It’s Not Your Mama’s Wizard of Oz

The kids and I finished the book, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz today, much to their awe and delight. There is only one other book that we’ve read this year that has captivated their attention as much as this one and that was The Last of the Really Great Wangdoodles.

This was my first time to read The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, too, so I was equally excited to dig in HOWEVER…

This may be the first time in the HISTORY OF ALL TIME that I liked a movie better than a book. Maybe because the movie is such a classic? But the book was a classic first, thus necessitating the need for the movie so what we’re left with here is a chicken or the egg situation.

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz was good, for sure. It was exciting and, for the most part, was very similar to the movie except for, ya know, the morbid violence and word pictures that left my six year old looking at me with saucer eyes and mouth hung open wide.

Do you know how the Tin Man became a Tin Man? The wicked witch put a spell on his axe so that every time he tried to chop something HE CUT OFF ONE OF HIS LIMBS. The local tin maker replaced each amputated limb with one of tin until, finally, the Tin Man cut off his own head and wound up being a man made entirely of tin.


Read that to your kids while they eat breakfast and see what happens. It’s fun.

Or there’s the part when the Wicked Witch of the West sees the four travellers (and her little dog, too) making their way to her palace and she sends out wolves with the command to tear them to pieces. Never fear, though. The Tin Man chops off the heads of every wolf that lunges forward until he is, at last, standing upon a pile of severed bodies and dismembered heads.

This is the part where Tia wonders if she really wants to see the movie.

But wait there’s more!

While traveling to Glinda’s palace in the South to (hopefully) (fingers crossed) return Dorothy to Aunt Em and Uncle Henry in Kansas, the band of misfits runs into a most peculiar group of little men called The Quadlings. These men refuse to to let the group cross over the mountain that stands between them and Glinda and when they try, The Quadlings who, naturally, don’t have any arms, detach their heads from their bodies and fling them at the trespassers with brute force and might, bruising the now courageous lion and knocking the stuffing out of the Scarecrow.

Landon was all, “Wait…dey TAKE OFF DERE HEADS AND HIT DEM?!”

To which Sloan replied, “COOL!” and Tia looked at me with saucer eyes again.

I promised the kids we would watch the movie one morning next week to celebrate finishing the book. I also promised that we would not witness the dismemberment of a single person…well, except the Scarecrow. But I’d rather let them be surprised. Tia wasn’t sure about the movie, though, so I sweetened the deal with a promise of green popcorn (in honor of the Emeral City, of course) and lots of candy.

This should be fun.

Image Credit

In which I ramble a bit

You know that thing where you can’t seem to get to bed before midnight or after because you are relishing the quiet and alone time that comes with three kids nestling snug into their beds?


I wish I could say I was being ultra-productive with my late night down time, but that’s not necessarily the case. Last night I spent an hour reading up on diagramming sentences…for fun.

I fear the salty Florida air has gone to my head.

I’m thinking about teaching Sloan the very basics of how to diagram a sentence. My poor kids. They just don’t stand a chance in this house, do they? But I can’t help myself. I feel like learning how to diagram a sentence is a lost art and is one of the best ways to grasp grammar. I didn’t learn it until I was in college and I hated every minute of it, but it was also the first time that grammar started to make sense to me.

So today the kids are going to get a lesson on Subject and Verb, and will learn how to break up the two in a simple sentence. We are starting easy.

What are your thoughts on teaching kids to diagram sentences? Is it something you think is important?

In that same vein, are you teaching your kids how to write in cursive despite the fact that it isn’t a totally necessary skill this day in age? In general, most public schools have stopped teaching handwriting simply because kids don’t need it, but I kind of think it’s necessary, which is why I torture Sloan every Tuesday and Thursday with cursive writing practice lessons.

Changing topics slightly, I think I may have found a local Russian tutor for the kids. We are going to meet on Tuesday so she can get to know the kids and hopefully we’ll move forward from there. I can’t wait to have them practice with a native speaker again. I so desperately miss their Russian school in St. Louis.

Lee and I are taking the two older kids on our first family mission trip this summer. I am so excited about it. We are going with IsleGo Missions to Jamaica where we will likely be helping with construction of some sort (last year they built homes) and leading a VBS. My kids are going to be amazing at this – especially Sloan. God has outfitted that child with a missionary’s heart and I can’t wait to see him in his element.

I can’t think about leaving Landon behind, though, or I get incredibly sad and anxious. He will be with my parents, so I know he’ll be fine but he is such a Mama’s boy and he and Tia are pretty much joined at the hip so being away from all of us for a week is going to be hard on him.

*sad face*

Lee and I are in the midst of praying fervently about what to do school-wise for the kids next year. We have several options and all are good, but we are seeking which is best for the kids, for me and for our family dynamics as a whole.

I am headed to Blissdom in a couple of weeks, which I’m really looking forward to, but FIRST my friend Bethany is coming to visit and I’m so excited I can barely see straight. Every time I think about it, I girl squeal and clap my hands, which can be awkward in the middle of the grocery store but whatever.


Read this blog post. It’s amazing and inspiring isn’t it?

I should go. The kids are getting restless and I need to prepare today’s lessons. Sentence diagramming here we come! This is the part where my children would likely request prayer for sanity…

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Homeschool 101: The Update

As we head into our second semester of homeschooling, I thought it might be fun to give a little update on how things are going so far. Fun for me, anyway. This has the potential to be wildly boring for you.

I’m kidding!

Please keep reading…

So after four months of homeschooling, we’ve got a few things solidly under our belts. Those things are, in no particular order:

– The kids can all read Latin fluently.

– I churn butter every night before bed.

– Tia knits daily. Yesterday she made me a sweater.

– Landon is reading Socrates.

– Sloan split an atom just before Christmas.

– We survived.


Okay, so maybe only one of the above statements is true. Although Sloan did receive a microscope for Christmas and I’m quite certain he’s on the path to atom splitting. Or, you know, he may just continue to look at boogers under the contraption. Hard to say at this point.

There are many, many aspects of the homeschooling journey that I have really loved, the largest one being freedom. I really, really love the freedom we have to follow our own schedule. I love that we are still on break this week simply because we can be. I love that I can stop lessons for the day at 1:00 in the afternoon and we can just read books the rest of the day. I love that I don’t have to have them all up, dressed and ready to go for the school bus that comes rolling through here at 7:15.

Lawdy that’s early…

On the other side of that coin, the freedom sometimes freaks me out. For example, many times we are through with all our lessons by 1:00-1:30 and I find myself twiddling my thumbs and worrying that maybe I missed something. That leads to a whole train of thought that eventually has me picturing Sloan sorting trash at a local dump someday because he couldn’t get into college because I failed him in the second grade.

It’s a vicious train of thought.

I have to constantly remind myself that I’m not likely going to destroy their education. We are learning every day and we’re doing it at a pace that works for them, so that has to be a good thing, right? Not knowing the standards for what they should be learning is what has given me greatest cause for stress, though. Am I doing too much? Am I doing too little? Sometimes it overwhelms me.

Then my four year old labels all fifty States on a map and names more than half of their capitals and I think, We’re doing just fine.

Or Sloan walks by and, just for fun, speaks to me in alliteration. Then there was the time he reenacted the entire sinking of the Titanic at the lunch table with two apple slices and a piece of bread. He is such a kid after my own heart.

Tia is still not reading fluently, but she gets a little better every day. As I mentioned earlier, though, she’s a bit of a whiz with the evil numbers and is well on her way to needing first grade math curriculum.

The hardest part of homeschooling, for me, has been the lack of alone time. There are so many things that I want to do and not having the children home all day would make accomplishing those things a frillion times easier. There are some days when I daydream about packing it all in and marching them to the local school so I can have two minutes of peace and quiet to think.

But in the end, I still know this is right for us and that it will be worth it. I will not regret this time I have them home. The kids may regret it but I will not.

The jury’s out on whether or not we continue homeschooling. At this point I would like to do it for a couple more years, maybe, but I don’t see this as a long term thing. I don’t know why that is, it’s just a feeling I get. We have joined a homeschool co-op for this semester, which I am excited about so I won’t be going it alone anymore.

I’ve felt like Ma Ingalls quarantined on the prairie these last few months as I’ve journeyed down this path all by myself. And yes, Little House on the Prairie analogies are totally apropos if you’re a homeschooler.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I hear my little budding scientist in the kitchen now turning on the stove and cracking eggs. Um…yikes.

A slow death by numbers

Eight grade Pre-Algebra was not kind to me.  In fact I remember roughly three things from that class:

1.) You can never have too much blue eye shadow as was evidenced by Pam Whats-her-Face who sat across from me.

2.) Kissing boys was apparently an amazing experience that I needed to start trying out.

3.) Somehow, some way the alphabet was supposed to be divided, subracted, added and compressed, which would then magically turn the letters into numbers and if organized just so could ultimately bring about World Peace.

I did not receive a passing grade in Pre-Algebra, but I did get a rather unfortunate sex education from Pam Whats-her-Face.  So I had that going for me.

Listen, I’ve seen the statistics about how girls tend to do poorly in Math and Science simply because they’re female and are expected to be bad with numbers.  I want you to know that that is not what happened to me.  I just suck at Math.  Plain and simple and heartbreakingly true.  I still don’t understand algebraic equations.  I have long since forgotten how to do long division and most days I cannot do basic addition without using my fingers.

Feel sorry for me.

I can, however, sit and daydream for hours and I’m not too shabby at finding shapes in the clouds.

So it was with no small amount of fear and trepidation that I embarked upon the business of homeschooling my children because I knew that in so doing I would, indeed, need to conquer the evil numbers.  I mean, granted Sloan is only in second grade and Tia is in Kindergarten so really, how hard could it be?

Turns out it can be flat out torterous, folks.  It’s Chinese water torture by SUBTRACTION!


We started the year out fine.  Basic addition facts were covered.  Ordinal numbers, Odds and Evens, Counting by 5’s, 10’s and so on…Cake, ladies and gentleman.  I began to see addition facts in the clouds.

Somewhere around our fifth week in, however, things took a turn for the worse.  Just for Sloan.  Tia has taken off in Math.  In fact, I’m pretty sure we’re going to be buzzing into a first grade Math book before year end because she not only enjoys Math, but she asks to do several lessons at a time.

So TAKE THAT statistics!  My daughter rocks the numbers.  BOOM!  In yo face!


Early last month, I decided to take a different approach to the cruelty of Math.  Instead of tackling it every day, I declared Tuesday and Thursday to be Math days and every other day would remain number free.  I figured this to be a happy compromise and a fair way to hopefully give Math more of an appeal.

It took us two hours to finish one short lesson today.

*hangs head*

So here’s how this Math thing goes down.  ( I don’t know why I’m capitilizing Math.  I think it’s because I’m scared of it and maybe if I show a little respect, the numbers won’t infiltrate my brain, thus turning me into some kind of mad woman who lives alone with a hundred and fifty cats and wanders around mumbling equations nonsensically.)  I say, “It’s Tuesday guys.  Math day!  Yay!”

Tia: “Can I do three lessons today?  Please?”

Sloan: “What?!  No, it can’t be Tuesday.  It’s only Monday!  I know it.  I’m only doing half of a lesson today.  And no adding.  Or subtracting.”  This is usually said after he’s collapsed his head dramatically into his arms.

Landon: “Wait, what?!  We have to do school AGAIN today?!”  School is a surprise every day.

I understand my son’s anguish, I really do.  I lived his anguish every day until I finally managed to choose a major with the least amount of Math required (English Professional Writing, baby!  Boom! Pick out shapes in the clouds all day if you want.  It makes for more creative writing…)

But alas, I must pretend to be horrified at his disdain for numbers and tell him what fun it is to know and learn Math.  “Math is lots of fun!” I exclaim as I open up the dreaded book.

Did you hear that?  Math makes me lie to my children.  Eeeeeeeevvvviiiiiiilllllllll.

And we then spend the next two hours trying to simply tackle one short lesson.  And here’s the kicker – he’s actually really good at the Math.  As in, when he switches off the tyrant in his brain raging against the injustice of learning, he generally whizzes through the equations and he doesn’t even need to use his fingers!

Clearly he possesses a bit of his father’s genes.

And thus the story goes.  I pull out the Math books.  He thinks he’s going to die.  I think that trying to teach him the basics is going to kill me.  And around and around we go.


Ask the kid to write you a poem.  I dare you.  Because he will sit for as long as it takes to craft the perfect poem with nary a complaint.

And today I caught him staring at the clouds.  “That one is shaped like a blue whale,” he said, pointing.

I am so proud…

Fear not, good people.  We are surviving the Maths and I do think he is learning a bit.  There’s a good chance, though, that should we continue down this homeschooling path, I will be hiring a Math tutor to manage the crazy.

The End.

Tales from the Homefront

“Mom!  Hey, MOM!  Lookatthislookatthislookatthis!  It’s Ra, the Egyptian Sun god!”

Thus yelled my eight year old across the aisle of Homegoods, as he stood face to face with a life size statue of Ra. It was in the clearance aisle.

Odd.  I would think a creepy looking faux Ra would be a hot ticket item...

The gentleman sitting in the arm chair nearest Sloan looked up in surprise.  He then looked at me quizzically as I cleared my throat.

“We’ve been studying Egypt,” I said with a smile.


“Why?” he asked.

“We were reading about Moses bringing the Israelites out of Egypt,” Sloan said.  “Have you heard that story?  Where Moses turned the water to blood and sent tons of frogs and parted the Red Sea and Pharoah and his people sank to the bottom.”

The man looked at Sloan with amusement, then back at me.

“We homeschool,” I said.  It’s my only defense.  Why else would we be in Homegoods at 1:00 on a Monday afternoon?

“I see,” was his reply, then he leaned back into his chair, presumably to nap since his wife was nowhere to be found.  I grabbed Tia’s hand and motioned Sloan to follow us.  As we walked away, Tia glanced back at the statue over her shoulder.

“Why would anyone want to worship that little statue?” she asked.  “It’s just made of wood.  Wood can’t help you like the one twue God.”

And as we walked away, I heard the man let out a hearty laugh.

Homeschooling is an adventure unlike any I’ve ever taken.  I’ve got a video to share with you all at some point.  I wanted to today, but my computer ate half of it and I don’t have it in me to start over now.

This past week was rough.  It was crawl into bed and lay staring comatose at the ceiling rough.  A myriad of issues led me to a bit of a low point where smiling felt like a chore and everyday tasks seemed monumental.

Make the bed?  Impossible.

Clean the dishes?  Painful.

Sweep the floor?  Everest.

It was like a marathon just getting through the basic tasks of each day.  And I just felt sad.  Even a night away generously donated by my husband couldn’t pull me out of my funk and I couldn’t figure it out.

As Lee and I talked, my eyes welling up with tears, I told him how I just feel frustrated.  There’s so much to do.  So many plates to keep spinning.  And I am overwhelmed and feeling very…alone.

It felt good to cry.  Yesterday I woke up feeling a little more refreshed and ready to tackle the day with a specific prayer on my heart – Lord, let me see You today.

About half way through my day, I received an email from a company confirming my participation in an event in St. Louis.  This company has agreed to not only fly me up to St. Louis, but also the kids.  A much needed chance to get away, take a break and be refreshed.

I saw.

Last night I attended a meeting at a local church for homeschooling moms and it did more than give me a couple of new ideas for making our school more fun – it refreshed my heart.  I met people my age, in my same boat who get it.

I saw.

The woman sharing was a veteran homeschooling mom with her oldest preparing to graduate high school.  “It goes so fast,” she said.  “You blink and they’re teenagers and it’s gone.”

I’ve heard this a thousand times, but I needed it again last night.  I really needed it.

“Soon the house will be empty,” she continued.  “It will be quiet and in order and clean…but I’d rather have the noise.”

I saw.

These were seemingly little things, but they brought a fountain of relief and rest to my soul. 

Right now, as I type this, the house is refreshingly quiet.  Blissfully so.  But I know the noise is coming and I want to greet it with a fresh perspective.  It’s hectic and chaotic and my house isn’t decorated how I want it, or painted the right colors, or even organized functionally.

But it’s full.  And that’s a good thing.  Plus I get the added perk of driving that smokin’ hot minivan for a long time to come, right?  Huh?  Huh?

I’m going to choose joy this week, because tomorrow they’ll all be one day older.  Time isn’t going to slow down so I’m just going to hang on and enjoy the ride that is this current season of my life.

Now, where to put my statue of Ra…

Imagination, Creativity and Flying like a Bird

What do you think it’s like to be a bird?

I think it must be thrilling.

Just once I’d like to feel the rush of flying, of spreading the wings and gliding on the wisp of the wind.  If I were to be a bird, though, I can’t decide where I’d like to rest my feathers.  Would I be a mountain bird, coasting from mountain top to mountain top, the valleys and peaks soaring below in harmonious rhythm?  If I were to be a mountain bird, I’d like to be one in Austria for I don’t think you will find more beautiful formations in all the world.


Hallstatt, Austria where one year ago today we stood atop this mountain and I longed for the freedom of flight.

But, I fear the frigid winter air would be too much for me…even as a mountain bird.  So perhaps I would be better suited as an island bird.  What must it be to glide above the crystal blue waters of the Caribbean, the warm, salty air whipping over me as I coast left to right.  If I were to be an island bird, I’d like to reside over Spanish Wells, Bahamas.  Because I think that God shines His Grace upon that island in extra measures.

These are things I think about.

There are some days…many days…when I wish I could unplug from it all.  I dream of a secret garden where I could escape and get lost in the dreams of my mind.  I would wander the twisted flowers and gnarled tree trunks with only the soft padding of my feet in the grass as company.  I would lose myself in the romance of the soft setting, dreaming up far off lands where anything is possible.  My imagination would no longer be dictated and diluted but would be free to run, to fly.

I would be the bird, the free spirit who never grows up, the romantic who throws her arms around her sweaty man with abandon.

These are things I think about.

This week, the kids and I are telling stories – making them up.  We are digging into the recesses of our minds where imagination waits to be stirred.  Robots come to life and trees dance in the breeze.  The grass is purple and streams are made of chocolate.  Grand adventures lie around every corner and over every bridge.  Sometimes, when the oldest is telling his story, Bigfoot makes an appearance.  And tornados.  It’s very exciting.

When the girl tells her stories, they almost always involve a talking unicorn.  It is magical.

When the youngest tells his stories they almost always include the words “booty” and “toot.”  It’s hysterical.

Imagination is the best way to see one of the greatest traits of God Himself – creativity. For inside the mind’s eye, the creativity of the Creator indwells each one of us with the ability to see a little beyond that which is before us.  Mathematicians see formulas that take us to the moon.  Scientists see developments that allow us to see life from a different spectrum.  Poets allow us to hear nature through the fluidity of their pens.  Musicians discover harmonies that speak to our souls and take us beyond the present.

Imagination is where the Creator left His greatest imprint on us…His Image Bearers.

It is inside the recesses of our minds that God gave us a grand bit of Himself.  After all, He had the greatest imagination of them all.  And when we open kids up to this process of creativity, we let them truly come alive.  The challenge is to quiet the Earth around us.  And what a challenge it is.

Would that I could lose myself inside imagination every day where life is not confined to only that which I know but is instead wide open, limitless in reach.  Technology has dulled my imagination, and even that of my children.  But it’s always there, imagination, waiting to be tapped and used.  Imagination leads us into some place new and unknown.

Where I can fly.

These are things I think about.

The Tapestry of Now

Life’s adventure rarely leaves time for long enough pause to question.  How did I come to this and what brought me here?  It’s only upon stepping back from the tapestry and observing that we’re able to truly see the Artist’s flair.

What looked to be a tangled web of yellow thread was really a sunbeam.

The woven blue lines folding in and out grew into a vast ocean when stepping back.

Did you know that sometimes you can step back and look at even the most recent past and see beauty?  Did you know that if you take just a minute to breathe, you might be amazed at what’s developing right before your eyes?  Did you know that sometimes the present feels tangled and knotted but upon closer examination, it’s really shaping up to be something…grand?

I’m there.  Right now.

I didn’t want to “provide my children with a home education program” as the State of Florida asked me to word it in my letter to the Superintendent.  But somehow I knew I was supposed to.  And it scared me.  It still scares me.

But here we are.  Two weeks in and dare I say we’re having fun?  And if I step back for a few minutes and let the weight of this responsibility slide off my shoulders, I am able to see something beautiful being pieced together.


The root word + the suffix =

My kids and I are enjoying one another.  Naturally there are moments of frustration.  There are certain children who are to remain unnamed who, apparently, are so easily distracted that the simplest of tasks can turn into the most painful.  There are whiny moments and at least once a day I have to stop myself from tossing my hands in the air in exasperation.

But, more than anything else – we’re laughing together.


Russian lessons

We’re living life together and learning as a whole.  Similes, compound sentences, geography…who knew learning could be such fun?  They can label every state on the map and, as an added bonus, so can I.  Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, eh?


Tia loves to do "hard math."

And suddenly, without even knowing really when or how it happened, I became that mom.  The mom who schools her children in the home…and likes it.  I still don’t know if this is a permanent situation for us.  I honestly don’t know.  But for right now, I’m enjoying this bumpy little ride.


Taking a compound sentence from Sloan’s journal and pointing out the conjunction. He was also required to use one simile. My poor kids…stuck with a mom who finds a freakish amount of glee in similes and compound sentences.  You should feel sorry for them.

As I look back at the tapestry being woven these past few weeks, I’m in awe of the beauty and the masterful way it’s all slowly coming together.

Even if there are a few stray threads still needing to be plucked…

I wrote out a few conjunctions and turned around to talk with Tia for a minute. When I heard snickering I turned back around to find Sloan had edited my writing slightly.  Silly little boys make the tapestry a little more fun and…colorful, wouldn’t you say?


Utah, A Bomb and a Slithering Sea Snake

The first week of school is tucked firmly beneath my belt.  This is fancy talk for, I survived. So did the kids, by the way.  Landon barely.  Apparently I neglected to mention to him when we began that school occurs every. single. day.  So on day two, as he toddled into the kitchen, his morning Cup ‘a Joe nestled firmly between his teeth (read: sippy cup of juice), he asked me the same thing he asks me every morning.

“Mommy?  What we gonna do today?”

“We have school again today.”



Face crumbles, juice falls to the floor and a great deal of weeping doth commence.  “But we alweady did school yestewday!”

Um…yeah.  Apparently school every day isn’t his favorite.  By day five he started to come around, though he never met the news that school was about to begin with much glee.  You can’t please everyone, right?

Not that school was a wash for him.  We worked on learning the States last week.  We labeled them on a map and each day learned to identify a few more.  By the end of the week, Sloan was able to point to and label 30 States.  Tia could label about 15 and then needed a few prompts for the rest.  Landon can point to about 6 when asked where they are.  But all on his own, he can label one State.


For some reason Utah. Not Florida.  Not Missouri.  Utah.


There is no way for me to answer that question.  I don’t know why.  All I know is my three year old can point to Utah when shown a blank map.  I am so proud.


We are one with the fish


As a reward for a great first week of school, we finished lessons early on Friday and headed to the The Florida Aquarium in Tampa.  We got up close and personal with the sting rays, we growled at the sharks and we made silly faces at the alligators.  And we topped it all off with some good old fashioned water play.



As an impromptu history lesson, we walked next door to the American Victory Ship, one of only four operational World War II ships in the country.  It was the end of the day and they were preparing to close, but they let us have the run of the ship before shutting everything down.  We rang the bells, visited the captain’s quarters and fought mighty battles against the enemy warships and alien droids.

We won each battle with nary an injury.  It was truly a victorious ship.

Just before leaving, one of the sailors aboard the ship took us into the Engine Room and gave us a quick history lesson.  The ship was built 70 years ago (not 60 hundred as Landon guessed…by hey – he can identify Utah, right?).  And the massive vessel was built in only 55 days.  Not 25 years as Sloan guessed.  But hey…he can point to 30 States on a map, right?

“Can you take us out on a ride in this ship?” Sloan asked the Sailor-man.  I just wish my child wasn’t so shy, ya know?

“Well, no.  Not right now.  We’re dry docked right now.  There are a lot of things that need to be done to get a ship out to sea.”

“Oh,” Sloan said, not masking his disappointment at all.  This week’s homeschooling theme is “Tact and How To Use It.”

Seeing his crestfallen face, Sailor-man smiled.  “You know,” he said.  “Every once in awhile we do take this beautiful ship out for a spin on the water.  You have your mom find out when we’re going to do that again and make sure you all come out to take a ride with us, okay?”

Sloan grinned and clasped his hands together at his chest.  “Okay!” he cried, his eyes dancing.  “When we go out, can you shoot off a bomb? Please?” He did use lovely manners making his Mama brim with pride.

“Well,” Sailor-man said, his own eyes twinkling, “Now I’m afraid that’s frowned upon…”

Pause.  Silence.

“What do you mean?” Sloan asked.

And we all laughed.  Me with the “Oh I’m so embarrassed I will explain this to him later” Mom laugh, and Sailor-man with the “I used to be a little boy and I had a few little boys of my own so I totally understand what’s going on inside his head” laugh.  And off we went.

Sunday night brought beautiful, perfect Florida weather.  There was an ocean breeze perfect for fishing and we traipsed down to the dock at sunset where Sloan immediately snagged a beautiful, large blue crab.  After a bit of dancing and a whole lot of finagling, we got him in the bucket and gave him a pinfish to play with.  Lee pulled in a good sized catfish that we all ooed and aahed over until it came time to take him off the hook, then we all scattered and let Lee handle the honors alone.

We’re a brave bunch.

The night ended early, however, when Sloan’s line bent over and he struggled and fought and pulled up a…friggin’ snake. When we figured out that’s what was on his line, Tia sprouted wings and flew 50 feet in less than a second.  I danced and yelped while Lee held his arms straight out and yelled “STOP!  Do not pull that thing in.”  He grabbed the pole and shook it until the long (too long) sea monster finally fell off.  And with our hearts hammering in our throats, we packed it in and marched inside, cooking our crab for a little late night snack.

How was your holiday weekend?


Our bedtime snack, courtesy of Sloan.

First Day of School: Homeschool Edition

Our beachside elementary school officially opened its doors yesterday. Children with a deep need for routine made beginning a week earlier than planned a necessity.  And so, with a great deal of excitement mingled with even greater nervous energy, we began our first day of school.

I got out of bed, my feet hitting the cold tile floor and my stomach flipped upside down.  Getting dressed, I seriously entertained the idea of packing the kids up and driving to Tampa to enroll them in school.  I looked in the mirror at the wide, scared eyes staring back.  What if I fail?  What if I irrevocably screw them up for life?  What if  damage our relationship with one another?  What if…

And then I stopped.  Took a deep breath.  Prayed.

What if this is the best thing that ever happened to our family?  What if I choose to rest in the now and what has clearly been laid out before us?  What if it’s fun?!

And that was it.  I walked out of the bathroom and down the hall and began an adventure I never thought I’d take.  And dare I say…we had fun.

Preapring to begin our day.

Walking to school. Really, we just made a huge circle and came back home.

There's something for everyone to do. Although my guess is Landon asked me roughly 462 times if he could please play the Ds.

The letter ‘F’ was on the docket for the first day.
Snack time was combined with recess.
Recess was at the park.
Picnic lunch on the floor in a pillow fort.
Landon gets hold of the camera while I’m not looking and takes 56 pictures of my backside.
Math, Geography, History and Literature are covered.
We covered Russian as well.
At the end of the day, we made our walk back home.



Today we get to do it all over again.

I think I’m excited.