My Dream Job

Tomorrow we roll into our fourth week of the 2012-2013 school year. While I know this doesn’t make sense to a lot of people, these pictures represent me living my dream. It may look simple or even tiresome to someone else, but to me it makes all the most luxurious and opulent offices, studios, stages, and boardrooms pale in comparison. I have always loved kids and working with them. I have taught small groups of children, just a few at a time, and I have taught assemblies with hundreds of kids. I have taught kids in churches and public schools; the children of a Christian music artist and inner city kids they assured us all had lice and to “just be aware.” Kids on this continent and kids halfway around the world in Australia. I have taught kids in English and wrestled my way through teaching kids to the best of my ability (and with help) in Spanish. I have taught kids who may not remember me today and kids who will always be a part of my life and whose families hold huge places in my heart. And I loved it all. But down in my core what I really dreamed about were these days. Days when my own little ones would be the faces to light up at a new truth revealed, a new skill acquired, a new world opened. It’s not perfect. It’s not easy. It takes everything I have and more. But a precious and loving Father makes sure there is always enough of HIM to go around for all of us. And it is so worth every ounce of effort.

This year we have a heavier focus on geography as we learn the skills of navigating this beautiful planet God created for mankind. We are studying the lives of missionaries well known and praying for families serving today. We are looking for ways to serve and minister right where we live. We are seeing how other people live drastically different lives but their hearts beat just like ours. We are curling up on the couch with beautiful allegories that show us the heart of the spirit world, and sitting in our best posture at the counter to practice cursive handwriting. We are delving into the mastery of multiplication and division, and vanquishing that ever-persistent foe of the misspelled word. At the same time I am rediscovering again with the second child what it means to have the world of the written word open up before you. Instead of strings of letters you cannot decipher, you are surrounded by words that can be decoded and become part of what you know. And with the third I am back again in what those letters say and how to hold a pencil. That it is possible to sit still for ten minutes and that there are times for noisy discovery and times for quiet study. Meanwhile the fourth man is soaking in what he sees the others doing and spends hours “reading” his board books to make sure he doesn’t fall behind on identifying circles or the color red. And our “mascot” is the beloved princess who rains down benevolent smiles on her adoring little kingdom from her pink bouncer or Mommy’s arms. Life is just sweet. I lay down on my pillow at night so tired I can’t think, and yet I can’t wait to do it all again. The prevailing cry of my heart always one of deepest, soul-satisfying gratitude for these moments, hours, and days.

The house and “free time” and other jobs will often have to wait during this season. And that’s okay. I am learning with my best friends, and I have a feeling everything else will still be there when these moments are not.

All the supplies I spent weeks gathering, sorting, organizing, preparing, and just plain getting excited about.

Levi’s box of goodies. I expected for this to be a light year for him but he came out swinging and has been going steadily at his work ever since.

A toothless 3rd grader in need of a haircut. How did he get so big? His attitude toward his work this year is tremendous. Can’t express how proud I am of his desire to learn.

Already on her 1st grade year, it takes work to teach this girl as fast as she wants to learn. Good thing she can just join the 3rd grader in some subjects. Her only disappointment is when we stop working.

Does this need a caption? Self-appointed class clown. He loves just being at the table and drawing away. He cracks me up because he doesn’t refer to letters by their names but by their sounds. “I’m writing an aaaa, Mommy!” 🙂

I am not an artist, but my kids love me anyway. 🙂

A little Mario notebook makes the spelling go down much as the spoonful of sugar does the medicine.

Checking it all out.

Proud of himself.

Kailey is a huge help with Mitchell.

Drawing like the big kids.

Filling out a passport application, addressing it, and “posting” it to Mom’s passport office. (Natalie was my secretary and processed their applications. This cracked them up.) Their passports arrive this week and we are off through North America on a whirlwind of adventure.













Natalie’s Birth Day

Before I get into the long list of blog posts I’ve promised to write…somewhere in between the homeschooling and the five kids…I need to go back and post Natalie’s pictures from her birth day. Let me say first that every time I look at these pictures I, of course, think of how much I love my family, but I also think a few other things that might not be as obvious to others: 1) I love home birth. I know it’s not for everyone, but it is just PERFECT for me and for my family. The peace, the individual care, the constant seeking of God’s wisdom in each situation. Can’t tell you how special each birth is to my heart. 2) I love my midwife, Ann Crowell. She has been a part of my life for over seven years now, has delivered three of my babies (and e-mailed me through the one in Austin where I used another great midwife). She has walked me through four of my five miscarriages, and she is incredibly special to me and to my family. 3) I love Keri Duckett. She was my birth photographer this time and the pictures will speak for themselves. Be still my heart. She also happens to be my midwife’s daughter which made them a wonderful birthing team. I have chosen these pictures very carefully since I was posting them for all of you. She caught many others that are truly amazing.

Mitchell needed a snuggle during labor.

And Kailey needed me to see if her tooth was loose during labor.

If I could tell you how much I love him, I would try. But I can’t. He is my favorite.

Did I mention that I love these two? Getting close. They know me, I know what I’m doing, and it just couldn’t be any calmer.

Baby’s still got the cord attached and the vernix all over her. That was what they wanted. Kailey was all in!

First kisses.

Already helping. She also cut the cord. Keri got that on video. Did I mention that I love her?

My mom had my fifth sister in that very room with her midwife. She and my dad are probably the most important influencing factor in my life that led me to want a large family. A special moment for these generations together.

*sigh* That’s my heartbeat right there. The guy who never says “too much,” but just asks God what He would want for and from us.

She didn’t get more than a foot away for a long time. Just making sure it was all real.

Do you see Kailey’s hand? She seriously never moved.

Levi came in, saw me and the baby, and said, “MOM! You got her out of your tummy! I’m SO PROUD OF YOU!” He is my precious encourager. I’ve always told the kids it was amazing what I could accomplish during their room/nap time each day. This day they really believed me.

Daddy weighing our little sugar. By far our smallest baby at 6 lbs., 12 oz. A nice drop down after Mitchell’s 9 1/2 lbs.

My tiny sweetheart.

Mitchell saying for the first time what he says multiple times a day, “Bebe! Bebe!” He loves her.

One of my favorite parts of the home birth is that next baby up feeling secure and getting a big snuggle while he or she adjusts to new baby who just showed up at our house. I have a pic like this each time with the toddler.

Looking at our new baby.

Baby angel!

Dr. Levi is always serious about whatever he’s doing. Love this kid.

That biggest brother has to make sure everything is just right.

She finally got her sister. And every night in her prayers she thanks God “for the miracles You’ve done for me like giving me a sister.”

I believe his comment at this point was something about holding her because he “had practiced being gentle.”

There have been many, many more snuggles like this one in the months since Natalie’s birth.

Thank You, God. You are so good to me, far beyond what I deserve. I will give my all to love these treasures you have trusted to my care!