Wednesday, October 15

A Happy Morning

We don't always look so bright-eyed and bushy-tailed in the mornings!  But we managed to get this nice picture before co-op a couple of weeks ago.  I love their navy polos and khaki bottoms.  They love their teachers and I love that they love their teachers.  They learn so much and get to see friends every week.  I feel so blessed to have our co-op!

Thursday, October 9

9 Months Old

Caeli is 9 months old now.  Crawling on knees and on feet, pulling up on chairs and trying to climb the stairs, eating everything in sight with the aide of her two new teeth, and keeping up with her bigger siblings. She still has the biggest brown eyes you've ever seen, and she still (mostly) sleeps amazingly well at nights.  I just LOVE her to death- we all do- and I just can't believe she's mine!

Saturday, October 4

Park Day

 People say to me all the time, "I don't know how you do it!"  What I wish I could tell them is that I truly believe is that practically anyone can do it.  It's filled with sacrifice but look what else it's filled with! 

I could do anything if I had that little smile cheering me on!  And I do.  Every day!  Four faces worth of smiles.  Smiling and chatting and wondering and asking.  And occasionally it's loud.  And occasionally it's frustrating.  But that's not all it is, and when you remember these smiles and these happy days, gratitude swells in your heart so much that there's no room left for worry or doubt or anything else.  Only love.

And you occasionally forget about these moments.  You start to wonder if there will be enough money or enough time or enough sanity.  Or ask yourself if they're ever going to just grow up already!

But... you look back and realize... They do grow upThey have grown upThey still are growing up.  And it makes you sad that you wished those days away.

I know, for me, there were days when I had to just get by.  I've written about that before.  But, what a difference having older children makes.  And SLEEP.  What a difference sleep makes!

So if you worry that you "can't do it," then maybe you're just in a place right now.  I know that place.  I have been there!  I've been to several places, actually.  But mine grew up (and yours will too)- and we learn and hopefully we grow up a little bit too- and everything is the same, but suddenly you see it through different eyes.  Because it's not about the clean house and the play dates and looking good.  Those things are nice... But really, it's about this:

Tuesday, September 23

Education is an Atmosphere, a Discipline, and a Life

Making a "Creation" booklet

Building with Trio blocks... Yes, it's a gun!

Listening to The Trumpet of the Swan on audiobook

Playing with kinetic sand, one of our new favorites.

Watching the dump trucks bring soil to our new neighbor's yard.

Making dinner.

Learning how to care for and keep a home is an important part of an education!

This guy is learning how to read!

Enjoying out-of-doors life as much as we can.

Taking advantage of the museums in our city.

Learning about sharks in a shark cage!

These children need to be outside, even on a hot day.

Learning how to share!

Baby's first swing ride!

Rabbit trails.  We read the story of Echo and Narcissus, then decided to read more about the Narcissus flower, then added it to her nature notebook.

Listening to an audiobook on a rainy morning.

Wednesday, August 27

Peace Out, Facebook

This week has been the start of our 2014-2015 school year!  We started on Monday and have been very punctual and diligent and have all (mostly) had good attitudes about the whole thing.  I've been waking up (thanks to a little one) around 6:30-6:45 and getting some things done before the kids come down for breakfast.  I really like the way it's all been flowing.  We even had a tea party yesterday with fresh-baked cookies and we worked on manners!  It's been a great 3 days so far!

I know it sounds a bit like a fairy tale, or maybe now's when I say BUT...  But I'm not going to. :-)  I am, however, going to own the fact that maybe I did something right for me.  I gave up Facebook!  Is it coincidence that I haven't snapped at the kids in 3 days?  Or have managed to accomplish keeping the sink empty WHILE homeschooling WHILE cooking WHILE entertaining a teething, clingy baby?  I know this isn't the effect on everyone, but sometimes for me it's been pretty obvious that Facebook= mean mommy.  So I just cut the cord.

Honestly, I do miss aspects, like my professional community or getting suggestions or referrals from certain groups of people.  I am worried that I'll lose touch with some people.  I've tried reaching out to friends via text and phone so I know what's going on.  It's funny to me that "texting" is sort of old-fashioned compared to Facebook messenger!  (Please, friends, don't lose touch!)

I've heard from lots of people who are teetering on the edge of giving it up.  I'd like to encourage you to just do it!  Give it a week.  No need to start a revolution here, but see if it positively impacts your life.  I think, for me at least, the benefits of giving it up outweigh the disappointment of missing out on certain things.

I did decide I won't deactivate my account, and I'll "check in" once a week on a Saturday.  I do get communication from clients this way and occasionally a friend will tag me in a photo that I want to see.  I know, it sounds like I'm making excuses... I guess I can see how that goes too!

I'll sign off this blog post with an unrelated but super-cute picture of Caeli riding in a grocery cart for the first time.  She totally loved it.

Monday, August 4

Recalibrating Our Routine

I have been reading a lot of A Sabbath Mood Homeschool, and she wrote a blog post about recalibrating your morning routine that I have been thinking about.  I like our routine.  It works for us.  I really wish I could be a morning person, and maybe one day I will be, but right I can't make myself get up any earlier than 6:45.  But, if I actually stick to that, I should be able to get a few things done before the big kids come downstairs and we officially start our day- so that will be my first change! 

My goal will be to get dressed, make my bed and my latte, have morning prayer, and probably start a load of laundry all before serving breakfast to the olders.  As per our previous schedule, I like to start morning chores at 8 and work until about 8:45, with a 15 minute break before we start school at 9.  Getting the kids back into doing their morning chores is going to be a challenge.  We've all been "off" since Caeli has joined our family, and I can't function like that anymore!  I had a housekeeper on and off for awhile but at this time we've decided that it's not the right decision for our family, so I really need to utilize that 45 minute window in the morning to take care of cleaning!

We have lessons from 9-12, more or less, depending on the day.  I'm not sure how it's going to be this school year with a pre-toddler crawling around the school room!

We pray the Angelus and have lunch around 12, pick up after lunch, and have rest time from 1-2:30.  This means kids upstairs, mama downstairs, but I think now that they're getting older I might need to structure their rest time a bit more by offering them audiobooks or handicrafts to do on their own.  Sometimes the boys are lost in play, sometimes they're at each other's throats!

2:30-3 is snack and pre-dinner prep (I'm trying to get better about this too) and then I want afternoons to be reserved for handicrafts and nature and playtime.  I think this will be easier this year because Beth is becoming so capable of doing many things on her own!  She's learning how to follow recipes (she made banana bread today!) and I think she'll be able to use my sewing machine with just minimal help from me.  She always wants to be creating something so I have to come up with a lot!

We have a 15-minute pickup when Ryan is on his way home from work, dinner is usually between 5:30- 6, and the evenings are spent playing with Daddy!

Since our summer schedule has been a little wacky, I'm already starting to ease back into things so that it's not such a shock to our system come August 25.  Re-establishing morning chores has been the most difficult task so far but habit training happens slowly sometimes!  

I don't feel like summer is almost over because we don't have the mad back-to-school rush that I think a lot of families experience.  Easing back into our routine will help eliminate that feeling too, I think, because we will basically just have to add lessons into our day.  And Beth is already looking forward to starting school- I think she's been a little bored lately. :-(  I hope that means she'll be enthusiastic in three weeks!

Monday, July 21

Waking Up from Naptime

First I sneak a  peek around the corner of my dresser and see this:

Oh good, she's waking up happy!

Not just happy, but really happy!

So I unswaddle her so she can have a good stretch.

She's ready to be picked up and cuddled now!

But first, she needs to stretch the legs too!

Everyone sounds so surprised when they hear I still swaddle Caeli.  She's only swaddled when she's in this little bed though, and as you can see she's about to outgrow it!  It's been so perfect and this has definitely been one of my favorite new things to have for her.  She sleeps here for naps and for the first part of bedtime.  After I go to bed, whenever she wakes up I just unswaddle her and pull her into bed with me!