Showing posts with label Wyatt. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Wyatt. Show all posts

Halfway Through (Happy Birthday To My Oldest)



My Dear Wyatt,

Buddy, you are nine years old!  I can hardly believe how much you have grown this year.  I looked at you the other day and saw with fresh eyes how tall you have gotten.  

You are all boy, and a smart, thoughtful boy too. I frequently find you tucked away by yourself in your room, reading a book about birds, or nature, or science experiments, or history.  Sometimes you'll read something in a book that you want to try, and you'll emerge with tons of ideas spilling out.  You'll go track down the supplies you need and start bringing your ideas to life.  Right now you are anxious for spring, when you can use your new bike lights (which you got for Christmas) to ride your bike when it's dark.  On your birthday list this year is an "adventure kit" (containing binoculars, a compass, and a flashlight, for all your birding adventures), a new watch, and Audobon bird stuffed animals with authentic sound effects.  




I love how adventurous you are when you get a new idea in your head, but I can still tell when you get nervous in new situations by the way you hang back next to me.  Sometimes if something is bothering you, you'll come and sit by me a while until I gradually get it out of you.  You need me less and less these days, so I have to hang on to the little ways that I can help you.

You are a funny kid, and you are constantly making your sibling laugh with your silly stories and jokes.  You are an organizer of games, especially imagination games, and I love to see the stories you all come up with together.  They all look up to you so much.  




I love your interest for so many subjects and how curious you are about the world, but I love even more how I see you growing in your faith.  You have made a very specific effort to start reading the Bible every day, and you just made it through the book of Genesis.  It gives my heart so much joy that in all your learning, you are making learning about the Lord a priority.  

Ten years is an exciting year for kids since they hit the double-digits, but nine is a landmark year for me as your mom.  This year you are halfway through your childhood. I find myself looking back on the last nine years with tears in my eyes, wondering where it all went.  But I'm looking ahead to the next nine years with excitement, because I am so proud of the young man you are becoming.  I can't wait to see what the future holds for you, my darling boy.  I couldn't ask for a more wonderful boy who made me a mama.  I love you more than every feather on every bird in the world.




Love,
Mama


2019 In A Nutshell



Every year I write a year-in-review - it's quite possible that no one finds these interesting but me.  But it does my heart good to look back on everything that happened in the previous year - the surprises, sorrows and stresses, joys and beauty, the things that delighted me, and the things that didn't work out quite the way I wanted them to.  To see God's hand through it all and thank Him for the ways that He has worked in our family, and in my heart, over the course of one year.  So I'll try to make it interesting to read for all of you, but just know that these years, reviewed here on the blog, are something I need to do for me too.

Without further ado...

January



-I started the year out with making goals for the first time in many years.  Post coming about how that actually went...

-We finished up renovating the kitchen and Derek started on the master bathroom.

-We made the difficult decision to explore some of the other churches in our area, because of some drama that went down at our current church.  This led to a months-long period of discouragement for me as we realized the pickin's, for what we are looking for in our area, were pretty slim.

-I did a day-in-the-life series on Instagram - I always think it's fun to go back and watch these later.  It always brings back fun memories.

-We visited the stock show, and the kids loved it.

-Georgie started walking, and quickly took off!

-We braved a snowstorm and visited the "butterfly zoo", which was a nice spot of tropical in the middle of all that winter.


On The Blog: My Favorite 20 Books From 2018,  Four Quick Reminders About Teaching Children The Bible

February



-We went sledding at my parent's house with my sister and her family!  It was so much fun, and made me feel like a kid again.

-We did a field trip the the Nature and Science museum with friends!

-We bought valentines for friends.

-Wyatt turned 8 years old.  We had a fun day celebrating him with a trip to Bass Pro Shops and the movies!

-We had my sister over for Valentine's Day for a little mini party.

-My mom watched ALL the grandkids for me and my siblings, and we had a rare date!  We saw Ralph Breaks The Internet at the dollar theater, because we're fancy like that.

-We went on a winter nature hike.

-I started a classics book club with some friends from my college days!  We started reading Far From The Madding Crowd.

-We continued our church wandering, and I felt so untethered and lost.  I felt deeply discouraged all through February, and realized I was overloading myself.  I stepped back from a few things, which helped with my stress levels, but not with my discouragement.

On The Blog: Dear Candy Hearts | Little Letters Vol. 1, How's School Going? A Mid-Year Homeschool Update


March 



-We got alot of snow, and I came up with this list of reasons to like snow, in response to an unusual amount of local friends complaining about it.  We live in the Rocky Mountains, people!  It's going to snow.

-I finally started to get into a morning routine and I began getting up before the kids - something I've wanted to do for a long time, but it has been too hard with young babies before this year.

-I celebrated the 12th anniversary of the day I met Derek!

-We got hit by a bomb cyclone.

-We visited the zoo amidst the snowy remnants of the bomb cyclone.

-Clarice drew our family portrait.

-I got a sinus infection and the kids got another stomach bug.  We never threw up as often as we did in the 2018-2019 winter.

-I really started struggling with how much time I was spending on Instagram, and I wrote about it a little bit.

-It started to warm up toward the end of the month, and we enjoyed a park day!

-We did an "inside the orchestra" field trip with our co-op, and the kids loved playing around with the instruments!

-I thought I was starting to come out of my doldrums and discouragement, but now I think it was just the initial bounce-back from cutting things out of my schedule in February.

On The Blog: How Do You Balance Homeschooling With Toddlers?, How We Connect With Other Homeschoolers, Why We Keep A Traditional School Schedule, Why I Read Middle Grade Books

April


-My discouragement came back with a vengeance, and after sprinkling in exhaustion and some people problems, I spent a couple weeks basically just crying about everything.  I was so relieved when Derek called my parents so I could go to New Orleans with him for a work trip.  An escape and reset was really badly needed at that point.

-My dad gave me some encouragement too.

-Clyde turned five years old!

-I got back into taking the kids on "mom days", and had alot of fun on my mom day with Gwen!  She also lost her upper front tooth.

-We had a wonderful and refreshing trip to New Orleans!  Ate alot of Beignets, took a couple plantation tours, listened to alot of jazz.  I came back with a fresh perspective, and things finally started looking up for real.

-Tried a new egg-coloring method with the kids.

-We celebrated Resurrection Day!

-We noticed a sore on our dog's neck, so I took him into the vet and we found out Harvey had a tumor.  Tumors in dogs are most often cancerous, and we really thought we were going to lose him. He had surgery to remove the tumor, and thankfully we found out a couple weeks later that it was benign!  Apparently it was a type of tumor normally found in cats.

-Took another trip to the zoo and admired the thousands of daffodils they had planted!

-Derek took the boys to see spring practice for his college football team, and he scheduled the girls and I for a Mermaid Painting Tea Party.  It was not something I would have ever dreamed up, and so much fun!

-I got jury duty - something I've always wanted to do is participate in the civic process through jury duty!  But the trial got cancelled before I could go.  Maybe someday.

On The Blog: Currently | April 2019, An Easter Memory



May


-We continued the bathroom renovation, and finally finished it up this month.  I forgot how long bathroom renovations take.

-Clyde and I got a mom day this month, and he helped me pick out some flowers, since I was itching for something summery around me.  Good thing I didn't plant them yet though, because it snowed again in May.

-I discovered a really pretty back room in our local library, and have enjoyed many blogging afternoons there since.

-The trees finally flowered late!  It was a weird year, because we usually get pretty flowers in April.

-We celebrated Mother's Day in a nice, laid-back way, and it was perfect.  I got some loose-leaf tea, and we visited my mom, and we relaxed.

-I bought a new swimsuit that I don't hate.

-We finished up school for the year.  In the snow.  I just laughed.

-Georgie started to get into "coloring".

-I visited the library book sale, which is basically the official start to summer for me.

-We started a new book for book club!  The Great Gatsby.  I ended up liking it way more than I thought I would.

On The Blog: How I Kept My Hair Under Control In New Orleans,  The One Thing Your Church Needs To Get Right , When Wiping Faces Doesn't Feel Satisfying


June


-We tried the last couple churches on our list, and finally made the decision to return to our old church.  We figured out that even with everything that had happened, it was still the best one for us.  I learned alot through this whole church process, and maybe learned to value loyalty to the local church body a little bit more.  No church is perfect, and I think maybe we needed to learn to stick with a place even when the imperfection starts to show.  I still haven't mulled over my thoughts enough to express them better than that.  But it was so good to be back.  Our church welcomed us back with open arms, and it felt like coming home.

-Clyde started gymnastics!  He was so excited, he bounced all over that gym.

-I got a very weird big toe injury.  I literally did nothing.  I was sitting at my desk and it randomly started swelling.

-Clarice and I had a mom day, and she's a clever little thing.

-We tried VBS for the first time for my big kids, and they LOVED it.  Georgie and I ran around town together, and spent too much money on donuts.

-We visited the Great Sand Dunes.

-Dollar movies started for the summer!  We went to the first one with friends.

-I celebrated my birthday at the homeschool conference, ha!  Including a spontaneous visit to a hotel.

-We celebrated Derek and my dad for Father's Day!  But Father's Day wasn't as perfect as I wanted it to be for Derek, so we celebrated again the next week with a campfire.

-We went to a state park, and though the day didn't go very well, it was very pretty.

-I took Wyatt with me to see Ken Ham at the homeschool conference.

-We visited Rocky Mountain National Park, but it was in the 50's in the middle of June!  So it was a chilly day.

-It finally started to feel like summer.  Wyatt made bird feeders and hung them around our yard.  We discovered that the bush in front four house is a lilac bush!

On The Blog:  Homeschooling And Bad Attitudes, My Homeschool Mom Summer Reading List


July


-We celebrated the 4th of July on the road to my grandma's!  We had a lovely visit with her and my Grandpa Bill, and we also took a trip to Mesa Verde National Park.

-I took the kids to the pool all by myself and shared a few tips here.

-We celebrated our 11th wedding anniversary!  The whole thing felt a little anti-climactic though, after our 10th last year.

-Wyatt and I had some one-on-one time, and he helped me shop for a few more summer flowers, now that we were sure they wouldn't freeze.

-It rained alot in July, and it was a quiet, nice mid-summer.

-We did some porch camping.

-We finally upgraded our mattress, which doesn't seem like a big deal, but it was. We have been sleeping on a 20+ old mattress for the last 11 years of our marriage, so we sprung for the really good mattress.  And it's a king now.  It's been really nice!

-We finally set up the trampoline my parent's got us for Christmas!  The kids love it.

On The Blog: A Few Homeschool Finds, Why I'm Glad My Blog Didn't Grow


August


-We saw a century plant.

-I felt ready for summer to be over.

-We took a trip to see my grandpa, and had a lovely day visiting with him and my Grandma Juanita.  They set up a unicorn sprinkler, and the kids loved it!

-We finally remembered we were supposed to take a vacation in August, and we got a last-minute trip to Florida on the calendar!  We saw the Everglades, went to SeaWorld, visited NASA, went to the largest McDonald's in the US, stopped at an orange grove, and had several pool and beach days.  We even did one day at Disney.  It was a much needed sunny vacation!

-I struggled alot with getting into fall and school mode once we were back from Florida, so that was a big swing from earlier in the month!  This is why I like to take vacation in June (but it's not an option with Derek's work).

-New classics book club pick - Dracula, which I never would have picked up on my own, but I enjoyed it!

On The Blog: Homeschool Wins And Fails (From Last Year),  Florida! 

September


-We started the school year and eased into it, because I wasn't ready.  We did nature hikes and visited a railroad museum to get us inspired to learn!  Also, Clyde started Kindergarten, so I officially have three students this year.

-I started experimenting with a simmer potpourri on the stove to get in the fall mood.

-I got involved in political volunteering for the first time, collecting signatures for a measure to stop late-term abortion in our state.  It's been interesting to learn about the process from this angle, and to see firsthand how much work goes into getting a measure on the state ballot!

-Derek and I got another rare date, and we went to see a play!  Hunchback Of Notre Dame, which was actually very depressing, but we had a nice time laughing about it together anyway!

-I started re-reading The Fellowship Of The Ring in earnest, and enjoyed it all through the fall.  I don't re-read very often, so this is noteworthy.

-My kids remembered learning about the Harvest Moon from school last year, and kept asking when it was - it happened to be on Friday, the 13th!

-There were fires in the mountains near our home, resulting from a pretty dry August and September - this is why I don't complain about the snow and rain.

-After meaning to all summer, we finally went fishing with the kids!  It was so fun, even though we didn't catch anything, and we want to go more often now.

-My little Clarice turned four years old!

On The Blog:  Homeschool Planning: How I Do It, How We Homeschool On The Go,  How I'd Do Disney Differently With Five Young Kids,  Should You Visit Kennedy Space Center With Young Kids?  

October


-I decided to try to blog every day in October.  I didn't make it, but I did blog a lot, all about memory-keeping.  It brought up a lot of unresolved feelings about social media and phones.

-I finally tried Stitchfix with a gift card I got over a year ago for my 30th birthday!

-We did a fall nature scavenger hunt for fun.  We also went fishing again, and I shared some photos and reasons to give fishing a try here.

-Wyatt started his second season of soccer, and it was fun seeing how much he has improved since last year!

-We took alot of nature hikes, and it's a good thing, because the fall colors were short lived.  I managed to get some family photos before the leaves were gone.

-It started snowing again!

-I went to visit my friends' ranch with the kids one weekend, while Derek was hunting!  We had a wonderful time, as always, and I'm so grateful for friendships that last.

-Georgie turned two years old!

-The kids hounded me until we celebrated Reformation Day again!  I shared my favorite Reformation Day resources here.

On The Blog: My Tips For Taking Your Own Family Photos, Where I'm From,  The Reason I Bought That Sweater, A Typical Homeschool Week,  The Day I Became Pro-Life , The Happiest Place On Earth 


November



-Clarice started her ballet class, which she has been dying to do for at least a year.  Gwen and Clyde started a homeschool gymnastics class, and they loved it too!

-After taking a home improvement break over the summer, we started again this month.  Derek took a week off work to install our fireplace for our new wood stove!

-I decided to take a social media break and signed out in the middle of November.  I needed some space and time to consider what I really want out of social media, and how to make sure it's serving me instead of the other way around.  More coming on this, I'm sure.

-We had a game night with my sister's family, and her Christmas decorations were up, and it was just lovely!

-We celebrated Thanksgiving at my parent's house, and Derek's mom came with us!  We ate good food, and played A Christmas Story: The Game, and it was lots of fun!

On The Blog: The Real Reason Why We Homeschool, What I Really Thought Of Stitchfix, Tools For A Social Media Break


December



-We visited a Christmas light display with my family to celebrate my dad's birthday!  We always bundle up and walk around outside enjoying the lights, and then go get pie afterwards.  It was unusually warm this year, so we were really able to enjoy the lights!

-We visited my grandpa and Grandpa Juanita again, and I loved hearing more stories from my grandpa's life.

-We visited our favorite Christmas shop!  We bought a "new house" ornament, since we forgot to last year.

-I finally made Christmas Bible verse cards for my Etsy shop.  (This might be a good time to bookmark them for next year, if you're interested?)

-Despite it being a short Christmas season, I stayed on top of things and didn't get too behind or too overwhelmed.  I shared about the presents I was most excited to give here!  I got a lovely gift in the mail from my longtime penpal Felicia, and another one in the mail from my dear ranch friends!

-It was a quiet Christmas season for us, with not as many gatherings as usual, but we did go to an ugly sweater party with our Sunday School class!  I got a fanny pack during the white elephant exchange, but it's actually a really nice one and I'm totally going to use it when we go to the zoo.

-I dabbled in creating my own recipes again, and invented this Spicy Raspberry Cheeseball recipe.

-I wrote a Christmas newsletter, just as a writing exercise, but I ended up liking it and was sorry it was too late to send it with my Christmas cards.  You can read it here.

-We did some baking together.

-We celebrated Christmas Eve with my family, and with my grandma and Grandpa Bill!  We will see Derek's family for a belated Christmas celebration next week.

-We had a wonderful Christmas Day together - it was about as perfect as a Christmas Day can go, and that is a rare thing because nothing usually goes perfectly.  We had time to reflect on Christ's birth, everyone was excited about their presents, and we just enjoyed each other.

-We celebrated Gwendolyn's and Derek's birthday (they have the same birthday, in case you forgot)!  I got Derek and Apple Watch because he has been dying to get one for years.  Gwen turned 7 years old!

-We are celebrating New Year's Eve tonight with final signature-collecting for my petition, and an impromptu dinner with my brother and his family!

On The Blog:  Bible Verses To Write In Your Christmas Cards (+ Printables),  When You Can't Find Christmas Peace

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Wow, even though we didn't have alot of "big" events, it was a busy year!  I think there was alot of growing for me personally this year in different areas of my life.

A month or two ago, as I've been struggling with more circumstances that have left me feeling a little alone, Derek said to me offhandedly, "Maybe the Lord just wants you to learn to lean on Him more right now."  I actually think that sums up this year pretty succinctly.  I think the Lord used alot of different circumstances this year to teach me to lean on Him more and myself less.  I'm still learning how to do that, but I'm thankful that He is my solid rock, the One on whom it will always be safe to lean.



Happy New Year's Eve, friends!

Hope you have plans to do something fun!

My Firstborn At Seven



Wyatt Boy, yesterday you turned seven years old.

Your birthday could have snuck up on me this year except for the fact that you have been reminding me about it for the last few months.  You are big enough now to sit down with a calendar and figure out how many days there are until things, and you were counting down the days.  This is also the first year that you had plans for you own birthday, and I tried my best to fill all your hopes with what I had.  You were so sweet and enthusiastic, in your quiet, shy way, about everything we ended up doing.

We took you to the Nature and Science museum, and walked through the gem section with you.  You are fascinated by the idea that such beautiful things can just be waiting beneath the earth for someone to come dig them up.  We took you to the gift shop and bought you some rocks for you "gem collection", and I loved seeing your face light up.  You wanted to know all the technical names, and how the gems were formed, and whether they were "real rocks" or manmade.  You are my thinker, and you love to just know things, especially anything related to physical science or biology.  You can stare for hours at books filled with birds, insects, and animals, and you always want to know how things work.

This year whenever you were asked what you wanted to be, you always replied with "a farmer and a worker".  You have been scoping out land as we drive places, trying to figure out where you could buy a farm.  But over the last month you've been talking more about being a "worker".  You want to build things.  We bought you a bunch of Legos this year, and seeing your how creativity grows is amazing.  You and your dad have built several things together, and I know that's one of his dreams for his kids come true, to sit and do Legos together with his son (and also go to a college football game together, which you also did this fall!).

We started first grade this year, and I don't think I expected to see you grow so much when we first cracked the books last summer.  You are learning so much!  It's so fun for me to see things start to make sense to you, to see how much you are learning each day.  You actually love to learn, and in that I see myself in you again.  I expect many years ahead of bonding over biology and zoology textbooks, since you seem to especially enjoy that subject just like I do.



One thing I love about you is your desire to do the right thing, and your desire for people to know about Jesus.  At Christmas time you made a little card in your Sunday School class that you were supposed to give to someone to tell them about Jesus.  If it were me, I would have completely forgotten about it, but you carried that card around in your pocket, scanning the stores to see who you might give it to.  You finally gave it to our cashier at the mall, and I'm pretty sure you made her day.  But I saw the serious look on your face as you asked her if she knew about Jesus, and my heart melted a little.  My sweet boy, I love the desire you have for others to know the Truth.  I pray you will never lose that.

Do you know how incredibly proud I am to be your mom?  You are a joy to me, Wyatt.  I love you so much, from that first moment I laid eyes on you seven years ago, and more every day.  It's a privilege to call you my son.

Love Always,

Mama

A "PJ Masks" Birthday



I was not aware until recently that PJ Masks is a new show, but in our house, we are all in.  My kids know the theme song.  They come up with PJ Masks stories to play out.  Even Derek will sit down and watch an episode with them in the evenings and chuckle at it!

Last week was Wyatt's 6th birthday.  I cannot believe that my baby is six years old!  I still remember that surreal moment when he was born, with his tiny little cry, and the tears that were streaming down my face.  This kiddo is something special, and I love him so much.

Kindergarten Goals (With Grit & Grace)




This week we are starting kindergarten with Wyatt!  What? Didn’t I just write his birth story two days ago?

I can’t believe my big boy is starting on his school journey already, and I am so excited about homeschooling!  I was homeschooled, and I have so many good memories associated with homeschooling.  I am excited to start on this stage of life with my own sweet family.  I have a big post tomorrow coming about my homeschool educational philosophy, but today I thought I would keep it simple and share a few of our goals for kindergarten this year.

My main goal for September is to get into a homeschool routine.  Developing good habits is going to be important for the kids to learn what to expect, but let’s be honest, good habits are going to be huge for me as a homeschool mom!  Up to this point our days have been largely unstructured.  We do whatever strikes my fancy that day.  This month I want to get into a routine, and that is going to require me to be consistent with our daily tasks.  It’s also going to require me to learn to say no, not just to outside events and requests that will mess with our schedule, but to my own impulsiveness too.

But if there is a year to work on this, it’s kindergarten!  People who do not have a background in homeschooling sometimes don’t realize right away that just because your child will be in a public kindergarten for 4+ hours a day, that does not mean it will take that long to do your schoolwork at home.  Everything that truly needs to be covered in Kindergarten can be done in about an hour a day - in a school environment a lot of time is spent just organizing children, distributing snacks, play time, rest time, etc.  I will share an update and give you more specifics on how much time we end up taking for school each day, but even if it takes us a couple hours, we will hopefully have at least half the day where we can still get out of the house if cabin fever hits.

So beyond the initial goal for the first month, my goals for the entire year include the things below.

Homeschool Kindergarten Goals

1. Teach my son to read (or at least get him well on the way to reading).  I am pretty flexible on this - if he isn’t reading independently by the end of the year, I’m not going to fret.  I have no doubt he will pick it up at some point, and a major goal for me within teaching him to read is to present reading as fun.  I love to read, and it’s very important to me that my kids learn to love reading as well, so I’m not going to push to the point that it’s no longer enjoyable for either of us.

2. Teach him to write his letters and spell his full name.  Writing comes after reading, so I’m not concerned with anything but his name at this point.

3. Number recognition (hopefully up to 100), telling time, and basic addition and subtraction.  If we cover all this for math I’ll be pretty happy.

4. Learn three Bible verses per month.  I would love to cover one Bible verse a week, but I am giving us a little wiggle room.  This is a prime age to work on memorization, and I’m looking forward to helping my kiddos hide some Bible verses in their hearts!  We will be doing this as a family, so the younger kids will participate too.

5. Read one chapter book together a month.  I want reading aloud to be a big part of our homeschooling, so I am hoping to get through one children’s chapter book a month.  If we read a chapter a day I think this is entirely doable.

6. Do one simple craft a week.  Maybe.  This is purely because my kids enjoy crafts, and I am not a crafty mom, so I need to set goals.

These goals are all flexible to me - if we don’t accomplish something, we’ll just work on it again next year.  That’s one thing I love about homeschooling - teaching your child is not a checklist, it’s a continuum.  There are great advantages to having the same teacher (me), because we can make sure we don’t inadvertently skip anything he needs to learn.  We will cover everything over time, and nothing will ultimately fall through the cracks like it potentially could if Wyatt had a different teacher every year.

Some of you overachievers may be thinking that your child has known how to do many of these things before Kindergarten - and that’s great!  But I will tell you that Wyatt doesn’t do all of these things now because of an intentional decision on my part.  

My Preschool Philosophy

My preschool philosophy is really simple - let them play.  

I have heard some kindergarten schools these days want kids to be practically reading when they start, and I don’t mind telling you that I think that’s ridiculous.  

I don’t push kindergarten skills on my kids when they are preschool aged for a few reasons:

1. There is very little time in childhood for children to play with no expectations.  I don’t want to put expectations on my children too young and steal that precious time from them.

2. Kids teach themselves a lot through play, especially in the early years.  And if my kids express an interest in learning something in the preschool years, I’ll do what I can to help them.  Wyatt has often asked about different letters or animals, sang the abc’s, and requested crafts or books before now, and I oblige; but mainly I just let my kids explore through their own play, and we learn as we go.

3. An early start doesn’t ensure excellence later.  We like to think it does, but kids who develop some of these academic skills early don’t necessarily do better than other kids when you look the course of their entire academic careers.  Things have a way of evening out.

4. It’s more important to me in the preschool years to focus on the Bible and character.  This doesn’t stop at kindergarten, obviously, but most of my teaching during preschool is about Bible stories, right and wrong, memory verses, and who Jesus is.  In the long run, having a strong foundation on those things is much more important that getting a jump start on reading.


So there you go, my preschool philosophy in a nutshell and our kindergarten goals!  Check back tomorrow for my post on different homeschooling methods and what we will probably be doing, and keep an eye out over the next couple months for posts on our curriculum choices and schedule.

Also, if you have any questions for me about homeschooling - now is a great time to ask!  I’ll incorporate some of my answers into future posts!




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My August goal was to get everything ready for Clarice’s first birthday party - and I think I am pretty prepared!  I just need to send out invitations and work on the menu - and take her one year pictures.  So I guess that sounds like alot, but trust me, it’s all under control.

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Time for the linkup!  Share YOUR goals below. 





Welcome to With Grit & Grace  – a monthly goal link-up focused on supporting each other as we work towards our goals! Please join us on the first Wednesday of each month at 7:00 a.m. EST to share your goals and progress for the week, month, or year. We are all about building a positive community; please remember to read, comment, and share the posts of others – and let them know you found them at With Grit & Grace!
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The Angels Were Partying Too



I sat down with my warm little bundle in the rocking chair, tugging the blanket to make sure the swaddle was tight.  My firstborn son slept in my arms.  We had survived the trip home from the hospital, and ate the meatloaf my mom had left us for dinner. I sat in the chair, and Derek sat on the floor in Wyatt's airplane-themed nursery.  We were both tired, but Derek grabbed his Bible and suggested we do family devotions.  We wanted to start out right during these first hours at home with our baby.

A First Boo-Boo (And Giveaway!)


Kids get bumps and scrapes all the time, too many to count, but I will always remember the first time Wyatt scraped his knee.

We were having a day at the zoo, and I had Wyatt in a stroller.  He was right around three years old (I know, how did we get to three years old without a scraped knee in the first place?).  Wyatt would walk part of the time and ride in the stroller part of the time.  He saw something he wanted to take a closer look at, and he jumped up as the stroller was moving and landed on his hands and knees.

I spotted the little scrape right away, but Wyatt didn't react at all to falling down, so I didn't want to bring attention to it.

A little while later we stopped at a table to eat the lunch I had packed.  I pulled out bags of pretzels, and a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for Wyatt, and I put it on a napkin in front of him.

All of a sudden he burst out crying and told me he didn't want his peanut butter and jelly sandwich.  He pointed to the little scraped part of his knee and said "The peanut butter and jelly hurt my knee!"

Apparently he didn't notice the pain until we sat down, and the scrape did kind of look like strawberry jelly!  It was so cute, and I tried not to laugh as I gave him a kiss and got him a damp cloth for his knee.

We didn't have this book at the time, but if we did it would have been perfect to read that night as we talked about his hurt little knee!  "God Bless My Boo-Boo" is a sweet rhyming book about how Mom and Dad take care of their kids when they are sick or hurt, and how we can pray to God and know He is with us even when we are hurting.

The illustrations are of adorable little animal families, and my kids love those kind of books!  It's great for the preschooler age group especially.  My kids love any books that involve animals, and these illustrations are perfect for showing those times when someone is hurt or sick without it being alarming.

I love the message of this book, because it reminds kids that we can turn to God when we are sick or hurting.  Sometimes I even need that reminder to pray with the kids after they get hurt - because I want them to know that God is the Great Physician who can heal our hurts!  If you have little ones, this book is a cute one to check out (you can also preview it here)!

Do you remember the first time your child got an injury?

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Tommy Nelson is offering one of my readers a copy of "God Bless My Boo-Boo"!  I am going to hold the giveaway on Instagram again - if you don't follow me over there, now is a good time to start!  Click here or look me up @CallieNicole7.


Race Car Birthday Party!


Race Car Birthday Party Ideas | Through Clouded Glass

Last weekend we had Wyatt's 4th birthday party!  I should clarify that this was less of a "party", and more of a family gathering.  I just like doing themes for the kids' birthdays for fun.  When I asked Wyatt what he wanted to do for his party this year, he said he wanted a race car party, so that is what we did!

Race Car Birthday Party Ideas | Through Clouded Glass


Race Car Birthday Party Ideas | Through Clouded Glass

Race Car Birthday Party Ideas | Through Clouded Glass
Race Car Birthday Party Ideas | Through Clouded Glass
Race Car Birthday Party Ideas | Through Clouded Glass
Race Car Birthday Party Ideas | Through Clouded Glass
Race Car Birthday Party Ideas | Through Clouded Glass
Race Car Birthday Party Ideas | Through Clouded Glass
Race Car Birthday Party Ideas | Through Clouded Glass
Race Car Birthday Party Ideas | Through Clouded Glass

Everything was pretty easy to throw together for this party.

I bought some checked and red paper and used it to make the birthday banner and signs.  I also wrapped some of the checked paper around the "coolant" water bottles, and used the extra paper for a runner on our "pit stop" table.

I added red streamers and black and white balloons to fit with our race car color scheme.
Bought some "spare tire" chocolate donuts, and some red Kool-aid for the "transmission fluid" (which is actually red in real life too).  I originally wasn't going to label everything, but I asked Derek what car fluid was red, and he talked me into making the labels last minute - and I think they ended up tying the theme together really well!

I washed some of Wyatt's Hot Wheels cars and put them on top of some red cupcakes.  If you bought some new Hot Wheels cars this would be a fun way to give out favors to the kids who come to the party too!

And that was it!  It was a really simple theme to put together, and we had fun with it!


For more pictures of Wyatt at his party, you can check my family photo blog, or sign up for my newsletter and I will send out the link!

A Birthday Update On Mr. Wyatt

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I can't believe it, but my first baby turned four years old yesterday!  I can't believe how much Wyatt has changed - in just language skills alone I can't believe how much he has grown in just a year.

Wyatt has a really laid-back personality  He is cautious, and likes to be sure of a situation before he jumps in.  He is a very obedient boy, and typically does really well at listening to me, which makes my life so much easier!  He has such a sweet heart, and I love how he shows concern for others when they are hurt or upset.  He is always checking on me and his siblings, and if he sees me upset about something he comes over and asks me what is wrong.  He is also shaping up to be a really good friend, even in his little toddler friendships.

He is an amazing big brother, and he is so helpful to me in keeping an eye on Gwendolyn and Clyde.  He loves hanging out with his extended family, and is always talking about his grandparents, aunts and uncles, and cousins.  He follows Derek around and copies everything he does - I can hear Derek in the way Wyatt speaks sometimes.

He is very into cars, and Thomas the Train, and balloons are some of his favorite things.  He insists that he isn't a little kid, he's a "big boy." He loves games, and is always asking me if we can play one of his board games!  He has a good little memory, and we have been working on several Bible verses, which he can say all by himself.  He loves to pray by himself, and if he has a bad dream or is scared of the wind, he reminds himself that "Jesus is wif us."

I wanted to try to do a little birthday interview with him this year, and I think he was a bit confused at why I was firing questions at him when he was just trying to play with his toy boats in the sink - but he humored me!  I asked him these questions yesterday, before we opened presents.  Here are his answers.

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What is your favorite color? "Purple."

What is your favorite food? "Um, quesadilla!"

What is your favorite song? "Away in the Manger" (Or "the elephant song", and I'm not sure what the elephant song is.)

What is your favorite movie? "The car movie."

What is your favorite book? "The Chicken book." (?)

What was the favorite thing you got for your birthday? "My big police car thing that I got." (Which he didn't get yet, he is just hoping.)

Who do you like to do things with? "Mommy and Daddy. . . (and more about police cars)."

What do you like to do with Mommy and Daddy? "Uh, hang out with them!"

Where is your favorite place to go? "To the store to get some milk." (He is easy to please!)

What is your favorite game? "Mickey Mouse game." (A Disney version of Hi Ho Cherry-o that we have.)

What is your favorite animal? "My favorite animal? An elephant, and a giraffe, and a tiger, and a lion."

What is your favorite thing to wear? "I think a hat?" (After some clarification) "Lightning McQueen or Thomas the Train shoes!"

What do you want to be when you grow up? (He wasn't sure about this question, but from what I gathered, he either wants to be big like Daddy, or a policeman.)

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More photos of Wyatt on my photo blog, or if you are subscribed to my newsletter I will send out a link in the next one!

A Crazy Year

The year is coming to a close, and 2014 has been a big, crazy year for us!  When I think about where we were a year ago, it's hard to believe how much has changed since then.  This year we have gone from expecting a baby, to having a newborn, from employment, to unemployment, to better employment, from a sporadic, uncertain schedule to a fixed, predictable schedule.  Every year since we've been married has felt like a big year to me, but I'm not sure we've had this level of change in the span of one year before.

January


G 1 Year 087blog

We celebrated Gwen's first birthday party!  She turned one year old in December, but we had her party in January - you can read about Gwen at one year old, her winter first birthday party, her birthday punch recipe, and a fun birthday decoration project I did with Wyatt for Gwen.

I was 7 months pregnant with Clyde!  Check out my 26 Week and 28 Week updates.

I was working on a ton of baby projects, like stuff Clyde's quilt and nursery.

I fell on some ice and had to take an unexpected trip to the hospital.  Baby Clyde was fine!

On the blog - I continued my "From One To Two" series on going from one baby to two - maybe it's time for me to write about going from two to three?

February


DSC 1858blog

We celebrated Wyatt's birthday!  He turned three years old.  I wrote about Wyatt at three, and his simple Thomas the Train party.

I hit 8 months pregnant with Clyde - I wrote my 30 Week and 32 Week updates.

I finished putting together Clyde's quilt and dropped it off to be quilted.

We had a disaster of a Valentine's Day, but it was okay.

My friend, Ashley, threw me a gorgeous nautical baby shower!

On the blog - I shared a glimpse into our mornings which I love looking back on now, and I shared a Valentine's Day printable.



March


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 I hit 34 Weeks and 36 Weeks in my pregnancy.


We had our maternity pictures taken.

Gwen turned 15 months old.

On the blog - I started my series on building a unique maternity wardrobe.


April


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I hit 38 weeks pregnant!  The countdown was on.

We were worried Derek would be gone when I went into labor, and we were praying the Lord would work everything out so he could be there!

I had some false labor, which did not help my anxiety.

Clyde was born on April 11th!  It was a great natural hospital birth experience (birth story part one and two).

We celebrated Easter with a one week old baby.

Clyde turned two weeks old.

On the blog - I posted ideas for a toddler's Easter basket.


May


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I kept busy trying to get used to having three kids!  I worked out and read a lot of books.

Clyde turned one month old.  I celebrated my first Mother's Day with Clyde!

We ventured out to the park for the first time with three.

On the blog - I shared our maternity pictures and Clyde's handmade by me baby quilt!


June 


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We all came down with a nasty cold.  Colds in the summer are the worst.

Clyde turned two months old.

We celebrated my birthday!  I got a new phone.

We celebrated Father's Day!

We started planning for a staycation.

I had one of those weeks.  We survived.



July


IMG 2910blog

Clyde turned three months, Gwen turned 18 months.

We had a "staycation", and it was lovely.

I was in my cousin's wedding as a bridesmaid.

We celebrated our six year anniversary.

I started redecorating my house and creating a gallery wall (I'll share it on here eventually).


I started writing for Tommy Nelson and wrote an article about managing the chaos of life with young children.



August


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I made some striped curtains and posted about it!

Clyde turned four months old.


The crisis of Christians being persecuted in Iraq was on the news more, and I wrote about three ways to help Christians in Iraq (which is still mostly applicable, so check it out).

I had a post featured on Tommy Nelson and FaithGateway about fighting selfishness in little ones.

On the blog - I posted about my June Cleaver moment.

September


Photo 2 14 2

Clyde turned five months old, and Gwen turned 21 months old.

We threw a fall-themed party, just for fun!

I wrote on Tommy Nelson about reading aloud to your kids.

I think my loneliness with having Derek gone so much hit an all-time high this month.  It was just hard not having him here.

I started feeling overwhelmed and cut back on the blog a bit.

I started playing with watercolors (and it's till something I wish I had more time for, because it's fun!).
I went on a trip to Nashville to meet up with the other Top Tommy Nelson Mommies!  It was a wonderful trip!

On the blog - I wrote about that time I got off Facebook for nine months, and then got back on Facebook.


October

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Clyde turned six months, and after a struggle with my supply we finally stopped nursing.  We also started feeding him solids, and he loved it!

We went to a costume birthday party and had a fun time.

I had a girl's night out with some friends for the first time in a while!  We made burlap wreaths (if you follow me on Instagram, you know all this.)

I wrote about studying and memorizing the book of Hebrews! (I am still working on it - I'm finally getting into Chapter five, with the memorizing and the studying.  I'll do another verse recitation video soon!)


On the blog - The story of a dear blog friend, Natalie, inspired me to write a post about ways to support adoption without adopting.


November

DSC 0425 2blog

Clyde turned seven months old.

 We went to my friend Heather's wedding!

I started Christmas shopping.

Derek went elk hunting, but didn't get anything this year.

I came up with a solid plan for updating my house (it needs it - the decor and furniture basically hasn't been touched in 3-6 years, depending on which room we are talking about). I made a home wish list of inspiration.  I love this post about why it's okay to want your home to be pretty - it captures my recent feelings exactly!

I wrote about our bedtime routine, which I know will be fun to look back on.

Clyde celebrated his first Thanksgiving outside the womb!  He had sweet potatoes for the first time and loved it.

I wrote on Tommy Nelson about making Black Friday a blessing.


On the blog - I wrote a post for Thanksgiving about five things I want to teach my kids to be thankful for.


December

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We started the month unemployed.  I worked a few extra days at work to help with the finances.

Clyde turned eight months old.

I started a blog newsletter (which you should sign up for if you haven't - I'm giving away free printables!).

We had a fun day of Christmas surprises with the kids - crafts and cookies and books!  I tried to slow down in December, despite all the extra working, to enjoy Christmas with my littles.

Derek got a new job!  He starts right after the New Year, and we are treating these few weeks together like a vacation (except without going anywhere, and without spending money - it's still fun).

We celebrated Christmas, Clyde's first on the outside!  Unfortunately, all four of my people got sick between Christmas Eve and the Day after Christmas, so that was kind of sad.  I seemed to have escaped it.

We celebrated Gwen's 2nd birthday and Derek's birthday (same day).  I decorated, we ate cake and opened presents, then rented a movie for Derek and me to watch after the kids went to bed.  Everyone was still sick, so we kept it low-key.

Spent New Year's Eve together!

On the blog - I posted lots of recipes!  Including Holly Jolly Coffee, Pecan Coconut Orange Fudge, and Snowdrop Cookies.

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Looking back at 2014, I can't believe what a crazy year it was!  A lot happened, some things I was planning, some things that I wasn't planning.  Looking at 2015, I just feel - unsure.  For the last several years I had some idea of how the year was going to go, or how I wanted it to go, but in 2015 - I don't have any specific plans, which is kind of a first.  I guess we'll just see what the Lord has planned!  His plans are always better than mine anyway.

Happy New Year, Friends!

Stay tuned about a post about my word for the New Year.
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