Happy Birthday, David!

I have a terrible memory. Oh, I can remember inane and unimportant things like the names of movie stars and their hit films or short stories I read in high school, but real memories, you know, events that actually happened to me, elude me.

I hold only little pieces of my childhood in my memory. Even then, many of the recollections come from pictures stored in photo albums and slide shows. I don’t know that I remember the actual occurrence or just the picture of the activity.

Tim tells the children elaborate tales of his youth; times he went camping with his family, places he explored as a child and teenager, insightful lessons he learned along the way. The children, eager for more glimpses into the ancient past, look over at me, ready to hear my childhood anecdotes.

I look back at them blankly.

I never knew I had a poor memory. It was something I discovered as an adult, about the time my kids asked me to tell them a story from my past.

I had a wonderful childhood and a rich, full life. I just can’t remember it.

Today is my youngest son’s birthday. David is seven years old. By now I’m an experienced mom, I know what happens: these precious little ones grow up! They change, mature, and blossom into young adults.

birthday boy

My sister-in-law, Elizabeth, blessed our family with this Birthday Hat.

I guess our days are too full of living to hold all of the precious moments of our days in my finite brain. I keep trying to get an upgrade on memory storage and brain power but the shipping costs are out of this world.

I don’t want to forget the sweetness of today. I don’t want to forget what my children are like at this point in their lives. Joshua is fourteen. I barely remember what he was like as a brand new 7 year old.

birthday breakfast

Butterscotch pancakes for the birthday breakfast. Yum!

And you all tease me for taking so many pictures. I need them to bolster my pathetic memory. I wonder if we will have perfect retention in heaven. Will we be able to look back and clearly remember all that we did during our life time? Can I request the Good Parts Only version? Maybe the glories of heaven will so outshine anything that occurred during our brief time here on this earth, that we won’t need to waste time on old memories.

Happy Birthday David!!

You are my beloved youngest son. You have an incredibly bright smile and sweet spirit. I treasure your ready hugs and cheerful personality. Several times a day you enthusiastically run over to me for a hug me or kiss on the cheek. You let me hold and snuggle you. You do a wonderful job of making me feel loved and appreciated. You love presents and are thankful for everything from little treats to a homemade meal.

let's blow them out!

On Friday you were upset because you didn’t have your “speedy” tennis shoes. You were gloomy and worried about running and playing in shoes that were too loose. You LOVE to zoom about at top speed. You have a wonderful daddy who drove out of his way to bring you your special shoes.

You are quickly becoming an excellent reader. Some days you fuss about all the school you have to do, and other times you rush through your work, laughing at how simple it is. You play easily with all of your siblings. You and Sarah are buddies and she adores you. You and Daniel can often be found playing computer games together or sitting on the floor with Legos, marbles or Playmobil. You and Joshua are great friends. Neither age or size difference seems to matter in your relationship and you were very dismayed that he was going to be out of town on your birthday. You and Rachel enjoy all manner of creative games. At the pool this week you played a game involving a slave and his master.

I try not to ask too many questions.

let's light those candles!

Rachel lit the candles for our second round of Happy Birthday To You!.

I’m afraid my memory is poor. You are going to grow up and ask me what type of a little boy you were. You’ll want to know what books you read, where you sat in the car, what types of games you played, and how much you were loved.

we love David

Forgive me for forgetting so many of the little details. With all my heart, I want you to know that you were a cherished six year old and will most certainly be a treasured seven year old. I’ll do my best to photograph, journal and blog your life so our memories of these sweet times will be carefully preserved and venerated.

Project 365 – Day 47

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Grandparents are Great!

I’m afraid we’re much too busy having fun with Mamie and Grandad to find much time for blogging. I will, of course, share a few pictures.

We opened presents, read books and played games today. The girls even got in some shopping (and coffee).

grandad and danielmamie reads

It wouldn’t be a proper visit with Mamie and Grandad if we didn’t get in a little swimming so after a dinner out, we all headed to the hotel.

joshua, david and racheldaniel

We are trying to savor every moment together. A Happy Valentine’s Day indeed!!

Project 366 – Day 45

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They’re Here!

My parents arrived this evening for a short visit. They spent last week with my dad’s two siblings (and their wives) in Jamaica.

Suffering for the Lord, I’m sure. :)

We realized it has been Eight Months since we’ve seen them. That’s too long!!

We all went to the hotel to greet Mamie and Grandad. David was so excited he could hardly contain himself. “This is a really nice place, isn’t it, Mom?”

I am falling asleep as I type so I had better say goodnight before I end up with something VERY embarrassing.

I’ll have more pictures to post tomorrow….


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WFMW – Life Skills

wfmwSeveral weeks ago I was talking with a friend about my struggles to Do It All as a homeschooling mother of five. This godly woman is an amazing problem solver, and within minutes she had several ideas specifically addressing my scheduling and organizational needs.

I cannot reveal her name.

There are times when it is best to protect a person’s anonymity. This is especially true when there are five children (at least one of whom is a rather hulking teenager) that cherish their free time.

hulking teenager at rest

Joshua works on his menacing look.

At the onset, my beloved offspring were not exactly enamored with my friend’s involvement in our daily lives. What she suggested has made a dramatic change to our schedule. After our conversation, I immediately brainstormed how to put it into practice. Although the children have grown accustomed to this new system, and even appreciate its simplicity and structure, I feel it is best not to divulge the true origins.

Plus, I like to keep the rascals guessing. It’s important to have some aura of mystery and lofty wisdom as a mother.

Life Skills

There are many people in this diverse and beautiful world who are naturally organized. God love them.

I am NOT one of those people.

Despite my many housekeeping shortcomings, however, I do like things somewhat clean and tidy. When my home is cluttered and messy, I feel suffocated and overwhelmed. I need some order in my life. Homeschooling five children is not the ideal situation for cultivating a well-kept home. We live, really live, in our home all day.

These children never go away!
[Deep breaths]
But I digress.

My friend’s idea was this: build an hour of Life Skills into our daily homeschooling schedule. Life Skills could relate to everything from chores to cooking, budget lessons, lawn work, or even babysitting instruction. I absolutely loved the idea! It was perfect and could be applied to so many different areas of life.

I decided my most crucial need was regular, structured help in keeping up the house. The kids are wonderful and regularly assist in picking up the house, but when I look around at our messy home and shout,

“We need to clean the Entire House – Right Now!”

they are often overwhelmed and paralyzed…or hiding in the hall closet.

Not to throw stones; at that point I’m usually overwhelmed and panicked as well.

rachel and sarah

Look Sarah, let’s take a picture of Mommy having a meltdown.

Life Skills has changed everything. I hate to sound dramatic, but this simple addition to our schedule has truly transformed things in our home. I don’t have to worry as the house begins to look messy and cluttered during the day, I know at 4 pm the cry Life Skills will go forth, and by 5 pm the entire house will be picked up and fresh.

It’s heavenly!!

Here are the basic steps on how we developed the practice of Life Skills:

  1. Divide up the house
  2. Make a list all the rooms of the house (don’t forget the laundry room)
  3. Write down the basic chores needed in each area
  4. Group areas together according to size and complexity of work
  5. Assign a weekly rotation
  6. Find a time in your daily schedule that would accommodate an hour of Life Skills
  7. Go For It!

My older three children each handle one meal (dishes, clearing table, loading and unloading the dishwasher etc) a day. They are assigned that meal for the week, at which point they rotate. We have practiced this for several years now and it (typically) works smoothly.

I decided to combine the Life Skills job with the meal rotations. Rachel helped me to break down our home into specific work areas and then coordinate the jobs with existing positions. We delegated the smaller areas of the house to the younger children and included them on the meal appointments.

For example, the child with the breakfast assignment is also responsible for tidying the living room and downstairs bathroom. Lunch has the upstairs bathroom and the laundry room (neaten room, gather dirty clothes and run a load of laundry). Dinner (which is a big responsibility, taking the longest amount of time to complete) is in charge of the family room and hallway (smaller areas).

David and Sarah (my almost 7 and 5 year olds) assist their siblings with meal and laundry chores and handle the dining room, stairs, and upstairs hallway. They rotate jobs as Little Buddy 1 and Little Buddy 2.

little buddy what's his name

This Little Buddy is taking a Little Break.

Once a week the children are responsible for giving their section a thorough cleaning (wash floors, vacuum, dust, etc). Because the children are so efficient and the house is now being picked up on regular basis, I was able to add in a 10 minute bedroom clean up to the Life Skills roster.

Another friend has suggested I include a Clean the Minivan job. You can see the options are limitless.

life skills did him in

Mother, I beg you, please don’t any anything more to Life Skills.

There you have it. A rather lengthy and detailed description of how we apply Life Skills to our day. If you have any questions, please leave a comment and I’ll do my best to confuse you further help clarify things.

Drop by Don’t Try This At Home and see other Works for Me Wednesday links.


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Better Than Sleep

I had a whole post written out (okay, so it was in my head) about the power of scripture and staying in the Word. I spent a good portion of yesterday catching up on my Bible study homework. I’m going through Beth Moore’s study on the book of Daniel at church. Because our leaders understand that we are lazy and shallow busy women, they have devised a way to encourage us to complete our homework.

A basket of goodies!!

Yes, if you finish your weekly homework you can select a gift from the You Go, Girl! basket. In the basket they have candles, note cards, hair accessories, lotion, etc.

let's study Daniel

What a cute headband. Why yes, it’s a prize for doing my homework.

It’s basically Bribery for Women!!

And it works. Sigh. I was determined to finish my homework, even if it meant doing FOUR lessons in one day. Pathetic!

rachel's Bible study

what a great book

Rachel is working through a Kay Arthur study on the book of John.

Of course, wouldn’t you know it every single thing I had been dealing with and struggling over this past week were specifically addressed in the daily assignments.

My Discontented Spirit
My Feelings of Discouragement and Failure
My Self-absorption

Every single one.

When the Lord sets out to speak to me and teach me a lesson, I find that He is often creative, patient and THOROUGH. Not only did I learn that I simply MUST stay in the Word in order to have the right perspective on life and my identity as a daughter of the King, I also clearly saw that God is ready and waiting to teach me if I run to Him. Only a great and sovereign God could orchestrate it so this week’s lesson would apply directly to my spiritual battles.

If only I had met with Him.
If only I had done my lesson each day.
If only I had turned to His word instead of wallowing in feelings of self-pity and discontent.

Praise the Lord that He is faithful and forgiving and welcomes me back whenever I tarry. Praise God that He loves me with compassion and that His mercies are new every day.

Because I need them.

daniel's Bible study

look at this diligent student of the word

Daniel is studying I and II Samuel in his Bible lessons.

Wouldn’t that have been a great post! Wouldn’t you have loved to read it. Wouldn’t you have been encouraged and challenged to get into the Word yourself.

That’s what I was going to write. I was. The Lord spoke to me through a friend, on Sunday, and showed me it wasn’t sleep I needed, but Him.

Spiritual Food is Better for the Soul than Sleep

Yep, that was my intended title. I had it all planned out and mostly written.

Then I fell asleep.

Really. It would be too pitiful to make this up. I went upstairs to talk to Tim, got into my snuggly warm bed, completely intending to go downstairs in a few minutes to inspire you all with my blog, and fell promptly asleep.

There’s another lesson in there somewhere, but I don’t have time to unearth it right now. I’m blogging in the middle of the day (gasp) and there are children to feed and educate.

Project 366 – Day 43

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