Wednesday, February 27, 2013

SIZE MATTERS



For awhile, I thought our house was too small.
In a sense, I still think so..but in another sense--I'm okay with it.
Don't get me wrong, there are a million and three things I would like to change, finish, tweak, etc.
And I still hope we can put on an addition sometime in the nearest possible future.

For the time being, however, lets look at our space in a positive light:

A small space forces us to interact with one another.
No one is able to just go hide in their room--or anywhere else for that matter.
No one has their own room.
Honestly, I don't know if I would even allow the kids their own rooms, even if we had the space.
There is a LOT to be learned in sharing a bedroom.
(Now, if I could just have my own room......)
 
We are in each others faces, very literally.

We have to learn to share.

We have to learn to respect one another's boundaries.

We have to learn to be (at least somewhat) organized.

We have to connect.

Plus, I really don't want to have to CLEAN a larger house.
With homeschooling and parenting as my FULL-time job,
cleaning house is sometimes put on a back-burner.
Our small house can get pretty un-tidy..
(There is a difference between filth and mess, ya know)
I can't imagine trying to keep a larger house clean.


>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

I started this post last week sometime and kinda lost my train of thought..

I think you get where I am coming from though.
At least, I hope so.

Thoughts?

ART CLASS

Last week I took the oldest 2 (and the youngest) to their first "art class."
It is for ages 5+
There is a studio that offers weekly classes, but I'm shooting for once a month.

This class focused on clay.


What did Michael make?
An Angry Bird, of course!
He kind of made it a trend, because once he announced his intentions of making an Angry Bird, several of the other kids (including his sister) also made Angry Birds!



They both really enjoyed it and are looking forward to going back.

FAIL. OR IS IT?



Today, very UN-intentionally, we have not cracked a single book.

It was not my plan, but the day just got away from us.

Other than our Bible devotions this morning, we have not done any "official" school work.

I could call this a fail of a school day.

Or is it?

We went to storytime.

We played some computer learning games.

We read about Abraham Lincoln.

We baked cookies.


We listened to an audio book.

We made some spinning art.




We cleaned up our rooms.  

We made messes of our rooms.

I completed my lesson plans for Friday 
(usually I do it the Saturday ahead, but was out ALL day this past Saturday)


So, you tell me--just because we didn't open a book or do "traditional" schoolwork, was it a wasted school day?


I don't know about yours, but my kids love to use the computer.  
As long as it is supervised, I'm okay with it.  Just another educational medium.
I wanted to share a few FREE sites we've been using recently.

Free worksheets on nearly anything.
Daily math practice

 Phonics Games and Reading

Phonics Games

A whole multitude of learning stuff

Are there any that you use and find worthwhile, that you wouldn't mind passing along?


p.s. A few of those books may still be cracked open tonight, we'll see.  ;)

Thursday, February 21, 2013

JUST BECAUSE




Tuesday, February 19, 2013

SNATCHES AT BREAKFAST:

Every morning is different.  
However, every morning is the same in its very random, imaginative breakfast conversation.  
Enjoy.

>
>
>

I'm a superspy!

Me goofy..

You're Mickey Mouse superspy.

It's my story.  It's my story.  It's my story.

I'm in charge of it.

I know why we call them seahorses..because they live in the sea and neigh like horses.

Imagine having 300 brothers and sisters!

We would have no room in the house with 25 sisters.

What about kids all over the house?

We would need lots of food.

That would be good.

Seahorses don't have stomachs.

Seahorses are just like chameleons.

I have glue hands and whatever I touch sticks to me.

Chocolate inside.

Tell me when you need more cutting.

Mommy, BIG BOAT!!

I cut your fingers off.  Does it look like only my pinkie is on?

E-I-E-I-O MEE MEE MEE MEE MEEEEE

I'm in jail!

Get me out!

Who wants ice cream?

  The floor pinched me!

A custard pie for me?!!

(pretending to throw pies and resulting scrunched up faces)

 
>
>
>

This is just a small sampling.

It is no wonder these children will sit for literal HOURS at each meal..
too much talk not enough eating!

FINDING THE NEW NORMAL

 Not sure if there is a point to this post, other than just venting.
Here goes.

Lately, I'm feeling like I need about six more hours per day.
I just can't seem to get anything accomplished.
Yes, the kids are fed and clothed but..sometimes that feels like it!

Jared is now three months old, and I'm thinking maybe it is time for a "new schedule."
Schedule..like I really "schedule."
I don't in a strict sense, but rather have a loose plan for our days.  
If you don't know it by now, I'm pretty flexible.
Anyway, being 3 months old, he does not sleep the majority of the day away anymore.  Yes, he still sleeps quite at bit, but not the same as his first few months.  Nor is he as content to be put in a chair or swing.  This most certainly affects our day.

At any given moment, you may find cobwebs in the corners, (clean) laundry on the couch, books littering..uh, everywhere, dishes on the counter, toothpaste spatter on the bathroom sink...yes, you guessed it.  My greatest challenge these days is NOT educating my children, it is keeping my house clean in the way I like it to be clean. 
And I don't even have a big house!
(Though that in a roundabout way contributes to the mess,
there is not a "spot for everything" around here)
I haven't yet found a way to balance housework and schoolwork.  I've cut back on "seat work" where I can, but time is still elusive.  The kids can help me with certain things, putting away their laundry, clearing/setting the table for meals, vacuuming...but they are still a bit too young for the "heavy lifting."  I don't like the disarray of our abode. 
I REALLY don't like the mess.

I don't expect perfection..we LIVE here. 
KIDS live here.
Kids school here.
 Something has to give.

Mike helps out when he can, which is a huge help--and even more important--he gets it.
He totally understands (or at least pretends to) that raising 5 young children, keeping house, homeschooling along with everything else is a full time job and like I said--something has to give.
I am not superwoman..well, except for on Tuesdays... *wink*
Anyway, point I'm making is
that the bulk of the homemaking/housekeeping/child-rearing is up to me.
And that's okay, because it is my job.

So, we come full circle.
I don't feel like my job is getting done.

Monday, February 18, 2013

3


Three months old this past Saturday.
These pictures are from Saturday.
Still not total neck/head control, but working really hard on it.
He has rolled several times, both ways--front to back AND back to front.
He has suddenly become Mister Smiley and will hold a conversation with you.
Not interested in toys yet, but will watch what is going on around him.


Look at those eyelashes, huh?!

  (The picture below is SO Carina!)


Let the drooling commence!
Hands in mouth..and we might have a thumb sucker..debatable.  
Teething?  Hard to say.

Still sleeping well, 8-12 hours a night.
Napping through the day, though he is awake more now, as is expected.

Happy 3 months, little man!

THESE ARE THE MOMENTS




Happy Monday!

Friday, February 15, 2013

HAPPY I LOVE YOU DAY

We don't normally make a big deal out of Valentine's Day.
You should show love everyday.
This year though we did a bit more than usual.

The kids spent the early afternoon making Valentine's for Daddy 
and reading Valentine's Day stories.  

Photo: From my awsome kids

After learning that Daddy wasn't going to be home for dinner, 
we modified our plans and the kids made their own pizzas.




 We attempted to go around 
and have everyone say either something nice to or about another person..um, well, we tried.
Read the "Love" chapter (1 Corinthians 13)
and discussed the GREATEST love of all.


mmmmmmm!





And after dinner..
 Fondue!!
(aka mess.)


Oh, don't worry, he got into it.
By the end,
I was sOO glad he was stripped





I found chocolate on his toes, would you believe it!
And behind his ears..
It was straight into the bathtub.

Did you do anything special or at least out of the ordinary for Valentine's Day?

Saturday, February 9, 2013

SWEET BABY BOY



Jared was just shy of one month old.

Next week, Lord willing, he will be 3 months old already!

MESSY PRINCESS




Rian
age 3.

Our messy princess.

WITH DAD



Michael is at that special age where one on one time with Dad is prized and precious.
Michael is old enough to be a real help in doing things.
Old enough to really start soaking in "wisdom."

Times like these are moments to treasure,
for both of them.




What are some special things you remember doing with your Dad?

CO-OP FUN

Ah, co-op.
If they aren't eating rocks, painting animals, sampling yummy treats, singing at the top of their lungs or making maracas, you might find the kids...
 walking a balance beam.





I have such mixed feelings about co-op.

On one hand, I LOVE it!  
The kids are with other kids and have different classes with teachers other than myself.
Teachers with different teaching styles.
We're all friends.
It is nice to see them and their children.
Children with other viewpoints.
My kids really enjoy going.
We get there and I'm glad we're there.

On the other hand,
it is a really big hassle. 
The night before is spent in gathering everything up and prepping lunch for the next day..making sure the kids are in bed early.
I have to pack everyone and the kitchen sink up super early in the morning and 
drive an hour to get there.
Its a drain on gas.  We're tired.  It eats our entire day.  It is tough with an infant (so far, thankfully he has been pretty good) and a 2 year old (so far, I haven't HAD to bring him with me).  
Nursery is not my thing.

Don't ask me what I'll do come September..
I don't know.

For now, we'll enjoy it.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

QUIET TIME



Quiet time.
At this stage in life, I'm not quite sure what that means.
My oldest 4 don't nap anymore and number 5 naps and eats sporadically during the day.  
I don't get up super early.  I guess I could, but then I don't have "down time" during the day so I think it would backfire.  I stay up later, but number 5 usually goes to sleep between 9 and 10:30pm.  So, if I want to have any quiet time, it has to be pretty late.
There is literally nowhere to hide in our house, even for a few minutes.

So, when do I have time "to myself?"
In the shower.

Seriously.

We have one bathroom for a family of 7.
It can become worse Grand Central Station.
The kids will come in if I'm using the bathroom, or brushing my teeth, or anything like that--but, even if they come into the bathroom while I'm showering--they won't come IN the shower.  :p
As a result, my showers tend to be a little bit longer..15 to 20 minutes and sometimes even a half hour, but that is extremely rare.  This is where I do my thinking, run through mental checklists and planning, and yes, even praying a lot of times.

It goes without saying, that often my hair gets washed more than once..because I'm not thinking about it and can't remember if it was already done.
Can you relate?


An older mother at church gave me this little card.
Thankfully, we don't have any animals in the house!!
Otherwise, that picture is pretty accurate.
Well, maybe the floor and counters are a little bit too neat..where are the stacks of books and matchbox cars and dirty dishes???

Love may not make all things easy, per se, but it does make all things bearable.  
I know these days are precious and few and will pass quickly.
Just thought I would share.

Where do you get your quiet time?

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

A MUST HAVE


Pattern blocks.
We use them.
LOTS.


I purchased them way back when I was just out of college and anticipating my first teaching job.
They have been used in every classroom since.


We use them for math mostly, but also just for fun.
Fractions, patterns, shapes, colors, layers, counting, adding, subtracting etc. etc. etc.


I highly recommend pattern blocks as an addition to your learning collection.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

STUFF AND NONSENSE

This picture makes me smile.


To date, my November babies have an extra dose of personality.
I can't wait to see how Jared develops.

T-ball registrations are in the mail.
Yes, registrationS.  Bean is going to give it a shot.

I met a homeschooling mother of 5 at storytime last week.
She lives down the road!
Local!!!
Her oldest is 8 and her youngest is 2.
I hope we can connect.
It would be awesome to have someone so close to do things with. 
 
My two year old has taken to biting.
Of course this is not encouraged and is being dealt with.
I don't know though, whether to be proud of the older ones for not retaliating against a younger, "weaker" sibling or to be concerned that they are not standing up for themselves.

I guess we can make it blog-official, but it is as of yet, UN-official.
Mike applied for and got a new position at work.
We're waiting on paperwork.
He was the shoo-in.
It is exciting and frightening all at once.
While it is potentially more income, it is also more hours and more stress.
He is good at his job and a people person, so he should do well.
I don't know how it is possible to work MORE hours than he already does...
it is going to be tough for awhile.
Prayers are always appreciated.

Our Pastor and his wife just welcomed their second daughter this evening.
She came out at 11.7 pounds and 25 inches long with a thick head of hair!
W.O.W.

I started playing the organ again in Church.
I took off two months with the birth of Jared.
I ALMOST scored an organ off of Craigslist.
I know, almost doesn't count.
I like having the piano, but it is just not the same.

I don't know about you, but I am looking forward to Spring!
We are ready to get outside.

If I were to ever look for another house,
I would find a place where it is safe to walk on the road.
We live on a less-than-two-lane road that twists and turns and has no shoulder whatsoever.
I am not comfortable with taking the kids and a stroller for a walk.
So, I'm looking for a treadmill.
This weight has got to come off!

One of my more recent pet peeves,
and probably only because I get it so often, is "Is he a good baby?"
It is mostly coming from older people.
Please, help.
What is a "good" baby?
I mean, they are limited in what they can do...eat, sleep, poop, cry..
Are they good if they do those things?
Does it mean not colicky?
Does it mean sleeping all night?
Does it mean..??  I don't know.
 
I could go on.
It is morning now.
Maybe I should get some sleep.


Monday, February 4, 2013

SLEEP

ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZzzzzZZZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz....

Sleep.
It is important.
One of the things new parents worry most about.
One of the biggest changes when one has a baby.

We've been blessed with good sleepers.
All five of them have slept through the night before they were a month old.
Michael was the oldest at 3 weeks old and Jared the youngest at 1 week old.
Luck?
No such thing.

(Milky mouthed Jared @ 1 week old)

When people ask if we get any sleep and hear the results--
well, we get everything from "wow, how do you do it?" to 
"you're lying" to "can we come over and get some lessons."

So, I thought I would share what we do and don't do.
Even though there is nothing surprising or unusual in our methods.
I will say, on more than one occasion, medical persons have remarked to me that the way a baby reacts (sleep patterns included) has something to do with how I react and parent.  My babies are calm because I'm calm, my babies will feel relaxed if I am relaxed and so forth.
I believe there is truth to that.  

Here goes.
I do NOT have expectations that my baby will sleep through the night.
I don't expect it at all.
It has been a VERY pleasant surprise each time.

I do set up a changing station every evening.  
Diapers, wipes, A&D, a change of clothing, and a night light.
It is out and ready, the light on.
I NEVER, EVER, EVER turn on the regular lights.
We keep it as dark as possible.

I only change a diaper at night if absolutely necessary.
Blow out or poop of any sort or a super soaker.
(None of them have ever had diaper rash either)

I do NOT talk.
I make as little noise as possible--AT NIGHT.
We don't use any sound machines or anything like that.  

During the day, we make as much noise as necessary.
We have a small house and a bunch of kids--noise is inevitable.
Even with just Michael, I made noise while he was napping during the day.
The babies learn to deal with it.
It is noisy in the womb anyway, or so I've read.
We vacuum during naps, we play music, we play.
We don't stop life for a napping baby.
Baby sleeps.
All of them have slept.

 
(Jared yesterday. 2 1/2 months)

I do not schedule sleep time for my babies.
If they are tired, they will sleep.
I work around that.
I don't make my schedule so that we HAVE to be home at a certain time for naps, 
nor do they HAVE to be in their sleeping spot..crib, bassinet, playpen, whatever it is..to sleep.
Again, if they are tired, they will sleep.  
Regardless of location.
Michael slept through a wedding reception at 2 months old.
Wedding receptions are not quiet.

Now, when I say my babies sleep, I don't mean just 3 or 4 hours.
I'm talking 6-8 hours to start out with.
Once they are good with that it has quickly become 10-12 hours a night.
(And yes, they still nap during the day for a two years--so far).
I would stay up with them until 11 or midnight at first, because I would rather just stay
up than get up and down several times in just a few hours.
Whatever it takes to keep the baby happy.

In those first couple of weeks, when the baby does get up to eat through the night,
I don't wait until s/he is crying.
We have the babies in our room in a bassinet, so once I hear movement or little noises on the "mom radar,"  I get up to check.
It is always me, by the way. 
 Mike has to get up early so I try to let him have as much sleep as possible. 
 Besides, he can't breastfeed.

Will I bring the baby in bed with me?
Sometimes.  
If I am super tired, I will just have him/her nurse in bed so we can just drift off to sleep.
I try not to make a habit of it though.

Oh, and NEVER wake a sleeping baby.
They are very good at letting their needs be known.
If the baby is hungry s/he will tell you.
Unless there is some kind of life-threatening/health issue, don't wake up the baby to eat.

I guess that would be it in a nutshell.
Questions?  Comments?  Likes?  Dislikes?
Did I miss anything?
 
Like I said, pretty basic.