Friday, August 30, 2013

Learning to think

Create, build, explore, problem solve. I want my children to do these things. I want them to be thinkers. To know how to think, not just what to think. (Bear with me... I am taking the next year to really learn home education methodologies and sort of form my own philosophy about these things. So I'm sure I will be uber passionate, and say seemingly profound things- but not really- along the way. You know, just whetting my homeschooling palate.) 

I created an engineering toolbox for Grace Louise and commissioned her first project a few days ago. 


"What do you want me to create?" she asks. "Can you help me? What is it supposed to look like?" 

My wide open suggestion threw her for a loop, but I simply wanted to her to be creative with no restrictions or guidance. I provided her with tools (different types of tape, clothes pins, rubber bands, scissors, paperclips, glue, alligator clips) and materials (full access to recycling bin- which happened to contain some really cool things this week), plopped it all down in the middle of the living room floor, and told told her to make anything she wanted. 

Her invention was a pretty darn awesome hat! I praised her efforts and told her how wonderful this thing was that she made! I modeled it, which she loved, and pointed out that we had a problem... it wouldn't stay on my head. How can we solve this problem? What can you add to your invention to make it work differently? (a new assignment perfectly disguised). Her end result included a safety chin strap made with rubber bands and balloon string. (A Happy Birthday balloon, mind you, that Uncle Bubba graciously wore at his birthday supper Sunday night).

We are made in the image of God, and God happens to be the author of creativity. 

God is clearly creative (have you seen a sunrise lately?) and we are clearly creative in his likeness (we fly in big metal birds, cook amazing food, invent, draw, paint, sculpt...) 

The heavens are telling of the glory of God; and their expanse is declaring the work of His hands. 
-Psalm 19:1

And He has filled him with the Spirit of God, in wisdom, in understanding and in knowledge and in all craftsmanship. -Exodus 35:31

So here she is thinking, creating, and making her mama very proud!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Celebrating our Jamesy!

We had a truck on over party for our birthday boy on Saturday. Unlike the last three birthday parties we've hosted, this was a small gathering with only our close family. I felt a few times like I was dropping the ball, but you know what, it was really nice to have less party details to worry about and more time to hug, kiss, and play with my one year old. 

We had hotdogs, cake, and our first experience with homemade ice cream. Fresh sand in the sandbox, a slip n slide, a few new toys, and lots of love for this little boy! What a nice afternoon!

keeping us laughing with his funny food faces.

this little girl is so good to her baby brother, toting him around, wiping him off after meals, playing together. and from the moment she woke up Saturday morning, she was all about celebrating James H!

num num num. loving his pineapple honey muffin.

his loot: a few trucks to pass on to Samaritan's Purse Operation Shoebox Christmas charity and a few trucks, tractors, and trains to keep for himself. 

more funny faces.

cousin Quentin and Sissy loved playing together and about gave us all a heart attack driving the jeep! Lord, help us!

jamesy and holden are only seven weeks apart, so these two cousins are best buds.

uncle chris makes sliding extra fun!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Sharing Jamesy's Birth

In honor of Jamesy's first birthday, I'm so excited to share this video of my birth! I have worked hard to preserve these memories and while I went back and forth on whether or not to share pictures of such an intimate event publicly, I ultimately decided to let the simplicity and beauty of birth have its say.

I hope our family and friends experience unbridled excitement and joy as they get to see our Jamesy boy take his first breath and hear his very first cry. I hope fellow birth-lovers are stirred in their passion. I hope mamas unhappy with how their births unfolded are not in the least bit shamed, but are rather encouraged to make peace with their own experience. And I hope no one reading this assumes that I stand in judgment if your birth preferences are different than mine. I hope more than anything, you are drawn to our Creator through seeing the miracle of birth unfold. I hope you are in some way inspired, whether you had the birth of your dreams... or no physical birth at all.

This photo/video montage includes priceless pictures taken by two of my most admired photographer friends (Greenprint Photography and Ginger Unzueta Photography) and also includes snippets of Jamesy's written birth story. No need to hide your eyes at any point, as this little swimmer was born under water! Enjoy!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Last (and first) day of "school"

I had a lingering post... "Last day of school" and since I clearly didn't get around to finishing that story in good time, I'm combining it with this sweet picture of Grace Louise proudly standing by her 1234. Remember the stamp chart? Well, we resurrected it and I know one little girl who can hardly wait to earn her 20 stamps for a special date with mom and dad!

We are gearing up for the school year-- homeschool co-op, MOPS, fall activities, and adjusting to not having as many friends and family available during the week. This gearing up happens to involve a few household changes and some increased responsibility for my growing girl. The joy of being home with your children is that they can be comfortable in their jammies (okay... I can be comfortable in my jammies) all day if that is fitting. This lackadaisical routine can also leave you at 3pm wondering where the day went and ordering your child to finally brush her teeth. ... and so... starting this week, Grace Louise is taking responsibility for accomplishing not one, not two, not three, but FOUR important tasks (oh yes!) in a timely way each morning. And she is exceeding my expectations! She calls it her 1234. Make my bed. Put on my clothes. Brush my teeth. Do my chores.

Along with more structured learning and (1234) more responsibilities, we will also be rejoining our co-op friends in the fall! We're looking forward to extra curricular learning time focusing on nature, art, critical thinking, and physics. A year ago, we joined Roots and Wings Homeschool Co-op, who kindly opened their group to aspiring homeschool mothers with preschoolers. We love our friends (the moms and kids) and are looking forward to meeting every Friday at the Ridge Audubon Center in Babson Park beginning September. Last year our group was blessed to use the Olmstead House at Bok Tower. The gardens provided a beyond-beautiful backdrop for learning, and we had three productive terms, nurturing the inquiring minds of our little ones, growing in friendship, and refining the purposes and intent of our group. Ahhh lookey there... a great segue to my lingering last day of school pictures.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Flashback- Big Sis in the birthing pool

A year ago today, we weren't the only ones preparing for the big day! Grace Louise appears to know a little about how this all might go down. I don't know about you, but I'm impressed!