Friday, October 26, 2012

Take the Good, you take the bad

Wow!  I am so sorry that I haven't been around in awhile!  I honestly didn't think it had been as long as it has....  We've been busy.  With school.  With watching a couple of kids 2 days a week.  With trips to Riley Children's Hospital for hearing apts for Maggie. Homeschool Co-op.  Field Trips.  I am sure that there is more....that can't be all ....RIGHT???

Oh boy now that doesn't seem like as much.....

So now that we have been into our home learning for over 2 and 1/2 are we liking it?  Here's the "Good" and the "Bad".
1.  We get to spend lots of time together.  In the process of spending time together, I get the opportunity to get to know my kids more intimately.  I get to see them in almost every situation.  I have the privilege of knowing my kids.  When they make poor choices or talk disrespectfully or talk unlovingly to others (especially me and the sibling) I have a great opportunity to teach them how Jesus wants us to be and to try to mold them.

 2.  We get to take school with us.  So...on days when we have had to go to Riley (almost 3 hours away - depending on traffic etc) I pack their backpacks with their school work etc and they "do school" on the way in our vehicle.  The thing we liked a lot is doing field trips as a family.  For labor day, we went to the  Creation Museum (near Cincinnati) and we did 2 days there and learned so much!  I highly recommend the Creation Museum  - it is very well done!  Yes.  We would have done this trip anyway, but we tend to look differently at it when it is school and not JUST fun.

3.  Which segues me to the fact as a homeschooling mom I am in charge of my children's education. When you are solely responsible for it, you also get the fun of watching them learn and "get it".

1.  We spend EVERY DAY together.  ALL day.  I love my kids but there was something nice about having my own time between the time they got on the bus and when they got off.  This just means that I need to take time and be purposeful about getting time away getting adult time.

2. We take school with us.  Every place is a chance to learn.  But sometimes it can feel a little......much.

3. I am in charge of my children's education.  I decide what curriculum to use.  I decide what we are doing each day.  I decide.   I can't send my kids to school and leave the majority of the responsibility of their education in someone else's hands.  Now, please do not get me wrong.  I know that most parents still are active in their child's education. But it is different when it is all you.  Am I doing enough?  Am I doing it right? "Other homeschooling moms do "it" this way"......

Overall, we are loving homeschooling.  While there are days that are more difficult than others we know this is the right choice for us.  I have loved to see how our family is even closer than ever before.  How we are learning about Jesus even more together.

When you follow where God has lead you there is peace and certainty even in the rough days.  :)

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Which way to go? Choosing Curriculum

At the Great Smoky Mountains National Park

One of the first things that I get asked when I tell someone that I am going to be homeschooling our children for the first time this year is "Where do you find books?  Are there books?".   The look of concern is sweet.

Little did I know when entering this new world HOW MANY BOOKS THERE ARE!  It is truly overwhelming!

I finally had to come to the point that there is no "bad" curriculum for our kids.  There may be some that we won't like as much but it won't set my kids backwards.

I also came to the decision that if it doesn't work for us then we will try something different....maybe even midyear.  MAYBE even a couple of weeks in.

We are three days in and yes we are all adjusting.  There are moments that I am loving  -  like when we sit on our couch and read from one of our books - and there are moments I am not  - like when one of the kids tells me that they don't want to do their assignment.

I still feel like I am guessing at things.  Taking stabs in that proverbial darkness.  Seeing what is working for us.....

But no matter what.... I know that this is the journey that God has us on.  It isn't a decision that was made flippantly by my husband and I.  It was a slow moving of the Holy Spirit telling us step by step...."This is what I want you to do for your family".

So we are obeying.

I am still excited about our Curriculum choices.  Here they are:  remember J is in 3rd and M is in 1st.

Math = Math-U-See  It is all about mastery of skills, uses a DVD to teach the kids and has blocks to work with.  So far they seem to like this one.  I like that it has blocks which is helpful for Maggie to be able to see Math with her eyes.  J and M are on their own levels.  J is on Multiplication (Gamma) and M is on addition (Alpha)

Science - Answers in Gensis  We are doing the Life Sciences and the kids chose to start with the Human Body.  We are doing this one together.

Bible - Is another Answers in Genesis book.  We are doing this one together as well.

History - The Mystery of History  I am loving this one already - there is a LOT to it but I think that we going to enjoy it.

Language Arts  Total Language Plus  is what J is using.  I think that he is enjoying it.  The concept is that the child reads a book and from that book they learn spelling, vocabulary, grammar and reading/writing skills.  I think that he is starting to like it a lot.

For M - I am using a little bit of this and a little bit of that.  I have an old thrown out 1st grade curriculum from a public school that I am using some of the workbooks from.  She read all of the reading books from it last school year.  So we are using books that we have here at the house and from the library to supplement.  I figure it is 1st grade....I should know this stuff anyway, shouldn't I?

We will also be a part of the local homeschool coop that meets 2 times a month.

So that is what we are doing.

I don't feel very confident in what I am doing.  But I feel pretty confident in what God is doing!  It is nice to know that you are following God's lead.  FAITH means living BIG! :)

Linked up to Women Living Well

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Let the madness begin!

No, I haven't changed my mind.  wink

In fact we started yesterday.

Can I tell you that it didn't go as smoothly as I hoped?  There were some rough patches.  Like I didn't make sure that the area was clutter free.  There was still a "fort" in one part of the room.  So we had to pause school and get things cleaned up.  We are still learning as we go what is working for us and what we want to do differently.

Jared is having a hard time with being challenged in his school work.  He is so used to FLYING thru it all in a short period of time and having free time in the classroom.  So, actually having something that isn't what he considers to be "review" is new for him.

Maggie is enjoying doing her work.  She doesn't like doing History, Science or Bible right now and I think that part of it is that it is much harder for her to listen to me reading about subjects that are just harder for her to HEAR.  They use different words than are normally used in the house and it just takes so much more effort for her to follow along.  So it sometimes takes me stopping and making sure she is understanding or using other words or letting her follow along in the book - and many times all of those things at the same time.

Yes, we are starting about 2 weeks ahead of the public schools around us.  Why?  Because I still live in a land of day long MRIs and appointments that take us to Riley or other places - of course they aren't as frequent.  And because I want to know that if we want to take 4 weeks off at Christmas we could.  Not that I am thinking that we will, ... but we could ... if we wanted to.  (smile)

Both of the kids are great readers.  They are devouring books and that is fun to see!  Adding to our personal library is so much fun and the kids enjoy seeing what I find at garage sales! (smile)

Overall tho, I am enjoying it.  I feel tired at the end of the afternoon, tho.  I am being a much more hands on mom but in a different way.  I feel like we are becoming more intentional and purposeful.  Those will be words that I write a whole separate post about in the near future.  This journey that God has our family on is adventurous and difficult and the benefits will hopefully be hearts for Jesus.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Magic - contrary to popular opinion...

Among family and close friends, I am known for my apple pies.  I learned how to make them in high school while I worked at a little diner.  In the last couple of years, I invested in one of those little hand cranked apple peeler/corer things.  Love it as it saves my hands from cramping around the knife while I peel the apples.

When I think of peeling apples, I almost always think of Sleepless in Seattle.  You know...when Tom Hanks' character is describing his late wife and how she could peel an apple in one long it was all of the little things about his wife that made.........MAGIC.

There is a movie out right now that has saddened me to the core.  As a therapist, I helped co-lead a p@rnography addiction group and to see this type of behavior become acceptable is gut wrenching.  I am not naive - I know that it is rampant but to see this type of thing become 'acceptable' in the Church is just wrong.

Magic comes in the "little things" - like when my husband reaches over and grabs my hand while we are driving somewhere in the van.  Or when he kisses me in front of the kids to make them laugh.  Or when he becomes the kids' personal jungle gym and still has a smile on his face.  Magic is when you fall in love over and over with the same person ... day after day.

It also has nothing to do with a book about multiple things gray....

When we bring other people into our marriage - even if it is just mentally - then that limits the "Magic" that can happen in your marriage.  I don't want to do anything that would limit the real magic that happens and could happen in my marriage with the man that I adore - how unfair is that to him?  Being married to me is difficult enough.  I don't want to add to it.  (Smile)

I want God's blessing on my marriage and this would definitely not bring God's blessing.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Learning at home

This is officially our 2nd day of school for the new school year.  Yes, I am planning on getting a jump start.

That is truly one of the things that I like about learning at home - that we determine what days we do school. Since my husband has Mondays off, we may not have school on every Monday.

I had found a free Unit Study on the 4th of July and we did that.  We sat together on our little loveseat in our cool basement (on this day that is supposed to be over 100 degrees) and read about the history of the start to our country.  We even got out the dictionary to look at words we weren't sure what they meant.  I also go to stop along the way to make sure both of my kids understood what we were reading.  I love that my little girl will stop me and point at a word on the page if she is unsure what it means.  I doubt she would have felt confident to do that in school.

I saw Jared get really frustrated that I had him reviewing simple math skills.  I was able to talk to him one on one and discuss with him why sometimes we have to do that.  It was good to see him calm down and then start to enjoy our learning day.

I found the website Currclick  - this website is great!  I have found some very cool unit studies and other educational type of things there and saving it on my hard drive.  Many things are free or are priced inexpensively.  

Our conversion of our basement of a full play area to a family room in one area, play room in another area, and a learning area in another area is going well.  We go in spurts with it.  But I like the direction that it is headed and feels comfortable.

Maybe some one can help.  I don't want to call it "school" because what we/I will do is so different from the traditional school setting that they are used to.  Any suggestions?

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

A new direction and Last day for the school bus!!!

Today is our last day of school and the first official day of our summer!  YAY!!

To make it even more exciting .....  It is the last day of riding the school bus!

On Monday, we turned in a letter to withdraw our children from public school as we are planning to HOMESCHOOL!

Yep.  You read that right!  I can hardly believe it myself!

There was a pit in my stomach after we sent the letters in - more because of the huge weight of responsibility I felt and just feeling unprepared in who I am.  But I feel excited MORE!

I know, for many people, this is fairly controversial.  That is ok! (smile)  I tend to be a fairly controversial person!  (big smile!)  I could tell you all of the reasons that is leading us on this adventure, but only one reason really matters.


Yes, I am scared!  No, I don't think I am organized to do this.  God usually doesn't ask us to stay comfortable, does he?  He asks us to do something that only HE can fulfill!  He wants us to have BIG faith and to LIVE BIG because of that faith! :)

But I have faith in the God that will remove my fear as we step out in faith and will equip me (us) as we go!

So, my plan is to get back into blogging more as I share about becoming a homeschooling family and what God is doing!

Last but not least....

see the submarine that they are standing under? :)

Happy Anniversary, Rod!  You make me smile!  Thanks for walking this road with me hand in hand!  God definitely blessed me with you!  I am praying that the next years are even more fun! :)  Love you oodles!  And noodles!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

God is moving...

I'm sorry that I've been away so long.

God has been stirring us.

It has been....... Good.  Exciting.  Nerve wracking. Scary.  Humbling.

I have been sharing some of it in "real life" but not sure God has given the "OK" to share online yet.  But soon.

I've been composing that post in my head for weeks.....but no "OK" yet.

So, I will share other happenings here...

When we last took Mags in for scans, we told the Oncologist at Memorial our biggest concern lately was her hearing.  She is doing GREAT in Kindergarten.  However, many of the these skills she started learning before her hearing loss and ... well... as her hearing has slowly decreased over the last 2.5 years she was still learning.

Her hearing is bad.  There are many words sounds that she just is unable to hear anymore.  Like "s" and "t" and "f" and "th" and "p" and ...well you get the idea.  As new concepts are introduced to Maggie it will be harder for her to fully comprehend them ONLY because she isn't hearing ALL of it.

Here is a Link that gives an example of what Maggie's hearing is like:

Hearing loss simulation

If you go down the page to where it says "Hearing loss simulations" - click on 500hz Low Pass.  That isn't exactly Maggie's hearing but it is very close.  Her hearing aids do help - but only a small amount.

She doesn't know what she can't hear.   It has been such a gradual thing for her that she just doesn't fully understand the scope of this hearing loss.

Anyway, back to the docs.....our Memorial doc decided to ask the Riley oncologist if there are different thoughts on how to work with a cancer survivor kid with dramatic hearing loss.  So we got a referral to the Cochlear Implant dept. at Riley.

Do we want Maggie to have an Implant?  I. DON'T. KNOW.  But we want to be able to meet with the pros and find out more about CIs (cochlear implants).  On paper, Maggie doesn't meet criteria for a CI - her hearing needs to be even worse.  If you go back up and look at that simulation it shows a graph - Maggie's hearing is too "high" on the left side.  It should be "on the bottom" the whole way across to be immediately thought of for a CI.

So, all of that to say ... we are meeting with Riley in late May to discuss it all.  She'll have a head CT, a hearing test (audiogram) and orientation and a quick meet with the doc.

As her hearing continues to decrease, it is hard to know how to make decisions.  Do we wait and see how low her hearing goes?  Or do we try to act sooner than later?  Before her education becomes difficult?

Jared's birthday is coming soon.  He is so excited - he wants more Nerf guns.  He already has several.  He and Maggie like to try to ambush Rod and I.  Come to think of it, maybe I should get one for Rod and I...... ;)

God keeps moving and stretching us.  Just got make sure that we move with Him.   More on that later.....

Thursday, February 23, 2012


Last night.

Last night I spoke.  In front of a room full of women.  Over 100 women.  (i didn't count them...sorry)  I would have felt more at ease teaching them about Psychology.  I would have rather spoken to over 1000 college age/teens....  There were women that I know ...a wee little bit....they might know me ...a wee little bit.  I was asked to share about what God did in our journey with Maggie's cancer.  I was apprehensive.  Not about telling about God's BIGNESS but about telling of ME.  It is one thing to talk of God or some school subject or to use a video series and then bring discussion from it.  But this was personal and it was "in person".  Soo different from being personal on a blog or a Caringbridge journal.

So, I shared about what God taught me about faith and about what HE did.

And           HE          showed            UP.

I think (hope and pray) that God's BIGness and LOVE were felt.

Here is one of the things that God taught me ....


It is not enough to say that we have faith we must act it out.  We must take that step forward.  Do that thing that might make us feel or look silly but God is still calling us into.  Whether it is believing that God is going to heal my daughter of stage 4 cancer when the odds aren't necessarily in our favor or sending a note to someone that is going thru a rough time that God is letting you get out of your mind...


I think Faith should be considered a verb.

More thoughts on faith to come...

P.S.  How "silly" are you willing to look in your faith?

Thursday, January 26, 2012


Sometimes you get in a rut.  Sometimes it takes awhile to feel that you are in a rut.

I get up. Read my Bible. Get the kids ready for school.  Get Hubby out the door (after packing his lunch).  Do some things around the house. Pick Maggie up from Kindergarten.  Do some things around the house.  Greet Jared when he gets home from school.  Make supper.  Do some family things.  Put kids to bed.  Hang out with Hubby - usually watching some T.V. and then we go to bed.

Then I do it all over again.

It isn't that my rut is bad. I mean, I get the clothes clean,  I fix some good meals, the house is mostly clean. But somewhere deep inside I know that it isn't all that God has wanted for me.  It is only the start.  It is a very important start but there is more.

I know it.

I love being a mom.  I love being a wife.  But there is something about working out of the home that I do miss.  The interaction with people.  Knowing that I am using my gifts and talents to make a difference in people's lives.  Knowing that others appreciate me for more than doing laundry and keeping a decently clean house (ok - some days that is pushing it).

For Christmas, Rod ordered our Caringbridge site printed in book form.  The Caringbridge is the site of our journal that we (mainly me) kept during our daughter's battle with cancer.  I discontinued the journal about the time that Maggie was declared cancer-free for one year.

The Caringbridge book is HUGE.  It is actually TWO, yes 2, books!  Both are about the size of a college text book.  One book is my journal - all that I wrote plus the pictures that were on the site.  It also includes some of the guestbook.  The second one is all of the rest of the guestbook - all of the encouraging messages that were sent for us.

These books are my reminder that I am to live BIG.

Last night at a Bible study on some of the women of the Bible, we discussed Mary of Bethany.  You know the one...the sister of Martha.  Mary was also the one that poured the perfume from her alabaster jar on Jesus.  Some that were there started to scoff at her.  But Jesus reprimanded them saying that "She did what she could".

Sometimes doing what you can just means calling someone going thru a rough time to check on them or sending a card.  Maybe it means giving a quarter pounder to the person on the corner with the sign that says "will work for food".  Maybe it is becoming a foster parent to hurting children.

Are you doing what you can?  I'm tired of living in my rut and God is starting to show me what direction he wants me to go and that is exciting to see!

Monday, January 16, 2012

The Mailbox

Sometimes, on those really rare occasions.... I can get one of my kiddos to run to the mailbox and get the mail for me.  When they do, they take one piece out at a time to look and see who it is addressed to.  Then they clumsily bring it up to the house.  I usually know I need to watch the whole time because they often drop envelopes and I would, um, hate to, um, see a bill get, um, lost.


The kiddos absolutely LOVE getting mail.  My mother is great at sending out letters and cards and little notes of encouragement.  I am surprised that the U.S. postal service can't survive on her alone....  kidding....mostly.  ;)

I want to get better at cards and encouragement.  I think that it is a lost art.  In the world of emails and instant messaging, we've lost our personal touch.  The fact that someone takes the time to literally hand write our names brings added meaning to whatever is written.

When Dayspring offered to give me some cards in exchange for a review.... I thought "GREAT!".

But then I got the cards.

They weren't the cheesy kind.  They had real messages that I would actually SAY to someone.  You know? Not the kind of cards that you read and wonder "who in the world says this stuff?"  Ya know what I mean? :)

I really liked them!

Oh, and to be fair....I also got this really cute accordian style  card organizer - this one here - Card Organizer...   Isn't it cute!  But oh, my!  Just another thing that I need to try to get organized.  But so pretty!

Go check it out!  I am really loving Dayspring! :)

Thanks Dayspring!

Friday, January 13, 2012


I have really struggled getting back into a routine after the holidays....

We finally got the tree and Christmas decor put away this past Monday.  And I STILL have a HUGE GIANT bare spot where our 9ft. Christmas tree stood.  I kinda like the openness of it all but it still feels bare.

I have all of these projects that I want to accomplish floating in my head.  It isn't that I am not getting things done,  I am.  Just not things that will keep me moving forward.

I am going to - just for today - write my goals for the day.

1. Take shower and get ready for day.
2. do dishes
3. do more laundry - set aside kids' clothes for them to fold
4.  reorganize kitchen cabinets
5. pick up Mags from kind.
6.  read my Bible
7. run to library
8. go thru pantry

I am sure that there is more.

I'll come back at the end of the day and let you know how I did....  :)

Friday, January 6, 2012


Our son is angry at me and his sister.

What did we do?

She got cancer and I wasn't around home much.  She got spoiled (still is) and I was gone taking care of her in the hospital.  It, uh, kinda interrupted our life, our home, our family.  Interrupted is a "nice" word for it.

Do I know that this is the reason.  no.  But this is beyond normal sibling stuff.  My gut says that I am right...

The mommy in me wants to say "I don't care why he is mad.  His behavior is not ok."  The counselor in me says "That poor little boy missed out on so much."  Then the mommy in me just wishes there had been 2 of me. That somehow I could have been cut in 2 so that one of me was with each child when they were hurting the most.  But I couldn't.  I can't.  And even if I went back in time I don't think that I could've/would've done anything different.

He is a lot like me.  So much like me, that it is scary and, yet, he is better than me.  He is smarter than I am
(hope that he never reads that - or at least not until he is much older).  It is not that he knows more....he doesn't -  but his capacity to learn is so HUGE!  Like bordering on genius.  I am not joking.  He is a thinker (like me) but understands more than I ever did at the age of 7.  He has a huge heart and cares deeply about people.

So, I called my mom as I was driving to the store to tell her how she could pray for him.  Us.  Our little family.

As we talked,  I realized how hard I was to parent.  I was just like him.  My mom said how she feels for me and doesn't want me to make the same "mistake" with him as she did with me.  Poor mom.  I was a kid that was full of myself.  I was wrong and made mistakes and was stubborn.

But now I see.  I see the whole picture a little more clearly.  I see my boy a little more clearly.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Morning Routines

Yesterday was our first day back to school.  I decided to change up our routine to see how it would go and I think I am liking it.

We used to have the kids
- eat breakfast
- brush teeth and wash their faces
- get dressed (and then I would do Maggie's hair)

But we always seemed to be scrambling.  The reason for this is that Maggie is a VERY slow eater.  Now, it is not that she doesn't like the food - because she does.  She just plays or talks or whatever - she has been known to take over 90 minutes to eat supper.

I noticed, tho, over break that because we were having slower and later mornings (not eating breakfast until 8:30 or 9am) that she was eating faster.

So, I thought if I help her get dressed first that might give her a chance to wake up a little bit before eating.

And I think I was right.

I am still taking the chance that she will go to school with oatmeal or toothpaste on her clothes.  But at least she has food in her tummy and she is dressed.

Today she was taking a bit longer but as soon as I said that I would let her go to school without her hair done she got busy eating.  Silly kid.

Change can be good.....

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Happy 2012!

Today is the beginning of our new year.  Or at least it is in my head.  Because it is our first day back to school. I actually was looking towards today with mixed feelings.  It was great to have the kids at home and be with them and see them and do fun things with them but.....then there were the times that all they seemed to do was fight or have bad attitudes.  Or maybe it was me with the bad attitude?    Sometimes it is just nice to go back to the routine.

As 2011 closed, I wasn't really looking at making any resolutions.  I'm still not.  But I saw so many people making them and it got my mind going.

I started making a list.  My list got longer and longer and more things got added.  I still keep adding more.

So here are my goals for 2012 - and remember - these are an ever-changing list.

- Come up with exercise plan
- Read 12 books minimum (develop book list first)
- Find way to use gifts and talents more
- Do a monthly meal plan for at least 6 out of 12 months

Spiritual -
- Read thru the Bible in a year

- Have people over monthly (minimum)

- Develop syllabus for class that I will be teaching
- Blog a minimum of 3 out of 7 days a week

- read a book a month with the kids
- One on one activity with each kid every month

- Organize every room and closet
- Clean up storage space in Basement
- Decorate finished side of basement
- Develop plan for kitchen/office area
- Landscaping for our front yard (now that roof, windows and siding are done)

- Sell some stuff on Craigslist
- Have a HUGE garage sale
- Keep our monthly budget

I hope that I can be successful at each of them, but I will not feel guilty if I don't get each of them accomplished.  If I work towards completing them then I will feel that I have accomplished more than I would have.  I'm sure that I will share my progress here - or lack of progress .....   As I share, I will go into more detail as to what I am hoping to accomplish with each goal.

So, do you have goals for this year?