Monday, April 30, 2007

Thumbsucking Troubles






Our third son and fifth child, Samuel, has been a thumbsucker since he was 2 months old. He found his thumb then and has not let it go! He is our first and only thumbsucker. He is two years old, and sucks his thumb more than not. Since he is our only thumbsucker, I am unsure of many things. Is he old enough to give it up? Will he give it up on his own? Can I entice him to give it up? Am I in for years of frustration and heartache in trying to make him give it up? Any of you who have experience in this area, please let me know how it went for you and any tips you may have for me.


Thanks!

Friday, April 27, 2007

Fun Filled Friday

We had a fun, full day today. It started with a visit to our friends house who live about 45 minutes south of us. We gathered there with another family, and together we went to pick strawberries. I'm ashamed to say that before last year when we made the same trip to pick strawberries, I had never eaten a fresh one much less picked one. So this year I felt like an old pro! The girls, Samuel and I got our buckets and picked red, ripe, sweet strawberries. But, I still don't like them. Too bad- they are so pretty!

We went back to our friends house where the girls swam all afternoon in the pond, Samuel played in the playroom and us ladies talked, made bread and sliced strawberries. It doesn't get much better than that.

We left there and went straight to Anna's softball game. Because half of the team wasn't there, they played a silly softball game, and it didn't have quite the same appeal as a regular game. But Anna whacked one right into centerfield, over the fielder's head! It was easily the farthest hit ball of the game.

I was ready to come home, shower, and go to bed, but first, Paul, Samuel and I delivered homemade pea soup to some older ladies in the church. They were so glad to see us and talked our ears off! They enjoyed Sam and his antics.

Then tonight, late tonight, Paul Jr., Zack, and I went to the movies. They had told me they wanted to go and asked me to go and they were delighted when I said yes. But then, I was so tired all I wanted to do was get in bed. I tried to tell the boys to just go on without me, but I was met with groans of disappointment. They were disappointed I was not going to go! Of course, then I had to go- I mean, what mother doesn't want her teenage boys to want her along?? I was so flattered by that that the tiredness I feel does not measure the joy I feel. The boys sat on either side of me and I whispered a silent prayer of gratitude to God. Sure, I'm far from perfect. I mess up daily, even hourly. I'm selfish at times. I've not been the best homeschooling teacher. And on and on. But my boys wanted my company. And that makes it all ok, at least for tonight.

My sweet boys.

Monday, April 23, 2007

A Glorious Wedding

We attended (and my husband officiated) a beautiful wedding on Saturday. A young man in our church married the girl of his dreams Saturday afternoon. But this was not just any wedding. These two had not only never kissed, they had never held hands, never hugged, never touched. They saved themselves not only physically, but emotionally as well. They guarded their hearts right up until they held hands during the ceremony. He was so full of anticipation he could not stand still. He reminded me of a little boy waiting to open presents on Christmas. It was a dream come to fruition for both of them, and both sets of parents.

It was also a source of great hope for Paul and I. Up until now, we had only heard and read about courtship and betrothal. We wanted to belive it could work, but it was hard not seeing it with our own eyes. Well, we've seen it and we are excited. If God can work it out for John and Whitney, he can work it out for our children also.

We know both sets of parents, but are close friends with John's mom and dad. They are great people, but they are not perfect. They would be the first to tell you this. But they have raised some great, Godly children. It's not about perfection, it's not about doing everything right- it's about obedience to God's laws, repentance and forgiveness. That's what God blesses.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Homeschool Humor

I was reviewing American history with my girls the other day. We have been reading about the events leading up to the Revolutionary War. We talked about the British soldiers in Boston. I asked the girls if they remembered that the colonists had to let the soldiers stay in their homes- they had no choice.

My daughter Anna said,"Yeah, mom. I remember. It was that 25 cent thing."

I looked at her and tried to think. I knew there had to be a connection somewhere. "What?" I asked her.

"The 25 cent thing. Come on, you remember." She said.

As I was furiously thinking what 25 cents had to do with with the British soldiers, my younger daughter, Ellie, piped up.

"I know mom. She means the quarter thing."

Then it hit me. She meant the quartering act!! Oh, we laughed and laughed about that. I knew there had to be a connection between the soldiers and the 25 cents, but my mind couldn't make it quick enough.

I was glad she had remembered that much!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Friday, April 13, 2007

Anna



My first daughter, Anna, was born after 2 boys. We so looked forward to finally having a daughter. I'll never forget calling Paul after I had the ultrasound that showed it was a girl. I didn't want to tell him over the phone, but I couldn't help myself. I said to him, "You got your girl!" and there was silence on the other end of the phone and then a big whoop!!


I should have known what kind of child she was going to be by how difficult her pregnancy was. Everything that could happen, did. I had blood pressure problems, blood sugar problems, swelling, NST twice a week, etc. I was so tired of being pregnant, that I couldn't wait to deliver her. She was my third child, and I had the other two naturally. Zack was 10.6 lbs, so the doctor was afraid of Anna being bigger, so he induced me 2 weeks before I was due. Mistake. Big Mistake.


I was in the hospital on the pitocin drip for 2 days. Yes, you read that right. 2 days. Nothing happened. I did not even dilate enough where they could break my water. They sent me home. I was tired, sore and so discouraged. A few days later, my water broke. Just a little. To make a long story short, I ended up in labor, on pitocin and only dilated to an 8 and had a c-section. Not the kind of birth story I wanted.


But Anna was beautiful. Dark, unruly hair that wouldn't lay down, olive skin, deep brown eyes. Her father and I were smitten. She quickly became daddy's girl and settled into a routine. She was a great sleeper and took wonderful, long naps.


Sometime around her turning 18 months, something changed in this sweet little girl. She became a stinker. She decided she did not have to listen or do anything she didn't want to. We always had to know where she was and what she was doing for fear of what she would get into. One day I was schooling the boys in my room, and all the sudden my oldest and I looked at each other with panic and said, Where's Anna??


We quickly searched our small condo, and realized, she was not here. He took off outside, and came back with her a few minutes later. She was walking down the road to her friends house. Thank God we did not live on a busy street. Paul installed a chain link lock that night on the front door which we kept locked at all times.


She learned to put her ride on toy next to her crib at night before she went to bed. We thought she was becoming neat. She knew she could get out of the crib if it was right next to her bed. She was the kind of child who, if you saw in the grocery store, you would think never gets disciplined. I can assure you, she received much discipline. I so often thought I was wasting my time, because it never seemed to work. But we kept on, mostly because we didn't know what else to do.

One place I refused to take her was the post office. I don't know what happened to her here, but she would go crazy. One time she got away from me and Paul Jr., and ran and ran and ran. She was headed out the door before we could get her and thank God my brother came in at that moment and grabbed her.

Today, at almost 11, she is a sweet, helpful young lady. She is my right hand in the home. She can run this home by herself. I don't know how or why, other than obedience from her father and I in disciplining her because we didn't know what else to do. I sometimes think that these types of children who get alot of discipline, have gotten their "issues" out in the open and dealt with and are able to move on as opposed to the quiet child who does not receive alot of discipline and should.


I am so thankful for Anna. She has brightened our home in many ways and is the delight of her brother Samuel. She is going to make some fortunate young man a wonderful wife!




Great Book Recommendation

I just finished reading an awesome book. "Goodbye is Not Forever" by Amy George (all you grammar types, I KNOW you are supposed to underline titles of books, but I can't for the life of me figure out how to in this post, so cut me some slack, OK?????)

It is the story of a family growing up in the Ukraine right before and during World War II. Wow. I am amazed that anyone survived this kind of life. I could not put this book down! It would make a great read a loud and would really make the living conditions in Russia during that time come alive.

You can get it on half.com or amazon for less than a dollar (plus shipping). It is a story of God's Hand on this family even though they did not come to know Him until later in life. It is a miraculous story.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

I have a confession.

I am not a notebooker.

There, I said it.

I am also not a unit study person.

Whew, this feels good!

I like using textbooks. (Shame of all shame)

Glad that's off my chest.


Seriously, it has taken me over 10 years to find "my niche" in homeschooling. I have gone from one thing to another to another to another, searching for that perfect fit for my children and I. Just when I thought I found it, it stopped fitting for another child. So I'd switch to something else, and start the cycle all over again.

I discovered Cindy Rushton about 2 years ago. She made it all sound so easy. So we notebooked. I have, probably, no less than 20 notebooks on our school shelves in various states of completion. That is probably where they will stay until eternity. I wanted to notebook. I wanted my children to want to notebook. They were all excited when we bought the supplies, but less than excited about making the notebooks. I still want to notebook, I still want to school the way Cindy does, but I have come to the realization, I am not Cindy Rushton.

We did unit studies way, way, way back in the beginning, and it worked well for about 2 years. We loved it. Then I had two more children. Then the boys started growing up. Then we stopped unit studies. I had thought about doing the Prairie Primer with my two girls this year. I have the book, and got the Little House books and some supplemental books and was all set to go. What happened? We listed to about 3/4 of the first little house book on tape, and that was it.

A church in our area donated to our church (full of homeschoolers) a LOT of Abeka textbooks and materials. I finally had the chance to go through it last night and came home with several large stacks of books and teacher guides. I'm set for the next several years in several subjects. Abeka is a great curriculum. I spent years looking down upon it, because I had read it was better not to use it or any textbooks.

Guess what? It's not about the curriculum. It's about the time I spend with my children while they are learning. I read aloud from the textbooks, and the kids love it. I discuss what they are learning and they are thirsty for more. And I don't have to find the next book to read, it's all right there in the text.

If you are a new homeschooler (or an older one, for that matter), find what fits you. If it doesn't fit, you won't use it, or you will use it and everyone will be miserable.

Abeka is not so bad! (And neither is notebooking, unit studies, or whatever works for you)

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Monday, April 9, 2007

Easter, 2007

Easter day dawned bright, beautiful and COLD! Our sunrise service had to bed held inside because of the cold weather- it was colder here on Easter than it was on Christmas!



Cold weather aside, it was a glorious Easter. My family all looked so nice in their new Easter clothes:






The service was wonderful. Our children presented a minimusical and did great, everybody remembering their lines and singing the songs. Paul's message was timely and convicting, and the Spirit of the Lord was evident among us. Although we didn't have very many visitors, the building was packed.

After, we went to my in laws for a delicious lunch and an Easter egg hunt. Sam had fun, but didn't realize the eggs had candy in them. But when he did, he wanted all the candy at once!


That night, we had his second birthday party. He loves Bob the Builder, so I bought him an outfit and made him a Bob cake. He was thrilled with all his presents and put on quite a show for all of us. I'll post pictures of his party when I get them back.

It was a full day, but a great day.

Saturday, April 7, 2007

Happy Birthday Honey



Today is my husband's fortieth birthday. We had the big blowout party last weekend, so today we had a small ,nice, family party with just us. I made him a scrapbook with all his letters and cards from his party and he was thrilled. He was most thrilled with the letters the kids wrote him. My 17 year old son wrote his dad such a thoughtful letter it brought tears to both our eyes. He is such a good kid- I am so proud of him.



I cooked his favorite meal (hamburger pie) and made him a decadent fudge cake which he loved! Then we gave him our big gift. We all went in this year and got him a video mp3 player- 30gigs. He was very happy with that (he had been hinting around for a few months for one, but didn't think we would get him the big one).



I wrote him a little something I wanted to share:




40 things I love about you.
1 I love how you were blown away at your 40th birthday party
2 I love how your eyes light up whenever I enter the room
3 I love how you call me Beth
4 I love how you love Samuel
5 I love how you are so tender and gentle with him
6 I love how you flirt with Ellie and Anna
7 I love how you love to be with Paul and Zack, doing manly things
8 I love how you dream big
9 I love how you LOVE to preach and how excited you get over what you are learning
10 I love how you call me 3 or 4 times a day, usually about nothing.
11 I love how you love to get new clothes
12 I love how proud you are of the man Paul has become
13 I love how you get teary eyed when you talk about him leaving home
14 I love how you laugh at Zack's humor
15 I love watching you listen to Zack play the piano and the pride that emminates from your face
16 I love how you still hold Anna on your lap
17 I love that you take Anna hunting when she wants to go, and how you encourage her to go
18 I love how you hold Ellie's hand often
19 I love how you listen intently to her stories
20 I love how you look for Samuel to come down the aisle at the end of a Sunday morning service
21 I love how he's still your little boy and you take advantage of that at every opportunity
22 I love how our hearts can talk without us saying a word
23 I love how you enjoy dressing up and looking nice
24 I love how you have become a redneck
25 I love how you take care of me
26 I love how you enjoy spending time with your parents
27 I love how proud you are of your children and tell anybody who will listen about them
28 I love how you love my dad and my mom
29 I love how you call them on the phone more than me!
30 I love the life you've made for us here in Georgia
31 I love your strong desire to do whatever God has for you
32 I love the man you have become, and the boy that will always be inside of you
33 I love that you try to make it possible to give me whatever I want
34 I love how gentle you are with me, both in words and actions
35 I love how you still, after almost 19 years, flirt with me
36 I love how you don't carry grudges and how your forgiveness lasts forever
37 I love that you loved the baby we lost as much as I did
38 I love how you were willing to risk the pain of a miscarriage all over again to try for another baby
39 I love the look of pride and joy in your eyes the first time you held each one of your children
40 I love how you love me.



I love you Paul and always will!



Paul as a baby

2 years ago at Samuel's shower

Friday, April 6, 2007

Good Friday

We had a beautiful Good Friday Communion service at church tonight. The Scripture read and the comments made really made me focus on Jesus' sacrificial death on the Cross. I love so much to jump to Easter and the Resurrection, but I am learning to fully appreciate that, I must focus on the Cross. I don't enjoy hearing what the Romans did to Jesus. It is hard for me to sit there are listen to what they did to Him. And even worse is when I realize it was for MY sin He did it.
On a hill far away,
Stood an old rugged Cross,
The emblem of suffering and shame.
And I love that Old cross
Where the dearest and best
For a world of lost sinners was slain.
So I'll cherish the old rugged cross,
Till my trophies at last I lay down.
I will cling to the old rugged cross
and exchange it some day for a crown.
"All we like sheep have gone astray. He has turned everyone to his own way. And the Lord has laid on Him, the iniquity of us all".
Isaiah 23:9

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Heavy Heart

My heart is heavy tonight. I am not sure how many of you are familiar with the Maxwells. They are a homeschooling family and run the Titus2 website. They produce "Managers of their Homes" and "Managers of Their Chores" along with several other books and resources. We went to hear them a few months ago and were so blessed by their ministry. They traveled with their seven children still at home and their children were very involved with various aspects of the evenings. What struck me the most was the smiles on all the children's faces, all night. They were truly happy and joyful to be ministering with their parents.

The Maxwell's oldest son, Nathan, and his wife, Melanie have been married for several years and had finally become pregnant. They were all so excited about the new baby, even though they knew there would be complications. Susannah Joy Maxwell was born a few weeks ago, and died four days later. She was never awake, never opened her eyes, never made a sound.

The testimony of this family is incredible. I urge you to read the blog and view the pictures. Yes, they are hurting deeply, but they are placing their trust in the Father's will. They miss their sweet baby, but they know God is faithful and will comfort them. What a testimony.

Sunday, April 1, 2007

This has been quite a week!

I can't believe it's been so long since I last posted. This past weekend has literally been a whirlwind. My parents came for a quick visit from Thursday evening to Saturday morning. So we spent the first part of the week getting ready for their visit. I always feel like I have to clean, clean, clean before they come and my family knows me well enough to expect this. I will say my children did help tremendously this week with cleaning and I was very pleased.


We had such a nice visit. I love my parents and savor every minute I get with them. My children go crazy when Grandma and Grandpa are here and even Samuel was all over them. We celebrated Ellie's birthday (again) and Paul's birthday.



Grandma and Samuel
Watching pictures on the computer


Grandpa and Ellie


Then on Saturday, we had my husbands big surprise 40th birthday party. That was alot of work, but fun work. I put together some pictures and music that took me a better part of a week to finish! He was so surprised-He had no idea. Some of our plans fell through at the last minute so we had to scramble to pull it off, but it worked out better than we planned. I was so happy we surprised him. It really was a miracle the way it worked out. He is the pastor, so nothing is done at the church without him knowing, and we pulled off this great party and he had no idea!



It was a fun, good time. I am so blessed. Paul is a great husband- I have no complaints. God is so good and He blessed me tremendously by putting us together. I was privileged to throw this party for Paul, to let him know how thankful I am for him.

Now this week we will spend getting ready for Easter. This really is my favorite holiday. We have a custom here in the South. The churches drape fabric over the crosses in front of their churches. Right now, its purple and it has been since Lent. On Good Friday, the drape will be black. My favorite part of Easter is driving to church, and catching a glimpse of the cross, draped in white, signifying the Resurrection. Makes my eyes tear and my heart sing everytime.

Have a good day.