About Me

A mom of 4, I blog very rarely, and use this mostly for future memory of when I forgot to capture these events in a baby book somewhere.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

What I Swore I'd Never Do

“Let’s start at the very beginning, a very good place to start…”
I’m a product of the public school system. So is my husband. Growing up I think I knew a total of 5 people personally who were home schooled, and they were my cousins.
2002…When my husband and I were engaged he mentioned in some way that he wanted me to homeschool. I’m not sure exactly how he said it. It wasn’t an order, it wasn’t a must, I think it was just his preference that if possible, he’d like me to. I immediately told him no-not-ever. Again, maybe not in those exact words. But I definitely had no desire to ever do it.
2005…Fast forward a few years to kid #1. My decision at that point changed a little, but not really. I said that I would only consider homeschooling if we ended up in a church where we had a large homeschool support system built in already. That was an easy answer, because at the time we were at a very small church and my kids were pretty much the ONLY kids at the church. I only had 1 friend who was a stay-at-home mom, and I DEFINITELY didn’t know any homeschool moms! So this was my way of giving a hint of consideration, but knowing that there was no chance it would happen.
2009…Now fast forward a few more years, I’ve got 2 kids, we’ve moved to Birmingham, Alabama and go to a huge church. My oldest is starting kindergarten. I still don’t know a single person who homeschools, so that option is never even considered.
The next 4 years I meet a TON of people who homeschool. I co-teach a 7th grade girls Sunday School class with a girl who told me she was a sophomore, and I just assumed she meant in college. It was a few months before I realized she meant she was a sophomore in high school. She is one of the most spiritually mature girls I’ve ever met. Of course she’s homeschooled. I continue to co-teach with her until she graduates high school. I attended her high school graduation ceremony and was just moved by what a sweet ceremony it was. Every dad spoke a testimony of their child. I totally cried.
Friend after friend at my church homeschools. I think they are all crazy. I tell them all, “I would LOVE to homeschool someone ELSE’S children. There is no way I could spend all day with my kids and still be sane at the end of the day.” But I honestly think the teaching part of it would be a TON of fun! But still, it’s definitely not for me.
2013… A great friend starts praying about homeschooling her preschooler who is in the same age as my #3 (did I mention I have 4 now?) and I pray for her. We have lots of conversations about her concerns and fears and worries and reasons why she wants to and feels called to. Another friend from church has 2 children at the same public school as mine. My kids LOVE her kids. Over Christmas she pulls them out to start homeschooling them (they are in 4th and 2nd grades, my oldest are in 3rd and 1st). I feel like it’s starting to surround me. But I never once am considering this being an option for myself.
Spring Break 2014… Great week. We stay in town, go to Hobby Lobby to get crafts, have lots of library days (the Hoover Public Library is THE BEST!) and we have a GREAT week! Until Friday. That’s when my patience is gone and I post the following on Facebook, Day 5 of Spring Break (home alone with kids): confirmation of my decision NOT to homeschool my kids.” And I love the fact that I get 30 “likes”.

I also want you to know that we LOVE our school! We have had nothing but the BEST experience at Rocky Ridge Elementary. And we are even super excited because one of the 4th grade teachers goes to our church and we LOVE her and are really hoping that Will gets her next year (did I mention she’s from Florida and is a Gator???).
Secret Church on Good Friday 2014… 6pm til 1am spent worshipping and studying the word and praying for the persecuted church. My favorite night of the year. I love every single topic we have done, some more than others. This year is by far my favorite ever. So practical. So Convicting. Session 3 starts. Topics include: Living Every Day to Love Your Neighbor as Yourself, A husband’s daily approach to his wife…, A wife’s daily approach to her husband…,  A parent’s daily approach to children…, A Christian’s daily approach to other Christians…, A Christian’s daily approach to non-Christians…
I want you to know the topics so you know that none of this is coming from some Homeschool seminar I went to and felt guilty about and decided to do it. Not at all. I’m sitting there listening intently to everything my pastor is saying. Taking great notes. And OUT OF NOWHERE I really start feeling this pressing on me about homeschooling. I just don’t even know how to explain it. I just felt this conversation going on between me and God where it went something like… Me: But my kids are old and so used to being in public school already! God: I am bigger than that. Me: But I can’t stand to be with my kids alone for 1 hour, let alone all day with no break! God: With Me you can. On and on. And I cried the whole time. For about 30-45 minutes it was like this. As I continued to listen and take notes, I continued to wrestle with this.

Bottom line is I was completely being convicted of a lot of sin in my life that deals with selfishness. The #1 reason I have never wanted to homeschool my children is because I want free time! I want to be able to sit by myself and eat fast food while I’m watching NCIS. I want to sit down and read a book. I want to crochet a baby blanket to help my friend raise money for her adoption. I want to go to volunteer at church sorting through pony beads to get the Salvation Bracelet supplies ready for Rock The Block (our backyard bible clubs). I want to have time to unwind and play some games on the computer (unfortunately that turns into way TOO MUCH time). Not that any of this alone is bad, but when I get a little, I want a little more. Then I want a little more. After months of this, when my kids get home from school I’m too busy doing me stuff to be bothered by them. I get irritated at them more quickly and I don’t understand why. They’ve only been home for 30 minutes, how can they drive me so crazy so quickly? And this has confirmed in me the notion that there’s no way I could handle them all day long. And the weirdest part is I have 4 AMAZING kids and I love them like crazy. But I love them and spend time with them on my terms, not theirs.

Back to Secret Church. I’m crying and taking notes, wrestling with God and taking some more notes. Break #3 and I head to the restroom. On my way back to my seat, blocking the aisle in front of me (3 or 4 rows behind my seat), is a girl wearing a shirt that says, “Keep Calm and Homeschool”.  Are you kidding me? God what is that about? I only saw that girl one time that night. No clue who she was.

On the way home (sitting in the Taco Bell drive through at 2am for 45 minutes) I tell Scott everything that happened. He’s so confused. “But David didn’t even MENTION homeschooling ONCE! Where did this come from?” Exactly. That’s why I know it’s kind of important.  And not that I think this means we have to homeschool now. I don’t know the answer to that yet. I am seriously praying about it. But the thing is, up until now my husband and I have always told people that we feel called to public school. We have access to so many kids and their families that we never would have if we had been in private school or homeschooling. And it’s totally true. We have a great ministry with our Yemeni neighbors that I KNOW we wouldn’t have if not for our kids being in class and riding the bus together. And right now my husband and I are very thankful for those opportunities. And even though for years it was kind of always his preference for me to homeschool, it really isn’t any more because of these opportunities we have.

But even though I’ve always said we’re sending our kids to public school because we feel called to that, I know that’s not been the truth for me. I was just too selfish to consider the alternative. If we choose to send our kids to public school next year, I want to honestly be able to say that we’ve prayed about it extensively and feel that our ministry is too great to give that up at this time.

Or I want to be able to say that God has called us to homeschool during this next season. Maybe not forever, but at least for now. My oldest 2 are completely on board, and #1 actually specifically prayed for it during family worship last night. 

So here we go. Praying like crazy. Research beginning. No answers yet. We’ll see….!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Ecuador - property

This next segment is just pictures of the property with a small description.

View of the Andes from the camp

Walking down the paved road to the orphanage. The property is split in half. The campground is at the top of the hill, the orphanage is the bottom. Both halves are walled and gated separately. This is from the top of the bottom half.

One of the gardens they take care of.

The school on the property. It is a private school, and there are kids from the surrounding areas that attend in addition to the kids from the orphanage.

There are a few buildings on the property used as housing for guests and teachers and stuff like that. I think this might be one of them, but I don't really remember.

The church

A view looking up

Ronnie Brock describing what everything is. These are the houses that make up the orphanage.

Beautiful pictures of the mountains beyond.

 Sunset from the camp

The Coe's house from the street between the camp and the orphanage

Off to Ecuador!

Quito, Ecuador was the final destination. But let me start back at the very beginning...

3 years ago I began teaching a great group of 7th grade girls at church on Sunday mornings. At the end of my first year, Haleigh Brown and her family left us to go full time  to the mission field, in Guatemala. The following summer another of my girls, Kayla Nichols, left with her family to go to Ecuador. (Another family at church, the Coes went with them). A 3rd family was scheduled to go to the same place the following summer, the Brocks. They also had a daughter in my class, Lydia.

Last summer I decided I would take each of the girls out for ice cream for their birthday. Lydia was the first. And last. :) Since she had spent the entire summer in Ecuador, she had lots to tell me. Side story... at the time there was a plan in place for our youth ministry. Starting this coming fall there would be no more small groups on Sunday mornings - the kids would be serving some where on the church grounds instead. Which meant our small group would be done. (that plan is no longer in place - was it all just God getting this trip planned???) Knowing this, I wanted the girls to bond as much as possible this past year to solidify the friendships they had. After I had that talk with Lydia a plan started to form. What if we all went together this summer to minister in Ecuador, and to spend some time with Lydia and Kayla and their families? A mother-daughter trip.
I mentioned it, the girls were excited, we picked a date and nothing happened. Everyone backed out and I thought the trip was done. But then in 1 weekend 2 mothers emailed me and the trip was back on. Fast forward to the weekend when all our money was due. It was then that I found out that only 1 mother/daughter and myself had paid and turned our paperwork in. Lots of prayers over the weekend and by Monday we had mostly everything worked out. The trip attendees were myself, Amber and her mother, Connie, Mary and her mother, Carol, and then I got to be the guardian of 2 more: Shannon and Claire. Also later added to our trip was Callie from the global department. We also had a family of 4 that flew separately, but joined our trip. (Keith, Lynn, Lindsey, and Will). 12 of us total.

So the actual trip.... We flew out of Birmingham on Saturday, June 16th
top row: Mary, Claire, Shannon
bottom row: Amber and Jaime

Shannon and I on the way to Atlanta.
Below: Mary and Carol, same flight

Short flight to Atlanta. We at dinner in Atlanta and then headed to our gate. We thought we had tons of time and set up our first of many rounds of Nertz for the week. But then we ended up having to stand in line for over an hour trying to get our seats situated. So I had to clean up Nertz. :(
Next came our flight to Quito. A few hours of uneventful fun. Movies and music. Our last leg of the trip was a short drive to the campground. We were there by midnight.

Shannon and Amber, Quito bound!

Friday, April 27, 2012

My Fitness Coach

I haven't had time this week to get to the gym, thanks to all the work I have to do at home. So today I pulled out my 2-year-old, never opened Wii My Fitness Coach to workout with. Kirstine did everything right alongside of me and it was so cute, but I wasn't about to set up the camera to take a picture of the both of us working out. No one needs to see that. But when Will got home in the middle and wanted to do it, too, I couldn't resist. So after I was done with my workout I put a different one on for the kids to do, and here they are... p.s. Kirstine went to her room and picked out these special "workout clothes" to wear for this.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

New Shoes

Mine, not the baby's.

I have never been an athlete. Not even a little. The most physical activity I have ever done is when I danced in high school (I was a Chiefette). And I would joke about not being able to do stuff, and people would say, "don't you have to do that in Chiefette's?" And I would laugh.

I'm sure we were SUPPOSED to exercise before we danced. Maybe run some laps or something. But I never participated. Running was alwasy the exception, not the rule. In my mind, I remember most of us walking. If any of you are reading this and you disagree, maybe it's because you actually WERE running, and I just didn't notice cuz you were so fast and nowhere near me.

I remember when we had to do all that timed stuff for p.e. in 7th grade. Flexed arm hang, sit ups, sitting down with your legs straight and seeing how far you can reach forward,... you remember that stuff? I remember running the mile was one of them.  And it took me over an hour. Yep. For ONE MILE. I couldn't even run 1/2 of the way around the track without almost passing out. And this is back when I was TINY SKINNY.

So fast forward to now. You understand why my oldest brother laughed at me when I posted on facebook that I had signed up to run the Seaside 1/2 Marathon. I'll be honest. I never ACTUALLY intended to run the 1/2 marathon. In the rules it stated that I had until February 18th to drop down to the 5k. But I figured, if I AIM for the 1/2, and fail, the 5k will be a lot easier than if I aim for the 5k and fail.

By the way - the only reason I even wanted to do the 5k was for the weekend at the beach.
For this mom of 4, I haven't had a weekend away since I was in college, I think. So the idea of having a girls weekend at the beach for a whole weekend seemed soooo worth the effort of doing all this running.

So here we are, less than 2 months from the race. The 5k filled up back in November, which means I'm STUCK doing the 1/2 marathon. I'm freaked out. I am no where near where I should be in training for the 1/2. I can definitely complete a 5k now. Did it, in fact, a few weekends ago.

And I finally got my first shin splints. DANG IT! They aren't bad, thank goodness. A little rest, and some new shoes is all I need. I have been running in VERY inappropriate old shoes that don't fit and weren't ever meant for running. Which is most likely the reason I'm getting shin splints.

So when I was talking to the trainer at the gym, she suggested this place called Fleet Feet for me. They will measure me, see how I walk, and get me the perfect shoes. And if after a few weeks of running in them I'm unhappy, I can return them! So off I go this morning.

Great experience. Super excited. This is the first time in my life I have picked out shoes not based on their color. And the first time since high school I'm buying something other than Adidas. It kind of hurts. I think Adidas are the most beautiful shoes out there. No matter if they are in style anymore or not. I still love them. And I didn't get them today. I bought shoes that I have never even heard of. Brooks Ravenna 2 (i think).

(I think this is the one I ordered. It looked darker gray in the picture at the store, so we'll see...)

But I don't get them yet. Surprise, surprise. My feet are too small so they had to order them for me. Hopefully I can get them in this week so I can start running again.

But until then? I'll enjoy the stationary bike at the gym while trying to finish Brisingr.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Barbie Princess Charm School Party

Kirstine got a fabulous Christmas present from her Aunt Marissa this year.

We had so much fun coloring it, and now playing with it, I figured that it would be a GREAT birthday party game/event. So I ordered another one.

Now for a party theme. Princess of course. So off to Party City we went. Except Kirstine wasn't too excited about the Disney Princess stuff.  She was much more excited about Barbie. And then it hit me.. Barbie's newest movie is Barbie Princess Charm School. Kirstine got it for Christmas and has seen it 73 times since then. What a perfect mix between princess and barbie!

So far not much has been planned. I have downloaded some stuff from the Barbie website. Bought generic AWESOME princess themed plates, cups, and napkins from the Dollar Tree. And sent out the invitations. (which i made myself) (top one is front, bottom is the back)

Barbie Princess Charm School Invitation...

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Decorating Cookies

Our sweet friend, Erin, came over last week with cookies and sprinkles for the kids to decorate. They had a blast, and Will made a super deluxe cookie with sprinkles like I've never seen before :)

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Santa's Workshop

When Benjamin just found our card from Bass Pro Shops that had their Santa picture inside, he yelled, "Santa's Workshop!" So that's the title of this post.

One thing I love about living in Birmingham is that there's a Bass Pro Shops so close. So that's where we go see Santa every year. Pretty successful trip this year! Scott and Bethan waited in line while Will, Kirstine, and Benjamin painted ornaments, colored, watched and drove the train, and drove the race cars. Then it was Santa time - and most importantly there were no tears this year!!!