Monday, January 21, 2013

No Perfect System

 I was talking with a dear friend this past week.  I asked her how homeschooling was going this year, and she smiled and said, "There is no perfect system."  This is a mother who has home schooled for years, and when she speaks I tend to listen because she is seasoned in the art of motherhood.  I knew exactly what she meant.  I could write a book on the pros of home school, and I could write another book on the negatives of home school.  By the way, the same holds true for public education.  I started thinking about the time that we home schooled our children.  As I was thinking about this time in our life, I considered what our life would have been like if we had never home schooled at all.  It was about that time that I realized the best part of home school for our family was the relationships built between each of our children.  They are best friends, and I truly believe that wouldn't have happened if they had gone to public school at the age of 5.
 This weekend Matthew drove down from college to pick up Jacob.  They headed out to Missouri to visit Josh.  This was a new experience for Michael and I.  Our sons were going on a vacation that they had planned and for the most part paid for without our help.  Josh rented a cabin on a lake, and they provided and cooked their own meals.   I know that memories were made this weekend...probably some I don't even want to know!
 They called Hope and told her next time she was going to go too.  They needed her to help cook and clean!  She laughed because she knew them well enough to know that there was some truth in that statement, but they also like her company and her cookies!

I wouldn't trade those hard years of home schooling these kids for any amount of money.  I certainly wouldn't trade their friendships! 

Just in case your kiddos aren't the best of friends yet, don't worry.  Home school may not be the solution for your family.  Remember, there is no perfect system.  My brother and I didn't do so well together when we were children.  However, we have grown into wonderful friends now that we are adults.  It took awhile, but it was worth the wait!

grace and peace,

Sunday, January 13, 2013

2012 Year in Review

 2012 started as a usual year finding Missy curled up sleeping on the couch.

 Winter quickly turned into spring, and Missy found her way to the pond to get some much needed exercise. 
 The spring also brought Jacob's first experience with high school baseball. 

 Spring also brought our first hive of bees to our home.  (I pray those little darlings are still alive because I sure would like some honey next year)!

 Easter came and went and our college son was able to come home and enjoy his Easter basket this year.  We also enjoyed our Easter dinner on the front porch with good friends and warm weather.

 May brought graduation for Josh and my first graduation ceremony as a teacher at Rhea County High School.
 May also brought Hope's 8th grade graduation!

 The summer brought heat and a drought.  Our garden started off wonderful and ended up in weeds.  This was probably the worst garden season that we have ever had.  On a high note, Josh brought this little darling home as a gift to his siblings.  Lynyrd has become Seth's best friend and a joy to us most of the time.
 August found our family saying good-bye to Josh.  We held a going away party complete with a cool Marine cake.  The night we left him to go into boot camp was one of the hardest things I have ever done as a parent.  August also brought a new school year for our family.  Jacob grew into a 10th grader, and Hope joined the high school as a freshman.  I started my 2nd year teaching at our high school.

 Joshua's boot camp months found us racing to the mailbox hoping to find word from him.  We got his first letter on a Friday night.  After the football game, we gave the letter to Jacob and Nick to read right there on the football field.
 September brought Hope's 14 birthday.  I know it is cliche, but it seems just like yesterday when she was a baby!
 November found us in South Carolina celebrating our new Marine's graduation.  Seth missed Josh so much while he was gone, and Josh missed Seth's first year of football.
 I knew what it was like being the wife of a military man, and now I know what it is like being the mom of a military man.
 Jacob enjoyed time away from school while we vacationed in South Carolina!  He also enjoyed being with his brothers.
 We even brought this special someone and her family with us to celebrate our Marine. 

 We took some time for family pictures while we were away.  I guess it is only right that we now have a family picture that includes Seth.  It only took us 8 years!
 When we arrived back home, our neighbor had decorated our home and farm gate welcoming us back.  I cried when I saw the huge sign for Josh hanging on our gate.  This year was Seth's first year of deer hunting with his dad. 

 Josh was able to watch Hope play a basketball game while he was home.  Thanksgiving came and went in a whirlwind with Josh home a few days before the holiday.  We celebrated  and then said good-bye once again.
 Only three of our children were home to decorate the tree this year.  We had to go to extreme measures this year to hang the star because the tree was so tall. 

 The middle of December brought Jacob's 16th birthday.  Matthew and Chelsea came and surprised him for his special day.  We now have our 3rd child driver in the family.  I am thankful that I got a job!  Insurance rates are outrageous!!!!

Lynyrd has grown into a member of our family, and I look forward to seeing what 2013 brings to our home.  

grace and peace,

Sunday, January 06, 2013

Christmas 2012

 This boy lied to us and told us that he wouldn't be home for Christmas.  I spent about 30 minutes in complete panic mode trying to figure out how we were going to bring Christmas to him in Missouri. 

Let me start at the beginning.  The Friday before Christmas was the day that Josh was suppose to find out if he was going to get Christmas leave.  We spent all day waiting for the phone call from him.  Matthew had already been home all week, but he left to head back to Greeneville to visit with his girlfriend and her family.  He was going to be home around 6:30 that evening for dinner.  While I waited for word from Josh, I busied myself with a good book.  I noticed Jacob was cleaning house, but I never guessed he was up to anything.   Around 6:00 p.m., Josh called and said his leave was denied.  My heart sank and the realization hit me that this Christmas wasn't going to be what I had planned after all.  Matthew came home and we all sat down to dinner.  A few minutes later our back door opened and Josh stood in the doorway.  I have never been more surprised in all of my life!  Turns out all 3 of our boys knew that Josh was on his way home.  Matthew wasn't in Greeneville that day after all.  Apparently he was in Atlanta picking up his brother from the airport.  Jacob was home getting things in order, and Michael and I were left in the dark.  I cried my eyes out when I saw him.  I know for sure having all 5 my kids at home for Christmas was my best gift ever!
 Josh wasn't impressed with our new tea glasses.  He missed his mason jars!  The child in the beard is the one who lied to us too. 
 The child in the flannel also lied to us.  He was the one busy cleaning house while I was reading.  He even managed to convince me to cook a nice dinner complete with yeast rolls.  The other two children were just as surprised as we were. 
This happy daddy didn't know about the Christmas surprise either.  We now realize we had better keep a better eye on our older three kids.  There is no telling what they might accomplish together!

grace and peace,

P.S.  Stay tuned for the highlights of the rest of our vacation and the new things ahead for 2013.