Mauryn's new game is hiding for peekaboo. She slaps her little hands up over her eyes and she is so excited for us to see her after she has been hiding.

Sarah posted a few days ago about the difference between being and doing. Her post really challenged me and made me think (her posts always do). Do I know who I am? I am defined by the many hats I wear: wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend, and teacher. I become so focused on being there for others and having my hats on, that I lose sight of being true to myself. I hold back my feelings, thoughts and opinions so I do not offend, cause conflict, or have people think I am judging them when our opinions may just differ. I hold back because I am fearful of being called on what I believe and not being able to adequately defend myself. I am, in a sense hiding the real me. I do not like conflict so I don't always express myself if I have a different opinion. In doing so I have lost part of who I am. I want to learn to be more confident and comfortable expressing myself. I want to take time to learn who I am - not just being defined by my many hats. I want to take time to do things that I enjoy and not feel guilty for taking focus off of others and putting some of the focus on myself (I saw somewhere that this can help your health!). I want to embrace who I am. I don't want to be worried about what others think of me and be confident in who I am. I want to stop hiding and begin living. I want to feel the excitement and joy, like Mauryn in a game of peekaboo.


A little pumpkin carving, a little pumkin bowling, and a whole lotta fun

at our neighbors annual Halloween party! Lance and I ended up going as Dorothy and the scarecrow from the Wizard of Oz (which we borrowed from our neighbors). Next year they have decided to have a theme of wedding/prom night. Now we have to start thinking and planning for next year.
Lance doing a surface carving of a scarecrow on our pumpkin

Pumpkin bowling anyone
Dorothy and the scarecrow

The Stand

You stood before creation
Forever within Your hand
You spoke all life into motion
My soul now is in Your hand

You stood before my failure
Carried the cross for my shame
My sin went upon Your shoulders
My soul now is in Your hand

So what can I say
What can I do
But offer this heart O God
Completely to You

I walk upon salvation
The spirit of light in me
My soul to declare Your promise
My life is in Your hands

So I'll stand
With arms high and heart abandoned
In awe of the One who gave it all

So I'll stand
My soul Lord to You surrendered
All I am is Yours

by: Joel Houston of Hillsong United


Pumpkin Patch

Today we had our homeschool group (from church) field trip to the pumpkin patch. We have had beautiful weather all week - low to mid 70's and then today it was soo cold. It was maybe 45 or 50 when we started out - BRRR! The great thing about kids is they don't care if they are cold when they are having that much fun. Lance's appointment this morning was cancelled so he was able to come for part of the field trip. The kids were so thrilled with this surprise! We took a hayride, the kids ran through a kid friendly straw maze, picked their pumpkins, and did a craft. The kids all had a great time and were tired out from the cool air and all the activity.

The straw maze was a hit. Morgan helped Landon through it the first time. After that he ran through it three or four times on his own. He loved it. This afternoon he kept asking when we could go back so he could run through the maze again!

The search for the perfect pumpkin was quite an adventure. The kids lifted, turned over, and looked at many pumpkins before they found the pumpkin that was just right. They had to be able to carry the pumpkin on their own back to our meeting place. I was a little worried about Landon because he thinks he is SO BIG and STRONG. He did find his "pumkim" after looking and testing lots of pumpkins.

My Three Little Pumpkins!


No cavity creeps

We started our morning by a trip to the dentist. Morgan and Landon both had xrays, cleanings, and check ups. Good news, no cavities for either one - YEAH!! This was Landon's second visit but his first time getting xrays. I was a bit anxious about how it would go, but he sat completely still. He was very good for his cleaning and check up as well. The best news is that being a thumb sucker actually has helped Landon's jaw alignment. Who would have thought?? If he wasn't a thumb sucker he probably would have had a cross bite. Anyway, we will see what happens as he gets older, stops sucking his thumb, and the permanent teeth come in. Morgan received a referral today for an orthodontist. We do not know if they will actually start work on her teeth now or see her on a yearly basis to monitor progress. Morgan has what they call a "deep overbite" and some overcrowding on her top and bottom teeth. Morgan is very excited about the prospect of seeing an orthodontist. I am not sure I would be excited but I remember being young and wishing I had braces (at the time I thought braces were cool).

Sorry no pictures - I had put new batteries in my camera and they didn't work - UGH!


School News

PHEW! We are done learning about the explorers. It was so interesting but the unit was fast paced and pretty intense. There were days when my head hurt with all the information, I can only imagine Morgan's 7 year old brain! We started to do a lap book to put all the information she learned but it was becoming quite the project. I talked to another homeschool mom who does notebooking instead and this seemed like a more realistic option at this time. Once we have all the information organized I will post photos.

Our new unit is weather. We are LOVING it! There have been so many hands on experiments and fun activities. Landon is really enjoying being able to do school with us. The pace of this unit is definitely more relaxed and we needed it! We have learned about air pressure, wind, rain, rainbows, fog, clouds, thunder/lightning, snow, hail, sleet, humidity, the parts of the atmopshere, as well as the difference between climate and weather. Morgan has been tracking our temperature, mositure (which this fall we have had quite a bit), and air pressure. We are learning so much!

Morgan wrote her first poem. Writing is an area where Morgan can struggle. If she is asked to write a report, she does an amazing job. If she is asked to do something creative, it tends to cause her frustration because she doesn't want to make any mistakes. When I gave her the choice of just writing sentences about the wind or doing a poem, I thought she would choose the sentences hands down. I was very surprised when she picked the poem.
Here is her poem:

Wind O Wind by Morgan Cheney
Wind I can't see you
I can't hear you
Wind O Wind Where are you?
I can see the leaves moving
O Wind O Wind
You toss the kites in the sky
I feel your breeze on windy days
Wind O Wind
Blowing the leaves around and around
Wind your chilly
You make me shiver
Wind O Wind
I can hear you singing
Wind a blowing all day long
Wind O Wind
I am cool
Wind oh blowing along the ground

An experiment with air pressure

Morgan and Landon making a cloud in a jar

Morgan making her atmosphere chart with the four main types of clouds we studied: cirrus, stratus, cumulus, and cumulonimbus.

We made rainbow cookies, the kids painted rainbows with watercolors, and we made rainbows with a glass of water and the sun shining in the window.


It's Official

Morgan received her USA Gymnastics card in the mail today. She can now officially compete in gymnastics competitions. Her first meet will be on December 1st. A few weeks ago I noticed Morgan was limping. I asked her what had happened, she said was practicing her spins in the shower. Hmm, maybe the shower might not be the best place to practice your gymnastics! Even though she bruised her foot, she didn't complain about it or ask to sit out of practice. She just worked through the pain. I had told Morgan if her foot hurt she should tell her coaches and sit out of some rotations, but she was able to keep going each day and would just ice her foot. Now that is dedication! I need to take notes from my daughter. Lately, I have found excuses some mornings not to hop on my elliptical - I am too tired, I have a headache, I overslept, I have to be out of the house too early, I can work out later, etc... I need to be more dedicated. I need to work through my excuses. I always feel better when I have had my work out in the morning. This lack of dedication and motivation is new for me. Lance used to tease me because the alarm would ring and before he hit the button to shut it off I was on my machine running. I don't know if it is age or this stage of life but I don't like that fact that I am finding excuses some days to skip my workout. Once you skip it makes it harder to get back into it. Morgan, I am looking to you for my motivation. You are dedicated to your sport. You work on your sport any free moment that you have in the day. You are constantly trying to improve and reach the next goal. I want to be more like you. I am so proud of you and can't wait to see you compete!


What's been happening here...

On Friday, the local firefighters were guests at the library for story time. Landon was sure he had to wear his firefighter outfit to story time. I must say he looked mighty cute! Landon was so excited he could hardly contain himself. As we are descending the stairs, I proceed to fall off the steps with Mauryn and library books in tow! So embarrassing! Once we got to the story area, Landon turned quite shy. He stayed to the back and wanted to be right next to me. He wasn't at all interested in being close to the firefighters. Landon is a very loud and outgoing boy, so this surprised me. I think he is unsure in different situations, but once he warms up then his personality really comes out. I know he really listened to the firefighters because he has been practicing stop, drop, and roll all weekend. He is very interested in going to the fire station to see where they sleep and see the fire trucks. We had some friends who joined us for story time, I think that was as exciting for Landon as the firefighters.

Mauryn realized she could reach the piano keys this weekend. She likes to play the piano and dance to her own music.

Some neighbors invited Morgan and Landon over to paint pumpkins on Saturday afternoon. I am not sure if Landon had more paint on him or on his pumpkin. The highlight for Landon was getting into the frosting and sprinkles for the cookies.

The big news of the weekend is: Mauryn is done nursing :o( She was down to nursing just in the evenings and she hasn't been that interested in it lately. I finally decided it was time to be done. It has been an easy transition, she doesn't even seem to miss it. She hasn't been falling asleep at that night nursing for quite a while so she was used to putting herself to sleep. I have mixed feelings about it. I am sad because it means my baby is growing up but I am glad to have the time back. I don't know if that makes sense but it is a bittersweet time, especially knowing she is probably our last baby. Now that I am done nursing, I was able to pack up the breast pump and bottles - I now have almost an entire cupboard open in my kitchen :o) I also worked on rearranging our bedroom and Mauryn's bedroom. It felt good to get some things off my to do list. How was your weekend?


The Gift

Last night, Morgan presented me with a package - a little gift bag with a homemade card, tissue paper, and a surprise project.

In the bag was this little flower she had made with the beads you have to iron. When Lance came home they quietly went into the laundry room so he could help Morgan get the beads set.

Then she made this sweet card.

This gift has special meaning because Morgan gave this to me as her teacher, not her mom. As I was posting these pictures, Morgan said I should write that the card and flower came from my student. :o) Our homeschool journey has not been without bumps - finding the balance between teaching school and being a mom (grocery shopping, paying bills, cleaning house, cooking, etc..), constently explaining and defending our choice to home school, feeling like people are watching to see if we will fail or succeed - but all those bumps are worth it when my student thinks I am a great teacher.


I live with a pack rat

I live with a pack rat! The pack rat is my daughter Morgan, who is almost 8 years old. This is what Morgan's bed looks like most of the time. I am not sure how she finds a place to sleep without laying on something or rolling over onto something. Her bed is FULL of her "treasures" . There are books, magazines, pillows, misc blankets, pencils, pens, markers, notebooks, stuffed animals, American Girl dolls, sometimes clothes, multiple pillows, Leapster, CD's, portable CD player, and whatever else she takes to bed with her. This collection of stuff drives me crazy! I think she feels the bed is her safe zone since she is currently sharing a bedroom with her 3 year old brother. I am torn between letting it go because it is her space and having her keep all her stuff neat and organized (so we can find something quickly when we need it). Does anyone else have a pack rat? How do you deal with it?


Weekend at the cabin

If the start of our weekend would have set the tone for the next two days, it could have been a very long weekend. I am never concerned about the car rides with our kids, we have taken a number of roadtrips and they travel really well. After Friday, I have now had an experience with a less than enjoyable car ride. It started with Landon's ears popping. I totally forgot to pack gum (bad mommy!) - I forgot about that part of driving up the mountain (and coming down). Lance was giving him all sorts of ideas like yawning, plugging his nose and blowing, drinking out of Mauryn's sippy cup and nothing was working. Lance suggested he suck his thumb. Landon told us he couldn't suck his "fumb" because he didn't have his jammies . I had some raisins for him to chew on but that didn't seem to help either. While Landon was complaining about his ears, Mauryn decided she was mad about something (probably the fact that her brother woke her up). She cried off and on for about 30 minutes and NOTHING made her happy. Landon soon forgot about his ears hurting and moved on to the fact that Mauryn was crying and bothering him. We were in Lance's truck so there wasn't room for me to move to the back to help Mauryn - although I do not think that would have helped, it may have made her more frustrated and mad because I couldn't hold her. In the midst of that Morgan thinks she is going to vomit. We roll down her window for fresh air and make a plan in case she does get sick. Thankfully, she just fell asleep and was fine when we reached the cabin. Oh and did I mention that there had been an accident so we were in single lane traffic that would sit stopped for 10 minutes or so at a time for 45 minutes! UGH! We FINALLY made it to the cabin and I had never been so happy to get out of the car!

Once we made it to the cabin our weekend was great. We played lots of games, hiked, talked, laughed and laughed, built a bonfire, ate smores, snuggled under blankets, played outside, stayed up far too late and ate too many yummy snacks. The weather was gorgeous! The trees had started to turn color, the air was warm, and the mountain air was refreshing. The kids enjoyed exploring outside and playing by the river. The guys played horeshoes, rebuilt the fire pit, and spent time playing catch and entertaining kids. The girls played games and enjoyed plenty of good conversations. Morgan and I were able to take a walk together. It isn't often I get time alone with her (sort of alone Mauryn was in the Bjorn) We had fun finding pine cones, looking at cabins, and just enjoying time together. We went for quite a long walk (for her almost8 year old legs) and she was a trooper! There is just something about being at the cabin that made me wish we could stay there forever. It was the time without the distractions of home, the peace and quiet - it really just stilled my soul. You could sit and just listen to the river run by the cabin and just feel at peace. It was so serene. Even though I came back very tired, it felt really nice to get away for the weekend.
The Three Musketeers racing up the dirt hill on our hike

On Saturday morning, a few of us decided to hike up Lightning Creek. It was so beautiful. It was early enough that at the top of the mountain you could see a bit of fog hanging over the trees. At the creek, it was beautiful with the fall colors on all the trees. The kids all enjoyed throwing rocks into the creek and playing on the rocks.

The view at Lightning Creek

When we were hiking out to Lightning Creek. Lance found a woolly bear caterpillar. He was so excited to show the kids, but they were not to sure what to think of it. Landon did get brave enough to touch it. Morgan found one when we were walking and brought it home. She is researching what to feed it and taking a poll of her friends to find a name :o)

My boys on a rock at Lightning Creek

Landon taking a break from throwing rocks

Waiting for the bonfire (really waiting to make Smores!)

Mauryn hanging out with Miss Janna

Finally, we get to eat smores, we have been waiting all day

Morgan and Lance roasting marshmallows

Family photo before we left
The funny thing about this picture, the kids were all loaded in the car and we were taking a photo for another family and Lance pulled all the kids out for a picture. It was a perfect spot for it BUT the kids were all a mess and I hadn't done my hair (it was the air dried look) - all in all it isn't too bad!


So Refreshing

to get a haircut and wax(eyebrows and lip) this morning! YEAH! I had all 3 kiddos in tow and they were SOO good. Lance was going to take the day off but they had some potential clients to visit. He left early this morning and was going to get to the salon by the time Morgan's haircut was finished to get the kids. He was running late and I ended up being done by the time he got there. So I am even more grateful the kids were good since they were not expecting to stay for very long.

We are heading off to the mountains for the weekend. We are going to a cabin with our small group from church. It should be fun! The weather is supposed to be great. I am looking forward to a bonfire with smores, a run tomorrow morning, playing games, and being with family and friends with really no distractions. As we were packing today, Lance said "Now I know why we never go anywhere. It is so much work to get all this stuff together." Yep, especially when you have little ones. It takes as much stuff to go for two days as it does for two weeks. What are your plans for the weekend?



I am a list maker! I make lists for everything. I LOVE having lists. It keeps me focused on what I need to get accomplished. lthough, the most important things I do each day are not even on my to do list. I started making lists when I became a stay at home mom. I needed something tangible to show what I had completed during the course of the day (which some days wasn't much). Now my lists are so I can remember even little things, like returning phone calls. How easily those things can slip my mind - so I put them on my to do list to remind myself. I like to think my lists help to keep me more organized now that I am balancing 3 kids and homeschooling.
Here is my to do list for the fall(of course I still have a daily to list and a general to do list) :
1. Put new recipes on notecards and file in recipe box
2. Organize stamping and scrapbooking stuff
3. Rearrange bonus room and make an area for doing crafts
4. Find a scrapbooking desk
5. Clean oven
6. Clean windowsills, baseboards, blinds
7. Find new bedding for my bedroom
What is on your list for fall projects?

Just Some Photos

Morgan and Landon were unloading the dishwasher and this drawer was open to put in our plastic plates, sippy cups, etc.. and Mauryn decided to crawl in!

We are heading for the mountains this weekend and we needed to get out our warmer coats, hats, and mittens. As Lance was getting out the tub, Landon happened upon our other ski gear. He has been wearing this ski helmet and goggles for two days.