Super Busy at Home

The Priceless Gift of Losing my Camera

After work Wednesday Nick "gave me" one of my Mother's Day gifts early...a membership to Ashley Ann's Snap Shop workshops...where she teaches you how to take totally awesome pictures. 

I was so excited!  I mean, I have wanted a membership to Snap Shop for, well, forever!  and it was so thoughtful of him to think of me. 

I quickly started going through the classes.  This was going to be the best thing ever!  The very first thing she showed was neat buttons and bells and whistles on her camera. 

"I wonder if our camera has that button?" I asked Nick. 

And that's when the trouble started. 

We quickly realized that our camera had, poof, disappeared into thin air. 

It was gone. 

I was having heart palpitations.  I felt like I was going to throw up.  I was dreading the thoughts going through my head...it's really gone. 

I felt like such an idiot.  I should have had an eagle eye on the thing.  Who loses a dslr camera?  Ugh. 

We looked and looked and looked.  Nick went to businesses, churches, everywhere looking for it.  He took the third row out of our vehicle to try to hunt it down.  We called grocery stores, grandparents, and restaurants.  But to no avail. 

That night we didn't sleep well.  In the morning we both commiserated on how it feels like it's going to just appear.  How it should be around.  What on earth could have happened to it? 

Well, Thursday morning.  I found it. 

I woke Emma up for school and like all good fairy tale stories start, I was yelling at Emma. 

Does anyone else's children have a million backpacks that they hang up with stuff still in them?  I was going through a bag she had taken to play practice daily (the play has been practiced, performed, and we're done with it by the way) and there in the bag sat at least one outfit of hers, a water bottle, on and on.  I reached for her bag she takes to Awana's and that's when I felt the familiar weight and cylinder of the big lense. 

It had been found. 

This is a fairly boring story, I realize, except to say that there's nothing like losing something to make you realize how much you love something.  Aside from Easter and the Awana ceremony where the camera had been put in said bag, I hadn't used that camera for probably a good six months. 

Oh sure, I would snap a few "hey it's your birthday" shots but nothing in terms of capturing the every day.  Nothing to try to catch the glint in my kids' eyes when they are reading with Daddy.  Or the furrowed brow when they are building with legos. 

I had lost the desire to capture the every day.  It had become mundane to me.  There was no more magic in the daily. 

Or so I thought.  This morning I used the camera for the first time in months.  It felt like a raw and opened part of me was exposed again. 

And I kind of liked it. 

Seeing your life through the eye of a lens makes you see things you don't otherwise notice.  The way natural lights makes everything look amazing. 

How fun breakfast can be when you're poring over a random catalog of fireworks that came to your house (did they know we have a boy living here???). 

And how beautiful the view is out my window as I write this blog this afternoon. 

I am so thankful I found my camera.  Not only because, hello?, it was so super expensive, but because it has given me a new perspective to start seeing life through the lens again. 

And that is something that is priceless.

Release the Red Balloon

What a whirlwind it has been lately around here! 

School is still going full steam ahead...well, I guess that's not completely true as we've had a couple of sputtering times but we are homeschooling year round this year and not ending until late-ish July so we have to be full steam ahead!

April was a time of such huge change for me personally! 

I went from not working to accepting three, count 'em three!, positions in April!  I am now helping to clean our church, I will be a Classical Conversations tutor next school year (super duper excited!) and starting this autumn I will be the director of a church camp! 

God has blessed us in immeasurable ways and I just have to share a bit of a back story with you about all of this...

Emma is getting ready to go into the 6th grade.  The parochial school in our area that we have been eying (for years!) starts when students are in the 7th grade.  Needless to say that we have been praying like crazy about this decision and whether to send her to school rather than continuing to homeschool her.  And we're still praying about that so prayers appreciated! However, with the talk of private school came the talk that if the kiddos are in school then I am going to have to go back to work. 

Nick said this.  I more or less just cried and threw things like a toddler. 

I really and truly feel in my spiritual gut that I was made to be a momma at home.  I am a traditional housewife all the way.  Bread making, clothes washing, bed making kind of momma.  And just the thought of taking myself out of that setting made me sick to my stomach.  Literally. 

But once I stopped crying and throwing things (not really, I'm not cool enough to do that) I was able to quiet myself to listen to the God voice that, of course, spoke some sense into me.

God was asking me, "why would I give you a desire to stay at home and not take care of your needs to make sure you're where I want you?" 

That was a total duh, smack me upside the head, kind of moment.  Of course God has this. 

There is no need to worry.

So at that moment (back in February) I gave it to God.  Red balloon out of my hand, wafting up to God, I didn't pull it back to worry more, I just sent it up to God. 

And then in a weeks time it was like lightening.  I got the camp job.  I had a job at Notre Dame offered to me full time.  I had a magazine writing job fall in my lap. A bank was interested in me freelancing for them.  The church was wondering if I'd like to clean.  We joined Classical Conversations and there was this opportunity to help out. 

It was unbelievable. 

There is nothing else I could say other than truly, jaw dropping unbelievable. 

And this isn't about me, this is about God and what He can do in your life, my life, anyone's life, when we just let it go to let Him.  Let Him. 

Friends, wherever you are in your life right now, whatever you are going through, I hope this can be an encouragement to you.  Please let go of the worry.  Of the doubt.  Of the feeling that you have to have control and have an end in sight and know where you are going.  Because you don't.  God's got this.  Truly he does. 

So open your hand and release your red balloon.  Imagine it flying up to God and you aren't going to even try to take that worry and that burden back.  Just give it to Him and trust him with it. 

I promise He has good in store for you.  More good than you'll be able to shake a stick at.

Love you.

Like Popcorn Jelly Bellys

Sometimes in life you just have to push past the noise and do things for yourself.  Things that make you you, things that ensure you are being true to yourself. 

When I was a little girl we visited an old-fashioned hardware store after church one Sunday.  The floors were creaky wide planked hardwood boards and along an entire wall was a glass counter filled with jars of candy by the pound.  There was an employee handing out candy and he had me sample the newest flavor of jelly bean...popcorn.  It sounded gross but when I tasted that it instantly became my favorite.  I loved the way the flavor was so different and so unique. 

When I became a teenager though and then even in college, whenever there would be jelly bellys around someone would inevitably say how much they hate the popcorn ones and I found myself agreeing with how gross they were. 

I knew I had liked them but seeing them being scoffed I thought that I must have some weird memory of them in my head...that surely I was wrong and they weren't as good as I thought they had been.  And just like that I changed what I thought because of other people. 

That has happened in my life too.  With this blog.  A couple of years ago, before I moved to this platform, I wrote a blog I knew to be true to my heart.  It wasn't meant to be about someone it was meant to be about what was on my mind when someone outright did not like me and how I was going to react and deal with it.  Well, a lot of people reached out and were accusing me of saying things that were not in the blog at all.  Ouch.

I didn't really mind the comments because it's easy to see through hurtful comments to see hurt people who react by hurting others.  But what I did wonder was...Did those people really see all of those things in my one blog?  How did I miss all of these subliminal messages I was apparently putting in my articles?  

I found that I started letting that message into my writing...I was putting on different lenses when I started writing anything wondering what yeah-hoo God knows where is going to pull some weird, obscure something out of my writing that I had no intention of saying.  Because if it happened that one time...

Just like that I started censoring myself.

Thinking it would help, I reached out for professional help.  I attended writing seminars, consulted former editors of mine, participated in book launches, accepted invitations to courses led by other prestigious bloggers: I thought that would help give me direction but instead I ended up with a head full of even more restraints and rules with upon to censor what I have to say.  Idealogies such as imagine a person you're writing to, don't have too many topics, don't write about your kids, no one cares!, write about things people want to hear, do seo searches before you write to make sure people will search for your content with the right words

And just like that I popcorn jelly belly-ed myself all over again.  I ended up convincing myself that I must not be good at this.  That my "talent" and love of writing was some distorted memory, that I must not be cut out for this after all. 

Then last week, one of my amazing friends had me over for breakfast and in the warmth of her kitchen I put all of this to words and revealed to her my two year long struggle of writers block and why it's been so hard.  She said the words I needed to hear, "just write whatever you want."  As a fellow writer I know she gets the kind of smothering grasp too many restraints can take on your creativity. 

And just like that my popcorn jelly belly façade fell away.  It is okay to be me.  To like popcorn jelly bellys or to write or to watch one episode of Dick Van Dyke every morning.  Whatever weird thing it is, it's okay to be me. 

Last week I was stealing some of the kids jelly bellys (because Costco had 4 pounds for 9.99, yo).  Nick was in the kitchen with me and when I got to a popcorn one I said "mmm. I love the popcorn ones...they're my favorite."

I could tell you I have some super cool husband who said something airy"good for you, babe, but they're just not for me"  or something but instead the little weasel teased me about it...because that's how we roll, yo.

So here's the thing... 

I've learned that no matter what I do there will be haters (just watch the comments if you want some laughs from people who stalk my blog just waiting and have nothing but mean things to say...I'm sure they are coming!) but one of those haters shouldn't be me hating on myself.  There's no need to hate on myself because of my jelly belly awesome flavor love.

And that is how I'm feeling about writing too.  I want to write about what I want.  What interests me.  What I love.  Not what I think the world thinks they want to read.  I want to be true to myself.  True to me without caring about what other people deem as not good enough or weird or gross. 

So I'm getting back to me.  Back to my roots.  Back to Lindsay who does most everything okayish but not too many things particularly well.  Blogs like this one that really spill out my soul. Blogs about baking bread or perler beads or how to remove dry erase marker off my carpet.  Whatever. 

So, friends, this is me, bleeding out on the carpet for all the world to see. 

Not really.  I'm here in sweats occasionally stealing a popcorn jelly belly from my kids' easter basket.  They are the best after all...

Happy Tuesday!

Time 4 Learning Review

Last month I posted that we were starting to use the Time4Learning online program.  '

I had a lot of people ask me what I have thought about the program so I am writing a review to let you know what we are thinking of the program! 

First of all I would like to say that I have nothing bad to say about the program.  Both of our kiddos used it and enjoyed it. 

As you know, Calvin has high functioning autism.  For some reason it seems that every year after Christmas we are on a slippery slope of decline in his functioning in our classroom.  I am not sure if it is the season with no sun, or being off schedule for Christmas, or what.  So when I was banging my head against a wall trying to find a solution, Time4Learning was a godsend!

I was looking for something that I could give to Calvin to do on those days when all else has failed and I cannot get him to cooperate with schoolwork.  Or the days when you wake up and you know you just aren't feeling it enough to make a day successful in the homeschool realm...you know those days: when you grab the Pamprin and let Miss Frizzle sub for your class.  Those days. 

When I found Time4Learning it seemed amazing.  And I'm going to tell you it is!  Calvin LOVES Time4Learning.  The games on the level he is at (3rd grade) are really engaging and fun.  The only problem I have is that he likes to get every possible score on a test to see what the computer says, so I have to watch him to make sure he doesn't do that.  On the other hand if he does it I figure it is just reinforcing what he is learning so that's not bad, right? 

Calvin and Emma can do Time4Learning on our laptop, my ipad, phone, or on their tablets.  Each of our kids have their own tablets that we have them use for school.  So when we are going grocery shopping or somewhere they are bored out of their mind we can hop on wifi and they can get some learning done!  Content kiddos who are learning makes for one happy Momma for sure!  Win-win!

Another thing I have enjoyed (especially because Calvin is sneaky) is the ability to get on the teacher dashboard and see what he did and how he did at it.  That way when he tells me he did math I can know that he did his math. 

Time4Learning can be a whole curriculum, back up learning, homeschooling, after school learning, whatever you need.  It's not just for homeschooling.  And while we don't use it as a full curriculum there is Social Studies, Language Art, Reading, a place to just write for fun, art, science, and math!  There's so much that it is hard for the kids to get bored.  I love on days that the kids do school on there I don't hear "I'm bored!" 

Emma has been using Time4Learning too but has not been enjoying it as much.  Emma is very much our pencil and paper kind of gal.  She also has noticed that the older grades (she's using 6th grade) don't have as many fun games as her brother gets to do in the younger grade when he's playing next to her.  A lot of her work seems to be an explanation of what she is learning and then questions in a quiz, flash card kind of format on the computer.  She doesn't like this, I still like it because it is still a break from the same ol' same ol' of our every day so it can get her out of a rut when learning.  I would like to add though that a lot of what seems *boring* to her, I don't really know how you would make it gamey and fun.  It required a more lengthy explanation and I think they do a good job at explaining and engaging the student.

All in all, I would say that we love TIme4Learning and are excited to continue on with the program.  This summer we are traveling extensively and I am planning on taking their Nooks and having the program be the majority of school that we will do!  So super excited and so blessed to have found Time4Learning

*This review was entirely written by me, not the good folks at Time4Learning. I was compensated for my review, thoughts, and opinions*