Monthly Archives: September 2007

First Week Of School

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Well, we’ve had two weeks of school thus far, and we’re all really enjoying it. It’s fun – I feel more like a *real* homeschool mom now, and I’m very pleased with how our little schedule is working out.  I totally changed what I was doing when I realized I was dealing more and more with fidgeting girls the way I was doing it before.  So I have taken the advice I gave someone else, and broken up our mornings in 30 minute increments with lots of physical play to get the wiggles out.  I feel a bit like I run a preschool – well, actually I suppose I do! Here’s our school time:

930- I sit down to nurse Alyssa (with my much needed cup of chocolate/coffee). Isabelle sits with me and we do her phonics with TATRAS, while the little girls play semi-quietly in the living room. I’m very happy with TATRAS, and Isabelle is just soaking it up SO quickly. She’s grown a ton in her reading already. 

10- we sit down for circle time, which is when we do our Bible stuff.  The girls practice their memory verses (a new one each week), and we say the "kindergarten rules" mommy made up. They all hold up three fingers and recite together: 1. Be happy 2. Be kind 3. Obey mommy – then the two big girls recite it with a bit more detail: 1. Honor and obey mommy 2. Be kind to my sisters 3. Rejoice in all things.  I created these rules after realizing the need for them the first day! We pray together – I pray first, then each girl has a turn to pray for two things of her choosing (I help the littler two girls).  Juliette repeats this prayer I made up for her each day: "Dear God, thank you for this day. Help me to be happy. Help me to obey. Amen". We read our Bible passage for the day (we’re going through one "piece" of Psalm 119 each week) and talk about it, then read our Bible story. If we have any extra minutes, the kids can pick a Bible story to read, or a part of one of the doorposts charts to read and talk about.

1030 – Game time!  We either play together with some of our school-ish games/toys/puzzles (we’re loving Cariboo, HiHo Cherry-O, and a few others) or we get some energy out with games like Red Light, Green Light (we call it "Stop, Go"), "Duck, Duck, Goose", "Mommy Says", races, etc.  The girls, of course, LOVE this time and it makes sure I really play with them, since that doesn’t come as naturally to me as reading to them.

1100- reading time – we sit together on the couch and read our books for the day – those on our Winter Promise schedule as well as chosen storybooks. Alyssa’s usually back to bed by now.

1130 – Craft Time – Most days we have a little craft on the Winter Promise schedule – otherwise I get out some paper and scissors, coloring pages, or playdoh.  I do these together with the girls which, again, keeps me accountable to doing something which I don’t necessarily love, but they do. During this time, little Juliette rests on the couch and Alyssa’s back to bed, so it’s just the bigger three girls and me.

We try to read more stories as we have time after lunch. And at naptime, Isabelle and I have one half-hour of "Big Girl" school time. We rotate between one day each for: drawing, little K French Primer, Math Games (from RightStart) and Milly-Molly-Mandy stories for her to narrate back.  And of course in the evening we have more Bible stories during family worship with daddy.

This schedule has lots of movement and it’s working very well right now for us. Each time I remind the girls of the "Three School Rules" I also remind them that if we have to use up lots of time for corrections, we won’t have so much time for crafts and games (I always keep the Bible and reading times), so they’re working very hard not to fuss with eachother. All in all, we’re having lots of fun together! Here are some pictures (I couldn’t really take pictures of myself reading to them, but these I could do).

Circle/Bible Time 

Nao playing chess (well, playing with the pieces, anyway)

Isabelle was SO excited and proud the first time she was able to copy the whole pattern to build this elephant tower!

Hannah making lacing bead necklaces

Pretending to "sew"

Juliette just loves any game from the school games cupboard!

This watch and my little school notebook keep my brain working!

 

Well, not so much school, but I couldn’t help showing off Alyssa in her cute new outfit from a friend – thanks Susan – it’s cozy and adorable!

My two littles ones

Craft time would probably never have happened had it not been on our Winter Promise schedule – I’m naturally NOT crafty. But the girls, as you can see, are loving it!  These are hippos made by using a potato as a paint stamp.

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Happy Birthday Little Belle!

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Well, I am no longer the mother of five children under five!  My little Belle is not so little anymore – here are some pictures of the celebration of her big day last week.  It’s so amazing to me to see how she’s grown. So often Matt and I will comment to eachother that she doesn’t seem so much like a little girl now – she says such grown up things!  She has also become such a help to me, and I am so thankful for her!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy birthday, my sweet Belle!

Only In Him

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Sometimes I have days which show me so clearly what a miserable sinner I am!  Today was definitely one of them.  I had no patience, and I was so easily annoyed (which I suppose is really just a *softer* word for angered) at my girls.  I found myself constantly wanting to "discipline" them because they did something that frustrated me – rather than for their sake, gently guiding them in righteousness. Tough to guide anyone in righteousness when I’m being so unrighteous! And I found that I was showing very little physical affection and comfort to them.  I think I was just a lousy mom today.  I have this tendency to find myself trying to do my job on my own strength, and then find myself failing miserably at doing so!  Lately I’ve been struggling with how to use my quiet time well and as such I find that I’ve been either skipping that time in the Word or reading by rote – neither of which really tends toward renewing my strength in Him.  But as I sat here feeling wretched this evening, I was reminded of a devotional I read last week that was so challenging and encouraging to me.  It’s by Spurgeon:

"From Me is thy fruit found."—Hosea 14:8.

UR fruit is found from our God as to union. The fruit of the branch is directly traceable to the root. Sever the connection, the branch dies, and no fruit is produced. By virtue of our union with Christ we bring forth fruit. Every bunch of grapes have been first in the root, it has passed through the stem, and flowed through the sap vessels, and fashioned itself externally into fruit, but it was first in the stem; so also every good work was first in Christ, and then is brought forth in us. O Christian, prize this precious union to Christ; for it must be the source of all the fruitfulness which thou canst hope to know. If thou wert not joined to Jesus Christ, thou wouldst be a barren bough indeed.
Our fruit comes from God as to spiritual providence. When the dew-drops fall from heaven, when the cloud looks down from on high, and is about to distil its liquid treasure, when the bright sun swells the berries of the cluster, each heavenly boon may whisper to the tree and say, "From me is thy fruit found." The fruit owes much to the root—that is essential to fruitfulness—but it owes very much also to external influences. How much we owe to God’s grace-providence! in which He provides us constantly with quickening, teaching, consolation, strength, or whatever else we want. To this we owe our all of usefulness or virtue.
Our fruit comes from God as to wise husbandry. The gardener’s sharp-edged knife promotes the fruitfulness of the tree, by thinning the clusters, and by cutting off superfluous shoots. So is it, Christian, with that pruning which the Lord gives to thee. "My Father is the husbandman. Every branch in Me that beareth not fruit He taketh away; and every branch that beareth fruit He purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit." Since our God is the author of our spiritual graces, let us give to Him all the glory of our salvation.

C. H. Spurgeon

Hosea 14

A Plea to Return to the LORD

 1Return, O Israel, to the LORD your God,
   for you have stumbled because of your iniquity.
2Take with you words
   and return to the LORD;
say to him,
   "Take away all iniquity;
accept what is good,
   and we will pay with bulls
    the vows of our lips.
3 Assyria shall not save us;
    we will not ride on horses;
and we will say no more, ‘Our God,’
   to the work of our hands.
 In you the orphan finds mercy."

 4I will heal their apostasy;
    I will love them freely,
   for my anger has turned from them.
5 I will be like the dew to Israel;
    he shall blossom like the lily;
   he shall take root like the trees of Lebanon;
6his shoots shall spread out;
   his beauty shall be like the olive,
   and his fragrance like Lebanon.
7They shall return and dwell beneath my shadow;
   they shall flourish like the grain;
they shall blossom like the vine;
   their fame shall be like the wine of Lebanon.

 8O Ephraim, what have I to do with idols?
   It is I who answer and look after you

I am like an evergreen cypress;
    from me comes your fruit.

 9  Whoever is wise, let him understand these things;
   whoever is discerning, let him know them;
for the ways of the LORD are right,
   and the upright walk in them,
   but transgressors stumble in them.

Little Wee Babies

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Have I ever mentioned how much I love babies?  I do, I do, I just love them!  I always have.  I remember saying in the fourth grade that I wanted to be an obstetric nurse.  My teacher asked me why not a doctor, and I said that I thought nurses got to hold the babies more (how I knew that in the fourth grade I’m not too sure . . . ) I spent my teen years babysitting and working in church nursery as often as I could. I used to think I’d have two or maybe three babies, but obviously God had different plans!  I don’t know how many we will have, but I’m relatively certain that when God says our quiver is full (through whatever means He uses to do so), I will have to foster babies or something, as I just can’t imagine not having babies about!  Before we had our girls I used to work in a large metropolitan hospital.  I was going through nursing school, and I worked in the maternity and neo-natal unit as a nursing assistant.  It was just a dream job for someone like me (before I was able to be a mommy, that is!) I got paid to hold and care for teeny tiny babies! But I think it was deceptive.  Since I worked with neo-nates for four years (even though it was obviously different babies all the time), I think my mind somehow translated that to mean that babies stay little babies for four years.  Already, though, I’m noticing that my wee Alyssa is not a "newborn" anymore.  I know this is cliche, but it truly is amazing how quickly these little ones change!  Though I’ve loved each age, and at each stage I find myself thinking it’s in some way my new favorite, there are days I’d love it if I could just keep my girls as little babies snuggled up in my arms forever.  Then I realize that’s not the way it’s supposed to be, and our task as mothers is to lead our little ones into maturity when they’re big ones.  I suppose it’s just a good reminder to me to cherish the moments – each soft baby snuggle, little cooing noise and nighttime nursing is one closer to when my babies aren’t babies anymore. I don’t really have any point to all of this – just thinking about babies tonight.  Can you tell I like my new baby?  She cooed and smiled right at me tonight –  I think it was the first time. Here’s a picture of her making my favorite little noise – the one where she’s not crying, but sort of saying "nyaahhh" to the world.  I’m sure that makes no sense, and of course you can’t hear the noise she was making in this picture.  But I never said I intended to make sense tonight . . .

Pictorial Ode To My Juliette

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This has been such a fun week!  We celebrated Isabelle’s fifth birthday as well as our first week of kindergarten-school, and we’ve so enjoyed it all!  Hopefully soon I will have a chance to write and post pictures about both of these, but for tonight I couldn’t resist posting this little "slideshow" of my Juliette.  I know all parents think their kids are the most endearing in the world, and I suppose I’m no different .  I was trying to get one good portrait-type shot of Juli in her little outfit from grandma, and I ended up loving the different facial expressions of each picture I tried. So here are some pictures of our silly little Noodle:

 

 

 

 

 

The Bizarre-O World Of My Police Department

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In a city where everything seems either twenty years behind the times or just plain backwards I found this story to be an exemplary sample of the bizarre.  A goodly and concerned citizen noticed that somebody in the neighborhood had a small fire burning in their backyard. As this fire posed a potentially dangerous threat to the area homes but was not actually an emergency, the concerned citizen opted (to his credit) not to call 911, but rather to make the more prudent decision to go to the phone book, find the nearest fire station, and call them to report the situation. I must say it is rare that someone has the calm repose to not call 911 and clog up the lines with non-emergency traffic…Literally 80% of the 911 calls go something like this:

 Operator: “ 911 what’s your emergency?”

 Citizen: “Well it’s really not an emergency….but, uh, my neighbor’s dog has been barking for an hour or so and I can’t sleep….” Or “my neigbor’s rooster is crowing again . . .”

 You can add whatever you want to after the “but,” in the preceding sentence, but I digress…back to the story at hand. Well, what did our Fire Department do, you might ask? Well, they called the Police Department to have us go and reslove it. The officer who was assigned this call sat and stared, bewildered, at the screen for a moment before responding. On his way to the call he had to drive by the fire station that the citizen had initially called. He said he wanted to check it out just to see if perhaps the firemen had removed the “fire” portion of the sign from the side of the building, so that it just said “department” instead…..it didn’t.  He even noticed that they still had “fire” written on the side of all their vehicles too….huh.

 Needless to say he brought this to our supervisors attention, just in case there was a change of job description that we were not aware of such as: “Police Officers will now respond to fires first and make sure it’s safe for the firemen to uh…..fight…fires?” Anyway, there was no change of policy. In fact we did still have a policy that stated: “The fire department will be dispatched to handle all open fires within the city limits and they will assume “incident command” of the situation. Police will only respond if there is criminal activity suspected.” Now, you may notice how odd this was, on so many different levels. If you haven’t I will point some out for you.

 1. A police officer was dispatched to fight the fire.

2. The police officer was sent to handle the fire at the request of the local fire department by a dispatcher (who dispatches both fire and police calls).

3. This was apparently not even considered odd by the dispatcher who sent the Officer to the call.

4. The Police Officer had to drive past the fire department on the way to the call – meaning the fire guys were closer to the fire than the Officer was.

5. Sending a Police Officer to handle the fire was a violation of a written policy.

6. There was someone who anticipated that there would actually be some confusion as to who should respond to a fire (the police or the fire department) and decided to draft a policy determining jurisdiction.

Hmmmmmmm…..

So good citizens, rest assured knowing that somebody will come to fight your fires. Maybe it will be the Police, maybe the Street Department, maybe Animal Control, or maybe even the Fire Department. We’ll get it all sorted out somehow and I’m sure there will be a written policy outlining just what to do in case of a fire. Well, at least we’ve always got a little something to chuckle at . . .