Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Valentines for Dudes

I have to apologize up front for the lousy phone pics. I was in a hurry, trying to get out of the house, to my truck where the boys were waiting, and on to our homeschool group's Valentine skate party.

I was in such a hurry that I forgot my keys and purse as I slammed the locked front door shut behind me.  Climbing through a window was not on my to-do list for that day but I did it (so the boys wouldn't see their after-party surprise) and we still managed to make it to the party on time!  Yay us!

So my awesome husband surprised me with a dozen peach roses (a tradition for us), some sugar-free chocolates, and a tear-jerking card on Friday morning. 

That prompted my 10 year old to ask me what I planned on giving the hubs in return. At first, I tried to explain that I generally don't get the hubs a gift (unless you count the mega-large bag of peanut M&m's as a thoughtful, loving gift). 

Then he asked if I had bought them (the boys) anything.  I dodged the question because I hadn't really planned on it but the wheels were turning. 

What do you get a bunch of guys for Valentine's Day?! 

As I browsed the isles of Walmart later that morning, it hit me. What speaks love and adoration to a guy better than a movie night with popcorn, pop rocks, and root beer in glass bottles?!?!?!

I found the CUTE microwave popcorn tubs and added other fun yummies. I put a family movie in Daddy's bucket and BOOM! 

Happy Valentine's Day to my guys!! 

They loved them!  Armed with their own bucket of popcorn, snacks, and night was a HIT!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Science Fair

Two of my boys participated in our homeschool group's science fair this year. We kept it simple by picking what we were currently studying as a topic. We were learning all about the three states of matter, and so the boys picked this super cool snowman experiment.
Shortly after deciding on the experiment, Kaleb started singing "do you want to melt a snowman?" and suddenly realized he had the name for his presentation. :) I asked if he would sing his version to the judges....he declined. Ha!
I found all of the ideas and printables on Pinterest. Here is a link to my Pinterest board.
Supplies used for experiment:
large jar or bowl
heat source
(We chose the fireplace because it's winter time here so the great outdoors or sunny window didn't help much.)
We filled balloons with water and froze them overnight. Cut the balloons off of the frozen ice and assembled ice into a snowman. I shaved off the tops and bottoms to create a flat surface. Then we placed our snowman in a large jar, and placed in front of the fire.
The boys observed the snowman throughout the day.  Kaleb, being older, followed the scientific method and made a timeline to add to his board. Drake filled in a First, Next, Last paper  which acted as the scientific method (we did discuss this as a group) and added a cut and paste page (found on Pinterest but I don't have the link) to show pictures of different states of matter. After observing the snowman melt all day, we then poured him into a pot and watched him become a gas.
We also did a fun craft to show atoms in the three states of matter, and discussed the freezing/melting and boiling/condensation points of water.
Both boys rocked their science fair presentations!! Parents were asked to leave during judging...I was a little anxious about leaving Drake. This was his first time so he was a little (a lot!) nervous. The judges said he did fabulous after just a little prompting and received a great score.  Kaleb also did a fabulous job and won 1st place in his age division!!
We celebrated with lunch and came home for one final matter experiment. What happens when you pour root beer (a liquid) over ice cream (a solid)? It forms a yummy bubbly gas!!!  (And everyone wins!!!)
Drake and Kaleb with their snowman
Enjoying the warm fire

Drake's participation ribbon!

1st place in his age group

Root Beer Float Science!

Sunday, February 8, 2015

I am a dreamer.

So I had a moment this weekend.

And I realized something about myself that was pretty revealing. Some of you will read this and think "that mama is full of crazy!" And then others will simply smile and nod....maybe even cry a little (or a lot!) if you can relate. The amazing part? Both responses are appropriate and honest.

In this world, there are doers and dreamers. With various shades and combinations of each, of course, but still some distinct differences.

I am a dreamer. And I've always wanted to be a doer. I love organized people with all their systems and plans. I admire that....try to be like that. Even dream about being a doer.

My reality, however, is that I am not.

In the middle of making shopping plans with the hubs...after a busy week filled with illness, co-op enrollment, basketball, tasks, to-do lists, a new job for the hubs that takes more time away from the house, stress of recovering from a layoff, bills piling up, money dwindling down, that to do list growing and growing and growing, schoolwork and life that, of course, goes on and on whether we're following along well or not...I broke down. Flipped out. Lost it. And had no idea why.

So I just stopped moving. And started crying. Some people thrive on the fast lane. I don't. Some people are happy when they are constantly doing something. I'm not. 

The hubs (being a doer by the way) whisked me away to Wal-Mart and bought me chocolate and a cherry coke. And let me vent.

And vent. And vent. To his credit, he let me go on for quite a while. He's a good man and knows when his girl needs to let it ALL out.

So we came home and I went to the bathroom. For some quiet time. Breathed in. Breathed out. Closed my eyes. Relaxed. And pondered lazy thoughts:

I am surrounded by doers. My husband is my very own doer. We work well together for the most part. I dream it up and he makes it happen. Sometimes though he'll be ready to make things happen but I'm not done dreaming yet. I force myself to follow along...trying to keep up but I just can't focus. I'm not ready to DO. I want to finish the DREAM.

My oldest son is a doer. He and I helped with some tornado relief last year. One of the most moving experiences of my life. I stepped out of the truck into a completely destroyed town and just turned circles to take it all in...the devastation, the heartache, the peace, the still, the determination, the hard work of others, the outstretched hands, the hugs, the smiles, the gratitude. Just taking it all in. Feeling. I turned to find my teenager. He was already working. He immediately jumped off the truck and went right to the person in charge. "What can I do?"

Many of the people I am around on a daily basis are doers.

...Not all though.

While I was once again sharing this with my husband in the kitchen, my 2nd to youngest looked up at me with his eyes half closed and said quietly, "Mom, I'm a dreamer." Yes, you are, sweet child....yes, you are. :)  So far, my only dreamer out of the top four. Not quite sure where the toddler falls yet.

I'm not saying dreamers can't do and doers can't dream. They can and do. All the time. And there are some who can amazingly balance both doing and dreaming at the same time.

But dreamers need time to dream. To ponder. To sit back and think of silly things. Crazy things. Little things. Grand things. Good things. Not-so-good things. Happy things. Sad things.

Which brings me back to my week. Doers do and dreamers dream.

Sometimes...Dreamers get caught up in the busy-ness of the doers. They get pushed along, forced forward when they aren't quite ready. They aren't given time to dream. Anxiety builds. And the dam breaks.

I didn't get time to dream this week. Just a few moments to relax and refocus. Didn't happen. So I had my little fit and then sat in the bathroom to figure it out.

And that's when I realized that I am a dreamer. Not a doer. I can admire my friend's super crazy organizational skills all day long but that's not me.

My house isn't show model clean...ever. My to-do lists have more doodles and color than items to check off. I do NOT thrive on planning As hard as I try, not everything has a place in my home.  I'm more worried about fitting in crafts and fun reading and scrapbooking and fairy gardening into my day than I am about washing the dishes and folding the laundry pile and planning my week.

I adore those who have that kind of skill and desire. I just don't have it in me. It's not me.

And that's ok.

Because the amazing thing is that we need both dreamers AND doers. We all have a place and purpose. I can be me and you can be you and it can be good. We can each use our talents to bless others in our own way. And nobody has to feel less than anyone else.

Maybe you guys all knew that. Maybe I'm late to the game. I don't know. Thankfully, though, I now have a plan. The hubs knows. I know. And we can work together even better than before with greater knowledge of how the other feels. I can now also work better with all those other doers around me, and maybe help them see my side of things. 

More than anything, though, I can stop comparing myself to the doers in my life. I'm ok just how I am. And you are ok just how you are. :)

By the way...while I was going on and on about all of this to the hubs, he stopped me at one point and started singing to me:

That's true love, right? He gets me. Ha! He is the coolest doer....ever!! :) 

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Teach Them Diligently Convention

It's been almost two weeks since the convention....and I'm still reeling from some of the information.
I'll admit.  I was desperate. Stressed out. Burned out. Without a clue as to how I'd manage this next school year.  This past year was awful. Horrible. No good. And very bad.
We never got into a groove. So many distractions (mostly from the toddler). It was hard and uncomfortable and miserable.
And we didn't get near enough accomplished (which is why we're STILL working on a few things...).
I needed some refreshment, encouragement, and mostly...ideas for making this thing work! My goal was to hopefully gain some wisdom in schooling with a toddler. That's really all I wanted. The rest would just be one big ole bonus.  I attended all of the *boy* related sessions that I could. Then all of large family and preschooler sessions. And in the midst of all the excitement, I allowed God to lead me to a few sessions that I never even considered....and was blessed immensely.
A few of my favorite speakers who I had planned to hear.
  •  the Youngs from Raising Real Men. Those two work so well together and are so engaging. I have two sisters. No brothers. Mostly female cousins. I'll admit....boys sometimes scare and stupefy me. I'm always asking the hubs, "is that normal for a boy?" To which he always replies, "yes."  I saw a lot of my boys in the Young's conversations about their own boys. Whew....maybe they are normal. ;) 
  • Amy Roberts from Raising Arrows. She gave some awesome advice on how to handle large family homeschooling. Her session was practical (which was exactly what I needed) and encouraging.
  • Kendra Fletcher from Preschoolers and Peace. This is the session that gave me some confidence and rekindled the excitement of homeschooling for me. I may or may not have shed some tears in her session! So funny though....the ideas she gave were not foreign to me. Back when Drake was the toddler, we used several. And it worked! And it was fun! I had forgotten so much of what it was like having a toddler and just felt so overwhelmed with it all. This session was the greatest blessing and I can't wait to share how her ideas work in our home. Kendra really motivated me to get back on the right track.
  • Carol Barnier from Sizzle Bop. Oh my gosh. Well, if anything, you can't sit in one of her sessions without laughing.  She was amazing as well. Some awesome tools for mom of an ADHD child.
And then the surprises. I didn't plan on attending these sessions but SO glad I did!
  • Megan Scheibner from Character Health.  Sitting in her session was like resting on a hammock in the breeze. So gentle and soft. I didn't realize I needed someone to speak to me in that way. I'm a boy mama...we're generally loud and crazy in our home. Megan's tone and demeanor was like a soothing balm to my soul.  Her words, ideas, and encouragement were bonus...and well worth the time spent. I learned so much from her and left the session wanting to hear I bought her books. All of them. Ha!
  • Dennis Gundersen from Grace and Truth Books. I'll didn't start off well and I was wondering if I should just take a *bathroom break* to get out of there. Then I really started listening and found some gems. Awesome stuff, really.
  • Jon Dunagan from Harvest Ministry. I didn't take any notes in his session. I was too busy just sitting back, relaxing, and listening to him talk. He's funny and engaging. Just really boosted my confidence.
  • Zan Tyler from Apologia. Another soft-spoken lady who eased my soul....about high school. In the middle of my what-do-I-do-with-the-toddler panic, I didn't have one thought about what high school session would be available. I just happened to finish my shopping right before this session and thought "oh, a session on high school? Eh, why not?" Oh my stars. Awesome. Encouraging. Helpful. And now I'm excited about high school!!
And...oh the conversations on the car ride to and from Dallas, in the hotel room, over meals. So thankful for my friends. From silly to serious, all of it touched my heart. That girl time was even more encouraging and uplifting than the whole convention. Special time spent walking the isles of curriculum displays and sharing our hearts. These are my people. And I love them.
So much good stuff!  And I needed all of it!! Three days totally changed the outlook I had all year long about homeschooling.  So thankful!

Most of the speakers are authors, and I highly recommend their books. I picked up many of them at the convention. Also worth mentioning here is Debra Bell's Ultimate Guide to Homeschooling book. Fabulous!

Convention also helped me change a lot of our curriculum. I have a couple things left on my list to purchase, and, hopefully later this week, I'll be able to start planning the year. I can't wait to share what we are doing differently in the coming school year! 

Hope everyone is having a great summer!!

Sunday, June 29, 2014

My FAVORITE planner!

I attended the Teach Them Diligently convention last week....and it was AHHH-mazing!!  I'm working on that post but I had to share my excitement.

The fam and I went to Mardel last summer. I was looking for Explode the Code workbooks and a couple other things. Mardel is my all time FAVE store. I can easily browse for a couple hours in there. 

So while browsing, I found the 2013-2014 A Simple Plan planner. Fell in LOVE. And I was in need of a new planner. was on sale.  BONUS!

Grabbed it. Took it home. And started planning my year. LOVED my planner all year long and waited patiently for the new 2014-2015 planner to come out.

Then I missed the sale at Mardel.

I had determined I would just have to pay full price for it, even though I can't stand to pay full price for anything! (It's only $19.99...which is a GREAT deal anyway!)

I found out Mardel was going to be at the TTD convention so I impatiently waited...hoping maybe it would be on sale again.

IT WAS!! YAY!! Isn't it pretty?!

While I'm sharing my excitement over my new planner, I thought I'd also share something I do a little differently with it.  Last year I started out by writing all the subjects down the side like the suggestion. I quickly realized that with four school-age kids and so many different subjects, it wouldn't all fit. 

I experimented a little and came up with this solution.  I list their names down the side as well as a *Together* spot (things the middles do together like history and science). Each child then has six spots for their subjects. I still have to combine a couple of things like Language Arts for Nathan but I have plenty of room to fill in all of their subjects.

I love that there is just enough room for all five boys and a *Together*!! 

Here is an example of how I list the subjects. Now I can just put the lesson or page numbers on each day across the week. 

I LOVE these pockets on the inside front and back covers! Sturdy enough to hold my comp notebook with all my notes for the year!

If you want to check out the planner and see inside pages, go HERE!!

Can't wait to share my TTD experience!!  Have an AWESOME week!!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Hi y'all!

It's been a loooong while since I've posted! Over a half year.  YIKES!!

Things didn't go so well for us this past school year. We're still working on things that should have been finished late April/early May! To say I've been overwhelmed is an understatement.

I burned plum out somewhere around Christmas and never recovered. It wasn't one big thing in particular but a collection of many small things...that ran over me like a colony of ants attacking an unfinished apple on a picnic blanket.

I  never recovered but I kept plugging away, not trying to play catch up...just trying to not fall farther and farther behind. Fun stuff was neglected. The kindergartener's schoolwork was neglected. The laundry and housework were neglected. *sigh*

Around January or February, I jokingly told the ladies in our women's bible study group that I would be happy if we just finished this school year the day before next school year. *sigh* Oh how close that joke is to becoming truth...

On top of that, I've stayed on the injured list in one form or another pretty much since the week after I finished my first half marathon. Very little running (which is my stress release).

We did have some fun moments! I promise! It wasn't all dark and dreary. We had plenty of bright and shiny moments.  Co-op classes, games, sports, play dates, field trips.

Christmas parties!!


His first year!
Kindergarten Graduation!!!

New Driver!!!
a LOT of baseball! Three teams this year!!!

And a lot of other fun stuff. The school year wasn't a total bummer.


I'm looking forward to a much more productive and fun 2014-15 school year.....if we can ever get out of this one! Ha!

I am super excited about the encouragement and support I will surely get this week as I join a few of my homeschool mama friends on a trip to the Dallas Teach Them Diligently convention.  YAY!!!! 
Can't wait to sit and listen to speakers like Hal and Melanie Young from Raising Real Men, Brooke from MOB Society, Amy Robers from Raising Arrows, and so many more!

Three days of just soaking up some love and encouragement and inspiration....with some of my fave mamas. My heart needs this SO much!! Even my boys are excited for me. :)

I hope to come back fired up, ready to knock out the remainder of this school year, and start planning next school year.

And I hope to keep up a little more with this blog!  I like the accountability it brings....who knows who all reads this. Eeek! I need to bring my A game and actually accomplish something, lest all two of you think I'm a major slacker. I like having weekly notes of what we've done. It's encouraging to look back and see how far we've come in our school year...and nice to revisit fun memories.  And I feel more creative. When I blog, I tend to read others' blogs and find inspiration.

We'll see how it goes. Hopefully I can get back into the blogging habit.

.....I'm kind of a major slacker though. ;)

Happy Summer!!!

Monday, September 16, 2013

I ran 10 miles yesterday.

That is the craziest thing for me to say/type.  It's still a little surreal for me, I think...even though my legs are quick to remind me today that it, in fact, did happen.

When I started this 1/2 marathon training program back in July, ten miles seemed super far away and an impossible task. 

I remember running our usual route one Saturday.  It was my 1st day of 1/2 training.  I was suppose to run five miles that day.  I just remember thinking how impossible that five miles felt and wondering how in the world I was ever going to accomplish 13.1 if five was so hard.

Before my 1st 10 miler.

I know I've mentioned this before in previous running running time is my Jesus time.  It's the time when I can have alone time with Jesus.  My day is filled {exactly as I wished} with my kids' needs and wants.  My night is interrupted by a baby who doesn't sleep through the night yet.  Trying to find alone time is nearly impossible.  Thankfully running covers my physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual is my alone time and as my training continues, my alone time with Jesus grows.

So this particular day, I decided to just let God take control of my training.  I determined that anything over my usual 5K would not be my own doing.  I could easily run a 5K, but I had tried so many times before to run more than that and train for a 1/2...only to injure myself or just give up.  I've never been able to do it on my own.

I told God that if he would just help me get through this training and this race that I've committed to doing, I would give all the glory of my success to Him.  I need Him to run with me and push me to accomplish my goal. Otherwise...I'll just give up.

That first five miles was amazing....and all the conviction I needed to know that I needed to invite Jesus to run with me every time I hit the pavement.

Yesterday, two months after that 5 mile run, I did something I never thought I would ever do.  I ran 10 miles.  That's double digits, y'all.  That's just over two hours {for slowpoke me}.

What?! Two hours! Ten miles! I went from one small town, through another, to the city limits of yet another town, and back again in one big TEN MILE loop! I ran in three different towns yesterday! I *went to town* on my feet!


Running is such an emotional experience for me. I cry about it all the time...before, during, after. Just thinking about how *far* emotionally running has brought me.  I cried at mile 7 when I realized I only had a 5K left to finish.  I cried at 9.75 miles when I realized that I was actually going to make it...and when I finished, I was only just 5K away from running a 1/2. I cried on the way home, thinking about how far I've made it so far.

This time, last fall, I was a hot mess.  I've shared this story before...Joshua was just a few months old, I was getting very little sleep, the hubs was working out of town, I had lost a couple of things that were super important to me, I was depressed, angry, bitter...and I couldn't run to save my life.  I lost everything I had built up before my pregnancy.  I could barely go a half mile down the road before I gave up and cried my way home. 

I wanted to bad to run but I just couldn't.  I had all these anger issues welling up inside of me.  And I started to hate running.

Thankfully, the Run for God program was put in front of me.  And thankfully I was put in charge of leading the group...because I can tell you, had I not been one of the group leaders, responsible for showing up and leading these other people on their own running journey, I would have quit within the first couple of weeks.

As it was, I withdrew and basically turned the group over to the hubs who was the other leader.  I wanted nothing to do with it. I fought it for weeks.  I wanted to stay angry and wallow in my self-pity and depression, but this program just wouldn't allow it. 

Having to stick with this program drug me out of anger, bitterness, depression.  All of it.  I had to face it and deal with it so I could continue running.

As the weight of this junk I was holding on to began to fall off, my love of running started to come back.  I was able to go those short distances without physical and emotional pain.

Yesterday was exactly one year and one week since that first day of Run for God.  Bo and I are leading two Run for God groups this fall, and I'm all in this time.  I believe in this program so much now. 

....and yesterday.  I ran 10 miles.  I went from hating life and running and everything in general to running and believing again.

Jesus runs with me every time I go out.  He is my running partner.  He never disappoints...always shows up and always encourages. This is all HIM.  He has gotten me this far and I know He will continue to push me toward my 1st 1/2 marathon in less than two months.

This half marathon training has reminded me that we only need to be willing to do the possible, and leave the impossible to God.  For me, running a half is an impossible task.  Turning my training over to Him makes it possible. 

I'm so thankful.  I just can't even begin to express how thankful I am to my Jesus who cares so much about me that He would make my small dream of running a reality. 

It's a wonderful lesson that ALL things...big or small, important or not-so-important...are possible through Jesus Christ.  If it's a big deal to us, it's a big deal to Him. 

And if He is so interested in making our little dreams come true, how much more interested is he in the BIG dreams of our world?   If all it took to make big changes in our world was to step out in faith and say "God, I'm going to do what I can and I know you'll show up to use that in a HUGE way."

After my 10 mile run.