Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Family Photos

About a month ago we had a friend take some photos for us with my camera and then I took some of their family with her camera.  What a bargain.  I am not putting the "Christmas-card-worthy-one" on here but here are some of our other favorites!  It was a little too sunny so there are lots of shadows that I haven't mastered in editing yet...a shady spot was where the best pictures were taken or when the sun started to gow down.

 A little awkard...and a little windy!

 Love these two and their love for one another!

Pumpkin Patch

Fall time brings pumpkin patch fun.  We've been there a handful of times already and it's a lot of fun.

Time to chase the chickens!


Reece tried out for the Nutcracker this year.  She will be a Sleigh Fairy in the first act and an Angel in the 2nd act.  She was able to walk in the ISU homecoming parade with Twin Cities School of Dance and practices every Saturday.  She gets to do her first fundraiser (and probably only one this year since she isn't in school - BONUS).  She is selling Fannie Mae candy bars for $1.  Let us know if you want some!  She is really loving this experience.  The shows are November 30th, December 1st and December 2nd at Braden auditorium.  It's a professional play/musical costing over $30,000!  I didn't know this.  They use little ones in the mix with the professional dancers that they have. 

Reece and her little friend Eliana dressed as Mice for the parade.
 At the tryouts with some of her friends..she was number 1.

Homeschool progress

We are finishing our 9th week of homeschooling in most subjects.  Some subjects we are far ahead in and others we are minimally behind in.  Since Reece is not getting report cards/progress reports, this is my update on her progress that we can always go back and look at. 

  • She is reading 8 short stories on her own.  (this part of our curriculum we weren't suppose to start until week 10 - which is next week.  So we are 9 weeks ahead on this part.  I knew she was ready to read, so I started it right away).
  • We have read 4 chapter books together that she has to listen and answer questions on- Box Car Children, The Apple and the Arrow, My Fathers Dragon, and Hundred Dresses.  Those are just the ones that are part of our curriculum.  We have read more from the library.  We also read a bible story a day and are through Deuteronomy.
  • She knows 50+ sight words.  This is not part of our curriculum but knew that I needed to add it in so I printed some off of some websites including: and
  • Also separate of our curriculum, I taught her how to tie her shoes and we are working on her phone number and address.
  • She knows 9 verses in song (we focus on one each week) from sing the word A to Z.  This is part of our curriculum but you can buy it here. (Many of you have asked me about this).  All the songs are sang to famaliar tunes and help them hid God's words in our hearts.  It has helped me remember references as well.
  • For Science, we have mainly been looking at trees and plant life.  It has been so neat to see it all in action as we have been having trees planted from the storm. 
  • For History and Geography we have mainly been looking at the different continents.  She knows all 7 and where to find them on the map.
  • For math, we mainly focus on the calendar and patterns.  We are doing some addition, as well as counting and writing numbers.
  • She has completed around 150 worksheets in 9 weeks - these are writing exercises, math problems, language art, etc type worksheets. (that equals to about 3 worksheets a day).
So that is about it for us in the kindergarten world.  Things have been going so smoothly and it feels so right!  I love watching her learn and although hard sometimes...working through her frustrations with her is nice.  We have all grown closer as a family because of this!  We are all learning so much from this.  I can't believe how much I have forgetten when it comes to things like geography. 

I am surprised at how much God has even changed Brock's heart on it.  I have even heard him bragging to his friends and he has thanked me several times for my efforts!  Its amazing to see God at work through obeying Him even when it was hard.  It's hard now but I think in the long run, the blessings we receive from this experience will be well worth it.  To me, this was a big decision but God has showed me how small it really is in the scheme of other things He has been calling us to do.  I think He wanted us to obey and trust Him in this small thing so we would know to trust Him in some bigger things.  If we can receive such blessings from this small act of obedience, what can He do in bigger things?!  I know it will be an amazing ride and am looking forward to sharing it all with anyone who is reading.  The joy I have in sharing it with others totally outweighs not sharing it, because it brings glory to God in all He is doing in my small life.  Imagine what He is doing in the rest of the big world?

Brody is 4!

Our little Brody boy turned four a week and half ago!  He is such a blessing in our lives.  He has such a tender spirit and is so loving.  He always has a smile on his face and the little bounce in his step makes me smile.  He is quite the character always saying things that blow me his little mind works.  Things like "mom, come look at my looks like a little snake curled up on his blanket".  Or "you look adorable"...Or "ladies don't toot".  He always has me in stitches.

He is "mostly" all boy...he loves his tractors, trucks, and anything that moves but since he has an older sister who he adores, he loves to play dolls with her and often chooses pink as a color for things.  He is not ashamed to eat from a princess plate!  My favorite thing has been watching him head off to school.  Every day he walks half way down the side walk, turns around suddenly and says "Wait, mom, I forgot to give you a hug and kiss!".  He sprints back to me and gives me my owed kiss and hug and runs back to the door with his school friends...which might I add is 3 girls and 13 boys!  Since when am I called "Mom" anyway?  My vote is still mommy!!!  If I could freeze him at this age, I would!  He's independent yet still loves to cuddle up with his "mom".  Here are some pictures of the big 4 year old.  This year we had a vintage truck party!

Daddy's truck is almost finished...

Invite...had the wrong date on it, but you get the drift.

His cake

Kid table complete with boxed dinners and an old vintage truck seat which will go in the old truck...

Present time - every time he opened a present he would shout "this is what I wanted my whole life!"
Birthday boy and his cake.

Enjoying some new jammies and a new toy.
Cheering the Reds on in playoff game that daddy got to go to.
1st day of pre-k...
 He started to get all teary eyed...He said it's cuze I bonked him on the head with my camera but I really think he realized he would miss his momma.
Hes a sweety...even with his shoes on the wrong feet!

One last thing...he is still wearing pull ups at night...he just can't stay dry on a consistent basis over night (he has been trained for 2 years).  Brock told him he'd give him suprise if he could stay dry at night for 7 days.  We were thinking that maybe he was just lazy and wouldn't get up at night to go.  He came down the next morning, looked down at his pull up and said "Welp...I guess I don't get a surprise".  What a memory!  He still prays for great grandpa every night and says he hopes he is being good in Heaven.  His mind is constantly moving!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

HIS Gotcha date!

Many things the past few months have led up to this day - the born again date!!  Both our children accepted Christ as their personal Savior with their mommy and daddy by their side!  So precious is today!

A few key things that I can recall...sorry for any typos or lack of excited and typing fast.

In the spring, my uncle Jerry passed away of cancer.  We decided to take both kids to the funeral since they knew him pretty well.  This started the conversations about death and why our body is still on earth - in the coffin - but our spirit and new body leaves the earth and goes to heaven.  This was a very confusing time for them but I knew their wheels were spinning.

A few months ago, a man from the soup kitchen that the kids fed there, was hospitalized for cancer and at the same time Brock's Grandfather, was given a short amount of time to live, also due to cancer.  I remember giving the kids a bath and Reece asked me if they would die.  And I had to say "yes" and that everyone dies.  After I said it, I wanted to grab it and take it back.  Both kids mouths dropped to their chin and they said "I don't want to I going to die too?" I of course had to answer honestly that yes, they would die too.  They both were crying and saying they didn't want to die.  I reminded them of all the things we had been learning at Awana and church...that when we die we can go to heaven if we believe in Jesus...that is why he died on the cross for us.  That still didn't help much and they persisted on asking if they were going to die TOMORROW.  I had to tell them that I didn't know when they would die, that only God knew this.

Then we experienced a tornado in August.  This along with our sick friends (Brian from the soup kitchen and great Grandpa) caused them to pray alot more.  I would shut the doors to the rooms at night and I could hear them praying...praying about people being sick, to have good dreams, and to keep bad weather away from them.  With death around them and upon them, they were asking more questions and more fearful of things.  This was a very anxious time for them and we prayed whenever they asked or wanted.

One day last week during homeschooling, Reece was being stubborn and prideful...she was NOT going to do this one assignment even though I had told her she would be doing it.   This caused me to talk about the sin and pride in her heart and explain what was going on with her.  I could tell she knew that is what it was and she broke down crying over it.  She asked how she could change it and I said she needed to trust Jesus and needed Him in her life to help her with that.  She cried even there was a weight that she needed lifted.  I asked her if she believed in God and she said yes.  So I asked her if she wanted Him to live in her heart and help her to do the right things.  She said yes.  I told her I thought we should wait until daddy got home and that way we could pray as a family.  When he got home, we talked about it, but she said she didn't want to pray the prayer.

It might have been this same day/night, that when we tucked in Brody he said he wanted to pray for Grandpa.  We hadn't told him how bad he was getting but we prayed for Grandpa.  When we were done, I gave him a drink of water because he asked.  He then said "this water is good for us.  I think that if Grandma gave Grandpa some of this water, he wouldn't die".  I had to explain that, that's not the way it worked unfortunately and that Grandpa would probably die very soon.  But I told him we didn't have to be sad because we knew he was going to Heaven.  He said "I don't want Grandpa to die because I still want to see him and I don't want Grandma to be alone...she needs a husband to take care of".  This of course made me cry because he was just so sweet.

A couple of days later, their Great Grandpa Rader did pass.  I waited for Brock to get home and we told them together.  We again talked with them about Grandpa going to Heaven...that his body would be at the funeral like uncle Jerry but that he was actually in Heaven having a grand ol time.  Brock and I were teary eyed over it and Reece said "Don't cry...he's in Heaven".  I told her I knew that but was still sad for family and for grandma too.

During this time was the first week of Awana.  Reece's verse that she had to memorize was John 3:16 "For God's so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have ever lasting life".  We talked about what that verse meant a lot!

For a few days, there were lots of questions and good conversation.  Before the funeral, the pastor took all the kids into a room and explained again what happens when we die and spoke the gospel to them.  His theme or verse during the funeral was John 3:16!!!  Reece heard him say it and whispered "mom, that's my sparks verse for this week".  I think this made her listen even more.  God's plan is perfect so this was all no surprise to me...not a coincidence!!

Last night Reece said she felt sick to her stomach and took a bowl to bed.  I wasn't home so I didn't know much about it.  When she woke up she told me she prayed to God that he would not let her get sick and that He answered her prayer.  She said that she had prayed the longest prayer ever and that she asked Jesus to come into her heart and make her be a better person!  I couldn't believe it!  Brody said "I want Jesus to live in my heart too!".  So we sat down and talked about what it meant to do all that and they all seemed to understand.  So when daddy got home from work, we sat up on Reece's bed before nap time and all prayed the prayer together!  Praise the Lord!  I had been praying that this would happen all as a family because I just thought it would be such a neat memory for us.  I couldn't be happier!  Praying now to see fruit in their little lives.  I know these two are going to do BIG things for God's glory!!

See you in Heaven Grandpa Rader!!
Taken exactly 2 weeks before he passed and 3 weeks before Reece accepted Christ:

Friday, September 14, 2012

Homeschooling thoughts...

This morning wraps up week 4 of homeschooling.  It has been a really good 4 weeks.  There have been some tears from both mommy and daughter a couple of times, but overall it has gone really well.  We have a very good routine and we are both getting use to it.  We are using mostly Sonlight Curriculum and I must say I can not see using anything else.  Everything I need is all there and I have really like nothing to plan.  We just head down first thing in the morning and follow the schedule right out of the teachers's really a piece of cake.

Although we have had some tears and some tough days, those tough times lead to really good conversations that led to us being closer and building character in us both!  This is what I really wanted out of it.  I still have some very mixed feelings about it...partly because I live partly in the world and partly in the Word.  Not sure I will ever get around that part.  When I hear my friends saying they did such and such by themselves, that makes me want to send her.  I think that has been the hardest part for me - selfishly giving up things I wanted to do with my time.  I have to keep telling myself that I only have them like this for a short time and only once and one day I will have more time to myself.  The end result is building a Godly character in them so that they can go enter the "real" world knowing how to make good decisions, despite what the world around them is doing.  This is something I need to do for my self also!

Just when I feel down about it, I hear words of encouragement from people I didn't really expect to hear them from.  This week I heard from a guy (who was here looking at properties to place trees) and he told me he wished his wife would home school his kids.  He told me the things (burdens) his children bring home with them.  I heard from another lady that said if she could go back and do it again, that she would home school. I read the following things this morning: that so and so was mortified when someone asked her children what the capital of France was, and they didn't know!.  She was told that "kids can look that up anytime. In the total scheme of things, it is not that important for our kids to know what the capital of France is! How much better that they learn how to get along with one another. . . ."

I have thought about this a lot lately.  How much my kids have been fighting lately is driving me batty and how much easier it would be if Reece was at school.  I hear how kids get along better when they are away from each other and then return...but isn't this just a temporary fix?  I realize that kids won't always get along but shouldn't we be teaching them to get along whether they are with someone all the time or not?  Whether they know someone or not?  Whether they heard bad things or good things about them?  What they wear or what they look like?  We have been talking a lot about compromise, listening to one another, and doing to others as we would want done.  I know that if she can get along with her brother, she can get along with anyone else applying those same principles.

Obeying authorities has also been brought up the past couple of weeks.  I have personally witnessed other children who did not obey me as an authority and that really bothered me.  Then I witnessed my own children not obeying someone else.  I feel that if my children learn to obey my authority, they will ultimately obey God and other authority.  They have not mastered this yet.  The more we work at this with them while they are young, the better and easier it will be for them.  I have heard the saying and do believe the saying that children obey better for other people.  While this might be true, I do believe that is also a temporary fix/thing.  They will only obey for as long as they can, but if those skills aren't built into who they are as character, they will eventually not obey others either (teachers, babysitters, etc).

Those are just some things I have been thinking about lately.  I haven't read about them anywhere...just witnessed them and thought about it a lot.

My personal favorite part of our home school curriculum is the Sing the Word A to Z cd.  How easy it has been for us to memorize key verses that they will always have in their hearts.  We have learned so far "All have sinned", "Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved", "Children Obey your Parents in Everything" and "Do to others as you would want them to do".  If they just have those 4, I think they would be pretty great kids.  I constantly find myself singing these back to them when they aren't obeying or aren't treating each other right. My hope is that they will sing these in their head when they are away from home and have decision to make (on how to treat someone, on whether to make a right or wrong choice, etc).

We do most of our school work from 7 to 9 in the morning.  We have even done some on the weekend - for catch up or just because.  One Saturday we did "Science Saturday" where we did 3 science experiments that we didn't get to during the week.  We do our bible story at night.  We have also included our Sparks (Awana) book and cd this week as part of our school day.  She really seems to be enjoying our school time and I am too.  I love watching her learn and ask questions. We had some problems with writing a while back but this week, she finished her writing a day early because she worked so hard!  We have come a long way! She finally realized that if she works ahead, she will have more free time later!

The other evening we were outside, I noticed one of my roses had come back (since the storm).  I remember we need a rose for one of our science experiments for this week so I ran inside and grabbed my book and we did it right there in about 5 minutes or so.  This week we talked about all the parts of the flower, why insects need plants, and why plants need insects...I learned sooo much - ha, ha!!
We also talked about the ground and dirt and discovered that you can find lots of insects hidding under rocks and boards.  We found a whole bunch of ants under a rock and they had hundreds of eggs too.  We inspected an ant hill too.

We have also been talking a lot about sin, (pride mostly), death, and heaven...more on that in another post!

Friday, August 31, 2012


Reece started dance!  She disliked t-ball so much that we let her pick what activity she wanted to do for the fall.  She picked dance.  She loves it so far!

School Daze

After our trip, we had a lot of catching up to do when it came to school.  I did take some school stuff with us and we did some of our reading in the car.  I also do some stuff on Saturday mornings if we are free...just to keep in the she doesn't really know yet that kids don't go to school on Saturday!  And we probably do stuff on holidays Monday is labor day and I plan to keep working on.

This week we added math, science, and history/geography.  She is loving the math and science so far as it is so hands on.  We learned about rainbows, the rain cycle, thunder/lighting, and snow.  Writing has been a chore this week and think she just gets bored with doing it...she knows it's long and she knows how to do it so I think she just doesn't want to.  After a couple of days, her assignments change and they will hopefully be more fun.  She cried most of the day yesterday and that was frustrating for me.  I think she has just had a lot of changes plus lack of sleep do to roofers and vacation.  We also implemented a "no blankie" rule.  Her blankie has to stay in her room at all times.  I think that is the biggest source of her emotional-ness.

During math we have been using shapes to make patterns.  She has pattern sheets but the last two days she was required to make something on her own in 5 minutes.  I was surprised at what she came up with.

 After school was done in the morning we went to the Miller park with some friends and ate lunch and played.  I like to call that lunch and recess.
 Her science paper...learning the cycle of rain and also rainbows.
 Her official Kindergarten pictures.