Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Omaha and Detroit

Hello!

Here we are in Detroit! Our Omaha trip was great! We left Saint Paul on Thursday the 11th and went to Omaha for the Pastor's Conference. 

This is right before we loaded up in the car of Omaha.

Here's my sisters and me. We texted this to my dad before we left and when we showed up at his house, he had a huge on printed and framed! Awwww!!
 So on our way to Omaha, we stopped in this little town in some state and went a little out of our way to get some good coffee at a local coffee house. Turned out the coffee house was a Christian coffee house and the lady working behind the counter went to the Calvary Chapel there! It was very encouraging for her to have run into us. However, when we were pulling out, Alex and a brother he was riding with got into a car accident and smashed up the front of our rental car! So we stopped on the side of the road and me and the kids played games with walnuts that had fallen from the tree.

Here is Elias and I playing catch with the walnuts. 
 Saturday morning My sisters, Hayven, Elias and I left for Detroit. It was a 12 hour drive from Omaha including a few stops for food and bathroom. Here are some pictures from that car ride:




We are now in Detroit visiting My dad, step mom and little brothers. Hayven and Elias are enjoying their Uncle Tres and their Nana and Papa!



Watching Jelly Telly with their Uncle

Elias "helping" me organize our dirty and clean clothes.

Alyssa and Tres working on Alyssa's birthday gift. Light Bright. 

Hayven helping to work on Dad's new house. We are trying desperately to get it done before AaronMatthew gets out of the hospital!!! Lord, please help us!


I was able to lead worship at dad's church Tuesday night and I am ready and available to lead worship wherever the Lord leads me this next week. 

All in all we are having a blast. Exhausted. But serving through it. Learning a lot. Spending a lot of quiet time in our Bibles and a lot of time serving our dad and mom and the church when we can. 

I miss my twins terribly and talk with them every night and ask them how their day was and make sure they got into their Bible at some point that day. 

I think we are off to go to the shooting range next and then back to the house to sand more walls and prep them for painting! Praying we get a ton done!!!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

What Our School Year Looks Like!!

2014 - 2015 School Year. 

:) :) SoOoO ExCiTeD!! :) :)


I really look forward to when we start up school again. I love the new books, the new stack of worksheets, the new crayons, markers, paints, and colored paper. I love to look ahead a plan what weeks we will have off and what projects we will be doing. I love watching the Lord work in my children's hearts, molding them, and making them into the people He created them to be! And I am SO in love with our school out look this year! Here's a glimpse into what it looks like:

Kindergarten
Although my twins are only turning 4 years old this Saturday, we have started them on a Kindergarten curriculum by Heart of Dakota this year. They have been through the Preschool program twice and have an amazing grip on all the basics: colors, shapes, numbers, reading comprehension and a good knowledge of the overview of the Bible. We really feel like putting them through preschool again would be holding them back. They are starting to do basic addition in their heads and sounding out 3-4 letter words and writing them down. 

This picture was taking about 9 months ago when I ordered all their school stuff. 

We are 2-3 weeks into the Kindergarten curriculum already and I am so, SO, SO in love with it, I just CANNOT say enough! 

Our History will be a basic overview of all of history from Adam and Eve to our founding fathers, to the industrial revelation and more! We will be making a timeline of each event and seeing how the center of all history is Jesus Christ and His redemption of mankind!

Our Science section is filled with basic experiments, focusing on different areas of creation and bits and pieces of the world around us everyday. We may focus on kangaroos and learn how their babies stay in the pouch for the first months of their life, or we may learn about how plants have roots, leaves, and flowers. We may grow some plants, create boats out of foil, or mix baking soda with vinegar and watch what happens. 

Our Writing books help them focus on mastering the skills of staying on lines, cutting with precision, and focusing on fine motor skills. We start with tracing circles in a certain direction and by the end of the year we will be writing of verses from the Bible with ease and precision. 

Our Math books start with things we learned in Preschool with new twists such as sorting, matching, and reviewing numbers and their characters and will advance to counting, basic addition and touching on basic subtraction. 

Our daily Phonics program takes 10-15 minutes a day and is a go-at-your-own-pace program that will have them reading short stories by the end of it. It also comes with an accompanying computer game that correlates with each chapter. One of my girls is MUCH better at it then the other, so I have book marks with their names on them pointing to what page that child is on. We only cover 1-2 pages max every day. We do 1 Review and 1 New... unless the review was a struggle, then we will simply focus on that one page for the day. I don't want reading to be a frustration, but a joy and fun.

We have a daily Reading Comprehension time where we will be reading through all the Peter Rabbit series and asking the girls questions and what happened, or having them act out what happened, or getting them to write their favorite character a letter of admonishment or encouragement. This is usually what Alex does with the Girls.

We also have weekly memory verses that are accompanies to music and deeper Devotionals that ask deep questions such as where did God come from? and who is Satan? What is sin? ect. These typically correlate with our history and science lessons for the week also.

On top of all this we are supplementing with their CKC programs from church (which is memory verses and basic understanding of scriptures with applications), some French websites with free games and French movies that will continue to expose them to the foreign language, and since I lead worship, we will be having random jam sessions with drums, and other instruments for more music exposure. 

All in all, we usually take just a few hours in the morning at the kitchen table to get done with all of this. And I just love how the curriculum is based on reaching a child's heart for Christ. Just this morning we talked about how Cain and Abel made sacrifices to God, but Abel understood his sin needed to be covered by the blood because "the wages of sin is death." So he offered a lamb to God. Cain, on the other hand, thought the work of his own hands could cover his sins, so he offered his fruits and vegetables from the land he worked himself. God accepted Able's offering but not Cain's. Oh, how we need Jesus' blood to wash away our sins and forgive us! This was all after we learned about how sin entered all our hearts because Adam and Eve chose to disobey God. We are all born with nature and need to be redeemed by Jesus! 


Preschool
My little Hayven will be going through Preschool officially this year. As of this moment, I feel she will be doing it again next year, but we will see how she turns out at the end of the year. 


We have a daily Fingerplay which is a poem that ties the week's stories and letter together in a fun, active way with hand motions and rhythm.

We will be reading through the entire Bible this year! We will be hearing the whole Bible through song also!

We will focus on one Letter a week with a review week every month learning the sounds of the letter and exploring the letter through art, with blocks, writing and in other hands on ways.

We will have some basic Math and Science things we will do on a weekly basis as well to get Hayven to explore how things float, fly, feel different, and how numbers have values to them. 

We will also be having weekly Memory Verses to hide in our hearts that are also put to music. 

We have decided to supplement Hayven with the same CKC programs, some French exposure through films and games, as well as music jam sessions.



My Baby Elias
Elias is just a baby, but he has some things he's working on too. He will be having quiet time on a blanket with different toys/objects every day. This will teach him self-control, obedience, and open his mind to new things (blocks, trucks, pot and pans, cooking utensils, a bin or water ect.)

He also has some French and music exposure through films, music ect.


So how does it all work together?
Well, I am all for planning. Without plans, people perish... that's in the Bible. So we aim for a certain pattern to our days. The times can change depending on what we did the night before, if the baby was up crying all night, or if everyone wakes up really early, but here's the basic plan:

6am-7am Mom and Dad spend time. Coffee. Devotions. 
7am-8am Mom prays and/or prepares day.
8am-9am Morning chores (teeth, hair, dress, beds). Breakfast.
9am-10:30am Kindergarten and some French. Quiet play for Babies.
10:30am-11am Snack 
11am-12pm Park. Outside. Play.
12pm-1pm Lunch. Clean-up. Daily Chore.
1pm-3pm Kids: Nap. Mom: Devotions. Clean. Practice Worship. 
3pm-3:30pm Snack
3:30pm-4pm Preschool. Twins & Elias Free Play in room
4pm-5pm Make Dinner & Eat
5pm-??? Whatever dad wants to do.


It's simple, flexible, yet everything gets done :) Daily we have different chores that MUST get done. Extra time allows for more to get done if needed. And all the kids partake in cleaning (Even Elias!) and hard work. 

I love home-educating mostly because of how flexible it is. We started early because I know we will be traveling a lot this month. I also love that my twins can be in Kindergarten since their ready, and my Hayven can be in preschool as many times as I want her to. I can help my children apply what we learned in school and we can walk through things they are dealing with in their personal lives. I can show them how I pray when I'm angry like Cain should have done when we was dealing with anger toward Abel. I can show them how to persevere when things get hard that I'm working on just like how they can when they have a really tough worksheet, or a chore they don't like doing.



Home-educating is NOT simply textbooks. 
It's how to live life.



Monday, August 11, 2014

Summertime.

Oh, what a summer it's been!
Our summers are typically very busy (hence my lack of posting).
It's our outreach season in our church, PLUS the kids have DGP (Discovering God's Path) which they technically aren't even a part of this year because they are too young, but my husband substitute teaches so we get to go on all the events. There's zoo trips, water park trips, camping trips (which I don't do....), and more water park trips. Also we like to do family things Saturday! Ministry together as well as going out for ice cream or to lakes or to parks. 

And I know it's not over, since it's only the second week in August, but once the twins birthday rolls around (which will probably be the next time I post something), our school year begins and summer is over. 


My son turned one!!! Here's some pics:

Aunty Riah got some "boy toys" for Elias. He is in LOVE with wheels, cars, and balls.
Since I do Secret Shopping, I scored a shop at Pizza Ranch. I get reimbursed for this putting, plus iI get paid $12 extra dollars. Elias LOVED all the carbs! At the end of eating, he was just laughing and shaking his head back and forth. He has WAY too much energy!
My girls being silly and feeding Hayven Ice Cream. Hayven loved it of course.

We went to Masha's (Grandma's) on Elias' birthday to open gifts, play in the yard and grill.
 I made Reeces Peanut butter Cup Cupcakes. My mom killed them!! And Elias appreciated them as well.
We have been going to the Farmer's Market almost every week:

My nerdy kids all holding hands. 


 We've been hanging out with friends and people at least once a week. We have been having people over for dinner, or going to other people's homes for meals and good fellowship :)


Sandbox with Best Friend of Hayven

Does anyone else feel that irritable urge to smooch this three toothed, handsome, little man?!?

AND!!! My husband gave me $40 and told me to paint the house (I LOVE HIM!!). With this $40, I checked Walmarts, Menards, Sherwin Williams, and Craigs List and painted the entire house!!! WOOO HOO!!!


The twins' room is now a beautiful lavender. I still have a gallon of this left that I'm going to hand onto for when my PICA kids chew on the wall... or I get a new piece of furniture that I want to match something.

My living room has one dark blue wall and the rest are a greenish, blueish, grey. My dining room is green. My kitchen is obnoxious yellow (which I have grown to like actually).

I still have to paint my bedroom a grey that I got and a baby green for my babies room. I borrowed painting supplies from my mom who just painted her whole house. And I got painter's tape for a couple bucks a roll. All in all I never paid more then $7 for a gallon of paint from what I remember. 

Yesterday we remembered there was an Irish fest on Harriot Island. It was free! So we went and spent $20 on food tickets. Then two families that were leaving gave us almost $40 is extra tickets!! We ate SO MUCH I still feel sick. We found another family with a large number of children and passed on $15 worth of left over tickets we just couldn't finish. 


Hayven doing and Irish Jig... in her... pink viking jersey...
We didn't plan ahead to go to this, we just up and went right after church. Otherwise we may have been more festive.

Ahavah getting ready to eat Corned Beef and Cabbage Rolls. SO GOOD!
She actually preferred the Fish and Chips.

My twins dancing away!

So cute! I am going to miss this age!

Not sure how to rotate this picture, but you can turn your head I suppose. We piled all the kids into a double jogging stroller I got for my dad and step mom... somehow this beast has to make it out to Detroit....


Oh it's been a great summer. 
Hospital ... I mean... Luxurious, Expensive Hotel Stays
Pools.
Lakes.
Friends.
Food.
Music.
Fairs.
Zoos.
Painting.
Birthdays. 

September lies ahead and we will be starting Kindergarten with the twins and Preschool with Hayven as well as traveling a lot this month. We are going to Omaha, Nebraska and then I am trying to make it out to Detroit, MI for the birth of my little brother Aaron, Matthew. I am REALLY bummed I am missing a wedding in Myrtle Beach this month :(. REALLY, really bummed. But, I am blessed. SO, so blessed!

Saturday, July 26, 2014

How Do I Teach About Suffering to A 3-year Old?!

We had another several doctors appointments this week as well as another ER visit (see here and here if you don't know what I'm talking about). Ahavah woke up and said her legs and knees hurt. She was acting very sick, sleepy, and was walking like she was dizzy or losing her balance. She threw up in the car on the way to our morning appointment. I was making phone calls all morning to all the specialists we are working with to get opinions on what I should do. Finally, I took her into the E.R. We found her lead levels are rising still. 31.1 as of Monday. We got another x-ray of her belly and found it to be nice and clear! PTL! But now we face more decisions,  more heartaches, and more uncertainties ahead. 

I guess the only certainty is that Ahavah will be having more blood drawn and more doctors poking and prodding at her. She tends to get really violent and angry and disrespectful toward the doctors when they come at her. And for right reasons right?!? I mean who would willing let a doctor stick them with needles all the time and not get upset?

However, in my prayer time, the Lord was showing me that I need to instill in her that we need to endure suffering with the right attitude. We are guaranteed to face suffering in this life. We live in a fallen, sinful world. We are Jesus' children. The world hated Him. They killed Him! Why wouldn't we face a life the same as our Lord? (2 Tim 3:12)

So I read the book, What the Bible Says About Suffering By Richard Fugate so I could get a better understanding of what ... well... what the Bible says about suffering! I got packed full of comfort, strength, and scriptures! Then I sat all my little one's down before an appointment and we discussed suffering. 


What is suffering? 
What should our attitude be through it? 
Why do we want to glorify God in it? 
How we can comfort those who are suffering? 
Is what we are facing really that bad compared to most???

All in all, this may look cruel to tell my child, "You're going to suffer. Now be happy about it!", but I think it's the most loving thing I can do as her parent. It's the truth. Death is real and we've had a study about that when we almost lost Ahavah back in May. Suffering is what this life is packed full of! What kind of mom would I be if I didn't let her grow in strength at this little age to be able to endure it without a "Woe is me! Pitty me! I am sick and missing out on going to the Zoo, and jumping around with my friends!".

No, no the Bible says:


"My brethren, count it all joy when you fall unto various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have it's perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing." James 1:2-4
"Take, my brethren, the prophets, who have spoken in the name of the Lord, for an example of suffering affliction, and of patience. Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy." James 5:10-11 
"And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worth patience; and patience, experience; and experience hope: and hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us." Romans 5:3-5

So here are the main things I have ben teaching my children, but especially working into Ahavah:

1) God is Good: He loves us. He died for our sins so we can have fellowship with God!

2) Be Thankful instead of Sorrowful: Man God has blessed us! We have a big, beautiful home. We have food on the table. We have family that loves us. We are able to get medical attention. We have people praying for us and visiting us in the hospital. We have friends. We have the Holy Spirit living in us speaking to us and giving us strength! God's using us to share His love to all these doctors and nurses!

3) Endure with a Good Attitude: Let's bring Glory to our God who is so good! Let's remember the suffering He went through for us. Let's read and learn about the suffering the patriarchs went through, the apostles, the founders of our great Christian nation America. Let's remember all the heroes through all of time who had great courage and strength when facing hardship, all for the Glory of our Great God!


And that is how I teach a 3-year old about suffering...

And now some random pictures from a while ago:


So we couldn't afford to go into Barbie Dream House, but we could  play in the gift shop...



Ahavah is sooooooo girly!  

Wow! A BIG, pink shoe!

My Alecia :) So goofy!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

A L.O.N.G. Needed Update

***Enjoy all the pics!!***

It's been a while since I wrote last... again... We have been trying to really enjoy time together, get settled (finally) into our new home, and growing in our walks with Jesus. So I have quite a bit I want to write about:

Ahavah: Ahavah was on this "Chelation" treatment for the lead poisoning. Her lead level went down to 10. PTL right?!? Well we had an appointment Monday (July 14th). Her platelets were still in the 95,000 area. Then we were told we were probably good on blood draws for the next month until we should check her again, unless major bleeding starts up. YES!!! A whole month without an appointment/hospital visit!! Well... then I got the call... her lead level is back up to 28. Our theory is that her bones were holding onto some of that lead and are now releasing it into her body?!? Really, we have no idea. I am brining her in sometime this next week and we will test again and talk about some ideas. I am at home doing my homeopath mama thing trying to lower her levels using cilantro oil and bentonite clay.

4th of July: For the fourth we had an awesome time with our great friends! We went to lake Elmo all day, then we went to Stillwater for fireworks. We were so fried (literately... well at least I was... the rest of my fam has a pretty good base tan) when we got home. It was awesome! We got New York style pizza, ate tons of Candy Land candy and shared Jesus with quite a few people. Here are some pics:

http://flipagram.com/f/EtEcHPc3ND























Hello House; Goodbye Car: So our first few days back being into our home for a long time (after hospital stays, and after being urged NOT to go home since we didn't know where the lead poisoning was coming from), we didn't have a midweek service for church. We are fellowship JuNkIeS so you KNOW we had to go somewhere! We drove all the way to Solid Rock Church in the Minneapolis area (45 minute drive). My sister was driving our car, my husband our borrowed car. She asked me to pray as we were driving because she felt like something was wrong. After church we were leaving and the entire transmission went completely out as we were pulling out of the parking lot. The car was in park and we could push it with just one finger! PTL for His protection! A brother and sister from the church drove us all the way home and hung out for a few hours that night. It was great!

We knew we had to return our borrowed car, and we had a ton of hospital visits coming up, but we were so trusting of our Lord that we just laughed about the whole thing. Well... at least we aren't homeless! :) :) Out of the blue my grandparents call and they pulled out a stock in my name years ago. The business closed and the check was being sent to me. $800. The van was scrapped and we banked another $300. Two people we knew were selling their van for $500, and other car for $500. That left us $100 for tabs and title changes. And that's how my God provides. Not to mention this van is so much nicer then our last van!

Water Park: Yesterday we went to the water park with the DGP (Discovering God's Path - our children's summer program) kids from church. It was SOOO fun!! Here are some pics:


Funny Things: 
So the girls were talking all about what they wanted to be when they grew up and here is how the conversation went:

Ahavah: So... I changed my mind, mom.
Mom: About what 'Hav?
Ahavah: What I want to be!
Mom: Oh! When you grow up? Well, what do you want to be?
Ahavah: Well, I decided I don't want to be a pink clown anymore. Just a princess... and a ballerina. 
Alecia: Me too! I want to be a princess too!
Mom: What about you Hayven? What do you want to be?
Hayven: I want to be ... hmmm... a snowman! :)



Also, I taught Elias how to throw his own diapers away when I am done changing him... well it started out good. Then he threw every diaper he saw away. Clean or dirty. Then I started missing plates and silverware. Then I started checking the trash and would find shoes, toys, cups and the like all in the trash. :) :)

Elias and Hayven have a really classic brother-sister relationship. No one can make Elias laugh like Hayven, and no one can make Hayven cry like Elias. The other day, I was cleaning my windows during nap time and brought Elias into my room so he wouldn't wake the other kids up. He saw the squeegee, grabbed it, and headed right for his room. I followed him, of course... all good mom's are suspicious. His little body reached over Hayven's bed guard and he started smacking her with the squeegee. Whenever he picks up a spoon, stick, or empty bottle, he heads right for Hayven. :) 




Things I Have Learned: Things don't overwhelm me. I am so surprised at this, and I know it's all the Lord's work in my life. As much as I don't like how fast life seems to be going, the appointments, the responsibilities, the overtime at Alex's work, and ministry seem to flow so easily and naturally. Alex and I have been spending one hour a day devoted to prayer. Once a week we try to pray for that hour together. We also joined a prayer group with a few other couples and meet on a weekly basis. Man! I love it! 

My prayer hour every day is like sip of water from a fresh, flowing brook and a soft, cool breeze in a desert land. I have found myself conversing with the Lord almost constantly throughout the day. Praising Him for this, asking Him for wisdom on that, hearing Him tell me to talk to this person. Oh, it's so intimate  It's so... no words cannot explain. I wouldn't trade ANYTHING for it! The first word on my lips in the morning is... "Lord..." The last thought in my mind is, "Oh Jesus! I love you!"



With all this said, the trails persist, most of which you will never know about, nor will I post on this blog. We are promised them by Jesus Christ himself. It's part of being His disciple. There is sacrifice. There is pain. There is suffering. And although I don't consider myself to have suffered at all compared to most, I know I wouldn't trade anything for my Jesus.