Sunday, August 28, 2011

We Love to Learn Through Play and Tot School (August)

I love being a stay-at-home mom and feel really blessed spending my days with my son in this way. I also love taking pictures of all the things we are doing and sharing them with other moms who are doing the same. We've been on the go a lot this summer, so for this post I captured the highlights of the month of August. I love that we have so many fun things to do where J is learning too.

Tot School
**J is 39 months old**

Favorite Activity; His Books
We spend lots of time at the library turning in the old books and getting the new ones. J spends hours each day "reading" them. His comprehension of these books is really good, and anything we read together he then spends his time "reading" aloud on his own. He has even started reading them back to me, which I love. He loves to take his books and line them up on this chair, his favorite reading spot.

PlayDoh Set

I finally found a good set of PlayDoh tools to purchase. There are so many fun things to do; using the scissors, using the shape outlines and rolling pins. This is an activity daddy and mommy enjoy too!

The Hungry Box Man
We got this activity idea from Stef Green's Refresh newsletter. My son loves playing with boxes, but this one was even harder to resist. I made a face and cut a hole for the mouth, then we got all his play food and he had fun "feeding" him. Then he would dump it out and start all over again.

Making a Library

J actually came up with this idea, taken from the back of a "Lego series" book! In the back of the book, it says "Make your own Lego library", so one day J decided to do that with his own books. He laid them all out on the floor and then took turns reading his favorites.

Tent Making
This has been a favorite activity of late; making tents. J can spend hours in here with his books, his "cuties" (stuffed animals) and anything else he can think to bring in there. It's a real bonus when he convinces mommy to squeeze in there too!

Learning Letters and Sounds with the Computer
We've had this toy computer for a while now, but J is taking much more interest in it of late, even asking to keep it in his bed when he sleeps. He can now play the games for real, instead of just pretending. He loves a phonetic game where it is "raining" letters and he needs to catch them in the bucket by pressing the matching letter. This has really helped with learning letter sounds!

Music and Marching
We always love things having to do with music, and J likes playing his piano horn. He had me play the little accordion while he danced and marched around with the horn. We had on a "Boz" music CD while we were marching and playing. (Boz is a green bear with a Christian message in his CDs and DVDs.)

Preschool Workbooks
We're preparing for starting home school in the fall starting with a preschool program, and I've found a few activity books to get us started. J couldn't wait to get started on them right away. One of his first activities (not pictured here) was drawing a line from a number and connecting it to the eggs in the nest that matched that number. In the picture above, he was doing a tracing activity, drawing different shapes like a circle for the sun and a square within the sand castle.

Enjoying Time at the Lake
One of our favorite places to go during the summer is Devil's Lake in Baraboo, WI. (Learn about the lake's name lore here.) My husband grew up in the area, worked here when he was in high school and even remembers when his mom carried him piggy back during times they visited when he was growing up. We enjoy swimming in the lake, playing on the beach, and just hanging out in our chairs reading books.

See what others are up to at The Play Academy on the Nurture Store blog.

play academy

Thanks so much for visiting!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Fixing Our Eyes on What is Unseen

It is 4 days now since my husband got out of the hospital, and we are experiencing God's hand of grace. The struggle has not ceased, but my husband has had the strength to return to work and has worked the past 2 days. We had a wonderful weekend together as a family, spending time at places we love like The Memorial Union Terrace off Lake Mendota and taking a day trip to Devil's Lake State Park. We have had some good times of prayer, and the Lord has blessed us with many friends and family coming alongside us for prayer, support, encouragement and fellowship.

Now this is strictly my opinion, but from my experience, depression with intense anxiety is a medical issue that can be hard to put into words and explain to others. If I hadn't gone through it myself in a severe post partum time, I really could not empathize very well with my husband. It's the kind of "being sick" that is difficult for others to understand if they haven't experienced deep depression themselves. When my husband had this kind of depression in the past before I had been through my own, it was actually really hard for me to understand how his thoughts were debilitating to him. I pictured him being able to have more power over his thoughts, and more ability to "get better". It is just not so. I now know first hand that these thoughts can have a life of their own, and you really feel like a different person since you're so far from your "normal" self and feel like you may never again get back to "normal". There can be so much pain in that, especially when you're a person of faith and feel you should be able to "trust" your way out of it. It so different from having a broken arm or something visible like that where people can imagine the physical pain and have such an easy time relating to you. That in itself brings a lot of anxiety.

We have found our greatest weapons in this are prayer and praise. It helps us to step outside of our situation and focus on the Lord by laying our requests before him in a spirit of worship. We have had several sweet times of fellowship together getting out a song book and singing praise songs. It is such an intense reminder that truly we are spiritual beings moving through this human world, and the Lord is holding our hands as we are poised to enter eternity with Him. I love this verse taken from the chapter in 2Corinthians 4 "Treasures in Jars of Clay":

2 Corinthians 4:16-18
16Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

So there is victory through suffering, and we wait on the Lord in this. In the meantime, I have this post from Ann Voskamp's blog A Holy Experience to share. It caught me off guard, the video she shares at the bottom had the caption "This is grace." It tore me up. I was left sobbing with an overwhelming sense of His true grace in all our trials, especially the one my family is in right now. The words the man speaks at the end of the video affirmed everything about my Savior. I think that's what tore me up; to have this shared truth and seeing someone else living it out in the midst of such intense struggle. But they count it all grace. Thank you Lord, that you are Grace poured out.

Here is the video:

This was grace - short film from Andrew Laparra on Vimeo.

Thanks for visiting!

Picture Credit: Microsoft Clip Art

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Few Words Right Now

These are just a few quick pictures that I really like showing J feeding some ducks at the lake.

We are going through a rough time on the home front and I haven't given a lot of thought to writing lately. I have all kinds of pictures I'd like to put together and do a post showing some more fun we've been having this summer, but I'm just laying low for a while. We're in the midst of a storm with my husband and a bout of depression, so we ask for prayers and hopefully I will return here soon.