Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween





Well, we have made it to today! And the kids are very excited for our Fall Festival tonight. It is going to be very low key for obvious reasons. A few great friends and a lot of great food and a lot of wonderful fellowship. We can't wait!!

Yesterday, we made it to the pumpkin patch. I was determined. We (I) hadn't been out of the house in two weeks (except for the doctor's visit.) And I had made a list of what I HAD to do yesterday and the pumpkin patch was at the top of the list. It was kind of a bummer because daddy wasn't there but we made due.

By yesterday, all of the pumpkins except for little itty bitty ones were gone. But they still had the great characters they make out of straw and gourds. Elvis, Dorothy, Elmo to name a few. (One year they even had Brett Favre!) And they had a bench surrounded by a great fall display so I attempted to take pictures.

Each of the kids picked out a little pumpkin (and they got one for EG.) And they seemed to enjoy it even if it was missing the big pumpkins! I just wanted to give them a feeling of things getting back to normal. It seems to have worked . . .

Friday, October 30, 2009

I Love EG This Much




She started walking yesterday! I looked up and she let go of one of her toys and took 5 steps! So cool! Then she would crawl around, pull up on something and do it again. We all clapped and laughed. She, of course, was so proud of herself. When daddy got home I tried to get her to perform for him but she wouldn't. I told him the trick was to not pay attention to her and then catch her walking out of the corner of his eye. But then try not to say or do anything to distract her because if she gets distracted, down she goes! She is the first baby to walk before the age of one. All the others were at least 13 months.

She says words now too. "Bye, bye" and "hi" both of those with the right hand motions or if she is "on the phone." She said her older sister's name. Well, the intonation anyway if not exactly her name. You knew what she meant though. She says "Coco." We get an occasional "mama" and "dada" with coaxing. We are working on Little Mama's and Boop's names and Grandma of course.

She is eating big people food. Pasta, cheese, yogurt, toast, Cheerios, all kinds of soft fruit and veggies. We tried scrambled eggs but we think she had an allergic reaction. She has enough teeth to eat a piece of steak for goodness sake!

She loves to bite toes (other peoples toes) and pull hair (other peoples hair). This is sort of cute at the moment but maybe a little troubling in the long run. I think it is survival instincts!

I have never worried about any of my kids when they sleep (unless they were sick.) I have never really been one to have to check on them numerous times because I felt something was wrong. I was always just so thankful they were asleep and I was scared to do anything to wake them! But with EG, if she sleeps long for a nap or sleeps late in the morning, I do seem to be a little more concerned. The reason being, I am scared to death one of the other kids has put something in her crib that doesn't belong in there. Like say a shoe lace or a small choking hazard kind of toy. The room she sleeps in is always dark. When I put her down it is always dark. I don't think to look in her crib until after she is asleep. So, this morning when she didn't wake up until 8 the thought crossed my mind "Did I miss something?" I have gone in while she is sleeping more so then I did with any of the others.

My baby girl is going to be one year old in TWO WEEKS. I am already reliving that day in my mind, over and over and over. It was such an awesome event, for so many flip fantabulous reasons . . .

Thursday, October 29, 2009

You've Got to be Kidding Me

I have been up since 4 AM with a puking Little Mama. When I heard the pitter patter of little feet across the kitchen floor to our bedroom I thought I was dreaming. Then Little Mama says "I think I am going to puke." I am now in a nightmare! She and I stayed on the couch dozing and puking until around 7ish. She looked so pitiful. I felt so pitiful. I rubbed her head and thought how beautiful she is. Big blue eyes, surrounded by long, thick dark eyelashes. Her little button nose and a truly angelic face. So pale.

Then I thought, how can this be?? It has been two weeks and she was better. Coco even took her to tumbling last night with strict instructions to stay away from anyone who coughed etc ;) To wash hands before she even left the gym and to use their hand sanitizer, frequently. Which she did. (I know she wouldn't have gotten anything from there that quick.)

She is now sequestered in Coco's room with an old VCR TV and about a half dozen VHS tapes. She is currently watching My Fair Lady (a personal favorite.) Nature Girl and Boop have disinfected everything they could get their hands on. There is to be no contact between the two groups.

I am trying like the dickens to see the up side of this. But it is a little slow in taking root. I am thankful that Little Mama hasn't thrown up any more. I am thankful that Nature Girl seems to be mending, slowly but surely. Boop has been a trooper, a little sassy but not really ill. Daddy is back to work. I seem to be healing slowly but surely. EG has been touched by God's grace.

I keep telling myself every night before bed and every morning I wake up "This has got to be the day this ends." One of these days I AM GOING TO BE RIGHT . . .

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

So Far Behind

I can tell I am feeling better. This is how I know, I am starting to realize just how far behind I am. Which is soooo funny because I was really far behind almost 2 weeks ago before we all got sick. Now, well, let's just say there probably really is NO catching up!

We have our annual Fall Festival and, of course, it is this weekend. I don't want to disappoint the kids, again, so it will go on. But, have I mentioned how far behind I am?? It is kind of stressful as it is having a bunch of families over for chili etc. but then to start out really in the hole? Of course, everyone knows we have had the flu and various other ailments so it is really, really important that the house be clean so that everyone feels comfortable :) I will say, though, that the families that will be here are great friends and would never dream of judging me!! One of my wonderful friends has even volunteered her sweet family to come help us clean. I truly am blessed with wonderful friends.

Have I mentioned we are also 2 weeks behind in school? I think about it, but I don't really worry about it. I have tried to get the kids to do some math when I/they felt well enough. I figure we just won't be able to take 6-8 weeks off during the holidays like we have in the past. No big deal I guess.

I have decided one thing though, I am not going to stress or worry or even really care. We have had a really, really hard two weeks and we deserve some fun and a break. So, that being said I am not going to think about getting the house clean, we are just going to do what we can when we can. We are going to finish out the week just having fun: the pumpkin patch, decorating for the fall festival, cooking chili, getting our costumes ready, finishing little projects if time permits, making sure that our home is filled with happiness and love AND NO STRESS.

We have had enough of that to last for the rest of the year. . .

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Doctor's Visit

Finally, I was just soooo tired of feeling lousy that I called the doctor, again, for me. I had called on Friday for me, but the stuff they told me to take didn't work. I still felt lousy. Not at all better.

Finally, after seeing a couple nurses and a PA and answering a few questions and having a chest X-ray (they thought I had pneumonia), it was finally determined that I do not have pneumonia but I do have bronchitis, an ear infection and a sinus infection.

After an hour and a half, I finally left there feeling better because finally I know there will be an end. And there is medicine for all of my ailments. Finally, things that will make me feel better.

Finally. . .

Monday, October 26, 2009

Paranoid

We still are not 100% but I think it is safe to say we can see the light at the end of the tunnel. It has been such a long week and a half. I am ready to get back to life. Although, a little nervous about entering the germ ridden world.

I have never, ever been one to worry about germs. I take precautions and wipe down shopping carts and try to remind the kids to sanitize their hands after tumbling etc. But, I have never worried about it. If we got a cold or the flu we would survive. I knew it was unavoidable to some degree and it is part of life with kids.

But I am worried now. It is going to be so hard not to be concerned when I hear a kid cough at the gym. Or think about all the millions of germs on the shopping carts at Publix. I am going to be paranoid. I hate being paranoid. It is so life altering! Sure, I am being a little dramatic. But, I wouldn't be telling the truth if I didn't say that I am going to be hyper vigilant about germs for quite some time. This whole flu thing has left such a lasting impression.

I do want to believe, though, that we have paid our dues for the cold and flu season . . .

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Things to Be Thankful For

We have got to be toward the end . . .

The kids seemed to bounce back pretty quick . . .

EG never really got it . . .

At least there was no major throwing up involved . . .

We haven't seen Daddy this much in I don't even know when . . .

Stuff like this usually happens when Daddy is away on his yearly hunting trip . . .

We are all caught up on Scooby Do cartoons . . .

Sissy is coming to get the big kids this afternoon . . .

It could have been during Christmas . . .

The kids have been pretty helpful when they felt good . . .

Daddy was able to go back to work last night . . .

FSU won . . .

Surely we will be spared the rest of the flu and cold season . . .

Friday, October 23, 2009

Day Nine

The kids seem to be doing better. Just bone rattling coughs. Daddy seems better too, just the cough and low grade fever. Me, 102 fever last night and low grade today. With the same cough.

I am definitely over this. Daddy and I keep wondering, seriously, how much longer can this go on . . .

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Choice

Should we have given a flu shot. Don't know. Am I glad that in American I can still make that choice. Yes. Do I think we as Americans should be able to make all kinds of decisions that affect ourselves and our families. Yes. Do I believe America is heading in the exact opposite direction. Yes.

Maybe more someday when I feel better . . . :)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Things Looking Up?

I can only hope and pray. It has been one of the longest 6 days of my life and it isn't over yet. Having sick children always challenges me. I have to give 120% all the time. Nurturing, healing, loving, on call 24/7 and the list can go on and on. What a mom can never prepare for is being sick herself when the babies are sick. Hubby mentioned to me that he felt so sick that he had to take to the bed for almost the whole day. I understand that. I feel that. But I can't do that. Who is going to take care of my precious babies who are sick and those who are getting better? Some one has to get medicine, cover them with blankets, get water and juice and food when they feel good enough to eat. I honestly have never been so challenged and I failed miserably! I was cranky and felt bad for myself. I just wanted to crawl into bed and cover my head with a blanket. I pouted and felt selfish. All the things I have been praying about not to be. But I couldn't help it. I felt soooooo horrible and I just wanted someone to take care of me!

In the beginning I tried to keep up with a clean (relatively) kitchen, etc. If I just let it go it would get bad real quick. But by today, I am tired. My body aches and the kitchen along with the rest of the house is a wreck. My goal today is to wash EVERYTHING. Open windows. Disinfect. Brush my hair.

Could all this have been avoided by a flu shot? Honestly I thought about it. But, after everything I have read, I don't think I would have done anything different. I am pretty sure we don't have the swine flu. And there are so many different strains. A flu shot only protects against one strain (which I just learned.) Anyway, we are going to be extra diligent about hand washing etc.

Just rambling thoughts from a recovering flu victim . . .

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

It's Official

We all have it. Whatever IT is. It seems Little Mama is recovering although still has a temp and a cough. Not sure where Boop is in the process. He is still sleeping which is very unusual. EG seems the best of the bunch - praise God!! I have a fever and a cough and achy body. Daddy and Nature Girl got it yesterday. Fever, cough etc. Ugh . . .

Monday, October 19, 2009

What Are the Odds

I can tell you on one hand how many times I have been sick in the last 15 years. For as many times as a child gets sick I never, never get it. I figure it is just the way God made it. Moms just can't get sick. For obvious reasons. Sure, I have had colds and coughs and headaches but nothing, that I can remember in the recent past that has ever caused me to take to the bed.

Until yesterday. I guess I got the flu or whatever it is the kids have had this weekend. Of course daddy was at work so I lived on adrenaline and survived until he got home. I didn't feel all that great and then got a little burst of energy around 8:30ish.

But this morning I wanted to die! My whole body ached. My head pounded. I have a cough that racks my lungs. Daddy had to cancel his doctor's appointment and I went back to be for what felt like was an hour. It was really only 20 minutes.

Daddy made me eat breakfast and then shoved medicine in me. I took a shower and waited for the meds to kick in. Put EG down for a nap and took a nap myself. Woke up. Ate lunch. And now I feel like living again. I am just going take it easy today. Daddy has a detail tomorrow so I am on my own again.

I hope it is another 15 years before I feel like this again . . .

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Saturday, October 17, 2009

EG "Walking"

video


Unfortunate is has to be sideways. I just don't know how to correct it . . .

Friday, October 16, 2009

Sick Children

It looks like Little Mama has the flu. I feel so bad for her and I want to make her feel better. I am giving her whatever she needs and trying to make her comfortable.

I am trying to keep the other kids away from her. And disinfecting everything.

One thing I notice I do when a child is sick is clean or organize or create. Which is crazy because I don't normally do any of those things. Ha, ha!

So, as I was wondering why I am so productive when I child is sick, it came to me. It is something I have control over. I can not make my baby feel better. I can not get her everything she needs and I can not make her totally comfortable. Those are things that are out of my control. I can, though, load the dishwasher, fold laundry and vacuum. Get things done, make things better.

Very strange . . .

Thursday, October 15, 2009

FIELD TRIP!!!!






Yesterday we went on our very first official field trip with the homeschool group we belong to. This is our first year in a "homeschool group." It is made up of quite a few families and that all share the same ideals regarding homeschooling. Anyway, through this group we are invited on a lot of different field trips and most of them have minimal fees or, like yesterday, were free.

Anyway, yesterday we went to Mission San Luis. Having been in this town for 21 years, I had never been to this historical site before. Apparently archaeologists found this site where the Spanish and Apalachee Indians lived together. I know I won't have all the facts right but this is a little history about it.

Mission San Luis was around in the early 1700s. The Apalachee Indians were there first and when DeSoto passed through their village he left behind sicknesses that the Apalachee didn't know how to cure. The Apalachee saw that the Spanish in St. Augustine on the east coast didn't suffer from the same illnesses so the invited them to come into their village. It was highly unusual for missionaries to be invited into an Indian village. Usually the missionaries just came. When the site was discovered their were the same number of Indian structures as Spanish surrounding the oval plaza. The archaeologists feel this was because the Indians invited them to be a part of their village.

There were so many interesting things I learned, like if an Indian could throw a "ball" and make it into a really high nest that Indian was treated like a sports celebrity. Children had to go to work by the age of 5 or 6. If the children had any free time, they had to make the toys they played with, thus honing their carpentry and sewing skills.

But, the field trip wasn't really about what I learned. At least I guess not. Anyway, this is what the kids learned:

Little Mama: She liked all the different types of houses. And she learned that the Apalachees bathed about three times a week (Spanish 3 times a year.)

Boop: He liked the big mountain we went in (the Indian community center.)

Nature Girl: She liked the the Spanish lady's house. She learned about the types of toys they played with back then.

We will definitely go back there again . . .

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Irony of Motherhood

I love irony. And I think motherhood is the epitome of irony. What other life choice can be so filled with joy AND frustration. All is less than a minute!

I was chatting with my considerably younger sister yesterday. She is in her early 20s and just beginning her life. She has so many options and choices and decisions ahead of her. Choices and decision that will most likely affect or effect (to lazy to look it up) her future. And I think part of my responsibility to her is to show her what a Godly family looks like (although we are lacking in many, many ways and so thankful for God's grace.) Which is so ironic because she is one that I probably complain to the most! Because she has a good sense of humor and is easy to talk to and is not judgemental and I love her and like to hear her perspective, I tend to tell her a lot about my struggles. But in a kind of joking way. Because she is our babysitter and is at our house sort of regularly (although not lately ;) she sees what really goes on around here.

It occurred to me yesterday that maybe she sees how frustrating and hard it is, but doesn't always see how fulfilling it is. Where else can you go from smiling uncontrollably about something a child said to tears about something a child has said in just a matter of minutes. Where else can you want to be alone so badly that you will lock yourself in the bathroom just to get a few seconds of peace but not want your children out of your presence more than absolutely necessary. Where else can you gladly send you children off with a family member only to feel so alone in the silence. Where else do you keep some one close, "sheltered" only to eventually send them out into the big bad world to be "salt and light." Where else do you weep for joy AND sadness. What other job brings tremendous pleasure and tremendous heartache. A job that you want to be about you but isn't AT ALL about you. What other job in this whole entire world can leave you feeling so physically, emotionally and mentally drained yet so completely and utterly fulfilled as a human being?!

I felt bad yesterday because I think I give my sister the wrong impression. But, it is really hard for me to describe what I consider to be the ironies of this wonderful, fulfilling, a lot of times frustrating role I believe God created me for. I guess you just have to live it to fully understand . . .

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Ticket Please

In my effort to get my children to obey immediately, yesterday we started a new family program. Yes, I know, it is my second attempt at a program in the last couple months. Hey, I figure if something isn't working for whatever reason, I am totally OK with abandoning the idea for something new and improved!

Boot Camp is over. It has failed. Not for any other reason then it was too labor intensive for my part in the plan. In theory it was great! It had lots of benefits - obedience, hard work, getting things done around the house. But, it took too much of my time. I found that I had to follow up and make sure they had done their punishment chore. And a lot of times their punishment chore couldn't be done at the time of the offense. And then I would forget. I know all great plans take effort in the beginning to reap the rewards. But this just wasn't working out.

So for many weeks we just didn't do anything. I was getting increasingly frustrated. And then a very open mother of 3 soon to be 4 posted to my homeschool email group, a very transparent email about her own troubles of immediate obedience (and other similar issues.) A couple of our moms who have "gone before" took the time to respond to her (and the rest of our group.) And their words were so helpful. One mom gave about 5 or 6 ideas to guide this particular mom. Another mom backed up the first mom but encouraged her (and the rest of us) to use tools as a supplement to God's word. Another mom said how much she needed to hear what the others had shared. I was one of those moms who needed to hear.

Anyway, the following is another stolen idea that we have had in the works since yesterday. I bought a role of tickets from Staples. Each time a child obeys immediately they get a ticket. When a certain number of tickets are collected (different amounts for different ages) a special treat is in store for that child. Examples of some treats: stay up late, extra cookie after dinner, play video game during the week, trade in ticket to get out of a chore. If they don't obey immediately they get a ticket taken away. As daddy explained to the kids on Sunday, it is a work in progress. My MIL called it bribery and I suppose in a way it is. But it has been surprising to me how many times a day I ask them to do something. And if I have to tell them more than once, well you get the idea. Things that are excluded from a ticket are those things they all ready know to do. Like chore charts and turning off lights and table manners.

Yesterday we had to leave the house on two separate occasions. This is usually when rubber hits the road. I usually have to scream and nag and remind them to find shoes, brush hair, go to the bathroom, put such and such away. Yesterday, nothing but a soft voice giving directions. For the most part I got a "Yes, ma'am" and the chore was done.

I am not going to kid myself, who knows if I will stick with it. And I have been wondering how do I wean them from the tickets. But it worked yesterday and it is working so far today. That is really all I can worry about for the moment . . .

Monday, October 12, 2009

Multigenerational Church

The last two Sundays I have had the pleasure of having the three bigger kids in church with me. Nature Girl doesn't have a choice because there is no children's church. Little Mama just wants to come with us. And now Boop doesn't want to be left out.

Up until two weeks ago, the deal was Boop had to go to his class during service when I am at church by myself (every other Sunday daddy works.) But last week I figured, what the heck. The girls have been doing very well (listening and writing in their journals) so I figured I could handle one more. He was given very specific instructions (to sit relatively still, draw in his prayer journal, listen for the word I give the girls to listen for, etc.) and he has been doing great.

In the beginning of the service when we sing our praise songs he wants me to hold him and I do as I sing and sway to the music. He wraps his legs around me real tight and alternates burying his head in my neck and straining his neck to see what is going on. (Thankfully he hardly weighs anything!)

When we sit down he sits in my lap and only fidgets a little bit. But he takes turns listening, drawing and looking things up in his "bible." (Which is currently an encyclopedia volume - I haven't gotten him his own real one yet.) He smiles and giggles and waves when he sees someone he knows. Yesterday he grabbed my head, turned it practically all the way around to show me the lady we had seen shopping the night before. I smiled and waved at her.

During welcome time, I am trying to teach the kids to look people in the eye, shake their hands and say "good morning" and answer questions. Yesterday, after they welcome, daddy and Boop went to check on EG (who is in the nursery - don't think I can do all four just yet :)

A friend of mine who has always brought all five of his kids into the church service (even when they were babies) told me that even if they hear just one phrase or idea or verse that they have heard at home it's worth it. No, they are not going to understand some of what is being said but they will grasp some little detail. And then it becomes their own. The sufficiency of God's word works that way. No cartoon video. No brightly colored worksheet. No childish language. It all seems to be a great part of a child cultivating his/her own relationship with Christ.

Yesterday there just happened to be a couple of baptisms. I can tell my kids that being baptised after you are saved is what God wants us to do. But to actually see kids and adults stepping out in faith is totally something else. It has a different effect on them (and on me ;).

I have been reading a lot lately about the concepts of a multigenerational church. How it benefits the family and the church family. So many churches take so much time and effort separating out age groups instead of bringing them together. To worship together. As a family that God created. As I read more about it and ponder the benefits, I am glad my family has chosen to worship with me . . .

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Nature Pictures






I don't think I have posted these pictures before. They are from the handful of times we have been to the creek. It is amazing what changes in just a week or twos time. The last time I went I took a reference picture so we could see how things change from week to week.

The kids just love going. And I do to most of the time (unless it is hot and humid.) I give the kids one or two things to focus on and the rest is just fun. Because we had read a book about why leaves change colors I had them pick a leaf from a tree that we do not have in our yard. We have a couple tree and leave books. Plus, daddy loves identifying trees.

We didn't make it to the creek this week. But a friend of mine gave me the idea of a nature circle. You place a rope in a circle in your yard. And for about 10 minutes, you have the kids just sit and observe what is going on in the circle. I think there are questions to ask etc. but I didn't get that far yesterday. I had gone out, made the circle in the shade, given them instructions and then came back inside to do whatever. When I looked out the window just a few minutes later, Little Mama was up a tree, Nature Girl was sitting IN the circle (and proceeded to make a cobweb out of the rope) and Boop was doing heaven knows what. I guess for the first time or two I will need to be sure they are doing what they are told.

We are all excited for fall. We just wish it would get cooler . . .

Friday, October 9, 2009

Tidbits for Today

Yesterday Little Mama had her pre-team prep class at tumbling. I have to tell you, she is incredible. They were doing this thing called a pancake. You put your legs in a straddle position on the floor and you put your tummy to the ground. Out of about 10 kids, Little Mama was the only one who could do it. It looked painful. But she just did it like it was no big deal!

For the last year or so both girls (first NG and now LM) have had a wonderful tumbling instructor, Coach Nicki. You can tell she likes the girls. She always goes out of her way to smile and tease them. And I honestly believe she is really trying to help them be better gymnasts. She takes her time with them, sternly encourages them and doesn't let them be lazy (or say they can't do something.) She even smiles and teases Boop when she sees him.

Yesterday at tumbling I read to Boop from one of the books he got at the library. A new word for him was twilight. He wanted a definition and I gave it to him. On the way home I explained that twilight was coming. When we got home, he went outside and came back in. "It's the word outside." Meaning twilight. This morning he got up and wanted to show me the word twilight in his book.

On the way home from tumbling NG says "Walgreen's has Charmin Ultra on sale for $3.49. That is cheaper than Publix's $8." I had to laugh and then call daddy to tell him. He suggested that from now on we give her the coupons, money and grocery list and send her grocery shopping! I couldn't agree more.

Little Mama just finished her Kindergarten Math workbook. She is very excited to start First Grade Math. Because she does her math sheets so fast, I have had to ask her to slow down and work on writing pretty numbers. She really is a concepts kind of gal.

Yesterday the kids had me light a candle for lunchtime.

It cracks me up every morning when the kids see EG. She is the last to get up and when I come out of the room with her, they all yell her name. Like she is a rock star or something. It is incredible to me how excited they get over her. I constantly tell them "Geez, you see her all day long!" Or, "She isn't going anywhere." They absolutely, positively love her for so many different and varied reasons.

Gosh, I love my kids . . .

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Little Mama and the Library

About 2 months ago, maybe more, we made our first trip back to the library in a very long time. I love the library. One of my fondest memories as a kid is riding to our neighborhood library that was housed in an older, larger remodeled home. I have loved to read since as far back as I can remember!! My favorites were horse stories by Margarite Henry and the Boxcar Children.

Sorry, this isn't about me today! So, about 2 months ago we made it to the library. It turned out to be a very special occasion. Little Mama got her very own library card! She was so excited. She let all of us check out our books on her card. They also gave her a really neat book bag which she uses to carry all of our books back and forth to the library. (The other kids were jealous)

The kids love to go to the library and we try to go every two or three weeks. Today Little Mama picked out four books from the Magic Tree House Series. She is in the process of learning to read and she sits down with those books and flips the pages looking for words that she knows! Nature Girl picked out three Nancy Drew Mysteries and one book from the Boxcar Children series. I had to challenge her. She is a fast and fabulous reader so I made her pick out little bit harder books. Boop gets Magic Tree House books as well. No picture books for him. He chooses his books based on how interesting the covers are. I let EG have a book or two while we are there but she just chews on them so I put them back. I usually get a couple of books. Mostly for school. Books on VanGogh (we are studying his art), leaves (because it is fall), apples (because we have them for lunch) and Christopher Columbus (because of the holiday on Monday.)

I was so excited for Little Mama to get her library card. I explained to her that reading can take her places that she may never go. Or learn about things that she may otherwise not be taught. Reading and books open a whole new world for those who take an interest. There is no way for us to know everything. But, all we have to be able to do is read and be able to find information and then there isn't anything we can't know about!

No matter what books they pick out, I just love quiet time after we have been to the library . . .

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

EG the Explorer

Because our nursing time has decreased so drastically, I have found a new way to spend quality time with just EG. EG is the last to go to bed. So she and I go into Boop's room and I put her on the floor. She loves it! It is probably the safest room in the house because it hardly gets used except to sleep. There isn't a lot of little stuff lying around. She can explore in there with minimal amount of worry. So, I plop her down in the middle of the room and just watch.

Because she only sleeps in there, everything is new to her. The train table, the activity table, Boop's stuffed animals, cars and books. She starts exploring at the train table and picks up tracks and trains and looks at them and shakes them and then puts them in her mouth. She notices the rug on the floor and that it has patterns of a city on it with roads etc. so she places the trains on the rug and kind of moves them around. She then goes to the activity table that has wooden beads and shakes it to watch and hear what happens. Next, she spies a random toy left under the dresser and gets on her belly and pulls it out. And puts it in her mouth.

Off to the basket filled with books of all shapes, sizes and textures. She picks out a couple different ones and puts them in her mouth. Next it is to the stackable plastic chairs. They look steady enough but when she tries to pull herself up on them they topple over. Enough of those for now. Aahh, she spots some cords leading to the monitor. Quickly crawls over and grabs them. And puts them in her mouth. All the while she is exploring, she is looking over at me, sitting in the blue easy chair just watching her. She smiles, giggles, and off she goes to something else.

We do this for about 10 minutes. Then I get up out of the chair to get her. She looks at me and then tries to get away. But I am quicker, for now. I scoop her up and cuddle with her. Nurse her. Rock her. And then lay her in her crib. She buries her head into the mattress, grabs hold of the blanket or crib pad and just goes to sleep.

Oh, my beautiful baby girl . . .

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Philippians 4:8

"Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things." This is our memory verse for the next week or so.

This scripture verse is on the right side of my blog. I like the verse. It is inspirational. It is positive. It is kind of how I want to approach learning. I want my kids to read, watch, hear and learn about the very best of everything. Great music, great art, great literature. Rich words, inspiring stories, masterful music.

But as with a lot of things for me lately the verse has come to mean so much more. It is the verse I have been trying to use to filter just about everything we do in our everyday life. We have started listening to K Love in the car, a local Christian radio station. At first it was hard. We didn't know a lot of the songs and the kids like to sing along to the radio. But, the more we listened the more we are recognized songs and some of them we have sung in church. And, we are learning new ones. The announcers probably talk a little bit more on this station but it is usually great inspirational stories. And some of the stories have sparked good discussions and "teachable moments." I even listen to it when I am by myself. It is uplifting and positive and best of all, pleasing to God.

The kids were a little surprised by the change of music. I started to explain by paraphrasing Philippians 4:8. That no matter what we do in our lives we need to surround ourselves all the time with that which is good and pure and true and lovely and pleasing to God. Not to make us better Christians (although I guess that would be a byproduct) but because that is what God has called us to do. I shared with the kids that we as a family should use Philippians 4:8 as a filter for everything. Whether it is music, clothing, words, books, movies, friends, hobbies, our time, etc., etc. It is hard! Especially for me!

I would be lying if I said I don't have concerns about the choices my kids make when I am not around or when they get older. Or that it isn't hard for them when they want to watch or listen to something that I have said that they can't. But I have thought a lot about that lately as well. One thing I can do is train my children in the ways of the heart by using and applying God's words. It isn't what I want or what I believe. It is what God wants and what He tells us in His word. Yes, they will disobey me and God. (I disobey God.) When they become adults they will have to find their own way. Continue on their own to develop their relationship with Jesus. They will be responsible for their choices. But until then, God has given them to me for a time and it is my responsibility to train them and guide them. Give them the "tools" to help them make godly choices. Philippians 4:8 is one of those tools.

In the mean time we are listening to K Love and when the kids ask me to turn it up I will do so, gladly. . .

Monday, October 5, 2009

History Timeline




One of the things that has been a work in progress in our little homeschool is our attempt to learn history. We have had a couple of different approaches and it has changed over the course of the last couple of years. With Nature Girl we started using a spiral bound Century Notebook. And I liked that. It worked well. We would add everything we were reading about whether it was a composer, an artist or a person or event from history. But, with the addition of Little Mama to our homeschool, I wanted something that all the kids could do and see together. (The one consistent thing we have done is learn history through great literature! We have read great books such as The Little Duke and Our Island Story.)

Like everything we do for homeschool we get great ideas from other places. One of my favorite homeschool websites is http://higherupandfurtherin.blogspot.com/. She does a timeline on her wall using yarn, push pins and color coded index cards to indicate heritage such as Greek, European, Hebrew etc. We get our history figures from Homeschooling in the Woods (little cutout pictures of people and events). Each girl colors the picture and glues it on the appropriate colored index card. We then make a big deal about placing it on the timeline that is push pinned to the wall.

We talk about other events happening around that time. Who else was born, what else was invented, if there was a battle taking place. Last week Little Mama and I read "A Midsummer Night's Dream" out of Beautiful Stories from Shakespeare for Children. And for science we learned about the Galileo thermometer. So this week Little Mama colored a picture of William Shakespeare and Galileo Galilei. We looked at the dates of each of their births and deaths and realized that Shakespeare and Galileo were born in the same year. We also learned that Shakespeare died many years before Galileo. Little Mama was the one who figured that out. She is very intrigued as to when people are born and when they die - how old they are.) I explained to Little Mama that those two men would be considered contemporaries. We also recognized that one was English the other Italian. So, we looked at our globe and discussed the continent of Europe and where Italy is and where England is.

One of the things I wanted to do was incorporate Biblical History within learning World History. I want the kids to understand that the events that have taken place in the Bible are a part of history as a whole. And to be able to see how Biblical History intertwines with other historical events in the world. At first I thought I needed some fancy book or program. But after taking a deep breath and giving it some prayer a very simple idea came to me (I know it probably isn't original.) This year we are starting to read through the Bible from Genesis to Revelation. I purchased a packet of pictures of events that took place BC and we are going to color them, put them on a colored card and add them to our history timeline along with the other history we are reading about. ALL of history will be on our timeline in our schoolroom for everyone to look at all the time.

We are learning (and I say we because I am learning so much as well) history, geography, science, literature, grammar and sometimes math all at once . . .

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Our Dad is the Best!





I got a call early yesterday afternoon from Daddy. He had a call to a house to get a grey rat snake out of some one's bushes. He wanted to know if I wanted him to bring it home to show the kids. I laughed and said it was totally up to him!!

At about 5 o'clock Daddy calls and tells me to send the kids out. Of course they all go running out to see what Daddy has brought home. In a tan sack is a 3 ft long snake (totally guessing its length). Daddy grabs it by the head and lets the kids touch it. It has little teeth and can bite but is not poisonous. It is a constrictor. That is how it kills it prey. Rats. Squeezes them to death. Apparently there is a red rat snake as well.

Daddy told us that as he drove around with it in his car for a couple of hours, it would wiggle all over the passenger seat and try to get into his lap. Can you imagine?? The week before, Daddy caught a pygmy rattler. He said it was really pretty. He chose not to bring that one home. We looked it up online instead! Pretty cool.

After the kids were done observing our grey rat snake, Daddy took him to the woods at the back of the neighborhood to let him go. I am hoping he doesn't find his way back to our house . . . .

Friday, October 2, 2009

Picnic at the Park






The girls did an informal Book-It program for the month of September. Their reward for reading everyday was a personal pan pizza from Pizza Hut. And yesterday they got to collect. We decided because it was such a beautiful day that we would take our pizza to the park.

After they ate lunch, they played on the climbing tree and then we all went for a walk around the lake. There were a couple of exciting little surprises during our picnic. First, Little Mama found a Praying Mantis on the tree. I tried for several minutes to take its picture but it was very hard because of all the leafy background. We watched it make its way down the branch. It would rock back and forth as it moved forward very slowly trying to get away I guess. It was really cool to see.

The next thing that happened was we ran into was a 12 week old golden retriever puppy named Cowboy. The kids were in love. The owner was very patient and let the kids play and pet it. We talked with him for quite some time about what an awesome responsibility it is to have a puppy in the house. He goes to the park every night and walks the puppy almost 2 miles just to wear it out. (Nature Girl wants another dog sooooo bad.)

It really is a neat little park with lots to observe. A couple times we have gone, there have been people playing different types of drums. The kids always stop and watch and listen. And it seems every time we go we strike up a conversation with some one. Usually a grandparent type.

Going to that park is one of the things I want to continue to enjoy. It seems to have something for everyone . . .

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Weaning

I am in the process of. Yes, I am sad but it is time. I am so happy EG and I made it this far given all the trouble we had in the beginning. We have been struggling again as of late. She wants so bad to be a part of what is going on around us. She gets distracted and doesn't want to nurse. And we don't nurse well in public. I am so fearful of her weight and health and nutrition. It weighs on me when she doesn't eat like she should (or I think she should.) She has a mouth full of teeth and occasionally nibbles. (Could anything be more painful?!?) I know my milk isn't all that great. I barely eat enough for me. At some point I just lose my appetite and that can't be good for my milk. I have made it a slow process and I am in no rush. And I will continue in the morning, maybe naps and at nighttime for just as long as I can.

I am sad. For many different reasons: 1) my baby is growing up and needs me less and less 2) she is most likely my last baby 3) if only I could have held on for a couple more weeks 4) I love having her all to myself in the peace and quiet 4) I am going into a different part of life now and that is a little scary. But, I think I (we) are ready . . .