Our homeschool year is well under way now. And Robert's internship at church is getting busy. The internship is the equivalent of 2 classes so he is only taking Greek this semester. He got to attend the 9Marks weekender last weekend in DC and really enjoyed himself although was very tired! We had hoped to travel and see family around the holidays again this year but it looks like it won't be possible with his schedule. So we are hopeful for another time that will work after the new year. I think until next summer we will be busy enough that I won't be able to update the blog as much as I prefer but that is ok! I will be sure to post pictures even if it's been several weeks! We have been considering upgrading our blog so that we can post videos but haven't decided yet. OH! And I updated pictures on the Kiddos tab above. They are this year's "1st day of co-op" pictures.
Ok, the first five pictures are from the Fall Festival at SBTS this year. It was a carnival theme this year. Then further down there are five pictures from our yearly trip to Huber's Orchard to pick apples and grapes. Now we are processing apples. We've made 12 apple pies and several hundred apple rings so far. We hope to make 12 more apple pies. The folks at church love my mom's recipe for apple pies so I wanna make sure I have enough for pot lucks all year! And then there are a few pictures from our co-op's trip to a sheep farm and fiber emporium. We bought some clean, un-spun wool to create stuff with and got to feed some sheep and learn a lot about that whole process.
I don't have any illusions of grandeur that folks are checking to see if I've posted anything recently so I won't apologize for not posting in August! The whole summer has been busy and honestly I think the older kids get the more work there is. I don't for one moment believe that when you have just "littles" its the hardest! Maybe its just me but 5 years and under are way easier. Maybe more physically exhausting but the older they get the more heart ache, emotional, and spiritually exhausting it is! I choose physical exhaustion, please!! Oh well, the Lord's mercies are new everyday and I believe His promises that He is preparing me for the work He has set for me.
What we did in August...we traveled and got away for 36 hours for our 15th anniversary! That was awesome! And the best anniversary we have ever had! Our first 7 years of marriage we couldn't do much beyond a date night anyway because of young children and severe student poverty! Then year 8 was a couple weeks after Jasper died, year 9 was a few days before Wild Man was born, year 10 Robert was deployed, year 11 Robert was in the midst of emotionally breaking down and we had just had two miscarriages, year 12 was a few days before Hulk was born, year 13 I was nursing one baby and 8 months pregnant with Bug, and I sincerely can't remember what we did last year. Probably just a date for dinner but I was still nursing two babies then. This year I wasn't nauseous or super pregnant or nursing a newborn! We had enough money budgeted for a cheap hotel and eating out several times in a row! I got to sleep in a bed I didn't make or clean, and eat 4 meals in a row that I didn't cook or clean up after! We just had a blast. We did mini golf and had shaved ice too!
We had a big double birthday party for Bug and Wild Man when they turned 3 and 6. We went to an eclipse viewing party with our Charlotte Mason co-op. They provided the glasses and Tender ran a story station where she read books to the younger kids. Robert's classes started back and my Seminary Wives Institute (SWI) class started. We had a family picnic and orientation for our new co-op, Charlotte Mason Fellowship (CMF). Robert and I started learning how to teach the kids' classes on Wednesday night at church. And Robert's internship at the church started officially. On Thursdays I am auditing a biblical counseling class at 2:30 and then going to SWI at 7pm so Robert has the kids a lot of that day. I found a Chinese woman who is making a trade with Tender! She teaches Tender more Chinese and in return Tender is teaching her daughter English phonics. Huge answer to prayer! A really great experience for Tender, too!
So here are pictures. I will try to do better at updating the blog now that summer is over.
Ok, it's been a month since I posted pictures. So I will try to quickly update on what happened the last month. I got super sick and then Hurricane got it and then Hulk got what appeared to be impetigo. At that point I realized we likely all had staph but I never went to the doc we just worked hard to kick it with homeopathy, aromatherapy, and herbs. BUT before I realized what it was I was constantly thinking I should go to the doc and that it must be something terribly serious because I felt so sick. About a week later Robert got it too and right before his J-term and I really tried to talk him into going to the doc for antibiotics because I knew how hard it was to kick naturally but he pushed through. It was awful! And hard work to beat, especially Hulk's impetigo. That took a lot of consistent work.
We have been going to a different park every Tuesday with our church's summer playdates. And our neighbor boy has been coming with us. We pack a lunch and go for a few hours. So there are some pictures below of different parks we visited this month.
Tender went to our church's youth retreat this month and that was great! They stayed at host homes and helped an inner city multi ethnic church put on a VBS for their neighborhood. It was right up Tender's ally! I knew she would be awesome at that and really love it.
We have done a LOT of swimming. Bug loves the water. If I'm in the big pool he wants nothing to do with the kiddie pool. He wants in the big pool. It's all I can do to hang on to him, he thinks he can take off on his own. Wild Man has started swimming without his floaties or life jacket and that is all he wants to do now! But that entails a lot help from me. So I typically have my hands full when I swim with the kids between those two. But sometimes after the kids go to bed I will go out there by myself.
In a couple of weeks we are going to Arkansas to see my parents. We are hoping to leave the kids at my parents for a night while we get a hotel room to celebrate our 15th wedding anniversary. We haven't had a night away from all the kids since 2013 because of Hulk and Bug being born so close together and my nursing them. So we are excited about that. But we gotta hurry back for the beginning of the new semester and Robert's internship beginning.
If you follow me on Twitter than you have already seen some of these pictures and also videos I post. If not, follow me and you can keep up with us easier. I still hate Facebook (even though I'm on there now I don't want to be active) but I tolerate Twitter better because it isn't as intense and demanding of my time. twitter.com/Lincoff It makes better sense for time management.
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'm the mama and wife. Updating you on our life!