September-October, 2018

September was the last slow month of the year. We did school. Iain had his birthday (see next post!). The dishwasher broke (we’re going on six months without it and it hasn’t been bad!). We got guppies and they had babies the next day. So…we had thirty-something fish. Mason was the one who discovered the babies, a fact of which he is very proud.


October…well, we picked up the pace a little. We had people visiting from out of town, school of course, a wedding (I shot back-up photography which was fun), etc.

Iain and Cory wanted me to come up with a lego challenge for them. I told them to build their favorite part of the day. Here’s what they came up with:

Iain (left): the hammock outside, an open book on top, and a glass of ice waiting to be eaten. Cory (right): giving a speech at his class at Timothy on how to fold origami yodas. I love their creativity and a glimpse into their minds.

More random October. Parks, snacks, silliness of various types.


One day (10/16/18) when these two and I went to our favorite hiking spot, Mason started asking me about Jesus. He asked me to pray with him and ask Jesus to take his sins away. After we did, Ivy asked me to pray with her, too. While we talk to them daily about the Gospel and what it means, they brought it up on their own, which shows me they had been thinking about it. As we were leaving, Ivy said, “I don’t have that old, disobeying heart anymore. Because I prayed.” Praise the Lord! Since that day, they have both mentioned several times that they are Christians now. Ivy especially talks about it a lot. We pray all the time that our children would know and follow the Lord– what a sweet answer to prayer.


My mom came to visit, and we went to the skate park. It was practically empty (homeschool win!).

October closed with the Trunk or Treat at church (we had Waldo, a sock-eating washing machine, a pop star, a rock star, and Cinderella). Cory and Mason both won. (Cory wins every year!) And then the wedding in Tennessee to end the month.


Laina Turns Eight!

Laina turned eight in July, but since we were traveling, we celebrated her birthday in August. She had a fancy tea party! A friend from church bought her a flowery tea set, and she and her friends dressed up in pretty dresses. The boys helped with the food, and Cory and Mason decided to be waiters (Cory so he could count how many sugar cubes each girl ate). Mason was hilarious refilling the girls’ water, and they chugged water as fast as they could just so they could holler for him to bring them more.

It was a really fun afternoon. Laina has a sweet group of friends and I am thankful they’re in her life.

Laina, you are kind and loving, helpful, fun, and sweet. We love you, Bug! Happy birthday.

August, 2018

August was back-to-school, trying to get back to a routine, and apparently, lots of pictures of Ivy. What can I say? She’s just so cute.


Here she is as the kitchen elf. One of my favorite things.


Someone gave me this bird box and Ivy loved it. She kept saying, “Flower, flower, I see a flower, which is…this one! Bird, bird, I see a bird, which is…this one!”IMG_0560

Mason lost his first tooth and started kindergarten within the span of a week. He’s getting so big.


More kitchen elf and dinner prep.


She told me she’d wear this jumper and pigtails on my birthday as my present. Ha. But we were driving on my birthday, so she did it in August.


We found this bubble ball things at Aldi and they provided hours of fun (for the players and the watchers!).


Laina and I got to join some friends for a Braves game and a Lauren Daigle concert after church one Sunday. It was a blast, and the kids got to be up on the big screen for a few seconds.


Ikea with kids #4 and #5 on a Timothy Tuesday.IMG_1092IMG_1093

Mason’s Adoption Day is August 28th. Since he loves donuts more than just about anything, the little two and I drove to Krispy Kreme to meet the Timothy crew, who was waiting in the parking lot with signs they made. It was a fun surprise for him!


August is a wrap!

Christmas Poem, 2018


O come, all ye founded,

You who are strong

Built up by hope and gratefulness.

Rejoice, you who see clearly

The wonder of Emmanuel.

Draw near and worship.


O come, all ye fragile,

You who are battered,

Toppled, weakened, drowning.

Kneel upon the firm, dusty ground

Of the stable.

Bow before the One whose coming

Will make you stand.


And come, all ye faithless,

You who have been hardened

By life, or broken by it.

You who don’t believe in the Word made Flesh by Love.

Quiet doubt

In the hush of the holy night,

And listen for the song of angels.


Come, let us adore Him,

Wonderful, Mighty, True.

Christ the Lord.


(read other year’s Christmas poems: 2016, 2017)

Fall Semester, 2018

This year at the Brannon Academy, we have a sixth grader, a fifth grader, a third grader, a kindergartener, and a cutie pie. It took us a month or so to find a good rhythm, and honestly, the fall was really crazy with several weddings/trips, other unusual obligations, our good friends moving back to Australia, and us deciding to move (more on that in another post). And this may be the latest I have ever put a back to school post up–when we’re done with school for the semester. Ah well.

We started school August 1, and of course, took our traditional pictures.

schools in session 2018Iain Loves 18cory loves 2018Laina loves 2018mason loves 2018ivy loves 2018

Click here to see past years’ photos: 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011

This year, we added another student to the mix:


Yep, Jeremy started seminary in September at RTS Atlanta. He is loving it. He took a class in fall and is planning to continue one class at a time. It’s a slow process when you have a full-time job, five kids, and work at the church, but he’s thoroughly enjoying it.

(Ivy’s family portrait series)

Here’s our school plans for 2018-2019:

Iain starts his day early with

-math (Singapore)

-spelling (All About Spelling)

-Bible (he’s doing a chronological read-through), devotions (reading missionary biographies, the Case for Christ for Kids books, and other ones I’ve found that look good)

-grammar (Fix-It Grammar for grammar and handwriting)

-typing (with a computer program we bought)

-piano practice

-science (he wanted to do astronomy this year, so he’s reading some books I found like Our Created Moon and Exploring the World of Astronomy)

Somewhere in there, Cory comes upstairs and we do math (Chalk Dust this year; it’s on the computer), science (he’s taking physics at Timothy), and spelling (All About Spelling).

During this time, the little three are playing happily so we cram in as much work as we can. Eventually, we stop and everyone comes together to do Morning Time.

-prayer and thanksgiving, talking through the day’s schedule

-Catechism (New City still, working slowly through it)

-Memory Work (a hymn, a poem or speech, and a Scripture, using Desiring God’s kids’ memory packet)

-Latin roots (using flashcards), Shakespeare (we did Henry V this semester), or Geography (US states and capitals). We did one of these subjects each term.

(Cory’s depiction of Henry V)

Then it was on to the second half of US History, using Beautiful Feet’s literature-based curriculum. We made it through the Civil War, but that was about it. Not nearly as far as I wanted to get in the first semester. We may be doing history all summer…

After lunch (and a quick walk for me!), Iain gets back to his individual work and Cory starts on his own. He works on handwriting (cursive), Bible (he’s reading through the New Testament this year), devotions (same as Iain), and typing (same as Iain).

During this time, Laina and I hit it. We do math (Singapore), reading (All About Reading), and spelling (All About Spelling) or First Language Lessons. She works on handwriting and Explode the Code on her own. We do Bible using Exploring the Bible (which I wanted to love, but I don’t love it).

On to Mason. Ivy usually joins us for his reading lesson (All About Reading using Ziggy the Zebra puppet; Ivy does the coloring every day because Mace doesn’t like to color). The we do math (Singapore) and handwriting (Handwriting Without Tears).


And if there’s time, a read aloud. We let this drop way more than we should have this fall. Hopefully we’ll do better next year.

TIMOTHY: The three big kids did Timothy again this year. Iain took Choi Kwon Do, sign language, and computer programming. Cory took science, speech (which he adored and excelled at), art, and gym. Laina took art, American Girl History (Felicity), and crocheting. This year we had the brilliant idea that Jeremy take the big kids and I stay home with the little two. Life-changing. Tuesdays went from a tough day of trying to entertain littles for hours while we waited for the bigs to be done, to lovely slow days where we do Mason’s school, run some errands, and then go somewhere fun like a park or on a hike. Just me and the littles. We love Tuesdays now.


BOOK CLUB: This year, we’re hosting two book clubs, one for the boys, and one for Laina. Fun times! The boys read Tuck Everlasting, I Am David, and Along Came a Dog this fall, and Laina’s group read The Hundred Dresses, Adventures with Waffles, and The Light at Tern Rock. More to come next semester.

missing a few kids, but this is most of the 5-6th grade book club

And in full disclosure, this does not all get done every day. Not even close. This is what we aim for, trying to hit the most important things (math, reading, Bible) every day and the rest of it most every day.