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...

Siblings!

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 www.teacherspayteachers.com 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 HomeschoolClassifieds.com to find gently used books and workbooks at more affordable rates plus there are unlimited free resources online. I especially love, love, love teacherspayteachers.com!

CORE:
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).


NON-CORE:
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.


SCHEDULE:
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.