And Then THIS Happened

We’ve had a teen in our house for about 5 months now. It’s so surreal, which is maybe why it has taken me this long to write about it!

When I started Messy Mom he was less than a year old. In August of 2008 I wrote this little blog post called “Then this happened”. I’ll repost it here-

I griped a lot in last night’s blog  because I did have a rough week and I don’t think there is anything wrong with keepin’ it real when things aren’t so bright and cheery. However, in the midst of it all there was this…

What is that? You may ask. That is something my 11 month old son made. He stacked that piece on top of the train and was building for the first time. I was so proud that I had to get my camera because I wanted to remember this moment forever. He did it several times and with blocks too!

It is such a joy to see him learning how things go together. I am honored to be a mom. Even in the midst of chaotic times I never ever want to overlook those little moments that make it all worthwhile.

And that’s it. I wrote a whole blog post about how he stacked blocks and I freaked out as if he had built the Taj Mahal. I shared how proud I was on the internet for the world to see, and get ready for a major brag here, because 13 years later I am just as proud.


This kid  young man is on a robotics team for the third year in a row. He publishes the weekly podcast and notes on our church’s app.

He volunteers running the light board in the sound booth at church. He competed in a chemistry competition at the state capital just before the shut down last year

and this year he is doing accredited high school algebra in 7th grade.

He’s in youth group now and is a polite, kind, and responsible young man.

It’s wild to think of how many blocks he has stacked to get from that moment 13 years ago until now. I’m speaking metaphorically of course, but each of those little moments, those connections that our kids make as they develop into adulthood is significant. Side note for mothers of little ones, I messed up A LOT between then and now and God’s grace has not and never will run out. Z’s not perfect either, even with as much as I brag about him. Anyway, back to the point, I’m glad that I took time to recognize that moment with the blocks which prompted me to document another milestone because fast forward to now “and then this happened!”

Z is officially taller than me. He has been boasting so much about being the second tallest in the family that when he got a prize for an academic achievement from school one day Ezie asked “did you get that for being the second tallest in the family?”. He really thought that.

I can’t keep up with how fast he is growing or how much he is eating! When the weather changed and he went from shorts to pants last year all he had was size 14/16 and they were high-waters on him.

We finally replaced all of his pants with size 18, so no more Steve Urkel look! Except for the other day I griped at him because his ankles were showing again. I said “Z! I thought you got rid of all the size 16 pants. Why are you wearing those!?” He got defensive and said, “Mom, you just bought me these. If these are too small then it’s hopeless”. I hate to admit that I actually argued with him for a few minutes about the pants only to realize that he was right! I had bought those pants in November. Facepalm. So I accused him of wearing his pants too high! Yes, I did. I thought surely there must be a mistake. “If you lower your pants they will be long enough,” I told him. Then his level-headed dad got in on it and called me out on my denial. He was wearing his size 18 pants exactly where they should land on his waist and the real reason his pants were not long enough is that he is growing at a rapid pace because… he is a teenager now! I guess I have to accept it.

I have joked though that I am going to hold onto my top knot messy bun and high heels to try to be taller for as long as possible.

There are so many other major milestones coming up to look forward to (reality check, that was the rental he and his dad took on their big Chicago road trip last year).

Then I begin to think of what kind of things he will be accomplishing in another 13 years. Come to think of it, he will be the age I was when I wrote that blog post I referenced. Okay, I’m definitely not ready to think of that. Nope. I’m just going to enjoy this stage.

By | January 27th, 2021|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Finding Fun Ways to Fuel Your Child’s Development

 

 

Helping a developing mind to reach its full potential is always a worthy goal for parents. Your children will always benefit from the time you put into enriching their lives and improving their education, and there are loads of ways to approach this that will appeal to your little one. Fueling your child’s development in fun ways is a good way to approach this, especially during winter. So, to help you out, this post will be exploring some of the options you have as you go through this.

 

Puzzles

 

Kids will always love to solve a puzzle, with satisfaction being found in overcoming a problem with their mind. Puzzle books are often best for this, providing them with a physical experience that will improve their reading and writing skills. If you want to get your hands on some great puzzle books, you can find them here, with countless options to choose from for most age levels. Of course, you have to make sure that the puzzles you give your child aren’t too difficult for them, as this could easily make them frustrated.

 

Programming

 

Computer programming is becoming an increasingly important skill in the modern world. Just like learning a language, starting early with something like this can make it much easier to fund success in the future. Plus, programming can help to teach a child about logic and maths. There are plenty of programming toys available on the market, as well as software applications that are designed for children. They won’t have to write any code, but they will still get to see what their work brings together.

 

Writing

 

Writing is a great way to explore the mind and expand your creativity, improving the vocabulary of those who spend enough time on it. Giving your children story ideas to write about can be a good way to spark their imagination, with a mix of writing on paper and typing being a good way to help them to develop well-rounded skills. Creative writing is a fun process, but you may need to provide them with books to read if they are going to reach their full potential with something like this.

 

Building

 

Building toys have been popular for a very long time. Lego, Mechano, and a range of other products can be found that are designed to let your children build. Having the chance to make 3D objects can teach your child a lot about basic engineering, while also helping them to apply their creativity and have fun at the same time. It’s always worth giving them some choice when you offer them toys like this, making it easier for them to sink into the activity.

 

With all of this in mind, you should be feeling ready to provide your children with fun activities that will fuel their development. This can be easier than you might expect, with most kids being happy to embrace the activities you give them when they are interesting enough.

 

 

By | January 22nd, 2021|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Memoirs of Color

I love true stories! Last night we watched “Safety” on Disney+ and it was really good.

At the end when the credits started to come on I told the kids to wait, because my favorite part of movies based on true stories is when they tell where they are now, even better if they show photos. This movie had both. It even had video clips from the real-life brothers that inspired the movie.

I love reading true stories too and I have never been a girly girl when it comes to what kind of books I get into. I have read everything from “American Sniper”, the autobiography of the most lethal sniper in U.S. history, to “Save Me From Myself” by the former heavy metal rockstar from the band Korn. I read and am fascinated by a diverse range of stories.

I truly cannot keep up with the number of memoirs I have read. However, it occurred to me last year that I couldn’t recall one memoir I read that was written by a Black American woman. I’ve read lots of books written by and about women of color, but not a memoir. What’s up with that? So many true stories and I hadn’t read any that were a black female? I am embarrassed that this could be true. So I started looking into changing that. Some of my all-time favorite stories, movies, and music are all from black women so I thought it would be easy. A quick google search showed Michelle Obama’s book over and over, but I knew there must be more than one option when finally I stumbled upon the book Rabbit.

Rabbit is as an autobiography about a comedian who was born and raised in Atlanta at the height of the crack epidemic. From the back of the book- At age seven, Pat, known as Rabbit, was taught to roll drunks for money. At twelve, she was targeted for sex by an older man. By thirteen, she was pregnant. By fifteen, Pat was a mother of two. Alone at sixteen, Pat was determined to make a better life for her children. But with only an eighth-grade education, she had limited options. She learned quickly that hustling and humor were the only tools she had to survive. The book is described as an unflinching memoir of cinematic scope, wisdom, and unexpected humor that gives us a rare glimpse of what it’s really like to struggle and thrive in America.

I was intrigued.

I had never heard of Patricia Williams. a.k.a. Ms. Pat, a.k.a Rabbit, but that didn’t deter me. I don’t usually read books about things I am already interested in. I read out of curiosity about things that I don’t know anything about. The only catch is it has to be uplifting. I can’t handle something depressing and hopeless. There has to be a greater purpose to the story. Rabbit appeared to fit the criteria.

So I listened to the Rabbit audiobook which was even better than reading it because it was read by the author. I love it when books are read by the author. Their dialect, inflection, and tones are just another layer to the story. This book was entertaining, inspiring, and insightful! I barreled through to the end because it was so good. Patricia Williams is truly an overcomer, and I highly recommend this book. Since I am a family blogger I should mention that there is language and adult themes to the book, so I want to be sure to give a fair warning about that. However, if you like books that are about defeating the odds you will want to read this one.

The interesting thing to me is it reminded me of several other memoirs I’ve read such as Hillbilly Elegy, Educated, and The Glass Castle. All three of those books are about being raised in poverty in unconventional circumstances (to say the least), but then being able to break free of the cycle as adults. All three of those books have been on the New York Times Best Seller list with millions of copies sold. One was even turned into a major motion picture and another is a series on Netflix. So many people recommend these books and I can’t help but wonder why I had to consciously seek out a book like Rabbit, a memoir by a black female. I do know that I have already recommended it to friends and now I’m going to go ahead and blog about it!

So that’s my latest book recommendation- Rabbit by Patricia Williams with Jeannine Amber. I look forward to finding more diverse stories to dive into. If you have any suggestions I’m all ears!

By | January 18th, 2021|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Chicken People Gifts

We watched a documentary called Chicken People a few years ago. The librarian said she really enjoyed it and in the end we all did. It’s all about crazy chicken people that breed and show chickens in poultry competitions. At the time we were not crazy chicken people and didn’t relate at all, but just thought it was neat to learn about. Now we recognize many of the breeds and vernacular so we watched it again and enjoyed it even more!

When it comes to chickens, my mom is a big fan. As of May of 2020, I am a sucker for pet chickens too. Even my brother and his family have chickens. We are one big happy chicken family. There is one person though that I think it’s safe to say loves chickens more than anyone else I know and that is my 10-year-old daughter, SJ.

She is obsessed.

For a child who was deaf and we feared would never speak, I am proud to say that she can talk nonstop for hours… about chickens. Seriously. Don’t get her started. She is committed to our little flock of 9 and has a bond with all of them.

I guess it should come as no surprise then that our family (particularly SJ) ended up with several chicken-related gift items over the holidays.

I got a painting by my sister-in-law’s mom.

It’s gorgeous and I will cherish it forever! Dede Collicott is an incredible painter from Atlanta and she has even been featured in many art shows. My mom and brother’s wife got paintings too. How perfect is that?

As far as SJ’s gifts, she got a Barbie with chickens!

She also got a book about how to train your chickens. She has read through it multiple times. She falls asleep reading it and even brought it on our Christmas vacation. So far she hasn’t successfully trained the chickens to do any tricks, but they do love her and mostly cooperate for her.

All of the grandkids of my mom and dad got this adorable Children’s book called Chicken talk. It’s a must-read!

 

My sister in law from Texas got us this cool puzzle.

On top of all that my mom scored this gingerbread chicken coop.

I had several people text me and tag me on this one knowing I had a chicken fanatic. Unfortunately, they were sold out everywhere (I guess crazy chicken people aren’t all that uncommon). However, my amazing mother was able to put in a raincheck at Tractor Supply and snagged one for SJ before Christmas.

Lastly, the greatest chicken gift of all is probably getting up to 6 eggs a day during these cold winter months. That’s something to cluck about!

By | January 11th, 2021|Uncategorized|0 Comments

New Year’s Goals (Yes, I still have goals)

You would think after all of my plans (and everyone else’s plans) for 2020 failed that I would be jaded and not even try in 2021. I’ll admit I am definitely trying to hold everything loosely. No one has any idea of what 2021 will bring, BUT having that realization is a leg up from where we all were in 2020.

The fact is, I LOVE new year’s goals. I have never been shy about documenting them on this blog and this year is no exception.

So here are my S.M.A.R.T goals for 2021

Cut back on phone time

Every week I get a screen time report on my phone and when I actually take time to look at it sometimes I am appalled by my habits. One day I picked up my phone 101 times! I spend HOURS on my phone every day. One record-breaking week I spent 17 hours on social media. I have a phone addiction and I am ready to make a change! My goal is to only spend 2 hours a day on screen time. Granted, I use my phone for a timer, alarm, Bible, books, camera, and *gasp* an actual phone on occasion. Those are not the things I am worried about. Mindless scrolling every spare minute is the problem. I know breaking this addiction will be hard, but thankfully one of the benefits of a smartphone is that it actually helps you by offering options like scheduled downtime and app limits. I already turned off all of my notifications! This is something that needs to happen and I am excited about it.

 

Have all children in age-appropriate grades in the fall

I know that is a weird one, but since I am homeschooling and still not even sure what we will do for the 2021/22 school year I wanted to make an education goal. Elle is starting Kindergarten this year, Ezie will be 3rd grade, SJ 5th and Z 8th. I still have 7 months to prepare them for these milestones and the bottom line is I want Busch Academy to be a top priority. There are SO many things I want to focus on and improve on in 2021 but what I really need to put the majority of my efforts into is homeschooling. That’s really what this goal is all about. We had a great start in 2020 and I want to finish the school year strong.

Continue our health journey

J had already decided in January 2020 that he was tired of feeling overweight and exhausted all the time. Then the pandemic hit it was that much more of a wake up call for wanting to be on the offense with our immune systems. I realize that “get healthy” is not a SMART goal. So to put it in measurable terms here are three mini health goals-

  1. Eat meat, fruit, and veggies throughout the day with one or two treats. This is mostly for Elle who really loves junk food and wants a treat after every meal, or for “being good”, or for doing chores, or eating something healthy etc.
  2. Exercise 20 minutes 4 times a week. That’s still below the recommended amount, but baby steps here.
  3. Have annual health exams. I already have mine scheduled for this year. J and I almost never go to the doctor. Now that we are approaching middle age and one of us already is in our forties *cough cough* this needs to change.

Read 21 Books

I love to read or listen to audiobooks. For a long time reading was a new year’s resolution, but it’s one of the goals that I actually accomplished and became a long-term habit! I would say I normally hammer out about 10 books a year? I don’t know. I don’t keep track, but I thought this would be a fun goal for 2021. If you have any recommendations, do share!

 

That’s all of my goals for 2021. At least that’s all that I am going to write down. The way my brain works I could list out a hundred and they would cover all areas of life’s dreams and ambitions. I have to force myself to keep it realistic. I already mentioned that my one word for this year is “HOPE” and I must say, I am feeling very hopeful about these goals!

By | January 4th, 2021|Uncategorized|0 Comments

2020 Year In Review

Obviously 2020 was a difficult year for everybody. It was, and still is, quite terrifying. When the shutdown happened I was absolutely miserable! March-June was a very low and dark time for me.

In February I began doing all of the online communication for the church when the church abruptly became exclusively online! That was stressful. Add to that the kids school also switching to online. It was all too much.

However, once school ended and the church reopened I would say that was a turning point. That relieved a lot of pressure for me. Soon after that we brought a new pastor on at our church. That has been a major highlight of this year! We love our pastor and his family. The whole story of how they ended up in our city is one miracle after another.

Then I started homeschooling, which wasn’t something I ever dreamed of doing and it is hard, but it such a blessing. This time with the kids has been a gift.

Another win for 2020 is some of the home upgrades we made. The girls got their bedroom makeover thanks to the Messy Mom blog and Limitless Walls!

We also planted a garden and new trees, built a treehouse, and raised chickens from one day old to most of them being at full maturity and laying eggs now!

We worked together, learned a TON, and really bonded while having fun along the way.

Lastly, I don’t want to embarrass J, but he lost 30 pounds and more importantly started feeling better all the way around this year. He began a low carb lifestyle in January and stuck with it all year long (other than reasonable breaks here and there).  In spring I told him he was going to be one of the only people that came out of the shutdown weighing less! His lean toward whole foods this year has had a ripple effect on the family.

Thanks to his determination and dedication my meal prep and menu strategies are better than ever. Between that, the garden, and the fresh eggs I feel like we are going the right direction as a family when it comes to taking ownership of our health. My goal would be to exercise and be a little more consistent with the kids sugar intake but that’s a new year’s goal and this post isn’t about resolutions. This blog post is about reflection.

As I reflect on 2020 I see so much tragedy and I would never downplay the loss that so many have experienced this year. My word for 2020 was HOME. When the “Stay at Home Order” was mandated that word proved to be more prophetic than I ever imagined. Homeschooling confirmed it even more. This next year’s word for me is HOPE.

We have to hold onto hope. It’s only by the grace of God that I was able to overcome a lot of depression and anxiety in 2020 and end the year feeling stronger and braver than I did when 2020 began. I feel like 2 Corinthians 4:7-9 applies here.

But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.

What a year this has been. As with so many others on the planet right now I am eager for this next chapter. Welcome 2021

By | January 1st, 2021|Uncategorized|0 Comments

A Very 2020 Christmas

I’m not going to pretend like 2020 was the best Christmas ever. There were some special times though.

After Thanksgiving we put up our Christmas tree.

and soon after that we helped decorate the church.

We had a beautiful celebration with my side of the extended family.

Then we came to Texas to celebrate with J’s side of the family.

Then we blinked and suddenly Christmas was done.

J and I are scratching our heads trying to figure out how it all flew by so quickly and what we could have done to savor the Holidays more. I can’t blame all of our problems on the Coronavirus but it certainly reared it’s ugly head this December. We had several close friends affected by the virus (thankfully none were serious), then worst of all J’s parents tested positive.

Although none of us wanted this for them and it certainly put a damper on our Holiday cheer, there is so much to be thankful for. First of all J and I have the luxury of getting Coronavirus and moving on with our lives. We knew no one in our household was high risk. So while we didn’t enjoy the flu like symptoms we have felt like a million bucks ever since. We are especially grateful that we could come to Texas and care for J’s parents since we were already exposed and have the antibodies.

The downside is that we have had to do all of our traditional Christmas festivities separately from J’s siblings. It’s a bummer, but any disappointment that we have is overshadowed by the fact that J’s father who is VERY high risk (to the point that his doctor flat out told them that if he got Covid it would kill him) is doing great. Both of my in laws are in their golden years, but they are kicking The Ronas tail! As soon as we arrived in Texas and saw and heard their symptoms for ourselves we emphatically explained how it was exactly what we had with the coronavirus and they needed to get treatment and testing ASAP. J brought them to the Doctor the very next day and the positive test results came back on Christmas morning. How much more 2020 can it get right?

They got medicine along with plenty of rest and praise the Lord they have been improving every day. It was scary, but we are rejoicing for the covering over both of them, especially my father in law. I realize that is not how it goes for everyone and it’s something that we don’t take for granted. They could still use prayer as they finish out the final stages of this nasty virus.

Although Christmas 2020 didn’t get the title of best Christmas ever I think I would categorize it under most unforgettable.

By | December 30th, 2020|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Christmas Card Reveal Continued

Yesterday I did a reveal of this year’s Christmas card which is a collage of all of our cards from the past 20 years. It’s been such a neat experience putting it together and then seeing it in print. When the cards arrived J and I sat outside and reminisced about each one and agreed we needed to share some of these memories online.

I know it seems a little overkill, but I am proud of what we have come up with in 20 years. They aren’t high end or super elaborate, but doing anything consistently for 20 years is a feat in and of itself. So we are a little jazzed. If you missed the card recap from 2000-2011 you can still check those out. Here are what the next 9 years looked like for us.

 

2012

This card is not one of our favorites, but it is very significant. It was one of the craziest years of our lives. We had just gone through surgery with SJ and Ezie was a newborn. We were living with my parents and struggling to figure out the next steps. It would have been easy to say we weren’t going to do cards that year. Instead we pulled out an old laptop with “photo booth” on it. It took four pics in a row for us and we printed them out as 4×6 photos instead of ordering cards because it was so inexpensive. We sent out very few in the mail and simply shared it online. A flood of memories come back when we see this, but it’s a reminder of how far we’ve come and how we chose joy and celebration even in dark times.

 

2013

2013 was our most hilarious card ever. We came up with this idea from childhood memories of changing the lyrics of Jingle Bells to “Jingle Bells, Batman smells…” We have on these silly superhero costumes and baby Ezie is batman in a supposedly stinky diaper. I love the look on everyone’s faces!

 

2014

We kept it classy in 2014. I told J that we really needed an updated family portrait. Luckily have a very talented brother with a very nice camera who caught this gorgeous shot for us. We gave it the Busch spin by creating a “scrap book” style card. Each one was individually crafted with love using mismatched stickers, papers, and whatever holiday materials we could repurpose.

2015

 

This was another card that almost didn’t happen. We had a lot going on with the arrival of Elle and discovering her hearing loss diagnosis. I was really discouraged and J suggested the idea of sending a birth announcement and having it double as a Christmas card. It was perfect! They might have been sent out late, but at least it happened and we were able to include a small Christmas photo on the back too.

2016

The next year I was determined to not run behind so we had our Christmas photos taken on summer break.

I know the beach doesn’t scream Christmas but I added “Merry Christmas” to the inner tube and wishes of “warmth, joy, and cherished memories” so I thought it worked well. We go to Lake Huron nearly every year so it is very special to us.

2017

For 2017 we paid tribute to the couch photo from 2011 and did a recap of the 6 different places we had lived in the past 6 years. The couch came with us every time. Sigh. This card was truly a full-circle moment. After a LONG journey were finally homeowners again!

 

2018

We ended up going a different direction with this card than originally planned, but I absolutely could not be happier with how it turned out!

2019

In 2017 and 2018 we did a lot of camping so we thought why not show off our love for the outdoors on our Christmas Card! We hadn’t showered in days and we dressed pretty raggedy, but I love this card!

2020

That brings us to 2020. No pandemic is going to stop me from celebrating what is a very significant year for us, 20 years as a family! Yay! What God has joined together let no one separate, amen?

So that’s our look back at 20 years of Christmas cards. I know people think I am crazy but… as usual, I already have an idea in my head for next year. You’ll have to wait until 2021 to find out though! Merry Christmas everybody!

 

By | December 17th, 2020|Uncategorized|1 Comment

Christmas Cards 2020

We don’t pack our schedule full with all sorts of Holiday traditions around here but there are several that we enjoy. One tradition that we have done since the first year of our marriage is sending a photo Christmas card. Since we were married in November the obvious first choice for us in the year 2000 was a photo from our wedding day. This was before digital photography was an obtainable thing. Most people (including me) hadn’t heard of it at that point. So our first holiday card was a purchased box of “Christmas frame cards” for you to insert your own photos printed from film. I actually LOVE that we had this part of history as our tradition, even if it does date me.

2001

The next year we printed our own on an inkjet printer and I am sad to say I have no copies of that one, but it wasn’t all that spectacular anyway.

2002

J had gotten me my first digital camera for my birthday. It was life changing. As I previously mentioned this was revolutionary technology and it was only THREE megapixels. We all have cameras on our phones now that are a thousand times better than this camera was, but it was a big deal at the time. We took silly photos of each other dressed in wintery/Christmasy accessories and made a very simple collage out of the photos. We titled it “The Twelve Faces of Chrismas”. I know this looks cheesy now, but this was before social media and accessible photo editing software. The idea that you could take a bunch of pictures and design your own postcard on a computer was impressive and all of our friends went bananas over this card!!!  To this day this one is one of our all time favorites because it was a turning point for both of us creatively.

2003

Because of the success of the previous year we decided to make another postcard. Again, I realize that you are hard-pressed to find any photo that doesn’t have a filter on it these days, but back then it just wasn’t a thing. So sepia or vintage effects on a modern photo were really cool and rare. On the back of the card, it looked like sheet music and we wrote our own version of  “Oh Christmas Tree”

2004

This was the year we bought our first house got new jobs and a puppy. We attempted doing a card it just didn’t happen. In twenty years that is the only one that we missed.

2005

Sadly, like 2001 this is another case of me not keeping a copy of everything. However, we did send a small booklet we printed and folded up by hand where each page had a photo and the entire thing was a poem about all that we had done in the past year and why we didn’t send out Christmas cards.

This is one of the photos that was included in that little booklet, and the good news is I have a copy of every card since then!

2006

At this point my photography business was going strong. I had even quit my waitress job to do it full time and I owned a couple of backdrops, including solid black. So J, myself, and our dog named Crew did a little winter photoshoot for this card.

2007

This one was so much fun! We visited my family in Kentucky for Christmas in 2006 and we recorded two Christmas songs, one of which was an original. We had a blast and sent the recoded songs out as a Christmas card. The CD art was pretty cool too and included baby Z who we didn’t realize would be a part of our lives when we did these songs.

2008

Okay, okay, this is ANOTHER favorite of mine. By this time I was blogging, so I can start linking to the original Christmas card reveals if you want more details. On the front was a picture of converse sneakers edited to be Christmasy. On the inside we had a picture with all of us with another one of my backdrops.

2009

This card really tells a story. I had a red ribbon tied around my pregnant belly announcing that we had “A Beautiful Gift” coming March of 2010!

2010

For this card we used the EXACT ribbon that was around my belly the year before and we created new things out of it. Z had a tie, I had a corsage flower pined to my dress, Z had a bowtie, and SJ who came on March 4th was wearing a bow!

2011

This was our last Christmas card in Texas taken right before we moved to Kentucky. I was hoping we were going to leave this ratty old couch behind. J had it since his college days and it was my idea to drag it out to a field and take a family photo in before trashing it. Ask me if we still have this couch ten years later. Yeah. Sigh. Yeah we do.

 

I’ll do a separate post with the rest of the cards but here is the grand reveal of the front of our Christmas card for 2020!

 

 

By | December 16th, 2020|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Homeschooling Month 4?!?!

It’s hard to believe we are now 17 weeks in to Busch Academy! I have to say, it’s going really well! We had a great third month and are starting to find a rhythm that really works for us.

I get asked all the time if this is something I would consider continuing even after the pandemic. The first month my answer was -No Way. My main reasons were because of the office situation with my work-from-home-husband. I felt like the kids had to be too quiet and it was really difficult. Now his office is in our bedroom. I can’t say this is a great permanent solution, but for now it helps. Another reason I didn’t want to continue homeschooling was because my children (one in particular) weren’t being very cooperative. I knew they were great students in public school, but they didn’t want to listen or take instruction from me. It was like pulling teeth! Great news though, I’ve seen tremendous breakthrough in this area. We definitely have some academical hurdles we are facing, but at least we are all on the same page and giving it our best effort as a team (most of the time).

I mentioned in my last post that I love the flexibility of homeschooling. I like being able to hit up parks, museums, and fun places at off peak hours, but there is so much more that I geniunly find fulfulling. I am learning and discovering right along with my kids and it’s given me a new outlook on life.

Most weeks I have one theme planned to focus on, like when we did handwriting, or the Constitution. We have other lessons for sure, but this is our extra suplemental learning on top of the usual.

October 12th was Colombus Day/Indigineous People’s Day. All I can say is WOW, this was an amazing thing to dive into. We finished up the Secret of the Indian from the Indian in the cupboard series.

We made a talking stick.

We visited a farm that has some teepees and we used the talking stick to share what we had learned about the Christopher Colombus and also The Trail of Tears.

We went to a museum called Sunwatch farm to learn about local Native Americans from Fort Ancient.

We made teepees and did little reports about different Native American Tribes.

It was a beautiful and somber thing to learn about. We will continue to unpack this part of our nation and history, especially this week with Thanksgiving.

The next theme was all the fun fall things.

Pumpkin patches, leaf crafts, apple pie baking and caramel apple creating.

It’s cool how so many lessons can work together. The kids had to design their apples ahead of time and write out their recipes and instructions. We also circled back to Native American week when we learned that the Alaska Natives (and other tribes) take only what they use and use all of what they take. This tied in because we went apple picking for fun, but then we were also able to use all of our apples in unique and tasty ways. What was left over was thoroughly enjoyed by the chickens.

 

I’ll put this next activity in the category of P.E. and family time! We went to a trampoline park called Defy in the middle of a school day for my nephew’s birthday. Their family does homeschooling too and this place was a treat from Mémé (on the topic of learning, Mémé is french for grandma and my mother’s family are 100% french Canadian). Of course the kids had the time of their life! This place in Florence Kentucky is EPIC.

Last but definitely not least we learned about the United States Presidential election for obvious reasons. This was so cool to really dig into. Along with books and videos, we also held our own election except instead of it being for the president it was what would eat for our traditional Busch Brunch. We had a caucus and everyone had to make posters and do a speech for what they wanted to nominate.


Then on voting day we all filled out our ballots and submitted them by the deadline.

Some aspects of this got a little crazy and competitive. Family members would raise their voices and the debates were heated. Some people started to change their minds and have regrets. Needless to say it represented the actual election quite accurately. It really was a cool lesson though. The winner was Monkey Bread along with chocolate milk and bacon. The brunch was a success!

I’m sure my enthusiasm is probably clear as I geek out about all these homeschool wins. When people ask me if this is something I would consider continuing even after the pandemic I always answer with- ask me next week. Just like with public school there are highs and lows, success and struggles.

I am so grateful to the Lord for guiding me to this path for this year. It was not an easy choice, but I know without a doubt that it was the right choice for our family. So I’m not thinking too much about next year and beyond, because if 2020 has taught us anything it’s that you can make plans but only God knows what the future holds.

By | November 24th, 2020|Uncategorized|0 Comments