Classical Conversations, Basketball, Busy Bags, and Other Mom Stuff

Caleb carved this shark in the coral reef onto foam board. Then he painted it and stamped it onto paper. This photo is of the foam board after using it to stamp the paper with the picture.

Caleb carved this shark in the coral reef on foam board. Then he painted it and stamped it onto paper. 

These are the kinds of fun things we get to do in Classical Conversations, our home school tutoring service and curriculum. Look closely at his picture to see if you can find the eel coming out of the coral. (Hint: middle-left, It’s a profile with an eye.)

Classical Conversations is a rigorous way to approach home schooling, but it is also fun. It has definitely raised the educational bar for us.


If you felt like you were reading the blog of a pitiful, dying woman in January and February, then I have good news for you!

I’m feeling better!

Going gluten free was my first step towards wellness. Now I’m also doing this Purification 21 day cleanse, which I’ll tell you more about soon, and I’m feeling even better. I haven’t lost a single pound, though. Ah, well. Go figure.

Plenty of happy things have been happening lately in school and sports and life in general, and of course you know I’m here to share all that.

First, let’s talk about home school.

I’m well aware that I have not been much of a home school blogger this year, so let me show ya a tad bit of what we’ve been up to lately without upsetting my big boys with over-share, of course…

home schooling with classical conversations

because sitting down is overrated, apparently

home school with classical conversations

Voluntarily reading the Bible! This kid knows how to make his momma smile!!

home school with CC

With our CC curriculum, the boys learn 5 new geographical locations to map out every week, which we practice everyday.

Last year we mostly traced a dry erase map, but actually drawing out the map locations every day has helped them learn it better. This particular map went along with our history lesson on the advanced (native) civilizations of Mesoamerica.

preschool homeschool

Dan and JD aren’t in CC yet. They are sorting colors and letters in their egg crates. (Thank you, Amy!)

The boys have an aunt who is crafty and extremely teacher oriented. She makes these off-the-chain busy bags, and THEN she ever so kindly shares them with us!! So exciting! She puts these kits together, complete with instructions and personalized details, and sends them to us in the mail!

Thank you, Amy!!!

homeschool with CC

We’re memorizing all of the helping verbs as well as all of the prepositions this year in grammar for CC.

home school with classical conversations

See! They do sit and work sometimes!

home school with classical conversations

Super proud mom moment. I took the boys to the park, and Caleb brought along a book to read. It was one of those unusually perfect days, in which the boys played and shared and helped each other out so perfectly (In public!!!) that I got to look like Mom of the year. Thank you, boys.


home school with classical conversations

We’re in earth science for this part of Cycle 1. (I liked life science better, but it all must be covered.)

home school with classical conversations

I got especially excited about this one because he beat the timer.

home school with classical conversations

This is another one of Amy’s incredible busy bags. Um, hello? They even have our pictures on them, and of course, they are laminated.

No, she doesn’t sell them, but if she ever decides to open shop, you can bet I will sell them for her right here.

But you know we are not just academic here. Allow me to share this winter’s big passion:

home school with classical conversations

Yes. This is my basketball necklace.


Did you know that Alan coached a team this year, a team that both Joshua and Caleb got to play on? And did you also know that we won almost all of our games?

home school with classical conversations

That’s Joshua with the ball.

Most importantly, both boys had a blast, made new friends, learned a great deal about basketball and how to play it, got tons of exercise, and grew in confidence!! (I was most excited about that last part!)

Joshua, passing to Caleb

Joshua scored so many times, and Caleb made a few baskets as well. They were both energized and highly involved, and it was such a pleasure to watch them play.


Caleb, keeping it high


Coach Dads

Alan is that unusually experienced and exciting coach that every parent or kid would want to have, unless having snack is important to you. Alan’s stance on snack: “If someone wants to organize snacks, that’s fine. I’m not going to, but feel free.” And you know what? No one did, and I don’t think anyone missed snacks.  Fun season!



Of course, now it’s time to move on to baseball, but don’t worry. I already have two baseball charms ready for my necklace and my bracelet.


Hope everyone has a fabulous week, whether we like the election results or not!

When first things are put first, second things are not suppressed but increased.” C. S. Lewis

I did try.

The day I tried to take sleepy JD to Joshua’s basketball game….

Today is Joshua’s very first basketball game. I would love to be there right now, cheering that boy on. Go, Joshua!!! Actually, I WAS there. I just didn’t get to stay for more than 5 minutes. John David still seems to be in charge of my schedule. We can try to pretend like our baby doesn’t run our schedule, but we’re really just kidding ourselves. “Oh, I can’t go at 11…”

“Why not?”

“Because that’s JD’s nap time.”

That right there tells you who is actually in charge of the house schedule. The younger the child, the more power they actually have.

Alan has to be at all practices and games because, as usual, Alan is the assistant coach. This morning Alan got himself, Joshua, Caleb, Daniel, and JD ready in the time that it took me to shower, wash my hair, get dressed, and put on my face. That makes me sound awfully slow, doesn’t it? hmmm

Alan was leaving with the three oldest boys,and he asked me if I was planning on coming. They all wanted me to go too.

I decided that yes, I was definitely coming. Alan and the boys left, and I told them that JD and I would see them there.

I half dried my hair, threw it up in a bun, donned the (literally) cutest outfit I own, grabbed John David, grabbed the baby back pack, and headed out the door. I’d never been to this gym, and I’d never worn the baby backpack, so I hoped for the best. I felt brave. I was doing a GOOD thing. 🙂


moss landing

This is what the baby backpack looks like that I’m referring to. Alan wears JD in this anytime we do something outdoors as a family.


Alan said I’d probably have to park across the street from the gym, but that was not the case. I was shocked to find that out of a parking lot of about 10 spaces, THE space that is closest to the door was EMPTY. Wow! It wasn’t reserved for anyone special either. I whipped my car in, feeling like the luckiest woman in the world.

I got JD out, put him in the backpack, and then I realized something. Baby backpacks are not so much like Ergos. It does NOT hold the baby to your body. It holds the baby away from your body. This was like putting a rucksack on a new boot camp recruit. I was a little afraid I was going to tip right over.

Perhaps that parking space was more than luck. It was God’s way of keeping me from ending up in the hospital.

I struggled my way into the gym, chanting to myself, “Must start exercising again, must start exercising again.”  Also, I put JD in backwards….Oh well.

The moment I walked into the gym, JD started to HOWL. Not cry. Not bawl. Scream. He was throwing the loudest toddler tantrum I’d ever witnessed. It was nap time. I tried taking him out and holding him. Didn’t work. I tried carrying him around. Didn’t work.

Finally, I just left, about 5 or 7 minutes after I’d arrived. Yes, it was an embarrassment, but it was also a service to the basketball watching public and to John David himself. He fell asleep right as we pulled into the driveway. He started crying again when I turned off the car, but I comforted him into quieting down. “Shh Don’t worry, sweet baby,” I whispered, “I’m taking you right up to your bed, and you can sleep all you want to. I promise.”

I had to find another way to support Joshua. I’m going to be supportive from the house today. I’m making Joshua’s favorite soup: Hot Stuff, for after the game.  That should make everyone happy.



Directions for Hot Stuff

This one is a soup that I grew up with.  It’s one of Dad’s family’s recipes.  If you want it to be truly “hot”, use a lot of black pepper, and if not, then just don’t use much pepper.
1 huge can Tomato Juice (they sell the big cans in the juice section of the store)
3/4 box (roughly) little seashell noodles
1 lb. ground beef or ground turkey
1 small bell pepper, chopped
1/2  medium onion, chopped
black pepper, to taste
teaspoon basil (optional)
–easy to double for leftovers–
In a large frying pan, brown beef/turkey and drain.   Return to pan and add bell pepper and onion and cook until softened.  Meanwhile, boil water for noodles in a large pot– we call it a dutch oven.  Cook noodles according to package directions and drain.  Pour entire can of tomato juice into your dutch oven and add the meat mixture and the noodles in with the juice.  Add pepper and basil to taste.  Heat on med/high until boil and then reduce to low.   No need to simmer for long, once it’s hot enough to eat, it’s done.  : )  

Our Championship Basketball Game!



Coach Katie, prepping our rock stars for the game

  This was Joshua’s first year to play basketball.  He’s played three seasons of t-ball/baseball—no love lost there.  He played one season of soccer, and he liked it better than tee ball, but still no love.  Finally, this year, he and his buddy Xavier INSISTED on playing basketball.  We decided to let him give it a shot, and he LOVED it.  He was actually sad to see the season end.

Our team, the Blue Raptors, started out super shaky.  Our practices kept getting cancelled due to this awful winter weather we’ve had.  Then our coach had a BABY, so Alan helped a little extra for a couple of weeks.  Ha!  Having a baby really didn’t slow Coach Katie down much.  She was back in action only two weeks after having her third baby!  Seriously.

We had a few wins, but it felt like mostly losses, until lo and behold, the tournament began, and we suddenly were on a ROLL.  There were three rounds, with the third round being the championship.  Joshua and his teammates were SO EXCITED to make it to the championship.

You know this is the closest I will ever, ever, ever come to writing a sports post.  I actually used to have to cheer at basketball games in middle school, but all I remember is yelling “Miss it!” a lot, and doing a lot of hand clap/ leg slap moves that were kind of fun.  I know nothing about the actual game.

I missed a bunch of games due to kids’ illnesses and the freezing cold.  (I have the right to remain Southern.) When I finally started going to games, I was so lost.

“Yeah!  Get ’em!…….Huh?  Oh, *mumbling* no, don’t get ’em, that’s not allowed.  Okay….you don’t wanna do that…”

“Yeah!!  Oh, no?  He’s doing so good.  What’s double dribbling?”

Anyway, without further ado…..a billion photos of the championship game.  We actually had friends on both teams, so Alan took a few pics of them as well.   Sadly, I missed this game.  I was in Alabama.  Amy and Sean were our heroes, keeping Dan under control during the game.

Thank you, Amy and Sean!!!  We owe ya’ll like a new vehicle or something when we move.  You have helped us so much!







proud dads, and friends of ours, Jim and Jeff


























Our boys and girls were ahead most of the game, but right at the end the other team swooped in and beat us by 2 points.  Yep.  Sounds like a great game!  Good job, kids!!!!

They had an award ceremony at the end:







It was so much more exciting for them, getting a trophy they’d earned, rather than just the participation trophy.





Caleb’s buddy, collecting his winner’s trophy



one of Joshua’s best buds, collecting his trophy






Hurray, Blue Raptors!!!

After the big ceremony, Coach Katie did an award ceremony for our team.  Each player earned a medal and a certificate for something.  Joshua was named, very aptly, “Most Improved.”















The team parents also recognized Coach Katie and Assistant Coach Alan’s contributions with a gift.  Thanks, team!!!




Apparently, it was an exhausting adventure for Daniel, too.

By Sunday, the boys were very ready for me to come back. They even made me these sweet cards.





Aren’t they precious? So proud of all these little ones!

1 2