The Joy of the Neck-less

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That red-head Mademoiselle, with that smashing purple gown?
Yes the one who appears to be dropping her child into a field of flowers… (most likely due her the lack of fingers)…

Me. Mom.

And that dashing young man handling me a box of earnings?
Yes the one with a mustache growing out of his chin.

Sam. Dad.

I can’t fully explain what a pleasure it is to wake up every morning to these gifts drawn by my daughter. She’s four. And her ability to draw people has just recently colored our world.
She never had the patience before. Then suddenly,

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People.
Incredibly wonderful, happy people.

My husbands portrait stands alone in that he might be the only one with a hint of a neck.
“Maybe I just have a really big nose,” Sam mused one morning as we laid in bed admiring our wall.
“And what? Your mouth is hidden by your mustache?”
Suddenly I saw it… and how we laughed!

Porcelain Experince

The children were silly running down the hall to my “wash your hands before lunch” command.
Then I heard it.
Silence.
Followed by the pounding of feet back down the hall.
“Mom, Mom come quick!” Jonas cried.
I followed him as he poured out the details, “Elise was being super silly, and she knocked the head off the snowman soap pump… into…
THE TOILET.”
I entered the scene. Elise and Sammy stood gazing into the porcelain bowl with the soap dispensers top trapped amongst its fluids.
“Roll up your sleeve,” I told Elise. “Your gonna get it out.”
We flipped up the seat and she began to lower her hand in. All eyes on her.
“Watch out for that pee on the rim,” I cautioned.
She extracted it like a professional- for one inexperienced.
And flung her hand (and the retrieved item) into the safety of the sink with its warm running water.
“But she can’t use soap to wash it cause the soap wont pump without it!” Jonas panicked from the doorway.
Elise whimpered.
Sammy looked on.
Germs smiled.
I grabbed the bar of soap from the shower, thrusting it into her hands, saving the day-
because,
after all,
I am experienced.

Snowman intact. Hands washed. We ate lunch.

Cookie Monster

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Sometimes I struggle with letting things go KID. I had WOMAN urge to punch out 50 stars and trees and decorate them beautifully myself. But my Mom love won. And I’m so glad. Aren’t they kid-beautiful? Tasty little works of art.

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The kids couldn’t wait to make Christmas cookies. After all, they had to wait an extra day after the dough was ready- because the day before little brother woke up from his nap too early. “Why can’t we just make them with Sammy awake?” they had asked.
Shortly after these photo’s, on their last tray each, they found out why.
“MOM! Sammy’s eating the dough! Mom now he has the trees you cut out! He’s ripping them with his hands! No Sammy No! He’s eating the sprinkles off my cookie. Mom I took the tray away and now he’s eating the sprinkles out of the bowl! He has his stool! He’s pulling the tray of cookies off the counter! He’s eating the cooked cookies!! NO SAMMY!!!”
Sammy’s balling his head off, still half asleep but crazed over everything cookie. Tempted beyond belief, toyed by delisious smells and tastes, upset by the screaming, but uncontrollably desperate.
So consumed with want he’s unaware of the cookie he CAN have clutched in his left hand.
“Do you remember when you asked why we couldn’t make cookies with Sammy awake?”
The older two laughed, and TOTALLY got it;)

Why? Oh Why!?

Sometimes I get really selfish. It creeps up on me, slowly entangles me, pumps through my blood and consumes me.
EVERYTHING my children do irks me. And everything I do fills me with dissatisfaction.
It’s especially bad when I’m hormonal or sick.
Today… I may be both.
I felt like I was chewing on the insides of my mouth all day, or reacting and snapping. Snapin and reactin.
Why does my kid keep coughing?! Stop running around and rest!
Why do you keep tripping?! Stop hurting yourself!
DO NOT WHINE AT ME! Be silently sick.
Sweet Mercy why does it take us half-an-hour to get dressed for a breath of fresh air! We missed the sun…. Great.
Stop peeing your pants!
Why are you following me around?
I ran over you with the buggy cause your walking too close.
Winter gloves keep your hands warm when they are dry. Scoop an icicle out of the lake again and were leaving.
Don’t stand in the lake!
I’m making lunch… Out!
Why is everybody CRYING!??

Today I just couldn’t shake it. My go to- Thanking God for things- was even stained with my selfishness.
Thank you for that tinny minuet they weren’t fighting.
Thank you we made it home, and I didn’t choose to leave a kid behind.
Thank you for nap time…

My sarcastic inner voice itched all day long. Before the monster could scratch out at my husband too, I cleared the table put 2 of the kids to bed, and slipped out of the house for a walk with some praise music.
The words sliced away the vines of entrapment.
It’s all about Jesus. His Glory and His love. I will follow him. He will lead and strengthen me. Show me my way. Forgive, make new, and cover me. He’s alive breathing in me. He is peace. He fulfills. His love is enough.
My spirit pulled free and soared to the music. Tears washed my face and smeared my crust.
I’m so sorry! Forgive my hard heart! Thank you for my beautiful blessings. Tomorrow I will put you first Lord, and I will follow. I will find my peace in your foot steps.
I will praise you.

And We will win tomorrow.

Gettin Groovy

Like most new jobs, It takes a while to get in the groove.
It’s been like that for me with Homeschooling.The struggle of finding a routine; a pattern that generally works and guides our days.
But I think, for the most part, I’ve found it.
And only I could find it.
That was the hard part. I could get all the best homeschooling advice and ideas in the world of how each family does it- but it wouldn’t fit our families life and circumstances perfectly. They’d never taught my five-year old, with my singing 4-year-old, and sneaky snatching two-year-old.
So it took some time. But I’m pretty groovy right now.
With a lot of my text-book “how to teach” learning, behind me now, things are a lot more fun.
Also with teaching the bulk of the school work in the afternoon whilst my toddler naps- the teacher keeps her cool a little more often, and kisses that toddler  more.
Some days I just hash out the basics. Others are delightful adventures.
I feel like I just earned a new pair of magic goggles.  I see EVERYTHING differently. It’s all interesting, it’s all something to talk about, learn about, and share a lesson about. Things I’ve probably often subconsciously wondered  I now have a really good reason to find out about.
The inside of our house is A framed. Since we moved in six years ago, I’ve always thought having a swing from a beam would greatly please the child of my past.IMG_0108
One evening I was teaching my children how to tear rags from a sheet. They pulled the cloth fibers apart in a terrific RIPPPP!
I tied those cloth strips together, lassoed the beam and made a swing. It was perfectly unsafe as they soared by the fireplace from the kitchen to the living-room, but drastically exciting. I was in there like a dirty shirt taking my turn. Then I made it educational. And we sat down in our P.j.’s and learned about Rahab letting the Israelite spy’s escape from her window in the tower of Jericho.
The next night while Sammy slept, we did it again. Then the following day Jonas’ writing book asked him to draw and write about how he spends his typical day.
He wrote that in the morning he eats breakfast. In the afternoon he eats lunch. And at night “I get to swing” complete with stick man.

I’m not the only one who comes up with things we should learn. Jonas is always finding things he wants to learn about. And lots of them are good ideas.
One day on the way to the library we parked in the empty lot beside the library and Jonas commented on how much garbage was on the ground. And we formed the idea that we should do a “community project” and pick up waste. He reminded me nearly everyday afterwards as my days were pact with preparing for the holidays and our trip, canning and preserving, homeschooling, and getting chores done. We went on a wonderful week-long holiday (little extra travel freedom with homeschooling) where we got to see Science World! And the day after we got back Jonas was on about our garbage pick up idea.
So armed with BBQ shish-kabob skewers and tongs we went green for an hour. And took care of our Earth.
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The best find was the large mans sock.
Since then we have really takin notice of  litter on our walks.

There are some days when my sons pencil falls under the table 5 times during a writing lesson and I wish I could weld a metal one to his hand that he can’t chew. Or when that Math equation is being printed so slowly I feel like my eyeballs are burning, and my feet are itching, and sweet mercy! we are not engraving a tomb here, stop pressing so hard and finnish that 6!
I’m s-l-o-w-l-y learning patience, asking for lots of forgiveness, counting all my precious blessings, and waking up not dreading the day. Waking up with peace.
Like I said,
I’m gettin into the groove.

What Counts

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This Sunday in church my pastor said something that stuck with me.

“God’s more interested in your Character than your comfort.”

That sums up homeschooling for me right now.

IMG_0090 Homeschooling with a Toddler

Thought I’d get out the paper clips to help with Math this morning.
Sure glad I bought the box with 200.

 

It’s all in the Suit

You know how super heroes are just regular people, But then they sneak into a corner and put on their super suit and WHAM their incredibly AWESOME?
That was kinda like my “almost” 4- year-old today.
She’s always showing us her tricks, which is why we signed her up for gymnastics.
Today was the day. Her first class.
I cut out the feet of some dance tights and rooted around in a box for a body suit.
And WHAM,

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Elise wearing her invented Three Braid Special. That’s right, 3 braids, ALL with bows.

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She kicked it up a notch.

She LOVED gymnastics. When I told her she could go back “every week” she squealed and whispered the words “every week” like her brain was typing a golden secret.
Then for dinner she led us in a lengthy prayer of thankfulness for all things gymnastics, “every week”, and tacked in “and the food” just at the end.
This little Bean makes my heart burst.

Caterpillar Endings

photo credit: Don White

Yesterday Jonas tenderly washed his pet- HornWorm… the Tomato Horn- Worm. Squeaking his pointing finger in the chubby folds of the caterpillars belly. It swished its blue horn back and forth, making the washer and his small observers laugh.
We cleaned out his cage and put him back in his jar for the night. HornWorm seemed more active without being covered in dirt.
Jonas had every intention of making him happy. He’s wanted him to go free to see his family last night.
I suggested a few more days so we could learn more about him for home-school.
Today Jonas went hunting with Dad.
Today HornWorm stopped moving in the jar.
I set him free.  A few times. My 1 and a half-year old kept retrieving his still body….
It was pointless, I was confident the pet was dead.
We finally let Sammy have a go at playing with Hornworm as there wasn’t anything worse he could do to it. This was hard to watch for Elise, who still felt something for the stubby legged, green worm.
How will I tell Jonas?
Sammy still thinks he’s alive and will miss “Woa!” which is what he thought it was called cause we kept saying that when we showed it too him the first time.
RIP large garden pest, you will be missed. Sorry you died on my watch. Sure hope it has nothing to do with the tomato I fed you.

Date with Sammy

This past week I felt like I fell in love with my 19 month old all over again. Everything he does is so darn cute. His kisses, little hand pumps for fair-well, the way he runs with his arms behind himself to go super fast.
He barely talks but understands everything. He is silently the cutest baby around;)
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I wasn’t feeling quite as warm and fuzzy towards him a week before…

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And the week before that…

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I was beside myself with the sudden storm of temper-tantrums. Tell me your kids never had them- whatever. But all three of mine have a Will like the Hulk. Around age two it takes over their bodies and screams and flails till eventually its tamed and put carefully back in place.
Usually by age three.
Just when I felt I was unable to bear another day with Hulk Sam- a beam of grace came down from Heaven. We had had an amazing Family weekend camp trip, and when we came back we brought back a much happier little boy.
I know… It could be just this week. But I needed it.
As if to celebrate Sammy and I found ourselves alone yesterday evening. So we went to a restaurant together. He enamored all the old people, pointed out the flies, dipped all things in ketchup, and bulged his eyes at Root-beers fizzy wonder.
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We went and fed a goat, took a long drive munching on apples, visited the swing and playground and met all the people, dogs, and sea gulls at the beach. He was the perfect little date, and even gave me chubby kisses before bed.
Thankful for Sammy.