Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Creek Walkin

Each Spring you can find the Rogers Crew doing a little creek walkin and explorin.


This year Caroline was old enough to join us. She took to it like a fish in water.


Caleb spotted this little crawdad. Also known as a crawfish or a crayfish.


I love how God gave them the ability to look just like the creek bottom. This little guy needed all the help he could get. He was missing a pincher.


Pretty leaf skeleton. This is from a Cottonwood Tree.


Galoshes are a creek walkers best friend.



Then we walked over to the little pond. Can you see the fish? There are 3 of them.



Found the first water striders of the year. Not the best picture, but there are two little guys there.


We've had quite the bit of rain this Spring. So we've had quite the bit of these. I would love to get a mushroom field guide. But I am sure these mushrooms are pretty common.


Next year Charlotte will be old enough to join us too!

Monday, May 30, 2011

And She's Off

9 months old and she's a crawling machine! Charlotte Mae, that is.

First she did lots of this.

Apparently her little knees did not care for hard wood or carpet.

So then she'd spend quite a bit of time like this.

But now she spends most of her time like this.

Cause she wants to spend more time playing with them.
(these photos are from the beginning of May 2011)

Friday, May 20, 2011

Committing Our Lives To God's Design, Pt2

I have been reading the book, "The Mission of Motherhood" by Sally Clarkson and have started a series of posts about my thoughts as I go through it. You can find the other posts in this series at the bottom of this post. To read part 1 of Chapter 3, click here.

I wanted to end this chapter with some scriptures Sally used to show what our commitments as mothers should be. Also, I tried writing this post over and over again. Everything I wrote just seemed to be rewording Sally's thoughts. So I deleted it all and put her beautiful words down instead. Everything in italics are her words, NOT MINE.

(These are words from Sally from the second half of chapter 3. They are not in order, they are just the ones that spoke to my heart.)

Matthew 6:20,21 says
But collect for yourselves treasures in Heaven, where neither moss nor rust destroys, and where thieves don't break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Our children are eternal beings whose souls will last throughout all of eternity...

God has given them into my husband's and my hands to protect and lead and shepherd them through this life on earth...

My children will indeed become treasures in Heaven if they indeed learn to love God and serve Him with their whole hearts. This is eternal work, to train the hearts, minds and consciences in righteousness.

But before I can do this work effectively I must surrender my heart to God's will .

I have been blessed with children, I have to surrender myself wholeheartedly to my role of being a mother after God's design.


Romans 12:1 Therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, I urge you to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God; this is your spiritual service of worship.

We are living sacrifices, which means that moment by moment, out of worship of Him, we are to surrender our own needs and expectations for the greater value of pleasing the Lord.

I had no idea what it would mean to sacrifice myself for my family, how much it would cost to follow God's design for the journey of motherhood. If I had understood more of what to expect, what I was called to do, and the significance of my role, I think I might have had an easier time of yielding myself to God's purposes. Perhaps I wouldn't have had to struggle through so many selfish attitudes, to fail so often in meeting my children's needs, and to fight so many unnecessary battles.

More and more, I have learned to see my children through the eyes of God and to accept the stages of growth through which He has designed them to grow.


IT IS NOT ABOUT US! No, I am not yelling at you, but at myself. Over and over again I struggle with selfish thoughts, wants, desires and I label them "needs." I think I have surrendered my heart to God, only to find out that I have been keeping a part of it back, keeping a part of it for myself. And honestly, it's not even my heart to keep. God made it, bought it at a very high price and yet still gives us the choice of what to do with it and who and what to give it to. I want it to be Him, but it seems as though I fail so often.

So how do we make the commitment to give our WHOLE hearts to Him therefore making the role of motherhood an act of worship?

1. We yield our personal rights into His hands.
2. We give up our time and expectations to Him.
3. And also our fears and worries about how we will manage.
4. We trust Him to take care of us and our family.
5. We let Him redirect our thinking and expectations and adjust our dreams.
6. And we wait in faith to see the fruit of our hard labor in the lives of our children, knowing that He will be faithful to honor our commitment to Him.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Boxelder Bug


The weekend is always a great time for nature explorin. We have been doing more of this around the home front lately. Charlotte does not like missing nap and mama likes a happy baby.


One of the things we can always be sure of finding around home is bugs. And yes, these are a true bug. Meaning their forewings lie across each other at rest, they have sucking mouth parts in a beak that folds under their body and they usually have long antennae.

Beetles are not true bugs. They have chewing mouth parts and their wings meet in a straight line down their backs. I'm sure you wanted to know all that! =)



After finding the little fellows we of course turn to our handy dandy nature guides. Bugs are so much more fun if you can learn a little about them.

We thought at first we might have found Milkweed Bugs. But mama was skeptical because we lack something very important to the Milkweed Bug. Yep, you guessed it, Milkweed. So we kept looking and reading and learning. And guess what, it turns out we had found lots of Boxelder Bugs. No, we do not have any Boxelder Trees. But we do have Maple and they love Maples just the same.


Here are a few of our favorite insect identification guides.

Nature guides also tell us that the Boxelder Bug goes through a Simple Metamorphosis. (Egg, Nymph and Adult Bug) The nymphs do not have wings, their color changes as they grow in size and they eat the same things the adult bugs do.


Caleb then decided he should draw a picture of both types of bug in his nature journal. I asked if he wanted to write down some info about them or tell mama what to write. No, was his answer. Firm and concise, no. So I left it at that. Which was hard for me, but I'm learning to follow his guiding more and more.


Tuesday, May 17, 2011

A Little Spring Nature Walk

Caroline kept insisting on taking a walk the other day. I had bajillions of things I wanted to get accomplished. But she was very persistent. So, I decided a little spring nature walk to a nearby park was going to be number 2 on the bajillions of things list. Number 1 had already been crossed of, breakfast.


Caleb has great eyesight. He spotted a tiny snail as we were walking along the little creek.

I couldn't believe he saw it. See what I mean by tiny.


You know your kids love nature when they will sit by a puddle for long periods of time just looking for something, anything.

And the prettiest flower of them all, Miss Charlotte.

Not the biggest nature walk fan though. She would rather play.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Committing Our Lives To God's Design

To continue on with, "The Mission of Motherhood" by Sally Clarkson we will get into Chapter 3. You can see the other posts in this series at the bottom.

The wise woman builds her house, but the foolish tears it down with her own hands. Proverbs 14:1

Now first off I have to say that I am not and have never been career driven. But I had no idea what being a mom was really going to be like. I dreamed of babies, loving, snuggles and seeing pieces of me and pieces of Cale mixed together in a sweet little one. I knew there would be hardships, sleepless nights, discipline issues. But I didn't really know what this would be like in "real life" while being the mama.

I come from a single parent family, my mom worked, I went to public school, had babysitters and then stayed home with my sister after school when we were older. We went to church when we were very young and then that stopped. I had no example in my life of a stay at home mom, homeschool family, church going family, etc. Don't get me wrong. My mom loved us very much, she told us so, showed us and spent time with us when she could. But my life as a child was nothing like the life our family lives now. And I have to admit, I was not prepared or trained and had not done much planning for life as a wife and mother.

Sally talks about the frustration this can cause. She says, When they were preparing for life, they focused on career preparation and assumed that motherhood and a home life could be tucked in around the edges. The importance of motherhood, marriage and the legacy they would leave in the lives of their children didn't enter into their training and planning. So they were not prepared for the reality that motherhood, especially when it's carried out according to God's design, is more than a full time job. It's an absorbing task that demands all the resources God has given us- our physical energy, our intellectual abilities, our creative gifts- and involves powerful emotional attachment as well.

When we (women) set out to do something we want to do it 100%, whether it's a job, a committee we are on, a project we are doing, marriage, raising children, or keeping a home. The problem is there is only one of us. So if we are going to do what we do 100%, with our whole heart, it would seem that "doing it all" is impossible. If we try to do this we will at some point feel like a failure in some area, if not all areas. Our heart is just too divided. I know that there are women who have to work (my mom was one, if she didn't then we didn't eat), but I am speaking of the women who can honestly consider full time, whole hearted motherhood. I am speaking to myself! I had never considered this option and when I did, well I felt guilty. I felt like I was settling, like I was taking the easy route, like I was not as intelligent as the women who had their masters degree and a career. But it's what I really wanted to do. Every time I felt my son move inside me or heard his little heartbeat at our midwife appointments I knew I could never leave him for the bulk of the day, multiple days a week to go to work. (God was working in me big time, I was just listening out of ears tuned into current culture and not the Lord.)

Plus, I had no idea that there is nothing easy or less intelligent about being a mom. But no worries, God has shown me differently! It was no wonder my heart was longing for wholehearted motherhood. Sally says it best, Someone needs to take responsibility for our children's nurture, protection, nourishment, intellectual development, manners, recreation, personal needs and spiritual development. Someone needs to commit time and energy into staying close to them as they grow, encouraging and correcting and teaching.

Doesn't it make sense that a wise God, who ordered the rest of creation in a intricate and systematic way, would also have provided such a person to care for children- to commit wholeheartedly to creating the right environment for them to grow and to prepare them to live throughout eternity bearing His image?

Of course! This person would be mamas! I so wish I had known this from the beginning, it would have saved me so much guilt and worry. God intended motherhood to be a full time job, not what we do in the evenings and weekends. He wanted us to be able to mother with our whole hearts!

Don't get me wrong, even though I choose to stay home and felt blessed to get to do so, I struggled with times of feeling so dissatisfied. I found out that much of being a mama was doing the same tasks over and over again. And many of those tasks were not fun, they were boring or stressful or annoying or gross. (laundry, training, changing diapers, teaching manners...) I found out that my children were needy and seemed to be even needier at the most inconvenient times (bedtime for instance). And I have no idea why I am using past tense here. Because if I'm being honest I still struggle with this. But God has been showing me that many times the source of this dissatisfaction was and is because of the choices I have been making. When I am just waiting for the motherhood tasks to be over with so I can: read, blog, do lunch with a friend, have alone time, volunteer for such and such. You know, when I can do what I want, what I find interesting. When I am more focused on what I could be doing or will be doing later than mothering with my whole heart.

How could I put all of me into my time at home if I was always thinking about a future time when I could escape the routine tasks of motherhood?

You see, God has told me time and time again that I have to choose to embrace totally and joyfully all that motherhood entails, the joys and the sacrifices. Only then will I be mommying with my whole heart. And this is not a one time decision. I have to decide this over and over again. Everyday! Making this decision can be very hard. I can choose to be the best mama I can be or to have life my own way.

When someone has been given much, much will be required in return; and when someone has been entrusted with much, even more will be required. Luke 12:48

I became a little clearer about which path I needed to follow if I really wanted to reflect God's design. I began to see my children's care and nurture as God's best will for my life during my season as a mother.

If Cale and I truly seek to have children who love the Lord their God with all their hearts, souls, minds and strength, then I will have to accept there will be days of one more song sung, one more nose wiped, one more diaper changed, one more squabble stopped, one more reminder to say please, one more silly joke listened to over and again, one more lego stepped on... Because all of these "one mores" are ways I am nurturing my children, ways that I am teaching them what it is to love and be loved.

I will end with another quote from Sally. She really sums up the heart of the matter.

I needed to face the reality that all of that important stuff I was longing to do had far less eternal significance than what I was involved in doing. If I didn't commit myself wholeheartedly to the demands of motherhood, I would never be able to do my best, because my heart would always be somewhere else.


Friday, May 13, 2011

Robot

I will be continuing on with the Mission of Motherhood posts. But we are getting our gardens in this weekend, so my time is devoted to that.

I did want to post this amazing robot that Caleb made though. Auntie Sarah bought him a book on robots for Christmas. It has been quite the hit. Daddy and Caleb read it often and it has inspired some handiwork of a sorts.

Caleb's First Robot

Buttons that make his arms go in and out, a gun go in and out, lasers shoot, forward and backwards (of course), and some more things I can't quite remember but they all had to do with explosions and the such.
Here is one of the guns. Nerf darts would be the ammo of choice for this robot.
I was quite impressed with how much time Caleb spent building it. He used boxes, pencils, straws, clothespins, wire, tape and a Nerf gun. Oh, and a couple of plastic golf clubs for arms. All in all, a very cool robot!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Exploring the Meaning of Biblical Motherhood part 2

I started Chapter 2 with this post. And since I like to talk (or I guess blog my thoughts) I have a part 2 for chapter 2. =)

What Happened to God's Design? When God's Design is Forgotten or Ignored?

This is important. Cause I need to know what warning signs to look for if I start to do this. Plus, we already discussed that obeying God's design for us is the way to go for our children and ourselves.

And the Lord our God commanded us to obey all these decrees and to fear him so he can continue to bless us and preserve our lives, as he has done to this day. For we will be counted as righteous when we obey all the commands the Lord our God has given us. Deuteronomy 6:24-25

Sally says, family is at the center of God's design for all people and, moreover, is the center of life from which God's work and redemption will begin.

And God, when His design was complete, pronounced it very good.


Which leaves us, of course, with the question of what happened... The answer as to why it happened is found in Genesis 3. What happened to God's design for men, women, children and families was human sin! (Genesis 3:1-6)

This meant that humans no longer reasoned as God reasoned, and they began to make up their own theories about their purpose in life.

This is chilling to me. To know that my natural inclination is to not reason the way God reasons. To know that Satan would like nothing better than to make me start thinking lies about my role as a mother. To know that Satan will seek a foothold in my life by making me doubt my ability as a mother, making me feel like I've failed, making me focus on everything that's not working.

I see Satan's work so much now days when it comes to how people feel about family and children and marriage. I have had people dismiss me completely when they find out I stay home and my first priorities are my husband and my children. We are told by the world to look for fulfillment outside of the home in a job, sports, hobbies, and owning more stuff. This is not God's design! Remember he created us to have children, be blessed by them, pass on His ways to them.

When the mission and reason for having children is lost, they easily come to be seen as a time drain, a monetary expense, a career impediment, a curtailer of personal freedom.

Because children are not considered important enough to occupy the lion's share of a mother's time, childcare quickly becomes a growth industry. The responsibility of instilling morality, conscience, intellect, emotional stability, and spiritual understanding is relegated to daycare, teachers, schools, the media and peers. Emotionally, spiritually and often physically as well, children tend to be left to their own devices- left to flounder for love, purpose, and meaning in a culture that values time, efficiency, and measured productivity above the real needs of a human being.

And once children lose their value in a culture, so does the work of bringing them into this world and tending them once they are here.

Often, as a result, women feel confused and torn between the cultural messages they hear about what is important for them to do and the eternal message God has written on their hearts.

It saddens me to admit this, but I have thought too many times to count, "When my children are older, then I can get something done."

Why would I think that I am getting nothing done now? Is raising three beautiful blessings less important than projects, house cleaning or hobbies? NO!!! But here is a prime example of my reasoning not being the Lord's. Partly because I needed to really get into the Word and cram my heart full of what God's purpose for me and His heart for my kids really is.

The most important factor in being a successful mother is in turning our hearts to God, to seek His will, and to allow Him to begin making sense out of the messes we've made of our lives. He who created motherhood is the gentle teacher whose ways and input we must seek.

Lord,

I want to turn my heart to you everyday, every hour, every minute! Please show me your will in my life as a mama. Forgive me for ever thinking that my children are nothing short of a miracle and a gift sent from you. Teach me God how to be a mama that shows my children this with my words, thoughts, and actions. Let my children see that they are precious to me, loved unconditionally by me and worthy of my time, resources and life. God, help me to tune out the world and tune into your design for me. May your name be praised forever, Lord!

In Jesus Name,
Amen


Posts In This Series:

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Preschool and PreK Units


Below is a list of unit studies we did for Preschool and PreK. Caleb did not start Kindergarten until he was 6, so some of the PreK units could be used for Kindergarten as well. Happy learning!

PRESCHOOL UNITS:

BOOK UNIT STUDIES

HOLIDAY UNIT STUDIES
Thanksgiving Unit, Doxology
Thanksgiving Books
Easter


SCIENCE UNIT STUDIES

Snow Unit:

Bird Nest and Eggs:
Seed Unit:

Dandelion Unit:
Ocean/Beach Unit:

Moon Unit:

Apple/Johnny Appleseed:

Fall Leaves:
BIBLE UNIT STUDIES



Preschool and PreK Nature Study

Below is a list of many different nature study activities we did for Preschool and PreK. Some are very simple and some could be whole unit studies. You can also find other nature study and science ideas in our specific Preschool and PreK Unit Studies. Our family loves nature and we incorporate it into much of our learning and free time as well.



SUMMER: