Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Who's that friend?

yay, blogger is finally letting me post pictures!!  So, just for fun, I'm posting a couple of random pictures from our school day.  Ada, proudly holding the sentence that she dictated.  If you think that her face is strangely pink, it is.  She had been playing with the blush that she got for Christmas.  This girl loves make up. 
 And what John does while we do school.  I think Woody and Buzz are rescuing the cars gang.
And, just for something to blog, since this was more of a blogging experiment than a thought out blog--a little John fact that I want to remember. 

If John wants to know who someone is, instead of asking, "who is that?"  he asks, "who's that friend?"  Every time, "who's that friend?"  Which is a bit ironic, since John, though I love him, isn't the friendliest little guy in the world. 

p.s. guess who's turning three next week?  If I ask him how old he is going to be, he answers, "big, mommy, big."

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Another School Update

Okay, I still can't upload pictures, so I think I am going to make a switch very soon.  As soon as I can talk to Scott and figure out how to do that ;)

But, just wanted to say that I have had much encouragement since I last posted.

One, I drilled my friend this past week who used to teach first grade, just to get a realistic picture of what a kindergarten reading level even is exactly, and I am feeling much, much better about where we are.  Plus, Ada has been doing much better about taking the time to sound out the words rather than throw out a guess once she reads the first two letters.  Or even just the first letter.  I have emphasized looking at each letter, using our finger to point to each letter, and I already see progress.  Yay!!

And then tonight, because we were all climbing the walls after days of being cooped up inside, we went to Shane's (a barbecue place).  Scott asked Ada to hand him the bottle of "spicy" barbecue sauce, and she was easily able to pick out the one labeled spicy, and then on her own read the labels "hot" and "mustard," so I was really excited about that, and I made a big deal about it, since she was taking initiative to read on her own.  I feel encouraged, and yesterday, when I was feeling discouraged about nearly every area of my life, Scott and I both prayed that God would provide some very specific encouragement, and he did.  He has.  He is. 

That's all.  Just wanted to report ;)

Thursday, January 10, 2013

School Update

Well, with the new year, it's inevitable that I begin to make some new goals for life.  I won't say that I am making resolutions, exactly (though I suppose it's the same thing), rather it's a great time to look at the past year, think about what isn't working so well, and then make a better plan.  Or at least a different one.

So, we'll start with...homeschooling.

Reading isn't going the way that I thought it would.  The perfect picture I painted in my head, of Ada reading everything she could get her hands on by Christmas--ha ;)--is not happening.  We are, even, struggling a bit.  So, I have let go of a reading by this certain time deadline, and I am just focusing on what I can do.  I can't control when Ada takes off with her reading, I can only look at the problem areas, and work on those.  And pray.  A LOT. 

I think I've blogged about this several times, but Ada mostly struggles with her vowels.  She sees c-a-t, and she reads cat, and then she sees h-o-t and she reads hat.  She seems to mostly use the /a/ sound for all vowels.  She knows all of her vowel sounds if I show her individual flash cards, but as soon as it's in a word, she says it wrong.  Sooo...our main goal, right now, is to not move on until she has mastered the vowels.  I have been in such a rush to meet my own deadlines, and I am forcing myself to forget deadlines and focus on whether or not Ada has mastered something.  And, even more importantly, I DO NOT want Ada to hate reading.  Which is the road I think we were headed down last semester.  I am preaching to myself to calm down, and encourage, encourage, encourage.  This week is our first official week back, and so far, so good.  We are focusing only on short /a/ this week.  I am making my own lists, using word families, for her to read, and then I am making short little three and four sentence stories using those words.  So far, so good.  Next week, we'll work on /o/.  We'll see if this works.  If not, I don't know.  That's the hardest part for me.  I feel a bit stumped.  The curriculum doesn't tell me what to do if she isn't catching on.  It's humbling and reminding me that I am not in control of this.  Once again, it comes down to trusting the Lord. 

The part that stumps me, is that if I give her words to spell, following the CVC pattern, she can always spell them.  In fact, today we started some very simple dictation exercises, and she loved it.  She was so happy and telling me how much fun it was.  I keep racking my brain, trying to figure this out.  Her brain hears the vowels when I say them, but her brain doesn't trigger the sound when she sees it.  I feel really out of my element.  And it bugs me, because I feel like there is something I am missing.  Like, there is a better way to teach her to read that would trigger something for her, but I don't know it...I think I am about to start lots of googling/research/finding some books to read about the situation...

Here she is after dictating "The cat sat."  Seriously, she loved it. 

(well, I was going to post a picture, but blogger is being so very difficult, so never mind).

Okay, obviously, reading is what I am putting so much thought into, but I have set some other goals...easier ones than figuring out the reading situation!!

Math--it's simple, just finish the Saxon K book.  No problem.  And this is what Ada says is her favorite subject.  By far.  She told me it's fun, not like learning ;)
Handwriting--just focusing on neatness and correctness, because she says a lot, "but this is just how I like to write the letter."  I keep having to enforce that there is, in fact, a right and wrong way. ;)  We are also focusing on using an uppercase letter to start a sentence and periods at the end.  Keeping it simple.  We'll probably talk about other end punctuation as well.  So, handwriting and language arts, I guess?  We'll really start language arts next year.
And, there's CC--which to keep myself from becoming so overwhelmed, I have set some specific goals. Most importantly, I want us to learn (and I do mean us) the timeline song and all of the history songs.  That is my main, main, main goal.  Oh, and the Bible passage for this year and a review of the president song (which she really still knows from last year).  We will, of course, go over the other stuff, but if she can commit the timeline, history sentences, and bible passage to memory, I will be satisfied with what we have done this year. 

So, there you go.  A look at where we are halfway through Ada's kindergarten year.  We are also doing lots and lots and lots of read alouds.  Again, I want her to love to read, and I really have to remind myself of that fact when I am heading towards frustration during our reading lessons. 

Monday, January 7, 2013

Giving Thanks on Mondays, again

Not only did I jump back into Five Minute Fridays, I think I will start listing my thanks again.  It always improves my perspective.  Always. 

Go here to join in!!

Today I just grabbed a fresh, clean, unwritten-on spiral notebook and jotted down a few things as the day transpired (I just love a blank spiral notebook, don't you?  So much possibility).

And, to add to the spontaneity of this post, I am including two phone pictures that have nothing to do with anything ;) 

I only have three things today, but three is enough to remind me that God has given in abundance.

1.  We were back to school today, and it went well.  I have lots more to say about that.  Another post.

2.  John ate dinner tonight.  And last night.  And the night before that and before that and before that and so on.  This is not a small thing!!!

3.  Last night, before bed, John saying, "I want to pray," and when when I tried to tell him what to pray, he said so fiercely, "I do it!!!"  And there he stood in the middle of the room, round tummy, eyes shut so tight, chin down, "Dear God,"  long pause, "thank you,"  long pause, "Amen." 

Amen, indeed.

Christmas fun on the square

John's "big boy bed," for now.  We are thinking bunk beds are in his near future ;).

Friday, January 4, 2013

Five Minute Friday: Opportunity

I am jumping back into Five Minute Fridays today, just for fun.  Do you want to join in?  Head over here...

Five Minute Friday


Today as I was reading Lord of the Rings, and the whole cast of characters were trying to figure out who was going to get rid of the ring, the following quote jumped out at me, "If I understand alright all that I have heard, he said, I think that this task is appointed for you, Frodo, and that if you do not find a way, no one will."  The words gripped me in such a way that it almost startled me.  I put the book down, searching for a pencil, needing to underline the quote, mark the moment, somehow.

I often choose to believe that someone else would be a better mother than me.  A better wife.  Better at keeping this house of mine.  Someone else would know how to teach Ada those vowels or organize the toys or stick to the budget.  Someone else, someone else, someone else...

"I think that this task is appointed for you, Frodo, and that if you do not find a way, no one will."

John...Ada...Scott...they are my task.  My gigantic opportunity.  If I don't embrace these years, these precious, hard, young children, tight budget, years--who will?

Help me, Lord.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013


It's a happy night here at the Moore house because we successfully took down all Christmas decorations, and our house looks much much much more "orderly" than it did this time last night.  This time last night to say I was overwhelmed by the state of our house is an understatement.  I no longer feel overwhelmed, so goal number one of the new year--accomplished.  There is still much to accomplish, however.  For example, we ate dinner out instead of at home because our dining room table is so covered in neatly stacked piles of clutter that we had no where to sit to eat our dinner.  That is tomorrow's project.  Make sense of the dining room table. 

However, as I patiently wait for Parenthood to come on (does anyone else love that show as much as I do?), I decided to use Simple Mom's list of 20 questions to do some quick reflecting on 2012.  I am going to just answer with what pops into my head first.  A very quick, jot it down fast, reflection on 2012.  So, maybe reflection isn't the right word.  Hmmm...anyway, here goes...

1.  What was the single best thing that happened this year?

There is just no way I can answer that.  The single best thing?  Pass.

2.  The single most challenging thing?

I think I am going with teaching Ada to read.  I thought that was going to be smooth sailing all the way and that by this point in the year she would be reading whatever she wanted, all of the time.  Ha...not quite a true picture of how it's going.  But we will press on into the new year.  And the entire situation is yet another way that God is showing me that I am not in control--He is!!

3.  What was an unexpected joy?

As far as unexpected goes, definitely our van.  Who knew we would be getting a new-to-us van?  We are still so thankful for that!!  And I think the other unexpected joy has been our tiny house.  For the most part, it is such a good fit for us.  I thought this house would be all about surviving, and it has mostly been thriving.  Unexpected, indeed. 

Oh, and our beach trip.  God provided so obviously for that trip.  And it was such a treat and an escape and a vacation in every sense of the word.  So much joy.

4.  What was an unexpected obstacle?

Okay, now I think the reading thing more fits this question.  It's more an obstacle than a challenge.  Or maybe it's both an obstacle and a challenge.  And I guess you could say that our car catching on fire was a very unexpected obstacle, with a very happy ending ;)

5.  Pick three words to describe your year.

Steady, growing, rebuilding  (are those sort of synonyms?  But you understand, there is a theme forming)

6.  What three words would your spouse use to describe your year?

normal--I asked Scott what he thought (the questionnaire said not to ask my spouse), and he said "I don't know!!!" as if to say, "who thinks about these things?!!!"  and then wrinkled his forehead like he was thinking really hard, and then he spit out, "normal."  I was like, "that's it?"  He said, "Yeah, it's been a normal year."  Then he said, "2011 was crazy, 2012 was normal, uneventful, and steady.  There's your three words..."  Lesson learned from that question, guys don't really reflect on things like this.  At least not my guy.  But, also, we had a steady year.  Praise the Lord!!!

7.  Best books that you have read this year.

This should probably be a post all it's own.  I'll get back to that. 

Okay, I'm going to start skipping some at this point.  20 is a lot.

8.  What your biggest personal change this year?

Absolutely, hands down, the way that I run my house.  God has answered huge prayers in that area.  I know it seems like a small thing, that I now keep my laundry going and have a clean kitchen and no longer feel weighted down by the state of my house, but it's not a small thing.  It's not, I'm telling you.  A year ago, I felt hopeless in this area.  I felt weighted down and lost, and it was almost as if God spoke audibly to me and said I can change this in you.  I can redeem this.  

 I will never have a perfect house.  See above--we ate dinner out because the table is covered in clutter--but the weight of it is gone.  Again, Praise the Lord.

9.  What is the biggest thing you have learned this past year?

That I am not in control, and that's it not about me.  A lesson I have learned and will learn over and over and over again.  But I think in my head, this was the year that I was going to get it all in order--the house, the finances, Ada's reading, my children, on and on and on I could go.  But God is in control, and I can try my hardest to make my lists and check them off, and I will fail every time.  Or, I will get it right, and life will throw me a major curve ball.  God is in control, and I just have to die to self, rest in Him.  I thought that if we were really, really careful with our finances, then everything would fall into place.  But cars catch on fire or whatever, just fill in the blank, and things are out of my control.  They just are.  But God is faithful and sovereign and good.  That is what is always still true at the end of the day.  And, bottom line, God isn't out to make my life comfortable, and my prayer is that comfort wouldn't be my goal.  Show us more and more of you, Lord, more and more of you.  It can't be about us, it has to be about Him. 

If I was going to use one word to sum up how I feel as I look back, it's thankful.  I am so very thankful.  God has provided in abundance.  Again, the first time we saw this house, we looked at each other and said, "it's just a year, we can do anything for a year."  And we are in year two, and I can't say it enough that the house itself has been such a gift and a refuge and a place for us to steady ourselves.  And we feel steady and ready to see what's next.  Life feels like an adventure right now.  Scary, but also very exciting.  Where is God taking us?  Who knows? 

Again, just thankful.