It’s President’s Day here in the US. Besides feasting on a good sale and enjoying the day (or week) off from school, President’s Day is something we normally gloss over with little thought. Hooray for the great leaders in the US, we learned about them in elementary school and left them on the pages of the textbooks, right?
Well, this I’ve been thinking about a historic figure that barely gets a few sentences in most history books, yet was crucial to America’s independence. I’m certain George Washington wouldn’t be the George Washington we know and love without Jean-Baptiste Donatien de Vimeur, Comte de Rochambeau.
Rochambeau was born in Vendôme, France. From a young age, his father taught him to be tolerant of others opinions, question everything his teachers taught him, and think for himself (Lomask, 37); lessons that would be crucial to his military success.
He rose through the ranks of the French military, gaining the admiration of his superiors and inferiors. In a time where soldiers often died under the lash of military punishment, Rochambeau wasn’t in favor of harsh punishments, raising the morale of his soldiers and earning him the affectionate title of, “Papa Rochambeau” (Lomask, 28, 47).
As if he doesn't sound endearing enough, I'd love to present the Top 5 Reasons I Love Rochambeau:
1. He was supposed to be in the clergy, not military.
Back in Rochambeau’s day, children were assigned career paths based on birth order. Rochambeau’s older brother Gabriel was supposed to be a great military leader and Jean-Baptiste was sent to a monastery to study and join the clergy. When his brother died suddenly of a fever, Jean- Baptiste was pulled from seminary and thrust into military school- a move that would monumentally impact the War of the Austrian Succession and the American quest for independence.
2. Rochambeau was a man of great honor.
When the French troops arrived in New Port, RI, Rochambeau went to great lengths to ensure the townspeople didn’t feel that the French were invading. He sent the rowdiest soldiers across the border to Connecticut, where they’d be less of a nuisance and he allowed his other regiments to camp outside of the city. Rochambeau even brought a special blanket to present to the Native American leaders, to honor the long-standing Franco-Indian trade relationship.
3. Rochambeau only ever received half of what he needed.
Rochambeau requested 12,000 troops to carry out his mission in the American Revolution. He only ever received half. In the year he spent in Newport RI, he sent his son, the Vicomte de Rochambeau, to meet with Versailles and request more aide but the response was “no.” Instead, Rochambeau had to make do with what he had to find victory.
4. It was Rochambeau’s idea to go to Yorktown:
It’s no secret that the American’s were struggling to win the Revolution. With desertion rates soaring, moral plummeting, and the British victory of New York City and Cornwallis gaining territory in the south, triumph seemed distant. George Washington had his eyes fixed on regaining control of New York, but every scrimmage ended with the loss of life and moral.
Rochambeau advised Washington against going after General Clinton, but the advice fell on deaf ears. Finally, Rochambeau sent a message to Admiral de Grasse, telling him to take his fleet to the Chesapeake Bay. Then, Rochambeau stressed to Washington that it was imperative they march down to Yorktown to meet de Grasse. Washington agreed, and they heroically crossed the Delaware river, marched to Yorktown, and won the American Revolution.
Without Rochambeau’s quick thinking, Washington might have continued to go after Clinton, losing more life, any hope of victory.
5. Rochambeau was almost beheaded in the French Revolution.
After his military career, Rochambeau was honored by Louis XVI and became governor of Picardy. When the Reign of Terror occurred, an aged Rochambeau was herded out of retirement and brought to Paris to be executed. It’s recorded that there was an outcry when Rochambeau entered the prison. Everyone who knew him, or knew of him, cried out for the release of “Papa Rochambeau.” Napoleon pardoned the war hero and he returned to him home to live out his final days in peace.
Lomask, M. (1965). Rochambeau and our French allies. New York: P. J. Kenedy & Sons.
Ruppert, B. (2016, November 04). The Three Letters that determined the Campaign to Yorktown. Retrieved from https://allthingsliberty.com/2016/11/three-letters-determined-campaign-yorktown/
Selig, R. A. (2007). March to victory: Washington, Rochambeau, and the Yorktown campaign of 1781. Ft. McNair, DC: U.S. Army Center of Military History.
There's nothing that gets me more heated than tv time. Being home a good portion of the week, I've found it crucial to enact strict television rules. No t.v. between the hours of 9 am to 5 pm. This allows a show or two in the morning while I drink my coffee and come to. And then some t.v. time after dinner.
This works 90% of the time... but I happen to share a home with someone who has different television values than I do. Let's just say when the television is on more than normal, my internal self turns into a raging three-year old that slips out with backhanded sarcastic jabs.
Today had been one of those days...
I've had to really take a step back and get to the root of my personal tv drama. Sure, we've all seen the studies about how kids who have too much screen time become functionless members of society [ok, that's my wording], but when I was a kid, it was a huge deal when I learned to rewind the VHS on my own. Thankfully, despite my endless hours of watching Peter Pan, I did grow up and my brain still works. So, will a few "off" days really make a huge difference?
I realized it comes down to value and control. I don't value what's being watched on the tv compared to what can be achieved through hard work. The idle time on the couch REALLY bothers me. And when my rules aren't being followed, my inner three-year-old comes out.
And today, I had to put myself in timeout and let the day unfold differently. With one sick, and a headache myself, I humbly ok'ed the tv going on for no pertinent reason and pushed back the math lessons we were supposed to be getting caught up on.
Not every day can go the way that I like, but I've got to let go and like the day anyway.
I’m so excited to have joined the Homeschool Review Crew. I’ve been enjoying reading member’s reviews since we began our homeschooling journey, and now I get to jump in and try out new products and share about them with you! To kick off the year, I got to check out SchoolhouseTeachers.com and was blown away by the variety of resources that they offer! I tried out the Ultimate Annual Yearly Membership, which includes access to over 425+ courses for all ages (even adults!), worksheets, a video library, and access to World Book where children can explore and learn!
To start with, we checked out a 2nd-grade creative writing course: Adventures in Writing. Writing is what I do for fun and for income, but with that being said, I have absolutely no idea how I'd teach my children- or anyone else how to write. We printed out the lesson plan and the course content- a total of 51 pages and got to work exploring!
Now, my son would technically be in 1st grade, so I knew this would be a bit of a stretch. But it was so much fun that he didn’t realize the “stretching” part. The course was made up of 10 lessons and it was recommended we spend 2 weeks on it- working 5 days a week. We took a slower approach as some of the concepts were brand new to him. We started by creating a character in lesson one, developing a setting in lesson two, then creating a plot and focusing on descriptive writing in lessons three and four. Lessons five through ten guided us on writing out the story and editing it, which we tailored to our needs.
The Literacy Center provided really helpful advice for me as a mom, a course we’re looking forward to checking out called “Teaching Reading through Play,” as well as interactive books for my kids to read through their World Book program. World Book is a world of exploring in itself, with interactive content for kids of all ages. My kids enjoyed the early reading books, “Trek’s Travels,” as well as the games.
SchoolhouseTeachers offers so many resources, that I feel like it’s an amazing “start here” place for homeschoolers! It’s easy to invest a small fortune into books, courses, online programs, and video libraries, or you can enjoy just ONE subscription that has it all included! We’re looking forward to watching “Drive Thru History” to complement our history reading and diving into their early reading resources! And, for being awesome readers of the review crew- I’m excited to share a promo code for 30% off the Ultimate Annual Yearly Membership!
Just enter- > CREWFOLLOWER
Be sure to check out more reviews from the Homeschool Review Crew and here their thoughts on SchoolhouseTeachers.com!
Call it apocalyptic evidence of the Marie Kondo influence sweeping the nation, but I've been inspired to tidy up. I certainly consider my house to be "clean," but with four children running about, toys seem to flow out from their bedrooms like hot lava, damaging the soles of our feet along the way.
My husband and I spent the weekend helping my oldest "tidy up" by bringing a level of organization to his explosion of Legos, but he was unwilling to part with toys and we didn't want to push him at this moment. Then, I set my eyes on my daughter's room. I asked her if she had any toys she didn't play with and wanted to get rid of. She went to her room and emerged with these:
And just like that, the wind that propelled my tidying-up ship stopped blowing.
I smiled and thanked her for deciding to give these toys to someone else. And then I took them and put them in my closet and choked back tears.
HOW COULD SHE NOT LOVE THESE TOYS ANYMORE??
She literally [and un-maliciously] picked out two toys with so much significant value to ME that I had to take a few steps back and ask myself some questions.
Why did these two pink plushes matter so much to me? Well, the doll was the first item that my daughter ever saw in a store and desired. She was around 15 months when we were strolling through Dollar General and her sweet little eyes lit up at the sight of a pink doll. Though I hate "just buying stuff" for my kids, my mommy heart just had to get her that doll. As I saw it in the "get rid of pile," it was a sign of her growing up and maturing, and I just didn't feel ready to let go of that little peanut I once held.
The dog carried a similar sentiment, only she was a few weeks old when I got that for her. Though my little pink princess was too small to enjoy the toy, I bought it thinking about all the fun she could have with it when she grew. Now that she'd grown, enjoyed it and was ready to part with it, I realized I wasn't ready to let go of that precious moment.
In the bustle of four little kids, cherishing moments is often missed when the next wave of chaos breaks, bringing an onslaught of "I'm hungry" and "can I have juice" and "she took my toys," but through all of the waves, there are small reminders of sweetness and simpler times… and this mama is going to cherish in her closet for many more years :)
How do you manage all of the "stuff" your kids accumulate?
The book is packed with wisdom, delivered in an envelope of grandfatherly love. One of my favorite wisdom gems I've gleaned from this book is to train children to respond to what you say, not your reaction. In my house, I'm constantly telling my kids to pick up their toys. But they rarely respond to the first time I ask. Instead, I have to raise my volume and threaten timeout before the floor becomes clean because they're a custom to responding to my frustration- not my request. By shifting my own behavior, we’ve been able to start to break that pattern.
This goes hand in hand with another piece of advice Bill Johnson gives- to respond to our children and not react. Though it's easier said than done, taking a moment to gather thoughts and emotions before forming a response rather than reacting can help build an extraordinary bridge of trust and communications within our walls.
Lastly, you'll all be quite amused to learn that Bill Johnson gave his children ice cream every day after church if they worshiped during the service. Now some might feel like this is bribery- but Bill points to Hebrews 11:6, "God rewards those who seek him…" I’m notoriously stingy on rewards. Just ask my kids… but this notion really did shift my perspective. If we want our children to follow God and seek a relationship with Him on their own, then it’s wise to instill God’s goodness and generousness into their young hearts.
It’s worth noting that Johnson does reference spanking as a form of disciple his family used. That’s not our families personal view, but I didn’t feel that the topic was addressed in a negative way and thought the overall advice on disciple could be used and adapted to your families personal policies.
With everything being said, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed reading Raising Giant Killers. It’s a book I know I’ll continue to reference for years to come. I hope you’ll enjoy it too!
*please note that this was not a sponsored review- I picked this book up on my own :)
Since Porter's birth, I've been really diligent about keeping our schedule as empty as possible. The weekends, especially, have remained time to relax and do nothing [except for cooking, dishes, laundry and all those other daily essentials].
But Monday morning hits like a semi-truck.
I try to do that thing that I've read about where you wake up before your kids for some "me" time before the circus starts... but mostly that looks like me brushing my teeth before a stamped of hungry animals meets me in my bathroom.
Then we jump into breakfast time and school work, cooking, dishes, second child's lessons, cooking lunch... and nursing a newborn on demand...I found myself utterly out of breathe from racing through activity after activity, trying to do as much as humanly possible before the next time the baby wakes up.
But then I picked up my newborn, I realized I was doing it all wrong.
It’s all too easy to let the demands of motherhood, and the unrelenting dictatorship of our own expectations govern the day. I know what I should be doing… but my little guy hasn’t entered that world yet. So instead of having him be a by-stander to my responsibilities, I’m going to join him in a world of peace, rest, and nourishment.
The dishes and laundry will still be waiting later- and letting my kids watch a t.v. show won't ruin their educational career... So this mama is going to sit in my comfy chair with a blanket and my favorite little baby and soak up some relaxation.
I hope you get the chance to do the same this week [maybe minus the baby if you're not swimming through this season ;)]!
The postpartum period begins right after birth and stretches through the following six weeks. It's a beautiful time of recovery and bonding with your new little one...
And sometimes it's not.
When I look back to my first postpartum period six years ago, it seems like a beautiful dream of snuggles, bonding and adjusting to motherhood, but I also remember the unexpected physical pains and feeling so overwhelmed.
This time around with baby number 4, it's been a roller coaster of emotions and struggles- cloaked in that perfect newborn baby smell.
I started my postpartum time with 2 weeks of bed rest. Porter made a really quick entrance into the world. My water broke, and he came, all in one shot which left my with more physical challenges than the past.
After the first week, it was clear that my healing was going wonderfully and I was looking forward to the following week when I could hop out of bed and jump back into my old life.
Well my hips don't lie, and they told me to lay the heck back down.
I felt so discouraged and was longing to get back to normalcy... not to mention the fact that it was almost Christmas and I had gotten very little done.
My parents arrived from Florida on my first day off bed rest- and the Christmas festivities began. It was a joyful time of introducing Porter to the world and celebrating Jesus's birth, but I still struggled with wanting to do more.
THAT has been the conundrum of my postpartum life and my mom life in general. Every morning, I wake up with new ideas, inspiration, and desire to create… and every day gets swallowed up in a plethora of nursing sessions, homeschool lessons, diaper changes, and dishes.
One of my favorite verses of Scripture is Proverbs 13:12:
Hope deferred makes the heart sick,
When my dreams fall victim to the business of my life, I feel my heart drift into sadness and defeat. To avoid that pit, I find myself creating the smallest of goals… little things that I actually can accomplish during my busy week. For instance, one of my goals this year is to see one of my children’s books picked up by a prestigious publisher. The manuscript has sat on my desk for over a year, and my query letter is ready to go- so my simple goal for the next two weeks is to compile a list of agents (week one), and submit at least 30 query letters (week 2).
By taking small steps and stewarding breaks well, I can continue my pursuit of goals outside of finding that missing pink boot.
Until next week,
When I had two kids, I felt like I knew what I was doing with this parenting thing. I even wore clothing that matched, and occasionally put some make-up on.
+2 more kids and I realized I don't actually have a clue...
Take potty training for example. My son was potty trained by 2 and a half and my daughter was trained before her second birthday. That kiddo never even had an accident. Now, we've been trying to potty train my third for months and it looks a lot like scrubbing the carpet and cleaning up messes.
With her 3rd birthday only 3 months away, I've been trying to figure out what we could possibly be doing wrong as it seems like she has no awareness of when she needs the bathroom- but if we remind her to use it every hour, she does perfectly!
I spent some one-on-one time talking to her about listening to her body to understand when she needed to use the toilet. So this sweet girl tilts her ear to her shoulder to "listen" to what her body is saying. After asking her shoulder, she decided that she needed to use the bathroom.
I thought this cute interpretation of my wise words just might have been successful... until she had two more accidents that afternoon.
We pulled out the diapers again... which she hates... because let's be real, after wearing undies no one wants a diaper.
And guess what?
She hasn't had any more accidents! Go figure...
The moral of the story is that every stage of life is different for each one of us. Some things come easy for one and hard for another.
As parents, it can feel like we're failing, when we're really not. But it's hard to tell because there really is no "end result" to judge our efforts by. Or if there is, it's a distant goal.
But at the end of the day, what's important is that we do our best and "just keep swimming" (as Dory the fish one said ;).
Looking for a beautiful and meaningful Christmas gift? You've found it! Ellie Claire launched three stunning devotional journals that will keep your loved ones inspired for the entire year!
I was asked to review these three lovely devotional journals, ”Peace Begins with Me,” “The Earth is the Lord’s and everything in it,” and “Turn Your Eyes on Jesus,” and was really excited because it's a bit different than what I normally review. I'll admit, it's been years since I've journaled and I wasn't sure how much I’d enjoy it.
I started by cracking open "Peace Begins with Me," because I could sure use more peace in my life! With baby number four about to make an entrance, and still being unsure of where I’d actually deliver the baby, plus anxiety about what life would be like with four little ones under 6, I knew I needed to be intentional about soaking in a fresh dose of daily peace.
I opened up the first page and read the entry, and it was exactly what I needed to hear:
…If I am feeling anxious about my circumstances, then my anxiety is not from God. It’s either from my own circular thinking or from the pit of hell…”
And I knew this devotional came in the perfect season!
Each book presents readers with a different theme:
I honestly can't pick which one my favorite is. They're each unique, filled with inspiration, and the cover art is absolutely beautiful! They'd make such a thoughtful gift that would encourage your loved ones daily- what could be better??
In case you haven't heard- we welcomed a brand new bundle of joy into our lives on December 5th!
It sure felt like Porter took his time to join us. I had been expecting him to come closer to the 37 week mark than 41 weeks... but he arrived perfectly, healthy, weighed 8lbs 8 ounces and was 21 and 3/4 inches long.
I've been on bed-rest since, and have been loving almost every minute of it.... [Somehow, I never thought I'd actually miss doing laundry!}
Frank's been taking wonderful care of everyone and everything- and we've been super blessed by friends dropping off amazing meals!
Each child is adjusting and reacting to the change in their own ways... and at random times! I'm constantly reminded that in this season, my only mission is to stay present and keep loving everyone where they are at... Life's a journey and we're excited for the next adventure!
is an author, blogger, ad homeschooling mom of four, giving her excellent credentials to run her own circus one day!