Next week we’ll take our annual trip to Kentucky for the Jones Family Reunion. This is an event that we look forward to every year. It’s a time to reunite with family and loved ones, to pass on our heritage, and to make new memories. We’ll spend the weekend cooking out, teaching the kids wonderful games like “drop the hankie” and “kick the can”, and laughing over the antics of past reunions (like the time “someone” put a frog in the lightening bug can and Grammaw opened it).
As I eagerly anticipate the coming week, I’m also filled with a bit a dread. This will be a nine hour drive, each way, with a five year old girl. I’m scrambling to come up with activities that will keep her entertained and (doubtful) prevent the dreaded, “Are we there yet!?” I’ve come up with a few things.
1. We are a member of the DVD plan for Netflix. I’ve rented a couple of movies that hopefully will buy some time.
2. I’ve recently discovered the 123 Homeschool 4 Me website. This amazing lady has TONS of materials and packets for kids of many ages and educational levels. I’m going to print out a few so that we can do them on the road.
3. We’ll be headed to the library in the morning to check out a new load of books (some on Independence Day because I can’t pass up a good opportunity to learn something new). The library also has a nice selection of movies so we may get a couple of extras. In addition, we like to check out audio books.
4. We always have a fun bag that includes some of HF’s favorite toys and few new ones that I pick up from the Dollar Store.
I’ll keep scouring Pinterest for new ideas, and will add to this post if I find any that I absolutely love. What have you done that has worked well for you?
Hila Fay LOVES for me to tell the story of how Chuck proposed to me. It goes like this:
A long time ago, before Mommy was a mommy, Hila Fay was Hila Fay, and even before Mommy was Daddy’s wife, she was just a girlfriend. One day your daddy took me hunting. While we sat out in the cold winter evening, so cold that our breath formed clouds and floated away, I saw a deer coming right towards us! I hadn’t gone hunting many times yet, so instead of sitting still I got excited and hit your daddy to get his attention. My movement scared the doe and she ran away. I was very sad.
Since dark was almost there, and we wouldn’t be able to see any more deer, we decided to pack up our things and go back to our homes. As we walked out of the deer woods (at this point in the story HF is covering her mouth in delight and trying not to squeal) Daddy looked at me and said, “I have something that will cheer you up.” I looked at him like he had lost his mind and simply replied, “I seriously doubt it.” His eyes sparkled in amusement as he asked me, “Will you marry me?” I was so shocked that the only thing I could think to say was, “That worked.”
At LEAST every other day HF begs me to repeat the story, always giggling in delight when her daddy says he can cheer me up and then jumping up and down, clapping, and shouting, “YAY” when I reply that it worked. I knew that she liked the story, but I didn’t realize how much she actually listened to it until last week when I had come down with strep throat. I was laying in my bed, feeling miserable, when all of the sudden she came into my bedroom and kneeled down on Chuck’s side. She looked at me and said, “Momma? I got something that will cheer you up.” “Really, baby? What?” “Will you marry me?” I could barely contain my laughter as I replied, “That worked.”
Her moment oozed with love and the child-like faith that anything can be cured with love laughter and it is a memory that I will treasure forever. It reminded me, though, to be careful what I say (what stories I tell and what things I laugh at around her) because she is watching and waiting for the moment to mimic those that she loves best.
It’s finally official. After years of going back and forth, and even starting the process of enrolling HF in kindergarten, we have decided to homeschool her. It’s weird (to me, anyway) how God speaks to us sometimes. As I walked into the school building to take HF for her THREE HOUR testing, I was filled with an immediate sense of dread. Not sadness at her growing up so quickly, that is always present, but dread: like I was doing something wrong. I wasn’t allowed to stay with her so I went back to the office and watched the time s-l-o-w-l-y go by. As I drove around to pick her up a certainty filled me and I knew what God was telling me.
He was telling me that He gave her to ME, not to anyway one else. He told me that I need to trust His reasoning, whether or not I understood the why, and follow Him. After I accepted this, and talked it over with Chuck, God filled my whole being with peace. I know it won’t always be easy, but I also know that if I’m following His will I can never go wrong.