Monday, February 27, 2012

Not Quite Ordinary Observations

For Today...Monday, February 27, 2012

Outside my absolutely gorgeous day. Bright sunshine, temps in the 60’s. Nice to enjoy before tomorrow’s forecasted storms.

I am thinking...about what to fix for lunch.

I am thankful for...children who love to play together. Hopefully they still will at the end of this month.

I am wearing...jeans and a RED shirt! No maroon this week!

I am creating...a schedule for the month.

I am see my middle sister tomorrow for the first time in four years .

I am determined to read...The Swiss Courier and Chasing Mona Lisa by Tricia Goyer this month.

I am hoping...the storms hold off until I get home tomorrow. I’d really rather not drive through the nastiness, especially on Arkansas back roads.

I am hearing...the kids playing happily with Legos, mixing multiple imaginary worlds in the process.

On my mind...the schedule. My goal is to create a schedule that allows me to keep up with writing, tackle the March list that has been growing since October, keep the kids as structured as possible while still allowing them to have their break, spend one-on-one time with each of the kids every week, and have a little opportunity to feel like I’ve had a break, too, through it all. Yep, easy stuff.

From the learning rooms...the beginning of our five-week break. We will still be doing Latin, I will have Steven read to me daily, and we’ll try to play games that keep their math brains turned on. Other than that, though, it’s going to be a real break.

Noticing that...I put things off that I am unsure about. And put them off and put them off some more. But, they’re rarely as difficult as I anticipate.

Pondering these words... “As a mother and educator, I’m glad to see that sarcastic skill developing in my daughter.  Why?  It shows mental, emotional, and language development.” ~Betsy Price from the Home Educating Family blog post “Sarcasm. Yeah, right!”  I like this lady’s way of thinking!

From the kitchen...I have no idea. Bored with our current menu cycle. Time to revamp!

Around the house...tasks awaiting me in literally every room.

A favorite thing from last week...finishing Sonlight Core E!!!

A few plans for the rest of the Judsonia tomorrow. Bernina Club on Thursday. I think that’s about it.

A picture worth sharing...Angela in the red dress.


Friday, February 24, 2012


Maybe I don’t read enough. Or maybe my books just aren’t challenging enough. Or maybe I just need continual reminders to use more of the vocabulary I actually do hold in my brain.

All I know is that my children’s vocabulary often far exceeds my own. Well, let me rephrase – their vocabulary exceeds what I use. I always know what the words they use mean, but I don’t typically some of those words myself! Which ultimately is proof that I don’t really teach my children much of what they know. They just absorb information on their own. Which is, I guess, the real goal of teaching them. I can’t teach them everything, naturally, so what’s the solution? I have to teach them to learn on their own the things that I can’t teach them. (Which is a lot, by the way.)

Oh, and today’s word was “thrice.” Spoken appropriately by the five-year-old while playing Battleship with his eight-year-old sister. (“You’ve hit my ships thrice!”) And she responded as if there was nothing abnormal about his usage of such a word. And apparently it isn’t abnormal. Apparently all three of my children love the word “thrice” and use it around each other all the time.

Now to just be vigilant enough to ensure that their ever-expanding vocabulary remains, well, appropriate for children. Especially the preacher’s children! Smile

Thursday, February 23, 2012

The Little Ladies, Too

Yesterday I bragged on my little gentleman. But, this morning I realized something about my girls.

They are turning into such diligent workers.

Don’t get me wrong - we do have issues. The bedrooms don’t get cleaned to satisfaction or the clothes don’t get put away or something gets forgotten. But, for the most part chores are not a major battle.

This morning I let the girls know I was headed to the shower. The response? “We’re headed to clean the kitchen!” I thankedDSCF0582 them profusely, and Olivia said, “Well, it’s on our chore list for today,” as if they really didn’t deserve thanks.

But they did deserve thanks. Not because they were doing what was expected of them, but because they were doing it so willingly without argument or complaint. Just like they do almost every day.

I love that about my girls. And I don’t want to take it for granted. I want them to know I appreciate it. I want them to know it’s part of what excites me about watching them grow older and more mature, knowing they are turning into godly women even in the mundane aspects of life. Yes, it’s a beautiful thing.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012


Can I keep my little boy just like this? Just like he is right now?

Steven is turning into such a little gentleman. Every ti101_0224me I turn around, he’s wanting to make my life easier. If he knows I’m in the kitchen, he’s there in a heartbeat asking, “Is there anything I can do to help?” It’s not so much that he wants to do the work – he just really does want to be a helper! The other day I was folding clothes, and he came in to check on me several times to see if he needed to put aside his school work and help me out.

And then there’s nap and bedtime. He’s very much a ritual type of kid. A story. Songs. Snuggles. It used to be a pretty long and drawn out process. I started trying to wean him down, not so much because I didn’t want to do it, but more because life wouldn’t always allow me to go through the whole ritual, and I needed him to be okay without it.

Now we’re down to just a few things. At night he needs his music and nightlight on, a hug, a tucking, and his light turned off. Not much at all. Occasionally he’ll need a few extra snuggles, but typically he’s good to go if I do those few things. The problem is that his cd player is a little cantankerous and doesn’t always want to come on. So, it takes us a few minutes to trick it into playing. (We have a fun new one for him, but we’re trying to hold off until his birthday to give it to him!)

Lately he has decided that he wants to reduce my “work” as much as possible. So, he tries to get his nightlight on and his cd player fought with before I get in there to tuck him in! All to save Mommy work. I must admit – it’s a bit bittersweet.

But, my favorite thing is what I’m seeing in his heart. Steven has become the most thankful and repentant five-year-old I’ve ever seen. He never ceases to thank me for everything from smallest to greatest. And, it kills him to discover he has disobeyed or upset me. He’s the first to come and ask for forgiveness. The most precious thing about that is that I know such things can only come from God. And that means God is working on my sweet boy’s heart, bringing him to the point of salvation. I am convinced that is a mother’s greatest joy.

Yep, my little boy is growing up. And what a gentleman he is becoming! So, maybe I don’t want him to stay just like he is right now in every way. But, I don’t want him to ever lose the beautiful, caring heart that I see right now. I’m just excited to watch it grow!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Not Quite Ordinary Observations

For Today...Monday, February 20, 2012

Outside my window...a bright, sunshine filled, cloudless sky. It’s beautiful!

I am thinking...that I had in my head how I wanted to change these questions around, but I made the fatal mistake of not writing it down. Now it’s gone. Although, I think it was bedtime and I was half asleep when the “brilliant” ideas came to me, so they might not have been as awesome as I remember them being!

I am thankful for...the sunshine, a restful weekend, a mostly clean kitchen, a mostly conquered laundry pile (just today’s load of towels in the dryer!), my sweet helpful children, my amazing husband.

I am wearing...jeans, maroon top (why is that my Monday shirt?), a cream sweater because I’m uncharacteristically chilly today.

I am creating...a plan for my month “off.”

I am remembering...that I was supposed to have made Olivia a new gown by now. On the March list!

I am need to get my act together this afternoon. There are things I need to get accomplished, and I’m not moving very quickly!

I am reading...TJ and the Time Stumblers for review and Plain Girl so I know how to question the girls for reading comprehension – it’s their last reader for this core!

I am hoping...for a little energy kick this afternoon.

I am wafting in from another room; quiet – it’s Steven’s naptime, and Olivia and Angela must be reading or something.

From the learning rooms...finishing up. The girls have a little more to read about Canada, and we have a couple more pages about stars to read. I’m debating whether or not they will need to do a little math and language arts in March, but they’re going to get at least two full weeks completely off before I make any firm decision. Oh, and we’ve started Latin. We’re getting to try out Visual Latin – my review of it will be up on the Home Educating Family review site in June. We’ve just started, but we all really like it so far!

Noticing’s really quiet. Although I think I might be hearing Legos clinking together.

From the kitchen...chicken, mac-n-cheese, and peas. Steven was very happy.

Around the house...projects stacking up.

A favorite thing from last week...very few plans. It was nice.

A few plans for the rest of the week...lunch planning meeting with fellow preacher’s wives tomorrow, typical church activities and Bible studies for various family members Monday through Thursday nights, and otherwise not much!

A picture worth sharing...I just realized I didn’t dot the “I” or cross the “t” on the cake I made for Mom’s birthday celebration a couple of weekends ago. Oops! Glad she liked it anyway! Smile 


Wednesday, February 15, 2012


For the record, it’s almost impossible to find C-130’s for kids to play with. Naturally, because Doug’s father was a C-130 navigator, our family thinks they are the most beautiful planes in existence. But, how many other kids really prefer a cargo plane over more exciting fighters and bombers? Apparently enough that if a C-130 toy shows up in a store, it doesn’t stay on the shelf long at all! We’ve found and put together models and puzzles, and Steven has two large stuffed C-130’s that Doug’s mom made for Doug when he was a boy. Once upon a time, long before we had a little boy, Doug saw an army man set at Hobby Lobby, and it had a C-130 in it. But, by the time it dawned on us that we might want to have that set, the only source for them was on e-Bay at extraordinary cost.

Sooooo, imagine my surprise when I was at my friend Rachel’s house and saw this! (Although it’s not strictly labeled as a C-130, the beluga whale nose is so unique to C-130’s that there was no doubt as to the true identity of this cargo plane!)La Grue-20120121-00062

I asked Rachel where the plan came from, and they said Toys R Us. So, we went shopping. No luck. When we asked about the planes, we were told they sold out as fast as they came in. We put ourselves on a list to be informed when Toys R Us had online stock available, and then we determined we’d just stop by the physical store whenever we were in town.

So, last Monday, Doug was in Little Rock and stopped by. No planes. But, then Tuesday morning I got a phone call from Rachel. They were in Toys R Us and there was one plane left! A small supply had just come in that morning, and they grabbed the last one for us!

To say that the kids were excited was a HUGE understatement! While the girls finished school work Wednesday morning, Steven and I put the plane together so he would have a chance to play with it before naptime.


Then the girls got ahold of it after they finished their school work, and Steven joined them after his nap.


The Toys R Us plane is a slightly “enhanced” version and is armed rather than just being a cargo plane. But, the kids don’t care. They’re just excited to have one to play with! So far, everything from army men to a dollhouse family to any stuffy that will fit has been flown in the C-130. It soars around the house carrying out its various missions. Oh, and Doug discovered pretty quickly that Bunny could be easily hidden inside. It took Olivia a little while to figure out exactly where Bunny had run off to!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Not Quite Ordinary Observations

For Today...Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Outside my window...clouds, wet ground, and bare trees. No snow yesterday – it was a bit sad.

I am thinking...about changing up this post. Different sentence starters. I don’t know yet – I guess you’ll find out next week!

I am thankful for...the cold weather, temporary though it may be. Every little bit helps!

I am wearing...jeans and a maroon top. Wasn’t I wearing that last week?

I am creating...nothing. Hopefully that will change during our March break.

I am remembering...the weekend. It was exciting! I went to Little Rock with some ladies from church to a Liz Curtis Higgs weekend. I haven’t laughed that hard in a long, long time! To top it all off, my friend Karlyn “enjoyed” Saturday morning of the conference in labor! She was supposed to have a c-section this Thursday, but I guess that sweet baby decided that all the laughter was her signal to go ahead and come. Definitely a memorable weekend!

I am catch up on sleep at some point. My body just doesn’t like late nights!

I am reading...mainly Bible study books.

I am hoping...for one good snow before winter is over.

I am hearing...the heater, computer desk chairs creak, girls working on school work, Steven playing quietly.

On my mind...writing. I have several projects I need to get done.

From the learning rooms...more space and astronomy. Finishing up this and that.

Noticing that...if I don’t intentionally make time to read for my own enjoyment and growth, I don’t get it done. I need to get back to making time for it.

Pondering these words... Our Western worldview works against our creating thriving communities in our churches. Individualism is part of the DNA of most Americans. ~Sue Edwards from her study on 1 Peter.

From the kitchen...not sure. No menu plan.

Around the house...clutter. I’m ready to get it tackled and cleared out.

A favorite thing from last week...the fact that my husband and children missed me over the weekend, but life was not interrupted because I was gone. There’s a delight, peace, and freedom in knowing that I’m missed because they love me, not because everything falls apart if I’m not here.

A few plans for the rest of the date at the park this afternoon with another homeschool family, a church activity for Olivia tonight, church tomorrow night, and then just school and at home the rest of the week. Wow, that sounds really, really, really nice!

A picture worth sharing...the girls were handed down this dress to add to their dress-up collection. Not sure I’m read for their dress-up to look like this!!


Tuesday, February 7, 2012


I loved building tents, forts, and treehouses when I was growing up. Outdoors we’d find fallen branches or scrap wood to build our forts up against stone walls or portions of buildings. Indoors we’d use blankets and sheets draped across furniture and held in place by books and other weighty objects. I think the desire to build forts must be something that kids are born with, because my kids have always loved to do it too.

We’ve had a very warm winter, but just about the time the ground starts to dry we get a thunderstorm that dumps two inches of rain on us again. So, our yard is one big mud hole. Add to that the fact that because it is so mild, the mosquitoes haven’t been frozen out this year and our mild temperatures are just perfect for buffalo gnats (huge biting gnats). So, there hasn’t been much opportunity for good outdoor play. That means creativity must continue to abound indoors. What better than fort building?

Last week the kids pulled out their little pop-up tent to play in, but apparently that wasn’t enough. So, they decided to turn Olivia’s room into a giant fort.

They started it one morning when they finished their chores quickly enough to have some play time before school started. They were disappointed to have to stop working on the fort, but just decided to prop up on the “roof” to work on their independent work.


Later, they showed me their rooms. Steven’s room was by itself on one side of the fort. Actually, first came the “foyer” under the Winnie the Pooh blanket.


A hanging blanket separated the foyer in the front from Steven’s room in the back.


Olivia’s room was right in front with outside access. On the left hand side of the picture you can see the pink and white blanket hanging. That was actually the front door, and Olivia’s room could also be accessed through it.


Then there was the rest of the fort. Through the front door was a “hallway” (under the bright blue Veggie Tales blanket) leading first to the living room (the dark blue by the wall – that’s actually the pop-up tent), and then on to Angela’s room in the back (under the pink flowered blanket by the wall).


Unlike Olivia and Steven, Angie had no direct access to her room. To get there, you had to enter the front door and go down the hall past the living room. Perfect for our introverted little stinker who likes her alone time!


But, she did leave herself a peek hole just in case she needed light or social interaction with the outside world!


Fun times and sweet memories!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Not Quite Ordinary Observations

For Today...Monday, February 6, 2012

Outside my window...bright sunshine enticing the kids to go out and play. We might just have to get out the rain boots, cover up as much exposed skin as possible to ward off mosquitoes and buffalo gnats, and brave the mud!

I am thinking...about blowing off the whole day, retreating with a Tricia Goyer book or a few episodes of Doctor Who, and getting nothing accomplished. But, then I remind myself that we just have three more weeks until our break! So, here we go!

I am thankful for...magnesium vitamins. Olivia had her first migraine on Saturday – an ocular migraine, which is the worst kind I’ve ever experienced. I learned about four years ago that magnesium vitamins work for some people, so I tried them and they worked for me – one vitamin as soon as I recognized the symptoms. When Olivia started showing symptoms on Saturday, I gave her a magnesium vitamin. Within 45 minutes she was symptom free and sleeping off the exhaustion. So thankful it works for her too!!

I am sweat pants and a maroon top.

I am creating...our school needs list for the work we’ll be starting in April.

I am first ocular migraine when I was 12.

I am be productive today, whether I feel like it or not!

I am reading...The Seventeenth Swap (the girls’ reader right now) a Bible study on Acts for next week’s review, my 1 Peter study for tomorrow’s Joy of Writing blog post, and this week’s What Women Fear chapter for our weekly book study at church.

I am hoping...Doug learns a lot at his seminar today.

I am hearing...the kids playing. Which is odd because the girls are supposed to be doing independent school work.

On my mind...friends in the ministry and friends who are bucking against everything God has for them. Quite a contrast of prayer requests, and a very contrasting emotional response in my own heart as I pray for them.

From the learning rooms...astronomy and the history of space exploration. I love how Sonlight ties science and history together when possible without limiting the scope of either subject.

Noticing that...I never got back to reading The Seventeenth Swap yesterday afternoon. Got some catching up to do.

From the kitchen...the realization that the end of January snuck up on me and I have NO menu planning done for this week or month.

Around the house...sunshine lighting up the rooms. Nice.

One of my favorite hubby playing with the kids.

A few plans for the rest of the week...stuff at home and church through the week and then I’m going on a short women’s retreat with a few ladies from church this weekend.

A picture worth sharing...Angela and Abigail playing together on Saturday when we went to celebrate Mom’s 60th birthday. I forgot to take my camera, so this phone picture was the only one I got!


Thursday, February 2, 2012

Post Office

Mail is a big deal in our household. Other people in this town talk about not going to the post office to check their mail for days. Some even go a couple of weeks! To us, that’s insane. Doug goes every morning, and if the mail just so happens to not be out on time (a regular occurrence), he goes back again later in the day. That’s the routine. That’s us. It has made for some rather humorous discussions with those who aren’t quite so addicted to checking the mail as we are.

(Just for the record, if Doug didn’t do it, I would. In college, I checked my mail box every chance I got – just in case!)

So, now that the background is established, here’s the story.

A couple of weeks ago, the girls’ Sunday school teacher stopped me as I was heading from my Sunday school class to the sanctuary. She was laughing, and I was curious what silly thing my girls had done. Karlyn told me that part of the lesson for the morning involved drawing a map to get from our house to Wal-Mart. (The point was learning about following God’s directions.)

Now, Wal-Mart is in the next town, 15 minutes away. But, it’s a very direct route. You turn left off of our road, turn right at the end of the block, turn left about six miles later, and then follow the highway until you get to town where you’ll see Wal-Mart on the left. That’s exactly how Olivia drew her map.

But, unless Mommy is driving, or we’re going to Wal-Mart late in the day (we usually go in the morning), that’s not the route we take. Instead, we turn right off our street, drive a few blocks, turn left, drive to the stop sign, turn right, stop at the post office, then go straight down the road from the post office to the highway, turn right, turn left, and then arrive at Wal-Mart. And that is how Angela drew her map. The stop at the post office just had to come first!

What can I say? She comes by it honestly! Needless to say, her daddy is very proud of that map!!