Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Pinewood Derby

Deacon got to enter a car in the Awana Grand Prix this year.  This was very exciting, and because the kid dreams big, he decided he wanted to make a Giant Squid.  Noah helped him out and the 2 of them spent many hours perfecting the design and the execution of the design. 

When they announced Deacon as the winner of the design category, Roman let out a mighty cheer.  In fact, I don't think that anyone (even Deacon) was as excited as Roman.

My favorite part of the whole day was watching Lincoln and Roman cheer for Deacon and being his biggest fans.

Definitely a benefit of siblings :)

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Busy Week!

  First we sat by the window waiting and waiting for our new piano...

 Then we went to B's first dance/tumbling class...

Then we played on our new piano!

(by the way, Berean's class is just about the cutest thing I have ever seen, and she loved it!)
(also by the way, I may need ear plugs...)

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Little Ba

Berean is 3 now.

Ever had a 3 year old girl before?

Well, we hadn't, and believe me, it is a whole new experiance.

She was talking about something the other day and in the middle of her sentence, she actually used the phrase, "once again".

Here are her greatest loves:

1. Getting dressed.  She does this multiple times a day and likes to discuss her outfits.  One morning I said, "why are you changing again?  Your outfit was so cute!"  She put up a little finger and said, "But Mom, I have another cute outfit!"  This shirt is often worn on Tuesdays- I do laundry on Mondays, so it is always clean and back in the drawer, and it is one of her favorites.

2. Kitchen work. Bre loves to help make food, wash dishes, unload the dishwasher and set the table.  She also is very confident about making toast for herself.  We, however, are not quite so confident in her toaster skillz, and so have had to keep a close eye on that.  She gives specific instructions on how she likes her milk- in a cup with a cover.

3. Dessert.  She likes sweets a lot.  *sigh* like mother, like daughter.  Hopefully she inherits my metabolism as well.

4. Pink, Purple, Brown and sometimes green are her favorite colors.  She really could talk for a long, long time about the colors she likes.

5. Dora and Diego.  First she liked to watch Diego on "the Kindle" then it was "Mommy's green kindle" and now it is "my green kindle".  For some reason, even though she claims to like Dora the best, she only likes to watch Diego.  She also likes books about the famous cousins read to her often.

6.Her brothers.  She told me today that "Deacon, Roman and Lincoln are my best friends in the whole world."  I don't know if they feel the same about her.  We tell them that we love them, but they rarely just randomly tell us that they love us.  Berean spouts declarations of love frequently to everyone in the house without any prompting at all.  She also said that "Madeline is my best friend in the nursery".

7. Abraham.  Somehow the story of Abraham stuck with her, and she feels like he is the go to guy for all Biblical  questions.  Sometimes it seems, though, that she is mixing Abraham of the Bible up with Abraham Lincoln, her brother Lincoln and possibly Noah.

8. Craft Class.  She actually isn't in a craft class, but when she goes to the childcare at one of the YMCAs they often do projects and have story time.  She loves it and calls it her "craft class".  She works on her projects with great pride and precision (and a lot of independence) and then carefully carries them out to the car all by herself. 

9. Singing. She sings songs from craft class, songs from Sunday School and songs that we sing to her at night.

10. Everyn.  She loves her baby sister, and she loves to boss her around and tries (with great dedication) to keep Ever out of her personal "stash" (stash is what she refers to her stuff as, after hearing us use that word).

11. Going places.  Every day she wants to know where we are going.  She loves the Y, church, being outside, and other people's houses.

12. Talking. She talks, and talks and talks.  She also remembers names of children in her classes and is very interested in each one of them.

13. Duplos and her Diego Playset.  Several years ago I bought a whole range of Diego action figures, jeep, Animal Rescue Center and animals from a garage sale.  I bought it for Roman.  He doesn't play with it anymore, but Berean sure does!

I don't know how to describe how she talks, but she says the funniest things.  I have got to get some of the conversations that we have on video, because I know I will forget the cute way that she has of describing things and the phrases that she uses- especially "yes, I do".

It is so fun to see her learn new things every day!  I love it!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013


Lincoln is our almost 6 year old kindergartner.  He is learning to read and is always working on keeping up.  Here are the things that he loves:

1. Being quiet.  Now, don't get me wrong- he can be loud, but he is probably our quietest kid.  He tends to hold his emotions in and if you ask him a question about how he liked this or that he will often say, "do I have to answer that?" 

2. Days off from speech.  He doesn't like going to speech therapy, but his teacher says that when he gets in there he gets right down to work and does his thing.

3. Legos.  He, like his brothers, spends hours building with legos.

4. Sports.  Now that he is getting bigger and older, he and Deacon will go out and play games with balls, which is something that Roman has never wanted to do.

5. Reading. Lincoln is doing a great job learning to read and seems to enjoy it.

6. Math. Lincoln is really, really good at math.  To the point that his brothers and strangers will point out his math strengths.

7. Video games, mostly Skylanders and Minecraft at this point.

8. Excitement.  He is so funny to watch when he is excited.  His mouth turns into an "o", his eyes get big and his whole body shakes.

One cool thing this year is that Lincoln and Berean have started to play with each other when the other boys are doing school.  They will build with duplos, or play with their little action figures.  Sometimes they just run around together playing imaginary games.  I like it because Linc is always trying to keep up with his brothers and their friends, and it is nice to let him have  a chance to be the leader and the older kid.

I am very excited to see how Lincoln grows and changes as time passes. He is my kid that I have the hardest time predicting his reactions over lots of things, and his future is no exception.  I do know that God loves him and that God has an amazing plan for him, and I can't wait to see what it is!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013


Roman is our 7 year old.  He and Deacon are similar in size, but only one of them wants to share clothes, and it is not Deacon!

Roman knows what he likes, knows what he doesn't like, knows what he wants and knows what he doesn't want and pursues or avoids those things with great gusto.

He is very motivated and can accomplish many things in a short period of time - as long as they are the right things.  Roman loves a lot of things, and here they are in no particular order!

1. Legos- this kid can build amazing things.  He has an eye for design and symmetry and likes nothing better than to build ships for his people (which include "Little Boo" and the 4 Pevensies).

2. Stories- Roman likes themes.  Whether it be "Wonder Pets", "Cars", "Super Heroes", Pokemon or book characters, he can get a little obsessive with his themes. He has always liked to act out stories and characters, and that continues to be one of his favorite activities.  Currently he is into "Skylanders" "The Chronicles of Narnia" and "Paws and Tales".  He has various stuffed animals and Lego guys to play the parts- or they play "in person".

3. Being alone- Roman likes his brothers, his friends and playing with others but he is definitely an introvert that needs alone time to recharge.  He will often be seen tramping around the lots with his wooden shield and sword and talking to himself.

4. Winnie-The-Pooh- he reads the books, he listens to the CD,  Pooh calms his soul.

5. Video Games- yes, he does.

6. Swimming

7. Special events- he gets really excited about upcoming things- I think anticipation is most of the fun for him.

Roman brings playing into the house.  He is always imagining things and solidifies a lot of what he is learning by playing.  He is enjoying the musical that he is practicing for, and can be a bit of a ham.

He has declined extracurricular activities this summer, and we are fine with that.  He doesn't like them, so at this point we are not inclined to pay for them.

He asks a lot of insightful questions and feels things deeply.  He forces us to be real, to be firm and to be competent as parents. 

I am excited to watch him grow and change and to see what God has in store for him!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Kid Updates! Deacon

Deacon is now 9.  He takes his responsibility as oldest very seriously and is a big help to me. 

And he is so funny.


The way this kid looks at the world is crazy.  I can't even explain it.

If it wasn't for him, I would rarely have a "QOTD" to put on facebook.

I should have trademarked "QOTD".  Everyone uses it now, and I am pretty sure that I coined it.

Deacon has a lot of loves in his life, here they are in no particular order:

1. Cryptozoology.  No, I am not kidding.  He got a book from the library and has been filling his mind with the folklore surrounding Bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster and strange sitings in Tasmania.

2. Griffins

3. Minecraft.  He made me a house, but I don't have a bed yet because he doesn't have enough sheep.  Or something.  I don't really understand it all, nor do I follow particularly closely as he runs all over that crazy computer landscape finding cows and coal.  I do know that he always has to get back to his cabin before it gets dark.  Just like in real life.

4. Talking.  He loves to discuss anything and everything that is on his mind

5. Running

6. Sports of all kinds

7. Calvin and Hobbes

I am sure there are others, but those are the current highlights.

He is a visionary.  He dreams big.  His schemes are bold and rather grandiose.  He is not a details guy, he is a big picture person.  He moves from one idea to the other, always improving and changing his dreams. 

I get him, because I am more like him- although not to the same extreme.

Or maybe my dreams have just been tempered by cynicism. 

He loves his sister and brothers, and he tells me "I would be fine with another baby."

He is working really hard to get the silver and golds done in his Awana book.  He is in a musical at church, just finished up basketball season and is ready to start on baseball.

He likes to go places and do things.  He loves vacations and recently told me, "For my birthday I want to take a trip with you to the Appalachian Trail".  He is going to do his first obstacle/adventure kid race this summer and he is going to camp for the first time on his own.  He is always up for an adventure!

I admire his drive to succeed, and I admire his vision.

I am excited to see his life unfold, and feel so blessed to be a part of it!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

So true...

Saw this on facebook...

I may blow it up, frame it and hang it on my living room wall.  Right over the pencil drawing of a "friendly tiger" that Berean so artistically created...

Monday, April 1, 2013

Homeschooling Musings

I have been thinking a lot about homeschooling.

Actually, I have just been thinking a lot.  I have been reading a book on parenting, so I have been reflecting on parenting.  I have been reading a book about marriage, so I have been reflecting on marriage.  I have been working on photo books for my children, so I have been reminiscing about them and about how fast life moves. I have been reading a book about finances, so I have been thinking about money.  I am reading a book about organizing, so I was thinking about organizing (that is until the woman told me that I shouldn't have a junk drawer, at which point I decided that she was no longer of any use to me).

But I also have been homeschooling, and so I constantly think about it.  I have a good friend, one of those friendships that you fall into because of your kids- but then it turns into to an actual friendship instead of just chit chat during playdates.  I have a lot of friends that are very guarded, very introverted and secretive.  And I have no problem with that at all, but I am a pretty open person (at least to a point) and it is fun to have someone to talk to about all kinds of stuff.

Stuff that I casually reference to Noah only to have him say, "you actually talked about that?!"

Wow, I am getting off track here.  My friend and I both homeschool and we talk a lot about strategies and pros and cons.  Most recently we were talking about the merits of not homeschooling your children, and getting to spend your stay-at-home mom days working out, drinking lattes with friends, making dinner, going grocery shopping, and cleaning your house so that when the kids get home from school you can just focus on them.
Sometimes that sounds really nice.  The day after our conversation I read this article about homeschooling.
 Reading it solidified what I already know, but sometimes question.  This is what is best for us.

Today, when the beautiful spring sun was finally shining, the kids got to go out after they finished their school and bask in the sun.  Earlier they got to have swimming lessons, and play wiffle ball at homeschool gym.  Soon it will be warm enough to have school on the deck, and to go see if we can spot bird nests in the woods.

We worked hard all fall and winter, and now we get to reap the benefits and enjoy the spring.

A couple of weeks ago we did standardized testing.  Oh what a stressful thing that is.  For me more than them.  I want them to do well, because I feel that it reflects on me and on my teaching.  And it does, at least in part.

But this is what has been on my mind the most: yes, it is important for them to be learning, and growing and getting smarter.  Yes, I want them to do well on their standardized testing but I need to let go of  some of that "do they measure up to the kids in school"? anxiety .

Why?  Because the reason that we are homeschooling is because we don't buy into the educational system in our country.  We don't believe it is turning out the thinkers, the questioners, the well rounded individuals that we want our kids to be.  Quite frankly, I don't want my kids to be "as smart" or "as talented" or "as academic" as the kids "at school".  That is not the measuring stick that I want to use.

Instead I want to be asking these questions: Are they daily, weekly, monthly making progress academically?  Are they curious and always learning about the world around them?  Do they have a variety of skills and interests?  Are they growing spiritually?  Are they growing in character?  Do they have a good work ethic?  Can they finish what they start?  Do they make goals and meet them?  Can they follow instructions?  Do they know how to obey? Are they well rested?  Do they have free time to pursue their own interests? 

We are not the public school.  We are not the private school.

We are OUR school.

And because of that, our goals will be different.  They will be tailored to each kid, they will be chosen for our situation.

And I am going to try to stop trying to be a mini "traditional school".

Because that is one thing that we are not.