Friday, September 27, 2013

Brothers

I'm really enjoying seeing the relationship between Elijah and Gabriel develop.  Elijah loves to play rough and tumble - and because Gabriel adores his big brother, he tries to play rough and tumble too.  It would be funny if Gabriel didn't end up crying all the time!  He's just not ready to play as rough as Elijah.   Elijah loves Gabriel so much and shows his affection on a regular basis by giving "love" in his own way.  Usually, that involves a (too) tight hug, and kisses to near bruise level.   


The picture taken at the left was at church.  They looked so handsome... but of course, I took it before church... while they still had on their ties, and shoes, and their shirts were tucked in!  Typical boys!

This week they had a lot of fun on Elijah's four wheeler.  As much as Elijah enjoys Gabriel, he still has problems actually sharing his big boy toys - especially his four wheeler.  But when I pointed out to Elijah how Daddy 'shares' his toys, he was happy to comply.  They had a blast!  Of course, curious Gabe had to try out the controls too.  


If anyone has any advice on helping your sons relationship develop, I'd love to hear it.  It's headed in the right direction now and I'd like to see it continue that way.  I pray over them and their relationship, but with the age difference, I know there will be rocky times.  


They share one love: toast!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

A visit with my parents

A couple weeks back I was super excited to find out our pastor had invited Dad to speak in our church.  I think most of my readers know about Dad's accident back in December.  Needless to say, this would be my parents first visit to my home since the accident.  Actually, due to conflicting schedules, it would be my Dad's first visit since Gabriel was born!!  As I said, I was very excited. 

First step was to get a ramp built.  We started to invest in a nice permanent ramp but changed our minds.  You see, Dad is claiming a full recovery.  His faith has been so strong throughout the entire ordeal.  Building a permanent ramp just seemed to be a false statement of our faith.  So a temporary, portable ramp was what we ended up with.  Once Chris got started, it only took him about 45 minutes to an hour to build the ramps we needed.



We were fearful that Dad's hoyer lift wouldn't fit in our guest room.  Chris' parents (who live around the corner) opened up their home to my parents.  Their guest room is quite a bit larger and gave Mom and Dad the room they needed.

We had such a good time with my parents.  It was so nice to visit with them and give them a chance to be "grandparents" to the boys!  Precious memories were made this weekend.

Kisses and love from Papa


Granna took Elijah to Prairie Days to get a hunting rifle!

Playing Connect Four with Papa


Dad spoke for our church and also sang and played his harmonica.  I videoed the special but the video also included a lot of "heads" of the congregation.  I've asked a friend to provide me with her video of the special. I will post it as soon as she gets it to me.

I am claiming this verse for my Dad:


Exodus 15:26
And said, If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the Lord thy God, and wilt dothat which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon theEgyptians: for I am the Lord that healeth thee.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Media Fast - for those who are wondering: what is that?

Last week, our pastor invited our congregation into his home to watch "Captivated".  I'd never heard of the movie before.  Chris and I were very moved by the content of this documentary.  The research behind the film is thorough and actually quite astounding.  Even though you look around and see phones and tablets of all kinds literally everywhere, to actually see the study behind the addiction was amazing.  One Army Chaplin even told a story of a soldier suffering with post traumatic stress disorder - even though he'd never been shot at or seen war.  The Chaplin discovered the cause of the disorder to be gaming.  The film also included testimony's of people overcoming the addiction of media - of all varieties.  

It was a wake up call to Chris and I.  He immediately declared a "media fast" as suggested by the film.  By media fast, I mean the TV, DVD player, Wii, even Wii battery chargers, were ALL unplugged.  We rely on the computer for schooling and bills, but it was not to be used for games and such.  We decided to keep our Facebook accounts, but significantly cut the amount of time spent on all social network and gaming sites (available on our iPhone's).  Chris wanted to try it through the end of the week.

I was asked if I could see a difference in our family since the media fast.  I answered honestly: Chris picked a very busy week.  At that point, I hadn't even missed movies or Facebook because we'd simply had so much going on and special visitors.  However, in observing our behavior the past couple days, I have noticed the following:

  1. Elijah's play time is much more creative and imaginative.  Even though we've always been very careful about screening his movies and games, I can see how they affected his play time.  Instead of acting out what he's seen, he's now coming up with his own play.
  2. We've spent more time together - making memories.  For example: this morning we had an hour of time that we were able to spend playing together, walked to the library, and the boys played outside for a while.  I can't tell you the last time I had an extra hour to simply play - without the pressure of "I should be doing other things" bearing down on me.  Which leads me to number three:
  3. I have so much more time.  It seems like I'd always use the phrase "I don't have time".  In reality, I now see how much time movies, games, social networking was stealing.  True, I may have been only watching a 30 minute episode on Netflix, or playing one or two rounds of my games... but when you combine it all together - I realize now I had hours tied up.  Since last Wednesday, I've read a book.  Hosted visitors.  Played games. Taught my son how to play Uno.  
Although the fast is officially over, the TV remains unplugged.  We've not discussed our next move.  Does this mean we won't ever watch movies again?  No.  We all enjoy watching movies from time to time, but I can tell you the movie time will be cut significantly.  Does this mean our Wii is for sale?  Honestly, I wouldn't care if we did sell it.  But that is a decision for another day.  :-)  I deleted the Facebook app off my iPhone because the little red circle with notifications was driving me crazy.  My OCD self was about at my limit with 79 notifications waiting for me.  I've thought about adding it back on my phone but I do not want to get caught back up in the Facebook game.  The constant checking, knowing what is going on with everyone around me. (I do use the Messenger app to communicate with my sisters - but even that has been cut drastically) 

I'm thankful God helped us see the path we were headed down while the boys were at a young age.  I pray He gives us the strength to keep our media usage in perspective.  I ask that He keep us aware of the tricks used by Satan.  We need His guidance in our life, every day.  

Please note this - I am not trying to condemn anyone or judge anyone who uses media.  I'm simply sharing with my readers about a significant change in our lives - but yes, it was a change for the better!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Life's Real Treasures


Since staying home, there are days/weeks where you look at the stack of bills and wonder "what were we thinking?".  Did we really do the right thing? I feel like we are still trying to find our financial footing.  I find that it's really easy to get too focused on what we don't have than what we do have. It's in those moments that I like to look around and focus on our real treasures.  You know, the priceless treasures that NO money can buy...

Mutual adoration...

Ready for deer hunting!!

Snuggle time

Learning to write!


Best Friends!


Yes, these are my real treasures.  


For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.  Matthew 6:21

Thursday, September 5, 2013

15 years... and counting!!!

15 years seems like such a monumental anniversary number. In today's secular world, it is a big number.  But when I think about Godly couples I know, who've been married 40, 50, 60, 70 years.... well, we've only just begun.  I truly want to be one of those couples who look back at their 15th anniversary and say "we had only just began!"  By God's grace, we will be!

So young

So in love


Our cake 

So handsome

So beautiful

With our parents

Jessica and Isaac

Ah... 15 years ago, I was rushing to get my hair curled, teeth brushed, veil in place... all those final details.  I remember getting up and running around Aurora with my mom, buying last minute items.  It was so stinkin' hot! Wow! Yeah... like 96 degrees!  And 250 people in the church.  I look back now and ask myself: what were we thinking?  For one thing, I know I never expected that many people to show up!!  I was wearing long sleeves... hair down.  Whew!  If I'd known then what I know now!

It was short and sweet wedding.  I surprised Chris by singing "The Waiting Is Ended" which was written by a friend of a friend.  And yes, I can remember all the words... because they're still true!

The Waiting Is Ended
(To the tune of "Thank You For The Valley")

I have waited for this moment when I would be your bride
To walk in love and honor, life's pathway by your side
I found our love increasing 
And the day is now here
And the waiting is ended, at last, oh my dear

Sweeter with each passing day
Nearer when I kneel and pray
Richer and deeper is our love
Given by God up in Heaven above
And the waiting is ended, at last, oh my love

He bawled like a baby through the entire song! Totally took him off guard.  He had no idea I was going to sing to him.  Brother Brown (the minister) laughed and chuckled through the whole thing.  He was pretty cracked up at Chris.

So much of it seems like a blur... In fact, I'm amazed at how little I remember when I look at the pictures.  I only remember bits and pieces.  I guess that's from so much happening at once. I'm grateful for the video (yes, VHS!) and photos that we have.  I've created a scrapbook and it's always fun to go back and re-live those precious wedding moments through the memories.  

In spite of the forgotten memories, the most important thing is: God blessed me with the man He knew I needed.  Neither one of us is perfect, but we're perfect for each other.  It's a miracle how God can take two totally different people and put them together.  He's quite the Matchmaker!  

Sweetheart; I love you!  I'm so thankful God gave us these years together.  You're my best friend.  My protector, provider, and the one that makes my day by walking in the room.  You're the meaning in my life... my inspiration... I'll love you forever and ever and ever!

I never want to let go of your hand!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Homeschooling - the first year

Yes, Momma put the WRONG date on the board.  *blushing*
Today was our "official" first day of homeschooling.  Elijah is considered Pre-K as his birthday falls after the cut-off date for the school year.  I'm trying not to stress out, trying not to be a perfectionist, trying to make this year fun.  I could just skip this year, but he's so excited to learn and wants to "do school" so bad.  

Rewind 15 years... Summer 1998

I was dating this marvelous, perfect guy... I was sitting on the front porch, in front of my parents picture window talking on the phone (a white 900 MHz cordless phone, purchased by me, specifically for my phone conversations with my boyfriend).  It was dusk, I was facing south west, with one leg propped under me.  I remember Chris asking me: would you ever consider homeschooling our kids?  Yes.  A most definite yes.  I had attended public school K-2 and home schooled 3rd-12th.  A resounding "YES".  It was the only option, in my opinion.  I loved being home schooled and it was something I wanted to do for my kids too.

Fast forward 14 years... Early Summer 2012

I was thinking about Elijah's schooling and noting how quickly he would be school age.  That's when Chris dropped the bomb: "I don't think public school would be so bad.  Our local school is small and it's a pretty good school."  My heart sank.  I couldn't wait to home school my little man. My first reaction was "No way! There's no way I'm sending our boys to public school."  At first I fought it, even though I could tell Chris had pretty much made up his mind.  His arguments were pointless to me:

  • Chris: They need a good foundation 
    • Nettie: I want to teach them their foundation.  Colors, shapes, alphabet, reading, basic match does NOT intimidate me at all.  Algebra and beyond... yeah, major intimidation. 
  • Chris: I know home schooled adults who don't feel like they have a sufficient education.
    • Nettie: I know public schooled adults who don't feel like they have a sufficient education.
There were other topics discussed, but I digress. 

I started praying about it because honestly, I know I need to honor my husbands wishes.  If he wants to send the boys to public school, then so be it.  I have to trust my husband to make decisions for this family, even when I don't agree with his opinion.  In addition, I have to trust God is leading my husband as he makes these decisions. It's been long and hard, but I've finally let it go.  However...

Our school district lost the funding for preschool.  Yet, there are certain things they expect a child to know before they can start kindergarten.  So, I have decided to work with Elijah on those things he's expected to know.  On the other hand, I'm dying to get started teaching him EVERYTHING.  I want to be the one to show him money and it's values.  How to tell time.  The days of the week.  Math.  Spelling.  Reading.  I have to hold myself back from diving in - over my head. There are so many things they need to know and I so want to be the one to teach him.  

I can see God's handiwork in Chris' decision.  As badly as I want to home school, we are preparing to make a huge life change next year.  (I can't discuss details publicly at this time.)  I see that homeschooling could be a huge disadvantage during our transition.  I know I could do it all, if I set my stubborn mind to it.  But I also know my limits.  Something would suffer.  And the last thing I would want to suffer is Elijah's education.  That doesn't mean I'm giving up my dream to home school the boys.  It just means I'm putting my dreams on hold for a while.  I'm patient.  Well, sometimes I'm patient.  Until then, I'll keep working with Elijah and doing some preschool with him.  I love watching him learn.  

Currently I am creating lesson plans using free resources found online.  Easy Peasy, DLTK, and Our Preschool Homeschool, plus a host of other websites with free printable worksheets.