February 29, 2016

February 2016 Update

Truth be told, this winter hasn't been terrible. Yes, there have been days where I've been a little cranky - those wet & cold days get me every time - but it's been pretty tolerable. I'm thankful we are heading into Spring and we are a mere 2 weeks from the time change. Boy, I sure to ♥ me some DST!

The Upward season has come to a close. Unfortunately, Skylar was unable to achieve her goal of "winning one basketball game this year." Her team was 0-7 at the end of the season. Many of them played together on the same team last year with a record of 0-8. Now, I am the first one to preach "it's not about winning" but, I gotta tell ya, TWO STRAIGHT YEARS of losing is no fun even for a parent - especially when you play the same team every time (there are only 2 teams in her age group). It was downright discouraging and rather difficult for me to sit through week after week. This little group of girls worked and fought SO hard. I was extremely proud of them! They certainly taught me something about perseverance and I'm still processing other lessons that can be learned from this. However, I don't think we will be participating in this same league again next year. Sometimes you just gotta know when to fold 'em because that's a life lesson too! ;)
Skylar and I took two field trips this month. We've been studying Greece in geography and since Nashville just happens to have an exact replica of The Parthenon, we had to go visit. tLG found Greek mythology fascinating and The Parthenon has many of the Greek gods carved into the building. Athena is also quite the site to behold and Skylar loved it! Afterwards, we had a lovely walk around Centennial Park and I soaked up some much-needed vitamin D.

Last week we headed to Rocketown for a rally with Senator Ted Cruz and they filmed an episode of the Sean Hannity show for Fox News. Cruz is definitely my preferred candidate for Super Tuesday. In fact, I took Skylar to early vote with me. She's been accompanying me in the voting booth since she was itty bitty. She will definitely be ready to push the big green button when she turns 18.
I've been more politically vocal than ever this year. We are at a very crucial and critical time in our nation's history. I truly believe we will be telling our grandchildren about this one day and I don't want there to be any question about which side of the fence I was standing on. 

Baron is still around and he continues to make my life difficult on a daily basis. Sigh. He has an appointment with the vet tomorrow for the ole snip snip and I'm hoping that helps but I honestly don't think much could calm him down at this point. Basically, I'm not hopeful.

Things are going well with VA work and doula work. It's still just so neat to watch the Lord provide income for us to pay our bills each month while I get to do the things I enjoy and I'm passionate about. I got to snuggle a lot of babies this month and that just never gets old!

Today is Leap Day, which is also my doula birthday. Four years ago, I helped my first mama in a whirlwind, amazing birth at The Farm and I. was. hooked. I blame the oxytocin! Tonight I got to celebrate with the little cutie who made me a doula on this unique day. How special is that?!?!

March is a pretty busy month so be sure to check back to see what happens. Until then, here's more photos of February.

February 2016 in Pictures

In case you missed it, get the full February Update here

 For the entire month of February we put a love note on Skylar's door each morning!
 Skylar made this football cake for the Super Bowl!
 Lady Lynx ready for Game Day
 My and my voting partner. She's a pro!
 Visiting Athena
 Greek Gods and Mythology
 I love field tripping with this crazy girl
Skylar wanted Baron in the shower with her. I don't even pretend to understand why.  
 Rally for Cruz
 I started with a VERY tangled up skein of yarn that I untied and worked into a ball for my friend Cate. I actually found it rather therapeutic. Who knew?
I sure to love this baller! 
 Lady Lynx Post Season Party. They got certificates and medals. 
 I had the honor of celebrating my Leap Day doula birthday with this sweet girl who made me a doula 4 years ago. So special! 
A girl and her coach!  
Upward Award's Celebration

My Personal TTD Conference Schedule

Man, O, man the Teach Them Diligently conference agenda is more packed than usual this year with some AMAZING speakers and topics. I had a really difficult time narrowing down my choices. In fact, just navigating the schedule was a beast. Then, the schedule changed and I had to start all over again. Mercy.

It's taken me longer than ever before to make my selections. I'm still undecided on the very last session. There are 3 that I would love to attend but I'm going to see how the rest of the conference goes and then decide at the last minute for my final session. Sometimes you go thinking you need one thing. Then, you get there and something totally different is laid on your heart. Last year, I needed all the help I could get with simplifying and organizing. This year I'm branching out a little bit into other areas. Here's my plan for now.

I'm excited to see some of my favorite speakers: Jolathe Erb, Sonya Shafer, Marla Cilley, and Karen Debus. I hate that I couldn't squeeze in sessions by Kim Sorgius and Jan Bedell. They are also fantastic! I'm looking forward to the Keynote by Kirk Cameron as well as the information about the new Bible Museum as well. It's gonna be awesome!

As for the vendor hall, we have already decided on our main curriculum for next year (Biblioplan) and a friend is loaning me hers. She and I are also swapping Apologia Science Textbooks so I will need to pick up a new Notebook. We will also continue with Christian Light Education Math workbooks so I need to pick up the next set of those. I'm definitely looking for the elusive language arts curriculum that's not a bore but we may focus more on writing this year. Sometimes, it's just fun to see all of the interesting things available out there and find a few neat things to supplement what we are already doing.

tLG will be attending the Kid's Program again this year. She absolutely loves it! Mike is planning to be there with me on Saturday and I'm excited about that too because Homeschooling is about the entire family!

What type of sessions are you focusing on this year?

What's one thing you are looking for in the vendor hall?

I look forward to this event all year long. I can't wait to see you there in just a few short weeks!

What?!?! You haven't registered yet? Do it now and save $5 with this link

February 6, 2016

Tools for Planning Your TTD Conference Schedule

Teach Them Diligently released their schedule for Nashville last week and I have been pouring over all of the amazing speakers and sessions. The preliminary lineup has THIRTEEN pages. WOW! This event is full of so much good information and encouragement to families. I look forward to it all year long.

I remember how overwhelmed I was my first year. I mean, how does one really narrow down almost 200 options? My second year I got into a pretty good rhythm with selecting sessions/speakers so I figured this year would be more of the same. Nope. I broke out my highlighters once again but, surprisingly, I still felt a little overwhelmed. There is just SO much to choose from. This event seriously has something for everyone!

I decided I needed to take a different approach this year and I think you might like some of the tools I created to help me narrow down my agenda.

For starters, I created a personal schedule outline. This shows all of the available timeslots and I pre-filled any events that occur by themselves (i.e. it's the ONLY thing available at that particular time). We won't know the location until the final agenda is released but I went ahead and created a spot for it. Even though all of this information is included in the conference program we receive onsite, this will be a great at-a-glance guide to keep with me.

Next, I decided the paper version wasn't cutting it for me. I'm a digital kind of girl. A spreadsheet kind of girl. Have I mentioned yet that I'm Type A? You might have guessed that by now. 

I'm now familiar with some of the speakers and I want to sit in on their class. The problem is that many of them speak multiple times. I needed a way to see all of the workshops for a particular speaker at a glance so I can determine which topic best fits my needs. I needed to be able to "sort" the agenda but that's not possible with a PDF. 

I converted the conference schedule to an Excel spreadsheet so that I can sort by speaker, day, or time. This also means that once I've filled in a spot on my personal itinerary, I can delete those rows and decrease the clutter. 

With these tools, I think I can finally make some headway on choosing my speakers and sessions for 2016. I hope to post my final choices next week. I'm so thankful for this conference and all the hard work that goes into lining up the presenters. It's so much fun seeing the fantastic content that will be given to parents this year. 

UPDATE: Oh my goodness, this is SO much easier! I was able to go through and delete all of the sessions that didn't apply to me or interest me, and I narrowed down 13 pages to 3. This is much more manageable!

Maybe you will find these tools helpful as well. I can't wait to see you all at Opyland next month! 

What?!?! You haven't registered yet? Do it now and save $5 with this link

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