Wednesday, April 16, 2014
Last Fall we ripped out our wooden deck and dreamt of replacing it with concrete. All Winter we have waited and today we finally poured a patio!
It must be said that this is a huge undertaking for us NON DIYers. We bought this house last Summer and it was lovely to not have to do anything at all to it. A contractor had bought it 2 years before and redone the whole thing. I have enjoyed this new home of ours immensely!
The only thing for us to do is work on our backyard which we are both really excited about. We have made some garden beds and now have the patio finished. We planted blackberries, raspberries, grapes and a trumpet vine last Summer and the berry plants are just starting to sprout! Our back fence is a hideous chain link with barbed wire on the top because of having the city water tower right behind us so we are hoping all the vines will cover the fence all across the back.
The concrete truck driver asked if the kids were out of school for the day and I told him this was our school for the day!
Grace couldn't help but get in there! She and the boys poured a little extra pad since we had a bit extra. She worked so diligently on this for most of the afternoon. They helped clean up too. Family work project!
It is not perfect but we had a great time working together and learned a lot. We should have poured it more wet and we should have finished the stairs before moving on to the rest of the patio so there would have been less "rough spots". Micheal was pretty disappointed at first but I was just thrilled that WE DID IT! The plan was to stamp and stain it but by the time we got to finishing it, the concrete was too dry. We ended up with a broom finish. Oh, well! You live and learn right?!
You can see the two small garden beds in the back left of the picture and then behind that is the kids' fort. :)
Progress! I am so excited to pull the forms off tomorrow, make strawberry lemonade and relax all Summer!
Cheers to fun home projects!
I hear: the humming of our neighbor's lawn mower.
I see: small sprouts coming out of the earth. Bloom, my friends! Bloom!
I smell: the dirt as I crouch down and pull weeds.
I feel: the rocks on my tender feet. Go get shoes on I say to myself. But it feels so nice to have the sun's warmth on my body I don't want to go inside.
I taste: A fresh salad with strawberries and pecans.
It's Spring! The sun shines down and beckons us all to come outside! To enjoy her company. To set the seedlings out and pray they don't die. To pull another weed and pray they do die! To put the sprinkler under the trampoline. To watch as one child is hesitant to get soaked while the other jumps right in, not a thought otherwise. To make forts of tarps and random objects found.
Get outside! Enjoy this new season upon us!
Tuesday, April 15, 2014
I just turned on our computer after it being off since last Wednesday. Seriously what a fantastic week of not having the distraction of a glowing screen. :)
Sister got a much needed bigger bike. She added a plastic water bottle to it to make it sound like a motorcycle. The 3 oldest cruised around the block as a motorcycle gang.
We stayed home on Sunday because of sick kids and studied together as a family. Nothing makes my heart more happy.
While cleaning out the garage, August found the Bob books. He now memorizes books. ;) It has been adorable to listen to.
Dinner alfresco style!
And that's all folks!
Wednesday, April 9, 2014
This week flew right on by! I barely had the camera out but managed to get a couple "group" shots. Not full groups, but I don't know if many moments go by without at least 2 of them joined up for something.
August is the most wild, everywhere, energetic kid I have! Plus he loves to get his photo taken so it's like his antennas are up and if there is a camera anywhere in sight, he's getting in on that picture taking action! Usually adding a funny face or in this case, just plain nuts! Such a silly and fun boy.
Sometimes in life we need a little nudge to just go for it! Big sister doesn't have a problem helping her little bro out a bit. ;)
Once again, August was the one that stuck with this the longest. He can hang with the best of them or be all by himself. He is so much like his father. Can't wait to see what this boy does in his life.
P.S. I honestly can't believe we are in week 15 of 2014!!
I have been meditating on this verse today:
So teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.
Monday, April 7, 2014
Last Spring I started to think toward the next "school year" and therefore was contemplating, more than anything, what curriculum to buy and use.
The Lord prompted me to pray about it, so I did.
He ended up leading us in a completely different direction than I had anticipated and what a great year it has been!
First off, I didn't buy a curriculum. What??!! Yep, you read that right. We didn't follow someone else's idea of what to do in a year of school. We did our own thing.
Next, the Lord quietly spoke that we were not to do any extras. No sports. No gymnastics. No music class. No co op. Nothing that put me behind the wheel, driving the kids to and fro to this and that activity.
It has been a quiet year at home with my children. We continued in our studies of U.S. History; presidents, events, wars, people, states, capitols, etc.
I found that I kept coming across unschooling or life learning articles and books to read. I especially loved the book, Free to Learn by Peter Gray. There were times that I felt the kids had more freedom than the regular idea of school permits and that I was alright with in the past, but I saw and kept track by journaling that they were indeed reading books, studying numbers and by all accounts.... learning!! I have felt the need to continue in my own learning more and more too. Not only for the fact that it is just fun to learn, but I want to have more wisdom and thoughts to share with them too!
We have gone to a couple of plays, with another one this month. Culture is good! We have gone swimming and skating and to the movies all as a family. We have enjoyed time at home building, cooking, baking, cleaning, organizing, playing music, taking pictures (kids and me), gardening, and being free to play how we all wanted. The kids are in our van right now, playing that that is their home. I have mentioned I would like to sell it so they are getting as much time playing in it as they can!
We have read books aloud and read alone in bed at night. The kids have stayed up late some nights with an idea of a restaurant, cooking and making signs and menus. They have stayed up late watching movies and whispering to each other. Most of us are night owls and it has worked out well for us to "do school" later in the evening when they have all their wiggles out and the cooking and cleaning are done and baby is asleep.
All this to say..... trust the process. I see my kids reading, interested in numbers and life and how things work. They are not "broken". We have learned and enjoyed ourselves immensely. We have grown. We have seen new things. Met new people. Learned new concepts. Figured out new ways of doing life. And we are all the better for it!
It has been a fantastic year!
Now, I realize that the traditional school year is not over but I feel a transition in our own home right now. We are out and about more. Going on field trips. Thinking about signing up for t-ball or soccer. Serving in ministries. And it all feels right. I see that we are moving out of one season of life and right into a new one. God is like that. It is not always BIG transitions but small ones that keep life moving along.
I have been praying that God would show us what this new season or school year will look like. Do I buy a curriculum? Do we sign up for activities? Do we keep going with what we were doing last year?
I feel like He wants to do something new this year. Something different than last year. I feel a push to really be apart of our community and serve others. I feel a need for a little more structure for our studies. I feel a need to get my kids into activities that will encourage and stretch them. To have them learn from others. To get outside of their comfort zones. To get me out of my comfort zone!
But in all this, I know that whatever it is that God guides us to and through, it will be good, because He is good and desires more for us. More love. More living in His Spirit. More service. More growth. So much MORE!
God says that He came that we may have life, and that we may have it more abundantly! Well, by golly I want some abundant life!
I pray we all take some time to search and know what it is that God is calling and leading us into.
Staying with what He has been doing through you? Moving you onto something new? Something challenging? Something you may not want to do? Something you have been itchin' to do for ages now?!
Lean into God. He will direct you. It may look different than what you have planned but trust Him and in that process of learning to trust Him you will have grown and who doesn't want a little growth in their life? He will give you peace with what He calls you to.
I waited patiently for the LORD; and He inclined to me, and heard my cry.
.... and set my feet upon a rock, and established my steps. He has put a new song in my mouth - Praise to our God; many will see it and fear, and will trust in the LORD. Blessed is that man who makes the LORD his trust....
~ Psalm 40: 2-4a
I have learned that although I love hearing from other people; their opinions and experiences, the most guidance and peace I have received for my own circumstances have come from God. He loves when we ask of Him! He loves to share His wisdom and ways with us! We just need to go to Him....