Thursday, December 16, 2010
And I'm not really posting now, since I think it would be more fruitful to go up to bed and read a book before falling asleep.
But I just had to write that I am sitting at my desk here and my unborn baby is wiggling sweetly (26 weeks tomorrow). My dryer is humming in the background and my five beautiful babes are asleep in their beds. My hubby is at his best friend's house for a much needed evening with his childhood buddies, so I am enjoying a quiet, peaceful evening alone. I feel so very blessed in this tiny little moment.
To get to feel the wiggles and kicks of this sixth little blessing - a child I always wanted but honestly never even dared to dream might really become a reality. And here he or she is, so alive, so active, so real and already a part of our family. And I look at the rest of them - from ten months up to almost nine years old - and I can hardly believe I am the one who gets the privilege and joy of raising them all.
Will the movements of a baby in pregnancy ever lose their novelty? Not for me. The novelty of having children, and watching them grow in their relationships with their parents and with each other? Nope. It still humbles me almost daily.
I am so very, very blessed. Thank you Lord. For everything.
Tuesday, November 30, 2010
- Mary Grace from Books and Bairns challenged us to record 24 hours in our homeschooling day for just one day. So I picked today.
Wow. I guess I do more in a day than I realize. Thanks for the idea Mary Grace! This was fun. Sorry if it’s too much detail for folks to read. But I had so much fun recalling the day’s events I just couldn’t cut corners! ;o)
- 3:11am: Poor Little Bug wakes up howling – he’s been sick since Friday night and just isn’t getting well. I gave him Motrin and he went back to sleep. For a bit.
- 5:27am: Little Bug is up REALLY howling this time. Starting to wonder if he has an ear infection? Hubby tries to settle him but Bug is up and down from that point on. Not sure if he slept more or not. I tried in vain but didn't sleep a wink more. So tired.
- 6:03am: I finally get the hint that Bug is not going back to sleep so I drag out of bed to throw on the comfiest pants I can muster up to my growing belly and the warmest double layer shirt I can pull down over said growing belly. Bug is really screaming now from his crib. I miss when he was not sick and would wake up happily and chat in bed until I could get in to grab him…
- 6:10am: Get Bug the bottle he’s desperate for (poor guys is borderline dehydrated with this diarrhea virus he’s had – he’s gone from mostly solids and the occasional bottle to mostly bottles and only snippets of regular food since Friday night). He is still clingy and sad but settles. Girly Pie wakes up while I am feeding Bug, Hubby gets her from her room and she snuggles on the couch with Bug and me. 6:20am: The three big boys all trot downstairs and join us on the couch for a story or two and some snuggles. But Bug is grumpy and doesn’t want anyone else to snuggle with me – besides, there’s no room between the fussing, squirming baby and the growing belly and the whining two year old who apparently has decided it’s going to be her way or the highway this morning – so we leave the big brothers to finish reading Girly Pie her second story and I get up to walk Bug around and start the morning going. I managed to throw a quick lunch together for my Hubby before he leaves for work.
- 7:00am: Hubby is gone for work, the boys are all rolling on chores by now and Bug is parked on my hip for the day (I did get him to be happy in the Ergo for much of the day too. Normally he’d be off crawling around and happily exploring his world – but this virus he’s got is just messing with his whole demeanor). I did some morning chores but I forget which specific ones. Laundry probably, and kitchen tidying, a few loose ends for school, helping Girly Pie get her baby dolls adjusted in their various strollers and baby carriers. ;o)
- 7:30am: Breakfast is served – boring old cereal with some kiwi on the side for fun. Finny is on a very strict diet right now after some blood allergy tests revealed issues with dairy, wheat, egg and peanut. At least with cereal I can just let him pick from the safe options and we move on. I’m still trying to get a better grasp of more exciting and healthy breakfast options.
- 8:00am: Boys are off to do their after-breakfast chores while I get moving more on my day – laundry, settling poor, sad Bug to his first early nap of the day, playing a bit with Girly Pie, cleaning up the house.
- 8:30am: I wanted to vacuum today but Finny volunteered to do it for me, so he and Punky got the rest of the floor clutter picked up and as I ran up and down and all around in my usual morning bustle the floors downstairs became clean – it was like magic! As a reward for being so sweet and volunteering, I let them have some bonus computer time and they played Jumpstart 1st Grade together before school time started. During this time I was able to have a nice little phone chat with my bestest friend Mary Grace. It was a lovely way to start the day. Finny was in a hurry to start school stuff (he was close in our little reward system to earning a trip to the prize box so he wanted to get a few boxes checked off first thing!) so he got right to work with Awana and math.
- 9:30am: Starting school later than I like, but the kids were enjoying the computer time and I was enjoying my friend chat, so there you have it. We started with our annual Advent time Jesse Tree Bible reading and ornament coloring. Girly Pie colored her ornament in fully – she has such attention to detail. Goose had no interest at all so he did some sequencing puzzles at the table instead. But we all were together at least. Today was Noah and the flood. Then we moved onto history where we studied Pennsylvania and its beginnings as the second state. Did you know the PA state dog is the Great Dane? And their state bug is the firefly. I think that must be the coolest state bug. Wonder what Washington’s state bug is. Haven’t gotten there yet – we weren’t brought into the union for quite a while.
- 10am (almost): Bug wakes up an hour earlier than he should- and he’s sad and cranky and he’s pooped through everything. The boys move onto some independent work while I take care of that. Bug is happy enough to ride in the Ergo while we finish up what we can of school. Punky does math corrections, Awana and some history reading. Finny does his phonics workbook and fixes some math he missed. Then he moves onto a couple of other things but I forget what they were. When Bug is all settled somewhere in there the boys make miniature Liberty Bells out of Styrofoam cups and tin foil. Finny quits early, Punky goes overboard and adds a ton of his own intriguing embellishments. The fun stuff bleeds into the day as he continues to build pirate hooks for himself and his brothers with Styrofoam cups and pipe cleaners with his spare minutes. Girly Pie manages to struggle with all her potty trips today and though she makes it each time she still manages to make a puddle a few times in there, so a few potty clean ups happened in that time. Goose mostly played on his own or with Girly.
- 11am: Lunch prep is underway. Finny has been disciplined a couple of times for a bad attitude but has recovered. He’s excited to read to me from his new reading series we’re working through. He’s starting the 14th of the 15 books in the series and his reading confidence and excitement has sky rocketed. He can’t wait to read to me – which is why his attitude stunk earlier because he couldn’t wait through all the other needs his siblings had for his chance to read me his Knight Fight book. But when we read it he did great and can’t wait to finish off the last book later in the week. All the sibs enjoyed sitting in on his reading and he even read one of the previous books aloud to Girly Pie while waiting for my undivided attention. Very cute stuff.
- 12pm: Lunch is done (Top Ramen for most of us, gluten free homemade chicken noodle soup leftovers for Finny, and sliced apples. Fancy stuff, I know.) and while I go up to read a nap story to Girly Pie with Goose and Bug along for the ride, Finny and Punky clean up the lunch stuff and finish making some observations in their science notebooks from a recent experiment involving wet bread, dry bread and mold production. As if we need a special experiment to tell us what the results of that would be – but it was fun to watch our bread turn blue anyway – and to not feel guilty that it happened due to my own lack of homemaking skills. ;o) The nap story was a new one from the library and Girly and Goose loved it.
- 12:15pm: Bug is restless, so I get him one more mini-bottle since he didn’t eat much lunch, and I read another book to Goose. He loved it. Trying to make more time for my pre-k set – they play so well together and on their own that they often fade into the background more than I like. Just today’s efforts were so rewarding I’ll definitely keep up the time directed at them, even if it’s just a few more book times carved out in the day between big kid school chunks.
- 12:30pm: Last bits of school work are finished up before rest, but a few things were missed so some will happen after rest today, which is not our norm. Science starts a study of birds this week – our family loves birds so this is exciting. We discussed warm and cold bloodedness and they found it fascinating. 1:10pm: Bug starts his second nap, big boys begin their quiet rest time. Today I split them up and Finny’s alone while Goose and Punky play together. Trying to let their three way friendship see some different angles – otherwise it’s lately been the two big boys against their little bro – but taking one big boy out of the equation always leaves the other one being friendlier towards Goose. Hope they can work that out soon – I hate to see him always being the third wheel.
- 1:10-2:20pm: Kids are all down resting or napping so I get some quiet time. I talked with another close friend about the joys parenting and some other mom type topics. Cleaned the kitchen up and sat quietly for a bit.
- 2:30pm: Girly Pie wakes up so we have some mommy/daughter time. We read a book or two and cuddled, tickled and talked before the boys rolled down from rest. It was lovely. Her hugs and her delighted squeals when she has my full attention are just so delightful. I am reminded again of how blessed I feel to have the opportunity to raise a daughter among all my handsome sons. God is indeed so good. Then we all shared in some fun play doctor time (You know, where you listen to their bellies with a toy stethoscope and hear a frog in there so you need to surgically remove it. Isn’t that how everyone plays doctor at their house?) Bug wakes up super sad again from nap, so doctor ends quickly and the kids play for a bit while I settle the poor, sick baby. We pull out my real otoscope and check ears. No one looks like they have an infection, but poor Bug still acts like it.
- 3pm: Girly Pie plays a Star Fall letter game on the computer while we do a few last school items (math, Awana verses with Goose, things like that) and Bug is finally happy enough to crawl around and play a bit as long as I am on the floor with him.
- 4pm: One last school item to do before the day is through – it’s been on and off school this afternoon, lots of breaks but still finishing a few things up. The highlight of the day though: while Goose and Girly watched a Super Why video on the TV (educational pre-reading show – but Goose was fading as his head cold kicked in. Did I mention that most of the kids seem to be coming down with a nasty cold?) I did music with Punky and Finny. As they colored a picture from the Nutcracker and Bug spun around in the Johnny Jump Up I read a few things aloud and then we listened to snippets from the ballet itself. It was so cute to watch Punky and Finny dance around the family room as Bug spun and jumped and twisted to the music (He was TOTALLY dancing! So sweet!). That was the moment that made all the rough moments of the past week fade away as I remember just why it is we homeschool. My children love each other, and we’re learning about fun things that are really worth our time. The baby likes Tchaikovsky and the big kids think it’s the best thing ever to dance around the room with a baby in a jumper. Girly and Goose soon joined the fun.
- 5pm: Dinner is almost lost – we’re out of ketchup which is the main ingredient in my taco meat (sounds gross but it’s really good). Thankfully my friend C is dropping by some library holds she was kind enough to pick up for me (we keep getting sick so I can't even get to the library to grab my holds!) and she was able to grab a bottle of ketchup on her way over to save the day. Yay! And then Bug has another blow out in his diaper. Poor guy!
- 5:40pm: Baby is fully clean again, kids are hungry and ready to eat. Dinner is eaten happily by all without a crumb left. Hubby makes it home in time to scarf a few tacos down before he and Punky head out to Punky’s 4H archery club.
- 6:15pm: Hubby and Punky head out, Bug gets one last bottle (poor guy won't eat a bite so all I can do is give him bottles to keep him hydrated and fed!), Finny takes over as eldest in the house and leads the way for Goose and Girly. He is so sweet when he’s the big kid on duty! He always thinks of the best games to teach them, even retelling fairy tales and playing parade. So sweet! Again I am reminded of how blessed I am as I watch different dynamics unfold in my family and I see all the beautiful little souls I have been blessed to raise. Poor Bug smells awful from a day full of yucky diarrhea so he gets a bath all by himself while the other three play happily down the hall. He's finally happy after bath and crawls around fora bit before he crashes again. The other three have fun crawling around with him. Cute stuff.
- 7pm: Bug is happily in bed, Girly gets her story time, Goose and Finny start a fun brother game in their room. Sweet hugs and snuggles with my girl before bed.
- 7:20-7:40: I play Playmobil with Finny and Goose and we video record scenes of the bad guy being brought to justice in the local jail (Finny’s Superman blanket). Then we read If You Give A Mouse A Cookie and I think how much that feels like my life. Especially when I look at the last picture of the happy mouse eating yet another cookie, and the exhausted boy collapsed in a heap of messes all around him. ;o) The boys decide to have a sleep over on their floor so they are in sleeping bags with a flashlight reading books and saying prayers together as I leave their room. SO CUTE!
- 7:40pm: Kids are all down, dog needs to potty, once I get settled I sit down to organize some pictures on the computer and type up this 24 hour day. Noticed baby wiggling some while I sat. I feel him or her through out the day, but find very few moments to just sit and "be pregnant." I sure do enjoy those wiggles as they happen, though! 23 1/2 weeks, FYI.
- 8:40pm: Chat with Mary Grace about baby bedding (So fun!) while I clean up the kitchen dishes.
- 9pm: Hubby and Punky return from archery. I tuck Punky into bed after 9. Late night for him. Then back to work on picture organizing and 24 hour recording again.
- 10:27pm: I’m finished now with this 24 record and need to go to sleep. I will head up to bed in a few and hope I get to sleep past 5-something tomorrow. But if not, apparently I can still have a lovely, blessed, full day. Maybe tomorrow I’ll actually squeeze in that Bible time I keep telling myself I’ll do every day. I feel terrible about that - but I really do wonder just where to find that time each day. Sigh. Tomorrow is a new day. ;o)
Sunday, October 24, 2010
My littlest man is rounding towards the nine month mark faster than I ever thought possible. He's crawling, cruising, navigating the stairs at an alarming speed, and charming everyone he meets. Little Bug is the cutest, sweetest little thing I think I've ever seen (though my short term memory tends to think that about each of my babies when they are at this age).
(Bug's sporting one of his new bumGenius Flip diapers here. I'll have to post another time about why we dumped the FuzziBunz and went back to bumGenius for their 4.0's and Flips - but regardless of the history there, who can resist a cute coth diapered crawling bum shot!?)
Thursday, October 21, 2010
It's amazing what a few days straight of pain will do to a soul. By last night I was feeling completely defeated, discouraged - like a failure as a mother and wife, stretched beyond my means and falling pathetically short as a follower of Jesus. I went to bed knowing in my soul that all I believe is true and that I am truly blessed - but in my mind and heart I felt so broken I just felt like all of life is a burden too great for me to carry and I wondered how I would ever survive the next day, let alone the rest of my life. (I get BAD headaches... migraines in the past but they are usually controlled with a few minor trigger foods I need to avoid, and this three day whopper had me down on my knees more than once! Give me drug free labor at home any day - but a splitting headache? No thanks. I'm too much of a wimp for that!)
This morning was a little better, but I was bummed to wake up after a great night's sleep and as much acetaminophen as is safe to take during pregnancy with the "shadow" of my headache still there, knowing full well that an hour or two on my feet would bring it back full force. I was still down and depressed, still slugging through the gifts of my life. I got breakfast done and on the table. I kissed my Man goodbye. I carried the baby and directed the traffic of a full morning of chores and play. But my heart was nowhere near "in it."
And then this afternoon - after a morning full of wincing and enduring and even a bit of whimpering - my final snooze and one last desperate prayer for relief so that I could again do all that I am called to do seemed to do the trick. I got off the couch as Girly Pie woke up from her nap and I felt only the slightest twinge of reminiscent pain. I was free! The spell of my three day pseudo-migraine had finally been broken - and my spirit was full once again!
So I write all this not to complain about my pain, or even really to rejoice over the relief of the pain (though let me tell you there has been much rejoicing and praising!). I mention it to explain the thoughts that come to my mind when I go through something like this.
First of all, I always end a pain spree (or a stomach flu or high fever - any really miserable physical time) full of thanks to God for the relatively healthy body and life with which He has blessed me. It's so easy to take for grated the million and two times each day I bend down to kiss a short little bundle of cuteness - until I'm on the couch for a week unable to move due to back spasms (last December while pregnant with Little Bug). It's easy to gloss over the fact that I can prepare three + meals for and clean up after 6 loved ones in this house each day, all while homeschooling them and keeping up with a little one or two (or three...) - until I spend three days wishing I could just melt away in bed and feeling pity for these poor children that are doomed to call me their mother, knowing I am in no way giving them all the love and care they deserve. Every healthy day of my life there are an uncountable number of moments that I take for granted as just another part of life - healthy children to fill my arms and lap, a hard working husband who loves, cares and provides for us, the means to stay at home, the opportunity to homeschool, a body that can do all it needs to do and do it joyfully and easily. And in all honesty, not one of those moments should be taken for granted. Not one of those blessings should be overlooked or taken lightly. And yet they are. I am so blessed that I don't even know how blessed I am. And sadly, it takes a day or two of losing one of those blessings (physical health and comfort) to remind me just how precious each healthy day is.
And that leads me to my second point - how weak and frail my faith, hope and joy are. How strong of a Christian would I be if I lived in am impoverished country and got one square meal a week? What would my faith look like if I feared every day that my husband or my children could be killed (or worse)? What would it look like if I had to face the loss of my husband or one of my precious children? I am too weak to even endure three days of physical pain (and minor pain compared to many in the world at that) without doubting and feeling sorry for myself, falling short of what I am called to do and losing the joy I should have in each thing I am blessed to do.
It has been an afternoon of humbling thoughts as I ponder these things. I am glad to know that it was the pain and not actually my own heart that was feeling the doubts and worries and hopelessness that consumed my last few days. But it makes me wonder just how deep that faith is - how far would I trust God? I am thankful He has never fully tested me on that (and is it wrong to hope that He never does?), but I am ashamed to admit that this teeny tiny trial has me wondering. And it makes me feel for people with long term physical ailments, or depression (even postpartum depression - when you are in that fog you cannot see the light!) or other struggles. It's so easy to forget that your body, your health, your very mind are all gifts from God - and not to be taken for granted.
So there you go. The random ramblings of a pregnant woman coming off a few days of pain. ;o) I am feeling much better now, and once again enjoying my husband, my children and my home. I again see God's gifts in my life and want to follow whole-heartedly. This evening when I feel this newest little Gift wiggling away in my belly I can feel the thrill of knowing we have been blessed with a new life and we will get to welcome a new little person into our home in a few months - rather than feeling the wiggle and wondering just how on earth I'll ever manage with six children, two of which only 13 1/2 months apart (yes - that's how miserable I was!).
So off I go to enjoy a movie with my Hubby and then to sleep off the last remnants of this headache. Thank you Lord for my life, and for healing. Thank you for the perspective check. And for the grace and love You show to look past my weaknesses, no matter how big and blaring they may be.
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
We made oiled paper windows like the pilgrims for history after our reading time. It was fun to do and interesting to see how the oil effected the paper. The reading was enjoyable, too. So far there hasn't been a single reading portion in any subject that we haven't all enjoyed.
For science we went out back and measured out how big the star Betelgeuse would be if the sun were only an inch in diameter. It was pretty cool to look at the entire yard and call it one star, compared to a paper circle in our hand that was our sun, and then to know that our earth was only a dot compared to either – and that we as individuals are microscopic in comparison to any of it. And that God made the whole universe massive enough to house billions upon billions of stars – many even bigger than Betelgeuse – was a pretty cool realization.
We also enjoyed our read aloud and I was begged again for “just one more chapter!” I did the reading while they boys worked on their art lesson - they are doing great and learning a lot. There are frustrating moments as the difficult techniques are learned, but they are both enjoying the fruits of their hard labor.
In between the core subjects where we all worked together, we snuck in some individual Awana time for memorization and math for both boys. Finny also got some reading time with me and our current book Stories of Dragons which is hard work for him but he's enjoying the stories.
I have noticed lately that Finny is struggling with some areas of reading that I think a phonics program might help with. I never did a phonics program for Punky, and though he had some weak areas in reading, the gaps just filled themselves and one day he just picked up the right book and took off reading and never looked back. The child is 8 1/2 and can read through a couple of 2-400 page Redwall novels in a week if he really felt like it - so I just assumed for a while that Finny would hit the same stride soon enough. But Punky did struggle with spelling, and as I always do from my first to my second, I noticed that possibly it was my lack of instruction in certain areas that made for his difficulties, so I'm going to at least try to work through those things with Finny (and the rest, I imagine) with the right tools and not just "wing it" with everything. So today we did our first phonics worksheets, and I was delighted to see that Finny actually enjoyed the work and felt so proud and confident afterwards. So I think it's a good thing. His new A Beka Letters and Sounds workbooks will arrive next week, and though I avoid workbooks in almost every topic but math, I think they will be a really good fit for this particular boy in this particular area.
And for lunch we got to celebrate the accomplishments of both of my elementary students in their efforts to do some (rather mundane for them) handwriting review work over the past three weeks by eating a delicious homemade alphabet soup lunch. I bought the alphabet noodles but put together my own broth and was thrilled to find that all but one of my kids LOVED it. It is hard to find lunches around here that get rave reviews from the majority of people, so I don't take a meal like that for granted. ;o)
So that was our morning in a nutshell. All in all, I have to say that I am REALLY enjoying this school year so far. I know it's only 5 weeks in, and I know we're still not quite at 100% of our work load - but the My Father's World program that I really feel God led me to in answer to prayer has really been a great fit for our family. It's been enough work to keep everyone challenged and learning, but not so much as to bore the boys or overwhelm them (or me!). The planning is minimal for me, and for the first time in a long time I have kids asking for school work by topic. After seeing grumbles last year (and most years, really) when anything remotely educational came out, it is so refreshing for me to hear Punky ask, "Do we get to do science today!?" or to have Finny beg for the timeline figures to color during our history session. In fact most of the complaints I get this year are when we DON'T get to do something - the days we skip science get a frown from Punky, and the days without music or timeline figures get booed by Finny. If we don't have a read aloud, they both are disappointed, and going to rest time without doing an art lesson is just no fun at all. ;o) Our Friday nature walks are amazingly popular, too (not surprisingly!).
So for now - 5 weeks in - I'm giving our curriculum and our school year two thumbs up. There are topics (mostly science) and days when I feel like it's almost too easy and that they might benefit from a heavier load, but then I am happily reminded that my oldest is only in 3rd grade! I have five very young children, and a sixth will be joining us in the spring. The number of unschooled Littles in this house is far greater than the number of actual students I am accountable to each day. So the fact that we have too easy of work many days is no problem at all. I have children excited for school! I am a momma who still has time to hang with her hubby in the evenings and make meals three times a day for her family - and I'm still keeping up on laundry to boot! My littles still get much of my time and attention through the day, and I'm not so overworked by the load that I feel too drained to enjoy their antics and games. The planning for school is done for me and I had no idea what a burden that was to have lifted from my shoulders.
My children are learning, I am living, and we are all enjoying the whole kit-and-caboodle. That for me makes it the perfect combo for this current year, in this current season of life.
And I am joyfully praising the Lord for answering my prayers for direction in schooling so clearly!
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
Tuesday, September 7, 2010
So first I'll talk about our first week back at school. We had a really great week - which is saying a lot since more days than not we had one or two sickies floating around the house. On Monday poor Girly Pie had that awful fever, and I think it was Wednesday when Goose was down. Friday was our mellow day with school when we did our first nature walk but Finny ended up getting hit that day. Punky didn't get it until the weekend, but at least they all got it and got over it BEFORE our trip to the beach. Phew. God sure came through on THAT prayer! But even with the breaks for fever checks and vomit and potty runs (oh yes - it was that kind of bug!) we still managed to get everything on our list done for the week. And more than just getting stuff done - the kids and I really enjoyed all that we did! History was fun with some timeline work and a couple of maps. We did a quick overview of Vikings and their discovery of North America and what sick kid doesn't want to watch an hour or two of Nova Viking videos on the couch? ;o) Art was great, science was interesting. It was all good stuff.
I didn't really realize Finny was as sick as he was until after we had already begun our nature walk on Friday - poor kid got home and measured 102 or something awful like that. But he was so cute: On the way to the walk he told me he didn't really want to go and that he didn't think nature walks would be fun. But as he sat there drawing his very detailed sketch of the slug he chose to observe for his object in nature he said to me, "Nature walks are fun. I didn't think I'd like them but I actually do." Cute boy. I realized afterwords that his reluctance to go was mostly due to the fact that he was so sick. But still.
So Week One is finished and I'm looking forward to the weeks to come. I can't say what a blessing it has been to me to see God's hand in choosing our curriculum this year. I had no idea when praying over the coming year what it would really look like for us, but I can already see how much I really needed an open-and-go kind of curriculum. I LOVE the idea of planning each little thing out and customizing each topic to each child's needs and learning styles. But the reality is that I have five children, a house, a husband, a few friends, a church, meals to cook, rooms to clean, the list goes on. And the amount of energy and time it takes me personally to research the educational options, then plot out what to learn and when to learn it, then to study up on the topics enough to know how to even put together a unit on anything we decide to study pretty much takes up all that I have for the piece of my pie I have available to devote to homeschooling. And that doesn't even include the actual time spent TEACHING the stuff to my kids! And I also have to remind myself that all those hours I pour into schooling right now are really only benefitting one of my children, possibly two if you count that I mostly have Finny sit in on Punky's stuff. Of my five kids, only one is really at the age where that kind of education hits home. So my other four (or three if you just lump 6 year old Finny up in the school age category) are left with that much less of me - and they are at ages where they really do still need a lot of me!
So it's no wonder I was feeling burned out by the end of last year. I had put so much pressure on myself to do it all, but I think I had somehow gotten the idea that the only way to homeschool was to do it all like that. But now I can just have my library books ready, do school and enjoy it during the time I've scheduled for school with the two bigger boys, and the rest of my time can be spent reading stories to little guys and watching Little Bug take his first crawling steps and cleaning and cooking - and, you know, sleeping and breathing and actually making eye contact with my husband. Little things like that.
I know the open-and-go style isn't for everyone, and it might not even work for me beyond this year. I'm sure when more of my kids are school-age than not it will be much easier for me to justify all those hours in the day being devoted to that one part of our life. But for now I still feel so blessed that God knew just what would work for us this year and that He so faithfully led me to it when I sought him out in prayer.
So that's school stuff. I might go to bed soon but first I'll just add that we're having a GREAT time here at the ocean! The weather is cool and windy - but it's the Washington coast. I think it's pretty much always cool and windy so we're pretty well used to that. The kids have spent the past day and a half swimming like crazy in the hotel pool and running and digging and exploring the beach and the dunes. No major sand castles have yet been constructed, but they did dig a well and try to fill it with sea water. But you can imagine how well that worked out. At low tide. With two small buckets and one deep hole in the sand. And a little brother filling the well with sand when no one was looking. ;o)
We also found a dead sea otter. My dad laughed out loud after he told me he'd found it. My first question was, "Is it gross-and-nasty-kind-of-dead or go-get-the-kids-and-show-them-kind-of-dead?" Apparently he was thinking like a protective adult, not like a home educating mother of boys. I mean what young boy wouldn't want the chance to see a big sea creature up close, dead or not? And yes, we did go see it. And yes, it was fascinating. And no, it wasn't all old and rotten which is how I could stomach taking them to look. ;o)
So still to come in the week is a trip to the local mini-golf place and a night out at the "fancy" restaurant in town (like an up-class Denny's I'd say, or a low-class Keg) and a whole lot more beach combing and pool swimming. We'll make ourselves sick on fish n chips and continental breakfast waffles and by the time Friday rolls around we'll be cranky, sandy, exhausted and ready to head home - and completely content and refreshed after a wonderfully long week of family fun!
So that's life around here in a nutshell. Hopefully I can post some pictures of the ocean once I get home and clean all the vacation laundry. ;o)
Tuesday, August 31, 2010
I've never been the mom to want to drop my kids to run off and do my own thing. Quite the contrary, actually. But I did still take for granted the many wonderful moments I had with them when I only had one or two (or three or four...). I've always wanted a whole passel of children, and more often than not I'm quite happy to just be with all of them enjoying the hustle and bustle of a lively and loving family. And even now there are times when I know I COULD pull just one of them aside - but to be completely honest I choose to just take that moment for just my own quiet alone time. And sometimes I need that alone time. Don't we all?
But today I decided to take the last 30 minutes of my kids' rest/nap time and pull my Goose from his rest early to just have some Mommy-Goose time with him. He is solidly the middle child - one sweet boy in the middle of 5 kids - and he is more often than not happy to do his own thing and fade quietly into the background, just checking in now and then for a happy smile or a goofy comment. His presence is always a joy, but he is often the one to just join the group. When it works for us or the situation he's one of the Big Boys. When it suits us better he's just one of the Littles.
So time alone with Goose is one of those precious things. And today I did make the time to just spend a half hour baking cookies with just my Little Big Man. And it was by far the happiest, most enjoyable chunk of my day. And I had an AWESOME day so that's saying a lot!
We chatted and I got to watch him slowly work his way through measuring and scooping flour. I was able to take the time to teach him a few tricks and we both had a wonderful time.
Now a few children ago that would have just been a nice moment, one of many I'd had and a happy addition to the day. But now - with five of them and those quiet moments much fewer and further between - it was one of those precious memories that may just last me a lifetime (of course my memory is not what it used to be so don't quote me on that...). And it inspires me to make more efforts to take a half hour here or an afternoon moment there to just take aside one of those precious gifts God has given to me and pour into just them alone, and allow them to just have all of me for that time, and to give all of themselves right back to me in return. Yes - I need my alone time. But today I realized that sometimes I actually enjoy the company of my children in those quiet moments more than I do just my own alone self.
Monday, August 30, 2010
This is our first year trying a whole boxed curriculum and we're doing the 2/3rd grade year of My Father's World - a one year introduction to American History and a brief overview of the states. The program this year is called Adventures in My Father's World. I'd love to stick with MFW for the long run - but I'm experienced enough to know that I don't even know what this year will look like let alone several years down the road! So one day, week, month and year at a time! But so far it looks good.
So a few highlights from our first big day of the 2010/2011 school year:
Just to test my resolve to start the year today my sweet little Girly Pie decided to get horribly sick. She was up a few times in the night and even threw up once. I had hoped that was a fluke (she's working on 2 year molars and the throw up was after a medicine dose), but today the poor thing has had a temperature of around 102+/- even with ibuprofen and threw up again at one point. I would have sacked school normally, but for reasons I'll go into later I really do need to start in a timely manner this year. And for the most part GP wanted nothing more than to be cuddled up on the couch watching Dora the Explorer. She also took a long morning nap so I used that time to get school stuff done, too.
So that is our first day of school in a nutshell. I know the days will be filled to the brim soon enough as we add in math, spelling and the rest, but I still hope to be done with school stuff by 1:00 every day - I think it's doable and so far it looks like much of the work we'll be doing is enjoyable for all. I have been so excited to see what God has in store for us this year, and so far - even with a sick one in the house - I'm as encouraged as ever. Hopefully the updates continue to be happy! ;o)
Thursday, August 26, 2010
He has been mobile for weeks now, scooting, inching, caterpillar- and army-crawling his way around quite efficiently. He still can't sit very well but he's close.
He loves his Momma and Daddy and brothers and sister - and whenever he sees anyone he loves his whole face lights up and his fat little cheeks stretch to the point of bursting - then he starts swinging his arms and bicycle kicking his legs like a wild man. There is no way to even try to resist smiling back - it's absolutely impossible to keep a straight face when he does that.
He is a character - he has a temper like no baby I've ever met (and I've met a lot of them!) so it's best not to cross him if you can help it. As delightful of a baby as he is, I have to say I'm a little nervous at the thought of him as a two year old. But we've got a ways to go before we meet two year old Little Bug so I'll enjoy the sweetness now while it's here for the taking. ;o)
His expressions are hilarious. His will is strong. His curiosity is intense and his love for others amazing. His curls are still there (Bestill my heart, a curly headed child - I didn't know it was possible with our genetics!) and his hair is still a disheveled mop most of the time. His cheeks are edible and his neck is scrumptious. His thighs are massive and his ankles non-existent (we call those cankles around here). Chubby fingers and fat little wrists - oh the sweetness of a chunky little monkey.
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
Thursday, July 8, 2010
But when it comes to homeschooling, there are certain things that you really do need to plan ahead and prepare for. So as of spring my prayers and research began on what to do with the coming school year, and once the planning was mostly done it was time to actually do some purchasing. Yes, it's still only the first week we've been able to pull out the pool this summer. But if I wait until school really is starting I'll never be ready to start when I need to.
Well, my curriculum arrived a couple of weeks ago. I just ordered the bulk of the extras I needed for the year (art supplies, math books, paper, a few random books we wanted to have around) from Rainbow Resource and Amazon, and everything should be here in the next two weeks. All I have left to buy are the random things that I couldn't find online but are easy to get at Target or the grocery store (three ring binders, spiral notebooks, that kind of thing). Oh and I'm sure they'll all be needing a few pairs of pants and shirts in the next size up come the cold weather, but I'm nowhere near even thinking about that yet!
All in all, for only being July 8th, I think I'm doing pretty well so far in preparing for the coming school year. I'm excited, I'm having fun working out the details, I can't WAIT to break into my box of art supplies and goodies... I feel like it's going to be a good year. A great year. I prayed for guidance and clarity in which direction to go this year, and God was faithful. So I trust that the year ahead will be blessed.
And I am so excited to do it all! For me that's pretty cool, as often I get nervous and apprehensive about starting a school year.
So 2010/2011, third grade, first grade, pre-k, toddler, baby - HERE WE COME!
But - I'm sure glad to be able to sit back and enjoy the summer in the meantime. ;o)
Tuesday, July 6, 2010
We love you Little Bug!
Saturday, July 3, 2010
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
I had a few moments to rifle through things today, but now that the kiddos are all in bed and my hubby is not due to be home until after I go to bed this evening, the real fun can begin.
Off to peruse books, flip through instructor's guides and hold it all up to a 2010/11 calendar and see what the school year has in store for us!
So far though - the science looks fun, Punky can't wait to break into the magnet kit, I like the notebooking pages for the kids, the art looks enjoyable and the books to read look like most of my kids will like listening to them. On first glance, I estimate that it's just about right - not too much to do, and not too little. Prayers for a clear direction in what to do for the year were answered as far as I can tell from here!
Friday, June 25, 2010
I know I should be patient, after all I am an adult.
But I want my curriculum! I can't wait to tear into it and see all the great stuff in store for us this year - but and now I have no idea when it's coming!
Monday, June 21, 2010
Sunday, June 20, 2010
We'll be starting My Father's World this fall. Punky will be doing the Adventures in My Father's World program (designed for your eldest when he or she is in 2/3 grade) and Finny will follow along with the science, history, art and music - I'll just expect a little less of him when it comes to writing or retaining anything (he's only in 1st grade, but I didn't think I could swing two full curricula in my first attempt to go for it so we'll just adjust and make one work for them both).
I plan to use Singapore for both boys in math. Punky will be finishing 3A this summer and will start 3B sometime late summer or early fall. Finny just finished Math U See Alpha and will move into Singapore 1A as soon as I order it (we take summers mostly off, but we still read and do math).
I'm currently not planning on doing a specific LA program for the boys - they don't love sitting to do much of anything and my main goal this year is to get them learning about something (anything!) that excites them and hoping to hit a point where we all enjoy school again. We definitely got bogged down this last year and just got the basics done - which was good to hit those basics but in the end there was no love of learning ignited in any of us. So knowing how little they enjoy the language arts portions of schooling, I have no trouble leaving out the formal LA teaching for a year or two. I know they'll be doing enough with notebooking and the like with the MFW program - and I'm really OK with them lagging behind in language for a couple of years and then hitting them hard with a great self directed program in the middle school years and trusting that the holes will all be filled in at that point.
And I think that's it. The only other thing I am trying to figure out is how to get Goose some fun and educational Pre-K time. He'll be 4 in a few weeks, but his late birthday, shy personality and younger tendencies all made for the decision to hold him back and not consider him a kindergartner until he's newly 6. So technically he'd only be a "three year old preschooler" this year, so I'm not too worried. He won't start K stuff with Awana, church or anything else for two more years. I waffled for a while, but looking at how he's now maturing I'm so pleased we made the call that we made. He'll be so much happier as the oldest rather than the youngest child in any grade-related peer group he enters into, and I think he'll do much better at home when my expectations of him are a year lower. If I thought of him as that older year, I think we'd both get frustrated with the higher expectations that go along with that. I'd worry he wasn't doing enough and then I'd start to push him, he'd dig in his heels, and it wouldn't be pretty. ;o) So thinking of him as slightly younger, I think he'll just fly and do great and I'll be more at ease following his cues and readiness.
As for Girly Pie and Bug, well I'm just hoping I can put together a daily schedule/plan/routine that utilizes naps and quiet times enough to make for some focused school hours each morning with the bigger boys. I figure if I can get all the big guy school stuff done each morning that will leave my afternoons free to enjoy the smaller guys and the bigger two can then enjoy a bit of free time as well. We'll see though. Oh and we are doing a family Bible time each morning, too. So they'll be a part of that.
If there's one thing I've learned over the past few years as a homeschooling mother it's that no year goes the way I intend it to. We rarely accomplish what I plan to accomplish, but we always come away having learned something worth learning. So though I hope that this year we will finally find a groove that works for us all, I do not believe it will go the way I see it going in my mind's eye. But I'm OK with that.
The key thing for me is that I prayed over this coming year like crazy. And the peace and clarity I feel about the things we chose for the year are enough to make me feel quite good that we are on the right path and doing what we're supposed to be doing.
So let the fun begin. I can't WAIT to get that box on the front porch and see all the fun in store for us this year!
Friday, June 11, 2010
Monday, May 31, 2010
I'll have a 3rd grader, a 1st grader, a 4 year old a 2 year old and a baby. How can I teach the big boys what they need to learn and still have time to help Bug learn how to walk? How can I keep that mother-daughter time with Girly Pie without sacrificing too much from math and reading with Finny? How can we have fun and do projects and take field trips when there is so much to do? And how can I do laundry and make meals while I'm at it? Not to mention keeping up the house. Plus I'm tyring extra hard to still be a loving and happy wife for my Man when he gets home in the evenings.
I'm not super stressed about how the year will go. But I am praying hard that this year God directs me to the right curriculum/materials for the family. He knows me better than I know myself. He knows my children more intimately than I ever will. So who better to lead me to the right materials that will make our year go beautifully?
I feel like I fail every year at what I attempt to accomplish in homeschooling. I know that each year I also succeed in areas I never even thought to plan for as well, but this year I really do hope that God shines a light on the right combo of learning materials for us. I really do want Punky to actually *like* school time - not just endure it. Clearly I've not done very well in choosing what works for us. So this year I'm just waiting for God's leading to see just what is in store for us...
So far I'm feeling drawn to either My Father's World or a mix and match combo of materials for a science-heavy year (Sonlight science looks good, or the Apologia Exploring Creation series) with some Story of the World for history and a bunch of read alouds from various places (I love Sonlight's books but can't seem to pull off a year with their curriculum at this point).
So now I'm just researching the options, looking at the year ahead, and praying daily that God will lead our family down the right path for us all. I have no doubt He'll answer those prayers and bless us in the year ahead!
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
This Little Bug has the cutest wide mouthed smile!
Almost looks like he's posing here... but it was just a random flap of that hand as he works towards mastering coordination of his arms. For the first time though this evening he reached up with both of his arms and caressed my cheeks. I just love this little guy!
Sunday, May 23, 2010
And here is a very rare shot of me and my five beauties. You can just see Bug's legs hanging out of the Moby - but at least we're all together for the shot!
Thursday, May 6, 2010
Playing with the new camera lens... plus I just love baby toes!
So this evening was spent moving little button-holes around (kinda like those adjustable waist bands on most kids' jeans these days) and sorting out inserts and admiring the fancy bright colors. All of Girly Pies BG's were pastels, which were nice. But I was feeling much more bold with Bug. So he'll be sporting three diapers each in a bold red, a fun bright yellow, an almost too orange and (my personal favorite) a super fun almost-apple-but-not-quite green. He's got a great complexion for a little guy, so (even though he'll rarely just be in the diaper alone) he'll look really cute in those bold colors.
Don't you love those shocked baby expressions?
OK. I know. They're diapers. They hold poop. But still, they are so stinking CUTE!!! I am very excited to see how our first days in the new diaps go as I adjust for size and whatnot. He's in the first one now at bedtime so we'll see how the night goes.
Sorry if cloth diapers are not your thing - I know they are super boring to read about when you aren't into them. But if you are - than you know how exciting it is to get that box on the front porch and to dig in and start suiting up your little man in cute puffy bottomed brightly colored duds.
Can you believe my sweet Girly Pie will be two years old on Saturday? Crazy!
This guy has a great smile!
(I'll post some cute pics of him in his snazzy new drawers soon!)