Thursday, June 27, 2013

my count down...

I have a count down going on.  Sixty-five more days until September the first.  A lot of things I like happen in September.  The cusp of fall is within reach.  The new Barbie movie comes out.  My birthday.  You can finally start to see pumpkin pies at the store again.  New fall coffees are out.  I LOVE FALL.  Seriously love fall.  But I found myself thinking how could I make these next sixty five days the very best sixty five days I have ever had?  After all they will be the ONLY sixty five days that I have when my husband and I will be the exact ages we are now and our kids will be at the stages they are at now.  Never again will  the last few days of June, and the entirety of July and August 2013 roll around again. 

How do I treasure the days when all I want to do is rush through them headlong into something else?  Well today I am going to play "Sorry" with my oldest, my little pet shop with my middle child, and pretend to be a wild horse being rounded up on the prairie with my youngest.  I am going to read aloud to them, not just pop in that audio book from the library.  I will savor each moment, glancing up from the page into their shiny eyes to watch them absorb the story.  I will pray with them.  I will pray for them.  I will leave my husband a note that tells him how much I love him and how much I appreciate his repeated trips to the pharmacy, store, and all of the little errands he goes on for me.  I will take a moment to breathe in and out when I let my doggie out, listening for all of the sounds of though it may be.  I will savor this cup of coffee and the last few bites of my morning bar. 

I will, in short, try to be present and soak up each moment. 

Even the hard ones.

Friday, June 21, 2013


Five Minute Friday

Lately the rhythm of life has felt more like a two-year old pounding out an incoherent melody across the black and white keys of our piano.  There has been little gentleness as each day has unfolded, instead the moments have whipped, lashed, and railed in their furious attempt to unfold leaving me perplexed. 

Where is the gentle summer breeze? 
Where is the soft pitter patter of rain? 
Where is the fun and carefree lazy afternoons? 

Despite my questions and my longing for gentle days I find myself deeply grateful, becoming more aware of God as my refuge.  Someone that I can climb into, stow away deeply inside of, and someone that will withstand the most furious of storms.  He is my unchanging.  He is my rock.  Every single thing that happens comes through His hands first. 

So it would stand to reason that He would be the One. 

The One that will shield me.  The One that will protect me.  The One that will comfort me.  The One that will forgive my sins.  The One who will teach me, instruct me how to walk, dance, jump, kneel, pause, run, and cling in the midst of the rhythm He sets forth, no matter how furious and fast the beats may come.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

To Do & Done

A few weeks ago I was sitting in a waiting room of a doctor's office and found a parenting magazine.  Flipping through I saw an idea a parent had submitted, they took a wooden door hanger (the kind that slip over the door knob), personalized it and one side said "to do" and the other said "done" (basically making two columns on the front of it).  They took wooden clothes pins and wrote names of chores on them for each child.  I loved that idea. 

After talking to my husband we modified it a bit and came up with this :

We found three plastic stands to display different signs in (you can insert whatever you want into them).  I made a list of 'to do' & 'done' for each of my children.  I wrote each task twice (once under 'to do' and once under 'done') and numbered each.  Then I took wooden clothespins and wrote one set of numbers on them. 
For example "Bible" is number 1.  Once they read their Bible they take the # 1 clothespin and move it from 'to do' to 'done'.  It makes a great accountability tool both for me (did I work with them on everything I needed to that day?) and even better for them, (did they do all that was expected/asked of them)?

Friday, June 14, 2013

A little of this and a little of that...

Of this....

So sometime this past spring when we were having an off day I sat my kids down to watch a movie and googled "anchor charts pinterest".  OH MY there were so many absolutely fabulous ideas!  An anchor chart is an anchor of sorts to help (visually) review key points of a lesson.  For example you need to make one for a noun - you define it - name of a person, place, thing, or idea - you can use colors, graphics, fonts etc; whatever you choose really to catch your students'/children's eyes and help them absorb that information and make it theirs.  I never knew they were called anchor charts, I always have called them memory posters and we have made them/used them for years here at home and they work SO well for us.  But I was fresh out of ideas for some problem areas we seemed to be "stuck in".  Boy did I find a treasure trove: ideas for now, ideas for later, ideas for everything.  It was TOO cool.

One particularly (kindergarten/first grade) fabulous one (and I am SO sorry, I have no idea whose original idea this one is not mine, but I LOVE it) is the clothespins and hanger math facts.  You grab a hanger (wire) and if you have a hook on the wall hang it on that, we twisted the top so it would fit over the top of our dry erase board and clip clothespins on it.  I write below it (for example) 2 + 3 = and have my child take two clothes pins and clip them on one side of the hanger and three on the other and then slide them all together to get their total.  Or if we are doing subtraction, I clip all of the clothes pins on the left side and have them remove the amount they are subtracting.  I also discovered that I can use my ABC clothespins (I took wooden ones and wrote A - Z on them) and have them clip them on the hanger for alphabetical order, they can build their phonograms, build and blend words by sliding the clips together slowly as they blend one sound into the other.  Really the ideas are endless.

Of that....

I am not sure where you are at in terms of health, finances, friendships, time allowances/availability for your summer but we are not at a place where we can do vacations, outings, etc; this summer.  There are some must do's we have to do everyday, but those only take at most two - three hours what do we do with the rest of the time to make it special and fun and extraordinary?

SO yesterday, I grabbed a movie and popped it in for my kids, a mug of coffee and a pen and paper for me.  I wrote down ALL of the days left until the fall start date for school occurs.  Then I made a separate list of fun things I would like to do with our kids, octopus sprinkler, water balloon fights, ice cream cones, bird seed bread, knitting, tea parties, dress-up etc;  Then I went through and made a small list of absolutely MUST do's every day - tea time & poetry, read alouds, math facts review, Spalding Method, and Memory Review (Presidents, States & Capitols, Major Wars, Explorers, and Vocabulary we gained through math, science, history, reading through the year) and cleaning chores.  After I filled in the must-do's I made a tentative check off list for the "want to do's",  to make sure we get one fun thing/day, every single day this summer with the option of a back-up plan if that day is a bad day.  (examples for back up plans: make homemade playdough, color tab bath time, coloring with crayons, color pencils, and markers, or an audio book from the library). 

I am hoping they look back on this summer as not the summer where we had to stay home a lot, but the summer where Mommy and Daddy played with us

Friday, June 7, 2013

To My Sweet Husband,

This next week we will celebrate THIRTEEN years of marriage.  Thirteen years of love, of friendship, of tears, of smiles, of arguments over the DUMBEST things ever *cringe*, of side pinching laughter, of talking, of listening, of loving, of forgiving, of easy breezy days, of hard days that are so difficult and so stressful that it feels like we will crumple under the load. 

I love you forever, I really, really like fact it is safe to say you are my very favorite person. 

You have given me three beautiful children, countless amazing cups of coffee (my love language), and the gift of your presence in every day moments. 

I love your eyes, your hair, your scruffy beard, the sound of your voice can calm and quiet me like no one else's, your ability to see the best in everything and everyone, your patience, your kindness, your encouragement, your hard work ethic, your silliness, your ability to take me in stride :), your short everything that makes you, you. 

You are incredible and together we are great.  Your strengths cover my weaknesses and I pray mine do that for you.  I could not be the woman I am without you, the wife I am without you, and I for sure and for certain could never be the mom that I am without you. 

I love you!!!!!!!!!!!