Monday, May 30, 2016

May 2016 In Our Home

28 months old & 11 months old!
     May feels to have gone by so quickly. For the most part, we simply enjoyed our days together! We've finally reached a point of settling into our new normal here in TX and calming down from the chaos of the move. 
  We were able to move on from our very simplified schedule into our normal full schedule. It is such a blessing to have this kind of order in our home and days! We're able to maintain the utmost use of our time and maintain our relationships so much better with a good schedule. I am certainly much less stressed and overwhelmed by having additional order and structure. The children, in turn, also demonstrate more pleasant behavior. 

   One tool we added this month to help in implementing a schedule again was the purchase of a play yard. At two years old, Tennyson has outgrown a pack n' play. Yet, there are many moments in which a boundary is still necessary. We decided to invest in a play yard, which would give him greater space but yet still provide the desired boundary. However, both children have enjoyed playing in it! I will place several toys and books in it, and they each individually or collectively will play nicely within it. This has allowed me to be able to accomplish housecleaning, cooking or other necessary tasks with little disruption. It has also been a wonderful tool for keeping the house tidier. Toys and playtime are contained within this space instead of being brought out and left in the rest of the house. I'm not wasting as much of my time and energy constantly tidying messing made all over the house. The play yard also provides Annelise a safe place to practice her pulling up and cruising skills without concern of falls against the hard tile floors in the rent house. (phew!)

     Warm May weather has beckoned us to enjoy as much time as possible outside! (Though, it's taking some getting used to needing to coat all of us in sunscreen and bugspray each time we go out to play! haha.) The children absolutely love being outside! The prospect of having an outdoor space and agreeable weather for the children to play each day was one of the appeals of moving to TX. I want my children to experience the freedom and exploration of outside play! It's not good for them (or me) to be inside all the time. And so, we've tried to go out for a morning walk around the neighborhood, have time for play in the space around the house, or in a nearby playground most days. I'm eagerly anticipating the day in which we'll have a nice, safe backyard for the children to spend time in each day!

      That wait won't be too long because.... we bought a house! We've been looking for several weeks. We debated between purchasing a house at a lower price but would need some work, or purchasing one at a higher price that would need little work. We determined that didn't want to spend so much of our time and energy saving up for a project, working on the project, and then moving on to yet another project. We also didn't want to live in a mess with two little ones. We wanted to simply be able to enjoy our time together and space within our home. So, when we looked at one house in particular we fell in love. Not only did it offer us the space we desired, but it had also be very well taken care of by the previous owners. There are a few minor improvements we'd like to make, such as painting one room with wood paneling and knocking out a built-in shelf/cabinet in the dining room which would allow for a larger table, but for the most part it's complete. It's such a lovely, cozy family room (the feel I immediately got when we walked through it). The backyard is beautiful and will be a wonderful playspace for the children and gardening space for us. One of my favorite parts is that it has both an eat-in kitchen and a formal dining room. We plan to convert the formal dining room into a homeschool/office/guest room. I have the design in mind already! I'm so excited to actually be able to decorate and add touches that we couldn't have done as renters. This will be our home! Oh, how grateful I am to the Lord for His provision! 
A sample of one week of our "tot school" activities.
Love M is for Monster and Character First!
     In the meanwhile, we're continuing life in the rent house. We've really gotten into a nice routine with "tot school." This month was our first M is for Monster box, and we have loved it! Many of the activities are a bit advanced for Tennyson, but we've still enjoyed having the time together and exploring something new each day. This month's themes were: farmer's market (fruits & vegetables), flowers, and baseball. I purchased books to coincide with the theme units: How Does Your Garden Grow by Annie North Bedford (already had), Planting a Rainbow by Lois Ehlert, and Little Baseball by Brad Herzog and Doug Bowles. We read the book and completed a related activity on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, we completed a lesson from Character First. This month we focused on patience. We listened to the song or poem. I discussed the character quality, definition and the components of that quality (the "I Will" statements). Then, we completed a simple craft or coloring page. On occasion, we'd hear him say the definition (patience- waiting without getting upset) or ask for the song/poem. Pretty neat to see these lessons being learned! He's soaking everything up, and I'm so enjoying our time together. I certainly feel more confident in homeschooling (...soon!).

      I believe teaching our children through homeschooling is going to be also reteaching me! I've needed that frequent lesson on patience. This month has also provided lessons in faith. I began a couple of practices which have been so uplighting for my spirit.

      First, I began putting greater effort into reading the Bible each day. I have been using a printed sheet for "Reading the Bible In Chronological Order in a Year" as a guide. I look forward to this time each day! It's difficult to know God if you're not in His Word. There are so many resources available that are spiritually encouraging and instructional, but without first-hand knowledge of the Bible and personal relationship with the Lord these resources can easily lead one astray. (I believe that is why there is such disagreement and un-Christlike behavior among Christians. So few Christians have actually read the Bible cover to cover, and instead settle for extracted passages and interpretations). My goal is now to continue reading the Bible each year cover to cover. Is God not so great to deserve such effort and devotion?

Bedtime stories with Daddy are the best!
Tennyson will say, "Read stories, Daddy" or "Read stories, Mama"
Just precious!
     I've also been reading Own Your Life by Sally Clarkson. I've heard so much about Clarkson's books, podcasts, and other materials. This is the first of her works that I have read. Although, I aimed to have it finished by the end of the month, I'm far enough along in it to conclude that it will be one of my favorite books on my bookshelf and referenced often. The pages of my book are filled with underlining and notes in the margin! She very clearly is a woman who has diligently sought to gain wisdom and grow in faith as she's journeyed in life. I pray that my own life and journey would reflect such a legacy! Coincidentally, she is currently recording a Podcast on the various subject matters contained within the book. These "shows" have become a favorite of mine to listen to and be encouraged as I wash dishes in the afternoons during naptime. 

    Another spiritual encouragement has been finding a church home. We've visited churches every Sunday since we moved here. We were captured by one church in particular, and have enjoyed attending many times since. We've been confident that this particular place and people will be a suitable church home for our family. The members have been the most friendly and welcoming. We're looking forward to inviting families for dinner or moms and children for playdates once we're moved into our new home. I'm hopeful for the friendships we might build here and the ministry that may be accomplished. 

     The children continue to mature at a rapid pace. Annelise is crawling everywhere, pulling up on any surface within reach, and beginning to cruise as well. She's very eager to actually chase big brother! She's made great strides in sleeping well in her own bed during naps and nighttime. The sleep has been tremendous for us all! She still refuses traditional baby foods in preference for the foods that the rest of the family eats. She may only have two little teeth, but she gums it all down anyways! Her personality continues to come out, and she tends to be quite loud and rambunctious (two things her brother absolutely isn't!). But, her liveliness brings such delight to us all. I can't help but smile and laugh at her antics! She's demonstrating more and more behaviors and appearance of a young toddler instead of an infant. It's hard to believe she will be a year old next month!

     Confession- my heart is excited to see her grow and accomplish milestones, but so saddened to lose having a baby. To be fully honest, I've struggled greatly with that finality this month. I desire additional children, but the reality of the difficulties and pain of carrying with so many complications and high-risk care are great. We've talked of adoption from time to time, but aren't confident of that calling either just yet as that path is also very complicated and long. It's an ache, a grieving and a prayer currently.  

    In the meanwhile, I'm learning everyday how better to manage myself, our home, and the children we have presently. It truly is a learning process! It's also a matter of faith to maintain purposefulness and joy it all. Together, I've found greater delight and joy in our home and family this past month. 

    Next month will be very busy for our family. I hope to continue a weekly post, but I can't be certain I will have the opportunity to accomplish that. I will, however, update the Facebook page regularly since I can do that will far greater convenience and time than I can write a full post. Until then... :)
These two are best friends! To watch our children enjoy each other brings so much sweetness to my mama-heart!


  1. Congratulations on getting settled into your area! Finding a church home is such a relief, and provides so much help in a new area. And congratulations on purchasing a new home! It really is so nice to have a space that you can make your own in a way that it can be difficult in rentals. I can't believe how big your little ones are getting!

    1. Thanks, Amy! We're very excited about having our own home, and a church home as well. The children are getting big fast! In a blink, they're now 2 1/2 and close to 1 yr. (And almost wearing the same size clothing! lol). Sweet blessings, for sure. :)


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