Sunday, November 16, 2014

Evie will be one on Tuesday.  We celebrated this weekend because during the week there are many nights that Evie is either already in bed or, at the very least, exhausted, by the time Scott gets home, so it made more sense to celebrate early. 

 In light of her coming birthday, I sat down last night after the kids were in bed, and I read back through the small handful of posts I have written over the past year.  And even though the posts were few and far between, I was so glad to have them to look back on.  Upon that realization, I press on with the blog...

I am not a big birthday party planning person.  I am big into celebrating my children, but I get very overwhelmed by the details of a birthday party.  I get very overwhelmed by the details of anything.   I also put a lot of thought into what my children will remember; what things we are marking as important to our family.  And I have realized that what is important to me about any of our birthdays is to celebrate the part each individual plays in our family.  So, we have, rather unintentionally, settled into a tradition of having fun family days for each of our birthdays.  If one of my children specifically asks for a birthday party, then I am fine with that, but I like to give them a little nudge toward choosing an activity instead.  It has become a fun time to go into Atlanta and do something that we would not normally do.  So far, to celebrate birthdays, we have gone to the aquarium, the children's museum, the American Girl store, and yesterday we visited Pink Pig at Lenox Mall.  Each of those outings also included a fun lunch out in Atlanta.  And John has put in a request to go see dinosaur bones for his February birthday, so a trip to Fernbank is forthcoming.  I am hoping this is a tradition that sticks because it has become a great way for us to step back from the daily grind and just have FUN together, and it doesn't involve the stress of planning a birthday party (because, like I said, party planning is NOT my strength). 

Because Evie's birthday is November, we thought we could combine her birthday with another Moore family tradition and visit Atlanta's Pink Pig ride at Macy's in Lenox mall.  John's first Christmas, we received tickets to the Pink Pig (not being from Atlanta, I knew nothing about it), and Ada has asked to go back each year.  It was a fun day, and it was fun to go to Lenox for the day.  I have fond memories of Lenox, because when I was first a stay at home mom still living in Atlanta, I realized that Lenox mall is very empty on weekday mornings, and I needed Ada to nap, so I would load Ada into the car, she would fall asleep on the way to the mall, I would put her car seat into her stroller, and she would nap while I strolled around Lenox, practically having the mall to myself.  I didn't realize how much visiting the mall would bring back those memories, but I was a little bit overwhelmed by the nostalgia.  Anyway...

 
 

On the way home from Atlanta, we stopped by Krispy Kreme donuts, and for her birthday, Evie had her first bite of a hot now Krispy Kreme donut.  She loved it, obviously.  What's not to love.


Bless her little heart, Evie pea was exhausted by the time we got home, AND we had already had donuts, so we decided to wait until Sunday afternoon for cupcakes and presents.  (I confess, the only reason I even gave her any presents was because Ada and John each wanted to give her something.  AND a friend gave us a really precious hand-me-down baby doll that her girls hadn't played with, so that was her birthday gift from us).  And the only reason I even really did the cupcakes/singing happy birthday scene was because I wanted a picture for the record books.  Plus, of course, Ada and John insisted.  I had the birthday candle from MY first birthday, and I really wanted a picture of that.  So, after lunch today, we put her in her highchair, grabbed the cupcake, recorded a quick video, and snapped some pictures.  Evie seemed very overwhelmed, and she wouldn't even touch her cupcake until we fed her some bites with a fork. 


 
 
 
Of course I have many thoughts and reflections about this first year that I hope to blog about, but I feel relieved to have the first birthday celebration recorded.  Though struggling, the little blog lives on...

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

In My Weakness

Life is a little bit hard right now.  I am not exactly excelling at the job, "homeschooling, mother of three."  And there is this voice in my head that always says you can't complain because you signed up for this gig.  No one forces me to homeschool.  In fact, there is a public elementary school within walking distance of my house.  Sometimes I pitch these tiny (and not so tiny) fits because I want that to be my calling.  I want to be called to public school.  Instead I feel called to classical conversations, and most days I am thankful for that.  I really am.  It's such a contradiction.  In the exact moment that I am crying out to God to give me the energy to get through one more minute because I am so, hang-my-head exhausted, I am also whispering a prayer of thanksgiving that I live in a place where I have this freedom.  I have this choice.  I just don't feel gifted in these areas.  I am not organized.  I never felt pulled towards the elementary age.  Give me high schoolers, and I feel much more in my element.  And in my secret of secret places, I dreamed of teaching at the college level.  But here I am, "L says..." with my four year old.  And he dumped all gazillion of the rubber bands out on the school room floor today.  And Evie has gone back to 45 minute naps during this stage of crawling and putting every single small, choking hazard type object into her mouth.  And Ada has developed the habit of rolling her eyes, but when I call her on it, she claims, "I don't know that I am doing it," and I wave the white flag.  Evie is nine months old, and I wave the white flag.  I am not getting better at parenting three.  In fact, I think I am getting worse. 

I think it is a good thing, though, maybe, for my children to have a front row view of my brokenness.  Maybe?  Because all pretense of having it all together ended a long time ago.  This morning alone, I yelled, apologized, yelled, apologized, yelled again, apologized again.  And I tell them, his grace doesn't run out.  I am going to fail them again and again and again and again and again.  He won't.  And we keep preaching the gospel to ourselves.  I tell them, He did it perfectly.  He was the perfect seven year old.  He got it right every time.  In our place, knowing we were failures, he got it right.  And then, in our place, he took the punishment. 

I am exhausted, ya'll.  It's exhausting to never, ever have a break from motherhood.  But this is what he has called me to do, and I keep reminding Him, "you're power is made perfect in my weakness!"  It is my mantra.  Because I have never been more weak.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Still Choosing Joy

I am back to list some more. 

I am thankful for

1.  summer time.  We were burned out back in June when we declared that first grade was done, but now after plenty of staying up late to play outside, sleeping in, swimming in the pool and at the beach, and just plain lazing around, we are ready to get back to a schedule.  I am thankful that God provides rest.  Rest in Him and what he has done AND tangible rest. 

2.  our homeschool room.  It is small, but it is also just right.  It is the random little room in our old house that seems picked out just for our school room.  The best part--so much natural light to keep our spirits high.  No more packing up my school stuff off of the dining room table so that we can eat dinner every night.  It feels like a luxury to have an entire room dedicated just to school.


3.  summer produce.  Berries and tomatoes and watermelon and peaches, and I could go on and on.  An abundance.


4.  sleeping Evie and crying Evie and an Evie who is attached to me ALL OF THE TIME.  It is claustrophobic and draining, but it is also intoxicating to have this precious girl.  We all love her so much, and she knows it ;)  She has an adoring audience that always surrounds her.

5.  .99 iced coffee.  Just the thing to get me through a long, sleepy afternoon.  And it is just around the corner from my house.  On that note, we are eagerly waiting for the brand new chick-fil-a to open "just around the corner from my house."  So, lots of little treats close by.


6.  Today specifically, I am thankful for free kids meals for Ada and John--a library summer reading prize.  We are going out tonight!!

I honestly could go on and on. 

OH!!  7.  I am thankful for supplements that my mom sent that I just started taking yesterday, and already I feel WAY more energized and my mood is much improved. 

Again, I could go on and on and on...  God has given in abundance.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Choosing Joy

I don't think anyone really reads blogs anymore.  I don't really, except to quickly see what is on sale at what grocery store, and does that even really count?  It's all about instagram and facebook, right?  But this has always been a place for me to put down my stones of rememberance.  To force myself to stop and look and see what God is doing right here in my everyday--a record of his faithfulness to me and my crew.

I am wading through some heavy duty post-partum "feelings" these days as I try to work out an appropriate treatment plan.  The medication I was on, only seemed to make the situation worse, so I am now trying to go off of said medication and try a more natural route, via essential oils and supplements.  Currently I am waiting on the EOs and supplements to arrive in the mailbox, and in the mean time I fighting some crazy emotions.  Lucky Scott ;)  Lucky Ada, John, and Evie ;)  And lucky my mother who I am currently calling on a daily basis to say, "tell me it's all going to be okay."  And, can we all nod in agreement that this dinner time, bath time, fussy baby, fussy mama, will daddy ever be home from work, time of day can do a number on the joyful feelings.  Right?

So...I am jumping back into blogging with a little list of things I am thankful for.  And I am going to most likely do that daily, not because I think anyone will read this, but because God sees me, even in my mess, and I want to force myself to stop and see that fact. 

Here I go.  I didn't even plan to write this many words.  I was just going to list.

1.  Microwave bacon marked down at Kroger today.  I didn't have one single clue what we were going to eat for dinner tonight, but we did have fresh tomatoes on the counter, and when I saw that the bacon was marked down (manager's special) to 1.50, I knew that it might not be a healthy dinner, but it would be dinner, and that was good enough.  BLT's it was.  (minus the lettuce.  oops, I forgot to buy the lettuce).

2.  I am thankful for those fresh tomatoes.  On Saturday, I desperately wanted some fresh tomatoes.  And my brain isn't so logical these days, so when we had driven around all over our town, because I thought that surely we would find someone selling fresh tomatoes, but there was not a tomato to be found, I might have cried a tear or two.  (I'm not joking.  Like I said, lucky Scott).  Well, Sunday morning someone brought tomatoes to church to give away.  I was home with a sick Evie, and Scott, Ada, and John walked in, home from church, each holding a big, fresh tomato in their hand.   Ada said, "guess what, someone was selling fresh tomatoes at church today.  And they were free!!" ;)

God sees me.

3.  I am thankful that mom suggested, because Ann has been trying this, that I require my children to have an hour of quiet time in the afternoons.  I have always wanted to enforce something like that, but it felt so impossible to do, but for the sake of my sanity, for the past two days, Ada and John have been required to spend an hour in their room while Evie takes her afternoon nap.  Ada has to quietly read for the first 30 minutes, but she can quietly play for the last 30 minutes.  John is allowed to quietly play for the entire hour.  They are not allowed to come out of their room unless it is an emergency.  (I am finding that their definition of emergency and my definition of emergency are two different things).  Miraculously--praise the Lord--it has worked really well the past two afternoons, and wow!  that quiet hour.  It is good for my soul.

4.  She Reads Truth.  I downloaded this app which has made daily bible study so simple and so easy to do, but at the same time, it is a very rich, in depth study of God's word.  I am always desperate for God's word, but I feel especially desperate for it these days.  Check it out and download it.  It's so great. 

So, there you go.  This list is my version of stopping and taking a deep breath and reigning in these feelings that threaten to get away from me. 

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Writing

We--the kiddos and I--just finished a three day parent practicum.  Which is just three days of training in how to homeschool with Classical Conversations.  With specific training as an essentials tutor in how to tutor on Community Day--Tuesdays for us.  The day I get to "play teacher" again and remember the old days. 

What does any of that mean?  It means that we are tired.  Down deep in our bones tired.  Want to crawl in the bed and pull the covers over my head and not come out until tomorrow morning tired.  But alas, there are children who do need things from me.  So, instead I will drink diet coke and coffee and get on with the day.  But I will get on with it, slowly, very slowly. 

I am an introvert.  I think?  It's confusing because I am drained of energy when I have been around people all day long for three days.  I mean, completely, empty of any social abilities, drained of energy.  But I also process out loud.  So...a combination? 

Let me just paint a picture really quickly of the past days--Ada, my happy-go-lucky, I love life, oldest daughter, practically ran into her daily classroom (geography drawing) with hardly a glance over her shoulder to say, "I'll see you at lunch."  This morning she said she wished that "day camp" was all summer long instead of just three days.  That was Ada.  John and Evie, however, were literally both attached to me at one point.  When I tried to drop John off in his classroom, he wrapped both his arms and his legs around my leg, meanwhile, I had a clinging Evie in my arms while I juggled a diaper bag, my tutor bag, and a packed full lunch box/cooler, plus a pointless umbrella stroller that only made Evie cry if I put her in it.  I was quite the spectacle.  We were quite the spectacle.  But, I was surrounded by homeschooling mamas, most with multiple children--many with more children than I have--and they were all quick to help me.  So, no one was judging me, everyone was full of grace and full of practical help!!!  And God was gracious because my son who hates crowded situations where he knows no one, also loves to play by himself in his own little world, so, for the most part, it all went as well as it could go, with John staying by my side all three days.  And Evie slept in my arms a few times, so we survived.  I am getting somewhere with this...

Yesterday morning, I found myself in the "mother's room," where two other moms and I had congregated to nurse our fussy babies and let our toddlers/preschoolers get some energy out away from the auditorium that echoed every sound.  So, of course, as women tend to do, we began to talk, and I found out that another mom in there had also been a high school English teacher before she became a homeschooling mom (to five!!  her oldest being severely handicapped--I wanted to sit and talk to her forever soaking up advice!).  So, we were chatting about English--how much we love British literature, poetry, etc. etc., as she nursed her baby and I nursed mine, and she said, "do you write?"  And I laughed and said, "I used to.  Before."  And we both laughed and the third mom laughed and we made the familiar jokes about, "back when we had time and all of these ideals about what life would look like."  But in the midst of the conversation and the jokes, we also talked about the beauty in this--in our children, our nursing babies and birth and getting to homeschool our children.  We said there is beauty, even in, especially in, the mess.  We talked about why we keep having babies--because it's so hard but it is so beautiful.  And, mostly, we talked about God's grace.  How he gives us the grace.  And I realized that I hate that I don't write anymore.  That here in the midst of what is my life and will be my life for a very long time--Lord willing--that I have separated the writer me from the mama me, and can't they be one in the same?  So, maybe I will try to write more.  Maybe?  Maybe I won't; you know how these things go.  But there is beauty here to record, and I want to write down the beauty.  Some people capture it in photographs and in painting and in a million little ways, and I would like to try to capture it in words.  Inadequate words, sure, but it is the process of writing that brings so much joy. 

So this is my attempt to write again.  And maybe next time someone asks, "do you write?"  I will simply say, "yes."

Last night, so tired, and she just wanted her mama.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Ada and the End of First Grade

I have lots that I want to blog about.  To record.  I always have these thoughts crashing around in my brain, so I am going to try to get them onto "paper" in an organized way, but, let's face it, organization is not my strong point.

I am starting with Ada.  Because she finished first grade on Monday, and that deserves a mention on the blog. 
 (dressed for a celebration trip to the splash pad.  She is really excited to say she is now a second grader!)


(oh, you know, just trying to get a picture of all three of them to document our last day of school.  And this is how it goes).

We have come a long way baby, Ada and I.  I think about the sweat and tears that we both put into these first two years of homeschooling, when at times I was convinced that I was doing more damage than good and my child would never read.  It was my first big test--teaching my first child to read--and I was failing, or at least that is how it felt.  And of course God used that, and uses that to reveal sin and idols and all the ways that I wasn't trusting in him and him alone. 

Anyway, here we are at the end of first grade, and she is reading, indeed.  In fact, she really enjoys reading and is reading for pleasure more and more and more.  And last week, she finished her first chapter book that she read completely on her own, simply because she wanted to.  We took a picture, because, hello!!  a big moment for her book-loving mama.  I so hope it is the first of many books she will get lost in over the years.




Ada continues to enjoy school, as Ada enjoys much of life--she is a very happy person--but she is definitely not a perfectionist.  I was a perfectionist when it came to school, so I over and over and over again have to remember that God has created Ada to be Ada and not just a little me.  I pray that he would show me how to best guide and direct her.  I want to teach her excellence without letting my sin of perfectionism get in the way.  Homeschooling is yet another way that God refines me.

Let's see--Ada as a student at the end of first grade--we are still working on being still and focusing.  She is an active little girl--absolutely overflowing with energy--and it is a challenge (to say the least) for her to sit still and pay attention.  But, alas, it is a skill she must learn, so there are times that I allow her to move around and dance and hop while we do school, but there are times that she is required to be still.  I often lose my patience over her lack of self control, and so many days end with my apologizing for snapping at her.  She is so easily distracted, and it drives me CRAZY, but, again, we are working on it. 

It has been a very fun year as Ada really became interested in a lot of the history we were learning.  It has been very rewarding to discuss history with her and look at how, over and over again, history proves our need for the gospel.  We continue to love CC, and the longer we are involved with CC, the more strongly I believe in the classical model of education.  I can get a little intense about it if I start talking about it, so I won't get into it right now ;) 

We have also seen Ada grow as a ballerina.  She LOVES ballet.  She literally sits on the edge of her seat if she is watching ballet on stage, and she has stars in her eyes as she dreams of what her future as a ballerina might look like.  She talks about pointe shoes all of the time, and constantly practices her arabesques and plies and pirouettes.  She also says that when she grows up she will be a ballet teacher.  Ada loves being on stage, and ballet does seem to come naturally for her, so we are also excited to see what the next few years will hold, all while praying that God will help us to see all the ways that he has strengthened Ada (and each of our children) and that we will be good stewards of these little lives.  We always want to remind Ada (and each of our children) that God gives us good things, but God must always be the ultimate thing.

It was a doozy of a school year as we began the year in the midst of a rather difficult pregnancy, a move, and then a newborn baby.  We have limped our way through, though, and gotten it done.  And I end the year with more confidence in who I am and what I believe as a homeschooling mom.  Mostly, I am so very thankful that God allows me to do this.  That for now, I am home with my children and I get to be right here watching as they grow into the people that God has created them to be. 

Friday, April 4, 2014

Adjusting


We are all over here in our little world still adjusting and figuring out this new life of parenting three.  Actually, I think we have pretty much adjusted and forgotten what it was like to not have Evie, and we have settled back into that stage of things are harder because we have an infant, and everyone else in the family seems fine with it all.  I just have these pesky hormones that never seem to settle into any kind of normalcy until I am done nursing, which is still months away, so...there's that.  But we're hanging in there and figuring it out and praying a lot and also calling my mom and sister and friends to say remind that this is normal.  Tell me that how I feel is normal. 

What to report?


Evie is still a stinker, waking up multiple, multiple times a night--every two hours?  And then every once in a while, just to keep me on my toes, she'll sleep all. night. long.  I'm talking 7:00 pm to 6:00 am, and then the next night, back to every two hours.  Who knows?  And she still only naps in 45 minute increments.  Though, again, she likes to switch it up a bit and throw in a long nap every once in a while just to show me how nice it would be if she did that every day ;)  But we sure do love her.  I can't stop kissing her cheeks and her fuzzy head and her little feet.  And in the midst of the hard that comes with parenting, I also still have so many moments of awe that I get to do this.  That I get to be their mom.  I will say it a million times--what a gift to be their mother.  To have these children.

John told us the other night, out of the blue, that when he was a little boy he used to have a different family.  Three brothers, a sister, and another mom and dad.  I asked him about his other mom, and he explained that his other mom is different than me because his other mom is never mean.  I asked him, just to clarify, if I am mean.  And he got this look on his face, like "I hate to tell you this mom, but..." and then he nodded his head yes, so it turns out, if someone asked John to describe me, mean would be one of the adjectives.  Also, his other mom has less freckles than me, except he calls them sprinkles.  By the way, Scott was laughing very hard as John broke the mean news to me.  I made a point to say that I bet his other mom doesn't cook his dinner and do his laundry and find his lost ninja turtle a million times a day.  And to that he explained that his other mom took him to toys r us and bought him LOTS of ninja turtle toys.  So...


We are in a good season of homeschooling, where things are going smoothly.  I don't take that for granted because I know that our hard season will come around again, but I am thankful for this sweet moment in time.  Ada is really loving history these days, and we are reading an autobiography of Corrie Ten Boom, which goes well with lots that we have learned about World War II.  This is my first year to begin to see the fruit of classical education, as Ada begins to make connections.  She hears the words Prime Minister and asks, "Churchill?"  and when she heard in the autobiography that something evil was rising in Germany, Ada answered, "I bet it's Hitler."  I love the conversations that are happening as a result of our Classical Conversations memory work.  It gives me the motivation to press on in the midst of the hard.  And there is plenty of hard, but I want to record the good too.  The fruit of our labor.  Today, she and John were playing outside, and I went to check on them.  They were busy in that bright sunshine playing Corrie Ten Boom, with the back yard gate being the door to their secret room.  In that moment, motherhood was going just as I imagined it would go--my children outside, playing together, acting out scenes about historical heroes of the faith...picture music playing in the background as the stars aligned.  About fifteen minutes later, they were back inside, mad because I wouldn't let them watch cartoons and Ada settled for reading a my little pony book instead--not the same picture ;)  (also, keeping it real, Ada bombed a spelling test today, so there is definitely still hard in the midst of the good ;) ) 



So, life marches on.  And I am thankful for where we are.  There is lots of hard and exhausting and overwhelming during this season, but there is also lots of good and rewarding and sweet.