Friday, June 28, 2013

Cara Box Reveal - June

Hi all.

Since the family is headed to the beach on the lake tomorrow and then we have a busy Sunday, I figured I should put my Cara box reveal post together today. The theme this month was "The Circus"or a Summer Fair.

I was paired up with the lovely Rebecca from XOXO Rebecca Mae and Elise from Books, Bottles and Bags. I sent a box to Elise, I'm hoping it got there, I lost the tracking number with a mama brain moment, and I recieved a super fun box from Rebecca.

Elise is seriously rocking it in her life right now with nannying and going to school all at once.  I love how passionate she is about natural parenting as much as she can be as a nanny.  Baby carriers and cloth diapering are two of my favorite things.

Rebecca is such a sweetheart and was going through some major life changes this past month moving 17 hours away from her husband to finish up some schooling.  You can read all about it on her blog.  I loved getting to know her and I pray that she does well with the long distance and awesome with her schooling.

So here is the box from Rebecca.
Cotton Candy- Yum
A Water ball Game - A prize you would win for playing a fair game
A sweet note from Rebecca with lots of encouragement
A magnet - A close up seen below
A princess crown - So I could finally be a Fair Queen
And a Clown Game for the boys to play someday on a rainy day

Rebecca was encouraging to me so much this month even though she herself was going through a ton of stuff. The magnet was great because I am always worried that I won't be able to hack it as a teacher, but this definitely helps. 

So if you are interested go check out more about the Cara box at Wifessionals.  It's open to blogger and non-bloggers. 

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

If there is one thing you watch today

Let it be this

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Happy Father's Day!

To this guy:

And this guy: 

And to all the other fathers out there.  Your presence in your children's life is appreciated.

And if you want to read an excellent post on the reflection of who a father is check out Calah Alexander's piece here

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Differing Opinions

Since posting the homeschooling bit yesterday, I've been thinking about differing opinions because I know there are so many when it comes to schooling your children and in many other things too. Sometimes its easier especially in this day and age where you can find commonality at the click of your finger tips to just seek that out.  And also to have the opinion that unless everyone does see things like you, well then they are morally wrong.  I know I do this even if I don't want to do it.  But history tells us that this doesn't work well. While there are moral absolutes, a lot of things that people discuss and deal with are not even if we make them out to be.

But the thing is God created us as unique individuals, all of us mostly with completely different DNA and experiences to go with it. To say that all of your friends have to think like you on this or this subject  just doesn't make sense and frankly would be boring.  And maybe I am writing this for myself more than anyone as a reminder of this simple fact, but I'm putting it out there anyway.

By having different opinions on life choices or even the small things we can learn from each other.  God may just be teaching us a lesson through that differing person that will make us stronger in our choice or realize that maybe another way could be better. But to totally not take the time to listen, to think you know it all, and I am so guilty of this (my husband knows it), doesn't sit well for building the kingdom for Christ.

So I thank-you people from different backgrounds that care about different things that choose different choices than me.  I'm learning from you! I'm growing because of you! And you are an awesome thinking individual that I am privileged to encounter in my life. 

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

The why of it

I had an awkward conversation about homeschooling with a friend yesterday, but basically it was because I was so terrible at spitting my information out and just not really making any real sense. Instead of saying the good things about the conference I had been to, I was just rattling off the big conspiracy theory that the one presenter had talked about.  Maybe its because it was still on my mind,  but like when a on fire Protestant catches you off guard about why you became Catholic (At least this happens to me a lot, even if I know why, I just don't verbalize it well in person.) I failed at telling someone not in a my way is the best, but the best for me way to homeschool. But I had forgotten all the good reasons that I actually started looking into homeschooling when I had this conversation, and just felt kind of like an idiot to be honest.  She however made really good points, first to focus on what's good about what I want to do, and second, know why I want to do it, not because I want to avoid the craziness but why I think it is best for my little family to embark on this adventure.

First, before I come off sounding like I know more than I do, I don't.  My oldest just turned 3 in March, so I don't have all the logistics of it figured out and I know overall I have to be flexible. But there is still a pull there to educate in a homeschooling way, and I want to clearly state why finally.

So here goes... My own schooling adventure consisted of public school, then lab school, then public secondary school, then private college and private grad school. In the early years of public school, I went into it knowing a ton having been taught informally by my sister who is 5 years older than me. She taught me reading, writing, and math before I even stepped foot inside a formal school. I'm not sure its a thing anymore due to computers, but I also could write in cursive before kindergarten.  She continued to teach me and I continued to learn.  When I was in school, well, I was bored.  I had already done this stuff.  I remember distinctly getting in trouble by teachers because I was going ahead in my workbooks and this wasn't something I was allowed to do according to them.  I had one good teacher in the public school in third grade that engaged me, and the one art teacher saw I had a passion with art so I got to go to art camp through the school. Other than that, school wasn't challenging or engaging, and by the end of fourth grade I was getting in trouble.  My parents decided to send my younger brother and me to a lab school, and I'm not sure their reasoning lined up with my experience, but they did it and I had a great experience.  In this school there was only one class per grade.  Each grade interacted with the lower grades and had specific reading partners and did projects like time capsules.  We even had a night where the entire 5th grade class stayed over night at the school to carry out the book Be a Perfect Person.  During this time I tested into a Directive Studies program that allowed us to learn more than the average student and when entering back into the public Junior High put us in charge of the Junior High school paper.  The same program allowed me to take Spanish a year early starting in eighth grade and then college classes in my senior year that the school paid for since I was considered "gifted."

All the while until my sister went to college she taught me still.  I learned speeches like the Gettysburg address and parts of Julius Caesar way before I was supposed to, because I ate up learning.  I think the only class I actually struggled with in high school was typing of all things.  I mean I type in the QWERTY manner all the time now that it's kind of hilarious to think that I sucked at typing and had to have my younger brother who was in my class teach me a trick or two with it.  I eventually really learned how to type using chat clients like AIM instead of in typing class in high school.

I went to college on a cross country scholarship of all things, and majored in chemistry.  I think the first chemistry subject that I struggled with was organic.  I mean I know thats a given for most to struggle with organic, but I hated that class and actually got a C in it. When I got to the upper level subjects in my major, I actually did get challenged, (yay!).  And honestly, one of my eye openers for the fact that I was being challenged was that I acted like a baby when I knew I had performed badly on a test in physical chemistry.  I had prepared for the exam well in my mind, but when it came to the test I barely got a C.  I gave a fit about this to the teacher in a childish way I wasn't proud of, but I learned finally.  I learned that even if I didn't get my desired A that I was so used to, I was learning. A's aren't everything right?

Maybe this was how I made it through grad school.  I definitely would have called myself a B student in grad school, but that was okay, I needed that.  I knew finally I was being challenged and I was learning.  But the thing is that I felt like I could have been prepared better earlier by the schools.  I mean most of my learning was done through my sister, and my mom.  I forgot about her, sorry.  She gave us the love of science always bringing things home for us to play with from the classroom and always taking us outside in nature to explore things. She also dragged us all over the country to historic sites by taking us on Volksmarches aka 10K walks where you are out in nature learning biology from her or learning history with questions about the places you were visiting.  These two women are the reason I think I was able to even succeed in college and grad school, not the public school so much.  The public school did allow me to do one or two things that challenged me like foreign language and art and some chemistry with the science olympiad(but really with that I was on my own to learn it, my advisor didn't interact with me at all), but overall it wasn't as engaging as it could have been.

Now, we will just state for my husband's side of it all, that he learned by taking the book home and reading it to himself and he was in public school K-12 too. Probably why he is so dang smart compared to me, he can totally just go and learn something all by himself.  Sometimes I wish I was someone who could learn by reading books, but I'm an experience learner, but that's another story.

So after all that, why homeschool?  Because I think instead of jumping through hoops to get to be able to do this or that that I had to do I want to tailor my child's education towards him or her.  I want him to be able to learn outside the box.  I want him to be able to tell me the why behind it all, not just the what.  I want him to know that there are moral absolutes, and I want him to know that mama isn't going to give up on them when maybe a different teacher would (Not saying that all do this, there are excellent teachers out there and their job is hard and their passion is greater to succeed to get through to some kids). Instead of having them in a classroom where everyone is supposed to learn relatively the same, I want him to be able to learn in the way that helps him best succeed and go even further with it.  I want him to learn history by going to the sites of historic battles, and science by playing and exploring the everyday and literature by me reading to him countless stories.  I want them to learn math in a practical manner and most of all I want them to become little cathedrals for heaven by learning compassion of those smaller than them and bigger than them in their siblings and parents and by homeschooling they get more time to do this.

These children of mine are borrowed from God and I want to be able to say that I have done the best with them that I could do when my life is done on this Earth. So for me, I think this is by homeschooling. For you it may be Christian/Catholic school or charter school or public school, everyone must make the best choice for their family.  But that is the great thing about being unique individuals with many different little ways to carry out our vocations. We are all necessary in God's master plan.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

What I Wore Sunday, June 9

Happy Sunday!

It was a beautiful day, so I pulled out an old dress and enjoyed the good weather and since I don't think I have worn this before on the blog I figured why not do a WIWS post. The boys were finally okay at mass.  I only had to go to the back once with Ephraim! I think though my favorite part of today's church experience besides filling up with Jesus, was the fellowship afterward.  Anytime we have something at church that isn't insane to do with small children we try to do it.  This week it was as simple as a reception for the graduates of the church.  I figure that we should try to get to know the people of our parish more, so why not try to do so.  And there were a good many kiddos there so the boys loved running around with everyone else.  
Anyway, here is what I wore: 

Dress: I'm going to go with TJ Maxx or Marshall's, but I've had it a long time, and I don't really remember the actual place, but we will say its from there. It's not a nurseable dress, but since that really isn't an issue right now, it was fun to bring out of the closet. (I used this as my rehearsal dress for my wedding almost 6 years ago and I bought it with that intention, but I'm glad I still get to use it every now and then.)
Shoes: flats from Target
Necklace (seen below): repurposed bridesmaid jewelry. 

Hope you all are having a brilliant Sunday. Check out more WIWS outfits at Fine Linen and Purple!

Monday, June 3, 2013

A Tale of a Wedding...Perspective changes everything

A good friend got married this past weekend.  It was a beautiful wedding of two people completely in love with Jesus and each other.  They meshed two families and two cultures together and did it brilliantly.

My husband and older son were both in this wedding.  My husband as a groomsmen and my son as a ring bearer. So leading up to this wedding, I honestly was not looking forward to it.  I was happy for the couple to start their lives together, but the me being in charge of two littles on a weekend day from sun up to sun down where they are probably not going to nap but need to be on their best behavior, this I was not looking forward to it.

But guess what? ... We survived.  We did really.  Not sure how, but we did.  Well probably because I do have some great people in my life that did try to help me out and well God was there and he knew it was going to be hard so he opened some doors and he made some bits not be as terrible as I thought they were to be.

So, here are my memories of the wedding.  During the rehearsal Friday, Ephraim continuously jumped off of the steps that lead up to the altar.  Ben got concerned about his pillow and I fed the children lots of peanut butter crackers.  Somewhere in there the wedding party rehearsed but this is what I remember.

To change this moment of dude kid you are not respecting Jesus with your jumping, into Ephraim you and your pure joy for the simple make me smile, was definitely brought about by my husband.

During the actual wedding, Ben did make it down the isle, with the most ridiculous expression on his face and after chucking the ring bearer pillow at me and his brother.  So I count that one as a win, even if he wasn't the cute "awe" that everyone likes to get out of kids.

At the receiving line, both my boys loved the bubbles.  Ephraim chased them and Ben hoarded all the extra containers of them.  I think I had 25+ containers of bubbles by the end of it all. We put a decent amount of them back but I still feel like we ended up with at least 10.  But what is better than bubbles right?

In between the wedding mass and the reception we had like 2.5 hours to kill.  So what do you do with un-napped children that won't nap but need to be doing something so you don't go crazy.  Well we stopped for ice cream, somehow shared one cone between all three of us.  Luckily Ben had thrown a fit about being in tux so he wasn't in it if things got messy, and for once in life, I was prepared with an extra shirt for E.

We got to the reception sight, close to 2 hours early. Nothing to do except play in the car, or terrorize the reception hall. I went for playing in the car as long as I could handle it.  Half hour later, we went inside.  I wandered, and I must have looked weary enough for someone to take pity on me, so a guy at the reception desk on the other side of the facility gave us a guest pass for the hour and let the kids climb on this crazy tree house. Ephraim not being with it from not napping didn't want anything to do with it, but it definitely occupied Ben.  I was thankful for that, immensely thankful.  Ephraim however, did seem to enjoy looking out at the pool and the people swimming so people watching was what we did for the next hour or so.

When the reception actually started, the kids weren't really any better, but they weren't any worse.  Ben managed to be redressed by Keith and enjoyed hiding under tables and chairs for a good while.  It wasn't until the meal prayer that he decided to be a train and run up and down the dance floor in his words, chugging.  How, he managed to stay quiet while doing this was beyond me, but this apparently made all the groomsmens' day with his antics.

And since it was a bringing together of two cultures, there was a Chinese tea ceremony at the reception.  Ephraim took this as his cue to test out the salt water taffy on the tables that was our wedding favor.  He of course tried the licorice flavored one, and the proceeded with a 5 minute long "I don't like this" reaction during this super quiet tea ceremony.  This made my entire table burst out in the most contained laughter that can be possible when one is supposed to be respectfully quiet.

When the bride and groom made their rounds to the guests, Ben decided to tag along, and since Ben was tagging along, this means Ephraim did too.  And honestly, because Mr. Tony is Ben's favorite person besides his daddy in the world, I hope he didn't mind that he was doing so.

Though, I have to say I knew it was time to go when the children had then moved camp to the other side of the reception hall to a bench anchored to the wall and were jumping off of it for entertainment.  While the folks at the table didn't seem to even notice, I figured the kids would probably get even more crazy as it got later.

And that was the wedding, from my perspective.  I struggled a lot that day, because I had expectations in my mind.  And if there is one thing I should know by now, expectations lead to disappointment.  If I took last Saturday from a neutral perspective, I would have to say it went just fine.  I got to talk to folks I hadn't seen in a while, none of the crazy kiddos got hurt, and two awesome people got to kickstart their lives together.

Remind me to just relax next time there is a big event like this, because ultimately even my little in the background part is in God's hands and not my own. Perspective really does change everything.

On a side note, there was this one point in the chaos that definitely made me smile. Before the bride and groom made it to the receiving line, both Keith and I were crouched down, dealing with the bubble fascinated children. We crossed lines of sight and I automatically thought how much I love my husband.  I know its only been 6 years since we said I do, but I definitely love this guy more than ever.  Maybe that's why I like weddings, despite the insanity of taking children to them, it reminds those of us who are married to really treasure that person God has given us to get us to heaven.