She felt the warmth of her mommy's womb then she felt the arms of Jesus rescue her.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

A slower week..

Today I am thankful for a slower week.  I do not thrive on busyness.  I quickly become irritable and stressed.  Our church is currently doing a sermon series called "Weird" and we are reading a book by the same title.  I am learning many things in this series, one of them is God's will for my time.  God has given me all the time I need to do everything He would have me do.  It feels so good to slow down.  I am grateful the soccer season is coming to a close, no more rushing around on Saturday mornings.  I am incredibly grateful that God has given me a heart that is open to hearing His voice.  At times I would think that there was something weird about me because I have a strong passion for staying home as a wife and mother, which means living a more humble lifestyle.  Am I lazy?  No, I don't think so.  I truly believe this is what the Lord has called me to do.  I may be "weird," but I hope I am weird in a "God way."

Timmy was home this week and we got to spend a lot of time together as a family.  Timmy was super duper helpful around the house, allowing me to spend lots of time working on projects and of course do school with Jamie.

Sunday was my birthday.  I am now 34 years old.  I'm feeling pretty good about it.  I am exceedingly grateful for my life.  We went to church (Timmy flew in from NY and met us.)  Then we came home and had pancakes before we took off to pick apples and pumpkins.  For dinner we ordered delicious Italian take out.  My parents stopped by.  And we generally just laid about.

Monday was co-op as usual.  At recess a group of mothers and I notice some kids sitting in a circle singing a song.  We soon realized they were singing the "timeline" song.  The timeline, is the timeline of the entire history of the world.  Currently we are up to John the Baptist.  I just loved that the children had chosen to sit and sing that song in their free time.  Being a public school teacher for 5+ years I have spent plenty of time observing children on the playground.  I have heard kids singing inappropriate songs for sure, never something like this.  I know there is going to come a time when something is going to happen in our homeschooling life that I am NOT going to like, but for now I am treasuring theses fantastic moments.

Tuesday we had our Harvest Party at the Gaeng house.  I LOVE tradition, I mean super love it.  We have had the same group of families come to our home to celebrate God's provision in the harvest for three years now.  Everyone brought a snack to share, the kiddos made fall crafts, harvested tomatoes from our garden and generally ran around like crazy people.  The Denny's were the last to leave, which I love.  Hanging out with that family is something I can easily do for 10 straight hours.

Wednesday  Timmy worked around the house while Jamie and I did school.  We continued with blends, spent a good bit of time on Spanish, did Bible and calendar and reviewed memory work using the trifold board for the first time.  The trifold board (which I got from Half-a-Hundred Acre Wood) ended up being a FANTASTIC from of review throughout the week.  Since it is pretty huge and sits right in our dining Jamie was attracted to often and reviewed his memory without prompting.  He even asks to listen to the CC memory work tutorials online.  
Wednesday afternoon we headed to a nearby trail and had a really beautiful fall walk.  Since I had to take Dendrology in college I can identify a variety of trees with out a book.  We observed  tulip poplars, sassafras, beech and a variety of oak trees.  I pointed the identifying features out to Jamie as we walked along.  Science... check!!!

Making words with initial blends using the Sing Spell Read and Write curriculum.

Looking for invertebrates in the forest!

Thursday was gymnastics  morning and then Jimmy came home with us so Jamie had a full day of play.  I believe this to be of the utmost importance at this age.  The boys played and played and played... outside, inside and in every room in the house.  I watched from afar as they pitched and batted to one another (the Orioles vs Yankees.)  It was wonderful.  I plan to steal Jimmy so he can't go to kindergarten next year.

Healthy yumminess.  

Friday Jamie and I went to the grocery store, bank and library.  We also checked off things on his "Dailies" chart.... I felt I needed to create a simple chart of necessary things Jamie must accomplish each day.  As he completes each task he puts a smiley face on the chart.  There is no reward for "earning" smiley faces.  I am always trying to set him up to be intrinsically motivated.  He seems to just simply enjoy most of his "dailies" and the ones he does not we work through.  So here is Jamie's list of must-dos...

Doing a job to earn money.
Bible, calendar, memory work, listening to read alouds (usually science based), reading independently, piano, Story of the World and chores.  He also has the option to do "jobs" to earn money.  The jobs are not required, but are on the Daily chart to remind him of the option.  He does like to do jobs though.  When he earns his money he must distribute it into three different banks in his room... a tithing bank, savings bank and spending bank.  We are teaching the 10-10-80 principal.  I am praying this will become second nature to him as he grows.  It will make his life that much easier as he enters adulthood. I wish I had learned this long ago.    

Friday night we headed to "free gym" at gymnastics and then to Bible Study.  It was fantastic as usual.  Jamie and I stayed about a half hour after everyone else had left.  I am beyond blessed by my new friendships.

Saturday Jamie had his soccer game and on the way decided that he did indeed like soccer and would like to play again next season.  He will change his mind 13 times between now and then.  After soccer we headed to Target where he used his own money to buy a new star wars toy. (Before we went to the store Jamie had to count out his money to see how much he had.  He is really learning money this way.) Then we headed to Pop Pop and Ga Ga's.

My life is blessed.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Week Wrap up

Monday- Co-op
Jamie gave his presentation on his family's Christmas traditions.  I gave him virtually no prep and he was a star.  He showed his class his "What God Wants For Christmas" nativity set.  He really did a super job.  He amazes me.  I really love to watch him in class.  I love to watch him learning, playing and interacting with his new friends... friends he will know for the rest of his life, God willing of course.
I LOVE the community that is Classical Conversations.  I personally long for community centered on Jesus Christ.  I want it deeply for our son.  I truly believe we have found it.  I know I have mentioned it before but I just love that he will grow up with this same small group of children.  It is the beginning of his life, his relationships.  His wife could be a little girl we see every week, who knows.  The possibilities are endless and so exciting.  And as a homeschooling mother I actually get to witness it.  It is a privilege that I do not take for granted.  I am humbled and grateful for this opportunity.  It does not come without its challenges, for sure, but I truly love it.

Tuesday- Ladew Gardens
We have a membership at Ladew and it is pretty fantastic.  They have story time a couple days a month and then we walk around the gardens afterward.  Jamie found a really neat "seed" for our nature table.  One of the gardeners told us all about the Osage-orange tree. They are actually considered a nuisance now so we were given permission to take a few home with us.  Timmy and Jamie split it open when we got home to see what was inside.  Perfect day to cover science and reading.  This is my FAVORITE way to do school.

Wednesday- Co-op field trip to the corn maze.
This year the corn maze theme was the battle of 1812.  We were "briefed" on our mission as soldiers and entered the maze. This is a SERIOUS corn maze, too serious for us.  For the second year in a row Jamie and I opted to use the "quick" exit.  There is a lot to do outside the maze so we made a morning of it.  Jamie dressed up like a soldier and played at "Fort McHenry" for quite a while.  He made "soup" over the "fire," hid out in his tent and even wrote his name with a real quill.  Then we headed over to the huge slingshot firing range and took a super fun hay ride.  Once again is was super nice to be with our "community" and I super enjoyed getting to know one of the other moms.

Thursday- Gymnastics day
I have not been feeling well lately.  Allergies and medication making me very sleepy. And therefor the house has been a wee bit out of control.  So Timmy took Jimmy and Jamie to class and I started cleaning up around the house.  When I picked Jamie up my sweet Kate offered to take him home for the afternoon so I could get more accomplished (so she had 4 kids!).  Jamie had a SUPER great day and fell asleep at 5:30 on the way home and slept until 6:30am.
At gymnastics, which they refer to as "Enrichment Camp" because it does resemble preschool in some ways, Jamie made an "All about Me" book.  It was the most delightful little piece of work he has ever made.  Maybe it was because I wasn't the one requiring him to do it, but I cried as I read it.  Every Thursday when I pick him up his teacher has something fantastic to say to me.  Today she told me he read a 13 word sentence after finding all the words with his buddy Jimmy in an egg hunt around the gym.  It just makes my heart happy.

Friday- catch up miscellaneous day
Daddy had to leave for a flight at 4am!  ouch!  Jamie and I took things slow after running some morning errands.  We caught up on our calendar work and Bible studying.  We headed to "free gym" at  gymnastics for an hour in the afternoon and then made our way to our new Bible study.
Yes, our new Bible study.  Ya know when your sixth sense kicks in, in a situation and you just "know" that something is really good or really bad?  Well my sixth sense was in high gear.  I felt such an overwhelming peace around this group of people...  half of them whom I had never met before, the other half are in our co-op.  There are seven couples, including Timmy and me and over 25 children among us.  Three of the families have 4+ kids.
When we pulled up in the driveway Gavin (Jamie's favorite new friend) was standing in his dinosaur PJ's and sock feet super excited for Jamie to arrive.  Jamie started doing the happy dance in his car seat when he saw Gavin.  I unbuckled Jamie and when I turned around the two of them were gone!  Usually Jamie is very shy and timid at a place he has never been.  But he obviously felt incredibly at ease here. (And so did I).
I have so much to say about this event, its going to ramble, but my fingers cannot keep up with my thoughts.  So tonight was unusual because everyone arrived early to watch the last O's playoff game.  There was tons of food.  The boys were in the family room watching the game while the ladies were gathered in the kitchen chatting away.  I was welcomed with a hug and a "please make yourself at home" attitude.  As I sat chatting with I could tell it would be easy to be friends with these girls.  The kids ran around happily and freely.  All ages interacting with one another.  There was face paint and they were all painting each other's faces, it was super cool.  Then they all went down to the basement to watch a movie.  I was just so amazed that Jamie had absolutely no issue with going off without me.  He felt so safe and peaceful, so did I.  I went down to check on him and it was crazy to see ALL of those kids sitting together watching Yogi Bear in silence.  I'm not exactly  sure what the age range is but its something like 5 months to teen I guess.  Most of them were down there (not the baby) just sitting right together.  Jamie and Gavin were sitting right next to each other and one of the older little girls had Jamie sitting in her lap the next time I came down.
So instead of the regular Bible Study that night, one couple presented their slide show from two mission trips they had been on.  It was just incredible.  And all the kids watched too.
It felt so incredibly right.  Just like God was saying, here Erin, this is where you are supposed to be, this is good.
I am an only child, but have always loved big families and a crowded house.  This was just that, but also centered on Christ.  A community of people coming together to learn more about our God and what He wants for us and our children.  It is really a family.  Every person caring for the next.  The older children looking out for the younger ones.  Like-minded Christians desiring to obey the Lord.  I am blessed to be welcomed into such a gathering.  My heart is all, but exploding with what this means for Jamie's development.  My prayer is that this community stays and grows together as a family for many many years.
Praise you Jesus Christ for you provision.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Lucy's Memorial

We had originally planned to have a service for Lucy at our church, but after bringing home her ashes and creating a garden for her in our backyard, I just didn't feel it necessary.  However, October is national Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month.  Every October our local hospital , where both Jamie and Lucy were delivered, has a memorial service for all the babies lost in the past year.  There were readings, my Dad played a song and each of the babies' names were read.  The parents were asked to stand as their baby's name was spoken.  We were given an angel statue and two huge mums.  Timmy, Daddy and I all gasped when the names of twins were read.  Even in my own pain I hurt deeply for others.  I cried during the service, hard and loud.  People were handing me tissues.  But it was good... good to hear her name out loud... Lucy Evelyn Rose Gaeng.  It is such a beautiful name.  I mean really exceptionally beautiful.  I love it.  I love her.  I want her back.  I miss her.
Jesus please hold her tight.  My babies like to be held.  All the time, even when they sleep.

Visiting Daddy at Work

Last Sunday we went to the stadium to hang with Timmy.  We hadn't visited all season and this was the  last regular season game.  My husband has his dream job.  He sits and watches the Orioles with Rick Dempsey and chats about the game.  It's just plain cool.  Rick is super nice and very personable.  He talked to Jamie for a long time.  Jamie told him that his t-ball team was the Yankees and Rick got a good laugh out of that.  He also bought us all lunch from his restaurant.  One of the camera guys filmed Rick, Jamie and me, but we ended up on the cutting room floor, oh well.  Timmy was on TV like he is at the end of each season.  It was a fun afternoon.

What's Been Happening

Well we've been home from Disney for two weeks now.  The first week back was a little rough.  We missed co-op because Jamie was still fighting a fever from all the junk he ate on vacation.  We took it easy and tried to catch up around the house.

Last week however was full to the brim.  We started with co-op on Monday.  It is a long day for little people, 9am to 1pm and it really wears him out.  He usually falls asleep on the way home.

On Tuesday we went to "Art Kids" downtown at the Walter's Art Museum.  We have signed up for once a month classes through January and will sign up for spring classes (God willing) when they are opened.  We were joined by my besties and Jamie's besties the Denny and Lewis families.  It was a really fabulous program and free!  I LOVED being at the museum and exposing Jamie to true art.  The class was focused on the Renaissance and most of the art work focused on Christ in someway.  I was really moved by it.  I super love the way the kids (3-5 years old) were taught to use their senses to experience the paintings.  It was just really cool and I feel blessed to have these moments with Jamie.  I truly treasure it in my heart.  I love to watch him sit with his legs criss-crossed, hand raised, waiting eagerly to answer each question asked.  He has never spent a day in a traditional classroom, but you would never know it.  He overwhelms me.  I love these moments we share.  I know tomorrow is not guaranteed.  I am so thankful for today.
After the class we rocked some Chik-fil-a for lunch and the kids has a blast playing in the little playground.  I have to mention that we all rode together in Kate's truck.  It does seat 8, but oh my what a circus!!!! It was fun though and made it all the more special.

Wednesday was our only day with nothing outside the house to do.  Its funny we "home"school, but don't spend a lot of time at home.  The world is our classroom.  We do, do a lot of our memory work in the car since it is all on CD.  So anyhoo we got a full day in of more traditional type school work.  Jamie is still working on blends.  We continue to do most of our math during calendar time and when  teachable moments happen throughout our days.  We practiced our Spanish, specifically working on shapes and numbers.  For science we transitioned to studying autumn, but will return to the animal kingdom soon.  We have lots of "Fall" books stacked up on our nature table that we read through each day.  We took a couple books that focused on leaves out into our yard and tried to match the trees in our yard to the leaves in our book.  It was fun and Jamie was excited to see the leaves from the books in  his very own yard.

On Thursday Jamie went to the dentist... fun times and then headed off to gymnastics.  He is there for 3 hours on Thursdays.  It usually goes by fairly quickly, but when I drop him I feel like I left a body part and drove away.  It is good, I suppose.  I mean I have a time period to work on a project or clean... but I miss him.  Sometimes I'll panic for a millisecond wondering where he is.  When I worked last year I spent everyday like that.  It sucked.  The important thing is he is having a good time and there are only 2 other children in the class (for the first two weeks it was just Jamie and Jimmy!)  I know he is being taken care of and its impossible to overlook him with only two other kids in the class!

Friday we had a play date with some other children in his co-op class.  It was REALLY fun.  I enjoyed getting to know the other moms.  Its so comforting to talk with a group of parents that share our beliefs on education and faith.  I am glad we started early with the co-op because Jamie and I will be with this same group of people over the next 12 years.  I pray that it will become like a family as we spend school time and play time together.  We have also joined a Bible study with some of the co-op families and Jamie has friends in Sunday school that also go to our co-op.  I know that if I was doing this 10 years ago this community would not have existed.  I am just so happy that Jamie has loads of friends being raised the same way.

Saturday we had a yard sale!!!!! and soccer.
Yard Sale...
Why did we have a yard sale?  Well we are doing a little experimentation these days in the Gaeng house... minimalism.  I am still learning what this means and how we might practice it in our family.  So where is this coming from you might ask?  This past trip to Disney World revealed a lot to me about my life and how I am choosing to spend it.  Also the sermon series at church is causing much self-reflection as well.  Ever since I can remember I have been obsessed Disney.  What I didn't realize is that it had become an idol I worshiped.  I know that sounds weird, but its true.  In 2010 I went 3 times.  Jamie has been 5 times and he is only 4 years old.  I spend time planning trips, daydreaming about trips, being jealous of other people's trips...  We have spent WAY too much money on Disney trips.  Often when we didn't have it to spend in the first place.  This time when we were there two things that happened on our trip that have never happened before.  One was that Jamie did not come with us.  Some alien from the planet Disobedient and Spoiled came with us instead.  I was happy when we landed in Baltimore (one because I was alive) and two because Jamie came back too.  The other thing that happened was that I thought about reality the entire time I was there.  I was missing our routine Jamie and I had worked hard to establish.  I didn't like that we were missing co-op.  I was thinking about the Compassion and CMF children and how giving them the money it cost us to go on this trip would change their lives forever.  Something just didn't seem right.  Now I am not saying we shouldn't  go on vacation, but I just want to do some things differently in the future... one of them being not seeing the "Mouse" for at least a few years.
So what does this have to do with a yard sale?  I felt like I had literally been released from bondage when I decided that Disney was not a necessity in our lives anymore.  And its funny because when we were head high in worshiping Disney it didn't feel like "bondage." But that is exactly what it was I was a slave to a mouse.  And now I am not and it feels soooooooooooo good.  I love my life and I genuinely appreciate it.  I know this has a lot to do with Lucy.  I have learned so much from her.  I have also been slave to "stuff." Wanting more stuff, different stuff, the newest, coolest stuff.  Stuff for me, stuff for Timmy and of course a LOT of stuff for Jamie.  And now I am realizing that I certainly don't need "stuff" to be happy and actually am happier without it.  I don't have to find a place to put it, clean it, worry about loosing or being ticked because something expensive broke.  When I find myself wanting something I write it down on my "I Want List." As I look at it now some of the stuff I don't even want anymore or I have found something in my house that will work instead.  It would be neat to have a bread maker and a Keurig, but seriously unnecessary.   I would certainly love my iPad back, but certainly will not go into debt to get another one.  I have never done this before.... just wrote "it" down when I wanted "it" and then let "it" go.  It sure saves money!  And I like what it will teach Jamie.  Christmas will look different this year in our house too.  It will be difficult, but that is ok, even good.  We have decided to give Jamie three presents, symbolizing the three gifts Jesus received.  A few weeks ago my mom told Jamie that Christmas was coming and asked him if he was excited.  He replied that he was and then we asked him why he was excited, his answer... "because we get to do the nativity!" I almost passed out.  Praise Jesus this is what he has learned Christmas is about.  I will pray this continues.  At the end of the day I just want to please God.  That is really truly all I want to do.  I am incredibly grateful that Jesus died for my sins. I can never do anything to earn my way to Heaven, even if I sold all my possessions and lived like Mother Teresa, I couldn't earn God's love.  But I want to make Him happy.  I want Him to say "Well done, good and faithful servant." I have a long way to go, actually I will never get "there." But I want to continue to change and learn and grow along the way.  I will have hills and valleys but I won't stop trying to do God's will.  Even if I look super weird to the world.

Okay that was deep, lets talk soccer.  My Bubby is not a soccer lover.  He doesn't not like taking the ball away from his "friends" and he doesn't like it when they try to take the ball from him.  He asked me on the way to his game on Saturday if he could not play soccer anymore.  I told we will finish the season (only a couple games left.) But we certainly don't have to play next season.  He says he likes
 t-ball.  Thats fine by me.  Baseball is the only sport I like.  He does seem to have a good time skipping, jumping, doing cartwheels and cheering for both teams while he is out on the field.  I find it dear that he claps when the other team scores!

Today we went to church... I am soooooooooo delighted that he LOVES Sunday school!  Then back home to eat homemade sweet potatoes chips and watch Narnia. I also started making some Christmas gifts and picked up around the house a little.  Now we are at Pop Pop and Ga Ga's for our weekly visit.  This week will be another one packed full.  That reminds me Jamie needs to practice his presentation!!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Disney Days 9 and 10

Day 9 was packed full.

Breakfast at Chef Mickey's at the Contemporary.  My favorite character breakfast!  Then we took the monorail back and hung out at EPCOT for a while.  Next it was back to our room for a nap and packing.  We spent our last night in the Magic Kingdom watching the Main Street Electric Light Parade.

making music with Figment

his new found love of Figment!  

EPCOT jumping fountains.  Crowd free fun!

Hooray for Mexican Donald!!!!

If I was so inclined to send a "Happy Fall" card this would be it!

This is my absolute favorite place in all of Disney.  The only "side street" off of Main Street USA.  It has so many neat things to see and no one is EVER back there!

A very crowded Main Street.  This was "the park to avoid" today according to "Touring Plans" but it was our last full day and as with the first day there is only one acceptable place to be... The Magic Kingdom!!!

One of many sweet treats that weakened his immune system to the point of a fever and nasty cold.  I HATE sugar!!!! 

Me and my sugar filled Dole Whip

Electric Light Parade


I loved watching his face, more than watching the parade.

Pete and Elliot

Riding Buzz!

Day 10
Last day!  Playing at the pool before we leave for nightmare the airport.

fell asleep on the "Magical Express" when he woke up he had a fever, right before time to get on the plane.  Have i mentioned that I hate sugar?

our not so exciting bus ride from the air port to our car at BWI

The end... for now.  We are not so sure when we will go back.  Timmy and I both want to give Jamie the gift of travel, and not just to Disney.  We would like to travel to different parts of the US and are even considering Hawaii since Disney has a resort there that works with our timeshare. (They'll have to knock me unconscious to get on a flight to Hawaii.)  For now I am incredibly happy to be home.  I absolutely love my life and am very happy right here in my very own house.  God is good.