wife to Jake, mommy to my 3 crazy munchkins, Lily (7), Jonah (5.5) and Kate (4). Taking this crazy blessed life one day at a time.

3.26.2013

To homeschool or not.

Jake and I have had the homeschooling discussion on and off since we've been married. 

We like the idea, him more than me, but I felt like I could never homeschool. I felt like I just wasn't one of those people that could do it. 

Jake and I were both in public school until graduating high school. We survived, why couldn't our kids? 


But, now that we are in the public school system, my views are changing. 

We live right down the street from Lily's school. It is a great school and Lily has done very well there so far this year- her "report card" is filled with almost all "exceeds standards" which of course makes Jake and I grin. 

But, at the same time, I know that she can do better. She is capable of more than what she is currently working on at school. 

But for me, the bigger issue is not the education itself, but what she is picking up at school, what she is learning from her peers, things that are the opposite of what we want our little girl to be exposed to. 

Now, I am NOT a helicopter parent. At all. I do not want to keep my kids sheltered from everything that goes on in the world. 

BUT, I do want to help them keep perspective. Keep their focus on what life is really about.

I am not saying that I am for sure going to homeschool, but it is something that I am actually thinking about and will start to look into. I want my kids to learn at their own pace and also be surrounded by good influences. If I were to homeschool, I would want a Christian curriculum for sure. 

But, I have many many questions that I am hoping you all can help me with!

- How do you even get started? 
- How do you choose a curriculum?
- What do you do with your younger kids while schooling your older  kids? 
- How do you teach your different aged/different grade kids at the same time? 
- What sort of time commitment per day is it?
- Do you need to keep to the same timing/routine each day?
-Can an ordinary mom really be successful?
- Is it hard for your homeschooled kids to be in sports or do extra curriculars through the school since they don't go there and may not know anyone? Does it make them feel like an outcast?
- Do you need to have a separate, designated "school" space in your house to homeschool? 
- How much money do you need to put into it to make it work?

That's all I can think of for now- if you have anything at all to add, please leave a comment on here or facebook! I am very interested in getting information about homeschooling and making it work!


3.21.2013

Today.

Today was a frustrating day. 

It was just one of those days.

Nothing overly horrible happened today. But it was one of those days where little things just build and build and your husband comes home from work and can see the stress on your face and in your posture and graciously takes the kids all out for a walk just to give you 20 minutes of quiet. 

It was one of those days. 

A day the kids threw a fit whenever I gave them an answer they didn't want. 

A day they used mean and inappropriate words when they were angry. 

A day I felt like I couldn't take them anywhere.

A day I felt slightly overwhelmed by my own kids. 

I hate that feeling. Feeling like my kids are controlling me rather than the other way around. 

Usually it doesn't feel like that, but occasionally we hit a weird off day, like today, and we are out of whack. 

Days like today make me question, ever so slightly, if 4 might be much. 

I don't think so though. I know that every mom that has ever lived has had a day like today. Even mom's that have adopted. And days like today are not our everyday, thankfully.

Today is a day that the laundry I did last night still needs to be folded. 

A day the clean dishes in the dishwasher still need to be put away and the dirty ones still need to go in. 

A day I am in my pajamas at 7pm. 

A day that I really didn't want to make dinner but sucked it up and made it anyway. Thankfully it was good. 

But, 

even though today was an off day, and they drove me completely nuts, 

our evening was made up of a family dinner, kids playing, and best of all, cuddling on the couch while reading bedtime stories. (we are BIG Fancy Nancy fans over here)

The kids went to bed, happy and knowing they are loved. 

We ended this rotten day the right way. 

And tomorrow is a new day- His mercies are new every morning. 


3.13.2013

Jonah's favorites.

My sweet boy, 

You are 4 1/2- your 5th birthday quickly approaching. (Please tell me how it is possible that you are going to be FIVE soon?!) 

I wanted to write down some of your favorite things at age 4.5, so we always remember.

- First and most importantly, Peter Rabbit, aka, Bunny. Your most prized possession  You take bunny with you everywhere and LOVE (that is an understatement) him SO much. You tell us that you especially love Bunny's long ears because they are so soft. Bunny has lost ALL of his stuffing in his neck because you have carried him by his neck for years. 

Picture you drew of you and Bunny. It is now in a frame on your bookshelf. I adore this picture so so much. 


- You love your green blanket, and are beginning to also love the blue blanket Aunt Beth made for you. 

- You are pretty much obsessed with any type of vehicle, and you can name every single type of truck or tractor. 

- You love sharks and the ocean and you love learning all you can about them. 

- You would chose a non-fiction book almost 100% of the time over a fiction book. You LOVE to learn how things work and why things are the way they are. 

- You love to build, design and create. VERY frequently you come home from school with a GIANT "creation" (your word, not mine) that you carefully constructed. You are so proud when you show me and explain all you did to build it and how it all works. You carefully store your creations in your room, until you have played with them so much they have fallen apart. I was so proud of you this weekend when you were finally ready to part with your overflowing mountain of falling apart creations. 

I absolutely LOVE watching you create new things and I love even more hearing you explain what it is. You are SO smart and I am convinced that you are going to be some sort of engineer when you grow up. Miss Amanda and Miss Deb think so too. 

- You love playing outside and getting dirty. You are always digging in our "digging area".

- One of your most favorite things to do is to help daddy, with anything. You are always so eager to help him with whatever he is working on. Daddy loves it so much.

- You love to talk. There are not many moments during the day that you are quiet. 

- You would eat all day if I let you.

- You love salad and fruits and veggies. You call yourself  "the salad eater".

- You are a GREAT friend and are always so sweet and helpful and kind to your friends.

- You love your sisters so much. I love watching you and Kate play together on the mornings you are home from school. I hope that the three of you are always close. 

- You love to help me in the kitchen. You are a great little helper when I am making meals and your new favorite thing to do is to make your lunch, all by yourself, when you get home from school. You are SO proud when you make that sandwich yourself. 

- You are such a great "bucket filler"- (we read "How Full is your Bucket" a lot!).

- You always say the funniest things and you constantly keep us laughing!

- We tell you all the time that you are the best snuggler. You love to climb into bed with me and daddy in the mornings when you wake up and snuggle with us. 

- You love routine and are very set in what you like. For example, you love to listen to your music when you are falling asleep, but when we go into your room to kiss you goodnight before we go to bed, you have turned on your favorite song and put it on repeat, so that your one favorite song is playing over and over and over for hours. Right now your current favorite song to listen to at bedtime is "Angels We Have Heard on High". You know that it is number 15 and you know how to turn it on to repeat. And you don't know the names of the songs you like so you just sing it for us so we know which song you want. It is insanely cute. Daddy and I love to hear your song softly playing from your room- it always makes us giggle. 

- You love your "little Annie". Your preschool sweetheart. You both are so cute together and you are such a gentleman towards her. My heart melts every night when you take her Christmas card into bed with you and look at her picture before you go to sleep. I love that you still have her Christmas card and keep it standing up on your bookshelf next to your bed. 


Jonah, you are just the best little boy and everyday my heart is bursting with love for you. I love spending time with you and I am really going to miss you when you go to kindergarten.   

I love you sweet boy!


little update.


Today is day 6 without Jake. 

Things have actually been going really well, aside from the fact that Kate and I have a gross cold, leaving both of us coughing and congested, and resulting in little sleep. 

But, Jake begins his trek home on Friday and we will see him Saturday night! We sure miss him :)

Yesterday, we got some important papers in the mail- We got our information and application for adoption!

Since getting that in the mail yesterday, I have felt very excited and optimistic. I can't wait for Jake to get home so we can read through it together and send in the application. We also now know when the meetings are, so we are anxious to go as soon as we can and move along through this process. 

I will keep you all updated as things move along! 

Also, we are coming up to Kate going 4 months without an episode! Although, now that I wrote that, I am sure she will wake up tomorrow with one. 

It has been so wonderful to have her healthy the past 4 months! I am praying that this episode-free streak continues! 

Again, you all are wonderful and I so appreciate the prayers and support! 

Love wins friends!

-Lauren-


3.06.2013

The beginning.


Thank you all for the outpouring of love, prayers and support after my last post. It is so encouraging knowing so many people are praying for us and for Hayden. 

Jake did in fact call Massachusetts Family Services to get things going and to get more information and we are waiting for a call back from them. 

We are at the very beginning of this long, exciting, heartbreaking process. 

There is a lot we still need to learn. There is a lot we need to do. 

Right now, my only focus is getting things started. I am not looking too far ahead. I feel like I can't do that, can't look ahead because we don't even know what they will say. We don't know what they will tell us or if they will even let us adopt. 

Right now that is my biggest fear. I am sure as we move along, my fears will change. But right now, my  biggest fear is that they will say "NO". I am afraid that they are going to say no because our house is too small or because we don't make enough money. 

We are taking things one.step.at.a.time. 

I think when you are going through something so HUGE and so EMOTIONAL, you can only take it one step at a time because each step is about as much as anyone can bare. 

We are praying and praying and listening. 

We are hopeful that one day we might be able to open our hearts and our home to a child that needs love and a good home. 

But we are also aware that there is a chance this won't work out at all. Hence, the baby steps. 

Jake is going away for 10 days on Friday to help lead a missions trip to Florida, so I don't expect much to happen until after he gets back.

Again, thank you for your prayers and support! 



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3.04.2013

Hayden.



This weekend, we had an experience we have never had before. 

While pulling into a Best Buy parking lot, we almost ran over a little boy that was walking around in a parking spot. We quickly looked around, searching for the adult that would, of course, be right nearby to snatch him up and keep him safe. 

We watched him walk through the parking lot, pushing an empty cart right into the road. At that point, we all jumped out of the car, along with a few other adults, everyone searching for someone to claim the little boy. 

No one came. He was all alone. No adults nearby. No one frantically searching for this wandering little boy.

Jake picked him up, after the other adults realized that we were a young family with little kids and were trustworthy to take the boy into Best Buy to wait for the police. As we were taking him inside, we hear a man talking with a woman pushing a cart with an Elmo balloon floating above it. The man was saying, "No, you are not taking him back. I just watched that boy walk away from you 9 times and you didn't even notice. You didn't do anything! We called the police and you need to wait for them to come." 

This man was talking to the little boy's mother. 

I am so thankful for that man, for standing up for this sweet little boy. 

Jake convinced the mother to come inside of Best Buy with us, while we waited for the police. 

It was pretty obvious that there was something wrong with the mother. She was strangely calm and didn't seem to be in her right mind. Jake said she seemed to be high on something. 

While we waited for the police, which seemed to take a very long time, we played with the little boy. We learned that his name is Hayden,  he is 2 1/2 and his birthday is in May. He has short blonde hair and blue eyes and the cutest little smile. He loved playing with my 3 kids and Lily, Jonah and Kate all helped to look after him and keep him safe. 

After a while, it became very hard to keep my kids entertained in Best Buy (little kids around lots of breakable electronics?? Not a good mix.), so I decided to take the kids over to the Salvation Army store to look around and give them a better place to wait. We all said goodbye to Hayden and he gave my kids the biggest hugs. They were all sad to say goodbye to him.

Meanwhile, Jake stayed with Hayden. The police finally showed up and were talking to the mother and to Jake for quite a while.

Hayden really took to Jake. For close to 2 hours, Jake held him, played with him, talked to him, gave him a snack,  and kept him safe. By the end, Hayden was almost falling asleep on Jake's shoulder. The whole time  Hayden just wanted to stay with Jake- he didn't even want to go to his mother. He really loved Jake.

Finally, family members came and Hayden and his mother were released to go home with them. Hayden cried when Jake had to give him up. 

Jake and I had a hard time thinking of anything else for the rest of the night. And the next day. And still today. We both wished so much that we could have just taken Hayden home with us and made him part of our family. It was a heartbreaking experience and I am certain that we will never forget it. 

Jake and I have always talked about possibly adopting. It is close to Jake's heart because his younger brother and sister are both adopted. I have always been open to it and lately I have jokingly said "Jake let's adopt, I want another baby!" But I was saying that for the wrong reasons. 

But this weekend changed everything. This weekend was my first real experience witnessing a child in need. A child that doesn't have a safe home. And I know that there are so many kids out there who's life is so much worse. 

This weekend really opened my eyes to adoption and it really made me realize that kids don't need big houses or the newest toys or electronics. All they really need is a safe and loving home. A family that loves them unconditionally and raises them to be kind, loving, Godly adults. 

And I realized that even though we don't have a ton of money or a big house, we do have lots of love to give. Lots and lots of love. 

And because of that, Jake is making a phone call today. A phone call to get information to start us on the road to adoption. I can't say whether or not it will work out, but Jake and I both feel very strongly that meeting Hayden was God changing our hearts and showing us that it is time for us to take this seriously. 

So, we are. We are starting the process and seeing where God leads us. 

Maybe God was using Hayden to help another child that will someday become part of our family. Maybe not. But either way, Hayden has changed us and we pray that he is okay.  

Please pray with us for Hayden and also for us as we begin this process. 

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