Monday, September 8, 2014

Family Pictures on the Beach

We took our annual family trip to the Oregon Coast in June and while there we took the opportunity to have our family pictures updated in a beautiful setting.  The entire photo shoot last about 15 minutes - because it was COLD and RAINING.  But the memories we made will far outlast the discomfort of the weather.  What follows is a very picture heavy post.....but I love all these little and big people - so I have to post them all!

 {Liam in the sand}

{Dad and Liam}

{Casey - age 10}
{Hailee - age 9}
{Caelan - age 8}
{Tommy - age 8}

{Henry - age 1}

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Schooling at Home

This year I took the leap.  A huge leap of faith.  HOMESCHOOLING.    I've toyed with the idea for about 3 years now - felt lots of promptings to look into it more - studied it out - talked to others about it - but always figured it wouldn't work for our family.  See, we're not the traditional makeup of having all the kids all the time - we split time with other households and parents.  But you know what?  When you trust in some ONE bigger than yourself, things begin to fall into place when they are right - even when they once seemed impossible.  I'm so glad that I get this time with Casey and Tommy (and Liam).  We are having a lot of fun figuring out this whole "schooling at home" thing.  I'm grateful for their patience, excitement and exuberance.  I'm grateful that I've been blessed with added patience too :)

So here's how our days have been shaping up:

We start the day with a family devotional - family prayer, scripture study and practicing our scripture memorization for the week.  We recite the pledge of allegiance and one of the boys dutifully leads us.  We've been doing this outside in front of the house for the last couple weeks, because in Idaho, we won't have this nice weather for much longer.

After outside chores are done (feeding goats, chickens, and the, sometimes smart dog, Duncan) the boys find their way up to the "Learning Room."  This was originally planned as a playroom in our new house, but quickly became known as the "Learning Room" when books, school supplies and other stuff started getting stored here last year.  Now it's a fun spot where most of our structured lessons take place.  

We usually start the morning's lessons with Gospel Studies.  The boys are working through a workbook on the Life of Christ (  It's an awesome workbook geared to their age.  
We do these lessons together since there is a lot of reading involved - it's also led to some amazing faith promoting discussions with the boys.  

After that we do about an hour of Math.  Yes, a full hour.  Crazy huh?!  Both boys LOVE Math, so this is a really fun hour.  We're using a combination of workbooks by Kumon and Saxon Math.  

After Math we do Language Arts.  Casey does copywork from his reader and Tommy works on his phonics.  Both the boys have a spelling lesson.  Casey works on his cursive workbook for about 20 minutes and Tommy does his handwriting practice at the same time.   Tommy is making a lot of progress on his reading already this year - a huge confidence builder for him.  He reads out loud to Casey and I for about 20 minutes a day - followed by silent reading time for another 20 minutes.  

Casey loves to read, too.  As part of school this year he joined a Book Club with some other 3rd and 4th graders in the area.  They read one book a month and then meet to discuss it.  In August he read "How to Eat Fried Worms" and this month it's the first book in "A Series of Unfortunate Events."  He's also read three other books already as part of the Language Arts curriculum we are using from Sonlight.  Sonlight is really literature heavy - he has LOVED every single book and when it's reading time he says "YAY!  I LOVE these books Mom!"  That's makes my heart so happy - I want the boys to be voracious readers.  Honestly, I am NOT a voracious reader, never have been, but I've gotten better over the last few years.  
I want to instill a love of reading in the boys while they are young and having a good experience with reading is essential to that.  So it's great that the books in our curriculum are interesting to them.  

The boys (and our whole family) are memorizing one scripture per week as part of our homeschooling.  This has been such a wonderful experience already for all of us - I love starting our day with the scriptures and I LOVE getting to know the scriptures better right along side the boys.  The first passage they are memorizing is Psalms chapter 1.    

Our school day ends with read alouds and history.  The boys are super motivated to get through their lessons so we can get to the read alouds - their favorite time of the school day.   Right now we are reading Charlotte's Webb together.   It's been so great to revisit this classic with the boys - they have seen the movie (cartoon), but hearing the story is different - they have each said so.  We are also reading Homer Price together.  It's a clever little book about a little boys adventures in detective work - the stories are really funny.  We're also listening to a book on tape - The Search for Wondla.  It's a science fiction story about a young girl in the future - there are several books in the series and I'm sure we'll be listening to all of them!  They're very exciting!

So far this year we have taken one fieldtrip to the Museum of Idaho to see the King Tut Mummy Exhibit.  That was really interesting and the boys did some free-writing work about that the following school day.  They can tell you all about the King's gold chariot and how they "processed" his organs and put them in tiny jars to travel with him to the afterlife......hmmmm.  Really cool exhibit.  Lots to see and lots of fun conversations have come from our visit there.

We also try to do Science 2 times a week - we're working from the Sonlight Science curriculum with that subject too.  We studies magnets last week.  This week we took a trip to DI and Casey got an old clock radio that he could take a part and check out.  He was so funny - he kept asking me if he could unscrew this or that - I kept telling him that he could do whatever he wanted - there was nothing holding him back from tearing the whole thing a part.  He had the whole thing in pieces on the kitchen table within about 20 minutes......then he put it back together and it worked!  He's great at models and small pieces - serious eye hand coordination and he thinks like an architect or engineer.  It's so fun to hear the stuff he comes up with.  :)  He's such a smartie.

So that's how our home school day usually goes.  We get finished up with lessons around noon - so we have the rest of the day for chores, projects, errands, karate lessons, cub scouts, snuggling on the couch watching a movie, or playing video games, too. :)  I love having the boys at home.  So far it's been soooo good!  :)

Sunday, September 16, 2012

A bit of Sunday reading.....

Over the last few months, this is what has been on Dan's night stand.......

And this has been on my night stand.......

And reading both has made our marriage stronger and better.  

They are written by a Christian Pastor and his wife about the true identity and nature of men and women....focusing on what our society has done to try and tarnish and destroy us as individuals and couples that were created in the image of a loving, kind, and STRONG God.   It's not fluffy/feel good reading - cause it forces you to really look at yourself honestly.  It's not LDS based reading from Deseret Book - but it resonates with the deepest part of me.  It has helped me to understand better what my role is in this life as a mother and a wife - and in turn, it has helped Dan to be more comfortable with the role he has as a man, father, and husband.   It has helped to answer some deep and prayerful questions I have had for awhile now about the nature of who I am.  I love the way that truth sometimes finds us in places we least expect it.

So if you're interested in finding out WHY as a wife you long for your husband to sweep in and rescue you, keep you safe and be enamored by your very presence OR if as a husband you wonder why this world wants to neuter your power, chain you with addiction, and take away your masculine strength, then read 
Wild at Heart and Captivating by John & Stasi Eldredge.  

You might just love it and it might just make your LIFE and longings make a LOT more sense.
It sure has for me.

Happy Sunday everyone!  :)

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Back to School :)

Yes - everyone is blogging about it, it's all over everyone's facebook pages, and I too will join in.  We took the kids to take back to school pictures at the Idaho Falls Temple about 2 weeks ago for Family Home Evening.  I'm slow at posting them.  Here we go:

{really wiggly kids dressed in church clothes}

{really hard to get a good shot with them all looking good and no funny grimaces}

{let's keep trying - tommy don't fall over}

{I totally give up - let's just embrace the candids!}

{Tommy - 1st grader}

{A classic Tommy face}

{Casey - 3rd Grade}


{Brothers and  little friends}

{Dad and Liam squinting}

{Hailee 2nd Grade}

{Caelan and Tommy acting like statues}

{Another classic Tommy face}

{Caelan - 1st Grade}

{Yet another classic Tommy face}

Man we have cute kids.  Happy back to school everyone!  :)

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