Parent Teacher Conferences

It's already into the third quarter of school! My girl is half-way through kindergarten! (Yes I am "yelling" and "excited.") Wow, this year has gone quickly - I mean, I already bought her a lunch box for 1st grade. What? It was a great deal on groupon. I even think the 100th day is coming up next week. For some reason, that's a big deal in the younger grades.

I am enjoying her being in kindergarten. School is going well for her but I still get her back for half the day. Full-day school is going to be rough on this momma. But, it is great to see her learn and excel at school. Yes, there are things I could do without - she has picked up a few habits I'd rather her not have and she seems to be easy going and do whatever her friends say, just so she can play with them - which is a bit innocent now but won't be soon and feelings will get hurt. 

Last night we went to Parent-teacher-conferences. The kindergarten teachers have set up "walking conferences" to help us watch J demonstrate some of the activities they work on in class. We walk in the room, find a folder (with her name on it of course,) and start working through the different stations. 

There was a math station with the game "bears in a cave" kind of like "what's missing?" There are 10 plastic bears, the child (or parent) closes their eyes while the other person puts some (or all as J did once) of the Bears in a cup and some stay out on the table. Once the person opens their eyes, they have to decide how many bears are in the cup. An x=? equation for kindergarten. She did great - only off by one when the numbers were 3 & 7 or 4 & 6. 

The next station was reading site words. She did all but one! She has great memory skills. 

There was a station for book reading. The folders told each child which book the teacher wanted them to read (what level they were on) and each child read the same book for a total of two books. She once again did a great job (though we've noticed, because of her memorizing skills, she is more able to read a book quickly without help if she's read it before. :) I'm sure everyone would be that way. So these books weren't new to the kids but I think frustration was not wanted at conferences so success was easily given. And can I just say, I love watching her read! It is so amazing to see and hear her little mind figure it out. 

The last station was more for the student to have fun. She showed us at the water table how they mixed primary colors to make secondary colors. Her teacher also had some fun science things to look at - "quiet bottles" that didn't mix very well but that's okay, and some little beads that absorbed water and expanded.

After finishing all the stations, we sat down with her teacher and J was praised for being a great student and she was told how much her teacher loved watching her learn and grow into a wonderful young lady. It does a parents' heart good to hear praise of their child so I'm glad her teacher makes it a point for every child (that I know of anyway.) she showed us J's scores for the "dibles" testing they do each quarter. And I did ask her if J stays in her seat when she needs to because we've been having issues with that at home. Even then, her teacher was careful in how she worded her answer so as not to embarrass J in front of us and still give me a proper answer: "she's been getting more social and brave (J was so shy at the beginning of the year) but it's been fine. Kindergarten is where you learn these things!" I am so pleased with J's teacher; some people have the right kind of patience for this age and I'm glad she definitely does. 

I know my baby can't stay in kindergarten forever, but I wish all my experiences with teachers and conferences could be like this. 

Thank you cards

Recently, I've received a few thank you cards from dear friends. These aren't the thank you cards you might expect after giving someone a gift. These have been thank you cards written from the heart and have almost made me cry as I read them. 

I love receiving notes from friends and I suspect they would too. God moved in my heart to help these friends out and I followed his leading and he rewarded my faithfulness. But even if they had never known what I did for them, or never sent a card of thanks, it would be okay because I was doing it out of obedience to God and not for my own recognition. 

I love the people God has put in my life and I desire to bring them closer to God through our friendships. May we, as a community of faith, strive to life with each other in such a way that makes us thankful to God for them and His goodness! 

"And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him." Colossians 3:17

My guy

This is a picture of my guy's pants. The pair on the right are brand new and the other pairs used to look just like it. He helps a lot of people when they ask, he works hard to fix our house and make it great, and I know it is tough work based on the condition of the pants. 

I am so thankful for the effort Pete puts into our life. He works hard at his job and it continues when he comes home. God has blessed me with a great man. 

Big sister and Little brother

Man, do I love my kids! They are becoming amazing siblings and I love to see them grow together. Ever since the girl has been in kindergarten, the boy asks me, more often, if I will play with him - and I try but I'm not as good at pretend as my 5 year old so it's nice when she comes home and they can once again have adventures together. The other day, he asked, "can pick her up from the bus by myself mom?" and on a different day, she came home from school and immediately told him "she missed him all day at school." They melt my heart with their adorable bond. 

For all the cute times they share; there are just as many mean and nasty times. She won't share and he gets upset and hits or calls names. He takes her things from her room and she mostly freaks out and tattles on him. It can take it's toll on a momma and on their relationship. The other day he was so angry that I separated them and myself, because I often need to calm down too. We had our "time-outs" did some talking and prayer and I sent them back to play. Mothering wears me out but I am learning to find ways to refresh my soul (Bible memory and prayer) and seeing the kids living life together in their very first "community" is a soul refreshment indeed. 

I've been taking pictures of them together since he was born. In the first years it was more intentional, "You go sit next to your brother and I'll take your picture." But as they have grown and interact more often, I try to snap the photo without them knowing. Those shots are real-life and often my favorite. That's not to say I don't still make them pose together (like every Sunday during December because of their cuteness) but I want them to be able to look at the pictures and remember their friendship; not just the fact that mom made them dress up fancy and take a picture by the fireplace. 

Here are some photos I've taken recently and a few from their younger years:

Reading to brother

Walking, hand in hand, to the bus stop in the morning

I take a lot of pictures while we are waiting for the bus. 

Reading and rocking! The best
Matching plaid, matching cheeks 2012
Dressed up for Easter! 2012 (Bringing up Boys book on the floor that I have yet to finish)
Driving the jeep at grammy and papa's 2012
They walked around holding hands! 2012
It has taken me a few days to write and finish this post. I loaded the pictures long ago and revisited it this week. But this week has been tough in parenting-land and I just didn't know how to write about my sweet kids who weren't being so sweet and neither was their momma. This year, God is showing me more of my need for Him and His grace - grace to me and grace I can give to them because of Him. I want to pour grace on my kids but I just don't naturally behave that way and I constantly have to catch myself in the heat of the moment and stop to pray for grace. That's the only way and hopefully it will become easier but I look to God to give me everything I need to raise these two beautiful gifts for His glory.

Bible memory twenty-fifteen

During 2014, Pete and I read the entire Bible. The Bible Eater plan we followed allows for a few missed days each month and includes reading Romans and Hebrews twice through. While I did fall behind in September, I was able to take a few days of extensive reading to catch up and finished December 28th.

I didn't do any other Bible study during the year, though I managed to read four books - which is about my average for a year. By pure coincidence,  I typically read the whole Bible through every three years. But when I don't have a strict plan to follow, I find myself reading less and less. So on the years I'm not reading through the whole Bible, I often drift from one book of the Bible to another without any real guidance.

When I was planning what I would do this year for Bible time, I remembered a few podcasts I had listened to last year about Bible memory and memorizing longer passages of the Bible. So many times in my life I have wanted to memorize a whole chapter of the Bible but never knew how nor did I stay with it very well. This year I plan to memorize two passages;

Colossians 3:12-17 This is my new favorite because right now (and last year) it is just what I need to remember in my life. The title of my blog is partly based on this verse. I wanted to memorize it last year but just like always, without a plan I didn't follow through. So this year it is, and I'm already two verses in using a method I heard about from the Ask Pastor John podcast. Read it 10 times, say it 10 times. Next day, say the verse/verses then read the next verse 10 times, say it 10 times ect...

Romans 8 is the other passage. There is so much rich theology and grace in that one chapter alone. If I was ever without my Bible, how amazing to be able to recall the passages you need just at the right time.

Whatever time I have after those two, I will add to the list of memorizing and 2015 will be the year of memorizing.

The kids and I are also going to work on The New City Catechism. Like Colossians 3, I had planned on using the catechism last year but didn't keep up with it.

In past years I was guilt-ridden because of my failings and sin but God is teaching me a lot about His grace and He doesn't view me as a failure because Christ has redeemed me and forgiven all my sin. Stepping forward into the newness of the year, I have hope; not because it's January and a new year but because of God's grace in my life and that makes me want to strive on with joy to learn more about Him and instill His truth into the lives of my children.

Here are the links to the podcasts and the New City Catechism.

Bible memory essential or optional? - This is what helped me decide to memorize long passages

Practical tips for Bible memory  - The method of actually memorizing the passage

What translation for Bible memory?  - I will be using ESV though I still have some verses from childhood memorized in KJV.

New City Catechism - Ipad app or web-based.

So when you see me and you feel like asking how my Bible memory is going; be prepared because if I'm fired up about it, I will recite some passages for you right then and there. So I welcome any accountability but be careful what you ask, Romans 8 has 40 verses.

If anyone wants to join me, you are more than welcome and I would love the community it would provide.