Monday, June 2, 2014

2014 Mountain Bike Race Season~ Kick-off!

Ready to watch siblings race! 
Our family bikes~ it's our sport! Yesterday kicked-off our 5th race season! We love that this is a true family sport...we all bike and our bigs race.  Hobbs State Park~ 'Battle for Townsend Ridge' is the first race of the season and it's always a great, fun day. Yesterday was no different, the weather was perfect and we got to see lots of friends that we've missed over the very LONG winter!
Carrie is ready! 
Cason is ready! 
Carrie is 9 and this is her second year to race. She was AR State Champ in 10 & under last year. She took 1st place yesterday. Cason is 12 and he took 2nd in state last year. He raced up to the Cat 3 Male 13-14 class and had some tough competition. This year will be extra tough! 12 riders started in his class [13-14]  yesterday and the top two riders are looking strong! The kid that won it whispered in Cason's ear right before the start, "I'm going to beat you this year." Cason smiled and nicely replied, "We'll see." That kid took 3rd in state last year, behind Cason so I think he's seeking [friendly] revenge! They are friends and it's all in fun! Cason took 5th yesterday and he said he wanted to train-up and catch the top two next race! Katelyn is 15 and she also took 2nd in state last year. She, too, raced up to the Cat 3 Female 19-39 class. She took 5th yesterday and was disappointed. She's been extra busy with school and her NC trip to Tennessee, so she said she is ready to train and take 1st this year! I'm proud of them for having a 'wanna get better attitude' and not a 'I quit' attitude. I think it will be another great year for Team Pool!

At the start line...ready for take-off! 

Carrie takes 1st!

Monday, February 10, 2014

Making it Ours!

Spring brought warm weather and color to our land. Beautiful little shoots of green grass, native plants, little violet flowers, and tiny buds were everywhere. It was so exciting to see the landscape change with the new season.  It was a gorgeous slice of God's creation and it was time to make it ours, so we decided to build a rustic pavilion to picnic under. The previous owners had poured a concrete slab to place the metal buildings, so it was a perfect place to build the pavilion.

This picture shows where the metal buildings had been. It was at the base of the hill,  perfect spot for a pavilion. Hubby and Cason found the perfect sized trees to make the post, while the rest of us picked up rocks. The rocks were used to fill the cages, that stabilized the base of each post. Our land has an abundant source of native rock! LOTS & LOTS of rocks! This is Ozark country...where Laura Ingalls Wilder named her farm 'Rocky Ridge'. That name makes complete sense to me now! ;)

Here's the pavilion being built:

Why can I not find a picture of our finished pavilion? I must have one. It has been a wonderful addition and we have used it many times over the last three years! If I do not find a pic, I'll take one soon. We also parked our RV on the concrete slab, where the house had been, and hooked it up to the electricity and sewer that was already in place. Having a restroom and a place to camp has been great!

More adventure coming soon!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Spring...Time To Get To Work!

Once the snow melted grass began to grow and it was easy to see the beautiful slope of our land. Our beautiful, trash-filled land. Yes, trash...LOTS of trash. The snow had hidden it all! It's hard to see in the pictures, but it was everywhere...small pieces  (hundreds of cat food pouches!) and large items like tires, TVs, and dishes!? There was once a house on the land,  but it had burned down years before. All that remains is a slab. The previous owners had a large 'dump' in their backyard.

There was also lots of scrap metal, two metal buildings that were falling apart, and an old, broken down truck. We had a local ministry come get all the metal. They came out and loaded every single bit of was fun to watch them work and unbelievable how much metal they fit on their trailer, including the truck! They use the money to fund an orphanage in South America, so it was a huge blessing to them and us. Too bad they can't turn in trash for money.

With the metal gone it was time to tackle the trash!  We made a plan and waited for the first nice weekend to go out and have a BIG clean-up day. At the time,  the kids were 12, 9, 6, & 3  [I was a few weeks pregnant with Carter]. The older two were the most help, but even the Littles were able to pick up a large amount of the trash. We worked all morning and had a picnic lunch. It was fun and felt good to see the progress.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Crossing the Border...the Adventure Begins!

We moved to Arkansas in August, 2007 with a plan to purchase land within a few years, but for various reasons the right patch had not been found.  In early January, 2011 Greg and I were driving the backroads of Missouri, and dreaming. Talking about our desire to own land, but after a very L-O-N-G search we were feeling discouraged...what we thought would be very easy had not been easy at all and we were beginning to wonder if our dream would ever come true. That's when the miracle happened, as we rounded a bend, on a dirt road, there it was...a For Sale sign, not a typical for sale sign, it was actually a paper plate nailed to a tree with words scribbled in a ball-point pen, '6 Acres For Sale' with a phone number. The small writing could not be read from the road and when I told Greg it was a for sale sign he laughed, but did pull over...

I knew by the smile on his face that I was right. We called and sure enough the land was indeed for sale! We pulled up to the closed gate and looked as far as possible without entering the property.  The land was beautiful with gentle slops, a dry creek, and a large hill. We were very excited! A month later we were the proud owners of six glorious acres in Missouri...the adventure had begun!

Friday, September 6, 2013

Kickin' off another year...Seuss Style!

The first week of September brings change...with a crisp, coolness in the morning air and the promise of fall coming soon, it is the time I like to kick off our new year! We do not have a set start and stop to our learning, but the fun and excitement of starting a new 'school' year is worth celebrating, so we make it a fun day. This year I decided to celebrate...
Why, you ask? Simply to appease a 5-year-olds wishes!  In  March, 2011 I went all out on Dr. Seuss' birthday and we had a fun celebration. The littles [and bigs] loved it and asked often when it was going to be 'Dr. Seuss Day' again? Well, as life goes, I forgot to do it last spring and sweet Chloe has asked almost every day, "When is it going to be Dr. Seuss' birthday?" I did not have the heart to tell her it had passed, so I decided to turn it into our first day of school celebration! Why not? Another wonderful homeschool perk...flexibility! It was a huge surprise and they loved it! This year begins our 10th year of homeschooling! What a blessed adventure it has been and I look forward to 20+ more years! This year marks three monumental years~ Katelyn starts High School, Cason starts Jr. High, and Chloe starts Kindergarten! I'm teaching 9th, 6th, 3rd, K, & baby this year~ crazy, chaotic, FUN! I LOVE my job! 

Yes...that's a Dr. Seuss t-shirt! I don't have the nickname 'Ms. Frizzle' for nothing! 

Praying you have a great start to a great new year!
Celebrate the big and the little things!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Kickin' Off a New School Year!

September, already! I just cannot seem to get on top of this has truly flown by! And I know it is not going to slow down anytime soon. Fall is our busy time and it is also my favorite time of the year, so I will embrace it, grab hold, and hang on for the ride! I've always started school after Labor Day! Just seems wrong to start in August...that's still summer! I like to ease back into our schedules and make the first day extra special. This year my surprise was cinnamon rolls with each child's grade level candle on top! Absolutely hard to believe we started our 9th year! Here's the line-up... Katelyn, 8th, Cason, 5th, Carrie, 2nd, Chloe, PK [she got a 0 on her cinnamon roll and loved it!]. And Carter turned one, on September 1, so he is officially a toddler, but he's still a BABY as far as we are concerned! I also gave each child some 'new school year' presents. 

It was a JOYful morning and the kids were very surprised! 

After our celebration...the kids were ready to get started!

My 'new school year present' is my new classroom!! Have you seen it?? Go take a LOOK...I hope it inspires you!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

The ~Home~ Birth of Carter Pierce

Maternity pics!

A few days ago, Carter turned 6-months-old, so I needed to get his birth story posted! Time seems to stand still the last few weeks/days of your pregnancy and then once the baby is born...time flies! I'm trying to cherish these fleeting moments!
This is the story of our sweet baby Carter...In early August 2010, I wrote 'Faith or Fear' in my quiet time journal. I felt God was preparing me for something big, but I was not sure what it would be. I had been praying for many months that we would be blessed with another child. At 41-years-old, my hubby was not quite sure it was a good, safe idea. I asked God to change my husband's heart or change my desire for another child, which was very strong! I wanted God's will, no matter what. I continued to pray and He changed my husband's heart! One day, my hubby said, "we need another baby" and within a few months [December 2010] we found out we were expecting! My pregnancy was my best yet! I felt good throughout and time flew by! In April, 2011 we found out we were having a boy! Oh, JOY! We named him Carter. I like to name my children early, so I can call them by name. Early on I began to research V-BAC [vaginal birth after c-section], because I had two prior c-sections and I did NOT want another! I was determined to not be cut again! My first three were born natural [no drugs!] and vaginal and that was my preference. The more research I did, the more I realized my chances of having a V-BAC at the hospital, at least in our area, was low. And the more I read, the more I learned about the home birth option. I have many friends that have had their babies at home, so I knew all the wonderful advantages of it, but I was not sure if it was the best idea for me. I prayed, a lot, and read many articles and books. I truly felt God was leading us to this option, the words 'Faith or Fear' kept coming to my mind. OH...this is what He was preparing me for! Okay, I'll TRUST you, Lord!  After going to a OB/GYN Dr. for two visits, I found a wonderful midwife and stopped going to the Dr. I absolutely loved going to my prenatal cold office, no waiting, no rushing...Lucy (my midwife) was always ready to see me and she was in no hurry. We would sit and chat on her comfy couches and then she would feel the baby, measure me, and listen to baby's heartbeat (all done on a comfy bed). I often brought my other four children to the appointments, so they could hear the baby's heartbeat. Lucy had plastic replicas of the baby at each week, so she would let my littles hold the little baby near my tummy and we would talk about how big Carter was getting. So special!  

LOVED this pregnancy!

These appointments made me 100% sure of our decision to home birth...such a contrast from the Dr.'s office visits! It was a whole family experience...this baby was our baby and we were all preparing for his birth! Weeks continued to fly by and I made it to 39 weeks, still feeling incredible! I was not sleeping as well the last few weeks, but overall I still felt great. I was just ready to meet my baby! Every night I would go to bed thinking "Is this the night?" and I would wake that morning a little disappointed. Looking back, this was such a special time for me...I clung to Jesus, read scripture, and prayed a lot! My main verse throughout this pregnancy was Colossians 1:17 "He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together." I did not fear my uterus rupturing because I knew God would 'hold it together'. It was God's  strength that got me through the last few weeks and days of 'waiting'. Waiting on God is never easy, but His timing is always perfect! I thought Carter would be an August baby, but he was not. 

During the 'waiting' time...having fun with my other 4!

September 1st felt a little different. I knew today was going to be the day. Not because I was having any 'true' labor signs, but I just had a feeling. I did not sleep well and woke often to contractions and lots of pressure. I had a strange dream that I went to the hospital and they would not let me leave (more like a nightmare!). I called my midwife, Lucy, at 11:30am and asked if she would come check me. I just wanted to know if I was making any progress with the irregular contractions. She came over at about 12:30 and checked me. I was 1cm [sigh]. She left at about 2pm and said to get some rest because it might be a long night. I tried to nap, but I could not sleep due to excitement. At 2:30pm my contractions started to pick up again and I asked Hubby to start timing them. By 3pm they were 3 minutes apart and lasting 1 minute each! They were coming faster and stronger, so we sent Lucy a text. She said she was on her way back over. I also sent my sweet friend, [and amazing photographer], Emily, a text so she could come take photos of the birth. Once Lucy got to our house, I asked if I could get in the water (we had a birthing tub set up in our room). I was starting to hurt and wanted a little relief. She said yes, but wanted to check me one more time.  I was a 6!! Finally, progress!! I got in the water, sat down, and immediately felt relaxed. I literally felt Carter descend and it was only 15-20 minutes later when I felt the urge to push! Katelyn, my oldest daughter, came into the room to check on me and I told her to go get Lucy! Lucy came in and coached me through the pushing stage. I held tight to Greg, squeezed his hand and bit his arm with each contraction. It was not painful...just VERY intense with all the pressure. I did not feel much. The water was amazing and helped so much. Three good pushes (working with my body) and Carter was out!! His head was out and then the contractions slowed enough for me to catch my breath. With the next contraction the rest of his tiny body came out and Lucy placed him on my chest...oh, JOY! Look at this precious little thing! It was the most incredible experience of my life! Katelyn and my mom came in the room right before he was born, so they got to see it. Cason, Carrie, & Chloe came in the room right after  he was born and they were SO excited to see their new brother! What a precious moment! Emily captured it all with her amazing photos! I took a fresh, herb bath with Carter. It was so peaceful and relaxing. Carter nursed right away! I tried to soak in all the pure was quite overwhelming. While Lucy checked Carter and weighed him [8 lbs on the dot!], I took a nice shower. Then the whole family got on our big bed and stared at our newest member. I cannot with words describe the raw emotion that washed over me at that Carter was here at last. 

Praise God from whom all blessings flow!
Brother love!
Brand new!

was just perfect. This is my sixth baby and first home birth, I wish I would have had a home birth with all of them! Until you experience it yourself, there is just no way to describe how different and how awesome it is to have your child in your own home. 

I'm thankful God allowed me to TRUST Him and to choose FAITH over FEAR! 

"O LORD, how great are Your works!" Psalm 92:5
Carter meeting his new family...BEST moment ever!
Carter Pierce is here!