Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Five Loaves and Two Fishes

I feel like we have finally gotten into a groove with our homeschool and bishopric routines. I have learned that it takes about 9-12 months for our family to completely adjust to any big things, lol. Jeremy got called as the Second Counselor in December of 2015, then we had Benson about three months later. We started homeschooling five months after he was born, and now nine months later the "school year" is ending, lol. So a lot of things snowballed together and it took us awhile to really figure things out.

Last Thursday, for the first time this year, Bridger told me he was happy to go to school that morning and I almost cried. Seriously. There are only like two weeks of our co-op left and he finally told me he likes it, lol. He has had a hard time with the adjustment to a busier schedule. I am grateful, and I hope that he keeps that attitude so that when we start again in August he can still enjoy it. I find myself talking about homeschool all the time, it's so hard not to when I feel like it's such a huge part of our lives. This is what we do, lol, and I love it.

Like with anything, there are good and hard days. A very honest example: At the beginning of the year I had chosen out a specific English curriculum that I thought would be great. It started out okay, but I realized pretty quick we needed a slower transition into the schedule we had to keep. The beginning of the year was a challenge, we started going to our co-op once a week, we started swimming lessons once a week, mommy & me classes once a week, and Spanish once a week. Add to that the time that we had to do our own thing at home, and playdates, and it was too much at one time. I kept pushing, because I am an over-achiever and set high expectations for myself, and others. I felt like he just HAD to adjust and I just needed to keep pushing him. Well, it gradually turned in to a big huge fight  every. single. day. I would lose my patience because he wasn't focusing or he was being silly, there was yelling and tears. So finally, in January, it all came to a head one morning...and just blew up. We were both crying and frustrated and at that moment I decided we were going to take a break. That is not what our homeschool is supposed to look like, and I knew it.

I didn't push anything for two months, no book work at all. We did swimming lessons and attended our other classes, but I didn't nag at him to finish the assignments. I backed off. During this break I started praying. Jeremy and I had talked about homeschooling for years before our kids were even close to starting school, we had prayed long and hard and I had received many, many confirmations and moments of guidance along the I wasn't doubting that decision. What I really wanted to know was what Bridger needed to make this a successful, spiritual and positive experience. I didn't receive an answer right away, but the Spirit nudged me toward a new curriculum, and a new perspective. I ordered Jenny Phillips "Good and Beautiful" curriculum, and instead of starting in Kindergarten, because that's where he's "supposed" to be I tested him using her assessments and we started in Level 1. I can't even describe the change that has happened since we took that break, since we started a curriculum centered on the good and beautiful things, since I was willing to give up what I thought our school should like and see it through Heavenly Father's eyes instead. You know what's interesting? A few weeks after I stopped pushing him, he started to do things on his own. And that's the beauty of how the spirit works. I learned a lot from this experience. I remembered that one of the biggest reasons we are homeschooling is to get away from the public school system and setup, yet that was what I was trying to copy the first part of the year. That break provided a sort of mental reset for all of us, once we started again in March, I was amazed at the changes. Bridger and I enjoy sitting down and doing "school" together in the morning after scripture study, the boys and I tell each other we love each more during the days, I've felt the spirit stronger, I've felt more peace, and I've seen Bridger suddenly adjust to our activities. I am so grateful.

I think one of the things people fear about homeschool as parents is that they aren't good enough. It's hard not to feel that way when already as parents we feel like all of our weaknesses become showcased for everyone to see on a daily basis. lol. It is quite obvious I have plenty to work on from the story above, but it provided Heavenly Father an opportunity to help me realize and learn some pretty deep things about myself. I learned at Women's Conference this year something that has really impacted me and I think about it often. The speaker's topic was on "Daily Acts of Consecration in Motherhood," she shared the story of Christ, when he blessed the five loaves and two fishes and it was enough to feed the multitude. What she said next is the line that I keep replaying in my mind, "the Savior will bless your five loaves and two fishes." This applies to everything in life, but I think it was the most perfect example when applied to motherhood. When do mothers ever feel like they've done enough? Maybe it's just me, but I can't remember a time when I was completely satisfied with everything I'd done and knew I couldn't have done better. But, I guess that's the beauty of the five loaves and two fishes, right? Our Savior knows we are imperfect, maybe sometimes our efforts do seem as small as presenting a basket with five loaves and two fishes before a multitude. How small and lacking does that offering seem? But, the Savior blessed it and how far did it go? And that's what we have to remember. Though what we do and give might be small, the Savior blesses our efforts, our offering, and can make it go further than we ever could have imagined. And that is now where my faith resides when I doubt my abilities to homeschool, to parent, to serve others, to be a good friend, to be a better wife, daughter and sister...the Savior blesses our efforts.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Easter!! :)

We did Easter super early this year so that all of the family could get together for our Easter egg hunt, so we went down the entire last week of March to my parents house. :) We had to do it in the evening so everyone could be there, and it was SUPER windy, I didn't get too many good pictures, but at least I got a few! The baby was ready for bed, so he played with his Easter present for a few minutes and then went to bed, lol.

This was right after Benson's birthday party, so he has berry juice everywhere! lol.

Getting ready for the hunt...


12 months!! :)

Mr. Benz is ONE!! Oh, how I love this boy. I woke up at 2 AM on his birthday and just laid in bed remembering exactly a year ago when he was born. He is such a blessing to us and I am so grateful for him. I gave him extra, EXTRA cuddles on his birthday, as many as he would let me now that he has gotten so busy!

Cute little faces he makes...

  • He started "officially" walking this month, he had been taking steps here and there for about a month, but he knew that crawling was faster so he would just do that instead. It has been so fun to watch him gain confidence in his new skills. :)
  • He loves greek yogurt and has it everyday, he loves avocados, quesadillas with chicken, whole wheat english muffins, peanut butter & jelly and peanut butter & honey, grilled cheese, he still likes Cheerios, and he loves sweet potatoes! He will also eat cooked carrots and likes cheesy scalloped potatoes with ham. And pretty much everything else we give him. lol. He doesn't seem to be too picky.
  • He started sleeping through the night around 10 months, he has the occasional night where teething wakes him up a couple times, but usually he will go to sleep at 7 and sleep until about 5 or 6, then I'll nurse him and sometimes he will go back to sleep until 8! He takes one nap everyday at about 1 PM and sleeps until 3:30-4. 
  • He can say dada, mama, and ball. He says, "uh-oh" when he throws things out of his crib or off his highchair tray. He makes car sounds and plane sounds, and can say "woof," and "moo." 
  • He loves his moose he got for his birthday and cuddles it all the time. 
  • When I put him in his bed to go to sleep, I put his favorite blanket over him and he snuggles it and giggles, it is so cute. 
  • He cut his third tooth, the top middle right at the beginning of twelve months, he cut the other top middle yesterday!
  • He still nurses about 3 times a day. :)
  • He is wearing 18-24 month clothes and they fit well. 
  • At his 12 month appointment he was still in the 90th percentile for heigh and about 70th for weight. 
  • I've had to carry his around in our Ergo carrier a lot because we are so busy all the time with homeschool stuff, running errands, and at church on Sunday, all places I don't want him crawling/walking around in. For the most part he has been content to chill with me in there and cuddle, just this month he's been wanting to get down and get moving more. 
  • He loves his family so much, everyday when Jeremy gets home he toddles to the door saying "da! da!" and then snuggles him. He loves our puppy, Captain, too, and will find him and put his head on him to snuggle. Captain just follows him around and they take turns taking each others toys, lol. Benson loves his brothers so much, they are so silly together, especially at meal times, lol. There was one time when Bridger was sad and Benson went up to him and snuggled him for like five minutes, it was so sweet. I am so grateful for him, we love him so much!

Here are some pictures from his birthday party! I did a lumberjack theme, so we did "flapjacks" for dessert. We put out a bunch of toppings and had pancakes and then did some presents, it was low-key, but perfect because he lost interest quick, lol. 

His little stack of flapjacks. :)

He had just woken up from his nap, so he was quite mellow for his party, lol.

Jeremy cut out all of these beards for photo props. He did such a good job!!