Monday, August 12, 2013

First day of school!

It is with great joy that I introduce to you the students of God Seekers Academy for the 2013-2014 school year . . .
Lael - age 12
Jaden - age 9

Noah - age 3
 I'm looking forward to a fabulous school year - and I am confident that it won't be boring!!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Tot School: B is for . . .

We are slooooowly easing back into our school-time routine after taking some much-needed time off this summer.  (And for those who are wondering why we start so early - it's so that we can enjoy days off and long weekends throughout the school year as needed!)
I spend a great deal of time over the summer thinking and praying about the upcoming school year - things like curriculum choices, scheduling, extracurricular activities, and household management are not things I take lightly.  I am so excited to see these decisions finally come to fruition in the new year!
One thing we are trying out is a new school-day schedule now that there are three students in God Seekers Academy - a seventh grader, a fourth grader, and a preschooler!  (I can't believe how fast they are growing up!)  I have structured our day so that while the big kids are working independently, Noah and I can do "Noah-school".  So far, so good!
For Noah's tot school this year, I will be using Before Five in a Row as our curriculum.  Because we've been doing a lot of berry picking lately, I decided to start with Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey.  We have been reading it over and over this week - so much so that Noah almost has it memorized!  He especially likes the part where the mommies and babies are all mixed up on Blueberry Hill (if you aren't sure what I'm talking about, you should read the book or watch it here)!
In addition to this wonderful story, we've been having fun with the letter B . . .
Here Noah is putting stickers with uppercase and lowercase Bs onto the "B" and "b" on his paper.
He also had fun putting "blueberries" on the B with a bingo dabber.
He traced the lines to bring the bear to the B.
 We also did some other preschool things - like coloring shapes.  (I put the coloring page into a plastic page protector so that we can erase it and use it again!)
 Noah was VERY proud of himself when he finished putting the numbered blueberry clusters in order from 0-10 without any help!
 He also worked on color words - each bear had the color word printed in the corresponding color so he knew what the word said and could color them all in.
 He even made his own book to read - all about Little Bear (from Blueberries for Sal) that introduced position words.  He loved putting the cutouts of Little Bear in the right place and then "reading" the book to Mommy and Daddy.
Now this may look like a lot . . . but remember, it was spread out over several days.  And we only did these activities as long as it was fun for Noah.  My philosophy of homeschooling in the early years is that I want to impart a love of learning, discovering, and exploring new things.  I do recognize that as Noah sees his older siblings with their schoolwork, he naturally wants to do "school" too - hence the worksheets and other activities.  But the best part of our school day is the times we can cuddle up on the couch with a book (or five) to read together!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Strawberry picking . . . then and now!

We took a trip to our favorite berry-picking place yesterday - we've been going there for years to pick blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries . . . which was our goal for this trip.  (Of course, yesterday was probably the hottest day of the summer so far!  We got there when they opened at 9:00 - I'm so glad we didn't come later!)
I had the help of three amazing pickers!
Lael was my methodical picker . . . she chose a spot, picked all the berries in that area, then moved on to the next spot.
 This was Noah's first time picking berries. He had fun finding strawberries for a while, but then he decided that he'd rather be my "runner" - carrying my picked berries to the larger container so I could continue picking.
 (However, by the end of our time at the farm, he decided that the best job of all was that of "taste tester"!)
 Jaden was on the hunt for the biggest and best strawberries - and found some beautiful ones!

Just so you can see how long we've been coming here . . .
This was Jaden and Papa picking strawberries - back in June of 2010.
 Lael and Nana had fun filling their buckets too.
 We've definitely made the George Schmidt Berry Farm a favorite destination for whenever we have a craving for amazing produce!  
Although we can't live on a farm, at least we can visit one :)

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Nine years ago . . .

Nine years ago today, we welcomed our first-born son . . .  after two months of bed rest for Mommy!
 We were so excited for his arrival - it felt like we waited extra-long for him after his sister's super-early arrival three years before!

 Jaden was born at 8:15 AM on May 14, 2004 - he weighed 7 pounds, 4 ounces and was 20 inches long.
 Because of the circumstances of Lael's birth and the fact that we couldn't hold her for over a month after she was born, I was extremely anxious to snuggle Jaden.  However, the hospital was super busy, and they didn't have a room ready for me.  So finally I asked if I could hold him in the hallway while we waited for our room . . . and they agreed!
 Lael was quite excited to meet her baby brother - but she didn't like the fact that Mommy and Brother had to stay in the hospital for a couple of days before coming home.
 Daddy and his boy
 Leaving the hospital
 Jaden - all ready to come home!
 It felt soooo wonderful to have our little family together at home!
 I had no idea when we welcomed this sweet baby boy into our family what was in store for us - all the giggling, dare-devil climbing, upside-down hanging, hole-digging, LEGO-building, computer game playing fun that a little boy would bring to my life.  But I wouldn't change a minute of it! 
Happy 9th birthday, Jaden!  I am so proud of the young man you are becoming and am so blessed to be your mom!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Read this during my time with the Lord this morning . . . and I haven't been able to get it out of my mind!
There is no audience in the body of Christ.  There are only believers, only servants. We're the body.  We're the hands, the feet, the ears, and the toes . . . . We're the first and primary way that Jesus is going to love on others. We're His chosen vessels. He chooses to love them through us. That's His design for the Church. We are their clearest picture of Jesus. And how we respond is how they're going to see God.
It's pretty humbling to realize that I am the clearest picture of Jesus that some people will ever see.  I know I don't do this perfectly . . . in fact, if I'm honest, some days I don't do it very well at all.  How do I deal with the reality that the way I respond in different situations is how someone watching me is going to see God?
I need to run to God daily minute by minute, leaning on His grace and strength so that my life is a reflection of His work in me.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

A day in the life of Noah

If you ask your two-year-old to put his dirty dishes in the sink after a meal . . .
they might just show up in an unexpected location!
 (At least he didn't put them in the trash can . . . he LOVES throwing things away for me!)
And in unrelated news, today Noah learned how to read words in the "at" family:
hat, mat, bat, cat, sat, rat
He was so proud of himself!
(And I was just a bit proud of him too!)

Monday, April 8, 2013

First EVER family bike ride!

Today was an absolutely GORGEOUS day here in Pennsylvania . . . the perfect day for our very first-ever-in-the-history-of-our-family bike ride!
Brent and the big kids go biking often . . . but Noah and I have been unable to join them because I have not had a bike.  In fact, I don't think I've ridden a bike for at least twenty-five years a looooong time!  Recently, however, I was blessed with a bike - and with the purchase of a bike trailer for Noah, we were ready for adventure!
It takes a while to get everyone geared up - helmets, pads . . .
 Even Noah had his helmet on!
 Jaden did some warming up in the parking lot . . .
 . . . while Lael chose to conserve her energy - and looked beautiful doing so!
 Noah had the easiest job of all - sit back and enjoy the ride!
 Daddy did a fantastic job of making sure that everyone's bikes were road-worthy!

 We rode on the Ironton Rail Trail - which has some amazing history to it - dating back to Civil War times!

 Halfway through, we took a break . . . the big kids had fun jumping from post to post with Daddy.
 And Noah and I were entertained watching them!
All in all, we biked 5.5 miles in just under an hour.  Not bad for my first time on a bike in a loooong time! (And that was the fastest trip for the kids doing a complete loop on the rail trail too!)

After the bike ride, Noah was ready to play!  (After all, he'd been sitting in his trailer for an hour!)  Fortunately, there was a little playground there with plenty to entertain a busy two-year-old . . .

  And of course, what park trip would be complete without a game of "everyone chase Daddy around until someone catches him"?
 And we had to spend some time by the creek . . . for now, just looking - but I know that come summertime, the kids will be asking to do some creek walking . . .
 The sound of the water rushing over the rocks is so restful.
 We kept looking for any sign of beavers around the dam, but they were hiding from us.
 Jaden asked me to close my eyes - then took my hand and led me to a patch of these beautiful little flowers by the water's edge.  We both admired them for a while.
Welcome, spring!
We're so glad you're finally here!