Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Field Trip to Mud Island

We packed up the car and headed to Memphis this past Tuesday morning for our first official field trip. . .
My sweet sister went with me to help me with the little boys! The big boys are studying the Mississippi River in geography at Excelsior, so several families from our group met in Memphis for a fun little field trip! We had such a good time ~ especially because Aunt Kristin came along!!! The boys cheered when they found out she was coming!! Aunt Kristin has a ton of experience with kiddos (8 of her own), so they always enjoy being with her!! I enjoyed the adult company on the 45 minute drive from her home to downtown Memphis and back, and I appreciated the fact that she knows her way around a part of Memphis that is completely unfamiliar territory to me! She was a big help!

The Mud Island Museum was great ~ so much better than I expected. They even had an Elvis room, and you know that made my oldset son happy! But, by far the best part of Mud Island is the 5 block long replica of the Mississippi River. It was so fun!! Kristin stayed with Erik Daniel, and I watched James Christofer and Elijah. Joshua went ahead of us with some friends and his geography teacher, Mrs. Laura. We walked the entire river from Minnesota to the Gulf of Mexico. Beginning the journey. . .

Guess who had the most fun. . .

You guessed it. . .

In the picture below the boys are walking in a replica of New Orlean's Lake Ponchatrain. They were all four holding hands, and it was so cute. Only lasted a second, but it was so cute!!
They got quite wet. I thought about lining them up from most obedient (dry) to least obedient (soaked), but I decided that the completely soaked ones who by the end decided to swim in their clothes, much to their mother's chagrin, would not have appreciated the picture. So, I refrained. If I had taken the picture this little man would have been third in line of obedience! :-)

Checking out a map. . .

Here is a picture looking down on a portion of the replica river!
We had so much! The weather was so nice, the kids behaved well, and I had an extra set of very experienced hands! A good day! We will go back again, no question!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Superman, Nausea, School, and Supernatural Strength to Endure it All!!

Can I just say that we have the best, most kid-friendly, most crazy fun hairdresser in the whole wide world!! This month JCT asked Mrs. Ann to give him Superman hair, and he came out to the van looking like this. . .
Complete with curl on his forehead and all!!!! Awesome! So everyone had to put on their new Halloween costumes when we got home. Here is a Halloween preview! We are just missing our Wonder Woman and Captain America!!!! :-) (Afton and Quin will be joining us for our Halloween superhero festivities!!!)
Aren't they funny??? They totally crack me up!!!

I'm nauseated. If you are anywhere near me, if you talk to me for even just a few minutes, I'll likely talk about it because it is all I think about most days!!! I'm not a lot of fun to be around right now! I dropped my boys off at the nursery Wednesday night, and the nursery worker said that she could tell I was feeling sick because of the look on my face. I'm green.

In other news, I threw up in a public restroom last week. This was a first for me, and I do not care to ever do it again! It was one of those all-time low moments as I squatted there in front of not my potty and puked my guts out. It reminded me of the night I realized halfway to church that I had forgotten to freshen up before leaving the house. And, I had been outside all afternoon, sweating, with my sons. So, I grabbed my melon flavored antibacterial hand sanitizer and proceeded to rub it on my arms and neck. It was one of those moments where you look in the mirror and ask yourself in a very loud, near panic, type voice, "WHAT HAS BECOME OF ME?????" Seriously. I vomited in a public restroom. I actually used that very same restroom today, and I chose my stall, the one I had previously christened, and smiled. I thought about how it will make me smile for years to come because it will remind me of the sweet little one who made me puke there!!

Okay, I promise not to talk about that anymore! On to more important things like school.

We did this on Monday, and it worked very well for us. . .

The boys love to be outside, and with cool weather coming, I think we will be doing school outside most days! Gotta soak up my favorite season while it is here!!! I love the fresh air and cool breezes. . .

One thing that I have really enjoyed about doing school at home is treating the boys to special things during regular school days ~ like Mexican for lunch on a hard day or. . .
brownies to help the little mister get through his math lesson!

I was completely focused on teaching Joshua the other day when I noticed that it had grown quiet in the living room, a scary sort of quiet. I got up from the table to check on the other 3, and this is what I found. . .
It was almost naptime, and they were getting snuggled in and ready! Ha!

And, then one day this week I saw this. . .
I heard JCT say, "Elijah, want to sit in my lap?" And, sure enough, that is what happened. These two are bonding, and it makes my heart so happy. :-)

I won't lie. The last few weeks have been so hard. I have been fighting nausea, tiredness, and feelings of inadequacy. I am operating at full capacity right now, and some days it feels like too much. But, I can't explain the inner prodding that whispers so sweetly, "Keep moving forward. You only see a glimpse. I see the whole picture. Trust and stay the course." And, it has been enough ~ enough for the hard days, enough for this weak soul. I nearly fell to pieces as I read a Bible verse to the boys the other morning. "Be strong in the LORD and in His mighty power." It was all I needed to hear. I don't have to muster up the energy. I don't have to be strong in myself. Be strong in His mighty power, not in mine. This goes back to hiding myself in Him, being found in Him. Letting go of my selfish passions and desires, and allowing Him to move and work freely in me like a cool autumn breeze blowing through my soul~ working His sweet little way into every nook and cranny of my heart. And, in the submission, in the acquiescing, in the giving up of myself, there is freedom. His will, not mine. It is the gateway to His mighty power and His mighty peace.

When we committed to homeschool this year, I thought that it was about me teaching the boys. But, man, I think I am the one who is learning the most through this process. God has pulled me out of my comfort zone in every way imaginable. Maybe one day I will be able to put a few of the lessons into words and write about them.

Let me tell you about a lesson Joshua learned today. We were on our way to Excelsior where they are studying the Westward Expansion. Somehow the conversation went from the Westward Expansion to the Lone Ranger and then to John Wayne. That's the way conversations go around here. Anyway, so, Joshua asked me if there are still cowboys today. I thought of the pioneer woman and said yes. He was thrilled! So, he began asking questions about cowboys and Texas. He was absolutely stunned and disappointed to learn that people in Texas drive cars instead of riding horses. I promised to show him pictures of real live cowboys when we got home. I used a marvelous teaching tool, a remarkable textbook titled The Pioneer Woman Cooks. I highly recommend it.

In other school news, the boys are studying Renoir. One of their assignments was to paint a family member doing something active because this is the sort of thing Renoir enjoyed painting. So, the big boys took turns being models for each other and painting each other. It was really fun! JCT chose soccer, and Joshua chose football. Then, they had to present their artwork to the class. I wish I could be a fly on the wall sometimes!!!
One thing that I have been committed to this year is no school after 3:30. Evenings are for fun, family, sports, eating, playing, etc. So, we don't study. at. all. I teach one on one during the day, making sure that they "get it" during that time. Whether it be spelling, vocabulary, math, whatever, we do it during school hours. But, I started noticing as Joshua's math has picked up and gotten harder that a little extra review might be needed. So, we spent a little extra time during the day on Thursday to study for his Friday assessment. This assessment looked hard to me!! I sent him to the back porch to do his assessment. I snuck this picture of him while he worked. . .
He did sooooo good!!! I was so proud!!! Yay!! Little man!!

What a crazy twisted, tangled, mess of a post this is. It is actually 6 posts combined into one because I am low on time these days! But, I'm not low on cookies. . .

Nothing like cinnamon to celebrate fall!!!!

And, now I'll end on a happy note! This is what came down the stairs when I called the boys to dinner tonight. . .
Naked as a jaybird. Happy as a lark. :-) It is never boring with these silly boys!!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

The Manning Bowl

These brothers are looking forward to watching the Manning brothers battle it out tonight!!!

Should be fun!!

Football and brothers. . .

a great combination!!!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Mr. President!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Silly Little Ramblings...

It is a strange phenomenon of first trimester pregnancy for me ~ coffee, my beloved Bifferdoodle, doesn't do anything for me ~ except maybe to nauseate me slightly each morning ~ because I refuse to quit drinking it.

Even if it doesn't appeal to me...

Even if the thought of it makes me ill...

Still I sip on an average of one half cup per morning. It is all I can stomach. How I long for it to taste good to me again!!!!


The good old quease is here. It is not constant, and it is not overwhelming, but it is here with me even now as I type this.

Two of my boys refuse the thought of a sister. They! want! a! boy! And, then, one little man wants a sister. He stands alone, but he is okay with that because he is always okay with standing alone. Confidence is his middle name ~ James Confidence Truett. He probably wants a sister so that he can pick out her clothes. He is my fashion man.

But, God already knows what is best for our family. My husband is an amazing boy daddy. When he was in med school he coached a junior high basketball team. And, he didn't just coach the boys on his team, he mentored them. He challenged them to be Godly. He had a huge impact on all their lives. And, today, he does an awesome job of challenging our boys to be men of God. He does it daily, breath by breath, tenderly and humbly. So, will God give my basketball loving a husband a basketball team of his own to mentor (the baby being our fifth man)? Or, will he bless us with something new and different and sweet and pink? We will see what God has already decided! We will be delighted either way! We will embrace this little one with open arms! Crazy to think that I will once again get to hold a newborn with sweet, wrinkly skin!!!!!

In other news, I killed my first yellow jacket yesterday. He dared come into my home, into my kitchen! I called Erik at work and asked if he could please come home and kill it for me so that we could eat lunch. But, he refused to leave work. I guess he thought the sick people in his office needed him more than I did. He not only refused to come home, he said, "Erin. Kill. It." I said, "Can I call Deana B?" He said, "Erin. Kill. It." I reminded him that it was mean and mad and buzzed a loud scary buzz that could be heard throughout the entire house ~ or at least in the kitchen. I also reminded him that he did not marry a brave woman who kills stinging insects (like Deana B). No, he married a weak, fearful woman who stays far, far away from stinging insects and relies on her big, strong, handsome husband to kill stinging insects for her. He reminded me of the time I took a hoe to a snake in an attempt to kill it (not the smartest move I've ever made). I reminded him that it stood up like a cobra and hissed at me, and I dropped the hoe, yelled, "You win!" and ran inside!" It didn't matter, Erik was steadfast, "Erin. Kill. It. I'll call you later, and you can tell me your victory story."


So, I sent the boys to the garage to play while I plotted the murder of the evil stinging insect. I chose a broom as my first weapon of choice. But, it took more than a broom to kill this angry yellow jacket. Later after I weakened him with the broom and realized that the broom was not enough to put him to death, I went with one of Erik's grilling utensils. Ya'll he still wouldn't die!!!! I'd poke at him, and he'd buzz. Poke, buzz, poke, buzz, poke, buzz. So, I had no other choice. I had to decapitate him, and that finally did it. He finally quit buzzing. I put his head and body in a ziploc bag so that I could show off my kill to my husband and sons. And, now I am considering hanging the bag by the backdoor to ward off other yellow jackets. They'll think twice before coming into my house!! Ha!

Which brings me to my last rambling point: Fall. It is a wonderful season for many reasons. Stinging insects disappear. That is just one of the many reasons that I love fall!!! We are still having temps much too warm to be considered fall weather! But, I have faith that cooler weather is right around the corner!!! Yesterday as the boys and I were reading, little boys napping, I remembered how JCT and I used to curl up in front of the fireplace last winter during naptime. He would ask for a fire in the fireplace as soon as the little boys were tucked away in their beds. And, I would put on a pot of coffee and hold my little man close! Just the thought of it makes me look so forward to fall and winter and fires in the fireplace. Ahhhh... My head is full of peaceful, happy thoughts now!!!

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Look, Look, Look!!!!

Do you see the orange leaves peeking out from behind the green???

God knew that I needed a happy today, and I got it!!! My favorite season is literally right around the corner!! I'm plum tickled!!!! :-)

Saturday, September 04, 2010

The Truth

So, it is 2 a.m., and I can't sleep for a couple of reasons. And, I find myself sitting on the couch sipping one of Erik's IBC's reading blogs when I stumble upon this. . .

post by the Pioneer Woman. I laughed so hard that I cried!!! I can't imagine myself actually doing this, but the thought of it is enough to make me laugh for a while. . .

a long, long while!!

Friday, September 03, 2010

Finding out about Little Bit. . .

According to my pregnancy journal, my baby's heart began to beat today. (pause)


It never ceases to amaze me how silly I am! Last Friday when I knew that I was late but lived several days in a state of denial ~ not taking a test, deep down in the depths of my soul I wanted to be pregnant. I'm so hopeless when it comes to my love for all things mother, baby, pregnancy. Hopeless. Utterly. When I took the silly little test, I must admit, even though I have a gaggle of kids, I hoped a little hope deep down that God would do it one more time. . .

And, He did, and I am so thankful for another little one.

Seeing that little line on that little stick does something to me deep down ~ no matter how many times I've seen it. I bet Michelle Duggar would say the same thing. New life never gets old!

I was thinking the other day about how I love that God keeps it a secret for 2 weeks! So, for two weeks we walk around pregnant while only He knows. :-) And, He laughed as Erik and I said for the umpteenth time that our family was complete ~ all the while knitting away within... He is so sneaky like that! I love it! :-)

Telling Erik about the new little one was scary for me. I wasn't sure how he would react. He has told me many times that he felt we were done. So, I sat across the dimly lit table and told him that I needed to tell him something, my tone very serious. I simply could not do it out loud. I was soooo nervous!!! So, I made him lean across the table, and I cupped my hands around his ear and whispered, "We're pregnant. . ." His reaction was timeless ~ a loud, "Oh, my goodness!!!!" followed by laughter, rich, strong laughter. The laughter relieved my nervous soul and broke the dam ~ tears flowed freely. And, our dinner conversation was full of joy and love and laughter. The evening was beautiful, simply, perfectly beautiful.

The next day fear came for a visit and stayed several days too long. How will you afford 5 children? Cars? College? Food? How will you give them enough of yourself? You will be spread too thinly! Life was just about to get easy for you ~ no diapers for the first time in 7 years!! You will be sooo old when this little one graduates high school! How will you manage them all? And, homeschooling ~ how will you do it? You may lose your mind!!

Thankfully, I sent fear packing on Tuesday. I can't worry about all those things today. I'll worry about that tomorrow! :-) (Scarlet, anyone?) I've got enough to think about today. I am going to enjoy this pregnancy ~ savor every moment!

Monday evening we took the boys out to dinner to tell them the big news! They were so cute! Erik said, "Mommy is going to have a baby." And, JCT very seriously said, "How? She isn't pregnant!" I guess he thought you have to have a big belly to be pregnant! They chatted the rest of the evening on and on about this new little one. Joshua continually hugged my belly. I didn't have the heart to tell him the baby isn't big enough to actually be in my belly yet!! And, JCT mapped out this baby's life. It made me laugh to see their different personalities processing the news! That night as we tucked the boys in their beds, JCT prayed for the baby. He prayed that, "our baby will be a Godly baby and grow into a Godly little boy and then a Godly man." How sweet!

I'll end with Joshua's journal entry from the morning after we told them the big news. . .
Note my small head! :-)

So, here I sit, sipping decaf coffee, pregnant at 34 ~ almost 35 years old, and, as always, God is good, so good.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

"Test me in this," says the LORD Almighty, "and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it." Malachi 3:10 :-)

Monet and the Erie Canal!!!

We've had such a fun week!!!
In art the boys are studying Monet (one of my favorites). Monet loved to paint flowers and water. He loved to paint outdoors in his garden and by his pond. So, I thought the boys would have fun pretending to be little Monets!! They loved it! And, I had fun admiring their work as they painted! Silly Joshua and his almost finished work. . .

I love how Joshua attempted to mimic impressionism!! I don't know why I didn't get a picture of JCT's work. He did great and had fun, too! Joshua embedded a code in his painting. Can you see it??
(If you guessed GOD, you are correct!)

In history this week the boys studied the Erie Canal. I wasn't looking forward to this, but it surprised me! We had fun studying it!! How inspirational early Americans were! Did you know that the Erie Canal was (at the time it was built) "the longest (in the world) in the least time with the least experience and know-how for the least money," (The Amazing Impossible Erie Canal). Early Americans believed they could do anything, and they did amazing things!! I love it!

I thought the boys would have fun constructing our own little version of the Erie Canal. I chose a part of our yard that is not easily visible, just on the edge of the woods, as to not upset the master gardener! :-) So, we started digging, and this is what the end result looked like. . .

We used Saran Wrap to keep the dry earth from soaking up all of our water! The boys loved this, and it worked great! I wanted them to understand and see how the horses pulled the boats along the canal. And, yes, I made them sing along with me as we worked, "Low Bridge, Everybody Down." Now that is a great song!! :-)

It didn't take long for the boys to turn the Erie Canal into a mud bath for their toy pirates! I love letting my little boys play in the mud! Little boys just need to play in the mud sometimes!! :-)
I am, by no means, an experienced homeschool mom. But, there are two things that I have learned in the four weeks that we have been homeschooling. #1 Bathe them in praise! My boys flourish when I praise them! They can't hide their smiles when I give them big high fives and tell them how great they are! And, #2 if I can make a lesson hands on in any way, shape, or form, I'm going to do it!!! They remember the lesson so much better if they can link it to something they've done with their own hands! And, they get so much joy out of the "doing"!! And, I must admit I kind of enjoy the doing part a little bit more myself!!!! :-)

Okay, it is 4:45, and I have no idea what I am going to make for dinner! Better run!!
My photo
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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