Thursday, January 30, 2014

keeping on

I’m not gonna lie, or sugar coat it. 

This week has been hard.

Like I want to give up-throw in the towel-wash my hands of it-hard

This season of homeschooling is excruciatingly long and difficult and I am really struggling to keep putting one foot in front of the other and keep on trucking.  I am bone weary of the constant non-changing issues that have ruled over my home education efforts for the last three school years.  The constant rudeness, the complaining, the bad attitudes, the entitlement affirming temper-tantrums, and the flat out meanness that one of my children insists on sharing with us day in and day out. 

No matter the consistency, the love, the endurance, no change takes place.

and I am tired.

I could really use a fresh perspective and a new set of eyes in which to look through.  I need a glimpse or even the tiniest bite of fruit to boost my confidence that all of this is worth it.  A little bit of understanding why I’ve been called to this role and why I keep having to fill it, even as I so faithfully prove I’m lousy at it.

I read once that this stage of the parenting game that I am in is best described as the Age of Endurance. The race we are not to quit because the end is just around the bend even if we can’t see it. The days are long, but the years are quick.

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9
I believe God for His promises and I trust that He will faithfully provide.  But I am feeling particularly bewildered and alone in the process.  I want so much for my kids to know how dearly they are loved. I want for them to have memories, good ones, the kind that make them smile.  I want them to have strong character, a sense for who they are, and whose they are.

In the scheme of it all, I care less about what they know from a school book and more about the kind of person they are becoming.  I want to see them for the creativity that they share, the smiles on their faces, and the contentment in their hearts for all that they have been given.  So when my goals and ideals are so blatantly missed, I can’t help but feel a complete failure. The battle is proving to be so hard and I have grown so weary, that I struggle to see all the fruit in my children and instead focus on the weeds. 

We all have weeds.  And who needs a mom looking at their weeds instead of cultivating their fruit?

There is going to be some changes in our homeschool.  You may notice it in my future posts that things seem different, and that’s because they are.  My prayer and my hope is that this is for a short time with a quick lesson and a change of heart.  If there is one thing I have learned though, I am not in the business of changing hearts.  Only the Spirit can do that work. Please understand that we are doing what we can to nurture each of our children the way we feel led to do and that there has been much discussion, prayer, and heartbreak over it.  I offer no wisdom, no answers for my situation.  But I thought I’d share in case you ever felt the same.  Maybe you could know that you are not alone.  Maybe you can share what has encouraged you.  Maybe you could join me in praying….

Mommy Moments2

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

snow school day

Because we could, we declared today a snow school day.


We had lessons in:















and sportsmanship.


We fostered friendship…










and memories.

I could use a few more of these kind of days!

Mommy Moments2

Monday, January 20, 2014

10 Books


I’m halfway through with my enormous stack of library books. 

It figures that every time I finally get around to putting a few books on hold, that they all come in at the same time.  Which means I’m up late at night trying to finish them all.  Truth be told, there is nothing better for this worn-down momma, than a little time to herself, lost in a good book.  It’s definitely my favorite way to recharge. 

I thought it would be fun to share what I’ve been reading, and what the kids and I are reading together.  Here are the last 10 books we’ve read, just in case you are looking for something new to read:

1.)  The Secret Keeper (Kate Morton)

The Secret Keeper

Oh how I loved this book!  I love a good historical romance, and this one was full of secrets that kept me guessing until the very last.  It flashes between modern day and WWII, telling the story from four different perspectives, and unraveling the family’s history in such a way that keeps you turning the pages well into the wee hours of the morning.  A great read!

2.)  The House at Riverton (Kate Morton)

The House at Riverton

Another Kate Morton book I finished recently.  This one is during WWI and tells the story of a housemaid at a prominent estate in England.  It was almost at times like reading Downton Abby, which if you are like me, captivated me completely.  I love the way that Morton writes; full of mystery and family secrets. 

3.) Garden Spells (Sarah Addison Allen)

Garden Spells

This was a book I found on the “Top Librarian Picks” shelf at our library.  I devoured it in a day and then regretted that I didn’t savor it a bit more.  It was fantastically magical and modern and romantic, like nothing I’ve ever read before.  I loved it and ended up reading through the rest of her books the following week.  It’s a nice quick easy read and I hope someday they make a movie out of it!

4.) The Peach Keeper (Sarah Addison Allen)

The Peach Keeper

I really enjoyed this book.  I loved the mystery and secrets written in that same magical and romantic style that Sarah Addison Allen writes.  It’s a quick read too, easy to finish in a couple of evenings if you forgo the TV reruns.  I also read this one and this one which were both fun reads.

The Sugar Queen
The Girl Who Chased The Moon

5.)  The Mission of Motherhood (Sally Clarkson)

The Mission of Motherhood

Oh Sally.  She has a way with words, encouraging you just like you are sitting right with her.  I loved this look at Motherhood through the lens of a mission field, giving priority to the tasks that sometimes feel so difficult and tiring.  Some great confirmation that what I am doing now matters, even the mundane.

6.)  Desperate, Hope For the Mom Who Needs To Breathe (Sally Clarkson & Sarah Mae)


I really wish I had read this book like five years ago.  I really really needed it then.  It still very much applies now, but as the kids have gotten older, a lot of the desperation has (thankfully) dissipated.  This book is written from both perspectives, the mom in the trenches, weary and worn, and the mom on the other side of it, sharing her wisdom and experience in a way that comforts.  I highly recommend it to new mothers and moms in very busy seasons.  It has really great practical advice.

7.)  Give Them Grace (Elyse Fitzpatrick)

While I liked the idea of this book, it just didn’t work for me.  It’s not practical to give a long drawn out lecture about God’s grace to my four year old when she misbehaves, or even my 9 year old for that matter.  I know for our kids, after the first 10 words or so, their eyes start glazing over and rolling back while their heads start singing the theme song to Sponge Bob Square Pants.  If you are a fan of Elyse or have older kids who love long talks, then this may be the book for you.  Otherwise, I’d probably pass.

For the Kids:

8.)  Far Flung Adventures of Hugo Pepper (Paul Stewart)

Hugo Pepper

Love Love Loved this fun book!  It took us a bit to get through it because we were on Christmas Break for a bit in the middle of it.  There are great pictures and interesting characters, but the story winds around a bit.  I’d recommend it as a read aloud for maybe 2nd grade and up.  Elaina had a hard time following it at times, because the language is advanced and very descriptive.

9.)  Pippi Longstocking (Astrid Lindgren)


This book is fun and quick.  Next time I’ll check out the book with all the illustrations in it though.  All the kids were giggling at how crazy Pippi is.  And I think Elaina is wondering if SHE can live alone like Pippi, you know without all the rules and chores and her very own horse.  Winking smile

10.)  Judy Moody (Megan McDonald)

Judy Moody

Elaina checked out the movie a few weeks ago and fell in love with it, so I picked up the book to try out and see if it would motivate her to read.  The book is cute but I think really lacks depth for a strong read aloud.  Probably better suited for an early chapter book reader to read alone.

Next up for me is The Count of Monte Christo (Alexandre Dumas) which I’m going to have to give a fair amount of time to finish. The unabridged version I picked up is over 1400 pages!  Yikes.  I also have The Snow Child (Eowyn Ivey), and two more Kate Morton Novels, The Distant Hours, and The Forgotten Garden.

What are you reading? I’d love suggestions!

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Peek at our Week (the pogo stick, broken glasses, and too much cooking)

Pogo sticks are pretty fun.

And funny.  We spent the week watching the older three kids try to master this new toy.  And cracking up with their funny faces and wobbly legs.  (Thanks Joanna for sharing!)



Truth be told, this was a hard week, and the pogo stick was the only fun part of it.  The cold weather kept the kids inside and me a bit cranky with few breaks from the constant noise and sibling squabbles. 

I get so weary of playing referee that I feel like I come up with these crazy rules just to avoid sibling conflict.  That doesn’t make life very fun for the kids sometimes, but it’s hard to keep giving chance after chance for the same screaming result.  Something's gotta give…


We kept a fairly light school schedule and focused on the basics.  Both of the boys are done with their math books and ready to move up to the next grade.  I’m pretty freaked out about teaching 4th grade math honestly.  This will be the first time I’ve had to buy the Teachers Manuel for anything in our homeschool and it makes me a bit peeved to have to pay so much money for it.  At least it’ll be used four times right?


We are still using our morning Journal time for various language arts activities and I really like the variety and spontaneity of it.  I’m writing down all of the ideas I come up with so hopefully I can share them at the end of the school year.


The kids did the Sylvester and the Magic Pebble Unit that I put together for them and now we are onto Giraffes Can’t Dance.  I’ll be sharing them both soon.


I allowed the girls quite a few open ended crafts and ended up with a big glitter glue mess involving the cat, the kitchen floors, and a pretty dress.  We’ve banned the use of glitter glue for a while, even though Duck sure does look pretty with his sparkly tail.


Olivia has moved on to letter K in her preschool adventures.  She is begging for more and more school and I just can’t keep enough for her to do.  I made her a Kangaroo Printable pack and that helped some.  I’m totally amazed at her recollection of the letters she has learned and she is slowly getting the phonetic portion down.  Saul and I are both wondering if she will jump into reading as easily as Nate did.



My stapler broke this week which is a real bummer.  You never realize how much you use something until you are without it.

Nate confessed to stepping on his glasses and breaking them.  He handed over the $10 co-pay to replace them before we even asked him to, knowing full well that they should’ve never been in a place that he could step on them (and also from experience last spring when he did the same thing.)  Of course that made us so proud we felt guilty about taking the money, but isn’t that the point?  To teach them these lessons while the cost is low and not very painful?  ugh….parenting is so hard…


It seemed like I spent way too much time in the kitchen this week.  I made Manicotti, BBQ Chicken Sandwiches, Sausage and Potatoes, and Mexican Lasagna.  The kids were begging for dessert and bread so that kept me busy in the afternoons when I’d really rather be reading a good book.  Who knew kids could be so hungry?  Winking smile


I’m hoping this next week is smoother.  The weather is supposed to warm up and there is nothing like some good ol sunshine to perk up a dreary winter mood.

Peek at our Week