Tuesday, August 31, 2010


You know how you can take something for granted when you have it all the time? I think that is how I used to be with alone time with any of my kiddos. But now that I have a handful of them, those moments of time alone with any one of them are just precious to me.

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

First Day of School

Well - we did it! We started school today with one 3rd grader, one 1st grader, one early preschooler (Goose is 4 but his late birthday makes him more of a three year old pre-k'r as he won't start K stuff until he's 6), one toddler and a six month old.

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 while Girly Pie was parked on the couch (and for much of the morning Goose too - because when Dora's on how can you tell the four year old he can't watch it!?) we did school stuff. One of the things I like about MFW is that they start the year off at a slow and easy pace - which is great for us and even more great considering how my baby girl felt today! So we didn't do any math or spelling or language kind of stuff today. We just did history, Bible and art, plus some fun intro activities.

For Bible this year we'll be studying the names of Jesus, so this week is just a fun intro to names and their meanings. So we talked about names and looked up the meanings of names of people we know. Tomorrow we'll go into more detail on the meanings of Punky and Finny's names in particular. Sorry - no pics of that activity, but it was fun flipping through our baby name book looking up friends' names!

For history today we set up our timelines, put up the first couple of timeline figures and started our U.S. History Notebooks. The timelines were fun (the focus of the year is U.S history so that's why the timelines are not terribly long and why they cover such a short span of time) and I can tell the boys will enjoy filling in both their notebooks and their timelines with some great work this year.

Another really fun part of MFW is their "Book Basket" time. I just keep a basket stocked with library books from their list in the back of my instructor's guide (the list is even broken down week by week so I can easily make my holds ahead of time and just pop the right week's worth of books into their basket) and the boys have a set time of the day when they are to just sit and look through those books. Punky can read, Finny is still working on it, but even just flipping through fun picture books of the historical topics is fun. They enjoyed that part of the day today, and I've planned for their book basket time to be a very focused time for me to spend with the littler guys. Today that meant mostly Goose since Girly Pie napped so early. So we just read and did a fun alphabet activity during that time.

My Hubby has Mondays as office days at home, so he was around for our first day. He is working on the keyboard here learning a new tune while the boys work on their book time and Goose shows off his clipping activity. Goose struggles with holding pencils, crayons, eating utensils (everything really) properly and with any strength, so we're doing a lot of activities this year to strengthen his hands and improve his "three finger grip," including this chip clip activity. He is so cute and so proud every time he covers the bowl with the clips. And even with one a few scattered tries at it he is already much better and coordinated with the clips. He may actually be able to hold a crayon by the end of the year! (which by the way is my big goal for my little third born man - my goals for Punky at age four were unfairly higher and way less exciting for my little first born man, but you live and you learn, right?)

The unanimous favorite activity of the day was the Patriotic Snack. We layered yogurt, strawberries and blueberries in glass cups for a red, white and blue treat. Everyone loved dishing up their own cups and even Daddy enjoyed the school treat.

We also did art which both big boys loved! It's the "I Can Do All Things" book by Barry Stebbing. We'll see if the excitement lasts but so far I think it's a good fit.

Little Bug was asleep for most of our school time, but when he was awake he was as delightful as ever, scootching around the house and getting into everything we left on the floor - smiling and squealing with delight.

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

Six Months

My Baby is six months old. How can that be? And yet, he is. As a matter of fact he'll be seven months here in about a week and a half, I'm just a little late in getting to post six month old thoughts and pics of my littlest man.
Little Bug is the cutest, happiest, smiliest, drooliest, spittiest, most content, most endearing baby on the planet.

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.

Little Bug has the bluest eyes and they are so full of light and life and love. When he smiles they light up and make him even more irresistible than usual.

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.

Oh the darling beauty of our sweet Little Bug. His joy is contagious, his smile infectious. Thank you Lord for the gift of our Little Bug. We love him so.