Thursday, December 17, 2009

New Blog is Here!

I'm excited to tell you about this new blog I'll be contributing to! My blogging can now be found at Changing the minivan at a time

In recent months, my heart has been pulled in new directions, and it just feels right to start a blog that tells that story more clearly and openly. Though I didn't seclude myself in real life, I have been a little detached in my blogging life. I had been feeling for a while that I should start a new blog. But in the meantime of figuring out what that would look like, I was delighted to discover that a friend of mine was in the same place, wrestling with many of the same things I was and stepping out into similar new ways of living. What a joy it's been to see God link our hearts' passions in this way, and I know it will be a really neat experience to blog alongside her.

So, instead of filling you in with the details right now, I'll just invite you over to my new blogging home! I don't plan to continue Anywhere Life Takes Me. I'll probably leave it up for a little while but will eventually close it, so please go ahead and change your links and such to reflect this new change. If you come here to keep up with our family on a more personal level, seeing the kids' pictures, etc., then know that I'll be trying to do a better job of updating my facebook with those kinds of things.

Now, quick! Go visit me at our new blog, and leave a comment! =)

Monday, December 14, 2009

I'm Still Here!!! (but not for long)

I don't know if you were wondering or not, but I'm going to tell you anyway: I'm alive. Just not blogging. But I will be blogging again soon. From a NEW blog. One I'm so seriously excited about. Really excited. We'll be up and running soon, so stay tuned!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Recent Pumpkin Patch Pics

We recently enjoyed a morning at a local family farm/pumpkin patch with our playgroup friends. This place is a favorite of ours! It's cute and free. We love that.

Jonah with his buddy Brantley: (Both boys' parents would like for you to ignore the fact that they're in an Aggies barrel. No, we do not approve.)

Sweet niece Maggie and nephew Brady: (Poor Brady...I guess he'll be having to ride in princess and Barbie barrels for a while!)
Me and my Parker Jane on the hayride out to the pumpkin patch:

She pretty much had a hateful attitude towards the pumpkins, so I did not get smiling pictures of her, but sweet ones nonetheless:

She did, however, have a fondness for kicking the pumpkins like a soccer ball:

Jonah had fun though:

Being silly with his friend Solomon:

And it's interesting how Parker looks like she's happy in this next one when I distinctly remember her screaming like crazy during this picture with Jonah and Maggie:

Of course, when Parker decides to smile, Jonah is looking elsewhere:

And by the second take, she was DONE:
Oh well. Maybe next year.

I did have a sweet surprise when my friend Sarah emailed me this picture she took of Parker:

I guess if you want to give this little girlie directions for her to actually follow, you'd better not be her mother. She ignored me that whole morning! Especially when I had a camera out! But I forgive her. She's pretty yummy. And when she is in the mood to give love, it sure is sweet. But the fact that Jonah was old enough to run around with his friends the whole time (and not sit by me on the hayride and not really need me for anything) sure did make this mama a little sad for how fast time is going. I'm so proud of how he is growing up, but, oh, it makes my heart ache too.

Feeling blessed.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

A List

I don't know where to start. So I'll go with a list. Here are some things going on in our life right now:

1. Parker Jane is a MESS. And I take full responsibility. This is how I just found her after leaving her unoccupied for about a minute and a half:

Yep, she unrolled an entire roll of toilet paper. And I probably missed the opportunity to discipline and teach on this one the second I chose to grab the camera. She's mischievous!

2. We've been busy with lots of church stuff. This is pretty much Joel's busy season for work. He's had a lot of weekend events going on the last few weeks, and he will have an event to lead every weekend for the next five. This week, our first meeting with our "new" community group was held. Our old one has divided into two groups to make room for lots of people who aren't in one. Though transitions like these can be a little tough in some ways, we are so excited about leading this group and seeing what God has in store for all of us! We had such a fun time meeting with these families this week! And I've also begun a mom's prayer/Scripture discussion on parenting little ones according to biblical principles. It's mainly for providing relational support to each other on this journey of motherhood. We will meet four times over the next 8 weeks, and today was our first meeting. I can tell spending time with these ladies will be such a refreshing time! As you can life right now is busy, busy. (Good thing we like it!)

3. Joel's birthday was last month, and I just feel a need to show off the birthday cake I made for him. The pictures are less than acceptable. But it's all I've got. I stole this idea from a very fun blog called Whatever. Talk about blog eye candy! That woman is so inspirational for creating beauty in life. She makes me want to learn to sew. Or maybe just color with crayons in one of Jonah's coloring books. She makes you want to do something with color and prettiness. Her pictures are much better. But here's the fun cake:

4. I've started BSF this year, and it's been a good experience. The best part to me: Jonah LOVES it. This is pretty much his preschool this year, and I've been so amazed by his enthusiasm to be there. He did not want to go there the first day, but since then, he's counting down the days til the next time we go to BSF. He's really learning a lot, and I'm starting to see some sweet glimpses of God working in Jonah's heart and showing Himself to him. (Thank you, Lord!) It's been an added support for us this year in training our children. Just praying to not rely on it too heavily but to keep it complementary to what we're doing at home. He's been a sweetie lately.

5. And then this little girl has been changing a ton lately. She's still not really talking much yet. She only has a few words. But she does jibber-jabber a LOT. It's really cute! And my favorite thing about where she is right now is that she loves her baby dolls. Especially this one. She's always carrying it under her arm whatever she's doing, trying to change its diaper and wipe its nose. I'm LOVING it!!! We usually have a baby doll with us wherever we go.

So that's the recap of life these days. I had a couple of other things I left off because now I think they could each be a separate post. Maybe I'll write them before next year.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Nearing the End of Summer

I can't believe it's almost fall! I think this is the first year I've been ready for it by August! (I can't remember...maybe I said that last year?) Trying to swim with a crazy 15-month old who just wants to go in and out of the pool, NOT be in a float, and just run around the edge of the pool has made the pool lose some of its luster for me in recent weeks. I don't have the energy for that anymore. So we're pretty much done with that. DONE. I'm posting a couple pictures from our Sea World adventure last weekend which, according to Jonah, was not as exciting as riding in the golf cart at Uncle Jim's ranch, where we stayed those few days we were in South Texas. Sea World was definitely fun, but maybe we should stick to the simpler things since our kids still find joy in those? I think for us, I'm just not sure it was necessary right now. But what a relaxing longer-weekend away it was! The refreshment came just at the right time. Mama was needing some.

And then here are a couple of pictures of Jonah at his buddy Brantley's birthday party this morning, which was SO cute. I'm sure Kate will post pictures of it soon, so I'll hold off on showing the cute cake pics I took.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Where I've Been

I haven't ignored my blog so much since...well...I guess since I was last pregnant. No worries though! That's definitely not the reason this time. =) We've just been enjoying these summer days. I'm one of those people who LOVES the Texas sun, so these hot days are just fine with me. As long as they also involve water. Except for the last two weeks, we've been going to the pool a LOT, and the rest of our time we've just been spending with family and friends and taking some small trips. We like going places, but we'd rather save the big vacations for when the kids are older and traveling with them doesn't make me want to pull my hair out. So far, this summer has included 2-week long swim lessons for Jonah and his first VBS at a local church one week in June, a two-day trip to Great Wolf Lodge in Grapevine with my family, two outings to Splash Kingdom, a nearby waterpark, and a trip to Oklahoma to visit family around July 4th weekend with Jonah staying by himself there for a few extra fun-filled days. Then last week, the kids and I traveled to Houston with my aunt and uncle to spend several days with my cousin Lacey. It's been a really fun summer! We still have plans to make a quick Sea World trip later this month. I wanted to do a catch-up post with pictures from various summer events in our family's life, but I've realized that I haven't had my camera with me all that much. Sad. But here are a few...

Parker Jane with Nanny and Ciera in Bartlesville:

"Helping" Aunt Jen spread cream cheese on the ham:With cousins Samantha, McKenna, and Ciera on the 4th:

With fun Uncle Eric:And then at Lacey's, building a fort with sofa cushions, which is Jonah's new favorite pasttime:
Me and my babies at the Houston Zoo, "the better zoo EVER", as Jonah called it:

And this handsome man by his favorite animal (yes, he's still obsessed with animals. And zebras. And Africa. And all the animals in Africa.):And lastly, here is one of me with a couple of my girlfriends from high school, Amber and Erin, at our high school reunion last month. What a fun weekend that was!

Besides all that, I've been staying busy with some good books. I tend to not read very much for a while and then suddenly get in a reading mode, where I zone out to everything else and become a hermit. Yep, that's what I've been doing lately. I must find time to write some book reviews on here. I've enjoyed some good ones, and I am excited to share.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

School Plans

Since Jonah is four now, there's been a lot of thinking about future school plans, so I thought I'd write a bit about our tentative plan for his education. It's on my mind a lot anyway. For now, we're planning to start out homeschooling Jonah, though we don't have any idea how long we'll continue that. It just makes sense for us to do it for at least kindergarten. Maybe longer, but we're just taking it a year at a time. Our desire is for him to be in a school at some point during his elementary years anyway, but we're really not in a place right now for that to happen. All doors to that are closed at this point. And homeschooling seems to be the best fit for a while. I honestly don't think it will be for very long, but I also want to stay completely open to whatever the Lord has for us. I'm learning not to voice strong confidence in what I know God's will to be for our future! The past has shown that He often surprises us with new plans that differ from our own, so I want to be expectant and aware of how He might work in our lives. But for now, it looks like this is best for our family. For a number of reasons.

One of my main motivations for wanting to homeschool Jonah right now is the desire for my kids to have a classical Christian education, and providing that in a school setting is currently not an option - although it may be at some point. The concept of classical education is something I was confronted with in a college class and then had validated to me through the lives of some families I met (like this one). I'm totally sold on its effectiveness. The more I learn and read about it and observe in other families, the more it makes sense to me and the greater my desire for my kids (and me!) to learn this way. The whole idea is that the best education is one that teaches us how to think, rather than just teach us information, and classical education employs the time-tested learning system of the trivium, which you can read more about through the following links:

About Classical Education

Classical Christian Homeschooling

Classical Education of the Founding Fathers

The Lost Tools of Learning

Ten Things to Do with Your Child Before Age Ten (I love this! Not that I plan on doing every single thing they say...)

Definition for Classical Education

I'm excited about this! I struggle a little with starting out not knowing how Jonah's education will be completed, being unsure of where he will eventually go to school. But it's just an area I'll have to trust in God's direction for the present and His capability to finish what he starts. It doesn't look like he will go to a classical school later because there's just not one that's affordable and what we want. But attending the Christian school that our church is associated with is a probable scenario at some point. It's not classical, but the elementary principal has a background in it and definitely pushes their curriculum and structure more towards classical. That's ok with me because I don't think I need to trust in a school and in teachers to provide my children with everything they need educationally; I believe I should still take responsibility as a parent for my child's education regardless of whether they are at home or in a school. The trick would be for me to know how to continue the elements of classical that I feel so strongly about, in our home, while my child goes on to a nonclassical school. How will that work? I'm not entirely sure. But I'm intrigued by the challenge. Another school option would be a university-model school here that we're interested in that would provide a classroom-learning atmosphere as well as more time for teaching my child the things I feel convicted about teaching him. Non-elective courses don't really start there until third grade though. Maybe we'll homeschool for a while, then go there for a while, and then go to the full-time school. We don't know. But these are some of the things that have been occupying my brain lately. I'm trying to learn to live more in the present and not "have my life all figured out" and trust the Lord to lead day-by-day. That couldn't be a bad place to be.