Wednesday, August 25, 2010


We're headed to church tonight because we've decided to live like we're dying.

At church this past Sunday, our pastor challenged (well, he actually TOLD) us all to step it up! If we've never been part of a life group, we're supposed to join one. If we have been part of one, we're supposed to lead one.

To be honest, we've never done either....

Our current series in church is titled Live Like You're Dying, and Sunday was part one of a six-part series. To go along with the Sunday messages, there will be a 13 part series for the life groups that meet outside of church during the week.

We've never done a life group. And we have many (good) reasons for avoiding them all together...

you know, sort of like my reasons for avoiding homeschooling ;-)

but, in the interest of "stepping it up," we have decided to rise to the challenge and jump in with both feet (it's actually all 4 feet since it's both hubby and me!), and not only join a life group, but to host one in our home!

Honestly, I think it's going to be easier to have it here- we can pick the times and days and it means not having to worry about the kids. (I'm not going to mention the fact that it leaves me no room to back out or miss a week!)

So, we're headed to church tonight to get all the info we need to get started living like we're dying!

And here's a random picture of some kids and me....
Hey, doesn't it kinda look like Allie's dying?!?!

Monday, August 23, 2010

The great abyss...

Have you ever done something that scares you to death and gives you the greatest rush ever.... all at the same time?!

Maybe something like a roller coaster?

Or maybe the starring role in a theatrical production?

Or maybe, just maybe the first day of teaching your own little boys in your very own homeschool?!?!
Yep, that's them. Homeschool.... Day 1 for the Gang! That picture was taken when we started our morning- 9am sharp ;-)

This next picture was taken when we ended our day....
The room was a little messy, but not much worse for the ware.

The kitchen on the other hand....

...didn't survive the storm- the hurricane known as Jacob ;-)

Nope, he blew through the kitchen while the rest of us were busy studying our ABCs, and he left nothing untouched....especially the raw eggs!

At least he was kind enough to dump an open box of baking soda on top of all the mess.... you know, cuz it's much more pleasant to clean up a fresh-smelling mess!!

But seriously, today went fairly well- ALL things considered.

So well, in fact, that I think I'll actually do it again tomorrow.... and maybe even the next day. Cuz there's nothing like the feeling of falling into the great abyss to give you such a rush ;-)

And just as my status states on my Facebook page...

there are only 283 days left 'til summer vacation!

I'm sure I'll be back with updates about our journey VERY soon....

but, in the meantime, here's someone cute and cuddly to drool over.....

Oh, and here's one with his daddy's favorite team uniform on ;-)
In fact, that happens to be the very first thing I bought when I found out that I was pregnant with baby Caleb (even before we knew he was a "he")!

Hmmmm, maybe THAT'S why we ended up with another boy?!

Kidding.... of course!

Thursday, August 19, 2010




Is anybody out there?!

I mean, it has been a while. And, quite frankly, it wouldn't surprise me a bit if I'm down to only one reader (Hi Mom).

Needless to say, my life has undergone some pretty serious changes since this little guy made his debut...
And I'm OK with that! On top of a new baby, I've kept busy with 7 other kids at home- kids that, BTW, have been utterly and completely and miserably bored over the last few weeks of summer due to the fact that it's been hotter than hades around here, and my normally always-outside-gang has been stuck in the house!


But we finally got to go on a (very small and quick) vacation over last weekend, and it really made a difference ;-) In fact, when I asked everyone what was their favorite part of our trip, Sophie replied "getting out of Kansas!"

If THAT's not pathetic, I don't know what is!!

Anyway, we decided to go to Branson, MO, for our mini-trip. We have lived within a few hours of Branson for many years, but we've never been until now. We thought it would be fun to stay in a nice resort and spend some time exploring the area. Here are the boys checking out the pool from our hotel room deck....
We stayed in a great place with lots of pools and activities for the kids!
Caleb did a lot of what he does best....
...while the boys explored the pools!
Emily entertained Jacob....
...while Sophie finished up some summer work for her upcoming honor's english class!
Caleb also got to experience the pool for the first time- he liked it better than he likes his bath!
The kids enjoyed snow cones....
...and even a noodle race in the pool!
We saw a magic show....
...and road the Duck Boats!
We also hit Ripley's Believe It or Not, The Hollywood Wax Museum, Hannah's House of Mirrors, and a mini golf course! Oh yeah, and we even squeezed in a couple hours at an outlet mall and watched the fountains at Branson Landing ;-)

But for everything we did do, there was so much more that we missed! So we're already planning a trip back- we've just GOT to try those zip lines!!!

Anyway, if you don't follow me on Twitter, then you may not know about my new job. You see, I recently took on a new position (hired 0n-the-spot!), and it's going to keep me very, very busy for the next, um, 9 months or so......

NO- I'm NOT pregnant silly ;-)

I'm now officially a HOMESCHOOLING MOM!!!!

Well, to the boys anyway ;-)

The girls are all headed back to public school, where Sophie will begin her freshman year, Emily will be a junior....

...and Miss Allie will be a SENIOR!!!!!

Sidenote: I keep meaning to do a post about Allie's medical "stuff" (aka severe migraines and endometriosis), but I just haven't found the time. I do want to quickly mention, however, that she is doing so much better that we have actually cancelled our trip to the Mayo Clinic and feel like we're finally on the right path. We decided several months ago to stop ALL MEDS, and that has made ALL the difference! Her body seems to be regulating itself for the first time in years, and we are down to only one migraine per month (and we even found something that is working for the migraines!)! I will try to get more into the specifics at a later time, but wanted to give everyone an update for now!

Anyway, I'm here to tell ya, when they headed back yesterday and I was left all alone for the first time since Caleb was born with all 5 boys.....

...I realized just how much I had come to rely on them!

SHHHHHHH- don't tell them I told you that ;-)

But, somehow, I managed. And I was proud to show them that the house was not burned down while they were gone.

Nor were there any trips to the emergency room.

Oh, and I still had all my hair- although I'm quite sure some of it's now gray!

And I know that you are all just dying to know why on earth I would take on such a challenging job..... well, my one reader out there anyway!....and I'd like to share!

You see, it's one of those things that has been popping into my head every so often for the last several years- in a nagging sort of way- and I've always been able to write it off (I just don't have time, I can't do it, the teachers at school are so much more fun than I am, we have such great public education here, etc., etc., etc........).....

until now.

For some strange and unknown reason (well, I suppose there is someone who knows- since He's the one who put the idea there in the first place!), I got into the shower one day a couple of weeks ago without a care in the world, but by the time I got out, a new path had been laid at my feet.... I'm really thinking I need to quit having those heart-to-hearts with God while I'm in the shower- they always seem to change my life......

(and somehow it's always for the better)

Many things were pointed out to me to help make my decision a little easier- things like the fact that we only have our children for such a short time and it seems that the teachers get the best of that time with them.

But, in the end, it really came down to my struggle with their physical, emotional and spiritual safety that helped me to know the right thing for my children. I know that I am raising boys that need to be ready to face a very scary world. They need to be prepared to live in a society that currently does not reflect my morals or my beliefs. Enough said.

And once I made the decision, I was at peace.

And that's how I knew it was right.

And then I realized how truly lucky I was because I have the best resources on the planet when it comes to homeschooling.... just a mouse click away!

That's when I emailed Kimberly over there at Raising Olives, who suggested that I give her a call, so that's just what I did!

In case you're wondering, Kimberly (amazing mom of 10!!!) is every bit as wonderful in person as she seems on her blog ;-)

(BTW- I chose to keep only the boys at home because the girls have been in public school all their lives, are happy and well-adjusted, are almost done, and well, they wanted to be there! I did offer to keep them at home!)

Anyway, once Kimberly set me straight, and after checking out Angie Smith's & MckMama's blogs, I chose my curriculum, keeping in mind that I will likely make changes as I get going but that I have to start somewhere!

For Josh (my 6th grader and my child with ADHD), I chose to put him in K12. It's an online program that will be most like what he is already accustomed to, and it made the most sense for us. He will have teachers and will be taking tests and given grades, and I will feel more confident that I'm not missing something that he needs for college! Besides that, it's an accredited public school that won't cost us a dime!!!

For Noah, I also chose a program that has a lot of structure as I walk down this new path with trepidation.....

School in a box!!! All I have to do is unpack and follow the instructions.... right?!

I'll let you know how that goes ;-)

And it wasn't as cheap as Josh's program coming in at a whopping $850!

We were fortunate that we have an office at the front of our house, and with the exception of the occasional teenager on the computer, it pretty much goes unused! So, I got busy redecorating and trying to create our school. We took out the leather couch and the sofa table that was home to some pictures, took hubby's work awards off the wall, added a new table and chairs.....

...and went shopping for a comfy chair for me to sit and nurse Caleb or snuggle up with a little boy or two to read...
And after a fun trip to Mardel's, we were set to decorate the walls....
(We plan to say The Pledge of Allegiance every day!)
This is where Josh will work on the laptop computer that the K12 program will be sending him to borrow for the year... free of charge ;-)
Ok, well, I hope to post more about all of this soon, but I'm at my time quota for today and the family is starving!!! I still plan to write a post about a horrible experience we had with Facebook, but, once again, it will have to wait!

In the meantime, school starts on Monday, so I have LOTS to do ;-)

Sunday, August 8, 2010

New senior photo shoots!

Be sure to head over to my photo blog and check out Allie's (my BABY!!) and Emma's senior photos!

I hope to post soon about an extremely upsetting situation that has occurred recently and that landed us at the police station- thanks for your prayers- I will post about it when I feel it's safe!


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