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a little family update….

6 Aug

I know, I know…. it’s been a while… try over a year since visiting this tiny corner on the web. Once we started homeschooling. blogging just took a backseat.  Forget that, it got lost in the trunk. I’ve thought about it many times, with much in my head to type and say; yet the time and drive to do it just eluded me.  I don’t know if signing into WordPress today will inspire more posts in the future, or if it’ll be a once a year thing, but I place my fingers on the keyboard today with news to share. Most news is best said, yet when you have snippets of Facebook statuses or 140 characters on Twitter, it makes it hard to share news. Some news requires information or disclaimers, or like this one – a little back story. 

As most of you know, we have three precious children – Cade (9), Benjamin (7), and Harper (4). At the beginning of this year we were feeling that we weren’t quite done having children yet. We went back and forth, not really sure where God was bringing us to in our thinking. We finally concluded that our family would be richer with having one last babe. Unfortunately, God had other plans for us as we dealt with an early miscarriage in February and again another one in April. We didn’t share the news with hardly anyone – I think we felt disappointed and I can identify with feeling a sense of shame at my body failing. It was a rough time but we knew that we were okay and we just dealt through it and moved on. 

Just as we decided that we weren’t going to risk going through that again, we found out in June that we were expecting again. Yesterday we had an ultrasound that showed a moving and kicking baby with a strong heartbeat. Sweet baby # 4 will be arriving to the Richards family estimated March 1st. We are ecstatic to have another arrow that God has gifted us with, now we are praying for a healthy baby and an easy pregnancy. 

And yes, we know what causes it. It’s already crazy around here. My hands are full but so is my heart. And if you wait until you can afford kids, you won’t have them. Are we done? Probably, but we don’t need to have an answer to that now. Any other questions?? 🙂



taking care of mama

12 Jan

Starting 2012, I had a list of resolutions, or “intentions” as I like to call them. Doesn’t seem so weighty then. 🙂 As I reflected over them, I saw a common theme amongst many items; items like “make time to create weekly,” “go to bed early, wake early,” “go to yoga 2 times a week,” etc. The common theme was that I am craving caring for myself. As I get carried away, from the moment I awake, to the demands of mom, wife, housekeeper, educator – I forget to make time or priority to care for me.

However, if I don’t care for my needs:

  • physical
  • spiritual
  • emotional
  • intellectually

then I can’t possibly be caring for the needs of others in the best way possible. BUT, I find it SO hard to take care of me! Why? Before I had kids, I thought nothing of reading a book in the middle of the day or going to the gym. Confession: I like my family and being with them. I feel guilty at doing my own thing while everyone is together. But I NEED to be okay with it. I NEED to be okay with my husband taking the kids to the park while I have quiet time at home. I NEED to be okay with going to Starbucks a few hours on Saturday to do planning while he has the kids at home. I NEED to be okay with letting go of tidying up for the night so I can go to bed early. Once I actually break away and do it, I feel more relaxed and rejuvenated. I know I respond better to those around me and show my family my best, when I’ve given some of “me’ to me.

Some ways I plan on being more proactive in this area for the year are: planning a girls weekend away to refresh and relax, spend a few hours each weekend away from the house – planning for the week ahead, and creating time in my week to sew, create, craft, read, for yoga, and homemaking. The first thing was to decide it was a necessity for me and the second thing was to get my husband’s support.

Mama’s we don’t have to do it all ourselves. Go out, take a break, slow down, and take care of yourself. You’ll feel better for it and your family will appreciate it.

learning in the everyday

5 Jan

Often I find myself falling into a trap that has me thinking that the only successful days I have in homeschooling are ones that have a clear, organized, subject-filled plan in place. I’m okay following a day like that about 3 times a week. However the other days I am itching to get out of the house, explore the world around, run errands, and meet up with friends. When I fall into that trap, on those days I think about how the kids aren’t learning, I’m slacking in schooling, or they’ll never get x, y, z. I forget one of the main reasons we homeschool our children is so that they will see that learning happens all around – at any place or time. When I stop and reflect on that I remember that –

the brothers playing legos together this morning in a peaceful manner were working on social skills and math concepts in using the legos

free play led to the boys drawing maps of a friend’s home and yard, complete with a plan for spying on chickens

putting together the pieces of an animal habitat led to research about triops, crustaceans, and the observation of a roly poly

uninterrupted time inspired quiet reading of new library books

openly available art supplies inspired artwork, drawings in sketch pads, and chalk drawings

Sometimes I need to remember my own thoughts about learning happening all around — those lessons could be the richest ones that my children learn. Sure a plan is great, curriculum is a wonderful help, and I still feel the pressures to meet standards and “get it all in,” but I can step back and see that just daily living is not done in vain when I make myself available for the littles, provide resources and opportunities, and encourage them to explore.

seasons of life

7 Aug

At the beginning of summer we knew we would be busy. We had 4 scheduled trips for our family to embark upon: a working week at a camp in Tennessee, a family reunion in New York, a family reunion in Michigan, and a beach trip to Amelia Island, Florida. Little did we know that within those weeks we would also have our church, that my husband planted 6 months ago assume another church in our area that was closing its doors and that we would attend a funeral for my husband’s grandmother.

Our summer of crazy and busy just turned into a summer of almost unmanageable. We would drive 13 hours for a trip to have my husband fly out of that airport 24 hours later to go back to church to do what he had to do. Then he’d fly back into town 24 hours later for us to drive the 13 hours back home at 6 am the next morning. Not even an hour after his grandmother’s service for her funeral, he flew home to be there for church. That time I decided to stay on with his family with the littles for the week and had a much needed respite.

I remember my sweet husband turning to me as we drove back from Michigan asking me if our life would always be so crazy. “Was this the new normal?” I couldn’t imagine that.

Today as I sat on the beach, watching my littles love the water, my husband relax in a chair to the tune of the ocean waves, and my family that I love so dearly around me, I realized that this is a season of life. I know Ecclesiastes 3 tells me that “there is a time for everything and a season for every activity.” To this I have to hold firm to. Things will change and we’ll find ourselves in either a new season or back to where we were. I won’t feel overwhelmed, broken, lost, and wanting. Hopefully by the end of this season I will embrace the conviction I’ve had this summer that I need full reliance on Him, the one who created me, the one who knows these are fine details, not the big picture – on God. Maybe we’ve had the chaos this season to remind me I cannot do it without Him. I need HIm. I need to get back to my reliance on Him.

I’m going to embrace this season and learn all I can from it. I know as I sit on the beach these last days that summer is coming to a close and soon it will be a new season. I will embrace it. I will turn to Him. And I will learn. Learn from it, more about me, more about Him, and more about my need for someone I can depend on.


looking back on the year…

7 Jun

A little over a year ago we stepped out in faith and made a family decision to homeschool our children. For many reasons, some of which are discussed HERE, we prayed about it and made the decision we felt was best for our family. Now a year later, we are looking back and evaluating how it went and how we all feel about the school year.

We’re celebrating the school year for the hard work that everyone put into the year. The boys did far better than I thought they would – sure we had a few days with rotten attitudes and testing of boundaries, but for the most part, they did great and just took our school time as what we did. We were able to make new friends, go on many day trips and fun activities, and spend time at home – more than we really had before.

I love that I was able to be present in the every day discipling of the boys. As we encountered a deficient relationship skill or a sin issue, we dealt with it from a Christian standpoint. The boys learned scripture verses and we applied them to the every day living. I’d like to see their relationship develop even deeper these next few years as they mature some and as we work on the concept of “family” a bit more. It was such a blessing though to lay so many foundational bricks.

Nothing compares to the joy of seeing your children learn something at the teaching from your hands and mouth. One of my sons really started reading this year. A late bloomer in a few academic areas, his teacher from last year was concerned he’d be lost in the school system if he was to go on to public school. We were able to see him start reading, and to start understanding the connection between letters and words. And not only start reading, but to have confidence in doing so because he has nothing to compare it to and hasn’t felt defeated in any way.

I think we have bonded as a family this year as we have all found a bit more of the purpose for which God created us. I have never been more comfortable in a role and just wanting to grow in it as I have this year as a mother, wife, and housekeeper. God has continually reminded me that this season is for raising my children and aiming them towards Him. However, He is always teaching me. The boys are the only ones learning around here! I love the lessons I’m learning as a result of homeschooling them.

Next year, I have decided to take a position at Arrows Academy teaching K4-K5. The great thing is that I will still be able to school our family! The boys will also have the best of both worlds with someone else, a Christian teacher, guiding them and saying the same things we are and speaking into their lives. They’ll have a classroom of friends to interact with, and I get to use my gifts and talents even more!

So, all in all I have LOVED this year. I think the boys have liked it well and I’m excited about what next year will hold.

dealing with big disappointment

3 Jun

It sure was a day yesterday. I started the morning by being woken by two very-wide-awake-with-bunches-of-energy little boys that were playing with water balloons in the house, soaking my bathroom. Sigh. How do they wake with so much energy and  I wake up so tired?

In light of being the start to summer, I thought we’d tackle something from our Summer List and head to Congaree National Park for a little nature fun. We had a play date at the pool scheduled the afternoon, but were wide open for the morning. The boys were very excited about spotting salamanders and owls and were ready quickly, leaving the water balloons behind. We set off.

Now if there is one thing those close to me know is that I like to plan ahead. I like to be on time to places, I stress about being late, and I like to know the directions of where I’m going. For whatever reason, I had my hubs look up the directions to the park on my iPhone Google Maps. It was being slow and wonky so he looked it up on his and we wrote them down.

To go to a place that should have taken 40 minutes, I was in the car with the kids, now antsy, hungry, and frustrated for 2 hours, and the directions sent us down two dirt roads that ended up dead-ending into the backside of the park, bordered by a river, without the entrance. Technology fail.  The map got us to the place alright, just not the right part of the place. FYI, don’t trust map programs or GPS’s EVER!

From there, we drove the route that we should have taken, backtracking, adding another 30 minutes to our trip. Time in car = 2 1/2 hours. I knew the littles needed some incentive to keep going at this point as they were alternating between frustration and crying. They were at each other, upset, disappointed, and probably a bit hungry too. We stopped at a gas station to get a slushy. That’d make it better, right? Got the kids out of the car, tears and frustration forgotten – and realized that I didn’t have my debit card. No way to buy a slushy. Mom of the year right here! Now I had one boy angrily telling me I was the worst mom ever and ruined his day, one quietly grieving, and the baby screaming through tears “slushy!” Back in car, continue towards park.

My oldest mentioned swimming that afternoon and at that point I decided we needed to pull over and have a heart to heart. With the added time (now at 2 hours, 45 min in the car) we probably wouldn’t make it to the pool for swimming. As you can guess, that did not go over well at all. More tears, anger, disappointment, sadness. I gave them the choice on which they wanted to do and picked swimming although they were very disappointed to miss going on the journey we had started out on. Return towards home, get husband and his debit card, get slushy. Time in car = 3 hours.

Somehow, and all I can say was it was God, but I was able to have long-suffering and compassion throughout all this. I saw my sweet children, broken with sadness and disappointment. That disappointment was caused by me and it saddened me. In those moments I was able to thank God for creating them so different as I saw the different ways they expressed themselves, I thanked God for the gentle lessons we were learning about choices and disappointments in life, I was thanking God for my patience and empathy (usually in short supply!), and I was thanking God for grace – the way He delivers me each day from my sin and the way He teaches me to show it to my children. In times when I would normally be irritated, angered, and impatient I found joy, compassion, and gentleness. Truly these were gifts of the Spirit as I pleaded to Him in my response!

We never ended up anywhere in those 3 hours, but I believe we ended up closer despite the big disappointments. The littles saw me on their team and as truly sorry for what they were dealing with. They want to try again tomorrow, but I’m not so sure. Think it may take me a few days to get over this!


beating boredom this summer

24 May

With temperatures reaching 98 today in May (!), the boys and I were thinking summer. We enjoyed popsicles and the slip n’ slide for many hours today. We also put together our list of things we’d like to do this summer. This summer will be the most travelled summer we’ve had. We have 2 family reunions, 1 family vacation, and 1 work-related trip that we’ll be going on. However, outside of that there are some fun things the littles would love to do, so we made a list. Let’s see how many we can cross off by the end of August!