Monday, July 6, 2015

The Importance of Habits

Charlotte Mason and Ambleside Online

Painted by Frederic Yates (public domain)

Charlotte Mason was a British educator who lived from 1842-1923.  Though she never had children of her own, she devoted her life to the education of children.  Thus, she grew to understand the behaviors and tendencies of children very well.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Happy 3rd birthday, Kamryn Joy!

My dear, sweet, little Kamryn,

Happy 3rd birthday!  What a joy you are to our family.

Let's look back.

Monday, June 8, 2015

The Beginning of a Long Journey

Today was the beginning of what will - hopefully - be a very long {and very amazing} journey for us.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Tomorrow We Start

After years of thinking about it and preparing for it, the time has come.

Tomorrow we're going to start school.  For. Real.

I wasn't planning on beginning for a few more weeks.  But then I realized that I could either spend the next few weeks doing more (unnecessary) planning, or I could just start.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Timelines and Twaddle

School starts in less than 7 weeks.  I alternate between excitement and dread on a rotating basis.

Here are my random thoughts lately, in no particular order.


Oh, I need a timeline.  We need to be able to visually see where in time events fell.  Our history curriculum is going to cover Adam and Eve, David, Jesus, Paul, Augustine, lords, knights, castles, Marin Luther, John Calvin, Columbus, the pilgrims, Patrick Henry, George Washington, Dwight Moody, Douglas MacArthur, the Alamo, and many people and events in between.  How will this make sense without a timeline?

Monday, May 11, 2015

Mother's Day and a Tire Swing

Mother's Day morning I heard Kyla get out of bed but then didn't hear anything for a long time.  I figured she went back to bed.  But when she came downstairs, she presented me with a card.  It doesn't matter that it was actually a 5th-birthday birthday card from her grandparents that had a coloring picture on the inside.  She wanted to give me a real card.  So she got up early and very quietly spent a long time coloring the picture so that she could it to me.  It was one of those "I'm gonna save this moment in my mind to smooth over the next time she is goofing around at the table and spills her milk all over the place" moments.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Bugles and Cheese Sticks

Sometimes I like my Kindle.  Other times I love it.  Like yesterday when I went rummaging and needed to keep the kids entertained.  Amazon Prime lets them watch their favorite Wild Kratts and Fireman Sam episodes without an internet connection.  The only drawback?  I may have the Fireman Sam theme song in my head for the rest of the day.

I found a Dooney and Bourke bag for $5.  (Actually only $4.75 since I found a quarter inside it when I got home.)  It looked expensive and well-made and like it could possibly be pretty functional.  I'm pretty sure it's a knock-off and not really worth like $300.  But that's ok since I'd never even heard of Dooney and Bourke bags before yesterday.

Friday, May 8, 2015

The Walk That Didn't Happen

Yesterday afternoon I told Kyla we could take a walk and look for some more asparagus.  We've really been in asparagus-hunting mode lately.  We had picked everything we could find close to the house in the morning, but I told her we could walk farther and look some more after lunch.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Real Life, Uncut.

I have been feeling like I have no time for blogging lately.  Between the giant time machine that I'm attempting to make for VBS and the birthday party I just threw and the Mother's Day gifts I was making and the trips to town for expected and unexpected doctor visits and the ten eggs that need washed and put away every day and the three kids who expect to eat three times a day, I just have no brain energy left to write.

But what I actually mean, is that I have no brain energy left to create cutesy, entertaining, inspiring posts graciously interspersed with perfectly-captured, Photoshop-enhanced photos.


Sunday, May 3, 2015

Happy 1st Birthday, Kiahna!

My little Kiahna Hope.

What a sweetheart you are.

My little I-will-eat-anything-and-everything-I-can-get-my-hands-on-even-if-it-came-out-of-the-trash girl.  My nothing-is-safe-from-me-and-I-believe-that-every-shelf-should-be-empty little pumpkin.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Easter Egg Fun

It was a fun morning coloring Easter eggs at our house.  We tried numerous methods.  My only regret is that I took lots of pictures of eggs and almost no pictures of the Littles who were decorating them!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Dan and Louie

My 5-year-old has two new friends.  Their names are Dan and Louie.  And they're old.

Really old.  They were friends of mine when I was little.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Living the Farm Life

Some days, I bemoan the fact that I can't just make a quick trip to Walmart when I realize I ran myself out of brown sugar.  (Most of the time, Bryan can bring home what I need, though he prefers to not have to stop more than once a week.  :) )

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

On Mornings Like This

It's mornings like this that grace shines through.

When you're up four times before 2 am.

When you argue with your spouse before he leaves for work.

When you're crying alone.

When your child is sitting at the table with fingers in ears in protest.

When strife seems rampant and patience is hard to come by and you want to walk out and slam the door on this day.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

'Cuz What's Cuter Than a Baby in a Bath?

Seeing as how this post is already worth 5000 words, I really don't need to add anything more.  :)

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

View from the Ground

Sometimes, I let the entire day slip by without ever crouching low enough to get a good look at life.  Not today.  Here's what I saw, when I took the time to look.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss

Dr. Seuss books are both Kyla's and my favorite books to read before bed, so when my sis texted me this morning to tell me that it is Dr. Seuss's birthday today, we just had to celebrate.  Despite the cold I've been fighting for several days and the sinus headache that was threatening to crush the bones in my forehead, I hit Pinterest for ideas.

Monday, February 16, 2015

401ks, Tears, and a White Board

On Saturday I was sitting at the table eating breakfast when Bryan arrived home from early-morning men's Bible study.

He mentioned to me that he thought I should consolidate my 401k accounts (from different jobs) so that all my retirement money (sounds like a lot!  It's an itty-bitty-bit) is in one place.

My response?  I started bawling.  "I just don't know what to do!"

He was flabbergasted.  Blown. Away.  What?  Are you sentimentally attached to these accounts?

Then, "Are you sure there's nothing else wrong?"

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Problems Only A Farm Mama Faces

It seems like we're in a constant cycle (ha.ha.) of washing coats, snowpants, and mittens.  The kids get them out of the dryer, put them on and go outside, come back in completely soaked, and put them back into the washing machine.

Today when we pulled the coats out of the dryer, I noticed something in the dryer.  Not a hair tie or a pebble or any of the normal kids-leave-in-their-pocket items.

If I Call, Will You Answer?

Will you turn away from the husband with a thought in his eyes?  Will you miss the smile from a chubby-cheeked baby?  

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Potty-Training and Birthday Cake

I have no idea what made me decide to start hard-core potty training yesterday.  I think it may have had something to do with the fact that I was up a while in the night and was really tired.  Somehow this turned into "My day is shot anyway; I may as well have pee all over the floor, too."

It was literally a decision I made in about 3 seconds.  As I was changing Kamryn after she woke up, I decided I was not going to put a diaper on her.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Kyla, on Your 5th Birthday

My dear, sweet, firstborn daughter.  I can't believe you are five years old!

Bear with me while I reminisce for a bit.  Five years ago...

Daddy and I woke up at 3:30 a.m.  We arrived at the hospital at 4:45.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Take a picture. Save a memory.

Today was a Happy Day at the Bork house.  I didn't have anything pressing that I had to get done.  Cleaned those durn bathrooms yesterday.  (Hate that job.  Don't judge me.)

So I told Kyla that we were going to have a fun day where we could read books, play games, and do whatever else we found that was fun.

Time-Grains Slipping Through My Fingers

The other night, after Daddy put Kyla to bed, he came downstairs to let me know she wanted me to go up and sing her song to her.

Do I wish I'd never started this routine?  No, these moments are precious.  And few.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Kamryn and the Banana

A couple days ago at lunch, I gave Kamryn half of a banana.  She took a couple bites and said she didn't want to eat it.  I informed her she needed to eat it before she got down from the table.  She insisted she did not want to eat it.

So I let her sit.

Monday, February 2, 2015

The Day My Grandma Lived

I saw her breathe in for the very last time.  And breathe out.

I saw the transformation from life to death.  And death to life.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Finding Joy When It's Hidden in the Pile of Dirty Socks

Way too often, I look up and find my joy floating away in the flood of whiny tots, dried bits of play-doh sprinkled on the floor, dishes that never do themselves, and endless meal planning.  Throw in the occasional waves of financial stresses, arguments with my husband, sicknesses, and short nights, and I start to seriously NOT LIKE anyone.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

The Preschool Flyers Club

I'm sure that if my friends see this post, they will think "I'm never letting her watch my kids again!"

But really, who hasn't jumped into a pile of blankets?  This served as great entertainment for our house this morning.  All except for Kiahna who was relegated to the jumperoo because she kept crawling right into the jump zone.

Friday, January 16, 2015

A Day Captured

This was yesterday.  These days are slipping away too quickly.  I needed to capture one and preserve it the best way I know how - with lots of pictures.

I get up at 6 as usual and quietly sneak into the bathroom to take a shower without waking Kiahna.  It was the first night I forced her to go all night without eating.  She did pretty well with it.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Why We've Decided to Homeschool

I think that I've known somewhere deep down since Kyla was a baby that one day I would homeschool this child.  It took me a year or two to mention it out loud and another year or two for us to make the actual decision.  Now that the decision has been made, I find it being affirmed every time I turn around.

Before having kids, the thought of homeschooling was not even briefly entertained.  I wanted my kids to have a "normal" childhood.  Along with many other things, my ideals began drastically changing after that life-altering experience of pushing a human out of my body with the help of a couple good drugs.  

With every passing year, my educational goals for my children have become more clear to me.  Before we start this journey, I want to set out the reasons.  When the days come (and I don't doubt for an instant that they will) that I want to quit and call the yellow bus to stop by in the morning and pick up my kids, I need to have these reasons set out before me to remind me of why we started this in the first place.

So, without further ado, my (our) reasons:

1.  I have a valid excuse for buying books.  Rummage sales, library sales, and are my favorite places to hunt for those previously-loved titles to fill our shelves.

2.  I am selfish.  I want to cherish these years together and not lose precious opportunities for family relationship building.  I want to enjoy leisurely mornings instead of losing our tempers over socks that don't fit right and misplaced backpacks.  I want evenings that are relaxing instead of crammed with homework, baths, and early bedtimes.  I want to witness the transformation from vowels and consonants to words on little faces.  I want to be there and not miss a thing.

3.  It's not that I know more than anyone else or am more qualified to teach my children than anyone else.  It's just that I love my kids more than anyone else.  Because of that, I am more motivated to see them succeed - both academically and as unique individuals who are contributing members of our world.

4.  We live a good distance from any school.  So our two options are hours and hours each week of unsupervised time spent on a bus or driving lots of miles to and from school twice a day.  Neither option is very appealing.

5.  I am very leery of the Common Core standards and curriculum.  I am even more leery of the hidden objectives of those who are pushing Common Core into our school systems.  You can read my 3-part blog series here or - better yet - listen to the experts interviewed by Dr. James Dobson by going here.  I will not - at this point - voluntarily send our children to an institution more or less run by Bill Gates - who was quoted in TIME as saying, "It's possible, you can never know, that the universe exists only for me.  If so, it's sure going well for me, I must admit."

6.  We have been given (and by that, I mean loaned) our children for a short time.  God has entrusted us to raise them in the best way we know how, doing all for His glory.  For us, that means home-based education.  Our pastor preached a sermon this last Sunday about bringing the Gospel home.  His scripture reading was Deuteronomy 6:4-9:

4 Listen, O Israel!  The Lord is our God, the Lord alone.  5 And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength.  6 And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today.  7 Repeat them again and again to your children.  Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up.  8 Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders.  9 Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.  [emphasis added]
How can we repeat them again and again to our children if we only see them for just a few short hours every day?

When I looked this scripture up on Bible Gateway, it brought the text up in the New Living Translation, which is what I copied here.  I think it's great.  The heading for the sixth chapter of Deuteronomy was "A Call for Wholehearted Commitment."  Boy, I love that.

We are Wholeheartedly Committed.
  • To provide a secure base from which all sorts of learning adventures can happen.
  • To introduce academic and life instruction in a manner that fosters a love for learning.
  • To center our lives and our education around Christ and His teachings.
  • To devalue "normal" and encourage creativity, kindness, and respect.
Homeschooling is NOT for everyone.  If you're reading this post and feeling like I am saying we are better - or love our kids more - or are more committed to our kids - or want our kids to succeed more - than someone else, you are misunderstanding me completely.  Public school is absolutely the best option for lots of families.  Not homeschooling one's kids doesn't make a parent any less devoted to his or her kids.  There are some AWESOME teachers out there, and I happen to be the sister of one of them.  Those kids are so lucky to have her as a teacher.  We may choose to go the public school route at some point in the future.  For now, we just don't think it's for us.  Don't judge me, and I won't judge you, ok?

I have the feeling that I will at some point write a post entitled "Why I Am Not Your Average Homeschool Mom."  Key points will be:  1.  I love having my babies in a hospital.  I don't want to leave.  They have to kick me out.  2.  I vaccinate my kids.  On schedule.  3.  My kids went to daycare and enjoyed it while I went to a job that I loved.  It was great.
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