Thursday, April 26, 2012

More of the Kittens

I've never understood why people would take pictures of their cats and be so willing to share them all the time....

And then we got the kittens!

These two little fur balls have taken our hearts! The kids are devoted to them... feeding them, playing with them, feeding them some more, watching them stalk birds, laughing as they wrestle and then more feeding... yes, our kittens will be fat, much loved on cats! It's hard to walk by them and not pet them, as they purr at our ankles (even when I am allergic to them... yes, just touching sometimes!).

So, since I am now a cat owner....

you get cat pictures;) Of our sweet and beautiful (at least in our eyes) fur balls:)


And Daniel's beauty secret???


Daniel's ROAR!!!!

nah... just a yawn;)

The other day Nate was waiting for me as I prepared to take him outside. I knew we'd be out for a few hours so I was trying to get a couple "tasks" complete for the evening. Nate can be very impatient with me... fussing, following behind me where ever I go, pulling on my hands or clothes. I've been trying to be ready for him and have him ask more kindly for things.

He was soo patient with me the other day though. Before I went to get him dressed to go outside, I had the thought "How is it that Nate can be soo patient with me and I so often get frustrated with his childish-nes and loose my patience with him?"

It was then I turned the corner and saw what Nate had been up to!!

Yep, so thankful that thought crossed my mind because having another mess to clean up before heading outside was disappointing. But I wasn't frustrated....  I should have expected some sort of mess with how quiet he was being :)  I honestly thought he was standing at the door (just feet from where he really was!!!) watching the older kids as I was running around.

round button chicken

Submitting the 4th picture (our kitten's YAWN) to
 Shoot.Edit.Submit., Photo Friday, Give Me Your Best Shot, and Fabulous Friday!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Boots, Skates and a Tractor

Nate had been eye-ing the roller skates for awhile. He never could understand though that he had to wear his shoes for them to fit right.

Recently he tried out boots:)

And a nice ride (or at least sitting) on the tractor;)


I thought it made the funniest combination:)



More Wordless Wednesday at  NapTime MomTog, 5 Minutes for Mom,  Mama to 4 Blessings, Go Graham Go

 then, she {snapped}

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Tiny Talk Tuesday

During "play school" I heard Anna assigning grades on the others' assignments.

One student received a "Z-" !

Yikes! A tough teacher! :)

The children love it when Brian gives them a piggy back to bed;)

Chris tried to talk him into it one night (it usually doesn't take much)!

He said,"Carry me to bed Daddy, you need the exercise!"

LOL.. from the mouths of babes!

Chris had a minor accident last week, slamming his foot down on a pointy little toy. Since it was minor I gave him a few minutes to "recover" and then we went into his room to measure it for a math activity.

Nate was still concerned about his brother, though. He repeated over and over, "Boo-boo, ice? Boo-boo, ice?"

Finally he grabbed Anna's hand and they went into the kitchen to get what Nate thought Chris needed.

Loved his compassion for his brother!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Weekly Wrap-Up: Good Reads, History& Science Combined

What a week!!! Phew! After not having a Spring Break... I was really behind in keeping up with my online class! Then Brian was out-of-town at a conference from Sunday morning through Tuesday evening (about 7pm). The laundry and clutter in the house was starting to build up:/ And we've been having some beautiful weather... taking Momma outdoors not able to work on school or house work:)

Thankfully we had a good week!! Dinner with friends on Monday night while Brian was away (so nice for them to invite us not knowing Momma was holding down the fort). The circus on Wednesday night! And plenty of mornings/afternoons at home to work on our schoolwork and read some fun books;)

We read through a few stories each day from our Bible Storybook. With more great character forming conversations;) Such a sweet time!

Language Arts
Chris and Lydia worked together on Grammar and Spelling. They wrote out addresses and letters (about the circus) for neighbors and family. For spelling they did the "-ell and -all families" and the sight word "people".

We also worked through plenty of OPG reading lessons!! It's so great to see how both Lydia and Chris can read. I know they read better working with me than on their own (which is another step in the "learning to read" process) but it's soo relieving to have them at this stage! With my help Lydia began reading a library book I had picked out for her... at first she didn't want to read it because she thought the words were too hard, but as she started on that first page and saw all the words she knew her confidence soared and she was beaming that she could read (with some help) the book.

Anna worked hard on Grammar an Spelling as well:) She has been doing her individual reading as soon as she wakes up in the morning. She finished reading By the Shores of Silver Lake part of the Little House on the Prairie Series. One morning she handed me a book as I was pulling out our school books, she said she had finished the whole thing that morning:) It was American Girls : Changes for Felicity. This weekend she started Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo... I had planned to read it aloud, but Anna and I started it together and then she read over 10 chapters Sunday afternoon during "rest time"!

She's a reader, like her Momma and Daddy:) 

Last week, Brian brought home the movie Hugo. It was a slower movie, but the kids loved it and begged to stay up late to finish watching it;) Little did we know it was also a book, we picked it up at the library !! The book is amazing...I've never read a book that included pictures as part of the story. It is called The Invention of Hugo Cabret! Don't be worried about how thick the book is... a LOT of pages are pictures that fit into the story and most pages aren't even full of words. It was a great read... the kids begged me NOT to stop:)

We also had plenty of conversations about how the book and movie differ which was fun, too! Definitely a good book!

I don't have any pictures from our math this week :(

Anna started doing division! Since we are still really shaky on our math facts I was a little worried about starting division, but she is doing very well. I think seeing the facts a different way has helped her with the multiplication facts. It's also helpful that it's just the 2,5,7 families which she is getting stronger and quicker with!

Chris got to work on charts and measuring with our feet and then a ruler to see the actual length. Lydia is still working her way through beginning to learn all these facts.

All kids have been using the timer on their math fact sheets!! This was the area from Anna's testing that needed the most work... so it's exciting that we've overcome the worry about not finishing it all in the minute (or 4 minutes). And that they are all getting this much needed "fast" practice.

History and Science
This week our history and science lessons truly were connected. Our history topics were about Isaac Newton, John Locke and new farming techniques using the concept of being able to predict behavior of plants, soil and reproduction of animals.

For Isaac Newton we talked about his observations of the heavens and confirming Galileo's theories. We also talked about his formation of the Law of Gravity... the whole watching the apple drop story;) And of course that leads to a discussion about his laws of motion. While there were few activities listed in our activity book, there were some fun YouTube videos describing the laws and then using pencils on the table and the kids exerting forces on it;)


For John Locke, I explained that he thought people were born with no knowledge... "nothing in their heads", is what Chris says! I asked them what "sweet" means and they described foods. Like the activity guide suggested, I brought out some "sweet" items from the kitchen.... a semi-sweet chocolate chips, raisins, marshmallows and a bit of white granulated sugar. The kids got to try out each and tried to explain "sweet"... LOL... again using foods;) I know this activity stuck with them because when Brian asked them that night what they learned they said,"Mom let us eat white sugar from a bowl!".... LOL!! Totally like a teaspoon for all three;)

The kids drew pictures (Anna wrote out some of his key ideas) for John Locke. Both Lydia and Chris drew a picture of a king in jail their interpretation that if the king doesn't obey the contracted rules for the nation that he should be removed!

I think the farming ideas were a little above the kids! Anyway they colored the picture of one of the inventions. And then we did an activity that explained crop rotation. Anna and I had to follow the directions to put the crop in the right order of planting them.

It was a good reminder that farming isn't just sticking some plants into the ground! There really is a lot of science surrounding all the decisions farmers have to make. We also had some farming library books that I hope we can find time to read through to learn more before we jump into a new section;)

Tot in the Schoolroom
I often hear, "How do you school the older ones with the baby running around?"

So often I'm not sure how it all gets done:) And sometimes it doesn't! When Nate is needing attention I can often hold him in my lap, give him a snack or have one of the older kids take a break to play with him.

One morning as I had all the older ones at the table at the same time working (which is unusual in the morning while Nate is awake!), I heard Nate under the table. He was content as can be under the table playing...

it's messy, but it works for now!

We have another busy week this week... I have the final exam to prepare for my students and have their papers (and quizzes & finals) graded in the next two weeks, we have school at least 3 days this week, a field trip, grandparents coming at the end of the week, and Brian has a project for work he wants my help to complete which is going to require plenty of time the next two weeks!! Thankfully by May 11th most of my "extra" work will be completed and then it will be trying to get some more pre-packing/cleaning done:)

Linking up with Weekly Wrap-up.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Weekly Wrap-Up : Our Non-Spring Break with Experiments

Last week (April 9 - 13th)  I had intended to have "Spring Break".... no school, start the sorting/cleaning for "the move" (months from now) and get caught up/ahead with my online class.

After arriving home from the grandparents on Monday night, I really thought everyone would sleep in and we'd just have an "other work" week. But the kids had other plans :/ Tuesday morning before 8:30am they were all at the table asking for their school work for the day??? (totally NOT like us, especially since we like to "formally" start at 9!!)

What's a Momma to do??  School the kids;)

So our Spring Break didn't happen. And I was caught because I hadn't really planned anything for the week!

We did our normal basics... Grammar, Reading and Math!

One of Chris' math lessons was a hit;) He was learning about lines of symmetry!

And then we folded papers and pulled out the paints;)


Everyone had to have a turn.... even Nate got to paint a bit;)

And then for our afternoon (non-toddler moments) we pulled out our Atoms and Molecules book and got to work on some experiments!! What was even more exciting for the kids was having our neighbor come to "experiment" with us:)



Making molecules move using a drop of soap!

Gotta love that when we were done they wanted to make their own mixture!! They sat at the table mixing outside stuff in the pan (and then into plastics from the recycling bin) for over an hour!!

We also tried a few from Pinterest and some density projects from Steve Spangler Experiments. Unfortunately they didn't "work"??? I think it was because the kids were rushing to add layers and for one our sat wouldn't mix into our liquid :/ But it was fun pulling out stuff around the house to "do" Science;)

Science Sunday

Saturday, April 21, 2012

At the Circus

Through some coupons dropped off at the school, we found out about a circus coming locally. We had never been to the circus with the kids before... so we thought it would be fun to take them! Especially since we had coupons!!!

We didn't just have a coupon, we had 6 coupons! Of course it doesn't take a genius to realize that the circus attempts to get you into the door (using a free kid promotion) to work their "magic" to make their money.

We had kept the circus a secret from the kids just in case something didn't work out... the days can be unpredictable right now! But the morning of the circus, Anna was in my room and found the coupons!! I think the kids were excited to find out "the secret". They had very mixed emotions...

Chris was ecstatic about going.... tigers, canons... you name it, he was ready to see it!
Anna was terrified that she could possibly be remotely close to a clown!

Of course once we got there, we were hit with the money-making stuff. And that's when the "give me's" began! The excitement of all the cool things they would see, or that we got to pick up Daddy early and get the whole evening together was from that point overshadowed with all the "stuff" they wanted.

This picture captures the emotions... Nate not sure what is going on, yet! ( I was really worried he wasn't going to like being inside a dark tent.... do you blame him!!!)  Anna keeping a worried watch for any clowns. Chris grumpy about not getting toy he had seen. Lydia looking around soo much she couldn't get into the picture. And Brian.... LOL!! Taking a picture for the team with a smile :)


We are pretty strict on how we "splurge"! I mean there are some areas and places it's easy to be frugal!! But $8 elephant rides around in a circle once... yikes that is steep!
Nate's 1st time seeing an elephant in real life... wasn't scared a bit!

The actual performances were good. 



I loved seeing the kids' (and Brian's) faces.... wonder!
Yes, the paci made a "cami appearance" !


How cheap our seats really were! The passes we had were to get the kids in free. Brian had a free adult pass and then the kids had a $5 adult coupon attached to the bottom of their coupons. So all of us got into the circus for $14!!!


We were in bleachers on folding chairs with poles right in front of us!! Not the best view...

in fact Brian mentioned that had we done a little more "looking into the seating"  we would have considered purchasing the up-grade, of course it would have doubled our ticket prices. It would have been nice not to dodge the pole, but it worked out fine!

It was fun! The kids talked about it for days and even did some writing about it for school the next day!

And we had some good talks about using money... some about spending wisely and some about saving. And about how people use situations and words to try to get us to purchase more.... like commercials or the ring master saying a few times how much more fun the circus would be with a $15 light up sword! Or when he says "everyone loves a pony ride... you can't come to circus without a pony ride!"

If we go to the circus again, we'll be better prepared for the "give me's". Like talking to the kids before hand. Or having them save money before they go (or us giving them some) to spend on what they'd like ... or save it!

round button chicken

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

I Can Use a Power Tool

Sort of:)

There are some things I stay away from in the tool department...

but I can handle hedge clippers:)

I do like yard work (even though you can't always tell from my yard... LOL)!
Probably because the results are obvious and a little longer lasting than a vacuumed floor :)

More Wordless Wednesday at  NapTime MomTog, 5 Minutes for Mom,  Mama to 4 Blessings, Go Graham Go

 then, she {snapped}

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Tiny Talk Tuesday : Crazy kids

As the other 3 were cleaning up toys they had been playing with, the house was noisy. Actually they were playing more than cleaning as I was distracted from the cleaning to help Lydia with school work.

Lydia looked at me and said, "That's just how kids are!"

And I said, " Like what?"

She answered back,"CRazy!"

Boy, she wasn't kidding;)

We are learning a poem called Mr Nobody. The poem is basically blaming an imaginary man for all the crazy things done or not done around the house. We had a silly writing assignment about all the things that Mr Nobody does around our house.

 He pees in my bed.
He leaves the TV on.
He leaves drool bombs everywhere! He snores when we are asleep!
He dumps over the cat food!


Recently we found ourselves surrounding the computer to watch some of our favorite kiddo videos ever! This one of Chris pretending to "preach" like Brian made us giggle;)

Monday, April 16, 2012

23 Months & Still Learning to Parent with Joy

IMG_1002So I am super late doing this post, but every month since Nate was born I have done a monthly post!! We are just ONE month (well half a month now!) from him turning 2!! And I just hated NOT posting this month!

I'm going with the phrase "better late than never"!

New Tricks
  • Steering the Gator and will stop and move it if he feels like he is going to bump into something unless it's a person, then see below in the New Verbage
  • Watches everything and tries to copy (see Momma's thoughts)
  • No more paci!!! We couldn't find his paci as we left the grandparents' house at Easter. So we quit "cold turkey". At home after 2 days he found another paci, but Momma hid it away when he lost interest after an hour and he's been paci-free for almost a week(minus Sunday when he found it again...LOL)!! It really was too easy... he asked but it was a nice excuse to snuggle;) All 4 kids have had their pacis "taken" by 24 months !! And it's been easy each time. Of course we've had good excuses too... like "lost at Grandmas".
  • Can put away silverware... matching the forks, spoons and butter knives
  • IMG_1125

New Verbage
  • MOVE! yes, my sweet little man tells us to "moov" when he needs to get by
  • Go! he's been repeating that one from a reading lesson
  • baby talk phrases  that sound like "I did it!" or "there you go!"
  • He's got a few more animal noises down... like the "peeps" of chicks, cow's moo and he tries to do a horse's neigh (momma has a hard time with that one, too)
  • He says "hi"... sometimes it means high up on something, other times it means hide:) He usually says "hewwwo" when he means to say hello.
  • He's a chatter box... too bad we still don't understand most of it, yet!! I bet it's super exciting and very silly:)

Bad Habits
  • I don't like calling his perseverance and problem solving "bad habits" but it sure gets him into plenty of trouble and messes! With maturity, these will be great traits... right now they add chaos :)
  • His perseverance often leads to loud calls or cries when he doesn't get what he wants.... yikes, we are working with him "using words" and learning to wait patiently. We try not to give into crying, fussing or yelling for items. It's a lot of correcting and waiting for "nice" requests"! We also realize he is little and this will be something we will have to work on for a while;)
  • Prefers Momma to take care of him when she is around. Especially bathing and putting him to bed
  • Escapes from bed often, unless Momma sit in bed with him and reads to him, aloud to the kids or her own book.
  • Everything thing is "mine!"....  fussing over other sibling's toys/drinks

Momma's Thoughts
We are thick in the consistent discipline and the correcting stage. I had forgotten how time consuming and emotionally draining it can be to have a little one who is in the toddler "me" mindset. Between demanding that everything the other kids (or anyone) has is "mine" or finding creative ways to get stuff he wants, Nate keeps us on our toes!!!

This stage could be one to complain about, but instead (knowing he is a gift) I appreciate having a beautiful, active, loud and usually sweet youngest boy. And I know that stages come and go and these challenging toddler days past by very fast (although it doesn't seem like it during the hard moments).

I"m also thankful for the journey I have been in to parent with grace and joy...

 To enjoy the kids at every stage, every day...  not because it's easy, or they are perfect children or because we are on vacation or Daddy's been home with us (and I have had help or "time to myself").

But because I am their MOM. I have been given this special role to love, train, teach and take care of  these sweet children! Through each season, sickness or tantrum... and I am challenged daily to "mother with grace". Treating them with grace and love like I have been shown by our Heavenly Father.

So as Nate attempts to take another toy(or pencil) from a sibling's hand or refuses to stay in his bed for a nap.... I get to choose to respond gently, kindly, and firmly with grace.

It makes all the difference in my family and parenting when in the middle of a "situation" that my goal isn't that the child needs to obey the first time (although we want them to) or that I feel like my house is crazy (because it probably is)... but the priority is my heart!! And then their little hearts:)

I kind of have a funny story how this looked like the other day...

 We were attempting to get through some home schooling work. I had Chris and Anna at our constantly-wobbly toddler table in the kitchen working on their timed fact sheets... they were being timed using the oven timer... a classic home schooling moment!!

And Nate comes into the kitchen, attempts to take one of their chairs, instead finds the stool, opens a cabinet drawer and goes digging through the drawer looking for something. I'm working with Lydia on an assignment in the dining room and I hear screams from the older two...

Nate is trying to poke them with an adult pair of scissors he got out of the drawer. I go running into the kitchen and scoop up Nate with the scissors so the oldest could finish (I mean really, who knew ONE minute could be soo exciting?). As the timer goes off, I am ready to "fuss"... an almost 2 yr with scissors... in the middle of a timed fact sheet that they really weren't excited about doing anyway... he knows better, right!?!

So instead of "loosing it", I send the older two back to the dining room table to finish the problems they didn't complete and I tell Nate gently( but firmly) that scissors have to stay in the drawer and are for Mommy and Daddy. He fusses at me for putting them away and then starts adamantly pointing to the screws on the corners of the toddler table.

The table is wobbly, the screws are loose and Daddy tightens them with the scissors!! He was trying to help :/

It was then I was thankful for the decision to speak kindly and calmly. The challenge NOT to "loose it" and the grace to not freak out on my kids when they look like they are doing wrong. I am learning these things and want to be willing to listen to them and try to understand them (and their hearts) more and more!!

Because these crazy, chaotic days are going quickly! And it's my choice to embrace (and attempt to enjoy) the chaos or fight it and be grumpy! So that is my heart right now... I'm learning. It's a journey, I pray for patience and wisdom daily and I am blessed to have sweet children who are ready to forgive and that give me plenty of opportunities to practice;) LOL!!

And now when I find this on the counter (done while I attempted to get cleaned up a bit for church)...

I can smile and really appreciate the reason... he is trying to help! I can thank him and we can clean up the "extras" together;)

Submitting the 1st picture to