leah is funny

The other day we arrived to pick up Melody from school a few minutes early.

I said, We are early.

Leah responded with, What does that mean?


Leah asked Jesus to live in her heart...

Two nights ago I sang There Is A Redeemer to the girls at bedtime. It is a standby, the girls know it and sing along. I love Keith Green songs. After singing it I asked Melody,

'Do you ever sing that song at recess...'

She replied, 'no.'

She has told me about singing other songs at recess like, 'If you like it than you should've put a ring on it....' I told her if she wanted to sing songs like There Is A Redeemer at recess, it would let people know she is a Christian.

At this point Leah asked, 'Am I a Christian...'

I explained that when she asked Jesus into her heart and believed that He died on the cross to take away her sins, she would then be a christian. She shyly listened with the covers pulled up close to her chin. I asked her if she wanted to pray and she said maybe tomorrow at the dinner table, which is when she usually prays.

The next day at supper, she asked if she could pray before the meal. She bowed her head and said the following prayer...

Lord Jesus, please come live in my heart and take my sins away so that I can be a Christian and that we can spend the night at Pearson's house.

Chad, Melody and I were all beaming and laughing at the end of her prayer. She said, 'NOW I AM A CHRISTIAN.' She was overflowing with joy. It was awesome. We rode bikes to Maggie Moos to celebrate with cotton candy ice cream. This morning at breakfast she repeated. 'I am a Christian.' So sweet. Thank you Jesus for Your work on our kids.

Last Sunday at church Chad and I had a powerful time of tearful prayer for our kids. The very next day Leah inquired about giving her life to Jesus.

A funny side note.... Pearson is a four year old in our small group through church. They attend the same preschool and see each other five days a week now between school, small group and church. It is so cute to see our kids grow in their relationships with the kids at small group. This weekly time is one of their favorites things each week. We are blessed.


first grade conversations

Melody came home today and said,

At recess today there was a girl just sitting in the rocks. I went over to her and said, "Don't you want to play on the playground?" The girl replied, "Yeah, but I don't have a friend." And Mel said, "Well we can be friends." So we walked over the the playground and then she just found another friend and didn't play with me!!

She called PE, PG.

She called the PE teachers, Gym Owners.

The teachers mouth is continually "on" so Melody hasn't had a chance to ask any of her questions because her mouth is always, "off."

She is cracking me up!!!


first day of school

Today was Melody's first day of 1st grade. Since we homeschooled last year this was our first time to drop her off at school. We had a fun time getting ready for the big day. Her outfit is one of my all time favorites; purchased at Rhea Lana Consignment sale.

Sister shot. Leah being her silly goofy self, first thing in the morning.

Pretty nails! I attempted to paint flowers on her finger nails. Need more practice. She was like, "Paint rainbows! A sun! Tulip!"

Cutest toes in the world.

Favorite photo of the day. The school is in the background. It's a lovely facility, only a couple of years old. I'm so glad Chad was able to be part of our morning. The general feel of the school was excited, happy, welcoming, lots of smiles. Lots of families, babies, younger siblings, etc. I met one mom who had a mug of coffee in her hand through the whole ordeal. It was her fourth kid, not first.

The day was super long for me. I felt like Melody was away for a week instead of eight hours. I kept looking at the clock, thinking about her. Leah, Logan and I had a low key day at home. Leah was content and didn't seem bothered by the absence of Melody. I waited for 30 minutes in the pick up line at 3:00. As I approached the school, I could see Melody sitting with all of the other kids. When it was her turn, the lady with the mega phone yelled, MELANIE MATHIS!?, right in front of her. She climbed into the van, saying, "It was HORRIBLE. The whole day was HORRIBLE."

She proceeded to tell me all the of reasons it was so bad. She had to sit at the end of the table at lunch and there was a bar where her feet where suppose to be, so she had to sit criss-cross-applesauce. At recess she didn't get a turn on the swings and there were all of these rules about how to slide and waiting your turn. (Haha!) One funny thing she said was, "My teacher said that when her mouth is on, our mouthes have to be off, but her mouth was on the whole day! She never gave any of us a turn!"

By the end of the day, she had filled us in on many good, fun things about the day. Her teacher read three books to them. One was a "chapter book" and her teacher did the voice for a little girl. Another was a Kevin Henkes book, Chrysanthemum, one of our favorites. After that book they got to do a piece of artwork that had their absolutely perfect name on it. As she got into the van she was holding her backpack in front of her, unzipped. I said, "It would be easier to carry that if you zipped it up." She replied, "I know. I didn't have time because they kept saying, 'Hurry up!' "

I think she will do fine in her class this year. I think today was just crazy and overwhelming because it was the first day. I'm hopeful. Part of me feels like saying, "See! A couple of hours of homeschooling a day is a breeze!"


....cleaning topic continued

Today we needed to do some cleaning. I was dreading it because of the previous post. I didn't know how to approach the tasks with Leah. I wanted so badly to have success and not failure in our work together. At lunch, Chad talked to the girls about the afternoon and what was expected of them. An hour later, we started in their room. I am happy to report that Leah worked hard! I will never fully understand why one day is better than another, but here are some insights into the success:

• I was in a good mood. Who wants to clean with a cranky mommy? I didn't bark orders at Leah. I tried to go slow and give her one task at a time.

• I worked with them. The three of us worked together while the baby napped. We were able to focus on the job. When 15 month old Logan is awake, it is a constant job to keep little things out of his path, especially in the girls' room. It is easy to get distracted and frustrated.

• Chad and I prepped them with both encouragement and consequences. Chad let them know what was expected of them before we began. Leah knew he was going to ask how it went when he got home that evening. I only had to use this information once though, "What are we going to tell Daddy when he gets home about how you helped?"

It worked! Glory, hallelujah, their room is CLEAN and there were no tears, revoked privileges, spankings, or yelling.


days vs weeks

The weeks are absolutely flying by. But the days are so long! Each night lately, bedtime has been a battle with the girls. I read, sing, lay with them awhile, and then try to leave. They always need more... questions, drinks, whatever. I can barely make it out of their room without a clinched jaw and one of them in tears.

Another challenge. Leah will not help clean up. Melody has always enjoyed cleaning up, so she does it all of the time. She keeps their room tidy with no instructions. The other day we had a showdown after they had played with Play-Dough for two hours. Leah would NOT help clean up. I told her that if she didn't help she would not be able to spend the night with Grammy as planned. She chose to forfeit the privilege rather than clean up. !!!???! In the end, she still didn't help clean up either. I've been thinking on it all week and I can't figure it out. How do I motivate my four year old to work hard? Is this a birth order thing? I want to empower her to be a hard working and capable person. The other day she said, "Melody likes to clean up. I hate to clean up." I do not like those labels.

Any insight is welcome! Thanks!


back to school

July is here and I can't stop thinking about Back To School. It is a loaded phrase, isn't it? School supplies, fall weather, new shoes, what to wear, school buses driving by, first impressions, new names, but most of all -- the end of summer. We have decided for Melody to attend public school for first grade. Never before have I considered summer time to be short. This summer the weeks are clicking by faster than I can believe. August 15 is approaching with the speed of a Boeing 777.

Kindergarden was a good year. I will remember it for the highs, not the lows. Logan was tiny. Melody was able to spend everyday with him at home. They have bonded in a way that makes a mother's heart sing. Learning how to read happened side by side in the leather chair. Some reading days involved writhing on the floor in a puddle of tears. (Her, not me.) Those days would hit me hard. I would have a sinking feeling in my stomach for the rest of the day. Questions of How To Motivate My Kid were a general topic between me and my friends.

Children's literature became a topic I could discuss with others. Before last year I did not know of one children's author. Now I have several favorites. Robert Mcloskey, Virginia Lee Burton, Ludwig Bemelmans, and of course Laura Ingalls Wilder to name a few. I do not feel alien in the public library anymore.

Here is a photo of us doing school on a blanket in the front yard last September.

And one of Logan in his month four splendor.


a new phase

I remember when Melody was born. The first two years after, trying it figure out what kind of mom I was. What bothered me? What did I love? What did I stand for? Who was I?

After awhile it fell into place. I hit a groove. I embraced it. It was easy and good.

The other day I was holding Logan, standing in his room, swaying and humming. He was relaxed against me. We were both soaking each other in. It felt SO GOOD. I caught a glimpse of us in the mirror and I thought, "I know how to do this. I know how to be mama to a baby."

I am at a new cross road as a mom. I have a six year old. School age. What kind of mom am I? What kind of education do I subscribe to? What is important to me? What do I expect? What do I want? I don't know yet. I am waiting; trying to figure it out.


11 months later

It's been almost a year since I wrote anything here. 2010 was a difficult year, but a blessed one.

We had a baby boy! Logan Ralph Mathis was born on May 8, 2010. We had him at home. It was a faster labor than the others, but not easier. Five intense hours with few breaks. The birth experience left me shaken, but not traumatized. I am glad to have had three home births, but am stunned when I think back at the memories. They are so hard. The adjustment to a new baby had subsided and life is easier again. At 8 months, Logan is a joy for each of us. Melody often says, "I am soooooo glad God gave us Logan!"

We now live in Fayetteville! We bought a foreclosure and are fixing it up as we live in it. I am excited to show some before/after pictures here. Nothing is complete yet, so the after pictures will be a work in progress as well. I am home schooling Melody for kindergarden. She is easy to teach. The difficulty of home schooling for me is the same struggle as everything else. Finding a routine, sticking to it, being disciplined, being organized. I tend to blame these struggles on our unfinished house even though I've always had these downfalls. I am striving for good days in the midst of the chaos. The good days are really good and keep me going down this road for now.