First Day of School (2019-2020)

School started! We are a bit late to kick things off this year thanks to an epic trip down the Baja Peninsula earlier this month. That’s the beauty of homeschooling – make it work for your family in your season.

And just so we don’t think it was all rainbows and butterflies…I leave you with this:

The day we made Candyland

Halloween candy sat languishing in the cupboard.

A haul from a birthday piñata got tossed in at some point. Who knew there was such a thing as Thanksgiving candy?

We aren’t much of a candy family, and with the holidays upon us we wanted to do something with all these sweets before they met their final demise on garbage day.

Presenting – Candy Land In Real Life

Hunter and Madison worked all morning to create their own game boards. At one point they decided to join them together, creating a massive Candy Land Universe. Hunter built some LEGO people for our place markers, we pulled out a spare dice, and started the game.

It had it all – caramel corn bridges, taffy swamps, a magic eggnog pool with portals to the next realm, lollipop tunnels, and enough arguing over whose turn it is to last until next Christmas.

But, oh did we have fun.

Rewrite the Story

Up til now, he’d been quiet.  Listening for over an hour as I unravelled my family’s story.  I paused, took a breath, and said, “Yeah, I think that’s about it.”  A nervous giggle  escaped my throat.  I had just laid bare the core of who I was.  What happens next?

He leaned forward.  Hands clasped between his knees.  His eyes, which had never left me, shimmered in intensity.  The silence shouted.

“Two things,” he began.

“One,” ticking off a finger to underscore his emotions.  “That was wrong, and I’m sorry.”

I gasped.  Hot tears pooled, fighting to escape.  I had kept my composure but now my emotions quavered.  Those two simple statements of truth turned the lock on a long-forgotten corner of my heart.

“And number two,” he continued, “you have the chance to rewrite your story.”

* * * * *

Stars twinkled in the early morning sky, mirroring the dew drops shimmering on each blade of grass.  Words poured out, confessing fears and repenting lies.  I sat in our backyard on the porch’s bottom step, emptying my heart in sorrow.  Prayers fell short, of words and distance.  The ever-present God feels so distant sometimes.

Anxiety and fear closed in.  I wanted to build walls, shut myself in, launch attacks, and alienate everyone.  I knew why too.  Recent events as well as a some upcoming situations were waving every red flag and yanking every trigger inside me.  Terrified, I just wanted to hide.

::Inhale ::

God, I don’t want to be this way.  I don’t know how to believe.  God, help me in my unbelief.

:: Exhale ::

Rewrite your story.

The phrase appeared so clearly, recalled from memory but also spoken for this moment.

These battles I can’t seem to win.

These fears I can’t seem to conquer.

The wounds that heal, only to rip open and spill fresh pain.

The rejection that lies, well enough to believe.

I am not a broken record doomed to repeat the same damaged song.

I am an author writing the story of a new life.

Boo Bump – Halloween Learning Fun

We tried out this math-based game recently to help celebrate the Halloween season. The concept is to roll die, stack objects on the numbers, and block or steal your spaces from other players. We played with candy which upped the ante.

All the kids enjoyed playing, and the older ones helped Leah (who is almost 3) with some of the math. In fact, it was such a hit they ended up taking it to their weekly co-op to play with their friends. Imagine my surprise when I found them huddled around a table, engrossed in the game, instead of outside playing when it was free time! We found this version of the game at Teachers Pay Teachers.

Catch the Wind


Consider the difference between piloting a motorboat or a sailboat.  We can run a motorboat all by ourselves.  We can fill the tank and start the engine.  We are in control.  But a sailboat is a different story.  We can hoist the sails and steer the rudder, but we are utterly dependent on the wind.  The wind does the work.  If the wind doesn’t blow – and sometimes it doesn’t – we sit still in the water no matter how frantic we act.  Our task is to do whatever enables us to catch the wind.

John Ortberg, The Life You’ve Always Wanted

Sometimes parenting

Sometimes parenting is standing in a bathroom, shower running, steam billowing, while your coughing six-month old sleeps on your chest.

Sometimes parenting is losing your temper at your three year old because she keeps poking her brother in the face when she should be brushing her teeth.

Sometimes parenting is a humbling realization that your five year old is years ahead of her age in how she perceives and feels the world.

Sometimes parenting is mourning the loss of what could have been and choosing gratitude for what is. This week is Easter Break and the sisters have VBS each morning. Hunter was looking forward to a week of “Mommy & Hunter” time with big dreams of quiet, focused, one-on-one connections.

Three days ago, Jackson started coughing.

It’s a deep, chesty cough that keeps him from napping, changes his happy-go-lucky disposition to whiny and needy, and requires most of my attention.

Sometimes parenting is apologizing, hugging, crying, and making new plans.