Monday, August 31, 2009

Please Pray for Yoda

Yoda is getting tubes in his ears first thing tomorrow morning. Please pray for a safe procedure and that the tubes will be effective! Thank you!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Memorial Stone in Words: Homeschooling

Grateful for Grace hosts a Memorial Stone in Words carnival on the 30th of each month. From her blog: "In history, the Israelites often were told to make memorial stone pillars. These were piles of rock that were to remind the people (and tell others) that God had done something big in their lives. God knew (and still does) that people benefit from visuals. These memorial stones gave the people a chance to tell the story again, either to those who were there and need to be reminded, or to those who were not and needed to know what happened. It also was an opportunity to be refreshed in their faith."

On the eve of the beginning of our 10th year homeschooling, I thought it was appropriate that My Memorial Stone in Words this month be on homeschooling and how we got started. When I first heard about homeschooling, I thought it was a very bad idea. I was going to college and coaching a girls' soccer team. On the soccer team were a pair of sisters who were homeschooled. I had never heard of it, and the two girls were on a team of the richest and meanest girls in town. So, needless to say, they didn't fit in. And I wasn't impressed with the idea.

Several years later, I was a mom of two and met a mom who was pregnant with her fourth child who homeschooled. By then I was intrigued by the idea, but I was working, hubby was going to school, and I didn't think there was any way that we would ever be able to homeschool.

When it came time for Han to start school, he went to a Christian elementary school. We were very happy with the school and his experience in kindergarten was wonderful. He loved his teacher and said she was his best friend at school. However, he was a poky learner and in speech therapy, after years of ear infections. We had him tested, at the request of his speech therapist, to see if he had some learning difficulties. The results came back basically saying that he would get behind in school and there was nothing they could do to help him until he was behind. This made no sense to us to wait to help him. We were very concerned about what to do.

A friend suggested homeschooling him, and I said that there was no way we could: I was still working, he was having trouble learning, and we needed help from professionals. The very next day a different friend suggested homeschooling and it was like a light bulb went off in my head and it made perfect sense. We would homeschool him for him to catch up, and then he could go back to school.

One of my friends used a textbook type curriculum and I looked at it and thought we could do it. Another friend used Sonlight and I looked at it and thought, "This is going to be great!" And our homeschool experience started out great. My hubby was home three days a week and did school with Han on his days home, then I was home the other two days and did school those days.

The following year, I started staying home and we continued homeschooling. In the spring I went to my first homeschool conference and I caught a vision of homeschooling as a lifestyle. And it was as if God breathed that vision on me, and we have never looked back. I do not evaluate every year to see if we will continue, and the kids never ask to go to school. Homeschooling is our way of life, and it suits us perfectly.

And Han continued to be a poky learner, especially in reading. When he was 9 years old, a light bulb went off in his head, and he became an avid reader. Today, he is a gifted reader. God used a child with a poky start to call us to homeschool and then blessed that same child. Isn't God good?

Friday, August 28, 2009


We had planned on going to Elitch's Amusement Park for our last day with our company. But when we got there, they were closed! Hubby and I had some conversations about the movie Vacation, and how it had all new meaning!

We decided to go to Boondocks. Our friends had been there before, but we hadn't. Everyone had a good time, although not as much as we imagined we would have had at Elitch's. Anyways, here are a few pictures of our fun.
Miniature golf fun

The youngest golfers

Not sure of her form, but she had lots of fun!
Posing for a picture- they really were having lots of fun!

The three younger kids got to drive a go cart, all for the first time. Padme had a little trouble, but had so much fun! Good thing her car didn't go very fast!

Leia also loved driving!

Luke was very serious the whole time!

The bumper boats were also lots of fun, and everyone got pretty wet. Hubby especially loved shooting the kids!

Leia even got to drive her own boat!

Padme was mad at Han because he wouldn't let her shoot the water gun! She did smile for the picture, at least!

The dads and babies after a full day of fun.

Padme on the way home. She was beat!

We had a wonderful time with our friends, and they are already planning a return trip. We had said our goodbyes, were all loaded up, when our friends realized that someone had stolen some items from their Suburban. The police were called, and after waiting an hour, we finally left, and headed to the police station. Our friends brand new laptop, their GPS, some DVDs, and a briefcase with a special Bible and a few other items were all stolen. The value was under the insurance deductible, so our friends gave up on the police and headed home. We just hope that they will come back, even after that bad ending to their trip.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Baby Dedication and some Water Fun

Last week, before our company arrived, Yoda was very fussy and up crying in the night. I took him to the doctor and he has another ear infection. He was 12 days away from getting tubes in his ears so he wouldn't get ear infections!!! So, he will have 10 days of antibiotics, and then get tubes 2 days later. I can't wait!

This past Sunday, we had Yoda dedicated to the Lord. I usually get very nervous before we have a baby dedicated, worrying that they will cry or fuss or something while we are standing in front of the church. But, all the children behaved beautifully, so this time I decided to not worry about it. And Yoda fussed throughout the whole dedication. There were four families dedicating children, two of them had two children to dedicate. Yoda was squirming around, fussing, and wanting to get down. What a stinker! Hubby and I passed him back and forth, did the best we could, and as soon as the Pastor prayed for him, I took him and left, hoping that the other families would be able to hear the prayer for their children! And one of the kids was taking pictures, so we didn't get the best pictures. Here is one of the better ones. All the parents were reading a pledge to raise our children to honor and serve the Lord, and then the congregation read a pledge to support and pray for us.

My mom made a christening gown that all the other children have worn for their dedications. But with our move and searching for a church home, we didn't have Yoda dedicated in time for him to wear it. That makes me sad. And my parents have been present for all five of the other babies dedications, but they weren't able to be here. We were thrilled that it worked out for our friends to be here to visit us, and be present for the dedication. But, this dedication was very special the way it was performed. And the pastor sent Yoda a letter this week, telling him what the dedication was about and his prayer for him. It made me cry. So sweet and a nice keepsake for him.
Later in the afternoon, our company, minus the five older kids, who went to a Youth event at the YMCA, went downtown for a walk along the river. The kids played in these fountains and got soaking wet, and had a great time!
Our friends 17 month old toddler loved the water. He was actually crazy about it and got soaking wet!
The fountains would come on and then shut off. Here the kids are waiting for the water to come back on.
Yoda played a little in a smaller hose. He loved the water, but the fountains were too much for him.

All the kids after the water fun.

The next day we went to Bishop's Castle, which is a castle that a man named Jim Bishop has built. It is truly amazing all the work he has done. The place is very unsafe, so it was a bit unnerving having all the children all up and down the castle checking it out.

Here are all the children, plus my friend, on one of the staircases.

Here are the girls on a very large chair at the castle.

A picture of our friends. We didn't get any pictures of our family. I am not very good at that!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Company is coming and school planning

We are beyond excited that one of our favorite families from our hometown is coming to visit us this weekend. They have six children also, five boys and one girl. Our first company in our new city. And God has worked it out that they will be here for Yoda's baby dedication. Isn't he good?

In the midst of sorting, organizing, planning and cleaning for school to begin, we are planning for our company. I am trying to have our house all super organized, clean, and ready to go to give us a good start for the school year. I have been reading Steve and Teri Maxwell's book Managers of Their Homes. I have heard about this book for years, but never thought it would be something that I would actually use. Too much scheduling usually scares me off. But I have been praying about our upcoming school year and how I would be able to spend adequate time with each of the children and get done each day what I feel we should. A friend loaned me the book, mostly because the Maxwell's are going to be in the area in September and I am hoping we can go to the conference. I started reading the book and it really spoke to me. So, I have made all the lists, made a master list, and we are going to try it this fall. I am excited about it. The kids are worried....

I am really changing how we do some of our chores, also, to go with the new schedule. I am excited to see if it improves our day. I still have more curriculum to order, and then we should be ready to start. I have also been praying about our activities for the school year. What a blessing that there are so many good things to chose from. How hard it is to pass up activities that sound so good. But, if we are homeschooling, we had better be home most of the time. It really makes me laugh when people ask about socialization. They should really be asking if we don't socialize too much and don't get our school work done! Not that that would ever be true of us.....

I will post our curriculum and activities as soon as I get it all firmed up. For now, it is back to the basement for me!

Friday, August 14, 2009

New pictures

When Han was just a baby, I started taking him to get his picture taken at the studio. We were very poor, but these pictures were so important to me. I always had a coupon, and bought the cheapest package I could. I have kept this up with all the kids. One year we just couldn't afford it, and I still regret no pictures from that year! Since we homeschool and don't have school pictures taken, I get all the kids pictures taken around their birthdays. That means summer is a big rush with 5 birthdays, and then Luke's pictures get taken with the Christmas pictures. I truly love these pictures and can't wait to get them back. I took the three youngest in recently, and here are a few of their pictures.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Monday, August 10, 2009

Allowances and Kids

Missy over at It's Almost Naptime!, one of my favorite blogs, asked the question about how families handle allowances.

Now this is not to say that we have it all figured out, but I mostly wanted to write about the banks that we use with our kids. It is called My Giving Bank and was developed by Larry Burkett. The bank is divided into three different parts with pictures of a bank, a church, and a store, making it easy for small children to see which bank they are putting their money into.

We pay our children an allowance because they are part of our family. They have chores to do for being part of our family, but they aren't tied to the allowance. The children can earn extra money for projects and chores outside of their normal chores, but only if it is spelled out beforehand. We don't pay them for all help with projects, either. My husband and I talk about what things we need done, and sometimes the kids just help with projects because they are part of our family and sometimes they have opportunities to earn extra money with projects.

We have found that if we pay them for chores, if we ask them to do anything extra, they will ask what they get paid to do it. We wanted our kids to help around the house simply because they were asked, not because we were paying them to help.

We start out using the Giving Banks when they are around 2 years old. They give 10% to the Lord first thing, save 25%, and the rest goes in their bank. We have also found that if you pay them too little, it takes them too long to have any money to learn to manage. And if you pay them too much, they have no desire to work extra and learn the value of earning something that they worked for. Every family will have to work out the amount for their individual circumstances.

We want to help our children to learn to give joyfully to the Lord, save for the future, and manage their money within their budget. And let them make mistakes, which can be hard on the parents. One of our teenage sons used to plow through his money as soon as he got it and was always broke. He has learned some hard lessons and is now our best at saving. He is saving for an expensive item that will take him almost 2 years to achieve, and he is forgoing all immediate purchases for the desired one in the future. This is not something we thought he would ever be able to do, but he has learned a little about the value of money and how he wants to spend his.

Larry Burkett also has some books that we have used. Money Matters for Teens and Money Matters for kids. These are great resources written by a very Godly man who is now in heaven. Crown Financial Ministries also has some great resources by Howard Dayton.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Padme's Birthday Fun

We celebrated Padme's birthday on Friday, as hubby had that day off. We went to Colorado Springs and went to the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo. It is one of the nicest zoo's we have been to. We liked it much better than the Denver Zoo. The Denver Zoo is much bigger and sunnier, and hotter! We have been to the Denver Zoo three different times and it has always been hot and the animals are all sleeping. Not very exciting! The Cheyenne Zoo is very hilly and shady and although it was warm, it wasn't too hot and the animals were all up and busy. We had a great time. Here are a few pictures from our day.

Checking out the gorillas. Yoda was interested in them, too.

Checking out a tiger.

The kids got to pet a rare albino wallaby baby.

Goofing off with the grizzly statue.

Baby wearing his sister's new glasses.

Padme feeding a giraffe a cracker. She loved the purple tongue!

Posing by a giraffe statue.

Back at home, the party was started with a few presents. This one is from my parents. She loved it!
Yoda and Padme both love her new ball. I love the expression on her face!

A new stuffed puppy.

Her birthday cake.
She had a fun birthday and we all had a wonderful day. Happy Birthday, Padme! We love you!