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Micah’s home birth

It only took me one year to write it up! (third child problems 🙂 )

40 weeks!

I spent a lot of time focusing and envisioning the exact home birth that I wanted. I prayed a lot that God would allow me to have the exact same birth at home as I experienced with Tristan! I focused and prayed that I would have no surprises and would deliver on my cozy bed (instead of the bathroom floor). I am humbled and happy to report that’s EXACTLY what I got.

I spent this pregnancy practicing my hypnobirth breathing techniques (kind of like a swimmer wanting to lengthen his time under water). I knew the deeper and longer I could flow that breath, the more relaxing I would feel during my surge. I also practiced breathing the baby down since I remember specifically thinking during transition with Tristan that I wish I had practiced it more!

So it begins…

At 41 weeks on Sunday evening, June 2nd, I became determined in prayer and began natural attempts to initiate labor. I was inevitably scheduled to go to the hospital in the morning for the dreaded fetal non-stress test and because of my first birthing experience (where I was unexpectedly told I had to stay and be induced despite receiving a 10/10) I was committed to having this baby TONIGHT. I looked at my hypnobirth book for natural ways to spur on labor and thought, “these have stood the test of time… what have I got to lose?” So we put the boys to bed and I tried all of them (pictured below).

After my bath, I decided to do the final step of cleansing my bowels with castor oil. I’ve heard horror stories about the use of castor oil to induce labor, but in those cases the mother had downed the whole bottle! Instead, I used the recommended doses in my hypnobirth book.

I was having mild surges but nothing very significant. I text my midwife just an “FYI but probably nothing” and Blake and I headed to bed around 10pm. I went to my cool, cozy bed wearing the same nightgown I wore delivering Tristan to further the mindset :). I also text some close friends and family saying “pray, just in case” 100% out of excitement rather than actually believing all of my natural inductions methods had worked! But I was still hopeful…

Blake snaps of picture of me smiling after a surge 🙂

Around 11am, I was breathing through mild surges while I let Blake sleep as much as he could. I knew he would need to be well rested if I had a newborn in my arms and two excited big brothers in the morning. I used an app on my phone to track the time between my surges but the intensity and duration/frequency was so inconsistent. The frequency of each surge from 11pm-1:30am ranged anywhere from 2 minutes apart up to 11 minutes apart! And the duration of each surge was an average of about 1 minute, 20 seconds. To determine if it was true labor, I was following the 4-1-1 rule: when contractions come every 4 minutes, each lasting 1 full minute, and have been that way for 1 hour. No such luck yet.

Until… around 2am, something shifted.

My surges started becoming much stronger. Micah decided he was ready to meet us! I woke Blake and text my midwife that she may want to start making her way here. I focused on my breathing techniques and Blake magnified the excitement in the room by reminding me I’ll be holding sweet Micah soon.

Sidenote: It wasn’t until this point that I realized he was coming TONIGHT. I think It’s so interesting how these night-time, hypnobirth-led home births have me so relaxed, in and out of sleep, and basically totally out of touch with reality!

Around 2:30pm my midwife, Michelle, and birthing assistant, Meredith, arrived. It was a calm greeting of whispered hello’s and wide smiles in the dark as we all knew this feeling of anticipation well. Michelle checked my vitals and Meredith started prepping the room (pulling out the chux pads and compression cloths if needed from the birth kit – you don’t need very much to have a baby!). At this point my surges were 2-3 minutes apart and relatively strong. Blake occasionally spoke affirmations to relax even more as I envision my cervix opening up like a flower, softly and delicately. I tell you, there is power in visualization.

Some of the affirmations I wrote up for our very first pregnancy.

Michelle and Meredith waited in the living room, giving me the space I requested to focus on my breathing and affirmations. I even wore earplugs to block out any extra noise as it took an incredible amount of focus to relax my body and allow my cervix to open naturally and slowly. My hypnobirth breathing techniques significantly decreases how strong the surge feels. The deeper the belly breath, the less intense the surge.

Blake sat, watched, and waited. An hour later my surges were incredibly intense and still about 2-3 minutes apart. I was continuing to drink water, empty my bladder (having surges on the toilet occasionally), and even talking some and smiling with Blake in between each one.

At 4:15am, I had one out-of-this-world intense surge with deep guttural sounds in the bed and my water broke! As the membranes release, I managed to get out, “he’s coming!!!”.

Blake jumped out of bed and ran to Michelle and Meredith and said calmly and excitedly, “It’s go time.”

At 4:19am, as Michelle was getting the monitor to check the baby’s heart rate, I had one VERY powerful surge (as Blake reminded me to focus on breathing him down) and out pops his head! One more surge and his entire body is out.

I had to REALLY focus on my breathing and staying in complete control of my body. The last two surges were so incredibly strong.

The cord was wrapped around his neck and arm, but Michelle gently unwrapped it. Micah was then laid directly on my chest – a feeling straight from heaven. I was an array of pride, excitement, awe, and overwhelming love.

After the “golden hour” of snuggling, he was weighed in at 6.15lbs, 19.5in (the smallest baby of the three). This was also the quickest recovery of all three, and like my previous home birth, not a tear in sight. There wasn’t even any swelling! Maybe one can attribute that to his small size, I’m sure that’s part of it, but I believe breathing the baby slowly down the canal (versus a forceful voluntary “pushing”) allowed me to gently open with Micah, at his pace.  

Oh, how grateful I am that Micah came just a couple hours before the doctors would decide if we should induce!!

The name Micah derived from the Hebrew mīkhāyah meaning “Who is like God”. We chose David as his middle name (which is Hebrew for “beloved”) after a dear family in our church that has selflessly loved and served our family this past year, the Davidson’s. We pray Micah, and our older two boys, will one day give generously their time, money, and devotion to others in the same way.

Micah’s life verse:

…that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. – Ephesians 3:17-19

Hiding behind the fern, happy as a clam the day before my first birthday.

My (Unplanned) Home Birth

In honor of Mother’s Day, I’m adding my birth story’s to the blog. Starting with our sweet, middle son, Tristan. I’m also hoping to inspire mothers during this global pandemic needing inspiration during their unplanned home births. {Using Hypnobirth language}

Just a backstory to catch you up on why we planned for a natural birth…

I decided to go with a Midwife with my second child because of my birth experience with Adon. I was induced (per Doctor’s urgency) at 41 weeks, even though Adon received a 10 out of 10 on the fetal non-stress test. They had their reasons, and I wasn’t educated enough in the subject, so I trusted them. Really determined for a natural birth, it became an extremely painful, unbearable experience as I tried to labor for 8 hours straight…unmedicated… and induced. I was having surges (contractions) every 30 seconds, lasting 3 minutes. I can’t even describe the trauma! Blake was obviously wearing down mentally and emotionally also as my ‘Daddy Doula’ and after checking how far I had progressed after enduring 8 hours unmedicated, the nurse said that I was, “Maybe ½ a centimeter TOTAL(!).” I was going to die. So, at this point I begged for the epidural and although it was heavenly relief, tons of complications and a rush of medical staff followed. Unfortunately, several interventions were necessary and right as they began mentioning the possibility of an emergency C-Section out pops our firstborn, Adon.

September 9th, 2017, when Adon made me a mother at Mercy Hospital in Baltimore City.

This time around, after my first visit to the OB at 6 weeks pregnant, the nurse practitioner asks, “So what date would you like to schedule the induction?” I said thanks, but no thanks.” I think I’ll try something new this time. With my medical insurance, the only other option was the complete other extreme… A birthing center. So, Blake and I decided… let’s give it a go! Lord willing, I’ll be able to use my hypnobirth breathing techniques this time and have the natural birth we planned with Adon (although, I admit, I was totally nervous the entire pregnancy about not having access to pain medication! It really was heavenly relief.).

My mom snapped this of me because I wasn’t even aware of how ridiculous (or amazing?) I looked.
{39 pregnant weeks with Tristan}

That takes us to Thursday evening, July 13th 2017…

Message on my LUNAbar the night I went into labor ❤

4:15pm– Three days shy of 40 weeks, I dropped Blake and Adon off at Crossfit and went to Lakeside Village for a pedicure. I was actually hoping the acupressure would induce labor. Everyone at the salon was worried I would go into labor and I responded each time, “I sure hope I do!” I did. .

5pm– The surges start mildly during the pedicure.

6pm– After the pedi, I started walking around to different shops, purchased slippers that I needed for labor at Bed Bath & Beyond (which I would never use). In the store, and even at check-out, I had a few surges that required me to stop and focus (about 20 min apart). Folks were concerned that saw me, and because of all the false labor surges I had with Adon I said, “Oh, don’t worry. This baby isn’t coming today.”

6:30pm– I picked up B and A at Crossfit, surges were 15-20 minutes apart and coming pretty regularly. I stayed on my feet around the house, tidied up, ate a big taco dinner, and the surges kept coming… I still fully believed they were just “pre-labor warm-ups”. No baby tonight!

8:30pm– We put Adon to bed and I took a shower.

Labor prayer from ‘In His Hands’ home birth kit.

9:30pm– The surges were 10 minutes apart at this point and still very bearable. I wasn’t able to talk during them, but focusing on the hypnobirth breathing I had practiced throughout pregnancy kept the sensations mild. They were actually more exciting than painful. I decided to call my Midwife and fill her in just as a precaution and she said, “It’s hard to tell at this point. The baby could come tonight… or in a week! Eat a full dinner, take a bath, and go to bed. You’ll need lots of rest if he does come tonight.” She said to give her a call if/when the surges are 5 minutes apart (I thought this definitely wouldn’t be the case.) She said I would leave for the Birth Center if/when they were 3 minutes apart.

10:30pm– Blake packed up the car just in case (I thought it was a silly idea) and we went to bed.

Laboring all along…

11pm-3am– I labored in bed having 3-4 surges every hour and falling asleep for 10-15 minute cat naps in between each one. I focused mostly on my hypnobirth relaxation techniques such as the breathing methods I had practiced throughout pregnancy, as well as affirmations and scripture:

  • “Riding the wave” with each surge
  • Imagining my cervix as a flower opening perfectly in its own time
  • Women have been doing this for all of time and there are sisters in this with me even right now· Release your jaw, relax your mind
  • You can do ANYTHING for one minute· Each strong surge is bringing you closer to your baby
  • Matthew 11:28 – Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
  • Hebrews 13:5 – Never will I leave you; Never will I forsake you.
Daddy Doula’s list of affirmations

Unbeknownst to me, I was successfully “opening up” with each strong surge. I remembered the importance of staying hydrated and emptying my bladder often during each “rest” period. Adon came to bed with us twice and Blake had to take him back to his room each time. Blake slept next to me as I labored in our quiet, cool, dark room in my comfy nightgown. It was exactly the setting my body needed to focus.

Side bar: Reflecting later, it’s fascinating how a woman’s primal instincts kick in during labor. I had all these plans for Blake to use the massage techniques and gentle caressing we had practiced. I even wrote out a whole script on what he was to say in each moment/scenario, and in the end, all my body desired was to be left completely alone, completely untouched, and without a soul in the world to know that I was in labor. Just me and God.

As the night went on, the pressure of each surge grew more and more intense.

3:30pm– As the intensity of each surge grew and the closeness between each one shortened, I woke Blake to start tracking the length of each surge because I was losing the ability to track the time that had passed before the next one began. Adon was currently in bed with us again, so Blake succumbed and let him stay. I had the shakes for a bit but zero restless legs discomfort (which was horrifying in my first labor and completely distracted me from any ability to relax). I’m not sure if I didn’t experience it this time because I wasn’t induced? Or if it was because I had taken a large dose of Cal-Mag supplement right before bed. Maybe both? Either way, I was so thankful.

3:30-4am– Blake (half asleep) started tracking my surges as coming every 5.5 to 5 minutes, lasting at least 1 minute. I had to yell at him to wake him up most unkindly, only a couple of times. After 4 VERY intense surges that included deep, loud, guttural groans sounding like the mooing of a cow (that I’m shocked didn’t wake Adon) my membranes release (water breaks)! It was instant relief! But only for a moment… It was at this point that I realized I was actually in labor and about to have this baby.

Nearing Completion (Transition period)…

4am– As my membranes release in bed, I’m in shock and start to freak out a bit as my wonderful husband jumps right into go-mode as my “birthing companion”. Blake calmly says, “Everything’s okay. This is great… Tristan is coming! Go to the bathroom and take off your wet gown.” Blake then carries Adon to his bed yet again, strips the wet sheets off of our bed, and puts Knox in his crate. I undress from my wet nightgown and sit on the toilet (which is actually a very common birth position because it’s naturally relaxing). I use the bathroom and lose the uterine seal (mucus plug). Blake calls our friend Lindy to come over (who had very thoughtfully offered just a few days prior to come over and stay with Adon in case Tristan happens to come at night – a prospect I hadn’t considered) and then he calls our Midwife to tell her my surges are 4-5 minutes apart and my water broke. The Midwife asks if I want to go ahead and come into the birth center or wait until they’re 3 minutes apart… we decide to leave now.

But all of a sudden, I feel the urge to start breathing the baby down (pushing)! I tell Blake to call back our Midwife and tell her she “HAS TO COME HERE! I’ll never make it to the car!” The very idea of getting dressed seemed more impossible than any other task I had ever faced. Although Blake didn’t believe that the baby could possibly be coming now, he [very intelligently] didn’t mention his doubts and calls her back. As our Midwife is on her way to the birthing center, she receives Blake’s call and pulls over to make sure she has “home birth” supplies in her car (which she typically doesn’t carry if it was a birth-center planned labor), by God’s grace she does. Only with help from Blake, I was able to move from the toilet to the bathroom floor on all 4’s in “polar bear position” to begin breathing the baby down.

The hard, cold, tile floor was actually very soothing as I near completion. Loud yells were coming out of me that I couldn’t control as my body took over guiding Tristan down the birth path. I experienced extremely intense sensations – incomparable to the surges I had just experienced in bed. I remember wishing I had practiced more hypnobirth breathing methods specifically for breathing the baby down.

Blake’s running around the house to get all the birth supplies that were packed away in the car, giving directions on the phone to the Midwife, and letting Lindy in and explaining to her what’s going on… all while I pitifully scream for him to come back for every surge. At this point, I desperately needed him next to me to survive each surge by applying hard counter-pressure with his fist on my sacrum, against the baby’s head. I remember thinking as he applied the pressure, “I’m so glad he is strong or I would literally not make it!”.

4:33am– I have a total of about 3-4 incredibly intense surges after getting on the floor and then the Midwife arrives!

4:35am– One severely powerful surge later I managed to yell, “Here he comes!”. Out pops half of Tristan’s body! Blake and Tristan lock eyes as Blake receives him. A special bond that’s already undeniable and I’m sure will last a lifetime.

4:39am– I give an intentional push (at the guidance of my Midwife since I wasn’t feeling a surge approach) and Tristan’s full body is out. He’s instantly placed on my chest and Blake cuts the cord once it has stopped pulsating.

After my Midwife and birthing assistant drew me a warm bath, I moved to the bed for bonding (the absolute ultimate high). We nestled close with dad for the golden hour. This brand new babe moved closer and closer to my breast on his own accord, and eventually began suckling. An hour later he weighed in at 7lbs 11oz, measuring 20 inches.

The recovery this time around included zero tearing, no need for any of the “healing supplies” I had purchased. The enjoyment and comfort of home with my new family of four right after delivery was irreplaceable and felt like the only place in the world I belonged.

I was amazed. I was amazed at what God created the female body to endure and what a miraculous gift it was to experience this in its full, natural form. Like all women, for all of time. I never thought I’d get the opportunity for a natural birth, much less a home birth (in fact, I was in denial for 90% of the experience because it felt so natural!), but what a humble reminder that we can make our plans but the Lord establishes our steps (Proverbs 16:9).

Motherhood is the one thing in all the world which most truly exemplifies the God-given virtues of creating and sacrificing. Though it carries the woman close to the brink of death, motherhood also leads her into the very realm of the foundations of life and makes her co-partner with the Creator in bestowing upon eternal spirits mortal life.”

David O McKay

our favorite holiday

Passion Week is my favorite yearly celebration. It wasn’t always this way until I learned to see the Bible as one big connecting LOVE STORY since the beginning. I learned some really amazing, significant facts in my grown-up years that I am excited each year to share with my children.

When Jesus entered Jerusalem to begin his journey to the cross, it was the EXACT same week over 1000 years prior that Moses began petitioning to Pharaoh to free God’s people – the Israelites from the Egyptian slaves. Lambs were slain as the atonement for their sins and the blood was painted on their doors so that death would pass by their first born son. Each year since then, God’s people would celebrate Passover, and this week was no different.

1000+ years later in April, A.D. 30, Jesus enters Jerusalem to begin his Father’s mission, the death of His first born Son on a cross as an atonement for the sins of the whole world. Only this time, death would be overcome by his miraculous resurrection 3 days later on April 17, A.D. 30. Death, sin, and shame would be defeated once and for all for all of God’s people past, present, and future! Finally a Holy God could have right relationship with those He loved.

It wasn’t a random occurrence or just a lovely time of year to redeem the whole world, it was planned before the beginning of time. It blew my mind when I first learned this. And as you can imagine, I have SO MUCH FUN explaining to my children that the old covenant has ended and the new promise of eternal life is theirs. The Gospel (“good news”). This new, wonderful, Never Stopping, Never Giving up, Unbreaking, Always and Forever Love.

Here’s some of the simple ways we celebrate each year:

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” ~John 3:16

The morning started off with gifts! Easter baskets from Mimi & PopPop to celebrate the greatest gift.
We read from the Jesus Storybook Bible each day to set the scene.
Dad acting as Jesus while he’s up against the Roman Governor, Pontius Pilot. Mom and Tristan are Scribes & Religious leaders yelling, “Give us Barabbas! Crucify Jesus!”

Here’s a glimpse of last year’s Easter:

A fun Seder with friends Isabella and Bri.
Bows & curtsies for a riveting performance.

O, taste and see…

{Occasionally I like to take a break from the homeschooling updates and share the things a mother ponders… Enjoy.}

I’m amazed over and over again how much the Bible references food. It seems that God didn’t just create food to nourish our bodies, but to be enjoyed. Almost every time Jesus sat down to teach his disciples, they were passing around freshly cooked fish, breaking warm bread, and drinking good wine. It seems he knew a thing or two about the significance of food when training and nurturing young minds. Studies have actually been conducted to show that regular communal eating leads to a higher satisfaction of life.

Richard Scarry look-a-like cake

Sally Clarkson once asked her four adult children (separately) what it was that led them to love the God of the Bible they taught in their home growing up. Their response wasn’t what she expected… “It was the french toast on Saturday mornings.” “It was the homemade cinnamon rolls you made every Christmas.” “It was the deep conversations over a delicious dinner almost every night.” They each answered with a particular meal in mind! I think there is something to this.

homemade chocolate peanut butter ice cream

The world-wide lockdown has required me to work 10x harder at cultivating a warm, lovely, generous atmosphere in our home. This was “work” before the lock-down even began, but now I feel my heart wandering so quickly to complaint, boredom, and self-pity. My three little “mirrors” were a a wake-up call to my own heart. I believe that the mother holds most of the weight in setting the temperature of the home (“be the thermostat, not the temperature”). Around week three of sequestering I realized I need to stop murmuring, wash my face, and CHOOSE to create the beauty in our home that I craved.

I started with food.

I tend to rotate the same 5-8 meals but when I decided to just mix it all up one night with breakfast for dinner, I saw a major change in moods and hearts, including mine! From breakfast for dinner, to homemade ice-cream, to a Thanksgiving supper, my little starlings lit up with delight. The snacks upscaled to berries and whipped cream, little surprise chocolate treats, and fresh-squeezed lemonade. Nothing was too expensive or fancy. It was simple. Like fish and bread …but seasoned with love.

breakfast casserole with smoothies

The point actually isn’t the food, even though it stimulates our senses in powerful ways. The point is how a delicious, nourishing meal can instantly turn your once complaining heart into a grateful one… if you’re looking for it. It still takes choosing beauty. Choosing gratitude. Choosing love. Proverbs 17:1 says, “Better is a dry morsel, and quietness therewith, than a house full of feasting with strife.”

family dinners~ a sacred space

Maybe it seems like a silly remedy. Like you’re only hitting the tip of the iceberg on that bad attitude (and maybe that’s true – our hearts are deceptively wicked at the core). But I like to think about how Jesus used this silly method… and it worked. Every time he broke bread, they tasted of love. If God-incarnate can use his creation to share his goodness, I can too. If my toddler can take his first bite of a savory, homemade cheeseburger and see the smile of his mother and father as they do the same – communal feasting at it’s best – and sense the goodness of a God he doesn’t quite know yet… the extra effort in the kitchen was worth it.

O taste and see that the LORD is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him. -Psalm 34:8

Houdini & Quarantining

We’ve seemed to have had one crisis after another lately. Tristan climbing out of his crib (no matter what deterrents or traps or gadgets we set-up) and now, the coronavirus pandemic. Our little Houdini seems to keep escaping and keeping us up in the wee hours for 3 weeks now. The social distancing mandated to prevent the spread of the virus has made us quiet stir crazy. Combining sleep deprivation with not being able to see anyone except each other has caused quite a few meltdowns (mostly from mom). However, I think we’re on the up and out with our “new normal” and Blake and I have started implementing some new hopeful strategies for Tristan and have found ways to keep the isolation fun!

In the meantime, here are some of the neat things we’ve been up to the last month or so. Starting with at home…

Post-quarantine pool purchase

Lots of outdoor play including identifying the wild flowers in our very backyard. Those include the Oriental Hawksbeard, Spanish Needles, and Violet Woodsorrels (pictured). We learned most of them are edible and their medicinal uses. Adon was fascinated by this and it has sparked his desire to learn about every flower, plant and seed we come across.

One day, Tristan fell and scraped his knee. As he cried and I held him, Adon ran inside to set up a “boo boo feast” so that his little brother would feel better. It worked. 😊

We also need enjoyed many trips outside the home (before the virus sequestered us).

Hikes, hikes, and more hikes. We love going on trails with friends and each other. There is always something new to see! This was a combination of hikes with some Wild + Free homeschool friends, some new/old friends that moved back to Lakeland, and family hikes.

We also snuck in a beach trip to the gulf coast to visit some sweet friends. It was a beautiful day with great company, and such a nice change of scenery! I should also mention it was Micah’s FIRST beach trip. 💖

Here’s some other family outings and updates.

Speed Boat show at Lake Hollingsworth brought people from all over the world to our backyard! The boats were exciting but the boys enjoyed the personal tour they received of an Ambulance by a kind Fireman even more.

We’re also excited about Blake’s transition to The Lakeland Athletic Club and the new opportunities it’s already bringing about! So proud of his courage in this jump and how hard he works to allow me to raise our boys at home.

Even in a pandemic, don’t forget to stop and smell the flowers.

I can teach myself to read.

Today Adon specifically asked if we could start reading lessons. According to Charlotte Mason’s theory on developmental readiness, children should not begin any formal school lessons until the age of exactly six or older. Until then, children should be growing in awe and wonder of all living things outdoors and trained in good habits. The order is simple yet paramount for future homeschooling success.

I decided to follow my 5 year old’s lead and start the 1st (of 100) reading lessons. Excited to start, we laid out our cozy outdoor quilt under a shady evergreen tree. The younger two were napping and we had warm blueberry oatmeal for comfort food (mom’s attempt at trying to make good associations with this new endeavor).

We began our first lesson with enthusiasm, repeating sounds of letters out loud, but after a few minutes in, Adon decided it was too simple and blurted out, “I don’t need to learn how to read from this dumb book, I can teach myself to read.” I wasn’t completely shocked by this response knowing my precocious little boy, but I did however think it would have waited at least until lesson 4 or 5, maybe 7!

I had a short conversation about how the writers of this book could possibly have more wisdom and experience in teaching others how to read than my 5 year old, and then talked about the difference of being good verses great. I shared how I can read “good”, but how I wished someone had sat with me at five as an eager learner and taught me how to be an excellent reader. Reading is so much more than learning sounds, it’s learning how to read a lot of material at once and retain most of what you read. It’s comprehension. It’s learning concepts. It’s anticipating what happens next and learning contextualization. And if you learn how to read poorly at a young age, it will interfere with the rest of your learning-life.

This reading program by Distar – published by Science Research Associates, Inc. – has been collecting data for decades on the best possible way to teach children to read. They say,

“We have worked with children at preschool to college levels who could not read and whose parents probably believed in the finality of the labels with which the school had adorned these students: dyslexic, perceptually handicapped, learning-disabled. These labels are nonsense. Almost without exception, the “disabled” students that we have worked with had two obvious problems. The first was that they had not been taught properly. Their confusion suggested that the malfunctions existed in the teacher’s techniques, not in the children’s minds. The second problem was that these students seemed to believe the labels. They hated reading (or trying to read). But the cure for these problems did not involve neurosurgery or wonder drugs. It involved nothing more than starting over and teaching carefully.”

Adon had decided he didn’t want to be a great reader, that being a good reader was enough. I closed the book and would be lying if I said I wasn’t discouraged. I didn’t allow that emotion of frustration or discouragement hinder me for long, however, because I knew that far more important in learning how to read was keeping his heart. I lovingly told my son that “no matter how good or bad he learns to read, I’ll always be proud of him. If you don’t want to learn how to read great right now, go play! Run, jump, listen to the Boxcar Children stories. We’ll pick up this book again another day when you’re ready.”

There’s a couple of lessons I learned here today.

  • No formal lessons until age 6, really.
  • My sweet Adon will be a trying homeschool student at times because of his forward-thinking – humility will be an ongoing lesson and prayer.
  • My ultimate goal isn’t the shaping of his mind (learning to read great) as much as his shaping in character and especially the certainty that he’s loved. This reminder will get me through many, long, arduous homeschooling days and lessons. Remembering always that although I want to teach them with excellence “as if I am teaching for the Lord”, my mothers-prayer will always first be that my son’s names are written in the ‘Lambs book of Life.’ (and if you read about some of the great Christian thinkers of old, you will know their mother’s diligent prayers had a tremendous impact on their legacy).

A failed lesson is usually a greater life-lesson than the original endeavor itself. He’ll be okay. I’ll be okay.

Grabbed Bibles to read on stage during the volunteer “huddle prayer” before church. Little bro always following Adon’s lead.

nature hiking & creating

I’ve attempted to write this post for about a month now, so finally – here it is!

We’ve officially joined Wild + Free homeschooling group in Lakeland and went on our first nature hike with that crew! We had a blast. It was fun exploring the same park Blake and I used to hike when we dated ions ago.

Drawing, painting, sketching, inventing, creating… you can be these things are happening practically every day in the Scheidt home.

Adon’s idea of what the Alden children look like from the Boxcar Children books (he’s almost listened to 100 unabridged audio stories!)
We had a lot of fun painting items found in nature (Tristan’s – pictured here – is of poop. He very emphatically said he wanted to paint “poop”.) We also painted Valentine’s cards for our cousins and for daddy.
Adon wrote in his journal after Tristan threw his brand new football into the sewer. He was really upset but said he felt much better after drawing the experience and his feelings. ❤

a tea kettle filled with love

This week has been one of those off-weeks. Micah has regressed to waking up between 3- 4am for feeds and losing those couple of hours of sleep has severely heightened my brain fog. This has meant lots of apologizing for mom being impatient as well as more television watching than I’d like. As a recovering perfectionist, I’m learning that a messier home and occasional television can actually lead to mom extending more love and patience, which ultimately means a successful day. Which is my [our] main calling after all, right? I will say, however, it is a weird job -working at home. I’m the only employee… and also my own boss… and I can quickly turn against myself during performance reviews!

{Side note about the T.V., we’ve really enjoyed several episodes of ‘Little House on the Prairie’ this week. The stories of a family that work together to make ends meet, choose gratitude over complaining, and at value integrity over wealth has made for great conversations. Also, nostalgia… 🙂 }

We decided one day this week to do a back yard scavenger hunt, looking for items in nature. Anytime mom creates a game or scavenger hunt, Adon loves to then create one for mom to do. 🙂 (Did I mention when he grows up he wants to be a “job-maker”? This doesn’t mean creating jobs for the job-less, this means he makes his own job and is his own boss…) One of the items on the nature hunt was to find an animal or insects habitat. The above picture is the boys discovering together an ants home.

Occasionally Tristan wanders inside for some alone play. And sometimes momma sneaks to make sure the unsettling quiet isn’t due to mischief.

Of course, there’s always drawing! (we aren’t big fans of coloring books since they don’t work the muscle of imagination) Adon has been leading Tristan and I in an art activity after our breakfast devotion each morning and Tristan has surprising enjoyed participating. Usually it is drawings of spiritual battles and God conquering the enemy with His Sword of Love (or in one case, a “tea kettle” filled with love).

Almost every evening this week we’ve had a dinner picnic at the park. Like I said, it’s been a week of less energy so getting out as a family and not having to clean up dinner has been such a filler! The Florida skyline each evening on our way home has been a sight to behold…

kindness to animals, community, & imaginary play

Our Scheidt Family Way this week is “We love one another, treating others with kindness, gentleness and respect”. The best thing about rehearsing these values each morning is that when an opportunity arises to remember what’s good (usually when we’re being bad), these sayings come to mind. So when Tristan throws a toy car at Adon’s head in the bath and Adon retaliates by throwing one back, we can talk about our Scheidt Family Ways. The ‘Ways’ hold value in and of themselves that we see validated as we examine the meanings each morning through scripture. This is SO much more effective than mommy just constantly repeating the obligatory phrase, “Be nice!”. Plus, I swore I’d never be a nag.

I decided to expand the “kindness, gentleness, and respect” piece to our furry family member, Knox, after reading Charlotte Mason speak of children naturally being kind to animals, unless they were taught otherwise. Yikes… I realized Momma hasn’t been so nice to Knox for years! At some point I started having less compassion for his poop, puke, hair, and neediness after having children. This conviction led me to treating him with more respect this week and actually petting him some (haha). I was quite surprised to see how it only took about one day of doing this for my children to mimic my behavior! And then of course, the next poem in our Children’s Book of Virtues was titled, “Kindness to Animals”. Please forgive me, Knoxie.

Yesterday our friend Rae came over to play with the boys for a bit (while mom did some reading) and then fellowship with mom! She is loved by all.

Today the boys enjoyed playing outside all morning, which of course means the costume ottoman gets opened. Adon’s been engulfed in his new comic book Bible he was gifted from his Mina for Christmas, so he’s been drawing and acting out lots of stories from the Bible. Today he decided to be old man Abraham and sacrifice his son Isaac to prove his devotion. Luckily, he too found a ram caught in the bushes to sacrifice instead. 🙂

Ninja Bunny

Playing “I spy” using shapes instead of colors. (Also, Knox stealing Tristan’s rice cake)

Since we didn’t get to go on the homeschooling community hike with our friends today, we decided to head over to our favorite donut place in between Micah’s naps!

And ended the day with mom sneaking in a little latte date with a dear friend, Beth.

heartfelt friendship and decaf peppermint latte… great way to end the day.

bike strolls & nature strips

As I mentioned, we’re learning how to enjoy staying home more so that we can love Micah well by letting him sleep. He’s transitioned from 3 naps a day to 2, which is well and good, but also means he doesn’t sleep as easily on the go. Little strolls around the neighborhood are perfect ways for us to get out of the house in between naps and still feel like we’re partaking in some sort of adventure.

Today we decided to practice riding our bikes Mimi & Pop Pop gifted for Christmas! Of course there was much push-back from my 5-year-old that doesn’t enjoy new endeavors he hasn’t yet perfected, but we started the journey off with a Charlotte Mason mantra: “I am, I can, I ought, I will”… and inevitably ended with, “I did!”. It was even more encouraging to see how we could use our newly memorized virtuous poem, “Try, Try, Again“.

Aren’t they the cutest!?

We took a little walk down the road to a small creek that has a sign saying “DANGER: Snakes”, so naturally we call it Snake Creek. Of course we’ve wandered here dozens of times and have yet to see a snake, but one day we hope to… from a distance. 🙂 The neighborhood stroll is mostly passing houses on a long, shady road, so today we took our time to see what we could find “breathing” on the nature strip next to the road.

Of course dozens of Spanish Needles (bidens alba) lay, also known as Butterfly Needles, which I must include because we saw a lovely yellow butterfly fluttering about. We enjoyed the one single purple flower standing out among the rest.

Scheidt family walks are rarely concluded these days without the toddler sitting in the middle of the road, boycotting movement. Usually laughing. And usually finding a small pebble to put into his mouth, while laughing.

And every now and again, proof of mom & Micah.