IMG_6173

You all know that the really talented crafty genes somehow skipped over me in the family tree.  My girls are not going to get their wedding dress sewn by their Momma like I did.  In fact there is a lot of doubt as to whether or not they’ll ever get the pajama pants I set out to sew them a year ago. 

But, I think I may have stumbled across a medium which I can do, and do with confidence.

hot glue

Don’t worry, I have no aspirations of hot gluing their pajama pants or anything like that, but I did however make 3 of these this week. IMG_6188

When I stumbled across a picture of one of these on pinterest (don’t ask too many questions, I don’t fully understand it and def don’t utilize it fully, but I have seen some cute ideas on there), I instantly fell in love with it.

It reminded me of the bouquet of freshly sharpened pencils that Tom Hanks writes about in You’ve Got Mail.  (LOVE that movie… one of my all time favs)

So, I set out to make one for each of my child’s tutor for the first day of school.  They both really liked it. 

But, I wanted one too.  After all, I am their teacher too, right?

Soooo Crystal the mom stayed up till 11:00 making this vase so that the next morning when Crystal the teacher went downstairs to the school room she could smile at her cute little teacher vase.

Yes… that’s right I made myself a present and bought myself flowers.  That’s not the point… the point is, if I, the genetically craft challenged girl can make this, than so can you.  It took an empty spaghetti sauce jar (those Classico ones worked great), A LOT more pencils than I had originally estimated (yes a second trip to Target was required to finish my present) and hot glue. 

easy peasy lemon squeezy

Since I couldn’t find any directions on the picture I pinned on pinterest, I just went and googled “pencil vase jar” and found this.  So, if your looking for an inexpensive cute idea for a teacher, might I suggest you bookmark or pin this idea. 

Warning:  even though this vase looks super cute on your homeschool table… it might heed you to remember that it is filled with water, and sitting on a table filled with important papers, and 3 children.  One might want to move said vase to another location when you begin working if one didn’t want to stop everything to quickly grab your papers, put them on the floor, and wipe up water…not that I would know from experience or anything…

Now that my oldest 2 are at their tutorial two days a week, I find myself with just 2 children at home on those mornings.   It is a truly odd feeling and a dynamic I am not yet used to.  Though I am sure it is nothing compared to the strangeness I’ll feel next year when I am left with only my lil man two days a week. 

I am hoping to use this time to

1.  take care of errands

2. stay on top of housework/laundry

3.  enjoy some quality time with my youngest two

I was thrilled when I learned our library will be hosting story time a few times a month on the same mornings as our tutorial.  When I told my 4 yr old that we’d be going to story time this week she responded, “Story time, what’s story time?”   meanwhile simultaneously, my oldest child said, “Awh, story time… I remember story time… I loved story time!”

And there ya have it folks…evidence that you truly don’t parent the same way each time around. 

I remember with my oldest and even when his little sister came around, we went to story time… all the time… we were regulars…even hitting up more than one library.   Then number 3 came along and we went for a bit.. as I sat nursing her in the back row, trying to keep my toddler sitting quiet and encouraging my 3 and 1/2  yr old to go ahead and sit up front without Mommy… you can easily see with that beautiful picture how story time slowly became a think of the past… that and the fact that for awhile I banished myself from the library as a way of keeping my overdue fines in check.  Topped off with the fact that I couldn’t really go to story time on days we were schooling at home, b/c we had school work to do.. and then number 4 came along and he needed a nap in the morning, plus the girls played so nicely together when there brother was gone, why not take advantage of that time to catch up at home….yada, yada, yada… you end up with a 4 yr old who doesn’t even know what story time is.

IMG_1506

I am happy to report that story time was a huge success this morning and we plan to return next month for more stories, songs, and crafts!

 IMG_1509

During the intro for of one of the speakers at the Women of Faith conference last month, they asked the speaker what quality she valued most in a friend. 

She answered loyalty, but my answer was a resounding…

realness

If you want to win me over/endear me for life, let me see your imperfections… do me a favor, don’t clean before you invite me over…show up to my house for a play date late… with a head full of wet hair… let me see your van full of cheerios and wrappers and those “lovely” Sunday School papers which seem to multiply and grow wings and threaten to over take your car.    I love it when I find out I’m not alone… when I realize I am not the only mom who doesn’t have it all together, who meant well, who had good intentions… those people that pull away the fa├žade and bear their imperfections, those are the ones I am drawn towards… the ones I feel a connection with… the ones I want to spend more time with. 

This year, at the women of faith conference, I felt like the speakers did just that. 

Ok, so they didn’t exactly get on stage in their snot covered yoga pants…but they did share their hearts.  They told of their fears and their failures… they were honest and real.  And they did it for the glory of God.  They shared of His triumph and hope in their very real, very messy lives. 

And it was refreshing.

My mom and I were able to attend the Women of Faith conference in Washington DC thanks to Book Sneeze.   Even though Hurricane Irene was heading our way, Mom and I got to enjoy some time away from our everyday responsibilities.  We rode the Metro, we went to dinner, we walked around the city… and we attended the conference.  We were inspired, encouraged, entertained, and refreshed.  And we were led in worship of our awesome Creator God who was, and is, and is to come.  It was a great weekend and I am so thankful for the opportunity we had to go. 

While we’ve been “doing school” at home for the past few weeks for the purpose of reviewing and getting used to the routine, today was the first official start of our new school year.

We homeschool, but also use a tutorial.  The kids attend the tutorial twice a week and study at home with me three days a week.  So far, I feel it provides the balance our family needs between homeschooling and traditional schooling. 

My 5 year old was beyond ready for her first day of kindergarten.  She has been telling anyone who will listen (as in strangers in the aisle at the grocery store, clerks at Target, people passing in the street… literally EVERYONE) that she starts Kindergarten this year.  Excited would be an understatement!  This girl is ready…

IMG_6127

I am not sure I was ready for how grown up she’d look when she put on her uniform this morning.  What happened to my little girl?

IMG_6134

And speaking of growing up… enter my second grader!  (wasn’t it just yesterday that we were taking him to kindergarten?)  Doesn’t he look ready for a trip on first class?  I think his “book bag” is the size of one of his sisters!   There are a lot of books to cart around in second grade. 

IMG_6141

I am really excited about this year.  It’s my first year officially teaching two of them.  As I looked over the curriculum for second grade,  I am a mixture of excited and intimidated.    We have A LOT of material to cover this year and the pace is going to be a fast one.  But, I think at the end of the year, we’re going to be so proud of all that we learned this year.  And that has me excited.  

IMG_6154

Why hello, dear neglected blog of mine… yes, the circus family is still alive and well.  It’s just been a busy week at the circus, what with an earthquake, a hurricane, a Women of Faith conference (another blog post to come about that soon), a head cold, a fantasy football draft and home schooling….

Right now I have mounds, literally mounds of unwashed clothes and dishes to take care of, shirts to tye dye, food to buy, and our annual Labor Day weekend to prep for… but I wanted to stop and preserve a few moments that I didn’t want to forget…

Last Tuesday, I was babysitting a friend’s 3 kids when a 5.8 earthquake shook our area.  I was holding my friends baby when I stopped to stare at a spot on our recently painted stairway… “What’s that I wondered?”  and then suddenly the stairway seemed to slant and I felt myself move a bit… The 3 oldest kids (7, 6, 5) were playing downstairs, and the 2 and 4 year old were playing in the bedroom.  I went down the hall to wake my baby and grab the girls from the bedroom b/c I could hear the house actually creaking/groaning  as it shook all over and I thought for sure one of the big trees in our yard was falling onto the house.  I rushed them to the stairway when the downstairs crew yelled up, “Mom, we didn’t do it!” 

As I rushed everyone out the front door, I realized that no trees were falling and I then said, “I think we just felt an earthquake.”    My next thought was, “I hope Scott felt it.”  (because Scott has always wanted to feel an earthquake… for real, every time he flies to CA he says, “Wouldn’t it be so cool if an earthquake happened?”)  As we ran out the door my friend pulled in our driveway to pick up her kids.  She couldn’t figure out why we were rushing outside when she got there.   The next thing I know the kids are quickly bringing out their treasured belongings in case they were going to get destroyed in the earthquake. 

photo

Apparently at the circus house, shoes, Legos, a doll, and toy guns are the items you grab when fleeing your house. 

Thankfully nothing was damaged and none of us were hurt in the earthquake.  For us, it was an exciting break from the norm… a chance to experience a natural phenomenon we don’t normally get to experience on the east coast.    A few days later in the waiting room at gymnastics my 5 yr old asked the lady beside us if she felt the earthquake.  The lady answered, “Oh my yes… wasn’t it just horrible?  What did you think of it?”  My 5 yr old looked up at her with a huge grin and said, “I loved it!”

A few days later we got to experience a hurricane… again we were spared any true damage as we simply lost power for 48 hrs.   For the circus fam it was a fun few days of camping at home… cooking on the gas stove, flushing with water from the tub, falling asleep with flashlights and the eternal racket of our neighbors generators whirring 24/7.   

As the storm raged in the middle of the night I found myself wondering “What would a worse hurricane feel like?”  And I was crying out to God to please protect our house from the huge trees surrounding it.  As I prayed I couldn’t help but think of how mighty and powerful our God is.  He created the wind.  His voice alone can stop the wind.  What power He has in his hands!  

Sunday morning found our yard littered with branches and leaves, but thankfully our house and property were safe.  IMG_5619

There were trees on our very street which fell during the storm. 

IMG_5579

IMG_5573

IMG_5570

Mark 4:39 and 4:41

39 He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.

41 They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!”