Setting goals not resolutions. And my word for the year.

My goodness I have sincerely missed writing here. While I never considered myself to be a writer, I cannot get away from the desire to sit down and write. To share what we've been up to, what I have been learning, and places I've seen some growth. 

We started this year ringing in the new year in a beach house by the Atlantic, on a very cold blustery night. The weather was anything but normal for the coast, but maybe that's just how the year will just go. A little abnormal in ways!

I don't love the idea of resolutions. They seem to be intimidating and often become so overwhelming that the whole list of them becomes history around day three of a new year. My older sister inspired me to try pursuing goals for the new year. Goals are much more attainable because they are just that, goals. Not perfection, but progress and growth. I can wrap my mind around that!

So this years goals. I have several areas I am investing in. Spiritual, mental, and physical. These include places in my walk with God, my family and marriage, and my home life. I was excited to write down some goals for these.  

Along those lines I am also a fan of choosing a word for the year. A word that I prayed for, and asked God to help me with. Have you ever done this? I have several friends that have done this too, and it will be neat to see how they grow in their chosen words. I will share mine. It's plan.

As I look back over the last year, I can see places where poor planning added stress when it didn't have to. As a homeschooling mama, planning has become pretty important so that we can get the work done we need to each week. As a wife I have failed so many times in our grocery budget, (just being honest) and I know that planning the meals, and grocery list helps keep me in budget! And planning a little more long term in this area will help too. Like making a list of all the meals we enjoy so I don't have to think about brand new meals every week. 

I was encouraged a couple weeks ago when I not only stayed on budget, but was under budget for the week! Yay! Then I went over the next week...baby steps I suppose. But progress, not perfection all at once.  

What about you? Did you make resolutions? Goals? And are you a word of the year person? I'd love to hear about your own progress for the new year! And any apps you love for planning. I need help!

Until next time, I'll be over here writing out my grocery list.  

 

 

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I'm not the same mom I used to be

Today was another busy day of all things at home. Homeschool, meals, laundry, reading stories, outdoor play. We even ventured out for a quick trip to the chiropractor. The nightly routine of dinner, baths, and bedtime stories are the standard here in our home. But tonight after dinner, I was on my own for the bedtime routine with all three boys. Jonah had a commitment to attend to, so it was just me. 

Somewhere between the last bites of dinner and the boys getting dressed after baths, things went downhill. 

I was juggling a hungry baby, washing two boys, quieting two boys so baby could nurse, rocking baby to keep him nursing and not distracted, reprimanding two boys who were arguing...and so it went. I just lost my patience. 

" I can't do this God, I can't do all the things how I used to be able to do them!"

And in the quiet of my heart I heard Him say, "Why yes Carrie, you're right, you can't do them the way you used to, because you are NOT who you used to be." 

It was a small, quiet revelation to me. 

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You see I have been walking through these past months thinking I'd roll right back to how things were before Theodore was born. Plus add in caring for him. No big deal, right? 

Wrong. It's different now. I'm different now. And that is good. Sure I still fail at times with being impatient, angry, short tempered, quick to speak...but I'm also different in how I mother. I've heard it said that love multiplies, it doesn't divide with each child, and I know this to be true. 

Bringing a new baby home really does change everything, and in the process God has again been using this little boy to change me. I'm learning how to mother to three boys. How to run our home caring for those three. How to homeschool with two this year. How to plan my days with more laundry, more attention divided, more love all around. I'm learning to see more of God's grace, because I certainly fail pretty hard at getting all the things done. I'm not supermom, I'm just me, a  work in progress. 

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And back to the night we had. After realizing that I'm not the same person I was, that I am different now than I was a year ago, I felt a freedom and weight off my heart. There is freedom in letting go of your own expectations. I had set up a list somewhere in my mind that I thought I needed to accomplish to be a "successful" mom. It was my, before-three-boys, list. Realizing that list is different now, and in fact probably just needs to be scratched out is freeing. I have given that list to the Lord. I let Him take over that part of my heart that felt so weighted. He's going to help me in this new role. Wearing these new shoes that feel a little stiff, this motherhood role. 

As I flicked off the lights to the boys room, I paused and sang a song to them (Aleksandr requested) before heading downstairs. It was this one- the very one I sang early this morning to the Lord as I prayed with Him. How appropriate it felt to share it with the boys. This mama that has to continually ask for forgiveness from her boys for her failings, and from her Father for those same failings. What a lovely reminder that God is at work to make us beautiful for Him, in His own time, not ours. 

In His Time

In His Time In His time, in His time, He makes all things beautiful, in His time, Lord, please show me everyday, As You're teaching me Your way, That You do just what You say, in Your time.

In Your time, in Your time, You make all things beautiful, in Your time. Lord, my life to You I bring, May each song I have to sing, Be to You a lovely thing, in Your time.

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baby boy, newborn, monthly, portraits, atlanta, photography, boy mom, third child, son, baby

Our (classical) homeschool curriculum

Years ago when I had only one little toddler at home, I was surprised at how excited I was to teach him. It just came naturally, since he was a baby.  

Over the years I've realized that as a mom we teach our kids from the moment they are born. Introducing them to the world around us whether we realize it or not! 

I remember thinking back when Oliver, our firstborn, was a baby that he had never seen a leaf. I picked one up and showed him on a walk one day, delighting in the fact that there was so much more to show him!  

I think that was probably the beginning of me "teaching" him. And I loved it! I never thought I'd be a teacher of any sort, but it's been so much fun to teach Oliver in those early days and on into preschool, kindergarten, first, and now second grade. 

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As we get ready to gear up for another school year, (where did the summer go? oh yes, a new baby!) I wanted to share what we will be using this year for second grade (Oliver) and kindergarten (Aleksandr).

I remember when we first started homeschooling. I was overwhelmed with all the choices. Kindergarten with Oliver was an introduction into the world of curriculum choices. I was a little overwhelmed to say the least. 

Since then, I have to say the Lord has graciously led us to the classical route. We enrolled Oliver in Classical Conversations last year, and even though it wasn't my first choice at the time, I had a peace about pursuing it, trusting the Lord had opened the door for us to try it. Now, we are starting our second year with CC and I can say it's a whole lot easier this year planning for school! We love CC and it's been a really good fit for our family at this point. When I chose curriculum this year, I had the foundation of CC to springboard off of. That, as well as using some of the same choices we had last year that were winners! Here's my plan for the year. 

Binders!

I know, terribly exciting! But I am excited about these 3" binders for each boy. I am keeping their attendance, daily schedule and worksheets in each one. I know that at the end of the year I will be so happy to have it all in one place. I also won't have to look back to figure out our attendance and what we did exactly...somehow that seems to happen when you don't keep it in one place. Not that I would know that...

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Planning

I love looking through halfahundredacrewood's website for some helps when I'm planning. She has great printable templates for record keeping (like this handy attendance log below) and daily planning. I printed some for each boy's book.

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Handwriting

This year we are so excited to start cursive! Oliver has been excited about cursive since last year. After reading up on when to start, for us it seems like now is the best time. I actually wished I had started with cursive instead of manuscript (or print). I'm using Script-n-Scribe by Brandy Ferrell over at halfahundredacrewood.com I am actually using this for both boys so I'm excited to see how it goes for a brand new writer and one with a little more experience. 

classical, homeschool, school year, hand writing

Math

I've used Math-u-See for the past couple years and I love the manipulative set that comes with it. Oliver loves building with the blocks and has done so well with their workbooks. I'm using Beta for Oliver, and starting Aleksandr with Primer. 

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Science

In Classical Conversations we cover science in 3 areas, in 12 week increments. The first 12 weeks is about the human body. I picked up this human body kit and coloring book second hand (consignment, and the coloring book was given to us). We will be building this little kit, and I'm also planning to do a lap book with both boys. Planning being the key word, as we have a newborn at home! I've never done lap books before and I found these which has an elementary and preschool level lap book, for both boys.

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Phonics

For our phonics this year for Oliver, I am trying a new curriculum. All About Reading was something I kept hearing great things about from other mama's. And since reading has been slow going, I wanted a complete phonics and reading set that would easily help me teach him. This one looks like a lot of fun, with lots of hands on magnet tiles, cards, a workbook and readers. I'm excited for us to jump in, and I plan to have Aleksandr sit in on it too, to see how much he can learn from it. 

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History

We already cover a history timeline each week in CC, as well as history sentences and geography. Last year I added in these books to enrich our history. The four volumes of The Story of the World are wonderful to read aloud to tie into whatever history we are covering each week in CC. Plus, Half hundred Acre Woods offers daily planning pages that include the page numbers for SOTW that relate to each week! I also picked up this fun maze book for Oliver, since we are learning all the states and capitals in geography this year. He can't wait to draw in it!

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Reading (for kindergarten)

This year, along with All About Reading, I'll be taking Aleksandr through this book. It's his first year learning how to read, and I liked how easy the daily lessons were in this book when Oliver went through it. I'm excited to watch Aleksandr grow in the world of reading!

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Bible, Art and Music

We will also have Bible, art and some music mixed into our daily routine. CC covers a 12 week series of artists, and Oliver and Jonah will be learning guitar together. Jonah also teaches Bible to the boys, which is always fun to listen in on. He's a wonderful teacher. I'm so thankful we can homeschool! I think each year I become more excited than the boys about a new year. It always feels like a fresh start after the end of a school year and full summer. In our school space I painted some scriptures that I'd like to memorize with the boys. As we deal with heart issues like anger, mean words, selfishness ect. I am looking for scripture that can speak into specific areas. These three are a start for us to look at regularly and hide in our hearts. You can see more of my scripture paintings over at my shop here if you'd like some prints for your own home! 

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I can hardly believe it's already that time of year again, for school to start! But I'm excited to watch our boys grow and learn, and to learn alongside them. Keeping this in mind as we kick off our school year (next week): Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established. (Proverbs 16:3)

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