Wednesday, May 21, 2014

I love my girl

I hate to admit it, but one of my worst pregnancy symptoms is always IR-RIT-TI-BIL-I-TY. I'm thankful that it has seemed much better so far this time around. But Sunday...wow....Sunday I was grouchy all over the place!
Usually, if I take a nap (pregnant or not), I run a great risk of waking up grumpy from it. So I often skip them. 
But this grumpy Sunday afternoon, I did finally doze off on the couch for a little while. Not long at all after I awoke, there stood Brooklyn, freshly awakened from her own nap. I had been mulling over a little snack for myself when she whispered, "I'm hungry." Then the little sister read my mind, "I want ice cream," she whispered again. We hardly ever have ice cream, so her mind reading was quite impressive.

I grabbed the carton of chocolate ice cream, one spoon, and my baby girl and we headed to the big middle of Mama's bed. And shut the door. And do you know? All those giggle and ice cream bites later the grumpies I'd fought all day were gone for good. 

Such a happy little time with my little princess. :)

In other little princess news, Greg headed off to work as usual just after daylight Monday morning, leaving me in bed for "just a few more minutes" (riiiiight). But not as usual, he returned to the bedroom just moments later, carrying a half-sleeping Brooklyn. He had found her curled up asleep, outside her shut bedroom door. Apparently, sometime in the night she had gotten up (probably for a drink) and the door had latched, shutting her out of the bedroom. Poor sweetie pie had just laid down in the floor and gone back to sleep.  Isn't that the saddest thing you've ever heard?! 

She never did go back to sleep Monday morning, but those early morning smiles and cuddles were worth it. 

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

We're all a little strange, I suppose

I went to a ladies' retreat this weekend. We played a "get-to-know-you" game involving individual sized bags of M&M's. You pulled a candy from your bag, and based on the color you drew, answered a question about yourself. 
At some point in the middle of this exercise, the lady to my left asked (quite randomly, I felt at the moment), "Do you homeschool?"
Of course I answered that, yes, I do. She nodded and smiled and pointing to my book on the table in front of me said, "Your M&M's gave you away."
As my turn came around the table and I answered each question, I had lined up my candies like so:
Turns out my new friend had homeschooled her two now-grown boys. So maybe it is true that "it takes one to know one!"

On an unrelated note, that evening I took the whole gang out for a walk to give Greg just a tiny slice of silence since he had been busy with them all day and had gotten Zero studying done. While we were out we circled by the campus playground for a while. Here sits this fine stand of nice, new playground equipment, and what do my kids like to do most?

Run around on the concrete slab, of course! Every. Time.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

It's on the blog - so now it's official!

Well, my observant readers, I certainly did not mean to be secretive or sneaky! Word is out in real life, and most of social media, but I can't believe I forgot the good ol' blog!

Yes, we are happy to announce we are looking forward to welcoming baby #6 in September!


And in true Buffalo fashion, we are expecting another BOY. :)
BLUE silly string gender reveal with the kiddos.
Pregnancy #6 has been very kind to me thus far. I have gained more weight with this one than any other. But that couldn't have anything to do with my husband keeping me well stocked in burgers, cookies, ice cream and donuts. I promise, I eat healthy stuff, too. :P

We are admittedly nervous every once in a while about adding another human to this merry-go-round, but are truly convinced he is God's will for our family.  

Plus, who wouldn't want to welcome a sweet little person who will grow up to do things like this:

and this:

Or regale us with thoughts such as these:
"There are two kinds of chickens: dead ones, and live ones." (Tyler, inspecting the meat in his supper bowl tonight.)

Yes, this house gets messy, and it gets loud, but it is full of fun and creativity, joy and hugs, love and laughter. We are truly blessed!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Tuesday, April 29

I think Tuesday just might be my new favorite day of the week. Monday is getting back into the swing of things and recovering from the weekend. But by Tuesday we've found our groove again and can roll through the day! (Until we interrupt again on Wednesday for storytime at the library.) ;)

This morning we got the house all looking spiffy again, then had a quick little preschool time reading the parable of the lost sheep. The big boys and I finished up 2 Kings. Kind of a sad time, seeing the nation of Judah, the last of the Israelites being carried off into captivity. I thought it was somber, anyway. I hope the boys felt the same.

While they worked on notebooking their Bible story, Tyler and Brooklyn and I made a color, cut, and glue sheep craft. We headed out on our morning walk for only the first or second time since I blogged about it last week. Yeah, that 2 mile thing....not happenin' any time soon, I'm afraid. But it's nice to get out anyway. Tyler and I walked, while Brooklyn and Daniel rode in the stroller and Dale and Alan circled on their bikes, for about 15-20 minutes. Then for a treat we headed over to the community swing set and played for a little while before heading home. It's been a while since we've done that, and they almost always ask!

Lunch was a treat today...last night was our monthly ladies' Bible study at church and it was my turn to help bring food. I came home with leftover beefy enchilada dip (yum!) which made a fine nacho topping for lunch today.

Dale and Alan worked together to finish up our mini-study on earthquakes. They loved coloring the risk-map for the U.S. I learned something new about them through that!
This boy loves the vacuum! He didn't want to let go!

After we finally got everyone to bed tonight I smothered marshmallows and almonds in chocolate ice cream. Boom - my own rocky road. Between eating that, blogging, baby name shopping, and helping Greg work on memory verses for school tomorrow I've managed to fill over an hour. Bedtime approacheth! 

Friday, April 25, 2014

School Update and Some Random Pics

It seemed to me that it would be a good time to catch up on how school is going around here, so, without further ado, an update on our 2013-2014 school year:

We are absolutely loving Easy Peasy (allinonehomeschool.com). Dale is on track to finish year 5 by the end of May. Which is pretty impressive, considering we didn't really get going on it full swing until January. Among other novels he has read Alice in Wonderland, and is currently working on Little Men. He's developing his writing skills, learning how to write a five-paragraph essay and be aware of creative language and complex sentences. He already  has a whopping vocabulary, so it's nice to start to see that come out in his writing now and then. The biggest hurdle we have with school is quality control. He is able to do most of his work independently, but I have to stay on my toes checking it or things get a little less than his best.
Accidently matching for church a few weeks ago.
Pretty much since the beginning of his "official" school career, Alan has been on a January to December calendar instead of August to May. Which is one of the beauties of homeschooling, really. He has never been behind or ahead, but right on schedule. That hopefully explains the fact that he began his 2nd grade work in January. He will not finish Easy Peasy level two in May, but will be able to complete the work with flying colors in November/December. He is learning a lot of grammar (nouns, proper nouns, action verbs, linking verbs, subjects, predicates). He gets frustrated with me for making him write exclusively in cursive, but his cursive is steadily improving and is already better than his print. 
The look on his face when I asked him Easter Sunday if he wanted go hunt eggs.
After letting Khan Academy fall by the wayside for several months due to web layout frustrations, I decided to check it out again recently, and I'm so glad I did! It's all different, and I love the changes. It's so much easier for me - and the boys- to see what they have done and what they need to do next. Also, lots of lower elementary concepts and exercises have been added, so Alan can do it too. Very, very pleased with that.

We are doing our usual read-through-the-Bible again this year, pretty much the same way we have done all but one of the last 5 years or so. We are currently mid-way through  II Kings, pausing a bit there to cover the prophets. Not sure at what pace I want to proceed through the rest of the Bible, whether to start the New Testament in August and take two years, or pack it all in to finish by early summer. Dale and Alan notebook most of the Bible lessons. They also (Alan particularly) like worksheets printed from Calvary Chapel Curriculum. 

We have covered a few science/history/social studies topics together this year, including animal habitats, Russia / the Olympics (which has made the boys interested in all of the news in Ukraine this spring), and currently, earthquakes.

For Tyler and Brooklyn we have been loosely following Hubbard's Cupboard's Bible and Rhyme curriculum - working our way through major stories of  the Bible and the Alphabet, along with appropriate matching crafts and occasional nursery rhymes. We sometimes sing songs, do hand rhymes, play with playdough, or get out special puzzles and games. We spend about 30 minutes of each day devoted to "Preschool Time." Tyler is ripe for learning to read. Not sure yet when I'll start official "lessons" with him. Meanwhile, Brooklyn has picked up on most of the letter sounds herself.
(I don't think she found any letter sounds in these giant eggs, though.)
I make it a point almost every day to read to Daniel and Brooklyn individually (and often Tyler, too), and then Tyler, Alan, Dale and I spend half an hour in a chapter book. We've read a couple of "Little House" books recently, and currently, Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH. It's one of my favorite times of day, and I think everyone else's, too!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

When all else fails, blame the monkey

Sometimes random items become the "it" item of the day at our house. Yesterday it was one of those little ink stampers...the kind you can order from those prize magazines for 9.99/gross. Tyler was enamored and covered himself with blue smilies. He and Alan both decorated their bellies with smiley "eyes" and a smiley dots smile, with their own belly buttons for noses. By the time I discovered what had happened, it was time for supper and church. There wasn't time for a bath, and we don't usually take one after church on Wednesdays. I was just glad all smilies were concealed by their clothes, and no one at church was any the wiser. We put everyone to bed, late, as usual for Wednesdays, and thus ended another day.
Decided to do today's preschool activity outside since it's been so beautiful out!
T-Toothbrush painted T's! :)

Most nights I sleep all night without a peep from any children. Most of the times if a child is "peeping", it's Tyler. Sometimes he's telling me he's thirsty ("Your water glass is on the table"), or that he has to pee ("Use my bathroom"). Last night, as usual, it was Tyler standing by my bedside in the wee hours.
Tyler: Mama?
Me: What sweetie? (I don't always answer so nicely.)
Tyler: Will these blue smilies come off me?
Me: (Laughing inside in spite of the wee hour) Yes, sweetie, they will.
And off he went, back to bed.
Don't let those GREEN stamp marks on Tyler's forehead confuse you. They are, in fact, different from the blue ones on his belly. From a new stamper they found this morning. Where are these things coming from!?

Daniel was up before 7 again this morning. This time Greg was already gone and it was Alan that sprung him from his crib. Which was just as well, because that meant Alan was up before 7. I really like it when the big boys are up and showered before I have to tell them to. Or at least one of them. Daniel wasn't as impressed with the shaving cream trick today, but I still managed to get showered without him playing in the toilet or digging out all the feminine items from under the counter (it wouldn't be the first time - for either).
Daniel participates more all the time. He really liked this one! (And check out the one-legged photo-bomb in the background)
Even though we mostly follow a schedule on weekdays, I've been cheating it for weeks now by skipping the morning walk. I tell myself I like having that half hour to catch up if we've gotten behind already, but the truth is, I think I've been letting us fall behind because I don't want to take the walk. My midwife's office recommends walking two miles a day. Two miles!? Seriously? Who has time for that? And frankly, the 3/4 mile route we take for our 25 minute venture wears me out.  But, the kids like that half hour and I suppose it's good for all of us, so I put it back in today. And I guess tomorrow as well. And all next week. We'll see. If I do it long enough it will get easier, right? ....right?

This afternoon after school and naptime I was sorting through a stack of papers in our bedroom. Brooklyn, (who has a nasty habit of having an f.i.t. when she doesn't get her way (we're really, really working on that) ) asked for some play time on my phone. When I said 'no', she turned her head away from me towards a stack of greeting cards I had set aside to save. This one happened to be on top:

And so, mama said, "no phone games" and Brooklyn burst out, slapping in anger, "I hate that monkey!!!"

Because of course, it was all the monkey's fault.

Everybody always blames the monkey.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Wednesday, April 23

Usually I am showered and dressed and in the kitchen before any children make their way out of bed (with the exception of Tyler who shows up in our room sometimes after daylight), but this morning I was still in bed - awake, but still in bed- when Greg heard Daniel crying and brought him to me.

He was on his way out the door to work, so Daniel and I enjoyed some cuddles and giggles in my bed before I headed to the shower. In hopes of keeping Daniel out of trouble, I squirted a little line of shaving cream along the end of the tub. It worked pretty well! He didn't really want to touch it at first, but still seemed fascinated by it, so it kept him occupied long enough.

Tired of our usual oatmeal-or-eggs routine I made ..umm...chocolate chocolate chip muffins. Yeah...not the healthiest thing, but they were so good! I decided to up the protein by putting in three eggs instead of the one the recipe called for. I think it did make them more filling!

I mentioned (to Greg) at breakfast that I was tired and didn't want to go to storytime at the library. The boys weren't having any of that and said THEY would get everybody ready for storytime. Yeah...right. But they were a lot of help, and yes, we did go.

As usual, Dale played on the computer while everybody else listened to the story and did a craft. It was an earth day theme. My 12 year old self would have been so! excited!  I was totally gonna help save the earth when I was a kid. My grown up self thinks we need to be responsible but people are taking this 'love the earth' thing a little too far. But anyhoodle.... it wasn't too overdone for the preschoolers today. Since we kept a lot of last week's books, I limited each child to 1 new one today (and we still came away with 7 or 8, go figure), paid our 30 cent fine and went on our merry little way back home.

Lunch was a leftover affair for Greg, me, and Daniel, while the others had a macaroni, tuna, mixed veggies concoction. I don't think they were thrilled, but they ate it.

Naptime came early for a grumpy Miss B. Ditto for Daniel.

We settled in for our daily candy and read-aloud chapter. Our candy supply was greatly increased by all the Easter festivities this weekend. That's a lot of book chapters we're stocked up for!

We are currently reading Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH. I've never read it, and it's getting hard not to read ahead! Read aloud time...one of my favorite times of day!

Tyler tucked himself in for his nap, and Dale and Alan headed off for school, almost completely online these days. After he finished today's math assignment, Alan got into a game for practicing Roman numerals. Dale and I got completely sucked in, too. The practice was good for all of us!

Late afternoon was a flurry of housekeeping and supper prep to get all we could done before Wed night church.  Greg got home and squeezed in a quick run while I finished up supper: beef patties, fried potatoes, and canned spinach. And for the kiddos: leftover macaroni concoction from lunch. Because I'm just mean like that. WITH their other food y'all. They got some of all of it. And I added more cheese for the second go 'round. :)

Church tonight was the first Wed night in weeks the kids and I were back with everyone else instead of practicing for the Easter skit. It was nice to be back lined up in a pew listening together! When we get home on Wednesday nights it is straight into pj's and into bed asap.

After the kiddos were all tucked away I folded mounds of laundry while watching youtube videos and Greg studied for a test tomorrow. Then I ate a banana (since the night time calf cramps have started up the last couple of nights) and quizzed Greg on his study notes.

We tucked ourselves into bed and I read a couple of chapters of Job (I just finished the New Testament in 90 days and am now working through Job-Song of Solomon in 40 days). But then I decided I really, really, really miss blogging and I should stop being so perfectionist about the whole thing, so I got out of bed and wrote this post. And now I'm going back to bed.

And to all a good night!