Category Archives: Owen

8 years in the making…

We had our family photos taken recently… by my sweet friend Laurie who lives in NC. She was traveling through GA and made a pit stop nearby our home, just for me! I felt so blessed. The pictures came out so so so SO good… I hope to share more of those next week some time. For today though. A little flash back. I had told her I wanted to do this one particular pose… that was honestly a bit OLD SCHOOL… and a bit “not my style” … but it was a photo we had taken when we had first moved to NC back in 2007… I have always loved the photo and wanted to recreate it. So! we did.

Here is the old photo. Taken Nov 2007 – so like 8 years ago? if I am doing my math right.

Its been 5 years?

and… taken last week…


In 8 years we sure have grown :)

When I look at the above photo of our sweet family of 6… I first off begin to look at my flaws. Not sure I am loving the bangs… Wondering if I look a lot older… and you know, just finding things you find wrong with yourself.

I hate that my flesh goes straight to the flaws I see with my eyes… instead of naturally going to what does matter.

Look at how faithful God has been!

We are all healthy.

We are all safe…. growing and each passing year, blessed beyond measure.

Christ has seen us through 8 moves over the course of our marriage. Within those moves the Lord has blessed us with babies. All of them born in different cities and 3 different states.

God has radically done a work in our marriage.

He has seen us through so much… and in those moments when I begin to doubt His love for us, He lavishes us and blesses us, again and again.

We may not have a bank account with a nest egg… or savings.

We may not have the best clothing or shoes :) – in fact our entire wardrobe above was stuff we already had and made do with… I did go to a thrift store to buy Caleb a shirt and Reed some pants. Spent $4.00.

We don’t drive the most fancy cars… and the cars we do have may very well have over 100,000 miles right now :) – but they work and get us where we need, with AC, no complaints.

So despite my hair not being perfection (oh the woes of bang issues haha). Or my shoe falling off… or whatever small thing I may see that the flesh in me wants to fix. The above photo, is perfection to me, in that we are together… and I am so very thankful for this memory.

Tot Distraction – Home School Schedule… ish.

I get asked A LOT what I do with baby Reed while I am schooling my older boys. I thought Id type up real fast kinda our general home school schedule on a normal day :) – by normal, just means a day we are home with nothing else to do, but school. Non-normal days mean we have plans to meet another home school family, or family is in town, or a kid is sick, etc..etc…

—- So on a normal day kids are up by 7:30am. They eat breakfast – yes I have taught my kids to fend for themselves most mornings. Some may agree or disagree with that. For me, its a must. I can’t hand feed my kids forever. Teaching them the basics of how to cook an egg, make some toast, pour a bowl of cereal, is key for my personal sanity haha… as well as begins to teach them responsibility and independence (yes please)

—- We try to start school by 8am. Reed the youngest who will be 2 in a few weeks, sleeps most days until 8:30 or 9am. THANK THE LORD, this is huge for us. When time falls back, I think ill loose my mind. Hopefully he bounces back to the normal routine eventually after that dreaded day… but for the last month or so, that has been our normal.

—- First thing we almost always start our day with is Science. A lot of home school moms start with Bible… however, my husband takes care of the bible when he is home, so for us, this isnt the 1st thing we cover. I guess that kinda goes against the code of conduct for more Christian home school moms… for us, it works. I’m all for breaking rules and not fitting the mold of a typical home school mom. haha… not really, but I pretend im a rebel. To those curious, I use SONLIGHT for our Science. We do it together. WORKS GREAT.

—- Next we do History. I am using STORY OF THE WORLD VOL. 1. I LOVE IT. Could not be happier with it. Involves a lot of reading but its been good for me and the kids. The activity book I highly recommend. History we do not do daily... I would say most weeks we do it 3 times a week.

—- By the time we finish History it is at least 9am.
So those two subjects typically take 1 hour. By that point, Reed is awake. So I then get the boys started on their seat work. This includes working on phonics workbooks (for Taite), writing workbooks, their Math-u-see worksheets (or video lesson), computer work, etc.. The boys know what has to be done and they can get it done without me sitting there all the time. This has been a process btw… and takes lots of work… some days are better than others.

—- Once Reed is up it takes me a good 30 minutes to get him dressed, changed, fed and settled…
I wont lie, I typically put Reed on the sofa with some breakfast (cut up toast, dry cereal, muffin, that sorta thing), his bottle of milk, and turn on a netflix show for him. Owen is typically by his side, so they keep each other company and destroy something together.

ED9A8755—- By 10am the boys begin to finish up their seat work… Caleb is working through SOS History/Science/Bible for 4th grade… its a bit more advanced and has helped him developed I believe in his ability to navigate his way on a computer, as well as establish some independent learning… while it is not an easy program to use at first, I think it has been good for him. Caleb usually cannot finish his SOS work from 9-10am… but around 10, regardless if he is done, we almost always break for snack. Or just a brief intermission… brain break :)

—- 10:30am I try to sit the boys back down to finish any other lessons I have. Sometimes this consist of me working on Taite with his phonics and spelling… other times it may be me helping Caleb with his computer work for the day. It is never exactly the same in that regard.

One way I keep Reed busy though, that I thought Id share with those reading this… is to get a big mop bucket (nothing to big, you dont want a drowning hazard), fill it up with some water, and give your tot a few plastic cups. I kid you not, this will keep your tot busy for the longest time! We have a top deck connected to our living room.. so what I typically do is, open the door wide open, so I can easily hear Reed playing, and let him have at it. He gets as messy and wet as he wants. HE LOVES IT! I actually kinda dread the weather getting cold… cause once its cold, he wont be able to do this out there… but for now, it is my go to :) – I suppose once its cold, the back deck will be filled with macaroni noodles and rice. HAHA… you do what you got to do… working around a 2 year old is def. VERY HARD in my opinion… and it makes home schooling very challenging. Some day, he is super needy and we literally quit schooling until his nap. Then from 1-3pm we finish while he sleeps.

The boys almost daily finish their more quiet work during Reed and Owen’s nap time. While I typically get some work done.

Not sure this post helped anyone :) – hopefully so haha…

Thankful for the ability to home school these dudes… it is an experience I will look back on and cherish.

Below are some photos of Reed playing in his mop bucket :) – he is so cute! I love watching him with the cups of water. Apparently our cat Toby does too. He always seems fascinated with Reed.


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& Yes, Reed’s clothes are a few sizes to small. Its how we roll, HAHA. It is what happens when you dont have time to switch out the clothes for the season and your baby is still wearing size 12 mo pants and shirts. Poor dude. He doesnt seem to mind, he just looks kinda like a hobbit some days. I plan to make time to switch out clothes soon… bless him ;-)

Inbetween the Books

Inbetween the books and schooling my dudes….





You can find me photographing for Boba :)

I finally get to link yall to some of the photos I took for Boba earlier this year. They came out with some new prints. Both for their carriers and wraps. I love them. Below is one of my favorite photos out of the bunch. Model Tiffany – amazing mom of 3 modeling her youngest, who was just so precious. This photo for me sums up my love for babywearing… and the dad’s expression was just perfect. Thank you to all my amazing models and for Boba who helped put this together as well. I think we all made a great team this year.


See more of the new prints on the Boba Website.

I also got to photograph this cutie over the weekend….


& this coming weekend ill get to photograph THIS ARTIST in concert. SO EXCITED about that. As well as like 9 students for school photos & a sweet little guy on Saturday who I photographed at age 1.

Its been kinda a slow season for me with photography. I didn’t push it over the summer… not to many families want portraits when its super hot… and well honestly, I was a bit burned out that I needed a break. I think its good for photographers to take occasional breaks to recharge. Im back in the swing though and look forward to a busy fall. I only wish I had more energy…. seems with photography teamed with home schooling and the task of housework and cooking meals, it leaves little left. Im worn out by 1pm most days and by the end of the day I am just whooped. I so wish I liked coffee…..

If anyone is curious how schooling has been with the boys this year. I thought about doing a post with our daily routine laid out. Anyone interested in that? If not, I probably wont blog it. So do comment ;-)

Not Florida but it’ll do

We found a fun little oasis to take the boys to this week. We went Wednesday on Travis’ off day… and plan to go again on Friday (his 2nd off day). The boys had so much fun. The weather was perfect… and the water felt like bath water.

Here is a little glimpse into our evening… I took along my point and shoot cam… not my norm. I feel naked without my Mark 3… but when you go to sandy places with lots of kids, the idea of toting around a lot of gear is less than ideal ;) – so lil canon g9 it is!




Sorry random bikini mom for capturing your back side :)













Don’t forget to enter the Essential Oil Giveaway I am hosting this week
! :)

2014-2015 Home School Curriculum

Well, its that time again. School time.


Yall have heard my woes of this throughout the last few years.
Home Schooling is not easy…. but it is something I def. have felt called to do… and throughout the years of doing it, I am learning ways to make it better work for our family… as God grows it, moves us and changes our schedules.

Over the last 3 years we have gone through job loss.
Moving 2 states away…
Birth of a new baby…
Living far from Family.
Dealing with a new job with hours that posed to be extremely difficult to deal with.
Depression in the midst of schooling, not cool.
Another Move…
… and ever changing job off days still.

Thankful for grace through those hard 3 years… and despite the bumps, our kids seem to be ok haha….

So Below is a walk through of what we will be using. Hopefully :)


ED9A5501Caleb – Grade 4

History, Science and Bible – Switched on School House
– this is the program the Duggar’s use… and while it has some bad reviews… the selling point for me was the fact he can do most of it on his own. I am all about teaching children to be independent. THIS IS A MUST FOR MOMS OF MANY IMO… I cannot hold my kids hand throughout every step… and while I am here to help if needed, Caleb is almost 10… he is at the age, I believe can be taught to do A LOT on his own…

I also got a steal on the programs. All 3 for $90.00 used! New it would have cost around $300.00. The best part about this program is you can reuse it for all your other kids. So once Taite hits 4th grade, if it works out and we like it… he will get to use it as well. No extra cost. Being able to REUSE home school curriculum with many kids, is the best.

Math – Math U See – Gamma and Beta.
Caleb needs to work on his facts… and while he went through 3rd grade math fine… and was even tested by the state and averaged above the norm… he still struggles sometimes with the memorization of facts… this we believe is important for a good solid foundation in math…and after tossing back and forth between Saxon w/ DVDS and Math u See with CD-ROM, this one took the cake. I was really impressed with their informational DVD they sent me (its free on their website) and I have read A TON of reviews… and from all I have read, this program seems to be amazing for boys. So heres hoping! My friend Nichole also, has 8 kids, soon to be 9 kids, uses this and loves it as well. Her and I are similar in many of ours ways :) – so I thought if she liked it, surely I would. Fingers crossed.


Literature - Im using Progeny Press this year. Recommended by my BFF Shannon (who also home schools 4). I found BOTH the books I needed for the 1st half of the year, used for like .99 cents. I even found the Study Guides used and unwritten on ebay as well. Win Win! He will go through two books and their study guides. From there, we will see if we like it and will continue with more books.

Spelling - I will use the spelling provided on the Switched on Schoolhouse program. Each lesson has a spelling list.  So I figured since Caleb reads very well now, that continued reading on his own and spelling list in history, bible and science are plenty.

– I may also let him use WORLDY WISE the iPad APP. Its free! :) –


ED9A5509Taite – 2nd Grade

Math – Same as Caleb, Math U See. He will be using the BETA lessons.

Language/Spelling – Abeka 2nd Grade – We had the teachers books already… since Caleb did this in 2nd grade. So I only had to buy consumable workbooks this year for Taite. Was around $30.00 or so.

– He also will probably use the WORLDY WISE iPad APP.

Reading – Abeka Readers *2nd grade* (Found all 10 used for $33.00 – including shipping cost. New it would have cost me over $130!). I for some reason did not have the 2nd grade readers even though Caleb did Abeka 2nd grade Language/Spelling. I think because we did Classical Conversations that year, we didn’t do the reading books with Caleb.

Writing – New England Primer
– Got it with a ebook bundle I purchased earlier in the year. Its simple… just writing worksheets to improve his writing. Taite does not have pretty hand writing. His brother Caleb has great hand writing… but one thing I am realizing is each boy is different. Taite just isnt built the same as Caleb. Caleb is very much a perfectionist like me… and therefore he was super neat with his writing. Taite is all boy… and as long as it is semi readable he is ok with it haha… I would like to refine his cursive a bit more tho… and improve his print. So we will do simple things like this throughout the year to do so. Prior to this year, we used Abeka Cursive. Great program!

I also have an ABEKA Print book we have never used. Manuscript, whatever…. Taite actually writes better in cursive than he does in print. So the New England Primer is in cursive…so I may let him work his way through the ABEKA Manuscript book as well for extra practice.


Bible – I plan to let Taite sit with Caleb while Caleb does the Bible studies on the SOS software. It will give Caleb good practice teaching… as well as help him with his reading out loud. I also have a Grapevine study we never finished that we may dabble in some too. Because we plan to do AWANA this year at our church, having a bible core program wasnt high on my list this year. Not saying its not important. It is… but our kids get plenty of it. Their dad is a former Pastor after all ;-) – he is great at doing devotionals with them when he is home after school hours.


Science – Yes Caleb will have 2 Sciences.
I ordered the SONLIGHT Science A 2 years ago… the year I was pregnant with baby Reed… and once Reed was born that program went to pot. I didn’t do any of it. So it was unused and sitting on a shelf for years. I went through and looked over all of it again… and figured we may as well use it. So for Taite’s Science and Caleb’s, jointly we will do this. Owen can join in too. Will be good sitting time for him…. Caleb LOVES science and this program has lots of fun hands on stuff… and great books. The SOS Science for Caleb though is much more in-depth and will def. be good for him to have too, since he is older. We actually started the Sonlight Science yesterday, for a trial run… and my boys LOVED IT! It has some online resources with each lesson… made it much more interactive and fun. Lessons seem very easy and not to long… Im all for short lessons, hah….

HISTORY - Caleb will get to do this with us too… even though he will have his own history lessons to go through on SOS as well. I am using The Story of the World Book 1. With the activity book. Very simple to go through and has fun hands on stuff if you want to do that too. These lessons will be short.

Geography – I have Confession’s of a Home Schooler’s USA Road Trip printed out for them to go through again too for a refresher… if we get to it. Not pressing this to much, but if they want to do it, we may. They always enjoyed it when we did it a few years ago. No harm in refreshers ;-)

Health – We are about to finish up MY BODY
- a great book for teaching the kids an over all look at their organs and structure. My KIDS LOVED THIS BOOK!!! In fact on non school days they’d ask me “Can we do the body book again?” – so fun for them. We have like 3 more parts to do and should be done soon… we kinda did this off and on through the summer. SO once we finish it, we prob wont do a health curriculum til the next year. I think you can teach kids general HEALTH stuff just by living life… its the beauty of home school. Teaching them to cook… teaching them responsibility, chores… teaching them about taking care of themselves…etc… all ties into HEALTH lessons :) The BODY cut outs on some of these images we did using the MY BODY book. Lots of fun. Although Caleb apparently is to tall and Owen to short…. cause Caleb seems to lack organs and Owen has no room for his. Hah… so Taite being age 7 seems the perfect size visually for the body parts in this book. It still works though if you child is tall or short… just got to get creative with the organ placement…

Spanish – I have Rosetta Stone to install and hopefully dabble in this year with the boys. Would love for them to learn spanish. After all, half my family lives in Central America!

ED9A5523Owen – Pre-K

Owen is only 4… so we will not be pushing a lot with him.
I purchased him a general Pre-K book to work through from walmart. Its easy basic stuff. To help him develope his motorskills… become familiar with letters and numbers… but I will not be pushing phonics with him or math really, until at least age 5 or 6.

Reed – Destroyer (hah)

Reed turns 2 in a few months… and he is def. becoming the destroyer in the home haha… that lil dude is into everything!! so my job will be learning to maintain happy-keep-baby-reed-busy activities, inbetween schooling 2 others and dealing with a 4 yr old too. Im not sure its possible… but we shall see hah!

I pinned some fun home school activities to use with him and the others throughout the year. Got to love pinterest!

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Before I get into ROOM STUFF below… I will say, THIS SEEMS LIKE A LOT ABOVE… One thing I am going to try VERY HARD to do this year… is to relax. To not worry so much about deadlines… we are not a PUBLIC SCHOOL or PRIVATE SCHOOL… we do not have to do X amount of days in X amount of time. The beauty of home schooling is you make it work for your family.

ED9A5525So you know what… if we wake up and baby reed is sick. We may only do 2 things… and the rest of the day veg and love on our baby…

One day we may be on the roll and do more than required…

If we decide to travel, we will travel and pick up where we left.

I want to teach my boys… and help them to learn to love learning… and by me always trying to keep up with a public school schedule, made it just… not cool…. and very unenjoyable some days….


Ok, so onto room stuff…..

I am hoping to diffuse a lot of essential oils this year in the school room, to help with my kids attention spans and normal boy jitters.

On the list to diffuse or apply:

Attention Assist (this is the main one ill be using)

***It was formulated specifically to help you treat ADD and ADHD. In research tests it was established that these oils were definitely beneficial for those with ADD and ADHD. The Vetiver was the most effective, showing that it helped 100% of the test cases*. Since all the oils in the study showed some benefit, we have blended them together so that all their benefits are synergized into a powerful blend.

Attention Assist is deeply relaxing. It helps calm and heal emotional wounds. It helps clear mental cobwebs and fortify the mind. It has been known to help calm angry situations, which is particularly helpful during tense family situations.

Attention Assist helps balance and regulate the Central Nervous System. It also helps you clear your lymphatic system, which helps you rid your body of waste and toxins. ****

A few others I may try too…
- Aligning

- Mind Alive

**** Speaking of Oils. I AM Giving away some BACK TO SCHOOL PACKS of TWO of my favorite Oils. Immune Strength as well as Attention Assist, mentioned above. Be sure to FOLLOW ME on facebook to keep up with when that post goes live. Even though I am taking a 1-2 month break from facebook, all my post are placed onto my facebook page automatically with an app… so its an easy way for you all reading to stay up to date. The giveaway should be this week! It will be open to both USA and Canadian readers. ****

ED9A5515Now… School room organization.

Let me just go through the various things in the room….

We have a smaller less polished table ;-) – for messy babies and toddlers to use paint/markers on..etc…

We have a chalk board (former home owners left it, although Im not a huge fan of it…. much prefer a white board).

We have a huge white board piece I got years back from LOWES. Its a piece of wall siding??? you can go to Lowes and get this for like 12 bucks!! they cut it to the size you need. Only thing is, its not magnetic… I wish I had a magnetic white board… its on my wish list. I would love to frame this white board too… I just havent…. If anything having it more mobile gives baby Reed something else to enjoy.

I have a small shelf unit filled with school supplies. Scissors and more dangerous items I keep above in the white organizer on top. By dangerous, I mean glue. I mean, can you imagine. Baby Reed with glue access. It be terrible. ;-)

The White Cabinet in the room has extra school supplies for crafts in the top area… As well as board games, puzzles and other busy toddler items.

The bookshelf on the right side of the room has our school books. My books on the top shelf. Kids on the middle shelf. Old books on the bottom shelf that we may use again… Above that are our boys 3 jars for saving, giving and spending. A treasure chest filled with dollar tree stuff. If they do well during the week, on Fri they get to choose a prize from the Treasure box. The small tower above that book shelf has other misc. items… like lamination sheets, stickers, hole punch, etc.

The Left book shelf has kid books on it. Globe.

The Blue Table (given to us! love it) has our computer area… with scanner/color printer… laser black and white printer… Calebs SOS software and any DVDS we play will be played on this. It is nothing fancy but it works. My dad gave us this computer…. we had an additional one but it could not run video well, so that one is going back to my dads “work shop” for him to fiddle with if he wants haha… My husband ended up getting a laptop on the back to school no tax day… we had gotten it for the boys but the more I thought about it… the more it made sense for him to have it. So he has that and the kids got his old PC. Win win.

The bigger pine table in the room is where we will do work together… that table was mine growing up in my family… its old but solid! Best thing about old tables, you don’t have to stress over kids marking it up. We dont encourage that btw :) – but if a younger child takes a sharpie to it, I wont stress to much.

I think thats about it.


Let me know if you have any questions :)

I am no perfect home school mom… we may fail at some of what we chose for this year… or we may fly through it and do amazing. I just never know :) – we may have to move mid year… we may not… life for us is so up in the air right now… im trying really hard to just embrace the now and despite the “possible” roads ahead, pressing on.

Thankful for another year to school these dudes. I LOVE THEM!!!

Home schooling is a gift… and while hard many days, it is well worth it in the end.


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