June 02, 2016

Ransom Reviews: Indian in the cupboard

Friends, I'm here to share Ransom's first book review with you all. We finished his first "summer" book yesterday and I said, "Hey, Ransom lets do a video book report!" and that is all the instructions I gave. I thought it was funny that he introduced himself so professionally!

Anyway, I needed this little bright spot in my day since our brand new (very expensive) A/C went down in the middle of the night last night apparently do to a "loose wire" according to the repair guys. Um. Not ok.

Also, Justice was up half the night being upset about Life. At least that's what I'm going to assume the reason was-  I spent $25 for a doctors visit just to prove that he wasn't upset about anything that requires medicine. Money well spent (!?) That said, he's now in his room taking a nice, lovely nap and I'm having to be all adult and not nap because of the whole "having other children" business. Unfair.

Annnnywho, hope you enjoy Ransom's review. For anyone who's actually read The Indian in the Cupboard, do you find it interesting that Ransom does not mention ANY of the pretty stressful, high-suspense moments?! What does that say about him?! Let's psychoanalyze him in the comments section, shall we?! ( JUST KIDDING!)

June 01, 2016

Summer reading fun!

So, as we head into summer something that we will NOT be stopping around our house is read-aloud-books! If there is anything I feel suuuuuper passionately about its reading aloud to my children. I've got a MAJOR soapbox issue when it comes to reading and I believe the reason so so many kids today struggle with it and downright don't enjoy reading is because they were not read TO enough! ( which is a TRAGEDY!):

Personally, I think reading to our children, or rather just having books read to our children* is the absolute best way for our kids to gain a desire to read more ( they realize what they're "missing" and want to practice reading more) and better. After all, if they're just familiar with books on their own reading level ( aka often very short, not very developed plot wise, usually not particularly captivating ) then they're never going to really have a desire to work harder to get to all of the AMAZING books that are out there!!!

But first let's get to that asterisk* : Reading out loud is actually not just the 'act of reading words on a page in an out loud voice.' It is SO MUCH MORE THAN THAT.  You also have to think about what the listener is hearing, you have to master inflection ( scary passages in a scared voice, happy passages with an upbeat rhythm etc, ) and speed ( not too fast, not too slow).  And as it turns out not a lot of people know this, or have taken the time to practice. Because, yes, it takes practice. I know for a FACT that I have gotten better at reading aloud to children since having my own children. Practice does indeed make perfect, or it at least shows you areas that you need to work on. If your kid keeps getting up and walking away then MAAAAYBE just maaaaybe its not the book that is boring ( although, to be fair, that's possible too) but maybe its your monotone reading voice. But, don't worry....if  dramatic reading is not something you're up for then please PLEASE do not think that read-aloud books are not for you and your kids! In fact, don't even feel like this is some kind of great fault! Not everyone is cut out for dramatic reading, but have no fear, thanks to modern technology read-aloud books can be in your future too!
Studies say that kids who see their Dad's reading and are read to by their father's are more likely to read themselves. 
Crazy. But apparently true. 

Start by, thinking about the time you spend in the car (Everyone with one of those awful built in DVD players in their car, PUT THEM AWAY! You are WASTING perfectly good car time! *unless you're on vacation for hours and hours in which case, lets all watch Kung Fu Panda 1-3 please and thank you) Instead, hit up your neighborhood library and check out a million and one books on CD! I promise, that if you start by doing it in the car ( where your child is already strapped in) then your child will also be 'trained' in being a good book listener ( because yes it does take practice to be a listener too! Ransom started out not loving it, but only doing it so he could get screen time...now we're at the point where he doesn't even get the screen time any more but just asks for more chapters! AAMAAAAAZZZZING!) . Pretty soon you and your kids will all be delving into a wonderful world of books too!!!
Not a chapter book exactly, but we do a lot of reading for all ages around here. 

Ok! So those who are ready to start practicing reading aloud, the good news is that most of the books that are great for being "starter" read aloud books ( fast paced, fun, short chapters) are also pretty easy to read....so you and your kids can grow together! And also those of you who just want to hit up the audio books-that's great too! Or hey a great mix of both is also wonderful! I know this summer I plan on doing both!! ...now I'll just say there are a BUNCH of great reading resources that have good reading lists for kids divided by age group particularly on Pinterest. But for fun, and also because this way I will have my list in one easy to reach place, here is the tentative list of the books we'll be reading this summer:

We even read on vacation!! 

The Indian in the Cupboard ( we're currently reading this and Ransom HATES it when I stop reading...we're reading about 3 chapters a day and he's pleading for more).

So there you go! These are the books I've come up with for our summer reading, and I probably need to add just one or two more to fill up the summer at the rate we are going! I think I'm going to do a little blogging project with Ransom after we've finished with each book- maybe a little video book report or something, I haven't decided yet, but it'll be fun ( and probably funny!) so stay tuned! 
Also, let me know if you have any great titles on YOUR reading list for the summer that you're excited to read/listen ! I'd love to hear about them and maybe read along with you! 

I wear a lot of white shirts while reading out loud apparently....

May 26, 2016

A couple of very important life lessons:

Look how little they were exactly one year ago on moving day! 

A few days ago we celebrated ONE YEAR of being in our house!! WHAAAAAT!?!?! Thanks Timehop for letting me know! Honestly, things were SO crazy a year ago with renovations and packing and being pregnant that I hadn't kept the exact day in my memory banks- its hard enough to remember THREE KIDS birthdays. Whew! Tough stuff. 
So thanks to my time hop app I learned that we'd been doing life in our house for a whole 366 days. Of course, come to find out, the house itself clearly remembered that it had been exactly a year because it chose that day exactly to give us the typical first anniversary gift, and allow the HVAC to go the way of the ghost and start leaking water into our garage. We then learned several things: 

1. Our warranty company had lied to us the year before when we'd questioned them about the A/C-saying that we thought it might need replacing. They'd said "ooooh noooo, its totally fine!"  Ok. Just kidding. Maybe "lie" is a strong word. Maybe when they look at something that's totally rusted out they think that actually means "could probably survive another year."- poTAto/PoTAAAto. 

2. When the house was inspected only one year before they'd failed to mention that the A/C was not up to code- and had RANDOM venting and piping going into crazy-and unhealthy places. Like, say, our guest bathroom ( venting) and the garage ( piping). Cool. Very cool. Sorry Bro-in-law who lived in our guest suite for about 7 months, hope you don't have any long lasting effects of the weird venting business. EEEEKKK! 

3.Apparently our savings account was about to be depleted. like whoa. HVACs are Not. Cheap. 

So, so much learning. So much growing as a person. Honestly, could it GET any better when it comes to being all grown up!?!! I submit not! When you're playing house when you're 7 years old THESE were the moments I tried to replicate: vetting a/c repair companies and trying to decide just how much money you can afford to give over up front and how much you're going to have to be forced to pay over time. YAY! That's exactly how I played house as a kid. *sigh* 

As I joked with Brett, I'm SO glad that we decided to go away to the beach last weekend because its clearly the last VACAY we're having for a long while.

 ( side note: I hate debt. The first debt we'd had since we were very first married was buying our house last year, I kept telling myself that having a house note is NOT THE SAME THING, but in my mind it is and I won't be fully happy again until we don't have any debt at all, that said, sometimes your A/C dies and you live in a city where you need an A/C 10 months out of the year and those apparently cost a fortune and you have to go into debt for that...and apparently a lot of people think debt is no big deal, but it will seriously eat away at me until this is paid off...so sorry, that's just me making a mountain out of a mole hill. Promise I will now stop complaining about my little bitty problems. Sigh. )

Speaking of, have you ever taken a "quick weekend vacation" with three kids under the age of 6?! Its cool. real cool. But seriously. I've learned a couple of things that will make that vacation a success and here they are: 

1. Don't get a hotel room! You can find a beach house for the same price, sometimes cheaper! Airbnb, Vrbo, they all make it SUPER easy to find something that'll fit your needs. 

2. Make sure said beach house has a LAUNDRY ROOM. I did 4 loads of laundry in two days. Basically every time we went to the beach I did a load of laundry. It reduced the sand and grossness of the beach aspect by 1 trillion points. Also, kids, they seriously make a lot of laundry! This made returning home a few days later a breeze because laundry was already done. boom. 

3. Take basic groceries and a million billion snacks along.  Taking groceries, even going to a legit grocery store ( not just a corner store where the cost of milk is the cost of a small midsize sedan) while on vacation can really cut costs. And my kids are just always better behaved when they have eaten their weight in Pirates Booty. ( Do you not know about Pirates Booty?!? Its basically the #1 mom approved junk food of toddlers everywhere, go buy yourself a bag as big as your body at costco and thank me later). 

4. Don't forget the pack n' play. I'm not pointing fingers at anyone, but this happened and we had to drive 30 minutes to the nearest Wal-Mart to buy a new one. Oooops. But at least it was much more fun going to Wal-Mart on vacation then on just a normal day, right?!?! ( I also bought donuts and muffins and Tabitha complimented me on my shopping skills, she's clearly been judging my bad grocery shopping silently from the cart for 3 years, apparently I've been "over buying" when it comes to all those fruits and veggies and good proteins I've been insisting on purchasing all these years. ha!) 

5. Get a house that has a giant TV so that your kids will wake up extra early because they are SO EXCITED about watching cartoons on the giant TV. Sigh. 

6. Thanks to having a beach house 2 minutes from the beach we would put swim suits on the kids before we left the house and just pack a pair of underwear for the end of the day, we'd then just pull off swimsuits next to the van ( discretely hiding under towels etc) and they'd ride home in undies to take a serious shower. Yup. Our kids stripped down in our van and rode around in their undies. We are AWESOME. 

7. Get a fully detailed car clean when you get home. Seriously, it will be needed, even though we did the whole "ride home in your undies" thing there was still plenty of sand and crushed gold fish in our van....also, I hear that salt water is bad for your car?!?! So drop a chunk o' change and get that sweet ride detailed. But also, it took 2 and a half hours!!!! WHAAAAAT!?!?!? Clearly they had never seen a car so dirty....

So there you go!! Hopefully you gleaned a few little life lesson nuggets from this post- or at the very least got a laugh or two at our expense. If you enjoyed this, feel free to send me a check for a million dollars. Kidding, kidding....but really. For the first time EVER I'm considering selling my soul to the Mommy Blogger wagon....  But don't worry, I will resist and you'll continue to read my blog for unsolicited and unsponsored opinions because that's just the kind of lazy/nice I am. 

May 24, 2016

We did it!! Homeschooling year in review!

Tonight I threw a little "end of school party" for the kids and some of our homeschool friends! It mostly started because I bought some of those amazing water balloons that fill up like 50 of them in a minute flat ( man, I'm a SUCKER for those things! They are as much fun to me as they are to the kids! haha!) and it quickly morphed into a full on water party in our back yard. It ended up being SO much fun with ten kids running around making our back yard into a lake. And I'm so glad we did it because homeschool kids need an end of the year party too!!

Plus, I feel like celebrating! I honestly cannot believe we were able to accomplish so much this year considering we also had a BABY in the smack middle of the year! WHEW! But accomplish we did, Ransom can now read about 50+ sight words and has a strong understanding of sounding words out. He has mastered the Level 1 readers in the Learn-to-Read section of the library ( best way to describe it) and has really learned to love reading by way of being read TO ( which in my opinion is the biggest accomplishment!). Together we've read about 10 chapter books this year. He's also learned to add and subtract numbers from 1-10, tell basic time ( mostly just the hours and the quarter and half hours...still struggling with the minutes a bit), basic graphing and number line work. He can count to 100 and understands and can work with 10s and ones.
We've learned about half a dozen different countries and their culture and geography. He's learned about maps and flags and some basic knowledge of the United States as well as our home state of Texas.

As far as "Knowledge" goes I feel like we did a pretty good job of mastering kindergarten. And yet....

There are some things that we're struggling with. Things that in the end have helped us to make the decision to send Ransom to Kindergarten again. This time it'll be at the local elementary school right down the street. While I still second guess our decision I am ultimately excited to see what next year will bring. For one thing, I know that only GOD truly knows why this was the right call for Ransom for next year, and I'm interested to see how that reveals itself. For instance, this past year, if you'll remember-I wondered WHY God made it clear that homeschooling was the way to go especially since I was going to have a baby! Well, that became all to clear when we spent a week in the hospital with Justice and Ransom and Tabitha were able to not worry about missing any school! God is so faithful!

In the end what really helped me make up my mind regarding our decision to send Ransom to public school next year was when I finally sat down and made a list of the goals I had for him to accomplish. Of my goals for him for next year only ONE of them was academic ( read  fluently)- the rest were things like: Learn to be OK when the schedule changes and is different from what he expects. Learn to get along with a larger verity of people. Learn to be OK being alone in a room for any length of time. Learn to play by himself. Have greater understanding of people from different backgrounds.

Now, I'm not saying that these goals for Ransom will be accomplished at public school, and I also reserve the right to call it a big fat failure and take him out of school after a month! But the bottom-line is that with a few of those goals I HAVE tried a lot of things to help Ransom and we've gone backwards instead of forwards ( for instance the not wanting to be alone in a room has only gotten worse as the year has progressed!) and so I am curious, as the door to public school stands open to us, if it will benefit Ransom in these areas of struggle and growth. Also, since Ransom will only be turning 6 a week before school starts, it seemed like a good idea to give him the "head start" of having to not necessarily worry about any of the academic stuff this next year while he deals with a lot of the more emotional elements of being in school. In that regard I feel very good about having this next year be his "official" kindergarten year!

So there it is! I do hope that homeschooling is something that we do again the future, and even though, I'm not gonna lie, the idea of having a bit more "freedom" in my own day sounds kinda amazing and having hopefully a little more emotional capital to give to my kids by the end of the day sounds pretty incredible too ( homeschooling has been an EMOTIONAL roller coaster! whew!), I know that this is something we will return to again as an option by the end of next year! ( This whole each year, each child method might get a bit tiring for you readers so maybe I'll spare you the emotional will they/won't they upheaval next year!)

And incase you're curious: Next year Tabitha will be doing a two days a week/3 hour preschool at the Doseum . THIS I am SO excited about! I know she is going to absolutely loooooove having her very own 'activity' to do and a place to spend with new friends. She's definitely my little social butterfly and I can't wait to watch her spread her wings a bit more this next year!

But don't forget, by August when all this supposed schooling starts I'll have an active and mobile 10 month old to keep me busy at home. Wouldn't want me to good bored or anything ;-)

Dear Family and Friends, I love being able to share our plans with you as well as some of the reasons why we choose what we choose for our children. Do keep in mind that I don't always share ALL our reasoning, however. And I know that you'll trust Brett and I to make the best decisions for our family. However sharing at least in part here on my blog is something I do because I also love to hear your thoughts and challenges and stories too! I was so pleased with the support I received last year when we decided to homeschool-from parents who did the same and also from parents who chose to send their kids to school, it was refreshing to remember that we each have different kids, different lives and different situations, but we ALL have loving our kids and wanting the best for them in common! I hope to see the same support from you all this year as well! And as always, thank you for loving and cheering us on! We feel it!

May 18, 2016

How to ( not) write a book: 25 easy steps

Step 1. Your wonderful husband is working the late shift today, meaning you got to sleep in a little bit and he helped out with the kids all morning. SCORE!

Step 2. Now, its 12:30pm and you aren't emotionally exhausted and drained of all life force and yet its almost nap time. Things are looking good!

Step 3. Put baby down for nap.

Step 4. Take toddler to potty.

Step 5. See pile of towels half way put away on the counter and remember you have laundry in the washer.

Step 6. Run and switch out the laundry

Step 7. Read stories to toddler and 5 year old.

Step 8. Put toddler down for rest time.

Step 9. Run around house finding her blanket and stuffed animal for her.

Step 10. Tell 5 year old that his "quiet time is starting"

Step 11. Tell him to stop following you around the house. QUIET TIME HAS STARTED.

Step 12. Realize you're incredibly thirsty. Probably because you haven't had anything to drink since your morning coffee at 8am. Oops

Step 13. Get yourself glass of water, realize lunch things are still all over the counter. BUT NO! You are focused! You WILL work on your book edits today!!



Step 16. Realize your computer is dead.

Step 17. Track down cord for computer.

Step 18. Settle into chair with computer and cord.

Step 19. Realize you left glass of water and baby monitor in room with 5 year old. Go retrieve it. Field questions about afternoon plans.

Step 20. Settle into chair with computer, cord, baby monitor and glass of water. YOU. ARE. SO. READY.

Step 21. Baby monitor starts beeping. Battery is dying. Go retrieve cord for baby monitor.

Step 22. Settle into chair with computer, cord, baby monitor and its cord, glass of water...You are SO READY to work! Then you realize that baby has now woken up.

Step 23. Just give up already.

Step 24. Write this post.

Step 25. Try again later?!?! !

April 28, 2016


I think its pretty clear from my last post that things haven't been peachy around here lately. Life is kicking my little ( not so little) booty in a big way.
Sometimes you just need Daddy....

It doesn't help that Justice-who was the easiest baby ever is going through...something. And I feel like I've tried every option and read every baby forum....I am reminded that babies are basically One Giant Mystery most of the time.

But when Abigail is faced with a mystery what does she do?!?! She fixes things.  And once All The Things are fixed ( other than the one she'd really like to fix, obviously), then she plans all the things. Which is why for about 3 weeks I have been MILDLY obsessed with getting a tour of the local Elementary School. And P.S. When I say mildly  we all know that I'm really really obsessed, right?! I don't have to spell that out for you, right? I mean, we've been doing this for a long time....

So, I pushed and I planned and those people at the Elementary clearly thought I was crazy for wanting a Tour of their school because they WOULD NOT return my calls! And then when I finally went up there to FORCE THEIR HAND, they essentially laughed in my face and told me someone would call me which is code for go away. 
So ANOTHER week goes by and Ransom is sick and Justice is fussier and fussier and I'm going even crazier and I don't see any end to my life as it currently is, ever. I just get up in the morning and take care of the needs of three little people, one of which WILL NOT leave my side for even a second, another who's a raging threenager and another who I can't seem to fix.  And clearly this is it, I will be doing this for ever and ever and ever amen. And so I sink further down into my OCD fixing hole.

And then yesterday, I was reading in my quiet time and this verse came across my path...

Be Still in the Presence of the Lord
and wait Patiently for 
Him to Act. 


I'll be starring at this for the next two months

So, apparently running yourself ragged is NOT actually the correct response when Life is using you as its punching bag?! And I repented of my crazy ways. I let go of my obsession with the Elementary School, I stopped "bargaining" with God about the hub's ministry trip. ( that's right, he just left for 5 days. Rock on.) 

Of course, I then got up from repenting, took Justice to his 6 month Well Check and during the time my phone was off to meet with the doctor, I got two phone calls. One from the Elementary School ( of course, who when I tried to call back, could no longer take my calls again.) and then another call from my husband to let me know that he'd be gone for half of May and then half of June for work trips.

Laugh out loud. 

Life, it's just sooooo funny sometimes! 

But as I meditated on these things, wondering where to go from there, my 5 year old was building a Lego Creation and it was not going according to what he was clearly picturing in his mind, he was getting MORE and MORE frustrated, forcing pieces into place, jamming down harder and harder until it finally broke into several pieces. AGHAGAGHAFHADAHGHG! He ran to me crying in rage and frustration. 
Lego success! 

Me too, buddy, me too...

And then I saw myself as I really am.....a 5 year old getting mad about something silly. Throwing a fit when things don't fit together perfectly. 

That verse from above? There's more: 

The Lord directs the steps 
of the godly
He delights in every 
of their lives. 


In. every. Detail. 

So, here I am, a reformed ( but only just) crazy person who's going to lean hard on the fact that this: 
A precocious  5 year old, a funny 3 year old and an adorable baby. They're all mine. They are the details. And I will delight in them. They are the details made especially for me to Teach me and draw me closer to the Lord.  And so I will delight in them...

When Daddy leaves for many days pile the kids in the car and go get donuts. ASAP! 

But only if I get a bunch of coffee first....

April 22, 2016

A Matter of survival

Friends, I must come before you with hat in hand and tell you that I was wrong. I was way way wrong. Not too long ago, I said that having three kids wasn't that bad! ( I still stand by that, it's totally worth it) and that there were only three things that it had effected ( sleep, getting anything done outside the house and grocery shopping).... I was way wrong. 

There were two other very important things that I forgot to mention. 

One: eating. Now, even before I had three kids I struggled with finding time to eat. This has only gotten exponentially harder with another person in the house. Particularly one who actually requires me physically for its own meals. Its gotten to be so common place that I rarely even notice that its 10:30 and nothing but coffee ( because you have to make time for that! Priorities people!) has passed my lips. 
I did however notice this past week when I got a text from a friend complaining about her late night the night before and how for "working ladies" like herself it was just too much to stay out so late.... that I  started to wonder if it would be possible to  reach through the phone and throttled her with my bare hands...so  I realized that "Hmmmm....maybe Abigail With Low Blood Sugar isn't actually good for mankind?!?!" 

Two: clean hair. 
Now, I'd already made peace with my "every other day is good enough for me" showering schedule. I mean, sure I enjoy the weekends when I can take two showers, two whole days in a row...but during the week- unless something unusual ( like exercise) happens then I have become contented with every other day. This is mostly because showers must either be in the morning or the evening when all the children are either confined to beds or are confined to the glowing box in the living room, and often at both these times another VERY IMPORTANT OPTION is also on the table: Sleep. And I  probably don't have to tell you that I sadly pick the later pretty much 100% of the time. Sorry. But deodorant is pretty strong and a clean pair of undies can go a long way...plus in a pinch baby wipes aren't just for babies. 
HOWEVER, if you are on this particular showering schedule there is no wiggle room for a missed shower day and THAT is something that three kids just does not afford: Wiggle room.  And this week the stars aligned to where I had a sick kid, a very very fussy baby who was up for HOURS after he should have been in bed, and a husband that was working a very late shift. I had taken a shower on Monday and made the fatal mistake of not washing my hair. Little did I know the week ahead. And so sure enough Tuesday passed without a shower. No biggie. It happens more often than I would like to admit. 

But then Wednesday rolled around and instead of getting my normal allotted shower I got a very sick kid and a meeting that I needed to leave for in 5 minutes. So, sure, I got a quick shower...but no hair washing: I didn't think those people would appreciate Wet Hair Abigail. 

THEN Thursday happened- my hair was a HOT MESS minus the "hot" part  and I had had to resort to a hair wrap to look presentable- but a very very fussy baby cried and cried and cried ( and cried some more and then threw up and required a 10pm bath- so when that finally settled down- Sleep won and I promised myself that I would get up early and wash it. Surprise, surprise when "morning" rolled around and I realized that between all my children I'd gotten two hours in a row at ONE POINT during the night, I was pretty sure I could wear that hair wrap one more day. 

Of course, when the clock hit 8am and  all my kids were up and I was awake enough to realize that what I had rationalized earlier was a BIG MISTAKE, it was much too late and I had to take Ransom to a doctors appointment in 30 minutes. 


And that is how I skipped lunch today to take a shower and wash my hair.  ( the Hubs was leaving in 20 minutes and I had to choose which one I wanted to do). 

Hashtag holythreekidsbatman

April 15, 2016

School Update

I can really tell that you're all on the edge of your seats regarding the school situation at the Wilson Household. Yup. I thought so.

So, today's your lucky day! It's been ages since we've talked homeschooling, or schooling in general around here but I'm ready to hash it all out for you,  therapy style. Thanks for not charging me an arm and a leg for this later.
Ransom's sticker chart victory! 

First off, starting in the new year we began homeschooling again in earnest. As in, we started having routine and structure in our home to some degree. I had taken off a few months as I had foreseen due to the holidays, a baby and then the craziness of Justice's sickness ( nope, hadn't foreseen that!) but we got back into it because lets be real here, I needed some structure to our days and so did Ransom, bless him. He takes after me in so many ways and is continually asking "what are we going to do today? What are we going to do after naps? What are we going to do tomorrow?!"
It's super annoying. But also basically my own mind mirrored back to me, so I can only blame my own genes on that one.

What we did kind of give up during these early days of getting back in the swing of things were my theme weeks. Instead I picked and chose things that we should work on and therefore covered particular "skills" I felt like he needed to learn. This is when I taught mostly math. Ransom covered subtracting and also counting by tens and all about two digit numbers. I filled in the "holes" with piano practice and lots and lots of reading.  Somehow I just didn't have the mental capacity to make this theme related to something like "birds" or "volcanos" or something! hahaha! ( "somehow" equals "I wasn't getting enough sleep")

Mixed in there we had some pretty rough weeks. I was pretty sure that I would be sending Ransom to public school next year.
These are the moments I love having all my kids at home...

As I've mentioned before, Brett and I have always maintained that we would revisit our kids schooling each year, for each child. We do not believe that our kid's educations are a package deal of 12 years neatly tied up in a bow. Well, at least not until God gives us some huge revelation that covers multiple years and multiple kids. Till then, we'll be rehashing our kids particular needs and our particular situation each year. Tiring indeed.
Eventually I'll have to start focusing more on this little one too....

And so that we're coming to the end of the year I'm starting to obsess about Ransom's schooling for next year. Obsess is a strong word. Let's use "think about constantly" instead. ;-)
Through prayer and the like we narrowed down our choices to the local elementary school down the block and homeschooling again.

I then would vacillate feelings wise from week to week regarding what I "felt" like was going to happen and how I might feel about said decision:
one week: Ransom is acting HORRIBLY, he clearly needs more stimulation than I can give him! Let's send him off to school! HOORAY!
next week: Ransom is happily playing with cars and math problems out in the sun, homeschooling is wonderful! I will be so sad if we have to send him to school next year! Boo!!

and so on....

As of now the pendulum has swung yet again and we're back to doing theme weeks ( Ransom has started picking the themes himself and that's been a LOT of fun! and a challenge for me!) So far we've done "The American Flag and other symbols", "Texas" and "Japan".
And I've called the elementary school MULTIPLE times leaving messages to try to set up a visit and NO ONE has called me back. I'm pretty annoyed. And wondering if that's my closed door?! And yet at the same time, I just can't seem to give it up completely without at least walking through the door of the place! Does that make sense?!
Learning all about Japanese Warriors: Samurai 

I'd love to hear your thoughts about your current schooling-whatever that may entail! Maybe you too vacillate from day to day?! I feel like its got to be pretty normal, right?! Right?!?!?!

April 11, 2016

A little flash back

This week I had the honor and privilege to do a guest post over on my sweet friend Courtney's blog .
She's doing a pretty cool series on the "Resilient Military Spouse" and she actually thought of me! ( Whaaaaa?!?! I know! hahaha!) But seriously, it was cool to think back over our years in the military and all that I have learned. One thing I do want to add is that I suppose technically I still am a military spouse since Brett is in the Reserves! Don't want to forget that! I am so proud of all of his hard work for our family!

Here's the link if you'd like to check out my interview with Courtney!

P.S. This is hands down one of my favorite pictures EVER!! 

March 29, 2016


"So, is having 3 kids as hard as you thought it would be?"
Note the less than stellar-ness of this Easter Picture!

A friend asked me this the other day, and I could honestly say it wasn't nearly as horrible as so many had made it out to be....probably because everyone had made it out to be terrible. I can honestly say I cannot remember one person telling me 3 kids would be a great thing. This is crazy to me, because its like with your first kid no one talks about how hard that is going to be! They just tell you how wonderful being a parent is ( very true!) or with the second -which is also super hard- but everyone focusing on how now you won't have an "only child" and how now your kid will have " a playmate!" no one focuses too much time on how much those "playmates" are going to bicker! HAHA! Probably because it isn't as overpoweringly awesome as having two kids....and honestly I feel we should stick with the pattern!!! Why can't all the positives outweigh the negatives with three kids too!?!?!
The kids playing together happily for one millisecond 

So I'm here to tell you that it really isn't that bad! And Justice is WORTH IT! He is by far my favorite kid at this point. He can't talk back, he stays exactly where I put him for as long as I leave him there AND he always eats all his dinner. hehehe. ;-)
"Angel Baby"

Anyway all jokes aside, there are a COUPLE of MINOR things that have changed in our house since having a third kid. And I'll quickly breeze past them now: less sleep ( obvi), practically zero time to get ANYTHING accomplished outside our home that isn't ruining SOMEONE'S nap time ( this won't last forever) and the inability to go grocery shopping ( this really is a quandary)....there just aren't enough spots for everyone plus all the food we eat and usually I have one or more kids throwing some form of a fit. *sigh* I'm really still trying to figure this out-but until I do going grocery shopping has become a valid "date night option" and that is NOT. COOL.

But the MAJOR thing I've noticed since having a third child?! My daydreams have changed:

I have this one day dream and its getting more and more detailed. So much so that I actually think I might pull it off one day ( read: after Justice is weened)

It goes like this:
I'm at a hotel. Its a very very quiet hotel room with clean sheets ( that I didn't wash) and a made bed ( that I didn't make) and I'm sitting at a quiet desk, sun streaming in the window ( totally optional but this is my daydream after all...) and I'm working on my manuscript...hours pass by...NO ONE interrupts me. NO ONE. I do not feel guilty for being there for any reason. I am just there. Getting STUFF DONE. Then, after I've worked for an unlimited, amazing amount of time. I get hungry and I go have a quick lunch where I have stimulating conversation ( WITHOUT INTERRUPTION to take someone to the potty, or cut someone's meat or to ask someone to eat their carrots for the LOVE OF ALL THAT IS HOLY)  with an old friend about my book and whatever they're working on- but the lunch somehow ( its a daydream) has a time limit so I'm not tempted to make it longer-because, you know me, I do love a long chat with a friend....and the conversation leaves me with some great ideas as I head back to my quiet quiet room were I work for another amazingly long time without anyone having a loud fight in the other room that I need to break up or the laundry buzzer going off. THEN it will be dinner time and I'll join a large group of my friends and we'll laugh and talk and play games if we want, or go workout together or do whatever until very late at night ( because I do love nights!) and then I'll SLEEP IN and do it ALL again the next day.....and I'll only check my phone when I wake up and when I go to bed to see pictures of my children who I'll miss terribly terribly.

End scene.

 For me, I realized that Brett really couldn't be in my daydream because if he was I would get ZERO work done! I think that's part of my problem...even when my kids aren't around I have trouble focusing because then I want to spend all that great quality time with Brett!! If he were there I would be tempted to do everything with him and that would defeat the purpose of me getting ALL THE THINGS done. So I have a whole different daydream scenario for Brett.... Spoiler alert: We'd probably Neflix and Chill for ever and ever.

So what about you? Have your "vacation" daydreams changed over the years? If you could have a spouseless/kidless weekend what would YOU do!?! Want to join me on MY working-weekend one day ( seriously! I need to fill those "stimulating conversation" slots!) ?

March 20, 2016

Mercy in all its forms ( Olivet-Post 3)

If you've had kids than you'll hopefully know what I'm talking about when I mention that overwhelming fear and panic mixed with excitement and awe that you feel when you first leave the hospital with you're very first baby. 

"Did they make a mistake?! Should they really be sending us home with this teeny tiny baby?!" 

Thankfully, that feeling does fade as the sleep deprivation sets in and you get use to having your very own baby. And seriously once baby number 3 comes around you're pretty well sure you can handle this little bundle of joy...unless, like my sister, your teeny tiny baby inexplicably gets very very sick. 

That feeling comes back, and I know my sister felt it pretty strongly when they left the hospital yesterday - even more so because it had been Olivet's 5th hospital stay in the short month of her life so far. Every time you think you're done. And then things get bad, yet again. 

We pray that this time is very different, for one thing Olivet was in a much more specialized hospital and got a bit more intense care- her Anemia was cared for with the blood transfusions-which, in its turn will hopefully help with the Jaundice ( if you see in the pictures that her coloring is still a bit on the orangish side and her eyes still look yellow-that's because she still has high bilirubin count-just not high for her.) We, of course, want to see all those numbers get better and better. And I truly believe the Lord is healing Olivet. 

But I need to share this story with you in more detail- I mentioned it in my last report- because it optimizes this whole experience and you definitely need to know that all your prayers-they were answered in so many ways: 

This time last week Olivet was having her 4th hospital stay and her Bilirubin scores were once again through the roof-  and scary things like "life flights" were being thrown around. However, instead they decided to treat her with photo therapy one more time to get things a little more under control and then high tail it to the nearest Children's hospital...

Answered Prayer #1: When they started researching it the only hospital in the STATE OF TEXAS that would take their insurance-was in San Antonio-WHERE I LIVE! This turned out to be really helpful. Anna and Ryan were able to stay in our guest bedroom, take long hot showers, get fed home cooked meals and I was able to go and hold Olivet when I was feeling panic-y about how she was doing ( yup, this was selfishly important to me! hahaha! Holding her always helped me when fear started to set in.). 

Answer #2: On the drive to San Antonio my sister-planning on just playing it by ear, spend the night at my house and then take Olivet to the doctor the next day- was called by her panicked pediatrician. They had found bacteria in one of Olivet's blood tests and now they were suspecting meningitis. Her doctor told Anna to see if Olivet "was responsive"....P.S. to any mother that's been told to check to see if their sleeping infant is "responsive"-those 3 seconds where you're poking your baby, waiting for them to move/wake up are the LONGEST THREE SECONDS EVER. My sister then spent the rest of her 5 hours drive frantically checking to make sure Olivet would respond. The miracle here?!  That blood work was a mistake. Olivet did not have any infection, BUT because of that blood work Anna went straight to my pediatrician...

Answer #3: Because they were coming to San Antonio, Anna was able to contact my amazing pediatrician who had treated Justice just months before, and she agreed to take on Olivet's case and see her immediately. She then once seeing Olivet she had the smarts to send Anna immediately to the hospital. 

Answer #4: Olivet was admitted right away to the NICU and they learned quickly that her blood levels were CRASH level. We're talking incredibly incredibly low. She needed an emergency blood transfusion ( she indeed up getting two over the course of the next 2 days). If it hadn't been for that first "miracle" of the mistaken blood work in Nacogdoches-we will definitely not consider what would have happened if Anna had just waited till the next day to go to the doctor....*shudder* 

Answer #5: Olivet was admitted to that NICU-my sister hadn't slept in days and my mom and I tried to convince her to leave ( but to no avail. I understood- you couldn't DRAG me away from my sick baby either), the room was not equipt for a parent to stay all night, and you aren't allowed to sleep with your child there-but I turned and looked out of Olivet's little glass room in the NICU and saw one of those big comfy chairs that can recline. Just sitting there not being used by anyone. I asked if we could have it and we rolled it up next to Olivet's bed. Anna was able to stay with Olivet- and be there when things got really really serious that night....

Answer #6: 2 days later when Olivet got moved to intermediate care we were all so thankful-it meant she was much more stable and not likely to need things like crash carts or her own special room. The bad news was that in intermediate care all the babies are in one giant room, its crowded and busy and there is really no staying with your baby all night. Thankfully Anna was able to spend all day with her and see what good care she would be getting. And was able to leave her feeling "Ok" about it. 

Answer #7: However, Anna prayed when they moved Olivet to intermediate care that she wouldn't be in one of the first beds by the door coming in-she figured rightly that it would be even MORE crowded and nosy there. So, it was SUCH a kindness of God that not only was she not by the door, but she was way way in the back corner. Probably the most "prime" spot in the whole place! 

Answer #8: And so, on Saturday afternoon they release Olivet from the hospital, for what we believe, in faith, is the last time. Anna and Ryan were able to take a little nap, have a home cooked meal and have one night's ( not very good because of a baby use to be up all night) sleep before driving back to Nacogdoches and "real life".....

And now...
I know that Anna will glory in the "real life" of going home especially as they get settled back at home- but I also know it will be hard-especially Monday- when she'll be back with her older two daughters, doing school drop offs and pick ups-normal Mom stuff, plus needing to go get another blood test run on Olivet, and knowing my sister doing laundry and cleaning her house....I know it'll be hard as she gets settled with Olivet in all the normal of lack of sleep and getting everyone use to a "new normal" type ways...but I think the fact that you "never really know" when Olivet's blood levels might be dangerously low really scares her- or the fact that her bilirubin is still high....
 While we glory in all those answers-large in small- that I just laid out, I know that you can't help but lack faith sometimes. So I write them here, as a "thank you" to all of you-for your prayers. They were answered in so many ways these last few days! I also encourage you to keep praying, as I am, that God would completely heal Olivet's little body and make her strong and perfectly healthy. 

Also, if you're one of those "doer" type people like myself-and you live in Nacogdoches, feel free to check out the Meal Calendar set up for the family to help them hopefully transition for good into normal life. 

March 19, 2016

Through much prayer...

 Isn't it always nice how when things are stressful and rough and we're needing to spend a lot of time in prayer, the Lord will often give us good encouragement through His word?! The last two days have really had some good juicy nougats to help me in praying for my niece and I wanted to share this one with you because I think its encouraging-no matter what you're praying for.

So, I was reading in my "Harmony of the Gospels" this morning-which basically combines all the different gospel accounts so you can essentially read the most detailed account of all the stories of Jesus together and this is what I read today:

"When they came to the other disciples, they saw a large crowd around them and the teachers of the law arguing with them. As soon as all the people saw Jesus, they were overwhelmed with wonder and ran to greet him. "What are you arguing with them about?" he asked. (Mark 9:14-16)
A man approached Jesus and knelt before him. "Lord have mercy on my only son, ( Matt 17:14) who is possessed by a spirit that has robbed him of speech ( Mark 9:17). He has seizures and is suffering greatly. (Matt 17:15) A spirit seizes him and he suddenly screams; it throws him into convulsions ( Luke9:39) to the ground. He foams at the mouth, gnashing his teeth and becomes rigid. ( Mark 9:18) It scarcely leaves him and is destroying him. ( Luke 9:39) I brought him to your disciples to drive out the spirit, but they could not heal him ( Mark 9: 18). So they brought him to Jesus.  When the spirit saw Jesus it immediately threw the boy into a convulsion...Jesus asked the boy's father, "How long has he been like this?" "From childhood," he answered. "It has often thrown him into the fire or water to kill him. But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us." "If I can'?" said Jesus. "everything is possible for him who believes." Immediately the boy's father exclaimed, "I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!" 
When Jesus saw that a crowd was running to the scene, he rebuked the evil spirit. "You deaf and mute spirit,' he said, "I command you, come out of him and never enter him again." The spirit shrieked, convulsed him violently ( Mark 9:21-26) and came out of the boy, and he was healed from that moment. ( Matt 17:18) And they were all amazed at the greatness of God. After Jesus had gone indoors, his disciples asked him privately, Why couldn't we drive it out? (Mark 9:28)  He replied, "Because you have so little faith. I tell you he truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, "move from here to there; and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you." ( Mark 17:20) This kind can come out only by much prayer and fasting." ( Mark 9:29)

So I read that passage today, and I think for the first time ever it became so clear.... Those poor disciples went in all confident and tried to heal that little boy, the curious crowd leaning in to see what would happen, and for whatever reason it didn't work! Immediately, the jeering started, the well meaning suggestions,  the imploring family- voices got louder and louder and the poor disciples lost all faith- maybe they tried again to heal the boy but this time it was no longer in Jesus' power, but now it was all them, trying trying trying but with no results.
 BUT THEN Jesus shows up, He asks what is going on and the father of the little boy pipes up! He's still in great distress, he still needs help for his poor son!
Jesus starts asking him questions, but before they get very far Jesus sees the disruptive crowd coming over to where they are. So He turns and Bam! heals the boy before things get all crazy again.
Because, you see, Jesus had all power and authority already. What He says goes. Boom!
But then the disciples asked him what happened?!? Why couldn't we heal the boy like you just did?!?
And Jesus says that if only they had had a tiny drop of faith they could have healed him! But instead, when they tried once and "failed" instead of listening to the Truth:That Jesus has all Authority to do all things- they listens to the crowd, they listened to their own pride and their own insecurities. 
Then Jesus says this (healing this little boy) requires much prayer and fasting. Which I thought was insteresting since it's not like Jesus had to do any major praying or fasting to heal the boy! Ah yes, exactly! 
Sometimes God wants US to show our faith, to pray and to fast even when the answer doesn't come immediately- or so we think. The answer is coming! The answer is already written- but He loves and delights in seeing our faith. Seeing us get down on our knees and pray. And when the time is right, the Lord will Speak and the healing will come. Just like that.
So, I pray for myself, that I would believe ( and Lord, help my unbelief!) that I might continue to pray and fast for the things that I hold dear, the things that I know He can do at exactly the right moment.