Until

Standard

My little precious baby,

We said goodbye again today.

We visited your grave,

Where your body was laid.

IMG_1238

We took pictures of you with your sisters,

And your brothers too.

You could not take any others with them,

Just the ones at your tomb.

IMG_1241 IMG_1247

I get sad when I think

Of all that I will miss:

The sounds of your laugh and cry,

Your wet and slobbery kiss.

IMG_1244

I wonder what you’re doing;

Playing with some kids above?

Being rocked by my grandmother?

You’ll always be surrounded by perfect love.

IMG_1240

So until we can join you,

We will visit you here,

And in our hearts we’ll hold you,

So you will always be near.

IMG_1248

Reluctant Servants

Standard

We had a lesson about being a servant to others in our curriculum this morning. The illustration was foot washing. I knew this would be unpopular with my students, but we did it anyway. I had Andrew do it first, to set an example  for the others to follow. He made me proud. He had the best attitude and took the most care. It did help that he drew Celia’s name.

IMG_1226

Charlotte wasn’t happy about any of it.

IMG_1227 IMG_1231

Jacob wanted to do it too. He was so fast that all of his pictures were blurry.

IMG_1229

For the last five school days I have forgotten to do English with Charlotte. It’s a new subject for her this year. She would always remind me at night that we hadn’t done it for the day. And then I would always remember that we seemed to be finishing our school morning quicker than normal. I kept thinking it was because we were becoming so efficient with our time! So today I made a daily/weekly chart of the subjects each child needs to cover and then laminated it. I can then easily mark off what we’ve done and see what needs to be finished. Then I erase and start over for the next day. I’ve also included a list of extras that I want Celia to cover every few weeks. It’s a good reminder of what to tell a child to do if they’re bored or bothering a sibling!

IMG_1234

I received in the mail a wonderful memento of Cora’s life. A good friend, Scarlett, requested a Heart to Hold to be sent to me. It’s a handmade, cloth heart that is stuffed with the weight of your stillborn baby. So, Cora’s heart weighs 6 ounces. It was nice to have the children hold it so they could feel how tiny she was.

IMG_1237You can never have too many reminders of your baby!

 

Field Trip #1: Toltec Mounds

Standard

We took a break from book learning in exchange for learning in the field. Literally. We went to Toltec Mounds. After watching the video about the history of the place, and perusing the small museum,  we went outside.

IMG_1213

We chose to go on the 1.6 mile trail, which wasn’t paved. We fought mosquitoes 2/3 of the trip and looking at my legs today, I can tell you I lost the battle.

Here they are at the base of a mound.

IMG_1216

And by a lake which borders the park.

IMG_1218

 

Here’s proof I was there.

IMG_1217

After buying trinkets in the gift shop, we had a picnic lunch.

IMG_1219

 

It was a pretty successful outing. I hope to do more field trips this year. And where’s Jacob? Enjoying a morning at Granny’s!

Cancelled Debt

Standard

Monday was our first day of school and it was the best first day we’ve ever had! I think this was due to Jacob spending the morning with Granny.

100_3215

Plus almost all the curriculum were the ones we used last year.

It was a really great week and I realized it was the first time since 2008 that either I wasn’t pregnant or didn’t have a child under two years of age. How much faster we can get things done when I don’t have to stop every 30 minutes and deal with someone or get myself a snack!

Now, Jacob has been a little unruly in that he decided it would be fun to take off his pants and diaper several times this week. He will say “I want to go potty,” but in reality he wants to wiggle on the toilet and put oodles of toilet paper in the bowl. And I think one time he got bored outside.

IMG_1211

 

We added a drawing curriculum to the slate this year, just for Charlotte. Here’s some finished projects.

IMG_1212

But the biggest news this week was an answer to prayer. Due to the nature of our insurance coverage, we ended up owing several thousand more dollars for Cora’s birth and the hospital stay  because it was not a live birth. It was like adding insult to injury. And it’s caused us lots of anxious thoughts about the best way to handle this financially. But God! He has everything in control and He takes care of His own.

I got a phone call from one of the business offices where we owe money and they said that they were discussing our case (which we never asked them to do) and they decided to wipe our account clean. Our account balance is at $0 instead of $1500! I started crying on the phone. And continued crying after we hung up. The kids  wanted to know what was wrong and I shared with them.

I immediately was reminded of a truth I learned in BSF during 2013. When we do God’s will, we can expect God’s provision. I hadn’t misunderstood God when He told us to give control of family size to Him. He knows our needs and He has the ability to meet it.  “Then it shall be to Me a name of joy, a praise, and an honor before all nations of the earth, who shall hear all the good that I do to them; they shall fear and tremble for all the goodness and all the prosperity that I provide for it” (Jeremiah 33:9.)

I feel like I have entered a new phase spiritually with the Lord.  A new level of trust. And a new reassurance about the future.

Last week I finished making my copycat memorial wreath. I cut off the ribbons and dead flowers from Cora’s funeral wreath and wrapped it in fresh ribbon and bought silk flowers to recreate a smaller scale version. I also purchased the wooden dove and attached it to the wreath. I’ll hang this on our door on her birthday and any other time I feel I need it out.

IMG_1208

Busy Bags 2

Standard

Well, I’ve spent some more time on Jacob’s schooling.

Mr. Potato Head out of felt:

IMG_1194 IMG_1195

Felt rainbow:

IMG_1196

 

Pictures mod poged onto colored popsicle sticks, then cut apart to make puzzles:

IMG_1197 IMG_1198 IMG_1199

Jacob can handle about 3 sticks at once, then he’s done. Once he does a face or two, he can’t do anymore. This is definitely something he can grow into.

I found a matching Heads and Tails cards for free at Montessori Print Shop. I love that these are real pictures of animals, and not drawings.

IMG_1193 IMG_1192

And finally a button snake. I cut out TONS of felt shapes in assorted colors and Jacob can string them on the ribbon. This kept him the most occupied out of everything and was the easiest for him to do on his own. He can’t figure out how to take the shapes off the ribbon, though.

IMG_1184 IMG_1187 IMG_1182 IMG_1183 IMG_1190

I only spent $15 making all 7 bags and $7  of that total was for the actual pencil pouches!

IMG_1200

I think I spent so much time on these  because I was procrastinating doing actual school prep for those I’ve promised the state I will educate. I sat down today and sorted through our school books and came up with an ambitious list for what I want to cover the first day of school. Here are our subjects this year (I’ll post a detailed list under each grade hopefully soon.)

1. Who is My Neighbor? (worldview)

* this includes Bible memory books

2. Grammar

3. Handwriting

4. Spelling

5. Math

6. Reading

*phonics

7. Science

8. History

9. Monet study

10. Art instruction

*includes outdoor sketch books

WOW! I am already overwhelmed! I can’t see us doing all of that day one. Everyone spends too much time admiring their new workbooks and pencils and markers for us to be that productive! Well, a mom can dream!

Busy Bags

Standard

I made some busy bags today, thanks to too many hours browsing Pinterest!

This is a matching colors bag. I also have word cards for Celia to match with the clothespins.

IMG_1178

Jacob can’t quite figure out how to open the clothespins.

IMG_1175

IMG_1177

 

This is a matching numbers bag for Celia and Jacob.

IMG_1181

And here is a lowercase matching to uppercase bag for Celia.

IMG_1179

 

IMG_1180

Hopefully these will keep Jacob entertained for at least 5 minutes while we do school!

Passing through the waters

Standard

I’ve been reading Little Pilgrim’s Progress to the children. Today we reached the end of Christian’s journey and the description of dying  was so meaningful to me. John Bunyan compares the process of death to crossing a river, an analogy he drew from Isaiah 43:2, “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they will not overflow you.” Here are some excerpts from the book, describing Christian and Hopeful’s last stage of the pilgrimage.

Come, Christian, ” he [Hopeful] said, “this is our very last trouble, and it will soon be over. Let us go together, and I am sure the King will take care of us.”

So the little pilgrims went slowly down the bank and stepped into the water.

Little Christian clasped his hands together as he felt the cold waters of the Dark River rushing around his body. Hopeful kept close to him and tried to hold him up, but the little pilgrim soon lost his footing and cried out, “I am sinking! The water is all going over me!”

“No, it is only rough,” said Hopeful. “Do not be so frightened. I can feel the ground at the bottom of the river, and it is quite firm. We shall cross  safely, and then we shall have no more trouble.”

“Perhaps you will cross,” whispered Christian faintly, “but I am sure I cannot. I shall never see the King, and I did so wish to live with Him always!”

“You will live with Him. Look up, Christian, and don’t think about the water. We can see everything quite clearly now. The City is full of light, and the Shining Ones are waiting for us at the gates.”

Presently little Christian opened his eyes, and as the light from the Celestial City fell upon his face he cried out suddenly, “Oh, I can see it all now! It shines like the sun, and I heard the voice of the Prince.  He said, ‘I will be with you in the waters.’ “

“Then I am sure we need not be frightened,” said Hopeful.  “Take hold of my hand again. The Prince will never break His promise.” 

So Little Christian’s courage came back to him, and he did not faint or tremble anymore. Hand in hand the little pilgrims made their way across the Dark River, and after a time its bed seemed to grow firmer, and its waters were less rough. Then they saw that the two Shining Ones who had brought them down to the river were waiting to receive them. In a few moments the dreadful passage was over. Gentle hands drew them out of the water, and they stood safely upon the shore. 

The whole time I was reading aloud, I had to stop and take deep breaths to keep myself from crying. All I could think of was Cora. She recently passed from life to death. But, then I became thankful. Thankful that she never knew the fear of dying. The pain of dying. That for her, passing through the waters was pleasant because her whole life was spent in waters. She passed from warm waters into the Living Water.

Tomorrow is one month since her birth. If for those who are dying it is like passing through the waters, then for their loved ones it is like passing through fire.  I love this quote by Alana Sheeran, “What grief does is it puts us squarely in the middle of a fire, and it burns away everything that is not essential to our lives.” I guess that is why reading silly novels and listening to the radio hold no interest for me. I often wonder what was the last thing Cora heard before her heart stopped beating. Was it a senseless pop music song? My raised voice at the kids? The weather report on TV? Or me singing hymns to Jacob at bedtime?

I am being refined by fire.

1 Peter 1:7 “…so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”