Advent: God With Us

Slowly, we are easing into the Christmas season around here.
I am so enjoying the preparation.
The girls are bubbling with excitement.
We are doing a little of this and a little of that to decorate.
And, amazingly, our days are slowing down.
With a baby in the midst of some pretty intense teething, I wouldn't say its peaceful but it is joyful and happy in our home.

We do Advent with the kids .
We are going to start our Advent on Dec. 1st.
It's probably my favorite thing about Christmas.
Taking time to focus on what this whole season is about.
To share the wonder of it all with our children.
To stop and be amazed and filled with gratitude once again.

Matt found an awesome band whose music we've been playing quite consistently lately -
Better yet - you can listen to all their music free online!
It's all Christmas music.
And it's good.
Really, really good.
Anyhow, there is a poem by Isaac Wimberly on one of their albums.
It is fantastic.
This is what Christmas is all about.
This is why that baby in the manger is worth remembering year after year.
This is why we magnify Jesus and not contrived substitutes.
This is what we celebrate!






GOD WITH US
Poem by Isaac Wimberley
The people had read of this rescue that was coming through the bloodline of Abraham
They had seen where Micah proclaimed about a ruler to be born in Bethlehem
Daniel prophesy about the restoration of Jerusalem
Isaiah’s cry about the Son of God coming to them
So for them—it was anticipation
This groaning was growing, generation after generation
Knowing He was holy, no matter what the situation
But they longed for Him
They yearned for Him
They waited for Him on the edge of their seat
On the edge of where excitement and containment meet
They waited
Like a child watches out the window for their father to return from work—they waited
Like a groom stares at the double doors at the back of the church—they waited
And in their waiting, they had hope
Hope that was fully pledged to a God they had not seen
To a God who had promised a King
A King who would reign over the enemy
Over Satan’s tyranny
They waited
So it was
Centuries of expectations, with various combinations of differing schools of thought
Some people expecting a political king who would rise to the throne through the wars that he fought
While others expecting a priest who would restore peace through the penetration of the Pharisee’s fa├žade
Yet a baby—100% human, 100% God
So the Word became flesh and was here to dwell among us
In His fullness, grace upon grace, Jesus
Through Him and for Him, all things were created
And in Him all things are sustained
God had made Himself known for the glory of His name
And this child would one day rise as King
But it would not be by the sword or an insurgent regime
It would be by His life
A life that would revolutionize everything the world knew
He would endure temptation and persecution, all while staying true
Humbly healing the broken, the sick and hurting too
Ministering reconciliation, turning the old to new
A life that would be the very definition of what life really costs
Saying—if you desire life, then your current one must be lost
And He would portray that with His own life as His Father would pour out and exhaust
And Jesus would be obedient to the point of death, even death upon the cross
So just 33 years after the day that He laid swaddled in the hay
He hung on a tree suffocating, dying in our place
Absorbing wrath that is rightly ours, but we could never bear the weight
So He took that punishment and he put it in the grave
And He died
And when I say that He died, what I mean is that He died
No breath, noheartbeat, no sign of life
God is a God of justice, and the penalty for our sin equals death
That’s what Christ did on that cross
Then… On the third day, in accordance with scriptures, He was raised from the grave
And when I say that He was raised, what I mean is that He was raised
Lungs breathing, heart pumping, blood pulsing through His veins
The things that He promised were true
He is the risen Son of God, offering life to me and you
Turning our mourning into dancing
Our weeping into laughing
Our sadness into joy
By His mercy, we are called His own
By His grace, we will never be left alone
By His love, He is preparing our home
By His blood, we can sing before His throne
Jesus paid it all
All to Him I owe
Sin had left a crimson stain
He washed it white as snow
So now we, as His bride, are the ones waiting
Like the saints that came before, we’re anticipating
He has shown us that this world is fading
And He has caused our desire to be for Him
So church, stay ready
Keep your heart focused and your eyes steady
Worship Him freely, never forgetting
His great love for you
Immanuel, God with us

A Desert Detour

A few weekends ago Piper ever so sweetly asked if we could learn about the desert.
I'm not quite sure where the request came from but obviously she had heard something, somewhere about deserts and it had piqued her interest.
It was the first time she has ever made a special request in terms of her learning and thankfully our schedule is flexible enough that I could accommodate her!
Sunday night I searched around for some age appropriate material and finally settled on The Desert Habitat Unit at Teachers Pay Teachers.
It was well worth the few dollars I paid!

We spent time learning about the different animals and plants that are found in the desert and how they survive.




We talked about what mammals, reptiles, plants and arachnids are.
Piper then did a related activity sheet in which she had to catergorize the animals and plants shown.
This was followed with graphing her findings.



The girls learned many new vocabulary words.


We also learned some interesting facts about desert mice and iguanas.
We went on to compare the two animals and used a Venn diagram to record our findings.


Piper made a video asking what everyone's favorite desert animal is.
I posted it on Facebook and waited for people to vote!

video

We then took the data obtained from our 'questionaire' and filled in a graph!


Iguana won!
Piper loved this whole activity!


The girls also learned about cacti.
They made this paper craft and labeled it appropriately.
On the bottom, I recorded Piper's answer to "A cactus survives in the desert because..."


Our kitchen was full of desert info by the end of the week! 


We took a trip to a local greenhouse to observe some cacti.
Of course, we had to purchase the prettiest one!!



We did an experiment related to cacti, too.
We took 4 pieces of paper towel.
We wet each of them.
The first we laid flat, the second we rolled up, the third we scrunched up in a ball and the fourth we rolled and wrapped with wax paper.


Here Piper is making her predictions of what she thinks will happen.
She thought the one scrunched up in a ball would stay wet.


The next day we checked out what had happened.
ALL the paper towel was dry except the one wrapped in wax paper.
It was still soaking wet.


This provided a great opportunity to talk about the purpose of the cactus's waxy skin.


Finally, we did some sand art.
The girls enjoyed this so much!


There were so many cute little looks of concentration as they carefully worked at layering the sand in their bottles.



And they were so proud of the final products!




That was our desert week!
Time well spent even if it was a bit spontaneous!




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Friday Favorite Things {4}

Busy, crazy week.
Lots of teething tears.
And stuffy noses.
Planning fails.
And loss of sleep.
But sweet, simple moments too.
Ones worth lingering in a little bit longer...


Sad little soul made a wee bit happier.
Apples from Papa are good.
Teething, not so much.


Afternoon of science.
Amazement at breads ability to absorb.


Toy joy.
The noise of this one drives me crazy.
Her obvious delight at having figured it out means she gets to keep it.


Friday evening coloring extravaganza.
Accompanied by heart felt conversation.
Time well spent.



New songs discovered.
I love how music can bring such calm and cheerfulness to the heart.

And the moments without picture proof...

Throwing rocks in the river as the sun slowly announces day's end.
And a little stops, sighs and leans in close:
"It's boo-ti-ful."

A baby pulling herself near to lay her head on my back and snuggle close.

A knock on the door which I open to find a gift offered up.
A dirty pine cone from their pine cone garden.

A return to the table to thank me for a meal I thought was a miserable fail.

friday favorite things | finding joy

"Oh, Your Love"

I love Christa Wells' music.
I especially love this song.
So when given a chance to submit our picture to be used in the video, I was more than happy to!
You'll find me and the girls hanging out around the 2:05 mark in the video!



Oh, Your Love


I know that you knew
You raised us to leave you
Raised us to run with a torch in our hands
I know that you knew 
What your love would do
Sent us out sailors with the wind at our backs

I know that you gave
Without keeping record
Except to be certain you had nothing left
I know that you gave
Til it hurt though you never
Admitted anything but the joy and gladness

Ooh, your love always carried us

I know that you followed us
Late in the darkness
Pulled up the blankets, covered us in prayer
I know that you followed
Our paths to independence
With a great deal of patience and a little bit of fear

But ooh, your love always carried us

I know that you see us 
The way we were back then
You can't let go, you can't really let us go
But I hope that you see how
You took those little children
To the light that leads us all to our true home

And ooh, your love always carries us

Ooh, your love will always carry us

I know that you knew what your love would do


Like what you hear?
Consider backing Christa's new album!
For more information, go here!


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The Red Carpet {BFIAR}



The week before last we 'rowed' The Red Carpet by Rex Parkin.

What was the story about?
Piper: At the hotel the man pushes the carpet out. It keeps rolling on the road. It goes all over town. The police officers try to get it and put it in jail.
Taitum: It goes to the ferry!!
Piper: The Duke thinks that's nice of them. They drive back to the city. The Duke tells all his friends.

What was your favorite part?
Piper: When they make a new part for the hotel.
Taitum: When the carpet goes to the ferry!

We pulled out our Little People town, set it up and added a red carpet!
Piper quite enjoyed creating a tangled maze of red carpet ribbon through her town!


Even our littlest student enjoyed this activity!


We learned about police officers.
We used many of the printables from Homeschool Creations' Police Printable Pack.

Taitum surprised me with how well she did with the pre-writing trace pages I gave her!



She also completed a police officer's colors book and proved that she knows most of her colors now!



Both girls did the How Many Fingerprints? booklet by adding the right number of fingerprints to each page.



Piper did a few of the printables from The Red Carpet printables, also at Homeschool Creations.

She did a sign scavenger hunt where she had to find various signs in the illustrations of the book.


She also completed a maze and a copywork sheet.



Then, of course, we had to BECOME police officers ourselves!
I printed off a hat and badge for each gal and let them have some fun pretending!


In the story, the carpet causes a vendor to overturn his pretzel cart.
Delightful Learning provided me with the idea of trying some pretzels for ourselves so one day we headed out for an extra special snack at the mall!
Neither girl was overly fond of their pretzel but it was a fun morning out nonetheless!



The girls learned some new vocabulary: arrest, statue, dock and hoarse.
For the most part, learning new vocabulary has been their own doing!
With each book we read they hear new words and inquire as to their meaning!
I love their inquisitiveness and it makes it far easier for me to decide which words we should concentrate on!

We also talked about hotels and what the purpose of them is.

We discussed what police officers do and when to call 911.

WE even talked about why cows wear bells around their necks after the girls noticed one in the illustrations!

I have to say, as much fun as the actvities are, so much learning happens simply from their questions and interest. They notice things and wonder about things I never would and it always leads to really interesting conversations! As a result, they are learning far more then I could have imagined!


Delightful Learning

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Friday Favorite Things {3}

Every good and perfect gift is from above.
Join me now as I wander through the last couple weeks pointing out one gift after another.
For these I give thanks.


Such serenity in the midst of chaos.
She reminds me that my attitude need not reflect my surroundings.


A normal morning scene.
Teaching my children at home is proving to be far more beautiful then I could have ever dreamed.


Always so helpful.
Sometimes I forget that this is the better way.


One tooth.
I'm kind of glad.
I adore that nearly toothless grin!


Telling me she can do the next page and all the pages in fact!
So motivated and eager to learn.


Learning to roll dough into a ball.
Eyes fixed on her big sister.
Priceless.


New discoveries during a visit to Daddy's work.
This was a big day for my little homeschoolers.


Favorite game.
I'm addicted.


I give her the water pen.
She dumps it and stomps around making foot prints instead.
Every time.


Sweet, simple family time.
Togetherness is wildly good.


Playing with sisters makes for the happiest of afternoons.
I'm sure there is no better background noise than their giggles and interactions.


I have no words.
This just makes me laugh and shake my head.
Ah, childhood.


Big sisters at her service.
NBD.


Treasure.

friday favorite things | finding joy

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I love motherhood.

We're a smiling family.

I'm a covenant keeper.

I love my husband.

I am above self pity.

I am a nation builder.

Motherhood=Adventure

Worth more than rubies.


“I am more convinced than ever that even in the midst of the mundane, burdensome, and oftentimes frustrating tasks of life allotted to me as a mother, God wants me to find his joy. He wants every single day of my life to be a celebration of his blessings, whether large or small. He wants me to celebrate life ~ the life He has given me.”

~ Sally Clarkson







My Hubby

My Hubby
He's my bestest.

Piper

Piper
She is my compassionate, dramatic, fun to be around 6 year old. She loves to shop, get dressed up fancy and anything else that screams girly!

Taitum

Taitum
She is my goofy, snuggly 4 year old who loves to sing and dance and smile all day long!

Renly

Renly
She is our one year old smarty pants! She does all she can to keep up with her older sisters and to keep them in line!

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