Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The half way point!

I know it has been a long time since I blogged.

...we have been just a little bit busy.

When I last left you, I had just finished writing about our exciting homeschooling adventure that was coming up. I think I even may have told you to check back because I was planning on having regular updates about how our year was going.

Well, this is your first (and probably only) update. We are officially half-way through our first year of homeschooling and are loving it! We have felt so blessed to be able to spend this time with our kids, and watch them grow academically and spiritually. What a task the Lord has given us! But I am amazed daily at how much I have learned about my sweet children, and especially about myself....both good and bad.

Now, that being said, I am not going to lie to you and paint a rosy picture of me with three kids under the age of 7, sitting quietly around a table, working diligently and quoting Shakespeare, and treating each other with nothing but kindness and respect, while I teach lessons, shower, put on something trendy and cute, quickly prepare a Beef Wellington for dinner, clean the house from top to bottom, and maintain a rosy composure with oodles of patience all day long. I have read (and been envious of) SO many homeschooling blogs who seem to have nothing but well-behaved, angelic children with moms who are seemingly able to mold little Einsteins, maintain a spotless house, keep up with blogging on a regular basis, AND do it all with a smile!

Here is our reality:
  • I sometimes remember to shower...and put on deodorant (it's usually either/or)
  • My poor husband is lucky if I slap on some make up when he gets home
  • the carpets get vacuumed...before we have company over
  • the bathroom mirrors get cleaned when I can no longer see my reflection...don't ask about our toilets
  • I don't even know what Beef Wellington is, or how to prepare it
  • who is Shakespeare??
  • the only time my three kids are sitting at the table quietly and ALL together is when they have food in their mouths, AND Aaron is strapped into his booster chair to reduce the risk of escape
  • my kids bicker, hopefully I'm not the only one who experiences this
  • and there are times *sigh* that I lose my patience...there, I said it
Homeschooling is HARD. It has brought so many of my faults into the spotlight for me to examine with a fine tooth comb. At times it is overwhelming to think of the responsibility I feel to educate my kids successfully. I wonder what I could be doing better, how I could be more fun for my kids, am I using the right curriculum, is "so and so" getting enough attention, will "so and so" ever be able to do this on their own, am I being too pushy, am I not pushing hard enough, blah, blah, blah, blah!

And then that small voice pushes it's way through all of the "noise" and finally makes itself heard,

...be still.

Do you ever notice that it is so much easier to remember the negative things that happen instead of the positive things that go on all the time? When I listen to the Lord and become "still", I find it easier to recall more of the positive, and less of the negative. I am able to look for the blessings that God intended for me to see, instead of looking at all the junk that my own mind adds to the mix.

These past five months, whenever I have had a less than spectacular day, and have begun to wonder if this was the right decision, I am telling you amazing things have happened.

The Lord just shows right up.

He makes Himself known in the random phone call from a friend just checking in to see how our day is going. I've seen His hand in a letter from my 4 year old saying that she loves me and hoping that I have a good day. I've met AMAZING homeschooling moms who the Lord has placed in my life at JUST the right moment with JUST the right words for what is going on at the time. He has, on several occasions, surrounded me with moms who seem to be struggling with the same issues. I have been blessed with a husband who listens to me moan and groan at times, and reassures me that I can do it. I can't tell you how many times I have been in a public place, and have struck up a conversation with a stranger who says, "Oh, we homeschool, too!"

I have been inundated with His reassurance and His presence...I just have to remember to SEE it.

I don't want you to think that this has been a horrible experience every day. FAR from it! We have so many more AWESOME, FUN, AMAZING days than not. Like I said, though, sometimes we remember the negative more than the positive.

So here is why homeschooling has been SO worth it:
  • Our kids know and love Jesus, and they know that He loves them
  • We get to talk and learn about Him every day
  • Both Emily and Addison BEG to read a Bible story every night
  • Emily LOVES to read (this was not so last year)
  • Addison is reading now, too, and doing a fantastic job!
  • We have made Egyptian collars and built pyramids
  • It is so much fun to see them "get" something for the first time
  • Both Emily and Addison can identify 30 different countries around the world on a map with NO words
  • We built Mount Vesuvius and the city of Pompeii and DESTROYED it with a baking soda and vinegar volcano!
  • We get to learn about forgiveness every day
  • We have constructed a Viking longhouse
  • We can go to the library WHENEVER we want, and we usually come home with a basket full of books
  • We visited Sea World for a special homeschool day
  • We have created cave paintings with berries, rocks and twigs
  • we are currently growing a tadpole into a frog for a science presentation (hopefully this one survives!)
  • we play outside ALOT
  • We get to visit a nursing home twice a month and play games with the residents
  • we get to play games when we take breaks
  • we read LOTS and LOTS of books
  • we have been to Houston to visit the zoo, the museum of Natural History, and the Johnson Space Center, and didn't miss a single day of school
  • we are usually done with school by 1pm or so, and usually don't start until 9 (and that's with breaks and lunch)
  • we get to do spelling, math, and whatever else we feel like lying on our tummies on the floor
  • we get to cuddle up on the couch, with a friendly soft puppy dog named Allie (one of our class pets), and read our books
So overall, we have been very pleased with how the year has gone. We still are taking this a year at a time, but even if we decided tomorrow to stop homeschooling, I will always cherish this time that I have had to grow with my kids. Even though I feel constantly busy because of what we are doing, I haven't seen the "busy"-ness, and the tiredness that was associated with elementary school that Emily had last year...and I don't miss it one bit. I like the days that we can take it slow, spread out our work, finish some up in the evening if we need to, not worry about getting to bed RIGHT at 7:30pm to avoid early morning melt-downs.

I thank the Lord for this opportunity, and my prayer is that He continues to bless it!

I am going to leave you with some highlights of our first semester of homeschooling. Beware, there are TONS of pictures, this isn't even all of them, so get ready!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Big changes!!

Hello everyone!

It has been WAY too long since I posted anything (I think I begin all my posts like this, don't I?), but we have had a busy summer, and have an even busier fall coming up!

A quick recap since we last visited...we have had:
  • Easter visit with cousins in Houston
  • kindergarten graduation,
  • end of the year preschool show
  • trips to the zoo
  • trips to Houston
  • going to the pool
  • being a member of the Boerne Barracuda swim team
  • first ever Fulling family MAJOR roadtrip to Branson, Missouri and Rantoul, Illinois
  • good friends coming to visit (Makenzie and the Moores!)
  • VBS
  • swimming lessons for Addison
  • two birthday parties in two weeks
  • more going to the pool
  • ice cream cone trips
  • trips to the library
  • getting to read books to a therapy dog
  • playdates with friends
  • sno-cone lady trips
  • going to "bouncy castle heaven" (this is what the girls call it...it's actually an indoor bouncy castle playland)
  • trips to Petland
  • going to the movies
  • going to the Children's Museum
  • bike riding
  • AND...preparing for the major change coming up in our lives,
...no I am NOT pregnant. I promise.

After lots of prayer, research, and more prayer, we have decided to homeschool the kiddos.

Ok. Now would be a good time to stop whatever you are doing and PRAY for us. Very loudly! Pray for our sanity (or insanity, as it may be). Pray that this year will be blessed with positive experiences. Pray that any fears we have are put to rest at the feet of the Lord. Pray that Brian does NOT go out and purchase bonnets and matching ankle-length denim skirts for us...not that I'm saying that's a bad thing, necessarily...

Just pray!

And now...for those of you who are shaking your heads in disbelief and wondering WHY in world are we doing this, I will direct you to the lovely tabs that I have at the top of the blog.

Never noticed those before?

WELL, it just so happens that in addition to becoming a homeschooling mom, I will be adding "computer genius" to my job description. I have learned how to add tabs to my blog!!! This is actually a true miracle since I am generally known to be the most computer illiterate person in the world.

I won't go into all the reasons we have chosen to homeschool on this page since they are all tucked away in that nice, neat little tab at the top! Please read them if you would like, and maybe afterward, you won't think we are completely insane.

I will leave you with a slide show of some of the fun we have had since February!!


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Our family, 2010

I need to thank Kelly Simmons of Mustard Seed Photography ( http://www.mustardseed-photography.com/ ), for the AMAZING job she did taking pictures of our rather large family over the Christmas holidays. All of Brian's brothers, wives, and kiddos were here, and in total I think she photographed 22 people!!

Thank you, thank you, thank you, Kelly!!

Here are some of my favorites of our crew!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Hello again

Well, with the holidays just behind us...or I guess a month behind us, I wanted to quickly send out some new pics of the family and share an amusing Emily story.

I'm pretty sure there are other equally amusing stories about Addison and Aaron, but since this one happened just last weekend, and absolutely nothing funny at all happened this week, it's all I can remember right now.

Unfortunately, the long term memory capacity of my brain only extends to approximately 7-8 days past the event that I am trying to remember.

...in fact, that is on a good day. And I'm finding that as my age increases, the number of days I tend to remember specific events decreases. According to my incredibly precise calculations, for each year that goes by, I lose 1 day of long term memory. So by my estimation, by the time I reach the age of 41, on any given day, I really shouldn't be held responsible for anything that happened the day before...since I won't remember anything about it anyway. :)

What was I talking about again?

Oh, yes. Emily.

So, as most of you may remember, last Monday was Martin Luther King day. The kids had the day off from school, so I thought it would be fun for them to learn a bit about Martin Luther King and listen to some of his famous speech. We did a coloring activity, read a story about his life, and then found some of "I have a dream" on the internet. Emily was fascinated by his speech, and sat transfixed while we watched him speak.

So later on in the day, we all went to Lifetime fitness, where Emily, Addison, and Aaron play in the child center with tons of other kids while I work out. When we arrived, Emily informed me that she was planning on giving a speech about Martin Luther King to the kids in the child center. Since I was unaware that my 5 1/2 year old daughter had planned a speaking engagement at our fitness center, I was naturally curious...and a little nervous... about the content of this "speech".

Oh, but don't worry... when I asked what she was planning on saying, she very confidently reassured me and said,

"Um, I don't know mommy, I'll figure it out"

Wing it. That's my girl.

Now I'm REALLY nervous. And although I was secretly a little proud that Dr. King's speech had apparently made such an impact on her, I had disturbing visions the whole time I was working out. I kept waiting for the child center to announce overhead that Emily had been arrested for organizing an angry toddler uprising in the child center. "We should not be made to stay here while our parents are out having all the fun!!! Join me and REVOLT, tiny tots!!!"

But then I remembered that Martin Luther King's message was one of peace. So then I worried about Emily staging a peaceful hunger strike of some kind in the child center, or a sit in...or handcuffing herself to the playgym! The possibilities were endless...

Luckily, no arrests were made, and when I went to pick the kids up, I was DYING to find out what happened. Emily, Addison, and Aaron trotted happily out of the child center with me. When I asked Emily how her "speech" went, she informed me that "Unfortunately, I had to cancel my speech, mommy".

Why? I asked.

"Well *sigh*, no one wanted to hear about Dr. Martin Luther King, so I had to cancel it".

She seemed really upset by it, as would anyone whose speech had been cancelled due to lack of interest, right?

...I'm thinking we will wait a while before we try to study someone like, say, Che Guevara? What do you think?

Here are a few pics of the kids from Christmas (all taken with the AWESOME camera my husband got me!!!):

Sweet Addison!

The whole gang

Me and my boy!


Climbing around

This was taken after a particularly messy evening at the dinner table...nice do....I believe it was a combination of strawberry yogurt, ketchup and fish sticks. Yum.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Disney World 2010!!!!

In a word, Disney World was...magical. I didn't believe that when people would tell me how great it was, but now that we have gone...and seen the priceless looks of joy on our kiddos faces while we were there, I believe!

Here is a slideshow of some of the fun!

Mickey, see you in a few more years when poor Aaron can enjoy it all!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Blessing #4: Aaron

My Aaron, baby boy, little bubster, bubby boy, little brother. What a sweet and precious blessing he has been to all of our lives! He is a true mama's boy, and LOVES his sisters so much, and loves to watch his daddy all the time. Such a good baby, so very laid back and go with the flow, right from the beginning...which I hear is not a good sign for the future!

He loves to get into EVERYTHING. His favorite playtoy at the moment is not simply a car or truck, but the smelly garbage can in our kitchen. I have found everything from his sippy cup to my shoes in the trash on any given day. He loves opening and closing any doors, trash cans, lids on toys, the laundry machine, the dishwasher...I'm thinking we may have a mechanical engineer in our future.

He loves to read the book "Doggies", loves his little blue and soft "lovey" and sucks his thumb whenever lovey is in his hands. His favorite toys are a set of different size bouncy balls, and they keep him entertained for the longest time! He has quite the pitching arm and launches them across the room, fetches them himself, and launches them again! His bright and intensely blue eyes and beautiful smile melt my heart every time I look at him.

Now that he has started walking, things are becoming even more interesting. His world has just exploded and you can see how proud he is of himself! He is growing up so quickly, I want nothing more than to just stop time and keep him right where he is forever...

My prayer for Aaron is that he doesn't try to grow up so quickly just because he has two older sisters, and that his heart remains as sweet and tender as it is now! Stay my baby boy forever!!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Blessing #2: plastic combs

So a few days ago, this past Sunday to be exact, Emily had been in our bathroom for an unusual amount of time...which is a bad sign.

While we were making breakfast, she finally wanders out and asks Brian for some "help".

Now, normally, asking for help with something like, oh, buttoning up pants...or tying shoes...is not much of a problem. However, we discovered that the "help" Emily needed at this particular time was going to require a skill set that neither of us possessed.

I can't believe I didn't get a picture of it.

Emily had decided to "comb" her hair with one of my small plastic combs with the really tiny teeth, but instead of combing it, she had twirled it into a very impressive and massive rat's nest right on the top of her head...and the comb was literally... stuck to her head.

After getting over the initial shock, we sat Emily down at the kitchen table and we tried everything we could think of...slowly pulling tiny strands of thin blond hair out of the comb, rubbing conditioner all over the mass to loosen it. Anything to try and figure out the intricately tangled puzzle of hair that sat on top of Emily's head.

There was crying and screaming from the pain, we felt SO terrible! And across the table from Emily sat Addison, eyes wide, mouth open... quiet for the longest time that I've ever seen her be quiet.

After what seemed like forever, I was getting ready to tell Emily that we were going to have to cut it out of her hair, because this sucker was going nowhere. THEN...I had a moment of brilliance.

...it doesn't happen very often, so I have to brag about it now.

Cut one end of the comb off, close to the massive tangle, and then slowly push the ends of the hair off of the broken end. Makes sense, right? Brian said it would never work :)

Thank God for plastic combs, because it broke in half quite easily, and I was able to save (just about) every last hair without having to send her to school the next day looking a mini member of Flock of Seagulls.

Lesson here: rid your house of combs made of anything but PLASTIC!!