Busch Gardens Fun

Alternately titled: Proof that I’m getting old because two days later I’m still worn out.

First order of business – I am over at (in)courage today talking about being uncomfortable. I’d love for you to read about the hope that God has placed in my heart despite the unsettled place I am in. Thank you for reading and for your support as I continue to work out the struggles of moving.

And on to my second order of business. Telling you random bits about my life…

We entered into our final ten weeks of curriculum this week and let me just tell you something – home schooling is exhausting. I’m wiped. Some days are jazzy fun. The kids get it. I’m happy.

Birds flit about the house chirping in perfect harmony.

But other days it appears that someone has tied a ten pound stone about all our necks, thrown us into the deep end of a pool and yelled, “Swim!” We stay afloat, but Lawdy we have to work hard.

The only things keeping me sane motivated are frequent scheduled breaks and Cuban Espresso. I like to call it caffienated sludge. It’s somethin’ potent, but it gets the job done. I feel great once my hands stop trembling. Come to think of it, the cartoon birds only flit about when I drink my sludge. Interesting…

Last week I laid out the kid’s lessons and gave them a great, big goal – finish it all by Friday and we will head to Busch Gardens. I wish I could adequately explain the zeal with which they attacked their Math books. Little tongues stuck out of their mouths in deep concentration as they worked through each lesson mothodically. Then they moved on to spelling and writing and Russian and reading and each time someone would start to complain I’d raise an eyebrow (which, incidentally, I never knew how to raise one eyebrow until I became a mom. It’s like I inherited that magic brow when my first born hit two) and they’d snap their mouths shut and put pencil to paper.

Call it motivation, bribery, reward –what.ev.er. We went to Busch Gardens.

I don’t have great pictures of the picture perfect reward day because who wants to carry a mammth camera around an amusement park?

Well, actually, I kind of do. I am going to bring my good camera next time because there are a lot of great photos to be taken there.

The photos I did get, though, were filled with three grinning, laughing, blond headed children who deserved a break. I am proud of my kids and the hard work they’ve put in this year. I’m not sure if we are going to home school again next year. We are still praying about it and looking at our options, seeking what’s best for them, for me and for our family. But for now, I am cherishing this sweet and challenging year I’ve had with my children. We have all grown and learned in different ways. I wouldn’t trade these months for anything.


This was his first big kid ride. I'm hoping he will be my child who likes roller coasters. No one else in my family will go on them with me.


Like my new tennis shoes? I was hoping they would provide a bit of motivation to work out. Turns out they aren't magical. They're just...shoes. Disappointing.


"Mom, I'm pettin' a Wallaby!" That might be my favorite quote of the day. Tia was enamored with these creatures.

Happy weekending everyone! May your days be filled with sun, laughter and maybe even a Wallaby or two!

Swirling life in a cup of tea

When I made this decision, I knew it wouldn’t be easy.  Staying at home with your children full time is hard.  It’s a different kind of hard when you choose to not only be their mother, but also their full time educator.  I knew it would be hard going into this.

And I was right.

Evenings are my refuge and my respite.  They are the brief moments when all the world stills and my tea cup sings (or…you know…sometimes it’s a wine glass singin’).  Evenings are for the dishwasher humming and the stars twinkling and the melodic breathing of settled youth.  I only wish the evening lasted a little longer.

I’ve tried to make evening last too long, lately.  I’ve tried stretching it past the point of grace and peace and into fatigue.  When the tea cup cools and the dishwasher quiets and my brain forgets how to weave words into paragraphs, the evening has long since passed.

This is not wise.

Because, you see, mornings come all too quickly.  They are loud and bright and full of boisterous energy.  There once was a time when I was a morning person.  I adored the quiet sounds of the day breaking – the applause of heaven as sunlight streaked the darkened sky – the grass that stood tall beneath the drops of dew delicately placed on her blades – the birds that chirped good morning as the heat pushed the cool night air away with the moon.

I loved this time of day.

I still do.  I just can’t seem to get up early enough to meet it.  This is because I’m too busy flirting with night.  And because I spawned three who love the morning more than I and who make it their life’s mission to get up before the sun each. and every. day.

So I continue to befriend the night sky – my tea and I snuggled up inside the quiet.  And it’s here that I am trying to find the time to do…everything.

Everything, unfortunately, except the most important thing.  The thing that really does need to have its place in the morning, when my mind is most fresh and most willing to hear.  There are pictures to hang and walls to paint, books to write and boxes to move, clothes to fold and floors to mop, and all the while three little voices yelling, “Mom!”

There’s a story that my mom tells about my grandmother when she was a young mother living on the mission field with four little ones to care for and more work to do than could possibly be done.  When the moment came that she had finally reached her breaking point, she would turn to her demanding little brood and wag her finger.  “My name isn’t ‘Mom’ anymore,” she’d say.  “My name is ‘Horse’s Butt’ and you’re not aloud to say that so you can’t call me.”  And off she’d go, her silenced bunch contemplating the weight of her words.

That is the best. line. ever. Am I right?

I totally get it now. And don’t think I haven’t been tempted to bust that gem out a time or two these last few weeks.

Sometimes all the work needs to wait.

I have a friend who knows me well.  She’s one of the Ribbons. And she was knit with me in a special way long ago when we were both newly married and full of love and wonder at God and life.  Her mind, like mine, teams with creative energy.  Her heart overflows with endless desires.  Her children need her fully and her husband craves her attention, as do mine.  She knows the pull and the strain of wanting, wishing, trying…to do it all.

And failing.

We are on opposite coasts and yet she still manages to speak Truth and encouragement to me on a regular basis.  Through texts, emails and phone calls she reminds me that there is One who craves me above all others.  And that One deserves my attention first.

Her text to me today spoke grace completely:

“Take courage today and do the work God has laid before you…What does God desire from you in your heart and in your actions today?  Just a thought.”

Swirling hot tea steams before me and my Bible lays open, the magic of the Word waiting for me to dive in.  Tonight, I will.  Tomorrow, I will try again.  I’m thankful for friends from coast to coast who love me enough to keep pushing me forward to better things.

I’m thankful for the Ribbons and for the Ribbon Maker who keeps weaving my life into something grand.  I’m thankful for tea and the stillness in which to savor it.

Grant me the ears to hear.

The Homeschool Post

Forgive the lame photos. My good camera is at the spa getting a facelift.

I never planned to be a homeschooler.  It was never something I desired to do.  Never.  In fact, I’m pretty sure my exact words in the past were, “There’s no way in H@#! I would ever do that.”


But something happened earlier this year and a transformation began inside my heart.

Sometime after the New Year, Sloan began struggling in school.  It wasn’t a major struggle.  He was getting by just fine, but he wasn’t thriving.  Part of that was my fault.  Life was just so overscheduled.  We had something almost every evening of every week – all good things, but it left my kids bouncing in the wake of life and they were tired.

So we started cutting things out.  Good things.  And I hated it.  All the while, I shipped my worn out child off to school for eight hours a day despite his daily pleas to let him stay home “just this once.”

I’ve said it before but it bears repeating.  I don’t have major issues with the public school system.  I have nothing but respect for the men and women who choose to teach our children.  Some are better than others, to be sure and the system is far from perfect.  But it deserves respect and it has that from me.  I wasn’t necessarily upset with the quality of education my son was receiving so much as the time it seemed to take to get it.  I feel like one of the biggest flaws in our school system (and this applies to both public and private schools, incidentally) is the amount of time we are keeping our children in the school building.

Sloan got on the bus at 8:00 every morning and he got off at 3:30.  This left very little evening time for us as a family.  It also left him tired and unwilling to concentrate on any kind of homework.  He never wanted to sit and read a book and I didn’t blame him.  If I were forced to sit and listen for roughly 30 hours per week I wouldn’t want to read a book either.  That’s a lot of time for our little guys to be away.

This combined with a lot of prayer led me to seriously begin considering homeschooling.  I entertained that idea alongside the idea of checking myself into the loony bin, because I felt sincerely crazy.  Homeschooling?  Really?

Yes.  Really.

Two kids, two sets of study guides, double the crazy?

I mulled all these things over by myself for awhile, then I went to my husband.  I was positive that he would have his head squarely placed on his shoulders and would practically and reasonably talk me out of this silly little notion.

“I think you should look into it,” he said.  And then I passed out.

When I came to, he continued.  “Obviously the Lord is working something out in your heart because I’ve never heard you talk like this before, so I really think this is something we need to research and pursue.”  So being the dutiful wife that I am (wink, wink) I took his advice and began talking to every single homeschooling friend I have.  I asked them all for the exact same information:

– Give me every reason I should do this and…

-Give me every single reason I should not.

Not surprisingly, the reasons I should far outnumbered the reasons I shouldn’t, and the reasons I shouldn’t were mostly selfish in nature.  But I still wasn’t convinced, so I researched and prayed and waffled and wavered and questioned and finally decided that homeschooling was something I needed to do.  Not for me, but for them. (When I say them, I’m referring to the children…you already knew that, didn’t you?)

Ultimately, I knew that I needed to get my clutches into my kids and show them what a joy learning can be.  Even if I only do it one year, I want the year to count.  I want them to know that I was willing to give up everything for them so that they could see the magic of opening a book.

Now I’m not sure I can show the the magic in math.  Because math is not magical.  It’s just numbers. Lame.

Right after I made the decision to homeschool, we found out we were moving and the timing just felt right.  It also felt horrible.  How would I do this without a local network of support?  HOW?!

I’ll tell you how.  Yesterday, as I watched Landon at swimming lessons, one of the other moms walked up to me.  “Do you homeschool?” she asked.  I was taken aback, because why would she ask that?  What a random question?  Was I putting off some kind of homeschool vibe?  It must have been the denim jumper I was wearing…the one with the apple and ruler appliques on the front.

I kid.

“Yes,” I answered.  “This is my first year.”

“Oh you’ll love it,” she said with a smile.  “I’ve been homeschooling for years.  What curriculum are you using?”

Sonlight,” I replied.

“Wonderful!” she cried.  “That’s what we use.  Let me know if you have any questions about it.”

OMG - So many pages. I feel like I'm decoding the key to a secret world...

Is it coincidence that she randomly struck up a homeschooling conversation?  Maybe…but I doubt it.  Because today our curriculum arrived in the mail and I am thoroughly and completely overwhelmed by it all.    Thankfully, I have a new friend who will be able to show me the ropes.  And for me, that was one more confirmation that we are in the right place, doing the right thing.

Now if you will excuse me, I am going to go churn my own butter while simultaneously working on my needlepoint and baking homemade bread.

I kid.  I’m not going to do any of those things.  I’m going to finish my wine cooler and go to bed.

So this is the part where you join in, my bloggy friends.  Would you ever homeschool your children (or are you currently)?  Give me the best and worst.  I want to be prepared.