Monday, October 16, 2017

Writing Again

It has been two years since I have written here.  It feels strange to even be here, as if I have traveled back in time to my earliest years of parenting, when I was up to my ears in babies and more babies and nothing but babies.

Life is so different now.  I am so different. 

Those early years were long days and so much quiet.  So much quiet and loneliness and what do we do with all of these endless hours.  And I was so young.  I am aware that one day, years from now, I will look back on my mid-thirties and think, "I was so young..." but right now this is how I look back on my twenties--I was so, so very young.

That little baby that I used to write about is speeding towards the teen years.  She is ten years old, standing on the precipice of childhood.  Teetering here.  We are so on the verge of teenager.  I hear it in the way she speaks and questions and stretches awkwardly into who she will one day become.  She is now ballerina and writer and reader and such a person beyond me.  It is the cliche-est of cliches, but where did my tiny baby go.  I remember that first night in the hospital, unwrapping her tight swaddle, just to look at her.  I couldn't believe she was mine.  I felt like I needed to ask permission to even touch her.  I was the mother??  How could that even be??

And ten years later, I am lost in motherhood, drowning in it.  I feel like I can mother a newborn in my sleep.  Because, of course, I have.  The years are a sleepy blur of nursing and baths and swaddles and babies on hips and budgeting.  The grocery lists, and ballet shoes, and laundry piles, and multiplication tables, and on and on it goes.  I am so very lost.  And there is so much we didn't know, couldn't have prepared for.  A special needs, "on the spectrum" child.  And a  fourth baby who rocked our world, but so quickly became our sweetheart.  We will say it for all of his days, "what if we hadn't had our Charles???" It is the most unexpected things, the hardest things, that have also been the sweetest.

But God has used these things to show me, teach me, imprint it on my heart and my mind, that HE is wisdom, HE is compassion, HE is strength, and if I feel lost, well, I must lose myself in him, and HE will make my paths straight.  The years have passed, and what I have learned is that I know so much less than I even realized, but I serve a God who has promised that he will give wisdom in abundance, we need only ask.

He is a good, good father.  He loves my children even more than I can fathom.  He has planned the details of their lives, and nothing surprises him.  He is a God of order, and can bring peace to my chaos.  He does bring peach to my chaos. 

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Wrapping Up the School Year

It is Sunday afternoon, and I am listening to Evie whine in her bed because she needs to go to sleep, but she slept for a full ten minutes in the car on the way home from church, and she thinks that qualifies for her afternoon nap.  Think again, my sweet little toddler.  Mama and daddy need some rest time. 

I am also in the process of weaning her.  At seventeen months, this is the longest I have nursed one of my children, and I am so very thankful that I was able to keep it up this long  However, this child will not take a bottle--never has other than one or two her first week of life.  She will drink out of a cup all day long, but come 3 am, she wants me, and only me.  Well, Scott and I have the opportunity to get away for a very quick, not even 24 hour, anniversary celebration, IF I can get her to sleep through the night without an early morning feeding.  So, this week is operation stop nursing.  Plus, I am just feeling ready to move on.  One year was my goal, so after that I have been playing it by ear, both willing to keep going and willing to stop, and I am ready now.  Ready to move on to the next phase of motherhood. 

We are in a season of wrapping things up.  We are wrapping up Evie's babyhood and transitioning into the toddler years.  And we are also trying to wrap up the school year so we can fully enjoy the summer months.  We have completed the classical conversations year--24 weeks of memory work covering history timeline, history sentence, science, math, latin, geography, and English grammar--and now we are working our tails off to finish Ada's math book by the end of May.  I want a full two months of nothing that HAS to be done.  Of course we will read --out loud, silently, together, on our own-- but without the pressure of an official school day.

Part of the Georgia homeschool law is that I am supposed to write a brief synopsis summing up Ada's school year.  So, I am going to do that here on the blog over the next few days and weeks, covering each subject that is required by Georgia Law AND all of the extra things that we have done.

It has been a tough homeschooling year, one where I have more often than not felt so very inadequate for the task before me, so it will be good for me to look back at what we have actually accomplished and to see where we are going in the coming year.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Returning to the Gospel, Again and Again

We've had a hard day.  We all have them from time to time, don't we?  Nothing specifically went wrong; I just seemed to be unable to get anything done.  And the house was a wreck.  And I had to remind Ada over and over and over again to sit still and pay attention and get your work done.  And sweet Evie pea followed me around the house, undoing any cleaning that I actually managed to get done.  By noon, I felt very discouraged, and I couldn't even remember why I was homeschooling in the first place. 

But now, now the day is done, and I am making myself sit down and remind myself why I decided to do this in the first place, so that I can start tomorrow with fresh vision.

My goal here, which I forget over and over again, is to live out the gospel in daily life with my children.  I want them home with me, so that while they are young, I can naturally help them respond to daily living with the truth of the gospel.  Today, their room was so messy, and I have told them so many times to clean it, and I just lost it with them.  Lost it.  And I took a minute, and I texted a friend, and I called Scott, and I prayed.  And then I gathered them around me in their room, and I apologized.  And I reminded them of the reality of sin and the reality that we live in a fallen world.  That the mess and the chaos and the yelling--that is not how it is supposed to be.  And I reminded them that as much as I hate the sin and the mess (the mess of the house and the mess of us) that we have hope because God has promised that one day he will return and he will make all things new.  It won't always be like this!!  AND I reminded them that we also can have hope because in the mean time, God has given us a helper--the holy spirit, to strengthen us in our weakness, to convict us of our sin, to enable us to turn away from that sin.  And then we prayed, we thanked God for Jesus, who saw us in our mess and knew we had no way out apart from him.  And we thanked God for the holy spirit, who is our helper, and we asked for help.  Help us, Jesus!!  And we thanked God for the hope that one day he will return and make all things new!!!  Hallelujah!!

And, as I prayed, and as they prayed, John also kept getting up and running around the room and asking me if we were done, and Ada's prayer seemed very half-hearted, and even as I told them ALL of the above, I felt discouraged again.  But this is why I have them home with me.  Because living the ins and outs of daily life with anyone provides so much opportunity for gospel application.  One day, one morning, one hour of this life shows us the reality of our sin and this fallen world.  We are a mess, and I want to be here to tell them the answer to the mess.  It's Jesus!!  And they may roll their eyes or ask if we are done, but I believe that if we keep going back to the gospel over and over again, and if we keep going to his word together, it will not return void.  I am trusting that God will use my feeble attempts at gospel talk to change their little hearts.  Now, I know that he certainly doesn't need me to change their hearts, but what a privilege if he allows me to play a role.

My prayer is that he would turn their hearts to Him, and that they would love Him with all of their heart and soul and mind and strength.  I pray that they would love His word, and that they would love prayer, and that they would spend their lives surrendered to him, surrendered to His will for their lives.  I have them home with me because I want them to know this is what comes first.  Phonics and math and memory work and handwriting, all of this must center around the gospel, and so I homeschool. 

Also, I always pray, always, show me if I am wrong.  Show me if it would be better if they were in public school.  Because, I certainly might be wrong.  But for now, this is where I feel he has called us.  So, I rest in Him on the good days and the bad days.  We run to the gospel on the good days and the bad days.  We run to Him.  He is always the answer.

yesterday at CC, learning about Norman Rockwell. 

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Order out of chaos

Well, here I find myself halfway through January of 2015, and no matter how much I try to walk away from the blog, there is always an urging in me to come back to it and record the details of our life. 

Evie is now a year old, fourteen months TODAY, and I am beginning to see through the fog of the past couple of years.  My pregnancy with her was a hard one.  Of course, there are those who have much harder ones than mine, but compared to my other two, hers was a doozy.  I was so uncomfortable and sick to my stomach for the entire pregnancy.  Then she was born, and we entered into the twilight zone that is the first year with a baby.  On top of that, the particular position that Scott had at Home Depot meant that he was working ALL OF THE TIME.  He got home late, and when he did get home, he got his lap top out and worked some more, and we felt like we couldn't ever really get to him.  But now, praise the Lord, he is two weeks into a new job that is so much CLOSER to home, and he has much more normal hours, and we are so very thankful.  We are also so very thankful for his time at Home Depot.  It was a good company, a good job, and it will always be a reminder of how God stepped into what felt like a hopeless situation and placed our feet on solid ground.  And I am thankful that Scott is such a hard worker and that he threw himself into that job and pursued excellence there in that position, BUT, I feel such relief with this new job that he has.  We all do.  In fact, just last week, after several days of Scott being home by six, John said, "mom, do you promise that daddy will always keep THIS job."  Bless him, he went to bed many nights this past year without seeing Scott.  (I realize that is the norm for so many families who go for months at a time without seeing their husband/father at all, but we are still thankful to see Scott on a more regular basis!).  This blog has always been a place where I could record the tangible ways that God provides for our family.  Scott's new job is the latest in that obvious provision.  I can't stop praising God for it. 

So, here we are, a new year, Evie is now moving into her toddler years, though she has yet to start walking.  She is my timid one, it seems.  She cruises around, and will walk while holding onto only ONE of my fingers, but she will not let go.  I am content with that.  She will walk when she is ready.
I am, of course, still homeschooling.  Though, technically, I am still only homeschooling one child.  Ada is in second grade, and, praise the Lord, this year has been mostly smooth sailing.  Second grade seems to be an easy year--no big learning milestones, really.  She is reading independently, sailing through math lessons, doing well memorizing her CC grammar.  Another way that God is providing.  It has been a hard past year, so for the school portion of it to be easy is a huge gift from the Lord.

All of that to say,  I have been living in survival mode--somewhat out of necessity, and I am ready to move out of that frame of mind.  We are two weeks into this school semester (we have spent these two weeks sick, so it hasn't been a great start), and I am thinking through a better system for our day.  School has to be a priority, obviously, because I am always aware that Ada is in SECOND GRADE, and sometimes I get that same feeling--like that dream that everyone has, where I am in college and it is finals week and I realize that I haven't been to class all semester!--well, I get that feeling sometimes about Ada.  As if she was supposed to start school two years ago, and we didn't start.  Really, I know that she is fine, but sometimes it is overwhelming that the responsibility of her education is ALL MINE.  I want to make sure that I am being a good steward of these years and this choice to educate my children at home.  I want to make the most of it. 

I am hoping--hoping being the important word--that I can start using this blog as a place to reflect and evaluate what is and is not working in our day to day life.  I crave an orderly home, and right now, it is more fly by the seat of our pants.  Some of that is inevitable during this season of life, but I want to be intentional in trying to find possible solutions for the chaos.   

We'll see.  Who knows when I will be back to this online journal of mine.  But my hope, and my plan, is that I will return soon.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Evie will be one on Tuesday.  We celebrated this weekend because during the week there are many nights that Evie is either already in bed or, at the very least, exhausted, by the time Scott gets home, so it made more sense to celebrate early. 

 In light of her coming birthday, I sat down last night after the kids were in bed, and I read back through the small handful of posts I have written over the past year.  And even though the posts were few and far between, I was so glad to have them to look back on.  Upon that realization, I press on with the blog...

I am not a big birthday party planning person.  I am big into celebrating my children, but I get very overwhelmed by the details of a birthday party.  I get very overwhelmed by the details of anything.   I also put a lot of thought into what my children will remember; what things we are marking as important to our family.  And I have realized that what is important to me about any of our birthdays is to celebrate the part each individual plays in our family.  So, we have, rather unintentionally, settled into a tradition of having fun family days for each of our birthdays.  If one of my children specifically asks for a birthday party, then I am fine with that, but I like to give them a little nudge toward choosing an activity instead.  It has become a fun time to go into Atlanta and do something that we would not normally do.  So far, to celebrate birthdays, we have gone to the aquarium, the children's museum, the American Girl store, and yesterday we visited Pink Pig at Lenox Mall.  Each of those outings also included a fun lunch out in Atlanta.  And John has put in a request to go see dinosaur bones for his February birthday, so a trip to Fernbank is forthcoming.  I am hoping this is a tradition that sticks because it has become a great way for us to step back from the daily grind and just have FUN together, and it doesn't involve the stress of planning a birthday party (because, like I said, party planning is NOT my strength). 

Because Evie's birthday is November, we thought we could combine her birthday with another Moore family tradition and visit Atlanta's Pink Pig ride at Macy's in Lenox mall.  John's first Christmas, we received tickets to the Pink Pig (not being from Atlanta, I knew nothing about it), and Ada has asked to go back each year.  It was a fun day, and it was fun to go to Lenox for the day.  I have fond memories of Lenox, because when I was first a stay at home mom still living in Atlanta, I realized that Lenox mall is very empty on weekday mornings, and I needed Ada to nap, so I would load Ada into the car, she would fall asleep on the way to the mall, I would put her car seat into her stroller, and she would nap while I strolled around Lenox, practically having the mall to myself.  I didn't realize how much visiting the mall would bring back those memories, but I was a little bit overwhelmed by the nostalgia.  Anyway...


On the way home from Atlanta, we stopped by Krispy Kreme donuts, and for her birthday, Evie had her first bite of a hot now Krispy Kreme donut.  She loved it, obviously.  What's not to love.

Bless her little heart, Evie pea was exhausted by the time we got home, AND we had already had donuts, so we decided to wait until Sunday afternoon for cupcakes and presents.  (I confess, the only reason I even gave her any presents was because Ada and John each wanted to give her something.  AND a friend gave us a really precious hand-me-down baby doll that her girls hadn't played with, so that was her birthday gift from us).  And the only reason I even really did the cupcakes/singing happy birthday scene was because I wanted a picture for the record books.  Plus, of course, Ada and John insisted.  I had the birthday candle from MY first birthday, and I really wanted a picture of that.  So, after lunch today, we put her in her highchair, grabbed the cupcake, recorded a quick video, and snapped some pictures.  Evie seemed very overwhelmed, and she wouldn't even touch her cupcake until we fed her some bites with a fork. 

Of course I have many thoughts and reflections about this first year that I hope to blog about, but I feel relieved to have the first birthday celebration recorded.  Though struggling, the little blog lives on...

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

In My Weakness

Life is a little bit hard right now.  I am not exactly excelling at the job, "homeschooling, mother of three."  And there is this voice in my head that always says you can't complain because you signed up for this gig.  No one forces me to homeschool.  In fact, there is a public elementary school within walking distance of my house.  Sometimes I pitch these tiny (and not so tiny) fits because I want that to be my calling.  I want to be called to public school.  Instead I feel called to classical conversations, and most days I am thankful for that.  I really am.  It's such a contradiction.  In the exact moment that I am crying out to God to give me the energy to get through one more minute because I am so, hang-my-head exhausted, I am also whispering a prayer of thanksgiving that I live in a place where I have this freedom.  I have this choice.  I just don't feel gifted in these areas.  I am not organized.  I never felt pulled towards the elementary age.  Give me high schoolers, and I feel much more in my element.  And in my secret of secret places, I dreamed of teaching at the college level.  But here I am, "L says..." with my four year old.  And he dumped all gazillion of the rubber bands out on the school room floor today.  And Evie has gone back to 45 minute naps during this stage of crawling and putting every single small, choking hazard type object into her mouth.  And Ada has developed the habit of rolling her eyes, but when I call her on it, she claims, "I don't know that I am doing it," and I wave the white flag.  Evie is nine months old, and I wave the white flag.  I am not getting better at parenting three.  In fact, I think I am getting worse. 

I think it is a good thing, though, maybe, for my children to have a front row view of my brokenness.  Maybe?  Because all pretense of having it all together ended a long time ago.  This morning alone, I yelled, apologized, yelled, apologized, yelled again, apologized again.  And I tell them, his grace doesn't run out.  I am going to fail them again and again and again and again and again.  He won't.  And we keep preaching the gospel to ourselves.  I tell them, He did it perfectly.  He was the perfect seven year old.  He got it right every time.  In our place, knowing we were failures, he got it right.  And then, in our place, he took the punishment. 

I am exhausted, ya'll.  It's exhausting to never, ever have a break from motherhood.  But this is what he has called me to do, and I keep reminding Him, "you're power is made perfect in my weakness!"  It is my mantra.  Because I have never been more weak.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Still Choosing Joy

I am back to list some more. 

I am thankful for

1.  summer time.  We were burned out back in June when we declared that first grade was done, but now after plenty of staying up late to play outside, sleeping in, swimming in the pool and at the beach, and just plain lazing around, we are ready to get back to a schedule.  I am thankful that God provides rest.  Rest in Him and what he has done AND tangible rest. 

2.  our homeschool room.  It is small, but it is also just right.  It is the random little room in our old house that seems picked out just for our school room.  The best part--so much natural light to keep our spirits high.  No more packing up my school stuff off of the dining room table so that we can eat dinner every night.  It feels like a luxury to have an entire room dedicated just to school.

3.  summer produce.  Berries and tomatoes and watermelon and peaches, and I could go on and on.  An abundance.

4.  sleeping Evie and crying Evie and an Evie who is attached to me ALL OF THE TIME.  It is claustrophobic and draining, but it is also intoxicating to have this precious girl.  We all love her so much, and she knows it ;)  She has an adoring audience that always surrounds her.

5.  .99 iced coffee.  Just the thing to get me through a long, sleepy afternoon.  And it is just around the corner from my house.  On that note, we are eagerly waiting for the brand new chick-fil-a to open "just around the corner from my house."  So, lots of little treats close by.

6.  Today specifically, I am thankful for free kids meals for Ada and John--a library summer reading prize.  We are going out tonight!!

I honestly could go on and on. 

OH!!  7.  I am thankful for supplements that my mom sent that I just started taking yesterday, and already I feel WAY more energized and my mood is much improved. 

Again, I could go on and on and on...  God has given in abundance.