Our Life Together

The beginning…

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This is the first steps in our parenting journey.

It was the year 2000
We couldn’t get pregnant.  I needed pills and pills and tests and tests, and the whole time I kept saying, “we can adopt… I want to adopt too, so we could just do that now instead of waiting…”  Ron was in agreement, but he was also busy moving us.  We had a new assignment at a new church and we were moving back down closer to our hometowns and our parents.  We decided to wait until we were settled in the new house and then begin the process of adoption. (We were so naive about how all of that would work).

Year 2003
We move back near home and get settled into our new house.  I start to notice that I feel weird and that I’m cranky… well, more cranky than normal 🙂  I’m actually being super moody and freaking out for no real reason.  My mother suggests that I take a pregnancy test… I guess she’s had enough of my attitude. Ron was gone to camp to be a counselor during this time, so it’s good that he wasn’t around me during this time.

I bought a test but decided to wait until he came home from camp so he could be there when I took the test.  It was positive!! I was so excited.  We were busy getting everything ready for the baby, and then busy taking care of the baby.  That first year Ron graduated seminary and entered the Air Force as a reservist.  He was technically an IMA Chaplain, but that’s not what this post is about.  So let’s just say he continued to preach for the UM Church and do his regular monthly reserve duty at Little Rock Air Base.  I kept assuming we would adopt, but we would start it all when the baby was a little older.

Year 2005
Once again… I started taking all the pills… and running all the tests… this time we added in a fertility monitor someone sold us and bought our first pack of testing sticks… y’all… those things are expensive!!

Year 2006
One month using the fertility monitor and it told me exactly when I ovulated… I got pregnant.  This was 2 years after Price was born, so don’t think this happened right away.

Another baby on the way, getting everything ready for that, and Ron telling me he wants to go into the Air Force on active duty… meaning, full-time.  I was completely good with following him wherever he thought God was leading, so we started getting all of that ready and all of that training done.

We had the second baby, Wesley, and I settled in as best as I could with being a stay-at-home-mom with two kiddos, and Ron was still preaching and doing his reserve duties.

Year 2007
When Wesley was only 2 months old or so, we found out our first assignment with the Air Force on active duty… Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado Springs, Colorado.

We’ll start the next part at Peterson…  July 2007…

Learner – Not Teacher

Making decisions isn’t easy…

Raise your hand if you know what unschooling is!  First of all, I’ve violated one of the very few rules of unschooling by adding a “school” thing to the first sentence.  Raising your hand is something we learn in school.  Have you ever raised your hand as an adult and waited to be called on for anything?  I just thought about this now… we don’t stand in Starbucks and raise our hand to be called on.  We don’t sit even in lectures and wait to be called on by raising our hands… usually there are microphones placed around the auditorium and we are asked to walk to the microphone and wait our turn.  I guess there are certain places you might raise your hand as an adult… like a magic show (if you want to be the assistant), or maybe if Jimmy Fallon is walking through the audience and you REALLY want to talk to him and be on The Tonight Show… but in most normal circumstances we don’t raise our hands to be called on.

That has nothing to do with what this post is about… 🙂  But I ramble sometimes… it can’t be helped!!

I homeschool my children.  I want to say I’ve done it since Price (my oldest) was 4 and we started doing “school” at home.  However, with some of the research and reading I’ve been doing, I’d rather say my children have learned at home since birth.  All children are taught at home for the first 4-5 years of their lives.  They learn how to walk, talk, and go to the bathroom on the toilet (some learn this easier and earlier than others).  And that kind of brings me to the point of this, I think.

We are now telling parents that they should let their children potty train when the child is ready.  We are acknowledging that there isn’t one set age where everyone should be able to go to the bathroom.  One of my children was later than I thought was normal for the potty training and I decided to just stop pushing it… my motto became (He will eventually do it… he won’t still be diapers when ______)  I usually filled that blank in with “he gets married”  or “he goes to college”… I just stepped back and stopped pushing… and he did do it… mostly on his own, and moreover, when he finally did start using the pot, he never had that period of not being able to hold it overnight.  He just did it, and almost completely on his own.  This is the same child who taught himself to read by the time he was 4, just by listening to the rest of us read aloud and watching hours of Letter Factory videos! 🙂

The reading thing again… okay.  I brought up the potty training thing to say that I think it’s the same way with the reading thing.  Kids will learn to read when their minds are ready.  To say that every 5 year old in Kindergarten SHOULD be able to read these certain words by Christmas break, or that they will be reading certain short books by the end of their Kindergarten year sets some children up to be failures from the very beginning.  Imagine that you are one of these kids whose brain needs a little more time to catch up.  I don’t mean that there is a learning disability, although… I think some of those things we label as learning disabilities might just mean that they can’t learn the way they are being taught… not that they can’t learn at all.  I’m not saying there aren’t actual disabilities that keep people from being able to learn, I’m just saying if we offered more than “one way to learn” that we wouldn’t lose so many kids right from the beginning.

As a teacher (when I taught public school) I could tell almost immediately the children whose parents worked with them at home and had probably been reading to them when they were small children, and the kids whose parents used school as a babysitter because they had to work or just didn’t want to be around their children all day.

This post is getting too long, so I’ll have to do another post later to expound on these things more.  The point of this post was for me to explore unschooling.  I would like to say that we are “trying it out”!  But in order for unschooling to work, it kind of has to be an all-or-nothing concept.  So I will say that we are now using a child-led learning style that looks nothing like school and looks a lot like watching Ghostbusters a million times to see if we can see any of the people working the animatronics in Slimer.  And to see which camera angle they used to make the marshmallow man look so much taller than anything else.  It also means we have a “Wonder Wall” in our kitchen that everyone (almost everyone) 🙂  has written something they wonder up there… It means we wake up each day not really knowing what we’re going to do or what we want to do and end up having a great adventure laughing about some crazy thing we watched on youtube or some new book we finished… The 11-yr old ran in this morning and announced he finished the first Harry Potter book and wants to know who wants it next (we’re all reading through each book before we watch the movies)… When the possibilities for learning are nearly endless, there is a period of sitting around trying to get your mind around what you want to do, but when we’re all learning together and working together even the periods of sitting around are much more fun!!

Welcome to my world… it’s pretty great around here!!

Amanda

 

Who Am I? – Crafter

It’s what I do…

I nearly put that I was a Creator, but then I thought someone else already had that job, so I’m a crafter.  😉

And I’m really not a crafter either.  I do a few crafts, but I wouldn’t say that I’m “crafty”.  So whenever someone asks me if I like to do crafts, I tell them I don’t do crafts.

I like to crochet… actually, I love it!  I even made a facebook page about it.  I thought the people on my regular facebook page were tired of seeing pictures of yarn, so I created a page just for the things I crochet.  I didn’t realize how therapeutic crocheting was until recently when I was under a lot of stress waiting for the results from the medical tests.  I could put some podcasts on or an audio book, or even just some music and crochet.

I love to make almost anything, although I’m not very good at stuffed animals and such.  I’m more interested in things that are different.  I also don’t like doing the same stitch row after row and stitch after stitch… so I can’t only do those kinds of projects either.

At the end of each month, I’ll share what I made throughout the month and links to patterns, if I have them.  Most of them come from youtube videos and some of them will still be WIPs (works in progress) 😉

Anyway… Here are the January projects!!!

 

Welcome to my world… it’s pretty great around here!!

Amanda

Being a Listener

I love Podcasts…

I love podcasts… anyone who knows me knows that I’m obsessed with podcasts.  I am never without something downloaded on my phone to listen to.  I have TONS of podcasts that I listen to on a regular basis.  I’ll post only the ones I listened to in January (I get really far behind on some of them because I have so many that I listen to)… Anyway… In no particular order… here they are… (Edit:  I’m trying to figure out how to link them to their podcast or at least the podcast page so you can listen to them if you want)

  • Satellite Sisters (I laugh out loud with EVERY show… this one is just great fun!)
  • Stuff to Blow Your Mind (random things that are cool to know about)
  • The Unschooling Life (this one is new for me and I’ve only listened to about 10 of them)
  • Stuff you Should Know (The hosts are like good friends to me because I’ve listened to this one for so long… Josh and Chuck are great together!! – Lots of different topics, and they are all great!)
  • Life of Caesar (This one is rated E (explicit) because they use curse words sometimes.  Still a great podcast that has as much goofy humor as actual history, but I love how great the guys feed off of each other… really good! – I just found this one, so I’m having to do lots of catching up to where they are now)
  • How to Do Everything (This is a podcast from NPR, and just for fun… They are usually pretty short and always revolve around some goofy topic or another)
  • Your Move with Andy Stanley (This is usually his different book and bible studies that are recorded in front of his church, and now I think they are on television after SNL maybe… anyway… he’s ALWAYS great!!  Always!!)
  • Inspired to Action  (This one is just to encourage mothers.  That’s her whole purpose because the podcasts… she interviews people – women mostly – who are living their lives and raising their kids while trying to remain Christ-focused.  She ends every podcast by saying “you’re kind of a big deal – now go be awesome” and I love every time she says it… 🙂 )
  • The Civil War Podcast (Husband and wife team, he from Pennsylvania… her from Arkansas… they do such a great job with this topic and it goes very indepth.  They are 3 years in and it’s great!!)
  • Genealogy Guys (This is just lots of news about new releases about anything in the genealogy world… great resource!!)
  • Homemakers By Choice (Donna Otto does this weekly podcast and it’s great.  She encourages women and does small bible studies)
  • The New Yorker Fiction Podcast (Someone – a writer usually – interviews a writer about one of their works coming out soon… I just discovered this podcast, and I’ve gone back to the beginning and am catching up.  I’ve gotten some great book recommendations from this podcast.)
  • The Greenlight Bookstore Radio Hour (this one works the same as the  New Yorker Fiction podcast and I’ve gotten some great recommendations from this one too)
  • Serial  (This one is handsdown my favorite podcast of January!!! It takes a story and tells it week-by-week, one episode at a time.  I just love the way the story comes together.  Oh, and they are non-fiction… The podcast is on it’s second story… the first story is about a man who’s been in prison for 15 years (since he was 18) and has continued to proclaim his innocence… the second story is about someone in the military who walked away from his post, ended up a POW, or maybe was a traitor the whole time… we have to listen to find out!!! 🙂

Let me know what podcasts you listen to or if you tried any of these!!  I listen to a LOT more, but the post was going to be way too long… I’ll review more podcasts each month until my list has been covered!!

Welcome to my world… it’s pretty great around here!!

Amanda

January Books

Everything I read in January

  1. Night Embrace – Sherrilyn Kenyon
    1. I’ve read this wonderful series over and over again.  This time I’m listening to the books on Audible)… I love her characters… even the vampire-ish ones! 🙂  Just a great, not-using-a-lot-of-brain-cells books!
  2.  Good Manners for Nice People – Amy Alcon
    1. This book started out promising, and finished on a positive note, but I was left with feeling like this woman was a busy-body who spent a LOT of her time spying on other people, reporting online about people, and taking it upon herself to point out which “rules” people are breaking.  Some of what she says is spot-on and pretty funny, but some of it is borderline obsessive and at one point she says she enforces a “no cell phone rule” in her favorite coffee shop.  It’s important to say that she’s not employed by this shop, but she takes it as her duty to tell people not to use their cell phones saying she really wanted to “tackle them to the ground” for using their cell phones.  I would think she’d go to the coffee shop to maybe have coffee or maybe write (since she’s an author and a columnist), but I wonder how much she can be enjoying her coffee and time in the shop if all she is doing is watching everyone who walks in the door to see if they are using their cell phone.  I want to tell her to get a life and do something she enjoys.  Then she tells a story of her organizing her friends to set up rotational visits to a single friend of hers who was dying of cancer.  Something completely selfless in the midst of a book filled with things she does that makes me wonder if she does anything other than spy on other people breaking “social rules”.  Anyway… I did finish the book, although twice in the middle I wanted to stop… I finished it and will probably give it 3 out of 5 stars!
  3. The Power of Six – Pittacus Lore
    1. This is a wonderful series!! It’s a YA (young adult) series about 9 teenager aliens.  Okay… that just turned off a bunch of people, but it’s amazing how sucked in I get into this drama… This is the second book in the series, and you need to start from the beginning to know what’s going on.  So, I am Number Four is first… get it and then move on to this one… I can’t wait to read the next one.
    2. Price, my 11 year old boy, LOVES these books… he’s on the 5th one now and about to start the 6th book.  He was really mad about the 4th book because “they said the F word two times… can’t they write without putting that in there?”  So that’s really the only complaint we have… I promised to find him an action/adventure novel with no cussing.
  4. The Tale of Despereaux – Kate D
    1. We read this one as a family.  I really liked it, especially the narrator part.  I love that they talk to us “dear reader” throughout the whole book.  It teaches new vocabulary words as we go along… like empathy and things like that.  We then watched the movie and decided we didn’t like how different it was from the book.  We think the book was better than the movie.  Wesley (9 year old boy) thought that the movie was better because “no one dies”.  The rest of us liked the book better!
  5. For the Love – Jen Hatmaker
    1. Y’all… I cannot express how much I loved this book.  I laughed out loud and read parts of it to anyone who happened to be near me!  I am definitely putting this one back in the rotation to re-read.  If you are married, or have children, or hope to be married or have children then this book is for you.  If you are nearing 40, or over 40, or under 40 then this book is for you.  I immediately put her other books on my wish list and will continue to talk about the things in this book for years… I just know she and I would be great friends!!  So, I’ve also added “Meet Jen Hatmaker and make her feel very uncomfortable (since she’s an introvert) by gushing over how good friends we already are because of the conversations I’ve had with her in my head”.  This book is for you… for the love!
  6. St Thomas Aquinas – G.K. Chesterton
    1. This book was so far over my head that I probably only understood about 1/4 of it.  It was like reading C.S. Lewis to me.  His books take me forever to read because I have to go back and re-read the sentences over and over to understand what he’s saying.  Chesterton was the same, or maybe it was just Thomas Aquinas who was so hard to understand.  My favorite thing I did get from it though was the idea that philosophers weren’t always the way I think of philosophers.  Aquinas was definitely a philosopher who was also a Christian and had no problem working those two things together.  It dawned on me that most Christian theologians are, at their essence, philosophers.  They are all putting their own interpretation of scriptures, and spreading their ideas about it.  When a lot of them agree on one interpretation, it becomes a denomination and it becomes the basis of their belief system.  Aquinas was alive when science was just beginning… it was the beginning of science the way we view it.  With an idea, a hypothesis, experiments, and conclusions… aka the Scientific Method.  Aquinas believed that the bible was so vast and that humans were really able to understand everything it says and everything it means.  Because of this, we take the scriptures and “guess” at what it means… Interpret it in the way we feel is best.  Not to further our cause, or to prove that we are right, but just interpret what it says in the BEST way we can.  THEN, if science is used to prove there is another meaning for something in the bible, something that might go against the way we have interpreted it, we change the interpretation.  With this theory in place, he was able to use science in conjunction with his faith instead of opposed to his faith.  He took the “heretics” of his age and really tried to understand where they were coming from, so he could show them where they went wrong in their beliefs.  I would LOVE to see how he would act and what he would think if he were alive now.  He was a great thinker, and apparently it’s important to note that he was a really big man.  🙂  I love the way Chesterton speaks in his writing, and I am adding more of his books to my list.  Now off for something MUCH lighter than this!! 🙂

I try to read books from different genres and about a variety of subjects.  I feel like it keeps me from getting bored and constantly generates questions that lead me to research and learn even more things.  Let me know if you’ve read any of these books, or if you have any books that you think I REALLY need to read.

**Also… check out my new goodreads profile (and be my friend!) to see what I’m reading now and what’s on my to-read list!!

Welcome to my world… it’s pretty great around here!!

Amanda