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The Past Two Weeks In Pictures

It’s been an eventful two weeks that have kept me from the blog! The week I spent preparing The Week of Yes post was full, and now this past week was full too! Luckily, (for the blog) this week has been less than eventful, so I’m able to catch up. (Week, week, week, week. Is there another word for week!? Haha!)

We started off the weekend two weeks ago coming out of my first time at Fifth Quarter– an event our church hosts to give kids something to do after football games on Fridays and to spread the love of Christ. It was one of THE most humbling experiences I’ve ever had.

Depending on where you’re from you may or may not understand the seriousness of football season in a small town. I never did until my senior year of high school when I met Herman and began going to his games. After the first game, I felt like a total girlfriend failure. I sat in the stands conversing with other girls, and having a good ol’ time…. until he started asking me hard questions like, “did you see how many sacks I got this game?” Uh…. sure did, honey. (NOPE!) After that, I decided I wouldn’t be a horrible girlfriend anymore and pay attention. Here’s a picture of Herman in his high school football days with his best friend. You’re welcome.

Herman and Tyler

Anyway, Fifth Quarter made me realize my dislike for teen ministry isn’t so much of a dislike and more of an apprehension. I MC’d and judged some games and a rap battle that I fail miserably at when I tried to “drop some heat.” I also got to use the word “salty” in context multiple times, #YOLO. I was in awe (like, always) of Gods ability to lead the way and not only allow me to have the confidence to stand on a stage in front of 50 middle school and high schoolers but to also enjoy what I was doing while knowing that (hopefully) the gospel was reaching them.

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The kids listening to the message
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Emma checking teens in with Amie

 

Fifth Quarter ended at midnight and I went home and sewed until 2:00 a.m. (why do I have to procrastinate!?) to finish up birthday presents for TWO, yes two, birthday parties we had on Saturday. So, bright and early Saturday we went into Taylor to get the boys haircut– worst cuts they’ve had in a long time, by the way– and then headed to Mansfield Dam for the first party. (If you’ve not been there, go.) Sweet Dejah turned one, one day before our Emma Faye. My kids had so much fun until the end when I broke the golden rule for our Week of Yes and told them no. You can read all about how I broke their little hearts at that link^. The second party we went to was for my cousin’s son Ashton. He’s seriously the cutest thing ever, and the party was dino-myte. Yeah, I said that. We got home before dark but were pooped. Emma didn’t sleep and was super cranky, so we only made it to service on Sunday, and skipped Sunday School, like the hoodlums we are.

Tuesday the kids made me the sweetest cake. One of them mentioned that they didn’t get me a cake for my birthday, so they made me one right then and there. It consisted of melted chocolate sprinkled with coconut and frozen until firm. Um, can I just say that it was the BOMB! I love Mounds and Almond Joy, and it was a very good copy-cat! Plus, it was topped with dinosaurs from Ashton’s party, win!

Fun fact: Ryder took almost every dinosaur off of the cutely decorated cupcakes (after cake was served) and was playing with them. When I tried to tell him to put them back I was informed he licked the icing off the bottom of each one, and could keep them. Oops…
Dinosaur birthday cake
The “cake” the kids made for my birthday, a month late. 😉

Wednesday we hydro-dipped pumpkins at WNL (our weekly kids’ bible study), and then the kids wanted to come home and hydro-dip EVERYTHING. So we dubbed Thursday a Slime making, hydro-dipping, Halloween-ing day! We made fluffy slime and clear slime. Lylahs fluffy slime (R.I.P) was an epic fail and had her melting down on a Facebook Live broadcast Hayden was “hosting.” We deleted it, and shall never talk about it again. HA! We never got to the hydro-dipping, but the kids did get to use the spray paint to spruce up the peeling paint on their bikes and scooters, so it was still a win.

Hayden, Ella, Lylah, and Ryder before making slime
The kids with all of their slime supplies

 

emmawagon

Friday we spent the day at Old Settlers Park in Round Rock. It’s so beautiful there, and it was a perfect 80*. We went walking on their trail (and off the path) and played at their new All Abilities Park, and THEN we went home, and Herman kept all of the kids (no shock, there) PLUS EMMA (You can gasp, now) while I went to the grocery store.

He brought home a new bike for Ella, so they went on a bike ride with Emma in tow while I snuck off to the store. It was glorious, and nerve-wracking all at the same time. I was so sure  Herman would call begging me to hurry because she couldn’t hang without me (and the ability to nurse on a whim) but it never came!

Also, *Que Ella saying her throat hurt.*

 

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Hey, Ly!
girls with their troop
The girls with their troop

Saturday the girls participated in a parade with their Girl Scouts Troop and then we walked through the Hutto Olde Times Day Festival. I wanted so badly to stay and “play” but when I sat in a shady spot to nurse the baby Ryder sat with me instead of getting shaved ice, and I noticed his eyes looked a little glossy. Sure enough, he was burning up. Some cold water bottles and shaved ice held him over while we made our way out. He waited out Hayden using the (ridiculously priced) amusement park tickets we bought so he could ride in the shade with me, and then we headed home, where, Emma started to get fussy.

If you’re keeping count, that’s 3 out of 4 kids sick in our house. Sunday was a super lazy day of desperately trying to keep high fevers down, as well as liquids. Then, Monday, Lylah also jumped on the fever wagon. No one had a temperature this morning, but we’re still doing lots of couch naps.

Sleeping Lylah
Sleeping Lylah
Sleeping Ella
Ella, couch sleeping
Hayden
Sleeping Hayden
babies
Bub and Emma

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, that’s the past two weeks in about 1,000 words and 20 pictures… give or take a few. Is that all, you ask? 😉

 

 

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A Week of Yes

A Buzzfeed blogger recently posted a short video about saying “yes” to her children for an entire week. (You can watch the video here, to see where this began.) She is seriously the cutest, ever, so go watch! My sister tagged me in the video, and after I saw that her children requested spaghetti tacos, I was on it like white on rice. Okay, maybe I wasn’t THAT on it, but I did immediately decide that it would be fun to do with the kids. I’m still sad my kids didn’t ask for something strangely awesome for dinner.

If you keep up with our Insta at all, you’d have seen the (almost) daily updates of how A Week of Yes went for us. I actually didn’t think that we would notice much of a difference since we already are kinda “free” (except things like manners, chores and such) so I was interested to see how often I actually said no.

(Side note: my husband didn’t even notice anything was going on until someone else asked him how it was going and then came home and told me, “I did notice you were saying yes more than no.” LOL, well, okay.)

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So, here’s what I learned from our Week of Yes:

  1. It was more work. I could lie and say I didn’t notice too much of a difference in the things we did, but I did. It wasn’t hard work, just more. Like, the first day. We were heading to the grocery store, and the kids asked if we could stop and have a picnic at the park first… so we bought the makings for a picnic and went to the park. They were all hot, sweaty, and needed a five-hour nap when we got back in the car, so we skipped the store. I then had to go to the store later that evening. I wasn’t thrilled about it, but I did get to shop in peace.
  2. Saying yes doesn’t mean you allow your kids to run wild. I frequently updated on our Instagram story about how things were going. I had someone come up to me and say, “so, I heard you’re having a ‘week of yes,’ and you’re just gonna let your kids run around like wild animals.” To be completely fair- it was a teen, so it wasn’t like a grown adult coming up to me and being extra salty (I love when I can use that word in sentences.), but that’s not how it went AT ALL. I didn’t watch them burn things down or hurt each other and cheer them on from the sidelines, I said no. I said “yes” to requests they had, not yes to EVERYTHING they did that week.
  3. Just because something didn’t work out the first time, doesn’t mean it won’t another. I have this horrible habit of saying, “we tried that, and it didn’t work, remember?” During the Week of Yes, I learned that trying things again may yield different results. This seems like a “DUH” right, but with five kids you learn quickly what is a bad idea and what works. The kids asked to have a Master Chef challenge right before dinner one evening. Usually, I tell them to wait until the next day if I have dinner time sneaking up on us. Their challenges are long, make a mess, and they don’t always do the best job of clean up- leaving me to clean the kitchen before making a late dinner. Saying yes proved that just as we learn, so do kids. They had their challenge, and then clean up their mess– they even went as far as mopping the floor. They grow, and they prove Mama wrong.
  4. I genuinely enjoy spending time with my kids. Do they drive me crazy? Um… yes, but most of the things they requested entailed us having fun together as a family. Saying no all of the time prevents me from doing the fun stuff that I would usually call messy, or too much work. Those are the times we have the most fun, and this week reminded me of that.
  5. Kids can understand and adhere to limits. Unschoolers get a bad rap. If you were to ask someone unfamiliar with unschooling what it means, you’d probably get a mix of things like: “wild, unruly, cannot follow the rules, have no limits.” I do sometimes worry that this is what I’m setting my kids up for, but saying yes more showed me my kids do understand and can adhere to limits– both self-proclaimed and parent-given. One of the days we went to the park there was a merry-go-round, and when we got in the van to leave, Ryder threw up everywhere. The older three said they all felt sick but got off and rested before it turned bad. They listened to their bodies without me having to tell them. There was also a day that I had to spend at the church doing some work. We were there from 11:00-8:00 and when we were headed inside I asked (pleaded) that they puh-lease stay in the nursery and not run around making a mess. I said “yes” to a picnic lunch outside, and then we went in for the day. I’m still in awe of how well they did. They only made a mess of the nursery that they cleaned up.
  6. They can handle more freedom than we think. Unschooling has taught me to loosen the reigns, but the past week took it to a whole new level. Hayden has been able to go fishing and explore the woods alone for about a year now, but I’ve not let the girls go. Hayden, Ella, and Lylah went on a nature walk alone last week, and they’re all still here to tell the tale. We had a mini-course on snake safety, staying together, and other relevant things before they left. They came home, happy, muddy, and full of stories. (Disclaimer: we have 50 acres of land for them to explore. They never left our “yard.”)

The kids told me they didn’t notice anything too different about last week except that I was “more fun.” (MOM WIN!!) I learned so much, and I’m even making it a “thing” in our family every couple of months.

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Lylah, Reading, and Running Full Speed

This weekend we celebrated our sweet Lylahs 6th birthday. In our house, this is a milestone birthday. One that means we start working actively towards reading. This is new territory for me because with Hayden and Ella we were using a boxed curriculum or had certain goals we were trying to reach at six, that as unschoolers, are pretty much non-existent. The good I can see clearly in the murky, unknown waters is that Lylah is ready to jump into reading, so following a self-led approach will easy, and a gentle introduction for me into the self-paced, unschooling world of reading. I feel like math and science are so easily obtained organically, and reading is something that needs to be worked at, so, while I have solid feelings on unschooling as our path, I question whether I can actually do as I intend as far as reading is concerned.

We celebrated Lylah with family and friends at our house with a simple party with snacks, cake, NO games, and a BEAUTIFUL fall (Texas fall) day.

Lylah is unique and always allows her difference to shine through, so it was only right that she had a unicorn party! My talented mama made an awesome cake, and Lylah wore her super magical dress with, what she called, glitter hair. (We put glitter in the part of her pig-tails.)

The beginning of this month not only marked Lylahs birthday, but it also brought a new extracurricular into our lives: GIRL SCOUTS! We love our troop (and hope the love us) and I’m so glad we found them. They’re all homeschoolers and close to the girls’ age. It was a great opportunity I’m glad we didn’t miss.

We’re running full speed right now with Scouts, homeschool group, and church, cut it’s a wonderful and welcome type of busy that’s appreciated after a summer of being home trying to become grounded in our new child-led style and exploring the true meaning of unschooling.
What has your family been up to?