nature and rarely ever read the Bible from something other than a Study Bible and often consult other sources while I'm studying. I'm not knocking these study helps in anyway. I love them. They are incredible resources.

The other way I might study the Bible is through a Bible study written by someone like Beth Moore, Priscilla Shirer, and so on. Again, I LOVE these. They are wonderful authors who teach us about God's word and how to apply it to our lives.

This time I'm reading the Bible through on it's own. Simply God's Word with no other commentators, no interjections, and no one else's thoughts. It's AMAZING! I am so thankful for these other study ways I've mentioned and know I will continue to use them, but for right now I feel like I'm falling in love with the Bible all over again. I have no idea if that makes sense. I am reading from a Bible with no study notes and no distractions (as they can be to someone like me at times). The Bible alone is enough. I thank God for all these authors who study and write about Him, but oh how the beauty of His Word stands alone. Honestly, each day as I simply read the Bible, which is not simple at all, I think maybe this is one of the reasons the Holy Spirit prompted me to do this. I need this! I need Him!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Leviticus, Numbers, & Deuteronomy...

I know I've been quiet this past week. I struggled a bit to get through by Bible reading last week and therefore kept myself away from the computer in order to finish. My struggling was not from a lack of desire to complete it, but over the last 8 days, I read through Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. Those are tough books to get through.

Still, I think God can teach us much through these books. For one, you cannot read these and not realize what a truly, HOLY God He is. The line from that song What Do I Know of Holy that posted a couple of weeks ago that says "I think I made You too small, I never feared You at all" kept running through my head as I read about the sacrifices and unclean/clean rules. I am so unbelievably grateful to live on this side of Jesus, but I wonder how often do I approach Him with a lack of reverance for His holiness?

Secondly, I think reading through these books in the Bible has to increase one's faith. I keep thinking of Isaiah 55:9, "For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts." I cannot wrap my brain around so much of what I've read these past few days, but I know that God doesn't think the way we think. That thought used to only bother me. I don't know why other than I'm the type of person who likes to figure everything out. Then, I realized at some point that if I could figure God out, He wouldn't be God. Now I'm am comforted by the fact that God works differently than us. And it only presses me on to learn as much as I can about Him from His word.

Lastly, I will readily admit that I feel somewhat victorious getting through these books of the law. Every time I've started reading through the entire Bible, I either get distracted, burnt out, give up when I tried to get through these books, or if I'm being completely forthright skip much of this information. I feel immature admitting that I've completely skimmed or jumped right over Leviticus and Numbers in past efforts. This time I committed to reading through every word of the Bible attentively and this time is different because I can only do it through God's grace, wisdom, and strength.

I am now looking forward to delving into the book of Joshua and seeing what God will reveal to me this week.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

My Time is His, Because it's ALL About Him

As I re-read through some of my posts recently, I am seeing a lot of "I" statements as I've been sharing about things God is laying on my heart or working in me. I have to apologize, because it has nothing to do with me. I never intended for it to sound that way, but it's easy sometimes to say "I" am doing this or "I" have changed that. The last post I wrote has a line that says something like "I have been more purposeful with my time." It should read more like this, "Only through God's abundant, undeserving grace and His Spirit's conviction have I realized and finally succumbed to the fact that I must be more purposeful with the time He has given me in order to truly seek Him."

See my motto in life for as long as I can remember has been "Less of Me. More of Him.", yet my hours, for way too long, have been filled up with "me" things. I was desperately praying for God to show Himself to me and asking Him to ignite a fresh passion in me, but I was not giving Him any of my time.

In our culture, it is ingrained in us that our time is ours, that time is money, that there isn't enough time, but in reality time is His. In Matthew 6, after Jesus has addressed every need and worry we might have in this life, verse 33 says, "Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and He will give you everything you need." (NLT) How else can seek Him "above ALL else" if you we don't fully give Him our time?

I love the way The Message puts the same verse, "
Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don't worry about missing out. You'll find all your everyday human concerns will be met." I feel like Jesus is saying "Relax. Don't worry. Just fill your life with Me and everything else will be taken care of."

I, for one, have too often been doing life the exact opposite way. I would worry, try to take care of everything, and then fit Jesus into the schedule somewhere. It's not that He hasn't been a part of my life, because I cannot remember a time in my life when He wasn't in it. It's that I was not allowing Him to truly be the center of my life. I am now working on this very thing and He is already showing me amazing things. I do not deserve any of it, but I am deeply grateful that He is a God who never lets go and does not give up on His children.

Humbly, I've leave you with this. It's not about me. It's not about you. It's ALL about Him!