Wednesday, April 12, 2017

2016-17 Homeschool Update

Let me start by saying that God has called us to be a homeschool family. Click here to read our homeschool testimony.
Last school year, (2015-16) I did some preschool activities with Olivia and Sophie. However, in the Fall of 2015, I gave birth to my 3rd daughter Matilda. It became hard to keep up with school activities, because I was overwhelmed with trying to take care of my new baby. Technically...we never completed preschool.
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Fast forward to this year, I was determined to try homeschooling again. Olivia would be in PreK and Sophie would be in preschool. I wanted this year to be better than last year, which would include actually finishing our school year. Leading up to the 2016-17 school year I did a lot of research about different homeschool curriculums. We attended a homeschool conference. I even watched YouTube videos to learn from other Moms who have gone before me. All of this helped me to know how to structure our homeschool and become more familiar with this style of education.
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As far as curriculum goes...
For Olivia, we chose Sonlight as our main curriculum, because we thought would be best for our family. This curriculum comes with a weekly lesson plan, which has been helped for me (the homeschool newbie). We have paired Sonlight with Math-U-See Primer; Sing, Spell, Read, & Write; & Handwriting without Tears.
For Sophie, we chose to use ABC Jesus Loves Me and Playing Skillfully. The girls do school together, so Sophie has read all of the Sonlight PreK books too.
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As a family, we have had such a fun year learning together!! We've read lots of amazing books, completed lapbooks, finished projects, gone to the library, gone on field trips, watched a play, traveled to China, colored, cut & pasted, the list goes on and on.
I'm excited to say that we are just a few weeks away from wrapping up our first official  school year as a homeschool family!! I have learned so much this year. I can't wait for us to start a new year of homeschooling this Fall.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Our Homeschool Testimony



Today, I want to share with you how the Lord called us to be a homeschool family.
Jon was homeschooled and I went to public school. Understandably, we each had very different ideas about what kind of school our future children should attend. Education became one of those hot topics in our marriage that we tried not to talk about, because we only seemed to disagree.
In 2010, while I was listening to KLOVE radio, I decided to do The Love Dare challenge. On Day 12 of The Love Dare it said, "Today’s Dare: Demonstrate love by willingly choosing to give in to an area of disagreement between you and your spouse. Tell them you are putting their preference first."
While reading this dare, the Lord immediately brought homeschooling to my mind.
What!?
I couldn't believe that the Lord wanted me to give up my own views of education and submit to Jon's ideas. I wanted to obey the Lord, but it seemed like there might be an easier way than giving in to homeschooling.
I was wrong.
When Jon got home that evening, I could barely get the words out. Eventually, I told him that as far as education goes, I would be willing to homeschool our children, if that is what Jon thought was best.
At the time, it was hard to lay down my pride and my views. However, I'm so thankful that the Lord settled this issue for us long before we had children. It's never been a sore spot again and the Lord has blessed us as we have followed Him in obedience and homeschooled our children.
Now, we've almost finished our first year of homeschool and I'm not sure who enjoys it more, me or the girls.
Homeschooling has been such a blessing for our family!!

Monday, January 23, 2017

Starting a New Chapter

At the beginning of 2017, I started a new chapter in weight loss journey. I am currently trying to lose the weight that I gained while I was pregnant with my 3rd daughter, Matilda. Honestly, I feel like my weight loss journey has been on hold for about 1 year now, because I was determined to nurse Matilda until her first birthday. Last year, I tried to lose weight off and on, but I was always worried that it would negatively affect my milk supply. A lot of people lose weight while nursing, but that wasn't the case for me. All that to say, I put my weight loss on hold until I was finished nursing my baby.

I am excited to say that the Lord answered my prayers and allowed me to nurse Matilda until she was one year old!! This was such a wonderful accomplishment for me, because I wasn't able to nurse my older daughters. I am so thankful to be a stay-at-home Mommy and have plenty of time to focus on caring for my baby. However, now that Matilda is growing up and I am not nursing anymore, I feel like it is time to focus on myself a little more and work to get rid of this baby weight.

I started seriously following Weight Watchers again at the beginning of January. In just a few weeks, I have already lost -6.4 pounds!! I'm so excited to see the weight begin to come off.

Here's a picture of my babies from Thanksgiving!! They're getting so big!!

My babies.
 I've missed blogging and hope to continue to keep you updated on my weight loss journey!!

Friday, October 7, 2016

Reluctant Obedience

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Early this morning my daughter came in and woke me up, because she had an accident. As a result, I needed to change her sheets and clean up the mess that she made in her bed. After cleaning up, I put my daughter back to bed, because it was way too early to be up. I walked back to my room and got back in bed too. It didn't take long for the Lord to impress upon me that I should get back up and come spend time with Him. Reluctantly, I accepted the Lord's invitation. As I gathered my Bible and notebook, I tried to be as quiet as possible so I wouldn't wake me sleeping baby.
In the stillness and the quiet of the early morning, I've been able to spend time with the Lord and read His word. I've been able to spend time in prayer too. I've missed this so much! 
I know I should get up and spend time with the Lord. However, for far too long, I have been making excuses and letting life's circumstances get in the way of my quality time with the Creator of the Universe.
Normally, I follow along with the First5 app and today was no exception! The verse that stood out to me most was Deuteronomy 10:16. 
“Therefore, cleanse your heart and stop being so stubborn!”
Deuteronomy‬ ‭10:16‬ ‭[NET]‬‬
I am very thankful that the Lord brought me to this verse. I've been so selfish and stubborn. I've been unwilling to sacrifice my own comfort in order to do what I know the Lord has called me to do. I'm praying that the Lord will continue to help me to put Him first, even above myself.
What has the Lord asked you to do? What will it take for you to obey Him?

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Homeschool Book Haul


Guess What!? This past Saturday night, my sweet friend Becky watched my girls so that I could go on a much needed date night with my husband!! We had a wonderful date. Before leaving Becky's house to come home, she asked if I wanted to look through a pile of books that she planned to giveaway.

I love books, especially free books! Almost immediately, I took Becky up on her offer and went to look through her books. When it was all said and done, I had boxed up 39 books to add to my already growing collection!!

I found a bunch of "I Can Read!" books, which included Fancy Nancy, Biscuit, and Pinkalicious. We always borrow these books from the library, so it is nice to have some of my very own!



My favorite find of the day included 19 Magic Tree House books!! I have heard that these are good early reader books. Last week, I borrowed one from the library, so that I could read and preview it before reading it to the girls. Overall, I thought the books would be fun for read-alouds. I am excited to have my own little collection of Magic Tree House books now!!




I am so thankful to the Lord for providing new books for my girls to enjoy!! God has asked us to homeschool our children and as He provides for us it is just further confirmation that we are doing just what He wants us to do.



"You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise." 
- Deuteronomy 6:7 {ESV}

Monday, June 20, 2016

Matilda's Birth Story

My deepest desire that the Lord would receive all the glory for His incredible faithfulness throughout my labor and delivery. There were so many details that we were praying would come together. It was amazing to watch the Lord bring everything together in His perfect timing.
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Our precious Matilda Kate
To be completely honest, we all thought that Matilda would come early, just like Sophie. One of my biggest fears is that I would be all by myself with the girls when I went into labor. Each night as I went to bed, fear would rise up within me, hoping that I would wait a few more days until everyone arrived. To my delight, I did not go into labor until after Jon’s Mom, Lisa, and Jon arrived!
With Jon and Lisa at the house, I was all ready to go into labor. However, Matilda had other plans. As the days passed, we tried to fill our days with fun things to do while we waited for Matilda to arrive. We couldn’t believe it when I finally reached and then surpassed my due date!! Again not knowing when I would go into labor, continued to fill me with fear.
Thursday, October 29th, 2015
Thursday was one of our busiest days of the week. We started the day out with a special donut breakfast. We also had errands to run so we went to several stores. One of the last things we did on Thursday was go to the library. They were having a Lego building night, so we took the girls to get books and build Legos. It really was a wonderful day.
All day long, I had been experiencing period-like cramps in my lower abdomen. I was not having contractions, just cramping.
Lisa had rented, “The Vow” from the library. After we got the girls to bed, we decided to relax and watch a movie. Halfway through the movie, I was feeling really tired. I decided to head to bed, but not before I spent sometime reading my Bible and praying to the Lord.
I was able to pour out my heart before the Lord. I asked Him to help remove any fear and doubt in my heart that might be keeping me from going into labor. I read verses that the Lord had given to me all throughout the year. He knew I would need these verses to help get me through my labor and delivery. Even as I went to sleep, I had my notecards in hand with some of my favorite verses on them. As I tired to sleep I kept repeating one verse over and over in my mind Psalm 73:26.
“My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” – ‭Psalm‬ ‭73:26‬ ‭(ESV‬‬)
Friday, October 30th, 2015At 12:30am, I felt like I had to go potty, so I got up out of bed and headed for the bathroom. On my way to the bathroom, I felt some liquid gush into my pants. Once on the potty, I called for Jon and Lisa to help me. Lisa told us that she believed my water had begun to leak. She went on to explain that labor might begin right away or it could be a few days before I started having contractions.
We also called my midwife, Lincey, to give her an update and tell her that may water was leaking. Lincey said that we would wait to see if I started having contractions. She also encouraged me to go back to bed and get some sleep. I told her that I would do my best, but it’s hard to sleep not knowing when my labor would really begin. So, we all went back to bed to try to get more sleep before my labor began.
I tried my best to relax and sleep, but it was almost impossible. My period-like cramps only got more and more intense as the night went on. The pains, which began in my abdomen, began to spread to my hips. They got so bad that I was having a hard time breathing through each cramp.
Finally, at 3:00am, I got up and asked Lisa if she could massage my hips. I was hoping that it would help relieve the pain and allow me to sleep the rest of the night. To my surprise, even while I was standing up, the cramping kept coming and would not let up. In an effort to let Jon sleep, I lay down on the couch in the living room, so that Lisa could help me.
While laying down, Lisa quickly noticed that my cramping was becoming more and more intense. At this point, I was not having traditional contractions. However, Lisa decided to track my cramping for a little while to see how frequently they were coming. It did not take long for Lisa to realize that my cramping was coming every 3-4 minutes and lasting for almost 1 minute.
About 3:40am, Lisa called Lincey to give her an update. Knowing that Lincey had a 2 hour drive from Dallas, we asked her to get in her car and begin driving to us. Lincey also said that I should not be up and moving around, because gravity would help the baby come more quickly.
Each time my stomach would cramp, my hips felt like they were on fire. Laying down only made it worse, so after I went potty, I decided to try laboring on my birth ball. However, sitting up only made my contractions come more frequently. During one contraction, I tried to lean forward and rest on Lisa, but it hurt so much. It took my breathe away.
After one really strong contraction, I asked Lisa if she wanted me to move back to the couch. To which she quickly responded, yes! Lincey was still an hour and a half away, so we tried everything we could to stall my labor. Which included me laying down on the couch. My labor was coming and coming fast!
By 4:00am, I wanted Jon, so Lisa went to wake him up. She was honest with him and explained that our baby would probably be born in the next hour or two. Jon had no idea that I was even in labor, because we had tried to let him sleep. However, as soon as he got up, he was ready to help me breathe through my contractions.
Jon and Lisa helped me breathe through each  and every contraction. They spoke words of encouragement over me and rubbed my hips, to help relieve the pain. They told me how well I was laboring and that soon I would get to meet my little girl, Matilda Kate.
By 4:39am, Lisa called Lincey again to see where she was and give her an update about my contractions. My contractions were coming almost on top of each other and lasting for up to 2 1/2 minutes. Lincey told us that we would probably have a baby within the hour and maybe even before she arrived at our house.
Quickly, Lisa began to prepare for Matilda delivery. She went to prepare our room for this upcoming birth. However, as my contractions continued to come, Lisa realized that we just might end up delivering Matilda on the couch. Lisa didn’t want to move me to the bed, because she was afraid that as soon as I stood up, we would have a baby. Lisa brought supplies from our room to the living room, so that as soon as Lincey arrived, she could deliver Matilda.
Meanwhile at 4:46 am, Jon called our friend Colleen to ask her to come and pick up our girls. I didn’t want to the girls to wake up while I was in labor, which would mean that Lisa or Jon would have to leave to go help them. I needed Lisa and Jon to focus on helping me, so we thought it best for the girls to leave before I delivered Matilda.
Our friends arrived to get the girls, as soon as they left and Jon walked back in the door, I was screaming that I needed to push. I had been feeling the urge to push for a while, but again we were trying to wait for Lincey to arrive. With Lincey still 20 minutes away, Lisa knew that it was going to be up to her to delivery Matilda.
At 5:19am, all I needed to do was push Matilda out. Lisa called Lincey to let her know what was happening and have her on hand to help walk her through the delivery. Lisa helped me to focus on my breathing and control my pushing, so that I would not tear.
On our couch, in the living room, Matilda was born at 5:21am. She was 19 3/4 inches long and weighed 8 pound 0 ounces. Lisa put Matilda on my chest and we waited for Lincey. All I could say was, “Thank you Jesus!
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Matilda Kate
While waiting I called my Mom to share the good news about Matilda’s birth!! Lincey finally arrived and immediately began caring for myself and Matilda. Lisa explained to Lincey that Matilda was born face up, which explains why I had such painful contractions. Typically, it’s hard to deliver a baby face up, but Matilda came without any problems at all. Thankfully, we were both healthy and doing very well after labor and delivery.
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Daddy and Lincey weighing Matilda
From the time my contractions started to when Matilda was born, was less than 2 hours!! Because my labor was so fast, it took a while for the shock to wear off and for us to begin to process the fact that we just had a new baby.
In the first few hours and days with Matilda were wonderful! We had her at home, so I could sleep in my own bed and not have to worry about who was going to come into our room at all hours of the night.
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My dream team! Couldn’t labor without them.
We are so thankful to the Lord for His faithfulness to us during Matilda’s labor and delivery. He was faithful to answer my prayers and bring together all the details of Matilda’s brith for His glory! We are also thankful to Lisa for being with us throughout my labor and for delivering Matilda!!
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Newsham family of five!

I’m thankful to the Lord for helping us to be obedient to what He had called us to do, even if it didn’t make sense to us or our friends. I’m thankful that we delivered at home, because otherwise we might have had Matilda in the car on the way to the hospital.
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Matilda
I cannot wait to see how the Lord will continue to use Matilda’s life for His glory!!

Friday, June 17, 2016

June Homeschool Favorites


For my very first time, I am collaborating with "Full Time Wife Life" for June Homeschool Favorites. Please check out her YouTube channel, click here.

Summer Reading Club
Our family loves books! I am so thankful to live in a town with an incredible library! Every summer our local library sponsors a free summer reading club. We did this last year and we are excited to do it again. I signed up each one of my kids, even Matilda, because she listens to books with us. We need to read one book each week or complete a summer activity. As we complete each task the girls get to mark it on their paper. At the end of the summer we will take the girls forms back to the library and they will receive all kinds of fun prizes!



So, if you're looking for an easy way to get your kids to read this summer, check out your local library and join their summer reading club. It's not too late!!

Magnetic Letters
Earlier this month, our family went to Mardel to look at some homeschool curriculum. While we were at the store, we found a big bag of magnetic letters and numbers for less than $10.00. The girls have played with these magnets, ever since I brought them home. I pulled out my cookie sheets and let the girls spell out words with their letters.



This is the perfect summer activity for my girls! They get to play and practice their letters without feeling sitting down to formally do school.

Alphabet Go Fish
My 2 year old loves animals! Last year, Jon's Mom got us this Alphabet Go Fish game at Walmart. However, it has only been within the past few weeks that my girls have learned how to play this game. Now that they understand how to play this game, they love it! The girls would play this game all day if they could. It seems simple, but it has been a great tool to teach my girls about their letters. It's an added bonus that we get to learn about the different animals too!




Now it's your turn, what are some of your homeschool favorites?


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