Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Williams Christmas Letter 2013





Christmas 2013               
Blessings from the Williams!
2013 for our family was consistent – not many changes to our immediate family, but Missy did experience the passing of both grandparents this year. The consistency of 2013 was a nice reprieve in anticipation of our country move this coming February. We have been working with a builder since May to build us a country home in Rhome Texas on 1.5 acres. We are excited to experience country life and all that comes with it – like gardens and chickens and hopefully a workshop in the next few years.

I (John) am in my fifth year of working for Fort Worth ISD as 6-8 grade special education teacher. I come home tired, but I also have an immense feeling of significance and accomplishment at the end of each day.  In-between working with Jr. High students and wrangling three littles at home; I am still able to spend some time in the garage making the occasional batch of sawdust to help exercise my creativity. In 2013 I finally finished our custom wood bed that I’d been dreaming of for years. Missy is quite delighted!

Missy is in her 15th year working for WesTower as a Senior Accountant and over the last year, her job has gone through many changes, but she added more brain cells, adapted, tried not to grumble and even managed to learn a new software program. Missy is still enjoying being able to work from home, yet occasionally partaking in a business trip or two to get her out of the house. Although, I will admit when mommy is away, the home never runs quite as smooth. She has the art of homeschooling my boys and walks that line of structure and chaos very well – the boys challenge her type A charts and schedule on a daily basis and she does her best to be flexible! She also chases after our Cutie Pie Abby and keeps her little mind active and hands busy. Missy has the blessing of two helpers who come throughout the week who tutor and assist with the children’s schooling and take the kids out on field trips or swimming or fishing or whatever our stellar babysitter Mrs. Kelly has up her sleeve while Missy works. 

Drew will turn 9 in January and is turning into a responsible and diligent young man. Drew enjoys the flexibility of homeschooling, weekly Art classes, and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu to focus his overflowing energy. He will take his yellow belt test in the next month and is excited!  In Drew’s free time, he enjoys building with anything he can get his hands on including daddy’s tools or inventing with LEGO’s or making zip lines off his bunk bed – all while listening to audio books.  Please pray we would continue to inspire Drew’s creativity while teaching him to regulate his energy and enthusiasm into productive avenues.


Gabe just turned 6 in November and is already trying to create his own passageway in this world. He does spends a lot of his time playing with his brother and we are blessed that they get along so well; however Gabe is his own person with his own ideas. Gabe loves to draw and read, he also enjoys LEGOS and is often found in quiet places contemplating the size of the universe or if God wears underwear. Gabe is also partaking in Jiu Jitsu and is doing very well. He is always the first to answer any question and loves to please his teachers. Gabe is very sensitive, yet has quite the sense of humor; he always wants to help the kids around him and is a peacemaker, which can be an interesting mix when they are sparring. Please pray that Gabe’s heart always stays tender and that his compassion never diminishes.

Abigail (my little one) will be turning 4 in the next month and as far as she is concerned she is ready to snatch the world with both hands. To say that Abigail has her personality already solidified would be a slight understatement. Abigail is not a follower at all (although she is often running behind her brothers) she is developing her point of view and opinions much faster than the boys ever did. She has also been a little bit more vocal or wordy than the Williams boys. She is hoping to get involved in Jiu Jitsu sometime in the next year. Abby enjoys 2 days of preschool and participated in Art, speech, and Ballet classes this year. Please pray that we are able to hone her fearlessness and wild personality; focusing it on serving the Lord with gladness– I think she will be a world changer one day or a politician!

Kitty (our 14 year old black lab) recently got a new partner in crime Belle (our new eight-month-old Belgian Malinois). It is amazing how much a new puppy is like having a new baby in the house! Belle adores the children, loves to chew on deer antlers and bones and enjoys going to the dog park almost as much as the kids.   

To summarize - the Williams clan is happy, healthy, and truly blessed - we pray the same for you and yours this Christmas Season. As we gather, we pray you reflect on how God sent his Son for us so that we may all experience His grace and forgiveness.  

We pray that … “the God of hope fill(s) you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.
~ Romans 15:13 ~


Just for a good laugh – here is a list of commonly heard phrases around our house:

Stop doing Jiu Jitsu at the dinner table!
Boy, where did your pants go, you just put them on!

Gabe your pants are on backwards and your shirt is inside out and backwards.
 I know, I'm backwards boy!

Abigail you are not supposed to mix plaid with stripes and a pink tutu.
Stop interrupting me!

Where did my drill go, I have four drills I should be able to find one.

Stop practicing the LVNR on your brother.

No roller blades on the stairs, especially at 6am!

Princess dresses are really itchy to sleep in.

Mommy is not your sparring partner.
It will feel better when it quits hurting.
No weapons at the table – that includes LEGO knives!

Where are your shoes?
Focus....!
Where is my pencil?
Give me hugs!
You so sweet (Abby)!
“Oh, you the best Momma”

You can have that when you have a license, a degree and have worked 10 years!

Love,
The Williams





Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Inscriptions - Happy Birthday Gabe!

Happy 6th Birthday Gabe! How can you be 6 already? Your growing up so quickly and turning into such a fine young boy. This past year you have developed so much, you started Jiujitsu and have developed the drive to never give up - I love your attitude! Just last week you completed the 3rd Explode the Code phonics book and moved on to the 4th book. You were so proud and we were proud of all your hard work.

Gabe I love to see you smile and delight in watching your energy. You love serving others and are a blessing to everyone you meet. Your reading has blossomed this year, you love Dick and Jane books and are starting to tackle Henry and Mudge. You are able to focus and get most of your work done quickly.
  • Purity: I pray for purity you Gabe, that you would guard your eyes and mind and for your future spouse. I pray your future wife is a godly model of Christ and is being raised to love and revere the Lord.
  • Relationships: I pray Gabe would  develop strong relationships with the Lord and would grow in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and with men. (Luke 2:52)
  • Protection: Gabe, the world is a dangerous place filled with all kinds of evil. I pray for physical, spiritual and emotional protection. 
    The God of my rock; in him will I trust: he is my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my high tower, and my refuge, my savior; thou saved me from violence. I will call on the LORD, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies. 2 Samuel 22:3-4
  • Personal weaknesses: Gabe I pray for your words - may the words of your mouth and meditation of your heart be pleasing to the Lord. I pray for words of truth and gentleless to flow from your mouth.  . I pray that God will shape your character and turn those weaknesses to strengths.
  • Thanks:Lord thank you for this blessed hope that shines within our home each and every day, Gabe has a child like faith that pours out of him, he invites people to church and loves to talk with others about the lord - even at 6! Thank you for his conviction to me to have more of a child like faith. Gabe loves his siblings and his family, thank you that his smiles is contagious and rubs off on all the rest of us!

 For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.  Jeremiah 29:11-13

May you search for the Lord and find him in the days of your youth so it will be well with you!

Momma

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Married to a special needs husband

According to this article, its important for children to have special needs friends. I totally agree! But those special needs children grow up into special needs adults. Then what happens?  I was reading this article and though that is it a blessing and benefit for my kids to have friends that require more from them, but I also realized how much of a blessing it is to be married to a husband with Cerebral Palsy. Many people may think this is crazy, but its so true, my husband is an amazing man.He appreciates life more than anyone I know. He has passions and has complex dreams and he isn't afraid to sacrifice to accomplish them. John spent a lot of time contemplating life while sitting in hospital rooms or watching other kids do what he could not; he is a deep thinker and so smart because of all the thinking and dreaming!

I am a blessed woman to be married to a special needs husband - though for 99.9% of my married life I've never thought of him in that way. John is more compassionate, empathetic and also harder on people than I would be. He makes me a better wife and his pain has conditioned me to be more sensitive, gentle and uplifting. 

I love you John and I'm so blessed that our kids get to have you for a daddy. We're truly blessed by your faithfulness and devotion to us!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Kites and Kids and Birthdays

The month of October represents birthdays! We have a lot of family birthdays so it was so fun to head to OKC and celebrate another year of family with a lot of fun. My sister picked up some kites and we look the kids to the lake; they were in heaven! Kids and Kites make a great adventure!
Cousin Jonah enjoyed the kites too!

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Belle

We made the leap into puppyhood - today we purchased a 5 month old Belgian Malinois. We named her Belle. Can you tell by the pictures that she has a lot of energy? Believe it or not for a Mal she is calm - which is why the gentleman was selling her. She loves laps and routines and is potty training well. She sleeps with the boys in Gabe's bed and crews on their toys at night. She hates to be left alone and also hates (destroyed) crates. Belle makes me really appreciate how easy Kitty is, she came trained and after a year had no real issues. Here is hoping Belle's puppyhood is short and she adjusts soon so we can leave her home alone!



















Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Homeschooling Recap: Quarter 1, 2013

We're finishing up our first 9 weeks! The kids and I are excited for a nice break from school. Here is a summary of what we worked on this quarter:

Bible - The Big Dig
  • We're working our way through the book of Luke. The boys have learned about the theme of Luke, that is it written to the Gentiles and is written in chronological order. We have made it to chapter 8, covering the chapter about the tree that bears good fruit and the man who build his house on the rock because he read and obeyed the Word of God. There were many other great lesson, but these were the ones the boys resonated with.

Reading and Phonics - Explode the Code 3,7

  • Gabe worked on blending initial sounds on book 3, he has progressed to blending sounds both in the first and ending positions. He added 25 more lessons in Teach your Child to Read and is now up to lesson 65! He is gaining confidence in his reading and really would like for me to start him in a spelling program - crazy boy!
  • Drew finished up ETC book 6 review chapters and is now 2 chapters into book 7. The shift to book 7 has been a challenge for Drew, but I'm amazed at how far he has come. The first lessons covered the "c" that says "s." The second lessons covered the "g" sound that says "j" like in gym. The content in this books shifts to more difficult words and concepts - which Drew has had a hard time with. On the plus side, Drew is starting to remember his phonics rules and has started to identify and use them in his decoding. The paragraph reading is his hardest part because he lacks confidence, but he can read almost all the words. Drew is making great progress this year, he is starting to believe he is a good reader which is translating to him becoming a great reader.
  • We are working our way through Hatchet - only 3 more chapters until the end. The boys are sad because they enjoy it so much, I'm not sure I can top Hatchet with my next book?
Handwriting- A Reason for Handwriting

  • Gabe reviewed the formation of all upper and lower case letters using review sheets from A Reason for Handwriting. Gabe is working on slowing down and not erasing so much.
  • Drew has worked through 14 lessons and is doing very well, he needs to remember to slow down and form correct letters, but he has mastered capital letters and periods! Drew loves to write out his verses on the formal pages and color them. He enjoys giving them to neighbors and family members.
History - Story of the World
  • We picked up where we left off last year, so we're up to lesson 21. The boys started off with the Call of Abram and we've made it to the Medes and Persians. Daniel was captured by Babylon 65 years earlier and just told the king the interpretation of the "writing on the wall." I love how this correlates to what I'm learning about in my Precept class on Daniel!
 Geography - A Child's Geography

  •  Both boys learned about the atmosphere this quarter, they learned about the Troposphere, Stratosphere, Ionosphere and Mesosphere. We made post cards for each of the 3 chapters and sketched the layers in the upper and lower atmosphere. We also learned some Latin words like "stratus" and "thermos" and "Sphere."
Vocabulary - Worldly Wise 3
  • Drew covered three lessons in WW3 and memorized the definitions of 30 words like: "attract" "starve," resident," "marine," and "vessel." 
Spelling - A Reason for Spelling
  • Drew worked through 8 lesson of spelling words, he loved putting words in boxes and putting them in alphabetical order. Drew consistently scored about a 90% on his spelling tests and even got to go to Blue Cherry once for receiving a perfect score!  His overall grade was a 92%
 
Government
  • This year it was important to me that the boys learn about the Bill of Rights. So we spent a few weeks learning about the forming of our government and the boys memorized the first 3 Bill of Rights and how they were given to us by God not from the government.
Science - Apologia - Flying Creatures of the 5th Day
  • This quarter we studied "What Makes a Bird a Bird," Drew memorized the classification of animals and classified 5 different animals. He learned about Zoology and what feathers are made of and how they maintain their stability.  Both boys made wooden bird houses and did an experiment to see which types of bird seed the birds liked best. We borrowed bird journals from the Library and found the most common birds that frequent our yard.  We also went on nature walks and scavenger hunts - the bird guides were always close at hand!
Mathematics - Saxon
  • Drew learned about counting money, multiplying by 5,10,7 and how to measure.
  • Gabe learned about time and writing his numbers 1-100. He also is learning about even and odd numbers.
Art 
  • All three kids are taking Art Lessons at Artful Mayhem and have tapped into their creative side - which comes from Daddy. They painted self portraits, did some impressionist work and last week used shapes to draw and paint ice cream on cones! They also drew a lot of birds because of their science lessons.
Physical Education
  • Rough and Tumble - these boys are busy in Jiujitsu 4x/week for 90 minutes. They are learning how to take down an opponent and also agility. The boys come home tired and are sleeping and eating a lot! This has been great for keeping their attention on school work and is also a great motivator to get their school work completed!



Abby is enjoying Preschool 2x a week - which gives mommy and the boys some uninterrupted time for school and work!

Creativity

I woke this mornings to the sounds of drills and then it was silent. I was half groggy but managed to go downstairs and get my coffee, as I was pouring the creamer I realized, "It is silent in my house." I know the kids were up because I heard them? I looked all over and finally found them on the garage floor, making wooden bird houses. Our back yard is now covered in homemade birdhouses, I just love their creativity and that my boys can use a drill!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

I Will Never Forget

It struck me, I walked hand in hand up the library steps, her American flag shirt proudly displayed with her pink little shorts. Her little lisp apparent to all but her mommy smiled and said "Wook at the fwag mommy!" It hit me, on September 11, 2001 I wondered - what will my life looks like in 5-10-15 years? I just couldn't picture it and now I know.

Twelve years ago today I was not thinking about  children or a mortgage or taking my kids to the library. I was single and living on my own for the first time. I had a great job and money and friends and a boyfriend and I was in college. I never imagined what September 11, 2001 would mean to me and yet here I am - trying to define it so I can share this with my kids.

How do you tell your children about evil or terror or planes going into buildings? At that moment, the one at the library with my sweet little girls hands cupped over mine, it all seemed to come together. I lived through that day in order to share about it with my kids. I am called to live in hope and joy and to aspire to raise world changers. I told the boys that if they had been firemen on that day I just knew they would have sacrificed their lives to help those in need, because "We're Williams and that is what we do." I shared with them about overcoming evil with good. That the evil in this world must be pushed out by our light. That every day we are called on by Jesus to be His light, His ambassadors to this often dark world. We read about the firemen, listened to patriotic songs, talked about what it means to "be God's boy or girl" and how God will call us to hard thing that will bring Him glory. We talked about all the ways God was there that day, the people who didn't make it to work, the plane at the Pentagon hit an area being remodeled so not a lot of people were there. I shared with them about the hero's on the plane that overtook the cockpit and saved the White House. We worshiped  and Drew really wanted to sing "We will not Be Shaken" which I thought was very fitting!

September 11th is a call to action for us, its my call and reminder to instill virtue and humility and servant-hood into the lives of my children. There is hope for America and it rests in the next generation - we all are raising world changers and I pray as moms and dads we instill godly virtue, heroism and character in our children so when evil temps them, they can stand firm!



Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Bible funnies from my kids..... and poop

"The word of God is our blue print, but its not blue."

Luke wrote to the "Generiles"

In a conversation about creation declaring the glory of God, Drew said that the trees are practicing "freeze tag" right now.

Mom those beans your soaking smell like dog poop!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

My Second Grader: Drew


 Drew, I am so proud of you! You are in second grade and I'm in shock, how can you be so old and mature! These last few week you started reading. I never thought I would write those words. My boy, you march to the beat of your own drum. You are highly intelligent and easily distracted.  I'm fairly sure you get the "easily distracted" part from me! You have so much swimming around in your head that it is hard for me to keep up with you. The term "Absent minded professor" comes to my mind. I love it that traditional school is not your thing. I have learned more about life from you than any other person. Drew, you keep me on my toes, always inventing and creating and designing models. Just today you made a Lego diorama of a wolf head.

You have an impeccable memory. Last week you memorized the classification of animals chart and today I asked you to recite it and you did! I was impressed. I'm so blessed to be your mom.

You started Jui Jitsu last month and really discipline yourself. You also started your second year of art class. You are so creative, art lessons just inspire you to keep creating. Your favorite past time is to draw and paint. You also love Lego creations and Robot kits. What a great mind God blessed you with. I know it will be used to further the Gospel and to preach Christ to the nations!

I'm one blessed mommy to be home with you - listening to your ideas and arguments for a 6 day creation. I love that learning is fun for you as long as you get to hear it or touch it! Your favorite book to read independently is the Adventure Bible and your favorite read aloud is Hatchet.
 

Drew you are the most compassionate and gentle person I know.

May the Lord bless you with a job that utilizes all that energy to further the Gospel of Jesus.

Love,
Mom