Category Archives: 170 School Days. 2013

Life In Missouri

Life is starting to resemble a new normal. We have fallen into a routine in this 900 something sq ft house. We have less, we need less, we are closer together, we have less to maintain. All great things. We are one block from our new church which is also fantastic. In a matter of days we switch phases again as we will have keys to our new home. Packing in the pods was somewhat ridiculous. It isn’t your traditional boxes kind of move. You shove things in every nook and cranny to keep things from getting broken as they get jostled around in the drive. So unpacking them should be fairly chaotic. I think it might be like Christmas, which would be rad because we sorta missed Christmas this year. With all the focus on moving it was hard to take it all in.

My mind has started to think decorating. There is no Ikea here, imagine the horror, BUT there is a million antique stores and I am so grateful for that. I love them. I love that this is our home, not renting. A place to put roots down. A place where I can DIY to my heart’s content. Can’t. Wait. I can’t wait to get settled and start having people over and making memories.


I kind of am really bad at resting, but I have been resting a lot. A TON of HGTV. My new favorite is Property Brothers. Those dudes are hilarious. Snowy days, hot chocolate, school work, games, block building and too much take out. I kinda think God knew what He was doing when our first house hunting trip didn’t produce a home. I was so sad we wouldn’t be able to move straight into our place, but I think that my heart needed a transition to adjust. A time to rest.


So what’s up in Missouri? People are asking how it is…

*I enrolled the teens in a homeschool enrichment school, two mornings a week. It is fantastic. We all love it. It technically is in Kansas as we live right on the border. This year they are taking science, study hall, and lunch. I’ll leave the dissecting cow eyeballs to the experts and the kids can hang with some other homeschool teen’s for a bit. It’s a win win. It is about 20 minutes from our home, but right by Whole Foods and Trader Joes, my happy places You know what else? Tessemae’s products are sold in the Whole Food’s store here. Can I get an Amen?

*I found a gym. It’s $15.83 a month, which is about 25% of the price I paid in CA. I like cheap gym memberships. Indoor pools with water slides, lazy rivers, and splash zones, tracks to run indoors, lots of sports, cardio, weights, ugh…thank you Lees Summit. There is not much better after a long day then to go swim laps and sit in a hot tub. Especially for $15.83 a month. I’m so in.

* I opened a bank account. I almost own a house. I have a gym. I had dry cleaning done here. I have a library card. The Chick Fil A was playing 10,000 reasons {Christian music, really?} and it has crushed ice. There is a restaurant where a train drives around a track and stops at your table and delivers your food. Thanks for the tip, Jennifer. I will be checking it out soon. Next up is doctors, dentists, Dmv. This moving thing is time consuming.

* I found heaven. West Bottoms. Which is odd because in the middle of it there actually is a big building that is a haunted house that is called, the edge of hell. Not cool, but the whole district is really completely fabulous. My new friend took me there and it is a photographer’s dream really. I will be heading back to shop there and I’m pretty sure I will report it is a shopper’s dream as well.

 *I love our church. Everything about it. Amen.


*practicing math facts. Call out a math problem and have the student jump to the right number. Then switch it up and let the student call it for you to jump. Sneak in a little cardio too 😉

Doing school “around a kitchen table” has been stretching for me. Stretching is good. I ended up without quite a bit of our school stuff somehow, not sure what happened, but I had to improvise. I borrowed some things and I found Mardel’s conveniently located next door to Hobby Lobby and I was back on track. I bought a planner for my youngest student and it is working brilliantly. I will do a post about that in the future. There are so many ways to track school and it changes as the kid’s grow. This is a great option and we will be working this way for as long as it continue’s to work.


*we seem to be taking our time with Charlotte’s Web. A barn full of talking animals? Really, why would you rush it. So many projects to be had. I heart Wilbur.

In heartbreaking news…

My sweet friend Joany went home to be with Jesus last Friday. I miss her. So much. She squeezed her husband’s hand 3 times {their symbol for I love You}. He told her her work on earth was done. She lifted her hand to her heart, arched her back, took her last breath….{check out her son’s sermon about this, worth a listen}. I am so glad she was able to die right next to the man that she loved most on this earth. I have to believe that brought her so much peace. I found out the news alone, sitting in a parking lot. I sobbed and sobbed that kind of sob you don’t do often in life. I knew this was coming, but was always hoping it wouldn’t. I sobbed for many reasons. Too many to even sort out. Her husband said, “the deeper you love, the deeper it hurts.” That is so true in this life.

In the conversations Joany and I often had, it seemed to come up a lot about living life to the fullest. I love that he said that. I think that is the thing that will stick with me always. Live without fear and not only without fear, but WITH trust. Free. Inspired. So beautiful.

Her death has inspired many conversations with my friends to the type of woman she was. Her legacy is clear. The most favorite statement I have read about her was “I love how you lived this life”. Maybe a modern day version of Well done good and faithful servant.

A sum of many moment’s make a life that this can be said about. No moment is too small. In fact, I am convinced that the insignificant moment’s are the most important. Many times we search for the big when in reality rockin’ the small produces the big.

Happy Tuesday.

*My favorite post I read this past week…Ann Voskamp. Don’t miss it. 




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Back To School, Again.

Tomorrow begins our first days of school in Missouri. Well, actually today was, but it was a holiday, so we had the day off. I am the best teacher…ever.


3rd grade.


Anyway. Four months after school has started I took their yearly school photos. I just didn’t get to it. I always have wanted to do pics in front of busses, which makes less than zero sense since my kids are home schooled. Not too many busses around in California. However, I found some in Missouri. We took these pictures in about 60 seconds, for real, because I felt like I was doing something wrong and might go to some sort of Missouri jail. So we were fast. Baby stayed strapped in car. It was really quite impressive, actually. I think the kids might have been slightly scared because they were extra cooperative, lol.


8th grade.


I need a picture for their school box each year…and by school box I mean you simply must click over and see the best idea I have seen on Pinterest, ever, that I did and am totally head over heels in love with. It is for any child in school. Not just home schooler types.


9th grade


Anyway. I said I would never homeschool. I am. I said I could never homeschool around a dining room table. I am starting tomorrow…and while we are on the topic of stupid things I say, I also said I would never live anywhere where there are tornados.

When will I learn?


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The Beginning. Our Classroom 2013-2014

I was SO excited when we moved into our current home to make this huge garage a room. Music lessons, school, sleepovers, parties….I was giddy really. HUGE project and not much funds to do it. Challenge accepted.

About 60% in to completion and we are now moving to Missouri. I think somewhere inside myself I may have had a tantrum that I could never finish this room, but really what’s a girl to do? Silver lining? Every single home I have looked at in Missouri has big fat giant basements, so lets just say I am 60% ahead of the game when I get there and call it a day. I have a great start and am excited to finish it.

Proverbs 16:9.

So, should I point out what I was going to do? Hmmm, I think I shall not for the sake of potentially sounding like a whiner. It’ll be like a where’s waldo game blog post. Find the unfinished projects, the empty spots, the burned out lightbulb, the calendars dated October when it is November, etc. o.k.? o.k.? I commit to not talk about how I was going to decorate the chalkboards cutely, get fresh flowers, wait for correct lighting, vacuum, and all of the other things swirling in my head to make these pictures cute. I won’t do it. I won’t, I tell you. 😉 So, enough chatting. Let us go on a photo tour…..focus on the beginnings and the fabulous deals God gave me in this project because there was alot.

I had a VERY clean and finished walls with a bay window to begin with. A huge step in the right direction at the starting line.



moving day…one of the last times the big garage door would be opened.


fabulous school room red front door? yes please.

first step, carpet! a huge change already.



vintage theatre seating ($20), school desk($40), and zebra rugs($10) from Craig’s.



This room is comfy cozy, I tell ya. We LOVE it! It is big enough we can all be in here during the day on not be totally on top of each other. It is my favorite space we have had so far in our homeschool days.



I am a firm believer in class pets. If you can kinda tell there hanging in the window is a parrot. She is from Ikea. She received a coat of gold spray paint upon purchase and she is super well behaved.


I used tissue pom pons to hide the garage door opener. Long lengths of material from a fabric outlet, trimmed out with fabulous tassels and feathers and such from Hobby Lobby.


o.k. the story on this art box. We had a fridge that we didn’t want to part with just yet and didn’t want to look at it either, so I came up with the idea to make a box for chalk boards and magnet walls and hide the fridge inside. I asked my neighbor and look what he did? Oh yeah, did it all. So, much better than what was in my head. So fun, right? We use it all the time.

He’s a superhero type of guy.


Big bulb Christmas lights, maps, white boards, and posters line the wood wall. The wood wall is actually covering the garage door, which is still functional but hidden because we want to pretend we are not in a garage.


I purchase 4 4×8 panels from Lowe’s. They were already this color and were kinda a splurge, but an important one. $160 for an 8 foot tall and 16 foot wide distraction.


Files for each student, calendars, president charts, and spelling lists…


The shell chandelier was on clearance 80 percent off at Pier One. It plugs nicely into the ceiling where a plug was present for the garage door. I purchased a remote control for $15 at Lowes so we can turn it on and off without climbing a ladder. I should have purchased a clapper because that would have been more fun. #claponclapofftheclapper

This cutesy white shelf reminded me of one in the fabulous Ms Amy’s darling room and I picked it up off of Craigs for $50. I filled it with some fun little trinkets including that fabulous vintage camera that Cara surprised me with when I started my photography business.




Cutest clock in the world? yup. $20 at Ikea. $10 for the sticker and $10 for the actual clock. Those evil genius’ did it again.

The chicken wire made its way back in to this room. Floor to ceiling to hold lots of art projects and important things.


I am mildly obsessed with black and white stripes and Good Will pictures for as low as .49 cents.



Red couch? Craigs came through again. $50. In perfect shape.




true antique typewriters, little girl doodles, and chalkboard painted lockers for the win.


Be Still and know that I am God.

It was the only vinyl that I could find to fit in this space. God sure knew that I would need to hear that a lot this year.

Happy Homeschooling…

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God Reads My Blog

I know. It is the most ridiculous title ever, but I couldn’t help myself. When I look over the events of the last week I think back to THIS. I think God musta been like, “uh huh, sweet child of mine, I have different plans.” And boy did He.

“this mama needs to be prepared. I need to start the year with a bouquet of sharpened pencils, new systems, a fresh coat of paint on the craigslist school table and binders…there must be new binders. Cute ones. I need to have a BIG understanding of a BIG picture of the year. I need my lesson planner filled in, my worksheets filed and ready, and my Pinterest boards overflowing with possibilities. It’s how I roll.”

I read that now and think- ha ha. I wrote that. Like last week.

Somewhere around the third day before school was going to start, I came to terms with the fact that I wouldn’t have my list complete. I would have week one complete. September was going to be a month of working hard and prepping for the year. Something that didn’t get done during summer as hoped. It’s o.k. I made my peace with it. It was all going to work. That was plan B. No worries.

We busted out Monday morning. Then came Tuesday.

My hubby woke up with a stomach ache and went off to work. He showed up back at home around lunch and I started to get crabby. NOT much sympathy happening. You see, I get jealous every time my husband gets sick because of the whole, “why don’t mama’s get sick days situation.” I’m not going to lie. It’s a huge weakness of mine. I handle it horribly. I am not completely wretched, but I am no Florence Nightengale either. So Wednesday morning came and that man didn’t leave his bed. We started day three of school out of sorts and my hubby feeling awful. Late afternoon he mentions the pain is on the right side more than anywhere. After a couple days of pain, vomiting, and feeling awful, my inner Florence emerged and as I began the Wednesday night ritual of youth group, soccer, and 4H, I called the dr. on his behalf. Appendicitis being my fear.

The bottom line of the conversation was it did not sound like appendicitis and I should treat him for nausea. The end. SO, I breathed a sigh of relief and continued on. No appt. needed. I woke up Wednesday morning to my husband white as a ghost, doubled over in pain and I just knew that the advice nurse was wrong.

A very high white blood count, heart rate that was two times normal, a fever of almost 104, and an elevated billie rueben count had my heart rate almost double normal as well. My husband NEVER gets sick. EVER. No stitches, no broken bones, no bee stings. As boring as they come. Yet, here we were in the ER, signing consent forms to a surgery where they told us they were unsure of what they would find. Not fun.

The surgeon was the first to inform us that he believed the appendix had burst.


As I stood in the hall, with my husband lying on the bed next to me, the tears started. This was NOT what was on the agenda for this Thursday. I tried every trick I knew to hold them at bay and I just couldn’t. Praise Jesus there were huggers on his surgical team because I needed one. He always provides.

When we were saying our goodbyes right before they wheeled him back, I felt eyes on me. I looked up and peered into the eyes of his surgeon. They were the only thing showing on his face and I wondered if that man comprehends how incredibly life changing his job actually is. In moments like this when he looks and sees intimate moments between a husband and wife, I wonder what goes through his head. I wonder. Because an appendectomy that may indeed be quite routine in the world of the hospital is no where near routine in my world. I leaned down to kiss my husband good bye. I tell him I’m crying because I love him and then he was gone.


After 3.5 hours in the waiting room the surgeon emerges and after his report I unclench my teeth and breathe. 5-7 days in the hospital. How much worse it could have been. I am so grateful. Indeed it was a burst appendix. Indeed that advice nurse was wrong. Very wrong.


I have zero words that would adequately describe how highly I think of those people who say, “what can I do?” or the ones that say, “yes”. We were flooded with both. Those that arrived practically at the crack of dawn with breakfast for me to the ones that arrived late at night with vegetable soup for my husband. To those that cancelled their own plans to help us. It makes me all warm and fuzzy just thinking about it.


*snack time for sad little girls missing their parents. I tell you my parents rock the crisis times like nobody’s buisness. 

My parents took over my house. My kids, my chickens, my dog, my plants, my errands, my dirty bathroom, my laundry, my empty fridge, and my dirty air filters. My husband’s mom is taking round 2 now helping us as we get settled back in at home. We are anticipating a month long recovery. We’ve had food dropped on our door, our gas tanks filled up, our errands done without question, our lawns mowed, our trash taken out, our kids taken on sleepovers, and meals arriving for the next two weeks. We are so blessed.



I have been longing for a vacation. It just hasn’t financially been possible. I have been in prayer about it and perhaps should have been more specific. I stayed with my husband round the clock in room 11545. A room with a view. Sleeping arrangements were a bit poor, but while the world sped on around that hospital tower, we had time, just the two of us. We strolled. Granted there was no beach to look out at but dang it we strolled. My man rocked the hospital gown and grey socks and while we discussed his gangrenous appendix, bodily functions, and how hospital food might actually kill you, I pretended it was a b&b. I will take it. That’s the longest we have been away from the kids ever. We had middle of the night laughs as I relayed those moments of him waking up from surgery and what he did and said. That, my friend, is a good time. There is always a silver lining and I downright mean that.



I wrote that last week too and boy do they. This one is no exception. Every detail etched in and stored away for safe keeping. I don’t wanna miss something. The big or the small. The frantic mother running into the er with a giant gash across her little daughters face. Oh, that sweet baby girl’s look. It haunts me. The frail woman always walking the halls hooked up to so many things and always alone. What’s her story. The 1st year resident with the worst bedside manner ever. Struggling to find her line between a grown up job and her inner high school valley girl in the cafeteria days, she was stuck in the middle. I wonder how she will do. The miraculous nurses who do this day in and day out. Such caring people. The fact that there is no 9th floor in this hospital. Is that even possible? The bathroom near nurse station one is strangely warm and cozy, yet the bathroom near nurses station three is an ice box. Why is that? And as I sit in the cafeteria eating the most delicious frozen yogurt I’ve ever tasted {weird, right?} I remember back just last year to when I frequented this hospital for a very different reason. Sweet Livy.


Probably. I get lots of people have had this done. I understand. However, perhaps we all need to be a bit more dramatic sometimes. Maybe we need to feel deeper and love longer and pray harder and cry freer and hug strangers tighter. I sat moments after they wheeled my husband away on the bathroom floor and I sobbed. I figure the floors of a bathroom have to be extra clean because that is where you are supposed to have breakdowns. I sobbed because I love that man and I hate to see him in pain. I sobbed because of the reality of how many people endure this reality day in and day out, many with different outcomes than mine. I sobbed for the simple truth that I don’t wanna deal with appendicitis. It’s inconvenient and not in our plan and it kinda sucks. I sobbed because I don’t have room on my plate for this. I sobbed because of the what if’s. I sobbed because of how fast life can change. It scares me, sometimes.



All the things that were so important to finish before the first day of school pale in comparison now. We start school with devotions. Today’s devotion, I kid you not, read like this…

 In their hearts humans plan their course,
    but the Lord establishes their steps. Psalm 16:9

So, I was sitting there with the lamest hair do ever, sweats for the 5th day in a row, tired, like I have a newborn tired, and I read that humans try and get peace by controlling their life. However, we. can. not. We can’t determine if we will be sick or well enough to get out of bed. We put our faith in HIM and HE gives us peace. #jesuscallingforkids

I laugh aloud.

I say to the kids, geez ya think? They giggle too.

I get it. In my humanness, I will forget it again and likely in the very near future. BUT I get it right now.

Oh, my Jesus, you are in control. I can let go and rest in that.


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First Day of School. First Day of School.


I can’t possibly NOT picture Nemo in my head. First day of school. First day of school. First day of anything is a big deal around these parts, but first day of school is right up there with Christmas. O.k. maybe not, but it is still a big deal. New beginnings, clean slates {quite literally}, and lots of surprises.

I also get this weird nesting thing like when you are pregnant, yet not. I feel like everything should be “done”. Clothes, haircuts, stocked refrigerator, full face of make up, and organized closets. Reality is no one had clean clothes this morning, my boys need haircuts desperately, empty fridge, woke up late, and who are you kidding?


*We had ice cream just after breakfast! It’s a tradition

I am a little scared because I just realized this morning that I have one of each.

I have a preschool student

I have an elementary student

I have a middle school student

I have a high school student

I have a headache…


No really, I think things sound worse on paper sometimes. Although admittedly switching from playing peek a boo to answering “what did Miley Cyrus do on TV that was so bad” is a lot for my brain. I am spread thin from teething to hormones…but I love it.

Today was a strange first day. Peaceful and without incident and I felt like I kinda knew what I was doing. It is SUCH a big deal to me in my heart, the first day of school. It seems like there should be a marching band or something, but it came and it went. Quietly. VERY QUIETLY.

We did pictures in front of the front door. #becausethatswhatyoudo


We labeled binder dividers.


*Greyson leads us in prayer OFTEN. It goes a little something like this. “Hand? Hand?” hold hands. “Jesus…A Men”. drop hands. repeat. #amilliontimes

We had snacks and lunch out of lunch boxes {my number one tip for homeschoolers! Seriously! MAKE THE LUNCH THE NIGHT BEFORE WHEN THE HOUSE IS QUIET!}.


We learned. Today I taught my 8 year old about the dictionary and how to look up words. We practiced with some vocabulary words for her Charlottes web unit {love me some Wilbur} and she says, “Wow, I can see why people really like this book. It’s useful.” She keeps me laughing.

We discussed. Math U See is way better than last year’s math and we are grateful and excited for Total Language Plus. School should be about LEARNING. NOT checking off a completed worksheet and moving on. Side note: the older I am getting the more I am developing a sincere hatred for the check box. Stop checking things off. Start living. Check boxes are dangerous. #proceedwithcaution


*MFW book basket for the win

We had fun. Making birth announcements for Wilbur and beginning our new morning celebrations and praise and oh my word, that will be my favorite part of school this year for sure. {details coming!}.

and you know what? I LOVE our new space for school. I will show you later this week!

and you know what else? I love my kids. I love our school days.

These really are the moments and I am ready to do it all over again tomorrow…and I seriously wasn’t kidding about the haircut.




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