• In our groove….

    Producer turned homeschool teacher…I have to say the roles are quite similiar. You make plans, add on a few more plans and then over plan for the outcome you want and when things change you just fly by the seat of your pants and hope it all works out in the end. I have to say these last few weeks have gone just that way. I have tweaked, changed schedules, made last minute add ons and now I think I am finally in my groove. In the beginning people would ask me how I knew what I was doing. Truth is I didn’t. But with a little bit of practice, observing my kids learning styles, and praying really hard….I can now say I feel more confident that what we are doing is working. School at home is FUN! It really is. This next week we are learning about seeds and how they grow. There will be math, and reading, and science all wrapped into that. And we will be memorizing the 10 Commandments along with Psalm 91: 1-5. We are also working as a family on listing daily things we are thankful for. It is sweet to hear what comes out of Gress’ heart. Yesterday he said he was thankful for Mcree and that he could play and snuggle with him.

    Our highlight of the week was our family trip to the beach Friday afternoon/evening. AHH, my soul was overjoyed while we walked along the shore. We might have to visit it again this week!

  • Randomness…

    You might be a homeschooler if…you have 50+ books checked out of the library at one time. Some of these latest books have become Gress’ favorites and he keeps asking to renew them. The latest chapter book we read we couldn’t put down and at one point Gress and I were sitting in the backyard and I would look at him after each chapter was over and he would say, “what do you think…read another?” At the end of the book I got so choked up from holding back my tears that I could barely keep reading. Books truly have a way of making you believe for that moment that you are somewhere else. I’m thankful for Gress’ love for books.

    The weather has been amazing here and we have been outside A LOT! Our front yard is mostly grass, except for that perfect little spot of dirt. Guess where the boys play? Yep you guessed it…in that patch of dirt. They are usually covered from head to toe every day which means baths every night. I bet they planned it that way! 🙂

    Mera is on the mend. After many days of not eating and doing other things I won’t talk about here, she is back to her scavenging self. Our sweet vet arrived last night to deliver her some meds just because we asked. Only in Savannah!

  • 10 Thoughts

    1. Boys are drawn to dirt. And when an almost 2 year old has a runny nose, and he rubs his face every few minutes with his dirt covered hands, he soon looks like he has a 5:00 shadow with facial stubble. It is hard not to chuckle every time he turns your way.

    2. Younger brothers will ALWAYS want to sit next to their older brother, even if the older brother does not want him there. Get used to it Gress, everywhere you go, you will have a sidekick!

    3. Mcree now thinks every grocery store gives free cookies. The second he gets in the cart he says, “cooooookie?” THANKS Publix for “always being a pleasure to shop in.” Your motto fits you well.

    4. After almost 13 years, Mera STILL has digestive issues. I thought she was just odd all this time until today I read that German Shepherds are known to have those problems. Maybe I would have given her more grace all these years if I really thought it was in her genes!

    5. I am not sure if 5 year old boys are all sweet (since I only have one I have no idea) but Gress is always telling me what a beautiful mommy I am. He notices when I wear a dress, or I do something different with my hair. He hugs me and tells me how much he loves me. Love this kid.

    6. Speaking of hair, I just french braided my hair. It’s probably been over 5 years since I have done that. I feel 5 years younger! 🙂 Okay not really!

    7. I usually make up my mind to do a project and then I jump into it with little preparation. I don’t have time to fool with gathering the supplies and getting everything set up. Radford often makes fun of me and reminds me of my “paper mache” butterfly days when I stayed up until the wee hours of the morning creating a humongous butterfly to hang on our screen porch in Iowa. Yes, I admit when I want to get my craftiness on there is no ramp up, it is just full on go for it. This weekend I decided to redo a bench we have. I actually took the time to gather the supplies and knew exactly what I was going to do. But somehow Rad always gets dragged into my projects. I needed a sander, and eye wear, and a respirator, and gloves, and then help after one sander was smoking, and then another run to Home Depot for other products, and then to the store for something else and I kept having to wash off my skin from the chemical burns that were happening. Let’s just say my asian inspired bench that somehow arrived in my possession many years ago, has about 12 layers of primer and paint on it. NOT what I was expecting. This was my trial run to see if I could really redo the boys dresser (that has about 6 times the surface wood that this bench does). Because little people were hungry and covered in dirt, the bench had to wait for it’s final touches until another day. Yes, it makes me cringe just a bit that I can’t finish it in one sitting.

    8. I got to see a glimpse into my friends heart this weekend. She is a joyous person…one of the things I love about her. But it wasn’t until she introduced me to a homeless man she witnessed to time and again many years ago that I got to see another side of her heart. It was so beautiful to see her heart for this man.

    9. I love our Saturdays! We pick up or amazing vegetables from the farmers each Saturday morning at the park, and then we have soccer for Gress, followed by a session of the kids running crazy in the fountains at the park, and then this Saturday some hang out time with the farmers. Life is great!

    10. I never thought I would hear Rad say that this rental house is his favorite house he has lived in since we have been married. Not even Decatur? Wow that one was so precious! But we have both come to really realize what matters in our home. And I have to say, living with less stuff (yes minus the overflowing attic and garage that have yet to be purged..out of sight out of mind), we actually have really gotten to be purposeful about family time and the things that matter. It is the life that is happening inside the home that matters. Love that thought!! It has made us evaluate 100% what is next for our living situation. Don’t worry, we won’t be coming your way via motor home anytime soon..although that sure does sound adventurous.

  • 12 Years

    If you asked me 12 years ago what I thought my life would look like with Rad now, I am not sure I could have even guessed that far in advance. Today we celebrate our 12 year anniversary and wow has it been a crazy fun adventurous ride. We have gotten to live out so many dreams we dreamed many years ago. I can’t wait to see what adventures lie ahead and where God leads us on this journey. I am so grateful to have a husband who loves and cherishes me and to be partnered with someone who fully invests in our family. Here was our first Christmas together….


    We spent Saturday at a very sweet intimate wedding of a couple we know. It was simply done with the focus being on the couple and their guests. It reminded us of what marriage is supposed to be about. No elaborate pricy things, but a connection with the people you love. It was a beautiful reminder of how God designed marriage.

    We also now have a soccer player in the family. Gress is on a kids soccer league who’s main goals are to just have fun learning the basics. It is quite cute to watch and great to see Gress gain confidence in himself. Gress is a great motivator of other kids and loves running around leading kids to follow his commands.

  • As this week closes…

    As this week comes to a close, I have to say overall homeschooling has been fun. I do wonder at times if Gress is “getting it” (as in understanding anything that is being taught to him). But then I just remind myself that I have a whole school years worth of lessons and practical life that he still has to build upon the every day learning. I do sometimes get the random questions from Gress that take me a minute to figure out how to answer so that he actually understands…

    For example:

    “Mom, God said Adam was going to die. Why was he still alive?”

    “Mom, who wrote the Bible?”

    While looking at a map of the world:  “Mom, that isn’t the whole world, there is stuff next to it.”

    Gress thinks he speaks spanish and was trying to teach Rad and I what certain words meant (although they were NOT spanish words). It was all we could do to not crack a smile.

    Mcree is still very much into markers, crayons, anything loud he can bang, yelling, and just being silly. We went to the library for a special story time the other day and it was Mcree’s first time there as a toddler. I told him he had to be quiet when we were in the building. We walked into the entrance that was completely tiled and he screamed at the top of his lungs and laughed when his voice echoed. So much for rules, especially after our fun story time that consisted of laughing, dancing and singing at the top of our lungs. Pretty sure he now thinks the library is a place to be loud! Mcree also loves people and says hi to EVERYONE. On a walk while he was in the stroller, he said hi to everyone we passed, often bringing smiles to people’s faces that normally wouldn’t have even looked our way. Great life lessons going on while we live out our days.

    We have managed to get out a lot and play…although I do get many looks as to why my 5 year old isn’t in school. Little do they know the grocery store, the bank, interacting with people and of course playing at the park have a lot to teach a 5 year old.

    We have a fun weekend ahead with Gress starting soccer (a low key version of the competitive style, mostly just to learn the basics and have fun), and a wedding to attend. Looking forward to lots of family time!

  • Kindgergarten

    School has officially started in our house. Gress started Kindergarten Tuesday. He has been asking for months when school was going to start. Finally it did. In case you missed one of our last posts, we are homeschooling. Our main focus is language and math with some science, bible and maybe even a little guitar thrown in. We are starting off learning about weather including clouds and big storms, how to tell temperature and how to forecast weather as well learning about months and seasons. Luckily Gress has never done this before because he doesn’t realize I haven’t either. I am excited to see how he learns, what he knows, what makes him excited to learn and gear all the materials to suit him best.

    This week Gress has made up his own crafts and activities. At first I thought, hey, I already have things planned out…but I love his brain and letting him go in a direction helps me see where his passions lie. That is the beauty of one on one teaching.

    Sweet Mcree wants to be right next to us through it all so we are also seeing what he loves to do and how he learns. (So I guess that makes him officially starting preschool).  I am also excited to watch how Gress mentors him.

  • What we have been up to…

    Here are a few photos of life these last few months. My mom came to visit and we all love having Mimi around. We packed in so many things (from a trip to the farm, a night at the baseball game, time at the beach and a trip to see my Sister and her family). It was great to have her here and so special to be together as family with my sister. And I love seeing the cousins together and watching my boys with sweet little Layla. In between just hanging out as family at home, we managed to squeeze in more trips to the farm and the beach. Gress is now the official egg collector at the farm and Mcree is not afraid of waves over his head at the beach…really I should say he isn’t afraid of really pretty much anything (except Gress’ ferocious roar).   I didn’t take many photos these last few months but these seem to capture some of our moments. 

  • Short Intermission…

    There has been a lot going on in the Harrell household these last few months and honestly, it has been good to just rest for that time without having many commitments. This blog was one of those commitments I just had to let go for a moment. I didn’t have the mental energy to chronicle our lives.

    We all face struggles, and I know God takes us through seasons of hardships. I feel lucky to have been without many for quite some time. A few months ago, I miscarried. I had been down that road several times before so it was a familiar path. But this time God kept telling me to choose joy in my situation…something I wasn’t able to do before. My body struggled for months to recover and it took all I had to trust His way and not my own, but in choosing to have joy, he healed my heart and my body.

    The sweetest part of it all has been hearing Gress pray for me at night asking God to heal my body. And I am so thankful for an amazing husband who has held my hand through this all and has picked up all my responsibilities along with his own.

    I am back up and running, maybe even better than before…so here the blogging continues.