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Love and Lessons, Knowing The Holmans

A few years ago I came crashing head-on (Okay, not literally) into the Holman family. They had come to visit our church for a brief period and I was incredibly intrigued by them. I could see the love they had for one another radiating from the group, and all of the love they had to share with others in their sweet faces. I’m not making this up, and if you know them or ever meet them, you will know what I mean.

From the first time I walked into the Holman house, I knew there was something about their family everyone needed a piece of. No, they’re not pie… they’re better. The love they have for Christ pours into everyone conversation they share and every aspect of their life. When Sarah sent me a message asking if I’d be interested in reading her new book, There was Always Laughter in Our House, my immediate and exact response was “YES, YES! I would love to!” with one heart emoji…. after I deleted the 12 I initially added.

You see, a few years ago I was digging deeper into my faith. Re-working the way our family presented itself and had longed for quite some time for two specific (along with other non-specific) things that I didn’t have any examples of in my life but wanted a tangible example of and guidance… but no one I knew provided that. The Holmans were Gods way of showing me that I was, in fact, not as crazy or off the wall as I thought, and there were others out there who felt the same way. I wanted a large family I could love on forever, and I wanted our girls (and myself) to wear skirts and adopt a more modest approach to dressing, which isn’t common for our denomination or either of our families. Herman and I discussed these things many times but never came to any solid conclusions. What would people think seeing our still new-to-Christ family suddenly change the way we dressed? That question was between me and God I later understood. Mrs. Holman took us in and loved on us as if she’d known us for years, and I felt so warm and comfortable in their home.

I’ve learned so many lessons from the Holmans and I’d like to share a few with you:

  1. It’s okay to forge your own path as a Christian: When I met the Holmans for the first time I could feel Christ’s love through them. There are things the Holmans celebrate and do that aren’t necessarily common in the church. I loved this about them and used it as “permission” in my own life when I needed guidance from a Christian family to do less than common things for my faith. The church isn’t always right, but Christ is.
  2. It’s okay to want a large family (or not): Most of the time people question why on Earth we would ever want a large family. Some, are even rude about it or think it’s irresponsible. The love in the Holman home proved to me that it is possible to have a large, loving family on a single income despite the nay-sayers.
  3. Homeschooling is doing what’s right for your family. Mrs. Holman has homeschooled since before it was popular, and similarly to the path we’ve taken to get where we are, she also started out with an all-inclusive curriculum only to switch to something more relaxed that worked better for her family. Seeing the way their family worked together like a well-oiled machine, and how happy each child was with their education drove home the idea that homeschooling is not one size fits all and is always best when tailored to your family.

There are many lessons I’ve learned from the Holmans in the time I’ve spent with them, and I hope I learn much more. If you’ve yet to meet the Holman family, check out Sarah’s new book, There was Always Laughter in Our House, which is now available for pre-order until November 24th. It’s not the same as in-person, but it’s close.

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Incorporating Structure in an Unschooling Home

Many studies show kids crave structure; as an unschooling mom who allows her kids quite a bit of freedom, it’s my job to give them the structure their minds want in ways that are useful and also harmonious with our unschooling life.

Here are three ways we incorporate structure into our unschooling family:

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  1. Chores. The kids are always expected to do some kind of chore or multiple tasks each day. We usually have some sort of system that tells the kids what is expected of them. This doesn’t always come in the form of a chart. They get bored with stickers or small novelty items easily. The number one motivator is technology. One of the rules we have when it comes to chores is your own room is not a chore, it is your responsibility to maintain. Are their rooms always clean? Ha! No. Sometime, we can’t walk through the cut up paper and toys, and we require them to clean up, but it’s not a daily thing. We do, however, have a list (sometimes physically written, sometimes not) of chores that we put on a rotation that the kids are responsible for before they’re allowed to have screen time. Sometimes the list is unnecessary and they’ll be told to clean the kitchen, or living room before playing/watching. We don’t pay them to help maintain the house, but we do pay them to do things that aren’t daily necessities. The only rule we have for paid chores is: your room must be clean and your required duties finished before you can be paid to do a job.
  2. Church. As members of our family (and small children that cannot stay alone) the kids go to Wednesday night Bible study each week. As members of our church, we see it as our responsibility to attend studies or volunteer our time. While the kids are still small enough that they do not volunteer on Wednesdays and Sundays I do. Not only does a scheduled, weekly activity add structure to our home, but they know, no matter the season, we will be at the church every Wednesday and Sunday unless someone is sick. As a family that often volunteers in our church, they will usually spend long hours with me prepping a lesson, or re-doing a room, or getting ready for a festival or program. These extended hours require them to behave better than they would at home, with less to do. This demands self-control from them. While they’re not perfect but neither am I.
  3. Manners, respect, and responsibility. As children all under the age of eight, the amount of responsibility they actually have is small, but they do have things they are responsible for. It’s not always the same, though. For example: recently we had hundreds of Queen butterfly caterpillars at our house. The kids wanted so badly to bring a few indoors to watch cocoon and hatch. I told them I would not take care of them alone and they needed to stay in their rooms. (Our cat likes them… and not in a good way.) The girls hatched about six or seven and let them free without much help from me, washed the container they used to put them in when they were all gone, and got rid of all the plants and water they used. This is a job well done for a seven and six-year-old. Manners and respect are essential in our house, too. We’re pretty laid back (hence- the unschooling thing), but we do expect common courtesy from the children (and ourselves) as well as respect for elders and each other. We allow them to choose their bedtimes as long as they’re getting enough sleep to function responsibly and be nice the next day. As soon as one of them has tired eyes and stomps about grumpily, or has nothing nice to say to anyone, their bedtime becomes regulated until I believe they can fall asleep at a decent time.

Does your family unschool? How do you incorporate structure into your home?

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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?

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Embracing the Chaos of Wednesday Night Bible Study

As school starts back up, kids are also heading back to Wednesday night Bible study. Some of you think of the children at the church on Wednesday nights and cringe, some of you, smile, and others are just glad you won’t be there. For a few people, Wednesday night is a responsibility added to their plates, and for some, it’s a few hours of quiet in your home while the kids are in a safe place. Wherever you stand, Wednesday night bible study is happening, (Sorry…) and there WILL be some rowdy children in the church. While we shouldn’t commend children for breaking things, running in the sanctuary, or tearing things up, I want to give you some reasons you should embrace Wednesday night church:

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They’re here. First and foremost they’re at the church. A large part of the kids attending Wednesday Bible study do not go to church on a regular basis. For whatever reason (that we’re not going judge) their parents/guardians are able to get them to church on Wednesdays but not Sundays. They’ve just come from school where they’re asked to sit still, quiet, and reminded that it’s not social hour, so of course, they’re going to have some extra energy. Let’s give them a place to let it out and teach them about God’s love. They might be loud, and require an equal amount of play to their learning, but they’re here, they’re listening (hopefully) and most of all they’re coming back each week.

Christian Fellowship. Have you ever heard elementary aged children discuss God? It’s humbling, sweet, and hard to keep up with. They’ll go from talking about their love for Christ to sharing something gross they did at school. Their attention spans are short, but their memories are immense.  While we hear unnecessary chatter, they enjoy the time spent with their friends at church. Lessons are valuable and irreplaceable, but their want to be there is equally so if we want them to continue to attend church once they’re adults.

The dropout rate. LifeWay research shows that 70% of young adults that attend church “dropout” after graduation. While the research also shows the majority of them eventually come back to the church as they get older, they’re gone when they need church the most. A large part of our bad decisions happen between high school and college. If they’re not leaving with Christ in their hearts, a lot could happen before- or if, they decide to return to the church. Even though we’re forgiven, without church that’s easy to forget, and it’s even easier to fall into sinful living. While Bible study is just that, for Bible study, we also need to consider what our overall goal is when we bring together our group of students on Wednesday nights.

The future. As we get into the new school year and start up Wednesday night Bible studies, I ask that you all keep in mind what you would like to see 5-10 years from now as these children graduate from school. For me, I’d like to see their faces at VBS, at youth studies, and on Sundays in the summer while they’re home. I’d like to see them volunteering to lead a small study if they’re staying at home, or devoting their lives to serving Christ. I’d like to see them remain in contact with our Pastor, Deacons, and church members.

While I agree, Wednesday nights can be chaotic, loud, and not everyone’s cup of tea, I stand firmly in my belief that it should also be a fun and inviting learning environment for the kids. They’ve spent their day walking in lines, doing school work, and home work. Let’s give them a place to learn about God and His love while not just focusing on a lesson for two hours, but by showing them His love, and letting them experience what church fellowship feels like by building relationships that last.

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Why Homeschool Moms Need a Hobby 

We’re still “new” to homeschooling, and to unschooling… even newer. While we’ve been in “the game” a few years now, it’s still a learning process. Not just for the kids, but for me too. Learning to be with your kids in an intentional learning environment all the time is tough. It’s tough to feel like you have to answer every single question they have all. The. Time. ‘Cause that’s why you homeschool, right, so everything can be a learning experience? When we first started out, homeschooling was my hobby.  I was still shopping curriculums, reading homeschooling book after book, trying new approaches and figuring out what approach to schooling worked for our family. I didn’t have time for a Mom Hobby, but I slowly got to a point (about the same time we started unschooling) that I felt run down by homeschooling. I felt like life, and school was running me over and every time I stood back up something else (school related or not) would smash into me again. It was exhausting and making me dislike homeschooling the children. About the time we started to unschool, I also picked up sewing. I started out small, making pillow cases and sewing simple straight lines, and now I’ve become more advanced and enjoy making clothes for the kids or as gifts for others. It’s how I spend all of my free time.

HOBBY
So, the first reason every homeschool mom should have a hobby is for a mental break. You’re no good to anyone if your brain is bogged down with questions you’re answering for the kids all the time. Think of it as your job, you wouldn’t do your job 24/7 no matter how much you loved it. Homeschooling and momming are your jobs.

Reason number two you should have a Mom Hobby is for a quick(er) start and finish. Momming and schooling is a long, hard road that never feels done until it finally is. Giving yourself a creative outlet allows you to have a sense of accomplishment. (See the pictures below) The ability to stand back and look at a finished product works wonders for your confidence and longevity. Here are just a few things I’ve done just in the past few weeks:

And lastly, you wouldn’t let your kids do it. Like any parent, you would not allow your children to focus obsessively on only one thing for a huge portion of their life. Don’t allow yourself to do it either.

These things may go without saying for some. Stumbling upon my love for sewing, and actively pursuing it, was one of the best things I ever did for our homeschool. Do you have a hobby? If so, what is it?

 

 

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Just Say Cheese!

So, I sat down this evening to pound out a re-cap of the last week… two weeks? I think week. I stared blank faced at the white screen trying to remember what, exactly, we have been up to. It’s all been such a blur. The fact that it’s almost September of 2017 BLOWS MY MIND!! Anyway, I realized the only way I could remember what we did more than a day ago was to look at the pictures I’ve taken. It’s literally a journal of our adventures when I don’t have time to write (err… type) it all out. I do this on a regular basis, even when it’s not for a blog post. When I’m contemplating what we did over the past few days, I check my photos on my phone to refresh my memory. I’m not a professional. I don’t even own a fancy camera, it’s all iPhone goodness over here. Holding my phone camera in ready position sometimes makes me feel self-conscious and too much like a millennial, but with the busyness of my mind, it’s a blessing to be able to document my children’s early years. I so often hear older women reminding new mamas to soak it all in, take a moment to remember it all because it doesn’t last. Sometimes it’s hard to see the silver lining when you’re stuck in the fog and rain, but staring at the blank screen and realizing I couldn’t remember what all we had done just in the past week made me wonder how on earth I would remember things 20+ years from now. So without further delay, I made a list (Y’all knew that was coming, right) of why I will always be that lady with her camera:

  1. For the sake of memory. Not yours, not even totally theirs, but MINE. I can hardly remember what I ate for breakfast this morning… or if I even did. Yes, this event (whatever that may be) is fun, exciting and is (supposed to be) memorable, but I’m not sure I will remember the look on my sons face when his toes first touched the sand, or my daughters’ joy when she nails sounding out a word. It’s interesting the things our brains choose for us to remember, but not interesting enough for me to trust it with things I want to remember.
  2. Reflection. I like to reflect on the things we’ve been doing in my quiet time. I look back at things that went “wrong” and consider whether they were actually “wrong, ” or I was being too controlling. Or, if I was angry, I like to consider if it was actually called for or if I was hangry and blowing things out of proportion. We’re a family full of forgiveness and apologies (as I’ve talked about before in Why We Always Say I’m Sorry) and reflection during my quiet time gives me a chance to make sure I make things right with a kid I messed up with the day before. It happens daily.
  3. Family memories. This one is for yours, theirs, and everyone else’s memory. This one is why I ask Herman to photograph me, and why I try to capture it all. Why I photograph Heman when he’s less than pleased, and keep the pictures that aren’t “perfect.” I want a printed memory of every moment of our lives. The happy, the sad, the ugly, and the beautiful. It’s all going to be a distant blur in the future (as in, like, tomorrow for me) and I want a way to keep it fresh.

The next time you’re tempted to judge the lady with a camera, or her smart phone pointed at the fun, think about her why. And the next time I have my camera pointed in your direction, just smile. It means I love you! 😉

Just Say Cheese!

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Changing Tides

Something that, I think, you’d learn about my family when knowing us is that we have the ability to adapt to any situation at hand. It always astounds me how flexible Herman is to any significant change or last minute plan. There is zero chance you will find me happily making last minute plans that require me to prep for the outing…. a “real” outing in my family is anything that requires a hairbrush for the girls, and shoes for Ryder, who am I kidding, for any of them. I’m not a go-with-the-flow type person (which is funny considering the kind of homeschoolers we are) so last minute decisions or even a change of plans rocks me to my core. Do I deal with it? Yeah, sure. But I don’t like it or enjoy it. Like, for example, we’re no longer getting a new vehicle. We decided together (with more than a little pouting from me) that we would wait until next year and use the money saved to pay off debt and possibly dip our toes into some uncharted waters that I’ll talk about when the time comes. Herman is such an adult, and I was totally being “salty” as my sister and her friends would say so you can guess who’s being the bigger person. 😉

Monday I took the girls to their very first Girl Scouts meeting; it was more for the parents, but they were so happy to be there! We’re so excited to get started. They’re so excited they ask every day how much longer they have until their first official meeting. Herman and I took the girls out to lunch afterward, and Herman gave his stamp of approval on Scouts, and the girls felt treated since it turned into almost a full day without the boys. It will be quite a change for our family since the girls have never been part of any type of organized activities. It will be good though, I think. I really liked the moms, and the girls told me they enjoyed hanging out with the other girls.


We’re currently in the midst of a deep clean at the house. Our house has suffered greatly from my working. I got their rooms cleaned and put back together how I like them, and I’m purging the rest of the house now. I have a habit of getting wrapped up in the task at hand and sending the kids outside to do their own thing and turning them down when they ask me to join them, but today I took some time and went out to eat lunch with them. While I was wrapped up in a phone call in my bedroom, Ella and Hayden put together a picnic meal, and Lylah put a blanket out in a shady spot in the yard. They were so excited when I got off the phone there was no way I could say no! It is honestly exactly what I needed. Did anything get done while I was out there? No. But, I felt more relaxed and enjoyed the company of the kids.


Right now I’m tying up loose ends here at the house because we’re taking the kids to the beach this weekend. So, be prepared for loads of pictures, and an update on all we learned and enjoyed next week.

So much change is going on right now, and it kinda stresses me out, but the change is only what is going to take us back to what was a typical day for us before I started working and the change that looms on the horizon will be beneficial to our family. Change is hard, but ignoring it is harder.

Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.”   George Bernard Shaw

 

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A Little of This, A Little of That

We haven’t been doing much and when we come home we kinda just fall into the house, the kids do whatever it is they’ve been dying to do (Chopped Kids At Home a.k.a destroy the kitchen) and I start to prep for the next day while getting dinner together. It amazes me how much I feel like I don’t see the kids, but how short my temper is with them. It seems that even though I don’t see them for eight hours straight, I come home a feel stretched thin. Like I’ve been saying no to them jumping off the roof all day when in reality I’ve not even seen them. I should love on them, inquiring about their days, but instead, I’m reminding them to shower, brush their teeth, eat dinner, and clean out their lunch bags and yelling when they don’t do as they’re told quickly. Ugh. It makes me feel like I need a much-needed break from them when in reality what I need is more of them. I’ll be going down to one day a week really soon, so hopefully, we can get back into what our routine usually is, and what is comfortable for all of us.

A few weeks ago Lylah was saying she couldn’t see what I wrote down for her to copy. My house is small, y’all, and what I wrote was taped to the kitchen cabinet, and she was sitting at the kitchen table. A trip to the eye doctor happened a week later. Poor girl actually can’t see very well and has a hardcore astigmatism in her right eye. I will totally admit when it was time to pick out her glasses I tried to be the good mom by telling her she could choose whichever she wanted (in the $100 glasses + lenses category, let’s be real) and there were some really cute options that I tried to push on her. Even a pair that I thought looked amazing on her, but she wasn’t interested in any of them. Right when we were about to go somewhere else to get her glasses she found the pair. A quirky pair of pink ombre glasses with an odd shape. They’re so her, and I wanted to make sure that she loved whatever she got (whether I did or not.) so my real opinion didn’t matter.

 

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Lylah in her new glasses

Tuesday my friend Amie and I took her son, Ryder, and Emma (hahaha) to see Cars 3. Watching the movie was fun… and by fun I mean it was great hanging out on the carpeted stairs at the very back of the theater with Ryder and Emma. It could have been worse, and Ryder said he had fun, so it was a win. BUT, the REAL fun was after the movies! Amie introduced me to ALDI!

 

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Me and Amie at Aldi

Who knew I was missing so much awesomeness!? There were a few things in there that were more expensive than HEB (where my heart will always belong) but overall the prices were excellent, and I got a large bag of trail mix for six dollars- I think that was the most significant price difference I noticed. We buy our eggs in bulk, so even though the eggs were .89 a dozen that’s not something I paid much mind to.

 Thursday we ended up doing a lot. I didn’t go into work, so we drove into Round Rock (read about how that went here– ya, know how I lost my cool and such.) to get my new phone, and then we got some more groceries, and headed home to CLEAN! I worked full time when Hayden and Ella were toddlers, and Lylah was a baby; I would leave my house clean in the morning, and it would be clean when I got home at night. That is NOT how things work now, in case you’re wondering. It’s a constant game of catch-up so that’s what we did. 


Then on Saturday we took a super long nature walk and came home equipped with some super awesome items! It felt good to do something we were used to doing during the week and the kids were happy to be bringing home random junk… er… treasures. Fun fact: Herman told the kids he used to eat those bean-looking things as a kid. They got a kick out of that!

Nature haul

How’s your week been?