Saturday, June 18, 2011

Soccer Spring 2011

Loving that our boy is ALL boy!!
He loves every sport out there, but he has speed and some fancy footwork, so soccer is super fun for him!
Here are some pics from his first season playing with Keller soccer.

Playing goaly for usually half of each game.  
This is a lot of pressure on the player AND the parents watching!!


O man, what a great celebration we had this year leading up to Easter!  This was the first year that we used an advent calendar for the 12 days leading up to Easter.  WHAT a blessing!!  I fell like for the first time we discussed, we read, we dove into the good news of what occurred that first Easter.  The gospel was the focus.  Jesus was the hero!  Our hearts rejoiced and celebrated what He has done for us.  It is finished and we are so blessed!

Here are some fun pictures of other celebrations we had around Easter.  They almost all involve eggs.

We started out with a fun weekend at the lake.  We had our annual egg hunt for the kids combined with some swimming, boating and all that good stuff too!

This is Sophie and her sister Bella.  Sophie is the tom boy for sure!  
Bella is prissy and clean...Sophie, not so clean!

The confetti eggs were hilarious yet again this year!  You have to hit them pretty hard to crack them, so the kids were in pain and laughing all at the same.  Some of their expressions are just priceless!

Oh good...they still love each other even after they attacked one another so viciously!!!

Easter morning I always make this bunny for breakfast.  Even when they're old they'll still get the bunny and love it.... secretly to be sure!

After church we headed to a dear friend's house.  Shirley always hosts Easter at her house each year and make a huge egg hunt for the kids.  It's very serious because it involves money...the green and silver kind!  The kids thought they had died and gone to heaven!

Paul took these sweet pics of Cait on the swing in Shirley's backyard.
Sweet, pretty girl!

I felt so very blessed this Easter to have a deeper meaning of the gospel in my heart and love my Savior that much more because of it!  What a joy to celebrate that good news with the ones you love most!

Monday, June 13, 2011

A Reason for Going to Egypt

I came across this post today while cleaning up my blog. I practically finished the post, but never posted it. God's timing is perfect, because I can see more today than even yesterday what He has been doing all along.

Written August 9, 2009

This Sunday, after many months of preaching through Genesis and studying the Relentless Grace of God through the lives of the Israelites, we are almost to the end. We witnessed a funeral today in our service, the funeral of Jacob in chapter 49 and 50 of Genesis. As I was listening to this passage I realized that Jacob was dying in Egypt, but he wanted to be returned to Canaan, the land of promise, the land God promised to him and his forefathers. And I immediately wondered whether on not Jacob should have gone to Egypt. Did he disobey God and move to a land where he did not belong? I mean, we all know what happened to his children years after he died. They were enslaved. They were placed in bondage and treated cruelly. So I quickly flipped back to chapter 46 and started scanning to find the part where Jacob finds out that his beloved son Joseph is alive. After this he moves his whole family to Egypt. It was here that my eyes rested on this verse, "'Jacob, Jacob.' And he said, 'Here I am.' Then He said, 'I am God, the God of your father. Do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for there I will make you into a great nation. I myself will go down with you to Egypt, and I will bring you up again...'"

It was at this point that I began to weep. You see, I've always related my journey over the last 10 years to the story of the Isrealites. Ya know, everything is hunky dory in move to a new place (marry a man), start a life and then things go bad. You are forced into slavery (your husband is being unfaithful but you can't figure that out, you just know it's not how it should be...feels like being in bondage). Then God, with very little warning comes in and delivers you from the bondage and asks you to forge out into the wilderness (the scary world of single mom providing for her two babies). All of this to take you back to where you came from, only better. And why? Why the long road and not the straight path? Why the slavery and the hurt and the pain?

God told Jacob to go to Egypt. And I feel the same way about my first marriage. I felt at peace, completely in obedience with God and heeding the wisdom of all people surrounding me. God told me it was okay to go. But yet He knew what the path held...for the Isrealites and for me. So the question changed in my mind from, "Was it okay to go to Egypt?" to "Why did He want me to go to Egypt? For what purpose?"

I believe He took them (me) to Egypt to deliver them and to bring Himself glory. He was able to show them who He was and how powerful He is. He did the same thing with the blind beggar. Why was he born blind? Was it his parents' sin or his? Neither, was Jesus' reply. It was so that He could heal Him. That's it. It was so that He could show that He was God in the flesh, able to command illness and even death. David says in the the Psalms that the Israelites had to be enslaved so that God's glory could be on display as He parted the sea, delivering them so dramatically and gloriously.

I believe this to be true in my own life. I've struggles over the past few years with the peace that comes with any decision you make. Was it the right one? Well, I know that I am an imperfect woman, stumbling through this life trying to follow the will of God. But more than that, I know that the God I serve is the boss of the wind and waves, illness and death, animals, and all living things. He has led my path as I've sought Him through the years, not promising that the path would be trouble free, just straight and that He would be my companion. There's nothing else in this world TO want, expert for that.

I'm convinced that this life we have to live has NOTHING to do with the ease of it. It also has not much to do with the trials that naturally come along with it. It has EVERYTHING to do with knowing and being near to Jesus, loving Him more with every step and letting it soak in how very much He loves me. The reality of the gospel, meditating on it every single day of my life will help me as I seek to walk with Him, because it will keep the truth in the forefront of thought. Jesus loved me, gave His life to save me, so that I could be near Him and us enjoy one another. It's what I want to be about.

So, was I supposed to go to Egypt? Yes, I was. I was supposed to walk with my Savior there and walk out of Egypt with Him parting the sea in front of me and then walking alongside me through the desert every. single. step of the journey. The sweetness of the journey and the walk with God so near is missed by SO many. Yes, it's hard and uncomfortable and scary, but He is right there with you. Enjoy the sweetness of those moments if you can, cause it's what this whole life is about!

And we're having a....


YAY, we're so excited and feel so blessed! "Is this real?" We keep asking ourselves and each other that question. Is this really happening? Will there really be a baby girl coming into this world to join our family in October? Crazy to think, but it appears to be true! It becomes increasingly real with every kick and wiggle I feel. It becomes more obvious to us and others as my belly grows more and more. It's really happening.

The kids are super excited and have been oowing and awing over every little sock and outfit that comes through the wash or has been given to us (yes, GiGi has already started buying, of course!). My sister saved all of Mia and Cait's clothes that survived their babyhood and now has passed them to us for a little more use. Sweet pulling out those old things and remembering that my big, almost-eight-year-old, used to wear these little shoes and dresses and bows. Seems so long ago now. Grateful that I will get to relive those days (albeit tired days) with another little one, all the while telling Cait and B stories of when I used to hold them or love on them in the exact same way. So grateful today thinking of that time restored to me.

We've decided on a name for our sweetness, but we're not brave enough to say it out loud to others yet. We've been trying it out at home and with each other to see what kind of ring it has. We're set, I think. It's the name we talked about before there were even rings on our fingers, the name we both loved. We tried to think of different ones and outside the box. We did, but it always came back to the one name we both loved. Sweet and simple. We'll share soon as we're brave enough!

Sorry for the long stint between posts. This blog has become of lower priority this year than ever and I'm okay with that. I do have a bunch of things to post to get caught up...before my memory fails me, but they'll be brief and mostly pictures. So stay tuned!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

What I've learned about my children while home schooling them

Wow! Home schooling has been fun! It's not as hard as I thought it would be and surprisingly, like I pictured it. I am a teacher by nature, yes, so in that respect I love to teach. However, when you're tutoring your own children it looks very, very different than when you're teaching a whole class. It is more organic and conversational. It's snuggling on the couch and reading books aloud together. It's walking them through some assignments and letting them go on others. It's knowing if they "got it" instantly. It's finding out that something is too hard or too easy for them and we're not just going to go through the motions here, we're gonna change things up!

I've learned much about my kids being their teacher. I've learned that Benjamin has a memory for facts like a steel trap. He can read anything or hear anything you read to him and regurgitate it to you almost word for word. I've learned the he is a phenomenal and natural speller (unlike his mother who just needed spell check's help to spell phenomenal). I've learned that B will agree to anything as long as you will release him from formal school work so he can GO READ!!!! He's a reading maniac! I've learned he is genuinely excited to learn new things about history and the world that God created. He finds interesting tidbits oh so fun, like his mommy. I've learned he has no flair for drama. When memorizing poems this year he just can't get into the performance part of it, expressiveness and facial expression and all. I now know that Benjamin has terrible print but beautiful cursive handwriting. He has these super human mental math skills. Writing is his worst subject so far. He does not enjoy writing. He'd rather draw it for you than write about it. This is odd to me, as he comes from people who love to write. I'm hoping that through time and lots of practice that this will be an area he'll grow in.

Cait on the other hand, is a very different student than her brother. How do I capture Cait's essence here? Hmmm....She's a little distracted. This is putting it mildly. She is so dreamy and chatty and imaginative, that she has a hard time putting pencil to paper. She doesn't like to read directions but rather thinks she can just wing it. But this girl...oh, so glad we put her into drama! She is a natural! You should see her recite her poems. Expression, motions, voice emphasis...a natural. She is artsy and creative and talented! She can write with more detail and creativity than you would imagine! She will draw a beautiful picture to go with every story. She has better handwriting than me! Her math facts and concepts on the other's like a deer in the headlights. She STRUGGLES! My poor girl has no memory when it comes to stuff of that nature. It's actually more of a processing/distracted issue than memory. She has to work HARD to pull up the answer. You know it's in there, but....whew! It can be laborious! We have tears sometimes when we do math because of her frustration. Don't feel bad though, she cries pretty darn easily. I now know that Cait is the hardest working child I have, wanting perfection in all she does. Her brother just wants to get it done! Cait loves all things artsy! She is interested in classical music, ballet, art, and plays (constantly telling us about the next play she is putting together...always a dream and never a reality). She truly has been a delight to teach. Her creativity inspires me. She's always asking for me to teach her to do handy crafts like knitting or sewing clothes for her dolls. Sorry baby girl, I'm not the one to help! SO wish I were though! We're working on some outlets for these desires. Anyone want to teach Cait and me how to knit? Kind of kidding, but kind of not.

Home schooling is FUN!! I love that I'm getting to know my kids and teach them what is important to our family...and share the gospel hopefully every single day! What a great job I have! IT hasn't been a smooth year. Lots of bumps in the road, mainly involving my health. I'm so hoping that this will change soon! I'm ready to be back to myself again and give it 100%. I can't believe summer is just 7 weeks away for us!! We've almost completed our first year. WOW! Yeah, I think I could keep doing this for many years, as long as someone else teaches those maths and sciences in high school! Yikes, that scares me!

Here are some random pictures of some fun things we've done this year. I've been bad about documenting, but here's a sampling.

Homemade bread after learning about yeast and chemical changes and also how Jesus is the Bread of life. All of our subjects kind of overlap in topic like this, which is cool!

We also went to Mrs. Baird's factory which was a blast and we watched how they braided their bread. We copied them when making our bread.

Homemade butter...oh my delicious! We've been learning this year about the pioneers and settling of the United States. It's fun to see how they lived their lives. We should go back to making our own butter!

Fresh butter on warm bread! YUM!

Making homemade playdough

Tons of science experiments and art lessons and more happened in this kitchen this year...I just wasn't motivated to photograph it. Not sure why. IT looks kind of sad now when trying to recap our year. Oh well, the memories and lessons live on, even without the picture to document it, I guess!