Thursday, September 30, 2010

Blogging At Night Sounds an Awful Lot Like Rambling

When the kids were babies I used to wish for an extra set of arms. I'm sure every mom has occasionally had that thought.

Of course now the kids are older, and with their help I have four more arms to carry groceries from the car or to put away laundry...but life is still busy.

Sometimes, when the day has stretched across the sky and night is settling in, I still find myself imagining all I could accomplish with four busy arms and hands.

For instance, after all was done that needed done and I could sit and play, I had to make a choice: blogging or crochet? (Look. I'm a poet and didn't know it.)

I began to think how great it would be if I could type and crochet all at the same time. But, then I'd need another pair of eyes, and that might look funny. So, never mind.

My niece (and crochet mentor) encouraged me to get the Crochet Today magazine so I picked up the 2010 Special Issue. I am currently working on the Colorful Cushion on page 66, but have already dog-eared other "recipes" I will most certainly be making.

(For the record, I know they are patterns, but recipe makes it sound light and easy, almost whimsically fun, don't you think? Pattern sounds so certain and stern.)

Since playing with yarn won out today, hopefully blogging will win tomorrow...

In the meantime, please tell me you've seriously considered the use of four arms. Because I'm starting to worry about myself....


Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Memory Lane

*picture credit here

I grew up in the desert.

On 19th street.

Ms. Betty was our next door neighbor.

She was also the Avon lady.

(On a side note, she was also the person who brought clean clothes for me one morning in the first grade when I peed my pants in the library. I remember that like it was yesterday...but i digress.)

I loved Ms. Betty the Avon lady.

She would give me lipstick samples. How I loved those little, white, one-inch tubes of pointy lipsticks, with the color name printed on the bottom in black print. They weren't like the samples you get nowadays in their hermetically sealed, one-time-use, plastic wrappers. In my eight-year old mind, it was an actual tube of lipstick!

I do remember getting in trouble with the girl down the street for using those samples on the sidewalk for hopscotch. Ms. Betty the Avon lady did not think that was good use of lipstick.

I never did it again.

My mom must've bought lots of Avon from Miss Betty. I loved to look at the 5x7 catalog that came with every filled order. It seemed we had lots of them laying around.

I'll never forget the Chocolate Chip lip balm. It not only smelled and tasted like chocolate chip cookies but it came in this really cool compact that looked like a cookie!

I really wanted one. Like, I'll-be-your-best-friend-and-feed-the-dog-and-always-do-my-chores-and-never-ask-for-any-thing-else-for-the-rest-of-my-life, wanted one.

My heart just beats with excitement thinking about it.

It was in my Christmas stocking that year. Joy!

Over the years I've asked my friends if they remembered that wonderful Chocolate Chip Lip Balm, and they've nodded their heads with vague recollection. I've never been sure if they really remembered and all my Google searches came up empty...had I just made it up?

This morning, prompted by Bye Bye Pie's blast from the past post, I took my own trip down the (Avon) Memory Lane, and found a blog post called Avon Calling (posted last year) about all those fun Avon products I grew up with!  I had forgotten I had the strawberry lip balm too...

Oh, the memories!

Tell me, what do you remember having as a kid that you just loved?

*Picture Credit: Every Day Beauty

Monday, September 27, 2010


To my newly-turned Teenager,

I cannot believe we've come to this place.

But I'm glad.

You've gone from a sweet, loving, friendly baby boy and child, to a smart, gracious, friendly, kind young man.

I wish your dad and I could take some credit for who you are, and who you will become.

But we can't.

For in all the parenting, and time, and love, and discipline we try to impart, we do/will fail.

And yet...

We see Great Work being done in you.

Sometimes that work isn't easy.

Your tender heart often carries burdens that seem too heavy for your years...continue to pursue Truth, my son. When you do you encourage those around you.

You encourage me.

I'm thankful for your love of laughter. Your gift of conversation. Your love for family.

I am so grateful you're my boy. I wouldn't want any son but you.

With love,

Friday, September 24, 2010

From My Couch

It was only a matter of time.

It's been over six years since we've had the stomach flu in this house. I knew the it wouldn't last forever...

It just the timing that's unfortunate.

I had envisioned today's post to be one of nostalgia as I anticipated The Boy's 13th birthday.

The plan for this evening no longer involves five teenage boys eating pizza, potato chips and all manner of junk food.

Instead The Mister and I will give him the gift he has been hoping he would receive (but we had convinced him he wouldn't get.)

We'll reschedule the party for next Friday night, and pray the rest of us escape the wrath of the horrible heaves.

This morning was rough. But I think The Boy is feeling a little better now, so whatever he had, it's quickly fading.

So far this afternoon we have watched SharkTales and now we are watching Furry Vengeance. We haven't had an all day movie day in a long time, so not all is loss.

You know, I am sort of a germ freak. And the reason I'm a germ freak is to avoid things like this...but it's been a good reminder to me that nothing is as bad as you anticipate it will be...of course that hasn't stopped me from Cloroxing any and everything in sight. My hands are dry from all the washing and sanitizer. Control issues much?

No matter what, come tomorrow morning I will officially have a teenager living in this house. It is amazing how quickly they grow!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Home Education: Why We Do It

It with a great feeling of surrealism that I write this post.


Well, cuz three years ago I never thought I'd be teaching my kids at home.

Several people have asked me recently why we chose to home educate our children.

The short answer is that we found ourselves moving around the country. A lot.

The military has been good to us, but we have had to learn flexibility.

Two years ago we were facing our 5th military move in less than 9 years. We realized that by the time our oldest got to 6th grade, he would have been in 6 different schools.

That's overwhelming for anyone, but add that to the already not-so-fun adolescent time in a boys life, and we figured it was downright unfair.

We looked into schools -  public, private, and charter -  but after multiple applications to the school boards (which were denied) and issues with zoning and charter lotteries, nothing panned out.

And here we are...

I guess my main reason for this post is that I've noticed that many people assume we homeschool based on a lot of reasons that have a negative vibe to them. Although it is probably bad form to list them, I'm gonna do it anyway. Here is what the La Vida Homeschool is not about:

1. Not about religion.

When The Mister and I were very young parents, we had a man, whom we had never met (or ever saw again), approach us at church. He told us (in not a few words) that it was vital that we should be thinking (and planning) about how we would educate our children. Since I was holding a newborn and trying my best not to lactate through my blouse, I was having trouble not having bitter feelings as he kept us hostage in the church hallway. He let The Mister and I know that all good Christians home-schooled.

What it looked like to me is homeschooling itself had become this man's religion as he proselytized to us in the hall. In that one encounter I decided that all homeschool parents were strange, strange, people. I would never be one of them.

Of course my view now is a little a friend of mine says, "you're drinking the Kool-aide now, aren't you?"

As an evangelical Christian, my faith in Christ is the center of my life, and by extension, my homeschool. Homeschooling lends to our faith in a holistic sense. It gives freedom to learn who we are in Christ, how we relate to the world through Him, and how to serve Him in all areas of our life.

I love that the kids and I can study about history and see the hand of God. I enjoy studying Science and seeing God's creativeness at work. I love that we an incorporate study of the Bible as a daily class.

Our faith is not why we chose to homeschool, but it is the foundation.

And for the record, homeschooling doesn't make me (or my family) any better at being a Christian.

2. Not about our public schools.

In the course of our parenting tenure we have pretty much done it all: private, public and homeschool.

Of all these choices, I am most grateful for our time in public school.

My son attended wonderful private schools for kindergarten and first grade, but he had a real problem: he couldn't read.

He tried very hard to learn, and his dad and I tried very hard to help him. To say it was a struggle would be an understatement. The teachers at the private schools wanted to hold him back a year and label him with disorders and disabilities I was certain he didn't have. I watched my bright, happy, loving boy pull into himself and become anxious as he coped in a world full of words he couldn't figure out.

To be fair to the private schools, there was little funding for Reading Specialists, and I couldn't afford the  special learning groups that were offered (although ten years ago they weren't readily available in the private schools we chose.) Through circumstances of military moves and money, (not to mention the Providence of God) our kids ended up in public school.

I would be lying if I told you I wasn't afraid the morning we walked our babies into the halls of that school. I wondered if we were throwing our lambs to the lions.

It wasn't long before The Boy's teacher called me in and told me that my son couldn't read and that she was going to send him to the in-house Reading Specialist, Mrs P.

If I saw Mrs. P on the street right now, I would throw my arms around her and tell her what a difference she made in my sons' life. We will never forget her.

The Boy didn't have ADD, nor did he have dyslexia. He just needed someone with specialized knowledge, talent, and the passion to give children (who don't "get it" easily) the gift of the love for reading.

As a result, today my seventh grade boy is reading far above his grade level. We will always be grateful.

I would never be so boastful to say that we would never use public school again. In our experience, public school was a good and positive choice, both here and in Arizona.

I think this post is getting long, so I'm gonna stop. But i did want to answer some of the questions I have received over the past several months about our choice for education. If you have any questions (maybe some that weren't answered here) you want to ask about our homeschooling I'd love to hear them and will answer to the best of my ability!

Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010



...for texts from friends far away...

and crafty friends nearby.

For little things,

 Fulfilled dreams...

and words that make me cry.

Grateful for dressing up, 

and dressing down,
in quilts made from love.

For kids who still sit on laps,

and kids that I'm proud of.

For standing in the shadow 

of Strength

when i am weak.

Thankful for many birthdays to celebrate this week.


Thursday, September 16, 2010


Maybe it's the changing of seasons.

Maybe it's the shock of reality after an amazing weekend trip.

Maybe it's because my days are packed with busyness, and my nights filled with sleeplessness.

Whatever it is, quiet has fallen over my spirit.

It's a heavy quiet.

The truth is I often wear quiet this time of year; a well-worn coat of many colors.

It's in this place I've learned to keep my focus on Higher thoughts, lest my mind and heart wander.

This morning I was listening to the words of a song.... my Truth reminder for the day.

My chains are gone
I've been set free.
My God, my Savior, ransomed me.
And like a flood His mercy reigns,
Unending love. Amazing grace.
-Chris Tomlin, Amazing Grace

Some might call it a "funk". I prefer to call it quiet. Funks come and go with the changing of wind, but quiet may just be a gift.

One that I am ready to receive....

The Lord is with you,
He is mighty to save,
He will take great delight in you,
He will quiet you with His love.
Zephaniah 3:17

Monday, September 13, 2010

Happiness is: Cousins & Togetherness

The LaVida Family could not have had a better weekend.

We had an amazing trip to Philly this weekend to celebrate the birthdays of two of my favorite people: The Boy and my niece (In the white shirt).

I want to sit and tell you all about it, but we need to hit the ground running those morning in school and laundry, so I'll write more tomorrow.

Happy Monday!

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Wednesday W.I.P's

I have several things I could write about this morning.

I could write about how the last 8 days have been weird because The Mister had to work through the weekend and keep very strange work hours. I could tell you that when he was home he was on-call, receiving phone calls at odd times and in the middle of the night.

But I won't write of these crazy weeks, that only happen a couple time of year, because in truth it leads to great perspective. It helps me to remember that my husbands job is a blessing. One that normally has awesome working hours and allows for lots of time together.

Changing subjects, I could write about the poisonous Copperhead snake we found in our garage last night. Instead I will just tell you how grateful I was that my brave Man was home to "deal" with it.

Instead, let me tell you that I am getting ready to put a couple of things up for purchase. Things like:

This red apple hat for the 0-6 month apple of your eye. It looks orange in this picture, but its really red.

This is a pumpkin for the little one in your patch. I actually have two: sizes 0-6 months, and 6-12 months.

There is also a grape hat.

And a beautiful cloche with a flower.

And just for fun, although these are already sold and ready for shipping today, I just finished these special orders:

And... because i couldn't resist trying them on....even though my head is nearly an inch and a half bigger than the owner of these hats...

...this is me trying to look normal while taking pictures of myself while neighbors walk by and wonder what-in-the-world I am doing.

If you interested in any of these hats click on over to my etsy shop!

PS: if you are waiting with bated breath on my post on why we's truly a work-in-progress! I hope to have it up soon!

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Inquiring Minds

I'm wondering....

When you see a cryptically vague social media tweet, txt, blog, status or message, do you:

A. Assume the message is about you.

B. Assume it's not about you.

C. Assume it not you, but think of five people it might be.

D. Roll your eyes and assume that people with cryptic messages are using their PPA (Powers of Passive Aggressiveness)

E. None of the above ( alternately: put your answer here)

Mostly I'm in the B category, although occasionally I find myself in the D...

Tell me where you fit?

Monday, September 06, 2010

Happiness is....

....holding a baby.

Especially a baby that we all waited to hold with great anticipation.

Head over to Charity's blog for more pics of this precious babe!

Happy Monday!

Thursday, September 02, 2010

What A Difference A Day Makes

I had been warned that this stage of life I find myself in comes with a certain amount of angst. I was silly enough to think it wouldn't happen here.

Several weeks ago, on the first day of school, I took the kids out for lunch.

At the end of our lunch as I was looking for my wallet in the bottom of my ridiculously large bag The Boy started to chuckle. I looked up. He was playing with his food.

We snapped a picture of his crabby french-fry-pickle-face and had a good laugh as we walked out the door.

I've never been one to let the kids play with their food, but as I get older, I get pickier about the battles I fight. In 23 days I will officially be living with a teenager... no doubt there will be battles.

We had one yesterday, and while I am reticent to write about it (his friends are all computer savvy; some have "friended" me on Facebook), the bottom line is that school at this age isn't so much about learning knowledge, as much as it is learning discipline. Of course, in his young eyes, it just looks like a lot of busy work on paper that he can often do in his head. I just want him to follow direction and obey the rules. He's no longer satisfied with incomplete answers and blind obedience.

I can't make him understand that life very rarely is "black and white".

He strains under the weight of not knowing what he thinks he knows.

If I am honest, so do I.

Perhaps my desire is that I'd hoped he wouldn't have to learn the hard way, but then perhaps he'd never learn.

I guess what I need to remember is this: there are days when we will all feel just like that mean-browed-food-face. I am praying we can face them with love and encouragement.

Today is a new day. May we carry lessons learned into it...

Wednesday, September 01, 2010


I'm currently drafting a post on Why We Chose Home Education

In the process of going through some old post (to be certain I don't repeat myself!) I found this post. 

Its ironic that I found it because I needed to read it today. My students and I ache from the pains of personal growth...we aren't lonely (as I was when I wrote the post below) but we are fighting pre-pubescent hormones; our own desires to "have it our way"; and the propensity to search for "short cuts" to make lessons (both academic and personal) less painful.

Soon I will post on the "why's" of our homeschool journey (they're probably different than you think), but today I give you glimpse of what I am learning as I navigate an amazing and challenging road with my family.

Whatever your growing pain might be right now, homeschooling or not, I hope this is an encouragement...

October 10, 2008

I am enjoying the process and application that is homeschooling. I love getting to watch the kids learn, and learning more myself. In many ways I wish that I could have learned in a literature based curriculum because history comes to life through the power of story. 

All in all, homeschooling is a very positive thing.  I know it is right for both the kids and our family at this time in our lives. I like knowing what the kids are learning. 

But, I would be lying if I didn't mention that I am also grieving things in life that came with having children in more traditional schooling. I am used to seeing and talking to family/friends every day, in some form or another. Whether having lunch a couple times a week with friends, hanging out at the gym, volunteering at the school or talking on the phone, my days were filled with relationship.

Making sure that we are home for most of the day to complete school is a bit isolating.  I can't visit with friends and teach third and fifth grade math at the same time! Although, just between you and me, I have tried... It just doesn't work.

The bottom line is that my time is no longer my own, and I am learning to cope with that. I have lessons to go over, and papers to grade and books to pre-read. It leaves precious little time to write, to sew, to hang out for hours doing my own thing! It's a full time job without the benefit of pay, or water-cooler chats with co-workers, or someone to tell you how you're doing. 

I have found that I am relearning the lessons all parents learn when the honeymoon of parenting has gone, and the long nights of bleary-eyed feedings have ceased to be new: I am learning the lesson of selflessness

I am learning that in Christ I can do all things, and that I am never alone, although I sometimes feel lonely.

I am learning more than head knowledge. I am learning more about myself; learning where I am weak and need God's encouragement; learning where I have strengths I never knew I had. 

I think God puts me in these types of situations a lot. He knows that I invest a lot of energy in putting my trust in "man". He knows that I often fill up and get energized by spending time with others; That sometimes I turn to people to fill me up, instead of turning to God.

This last week I was reminded that we may fail others, or they may fail us, but God will never leave us (Deuteronomy 31:6). He is our friend (John 15:15). Our comforter (2 Cor. 1:3). He is our great Teacher (John 3:2). 

I am uncertain if I what I am feeling right now is homesickness, or feeling isolated in our new place in life... I think it's a bit of both. 

So schooling at home is good. Great, even! I can't imagine not doing it right now, but there is a learning curve and it's much, much bigger than reading, writing and arithmetic.