Titus 2:11-13

"For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus."

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

They Say...

Periodically, I do a post I call Kids Say as a way of recording and remembering the cute things my kids say. What I am discovering as a mom of four young children is that kids aren't the only people who, unawares, say entertaining things. Today, I thought I'd do a post on the usually funny/sometimes rude/occasionally flattering things people say when they see me with my four kids....

Slightly-Bristled-and/or-Judgmental Total Stranger in Chiropractor's Office: "You have four kids?! You don't look old enough to have four kids!"

(Almost) Every Total Stranger in (Almost) Every Place: "Boy, do you have your hands full...."

Sight-Seeing Total Stranger in Wal-Mart: "Look at that! And I thought I had my hands full. Next time I'm feeling overwhelmed, I'll just think of you!... Wow!..."

Non-Observant Total Strangers: "Two sets of twins??"

Curious Total Strangers: "Are they all yours?"

Advanced-in-Years Total Stranger in an Elevator: "I've never seen so many kids in my life!!"

  • Even at 27 years of age and 5 years of marriage, I sometimes don't feel old enough to have four children. :-)
  • My hands may be "full," but my heart is overflowing.
  • Abel and Amariah are 15 1/2 months apart and a head different in height.
  • Yes, they are all mine--and not by accident. :-)
  • None of the above comments have been evoked by some display of bad or obnoxious behavior but simply by the sight of four children in my presence. :-)

Monday, August 23, 2010

Our First Day of Homeschooling

Today was an exciting day in the Squires household.  It was our first day of preschool!  The kids (and I!) have been excitedly awaiting this day for several weeks, and especially since "Box Day."

Our "Box Day"--the day our Sonlight curriculum arrived--was August 11th, and our excitement has only built since then.  The past week and half has seen Travis taking the kids shopping for school supplies, me getting our home organized and ready to homeschool, and the kids talking about school nearly every day.
Elliana enjoyed Box Day, too!

Unpacking our box full of new books!

Last night, we "celebrated" the beginning of school by taking the kids to the park and then out for frozen custard (Thanks for the idea, Melissa! :-)); and when we got home, Abel and Amariah laid out what they wanted to wear for their first day of school.
Abel and Amariah got everything ready for morning!

When the kids woke up this morning, they excitedly dressed themselves, threw on their new backpacks, and headed downstairs, ready to "go" to school; and after breakfast, that is just where we "went!"
Abel's First Day of Preschool

Amariah's First Day of Preschool

Abel kept calling me "Teacher.  I mean, Mommy," and was ready with all the answers.  Amariah, equally as excited to participate, had to remind Abel a few times that she wanted a turn at answering, too. :-)  While we read books, Isabel insisted on sitting on my lap, and Elliana insisted on pestering Amariah.  We moved from the couch to the bar when it was time for Language Arts, and with perfect timing, the babies simultaneously laid down for their morning naps.

Our first day of school work was complete after about 75 minutes, and then the kids went outside to play for a while.  When the came back in, Abel asked if he could "read" me a story and then proceeded to retell in astounding detail Dr. Seuss's Horton Hatches the Egg, a 53-page book (including pictures), from memory.  Not only was I impressed, I was also glad to be able to check off tomorrow's "Picture Book Narration" Language Arts assignment. :-)

In summary, I would say that our first day of homeschooling was a great success.  The kids had fun learning, I had fun teaching, and we ended the day already ahead of schedule!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Making a Home a Homeschool...and Vice Versa!

This afternoon, I was again--or maybe still--considering the best ways to organize our homeschool stuff to ensure that everything is orderly when we officially start school next week. Because our house is relatively small (at least by today's standards), I do not have a room or an area of the house that can be specifically designated for school. This has meant that I am attempting to create spaces for our supplies in places that are sensible and accessible but not totally visible. This is what brings me to the question I have: How do you make a home a homeschool and yet keep it a home? While I want to create an atmosphere that invites learning, I do not want to forfeit the "homey" feeling and appearance of a neat, uncluttered home.

So, in efforts to keep our home clutter-free and our homeschool sensible, accessible, and "invisible," I have purchased a couple gently used bookshelves, this one for some of Travis' and my books (to free up space on other bookshelves),

and this one for hidden storage. From the outside, it just looks like a nice piece of living room furniture,

but on the inside is a wealth of stuff including children's games, basic art supplies, children's books, homeschool books, diapers, and even a few toys!

If it weren't for the fact that I want to keep some things out of Isabel and Elliana's reach, I would be able to neatly fit more homeschool supplies in there. Instead, I have one drawer in the kitchen that contains scissors, pencils, glue sticks, lined paper, and a few other supplies

as well as a filing bin in the basement with some other learning aids such as alphabet coloring pages and flashcards.

Lastly, I have a world map and an alphabet poster that I would like to hang on a wall; but I haven't done so yet because I haven't come up with a spot that would be sensible, accessible, and yet not totally visible. :-)

So tell me, you experienced homeschoolers and/or organizers that may be reading this post, am I crazy for thinking I can maintain my home in spite of my homeschool? What ideas do you have for organizing a homeschool in a sensible, accessible, "invisible" fashion?

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Giving of Myself

Last Friday morning, after 14 months and 9 days of successfully breastfeeding twins, I nursed Isabel and Elliana for the last time, bringing to an end (unless God wills otherwise) my breastfeeding "career."

For me, breastfeeding has been a most enjoyable part of being a mommy.  Despite the ugly undergarments and the occasional "Ouch!", I have thoroughly enjoyed being able to give of myself for the sake of my babies.   Reaping that enjoyment--as well as the benefits of health and bonding--has definitely come with a price.  In fact, because I have spent all but two of the sixty-two months of my marriage either pregnant or breastfeeding or both, there have been times that I have said to my husband, "I haven't felt good ever since we got married."    And, there have been times that I have felt a little tied down by the fact that my baby/babies had needs that only I could fulfill.  So, yes, breastfeeding my children has meant a sacrifice of self; but I wouldn't have had it any other way!

Weaning Isabel and Elliana has been bittersweet.  Due to the fact that we are heeding my doctor's advice that my uterus should not be tested with another pregnancy, there has been a certain feeling of finality to the weaning this time around.  Not only will I never nurse Isabel and Elliana again, but I may never nurse any baby again.  That is the bitter part.  The sweet part, though, is that I am going to feel good again!  In fact, I already do feel more like myself than I have in a really long time.  I have more energy, more motivation, more of myself to give in other ways because not all of me is being consumed by the demands of breastfeeding.

Since I feel it a bit presumptuous to say that I am "closing this chapter" of my life, I will rather say that I am simply turning the page.  In whatever ways the Lord may call me to give of myself in the coming pages, I pray that I will do so with joyful obedience.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Why Amariah Makes Me Smile

The older my sweet little Amariah gets, the more I see of who she is going to be. And the more I see of who she is going to be, the more I realize that she is not me. Unlike my first child who seems to be a lot like me in personality and preferences, Amariah is just uniquely herself. It is the things that make her Amariah that make me smile....
  1. Her imagination is always at work. Give her most any toy, and she will enter into her own land of make-believe, carrying on lengthy two-way conversations with herself.
  2. She is not attentive to detail. When asked to pick up toys, she will put them away; but it will likely be in a different way than I (or her brother) would do it.
  3. She does things that often seem to me to have no rhyme or reason. She has (recently) gotten away with eating such messy foods as spaghetti and macaroni and cheese with her hands; yet, today she ate a grilled cheese sandwich with a fork.
  4. She leaves traces of her make-believing self in places I don't even know she's been. I am constantly finding such things as her favorite stuffed elephant perched in a high chair "eating" fake food; two random dolls tucked under the covers of the spare bed; her purse filled with an assortment of things ranging from Barbie brushes and dollhouse figurines to shreds of kleenex and not-so-sticky stickers.
My Amariah is indeed unique. And, although I usually have no idea what is going on in that pretty little head of hers, I do know that I love her dearly for just who she is.

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