Monday, October 28, 2013

Beautiful Life

Sometimes (ok, most of the time) I am so busy with everything that pictures are seriously the only way I have to slow down and remind myself of how beautiful everything around me is. 

With my Dad as sick as he is, I find myself in tearful prayer often. Last week, I had a bout of tears in my living room, and asked God for a sign. I then looked out my living room window to this....
I snapped a few more pictures. Gabe remarked that this was one amazing rainbow. I've never seen one like it.

Unbelievable, right? A lot of people saw this rainbow, from a lot of different places in North Carolina. They all said it was special. I like to think of it as a gift from God.
I've been trying to do more fun things with Ella, so we carved a pumpkin this Friday. Is it any surprise that she wanted it to be an owl? I didn't think so.

                                                            Pumpkin Guts!

This doesn't really look like much unless there is a candle in it. Then it's really something.

Seee? :)
We also went to the local grocery store to decorate a pumpkin there on Saturday. We've done this every year that we've been in North Carolina, with the exception of last year when it snowed a whole lot.  Ella enjoys getting to be creative and I enjoy spending time with her, so it's win-win.

We also went out shopping on Saturday. I told her she could pick two things at the Dollar Tree. (Yes, I'm cheap and stingy, but my kid doesn't seem to mind) She picked a pair of fairy wings (surprised? you shouldn't be) and a twirly-ribbon thing.

Saturday got pretty warm, so we were back to short sleeves for a while. Ella had a blast hanging out with our friend Ms. Charlene and flying around the backyard with her wings and ribbon. I love her imagination and I hope she stays the sweet, beautiful person that she is.
I truly have a beautiful life. God's blessed me in so many ways.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Just a small update on us

It's been busy, busy at our house. But what do you expect when you have a two-working parent, homeschool household?

We've all been busy doing various things. Gabe's been working, I've been working and doing the teacher-mama thing and Ella's been doing her "job." Learning and being the best Christian kid she can be. So, while I have the time, I may as well post something, right?

Ella's been having a blast exploring the woods near our house. She's found pinecones, pretty leaves and all sorts of bugs (ugh...giant praying mantis)

A few weeks ago, we received some garden-fresh cabbages from our neighbor, Mr. Kenneth. We all love stir fry and we all love cabbage in our stir fry. Ella was thoughtful enough to make him a thank-you card.

Other than that, we've tried to pick some fun projects, including leaf preserving with mod-podge and wax paper and we've gone exploring a lot. Have to get that in while the weather lets us. Below-freezing temperatures and North Carolina snowstorms don't exactly make walking and exploring easy.

Even though he is making a goofy face, I adore this guy. And this kid. :) This is just a glimpse of what's been going on with us. My goal is to have more to write other than "we've been busy," although that's the truth.

We painted a room at the county group home and had a great time. Ended up covered in pink paint and Ella's made some friends there. She's also told me in the last week that she wants to be a Bible Hero when she grows up.

Long story short, I am one lucky, lucky, blessed, blessed lady.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Breaking the silence and speaking her name

Her name is Riley Grace. She is my first daughter, lost during pregnancy. I was told today, in so many words to "forget" her and "move on." Also, apparently remembering Riley is detrimental to my living daughter.

How ironic that someone would tell me to forget my dead child on a REMEMBERANCE day.

At the risk of making this into a bitter post, I'll say no more on the subject of that person.

Instead, I will say this. My daughter has known about her big sister almost her whole life. She is protective of her memory, and loves her big sister just like she would if Riley Grace were here, alive and well.

Tonight, we went out and took pictures. Lit candles. REMEMBERED.

Friday, October 4, 2013

First Time for Everything, right?

This would be the first time I have ever decorated a house for Fall. EVER. And I just turned 30. I've just never been big into decorating. Until this year.

I think maybe this has everything to do with my desire to slow down, enjoy my family time more. Ella and I went to the woods by our house to find pinecones and cool leaves to decorate with. We had a blast. I'm just happy to see my daughter happy, and if this makes her happy, so much the better.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Why I Homeschool

When Ella was born, and I was a new mom of a colicky infant, I used to tell myself "Only a few more years before she goes to school and you get some PEACE!" That's actually what got me through those nights where I walked her up and down the porch area of my mother-in-law's house.

When we left my mother-in-law's and  moved back home to Chicago, part of me still could not wait to ship her off to public school. I had been raised in public school, after all. Never mind the fact that I was bored out of my mind, or that my father had to come yell at teachers for a) discouraging me from using my left hand and b) not challenging me enough. I was a teacher in the Chicago Public School system. It's what was familiar, and what I knew.

My big turning point came when Ella was about nine months old. We were out on a walk and she was poining out the cars to me and naming off the colors.
She was smaaaaaaart. When I started bringing her to work at about a year old, I realized my kid could use the fax machine. This was not your "typical" one year old.

I continued finding things for her to do (let's play with puzzles, let's count the leaves, let's make animal sounds!) and eventually bought her some wipe-off workbooks when she was 3. She amazed me even then. When Ella turned four, I got a Christian curriculum. I knew I wanted her to know God, even though my relationship with Him wasn't that great. On one of our "first" formal homeschooling days, after school, we went on a walk.  She and I talked about Cain and Abel, and I didn't notice the woman behind us listening in. When we stopped in at a store, she said "Excuse me. Your seven year old is SO smart." She was only four!!!

That year went by and she learned SO much. The only problem was I hated that curriculum. I also found myself in church that year, and reading my Bible every day. Ella wanted to read with me. So, we read together, and again, she was learning so much. Somehow, through all of this, I managed to put together a curriculum from a bunch of different resources. (More on all my fun resources another time!)

Ella is now seven. I am more convinced than ever that this is what I need to be doing. A lot of people ask me WHY I am so serious about homeschooling. What about socialization? What about blah blah blah blah? Ella goes to church. She is with kids her age there. She is with kids her age in our neighborhood. She is with kids her age at the park. Everybody who meets her tells me how sweet, well behaved and generally GOOD she is. She knows Jesus. She has better handwriting than most adults. She loves math. She loves reading. She can memorize scripture like nobody's business.
So, WHY do I do this? Because I have that right. Because God put me in charge of educating HIS child. Because I am accountable and responsible for her until she is legally an adult. Because she needs to know that her mother cares about her education, in all ways. I have friends who have children in public school, and that was the right choice and fit for them. This is the right choice and fit for us.

After all, God entrusted me with this amazing, wonderful gift. I am doing what I believe is right to care for her.