One Year Here- Location

We've been living in our (rental) home on the Upper Eastern Shore in Maryland for one year now, so I thought it would be a good time for an update. When we moved here a year ago, we were generally unfamiliar with the area. While Behn and I both grew up in Delaware- which technically is only a few miles away- we did not grow up this far south in the state. So the towns, shopping, roads, and other attractions were generally new to us. Since then, we've really established our stomping grounds. We live in a tiny one stop-light town in a neighborhood stuffed with great kids and neighbors. Let's start there.

Our rental is a roomy Cape Cod on a quiet street. We have firefighters/EMS on one side of our house and a state Trooper on the other side. While we haven't met everyone, most of the neighbors are so super friendly and the kids have a huge group of kiddos to run around with. I've made one especially close friend, which has been a blessing. The kids run around the acre…

Too Much Noise

Hi there, how are you? How is that thing going, how is she doing, how was your trip? I can listen right now. That must be hard, that sounds wonderful, I understand, I don't know how that must feel. Me too. I can listen some more. We are all Eleanor Rigby sometimes.

I'm ok (you didn't ask, but if you did, thank you). This thing is going well or not. I know we are all busy. Can we get together with the kids? Oh, they have camp/VBS/school/an appointment/visitors/you're on a trip? We have stuff going on, too. Another time then, when things calm down (they won't). You didn't see my text, my message, my SOS? Oh yeah, life has been crazy, I get it. (Does it always have to be crazy though? Can we turn down some noise?)

I don't want to read that article you shared. You don't want to listen to the podcast I shared, either. I get it. There's a lot of noise. Too much noise. Maybe we can be quiet and talk in the fresh air.

Do you want to come for lunch sometime?…

Only If

Only if
you peer into the creek, still and quiet,
might eye and brain in a flash discover
a small turtle in your palm.
You both blink, surprised.

Only if
a toddler's chubby hand bumbles persistently
for the black ant in the grass, dropping it
over and over,
finding it again,
does the ant finally realize its mortality
the moment the toddler discovers its mighty bite.

Only if
I scan the sky, against cirrus and azure,
can I begin to distinguish wingspan of
eagle, buzzard, hawk, heron.
There's a world up there.

Only if
one sits on a tree stump, alone,
no earbuds,
that in five minutes time one may hear
the unmistakable slither at one's feet.
One was not alone.

Only if
he must conquer creek
will he find a stick to measure depth.
Cautiously first, then charging on.
Creek is known, joy found.
He's a Navy Seal now.

Only if we step to edge of pond,
clear on top, muddy bottom,
there's nothing here- then we toss the pebble
and a thousand fat tadpoles emerge.

But only if.

"This is science, right Mom?"

Blogging has taken a backseat to real life. In the past 3 weekends, we have celebrated Easter with my family, then I went on a Girls' trip with my mom and sisters, and then Behn and I ran the 10-mile Broadstreet Run in Philadelphia with some family. The weeks fly by, with homeschooling, work, commuting, and making big life decisions (house-related...more on that another time). Besides lots of running to train for the race, I've also been taking some riding lessons again. Samuel is still in preschool for another month, and the other two have schoolwork and tumbling class. Whew! Thankfully our calendar is clear for the foreseeable future. We need a break.

I did want to pop in on here to share a few thoughts about homeschooling and something Graham said yesterday. He and Patrick caught TEN toads in the yard and put them all into a giant plastic bin, full of dirt, rocks, weeds, etc, creating the best habitat that they could. In the middle of it all, Graham exclaimed, 'This is …

Reflections on our first year homeschooling both boys

It is spring. Perfect, lovely, green spring. Today is especially glorious- rain followed by sun and everything is alive.

Last night we celebrated the end of our Classical Conversations year. My boys still have a couple months of regular schoolwork to do, but it felt like an accomplishment wrapping up CC. Those 24 weeks were rich in fellowship and learning, and I'm already looking forward to next year.

We made it through the winter- long, cold days where school felt like a drag and we were all trapped inside together. It was hard. I started researching local schools because...gosh, homeschooling is hard work! I've been worn thin. But we made it through the tunnel and slowly it seems like we know what this looks like for us now. The boys know what we need to do each day (not that they don't still complain sometimes) and in the past few weeks they've gone off to play together and I'm hearing much more, "let's pretend..." than I have before. They have so …

WE'RE DEBT FREE!!! How We Paid Off $55,000 in 23 Months- Part 3

Behn and I started watching Dave Ramsey YouTube clips and listening to his daily radio show in January 2017.  Dave lays out the 7 steps to Financial Peace and they made a lot of sense to us. We listed our debts from smallest to largest and discovered how much we truly owed- a little over $55,000. Most of these were educational loans. Behn and my undergrad, as well as Behn's Master's Degree. Years of paying minimum payments meant we had paid a ton in interest and the principle balances were stubbornly high. This is not hard to understand, but for years we'd only been able to pay the minimums. Now we were looking these financial statements in the eye. We were "sick and tired of being sick and tired," as Dave Ramsey likes to say. It was time to run from debt.

We went ahead and bought Dave's Financial Peace University and committed to watching the DVD's and doing the workbooks together every Tuesday night. At some point we planned on going to a community clas…

WE'RE DEBT FREE!! How We Paid Off $55,000 in 23 months- Part 2

Part 1 here

After we moved to Southern Maryland, my parents generously offered for us to live with them until we could get on our feet. Those first 6 months were hard with a newborn, a toddler, and new town. During that time, we began to realize that the salary at Behn's new job, though much better than his old job, wasn't as amazing as it seemed. Taxes and health insurance came out, of course; and now we were in a very high cost of living area. I was staying home with now 2 boys. The rent in Southern Maryland is crazy- technically it is a D.C. suburb and there's also a Navy base there adding to the high cost of living. Rent was incredibly higher than it had been in Lexington. The natural choice was to buy. Interest rates were low and there were lots of short sales and foreclosures. It seemed like a dream come true- we were buying a house. Meanwhile, Behn needed a commuter car and knowing that we truly couldn't handle a second car payment, we scraped up the cash for a …