Sunday, December 31, 2006

Baby's 1st New Year's Eve

Yesterday marked three months since Andrew's birth!
He is such a big boy and such a happy baby :).

I'm still planning on sharing a Christmas post but we're
only half-way through with Christmas. Six days down,
six more to go...

Have a blessed New Year!!!

Thou crownest the year with thy goodness; and thy paths drop fatness. ~Psalm 65:11

Friday, December 29, 2006

The House That Lee Built

Here are the girls,
Faces wreathed in glee,
When they found by the tree
The big little house that Lee built :).

Bethani's favorite are the little dolls and the broom.

I say "big" little house because it is obviously small, it's a dollhouse, but it is so comparatively huge that I'm not quite sure where we are going to put it more permanently. It didn't look like it would be so huge while it was in the box!
Here it is from the front...

Isn't it amazing?! 
I had sooo much fun furnishing it :).

The box said "mansions in minutes". It failed to mention that those minutes could also be measured in hours upon hours upon...well, you get the picture. I stained the floors, held things in place while Lee glued and helped with the painting but aside from that Lee did it all. We've calculated that we have spent well over a hundred hours on this project, about 28 of them in the three days before Christmas morning. We were up until six'o'clock Christmas morning trying to get it finished in time!
Here are a fraction of the pieces Lee started out with about six months ago...

Anyway, it's over now. Lee did a great job and the girls love it! It is tradition to put a candy cane shaped tube of M&Ms in the girls stockings and every year it has been inevitable that they make a huge deal over the M&Ms and open them right away. This year they were so excited over their dollhouse that the M&Ms were virtually ignored and they weren't opened until the next evening! That is a sure sign of success ;).
I wouldn't call it a cheap project but we got everything from the house to the furniture to the little "stuff" for 40 to 50% off, mostly by using coupons and watching for sales since last Christmas. It was such a thrill too add up what we saved! One of the cashiers at the craft store where I bought most of the little things during a 50% off sale was amazed at what I got for so little, comparatively. She said you would be amazed at what a lot of people come in and spend on such things. Depending on the size house you get you can really end up spending whatever you budget. A smaller house means less furniture, etc..
Now...on to the next project! This one is bit more ambitious, Lee's planning on doing it completely from scratch, so it could take awhile. I can't tell you what it is because my girls read my blog...won't that put a fun little itch in their ears ;)?
Hmmm, I wonder why Bri is growling as she reads this over my shoulder???

Monday, December 25, 2006

Have a Blessed Christmas!

Nails, spear shall pierce Him through,
The cross be borne for me, for you;
Hail, hail the Word made flesh,
The Babe, the Son of Mary.

    Who hath believed our report and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed?  For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.  He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.  But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.  All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth. He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken. And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth. Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.  Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors. ~Isaiah 53

Monday, December 18, 2006

This Will be Fun to Clean Up...

   After successfully supervising Bri in preparing to make the dipped pretzels I retreated to the living room to feed Baby. When I came back a little while later I stopped short and, surveying the pretzels and pretzel bag as well as drips of chocolate and wax paper peppering the dining room from one end to the other I exclaimed,"What exploded in here!?".

   Bri's reply..."Bethani..."

They had a lot of fun, but if you think Bethi's mouth is messy... should have seen the floor!

Saturday, December 16, 2006

A Hodge-Podge of a Post

   Andrew is eleven weeks old today!

   He brings so much sunshine into our days! He has rolled over from front to back for the first time and he laughs! He started out with such short little laughs that I wasn't sure that was what it was, kind of like his smile did. As they have matured I can see clearly now he was truly laughing but I couldn't tell you when he laughed for the first time, sometime about two weeks ago. He smiles a lot now! The other day one of the neighbor ladies came over to drop off her annual loaves of bread. Andrew had been really upset but as soon as I opened the door he was quiet and all off ;). As an aside, I've told Lee that if we ever move I'll have to get her bread recipe, after having it so many years in a row it wouldn't seem like Christmas without it, and it is delicious! Anyway, Andrew coos and has extremely strong tummy muscles! He is so anxious to get up and go that sometimes I think he could fling himself out of his seat if he wasn't buckled in! He still eats seemingly non-stop and has topped 14 pounds now. Doris, another neighbor, is floored every time she sees him at how quickly he's growing. We finally got some pictures printed off of him just yesterday! Yeah!!! I never sent out birth announcements because I didn't have pictures so now I'm going to stick them into Christmas cards, I can't believe how long it took us to get them printed! I know some people will be thrilled to finally have a picture! Now I know that I could have sent them in over email and all Lee would have had to do would be to pick them up, that's nice to know for next time...I've been on Ritz's website many times lately and never saw that option listed.

   We are right in the thick of the Christmas season now. I'm hoping to do a post after Christmas chronicling our holiday detailing how we celebrate and why. We are making homemade wreaths for Christmas gifts this year for our neighbors and Lee's employees, hopefully we can finish them tomorrow! We'll probably supplement them with white chocolate coated pretzels. I have yet to start the Christmas candy! I hope to have the girls working on the pretzels today, they will probably be able to do the chocolate dipped potato chips and the peanut butter balls largely by themselves as well, and the best part is they think that all of that monotonous dipping is actually fun! Ah, I have hit that time of my life I used to dream of when my mother would say, "When you have children you can make them do it...." heehee ;).

   We took a walk around our neighborhood after dark the other night to see the lights and the girls sang Christmas carols as we went. At one point we thought that Bethani had lost a doll Tori had let her hold (ended up she had dropped it before we even left the house) and we heard Tori sniffing. Thinking she was crying over her doll Lee asked her what was wrong, "My nose is running. ", she answered. "Well", Lee replied teasingly, "Run it down (as in, chase it down)!". To which Tori replied in an incredulous tone, "I'm trying to run it up!!!!" and added a bit confidentially, "I don't want to lick it....". Ewww, note to self: don't leave the house without a Kleenex ;). This was, of course Andrew's first time participating in the annual Christmas walk, here he is all bundled up in his sling ready to go:

He really wasn't terribly impressed, he ended up falling asleep before we got but a few houses down from ours!

   I know it is probably a bit late for Christmas but I thought I would end with a few recommendations for future gifts. We recently got the My Creation Bible by Answers In Genesis for Andrew and I was very impressed. It is a children's board book and appears extremely durable, the illustrations are impressive and it is very true to scripture. It does a beautiful job of tying the Old Testament and the New Testament together. I know Andrew is a bit young yet, but Bethani loves it and even Bri and Tori enjoy the pictures and listening to the story. We also got paper dolls based on the Elsie series for Bri and Tori, these are the most beautiful paper dolls I have ever seen and appear to be pretty durable for a paper doll. It comes with instructions for how to turn the book into a folder for your dolls and a little case to assemble that holds the cards that contain the history of all of the styles, like what was a "riding habit" and when and why was it worn, making them great learning tools as well! The girls love them and they were so beautiful and fun to look at that I hardly noticed the blister on the back of my finger from the hours of cutting it took to get them cut may want to try cutting them out in phases if you invest in these ;)...

We got Bethani a beginners wooden magnetic doll, here she is putting her "new baby" to sleep in her box ;)...

We got her a wooden one thinking it would be nearly indestructible...until we found several pairs of the dolly's shoes in mommy's 7-Up can later that is never dull with Bethi around.

Now, I need to scoot so I can try to get the ball rolling on all of our many projects! I hope you all are having a blessed holiday season!

"For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.  Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this." ~Isaiah 9:6&7

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Sisterly Love

I shared in a post shortly after Andrew's birth that I thought there would be something special between Andrew and Bethani. It has been so much fun to watch everyone in the family forge their own unique relationships with each other as our family grows and changes and it has been a lot of fun this time to watch Bethani, little more than a baby herself, adapt to the changes a new baby has brought. She was really going through kind of a needy phase leading up to his birth and we all worried a tiny bit how she would be able to cope but she seemed to mature a bit overnight and it has been so beautiful to see the "little mommy" a 19 month old can be :). She runs to bring diapers or burp clothes and is quick to alert someone if she notices he has a a burp cloth ;)...before anyone else does. She will gently wipe his little face when he spits...with a not-so-discreet exclamation of "ewww!" ;)...and she loves to "hold" him. She pats his little back when he's upset and says, "It's O.K. baby" and when he's in a playful mood she likes to play beep-the-nose or just get as face-to-face as possible and say, "Hi baby!!!". It surprises me how gentle she is with him because she's not a gentle child by nature ;). But the other day she did something that melted my heart beyond a mere "aren't you cute?". Andrew was having some floor time and Bethani came up to him and started talking to him in her own little language and then she took his little hand, closed her eyes, babbled a little prayer complete with an "amen", gave him a little kiss and said, "nigh-night". I got some of it on camera after I figured out what she was doing.

What special perks come with the title of "Mother"!

"Kings of the earth, and all people; princes, and all judges of the earth: Both young men, and maidens; old men, and children: Let them praise the name of the LORD: for his name alone is excellent; his glory is above the earth and heaven. ~Psalm 148:11-13

Ho Hum

Too cute not to share...

I really don't think we're that boring!

Saturday, December 9, 2006

The Game of Life

   I had one of those "they-really-are-getting-it" moments the other day. The girls and I had just finished a game of Life and when we tallied up the score Bri came in last. "Well", she said, "You and Tori may have beat me by the rules, but I got to have lots of children and I never had to borrow money [unlike her mother and her sister] so I really won...". Can't argue with that logic ;).

Friday, December 1, 2006

Roses in December

   To many people that is merely another cliche but down here in seasonally challenged South Carolina you really can have your roses in December, see...

   They smell amazing too. I guess if I can't have snow a steady supply of roses is a nice consolation :). I have pansies in December too...

   Don't they go nicely with the hanging icicle lights and the snowman wreath on the door :).

   I love snow and I miss it so much. I can't say exactly what it is about true winter weather that makes the lack of it something to actually miss now that we don't get to experience it, seems kind of silly when I try to put my finger on it. Down here we get about two days of winter a year and they come in the form of an ice storm that shuts down the entire state for lack of the proper equipment to cope with that sort of weather. That's after it has emptied every store of every carton of milk and loaf of bread, you're out of luck if you actually need milk or bread :). I would love to take my little people to an outdoor skating rink and sledding, to teach them that snow is not made out of styrofoam...heehee ;)...

   We use the idea of snow to teach the girls about God's amazing creative ability, of their special place in God's creation and most importantly that though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow ~ Isaiah 1:18.

   I caught Bethani and Andrew's first snowball fight ;). Bethani would load him up and he would kick them back out, it was really cute.

   They are actually styrofoam balls that masquerade as snowballs in a basket during the winter season.


   Oh well, we have our roses in December...

Saturday, November 25, 2006


  Bethani got to help with the bread making for the first time this Thanksgiving :). She finally got into it but she was hilarious at first. When I first dumped the dough out of the bowl onto the table she said, "Oh dear!". That's a phrase she has recently picked up and she uses it a lot. It is "so cute" and we tell her so often, which could be why she has started saying, "It's tute" quite often as well, haha :). When I started kneading the dough she said, "Disdusting!!!". And when I gave her her own she stuck her hand in it and said, "Ewww!!!". :) She is sooo funny!

The other two girls got a chance to make their own small loaf as well...

Now it's on to Christmas candies...or as Bethi says, "Yum!" ;).

Friday, November 24, 2006

Why We Home Educate ~Part 3

Doesn't she look smart already?

Bethi- May 31, 2005

Here we come to a refuting of common arguments against homeschooling. I will only address a few, but there are many stumbling blocks to people who would really love to homeschool and I welcome questions and comments if anyone finds themselves in need of further encouragement. 

What about socialization?I tried to look up "socialized" in the 1828 Webster's Dictionary and the word was not to be found so I had to settle for an inferior version to even find the meaning! I found that a "socialized" person is: 
1.Made friendly, cooperative, or sociable. 2. Is put under group control; esp. to regulate according to socialistic principles. 3. Has been adapted for the uses or needs of society. 4.Takes part in social activities. 
We certainly have no problem with wanting our children to be friendly, cooperative, and also willing and able to take part in appropriate social activities but we have a real problem with our children being put under "group control" of the state or being "adapted to the "needs" of this Godless society. As far as the worry about how home educated children will learn to get along with others in "the real world", I would have to answer that our children will be much more prepared than the average government school attendee. While they are stuck in the same rooms every day for months seeing the same people, who are largely the same age, day in and day out, our children are conversing with their multi-aged siblings, their parents and grandparents, the elderly neighbor, the teenager at the fast food place, the middle aged cashier at Wal-Mart, and the various employees at Lee's store, etc. If on the other hand, you worry that if you home educate, your children will be "different" than their peers we would have to answer that that is a very possible outcome and if that concerns you watch a few minutes of MTV and then praise our Lord that by God's grace our children can be different from their peers! Please don't worry about socialization! Here is a statement made by John Taylor Gatto in a speech on January 31, 1990 while accepting New York City's "Teacher of the Year" award: "The daily misery around us is, I think, in large measure caused by the fact that, as Paul Goodman put it thirty years ago, we force children to grow up absurd. Any reform in schooling has to deal with its absurdities. It is absurd to be part of a system that compels you to sit in confinement with people of exactly the same age and social class. That system effectively cuts you off from the immense diversity of life and the synergy of variety; indeed it cuts you off from your own past and future, sealing you in a continuous present much the same way that television does...". 

Shouldn't homeschooling be outlawed, or at least heavily regulated, because there are people who, if given the choice, will simply not educate their children? Thomas Jefferson had an excellent answer to this concern, "It is better to tolerate the RARE instance of a parent refusing to let his child be educated, than to shock the common feelings and ideas by the forcible asportation and education of the infant against the will of the father.".

I can't afford it.
There are certain instances where this may very well be true, but they are truly few and far between. You may not be able to have cable or two cars if you home educate your children, but when it comes right down to it, can you really afford NOT to? Aside from the spiritual cost to your children, we haven't even yet touched on the declining test scores and essential "dumbing down" of the curriculum in the government school system. As our Lord said, we do need to "count the cost" of our endeavors (Luke 14:28) but as you do so don't forget that "Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." Matthew 6:21. Is your treasure in things, or people? 

I could never stay home with my children all of the time!
This is such a sad thing to hear, especially when it is said right in front of the children! Are there behavioral issues? What a wonderful reason to homeschool! Bring them home and concentrate on character for awhile. Have you bought into the feminist idea that we women are "above" common child care? It is time that we were reminded that mothering has always been a world changing occupation in this world. We have a tiny dependent baby who hangs on our every word, we raise the future generation for good or for evil. Consider these quotes about mothers: 
"The future destiny of a child is always the work of the mother." -Napoleon Bonaparte. 
"All that I am or ever hope to be, I owe to my angel mother." -Abraham Lincoln. 
"All I am I owe to my mother. I attribute all my success in life to the moral, intellectual and physical education I received from her." -George Washington. 
Wow! What a calling to be walking in the footsteps of these women! Your children are a heritage and a reward from God (Psalm 127:3) and God makes "joyful mothers" (Psalm 113:9), ask Him to make you a joyful mother! Will it always be easy? Probably not, but the good times more than make up for the difficult ones.

My child doesn't want to be homeschooled. If your child does not want to be home with you than you are losing/have already lost him or her and it is actually imperative for both of your sakes that you bring him or her back to the family right away!!!

In conclusion, it is no secret that we believe strongly in homeschooling, we have such a burden for this coming generation who will grow to shape the world that our children and grandchildren, and yours, will live in. There are many reasons to home educate but when it comes right down to it Isaiah 54:13 sums it all up...
 "And all your children will be taught by the Lord; and great will be the peace of your children.". Peace, isn't that what we all want for our children? Then let us strive to raise children "taught by the Lord" ...that they may have peace.


Why We Home Educate ~Part 2

It's never to early to learn ;).

Tori- November 11, 2002

One thing home educators seem to hear quite often is, "Well, MY school isn't like that!". Perhaps you do live in a "decent" school district but they are much fewer and further in between than many people would like to admit. That said, even a "decent" school district has its roots in humanist theology. I would like to use the next little bit to share some quotes with you from some popular figures of the past and present and let you see for yourselves where we have come from and where we are headed in the government school system.
Horace Mann has often been called "the father of public education". After he became the first secretary of the Massachusetts Board of Education in 1837 he worked to establish a nation wide public school system. His desire was to create "a new religion, with the STATE as its true CHURCH, and EDUCATION as its MESSIAH". He also believed, "God will be REPLACED by the concept of the public good...". And this from a man who professed to be a christian! 

John Swett helped establish the state system of public schools and also served as state superintendent of California from 1863-1868. He believed that "the property of the state should be taxed to educate THE CHILDREN OF THE STATE". To clarify WHO were the children of the state he said, "Children arrived at the age of maturity belong, not to the parents, but to the state, to society, to the country." So, once we parents have completed the messy job of changing diapers and feeding infants, and our children have reached a certain level of maturity, the state will take it from there. What an uncivilized idea! 

And lest we think this is "all in the distant past", I introduce Dr. Chester M. Pierce who, in 1973, while representing The Association For Childhood Education International said, "Every child in America entering school at the age of five is MENTALLY ILL because he comes to school with certain allegiances toward our founding fathers, toward our elected officials, TOWARD HIS PARENTS, TOWARD A BELIEF IN A SUPERNATURAL BEING, toward the sovereignty of this nation as a separate entity. IT'S UP TO YOU TEACHERS TO MAKE ALL OF THESE SICK CHILDREN WELL by creating the international children of the future". Apparently, to Dr. Pierce, utopia consists of a Godless world government full of mechanical people...lovely. 

To change gears just a little bit I would also like to show you what some of the most respected men in Christianity had to say about education. Noah Webster said, "In my view, the christian religion is the most important and one of the first things in which all children, under a free government, ought to be instructed.".

Instruction in the Christian religion is certainly lacking in our schools today and that was prophetically seen as far back as civil war times by men like R.L.Dabney who realized that, "...the result of public education is to bring a larger number of children into primary schools, and reduce the illiteracy somewhat- which is a great delight to philanthropists. But the number of youths WELL EDUCATED and ESPECIALLY THOSE BROUGHT UNDER DAILY CHRISTIAN TRAINING IS DIMINISHED. So, the actual and consistant secularization of education should not be tolerated. But nearly all public men and preachers declare that the public schools are the glory of America. They are a finality, and in no event to be surrendered. WE HAVE SEEN THAT THEIR COMPLETE SECULARIZATION IS LOGICALLY INEVITABLE. CHRISTIANS MUST PREPARE THEMSELVES THEN, FOR THE FOLLOWING RESULTS: ALL PRAYERS, CATECHISMS, AND BIBLES WILL ULTIMATELY BE DRIVEN OUT OF THE SCHOOLS.". How sad to know that the current Godless state of government education was foreseen so many years ago and yet nothing substantial was done and here we are now, living with the EXACT conditions heralded so many years ago as the fate of our government schools should we continue down that current path. 

Martin Luther stated during the Reformation, "I am afraid that the schools will prove THE VERY GATES OF HELL, UNLESS they diligently labor in explaining the Holy Scriptures and engraving them in the heart of the youth.". Can you imagine a teacher diligently "explaining the Holy scriptures" in class. They would be fired! Separation of Church and State, you know. 

And that brings us to another interesting topic. Did you know that the phrase "separation of church and state" can be found NOWHERE in the constitution? It was actually penned by Thomas Jefferson in a letter to the Danbury Baptist association. Amendment 1 of the US Constitution requires, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;", and this wording was requested by states WHO HAD ALREADY ESTABLISHED A STATE RELIGION!They wanted to be sure that the FEDERAL GOVERNMENT couldn't affect their already existing state churches! Today the idea of the separation of church and state is allowing teachers to fold a little boys picture because it depicts Jesus as the Sustainer of the world! How utterly sad! And yet, a child who draws a picture of his "two daddies" is applauded as a symbol of "tolerance". Does this sound like the free exercise of religion that our founding fathers assured us?  

Why We Home Educate ~Part 1

Bri's first official science experiment

August 23, 2001

There are many different kinds of homeschoolers and we each have our own reasons why we homeschool. Here is our unique blend of reasoning that led our family to the homeschool decision: 

First, and most importantly, God requires through His Word to "teach them [His commandments] diligently to your children, and talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, when you rise up." (Deuteronomy 6:6-9). We are to be imparting God's commands virtually all of the time, this would be greatly hampered if we were separated from our precious ones for hours every day. 

God requires Godly offspring (Malachi 2:15). The word of God in Jeremiah 10:12 says, "Do not learn the way of the Gentiles..." or, as the NAS translates it, "Learn not the way of the heathen nations". Sadly, that is exactly what America has become. I think we can all agree that Sodom was a "heathen nation. God said in Jeremiah 23:14 that the prophets of Jerusalem "are like Sodom to me", what was it that made them "like Sodom"? "They commit adultery and walk in lies; they also strengthen the hands of evildoers". The Bible also lays out in Genesis 19:5 that the city harbored homosexuality which is deemed "shameful" and "unrighteousness" in Romans 1:26-29. I will readily admit that there are good teachers out there- I have full confidence that my sister will become one of them! But, the bottom line is that even the good teachers are being held to a standard- that of a heathen nation. "A person who is perfectly trained will be like his teacher." (Luke 6:40). Do we really want our children to grow up thinking and acting like the government school system which teaches evolution as fact and tolerance to homosexuality, yet becomes hostile at the very mention of teaching creationism and extremely intolerant of conservative views? Or, do we want children who love the Lord first and foremost? Raising godly offspring requires constant Godly input, not that of America's humanistic worldview. Timothy Dwight was president of Yale University from 1795 to 1817, he was also a follower of Christ who was educated at home. Dwight knew that: "Education ought everywhere to be religious education...parents are bound to employ no instructors who will not instruct their children religiously. To commit our children to the care of irreligious persons is to commit the lambs to the superintendency of wolves .". Hitler put great focus on Germany's youth and their schools. In his own words, "Let me control the textbooks and I will control Germany.", and he did just that. That sort of power should belong to no government, but just imagine the harm that could be wrought by a government devoid of God! 

We want our children to have real knowledge, not this world's counterfeit. "Fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge" (Proverbs 1:7). We study science to explore this world God created for us, we are awed by the details and amazed at how EVERYTHING works together. We study history to see the hand of God- and as a warning of what can happen to nations who disown Him. We study math because it will help us to be good stewards of His gifts and to help us appreciate the order God designed into His world. Our children wouldn't learn in public school that, "by Him all things were created...He is before all things, and in Him all things consist." (Colossians 1:16-17). Just as important as learning the facts is knowing why we learn them, to bring glory to God. "Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him." (Colossians 3:17), even education. 

We are to "Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar's and to God the things that are God's." (Matthew 22:21). Our children are God's (You slaughtered My children and offered them up to idols...Ezekiel 16:20-21), so how can we say, "Here Caesar (Public School System), have my lambs for hours every day, for years on end". Since we see homeschooling as obedience to the Lord we can not "sacrifice" our children to a heathen system, even for the "righteous" cause of "saving souls", as some feel is a Christian kindergartner's duty. Remember, "to obey is better than sacrifice" (1 Samuel 15:22-23). Please, "Do not be deceived: evil company corrupts good habits." (1 Corinthians 15:33). More often Godly children are pulled down rather than the lost children being pulled up. 

We know "Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child." (Proverbs 22:15), meaning that children are naturally foolish. How can any good really come out of a room with 20 hearts full of foolishness and one adult whose main objective is to do a job, not to raise God-fearing future citizens of Heaven. We desire to "Train up our children" (Proverbs 22:6), not let them marinate in foolishness. 

We love our children! We love being with them, reading to them, cooking with them, teaching them to read, having a steady supply of hugs and kisses, watching them love their siblings, and sharing our Lord and Savior with them. What a privilege it is to be able to homeschool. Praise the Lord!!!

Thursday, November 23, 2006

His 1st Thanksgiving

Thank heaven for baby :).

O give thanks unto the Lord, for He is good: for His mercies endurethforever." Psalm 107:1

May not and ought not the children of these fathers rightly say: "Our fathers were Englishmen which came over this great ocean, and were ready to perish in this wilderness; but they cried unto the Lord, and he heard their voice, and looked on their adversity, etc. Let them therefore praise the Lord, because he is good, and his mercies endure forever. Yea, let them which have been redeemed of the Lord, show how he hath delivered them from the hand of the oppressor. When they wandered in the desert wilderness out of the way, and found no city to dwell in, both hungry, and thirsty, their soul was overwhelmed in them. Let them confess before the Lord his loving kindness, and his wonderful works before the sons of men. ~William Bradford

"O give thanks unto the LORD, for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever. Let the redeemed of the LORD say so, whom he hath redeemed from the hand of the enemy; And gathered them out of the lands, from the east, and from the west, from the north, and from the south.They wandered in the wilderness in a solitary way; they found no city to dwell in. Hungry and thirsty, their soul fainted in them. Then they cried unto the LORD in their trouble, and he delivered them out of their distresses. And he led them forth by the right way, that they might go to a city of habitation. Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men! For he satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness. ~Psalm 107:1-9

Have a blessed Thanksgiving everyone...

And my tongue shall speak of thy righteousness and of thy praise all the day long. ~Psalm 35:28

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

She's a Writer!

I just had one of those cute, save-it-for-the-scrapbook moments. I got my first note from my five year old. Tori's been reading for several months but she's never written anything except her name on her own before. She has dictated letters and then copied what I've written but never before has she put a thought down on paper from start to finish all on her own. Here is the note she gave me:


 It's amazing what a little positive reinforcement will do ;). You see, my oldest daughter Bri recently started her own blog here and this morning Tori came to me and asked if she could have one. I told her that after she learned to write we would see about it...and three minutes later she handed me her note. I was especially amused that she spelled blog right, what a goose :). So, she is now officially a writer, I'll let you know when she graduates to blogger ;)...

Saturday, November 18, 2006

The UPSIDE to Owning a Digital Camera...

Being able to share moments like this with Lee when he gets home from work in the evening :)...

See the flour on her cheek? She slaved away all morning... ;)

And having no fear of wasting film so I can snap away until I FINALLY get the picture I want, like I did for the first picture in this recent post :).

The Downside to Digital Cameras: A Sequel

I touched on a downside to digital cameras in this post, I have since discovered another...We have *one* printed picture of Andrew. We have digital pictures we can pull up on the computer, but we have only printed the one picture. We printed that one off to check how the coloring would print out, to see if it would do for the birth announcements, most of which have not been sent because I have no pictures to put in them... :). I finally decided that I'm just going to stick his announcements in Christmas cards, or maybe we'll just wait and announce his first birthday, depending on when I finally remember to get the pictures printed...

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Inexpensive Gift Wrap

   Looking for an inexpensive way to wrap gifts? Pick up an end roll from your local newspaper office! They are often free and even where there is a charge it is usually only a few dollars for a good bit of paper! You can either give your children creative license to decorate the paper with crayons or whatever other craft supplies you have on hand, which makes the paper more special anyway, or you can tie the paper with raffia or even regular string to give it an old-fashioned look. And, best of all, you only have to store one roll of paper because your end roll can be used for any holiday from Father's Day to Christmas!


Saturday, November 11, 2006

I'm Six Weeks Old Today!!!

   Here I am in my first cap. Mom says I'm pretty cute! I've reached 12.5 pounds, none of my sisters reached 12 pounds until their fourth month! What can I say...I like to eat!

   Note: If you were on my mom's blog earlier and saw a bunch of posts that appeared to be nonsense, they were. That would have been my big 18 month old sister Bethani's idea of blogging... ;)

Friday, November 10, 2006

Looks Like I've Got Some Shopping To Do!

After nine years of raising girls we have acquired quite the collection of toys for girls; dress up clothes from prairie girl to princess, baby dolls, doll beds, doll strollers, doll...well, you get the picture. So, with this new little man we're practically starting from scratch! It has been fun to go baby clothes shopping again, just yesterday we had to go out and buy a 3 to 6 month collection of clothes, his toes were about to poke through his current sleepers!

Bri went through the toy boxes the other day to organize them (of her own volition! yes!!!) and in the process she pulled out all of the "boy toys" and brought them to me saying, "Here are all of the boy toys I found; a bunch of cars, a ball, and this thing.". "This thing" was a sheriff's badge ;).

There they are :). Aside from the set of blocks we own and some chunky legos, those are "Andrew's toys". Tori felt sorry for him so she brought me this:

"Here", she told me, "I made this for Andrew since he doesn't have much toys...". She made him a paper airplane :).

I don't plan on collecting a ton more toys, we have been going through the process of paring down the girls selection for a couple of years now and they still have too much! I think a few cars and some blocks is a pretty good start actually, especially considering that I have no clue where most of it came from! And I don't think there is anything wrong with a little boy practicing for fatherhood with baby dolls. We are planning on getting some "boy books" for Andrew for Christmas (the majority of our books have a bit of a feminine leaning as well. Of course there is always Laura Ingalls Wilder's Farmer Boy, I can't wait to get to share that book with a little boy :). He isn't really complaining about a lack of toys right now but I'm having a hard time restraining myself from going broke with The Vision Forum's boys catalog :)...

Wednesday, November 8, 2006

Christmas Shopping To Do?

   Here's something to think about for Christmas presents:

   Halloween costumes are really being discounted by now! If your little one is a future nurse wannabe or if you would just like to build up their store of dress up clothes, scout out the Halloween costume clearance! One of my oldest daughters favorite Christmas presents was a nurse's playset with a costume we picked up for 3 dollars (originally almost twenty!).


The Princess and the Prince

One of the ladies who works for Lee brought a couple of princess costumes for the girls to play dress up with and Bethani floated around in this one all day the other day. With her big blue eyes and curly hair it was even harder than usual to hold her accountable when she pulled something naughty ...

I am so glad that the whole Halloween thing is over. It never ceases to strike me as hilarious that the homes in our neighborhood who normally spend small fortunes to be the most beautiful, spend the month of October vying for the label of most gruesome. Tori especially hates the Halloween season, from the arts and crafts store to the pediatricians office there are witches, skeletons and flying bats everywhere. Last year she literally screamed in terror when we passed a motion controlled witch in the craft store as she was trying to bravely walk underneath the flying bat (she has since refused to walk anywhere near the flying bat...poor girl). We did the trick-or-treat thing until about four years ago when we switched to the trunk-or-treat thing. Eventually we realized there was no difference between the two down here where we're at. The cars are decorated like spooky graveyards and ghost, goblins, and that character that was made famous by the movie Scream are everywhere! And that Scream thing totally scares me. I am not kidding, that things gives me goosebumps and makes me nauseous even just seeing it on the rack at Wal Mart. So, now we just stay home and use it as an opportunity to witness, we get over two hundred children where we live now! That is quite the opportunity! The original purpose for the christian holiday of All Hallows Eve was to tell the pagans that evil was real and Jesus is the only alternative, so that's what we do. For the last few years we have made up goody bags with a sticker, a piece of candy, a Jesus loves you pencil and a tract to give out. The children love the pencil, it's so cute, and only once in the last few years have we heard anything negative. We didn't do it this year because Lee had to work late and I wasn't comfortable opening the door all night to strangers while I was home alone with four little ones, we get a lot of grown up trick-or-treaters here as well, are we the only ones who thinks that's a little odd? We watched a DVD and had a popcorn and M&M night instead. Bri asked if we could just do that every year because it was nice not to have to open the door to all of the icky costumes. I explained to her that those are often the sort of people who need a real relationship with Jesus the most. Evil is all around us all of the time, it just puts on it's true face on Halloween. I guess that makes Halloween a good reminder of the war we're waging, not just on Halloween, but on every other day of the year as well...

"For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh:  (For the weapons of our warfare are not , but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled." ~ 2 Corinthians 10:3-6 

Friday, November 3, 2006

I Got It!

Just moments ago I accomplished something weeks in the making, I caught an "Andrew smile" on camera :). It isn't as big as they get but, hey, beggars can't be choosers you know ;). He is such a serious little guy anyway that you have to catch him at just the right moment to get a big smile and on top of that he is extremely interested in that little black thing (the camera, of course) that mommy keeps sticking in his face and he instantly changes from goofy to analytical trying to figure out what it is :). Anyway, here it is...

Yep, he loves his big sister :)

Here are a couple of others just for fun. These were taken a few weeks and a couple of pounds ago so he's changed a bit since then :).

See that analytical look? If he could talk I believe he would be saying, "What exactly are you doing father?" ;).

I can't believe how much he has already grown :(

I am completely in love! I know I'm "biased" but isn't he sweet :)!? He's easily found his way into all of our hearts and we all have our own special bond with him as well as our own special names we call him. To Lee he is most often "buddy" or "little man", I am more apt to refer to him as "mother's little man" or my sonshine, he is BeeBee to Bethani (she's grown out of calling him "bobby", sniff, sniff...), Bri calls him "little Lee", and Tori has come up with something pretty cute and original herself, she calls him "my little mister" :). And no, he's not going to be spoiled in the least ;)...heehee...

Thursday, November 2, 2006

My Treasure of Children

Bethani had fun with the pictures :) can you tell...

Well, that is until we actually started taking pictures of them all together. After the first one of those she decided she had had enough :).

I first saw the term "treasure of children" when I read a letter Abigail Adams wrote to her husband dated September 2nd, 1776. It has since stuck with me, what a beautiful reminder of the importance of our children and the meaning of motherhood, every mother is truly a "treasure keeper" :). I don't think there can be anything on earth more important to a parent than the souls of their children, what an important calling it is to keep this very special treasure pure and undefiled for Him.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

4 Weeks Old Already?!

When I handed Andrew to a friend the other day her first words were, "My, he's thriving, isn't he?". He already weighs more than the girls did at two months! 

 And now I need to get back to my laundry. We've been without a dryer for a few days now so I have a lot of catching up to do. It was interesting but we made it. I just washed what was needed and we hung it up on a clothesline Lee rigged up for me inside. Just before we were really starting to run out of burp rags, etc. the neighbor lady told me to send a load to have dried when the girls went over to visit, that was such a blessing!!! Lee was able to get it fixed last night and it was so exciting to pull out that first dry load, I will never dread folding clothes again :)! I should be caught up by tomorrow morning. Bethani is going through a phase where she doesn't like to keep her diaper on in the mornings so I have a lot of bedding to wash...

Thursday, October 26, 2006


   We've been married for nearly a decade and I finally got the name on my social security card changed yesterday :). Since I go by my married name it's been a headache every year at tax time and when filling out birth certificate info, but those are the only times it ever comes up so I invariably forget to take care of it until the next time it becomes a headache. Andrew's birth reminded me about it again and I finally got it done. It was not exactly what I would call fun. I do not like downtown and I really dislike tall buildings, and the more windows the building has the less I like it. Of course the social security office down here just happens to be in a really tall building downtown with a good number of windows...but I did get a really sweet lady to take my information. She told me all about the problems her son was having with his teacher and reminded me to always be thankful for my husband because the life of a single mom is hard. It was a really different conversation to have with a perfect stranger but oddly inspiring. I am infinitely grateful for the love and support of my husband and the blessing of my children. Praise the Lord for the precious gifts He has bestowed!

   After we got that done Lee took us out for Mexican to "celebrate" (I'll take any excuse for some good Mexican food!). As we were leaving the restaurant afterwards Lee was helping Tori (our 4 year old) into her seat belt and he told her she had a messy face, to which Tori replied, "Is that why my lips taste so good?!". What a goose :)!

I will praise thee for ever, because thou hast done it: and I will wait on thy name; for it is good before thy saints. ~Psalm 52:9

Monday, October 23, 2006

Another Day Loaded With Benefits :)

   I've been kind of slipping into the "Baby Blues" lately but today was a very good day. I can hardly function in a messy house and Andrew nurses so constantly that I have had to really let the house go. Lee knows how the mess distracts me so yesterday he and the girls cleaned the bathrooms and mopped floors and worked on laundry and dishes while Andrew and I napped. I can not tell you what it felt like to come out this morning and not have to think, "Boy, I've got to mop this floor!". On top of that Andrew smiled at me, twice! :) He actually smiled for the first time on Saturday but it is so early that I convinced myself it couldn't have been real. Lee saw it yesterday and Bri saw it today so I know I'm not just seeing things :). It isn't a little grin either, they are crinkled eyes and wide toothless grins :). Oh, I love it!!! He is such a sweet baby and I can already tell he is going to be a hoot as he grows. He is definitely melancholy and even at three weeks he seems to analyze everything! I'll have to post another picture soon, he is really chunking up :).

Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation. Selah. ~Psalm 68:19

Saturday, October 21, 2006

"I have gotten a man from the LORD." ~Genesis 4:1

Here is the long promised birth story! I can't believe Andrew is already three weeks old today. Those two+ weeks he was overdue moved a lot slower!!!

Andrew's Birth Story

   The morning of my appointment Cheryl came to be with the girls just in case we decided to go ahead and have the membranes stripped and labor kicked in really quickly. When we got there we did the whole ultrasound thing and I was glad that I was somewhat experienced, a first time mom would have been a bit unnerved by the (apparently new) ultrasound technician's hemming and hawing. Andrew had always strongly disliked to have those dopplers put up to my stomach and even in the hospital he kept darting away from the fetal monitor any time they had it around my waist, earning him the nickname of scooter. Well, during those last two ultrasounds they wanted him awake and moving to be able to do the "breathing" test. Wouldn't you know, the little stinker was sound asleep for both of them and wouldn't budge until they finally buzzed him awake with a really loud, um, buzzer. He was perfectly fine and we made our way down to see the midwife, and we were sent to the wrong one. The one I was supposed to see (and had specifically requested at her suggestion!) wasn't even in that day though they had assured me my appointment would be with her when we made it the week before. So, I had to see a new one that I'm really not very comfortable with, less now than ever! She was appalled that I had made it two weeks over and asked me what *I* was going to do about it! As if I had direct control over when I gave birth! I was quite stunned but explained that we had been considering having the membranes stripped and she decided right away that that was the only way to go. I had half a mind to say no simply for the fact she was being really pushy, but she then made it sound that I had absolutely no choice. I either had to go into labor before Monday or I would be induced if I wanted their services, implying that I not even bother seeing them for continued care if I chose otherwise. So, she stripped the membranes, saying afterwards that it should work because she had been "pretty aggressive" about it, and it HURT! Wow, I was not prepared even though I had read that some people found it painful. Some people?! I can't imagine the threshold of pain the rest must have! On our way out she handed me a paper that had me scheduled to "report" to the hospital the following Monday to be induced if nothing came of the membrane stripping and told she me they wouldn't see me in the office anymore, I was to go to the hospital maternity floor for any further care. She was just lovely. Anyway, the contractions started pretty hard as we were leaving the hospital parking lot and kept it up regularly during lunch and as we walked the local Wal Mart. We decided to go home because they weren't picking up very quickly and I had some things I would like to get done if possible. After I got everything done I went and laid down and read my new Hidden Wisdom Magazine that had come in the mail that afternoon, great timing! It was something besides contractions to focus on! About 6:00 that evening they went from every 8 minutes to every 10 and I thought, here we go again! I just knew they were going to stop...again! So, we went walking around the neighborhood. After just ten minutes or so the contractions were coming every four minutes! After about an hour of walking they were definitely "real" and only three minutes apart. We went home, Lee got the girls some supper and put them to bed more quickly than we've ever accomplished before. We were hoping to be able to make it until Cheryl could get there after work so we wouldn't have to bother Doris, who lives next door, so late though she had told us that she would be standing by just in case. After I posted my "we're going, again!" post they fell to every TWO minutes and I was really starting to worry that we wouldn't make it. Cheryl arrived just before I would have pleaded with Lee to get Doris! During the drive to the hospital the pain really picked up another notch and, considering the pain with Bethani, our last baby, was a lot less and the contractions were further apart by the time we got to the hospital and then found to our surprise that I was already at eight centimeters, I just knew that this time most of my work was going to be done by the time I got there, if we made it. You can not believe my dismay when we got there and the nurse told me I was at THREE centimeters!!! I just cried. She actually told me that she was going to fudge the paperwork and say I was at five centimeters because anything less was supposed to be sent home! But, she saw my absolute agony and said I would be at five before anyone else checked me. She was a nurse we had gotten on one of our false trips to the hospital and she hadn't impressed us too much because she kept making "sitcom dad" jokes at Lee that were getting really annoying ;). This time she was really sweet and gave me all kinds of advice that her grandmother had given her which relaxed me. She was at this point a grandmother herself and she had that "comfortable" feel about her. Her name was Marion and by the time it was all over I was sooo glad that we had gotten her, I'll never forget her! The first thing she said when we told her my membranes had been stripped was, "You poor thing, that is so mean. They do that and then half of the time it causes painful contractions that hardly accomplish anything." These were also the initial sentiments of the midwife who delivered me! I learned from the midwife that, contrary to what the other midwife had led me to believe earlier that afternoon, it isn't required practice in their office to force labor at any point unless the baby is in trouble. Labor didn't go so great for the next couple of hours, I was tired and completely overwhelmed. After a while I realized that if I didn't get it pulled together I was gong to have a repeat of my labor with Tori. I spent the rest of my labor in constant prayer (Oh ya, why didn't I think of that sooner?!). Lee was wonderful, as always :). The nurses have been so impressed every time because he knows exactly what to do and not to do and actually does it. My midwife said her husband sat and read the paper while she labored! The nurse told us that we should give childbirth classes but, like my husband said, there is really no way to teach what we do in a class like that. It comes as a part of our overall relationship. Lee can read my mind even when I'm not in labor :).

We had gotten to the hospital at about ten. Around two-fifty'ish (which seemed like an ETERNITY later) I started feeling some really uncomfortable pressure so she checked me again and you wouldn't believe my joy when she told me I was at seven centimeters!!! She started getting the baby warmer and camera, etc. ready. Just about three-twenty I told her I felt I was ready and she agreed, I was right at ten! It took me four weeks to accomplish the first three centimeters and I completed the last three in half an hour, Ha! She called the midwife and I started pushing. I had never pushed with my amniotic bag still intact and it was excruciating. We had to break my water (it's had to be broken every time) and afterwards she told me that my amniotic bag was one of the thickest she's ever come across. I also tried to escape an episiotomy this time, something else I've never gotten to try before. In the end I did tear but it did heal so much better and quicker than any cut they've ever done! I started pushing at about three-twenty with Andrew at 0 station, He was born at 3:48 A.M. My body was so sensitive to everything at this point that I felt her stitch me up no matter how much local anesthesia she tried to give me. But, it was over!!! and I could hear my baby :). They had had to whisk him across the room to check him out because there had been some meconium. After all of the initial stuff the nurses left us alone for awhile. As Lee first handed him to me I told him, "I didn't look, is it really a boy?" :). Nobody had said anything, probably because they knew we "knew" already. He assured me that it was definitely a boy, but I would have known myself had I only looked into his face first. Our girls have all looked so much like girls when they were born that I really wondered what a boy was going to look like, and he looks like a boy :). He's also got broader shoulders and a longer torso in comparison to his legs than the girls have had. We were amazed that they can look so different at birth! He nursed really well right off. Lee eventually took him down to the nursery for his first bath and Marion brought me a sandwich and told me she was really touched by the way Lee and I interacted and by my reliance on God through the "ordeal", she had tears in her eyes. Wow, there is never a time you can't be a witness for Christ! I have to admit that witnessing was the last thing on my mind during labor... I was so sorry to lose Marion when they moved me to recovery but I met a couple of other neat nurses, Emily was my favorite baby nurse. She came in once when the girls were there to meet the baby. After a while she said, "Wow, they are really good girls. Most of the time when I come into a room with children visiting they are bouncing off of the walls!". I told her she should see them at home... ;). Bri hit me with the reality of how mature she's getting when she brought me my Above Rubies magazine because she thought I might "want something to read" :). Bri's first reaction was, "Awww" with a frenzied, "I have to get my hands on that baby" sort of look :). Tori told us he was "Handsome, not pretty, he's not a girl!". And when Lee told Bethani, "There's your baby brother!" she shook her head no, haha :). BUT, her second reaction was, "Awww, baby", and she's been in love ever since ;). We have also found the secret to getting your baby back from the nursery quickly, go with them :). Lee goes with our babies wherever they go and our babies always ends up getting the VIP service and sent back to mommy's room with daddy as soon as possible. I guess it isn't as much fun when dad is standing there critiquing ;). My midwife approved an early discharge, Cheryl and Doris had been tag teaming it with the girls and the girls were loving it, but I was going through Bethi withdrawal!!! I had never been away from her overnight before.

   In the end I've learned things from this pregnancy and labor just as I have all of the others. I asked Lee how many he thought we had to go before I could pull together a "perfect" pregnancy and labor. I have learned that, short of danger to the baby, I never want to induce in any way ever again, even naturally!!! My body is just not the sort that can handle interference of any sort well apparently.

   When we got home Doris came over to see him and prayed Numbers 6:24-26 over him. It really touched me for many reasons. That is also one of my favorite bible verses, I had never thought of it as a baby's blessing before :).

   A few of my favorite pictures:

Just minutes old and not very happy. Can't you just hear him say, "I was comfy in there!".

After bath time.

His first nap...I used to be one of those mothers who obsessively recorded everything...I haven't started his baby book yet...

The proud biggest sister Bri, she's been waiting for this moment :).

Tori and Andrew. I love this picture, aren't they cute ?!

Bethani, Andrew, and one of the moments I've been waiting for...

Yes! She loves him :)! she doesn't want to give him back...

This was one of those moments when I had nothing but a prayer of gratitude in my heart. I know I don't deserve the gifts that God has given me and I am so indescribably grateful. I wish you could see Bethani snuggled up next to Lee, they are all priceless...

This was taken as we were packing up to leave the hospital. Bethani is trying on my shoes, look really closely...I call this one "I Don't Know If I'm Coming Or Going..." ;).

Going home!

   Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. ~ James 1:17