Saturday, June 14, 2014

We're homeschooling.

Say WHAAAAAT? You're going to homeschool your kids?! All of them?!


I'll let the shock sink in............................................................................. :)

I have always admired and respected homeschooling families (they are superstars!) but I never EVER in a million years thought I would be one of them. Like. Ever.

Well, never say never.

If you know me, you know I process by writing.
So naturally when something big happens to our family I feel the need to write about it.
Plus, by writing about our decision to homeschool I can let everyone know what we are doing without actually having to personally tell everyone.
I'm kinda emotional these days.

Our decision to homeschool was wrestled with, weighed upon, and soaked in over a year of prayer. So many factors went into making this huge decision. And while I know that this is exactly where we are suppose to be for this season, I am still sad.

Change is never easy. Saying goodbye to seeing your best buddies everyday will not be easy. Leaving an amazing school that we have considered family for the past six years will not be easy.

But God.

I know He will meet every need. He will fill our children's hearts. He will guide us and mold us and go before us.

This new season will be exciting and wonderful and stretching and challenging. And we are all going to learn SO much- it's gonna be awesome.
Looking forward to a brand new adventure in the fall!


Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Keepin' the love lovin'

One day while walking through the grocery store a song came on that I had never heard before. It actually stopped me in my tracks and I let the words sink into my heart. I am a words person. Words are how I express, how I process, how I give and receive love. It always fascinates me when I am reminded that not everyone hears a song the same way I do. Chris listens to the music- the melody, the instruments, the flow of the song.... I listen to the lyrics.

So, I heard this song and immediately wanted to share it with Chris, so I texted him the YouTube video.
(the video is all kinds of crazy.....but again, listen to the lyrics, they are awesome!!)

I should be over all the butterflies
But I'm into you (I'm in to you)
And baby even on our worst nights
I'm into you (I'm into you)
Let em wonder how we got this far
Cause I don't really need to wonder at all
Yeah after all this time
I'm still into you
(Still Into You by Paramore)

Shortly after Chris texted me this song:

And so started a new language for us.
A "youtube love song" language.

Throughout the week (sometimes several times a day) Chris and I will text each other "love song" videos. Sometimes they are oldies, sometimes new ones. My favorites are the ones from the 60s and 70s. Sometimes they are hilarious and have me laughing out loud, and sometimes they make me smile at how sweet they are. No matter the type of song when I get a message like this my heart skips a beat.

I try to guess what he has picked for me to listen to but I am ALWAYS surprised. That's the best part I think. It's impossible to guess which one he has chosen. And picking them is equally as fun. Sometimes I am sitting in the school parking lot waiting for the kids and I'm giggling as I imagine what his response is going to be to the one I picked for him.

Our new language is a reminder in the middle of my busy day that he is thinking of me.
It's a reminder in the middle of his busy day that I am thinking of him.

One day a couple of months ago we got into a big argument over something that I'm sure was epic at the time, but now that I'm trying to recall the details I honestly can't even remember. But that day it was an all-out FIGHT. What I do remember is that I was fuming. A.N.G.R.Y. When I get mad I have a hard time sleeping, so I was also exhausted. And frustrated. And I knew he was too.  Later the next day my cell phone chirped with a link to this video.....


How could I stay angry at him after that? He used our secret love language and it was just another reminder to me that we are in this together. For the long haul.

I've considered for a few months now whether or not I should share this on here, but Chris is the one who asked why I hadn't yet.... I guess I wanted it to be just our thing but then I realized that maybe it would be an encouragement to you and your marriage. An idea to add a little extra lovin' in the mix of the everyday shuffle :)

This is what marriage is. It's trying to out serve the other. It's laughing together. Surprising one another. It's saying sorry. And forgiving. And it's secret love messages in the middle of the day.

Some things just,
Some things just make sense
And one of those is you and I
Some things just,
Some things just make sense
And even after all this time
I'm into You
Baby not a day goes by that
I'm not into you
(Still Into You by Paramore)

What do you in your marriage to keep your love lovin'?

Monday, May 26, 2014

Turning Six

My Sweet Selah,

Last night I told you that I'd like you to stay 5 for another year. "Five was a fun year, why don't you just stay little awhile longer?" You giggled and sang out "Noooo, I need to keep groooooowing!"

While I wish I could bottle up your innocence and stop time my prayer for you is that you would keep growing..... in kindness, compassion, joy and in your faith.

As I sit here thanking God for the precious gift you are to me I smile and am reminded of how unique and beautiful you are. What a wonderful blessing you are to our family!

You are so very silly and sweet. When you find something especially funny you laugh this deep belly laugh.  I adore that laugh. And when you start.... well, the room quickly follows.

You are kind and sensitive. You notice when someone needs a friend. When someone needs a hug. You care. You show this all the time in the way you treat your brother and sisters, and the way you serve our family. You are always the first to pull up a chair and offer to help cook dinner.  Often I'll find myself sitting on the couch deep in thought about something and you'll curl up beside me and lay your head on my shoulder.
Simply put- you love being with people. I love that about you.

You are the one who I find making up songs and dancing around the house. I love that you worship Jesus with your heart all day long. You are a quiet preformer....I see you practicing your songs and skits with your sisters and then when it's time to preform you giggle and wiggle and that deep belly laugh comes out.

You are also so creative. You are gifted in working with your hands and I am so impressed by the artwork you create. You are truly a lovely artist. I can't wait to watch you develop your skills as you grow!

I think one of the qualities I most admire in you is that you don't give up. Even when something is difficult and doesn't come naturally to you, you always try your best. I love that about you. You teach me to do the same.

Happy 6th birthday my sweet little lady!
I love you a bushel and a peck.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Love at Daybreak

We sit together on the couch and she starts playing with my hair. Stroking it with her tiny fingers. She leans in close and whispers how beautiful I am.

Laughing I shoot and miss. Again. With a black controller in my hand I tell him how good he is at this game. He beams and patiently shows me once again- 'A' is to pass. 'X' is to slide. 'B' is to shoot. 

She comes alongside me as I prepare dinner. She asks to help and smiles wide when I tell her to pull up a chair. Together we put this and that into the pot. Together we serve.

She waits for me in her bed with a book in her hand. I curl up beside her and she starts to read. Some words come easily, others she takes her time to sound out. With each one her confidence grows and I get to share in her joy.

Tiny everyday miracles. Moments I try hard not to take for granted.

His hair falling wild across his forehead.
Her sweet giggles as I sing her our bedtime song.
The way her socks are always mismatched.
How she'll hug my waist and rest her head against me.
His love for his baby sister.
The bracelets they make me.
The bubbles in the bath.
The wind blown hair.
The silly songs.
The laughter.
The tears.

As a mom, I am given these tiny miracles.
They are my gift.
Every. Single. Day.
Even on hard days....

Tomorrow will be one of those hard days. April 13th will mark 22 years since I lost my mom to cancer.
This day is always hard.... and yet for the past few years it has also been a day that God has used to awakened my mama heart.
It it like a beautiful messy day of grief and thanksgiving.  

Tonight, as I think about my mom and the great joy it is BE a mom, this is my prayer:

"Surprise us with love at daybreak;
    then we’ll skip and dance all the day long.
Make up for the bad times with some good times;
    we’ve seen enough evil to last a lifetime.
Let your servants see what you’re best at—
    the ways you rule and bless your children. 
And let the loveliness of our Lord, our God, rest on us"
   Psalm 90:14-17 (The Message) 

Oh God, may it be so.... Surprise my family with love at daybreak. Make up for the bad times with some good times. Let us see what you are best at. The way you rule and bless your children.

I am going to spend the day with my eyes wide open. I am going to hug tighter. Laugh longer. Listen harder. Love deeper.

And one day,  I will share these tiny miracles with her too.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Date Your Spouse Challenge

It's 8:15am. I've been lying in bed for over an hour willing myself back to sleep. Finally gave in and snuck out of the quiet room, leaving a peaceful dreamer beside me.
I can't sleep in anymore. I am officially old.

This is our last day here. A week away in the mountains without our children. And though I have missed them, I wish we had a few more days here....

I realized this week that I truly do miss my husband.
Back home we see each other every day.
With a quick kiss here, a (kid interrupted) conversation there,  a snuggle on the couch after dinner, a "hey, how was your day"....

But this alone together week has been so wonderful.
So needed.
Time to just "be" together.
Sitting side by side reading.
Hiking in the morning air.
Late night swims and hot tubs.
Holding hands browsing mountain shops.
Cooking meals for two.
Quiet dinners out.
No schedule.
No set plans.
Just laughing. Joking. Loving.
Time to be reminded of why we chose one another.

It has been such a gift.

We have been married for 13 years and this is the first time we have been away alone for a week. I know that we are spoiled. To have family who spent the last week with our four joys. I know four kids is a lot..... I also know that this relationship. This marriage is a treasure. In this season of dirty diapers, and school papers, and sports games, and Saturday morning pajamas, and Friday night movies, and bedtime stories, and homemade cookies... my MARRIAGE is important. It's ok to ask for help. It's ok to set aside time for the two of you. It's ok to fall in love all over again.

It's ok and needed.

I have an idea...a little challenge. It's for my marriage and for yours. It's for those of us in the trenches of raising babies and those of you with school aged kids. It's for those who's babies are now teenagers and those who's birds have flown from the nest. It's for any and all marriages.

One day a month let's date our spouses. Let's take the time to put it on the calendar. Let's look forward to it. Let's put in a little effort.
It doesn't have to be fancy. It doesn't have to cost anything. If you can get a baby sitter great. If you can't- put those kids to bed early and make a romantic dinner for two.

Who's with me?

Please feel free to take this image and use on your posts (if you have a blog) or if you don't have a blog just come back and share in the comments what you ended up doing.

Here are a few fun ideas to get you started :)

1- Set up a scavenger hunt for your spouse- or find one online and do it together
2- Go for an evening walk
3- Take a trip to your local zoo, aquarium, amusement park- something you'd typically take the kids to but experience it with one another instead
4- Stay home and cook a romantic dinner for two together
5- Stay home and play board games together
6- Drive to a field and star gaze
7- Go fishing or to the driving range
8- Go on a bike ride together
9- Go to a garage sale/ flea market and spend $10 each and see what you can find
10- Go window shopping
11- Go out for ice cream
12- Ice skating/ roller skating
13- Go out to a restaurant and order each others meals
14- Find a quiet place to make out like when you were dating :)
15- Plan a "secret date night" where one of you surprises the other with the activity. So fun to not know where you are going until you get there!

And here's a link to soooooooo many more great ideas: 101 Date Night Ideas 

Happy Dating!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

All I Can Do

This song came on the radio today. I've heard it before, but today it sunk into my heart. More and more I find myself awakening to the reality that my life is truly beautiful.... a gift. One that I didn't earn or deserve....

All I Can Do- Mikeschair

I could write a love song
Tell You what I think you wanna hear
But it wouldn't be good enough, no
Yeah, I could try so hard
To give it everything I got
But I'm not ever gonna measure up

All I can do is thank You
For this life I never deserve
Wanna thank You for the grace
I know I don't have to earn
You love me, You love me
Your mercy is proof
All I can do is say thank You
Today all I can do is say thank you.... 

It would have been easy
But I'm glad You never walked away
'Cause Your love runs deep for me
And I see this beautiful world
And it brings tears to my eyes
And I think it's beautiful to be free

I know that it's Mercy that allows me to wake up each day with a chance to allow Him more room IN my everyday. The more I try to do things on my own (especially with parenting) the harder I find it. It's not until I slow down and notice all the little things I have in my life to be thankful for that I gain perspective.
And so, I continue to count....

#332. Cleaning the clutter
#338. Jumping over the cracks
#345. Frozen gummybears
#350. Dangling little legs while I carry her sleepy body to bed
#365. A quiet house
#401. Her giggle when I wrap her wet hair in a towel on top of her head
#402. Warranty for broken glasses
#430. Reading side by side
#442. Cake in the oven
#467. Hum of the dishwasher
#495. Toys strewn about
#501. Boys who respect
#506. Grass and bare fee
#515. Her wild curly hair
#528. How it takes a village
#537. Early christmas shopping
#539. Made up songs
#541. Anticipation for a week away- just the two of us
#544. Leaves dancing in the wind
#548. Playing grounders- not caring about the other parents watching
#551. His first powerpoint erased. Lessons learned.
#555. Kisses goodbye in the school drop off line

What are you thankful for this week?

Friday, October 11, 2013

A New Start

This past week I have been getting up at 5 am.

If you are a morning person you may be thinking, umm.....what's the big deal?
As a night owl I am here to tell you it is a VERY big deal.

For the past 10 years since having our first baby I have been (unsuccessfully) trying to morph into a morning person. It hasn't been for lack of effort. The intentions are there. The desire clear. I want to love getting up. Somehow though, the morning rolls around and I am just mad that I have to wake up. I wish I could jump out of bed with pep in my step, but alas, I must resort to forcing my body up. Willing my eyes to open. Giving myself just 5 (ahem 15) more minutes.

Anyways, back to this 5 am madness.

My husband has been getting up at this insane hour for the past couple of weeks to workout. He does his workout, hops in the shower and is at work by 6:15 am.
And people, he's happier. He's been telling me how awesome it it, how much work he gets done, how much energy he has.... blah, blah, blah.
Well, his peppiness made me a little jealous, so I thought I'd give it a whirl.

I have been doing this thing for a week now, and here's the deal- he gets up happy, smiling, ready to go.... and I stumble down the stairs with my eyes half open, a little grumpy and angry at him for being so "lalalala!" He laughs at me and says he doesn't understand why I don't love it. I wonder how on earth he can be laughing before the sun is even up. Grrrrrr.

But here's the fun part....after about 10 minutes of running on the treadmill I start to enjoy it. Gasp. I know. It starts to become enJOYable. And a little smile creeps into my heart and I am actually thankful to be awake.

Thankful to be able to watch the sun rise.
Thankful to have two hours before we have to head out the door for school.
Thankful that I am not rushing & yelling & rushing & yelling at the kids to get going.

Funny how the heart shifts as it awakens....

Our kids get up at 7am. Correction- they are not allowed out of their rooms until 7am. Our spunky 6 year old is usually awake before then- and inevitably wakes her little sister (they share a room) but they have to stay in there until their clock says the magical number seven.

This getting up at 5 madness has given me an hour of quiet after my workout. An hour in the morning before any of the chaos begins to start my day with Jesus. This morning in the bible study I am doing (God's Wisdom for a Mother's Heart) I was challenged to write out my goals. As a woman of God. As a wife. As a mom.

It's amazing how writing things out brings such clarity. Especially for me. Writing has always been a way in which I process. A way in which I learn. A way in which I worship. It's so great to see where I want to be. The areas in which I need to grow. And the ability to look back at where I've been.

One of the things I wrote down this morning on my list was that I want to get back to writing. I miss this. Tonight a friend started blogging again...and once again I heard His whisper.

I'm not sure what this is going to look like, but I want to write again.
This, my friends, is a start.

And I am reminded of the fact that if I didn't push through the hard (getting up when my body screamed NOOOOO!) I'd miss out on the awesome.
I'd sleep right through the blessing.

Do you have goals written out? What will your list look like? 



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