Saturday, February 1, 2020

January

We survived it.

And I know I’m being tricked by the unseasonably warm weather here in Maryland, but I’m hoping that the worst of winter is over. I also realize there could be an additional seven weeks left but I will cling to the hope that we are at least on the downhill side of winter forwards spring.

I’ll be logical and say I know February will still be freezing and have chances for snow, but since we haven’t had any snow yet this year I will hold my breath and pray it just passes us by.

January just beat us down, and I’m not really sure if it was anything but the cold, dreary gray skies or what!

We homeschooled and made it to soccer, gymnastics, Awanas, and co-op.

We had our small group over a couple of times.

Everyone was relatively well and slept good.

See? Nothing that stands out too much, right?

So I will take a minute and focus on some of the things that did make it an interesting month...

I did meet my goal for the month of January of getting the kids down to the ice rink! It was so much fun and they all had great reactions. Grace was ready to go and got up and moving pretty quickly on her own. Sophia was hesitant and wanted a walker at first, but eventually she shed that and would make pretty good time around the rink, albeit with a lot of falling. Luke had to have his walker for the entire time but eventually would let me move it a few paces in front of him so he’d have to catch it. He also loved when I raced with him by pretending we were on Mario Kart!






Ian and I got to go on a date and saw 1917. It was excellent and I would recommend it to anyone who likes history!

I did get to read a lot this month! I went through a spurt of fiction and then a dry week or so where I would pick things up and read a page or two and decide it wasn’t the right time for that book and I would put it back.

What I read this month:
One More Wish- Robin Jones Gunn
Sandy Toes- Robin Jones Gunn
Salty Kisses- Robin Jones Gunn
Crispin- Avi
Forever Hidden- Tracie Peterson
The Book of Secrets- A.L. Tait
The Book of Answers- A. L. Tait
If I Live- Terri Blackstock
Holly and Ivy- Fern Michaels

I have four other non fictions that I’ve made progress on but are of the slow and steady variety. They will “count” when I have finished them!

I got to get out for a morning on my own! Due to my Fear Of Missing Out I have a hard time skipping out for a morning or a whole day so when Ian had an unexpected day off I took him up on it and used gift cards to go get a massage, facial, and a haircut. I was so embarrassed when the stylist asked me when the last time I got a hair cut was.

“By me? A year ago. By someone else..... 3 years?!” Her face was priceless.

For February my goals are to:
1) Read 8-10 books
2) Get our taxes done (fun, right?)
3) Try decorating sugar cookies with royal icing! It’s so daunting to me but something I want to at least try.

February has dawned on a sunny and warm day. The kids will jump on the trampoline for a large chunk of the daylight hours and Ian and I will work together on a few household projects while keeping Ben from destroying things altogether. Not a bad way to start the month!

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

2020

The ball drops, the fireworks dazzle, and the champagne glasses clink together.

Hugs, kisses, and shuffling off towards bed, we as weary party goers feel accomplished for simply staying up too late.

Silence settles over the house and, in my endless state of insomnia, I make lists.

Grocery lists
To Do Lists
Communication Catch up Lists

Budgets
Things I wanted to say but forgot
Books To Read

It’s truly never ending.

I settle into thinking about my New Year’s Resolutions for 2020. I had been mulling them over for some weeks but the edges are still fuzzy. Ideas not fully formed but still existing in seed form.

Not one to fear un met goals and their repercussions, I am here to share my goals with you. I recently told my girls about resolutions. How they should be specific, measurable, and attainable. (No, “catch a unicorn,” can’t go on my list.)

Then we had a good chat about how failing to meet personal goals does not mean a person is a failure. How it might mean that life’s circumstances got in the way. Or how our good intentions did not take into account the need to sleep. Or eat.

The mark of a good resolution though should be in how we think through them, before, during, and after, and how we change it along the way (or don’t change it!)

Here are the seed ideas of my resolutions.

Reading- my sister is endeavoring to ready 100 books this year and, as much as I’d like to join her, I worry that two books a week is a steep expectation when taking into account my four kiddos and busy life. I will keep it at 100 for now but I’m happy to drop it down to 75 or even a measly 50 if that becomes a more reasonable expectation.

I’m counting books I read, audio books I listen to, and including some juvenile (middle grade,) fiction I will be reading with Grace or previewing for her.

Monthly goals- I thought that it would be fun to set small, attainable goals for each month, setting the, as I go throughout the year.

January’s goal is to take the big kids to our local outdoor ice skating rink- something we’ve been wanting to do for three years but never got around to it!

February’s goal is to work my way through some cookie decorating tutorials and try my hand at royal icing, piping, and flooding.

I like that these goals should be a fun, easy way to check something off of one of my lists. Not usually something that stretches on but is more of a one and done scenario.

Exercise- This will probably be worked into a few monthly goals but I would really like to run some 5k’s this year. I really hate running but it’s just something I’d like to say I’ve done/can do. 3-5 during this summer is my rough goal.

Travel- We haven’t taken many family vacations in the last ten years so we both want to make that happen this year. A beach trip is at the top of our list closely followed by a possible international trip. We may not have technically vacationed a lot but we have done a lot of traveling and we miss doing that with our kids.

That’s it for the year! I am a list and goal maker so I am sure more will come and go but I’m curious to see how I fair in these goals!

Happy New Year!

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Homeschool- What’s In a Name?

We started homeschooling last year- a culmination of two years in the public school system and for a variety of reasons (more on that later.)


Before finally taking the plunge and starting I did a deep dive into social media to learn all about homeschooling. I like to sit back, observe, list out things that I like, don’t like, things that I think will work, won’t work for our children. Social media gave me an avenue to do just that without stomping on toes. I could scroll through pictures, read captions and posts, and watch videos (I have watched SO many curriculum review videos in the process!) all from a safe distance. It gave me the space to think through, share with Ian, and discuss in length all of the different aspects of homeschooling.

We gently started into homeschool in July of 2018. I did a rolling soft start, with just a few subjects at first, and added in a subject or two a month until Christmastime, when we had it all incorporated. I did this approach because I knew that Grace, them second grade, would have an adjustment from public school to homeschooling, and Sophia, then Kindergarten, would need to adjust to mommy as a teacher instead of just play time.

Lest you think I invented the wheel I will come right out and say that I got this idea from a number of other homeschoolers who recommended it.

Fast forward to the present day.

We are in our second year of homeschooling and loving it. I get a lot of questions about what our days look like, which curriculum we use and why, and how to homeschool with different ages and styles. I wanted to be able to share more about it so I decided to start blogging more about it and started a separate Instagram account that can be solely about what we are doing in our school days, curriculum and resources reviews, and project ideas.

When starting the new IG account I needed a name for it. I had read previously how some states require a family’s homeschool to be named for paperwork and transcript reasons, and always thought it would be interesting to come up with a name. Now, somewhat forced into it by the need for a new handle, I had some thinking to do.

What was something that defined our homeschool?

Literature, history, and the Classical method all came to mind. I had another name pegged but I decided I wanted something that was a little more obvious. I continued to think about the how and why that we homeschool and came to this:

We homeschool deliberately. In every sense of the word. We have deliberately chosen to homeschool, we deliberated over curriculum and styles, and we intentionally set out to raise our children in a home that glorifies God and seeks out truth, goodness, and beauty.

If I can be honest, Deliberate Homeschool, did not sound like a very nice name to me, like calling it a Learning School. A quick google search to find the root of the word deliberate and other possible synonyms and I spotted the word:

Deliberatus: meaning considered in Latin.

Singular Nominative Masculine if you are interested in that sort of thing. I am interested, but not yet informed, so I stared for a long time at declension charts and then decided that I could come back and change it later on if I needed to, ha!

So, that’s it! I love that we attempt to be deliberate in all that we do- in our walk with the Lord, in our marriage, in our parenting, our work and our school, and in our relationships with others. We’ve been that way since the very onset of our dating relationship and it’s a pattern that we see repeated through every life stage so far.

Deliberatus Academy is off to a start and I’m looking forward to sharing more with you!

Sunday, August 4, 2019

Quirks

Recently I have been thinking about things that I like, don't like, or do as a habit that may be categorized as a quirk.

I mainly was thinking about this because all three of my big kids call armpits "Arm-pints." So far no amount of correction has swayed them in changing course.

This got me thinking about how we all have things that many people would think was odd about us. I thought i'd share a few of these oddities with you.

1.) I don't like men/boys in tank tops. I know, I know. Odd, right? Thankfully, Ian has no interest in wearing tank tops so we can just side step that conversation and I can just not provide my boys with them. Easy.

Along with the same idea, women in jumpsuits always have me going "Why?!" Listen. Ten years ago we all threw our heads back and laughed at the fashions of the 80's and 90's.

Jumpsuits, bodysuits, washed out jeans, MOM JEANS.

Oh, the mom jeans.

We laughed because they were once thought fashionable and so people wore them but they were so very unflattering. Now those things are all over the racks and have me raising my eyebrows wondering why anyone would wear these things!

2.) I cut my own hair for the most part. My curly hair means that it's a pretty straight forward cut- curls hide many discrepancies. I've never gotten my hair colored or highlighted so it is very easy upkeep.

3.) I don't enjoy most seafood. I can eat it and I have but I just wouldn't choose it if I had just about any other choice.

Crazy right? A Florida girl transplanted to Maryland who doesn't like seafood.

I actually do alright with most fish, as long as it isn't too "fishy." Anything with an exoskeleton is not appreciated. I think someone jokingly called crabs/lobsters/shrimps as cockroaches of the sea and I was just DONE.

4.) I have to shower as soon as I roll out of bed or I fight a serious morning funky attitude. If I can shower right away I’m otherwise quite the morning person.

Ian’s the exact opposite. He rolls out of bed and needs to have a bowl of cereal directly in front of him in approximately 2-3 minutes. Specifically, Raisin Bran. I guess that’s his quirk, not mine though, right?

5.) I like to hang out with people, really, I do. However, I strongly dislike when I’ve been invited somewhere, go expecting a nice intimate (read: small) gathering of the host and myself, but then arrive to find that they have invited more people to hang out.

I feel that it goes against southern hospitality rules of engagement but I have learned that it has more to do with how other people are extroverted (everything’s a party! Why not invite more?) and introverted (I’m so looking forward to some deep conversation with my friend!)

I have no problem when I walk into an event knowing it’s going to be more than just me, it’s just when I’m surprised by it, if that makes sense.

Alright, I spilled some of my quirks.

Some.

Surely you have some too, right? I’d love to hear about them!

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Three Things Lately

It's been a nice but busy week with the oldest three at VBS. I've come to realize that I don't drive hardly anywhere these days. Our grocery store, pharmacy, library, drive thru coffee shop, and city park are all within a mile of our house (essentials, y'all.) So, the daily drive to and from the host church for drop off and pick up that is a whopping 15 minutes away feels like we are in the car all day, when in reality comes out to just an hour a day.

In essence, I'm a wimp.

Overseas it was at least 20 minutes to a grocery store, longer for just about any errand. When we returned to the US we regularly made 12-13 hour drives, often just myself in the car with the three kids.

I've lost my stamina it seems.

Something I haven't lost my stamina for? Heat! It reached 100 here yesterday and I didn't even break a sweat. I didn't really choose to stay out in it all day but it wasn't a factor in why I hurried the kids home after VBS. The kids have completely become acclimated to American "heat waves," though, complaining the whole time.

I remind them unwaveringly merciless how hot Abu Dhabi was, with one hundred percent humidity, and that they are tougher than they think.

They cry and ask to stay inside with a popsicle.

All of this thought of then and now got me thinking about how quickly things change and I wanted to share some of our life updates.

Ian
1.) Ian still works. Ha! I guess that's good. About 9 months ago he accepted a new position with more responsibility and some more travel. If we had about an hour I could explain what he does but for now, let me quote my good friend Alison vis a vis FRIENDS:

"He's a Transpondster!"

Yup, an avionics transpondster, who gets to travel to China and Singapore, England and France.

2.) We celebrated our 11th anniversary two weeks ago! It's really hard to believe. I still feel like just yesterday I was walking down that aisle to say "I do," to the most handsome, loving, smart, strong, and adventurous guy I know.

3.) For Father's Day Ian was given a ticket to fly down and spend the weekend with his Dad (and mom and brother!) in Florida. I'm pretty sure they just ate and hung out between meals but it sounds like everyone had fun and Ian had a rare non work related trip away.

Brittney (me, in case that was confusing.)
1.) I'm deep in a hole of reading. I can't read at night because I will fall asleep (I'm old, I know,) but I do have a nice pattern of reading in the morning rather uninterrupted.

By the time Ben goes down for his long morning nap I have showered, made my bed, the kids have had breakfast, gotten dressed, and made their beds, and I sit and eat breakfast, drink coffee, and read for about 20 minutes. Sometimes it turns out to be more like an hour! It's a nice summer break routine for me and the kids are being helpful with making sure they occupy themselves for awhile.

2.) Puzzles!! I love doing puzzles but for the last couple of years I've had no place I could do them without little people ruining them or without taking up our only table space. In the new house we have this gigantic island that I've set out a 1,000 piece puzzle and work on it whenever I'm waiting for water to boil or when the kids are briefly occupied. It's been nice! Since we do not have small group at our home for the summer I don't feel a rush to get it finished or to have the space cleared off and I'm really enjoying it.

3.) The house. Sigh. It's so nice but there are so many projects, do you know what I mean? I'm not really sure what to devout our time and resources to first. I think that we are going to get all of the pictures on the wall this weekend so that's an easy (and free,) feat to accomplish. I painted a small area and the verdict is still out on whether we want it to stay painted or revert back to a neutral, so that kind of feels like a project failure.

Sigh.

Grace
1.) She's growing up! It all seems unreal that we have an 8 year old and that her interests and activities are maturing as she does. I have a hard time keeping up with it and balancing it with what the world says she be allowed to do/say/watch with what we want her to do/say/watch but also allowing for growth beyond what we expect for her preschool aged brother. She's begging us for a sleepover but we just don't have grown-ups with a little girl that have the same value and that we trust enough for that here with us.

2.) Grace is quite the gymnast! She attends a once a week recreational level class (because four kids means budget and time restraints,) but I often wonder if she'd enjoy to do it a little more. Also, if you've ever wondered what it would be like to live in a home where a child does at least 200 cartwheels a day, come on over, we've got answers for your questions.

3.) Both girls have recently gotten into the American Girls historical novels and it makes my heart so happy. Grace just read Molly, which was one of my favorites, and we've been having alot of discussions on World War 2. She made the connection between the setting for The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe and Molly and had alot of questions. Mainly if Aslan would come out of the wardrobe and visit Molly, but still, connections.

Sophia
1.) Sophia is 6 and a half and is a funny place between bitty girl and big girl. I feel like I'm learning alot about what makes her tick lately. Quality time and words of affirmation are big on her list. She's begging for a vacation and she looks up to ask what I think of whatever she's doing approximately every 30 seconds.

2.) Sophia passed her swim test at our local neighborhood pool! Actually, both girls did, which means that they can both go swimming in the non baby pool without me and go on the diving board and everything! I was so surprised that Sophia passed as she is still figuring out the mechanics of it all. She's one determined little girl!

3.) Sophia is such a sweet, kind, loving kid. One thing she's not? Outgoing. And sometimes that shyness can come across as rude or unkind. THis week, for VBS, I challenged her to step a little outside of her comfort zone, just to learn the name of a new friend in her class every day.

I told the kids that I didn't care if they forgot their memory verse every day, if their craft project was ruined, or if their VBS team didn't win with points. What I did care about was if they were kind to people. Did they look around and see if anyone was all alone? Did they sit next to them? Ask a question or two to make them feel involved.

Do you have a shy kid? How do you encourage kindness to others when they are wrestling with their own shyness?

Luke
1.) He says the funniest things, really. Just this morning, when the sunlight hit him just right he exclaimed "I've got fur on my legs, just like Daddy!"

Last week, when asked how a spot of water got on a library book he replied "I think a bird spit on it. And then maybe I spilled some water."

2.) Luke starts Pre-K this fall! Last year he was just along for the ride and although play is still his main priority he will have a little more to do at home and will get to be a part of our Classical Conversations community! I'm most nervous about him staying at the table for those three hours but I think he will come around to it- there is lots of movement and noise making allowed.

3.) I recently got a bill from his four year old check-up. They included a hearing test on the bill that he most definitely was not administered. How do I know? Because I ask myself EVERY DAY if he has hearing problems. And I keep thinking I should ask a professional but then I'm in the doctor's office with four kids and I just plain forget. Everyone just tells me it is little boy syndrome but the kid doesn't even respond to his own name when in crowds or when not looking you in the eye, so I've got questions that need to be answered, whether by time or by an evaluation.

Ben

1.) Ben's 8 months old! He's sitting, rolling over, eating like a champ, saying Mom-mom and Da-Da and laughing his head off at his crazy siblings. He love jumping in the exersaucer and splashing in his sink baths. He still hates the car seat.

2.) Ben went on a swing for the first time this week and really enjoyed it! I didn't have access to baby swings when the other three were little so it feels like such a treat to enjoy him enjoying it.

3.) Ben does not enjoy drop off situations. Or being held by other people. Or being away from me ever. SO, VBS in two weeks when I am working it and he is in nursery care for 4 hours at a time will be interesting.



Monday, June 17, 2019

Little Letters- June

I have all four kids down for quiet time at the same time so I have a chance to dust off this old blog. I’m hopelessly behind but here is the long and short of a catch up.

We now have lived in the US for three years.

We added a fourth little bundle, named Ben, back in October. He is 8 months old now.

We are finished up our first year of homeschooling! It’s been a whirlwind and a learning experience, for sure.

We moved into a new house! Our small townhouse became too tight when we added the sixth family member and all of his paraphernalia. Our new house is a single family home with a lot of windows, a big backyard, and space for the kids to play. We are slowly furnishing it and working on landscaping. It’s already been a host for Easter, a birthday party, and our small group! I pray it will be a home that is inviting and welcoming to any people.

And now, to join Callie from Through Clouded Glass....

Little Letters- June

Dear May,
I’m so glad you came! You brought our first new month in a new home, rain showers, sunny walks in the neighborhood, and end of the school year anticipation. Thanks for being a great month!

Dear Trader Joes,
I love you.
That is all

Dear TV Streaming,
I have a love/hate relationship with you. On the one hand, I can watch a show straight through, even if that means starting on an older show and watching eight seasons until you are caught up to the present day (*cough* Blue Bloods *cough*) but on the other hand, it means I am used to having access to a whole story line, instead of waiting for the next installment.

Dear Coffee Maker,
You've been replaced. Just an FYI. The espresso machine I received for Mother's Day takes a little more cleaning and thoughtful prep but it does make a great latte or cappuccino. I will admit, the quantity you produce is much more my style on mornings after Ben has kept us up all night. I hope there is no hard feelings.

Dear Babysitters of the World,
You are awesome. Know that when you show up at my house, ask the kids about things that interest them, and dive into play time while I am still there it makes mommas all over the world feel comfortable with leaving you there with their offspring. Washing the dinner dishes is an added bonus. Hearing how much fun the kids had from them in the morning is a cherry on top! Thank you!

Dear Blogging,
I missed you. I have had so much happen and it feel overwhelming on where and how to get caught up. I can't count how many times I've started a post in hopes to get back in the flow of things and then the baby wakes up or a kid needs help and I have to abandon my efforts. I love writing. For myself, for my kids as a sort of album of our lives, and for relatives, flung far and wide. Thanks for welcoming me back!

Also, at some point I started designing and coding my own blog. I researched and learned so much to do so. Now that information is all gone from my head. It's going to take some time to get this revamped but I will work on it!

Dear Big Camera,
Where are you? we moved and I haven't been able to find you yet. It's a real shame, because Ben's pictures from his first month are on there and haven't been put onto the computer yet. If you could show yourself I would truly appreciate it.

Dear Kids Consignment Stores,
You my life so much easier, I just wanted you to know. I have never tried selling/consigning there as we have so many friends and family we can pass things on to but you are a triedand true source for like new shoes. I went in yesterday just for the purpose of getting Sophia a pair of shoes to play in the backyard in- some that could get muddy and that I wouldn't have to spend upwards of $20 on. I walked out with New and Like New Shoes for all three of the kids that would have cost me nearly $125 if I had bought them new for a fifth of that price! Crazy. You also provided us with a few more clothing pieces that Grace needed (she's so tall and we have no one passing clothes on to us anymore!) and a stack of books that go along with our school year for next year. Thank you!

That's all for Little Letters this month! It was fun to be a bit random.




Monday, December 3, 2018

Baby Galloway #4 Is A.....

We went to find out the baby's gender in May.

The kids guesses were as follows:
Grace- Boy
Sophia- Girl
Luke- Boy

Ian and I didn't know or have a guess, really.

This was the first time that I had a desire on the gender. I really wanted a girl as I was feeling all sentimental about the girls' things- if this wasn't a girl then all of there really sweet clothes and things would need to be cleaned out and passed on to someone else. I would be fine, either way, of course, but I had a preference.


We took all three kids with us into the ultrasound room. The tech seemed a little unsure how to proceed with such a crowded space. She also had a very insistent Luke to contend with (he could not be convinced that there was only one baby in there- he wanted twins!)

In the end, we found out the gender would be.....


A baby boy! We were so excited to finally know and braced ourselves for months (or years?) of people saying things like "Oh, two and two. Guess it's even." Yup. That's true.