Everyone who hears these words of Mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. Matthew 7:24-25

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Lessons Learned

Even though I usually assume the role of teacher around here my kids still manage to teach me some things every now and then.  I thought it might be fun to jot down a few of the lessons I’ve learned from my monkeys over the years.  I’m sure most of you parents out there will be able to relate these.

1.  Privacy in the bathroom is a thing to be valued.  I’m pretty sure that I won’t ever have another private moment in the bathroom, at least not for the next 18 years anyway.  My kids can be outside ripping and romping, having a good time, but the second I sneak off to the bathroom, they magically appear right there by my side.  But let’s be fair.  The monkeys usually have very important reasons for interrupting like: “He looked at me.” or “Can I have a popsicle?”

2.  Always keep tidy closets.  My kids have taught me that no part of your home is off limits to guests.  Don’t ever think that when you are getting ready for company that you can just toss the mess into a closet and close the door.  Oh no, no, no, no.  For some reason or another, my kids always end up taking visitors into closets, or the laundry room, or even the attic, and all my dirty little secrets are revealed. 

3.  It’s impossible to watch TV while kids are awake.  You just can’t do it.  The Tool Man and I don’t even attempt it anymore.  The reason is two-fold.  First, you can’t even hear it thunder when three kids are having fun in a house.  My monkeys have one volume – LOUD – which makes it virtually impossible to follow a dialogue on television.

The second reason is this: I’ve realized that focusing on my kids is a lot more important than focusing on the television.  The monkeys won’t be little for long, and I don’t want to waste my time with them staring at a TV screen.

(And as if 2 reasons aren’t enough, a viable third would be that most programming on television isn’t fitting for children OR adults to watch.  Just saying….)

4.  Learn to like coffee.  ‘Nuff said.

5.  If you want quiet time, wake up before everyone else.  For most of my life I loved sleeping late, but having kids changed that for me.  I finally realized that if I want to do anything that requires coherent thought processes (e.g. blogging, sewing, reading the Bible), I must do it before the kids are awake.  People are always asking me how I have time to do this or that.  My answer is this:  I do it before dawn.

6.  You can forget talking on the phone when kids are around.  I don’t know what it is, but whenever I’m on the phone the noise level in my house escalates to that of Tiger Stadium during an LSU-Bama game. Quite often I find myself standing in the middle of my driveway, trying to get far enough away from my children in order to hear the person on the other end of the line.  (By the way, that doesn’t work.  The monkeys follow me out there too.)  I ran across this graphic on Pinterest that pretty much sums up my thoughts:


7.  They really do grow up too fast.  I admit, when it’s 2:00 in the morning and you are up for the third time that night nursing a baby, you think kids can’t grow up fast enough.  But Ty is 10 years old now, and it seems like just yesterday we were bringing him home from the hospital.  Try as one might to hang on to those precious years, they slip right through your fingers. It’s a lesson I’ve really tried to take to heart the third time around.  I find myself laying aside the broom and the laundry basket more often in order to hold onto my baby a while longer.  Tacy won’t be little forever.  But the dust bunnies?  Well, we all know they aren’t going anywhere.

8.  Having two kids is exponentially more difficult than having just one.  Anyone with more than one kid can tell you that having a second child doesn’t simply double the trouble.  It multiplies it by about a gazillion!  The whole sibling dynamic creates challenges I never knew existed.  No longer are you just trying to raise one child to adulthood, you are now trying to get two people to grow up together without killing each other.  Two people with unique personalities, temperaments, likes, and dislikes.  I can only imagine how throwing a third child into this equation will shake things up in the years to come.

9. You will never go ANYWHERE with kids without feeling like you are moving.  It doesn’t matter if we are going to the grocery store or to church or to Disney World, we haul half of the house with us when we go.  Diapers, snacks, medicine, drinks, blankets, iPads, stuffed animals, car seats,  wet wipes, extra clothes, coats, books, crayons…. I could go on for hours.  The point is, we no longer just hop in the car and go.  We pack first.

10. You can have a tidy house or a tidy car, but not both.  If all the stuff from #9 above is still in the car, then the house is relatively neat.  But if you ever get all of that gear out of the car again, then your house is a disaster zone.

Well, what do you think?  Any of these things strike a chord with you parents?  The main lesson I’ve learned over the years is that there is always something new to learn.  I can only imagine what other lessons my monkeys have in store for me. There’s never a dull moment with kids, that’s for sure.


Saturday, January 24, 2015

Back to the Grind

Confession time.

As you may have figured out, I have had ZERO interest in blogging lately.  I don’t know what’s the matter with me.  I can’t stand the thought of sitting down in front of the computer, I haven’t been taking many pictures to share, and I have no ideas for what to blog about (other than school, of course).  I’ve actually had the thought to stop blogging all together, but I can’t do that.  Blogging is the only scrapbooking/journaling that I do, and I love going back through the years of posts (has it really been years??) and reading about my monkeys.  My how those kids have changed!  Believe it or not, Lucy was only a couple of months old when I started this blog.

So, anyway, I’ve managed to drag myself to my computer to share a little with y’all today.  Please pardon my apathy.  Hopefully, I’ll get my gusto back soon!

Things have finally settled back into a routine around here since the holidays.  I am so proud of my monkeys.  They have been super, terrific students since we resumed school.  I guess they really benefited from the Christmas break.  I know I did!  The monkeys have been finishing their schoolwork in record time each day (with little to no complaints, might I add).  Lucy has even been begging to do school on Saturdays.  Say what?!

Maybe the monkeys’ enthusiasm for school has something to do with my own renewed energy.  Yep, I admit, by the time November rolled around I was doing just enough to “get by.”  Since Christmas, I have been trying to step up my academic game.

One thing that my kids really seem to benefit from, not to mention enjoy tremendously, is having a weekly theme.  It means a little more prep work for me, but it’s totally worth it to see the kids excited about their school day.

One of our themes this month was celebrating the 100th day of school.  Woo hoo!  100 days!  We are well over the proverbial hump now!  Pinterest was a huge source of ideas for 100 day activities.  (Ever wonder how we survived before Pinterest?)

Lucy made this awesome 100 Day Crown complete with 100 stickers.

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Then the monkeys made 100 Day Hash by mixing up 10 pieces each of 10 different candies, cereals, etc.  Lucy was definitely the Gordon Ramsay of the kitchen this day.  Thankfully, Ty was good-natured about her tyrannical attitude and just tried to stay out of her way.

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Poor Lucy.  She was under the impression that the 100th day of school equaled the last day of school.  Not quite, sweet girl.  Eighty more school days to go!

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Last week in history we studied Aesop, so I decided to do an entire week of activities based on his fables.  It was a simple theme to carry out, since the animals in his stories lend themselves to so many activities.

After reading the Tortoise and the Hare we had a discussion about homonyms, antonyms, and synonyms.  Lucy put together these opposite pairs puzzles, while Ty worked on writing some confusing sentences using different pairs of homonyms.

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Then we managed to work in a little animal science with a discussion about the world’s fastest and slowest animals and a comparison between mammals and reptiles.

We also read the Lion and the Mouse.  While Ty worked on correcting grammar mistakes and identifying literary elements in the fable, Lucy honed her fine motor skills by making this fun lion craft.

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For the familiar story of the Ant and the Grasshopper, Lucy and I discussed the four seasons, and Ty re-wrote the fable in comic book form. 

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Later, Lucy cranked out some anthill artwork using her fingerprints.  This activity tied in perfectly with our science lesson for the week on the integumentary system, as it gave her the opportunity to examine  her fingerprints.

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Finally, a quick look at history before I let you go…

We are over half-way through our textbook now, and our timeline board is beginning to fill up.  We are really having to squeeze our figures closer together so we don’t run out of room in the end.  Lucy says our figures look like they are holding hands.

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Lately our history lessons have been focusing on the fall of Judah to the Babylonians.  I was able to find a great movie on Netflix entitled The Book of Daniel.  It was a wonderful supplement to our lessons, and the kids really enjoyed the movie.

We also talked some about Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego.  One thing we discussed during this lesson was that these were their Babylonian names.  Their original Hebrew names were different and had special meanings.  We then talked about the meanings of our own names, and the kids created artwork to go along with our discussion.

Ty, short for Tymothy, means “honoring God.”  He chose to work with sidewalk chalk.  Of course, he had to include an Angry Bird in his work.

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Lucy, meaning “light,” went the more traditional route with paper and markers.  She was thrilled when I explained to her that we named her Lucy to remind her that Jesus is the Light of the World.

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We also talked at length about Nebuchadnezzar II.  Quite a character that “Mr. Nezzar.”  After our studies, the kids did a little hands-on activity by building their own interpretation of his Hanging Gardens of Babylon using wooden blocks and other small items.  I think they did a great job!  Very creative, as always.

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I really hope these two will keep up the positive attitudes for the rest of the school year.  It makes my job so much easier when the monkeys are eager to learn.  And I am going to do my best to keep up my vigor too.  Truthfully, I think the monkeys are like mirrors, reflecting the enthusiasm they see in me, so maybe I can set a good example for them.  No more just “getting by.”


Saturday, January 3, 2015

Had Ourselves a Merry Little Christmas

Hope y’all had a wonderful Christmas last week.  Our family sure did.  The month of December was a whirlwind of activity at our house.  Dinners, parties, shopping, wrapping… Throw in a couple of weeks of school and you’ll know why I’m excited that the holiday season is behind us.  I’m pooped!

Today I selected a few pictures highlighting some of our Christmas activites.

First, Chrismtas Eve…

After reading the Christmas story from the Bible, the kids selected some tasty Christmas candy to leave by the fireplace for Santa.

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“All I want for Christmas…”

How many kids get a visit from both Santa and the Tooth Fairy on the same night?  Lucy lost her second front tooth on Christmas Eve, so she stuck it in her stocking and received a $5 bill from the Tooth Fairy in addition to all of her Christmas gifts.

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Speaking of gifts, the monkeys were in hog heaven with the mountain of presents they received Thursday.  It really was a ridiculous amount of Christmas booty.

Here’s a quick run-through of some of the kids’ Christmas gifts.

Fron Santa Ty received walkie-talkies, Zoobs, a Squishy Human,

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a kitchen science experiment book, an architectural style desk lamp, Hex Bugs, a Drinking Bird, and a necklace.  He also received a mini mummy excavation kit, which he ranked as the best gift of the morning.

Lucy got My Little Pony pajamas, Sleeping Beauty DVD, Leap Pad Ultra, pink hair color, Hex Bugs, and a Thermos Funtainer (which I would highly recommend to anyone with kids.)  Her favorite gift by far was the American Girl doll Isabelle.

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Miss Tacy Mae got some fun things too (once she finally woke up.)  However, she really couldn’t have cared less about the gifts.  The first thing we pulled out of her stocking was a bag of Goldfish.  She wanted them opened immediately and expressed zero interest as Lucy tore through the rest of her presents for her.  Among Tacy’s gifts were a baby Cinderella doll with matching dress-up clothes, Crayola Color Wonder markers and coloring book, Jesus Calling Storybook Bible, a Thermos Funtainer, and Leap Pad Ultra.

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When I was a kid Santa sometimes left special gifts for me and my brother behind our couch.  It was so much fun for us to peek behind the couch to see what awesome things might be hiding back there.  This year Santa was back to his same old tricks.  He left each monkey a fun chair behind our couch.  Ty got a gi-normous, foam-filled bag.  Lucy got a comfy, red bean bag chair for her room, and Tacy got a red and aqua Sweet Seat.

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After all of the Santa gifts had been opened, my dad, mom, brother, and his family came over for Christmas breakfast.  We had a delicious spread of biscuits, sausage and egg casserole, fresh fruit, and rosemary polenta.  When we’d all eaten our fill, the kids enjoyed showing their new toys and games to their grandparents.  Then Ty sat down with Uncle Jude, and the two set to work excavating the mummy.

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It didn’t take the too long for them to chisel through the plaster and make a tremendous mess on my kitchen table unearth the sarcophagus.  While the boys were honing their archaeology skills, Lucy and I played beauty shop and added a pink streak to Lucy’s hair.

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On Christmas afternoon we moved on to the Tool Man’s parents house.  For lunch we had the traditional Christmas fixings:  turkey, ham, dressing, sweet potato casserole… you get the idea.  Yum!  Then it was time to open more presents.  Lucy got tons of new clothes for her doll Isabelle.

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Ty, who loves putting things together, got a model engine to assemble.

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Tacy got her very own American Girl Bitty Baby doll.  Even though she’s still a baby herself, she knew just what to do with the doll – love it and rock it.

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As if we hadn’t had enough food and gifts for one day, on Christmas night we drove to my parents’ house for more!

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Of course the kids were just as excited as ever to open presents.

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By the time Christmas night rolled around, Tacy finally decided to participate in opening her own presents.  However, her participation was limited to pulling the tissue paper out of gift bags and immediately shoving it back in.  I don’t think she ever realized there were toys in the bags.

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My uncle and his family also drove up for a visit on Christmas night.  Lucy had a blast playing with his 3 teenage daughters who catered to her every whim.  She even got into a little mischief using one of them as a makeshift step stool. 

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Well, that about wraps it up for Christmas 2014.  Hope y’all had a wonderful holiday too.

Happy New Year!