A Day in our {real} Life

I have the privilege of being a part of the new writing team at The Busy Mom! Twenty of us are teaming up over there to encourage and lead moms to grace, rest and truth in the word of God! As part of that announcement today, we’re sharing a Day-in-the-Life for us just to let our new friends get to know us a bit!

Because I’m a work-at-home homeschooling mama, my days might look pretty different from yours. Honestly, they look pretty different than they did this time last year! I am the Community Manager for Five in a Row, A Virtual Assistant to Heidi St. John, The Busy Mom and the webmaster for my church. And I homeschool our two children: a spunky very full of life seven year old, Mattie and our deep-feeling humor-loving eleven year old, Jacob.

What do our mornings look like?

I get up between 5:30 and 6… hopefully. getting up earlyI make my hubby’s lunches and coffee which gives me a reason to commit to roll my sleepy body out of our warm bed. (I’ve learned I can be a night-owl or an early-bird, just not both!) So I enjoy some quiet with my man as he gets ready for work, get him off and enjoy some quiet time in the Word. It’s so tempting to sit down and get right on my to-do list, but when I do I’m always so sorry. I NEED that time in the Word to fix my eyes on Him, fill my soul and set my sights on the big picture, because we all know by 30 minutes into the morning it will be very easy to forget about anything except the frustration two feet below my nose!

So between 7:30 & 8 my peeps rouse and wander down, hoping I’ll let them start the morning on their ipods or the beloved LEGO message boards. You’d think I usually say yes, as the more frequent “no” seems to catch them by surprise as if they’ve never heard it before! I wrap up the morning little bit of work I started, and we settle in for breakfast. Because I was given active, verbal children, mealtime has always been a challenge. I often read while they eat, and this is usually when we do our Bible time. I have to be very diligent to not jump back on the computer while they eat, because when I do I pay for it. I lose them and we never get back on track… plus they are way more important than work, and they need this face time with me as we start our day together.

laundryIGAfter breakfast we get moving on schoolwork right away.  We don’t do a lot of bookwork in the earlier years, but Jacob is getting into a groove of some more traditional looking work now that he’s in 6th grade.  Thankfully, he’s also pretty independent with it. He often sits in the room as Mattie and I do a lot of reading as he still wants to hear the children’s books. (Don’t tell him I notice.) While they do some of their work I try and work on the mountains of laundry. (We’re keeping it real, remember?) Anyway, we try reeeeaaally hard to be finished with most of our structured stuff by 1:00. It just takes twice (or three or four times) as long to do it in the afternoon.

But you haven’t had lunch yet.

True. We seem to be late eaters.  Usually the kids eat lunch between 1:30-2:30. Hey, it works for us! I try to read a chapter book if they are eating at the same time, though as they’re getting older they fix their own lunches and don’t always eat at the same time. Once they eat, they get hyper and I send them off to play somewhere else. 🙂 Mom of the year here! But really, in the afternoons as long as their school work is done, they are fairly free. Because we don’t have neighbors with kids anymore, we have cousins over a lot to play to fill that void.

I do quite a bit of work in the afternoons as it’s when the kids are occupied and free.  Sometimes it’s quiet bedroom time (an hour to two) and sometimes electronic time (an hour limit), but it’s when I try to get stuff done.

Shoot. I’m supposed to cook dinner?

That’s about how it happens lately.  I would be lying if I didn’t say that I’m struggling to find a groove and really get it all done well.  I need to school, fill love tanks, feed food tanks, clean & cook. Because I have a husband who doesn’t really care if I cook or not, is often not home until well after a normal dinner hour, and I don’t like to cook anyway, it’s usually what goes. We do eat, but it’s not a well rounded several colored plate like we should be eating.

Woohoo! Bedtime!

Because we eat lunch late, we eat dinner late and soon after it’s time to round up the kids for bed.  We’re pretty structured with bedtime. I love these two little people dearly, but I am done by this time of night.  The talking and picking and jumping talking and wrestling and talking and oh, did I say talking? are just enough to make my brain shut down sometimes. But thankfully bedtime shows up right about this time every day! Our one bedtime tradition is that I get the kids settled in bed and read in the hallways. No more reading on the couch and getting wild on the way to bed and starting all over… they are already calm and very often fall asleep while I read. (In case anyone worries that this is cold and detached, we sit together reading for many other hours through the day on the couch.) About 9:30 we wrap up reading and saying good night. Hopefully, Robert and I still have some steam left in us to visit a bit before we konk out.

Don’t you work after bedtime?

I used to.  Until May I would work very late into the night, or early into the morning, really. But I realized I was almost never going to bed at the same time as Robert. That’s when I flip-flopped to the early-bird schedule that I try and stick to now. I like it much better, and I think Robert might too. 🙂 We won’t talk any more about what happens at this time of day, but after that, we sleep and do it all over again…


Just a list of things I’m thankful for today…

a reminder of how quickly the time goes…

Listening to Mattie read her short little reading lessons fluently… at long last!
Seeing Jacob understand some of his grammar concepts… also at long last!
Watching our freshly reinstalled bird feeders get busier and busier with our favorite feathered friends.
Healing after ten months for my cracked tailbone and sacral vertebrae.
Finding an old video of Jacob reading a book out loud when he was little.  Such sweetness in that little voice!
Healing via surgery and recovery for Robert’s leg and back.
The joy the kittens have brought to our family.
Hearing Mattie play upstairs with a friend her own age she clicks perfectly with!
Watching Robert find enjoyment in books as he recovers.
Jacob having fun at his first sleepover. 🙂
Our free art class at Carson-Newman.
Robert’s presence at home while he recovers from surgery: company, friendship, understanding in the craziness, help with schooling, family Bible lessons from his perspective, kids’ laughter that he causes.
Planning our nature study fun!
Re-doing fun 6 year old things with Mattie.
Hoodie weather.
Looking through old photos and remembering the memories of Jacob’s six year old year.
My new job. The way it fits me perfectly. The way it can fit our family perfectly. The way God handed it to me.
And my favorite: God truly opening my eyes and heart to a deep-seated understanding of His grace in spite of me… an answer to prayers prayed for many years.

Some Nameless Additions

We have been wanting to let the kids get kittens for a long time.  They both love playing with them every time someone we know has some! (I know, what kid doesn’t?) I don’t have much affection for cats, and actually have been around quite a few nasty ones!  But both of the kids love them.  Robert’s parents had some they needed a home for, so we let the kids each pick one.
But because I was fairly allergic before my allergy shots and Jacob seems to be following in my footsteps, I’ve been afraid they’d fall in love and then we’d have to get rid of them.  I’m still afraid of that!  But we have only rugs (as opposed to installed carpet) and only one upholstered chair (all our other furniture is wood or leather), so we decided there’s no way to know except to try.  The kids know the risks.  I’m just praying we all do fine with them!  I’m also praying that Pepper likes them when she gets home!

Meet Nameless #1 and Nameless #2!
The jury is still out on the names… Lucy, Snowflake (not sure I understand that one!), Sam, Tony, Romp… 
My tenderhearted boy said he thinks this is the best day ever and has teared up more than once with joy. That makes it worth a try!

My life is eating me alive!

 My life is eating me alive.
For three years since we started our disability ministry I’ve been teaching Sunday school, many Wednesday night semesters, coordinating extended session, teaching VBS and finding helpers, planning Luke 14 with my friend, and coordinating fellowships and the disability ministry council. And serving on our women’s council as a childcare coordinator.  I don’t say any of this to toot my own horn.  I’ve loved what I’ve been able to do in these ministries!  But I. am. TIRED!  Our home boat is getting rocked enough here with schooling two now, watching the extra kids to pay off our lingering credit card and medical bills, and wading through life’s challenges. 

I want my kids to remember a mama who was present, cheerful and energetic.  I want to train my kids to serve alongside me (instead of sitting in childcare while I attend a meeting about serving).  And I want to have the time to meet needs (while including my children) as they arise.  I’ve been hanging in there asking for help for over a year now, but I know it’s time to step down and trust that the help will come or not, and life will go on anyway.

So I resigned from almost everything this week!   :weight off my back:   I’ll still teach Sunday School and help some with our disability ministry, but I sent an email resigning from women’s ministry and another one handing off all staffing to the people who staff the typical classrooms!   

What a relief!  

All I have to do is manage my home, the kids who come to it, home school and teach Sunday School.  
That sounds so doable! 

A Pepper Update

Pepper is keeping us all entertained. The kids LOVE to tell her there’s a dog outside and watch her run to the window so they can see her look out. They laugh uncontrollably when she does this. Even I think it’s pretty cute. 🙂

We’ve gotten her almost 100% trained to go outside!  She came litter box trained. (Her previous owners had a lot of long days not home, so they did this so they wouldn’t have to worry about her.) I thought it would be nice and convenient, but the convenience was majorly overpowered by the inconvenience of cleaning out stinky litter box and sweeping up the litter she drug out on her feet! Ew. So over the last month I’ve been training her to go outside. She really didn’t see outside as a place to go potty, so this took some doing!  I moved her litter box outside, but she still would go to the litter box place and do her business.  That got old really fast!   Anyway, just this week she’s finally coming to stare at me or whine to tell me she needs to go out.  She definitely knows what it means to “go outside,” and she runs out and goes right away!  I still have the basement blocked off, so when it’s open and she goes all day without peeing down there, I’ll know we’ve succeeded.

She has learned to go outside and stick close with out being tied up.  Yippee!  If I stop paying attention she will run off, but as long as I watch her, she comes when she’s called.

She’s discovered she can get up on our bed.  The cute thing is she looks over the edge as if she’s asking my permission.  I’m not totally fond of her sleeping up there, but she usually chooses to get off and head to her basket under my night stand.

She’s realized a deep love for salami!  She eats almost nothing other than a few choice crumbs under the table.  I can leave my ice cream, peanut butter, crackers, sandwich, dog treats, etc. where she can get them and she won’t touch any of it except eggs.  But twice now she’s snatched salami from the eater’s hand!  Mattie was standing with a piece on the way into her mouth and Pepper jumped up and stole it!  Mattie felt quite violated.  She quickly changed her tune when she realized how entertaining that was.  🙂

All in all, Pepper seems quite at home!  We’re thankful for her.  

Slip-n-Slide Fun!

It has been soooo hot here lately!  The kids are irritable because they’re not getting outside to burn off enough energy, so we pulled out our generic slipnslide… aka contractor grade plastic!  
Getting a head start with Daddy’s help!
It’s always more fun 
with someone else!
I decided to be a fun mama and join in.
I’m sore, but it was more fun than I expected.  I guess we all need to be a kid every now and then!
He’s a fun daddy too…
who goes a lot further than everyone else!
She’s on a mission!
That smile is a gift!
I love hearing this boy laugh.
Happy boy!

Beautiful Family Pictures!

My sister in law, Cherilyn Magee, took these photos of us when she was in town this spring.  I love the way they turned out!  I thought I’d share my favorites.  Several of these are already up around here!

 Mattie, 5 years    ~~~~~~~~~    Jacob, 9 years
 I think this one is my favorite of the entire day.  🙂 No attachment issues with this child, that’s for sure!

  This one is so sweet because Jacob got Mattie a honeysuckle flower and helped her put it in her hair.

  One thing I have always wanted is photos of Robert and I together.  We had some good ones one year, but didn’t have a home that was ours, so we never got them hung.  I’m going to take several of these below and decorate our bedroom with them now!

God has blessed us with a wonderful family!  I’m so thankful Cherilyn captured that blessing so well.

Meeting my online friend!

Leslie is an online friend with whom I’ve been corresponding for over 4 years now! I met her on the Five in a Row message boards.  We started emailing when her daughter was born with Down Syndrome and have continued since then through many things. We had a meeting set up a year or so ago when Robert was working near her, but they ended up with a stomach bug so we didn’t get together. On July 4th they were on their way through on vacation and we did a very last minute visit at ChickFilA. Her sweet husband was so patient to let us visit for a while!

The kids had a great time playing and Jacob wanted to know “if these were just friends we’re going to meet once and never see again?” He doesn’t like that part of making new friends with people who don’t live here. 
 So nice to finally meet you and your clan, Leslie!