Wednesday, August 31, 2011

the trip toto took to kansas... (part 2)

after falling into our beds ( well, it was the bentz bed and schubert beds really :) wednesday night after midnight, exhausted from the day's events, we had planned on doing finishing touches around the house thursday morning and pulling out mid morning. i braced myself for leaving.. i had played out in my head how it would be to pull out from our neighborhood one last time. how it would feel to pull past 206 and bound up the hill. how it would feel to pass our turn to church and keep going, even though everything in me begged to turn. and finally how we would pass wood side inn, the place where our life in king george had begun 3 years earlier. when i thought about it i always cried, when i actually DID it, i sobbed... even as i remember doing it; i cry. leaving was SO HARD. being away from our VA life is SO HARD! it is particularly hard on sunday mornings when we long for our church family and all things familiar, and sunday afternoons when we long for deep rooted fellowship with our friends.

we very quietly left the county of king george and our hearts ached.

our morning/afternoon was going smashingly. we only had a little over 300 miles to go on our first day. my dad, andrew and some miscellaneous child were in the penske.  vanna the chevy venture was loaded on the car carrier attached to said penske. (at this point it is vital to mention that the 26 foot penske truck was loaded to the brim and so was the mini-van on the car carrier) the rest of us were residing in honey the honda. it continued to be blazing hot. it was around late afternoon. we were still about 3 hours from hotel but progressing nicely. we switched the riding arrangements. i was driving honey with dad and andrew and two kids, and mark was driving the penske with the other two children.  we were rolling through the hills of west virginia. mark was leading. obviously, the penske had to down shift every time we climbed a hill.. there were a lot of mountains in west virginia. the honda was doing LOTS of down shifting. on one particular hill the honda refused to down shift and died on me. quickly, i pulled to the side of the road at which point we tried to call mark, BUT we didn't have any service in the rolling hills of the mountains. mark kept on trucking. we died. after some experimenting a little we realized we could crank the van roll for about 30 seconds then the engine would disengage again. this allowed us to get a little further down the road and get phone service to contact mark. about that time a highway patrol man came flying up on my bumper with his lights on. i don't care if you are princess pure and holy, any time you see flashing lights in your rear view mirror, you want to pee your pants.
the highway patrol man was SUPER nice. he even allowed myself, katie, and lucy to ride in his car. at this point we already had our plan of action ready to go. mark was going to unload vanna from the car carrier, drive to the honda, load the honda on carrier, come back to me, and we would pull a swith-a-roo. unload stuff from vanna into honda and vice-versa. no tow truck necessary. just 3 loooonnnggg hours in the melting heat. dad willingly took the 4 grands to the partially air conditioned dairy queen while us young folks did the hard labor. when we were finished unloading and loading the vans, andrew literally rung his shirt out and you would have thought he had just jumped out from the pool. DISGUSTING!!  ok, so at this point i didn't melt down, i just rolled with it. i kept thinking, it could be worse, it could be worse. our arrival to the hotel was going to be postponed til 10pm. no biggy. my kids had been staying up til at least 10pm for last month and half. the kids were being TOTAL troopers. dad just kept feeding them ice cream... :) after changing clothes, we grabbed dinner and were on our way. in my mind it was just a little 3 hour hic-up in the grand scheme things...

really, it was just the beginning of the night that refused to end....


Tuesday, August 30, 2011

the trip toto took to kansas... (part 1)

it's about time i start reminiscing about our move to kansas. probably time to put it on paper so that when i am tempted to guilt myself into thinking it was just a lot of drama on my end that caused the move to be so difficult, i will come here and clearly remember that was NOT the case.

pre-move arrangements were made.  my dad and my brother andrew would come to VA, help us load, and then help us move across the country. the idea of having four adults was super comforting to me. two adults in each vehicle, fresh drivers and LOTS of hands to distract the children. we were going to take it slow, three "short" days across america. it was going to be marvelous. arriving each evening at the hotel in time for the kids to swim to their hearts content. then we would lay the children down in one hotel one, and the adults would laugh, drink, and watch TV in the connecting hotel room. completely and utterly refreshed for the following days trip. we would take turns switching vehicles and get caught up in each others lives. 1100 miles of beautiful scenery, meaningful conversation, and a good ole' fashion road trip... it's laughable now that i had such unrealistic and totally absurd expectations. i should have just been preparing for the hottest, hardest, most disastrous 3 days of my life. that would have been FAR more realistic.

mark and i worked from the day he was hired until the day we loaded up our truck and left. everyday, we packed, organized, and well... we did throw in there some crazy partying hours too :) so before the big day even arrived i was totally emotionally, physically, and spiritually, exhausted! our plan was to make moving day as easy as possible. we had watched the gov't movers do it two years earlier. so we mimicked what we saw. mark had WISELY saved ALL of the boxes and butcher paper from the moving company. which really did make the packing and moving a TON easier. at this point i would like to insert my thoughts on having the gov't move you... i understand the moving companies can steal things, break things, and royally screw up a move... BUT, BUT, BUT it is FAR, FAR, FAR easier to have someone move you and your loads of material blessings (that one is for you uncle tom) than to move yourself. so i will NEVER again complain, or allow complaining in my presence, about moving companies. it's a TOTAL blessing. ok, all done with that soap box.

my husband had our garage amazingly packed and ready to load when moving day came. boxes were stacked in sections based on weight, boxes were labeled, we were armed and ready with tow dollies, straps, water, and 115 degree weather.  we had an INCREDIBLE group of men and women, who took time off work to come and help us... amazing, so AMAZING! my friend from SEATTLE, ordered lunch from 3,000 miles away so i didn't have to worry about. when i say we have the best friends in the world.... I. MEAN.IT.

so moving day arrived. it took 6 BLAZING HOT hours to load and clean. but really, over all, it was a smooth packing day. the only smooth day for quite sometime in our lives....

Monday, August 29, 2011


we had a super, crazy, party-filled weekend!

it was so great getting to have our first birthday party as kansans!  Grams and Pops made a surprise appearance, even though they were suppose to be in Branson. uncles, aunts, cousins, and super sweet friends all participated. birthdays were always one of the hardest days of the year being away from "home". so it was extra special to have a full house with laughter, food, and "happy birthdays!" floating around.

enjoy a few pics of the water games.. ~s

Saturday, August 27, 2011

eight years ago...

eight years ago right now i was laying in a hospital bed... there were lights, doctors, nurses, machines, EVERY where. some husky nurse was intervening as cheer leader at my feet, mark was turning pasty white by my head (just kidding) and sweet doctor carroll laid an incredibly complete human soul in my arms and said, "her she is!" i really did NOTHING to get her here. besides incubate her for 39 6/7 weeks. labor for 14 hours and push for 3. but who remembers details like that 8 years later? um... the mom. but when you look at the baby laying in your arms you wonder, "where did this come from?"  who did all the work to knit this precious bundle together? and where the *&^%  is the "how to manual" that you are sending home with me to mold and shape the mind and soul of a PERSON!!?? a person that you are calling MINE. i am not sure i can do this! i can't even really ensure that she is getting nutrition. and that poop looks like NOTHING i've seen in my WHOLE life... and all the cords and wrinkles under that diaper every square inch of my body is shaking from what it just endured and you are telling me to wake up and feed this screaming... blue eyed, blond headed, perfectly round faced, red lipped, katherine suzanne?

it was a whirl wind.

it still is a whirl wind.

 this delightful, blue eyed, blond headed, perfectly round faced, red lipped, katherine suzanne, warms our home and our hearts with her very presence. her sensitive spirit, and old soul make people stop in their tracks and do a double take.

katie, we are humbled and honored to call ourselves your parents. we wait with anticipation and GREAT hope to see what our sweet Savior will continue to do IN and THROUGH you!

mama and daddy
enjoy the pics from our fun filled day of celebrating!!

Friday, August 26, 2011

the perfect flight of stairs...

not sure how much cuter any flight of stairs could be.. (ok, well maybe when we add an some infant fingers and toes in December, when baby Hall arrives!!)

if i have not said it before, i will say it now.. i am loving being near my nieces. for the first time in either of their lives i am getting to really know them. not just short phone conversations, or stories from my sister... but i am getting to experience them. for instance, i learned just two days ago that megs does not like grapes.. WHO KNEW? and lizzie, well... she likes cheddar bunnies over honey bunnies. i love hearing, "auntie sara, you didn't kiss me goodbye!" and knowing that goodbye will only have to be for a few hours or at most 1 day.

my nieces have their own laundry pile now when i fold clothes. they have their own toothbrushes at my house, and i am stocking the pantry with snacks they love.

it is a VERY sweet treat to be near them. one that i will not take for granted after so many years of being away from them!

a VERY, VERY, special "happy birthday" to aunt liisa today.  we hope that andrew spoils you rotten. enjoy your "YOU" day. we love you very much!

happy weekend,

Monday, August 22, 2011

Living in the Storm: How is your mom?

we have been home a month and it's finally time to post about my Mama.

first and foremost, it is AMAZINGLY, wonderful to get to see my mom so regularly, (it is amazingly, wonderful to see ALL of my family so regularly!) however, it took a little bit for mom to "get used" to seeing me so regularly. for last nine years my mom's connection to me has been my voice. talking 3 to 4 times weekly, she never struggled with pin-pointing the caller. and if i am journaling to remember "how it was", and to inform others of "how it might be" this is part of the nitty-gritty. several times in the first few weeks of us being here my mom would look at me and i knew she didn't recognize me. i was not a familiar person in her daily life. and i have a new haircut that she has never seen on me in my whole life. but there have been moments where she shrank away from me on the couch, or once i was walking down the street to bring her into my home and she began to walk the opposite direction afraid i might cause her harm, acting as if i was a stranger. that is until i spoke. the second my voice waves reached her ears her body would settle, she would let me touch her without shrinking away from me, she did not turn away from me b/c she knew i was safe and i would never cause her harm. she knew my voice. she didn't recognize who i was, and what in the world i was doing, BUT my voice caused her to remember.

here is the classic "val hall" transition, "that is what we do to the Lord!"


when we can not see the Lord, or see what the heck He is doing in our lives, and sometimes it feels like His intent is to cause us harm or pain.  He looks unfamiliar, we can not place Him.  Our circumstances are unfamiliar. we shrink away from His touch, and often run in the opposite direction away from Him. away from Him and right into the path of TRUE harm. that is, until we HEAR his voice. until, we SEEK to hear His voice. when we silence EVERYTHING else in our lives, and listen for Him, and HIM ALONE. when the white noise settles and the sound waves of HIS voice reach our ears.. our bodies settle, we allow Him to touch us in the innards of our dirty, appalling,  ship wrecked, and damaged lives. when we hear Him, we will not turn and run from Him b/c we know that He is safe. and that He would NEVER cause us harm. when we hear His voice we will recognize Him... just like scripture says, "my sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow Me".  His voice will cause us to remember Him, His promises to us, and His faithfulness in our lives.

the one thing that i have wrestled with during mom's sickness is if the Lord claims, "to never leave nor forsake us" that He would make His presence known to my mom and her ailing mind. that no matter how sick, weak, forgetful, angry, or out-of-it she was, that at the end of the day she would "know" Him and hear His voice. there is no doubt that He is near her. He has not forgotten her, and more important than Mom even knowing Him, He KNOWS her. He knows His sweet, faithful, sheep by the name valerie, and He prepares a place for her where her mind and body will be made whole.  And therein lies our hope, our motivation to get out of bed, and risk being forgotten and hurt... but oh my, she is worth it! He is worth it!


Saturday, August 20, 2011

a chef in the making...

"mom, i have absolutely no idea who in the world poured the olive oil in the measuring cups..."

"oh, you're smiling and laughing... i guess in that case i'll tell you I did it..with this cheesy smile on my face so i don't get into too much trouble!"


Friday, August 19, 2011

end of week one in public school...

friday report:

ephesians 4:32
"be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you."

i love after school debriefing. katie rattles on and on. i eat up every word. 

today she says, "mom, remember that girl i told you about earlier this week who was unkind to me on the play ground?"

thinking: um, how could i forget? "yes, baby, i remember." 

"well," katie says, " i think i caught her on a bad day." 

"what makes you think that?" i said.

"well today i went and found her on the play ground and tried again to speak to her. this time she said 'hi katie' and she was really nice to me."

me: picking my jaw up off the floor... tried to hide my tears b/c i KNOW katie is sick of seeing me cry this week... and i got out, "wow baby, i am so proud of you for entering back into a situation that caused you pain just days ago and trying again. you didn't have to do that, but you chose kindness over pain, and i could not be more proud of your heart and your tenderness. you chose forgiveness over bitterness and anger... i don't care if you flunk out of school ( i really do), you have succeeded in life skills that MANY adults (including your mother) have not conquered!"

she shrugged her shoulders and said, "i know." and then she grabbed her after school snack, told me she missed me oodles today, and went to find her siblings...


it's amazing raising a child that you deeply and utterly respect at the age of 8.  it's amazing raising a child that is FAR BRAVER, FAR more full of love and forgiveness than even your own soul could muster up. what a blessing to be your Mama, Katie Littlejohn!!

happy weekend,

something F.U.N.

so i realize the blog has been far from "fun" this week. or for the past month for that matter.

thought i would do something fun like talk about my other kids :)

my favorite thing anderson is saying these days is, "holy, moly, cow" when anything is hot, heavy, or deserves an exclamation. it's HI-LARIOUS.

whenever we talk about "home" lucy automatically thinks i am talking about virginia. when i say "house" she knows i am talking about kansas. so the other day when i told her we were picking up the van from the transmission place and taking it home she almost jumped out of her skin and said, "WE ARE GOING HOME TO VIRGINIA!!" poor baby, still figuring it all out. 

julia asked me to put her in a box and mail her to miss chris b/c she missed VA and wanted to go back.

mark asked me to put him in a box and mail him back to mr. dave! j/k!

i also wanted to take the opportunity to tell you THANK YOU for your thoughts, prayers, emails, calls, texts regarding our student. your messages have made me cry and laugh until my stomach hurt. if anything else we have quite the posse put together.  indeed katie found a friend to be with at recess and they have played together since wednesday.  she also came home yesterday with her first birthday party invitation. she was glowing. her teacher also went into labor and won't be back til october. she was totally excited, but totally freaked out b/c "it wasn't suppose to happen for 3 more weeks."  we talked about flexibility :)

btw, it's probably wise that no one mention the play ground incident with katie... seeing as she has not even told her dad about it. although given the opportunity, she declined. i get that, she wants to put it behind her and move forward.  that's the problem with the blogging mother, your life is probably too exposed. so, i WILL have to be more careful in the future.... although, in the future when she re-reads these, i will be able to recall all the WONDERFUL responses and prayers she received.. it will be a great reminder of how deeply loved she is., and that her God cares even about the smallest detail of her life.

i am glad we made it to friday... i am glad to have my girl home for 2 straight days. we are looking for some SERIOUS fun this weekend. with minimal crying on my part.

we feel so loved by you. thank you!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

a father's prayer...

the house was silent after many tears had been cried. many doubts and frustrations had been expressed. our hearts were aching for our little girl. so exhausted from the days events i turned in with puffy, teary eyes. but not her daddy. with a heavy heart and blurry eyes himself, he gently climbed the stairs to the room where our big girls slept. with gentle steps he fell to his knees, wrapped her in his arms, and begged the Lord; not for a career advancement, not for health or wealth, not for fame or recognition, he simply prayed that his Savior would grant his oldest daughter ONE friend. ONE friend, so that she would not be alone on the playground. ONE friend, so that sadness would not creep into her heart and leave her stinging again. i can NOT think of a more passionate display of a father's love for his child then to lay prostrate beside her and intervene on her behalf in prayer. any time my mind wants to replay the playground incident, i replace it now with this incredibly special thought of what my husband did for our little girl.

mark, we might have just walked through one of the most horrific months in our marriage. we might have debt leaking from our eyeballs,we might have broke-down ghetto vehicles, we might have been forced into making some decisions that we were unsure about, but there is ONE thing i am completely sure of... there is NO ONE else i want to walk through this life with, there is no greater partner for me to cry with, there is no greater husband, no greater father, no greater friend, no greater lover than Y.O.U!!

you amaze me,

your siba.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

she cried, i dry-heaved, he pooped....

for the past four weeks i feel like my heart has stalled in constant grief and stress. i feel like my body has not stopped being in flight or fight mode for weeks. it's exhausting dwelling here.  there are moments, like early in the morning when i sip on my coffee and talk to jesus, or late in the evening when i sip on my wine and talk to jesus, that their is relief from the chaos. a slew of imminent decisions with the heaviest of consequences have been required of us, with only seconds, minutes, or hours to respond. ONE, ONE of these circumstances would have been cause for some serious soul searching, meditation, debriefing, etc.. but SO many, taking place in such a short time frame?.... i am afraid that my heart will not be the same.

day two of the third grade ended in sobbing tears from our brave student.  her feelings were hurt by a girl (hootchie mama) on the playground. many of you roll your eyes. but it is so much more complex than just that. my sweet girl, all alone on the play ground, pacing between playground equipment trying to find a group of girls to let her join in their fun, only be rejected with a, "MOVE!" the more the scene repeated itself in my head, the more i tortured myself over our decision to send katie to school. we sent her there with NO ONE. not a soul that she knew or had even, ever, met. how cruel and unusual is that? not once in either of mine or mark's school years were we left alone on the play ground. the more i thought about it i began to dry heave out of deep pain. i, unintentionally, caused my daughter pain. i KNOW that it NOT my job to keep my kids from experiencing pain. my parents watched me walk through unmentionable pain as a child, teen, adult, and now a mother. they have faithfully prayed, encouraged, and now i know that they grieved watching me struggle. i am sure there are endless stories my mom could tell (if she could) about those tears she cried on my behalf. i had never felt pain so intense, of behalf of my child, that it caused me to puke. now i have...

in the middle of katie sobbing and me dry-heaving, anderson thought it was appropriate to poop while sitting with his legs spread open in his car seat... which only proves my mom's deep, accurate, statement of the past, that lies ever-present in my heart, "sometimes it takes shit to make things grow!"

happy growing,

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Journaling Through Johnson County

i have been away from johnson county for over 9 years.  returning here is an absolute hoot! people in johnson county are a special kind of special.  while they are a bit kinder than those in king george, not as deeply rooted in southern traditionalism as those in ms, they are a unique twist on the american dream.

i will not actually spend much time talking about people here in JC. rather, just our life here in JC.

like today.. here are some things that we learned about katie's first day of school. as my friend, erin, so observantly pointed out, it's great to have a kid old enough to tell you exactly what's going on at school as opposed to a teeny tiny one who isn't really sure themselves :)

katie drank nothing all day long. she knew milk and juice were options at lunch but did not see the juice. so she grabbed a milk (she hates milk) and tried it to no avail. puzzled, i asked, "katie, didn't you have a drinking fountain?" to which she replied, "mom, i was totally not even thinking about getting something to drink, i was way too overwhelmed!" today she went prepared with a water bottle and a juice box :)

katie was also asked by her teacher to sit on her "pockets".... katie, looking around totally confused, was prompted by her teacher pointing to her pants pockets, to sit on her bottom. while explaining to me and mark katie said, "it's way more appropriate to say "pockets" then bottom, booty, or butt!"

we were also informed by katie that she is the only kid in her class without a pet. we giggled together. no sympathy from this Mama and Daddy ;)

oh, i am sure i am leaving something out.
oh, yes: (this is her report, word for word)
she went to the bathroom twice but couldn't go b/c she was so dehydrated,
her locker number is 12 and things kind of fit tight,
she was afraid i was not going to pick her up b/c the van has been broken,
she brought homework home to ME and insisted i finish last night even though it was not due til friday  (sheesh, i can't get a break),
her tennis shoes made her feet sweat,
she has to shake her hands before she can dry them so the floor doesn't get wet,
they call her "Littlejohn" in the pick up line,
she LOVE, love, LOVES her teacher, who is having a baby in 3 weeks and his name is evan.
she met abby who helped her learn about school,
there are a million rules every where you go,
and to finish it off a great big hug and, "mom, i missed you SOOOO much today!" ( heart shatters!)

and that was just part of the first day of school.

more to come from JC i am sure :)

no child left behind...(part 4)

i love my son, but that does not mean that he does not drive me to the funny farm sometimes.  anderson has embraced his 27 month-old-ness in every possible way. his energy, his appetite, his curiosity, his rotten-ness, his sudden lack of control over his bowels, his temper tantrum throwing-ness, his biting, his hitting,... it's all come out of the wood works, friends.

i understand that everyone is adjusting... HOWEVER, it does NOT excuse poor decisions. anderson, i am sorry that you are feeling the effects of the move... BUT you will NOT bite me, hit your sisters, or throw yourself on the floor at walmart and scream at me...oh, no you won't. i am still the Mama and you are still the son. the wee son who is 27 months old :)

after a particularly difficult day, after many "talks", many gracious and non-gracious reminders of the rules, anderson sat down at the piano and began to sing, " my mama is sooooo b-ea-UUUU-ti-ful!! so beautiful!" it was hard not to crack up and kiss his smooch-able cheeks. then with that totally fake, cheesy, smile, he hugged me so tight around the neck.

being two is H.A.R.D., don't be fooled. everyone is battling for positions of authority. your two year old wants you to take control, but is not articulate enough to communicate that in words. instead, they do the most incredulous things to get your attention, test the waters, and deep down inside they hope you respond. if you lose the battle at two ,then the consequences will be for a life time. two can be terrible, and in the same breath, totally terrific!

we are hoping for some more terrific days in the near future! if not, my new address will be:
Funny Farm 101

here he is stealing Gram's wheel chair. doesn't that face just say, "i am two, get out of the way?" 

Monday, August 15, 2011

Saturday, August 13, 2011

no child left behind...(part 3)


oh, i love lucy. from what i understand, being the middle child can be extremely difficult. third borns who are not the baby, are extremely complex. lucy, is no exception. the further down the birth order you are born, it is harder to be heard. by then mom and dad are used to constant noise and sometimes just deaf to voices.  therefore, 3rd borns, 4th borns, 5th borns, all have LARGE inside voices. it's b/c we must increase in volume IF we want to be heard. lucy, wants to be heard...she was already loudish to begin with. now, she is REALLY loud. loud, whiny, and quite the little tattle tale. she also senses my absence, and has taken it upon herself to fill me in on EVERY ONE'S mistakes, mishaps, and rudeness ='s EXHAUSTING! whine, tattle, melt down....whine, tattle, melt down.. that pretty much sums up her existence right now. she has not been her typical hysterical little being. i am very much looking for her to return ASAP!


Friday, August 12, 2011

no child left behind...(part 2)

the bean.

julia and i are more a like then we are different. julia complained yesterday b/c we had just been running around all week long and had hardly been at home. she is my home body. she might live with us until she is so persuaded by love or money to move out :) and that's fine with me.  julia also struggles with fear. the move has brought to the surface lots of fears. she has had LOTS of night meres, therefore lots of sleep-overs on a pallet in our room. she shakes and can not stop until she is totally settled. she sleep walks and runs into walls... she cries and cries, until every fear subsides. if you have been reading for any length of time you know i just walked through a LOOONNGGG battle with my own fears. my own battle has helped immensely in helping julia work through the lies that are underlying her fear.  julia has also been struggling with lying.. the two are TOTALLY connected. the foundation of fear is lies. lies that the devil feeds us over and over again until they replace truth in our hearts. our hearts are the well spring of life. from it flows every decision, word, and action. it makes complete sense to me that julia is struggling with fear AND lying. through a series of serious talks i have tried to help julia connect the two. julia was convinced that my absence meant that she could make up stories b/c neither myself or mark would catch her. i am sure we missed a few lies along the way, but we very strongly communicated to her the one who doesn't miss the lies, AND the ONLY one who can truly comfort her fears, and help her break free from the bondage that fear brings.

there is never a dull moment with kids! they are constantly learning and putting into practice the good and the bad. their hearts have to be exposed even to their own set of eyes. julia never would of connected the fear and the lying on her own, and until about a year ago i would not have connected them either. it is only by the grace of God that their is ANYTHING good that comes from our evil hearts. i crack up when i hear people say that we come into the world mostly good. obviously, these people don't have enough children :) we are all plagued by a sin condition that can only be healed by the touch of the Master. it's not fun having the sin in our own hearts or the hearts of our children exposed, but the wonderful, merciful, part is is that their is an answer. a God who forgives, and forgives, and forgives, and replaces our sin condition with the  precious blood of the cross and HIS righteousness....


Thursday, August 11, 2011

whose bed have your boots been under?

two posts in one day. i know..a miracle :)

obviously, schooling has been on the brain A LOT lately. many are curious as to why the sudden change in putting katie into a public school. i really don't feel like i need to or have to answer that question, right now. maybe someday... but not today.  what i DO think is cool is that when we started homeschooling katie four years ago something mark and i always said to one another, regarding our schooling choice was, "we take it one year, one child at a time. there is no "forever".  people always asked if i was going to home school "all the way through". my answer, "one year, one child at a time". not b/c we were indecisive, rather we felt like the situation could change at any time. what each child needed, what we needed as a family, or what i needed as the teacher could change from year to year.

people are passionate about education choices, and rightfully so. these are our children we are talking about. they deserve for us to be passionate about the choices we make on their behalf. but, i feel like each segment of education: home schoolers, private schoolers, public schoolers, want you to be on their "team". they want you to put your boots under their bed. which again isn't outlandish. we want people to validate our decisions especially when it concerns our parenting.  we gravitate towards people who make similar decisions. if we feel like the home school realm is judgmental towards ones decision to send kids to public school, why then would these two schools of thought agree to associate with one another? if the public school people thought that the home school and private school people were over protective, weird, controlling, lacking trust and faith people; again, why associate with someone who makes you feel guilty or ashamed?

*sigh* but for me, in just a few days i can say that i have experienced on some level all three of these educational realms. and that kind of thrills my heart :)  the unknown of the "big, bad, public, school" (this is a reference to past posts, i'm joking) will soon become known. i will be able to say WITH EXPERIENCE what i think about public school education. i will continue to homeschool julia, so WITH EXPERIENCE i can testify to what i think about home schooling, AND i spent 13 years in christian schooling, so i can WITH EXPERIENCE testify to what i think about christian schooling.

so don't mess with me, my boots aren't under any of y'alls beds :)!!.... or wait.... maybe my boots are under all of y'alls beds, and i am kind of scandalous like that. either way, i made my own bed, and i will sleep well in it tonight... with a really handsome fellow i might add...

happy schooling,
the school tramp :)

no child left behind... (part 1)

contrary to popular belief children do not remain neutral. they feel things, they are affected by crisis, stress, change, joy, etc.. they can not, just like adults, walk through something "unscathed". we dumb down human life  when we say, "oh, the kids are too young to understand (fill in the blank)"  or "they'll never remember (fill in the blank)." we are naive, and well, altogether foolish when we don't acknowledge the super, amazing, workings of a little persons brain and emotions. they are far more complex and far deeper than the ocean. most of the time people say those things b/c they hope they are true. they would rather their children not be affected by their bad choices or behaviors. they say things like, "they seem unaffected", "they are acting like themselves", "they say nothing is wrong" etc...etc... but when we take the time to listen to our kids, to really watch our kids, to have a foundation to determine if their acting out of sync, or different, then we can educate ourselves about how life happenings even effect the littlest of beings.

as i was falling asleep last night i was thinking how totally weird it was that i was falling asleep in kansas. in a house that makes noises that are unfamiliar and creepy to me. but then it hit me how MUCH more weird it was for the kids. the kids are majorly out-of-sync. the last 8 weeks of their lives have been a roller coaster. between packing, moving, unpacking, i have been a lot less "available" than normal. consequently, ever one is responding to the changes...

katie- anyone who remembers katie's infancy knows she could care less about being held. she never wanted to be rocked, swung, cuddled, ANYTHING. she wanted us to let her go as soon as she was birthed :) mark and i routinely force cuddle time with her. she wiggles, giggles, and is totally uncomfortable most of the time. so, dear future husband of katie's, i hope your love language is not physical touch, b/c good luck to you! anyway, since moving to kansas, katie has requested LOTS of cuddle and "hold me" time. this from the girl who is about to turn eight in a matter of days, whose legs just dangle when held, and who never in her whole life has wanted to be held. this request is not lost on me. through blurry, teary, exhausted, eyes, i have tried to not miss an opportunity to hold her and cuddle her as we embark on a HUGE change and journey with her. her request communicates to me, her mama, that she is more uncertain, unsteady, insecure, and unsettled than ever before. katie is an old soul. she can answer questions about her emotions with ease and clarity. but as of late, there have been fewer words and a stronger need for cuddles. besides the first two weeks of her life, i have never with such urgency and diligence prayed for, with, and over my katie bug. new feet is being placed on my faith when i pray, "Go with her dear God, do not leave her, do not forsake her, be NEAR her!" because on monday at 8:40 am for the first time in eight years, i will NOT go with her. i will NOT be near her, and while my heart breaks a little for what i am losing with her, i KNOW without a doubt, that this is what the Lord has for her RIGHT now, this year, 2011-2012. please pray with us and for us.

happy thursday, ( first back to school night as MOM :),
p.s. tomorrow i'll continue with the bean.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

sticking their booties in the air

well, well, well, it's been a while my dear friends. i am hoping to be a bit less bi-polar in the near future :) but i can make no promises. this is my first post from our new home. it's the beginning of a very special journey.

today marks two weeks and one day since moving into our home. today is the first day we have had internet since july 20th. that is 20 days without the luxury of click and find... copy and we have missed it. others around who have been my internet "looker uppers" are glad we have it. i realized what an internet world we live in. even the process of getting internet requires information from the internet. today, for the first time in probably 6 years i used a phone book. like a flip the pages, find your place-alphabetically, phone book.. i know, i was desperate. so back to being in our home. while, it is not the home we thought we would be living in, it is a beautiful gift. a house that will, in time, become our home. mark hung up our kitchen clock which was still set to EST, i cried. i forced myself to change it to CST b/c i freaked out twice today thinking i was running behind :) it's appropriate that the clock went up first. each passing second, minute, hour, day, month, year is a gift. just like our new home. for obvious reasons i will not be posting pictures of our new house on the blog, nor will i be giving out our new address.... but, i will be sending out an email to our friends and family with the pics and the address.

on to today's topic. yesterday we went to the zoo. we had a perfect day with perfect company. it was anderson's first trip. he was a hoot. he loved ALL of the animals. when we got to the gorillas we all found ourselves laughing. *laughter has been a missing element in our home for the last 20 days* while, the gorillas are incredibly strong and fast, they are plan ole' nasty. lucy just kept cracking up saying, "their sticking their booties in the air! their sticking their booties in the air." and they were. every time they went to get water, up went the bootie. i took like 2 pictures yesterday, but found this one online. it made me laugh. gorilla booties are funny, nasty, but funny. and we needed something funny in our life. i might just print off that picture and hang it on my fridge.  for a good laugh. or just to hear lucy say," their sticking their booties in the air!"

happy tuesday,

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

there you are, sara..

i woke up this morning looked in the mirror and began to see bits and pieces of myself again. i smiled, i laughed, and i found something that looked familiar in a box labled "stuff". i enrolled my daughter in school, and walked away feeling excited for the first time in weeks.  i really kissed my husband last night before i went to bed, like on of those good, lingering kisses like: "i have no where else to be, and nothing else is on my mind except this kiss" kiss. it had been awhile ;) i came to visit and talk with my mom today. i watched her laugh hysterically at my son, and tickle my daughter. that felt great!!

i am going to the grocery store today and that will feel oddly comforting. i will cook a real meal tonight and that will help ease the guilt of the awful way we have been eating for the last month. i will unpack some boxes and that will make me feel like i am settling. i will cuddle with my children and listen the words coming out their mouths instead of being completly distracted and distant from them.  and soon, hopefully in no time at all, i will return stronger, wiser, kinder, more grace filled, than who i was before this move began.

i am sorry for my harsh unkind words from me the other day. forgive that sweet lady, she was sick, exhausted, stressed, overwhelmed, grieving, disillusioned, discouraged, and honestly, it wasn't me.

but i am on the horizon of making a grand return...

see you soon,
p.s. feel free to leave all sorts of comments. verses or no verses.. i will not curse at you :)!