Our Family

Our Family
Benaiah, Justin, Melinda, Abishai, Keturah, and Jared

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Year 2, Day 85 & 86: Quiet Week

Wow, 4 days of go, going, and gone have really taken it's toll on me.  I was in a lot of pain yesterday, and was still pretty tired today.  I'm glad that I am able to plan quiet days in between busy days.  The middles appreciate it, too.  It was good to be back at co op yesterday, but at the same time, I was so exhausted from the weekend that I just wanted to lay down somewhere and sleep.  I did get to lay down while the kids did their math and goofed off a bit.  Today was a great day.  I wasn't as sleepy, and the kids did most of their homework without complaining.  Actually, they were both digging in while I was getting breakfast without me asking them to.  Keturah and Justin are really beginning to become more independent.  They did fight a bit today, but was able to reign in it when told to.  They got their screen time while I rested.  I wanted to nap, but couldn't.  I still laid down though.  Tacos for dinner, picked up/packed up some of the extra toy car paraphernalia, and found all the t-shrits and pants that were missing from Justin's drawers!  They were all hidden in another drawer!  I just KNEW there were more clothes somewhere!  But now, Jared's missing several pairs of gym shorts.  I think there's a black hole in every closest in our house!  Sheesh!

We don't have any plans for the week, so we'll tackle school and maybe get outside if it's nice.  There's Bible Bowl competition this Saturday, and normal Bible Bowl practice and choir practice and youth group.  Grandpa is even putting Benaiah and his friend to work in the yard on Friday!  Spring is definitely here!  And that means those taxes need done!  I'll get there.  My brain has been in fibro fog mode so I couldn't tackle it even today.  Maybe tomorrow.

Playtime during math class.  Every week, Keturah asks if she can have a dollhouse like this one.  She has these take along type Barbie "rooms" that kind of are like a house, but she has never had a full house.  I'm glad she can play with this one though.

Why yes, I'm some crazy person from the west. - Justin

I've never seen a duplo set with a twisty slide and wooden bridge that teeters back and forth!  So cool!

A Duplo hopscotch and swing!

He took his oranges out of the bowl I put them in and set them up like this.  Yes, of course Abishai did.

This is what he wants for lunch, English muffin, raisins and mashed potatoes.  Ok, you can have the raisins and I'll give you the English muffin IF you finish your cereal from breakfast.

Aw, Baba is teaching little one all about Egypt, at least for a few minutes.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Year 2, Day 84: Hope

Hope is the word of the day!  After feeling very filled after Friday and Saturday's conference, we went to church this morning and the sermon was on baptism.  Pretty straight forward for us since we've known what we believe about baptism, which means immersion, for many, many years.  But, it was an incredible service and God moved powerfully because 27 people were baptized over the 4 services!  Only a few of them were planned.  Then a family friend who is preaching at another local church, brought his wife's family over to the church this afternoon to baptize his father in law and 8 other people in her family!  Wow!  Incredible!  And of course, I tend to reflect on who is or isn't immersed in our family and who am I praying for and who am I sharing Christ with and how.  It's not something I do well at all.  But, the morning was very hope filled with that many people joining the body of Christ!

After dinner and a short nap at "Ice Cream's" house (aka grandparents), we joined 18 other families who were dedicating their young ones and promising that they would do their best to raise their children in a God filled home and share the gospel with their children, leading them to Christ.  For some reason, a lot of the kids were chatty and it was a little hard to hear our wonderful nursery, preschool and children's ministers speak.  But that's ok.  It was similar to what we heard when we did this little ceremony with the other kids.  It is NOT an infant baptism, but a PARENT'S PROMISE.  It was previously called Rosebud Sunday as well.  Anyway, because of the short nap, Abishai would NOT sit still during it.  It was nuts!  But we made it through!

We spent the evening preparing for the week by cleaning up, doing laundry, and Jared took two the of the kids to Aldi's to get food for his lunches this week.  I actually feel like on top of things for the moment.  I'll have to spend some more time on the taxes this week, but thankfully, we don't have anything going on (yet).  I'm hoping it will be warm this week so we can get some outdoor time in.  And if I'm feeling up to it, I might do a little garage clean up, and put away my sweaters, and such.  We will move eventually, we just don't know where yet.  I can start preparing now.  Back to co op tomorrow!

Wahoo!  I did it! I lined up all the cars AND the horse (that Grandma Howell bought for the kids long ago).

Ok, now I'll dance about it!

I sit! I sit! And I'll sit between this person or that person or on this person, or let's go over the pew to the grandparents behind, and back again.  Back and forth for an hour!

One of the pictures I gave to the moderators.  I choose this one because of his smile and his love of cars.

Cute face(s).

Don't talk to me.  You don't see me.  I'm hiding from you.


I'm just going to bury my head in Justin's armpit, just because I can.

Prayer time.

Cupcakes that match our shirt!  Awesome!  He didn't eat much of it though.

Perfect treats for a young child's event.  Goldfish and cupcakes, Capri Sun drinks as well.

We had to wait for Daddy to help with the other baptisms, so we brought out YouTube on my phone for some entertainment.  He wasn't happy when I had to take it back in order to leave.  He also didn't want Babee Benaiah to leave with Grandma.  Benaiah was going to watch the college basketball game at their house.

Mrs. Magic happened again today!  We were desperately searching for the middle object, which I just bought yesterday.  It's a fidget spinner and we search high and low in Justin's room for it.  But it got flung onto a blanket and was hard to see on it. I found Justin's DS on the TV stand behind the TV and I found Jared's leatherman tool in between the couch cushions AFTER Jared had looked for it there.  Yup, Mommy Magic!

Keturah wanted to write a cursive letter "i" so Daddy helped her!

We received this special jar of marbles at the baby dedication today.  The 19 small marbles represent the 19 years you have with your kids.  How many of those do you have left?  The big marbles represent the big milestones like baby dedication, baptism, puberty, driving, graduating, etc.  They also have these extra large jars sitting out in the children's wing with different amounts of marbles in them, each marble representing a week in a child's life.  The jar with the most marbles of course was the one labeled "infant."  One of the middle jars was half full repsrenting middle school.  And so on until the last jar which was empty.  We have maybe 175 weeks left with Benaiah.  It's a very sobering fact.  When you think of those child rearing years, and you realize just how little time you have with them, you tend to be more intential.  It's one reason we homeschool, which is that we can spend all the time we can with our children.  And this is one reason I miss having Benaiah at home and that I'd rather him come back to homeschooling.  But the jury is out on that decision for another couple of months.

Promising to God and our church family we will raise Abishai in a Christian home, and share the Gospel with him and his siblings. 

Certificate of Dedication.  Woot! Woot!

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Year 2, Day 83: Two days down, two to go.

I'm so tired!  But I'm happy and full, satisfied.  Attending the IAHE homeschool convention didn't change my homeschool methods or where I'd like to go for us next year, but it did open up the opportunities to connect with others and see where God might take me (us) ministry wise.  I'm excited to see how it will all pan out.  I'd like to volunteer with IAHE and get this mentor/mentee groups going, etc.  I really enjoyed being in the alumni (those who graduated from homeschool) panel and sharing the pros and cons of my own upbringing.  We had a spectrum of people on the panel, from an 18 year old to a 23 yr old who's been married for just a few months, to a young family with a 2 yr old, to me, to a slight older than me mom with 6 kids, and one will graduate this year.  Our stories were all different, but there were some similarities like how homeschooling has prepared us well for adult life and work by teaching us how to learn and seek information and basic life skills and a drive to keep learning.  It was really, really neat.

I also bought a few fun things for the kids in order to support some vendors, and ordered our math books for next year.  I did get some answers to some new to me curriculum so I can make a better decision for next year.  I got to hang out with some friends for a bit today, who ended up taking me home because my planned ride had to go home early.  I was thankful that I didn't have to stay to do any clean up because I am done being with people.  But, I knew I would have a limit.  I cannot wait to do more with IAHE!

The other part of our family survived at home by going outside and using every cup and plate imaginable!  I had a full dishwasher load to go through plus a sink full to wash!  They didn't get their jobs and chores done, so I had to push some things off and just make sure we are ready for church and baby dedication tomorrow.  Justin's still not feeling great, so please pray for him.  Abishai learned how to say "hi" "bye" and "amen" all in one day!  And he was adorable running around with his cloth diaper showing because his pants were falling down.  It sounds like they had a great day together running around outside and napping (Jared and Justin both napped again!)

This is what I put on FB tonight, which sounds a bit more put together than I can do right now.  Here goes:

Exhausted but happy and full. Pray for me as I still have two full days of activities ahead. My fibro body will need the rest of the week to recover. I hope there's nothing else on my schedule.....but just so you know, there is much, much MUCH more to the Math U See guy than math. I've really gained a respect for Steve Demme and all that he's been through and where God has taken him in the last 5-7 years. I bought the whole set of convention talks, main speakers and all workshops, which, b/c they are mp3's are a whole lot cheaper than one would think. But still, I've become my parents! Buying curriculum, talking about homeschooling, and buying the convention talks! (I have some of the talks they bought on cassette tape 25 years ago!) So, yeah, full circle. I wish they had been there with me this weekend. They would have had such a blast and would be amazed at how far homeschooling has come since the "pioneer days" i.e. the 80's and 90's. They were most certainly pioneers of our town, leading the way, setting the bar high. I've always admired them for that. Anybody who knew them, knew they did love Jesus, but they also loved their kids to a fault. The sacrifices they made for us were incredible. And I was able to reflect that every time I spoke to a prospective or young homeschooler, and in the alumni panel, and with the older homeschoolers, too. I loved hanging around the mentor moms who knew what those first days were like 30 years ago. I can't wait to stay in touch with them, too, and I'm sure my involvement with IAHE is only going to grow. I think I really have found where I belong. My parents would be so proud of me. I knew they always were. I never, ever doubted that, nor their love, despite the things that my family walked through. I wish they were here to watch our journey through homeschooling and parenting our kids. Sigh. I'm miss them a lot. Their legacy will forever live on. I make sure of that.

This is Steve Demme, the math u see guy, but more importantly, he has an inspiring story to tell that I will never forget.  Such a gentle giant (he's wicked tall!)  

A close up of some of the swords at one booth, that are apparently indestructible and if they do break, they will replace it, no questions asked.  I bought the one on the far right for Benaiah.  I bought other stuff, but  I haven't taken pictures of the things yet.  I bought some real paint by number kits for Keturah, some rocks and minerals for Justin, and a small wooden gun for Abishai.  Oh, and I bought some new piano books from a couple who sold brightly color violins and ukuleles and lots of other training materials.

Yes, 30 years ago, this speaker Zan Taylor, almost went to jail because she wanted to homeschoool her son in South Carolina and lots of city and state officials got involved.  She warned us to be careful because we are one or two bad decisions in Congress away from our freedom to home school is taken way.  So, we need to stay involved, talk with our representatives and senators on local and national level, and not bury our heads in the sand.

Every homeschool conference wouldn't be complete with jean skirts/jumpers and nutrimills (machiens where you grind your own flour in.)  

I came home to a stuffy house that seemed a whole lot warmer than 68 degrees.  It's probably closer to 75 inside, so I put on shorts and declared it hot!  Lol, I think Canada had a bigger impact on me physically than I realized if  I think withstand cooler temperatures just fine, but not anything over 75 degrees!  Whoops!
Everyone is welcome to the baby dedication tomorrow at Indian Creek Christian Church at 3:30.  Good night!

Friday, March 24, 2017

Year 2, Day 82: Blessings

Oh my goodness! What a first day at the Indiana Association of Home Educators (IAHE) annual homeschool convetion!  From dynamic speakers, to connecting with fellow homeschoolers, younger and older, to seeing rows and rows and rows of all kinds of curricula!  Phew!  I'm glad I actually don't need to purchase anything because I wouldn't know what to purchase!  It's highly encouraged to buy at the event to support the vendors, so I might buy a couple of goodies tomorrow.  But wow!  I decided to skip most of the workshops and focused mainly on the mentoring booth and surveying the rest the booths.  I like to know what's out there in case others come to me with a need.  The mentoring booth is a brand new booth where we've been gathering information so we can start up some face to face groups where parents (probably mostly moms) will be able to come and just talk about whatever homeschool related (sometimes parenting goes in with that) thing needs to be addressed, kind of like the monthly meetings we had on the Island that was just for the moms in the evening.  It's different than a co op because we aren't actually educating the children at that point.  It's like a Bible study, but for homeschoolers.  Anyway, there was definitely some interest!  Plus, we were able to help numerous people, some just looking into homeschooling for the first time and some that are in the deep trenches of the journey and ready to burn out, right there on the spot!  I can't wait to help more moms (and dads) tomorrow!

One of the biggest God moments today was when a woman my age, who has very young kids, came up to the booth.  I asked her where she was from (because we were getting information on where the interest was coming from), and she said the southeast side of Indy!  She asked where I went to church (or did I ask her?) and we both go to the Creek!  Fascinating!  She's been looking and wondering why there isn't a homeschool group that meets or is sponsored through the Creek, and I didn't know the answer.  I think the older moms and I went on to do their own thing with other groups.  So we chatted, and I was just thinking the other day, how perfect our hopefully new house will be to hold a homeschool playgroup (or small group or Bible study) so that moms can can just chat!  So we exchanged information and will hopefully connect.  I'm not saying we will do it through the Creek directly, because I would love for it to be open like ours was on the Island, but, how cool is that!  She's been praying that she would connect with someone today!

You may or may not understand my excitement, but homeschooling is one of the biggest part of our lives and it isn't just about the academics.  Homeschoolers are parents, so a lot of it is character building, practical learning (like cooking), social training, etc.  It's a lifestyle, not just a curriculum or a 8-3 5 days a week program.  Homeschooling IS our life.  So, it feels very good to be able to connect with others on the same level.  I've missed having those conversations with my PEI friends, where I learned so much from my mentors and friends there.  I wouldn't know about all the methods and tips and training if it weren't for them.  So, I'm missing them and wish I could fly them all out here to join me.

Meanwhile, everyone survived just fine at home.  I left a list of things for the middles to do, but of course they didn't see it when they picked up the tablet for Gpa class this afternoon.  Jared was still so tired that he slept away the whole afternoon while Abishai slept!  Poor Justin was still so exhausted so he was sent to bed before I got home because he didn't even want to eat dinner.  He'll have to do his tomorrow.  Abishai was all over the place happy when I came home, but mad I was gone all day, too.  He was super clingy before I left and still clingy when I got back.  He wanted me near him while he played.  Benaiah slept a good part of the day away as well.  And this is why I didn't take them all to the conference, although, I did technically pay for them to be able to go.  It was very cheap for all of us attend (cheaper than most Michael W. Smith concerst!), so I don't mind.  I liked having the day to myself.

But now, I'm exhausted and I have to do it again tomorrow, and church and baby dedication on Sunday, and co op on Monday.  Then I can rest.  Phew!

A high of 70? I said, wow, that's hot!  I must have been to Canada and back if I think 70 is considered hot!  Lol.

Everybody's favorite math teacher, Mr. Steve Demme!

Heidi St. John, homeschooling mom with an awesome podcast that is relevant to today's culture.

Some homeschooled boy gave Heidi St. John these clay figures he made after hearing her speak a year earlier.  The man in the front with the shield (which says St. John on it) represents the dad shielding the mom as she teaches the kids.  The mom has her quiver full, with on in the bow ready to launch.  Heidi likened the tension on the bow right before you launch the arrow to the tension teens sometime give before they are launched.  I love it!

This is a new game that is a mix of Risk and the Magic card game found in comic book stores.  A homeschool grad had to do an essay on a game or something in college from which he developed this game!  It's all historical figures with lots of history facts on the card.  Cool!

I took a couple of photos for the mom with young kids because she was looking for curriculum dealing with habit and character training.

Sounds awesome!  Charlotte Mason style!

Mark Hamby had many true stories in his almost 40 years of homeschooling to share with us.

Grace based parenting.  1,000 times grace given vs. 4 times condemnation given.

One side of the exhibit hall.

And the other side of the exhibit hall.  Remember, this exact same exhibit hall was filled with Lego buildings and vendors just 1 week ago.

Solidly carved wooden weapons.

Another look at the game from earlier.
Oh, and I got to personally thank the guy in the videos from Covenant Eyes for his excellent advice and step by step guide on how to lock down certain apps on any device.  Woot!  Woot!

Falling asleep now...must get off quickly!  But one more gem before I go.  This one was for Keturah.


Thursday, March 23, 2017

Year 2, Day 81: 10 hrs to go!

You know you are counting down to your own personal get away when....lol.  Ok, I'll stop talking about the homeschool conference simply because tomorrow is the day!  And then Saturday too!  So, I might not get to say much until Tuesday....but back to today.

It was the last day of the mission week for the boys and boy were they exhausted!  So exhausted that Benaiah and Jared opted not to stay overnight at the lock in at church.  Justin is beyond exhausted and "peopled out" meaning he needs a lot of time away from people so he can recharge.  He's having a bit of a struggle finding some friends within the boundaries of the youth group.  It's not uncommon, especially when you are homeschooled and simply think differently than others.  So, we are talking about it often, and how and who to befriend.  For now, there are a couple of girls that he gets along with very well, and it's all very innocent.  I remember those feelings though of not fitting in at all because of being homeschooled and just having a different focus on life (i.e. books vs. sports and girls/boys).  Ok, I was a little bit boy crazy, but I was much more horse crazy then.  And I had a 30 something famous CCM musician on a poster on my wall instead of some teen heartthrob.  (That 30 something turns 60 this year and he's still going strong! Michael W. Smith is his name, lol).  SO, poor Justin, I know exactly how he feels.  I even asked Benaiah what kids are doing at Justin's and his ages, what are they talking about, and is it really just sports or girls?  And yes, I guess a lot of it is that.  I reminded Justin that Jared only had two best friends, and the rest of the kids he hung out with was mostly because one of his friends was the extrovert and leader of their group.  Jared and I both were loners.  And Justin is hyper aware that his hormones are changing his brain and he gets pretty upset that he can't remember.  Just tonight I had to have him find all the clothes that were missing from his drawers!  I didn't want to make him because I knew he was exhausted, but he couldn't find any bed shorts, and many t-shirts were missing.  So, we did find them, and I made him hang stuff up or put it away, despite being tired.  I think Justin was very frustrated at himself and not really at me and possibly has learned his lesson.  I'm glad he has all day tomorrow and all day Saturday to have alone time.  I'll make sure Jared knows to leave him alone.

Meanwhile, our extroverts are fine.  Abishai has loved being out and about this week and therefore has had a hard time calming down for naps and bedtime.  He's just so much happier when everyone is home though, and he woke up today chanting, "Daddy, Babee (Justin)" when he heard Jared closing cupboard doors.  He also said it when he woke up from his nap.  When they did come home, I let him out the door to go down the hallway stairs, and he got upset that he couldn't get down the stairs fast enough before they came up!  Abishai just needs his peeps!  I can see in the future when everyone else is in college and moved away, it will be just Abishai and us, and our house will still be full of people because he'll be bringing them home left and right.  At least I hope to create an environment for that.  Or, he'll never be home because he'll be out with friends.  I just love how all the kids are so different just like my siblings and I were/are.  It's fascinating!

Keturah did her thing with homework and reading, and loving the peace and quiet.  I wasn't as productive as I could have been, but I think I'm ready for tomorrow.  There really wasn't much to do to prepare because I'm not bringing kids.  Which is weird.  I only need snacks and drinks for myself.  I only need my basic meds and things like money and something to write notes on.  I do have Keturah's carryon bag for books I purchase, but I'm thinking of leaving it here tomorrow and waiting to purchase books until Saturday, i.e. not impulse buy.  But what about the goody bag?  And lunch stuff?  Ok, fine, I'll bring it anyway and leave it with the wonderful people who will watch it for me.  Yes, there really is a service like that at a homeschool conference!  We just have to provide a donation.  I think it's some high school kids or something.  Cool!

Ok, pics for the day:
Not many hrs left!

Abishai loved playing with all kinds of new toys at the doctor's office today.

Yes, this kid, who is a lover of people, played happily with the Barbie house.  Sweet!

Then he found these bunny rabbits around the waiting room and set them up (I think) to watch him play the triangle/tee game.

Hugs for the bunnies!

Abishai is smiling while eating his snack, promise!

Neat game on the computers at the library where Keturah had to  tell the ant to go north, south, east or west to collect all the jelly beans.

Sharing a computer with brother.  We got a bunch of books on Egypt today and 4 more Pokemon books for Justin.

A boy and his sticks!  Give this kid some woods behind his house please!  We possibly have a lover of the outdoors!

Why yes she wanted to see how many goldfish of each color was in her bowl.  And yes, I suspected there were more yellow than red ones.

Monkey see, monkey do!  Following Sissy's lead!

Always snuggly! (Before nap).

Still snuggly!  (After nap).

Happy boys, two with their devices and one with his cars.

Keturah is taking this decorating her own room thing to the max.  Check out her drawing!  She might have a converted attic room with slanted ceilings, so yes, her room might look like this!

She made me promise not to loose this!

Such an organizer!

And Keturah, the crafter, made up one of her kits she bought at Michael's the other day.  I can't wait to have a corner dedicated just to handicrafts and paper crafts in the new house!

Justin's closet is now dubbed "the black hole" because it swallowed up all the clothes that were missing!  He even had clothes under the suitcase, in the diaper box, and beside the diaper box and dirty socks ON A SHELF to the right.

This is the 2nd half of all the clothes we found in the closest!  I thought he had more clothes!  Live and learn, buddy!  No more procrastinating putting dirty clothes in the wash and hanging up clean ones!
Aw, look at that handsome 14 year old in the front row next to his best friend David.  Benaiah had a great week!

Jared helped drive the kids to the different places this week.  Benaiah's in the way back.

Praying at one of the ministries they worked with.  There are more pictures on the Creek's student ministry Facebook page.  All these tall folks filled with lots of love and energy makes me feel so small sometimes.  How can little kids grow up so quickly and so big?  They should still be babies!  But look at them! What a great moment to behold!  So proud of all of them for giving up a week of their spring break to do this!  It remind me of the Workcamps we did as teens during the summer with our church.  We had crews that would work on poor people's homes of a certain area making new decks, wheelchair ramps, painting and new roofs.  Sweet memories!  Including the one that the Creek attended and I had no idea Jared was part of it until many years later.  That's a story for another time.  For now, rest up kids!  Back to school next week or the week after!  We are proud of you!