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Saturday, December 26, 2009

But a Babe

The stockings are empty, the gifts are opened, Christmas has passed for this year (except for our Christmas celebration with Trace's family in about a week). Christmas is truly one of my favorite times of year. I love so many of the things about Christmas. The baking, the decorating, fun with family and friends, and all the tradition that gets packed into a couple of weeks. It is busy and can be stressful at times, but there is always so much laughter and joy. It is good. I also love to reflect on the Christmas story every year and it seems that Lord lays something new on my heart every time. This year it is the humility of the King! Oh, what beautiful humility to become a babe in the manger, to take on flesh, to walk this earth and appear as but a man. To die a sinners death, full of mockery, ridicule, beatings, spit, pain and suffering. May be never separate the baby in the manger from the man on the cross! Humility.

Do we ponder the gift long and hard? The gift of Jesus. JESUS, at this name Every Knee Will Bow. This is the same Jesus, low and in a manger. A baby, lying helpless, full of need, wrapped in human skin. Holy One, Magnificent King! So much to ponder, to struggle to comprehend. Beyond my earthly abilities to understand. Who chooses this? Chooses to come. Chooses to die. To die for you and me.

He comes as a baby in a manger, no castle for Him. He is amidst the animals and the manure. In the middle of the filth. A baby. He came this way, capable of making his entrance any way He would choose. The one who simply speaks and earth is formed. He came with no fear of getting stuck in the middle of our filth, of my filth. He became a man and dwelt among us.

Then He grows and during His time of ministering on earth, He calls people to come and follow. To take up their cross and follow Him. The King of Kings, with no place to call home. He calls follow me, to follow him to His death. Oh what a mighty warrior, who will lay it all down for you and me. To conquer death and its grip...if only we believe!

So I have pondered this humility this Christmas and I can't help but to ask, what does this mean for me? I am to model my life after Christ, to come and follow Him. How do I model humility? What steps do I need to take to become more like my King? To be found low among the people? To not appear great, but small. To not dwell among the Kings, but the filth, and with no sense of disgust but love. I pray that this year Christ holds hard onto my heart and teaches me what it means to become smaller so that He can become greater, so that He may receive ALL the glory. Lord show me how to experience true joy in humility. To be content to be low among the people.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

KARATE

The kids started taking karate early this fall. We signed Aidan up first and after one week of sitting and watching Rebecca decided that she wanted to try it too. She convinced us that she really wanted to do it and we let her give it a try. It cracks me up to see my little girl decked out in her Karate uniform, but she has enjoyed it and Aidan absolutely LOVES it! I cannot overstate that enough. He thinks it is the greatest thing ever and is kicking things (or even just the air) all the time. Here are some pictures that I have been meaning to post for a while.


Here is Aidan getting ready for some sparing.


This is one of the ways that the kids match up against one another. The object is to push the opponent out of the designated surface area.


And here is Rebecca sparing. Can you tell she is smiling while she is doing it. They are actually throwing punches and kicking. They spar about once a month and they get to do it both ways when they spar. This is the favorite night of the month.


And below is a video of Rebecca. It is too cute. I intended to video Aidan but my memory card was full and I couldn't delete quick enough to make room on my camera. I will try to get video of Aidan next time.


video

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Christmas Fun

Well, we are full swing into the Christmas Season! We have been busy with life, but we are all very thankful to have wrapped up school on Tuesday and we will be on break until after the first week of January. We are all very excited to have a little more free time, especially with the business of the holidays. I hate how sporadic I have been in my blogging. I often write parts of post in my head, but I never manage to get to the computer with those thoughts. They are either lost before I have time or I am too tired to write when I get the chance. I hope to get better about blogging again! I miss it. Maybe this Christmas break will give me a chance to renew my energies and start writing again...or maybe I am dreaming.

So since finishing up school on Tuesday, we took Wednesday as a day for some fun activities around here. We rented 2 Christmas movies, I gave the kids an early Christmas present from there teacher (a book for each of them) and we made these great little mangers. I found this idea online somewhere and they are perfect. They require little to no prep work and are easy to make. The kids loved them. I have always thought it would be so fun to do ginger bread houses, but we never have. This is that sort of idea, but it focuses there little hearts on Jesus which is my goal in all we do this time of year. Here are there masterpieces (be prepared to ooh and ah!):
Aidan has a Joseph to the left with the green face, Mary is to the right, and baby Jesus in the manger in the middle of them. Aidan wanted hay so we crushed frosted flakes to make the hay for Jesus to lay on. The creature to the right with the green and red is supposed to be a sheep and a shepherd is standing behind him.
Rebecca has Joseph, Mary and Jesus also. She also added a sheep (with its bottom facing you to the left) and a donkey standing to the right. The M&Ms on top are supposed to make a star.

Andrew really preferred to eat the m&ms more than anything else (you can tell by his messy face), but I helped him at least get a Joseph, Mary, and Jesus.

After finishing these the kids ate them for a snack. I was having mixed feelings about making and eating Jesus, but I remembered that He refers to himself as bread and that made me feel better about it. I tried to share this great symbolism with the kids and they looked at me blankly, but at least I felt better about it.

While we were making these, Aidan asked if we have ever made these before. We haven't, but that question warmed my heart. I remember when Aidan was a little baby and I was sitting in MOPS and was hearing all these great ideas and traditions that other families had. I craved this. I wanted to create this type of family and home that would allow them to look back when they are older and remember the things we did together when they were young. To remember us being together and enjoying life together. We started a few things and we have added some over the years, but this is the first year that I am realizing that these traditions are special to the kids too. Aidan has asked if we are going to do certain things again this year. He remembers and he wants to be a part of those fun family activities. It is a great joy to have the opportunity to share these special times with my kids. We may not always get to do all of these things, but I want them to always remember us, as a family, together!

Merry Christmas to all of you! I hope you are enjoying yourself and your family this holiday season!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Baptism

Trace and Aidan both got Baptized several Weeks ago. It was a very emotional Sunday for this mommy and wife. Trace was baptized as a kid at 14 years of age, but he was not a believer. He has explained to me that he was doing what he thought he was supposed to do after talking with the youth leader at the church he was going to. He might have even been able to answer some of the right questions, but he did not know Jesus Christ. That is a beautiful thing about Christianity...it is all about a relationship. Shortly after that time Trace stopped attending church and started drinking a lot. By the time he was 25 years old he was a full blown alcoholic with nowhere else to go but to move in with his grandmother.

Trace started attending Alcoholics Anonymous and while struggling to find anything that would help him put the pieces together he ended up reading CS Lewis's Mere Christianity. Then one day he encountered the scripture that says "For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it". Right then he believed. Since that that time we have found ourselves back in the church and studying the word. Trace has felt convicted that he needed to be baptized again for a while and he did it this time (by the way, I know Trace would right this differently so please keep in mind that this is me telling his story to the best of my ability). I am so proud of him for responding obediently.

I have talked a little about Aidan's faith journey here. He accepted Christ as his Savior this summer and was eager to take this next step. I love the way baptism happens at our church. First Trace was baptized by our Pastor and then Trace was able to baptize Aidan. It is so special to get to play such an intimate part in your own child's baptism. I am praying that a deep Spiritual Heritage will flow from our generation to the next, to the next, and the next. This is such a beautiful picture of that kind of Heritage. During the baptisms an older man in our church who has a deep love for Jesus was privileged to stand with his two grandsons and their father and together they baptized the young boys. I can only begin to imagine the joy that would come in getting to baptize your grandchildren. God's loving kindness is overwhelming sometimes.

Here is a picture of Dad and son before the baptism.


And here are two in the water. Aidan is entering in the first and in the second you can barely see his head peaking over. I love these pictures (even though the quality is terrible).


Our wonderful Sunday School Class had a party to celebrate and they invited Aidan up for the celebration. This was a really sweet time for me as a mother to have other believers that Aidan did not even really know rally around our family as we celebrated. Aidan was a little overwhelmed by this detail. He could not understand why nor was he prepared to receive the attention.

And last is a picture of my kiddos and the cousins. My brother and his family made the trip to help us celebrate with Aidan. It was a wonderful time Celebrating. my heart overflowed with gladness!!! God is good and faithful to answer our prayers. The drawing of Aidan to Him is a huge answer to prayer!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Happy Birthday Aidan!

Last weekend was a busy one for us here in the Hagler home. Aidan turned 7 years old on Saturday and both he and Trace were Baptized on Sunday. Friday was spent getting ready for the party, making a cake, and wrapping presents. Saturday we celebrated Aidan.

Things have been really busy for us this year with the addition of homeschooling so I decided to keep the party pretty small and we invited 3 friends and their siblings. Aidan chose to have a bike riding party and we got permission to do it at the church in the parking lot. We made name plates for the bikes and then we added two different noisemakers to the bike (bells that dangle and a paper clicker that hit the spokes as they rode). I set up an obstacle course and the kids got to each make their way through it.

Here is Rebecca with the flag sending out our first racer through the course

Go Davis

And now Andrew needed a turn


The kids had to make it through the course and then they had to drive through the silly string attacks of the other kids. This was one of the highlights for sure! Here is Aidan spraying one of his friends

Andrew even got covered in silly string

This sweet little one road way out far making it impossible for anyone to get her...very smart girl!

And here is Uncle Greg getting Andrew as he drives by.


After the obstacle course, we took a break for an easy hot dog lunch and some cake. We are so thankful for our friends that were able to come.

Here is the birthday cake

We had too much wind so we attempted to block it with the cardboard in the back ground.
And that night my brother and his family cam in town to celebrate some more. It was a great day of play and fun with Aidan. I cannot believe Aidan is 7. I know I say that every year and I mean it every year, but 7 really seems older. Aidan doesn't seem like a little guy anymore. He is growing up and developing his own personality. I completely find myself at a loss once again, but I am enjoying this stage. I love that Aidan loves to learn and is curious about everything. He loves to learn new facts about all sorts of things. Learning is simply cool at this age and for a home school mom that is super fun! I love that he is getting to a point that I can trust him more and give him a little more freedom. I love his sense if humor that is developing and even though I might not get the joke, it delights my soul to her him laugh! Aidan is such a sweet little boy. I get compliments about you all the time Aidan. You are a special boy! I love you dearly! Never forget that...I love you! I love getting to be your mommy!

I will try to write about the baptism very soon, but I think this is all I can do for now. What a special weekend!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Homeschooling in Pictures

Well, I guess you can tell that homeschooling is taking its toll! The blog has become a lower priority and in all honesty I am often simply too tired to post after the kids go to bed. I have had several homeschooling activities that I have wanted to update you with. I originally thought that each one would have its own post but since we are so far behind why don't I just catch you up through pictures.

Trace has taken over the Friday afternoon History lesson for me. He gets off work early on Fridays and has been so sweet and wonderful to take this on. It is a sweet time for the kids and him too. I have been known to enjoy my Friday afternoons by running errands, reading a book, or taking a nap. It is a great time for me too!

Here is their first Friday with daddy. The first week we defined history and archeology. After the archeology lesson the kids went for a "dig" in the sand box.

They roped it off into sections and had to explore the area and see what they could discover.


Week #1 with Dad was a success!
Here are our cave paintings.

And this is supposed to be the white crown that the Pharaoh of Upper Egypt wore. It would later become part of the double crown when Lower Egypt and Upper Egypt became one.

Here is a picture of Andrew just because he is cute.

This is our attempt at an Egyptian Pyramid. We made the bricks out of sand and glue and then cut them out and arranged them to resemble a pyramid.

And this is supposed to be a Sumerian seal.

We also made a trip to the Dallas Aquarium which was super fun. We went with another home school family that we have gotten to know. They have 3 kids also and they are all within months of my kids. It is their first year homeschooling and we are doing basically the same curriculum. It has been a huge encouragement to have someone else who is on the same page we are. They had completed their study of fish and we spent a couple weeks studying fish to help get us ready for the trip. It was a fun day! Here is Becca feeding a bird.

Aidan overlooking everything.

The whole group of kids! I love this picture.

All but one of the little guys.

If you haven't been to the aquarium I would say the highlight is the shark tank. It is like a tunnel and the sharks swim above you. This picture cracks me up with everyone pointing different directions but it is pretty cool to see. My little Andrew had a few moments of panic as the sharks swam overhead so we ended up watching from outside of the tunnel. He was a bit heightened the remainder of the time at the aquarium and he didn't get to far from mom. I was completely surprised to see him react like this.
Two of my monkeys near the penguin exhibit.

And last here are a few pictures when we watched the Rose Parade. I have never taken my kids before (it usually falls on Aidan's birthday weekend and is just too much). This year we made a point to watch the parade. Here is Becca and Aidan.

And Andrew the fireman. He chose this hat for Halloween and a costume came with it. Literally, that is the way it worked. He wanted the hat and he had to wear it to the parade. I wouldn't argue with someone that adorable!


So there you have it. The last couple months in pictures. We do things that do not pertain to history or science around here, but those just aren't as fun to take pictures of. And just in case you are curious, all ideas listed about come from our history curriculum. We are using the Story of the World and I bought the activity guide to go with it. All creative ideas should be credited to the book.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Tache Kick Off

This past weekend we spent some time at a Pine Cove (or "piney Cone" as Rebecca called it) campsite for the TACHE kickoff. Tache is the Home school network that we are a part of. It was a great time, and although I didn't get to meet too many new people (my kids are still much to hands on to have a ton of social time) I did enjoy the great family time. There are so many fun things to do there. Everyone had a different favorite thing. For Andrew it was probably putt-putt.



Rebecca loved her horse ride



Aidan showed his bravery and his new swimming skills off as he jumped off the high dive. I was so impressed. He wouldn't even swim more than a few feet before the summer began and now he is going off the High Dive. I just couldn't believe it!






We all also loved the fun swings and super cool, huge tree house.








Rebecca attempted the rock wall, but her legs were just too short to get her up. She gave it a solid effort though.

Aidan also took a pony ride on the trail and thought it was so fun to get to steer the horse.


It was great fun!



Hagler Academy

I am way behind on my blogging! I know most of you are perfectly fine with that, but I do try to use this as a family journal and as of late this journal has been boring!!! We are halfway through our second week of school and we are not only surviving but I would say we are thriving. I have felt a sweet kind of closeness with my kids and in our home. Things are by no means perfect, I mean we have 5 people living in this house and we all have our hangups, but life is good. It seems to be the time of year when life is gearing up and things are getting busy, but there is a calm here that seems to be unaffected by the busyness.

Homeschooling has helped me to focus more on home. I am doing a better job getting laundry done, toys put away, and keeping the clutter tamed. I think I feel like I have to do a better job since this isn't just home, but also school. We aren't running around frantically and the best thing of all is that there is no mad dash to be on time to school at 8:00 in the morning. I always hated that! Now if we are running 10 minutes late or have a rough start it is OK, life will go on and we will adjust throughout the day. Having so much focused time with the kids has given me the opportunity for some much needed training time to address issues of the heart. The kids seem to be closer and be getting along better also since they are not only classmates but playmates much of the time. I am so thankful for this time that the Lord has given us where we can focus on our home, our kids, and their hearts. I truly feel like this time is a gift (talk to me 4 months down the road when I am worn out and that might be different).

I did take a few pictures to mark our first day because that is just what you do on the first day of school, right? Here are the kids in the school room. That door is a pocket door between the kitchen and school room/office and I painted it to be a chalkboard which is great fun to use.








I am going to write out our school day for my own benefit(down the road)and for those of you that are interested. If you have no interest at all; this is where you want to stop reading.

We start our school day off at 8:30 with Bible. We usually spend about 30 minutes together in the morning and we spend this time doing scripture memory, reading the story, discussing it, praying together and singing at least one praise song. It is a sweet time together and it is a time that we simply were not finding to do together when Aidan was in school. We did try to do something simple over breakfast, but the available hours were just not long enough when he was in school and if we were running behind that went out the window. We follow that up with math, phonics for Becca, spelling and grammar for Aidan, and then handwriting. Andrew loves to be a part of handwriting time and that works some of the time (until he colors on someones paper, gets corrected, and has a 2 year old melt down). He isn't actually handwriting but he has his own "book" to work in and insists on using a pencil like his big siblings rather than crayons. When I am working independently with one of the kids the other one plays in the room with Andrew. This works most of the time, but we always have unplanned breaks and interruptions to deal with some conflict or issue.

After handwriting we take a break for outside time and lunch. Then before Andrew takes a nap we all snuggle together on the couch and read. It is truly the highlight of my day! Andrew takes a nap and the bigger kiddos join me for a simple history or science lesson (I do mean SIMPLE!). Then they rest and read in there rooms and I get a little quiet time.

That concludes our school day (usually history is finished about 1:00-1:30)and the remainder of the day consists of planning for the next day, doing laundry, cleaning, cooking dinner, and running errands. The biggest struggle for me right now is finding time to get to the grocery store. I just can't seem to get that done during the day and have been making late night trips after the kids go to bed. Trace and I will have to figure out the details as time goes on.

We also have chosen to be a part of a co-op called Classical Conversations and we have loved it so far. The kids all seem to like it, they get a morning in a very structured environment and they are learning so much! Most of the families stay after class time for lunch and playtime together and we have enjoyed having this time scheduled into our week. We go on Wednesday mornings and take off those afternoons. The style and philosophy of the co-op fits perfectly into my homeschooling philosophy so far and the material overlaps and helps tie the loose ends together. I expect many hard days ahead, but I am so thankful that this is the place where the Lord has us for this season of our life.


And here are the pictures that the kids took turns taking with there new teacher on the first day.