Thursday, October 13, 2016

Nature Study...




I love nature study!  But, to be totally honest, I haven't always been very faithful about taking the time to simply make it happen!  I have all the books, and we keep a nature shelf! (I think I got the nature shelf idea from Soule Mama??) 



But, in the past I have made all the plans... only to be disappointed when I didn't follow through with them!  Kids love nature, and being outside discovering things together is so fun!!  And, to make it even more enticing, Erik had an oval shaped trail cut through the woods directly to the right of our house this summer.  It is perfect for nature walks! 

So, this year I was determined that we would find a way to be faithful!  I set the bar super low!  I find that setting the bar low helps to motivate me.  I am easily overwhelmed and give up when expectations are set too high.  So, here is what we are doing...

We take one nature walk a month!  One focused walk.  The kids look forward to it.  We collect leaves and flowers. We chase butterflies and whatever else they find that interests them.  We notice the changes in the trees/insects/wildlife from month to month.  We eat a picnic lunch.  When we get back home, we pull out our journals and write about what we noticed, and we draw something we collected.  (Everyone except James Christofer that is... His nature journal is a video put to music of pictures and videos he took of the rest of us while we were on our nature walk.  I'm always so excited to see the videos he puts together! Sweet memories in the making!) We, also, use the things we have collected to decorate the house! :-)  And, some months we even do a nature inspired craft of sorts! It all just makes me so happy! 


The best part is that we have been faithful three months in a row!  Easy peasy!  This I can do!




Love it!

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

The Beach and Adding a Bit of Margin...

It feels sooooo good to prioritize blogging, memory keeping, taking time to write and reflect.  I love to reflect, think, analyze... It is who I am, how I was made.  And, for years I have not made it a priority, and my soul has yearned for it!  So, I am making a space of time in my day, at least once a week, for it!  Surely, cross my fingers, surely, I can make this happen!  If for no other reason than for my own sanity, I need it!

We took Columbus Day weekend and went to Santa Rosa Beach!  It was beautiful and fun and wonderful!

Sweet Emery...



Crazy Josh....


Jack and Emery playing a friendly little football game :-)


The condo we stayed in had kayaks with it!  We are now spoiled and will have to rent them every time we go!  The boys (Erik included) loved them.


Josh and James spent hours out there paddling away... They went a bit farther out than my comfort zone would have liked, but they were adventurous together, and I love that!



This is my resident marine biologist.  He really ought to live close to the ocean one day.  His heart is found somewhere deep in those deep blue waters.  He loves to fish and study all kinds of marine animals.  This is his happy place...


We had so much fun! New adventures...


I tried to take a selfie with Emery and Zeke, but I had to settle for one with each of them separately.  Somehow I couldn't get both of them in the same picture!





Every year all the boys have to play their annual beach football game!  Erik is the quarterback for both teams. :-)


Hours at the beach makes even this energizer bunny... Zzzzzzzzzzz....


Menchie's yogurt for dinner?!?!?!


The condo we stayed in was perfect!  We loved just hanging out there!


I took this picture from Erik and I's room at sunset one night...


We always load all our things and the kids in the van, and then Erik and I come in and run through one last quick time to make sure we haven't forgotten anything.  It is always quiet, and I always take one last long gaze out at the ocean.  I always fight tears.  I don't think it is so much that I love the ocean, but more that I love the time away from "real life" with the ones that I love the most. I treasure these little beach vacations.  They have my heart.  Until next time...

Usually we hit the ground running when we return home.  But, I was determined we would not do that this time!  I actually scheduled it so that the kids had only a few subjects to do today (our first full day home). I am learning that I tend to push myself too hard, and a little margin goes a long way when it comes to avoiding burn out.  So, instead of a crazy first day home, we have had a relaxing, sweet day.  I even made time to blog!  What???  Yes, and I am so happy I did!  And, I believe that by Friday I will be even more grateful for the slow ease back into "real life." :-)

Saturday, October 01, 2016

Embracing the Change...

It's been a while since I've visited this place, and I miss it!  I always say that I hope to be back here regularly again, but life steps in, and it all falls apart. But, I hope this time it will be different.  Yes, I am believing it will!  I am beginning to see a little glimmer of a light at the end of the tunnel.  Zeke is just about potty trained! Yikes! My baby will be 3 in just a few months.  

I've said it hundreds of times, but the winds of change are blowing through our home.  And, I guess they always are if I think about it.  Life is never stagnant.  It's always changing, stretching, growing, moving forward...  And, so this fall has brought some big changes for our family.  Number one, my sweet Joshua has started going to public school.  Here he is on his first day walking in with a sweet friend...  


It's been a bit of a roller coaster, but all in all, his transition has been painless ~ easy, even. In this small town, we know pretty much every teacher he has.  Erik is so involved with the school athletics that he is very acquainted with coaches, teachers, and administrators.  In a funny way, it has felt like a safe little nest to send him off to.  I cannot complain.  Everyone has bent over backwards to help him.  When we walked into orientation, we were met with squeals of excitement from several teacher friends.  Everyone has been so welcoming, so excited to have him!  He is playing football and looking forward to basketball which begins in a few weeks!

As for the rest of us...

We are happily homeschooling.  James misses Josh, and I am with him on that.  He doesn't have his buddy during the day, and that is hard.  But, we are slowing growing accustomed to this new normal. And, we are trying to make the best of it. When Josh gets home and begins his homework, James takes a seat next to him and busies himself with some sort of quiet work just to be near him.  It's the sweetest...


We've joined a new co-op, and we could not love it more!!!  I love it academically, and I love it for the sweet friends we have gained!  LOVE!  We are so happy! Here is my crew on their first day!


It has been a funny thing ~ beginning something new without Josh.  We go on field trips.  We go to classes.  We sing our memory work.  And, he does his own thing, studies for his own tests, does his own homework... This is a first.  We've always been one unit, doing everything together. We've always studied history together, read aloud books together, gone on field trips together.  And, now we are studying Middle Ages, and Josh is studying early colonial America.... We are going on field trips and discussing them at the dinner table, and he sits, eats, and listens, and my heart yearns a bit for the good old days.  But, if there is one thing I've learned as a mom, it is that times marches on and that the very best thing to do is embrace the change and grow with it. There is not a doubt in my mind that this is the right decision for our family at this time. So, much prayer, literally years of prayer, went into this shift from homeschool to public school.  Erik and I have had the greatest peace about this decision, and that helps on the days when we miss our sweet big boy. He has the sweetest friends from the sweetest families, and that makes my heart so happy!!

In other news... Fall is by far my favorite time of year.  My heart is always so full during fall, so thankful.  I love the colors.  I love the chill in the air.  I love the cool breezes.  I love the smells of cinnamon and apples and pumpkin spice.  I love a warm drink and a sweater.  And, I love sunset football games between brothers.  They are my fave...

Our little world spins on and on... Time flying by so fast that I am left stunned and speechless at times.  When I started this blog, I had only Josh and James.  Now look at our crew!  Some days I feel fresh and happy and young like that mama I once was ~ the one who never had to think of lesson plans or dropping off or picking up kids at various activities.  That mama who just took her little ones on walks and drew with sidewalk chalk for hours on end....  And, then, at other times I feel war torn and tired.  I've lived a lot of life since the sweet simple days of only small children.  It is an interesting place to be ~ to be the mother of big kids with football and basketball games, as well as, the mom of little ones who still want to sit in your lap and listen to you read Brown Bear, Brown Bear over and over again.  And, so I try to find the balance, to be both these moms to both these types of children... Sometimes I find myself frustrated with the older boys' busy schedules or frustrated with the littles for not being "easy" for ME (note my selfishness) at their brothers' ball games.  But, really, they are all precious, and I pray God will make me enough to be the mother they all need, all 7 of them.


I hope to be back again very soon! :-)
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Hi! I live in a sweet country home overflowing with love, laughter, and little ones. I have been blessed to journey these days beside a man that I love, respect, and admire. He is my soul-mate and best friend. Together we are seeking to raise our seven children to be lovers of God, to be wise and discerning, and to be all that our sweet God created them to be. I am in the goldfish and cheerio stage of life, but I am keenly aware that these days are slipping right through my hands. This blog is my attempt to keep our memories safe for years to come.

 

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