Momma Mel

Rest.

May 15, 2017
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I had been having a lot of trouble lately with attitudes towards schooling. The big kids were burnt out, the younger kids were wanting more attention, and yes, I was (am) ready for a break also. We school year round and our last break was for Christmas. So for the past several weeks we have done nothing ‘school’. No sit down lessons, no memorization, no narration- just taking some time to free our minds and have a reset.

So now on week three, I find my oldest daughter painting watercolor pictures of flowers she has seen in the yard, writing letters to her family members, and reading good books in a reading nook outside in the fresh air. My oldest son has discovered a love for taking apart electronics (still working on the putting them back together), reading how-to manuals, and all sorts of outside adventures. The younger two have been thriving in the slower paced rhythm of our lives and enjoying the trips to the park and the zoo. All four kids have developed an appreciation for tea with Mom, and we have had time for some deep conversations and lots of belly laughs.

We will get back to the formal education soon, but this rest time has taught me some important lessons. While there is a definite need for structure and our official lessons, they are learning so much by following their hearts. It has done us all good to take a step back from the daily grind, and see where the day takes us. Giving them and myself permission to deviate from our schedule has opened up so many new adventures, and has blessed us in many ways. In the words of Ferris Bueller, ‘Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it’

 

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Faithful

March 9, 2016
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Let me tell you how faithful God is.
Saturday morning I attended a small group bible study with some of the other moms that attend my church. One of the thoughts that kept coming up was that God grows us through trials, and that He guides us gently through them.
Saturday night, I rip off the door of the van. Again. We had gone to look at two different vans the night before to replace Old Bessie, but one had sold, and one had ended up in the shop. The door to Bessie was NOT going back on this time, and I had no further leads on a vehicle in our price range that was big enough to fit our family and would be reliable for us. As I tried to keep my kids calm and figure out what the next step should be, my mom went inside to find some help for my dad- who was making a valiant effort to reattach the door that I hulked off.
God worked it out that the people who came out to help had a relative that was selling a SUV in our price range, and put us in contact with them. My mom talked to them and got their information, David called on his break from work and set up a meeting for Sunday, and I tried not to get my hopes up.
Fast forward to today. I have a SUV that is in FANTASTIC shape. I can safely drive my kids around. The doors don’t fall off, and there is no trick I need to use to shut any of them. It runs quietly and doesn’t sound like it is going to shake into pieces. We all fit in it and are comfortable.
God is so good. He uses the people around us in awesome ways. He takes the rough times and uses them to draw us closer to Him. He hears our desperation, and says, “I’ve got this.” He provides in ways that are surprising and awe inspiring. He uses things like the door falling off of the van to lead us to the vehicle He had in mind for us.
Isaiah 40:11- He will feed His flock like a shepherd; He will gather the lambs with His arm, and carry them in His bosom, and gently lead those who are with young.

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Ah, Life.

February 9, 2016
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I seem to have what is known as an easily distracted personality. I keep running off, living life, and not blogging for over a year while crazy things happen like getting pregnant with kid four, having severe hyperemesis and dropping 30lbs during that pregnancy, buying a house and moving in while 8 months pregnant (and still throwing up every day) and having a wonderful baby girl.

We still aren’t unpacked.

I have done very little decorating.

We’ve been here over six months now.

I feel like I am just now starting to get back on my feet, and have been desperate for some creative outlet. So lucky you, lucky me, I stumbled back across my little blog. It will be sporadic. It will be random. I will probably end up writing for a while and then running off after another shiny pastime for a year, but for now, for this time, I’m back. I don’t really expect many people to read this, so I guess it’s good I’m writing more for myself, huh?

 


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This is what happens when you have a hunter for a dad

December 10, 2014
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My dad received a call from a friend about a deer that needed to be processed. Since my dad was raised in northern Missouri as an outdoorsman and has been hunting and cleaning game since he was a child, he is the go-to guy for situations like this. The following conversation is as close to verbatim as I can get, since I heard it second hand.

Micah: Where you going, Pappy?

Pappy (my dad): Going to skin a deer that my friend shot.

Micah: (with huge eyes) a reindeer?

Pappy: (laughing) Sure!

Micah: (with even bigger eyes) But…um…was it…in front of a sleigh?!?

-Now at this point you can see where this conversation is going. So what do you think will happen here? Will the grown up man who has raised two daughters choose to A) reassure the emotional four year old that, no, his friend didn’t shoot one of Santa’s reindeer or B) continue on and see how far he can take it. Sooooo-

Pappy: Well, yes, it was!

Riley and Micah: WHAT?!?! He shot one of SANTA’S REINDEER???

Riley: Santa’s going to have a really hard time delivering presents since your friend shot one of his reindeer!

Pappy: Well, I hope he can still make it!

Now, I would have been totally oblivious to this lovely conversation, if my darling four year old hadn’t come up to me letting me know that Pappy’s friend shot one of Santa’s reindeer (he thought it might have been Rudolph) and Santa wasn’t going to be able to bring any presents this year. I calmly explained that it was highly unlikely that Pappy’s friend shot one of Santa’s reindeer, or a reindeer at all, since he was probably hunting in Kansas or Missouri, and the reindeer were much much farther north than mid-America. He probably shot a white-tail deer, because that is the type of deer we have in our area. After a hug, he was off to enjoy HIS BIRTHDAY (oh, yeah, didn’t I mention it was on his fourth birthday?) and I had to laugh a little bit, then make a point to talk to my dad when he got back from taking care of the deer.

Micah, Riley, and my dad had a long talk about what habitats and environments different types of deer live in today, and my dad made an agreement not to hunt any deer who could fly.

Thank goodness.


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Friday Fun Day

October 17, 2014
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On Fridays, I am flat out exhausted. We have been homeschooling all week, plus normal household/mommy/life activities, so by the time the weekend comes, I am ready to cut out a bit early. We try to do a different fun activity- so far we have built a teepee in the backyard, had a tea party for dolls, baked LOTS of treats, and had a lot of dress up and imaginative play. For our Friday fun day today we are having a lego theme. We got a free Redbox rental from their promotion they have going on right now, so my hubby picked up the Lego Movie for the kids to watch today. This morning we used a hanger and some twine to measure weight with legos- we tied an object on one end of a hanger, and then tied a piece of twine around the other side to attach the legos. We had a little trouble with the lego side slipping out of the knot I tied- guess I need to brush up on my knot skills! We then measured how tall objects were with legos, sorted by color, counted legos, and Ri made a bar graph using the data she collected. We are reading about Moses in the Bible, and learning about the Egyptians- so the kids built pyramids out of legos! For lunch, I made sandwiches (with the crust cut off, of course) and a cheese stick sliced up and put on top to make lego shaped sandwiches. Now the older two are watching The Lego Movie as I head off to get the youngest to nap. Maybe a bit of coloring themselves as a lego person after the movie? I don’t know- as long as it doesn’t take too much brain power, I’m down for it.

I am needing to finish the boys’ halloween costumes today if I can- how can Frozen still be so popular that I have Elsa, Kristoff, and Olaf wannabes for Halloween this year?


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Our First Breakdown

September 25, 2014
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I had my first mega breakdown about homeschooling yesterday. Filled with self doubt (and a healthy dose of guilt) I called my sister (a homeschooling mom of three for several years) to ask for help/wisdom/commiseration. You see, my daughter has a periodic fever disorder- not sure which one yet, the doctors are thinking it is PFAPA- meaning she gets fevers, sore throats, headaches, and painful joints and muscles every month. EVERY MONTH. Like clockwork, every fourth Monday, her temp shoots up around 103/104, she is in pain, she cries. It lasts for three full days, and then usually by Thursday she wakes up feeling totally normal. It could be worse, I know, but it still sucks. So due to this totally unwelcome interruption into our already crazy lives, we have already had six planned school days with no school being able to be done. In addition to that, we have all had bronchitis this past week, so three additional days were out.

SO. Of course I am feeling like 1) I am not doing enough school to meet the requirements and 2) that Riley is not learning enough to ‘keep up’ with her classmate equivalents. My sister talked me ‘off the ledge’ before I dove headfirst into the stress-guilt-giving up cycle that I have a tendency to go into. There were several key things she said that resonated with me, and I’ll share them here:

STOP COMPARING YOUR KID TO SOMEONE ELSE. They are unique. They learn at their own pace. They will eventually get to where ever they need to be. If you need to have a ‘slower’ school week, it is fine. Remember, homeschool kids don’t get snow days!

IF SOMETHING ISN’T WORKING, IT’S OKAY TO CHANGE IT UP. Math is hard for me. Trying to keep my math whiz challenged is really hard. Since I have one who loves to do school on the computer, she recommended trying out Khan Academy for a more formal curriculum. So far (granted- it is just day one) she loves it. For a free program, I am really impressed- and can see myself using it more and more as the kids get older.

IT’S OKAY TO FEEL OVERWHELMED. Homeschooling is a tough adjustment, and most homeschooling parents have had at least one occasion of feeling that way. Right? Right? *crickets*

and finally, something I knew already but really needed the reminder of- DO WHAT IS BEST FOR YOUR KID. Don’t try to force something that isn’t working because it is the way other people do it. Take the time to explore the origin of the numerical system (my kid) or the inner anatomy of a human abdomen (my sister’s youngest).

But for real, it is so nice to have someone to talk to who has been there (too bad she is way far away). I’m still trying to find a co-op around us, or at least some like-minded parents to get together with while our kids play and learn. I have a couple of leads that I’d like to check out once we get healthy again. Why does it feel like setting up a blind date? Social anxiety is for the birds lol.


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New Adventures

August 26, 2014
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We have jumped feet first into the crazy world called homeschooling, or home educating, or as I like to call it- following our passions wherever they take us and making it look good on paper. Our oldest is technically the age of a kindergarten kid, but she has already passed the ‘end of kindergarten’ assessment tests, SO. On to first grade! 

We have been loosely following the Ambleside Online curriculum, a free online curriculum based on the Charlotte Mason method. We love the use of older books, and the focus on nature and actively participating in education. Her favorite part of the day is her nature study- we have only been in school for a week, and her journal is filling quickly! We have also been following the delight-directed learning method. We have been doing some pretty fun research and projects on biomes, habitats, and animals. Don’t be surprised if you find us at the nature center, zoo, or a farm!

So far my favorite part of homeschooling has been the ability to live our lives and learn everywhere we are. Yesterday we had a dentist appointment for the older two kids, and once the dental hygienist heard we were homeschoolers, she gave Ri a lesson on teeth and dental health right there! We’ve had lessons at the store, in the backyard, in the car, at a farmer’s market. Intentionally incorporating learning into every part of our lives has been an eye opener for me. I am amazed at the learning opportunities I have let slip past me in the past few years! 

A few websites we have found to be fun supplements:

storylineonline.net – celebrities read stories! Betty White, Elijah Wood, and many others are on the website reading some fun books. This has been really good for us when I need to do something with the younger kids.

sharemylesson.com – lots and lots of lesson plans and activities for free. I found several on map making I plan on incorporating soon!

That’s all for now! Thanks for joining us on our new adventure!

 

 


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What am I going to do with all this candy?

November 1, 2013
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Happy Day After Halloween! Today is the day that my kids sleep in (well, until 7. That’s sleeping in for them) and I am struck by the fact that we have a TON of candy. So what can I do so we don’t still have Halloween candy by the time Easter rolls around? Well, this morning Kid Two and I made Leftover Candy Pancakes.

We made our normal pancake mix, with a little extra vanilla (Kid Two is not quite three, so baking with him is NOT an exact science). Then he peeled the wrappers off four or five Three Musketeers fun size candy bars. I chopped them up- just a rough chop, nothing fancy.

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Into the mix they went! Kid two is a very enthusiastic stirrer, so after cleaning up the coffee maker and can opener, I put some pancakes on the griddle.

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Delicious! By the time the pancakes were done, picky eater Kid One was awake- and devoured two of them. Success! The melty, chocolatey goodness hit the spot this morning.

Now, as for the rest of the candy, we may be turning some of them into ‘Thank You’ bags and delivering them to people we encounter while on our errands- cashiers, baggers, sales associates, police men, pastors, teachers- the list goes on! I try to teach my kids thankfulness year round, but really emphasize putting their thoughts into action during this season.

What will you do with the extra candy you have this year? Other than eat it, of course!


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Let’s Talk

May 20, 2013
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I was all set to do another review of a Pinterest recipe (maybe next time) when I felt the need to have some ‘real talk’.

I have a four and a half year old daughter, a two and a half year old son, and a three week old son. The older two don’t watch a lot of tv- they prefer to run around playing pretend, or paint, or read, or beat each other up while screaming- can’t win them all, right? However, I’m really concerned with what is being put into my kids’ minds when they do watch tv. I watch the kid shows with them, and don’t really have issues with them (except for the annoyance factor- Caillou has got to be one of the most annoying toddlers ever, and Spongebob is outlawed in my home). What I’m concerned with is the commercials.

There have been some funny moments stemming from Riley watching infomercials and then running to tell her daddy that if he calls RIGHT NOW he can get TWO wallets in brown and black for one low price! And it can get wet, and run over, and be just fine! And then there was the time we were in the baby aisle picking up some diapers when she went all crazy about Pediasure, telling me ‘if I drink this, my mother doesn’t have to worry about my nutrition!’ I kept explaining to her that I WAS her mother, and I wasn’t concerned about her nutrition since she mostly eats fruits and other healthy things. But then there are the ones that instead of making me smile or laugh, make my heart hurt. Like when she quotes a commercial about teeth whitening: if you’re not whitening, you are yellowing! Or when she quotes a commercial for a weight loss aid: eating less is a beautiful thing.

We talk almost daily about focusing on being beautiful on the inside, and not focusing on being pretty on the outside. We talk about how to be beautiful in the eyes of God, and how if you act ugly, it doesn’t matter how pretty the outside appears. But I’m feeling like a single voice screaming against society. How do we keep our kids focused on the truth when everywhere they turn they are confronted with crap? I don’t think isolation is the answer, as much as I want to bubble wrap my kids. The opposite is also not an option, because embracing the worldview of outward beauty being what matters is not acceptable to me. I guess lots of continued conversations about true beauty. Using everyday happenings to reinforce that what is inside is what matters. Prayer. Lots and lots of prayer.

According to the National Eating Disorder Association, “between 40 and 60 percent of children ages 6 to 12 are concerned about their weight or becoming too fat, and 70 percent would prefer to be thinner” (see article here). In the same article, I read that 80% of 10 year old girls have been on a diet. Yikes! Be aware, parents- body image is a big deal for boys and girls, and it starts YOUNG. Keep the lines of communication open, and be aware. Be aware of what they are watching, be aware of what they are doing, and be aware of what they are hearing- from the media, and from you.


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Pregnancy Rant

April 15, 2013
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So in ten days the newest member of my family arrives- and I’m so excited to meet this little one! Having a newborn is such a crazy, stressful, exciting, thrilling, exhausting time. I’m pumped to be able to hold this kiddo in my arms instead of in my belly. I’m excited to see the baby’s little face and hands and toes and see if this one looks more like me or the hubby- I’m guessing hubby since the other two take after him already.

You know what I won’t miss? The comments. I’m not talking about the things family will say (‘you STILL havent picked a name out?’) or the well meaning things I’ve heard from friends (‘Oh, you are getting so HUGE! I wonder how long it’ll take you to look normal again?’) I’m talking about complete strangers making comments on ‘you young mothers having too many kids to take care of and depending on tax payers to take care of them’, ‘my children never acted like that, and you are adding another one?!?’ and ‘I hope you are done after this one, three is too many already’ or this little gem ‘oh, honey, when God said to be fruitful and multiply, I’m sure He didn’t mean for you to do it all yourself’. I mean, I will be 28 in May, I’ve been married since 2006, and my husband works his tail off so I can stay home with our kids. I try to ignore things people say, and thankfully for the people saying things they have yet to make a comment that my four year old hears- my momma bear would come out at that point! But seriously, World- keep your opinions to yourselves! There is no way to know by a chance meeting in the library, grocery store, park, wherever, what a person’s history is or what their life is like. So give people the benefit of the doubt, smile at that young looking pregnant mom wrestling with one kid to keep them in the cart in the line at the store while another kid is pulling on her shirt to ask why that person’s hair is sticking up so high and dyed pink, and give her a break. Because that momma is already dealing with a million things, and really doesn’t need any additional negativity, or your opinion on their life. And because someday that momma might be you.


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About author

A little bit about me- I am a Mom and a Wife as my full time job. We are a homeschooling family with four kids. I love Jesus, reading, crafting, tea, and nerdy stuff.

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