Tuesday, September 25, 2012
For instance, I had signed Megan up to take a ballet/tap class on Monday evenings. She decided to do this instead of American Heritage Girls this year. She attended her first class a couple of weeks ago and it wasn't a good fit. The class was for beginners that were ages 8+. The class had three girls plus Megan. The other girls were around the age of 12 and had danced before. I spoke to the instructor and was informed that it is very unusual for that the happen. How? Wouldn't these girls be put into a class with other girls their age who had experience? Well, since these girls only had a year of experience they were considered beginners. So, here was my 8 year old daughter in a class with 12 year olds that already knew how to dance. Obviously, this wasn't going to work. The instructor suggested I try the beginner's class for ages 5-8yrs. She assured me that most of the girls were around age 7. Fair enough. We tried the class last week....it is full of 5 year old girls. So, where does that leave us? It leaves us with no dance class for Megan. I suppose I could search around for another studio that offers a class that would fit our schedule but I just don't feel like it.
You see, last year I hung on by the tips of my fingers. I had a new baby, had surgery, was homeschooling, was a squad leader for American Heritage Girls and was driving my girls to their activities. I was dead on my feet all the time. By the time the end of the school year arrived I was ready to throw in the towel. Actually, I was ready to throw in the towel by Christmas last year! This year I decided that we were going to keep things simple. I was going to concentrate on homschooling and that was it. Until, I found a dance class for Megan. Once I had Megan signed up for her dance class I began to find other things to fill up our schedule.
However, the whole dance thing just isn't going to work out. You know what else? All that other stuff fell through too. I now sit and look at my calendar and it isn't filled with activities. I don't think that's such a bad thing. Sometimes, I think things happen for a reason. I spent the entire summer praying that God would give me strength to do a good job educating my children. I prayed that God would help me find more time to play with my kids and just enjoy them. I prayed that God would help me to slow down and spend more time in prayer. So, while I was busy arranging our lives and filling up our calendar, God was busy answering my prayers. Now, I have the time and energy to do all those things I asked God to help me with. I am going to throw up my hands and let God take the lead here.
So, I will be spending this school year giving 100% to homeschooling my kids. I will be playing with my kids, taking walks with them, pushing them on swings and chasing them around the yard. I will enjoy watching Claire grow from a baby to an active toddler. I will spend time with my Bible and time in prayer. All of these are good things. So, my life these days is still busy. It's just busy with the things I really want to do.
Wednesday, June 27, 2012
Summer 2012 has been going by in a blur! We have spent very little time doing any formal schooling. The only school type activity the kids have been doing is reading. Everything else, all my good intentions, have fallen by the wayside.
Instead, we have been going to dance class and practicing our dance moves. We have been swimming in our new pool nearly every day. We have giggled through movies. We have been visiting the library and coming home with new treasures. We have been staying up late and catching fireflies. We have been riding our bikes. We have been playing at the park. We have been buying ice cream from the ice cream truck. We have been working on potty training. We have been watching a cute little baby learn to walk. We have been decorating bedrooms. We have been living!
I do feel a tad bit sad that we haven't been as disciplined with our learning as I had hoped. I wish we were doing daily math drills. I wish the girls were working to improve their spelling and writing skills. However, I am enjoying watching my kids be kids. They are building memories and relationships with each other and I keep reminding myself that there is value in that too. :)
Sunday, May 27, 2012
You see, a 48hr. stomach bug can take up to two weeks to make the rounds! Yes, you read that right...two weeks! Actually, that is a conservative estimate. I am not sure whether it would be better for everyone to contract an illness at once, therefore, ending it's length sooner or if it is better to only have to deal with one sick individual at a time. If you are only dealing with one sick person at a time and it takes the next person a few days to contract the illness....well it can drag on for weeks!
My husband came down with a stomach bug two weeks ago. He was down and out for a day or two. It began spreading from person to person, taking each one out for an average of two to three days. It was brutal...not just the unmentionable yuck but also fever, chills and awful body aches. After a week of dealing with nasty, I was beginning to feel as if I were living in a real life movie about a pandemic! I had been cleaning up messes, wiping bums, changing gross diapers, filling up cups/sippy cups/bottles, taking temperatures and doling out Tylenol/Motrin for over a week. I was on my last leg. I had yet to come down with said virus and I knew my days were numbered. The worst part was that my husband had a busy week at work that would allow him no wiggle room and no time to stay home and take care of me. I KNEW I was going to get sick. I KNEW there was no escape for me. It was like a serial killer was stalking me, but instead of hacking me up and ending things quickly, he was going to make me suffer.
It began with a small headache when I went to bed. I woke in the middle of the night to a sick baby and the headache had grown worse. I downed some Motrin and fell into bed praying that somehow I would be spared. I woke up to a queasy stomach to accompany my headache. I knew I had lost. I curled up on the couch and prayed I would be able to make it until 5 o'clock when relief would arrive. The baby began getting sick all over the house and my body aches became awful. I crawled as I carried the baby upstairs for a bath to clean all the yuck off of her. I cried as I wrapped in her a clean towel and I tried not to let my teeth chatter from the chills I was feeling. This went on and on for the entire day. It was a long day. It was a bad day. I went to bed as soon as hubby walked in the door and I didn't stir until the next day.
Miracle of all miracles, I woke up feeling slightly more human. I had hope. I made it through the worst of it. It took the baby another three days before she was back to her normal healthy self. I was so thrilled that we were all healthy! I had visions of a great Memorial Day weekend full of BBQs, swimming, yard work, baking, cleaning, etc.... Yes, I did notice that the baby's nose was a little runny yesterday. I chose to ignore it. Yes, she did seem a bit cranky. I closed my eyes.
Today....the baby has a head cold. Here we go again. I imagine it will take a head cold about three to four weeks to make the rounds. God help me.
Thursday, May 17, 2012
1. We will be working on math. Annie and Megan will do math drills each day just to keep things fresh in their minds. I have learned from past experiences that taking weeks at a time off from math doesn't do anyone any favors. So, we will continue to practice what we have learned. These drills may or may not involve driveway games with chalk and paint. :)
2. Reading, reading and more reading! We will participate in various summer reading programs through our local library, Barnes and Noble and Half-Price Books. We will also be doing some unit studies on specific books...Dr. Doolittle, Black Beauty, etc... We will continue to read together nightly as a family. I am looking forward to starting Peter and the Starcatchers with the kids.
3. We are going to be learning about new places! I am ashamed to admit that we didn't spend very much time on geography this last year. So, we are going to work on that this summer. I have signed the kids up for the Little Passport program and that should give us a good jumping off point. My plan is to try and make/taste foods from all the countries we study about...should be interesting.
4. Dance! We have the opportunity to enroll the three oldest girls in dance class this summer at a very reasonable rate. So, Lily and Megan will be taking ballet while Annie takes an introductory hip-hop class! I think it will be something they will really enjoy.
5. Bible study...myself and the kids! I have been fortunate enough to have a friend (thanks Keri!) who is graciously hosting a Bible study in her home at a time that works for me. So, I am looking forward to getting out of the house and spending a bit of time each week with other Godly women. I also plan to continue the Bible work I have been doing with the kids at home. The kids will also do VBS, which I know they are looking forward to.
6. Holiday World, canoeing, camping, etc.... We aren't taking any big family vacation this year. Instead, we are planning a bunch of smaller activities to do with the kids. I am looking forward to the memories we will make.
7. Noah's speech therapy. We have sessions twice a week. I am excited about how Noah will be at the end of the summer! I am looking forward to being able to understand what my little boy is saying! :)
So, those are our big plans. Throw in a few zoo visits, local pool days, picnics at the park, hiking at Bernheim and other random things and you have a busy summer. I think it will be fun though and I am excited about it!
What are you big summer plans?
Tuesday, April 10, 2012
NOTE*** If you want to attempt this craft you want to make sure you use 100% cotton yarn, regluar latex balloons and craft glue. I know of several people who tried to make these and they didn't turn out. It is important to use the right supplies or this will be a flop. Also, this craft isn't very good for younger children. It's tedious and boring to them after about five minutes and it takes about twenty minutes to complete one string egg.
The first thing I did on Saturday was to go to the grocery store. Our house was empty of anything worth eating and we were almost out of TP. Two major reasons that a run to the store was a priority. Carlos was nice enough to keep all the kids at home with him so I was able to get in and out rather quickly.
Saturday afternoon was upon us all too soon and it was time to get ready for church. We attend church on Saturday evenings for the most part. However, our church was having several different services for Easter, so we opted to attend the Saturday afternoon service. It took me a good hour to get everyone dressed in their "Sunday best" so that we could take some pictures.
Easter service at our church was great! The message was pertinent and well delivered and the music was fantastic! The kids enjoyed their service as well. They always look forward to Easter so that they can see how Mr. Steve (the childrens' ministry director) will destroy a marshmallow peep. They have seen peeps microwaved, pounded with a hammer, lit on fire and smooshed in a blender.
*** Notice how all the boys have buckets on their heads? Yes, that was thanks to my son. :)
Wednesday, March 28, 2012
Some form of a get together at Halloween is a given in my house. We have been doing it for the past five years. Of course, some years it has been smaller than others because of the day of the week that Halloween falls on or because I am pregnant or taking care of a baby. I have grand visions in my head of someday turning our entire wrap around porch into a haunted tunnel! Mark my words, I will do this someday!
I almost always host family at Christmas and I usually go all out in the food department. In the future, I would like to do an annual open house for Christmas. At the present moment, Carlos has shot that down because we are always so crazy busy that time of year. I hold out hope that I will convince him though. :)
One year I did a 4th of July party and I loved it! It was a ton of work though in really hot weather. I may add that to the yearly calendar though once the kids are older and I have free helpers. :)
So, what is the point of all of this? Well, Claire's 1st birthday is approaching this July and I can't decide what to do. I had largish parties for Annie, Lily and Noah when they turned one. I hardly did a thing for Megan when she turend one....Carlos was living out of state and we were stuck in Delaware on our own trying to sell our house....it was stressful. So, do I go ahead and throw a party for Claire or do I do something simple at home with just the family? I honestly can't decide.
I asked the hubs about it and of course he is all for not throwing a party. On one hand, I kind of agree with him. I am worn out on a daily basis from life with five kids. Do I really need to add party planning and prep to my schedule? Especially since we will still be doing school when Claire's birthday rolls around...we started late last year because of Claire's birth and my surgery. Maybe just a cute cake, a pretty hat and outfit at home with family is the best idea.
On the other hand, will I look back and regret not doing a party? I feel awful that I didn't make a huge deal out of Megan's 1st birthday. I don't want to feel that way about Claire's 1st birthday. I also think it would be fun to have a birthday party for Claire. Her birthday is July 5th, so we could do a red/white/blue theme and decor would be easy and cheap to find.
Any thoughts or opinions from anyone? I would really appreciate them. :)
Friday, March 23, 2012
I can remember growing up as an only child. I admit that there are perks to being an only child. Yes, I did get all the attention and I was spoiled. I never had to share my room or my things. My parents were always available to attend whatever school/sporting event that I was participating in. I was fotunate enough to be able to travel a great deal with my parents. I could go on, however, there was one MAJOR thing about being an only child that could never be fixed. Loneliness. The life of an only child can be very lonely.
I watched my friends bicker and fight with their siblings and inside I was jealous. I wanted soemone to get into my things and pick on me! I always sat at a table full of adults for every holiday meal. The one exception was when my cousins were able to attend Thanksgiving at my grandparents' house. I lived for those Thanksgivings! A few of my friends had more than one brother or sister and I always loved the chaos in their homes when I was a visitor. So, even at a young age I knew that I would try to have at least two children.
Fast forwad many years and I have five children! Life in our house is crazy! There is always noise. There is always a mess. Someone is almost always fighting or whining. There are too many toys. I have a basement full of clothes of all sizes and genders. We hardly ever eat out because it's too expensive and too nuts. Our children don't get the chance to participate in tons of extra activities. Five pregnancies have certainly taken away my slim figure.
None of it matters though. I love my crazy life! :) It's what I always wanted. My children are never without a playmate. It is rare to feel lonely. There is always someone who is up for a game of Tag or Candy Land. Our holidays are hectic but so much fun. Going to the simplest places (grocery store, park, mall) is always an adventure. If you ask my kids, they will tell you that they like having lots of siblings.
Are there times when one child wants some one on one time and I am unable to provide it? Yes. Are there times when one child voices that they wish they were an only child so that their special treasures wouldn't be messed with? Yes. Are there times when one child balks at wearing hand-me-downs? Yes. Are there times when one child wants to have their own room and their own space? Yes. Would my children trade the life they have for any of those things? No.
My husband and I are fully aware of the challenges that having a larger family brings. We keep an open door policy in order for our kids to talk to us about how they are feeling at any given moment. I think, because of that, our kids never feel like they are cheated out of Mom or Dad because of their siblings. I can remember many times closing the door to my bedroom in order to have a discussion with one child who needed to talk to me. I run errands on Saturday mornings and always take a different child with me each week. I use that time to connect with that child and find out about what is going on in their life. My kids love this! I have also been known to crawl into bed with each of my children for 15min. at night and listen to them chatter about their hopes and dreams or their favorite book. Yes, I have five children but I know each of them very well. I know their individual quirks that make them unique.
I know that having five children is not for everyone. I have friends that have one child and it's perfect for them. I have friends that have eight or nine children and that is perfect for them. Family size is such a personal decision and that's why I cringe when someone makes a heartless comment about our family size. For the record, I do know what causes all these kids! I also know that birth control is available and I am aware of how it works. I am not trying to become the Duggars and I am not interested in being on TLC or any other network for any reason. Yes, we are Christians but that is not the reason for our family size. No, we do not receive public assistance....my husband has a good job. I know that our carbon footprint is larger than many others....we try to conserve in other ways. Yes, we homeschool but I don't consider us odd or unsocialized....just ask any of our many friends.
The two questions I get asked most often: "Are all of these kids your's?" and "Are you planning to have anymore kids?". I always answer "yes" to the first one and I am currently answering "no" to the second one. :)
Wednesday, February 29, 2012
You can buy these at Hobby Lobby or Joann's for less than $3.
The next step is pretty time consuming, but it can be done while watching TV. You simply knot your fabric strips all around the wreath form. I started in the center ring and went all the way around and then moved to the next larger ring and so on. I also tied my fabrics in a certain order so that my wreath would look uniform but I suppose you don't have to do it that way. You can get as creative as you want with this. Maybe you would want to turn it into a rainbow wreath for St. Patrick's Day so you would tie sections all in the same color to form blocks. You could also do it for your favorite sport's team! In fact, I am pretty sure I will be making one of these in black and gold to cheer on my Steelers this fall!
So, that's it. It's pretty easy to do and I promise you will love the results!
Tuesday, January 17, 2012
I am an avid reader. It's the one thing I pretty much always make time for. It's a rare evening when I don't end the day reading a chapter or three before heading to bed. Some people love to watch a TV show, surf the net or play on Facebook to unwind...not me. I read to unwind at the end of the day. I pretty much always have. I can remember snuggling up in bed with a book when I was a teenager and it's a habit that I have kept up. I have heard umpteen people tell me that they also love to read but just can't find the time. Trust me, if you really enjoy something then you will make time for it. I make time for reading. I suppose that I could fold laundry or do dishes after the kids go to bed but I don't want to. I spend the entire day educating my children, cooking meals for my family, taking care of our pets and tidying my house. Once my children are in bed I have an hour or so that is all mine. I choose to spend it reading.
Now, don't go praising me or anything. It's not like I am always reading something that is good for the mind or that challenges me. Yes, on occasion I do read something heavy or some classic literature. However, for the most part I opt for fiction books that will make me giggle. I am a big fan of Janet Evanovich and her Stephanie Plum series. Mainly, because I know that if I read one of those books I will giggle out loud on several occasions. I also like to read mysteries. I sort of pride myself on being able to figure out "who done it" before the author reveals the truth. I will also toss in a parenting or homeschooling book a few times a year. You see, it's not really about what I read so much as it is about the way it makes me feel...relaxed and calm.
My oldest child, Annie, attended public school for kindergarten and first grade. I began homeschooling her in second grade so I didn't have to teach her to read. The public school system did that for me and I am forever grateful! I don't know if it has to do with genetics, learned habits or pure luck but she is also an avid reader. There isn't a day that goes by that she doesn't have a book in her hand at some point during the day. Yes, she has reading that she has to do for homeschool but this is in addtion to that. The child just loves to read! If you toss the two of us into the library or a book store, I am not sure who is happier. We are like pigs in mud in either of those venues. I have often read that if you read in front of your children it will encourage them to want to read as well. Maybe that is true since Annie is a bookworm and I am pretty much always reading something every evening.
We also end our day reading as a family. About a half an hour before the girls go to bed, we gather in the living room to do devotions. Once that is finished, I begin reading out loud to the girls. Of course, Lily is a bit young but she still stays with us and either colors or draws quietly while I read. I am often astounded about how much she actually picks up while doing her own thing. For instance, we recently finished reading the second "Indian in the Cupboard" book and I would have bet my favorite pair of shoes that Lily didn't get much from that particular book. For the most part, she seemed bored while I was reading it. However, over the last week or two she has brought up random things from the book. We were at Target this weekend and I was chatting with my friend Keri about blog posts, homeschooling and other random things. Lily had to make sure that Keri knew about the skinheads that had broken into Omri's house...an event from the book. I was actually kind of surprised that she remembered anything from the book. Of course, taken out of context it was a bit embarrassing to hear my four year old talking about skinheads in the middle of Target (Sorry Keri). :) However, I suppose that just goes to show that even at three she is getting something out of listening to me read each evening. We are currently reading Sherlock Holmes and so far it seems to be a winner. Everyone is fairly interested in his adventures and we are all trying to guess the outcome of each case before it is revealed to us.
So, I have blabbed on about how much Annie and I like to read and how much reading is a part of our lives. You might assume that Megan, my seven year old, is a book lover as well. You would be wrong on this. You see, Megan doesn't like to read. In fact, she would rather clean her room or fold her laundry than read a book. She does ok when she has to listen to me reading to her, but she is not nearly as enthraled with it as Annie is. Megan has never attended public school, so I have been her one and only teacher. I often wonder if her disinterest in reading has to do with how I have done as a teacher. I can honestly say that teaching her to read has been one of the least favorite things I have ever done. It has been an uphill battle the entire way. It has taken us almost three years to get to the point where she doesn't cry and throw a fit when it's time to work on reading. We have tried numerous programs and approaches to make it more fun and none of them have worked like magic. Sometimes I think that it is just how she is. She is an outdoors type of girl and really enjoys the science portion of our day. So, maybe it's just how she is wired? Regardless, the child needs to read so I have not given in when it comes to her tantrums about reading. We press on each and every day and I pray about it each and every night.
I wrote before how Lily will be attending a private school for kindergarten next year. Mainly, it's because I don't want to teach her how to read. It's been such an awful part of homeschooling Megan that I am terrified of having to go through it again. In fact, I am pretty sure I will send Lily, Noah and Claire to a private/public school until they learn to read. I am more than willing to pay someone else to take on this awful task.
So, now my deep dark secret is out there. I am a book loving reading fanatic that hates teaching my child to read.