Monday, August 31, 2009

The good, the bad, and the poop

Sigh. We did it!!! Day 1 of homeschooling, DONE! This morning, as I was getting ready for the day, it hit me that if we homeschool all our children, all the way through, then 19 years from now, I will be done homeschooling. That thought made me very tired, and was quickly put out of my head.

Here are my observations from Day of 1.

The Good:
  • I was able to pray with Elizabeth before we hit the books, something that I know wouldn't be happening in a public school. We were able to pray that God would bless my efforts at teaching, and her efforts at learning.
  • We memorized scripture, and talked about God's promises to us, before we even thought of math or phonics. I like the foundation to her education that we're able to lay.
  • Between our structured lesson time, all three kids were able to play with each other. I can see how homeschooling has great potential for helping my children develop wonderful relationships with each other.
  • Micah and Benjamin were sweet buddies today while I was working with Elizabeth.
  • Curtis decided we should all eat out in celebration of our first day.

The Bad:
  • I'm tired. Very, very, very tired.
  • I don't feel like things are getting accomplished around the house. I know that's not what's important, but it's still an adjustment.
  • I had to remind myself that just because I have a plan, it doesn't mean things will always go according to my plan.
  • The boys did well, but are still adjusting to not having my undivided attention.
  • They're also adjusting to not being able to play with Elizabeth whenever they want.

The Poop:
As I was starting school, Micah announced from the bathroom, "I pooped, and I need you to come wipe my bottom!" I'll bet other kindergarten teachers don't have to deal with that.

Elizabeth's first day of school

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Homeschool Mom

Tomorrow's the big day! Elizabeth starts her first day of Kindergarten, and I become an official Homeschool Mom.

In preparation for becoming the ideal homeschool mom, I've been checking things off my list. Here's what I've accomplished so far:
  • Acquired Saxon Math. Can't homeschool without (so I've heard).
  • Acquired Saxon Phonics. If Saxon Math doesn't make me a homeschool mom, then I'm thinking this will.
  • I've joined a homeschool co-op, which starts after Labor Day.
  • We've planned out our school calendar.
  • I've made busy boxes for the boys.
  • Chore charts are almost done.
  • Bible folders are done.
  • My master plan/schedule for educating, cooking and cleaning is in place.
  • And most importantly, I'm pregnant. That's a big one, people!

However, there are still a few things that I'm lacking.
  • I need about 12 more inches of hair on my head so that I can braid it, or put it in a bun.
  • Someone needs to come and confiscate all my makeup.
  • Still haven't obtained a denim skirt or a floral jumper.
  • And most importantly, I need a mug with this picture on it:
Once I get all those things, I'm confident that I too can join the ranks of great homeschooling mothers!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Friday, August 28, 2009

In honor of our first day of homeschooling

Our first day of homeschool is this coming Monday. And in honor of our first day, here's a little laugh. I might need it this time next week!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

(asleep with his book)

Monday, August 24, 2009


On a whim, look what we did!! And the big boy didn't get out once!

Go figure.

The past few weeks, Micah has started a nasty little sleep cycle. He'd take a great nap (2 plus hours) go to sleep between 9 and 10, wake up at 6, take a great nap.... you get the idea. My thought was that if he took a shorter nap, he would go to bed earlier. I quickly learned that Micah is a hard sleeper, and either doesn't wake up, or wakes up as a nightmare child! Scratch that idea.

I decided this week I'd try not giving Micah a nap. Yesterday, he fell asleep in church, slept for about an hour (maybe less) and didn't go to bed till after 9!! This affirmed that we needed to just drop the nap.

So today, Elizabeth and Micah had run around screaming and playing quiet time together. That's the last time that will be happening! Overall though, I was pleased. Micah was a bit whinny, but not too terrible. When Benjamin woke up from his nap, I put on a short movie for the boys to watch. About half was through the movie, I found Micah like this.

Go figure!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

No longer Partyof Five.

Clearly, we can't keep our blog name, "Party of Five". Time to... NAME THAT BLOG!! Please leave your suggestions in the comment section.

Here are a couple thoughts that I have:
  • Doing a spin on Half a Dozen.
  • Tutus and Trucks ( I like the alliteration idea)
  • Something cutsie about the place in life I'm at. Ones that I've seen and I like, but don't want to copy: Cheerios in my purse. Rocks in the dryer. Armloads of laundry.
  • And, of course, something spiritual would be great. Though I have seen several "Quiver full" blogs.

Let me know what you think! My plan is to get tons of good ideas, pick several, and then have everyone vote on their favorite.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Waiting for that other shoe to drop

Do you ever feel like you're just waiting for the other shoe to drop? Waiting for the next bad thing to happen? That's how I've spend the past three years of my life. Waiting for the next blow to come.

It felt like so much has been happening to us.... Benjamin's surprise pregnancy, post pardum depression, another c-sec, meningitis, a screaming baby, craniosynistosis, helmet, Curtis going back to school, too much stuff going on. Thankfully, life had seemed to calm down a bit. I kept telling myself that we were done with the bad stuff. That it was time to move on to the good stuff in life, time to receive the many abundant blessing that I knew I deserved for all I had been though. But in the back of my mind, I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop. For something bad or unplanned to happen.

Then it dawned on me that my thinking was so messed up! God loves me. He loves my family. He has chosen us (Eph. 1:4-6), He loves us, and He intends good for us (Romans 8:28). Does all that mean that only good things will happen to me from now on? Of course not (Rom. 5:1-5)!! But it does mean that I don't need to sit around, mope about what's happened, and wait for the next bad thing to happen.

The rubber hit the road this past Tuesday. I was trying to trust, trying to claim the peace that passes all understanding. But that sinful mindset crept back in.

We had two appointments that day. The first one was for me and the baby. We were hoping to hear the heartbeat for the first time. In the back of my head I had this nagging worry (silly Kierstyn! Matt. 6:34) that the doctor wouldn't be able to find the baby's heartbeat. Rather than just listening for the heartbeat, we got to peak at our baby again. And I saw a beautiful beating hear!! I saw a head, a body, a spine, hands and fingers!! The baby wiggled, and jumped, and looked absolutely perfect!

Our next appointment was for Benjamin. We had to go to Austin to see his neuro surgeon to once again have that sweet head of his checked. His head hasn't completely healed from his surgery, and there are still some openings in his skull. The doctor had told us that if his head hadn't closed up by the time he was two, that we would have to do another surgery, placing a metal plate in his head. I was worried that we would have to endure another major surgery. And the icing on the cake was that our insurance is changing and it would be really expensive this time around.

The doctor walked in, took one look at Benjamin and said, "Did we really cut his head open? He looks perfect!" Benjamin not only received a clean bill of health, but we don't have to go back to the neuro surgeon for an entire year!

Let's say that we hadn't gotten all that good news. What if all my "what ifs" had come true? Would I still be able to say, "Blessed be the name of the Lord!"? I hope so. Because even if the other shoe had dropped, even if there had been more bad stuff, God is still good. When things are tough, Curtis and I frequently remind each other, "God is good all the time. All the time God is good!" Even when the other shoe drops.

But right now, I'm going to quit worrying about the other shoe, and rejoice that God is good, faithful, loving and gracious. I don't deserve one of the blessings that He is showering down on me, but I am thankful!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Because I Said So!!!

I've been talking with my other Mommy friends about this subject, and would like everyone elses opinion (even if you don't have kids!).

For the longest time when one of my kiddos would ask me, "Why?" I would give them beautiful, detailed explanations. Most of the time when they would ask that dreaded question, that never seems to be answerable, it was out of curiosity. "Why do cars have to drive on the roads?" "Why do we go to church?" "Why did God make all things?" "Why do we get sick?" "Why do cows make milk?" I desired to encourage them in their curiosity, as they began to explore God's world.

Slowly, I started to see a change in their "why" questions. "Why do I have to obey you?" "Why can't I hit my brother?" "Why can't I scream in the house?" At first, I again diligently answered their questions, again wanting them to know our reasoning behind our decisions.

But lately, when they start asking that same question (for the trillionth time) I just want to tell them, "Because I said so!!" or "Because God said so!"

So readers, is that wrong? Should I continue answering their "why" questions with detailed answers? Or can I just let them know that "Because I (or God) said so" should be good enough.

Monday, August 17, 2009


Ever since I experienced my first year of teaching, I get a little nostalgic during this time of year. Teachers are getting their rooms ready, shopping for supplies, hanging posters, buying tons of folders, organizing..... all the things I loved about teaching. Parents are going back to school clothes shopping, taking their supply list to Wal Mart, making sure they have lunch boxes and lunchables. Since I quit teaching, when back to school time arrives, I feel a little bummed. Like I should be doing something that I wasn't. I sigh a little when I pass the school supply aisle. I knew being at home with my children was what God wanted for me, and I really was happy. But part of me missed being the teacher getting ready to go back to school.

Last year, I tutored for the school where I had taught. Finally, September rolled around and I was the one doing lesson plans, reading educational books, and organizing! I was excited!! I savored sitting in the work room, planning lessons, making out a scope and sequence, and making posters. It felt good to be back!

But as the year went on, I started to not look forward to my tutoring sessions. Rather than being optimistic, and thinking I could help every child that was sent my way, I found myself longing to be home, with my kids. What happened to that beginning of the school year excitement? Was I just burned out? Were we as a family just doing too much?

By the time April rolled around, and I finished my time tutoring, I had figured it out! Even though there were parts of me that longed to be back in the classroom, my heart was at home. That's where God wanted me. That was His plan for me and for our family.

This year, I'm experiencing the back to school excitement in a new way. Rather than being nostalgic, I'm content. I know that home is where God wants me, and I want God's will for my life. And even though there is a big part of me that is anxious about what our first year of homeschooling will bring, I'm content. I am convinced that God laid the desire to homeschool on my heart, and Curtis' heart. I am convinced that homeschooling is what is best for our family. And I'm excited to see how our family will grow as we rest in the contentment of knowing we are in God's will.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Micah-ism and a Benjamin-ism

Maybe it's all the TV and movies Micah's been watching. Or maybe he's just getting clever. Either way, he's been saying some funny stuff!

When watching TV, if there's a part with bad people, he draws his sword and says, "Mommy, get behind me! I have a sword!"

A new phrase he uses frequently is, "I'll put this here for safe keeping." Where in the world did he pick that up?

And his newest is, "I will handle this!" Good to know, Micah, good to know!

Yesterday, Benjamin was on the phone with Elizabeth. He was enthusiastically saying the same thing over and over. I asked him to give me the phone, since the conversation clearly wasn't going anywhere. He moved the phone away from his mouth and said, "Let me finish."

Crazy boys!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Odds and Ends

Micah's doing pretty well. I keep hoping that he'll slow down and rest, but that hasn't happened yet. Yesterday he didn't take a nap, so yesterday was a pretty long day. He's showing less interest in food, but is doing a great day with keeping his fluids going. Elizabeth went to her friend Hannah's birthday party yesterday. It was good for her to be able to get out of the house and be with her friends. And aren't these hats the cutest things ever??
Benjamin's still a mess. He picked the scab on his nose and wore a band-aid for most of the afternoon. Goof!
Overall, everything's pretty good here. Elizabeth is leaving today to go spend some time in Kansas. The boys and I have big plans to watch movies, do puzzles, eat popsicles, and take naps today!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Micah update

Yesterday went very, very well. The night before his surgery, I had prayed very specifically. And God graciously answered every single request of mine!

The first thing I asked was that Micah would sleep long enough that we wouldn't have time to think about being hungry or thirsty, but not so long that I would have to wake him up. I was about to wake him, when he came walking out of his room!

The next request I made was that Micah would go back with the nurse without being too upset. At one point, we were in the waiting room, and Micah was under the chairs crying because he was scared to go to sleep and only wanted to sleep in his bed. It took both Curtis and I loving on him and encouraging (while on the floor!) to get him out. I was proud of him for coming out, but that made me very nervous about him leaving for surgery. But the time came, and back he went!! No tears, no crying for us!

Even though I knew we were making the right decision to have Micah's tonsils out, there were moments leading up to the surgery where it didn't feel like the right decision. I prayed that God would reaffirm our decision. And most graciously, we were affirmed! The doctor said that Micah had a huge abscess on one of his tonsils.

One of my biggest concerns was how he would wake up. Remember when he woke up from having tubes put in last time? That's what I was scared of. But this time, he left his IV alone, the nurses were able to get him back to sleep, and he just slept and slept. When he woke up, they offered him some juice. He told them, "My Mommy has better juice in her bag!" Sweet boy! They came and got Curtis and I and we were able to go love on him while he finished waking up. No screaming, no drama, just a sweet sleepy boy.

We left the surgical center at about 10:30, 3 hours after arriving!

Micah spent the morning sleeping. He woke up hungry, thirsty, and ready to play! Yesterday went very, very well.

Last night he dealt with some pain, and also had a cough which only made the situation worse. This morning he seems to be doing well, and is currently playing dinos with his brother and sister.

Thank you for your prayers! Please continue to pray for a smooth recovery.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Micah: aka Peter Knight of Narnia

Last night, Micah had his first, "I don't want to have my tonsils out!" moment. It boils down to him being scared of going back without Curtis and I, which we anticipated being the tricky point.

Curtis and I were talking with him, and he told us, "I'm going to be brave like Peter when he fought the White Witch!" Oh melt my heart! That boy is so sweet.

This evening, we'll be having the dinner of Micah choice (either tacos at Rosa's or Chick-Fil-A... both of which end up being super cheap on Tuesdays!). Afterwards, we'll go to Kohl's to pick out a special stuffed animal and than to Target to pick out a new knight sword. Micah says that will help him be brave tomorrow.

We are scheduled to arrive at the surgical center at 7:20, and surgery will probably happen around 8-8:30. Please pray that he would be okay heading into surgery, that the surgery would go smoothly, and that waking up from anesthesia wouldn't be too dramatic.

We'll be sure to let everyone know how he's doing.


Benjamin is by no means my graceful child. And I keep telling him that I've already bought him one new head, and the family rule is that we each get only one new head. But, being all boy, he just runs at break neck speeds, hoping to keep his balance. And usually when he bites it, he ends up catching himself. But not yesterday.
First he fell in the parking lot at Curtis' office. Minor bump and some road rash. He enjoyed showing off his booboo at softball.
It was late when he got home from softball, and very dark. We're not sure if that's what caused the problem, but somehow Benjamin fell out of the van, face first, into the driveway. Thankfully, it wasn't nearly as bad as it could have been.

Clearly, no worse for the wear!

Sunday, August 09, 2009

If you feel so led.....

We've finished a busy week, and now we have a busy week coming up. Here's the scoop, and if you feel so led, please pray for some of the stuff we have going on.
  • Tuesday is Curtis' last day of summer school! I'm thrilled! He has a final (open book and open notes) on Tuesday, and a project that's due on Thursday. He's going to try to have his project done on Tuesday, so he doesn't have to make another trip to Prairie View.
  • On Wednesday, Micah's having his tonsils out. Thankfully, my mom is going to be in town to help out.
  • On Friday or Saturday, Mom AND Elizabeth are going to be heading back to KS. My Mom offered to take her home because....
  • On Tuesday the 18th, I have my next doctor's appointment, Benjamin has "head check" in Austin, Curtis has a deacon's meeting, and I have a co-op meeting. All this, only 6 days after Micah's surgery. Curtis is taking the day off, but we're not sure how all the plans will come together yet.
  • On the 24th, we're planning on starting our daily school schedule, but not starting school.
  • On the 31st, we'll start school.

So that's the next few weeks for us in a nutshell. There's a lot going on, and we would covet your prayers.

VBS: Lessons Learned

As I mentioned in my previous post, this week was VBS week at our church. It was the 4th year I've helped out, and hands down, the best year I've ever had! God taught me so much, and here I was thinking that I would be doing the teaching!

Amanda and I teamed up again to teach 2nd graders. I had the opportunity to teach with Amanda last year, and was thrilled to work with her again! Out of the 8 students we had, only 2 were from our church. I was thrilled! Not only did I have new children to meet, I was able to share the gospel with these children. As I prepared to share about God's amazing love for us, I was struck by how simple the gospel is. When I'm talking with my children, or thinking of my salvation, I tend to over complicate it. But it's really simple, isn't it? One of our memory verses was Romans 10:9, "If you confess with your mouth, 'Jesus is Lord,' and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved." So simple that even I was able to tell these children about salvation. And simple enough that they understood. I truly felt like I was planting some big seeds!

I was also very humbled as I witnessed other teachers. Many teachers had more kids than they were planning on, or didn't get the class they were anticipating, or didn't have things go exactly the way they were wanting, or had children who were challenging. Yet I didn't hear any complaining or grumbling. Instead, I saw people step up, love children, love and serve each other and share the gospel. It was encouraging for me and helped me to not complain and grumble as much.

Sure, I'm exhausted! It was a long week, and I'm glad that it's over. But it was a great week! And I am so thankful for the work that God did in me this year, at VBS.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Sleeping Micah

This week has been VBS week at church. And though I love VBS, I love teaching VBS, the kids have loved going to VBS, I LOVE that tomorrow is the last day!! It's been a great week, but we're all pretty wiped out by days end.

The past couple nights, Micah hasn't been going to sleep till 10pm, then wakes at 6am. He's still taking naps, but I was starting to think that maybe I needed to quit giving him naps to help his sleep patterns regulate.

Tonight when we put him to bed, he kept telling us how not tired he was. I was worried that it would be another 10:00 night. Just before 9, I went to my room, and almost tripped over a little something. Crazy boy had gotten out of his room, and fallen asleep on the floor, with a flash light to direct planes to "go up, and down".

He's about the cutest thing I've ever almost tripped over!

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Parenting myself

Yesterday I was trying to get things accomplished. Basic stuff like dishes, laundry and picking up the house. I've all but given up on the big stuff at this point. I'm just too tired and nauseous.

The kids were being high maintenance and wanted gum. When I told them I couldn't get them gum at that exact second, Elizabeth started crying.

Being the ever godly mother , I told Elizabeth, "Really? You're going to cry over this?! Why don't you find something worse to cry about.... like the people who are sick, the children who won't get dinner tonight, the people who don't have jobs, the people who don't know Jesus. Those are the kinds of things you should be crying about."

And back to my dishes I went.

I found myself laughing at how I was trying to help her learn to be less dramatic by being dramatic myself.

You know, it's hard being a parent to Elizabeth sometimes. Because she is so stinkin' much like me!! It's like parenting myself, which isn't fun for either of us. Dealing with her sins while dealing with the same sins in myself.

Later in the evening, Elizabeth was crying again. When I asked her what was wrong, she told me, "I don't know. But it's not about gum!"

Tuesday, August 04, 2009


This morning, while I was getting ready for VBS, Benjamin came into the bathroom, went potty, and got ready to leave. He somehow managed to get his finger slammed by the toilet seat, and left the bathroom crying and holding his finger. I told him I was sorry he'd been hurt and kissed his finger.

"I need band aid!" he told me.

"No, you're find," I reassured him.

"Oh MAN!"

And off he walked, bummed that he had nothing to show for his war wound.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Swim lessons

On Thursday we had our last swim lesson for the year.


Here's a quick summary of swim lessons 2009

Micah was in the Frog class, Level 2. He complete the exit test, and should move to level 3 next year.

I was worried about how Micah would do in swim lessons. He's more hesitant than the other kiddos, and though he's a pretty good swimmer, he doesn't like to take the time to breathe, and often ends up freaking himself out. But he did great!! He did a really good job, and gained a lot of confidence.
The last day of class, Micah got to ride the snake, something he's been wanting to do since Day 1. He also got to slide down the log slide. I was very proud of how well he did!!

Elizabeth was in the Frog class as well, but in Level 3. She passed the exit test, and will move up to the next class next year. Elizabeth's always been my little fish, so I anticipated her doing well, which she did!
Her class spent their time in the big pool, using a platform to swim to the side. I was impressed that she learned how to float longer, learned the back stroke, and got much better and a free style type stroke.
On her last day of class, she got to jump the lily pads. She enjoyed swim lessons, and would have stayed longer if I had let her.Benjamin was in the Starfish class, and was told to move up to the Frog class next year (based solely on age). Benjamin's like his big sister.... a FISH!! He spent a lot of time being quite bored with his class, but didn't show it too much since he was just thrilled to be in the water.

His favorite part of the class was diving for rings. He would throw it, we would let it sink to the bottom, then I would push him to the bottom, he would grab the ring, and jump off the bottom to the service.

On the last day of class, his class got to go to the frog pool! He loved going down the slide, playing in the "waterfall" and having a bit more freedom than usual, away from mom.

Overall, swim lessons went well. I'm not sure if we'll choose to do them again next year. I felt like the kids would have learned just as much from Curtis and I and our frequent trips to the pool. And of course with a new baby in the mix, there's no telling what life will look like!

I'm glad swim lessons are over, and I'm looking forward to getting to the pool a few more times before the end of the summer.