August 24, 2012

7 Things I am Thankful For...

1. This was our first week officially back to school. It turned out to be our best first week back to school yet! I was met with lots of smiles and excitement from our boys at the beginning of the week as we looked forward to a very full 5 days ahead.

No, things are not organized to where I'd like them to be at the start of our school year, but is it ever? No. But, we really just wanted to get started. So, with MOST of our curriculum received (some is still arriving every couple days), we dove in. T, our 4 year old preschooler is officially joining us this year. And our rowdy needs-to-be-involved-with-everything-we're-doing-and-thinks-he's-just-as-big-as-the-rest-of-them 2 year old is along for the ride as well. As we began our day with a bit of bible study and prayer, I quickly realized that I had not taken into consideration that they could possibly need me all at the same time once we began our work.

Huh!? What was I thinking? Of course they would all need my help all at once. So, I took lots of notes on our first day and decided I needed to stagger Math and Language Arts lessons (so far). What that means is that while I'm helping one of the boys with math, the other can read with the younger ones. And then when it's time to help someone else with writing, the others can begin their art projects or something that can be done with a bit more independence. All of our other learning will be done mostly together as we do everything else Unit Study Style. Can you see why I love unit studies so much? Teaching (and learning) everything separately would be so difficult for us...and not nearly as fun. I was so very thankful my mom was here that first day to help out as one question after another followed by the "mom, help me" requests rolled on throughout the morning.

 Yes, we had milkshakes at the park after school one day.

2. We are loving our Artistic Pursuits curriculum. Before this year, we'd never actually used a curriculum for art. We just created! And I'm thankful we did. Allowing our boys to draw, paint, create and use their imaginations using all kinds of mediums  has really been good for them. I still love to fill the table with a plethora of art supplies and let them have at it, but we are learning SO MUCH MORE with Artistic Pursuits.

As with almost all things, I am always trying to multi-task. So when our boys are busy being creative at the table, I typically take that time to clean up the kitchen. But this week, when C (our 6 year old) met me with all kinds of "I can't do this" and "this doesn't look very good" and "I'm not very good at this kind of art"....I realized that I needed to roll up my sleeves, put my dish towel down and encourage this little one by creating art WITH him. I hardly ever take the time to do that. But as I did, his heart changed and so did mine. Instead of getting frustrated with him for his attitude, I gently encouraged him while giving him my focused attention and time. We talked about the kind of artwork I created at the age of 6 and that learning new things takes practice and patience. And as we sat there together, drawing...we talked of the kind of artwork God creates for us to enjoy. Many lessons were learned on this day.

3. God is really speaking to me through these passages of His Word as He continues to work in my heart...

"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity." -Jeremiah 29:11-14

"A man’s heart plans his way, But the Lord directs his steps." -Proverbs 16:9

"A man's steps are directed by the LORD. How then can anyone understand his own way?" -Proverbs 20:24

"Trust in the Lord with all your hear and lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight." -Proverbs 3:5-6
Notice a theme here?.... (emphasis added...mine)

4. The boys were in the production of Peter Pan this week! It was their first ever real play written, produced, directed and choreographed by our friend Miss M....and she's only 10 years old. I'm so very proud of her and of everyone involved. I'll be posting more about this amazing experience and even how God met us there, very soon. 

5. Yesterday marked the release of a brand new eBook I contributed to for homeschooling families titled: You Can Do It Too!: 25 homeschool families share their stories This book holds a special place in my heart as it tells the stories of homeschooling families like us who have chosen to share their lives with others in hopes of encouraging those who are just starting out on their journeys toward home education, thinking about it or are already many miles down that road and needing to know they aren't alone. I am so blessed to be a part of this book and included with some really amazing moms who I really admire and respect.

6. Today, I am thankful for our health. This has been the first week in a while that we have seen and felt true health in our family. All of the normal colds have run through our family multiple times this Summer and with each cold. C gets croup/stridor and has to take steroids to keep his airway from completely closing off. The rest of us have all been sick as well. And then the worst of it came two weeks ago when our youngest was plagued with the worst ever rash I had ever seen accompanied by a 103.5 fever and body aches. He was miserable! As it turned out, he had Fifth Disease. It's a bit like the chicken pox in that it's a virus and just needs to run it's course. Once you've had it, you don't get it again. Oddly, none of the rest of us got it, so we must be immune because we certainly share our germs around here. Needless to say, I am so glad we are all healthy again.

This is how our little guy woke up one morning and what sent us racing to our Pediatrician's office. His arms were so red and hot to the touch. 

Within a day little E's whole body was covered with this terrible rash. It didn't itch, but the fever persisted which caused him to not eat or drink OR SLEEP much during the week. I felt so bad for him as he's never been that sick before. So thankful he's healthy again.

7. And last, but not least...I am over-the-moon excited about the new Hope For the Weary Mom expanded edition written by Brooke McGlothlin and Stacey Thacker coming out soon. Do you remember the 7 Days of Hope Weary Moms Series I hosted here this year? This was the book we used for that series, which I LOVE. But, I can't even begin to tell you how amazing the new release version is going to be. Last week Brooke and Stacey let everyone know they were putting together a New Release Launch Team together and needed willing participants. Because I believe so much in the message of this book, I prayed a quick prayer and then jumped at the chance. I feel like it's an absolute gift and privilege to get to be a part of this team of incredible women who feel the same way I do.

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Linking up with: 7 Quick Takes & Weekly Wrap Up & Big Family Friday


  1. Yikes---I'm glad that everyone is healthy again. Not to be a Debbie Downer, but you *can*, in fact, get chicken pox more than once. I had it twice when I was little. Neither case was strong enough to give me immunity, so I'm more disposed to getting shingles (the same virus, but for adults) someday. I'll be that poor, pathetic mom who is sick *with* her kids!

  2. Sounds like a great first week! We just ordered Artistic Pursuits as well! It looks awesome. I just mapped out a schedule for our homeschool subjects. I've been reading "Large Family Logistics" and other books to try and figure out how to schedule our days. Miss you, my friend! So sorry that E got to sick! Can't wait to read about the play!

    Love, Liz

  3. YIKES! Each of my boys had Fifth's Disease, at different times, but both were 2 years old. How miserable. I'm glad your little guy is on the mend. Thanks for sharing your week, it otherwise looks great!

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