Tuesday, April 13, 2010

How rewarding!

It is very easy for me to get sucked into a works-based faith mindset.

To wonder if bad things are punishment for messing up, and blessings are rewards for doing good.

Even though I don't really believe those things, I sometimes feel that way.  But that is flawed thinking.  The punishment for 'messing up' is dying.  Forever.  

But by grace, through FAITH, I have been promised to live forever.  

And as far as 'doing good'... well... my righteousness is like filthy rags to God.

However, I do believe that God does bless us.  Just because He's Good.  :)

I said all that to say:
I had a little lesson on obedience and rewards this week.

We don't watch much tv in our house.  Maybe 3-4 hours a week?  (We tried to get rid of it, but it came back all by itself.  More on that story another time.)  We hardly ever, ever watch tv in the evenings.  However, there is one show that I enjoy, and the whole family has gathered around for a few weeks to watch.  

But then one week there were several things that made Greg and I wince at the fact that the boys were watching too.  Never mind the fact that being absorbed in the tv was a pretty crummy way to spend the last hour of the day before their bedtime.  And the next day I had the thought that we probably shouldn't watch anymore.  

I didn't want to believe that thought was God's idea or anything, because that would mean giving up the show.  But over the next couple of days He did keep bringing it to mind and I obediently submitted finally gave in. 

Okay.  We wouldn't watch the show anymore.

So... if we were rewarded for 'doing good' you might think that the evening of the tv show (that we didn't watch) we all sat around in our pajamas in a perfectly clean living room, snacking on popcorn and cheerfully playing board games together, right?  

Umm.... no. 

That last hour was wild, chaotic, busy, and messy.

And in the midst of all the chaos, it hit me:

I would be SO FRUSTRATED if I was trying to see & hear a tv show right now.  

The reward I received that night wasn't FOR obeying, it was IN obeying.  

My obedience was the only thing different about that evening.  Had I stubbornly decided to watch that show anyway, would all the chaos have been punishment?  No, it would have been life.  But I would have been stressed, angry, and snappy.

As it was, we happily (for the most part) bumbled our way through the chaos and got everyone to bed feeling loved.

It was a good end to the day, and I learned a huge lesson: 

Just like disobedience often has natural consequences, obedience has natural rewards!

Monday, April 12, 2010


1. Ordered Dale's Singapore Math 1B from ebay.

Failed to notice the workbook originally came in two parts, and this auction only included part two.  

Did not realize mistake until the day said math materials arrived in the mail.

2. Paid 99 cents to download a books of the Bible song from CBD.  

Failed to notice I was purchasing the sheet music instead of the audio download.

Did not realize mistake until I looked up my download in its folder and saw it was a PDF.  

Cannot play piano and drive at the same time.  

3. Had a collision with Alan while carrying 50 pounds of books at waist (his head)  level.

Failed to notice he was there until impact.

Realized my mistake immediately and spent the next 15 minutes holding ice on my poor baby's bloody lip.  

Mercy, I seem to be on a roll!  Keeps a girl humble, that's for sure! :)

Thursday, April 8, 2010

To Grandmother's house we go....

Yesterday I put our ridiculously-full-of-candy Easter basket out of reach on top of the refrigerator.  

On top of all the candy I placed our latest bunch of bananas.  I commented to Greg that maybe, just maybe we'd eat a banana instead of candy when reaching up on top of the fridge.

This brought to mind a memory of his... how at his Dee Dee's house you always had to have a banana (or other piece of fruit) before you could have a cookie.

I've known Greg for 12 years and have never heard that story!

And it got me to thinking about visiting my own grandparents as a kid.

One grandmother always read us Dr. Seuss books.  Reading some of those books to my boys still reminds me of spending the night at their house.  At the same house, an afternoon nap was a staple.  And always with an oscillating fan.  Even today, the sound of an oscillating fan makes me remember nap-time there.

At the other grandparents' house, there was the little green wind-up turtle (and blue wind-up whale) to play with in the bathtub.  I named the turtle 'Her'.  So original.

And I loved asking Nana to play games, not only to play the games, but also because I could count on her answers.  Ask to play 'Sorry' and the answer was "Nope! Sorry!"  Ask to play 'Uno' and she'd say "Oooh, no!"
But if memory serves me correctly we'd end up playing anyway.  If not one of those games, then it might be gin rummy, chinese checkers, or side-by-side playing our own games of Solitaire.  

I even remember visiting my great-grandmother some.  One of the things I remember most about visiting Mammaw was fig newtons in a tin.  :)

I am very blessed to have two sets of living grandparents for my children to get to know and develop their own special memories.  
Nana & Alan, spring 2007

What are your special grandparent memories?

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

When all else fails...

Put up a picture of the baby!

I don't feel the silliness for a nonsense, funny post.

I don't feel the seriousness of a reflective post.

I don't have new pictures (except for Easter) to do a post about the boys or a 'day in the life'.

We've just been living our average little lives.  Trying to get stuff done.  Trying to enjoy the fleeting ages of each of the boys.

Tyler is long past swaddling.  He's three months old this week.  He's almost doubled his birth weight.  He is almost laughing - he gave me a little chuckle or two yesterday.  I traded out the bassinet for the playpen this week, so he can more time stretching out in the "floor" to play, without the risk of being stepped on.  Or wrestled with.  The big boys loved it.  It was like their own little monkey-in-a-cage, right here in the living room.  I have the hardest time keeping his fingernails trimmed short enough, and he often has a little scratch or two on his face.  He usually sleeps about 8-10 hours straight through at night.  He sort of likes a pacifier, but it still isn't a must-have.  Except at church.  And then it's pretty handy.  He's been compared to the Gerber baby more than once.  He still has a head full of hair.  But so did Dale and Alan.  Is he an easy baby?  Yes, yes he is.  Does he make us smile?  Why, yes, he certainly does.  Are we crazy about him?  Absolutely.  Every single one of us!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Just what I need!

I have been looking around me the last couple of weeks and realizing we have too. much. stuff.

So reading the following from Crystal at Money Saving Mom this morning came at just the right time:

Since I love to encourage simple living on my blog and because I also believe you save a lot of time and money by being organized, I thought it would be fun to include you all in my Clear Out the Clutter Challenge.
Starting tomorrow, we’ll be working through our homes room-by-room in an effort to ruthlessly rid our lives of unnecessary things. You’ll get to see real-time before and after pictures of my efforts (yes, I’m even going to show you inside my closets and cupboards–as humbling as that may be!).
I’ll also be sharing ideas for how to streamline your lives, keep things more organized and clutter-free, and how to make money and bless others with your extra stuff. In addition, I’ll be giving away some of my favorite organization resources and tools to some of you who participate in the Clear Out the Clutter Challenge.
Are you with me? Stay tuned for your first assignments tomorrow morning.
 I'll definitely be joining in!  How 'bout you?

Monday, April 5, 2010

Homeschool Links

For a great assortment of homeschooling tips, ideas, & encouragement visit Kris @ Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers.  Kris hosts the Homeschool Showcase every other week and does a great job!

In working through the odds & ends at the end of Dale's math book we've been learning about measuring and weighing.  Today we made our own set of balance scales as seen on Filth Wizardry.

And finally, one of our favorite new sites.... free typing software from BBC!  I decided some while back it would be awfully handy if Dale knew how to type, but certainly didn't want to pay the big bucks for a typing program.  After a little online searching, I found exactly what I had in mind!  For free!  I love that it is self-paced, AND that it doesn't rush the learner or let them move ahead with mistakes.  The downside is that you cannot save your place and come back to it.  If you don't finish a level before leaving, you have to start over next time.  But even that doesn't bother me, because the repetition is good for practice!

Friday, April 2, 2010

School on the road

If you do "homeschool" in the car, does that make it "carschool"?  

...and we all groan aloud at such a poor joke.

Aaaand now we move on to the real purpose of this post:

Making the most of your time in the car.  For free.

We spend around 3 hours a week driving (two 1 1/2 hour trips).  Seeing as how the 6 year old was unfortunate enough to inherit my propensity toward motion-sickness, and the 3 year old can't read yet, and reading while driving isn't exactly ... you know... safe, reading is pretty much eliminated as a traveling pass-time.

There are plenty of other ways to meaningfully fill our time, though.
Here are a few:

 - Music.  I posted about our simple approach to composer study here.   We love listening to music while we ride!

 - Scripture memory.

 - Practice spelling words.

 - Practice math facts.

 - Learn Spanish vocabulary.  How many foods can you name?  How high can you count?  Can you carry on a simple conversation?  We even made up our little ditty recently to learn colors.  To the tune of "Are You Sleeping":
Red is rojo, red is rojo.
Blue azul, blue azul.
Yellow amarillo, yellow amarillo.
Verde, green.  Verde, green.

 - Listen to literature and other 'educational' programs.  Homeschool Freebie of the Day often offers mp3 downloads that easily fill a little time.  Today we drove home listening to a 1950's radio program of The Passion of Christ.... read straight from the Gospels.  We have Shakespeare and other old radio programs lined up for future trips.  The library is another great place to check for audiobooks.

Those are a few of the activities we have evolved into over the past couple of years as we have spent more time on the road.  What are your favorite ways to pass the time in the car?

Thursday, April 1, 2010


I don't know how he manages to get any sleep like this:

But some days he seems to prefer it!