Monday, June 25, 2012

Water for Elephants

My Blue Elephant is a fish. And I realize that unless you understand the theme of this blog (....its pretty obvious, people!) then that first sentence may sound a bit odd.

This summer, my BE's love of the water has intensified to the highest level! He wants to be in the water every day, all day long. We don't have more than the standard Wal-mart pool, so its the grandparents' awesome pool to the rescue! B.E. loves to do cannon balls, splash wars, and play "Mean Squid" with Mama and Grandma. He never wants to take a break, even when he's drooping from exhaustion.
I thought it only right to monopolize on his love of the water by signing him up for "official" swim lessons.
Today was his first day! (Waiting for the lesson to begin.)

I was extremely proud of the great job he did today. The teacher asked "Who knows how to float?" BE's hand shot up. "I DO!!!" and showed them how its done, just like a pro.
When the class was over, Blue Elephant looked a little down. Come to find out he was upset that they didn't learn the backstroke already!! He perked right up after I explained that we would be coming back for the rest of the week, and that yes, one day he WILL learn how to do the backstroke! :)

Just keep swimming, Blue Elephant....just keep swimming!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Summer Variety

I love summertime. It has taken on a whole new element of relaxation for me since we began our homeschool journey. I am SO glad its summer, and there's NO SCHOOL! Don't get me wrong... I love teaching, and I am excited to officially begin applying myself to teaching Pink Elephant for PreK as well as returning to teaching my Blue Elephant for 1st grade. (Wow, it makes me feel like he is growing so quickly..but he won't be 6 till the middle of the school year.) Summer has left me with a bit more time for new pursuits.
I have started a fun weekly playdate @ the local parks with some other homeschooling families, and am making new friends from it. I am enjoying storytime @ the library every Thursday morning. I am doing fun pinterest crafts and recipes with the kids and for the hubby. I read a great book series (Mark of the Lion, Francine Rivers...I highly recommend it!) and have plans to read some other great books before the fall. I am teaching myself the sewing machine, and having a blast! (Pink Elephant is my little much fun!)
I am making time for my friends through playdates and lunch dates. I am looking forward to a friend's upcoming birth of her third child. I think I am almost as excited to meet little one as the family is! :) 
We are exploring a new church and finding our way into new ministries and opportunities there. I can tell the Lord is giving me courage; I have never been so at ease about meeting new people as I have been this summer. (Thank You, Lord, for Your help in that area.)
We are very, very excited that Pink Elephant's 4th birthday is coming up! On July 8th, we are hosting a fun "Four 'Round the 4th" themed party for her. Lots of "pinteresting" ideas going into that one! :) Not as excited about my impending 31st birthday... but so far, I have enjoyed where my 30s are taking me.
Looking forward to Blue Elephant's official swim lessons this next week. He is such a little fish, I am excited with him about his learning more...I bet he will be out of that floaty-vest before summer is out!
There is a LOT going on around here....but at the same time, there have been (and will be!) lots of "lazy days" filled with sprinklers, popsicles, and Disney movie-athons. I am giving my elephants the kind of summer I loved as a kid. And in the process, taking advantage of every minute of the "break" from our regularly scheduled school days!! :)
 Happy Summer, from our herd to yours!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Change Is Hard...But Challenge Is Good.

Change IS hard. Being challenged to get out of my comfort zone and do things "differently" has been a running theme the past year.

Change is HARD.

But that doesn't mean a challenge isn't a good IS.

First, the Lord challenged me to say "no!" everything, except home, husband, and children. No "outside, unnecessary serving" has been (and continues to be) very hard to tell countless people who ask me to help/volunteer/assist/serve in multiple capacities, "No, I can't."
I am the epitamy of a "yes" pleaser.  Wiping the calendar clean and penciling in only my family and the very basics of life has been an eye-opener to how much I was draining myself in 50 directions. The relationships in these 4 walls have benefitted greatly from this challenge to "just say no"...

Then, the Lord decides that more change was a GREAT idea! (and who am I to argue with the creator, anyway??) Step out there, make more friends, get connected to your community! I joined a local FB group for homeschoolers in my city. I started an informal park play group of homeschooling moms and children. People I never would have met otherwise; wonderful people that the Lord has led me to enjoy and be encouraged with each week. I am finding the truth in the notion that homeschoolers really do have their own little network! That lady that i would shyly smile at during library story time? yeah, planning a unit study collaboration this fall with her and her kiddos! Apparently some kids I taught in Awana crafts have a mother who knew virtually all the same homeschoolers I do, but we had never met....I now have a wonderful blossoming friendship with her!  :)

It's challenging to step out... I am not a naturally social butterfly. But I am changing from my old "lonely only" caterpiller, bit by bit. And it is opening up a vast new world for me, this flying into homeschool friendships. I am glad for the change!

Now, the Lord has called for a difficult and heart-tugging change. And it's one that will be met with a spectrum of opinions. My husband and I have made the decision to leave our current church and begin attending and serving elsewhere. It was a VERY challenging decision. It took 6 months of prayer and careful thinking and weighing and measuring pros, cons, our children's needs, our own hearts' motives, and the overwhelming anxiety of the decision. But we reached a choice that has brought us peace of mind and heart. It's not going to be a popular choice, and I do not think most people will understand our true hearts on the matter, but that cannot be a concern for us in this time. We are choosing to hold onto the relationships that have mattered the most all along, and preserve them. We are choosing to let go of the things that have been hurtful and saddening to us from others' actions over the years. We are leaving on a pleasant note with those that are dear to our hearts, and stepping out into a new challenge, a new change. The future is uncertain ahead. As the saying goes,
"I don't know the future, but I know WHO holds the future!"

Yes, change is hard, but the challenge is good. I know He has plans for us! Jeremiah 29:11

Monday, June 11, 2012

Why We Do What We Do....

A friend and I were chatting at our Monday morning playdate today. We chat about A LOT of subjects, but today we touched on childhood and what it's starting to look like these days.

My children are young; 5 1/2 and 4-next-month. My friend has children in a wide range of ages. If it weren't for the homeschool community, I never would have gotten to know her. (And I am glad I did!!) We both agreed that "childhood" in this day and age is hardly what it used to be when we were growing up. I remember spending all summer outside in the backyard, finding, and making up, things to do. There were no Ipods, Angry Birds, or round the clock kids channels when I was young. (yep, I'm older than the internet...ancient, huh? lol)

I didn't have any interest (or expectations) about having a "boyfriend" until Junior High. I didn't wear make-up til I was 14 (and I wasn't allowed very much of it, then). When I was 11, I was still "secretly" playing with my barbies...I just didn't talk about it at school.

In other words, I had a slow, easy going childhood. I was allowed to develop the interest in "growing up" at a reasonable age.

I want the same for my children.

We are already counter-cultural, being a Christian family in a society where right and wrong has become "relative". Throw in "homeschoolers" and there are a lot of people who think we are just plain nuts.

But I'm not sorry. I want the best for my children. I think it's best that they are homeschooled, and I think it's best that they have a "slow childhood". Have you ever heard any dying man say "Boy, I wish I had pushed my kids to grow up way too fast!!"........ ?? Yeah, me neither.

Homeschooling removes them from the majority of the mainstream culture that screams at them "GROW UP, NOW!!"

I have no interest in short skirts and boyfriends for my 4 year old girl. I have no interest in my 5yr old son being up-to-date on the latest R-rated action movie.

And I have no interest in those things for them 10 years from now, but I know THEY probably will. And at THAT time, I will address those issues.

But for now, I enjoy the bliss of a summer day spent outside exploring, baby dolls that need to be rocked, block towers that need to be built, and play-doh creations waiting to happen.

Because a 4 and 5 year old need to be 4 and 5, not 14 and 15.

In this household, they get to be....
and that is why we do what we do.