Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Mid-week Likes & Links

Gosh, I'm falling behind.  But, here's what I'm loving...

This book.  Oh my gosh.  I've had it on my shelf for almost a year, I think.  Like most books, that's there it remained, unread.  Until I started to get anxious about homeschooling and texted a sweet friend to ask some questions.  She recommended this quick did almost every Instagram post I follow for the past few weeks.  It's amazing.  So, so good.

A sweet friend of mine just started a blog.  Her focus will be food...healthy food, so, check it out when you get a minute.

I just discovered (thanks to Rosie, I think) that Christina used to have a food blog.  My goodness, I want to make everything.  It's gorgeous, and everything looks so delicious!

I found this little outfit for baby boy at the hospital.  Genevieve had a cream one.

Movies...we've watched two really good ones.  I'm not a crier and I cried my way through this one. And, this was another motivational sports story - I find I always love those.

My cousin gave me one of these for my birthday a few months ago, and I love it!  I've only started liking carbonated water the last few years, and now I can make it any time I want!

Has anyone read this book on Joan of Arc?

When will you make your first of this category of baked goods?  Can it already be time?

Okay, hit me with your favorites!

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Pregnancy: Pink Blush Maternity

Finding cute maternity clothes that make you feel good is somewhat of a challenge.  It is for me anyway.  My typical pregnancy uniform is a tank, jeans and a long cardigan.  Sometimes I switch the jeans to leggings.  And, I wear dresses from time to time.  But, that's about it.  And, I know this is super superficial, but rarely do I feel like I look good.  Not important, I know.  Anyway, Pink Blush contacted me and offered me one of their cute dresses!

With a pair of spanx underneath, this maternity dress they sent will now enter the rotation...for as long as my bottom and thighs will fit into it, ha!  Navy is my favorite color, and while the photos make it look black at times, it is definitely a dark navy.  It has a lace overlay, so while I wore it fairly casually for Mass on Saturday night, with heels and a few different pieces of jewelry, it would work beautifully for a special occasion!

The best part about it as a maternity is stretchy!  And, it comes in a host of other colors.  My second choice was the ivory!  How cute would it be with a fall scarf and a pair of riding boots?
It's really comfortable, and I love that it can be dressed up or down so easily.  Plus, if I do any traveling this pregnancy, it's a dress I can easily throw in my bag without worrying about it getting wrinkled.
I love the lace detailing...

...and I really like the sleeve length!

If you're in the market for maternity clothes, head to their website!  And, if you're feeling lucky, head to my instagram where I'm hosting a giveaway for $75 toward a Pink Blush outfit of your choosing!  Good luck!

Monday, August 29, 2016

So It Begins...

Today we begin our homeschooling journey.  I remember when Jeremy and I first thought of this as an option for our family about four years ago, thinking "I have all the time in the world to decide on everything related to that."  I know you'll be surprised to hear me say, it snuck up on me.  But, it did. Of course, I've been asking questions of seasoned vets and researching curriculum for years.  We've finally decided what we're going to go with for now, which is Mother of Divine Grace.  Carter is starting kindergarten today, and so begins his years of formal education.
It's not been an easy decision.  Honestly, there are few decisions that are ever easy for me to make.  I worry, and I can quickly let anxiety take over.  I've questioned why.  I've wondered how it would logistically happen.  I've even kicked myself for being the person years ago who swore I'd never even entertain the option of keeping my kids home for school.  I've wrestled with questions from others, wondered if we'd ever know if we were doing the right thing and many times kept quiet, in fear that our decision for what was best for our family would in some way offend someone else.

But, we've made a decision, and here is a tiny look into why.

We want the best for our children.  Most parents do.  Keeping them home for now is what we see as best for the Fisk family.  It allows us more time with them.  It allows us to continue to be the most influential people in our children's lives.  It gives us the freedom to teach them what we feel they should know from a perspective we'd like to see it coming from.  It helps us keep God at the very center of their lives...and their education.

We don't despise public education (or private education).  In fact, we may end up at either place some day.  We just want to try this first.

We don't feel this will free our children from mistakes.  We know we cannot shield them from everything, nor should we.  We know they will learn many things the hard way.  But, we feel we are in a position to provide them with a strong foundation which allows us to keep them close for a little while longer...hoping to strengthen their resolve for the time in life when they are on their own.

We don't feel this will harm them socially.  I was one of of the people who thought homeschoolers were weird.  I'm sure there are weird homeschoolers, just as I'm sure there are weird public schoolers.  And, I know some people might think we are weird.  But!  We aren't keeping our kids from social activities.  They know how to have conversations with people, young and old.  They know how to interact with peers (it's hard not to learn that quickly when you have almost five in your personal space every single day).  They will participate in activities when the time is right.  And, we are not building a hermitage.  In the event that we ever think they're getting too weird, we'll determine what needs to be done.  But, I have a feeling what might make someone weird in the eyes of the world might not really matter to the one upstairs.  Moving on...

I don't need a break.  Honestly, that's not true.  I do...more days than I care to admit.  And, I get just enough of a break usually when I'm just at the point of breaking.  My mom watches the kids for a bit, or my husband loads them all in the truck to go see the cows, etc.  I've realized I don't need as much as I once thought, and I've realized something even more important...this is my life.  This is my vocation.  No, not every day is ideal.  No, I don't have hours to myself...but I really don't think I'm supposed to.  And, I've been extremely blessed to be able to stay home and raise this crew.  So, I see homeschooling as just part of that vocation.  It's my job right now...and the most important job I'll ever have.  And really, it won't last long.  So, I'm going to savor the gift.

I think I can handle it.  Many people, when they discover that we have five kids (with one on the way) and the oldest being six, get wide-eyed and say, "I don't know how you do it."  Honestly, I don't know how we do either.  But each baby comes one at a time (so far!), and God has always given us the grace to welcome a new one into our home with even greater love than we knew we were capable of.  Same goes with homeschooling.  I have days when I'm wrapped in anxiety wondering how we will do this...and then I remember that I have parenting days like that as well.  God has always provided a way.  I do very little and He takes care of all the rest.  I'm confident that we will take one day at a time and He will lead the way.

Yes, it's countercultural.  But, it's not so uncommon anymore.  And, by baby #6, we're used to being countercultural :)

In the end, we haven't chosen this path to lord over anyone else.  We don't think we are better parents than our neighbors because we homeschool.  We don't even know that this is what we will do forever. It's what we feel called to do tomorrow, and hopefully the next day, and maybe even for years after that.  It's how we want to raise our babies now.

We will struggle.  Each day will bring new challenges.  And, I'm sure we'll fail more times than we can count.  But, that won't be any different than our everyday life.  I have a feeling with the hard times, we will also get to experience the beauty of children learning new things, getting excited about all that lies ahead and seeing little souls striving toward the only true goal that matters.

It will be an adventure!  One that develops our sanctity I'm sure.  And, we are excited to begin, just as we are excited for others to live theirs in ways only they know is best.  Pray for us...we always need it.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Bread in a Bag

Last Thursday, my boys wanted to make some bread for Elley - we're over there some Fridays, and they see her eating bread (she fasts on Fridays), so they think she loves it and asked if they could make her some.  Well, it was very convenient that just an hour earlier I was scrolling through my Facebook feed and found this.  I was so excited!  I thought, "This is easy enough!"  Ummm.

So, while Jeremy had Sophie and John Paul feeding the animals, Carter and Peter began!

It was really pretty easy and a lot of fun for the boys!  However, silly me started the bread-baking project about 10 minutes before dinner, and it got a bit messy.  And, then it wasn't working exactly as I thought it should.  And, then Genevieve got upset that she wasn't eating, blah blah blah.  Do you guys get more stressed the louder your house becomes?  I do.

Then, Jeremy walked in as I was getting the dough out of the bag to put into the pan, and with raised brows said, "New recipe?"
 That might have made me a bit more frustrated/tense than I already was.
 Patience/ease is not my strong suit.
 But!  The boys had so much fun!  And, really, it was pretty easy.

Basically we kept adding flour, squishing the dough and then letting it sit.

I will say the last cup of flour was very hard to get mixed in.
Which you can see here...and this is where I tell you I threw my hands up and thought, who cares if this actually works.
This is how it looked...not like it was supposed to.  I know...beautiful!
Though, in all honesty, I really liked the taste of it.  We all did...especially Elley!

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Our Sweet Baby Girl

I've been in slow blog mode for quite some time.  I would like to update it more...and then I always find other things to do with my time.  We're getting ready to start school.  I've been busy (for me) with photography.  And, life right now with the kids the age they are (I'm sure it doesn't get easier) is just crazy at times.  So, the blog falls behind.  Oh well.  And, with each new child, I find that I document a little less.  Yes, each baby is in a ton of photos, but I don't think I've even started a baby book for Genevieve, and Carter's might be the only one I really completed.  I'm praying they don't care when they grow up. 

Genevieve is now nine months.  

I know I'm her mom, and I know there is some bias in that, but she is just the sweetest.  Her little demeanor reminds me so much of John Paul's when he was this age.  She's as laid back as can be, and she's always smiling.  She's not grumpy, and she only cries if she gets scared (or the usual tired or hungry). She's a dream.  And, I know how blessed I am to have five kids who were amazing babies. She's one of the best.

She might have been a bit upset here because, well, she had poop from head to toe upon waking.

But, she quickly got over it.

She's crawling, eating everything we eat, has two teeth and a bit more hair, and she says, "eh?" to almost anything you say.

We adore this precious angel as we do the rest of them!

Thursday, August 18, 2016

His Big Birthday

Jeremy turned the big 4-0 last week.  It's so hard for me to believe.  Anything to do with how quickly our lives pass is hard for me to believe these days, so it's par for the course.  I'm not the best gift-giver.  In fact, I think I have gift-giver's anxiety, hehe.  I'm making that up, but still.  I can't watch someone open a gift from me.  And, I feel like I have to explain exactly why I bought what I bought and why they might not like it, and what I almost bought, etc.  Ha!  I'm weird.

Anyway, Jeremy has never been one to say he really wanted anything for any special occasion, and typically, if he does, he wasn't something very useful.  This year, instead of doing many gifts, we are making a trip out of a wedding I'm shooting near NYC...taking a few extra days for just the two of us and celebrating the birth of this special guy.  He said not to get him anything, so I tried to follow through, and well, I don't think I'll ever do that again.

Fast forward to his birthday morning, and Carter was up asking where the streamers and balloons were...when we were going to get out the party favors and everything else that makes a birthday special.  I had a photo album of the forty things we adore about our Jeremy and forty photos of him with his kiddos.  That was it.  We made some yummy sticky buns for breakfast, but Carter was a bit perplexed.  So, he got out one of my lids to a big pot and put it on top of Jeremy's plate...uncovering it when he was ready to eat.  And, then this happened: as I was wrapping the album, Carter said he had the perfect gift for his daddy.  His very own wallet, filled with $28 that he's been saving for a special toy for months.  He wanted his daddy to have it, and he  Sweet, sweet boy.

So, on to the evening of his mom invited us over for dinner.  And, let me tell you, it was a dinner in pure Elley fashion.  As we drove up, Carter said, "I cannot wait for the party favors!" Feeling pretty guilty, I told him, "Carter, I didn't get party favors either."  "Oh mom, Elley thinks of everything, don't worry!"

And she does.

She had the dining room set up with her beautiful dinnerware, steaks on the grill, a funny black cake made and other cupcakes for the kids, party blowers, funny masks, noise makers and the works.  Mind you, she and my dad work daily keeping the ranch in order, caring for community members, watching kids of mine or my siblings', spending time with their parents, etc.  What I mean to say is that she does so much (they both do!)...and all of it is for others.  She wanted to make Jeremy feel special on this birthday of his, just like she made (and continues to make ) each of her kid's birthdays special every year, and again, she went above and beyond.

I know I'm pregnant, but it was so hard not to just cry as I walked in the door...seeing just how very much she loves all of us, and how humbling that can often be.

She's the definition of selflessness, and I'm so thankful for her example in our lives.  Here's a peek:

All in one photo!
I'm not sure if you've realized which one is our little clown yet...

Some days I don't think we tell this guy enough how grateful we are for him.
Some personalities shining through...

It's just like feeding a baby...we all felt if we put our mouths just right, we'd help Jeremy with his candles.
And, then everyone got their own turn.

She just wanted to watch.
And, then we had a little time outside.  Sophie just wanted to walk her Duke.

They boys couldn't wait any longer and ripped open Jeremy's present!  After that, Carter had a little apple splitting show for his dad.  It's a plastic sword, fyi.

And, this guy, who adores his little Gen, kept her entertained. 

It was the best in which I realized that a little bit of effort goes a really long in which I realized I want to be more like my parents...and one in which I has a bit of time to reflect again on how very blessed I am to be a part of this man's forty years.  He's our light, our leader and our love!

Happy birthday, Jeremy!