I'll update through pictures what we've been up to these last few months. This was taken at McDaniel Farm park at the end of August. I think I had the urge to take the boys to play in a creek and we capitalized on some free time to do it. Notice Benjamin in his pj's. This is normal. He likes to wear them most everywhere and I think we figured since he was just going to get dirty and need to change, we'd let him wear them out of the house. Notice my belly (but not my thighs please), having grown, yet this was taken about 6 weeks ago, so I'm sporting an even larger tummy now. This baby wakes me up in the night, having been dreaming I was being pushed back and forth, left and right, only to awaken and realize it was him. I guess doing jumping jacks. :) We've been so busy, more of that to come, and so I don't really think about the fact that I'm having a real baby in a few short months. I told Steve for me a week is a day and a month is a week, so we will be having the baby in 3 "Walsman family" weeks! I will walk around and ache and hurt, and my leg will throb, and then my heart will well up with joy---because I experience this pain for such a beautiful reason. I just feel humbled and blessed that God would actually give us another son. I can't wait to meet him! It seems too good to be true!
Notice the boys homemade wooden "floats". They were disappointed they wouldn't uphold their weight :), but they did make platform type boats!
I made it back up the trail towards our picnic area much slower than the rest of the crew, and Steve somehow got separated from Benjamin. That's really not too hard. This is as he starts running back from the parking lot area to me when I realized he wasn't with Steve. Oh, this boy scares me so bad! He has no fear and is no independent! I was keeping an eye and ear out for him and Samuel in the backyard recently, and literally 60 seconds went by and I said, "I don't hear them." I went outside and they were GONE. Vanished into thin air it seemed. I ran towards the busy street, but they had gone the other way towards the cul-de-sac's at the end of of our street, and I had several minutes of hell not knowing where my babies were. Benjamin said, "I went to find Sunny!" Often when this sort of thing happens I just devour myself as a mother, beating myself up, but this time, literally, they were where I could see them, I was very consciously aware that I was keeping my eye/ear on them while I was teaching Andrew a lesson at the table with the back door wide open, and it wasn't but less than a minute when I realized they were missing. Well, it did teach me that I must be OUTSIDE with them, under my very direct supervision. Benjamin is just too unpredictable! Or maybe too predictable! He will leave! And lead Samuel away too!
This boy had a birthday September 1 and turned 15! So hard to believe! Silly boy putting out his candles with his fingers. That is so Isaac. We felt led to bring him home this year to homeschool him through the Classical Conversations, Challenge program. As it turned out the logistics of that failed, and he is just home all the way, with me! We are using a variety of curriculum's and I can definitely say, homeschooling high school feels very different! This is the first time I'm actually grading things and keeping detailed records! I do enjoy it though! I know he will be gone in a few short years so I'm thankful for this time with him!
We've actually managed to do some family art together, here we are making turtles out of self drying clay. It was so fun! I've got several art instruction DVD's that I bought from an art instructor at a homeschool conference some time ago, and we are planning to have art "class" once a week! I'm really looking forward to this time together as a family! We are pretty intentional about not having our kids in front of screens more than a few hours per week, and so things like this are great to enrich our boys lives!
Here's our little love bug with his Aunt Kelli. He loves everyone....he goes around hugging any and everyone's legs and will just walk up to complete strangers, and stare at them with a big huge grin on his face. He is a doll and we just love him to pieces.
A leopard gecko came into our lives through some old church friends, and she is a fun and welcome addition! For years I would take Isaac to petsmart, since he was probably 4 or 5 years old, and we would always ask to hold the leopard geckos. We were really disappointed when they stopped letting people hold the lizards unless they were serious about buying them. Our visits dropped off then but I never forgot the desire that we both had to own on of these super cool lizards!
For managing the boys chores, I've gone to weekly checklists. They check their own chores off as they do them and at the end of the week they get one minute off their 60 minute video game time on the weekends for each check that isn't there. This is helping to hold them accountable. So far the best system I've implemented.
We are just a couple weeks shy of our Fall semester in Classical conversations ending. These weeks have gone by fast! Benjamin had a really hard time adjusting but is pretty much in the grove of the classroom setting now. It has been nice to focus in on just the memory work that CC gives for history and science, but I do miss my elaborate plans I typically make for these subjects using books from our home library. I have though had fun picking out books that go along with the facts we are memorizing to read each week. It just moves so quickly we can't stick with one subject very long. I'm not sure if we will use this same plan next year, but for this year, it is working well.
Just a few weeks ago I pulled down from our bulletin board in the kitchen some maps that Micah and Andrew had been working on during homeschool last year. When I look at Micah's work I feel sad. I miss home schooling him, a lot. He really likes going to school though, so he may very well be going back for the rest of his schooling year. This is life. Change. And we can't hold on to them forever. I know he isn't mine! He belongs to God.
We took the boys apple picking, it's one of our annual Fall traditions because my boys LOVE apples so much, and it's so easy to fill a bag with apples (blueberries are the worst! It takes us like an hour or more to fill one small bucket!), the weather is always so nice in the Fall, and everyone loves the home made applesauce and baked cinnamon apples that we have afterwards. The farm we went to this time had apple "canons" which the boys loved.
Big brother is the best helper!!!! Samuel loves Isaac---which is no wonder!
They were so cute picking apples. They would walk over and say, "here's a beauty"---we were picking "Rome beauties".
Taking them to the petting zoo was so fun. Because I'm so busy now just keeping up with things at home, these sorts of trips out to do stuff like this are few and far between. Years ago when I just had 2 or 3 kids, field trips out were much more frequent. So now, when we can just take them and do something fun and special, I just love it for them.
The little boys were SO excited to ride the ponies.
Now on to football. Football has kept us incredibly busy since the end of July. Steve became the treasurer for the team and so has been at every game and practice since July 22. That is 5 days a week. Nearly all of our time, when Steve isn't working, has been spent at football. This was a real adjustment for me, but when I finally realized that Steve loves it, the boys love going, and that my boys are going to want to all play this sport in the years to come, I let it go, and have really began to enjoy it myself. This picture was taken last weekend at Isaac's final JV game. It was the first time I've actually watched the game. When I realized what was going on, and saw my boy out there, I actually caught the football "fever"! I found myself getting excited and shouting and cheering with everyone else! It was really fun! I'm actually looking forward to watching my boys play this sport in ALL the many years to come!
After the JV game, we took this guy to a very traumatic visit to the hospital, for both him and us. He had broken his tooth the afternoon before, but little did we know he had broken it into probably 20 or 30 pieces. The dentist didn't know this until he started pulling them out. Samuel wasn't sedated to begin with, just some lortab and vercet, and a local, so he cried, kicking and screaming throughout the whole procedure. My whole body ached as I watched, and then even had to hold the light for the dentist as it kept moving away. All I can remember is blood and screams, and then later tantrums as the medicine wore off and we had to stay for him to be sedated to get the rest of the tiny pieces out. I'll never forget my boy going limp in my arms when the anesthesiologist gave him the medicine that would put him to sleep. And watching his chest rise and fall and realizing, "It's in HIM that Samuel lives and moves and has his being." And praying for a quick start to the IV, and not doubting but remembering what Pastor Steve Brown had said, "God delights in giving good gifts to his children." And then feeling so thankful when the nurse was able to get the IV started with just one try. (she had put numbing cream on three different spots to have them all prepped and ready to go because it is so common for it take a long time with little guys)
Back to football, one of the joys are all the other parents and staff of the force that just love our boys. They are "Georgia Force" boys...each of them.
We took our boys to the Scottish Highland Games at Stone Mountain on Sunday. I've wanted to take Isaac for years and it hasn't worked out. They got to learn about the red tailed hawk....
And they got to watch border collies herd ducks....
and sheep! The boys even got picked to be "obstacles" for the dogs to herd the sheep around! What a delight!
Hearing the bag pipes in person is so inspiring! I love them!
It's been Isaac's dream to learn the Scottish Highland Bag Pipes since was 8 years old so it was so fun to get to watch him try them out for the first time!
Football ends this week and next week Steve has the week off. We are really hoping he will get some major projects done that have been needing to be completed for a long time---like painting the deck that was extended almost 3 years ago and never stained or painted. We have a baby coming soon----and I'm definitely moving into nesting mode. Pretty soon, it will be time to fill the freezer with baked goods and dinners!