Thursday, December 29, 2011

A first and a second

This Christmas was very bittersweet.  It was our first Christmas with Miss Amelia and our second one without Eli.  This one seemed a little more difficult than last Christmas for some reason.  It seemed we were all fighting a cold so I am sure that contributed to my state of mind.  Amelia really didn't get the whole Christmas concept this year.  She had fun rolling around in the paper torn from every one's gifts.  She was more than a little snotty and not feeling too well. She has since really enjoyed playing with all of her loot though and her mommy has enjoyed playing dress up with all of her new clothes. Jay, Cooper and Lucie Rose all really enjoyed themselves and were all sad to see Christmas day come to an end. 
I guess the worst for me was early Christmas morning after Santa left.  Jamie and I were making sure everything was ready for the kiddos and I was taking some last minute pictures.  My eyes wandered to where all of the stockings were hung.  Instead of five stockings hanging as usual, there was just one...Eli's.  It hit me like a ton of bricks.  I felt like we had left him out and that hurt. I wanted to run and take that one stocking down.  I wanted to fill it up just like his brother's and sister's stockings.  I hate that there is nothing I can do for him.  I HATE it.  It was 2:00 or 2:30 when we went to bed and I had to have a good cry.  It had been a while since I've had one of those.  It is almost as if that set the tone for the rest of the day.  I was really hoping the hustle and bustle of the day would take my mind away from all of those sad thoughts.  I am so blessed to have four children here with me to lessen the sting of missing him, but sometimes it really does get the best of me. I can't predict when it will hit and what will trigger it.  Who new that that one little stocking would send me into a tail spin? It was just the sight of it hanging there all alone.  I couldn't stand it and eventually had to empty the other stockings and hang them back up. 
Sorry for the vent, I just needed to write it out and get it off of my chest.

Here are a few pictures from our Christmas morning.

Yes his hair is a hot mess! 

Yep, Papa and Nitney got them a hunting rifle. 

Look who's starting to crawl! 

Much love,

Friday, December 16, 2011

Shoutin' From the Mountain Top

I made a huge mistake before I went to bed last night.  I read comments people were making about the Duggar's decision to share pictures of their precious baby girl Jubilee.  I went to bed angry and hurt by some of those words. Truth be told, I'm still a little angry this morning.  Have people gotten so far lost that they could be so hurtful?  I'll admit, I am not a huge Duggar fan.  I used to love to watch their show and was just fascinated by them, until I read their first book.  What I do not do, is harbor any ill will towards those people.  They do not do things the way I would but I do not have to live their life.  I have to live mine.  What I do think is that God has given these people a unique opportunity to share Him.  He has equipped them with what He feels they need to be witnesses for Him.  By the same token, He has taken care of and provided for that family because they have been obedient to His call.
Yesterday, this family said a final goodbye to the baby that God gave them but for a brief time.  As part of their celebration of life, they shared some very precious and tasteful pictures of a precious life.  Now...they are being ridiculed and criticized for even having these pictures taken.  As I read these mean and hurtful comments, I wondered who said the same about the pictures we hold near and dear of Eli. Even if those thoughts were not shared with us, how many thought them?  Honestly, I couldn't imagine not having those pictures today.
It is so hard to understand just how much those pictures mean to a bereaved parent unless you have firsthand experience.  For Jay, Cooper, Lucie Rose and even Amelia, I have boxes and files upon files of pictures of them.  I have memories of daily occurrences.  For Eli, I have one shelf of things in my closet and one file of pictures.  I have so little to remember of him and Michelle Duggar has even less of Jubilee. 
I think back to the day Eli was born and the little bit of time we shared with him.  I can sum my memories up in so few words.  Some of the most vivid memories are the most devastating.  I remember when Dr. K told me he had to put me to sleep for an emergency c-section.  My first response was a very emphatic NO! I was digging my heals in and very much prepared to refuse to sign any paperwork for that.  I knew I would miss his arrival and would be groggy due to anesthesia and that just was not an option for me.  Really, the only way I even relented and agreed to this is because I was promised that pictures would be taken so I could somehow still be a part of his arrival.  Those pictures never got taken and to this day that is one huge regret I have.  I have one picture of my son alive.  One...and all that you can see in that one picture are his legs and arms from a pretty far distance.  It was taken through the nursery window and a crack in the blinds that some special, wonderful nurse so thoughtfully "forgot" to fix.  He is surrounded by doctors and nurses.  That is it.  Just that one picture.  No lifetime of photographs.  Not a day, week, month, year or 10 years of pictures.  Just this one.

So I have pictures of my baby boy after he died.  They are more precious to me than any silver or gold or anything I could have. My photographer, sweet Lisa...I can not imagine how nervous and out of her comfort zone she was that day.  This was her first time ever photographing an infant and it's family in this situation.  You would have never known that though.  She was a pro.  I have made a precious, wonderful new friend because of her kindness and compassion and well... because she is just an all around terrific person.

I am so glad for the Duggars that they have those pictures of sweet baby Jubilee to help remember her by.  This is such a tragic and heartbreaking...gut wrenching time for this family.  Thank God there was someone to give them the gift of beautiful pictures.  I can not say enough good things about all of the  photographers who volunteer their time to Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep.  These are some wonderfully, special people.

I am so heartbroken for this family that they are walking this very difficult and lonely path.  I am doubly heartbroken that hurtfulness, mean spiritedness, and ignorance will undoubtedly cause more pain to a family that needs peace and love to help them navigate through the valley of death.

Sending peace, love, and many prayers to this family in their time of grief.

Much love,

Monday, December 12, 2011

Why we do what we do?

I do not go to his grave for him.  I do not decorated it for him.  There is nothing I can do for him.  It is all taken care of for me.  He rests comfortably in the arms of Jesus.  I do it for me and for Jamie and for his brothers and sisters.  I do it for me because I need to.  I needed him to need me and aside from sustaining his little body for 32 weeks, he didn't really need me.  I need to honor him and show him the ways I love him.  I suspect the motivation is similar for Jamie, although, I can  not truly answer for him.  I do it to keep his memory alive for his brothers and show them that no matter where they are I will always remember and love and care for show them that you may leave my home but you will NEVER leave my heart or mind.  I do it because there were things I wanted him to have but was never allowed to provide.  I do it because without something there, it is the coldest place on earth and I want it to be warm.  I want him to be warm and I am afraid he is not. I know that is irrational, really I do...

I simply do it because it is just what you do when you have a child there...Well not really there, because he is not there.  I know that.  We went this weekend and put out his little blue tree.  We bought a new ornament to go on his tree and when we got it out to put it on...It was broken.  Really???? It was in about three pieces. Really???? I wrapped it up in tissue paper thought it would be safe.  Not sure right now if I am just going to try and fix that one or go and get a knew one.  Anyway, I just wanted to share some pictures of his decorations.

Much love,

Friday, December 9, 2011

Feeling Snow Flakey!!!

I've jumped on the Pinterest bandwagon and really love it.  There are so many great ideas of things I want to try.  I saw this.

So, I decided that when we were having a Pinterest kind of day we would give this project a shot.  Wednesday was that day for us.  We did this.

We really had a great time making snowflakes. When all was said and done, we had a blizzard in our little schoolroom.  A mess for sure! That's alright for messes clean. Although, I am still picking up little pieces of paper off of the floor.

I figured there were lots of lessons to be learned from making snowflakes.  So, we took our entire school day Wednesday and made these lovely little snowflakes.  We talked about shapes.  Triangles mostly...The types of triangles.  There were bible and character lessons to be learned from making them.  My most favorite moment is when Cooper was working on his first snowflake and was getting so frustrated.  He was about ready to throw in the fact he had proclaimed he was done...when Lucie Rose walked up to see his snowflake and said, "Wow, Cooper that is soooo pretty! That is the best snowflake I ever saw." 
Cooper just grinned from ear to ear and kept on working and making more snowflakes.  Along the way, throughout the day, we talked about how each snowflake was unique from the other.  We talked about how God created us all different also.  We listened to music about snowflakes. I intended to write poems but we never got around it.  I spent the rest of the day hanging those little boogers. We learned how to follow directions (something I am not always good at).  With each snowflake we made, we got more and more confident and we got better with the process.  It was fun.  The kiddos got bored long before I did.  I guess that is why I got stuck hanging them. 

We also made Thanksgiving themed table toppers for my mom's restaurant with ideas from Pinterest and I'm such a bad mama that I forgot to take pictures.  We made trivia games for each decoration.  I had to sneak in a little learning someway that last week before Thanksgiving.  Just call me slick!

Getting ready for Christmas around here.  What about you?  Are you all ready or are you just beginning?  I think I am somewhere in the middle of those two.  Yet, I am exhausted as if I should be done with everything.  Everyday had been a coffee day around my house lately.

Much love,

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

What's your pleasure?


Sweet Potato





Me, I'm sweet potato and dressing ALL the way!
I also like sweet tea, water with lemon, and grits.  I want gravy on my biscuits and baby...I love butter.  The real stuff that is, no fake butter for me! I have the southern flare (on my hips) to prove it!

I hope you all enjoy your delicious meals but also take time to be thankful for all of our many blessings!

Count your many blessings
Name them one by one
Count your many blessings
See what God hath done!
(from one of my favorite songs)

Happy Thanksgiving to ALL!

Much love,

Saturday, November 12, 2011


Sometimes is just seems that when I pray, my prayers are bouncing off of a brick wall.  I feel like I beg God for something and beg some more and when I feel like I can not beg anymore, I find it in me to beg a little more.  Then, that prayer does not seem to be heard.  This is where I have been the last two days. 

As I sit here and talk to God, I ask him, "Why haven't you heard my prayers?"  Why are you not answering me, God? It is like when we prayed for Eli to be healed.  I begged God for healing.  I pleaded with him...

He answered me then with the sure knowledge that my prayers were not part of  His plan.  I did not want to hear it though.  That meant I would have to give up my son.  How could God ask that of me?  How could I do that?  But that was taken out of my hands and now...well you know the now...

Tonight, as I talk to God this verse keeps coming to mind.
1 Kings 19:11-13
11And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the LORD. And, behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the LORD; but the LORD was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the LORD was not in the earthquake:
12And after the earthquake a fire; but the LORD was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.
13And it was so, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle, and went out, and stood in the entering in of the cave. And, behold, there came a voice unto him, and said, What doest thou here, Elijah?

Actually not this entire passage until I went and looked it up.  Just the small still voice part.  The small still voice is whispering to me that He has a plan and now is just not the time for my request.  That is not what I want to hear.  I guess my humanness and impatience is showing here.  I want God to say is the time and your prayers are being answered just as you asked for them.  I know that is selfish...I know it is.  But God, I do not have the privilege of seeing the BIG picture and I do not know Your plans.  Only You have that knowledge.  In this instance, it hurts to have to sit back and wait.  I do not even bear the brunt of the hurt here...others do and I just hurt for them.  Hurt badly for them. 
I need peace...peace that only can come from God...
John 14:27
Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid
I'm not the only one that needs this peace.  Please pray that God would just shower this down! 

Much love,

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Chasing Time

Or perhaps time is chasing me.  After Eli died, so many who have walked this road told me the only thing that would take away the sting of death of a child was time.  Time dulls the pain.  Time...

When I was fourteen, my sixteen year old brother drowned.  Our church youth group had gone canoeing.  My brother, two other friends, and I all got ahead of the adults and stopped to wait on them to catch up.  While waiting we played in the water.  It was deep and my brother got in trouble and was not able to swim to safety.  Despite the best efforts of a passerby to save him, he died.  He drowned right there in front of my very eyes.  It all happened so quickly.  It has been twenty-three years since that day and some parts of that day are so vivid in my mind that I feel like I could reach out and touch them.  After the immediate panic of what was happening, I turned to grab a life jacket and throw it to him.  I turned back just in time to see him slip under the water for the last time.  I stood there in utter shock holding that stupid life jacket that I never got to throw.  Why didn't I think to grab it earlier?  That thought has haunted me for twenty-three years.  It does not haunt me as bad today as it did then.  That moment...that moment is as clear as if it just occurred.  I remember so distinctly what happened when I got home and fell into my daddy's arms, apologizing profusely.  My daddy got my attention and looked me in the eye.  He told me to stop right then and not to ever say that again.  He told me that there was nothing I could have done.  I didn't feel that way for a very long time. 
Time has certainly dulled the pain of that day.  It has not erased my memory of it, just dulled it. 

While time has dulled the pain of that day, it has also tarnished my memories of Ray Wilkes.  I hate that about time.  I had fourteen years of memories and the ones I remember the most are of that awful day twenty-three years ago. 

The only memories I have of my baby boy are of while he was in my belly, the few minutes I had before he slipped from this earth, and the time we spent with his sweet little body after.  Not much time at all...Not near enough time at all.  I never heard his cry or saw his eyes.  I never got to have a conversation with him.  And time seems to be robbing me of what memories I do have.  I can not feel him in my arms anymore.  Unless I take out his blanket and smell it, I have a hard time remembering his scent.  Those things elude me for some reason.  They are just under the surface, I think.  At least I feel like they are, but I can not reach them.  I have dreamt of him a couple of times but as soon as I wake up, those dreams are gone.  Like my memories, they are just beyond my reach.  It frustrates me.  Just as surely as snow melts on a sunny day, memories fade.  Maybe that is why time dulls pain.  Whatever the reason, I certainly wish that time would just take the pain and leave the memories.  I mean the vivid ones...the ones that you can smell and touch.  I try...I try so very hard to hold on to those things.

Chasing time is much like chasing the wind...

Much love,

Monday, October 31, 2011

Planting Seeds

When I taught middle school, one of the classes I taught was a character education class.  It was one of my favorite classes to teach.  We spent quite a lot of time talking about bullying.  Bullying was and is a pet peeve for me.  I hate bullying.  I abhor it.  I have seen peers completely tear down other peers and that cuts me sharper than any knife. 
Character is something that can not be taught in a nine week course.  It just can't but, you can plant seeds.  Seeds will sprout, take root, and grow.  Not only did I teach a nine week course on character education, I took any opportunity to incorporate character education into my regular classroom.  I talked to my students about issues that were real to them.  I listened to them and sometimes interjected my thoughts into these conversations.  I wanted my students to know just how much power their words and actions had among their peers.   My students would tell me things they observed, things they had heard, and even things they themselves had done or said.  I learned so much from these conversations and carry a great deal of that knowledge with me today.  Sometimes those same students would come to me with situations even after they were no longer in my class.  They would tell me things and seek advise when they felt they need adult intervention.  I can not help but think they did this because they knew Mrs. Hill would listen.  I wanted them to know that my door and ears were always open.  Middle school can be some tough years.  Kiddos are really coming into their own during that time and they are trying to find their place among their peers. They are forming their own individual opinions.  It is a very impressionable age.  Sometimes I would get so frustrated and just want to throw my hands up. There were times when I felt like it was impossible to make a difference.  I wanted so badly to make a difference.  I wanted to really teach these children as much as possible.  I loved my job and loved those kiddos. 
I love my job now and love teaching my kiddos.  I now have the opportunity to teach character education 24/7.  I realize that a great deal of the character education I teach now comes from observation...  Observations made by my babies.  They watch the way I handle situations and learn how to deal with their own situations based on my actions.  I am planting seeds constantly.  It is sometimes just exhausting.  I wish that I could say that I handle every situation gracefully, but I do not.  Every second I spend with my sweetlings is an opportunity to teach them good character.  I want them to know and understand that their words and actions affect others.  I want them to know that they and they alone are ultimately responsible for their actions.  Some of these lessons are taught the hard way through trial and error.  Some of these lessons are taught through bible lessons and some are taught through conversation.  Those lessons that I learned while teaching in middle school drive a good many of my objectives for teaching character in my kiddos. 
Yes ma'am and no ma'am, yes sir and no sir, please and thank you, treat others the way you want them to treat you...these are all great starting points.  But, they are just that...starting points. 

Galatians 6:7
Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.

This is the big picture.  You reap what you sow.  If we sow seeds of regret, bullying, disrespect, sorrow...we will reap the same. 
It is my goal to sow seeds of good Godly character in my children. 

Much love,


Tomorrow is Halloween, just in case you were not aware already.  We will have school tomorrow. Although, with the excitement level here, I am not sure how much we will accomplish.  I still have to finish LR's and Amelia's costumes.  They are going to be Jessie from Toy Story.  Then, I have to make Jay's costume.  He is going to be a royal knight. I bought a sheet and am planning to make him a cape.  I am pretty sure we will have some sewing lessons tomorrow.  Who knows, I might even let the boys give the sewing machine a whirl. What am I planning to do to tomorrow?  We will do our bible lesson and take the tests that we did not get done Friday.  We also will whip out the mental math books and make that work up.  Then, I thought that I would let the kiddos try their hand at painting with acrylic paint.  I want to let them draw and paint a Jack-o-lantern.  It is not a holiday for us but it will be a more relaxed day than normal.  Honestly, I do not think I could make them sit and do school all day if I tried.  I guess if you can not beat them, you join them.  Lucie Rose and Jay are still not feeling 100% and now Amelia has caught their crud.  I am sincerely hoping Cooper avoids the mess. So, because we have the luxury, we are kind of taking it easy.  Tuesday will be business as usual. 

Much love,

Sunday, October 30, 2011


Exodus 16:4
4Then said the LORD unto Moses, Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you; and the people shall go out and gather a certain rate every day, that I may prove them, whether they will walk in my law, or no.

We spent the day today picking up pecans.  Actually, this is the third Saturday I have picked up pecans.  Today, while picking up pecans it occurred to me that this could be what the Children of Israel might have felt like. God provided for His people daily by way of manna or bread from heaven. They had to go out each day and pick up what God had provided for them.   As I picked up, I noticed something.  I would spot two or three pecans and bend down to pick them up.  As I picked them up I would find several more in the same area that I had not seen while standing.  One of two things was going on here.  Either my eyesight is bad enough I just didn't see them or God was providing as I went along.  I'll just believe the latter if you don't mind, thank you!  We actually had a really stiff wind today and were literally picking them up as they fell. Once you get out there and start picking up, it is not really that bad.  I felt so blessed that I had pecans to pick up. The boys didn't feel as blessed as I did. Lucie Rose thought it was great to pick up a pecan or two, especially when mama was filling her bucket.  She is convinced she picked up the most.  Amelia Claire was great during our little outing. 

One thing that has been a huge adjustment for our family is going from two incomes to one, especially with an extra little person. I will tell you that I completely felt at peace turning in my resignation, knowing that I would be able to stay home with my sweetlings.  It was a decision that was made through much prayer and soul searching.  I feel like God had been leading us in this direction for some time.  It was certainly a step of faith and one that we knew would not come easy.  Once you become adjusted to two incomes, it is not easy to voluntarily give that up.  It has been a sacrifice for all of us.  We are making it from month to month but there is certainly not much room for extras.  That is okay.  We had too many extras anyway.  We ate out way too much among other little things like that.  I really have not missed the little things.  I would say the kiddos miss them more than Jamie and I.  They do complain from time to time and we have to just be honest with them.  We tell them that in order to be able to have the privilege of homeschooling, there are things we have to give up.  It is not an easy thing to admit to your children that we just do not have the money for that right now.  Somehow though, I think that it is important they know those, sometimes tough, life lessons. 

I will also tell you that there had been a great deal of guilt on my part since staying home.  I feel like there should be some way for me to contribute financially.  I try to make sure to be conservative while grocery shopping, while still making sure my family eats well and has a few little extras.  That has been my little way of helping out.  This has been a real struggle for me though.  Jamie is an excellent provider for our family and I am so grateful to him.  As grateful as I am,  I still would like to make financial contributions just to relieve him from some of the stress.  So, when my daddy called and told me that the pecan trees were loaded down at the farm and we could pick them up if we like, I jumped on it. I thought I even had the boys on board and excited and I did...until they actually had to pick them up.  I have also had the opportunity to help my mama on the side some.  She owns a tea room here in town and also caters.  So, on weekends I try to help her when I can.  It actually has been very nice to be able to help out some. 

To be able to homeschool is an answer to prayer and such a blessing.  God's provisions for my family...His also a great blessing.

Matthew 6:26
Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?

Much Love,

Saturday, October 29, 2011

In the Field

Today we went on a field trip to the...field.  Seriously, we went to a field, a field full of pumpkins and sunflowers and corn and so much fun.  Today was field trip day.  I love field trip days.  The kiddos were so excited to get out and go. Not to mention that they didn't have to take their spelling tests or vocabulary tests.  They didn't have to do mental math today.  They didn't have to learn about helping verbs and the like.  It was a day of fun learning.  I also got to take some pictures of my sweetlings in a beautiful outdoor setting.  I love a good photo op and this was a good photo op. 
Okay, this one is not from the field trip, but isn't she a doll baby?

Still not from the field trip but too cute!

Look at those beautiful backgroung colors.  Look at those beautiful babies!

I loved, loved, loved this process chart.  Thinking we might have to borrow this idea!

Gorgeous! I love the colors of fall!

He wanted to make a Jack-o-Lantern face!  He is a hot mess!

She's a hot mess too!

This one cracks me up!  The really look in distress!

Much love,

Friday, October 28, 2011

Debunking the Mythical Homeschool Stereotype and Mondo Favor

When you think of homeschool, what is the first thing that comes to your mind? 

  • Non-schooling
  • Weird, mal-adjusted children
  • Militia like
  • Schooling in PJs
  • Control freak parents
  • Unsocialized children
Come on, you know you have thought this before.  I certainly have. These thoughts and misconceptions come from ignorance.  I do not say that to be snarky or mean.  I say it honestly and sincerely. Ignorance is a lack of knowledge or information.  In general, homeschooling is not an acceptable practice.  Sad isn't it? I will say that the homeschool stereotype had changed some for the good in recent years.  Yes, there are those that homeschool for the wrong reasons.  There are those that use homeschooling as an excuse to skip on school.  Those, however are few and far between.  It seems that those are the ones used to form the public perception of homeschooling.  People do not want to talk about the norm.  That is no fun and rather boring. 

My kiddos are not weird, at least, I do not think they are.  They are certainly not mal-adjusted. We do not school in our PJs.  We have a set schedule and stick to it. I am certainly not a control freak. There is no militia here (even if my boys are obsessed with guns and hunting).  And, my kiddos are social butterflies.  They love to be around and interact with others.  The misbehave...the whine...they fuss with one another...they are incredibly smart...they amaze me...they make me crazy...they make me happy...They are typical children.  Everything about them is typical.  Everything about them is extraordinary. They are mine and I might be a little biased and that is alright, because they are mine. I love them without end. Amen.

Why did I choose HS'ing?  I found myself giving my best to other peoples children and having a short fuse with mine.  I didn't like it at bit.  I wanted to give my best to my children.  They deserved it and still do.  I knew that if I could spend the majority of my day educating other people's children and loving it (which I did), that I would love it that much more to be able to give that to my babies. I do!  I love teaching them.  I love it when they teach me, because they do.

We have school at our house.  It starts at a set time and ends when we finish all I planned to get done in one day.  We get up, get dressed, and go to school.  Because we are at home and only have three and a half in our classroom, it is less formal.  My children are however, receiving a formal education, as are most homeschooled children. 

Tell me what your conceptions of homeschooling are? I am curious to know what you think about it.  It is not for everyone.  Even if it is not for you, what are your feelings on other's who choose this path?

Also tonight, I have a mondo favor to ask of you.  I have an unspoken prayer request that I would like to ask you to pray with me about.  I can not share anything about this request out of respect for others.  This is something that I have prayed about so very much and I would like to ask you to take some time out of your day tomorrow (technically today) to pray about with me.  There are no life threatening illnesses involved and Jamie says be sure to let you know we are fine (relationship wise). This is a very real and very big request. Please pray for God's grace in this request.  Thank you in advance for your prayer. 

Much love,

Thursday, October 27, 2011

I forgot to title my post!

So, math...I was uber picky about the curriculum I chose for math. Uber is my new favorite word.  It's a nifty little word.  The little things in life make me happy.  Kind of like the little things in life that drive me crazy.  For example: The daily changes that Facebook seems to make always throw me for a loop. There I go on the downward digression spiral.

Anyhow, when choosing a math curriculum I wanted something that would challenge my kiddos and provide them with all of the skills they needed to be math geniuses.  I had heard great things about Math-U-See but felt that the boys had such a different foundation that I would not see the success I wanted to .  So I chose this.

I really, really like Singapore Math. Each grade level comes with two textbooks and two workbooks.  Take Cooper's books for instance.  He is in third grade. He has a 3A textbook, 3A workbook, 3B textbook, and 3B workbook.  We simply used these books last year and I found that this was not enough practice for them.  So, this year I also purchased these.

Except that I purchased them in the specific grade levels for my fellas. Fridays are mental math days.  Let me tell you, the boys lurve this (tongue in cheek). I am also really thinking about purchasing this.

I am undecided about this one though because, there are lots and lots of word problems in their text and workbook. Singapore Math loves a good word problem.  Some of them are quite challenging.  In fact, I have called or emailed my sweet hubbie with one or two of these problems, only to be told that he would have to get back to me.  I love the challenge factor with these books.  I am not crazy about the lack of instruction these books provide.  Jay is working on divisibility right now and these books have nothing to say about divisibility rules.  I had to pull that in extra.  Those few simple rules make divisibility soooo much easier.
When I was teaching math, I went to a workshop for Singapore Math.  I liked it then and having used it for an entire year, plus this year so far, I still like it. 
What I add to the mix
I open each math lesson with a math warm-up.  Generally, this warm up is multiplication practice, fact families, or the such.  Sometimes we pull out the flash cards and sometimes I put 10 problems on my handy dandy dry erase board.  The kiddos love to write their answers on the board.  The also have to put them in their math journal.  Math journal you say?  Yes, math journal I say. We keep a math journal on top of what we already put in our notebook.  Vocabulary terms, warm-ups, and the like go in our math journal. I also intend for the boys to put together a math vocabulary dictionary this year, complete with terms, definitions, and illustrations.  Coop-bug loves, lurves, loves to illustrate.  It is a release for him to draw.  So, I let him any opportunity he gets.  It provides something concrete for him.  Like me, he is a visual learner.  Jay on the other hand is a very auditory learner. Fact is, he is very auditory himself, VERY auditory!  I am pretty sure Lucie Rose will be a visual learner also with a tendency for the kinesthetic. She needs to manipulate things right now.  She needs a lot of hands on but that could just be her age. 

Math is certainly one of those things homeschooling parents need to be picky about.  If you are uber ( ;) ) picky like me, you should check out the Singapore Math program.  If you are not impressed, do not stop there though.  Check it all out and see what is available.  You need to be happy with your choices. 

Uber love,

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Knock on Wood

Totally not gonna be boastful anymore, although, I was not trying to boast.  When I typed a week or two, maybe three, ago that we have not really been sick since homeschooling, I meant it.  It was true.  It was a fact I was proud of.  I guess pride goeth before destruction and a haughty spirit before the fall, right? And fall we did.  In the past week or so we have had an abscess and root canal, broken arm, and tonight Lucie Rose started running a temperature.  Not just a little temperature either.  Before I even realized she was sick, her fever jumped to 102. Her little soccer team party was tonight and I noticed she was just sitting there not participating.  Upon closer inspection, I noticed the tell-tale signs of fever...glassy know the drill.  I felt of her and she was hot, really hot.  I asked another mom to give her a feel and she agreed that she was really hot.  So, I did what any responsible mother would do.  I loaded her up and came home.  Bless her little heart, by the time we got home, after a pit stop to buy Motrin, she was miserable and crying.  Totally not feeling like mother of the year right now.  This coming after thinking Cooper was just being dramatic and discounting his broken arm for about 12 hours.
I spend 24 hours a day with my sweetlings and I am supposed to know them better than I do.  I am supposed to catch these things before they get out of hand, at least, so I thought. 

So yesterday, I really struggled with the patience thing and thought we really had a better day today.  I tried the love'em into obedience thing.  It seemed to work. 
Today, I struggle with not knowing my babies as well as I thought. 

Just so you know, everyday is not peaches and cream in the homeschool arena.  Some days do not even come close.  I still wouldn't take anything, anything AT ALL for being able to do this.  I completely feel like this is God's will for our lives.  Even when our faith is being tested, my resolve stays the same.  I'm just gonna have to pray harder and let my JOY outweigh all of the other stuff.  Trust me, next time I make a statement such as my kiddos have not been sick that much since beginning homeschooling, I'm gonna knock on the old proverbial wood. Having sick and hurt babies is NO FUN!  It breaks my heart when my babies do not feel good.  I just want to make it all better right away.

The upside to this is, I can be here to care for them and love on them and take them to the doctor and make chicken soup and and and and...The world does not stop turning.(Yes, I know this is a run on sentence.)  

Much love,

Monday, October 24, 2011

On the Must Have Wish List!

Proverbs 15:18
A wrathful man stirreth up strife: but he that is slow to anger appeaseth strife.

Today, I did not have much in the way of patience and tonight, I am kicking myself.  I have been looking back all evening thinking to myself, "Why didn't I say this or do it this way instead?"
I guess we all have those days from time to time, but that does not change the fact that I feel rotten about not having more patience.  Tomorrow is a new day and hopefully, I can do it better. 
Jamie's favorite saying is, "I asked God for patience and he gave me boys."  God's sense of humor is ever so evident some days.
Are there any words of wisdom out there for me on how to achieve more patience.  I know the bible says that love is patient, so maybe I should just practice that.  Love my babies into obedience, right? It is worth a shot for sure! So,maybe tomorrow when I feel my patience slipping and my frustration rising, I should just think warm fuzzy thoughts and issue hugs instead of harsh words and stern looks. Hmmm, I might be on to something here.  I'll give it a shot and let you know how it works for me. 
Much love,

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Must Have in Exta Bulk

Philippians 4:6

Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.

It is so difficult sometimes not to be anxious but I fully believe that if we pray during those times God takes on our anxiety and walks through it with us.  Whether it be taking a test, finishing a project, or other deeper life changing events God will walk us through them if we supplicate, or humbly pray. I want my kiddos to know that they can always pray and seek God for any reason.  I also want them to know that this prayer needs to be done with a spirit of thanksgiving. 

I think our word this week will be supplication.  Let's just see where it will take us and how many ways we can use it. 

Much love,

My boys love weapons!

Weapons of all kinds...They are enthralled with guns, knives, swords...You name it they love it! I think it is a boys thing.  It has to be right? I just hope LR and Amelia do not follow suit.  Boy, do I hope they don't!!

Weapons have their place, but in a homeschool...Yep, in a homeschool.  We have a sword or two in our little classroom.  They are sharp and easily wielded.  We even have sword drills in our classroom.  Now, I promise you we do not don our camo and act like a little militia.  Really, we don't.  I promise.  I teach my kiddos how to use these weapons.  I want them to know how to properly use them. 

Ephesians 6:10-18

10Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.
11Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
12For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
13Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
14Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;
15And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;
16Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.
17And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:
18Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;

Yes, the Sword of the Spirit is a definite must have in our homeschool.  We use it daily.  Who knew? A weapon in a school. 

Much love,

Friday, October 21, 2011

Must Have in Bulk

It seems that some days we use this tool all too much.  Jay in particular hates it when I whip out the old eraser.  It means he has to do it over.  It frustrates him.  Coop does not get as undone when he has to use his eraser. 

Some days my poor table is covered with little specks of eraser shavings.  I know on those days some hard lessons have been learned. 

I am thankful for that little red tool. It means that there is a second chance on the horizon.  It means that the opportunity to correct a wrong has been extended.  How awesome would it be if people came equipped with an eraser.  Second chances do not come as easily in life as they do in school.

Some days are made for these erasers.  I think if I were to buy Jay this eraser, he would disown me as his mama and teacher.  It would be his undoing.  Cooper would just look at me and refuse to except this lovely little gift.  He doesn't make big mistakes.  Just ask him and he'll tell you so.

There have certainly been times in my life when I so wished that I had been equipped with this type of eraser.

There is a lesson to learn here.  Erasers do exist in life.  It is a simple, yet so complex word...forgiveness. This was our word of the week a few weeks back. 

Matthew 6:14-15
14For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you:
15But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

Erasers are a must in school...maybe in life also! 

Much love,

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Must Haves

coffee brewing tips from dunkin. wow

So, today I am going post my first of a few must haves for homeschooling. Some things just are a must...somethings you just do not skimp on...

Most of you probably know what a coffee snob I am.  Not just any cup of joe will do.  It MUST be DD and it MUST be fresh ground.  Some days are turbo days and some are regular coffee days.  Honestly, I'm not a huge fan of the iced coffee.  I do like a frap every now and then especially during the summer.  For the most part, I want it hot with a splash of cream or hazelnut creamer.  In fact, I just finished a smooth and tasty cup or two. 

Thank you Dunkin' Donuts for keeping my little homeschool running smoothly!!

Much love,

Wednesday, October 19, 2011


We had a boring old school day! Not sure about you, but I am a huge fan of boring! It took a little while to motivate the boys to get back to business as usual but we finally did.  We stayed home all day today and just enjoyed a little normalcy! I actually got to sit down on the couch by 9:30 tonight and share a little time with Jamie and Amelia.  It was nice to say the least.

What happens when life throws you a curve ball and disrupts your normal flow? Well, you just have to go with it.  When you homeschool it is even more difficult to maneuver around those curves. That is when you take a little help where it is offered. 

Last school year we had a wonderful, amazing curve thrown our way.  Amelia was born a month early, thus throwing us a curve that had to be dealt with.  She was born in the height of tax season and for those of you who have been reading my musings for a while, you know that tax season is Jamie's ubber crazy time.  He works lots of hours.  Since I had a c-section with Eli, I had to have another with Amelia.  Recovering from major surgery, loving on a new baby, dealing with the everyday and three other sweetlings was more taxing than normal.  We put school on hold for two weeks.  When we did get going again, it was tedious.  I am so thankful for my church and the wonderful members who stepped up as well as amazing family and friends.  The Sunday before we began school again, a precious member of our church approached me and said that she would like to help us get rolling again in school.  She taught middle school math for more than 30 years.  She was just what the doctor ordered. I honestly am not sure I would have made it through that first week without Mrs. MaeBeth's help.  She was a God send! She came in a few mornings that week and took over the schooling for me.  That allowed me to be able to take care of our new bundle of joy, hang out with LR, do some laundry, and sweep some floors.  All things that needed to be done.

There are times in homeschooling when we need to take a little (or a lot of) help.  Although us mothers would like to think we are super human, we are not!  It is difficult to give up the reins sometimes, but for sanity's sake it must be done. I am pleased to announce that through the curves, with the help of others, I maintained my sanity. 

Even this week in the midst of the insanity in my household, I'm maintaining people!  Couldn't have done it without my mama though!
Take the help!!! Then you too will be able to say

Much love, 

What do you delight in?

“Delight thyself also in the LORD: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.” Psalm 37:4

I am again tired tonight.  Jay, Amelia, and I spent the day in Montgomery yesterday because Jay had to have a root canal on that lovely little abscessed tooth.  We came home and Lucie Rose had the late soccer game.  Then there was supper to fix and baths to be had.  I just thought I was tired last night.  But tonight, tonight I'm weary tired.  You see Cooper fell during a game of two hand touch at LR's soccer game.  He favored his left arm all night and woke up still in pretty good pain.  So, we did some school while waiting to hear back from the phone nurse at Southern Bone and Joint.

Three years ago he broke his humerus and dislocated his elbow after falling from the trampoline.  This was once again that same arm.  So, I just called his orthopedist.  They wanted to see him at 1:20 in Dothan, no less.  Dothan and Montgomery are both an hour from our house in opposite directions. Bless my mama, she kept Coop and LR yesterday and today she kept Jay and LR.  We went down and had his arm x-rayed.  Sure enough it is once again broken.  He is wearing a cast from upper arm to his finger tips. Then, we had the late soccer game again tonight.  Again, there was a late dinner and bath time for all of the kiddos.  They are finally in bed and I am finally sitting down to blog.  It is 12:04 am.  I'm a zombie! Honestly, I fear I will read this again tomorrow to find it made little sense. Such is life, right?

Needless to say, very little schooling has been accomplished in the last two days.  I have tried to motivate the boys at least to get a few things done so we do not have to much catching up to do.  It has been hard to say the least. The beauty of homeschooling is that tomorrow we will maybe sleep in a little and then pick back up where we left off. We have some 4H projects to complete.  So, I am thinking we will for sure do bible, math and reading.  Then we will work on 4H.  I am not stressed out per say, just tired.  I am ready for some boring!!! Not a huge fan of drama!

Homeschooling was and is a true desire of my heart and I am truly delighted in my Lord that He has allowed us to be able to do this.  I know He will provide all of our needs. Please pray that Jay's tooth heals nicely and that Cooper's arm will also heal and cause as little pain as possible.  He has already expressed discomfort from the cast as well as pain from the fracture.  He was blessed in that it was a minor fracture and the weather is cooler making the whole cast thing so much more bearable.   Jay bounced back very quickly from a root canal which I am not sure I could do. They both go back in four weeks for follow-up appointments.

Prayers are so appreciated for our family right now.  Thank you in advance and know that I am praying that somehow, someway our experiences in homeschooling and life have blessed you in even a small way.

Much love, 

Monday, October 17, 2011

A Little Encouragement

I wanted to post something to encourage tonight.  I came across this poem and just loved it.  I hope it encourages you to keep on keeping on. We will soon begin a poetry unit in reading.  I am so looking forward to seeing my kiddos try their hands at writing poetry.  I might give it a shot also!

A Poem for YOU,
Homeschool Mom!

Another lovely day,
another clean slate!
Another day to work on
an already full plate.
What will we do first?
Reading, Writing, Math?
What if something unexpected
 shows up in our path?
Another lovely day,
another quandary arises,
How do we teach these children
of different shapes and sizes?
Shall we follow Book A, or Idea B,
or the voice of the "pro?"
Can we follow our hearts
on which way we should go?
Little Suzy wants to make
a pattern for a doll,
but she's "behind" in algebra,
and can't spell much at all…
And little Johnny is working
on a project made of wood,
but what about his "social studies?"
And other things he "should"
Grandma needs some help,
but our workbooks are a-waiting!
There are other shut-ins
with a visit anticipating.
And what about that neighbor
with the baby on the way?
Can our "studies" suffer
if she needs our help today?
There are many things that pull us daily
this-a-way and that,
And we can get so sidetracked,
that our accomplishments fall flat.
The path is bright and our feet will go,
if only we will pray,
And listen to the voice of God,
who leads us the right way.
Relationships are more important,
inside our homes, and out,
and how we treat each other
is what homeschooling is about.
It's not wrong to be good spellers,
but if we lie and cheat and steal,
And if we hate our brother,
good grades are no big deal.
So dear homeschool Mom,
don't worry and don't fret;
If little Johnny can not read
as well as you think, yet.
Little Suzy will learn her math,
while baking for the neighbor,
and friendships formed inside your
home will strengthen, so don't waver!
If you will pray and seek His face
for each question on your heart,
And read His word, and know His
you will know right where to start.
Don't be tossed to and fro
by this world's ideas and plans,
Listen to your Lord,
your lives are in His Hands.

© 2006 Nancy K. Baetz

Much love,

Cartographic Memories

Lucie Rose has become enthralled with maps.  She is just certain that if we have a map, we can go anywhere.  Her friend Kara moved away a few months ago and she told me the other day that we needed to make a map to Kansas because she wanted to go visit her.  She was asking Jamie about Heaven the other day and he was talking to her.  At the end of their conversation she looked at him and said, "Well Daddy, where is our map to Heaven."  She knows that Eli lives in Heaven and she wanted to go visit.  She thinks that if we have been there before, we do not need a map.  If it is a new place we should just get a map and go. 
Cartography is the art of making maps.  Oh how I wish that we could just make a map and go places sometimes. I would love nothing more that to just take out a map, mark all of the places we would like to learn about or see, and go.  What a load of lessons that would be.

Homeshooling, teaching, even parenting makes us cartopgraphers.  We make maps in our kiddos minds.  Maps that will be a guide for them all of their lives.

Proverbs 22:6
Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

As parents we have a responsibility to our children to provide them with an accurate roadmap to this thing we call life.  As a homeschooling mama, my responsibilities are 24 hours a day 7 days a week.  Part of my responsibility, a huge part of it, is teaching right from wrong, correcting them when they do wrong, and loving them through the no so fun parts of life. I always love my children and one of my least favorite parts of being a mama is correcting bad behavior.  It must be done and some days it seems it must be done over and over again.  Classroom management in a homeschool situation is still challenge from time to time. I'm learning what works and what does not work. I recently learned with Cooper that if I send him to his room for 10 minutes he will come back to class a different person.  He does not like to be set apart from what is going on.  I never would have figured that about him because he typically does not mind a little alone time.  But, for whatever reason it just works for him.  Jay, well I'll have to get back to you on that one.  Different things work on different days for him.  One thing I started to provide some motivation for both boys is to give them bucks for good behavior.  If they are at school on time, they get a buck.  If they keep their area clean, they get a buck.  If they complete their work in a timely manner with out whining, they get a buck.  You get the picture.  When they get 250 bucks, they get to go to the treasure chest that is Wally World.  250 bucks sounds like a lot of work, I know, but they have lots of opportunities to get bucks. Their reward will be worth their efforts.  Am I bribing them?  Probably, but it is also a life lesson.  When they are gainfully employed, they will be paid for their work.  I have no problem with it.  It works for us. I like to try and use positive motivation although sometimes that is not possible.  Sometimes I have to be the mean old mama/teacher. Sometimes their daddy has to provide reinforcement.

Correction is never fun but sometimes necessary.  I want my sweetlings to have every opportunity available to them in life.  They need a map to these opportunities.  It is our (Jamie and I) responsibility to provide them with this map.  This is certainly one of those things I bath in prayer and ask for God's guidance in.  I am not a great cartographer.  My Father is the best.  His steady hand will guide my shakey hand in making the best map possible for my children. 

Oh, and Jamie's answer to Lucie about the map to Heaven was...

The bible is our map to Heaven.
Much love,