Monday, August 30, 2010

oh really?

we were informed by ella:

"i may not have the most stylish clothes. i may not have the prettiest dresses. but i am smart. and i'm a little bit dangerous."
i'm at a loss as to where she came up with this.

anthony says she got it from her mommy. i just can't imagine why he'd say such a thing.


Thursday, August 26, 2010


"ella, can you get your stuff ready for soccer practice this afternoon?"
and she wasn't even trying to be funny...

Friday, August 20, 2010


so tomorrow we head to the big family beach party.

its going to be pretty awesome.
waves, sand castles, s'mores, boisterous italians....

not that i'm trying to rub it in.

(or maybe i am, i guess. what can i say, its pretty rough here in paradise...)

so anthony is getting out the gear to cook up all those italian sausages to perfection.
and he shows bennett and mason the flame. (ella too, but she's hardly impressed)
fascinating stuff, boys and fire.

bennett is completely mesmerized. "whoa.... dad, that is so awesome. maybe some night we can just get that down and burn stuff up."

not that he'd admit it, but his dad just might be thinking the exact same thing.

boys will be boys...

(not to worry, mom. it's not accessible to him and while he may not yet have a healthy fear of flames, he's terrified of going in the dark garage by himself so he won't be out there playing around and starting the house on fire or anything.)

Thursday, August 19, 2010

announcing... homeschooling!

the disappointing thing about announcing on your blog that you have decided to homeschool your kids is missing out on the shocked looks on the listening faces. the jaw dropping... the horrified gasps... the looks of "why don't you just permanently tattoo 'big fat dork' on your kids face"...i love it. it would appear to me there are few things more "controversial" than deciding to educate your kids at home.

and while most everyone in our life is supportive of us (or very good liars), there are some who are confused and more than likely concerned.

and i get it. because if you would have told me 3 years ago i'd be writing this blog post my response would have been:
AHHHH HA HA HAAAA! fat chance!

but here we are.
many people ask us questions and are genuinely curious about our plans. i welcome this and think its great. i love sharing our journey to embracing homeschooling.

there may be some, though, that i encounter who lack verbal filters. or think they know everything.
basically, people like this don't really bother me. in fact, i find them entertaining since they provide excellent blog fodder.

so here is a sampling of some of the questions we get (the ones which are far less
inquisitory and far more accusatory.)

"why on earth would you chose to do such a thing?"

what i want to say:
because i feel like it and its really none of your business.

what i do say: because we are excited about the opportunities we find in homeschooling.
i really enjoy my kids and see it as my responsibility not just to raise them, but to help form their character and instill godly values.

"there really are some good teachers out there, you know."

what i want to say: yes, but they didn't actually give birth to my children and love them their whole lives and have any desire whatsoever to nurture their soul.

what i do say: absolutely. and i'm sure there are many people who would be a much better teacher than me. but not a single one of them would actually love my children more than i do. and this is a life adventure.

"aren't you afraid your kids will be complete freaks?"

what i want to say: not as afraid as i am of them going to hell.
(KIDDING, people. kidding!)

what i do say: nope. and i'm not convinced that the people coming out of public institutions are "normal" and best equipped for life.

"what!?! i sure don't think that's a good idea."

what i want to say
: oh, that's funny, i don't remember asking you.
i don't tell you that you need to put down your fork or spend more time with your kids or check into getting some valium, so maybe keep it to yourself.

what i do say: nothing. i just smile and pretend to be gracious.

so anyhow... this should be an interesting journey, one i'll be sure to document for your reading pleasure.

you may have perceptions of what the ideal homeschool family look likes, all perfect and peaceful and patient...

i'll sure do my best to shatter those illusions and help you realize that you can be completely flawed and God can use you anyway.

and i'll just share one of the favorite responses i hear from others: "well... I could NEVER do that." to which i often say, well, i really can't either. not in my own strength. i'm lazy, impatient, disorganized, uncreative... all which forces me to rely on God and trust him to do things in our family beyond my wildest expectations.

"Many Christians estimate difficulties in the light of their own resources, and thus attempt little and often fail in the little they attempt. All God's giants have been weak men who did great things for God because they reckoned on His power and presence with them."
- Hudson Taylor

oh, and please, DO pray for us...

Friday, August 13, 2010

you look good, you feel good, you do good

one of my favorite teachers was my high school biology teacher.

mr. usher.

he was fun, laid back, sorta hippy-ish.

he actually liked his students and really enjoyed teaching us. and his excitement was contagious.

he had this gigantic oar propped by the back door of the class room. it was the hall pass. as long as it was there, you could take it and leave without asking

he trusted us.

he knew that sometimes you had to go to the bathroom, get a drink, retrieve a book from your locker, or hang out with your friends who just happened to be ditching class.

he understood. he was cool like that.
and besides, everyone knew you were from mr. usher's class. you couldn't exactly blend in dragging that gigantic thing behind you.
and he made a real big deal about finals. he stressed to us to get good sleep and eat a good breakfast. and then on the day of finals, he'd show up dressed in his tuxedo (but still wearing his very worn-in hippy-ish jeans).

his motto: "you look good, you feel good, you do good."

the following years, i always found comfort on finals day when i'd see mr. usher walking the halls in his tux. i liked him. i liked his philosophy.

i often think of this... "you look good, you feel good, you do good."

and i was reminded of it the other day watching ella clean. i'm guessing anything would be fun dressed as a princess. imagine how glamorous i could feel if i wore a gown while loading the dishwasher or folding laundry. if only i could get away with dressing like that all the time.

oh, but i can't.

and here's why:

so ella asked me, "mom, um... is it ok if i'm the queen or would you like to be the queen?"

not really caring but recognizing the need to keep the subordinates in their place i respond with, "well, how about i'm the queen and you are the princess."

"ok." and she seems happy with this.

for a little while.

but after thinking for a bit, she comes back.
"um, well, since you are a mom now, and you really don't have nice clothes anymore, do you think it would be ok if instead i was the queen?"


um, well, i guess you're right. so... sure.

i'll just stick to being the servant. in my stained, out-of-style, faded, old "mom" clothes.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

a good book

why must these people i live with need food?

and drinks of water?

and clean clothes?

and help with things like putting toothpaste on their toothbrush and changing their own diaper?

don't they know that my mind is faraway in england, during world war 2, wondering what on earth will happen to richard? i know, after all, that penelope eventually shares a dreadful ever after with ambrose, but richard is her true love so what on earth happens! i must know!
and what do you mean "what's for dinner?" didn't i just make you a piece of toast this morning?

i love to read. and sometimes (often) an especially good book will force me to forsake everything else in my life. i'm not exactly proud of this fact. the degree of disaster my house is in is often very closely correlated to how enjoyable my current book is.

i love a good story.

love. it.

and i do hope my children develop a hunger for reading and learning. because there is so much waiting to be discovered in a good book.

so, this is what my firstborn has been up to lately:
i find her everywhere with her nose buried in the pages. in the backseat, on her bed, in the backyard, at the park.

notice the book:

"prince caspian" by c.s. lewis.

excellent choice, i think.

especially if you can actually read.

which ella can't.

and yet she occupies so much of her time "reading." she skims each page, each line, each word for the ones she recognizes. she's currently on chapter 3.

and she loves it.

and i can only imagine that if she's this enthralled now with a story made up of words such as "the" "and" "you" "is" "to" and the occasional recognizable proper name (she's still waiting for a character named ella), she's going to blown away with all the many worlds that await her in books.

"You know you've read a good book when you turn the last page and feel a little as if you have lost a friend." ~Paul Sweeney

Sunday, August 1, 2010


the other night we went for ice cream. we got 2 free bowls (because my man is the king of good deals).

this shared between 3 kids isn’t exactly the smoothest, especially with mason and his demanding and persistent shrieking.

so finally bennett says, “i’m all finished. you can have mine, mason.” and he passed his ice cream over with a content smile.

i said, “bennett, you are so sweet. if the world was filled with people like you, everyone would be happy, everyone would get along, there’d be no wars, everyone would share and people would mind their own business.”
he just gave me his big, heart melting grin.

not wanting to leave anyone out i then said, “and mason, if the world were full of people like you, there would be lots of determination, inventions, discoveries, dominations and conflict.”
he looked up at me from his spot, with his arm wrapped tightly around his newly acquired bowl of ice cream and scowled at the spoon i was holding as if to say, “don’t you dare take a bite.”

and of course, “ella, if the world were full of people like you everyone would be doing what they are supposed to, everything would get done, no one would break the rules. the world would be precise and organized.”to which ella naturally responds, “oh, you mean it would be the right way?”

i for one, am grateful for the variety in our family.

"If God had wanted me otherwise, He would have created me otherwise." ~Johann von Goethe