Thursday, June 27, 2013

One of Those Days

Have you ever had one of THOSE days? You know, the kind where nothing goes right & everything goes wrong? The kind where you swear that the world is ending & you just want to hide beneath a rock? The kind where you envy Job because he didn't have it nearly as bad as you do?

Yeah, well, I've never had one QUITE that bad either. BUT, it sure feels like it when you are stuck slap in the middle of the chaos.

I am there today.

The day started out normal enough, nothing too crazy, nothing out of the ordinary. Then within a 2 hour span, I became the maddest I have been in a long time.

I have a slight anger management issue. I really try to control it, but entirely too often it ends up controlling me.

Hey, have you read Unglued by Lysa TerKeurst? Nope, me either! I have started it though & I really need to finish reading it. I think it would help me out.

Pour Makenzie was obviously having one of those days today as well.

We are building an ant farm. PLEASE tell me WHY I am bringing more ants into my home? I already have enough of them!! - Oh yeah, I thought it would be "fun" to watch them build tunnels & hopefully instill a Bible lesson into my kids with it! So anyway, we brought in a few cups of dirt (mistake number 1 - do it OUTSIDE). Makenzie wanted to pour the dirt into the jar. I asked her to wait on me just before she proceeded to turn the whole cup over COMPLETELY missing the jar & landing on my counters and floor. I shooed her & Logan out of the kitchen so I could clean it up & calm down.

Then she decided to go outside on the front porch to paint. I asked her to please be careful & watch Logan. If he made a mess, she was responsible (she didn't want to wait until he laid down - maybe she will wait next time). He decided our front porch needed a new ORANGE coat of paint.

Ok, Makenzie, get a bucket of water & clean it up.

When she picked the bucket up off the counter, she mistakenly grabbed the dish towel beneath it. Not a big deal in most houses. But then again, most people don't gather fresh eggs everyday & lay them on a dish towel beside the sink to dry. Yes, in case you are wondering, fresh eggs break just as easily when dropped on the floor as store eggs.

After I put my shoes on to head to the local Library program, I walked into the kitchen to find Logan sitting on the dinning room table holding Makenzie's cup from lunch upside down & declaring that it was empty as she was trying to clean it up. Yes Logan, NOW it is empty.

Needless to say, I need to sweep & mop. Hmmm, maybe I should wait until bedtime that way it will stay clean a few hours.

I had a friend comment on my rant on Facebook asking me "if this was a science lesson or a life lesson?" I wanted to respond with "What lesson?! Are you crazy?!" But then I was reminded that it was a life lesson, because as we prayed at lunch, we asked for forgiveness for being angry & not showing compassion. Its funny how God works like that!

I'm also thankful that I am not the only one with anger issues.

I stayed up well past midnight last night helping a friend decompress from her nightmare day. That conversation started something like this..."Have you ever screwed up so bad that it can't be fixed & you feel so alone?" With a slight chuckle, I reminded her just who she was talking to here!

As she told me about her ordeal & how it escalated, I found myself sympathizing with her. I know what its like to be in over my head and know that things are getting out of control but feel like there is no way out. I know what its like to become defensive & have all logic fly out the window. Then I also know what its like to  come down off of that adrenaline & realize that things were even uglier than I thought while it was happening.

I gave her good sound advice that I knew she already knew when she promptly informed me that she disliked my honesty! We laughed. That's ok, my dear friend. We'll both feel better when things get back to "normal".

*inside joke because I KNOW she is reading this! Hold onto that cereal bowl idea though, there may be another time! In the meantime, maybe we should schedule our date nights to include reading Unglued. LOL*

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Tales of a Homeschool Nothing ~ 2013 - 2014 Curriculum

Hello out there in blogger world! Are you soaking up the sun every chance you get just as I am?

With all of this glorious hot weather & these lazy pool days, I really don't want to start thinking about school. But C'est la vie. Think, I do & plan, I must soon.

So let's talk about what curriculum choices we will be using for the upcoming year.

 Let's start with the obvious here. This will be our 4th year with Tapestry of Grace & Story of the World. Do you KNOW what that means? (come on history cycle users, help me out here...) I DON'T HAVE TO BUY HISTORY ANYMORE!!! **happy dance**

That's right TOG is on a 4 year cycle. So next year I start back with teaching year 2 (which I have already purchased!) Oh, don't worry, I'm sure I will find something to use that , um, extra money on.

We love using TOG. I even found the Pop Quiz CDs at The Homeschool Gathering Place while we were in Raleigh last week. WE have also been blessed to be able to get copies of SOTW on CD. This is a great alternative to me having to read everything!

We will continue memorizing important events in history with the timeline cards by Veritas Press. This is a fun way for the kids (& myself) to remember those events. And you WILL be amazed at how much they learn!

Since we are studying Ancient Rome, Ancient Egypt, & Bible Times, I picked up a few art books to go along with it. Draw and Write Through History is filled with art lessons, information, & copywork. They have 6 different books that cover the different eras through out history.

The next easy choice was science. We LOVE Apologia Science. It is one of the few Creationist curriculums out there. I let the kids choose between swimming creatures & land animals this year. They were both good choices, but swimming had my vote as well.

I don't personally use the notebooks. Austin hated it the first year & Makenzie really isn't old enough for it yet.

Hold up! Before you ask. Yes, this is the same Latin that we used last year. Unfortunately Latin wasn't a priority for us last year, so we didn't learn much. Oh well. Let's try it again.

Austin will continue using Teaching Textbooks this year. He still has some of 6 to complete, then he will start on 7. Makenzie will work on Horizons 2. We have never used Horizons before, so we will see how this goes.

We will go back to Easy Grammar with Austin. Learning Language Arts Through Literature just wasn't working for us. He will finish Daily Grams 5 because I didn't enough difference in the 5 & 6 books. Besides he still had plenty of lessons left in 5 to complete.

He will also complete the second half of Jump In by Apologia. This is meant to last over 2 years. I am sort of on the fence with this one. I haven't seen much improvement in his writing this year, but I hate to just give up. I am still praying about Institute for Excellence in Writing's Bible Based Lessons. We tried IEW a few years ago, but he resisted so much. It was our first year homeschooling & I was really trying to pick my battles. IEW was not one I chose to fight over, so we dropped it. I wonder now if he really disliked it, disliked writing in general, or was just pushing my buttons. I don't have a clear answer yet, but I can't get it out of my head, so don't be surprised if we switch to that.

He is also using Wordly Wise 300 again this year. Last year was the first time we used it and he didn't fight it much, so that's a good thing!

Makenzie will be using All About Spelling & All About Reading this year. These are both BRAND NEW to her & me too! (I'm scared! They look so intimidating!) She is still struggling to read, so pray for us both!!

Austin has used Explode the Code before & enjoyed it so I thought I would try it with her this year. They even have an online version that I need to look into.

I have a generic 2nd grade work book for her. She seems to like those. I also found an easy writing curriculum to introduce her to the concept.

So, there you have it in a nutshell.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Come On, Follow Me, This Way

I have a devotion book that is geared toward homeschool moms. I admit that I don't get to read it every morning, or let me rephrase that. I don't make time for it every morning. Funny because my devotion this morning was about time.

Now while that was relevant & I needed to read that, what stuck out to me was several verses before this one.

Ephesians 5:1-2 says "Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us..."

I just could not get past this. I started dwelling on following God & how kids will gladly follow you anywhere. Most of the time, they follow with a merry heart. 

But then, I started thinking about Logan.

He will follow along behind us, but so often, he has his own agenda. He gets distracted by something on the ground. He turns around when he hears a sound. He trips & we have to go to him & help him up. He never really gets in a hurry or understands when I want him where I am 5 minutes ago. When I don't feel like waiting, I pick him up & carry him. Sometimes he is content to be held in my arms but many times, he wiggles & squirms hollering "woose" or "I walk". Then it depends on what I'm doing & where I need to be as to whether I continue to fight him or whether I set him down.

How much does this sound like us?!

I want to follow God. I try to follow God. I know that He is headed in the direction I need to go. But I get distracted so easily. It looks more fun going this way. This path has pretty flowers. Oh, what was that sound? Let's go find out. Oh, ugh, I fell down. HELP! 

God is up ahead of me saying "Come on child." "Come this way." "Will you hurry up?" "What's taking you so long?" "Please come to me." "No, not that way." "I'm up here, remember?" "Don't worry, I'm coming to help you."

Sometimes He gets tired of waiting for me to follow Him & He picks me up. I'm pretty content being in His arms for a little while, but then I want to explore on my own again. Sometimes, He holds me a little tighter so I can't get loose. But then, sometimes, He sets me down & watches cautiously, knowing that I will eventually get to where He wants me, but wondering just how long it will take me.

Does this sound like you?

Hmmm, something so simple. I love when God shines a flashlight on something little & explains it to me in a way that I can understand!

I'm so thankful that God is up ahead of me watching & waiting on me to join Him!!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Power is a Good Thing

As I pulled up my blog to start this post, I noticed the date on the last post & realized that title, although mostly about vacation, was also about a storm. This post, while not as much fun or nearly profound, is also about a storm.

We experienced quite a storm on Thursday June 13. I can honestly say that I never & I do mean NEVER have encountered anything quite like this. I have made it through many kinds of weather in my (uh hum) few, short years on this earth.

I don't remember much about Hurricane Hugo back in the late 80's except we were without power for a whole week & it knocked over my apple tree. REALLY? We had 2 & it knocked mine over! I was only 11 at the time.

I completely remember the Blizzard of '93. I didn't realize it was considered a "storm of the century" until I just googled it! I was a freshman in high school & broke my ankle sliding into 2nd base just a few days before the storm hit. I was getting ready to turn 15. My ankle was in a cast & I REFUSED to allow anyone to cut my blue jeans & I was too cool to wear jogging pants to school. So, guess what I did? I wore shorts! Yep, many, MANY inches of wet, fluffy snow. My daddy thought it would be fun to throw me off the porch in my shorts & cast into that snow. That's one of the few times I have ever had snow on my birthday (late March).

The summer of 2004 saw a very active season for Hurricanes. It seemed like storm after storm continued to batter us. NC, along with many others experienced flooding like we haven't seen in years. The Elkin park was completely under water for days.

We have seen record highs, record lows, rain, sleet, hail, snow, wind, thunder, & lightening, but Thursday honestly caught me by surprise. We were without power for almost 24 hours. Many others suffered much longer than we did. This is taken from my Facebook status shortly after the power finally came back on....

"Its comforting looking out at the beautiful blue sky & feeling the light breeze today. Yesterday was a different story. I know many people suffered from the storms. I was getting ready to walk & the door headed to town when it started pouring rain. I looked out the back door & I have NEVER seen that much debris flying through the air (except on TV). The sky was filled with limbs, leaves & stuff. We watched several trees snap just over the hill & it looked like the others (very tall skinny trees) were almost touching the ground. These are the same trees that blocked Austin Traphill Rd & our firemen spent all night & part of the morning cutting out of the road. As we went to the front door for a different view, pieces of tin from our building sailed by. The door was almost impossible to open due to the wind. My father in law saw "something" & heard it - call it a small twister, whirling dervish, whatever - spinning over our house. It all happened too fast for me to have processed the fear that probably should have come. I was just in awe as the power. After driving around surveying the path & the damage, I am thankful for those trees down on Austin Traphill Rd. I believe they put up enough block to save my house. My heart goes out to those who lost loved ones & suffered more damage than we did. Trees can be replaced, lives cannot."

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Sun, Surf, & Storms


Our family just got back from vacation. I can't tell you how excited this made me. Not only did we go on vacation, but we went to the BEACH for a whole WEEK! Do you know how long it has been since we have been on vacation as a family? (Camping does NOT count!) It has been 4 years since we have been anywhere & 5 LONG years since we have been to the beach!

I am such a beach girl. I could move there & not think twice about it! (Ok, maybe I would think twice, but not long.) My husband, on the other hand, loves the mountains.

Austin has been to the beach 3 times - 2, 3.5, & 6. His first reaction to the ocean was "Big O Big O Water". Makenzie has only been once, when she was 2 years old. I really don't remember how she reacted, but I know she had fun. 

Aren't they adorable?

We drove down to North Myrtle Beach, SC Sunday afternoon after church. Immediately after unpacking & eating supper, everyone headed down to the beach with flashlights. They had a blast hunting for crabs!

As soon as Logan's feet touched the sand, he said "Huwts. Hold You." & held out his hands for me to pick him up. He was not a fan of the sand or the ocean. Thankfully, he did start to like it before we left.

Austin almost mastered "surfing" on a skim board by week's end. Justin probably would have had it down pat too if we had a bigger board. 

We spent our days on the beach soaking up the rays & our nights out & about in town. The weather forecast called for scattered thunderstorms all week with a tropical storm rolling in on Friday. Yep, you heard me right, Tropical Storm Andrea decided to join our party!

Hey did you know that sting rays & other critters come in close to shore to feed right before a storm? Well, I had never really thought about it until Justin & Austin came charging out of the water, excitedly talking about the rays that just swam by them!

I can finally check that item off my bucket list! I rode out a tropical storm/hurricane. We even ventured out onto the beach on Friday at the height of the storm! Oh, we only stayed about 10 minutes. The blowing sand STUNG & Logan could barely stand up. It was certainly an experience!!

Austin & Makenzie rode their first roller coaster at the Ocean Drive Pavilion. Justin rode the Alien Abduction (otherwise known as the Gravitron) with them & felt sick the rest of the night! I tried to convince Austin to ride this thing with me that flipped upside down, but he wouldn't take me up on it. They did talk me into riding the Tilt a Whirl & the Scrambler. Oh, I paid dearly for a while after that! I just can't go round & round the way I used to could. I'm still ok with flipping upside down, but not doing circles.

We walked out on the pier. Unfortunately, we didn't manage to make time for fishing ourselves but we watched plenty of other people catching fish. Some guys caught little sharks & some Toad Fish while we were out there. I've never heard of a Toad Fish, but they claim that they are very poisonous. We also saw several Sting Rays swimming by.

Putt putt is a MUST on vacation! It always has been! Captain Hook didn't let us down. 

On Wednesday, we headed to Wet, Wild, & Wheels for all the swimming & racing we could stand! I watched the sky with dread as it turned black & the clouds began to build. Thankfully, it blew on over & we had a beautiful overcast, day that was not too hot! I even managed to get Logan to sleep smack dab in the middle of all the fun. But, it was hard to make him understand that he was too little to ride the go carts. Yep, I have mad skillz, but some things are just out of my control! LOL

Since it was raining again most of Thursday, we took a trip to Ripley's Aquarium. {See, I got school in! We are studying Swimming Creatures with Apologia next year.} Sharks are always a favorite, but touching the horseshoe crabs was an experience as well. We even had our pictures taken with mermaids!

The ONE thing that I REALLY wanted to do (other than take pictures on the beach) we didn't get the opportunity to do. Mother Nature & Andrea had other plans! When I told the kids we were doing school while at the beach, they were not too thrilled.....until they found out what I had planned. Myrtle Beach State Park had a bunch of really cool things planned for the kids all summer. I was especially interested in hunting for sea turtles! The problem with this little adventure - we had to be on the beach 30 minutes away at 6am! Well, it was calling for pouring down rain most of Friday morning so we didn't even bother setting the alarm.


But wait, there's more! 

We saw several turtles throughout the week. Then, as we were looking off the balcony Thursday afternoon not 1, but 2 turtles lumbered by. One of them even dug her nest in full view of our room!

After tempting fate through the storm early Friday, the weather cleared & we were able to spend the rest of the beach digging in the sand!

Saturday greeted us with the dread of cleaning, packing up, & heading home. Farewell ocean, until we meet again...........hopefully sooner than later!

Oh yeah, while we were living it up in paradise, we kept getting reports from home. Apparently home had A LOT more water than we did! Our driveway greeted us with deep gullies in the gravel. Our road (& several others) were impassible for some time due to flooding. And I now need a new roof!

Well, at least my good ole Suburban made it down & back, almost 800 miles & tripping the big 200K mark, in one piece .....

..... or did it?

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Tales of a Homeschool Nothing ~ Reach for the Stars

I just love using Apologia for science. I never have to worry about the idea of evolution finding its way into our creationist beliefs. Oh, I have explained to my kids that many people believe differently than we do & that scientists think we came from monkeys (Hey moms, how often would that tail come in handy now?!). But we don't believe the stars weren't poofed into existence billions of years ago. My kids know that God created this world we live in in 6 days.

We studied Astronomy this year. I just love looking at the stars on a cool crisp evening. It has always fascinated me.

Unfortunately, I have fallen behind so we are not quite finished with every lesson, but rest assured we will be wrapping up soon after vacation. I WILL make it to an observatory before the summer is over!

It was eye opening to learn a possible reason as to why God created the universe the way He did. We attempted making a telescope out of a box, but failed miserably at it. The description of Mercury reminded me of Pitch Black from The Chronicles of Riddick.

Venus was one of their favorite lessons. Maybe it was because we played in melted butter!

In celebration of planet Earth, we went to the park and played with a compass.

Volcanoes are ALWAYS fun!!!

Click HERE & HERE for more science fun!

Stay tuned through June as we look at the far end of the solar system & find out if Pluto is really a planet or not!

Oh, & make sure to come back next year as we dive underwater with Swimming Creatures of the 5th Day. Maybe I can find something educational on our beach trip!

I’m Waiting on the Bigger & Better

Sometimes certain people have been in your life so long it’s hard to remember where they came from, how they got there, & even how you l...