Preschool Plan :: Block 1

Based on what I heard from Mystie and Pam, we’re going to see how block scheduling works for us. I find it unrealistic to plan out an entire year specifically because things hardly ever work out the way you plan them. And, like I mentioned here, things happen and I’m not always in control of what’s going on in our life. We’re going to do 3 weeks on and 1 week off. This will give me built in time to adjust and adapt as needed and also give us a break for trips or fun activities that happen outside of our school time.

Five Truths For (4)

Morning Time

I talked about what my morning routine looks like here, and we’re wanting to start a habit for Jacob of morning that doesn’t involve a screen. This is definitely less of a structured school “morning time” like other homeschoolers might use; but my goal in this is to help Jacob become an independent morning doer. I just think there’s a lot to be said for getting up and going with the day. On mornings we don’t have much structure, it’s easy to sit around in our pajamas watching TV and then look up and see that it’s almost lunch time.

How we’ll do this for Block 1 is that when Jacob wakes up, he’ll have a list of things to do. Screen-time and stickers on his reward chart toward prizes will be his reward. At first, it’s just going to be a few things. I have a scheduler with laminated chores/activities and he’ll get a sticker when he completes each one. Getting dressed, eating breakfast, putting clothes away and brushing teeth will be where we start.

Then, we’ll move into our school day. This is where actual morning time will start. We’ll sit down together and say a prayer and then work on our first memorization of a song. The plan is to start with the doxology. Then, we’ll work on our Scripture memory work and then we’ll read our story for our curriculum.

School Day

Five In A Row breaks down each story into subject areas and activities. For our first block, we’ll be reading 3 books and doing their activities.

A Pair of Red Clogs is our first book, and we’re going to learn about Japan and it’s flag, eat using their cultural traditions for lunch one day, learning about what an island and weather are and doing a math counting activity with the clogs on each page in the book. Our Bible lesson will be to read Genesis 3 out of our Jesus Storybook Bible, be memorizing 1 John 1:9 and talk about stewardship.

Madeline is our second book. We’ll be learning about France and it’s flag, learning some vocabulary words like disaster and solemn, talking about architecture and the Eiffel Tower, sorting by size and learning about good healthful habits. Our Bible lesson will be about Creation and we’ll be memorizing Philippians 4:8 and Proverbs 1:10.

Lentil is our third book. We’re going to learn about a compass and Ohio, playing with our harmonica, learning about music notes and fractions, and learning about taste buds. Our Bible lesson will be to memorize Proverbs 18:16

 

My Morning Routine

One of the priorities we’ve set for this “school” year is to set up some rhythms and patterns for our days. Perfect world this includes a good morning routine that doesn’t involve any screens (and that goes for parents too!), a nighttime routine that helps Jacob move to a more independent bedtime, and a routine for our school time. Since Jacob learns by example, Jim and I have been working hard at making our own routines for these times as well. And as Maria says in “The Sound of Music,” the beginning is a very good place to start.

Five Truths For (3)

I try to get up before Jacob. He wakes up pretty regularly around 8, so usually being up at 7 will guarantee that a good chunk of my morning routine can be done before he wakes up. I’m a night owl, so even staying up until midnight would give me a good chunk of sleep. Even if he does wake up early, I can still continue to do what I want to get done, it just will take longer. In fact, I want him to see that Jim and I make it a priority to get up and spend time putting our days and lives before the Lord.

I fix myself a cup of coffee and toast. If I don’t do this first thing, it won’t happen, and then 11 am comes around and I’ve only had coffee and I’m starving and don’t make good food decisions. Right now, I’m loving whole wheat toast with a little butter and jam.

I sit down and get out my Leuchtturm Notebook and write out a prayer. It’s not anything fancy or long. It’s sometimes the line of prayer from the Book of Common Prayer in my planner, or just a passage of Scripture.

Next, I read the Daily Office, noting what it says about God and how I should live and finding any theme I can in accordance with the current season of the church calendar. I note these things in my notebook and then finish up with a prayer of response.

This is where the rest of this is just what I want to make time for in my life, but isn’t actually necessary or can’t be done later in the day. So if Jacob has awaken by now, the rest of this could be drawn out over the day.

I read one chapter or section in whatever current book I’m reading as part of developing knowledge and faith. Right now, I’m re-reading “With Christ in the School of Prayer.”

If Jacob is still asleep, I use that time to do things that give me energy, things I WANT to do, like planning out the day ahead, blogging, and reading at least one chapter for pleasure in another book. Ideally I would spend around half an hour on each of these things, but that doesn’t always happen in the morning, so I might push off blogging and reading until after Jacob is asleep.

At this point is when I allow myself to check social media and email. I’m terrible at wanting to look at it first thing, but making it a reward for getting up and getting my stuff done has helped to minimize it, as by the time I can look at it, Jacob is probably already awake and I can’t very well tell him “no” to screen-time when I’m glued to mine.

Motherhood and Balance

Five Truths For (2)

I think finding balance in life is ultimately a myth. With seasons comes different ways to balance things, but there’s never a one-size fits all your life. Which is funny to read out loud, because I wouldn’t argue with this point if I heard it, yet so much of my life used to be revolved around finding this “balance”and endless frustration when I didn’t.

Life is not perfectly balanced. People are not equally balanced. Why should I expect the thing I do that revolves around those two things be easily balanced and controlled? My days and weeks generally look the same- I’m a stay at home Mom with some part-time work on the side. However, there isn’t a single day that looks the same. Each day is “new.” Jacob wakes up with his ways of facing the day and processing what’s coming at him, and some days he handles things fine. We can do fun activities at home, go to the store, go to the park, and it’s all dandy. Other mornings? He wants his Dad to come back home and refuses to get dressed.

There are seasons, ebbs and flows, and things have to change constantly. Just like seasons in a garden, each season requires different tools to make the most of it. My success is contingent upon me realizing that I have to go the Lord for the tools to face whatever is in front of me. I can’t decide and handle it on my own. And there are seasons that require more activity on my part, and other times that the work that is being done is unseen.

I’m constantly on this search of how to organize and take all this in. The truth is there isn’t a planner or system that can do it all because the needs of that system are always changing. We’re in the midst of a change right now, so I’m about to need a homeschooling planner (which I got at Target for $3) and more of a to-do list planner (I’m using my Sacred Ordinary Days planner) than a scheduler (my husband loves his Passion Planner).

What are your thoughts on balance and life and how to achieve it?

Life Around Here 8.19.16

Last week I left you with a little bit of a cliff-hanger. But, let’s back up to Friday.

Friday: We drove to Cook Children’s Hospital for a check-up for Jacob. He’s previously thrown major fits to get the easy stuff done (like weighing and measuring him) and we’ve noticed over his lifetime that he doesn’t try to pull that when Jim is there. We finally had the idea that I would walk past the door where Jacob would be getting these things done and Jim would go in with him. He did perfectly. We saw the doctor, he said he’s doing great, we didn’t have to do any X-rays and we were off to Austin!

Saturday: The goal was to look at apartment units that we could potentially be moving into. We had seen the models, we wanted to see an actual floor-plan that we would move into so we could get a feel for what furniture we could and couldn’t bring. We had both separately prayed that God would just make this so clear to us and lead us on a couple of separate occasions. When we went to Apartment Complex A, we knew it was second on our short-list of choices. When we got there, they had no availability for us to look at it and actually no 2 BR/2 BA apartments for us to rent until later on in September. Cue the big “X” from Family Feud.

Apartment Complex B was actually a complex we hadn’t previously toured, but was in a desired location. We went on a tour, go to see two possible units we could move into, and it moved up to second on our short-list.

Apartment Complex C was our first choice. They had 1 apartment unit available for our move in time. We have been watching it all week and on Friday had called to schedule to tour it. When we got there on Saturday to look at it, the leasing agent informed us that someone had leased it, sight unseen, two hours prior to us arriving.

Disappointed? We’re actually not because we got exactly what we asked God for and we couldn’t be more thankful that the decision was that “easy.”

Saturday evening we applied for the apartment and also went to eat with Jim’s family. Sunday morning we drove home to start the packing process.

We were able to get our hands on some used boxes and I also go to work finishing some projects that I’ve been meaning to do. That included re-painting our table top and a shelf. The table top didn’t go as planned. I had used Rustoleum’s chalk paint to repaint the whole table a few months ago, and everything was leaving stains on it. You dropped a crumb? Grease spot. Water rings were there. Jacob had even dug some playdough down in there. I had decided to repaint just the top and then give a clear coat sealing to better protect it this time. I gave it a quick sanding and repainted it, but everything came back through. So now, I’ve got to decide to just leave it as is and use a table cloth or maybe repaint the top with actual oil based paint (but then have a two tone wood table?)

Then we started packing. And more purging.

Somewhere in between I took all of my siblings to get their glasses and to their respective school orientations. It doesn’t seem like that long ago that I was homeschooling two kindergartners, a first grader and two third graders. Now they’re all in junior high and high school! Scary and awesome alllll at the same time.

IMG_2810As of this morning, we still don’t officially have that apartment secured which is kind of freaking me out in the back part of my brain. We’ve called the leasing office every day to make sure they have what we need, and they keep saying “you should hear from us soon.” So I’m just going to continue packing up my whole life and trust the Lord will provide somewhere to move it to!

Currently :: August 2016

It’s been a while since I’ve done a “currently” post. In fact, it was in February!

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Reading :: My goal is to read 36 books this year, and so far, I’ve read 15. Right now, I’m reading Bread and Wine by Shauna Niequist and With Christ in the School of Prayer by Andrew Murray.
Drinking :: Cafe Verona Coffee with Natural Bliss Sweet Cream creamer
Watching :: Olympic highlights (I’m just not that into this year- I think the internet makes it less exciting since I know some of the results before they are broadcasted) and Texas Ranger baseball. Also, Friends on Netflix.
Excited About :: Moving to Austin in 2 weeks!
Not AS Excited About :: Moving to Austin in 2 weeks! It’s a lot of work coming up and we always hate leaving our family behind.
Needing :: To keep my steps steady. I read this in Psalms last week and those words just jumped off the page and grabbed me.
Loving :: Voxer- seriously, if you’re my friend, please get on Voxer. Please and thank you.
Praying :: For a deeper prayer life, hence the reading above. As I was purging a couple of weeks ago, I went through a box of old journals dating all the way back to highschool. Some of it was refreshing because I can see that I’ve continued growing as a person, but some of it was embarrassing. Praying was more like a big ol whine list of all the “big” problems I had going on (aka boy problems, friend problems, stomach issues) and geez. I still feel like I’m missing something in this area and so I’m going to read up on it from the Bible and trusted resources.
Planning :: For our upcoming first year of homeschooling. We’ll be using Volume 1 of Five In a Row.
Admitting :: I went a whole day without drinking a single drop of water. That’s bad, you guys!
Listening To :: We listen to a lot of Lion Guard right now. It’s Jacob’s favorite. Anytime I have free ear time? I listen to podcasts or my praise and worship playlist.

Some Current Tools and Tricks

I’m an efficiency/tech/gadget geek. I would totally be the person who had all the things that came out new if I had my own way. I would also be broke and have more than one could ever use or need, so here’s what I’m actually using right now.

Five Truths For (1)

1- Sacred Ordinary Days Planner + Rule of Life :: I found this podcast last year when Jim and I first started diving into our research around the church calendar. I stopped listening for a while, but still subscribed to their newsletter. I saw that the new academic liturgical day planner was coming out and they had a download + print one that you could try for a month (looks like the have one for August too!). We did that and loved it and ordered the planners. We spent a morning together (without Jacob) to write our rules of life and have been using them daily and both really like them. (You can get the rule of life essentials workbook by scrolling down to the bottom of their webpage and subscribing to the newsletter).
2- Five in A Row Curriculum :: We were wanting to start some kind of routine and homeschooling this year for Jacob’s preschool. More to give a rhythm to our days, but also to lay foundations. We didn’t want anything to rigorous or strict and a friend told me about Five in a Row. We checked it out from the library and so we’re going to give it a try this fall! We’re kicking off our school year September 6th!
3- Putting Books on Hold at the Library :: This has saved me many a frustrating tantrum in the library. Our library lets you search online and put books on hold and it’s genius. I go in, they’re on a shelf by the door, we use the self-check out and Jacob gets to help, and we’re out. My friend Emily told me her library is going to be opening up a drive through for that. NOW THAT’S GENIUS!
4- Boxing Things Up and Dating Them :: If you feel like you have too much stuff and are overwhelmed by making the decision on whether or not to get rid of something, try this: Get a cardboard box. They’re like a $1 at Uhaul or Home Depot. It’s important that it not be see-through. Put whatever it is you’re having a hard time deciding if you actually need or use. You can put clothes, toys, gadgets, ANYTHING. Put a date on it, 3 months out from today and seal it up. Put it out of sight and out of mind. Now, if you find that you actually need something from that box, go and get it out. On the date you wrote on the top, if whatever is left in it gets donated, no questions asked. Don’t open and look to make sure, just take it to your local donation shop.
5- iScanner App :: We have a wireless printer/scanner/copier that I feel is probably on it’s last leg on this mortal coil. For whatever reason, the scanner now cannot scan wirelessly and needs a cord that I don’t have. I just had one document to scan, so I downloaded the iScanner app. It lets you use your iPhone camera to take a picture and then it saves it as a PDF and you can email it. The pro version offers other features like saving to dropbox. Done and done.

Life Around Here 8.12.16

Here’s what’s been happening around here:

We had a pretty “normal” weekend of time with our family and getting things done around the house. My siblings got back from visiting their dad for two weeks, so that means this week will also be a more “normal” workweek for me again. This summer, I’ve checked on them each day for a couple of hours each day and also run them around to various activities. These next two weeks before school starts are going to involve a lot of random things to get ready for school: optometrist appointments, haircuts, school supply shopping, getting back on a school schedule.

On Tuesday, we celebrated Jim’s birthday with family. I made oven-baked tacos and queso, bought our local grocery store’s delicious made-fresh guacamole and made a giant cookie cake, served up with blue-bell ice cream.

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The rest of the week wasn’t very exciting. We did some research on how to properly terminate a lease when you’re being forced to move out because your landlord sold the house you’re living in before your lease expires. This could be the last “calm” before the storm because we go this weekend to… well, I’ll update you next week because lots could change.

Motherhood

Motherhood IMGI’ve been thinking a lot about motherhood this summer. I went through a parenting class that really changed some things in my mind about what it looks like day in and day out, I’ve been reading some books about it, listening to podcasts on the subject of it, and it’s been interesting. I’ve also watched friends become mothers or become mothers of more.

I’m not going to write any grand post about what motherhood is, because it’s such a unique journey, really. We all have points along the way that we can say “been there, done that!” to, but really, if all of our children are unique, why wouldn’t we expect parenting and mothering to be any different?

I think at almost 31 years old, and 4 1/2 years into my motherhood journey, I can finally say to myself with conviction that looking around and comparing or making someone else’s style fit in our home just isn’t worth it. Don’t get me wrong, the lie comes in that I’m not doing a good job because look at _____’s kids and what they’re doing. I just think I’ve finally been able to make the truth mine: God created Jacob for my home, ordained ME to be his mom, and I can find rest and peace and help from Him alone. And with that understanding, I think I also have gained a new perspective on the weight of what I’m doing.

It’s kind of cliche, but I literally have the opportunity to change lives, or at least set a standard and pattern for them. And these standards and patterns have the potential to outlive me. How I choose to steward the blessing I’ve been given in Jacob will have ramifications beyond just his life. And I honestly don’t have many days to do that when it comes to the grand scheme of life. I don’t want to waste another minute.

Motherhood has challenged my faith more than any other single thing I’ve encountered. It has been super hard, but such a gift. And it’s the gift that keeps on showing me more about who I am, who God is, and how He loves. From the moment we decided to stop preventing all those years ago, my faith has continued to be stretched and strengthened with each passing year. And I know it’s going to get easier in some ways and harder in some ways, but I’m not at all dreading it because I know it’s not all on me. Praise God! for that because I’d probably make these little controlling, rule-following, people-pleasing kids that won’t adjust well to anything outside their control. Yikes!

I’ve got quite a few more books to read on my “to read” list: Here are some of them:

Own Your Life and The Life-Giving Home by Sally Clarkson, Jesus Feminist by Sarah Bessey, The Quotidian Mysteries by Kathleen Norris and Missional Motherhood by Gloria Furman.

5 Truths For Motherhood

Earlier this summer, I wrote a quick post about thoughts I had been keeping in front of me when it came to homeschooling. This made me think about the things I keep in front of me for mothering.Five Truths For

1. Motherhood is not a professional job. I’ll be honest in saying that I have tried to schedule and plan our home-life like it was a job that I would go to. It didn’t work. And I think Mystie is completely onto why.

2. Begin with the end in mind. This is from Community in the Home class I listened to from The Village Church. Jim and I realized a lot of the issues we’re having right now with Jacob are because we confused accommodation with love, feeling bad that we were moving around a lot so we didn’t force Jacob to do things that we’re now having to teach at an age where it’s more difficult to change behavior.

3. Faith means that the most important thing is that God sees me as righteous, not that I approve of myself. I can just say “no” to self-judging because that inevitably looks like comparing myself to others. Why do I do that when my life looks nothing like those I compare myself to? When you find a young 30s mom who has one strong willed child and moves twice every other year and homeschools, let me know.

4. As a Mom, it is important to have the expectation for my kids to go along with whatever I have scheduled. But when they don’t, I don’t need to take it personally, like it’s an indictment on my parenting. I believe this is also from the Community in the Home class.

5. Make sure to create friendships with other families with similar values. You want good adults around your kids so that when they don’t want to listen to you or talk to you, you know there are other trusted sources around them that will speak truth and life and not lies. I heard this from Annie Downs on a podcast that I don’t remember the specific link to.

Life Around Here 8.5.16

Here’s what’s been happening around here:

We celebrated a cousin’s birthday at “Pizza Planet” (that’s what Jacob calls Chuck E. Cheese) and Jacob had a lot of fun racing his Poppy and Dad on a motorcycle game and beating Poppy. There is something about needing to always beat or crash Poppy’s car in races that makes Jacob giggle like crazy.

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We also began selling some big random items that we won’t be taking on our next move, wherever it’s going to be. Patio furniture, hammock, picnic table- it’s all going.

I’m giving the clean-out bag from Thred Up a try. I sent it off Monday to see what I could get. I just picked some nice things I had and some nice things that Jacob has just outgrown to see how it goes. I didn’t do the $10 “return” thing. If these clothes don’t work out, they’ll just recycle them. I’m okay with that right now.

We’ve been having problems with our vacuum lately. It didn’t seem to be picking up as well and I thought it was surely about to die. I took it all apart and cleaned it and it’s working awesomely. I let my Mom borrow it and she loved it so much, she wanted to know what kind it was. I went back and looked (we had purchased it from Amazon) and realized we paid $99 for it in 2013. I’d say that we’ve gotten our money’s worth.

The house-selling saga continued this week. We found out that we’ll know on or by 8/13 if we are moving. I also came home from running errands on Wednesday to find an inspector at our house. I had zero notice that he was coming and so he had to deal with a lot of stuff everywhere. Thankfully, God had put it in my mind to go ahead and clean out a closet where our attic access is. Otherwise, he would have had a lot of work on his hands. Jacob had gotten out almost every toy he owned and had them in various piles literally all over the house. There were dishes in the sink, clothes in the washer, and my dogs were at home. We ended up just driving around for 3 hours, dogs in tow, until they got done.

I’m continuing to downsize and prepare for the beginning packing stages. We’ve decided to not have to store things outside of where we live. So, all of Jacob’s clothes we were saving for the prospect of another child are out. Thankfully, I’ve found some family members to bless with it since we were blessed with it, and I’m just keeping one crate of some of my favorite things.

One project to get done eventually is digitizing pictures that aren’t already on our hard drive. So far, I’ve come across 5 boxes of pictures that I had and was able to downsize into 1 larger box.

I wanted to spend August using snapchat more- I’m a total creeper on it at this point (as in, I just follow and watch and really only post when filters are fun). So, just when I had decided to regularly try and use it, Instagram goes and introduces their “stories” inside their app. So, it sounds nice to use since it’s all in an app I already use.

We ended Thursday with an online Usborne party that I “hosted” on facebook and Jacob running into my side mirror and cutting his eye when saying “good-bye” to friends from our dessert day.

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