BEST chocolate cake ever.  Thank you Brent!

Good book to help kids learn about the making of our Constitution.

Videos and drawing from this Free Art Lessons site.

Happy, happy boy after mailing in the paperwork to sign him and Emilia up for Wednesday school next year at a local Christian school.  Excited for them to experience a traditional classroom setting, while still being homeschooled.

Future fashion designer.

Our little milk maid.

If there's mud, the boys will find it.  And get stuck.  And need their mom to "unstick" them.  That was interesting...


Last Night and Today

Last night (basically a nightly ritual when it's nice outside) Nate and the kids played a game of soccer while Tommy played in the sandbox.

Not liking the bugs.

So happy after making a goal in the backyard soccer game!

Who needs pants when you have such cute legs?

Love this view.
Today we went to get ice cream, give daddy hugs at his office, and then go to the park.  A nice lady offered to take our picture.  

Sometimes it's better for us to get out of the house.  It's hard to stay in and "do school" when the warm breeze is beckoning us out of doors and walls.

But we did eventually come back home to get some work done (Jonny finished his work before we left - Emilia's still working on hers...).

Hard at work.

Working on his letters.

Emilia's view.

I actually did some school with Matthew today.  I'm sure Emilia was proud of me.  :)
Hope you've been enjoying this Spring!  I'm going back outside.  :)

Green in our yard

Do you see the Eastern Phoebe?  They're back to make a nest in our playhouse!

Thankful to the One who created Green.


How Hard Could Running Really be?

I can run.  I've done it before.

I run when my child is screaming in the stroller, and I have to leave quickly.

I run when my child is sprinting toward the road or toward a bonfire.

I run when I say, "Come" and my child chooses to disobey and go the other way.

I run when I am the "Tickle Monster", and I have to get my victim quickly.

Notice how I am only running in those situations which include children...yup, those are pretty much the only times that I run.

Well, it just so happens that many of my friends run.  They run for exercise.  They run for (gasp!) pleasure.  I do not understand what goes on in their crazy brains, but they do seem to enjoy it.  They all stand around and talk about how they ran this 5K or this marathon or this mud run thingy.  And I stand there looking at them with my mouth hanging open, thinking...they're nuts.  Then, after I think that unkind thought, I think...oh come on, how hard could it be?

One day I made a decision.  I was going to run...without a child convincing me that I needed to run. 

I donned my tennis shoes and my Umbros (circa 1995 - I was looking good folks) and jogged into the living room (trying not so hard to hide my ridiculous giggling).  Nate, hearing the odd bursts of noise coming from behind him, looked at me with his signature raise of the eyebrows and an amused grin.

"Whatcha doin'?"

I gave him a big, toothy smile.  "Running!"  And with another laugh (from both of us), I was off.

Heading down the driveway I remember thinking, this running stuff is not so bad.  It's easy.  It even feels good!  I turned onto the road and kept up a good clip.

For about 10 yards.

By the time I made it to the end of the road (which is probably about a quarter mile), I was gasping for air and had to walk around in circles, trying desperately to catch my breath with my hands on my head (hadn't I seen runners do that?).   Why didn't I bring my stupid cell phone so Nate could come pick me up?!

When I regained an ounce of strength and a pint of breath, I had to set goals for myself.  Big goals. 

If I walk to that mailbox, I'll run to the next one - the one that holds the newspaper.    

I started plodding along slowly, putting one foot in front of the other.  I was fake jogging.  When a car came, I kicked it into high gear.  Running like I knew what I was doing.  Arms pumping, legs stretched out in perfect form, awesome runner's expression on my face (you know the one), head nodding at the passing cars like I was thoroughly enjoying this torturous form of exercise. 

As soon as the car was out of view, I slumped, looking more like a whining child:  body forward, arms hanging limply, flailing around with every thump, thump of my heavily falling legs, huffing and puffing.  With each puff of air that escaped my lips, I prayed, "Lord..help..me..Lord..help..me..Lord..help..me.."

I. just. needed. to. get. home. without. DYING! 

A quarter mile had never seemed so long.  My house at the end of the driveway had never looked so distant.  My legs had never felt so...not there...and totally, painfully there.  My lungs hadn't expanded that much since I ran the two mile in awkward 7th grade, always finishing dead last, despising every second of the cheering crowd that was intent on making me feel better about my complete lack of athletic ability.

Sweaty, red and blotchy I fell into the front door (about 15 minutes later - laugh all you want you sick runners) and flailed my sorry body on the floor while Nate watched on in amusement, giving me helpful pointers like, "Don't stop moving.  Stretch.  You can't just lay there."

"So,"  he asks while I'm attempting to touch my toes.  "How was it?"

"Great!"  I'm flinching at the tight pain. 

"You gonna do that again?"  He's curious, teasing.

"Oh yeah!"  I'm just now able to sit a little.  My side aches.  My legs are tingling.  My face is still speckled with sweat and redness.  I'm wondering how I'm going to be able to get out of bed the next day.

My running career was over after about the fifth time I ran. 

There's a verse that makes me a little nervous after failing at being a runner.

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us."  Hebrews 12:1

There's nothing more disturbing than reading this verse while picturing my floppy running self.  Good thing this is metaphorical otherwise I'd be in big trouble.

I'm glad I have an image in my mind of my running friends.  Running well.  Finishing well.  I'll keep that in mind as I go about my life as a Christian, as I "run with perseverance the race" that the Lord has given me.

Now I know the answer to my ridiculous question, how hard could running really be?

Stinking HARD people.  And I fully respect those who do run.  I may still think you're nuts, but I admire what you do.

Way to go you running people.  You're a strange, strong breed. 


Emilia's School Schedule

Back in this post, I mentioned that I don't plan out what we're going to do.  Instead, I write down what we've done each day as a record keeping system.  This plan worked for awhile for us, but I've recently switched to something new for my fluent reader.

Emilia was not enjoying school very much and would complain a little every day about having to get her assignments done.  She also had no idea what we were doing for the day because it wasn't posted anywhere, except vaguely in my brain (which apparently doesn't count).

Something had to change.

I found a student planner at a thrift store for 25 cents, so I got it out to see if we could incorporate it into her days.

This has been a LIFESAVER.

She's only been using it for (going on) 2 weeks, but I can't believe the difference in her attitude toward school.  She has a little bit of control by knowing what needs to be completed and being able to choose the order in which to complete her tasks.

At some point over the weekend, I plan out the week for both Jonny and Emilia (I have Jonny's assignments written in my planner - he'll get his own when he's able to read more fluently).  It's only taken me 30 minutes or so to figure out a whole week of organized school work.


I've been praying about scheduling and organizing because I'm not the best at this.  You should see my desk right now...it's a mess.  But the Lord has been helping me become more organized over the years, not for organization-sake, but for His sake.  I can more effectively serve Him (by serving my family and others) if I'm a little more organized than I have been in the past.


Emilia Academy

Emilia started giving Matthew daily lessons awhile ago.  Not sure if she felt badly that his own mother didn't give him daily lessons or if she just likes being "Teacher".

Probably a little of both.  :)

She came up with a schedule for teaching Matthew that she insisted would be able to be done alongside her own school work for the day.  She starts out by doing most of his school work with him and then she sets him up with a task to complete and runs off to complete one of her own assignments, coming back to check on him here and there. 

Multitasking.  She's got it down.    

Each day they do the same things, so I followed them around to record a typical day (or should I say, a typical 20-30 minutes) at Emilia Academy

They start out with the math workbook, which focused today on colors and shapes.

Next they do some writing.  She coaches him through the letters giving very positive feedback which makes for a happy little team. 

Then she takes him into the living room where she reads the word of the day out of the dictionary and then questions him to make sure he understands.  Today he gets the definition correct and she showers him with praises.   

They move on from the word of the day to read one poem out of each of our Shel Silverstein poetry books.  Three poems in all.  He listens quietly and asks about the poem they read yesterday.  This is probably my favorite part of their day.  Such cuteness sitting on those pillows across from each other.   

Next is computer time.  She sets the timer for 5 minutes and assures me that it's a "learning computer".  :)

She ends the lessons with the stringing of blocks.  In no particular order.  

"Tomorrow," she tells Jonny, "I will do lessons with you too."

I don't doubt it.

She's a good teacher, this 7 year old.  I told her she could take over for me if she wants.  ;)

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