Saturday, April 29, 2017

Eggs and Strawberries

Even though Easter was in April and not March, it still seemed to come out of no where and suddenly happen. The busyness of travel and other commitments kept us from enjoying some of our special Easter traditions, but we still made effort to enjoy a couple of them.
Rather than take our annual Easter Nature Scavenger Hunt with just our family, I organized an afternoon for a picnic and a scavenger hunt with our home school co-op. The more the merrier, and 30 kids hunting for nature items to tell the Easter story was a lot of fun.

I stuffed about 100 eggs with coins and Grady hid them around the yard for our kids to find Easter afternoon. Hunting for treasure never gets old - just as my older boys who are still die-hard about finding eggs.

Thankfully no one made a fuss about missing our neighborhood egg hunt - even if they didn't get baskets full of Easter candy. I decided they get candy and sweets from too many people too many times during the week and that coins was the way to go. My plan worked wondrously until I overheard Micah exclaim that he couldn't wait to buy M&Ms with some of his money.

Our Easter celebration service with church was wonderful - joyful praise and worship to our LIVING Savior. Because if Christ is not alive, then there is no hope, purpose, or value in life. Praise him that he is alive, offers hope, gives purpose, and creates value in life!
Another favorite spring tradition is picking strawberries. Lots and lots and lots of strawberries. With four fast-working pickers it doesn't take long before we have several pounds of red, juicy goodness.
Total side note, but notice this handsome young man in glasses?! His face matured about five years when he put those on and I almost cried in the middle of the optometrist. He doesn't need them all the time, but has been wearing them a lot initially to get used to them.

And to read signs. Every. Single. Sign.

All. The. Time. I can't even.
This 'lil man was a hot mess of red juice, sticky mud, and bug spray-scented sweat. But he was, by far, the cutest three-year old there and he was oh-so-proud of every big berry he picked so I decided to keep him and bring him home with me anyway.
No bugs, overcast sky, and we landed in a time between umpteen field trip buses. And, major plus, all kids picked actual ripe berries this year and I didn't end up paying for white berries, moldy berries, or the occasional rock thrown in for a collection at home. Win.
We may have spent more time playing and enjoying farm animals than actually picking strawberries. The older two were focused on continuous rounds of tether ball, and the younger two thought the grainery slide was the best thing ever.
Me? I personally went for the strawberry slushy and the funnel cake. In fact, I'm considering round two of picking later next week so that I can have another fabulous mid-morning snack. 

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Samaritan Scholars Co Op

We joined a formal home school co op this past school year, and all in all it was a great experience. Without hesitation my kids would tell you Tuesdays were the favorite day of the week. 
My boys couldn't wait to see friends and play gaga ball at recess;  Annalyse couldn't wait to see her gaggle of girls and hold hands and whisper and giggle; and Jaxton couldn't wait for show and tell and crafts. 

Obviously my kids are academic over-achievers like that.
Somewhere in the midst of all the fun, I'm confident there was a lot of learning happening because they offer random facts about botany when we're in the produce section at the grocery store or while we're out walking in the woods; and when Thursday rolls around they remind me it's named after the Germanic god Thor; and whenever they see columns they remind me the Greeks figured out how to make them and that the Romans perfected them.

The kids have a new slew of friends and I've gotten to know several other moms to work alongside with as we navigate this home school journey. 

Community. Insight. Ideas. Creativity. Encouragement. It's so helpful to have an arsenal of this!
I'm including some random pics from throughout the year that I'm just now (finally getting around to) sharing - simple glimpses of some simple fun while learning. I'm so thankful for all the moms who put time and effort into making learning fun and hands-on!
Co op covered language arts and writing, history, science, and a variety of electives, such as PE, art, geography, drama, and cooking.

And recess. Let's not forget about recess.
We also joined our co op friends for several field trips and park/picnic dates throughout the year. Never ever think that choosing to home school means you're stuck at home. Most weeks I have consciously plan days to say no to activities and actually stay home to do school.
Co op aside, we're also in the final days of our other subjects as well. My kids are realizing that workbooks are almost complete, that textbooks are almost finished, and that May and time at the pool is imminent!

This school year flew by, as each one seems to do, but this one more so than others. We've read, studied, discussed, and visited more than years past. Our pace of life hasn't necessarily changed, but my boys have shown great independence to learn and forge ahead. This is a game changer.
Give us another couple of weeks, and we can officially say we have a 6th grader, 5th grader, 2nd grader, and a hot-mess trouble-maker!

Monday, April 10, 2017

Lagging Behind

I don't have time.

Or maybe I don't make time? 

Either way, this ole blog is behind! Weeks and weeks behind. So many pictures to share and stories to document, because I'm told that someday I'll look back and cry myself through the lonely times by remembering days when my house was full of little people.
I believe those empty-nester moms that I meet in the grocery store who wistfully tell me to "treasure these moments because they're fleeting." But, at this moment in time, I am anything but lonely and anything but crying because I am always needed and always touched and always being talked to and always on duty.
And the noise. Lord be merciful to me, the noise. 

In my house, there are big voices. Loud emotions. Rough play. Constant movement, which means constant injuries, which means constant crying... which means I spend a lot of time pretending to be fully engaged in a household chore so as to seem oblivious to the chaos happening around me so that I can escape doling out band aids, wiping tears, and mitigating squabbles. (Try it. After enough times it works.)
The school year is winding down (how IN THE WORLD did that happen so quickly?!); sports continue round the clock; play dates happen here, there, and everywhere; and each week is a new museum or park or field trip of some sort. 

So much fun; so little time.
Oh, and by the way, Grady and I escaped for a week and enjoyed a cruise. Over a month ago. A MONTH AGO. And I haven't shared details on that. Sigh.

And my birthday came and went, but not without my husband and kids generously celebrating me. Speaking of birthday's, Grady's is this Friday and we'll be in Charleston but it'll probably be another several weeks before I get around to sharing pictures and anecdotes about that getaway.

So much fun; so little time.
So for the handful of visitors that still check in for glimpses of our life, I'm still here. For the far-away family members who enjoy pictures of the kids, I'm sorry I'm not more diligent. And for my own kids who (I am confident) will one day appreciate this blog, you're welcome.
I'm signing off for now - but hopefully signing back on soon! Fingers crossed.