Some Sunday Sweetness

In February 2017 when J joined our family, the kids began rotating with me to pick up the groceries, run errands, and grab a sweet treat on Sunday afternoons. It was just a sweet and simple way to snag a little one-on-one time with my babies while J napped and the others got to spend time with Daddy. We continued that tradition pretty regularly for the rest of 2017, except for December when we were just having too much holiday fun! And then we got started again once 2018 and kept it up until summer arrived! Our summer Sunday schedule was all over the place, so we took the summer off, and then we finally got back to our Sunday afternoon tradition when it was time to do some fall clothes shopping! The kids were so excited, and I was too! For the past three Sundays, they took turns going with Mommy to Kohl’s to pick out some new fall clothes and then to get a sweet treat! They all were really into picking out their new clothes, finding what they liked, and trying clothes on. And they, of course, loved going to Menchie’s and Sonic too! My babies aren’t babies anymore, but this season sure is sweet too! There are great conversations, heartfelt talks, lots of smiles and laughs, and they were definitely great shopping buddies too!

NGU Homecoming!

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Every year since we’ve graduated from North Greenville we’ve gotten the homecoming flyer in the mail. Every year I looked at our fall calendar and for some reason the date or time has never worked out. But this year I was determined to go, and I’m so very glad we did! It was such a fun day visiting campus and walking around, seeing some of our college friends, cheering on the Crusaders to victory, and even eating dinner in the caf! My years at North Greenville were some of my absolute favorite, and it was so much fun to go back and spend the day there with the greatest blessings that the Lord has ever given me through my time there, my husband and my kids. On the way home Jeffrey said, “I loved you then, but I love you even more now.” Amen and amen! Jeffrey, thank you for waiting for me, loving me then, loving me now, and taking me and our crazy crew back for the day! You were the best part of North Greenville, and I’m so thankful you’re forever mine! 

a greenville getaway!

last weekend jeffrey attended the prosthetic and orthotic state meeting in greenville, and since we’ve been wanting to visit the children’s museum of the upstate, we decided to go on friday and visit daddy too! we really enjoyed the museum! they had a lot of different exbibits, and the kids had so much fun exploring! they built, shopped, climbed, drove, learned, and even made their own music videos! after the museum we met daddy and grandpa at la parrilla for dinner! you would have thought the kids hadn’t seen jeffrey in months, they were so excited to see him! after dinner we went back to daddy’s hotel to go swimming for a little bit before driving back home! the pool was still warm, and the kids had it all to themselves! thank you, greenville, for such a fun getaway! we’ll see you again soon! 

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Broadwell Academy, September 2018

We are now 1/4 of the way through this new school year! We have figured out a fairly great rhythm, and we know what it takes to get our work done! The kids have been working hard, learning lots of new things, experimenting and exploring, and having lots of fun! They do a great job helping me and helping each other. Sarah Ann and Reece have been working well independently a lot more this year, and that has been so great for me to have some more time to work with Carson on his reading! As always, we are so thankful for the more laid back schedule, the flexibility, and the ability to work and learn together! This month we spent our Field Trip Fridays in the NC mountains going apple picking, exploring at the zoo and looking for the Asian animals, and spending a day at the beach with Nanny (we just had to catch up on a little bit of work over the weekend). We also had a bit of a different week when all of the schools were closed for the hurricane, but we were able to spend time with friends and still get all of our schooling done too! And we’ll be very thankful for that when we are on vacation in November and taking three weeks off for Christmas! The kids have continued helping with lunch weekly, and helping with a bit of laundry here and there too! We’ll just call that Life Skills 101!

Math–Carson finished his kindergarten math curriculum this month, and he’s now moved onto Saxon 1. Sarah Ann and Reece are still doing well with their Teaching Textbooks math as well! It’s been a month full of shapes, patterns, multiplication, division, money, time, and some really big numbers!

Science–In Little Scientists at co-op, Carson learned about spiders, insects, and tornadoes. At home, we spent the month learning about the weather and seasons. Carson made a weather book and weather journal for the month of September. Sarah Ann and Reece finished up their Biology introduction with a biome project and learning about food chains and food webs. We also began a new unit on plants with plant parts and photosynthesis! We made terrariums, and it’s been so fun to watch them grow!

Social Studies–We began studying the continent of Asia (and China) at the end of August and during September we studied South Korea, Japan, India, and Israel. For each country we read books about the country, study the geography, learn about missionaries in that country, make our lapbook pages, and do a hands-on activity! For South Korea, we made hwa-che. With Japan, Daddy joined us and we made oragami, learned some Japanese words and learned some karate moves! While studying India, we made Rangoli art while learning about Dawali, their celebration of lights. And finally with Israel, Daddy told us all about his trip to Israel, we learned about this historical places you can visit in the Bible, talked about Jewish culture, did a Dead Sea experiement and made the Star of David.

Language Arts–Our writing focused on organizing paragraphs and stories and using details to make our stories more engaging! In First Language Lessons, Sarah Ann and Reece have spent lots of time diagramming sentences and learning different parts of speech. We had a fall themed monthly poetry tea time, which is always a highlight! We read “Charlotte’s Web” as our read aloud, and we listened to “Holes” as our audiobook in the car. Our bedtime routine also consists of reading and laying with Carson, reading a chapter book with Reece, and then reading with Sarah Ann too. So we are always getting lots of reading done around the house! The kids also started back to Awana in September, so they usually do their Awana reading and verses with Jeffrey during the evening too. Carson is doing awesome with his letter sounds, reading lessons, and spelling. I am so proud of how hard he is working! He also usually listens to books on CD while I am finishing up Sarah Ann and Reece’s work with them.

Hymn Study–This month we finished studying, learning, and singing “What a Friend We Have in Jesus,” and also learned more about the hymn, “It is Well with My Soul.” We watched a video about the history of the hymn and it was so very timely!

Act of Kindness–This month was all about cards and letters! We made cards for family and friends and made Christmas pictures and wrote Christmas letters to our Compassion children. We also received letters from them, and it’s always so fun to read the letters that they send us!

eight and a half

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oh, this boy. he is officially eight and a half today. he was our greatest surprise, and he’s been surprising us ever since. he is loyal and kind. he is passionate and fierce. he is determined and unwavering. he is creative and smart. he is silly and always thinking. he loves jesus, his family, his friends, karate, soccer, theatre, and the ukulele. reecey, you are truly one of a kind, and i am so thankful that i get to be your mommy. you are a true treasure! 

So long, September!

A couple of weeks ago as we battled some tough family moments, talked about 9/11 again during school, and prepared for Hurricane Florence to hit the Carolinas, Reece said, “This has been a horrible month. I can’t wait for it to be October.”

We talked through all of it together as a family. We talked about God’s goodness and His sovereignty. We talked about how God’s ways are so much higher and better than ours, and even though we don’t always understand His ways, we can trust that He is good, and He is working for the good of those who love Him. Nothing surprises our God!

And oh yes, there will be hard days and hard months. But God is making all things new, His mercies are new each morning! So today we say, so long, September! October is coming and we are looking forward to what’s ahead!

“If you aren’t experiencing pain, you aren’t experiencing beauty. Darkness make us appreciate the beauty of light. If you aren’t allowing yourself to feel the hurt, sadness, loneliness, and disappointment this fallen world has to offer, you probably aren’t feeling teh fullness of joy and beauty the redeemed moments have to offer.” –Annie Downs

Broadwell Academy, August 2018

The month of August was so full and so fun! We started school at the beginning of the month, but definitely eased back into things and still got to spent lots of time with our friends and make the most of the end of summer and all it’s excitement! We also snuck in a school day at the Georgia Aquarium one Sunday, which worked out perfectly since the kids got an extra day off while their teacher and principal went to Nashville! Ha!

Math–Sarah Ann and Reece began a new math curriculum over the summer, and they are both really enjoying it. We are now using Teaching Textbooks, and it is all on the computer. It is independent, does all the grading for me, and the kids get to pick out their own backgrounds and buddies. It has been great for this particular season, and we are so thankful! They spent a good bit of August reviewing and quizzing, and they are moving right along! Carson was also well on his way through Saxon K, so we continued that with lots of numbers, patterns, shapes, graphs, and counting. Both of the math programs we use are very spiraled, so they are always learning new things and reviewing past lessons. We usually end our day with math, and it has worked out so well that everyone can be working at the same time–Sarah Ann and Reece on the laptops, and Carson with me.

Science–This year Sarah Ann and Reece are taking biology with me at co-op again! The first unit was very introductory, and we covered creation vs. evolution, cells and taxonomy. We used clay to create, and also made animal cells with cookies and candy! Each week the kids have a “homework” assignment to complete that we usually do on Tuesdays. Carson is taking “Little Scientists” at co-op this semester, and each week he learns about a new topic, and it’s one of his favorite classes! At home in August, we also learned about the states of matter and had lots of fun with solids, liquids, and gases!

Language Arts–My main goal for language arts is for them to love to read, and I’m so thankful that they do! In August we read “The Trumpet of the Swan” together as our read aloud, and we listened to “Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator” in the car. Sarah Ann and Reece also have separate chapter books that I read with them, and then they are constantly reading other books! Carson follows along with audiobooks each week too, and he is doing great with our reading book “The Ordinary Parents Guide to Teaching Reading.” We switched to Six Traits Writing this year, and the kids are liking it so far! The lessons are practical and quick, they are are creating some great stories! We have also continued on with our Spelling You See, handwriting, and First Language Lessons curriculum. We spent a lot of August reviewing consonant and vowel chunks, parts of speech, and diagramming!

Social Studies–This year we are doing “Galloping the Globe” and a world history overview. In August we talked about maps, globes, directions, explorers and how we fit into the world from our house to the whole universe with a book project! We also started our first continent study with Asia and learned about China the last week of August. Daddy cooked us chicken stir fry for dinner, we read lots of books about China, created our lapbooks, and created the Great Wall of China using legos, playdough, blocks, and dominoes. We also read Chinese missionary stories and learned about life in China.

Hymn Study–I also always choose an additional topic to study for each half of the year. We have done Spanish, Composers and Classical Music, and Art. So this fall we are doing a Hymn study. Every couple of weeks we learn a new hymn, listen to the song many times, and learn the history behind the hymn. During this particular season of life, it has been so wonderful for our family. Our first hymn was “What A Friend We Have in Jesus.” And we are so looking forward to learning more this fall!

Act of Kindness–In August, the kids had a lemonade stand and food drive for our Mission Lexington Kid Cadet Program. They did a great job making posters, hanging them up, making the lemonade and collecting the canned goods.

Nashville!

So while this blog is really all about our babies, sometimes it gets to be about us too! Because one thing we have always tried to make a priority in our marriage is spending quality time together, even in the fullest seasons of life! Our babies know that we love them so very much, but that Mommy and Daddy love each other even more, and to take the best care of them and love them well, we need to make sure that we are taking care of ourselves and loving each other well. And this Nashville trip came at the perfect time as we were ending our summer and moving straight into fall and all of it’s activities and fun! Jeffrey, thank you for loving me so well and spoiling me on your birthday trip. I am so very thankful for the time that we got to spend together! And thank you to Nanny and Pops for taking care of our crazy crew for a few days! They had the best time!

Saturday. A hot and sunny day. Walking down Broadway. Lots of people. Lots of music. Amazing lunch at The Stillery. Shopping. The Country Music Hall of Fame. So many great country memories. Walking across the pedestrian bridge, just like in “Nashville.” Such a lovely skyline. Drinks at the Wildhorse Saloon. Carter Vintage Guitars. Third Man Records. Lots of walking and exercise. The Ascend Amphitheater. Johnny Swim. Needtobreathe. The most amazing concert with the most amazing man. A late night dinner at Rockbottom. So many laughs and smiles and wonderful memories.

“All these pieces they fall in line
Because I’m forever on your side
Take my hand when you can’t see the light
‘Cause I’m forever on your side
I will carry you every time
Because I’m forever on your side
Oh I’m forever on your side”

–NeedtoBreathe and Johnny Swim–

Carolina Strong

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We are so thankful that the midlands just received some wind and rain from Hurricane Florence. We so thankful that we pushed on through our school work and also got to have lots of fun with our friends. We are thankful for the flexibility to have been able to spend lots of time outside before the rain came and still have a productive week too! We are thankful for the restful weekend, closet clean out, and supper club hurricane party that we all got to enjoy while the rain fell outside. And we are also thankful for the 100 waters and all the snacks that we can now enjoy, since we didn’t have to eat them during the hurricane!

And we will continue to pray for the areas of North Carolina and South Carolina that received so much devastation. If there’s anything I’ve been learning over the past few months, it is that nothing surprises God, and while we can’t always understand His ways, He is always good, always faithful, and always sovereign! It has been so awesome to see how so many communities have come together to help each other, support each other, and care for each other! That’s definitely what “Carolina Strong” is all about!

 

Nashville!

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Jeffrey and I celebrated his 21st birthday together in Atlanta over Labor Day weekend, just a few weeks after we started dating. And 15 years later, we celebrated his 36th birthday with a much needed and wonderful getaway to Nashville! I am so thankful for time away to spend together, to rest and sleep in, to explore a new city, to talk and laugh, and enjoy each other!

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We left Columbia on Thursday afternoon to head towards Nashville. We got caught in traffic from a wreck on the way, but we made it to our dinner reservation downtown with just a few minutes to spare! I had heard about “City House” from one of my favorite podcasts, and oh goodness, it did not disappoint. It was definitely a more local place, not in the touristy area, but it was so fun and so delicious! We ended the evening with the Nashville skyline before heading to our hotel and getting some much needed rest!

Friday was such a fun day exploring all around Nashville! We stopped by the Bluebird Cafe first (which made me so very happy!) and then toured the Parthenon! And we could not have asked for a more beautiful cool day to walk all around! Nashville is apparently famous for their hot chicken and standing in line for 30 minutes at Hattie B’s was definitely worth the wait! I will never forgot that pimento cheese mac’n’cheese, and I don’t think Jeffrey will ever forgot just how hot hot chicken can be! We spent the rest of the afternoon exploring downtown Nashville. We took a fabulous backstage tour of the Ryman Auditorium, and even got to walk onstage! We walked down Broadway, past so many restaurants with live music all day long! There we so many people, so much music, and it was so fun! Next up we drove over to the Opry Mills area and went to visit the Opryland Hotel! It was simply stunning, and now I’m adding that to my list of places to stay! We could have explored the hotel forever, but we also couldn’t wait to get to the Grand Ole Opry! Everyone needs to experience the Opry at least one, because it is not like any other concert! They keep it moving (since it’s live on air), and they have so many new and old acts, performing all different types of music–new and old country, gospel and bluegrass! We so enjoyed our evening there! Thank you, Jeffrey, for taking us! And only when you’re on vacation and wanting to try all the foods, do you eat dinner at 10pm! We had a delicious late night dinner at Chuy’s before heading back to the hotel after a full and fabulous day in Music City!