Friday, September 19, 2008

Flashback Friday

With these cool fall mornings and the fall wreath I just hung on the front door, I wanted to find a picture of one of our sweet fall memories. This picture was taken in 2003 at Branson, Missouri.
When I was growing up, almost every year my family went to Branson and stayed in the Golden Arrow cabins. We would spend several days at Silver Dollar City, and at night we hung out at the cabins.
Silver Dollar City is still a big tradition with Alan and I now as we have our own kids. Since Alan and I have been married, we have taken a couple trips to SDC and the Golden Arrow cabins with my parents and my brothers and their families. Also, we take day-trips to Silver Dollar City several times a year with Alan's family.
Now that it's fall, I hope we get to go again soon!

This a picture of my parents with Selah and my nephew Drew.

ps. my Mom was so pretty.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Flower Girl of My Flower Girl

This past weekend Selah was the flower girl in Jessica's wedding. Jessica was the flower girl in our wedding 10 years ago. She was 9 years old, so she was a flower [big]girl, but I had to have her in our wedding because she was like my little sister ever since she was 8 months old. She even called me "Sissy" for years.

Well, she of course fell in love with our kids and was our favorite babysitter until a couple years ago when she "grew up" and started college. She had dreamed of Selah being her flower girl in her wedding someday, and last Saturday that dream became a reality.

They both looked BEEEautiful!!

ps. I'm going to try to post a picture of Jessica when she was my flower girl.

Our American Girl

Selah has been wanting an American Girl Doll for some time now. She has several friends who have them, and after a play date with those friends, she comes home asking for one of her own. As usual, I talk to her about not getting everything we want, being content with what we have, the possibility of getting one "someday" for a birthday or for Christmas. They are expensive, and she has several dolls she likes very much. I decided that if (when) we get her one, I want her to appreciate it and I want her to have to wait awhile in order to glean the lessons learned from that as well.

So, in the meantime, we have been reading the American Girl books. And they are FABULOUS!! I love it because each book introduces a different girl with a special personality and heritage that is representational and true to the particular point in American history. So far we have read:

Samantha, 1904 ~ a bright Victorian beauty, an orphan raised by her wealthy grandmother.

Kirsten, 1854 ~ a pioneer girl of strength and spirit who settles on the frontier. Her and her family arrive in America after a long sea voyage from Sweden. We read about the sea and land journey her family experienced as they immigrated to the United States.

These stories are exciting and the history and lessons about the life of a little girl who might have lived 50-100-150 years ago are both entertaining and educational for Selah. Several times during the story her mouth will drop open and her eyes will get wide as she realizes the vast difference between life 150 years ago and life as we know it today.

The reason I had to blog about this was because even though it's pleasure reading of the American Girl story books, she is learning so much from it. The history, as well as realizing how blessed we are today in America. Tonight we finished one of the books, and as she laid in bed and we said our prayers, I was surprised at what I heard... it went something like this...
"And God, thank you that we have so many nice things like my room and cars and airplanes. Please help me keep all my stuff good and take care of it and share if there are people in America who just came here and need something. Thank you for everything that we have and help my Mommy keep it because I'm never getting married and since I'm going to live with Mommy and Daddy forever....."

And the prayer went on from there, but I thought it was pretty cool that she could discern the comforts of the life we have now compared to the hardships of the way of life "back then," and realize just how blessed she is to be an American Girl living in the 21st century.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Charis' 3rd Birthday Party

Sunday we celebrated Charis' 3rd Birthday! She gets more excited about her birthday parties than anyone I've ever met. She eats, breathes, and sleeps "birthday" for several weeks before it gets here. It's so cute! It was a sandcastle theme this year. It was such a great day! It was a day spent with family and our best friends from Joplin, Travis, Jodie, Luke, and Lilly. Grandpa Gene and Grandma Lou Lou made her a wooden sand-table, filled with sand that is purple! Her favorite color! All the kids had a blast playing in the sand. Gene built the table and Lou Anne painted the lid just for her!
Papa Tom gave Charis her own bag of cinnamon bears (which she thought was so cool!), Jodie got her the "office" for her doll house, Lydia and James picked her out an adorable dress, and Kalea got her Snow White dress up. She dressed up like Snow White before bed, and wanted to sleep in it.
I made her a sand castle cake for her party. My kids watched very intently and excitedly the whole time. Ahhh, I love the birthdays. Only I wish they didn't have to roll around so quickly, I can't believe my baby is 3 years old! Makes me kind-a sad! But with so much joy coming out of that girl, the saddness doesn't stick for long.

Monday, September 15, 2008


It's my favorite time of year! (I'll say that again in December when I blog about Christmas ;)
I have all my fall and halloween decorations out, I'm burning the mulled cider candles, and today I'm wearing a sweatshirt!!! And best of all, we're getting ready to watch Monday Night Football!!!!
This year is kind-a CRAZY as Alan and I are in 2 fantasy football leagues. It's harder to keep up with 2 teams, 2 leagues, etc. All day Sunday we have 2 computers on the kitchen counter, and we watch the games and watch the scores. It's a blast! I always get depressed in February once football is over.
The best part, both of our leagues are with our family. The NapoleanD league is with the Aberle fam, and the MOTI league is with the Summers fam. In addition to football all day, it's fun knowing we're all watching and enjoying the same thing at the same time.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Thinkin' Big!

With all the birthday planning and partying going on lately, Bryson has been thinking about what he wants to do for his next birthday party (which isn't for another 4 months). Tonight as I was tucking him in bed He said,
"Mommy, I figured out what I want to do for my birthday party! I want everyone to dress up like Batman. And if they don't have enough money for a Batman costume then they can buy a Superman one, and if they don't have enough money for a Superman costume then they can buy Spiderman." I said "Okay Bryce, we'll see!"
About 5 minutes later he came down the stairs and said,
"Okay, I have one more thing to do at the party! We can make snowballs and throw them at the Grandparents, and then go to Blockbuster and rent Night At The Museum, and then come home and watch the whole thing. Then we can look at all our rooms, then play PlayStation. And if there's enough time we can go to Papa's house to play the Wii."
At that point I said "Alright Bryson, maybe we can do some of that stuff. Now go to bed!"

Friday, September 12, 2008

To School or not to School

Well, after many hours of thinking, analyzing, praying, thinking, analyzing, praying, seeking advice, and searching my own heart, I (we) have made the decision to put Selah in school. This has truly been a painful decision for me. I feel like I have let go of something I deeply loved and valued... each day, all day, with my kids. I love watching them learn and fostering that love of learning. I love the laid-back lifestyle of getting up and around when we feel like it, weekly trips to the zoo, our friends (and my girl friends) and our Co-op, etc. My kids are so smart and they love to learn, which I believe is a combo of genetics and our lifestyle of learning. We learn whatever it is they are interested in at the time, and they take off with it, so to speak.
For us, "School" might be learning about hurricanes... watching the weather channel, watching hurricane info on the internet, looking at a map of the US and look at where all our family lives (which states) in reference to the path of the storm, etc. (oh how IRONIC!!! As I'm typing this section right now, Bryson just came up to me and said "Mommy, can I please watch the hurricane again on the computer, and then play webkinz? Pleeeeease Mom!").

We have her attending a local private school. She has a very sweet teacher, and I know she will do well. She will be challenged academically and I like the Christian atmosphere. When we showed up on her first day, she already had several friends that were in her class (see picture above). And I saw a couple moms that I am casual friends with whose kids are in her class, so she and I both felt comfortable and kind-of "at home" as soon as we walked in the door.

Selah and I have talked alot about this change. When Alan and I were making our decision, and since she started on Tuesday we've had several discussions about her feelings. Her first choice was to be at home. We "convinced" her that school would be fun, full of lots of activity, she would learn lots of new things, and she would have a good time with friends. She is hanging with it. I would not say that she is excited, but she is content. Her teacher told me today that she is a wonderful student, and that she can tell she likes to learn... that she listens so intently and does great on all the papers. None of that surprises me. I know she will be that kind of student.

In some ways I feel like I let her down and let myself down too. Last night I finally was able to put into words why I felt the need to put her in school right now. Here it is... While I love homeschooling, there are some aspects of it that I'm not too keen on. While I love homeschooling, I'm not convicted that it is the best and only path for our family until they leave home. Homeschooling is my 1st choice of the 3 options, and for me there are more positives than negatives when it comes to educating at home. However, I have said for the last 2 years that I have no idea how long I will homeschool. It will be a yearly decision. I suppose since I wasn't convicted in my heart and mind to be in it for the long-haul, I had an underlying stress that if I put them back in school, they might be missing something "fundamental" that they would need to jump into the school setting. For example, maybe they would be reading very well, but never learned to "diagram" the words, and being put back into school if they needed this, would have to scramble to catch up. Because of the way I believe in doing school here at home, while my kids would most likely know and retain more than they might at school, we may miss the detail cirriculum stuff. If I were planning to educate them at home all the way through, I wouldn't worry about this at all. But knowing that there was a possibility that I would put them in someday, coupled with the growing success of my Heartstrings business, I felt more of a peace to give school a try this year than I did by wondering every day if I was making the best choice by keeping them at home.

So far so good. She is having a positive experience, which I think will only get better the more she gets to know her teacher and friends. I really think it will be good for Selah from the social standpoint as well. I know at first she felt like I was making her go to school, and I think she feels a little left-out since me and the other two kids are still at home, but she is having a good time at school, and we try to focus on that. Today is Friday, and yesterday and today she woke up ready to go! As for me, I have cried several times, felt that panicky feeling about giving her up for 7 hours a day (which is one of my biggest "beefs" about the institutionlized school setting). But I have to admit, the peace and quiet around the house!!!! IT'S GREAT!!!! Especially the days Charis goes to Mother's Day Out. Bryson is my little buddy, and we have had a blast together on those 2 days. Also, the house is staying cleaner, I'm not as cranky at the end of the day, and I'm plugging away on those 50 platters that are sitting upstairs calling my name. Speaking of which, I should get busy.

For now, I hope and pray we have a great year.