Sunday, August 31, 2008

Stanton Run can celebrate...

...that the Mantooth's yard is FINALLY mowed. Poor Chris has been feeling horrible about our yard for awhile, but what is a guy to do who is only home when its dark? Plus, there are no street lights, so its REALLY dark! After church today, I started talking to neighbors. Ya'll, I have the very best neighbors around. Wynne, who lives across the street let her 13 year old daughter come and watch the kids inside so that I could be outside, mowing. Then, her 11 year old son, started mowing too! Plus, my neighbor directly beside me, Debbie, also came out to mow. The grass/weeds were SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO long! The back yard was up to my hip! I was so blessed by their help. Chris could never do it because of his hours right now, and I couldn't because my kids are too young to be left alone for that long. God really provided for us today and we are so blessed and humbled by it. (The only downside is that the yard is like dishes and laundry, it never goes away. But at least for a couple of days, we aren't the worst yard in the neighborhood. Thank you Debbie, Wynne, Jillian, and Jacob!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Kaiden told a joke!!

I just have to tell you, that not only did my two year old sit in his booster seat without complaining for an ENTIRE football game (almost 3 hours), he was unbelievably cute and sweet. He would clap and say, "Yea!" He would lean over on my arm for a little side hug. He would hold my hands and make them clap. But the one that got me was his joke. I have never had a two year old actually tell a joke and know what he was saying! Here is how it played out......I was watching the game when I felt Kaiden tapping my shoulder. I looked over and found his hand was in a fist and he was tapping me. I asked him if he needed anything. He responded by tapping again, this time saying, "knock knock." I thought, oh how cute, and said," knock knock" back. He continued. Finally I said," Who's there?" He laughed and said, "apple." Then he would say, "knock knock" again. I said, "Who's there?" We did this a few times and then he said, "apple juice!" He and I laughed and laughed. It cracked me up! I didn't think kids told jokes this early. We had a good time!

The first football game!!!!

The Broncos did it! They just won their first game tonight!!!! Go Broncos! The kids and I had a good time together. My older three actually followed the game and asked questions! So, I got to watch. Yea! Kaiden, our two year old sat happily in his booster seat the entire game. I couldn't believe it!!! We felt like such celebrities having the offensive coordinator in our family. What a guy!!! What a coach!!! Yea, Broncos!!!! Yea, Coach Mantooth!!!! We love you!!!!

Friday, August 29, 2008

More on our adoption journey...

Chris and I are trying to be good at not forging ahead on our own will. We want to have peace and God's blessing every step of the way. Right now, we don't have it. There have been several times over the past years that Chris and I will both get the message, from God, that we are to adopt. So, we will begin looking into it. This has been the loudest voice so far. So, I have been contacting agencies, reading books, praying, talking to people, etc. I have been convinced that finally this is it. The more I look into agencies the more unsettled I become. I have no peace at all yet with them, any of them. I have not been kept from having kids. I am content to have the four we have and I am content with however many more God wants to give us. I want to love on kids. I want to provide a loving home that will offer consistency, training, and unconditional love. I want to show more kids how great our Lord is! What a mission field! To me, mothering is the most amazing calling and I feel so blessed to be able to be the mommy of my children and whomever is to come. This being my heart, I just want to help if God is saying someone needs help. I am not going to spend $40,000 and go "shopping" for a child. I cannot possibly say yes to one and leave the others. (Unless that is what God wants us to do. Then He will provide everything we need so that we can.) So, I am praying about what God's plan might be. I think, right now, that He may have more creative plans than traditional adoption. Maybe some kids down the street that we get to know will need a home. Maybe we don't adopt, but just have an open door policy that if you need a bed, a meal, a listening ear, some loving and praying, you can come here. Maybe we are just to be that safe house for the kid who needs help. Or, maybe there is a pregnant girl out there who will cross our path and see our family as a place she wants her baby to grow up. Who knows. So, in case you have been wondering what the status is, its waiting on God. All we know is that He is up to something. Discovering what it is is always so exciting!!!

Its fun to catch up with friends

I now live very close to several wonderful women who were dear college friends of mine. Today, I enjoyed lunch with one of these women. It was so fun to talk to Rebecca as adults and see our children running around. Isn't it crazy how fast time flies? Seeing Rebecca as a mommy blessed me tremendously!!!! We had a great time chatting over lunch and meeting eachother's children. Thank you, God for friends!

Speaking of keeping up with friends, I have to tell you. Not long ago, my heart was ripped from my chest. A VERY dear, close friend and her precious family who were all like family to us moved to Connecticut. I have had to go through a much more intense grieving period than I ever imagined. She is like a sister to me and I was used to living DAILY with her. Well, thank you Lord for the technology of cell phones that has all but eliminated long distance phone bills. Stephanie and I have had many lengthy chats just talking about the day in and day out that we miss so much. While it is still hard to not be around her children and husband or even know what her house looks like, I am thankful that through cell phones and email our friendship can still flourish!!!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Great site!

My friend, Tami, just told me about this other blog and I love it! This mom has great ideas to do with toddlers. I can't wait to do some of them myself.

You would think I would learn

I had a really late night last night with many interruptions once I did get asleep. So, needless to say, this morning was sluggish at best. My plan was to get up and out, but we didn't get out of the house to run about 5 errands until after 10am. So, there I was in Target at lunch time getting clothes no less. How does a 4 year old and 2 year old behave when tired and hungry? How much do they like waiting on Mommy to pick out clothes for their sisters? Not much. What was I thinking? Frustration for all involved.

My next adventure is to try to explain the need for modesty to my eight year old. All my reasons stem from respecting the sight-minded boy. I want them to realize that God designed men to be sexually aroused by sight, and that as their Christian sisters, we want to do our part to protect them from impure thoughts, to not be a reason for them to stumble. I want to teach them that in the context of marriage, they are a beautiful gift for their husband. The problem is, we haven't gotten into the sex talks yet. I still haven't touched the subject. I know we are probably past due, but still, we haven't. So, my question is how do I explain why her tummy can't show or the clothes can't be skin tight without getting into all that? I want to go deeper than, God wants us to be modest and so that is our rule. It just frustrates her because she wants to know WHY God calls us to modesty.

So, the picture in Target is a crying two year old crashing anything he can reach from the basket, a four year old not remaining by my side, but jumping around and running and getting fussy, and an eight year old complaining that she has the worst mom ever. (One out of our four was actually happy with our little trip and her selections and stayed pleasantly with me. )Praise God for nap time!!!!!!

Monday, August 25, 2008

The Journey of Adoption Begins

For my own personal records, I wanted to post about our decision to begin the adoption process, the Lord willing. Many years ago, God placed in our hearts the desire to adopt. We have felt that this is definitely a calling and we are willing to open our family to whomever God chooses. God hasn't told us yet how many or what ages or from where. That is the exciting part. I have been praying for a really long time now for these children who are to be Mantooth's. I don't know if they are already out there somewhere. If that is the case, I have been praying for God's protection of them. Protection for their minds, hearts, and souls. I have also been praying for the baby that is in utero or has not even been conceived of yet. I pray for health and protection. I have been praying for these birth mothers. I, being on this side and already having four biological children, cannot conceive of what place someone must be at to give their child away. Most love their baby enough to wish a better life for them. Some just don't believe in abortion and take the courageous steps to birth the baby that has come to them. Either way, they are an important part of our future child's life.

Right now I am acquiring all the information I can. I have five books that should be showing up on my doorstep soon. I have also requested every free info packet available from a multitude of agencies. We are investigating financial support because the cost is WAY, WAY out of our league. Especially since we feel God's calling to adopt multiple children. We don't know yet if we are to add a baby one at a time, or get a sibling group that we keep from being separated from each other. Only God knows right now. We are confident that He knows who will make up our family and that He will provide all the funds somehow. We are just here, willing to open our home. He will fill it.

One "ministry" that has been on my heart for about a year and a half now is trying to stop abortions. I have heard of families standing outside abortion clinics with signs pleading for the mother to not go in, but to let them adopt her baby instead. There were powerful testimonies that, even if the mother didn't give them her baby, during discussion would call the baby "my baby" for the first time. As soon as she acknowledges that her baby is in there and she can give it life, a lot of times she decides not to abort. I am starting today to pray about our family ministering to the unborn and to these mothers in this way. In this, we won't be so concerned about getting a baby for us, but saving lives. We would want to love on these women and help them to realize that they have a real life inside of them that they have the power to save. If the mother wants to, we would be willing to adopt their baby. I will see where God leads me on this. ??????????
One side plus, is that the fees to adopt would only be the legal ones. This would take us from 10,20,or 30 thousand dollars to more like 3 or 4 thousand per child.

So, whether a baby or sibling group... Whether white, black, Hispanic, Asian, or other...Whether domestic adoption, international adoption, or a mother handing us her baby...We are praying and waiting on God to make miracles happen. What an exciting journey!!!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

I am to be his helper

God gave us marriage to reflect His relationship of Christ and the church. Christ was willing to lay down His life for the church. The church in turn is to present itself as a beautiful bride. Think about what you felt like on your wedding day. Back then, if you are anything like me, you were in awe of this man you were marrying. You knew God had brought you two together and you were excited to see God's plan unfold over the course of life. You, if you were like me, adored him. You held him in the highest esteem, completely respecting him as a man of God, full of integrity. Does your marriage still reflect that unconditional, covenant love that God so wants for us? Mine in many ways does, but in some ways does not.

My husband is a football coach. If you are married to a football coach, that says it all for you. Every year I go on this roller coaster. In the spring, I am happily married. I am enjoying a regular schedule including nights and weekends with my husband. In the summer, we enjoy the blessings of time off. There are trips to go on and fun family times together. As summer comes to a close, so does my heart. I am now realizing my horrible sin. I turn inward in my own self pity and stop being a help-meet when Chris needs me most. I am convinced the whole family suffers for it. I have even tossed around the term "football widow." I will never say that again. Just yesterday I sat talking with a woman who lost her husband six years ago. She is a widow. She is alone and mourning. I am a woman who is dearly loved by a wonderful man who is alive and well and just happens to be a little busy. Shame on me.

Father God, you who know me completely. You knit me in my mother's womb and know the number of hairs on my head. You who give me my daily strength and guidance. You who have blessed me beyond belief with four healthy children and a husband that loves us completely. You have given me a man of integrity, who follows You, and unselfishly provides for his family everything that we need and more. He is a hard worker and you use him to teach me continuously. You have given me someone in whom I can have peace that his eyes will never wander and that he will come home every night. You have given me a companion whom I can share my whole life with, completely. You have given me a man who adores his children and has an amazing relationship with. What a gift, Lord! Forgive me for my selfishness. Forgive me when I speak ill of Chris to others. Forgive me for doubting him in any way. Forgive me for not relying on your strength and endurance during these times. Forgive me for not supporting Chris in his toughest time. Forgive me for my lack of faith in your power and in your plan. My children are just fine! I am great! Forgive me for putting negativity into our day and for putting so many expectations onto Chris. I am not his holy spirit. Forgive me for my pride that I know what would make this family better. Forgive me for not being content in all circumstances as you have taught. Forgive me for not having joy and for not praying without ceasing. Help me to be the helper that You want me to be for Chris. Help me to support him with unwavering faith. Help me to be his biggest cheerleader. Help me to never give a negative impression about Chris to anyone. Help me to pray for him daily. Help me to put my selfishness aside. Help me to find my identity, worth and joy in You and not Chris. Help me to be someone in Chris's life that helps him keep his eyes on You, not a distraction. Help me to see Chris as I did 10 years ago on our wedding day. Help me to be completely attracted to, in love, and in admiration of Chris. He is a very special creation, made by You, and given to me! Thank you again, Lord, that you are my all. Thank you that you are with me always, because none of this is possible on my own strength. Thank you for your faithfulness to always be teaching me. I love you, Father!

The Family Integrated Church

I just have to say, God is so good! He has been really working on me lately as you can read in other posts. Some of the areas are my selfishness, my warped view of worship, and my parenting/training style. All have been addressed since we moved to a new town and have been church shopping. We have loved an energetic service with lots of praise music and a great band. We were also looking for a place that preached straight from the word in a Bible Study fashion instead of personal stories and antidotes. Another qualification was a great children's program that would really train the kids to worship, pray, and spread the gospel. I have to say I have found a WONDERFUL church!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! What is funny, is that it only has one of those things. This church teaches the Word of God. This congregation, (family would be a better word) is a calmer group on Sunday morning. (Not that there aren't cut-ups and lots of crazy fun on different occasions.) The music comes from hymns accompanied by a piano. The kicker is that the whole family worships together. There is no children's program during the service. This is why I told God that this church was not for me. I needed my time away. I needed to get into a place of worship, and I couldn't do this with children around me. I couldn't listen to the teaching if I was worried with children and disciplining. I told God how frustrating the morning would be and how tired I would be. I needed to be filled and refreshed. Didn't God want those things too? Not exactly. This is where my lessons came in.

Selfishness/warped view of worship: Did you notice how many "I's" there were in the last many sentences? God showed me that worship was not about me at all, but about Him. This was a time for me to come and recognize His splendor and greatness among other believers. He showed me that it had nothing to do with me loving the music and "getting into it." It had nothing to do with even hearing the message! I was there with the sole purpose of worshiping the Almighty God. A little side note on pride was taught too. I realized that my frustration that, in the past, had boiled over at some point and caused me to hate the morning was again centered inward. I was not worried about training, I was worried about what other people thought of my children's behavior and thus my ability as a mother. Focusing upward instead of inward has changed my whole worship experience!

Parenting/training: I do not hate being with my children anymore! Not that I really hated it, that sounds too harsh. There was a time in my life though, where if I could get away I would. That was one of the best things about Sunday morning. For at least an hour and a half I could just sit and think about me and my relationship with God. Where there is nothing wrong with the occasional babysitter, after all everyone needs a break, I learned that I had a higher calling than my personal growth. God has intrusted four wonderful children (so far!) to us to train up to be godly men and women who seek and follow their Lord. I learned that I was sending a wrong message unknowingly. I put them in Sunday morning classes so that they could get instruction on their individual level. I put them in so that they could meet other kids their age. I put them in because they hated "big church", didn't seem to get anything from it, and drove me crazy. I have learned that I have thus kept them out of church. That is not the message I want to convey. We have always said that we wanted to go to church as a family. The funny thing is that I guess we meant only for the car ride. As soon as we walk in, we all split up into our own ministries and classes. Now we truely go to church as a family (with the exception of Chris for this football season-more on that in the next post). God has taught me that my worship is in training these precious children. I have learned that they get a lot more out of the service than I ever dreamed possible. I have learned that all my reasons for homeschooling apply at church as well. Even more so! If I want to be the main influence in their lives and decide what they are exposed to, I cannot turn them over to others to decide what and how they are taught. If I decided that I would teach them their academics, why would I want someone else teaching them their spiritual lessons. (Not that we don't teach at home during the week also.) If I didn't think a room full of peers was a natural set up to learn life, why would I want that on Sunday morning? I was a huge contradiction! Today, the children sat beautifully in church, even my two year old! This was just our third time too! They look forward to service and the many friends they have met there. We have deeper, more meaningful conversations together about spiritual things also. Especially over Sunday lunch!

God is AWESOME!!! He has not only shown us where to go to church, which was our prayer. Apparently that was just small potatoes. God didn't stop there. He has grown each one of us individually and as a family. He has taught us profound lessons and strengthened our relationship and faith in Him. He has also introduced us to a body of believers that are so dear to our hearts already. These precious people are each a gift given to us for right now in this season, as our support and example. I feel so blessed and overwhelmed right now to be a daughter of the King and to have the privilege to worship among such a family for Christ. God is so good!!!!

Thank you, Lord for the showering of blessings that you have given me and my family. Thank you for not walking away when Your child threw a fit like a toddler not cooperating. Thank you for sticking by my side, for training me and growing me. May I follow Your example with these lives You have intrusted to me. Amen.

Friday, August 22, 2008

God's teaching

If you read the preceding post, you will understand the problems we were having and seeking the Lord about.

I have had some sweet time with Allison and with the Lord. Allison and I, for now, have an understanding of mutual forgiveness and pledges to patience while we each learn and grow. The scriptures that God showed me follows. We will be discussing these and praying over these as all the children and I learn to interact with each other.

"A fool gives full vent to his anger, but a wise man keeps himself under control." Prov. 29:11

"He who guards his mouth and his tongue keeps himself from calamity." Prov. 21:23

"Like a city whose walls are broken down is a man who lacks self-control." Prov.25:28 (We were just reading about the fall of Jericho in Allison's reading lesson, so this one made good sense to us.)

"Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones." Prov. 16:24

"Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing." Prov. 12:18

"A wise son heeds his father's instruction, but a mocker does not listen to rebuke." Prov. 13:1

"He who scorns instruction will pay for it, but he who respects a command is rewarded." Prov. 13:13

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding." Prov. 3:5

"The wise in heart accept commands, but a chattering fool comes to ruin." Prov. 10:8

"All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness." Heb. 12:11

"Honor your father and mother so that you will live a long time in the land that the Lord your God is going to give you." Exodus 20:12

I am sure there are many more scriptures on this, but these are the ones God gave us today. Once I got my pride out of the way, I realized that most pertain to me too. It's actually comical to me now, that as I read these, I was sure God was giving them so that I could really lay into the kids "biblically." Ha Ha! This lesson was for me. As I discipline them and as we just go about our day interacting, this is how I am also to treat them.

Thank you God, for your faithfulness to give wisdom and knowledge when I ask. Thank you for teaching and training me as your child. Thank you even for the discipline that I receive. Thank you for these children that are a clear picture of your love for me. Thank you that you are not done with me, but that you will continue to work on me until the day that Jesus comes. Help me to follow your example. Give me discernment when speaking to my children. I pray that you will allow me to point them to you and show them your love. Amen.

" not exasperate your children..."

"Fathers, do not exasperate your children, that they may not lose heart." Colossians 3:21

I don't know about you, but I feel pretty darn exasperated myself a lot of the time. Why not exasperate them? They deserve to be right? Actually, scripture says no. So, today I am pondering this little verse. Just a moment ago, I was spanking my two year old. I had declared it quiet time and laid him down for his nap. He decided to get up. After explaining what I wanted him to do and explaining the consequence for not obeying, I slipped away. Not two seconds later, he was back out of bed. So, he got a spanking. This happened multiple times before he finally decided to go to sleep. Before this happened, my eight year old got a spanking. Now this one bothered me. I had told her to stop and activity for quiet time and go to her room. This was not unreasonable. We do this every day. This time, however, she asked if she could not go to her room and keep doing the activity. I said no. This resulted in a huge outburst of crying and screaming disrespectful things at me. My hurt feelings were not the issue. I have tougher skin than that. Disrespecting her mother was the issue, which in our house, gets a spanking. After the spanking, she ran away from my in an absolute rage. I am writing this as I let her calm down. We will of course have a talk in a moment to work everything out. My point, is how do I discipline these strong personalities without exasperating them? I am sinning by doing this, so there must be a way. So, today I ponder exasperation and godly training.

exasperate - to irritate or provoke to a high degree; annoy extremely

My eight year old lives in a state of exasperation with me. What is a mom to do? How does one say "no" in a way in which their children do not become extremely annoyed? Turning to God's word is all I know to do. I pray for the Holy Spirit to train me and grow me to be more like Jesus. Speak to me, Lord, teach me Your ways.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Running on God

God has been really speaking to me lately. My life has been a roller coaster, one day on, one day off. Today, God called me to just sit at His feet in a deeper way than I ever have in my life. What happened? He met me there. I have had an amazing day walking beside God. Has the whole day been great and wonderful? No, in fact there have been several times that were really hard. But, because I had a running conversation going with The Almighty, I was able to move through the obstacle. You know, sometimes God allows you to be saved from the hard times. Sometimes, He moves you around them as you are approaching. Sometimes he allows you to go right through the middle of it. Why would a loving God do that to His child? Training. Teaching. Growth. Just as I pray everyday to put myself aside and train these children the way God wants me to, my Abba Father is also training me. Just as I want my children to grow into godly people with strong character who love and follow their Lord, my Abba Father also looks on me, His child, and wants the same.

There are many times during the day that each of my children come and ask for help. I of course offer it, knowing that they are not capable of all things. They cannot and will not be left alone, because they are lost and in danger without supervision. Each of us has supernatural supervision. God is ALWAYS with us. He would never leave us for a second because we are just children, His children. Do children just go off by them self all day and never seek council about anything? As much as we sometimes wish they would (not really), there is not a half hour that I don't see each one (unless they are napping of course). I am learning today to be more like my kids. They value that leadership and realize their incapabilities and have no problem staying close to me, talking to me, learning from me, and asking questions. They rely on me. I, too, must stay close to God. I am to talk to Him (pray continuously 1Thes. 5:17), learn from Him (prayer and Bible reading), and ask questions. I am to rely on God, not myself.

That brings me back to the roller coaster. When I do not rely on God, but instead rely on my own pathetic intellect, strength, work ethic, and just plain umph, I fail. I get tired. I lose motivation and lose sight of the goal. Sometimes I even still know the goal, but don't care anymore or rationalize that it will all work out some how. God has called me to be His child. He has called me to be a godly wife. He has called me to be a mother. He has called me to raise and train these children, remaining right by their side just as God remains by me. He has called me to be a daughter and sister. He has called me to be a true friend. He has called me to be a good neighbor. He has called me to be a good steward of all that He has given me. He has called me to be a witness of His love to the world around me and beyond. Wow! That is a tall order! How arrogant am I to begin any day without calling on my Lord. He is my strength. He is my shield. He is my salvation. He is my rock. He is my all. He IS!!!!

Thank you, God, for teaching me today. Thank you for reminding me of truths I have known for years but not always followed. Thank you that you are my Abba Father, my Daddy, training me and never letting me go. Thank you that you promise to not stop until Your work is completed. Amen.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The honeymoon is over

Okay. I just posted this morning that school was a dream. Well, I've been awaken. I am at a snack break right now, by myself in my room. AHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This morning just didn't work. Kaiden, my 2 year old has decided that today he will torture everyone. Things have been thrown across the room and hit children, hair has been pulled, kids have been hit, etc. Training needs to happen, obviously, but I don't even know what to do! I thought when I planned our day, that Kaiden would enjoy playing with the toys in whatever center was out. NOT! Plus, the listening center I was so excited about was refused by my 4 year old, Kevin. I thought that would be a favorite. Maybe it will be soon. Training, again. Oh, the journey of a homeschool mom with multiple children. I am still excited to be their teacher. It is still my desire to train them and be with them, don't get me wrong. I am just frustrated at the moment by how this morning went. Grace.

God give me patience to train with gentleness and consistency. May I see them as you do. Help me to recognize the unique gifts and talents that you have given them. Show me how to develop them into the boys and girls/ men and women that you have called them to be. Mostly, help me to guide them to you. May they be forever drawn to you. May they desire you more than any and love you with all their hearts. May they seek you and follow you more and more every day of their lives. Develop me into the woman that you want me to be. Help me to put my own desires and selfishness aside and do the good work you have called me to. Thank you, Lord, that you are always with me. You are my strength and my guide. Thank you! I love you!!!! Amen.

Annie becomes a Mantooth!

Saturday, the kids and I went over to the Animal Defense League, a no-kill animal shelter here in town. I had done some research online and we were soon walking the dogs on our list. Annie won our hearts. She is absolutely gorgeous! Totally black with a medium-long, shiney coat. She is 3 years old and so sweet. Luckily, Annie is very calm and became a part of our family without any pain. Already house and crate trained, Annie is a joy to have. We hope to win her over and make her comfortable enough to play. Right now, she just stays by our side wherever we go. She loves to be pet and brushed and loved on. We are so excited to have her in our family! Welcome, Annie!!!

School days begin!!!-Day 1

Ahhhhh The smell of fresh pencils. The wonderful sounds and gas smells of the school bus. Hords of children talking and laughing. Backpacks full of all the new school supplies needed as the kiddos go off to their new world for the next nine months. Excitment is in the air!!!

Well, maybe not. Actually at our house it looks A LOT different! We were all up and dressed with our beds made by 7am. At this point we had breakfast together and then cleaned up. At 8am, we all started singing our "Good Morning To You/Rise and Shine" song that calls us to school. Up in our school room, we enjoyed praying together, reading the Bible (we have started going through Luke), updating our calendar, and singing together. That will definetely be our favorite time of day. Next, I sat down with Ashlynn for some one-on-one instruction while Kevin, Allison, and Kaiden had learning play time in centers. Throughout the morning we rotated time with Mommy having individual instruction while the others did an activity.

I would be lying if I told you we pulled it off with no hitches. Having a toddler around really makes school interesting. We did have to take a break while Kaiden threw one of his biggest fits yet. I actually had to hold him to keep him from hurting himself or someone else. It was something else. All in all though, it was a great morning. I look forward to today. In fact, we are about to begin in just a little while.

I thank God for the opportunity to school my children. To be free to pick my curriculum and the manner in which we conduct our day is such a blessing. I am getting to know each one of these precious creations individually and deeply. I am able to train them as I feel God is leading me to. I do not have to try to build a relationship while competing with dinner and homework in the 3-4 hours they would be home if they went to public school. 3-4 hours IF they don't have an activity that night. I am truely blessed to have a husband that supports homeschooling and encourages us in our day. God has showered us with so much!!! It is overwhelming to be in the middle of HIS love!

Friday, August 8, 2008

Blueberry Picking, a family tradition!

Every year on Father's Day weekend, we all wake up early and go blueberry picking. My parents, Chris, me, the kids, and whoever else is with us that year all load into a car (or cars) and head off. There have been years of babies in slings. There have been years of pulling toddlers in wagons. No matter the ages, we always go. Even though it is hot, we have a lot of fun. Blueberries grow on big bushes so that you aren't bending down or reaching up all day. You can just stand and pick. Although, I usually find myself convinced that the best ones are in this hard to reach spot. I end up in the middle of the bush pulling limbs down so that I can get the very top, middle ones. We always have fun trying to see who can fill their buckets the highest. Its hard though, when we eat as many as we pick! Something I love about the morning is listening to all the talk around me. Everyone, (our family as well as strangers) speaks openly to one another. You have this feeling of privacy as you stand next to someone and the bushes surround you. You can pick and listen to all kinds of conversation! It is such a sweet, precious family time that no one would want to miss a year. Yes, you will hear us complain about the heat and how early we are expected to leave, but secretely we hold this tradition as one of our favorites. One year we had a contest to see who could fit the most blueberries in their mouth at the same time. After we are all tired, we go back to my parent's house and make cobbler and snack on fresh blueberries. We then eat blueberries for weeks!

New to blogging

Well, here I am staying up late again on yet another project. Tonight its learning to blog. I have set up my page, added pictures, and posted. I have finally arrived! A few months ago, I wouldn't have had any idea what you were talking about if you used the word, "blog". I can tell I still have a long way to go and many things to learn. I am excited to be on my way, though. I just started singing that Brother Bear song, "Tell everybody I'm on my way....." Hopefully this will become a site worth visiting soon and actually be interesting. Until then, thank you for your patience!!! :)

Kaiden's first haircut

We finally decided to have Kaiden's golden locks trimmed just a little. Strangers didn't know he was a boy anymore. But, I couldn't cut them all off. We went with a modified haircut and left some of the curls. As Mommy, I was not ready to go completely from baby to little boy.

Kaiden did really well. He sat very still for the woman the whole time. I think he might have been in shock. Afterwards, he was very proud and wanted to tell everyone about his hair.

The first and third pictures are his before shots and then the second is Kaiden with his new big boy haircut.
(Kevin had to come along and get a cut too. He is with Kaiden in the third picture.) I couldn't figure out how to edit them so that they were in the right order.

(This actually happened several months ago.)