Tuesday, August 31

Belated Birthday Celebration

This weekend I had two belated birthday celebrations, the first was a much-needed Mom's night out with four girlfriends. It was so nice to get out (with Jack, of course) to hang out at The Cheesecake Factory and enjoy a yummmmy mojito! Sunday morning, after mass, we all jumped in the car and drove to see Grandma and Grandpa for the day.

Last Soccer Tots

This past Saturday was our last Soccer Tots for Beth and Luke! They both really enjoyed it, although Luke hasn't been the best at paying attention to the coach, ha! Beth starts dance next week, and Luke won't be doing anything this semester. Maybe in the spring?


Friday, August 27

Home School

We've started! I kicked off our home school yesterday morning, we did about 45 minutes in the morning and an hour in the afternoon. Today was about 30 minutes in the morning and 60 in the afternoon. The thing is, while I'm calling it school, it's definitely not real "school. " It's what I've been wanting to do with Beth for several months now! She craves structure and planned activities, which I've gotten away from since probably the end of my second trimester with Jack. She asks to have more school because to her, it's all just lots of fun!

Lesson one from Who Am I? The Trinity.

Luke's "tot trays" lined up on the bed. Maybe one day I'll have bookshelves, but for now this works! Each tray has a different activity for him, things we already have around our house but things he'd be more inclined to play with when it's offered to him on a simple tray. He played with the blocks for about 20 minutes because, unlike in the playroom, he wasn't distracted by other toys! I will change out the trays at least once a week, though I'm seriously lacking on activities for him beyond our typical playroom toys.

Luke spent time building blocks and going through his tot trays one by one. The goal for his learning time, on top of actually learning about the contents of the tray, is that we only play with one tray at a time, and that we clean up when we're done playing! I spend time working one-on-one with him while Beth is busy with an activity. My goal is to spend plenty of one-on-one time with both of them.

This is an idea I had but haven't really finished up yet because I'm having a hard time with Photoshop Elements. I've cropped pictures and typed names next to the photo, and planned on making these for all of our family members. Beth then copies the names with her letters.

This afternoon we made a "minit book." Beth colored, correctly placed, and glued, while I did the cutting. It's a rebus book for the rhyme "Hey Diddle Diddle," where pictures replace certain words. I just learned what a rebus book was yesterday!

Jack Jack chilled in the bouncy chair...For a few minutes. :-)

Nothing like a little nature study thanks to the deer and hummingbirds in our backyard during our lessons!

Wednesday, August 25

Inspired


water play

After a lengthy discussion, Ryan and I have decided we're going to give a shot at homeschooling Beth for pre-kindergarten. It's going to be a trial period to see if it's something we both feel comfortable doing, and depending on how it goes we may or may not officially homeschool her next year (or the year after) for kindergarten. I am thrilled and excited to be giving this a real shot! I'm surrounded with friends who homeschool and a part of an excellent Catholic homeschooling group. We have been taking small steps on this journey for awhile now, attending activities with our homeschool group and learning from the more experienced mamas. :-)

As it turns out, the more I look into what's suggested for Beth's age group, the more I realize I'm already homeschooling her without even knowing it. I think most of my friends are doing these things with their toddlers and preschoolers naturally, helping them get started on the right foot. For example, daily reading, letter recognition, paraphrasing the stories, discussing the colors and meanings of the pictures in the book, and even coming up with supplemental activities. I did this with Dora television episodes a couple of times a long time ago to make myself feel less guilty for letting her watch tv- we made a "flute" and marched around the house, like in the music episode. ;-)

Everyone is telling me to take it easy with Beth and not overdo it. I can't help overdoing it though, it's in my nature! But really, I'm going to try to not go crazy. I am not buying an official curriculum for her, but I've spent a LOT of time devouring beautiful blogs with millions of wonderful ideas. In fact, it's slightly overwhelming, but I'm learning to look at things from a realistic perspective- what can I accomplish given my time and my circumstances?

I plan to try Who Am I? preschool and kindergarten work and activity book for our "religion" lessons, I picked it up pretty cheap at a recent consignment sale! It's full of simple lessons and activities on who we are as Christians- the first lesson is on the trinity. I'll do one, maybe two lessons a week. We'll see how it goes then adapt from there.

Probably everything else we do will just be things I make up as we go. I love the idea of picking a theme for the week and incorporating books, geography, colors and letters, and activities based on that theme. I also want to incorporate bibles verses and have them start memorizing verses, something I feel that's important to them as Catholic Christians.

I also want to have a little one-on-one "school" time with Luke, I love this blogger's "Tot School" and hope to follow along with some of her activities. She has some wonderful ideas, she's very inspiring! For Beth, I really like this blog and this blog. The idea for me is that I spend less time re-creating the wheel so to speak, and instead just copy everything else that these moms have done, hehehe.

All these grand ideas mean that I have a little bit of organizing to do! Yay! (I know I'm a dork, but you all knew that.) I have a huge mess in my pantry/utility room that I need to figure out. I just bought a laminator from Wal-Mart so that the materials I print off for Beth can be re-used for Luke in a couple of years, and I'm in the process of moving my "office" upstairs into our empty bedroom. A big problem right now is that Jack goes to sleep in our bedroom at night so I don't have access to my printer or other supplies, so I'm temporarily going to re-locate upstairs until it becomes his bedroom in a few months.

the bags below are full of manipulatives and other odds and ends i got from freecycle

While most of me is really excited about the prospect of homeschooling, another part of me is scared and the last tiny part thinks I must absolutely be insane. Most days my two oldest children drive me at least a little crazy, and I wonder if I "need" the break of sending them to school. But the idea of sending them to public school terrifies me, and I sincerely have the desire be the primary educator of my children. I have a desire in my heart, and I know the Lord will bless that. However, Ryan and I will definitely continue to pray for guidance and discernment as we move closer to kindergarten. Luckily we still have a little time!

Tuesday, August 24

2 Months


Jack Jack is 2 months old today!

He is one slobbery boy! I don't remember Beth and Luke being so slobbery at such a young age, but Jack drools constantly now. He's also starting to prefer to be held more often, which is presenting a new challenge to me during mealtimes especially, but we're making it work. He's still all smiles and seems so close to laughing! I love that he will give huge smiles to Beth and sometimes Luke, when they're talking sweetly with him. Seeing the three of them like that just about makes up for the times when the three of them are simultaneously screaming!

For comparison's sake, here's Beth at 2 months and Luke at 2 months! Luke was 11 lbs 8 oz at two months old, hehehe. Jack was 14 lbs 2 oz last week!





Sunday, August 22

Birthday Weekend

Happy birthday Ryan! Thursday was Ryan's BIG 30TH BIRTHDAY. We had a small family gathering on Thursday night for him when he got home from work, complete with grilled ribs and fudge instead of a cake (at his request). Beth and Luke made him some homemade birthday cards, and I took pictures of him with my new camera- sort of his birthday present too!

home from work, time to party!

playing outside while daddy grilled the ribs

yummy!


Saturday was the big party! We had a good crowd! A friend Tam showed up first with a gift that became the hit of the party- a giant, red gummy bear. And I mean giant.

ryan, tam, and the nearly life-sized gummy bear

We grilled burgers, had some drinks, let the kids run wild and free with their snow cones, and ended the evening with several games of "cocktail party." We all sang happy birthday to Ryan and it might have been the loudest, most obnoxious rendition of "happy birthday" ever sung, but it was totally awesome! I think 14 kids (more or less) sang at the top of their lungs! Ryan was flattered!

beth and her party pig tails

josh, they saved you a seat!

me and my mommy. yes, i'm really that pale.

pawpaw and mawmaw with jack jack

after singing happy birthday, luke had already gone to bed!

We had a nice Sunday morning brunch before my family had to hit the road, but before they left Ryan and I were able to sneak off to mass with Jack and sit in the second pew. (Good grief, going somewhere with only one child is so easy! What did I ever think was so hard?!) We all had naps to recover from a long weekend, and spent the rest of the day trying to get the house back in order. Tomorrow is my 28th birthday! No big plans for me, in fact I'm not sure of any plans at all! Anyone want to take me out to lunch tomorrow?! ;-)

Last weekend



Last weekend we didn't have a huge project to tackle. Ryan and I went to Ikea with Jack to buy a loveseat for our playroom, where we had no real seating. I'd been looking at Craigslist hoping to find a deal, but the sofas we looked at were all too big for the space, and we would have wound up paying $100 anyways for an old, used sofa. I'd also been scoping out Freecycle, but those were all pretty gross! We decided to spent $150 on a brand new loveseat from Ikea that we knew would fit perfectly in the space, and it's absolutely perfect!


So now we have our playroom in pretty decent shape. I have an idea to hang pictures over the sofa, but it's going to take a little time before I get some that I like. I attempted to take some pictures of the kids the day after Ryan built the couch but it didn't go so well. When I put all three of them together, it was practically impossible to get a good one. I think I'm going to have to just get a really great candid picture, because the "posed" ones don't work out quite like I hope! Here are the three best ones, unfortunately I forgot the flash in Luke's picture and this is the best I could lighten it up using Photoshop. Beth is gorgeous as always, and Jack's picture just makes me laugh out loud!

Friday, August 20

Excuses

Just a quick update to say we've been busy! I feel guilty that I've been so horrible at updating my blog lately (I've noticed my daily hits have been decreasing!) but part of the issue is that Jack sleeps in my bedroom. Which is where I sit and do my blogging at night. I usually grab my laptop to bring to the living room, but then it takes an additional effort to grab my external hard drive where I put all of my photos. SO. Well, that about explains it.

I'm considering making our empty upstairs bedroom into a mini-office. I'm wanting to set up a space to organize and prep my "school" work for Beth, spread out my papers and books, and maybe even set up my sewing machine again. I don't like that I'd be upstairs away from Ryan in the evenings while I work, but maybe during this time while Jack is sleeping in our room at night it might be a good temporary solution.

Yesterday was Ryan's 30th birthday and tomorrow is his big party. I'll have lots of pics to upload soon!

Wednesday, August 18

Busy Busy

It's been a busy week (as you saw by yesterday's blog post) and I haven't been online much. Tomorrow is Ryan's 30th birthday so I've spent a lot of time prepping and just generally staying busy. Beth's first dance class of the year was this past Monday, but afterward I made the hard decision to switch dance studios. It took us 30 minutes to drive there from our (new) house, not to mention 30 minutes of prep time before we left. They also rearranged their classes, so Beth's class was going to be only 45 minutes, and we'd be driving home at 4:45 pm along the main highway. It was sort of a nightmare. I loved the dance studio but at this point in our lives, it's too much for me! So we're switching to another well-known studio that just happens to be across the street from my subdivision. :-)

This was before we left for class on Monday. Luke really wanted to be in the picture, despite the tears!

We pulled out a play mat for Jack, handed down to us. He actually liked it quite a bit, and so did I...until Luke tripped and nearly fell on him. So I'm not quite sure how much I'll actually use it!

Tuesday, August 17

Our Morning

The boys had well-baby checkups today, Jack for his 2-month and Luke for his 18-month. I was only a few months late for that one, ha! Jack is 14 lbs 2 oz and nearly 25 inches long, 95% for both. Luke is 25 lbs 15 oz (25-50%) and 34.75 inches (75-90%). I think Luke had his best doctor appointment yet, he didn't hit any nurses this time and he actually let the doctor look into his ears and mouth! He did manage to give himself a huge blood blister on his toe by opening the door on his bare foot though, it looks horrible. Luke got a single shot today and Jack didn't get anything, we're planning on delaying his schedule just like we did with Beth and Luke.

I planned to go to Wal-Mart with the kids right after the doctor appointment, but for some reason we weren't seen until nearly 45 minutes until after our appointment time, despite the fact that we were there 5 minutes early for our 8 am appointment- the very first appointment for the day. I heard our pediatrician go into two other appointment rooms before ours and was really annoyed. I didn't ask why we weren't seen when we should have been (I made the appointment early so that we could be in and out of there, and trust me it wasn't easy getting there at 7:55 am!) because I was too frustrated, I can only imagine it was for a kid who was really sick and needed to be "squeezed in." Still, I've had it with this office and I'm switching!

Okay, back from my tangent now. I planned to go to Wal-Mart but since we were there so long I made a detour at a donut shop for the kids since they behaved pretty well at the doctor office, all things considered. Jack was screaming in his car seat and needed to be nursed, so this seemed like a decent solution. Beth and Luke enjoyed their donuts (pink with sprinkles for Beth, plain glazed for Luke) while Jack nursed. Luke was nearly done when he hopped off his chair and sprinted for the donut case, and before I could catch him he ducked behind the case and grabbed an apple fritter! So, I bought an apple fritter (but didn't eat it because I am trying, in vain, to lose weight).

Everyone with a full belly, we headed to Wal-Mart. I was prepared with two baggies of cheerios and two water bottles, so Beth and Luke snacked (and left a cheerio trail) while we shopped. I just needed a few things so it was a quick trip, but drama ensued while a nice man in the bread aisle was trying to explain to me that the color of the twisty ties on the bread indicated the day it was baked. I noticed my foot was getting wet and quickly figured out that Jack's diaper was leaking through my sling and dripping onto the floor and my foot. I'm so happy it was just pee. We got out of there pretty fast, though it took me about 10 minutes to unload the kids, change Jack's diaper, unload the groceries, buckle everyone in, and take off my wet shirt (I had a nursing shirt on underneath, luckily). I needed a nap when we got home, but it was only 11:15 and we had a long afternoon ahead of us...

This blog had the potential to be cute and funny, but I'm too tired to try to make it humorous. Overall, I thought my children did pretty well at the stores, but the comments from people about having my hands full and the dirty look from a woman in the consignment shop (oh yeah, I forgot to mention I stopped by a consignment store too...) just really wears me out. It's tiring and frustrating sometimes but I wouldn't trade my life for anything.

Thursday, August 12

Truly a Princess

I found a lot of dress up clothes on our local craigslist for $15, it seemed like a good deal so I sent Ryan over to take a look. Dress up shoes, real tap and ballet shoes, 3 or 4 dresses, a tutu and a hat. We don't have many dress up items so I was pretty happy with it (although one is definitely too small for her, I didn't even show it to her.) I've only given her one dress, the shoes and the hat:
I'd say she likes it, what do you think? She's worn it every day since Saturday! You should click on the first picture to make it bigger, the dress is really nice and has a lot of detail work on it!

Ryan thought it'd be funny to put Jack onto Luke for their first wrestling match. We thought it was pretty funny because Jack seems almost as long as Luke!
 
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