Monday, December 24, 2012

Out Takes

Sometimes the outtakes are the best part of taking pictures. They are the pictures that show how real life can be with 3 kids 5 and under. A child's personality can be seen through a look, and you get a glimpse of how little minds' work. The are not the prettiest pictures, but they sure are funny! And they show my childrens' personalities to a T :)

 But we are smiling!
 Clap, clap, I'd rather be dancing!
 I'd rather be doing anything else...
 Yawn... This is boring
 The promise of a sucker for good behavior and Josiah was all smiles. But then 
Titus discovered a hat and thought it was too funny not to wear it.
 Big Smiles

And yes, they did great and received a sucker :)

Monday, October 29, 2012

Fall Update

It is with a slight bit of shame that I post after two months of silence on my blog. Life has been going at warp speed these past few weeks. Home schooling, 2 Bible Studies, a cooking class, Eden playing soccer,  ministry, Larry's  Doctorate program, hosting family, a broken computer, sweet friends' wedding, hosting a party and the daily task of life have kept me busy. I'm tired just reading all that has gone on these past few weeks.

As the holiday approach, I know life will continue to be busy. Days like today with nasty cold weather provide a sweet blessing of not having to go anywhere or do much of anything. Homeschooling allows that the children can sleep a little late and we can play games, build with Legos and watch too many episodes of Curious George.

Homeschooling is going well. We're 8 weeks into Kindergarten. We've studied the solar system, the seasons, fall, apples, and animal habitats. We studied turtles and I stopped and picked on up on the highway to surprise the kids. I also caught a Praying Mantis. Who would have thought I would be the bug and turtle catching kind of mom? The things you do for your kids!

The kids seem to love home schooling. We do lots of crafts, songs and games, along with their lessons. As we get further into our year, I'm having a lot of fun and learning ( or remembering) along with the kids. Some days are fantastic, other days are super tough. Figuring what will work for our family seems to be a constant struggle. I started with one idea of how things would be and have evolved that plan into what work for each of our children. I have realized that homeschooling will take more sacrifice on my part. Knowing I need to provide the best for them, will mean things I love and want to do will have to take a backseat. I have to be more diligent about how I use my time. Thus blogging will be one of the first things that will need to be put aside for a while.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The "Why?" of Why We Home School

Bible time with Daddy

As the time approached for Eden to start school, I've felt a nervous excitement over the decision we have made to home school.  Finding curriculum and planning our future year was a bit overwhelming, but mostly fun. It feels like I’ve been in a “nesting” period with planning, organizing, gathering curriculum in anticipation of starting this new endeavor. There are days I’m so excited about the future, then there are other days when I can’t believe I am about to take this next step. I often wonder if I’m capable of educating my children. It is in those times that I rest in the fact that God has entrusted Eden, Josiah and Titus to Larry and me; and that through HIM, all things are possible.

Home schooling has come a long way in the past 15-20 years. The stigma that was once attached to it is giving way to more acceptance as more and more children are leaving the public schools for home schools. Those children are now excelling in college and professionally. There are also support group, and resources available that make the process much easier than in the past. In fact, there are over 45,000 home schooling families in North Carolina.

As we meet people in the community, they ask which school Eden attends, we share that we home school. I wish I kept count of how many times my heart has been blessed when people find out. Most people are intrigued.  A lot of moms have said they wished they could do it, or they don’t have the patience to do it. Then we get questions as to why we do it. So I have compiled this list of following reasons, I don’t share all these when people ask. I try to keep the image of home schooling as sane as I can. : ) As time and opportunity permits, I do try to share our heart for home schooling.

Our primary reason for home schooling is our desire for our children to know God thorough their education. We believe that Discipleship and Education are one in the same in aspect of training our children.  Discipleship = Education

Sadly in our country, Discipleship is something you do on Sunday; Education is done Monday through Friday in a public school. But when you look to the Scriptures you will not find this separation. Discipleship IS Education. Passages like Deuteronomy 6 show us that teaching our children about God should be intertwined in every aspect of our daily life. There are constant teachable moments throughout our days. This has as much to do with their character as it does their knowledge of the world.


We want our children to know God as the creator of all knowledge, that everything we can ever know or experience is only by and though Christ. As we study Language and learn words, I want them to know the Word that became Flesh, Jesus Christ. As they learn to count, I want them to know the God who gave us order and systems that are constant. As we study History, I want them to realize God is the one who ordained time, and is sovereign over all time. Before there was even time, There was God.  As we study the solar system and astronomy, I want them to know it was God who created all of it. In every aspect of what our children will learn; Science, Social Studies, Math, Reading, History, Language, Art, Music, we want them to know the God who created it all.

Developing the character of our children is the next positive on our list of reasons to home school. Who is better in tune with the heart issues of our children than we are as their parents? Public schools don’t have the investment in training our children like Larry and I do. We are the ones who will be called to give an eternal account of our leading in their lives. As we begin formal education, developing my children’s character is much more important to me than how quickly they learn to read or write. 

And while we are discussing the public school arena, please do not take our desire to home school as a reason to think we hate public school. Let me state it clearly,  WE DO NOT HATE  PUBLIC SCHOOLS. My Sister in Law and my best friend are both public school teachers. Larry was a public school teacher before he went into the ministry. My Granddaddy and Granny dedicated their careers to public school education. Teachers are some of the hardest working and most under appreciated people I know. They deserve super hero capes and theme music to follow them around wherever they go. They deal with constant struggles, as class sizes continue to grow larger, resources become more limited, and discipline is always an issue.

Curriculum is another issue we are excited to have control over. You can spend LOTS of money homeschooling your children. Sadly there are no tax advantages to any expense we put in to education our children, but that’s another issue for another day.  However, homeschooling does not have to be expensive. Resources are limitless as to what you can gather through library books, the internet and life experiences. When we study dinosaurs, we can go to the museums in Rocky Mt or Raleigh and see dinosaurs after we check out free book about them from the library. When we study butterflies, we can hatch our own, and I bought a book on butterflies at a yard sale for either 50 cents or $1. When we study community helpers, there is a whole host of people we know from our community that would invite our children in to watch a day in the life of a police officer, dentist, librarian, doctor and farmer, just to name a few.  When we study the solar system we can make a model of one using supplies from the Dollar Tree and NASA online. Learning will be hands on for our children. How exciting that will be! If I do it well, they might not realize they are learning because they will be having so much fun!

There are two other big issues people question: Will they be shelter? And will they be socialized? And the answer to both is Yes.

It amazes me that people think being sheltered is a bad thing! Don't get me wrong, There are extremes to this thinking. But when you actually think it over why would you want to purposefully expose your children to things you don’t agree with and have no control over if you could prevent it? I have many friends who complain about the language their children have been exposed to as well as other offensive things their children have learned at school. I am perfectly fine with keeping my children outside of that environment. When people ask me if I’m worried they will be too sheltered, I reply no, and ask what advantage do they think their children will gain by being exposed to language and behaviors they don’t support.

Will they be socialized? Yes. It’s not like as home schoolers we will stay home all day, every day. Our family is super social.  The children are loved by all of our church members and engage with them often each week. We go to the park, library, grocery stores, and restaurants on a regular basis. Eden plays a Rec. league sport.  I also started a local home school support group. We have over 40 people in our group. I’m looking forward to our home school times with these families as we have music and nutrition classes and play dates this fall. We also have plans to do community service projects at a local nursing home. 

Will our children learn how to do things like public school kids? No

Our kids are not going to have to learn how to take bathroom break in groups of 20 or how to carry a lunch tray. It was brought to my attention recently that Josiah didn’t know how to act in a classroom. When I asked if he obeyed the teacher, she said yes. He followed directions. But He didn’t know how to put his hand on a wall and walk in line with other children. I was really upset at first, and then realized. Well, why should he? He doesn’t go to day care and will not go to public school.  I was so worried that he would never ever learn to stand in line! Then I started to laugh, we stand in line all the time at the grocery store, Wal-mart, McDonald and the library. We practice taking turns with one another at home. So yes, there are some skills they might miss out on, like putting their hands on the wall at school, but there are others we will gain. I’m OK with that!

The bigger aspect of the socialization issue is that our children will lean how to be adults from adults. Neat concept isn’t it? The qualities and characteristics that we find import, we will train our children to accomplish.

This is a big step for our family. I’m still trying to figure out a schedule and how many outside opportunities to engage in. I know there will be challenging days when I will feel like chasing down the school bus and putting them on board. But mostly I am excited that God has blessed me with this opportunity to invest in the three miracles he has given Larry and me. I pray I don’t mess them up to much!  I’ll try to keep you posted on how things go at New Covenant Christian Academy.



Monday, August 27, 2012

First Day at New Covenant Christian Academy

Today we enjoyed our first day of home school. Our homeschooling adventure has finally begun!

Last night, I was sharing with Larry how excited I was that we were about to embark on this new season in life. I  realized that today would be be the first day of what will take at least 17 year to complete. The task at hand began to overwhelm me. Besides becoming a Christian, The only time I've committed myself to something this big was marring Larry. Those were the best decisions I've ever made! I have a feeling homeschooling our children will be as well.

As I was thinking about the next 17 years, with a grin on his face and a twinkle in his eyes, Larry said, "Gee you'll be in your early 50's by then!" Wow, way to make it real honey!

We laughed and acknowledged how important this decision is to our family. We've decided to sacrifice a lot in order for me to stay at home and educate our children. A few weeks ago, I pulled out all the resources I have been accumulating over the past year in anticipation of homeschooling. As I lined the shelves with books and craft supplies, I told Larry, this was our treasure. He knew what I trying to say and smiled.  

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Matthew 6:21

Our heart is for our children to grow up with a knowledge of God, I've spent a lot of time and our families resources on material for our children's education.We take their education very seriously and want the very best for each of them. In every aspect of what they learn, we desire for them to see it as a reflection of the God who created them. 

We started our school with a study on creation. We spent the day discussing God and what he made the first day he decided to make Himself known. I am excited for my children to grasp knowledge that I pray will ultimately be the foundation for their personal relationship with God. 

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Butterfly in the Sky

We had friends go out of town and ask if we would butterfly sit for them. Growing butterflies will be part of our Kindergarten curriculum next spring. So I figured it would be a great starting point for the kids to experience.  Little did I know we would hatch a beautiful butter in less than 2 days. How is that for immediate gratification for the kids (and Mom).

Eden decided to name her Morning. I guess because she was born in the morning. She also called her black and yellow, for obvious reasons.

Since I needed to study up on what butterflies eat and how to keep them, we decided to let ours free so she could fend for herself. We also called her a "she" but I have no idea if she was a she or a he. I just hope we'll see her around again, because it was a windy day and she left after being loved on by the kids.

 Opening the cage to let her free.

 Checking out the flowers. Food maybe?

 The millisecond that Eden held her, it was an insect after all!

 My curious Josiah ready to touch and hold her.

I love that smile!

This experience gave me great hope for all we are going to
learn and experience in home school this next year.

Saturday, July 28, 2012


I found these pictures I took a few months ago. I had forgotten how sweet this afternoon was until I looked through these again. I love the sunshine in these photos. It was golden and warm. Such a sweet afternoon.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Tea Time

My girly girl had a dream come true this past weekend. She had her Yaya, Grandma, and Brielle share in a tea party! She planned it for days and we even brought out the good china.:) She decided she wanted it in her room and set up her small table and chairs. She then went about decorating with a blanket, scarves, a feather boa, and Barbie dolls. She and Brielle even dressed up in matching dresses. To say she had a great time is an understatement. :)

I LOVE this picture of my Mom and Eden.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Tater Tower

Many of you know I'm a huge Pintrest fan. I love trying new things I've learned on the site. One of the things I tried was a Tater Tower I found here:

We even made it into a family challenge and got my Mom, brother and a friend from Florida to join in on the fun. I'm waiting to see how theirs turn out.

I have taken picture of the Medusa looking growth in my tower, but I can't find those pictures right now. :( Just take my word for it. I had a huge amount of growth outside of the tower. It was neat!

When Medusa started to wilt and die back and the farmers around here started to harvest their potatoes I figured it was time to harvest ours too. After some pool time, the kids and I decided it was a good time to dig out tater. We made a big mess, had some fun, but didn't get a lot of potatoes. 

We planted red, yellow and white potatoes. The red potatoes did best, but that's not saying a whole lot. The post said you could grow 25 lbs of potatoes, yeah right! We didn't come close to that amount. We had lots of tiny tater, the size of Eden and Josiah's little fingers. Maybe we dug them up to soon? Maybe we didn't plant or water them enough? There are lots of maybes. The one thing I do know is tomorrow we will be having mashed potatoes for dinner :)

 Eden with a big find
 This was after I pulled the fence off and before the mess began.
(That's hay on top)
Our 1st tater harvest.
It will be neat for our kids to eat what we grew.

Titus's 1st Birthday :)

It's hard to believe a year has passed since Titus became a part of our family. He fit so well, I have a hard time thinking of life without him being a part of our family. His sweet disposition and mischievous smiles makes him such an easy baby. He is most happy running after Eden and Josiah, climbing anything he can, playing peek-a-boo, and dancing and playing instruments. He loves his wubby and is happy to suck his thumb when needing to wait on something or someone. He has a great balance of taking it all in, and running around getting into everything.

Titus has yet to master the sleeping through the night. Most nights he's only up once to nurse. You would think after a year of sleepless nights, I would be aching for one.I am, But I'm not. I know these nights of quite and still moments when he nurses and I pray will soon be gone. He is growing a lightning fast speed. He seemed to reach milestones so much faster than his siblings. There are so many moments that I wish I could stop time, or even just slow it down so we could enjoy these sweet days even more. Then again, I think what will the years bring? How much will he change in this next year? What will he be like as he grows into a boy, then a man?

Oh the dreams and adventures he will have!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Eden's 5th Birthday List

My sweet baby girl is no longer a baby. She is growing so fast. I looked at her the other day and caught a glimpse of the young lady she is becoming.

Recently, I found a list of questions that you ask your children each year on their birthdays. You can see how your child grows and changes during the years, yet some thing might always stay the same.

Here is the list and Eden's answers :)

1. What is your favorite color? Pink
2. What is your favorite toy? My Baby dolls
3. What is your favorite fruit? Bananas, Blueberries and Apples
4. What is your favorite TV show? Doc McStuffins
5. What is your favorite thing to eat for lunch?
Peanut Butter and Jelly
6. What is your favorite outfit? Dresses
7. What is your favorite game? Tag
8. What is your favorite snack? Ham and Cheese
9. What is your favorite animal? A cat and a puppy
10. What is your favorite song? I'm a little Acorn
11. What is your favorite book? Princesses Books
12. Who is your best friend? Karley, Brielle, and  Meredith
13. What is your favorite cereal? Mini Wheets with the fruit
14. What is your favorite thing to do outside? Swing on the swing set, jump on the trampoline, and play basketball
15. What is your favorite drink? Pink Lemonade
16. What is your favorite holiday? Christmas
17. What do you like to take to bed with you at night? My new baby doll
18. What is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast? Cereal, and oatmeal
19. What do you want for dinner on your birthday? Hot dogs,  and Cheetos
20. What do you want to be when you grow up? A hair cutter cardiologist

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Why did the ducks cross the road?

To come play with our kids!
 One of the best aspects of country living is our furry and fluffy neighbors. Last week, the kids and I were playing in water in our front yard. Our neighbor's baby ducks heard us and decided to come over to join in the fun. 
I was more than a little concerned as they crossed the road, but they made it! I’m not sure who enjoyed themselves more; the kids or the ducks. We spent a few minutes wandering around the yard and having them follow us while our neighbor made her way over to help collect them.  When she arrived, we helped them cross back over and return to their pond. Now the kids want them to come over and play daily. 
I love county life  :)

And just as an FYI, It's hard to take pictures and herd ducks and wet kids :)

Monday, June 18, 2012

Eden's 5th Birthday Wish

Eden has been asking to have her ears pierced for a few months. We decided that her 5th birthday would be a good time to celebrate by this small step into womanhood.
She woke up excited because we were going to Greenville to have it done. She wanted to dress up in a pretty dress and shoes. She was on her best behavior all morning.

 Excited as we first arrived.
 A little worried how much it would hurt.
 Keeping brother busy with a snack.
First ear done.

 One down, one to go. Not so happy.
But no tears. :)
All Finished. 
 First look

Happy with the result :)

 A sucker for being such a big girl.
 Josiah got a sucker for being a great big brother and
waiting (almost patiently.)

 I was so proud of how Eden behaved herself. She knew it would hurt; I had warned her it would. She became a little fearful before it started.  But her desire to have her ears pierced was stronger than her fear. She took endured the pain, never cried, and was so happy when it was finished. She is so proud of being a big girl. She has shown her new ear rings to everyone we've seen since then. It is her way of growing up.  She is joining the women in our family through this small act; growing faster than my heart would like. 

Sunday, June 3, 2012

An update :)

I looked back at my last post and realized it’s been over a month since I blogged.Thankfully the world still turned and life continued with this lapse in my Internet input. :) As busy as we’ve been, it’s no surprise that I haven’t had time to blog. It seems this will be one of my hobbies that might become a little neglected in the next few months.
On the bright side, we have been able to travel a lot lately. I’ve made three trips across the state in the past month. It was wonderful to see our family. We had Spring break with Larry’s family, Mothers Day with my Mom and family, a mini Homecoming at Southeastern, and I was able to attend the NC Home School Conference in Winston- Salem. Now do you see why I haven’t had time to blog? : )

Larry started his Doctorate program. I’m so proud of him! He made an A- on his first big paper and presentation. Life will be a lot harder on him as he tries to maintain his full time ministry, being a full time student again, and being a full time husband and father.  Knowing God has called him to this and has prepared the way for us to be able to accomplish this task, helps us draw strength when the pressure has gotten difficult.  

Larry has enjoyed the program and his “cohorts” That’s what they call the men in this program. He will take classes with all of them for the next two years. They will build a camaraderie similar to what Larry experiences while attending the Citadel. I still think “cohorts” has a mischievous ring to it. Kindda like naughty boys with sling shots and bare feet. But have no fear, these are all godly men, and they all wear shoes.  

My plan to start a photography business is still in the hopeful stage. There is A LOT that goes into starting a business. It’s not like one day you say, hey I’m going to be a photographer and poof, and you’re a photographer. Well maybe you can, but if you want to start a business AND get paid for it AND have some money left after Uncle Sam takes his cut, you’ve got to start it right.

So I’ve spent a lot of time watching YouTube tutorials, learning editing skills, reading photography articles, planning to revamp my blog, started the branding process, finding out about getting registered as a LLC. Heck, just trying to figure out what to name my business has been tough. BUT I am still preserving. Realizing the business start will take a lot more time to get it up and running has been a little bit of a downer. But I still have hope. I also have a new camera and lens that softens the sting a little.

The other biggie in our life is our decision to home school our children. Like I said, I was able to attend the NC Home School Conference in Winston-Salem. It was amazing! It was such a blessing to be able to attend. And I was also able to visit with two of my mentors while visiting in Wake Forest, both of whom are Home Schooling veterans.

Larry and I have been interested in home schooling since Eden was born. Now that she is turning 5 and will be starting Kindergarten in the fall our conversations became much more focused. We began asking ourselves: Can we do this? Should we do this? How do we do this? Between the visit with my mentors and the conference we’re convinced we want to Home School our children. We have the answers to our questions: Yes we can, yes we should, and with a pencil written plan and a prayer.
We’re ready to join the other 45,000 home schooling families in North Carolina. I have a blog post running around my head with our ideas about home schooling. I hope to post it soon. Maybe it won’t take a month.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Making plans

Life in the Gilbreath house is always busy. It seems as if something is always going on, often we are preparing for something big or just getting over it. I’ve tried to convince myself that things will slow down, but I know I am just kidding myself. Recently, Larry and I decided we were going to make some big life changes.

Larry has been kicking around the idea of going back to school for his Doctorate of Ministry for over a year. We spent some time in Wake Forest meeting with the director of the department. For those of you interested, a D. Min is a 32 hour program with a 3 year minimum. It is a doctoral degree that focuses on an area of ministry, Larry’s area of focus will be on leadership. Larry has to maintain a full time pastorate while in the program. It’s a wonderfully practical program that will help him become an even better pastor.

We assumed that the D. Min schedule would coincide with a traditional school schedule. Well, we were wrong. It starts in May or January. We talked it over and decided that January would be a good time for Larry to start. Over lunch the Department chair was impressed with Larry and offered to waive the program fee (it’s a lot) if Larry would go ahead and start in May. He has an opening, and he wanted Larry for the position.

To say we are overwhelmed is an understatement. The scholarship he offered Larry is a huge deal for us. It was as if God was saying, I’m in this with you. It will be hard, but I’ll make a way for you to do this. So for the next few weeks, we have to get paperwork and applications filed. Larry has a ton of work to do to prepare for the First class. He’s overwhelmed and excited!

And can I just say, I love Wake Forest. It was so nice to be back. There is a sweet spirit there. If I can plan well, I hope to be able to take the kids and visit during the time that Larry is in School. So for those of you, who live in Wake Forest and would like to host us for a night or two, please let me know. We will be in Wake Forest this May 21-25, January 2013, May 2013, and January 2014. It’s crazy we have plans for 2014 already!

And if that wasn’t enough to keep us busy. I’ve decided it’s time to move my hobby into a profession and start a photography business. The major thing I’ve done, or plan to do is invest a lot of money into a new camera and lenses. I have signed up for a class to help me with some editing software and have been busy practicing  at weddings lately.

How I’ll add opening a business on top of Larry’s busy schedule, home schooling Eden, caring for Josiah and Titus, keeping our home running, and not loose my mind is still an unknown.  But I know that the Lord has brought us to this point. He will guide our steps and make a way for us to accomplish all of our dreams!   

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Save the Date

One of our dear friends, Jason, is getting married. For those of you who know us, you know Jason and I love to argue like brother and sister. I always tease him that God put me in his life because Jason needed a sister. He's one of 5 boys. (I know you're all blessing his Momma's heart right now.) We fight a lot, but we know we love one another too. He has always been there for us when we've had hard times and is a great Uncle to our children.

So last year when he told us he was interested in a lovely lady he had reconnected with on Facebook, we were excited. I've always know Jason would make a great husband one day. That day will be here soon. October 20th, Miss Allison Rose will find out if I'm right or not. And I must say, He does have great taste in ladies. Allison is wonderful. She's on the quite side, but can hold her own with him :) They are going to make a wonderful couple and I pray they have a fantastic marriage.

They asked if I would take some Save the Date pictures for them. I was thrilled to be asked. Since they meet at Barton College they wanted them taken there.Larry and I packed the kids up for an afternoon photo session and dinner with friends. I owe a huge Thank you to Larry for keeping the boys busy so I could run around campus taking pictures. And I had the most wonderful assistant. Eden followed me, watching and learning. She carried my camera bag with one hand and her baby doll in the other. She acted so grown-up. Taking her responsibility seriously. She is such a great girl :)

Here are a few of my favorites: