Monday, January 31, 2011

Little Boys Walking Dogs

These little boys, love these little dogs.



Sunday, January 30, 2011

Practicing Gratitude

I read a good book. One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp. It was as good as I thought it would be after reading her blog for the last 2+ years. The book is about the author's very personal journey to a deeper understanding of who God is and who we are in Him through an unexpected dare to count 1000 things she loves. It was so good.
I think I've sort of subconsciously been doing this for a while. With everything I've been through the last 4 years, I've been training my mind and being intentional about where I let it go, and what I let it dwell on. In doing that, it forces one to look at the positive and even be thankful for the difficult. Much of the last almost 4 years have been a journey of us being dealt lots of things that might make one question God's goodness and God's love for us or even His reality. Saying goodbye to Willie the hardest. Still a daily quest to practice what I believe. So easily my mind wants to go to the place that throws a pity party. The place that says this world is hopeless, there isn't much good. The place that wants to give up because what's the point? Life is nothing but a slow and painful saying goodbye to everyone and everything I love. Things don't work out and people don't really love each other and sooner or later what appears good will come crumbling down.
See what I mean? Really easy to go there.
But I don't believe that and I haven't for a long time...but it's been in these hard years that I have been practicing. Who do I believe God is? I believe He is real, and good and personal. So I practice. Willie is gone so what do I believe?...God is good...(Psalm 107:1 Give thanks to the Lord for He is good, his loving kindness is everlasting.) I believe it. He has a plan (For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, they are plans for good, not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11). I believe it. He will comfort...(The Lord is close to the brokenhearted. He rescues those whose spirits are crushed." Psalm 34:18) I believe it.

But we have to move again (we dont' right now...I'm just sayin'). I don't understand, but I practice....(The LORD will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail Isaiah 58:11). I believe it.

But I'm tired and the kids are needy, and I homeschool, and the house is a mess, and I never have "me" time, and I hate grocery shopping, and I have to cook dinner again, and marriages around me are crumbling, and people are letting me down, and people are sick and I want them well, and I just keep failing.

breathe. (I seriously have to remind myself. Sometimes Rand reminds me..."uh, hon, you're not breathing....")

But I keep practicing. (James 1:17 Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.) I believe it.

This book I just read was encouraging. The exercise and practice and looking for more deeper, it works. It makes me want to be even more intentional about focusing on gratitude, because the more you look for it and look at it, the more you see it, and the more you can see it even when life, on the outside, looks bleak.

I think what I liked was it isn't about counting your blessings when you obviously are blessed. It was about forcing yourself to slow...in the midst of tragedy, chaos, stress, family, life, etc., and look for gifts. There are more than a thousand! It is a discipline and an art form and it is life changing.

Count your blessings!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Sophie

There are small dogs. And then there are small dogs. Sophie is a very small dog. She belongs to my mother-in-law and we get to watch her for the next 4 days or so. I believe Sophie is a toy chihuahua, about a year old. Our "little" dog, Sammy, is not very happy about it. Our dog is so weird. She will go ballistic if she is near a big dog: spiked hair, growling, barking, jumping, tearing her little feet like she is going to grab it by the neck and shake it to death or something. But get her near a small dog...even a very small dog and she cowers, buries her tail and her head and disappears to sulk. It's very sad. :)
The kids just love Sophie!


Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Easton::10 Months

10 Months old! Crazy. One year ago exactly we were almost completely packed. Our house was a wreck and I was starting to really poke out. It was our last few days in Pennsylvania. In fact, I posted this which included pictures of my little Easton who we didn't even know yet. Now we know him well and love him to pieces.
He is a crawling fool. He had actually been crawling for a couple weeks before he realized he was crawling. All of a sudden he figured out he could go where ever he wanted and he was like, "See ya, Mom. I'm going to find my brothers." And that's what he does.
Following exactly in their footsteps he is not sleeping through the night (oh well), he started crawling right after he turned 9 months and he just started getting himself up on his feet on anything he can grab. I expect walking around 11 months if he keeps following the older 2. He also cut his top 4 teeth all at the same time recently and so he is so much happier now! He's just like Wyatt and pretty much doesn't care for food (that is other than nursing, obviously) and so I give him almost anything to try. Some days he literally only nurses. But other days are better and he'll surprise me by eating all his oatmeal, pears (which normally make him gag), he'll chew on a piece of toast and then polish off a bowl of sweet potatoes. Keeps me guessing!
He is a hugger and kisser and he is trying to talk. It's the cutest. Wyatt just cracks him up and he is thrilled to see Daddy. Oh, and get this, the boy LOVES to throw balls. He's just tickled with himself. Actually, he's starting to throw everything. It's especially fun if it makes a loud noise when it hits the floor.
Bathtime is still his favorite time and I can't wait to get him in the pool. We're gonig to have a fun summer!!












Monday, January 24, 2011

He Wants to Pitch

Oh my. He's been practicing for this. And he was so excited that his coach put him in as pitcher for one of their innings last weekend. He did pretty good. Threw a bunch of strikes. Struck one batter out. And threw a bunch of kind of crazy wild pitches, I think mostly because he was trying to avoid hitting the batter...so his ball went pretty wide the other way as a result. We were all real proud. :) Pictures are lacking because I, instead, am chasing a crazy crawler who is eating grass for most of the games. Here's a little bit of what I got! You'll see on the video the very first pitch that I barely capture is a perfect throw!
video

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Teaching Kids to Write

By "write" I am not talking about printing or handwriting per say, but rather the actual skill of putting thoughts into something on paper that makes sense. I had no idea how hard it was. You have to explain "audience" and "tense" and "first person vs. third person", etc., all while trying to coach them into putting stories into something that makes sense to some random person that might be reading it. Introduction, beginning, middle and end, consecutive events, a problem and resolution. Seriously....it's really hard to teach. Brendan has quite a few writing assignments this year. One of the things he has to do is look at a picture and then make up a whole story. Who's in the picture, where are they, what is happening, what happened before this picture, what year is it, etc., etc., etc. So in the beginning of the week we start prepping for it. He gets to look at the picture and then we answer all the questions about it as a way to brainstorm and get ready for the writing assignment. So we did that. Today he had to write. After all that he still had no clue what we are doing! :) Everything in me wants to just write it for him...or more, tell him what I think he should write.
His picture this week was a picture of an old Model-T car flying through the air with somebody in it, a guy on the ground on a bicycle looking up at it in a residential neighborhood. I make him write all the brainstorming, but then for the actual story I let him dictate to me and I write for him....because the writing is still very slow.
Here's what he came up with: (posted with permission)
Written by Brendan:
It was 1967. We lived at 51st Ave. and Bell, in England. My Mom had a baby and she was going to the hospital in a flying car. There was only one car, so Dad went to work on a bicycle. The car flew because everyone had pixie dust. There were no clocks and no one knew what time it was, so most people went to bed late. When Dad came home from work, Dad said, "How was the baby at the hospital?" Mom said, "Ahhh, just fine. He cried a little bit."
The baby grew up to be an adult and have some kids of his own. They all lived happily ever after.
The end.

He told me to make sure to write at the end that this was a make believe story so people would know that it wasn't real. I assured him that it would be assumed because of the pixie dust and the flying car and such. I may just write my own story just to get it out and be able to move on! :)
Parenting=a constant letting go!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Baseball Logistics

The beginning of our "sports" careers has been a learning experience. It feels like we are in the full swing of things with the boys being on different teams this round. Because we homeschool especially, I think some of our extra-curricular activities are even more important than if we didn't. Sports is a great way for the kids to meet other kids, learn a skill, be influenced by other "authority figures", etc...and yet it is all still rather controlled and limited. Anyway, so already I have had thoughts like, "Ugh, I hate feeling like we are running around all the time," or, "maybe we don't want to be a 'sports' family,", "this is impeding on our family dinners,"....but mostly I think what we are doing is really good for them, not to mention they LOVE it...and that's the most important.

While the kids just kick back and have a blast I am left to organize the whole thing. Do we have all the gear (mitts, bats, balls, batting gloves, hats, cleats, etc...)? What about Easton (do we have a stroller, ergo, backpack, snacks, sweatshirt, toys, diapers, etc.)? What about dinner (should we eat before, after, on our way, will Rand be eating with us, will he be coming home with us after or going right back to work, etc.)? On Saturdays we have games. Getting out the door is crazy...we, who are never late, cannot get out the door on time for Saturday games. It's ridiculous. Their games are at different times, different locations. Some weeks they overlap and we have to go separate ways (how will this work with a third in the mix!?).

I am working on enjoying the whole process. Anyone who knows me a little bit, knows that I prefer the simple, more slow paced, not-so-scheduled way of life. These days I am working on more balance in that department. Some of our days are slower than others....and some are really, really busy.

Sundays are our Mondays here. It's the beginning of Rand's work week and we start school. Sundays and Mondays are a little bit slower paced. Tuesdays we have Wyatt's practice at 6:00pm. Wednesdays are Brendan's practices. Saturdays we have 2 baseball games and try to go to church in the evening...that's the craziest day. Last Saturday we went to Wyatt's game at 9, came home for lunch, drove back for Brendan's game at 1, drove home and decided to skip 4:30 church. It's a tiring day! Easton just has to go with the flow and I just have to maintain enough energy to pack him all around through it all!

But look how much fun Easton has!




See? It is really tiring!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Science Experiement #9::Pinhole Camera

It's been a while since I've posted any of our sciency happenings. It's not because they aren't happening, but rather some of them are just not blog worthy and others there is just no extra hand for taking a picture....and a science post without a picture is just too boring.

In science the kids have been learning about the human body and how it works. To go along with eyes we explored pinhole cameras. This one really impressed the kids!!

We painted the inside of a shoe box black

Then we poked a hole in the bottom with a pin and taped tracing paper over the top of the box.

Then we got under a dark blanket outside and something awesome happens!
You should try it!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Kid Quotes::Vol. 30

 Just to let you all know, Wyatt has had a thorn stuck in his heel for about 2 months. We struggled with it for a few days since it was causing him serious pain and his tolerance for such things is about zero. I dug at it twice. Oh, the tears! Finally we decided to just leave it. That tough heel skin kept healing over it and eventually he had this weird white circle bump on his heel, but it didn't hurt.
That's just a little background for ya! :)

Wyatt: Mom, I miss when I was 2 and Brendan was 4.

Me: yeah? I miss those days too.

Wyatt: I just really, really  miss when I was 2 and Brendan was 4.

Me: Well these are good days too. What do you miss about being 2?

Wyatt: You know. Back in the days when I didn't have a thorn?

true, true....

Monday, January 10, 2011

Winter Baseball

Baseball season has begun. What am I saying? Baseball season is year round here. Actually we just started our first baseball season. I couldn't help thinking, while I watched their first practices and first games, that I may have years and years and years of this in my future.
While the boys have been hitting and throwing and catching since...well since they could grab a bat with their little fists, this is the first time they've participated on a team. Brendan is now 7....wish he would have started last year because this year he is the youngest (his team is 7 to 9 year olds) and he is playing kid pitch. He is slightly out of his "league", being one of the smallest kids out there and not having a clue about what is really going on, but I know he will learn a lot fast! Wyatt's team is a little less intimidating, comprised of mostly 5 and 6 year olds, many who are playing for the first time and get "coach pitch" or a tee and a half a dozen dads out on the field telling them where to run and where to throw the ball. Oh it is so cute!

Here's Easton. Ready for a Saturday full of baseball. He's got a few years of watching as well...

Look how cute they are with their little legs dangling above the ground!


 There's Wyatt running for home!

 Proud baseball dad

 Ready for first at-bat!




GOOOO SHARKS! (oh, and ironically, both the boys' teams chose the name "sharks" for their team name. So we can just say Go Sharks! and we are actually referring to both teams. Awesome.)

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Last Pics From WA

I forgot I still had a camera full of pictures. Here's a few more from our trip.

A photoshoot with the Coopers

My brother, Jordan, caught doing the dishes. UN.Heard of.

 Willow and Bentley eating celery


 Rand and I took all the boys towards the mountains to find some snow.

 It was a really beautiful morning...

 There wasn't really any snow. We found a shadey patch that hadn't melted. It was pathetic, but it served the purpose...I guess...



I'm not exactly sure what Jayden is doing here?

 and last but not least, a traditional art night with some regulars and some newbies. It was fun.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

2010

Another year...