Tag Archives: Family

Awesome!

I need this for my home… where we can see it every day!

It is my personal parenting goal to teach my children that we can do hard things. Life is hard. Challenges come and we are faced with how we will respond. We choose to tackle these challenges head first, asking for help if needed, and we conquer. I’ve had the Bible verse “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” in my head over the last few years, so I felt that it was an appropriate addition to the lesson. 

On the first day of school, we sat down and talked about the rocks and how we are building a foundation in their lives, one lesson {rock} at a time. By the way, Liam is the only who got this discussion… Sylvi was thinking about Ariel… So when he masters a sight word, or has a particularly awesome attitude for the day, or I catch them acting in kindness without prompting, an AWESOME ROCK goes into their jar. And lest you think that I’m just piling stones up, once they get to 10 in the jar, they get a bonus when I pay out their allowance. It’s a huge hit :)

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Today wasn’t the smoothest school day. Liam needs to work on ordering numbers, and he loathes practicing this. Although, he really enjoys math in general, I just haven’t found the right way to work on this skill so it’s not tedious for him. Neither child nor mother got an awesome rock. But in the afternoon, we were invited to a friend’s home to swim in their pool. I strapped on life jackets and told the kids to play… to be brave and swim without hanging on to me. Both children panicked and cried when they first realized they couldn’t touch easily. I encouraged from where I sat {close enough to help if it was needed, don’t worry!}, and actually watched the fear on their faces be replaced with determination as they moved their bodies from bobbing to kicking and stroking.

In the end, what was hard became something so fun they want to return… to swim without me. They tackled something that was hard and scary, but they did it. I’m really looking forward to tonight’s review of the day to get their thoughts on how they felt when they conquered. In the meantime, though, I’m adding some awesome rocks to their jars!

Friday field trip

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Today marked the 10th day of homeschool for our little family. We celebrated with a field trip to the nature center. I could hardly wait to get to this day because I had found the cutest little Nature Scavenger Hunt from Simple as That. 

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Joy of joys, Matt only had to work until lunch today (yay holidays!) so we waited until he got home to leave. As we were all lacing on shoes, Vito started jumping around like a puppy, so I asked if he wanted to come along. He gave me pretty much the same look he gives me when I ask if he needs to go outside, so I asked if he wanted to ride in the car and he let out a YIP! like I haven’t heard in forever. So we had an extra student along for the excursion.

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Once we got to the Nature Center, Liam was far too set on his personal goals to really play along with the scavenger hunt. I’m so grateful for a daughter who thinks every little thing I do is phenomenal. She was thrilled to carry a clipboard and pencil, searching high and low, delighting in crossing things off her board. At the very end of the hike, I found some acorns and she squeezed my legs, telling me they were “de best!”

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In the end, we found almost every thing on the hunt except for animal tracks, deer and of all things, squirrels. We did find a lot of poop though. A lot of poop. We listened to the cardinals calling, the insects humming and the dog gasping. I’m planning to take the kids back again as the weather chills for another hike to see what we discover as the seasons change… I’m even hoping to convince them myself it’s a great idea to do a snowy hike!

Rearranging the china cabinet

9 years ago, Matt and I were house hunting. We were engaged and the wedding was being planned, but finding a place to call our own proved to be a challenge. The home we finally decided on has turned out to be a bit of a lemon, but it is our first house. It is filled with charm and quirkiness that I just fell in love with, turning a blind eye to the practicality of the home once children would be introduced.

When we registered for our wedding, my mother was in a coma. And when she woke up, she couldn’t speak or communicate very clearly, so it was Martha Stewart’s list that helped me figure out what I needed. As it turns out, I didn’t need quite a bit of those items and although they were once proudly displayed in our china cabinets {first home had precious corner built ins that I adored}, they are now safely packed away.

After living in that home for almost four years, we decided to turn it into a rental property and moved into my grandmother’s home, which I had inherited. When we moved here, Liam was 15 months old and I was pregnant with Sylvia. Along with the house, I also inherited furniture and a lot of necessary repairs. And when you move while in the midst of your second HG diagnosis, you deal with what you can and call it a success. So the dining room furniture that I often ate holiday meals at now housed my china and serving dishes, and on a weekly basis served as my station for folding laundry… the latter not being my grandmother’s intent for the furniture’s use in future generations.

In a few short days, though, that dining room will serve as our homeschool room. With the giant picture window and storage for books, it was an easy decision. The only china that remains is in the actual china cabinet portion of the dining room set. The buffet has been cleared out to make room for books and paper and little wooden letters.

As I look around the house, I can’t help but notice that while the location or use of items has changed, the core of our home is simply who lives here. I have watched my home change in the last nine years and I gotta say… I really like where it’s going. I really, really do.

Bravely

I cannot believe it’s already August. Yesterday marked the two week countdown for the first day of school. Today, my final shipment of homeschool supplies will arrive… UPS guy, I’m totally stalking the front door for you.

All summer we have gone on adventures, played outside, tried new foods, stayed up WAY too late and just generally had a lovely time. But since Liam starting Kindergarten, he’s elligible to spend these last two weeks of the summer attending Safety Town. Safety Town is a two week course for kiddos ages 4-6 {I only share this because I discovered that not every one has Safety Town in their state!}. They arrive every morning for a few hours of themed information on things like indoor safety {Don’t touch the chemicals or stove!}, meeting police officers, learning addresses and phone numbers… just general things that make our little people more aware of the world around us and empowered to protect themselves.

I remember Safety Town for myself and my brothers. My favorite part was always the to-scale town that was set out on the playground for us to ride trikes around. I loved those little buildings and imagined myself a very grown-up 5 year old that summer. Yesterday as we drove to the first session, I told Liam how much fun it was and how I still remember things I learned at Safety Town.

But upon check in, I realized that there are far more children in attendance that I’d thought there would be. On top of that, Liam isn’t in a class with anyone he knows. Yesterday was less than stellar for him. And me. I know exactly how he feels walking into a room where he knows no one. And I completely understand when we go to group events and he will not leave my side until he sees a person he knows, only to cling to that person for the entire event. I imagine that his stomach ties up in knots like mine does and my heart hurts for him.

So for the next two weeks, we are working on bravery. I ordered most of the books from this post by Carrots are Orange and they are already on their way to the library for me to pick up. I’m 33 years old and still have so much anxiety over social events, even to the point that I will “forget” to put them on my calendar… this is not what I want for my children. They may grow up to be shyer by nature and that is A-ok. Both of them already seem to be introverted like Matt and I {A characteristic I couldn’t be more grateful for! I don’t know what I would ever do if they thrived on social events!}. All this is wonderful and I think makes it even easier for me to understand why my children don’t run into a new social setting like many of their peers. It’s ok to be shy. It’s ok to not thrive on others’ energy. But it’s not ok to be miserable. I was always told to just “get over” my nervousness. But I never learned how. I learned how to cover it up, but I didn’t learn how to move past it.

Today’s goal for Liam was to learn the name of one child in his group. Tomorrow when I take him in, I’m going to check the name tag of the kiddo next to him… I’m told it’s Christopher. We are going to be meeting a lot of new friends this year with church and co-op and MOPS. By “we” I do actually mean Liam and I. We are both going to learn to be brave, but we won’t be alone… we are going to do it together, one new name at a time!

Different, but the same

My brother and his family currently live in Germany. They are stationed there for the next while with the Air Force and while it’s a neat experience for them, it means I don’t get to see them until they are stateside. When they moved, my niece was almost 3 and my sister-in-law was newly pregnant. I was feeling a little more confident with my quilting, so I started looking at patterns right away, hoping to send a little bit of family over when the baby arrived.

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But when the announcement came that it was not one, but TWO babies our family would be welcoming in June, I put all my plans on hold. Twins, to me, are an amazing gift and while I love the matching everything, I wanted to make the quilts different…. but the same.

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In the end, I settled on fabric from the S’more Love line and used the same white fabric for the backgrounds. I also chose to make a scrappy binding for each of the quilts with material from the fabric line. Each quilt has a flannel back that coordinates with the colors on the tops.

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Connor’s quilt was made using the greens, browns and oranges from the line. I embroidered his name on a block that looked like a tree. I know, cheesy… but cute! I added strips of fabric to the back of his quilt as well. His piecing was so simple, I felt like it needed a little jazz. I did straight line quilting on the background fabrics and really love the minimal feel.

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Victoria’s quilt took a lot of time. As in, days to piece and layout the blocks. I used only the mustard and aqua prints so that her quilt has a bright, girly feel to it. It was quilted on an angle through all the wonky triangle.

The quilts were flown over to Germany this week with my father and step-mother. They will be spending time with their new grandchildren and exploring Europe for a few weeks… and considering my last experience with shipping something to my brother’s family, I’ll take the free space in my dad’s suitcase over a crate with my niece’s birthday gift sitting in port for 7 weeks thankyouverymuch! I’m anxious to hear what they think of the quilts, but I guess more importantly, I’m hoping that when I do get to finally meet these adorable little ones the quilts will be very well loved!