Thursday, May 29, 2014

Double Digit Multiplication - Success!!!

Okay, so this post is nothing exciting.  It is just a little something that I did with my oldest son today during his math lesson.  Let me just say that he use to LOVE math until multiplication and division came along.  Now, the typical math lesson includes anxiety, frustration, sometimes tears.  We are finishing up math for the year - Hallelujah, Praise the Lord!!!  WE BOTH NEED A BREAK! Today was more review of double digit multiplication.  He was really having a hard time remembering the order and what should go first and second and so on.  He was getting so frustrated that I told him (okay, insisted) that he go to his room and take a break.  I looked at the work, which seemed so simple, and tried to figure out a way to organize it for him. I typed the top number in black and then the bottom numbers in two different colors.  The first was in green and the second was in red.  This allowed his mind to really understand which number to multiply first.  I told him to multiply all the black numbers by the red number first.  Then add the zero and multiply all the black numbers by green.  I reminded him to add both partial products to get the answer. TA-DAH!!!  It worked.  It made so much sense to him.  He just needed it to look more organized and fortunately color coding usually works for him.  He also prefers larger font because his handwriting is large.  Keeping things lined up can be a complete melt down. One more modification that works is only having two problems on a page.  If he sees a page with 10 or 20 problems he will quit before he evens starts.  It doesn't exactly save on paper (or trees) but it helps with his anxiety and my sanity! When things like this work out it makes me want to want to jump, dance, and praise God they way Whoopie Goldberg does in Sister Act!!! It was something small but made such a huge difference!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Kindergarten Graduation

How is this possible?

My handsome second child is graduating from Kindergarten.  He is so proud of himself!!!

This picture pretty much leaves me speechless.  He looks so grown up and mature.  He is my child who loves to hug, squeeze, and cuddle.  Although he loves to push his siblings' buttons, he has a sweet heart and loves to show others his love.  

He told me a couple of months ago, "Mommy, God put me on earth to help others."  It would not surprise me in the least if he grows up to be a firefighter or EMS.  He truly has a heart for helping others and keeping them safe. 

I just love his tender heart.  He has the personality of my husband.  He is strong but always kind to everyone and is growing up with a deep understanding of his Lord.

I am going to stop now because I am getting way too sentimental and teary eyed.

I think it is obvious that I will need meds for senior pictures! :)

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Being Intentional

intentional - done on purpose; deliberate The word "intentional" keeps popping up in my mind, daily blogs I like to read, discussions with friends, and so on.  It was even one of my son's spelling words last week.  I have never really thought much about this word before; but it is definitely making an appearance in my life. I am trying to be intentional with the food I eat.  I recently finished a 10 day sugar detox - it was hard!!!  During those ten days I really had to think about the food I prepared and ate.  Even though the detox was very difficult, I felt so much better.   We are intentionally thinking of what education will look like in our household next year.  The decision to continue homeschooling, keeping all of our kids home, re-do our home school classroom, and joining a Christian co-op have been on the forefront of our thoughts, prayers, and family discussions. I have been intentional about spending quality time with a close friend of mine.  We both have crazy schedules and it is very easy to miss phone calls and texts unless both of us are intentional about the friendship. I have been intentional about having a Bible class for my son at the end of each school day.  It has turned into one of our most favorite subjects.  We have great discussions and there is always a sense of peace during this time. I like the word, intentional.  I like doing things with a purpose.  It makes me feel like I am accomplishing something.  It gives me the same satisfaction as checking things off my to-do list. Does anyone else love checking off items on a to-do list?  Sometimes, I add things to my list after I have done them just so I can check them off....  Yes, I realize that is a bit dorky but what can I say, I am a nerd that way! At least I am an intentional nerd! :)

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Trust in Timing

Seconds... Minutes... Hours... Days... Weeks... Months, years, schedules, calendars, alarms, deadlines, due dates, milestones, our lives revolve around so many elements of time.  There is a time when we have to wake up in order to get to work, school, an appointment.  There is a time for making rehearsals, games, meetings and performances.  There is a time for cleaning the house, getting groceries, running errands, feeding our families.  We even schedule in a specific time to pray. It always amazes me how we get so focused on each minute of the day.  When I taught high school, the classes were scheduled just right to allow for passing periods, lunch shifts, announcements, etc.  For example, the bell to release class would ring at 11:41 and then again at 11:47.  Doesn't that seem extreme?  But it was necessary to get everything in within the school day.  When we pulled my son from public school and began homeschooling, he had such a hard time letting go of that extreme schedule.  He would not eat lunch at 11:00 or 11:30, he had to eat lunch at 11:03 because that is what he was use to at school.  It is crazy if you really stop and think about it; we are programmed, hardwired to trust these exact times. We place a huge amount of trust into each over-scheduled minute of our day.  Yet, we can't seem to trust the timing that should matter most...God's timing.  We get frustrated, angry, and discouraged when we feel God is not following our schedule.  At times we accuse Him of ignoring our prayers because our needs are not being met when WE feel it is the correct time.  I am particularly guilty of this.  I have yelled out to God before because I felt He wasn't moving as fast as I thought he should.  Thankfully, he is a gracious and forgiving God.  :)  I definitely don't handle it well when my own kids take a similar tone with me. We are promised in the Bible that His timing is ALWAYS perfect.  A.L.W.A.Y.S. P.E.R.F.E.C.T. For those of us who are hard headed and slight control freaks (myself included), I will say it again..
His timing is always perfect. He knows the end result, we do not.  He is in control, we are not. It is all in His perfect timing and it will be more beautiful and amazing than we could have ever scheduled. "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.  Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.  You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.  I will be found by you," declares the Lord, "and will bring you back from captivity."  Jeremiah 29:22 "...for it is time to seek the Lord"  Hosea 10:12

Monday, May 19, 2014

Not Such a Mundane Monday

Another Monday, another day of school...I am ready for summer!!!  I have to admit, I wasn't exactly motivated to get our Monday started this morning.  We had a hectic week last week followed by a busy and fun weekend.  The thought of starting the mundane was not appealing.  Plus, with just a couple of weeks of school left, I am losing my stamina.  I have found it doesn't matter if you are teaching in a public, private, or home school, teachers (and moms) are ready for summer just as much as the kids. :) My nine year old is currently working on a large creative writing assignment.  When he is finished, this will be his longest writing assignment to date.  I must let you know that writing is NOT is favorite subject.  It is actually one of his least favorite subjects.  Throughout this school year, I have dreaded just about every writing assignment because I know it is going to be a struggle, sometimes a battle, and almost always miserable.  Gee, don't I sound like a fun mom/teacher? :) HOWEVER, on this Monday, the Monday I did not want to start, the Monday I was dreading because I knew he had this writing assignment, I was shocked, stunned, and amazed!  He sat down and slowly began to work on the assignment.  I held my breath waiting for the whining and debating to begin...but it didn't.  He sat and mouth was on the floor.  I told him I was going to step out of the classroom for a bit to switch the laundry.  I fully expected him to be distracted and off task when I came back to the room.  When I returned I found him working - still working!  His posture and eyes showed nothing but pure focus.  I just stood in the doorway.  I was almost afraid to breath, I didn't want this moment to end.  My son who has such an extremely hard time focusing and who opposes so many assignments, was working his little heart out.  It was a beautiful sight.  I am sure I made God giggle with the countless times I said thank you. He worked by himself for over 30 minutes.  Y'ALL that is not a common thing in our household of ADHD and anxiety.  I am so thankful for this Monday, yes, the Monday I didn't want to start. :) Happy Monday,

Thursday, May 15, 2014

A Servant's Heart Project

Something that is extremely important to my husband and I, is teaching our children to have a servant's heart.  We want them to grow up understanding the importance of helping others and experiencing the blessings that come from giving.  Since my oldest son (9 years old) is currently home schooled, some type of service project fit great with our end of the year schedule. We started a couple of weeks ago.  I mentioned the idea to him in the car one day on our way home.  He loves to help others but like most kids needs an adult to point him in the right direction.  I told him to think of someone he would like to help.  Since he has spent so much time at the cardiology clinic over the years (click here to read about some of his heart history), it did not surprise me that he chose to help kids with heart problems.  I helped him brainstorm for a little bit and he decided he wanted to help children while they are going through an echo cardiogram.  An echo cardiogram is basically a very detailed sonogram of the heart.  It can be quite the challenge to perform on little patients.  It can seem a bit scary, it takes awhile, and the patient has to be very still and quiet.  I can no longer count how many echos my son has had over the years; at times it was a piece of cake and other times it took a team of us to get him to cooperate. His most beloved stuffed animal is a turtle.  We bought it at the hospital gift shop during one of his surgeries.  This turtle has also had many echo cardiograms. :)  He decided small stuffed turtles would be the perfect gift for kiddos having echos.  He thought it would help distract them if they were fidgeting or having a hard time.  He spent the next couple of days researching the best size and priced turtle online.  He wanted something small for younger children and he had to stay within a specific budget. We called his most favorite nurse and asked her when would be the best time to bring the turtles to the clinic.  He wanted to give them directly to her and not leave them at the front desk. :) Today was the big day; the day he completed his Servant's Heart Project.  He was so excited.  With my help, he worked on the computer to print small tags for each turtle and a large tag for the basket.  He used green ribbon (his favorite color) to attach the tags to the turtles.  On each tag was a rhyme he came up with, "If you're scared and can't sit right, hold this tiny turtle tight."  He held the basket of turtles all the way to the hospital.  He could have placed it on the floor but I could tell he didn't want anything to happen to them.

When we got to the clinic, the nurses made such a big deal out of him and his delivery.  He had his picture taken and told the story of his project to several people.  He was fortunate enough to watch two small patients (who were having a very difficult time) receive his turtles.  He was beaming when he realized how much he helped those children.  He told the nurse he wants to refill the basket when it is empty.  He said, "Yep, this is not one of those one-time deals."  She asked him about the details, who should receive the turtles, what age, and so on.  They agreed the turtles would go to first time patients, those who are having a hard time sitting still, and patients receiving bad news.  The morning was absolutely priceless.
This is Paige, his all time favorite nurse.  They always talk about turtles during his appointments.

On our way out he talked and talked about how great it felt to help out.  He was so happy and my heart was bursting!
"Well done, good and faithful servant."  Matthew 25:21
This Bible verse reminds me of one of the most faithful servants, my grandfather (Warren Johnson).  He passed away a few years ago and our family misses him dearly.  Every time I think of a good servant of God, he comes to my mind.  Today, I got to see my grandfather's qualities in my son and it was beautiful.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

My Little Ballerina

Today was my daughter's dress rehearsal for her very first recital.  She was absolutely beautiful in her costume.  I wasn't sure how she would feel about being on such a big stage.  We were both so excited about the event and ended up having a wonderful "girls only" afternoon. She did a fantastic job at rehearsal and enjoyed pretty much every moment of it (except when she thought her lipstick had worn off). :) I will let the pictures tell the story.  :)
I actually took this picture after dress rehearsal.  I need to edit that horrible glare on the side but other than that this is one of my all time favorite pictures.  :)

At home, waiting to leave.

Posing for Mommy

Such a little girl on such a big stage. :)


Having a great time.

We just loved our girly afternoon!!!

Monday, May 12, 2014

One Day I Will Miss This...

I hope everyone had a wonderful Mother's Day.  My day was great.  I spent the morning loving on babies in the church nursery.  It is one of my most favorite things to do!  When I came home the kids sent me on a "flower hunt" (their term) to find three bouquets of flowers.  Each child recited a riddle which led me to the flowers.  It was so cute listening to the riddles and watching them stumble over their words.  Later that day, we went to church and listened to a great Mother's Day message from our pastor's wife. It was a much needed message for my ears and especially my heart.  All in all, my day was great.  Oh, I almost forgot, you might be wondering if I got my Mother's Day wish... Ok, you probably really don't want to know but I am going to tell you any way.  The first person to follow me to the restroom was my husband of all people!!!  The apples don't fall far from the tree in this house! :) The kids and I had a great moment in the car today.  Maybe it seemed extra special because Mother's Day just happened or maybe because I am really trying to use the points from the sermon yesterday, but I was feeling extra sentimental.  We were playing Red Car, Blue Car (you know, where you shout out any time you see a blue or red car on the road).  This is the perfect game for my family... it is loud! :)  The kids were really getting in to when I realized one of my favorite songs was playing on the radio.  It is a country song by Trace Atkins called, "You're Gonna Miss This".  The words to this song are just perfect for moms.  It reminds me to try and enjoy each season of life.  As hard as things seem right now there will come a day when I miss the craziness of our family life.  The interesting part was that my radio is never on country, it is always on K-Love (Christian station).  I absolutely do not remember changing the station.  At that moment, I stopped playing the game and I looked at each of my kids in the rear view mirror.  I tried to freeze the moment and capture each detail in my memory.  These crazy days will not always be around.  As tired, overwhelmed, and exhausted I am, I still need to cherish these little moments.  If you think about it, you only have a very short amount of time with your kids before they are grown and have families of their own. ** Side Note:  Now that I have you teary eyed and all, let me bring you back to reality.  Remember, at the beginning I said we had a nice 10 minutes in the car.  Our car ride was actually 20 minutes.  The game quickly turned into arguing over who said which car first and yelling out colors other than red or blue.  My little balloon moment popped but I am still glad God brought my attention to it for at least those 10 minutes.  He is probably trying show me moments like that all the time, I just have to take the opportunity to notice them. I thought you might enjoy listening to the song I mentioned above.  The third verse is my absolute favorite!
Wishing everyone a Happy Mother's Day!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

All I Want for Mother's Day...

I am not one of those people who needs large bouquets of flowers or tiny boxes with big price tags on Mother's Day.  Don't get me wrong, I definitely won't turn those things away but I really don't need them.  I love all of the adorable hand made gifts from each child.  I treasure the little cards with hand prints or misspelled words.  I have never expected breakfast in bed (it would just cause crumbs).  I don't want a family lunch at a fancy restaurant or a corsage to wear at church.  Every year I have the same wish for Mother's Day... It is really quite simple. It is something that most moms have probably wished for at some point in their motherhood journey. It costs absolutely nothing, zip, zilch, zero. No one has to go to a store or purchase anything in advance. It does not require cleaning the house, kitchen, or the children. :) Are you ready.... My number one big wish for Mother's Day is to... PEE IN PEACE! Yep, you read that right (sorry if it seems a bit harsh).  Oh, how I long for the day to pee in peace.  It seems like such a simple request but you would think it required someone to move mountains or an act of congress.  They (you know the ones, my kids) follow me to the bathroom.  They are right on my tail...even when I try to out smart them and run!  They knock on the door even when they watched me shut it.  "Mommy, are you in there?"  The door knob frantically begins to shake.  I sit completely still, like a wild animal.  I try not to make a single noise.  I even hold my breath.  Just when I think the coast is clear and decide to go about my business...BUSTED!  They have found me.  First it is a small hand under the bottom of the door.  Then the questions, "Mommy can you see me?"  Sometimes I am lucky enough to get a toy or a note slid under the door.  Whatever they need it cannot wait the 60 seconds I need.  Or my all time favorite, yelling at me through the door or the bathroom on the other side of the wall.  When I wave my white flag of surrender (a.k.a. toilet paper) I exit with hesitation.  I have been known to crack the door and take a small peak.  As I make my way out, BAM!  There they are with the ever puzzling question, "Mommy...why were you in there?" So my dear, sweet children, I love you with every ounce of my being.  I thank God for you every day.  But please, this year on Mother's Day, please, I beg of you, let your poor mother pee in peace. Love your mother,
The Bathroom Bandit

Monday, May 5, 2014


My grandmother's hands during my grandfather's funeral.

Have you ever really studied some one's hands?  That may sound like a strange question but I love hands.  They tell the story of a person's life.  My husband's hands are strong and callused.  His wedding ring has scratches and dents from being worn at work; it fits his ring finger just right.  I have every inch of my kids' hands memorized.  They are soft and small.  Two of my children have long fingers like my husband and the other has short stubby fingers (like myself). My mother's hands are some of my favorite.  She wears the engagement ring of my great grandmother, something that will someday be on my hand.  My mom's hands have given me hundreds of back rubs.  I use to lay my head in her lap and she would gently run her fingers through my hair or make tiny circles on my forehead.  Her hands have made thousands upon thousands of cookies, cakes, and meals that have fed our family.  Her hands have not only comforted me but also my children.  I love her hands. My grandmother's seems like I can remember every crease and wrinkle.  Her hands taught my mother how to be such an amazing mom.  Her hands played the piano and organ at church.  Her hands made the Christmas season special by playing the bells in the bell choir.  Her hands sewed hundred of dresses and articles of clothing for children in Haiti.  Her hands were always warm and welcoming. I can remember exactly how her rings sat and I wear her watch almost every day.  They were hard working hands which displayed years of love and care. My grandfather's hands had short stubby fingers.  His wedding band always appeared just a tad too snug.  For 40 plus years his hands worked in the railroad system.  His hands made thousands of meals for unfortunate people through the program he helped run called Grace Cafe.  I can remember exactly the way he would quickly run his hands together as he chucked (usually when he was up to mischief).  I also remember how they held the newspaper.  His hands were full of love. My great grandmother's hands were often found holding yarn and crochet needles.  When her eye sight became bad she would crochet by feeling with her hands.  Her hands connected thousands of people to their loved ones through phones calls.  She was a telephone operator during the 1920's, operating the switch board.  She taught her daughter and then granddaughter how to bake and care for their families.  In her nineties, her skin was paper thin and covered with age spots.  Her knuckles knobby with arthritis.  Her hands were...beautiful. Sometimes when cuddling with my kids on the couch, I notice they will rub my hands or play with my wedding band.  I wonder if they also have a fascination with the hands of our family.  When they see my hands do they think about the meals I make with love, the thousands of baths I have given them, the head rubs and back rubs when they don't feel well, or how tightly my hands grip together when I pray for them?  I am sure at the ages of 9, 6, and 4 they are not thinking about those things but some day they will.  They will realize the significance of hands the first time they see a wedding band on their newly married spouse, or the first time they compare the size of their hand to a tiny new baby. The next time you are sitting still with a loved one, look down at their hands and memorize every line and crease and remind yourself how much you love that person and their hands.  Our hands are one of the most beautiful ways we can show love.  Sometimes that love is through hard work and other times it is through a soft touch. "If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me."  Psalm 139:10
My great grandmother's hands with her crochet hook and afghan.

** I have a book that I started years ago.  I had each of my grandparents and parents make a large hand print with ink on a piece of card stock.  Next to their hand print, I had each person write their signature and favorite saying, quote, or verse (signatures are another favorite thing of mine).  I didn't realize how much I would treasure those hand prints and signatures until two of my grandparents passed away.  Things like that are so precious to me.
***Thank you to my cousin, Kristi, for always sharing your amazing photos.