Hey, It's Jade!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Convicted Myself About School (and I'm a little crazy)...

So, yesterday someone on one of the facebook homeschool groups I participate in posted something about feeling like a bad mom because she's disorganized and doesn't have a homeschool area for her kids.  I immediately jumped in and encouraged her that homeschooling is not about having a classroom, or even a designated area, that you set up to work in.  You school in your home, or in the car, or at the park, etc.  I said some other stuff, too.  I hope that my comments helped her to realize that her homeschool doesn't have to look like those pinterest-perfect homeschool rooms we drool over with awesome desks, shelves of bookshelves and organizing bins, supplies all neatly arranged.  Even if it didn't, it convicted me, that's for sure.  Oh my gosh, y'all, I drool over those dang magazine-looking homeschool rooms I see.  Such jealousy, you have no idea.

I have been struggling with not starting school yet, saying that we would start once we were settled into our new home.  Well, here we are... no where near ready to move.  We had that buyer who backed out, and we've had several offers that were unacceptably low... our house has been on the market over 95 days now (but, um.. who's counting?) and we aren't even going out to look at homes with our realtor anymore.  My brain flip flops between let's call it off and live here vs. we need to find a bigger space, let's just keep waiting for things to happen.  Granted, we have started math and spelling, so it's not like we're not getting anything done.  Our curriculum is 34-weeks, and the further I push it back... the more we'll be behind.  Then, my brain is all "you won't be behind, you set your own schedule, plus Preston is actually ahead of his age anyway, chill out."  Oh, Brain... give me a break, will ya?  Why you gotta be all wishy-washy, huh?

So, then I start thinking, well, if we aren't moving...I can move the boys into the same room and use Callen's small room for a school room, set up the new desks we have in the garage for them in there, bring in the bookcases and get this ball rolling.  And, hey, even if we are leaving our house on the market, it'll still be fine to do that... it'll just make Preston's room look a bit more cluttered.  I just have this deep desire to have an area where we can set up school.  BUT, didn't I just reassure that sweet lady in the fb group that you don't NEED a school area?  Yes.  Yes, I did.  And, honestly, I don't know how good of an idea it is to put my boys in one room at this point.  Callen still destroys Preston's room on a regular basis when he gets in there.  The bunk bed we have in storage is gonna take up a lot of space... and which of the boys will be the first to fall off of it?  Indecisive Brain, you are killing me!  I want this.  Or that.  And maybe this.  But that isn't a good idea, so... this?  That?  The other thing?  Arghhhh.

If I don't set up a school area, we can still school, dang it. We can, we can, WE CAN!  So, I THINK I have decided to get our school stuff ready, put it in a crate - something that can be hidden away when needed - and just go with the flow.  No, I can't put up stuff on the walls as I like to.  We still can't use the desks I bought from my friend.  It will take more effort to get things out and put things up constantly.  But... if I don't officially start our school year soon, I'm gonna explode!  Ka-freaking-boom! So, I'm thinking we'll start up in a few weeks (the week after Labor Day?) and see what happens.

Meanwhile, still praying like a crazy woman that we get a buyer, for our full price so our math works out, and that we find our new home quickly and easily, the move is smooth, and we live happily ever after.  I do want to move into a new-to-us home, something that has more space (and yes, a stinkin' homeschool area, of course) and more yard to enjoy.  But, if we end up here, and that's God's will for us, then fine.  I just... would like to be out of this not-knowing phase already.

On heavy repeat in my mind...
Proverbs 16:9 "We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps."

Friday, August 23, 2013

JDRF Walk to Cure Diabetes 2013 is coming up!

My family and I will once again be joining Team Elise at the upcoming JDRF Walk to Cure Diabetes on Saturday, September 29 at 9 AM at Victory Plaza at the American Airlines Center in Dallas.  

This is Elise!
Our dear friends Fred and Joanne have an amazing daughter named Elise, who was diagnosed with Type I Diabetes during her First Birthday celebration.  Their life was never the same.  Elise, however, is the strongest, smartest, sassiest little girl you will ever meet, and nothing is gonna get her down!  She, and her parents (along with two little brothers!), are an inspiration to me and so many.  And it is our honor to walk with them each year in support of finding a cure for Juvenile Diabetes!

Please consider joining us as a walker, or financially through a tax-deductible donation.  You can read Elise's story and find out more about the event here.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Not-Back-To-School Blog Hop Post

As you have already heard me whine about, I'm sure, we aren't officially starting school until we move and get settled in a new place (and at this point, I have NO idea when that will be!).  But, I got antsy, and decided we have to start SOMETHING before I go nuts!  And the kids are getting kinda funky, too, so I feel they need a little more structure in their day on a regular basis.  Preston finished up his Rod & Staff Health and Manners workbook on Friday (here's hoping he retains some of those manners, sheesh!), and I told him that we'd be starting some school on Monday.  He didn't groan or complain, and first thing Monday morning he woke me up and said, "Let's do school!"  So, I think that means he's ready.  Lol.



Going along with iHomeschoolNetwork.com's Blog Hop (which is really supposed to be a 4-week-long thing, and I crammed into one post because, again, we're un-officially starting, lol), here is an update on Clark Family Academy...

Curriculum:
For Preston, my 3rd-Grader, we will be using My Father's World Exploring Countries and Cultures, BUT because I don't have the ability to pull out all of the stuff and put maps up and all that (thanks to our beautifully staged home right now), I decided to start with the subjects that don't require many supplies.
Preston's curriculum
We are doing Spelling Power, according to the MFW ECC instructions.  We did the survey and spelling test and Preston gets to start with Level C.  He was pretty pumped about not having to start at the beginning.  The Justice League notebook is where he does his writing.  And we are starting up Grade 3-A in Math Mammoth on the iPad.  I was not looking forward to having to print out all of the pages in the two workbooks this year, then the amazing Amanda Pelser posted a tutorial on how to do worksheets on the iPad (and her example was even using Grade 3-A of Math Mammoth, um... yeah!).  So, no more spending tons of money/ink trying to print out everything, AND Preston enjoys getting to use the iPad, of course!

My preschooler, Callen, and I will be doing Before Five in a Row... at some point.  I have lent most of the books for that curriculum to a friend doing it with her kiddos, and since we're not ready to truly start, haven't asked for them back.
Callen's curriculum
So, for now, Callen will be doodling in his Planes notebook, and creating letters (print outs from COAH) with his Wooden Pattern Blocks.  He'll also be running around like a banshee, and getting into trouble.  That's just what he does.  I'll be finding other things to do with him/occupy him as we go.

School Room:
Welp... I was really hoping to be settled into a new place that has a nice area that we can set up "school."  It's certainly something on top of my 'want' list when we look at houses.  But, for now, our supplies/books are stashed away deep in my closet.  I was able to dig out what we needed and find a place to have it easily on hand but mostly hidden as well.
Just a few books for now!
The books are tucked away in a corner of our kitchen hutch, close to the kitchen table.  That way when potential buyers come in for a showing, they can still see our beautiful kitchen and not be distracted by a ton of school stuff all over the place.

Our staged kitchen, photograph from our listing.
Student Photo:
Ok, obviously I haven't done much with this.  But here are my two dudes hard at work on Monday...
Doing work just before dinner.
Day In the Life:
Our first day (yesterday) went a little something like this... Preston woke me up excited to get started.  So, before Callen woke up and demanded breakfast, we got to work on the Spelling Power Survey and Placement test to see where we start in that big 'ole book!  I read through the list of words, Preston spelled to me, and I wrote them down.  Now, I told him that would NOT be the norm, because even though he hates to write and complains about it constantly, he HAS to do it.  But, since we had to get through a bunch of words and I needed him to concentrate on actually spelling, I knew it'd go smoother if I did the writing.  And it did.  He did great!  After that, Callen woke up... we did breakfast, tidied the house, ran out for a few errands, came back for lunch, Preston hurt himself*, headed out to the chiropractor, came back, Daddy came home, we ALL took naps, woke up, did some more school (what you see them doing in the picture above, Preston doing math and Callen "writing" in his notebook), dinner, then off again to a children's ministry meeting, back home, tidy up some more, kids watched a tv show with dad, bath, bed.  Whew!  Certainly made for a full day.  Obviously, not all our days are that packed with go-go-go!  Thank goodness!
Building the capital 'V'.

Spelling words daily test.

* My darling sons came out of Preston's room while I was doing some work and were both clothed in at least 10 shirts each.  They had decided to make themselves fat by putting on as many layers of shirts as they could.  Well, when Preston went to take his off, he pulled really hard and it yanked his head back really far.  He said he heart a crack, and he began to freak out.  I went running and found him, with his neck twisted one way and he said that if he moved anything it hurt really bad.  When he tried to show me, he cried.  Poor kid!  I put ice on it and finished up what I was doing.  It was totally a God thing, because I was doing some ironing for a friend who is a chiropractor... so we ran up to her office to take it back and I asked if instead of paying me, she'd help Preston's neck and, of course, she did.  She worked on him a little and he was able to move a ton more than before, so praise God for that.  In the picture above, he is doing his work with an ice pack on... having to do that periodically to help him heal.  Never a dull moment around here, for sure!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

B2S NT Blogger Meet Up 2013


This afternoon I attended a Teacher/Blogger Meet-Up in Southlake, hosted by Cassie with Adventures in Teaching and Colleen from Mrs. Patton's Patch.  About 30 women from all over North Texas were brought together to hang out, eat and have fun. 

When I was originally invited a few weeks ago, I jumped right on it!  But suddenly, on my way there, I became slightly nervous.  I started wondering if it was going to be awkward answering the question "Where/what do you teach?" with "Oh, I homeschool."  Turns out I had nothing to worry about.  Everyone was so sweet and kind, and I didn't feel "weird" about not being a traditional teacher at all.  In fact, a few of the ladies had questions about homeschooling, so it was fun getting to tell them all about it! 

I'm really glad I went... I met some pretty awesome teachers!  Even though we don't currently use the public education system, it's so nice to know how many fantastic teachers there are helping to shape future generations!

The Teachers/Bloggers! (Photo shared by Amy from StepIntoSecondGrade)

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Got a contract on the House! (and then we didn't)

So, after 75 excruciatingly long days of being on the market (ok, I'm sure they were regular days for anyone other than me), our house is under contract.  The Inspector (and buyer, eep! He's an investor, by the way, and will be using it as a rental... oh well) came last night to do what they do.  Waiting to hear if he found anything that needs negotiating, and, obviously, praying he didn't.  If this all pans out, closing date is September 12th.  30 Days!!!

We have been to look at a handful of houses so far.  Most have been disappointing... it's amazing how they can look so great online, and then totally not live up to that idea.  We did find one we like and are considering in Arlington, but would like to look more.  It's not everything we want, but could definitely work well and is definitely the best we've seen so far.  It's in a fantastic neighborhood, it's in great shape, the price is right.  Cons are that the backyard is a lot smaller than we've been hoping for, it doesn't have an extra space (like a formal dining or extra bedroom to set up school - and yes, that is really important to me, though I KNOW, from experience, we can school "anywhere.")  It also would need major updating... carpets ripped out, flooring installed, and the wallpaper fairy got cray-cray up in there... but those aren't really big issues in my opinion, totally doable.  So, like I said, we're continuing our hunt, checking out a wide variety of areas and styles of homes. Our house is out there, just waiting for us.

We've got 30 days (barring anything unforeseen with the sale of this house) to find our new home!

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Update, 8/15/13: Well, the buyer wants an additional sum of money towards "repairs."  That additional sum of money would be pretty much our whole savings towards down payment on our new home.  We can negotiate, but pretty sure we'll have to come up with something for him and it will wipe out our chance at a down payment at all.  I am bummed, but hopeful that we can come up with something to continue moving forward.  Another option would be to move outside of the Metroplex to an area that has USDA 0% Down loans available.  I wasn't really thinking we'd have to move that far... and it certainly wouldn't be convenient for Michael's work, our church, and my parents (who already think we live too far away - and are our main babysitters!).  I am trying to remain positive, but as a natural what-if worrier, my mind is racing.  Hoping to hear some good news from our realtor and/or lender today... perhaps they will find some sort of special loan/grant/something we qualify for that will help us.  Would greatly appreciate prayers for precise, clear guidance from the Lord on how to proceed (or not proceed).

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Update, 8/16/13: Ahh, the exciting ups and downs of selling/buying a house!  Yesterday, we were presented with additional options, so rural living may NOT be our only hope after all.  We saw a house we liked in NRH.  Well, we REALLY liked the street/neighborhood, the house needs a lot of work and is WAY above our new price range.  But, who knows what God is capable of, right?  We are continuing our search.  A counter-offer was sent to the buyers on the repair costs, waiting to hear from them.  And, according to our realtor, if they accept and we keep our closing date with them...we need to have a contract on our NEW home by the end of next week.  Um.  Ok.  No problem.  EEP!

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Update, 8/16/13: And about an hour after I posted the last update, we find out that our buyer has backed out.  No real reason given, just changed their mind.  Wow.  Ok.  Back to square one, I guess.  And I was really enjoying not having the showings, but ... we'll see.  I don't know what the next step is.  Call the whole thing off?  Keep showing it?  Do some repairs and then try again?  I just don't know.  Relying on God for continued guidance in all things.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

House Update & Callenism...

We have a decent offer on our house.  In negotiations at the moment.  Trying not to get all crazy excited about it, because there are so many hoops to jump through before things are set.  But YAAAAYYYYYY to the possibility of this 'moving' thing finally happening (we are at 73 days on the market).  We had two or three much lower offers, so this one IS exciting, for sure.  Now can we start going to look at houses for US, please?!?!  Lol.

x

Callen (3 years old) normally has a hard time just laying down and going to sleep at night.  As most young children, he tries to avoid bedtime like the plague.  Last night he was in his bed for a while, then came out and down the hall to me in the living room.  Apparently, he had been pondering something and it needed to be straightened out before he could sleep...

Callen: Mom?
Me: Callen, get back in your bed.
Callen:  Is George Washington a people or a state?
Me (trying to suppress a giggle): He is a person.
Callen:  Ok, a people. :::starts to go back into his room, then turns back around:::  Mom?
Me: Yes?
Callen: Is he just one people?
Me: Yes, one person.  Goodnight.
Callen: Thanks Mom.  Goodnight.  :::goes back to bed, falls asleep:::

I love that kid.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

July 2013 Tweets & Instagrams to Remember...

July 2nd - Don't worry, citizens! This duo is on your side!

July 2nd - We got kicked out of our house for a couple of showings this afternoon. Enjoying the nice weather! @…  

July 11th - Sometimes I can still pretend he's a baby.  

July 11th - #711  

July 12th - - yep, our favorite dress up holiday!  

July 19th - Turn It Up! @ Grace Fellowship Church  

July 23rd - Chalk up another for me. Lol. Top: the pin, Bottom: mine. Yep.  

July 26th - hi-tops. Preston is a lucky boy, these were on !  

July 28th - My little hipsters. @ Grace Fellowship Church