Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Gingerbread houses!

It has been a busy week full of ups and downs. Today my girls and I got to have a girls day out. We went to my midwife appointment. Everything feels and sounds great. :) Then we went birthday/Christmas shopping. It was fun watching them pick out gifts for their brothers. We ate at Five Guys. A yummy burger joint. We ordered 2 fries and I was worried that there wouldn't be enough to share. Honestly, I think we would've been fine with 1 order!

Yesterday we got to enjoy another fun filled day with fellow homeschooling friends. This time we attempted to make gingerbread houses. There were 4 houses being built and the one I was helping with just crumbled! The moms decided that it would be good to let each kid take pieces of the broken house and build their own little things. I don't know if any of the houses were standing by the end of the day or not. My oldest made an indoor scene of a ginger bread house where the gingerbread people were gorging on candy. My second child made what looked like a gingerbread mountain with candy scattered across it as rocks. I helped my 3rd make a gingerbread garden with two little gingerbread men surrounded by different candy plants. All in all the kids had fun. On top of that activity the kids got to go out and hold the hostesses ducks and round up the 2 goats when they escaped the pen. One ended up on my van at one point. No damage done, as far as I can tell. It was funny to me. I was told by my oldest that they also got on the low lying trampoline. The kids were so entertained and again having a great time. I love these get togethers and look forward to the next one, which I have offered to plan so I need to get on that!!

I'll try and post some gingerbread houses later.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Friends and Fun!

Yesterday represented one of the things I love most about homeschooling. Unfortunately, I forgot to take pictures because I was too busy enjoying the moments.

My kids and I were invited to join two of my friends and their children for breakfast at one of their houses. Each of our families provided something to eat. There was bacon and french toast and stuff to make buckeyes with. While the kids played the moms cooked. Gathered together at a big table, the meal was enjoyed. Then we went for a walk around the property. We walked around a pond surrounded by muck, which made for some great entertainment. The ice was thick enough that the kids wanted to see if they could break it with sticks and rocks. Then off on a trail all around the land, we went. That was much needed exercise for me! Especially since I was carrying my youngest. After enjoying nature together we went inside so the kids could dunk the peanut buttery insides of the buckeyes into melted chocolate and swirl them in sprinkles. They were allow to devour a couple each, and then went out to play for a while, while moms got to talk. It amazes me how well they all get along even with age differences. The kids came back in for a rest and spent their time cutting out paper snowflakes. Lots of creative designs, there. Then back out to play some more.

Not having family around, my family doesn't get to do things like this often. I'm so thankful we have friends that we can do this with and that, with all of us homeschooling, we have more days to choose from when trying to work around each others schedules. We are certainly looking forward to doing this again!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Menacing Chickens

For today's fun afternoon, I had hoped to be able to play outside with the kids. We went out front to play tag, but realized we couldn't play there because there were chickens out there. If you run, they chase you and start pecking at you and stuff. So we walked over to the barn area, hoping to play there. The chickens followed us. We walked down to our garden, but still a menacing rooster followed us. It wasn't until we got down to our make-shift shooting range that the rooster stopped following us. I've explained to my husband that something must be done about this situation. Our kids should be able to play outside without having to worry about whether the roosters will attack them or not. I haven't really seen the hens do it, but they act like they would. We tried to play a game of tag down by the shooting range, but it didn't work out so well, because it's hilly over there. So then I tried to race my 5 year old, but running while pregnant when you never run, without warming up first, is a bad idea. Eventually we sat in the sun and played a game I made up when the girls were little called the sing song game. We just take turns singing. Sadly, my girls are too shy to do it anymore and it was cold just sitting there, so back to the house we went.

I thought we'd come in and bake pumpkin chocolate chip muffins for tomorrow's breakfast, but the girls decided they don't like them and didn't want to bake them. I allowed my sons to go play on their own in another room and sat my girls down for a "meeting". I explained to them my desire to start having more fun together and asked them for suggestions. We spent the next hour or so tossing around ideas. Then they went to play with a friend.

Hopefully tomorrow, we will be able to do something we can all enjoy at the same time. Thankfully, for them, the "meeting" was fun. They love sharing their ideas.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Painting by the Fireplace

Today has been a lazier day for us. The kids did school work and hung out with each other watching a couple of movies, while I worked on some research I was doing.

We've been so busy with stuff lately that I realized no one has been having that much fun as a family lately so I've decided that I want to change that and try and make sure we do at least 1 fun thing together every day. Today, I chose painting. The kids and I love to paint. I pulled out watercolors and construction paper for the boys and canvas and acrylics for the girls and I. It was their first time working with canvas. I gave them a theme to choose from, either winter or Christmas. We don't have as many decorations as I thought we did so I figured this could be a way to add to what we do have. Yesterday's fun activity was supposed to be decorating.

The youngest painted a little but my other boy decided he wasn't going to paint, because I didn't give him a canvas of his own. I suppose I should let him give it a try next time, if I can get to the store to pick up smaller ones. At first, my younger daughter didn't listen to me and chose to continue watching her movie. It wasn't until her older sister finished her painting that the younger one came in and realized we weren't just painting on paper. She is still working on her masterpiece right now.

My older daughter had hoped to paint a picture of a cardinal in the sunset. She can be very particular and quite the perfectionist, though. When her bird wasn't coming out right she decided to turn it into a plane. I tried to complement her creativity and said it must be cardinal airlines. That seemed to cheer her up a little. Then she tried to make mountains, but didn't like the look so she turned them into volcanoes and said it was Hawaii at Christmas time. I convinced her to make people. She chose to make them running away screaming. It is kind of funny.

My younger daughter just finished. Hers is a Christmas tree. She was planning to add people but decided her tree was too big and she didn't want to paint people over it at all. She is happy with it, though.

Mine is just a winter scape. A log home, in a pine tree forest, under the moon, stars, and falling snow. Honestly, I wonder if the home is too cartoon like for the feel of the picture, but I'm not a trained artist, just someone who enjoys painting, so I can't expect it to be fabulous! I do like it and think it does add a little something to the wall. Certainly better than a bare spot.

What made the painting even better was doing it together on the floor by our fireplace. The warmth and ambiance really spoke to the theme. If only there had been snow outside too.

Finding Joy in Impatient Moments

This is a virtue I strive to strengthen.

Time and time again I am told by mothers, whose children have grown, how they wish they had cherished motherhood more. They wish they had lived in the moment more or were able to know then what they know now. They share this information, usually on deaf ears. In one ear and out the other as it is repeated over and over each generation.

The fact is, I don't know if any parent will ever pass away saying "I got the most, and gave the most, I ever could've as a parent." That doesn't mean we can't strive to have more of those positive moments that moms and dads of the past long for.

I've learned, part of it, is how we react to situations that arise. When my girls were younger, my best friend once told me that she loved how instead of beating my children when I was obviously getting to my breaking point, I would begin to tickle them lovingly and within moments we would all be laughing and I'd be much calmer. After all, laughter is the best medicine. Now that doesn't mean I haven't ever spanked my kids, yelled and screamed at them, or cracked at all. I have! We all have, as far as I can assume. I was just determined to do it less than I might have, if I didn't take control of my reaction to whatever was making me so impatient, upset, or even down right angry.

Over the years, I've become a lot slower with my anger and impatience and I've learned things that trigger me. If I'm hot, hungry, tired, feeling overly pressured and unheard, lacking control over certain things, in the middle of something that has my complete focus, claustrophobic, etc... I begin to feel panicked inside or at least annoyed and impatient. I've learned to express myself verbally to my children and tell them, "This is happening and I feel very _____ because of it."

We were at the grocery store on Wednesday (the day before Thanksgiving) I took all 4 of my children with me. I usually do. My youngest kept climbing out of the seat in the cart. My other younger one was running around trying to help me get things, I did not need or want, and asking if he could weigh them. The store was crowded. The parking lot wasn't completely fully, but still I don't do lots of people, which is one reason I don't live in a city. I could actually hear people complaining about my older 3 going around the produce section. People just couldn't believe it. (Sorry, I like my kids helping me shop. It teaches them how to!) The older 2 were just grabbing things that I asked them to. They do this for me all the time. It makes the trip shorter! Anyway. On top of that, I was feeling thirsty. I began to feel very stressed and frustrated. I almost cracked when my youngest tore my grocery list which was already wrinkly and hard to focus on. My oldest could tell, I was starting to lose my cool and she did everything she could to help us get through the store as fast as we could. If I turned to get something we needed she was right there ready to get her youngest brother back in the seat. Yes, I had him buckled. He kept squirming his way out of the belt. Didn't matter how tight I made it. If I needed something and she could get it, she would. She also helped keep her younger brother near by so he didn't run off. Though there were a few times he did and I raised my voice to him, once, louder than I ever have. At one point I was so stressed I almost started crying! (Hey, I'm pregnant! haha) And I told my kids I was sorry, I just wish I had been prepared enough to shop earlier. Once we were out to our truck and had everything and everyone loaded, I was fine again. I'm sure the whole trip was quite the show for the people around me. The nice part of it was, I never did crack. I've never screamed at my kids, or hit them, dragged them, or anything like that. I've seen moms do that for lesser offenses at stores before. Instead I accepted that, though some of it was what my sons were doing, most of it was personal. A lot of times when I have a rough time like that, I try to think of *something* positive to make me laugh and smile. This time I thought of how thankful I was for such helpful daughters and a son who was just as eager to be helpful. I was thankful for how quickly we were able to get through the store and that we got everything off our list. I was thankful that I have been able to teach my children how to grocery shop and that I normally can take all the kids to the store and have it not be a huge dramatic event. In those thoughts I found peace and I found joy, knowing that even in my weakness, God had brought me strength. I found joy in my children and the great blessing that they are.

Last night our church had a potluck meeting. I had been offered help, but ended up not utilizing it. I walked down the food table, three plates in my hand, trying to get stuff for my sons and myself without spilling the plates. Then I took the boys and sat down. At first they were so well behaved. Then my youngest decided it was time to run around and go places he wasn't supposed to. So instead of eating, I was chasing him. Finally I sat down with him and just held him. He flailed about, throwing himself this way and that, trying desperately to escape. I was trying to eat and have a grown up conversation. The nursery would be open soon, but wasn't quite yet. I was getting so frustrated. And then I realized, I have a choice. I can get mad and lose my cool or I can just laugh because really this time will pass and it really is pretty funny.I chose to laugh. As soon as I did, the others around me started to as well and I felt less embarrassed and annoyed knowing that the truth is, my kid is acting his age. What else can I expect from him. He calmed down a little and made silly sheepish faces when everyone started laughing. Faces that I find great joy in. A moment later the nursery opened, I thanked God, and took my boys down to it, so I could *finally* finish eating. One plus to his "misbehavior" was that I didn't hit the dessert table. I really shouldn't have, especially considering I'd already had ice cream after lunch as well as a mini reeses cup and 2 kit kat bars when we left the grocery store. My kids are sweet. They share their candy with me sometimes. I don't usually get them candy.

It is so easy to let our frustrations, impatience, annoyances bring us to a place of anger and negative reactions. When we take a moment to just think before we act, to remember that this is *one* moment in time and the next one could be much better, it can make it so much easier to find joy. Joy in our impatient moments. 

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Saturday after Thanksgiving 2012

It has been a very busy semester. We've stayed mostly on target with our lessons. I struggle with getting my oldest to do her math, no matter what I do. She tells me she doesn't understand it and it is too hard, but then she is "magically" able to do it. She is already "behind" and I'm trying to get her back up to speed. I just wish she could see how interesting math really can be. Any good applied math curriculum out there that teach these fundamentals using real life, every day experiences?  My younger daughter, on the other hand is excelling at math but her spelling could certainly use some growth. I'm leaning more and more into the Charolette Mason style of learning for them. And they do like that. Of course, it being near the end of this term, I'm already looking at curriculum changes and things I want to get and try out. My older son is loving his "school work" when we do some. I mostly read to him and from time to time give him worksheets. I know he's already learned a lot even if he hasn't learned things he would've in a traditional preschool. Even my 2 year old is growing and learning constantly. After all that is how we are made. And that is one of my goals. To teach my children to love learning. To help them to grow up with skills, abilities, knowledge, confidence, and so much more. Even if it isn't "traditional".

I don't know if I mentioned that we now have sheep, chickens, and turkeys. My husband braved the challenge and recently prepped and cooked 2 of our chickens and one of our turkeys. The turkey was the main attraction of our Thanksgiving meal and it was the BEST turkey I think I've ever had. Granted, my husband is a REALLY good cook, but that bird was so tender and had good flavor. The chickens were good too, with beautifully colored meat, but a little chewy.  We're wondering if we waited longer than normal. They were on the bigger side. I think he said 5 or 6 lbs and that usually people have them when they are 3 or 4lbs. I don't know. Still better than store bought. Our hens have also started laying eggs. We usually get about 2 a day. We're pretty excited about that. They have rich colored yolks and taste pretty good. We do have one rooster our daughters have named the evil outsider. He never acts up when my husband is out there, but the other day I went to check for eggs and feed and water them and he kept walking to get behind me and then flew up with feet aimed right at me and was clawing and pecking at me. He also walks right up to our back door and stares in the window at us. I don't like him very much.

I handed a first drafted manuscript to a friend of mine. She is an editor. I've tried to have friends read and critique this, and other projects, before and nobody ever really does it. I was so glad when she did and gave me tons of great feed back. I look forward to making time to really delve into bringing rich life to the book. Someday, I hope to get it and others, published.

I did not participate in NaNoWriMo this year, like I have been the past few. In fact that manuscript is what I wrote during my first attempt at NaNoWriMo. I had so much going on and have been so tired from the pregnancy, that I knew I wouldn't be able to make time for it.

Speaking of my pregnancy. I am halfway through gestating baby #5. Pretty sure there is only one baking away. Although, sometimes, a part of me thinks it would be neat if there were twins. Crazy? I know! But I've had a 10lb baby (pretty much), home births, a breech birth at home, I figure the next challenge is twins, right? haha I am planning a home birth this time around as well. In fact, I'm keeping this whole journey as "old fashioned" as I can. So far, no doppler use. I actually bought a fetoscope to listen with at home and that's what the midwives are using as well. No u/s, either. If there becomes a concern and the midwives feel it is necessary, I will get one, but things seem to be going pretty easily. No excessive testing. Been there done that, don't like being poked and prodded. In fact, aside from having my blood drawn to check my iron levels at a clinic, I haven't had to enter a hospital at all for this pregnancy. I have been able to feel baby squirming around in there since 10 or 11 weeks. Growing normally. Aside from being tired a lot and my expanding belly, I don't think I have many other symptoms. Wait, I take that back. I am somewhat intolerant of things I'd normally try really hard to tolerate. I'm finding I've had to bite my tongue quite a bit. So I guess irritability would be another one.

Hopefully I can be better about getting on here and updating things. Life with 4 kids, while pregnant and homeschooling, can be overwhelming and very busy!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

It is that time of year again. Tomorrow we start our first day of lessons for the school year! Yes I'm having them start on Labor Day. I figure, why wait? We can take holidays whenever we need to and everyone seems ready to get started.

This year I've decided to put together a binder for myself of all the lessons for the month. Hopefully this will help keep us better organized without being overwhelmed. I'm inspired by the Charlotte Mason style. I have a tendency to be eclectic in putting together our curriculum. This year we are using Story of the World for history along with a workbook of Presidents and US States. Language Arts will be mostly journaling, dictation, narration, copywork, and writing projects, along with some grammar lessons using worksheets I've found online and "The Ultimate Writing Guide for Students." My kids read a lot on their own so I figure, aside from suggesting books, I'm not too worried about that. Math will be videos and worksheets. Maybe workbooks if I get some. As well as games and every day usage. Science will be "Exploring Creation through Zoology." We'll be starting Chinese when we get our new microphone. Hopefully we'll be able to work on sewing, knitting, and other crafts like that this year as well as improving the kids' efforts of helping around the house. I have high hopes for this year. We'll just have to see how it all works out.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Crazy Summer!

Apparently I wasn't joking when I said this summer would be busy!

The end of May we got out chickens! Twenty five Buckeyes. We have had 3 losses, so far. One didn't make the trip so well and passed away the day after we got them. One our dog got to, when it flew the coop. And the last we aren't completely sure what happened to. My husband just found it in pieces in the chicken run.

In June we decided to put aside all our lessons for the summer, realizing we would be too busy to really get into them. We returned the botany book and will hopefully be doing that as a co-op type thing instead, this fall. Near the middle of the month we traveled to upstate New York, for my brother-in-law's graduation. We stayed in a cabin at Gilbert Lake. It was great! The cabin had 2 rooms. One with a bunk bed set up and a twin single bed. The other room had a full size bed. There was a nice fireplace, which we ended up using on the last night, due to rain. The kids still wanted s'mores! We only went to the lake once, we were so busy doing other things. We hit our favorite places while we were out there too, Baker's Maple, Pine Ridge which is an Amish grocery store, the Farmer's Museum in Cooperstown, Frog Pond Farmer's Market, and Fly Creek Cider Mill. We also went to Howe Caverns and the New York State Museum for the first time. Both were pretty neat. Cave aged cheese is pretty yummy! My husband and I also, enjoyed our 11th wedding anniversary.

In July, my teenage sister came out to visit and we got hair sheep! Five ewes and a ram. The ewes were born in January and the ram in May. We spent the 3rd of July at a lake with some friends to celebrate our independence. While my sister was here we visited the zoo, Lake Michigan, went to the famous Manchester chicken broil, checked out the local fair, and a few other simple but fun things. Then, in the middle of the month, this crazy mom of 4, drove across the country with my little ones and my sister to take her home. It took 2 and a half days to get there. Long drives, interesting weather, and different scenes. It was beautiful but long! Stayed at my mom's for a day, dropping of my one sister and picking up my other sister and my niece. With a bigger brood, I continued on to Portland, Or. We hit the Bonneville Fish Hatchery and Multnomah Falls on the way. In Portland, we visited family, the zoo, and the beach. I miss the mountains, trees, air, and ocean already. When we were done there, it was back to my mom's house to visit. Unfortunately I had a sick girl on one day, another on a different day and I lost my keys, so I didn't get to do much. Did get to visit with family and eat at Roe Ann's drive in (mmmmmmm) and the Chinese Cafe'. Two of my favorite food places. Then it was a long, exhausting, nauseating drive home.

That was about a week and a half ago. And upon my return, we discovered that I am pregnant with number 5. (Although if you talk to my 8 year old, she'd tell you number 6 is in there too) We girls believe this one is a girl also. I won't be surprised when all the negative comments roll in, but I refuse to feel negative about this, aside from loathing nausea. I love all of my other children. They are each a joy and a blessing and even though they make me want to lash out irrationally from time to time I still wouldn't give them back. So I might as well relish in the beauty of all this and be thankful, because it certainly beats the alternative. Besides, I make super cute babies and am very blessed to have such ease in having them. I could be less fortunate.

The kids and I (with no additional youngsters in tow) arrived home to also discover that my husband had bought Narragansett turkeys while we were away! We now have 10. 4 adults (1 male), 3 youth, and 3 babies.

So it has been a very busy and exciting summer for us. I hope the fall is much more calm! However, as I type this up, I'm also working on lesson prep for September. We've decided to start back to school on the 3rd. Though, I may have to push it to the 4th for a special program my daughter's friend is involved in. I'm excited for the new school year, though, and all the growing my family will be doing together. I can't imagine things any other way. Or at least I don't really want to. 

Monday, May 7, 2012

Busy Busy

Well, it is obvious I'm not very good at keeping up with either of my blogs or posting pictures!

We have been a very busy crew, lately, with lessons, activities, and celebrations!

I turned 30 recently. Back in January I decided, for my 2012 resolution, that I would achieve 30 things by the time I turned 30. My list grew beyond 30 possibilities, but I managed to do it! Reaching the finish line for that has inspired me to come up with goals for summer. It's also inspired me to work with my girls on goal setting.

We are currently borrowing Exploring Creation Through Botany for the summer. I'm in the process of gathering all the supplies needed for the experiments (that aren't perishable) and will then begin our lessons. Hopefully within the week! We also picked up the Chinese (Mandarin) 3 volume pack from Rosetta Stone and are working on learning it. We need to get more consistent with it, but the older 3 kids and I are pretty excited! We're doing the full year program on the homeschool version.

Summer is going to be a busy one for us. We've got travels planned. We'll be getting animals over the summer, sheep and chickens. We've got projects to do. Although the chicken coop is almost finished! I do need to post pictures of that. I'm so proud of the work my husband has done on it! Also, for us, lessons don't end.

 To be honest I'm leaning more and more towards life learning over standardized learning, every day. It makes more sense. I mean all kids are created DIFFERENTLY! We each were born with different gifts and talents. We each require different skills to fulfill our  personal potentials and callings. Why in the world try and force my kids to be able to fulfill only part of who they are, to fit them into a shape they never were meant to be in? Learning does come naturally and the more my kids seek out knowledge on their own, through resources I've provided for them, the more they learn from it. Example, my oldest found a frog on our porch a couple of days ago. For her it wasn't enough to know it was a frog. She immediately grabbed our reptiles and amphibians field guide and looked up the frog, by picture. Then she read all about it. Still that wasn't enough. She had to observe and examine it to find out if it was a boy or a girl. Then she spent an hour listening to the cd that came with the guide, which had the different creature sounds on it. That night she listened to the sounds coming from our pond and realized we have 3 different groups of frogs out there. I forgot which 3 they all are, but the one from the porch was a grey tree frog. It was a female. She has since found a male and another smaller female. She does the same thing with birds. We have a book about birds of North America. We still need to get the state field guide. The things she tells me about animals is amazing. She's gotten most of her information from simply reading things herself, looking them up on the internet, watching shows on discovery channel and animal planet. She plans to be a marine biologist when she grows up. In fact she wants to set up fresh and salt water tanks, in the fall, to observe and learn about whatever water life she ends up putting in there. If she doesn't become a marine biologist she at least wants to be a zoologist.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Where oh where did our little dog go?

This weekend we had an opportunity to learn an important lesson. My oldest has a puppy. Lately she and I have both been very frustrated about his puppy antics. We both wanted to give him away. God must've heard our hearts desire. Sunday afternoon he went missing. My husband and daughters looked around the neighborhood, in the woods, and everywhere they could nearby. They didn't find him. He didn't come home that night. Yesterday my oldest was so upset she had a hard time focusing on her school work and I too felt horrible for how childish I had been towards the puppy. I posted on facebook, while my husband contacted shelters and vets, and signed into the microchip website to list him as lost. The hunt was on for the puppy again all afternoon, but still nothing at bed time. I had a hard time sleeping last night, between worrying and praying and feeling bad. This morning, however, God answered our prayers. My husband had posted to craigslist this morning and the person who had found our puppy heard about the post. Our puppy is now safe at home. Lessons to learn? For one, the bible is serious, the tongue is like a 2 edged sword and we were dealing with the consequences of our negative hearts and words. Another lesson was to appreciate the gifts God blesses us with. Sometimes they don't seem like gifts at all, but if we could only see the big picture, we'd see all that God is doing in us through others.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Today I went to the eye doctor, for a regular check up. She mentioned contacts and I said I'd like to use them. For the first time in my life a doctor said yes to that. I have PHPV.

Persistent Hyperplastic Primary Vitreous (PHPV)
What is PHPV?
Persistent Hyperplastic Primary Vitreous is the former name for persistant fetal vasculature or PFV.  PHPV is condition of the space behind the lens of the eye in the gel which keeps the eye in a round shape.  The gel is typically clear.  It is called the vitreous.  In the eyes of people who have PHPV, the vitreous is not clear.  The vitreous stays the way it was while the eye was growing in the unborn baby.   Persistent means that it stays how it was.  It does not change into a clear vitreous.

Hyperplastic does not mean that the gel is like the plastic toys are made out of.  Hyperplastic means it is growing too much. In other words there is too much of the unborn baby’s vitreous gel.  The vitreous gel is hazy and scarred so that it does not let as much light into the back of the eye.
Primary means first.  The primary vitreous is the vitreous gel that first formed as the baby was growing inside the mother.  In most people the first gel slowly washes away and is replaced by clear gel.  In people who have PHPV the primary or first vitreous gel stays in the eye.  It is persistent. ~

As far as I know I don't have any other syndromes or anything associated with this and I'm pretty sure my retina is not involved. They took pictures of my eye today and everything they could observe was intact, but the vitreous is in the way of seeing everything. It has limited my eyesight in the affected eye to peripheral vision only. 

In the past, every eye doctor I've asked has told me they will not prescribe contacts to me due to the risk of injury to the eyes. Glasses create a barrier to protect my eyes. The concern is for possible injury to my "good" eye. 

I'm excited for the opportunity to not be weighed down by my glasses, but also wonder if maybe I shouldn't wear contacts and stick with glasses because the risk of blindness for me is there. It is a fear of mine. I'm blessed to have the vision I do have and to see the things I do see. To have that be gone, because of a bad choice... well it isn't worth it. However, I don't know anyone who doesn't wear glasses that suffered from an eye injury from just going about their day. Well, aside from a friend when we were teens and another friend threw a pop bottle that hit her in the eye, but she didn't lose vision because of it. 

To most this problem seems like no big deal, but for me, even my parents were against contacts as I was growing up and my husband isn't a fan of the idea either. For me there is a reason to question whether they are a safe choice or not.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Getting a lot done :)

Well my husband has ordered our chickens! So excited. We spent time this weekend building a new foundation for a shed that we are turning into a chicken coop. Thank God for neighbors with big machines and even bigger hearts who are willing to come and help us out too! Once we were done setting up the foundation we put fresh dirt around some shallow areas of the house to create more of a mound for water to move away from the house. We also filled in some holes the dogs have been digging near the house. After that we headed to the barn. We're talking about getting sheep and after visiting the sheep farm last week, I'm actually getting pretty excited. We had a stall in the barn but not where we wanted one so we tore it down, together. It was great! It felt so good to be a part of all of that.

Yesterday morning was rainy and I'm still adjusting to the time change so we made it a pajama day. I spent the morning reading about raising sheep while the kids read, played video games, and watched some tv shows. As the day went on I did finally get around to doing some house work, but I was still in a funk.

Today was much better. It's sunny and beautiful. I enjoyed a nice walk with my youngest as we waited for his brother to finish speech. He even walked with me. Normally I carry him in our Beco carrier. So convenient, but this was a nice change. We touched tree trunks, saved worms from the side walk and sun, listened to and watched birds. This afternoon the older 3 were able to, finally, experience gymnastics again. Thankful for our friend who set up the opportunity for us to do it at a convenient time.

This evening will be a catch up time for us. We'll get through any school work that hasn't been completed and then read up on some things related to the Kirsten American Girl series. It'll be a nice, quiet, cozy evening. :) But first, dinner. Chicken with rice and veggies! Nothing elaborate. My husband is the cook.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Sheep, friends, and more

Today we took a field trip to a sheep farm. The kids got to pet, feed, and watch sheep and their lambs. It was exciting for us, because we are planning to get our own sheep soon. Chickens first, though.

This weekend we were visited by some close friends, who don't live close enough. It was great seeing them. An even bigger joy to see the surprise in the eyes and faces of my children when they arrived. My young ones didn't know they were coming. I think it makes it a lot more fun that way.

All this busy schedule stuff is kind of new to me and I'm finding that it is really wearing me out. However, I'm still pleased to be creating such great memories with my family and friends!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

March is coming in like a lion!

With strong winds and even some snow, March has made itself known. Another chance for winter to rampage, before spring takes over. May God be with the many people who've experienced loss because of winter weather.

We've been blessed to not have lost anything, except our "Meet Kirsten" book. It is somewhere in this house, I just can't seem to figure out where. We still haven't started lapbooking it, yet. I just haven't made it a priority over other school work and chores. We will do it, though! I picked up 2 books about Minnesota, 1 on pioneers, and 1 on Sweden, for the girls, and I, to learn more about those things.

I realized, this week, that my 4 year old is showing signs of reading readiness. If I remember correctly I was reading at his age. I'm very excited. I love reading and am glad all my youngsters seem to too. I don't think I'll try anything formal with him on that. I'm just going to keep reading to him, playing games related to reading, and encouraging him.

We went to church on Wednesday for the first time at our new church. I spent the whole evening in the nursery with my boys, the pastor's wife, and the children's class manager. It was sad not to participate in bible study, but it was nice to get to know them better. I would've gone to bible study but it took my youngest a while to warm up and even go play with something. It didn't matter to him that his brother was in there with him. He wanted mommy! At one point I did leave the room took take my older son potty. When I came back my younger one wasn't crying or anything. Hopefully he'll be able to go into the nursery, no problem, in just a bit.

We were able to go to a science and nature center on Friday. This kids played a couple of games. They got to build little fabric nests in cups to try and protect some water in a film canister. If it froze their animal didn't make it through winter. We took a hike and saw birds, squirrels, their nests. I heard an interesting bird call. Then they got to pet a rabbit, a something little dragon lizard (I forgot the name), an albino corn snake, and a Madagascar hissing cockroach. It was a lot of fun. The girls also got a lot of play time with their friends this week.

As far as all our projects. My oldest has managed to put the second level of paint on her desk. She wants it to remind her of the beach and ocean. It's very cute. She even has a tidal pool she's trying to make. My husband is making progress on renovating the shed out back to turn it in to a chicken coop. He's hoping to order some buckeyes in the next couple of weeks. However, the poor coffee table is still sitting downstairs for me to work on it. Between school, chores, activities, and play dates, I just haven't been able to work on it!

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Happy Leap Day!

It has been a busy week full of school work, play dates, cleaning, and appointments.

Yesterday we met up with some friends at an indoor play room. It went well for a while. Then my 1 and a half year old decided pants were not for him. He kept running off and taking them off. I kept putting them back on. He even handed them to my friend at least once. I'll admit it was funny, but certainly not a habit he needs to form!

The girls and I have also started a lapbook about the Kirsten Larson American Girl series. They are pretty excited. Right now we're reading and they are coloring their templates. When they're done we'll get them glued on to the "books" and fill them in with details! I have all kinds of activities for them to do too! I'm probably more excited than they are. :) I'll try to make sure I post updates and pictures!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Yesterday was a good day. The girls got done with their school work on time, so they were able to have some friends over. My husband took them all for a ride on the trailer bed for the tractor.

Today I got to play fireman and pictionary with my boys. Also did a little preschool stuff with them. The girls took a little longer than expected to do their school work. It was one of those "It's too hard so I'm not doing it!" kind of days for them. My oldest has more days like that then my younger one. Again they got to play with a friend. I don't know why people worry so much about the socialization of homeschooled kids. My kids play with other kids (outside of our family) pretty much every day. They go to parties and events. They get plenty of time with peers.

I have my pictures on a different computer so, still none to share.

I did get some good exercise from walking today, which was nice. Although the weather got colder and colder as I walked. I hear we just might end up with 6" of snow overnight. We'll see.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

February 21, 2012

This morning I woke up scrunched between 2 little guys. (Typical morning for me, actually) One, of which, was not about to let me move. I managed to grab my phone, that I had sitting nearby and began playing some fish game I downloaded for free. It's pretty ridiculous when I think about it. I'm just tapping my finger trying to catch fish and stuff in a net... When I finally had enough space, I peeked out the window. It looked like it was turning into a cloudy but sunny day. Then I checked my older son, whose been sick, and decided to cancel his speech session for today.

A little while later, when the boys were awake, we headed downstairs. When my older boy got to the top of the stairs, he started saying "It's snowing mom!" I thought he was just kidding, but I was surprised to see that he was right. It was snowing! We went downstairs and turned on the fire and had a little bit of breakfast. (It's weird to me to turn the fire on. I'm used to a wood burning stove.) We put together his spider man puzzle while my youngest played with some toys nearby. The girls were still asleep. Then we worked on his counting and abc's. I wrote words on the chalkboard, mostly names, and told him what the letters were and what I was spelling. He just laid on the floor watching me, answering questions when I asked them. Then he asked me to read to him. I pulled out "What Your Preschooler Needs to Know" and read him a page from each category. He liked that, but was still kind of lethargic, poor kid. All he wanted to do was lay on the couch and watch busytown, or car fixing shows.

I did eventually let him watch some tv, while his younger brother played and his sisters and I started our "Meet Kirsten" study. We're reading the book for a club and since we've already read it recently, I thought it might be fun to do more with it. I looked up lapbooking and found a great page full of templates for American Girl lapbooks. Today I just read chapter one to them as they began to color their templates. They're both excited to try lapbooking. I had heard of it before, even had friends who had done it, but I never really looked into it until they started talking about wanting all the Little House on the Prairie books. I remembered a friend telling me how they'd done a book for that. I wish I had listened to them when I first started homeschooling. My goodness the difference it could've made for us! haha but I didn't so here we are starting a little later with it. My mind is flooded with ideas for different things I'd like to study with the kids and what all they could add to their lapbooks. I'd like to help each of the girls make friendship quilts and rag dolls as part of the "lesson" as well. I'll try and keep updates about how that goes and what we do and post pictures as well.

We also looked up the Eastern Bluebird again, which is now my oldest child's favorite bird. We came across a pretty cool site all about birds.
The site has all sorts of information. We will definitely being using it for future bird watching information.

When school was done the girls took a rest and I played with my boys. First we were steamrollers. Then we were lions. Then dinosaurs. And once again steam rollers. When I couldn't play that anymore, I suggested we draw pictures and guess what the other person drew (also known as pictionary.) My son has never really been interested in the game before, but today he had a blast. I started and drew and drew until he said, "Sit down, mom. It's my turn." I was excited to see all the things he drew. I forgot how easy it is to allow kids to learn naturally. Thus my interest in a more life learning approach for my kids.

We've also got some projects going on at our house right now. We bought a cheap used desk in need of some love for our oldest. Over the past week my husband and I took turns sanding down, possibly toxic, paint off of it. Today, she started painting it. She wants to be a marine biologist when she is older and she loves the ocean so she is painting her desk to look like the sea with a beach. It's a pretty cool idea and I can't wait to see how it turns out. I do have a picture, just haven't downloaded it yet. Another project is our coffee table. We bought a coffee table and matching end tables from the late 80s or early 90s (I think) when we still only had 1 kid. Over the years this set has gotten fairly beat up, not that it was in mint condition when we bought it. In order to move the set to our new home, I had to agree to redoing them. The past two evenings I've spent some time sanding down the top of the coffee table. It's almost done! Although, now I have to figure out how to sand the rest... I plan to stain it when I'm done sanding. I'm pretty excited because it's the first big project that I've had in a while. Again, pictures aren't on my computer yet. On top of those two projects, my husband is looking into turning a little beat up shed in the backyard into a chicken coop and rearranging our barn to prepare it for animals. We're hoping to get sheep and chickens this spring. Not sure what else we'll be getting.

That was our day today.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Bird Watching

Today my girls were looking out of the window at the backyard, when they noticed a bird. It was blue and at first one was excitedly shouting that it was a blue bird. The other replied that they thought it might be a blue jay. As they got a better look they realized it was neither and that the bird was red/orange breasted.I had my older daughter"s science book next to me when my younger daughter came over to talk to me about the bird. She pointed at the cover and said, "That's the bird we saw!" I looked in the book and told her it was an Eastern Bluebird. My older daughter didn't agree with us which led to a google image search. The only bird that came up when we typed in the description was an Eastern Bluebird. Still my oldest didn't think that was it. She didn't think the bird had any white on the belly. She went outside hoping to get an even better look at the bird and came back inside to tell me how they sounded and what they looked like. Then she grabbed our Birds of North America field guide and looked it up. Sure enough, she found a picture of the Eastern Bluebird and said "That's the bird!" I couldn't help but laugh and her younger sister couldn't help but say, "We told you so!" Sadly my camera was not handy at the time and I didn't get a picture, but for anyone who might actually read this and want to know what one looks like, here is a picture of one.

I got this picture from a site with neat facts about them. Check it out at

The day was even more exciting for my husband, girls, and I when we saw some cranes or herons nearby. Our dogs started barking before I could get my camera. It was still pretty neat and made me realize that I really need to keep my camera more handy!

A new addition to my blogging

Today, as I was writing my latest spiritually related post, I got to thinking about my blog. I realized that, even though no one really reads my blog, it might be a good idea to create a separate area for updates on my family, homeschooling, marriage, and parenting. So here it is. The family life of an eccentric housewife. Maybe I'll even add pictures to this blog in relation to the topics!