Sunday, February 26, 2012

Thinking Spring and a Little Update...

Bella after playing in the dirt! This was the end of Febuary 2009

Tristin after playing in the dirt. Same day as Bell! 

Almost two weeks ago my sweet hubby had a third surgery on his foot. It was just a small surgery to repair his tendon. He has a bone spur that is tearing into his achilles tendon and shredding micro tears into it. Although it is a minor surgery it is very painful. The other two were difficult to recover from but this one has been much harder. The procedure site got infected. He isn't even able to flex his foot. At this point after the last surgery he was able to walk. Not well and not for long but still able to walk. So, for nearly two weeks now he has been in constant pain. Stuck on the couch.

Although it's only been a short time it's been a big change for me. The only way I successfully make it through each day is with his help. He pulls a huge amount of the weight around here. He washes almost all the laundry, helps a ton with the kids, takes care of the garbage and helps me run errands. I usually prep dinner, make any side dishes and do all the slicing and dicing and he does all the cooking. I am able to manage on my own but it has been quite a change. It means juggling my time and priorities. So needless to say, I have been exhausted at the end of each day. I've been too tired to form a sentence. Blogging has been last on my priority list, obviously. :)

I haven't had much to write about, since there isn't much going on around here. Lots of family movie nights, lots of reading and snuggling.

I have noticed my thoughts shifting toward spring. Now that February is coming to an end I find myself day dreaming about sunny, breezy days. I am thankful for such a mild winter, it is always a challenge to tote six kids around in frigid temperatures. By myself it would have been really hard.

I am itching to plant flowers. My kiddo's love to play in the dirt and spent a good chunk of the afternoon today doing just that. They are great gardening partners! I have all sorts of plans for the backyard, our backyard is devoid of any nature other than grass and bugs. We have an 1000 square foot patio that my parents put in, I would like to remove some of that and plant some trees and flowers. I am not sure what we will get done this year since Chad probably wont be able to work outside much, if any. It sure is fun to dream though!

Monday, February 20, 2012

A Sweet Day

Tristin and Granny at the Flatrock Speedway!

This morning I made my kids and Gracie Belgian Waffles for breakfast, we topped them with whipped cream, chocolate drizzle and sprinkles. I explained to them that this is a day to celebrate Granny and all the things we loved about her and all the great memories we made with her. We talked about how she had a sick body and now she has a perfect body. The kids had some really great memories, things I had long forgotten. It was very sweet to hear the things about their Granny that was special to them.

After breakfast I spent some time cleaning my house. I turned on some worship music and entered a time of worship. As I worshipped I could feel the peace of God settle over me.

We take this day off from school every year. It is a day for me to reflect on my life and the legacy my Mom left behind. We usually lay low and enjoy each others company. We watched a family movie and snuggled up together.

It was such a sweet, peaceful day. I am so thankful to be able to celebrate the life of my Mom today! God has been so good to us!

Four Years In Glory!

Four years ago today I stood by my Mother's bedside as she peacefully slipped out of this life and entered her new one. I miss her so very much. I had prayed and fasted believing that God would heal her here on Earth. I stood on his word and trusted him. Toward the end of her life, it broke my heart to see her suffer so much. At that point I finally surrendered my will for my Mom to live to God. After all, her life here was a gift to us from Him. I knew His plan for her life was perfect. Sometimes it is hard to convince your heart what your head has always known.

My Mom lived her entire life here for the moment she would meet God face to face. Although I miss her, I rejoice for where she is, for the sights she must be beholding even this very moment! My mind can't even fathom what she must be experiencing there.

After she passed I called our family friend, Lisa to let her know. She told me that she had a vision of my Mom in heaven dancing in a white gown with her perfectly whole heavenly body! Oh the joy! I have held onto my mental image of Lisa's vision since then. It truly does fill my heart with joy every time I think of that.

Today I choose to celebrate her life with us. I choose to remember all the great memories I have over the time I was blessed enough to spend with her. I don't think she would want me to be mourning her death but rejoicing in her eternal life! I have made the decision to tell God one thing I am thankful for about my Mom and the upbringing I had because of her every time I think about her. It is impossible to be thankful and be downcast at the same time. Today I choose to be thankful!

Here are just a few pictures I found on my computer of her! I couldn't find many of her and Kaitlynne which is just crazy because there are probably hundreds of them together. She adored Kait. I guess they just aren't on my computer.

Granny and baby Bella, eating lunch at The Henry Ford!

Mom, Tristin, Me, Chad, Kait and Bella - in strollers!
Christmas Eve 2006, such an enjoyable night!

Mom, Kait and Tristin checking out the train at The Henry Ford Museum.

Gracie's 4th birthday. I think my Mom was helping her open her gift?

Mom and Tristin!

Mom "helping" Bell open her gifts Christmas morning 2006.

Aunt Peggy and Mom at Kait's 8th birthday party.
Yes, Kait wanted pumpkin pie instead of cake! 
Mom kissing Hudsyn right after she was born. She was a patient on the cancer floor so her nurse just wheeled her down. She hung out with us most of our hospital stay, since she was also admitted the whole time I was.

Grace checking out Granny's gift! :)

Bella kissing Granny! 

Mom watching Bell while the kids took ice skating lessons.
It was too cold in there for Bell and Mom so she kept her in the lobby every week.

Mom, Dad, Bell, Kaitlynne and Tristin.
Mom loving on Bell, they were going to be best friends for sure.

Thank you God for the time I had with my Mom. We are not promised tomorrow. You numbered my days before I was concieved. Time is truly a precious gift, please help me manage the time you give me wisely. Help me to invest Your word in my children so that when You call me home their foundation will not be shaken. .

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Happy Third Birthday Greysen Johnny!!!

Yesterday we celebrated Greysen's third birthday! I can't believe how fast time flies. It seems like just yesterday we brought him home from the hospital, a precious newborn baby. It reminds me how important it is to really take in every moment with my kids. How special the time is when I allow myself to play trains or blocks with them on the floor. Sometimes that means I have to let what seems pressing wait. The messes have never cleaned themselves before (though that would be nice) they will still be there waiting for me to tend to when we are done playing.

Greysen at age three is: a deep thinker, very musical, loving, hilarious, wild and crazy!

He really loves: GUITARS, music, drums, Maezy, being read to, dumping things out (especially if he isn't supposed to), imaginary play and anything sugar filled!

Greysen is such a cool kid. We are so thankful that God saw fit for us to be his parents! I pray as he grows he develops a deeper underdstanding and love for God and he will always use his talent for God!

He couldn't quite figure out how to blow out the candles, he kept putting
 his bottom lip over the top lip and blowing air at his own face!

Phone and microphone he picked out from Popaw and Nana!

 Mega Blocks! He loves to build things!

 His favorite present, a "dancin" that his sister bought him! She worked really
hard to earn enough money to get him something he would love!

He couldn't wait for his sissy to open this one!!!

"Drums" from Gramps and Miss Carlyn!

Tool set from Gramps and Miss Carlyn!

His "dancin" cake!
Miss Bonnie makes the yummiest cakes!

Maezy after enjoying her slice of cake! 

Monday, February 13, 2012

Photo Fun!

My Dad walked over a few days ago and downloaded some new photo editing software on my computer. I have had a lot of fun tonight playing around with some different looks. Here are some pictures I took today and edited tonight. I really love photography. In my dream world, I would one day be able to offer high quality pictures at an affordable price for families that are in a tight financial spot.

In the busyness of everyday life I often just take pictures when the mood strikes. Since I have been blogging  I have tried to take pictures everyday. It is actually one of my favorite parts of keeping up a blog. I love being able to go back through my blog and see what we were doing at different points in our life.

This is our day in photos, feel free to leave criticism. I really would love really. It's a great way to grow!

Kaitlynne snuggling up while I was reading to the kids.

Hudsyn smiling at her brother during reading time for school.
Yes she chose to put her make-up on during quiet time.

Hudsyn and Bella being silly at lunch time!

Tristin finding Pensacola on our map.

The sweetest part of my day today. Hudsyn invited me to a tea party.
I had a lovely time!

G.J. crashed our tea party, I think he was under the impression that it was
necessary to wear girly gear in order to score some yummy stuff!

Sweet baby Bailey! In our house she is known as baby baby. I think that's
what G.J. thouht I was callling her and he just went with it!

I just love her smiles! So precious!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Choosing Grace

Tonight while my kids were upstairs playing I heard an argument beginning between my little girls. I almost always listen to see if they can work out their issue on their own. The only exception to this is if I feel one of them is going to hurt another. Just as I was going to go intervene I heard Hudsyn screaming. I knew she had gotten hurt. I called my girls to me and in a firm tone asked for a prompt explanation. Bella came to me and whispered in my ear that she had squeezed Hudsyn's neck. With my sweet Bella the confession is always the easy part. It's much harder to get her to explain what led up to the event. After much prodding it was determined that there really wasn't much to the story, her sister was on her nerves and she acted out of anger. She was crying and apologizing. I told her that we weren't upset with her just disappointed. At that, I sent her to bed to have some time before she went to sleep to think through that incident.

The other kids were in their sister's room watching TV. I was downstairs listening to her, through her sobs, tell Maezy the whole story. I was trying to decide how long I should wait until I went upstairs to talk to her. I knew when I went to talk to her that I would have to speak to her with gentleness and love. She rarely needs discipline, it hurt my heart for her. I had a feeling she was disappointed in herself.

I was going to give her a few more minutes to process what happened when she walked downstairs carrying this:

It didn't exactly break my heart but it did show me that she thought I was angry with her. After all, I have smoke, or something equivalent coming from my head. I tried to think of what would have given her that impression since I really wasn't upset. The only thing I could think of was that I was talking loudly to her. Hudsyn was screaming very high, shrill screams (as she has always liked to do) and I was rocking her and talking to Bell.

My intention was that sending her to bed both gave her some time to think and took away her TV time, which in our house, is viewed as a privilege. It was sadly mistaken as Mommy was mad, my thought is that she probably thought I didn't want to deal with her. Nothing could be further from the truth. I really wanted to reach her heart. I wanted to wait until she was rational enough to have a real conversation. When I sent her to bed I planned on her staying there for the night. After I saw her picture I realized that unfortunately, my attempt to help guide her fell short. I said I was sorry that she thought I was mad and hugged her. I told her that because Jesus gives me grace even when I've done something wrong that I want to extend that same grace to her. I sent her upstairs and asked her to look her sister in the eye and apologize. After she did that I asked her sister to tell her she was forgiven. They both did and they gave each other a hug and kiss. I could see the immediate restoration of their bond. The love of Jesus can always been seen most clearly through a child's heart.

My children have a working knowledge of grace. It's something we give them often and because of that when we have wronged them they freely return grace to us. We are able to go to them apologize, ask for forgiveness and see God's grace shown to us through them. Grace really is an amazing thing!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Highlight of the Day!!!

Tonight I am going to post highlights from the past week. It has been a great week with a lot of unexpected twists and turns that led to some great highlights, here are just a few...............

A day out to celebrate my (belated) birthday with my cousin, Aid. We realized we hadn't went out alone in at least eight years! I still wish my other cousin, Danielle would have been able to come, that would have been so much fun!

Mom Time - I got to get together with an awesome group of Mom's from our church. I took Bella and Hudsyn with me, they really appreciated some time out separately from their siblings.

We recieved our much anticipated order of curriculum!!! I've know I mentioned this before but we love Sonlight!!! I picked another curriculum in the summer and it has worked well for specific things, like reading. We will continue using the reading aspect of it. However, I felt like we were missing the deep, meaningful discussions that had transpired from the stories we had read with Sonlight. I had wondered how I would get through so much reading with Sonlight but I think I've worked out a plan. I will try to post that this week.

Our box filled with new and exciting books!

Tristin was so excited to get some new books about the Revolutionary War!

I really thought our new curriculum would be our highlight this week, but God had a bigger plan! We were able to go on a marriage retreat that we weren't expecting to go on. It was a huge blessing! We had tons of fun and didn't even have to wait until six sets of little eyes were shut before ours were! We have not had a night alone since we had kids. My step-mom and her family were so sweet to keep our kids overnight so we could have a night away! Our night away was every bit as wonderful as I had always imagined it would be! I knew they were in good hands so I didn't worry about them at all. I did miss them something awful though.. An hour or so before the retreat ended I noticed I was starting to get anxious to get back to my sweet kiddo's. Actually spending the evening with them tonight ranks pretty high on my highlight list as well!

It has been a great week. I was very different from our usual routine but different is good...sometimes. I am looking forward to spending this week snuggling with my kids and diving into our new books!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Fun Play-Dough Recipe!

Over the years we have tried to make several different variations of play-dough. On occasion they've turned out okay but most of them fell short of what I was looking for.  Then a friend introduced me to Pintrest. While I was browsing on there I found a play-dough recipe that looked amazing! Today the girls and I decided to give it a try! It turned out better than I could have imagined! The colors were gorgeously vibrant and it smelled amazing, thanks to the use of Kool-Aid! The kids had so much fun with it today. We put ours in mason jars to keep it moist, but you could use zip-lock bags or a Tupperware container if you'd like.

Sweet helper girls!

Such focus!

Nothing sweeter than little hands hard at work!

Pink chocolates made for me by Kaitlynne!

Thai favorite!!!

I am not sure of the exact definition of this swirly-do, but I love it!
I told them it reminds me of something out of a Dr. Seuss movie!

In case you love play-dough as much as we do, here is the link:

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

True Self Control

Above photo: Tristin age 5 and Bella age 2

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. - Galatians 5:22-23

One of the areas that God has been speaking to me about lately is teaching my children self control. We have always talked about the fruit of the spirit and using their fruit. When I notice someone not using their fruit I ask if they have rotting fruit. One of the main things that we discuss pertaining to their fruit is self control. Children are not commonly know for their ability to control their emotions and reactions. I have always explained what is expected of my children and remind them when their "self control" (poor reactions or temper tantrums) are out of line with those expectations.

Obedience in and of itself, is not self-control. I can control my children's external response but that is all. I can take them to church and read the Bible to them but I can't make them love God. I can forbid they speak hurtful things to their siblings but I can't demand they not think them.

It has really been on my heart lately that my children can't possibly practice self control if I am the one controlling them. My kids need to know how to make healthy decisions for themselves. They need to know that it hurts them as much as it hurts someone else to have negativity spoken over them. They need to be able to say one cookie is enough and I need to be the person to explain moderation and nutrition to them. It will mean  a lot more work for me but there is nothing more worthy of my time and energy than truly training my children. If I am continually deciding for my kids and not giving them the chance to make a good decision then I am failing them. If I decide how they react to every situation; what will happen when they are no longer under my control. I don't expect that the outcome would be favorable.

As a parent it is my job to make sure that they have the space they need to make mistakes. I pray that God gives our family opportunities to practice true self control. I realize that this could be a very dangerous prayer for a family with six kids but I know that God will be faithful to lead us each step of the way.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Yay Bella!!!

Bella asked me shortly after she woke up this morning if we could play her fishing game. I told her after the babies went to bed. When the babies were in bed for the night we got the box out. Bella looked at it and said let's go fishin'...then she said is that what it really says? I looked at her a little surprised and said yes, it does!

As a rule when my kids officially start their first year of school I don't actually teach reading. We work on letter sounds and I read them lots of books. Sometimes we make words out of letter stickers or paint sight words. I dictate the spelling of words on grocery lists that they write for me. I try to make words and letters fun. I wait until they really show interest and a true readiness. If you ask a child to read before they are able, reading can be viewed as a really treacherous task. Just ask me, I (unfortunately) have experience in this department. When Bella read the box of the game to me, I thought I'd get out a book and give it a try. She had the same thought and was asking for a book just as I was reaching for one! She sat down and carefully sounded out the words, some words she was able to recognize and read by sight. The book had a lot of repetition in it so as she read a word a few time she no longer needed to sound it out. She ended up reading the entire book, all 32 pages of it! We are SO PROUD of her!

After Tristin saw his sister reading he decided that he wanted to give it a try and asked Kait to listen to him. He read the same book. He also finished the whole thing! Even though it seems he might be at lower level we are still very proud of him. It is no small feat for him to work his way through written words.

There is no greater reward for me in homeschooling my children than being the person that gets to watch my children read their first words!!!

Best Friends!

One of the coolest things about homeschooling is watching my children bond with each other. It is something I thought about before we started homeschooling. However, it had no impact on our decision to home educate. It has turned out to be one of the sweetest parts of watching my children grow. They each have a a special bond with every single one of their siblings. Even the two that clash the most, because they are so much alike love each other and go find each other to play, help each other clean their rooms and serve one another. The other day in the van (and out of no where) Tristin said I love Maezy so much, I could never imagine life without her. Such a sweet and thoughtful comment from an eight year old boy. It amazes me that often times when I offer to help someone they say they want a sibling to help them.

This morning while I was brushing my teeth a couple little girls stopped in to join me. As they were trying to get their toothbrushes and toothpaste out Hudsyn knocked Bell's toothpaste off the counter without realizing it. Bell turned to her and snapped something sassy out about her knocking it down and bent down to pick her toothpaste up. As she stood back up she looked and Hudsyn and said I am so sorry I wasn't nice to you. I hurt my own heart. Did I hurt yours too?  Hudsyn just stared at her blankly and said what are you talking about?  They both giggled and hugged each other and started brushing their teeth. I was waiting to see if Bella was going to right her wrong before I guided her. I didn't even get a thought beyond that when she apologized. It is such a blessing to me to see them love each other so much that they want to make sure if they have hurt someone they "fix it" right away.

Greysen went to Kaitlynne and asked her to get her "dancin" out and play with him!

I walked by and noticed Tristin reading to Maezy. He said she asked him to and he couldn't say no!

Bella and Hudsy snuggling on the couch!