I had the pleasure of watching these two play  for 8.5 hours yesterday.  And I’ve had the pleasure of watching their friendship grow for 4.5 years … ever since they were born.

Yesterday, I had to smile about how much they seemed like a seasoned married couple.  They could play in silence and be fine.  She would tell him to adjust something he was doing and he would.  She would ask him for help and he’d do it without question.  He’d want company and would seek her out.  She would be nervous and he’d comfort her.  He’d run off, then look back to check on her.  He’d make something, and she’d compliment him.  She’d discover something fun and find him to share.

She cry, and he’d wipe away her tears.

They are the best of friends.  And while I already think it would be wonderful if someday they would marry (:)), what are the chances?  So, they’ll receive no pressure from me for that.  But as Kaden grows, I will pray that he continues to adore her as a best friend should.

I’ll pray that he continues to want to protect her and comfort and encourage her.  As her best friend.

I know that’s a lot to hope for at such a young age.  But when I  think of how naturally he already does this at only the age of 4, I’m fairly certain that she has a friend for life in my little guy.

 

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  • Melissa - This brought tears to my eyes! Seriously everything you mentioned are traits that I pray Ellie would have in a husband and to see that at such a young age, he is a treasure. I adore all your guys Lace, and Kaden has a special place in my heart, just like in Ellie’s!ReplyCancel

  • Kasey - Oh my goodness! They are so precious! I could have written this same post about my three year old and his best friend. And, they even look like my son and his friend (he’s blond, she’s brown-headed). They are each other’s home base. Even when they play separately, they always come back to check in on each other. Your photos and the light are gorgeous!ReplyCancel

It always takes me really, really being ready for me to make a commitment to something.  When it came to starting an actual workout program, I had to finally feel out-shape-enough and un-healthy-enough to get started.  It helped a lot too that Matt added running to his list long list of physical “hobbies” and rapidly became even more fit.  Which rapidly made me feel even less-fit.

Somehow, I was more in-shape between each child than I am now.  Maybe it was all the nursing and running up and down the stairs and carrying children while I did everything  that helped me stay in fairly okay shape.  But in the last year, my time at the computer has increased, my time at the table teaching has increased, and probably my time experimenting with yummy foods has increased.   Plus, I’m into my early 30′s, which I’ve heard from a number of people can wreak havoc on a woman’s metabolism.  The desire to work out sort of hovered … we did get an elliptical but … I don’t know.  I knew I need strength training and toning as well, not just cardio.  I pinned a lot of workouts on Pinterest, but I knew I needed someone motivating me.  Not a list of exercises I printed out from my computer.

So what to do.  I didn’t feel great at all, and didn’t look much better.  I turned to my best friend, knowing she’s been doing a workout for some time now, that has been a success for her.  And since I received a glowing recommendation for it from her, and now I love it, I want to pass that glowing recommendation onto you.  I started doing Moms Into Fitness: Pretty Fierce Weight Loss a little over a month ago and it totally hit the spot.  That sounds weird, but it is true.

Within a few mornings, I felt excited to get up early to have this time before my boys got up.  Before, I’d roll out of bed, still half-asleep at 7:30.  Now, 5:30ish is when I start my day.  I can’t say really if anything has changed for me figure-wise, but feeling better has made it all worth it to me.  It would sure be nice to have certain areas firm up and …er … smooth out?? …. but feeling better/healthy/in-shape has to be my motivation.  Because I know I’m not 19 anymore and my body will likely never look like I’m 19 again.  I have to be okay with that.   But chances are, it can look better than it does currently, and that would be a nice side-effect of working-out, too. ;)I didn’t weigh myself before I started, or take any measurements because I know how I am, and didn’t want those elements to become something I put way to much stress on.

The things I love about this workout program?

1)  It is fast.  She crams in a fabulous full-body workout in about a half-hour, and you never have to leave home.  Sweet.  She does this by keeping it pretty intense, moving along, and having each exercise multi-task muscle groups.  The time flies by and then apparently your body continues to burn lots of calories after you’re done.  I’m all for that.

2)  She is a mom.  Lindsay Brin is a mother of 3, and she works out along side another mom in each of her videos.  That suits my fancy.  As much as I liked Billy Blanks, this is much more my speed.

3)  These are not boring!  This video set includes 8-discs and you vary which one you do each day, each week, etc for 60-days.  And you do a combination of cardio, Tabata, HIIT, muscle splits, Core, etc.  And even better?  The workout calendar she gives you tells you which workout to do, each day.  I don’t want to have to make that choice at 5:30 am.  And I figure she knows when to do what for the best results. :)

4)  How it makes me feel the rest of the day … this is likely a similar effect of most workouts, but ever since I started this program I think harder about what I eat, drink, and do throughout the day.  It makes me savor my coffee more, it makes me put back the second cookie I grabbed, and makes me have one bite of ice cream after the boys go to bed rather than a whole bowl (most of the time!;)).  I feel tired in a new, GOOD way at the end of the day.   I think that is just the natural, positive result of doing what is right for your body:  being active, stretching, getting your heart pumping, and caring about your health.

I don’t want to get all obsessive about working out, but I did honestly miss it when we went away for this past weekend and I didn’t do it for 2 days!  Matt woke me up on Monday saying, “Lindsay is waiting for you ….”  Haha! … I really recommend this program.  I also have the next disc-set called Pretty Fierce: Lean Out, but will work through the weight-loss one for 60-days before starting that one.  That one is, apparently, much harder!

After my 60-days are up, I’ll be sure to share more! :)

It probably goes without saying, but I didn’t get paid to write this.  ;)  I just hope you find something to do each day that gets your heart pumping and your muscles working.  Because it is just SO good for you!  And it just feels good.  ♥

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  • Mom - I’m so happy for you, sweetpea. You are such a good care-giver for your family…I’m happy that you’re also caring for yourself. That’s good for everybody!!!
    XOXOXO to GCK from Grammie (who needs to start exercising!)ReplyCancel

  • Emily Poston - I did that 60 day program earlier in the year and loved it! Have you reached week 5 yet? That’s more of a rest week and I lost over two pounds that week! I think it was my body catching up to all of the hard work I had been doing. I’m hoping to start it up again soon! I lost 12 pounds the first time.ReplyCancel

    • Lacey - Hi Emily! Thanks for sharing! Week 5 will be next week for me, which is perfect because I’ll be out of town! :) I did the DVDs for several weeks before finally starting Lindsay’s calendar and I definitely feel a lot better with my progress now that I’m doing that. ;) Congrats on your awesome success with the program! Have you tried the Pretty Fierce Lean Out??ReplyCancel

      • Emily - No…I’m terrified to try it! I struggled with the loading workout and I think Lean Out is supposed to be more intense than PFWL!ReplyCancel

        • Lacey - LOL … I’m scared of it, too! I may try the yoga before my current 60 days are up, but probably nothing else until then. ;) ReplyCancel

Each year, I feel a bit more committed to home schooling my children.  Four years in, yes, I think I should feel quite committed!  I wish I could have started out with this much gusto way back when, but I’m trying not to dwell on that.  ;)  You live and learn.  This year, with the deepening commitment/motivation/excitement I’m feeling, we made a big plunge with our school space.  If you may remember, it was our dining room.  It looked 90% like a formal dining room and 10% like a school room.  But we used it 90% as a school room and 10% as a formal dining room.  True, we used it every night to eat dinner around, but that was for about 20 minutes a day.  The vast majority of the rest of the time, it was our school space.

As hard as it was for me to strip the room of the carefully selected dining room decor, I did it, and I’m really happy about it.  Even those plates you see above the door way are now gone.  It FEELS like a school room now.  A space dedicated to our school-time.   Lots of home-school families do without a space dedicated to this, and I know that is totally doable.  But I no longer saw a reason to not totally utilize this space for what we most often used it for.

One issue I was having was how everything was stacked in the drawers of a dining hutch.  That was rather difficult to sort through for our curriculum and books.  So we set forth making the best use of the space by taking out some decorative things and building some bookshelves.  Matt and I pretty much followed THESE plans, though we added the extra shelf and the pretty decorative top so it fit better with the look of the room.   And, I have to tell you, I wish I would have measured the actual opening with the front trim piece in place so make sure everything being stored here slid in and out easily.  Anyway!  Most of our books, curriculums, manipulative, binders, and teaching resources are here for easy-peasy access.  I appreciate that a lot.

Each boy has his own shelf cubby and all of the cubby boxes and magazine holders were purchased at Target and on Target.com.

With the routine of school and this simple life we have, our days can often run one right into the other.  So I thought it would be nice to have a dry-erase calendar where I can keep the boys up-to-date on the fun things that we have coming up like field-trips, playdates and out-ot-town trips.  I purchased this calendar from Target, took the frame off of it, and had Matt make me a new one.  ;)  Then spray-painted it black to match the board on the other side of the window ….

… over here.  This one I purchased from Michaels and kept it as was.  I plan on writing the subjects we are working on that day on this one.   Similar to the calendar, my boys (and I) like to see what’s coming up.  We’ll see what else this little white board gets used for since the big one will still be mostly for the actual ‘teaching’.

Again, manipulatives, and also fun things for Kaden to be entertained with, are stored in these boxes.  In this process of reorganizing this space, I didn’t want to add storage space just so I can have more stuff to store.  I went through all of our ‘stuff’ and narrowed our collection down to what is the most useful.  Less is more = Still true.

Also, I added a garbage can. :D

Of course kept the globe …

… and some pretty touches.

This corner used to house my big hutch/display cabinet for antiques.  That found a new home in our guest bedroom, where pretty much all the rest of our dining room decor ended up as well!

Now, it is a cozy little reading corner (utilizing my newborn posing beanbag!).  I saw this awesome map during a Pinterest search of school spaces and thankfully the mama on the blog shared where she got it.  Barnes and Noble … and thankfully, they had some when I swung in there to check.  I love the antiqued look … it just fits the space so well.  I really didn’t want to go with bright, primary colors in this room and the map jives with that perfectly.  Matt made me a frame for it, which I painted the same way as the white board … prime, paint, sand/distress.  :)  The cork board is from Michaels, the pillow is from Fred Meyer, and the basket/table/yellow stool I had.

My ‘idea’ is that quiet reading will happen here while I may be working with one of the boys with a lesson and the other is waiting.  We’ll see!  It has already gotten a lot of use, so hopefully they stick with loving it!

Along with changes to the decor, I’m super excited about the new curriculums we’re adding to our schedule this year.  These are just a few, plus Hand-writing Without Tears (and their typing curriculum) and Reading Comprehension …

A bit of the room stayed the same, though cleaned up and sorted out …

Now these drawers hold arts and crafts supplies, extra paper, floor puzzles, learning games, Kaden’s activities, etc.  The magazine holders have coloring books, water-color books, and activity books (like mazes, word-searches, crossword puzzles).

My goal was to make the space more efficient and focus it onto our school-time.  I wanted everything to be easy access and uncluttered.   And ….  okay …. I wanted it to look cute.  I spend a lot of time in this room, friends!

I felt weird about no longer having a ‘dining room’ for when company comes over, but Matt reminded me that everyone we have over for dinner knows that we home-school and wouldn’t judge us for feeding them amongst school-projects and a map of the world.  And he said he would much rather eat in a ‘school’ room than have the boys have school in a ‘dining’ room.  So we went for it, and I’m itchin’ to put this room to daily use!  It has already become my favorite space in our house. ;)

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  • Jolene - Love the room! Especially love the trash can :) ReplyCancel

  • Kasey W. - I LOVE your re-done school room! It almost makes me want to homeschool! Also, I noticed The Action Bible. We LOVE it! We are almost done reading the whole Bible and will start it again when we finish. My boys love it!ReplyCancel

  • Jeannie Denney - Love it Lacey!! I wish I could do school in your school space!! I really like your antiquated map! We have a USA map, but it is fairly brightly colored! I’ll have to look out for a more neutral colored one!ReplyCancel

A few months ago, Matt’s mom came across his 4th grade journalling notebook he had to write in for school.  As I read through the pages I felt like I was holding such a gift.  To hear the voice of my husband as a little boy.  Most of it was goofy stuff he wrote about and often he just wrote the one sentence requirement, but still, it is such a treasure to have his thoughts documented.

So when I was thinking about the “school” areas I wanted my oldest to strengthen over the summer and determined writing was one of them, I decided keeping a journal would be great.  I told him he could write whatever came to mind and that it was his responsibility to do it 5-days-a-week.  I wasn’t going to nag him about it.  And as much as I wanted him to think about spelling, my main encouragement was to just get his OWN thoughts out of his head and onto paper.  I’ve honestly only read a few of his entries, but I know he has pretty much stuck with writing about his days’ activities…. I know he’ll be able to SEE most of his summer in my photos, but I just think it is so special to have it documented in his own writing and out of his own thoughts too.

I didn’t realize until after I pulled these images into Lightroom, what he was writing about on this evening before bed…

…  about the “huge” buck he and Matt spotted earlier that evening, whom they had previously named Steve.  And whom Gage plans on hunting this fall when he finally gets to go out with his dad.

These journal entries are treasures.  Writing practice, yes, but a forever reminder of my boy’s summer as a nine-year-old.  Straight-up-treasures.

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  • Mom - Precious, precious moments written by an oh-so-precious little boy. (though not so “little” any more) :)
    XOXOXO to GCK from GrammieReplyCancel

  • Mom - Ahhhh….I gave myself permission to stop working for a couple of minutes (crazy busy days a work right now), and allow my eyes and brain a little joy by visiting your blog. Oh, sweet Doot. :)
    I hope you all had a fun, family weekend.
    XOXOXO to GCK from Grammie – can’t wait until next week :) ReplyCancel

As you may remember, we did not slide gracefully and carefree into Summer.  Gage’s 3rd grade testing loomed, then came … slapped me in the face, and sat me straight up in my seat.  I realized we had been lacking in the content of our schooling and that we (mostly I) needed to step it up.  To focus more on certain areas, to expect and encourage more.  I felt motivated in a very new way and didn’t want to let that motivation fizzle over the summer.  So, I set out with a goal of Summer-school.

Trust me, we were ready for a break from our studies and for the long, leisurely days that come with summer.  There is just an element about summer that just begs enjoyment, whether you work full time or have the time off from school and I wasn’t going to jip my boys (or me) out of that, regardless of what we took on for our school schedule.   We were going to still set aside time for structured learning and studying, but we were also going to play hard.  We were going to be at the pond for hours, play catch in the hay-field until dark, ride bikes after dinner, bar-b-que, roast marshmallows, go on trips and play with friends.  And we did!   While still “doing school”.

We’ve also now completed 7 out of 8 of our summer-school packets.  Rather than jumping in to our next year’s curriculum, I decided we’d focus on reading comprehension, math story-problems, grammar, and reading.  Most of it would be review and just driving in concepts that we crammed in right before Gage’s testing.  I basically tapped into some free online school resources, printing off worksheets for the above topics.  I printed off enough to have about 8-10 different ones to complete each week, made 8 packets for Gage and 8 for Cooper, organized them into a folder (for G) and a binder (for C).  They had the entire week to complete the packet, but most often they just worked on them for a little while, over one or two days.

Also, they were responsible for reading every day (some days on their own, but most often out-loud to me), and Gage was to journal 5 days a week.  I set out with this plan mid-June and wanted to share about it with you then, but  A) didn’t know how it would go and B) didn’t want to jinx us.  ;)  This wasn’t a brilliant, original plan and wasn’t meant to be.  It was just meant to keep us from loosing ground over the summer and to keep us in some sort of a routine so that the shock of starting school in the fall wouldn’t be such a hard one.  I hoped that by the end of the 8 weeks I could feel confident that it did that.  And it has!

It has kept me focused on educating my children and has helped me stay in the zone of homeschooling, which isn’t always easy for me.  ;)  I know that technically we’re supposed to always be educating.  And I do always see my children learning lots of things that can’t be taught or practiced with books and worksheets.  But, when we realize we’ve fallen behind a bit, it is hard to not actively try to catch up and correct our errors of the past.   And for a person like me, structured learning keeps me sane, inline, and knowing what we’re covering.  :)

I know a lot of people, especially those in the homeschooling community, encourage 100% embracing the break from ‘school’ that summer presents, but I’m really thankful we kept up a wee bit of it while still doin’ up summer right.

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  • KimG - Is that your newborn puck repurposed as a reading spot??? Nice!
    I meant to do more with my boys this summer, but since we were always on the move I let it slide too much. Guess we will have to hit it hard when we get back. Just a few more days now.ReplyCancel

  • mum - Great post! I am glad that I am not the only one that faced the same conundrum with testing.

    Could you please post what workbooks/curriculums and online worksheets you used over the summer?ReplyCancel

    • Lacey - Hi there! I pulled all of our worksheets from the K5 and K12 websites. Super helpful resources! :) ReplyCancel

  • Capturing His Thoughts… » This is Life. With Country Boys {Lacey Meyers Photography} - […] when I was thinking about the “school” areas I wanted my oldest to strengthen over the summer and determined writing was one of them, I decided keeping a journal would be great.  I told him he […]ReplyCancel

  • Mom - I love seeing the boys so deep in thought :) You’re reorganized schoolroom seems to work very well.
    XOXOXO to GCK from GrammieReplyCancel