I saw it first!

On Danielle Bean's blog (the link is here on the page) she reviewed Arbonne!! She loves it too ;)

I love Arbonne! My good friend Shannon is a consultant, and I am really sold on this stuff. The
Re- 9 line is wonderful.

I am having an Arbonne party tomorrow at 6 so if you are in my neighborhood, stop by!

Peace,
Robin

Let it rain

I'm sitting on the porch this morning with a cup of coffee (of course) and a cozy, soft throw, watching a cool rain fall all around me.

I am learning to love every moment of my life. I am so happy. I enjoy every season here in the Midwest, and I am feeling so content and peaceful each day. This is new for me.

When the sun is bright and shining, and the temperature hovers at 80 degree with a gentle breeze it's easy to love the weather. But when it's storming, or frigid it can be more difficult. I have always found my contentment ran as hot and cold as March. It was wholly unpredictable until most recently. In the last two years I have matured tremendously but I realize sitting here that I have changed more than I have known.

As I find myself enjoying what every season has to offer I realize that I am growing and God is creating in me a mature woman.

Motherhood has many seasons and it can be a challenge to embrace new ones, like when they begin to drive and have their own opinions and it is certainly difficult to let go when a season passes like breastfeeding. As I pass through them, I discover new things about myself, my beliefs and my own heart. God is revealing much to me.

As a Christian the seasons have been even more difficult to accept. There are times when my faith feels alive and thriving and periods where I feel disconnected and removed from God. For some during life's stormy trials they feel angry at God, while others only seek Him when times are tough. I must admit I've done both. I realize now that to be a mature Christian means being steadfast in good weather and bad.

I have come to enjoy the cold winter days by snuggling in front of the fire, warm and sheltered in my home. I hope I can always seek the shelter of God's love when the storm thunders and frightens me. I want to be the kind of Christian that praises Him and thanks Him when the sun shines on my life and when it does not.

The rain is coming down in buckets now, and I say, "let it rain". I have seen firsthand the blessings that spring forth in abundance after a storm passes through.

Praying for abundant blessings for you,
Robin

Questions from the backseat

William's questions:

"Why do they call them fruit flies?"

"When you press the brake do the lights come on automatically?"

"What would happen if you poured water on lava?"

These were three of the questions posed to me in a short drive yesterday. I see my little guy in the rear view mirror and he is always thinking.

He is naturally curious and as a result we stroll down many rabbit trails in search of answers.

~Robin

dogs

Aren't dogs the best?

"They are loyal, faithful and true" according to Shadow, the golden retriever from Homeward Bound (one of my top ten favorite movies). My labs follow me around like, um, puppy dogs. They need to be wherever I am. They need my affection, attention and care. They ask for so little in return. They are content with whatever time or energy I have to give them.

I love dogs. I am a dog person. I like bigger dogs as opposed to yappy dogs (my apologies to all yappy dog owners) but I like dogs that can fetch things bigger than a thimble. We once had a dog, Dart, one of my dad's police dogs. A beautiful German shepherd, who would sooner eat you than look at you, and he had for a toy- a 12 lb. bowling ball. Dad drilled a hole through it and threaded a thick rope through it. He would carry it, swing it and play with it endlessly. It was a bit of weight training but loads of fun for him too. We had Anita, another shepherd and she was so smart and the most beautiful shepherd I have ever seen. These are my kind of dogs.

Maggie, the newest pup, a yellow lab/husky mix chewed the Directv cable and the new water hose in half. This water hose replaced the last one she chewed. She destroyed my wicker furniture. She is a digger too. I have a digging spot for her, I just haven't begun training her to it.

Keeping the hair under control is a constant battle, that I often feel I am losing. Poop scooping must be done daily, and they need brushing and walking.

They are wonderful companions but they require lots of work. Most of which falls to me. That's okay really they are my dogs. If they could talk they would tell you as much. It is me they follow, me, they will wait to go to bed with at night, and me, whose attention they crave.

I really do love my dogs though much of my day involves -

let the dogs out
let the dogs in
let the dogs out
let the dogs in
let the dogs out
let the dogs in

(and so on)

Loving my furry friends,
Robin

My beautiful girl part two

These are new pictures of my baby girl!! They were taken this week. I just can't believe how much she has grown. I scooped her up and tossed her into the pool tonight - she is taller than me.

She sang to me tonight. She is so shy, she doesn't sing for us (or anyone) that often. She is coming out of her shell and gaining confidence in her voice. She has a tremendous range and quite nearly perfect pitch.

She wants a really nice flat iron for her birthday. She says it's about $80 or something. I told her my iron (the laundry iron will work just fine). Is she kidding? She better be because I am not spending that kind of cash!

She has been away a week and we missed her so much, so glad she is back!!

Blessings,
Robin





Hulk

We went to see the new Incredible Hulk today. But first, a gripe. One that has nothing to do with the film and everything to do with the movie theater redefining a "matinée" early on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. A matinée (once upon a time kids) was anything before 6 or so but NOW on the weekends it's 4 pm. Oh and guess what time the Hulk starts eh hem, 4:15.

That's just shady and I am shouting it from my tiny corner of the blogosphere.

For the movie, I loved it. I liked the first one but thanks to my dh I expected it to be a monster movie and not a superhero blockbuster. This was the latter and I really enjoyed it, even more so than the first one.

It's PG-13. There were a couple of curse words and lots of comic books violence. There were human casualties as well as a sweet dog that appears to be shot but when the camera pans you see it's a tranquilizer dart. It's Hulk, he smashes things. One thing I always appreciate is that you don't actually see the Hulk


Reason #5 "Why I love Homeschooling"

"Why I love Homeschooling"

Reason #5
I get to be what I wanted to be when I grew up.

I wanted to be everything, truly I did and that was no small order. A teacher, a singer, a nurse, a hair dresser, a barber, a decorator, a chef, a secretary, an artist, and a mommy just for starters. I wanted to coach sports, volunteer for charity, protest abortion, and work in political campaigns. I wanted to write, and read everything. To review movies, and books and bad hair cuts. I wanted to put out fires, (and I have - real ones - twice). I wanted to be a vet, a groomer, a contractor, and a subcontractor. I wanted to serve my country. I wanted lots of pens and paper, and stickers. I remember being very young and just loving office supplies. Colored paper clips, staplers -so cool. I wanted to stay in Kindergarten ( I have now gotten to do Kindergarten 3 times).

This dream of mine has been fulfilled by pouring my whole heart into raising and homeschooling my children and living out my vocation as a wife and mother to the very best of my abilities. God knew how best to fulfill all my dreams, He made me a mommy.

Robin

(don't look for reasons 1-4. 5 is my favorite number so I am starting with it:)

good books and tea, share some with me?

Now that my panic over being a bad parent has been eased (for the night) I remember what I was going to blog about in the first place before Jen got me all flustered!

I have a hard time finding novels I enjoy. In the summer I always intend to do light reading and I never manage to pull it off. Instead I end up with what was my first choice for this summer, Team of Rivals. This little 944 pager is on my short list of "must reads". LOVE Abraham Lincoln. Love Doris Kearns Goodwin.

I am reading American Gospel by Jon Meacham which is a journalistic approach to analyzing how the Founding Fathers really meant to incorporate God into our government. As opposed to having them and their intentions hijacked by the farthest ends of the political spectrum to suit their agendas.

I am also hoping to get to the biography of Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow. I have been wanting this one too for some time.

As much I enjoy these I would like something that is more on the brain candy end of the aisle. I can't do romance, or suspense. I just read the first chapter or two, flip to the back and read the ending and if I like it I read the middle.

I do LOVE the Elm Creek Quilters Novels by Jennifer Chiaverini. There's a series and you must start at the beginning to fully appreciate them. They are full of heart, friendship, regret, history, love, hope, laughter, well, they are wonderful.

I also read a Jodi Piccault book recently that I liked Keeping Faith. Interesting, a little off on some doctrine but a good story I thought. I got another one the The Tenth Circle, I think but I read the first 2 chp. then the end and decided, nah.

So I am looking for suggestions. For now I am re-reading books I enjoy. It's like visiting old friends. But I need some more ideas, I read quickly, so please share?

blessings,
Robin

He's got the whole world in his hands


William is doing Apologia, Exploring Creation with Astronomy Science. He built the solar system this week. Well, he built a model of the solar system. He really enjoys this curriculum. It's narrative and hands on. We love Apologia and I am so grateful to Jen who so generously passed it on to us :)

Thank you! Robin

Dog days of summer

Missy (the one on the ground) giving the pups a good laugh.

These are my other babies. Maggie is the golden lab, Jack is beside her trying to figure out what Missy is doing. All shelter pups, hairy, obnoxious and wonderful.

A home is not a home without a dog ;) Of course 3 dogs is more like a kennel.


summer fun for my boys


My boys!!!!

17 & 7. Is there any greater joy than seeing your kids having fun together? Hearing their laughter through the kitchen window made my heart swell with love.

My cup runneth over.

Robin







Surfin' USA



Who says you can't surf in the midwest? All you need is a medium sized pool and a dad and brother with strong backs!

:)
Reasons I love homeschooling






  1. I spend all day with 3 of my favorite people


  2. I can choose curricula that suits them

Shazaam!



I need a hero!














Remember that Bonnie Tyler song from the 80's? It was revived in Shrek. Anywho.

My little guy loves his costumes.
I made the Captain Marvel one myself. Someday maybe I will get around to loading the Eddie Munster, and Buzz Lightyear costumes I made.

The Captain America suit was a thrift store find but I made the hat. Steve and I made the shield from a red sled. This is a boy who knows how a real superhero stands for a picture!

We love dramatic play and everyone knows our house is filled with drama!

Blessings,
Robin

Everybody was Kung Fu Fighting

We went to see Kung Fu Panda this weekend. Very cute movie. It was nice for a change to enjoy a family movie without the constant barrage of totally inappropriate humor. If there was a subtle political statement it was really subtle because I missed it completely. Also nice change. It was so cute to see the Panda, as a comic book/action hero-type fan. We found that oddly endearing-can't think why?

I've been driving the kids crazy because I call the movie Kung Pau Chicken. It's a Veggietales reference.

Must still see Indiana Jones, Hulk*, Batman*, and Iron Man one more time before it leaves the theater.

We also finally watched Evan Almighty this weekend. I won't watch just anything and since I never had any desire to see Jim Carrey play God I was in no hurry to see Evan. It was actually kind of cute though I found the family dynamic totally underdeveloped and Wanda Sikes' (sp)character overdone.

Off to bed, school is back in tomorrow!

Blessings,
Robin

*not yet released

Making my space

Among the greatest inventions in human history are indoor plumbing, electricity and... the hammock. I love my hammock! (: $19 from the Goodwill :) I'm creating my prayer garden/retreat under the tree just opposite the tree where my hammock swings. I'm just starting of course but I am already reaping the benefits. I find myself singing the Litany, praying, swaying gently in the shade. There is such peace in that space. It's green and cool. I lose track of time. I can relax. I can think about everything. I can think about nothing. It's my space.

The house reflects me and I love my home. I do want one more space like the prayer garden, one that is 100% tranquility inside. I want a bedroom retreat. Our bedroom is nice enough, but it's not the beautiful, romantic retreat I would like. It's functional.

For now I am content with my outdoor space. But seeing the comfort it brings me I understand more than ever that in this job I must have a place to retreat and regroup. Before the winter blasts through again I will have the bedroom retreat.

If you don't have a hammock swinging from your tree that's okay! Find a rocking chair, a reclining lawn chair, even a blanket and a shady patch of grass. You need to have a space that makes you relaxed and recharged. Inside, outside, upside down, make your space.

Honor and Obey

I was re-reading in Education for the Wholehearted Child another principle that was exactly what I needed to hear.

God gives two commandments to children- honor your parents, obey your parents. One is about the attitude or the heart, and the other is about action. Both these commands must be followed for there to be true love and respect in the home. It is not enough for a child to do as they are told if they do so with dishonor in their heart. When they turn on their heel with rolled eyes, sighs, or hatefulness under their breath they may have obeyed but they have dishonored nonetheless.

This affects the home and school like a subtle poison. It can explain many things that seem to go wrong in what would otherwise be a wonderful, productive day.

I think too, it's equally important that we not provoke the children to anger as God has commanded us as their parents. Sarcasm, yelling, sharpness in tone does not go unnoticed by them. Even though they grow into bigger bodies their feelings are still that of child. Sometimes their bad attitude is one of defense because they have their feelings hurt by something we've said, or how we've said it.

If you have veered off course, as we have at times (times like this) it's not an easy path back to the road of honor and obedience. The habit is not in place, and it won't happen overnight. It might even get worse before it gets better.

I feel very blessed that we have strayed but a little and that the dishonor I feel from time to time when they grumble or roll their eyes, is quickly resolved and that with contrite hearts the children apologize and recognize their fault.

Have you had the discussion with your kids about what constitutes "rolling" of the eyes? Does it count if they look sideways or up? Or if they merely look away and set their jaw? For the record, YES!

So maybe you are asking the same question I had? Does that mean they have to be happy and pleasant when they have been asking to clean up dog vomit or scrub toilets? No. So we are working with the kids on healthy ways to express their very natural emotions and reactions. Key words or phrases they can use. Like "That's not my favorite thing to do" or "Are you sure I can't go for a root canal instead?" It's also okay if they ask for a minute to collect themselves. It's okay too if when they react badly and it's calmly corrected. I think it's great to give them a way out while still maintaining their dignity. Asking questions that allow them to express themselves is working well here too. "Did you mean to be disrespectful or are you just frustrated?"

At any rate this is the very foundation of parenting in my opinion, and to attempt child rearing or home schooling without this rock is building a house on sand.

As I am making progress in many areas of our home life, I recognize that no progress can truly be made or maintained if I take my eye off this ball for one moment.

Blessings,
Robin

Discipline, or the lack thereof

I have always considered myself a mom not afraid to discipline and generally speaking I am a tough cookie about lots of things. My children are well behaved and I really have no ongoing issues with any of them. I have been puzzled and upset though about the consistency and what we seem to be able to accomplish. I have spent these last few weeks in contemplation and assessment of our home life and home school, and I think I am finding some answers and some solutions. Knowing the problem is half the battle right?

We seem eternally behind around here. I go back and forth between "this is normal, everyone gets behind" and "it really shouldn't be THAT complicated, I've been doing this forever!" I spent about week in observation of my family without them realizing I was taking mental notes. I was stunned by the amount of work left for me by each of them.

It alway seemed like a small thing when I was picking up a dish here, a sock, a shoe, putting away the crayons, and putting up the peanut butter. When I stood back and saw the amount of time it amounted to I was quite saddened. I felt more than a little taken for granted.

In re-reading some tried and true support books (Charlotte Mason, & Education for the Wholehearted Child) I was able to recognize the problem was discipline and the root was me.

I must have the discipline to make them accountable. I am not requiring enough of them. I told them 2 days ago that these next couple weeks would be tough because I was going to hold everyone accountable for everything under their control. Last night they spent 30 minutes putting the smallest things away as I patrolled the house looking for anything left out of place. I wouldn't allow any of their personal entertainment or recreation until their work was done. Now I know, most of you guys are waaaay better than me in this regard. You hold their feet to the fire and you are probably thinking, "well yeah, no fun stuff until you do your chores, that's a no-brainer". I was that way once, but I have become inconsistent. The kids, knowing they had a 50/50 chance of getting away with not meeting the standard, would let it go and roll the dice. Half the time they were right and it paid off. Rather I paid off, like a nickel slot.

It was easier. For a good bit of time I have not had the energy to hold my own and make no mistake some days it is me against them. Making kids do right is not as easy as it reads in a book. I want us all to be one big Catholic homeschool loving team, working toward our common goal and finishing the work so we can build tee-pees and explore the world. But some days they don't want to be on my team. They don't even want to play in my league. They want their own league and then they want to go on strike. And, you actually have to pay very close attention, steer them back as soon as they veer off course, follow up, correct, direct, and discipline when it goes south. That's work. The way I'd been feeling it was better to let it go for the moment and then catch up everything when my body was having a good day.

The result was that I felt like I was treading water constantly and it was exhausting. More exhausting probably than staying on top of it I'm sure. Since following up with the doctors and feeling more and more like my old self everyday my energy level is on the mend. I have been (as you know if you are reading along) I've been knocking out projects left and right. I am working hard at not losing any ground anywhere else as well. I am not trying to do everything but I have resurrected my old habits that always served me well.

I do not try to take over the world but I do challenge myself and make time for myself too.

I feel sharper than I have in a long time. I think I may really be able to get back to the top of my game again.

Discipline. Habit. Consistency.

Oh and I have gone down one pant size :)

Robin

Mom's green thumb

Mom and Grandma!!

These are photos of my mom's flowers. I told you she has a green thumb. I think she must actually have a whole hand that is green. Either that or she is mixing some curious fertilizer in her garage!

To offer some better context, when they bought the land a decade ago, it was a pasture and nothing more. When the house was built, there was nothing but dirt, eh hum to be honest it was red clay, rock and mud. I need to show you some photos of mom fishing or better yet the one I have from many years ago with a sweatshirt and sunglasses holding a big fish. She looked exactly like the uni-bomber! The only thing I don't get...she hates bees and wasps and she makes them an oasis.

Look how sweet my grandma looks. Just seeing her here makes me miss her. I can just see her sitting on her porch, keeping track of which neighbors are driving a little too fast on her street. She always sits with her legs crossed and her leg rocking back and forth particularly when she talks on the phone. She talks on the phone a lot! But not enough to me I'm sure she would say. Okay, need to call her tomorrow.

Love you guys!
Robin



Prayer Garden

So many irons in the fire! Trying to get the pool in. Trying to get the walkway TO the pool and then finish it the other direction. Pulling weeds, trimming and planting in the beds. Yesterday a project that had been on the back burner, a prayer garden, got bumped to the front of the line.

So I need some input. Do you have a prayer garden or area for reflection and contemplation in your yard? If you do what do you have in it? What are your goals in establishing this area in your yard? If you don't and you want one, what you like to do?

I will post some pics of how mine is shaping up. I am so excited about this coming to fruition. I really thought it was much farther down on the to do list.

Maybe when I get it finished I can share with you more about contemplative prayer as well.

Blessings,
Robin

Did I ever brag about my handsome son?

This is my very handsome oldest son Corey and his lovely girlfriend Elizabeth. They attended the Winterfest dance a few months back. It was not a typical "prom" type dance experience. For one it was a dinner-dance. Also, we drove him to her home, and her mom drove and picked them up afterwards. They attended with a few of their friends, mostly girls.

Her mom took them to a movie afterwards, Steve picked him up from there and he was home by midnight or so. He was apparently quite the John Travolta on the ole dance floor. He totally gets it from me :)

Look for the bare necessities

This is me and the manager at Wal-mart.

Do you mean to tell me you are out of Diet A&W Root Beer and Dove Chocolate?

Fill 'er up




Did you think this was a post about gasoline? Nope, sorry. We have had beautiful hummingbirds visiting the flowers this year. We purchased an inexpensive feeder this weekend to coax them closer to the window for observing. William prepared the nectar and put the feeder together. We hung it on the front porch.

We all love to bird watch. This was one of the first ways I began to incorporate a Charlotte Mason focus on nature into my home school program. We started taking the time to notice the spectacular world in our own yard.

The front windows are perfect for getting up close and personal. We have a host of common house sparrows, finches, cardinals, blue jays, woodpeckers and the occasional bluebird who stop by to enjoy the many feeders. The large thick pine in the front yard is like a birdie condo. William especially loves the birds. He is always announcing from the classroom, "there's a goldfinch at the feeder", or " there is a male house finch". We started out last year with a log but that became too much work.

We could spend all day updating it. The bird watching on the recent trip was fantastic. I wish I could list everything we saw but that would be a real snoozefest I'm afraid.

If you don't watch birds I hope you consider it. It is very relaxing and even my active busy little boy will sit and enjoy them. Birds are also about the only nature sketches he really likes doing, and does so without prompting.

A flowery post


Before and after! The before is actually after we dug up the area (forgot to snap the "before", before!) At any rate this is the result.

The dogs had turned this area off the deck into a veritable mud pit over the wet and long winter. I spent many a day averting my gaze from this part of my yard. We will be setting the pool up in the next day or two (in the large bare spot seen in the photo). To have left this as it was, would have meant the constant tracking of grass and mud into the pool and house, not to mention it looks so much better.

I wanted a meandering, sort of natural looking stone-brick path. I need to plant some grass seed in the remaining patchy areas but this is such a tremendous improvement I can't even begin to express my joy!

The path winds into the edging around where the pool will go in the next day or so. I'll post pics when it's up. SO many outside projects to do. I am having the most fun! I love being outside. I eat better, drink water, get some healthy sunshine and play in the dirt a little every day.

Look at this friends...


These are some freshly cut flowers from my garden. I can't believe I have flowers and they are flourishing. They were so fragrant I want to carry them around with me just to admire and appreciate them. Taylor cut and arranged these, and made a second bouquet for her room.

Maybe the green thumb gene was passed on after all? Grandma and Mom can grow a plant in the middle of the interstate, but me well it takes a minor miracle.

Mom has flowers as big as dinner plates, I think she feeds them some mutant fertilizer. Grandma brings plants back literally from the brink of death. Somehow she keeps them from going into the light.

I hope each of you are enjoying the spring as much as I am.

Blessings,
Robin

better than I deserve

Feeling every single word of this resonates in my heart today...

I get kissed by the sun each morning
Put my feet on a hardwood floor
I get to hear my children laughing
Down the hall through the bedroom door
Sometimes I sit on my front porch swing
Just soaking up the day
I think to myself, I think to myself
This world is a beautiful place

I have been blessed
And I feel like I've found my way
I thank God for all I've been given
At the end of every day
I have been blessed
With so much more than I deserve
To be here with the ones that love me
To love them so much it hurts
I have been blessed

Across a crowded room
I know you know what I'm thinking
By the way I look at you
And when we're lying in the quiet
And no words have to be said
I think to myself, I think to myself
This love is a beautiful gift

I have been blessed
And I feel like I've found my way
I thank God for all I've been given
At the end of every day
I have been blessed
With so much more than I deserve
To be here with the ones that love me
To love them so much it hurts
I have been blessed

When I'm singing my kids to sleep
When I feel you holding me
I know

I have been blessed
And I feel like I've found my way
I thank God for all I've been given
At the end of every day
I have been blessed
With so much more than I deserve
To be here with the ones that love me
To love them so much it hurts
I have been blessed

Blessed
Performed by Martina McBride
(and found in the soundtrack of my life/playlist here on the blog)