Okay! I am back. It has been so busy lately! The first week of June I was able to audit a J-Term (5 days of lectures for a full class, Monday-Friday 9-5). Introduction to Biblical Counseling with Dr Stuart Scott. It was a dream!! I tried to hold my plans of attending with an open hand because my schedule is governed by 7 other people. If one of the kids got sick or broke a bone or Robert needed me (he was taking a separate J-term the same week) then I would've had to pull out. BUT God was so gracious and everything fell into place. I took The Boy and Wild Man to two different women from church each day on the way to class and picked them afterwards, one woman on Monday and Tuesday and the other Wednesday through Friday. They were so kind to take care of them for me. And Tender held down the fort, just her, Hurricane, and the two toddlers full time for a whole week! I won't go into how much planning and energy this took to be gone full time for just a week with six children. It was worth it! I am hoping to audit another biblical counseling class in the fall but Robert will be free during the class so that will be easy. Eventually the long term goal is certification as an ACBC counselor.
Then the last two weeks Tender has been back in her Star-talk Chinese program, five days a week from 9-2. It's almost an hour round trip so that cut almost two hours out of our schedule of just driving Tender to and home from Chinese. Again, worth it! But exhausting and left very little time for doing just the basics. We also threw in a garage sale in there!
This coming week is VBS at our church and we are taking a neighbor boy with us. Tender is serving and the three middle kids are attending and the two toddlers are still to young to go.
July should slow down a bit, hopefully. We are having a family over for dinner tonight so I gotta keep this short! Love and miss you all! I read your comments, even if I don't respond! I promise.
Well, I have great news to report! Robert was able to save most all of the stuff on my old hard drive! Very few things were lost and they weren't very important. Praise God! And thank you for the prayers!
I'm pretty busy right now but I wanted to share some pictures and two sermons that have blessed me a lot recently.
This is a sermon about parenting by Paul Tripp that I think should be heard by every parent. It is so sound. www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/parenting-is-gospel-ministry
And then this sermon I found on sermonaudio.com using my phone app a few months ago. You can search for sermons on a certain passage from the bible and I searched for 1 Peter 3:6 and found this sermon. I don't even know who the guy is but the sermon is so good! I've listened a few times to it, shared it with several friends already, and will listen to it again, I imagine.www.sermonaudio.com/sermoninfo.asp?SID=511122135339
So a couple weeks ago Bug clicked a toy car on my laptop keyboard and it started running super slow. I tried a few things and then shut it off so that our resident IT guy could handle it (Robert). We believe that my laptop was likely warning of some issue regarding updates and what not but I didn't properly heed. Blessedly, I had updated early in May, so I wouldn't lose much. And Robert is obsessed with making sure we have accurate ways to back up and keep our stuff in the event of a hard drive taking a dive. For whatever reason though, nothing has worked. Robert even purchased a program for $120 that is suppose to be really great at retrieving lost info from the hard drive. Anyway, none of the computer lingo means much to me. My man knows computers, he's done everything he can and it still isn't happening. Here is some of the stuff I will lose if we can't retrieve my hard drive.
Homeschooling- Many, many original documents I made as pertaining to homeschooling. Schedules, lesson plans, reading plans for certain books, articles from on line. So so much.
Christian teachings- My notes from anytime I taught a bible study, anytime I read something on-line that I wanted to save to read again later.
Church- Documents I made for any organizing I did for church functions
House Management- Countless original documents! Schedules, rules, expectations, verses, organization tools out the wazoo.
Birth- Dozens and dozens of medical studies and articles speaking to birth interventions, home birth, hospital birth. Prenatal, postnatal, ALL natal.
Breastfeeding- Same as birth only breastfeeding.
Puppy and Monkey book- This is a book Hurricane has started writing and I've been typing it up with her for later publication. Priceless.
Research about Leslie- This is a missionary from the early 1900s I have been researching. Many hours of copying and pasting really old missionary magazines into documents.
Spelling Bee- About 40 documents that I had to keep organized for the homeschool spelling bee.
Jasper writings- Basically my private (some public) journal in my processes of grieving Jasper.
...and more I can't remember.
All pictures and videos from my phone from the last 4 years. Robert is NOT the picture taker in our family. All of these pictures include back to 2007 when we bought our first digital camera. I made a photo book several years ago that covered up to early 2007 but I hadn't gotten around to making anymore. So without my hard drive we likely have very few pictures from 2007 through 2013 either. Which means, Hurricane, The Boy, Jasper, and Wild Man's baby pictures. Along with the videos taken from my phone. I am in the process of figuring out how to convert this blog into a photo book and that would save a lot of the pictures I've taken. But I don't post more intimate pictures, like babies taking baths together and what not.
Honestly, those are only the things I can think of right off hand. I know there is more that I can't remember right off. I believe one or two of our babies' birth videos was only on my hard drive as well. I can find Bug and Hulk's births on Robert's computer but not The Boy's or Wild Man's. Anyway, at this point Robert is trying one other thing today and then we are facing taking the hard drive to a Mac expert to have the files withdrawn manually (or something) and that will cost upwards of $500 potentially. So we are praying over if it is worth that amount of money. So far, I'm thinking it is. Anyway, prayers are appreciated! So far I've only cried once but that is mainly because I'm holding out hope. I mistakenly feel like all of the work I had done on my laptop was proof that I did something. I figured, if I died young my husband and kids would have that to remember me by.
This was amazing! We were 2 hours late for lunch and 1 hour late for nap (those of you that know me, know that I'm a stickler for a schedule). This train stopped us and then when we could see the caboose it stopped on the track! After about 5 minutes of sitting still it started going in reverse! By then we had busted open a lot of the food we bought at Meijer's and eaten lunch straight from the packaging.
So the other day I was grocery shopping with all six of our kids. This requires a lot of focus seeing as how we coupon and watch for sales and clearance and what not to keep our grocery budget down. Bug sits in the cart so he is pretty easy and Hulk is honestly just very compliant. He will typically hang on to the cart as he has been taught to. The two older boys need something to do or they go crazy. So they require a lot of attention. And while the girls are helpful in that they can run and find a product for me or hold a toddler's hand, they are not helpful in that they tend to want to chat with me about totally random, un-grocery related things and it's distracting. So, all that to say, we were making our way down an isle where a bunch of baby food was (although I was there for the other side of the isle with canned tomatoes) and this older woman followed by a younger woman said, "Oh! She's got lots of kids, we will ask her!" She came over and was so sweet and smiley and I was very focused and not paying attention to any context to the possible question that came out of her mouth. "When did you start your babies on cereal?" (To just show my entire lack of the context of the isle we were standing in my first thought was breakfast cereal, which I quickly realized was silly!)
I responded, "Infant cereal? Ew! Never."
"What?" she replied, "You didn't feed them cereal?"
"No. There is no nutritional value in that stuff! I just nursed my babies until they were about 9 months and then slowly let them have finger foods." was my reply.
Still not believing me the woman said, "You mean to tell me you never added cereal to a bottle to help your newborn sleep?!"
Ah Ha! Now that she spelled it out I finally figured out what was going on! Lol! She had been trying to talk the younger woman (a new mom) into adding cereal to a bottle to help her young baby sleep. Oops! I probably would've been gentler and slower to respond if I had realized I was supposed to settle an argument! Ha! The older woman mumbled something about bravery and wondered off and the young woman smiled broadly at me. I looked at my girls, cringed, and said "Oops! That didn't go how she expected."
And now something cute. Bug's new favorite word is "Hi!" When daddy gets home he smiles big and says "Hi!" about 15 times in the first minute. He also carries his moose-y around and makes Moose-y say "Hi!" to people. Good grief! It is cute! So the other night at small group he toddled into the room with Moose-y and went to the other side of the table from me beside a friend of our's. From my view I saw Moose-y's body thrust up into the air above the table and beside the woman and Bug's little voice say, "HI!" about five times before the woman realized Moose-y was speaking to her!
And now some pictures...
I forgot to mention poetry in the last post. We do poetry much the same as artists and composers. Read a biography about the poet and read their poems.
Our church cliftonbaptist.org has a yearly internship for a hand full of seminary students pursuing ministry. Robert applied a few weeks ago and has now been accepted into it! We are very excited! But it will be extra work for him. Its about like a part time job along with his classes. But it will be very educational for him.
www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bco4kmBHEKQ At Easter time when we celebrate the Lord's resurrection I like to listen to this song. Really, I like to listen to this song anytime, but especially now.
Man, all the stuff I have to share is really random. It's been a few weeks so there is too much. Robert took all five of the older kids camping a couple weeks ago during his spring break. Just for one night. The Hulk (2) did great! And I only had Bug at home so it was a little break for me. So there are some pictures of that.
Our church is involved in the neighborhood Easter celebrations and we use that time to try and reach out and develop friendships in our (the church's, not our's personally) mostly liberal neighborhood. So we went to that and met lots of great people.
And, I love pictures of little boys with snails. That is all.
Well, what to say, what to say...
The baby shower I was helping with went well and is over now. Last week I was pretty lazy. Only doing high priority stuff. I was pretty tired from several weeks of busyness. I thought I would share what we are doing in education right now as I am thinking on that and praying about what we will do for the summer. I am working on a schedule too but thinking maybe I will wait for it until summer. What we are doing now seems to be working.
So in the morning after breakfast and brushing teeth and chores Wild Man and Hulk watch a short morning video with nursery rhymes and other preschool type learning songs while Bug goes down for a short morning nap and the three older kiddos do Math(The Boy does Teaching Textbooks and the girls mainly do Life of Fred, occasionally supplemented). More and more daddy is teaching Tender her Math when she needs help. Tender does Language Arts at this time a few days a week too. Then we play or run errands or go to the Y for me to work out. Then lunch and chores and play until about 1pm when I put both of the toddlers down for their nap and I'm able to give the four older ones more attention for our "group learning time"(which takes no more than 2 hours, usually much less).
We are reading through Jeremiah right now for Bible and then we do our memorization. I use the Charlotte Mason method for memorization for our scriptures. At the moment we are working on Psalm 105:5.
Then depending on the day of the week we either do Science or History. We use 1:1 and nature studies(Charlotte Mason) for Science. Beautiful Feet Books for History and we love it. Have been using it for 3 years, I think. I try not to spend more than 25 minutes on either of those subjects, usually just about 15.
Then depending on the day we do a music study or art study, accompanied by a biography of the artist or composer we are studying (right now that is Beethoven and Norman Rockwell). I use Charlotte Mason methods with these two subjects as well except I don't buy anything special. We pick someone different every couple of months, grab some books at the library on them and read aloud about them and look at their artwork or listen to something by the composer (youtube makes that way too easy!).
A different child does an online program for typing practice on a different day of the week. Except for Wild Man. He can sometimes play starfall.com or practice his index cards with simple two letter a- words on them. OR, more recently, I write some words out for him and he copies them. This is brand new and very exciting as Wild Man has horrendous fine motor skills! Like, astonishingly bad. He's barely been able to write a "D" for the last year and then all of the sudden he started writing more in the last couple of weeks and he is crazy proud of himself! Up until now I've just been doing stuff with him that didn't require writing.
On Tuesdays and Thursdays we do map drills for Geography. This is where I set the timer for 2 minutes and then one child points to as many states as they can as I say them before the timer goes off. I have a shortened list of the states for the boys but the girls do all the states. So far they can find about 35-40 in two minutes. But I recently found a great website that we use sometimes instead. online.seterra.com/en/vgp/3003 It's pretty cool and works well for the girls to test themselves on a different level. Anyway, literally, 8 minutes twice a week and they know the states far better than I ever did and its far easier than I ever imagined. This is especially cool with Wild Man because he is only 5! Next we will start working on countries.
I read literature aloud to them. We talk about what we are reading and learn from that. I think literature is one of their favorites. And I try to stick to living books, classics, or biographies. This is from Charlotte Mason too. Right now we are between books and I'm praying about what to read next. Haven't decided. All in all, counting Bible, History, Science, and literature we do a LOT of reading aloud.
Occasionally I have Tender write up a paper on something we are learning and she reviews some Chinese but neither of those things are scheduled, just spontaneous. Recently she has been working for someone in our small group, cleaning and organizing. She opened her own bank account and is working on making decisions about managing money. She hasn't been home much and has also had to learn how to take the initiative to do her learning without me hovering over her and in her spare time. But that will probably be over this week. It was only short term.
I recently set some new screen time rules for the girls because they have kindles and DS and now Tender has a phone. So we have a reading log and they earn screen time by reading the Word and other books and by playing outside. This is still in process because it takes time for me too, to get used to the rules and following them.
It seems like a lot, but when you keep lessons short (10-20 minutes long) and hit several little things back to back, it's over quick but over time, those short lessons add up. This is Charlotte Mason method too. I don't follow her style 100% but I do a lot. It keeps me sane and not over achieving, instead enjoying learning and savoring my time with my kids. Okay, here are a lot of pictures! You will notice, Bug is walking now.
Bug is all better from a nasty cold and goopy eyes and teething. He still has a bit of a cough but he's sleeping a lot better!
We made grass heads (again, see here: coffmanfamily.weebly.com/family-updates/this-week-in-learning). So there are some pictures of that. I don't have much to share right now because I'm super busy. My last bible study on Tuesday nights is this week and I finished my reading for that but I have several assignments due for my SWI class this week as well. Also meeting with a young mama, hosting a couple of families this weekend for dinner, organizing a baby shower, and starting a new SWI class next week. So I knew I didn't have time to do a new post. So this time, it's just pictures! God bless, friends!
I finally have some new things to share! First, we went to the local shelter and adopted a new kitten! He is about 4 months old, black and grey striped with white splotches. We named him Ruddy after Rudyard Kipling because that is a current favorite literature of the kids. Jack was named for the Little House on the Prairie dog, Jacob and Esau were named after the bible because that was The Boy's favorite story at the time and they were brothers so it just fit. So we decided to keep with the tradition of naming our pets after our current favorite literature. We have had him for a couple of weeks now and he is a joy to everyone in the family except Esau. He isn't crazy about him but he's adjusted well anyway.
Second, Hurricane turned 10 on February 11th! She got to choose what we would do as a family. We got a redbox movie to watch as a family, I made donuts for breakfast, she got cash to spend at Dollar Tree, we went swimming at the Y, and I cooked nice grilled cheese for dinner. She also passed her swimming test at the Y for the first time. Which means she can go wherever she wants in the pool without a life jacket.
Lastly, I must share some background in how the Lord provided for our little family. I am always praying for the Lord to lead our education. I am quite unable to educate these kids, I'm reminded of that often. But the Lord knows every detail of what their lives are now, what they will need to know for college and future occupations and events. So I can trust Him with their education. I know He leads closely and directs our path in this endeavor. If He didn't my kids would be up a creek without a paddle! So several months back I was praying about what book to read to the children next for literature. We had finished several Kipling books and several great books about african american history that he had provided in His loving care. But there was just about a week where I didn't know what to do next. Well, I happened upon Joni, by Joni Eareckson written in 1976 for free! So I grabbed that and figured, why not? We started reading it in early November. When several of the states in our nation legalized physician assisted suicide late last year I marveled at the Lord's timing in our reading journey! We were just getting to the part where Joni was begging her sister and friend to kill her. Since she didn't have the use of her hands she could not commit suicide and she was raging at God for taking that decision away from her (back in the late 60s). We thought on the fact that if Joni had lived in our time she would've had the "freedom" in our nation to ask a doctor to kill her and they would've allowed it and look at all the amazing blessings thousands of people would've missed out on without Joni's story and hope Christ! Joni thought her life was useless because her body was useless from the shoulders down, but the Lord knew the whole picture and all the amazing things she would give through her life! We finished the book in late December and a week later I again praised the Lord for His providence! We found out that Joni Eareckson Tada and her husband Ken were coming to the seminary for a conference!! For more information about Joni (if you've been living under a rock!) : www.joniandfriends.org/jonis-corner/jonis-bio/ The conference was an amazing blessing! I cried through the whole thing. There is NO ONE who speaks on God's sovereign hand in suffering like Joni! It was just such a blessing for our whole family and such a gift that I got to share it with my girls because the Lord had put that book in our hands at the perfect time. He is so good!
Oh, it's been a while. So I'm trying to remember all the things I need to update on.
First, Hurricane competed in the local homeschooling spelling bee a couple weeks ago! She got 2nd in her division and 6th overall. She would've gone further easily but her nerves got the best of her and she made a silly mistake. It seems like that happened to several kids there. I was a nervous wreck watching them! So I can imagine how nervous they were. I was so busy running everything I didn't get a picture of her with her medal the day of. But I got one later, at home.
A day a few weeks ago it had been raining and cold for a few days and then it warmed up really fast. So we went outside and played in puddles and a little creek that was over flowing near our house. I got several pictures of that and we had fun.
The seminary class schedule starts this week. So Robert has classes Tuesday through Thursday and studying and school work all the rest of the time. I am starting a new SWI (seminary wives institute) class on Thursday night, Lessons in Prayer. I'm also attending a church bible study on prayer on Tuesday nights, but that will be over in three weeks. And every other Tuesday I meet with another mom to encourage her and talk about motherhood and the bible. She is in the picture with me and our babies below. Robert and I have been practicing much more discipline in our diet in the last four weeks. We don't have any carbs or sugar except on Friday night when we have a bit of a treat, but not always, only if we feel like it. The first week was awful but now we are both lacking much of a craving for junk food, thankfully. Still, I'm only losing a pound every two weeks! Very frustrating, but I suppose in 30 weeks I will be thankful for the sacrifice. We are also working out a few times a week. It's just really slow going and especially when I am feeling down, I want to eat whatever I want! Robert hasn't lost anything, but he is weight lifting so it might be slower for him. He is considering doing something stricter like the Atkins.
Tender meets with an older woman at our church every Thursday night to study Hebrews. I am good friends with her. Tender has really enjoyed that and looks forward to it.
The Boy has been taking apart things a lot and creating new things. Like, his broken helicopter motor was removed and put into a homemade aluminum boat and used in the bathtub as a RC boat. It was pretty cool. Whenever we have something that breaks, he gets it to take apart before we trash it. He has quite a collection of all sorts of parts now. For what, I know not.
Hulk is talking more. The other day he said, "I come with you?" when I was leaving. He is really hard to understand. He sounds a lot like The Boy did at that age. So I imagine we might be doing speech therapy with him someday.
Bug is growing! He has gained about 3 pounds in the last month or so. He is fifteen months old now. He still isn't walking yet, although he occasionally will take a small step here or there. He has been fighting a cold a lot this winter. He doesn't say much besides "dance dance dance" while he dances his little heart out! He loves music! I think he also says "dada" because he really loves his daddy! He typically will gladly go to Robert even from my arms! Which is new and makes for a proud daddy.
The semester is fixing to start back up with Robert while the kids only got about 5 days off. So unfair! But we are thankful that we had Daddy home so much this season. He took a J Term and had school work with that but because of his back he couldn't sit at the library to work on it, he had to lay flat on the bed while doing the reading assignments. He is much better now and headed back to the seminary to work on his assignments, which will likely help his focus. : )
I am coordinating the local spelling bee for homeschoolers in the Louisville area. And that is happening next Saturday. So I have been pretty busy getting ready for that. But next week will be quite busy. Hurricane is competing in it as well. So you could pray that everything goes smoothly, that she does well, and that it is a blessing to all the students that are involved.
Other than those things, we have been pretty chill around here. Having some big struggles with behavior from little boys and that is a challenge to my endurance but having Robert close has helped me to not give up. I fight daily to remember God's promises in the face of unbelief. To remember that no matter how hard things are with parenting that nothing can separate me from my Savior and if that is true then why despair at all? "For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else (insert: children's behavior, losing my temper, children's poor opinion of my decisions, my poor opinion of me, etc) in ALL creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 8:38-39 If what is most important to me is being with my Savior, then I'm set! So why do I keep putting my hope in other things? My weaknesses are very frustrating but they only glorify the Lord more because He loves me right where I'm at but loves me too much to allow me to stay in that wretched state. He has promised to make me better and I strive forward with that promise in mind.
Well, we are going to do our formal learning early today so that we can relax the rest of the day and make a special dinner (sliders!). I pray all of you are resting in the FINISHED work of Jesus and seeking Him more earnestly today than yesterday.
I'm the mama and wife. Updating you on our life!