When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they will not overflow you. Isaiah 43:2

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Homeschooling Kya

I'll be honest, I was scared.
What if I mess her up?
What if she doesn't receive teaching well from her mom?
What if she doesn't like being at home all the time?
So far, the fears were for nothing. And watching her learn to read, learn math skills, find her way through a science lesson or explore the nuances of citizenship in social science...wow, there's just nothing quite like seeing your child's educational and spiritual growth firsthand.
I am so thankful every day that God continues to equip me for this task.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

My New Laundry Line

Pretty, huh?


So I have decided there is some sort of strange compulsion wired into small boys that disallows them to process anything prohibiting climbing or jumping off of stuff. It is as though there is a small masculine voice inside willing the destruction of all household furnishings. It could be an olympic event around here DESPITE repeated disciplinary efforts to the contrary. So this day, I just gave in and took pictures.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Grandma on a Tractor

I never thought I'd see my mom on a John Deere. A very sophisticated, never the leave the house without her makeup, always has her toes done kind of lady, my mom hopped right on at the opportunity, much to my husband's and my surprise...tractors are just crazy fun. No one can resist.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Real Life

I had to take this picture quickly (myself) before I ruined my makeup by crying, washing off spit up, getting dusty and dirty outside, or sweating. And I had to show off my hair because I actually got my hair done yesterday for the first time in over a year...maybe two!
Ok, I'm a teensy bit tired of folks believing that our life is 100% perfect all the time. And I really don't want anyone to have the misconception that this life is easy or that I do it well.

Having four small children is hard. Waaaaaaay harder than law school or the Bar exam. There was no prep course, no manual, not even an outline to follow. I wing it! And I fail a lot.
Having a beautiful big house to clean up every day is hard. Having 2 1/2 acres and sprinklers for miles and a pool with a deck and two porches, well, it is a lot of work. And I don't always do it! And I've come to realize that's OK.
I love it all, but I am often sleepy, or irritable and I often cut corners on everything from dressing my children (boys don't need shirts, right?) to cleaning the kitchen (no one can really see UNDER the table, can they?).
I spend the day with the children...Addie cries unless she is held, sleeps minimally during the day and spits up like it is her job.
I stay up most nights until at least 11, sometimes one or two, cleaning and organizing for the next day. I "get up" some time between 4:30 and 5:30 AM, depending on when Addie nurses last and then I hit the shower. There are often other kiddos needing me between the time I "go to" bed and when I "get up" for the day as any mom of young kids knows. So I sleep 3-5 hours a night.

Sometimes there is one child in the bathroom with me when I shower, sometimes all four. My showers are SHORT.

I still smell bad most of the time.
I read the Bible every morning...sometimes three words, sometimes three pages...it is my lifeline.

The laundry has not been done in weeks except when my in-laws took pity on me and did five loads. Our dryer works sporadically, so I do laundry less and less because I find myself wanting to kick it a lot and who needs to fill their days with that kind of hatred?
There is a promise floating around here that a Lowe's delivery man may bring me a sparkly new dryer today though and I am hopeful!

Wyatt runs around with his pants backwards, his underwear sticking out of the top, his shoes on the wrong feet and did I say no shirt? Well, most of the time, no shirt (refer to aforementioned laundry shortage.) He has a goofy smile all the time and really likes to poke and hit things with big sticks...and there are a LOT of big sticks here.

Kya looks beautiful all the time and is a great little gal with LOTS of clothes (so the laundry shortage doesn't affect her much.) But sometimes, she goes days without a bath or any semblance of conditioner in her hair and it gets pretty ratty. She bites her nails, so at least I don't have to worry about cutting her nails. Bonus! :) I forget to give her Singulair sometimes and she coughs and says her throat hurts, which reminds me to give it to her again...that makes me feel really bad.
Kya also sleeps anywhere and everywhere. She's flexible when Caden falls asleep horizontally on her bed because the parents haven't enforced bedtime in over a month...she just moves to the couch. She does all her school work for the week in a day and spends the rest of the week helping out around here and playing make believe. She has a great imagination--in her dollhouse world, there is much less chaos.
Kya reminds me that eating five brownies will make my tummy hurt. I am thankful for that.

I cannot even see the bottom of my closet.

We eat a lot of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

The baby is crying again so I gotta run, but I really just wanted to share a slice of life for those of you who keep sending me messages exalting me as some sort of mothering messiah. It is not so. But, I am happy in this chaos, and I know that I know, that God is with me every crazy step of the way, so that's worth a lot.
And being happy really is a choice (as my friend Callie recently reminded me) and that is 90% of the daily battle won if you can keep a smile on your face!

Chicken Coop, Ridiculously Big Bathroom...and Other New House Stuff

This is the new chicken coop. I think it cost Scott like $20 after all was said and done. The fencing was free from our neighbor, the wood was scrap Scott got from a contsruction site.

One of the rooms of our new house that makes me smile EVERY time I go in is this bathroom. It is immense. We could put a bed in there and call it good. The bath tub fits our whole family. Scary thought, I know...

Here's a picture of Caden in the bathroom that really punctuates its massiveness. I have some decorating to do, I know!

Here's me on the tractor a week or two after I had Addie (got some weight to lose mama!)

This is the view from the front porch--Miss Judith's horse corrals. I have no idea where the horses were this day. They are always right out front.

I just love it here. I'm finally home!!!

Kya's First Day

Kya rode the train (a long trailer hauled by a John Deere tractor) from the school over to the Lori Brock Museum where her Art and P.E. enrichment classes took place. These are her sparkly purple flip flops.This is a close up of my sweet baby girl. It was much harder on me than her to go to school this day. She kept this sort of pensive observant attitude all day. Reserved, but content and peaceful with her surroundings. Sign me up as this kid's mom. I like her.

Off to class like a big girl!

Wyatt is quite pleased to be walking his sister to her class.

As charter school homeschoolers, we get the best of both worlds. I get to teach the kids at home one on one, but we get free curriculum, record keeping, resource teachers and enrichment classes at the school. This is Kya's first day of Kindergarten enrichment classes, which she takes one day a week at the school. With over 1000 students, the charter school is bursting at the seams, but oh my what a blessing. The teachers, the other families, the resources and the school site are just marvelous.
Happy first day baby girl!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Two Quick God Stories

The last two weeks, there have been two specific moments I have stopped Scott and asked him to pray with me over silly things. One was a dresser for our room and the other was the a/c unit that went out at our rental.

First, the dresser. Scott's clothes and shoes had been all over the floor since the move because the closet in our new room is smallish. So, I said, "honey, let's pray for one." So we did. Two days later, my in-law's neighbor, Mary, gave us the most beautiful HUGE wonderful dresser imaginable!

Second, three days ago, our renters called and said the a/c unit was out. UGH! Sucky for them and us! And it was the start of the Labor Day weekend--no repairman was gonna come cheap! And our budget is stretched THIN right now with all the appliances breaking in OUR house! So, first, Scott asked our former neighbor to recommend someone that wouldn't rip us off.

Our neighbor ended up fixing it himself! FOR FREE! And it just happened he had thrown the exact part we needed into his rental truck that weekend. That's awesome!

I was excited...and felt so blessed.


Yesterday they called again--it wasn't working again.


So we prayed, "Lord, you worked this out so beautifully that we could live in this house and afford things, we know you will work this a/c issue out somehow too."

Today, they called and it turned out that their little girls had been pretend "repairing" the a/c unit like they had seen Chris the repairman doing and turned off the breaker. It's back on and working.

I could never have imagined how God would grace us out in these little areas. But he did. And He knows that impresses me.

Thanks for caring enough to show yourself to me God...over and over.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Tackling Our Giants and Other Stuff Too

Six weeks ago, Addie Grace, our fourth baby in five years, turned two weeks old. She gave me a run for my money in every sense. She cried and screamed and cried...but I didn't really mind because I was soooo excited about our new home, our new life, and our new baby girl.

I slept a few hours here and there, usually with Addie nestled in my arms. I did not feel exhausted, but I knew when I would forget simple things or go back into a room for the fourth time wondering what I was looking for, that the tiredness was catching up to me.

The other kids adjusted well. They were excited about the move and having a swimming pool of their very own.

We moved with the help of so many loyal friends, I cannot even begin to recount them all here. Thank you to all you loyal souls, and I apologize that I was absolutely no help whatsoever. I would show up at the old house, baby in the Bjorn, other three kids in tow, and end up nursing the whole time, trying to keep Caden from unpacking the boxes our sweet friends were packing up, and praying that Kya and Wyatt were not being stolen out of the front yard. I felt helpless and deeply grateful...

The move wasn't pretty or organized. There was a bunch of crap thrown in boxes and stacked in front of our house, in our rooms, under the carport...bathroom stuff in the kitchen, kitchen stuff in the kids' rooms, everything else in the whole wide world in the driveway. It was enough to cause any sane person an anxiety attack.

But, I'm not sane, and I was too tired to recognize the magnitude of what i had to tackle.

The day after we got the last of our boxes moved, we went shopping for camp. I cooked for (with A LOT of help from one Dee Williams!!) and Scott directed camp for a week. After camp was over each day, I would come home, get the kids put to bed, strap Addie in the Baby Bjorn and unpack until 1 or 2 in the morning.

I would nurse Addie throughout the night, get up at 5 and haul the kids back to camp for the next day, and so it went for the week.

When the week was over, Scott and I were mere shells of our former selves. We would meet up at midnight in the pool and silently hold each other, grasping for some hope amidst the insanity of our sleeplessness, trying to cool off so we didn't have to run the a/c all night.

We had a week until school would start, and a few days at the beach for the previously arranged beach trip with the Haner family. It was a wonderful break and we loved being with the family in the cool ocean air, but the piles of boxes and work to be done lingered in the back of our minds...and the chickens were still without a coop. This fact was punctuated when we returned that Wednesday around midnight to find racoons munching on one of our hens under the Eucalyptus tree. Brutal greeting.

Addie was finally beginning to turn a corner with some formula supplementation finally satisfying her growing appetite.

We returned and worked our hardest to get things under control before Scott had to go back to teaching, but alas, it was not to be completed in time.

But, here we are, six weeks later, with less than fifteen boxes remaining, a house filled with happiness and peace, a baby who sleeps for at least a few hours at night and cries less than she used to...and a successful first two weeks of homeschooling Kya.

So, I thought I'd share a few pictures that sort of illustrate two things...1) What in the world would we do without our friends the Hortons??? Ben and Angie, you have been our rocks! and 2) Sometimes gigantic tasks just need to be addressed with a giant freakin' chainsaw.

Number two is both literal and metaphorical. I believe that the chainsaw I have used to tackle these past six weeks has been prayer, and lots of it! You have to get kind of hard core when things get that bleak and exhausting. God showed up time and time again and He just totally wowed me over and over. Kind of like Ben and the chainsaw against this monster of a bush...
Here, Ben and my hubby demonstrate how happy power tools can make you when you have a large project at hand.

Here, the Horton and Haner kids combine (minus Addie) to eat a meal and celebrate friendship...and pizza! Isn't it funny how moms are never in pictures? Because we are busy getting the meal on the table, getting drinks and taking pictures!

The chainsaw suffered a sad death today, only to be resurrected by the power of Ben's touch!

It's a doozy! But we HAD to cut it down because it was housing all manner of rodents, critters and creatures. Bleck. This is Ben rethinking his endeavors.

This is Ben wishing he had come over to swim instead of "help."

This is Addie (being held by Pat Cowles, our dear friend who also helped us a TON with our move and preparation for moving.) I thought I would insert this picture because HELLO, Addie is so fat! You see, I have found that she stops crying for long periods of time when she is well fed. She really just likes to eat--all day.

And finally, Kya started taking piano lessons (from me) in our new home and is doing great. I have dreamed for years of teaching my kids piano and it is going better than I ever dreamed. What fun to have the opportunity to share skills with such a wonderfully excited and gifted student!

More to come on caffeine withdrawal, heart palpitations, homneschooling, the laundry fiasco, raccoons, lizards, and gophers, oh my!, and life in general here on the Haner farm...As for this home, we will serve the Lord, who has so richly blessed us. :)

Who Knew?

Who knew moving with four kids including the super fussiest newborn on earth could be so exhausting? But, man oh man, do I love this man and this little fussy mop of hair. (His shirt reads, "I need my garage time." Too bad he couldn't even make it into the garage for three weeks because of all the STUFF in the driveway! Seriously, it was sad and scary for a while around here.) But, we have been blessed with unexplained energy beyond measure (despite my lack of caffeine--oh my caffeine withdrawal post will be sad and long, but with a happy ending) and the home of our dreams.

The Dream Realized

Well, this will be a short post with many more to come, with the amazing story of our arrival here. Suffice it to say, we are finally home...