Sunday, December 2, 2012

Falling behind and running forward

So today I got my educators discount card from Barnes & Noble.  All I had to do was ASK!

Now if you know me than you might know that this is a dangerous thing for me to wield as I love books and games and tools for learning.  I love things that my kids might not give one hoot about.  Although that may be because they are not owls.  I digress.
Source: via Erin on Pinterest
 Real (cute) Owl

So I was searching for something to challenge Owen in Math as he surpassed what we already had.  We've been working with money, time and fractions at home without a workbook and at one point we had a free trial for a challenging math program online called Dreambox.  It was good but it was $10 a month that I didn't want to pay.  

As my boys explored the toy area with Legos and a Train Set to play with I poured over curriculum of all kinds with mostly math as the focus.  

Goodness there are a lot of choices.  My brain felt like a computer trying to sort through what to throw out and what to keep, what would be engaging and what would not, what is too advanced or too remedial.  I settled in on a Brain Quest Workbook for grade 1 because it looked like fun.  It's not going to cover everything we'll go over in a year but it's a good jumping off point.  I didn't get something with only math when I saw this could give us some much-needed writing prompts and a short overview of a lot of subjects.  It's full of fun short exercises in many subjects and I'm hoping will be a good supplement to encourage confidence in reading, writing and math.  We'll still be doing things at home utilizing the library, the internet and projects or trips made up from our own creative minds but I think this will be a good addition.

It's funny that although I know Owen may be behind in some ways according to the public schools agenda for reading and writing we've been able to go much further in other areas like science and history.  Plus we get to talk about things like politics, compassion, self-control, current events and ancient religion keeps coming up again and again due to any history lesson.  Owen has even developed a love of cooking fun kid food this year and of course he is still building Legos voraciously.

I feel blessed to be able to choose new experiences based on interests and passions.  We're able to attend a kids class on nature science, robots, or animals as well as sitting together to read an easy reader.  We're able to touch dinosaur bones and not just read about them.  We can have recess with cousins or outings with friends.  Last summer we spent a lot of time picking leaves, berries, acorns and pine cones to identify trees.  I remember doing that in 6th grade science.  :)

So I am leaving the hurt I've held on to from negatives comments and experiences Owen has had in his struggle to adapt in public school, sunday school, his enrichment courses or even in playgroups and only taking the lessons with me.

A few weeks ago I read a church sign as I drove away from Owen's homeschool enrichment classes that said, "Mistakes are lessons too."  I think that has been one of the hardest things for me to resign myself with. I don't jump in just to fix everything socially or academically but I've let myself get hurt so badly watching him struggle and fail or hear other people talk about it.  Being with him has helped change my view to see the passion and compassion he's filled with although his self-control and emotional maturity can still be difficult.  I don't think it's fair to let it define him.

He is six.....and a boy......and was somehow born a very strong individual.  Hmmm....

I'm glad to be here to guide and support him through his hard lessons, reminding myself of the character it will help to build even if we don't see it to begin with.

Last week in his Monday enrichment courses I was overjoyed to hear my son made the choice to move classes from Fitness to Habitats.  He's been having a hard time with the fact that he's been in two gym classes back to back that have very flexible rules( but rules to be kept still) and the whole gym class social dynamic.  Each week he'd been given the choice to participate or not to.  He was choosing not to, almost every time and had been getting in trouble out of boredom on the sidelines with a friend.  So after weeks of talking about it, talking to the teacher, and getting utterly frustrated I thought;  "Whatever, he's only got four weeks left.  He can just ride it out until next semester when we'll change what we need to."

So I was pretty amazed when I let go of the situation( stopped trying to fix it for a moment) that my son made this choice.  We had discussed it a few weeks before but it was by no means resolved.  Anyways, that growth to me meant so much more than anything he would've done because I had stood there and made it happen.  We had disciplined, discussed and lectured but when he finally had a break and a little room to breath and think about it without my interruption he made a good choice for himself.  He's growing.  :)

So God please give me wisdom( and self-control!) for when to intervene, when to discuss and when to allow for freedom to fall or to succeed knowing that those moments help him to become much stronger than any safe, controlled environment ever could.  God I believe you err on the side of Freedom, please help me to get there.

And thank you for these strong-willed, rambunctious, amazing boys!

Help me to guide them as they race toward their destinies, sometimes being more sure of their steps than I am.

Monday, October 8, 2012

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me

Technically I'm supposed to be writing a grocery list right now.

So without going into all the details I'm just going to say this past month has been a bit overwhelming but we are calming down now and having more time for each other and room to breathe.

You may already now(especially if you're friends or family) but I have two beautiful boys who are 2 and 6.  We have just started our first homeschooling year for our 1st born Owen and we are finding our way.  I spent the 1st month rushing forward getting kind of bossy and angry because I was stressed and pregnant and trying to figure things out.  Surprise, surprise I had some opposition to this method.

So I kept( and still keep) going to God in prayer asking for wisdom and the ability to let my son make choices in this process.  I've also made it a point to try and back off when I sense I'm coming on too strongly and my timing for something is off.  I'm also trying to value my sons interests even when they seem frivolous to me( video games anyone?).

We're starting to have more fun with this now.  Yay!

Owen's started reading here and there with his dad.  Video games, bedtime stories, not big words but much more willing than with me so I'm grateful.

Last week at some point Owen woke up and wanted to work out some math problems just for fun.  We did this for about 20 minutes before we ate breakfast.  Fun development.

We've had lot's of new opportunities to connect with others, go on field trips, and living history days that we've had to pick and choose so as to not do too much.  Trying to find a good balance.

My son loves hands on and he loves to lead.  So I'm praying for ways to nurture this as well as gently challenge him to see the value in more passive learning and in working together in groups.  I am also very hands on but like to stand off and observe or take it all in as well.  My most cherished moments growing up were times where I could travel somewhere and experience new things in deeper ways.  I'm still like that.

I've also noticed that Owen has some sensory things that bother him( some since he was a baby).  I think I've given into some belief in the past that you'll get over something if you're made to do it, wear it, eat it, whatever so I haven't been quick to cater to him.  I have been realizing though( with the help of my husband and other friends) that this is not always the best way to go about this.  My husband helped me to see this about myself.  So I'm trying to see where I've been too harsh and allow for some grace.

Example:  Owen doesn't like Sunday morning worship at our church but he will happily sit through and sometimes participate in the much quieter Friday nite worship.

I used to worry that Owen hated worship altogether( he showed such a strong dislike) but he is much more respectful and willing to participate in a quieter atmosphere.

So I'm trying to give room to be different, room to have preferences and room to let him feel powerful and be respected as well.  I'm trying not to bulldoze.  I want to nurture a house of respect and love.  Wow is that challenging.  It's not all about me and my way.  I think that's the 1st hurdle in giving anyone else respect young or old.  I guess that can be a hurdle for a lot of things.

I thank God for my husband who fills in gaps where I lack and who has grace for me too( I am not always lovely).

I thank God for his being with me and my family every step.  The word I kept standing on all month long was the promise that his mercies are new every morning.  Great is Thy Faithfulness is going through my mind now.  It's true though.  I'd have the most exasperating day where it seemed as if everything was going wrong and the next morning I'd feel his peace and joy and I'd thank him for everything I could think of.  I could feel his mercy on me and new strength to face the day.

I'm praying for the fruit of the Spirit to be evident in our household and to be led by the Spirit not only in my personal walk but in our steps forward as a family.

The Joy of the Lord is my Strength.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Back to school time when learning is everywhere

( Cute party ideas from Sweet Designs)

So even with my husbands schooling, possible job change and the idea that I may be going back to work in some capacity we are still homeschooling.  So grabbing the paper two Sundays ago I picked up the ads and start flipping through the school supplies.  I used to get excited about the sales and buying brand new supplies for a fresh start each year that even when Owen was too young I'd still browse the back to school stuff.  Even when I went to Culinary school I bought supplies as if I was going to high school.  So for years I've had folders and notebooks and a tiny dictionary and thesaurus that I've had little to no use for.
This year I noticed something really quickly as I looked over the ads......I don't need any of it.  Except maybe a pack of cheap markers and a 1 penny pack of pencils just in case.

I looked again this week as if they'd have a cheap science kit on sale or books on Leonardo DaVinci (whom we've been reading about in prep for a local exhibit).

Instead a lot of my supplies have come from the thrift store or the library and an amazon gift card.  I have had to suppress the urge to buy insane amounts of books because there will always be a new book we want to read and I can't buy them all.  I did invest $2.99 into a children's dictionary though to encourage Owen's reading and understanding.  I'm trying to get items that I know we will get good use out it and are relevant to our learning experience.

I'm excited to say that Owen read me a couple pages out of a favorite book the other day.  They were pushing hard to have them all reading by the end of Kindergarten but it was turning him off to it a bit.  So if we asked him to read something short at home he'd say, "I can't, I can't you read it!" and get all flustered that we even asked him.  I'm trying to give him a little room because I figure he has time and an insatiable need to know things so he's got to start reading eventually.  So I keep asking him to pick out books or grabbing something I know he wanted to learn about at the library and leaving it with him.  We read together a lot( we finished the reading quota one month into the summer reading program this year amazingly).


I'm wondering about recommendations for chapter books for boys as I know they can lead to further interest and learning on a variety of topics.  

Noah is right there alongside his brother as we've begun to learn about dinosaurs, numbers, flying, shapes and patterns, writing and drawing.  He dances, plays and repeats just about everything we say.  He loves uncovering dinosaurs and fossils, trying to say parallelogram, and covering his eyes counting between 7 and 8 only and yelling "Here I come!"

So we haven't officially started yet and yet we have.  We've been opening our eyes to see the learning opportunities all around us.  Figuring out a rhythm to this homeschooling stuff.   I'm excited and at some points I've already worried.  Worried about how we are going to do all this.  Or contemplating 2nd grade through 12th as if I have to have a set plan for his whole life for this one year to be successful.  So I'm happy to say that is not true and I know we can take things bit by bit and change to meet Owen and Noah's needs.  I have seen that Owen can lean towards the ADHD side of things but in different environments this does not seem so serious.  He has to be comfortable with how he learns and know how to manage himself and we are here to guide him, to keep encouraging and to lead him in the way he should go.  So God please help us to know how to lead and where to lead and give us patience and Joy in the process.  Please help me not to take everything so seriously that I can't enjoy and truly be apart of things.

I realize though that my love of school supplies is tied to my love of learning and delving into new things and new adventures.  So as sad as it may seem to toss aside the back to school frenzy I'm excited for new prospects.  I think this attachment can be redirected into our new learning endeavors and creativity within that.  Joy!  :)

Maybe I can have a Back to Homeschool party to satisfy my need to celebrate.

Too adorable joyful pic-link below

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Transition, Pulling back and letting go.

So I haven't written in awhile mainly because I've been processing.  Processing new choices, changes and observing a lot.  We decided to home school only about a month before school ended.  A lot of careful consideration has gone into this choice but it is not the only transition going on in our lives.  When I sit back and look at how often we've felt as though we are in "Transition" I want to laugh because it seems to be a constant process.  A process of change, fear, adapting, faith, evolving, struggling, triumph.  When are we not in transition?  

I think both Travis and I have held our breath time and time again waiting to arrive.  I do not believe this is going to happen but I do believe we are pushing towards something greater.  

I've been excited to see new developments in my boys.  Watching them be creative.  Hearing their thoughts. Even if they might be gibberish sometimes.  

Owen and I discussed math the other day.  I asked what he liked about it and where he saw it being helpful. He said he likes to make up his own math problems picturing bee's coming out of a hive and then picturing some being taken away.  He counts them.  Bee's have been a major subject of interest lately.  Bee's in books, bee's being drawn, made out of paper and lego's, or observing them going from flower to flower.  

He's also been sitting with dad watching his online photoshop course.  Fascinated, wanting to try it.  

Noah pretended to be a frog a few days ago.  Seems to be the 1st time he's initiated pretend play not just gone along with it.  We were checking the mail and he said, "Ribbit, Ribbit!"  and started hopping all over the place.  Then at one point he looked straight at me and said, "I'm a frog".  They get so serious about their play sometimes it makes me laugh.  A week or so ago at a friend's barbecue I noticed Owen intently listening to play "orders" with a furrowed brow and then explaining something of great importance to the game in his most serious voice.  Play is not always play to kids, it's serious stuff.  Wish I had a picture of that face.  :)

I'm trying to be present more often.  To be fully apart of what's going on, not trying to move on to the next thing or planning what I need to do throughout the week instead of listening.  I make time for those things as well.  I'm also sitting back, giving the kids room to get bored, create, figure out their own answers, learn persistence and not just rescue.  My patience is constantly getting tested but what's new?  We're learning to enjoy, search out, make time for ourselves and for each other, respect boundaries, etc.

I have to admit we've had our share of worries going on though.  We desperately want to move but we are trying to stay thankful and keep giving it to God, praying and asking for solutions.  Travis is taking two classes on top of his 40 hr work week right now.  Also, Owen can sometimes have more than his share of problems with transitioning, focusing, and controlling his emotions leading me to go from a place of trust and peace to worrying about his future a little too often.

Then I see this and remember that God is in control.
 “All your children will be taught by the Lord, and great will be your children’s peace” (Isaiah 54:13) 

I've prayed, cried, and struggled with some decisions over my boys( especially Owen) but in the end I come to the Lord and my hearts desire is to train them up in the way they are to go.  Individually and uniquely.  For them to have an inner discipline, passion, creativity and a true relationship with the Lord.  For them to love and to be loved.  I can trust them to God and know he's placed us as parents for them with a purpose.  It's amazing how much love he can give you for these little guys.

Reminder that God is so good:
Matt 7: 9-11
“You parents—if your children ask for a loaf of bread, do you give them a stone instead?10 Or if they ask for a fish, do you give them a snake? Of course not! 11 So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him.

So I'm asking expectantly and trusting that he will help us, guide us, and that in him we have our joy, our strength.  To relax and not worry and also to press forward where we need to and that he will provide all our needs and sometimes surprisingly even our hidden wants.  God is good.  All the time.  That's my story and I'm sticking to it.  Ok, we better go eat breakfast.

Source: via Sally on Pinterest


Sunday, May 20, 2012

Questioning: Freedom, Rules & Handwashing

Galatians 5:1
Freedom in Christ ] So Christ has truly set us free. Now make sure that you stay free, and don’t get tied up again in slavery to the law. 

So a few weeks ago an idea sparked my interest to search it out further in the world and in my Bible.  I had had a discussion with a friend that led me to ponder our earthly set of rules and standards.  Growing up I heard the words "Worldly" used many times.  Do not become worldly.  Worldly as I knew it to be as a youngster had to do with falling in with the wrong crowd, drinking, smoking, forgetting God or thinking yourself too good for believing.  But what about the "traditions of men" that are spoken of in Mark 7 where Jesus slams the Pharisees for upholding these traditions above God's law or God's Heart?  

The Pharisees are judging the disciples because they didn't wash their hands before they ate.  

It made me start thinking about parenting.  

It made me start thinking about rules or cultural standards we uphold and even criticize or lecture others about that have no Biblical roots.  Or are just being held above God's love and forgiveness. 

By the way the show Glee has been randomly making biblical discussions apart of the show.  I'm all for showing teenagers as smart on television too many times they are portrayed as stupid or conniving.  These kids though(2 or 3 of them) seem to have Leviticus memorized and see no difference between the Old and New Testament believing then that you would need to pick and choose what parts of the Bible are still valid or apply to your life personally.  Mostly because of the plethora of rules that would be impossible to adhere to or are outdated in Leviticus.

Now we could argue why this is wrong and discuss basic theology but what I'm interested in is the fact that many times we blur the two and stop living in freedom.  We get confused, we live in and around man's set of rules where power and control( many times based in fear) leak in maybe not in words but in actions and the Freedom that Christ died for gets lessened.  

 Colossians 2:
 20 You have died with Christ, and he has set you free from the spiritual powers of this world. So why do you keep on following the rules of the world, such as, 21 “Don’t handle! Don’t taste! Don’t touch!”? 22 Such rules are mere human teachings about things that deteriorate as we use them. 23 These rules may seem wise because they require strong devotion, pious self-denial, and severe bodily discipline. But they provide no help in conquering a person’s evil desires.

Are we living free?  

I realize I'm leaving this post with loose ends.  I'm still pondering, still praying.  I want my mind to be renewed.  I don't want to conform blindly not questioning. 

Hmmmm..... I'll leave you with this.

Romans 12:   
Do not be conformed to this world (this age), [fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial customs], but be transformed (changed) by the [entire] renewal of your mind [by its new ideals and its new attitude], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God, even the thing which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His sight for you].

That's what I want!


God loves you!

This is good stuff- Thank you Jesus!

Monday, April 30, 2012

Studying Owen-figuring out Schooling/Driving my friends crazy

So for the last couple of years I may have been driving my friends and family insane.

At some point before I was even thinking about children I heard other moms saying, "You need to look into schools early because you'll have to put them on a waiting list if you want to be in a charter school or school of choice."  Others were getting evaluated by teachers who would come into the home( and see my mess possibly labeling me as unfit because of my lack of organized papers, uh uh).  There are public schools to check out(at least 3 elementary schools in my tiny town) and of course home schooling.  I thought I'll get to it went it's relevant.

So I blissfully went along with life and eventually found out I was carrying a bouncing baby boy( most likely because he was developing inside a swimming pool).  I remember seeing him on the ultrasound doing these ninja kicks and thought, "Yeah that's a boy".  Still why in the world would I be researching school methods or learning styles when I hadn't even met the tyke yet.  Breast-feeding was the thing I really needed to figure out at that moment.  I was content learning about how his lungs were developing and once born learning how we would ever get to sleep again.

Then 4 came with 5 nipping at it's heels and I started thinking I better figure this stuff out.  Along the way we've tried different school-like schedules, work sheets, had many field trips and I've answered well over a trillion questions I'm convinced.  Somehow learning has been going on since he greeted us outside the womb and has never stopped.  I became a teacher almost immediately teaching him 1st how to regulate his breathing when laid on my chest after birth, then how to eat, and encouraging his rolling over, words, walking, creativity, and eventually critical and empathetic thinking.

How did he learn best though and what type of schooling would be best for him?  I knew some people had concrete viewpoints for one way or the other but I didn't know my own.  All I had was a romanticized vision of him all ready for kindergarten with a backpack, brand-new school supplies and a handsome new outfit about to board a school bus.  "Good-bye Dear Son, I shall miss you till you come back in a fortnight."  Ok maybe that wasn't going to happen but I have a bit of the fanciful in me.

Something else fancy:

Source: via Tara on Pinterest

I didn't really get to visit all the schools I wanted by the time we had to enroll for school so I prayed about it and felt that the public school down the road was the best choice to begin with.  I still wondered but believed this was what we were supposed to do initially.

School has been interesting and a challenge.  Whether public school is the right choice for Owen's future is still being determined but it has helped to answer some questions and illuminate traits in Owen that have helped me to understand him and the public school system better.  I had previously thought Owen needed to be around more people to thrive academically because at home he hardly ever wanted to work on a project alone.  Now I know that he needs encouragement to delve into learning on his own to build his confidence (not more people in the room).  I've also learned that he is a visual-spatial learner because of a combination of book learning and observing and evaluating his responses at home and in the classroom.  Especially when I was called in for the, "Why is he doing that?" meeting with his teacher, a special education teacher and some other military like kindergarten teacher.  At 1st I was upset at their bewilderment and frustration but it spurred me to learn more so in the end it was helpful.

I want to write more about his learning style in depth but some things he was doing that lead me to discover his visual-spatial style were:

Tipping his chair constantly
His eyes rolling back in his head when being called to make eye contact
Many times at home he would tell me what he was picturing
He has very detailed stories that he has gotten worried about translating to paper(crying even, poor boy)
He is doing better with whole-word reading than phonics(memorizes what the words look like)
I remember when he was 3 or 4 he made a Lego airplane and used it to make several exact copies
and many other things, etc, etc, etc( King and I anyone?)

I've read a plethora of books in the last 9 months or so and if you want to skip the giant bundle of books with tidbits of good information(all helpful though) I would pick up .

It's called The Visual Spatial Learner.  It is written by a teacher(and parent to 2 VS learners) to teachers or parents with the purpose of understanding this growing learning style and helping these kids to do well in school.  Some other books seem almost negative(towards schools or towards the learning style) and in some teachers viewpoints learning styles equals learning problem( which I believe is not true).  I've noticed that it seems as though people believe that visual-spatial learning and dyslexia, ADD or ADHD go hand in hand(which it can) but may I suggest that we begin to look at our children's learning to see the strengths because they may be having a problem in school because there is not an understanding of how these learners thrive.  They are inventors and visionaries.  They look at things in ways others can't, creating multiple solutions to problems they find and there are techniques that help those worrisome things like reading and writing become simpler and less frustrating for both student and parent(and research papers, book reports, showing math work, etc).  I'm not saying that dyslexia, ADD or ADHD don't exist but I do think there is more to look at and consider.

Like this:

I read in an ADHD magazine that some amount of "Nature Therapy"(spending time outside playing, discovering, resting) helps dramatically with the focus of ADHD students in the classroom.  It made me wonder about the need for more free time as opposed to more scheduling and more testing.

Here's some online nature therapy while you read:

So I still have to decide about Owen's schooling for next year and down the road but I feel confident that this information has equipped me to understand my son and maybe even myself better.  I have a much better idea of what he needs and how I can advocate for him if I have to.  I'm starting to think we are more alike than I thought but he is still so much like his dad.  We have a whole family of very unique learners in different ways.  It will be fun to discover Noah's strengths as he gets older.  So far I know that he is head strong wanting to do everything on his own starting and the age of 1.  I know we all think our kids are like that but you should have seen him climbing the mountains at the Rocky Mountain National Park this weekend.

Me: "Noah we need to come where everyone else is."
Noah: "No"
Me: "You want to climb higher?"
Noah: "Uh huh"
Me: "Noah this is too far we have to go back down."
Noah: "No."
Me: "Ok we're going."
Noah: "Nooooooooo!", while running higher and higher.

I eventually grabbed him and attempted scooting down the mountain while he kicked and screamed.  I didn't fall......but it was awkward.  That boy.

I apologize to all my friends and family who have heard me waffling through this learning/schooling research. I promise I am coming over to the side of clear decisiveness.  Darn you open mind.  :)

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Mental Pillow Fight

Lately I've had some sleep issues. Sometimes it seems as though going to bed an hour later than normal signals to my brain to go into hyperdrive. Where as I lay down my brain thinks I must organize every thought for my current and distant future until I know all the secrets of the universe. Well I do not know all the secrets of the universe yet and I do not believe that I am going to accomplish this at any point while drifting in and out of consciousness. At this point my brain alternates trying to solve all my problems with worrying about anything you can imagine to worry about in a nonsensical manner.

My brain says, "Remember those people that were nice to you earlier?"
"Yes", I say as I try to roll over to sleep.
"Maybe they thought you were stupid."
"I don't think so, they were nice." I think in my grogginess.
"Well you never know do you?"
"I'm trying to sleep, shut up!", I think.

Then I continue to lay there half thinking ridiculous thoughts, half ignoring them trying to sleep.

So I've cut out caffeine recently. Just like a diet though as soon as my mind realizes that I'm going to deny myself something it begins to think I need it more than anything life could ever offer. I may drink a cup of coffee every other day but now my mind believes I just might need it everyday and starts to romanticize the act of drinking coffee.

My brain-"Remember how wonderful it was to get a cup of coffee at Barnes & Noble and sit down and read while Owen played at the train table?"

Me-"Um, that was 3 years ago."

My brain-"But it was so wonderful."

Me-"Well not only is that not an option with Noah the boisterous 2 yr old but I get shaky when I drink coffee and haven't slept well."

My brain-"But it would be wonderful."

Me-"You're grasping."

Which reminds me I went out with the boys to the mall the other day and Family Christian Bookstore had travel mugs for $5. I wanted to get one to carry my DECAF-earl grey I treated myself to buying last week. I picked up several different mugs with various designs and scriptures on them to see which one I liked. One of them had cute little coffee cups all over it and had the scripture, "Be still and know that I am God." I was struck by the irony of downing caffeine and then struggling to still my thoughts to hear from God and I just couldn't buy it. Felt hypocritical. :)

I'm listening God!

So I picked out a forest scene with the words, "May the peace of God be with you always." Since that would be what I am going for right now.

I've also recently put down Christian self-help books for the moment. Any book other than the bible teaching about anything. I need a mental break, a bit of chosen silence, waiting on God without the aid of other people experiences/teachings/etc. I need simplicity. More music, more art, less talk. More nature, less pie charts. More community, less memoirs. More God, less worry, less self-help, more joy. More him, less me?

I trust my sleep will come in line as I trust him and let go more.

I saw a quote somewhere in my pinterest wanderings, "To let go is to fear less, Trust in God more and freely give the love he's given to me."

I just want to go one step further and remind you that you have to accept His Love 1st before you'll be free to give it out. You don't deserve it. The point is that Jesus died so that you don't have to try to deserve it anymore. He loved us enough to tear the curtain between us and him. To say I will fulfill the law so that we can be together. It's not just about eternal life or living up to a new set of impossible rules it's about an extravagant love that cares about our every need and desire.

Once I had a dream that showed I had a desire in my heart for accompaniment to a song I wanted to sing and God heard my thoughts and someone came up to play guitar alongside me. He said he was tuned to my heart.

Before Noah was born I had hoped secretly to have Noah on Friday the 9th of April before Travis went to work so I wouldn't have to call him back and worry about getting to the hospital. I was getting large and uncomfortable and I thought, "Travis would have the whole weekend off, my sister-in-law would be town, it would be perfect timing." I didn't pray it because it seemed like a silly thing to ask God. Friday morning though I went into labor and Travis was with me every step of the way. I was able to labor at home some and like I had been praying I didn't need the epidural(because I wanted to recover faster and hold my baby without being too tired). I also prayed that there would be peace over this baby and this birth and when I was handed Noah I felt this incredible peace and joy wash over me. I was so blessed in this birth and felt my prayers were more than answered. God cared about my secret desires as well.

Psalm 37:4
Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.

And here's a song I like:

Jess :)

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Being weird and liking it

Source: via Amanda on Pinterest

Yes, Yes, Yes, and because we're awesome!

After having some frustrating weeks and not feeling inspired to write anything of importance for weeks I've decided- Who Cares I'm writing something.

I've been reading .

The other day she wrote about declaring your desires out loud. Not being afraid to say want you want. Because if we are afraid to be honest about where we want to go out to eat how can we have the boldness we need for our creativity and pushing forward towards our dreams and desires.

God's been speaking to me about being comfortable with who I am. Because I am made with a purpose. If I live in fear of potential success or failure I am stuck in one place feeling boxed in and unhappy. But I'm unhappy out of my own making because I want to move, I want to change and progress and I want to be used. I need to be comfortable enough that I get up off my chair and move when I hear him say to.

How do I do this though? How do I push past insecurities and fear of my own pride to get to my destiny?

For me, I've had to believe.

Believe how he see's me, not what someone's said about me.

Believe he cares about my heart's desires.

Believe that he's there with Grace enough for my mistakes in moving forward.

But you have to move forward. Otherwise that fear that is still there just happy to keep you paralyzed. The more you agree with him though, the less that fear has control because you know it's a lie.

Things about me:

So sometimes I put my foot in my mouth. Or a couple. Or I just share too much and it's awkward.
Honesty is important to me and reconciliation even at the expense of my pride.
I care about your story, whoever you are.
I love to sing.
Sometimes I want to hug people I don't know very well or obviously don't want a hug. lol*
I like to know the facts.
Honor and worth of others is important.
I like seeing the gifts(spiritual and natural) in others so I can encourage them.
I love seeing God's principal's and character in nature and media, helping me to connect with God's word and truth in my life.
I'm a bit of a nerd and I think that's cool.

Things about God:

He likes me that way.

What about you?

Monday, February 13, 2012

Valentine's on the Cheap

Valentine's Day kind of snuck up on me this year. Not that I didn't know it was coming but my life has sort of sucked all the money out of me. My car, my kids getting sick, feeding other humans in my household, the usual. So since I'd still like to go out on this most romantic of Tuesdays this February I must think outside the box. Thankfully for me I live outside the box.

Magazines and such like to suggest a home cooked meal to show your significant other how much you care. I say no. I am a stay at home mom right now and although I enjoy cooking I'd like a break. Especially since my audience usually wants chicken nuggets and mac n' cheese.

I suggest checking out your online options. Places like Groupon, Livingsocial & plumdistrict have daily deals, many of which include getaways, spa days, food, & fun activities. You just pay in advance and print or show your voucher on your phone and you can get up to 75% off your date. I recently bought 2 admissions to an Ice Castle in Silverthorne thinking it would make a fun future date.

Check out, a website with a calender of local fun things to do with your kids. It's great because each day it shows what's going on in the Denver area. It shows free events, discounts on theater tickets, free passes to museums in the area, displays restaurants where kids eat free as well as paid activities going on. So if I'm stuck on what to do or want to plan for certain day I check there 1st.

I found out on kidspages that the Denver Center for Performing Arts will put several tickets on sale for $10 at 10am tomorrow morning. So I'm going to check it out to see if Trav & I might catch a show tomorrow.

Caribou Coffee sent me a coupon for Bogo drinks on Valentine's Day and I'm considering the whole "Make Out" discount to get a free burrito at Qdoba. Apparently if you kiss your significant other in front of your server you get FREE FOOD( a bit creepy, slightly romantic). It may not be my dream dinner but it fits my current "dream budget" so I'll think about it.

Sign up for e-mails from every place you might consider eating if you want free birthday food and quite a bit of coupons. Mostly casual and upscale casual restaurants do this. Some fancier places are included on and in entertainment coupon books.

Also, If you're trying to save this Valentine's day don't forget romantic but cheap things like ice skating but most of all think of your significant other. It doesn't have to cost a lot to spend quality time together. I think having fun and forgetting your day to day worries to remember why you are together in the 1st place is what's most important.


Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Yelling into pillows & other practical dinnertime advice

(Noah after we gave up on feeding him and just gave him a bath)

So I've(or we've) been having a rough few days.

I'm happy to say that after about a week of emotional run-ins with my 5 yr old about school and quality time and the demise of extended periods of video game play my son is going to school without any crying! Somehow though this has morphed into very upsetting dinners. Both Owen and his 22 mo brother have been making dinnertime nothing short of torturous lately. I think Travis and I becoming a little unhinged with the challenge of it all. The baby scream-cried all through dinner 2 days ago and couldn't eat because we think Travis may have touched him with a hand that was cutting Habaneros. Mind you Travis washed his hands about 5 times before he touched him but those peppers are crazy. Last nite or a day, a shower and several handwashings later my husbands hands are still burning and our children are still making dinnertime difficult.

So we are brainstorming on how to release the tension from our dinnertime. We are mentally finished with staring at our 5 yr old not eating for no apparent reason day after day.

Now I don't believe in completely catering to your kids growing list of food demands. I try to make things that everyone can eat and although children enjoy finger foods I can't see myself making them for every meal.

It has kids between 5 and 14 blind taste test products. They give an approval to foods that get 70% positive or above.

I didn't really find any answers for issues with my 5 yr old here but it talks about toddlers and food and some of the suggestions are pretty universal:

Plus it looks like a helpful new parenting site for me to glean from.

I think Chill Out is pretty good advice. Also they are not going to die, you are not going to die.
And my personal favorite: Their (or anyone else's) actions do not have to dictate my peace or happiness. They are not eating and having a hard time trying new things, etc but it will pass and not being upset usually seems like the 1st thing you have to change for the experience to change.

The problem I have with Owen( 5 yr old) is he finds sitting at our table to eat a bore. Which seems to affect his attitude on anything we eat whether he likes the food or not. So I'm considering switching it up a few a days a week and soon. For toddlers suggests to eat with him, lower distractions and focus on conversation. Which is what we always do. Owen is constantly grabbing at anything that could distract him on the table( pen, ripped piece of paper, toy, whatever is closest to him.) It's like he has food ADD!

Ideas to release compressed irritation from these mealtimes:

Picnic on the floor
Taking a walk and bringing filling snacks( fruit, veg, protein)
Cheap nite out
Healthy kid friendly meal made with Owen( so he has more pride in what is put on the table)
Yelling into a pillow before we eat dinner( jk)

Ideas for healthy kid friendly meals: ( I don't mind being sneaky as long as you still offer fruit & veg)

Last piece of advice for myself or anyone listening- Be Thankful! Remember what's going well. My son was distracted last nite by just about anything around him but both him and my toddler were scarfing down mushrooms and bok choy without hesitation.

Also when you think about all the effort you put into dinner and how you gathered your food from afar and no one is showing you appreciation don't say you are like the Proverbs 31 woman and they better RECOGNIZE! They won't get it and you're just being weird now.

Written by,
A proud mom of two very independent and creative boys. :)

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Adventures in Self-Control

Psalm 19:14
May the words of my mouth
and the meditation of my heart
be pleasing to you,
O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.

One of the things I've been praying for this year is for our household to speak words of life, encouragement, respect and love to each other instead of the alternative. Stepping back from just letting life happen to me and seeing how my house runs was quite an eye-opener. All over the place people are ignoring each other and making tasks or entertainment more important than relationship. We are quick to anger, slow to forgive with performance seeming to be the salve to our wounds. I'm hearing belittling instead of encouraging and self is being lifted higher than our connections together. Unacceptable. And I'm definitely included in this disappointing scenario.

Now don't get me wrong everyone has bad days and things that make them quicker to anger.

But this was becoming our norm not the exception. So I've been praying.

And the thing about praying about this kind of change is that it requires action.

You can't pray, "Oh God get me out of this mess."; thinking you have nothing to do with the equation. I heard somewhere that the mother is responsible for creating the atmosphere in her own home. And then I read this:

A wise woman builds her home. But the foolish woman tears it down with her own hands. Proverbs 14:1

Guess I have some responsibility here.

Source: via Faith on Pinterest

So I started by apologizing to my son Owen for fighting with daddy in front of him and for my disrespectful and unloving words. I told him that I want this to change in our house and I want it to change in me. If you want accountability tell your five year old because they will call you on your bad behavior no problem.

With my sons I try to encourage them in their passions and in perseverance for the harder things reminding them of how amazing they are. And with my husband I'm trying to check myself. Should I say this? Am I being sensitive, respectful, encouraging? I know I've got sensitivity blind spots right now so I'm praying that God would show them to me in a way I can handle. Grace. Mercy. Love.

So I'm straightening out my path before me( see proverbs below).

Trying to proactively change the atmosphere in my home with the Lord's help. Spending more time with God because out relationship with him comes peace, security, confidence, and so many more things. But the peace guards your heart out of which comes the wellsprings of life; making it easier to change the course of my words into words that are full of love instead of negativity.

Proverbs 4:20-27
20 My child, pay attention to what I say.
Listen carefully to my words.
21 Don’t lose sight of them.
Let them penetrate deep into your heart,
22 for they bring life to those who find them,
and healing to their whole body.
23 Guard your heart above all else,
for it determines the course of your life.
24 Avoid all perverse talk;
stay away from corrupt speech.
25 Look straight ahead,
and fix your eyes on what lies before you.
26 Mark out a straight path for your feet;
stay on the safe path.
27 Don’t get sidetracked;
keep your feet from following evil.

Phil 4:7
Then you will experience God's peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

Love this guy!

Proverbs 4:20-27

Thursday, January 12, 2012


I remember when I 1st got pregnant with my son Noah, how everyone assumed that he would be a girl. Not because of any scientific knowledge but based on the fact that I already had a boy.

How could I ever have another one?

These days when I talk about my son Noah attempting to jump off bunk beds, grab hot coffee, and run for exits everywhere I go most people say, "So your 1st son must be calm, right?"


My 1st son tried to climb up onto his changing table and into a window at about 9 months and he is usually full of more drama than I ever know what to do with.

So why is it that time and time again people assume that everything evens out in the end? Is this considered to be positive thinking or polite? Do we not like to believe that things could end up entirely different than you may have pictured? There are so many things that are out of our control. But would it be any better if it were in our control?

Would we want our children to be different?

Would we want our past to be different?

Would we want the outcome of everything turning out the way we'd planned?

I say no.