Sunday, December 16, 2012

14 Weeks

Yesterday we reached week 14 of pregnancy! I had an appointment several days ago and it took a very long time to find the heartbeat but we finally hard it. I think the placenta is anterior (in the front of the belly) this pregnancy as it has been each of my previous ones

It's kind of hard to not touch on another topic, to not extend my condolences to Newtown, CT. I weep and cling to my babies, grateful for them while feeling upset for the families who lost their own in a senseless, insane act. There is so much I want to say but I will just keep it simple.

Our sincerest prayers go out to the survivors.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012


Real quick I had to update with our Monday sonogram! Measured 8 weeks 3 days, right on time for the dates *I* calculated (not based on LMP as I have longer cycles). Such a relief to have seen a heartbeat and baby! And still so surreal. Doesn't matter how many times you experience it. It's such a jolt and shock to realize there's someone in there.

Now this preggo is off to take the Progesterone pill and go snooze!

Saturday, November 3, 2012


My last post I revealed we are having baby #5, due in mid-June, 2013! Monday is my first sonogram and I will be in week 8 of pregnancy so I hope we see a little jelly bean (I'm 8 weeks 1 day right now).

I found out really, really early thanks to First Response Early Result tests. My first beta was 24, the second 2-days later was 65. My Progesterone, however, started out at 7.6 or 7.9 (I forget; I wrote it down in my journal) which is really low. When you ovulate it is around 10 and when you're pregnant it is usually 12-20 or more (it fluctuates throughout the day and is different for everyone).

So I'm on Progesterone supplements. I had a third beta drawn and I think it was 365 (four days from the last draw of 65). I need to go grab my journal, ha ha! I can't remember off the top of my head. Whatever it was, everything was rising appropriately. My Prog. was over 14 after starting supplements, so that is good.

What happens if Progesterone is too low? Your brain gets the signal that you're "not pregnant" and will begin menstruation. In other words, your body will miscarry even if you're truly pregnant with a viable little embryo, because your body isn't producing the proper hormone (Progesterone) to tell it otherwise. 

The placenta will develop around week 10-12, maybe even a little sooner. When that happens it takes over the production of the Progesterone so no more supplements, yay!

Okay, enough of Conception 101.

The Progesterone makes me feel drunk. Dizzy, dizzy, dizzy! And sleepy. Sometimes ill. Not every night but I think it's worse on the nights when my Prog. may have dipped lower than usual during the day.

Besides that the cramping has lessened. I'm bloated in the belly by the end of the day and I look 4-months pregnant. I'm still breastfeeding Judah so it's easier to notice the tenderness. Nausea comes and goes in waves but I haven't thrown up, thank God. Seriously! I hate vomiting with a passion.

All-in-all I'm pregnant and definitely feeling the effects of it, ha ha! Despite that it is still super surreal.

We are not finding out the gender this time.
We have a girl name picked out but still debating boy names.
Boy names are harder for me.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Breaking News!

Judah turned one a month ago, hard to believe. I ended up having some symptoms of PCOS flair up. My weight would not come off, my skin was breaking out, losing a ton of hair (long after the norm for postpartum hair loss). I had some strange spotting and then *finally* had my first period since his birth when he was about 11 months old.

Because PCOS can cause fertility problems or make it difficult to become pregnant, as you may not even ovulate when symptoms are going rampant, I never dreamed this was what I was going to get instead of my period the following the month...................



Since I have only had one period and they can sometimes be long cycles I was not sure when my next period was going to be due. I was testing in the hopes that my body would finally chill out enough and start the next cycle. I did NOT expect this. Daniel didn't either - he thought I was pranking him.

I am 7 weeks and due mid-June!

Friday, October 26, 2012

My Other Babies

A couple years ago we went to a local animal shelter. Daniel is a dog lover and I liked the idea of having a live burglar-detector. It was actually my idea to start looking for dogs. One shelter told me they only give puppies to families with small children. We knew we did not want a puppy. It hadn't worked for us in the past. We wanted a dog that was a few years old and already housebroken.

What I loved about the shelter we ended up going to was that they get to know the dogs. They have on-site veterinarians and a Bark Park and the facility is just beautiful. And again, they get to know the dogs! It especially helps with an owner surrenders and gives them special details about the animal, rather than a stray just coming in.

So we found Sam, a German Shepherd-Chinese Shar Pei mix.

Sam was surrendered twice to this same shelter by two separate families before we adopted her. The previous owners to care for her said they were surrendering her because their daughter suddenly became allergic after having her for a year. Whether that is true or not I do not know. What I do know is that when we had to take Sam with us to the shelter this summer to meet her new boyfriend before we adopted him it explained why she was so freaked out!

Meet Reno!

Reno is an Australian Cattledog mix. He was adopted by three other families before us due to his severe separation anxiety. You see the other families who adopted him were working families who left him kenneled all day. He loves people so so so much and is such a lover and so playful. Having to be locked up for hours on end is not a life. Being that we're home almost all the time and wanting a companion for Sam we adopted Reno. We got him from the same shelter as Sam and they made sure to tell us how severe his anxiety was and his foster mom (because of the separation anxiety he couldn't stay at the actual shelter and so they had a foster momma take him home with her), who is also a dog trainer, has given us tips for helping him when we do leave him at home. Not only do they make sure we understand his needs but they interview us to make sure we are a good fit for him!

We've had Reno since early summer. He has done fantastic. For the first several days we were home with him constantly. We practiced some of the tips on helping him to not be anxious if we left so that when Sunday came he could be left with Sam and be alright. He rocked it! It's amazing what time and love can do. We love him to pieces and I feel like I hit the "doggy jackpot" on such an awesome dog.

And then this week a friend of a friend was called to the mission field. They needed to find homes for 7 dogs as they couldn't bring them all along. Daniel and I said yes! I know, I know!!! Three dogs. I don't know if I'm getting more crazy the older I get or what.

So meet our BRAND new addition, 2-year-old Bullie Terrier (aka Mini Pitbull) Princess Fiona. She is a 3-time Champion in dog competitions for her breed, including best overall. How stinking fat and cute is she?! She's pure muscle!!!

Judah adores her. She is only 12-inches tall. She is, however, having a hard time adjusting to her new home. She's very nervous with all the new noises and smells. It will take some time. She's a lovebug and just a fat little sausage roll.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Anything you can do... I can do better!

Why does everything have to be a "Men versus Women" thing? Women hear that men do this or men have that and then it is WAR. "Well I'm woman so hear me roar! Louder and BETTER than a man!" Equality isn't about being MORE and trampling all over the opposite gender. WOMEN - it is time to be proud to be a WOMAN and stop comparing yourself to MEN! They were created in a unique way, just as YOU were created in a unique way. We weren't created to be the exact same. We don't need a world full of men and she-men. We need WOMEN! Yes, you can be mighty IN YOUR OWN RIGHT. Feminism began as a movement so that women had equal rights but it has evolved into this world of women believing they are somehow better than their counterparts. That's not equality. 

(Lest anyone try to "read between the lines" and think I'm saying something else entirely - I'm not talking about every woman leaving the workforce to go home and bake and iron clothes in frilly aprons - I'm talking about the attitude and spirit behind what feminism has become, this power struggle rather than equality. I love Stay-at-Home-Dads and I think it's great that women work and while there does seem to be some issues IN THE WORKFORCE in regard to pay based on gender some people are taking it to an extreme where it becomes this vein through their entire life, not just their job, affecting everything beyond their paycheck, including how they view men in general).

When women get divorced, such a tragedy especially if adultery or something seriously malevolent was going on, and the woman is encouraged by well-meaning friends and family that she can do it all and be all - to screw men! Who needs 'em anyway?! One bad apple doesn't ruin the entire tree. Why are all men suddenly placed in this bushel and marked off as terrible and no good? What if men did that to women? Well they have and do say that about women. And it hurts us as women. If it hurts us why would it not also hurt them? 

What started my little rant? Just saw a quote that said "The uterus is the most amazing organ. If men had one they'd brag about it - so should we". It became a MEN thing when it didn't need to. If you love your uterus and want to brag about how awesome it is, then go right ahead. But why do men always have to be thrown under the bus in order for us to be proud about something? Or for us to desire something? It's ridiculous.

I don't want to start a whole other war or issues. I just am tired of seeing this "Us versus Them" stuff everywhere I turn. I'm not a feminist but I am feminine. I do believe in equal rights but I also believe that our gender does play a role in our uniqueness at our core, though sometimes a couple finds that they are stronger in an area that may typically be attributed to the opposite gender than their partner. And that's fine. This isn't some outline for how you MUST be because you've got a penis or a vagina. My son plays with Barbies and dolls; my daughters play with trucks. I'm a workaholic and my husband likes to cook (I abhor cooking and dread it every solitary day). The point isn't that we fit into this One Size Fits All stereotypical box but that we begin to value one another as unique individuals rather than to try to outdo someone because they have different reproductive organs! It's just silly! In the words of my mom, "CAN'T WE ALL JUST GET ALONG?!"

What I would like to say to kind of wrap up my seemingly oxymoronic thoughts on this is that regardless of the complexity of your unique individual self, whether you happen to be "one of the guys" as a woman or if you're a Metro Sexual male who loves manicures and baking - we need to respect one another. Not outdo one another. Our children are watching us. They need a loving, safe world now more than ever. Be proud to be a woman (or a man if you're a man reading this), but don't lord it over someone of the opposite gender in a battle to outdo one another. This is tearing relationships apart!

I can be feminine and powerful... without crushing men in the process. ROAR!

Thursday, October 4, 2012


Most experts will tell us new and unsuspecting mommas to develop what is termed a "bedtime routine". The same old thing every single night in order to pacify and lull your baby or child to sleep. Well we've had the same old bedtime routine for the past 7 years and we still have bedtime battles.

Judah, until recently, would fight going to sleep. I got him a nightlight and it's been better since that, though some nights he still can throw an awful fit if he's teething or not ready to lay down.

Zoe likes to come into my room around 2-3 in the morning and snuggles into my arm. Some nights she fights going to sleep, too, or sneaks up to her big sisters' room. I'll be nursing Judah in the glider in his room and see her peek around the corner to see if she's clear to sneak upstairs to her sisters.

The big girls, in their shared studio-style room, can lay awake giggling, fighting, laughing, talking, singing, getting up and pounding around... much to my dismay as it wakes up the younger ones *finally* asleep beneath their room.

My kids have the same routine, night after night. Dinner, free play, bath, brush teeth and hair (not with the same brushes, mind you), books, prayer, hugs and bed. But most nights it doesn't really seem to matter. For some odd reason it's always a SURPRISE when bedtime hits that they will be going to sleep!

Pics of Daddy and his boy from our trip to the pumpkin patch last night:

Monday, September 24, 2012

It's that time...

Believe it or not but a year (on Tuesday!) has passed since Judah was born! If you remember, or perhaps you're new, but when we were mid-pregnancy we had a sonogram and they told us we were having our fourth baby girl... I had a feeling they were wrong so I didn't paint the nursery or really buy anything except for two things. If you know me you know that I like to jump the gun sometimes and am very impatient. This time I knew to wait. Obviously he is NOT a she by any means. A 3D sonogram at almost-30-weeks revealed what I knew in my heart - we were actually having a BOY!

I love how newborns hold their hands! He really was NOT a binky baby and had this in his mouth for all of a few seconds.

I think newborns are so precious; love this sweet face!

My three princesses and our new prince to dote on and spoil!!!

Growing and growing by leaps and bounds! He loved/loves holding his hands though he doesn't do it as much anymore.

Turning into a goofy kid who loves to make us all laugh!

He's yelling "tuh-dn!" (touchdown) and lifting his arms!

Eating birthday cake at his birthday party on Saturday! Yum, yum!!!

My little dummer boy, enjoying his special birthday celebration with close family. He took a few steps the day before his party but is really cautious and nervous about walking still. He's *so close*!

My Son,
My mom used to tell me I'd be a great mother to boys. I know she knew I'd be a great mother to girls, too! I think she teased me because I loved to 'hang out with the guys' and preferred male company. I do love being your mommy! You bring me such laughter and joy. We've had a lot of rough days and nights this last year but nothing we couldn't handle or overcome..

You keep me on my toes and I love your hugs! You are so super smart, too. I can see your mind working through how things work and then you try to figure it out with your hands. I love your curiosity and I especially love the look of wonder you give your daddy when you see him!

I pray that this next year goes by much slower so I can soak in these days. I tried so hard to make these moments and days count this year but they still slipped by so quickly.

I love you, Judah, my little lion! And I will always love you.


Thursday, September 13, 2012

Sanity Saving Items for Homeschool

Whether you homeschool or supplement your child's public education here is a list of products that I have used that have really help save me time and are helping to keep me organized. CLICK PHOTOS TO BE DIRECTED TO PURCHASE/VIEW!

Paper Cutter AKA Paper Guillotine - I actually use this for my work, too, so it is double awesome! Click the photo to go to the one I got on Amazon; it's a really nice one and had great reviews. So far I really like it and use it a lot!
Three-hole Punch - Need I say more?! Lots of papers to punch and file!

Scheduling Pocket Chart - This is more of a 'want' than a 'need' and mine just arrived. I need a schedule and routine or I lose focus, forget what needs to get done, etc. I have found this helps keep us on target so we can get work done AND still have time for fun. Before this I felt a little chaotic and felt like we dallied so long on one subject that we didn't get to touch other subjects. It would be 4:30 in the afternoon and Elaina will tell me, "Mom, we didn't do Social Studies today!!!" and demand we do it (it's her favorite subject). It's okay to take your time, it's okay to not do every single subject every single school day. What I mean is that this just helps us keep it all balanced.

Laser printer - I print a ton for school and for my business so a laser printer was in order. I saved up and finally got one a couple months ago.

White Erase Board - this is a new addition to the classroom after realizing I really needed and wanted one the first week of school. It has been a blessing to have!

Individual ones are awesome, too! The kids love to write on theirs. We store them on the fridge since they come with magnets you adhere to the back. Each has it's own pen with eraser on the marker cap.
Here are some fun things we've added over time.

Puzzle Map of the United States. This particular one is really large!

 Sorting Pie by Learning Resources

Well those are just a few of the things that we love or have made school a little easier, aside from lots of pencils, erasers and binders. For myself I keep record of credits/hours on the computer but during the day as we work I keep a binder filled with paper and I jot down notes and things. I don't really have a planner. While the schedule above helps me keep things together and I *love* planning... putting myself in too tight a box stresses me out. I don't write down anything like "The theme of the week is circles and the color orange" because then I think I have to do that and nothing else (it's ridiculous really but I really do stress like that!). So I find that we just naturally do things per the season, holidays, or what the kids are interested in.

What are your must-haves?! Share, share, share! I really want to know!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Week 2!

Last week we started homeschool! It's been very interesting and we definitely have our work cut out for us. Already I am seeing what needs tweaking and trying to make it all work so that everyone's needs are met. My next post will be a list and photos of products that have made my life easier as a homeschooling parent. For today I leave a bunch of pictures (which uploaded backward and I'm too tired to switch them around in this Blogger format).

Our classroom on a typical morning! Complete with infant-soon-to-be-toddler interrupting our spelling on the white board. We are using Sequential Spelling and I love it so much. It's easy for me to use and easy for Elaina to grasp spelling concepts without all the confusing rules (that will come later after she grasps the main concepts of -ed, -ing, -er, -s, -es, etc.). Highly recommend it for those who want to challenge their spellers OR have children struggling with spelling.

There is lots of this (and not just from him but everyone at some point!):

My lefty? He has favored his left hand for months now in fine and large motor functions! I'm left-handed so I thought it'd be cool to have at least one lefty.

In Social Studies we're using Bob Jones Heritage Series but the text is not very complete; it has to be supplemented. So the first few pages were about the globe (continents, mapping, compass rose, landforms and bodies of water). We started with the compass rose and my girls used their individual white boards to write their compasses from memory after our discussion! So proud of them, especially as Elaina got the diagonal directions correct as well. We're going to start learning about different types of landforms this week and from there move onto bodies of water, mapping and map keys.

The girls are also doing research projects on an historical figure of their choice. Elaina chose Helen Keller and Abigail chose George Washington!

In Science we are using Apologia books (I have three, starting with Anatomy). However, and this is where some tweaking came in. I had noticed that my girls were really into insects because we studied cicadas recently so we decided to do a big insect lesson for the first two weeks. Zoe made a book on insects. We looked at a slideshow on information on insects and then did a sorting project.

Nonna made bread pudding for breakfast. Rise-and-shine students!

First Day of School, sitting around the dining table. The Sorting Pie that Zoe has is from Amazon and is so much fun (even for me!). I highly recommend it whether you homeschool or not. Kids can use it independently and quietly!

I didn't post the picture of Elaina unhappily working on math so I'll just say - not really liking Singapore Math thus far but I think Elaina needs more challenge. I had her start on the book for 1st grade to reinforce some ideas but I think it is boring her which is making her act out and be uncooperative. We're going to try something else tomorrow.

We haven't really delved into a consistent routine with PE or Art or Music. I'm kind of overwhelmed with starting out so we're taking our time. If I get too ahead of myself I begin to feel defeated before I've even begun so we're going day-by-day. By midday or the end of the day I already know an idea of what we'll be doing the next day. I want to plan enough in advance so that if I get sick Daddy knows where we're at or at least create a "sub" folder for him.

We are planning a zoo field trip and a cave field trip with some family so that is going to be really fun! I want to visit a farm so we'll probably try to do that here in September or early October.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Sleep... what is that again?!

Seriously what is sleep? I don't think I could sleep in anymore even if I tried. I am a girl who loves her sleep. I am a bear when I wake up (I know! Hard to believe, right?). But the falling to sleep part is hard for me. I will be about to pass out at 9 and then get up to my room and it's like a switch! No longer tired. Once I am out I like to stay out, for obvious reasons! Sleep is awesome, pure and simple.

And Judah has not slept well at all this week. I don't know what is up with that but he'll wake up not long after he is put in his room to sleep, then he wakes again around midnight, sometimes again around 5 or 6 but usually he whines himself back to sleep (not full-out crying; I just hear him soothingly moaning or making noises before all is silent again). The little guy has already exceeded the amount of teeth his sisters had by their first birthdays (he's 11-months-old tomorrow, eek!) but I think he's working on tooth #8 now. As bad as it has been with the front teeth coming in I dread the molars coming in! He will also wake up and get upset the moment I start to drift off or am so tired I feel ill.

On a happier note, it finally rained... for all of 10 minutes! We went outside to breathe in the musky scent of the rain and splash in tiny puddles... now if only we could have several days of nonstop rain to quench the land...

 Elaina thinking, "It's actually raining?! Unbelievable!"

 Splash, splash... this may not be a great idea!

Nope, not a great idea! Crying about the mud all over her feet. Everyone calls Abbie a tomboy but she's not in the least. I do not know why they assume that when she loves all things glittery, shoes, purses and makeup and unicorns... she's a total girly-girl!

The pajama pants she's wearing are ones she sewed, too! My mom-in-law cut the fabric but Abbie sewed them up with the machine (and Nonna's help). Elaina also made a pair.

Miss Cutie Pie!

Okay now I am off to try to catch what precious few Zzz's that I can! A nap may be in order tomorrow (errr I mean later today! Past midnight already!). Thank the Lord that my husband doesn't work Fridays so he can have some time with kiddos so I can catch up on rest.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Sometimes I have no clue what to put here...


My kids may have squabbles (even Judah can get upset at his siblings from time-to-time!) but they also love one another with such a strong bond. They can pick on each other but no one else can pick on their sibling!

I'm praying they behave in church tomorrow. Daniel's tattoo guy might come (and no, not out to impress anyone - I just don't want my kids to be disrespectful) and he promised his dad he'd "seek God" when his dad was on his deathbed. He said to Daniel "I'm not a perfect f-ing Christian..." None of us are, dude. None of us are! Otherwise there would have been no need for Calvary.

Speaking of tattoos... we went to a parlor and I had my eyebrow repierced. I have been wanting to get it redone for a few years and finally did it. I didn't even feel it because the scar tissue was so strong there were no nerve endings. It kind of stings right now but is otherwise fantastic.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

I Don't Want to Forget

Little tidbits from my days that I don't want to forget...

- My eldest daughter, still so young and yet growing so fast! She learned to ride her bike and is so proud of herself. I'm so proud to see her accomplish something that may seem to common to others but when it is your own child you cannot help but beam! To her learning to ride a bike was scary and she overcame those fears. She is growing in her grace. She definitely desires and needs a lot of attention, which I forget at times. So I've been trying to make it a point to give her special hugs and take her aside, even for a few moments, to laugh or whisper something or encourage her. If I don't she acts out negatively and it seems to be a common thread around here lately. My heart is whispering to my brain "Take it slow! There's no rush..."

- Abigail has a heart of gold. She does get sassy and she says what is on her mind (literally and without any regard to social etiquette at times). But she has this desire in her to be a helper, to help the hurting. She has been asking me some of the most intense questions lately, mostly about death. She cried to me that she didn't want to die and asked me if she was going to die. I was stunned and at a loss for words (our neighbor's wife died a few weeks ago). I just hugged her and told her we didn't need to worry about dying and to just focus on having fun and being a kid (I didn't dismiss her and let her share her feelings). Such heavy things on her young heart. And yet she is still this bright ball of sunshine. Her laugh is contagious and she absolutely loves hugs. She is eager to pray and is so eager to learn right now. She has been diving into some of the homeschool stuff already and while she gets discouraged sometimes (like when trying to draw a triangle today) she doesn't give up until she does it. And then she gives a fist pump and says "YEEEESSSSSSS!"

- While playing with Judah and Zoe in Zoe's room tonight: I started tickling Zoe and she laughed and kicked her legs, falling over into a heap on the floor. Once I stopped and she got up, she said in such exasperation, "MOM! You messed up my haiwr!" Then she sighed in frustration as she stomped, in her winter boots no less, over to her table to grab her hairbrush. My oh my! I laughed so hard!

- Judah trying to blow kisses today! Or when asking for kisses and he'll lean in, all open-mouthed, to lick your face! Judah gives "Fives" and is always clapping. He waves bye-bye and hello but I also taught him to turn his hand palm-up instead and do the motion for "come here" (so like an upside down bye-bye). I was telling one of the girls to come to me and Judah lifted his hand in bye-bye, then flipped his hand palm-up instead and began beckoning the girls! He remembered!

- Judah is figuring out toys. He's definitely doing things his sisters didn't do, at least not at this age. He has a VTech riding train that you put blocks in and it will sing songs. He knows how to put the blocks in the little slot. And tonight he was playing with his Roaring Dinosaur (Fisher Price?!) thing and knew where to put the balls. He'll be building towers and doing the shape sorter in no time flat!!!

- Judah's face lighting up like a lightbulb when Elaina walks in. He does it with the other girls, too, but there's a special light just for his biggest sister! She holds him a lot, picks him up without permission (tsk, tsk) and is like his second momma at times, minus the grunt work and diaper changing.

- Judah likes to play soccer! We have a few balls around here, some bouncy and some made out of fabric/yarn. He'll crawl to a ball, hit it with his hand and then go chase it over and over again. Then he'll grab it and squeal and screech in delight before throwing it and going after it again. He also likes to carry toys in his mouth as he crawls!

- Tried getting a shower in but Judah crawled to the bathroom, took one look at the running water I was warming up and tried to crawl into the tub. So I took a shower with him and then Elaina decided to join in. I love the expression on Judah's face as he reaches to touch the water. I got a clean washcloth wet and gave it to him, much to his delight!

- The curled tendril of hair from the sweaty side of Judah's head as I switch sides nursing. The way he fans his hands on my skin. His hands much bigger and more beefy compared to his sisters' hands (all of whom had dainty, slender hands).

- Even though my feet cannot handle the weight of him I stand in the middle of his room tonight, in the dark, rocking him back and forth. I feel his body relax and his eyes are half-closed. I turn a little and the hall light shines on my face. He grins through half open eyes at me. I grin back. He giggles. I giggle. Before I know it we're in the middle of a giggle fit. He understands he's making me laugh and loves it and keeps getting me to laugh, all the while resting in my arms. I don't even notice the pain in my feet, ankles and legs until later when I lean down to lower him into his crib and realize he made me forget. He lays down and falls asleep without a peep, a smile on his lips.

- I guess the littles are tag-teaming tonight because after Judah is in bed Zoe decides she can't go to sleep. I go and see what is the matter. I have a lot to do. Other things going through my mind that I need to get done, a schedule to keep. But it doesn't matter because my baby girl needs me. I pick her up, just like I had been rocking her brother earlier. She's so drowsy, she's fighting it, she's scared to be alone in the dark room even with the hall light on. Mommy's presence and hugs make her feel calm. I start to giggle at her, her eyes riveted on me all the while fighting to keep her eyes open. I start to tell her the things every girl wants and needs to hear. "You're beautiful. You are precious. You have a beautiful smile. You have big princess eyes! You are so so so smart. You make Mommy laugh so much! You are wonderful. You are the King's daughter, you are a princess. You know Mommy loves you very, very much!"

The expression on her face as I whispered these words to her is indescribable and could make me weep. The joy, the love, the gratefulness in her eyes as her smile grew in hearing these words. Lately she has been getting in so much trouble. Lately Mommy has been so distracted. Lately when bedtime hit it was time for everyone to just lay down and go to sleep so "Mommy can get something done around here" (ahhh yes, my humanness just showed itself!). Stopping time, stopping the busyness and just taking those mere minutes to whisper the words my daughter needs to hear is more important to me than all the orders I can fill in record speed.

Today has been one of THOSE days. One of those days I'm proud of myself as a mother. And one of those days I'm so grateful to God that He has given me four of the most precious, beautiful children.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Almost Ready!

For many school-aged children today was the first day of school for the new school year. But we haven't begun just yet, officially anyway. I've been trying to prepare and plan lessons in the midst of being present and mindful with my children and as well as trying to juggle my jewelry business. Um, yeah, don't know how people juggle so many things. Not only am I a full-time mom and full-time jeweler but I'm adding full-time teacher to my resume. I'm not a good juggler. I'm good with one big responsibility but adding more makes me divide my attention or makes me forgetful of other tasks that I need to get done. Daunting is an understatement.

I recently rearranged part of our house to accommodate our learning!

 This is our parlor. It used to just be a sitting room (just a couch and that green armchair that is on the right side). The rug is new, the bookcase is used but new to our house. The desk was found on the side of the road (score!), the desk chair from the thrift store. I've replaced the pink crates with those canvas bins in dark plum and grey.

This is a shot from the dining room; we'll mainly be using the parlor and the dining room for seat work and book work and reading.  The rest of learning will be outdoors, field trips, etc.

Just got out weather chart laminated and up! I would site where I got them from but I can't remember. It's an online printable from but I can't find the specific teacher who created it.
So I'm one of those wanna-be-super-organized people and I'm trying to get it all together before we begin school so we're ready. Really all that is left to do is create our lesson plans for each day. We'll be doing school Monday through Thursday. Friday will be make-up work, field trips, time with Daddy, etc. Deja vu - I think I mentioned this in my last post, ha ha!

Anyone else let their children get into things so you can get something done?! LOL! Someone left the game cabinet open... oops!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Our 2012-2013 Curriculum for Homeschool

Here is our list for homeschool for the 2012-2013! These are simply the curricula chosen for each core but we will be using a ton of field trips, hands-on experience, exploration & discovery, lapbooks, research and printables as well. It may seem like a lot when broken down but things like Spelling only take like 10 minutes a day so it goes by quick. You may notice I like mixing things up. I did hours of research to find the curriculum I thought would suit us best. I used to find gently used books and workbooks at more affordable rates plus there are unlimited free resources online. I especially love, love, love!

Elaina - Grade 2
Math - Singapore Math; Mind Benders
Science - Apologia Anatomy
Social Studies - Mystery of History (World History), Beautiful Feet Early American History
Bible - Children's Bible and Rod & Staff books
Handwriting - D'Nealian Handwriting
Spelling - Sequential Spelling
Grammar and Writing - Bob Jones University
Language Arts - Learning LA Through Lit
Health - Horizons
Foreign Language - French and Latin (will add these later; not doing them at first)

Abigail - Grade K
Math - Christ Centered Math Lessons
Science - Apologia Anatomy
Social Studies -Mystery of History (World History), Beautiful Feet Early American History
Bible - Children's Bible and Rod & Staff books (also counts toward language arts).
Handwriting - D'Nealian Handwriting
Language Arts - Learning LA Through Lit, Rod & Staff, McGuffey Primer
Health - Horizons
Foreign Language - French and Latin (will add these later; not doing them at first)

Zoe - Grade PreK
She's not yet 3 so I have found some preschool workbooks at Walmart. She'll also be learning alongside her sisters and will participate in art, PE, cooking, cleaning, etc. We have a lot of manipulatives and sensory items, blocks, counting bears, etc. She will not be lacking nor left out and I suspect she'll be reading earlier than her siblings (not that it is a contest whatsoever; it's just the exposure to having school at home and the fact that she is one smart girl).

For non-core subjects we'll be able to count chores and other home lessons like cooking and laundry sorting. A ton of life skills, even grocery shopping, can count toward non-core hours depending on what the child is doing. 

ART - We have several resources, books and Internet to explore art. Art will be intermixed within lessons anyway but we will have specific times solely for creative expression through paint, mixed media, coloring, learning about artists, etc. We will also learn art history, visit museums, etc.

PE - I want to enroll the girls in dance or gymnastics if I can find an affordable place and when we get a second vehicle. If I can't afford dance or gymnastics I'll see about a membership to a local fitness club where they have an indoor pool. We are doing a summer challenge and we're only a few points away from the girls earning a swingset for the backyard. We all have bikes and/or scooters. We also like to workout to fitness videos.

MUSIC - This is Daddy's department. I don't have a musical bone in my body. Daddy is a self-taught guitarist and vocalist. Nonna sings and plays guitar. Uncles play guitar and one plays piano/keyboard. We're not lacking for musical inspiration whatsoever! When I am in charge, though, we'll talk about musicians, types of instruments, history of music, make our own instruments, song writing, etc. Daddy will teach the actual instruments if any of the girls desire to learn and vocals.

Our scheduled lessons will be Monday through Thursday. 
Friday is open for make-up work, hanging out with us totally awesome parents (Dad doesn't work Fridays), field trips or day trips, chores or non-core like music, etc.

Our vision is that learning is normal and a part of our every day lives. There's no 9 to 5 about it. We learn throughout the day as we learn new things and make discovered, work as a family unit, etc.

So here's a sample schedule for a Monday though I know things can and will change:
7:30AM - Wake up and breakfast
8:00AM - Back upstairs to get dressed, make beds, showers.
8:30AM - Math
9:00AM - Spelling, Handwriting, Grammar
9:30AM - Science
10:00AM - SNACK
10:30AM - History, Social Studies
11:30AM - Cleanup and prepare LUNCH
12:30PM - Reading, quiet time, rest time
1:30PM - PE
2:30PM - LLATL, Writing Workshop
3:00PM - SNACK and free play
4:00PM - Start dinner prep
5:00 - DINNER

It won't be so strict and I know the time constraints are best guesses. Some things may take longer or shorter amounts of times.  Some subjects will not be daily, too. The food times are accurate though. Most of the time we may get done before lunch though I suspect that with having a baby AND a toddler that won't be the case until we get into our groove.

Please share a link to your own curriculum if you're homeschooling! If you're free-styling school or making it all up on your own then I take my hat off to you. Impressive!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Splurge on the Washable!

Last fall I was perusing the school items. I wanted some more items for our own art center at home. Our markers had long ago dried out, crayons were little stubbles. I stop to look at the markers. Hmm... $.50 for regular markers or $2.50 for washable? Well DUH! Miss Thrifty is going to get the cheap ones.

Bad idea.

At least when you have a 2-year-old. In fact markers are a bad idea all around when you have a 2-year-old because they lose the caps or can't get them on correctly. Then they decide they need tattoos just like Daddy... and then the chairs and walls feel left out and want "tattoos" as well. Even if you're standing right there you will lose the caps and find lovely scribbles everywhere when you finally stop daydreaming and look around. 

Anyway back to the washable bit. If you're going to brave getting markers with a young toddler who loves some mischief SPLURGE.That is unless you love freedom of expression even at the cost of your furnishings (heck I still haven't cleaned the wall OR floor she colored on... my Magic Eraser is around here somewhere...).

On a whole other topic I love Sharpies. I have a ton of them and in a huge assortment of colors. You can now buy fun, funky colors individually at Walmart in the Office Supplies section. *swoon!* Previously mentioned 2-year-old got a hold of one of my dark blue Sharpies and colored on my hardwood floor, the wall, scribbled all over the diaper pail (I use a tall kitchen trashcan with lid)... and then she drew a lovely tattoo on the top of her brother's head all in a matter of about 45 seconds while I stood right there. Judah looked like he was about to go into neuro-surgery (and I don't joke like that disrespectfully; I seriously thought if I went out people might ask me if he had just been at the hospital!).

Oh I love my daughter. I love her spunk. I really don't mind grey hair. I think it's super sophisticated. So I guess I'm going to look really sophisticated.

Today she found a bottle of blue acrylic paint (what is with her and blue?!) to have some fun with while I vacuumed out the couch... paint she opened without permission and not at the table... Grey hair suits me...

Thursday, August 2, 2012

It arrived!

The day after I posted about Wittlebee I came home from grocery shopping to find our box on the front porch. I couldn't feed the kids lunch fast enough so we could get into the box!

This is how it arrives (the shipping label was on the other side).

When you open the box you see either pink tissue paper (for girl boxes) or blue (for boys)! This box was for my almost-3-year-old daughter, Zoe. 

Look at how cute and colorful! There's a fun little beehive sticker, too. 

By far my favorite are the dresses. We have a Jenny & Me dress (left) and a Twynkle Toes Button Nose dress (right). Each dress came with a pair of matching legging pants (below).

Jenny & Me dress retails for about $25.
Twynkle Toes Button Nose dress retails for about $25.

I did ask for no long sleeves or pants but I decided to keep the left pair because it matches the Jenny & Me dress so she can wear it into the fall. The other two pants will be returned and replaced.
Brands in order from left to right: Tea Collection, Deux Par Deux and American Apparel.

Value of the leggings in order from left to right: $24, $24 and $12.

This is a Greggy Girl set! I am not a big beach, bird, flamingo person but Zoe absolutely loves this outfit and insisted on wearing it first. Her clothes should make her happy and I'm so glad this outfit makes her happy! Her big sisters squealed when they saw it.

This outfit retails for about $36 when compared to similar items by Greggy Girl.

Our clothes! Not too shabby at all. You can select up to three colors so I chose pink, green and black!

There is also an American Apparel shirt (just a plain pink shirt) that missed the photo-op and retails for $11.

 Zoe loves her Greggy Girl clothes!

Twynkle Toes Button Nose is oh-so adorable!

Today Zoe is wearing her Jenny & Me (by Kahn Lucas) dress! It's so adorable. I love the big bow!

TOTAL RETAIL VALUE: about $157 (give or take, had to guess on some clothes as you can't find them online so I found similar clothing in design by the designers and averaged it). $157 worth of clothes for only $40 shipped?

Please click HERE to get your own box from Wittlebee and save $10 off your first box. Each household can have two boxes at a time.