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I am happily married to an amazing military man who spent 9 years enlisted and is now an Officer in the US Army. We have two amazing boys who are not so little any more! They still infuse every moment of every day with creativity and energy, and make my life an adventure.  I was educated at home, and am now teaching our children - second generation homeschoolers! I try every day to become more like Jesus Christ, and to love like HE does. If you want you can try and catch me at bethylovesandy@yahoo.com

My Blog Title Verse

"For the Lord gives wisdom. From His mouth come knowledge and understanding." Proverbs 2:6 NKJV 
The Message translation puts it this way "God gives out Wisdom free, is plainspoken in Knowledge and Understanding."

Verse of the day

Sunday, October 31, 2010

A night full of dress up

We went "Happy Halloweening" door to door last night. We don't call it trick-or-treating, because I told my kids that tricking is not something we would ever do, so why even mention it.
 We went with our friends who had the absolutely genius idea to hand out a thank you note at every house. You should have seen the response. It was beautiful.

Jasmine, A rock star, Robin Hood and The Easter Bunny

My husband, the killer bee.
Please, don't ask.   

 Robin Hood was fascinated by the freedom of sticking out that tongue without getting in trouble!
The Easter bunny lives under a tree, don't you know.
The tree has a nest in her hair, with a beautiful bird named woodstock living in it.

See his little bunny ears coming running!
 A fierce and fearless gladiator. 
 Beautiful Gypsy princess and her "big hair". (I laughed at her, claiming that was big... I can do that in my sleep. And often do, hehe) Isn't she gorgeous?
Most of the family...

The blue daddy and little monkey baby!
 A good time was had by all. 

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Waste and Want, and do it again Wednesday

 It is Wednesday, but we aren't conserving. It is far from waste not, want not. It is more along the lines of waste, covet and brainwash.... and certainly want. But it makes really cute pictures.

 Our annual Toys 'R Us catalog arrived in the mail yesterday. With that as a bribe the boys whipped (well, almost) through their school, then eagerly devoured it from front to back, and then in reverse.
 Canaan chose a green marker, Zion an orange, and they enthusiastically circled everything they were interested in. Which was pretty much everything in the entire catalog. Why, even on the "girl" pages there were thing worth circling. Cute little stuffed animals, an amazing play kitchen (which Zion is completely in love with because it has a pretend washing machine and laundry basket) and on the Barbie page Zion insisted on circling the giant three story Barbie house because he thought I needed a toy too. Why wouldn't mommy want Barbie? Every little girl does, right? Even a few baby toys were circled, because they want a baby sister or brother and it made sense to them to be prepared, just in case.

 In preparing his Christmas list, Canaan looks at the catalog from a slightly realistic point of view. Yes, he likes to circle everything in it, and have some dreams, but he also looks at the price and considers the potential of actually receiving some of the items. He makes his prioritizes and lets them be known.
 Zion, however, believes in Santa. I really don't know how, or why. We have never spoken of Santa as a reality. We have never made a big deal about him. We read "The Night Before Christmas"every year, but we have also talked about the "history" of St. Nicolas, and how the idea of someone who shares with those in need is what Santa is about. I am realizing this week however that Zion believes that his presents are going to come from Santa. Money doesn't matter. Location doesn't matter. Reality doesn't matter.
 Santa will take care of it all.
 Somehow, that puts a lot of pressure on me. I hate to break his heart.
 It was much easier with Canaan, who never believed. I certainly didn't plan for Zion to think that a fictional character was real....
 How did this happen to me?!?!

 In the meantime, Zion put on his homemade hat, just because it made him happy, and proceeded with another run-through of the book of brainwash.

 At least he circles things he thinks others will like too!  

Monday, October 25, 2010

Rocks in the wash

I have learned the hard way recently that small boys, interesting items discovered on the ground, and laundry do not mix well.
 Pockets can't just have a cursory pat, or slight shake. We have reached that point in time in which every pocket, in every pair of pants must be completely and thoroughly checked.
 Or we end up with mini stuffed animals who take a bath, "fascinating" sticks that are baptized, and a flashlight that no longer works.

 All of this (shells, rocks and a stick, and I think there is a penny in there somewhere)
 fell out of Canaan's pants after one day walking around Charleston...

 My poor washing machine is going to earn it's keep in the next few years! 

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Black and White, Blue and Gray

The trip to Charleston was the conclusion of our unit study on the Civil War. One of the most important things I learned is that, truly, war is hard to discuss with children. Especially a second grader who still sees things in such an absolute black and white. As we read different books he kept asking, "Are these the bad guys or the good guys?" You can't answer that question. Over and over I tried to explain to him that they were all American's. They disagreed, just like he and his brother sometimes do. They let the fight get ugly - and he needs to make sure he learns the skills to help prevent that from ever happening again.
 Andy tried to keep it light, making a joke out of it. He is a southern boy, born and raised. I am from a very yankee background. He kept saying that we were from opposite sides, and that his boys would have to remember to follow Daddy if there is ever a fight again.
  What I realized is that I haven't spent enough time really analyzing some of the other major historical wars from the viewpoint of both sides. Everyone fights for a reason. Something they believe in. Sometimes it is just to feed their family. Sometimes it is because their king tells them to fight. Sometimes it is for a cause they feel passionate enough about to risk their life.
 I have always just studied the facts. Years begun and ended, standard political reasons, how it was "resolved" (usually by one of the opposing leaders being killed or captured). I have suddenly developed an interest in the passion behind the average soldier. Not the leaders. Not the men who sat in the throne rooms or conference rooms planning these battles out. I want to see the minds of the men, like my husband, who actually fight, just doing what they are told, when they are told. Because they believe in something. (In Andy's case, protecting the country - which requires trust in the people who run the country - which is why voting is so very important - but that is another entire blog)
 For now, I will try to teach my children to see a little bit of gray. There are lots of black and white areas of life. But "bad guys" versus "good guys" - sometimes that is hard to define.
 In the meantime, how about a few pictures of Lincoln, a Union soldier, and a Confederate soldier?

Meeting for peace talks...
And perhaps a puppet show behind Canaan's head? 

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

One little boy- a poem

When I was "home" last week I was given a big box of books. Another homeschool mom had cleaned out her closet and gave me some things she didn't need any more, or that her children had outgrown. 
 I was skimming through "The Successful Homeschool Family Handbook" when I stumbled upon a familiar poem.
 My Mom had stumbled upon the poem years ago and it had been an encouragement to her. An encouragement to stay individual, be creative, not follow the crowd - in her case, to homeschool. 
 We had talked about the poem over the years, but she couldn't remember who had written it, or where she had read it - only that she liked it. 
 Let me share it with you...

Once a little boy went to school.
He was quite a little boy
And it was quite a big school.
But when the little boy
Found that he could go to his room
By walking right in from the door outside
He was happy;
And the school did not seem
Quite so big anymore.

One morning
When the little boy had been in school awhile,
The teacher said:
"Today we are going to make a picture."
"Good!" thought the little boy.
He liked to make all kinds;
Lions and tigers,
Chickens and cows,
Trains and boats;
And he took out his box of crayons
And began to draw.

But the teacher said, "Wait!"
"It is not time to begin!"
And she waited until everyone looked ready.
"Now," said the teacher,
"We are going to make flowers."
"Good!" thought the little boy,
He liked to make beautiful ones
With his pink and orange and blue crayons.
But the teacher said "Wait!"
"And I will show you how."
And it was red, with a green stem.
"There," said the teacher,
"Now you may begin."

The little boy looked at his teacher's flower
Then he looked at his own flower.
He liked his flower better than the teacher's
But he did not say this.
He just turned his paper over,
And made a flower like the teacher's.
It was red, with a green stem.

On another day
When the little boy had opened
The door from the outside all by himself,
The teacher said:
"Today we are going to make something with clay."
"Good!" thought the little boy;
He liked clay.
He could make all kinds of things with clay:
Snakes and snowmen,
Elephants and mice,
Cars and trucks
And he began to pull and pinch
His ball of clay.

But the teacher said, "Wait!"
"It is not time to begin!"
And she waited until everyone looked ready.
"Now," said the teacher,
"We are going to make a dish."
"Good!" thought the little boy,
He liked to make dishes.
And he began to make some
That were all shapes and sizes.

But the teacher said "Wait!"
"And I will show you how."
And she showed everyone how to make
One deep dish.
"There," said the teacher,
"Now you may begin."

The little boy looked at the teacher's dish;
Then he looked at his own.
He liked his better than the teacher's
But he did not say this.
He just rolled his clay into a big ball again
And made a dish like the teacher's.
It was a deep dish.

And pretty soon
The little boy learned to wait,
And to watch
And to make things just like the teacher.
And pretty soon
He didn't make things of his own anymore.

Then it happened
That the little boy and his family
Moved to another house,
In another city,
And the little boy
Had to go to another school.
This school was even bigger
Than the other one.
And there was no door from the outside
Into his room.
He had to go up some big steps
And walk down a long hall
To get to his room.
And the very first day
He was there,
The teacher said:
"Today we are going to make a picture."
"Good!" thought the little boy.
And he waited for the teacher
To tell what to do.
But the teacher didn't say anything.
She just walked around the room.

When she came to the little boy
She asked, "Don't you want to make a picture?"
"Yes," said the lttle boy.
"What are we going to make?"
"I don't know until you make it," said the teacher.
"How shall I make it?" asked the little boy.
"Why, anyway you like," said the teacher.
"And any color?" asked the little boy.
"Any color," said the teacher.
"If everyone made the same picture,
And used the same colors,
How would I know who made what,
And which was which?"
"I don't know," said the little boy.
And he began to make a red flower with a green stem.

Helen E. Buckley.

 If I never use anything else in that whole box of books, I am so glad to have it just for this. This reminder to be individual. This prompting to create children who know how to think outside the box. This little piece of art which cries out for the art in every moment to be recognized.
 We are all called to our individuality in different ways. Sometimes something as simple as wearing crazy hats and interesting jewelry. Sometimes by homeschooling our children -(although that is hardly seen as out of the ordinary any more). Sometimes by volunteering our time and energy in places that others want to ignore the existence of. Sometimes by quitting our day job and answering the call of whatever God has been whispering in our ear for months.
 I certainly will never be an artist, so I can't really talk about creativity - but it is imperative to my sanity that I avoid pouring myself into a mold and trying to fit in with everyone around me. Individuality.
 I don't ever want to be a red flower with a green stem.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Catch up, part 2

I ended the last post at the closing of our vacation. Busy, but beautiful.
 The day after we returned we got a call about a death back "home". Not someone we were close to personally, but a family member of Andy's best friend. It just felt right to drive up and be there for him.
 So, I unpacked from Charleston, did three loads of laundry, and repacked again. I hadn't planned to go north for a few weeks still, but since we were driving that direction anyway, I figured I might as well stay.

 You see, my grandparents recently moved into a retirement home. They took their favorite furnishings, books and dishes with them. However, it is much smaller - and easier to maintain - then the old family homeplace.
 But 60 years worth of memories have to have somewhere to go. My parents house seems to be the catch all, since the other siblings either live farther away, or just aren't interested.
  My parents needed help deciding what, how, where, etc. 

 The four of us sisters decided to try the divide and conquer method...

 Things already in the house had to be cleared out and organized to make room for the "new" stuff coming in. 

 Any wild guesses who this is? 
Mom tucked a picture of Zion down in the corner cause she thinks he looks like me in that picture. 

I found myself doing random things like cleaning out the "junk drawer"... just because it was there. 

I had no idea there were that many writing utensils in my parents house, forget in one drawer!

Before Andy headed back home on Monday I snapped a few pictures of him. He had taken the entire week off while we were in Charleston, so of course, being the military man he is, he hadn't even packed a razor. 

Here is his slightly trimmed up, but still very grungy look.
If he can do this in 10 days, just think what he will be able to do in his two months of terminal leave! December and January will be an adventure. 
For some reason I love this picture. You can see the red in his beard so nicely, and the sun is shining on his ring tattoo. (and he is "talking" to his Garmin, before he drives off and leaves me at my parents for a week.... at least he has the ring saying he belongs to me!)

 It was a busy week, mostly just going through boxes, rearranging furniture, and deciding what to put in a yard sale, pass along to other family members, or simply throw away.

 It was exhausting, but, as always with my family, loads of laughs.

 Well, I thought I had this last one rotated, and it was silly enough the right way up... but somehow, having it upside down makes it even better.
 Four silly girls, smashed together trying to hold the camera ourselves to take our picture. That's what sister's do.
 Now I have a week's worth of your blogs to catch up on reading!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

A very, very full two weeks

The problem with having a nice camera is that you take 500 pictures on a 3 day trip...

Augusta was a blast.
Neither the Garmin nor I killed either other on the drive up, and the boys had a blast with their cousin, Anistyn.
 She had skinned up her nose at school a few days earlier (of course, the day before picture day... isn't that the way it always goes?) but I thought this was such an amazing picture of her eyes... just ignore the scraped up nose!
 Their stuff had just arrived from CA a few weeks earlier, and was still be sorted through and unpacked. 
The children had a blast with the boxes. 

(see that arm poking out down below?)

Maybe not just children were having fun with the boxes?!

 After Augusta we drove over to Charleston for a couple of nights. 
Andy kept stealing my new camera to take artistic shots - he was an art major after all.

 But I got in a few myself.

Here is the bridge from the bay.

Here it is passing under it, through the windshield  - I tried! 
 Even Andy gave me some credit for that one. 
Of course, my favorites are still, always, of my boys - even the big one.

The next day we went to Ft. Sumnter, since we had been studying the War between the States. 

The ferry ride out provided the only family picture of our vacation.

Once again, Andy took possession of the camera and took some beautiful pictures
and with reminder, some of his family also.

When I repossessed my camera, he pouted a little (truly - he was pouting)
and I got some great shots of our children in motion

 On our last day we stopped first at the Citadel, where I got so distracted taking video of the formation practice that I forgot to take many pictures! 

 Then, on our way out of town we stopped at a plantation that has been owned by the same family since the late 1600's. Isn't it beautiful?
 Petting zoo first.
  Doesn't that rooster look like he knows he is handsome?

My boys were "talking" to an owl, and cracking up.

Zion was fascinated by petting a deer. 

We took a "train" tour of the plantation and got to see several gators.
This one was probably about 12ft.

Then Andy took a picture of us by the pond,
 before we got hopelessly lost in the maze, discovered the most amazing smelling plant EVER (which I have already forgotten the name of, but took a picture of and will ask my Father in law to help me search out) and finally hit up the house/museum and gift shop. 

 See why we were exhausted by the time we got home. 
 And that was last Thursday. I haven't even gotten to this week yet!