New Beginnings, A Welcome to 2016

I began blogging in 2008 with this opening statement:

To New Beginnings…

Ah yes, the changing tides of life are upon us…life is so fast, and as one child begins his new journey in our loving home, our oldest son ventures out to face the world…thus the desire to share ‘the little things’ with those we love…Life is a journey, not a destination!

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It was a fresh new beginning in many ways that year.  The biggest one being that I had closed a chapter on my years of providing daycare for many lovely families.  Baby #6 was born that year, and we were in a new season… I was in a new season… to learn to just “be”.
Just be a mom, just be at home, just be still even…

In the last 8 years I’ve learned to embrace intentional parenting, to guide a self-led learner in their homeschool journey, face special needs with a gentle approach, and endure an highly sensitive (albeit gifted) child…

we have moved 6 times; have had a mother (-in-law) with severe dementia get diagnosed, live with us, then live in a care facility near us; have had 3 young adults take turns in 3 consecutive years living with us for their own reason and season; we’ve graduated two homeschool students, and have seen our oldest son marry the girl of his dreams…

It’s been a blessed journey.

And the voyage continues…

This year is different.  

Instead of adventures outside of the home,
such as field trips, co ops, and homeschooling alongside other families, sports, random park days, etc…

we are now creating them inside the home,
such as providing childcare, offering a preschool co op in my house, and still encompassing learning from home.

It’s been a huge transition for us.

We went from following a rhythm to our days, where we had guidelines
but could embrace the moments in life as they came.
It was a low key and very effective way to learn and live in our family environment.

Now…

we follow a schedule,
not just a schedule for my own days activities with my kids and care kids,
but also the care kids parent’s work schedules, sports schedules, public school schedules, etc…

The hours are long, unpredictable, and busy…

my stay-at-home responsibilities are still in high demand as well…
and some days I question my sanity (as in why am I doing all this?)…

yet I already know the answer.

~To share Christ’s love.

I admit I have to do a lot of things to make this all work, family life and all…

but more importantly…

I get to…
*play with little people all day
*do what I love to do
*follow God’s lead for my life
*show God’s grace in our daily lives
*cultivate friendships with other moms
*show my kids that endurance with the right attitude means everything.

So I welcome 2016 and all it has to offer!

 “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!
Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.
 

Do not be anxious about anything,
but in every situation, by prayer and petition, and with thanksgiving,
present your requests to God.

And the peace of God,
which transcends all understanding,
will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Philippians 4: 4-7
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Ch-ch-ch-changes…

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Traveling down the narrow road once again…

We like our tiny town.  It’s peaceful.

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Our view up the hill…

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on our road…

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and what our view is at the bottom of the hill.

Every time we go down our hill we get to view the beautiful Columbia River.

Our backyard is the woods

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where we enjoy so much of nature.

However, we still spend much of our time in our old small town;
co ops, dance lessons, church, etc..
Honestly, I travel to the small town pretty much twice a day.
It’s close enough to do that, but far away enough that it’s getting old.

So we prayed. 
We prayed that either we get plugged into our wee li’l community,
or seriously think about moving back to our small town again.

And we are moving.
A decision handed to us by God.
We will move, not to the small town we are originally from,
but it’s neighboring town between tiny town and small town.
I guess we will call it the in-between town (?).

We can continue to serve at our church.
Play sports, take lessons, and participate in community events.

The house is in a friendly neighborhood,
with great neighbors, some of whom we already know.
Our backyard is pretty big and backs up to some woods.
The house is beautiful and fits all of our needs.

Along with the move, comes another big decision.

CHILDCARE!

Oh, I am so excited for the opportunity to add some little people to my days again.  I have done childcare before for many years, and although, officially, I quite my business back in 2008, I really haven’t ever quit being with kids.  I still teach preschool ages for wednesday night church and teacher assistant for Sunday school, plus I’ve taught the preschool ages at co op for the past 3 yrs.  It just is my calling really.  I just love them.  Little people are such a treasure.

So we prayed, and with the move comes the opportunity to choose to do childcare again.  We will be in a great location.  So now I am praying for the child(ren) that may come my way, that we can love on the child and bless the parents all at the same time.   Working parents is tough stuff, and knowing your child(ren) are taking care of is so important.

What about homeschooling?  Is anyone wondering that?  We will still homeschool.
Honestly, with us down to only 3 homeschoolers this upcoming year,
and with them all having a self-led learning style, it will fit our days just fine.
In actuality, I homeschooled when I did childcare before.  The day routines flow smoothly.
I love that my own kids love to participate with the littles.
Katie (13) will help with crafts
Andrew (10) will help with story time.
and Bryson (7) will help with floor time (leggos, lincoln logs, cars, bristle blocks, etc).

I’m pretty much loving these ch-ch-ch-changes! 

A Delicate Mood on this Mother’s Day

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Mother’s Day…

a bit of a fog today.  A few days ago we lost a sweet young friend in a tragic car accident.
One of my preschoolers back in the day, now 17 and full of dreams… now smashed hopes.
Not really, for eternally, she is with Jesus… yet it is still painful.
and her family, her parents, her sisters, her brother, her boyfriend… all in my prayers.
No words really…   She had a heart like Jesus…
“Thank you Jesus for the joy you allowed her to spread in our lives and in our community…
may we continue to pay it forward in Your name”…

One thing about loss is that you appreciate what you have…

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My boys are good to me, and I am thankful for the joy each one brings to my heart.

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The girls add a sweetness that sprinkles my life with happiness.

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I love how we enjoy doing things as a family…
it’s a priceless gift really…

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one that adds grace to our days, love in our hearts, and gentleness in our attitudes.

Happy Mother’s Day all my lovely friends.
This day is a celebration to many, and yet difficult for others;
loss, broken relationships, heartbreaks of many kinds…
but there is still JOY because YOU were born! Carry on and be glorious…

“In the same way, let your light so shine before others,
so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven. ”
Matthew 5:16 –

A random week of homeschoolers

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Have I mentioned how much my kids enjoy this little girl?

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Adelaide plays and they all join her.
Andrew built her a battleship aircraft carrier out of bristle blocks,
while Katie built Andrew a coin counter out of leggos.

Our days this past week were smooth and easy.  I love that.

Our first week back to our Science & more co op

I teach the 4, 5, 6 yr olds.
My subject is Biomes. 
Thus we began with learning what Flora is (this week will be Fauna).
I figure we should start at the basic foundation right?
Plants, then Animals.

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My co-teacher, Miss Sarah, is doing Geography. 
My lessons will hopefully compliment her lessons.
That is my intent anyways.  *smile*

So after we learned All About Plants,
we did a Cherry Blossom craft,
which lead our adventure to China.
We made “sushi” by using a rolling pin to flatten bread,
then spread peanut butter and jam on it,
rolled it up and sliced it.  and viola, yummy!
We also did a dragon craft.  Fun stuff!

We also have a new hobby!

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Yep, table tennis squished into our old classroom/now called a “library.
Hey, we’ve had a dreary winter.
What better way to add some movement to our day?

We had a few sicknesses along for the ride this week, which led to an in depth discussion about vaccinations, the flu, the measles “epidemic” at Disneyland, and holistic remedies vs drugs.

And for fun we made paper snowflakes to decorate our learning corner,
made cookies, played with play dough, and practiced skip counting 2’s.

TJ went bowling with his older brother and Dad,
while Katie did a variety of creations; crocheting a ninja turtle scarf, made an organic face wash, learned a loop waterfall braid, and is continuing to teach the puppy tricks.

It’s fun to be a homeschooler!

L.I.F.E. Academy in December~

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A simple door decoration that added some cheer!
Katie and my daughter-in-law, Amber, did this.
We will keep it up through January, because personally, I find January a bit dreary and depressing after the glitter and glow of Christmas time.

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We’ve made cards, and continued with some of our Truth in the Tinsel projects…

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and signing time (w/ curious George) is still going on.

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Lil Miss Adelaide loves Signing Time.
You can check it out on Netflix if you think your kids would enjoy it!

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The boys are working well together lately;
lots of drawing, writing, & puzzles going on.

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The big kids are continuing their Astrophysics study
Labs for the week: Magnetic Tornadoes
Learned about magnetic fields from various planets.
Watched a documentary on the Oklahoma tornadoes of 2011.
(*which was fun to link back to when TJ and my dear Hubby went to Oklahoma summer of 2012 to volunteer for disaster relief).
They created their own tornado using different variants to replicate the various mentioned planets. The guys timed the length of each ‘tornado’ to compare magnetic changes.  Apparently Venus does not have a magnetic field due to it’s super slow rotation. Who knew?

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The Puppies are getting bigger!

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Recon (the rescue pit) snuggled Katie-girl all night when she wasn’t feeling well this past week.

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Katie is feeling much better and is back at her many random projects of the days.

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Christmas season is flying by so quickly for us this year.  Not nearly as prepared and prepped as I usually am, but I refuse to stress because honestly we’re too blessed.  I wanted family portraits this year (didn’t happen), I wanted Christmas cards and newsletter updates out by Thanksgiving (didn’t happen), shopping has been minimal, baking is a bit more sparse, and crafts have been a lot less dominating this year.  However, this season is about love, God’s love, which is the most priceless gift we have to receive as well as offer.  I have loving kids who likes each other and who actually enjoys spending some time with us parents.   It really doesn’t get much better than that.

How do you handle traditions, expectations, and changes to those plans? 
I always try to encourage people that giving is more than a gift, but a part of your heart;
that the hustle and bustle stress level is so not a part of this joyous part of the year.
This year, as we spent a lump sum of funds on vet bills last month (mostly for our rescue pit),
our budget is very modest, and I’ve had to take my own advice, which I had offered earlier this month;
Don’t spend. Christ IS the gift The time we spend together is what becomes priceless.”

October at a Glance

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Fall is in full swing.  We live in the woods.
The serenity of the season echos somewhat silently;
leaves change, branches shift, the breeze whistles,
the animals scurry, and the rain begins…

The Pacific Northwest at its finest.

Katie turns 13!

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Such a sweet disposition she is.
Curious at what life has to offer,
Godly convictions, truth seeker,
compassionate heart, joyful,
logic-filled with a drive to self-educate.
Yep, that’s my girl!

She has recently tested out of one math book, and is currently devouring the next math book.  Her goal?  To finish that book in 3 months.  Can she?  Most definitely!  Will she?  time will only tell, but she is randomly doing about 3 lessons a day, often before bed, so her motivation is clearly there.  Did I mention she is a bit precocious?!!

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Here’s a few of Katie-girls recent creativity;
The basket weave, the zipper braid, & the 11 strand brand.

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Katie-girl’s newest hobby?  Sewing!
I have an amazingly kind friend who will be teaching Katie how to make Maxi Skirts.

On that note, I must say God has blessed me with several friends who all have unique gifts that nurture Katie’s curiously creative personality;
One whom laughs and loves a lot, and allows Katie to explore the beauty of babysitting, and inspires her interest in Spanish.
Another who shares holistic health which includes essential oils, natural beauty products, and crunchy living.
and yet another who provides artistic encouragement such as sewing, crocheting, gardening, & photography.
Funny enough, these younger mamas think I am lovely and encouraging, when really they are the true gift.

PUPPIES!

The puppies!

Yep, 2 of them.

Echo (on right) is now 5 months old.
A pure blue nosed pit.  Amazingly calm.
No barking (pretty much at all).

Meet Recon (yes, that military term for exploring an area).
He is our rescue pit.  half pit, that is.
The other half is something of a definitely.not.aggressive.breed.
4 months old.  He seeks to please.
No need for a leash, he follows without command.

Both are surprisingly mellow for pups.
They have not really chewed up anything.
They snuggle with their human-child companions,
and are already gentle around babies.
They absolutely love playing with each other.
Tug-o-war is the most popular.
They eat and drink out of the same bowl at the same time,
without a care in the world.
We do have to calm Echo on occasion as she gets so excited to play with her newest buddy, but that brick house body structure can plow him over.  Of course the minute we settle her down, he sneaks over to nudge her to play again.  They definitely act like a brother and sister at times!

Chanelle's new family

Chanelle moves out.

Chanelle is on another adventure,
following life where it leads her.
We got the chance to meet ‘her new family’.
We had a great day hanging together.
She’s missed, but we still see her every few weeks.
They will all come join us on Thanksgiving;
I look forward to the visit!

and since I mentioned about moving…

it looks as if we will be moving in the not.so.far.off future.
The house we are in is up for sale.
We have a lovely landlady who recently married, and is moving to another state, thus they have chosen to sell the house.  As much as we have enjoyed this house in the woods, I am not really ready to commit to living here permanently, with forever in mind.  Looks as if God has already provided us a place we apparently will move to.  It’s just a matter of timing.  We will be heading out of the country hills, and back into the small town of nowhere.  We are content with it, and I see some changes in the process of it all.  I will share more as events unfold.

How was your October? 
Discover any small treasures? 
Experience big changes?
Embrace the season? 

 

Our Journey with Adopted Big Kids continue…

I would like you to meet our newest adopted big kid…

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Meet Lyndsey! 
She is on the left with our Katie-girl.

I love the way God puts young people in our path to mentor and guide.
Sometimes it has been a difficult journey, one where you pour out your time, efforts, and heart, yet we just can’t quite reach them.  Their walls are built and we just can’t get through.  I like to think that we some how plant a seed of grace in there, and somewhere down the path it will get watered by another loving soul who will reach out to them also.

However, the past few years we have been very blessed to see the prosperity in the power of simply loving on others.

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Justin lived with us back in Nov 2011- June 2012 to wrap up his senior year in high school.
He loved to cook for us, and was always willing to play games with the kids.

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Preston (on right) lived with us for a year (Aug 2012-Aug 21013),
after he had graduated from high school.
He wanted to be closer to his job while he was going to college.

4th of July Lyndsey and Preston

Preston and Lyndsey are getting married in August.
We are blessed enough for her to stay with us while she prepares for the wedding.
I have to admit she is probably the quietest, cleanest roommate Katie will ever have!
Lyndsey has been with us for over a month now,
and although she seems to work a lot,
I think we will have lots of fun this summer!

I am so grateful to be there for others;  that I have spent these many years being a stay-at-home mom that allows me the freedom and flexibility to love on others.

Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.
Romans 12:13