Saturday, December 28, 2013

2013: It's A Wrap, Basically

I know there are still a couple days left in the year, but those are bound to be busy days, so I decided to jump on this today in case I don't have another opportunity before 2014 happens.

This year!  There is so much that comes to mind from this year.  Perhaps because I'm a photographer, I remember 2013 in snapshots of time, like squares of memory in a quilt that has been slowly coming together over time.

Some of those squares have bright colors and fancy patterns and others are dull, worn and gray.  But together, they are stitched together into a warm and beautiful cover, large enough to protect each of us in this family from the cold.

I'm not a quilter.  I barely know how to replace a button when it falls off something.  But the image of memories bound together is a striking picture in my mind.  Besides, how many times this year did I want to hide under my covers until a tough day had passed this year?  Quilts, blankets, woven cloth... clothes.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

The Christmas Season

My most favorite time of year.  Things have been super busy over here lately, so my blog is getting a little neglected again.  However, I've been doing some daily writing on Instagram if you want to come check that out.  You can find many of these (that I'm referring to) under the hashtag #praycember.

The whole Praycember idea was the genius of one of our pastors who asked us to pray every day this month for our church and for the whole Church (body of believers, bride of Christ).  This has been a great challenge for me and I feel myself being stretched in new ways through the course of this AND Advent Bible readings I'm doing sort of alongside Praycember.

This month has been a real blessing to my heart and soul and I can't wait to hopefully share some specifics with you soon.  But, I shall wait for now.

Thanks for continuing to check back to see if I've posted.  I apologize for the irregularity, but I'm thankful for the opportunity to dedicate more of my time this month to time with the Lord and celebrating the Christmas spirit.

I hope all is going well for you this merry season.

Monday, December 2, 2013

A Stranger in Santa's Clothing

While we were out running errands today, we stopped by the mall.  We've had O's keepsake ornament to commemorate his adoption (it matches those that the other kids have) for years now and still had not made the time to get it engraved for him.  His six year adoptaversary is coming up and so I figured it was high time.  Anyway, the ornament came from Things Remembered, a keepsake store that pops up in most normal American malls.  So we were headed there.

We were given a pickup time of 11:30am, which was perfect, because I needed to run to the nearby Target for prescriptions and then we'd be back to the mall just in time.  However, at 11:27am, we checked at the store and it was nowhere near done, nor was it at the front of the line to be completed.

We decided to do some mall walking while we gave them an extra fifteen minutes or so.  We were not shopping, mind you, because A) I really do not enjoy shopping at the mall and B) I had two of my gift recipients right there with me and they're too old to stick things in the cart that they do not notice.

You moms of younger kids know what I'm talking about.  Embrace and enjoy this time when you can Christmas shop with your kids right there with you and still surprise them on Christmas morning.

While mall walking, besides the shoe shine guys who asked me three times if I wanted my old tennis shoes cleaned up (no, I did not), we kept passing by the Santa booth.  You know the one where kids in pretty clothing line up with their parents to get the official Christmas picture for the year?  Well, we were actually on the second floor and the Santa booth was on the first, but we could see it down below every time we passed that section of the mall.

Finally, I was convinced that I wanted our kids to get a picture with Santa!  They agreed that this sounded like fun.

Friday, November 29, 2013

In The Aftermath of Thanksgiving

I totally wanted to write a special Thanksgiving post, but obviously, it didn't happen.  I have so many things for which to be thankful and often, I write about them here in this blog, so doing a specific post may not always be necessary. 

We were blessed this year that my parents came out from California to spend the holiday with us and with my sister's family.  They arrived here safely and as I type, they are stopped for the night after the first half of their drive back home. Time with them is a precious commodity and while we've had a few opportunities to spend time with them in the past year -- which is more than some years -- their visits are never long enough.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

What's the Date Again?


I realized today that Thanksgiving is only a week (and a day) away.  This was completely shocking news.  I was giving myself an extra week somehow, extending November further into December.  With Thanksgiving coming so quickly, I realize now that Christmas won't be far behind.

I have many things I would like to accomplish and many things I must accomplish in a short amount of time and I thought I would just share some of these here:

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Request for Guest Posts: Tales of Motherhood


I don't think I ever shared with you how Mama Flock came to be and came to be named.  Today, in my Bible reading, the Lord brought me to Psalm 100 (a great passage of thanksgiving if you need a good starting place for this season) and I was reminded of the early days of this blog.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Thank You, Blogger, For Not Deleting My Account

One of my favorite captures from the other evening when I went treasure hunting in the desert with J.
I know I'm more of a stranger here these days.  Maybe you've read the past posts and know what a challenge this year has been for our family.  It continues to be a daily challenge that I face one hour or one minute at a time.  However it comes at me.  Through enduring these challenges, I know there is deep, blessed joy.

Some days are better than others.  Sometimes it's hard to see the good through the difficult.  This week, has been particularly challenging, but I feel myself emerging on the other side.  My hope is that this week was just another wake up call to get my head back on straight and to reprioritize God as the leader of my life and not just an afterthought.  A sidekick.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Guest Post: Manifesto

The zombie is dead. I don’t recall the moment when it happened. There was no last clawing gasp, no dramatic wrenching away. Somewhere during the quiet of our time away on the Pacific coast, amidst the ocean breeze, the peaceful strolls and the fantastically brilliant fish tacos, he simply stopped serving a purpose and left. I am grateful for this. My breath seems to come easier, my exhales feel deeper. My thoughts can find moments of stillness. Even though my sunburns still ache a bit, for the first time in months, my heart feels at peace.

I am truly grateful for all of these things but I am not who I was. I have not been restored. Through all of this, the troubles and the moments of peace, I have instead been refined into something new. It’s as though a fire has blazed through my life leaving behind only the essential parts that cannot be consumed, that cannot be reduced. The purpose of this post is to document what remains and to establish a manifesto for how I intend to move forward.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Guest Post: Zombie

Once again, my husband came to my rescue and is helping cover me during my time of silence (and lack of creativity in writing).  Here is his guest post...


Today is September 12th. The day after. Twelve years ago on this day, people all over the world had to get out of bed, put feet on the floor and face a new reality. Life would never go back to the way it was. In their own time, wounds will scar over and fade but after a day like that, we as individuals and as a society will never be as we were.

In truth, every day is “The Day After” for someone. There is loss all around us. Today, someone woke up to face the first day after a loved one had died from a sudden illness. Today, someone stared blankly into a bathroom mirror brushing their teeth on the morning after their divorce was final. There are earthquakes, floods, fires, shootings, drug overdoses, runaways, kidnappings, murders and every other form of human calamity occurring every minute of every day. Without any notice, these things can happen to each of us and to those around us that we hold most precious.

When they happen, there is no going back and, whether we are prepared or not, the sun will set on that day and rise to reveal a new day, a new reality, a new unexpected life where each of us must make some decisions. Will I move forward? If I do, how do I begin? What does this new, unexpected life look like? How do I find happiness when, like Bruce Springsteen said, “…it’s like someone took a knife, edgy and dull, and dug a six inch valley through the middle of my soul”?

For me, it has started with simply putting feet on the floor when I wake in the morning. Even on average days with typical challenges, it’s this act of feeling the carpet yield under my bare feet that has always signaled my willingness to accept the new day. On more difficult days, I fear that contact. I sit on the edge of my bed, my feet dangling inches above soft, fuzzy acknowledgement that I’m willing to be a participant in my new life.

Monday, August 26, 2013

I'm Still Here

Just in case you think I jumped ship.  No worries.  I'm still here.  I was taking a break from blogging (while still actively Instagramming) while I try to finish up homeschool projects before school starts next week.

I hope to get into more of a regular routine when the school year starts.

More soon! Have a good Monday.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Guest Post: I Am a RAD Kid

My husband was talking with me the other night about all the things we have learned over the years about Reactive Attachment Disorder.  He shared with me what God had laid on his heart about this disorder and how it relates to us as Christians.  I loved his insight and asked him to provide a guest post here.  Enjoy.

Imagine you're a young kid. Old enough to have a sense of things but still young enough that the world is full of scary unknowns. You've been out to play a bunch of times and the sun has always been warm and inviting. One day, you go outside and as soon as you're in the full sunlight, your skin immediately starts to burn and blister. Even the skin under your clothes scorches under the rays of the sun that, on so many days previous, had been a warm welcome to come outside and play.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

7 in 7: Day 7!!!

Okay, so you are probably wondering why I'm taking the time to type a post when it's still light out.  Lately, that has not been the trend.  Well, in fact, the sky is pretty dark for 6:00pm in the summer because we have yet another big storm coming through.  Thunder has been rumbling for about half an hour already.  But inside the house, it is really quiet right now.

I was working on laundry, dishes and the homeschool room this afternoon (after a brief rest) and C offered to take the kids to do something fun with them for a couple hours and then bring something home for dinner for us.  Can anyone still hear the echoing "WooooHoooo!" I called out when he offered to give me quiet time by myself. 

I don't mean to imply that he doesn't do this for me somewhat regularly, but that I thoroughly appreciate it when he does.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

7 in 7: Day 6

Well, I'm glad this is just a 7 in 7 challenge. I'm barely making it each day. Not that I don't want to write more regularly, but when I have to, it sort of takes the fun and creative out of it. Of course it does build better discipline.

Once again, I'm on my iPad typing up this post totally on the fly and when I'm already tired from the day. I'm sure it'll be great as you read whatever I blather on about tonight. Ha.

Friday, August 2, 2013

7 in 7: Day 5

It's 11:25pm and I just remembered I forgot to post today!  I was busy working on the homeschool room for the most part and my desk was covered with sorted piles. So here I am with my iPad, in bed, not giving up on this week's goal.

This weekend is exciting, as we celebrate seven years since we adopted S, H and Z tomorrow, and six years since we adopted J today. Those days -- spent in the courtroom in Manchester, NH -- are some of the most memorable of my life.  If you want to swing by my sister's blog, she has a photo of J signing her official adoption certificate.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

7 in 7: Day 4

Hello, August.

2013 has just raced by so far.  Unbelievable.

Let's take a look at where we were last August (in photos)...

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

7 in 7: Day 3

Goodbye, July.

This has really been a month of ups and downs emotionally and spiritually.  There are some days I am so close to my Lord and other days when I wonder if He's hearing me at all.  Of course, He is!  It's a good thing I have faith because some days He's just not very evident -- except in the small ways, that I have to look hard to find.

But this is not about that.

Instead, I thought I'd share with you some of my favorite photos from the month (besides what you can see on Instagram - just click the square camera on the right to take a look online).  I was super wordy yesterday, so today, I'll be picturey and I'll shut up.  Ha.


Tuesday, July 30, 2013

7 in 7: Day 2

While we always try to allow for God's leading in our homeschool planning, summer is my brainstorming and planning season for the upcoming school year.  I have a lot on my mind lately and some of that is part of the homeschool planning (my end of it -- God's already done His preparations).

So here is a subject list for you so you can see where we are headed, but know that nothing is in stone.  Last year, a whole lotta life got in the way of my plans to create a Human Study.  I still hope to one day continue and complete that, but I need a break from the human body for now.  And everyone is still surviving even though we only made it through a small portion of that study because we learned a bunch of other things, too.

Monday, July 29, 2013

7 in 7: Day 1

My sister challenged other bloggers to take her seven posts in seven days challenge (well, I guess the idea wasn't hers, but the fact that she is doing it makes it hers) and I decided to take her up on that since I've been such a blogging flake lately.  Let's see if I can make it all seven days!

Okay, so today, I'm blogging about a field trip we took up into the Sandia Mountains to hike the Tree Springs Trail (some, not all).  I won't tell you about every detail because I know that I can get pretty tedious, but I wanted to mention some highlights and I'll break up my text with a few photos from the day.  Feel free to check instagram for others I posted there (just click the little square camera icon on the right for a web version).

Friday, July 26, 2013

Monday, July 22, 2013

Biding and Abiding

Today is July 22.  In exactly two months, I will be 40 years old.  It's been nearly two months since our family underwent a major change in our household.  On June 1, our oldest daughter, S, decided she wanted to be free of the confines of family relationships and our household rules and abandoned this life for the greener pastures of living freely, somewhere else.  Currently, we do not know where she is, nor do we know when we shall see her again.  Her contact has been spotty and inconsistent and continues in this pattern -- or lack of one -- as each new day arrives.

Today, as I ran typical Monday errands and brought Z to the Senior Care home where he continues to volunteer; bought milk, bread, toilet paper and other essentials at WalMart; and ran in to the chiropractic office to have my adjustment; I suddenly had this sense that I was living inside a bubble, going through the motions and biding my time until something happens.

Here I am.  This is my life.  Each day is ticking by one by one.  Yet, strangely, I am completely disconnected from my actions and my feelings.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

An Earlier Writing - S's First Visit

Before I had a blog to write in and even before we were officially parents to our children, I kept a lot of notes and journal (attempts) on my computer and in notebooks all over the house.  My writing style then was really disorganized.  But I never wanted to forget the emotion and memories while so much was happening in our early days of fostering and parenting, so I wrote about a lot of things. Perhaps one day, I can pull it all together to make one cohesive recollection of our children's childhoods to be given to them when they're 40 or something.  Ha!

Anyway, I was looking through some of my old notes and stumbled upon some that I wrote after S's very first visit at our house.  We'd met her a few times before as she would come with the parent aide to pick up the boys and to drop them back off around birthparent visits.  She never really got past the foyer on those brief encounters.  But this was the first time we really got to "test the waters" and spend some time with her to see if maybe she could live with us and with her brothers as things began shifting in her then current foster placement.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

More Advice for Homeschooling Families Just Beginning the Journey

So a couple days ago, I posted some first thoughts (from our personal experiences) that families who are considering homeschooling might benefit from knowing as they get started.  Again, we are still in a state of learning how this homeschooling thing works ourselves and we've been at it since 2006.  I hope those who are reading these posts do understand that most of what you learn won't come from advice posts like these or books or other websites; most of what you will learn about the process of homeschooling will come by way of doing the process.

That said, I'm hopeful that these posts will help reassure some of you that homeschooling is possible and for many of those who decide to take the leap, homeschooling will be an incredible blessing in your lives and family.  There will be a lot of mistakes and re-evaluations of your goals along the way, but as sure as we're still here today getting ready to take on an eighth year of educating our children ourselves, you can be successful, too.

Pray often.  Have great supports in place to lean on, from whom to seek advice and feedback and who will encourage you regularly.  Extend grace as often as necessary (and mostly, that's to yourself).  Be open and willing to learn along the way so you can increase in your own knowledge and therefore, your ability to teach others. 

Seek wisdom.  Seek understanding.  Seek out educational opportunities in the mundane, everyday activities of life, as well as in the great adventures that come along now and then.

That being said, I'll begin this post with something else you'll want to start collecting: ideas.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Some Advice for Homeschooling Families Just Beginning the Journey

First, let me apologize to my regular readers for how sketchy I have been this year on the blog.  I'm here writing a bunch of stuff consecutively, and then I disappear for weeks at a time.  This is no way to blog.  It doesn't help my need to write regularly and it doesn't help those who actually enjoy reading whatever silly stuff I think to post here.

Truthfully, though, my heart is here wanting to blog on a regular basis.  However, since I had to back track with my therapist recently and set a very simple goal for me -- to get out of bed by 8:30 a.m. each day -- actually doing much more than that has been very, very challenging for me.  Hopefully, I'll have better news on that front soon.  I'm getting my medication for depression and anxiety evaluated again this week and having some more regular therapy appointments during this rough patch, so I hope these things and lots of prayer will have me better able to see life more clearly and maintain some focus to be able to blog.

Today, though, I suddenly felt inspired to blog.  Though I've wanted to blog, I haven't felt a lot of inspiration recently.  So I'm seizing this opportunity amidst my life storm to reach out and be helpful to others.  My brain is seriously uncooperative with me lately, so please do your best to follow the crazy and I'll do my best to stay on track.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Summer Questions: What is Something Mom Said...?

Okay, I'm excited to post another question for you with our kids' answers.  If you want to look back at the introductory post about these summer questions, click here.  If you want to see other Summer Question posts, click here or look for posts labeled with SummerQ.

Today's questionWhat is something your mom said once that you will never forget? (The humor of my role as their "mom," as well as being the interviewer, is not lost on me -- I could be setting myself up for some majorly embarrassing moments.  Let's find out...)

Friday, June 28, 2013

Summer Questions: How Old Would You Be...?

I like getting our kids' insight on different things and then recording them for posterity.  In the past, I've used different resources or just made up random questions to get them thinking.  Recently, I stumbled on this website that has various open-ended questions and since the whole point is to get their brains moving, I'll be pulling from this list over the summer and sharing answers with you here for fun.  The questions are not specifically written for kids so if anything needs to be adjusted to make more sense from a child's perspective, I'm giving myself license to do that.  I'll label each of these posts with SummerQ so you can easily find any you have missed or reread the good ones in the future.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

June 13-17: Colorado Trip

A few weeks ago, I wrote about how S and I were planning to visit New England so she could visit with her birthmother and we could see some of our friends who still live there.  Well, plans changed and after S left, we didn't have a lot of motivation for me to go off to New England alone.

So instead, we decided to use the prearranged days off for a little family trip, which included our friends, KF, AF and SF, as well as AF's good friend, AB.  There were ten of us in all and so we rented a roomy condo just north of Durango, Colorado and spent a long weekend up there together.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

At a Loss for Words

Since our daughter left home so suddenly just over three weeks ago, I have found myself at a complete loss of words for something to write here at Mama Flock.  I am moving through the grief and loss process one day at a time.  Some days I can do this more gracefully than others.  But often, I am just truly sad down to my bones. The process has taken much of my energy and leaves nothing much for creative and thoughtful blogging -- so I write nothing.

Here my blog sits ... silent.  Waiting. 

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Guest Post: Head Over Heels

Today, my husband offered to do a guest post here at Mama Flock.  It is S's 18th birthday today and he offers a unique perspective on our lives with our daughter that I enjoyed reading.  I hope you do, too...

Head Over Heels

I knew this girl once. She was eight years old and had just come to live with us. She was a foster kid and we were foster parents. A good match at least on that count, I suppose. Her two younger brothers lived with us already so, you know, it seemed like a good idea to keep the family together. They’d already lost so much.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Joyful, Joyful

In our service this weekend, there was a contemporary mash-up we sang. It included the words from the hymn Joyful, Joyful by Henry Van Dyke. I was reminded just how important true joy is in our lives -- and where true joy comes from!

I wanted to share with you the lyrics to the hymn here as a reminder to myself (and all of you) to seek joy. It's everywhere if we just look around.

Less Depressing

Word on the street is that my blog posts and Instagrams lately have been a little depressing for people.

Okay, I'm sorry about that.  This is my real life and I'm trying to remain as hopeful as possible through something with which I'm really struggling.  But sadness and frustration are emotions that, as humans, we all have. 

That being said, I don't want anyone worrying themselves that I'm going to throw myself off a bridge or something.  My hope is in the Lord.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Changing Dynamics

We have been a family of seven for so long.  Now that there are just six of us in the house, it seems like we have to rethink how we do everything.  This would have happened whether S left suddenly or not (eventually), but now that we are faced with this situation as it is, there are a lot of things that just seem both harder and easier, as well as different.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Almost My Last Hope

I stumbled upon S's pink Bible today.  It was a bit of a heartbreak for me since I was holding onto the hope that she had brought this with her amongst the limited belongings that seem to be missing from her room.  But no.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

A New Day

So much has happened over the past week or two that I haven't been on my computer much.  Most of the "stuff" has been little and insignificant, but there has been one major change that has affected us all and until we notified our family and closest friends, I was reluctant to say anything here.

I could still say nothing here, but then I wouldn't have a good explanation about my distraction from all things blog.  Also, as Christians, I think it's important to share our joys and our burdens so that we can understand each other better as real live people and not just text on a page. 

Friday, May 24, 2013

End of School Year Reflections

You may remember me mentioning around this time last year (or the year before) that I like to finish the school year with a questionnaire for the kids.  It helps them reflect on everything we've done and I like that it's a bit of a time capsule for them to read about later.  It also helps me see where they are at overall so that I can strive to be a better parent and teacher in the coming years.

I want to share with you some of the answers they provided to this year's reflections.*  Parts in parentheses are my personal comments and/or additions.

1.  Name, date, grade completed.
S - 5/24/13, 12th grade
H - 5/23/13 (they all did it today, someone didn't check his calendar), 7th grade
Z - 5/24/13, 5th grade
J - 5/24/13, 3rd grade
O - 5/24/13, 2nd grade

A Teen Favorite That Even I Enjoy

I love to know that we are raising kids who seek out pure stuff to put in their eyes and ears.  Let's face it, there is plenty of impurities in this world and they are inundated with that every day whether they seek it or not.  Sometimes the darkness seems appealing and I'm not saying that our kids don't ever seek that stuff out for themselves -- we live in a sinful world and we all fall into temptation at times.

But this post is about an awesome moment I had with H this morning.  He was listening to the radio through his iPod this morning and came running into me (writing the end of the year questionnaire for them to complete today -- nothing like last minute, ha) and asked me to listen to a song that was on at the moment.

In classic idiot-mom form, I said to him, "Do I have to do this right now?  I'm trying to finish my stuff up."

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

More Good Stuff to See (And On a Personal Note)

I know my blogging lately has been sparse.  I think mostly it's just been spring and lovely weather and I have a need to be out there doing stuff, enjoying the days and haven't had as much need to sit by my computer and write.  Everything has a season, right?

The blogging season will return, I am sure of it.

In the meantime, the Lord has been bombarding me with a lot of good music and videos and other messages that draw me closer to Him.  I'm loving it.  So much I wish I could share here, but then don't take the time to do it.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

I Wonder

For Mother's Day. my family got me, among other things, the new WOW 2012 CD compilation.  I love the WOW CDs because they are like a compilation of my favorite songs from the year (last year).

I got through listening to disc two in the set today while driving N to school and near the end was the bonus track.  The song is I Wonder by Leeland.

Honestly, I'd never heard of this group until today.  Now, I can't wait to look for more of their songs.

There is something about this song, I Wonder, that because of the moment or where it caught me in my train of thought that just really moved me.  I love the vulnerability of the lyrics and the music and now I'm anxious to hear my husband sing this song in his style and voice.

To me, the best songs are only made better by listening to him sing them.   So hopefully, he'll jump at the opportunity to impress me (ha -- he does that every day) and learn this song.  I'm hopefully anticipating the results.

In the meantime, here is the official video of the song to tide me over...

Listen.  Enjoy.  Don't mind the background people paid to sway (or so it seems in my cynical heart).

Update:  I had heard of Leeland, I just didn't know it!  They sing Follow You featuring Brandon Heath (another favorite of mine).  See Leeland's website here.  Take the About tab to read about their background.  The three on stools (in video above) are siblings.  How cool.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

"For Someone Wired to Please"

Say what you will about Amy Grant, but she was one of the first contemporary Christian artists and my preference for that kind of music is largely based on listening to her as a teenager (and Michael W. Smith).  I can still go back to her early songs and just really reflect on points in my life where her music and life impacted me greatly.

Right now, she's got a new song out on the radio and once again, it matches me in this season of life.  It's a great reminder for us as mamas (and as wives, daughters, sisters and friends).  I heard that Amy wrote this song as a reminder for herself.  Like her, I am definitely wired to please and I have to constantly remind myself of the theme in this song and that is that grace is given freely -- we cannot earn it.

Here's a video of Don't Try So Hard by Amy Grant for you...

I hope you enjoy it.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Pheelings on Photography

So my readers probably all know by now that I enjoy writing.  Some of you also know that I can go on and on in my posts, too.  Fewer of you know that I also enjoy taking pictures -- mostly because I post so few of them here on my blog.

I have spent the past ten years or so, taking a lot of pictures.  When the kids came, C upgraded my 35mm Pentax camera to a digital HP camera and I began documenting pretty much every day of their lives.  I missed so much of their lives already that I didn't want to forget a single day that I got to spend with them.  Well, I don't take pictures every day anymore (but still most of them) because the kids are older and less cooperative and they don't really change in appearance as much at this point from one day to the next.

Over the years, I've been blessed to go from that first HP to a Nikon Coolpix to a Nikon D90 DSLR with three lenses and a great tripod (add a couple video cameras in the mix).  When people see my camera as almost a permanent fixture around my neck, I tell them that C doesn't get me jewelry like some husbands get their wives, he gets me camera equipment.  It really suits me better anyway -- I like the usefulness of it and I'm not allergic to it like I am most jewelry.

In all this time, photographing our kids and wildlife and landscapes as opportunities arise, then adding in church and sporting events just for something else to do in my slow-paced, un-busy life (ha), I have been satisfied being a picture-taker.  I snap pictures and photo journal, if you will, the goings on of life.

Over the years, I distanced myself from the word photographer.   The word terrifies me.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Never Give Up Hope

While I've spent years saying I'd easily fit into a hermit lifestyle if my family vanished suddenly -- that's my introverted side poking out -- in recent years, I've learned the blessing of friendships beyond my family.

This morning, I was reminded why the Lord gives us community and friendships. 

One of my dear friends from New England called me first thing this morning while I was still cozily (and lazily) laying in my bed.  The house was quiet.  C had already gone to work and the kids were still in their beds.  Her timing for a more-than-five-minute phone call was perfect.  Truly. 

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Will Spring Break Ever End?

So, I'm starting to ask myself when I stop calling our unintentionally long break from regular school our "Spring Break," and when I should start calling it "Summer Vacation"? I have been so caught up in so many things since -- well, let's face it -- forever, that proactively teaching the younger four kids in our family has nearly become a distant memory.

We have really been on our spring break for about four weeks now.  It started when things got really busy around here and a lot of plans were being made for graduation and everything else.  But this week, as I continue recovering from our two-party weekend, I am verging on actual laziness, I think.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Speaking of Graduation

We've been very graduation-focused lately and it's had me reflecting a lot on my own high school graduation (and C's) waaaaaay back in 1991.

Yep, that's me at 17 with my Dad and Mom.  This was probably my favorite year for my hair when I look at these old photos of me as I was growing up.  The "bob" just suited me back then.  Back when I was cute.  Haha.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

On Faith, Trust and Dating

Rio Grande Zoo, Albuquerque, NM

In recent months, our daughter, S, has been forging a very good friendship with a young man her age.  They are at a point where they are holding hands now and then (so cute) and when I ask them to pose for a picture, they instinctively lean together and sometimes he puts his arm around her (even though for a long time, photos of the two of them might lead people to think they were complete strangers who happened to end up in the same shot).

Monday, April 22, 2013

Graduation, Anniversary, Birthday Party and the Zoo

In an effort to quickly recap our very busy weekend (and Monday), I'm combining three big events and a trip to the zoo into one post.  Sad, I know, but it's this or wait a long time because I still have makeup posts to do from months ago (it seems).

1.  Graduation

The day we've been waiting for finally arrived.  First of all, let me just say that without my husband, my extended family and my very helpful and kind friends, this day would have been a disaster in the making!  First of all, some public thank you's ...

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

"Hey Mom... Breathe."

The title encapsulates the most recent reminder our son, Z, said to me moments ago as I sighed heavily and plopped into my chair at the computer.  I have about ten things I need to do while sitting here and I just barely walked in the door from the last thing I accomplished on the to-do list today.

On Monday (was that only yesterday?!), Z was having a rough morning and so I spent some time talking to him about stuff and then I enlisted his help. 

Saturday, April 13, 2013

One Week To Go

One week from today, we will be graduating our daughter, S, from high school.  I am still in shock over this.

There's a lot to do this week, too.  The house needs to be readied for the celebration, we'll be picking up my mom at the airport Thursday, making lists and schedules to be sure it all comes together as well as possible.  We definitely don't want to be late to the ceremony!

It's all very challenging.  I'm also on a last minute cram to finish up transcripts for her and my, oh my, what will we give her as a graduation gift?!

Friday, April 12, 2013

Good God Stuff

So the past couple days have been really exciting for me (aside from the window fiasco, of course).  I feel so blessed and I'm anxious to share.

1. While I have not yet heard back about the writer's position on the other blog, as I mentioned, I am feeling confident about that situation.  Maybe I won't be chosen, but I still feel like it was the right direction to put myself out there and try.  Usually by now I'm second-guessing myself, but I still think I did what I was supposed to.  I'm at peace with the whole thing.  Those of you who are praying for me about this, thank you so much.  I can tell.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

They're Coming to Take Me Away

I've frequently quoted the phrase, "Sanity is way overrated," in response to how I deal with my life at times.  Today, was another testament to why that philosophy is a good one. 

Z was having some trouble and I was getting frustrated.  He'd already bitten a brother (yes, he's still 11) and made the other kids pretty upset and so I sent him outside to play.  I did go out and talk to him a couple times to try to get him to calm down, but nothing was really working.

My friend, KF stopped by (for a quick three-hour visit ... I do like her for sure!) and she helped me cope with my frustration over Z's building temper.  He doesn't like to be forced to be outside even though he's my most outdoorsy kid.  But sometimes, I feel like it's better to put a door between he and I when he's acting up -- Mama needs some time out, too.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Stepping Out

Hello Readers and Friends.

You all know how much it means to me to be able to share our lives with you here at Mama Flock and I hope to continue to do so for as long as the Lord directs and inspires me to do so.

But today, I am stepping out in faith.  I submitted an application to be a contributing writer for another blog that is specifically homeschool related. 

This does not mean I will no longer share details of our homeschooling life here at Mama Flock.  No! Of course not.  If my application is selected among the many the blog originator has received already and I am blessed with the opportunity to stretch my writing abilities elsewhere, it will all be in addition to what I am doing here at Mama Flock.

I ask that if you have a moment today or in the next few days that you will pray for God's will for me in this endeavor.  I love to write because of Him.  I am able to write only because of Him.  I will only be able to take on the extra writing work with and for Him. 

So although it was my hand that submitted such an application, it is up to Him to give me the strength to do all that is necessary to accomplish the tasks set before me if my application is accepted and well-received.

Thank you so much for taking the time to visit my blog and to be a special part of my life.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

I'd Be Remiss...

Not to mention here that it's C's 40th birthday today.

Happy Birthday, Husband.  You know how wonderful I think you are and since I'm pressed for time -- posting like crazy till you get home with the sushi you wanted us to have tonight -- I think I'll just leave it at that.  I love you!


P.S. When I made the above graphic for Instagram today, I could not tell (on my iPhone) that there was a watermark there.  I swear I searched for a free graphic and I thought I was getting one.  So my apologies to the maker of this sparkler graphic ... it is lovely and I give you credit for it.  I am making no claims of the sparkler graphic, only to the overall Instanote graphic.

Lent, Finishing Up

So technically, I've already blogged about 42 days of thankfulness during Lent -- under my way of counting the days -- so maybe you didn't expect to see the other four days on this blog.  But even though life is busy, I feel incomplete not sharing my thankful thoughts as they led all the way up to Easter Sunday.

Here we go.  (Good thing I have lots of reminders like my Instagram pictures and my calendar or I'd never remember!)

Counting Down to Life

I've always been a big fan of countdowns.  I love anticipation even more than the actual thing or day we are counting down towards.  I enjoy Christmas Eve (the pinnacle of anticipation) better than Christmas Day.  But lately, our life has been overflowing with countdowns and I feel like I'm in this constant state of anticipation without much focus on the actual reveals.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Happy Resurrection Sunday!

Jesus is Alive!

I pray you do not feel alone this Easter Sunday and that you will gather with others in love to celebrate this wonderful holiday together.

For those of you who are unable to gather together, you are never alone.  Christ our Lord is your Father and Friend, with you always.  I pray you know him well!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Lent, Day 34 and So On

I still have a lot of other things I want to blog about when I have some spare minutes ... or hours.  But I don't want to fall down completely on the whole Lenten Thankfulness thing!  It's what's kept me going over this very busy season of life.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Something to Think About

I found this on another blog and thought it was quite profound.  I want to share it with you...

I love this!!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Please Help This Homeschooling Family

I don't know if you have followed the news about the German family seeking political asylum here in the United States so they may continue to homeschool their children.  But here is an article posted by Fox News about their plight if you would like to find out more.

In the meantime, HSLDA is helping them fight their battle and they are asking for our help.  Here is text from an email I received today from Mike Farris of HSLDA (of which we are members), asking us to sign a petition they've put together to help change the minds of our federal government, who right now wants to send this family back to Germany to be persecuted.

Lent, My Days 28-33

Maybe I'm getting lazier, but I can't believe it's been almost a week since I updated my Lent Thankfulness List here.  So bear with me as I tear through six joy-filled days (okay, so not completely joy-filled, but I'm trying to think about the good stuff right now).

Day 28, Tuesday
I am thankful for a flexible schedule to be able to rest up after our whirlwind trip to Arizona.  We didn't do much of anything this day except some unpacking and straightening up.  I watched E and drove my older nieces to and/or from school.  C was at work, of course, so that made me even more thankful for my job at home since he didn't get much of a break at all after all that driving.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Still Here

Everyday life has consumed most of my time lately. I have some posts started and hopefully I can finish and post them soon.  All is well... a little illness, some household organization and cleaning and schooling have put me at my daily limit for awake time lately. Must be these longer days and coming out of winter hibernation that has life getting so busy.

I appreciate your patience. If you are new to our blog, perhaps now is a good time to read some earlier posts during this lull. The links are in order by date down on the right side.

Anyway, I'll blog you later. Hopefully sooner!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

The Bag Lady

I have a confession to make.  I am a bag lady.

Yes, I do love bags of all kinds -- cute tote bags and the like.  It takes a lot of self-control not to buy every cute bag I see at every store I visit.  I just love them, but don't have enough uses for them (or storage to keep them).

But the real problem is that when I come home from a store (Walmart, Target, Dollar Tree, Hobby Lobby, Marshall's, etc.) there are often a couple items left in the plastic grocery bag that I want to save for later after I put away all the stuff for now.  I stick the bag someplace for safe keeping and then when "later" comes, I forget where I put it.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Healthy Elvis (Another Simple Smoothie Recipe)

I've heard the stories about Elvis Presley's love of grilled peanut butter and banana sandwiches, as well as Monte Cristo sandwiches.  So I decided to use some of the basic flavor profiles of these two sandwiches to make one delicious, Paleo-friendly smoothie.  I figured if those flavors are good enough for a king, then they're good enough for me.

I was right!  I loved it.  Even though I mixed spinach in with fruit flavors, which has always weirded me out.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Gym Report, Week 2

Click HERE for a recap of my first week with my new gym membership.  Read below about my second week...

So this week was a little more mixed up with regards to the gym, but I still feel like I'm doing pretty well considering this is a new habit I'm trying to form.

Lent, My Days 25-27

We traveled to Arizona this past weekend, so my overall thankfulness is about the opportunity to do that!  But I will divvy up the days of Lent and recall some specifics for you here.

Day 25, Saturday
On Saturday, we drove the 6-1/2 hours to Tempe, where we stayed for the next two nights.  There was snow falling for a large portion of our journey and even some snow packed roads once we were up in the mountains.  But I'm thankful the Lord saw fit to keep our van on the road and to keep all of us safe on our trip!

Get to Know Me (2013)

We're home safe from our trip to Arizona and I will have some photos to show you (if you're not already bored of looking at my Instagram posts -- I went overboard, but I had fun doing it!) and a vacation recap, but first, I wanted to respond to an email from my good friend at Hope Rising Farm, here in a blog post to share with you all here...

Friday, March 8, 2013

Lent, My Days 23-24

I know my day 24 is not over yet, but here's the thing, I'm going away for the weekend(!) and so I'm posting my thankfulness now so I can be thankful I don't have more posts to make up when I get back.  We all know I'm already backlogged with so many things I want to write about here anyway.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Six-List: Lent, My Day 22 and Six Things I'm Thankful for Today

I have a lot to be thankful for today!

1.  This is my 500th Mama Flock post.  Hooray!

Lent, My Day 21

I was so thankful yesterday because we actually got every one's school work done by 2:00.  That used to be the norm, but since watching E, everything takes a bit longer and we're usually still trying to finish things up in the four o'clock hour.

But the kids were really cooperative!  I'm thinking it has something to do with our new weekly schedule and my giving them more one-on-one time.  Come to think of it, I'm noticing the kids trying to be more helpful with the housework as well.  Exciting!

In other news, S has recently made some headway in her understanding of her relationship with her birth mother.  She talked with me about it yesterday and I was glad to hear her insights.  She will be reevaluating that relationship for decades to come, I imagine, but I'm really proud of her for being more discerning lately. 

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Lent, My Day 20

If "My Days" of counting Lent were actually real Lent days, we'd be only twenty days from Easter.  But actually, there's almost a week more on top of my count.  So you don't have to panic.  You can still enjoy most of March and St. Patrick's Day and then figure out what everyone is going to wear for Easter Sunday.  It'll be fine.

So yesterday, my day 20, was really super special.  It was the first Monday of our new schedule and I heard that D got tons of stuff done at home (her girls shared with me today that she did all their chores for them before they got home from school -- what a treat!).

Monday, March 4, 2013

Special Nights

It hasn't been very long since we started this new habit of having special nights and times with certain members of the family, but I thought I'd give you an update on how it's going so far.

Lent, My Days 17-19

Now that I'm spending more time with our kids one-on-one and as a group, I'm finding less time for blogging!  Maybe that's not a bad thing, except that I have so many things in my mind I want to blog about and not enough time for my outlet.  So once again, I'm stuffing three days of thanksgiving into one post since I found a moment between things to write.

Gym Report, Week 1

So I figured, at least in these early stages of forming my gym-attending habits, that I will use this blog to document my success (and failings?) at the gym as a way to hold me more accountable and consistent.  I hope you won't mind.

C got our gym membership at Planet Fitness on Saturday, February 23.  My first visit to said gym was Monday morning, February 25.

Friday, March 1, 2013

To Love Another

So I promised a followup post once we had some resolution to what caused my Tuesday to be extremely stressful.  Today we got some good news, so I wanted to write this up soon.

I've mentioned before how my sister, D, who lives nearby with her four daughters, is a single mom.  She has some incredible strength to be doing the job of two parents, basically on her own.  The father is not involved any longer.  The girls still have so much promise and joy in them even though their mom is tired so much of the time.

I know how tired I am a lot of the time and I have a partner in this crazy life.  So as well as things continue to go over there at their house, I have admiration for my sister's ability to keep doing and giving to those girls.  Money is always tight, quality time is limited and it's a house full of five females with nobody to kill the bugs or repair things.

We do our best to help D and the girls as much as we can.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Lent, My Day 16

Today, I'm breathing a huge sigh of relief.

I'm thankful that H finally decided to get his hair cut.  AND, he decided to get all of it cut nice and short so it won't be giant and puffy for awhile.

His hair is so thick and the longer and thicker it gets, the wilder he becomes.  He's been like this since age three.  Cutting his hair off helps him feel calmer and more reasonable.  Less argumentative. 

I love it.

Also, I'm thankful for KF taking time out of her day to stop by and hang out and give me some excellent advice about a few things. 

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Lent, My Days 13-15

I can't believe I am posting three days of Lent Thankfulness in one post.  This is so unlike me.  But it's been that kind of week so far.

So here we go...

Day 13, Monday: I'm going to borrow my sister's answer for this one and tell you that, I, too, was thankful this day for our son, Z.  He turned eleven!  I've even updated my side bar three days later.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Paleo Freebie

You may notice (if you scroll down) that I have a new affiliate link on the right side bar.  This is for a new E-book created by the blogger at Multiply Delicious.  She creates all kinds of recipes, but Paleo recipes are just one of her categories.  This stuff looks delicious!

Anyway, if you are interested in getting a copy of this E-book, click on the link in the side bar and your purchase made from the link on Mama Flock, Multiply Delicious will contribute 50% of the profits from each sale to our homeschooling fund.

In addition, if you would like a great Paleo Freebie available from Multiply Delicious, CLICK HERE and scroll down to see her link below the second picture of the Paleo Recipes for Everyday E-book cover.  The freebie is a one-page "cheat sheet" to remind us about Paleo foods and foods we Paleo peeps should avoid.

If you're not a Paleo peep, she has many other, non-Paleo, but delicious-looking recipes on her blog.  My mouth was watering over the carrot cake pancakes. Mmmm.  Check it out.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Lent, My Day 12

Today has been a good day so far.

I took my camera to church service and captured scenes from around the building as asked to do by the church's admin.  She's going to put together a slide show for Easter, I think.  As I weaved in and out of classrooms and hallways, I ran into several people I don't often see.  It was nice to exchange a few words or a hug and then move on to continue the job.

After church, I sat down to move the photos from church and from yesterday's football scrimmage to my computer.  Then C said he would take the kids to do something fun for the afternoon if I would like him to do that.

Yes, please.

Two Gender Specific Blogs I Love

We have been blessed in this family with both boy and girl children.  We are raising both, men and women.  So I kind of like to make sure I'm constantly learning about both.

I'm a girl (aka, woman, but in my heart, I'll always be a girl).  So you'd think I'd know a lot about being one.  To a degree, I do.  But I only have my experience.  Our daughters share some similarities with me, but in many ways their personalities and character vary widely from my experiences.  So I find it's best to find out about the experiences of other women so I can help them grow into who God means them to be.

And boys?  Well, they are a complete puzzle to me.  I had two sisters and no brothers.  I learned about men from my dad and my husband.  But, I am increasing in my boy-knowledge thanks to my experiences with three sons.  But I want to help raise them into awesome individuals.  They are very different from one another and even different from my dad and my husband -- so reading stuff from other guys is important so I know how to apply that knowledge to each of our sons.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

A Poem

Really quick, I wanted to share with you this poem that Beth Moore read to her audience on the DVD portion of this Daniel study.  We've been learning in our study how we currently live in a modern-day Babylon (at least in the U.S.), which is self-indulgent and very "me" focused.  This poem really says it well...

Babble on in Babylon

Lent, Day 11 on My Schedule

I recently found out that Lent doesn't count Sundays.  So I was a little Lent-illiterate.  A little Lent-naive.  A Lent-idiot, I suppose.  So Lent for me will be a little longer than 40 days.  You won't mind if I share six extra days of thankfulness, right?  It certainly won't hurt me.

So I'll still be thankful on Sundays during Lent.  Deal with it.

Anyway, today was a really busy day!  But let me tell you how it all started...

Friday, February 22, 2013

Lent, Day 10

Are we seriously just 30 days from Easter?  Wow.  2013 is really flying by so fast already.

Anyway, I know I already blogged a couple posts today, but I thought I'd make this one short and sweet. 

Today, I'm thankful for friends for whom to pray.  There are a lot of needs out there and thankfully my PrayerNotes app on my iPhone is helping me keep track of most of them (the ones I have been told about).

It's sad to think about all the needs, but what I'm trying to focus on today is the fact that the needs stem from people.  People I know, I love and I care about enough to pray for them.

I know they are praying for me, too, when I have needs -- which is usually -- and that's an easy thing for which to say thank you, Jesus.   

They are an easy thing for which to be thankful.

Lent, Day 9 OR Presidential Bobbleheads

So last Monday was Presidents' Day as I've already mentioned somewhere on this blog.  Even though we didn't stay home that day, I like to do something in recognition of that holiday to remind the kids important stuff like praying for our leaders (even if we don't agree with their politics).

I wasn't sure what to do this year, because we seem to get in a George Washington/Abe Lincoln rut when we search online for presidential ideas.  That was fine when the kids were all younger, but I wanted to do something different this year.

So I woke up Tuesday morning having dreamed up a craft idea:
Yes, I know it doesn't seem very educational.  But certainly it sounds fun, don't you think?

A Third Tale and Some Corrections

Some of you may have read my post: Two Tales (or maybe not).  But I have since learned that Kaela (the young girl) has a webpage detailing her story and a way for others to contribute financially to help with medical expenses right there on her page.  Actually, it may not be her webpage, but someone who cares for her and cares for this family enough to post the information online on their behalf.

Anyway, I realize now that I had misheard or mis-recalled certain details of her medical history.  I hope you'll understand and forgive me as I just heard the story the one time and just felt so deeply moved I wanted to make sure and share the story with you -- as well as the resulting actions of our son, H.

Please check out the webpage with actual details and photos of Kaela and notice the sparkling eyes and dazzling smile in the midst of her giant burden.  She is an inspiration to me.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Lent, Day 8

There were several moments today where I felt like tearing my hair out. 

I've got the sorrows of a friend on my heart today and have spent all my spare moments breathing prayers to our God on her behalf.  It's been about to rain all day, so the weather has given me a really awesome headache.  I try not to take pain medication since learning that the more I take, the more likely I'll have Alzheimer's -- so I just suffered through it.   N was sick today, so we had two extra little ones running around the house and I decided today was the day to do some housework.

What was I thinking?!

However, in spite of all the distractions and challenges, somehow, the Lord helped me bring everyone together to help out and we got all the listed to-do items accomplished except vacuuming because apparently there is trouble with our vacuum.  The list also included clearing off my PC desktop and my actual work desk top.  I posted a picture of them weeks ago in Instagram and I hadn't gotten around to fixing the problem till today.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Lent, Day 7

I'm thankful today because I accomplished the first step in my therapy goal about getting things done for S's graduation.  My therapist wanted me to complete the "gathering process" for grades 6-9 and I have done that.  For our next appointment, I need to complete grades 10-12.

And this process is not all that difficult, it's just really time-consuming.  I search through my old lesson plan books, my organized records (and my disorganized ones), my photos and of course, the boxes full of school work that I've stowed away.

I've nearly filled a 70-page college-ruled spiral notebook with grades 6-9.  It's pretty amazing what we've been able to accomplish in these past years of school.

Even more amazing when I think about what the Lord has accomplished in us during that time.

We are exactly two months from her graduation day now.  My how the time flies.

Two Tales

Sunday at church, one of the small study group leaders got up in front and told us the story of a little girl of whom they were recently made aware.

This tale begins with a 12-year-old girl living in western New Mexico (near this study leader's parents, which is why she knows about her) who at age seven was diagnosed with a rare bone cancer.  She was hospitalized and treated and during this time, her grandparents gained custody.

Lent, Day 6

If you follow me on Instagram, you already know we took a day trip to Farmington, NM and surrounding areas and had a nice time on this Presidents' Day.  Z prayed for our safe travels at the start of the trip and even remembered to pray for our president and pray in thanksgiving for past presidents without any reminders.  I was very impressed he remembered the holiday.

Lent, Day 5

Today was one of those days that made it a little bit tougher to think about thankfulness.  That's why it was so very important that I stayed alert and watched for joy moments!

J woke up, feeling sicker than yesterday, still running a fever (and by this evening, she started vomiting -- to tell you how bad she's feeling).  C was already at church for worship team and needed to be there to sing for both services.

Meanwhile, due to sickness, I've missed the last few weeks at church.  Today, C had a special song he was performing, so I definitely did not want to miss that.  I asked for a volunteer to stay with J so I could go to the service.

Well, Z volunteered immediately.  And then decided he wasn't up for the job.

Sunday, February 17, 2013


My friend, KF -- a fellow homeschooling mom -- sent me a link to the video I'll share with you below.

If you've never heard of TED University, it's a great program that unites a variety of schools of thought and brings them together under one umbrella (TED) to educate and inform the world in generally, brief, informative (sometimes entertaining) talks.  C has been watching them regularly for a while and so he first introduced me to TED.  Find the talks online or even on Netflix, if you have an account.  There are probably DVD's available, too.

But this video, made at a TED event, features a speaker who is just 13 years old.  He talks about what he refers to as Hackschooling.  He never says he's homeschooled, but he does talk about being removed from the traditional school system when he was nine.  When you watch his presentation -- which I highly recommend you do -- you realize that his schooling usually keeps him away from home most days.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Lent, Day 4

So today, I can't narrow down my list of things I'm thankful for to just one.  Bear with me...

1. I'm thankful for my Bible study ladies who get up early and give up time on their Saturday mornings to spend time in the Word with me (and each other) learning about Daniel.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Nature-created Artwork

Springtime is our windy season here in the desert.  But it's been fairly windy already, while it's still wintertime.  On several of these windy days, I've driven past our local dump en route to one of the schools where I do my weekday pickups and I've felt inspired by what I saw.

On calm days, the fence that surrounds the dump looks like a normal fence.  But on the windy days, the fence becomes a canvas ready to catch the colors of the wind.  I know it's just trash and stuff people probably should have recycled, but something funny happens in my mind when I see that fence come alive like that.

Lent, Day 3

Today, I am definitely thankful for Field Trips.

I always say that we homeschool, but that doesn't mean we stay home all the time.  I know there are some homeschooling families might disagree with my philosophy, but I love that we can take our "home" (that is, our family) on the road and go and do and see as part of our learning process.

Besides, it keeps us from getting bored of the regular rhythm, which helps the kids be more alert and to make more connections with things when we do book work at home.  I'm constantly amazed at how our children remember what they read in books because they've seen examples of certain things in the world.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Lent Thanksgiving

So my sister, Jessica, has a lot of great ideas.  She sickens me with her immense creativity and her ability to think up new stuff all the time.  Now, she's outdone herself again.

Ash Wednesday was yesterday and seriously, People, I did remember that (even if I did not acknowledge it publicly), but today when I took the kids to the zoo (with friends) I was contemplating how last Lent season I gave up chips and fries for 40 days.  That was really difficult back then.

But now that I've gone Paleo for the most part, giving up food doesn't seem like such a challenge.  My priorities have changed.  I just didn't know what to do in recognition of Lent this year.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

On Valentine's Eve

Once again, the day of love is upon us and once again, I allowed too many things to get in my way.  So my Valentine's cards are still sitting on my desk, unsigned, unmailed.  Just like last year.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Tuesday Results

So I went to the doctor this morning and lo and behold, I do not have Strep throat.  Hallelujah and Amen to that.

Sadly, I do have an ear infection, my sinuses are all jammed up and my throat is bright red.

Monday, February 11, 2013

A Little More About My Monday

So we just got home from the doctor's office.

I took the girls who both had fevers and throat pain.  The nurse didn't even want to test J because she said she didn't really seem to have the same symptoms as S.  But I insisted (even against J's protests) because I wanted to be sure.  So she did it reluctantly.

My Weekend... and Monday

Hello Everybody!

I hope you all enjoyed your weekend and maybe had the chance to check out the guest posts.  If not, make sure you do, it's a good read and good insight from my wonderful husband, C.

My weekend was quite the mixed bag, so I thought I'd tell you about it and let you know how today is going so far.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Friday, February 8, 2013

Guest Post: What I Have Learned From the 30-Day Paleo Challenge, Part 1

C and I have been talking a lot about this Paleo challenge (last day is today!) and he has some great insights into his own experience.  So we discussed his doing a guest post here on my blog.

What?!  C is not a mama.  He's not even a woman.  The idea of a male, non-mom doing a guest post at Mama Flock is just craziness.

But here's the thing, this is my blog and he's an important part of my life, so I'll allow it.  I think you'll be glad I did.  If we encourage him, maybe he'll do more guest posts down the line.  His way of telling kid stories is usually funnier than my way -- I just get to experience more of them every day. But of the ones he does know about, we want him to provide guest posts now and then to keep us entertained.  He also has great recipes he might let me share on here, which really put my Easy Smoothie and Simple Snack posts to great shame.  One guest post at a time, I suppose.

One thing we do share in common is that we like to write very long-winded pieces.  So, instead of one guest post, I'm breaking this into smaller bite-sized posts and will set them up to post here over the course of this weekend.  It won't be so much, so fast that way.

Enough with my lengthy explanations ... on with the guest post!

Sixty Words

The graduation committee has asked each parent (or set of parents) to write a 60-word biography for their son or daughter.  These will be displayed with four photos of the graduate at the ceremony.

Sixty words?!

That is an especially tough requirement for the word-limit challenged such as myself.  But in the nick of time (today's the deadline), I managed to put together a biography for S.

Sixty words.  Exactly.

C and S approved.  Here's what I wrote (I've used initials in this version as I usually do in this blog)...

S is the oldest child in the C family, with four younger siblings.  She is a natural leader and mentor.  We recognize her gift of having great compassion for others.  We are so proud of our S for her dedication to serving children, the homeless population and animals in various local programs.   She is an amazing person with unlimited potential.

Difficult to sum up a person's existence in just 60 words.  So hopefully, this does our daughter justice at the graduation ceremony.

My A to Z

I'm jumping on the bandwagon and filling out this A to Z questionnaire to warm me up into this day.  I may post more stuff later...

Available or married?
Happily married.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Second Teen

It's official.  Today, we welcome our second teenager in this house.  H has crossed that imaginary bridge from the tween years to the teen years.  This is both exciting and intimidating.  One teen has stretched us as parents in ways we'd never imagine and now we've got two.  This one's a boy to keep us guessing even more.  So maybe I'm freaking out a little, but I'm making peace with my freak out.

(I was able to freak him out pretty well when I announced that now he's only five years from legal adult age.  Ha!)

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

An Old Photo

In my searching through old photos for information to contribute to S's transcripts, I have come across several fun pictures from the "olden days," when the kids were still really young and I was still very new to parenting.

Here's one of J, taken in the spring of 2007, so she's about 2-1/2.  I love that I took the time to capture this messy picture before we started the cleaning.  She was always so inquisitive.  Into everything.  This photo kind of says it all...