Monday, December 5, 2011

'Tis the Season NOT for Blogging!

I wish I had time to blog. I haven't even had time to read blogs. How life changes when you have lots of kids!!!

Our Christmas tree is up and decorated. This means that the twins are getting a lot more pack and play time. :) We are using our Way of Light Advent Wreath from the Voskamp family along with the Advent Calendar I made last year. I love anticipating Christmas Day with my family.

What do you do for gifts for your kids? Dollar limit? Gift limit? No gifts? Stocking stuffers? We generally give our kids three gifts each and stocking stuffers. I am curious if anyone has given less to their kids and given more to the poor? We would love to head in this direction, but we are not sure our kids would get it or appreciate the altruism especially since they have not placed their faith in Christ yet.

Would love your kind feedback.

Merry Christmas!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Friday, November 4, 2011

Blogging? Oh...yeah, I used to do that...

I have thought about blogging.  But not for more than a nanosecond.

The truth, the sad, sad, truth is that I have finally come to a time in my life where I sincerely do not have the time for it!  It was easier when my big kids were little and there were only three of them.  Now that there are five of them and two of them are homeschooling, I have found that I have very little time for anything but life.

I have a house helper, Gemma, who comes to help me a couple of days a week, and she helps with the house and the kids and really whatever I need her to do.  But I am STILL BUSY all day long.  It's weird.  But hey, at least my house looks better than it did, and I am thankful for being able to focus on the kids more than the housework.

I know a lot of people do it alone, and I applaud them.  I suppose I could do it, but I wouldn't be very nice. I'm pretty certain of that.  That's where we were headed about a month ago.  People who have twins will understand me when I say that it really is harder with twins.  Pulling the "twin card" is my new normal.  But honestly, there is no other explanation (except that I may just be crazy???).  So, if I pull the "twin card" with you, just smile and nod and pray for me!

Sam is doing well in school.  I know, not a big surprise!  He's super smart and very inquisitive and thoughtful.  Maryn is also excelling in school and enjoying it so much.  She really loves to be doing her schoolwork.  Sam and Maryn have been spending their free time building a "circus" out in the yard with old firewood.  It's so cute.

I decided to start trying to pottytrain Lucy again.  She will be three in 12 days, and my other two kids did well at 3.  She is no exception.  She had success for two days in a row with a couple of accidents, and then today, she has peed in the potty three times, pooped once, and so far, has had no accidents today!  She is gaining confidence and excitement, and I'm so proud of her.  It really is best to wait until they're ready.

Felix is jabbering a lot.  He also likes to carry toys around in his mouth while he crawls around.  He looks like a puppy.  He is so cute.  I swear he can say "dog."  He is doing well with baby food and some table food.

Milo is starting to screech a lot.  He is also trying to walk.  He's taken many steps, but he usually has to be coaxed.  He is gaining a lot of weight too and looking so cute and chubby.  He LOVES to eat.  I think it is his favorite thing to do.

Both babies are sleeping in their own room.  They aren't sleeping through the night, but at least they're in their own room and Dave and I don't have to tiptoe anymore.

We took a vacation to Oklahoma City and Tulsa and then Northwest Arkansas.  It was exhausting but fun. Maybe someday, I will think about uploading some pictures.  Well, Milo sounds sad, so I better go, but that is what is going on in our lives.  Hopefully, I can find more time for this, but right now, it isn't looking like it!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Recommendations for Twins

I currently know four people in my circle of friends who are having twins!  In thinking about what it was like to be pregnant with twins, I thought it might be a blessing for them to know how I did it.  Of course, they may not care, and that's okay too, but just in case they want advice from someone who is a few steps ahead, here are some recommendations based on my experience.

1.  If you're breastfeeding, get this nursing pillow.  It is great.  Once I had them latched on, I was hands-free!  It's awesome.  It is generous in size, and I have used it from the time I got home with the boys.  Now, my boys were term and Felix weighed 6 lbs 12 oz, and Milo weighed 7 lbs 5 oz, so they were not teeny tiny preemies.  This may not work for you until they get bigger if yours end up coming early.  But I love it, and STILL use it and my boys are 9 months old.

Double Blessings Twin Nursing Pillow (stock photo from

2.  I wanted a lightweight, inexpensive double stroller.  Another twin parent recommended a side by side as one twin may not like being behind the other and want to be able to see out.  This sounded reasonable.  You can spend as much as you want on a stroller.  Evaluate what you'll use it for.  I knew I would use mine either for a walk on a track, the mall, the zoo, or running errands.  I would not be jogging with it, so I knew I could buy something cheaper and not as awesome.  Plus, I live on a gravel road off of a state highway, so I knew I wouldn't be strolling regularly.  I went with the Jeep double umbrella stroller, got it at for $70 in May with free shipping.  The sunshades are a joke, but I have been pleased with the stroller for the price.

Jeep Wrangler Twin Sport Umbrella Stroller (photo courtesy of

3.  Nutrition is the MOST important component of managing a twin pregnancy.  This book was amazing, and I attribute my healthy outcomes both to God and to following the high protein diet in this book.

When You're Expecting Twins, Triplets, or Quads: Proven Guidelines for a Healthy Multiple Pregnancy

4.  Schedule help.  Dave was able to be home with us for two weeks.  50% of twins are born by c-section, so having help is even more imperative.  Regardless of how you birth your twins, you MUST rest for a month afterwards if at all possible.  My midwife, who provided me with nutrition and breastfeeding advice, said I needed to sleep as much as possible for the first month--no housework--just sleep, eat, and nurse the babies.  I have three older children under the age of 6.  I did not know how this was going to work, especially after Dave went back to work.  So, I made a calendar and divided the days he wouldn't be here into two sections: 8am-12pm and 1pm-5pm.  People would mention in passing, "I'd love to help you when the babies come" or "Just let me know how I can help."  So, I made sure that I got all their names written down along with their phone numbers, emails, and times they were available to help.  Then, each week, I would contact people to fill in those time slots.  Making them 4 hr time slots seemed more doable and less overwhelming for people, and praise God, I only ever had to be alone with all 5 children TWICE in that first month.  I didn't have a full day alone with all of them until the beginning of February.  I got plenty of rest.  They watched the older children, made them lunch, fed them snacks, helped pick up around the house, made me lunch, helped me change and burp the twins.  It was amazing.  I would not have made it without my team of helpers that first month!  Don't be afraid to ask for help.  You cannot and should not try to do this alone.  It will keep you from getting depressed and overwhelmed.

5.  Freeze meals.  I had two weeks of meals that were brought to my home by friends and church members.  But, I knew that eventually, the meals would stop.  So, about a month before the babies were due, my friend, Tina, came over and helped me put a bunch of meals in the freezer.  For two weeks, I bought two of everything and made double of every meal and froze half.  By the time the twins came, I had 17 meals in my freezer.  I have a LARGE freezer, but I also have a small deep freeze.  You can get a small deep freeze for about $150.  It's worth it.

6.  If you can afford it, hire a housekeeper.  I hired Miss Emelyn about a month before the twins came.  She and her sister or her niece come every other week.  She does anything I need her to do--dishes, laundry, all cleaning, help with the kids or the babies.  They are amazing.  I would not make it without them.  I recently had to clean my house (all the way) by myself while they were on vacation.  I survived it, but I was super overwhelmed by all that I had to do.  I knew that hiring her was cheaper than therapy! I also love having her around; she is a blessing to our family.

7.  And, if you can do this, it will make everything better--keep your twins on the same feeding and napping schedule.  Ours is not hard core or strict, by any means, but they ALWAYS eat at the same time, and I lay them down for naps at the same time.  This has given me the time I need to rest and recharge and to homeschool my older two children.  This was by far one of the best decisions I have made.

I hope you find all of this helpful, and if you have any other questions, please don't hesitate to ask.  Your twins will bless you more than you even know!!!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Remembering Him

When someone dies, we try to remember everything we can about them--the good memories, their laugh, the way their hands looked at rest, the way their eyes would light up.

But what do you do when you lose someone you never got to meet?

I think, in my case, I have been remembering who Jesus was to me in my grief.

He was my strong tower. I ran to Him, and I was safe.

He was my light in a very dark time.

He was there, steadfast and true, never leaving my side.

He was the one who helped me run like I had never run before--He was my coach, my endurance. I ran a race and ran it well, thanks to Him.

He was the friend who didn't try to fix me. He just listened to me and held me when I cried.

He was my mirror, showing me some things in my life that He wanted to change and heal.

He was the Giver. And He blessed me two-fold. With Felix and Milo. Two instead of one. He laughed, I am sure!, when I learned I was carrying two!

He was my everything. And He still is.

So, on this day, the day my precious one would have been having the first birthday, I remember. I remember the excitement for the little one. I remember how quickly I loved. I remember the crushing reality of loss.

And I remember, how deeply He loved me through it all. And I thank Him.

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Thursday, September 15, 2011

God's Classroom


The Color Green Lyrics


I highly recommend listening to this song by Rich Mullins, The Color Green, while you read this post.  :)

The high today is supposed to be 74.  I knew the kids had to be outside most of today, if possible.  So, we took our lessons outside along with our nature box and socks and jackets.  The children played between subjects.  The babies joined us for a little while.

It was wonderful.

The breeze was cool.  The air was fresh.  And we are all plumb tuckered out.

Our Classroom

Hard at work

Getting fresh air and looking so cute in pants and long-sleeved shirts!

What is this?

Our pup dog, Woodrow

So sweet.

Sam, 1st Grade

Maryn, Kindergarten

Lucy, footloose and fancy-free (almost 3!)

And me, the teacher, once again.

A-Rambling We Go

I haven't had the time or motivation to blog lately. I also think that laundry, dishes, and schooling doesn't sound super interesting. But just in case it does, here ya go.

I have found that adding school back into my schedule has really made a difference in my amount of free time. I have struggled to find moments of rest or time to do something fun. That is something I would like to figure out. I've noticed it is important for me to have some time for myself so I can breathe and think in quiet. Dave has been helping me in this department, and I am so thankful he serves me like this.

I am actually really enjoying homeschooling this year. I am much more relaxed, and the kids are not rushed or pressured. We take our time, and I attend to Lucy and the babies as needed.

Sam is learning a lot of great mental math methods. He is reading a few grades ahead, and his penmanship is impressive. He seems to enjoy school more this year, and I think my attitude change is a big part of that. He is constantly making something out of paper. He loves origami.

Maryn loves school. She is actually ahead of her math book, but I am not rushing her to complete extra. She is doing awesome with her reading and is learning to figure out words she doesn't know on her own. Her penmanship improves all the time. Her grip is a little strange, so I try to gently correct it. She loves making kitty-cat masks with paper and pipe cleaners (her design!).

I have been reading aloud a book my Great-Great Uncle David Unsell wrote, _Roxy the Raccoon_, about his pet raccoon. It has been a fun story and the kids love hearing about Roxy's adventures. I think it is super cool to have a story like this from our family. I met my Great-Great Uncle David when I was eight. He came to my Great Grandpa's funeral. He was hard of hearing and had one of those ear trumpets that we had to speak into. I am glad I met him and now have this bit of history from his life. The kids are narrating the story back to me in pictures. They are getting quite good at drawing raccoons.

Lucy's speech is improving all the time. She often surprises me with some of the things she says. She is a funny girl. The cutest thing is how she says "grand-daddy longlegs." I have got to get it on video. She loves to color. She loves watching Curious George. She calls him, "Georgie."

Felix is pulling up on the furniture now. He is getting two more teeth--this will make six for him. He says, "dug-a-dug-a-dug-a" and it is so funny. He grins a lot. He seems to like baby food alright. He also has learned to point, to wave, and to clap.

Milo is starting to cruise around the furniture. He has zero teeth, but his gums are swollen, so we are expecting some to come in soon. He wants food, but has a pretty strong gag reflex and is figuring out how to manipulate it. He has also learned to point. He doesn't say "ma-ma" much anymore :(, but he is saying "da-da" now.

Stay tuned shortly for a post full of pictures of our day in school OUTSIDE!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Monday, August 15, 2011


I'm sitting here listening to Kathryn Scott's "I Belong" on my friend Shanda's blog.

I don't have much to say today.  I just feel loved.

Because I am.

And so are you.

"For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 8:38-39

Have a listen.

Receive from Him.

Saturday, August 6, 2011


My friend, Shana, asked me to talk about what we're doing this year for homeschooling--specifically about the Charlotte Mason approach we are taking.

Let me back up a bit.

I said, "I will never homeschool unless I live in the jungle."

Well, this little town isn't a jungle, but here I am, homeschooling and eating a heaping plate of crow.

Last year, I homeschooled Sam.  I took a very traditional approach because frankly, it is what I am most comfortable with after having taught in a traditional school setting for a couple of years and being raised in that same kind of school.  What I found was that Sam learned a lot--all he was "supposed" to learn and more.  What I also found was that I HATED his math curriculum with a passion because there were SO MANY stinkin' activities for each lesson and tons of prep for me--FOR KINDERGARTEN!!!  Also, I found that Sam and I were not getting along (just as I knew it would be) because I couldn't seem to find my role as parent AND as teacher.  My authority and his submission were at war, and it began to affect his perception of education.  He didn't like it or get excited about anything we were learning.  I was tired of threatening him and having to make it so rigid so I could be "in control."

It was exhausting at times, and I wasn't enjoying it.

Yet, I knew I was supposed to continue this year with Sam AND Maryn.  I began hearing and reading bits about Charlotte Mason.  I have a friend who is a missionary to Asia who homeschools her six children and uses the Charlotte Mason approach.  I was unaware of this when I approached her about advice regarding schooling more than one child.  She said, "I want you to read this book, For the Children's Sake, by Susan Schaeffer Macauley.  Read it, and then call me."

I got the book.  I read it.  I tried to get in touch with her, but she's a busy lady, and I haven't gotten a chance to chat with her.  However, the Lord blessed me with an opportunity to chat with another mama who uses this approach, Michelle.  She homeschools her four oldest children.  I was so encouraged to talk with her and get some ideas for how to practically bring the Charlotte Mason approach into our home.

Who was Charlotte Mason?

She was an educator at the end of the 19th century in England.  She viewed children as people (imagine that!).  Children were not vessels to be filled with facts and figures but people, made in God's image, to be nurtured and exposed to all the truths of God (because ALL truth is GOD's truth).  In her opinion, children should be exposed to the truth of God's Word, living books (firsthand accounts, books written by single authors instead of textbooks written by a plethora of people), nature as a hands-on study, art and music.  She felt that the bulk of structured learning should take place before lunchtime so that the children would have the afternoon free for playing outside, exploring and imagining (still learning!), for crafts, baking, cooking, and all other active endeavors.  Doing math first thing in the morning makes sense because children are sharpest early in the morning.  There would be plenty of time for the mother to read aloud to the children.  The focus of education was not to earn a grade but to better oneself--to learn for the sake of learning.  I cannot possibly continue to describe all of Mason's approach--get the book and read it!  This is just the nutshell version.

As I read Macauley's book, I found myself, "Aha!"-ing and, "Yes!"-ing.  Her approach resonated in me and helped me to see where I had gone wrong.  I was trying to cram a bunch of information into my child as if he were a vat to fill rather than a person who needed to be exposed to God's world and truth.  Education is but a means to know more of God.

So, this is what we are doing:

We begin our day with Bible reading of some sort (it usually involves art or story or both).  Then, we pray for a missionary we support (and we will soon be adding prayer for unreached people groups using Window on the World--Michelle gave me this idea).  We ask God for something and thank Him for something.  Simple.  Short.  And definitely sweet.

We do math next while they're still fresh and sharp.  I am using Singapore math this year, and so far I love it.  Love, love, love it.  The books are GREAT.  The concepts are amazing.  I love seeing this math process.  It makes so much sense to me, and I wish I had used it as a child.  I do not think this curriculum will include things like the seasons and the calendar, but that is easy to do without a curriculum.  :)

Next, we do our phonics and reading.  I prefer A Beka for this subject--I was raised on it, and I taught it.  I think it is a really well-developed program.  I was very impressed with how well it prepared Sam for reading.  We review some phonics rules, they do use workbooks, and then they read to me in their readers (and Maryn also reads Bob Books to me or the Nora Gaydos' Now I'm Reading! books).

This year, I added Spelling and Language for Sam (also A Beka).  He has a little more work than Maryn, but I love how both subjects are coordinated with what he is learning in phonics.  It is very thorough and consistent across the board.  If I had to guess based on reading assessments, Sam is reading at a 2nd or 3rd grade level.  I don't know if I should attribute that to him being a firstborn or the curriculum.  :)

We finish with handwriting.  We use Handwriting Without Tears.  I LOVE this program.  It was developed by an occupational therapist for children with developmental delays like dysgraphia and dyslexia.  The approach is very logical, and I love how easy it is to teach and to learn.

I give the children a break between each subject.  Sometimes we listen to a Laurie Berkner song or do a silly dance or just play.  Sometimes we will have a snack together if it is around that time of day.  After we have finished all our work, we settle in together and I read aloud to them.  We're currently reading the first Boxcar Children book.  We also picked up a lot of books at the library about different kinds of dogs (inspired by Sam's question, "What kind of dog is Woodrow?").  We have been looking through those and learning some neat things about dogs--did you know that Dalmatians are typically the only breed of dog that horses will tolerate?  We have loved reading James Herriot's stories of his life as a veterinarian in the English countryside.

And we are usually done with all of this in 90 minutes to 2 hrs.  We spend time outside as much as we can (which hasn't been a whole lot in this heat).  We've tried to identify some nuts from trees in our yard as well as feathers, spiders, and other insects.  I am looking forward to Fall and Springtime for our nature studies!  I also plan to incorporate a bit of art and music study here and there, though not daily.  None of this is hard-core--just exposure-oriented.

I am also learning to alter MY attitude towards education.  I am enthusiastic and draw the children TO me in times of disagreeableness rather than threatening them when they refuse to do their work.  I try to bring everything back to God and His work in the world, and I have been floored by the questions my children are asking me.  I am so thankful I learned about this approach!!!

So, that's what we're doing!  I appreciate the interest and hope I didn't bore you!

If you are interested in more resources concerning Charlotte Mason curriculum ideas, check out these sites!  I hope to spend more time on them soon and incorporate more new-to-me ideas.  :)

Ambleside Online

Simply Charlotte Mason

Simple Homeschool

An Old-Fashioned Education

So Much to Say

I have not blogged in weeks.  I keep thinking about it, but the time and opportunity just hasn't come up.  I've spent much of my free time reading The Hunger Games trilogy, which was fantastic.  I thoroughly enjoyed the series.

I planned out the first six weeks of school for my kiddos.  That was hard, but I'm glad I got it taken care of.  We started school last Monday, and the kids are doing so great.  I will blog about what we're doing homeschool-wise later.

Dave and I have been using one car since May.  We didn't intend for that to happen, but it has, and we're doing fine with it.  We went out one day and looked at trucks, thinking we might get one for Dave and just trade in our old Acura.  But, I didn't have peace about it, and it all felt very rushed, so we stepped back.  We are getting VERY close to paying off the last 1/5 of our student loan debt.  We just didn't want to lose any momentum by adding car debt to the pile.  We decided to fix the Acura.  So, since May, we have been waiting for a good, used engine to present itself so the mechanic can use parts from it to fix the car.  Evidently, they're not getting many leads.  And we wait.

I don't really have anywhere to go anyway, so it hasn't been a big deal.  But, people think we're crazy.  And that's okay.  We're getting closer and closer to our goal.

My twins are 7 months old and getting more and more mobile.  Milo is crawling, sitting up occasionally, and pulling up on things.  He is my earliest mobile child.  Felix is army-crawling and rocking on his hands and knees.  He has FOUR teeth and two more trying to break through.

Sam and Maryn are so stinking smart.  They're crazy good readers and constantly wowing me.  They've been pretty busy making things and playing pretty hard.

Lucy is less destructive these days.  She still occasionally puts things in the toilet, but not nearly as much.  She hasn't colored on the walls in a couple of months.  Progress!!!  I see pottytraining in our future, and I am already ready for it to be over!  :)  She's getting closer to being really ready.  Her speech is improving all the time, and we're starting to communicate better.  She still has melt-downs when I don't understand her, but they are fewer.

Lucy has also taken a liking to grand-daddy longlegs.  Here's one of her buddies:

There is another beautiful garden spider at our house this year.  This one is out by the deck so I don't get to see her as much as I did the one by the window last year.  I think she is amazing.   I don't want to touch her, but I enjoy watching her.

My dear househelp is on vacation in the Philippines.  She will be back at the end of the month.  Thankfully, my friend, Nicole, was able to come help this week.  Last week, I cleaned everything except the hardwoods (I swept but didn't mop).  It was nice to know I could do it, but made me thankful that I don't have to try to do it all regularly.

I am exhausted these days.  I am ready to figure out a way to get more breaks so I can breathe and be refreshed.  Feel free to pray for this in my life.  God knows what I need, and I think He will provide even this.

So, this is my update.  I wish I could keep up better, but I haven't been able to.  I hope to be able to blog about homeschooling very soon.  I am LOVING what we are doing this year, and I look forward to sharing that with you.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Projects Are Contagious

Beware the project bug. It is highly infectious, and if you aren't careful, it will not only bite you, but it will also bite your children.

Maryn wanted to make a blanket. She picked out her own fabric. Then, she decided she wanted to HAND SEW it! This mama was thrilled!

She worked on it for THREE HOURS STRAIGHT. She almost finished it, but we had to wait until the next day.

Her stitches were so cute. I wish they were on the outside so I could still see them.

We top stitched it as a team.

And voila!!! Her first sewing project!!!! COMPLETE.

Sam also got bitten. His aspiration was a pillow. He pinned it up after he chose the fabric.

Don't worry; he was supervised. :)

Time to stuff it!

Ready for a nap? Sam's first project--FINISHED. WOW.

Kids are capable of a lot more than many of us tend to think. Give your kid some freedom to create; you may be surprised at how awesome they are!!! I sure was!

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Sunday, July 10, 2011

The Books Are Back

Since having the twins, I haven't been able to read nearly like I normally do.  I have always loved to read, and when I am sleep-deprived and going non-stop, I just don't have the time.

And when I'm nursing twins (mostly early on), I had a hard time concentrating on much...and the Facebook app on my phone kept me entertained, and I didn't have to think.

That has all recently changed.  Thank the Lord.  I have missed reading.  I have completed two books this week and started another.

1.  I started reading this back in March.  It took me awhile since I have still been in "baby fog" land.  I just finished it, and I LOVED IT.  I can't even put into words how fantastic this book is.

Buy one.  Buy some more for your friends.  Read her blog.  Be blessed, and be a blessing.

by Ann Voskamp

This book has helped me to really SEE.  To SEARCH.  To BE THANKFUL.  To BE A BLESSING.

To realize HE IS GOOD.

2.  I am in a discipleship group in our church.  Our pastor leads the group, and he asked us to read this next book.  It's pretty popular right now, though I don't know why--its topic is not a popular one.  I'm just going to trust the Holy Spirit is moving and using this little book.

by David Platt

The ideas and concepts in this book (discipleship, multiplication, wartime lifestyle, Great Commission) were not new to me.  In fact, I had three years of training in these ideas back in college.  I've lived as a mobilizer in the past, we regularly give to missionaries and have committed to long-term service overseas, we support a child with Compassion (that's her in the photo--Umutesi).  But, for the million things I'm NOT doing, this book was a GREAT reminder.  I didn't feel guilty when reading it, instead, my zeal for giving my life to the Great Commission was renewed.  I feel recharged and encouraged to press on.  There are companion materials online as well.

3.  The book I am now reading is to help prepare me for homeschooling.  I homeschooled Samuel last year, and we were successful.  He learned what he needed to, he blew me away with his brilliance, and unfortunately, we fought a lot.  This year, I will be homeschooling TWO kids.  Maryn will be in kindergarten, and Sam will move on to first grade.  And then there is busy 2-year-old Lucy and the baby twins.  I turned to my friend, Annette (who is a missionary is East Asia with 6 children that she homeschools), and said, "I want your advice."  THIS is the book she told me to read first.

by Susan Schaeffer Macauley

I had been curious about Charlotte Mason, the woman whose ideas this book is patterned after.  She was a teacher/philosopher in the late 19th century.  I had read bits about her and how she viewed children as persons, not merely as containers to be filled with information.  I am excited to see what I learn from this book.  So far, I am enjoying it, and it is helping me to look at my children differently--each as unique creations by God with their own ideas and personalities.  I think when it comes to school, it is easy to lump them all together and do the same thing for each.  The beauty of homeschooling is being able to play to your child's strengths and to meet them on their level--to listen to them and learn from them as well.

I've been informed about a couple of online communities that espouse the Charlotte Mason philosophies:

Thank you, Melissa and Laurel, for your suggestions.  I can't wait to spend more time on these sites.

Finally, I have another Charlotte Mason book (the Companion, actually) that I am going to read/peruse (cuz it's so big!!!).  And for fun, I am going to start with the first of the popular, new trilogy, The Hunger Games.

Happy Summer Reading!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Baby Weight

I have a new theory.  Before I share, let me clarify a few of my beliefs.

1.  I think childbirth is a picture of Christ on the cross--the agony, the pain, the laboring, and then the new birth--I bring forth a baby; He brought forth the Church.

2.  I think women stress too much about losing baby weight (self included).

3.  I don't believe there is a certain time frame in which you must lose it (Ignore that "9 months to gain, 9 months to lose" lie.).

So, my theory?

I think a pregnant body and a postpartum body is beautiful.  Even though I sometimes struggle with the way I look now (usually a result of comparing myself to others), I do truly think it is a beautiful thing.  Why?

In the same way that Jesus' body was battered, bruised, torn, tattered, bleeding, gushing water, heart exploding, so does mine.

Now, I know you may be thinking that I'm crazy to compare the pains of pregnancy and childbirth to a crucifixion, and I get that--just hear me out--I, in no way, think I have EVER physically suffered even close to what my Savior endured on that cross.  But look at the similarities:

1.  He had stripes on his back from being whipped (cannot fathom that kind of pain).
     I have stretch marks.

2.  His body was torn by the cat of nine tails.
     Mine was torn by babies.

3.  He had blood pouring out of his body.
     I did too.

4.  When he died, they stabbed him with a spear, and blood and water gushed out.
     When my bags of water broke, the water gushed out.

5.  He labored to breathe.
     I labored with measured, meted breaths.

6.  His heart finally exploded.
     Mine exploded in JOY.

Now, I realize I may be reaching with this one, but I thought of it the other day after I'd been asked if I was pregnant with #6 (and I'm SO NOT)...which doesn't HURT my feelings, really, because I know my abs LOOK pregnant. And this has happened to me many times because twins just destroy the abdominal muscles.  But, I was mourning my pre-baby body, my pre-TWINS body, and then this thought occurred to me:

After Jesus arose, even His glorified body still had scars.  Why?

As proof?  For Thomas?  For me?

So, when I stand in front of the mirror and see my twin-skin, the stretch marks, and the separated ab muscles that could only EVER be repaired with surgery, I am going to remind myself of what I accomplished--

I brought forth NEW LIFE.

And so did He.  And for that, I am ever grateful.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Naming His Gifts

I love that as I thank God for the gifts He's given, I worship Him.  I'm telling Him that He is a good Father, a good Savior, a good Creator, and the list will never end.

"To name a thing is to manifest the meaning and value God gave it, to know it as coming from God and to know its place and function within the cosmos created by God.  To name a thing, in other words, is to bless God for it and in it."  Alexander Schmemann (For the Life of the World: Sacraments and Orthodoxy)

And so, today, I take some time here, in this bit of cyberspace, to name some gifts and bless Him for them and in them.

I bless Him...

for blue skies with white clouds,

for wild roses by my front door, 

for prequilted cotton for little girls' skirts, 

for a baby learning to crawl,

for a baby getting two teeth and still smiling,

for sharing the playmat,

for an eldest who daily surprises me with his brain,

for my vivacious sing-songy girl,

for those curls,

for sweaty, red-faced "Bright Light,"

for popsicles on a hot summer day, 

for boxes just her size, 

for wiggly guys...

who climb on each other, 

and think it's normal.