I am averaging about every three months on these posts, but I consider that good in this season of life! We are SO busy with these three sweet kiddos!
So...that said, updates...Let's see.
We finished kindergarten! That would be a great one to start with. April 27th was our last day, I believe? They sure enjoyed their last day, with cupcakes!
I feel as though they are on the right track. You know, as a homeschool mom you are always questioning whether you are doing enough, whether your kids are learning what they should, whether they need more, or less of some subject, etc. I feel as though we accomplished most of what I had in mind, and Kaleb is writing WELL now. Not just writing, but writing well. That makes my heart proud! He started kindergarten and he couldn't even write his name. Now he can write every letter, and pretty neatly, actually. So...that makes a momma feel good!
Brookelynn is writing well too.
They are reading small words, but not a lot, yet.
I purchased the My Father's World curriculum for the first grade year, since we enjoyed the kindergarten year so much, and I'm familiar with the teacher's manual style. It looks as though they will be reading sight words very soon, and learning a lot of phonics they didn't learn in kindergarten. I am happy with that. It does seem to be a lot more work than we did in kindergarten, which is good in a lot of ways, and bad in some others. I am hoping that we can get through it in the time span I have in mind. But I am trying to remember that in homeschool, we do things a bit differently than the public school system, and not every kid is supposed to fit into the same category. I love that about homeschool - it takes into consideration that all children do not learn at the same pace. That makes such a difference - there is much freedom to stop and review when they don't get something, or to skip ahead when something is not challenging enough. I am hoping that we can capitalize on that, and, in the end, be better for it!
So, we are about to head into first grade here soon - within the next week, or so, probably! Being a homeschool mom is also different in that you can start your school year whenever you want, and really, you don't know what to do with the kids when you're NOT doing school. I've felt so off the last few weeks while gathering new materials for this next year!
I'm excited, but also a bit nervous, I must admit. I truly feel though, that I'm called as a momma to do this, and that's the best part about it. Even the hard days are worth it.
Other news...Kaleb did soccer this year, and that was SO fun! He spent a great deal of time just learning how the game is played, and now I can safely say that he would play defense pretty well on anyone's team! It made my heart just so happy to see him playing and learning. The best part about it was that his team won the championship. He has this sweet little trophy on his dresser to prove it, and I know he will always treasure his first soccer team. His coach was AMAZING, too - he would always pray with the kids before the games, and he was SO patient with them! He also gave each of them a soccer ball in which he hand scribed verses about giving it your all. It was truly a blessing to be a part of the soccer team this year!
And Brookelynn is loving her gymnastics. She has been in it since the beginning of the year, and it's so cute to see her learning, too! Her recital is at the end of this month, in which I have invited all of our close friends and family, and I will be video taping too. I've seen a bit of the routine and it looks like it's going to be so adorable!
Onto other news...what else has happened, you ask? Well, Justin has just gotten a new job, and we are excited about that new journey! He will actually still be in the same location, just a different company. Around the end of the month, he will be working for Kinder Morgan. It's something he's been thinking about for a while, and something we are pretty happy about.
I have also recently had a health scare. It was totally a God-thing though (if you like to use that phrase - sometimes I don't, but in this instance, I can't think of another way to put it).
Let me explain. Justin's parents gave us some money for Christmas, and I had been thinking of using it for something totally unnecessary - just something I'd researched and thought would be fun to do sometime in my life when I had extra money. I had always thought it would be fun to get a chemical peel to see if it would improve the condition of my skin in any way. The only problem was, since we were so busy with homeschool, and the only place that I'd heard of that was good was in Lubbock, it was a bit harder to make an appointment and go than I'd hoped.
I initially made an appointment in February, then had to cancel due to something coming up...and had to keep canceling because it happened several times. By the time I was making like a fourth appointment, I was thinking to myself, "This is ridiculous. It's such a silly procedure to begin with - so unimportant and just cosmetic - I don't even need to go!"
So I cancelled one last time, and decided to spend the extra money on something else.
Well, for some reason, something made me decide to try and make one last appointment. Even as I made it, I was thinking, "This is so silly. I don't even need this!"
But that appointment I kept.
And while I was there, laying on the table with the esthetician, she took one look at my neck area, and said, "Have you had anyone look at that mole?"
I remembered quickly that Justin had mentioned recently that maybe I should get it checked out, and said, "Well, no, not yet."
And that was that. She called for the dermatologist (Amy Brackeen - she's amazing!) to come take a look at it she was so concerned. Amy took one look at it and said, "You need to come back tomorrow for a biopsy of that thing."
So - my silly one trip to Lubbock that I thought was pointless became very important fast.
The next few weeks were interesting, to say the least. After the biopsy, I was called a week later and I probably won't forget these words.
"Amber, it is melanoma. Now, you don't have to do radiation or chemo, but you do need to schedule another biopsy right away to remove it, within no longer than 30 days."
Yep, that was what came to mind! This tiny little mole that I had not thought more than a second about when Justin had mentioned it one day out of the blue, had become a life and death situation (or so it felt at the time)!
So, needless to say, I scheduled another appointment!
And...this is what I have to show for it.
It's a pretty large scar. But with melanoma, I believe you have to be pretty careful in removal that you get all of it, because it is one of, if not, the fastest, spreading cancer.
So, needless to say, it was not a pointless appointment, and I'm so glad I went. God is good, and he is our protector.
It was hard that week waiting for the results from the second biopsy, because all these questions go through your mind - "Did they get it all? Is there more? Do I need more surgeries?...Or something else?"
Thankfully, it was only a 1.4, which is not deep at all. I didn't need any chemo or anything because it was so shallow. All I need now is an appointment every three months the first year, then an appointment every six months next year. And - sunscreen. A lot of it. Like, 70 spf. I don't go out without it now.
Yep. Wear sunscreen! For years, I ran miles in the Texas sun without it. I tanned, but I burned a lot too. I am feeling a bit remorseful.
I can't help but wonder if there are many people out there who had melanoma who didn't know it, left it untreated, and it spread, and they got cancer in other parts of their body due to not checking on their skin. It scares me to think about that.
But - God! So glad that he was protecting us. Thankful for the extra money from Justin's parents!
Other news...we had a good friend pass a few weeks ago from complicated health issues. It felt sudden, because we didn't know he was so ill.
But he and his wife would sit in front of us at church every Sunday, and he was always so good with our children - a very gentle, loving man. We can't believe he's gone, but his funeral was amazing. He was so loved, and a very strong believer in the Lord Jesus, so it was pretty much a celebration. Reminded me of how short our lives are here - you never know how much time you have left. Live well, and know Jesus.
Okay, enough of this talk! Here are some pics of our last few blessed months. If you've gotten this far with my rambling, enjoy! ;)
New car seat - he graduated to the front position!
Red hair, didn't care...I'm back to blond!
First day of kindergarten!
B's gymnastics group
Fun in the new sand!
St. Patrick's day fun
Our caterpillars, soon to be butterflies!
Boys haircut day!
Kaleb's soccer practice!
Jared's hangout spot during practice
His fabulous coach giving him his signed soccer ball!
Jared always does this when he's being shy
Still bigger...starting to hang like a chrysalis
Last day of kindergarten! (Sorry, these are a bit out of order!)
Jared and buddy AJ!
Moved to their new habitat!
Our butterfly friends! We named each one...
Making resurrection rolls on Easter!
Best Easter pic I could get! ;)
Egg hunting at GG's!
Typical Jared move
Bottom tooth lost!
Auntie Deb came to visit!
Took this same pic 3 years ago!
Last day of kindergarten affirmations
We love our green smoothies around here.
AND our cupcakes! :)
Sweet friend Abby graduated!
His first ice cream cone!
Mom and Dad let me and Justin go out on a date for my birthday! Yum!
Getting prepped for our next school year...
And you thought I was done? There are a few pics that I couldn't get to work for some reason, but maybe I will some time! We went on a really fun family vacation to Great Wolf Lodge and the kids, AND parents included, enjoyed it SO much! Kaleb also lost his first two front teeth, and one bottom one! LOTS of news from the last few months. But isn't that life? The season we are in is SO busy right now, but I treasure the moments we are having. I know they will be gone one day, and I will have memories (and a blog!;) to look back on.
Blessings to you and yours,
"I will make them and the places surrounding my hill a blessing. I will send down showers in season; there will be showers of blessing."
Ezekiel 34:26 NIV