Thursday, March 31, 2011

Home Again!

Oh, what a week it has been!  As most of you know, David and I have been involved in our church youth group since 1999, going straight from participants to leadership.  One of (or "THE" depending on who you ask!) the highlights of the year is our Winter Retreat.  We head up to Big Lake where there is anything from two to fifteen feet of snow.  Usually around eight or nine.  For those of us who get ecstatic about an inch of snow, this feels like a whole different world!  Nothing can describe the beauty!

Last year was my first year to miss the retreat (Ella was born four days before) making this my eleventh year to go. 
(David and I in 2005)

However ever since I've had babies,  I've brought my babies.

(Sweet Bethany in 2008)

As this year approached, my husband gently started nudging me towards leaving all my girls home with grandparents.  Talk about one of the most emotional times of my life!  No joke!  The girls have stayed many times with grandparents and were thrilled about the idea, it was just this poor mommy that didn't think she could handle it.  With the Lord's help a peace slowly and firmly took hold of me so the night before the retreat we finally decided to leave even my Ella Joy home. 

It turned out to such a blessed time.  Did I miss my girls every minute of every day?  Pretty much yes.  Did I feel at peace.  Absolutely yes.  I really can't explain it! 

Our speaker for the last five years has been Eli Stewart, an amazing friend and man of God who flies in from Texas.  We are so blessed by him every year and how the Lord works through him.  There were so may great points he talked on, and I'm sure that I will get to a few of them in the days to come.  For now I am whole-heartedly enjoying being home with my family and appreciating that precious time of drawing close to the Lord!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Our Bible Time

Bible time is very simple here for us.  We all gather around the wood stove, read a psalm, each pray for our day and work on our new verse.  We add a new verse each week.

It has been so refreshing to get back into our verses!  After being so slack about reviewing for awhile, we are reviewing several past verses as well as delving into some brand new ones.

We are still using our chart system, although we started fresh ones and Havilah has her own now!  Here are my sweeties sharing some of their favorites.

After this, we move to the table where I read a chapter from where we are in the Bible.  Tomorrow we are starting in Job which I'm excited about.  The girls then draw their own picture of what was just read.  Not only does this reinforce their listening skills it also throws in some art!

There are many days where it seems easier to just jump into school and "get to Bible later", but it never pays off.  Beginning our days in the Word, listening to it and hiding it our hearts is priceless!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Morning Routine

So this is how we (are supposed to) roll in the mornings.

Goal~ Mommy wakes up at 6:00, makes bed, exercises, showers, has devotions, does hair and make-up.  This is an excellent day!  Most mornings it's more like 7:00-8:00 before I am dragging my rotund self out of bed, but I'm feeling an extreme measure of grace these days as my sleeping habits have not been all that peaceful due to an incredibly active small child in my womb.  Result~ my exercising regime has been rather pathetic of late!

Goal~ Breakfast helper wakes up at 7:00 to get their morning routine done before helping with breakfast.  This time is also adjusted to comply with Mommy's waking time.  The breakfast helper sets the table and helps in whatever way time and ability allows.  Great jobs for a breakfast helper (mine are 2-5 yrs.)~ Make oatmeal (with a little practice Lydia can complete this independently), make toast, stir pancake, waffle, coffee cake, muffin etc. batter,  scramble eggs, help fry eggs, pour granola or cereal and many other jobs that just take a little practice and instruction.  This is one of those areas that it is so easy for me to just do myself and get the job done quickly.  I am always blessed though to see my girls thriving as they learn new skills and serve their family.  The breakfast helper is also responsible for clearing and washing the table after breakfast.

Goal~ The rest of the girls wake up at 7:15 and begin their morning routine.  We keep this posted in a prominent place and the girls can either read "enough" to know what it says or they can remind each other.  Either way, I am not having to constantly tell them what comes next.

Our "Morning Chores" have been tweaked slightly since I last posted about them.  They now fall in three simple groups that are switched monthly.  We've found that sticking with the same ones for a whole month rather than changing weekly has helped them to do their jobs more efficiently and to help them remember what they are doing!  The chore groups are;

Living room floor, kitchen floor and downstairs hallway

Upstairs hallway, dining room floor, and office floor

Bathroom counter and sink, swish toilet and pick up bathroom floor (and sweep if you are over three!).

So that is the start of our day!  It is supposed to land us at 8:30, ready to start Bible and school with breakfast all cleaned up.  Most days it is more like 9:30, or even 10:00.  But quite honestly, that's okay!  I really want to work back towards our early mornings as it really helps to get our days off to a boom.  But at the same time, our schedule helps  keep us moving and a more relaxed family is just what we've needed these days!

(I apologize for the appalling lack of pictures of late!  My camera has seen better days and I am simply out of the habit of snapping pictures.  I will try to do better in the future!)

Monday, March 14, 2011

A New Day

Ahhhh.  It's a brand new day.  I really can't describe what I've been feeling lately.  Truly.  I've been trying to explain it to myself and my husband for weeks now but to no avail.  It's just been strange.  Almost a lost, wandering feeling.  Not brought on by anything.  Just not resolvable.  (Am I mysterious enough for you yet?).  Unfortunately, it has also affected my blogging (if you couldn't tell).  For weeks I've just come up empty.  What do I write about?  Hmmmmmm.

This morning though I truly woke up different.  I'm ready to tackle life again!  I'm ready to try and blog again!  I'm ready to be ready for those bad days and just be grateful for a heavenly Father who sees me through.

So anyway, here I am again!  And to start out my return to blogging, I thought I would fill you in on our "new" schedule.  I know I took up much of your precious time last fall with agonizing details, but I never really finished and now that we have tweaked it to suit our needs even better, I thought I would give you at least a brief run through!  So here it goes in one fateful blow!

6:00~  Mommy wakes up, makes bed, exercises, showers, time with the Lord, gets dressed, does hair and make-up.
7:00~  Breakfast helper wakes up to get a head start on their morning routine and then helps make and set the table for breakfast.
7:15~  All girls wake up, make beds, get dressed, get hair done.
7:30~ Breakfast
8:00~ Brush teeth, morning chores
8:30~ Bible
9:00~ School
11:00~ Weekly chores
12:00~ Lunch
12:30~ After lunch pick up
1:00~ Reading time
1:45~ Naps and quiet time
3:00~ Little Keepers at Home
3:30~ Focus work
4:30~ Afternoon clean-up
5:30~ Dinner prep
6:00~ Dinner
7:00~  Dinner clean up, evening chores
8:00~  Girls bedtime
8:00 and beyond~  Mommy and Daddy time!

Make sense? Good.

Not so fast! You know I'll be filling you in on all the grimy details in the days to come.  Remember,  I'm all fired up to be back!  There's no stopping me now!

Oh! Wait!!!  The main excitement of our past week!

This beautiful little treasure is my newest niece,  Eliana Grace.  She was born to Jonathan and Laura on March 9.  Isn't she GORGEOUS!!!  I'm just gushing!

Nothing has come close to this excitement for awhile, unless maybe it was Ella's mysterious giant lip.

Nope, not even close!