Friday, December 30, 2016

Sweet Adeline

Our sweet baby girl, Adeline Louanne, was born on November 30 =) We are over the moon in love with her!

SHE is what we have been up to these past couple months! 

She has the biggest blue eyes and a head full of strawberry blonde hair!  We were so very suprised to find out that we had a "She!"... We chose to wait to find out the gender until the baby was born and Dustin and I were convinced we were having another boy! But God had other plans, and we are loving every minute of it 💗

My birth was amazing - everything I has asked for in prayer, God delivered!  He is so faithful - I prayed for a uncomplicated, painfree and joyful birth experience.  I woke up the morning before my weekly checkup (where I was going to be "naturally induced" with a membrane sweep...let me just say ouch on that one) and started having some randomly timed contractions.  I knew they were labor contractions, but they weren't very strong and the timing was inconsistent, happening anywhere from 2 minutes to 10 minutes apart!  I called my midwife and she suggested I come in to get checked.  I got my things together, coordinated childcare for my boys and left for the doctor's office - which I thought was scheduled for the office at the hospital (which is where we headed too) but come to find out my midwife was at the other office location, as was my scheduled appt - woops!  However, God knew where I needed to be, and once I arrived at the hospital office, the other midwife checked me and lo and behold I was already dialated to 6!  I hadn't even told Dustin to leave work yet!  I text him as the midwife walked me over to L&D....yes, WALKED, lol.  My contractions were so strange, still only happening about 5-7 minutes apart and not as strong as I thought they would be.  While I was waiting for Dustin to arrive, I was very much at peace and it really was a joyful time....the nurses and I were chatting while they checked me in, even laughing at some points!  When Dustin arrived about 30 minutes later, we continued to chat and he was able to help me through the next 30 minutes of contractions until it was time to push. And that came about suddenly!!  I was praying for a short transition, given my last birth with Noah which was so very painful, but with Adeline I can honestly say I don't think I even had a transition!  It was amazing!  The pushing part however, was a lot harder than I expected, as Adeline was turned face up.  Even still, I pushed through (haha) and 45 minutes later, she was born!

I am in awe of God who heard and listened to my prayers for this birth...While I can't say it was 100% painfree, the pain was so minimal that I was able to focus on meeting our new baby and stay in the moment to really cherish the process.  I am so thankful He answered our prayers, even our unspoken ones =)

Thursday, November 17, 2016


Just chiming in to give a brief update of our happenings lately!  My intention to blog more has not changed but it has been hard to find the time!  Our home renovations coupled with moving and trying to prepare for a new baby (While catching up on mountains of work that need to get done before said baby arrives) has left me down, out and flat out tired....But at least I can try to keep up some kind of record on here before it's 2017, haha.

Homeschooling, which was the focus of my last post, is going great.  I have managed to keep on track this year for the most part and the curriculum choices have all been a really good fit for the most part.  Liam was also accepted into a 2 day enrichment program at Noah's school, same day and times, so I have had 2 days a week a few hours to buckle down and get stuff done around here, which had been a God send of a blessing in this season. In fact, the title of my post is what we call a part of each day that involves writing down 3 things we are thankful for -- so I am often asking him, "Have you done your "thankfuls" yet?"  Such a great reminder of just how much God sustains us, provides for us, and meets us right where we are each day.

September for us brought about the boys birthdays, Liam turned 7 and Noah 2 - They both are just thriving and doing great as well!  Noah is talking more and more, repeating every single word it seems and then making up some we still can't figure out, lol.  Liam is really excelling in Math and absolutely loves it - everything ends up with numbers on it somewhere, even the Thanksgiving turkey he decorated at school had a numbering system written on it!  His creativity astonishes me daily -- he is so unique and really a cool lil dude!  They both are, we are so, so very blessed.

For me, pregnancy is going really great, I am almost 36 weeks and hoping to have this baby sometime the week after Thanksgiving - which is SO. SOON.  Because of my Factor V, they want me to deliver by 38 weeks, and I'm praying and BELIEVING the Lord will graciously bring this baby before then on his own will and no intervention will be needed!  We did have a fetal Echo done on the baby coupled with Liam's last Cardiology appointment (which was stellar! by the way) and all looks good on that front also.  It's been a little tricky not knowing what this baby is boy/girl but it definitely ups the excitement factor and I'm hoping some additional encouragement and energy for the birth!  We've got all the basics and bags are packed so to speak, so let the journey begin, after Thanksgiving preferably!

Projects around the house are slowly coming along, more boxes have been unpacked and put away, pictures have gone up on walls, and I finally got some beautiful roman shades (compliments of my amazing momma who sews) put up in my kitchen to replace the black paper blackout shades we previously had hanging.  It is slowly starting to feel homey and I am loving it.  Hubby has worked so very hard making it the perfect home!

All in all, we just take it a day at a time around here and we feel blessed!  Looking forward to Thanksgiving next week and soon becoming a family of 5!  Love to all of our friends and family!

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Homeschool Curriculum Picks

It is already THAT time of year again – back to school!  Last year was our first “official” homeschool year for Liam for Kindergarten, and overall I think it went pretty well.  It was definitely a year of trial and error to see a) what works and what doesn’t, b) more about his natural learning style and tendencies and c) a LOT about my teaching style and habits, which, ahem, which were NOT pretty at times.  Last year, I tried to keep the curriculum challenging, affordable and simple, which led me to “piece” together some free curriculum and do a lot on my own, to save money and create custom learning.  I did buy a couple curriculum sets, like Math and History, but overall I left a lot of subjects to creating my own studies.  While I have the best intentions and get excited about custom tailoring curriculum to exactly what I want each day, it left me quickly burnt out, overwhelmed and behind all. the. time.  With a new baby on the way at the end of this year, I knew I needed to change gears and have more complete “pull-of-the-shelf” type curriculum so we could stay on track and minimize prep time each day.  Because let’s face it, I will have about 0 minutes of extra time to do much come December!

Our first FULL week of schooling will be next week, but we have started back with a routine, and adding a couple new subjects and workbooks in each day so Liam can get a feel for the layout and structure of the curriculum.  I have also started using the spiral notebook method of scheduling so Liam knows what he is to get done each day, and it is working wonderfully!  I have even adapted it for myself, so I can prioritize tasks that I need to accomplish each day, for work and home.  You can read more about the spiral notebook method here
So, for FIRST GRADE, here are my curriculum choices for Liam this year:

Bible: This year, I chose to work through a couple of the P31 Ministry First 5 Bible Studies as our bible lessons.  Each study is about 8 weeks long, so I plan on studying Matthew during the fall semester, along with a short study on Major and Minor Prophets (looking at some of her ideas for this) and then Acts and Romans/Corinthians during the spring.  We used  a couple of The First 5 Studies this past year, and I found them to be wonderful resource for studying the Word by chapter, complete with a study/discussion guide (for purchase) that is fairly simple.  They also have a daily app that has a short devotional that I absolutely love.  I will be doing these studies alongside Liam, which is great accountability to stay in God's Word!

Math:  We will continue where we stopped last year in Level 2 of Making Math Meaningful.  I really love this curriculum, not many people have heard of it, but the author and homeschool family live locally to us.  It really worked well for us and Liam enjoyed it.  Math is his favorite subject (as is mine to teach), and I feel like the foundations in this book are very solid and logical.  It is NOT the way I learned math, but definitely a more useful way to learn it.  I often joke that I’ve become faster doing math in my head just from teaching this method, but it’s true! 

Reading: Liam is already reading very well, and I’d even say well above average for his age.  My focus this year will be on comprehension, since he seems to struggle with that more so than actually reading the words.  He will do daily lessons from this Reading Comprehension Notebook for Second Grade, that I downloaded from TpT {sorry not pictured above, I have not printed and bound it yet!}. We used her First Grade edition last year, and it was a great daily comprehension lesson.  And of course, lots of reading time with books from the local library.

Handwriting:  I chose the A Reason for Handwriting curriculum because it is very similar to how I incorporated handwriting into our schooling last year, by having scripture as copywork, but it’s already done for me.  I like that Liam will be learning a memory verse each week in addition to just practicing handwriting. 

Grammar:  We used a free online grammar website last year which was a great introduction, but again, took some prep to print and organize the lessons (but if you like a free, workbook style grammar curriculum, this one is great!).  This year I decided to do the First Language Lessons for the Well Trained Mind, Level 1 because after researching numerous grammar curriculum, this one seemed to come highly recommended and was relatively inexpensive.  We have not started this yet, but will add to the rotation next week as we gear up to full school days.

Science and Geography:  I picked up DK workbooks for Geography: First Grade and Science: First Grade to supplement a plan to *hopefully* do some hands on learning, as well as reading books on different topics for these subjects.

Spelling/Phonics:  Liam is on par with knowing all his letter sounds and can sound out words to figure out spelling pretty well at this point.  Our main focus will be to firm up some of the phonics based methods this year, so he has a solid foundation.  I chose All About Spelling I  and Explode the Code, Book 2 to help in these areas.  Last year, again, I used a free online spelling curriculum, which ended up being too much work on my end.  He’s already made a comment the “Explode the Code” is “too easy”, but hopefully it progresses to a more challenging level as we dig more into the spelling lessons.

History:  We struggled with the Mystery of History curriculum last year, but I am going to give it a try again.  I really like the chronological and biblical worldview this curriculum offers, I just have to commit to the time to read the lessons and have time for discussion.

Art and Music:  I plan on incorporating both art and music each once a week during breakfast or lunch in the form of videos.  I found the cutest art videos on YouTube called Art With Mati & Dada, that are perfect for introducing major artists.  Music will be a general study of major composers this year, and I am still working out a few sources to get a plan going on this.  We also will hopefully continue having bi-monthly art lessons with another homeschool family like we did last year.  Since my mom is an elementary art teacher, I have plenty of curriculum to pull from!

There are a few things I also want to work harder at incorporating that we explored last year but gave up on because our life got a little chaotic with the new house, travel, and pregnancy in the spring semester last year.  One of those things is actually having a “Morning Time”.  I decided to keep things very simple and focus those few moments right after breakfast on encouraging and teaching to the heart of my kids.  I am very committed to having the bible as the foundation for my children’s schooling and simply want to start the school day with scripture and prayer EVERY DAY.  Liam and I got into a great habit last fall, reading our bibles each and every morning and I really would love to foster that habit again, selfishly too for myself!  My goal with morning time is to get in the routine of having a short devotional and a character lesson after breakfast.  I will be sharing my Morning Basket book picks soon!

I am also continuing on a “block” type schedule which works well for us.  My youngest, Noah, will be in a 2 day per week Mother’s Day Out starting in September, so I focused more independent work for Liam for those 2 days.  I know that seems like a counter-intuitive choice, but I have trouble getting work done with my youngest at home (because he is my curious adventurer who loves to get into everything!), so this will allow me 2 days a week to get good chunks of work done (I do bookkeeping for a couple clients from home, and it has been a challenge to carve out enough consistent work time to keep up lately).  That being said, the other 3 days of the week will be more hands on with “teaching”, which I think will be fine given Noah is STILL taking 2 naps a day, and loves to listen to me read, lol.  But as usual, we hold our plans very loosely and really just plan on being flexible at all times!

So that pretty much sums up what we will be doing all year!  I have a refreshed vision for homeschool this year and am excited to embark on the journey again!

Monday, August 8, 2016

Back to Blogging - Catch up post!

So recently I have been feeling those little nudges on my heart to return to blogging.  For awhile, things were going smooth with Liam's health and just having a new baby made finding time to blog difficult impossible!  With a year and a half gone by with no news from us, I will try to keep this update post brief!

To sum it up God has been so so good to us and extremely gracious.  Our life looks almost completely different for us than it was 1.5 years back!  Since then, we are currently PREGO with baby #3 (due in December!), celebrated Liam's 6th birthday, Noah's 1st birthday, rented out our old house, moved in with my parents for 3 months, purchased a major fixxer-upper, renovated completely gutted and revived said fixxer-upper, homeschooled, lost a dear kitty pet =( and the saddest news just recently said goodbye to our family Matriarch, my sweet grandma of 93 years.  Numerous other little hiccups, challenges and changes have occurred, but we are trying to move forward with hope and perseverance, completely depending on God each day!

I've been praying a lot about our recent challenges and frankly, I am feeling exhausted.  It has been hard for me to grasp live in complete abundance of God's goodness to us - with the new house I just can't believe we own, and our new little blessing miracle on the way, with also living with extremely challenging times of change, loss and overwhelming obstacles (a.k.a new house renovations and some work issues thrown on top!).  I know this is a refining time for me and an unusual time of contrasting circumstances.  I feel like my blog and writing in general has always had purpose in my life for contemplating, sharing struggles, being real and providing HOPE to others who may be walking a similar path.

I'm praying God will continue to use this blog to share what He is up to in our life....the good and challenging parts, to encourage, inspire and motivate....even if it's just to do those things for me and have a record of His goodness and love for us!

It's so so good to be back to writing.