Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Keepin' It Real: The Mid-Year Mess

Remember back in July when my classroom looked like this?

Well, a lot has happened since then. Five whole months have happened since then. And then, in November and December, we didn't even use the classroom. I needed to sew and in order for me to be able to cut out fabric while schoolwork went on, we moved to the dining room table for a while.

And so...the classroom became sort of a dumping ground. I mean, even worse than before.

I'm fairly sure when I said, "Go put the globe back" that I didn't mean "under the table."

And have I mentioned that this room is immediately to the right when you walk in my front door? And that there is no door to shut on this room? Yeah.


To tell the truth, I don't even know how some of this happened. Little Bit does "art" at her little desk in the corner. "Art" is very freeing and self-expressive!

I mean, just look.

She better start making some money on that art soon.


I've got some work to do because school starts back on Monday folks!

So how about your house? Do you have some "mid-year mess" to share? Come on ladies, we're keepin' it real here. It doesn't have to be homeschool mess.....post-Christmas mess, just moved in mess....it's all welcome here. Snap a picture and share and make the rest of us feel better!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Keepin' It Real Is Alive and Kicking!!!

Hey, I've missed Keepin' It Real! And seeing as how the current state of my classroom is....very nearly indescribable with mere words...I've decided to have a KIR tomorrow night! Want to join in?

If you posted back in July during our "Homeschool Organization KIR Event" then please consider joining us tomorrow night for the update. I posted pictures of my beautiful, clean, shiny, wondrous classroom at the end of July and you sweet people left glowing comments for me. And I smiled.

But now I'm hanging my head in shame.

Deep shame.

And I want to show it to you! (Tee hee!)

So if would like to share your mid-year classroom pics with us, the Mr. Linky will be up tomorrow! If you didn't participate in our first classroom KIR, but you have shameful pictures to share--we don't discriminate. Everyone's mess is welcome in a KIR event! The more the merrier.

Here's a sneak peek of one of the items in our homeschool space right now:



It's pretty bad when the balloons are sad to be there.

See you tomorrow!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Fitness Friday Assignment: Add & Subtract

I'm going out on a limb here...I'm using my new web cam!!! I should have put a little lip color on now that I see the video, but hey, I put make-up on for you. On the holidays. On a Monday morning.

You should feel very honored.

Also, please ignore the dirty kitchen in the background. Thank you.

Now, here's your assignment:

video

See you on Friday!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Digging Out

I love it when my husband is home.

I ESPECIALLY love it when my husband is home and he feels like helping clean around the house. What could be more romantic? We've dug our way out of the living room aftermath and even put away almost all of the Christmas stuff. We don't normally worry about doing that so early, but we bought a new keyboard/piano for our family and it needed to go where the tree was, so...we put stuff away early this year.

Now I'm helping Sweetheart find places for her new stuff and sort through old stuff. It seems when new toys are around, they have far less trouble chunking some older stuff. When S goes back to work on Monday I hope that the girls' rooms will be all organized.
Then what will I do???

I haven't even thought past Christmas. I was so busy up until the last minute making homemade Christmas gifts that I realize I have no plan for next week. Well, getting ready for school would be nice....

But I wanted to share with you some of the crafty things I gave this year. I was pretty proud to do so much homemade stuff for the grown ups. (The kids got store-bought toys.) I know it saved us some money and hopefully folks could feel the love put into each gift.

My sisters and sisters-in-law all received this (with custom colors of course):

The soup mix is from this site. The dishtowels I got from here but without all that pesky piecing--I just used one piece of fabric. The criss-cross coasters are from here. And the ornament with my girls' on it is from Sycamore Stirrings. I think it made a pretty nice gift.

Here's a closer shot:
And then I discovered freezer paper stencils! Oh my word the fun I'm gonna have! There are many tutorials online for this, and I didn't use just one, so no link for you. Sorry! Here is the shirt we made my dad:

The girls go down to Grandpa's house several times a week to watch Popeye at 2:00. They love watching that show together. I think his shirt came out nicely.

I made shirts for my sisters too. Here is my oldest sister's shirt with the freezer paper stencil still ironed on.

Here I am starting to peel it off. Sorry there's no final shot--it was a mama and baby giraffe.


Trace, cut out (with manicure scissors--I'm not good with an Exacto knife) and iron on. Stencil, let dry and peel. It comes out so sharp and good! And here is a site with lots of free stencils.

And lastly, my dorky sister. How can you walk into Christmas wearing a shirt that matches the presents you brought AND NOT NOTICE????


Obviously, she likes that pattern. Cracked me up!

Hope your Christmas was great!


Tuesday, December 23, 2008

We Sniff You a Merry Christmas

Seventy-five percent of our family is sick right now. It's not serious...just sinus drainage. Lots of snot, scratchy voices, sore throats (not too sore--they've been eating fine), and resting.

PRAYING that everyone feels up to par by Christmas day so they can properly enjoy themselves and get way too excited. I would LOVE to see my little girls bouncing off the wall right now instead of laying around.

So we are resting, and medicating, and drinking lots of fluids, and praying for everyone to feel better and that none of this will turn into an infection.

Other than that--we're doing fine! The presents are almost finished (just some freezer paper stenciling to go). The house is in bad need of being picked up before tomorrow night. The groceries are purchased.

And most importantly, I'm finished running around.

I hope all of you have a great Christmas with your families! I'll see you sometime after!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Thoughts On My Hair

A note before we begin: This post is about my hair. It's not about anyone else's hair. I spend precious little time thinking about other women's hair. :)

I have had my hair all kinds of ways. My hair is naturally stick straight, but for about a decade there I permed it regularly. I loved perms--made me sad when they went out of style. I've worn my hair short, long, and in between. I'm a bit ashamed to admit it but I was fairly cutting edge back in the day and even had asymmetrical hair for a time. (shudder)

I was of the generation (a lot of you will be able to relate to this!) where your hairstyle was all about the bangs. We curled those bangs and while the curling iron was on our hair, sprayed hair spray DIRECTLY onto the barrel of the curling iron. (insert sizzling sound here) The adjective "crunchy" comes to mind.

When I was a teenager I always used to hear that "guys like long hair." Every male I ever heard talk about girls' hair agreed. I thought "well that's great--but it's not THEIR hair!" I well remember telling my husband early on in our marriage that I would grow my hair out long for him if he would get up early and fix it for me every morning. I said it jokingly of course, but the attitude was "who are you to have an opinion about MY hair?" The word "feminism" comes to mind.

Several years ago I was reading 1 Corinthians 11:3-16. It was a passage of scripture I had certainly read many times before. In the past, I had breezed right past this little passage without giving it much thought. It wasn't that I thought it wasn't "culturally relevant" (a common argument), it's just that I hadn't thought much of it.

With a changed heart and new eyes, I began to study this section of scripture more carefully. I see how folks who believe in wearing head coverings came to their conclusion. And if a woman wears a head covering in obedience to scripture...having studied it herself and come to this conclusion...then I admire her heart for the Lord. I believe the part of the scripture that says, "For long hair is given to her as a covering." (v. 15) But before we get to that...

The really important part of this passage to me is the order of the family. Many people agree with this part of the passage, by the way. "Now I want you to realize that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man, and the head of Christ is God." (v. 3) S and I were lucky to be taught this order in high school. It was likened to an umbrella of protection. It's easy to understand, as a teenager, that our parents were under Christ and we were under our parents. When a child rebels against, or steps out from under that order, he or she is unprotected, both physically and spiritually speaking. It is a much different thing to admit, as a wife, that you are under your husband. That's a bit of a stretch away from "modern thinking."

Now this passage is talking about worship--praying and prophesying are mentioned. But there are so many larger truths packed in those paragraphs. The passage goes on to mention, "the woman ought to have a sign of authority on her head." (v. 10) It talks about "the very nature of things" (v. 14) and also about long hair being a woman's glory (v. 15). Oh, there is a lot to study in that passage!

And study it I did. I talked with my husband about it too. We studied it together. I DO NOT understand everything in this passage of scripture, let me be clear! But I walked away from it with a different perspective. Doesn't it make sense? A woman has long hair and a man does not. "if a man has long hair, it is a disgrace to him..." (v. 14). Things were like this for hundreds and hundreds of years. Study the history of women's hair. Study the effects of feminism. (Click on "You've Come a Long Way, Baby!" EXCELLENT!) A sign of authority. My husband is over me. Hmm. Hmm. It had me thinking.

Now, women who don't wish to let their thoughts go in the direction mine went, will probably prefer to think about this verse:
"The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart." 1 Samuel 16:7b
I've heard that phrase "God looks at the heart" used when speaking of clothing, modesty, and hair. And I know that it is true. I could have hair longer than anyone and an ugly, disobedient, rebellious heart. I could have the shortest hair ever for a woman and have the most lovely, obedient, submissive heart you could imagine. It truly isn't a "sign of obedience" for a woman to have long hair. It won't tell YOU a thing about me other than the fact that I have grown my hair out.

But with the decision to grow out my hair did come a submissive heart. I did it for the Lord, and for my husband. It was a way of showing that I understood, and accepted, God's order. That's how it started out. Is there a certain length I was going for? Nope. My hair has been what I would consider long for quite some time. I do not grow more spiritual with every inch I add to my hair length. It also had a little to do with cultural rebellion. Yep, I was rebelling against rebelling. Confusing enough for you? Our culture has become too unisex, to masculine, too...a lot of things. Growing my hair out was a return to order for me. A statement that I am feminine (well, somewhat...I'm a work in progress!).

I got used to my long hair and haven't thought about all these reasons for a while. Lately these thoughts have been coming back to me because my hair has gotten just long enough to drive me crazy. You know that length where it gets in your armpits? TMI? :0 NO, I did not say I was growing out armpit hair!!!!

OK--back to the topic...my hair is just long enough right now to be a burden. About a month ago I asked S if he would trim it for me in the evening because it was making me crazy. We didn't have time that night and the hair just kept growing. And last week I was really thinking about that burden of long hair.

It reminds me.

It reminds me that I am under my husband (who is under Christ). It reminds me of his and His authority over me. Every time I move my hair out of the way so I can do something, every time I rummage around for a clip to put it up, every time I brush it out....I am reminded.

If I had short hair I could do some things easier. It would give me more independence. More free time. Less worry. Less of a burden.

And I would be my own woman.

But I am not my own. I have a small burden to remind me of the place the Lord has asked me to occupy. And that is why...right now....I'm keeping it just like it is.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Christmas Break At Last!!!

We are done with school for now! Yeah!!!! We've been going since the very beginning of August (with 2 weeks off--1 for Hurricane Ike and 1 for illness) and we are ready for a break. I cannot even think about school in January yet. I'll be ready to make big plans later after a little time off.

S and I have to go shopping just one more time and we'll be all done. That will occur on Sunday afternoon. Today I am looking forward to staying home. The main reason I need to stay home is the clothing situation is out of control around here.

Again.

I mean...still.

I've whined about my dysfunctional washing machine before. I went to the laundromat for a while but that got old. I just need to buckle down and pay close attention to the washer all day tomorrow and maybe I can get through all the laundry. Then there's the laundry baskets of clean, folded laundry that has been rifled through to find things to wear. It kind of needs to be put up. Then there's the ironing.

I'm hoping the kids can play all morning without needing me so I can get this done. It will make my Christmas SO much happier.

THEN, I'll be ready to enjoy the Christmas holiday. So, one more day of work and yucky things and then I'll be ready for some fun.

Hope you have a great Saturday!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Fitness Friday: The Fill-In-The-Blank-Edition

Here is my short and sweet Fitness Friday post:

1.This Christmas I am going to indulge in (meaning enjoy, without guilt, a reasonable amount of) desserts. I plan to take a small sampling of lots of desserts and only eating a whole serving of what I REALLY want.

2. It is my goal to stay away from being sedentary. I haven't really started exercising much but at least I can go walk or do something besides sit around this house!

3. Over the holiday, I am changing my exercise goals to...HAHAHA! You cannot change that which you do not have.

4. The way I will remind myself to make good choices over the holiday is post some scripture on my mirror and the fridge!

5. My favorite ornament on my tree are the ones my kids made and the "Baby's First Christmas" ornaments.

6. Of the progress I have made so far, my favorite thing is that my jeans are baggy and I fit into skirts I had outgrown.

Enjoy your Christmas!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Things I Think About

I haven't had much time to write lately...and when I have it hasn't been very deep stuff. I'm kind of ready to get back to "real" blogging like I used to when I first started....

...and no one was reading. :)

Maybe next year. But right now I want to share with you the things that consume my thoughts during the days. I sometimes feel like such a weirdo and wonder if other people concern themselves with the things I do. Here they are in no particular order:

1. I think a LOT about my kids' spiritual development. I am always trying to find what else I can and need to do with them during Bible time. I'm really excited about the new curriculum I got this week. I plan to start in January--or maybe right after Christmas. Now, I didn't say I'm constantly DOING all the things I think about needing to do, just that I think about it a lot.

2. I think about housework a lot. It's kind of always in my face so that's understandable.

3. I have a lot of thoughts about my hair. I may share those soon. I've been mulling them over all week.

4. I think about all the things I want my family to do but we don't. The hours go by quickly, the schedules are too full, and there's also that pesky little "budget." But I have dreams and plans for things I hope we will do one day.

5. I feel like I think about mundane things a lot. My days are full of keeping our home and taking care of my family and let's face it...that stuff isn't too glamorous. But it is my ministry and I believe that it takes first priority so I protect my time pretty fiercely.

6. I think about my relationship with my husband. We have a great marriage but we are human. If things between us aren't "right" my whole day is thrown. Hate that. Most days I'm thinking about what I need to do to help him.

7. I think about parenting decisions a lot. If you've been reading my blog for a length of time you know that we didn't start out very purposeful with our family. We kind of did what everyone else did and what we grew up doing. A few years ago the revisions started and we still are thinking through things.

And sometimes I don't think about much of anything at all. :)

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

My Own Daybook

You know those daybook entries that some bloggers do? Those are neat, but I decided to do my own. Just a little update.

My Christmas House

On my kitchen table...are 2 gift bags with presents inside that need tissue paper, wrapping supplies, Christmas fabric, candles.

My tree...is pretty and actually has a few presents under it now.

The living room... is indescribable. Here's a picture of right now:

How is it possible that is was neat and picked up at 5:00 yesterday?

The laundry...is wet and still in the middle of a wash cycle from yesterday. (You know I have to stop my washer 4 times MINIMUM for each load. It never got restarted last night.)

The children...are happy and playing. I haven't hit 'em with school yet. YES we are doing school today since it slipped by us yesterday. It's just Gingerbread Man stuff and Bible so it's not like I'm expecting a lot!

I am...concerned about my ingrown toenail. Hoping it doesn't get infected before our health insurance kicks in!

I am excited about...possibly going on a vacation with the girls after Christmas. It will just be for a weekend, but they have never stayed at a hotel and it will be fun!
OK Karly...beat that!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

I'm Going to Make It Easy On You...

It's too close to Christmas to expect people to write lots of coherent things on their blog. So for Fitness Friday this week, I'm giving you a fill-in-the-blank form to use. How nice is that? Just complete the sentences--and don't feel the need to explain everything. One sentence really is enough because...it's Christmas and who has time to read a bunch of posts?

And also, before we get to the fill-in-the-blank goodness, this week will be the last Fitness Friday until January 2. I'm not going to be thinking about blogging (or fitness, OK) the day after Christmas! So take a week off and enjoy the time with your family. We'll meet up again right after New Years.

Complete these sentences:

1.This Christmas I am going to indulge in (meaning enjoy, without guilt, a reasonable amount of) _______________. (you can list more than 1!)

2. It is my goal to stay away from ______________.

3. Over the holiday, I am changing my exercise goals to ________________.

4. The way I will remind myself to make good choices over the holiday is __________.

5. My favorite ornament on my tree is ________________. (Hey, they can't all be about fitness!)

6. Of the progress I have made so far, my favorite thing is ______________.

See you Friday!!!!!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Snow in Texas

The word "miracle" has been thrown around a lot this week! Wednesday night brought inches...INCHES of snow right here in southern Texas.
It snowed 4 years ago too--on Christmas day even! Here is Sweetheart and Little Bit 4 years ago. But this time was even better.
It snowed when I was 2. I know because I've seen the pictures of it. Then it snowed when I was in 4th grade. We had a sub that day and she wouldn't let us go outside. Every single class in the school was outside our window playing and we stood at the windows shamelessly crying. One of us even snuck out and got Mr. Luker from down the hall to rescue us. He tried to tell the sub it was OK if we went out but she wasn't hearing any of it. It wasn't on the schedule. When school was out the snow was mostly gone. But I'm not bitter.

My girls, however, got to play both at night....
and the next day--three times the next day to be exact. It was wondrous.

And also, we learned that we don't have the proper clothes for snow down here.

Thank you Lord for this special gift!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Fitness Fr...Weekend: The Spiritual Edition

OK--My post is finally up. Don't blink or you'll miss it.

Since this topic is so late in coming, I thought I'd give everyone a break this week. Just post sometime this weekend and let's all remember to check in on each other, OK?

So I got a lot of suggestions and decided to leave this one open. Several of you have talked in the past about how this is not just a physical journey for you, but a spiritual one as well. This weekend you are asked to discuss what that means for you. You can go as deep as you want to. Perhaps you'd just like to share some Bible verses that are encouraging to you. Perhaps you'd like to share part of what God has taught you on this journey.

The floor is yours. I will also need time to think about this topic, so I'll be adding my post here later.

Have a great Friday, everyone!

I have really enjoyed reading everyone's posts this week. I've been really busy (a recurring theme among us!) and this post just wasn't happening. But I really liked what JulieMom said. The thing that really occured to me was that I don't ask for God's help on obvious thigns. Yes, I try to walk on my own strength when it's something I think I've got down. Well, I've got the eating down pat, let me tell you!!! I'm thankful for the 8 1/2 inches I've lost. I'm looking forward to the inches I will lose in the future. But most of all, I'm looking forward to growing in my walk with Christ. This truly is NOT just a physical thing. Thanks everyone for sharing your thoughts with me when I didn't have much to say. :)

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Various Thoughts From My Head

There isn't enough going on upstairs to warrant an entire blog post, so I'll just bore you in small segments instead. OK?

Lower Than National Geographic

The girls were making dioramas this week and Sweetheart borrowed several National Geographic magazines from my parents to supplement her Egyptian scenery. My parents have subscribed to National Geographic for as long as I can remember and there is an entire shelf of the magazines in their built-ins in the living room. When it came time to work on the diorama, we were not sure if Grandma and Grandpa had intended for us to cut them up or not. I thought we'd better call and ask.

Me: Mom? Can we cut up these National Geographics?
Mom: Um........................yeah.......................that would probably be fine.
Me: Are you sure? We would only need to cut up the articles on Egypt.
Mom: Yeah, well..............I was going to look at them, but it's OK, go ahead and use them.

Now here is where I should tell you that when she spoke those words, my eyes drifted to the date on the cover of the magazine. Are you ready?

1995.

I'm thinking if you haven't made time to look at these magazines in the last 13 years.....it's probably really far down your list of things to do.

Grocery Shopping

Which is, apparently, where grocery shopping falls on my list of things to do seeing as how I haven't managed to get to the store for an entire, planned trip in 2 weeks.

So, raise your hand if you would like to know what my 5 year old ate for supper last night. OK, OK, I'll tell you. A cinnamon roll and a bowl of green peas.

She had pancakes at 3:30 in the afternoon at Grandpa's so she wasn't that hungry at suppertime. That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it. Tonight's gourmet meal of Hamburger Helper should really bowl my family over!

See? Lower the expectations for a while and then HIT 'EM with your best stuff and they'll be more than impressed. Just a little psychology lesson for free there.

Homemaking Awards

In spite of my previous mention of Hamburger Helper, I am still working on cooking from scratch more and eating healthier. Let's see...I made biscuits this week instead of using canned ones! That's about it. Hey, some things have to slide during the holidays so we can get everything done. I may not be doing great on the food, but I have mostly been keeping up with the laundry. Everyone has had appropriate clean clothing to wear every day. Well, except today when Sweetheart couldn't find any socks to wear. Did I mention that it was sleeting today? That almost NEVER happens here in south Texas and that's the one day my child had no socks to wear.

I hope I'm not too late to be nominated for that homemaking award. Just e-mail me and let me know when I win.

The Party Dress

Speaking of clothes, S and I are going to his work Christmas party on Saturday and I have been searching feverishly for a dress all week (NOT in my laundry pile...from an actual store). I really wanted to wear a dress or skirt even though pants are mostly what you can find at the stores these days. Not that they wouldn't look nice, but I know my husband prefers me in a skirt and I also wanted to wear one. So, I kept searching and was finally successful. I hope it looks as good at home as I thought it did in the dressing room. I was disappointed by the size I bought (wouldn't you think that 8 1/2 inches would make more difference?) but when I finally got a size that fit--it looked and felt so much better. I'll post pictures if we get any I like! :)

Fitness Friday

And speaking of 8 1/2 inches...I have NO IDEAS for a FF topic this week. None. I'm out. I think I've done pretty good coming up with topics so far and I've prayed about this one like I usually do, but the only thing I've come up with was "What Encourages You?" (you know, Bible verses, quotes, pictures, etc). I'm kind of not really excited about that...so I need your suggestions. Any I don't use will be filed away to use later, so bring 'em on!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Front of the Class

Last night we watched Front of the Class, the true story of Brad Cohen, a Georgia teacher who has Tourette's. I heard about the movie on the radio the day before it aired and later that day I saw his book at the bookstore. I was very excited to watch the movie and it did not disappoint.

This was the first positive and accurate depiction of Tourette's Syndrome that I have ever seen in a movie. Usually Tourette's is just used for jokes or the very rare symptom of copralalia (cussing) is highlighted. The actor portraying Brad Cohen had the tics down pat. I cannot even imagine the acting talent it took to do that.

The girls watched the first part of the movie with us and I was interested to see how they would react. I told them it was a movie about a teacher with Tourette's. Sweetheart asked what Tourette's was and I said, "he has tics." She knew what that meant as we usually talk about her sister's "tics" and don't really use the word "Tourette's" when we discuss them. As soon as the movie started Sweetheart said, "Mom! I just saw a tic!!"

Little Bit watched the movie until she fell asleep. She wanted to know why Patricia Heaton (playing Brad's mother) was crying in one part of the movie.

"She's happy they finally figured out what was wrong with him," I told her.

"What's wrong with him?" Little Bit asked.

"He has Tourette's Syndrome," I told her.

"Oh."

Apparently, that had nothing to do with her! :) I guess she didn't really see any similarities between Brad and herself. To be fair, she doesn't have very many vocal tics---mostly just motor tics. However, I think as she becomes more aware of her tics, this movie may one day be a very positive thing for her to watch. I know this was one thing I found lacking in all the information I found on the web back when we were researching Little Bit's tics--a real story about how TS affects a real person. It was nice to see.

I'm very impressed with the story and with Brad Cohen himself. You can read more about him at his website. Thanks to all my friends who watched the movie too and those who e-mailed me to ask about it. I appreciate you thinking of us.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

The Possible Death of Kindergarten

You know how you can be aware of an issue but not really think on it too much until YOU are facing that issue head on?

No?

Well, I've heard chatter a long time about Kindergarten. If you spend any time at all on the computer reading homeschool blogs, articles, or sites...you'll see this discussion pop up too. But I had a second grader and a 3 year old last year...so I wasn't ready to pay attention to it.

Now, however I have a 5 year old who next year "should" begin Kindergarten. Her cousin will be starting Kindergarten. Some of her friends will be starting Kindergarten. So now I have to decide what her Kindergarten year will look like here at home.

If you had asked me over a year ago what we would do for Kindergarten, I would have had an answer. I knew what I wanted Kindergarten to look like. I was looking forward to it. Probably it's because I'm a bit of a nerd and I LOVE school. Always have. New school supplies set my heart racing. Teacher supply stores are like a little slice of heaven. Sweetheart inherited this from me.

Speaking of Sweetheart...she went to public school Kindergarten. I talked about that experience beginning here. So I've never homeschooled a kid this age.

So there's a lot to think about...."better late than early" (I haven't read the book but I read that it was written in response to an article. At the time California was trying to make compulsory education a law for children aged 2 years, 9 months!!!!! Are we not right back there now with talk of mandatory Pre-K? That was nearly 40 years ago.), all the curriculum choices that are out there...do we even need a curriculum? There are scope and sequences to look at. There are lots of schools of thought on the whole issue. And then there's what I know of the origins of Kindergarten.

And I think I know what I think. :)

But I'd like to hear from some of you. What did/does Kindergarten look like in your house?

Friday, December 5, 2008

Fitness Friday: Love Your Body Edition

I don't think it's any secret that women suffer from self-esteem issues sometimes. Not all the time--just from oh, 8 or 9 years old until....45 I'm guessing?

I'm kidding. I felt just fine about my self at age 8 or 9.

Knowing that you are overweight or out of shape can really affect how you feel about your body. We just simply stop wearing certain things or even doing certain things. I know people who have not been swimming in years. And this is TEXAS!

The fact of the matter is, we aren't the best judges of our looks. The things that bother me about myself, my husband does not even notice. The things he is attracted to, I don't even think about. When I look in the mirror, I'm all about making sure I don't look too fat. It's all about the stomach area for me. Him? He loves the way my skin looks and feels. Among other things. I'm just saying that the things WE think are such a big deal may not be what others notice at all!

Well now that we are getting a handle on the-things-that-bother-us-but-we've-been-ignoring...it's time to look at ourselves in a new light. I mean, we are God's creation.

So, a few of my favorite things about myself are:

1. My lips. They are full and have color to them so that I don't really worry about lipstick too much. In fact, I pretty much like my smile too. Thanks to mom and dad and the orthodontist. :)

2. My feet. When they are shaved at least. :) I've seen some ugly feet, but I like mine OK.

3. My skin tone. We are Scotch/Irish in this family, but my great grandmother was Native American and I guess I got just enough pigment from her to avoid the skin tone of my white as ghosts sisters! Don't worry-they know.

4. My eye color (hazel.)

5. And I like my boobs, OK?

Come to think of it, I guess what I really don't like is just the SHAPE of my body. I never got used to the shift of things after having babies and the weight gain didn't help any. I think underneath it all I have a fine figure...I just have to locate it!

Huh. I feel better about myself than I thought I did!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Permission Granted

I need time to sew. I need time to craft. I need time to make Christmas presents.

Hello? Brenda, you stay at home. HOW can you possibly NOT have time to sew and make presents?

I know! I'm asking myself the same thing! When I worked full time I was POSITIVE that if I "could just stay home" I would always have time and never be stressed about anything.

Oh and my house was going to be clean too.

Do you know what I almost caught myself thinking the other day? I'm really almost ashamed to admit it. I started to think, "If I could just be like those women who stay home but send their kids to publi..." ACK! I almost went there in my mind! It isn't that I want to send my kids off to public school--I don't. I love homeschooling them and even when I don't love it we are going to still do it because it's the right thing to do. It's just that I'm a bit envious of the thought of 7 or 8 hours alone. To do whatever.

So, the grass always looks greener....but it's not.

The real reason I can't get the presents done is that I can't give myself permission to. There are always so many other pressing things that need to be done that sewing seems frivolous. And plus the house is a mess including the sewing room and I first have to hack a path to the table. To do that, I have to move the ironing board. There's really no point in moving the ironing board until I get husband's shirts ironed. And really, I probably ought to just go ahead and run a load of clothes first....

See how that happens?

But I had a meltdown the other night and told S that, inexplicably, I need help. I KNOW I'm home all day. I KNOW I should be able to keep up with this house. But, obviously, that isn't the case. So we had a talk about needing to declutter vs. our family just needing better habits and I realized he was right and just decluttering is really not the (whole) answer. Anyway...he helped me clean up the kitchen and living room really good and they have stayed nice all week. I feel so much better and on top of things. And by the way, I am really very thankful that I listened to God. When I prayed for help the other day all I kept thinking was, "Ask S." That's what God wanted me to do! He gave me this wonderful husband for a reason, people!

Now I just need to give myself permission to sew. EVEN if there is laundry that needs to be put up. And EVEN if there are toys that need to be sorted. It doesn't have to be for the whole day, but surely I can carve an hour or 2 out of the day to work on stuff.

I mean, I HAVE to...it's already December 3! And boy would I rather be here at home working on a gift for a loved one than in the stores fighting crowds and spending a bunch of money!

How's your Christmas present getting going? (Read that again, it really does make sense!)


Fitness Friday Assignment: Tell us about your best feature! NOT your wonderful sense of humor or your fun personality...I want to know what you LIKE about your body. Our self esteem is not completely shot just b/c we are heavier or more out of shape than we want to be. Come on...think hard. What do you like about the way you look?

Monday, December 1, 2008

What God Had Up His Sleeve

You know how exciting it is to give a really cool gift to your children? It's so fun to think about how their face will look when they see what they got--especially when that something is totally unexpected. That's one of the things I like about Christmas.

Well, turns out God has been working on a very cool surprise for two of his children as well.

But before I tell you about that....let's go back in time, shall we? When I was in 8th grade my church youth group drove to San Antonio and attended a retreat at a church there. When I walked up to the registration table, I noticed the girl sitting there was left handed like me. And, we've been friends ever since.

We spent that weekend together and became pen pals. Real, actual pen pals with pen and paper and envelopes and stamps and the whole thing. We wrote our way through 8th grade, and all of high school and college (spotty during college but we were so busy being cool you know! HA!). We saw each other in person maybe twice a year; summer camp, retreats, things like that.

I was in her wedding, right after my own and soon afterward we both got e-mail and we continued being pen pals, thankfully with a keyboard this time. I saw her a few years after our weddings for one evening when she was in town for a friend's wedding. Other than that, we have just written. We've written our way through our school schedules, guys we liked, my parents are driving me crazy....all the way through pregnancies, miscarriages, baby names, new jobs, moves, potty training, and learning to be godly wives....we've written our way through it all.

But we have never lived in the same city. And since we got married, we haven't even lived in the same state. So it came to pass that 11 years went by without us seeing each other. I've looked up the price of plane tickets to her state and closed the door on that thought real quick!

But God delights in blessing His children.

And so it came to pass that I glanced at Facebook one day and noticed her husband's status line indicated they were in Texas. Specifically, they were 2 hours away from where I was going to be after Thanksgiving. And I KNOW God was smiling as it dawned on us that we just might actually get to see each other live and in person again! That our kids just might get to meet each other (and we to meet each other's kids!) Our Heavenly Father must have felt like I do when I have a really great surprise for my children.

I couldn't sleep for two nights I was so excited. And guess what? We really didn't have much "catching up" to do at all. She's more caught up on my life than some of my friends I see all the time! Truth is, we've stayed caught up really well. So it was just a nice day at McDonald's for some old friends....
and some new ones.
And what it really was, was an unexpected blessing from a very loving Father.