To the Mom’s of Boys

Many who read this blog, may not know the small details to my life… such as how old I was when I got married. Many who I tell, gasp. cringe. think I am insane. wonder why. and often times, just give a smile and say something awkward.

I admit. I feel alone in my young age with so many on occasion. Majority of the time though, I am thankful.

I got married at 19.

2 years (not even) fresh out of high school.

I don’t have the memories of college dorms… or living on my own. While I attended a community college for a few years, it wasn’t much more than a couple classes and waitressing in between. Yes I use to waitress :) – another fact many may not know.

I always lived at home.

When I got married I had only had a license for two years.

I think my bank account had a few hundred bucks.

I don’t even think I had cooked a full meal on my own (my poor husband).

I was, young.

Travis and I choosing to get married when we did was meant to be. I don’t have regret of that… but I will say, being 19… and a wife. It’s a lot to take in.

Quickly into our marriage God began to bless us with children. I got pregnant 2 mo. after we got married… only to miscarry that sweet baby who I do believe was a boy… who we named Daniel (Ive never shared that here btw… but felt it was time), He passed just shy of my 2nd trimester. It was crushing and hard… and I remember it taking years to recover from. Even after the Lord blessed us with our 1st born Caleb, I had many boo hoo moments where Id cry over that small baby Daniel’s ultrasound. It is precious to me… and a memory I cherish. I know my husbands mom has a sweet baby boy with her in Heaven and that right there, brings me peace. Travis’ mom never got to meet me… or any of our children. I just have this mental image of her grinning with the same smile Travis inherited from her :) – as that sweet baby entered the gate.

After my 1st born Caleb was born, just shy of my 21st birthday… I never could have imagined the Lord would give me 3 more boys.

This verse holds such truth and is one of my favorites….


“Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one’s youth.”
- Psalm 127:4

I am completely covered in boy love every single day…. and while some days are harder than others. One thing remains constant. They love me.

ED9A4643They love my imperfections.

They love me after I completely loose it…

They love me even after a bad meal with lots of veggies they hated to eat.

They love me after a long school day, where tempers boiled and tears may have been shed.

They love me with or with out my make up.

They love me with or without a bra.

They love me squishy stomach and soft unripped body and all.

They love my stupid faces and annoying voices.

They love me even in my brokeness.

Boys. Are the best…. and while it is all I know. What I do know is, I am so glad God gave me a house full of boys, who I know, love me in a way, that blesses me each and every day.

So. To the Mom of Boys.

Be brave.

Put on your flip flops or muddy shoes and get dirty.

Throw out the tight clothes and fashion forward skirts… (saving them for girls nights or a date night. No need to be mom-ish all the time)

Sit down, build, create… love on those boys. The messes, the boy jokes and obsession over their privates (already, geez) and smelly feet. One day, when they leave home, they will look back on their sweet short ole mom, and remember how she put up with all of it… and even when they leave, they will love you, in a way, that will forever melt your heart.

Remain strong. Guiding them and teaching them. One thing I am realizing, year after year… as I meet new people… am around others… see families at the park… and so on, is that God is so clear in His Word on how we are to teach… and guide… and discipline our children. There is nothing more frustrating to deal with than children who do not respect and obey. While every child will disobey… and disrespect at some point… teaching them the truth on why these things are so wrong… and so bad, is so important.


“He who withholds his rod hates his son, But he who loves him disciplines him diligently.”
- Proverbs 13:24

I am so thankful that from the get go, The Lord began to work in my heart as well as my husbands in these areas… and while I know, our boys are not perfect. I am proud of them. I am proud of the fact I can go out with all 4 and be okay. I am thankful for their obedience and respect for others… while they have their moments of failure… like everyone… I see a desire in them to please. I love how when I call their name, they now say “Mam’…” and while it is just one word… it is a word that just echo’s respect and honor… and I am thankful for how we have pushed and taught our boys the value in this. I hope and pray my boys continue to grow… and mature…. desire to serve, treat others with respect… and dig more and more into God’s Word as the years pass.

Often times Believers are criticized on the verse above… where it speaks about the Rod. I for one am not here to tell anyone how to discipline their child. I think that is something a parent has to come to a decision about. We hardly spank it seems these days… but there is a time and place for it in our books. Done in love and with proper teaching to go with it. I remember early on as a mom, one time my child darted out from my arms in a busy parking lot and all I could see flashing before my eyes, was a car coming and when I yelled “STOP!!” that child disobeying me and getting killed by the passing car. This thankfully did not happen… but it surely could have.

Children need to be taught to obey… and fast…

No matter how you choose to discipline… always follow through. Actions always have consequences… My boys know this… and while at times it seemed like a loosing battle… Now that my oldest is almost 10, I am finally beginning to see the fruit of all that hard work…

Thankful for God’s Word.

Thankful for Wisdom.

For guidance and examples from other moms.

IThere is no shame and no harm in ever going to a friend and asking her questions… if anything I believe that to be biblical… I have done it myself… in fact I just did it last week… called up a mom of 8 (almost 9) – just asking her plain and simple “How do you do it….” in regards to home school, etc… as soon as I was ready to quit… give up, toss my kids on a school bus, she encouraged me… and gave me that boost that I needed to stick with my gut and keep at it. Those conversations are…

Humbling…

Needed….

…and so worth having.

Thankful to be where I am today.

Now 30.

No longer a teenager ;-) – newly married with one baby.

Lord has been good to me.

I am loved. By Him… and thankful for my these boys, all blessings.

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How I taught my kids to swim….

Found my small underwater video camera the other day while cleaning up my office. Shame it has been neglected for years :-\ – figured I may as well break it out at the pool and let the boys enjoy. It was fun… the kids loved watching themselves on camera swim under the water. Even baby Reed.

So I crammed the videos all together into one for you all to see. Warning. I talk in my weird some what annoying baby voice a lot in this video. Ignore it. Its just what I do :) – I have no control over it hah….

Before getting to the video though.

I thought I would talk a little bit about swimming… and teaching children to swim without the need for swim lessons.

Disclaimer: I am no swim expert. I have nothing against swim teachers. Swim lessons… or parents who choose to do swim classes. NO HARM IN THOSE THINGS at all. In fact, I am pretty sure my mom took my brother and I to swim lessons :) – and I at one point was on a swim team. So yea. No hate here. For us though, we chose not to do swim lessons…. for one simple reason “We couldn’t justify the cost… and really couldn’t afford it.” So -we made do with our own pool times and I taught the boys to swim on my own.

One thing I have always tried to encourage with our boys, is to be brave… and try. There is nothing wrong with being afraid of something… but even if you are afraid, I try to teach my boys, to at least give it a go… rather than to run the other way.

Caleb was probably my most fearful of water. I think because he was the 1st born… so he just didn’t really have the exposure to water like his younger siblings did. I think Caleb began swimming “well” around age 5 or 6. My other children though could fully swim by age 4.

Taite was swimming and diving in the water as early as 2, with help.

By far my earliest swimmer though, has been baby Reed. He is very fearless when it comes to water… and grasped the understanding of holding ones breathe, fast. The way I introduce my babies to holding their breathe, was to always count down. Look at them, 1, 2, 3…. and dunk them down. I didn’t do the whole breathing in their face either… that never worked for us. It seemed to just confuse them.

After a few goes, they got it.

I also am a HUGE fan of the Puddle Jumper Floats. Target sells them! By far the best pool purchase you can make. They last years and do not pop ;-) – you can even wash them if they get smelly.

So I suppose, how I taught my kids to swim.

Encouragement.

Persistence.

Grace.

Pushing.

Lots of trips to the pool :)

and… more encouragement. Kids love being praised… I also did simple lessons on kicking in the water and teaching them how to float on their back once they got comfortable with things. The rest comes naturally.

Now… onto the video..

Homeschool Binder’s – Weekly Scheduling

I posted on my instagram this morning about a new routine we started in our home schooling. With Travis returning to “normal” job hours recently, it has caused me to adjust to now being the sole school teacher in the house (for the most part)… and learning to tweak things to the way I feel works best. With Travis’ previous work schedule (being home during school hours and gone at night), he did majority of the schooling… Lets just say, his ways are not my ways :) – so I am finding sanity in some new methods as of late.


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One of those methods is using a binder and weekly schedules to help teach the boys independence. I started reading a book about the Charlotte Mason Method… and while some stuff I agree with and some I do not… one thing I did agree with was how she taught her children to be independent… So so important. Extra important for the mom of many who depends on independent older ones in order to deal with the responsibility of younger ones in the mix of it all.

For these binders I searched pinterest for a weekly schedule print out that would be easy for the boys to follow. You obviously could make up one yourself in Microsoft Word or Google Doc… but for me, finding something already made is always a win win :) – I found THIS ONE. It is free, feel free to click HERE to print and save the file yourself.

It is a basic weekly schedule that has room for you to write assignments for each child.

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ED9A4023So what I am doing is every weekend I sit down alone with my boys books… and figure out what they need to complete for the upcoming week.

With the curriculum we use its pretty simple to do this. We use primarily all abeka work but also teaching textbooks for Caleb’s math and a few other resources for science, healthy, history and so forth. Right now since we are behind schedule this year, we are focusing more on the CORE stuff like math, language arts, writing, spelling, that sorta stuff… the rest is just extra and if it happens, awesome, if not, its ok.. I plan to be more on top of it next year if we have a normal routine ;-) – at least I hope to be.

Ok! SO to the point.

I write down Taite’s assignments on his printed out schedule.

I then organize in his binder with dividers each subject and all his worksheets.

I also add in a portion in the binder with extra paper. His test papers. Speed drills and other supplies he needs.

If he has reading books for that week, I place those in the side pockets of the binder. I also put a little zipper pocket thing to hold his pencils, erasers and a sharpener. This way I dont have little boys getting up saying they need a new pencil every 30 minutes.

ED9A4016I sat down with the boys and encouraged them to start on their work whenever they wanted in the morning. If I slept in with baby Reed and they got up super early… once they ate breakfast and woke up a bit, they were welcome to open their binders, see what needed to be done and to get started.

I encouraged the independence by creating a “treasure box” in the room, filled with little things from the dollar tree. As silly as it may seem, this seriously has been such a motivation for them! The idea of getting to go rummage through a box full of tiny toys pushed my boys even more to get their work done and to do it well. They have done so great at being independent with this system. In fact this morning I woke up at 9am… I was up til 3am sick… and so I did not feel great this morning… when I got downstairs though Caleb and Taite both ran to me and said “Guess what!?” I in my still groggy voice said “…. what?” They said, super energetically “We are almost totally done with our seat work!!” – yall it was 9am. HAHA! I was like “what time did you wake up?!” they said “7am. So for those two hours they spent it on their own, doing their work without my even saying to start.

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We obviously still had work to do after I got up. We did an hour of Health and Caleb still had computer work to do for Math and they both still had reading… The bulk of the busy work though was done and can I just say, this is huge for us. To not have to sit there and PESTER them to finish that seat work has been such a blessing.

While this system is still fresh for us… and obviously newness does wear off eventually… I foresee this working long term and look forward to it teaching my boys the power of independence and responsibility.

It also has been great for me at staying on task… and not skipping stuff as easily.

So in short, thats the Binder Method :)

Starting some new health curriculum with the boys on the human body. Just because it's may doesn't mean you can't study or start something new :) #beautyofhomeschool #homeschool #homeschooling #boymom #dudemom

Hopefully it encourages someone reading and works for you all too.

Feel free to comment with any questions you may have :)

You can follow all my home school pins too if you want – below.

Follow Drea Wood’s board Homeschool Activities on Pinterest.

Let’s Talk Vaccines – Unheard Mother

One thing I have tried the last few years not to talk about are vaccinations. When I first became a mom almost 10 years ago (wow…) I was 21 years old, lived in Ohio and the whole “going to a doctor” with a baby was completely new to me. I was clueless and young… and so I did everything the Dr. order. EVERYTHING. Those who follow my blog know some of the battles we faced with our 1st born in regards to vaccines. We battled high fevers. Rashes, bumps, soreness, ear infections and a constant issue with congestion. It got so bad at one point, after a 104+ spike in fever after a vaccine around 6 months (I believe he got 4 at once that visit), as a worried mom I called my Dr. asking if this was normal… that Caleb kept battling these things… despite our efforts to keep him home, well… etc… He was not in day care… I did not leave often… and yet, always sick. She assured me “Oh yes, totally normal.” In my gut though I did not feel this was right. Why was my baby always sick. Why was he battling ear infections EACH shot he got. Why was he congested in struggling month after month. At around 1 year old we even had him tested for allergies because we could not figure out how to keep this little guy well. It was so frustrating and consumed me constantly.

I then started to do some home work myself. I spoke to a few older mothers with much older kids, got their opinions. I read so many websites I cant even count. I watched documentaries. I asked questions… It was an on going journey of research that honestly went on for YEARS in my life… at one point I had to put my foot down and make the decision to stop vaccinating until I was comfortable and knew it was safe for my child.

All a mother ever wants is the best for their child.

We live in a constant state of fear it seems as moms these days. I remember after having my 2nd born (I was 23). Dr. after Dr. telling me the huge risk I was taking not to vaccinate Taite. How this could happen, or that.

I remember one Dr. in fact telling me You have to get these shots. Or your baby will die.

Im not even kidding. She said that to me.

Dr’s over the years, as my children grew and we still declined the vaccines, would continue to throw fear remarks at me… and would even bring up the whole “school thing.” You cannot send them to school or daycare without vaccines. I guess its a good thing we wouldnt need to send them to either but regardless, that is a lie in itself.

As a mom who does not vaccinate… I get constant remarks by others on how MY child is putting THEIR child at risk. Their vaccinated child… who is vaccinated against these things…. so why would my unvaccinated child put their vaccinated child at risk? It is a constant back and forth battle… and after honestly loosing friendship over this subject, I began to keep my mouth shut and try to stay neutral if all possible.

Do we vaccinate?…

Not right now, no.

Are we anti-vaccine? No. In fact last year when Owen was bit in the face by a dog… I had to make a decision on a vaccine. Tetanus. Which he got that day. I don’t know if it was the right decision but in that moment, I felt it was best. So he got it.

When I was in labor with Reed and he was born… a nurse looked at me with a sheet to sign consenting to give my 6 pound baby HEP B Vaccine… I looked at her and said “No Shots.” as they continued to mess with my girly parts and clean things up. A mom after birthing a baby is handed forms requesting permission to give their baby who has been out of the womb for all of 2 minutes, a shot. Why?! Have you read the risk of Hep B? I never did. Nor was I ever told. Did you know that “hepatitis B is a primarily blood-transmitted disease associated with risky lifestyle choices, such as unprotected sex with multiple partners and intravenous drug use involving sharing needles—it is NOT primarily a “children’s disease.” - yet they feel the need to give it to EVERY newborn born?

The thing is. I think vaccines have their place. I think they have been used for good in some situations… but in many cases I think it is TO MUCH too soon. Why so many, so fast? Why not spread them out a bit… If you look at this chart you will see around 6 mo. of age babies are pumped FULL of vaccines… tiny little bodies full of this stuff… it cannot be good and the dangers are real.

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*Taken from the CDC website*

We each as mothers have to pray… do research…. and make a decision in regards to our child’s health care. No one should bully us into anything and often times when I went to Dr’s I felt bullied… unheard and disrespected.

I have mad props for any Dr. out there. The amount of schooling they are put through… the time they spend working… its hard… and I know they work for that and desire the best… and I am thankful for wise Dr’s who are used all over the globe to save lives and fight childhood illnesses that would otherwise kill. I am thankful for health care…. but what I am not thankful for is when I take my child into a Dr’s office and they act as if I am not worth hearing.

Last night I made the decision to take Taite into a very well known Urgent care for children in Atlanta. It is one of the highest rated and I have been there before. Because it was after 6pm we could not see Taite’s regular Dr… and the thought of waiting until morning and facing a Dr’s office with 4 young children, risking Reed being exposed to something in the Dr’s office… was not appealing to me. So I went to the urgent care while Travis stayed home with the other 3 boys.

Got to admit this little guy is so handsome even sick. #choa #sick #feelbettersoonTaite had been battling a fever for 7 days now. Off and on. One minute it would be 103. The next 99.9. One day he’d be fine, wanting to play. The next wouldnt even move from the sofa. Complained he had a sore throat and was obviously not feeling well. I am not one to rush to a Dr’s office… but yesterday Taite continued to feel bad and when I looked into his throat he had bumps all over the back of his tongue. I had never seen anything like it. It looked like his taste buds had become inflamed? very odd looking. It freaked me out enough to take him in.

As soon as you are seen for anything in regards to a child. One of the 1st questions you are asked is “Is your child up to date on their vaccines?” – If you respond “no” – you are then asked “Why not?” – and given looks. I have seen many nurses, doctors, etc… and each and every time, I get a look. The only Dr. who has not given me “a look” is the Dr. we see for their primary care. She has 2 boys and is very open minded and respectful.

After you explain that you do not vaccinate and the scribble a bit more on the clip board, they then do the general test. They checked Taite for strep (isnt that a fun test?) – and then we are sent to a room to wait results.

Strep Test, negative.

The Dr. then comes in to talk to us… and was so impersonal… and I realize she sees lots of people… but they could at least be kind… and smile or something.

She then goes on telling me that because Taite is not vaccinated they wanted to run lots of test to rule out possible infections. At this point I asked the Dr. could this possibly just be Influenza? She told me “No, theres no way its that. Its not circulating right now.” I then told her “Well… a close friend of Taite’s who he just saw less than a week ago was tested for Influenza B after having Xrays and blood work that all came back negative… yet after a respiratory type test she in fact had it.” She looked at me with surprise and I am not even kidding, acted as if I was telling her a story and dismissed the notion immediately.

She then told me that Taite needed to have 2 chest X-Rays. Blood drawn as well as a test for pertussis.

In the moment, as you sit in these Dr. rooms… you often times feel at a loss. Here I was with my child who was sick but not deathly sick. I knew he was ok I just wanted answers… and here this Dr. is wanting to torture your child running all sorts of test that honestly did not needed to be run.

Lets take a look at all these “vaccines” and possible “illnesses” Taite was tested for:

RV – Rotavirus – We actually have had this – Horrible experience … Taite had no signs at all of this at this moment though. Rotavirus is a pretty easy one to weed out.

DTAP – Diphtheria, Tetanus, and Pertussis – Taite clearly did not have Tetanus, Pertussis while it can seem like a common cold at first, this to me did not seem at all like Pertussis aka Whopping cough. He most def. did not have Diphtheria according to the symptoms listed from the MAYO clinic website.

HiB – Haemophilus influenzae type b – Symptoms for this include fever, lethargy, vomiting and a stiff neck. Taite had a fever bu the rest could clearly be weeded out.

PCV – Pneumococcal Vaccination – Most symptoms were similar to the above. Rapid breathing. Chest Pain. Those two things alone Taite did not have. He was breathing fine. No Chest Pain.

IPV – Polio – Symptoms include Fever, Sore throat, headache, vomiting, fatigue, back pain or stiffness, neck pain or stiffness, pain or stiffness in the arms or legs, muscle weakness or tenderness, meningitis. Taite had a slight fever and a sore throat. Both very common in many many things but he had none of the other symptoms of Polio.

MMR – Measles, Mumps, Rubella, and Varicella – He clearly did not have Measles, Mumps, Rubella or Varicella. Varicella btw is Chickenpox.

HEP A & B – He had no sign of these either. Feel free to look up all the symptoms of these vaccines Ive listed above if you want. It really is good to familiarize yourself with the symptoms.

My head hurts honestly from the amount I have read up on vaccines. I get tired of reading about them – and it is a battle I do not ever enjoy.

I realize children die of some of the above. I realize whopping cough is a big deal! I realize children have been crippled and killed by polio and measles is no walk in the Park. Each disease has its risk and there is reason to be concerned if a child EVER contracts them. We live in a fallen world with diseases… with illnesses.. with terrible things happening to children. Cancer… car accidents… abusive homes, etc… we live in such a broken world and yet we cannot live by fear. Just as the concern for these illnesses happening, there is also reason to be concerned with the many countless risk that come with vaccinated children, esp tiny lil humans aka babies… those risk are also VERY REAL.

This situation was just frustrating…. and yet, I went ahead with the test… At that moment I remember just feeling annoyed… and didn’t want to fight this in front of m 7 year old… There are times you just go with the flow and ride it out.

All test were normal.

After it was all said and done, the Dr. said “Well… maybe it is the flu.” – and sent us on our way.

The only thing to me that made sense was the Flu. The entire reason I came in was to be given an explanation as to why Taite had bumps on his tongue… only to be ignored and not even given an answer. I did my own home work and found out what they were… and apparently it is common to get those tongue bumps with fevers and colds… The Dr. never explained this to me. I had to research it myself on google, website after website.

The trip was pointless.

The only thing it revealed to me was how awesomely strong Taite is. Who did not cry the entire time. Even after having a needle put into his arm to take blood, that kid didnt even flinch!! He was a champ and such a joy to be with those 3 hours we waited.

It is another lesson learned.

So to all the moms who may be reading this.

Hear me out.

I don’t think less of those who vaccinate. I don’t think I am better. I do not hate Doctors… although at times I hate how they treat me some times. I do not think one way is the only way. I have lots of close dear friends who vaccinate and I love them still the same. I dont shun people who vaccinate. I dont hang out in unvaccinated circles with hippies and sip on kefir, wearing a sling and showing off my cloth diapers. While I may have done many of those things haha I am very open minded… and very understanding to peoples choices. I respect people for their own ways and understand it is a decision we each have to make.

Thankful my child is well.

I just wish people… Doctors included, could respect a mothers decision more. Not judge. Understand. Listen… and make sure that mother leaves heard.

Lazy 5 Ranch

Just a few photos of our adventures at the Lazy 5 Ranch. Such a fun place. If you are in NC you should go.

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If you can’t tell, Reed was super excited to go.

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Giraffes are fascinating!

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Reed kept on calling the goat’s cats :) – he clearly needs to work on his animals.

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I think this donkey wanted to eat my camera or was smiling? :)

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Llama’s everywhere! Such funny creatures!

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Reed was so nervous when the bigger animals approached the van.

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Our van got a good amount of slobber on it.

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By this point we had to relocate Reed to the back of the van away from the animals.

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Do you blame him? :)

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My brother in one group shot, my dad in the other :) – wheres a tripod when you need it.
Oh and my arm totally looks amputated.

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