Saturday, August 30, 2008

My Story

I found this piece of writing (below) as I was going through my documents on my computer today. God's Word says, "They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony." So often I am intimidated to share about Christ in my life because I did not have the perfect Christian life I intended to when I became a believer. I got very depressed. I questioned things. I didn't stay pure and unaffected by the world. But, I believe I need to share with others about my belief in Christ Jesus. Because, when I am unfaithful, He is faithful. Others need to know this, we all need to be reminded of it.

You’ve Always Been There

You were there Lord when I was born into this world.
You were there when I missed my Mom and Dad.
You were there at Bible camp when I felt your presence at the lake with the cross.
You were there every time I could barely breathe because of asthma.
You were there Lord when I was a lonely young adolescent unsure of anything.
You were there when I met three good friends at a new school.
You were there as I felt terrified of ever being close with anyone.
You were there as I met a young man who made me feel comfortable with others and with you.
You were there as I dedicated myself to serving you.
You were there as I fanatically pushed people away.
You were there as I found a few good friends.
You were there as I began to question everything.
You were there when I was unsure if I could trust you.
You were there when my heart felt empty and broken.
You were there putting me back together.
You were there giving me courage and showing me your way.
You were there as an old friend came back into my life.
You were there as I fell hopelessly in love.
You were there at the beginning of new life.

You were always there and of anything that I am sure of, it is that you will always be there, no matter what life brings.


I was raised in a pretty confusing situation. That's about all I will say about that, except to say that I had the opportunity to go and spend summers with my Grandparents in Texas. My Grandparents instilled faith, family values, and hope in my heart. They also initiated some of my greatest interests - from the interest in teaching my own children (my grandmother was a teacher and in retirement tutored children in reading), to sewing, to gardening, to playing the piano, to cooking. I have memories of being a child and being able to sense God's presence. One particularly important moment to me was being a Bible summer camp and sitting in front of this lake they had there, staring at the cross across the lake. I felt the Lord's presence and it made an impression on me.

But, as I became older, approaching the teen years, I felt more and more confused and hopeless. I had my ideas about God. I was very interested in God, but I didn't know how real He was. My husband now, then my penpal and friend, told me how real God was, that Jesus was God's Son, that He really died for my sins, and is really alive now. At first I reacted to this, but quickly became a believer.

Yet, through confusing situations with church and lack of grounding in Christ, my life continued to be confusing. I had good Biblical grounding. I hungered for God's Word and studied it. But, I was not grounded in healthy relationships. My friendships were few. And, I got very depressed and anxious. I took a lot of different medications, but everything seemed to make things worse. I was confused about God again, but I was In Him, I had faith in Him and a relationship with Him, but I didn't trust Him as I should have. About the time that I turned my heart back to Him and stopped blaming Him, is about the time that my depression leveled out. It didn't go away, I was still on plenty of medication, but it got better. I felt hopeful about life again.

About this time, my old friend entered my life again. His wife had left him. His dad was dying. We connected again and shared about life and faith, despite both of us being sorely disappointed in ourselves as Christians. Jon and I, we always were best friends. Obviously, we weren't best friends when he was married. But, we were so familiar to one another. As teenagers, we both would have wished to end up together, but felt the other one viewed them as simply a very good friend.

So, Jon and I got together and got married. And, now we have three children together, and he has his daughter from his previous marriage who is my step-daughter. We love each other truly, madly, and deeply. We struggle when we work too closely together (we both want to work independently, yet direct the other person's work) and we struggle when I'm pregnant (I get really emotional). But, I am no longer depressed or anxious, thanks in part to a man who loves me, thanks in part to finding a medication that seemed to work for me. I homeschool my three children, thanks in large part to my husband's encouragement of me to do so. We also feel like Jesus is able to shine through us to our children and to those around us. And, His grace is sufficient for us, for His power is made perfect in weakness.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Our Curriculum

Well, practically everyone is posting about their curriculum for the next year, so I thought I'd join you all. We're starting school Tuesday. Here it is:

Rachel - 5 yrs

  1. Have Rachel read at least one phonics book daily (Bob books, etc.).
  2. Have her write her ABC’s and #’s (with you). Say or sing them with her when she is done.
  3. Go over what the letters say:
  4. Have her do one Spelling Workout A worksheet
  5. Have her do one Abeka K5 Number Skills worksheet
  6. Have her do one Abeka K5 Letters & Sounds worksheet
  7. Have her do one Abeka K5 ABC-123 worksheet
  8. Have her listen to sister read or listen to you read. Have her participate in her sister’s activities such as science or history as long as she is interested.

Natalie - 7 yrs


  1. Saxon Math 2 (2-3 worksheets, one lesson)
  2. Abeka Letters & Sounds 2
  3. Abeka Cursive or Queens Cursive Worksheets
  4. Copywork - have her write something out in cursive with punctuation and capitalization.
  5. Science - God’s Design (Plants, Animals, or Human Body lesson) or Nature Study (look at something, read about it, and write about it - proper paragraphs) or a science experiment (have her write about it when done)
  6. History - Victor Journey Through The Bible & Corresponding History from Kingfisher History Encyclopedia or other history source such as It Couldn’t Just Happen and History Box Set
    • Color map corresponding to what we are studying
    • Place drawing, date, and short description on timeline
  7. One page out of English For The Thoughtful Child
  8. Bible Reading (read aloud part of my Bible reading to her)
  9. Practice Violin

1 Day A Week

  1. Study a composer/artist & write about him/her & their art/music
  2. Nature walk with an assignment
  3. Practice a specific art project from Artistic Pursuits or Any Child Can Draw
  4. Math Timed Test
  5. Poetry
  6. Creative Writing

Well, that's my plan anyhow. I'm attempting to do a combination of Classical Homeschooling and Charlotte Mason and these are my ideas. I know Charlotte Mason isn't textbook/worksheet oriented, but for math and phonics I want my children to have a good foundation.

I like Abeka for phonics. Their phonics work has been fun for my girls and they are very thorough. I don't like the rest of Abeka's materials as well, as they are so textbookish and they don't fit into the four year cycle for Classical Homeschooling. If you wanted a completely pre-done package, Abeka would be a great source.

I like Saxon for math. It is very, very thorough. It can be a bit repetitive. I looked into Math U See as my step-daughter is a very hands on type and I wanted to help her with her math. But, I really like math, and in my opinion Math U See can be a bit confusing to the child and isn't as thorough as Saxon. However, if you had a strictly tactile learner, you might really need a program like that. Even my step-daughter, who is mostly tactile, was confused by Math U See, and really felt she was making progress when she's done some Saxon (of course I'm comfortable tutoring her). I also like that Saxon takes you all the way through.

The God's Design For Life books are great. They fit right in with the four year cycle of Classical Homeschooling, yet they aren't too textbookish, they have lots of hands on activities, and they are a great starting point for more research.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Watch out!

Watch out! I'm on the move.

Sunday, August 24, 2008


Natalie was playing outside today and declared, "I am a bee keeper."

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Happy Birthday Rachel

Happy 5th Birthday Rachel

My Rachel is turning five today. I can't believe it. Rachel is my always enthusiastic, funny, spicy, cuddly, and gung ho girl. As Rachel says herself, as she said yesterday as she was looking forward to her birthday, "I am so exciting!" Here are some pictures of Rachel now and from a baby.

I love you so Rachey!

110-1096_IMG 111-1111_IMG
113-1331_IMG 114-1412_IMG
Rachel 118-1810_IMG
122-2251_IMG 124-2441_IMG
Rachel_9_Mo 128-2888_IMG
Rachel_camping Rachel_hiking
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Rachel_babies Rachel_christmas_2005
Rachel_winter_2006 Rachel_summer_2006
Rachel_chicken_2007 Rachel_dance_2007
Rachel_farm_girl Rachel_watching_soccer_2007
Rachel_dress flower_for_mommy

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Camping Trip

Here are a few pics from our camping trip. One thing I love about camping is that when you get home having an imperfect home seems blissful and clean and luxurious.






Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Summer Pictures

Here are some new pictures.

This first one (below) are some vegetables from our garden I harvested for dinner last night. This is the first year I got celery to grow. Grow it from good starts and give it lots of water! It's growing wonderfully. The neat thing is I can take off just what I need and it keeps growing. I'm always wasting celery from the store because I don't get to it before it wilts.

The following pictures are from our day today. We went driving near Indian Heaven Wilderness and were going to pick Huckleberries. But, there was record snowfall this year and they aren't even close to ripe yet.

Natalie with hats on.

Trees near Indian Heaven Wilderness

A beautiful, fire red wildflower.
There were actually a lot more mosquitoes elsewhere (besides by the lake). My husband went here (without me) last year when I was pregnant, camping with the older girls, and that year there weren't any mosquitoes.

Girls playing by Mosquito Lake.

OK. So this is a Mosquito that tried to eat our family for lunch. These were the most aggressive Mosquitoes I've ever been around. I was out of our truck two minutes looking at wildflowers (in the noon day sun) and when I got back in the car I was itching all over. I thought I had come across plants I was allergic to, but soon the welts started appearing on my body. The next stop was for five minutes and I probably got fifteen bites in that time period. I didn't figure, especially in the middle of the day, five minutes was worth putting bug spray on. I was wrong! At the next stop, we had lunch and put bug spray on immediately. They still got a few bites in on spots I missed and tried to bite through my clothes.

I suppose I wouldn't have minded so much if I was an average person. But, alas, I have allergies. I'm not allergic to all mosquitoes, just certain ones, I guess. And I was allergic to these. My bites turned to welts, from a width of a nickel to the width of a silver dollar. I got two bites just above my eye and my husband said I looked like I had been punched in the eye. I said I wanted to go for the day. It was probably good there were no Huckleberries, so we could head home. I think I will try going again in a few weeks when the Huckleberries are ripe. Hopefully the mosquitoes will have died off by then and I will don lots of bug spray ahead of time, no matter how much I hate to.

Not all the bugs were bad. Here is a butterfly. I could have got a better shot if I had a lot of time, there were so many of them!

Here is a dragonfly. It's not quite in focus. I could have gotten a better shot of this if I took more time, but my husband kept asking me to look at the kids (they were being cute as usual).

Monday, August 11, 2008

Rachel Loves Marionberries

Notice Anything???

OK. I know this picture is corny. My four year old just loves picking Marionberries. So, I photoshopped the picture on her behalf.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

The Fair

Summer Activities

We went to the fair yesterday. Summers are filled with so many activities that it is easy to feel overly busy. The kids love it though. I enjoyed the fair too. And, I know that during the rainy season when I am feeling homebound by all of the rain - I can look back to all of those activities and remember I'm not always homebound. I think it is about finding a balance. Not committing to everything, but doing what's really important to our family. This next week we are going camping. I tend to get stressed out at the thought of planning it, but all of these summer things are such important memories and I really do enjoy them once I get there.

Pictures From The Fair

Here are the three older girls at the fair.

Now, this was definitely the funniest thing I saw at the fair. You know how dogs do agility. And dog owners get really into it. These are Llamas. As you can see the Llamas are all dolled up like show dogs, and their owners are trying to take them through the course. I wish I could have taken more pictures. Here was one of the easier obstacles. The Llama just had to duck it's head and follow its owner under the PVC pipe.

But, you can see the Llamas weren't always so cooperative. Actually, they weren't usually very cooperative. Here they are trying to get this Llama to go over the tarp that is being blown by a wind machine. The Llama wants nothing to do with it. She wanted nothing to do with going over fence rails, on a teeter totter (which was only about three inches off the ground), on stairs, through cones, or having to back up either. It was entertaining.

This is a classic look for Mariah. When I come out with a camera Mariah usually smiles and poses, so I was glad to get a natural shot of her here. She is looking at a reptile in the Terrarium.

 Natalie looking at reptiles.


And here is a reptile.

Girls flying "high" in an airplane at the fair.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

My Abigail

Baby Abigail

My baby, Abigail, is nine months old now, as of the 30th of July. She doesn't feel like a little baby now.

Well, she is talking for one thing. She says, "night, night Dada," although not always to her Daddy, and definitely not with the awareness that she is saying, "night, night." She, like the majority of children, does not like to go to sleep at the end of the day. She says, "I-UH", which is short for her sister Mariah's name. She says, "that" and points at things, though her "that" is really kind of a "dat". She says "sister" which is really more of a "disder" sound - for all of her sisters. And she says "ki ca" for kitty cat. She also says, "nuh nuh nuh nuh" when she doesn't like something. I don't even think you'd have to teach kids the "no" word, I think that "n" sound is just in there waiting to come out.

For another thing she is crawling and cruising and crumb crunching. She does a really speed crawl with one leg kind of up like a bear crawl. I think she got into that habit from trying to avoid crawling inside of (and making no progress) some of the dresses she wears. She stands up against the couch, the wall, and even the steam cleaner. She cries really hard when she knocks over the steam cleaner - even though she isn't hurt. And, she is a crumb cruncher (and sorry to say dirt eater). I've never had a baby that was so intent on putting EVERY LITTLE THING into her mouth. From a piece of macaroni that falls from the table, to a string, to one of those foam ear plugs, to little pieces of paper, to bark, to big chunks of dirt - I am constantly fishing things out of her mouth. But, when it comes time to eat her green beans, does she want them? No. She wants Bananas. Or that Pasta with Tomato and Meat Sauce that we are eating.

I love her. I love every little challenging thing about her. And I love that she loves me. And fusses to get to me. I love how smiley she is. I love how much of a go getter she is. I love to see her and her sisters being a gang, all playing together.

I Figured It Out

I just figured it out

I just figured out why I never had a baby that put sooooo... many things in her mouth before.

My first baby, Natalie, took a binky. In fact, she loved it so much, she frequently tried to put two binkies (pacifiers) in her mouth at the same time. We took it away from her at about 14 months. It wasn't hard. We just put them away.

My second baby, Rachel, sucked her second and third fingers. She sucked her fingers until she was about three and a half years old. Before that point we tried everything to try to get her to not suck her fingers - a sock and duct tape on her shirt, scolding, bitter apple on her hand - all to no avail. We got her to stop finally with the help of an appliance you put over their fingers for about three weeks. It's called a Thumb-Guard.

This baby doesn't suck anything - so her hands are free for exploring all the time.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Trip To Seattle

Last Weekend

Last weekend we took a trip to Seattle. We didn't tell the girls where we were going. I think they thought we were going camping for a while, since we go camping every year and hadn't been yet. But, we didn't bring a tent. They kept asking us where we were going and we kept telling them things like, "isn't this the way to Mt. Rainier?" When we got to our hotel, they asked where we were and we told them Tukwila, which was true. Of course, Tukwila is just minutes from Seattle.

Mariah & Abigail At this point the girls were thinking we took them on this trip to visit the Family Fun Center which was outside the hotel window.

Burke Natural History Museum
The girls are outside of the Burke Natural History Museum which is a neat museum with lots of artifacts and fossils. Unfortunately, they do not allow you to take pictures in their museum.

This is a sheep at the zoo. I don't know why they sheered her this way. I suppose they wanted to show the kids how thick their fur was long, yet they wanted to keep the sheep cool. This was the family farm section of the zoo. It was kind of funny because our kids are around more farm animals than they had there on a daily basis. My husband kept urging us on past that area, since it was nothing our kids haven't seen.
Girls watching the Flamingos. The Flamingos were the highlight of the zoo for our girls.

We got to see the Giraffes up close.
Abigail crashed at the zoo. Mariah crashed at the hotel the next morning.

The three older girls on the ferry. Mariah outside on boat.


Rachel outside on ferryboat.
Coming back into Seattle on the ferry boat. Mariah looking at a tide pool exhibit at the aquarium.