Thursday, July 9, 2015

On Days Like These

I have three young kiddos.

(It is so very hard to be 2... especially when your Daddy broke apart your mandarin orange and you wanted to do it for yourself. So. hard.)
I am a new homeschooling mom.

I have a house to keep (semi) clean.

I have meals to cook (THREE. times. a. day. Sheesh.).

And, 2-3 days a week I also have a job outside of home.

None of this is unique to me. And what all moms know is how this normal stuff can sometimes seem so. overwhelming. Sometimes all these good things can start to swallow me up, especially in the tough moments where everyone is crying & climbing on me, the dog is barking to get out, the phone is ringing, and the pot of mac & cheese (insert mom-guilt for it not being something healthier) is over-boiling on the stove. 

But in the last few months, especially through those drowning moments - God showed me something I really needed to experience for myself to truly appreciate.

And that is that He is in the midst of it.

And so He has moved me to embrace the tough. Embrace the place where I am not enough

Because God steps in when we stretch out our arms and our spirits cry out that we need Him. every. single. hour. And some days, every stinkin' minute.

And then, just like that... there He is. Faithful. Bringing His kind of peace.  And it it good enough to want more of it.

Matthew 5:3 (Message version)
"You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God."

So bring it on, late nights and too early mornings. Bring it on, glitter. Bring it on, dog and your muddy paw prints. Bring it on, tantrums and messy faces and big wild hugs that are so sweet but sometimes hurt. Bring it on, loud crazy days. Because He is in the middle of it all and that is so good.

Monday, July 6, 2015

How We're Doing U.S. Geography

This Kindergarten year one of my big focuses with Canaan is learning all 50 states and their place on the map. This has been pretty fun since Canaan has loved it so far.

Canaan BEGS to play our United States games, especially U.S. Bingo and "Scrambled States of America". We've altered the rules a bit for this one and found a way to play that works perfect for his age and knowledge level. We've also taken a bit of the race/speed aspect out so it's more enjoyable for him. Because the point isn't competition, the point is to make it fun so he wants to play and learn!

Figuring out if he has a state close to Georgia. 

We also practice learning the cardinal directions with his compass. This included one trip out on a rainy day where he pretended to be "lost" and used his compass to find his way home.

We talk about the "Man in the Map" that lives in the middle states. I saw this online when looking up ideas for teaching Canaan, and was like WHAA?!! Canaan's mind was appropriately blown to - he saw this on our pin board and rushed to tell Daddy about it. "DAD!!! There. is. a MAN in. the United States!!!!"

FYI, Iowa is the face, where the man's EYES are!

We listen to funny state songs and make up other funny ways to remember the states (like, how we decided that Curious George lives in Georgia, Vermont is shaped like the letter "V", and Arkansas is "arching" over it's neighbors). This is so fun for me and brings me back to being a kid. I remember so clearly to this day, when my dad told me that in Pierre, South Dakota they PEE. AIR. Yep, it totally clicked for my 8 year old self!!

Annnywho, we've also found a couple of good apps for learning the maps. He gets quizzed on their location, and then uses his map (craft paper from Hobby Lobby) to locate the state. So far he knows a few random ones on his own - Florida, Indiana, Maine, California, and Texas - and the rest he's finding quicker and quicker on the map. He's also learning to say them correctly. It was pretty cute though for a while when he called Arizona, "Arizon-ya".

Sunday, July 5, 2015

The 4th

This 4th we were so happy to get a chance to visit with our amazing friends the Millers. They are hard working and humble, talented, welcoming, funny, thoughtful and sweet. Pretty much, they are awesome! They are so dear to us, and we love getting a chance to spend time with them. Several other wonderful friends were also hanging out who it was so fun to visit and catch up with! It was such a perfect, beautiful day celebrating freedom. 

All THREE kids slept almost the whole way to Indy.

Parade time!

Their dreamy backyard!

Saturday, July 4, 2015

65 Checkmarks

When the time came to break out the kid's bikes this spring, it became clear pretty quickly that Canaan had well outgrown his old bike. He definitely could use a bigger one to fit those growing legs of his. But with a birthday too far off, it didn't make sense to just give him something so big. We want to try our best to raise kids who are grateful, aware of how blessed we are, and don't just expect things to be handed to them.

So, we worked out a plan together with Canaan. First, we figured the cost of a new bike, and then he made up a chart with a checkbox for each $1 of the bike price.

And for the last month he's been working hard to earn every check. He's been doing a lot of extra chores, and he definitely earned this day! He's telling anyone who will listen about the new bike and how he worked really hard for it.

One of the sweetest things we didn't except is how excited Canaan would also be for Ezra to get a chance to ride his old bike. He has been so sweet and encouraging to Ezra and teaching him all about bike-riding!

This boy makes me smile.

Ready, set, GO!

Two BIG boys!

The ever important BELL.

Lainey's got a bit more growing to do until it's her turn!