Our First Day of Homeschool 2019!

Monday, August 19, 2019

Today was our first day of Homeschool! We officially started homeschooling last year, but both kids were in preschool and we had a very relaxed year. This year, we're kicking it up one small notch with a little more structured curricula! 

A couple of weeks ago, Beckett started talking about how excited he was for school to start. He asked about it multiple times a week and marked it on his calendar. All I could think was, "oh boy.. pressure is ON." I wanted to match his enthusiasm! So today, we had a very special first day of school.


We started the day with special breakfast, gifts for both kiddos, and prayers for the school year. Brian joined us for this part of the day, which is extra special because he is a big fan of being at work EARLY in the morning! We loved having him! Once we were done with breakfast, we got started on our school day!


I've been planning for WEEKS, and knew Beckett would appreciate my organization. He loves lists and schedules as much as I do! That photo above to the left is him previewing the plans for the day. Luckily for me, being able to check the little boxes is just as motivational for him as it is for me!

Those next two are them working on their math planners. Charlie is drawing what comes to mind when she thinks of August (popsicles) and Beckett is filling out an "All About Me Page," which made me love him even more:

Something he's good at: Reading
His favorite season: Winter
His favorite place: "Wherever all the people I love are"


Beckett is a Kindergartener this year! He says he's most excited to learn Spanish (wish me luck, ya'll) and he's very excited that I'm his teacher. I was worried that he would feel some disappointment that he wasn't going off to school like his cousins, but he's been proudly telling anyone who will listen that he gets to do school at home and that his mom is his teacher! We'll see if he still feels that way in a few months (or even years). 


Admittedly, I have not worked nearly as much with Charlie as I had with Beckett. By Charlie's age (3), Beckett was already reading independently, among other impressive skills. So, I'm particularly excited to work with this little ball of spunk and sass. When I HAVE taken the time to sit down and really work with her, she's been SO INTERESTED in learning, incredibly attentive, and picks up on new concepts quickly! She tested ready for a Kindergarten math curriculum, which she started today! She says her goal is to learn to read this year (again - wish me luck!). 


We spent a big chunk of today kicking off our unit on the Revolutionary War in preparation for our upcoming trip to the northeast! I am SUPER giddy about spending the next six weeks diving into study units that will complement and enrich our travels together. We'll also study crustaceans and how leaves change. Nerdy mom alert!

My absolute favorite part of our day will likely be the same all year. That is when Beckett read aloud to Charlie and me. Today it was the story of Noah's Ark, which he studied in Sunday School yesterday. I LOVE hearing him read, and love being able to spend our days talking about whatever we choose, including studying scripture.


We ended our homeschool day with lunch at Beckett's FAVORITE restaurant, IHOP! Again, Dad joined us because it's a super special day and he's the best dad ever! Blair and Alex (Charlie's babies) joined us too, of course.


People ask me ALL OF THE TIME why I chose to homeschool. Really, I could write a whole blog SERIES on the reasons I love and am grateful for homeschool, but the primary reason is just these two kiddos. I'm so grateful and excited to do life with them.


Recently, I've been reminded too many times that life is short and we should be spending our time wisely. In this particular chapter of my life, I'm confident this is where God has led me, and overwhelmingly grateful for this crazy homeschool life. 

American Girl Adventure

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Growing up I was never an American Girl person. I didn't really even know it was a thing until I was older, and then I mostly thought it was silly. I have mommy friends who are AG obsessed and I definitely just humored the conversations that I naively assumed I would never be part of "that" world.

You guys.

I was so. wrong.


On Friday, Brittany and I loaded up the girls for our very first girls only road trip!! I have been WAITING for this day! We love that these cousins are growing up together and taking a trip to Chicago for Avaya's 7th birthday was EXACTLY what I call perfection. 

We pretty much started swooning the moment we walked into the GINORMOUS store. It's amazing. Both girls got to pick out a doll. Avaya chose a doll that resembled herself (beautiful, obviously), and Charlie chose the doll of the year, Blair, whom we all adore.


We're all obsessed with Blair. She's a stinkin' cute farm girl. Charlie is straight up obsessed with her farmhouse & restaurant. She spent as much time as she could manage playing with it in the store. I definitely called Brian asking if I could buy this ridiculously expensive doll house.

I got an emphatic "NO." (But it's officially on the wish list).


After we shopped, we ate at the most adorable cafe EVER. The dolls had their own seats and place settings!! What?! Avaya got a stinkin cute cake and we ate an amaaazingly delicious lunch. It was a FANTASTIC DAY!!



Brittany and I MAY have been just as entertained as the girls. We're so grateful for a chance at this super fun girls' day! 


Our First Family Symphony!

Sunday, February 17, 2019

We had our first family symphony experience tonight! It pretty much went how I'd expect the symphony to go with my 3 and 5 year old. And we loved it.



The St. Louis Symphony has a special Family Series that we now know is absolutely fantastic! For the hour before the performance, they have special activities for the kids. Today's performance of Cinderella called for visiting with a "real" prince and princess (which Charlie was not totally convinced of & required daddy's escort), decorating a fairy wand, and their awesome instrument playground!

It would have been way cooler without the chaotic long lines, but it was VERY neat that the kids got to check out the instruments up close, hear them played, and try them out for themselves. The flute girl insisted I try - which was more entertaining than you might imagine.



During the performance, the kids were a bit less entertained, but still did well. Brian and I tought it was FANTASTIC - and it was only 45 minutes so a perfect timeframe for introducing! At various points, it definitely entertained and kept heir attention, but overall, it was a good thing we brought a stack of books! Beckett loved using his orchestra book to identify the instruments he saw. :)

Regardless, we'll definitely be back! It was such a great experience. Beckett has even decided he wants to play the violin.




My Magical Valentines

Thursday, February 14, 2019

You know those days where you are totally overwhelmed with the crazy? Maybe just want to move out, leave everything behind, and start all over? Those days where everyone around you (aka: the little people) are doing anything they can to make it so. much. worse? And you're so overwhelmed you feel like you want to jump out of your own skin? That was our day yesterday. This momma was not coping well with our transition from one chapter of crazy chaos to another. The house was a holy mess, the Christmas decorations are STILL UP, I cleaned all day only to make things worse, and the kids were on MISSION to make the house significantly more disastrous that it already was.

And I had an epic melt down.
But today is a new day, with fresh new mercies, and I was determined to make Valentine’s Day full of quality, enjoyable togetherness.

We started the day with coffee (obviously) and stack Valentine’s Day themed books. Breakfast was Greek yogurt piled with strawberries, blueberries, and almonds. It's a go-to breakfast in our house, but served in a purple bowl, over a Valentine’s Day themed tablecloth, it was extra magical! The kids were thrilled.


After breakfast, we gussied up in all of our best PINK and headed to the library for story time. We are SO LUCKY to live in a county with a fan.tas.tic library system. There are a plethora of classes to choose from. Our favorite is the story time at the library closest to us. The librarian is PHENOMENAL and manages to keep a room of toddlers and preschoolers on task and engaged for the entire experience. She's magical.



Next came an unscheduled stop at the playground. Where did this magical weather come from?! (And how many times can I use the word "magical" in one post before someone hands me a thesaurus?). We played for a long time, and I nearly cried when I realized my kids are officially big enough to push ME on the merry-go-round. What is happening?



In our house, pancakes seem to be the food of special occasions. I'm not sure why, but they're... magical (couldn't help it). For lunch, we worked together to whip up some pancakes, find all of the red foods we could muster, piled them on a plate, and called it our super special Valentine's Day lunch. We read some more books, talked about the people we loved and why, and just enjoyed having a less-than-exhausting morning together!



The Christmas decorations are still up, and as I type this I'm still very ready for bedtime to be here, but we had a good day! And for that I'm super grateful!

How We Roll

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Recently someone who I know just through Facebook asked if Brian and I were gypsies. I'm not even entirely sure what that means, but I was thoroughly entertained. While we wouldn't label ourselves as gypsies (we have a legit home, ya'll), we sure do live a life that is very much on the go.

People tend to ask how we do it. WHY we do it. Insist that they couldn't or wouldn't. Wonder if we're crazy or if we prefer a life that has no semblance of routine. So I decided I'd share some thoughts. Don't get too excited. This is not mind-blowing.

First, let's talk about WHY. The only reasonable answer I can think of is: why NOT? I think the reason we seem to be on the go so much is because we just tend to look at opportunities and think, "sure! why not?" At no point have we ever thought, "LET'S FIND 27 PLACES TO VISIT THIS YEAR!" or "let's see if we can travel 22 straight weekends." It just happens. It's a combination of work, family, friends, and just travel for the sake of travel. It's how we roll.

If you follow our crazy journey, you know we've been visiting/living in Tennessee for the last five weeks. We headed there the first week of January and stayed until yesterday so that Brian could get work stuff done (actually, he's still there for another week). During that time, while we were living in a temporary home, we HOSTED people (as in lived in our house with us) for 13 total days and then one or both of us traveled out of town for 12 total days. Almost four out of five weeks INSIDE of our travel weeks were spent hosting or traveling. I legitimately don't know how this happens.

So how?

Well, we've gotten REALLY GOOD at going with the flow. Taking it all in stride. Giving ourselves a whole lot of grace. Because WHY NOT?

Sometimes we figure out how to cook regularly. Sometimes we eat out WAY TOO OFTEN and gain weight and blow the budget. Sometimes we're on the ball. Structured and routine and on it. Most of the time though, we miss goals we've set. Are months behind on sending holiday cards. Leave our Christmas trees up until Valentine's Day...

STRIDE.

Sometimes we haven't done school in days. Haven't left the house. Haven't bathed our kids. Have to buy socks and underwear because we've run out and can't bear hauling the laundry somewhere to clean it...

GRACE.

I've also gotten REALLY GOOD at self-care. At saying NO when I just NEED to say no. At scheduling CHUNKS of time that are absolutely off-limits so that I can just decompress. This is CRUCIAL for the introverts in our crew (Hint: NOT Brian or Charlie).

Also?

We just REALLY LOVE IT. We love being on the go. We get to see SO MUCH. Our kids have hard days and sometimes they're over it but MOSTLY, they are all in. They don't know a difference. I honestly don't think Charlie knows where she lives anymore, but the kid is CLOSE to her family. Her brother is her bestie. And we LOVE that.

The kids can make friends anywhere. They're great in public and in restaurants and in the car for HOURS. They'll make anyplace home. Sleep anywhere (often preferably together). And they LOVE to learn. We get to make every experience a learning opportunity! Our lives don't look like the traditional suburban fam, but we're cool with that.

During this last visit, we got to spend time with MANY sweet friends and family. We didn't even capture pictures with them all, but here are some of the highlights.

Top Row, L-R: Charlie with Penny Frey, Buck with Cousin Nate, Me with Book Lady Friends Paige & Bethany, Buck & Chuck with Cousins (who visited us) Eli & Avaya at a winery

Bottom Row, L-R: Chuck with Cousin Parker, Brian with his nerd-buddies playing Cash Flow, Kiddos with Addie Fowler

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