Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Ladybug 9 Months

Ok, 9.5 months.  Ok, almost 10 months.  I also definitely missed 8 months.  Life is crazy, what can I say.

She is finally sleeping through the night!! And it is so very nice.  Words cannot express how awesome it is to get sleep almost every night.  She is sitting up, crawling everywhere, pulling up, and has tried to stand unassisted twice that we have seen.  I would be totally fine if she would walk soon!  That way we could all go outside and play and I wouldn't have to worry about her being on the cold ground.   Her sister and brother walked at 14 months and 12 months so we'll see...

She still put everything (I mean everything) in her mouth.  It is so frustrating!  I just can't keep everything off the floor with a 2 year old and a 3 year old running around!  She will find tissues, pieces of paper, crayons, etc.  We pretty much have banned all toys with small parts for the time being, but they still leave stuff laying around (like tissues!).

She is eating pretty good.  Still doing mostly pureed.  She enjoys eating and has yet to refuse anything.  She is nursing maybe 4 times a day, maybe 5.  I don't actually keep track and it's liberating.

She is still pretty small, but now gaining weight the way she is supposed to so that is a relief.  We will take her again next month.

She still isn't very demonstrative.  Well, that's not quite true.  She smiles allllll the time.  She just doesn't laugh out loud very often, but neither did Autumn.  If you *try* to make her laugh, she will, not just on her own.  She does have an adorable laugh though :)  She rarely cries.  Pretty much only when she's tired or hungry, mostly tired.  She is a mama's girl.  I'm enjoying that for the time being.

She has started to get super wiggly on the changing table.  That's not annoying at all.  She kicks her legs up and pulls on your hands with her hands.  I don't know if I noted it before, so I'm going to note it now so it makes it into her baby book when I finally do it, but when she was younger she would constantly cross her ankles when she was on the changing table.  All the time, her left ankle would cross over her right.  We would have to unwind them a lot during changing!  That is a sweet memory.  

She has lots of hair and so far no curls.  50/50 shot with that.  She is a beautiful baby and I am so glad she is ours.

Too much flash (squinty eyes!), but look at those beautiful sister smiles!  
Don't mind the mess ;)

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

GLE Week 8 Q is for Quail

Curriculum found here.  This week we talked more about Moses.  He had a verrrry interesting life!  Lots to talk about.  We also talked about Qq and what sound it makes and what it looks like.  She knows all her capital letters and most of her sounds, so we just focus on the lowecase one most of the time.  Although sometimes for Q she said /k/ and sometimes for G she says /j/ which is especially tricky because sometimes G does make the J sound!



















We had that little pheasant-I mean QUAIL, ahem- on her desk all week.  Pretty cute little guy (I assume it's male since it's tail is super colorful).  Got him at Hobby Lobby.


 










We painted with feathers and went out and tried to make our own bird nest.  I think we made the walls too thick because it took all week to dry out (we used mud) and then it wouldn't even hold together!  Them birds be smart.

Tot School Letter Bb!  He actually started saying /b/ by the end of the week.  Today I started to show him T and asked what sound it made and he said "/k/k/k/.../b/b/b/..." Pretty funny!  However those are the 2 sounds he has learned so far (C and B-we did do an Ii week, but he never even got close to understanding /i/i/i/) so I'm pretty impressed!



Playing in his pasta bin with ABC Find It from 1+1+1=1.  He does really well with that so we do it pretty much every week.  He is pretty limited in what he can do without getting super frustrated so we keep it simple around here for my little man!  A perfect example is the school bus craft from No Time for Flashcards.  DISASTER!  He had a total meltdown when I glued the pictures down.  He didn't want to color the bus and he got mad at me when I sang the wheels on the bus song.  So I did the craft without him and then he happily carried it around all day! :)  



One thing Mr. Man will do happily all day long is read.  Autumn crafts way more than him, but he reads way more than her so go figure!  So far, they both have a healthy dose of appreciation for books for which I am exceedingly happy about.  

Caleb's books focused on the /b/ sound and Autumn's were just bird books I had.  None of them fit the theme very well, but we made do. 

Friday, November 08, 2013

GLE Week 7 I is for Insect

This week for our bible study/preschool at home, we talked about Moses and the plagues.  Curriculum found here.

Only a couple of pictures this week!
Our 10 plagues index cards.  For the 5th plague (sick livestock) we ended up putting pictures of farm animals on it.  The bottom picture is some activities we did.  Both the iguana with the Avery stickers and the big I with the iguana's glued on it came from 1+1+1=1.  The dragonfly is a paint, cut, and glue from learncreatelove

Books about INSECTS! (or, bugs!)

  Tot school!  I tried to just go with whatever letter Autumn was working on (in this case, Ii).  I have now decided to work with him on letters he already knows or is somewhat familiar with (the letters of his name for example).
Painting an egg carton inchworm.  Some printables from 1+1+1=1 and The Mommy Teacher

We were putting Avery stickers on the igloo, but they ended up all over his legs! :)

Finding I books that feature the /i/ sound was a challenge for us.  We basically had no book focus this week.  He also didn't really get "I".  The whole point in doing things with him is simply for exposure though and now he does see letters and points them out so I know he is absorbing more than meets the eye.  I think in his head he believes he knows all the letters and they are all called "E" :)

Friday, October 25, 2013

GLE Week 6 "c" is for colors

Also, week 6 encompasses the story of Joseph and his beautiful (if problem causing) coat.  Curriculum found here.

Wearing her paper bag coat, retelling the story with her Joseph puppet, and some of the crafts we made. 
This child.  We mixed these one day and now she knows them.  Model student!



I thought I would also teach Caleb his letters along with Autumn (even though they have their learning times separately from each other).  Caleb is 22 months.  We learned all about what sound C makes!  All of the materials I used with him can be found at 1+1+1.  (LOVE that woman!)

Finding C words in a kidney bean sensory bin and some artwork


Even baby sister got in on the action! Yes she puts things in her mouth and yes I was watching her like a hawk. See my hand in the bottom of the picture? 

Literature for both kids!  Autumn's (left) goes mostly with the theme (colors) and Caleb's goes more for the letter sound. 


We decorated pumpkins this week and I thought it was funny there was a pumpkin for what both kids were leaning.  Caleb's has a big C on it and the pumpkin on the end has rainbow crayons melted all over it to emphasize colors!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

GLE Week 4 & 5

We are still using God's Little Explorers as our bible study every day.  It is wonderful!  We are also learning sight words using Reading the Alphabet.  We are going pretty slowly with this, but so far she has learned to read 3 sight words ;)

I am really no good at taking pictures.  For the last two weeks of our time together I have 5 pictures.  I got tired of documenting everything but then this week I decided it will come in handy when I got through it with Mr. Man so I started trying to take them again.

So, week 4 was z is for zoo (Noah's Ark).

I actually only took ONE picture this week, HAH!  Autumn and I (Autumn and I? No, it was just me.) found this online graphing game that she loved.  We actually found an entire mega pack and did quite a few things out of it.  Cutting and pasting, q-tip painting, and other fun stuff.  The picture on the left was just my big kiddos playing in the rain!  It seemed appropriate!

Week 5 was t is for tent (story of Abraham).

We set up our play tent and made a campfire and played with it all week!  This week was harder for Autumn to grasp for some reason.  I think trying to explain traveling around from place to place living in a tent all for the sake of obedience was just over her head a bit.  She loved the star crafts we did though!  You know that verse about Abraham having more descendants than stars in the sky?  That is the reason for the star crafts.

We are also practicing writing our last name.
 

Monday, October 21, 2013

Ladybug 7 Months

Her first Halloween costume!

That child you see above?  I am totally obsessed with her.  We all are. She is nothing short of a delightful, joyous, overwhelming blessing to this family.  It is amazing how much love one heart can hold.  It also boggles the mind that people wonder if having multiple children detracts from the family unit somehow.  

She is starting to sleep better at night.  Not fully arrived or anything, but getting better.  She only woke up twice last night (11 pm and 5:30 am).  She is crawling now!!!  She still doesn't sit up though.  Is that normal?  She enjoys chewing on everything and anything so we have to be SUPER diligent around here about picking up after the {almost} two year old hits up (aka destroys) a room. 

She loves to eat, eat, eat!  Nurse or table food.  

Finally took her to her doctor's appointment and she is a tiny thing!  But she hasn't always been so...so we have to take her back in a couple weeks to make sure she is gaining weight.  If not they are going to do a bone scan to make sure her bones are growing.  She went from being in the 46% to the 11% for weight and from the 79% to 50% for height.  I'm sure she's fine.  I mean, I'm 90% sure.  I can't help but being a tiny bit nervous.  We have tried to add formula to encourage weight gain but she just will not take a bottle. It's crazy how much she won't do it.  If we do ever have to put her on formula, it  is going to be a struggle.  

I found a way to make her laugh so that is fun.  Before she would just smile really big but now she actually giggles if someone does this certain thing.  It's kind of like you "scare" her...you just pull back and then rush forward and make a funny noise and she loves it.

Her favorite thing to do is to crawl around and explore everything right now.  Makes cooking dinner a challenge since I used to be able to leave her and she would stay in one spot! I try to stick her in her exersaucer while I do dinner. The big kids always watch a video during dinner prep.  

She is still very easy and very happy and I love her so very very much. 

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

GLE Week 3 "A is for Apple"


You can find the amazing curriculum we are using here. A is for apples!  Plus the story of sin entering the garden.  Autumn loved reading her bible each day because there is a picture of a big snake.  This girl loves snakes...not in real life, but she loves stuffed ones and pictures of them.  Crazy child! 


Our verse for the week on apples we printed.  I saved these in a plastic bag for review. 

More fun with printed apples!  I labeled them 1-10 and we practiced putting them in order.   I laminated these for future practice.   The bottom picture is a few of the crafts we did throughout the week.


Apple pie playdough :)
We also tried to make stars with paint and an apple core (kind of like a stamp), but it totally did not work at all for us!  Even I couldn't get them to look like stars.  So they just smeared some paint around.   

We had an apple taste test (top right picture) and then we took our apples and made applesauce.  Another day we made mini apple pies.  I tried to review the letters we've learned so far with the pie topping.

Last, we ended our week with an apple tree bath.  This was because my son doesn't know his colors yet and I am trying to teach them in fun ways and also because they both love fun baths!  They absolutely LOVE them!!
This was a super fun week for me.  Maybe my favorite so far!

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

GLE-Week 2 "G is for Garden"

Ok, week two of God's Little Explorers.  G is for garden!  Highlights were...

Soda pop flowers.  She dipped the end of a 2 liter into paint to make the petals, then painted the insides yellow.  I added the stems and leaves.  We made enough to send some to a few family members.
We printed and laminated these cute flowers and bugs and made some homemade play dough and dyed it green and brown for grass and soil (at the expense of my hand!).  Then we played "flower garden" for a long time. 






 
2 different sensory bins.  The top one was soil, glass gems (pretend seeds), and fake flowers. Then my parents actually sent a nature box from their back yard in Tennessee this week so it was perfect! There were pine cones, acorns, and lots of other seed pods from their yard. 


2 fun snacks: dirt cups, found here. Plus yogurt with orange slices around it to create a flower. 

We also do some tracing pages, puzzles, letter workbooks that I don't take pictures of (kind of boring!).  I normally print off lots of options from Confessions of a Homeschooler Letter of The Week series or Carissa from 1+1+1=1 and then let Autumn choose what she wants to do each day.  She loves to cut right now so we cut A LOT!

I am LOVING this curriculum as it is centered around the bible! Every day we do "bible study" and she doesn't even realize she is learning letters, sounds, and math while we are doing it.  She is getting more familiar with her bible and is starting to take ownership over it.  These times together with her are truly the highlight of my entire day.  


Monday, September 23, 2013

GLE-Week 1 "X Marks The Spot"

This week for preschool we talked about the letter x!  We learned that God's word is treasure and we became explorers/pirate princesses for the week and went on treasure hunts and explored a little bit of God's world.  Preschool curriculum found here: God's Little Explorers.

Here are some pictures from the week:
Some of our x snacks

We went on a treasure hunt to find new school supplies, decorated an explorer's kit (from a Chick-fil-a drink carrier) and made binoculars!


This was her sensory bin for the week.  It was supposed to be sand, but the bag got left outside and so it ended up being very wet sand!  The mess was more than I anticipated, but she loved it.  We looked for pirate coins, necklaces, and jewels.  We also practiced drawing x's in the wet sand.

We also made treasure boxes out of an egg carton from Red Ted Art's blog but I didn't get a picture!

I thought I might also mention what Mr. Man and I did this week.  We did a blue week inspired by Play Create Explore's color of the week series.  I didn't get very many pictures of him since he is MUCH  more hands on than his sister, but here are a couple.  I painted a box blue and we (read: mommy) filled it up with blue items from our toy bins. 
This is the aftermath.  I wanted to show a real life experience. Caleb looked at his blue stuff for about 15 seconds and then threw it all over the floor.  But, hey, he is still interacting with blue :)

Another one of my "brilliant" ideas to do with him was to read a bible story out of his toddler rhyming bible (which I LOVE) and then color a picture of the story.  He read the story with me and then these crayons and picture sat out literally all day long.  Haha! Actually, when his big sister came home she wanted to color it so I printed off another one and they both colored :)

We also took a blue bath!
This was a lot of fun, but next time I am going to do a bath like this, I am going to make sure my husband is there to help me! They had blue shaving cream, a spray bottle filled with blue water, blue shapes, blue jewels in the bottom, and blue sponges.  Also, blue circles and squares cut out of foam and stuck on the walls.  

We also played with blue rice and had a blue water bead fight in the backyard, but no pics!  I think he might know the color blue, but I haven't "quizzed" him or anything, so I'm not sure.  It's all just for fun!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Ladybug 6 Months

Half a year already! Make it stop!  I can't keep up!

This is the sweetest, snuggliest, most kissable, most huggable bundle of baby perfectness that you ever will meet.

We took a 2 week vacation back East.  She did stellar.  However, before we left she was sleeping 8-12 hours most nights. Now?  Up every 3.  Also, she is having a heckuva time going to sleep at night (not in the middle of the night, but at the beginning bedtime period).  It is wearing me out.  If I don't feed her, she screams and I cannot handle that.  So, that is no bueno.  Not sure what to do about that...

I finally started feeding her rice cereal and bananas this week.  I thought about trying baby led weaning, but decided against it for 2 reasons.  1.) My older two were fed on home made purees and eat just fine.  2.)  My son still smears food in his hair and I didn't want to deal with 2 insanely messy faces 3 times a day.  I am hoping that by the time Eliza is feeding herself, Caleb won't be quite so messy.  This girl child LOVES to eat!  She hosses it down! You know how most babies when first eating pureed kind of let it drip out of their mouth?  This girl sucks her spoon so she doesn't miss a drop.  I'm so happy :)  

She is still nursing (no bottle, no formula).  I wish she would take a bottle, but no such luck as of yet.  She does this thing when she nurses that is so funny.  I will try to explain it.  She flips on her belly and kind of sits up so she is practically sitting up facing me while she nurses!  It is so random and totally her own move.  I've never seen another baby do that before!

But no, she can not sit up on her own yet which makes the nursing thing even more funny :)

She still rarely laughs, but smiles alllll the time.  She has two smiles.  One is pictured above.  It is the sweetest smile of all time and everyone absolutely loves it.  Then she has her big smile.  Where she opens her mouth really big and shows all her teethless gums.  Gorgeous!  The right side of her mouth has always quirked up when she shows her big smile.  I am interested to see how that develops as she ages. 

We missed our 6 month appointment (ok, I never called to make it) so I won't have stats on her until she is almost 7 months.  Shame on mommy.  (But, not really, because who really cares?).    

She now loves baby toys.  Rattles, chewy things, musical toys, you name it.  She is taken with it all :)  She is such a fun little baby! So easy going (except at night!) and so wonderful to be around.  I wish I could inject a little Eliza into everyone's circle.  This world would be a better place if I could. 

Thursday, September 12, 2013

God's Little Explorers

SO, I guess I might start blogging again.  But, I don't know.  I am starting some preschool curriculum with Autumn on Monday and some other women going through the curriculum are documenting their journey so I'm thinking about it. The curriculum is called "God's Little Explorers" and it is bible based and even though we haven't officially started yet, I'm pretty sure it's going to be fabulous and fun.

And, just in case anyone is wondering, yes, Autumn is still attending preschool.  Funny thing that.  She goes for a couple hours daily.  I don't even know how to explain what has been happening in my heart lately.  I will say that I am now 100% convinced to give home schooling a try and wish I could pull her out of school.  Of course, the option to pull her out is there.  We are contracted to pay every month until December but that doesn't mean she has to go.  However, I really want to give it a fair shot...although, for unknown reasons to me, I pretty much have no good feelings about it.  Nothing bad has happened.  I just don't like it.  She is kind of apathetic about it. She is such a flexible kid that she will go because we tell her to, but it's hard to say how she really feels about it.  She definitely doesn't love it...but nor does she hate it.  Overall, I'm pretty sure she would rather stay home, but I can't tell how much she would rather stay home.  If that makes sense.

Anyway, the hubs is on board to start homeschooling next year (as in 2014) so there ya go.  It will be a trial run.  However, I can't stand to wait that long so we are starting God's Little Explorers (henceforth known as GLE) on Monday.  If it seems like it is too much for Autumn going to school and doing GLE, we will stop.  Or we will pull her out of school ;)  She LOVES doing one on one things with me so I think she'll be fine, but we are playing it by ear.  She is pretty much the ideal student.  Her brother, however...Autumn and I will be doing "school" during his nap because that boy...well, he is a wild man.  A wild, passionate, energetic tornado.  I adore his spirit but do not look forward to trying to teach him anything where he has to sit still.  He's only 21 months so maybe he'll chill out a bit before he turns 3?  We'll figure that out when we get there, right? :)

It's funny how things work out because I was so determined to give private preschool a shot and now thinking about it just makes my stomach ache.  I wonder if that is what it took for God to convince me that this is what he wants for me and my children.  I still have worries about home schooling, but my kids are so young this really is the best time to give it a shot, right?  Start now with one and then just add two and three to the mix later on.  Ah, we'll see.  My heart is all aflutter and I wish God would just use an audible voice to tell me exactly what I should do!

So, onward and upward.  Hopefully, next week I will have my very first GLE post up and documented!

Thursday, August 08, 2013

Ladybug 5 Months

These are seriously coming way too fast.  It's really too late and I'm really too tired to be doing this right now, but I am so overwhelmed with all these thousands of little things I need to do that I have to do something or I will never go to sleep.  Not only do I have thousands of little things to do, it feels like my husband is never here!!  Of course, he is here sometimes, it just doesn't feel that way.

SO, 5 months old!

She is still exclusively breast fed.  We haven't been able to get that child on a bottle, but we haven't tried very hard either.  

She takes 2 solid naps a day with a mini 30 min nap thrown in there most days.
She is not sleeping through the night all the time, but she has once or twice. I think that is the same as last month.

She rolls over both ways all the time now.

She is still a very happy, content baby.

I can now drink dairy without it affecting her so yay for mommy.

She does not like it when I sneeze!  She actually cries over it!

So, this is seriously the worst entry EVER!!  I feel like a bad mom, gah.  I'm sure there are a billion details I'm leaving out.  Sometimes I go back through my facebook posts to see what's happened.  I clearly need to do that for this post!

Thursday, August 01, 2013

Reading Recap: Second Quarter

So, this is going up late.  Surprise, surprise.  Lucky for me, goodreads records the dates I finish books!  This post was inspired by Everyday Reading.

This second quarter I read/listened to 21 books.  Much better than first quarter's all time low record of 5!  Part of the reason for the increase is that I had a new baby in March and when I would nurse during the night, I would read.  I also started listening to audio books while I clean the kitchen.

Listed by date read:
1. The Child Thief by Brom  
I really loved most of this book. The end lagged for me. It seemingly climaxed...and then there was more, but at that point, I was ready for closure and an ending. I would definitely read it again sometime, especially if others were reading it with me. I would also recommend it to anyone who likes dark, creepy stories and doesn't mind gore or bad language. (Be warned, it has a lot of sadness and cruelty in it). There is amazing artwork for every chapter that really brings the novel to life. I will never think of Peter Pan the same way again and I can't imagine a retelling being more interesting or intriguing than this one.

2. The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
This book was so not what I expected! It was still great because it's Maggie Stiefvater and I am, of course, going to read the next one, but the topic isn't really my favorite (trying not give anything away!). I really liked the characters and they only did a couple of really annoying things so that's a win. What I really really liked about it was that the "romance" was practically non existent! I like romance in books and everything, but it's also nice to have it take a back seat to other plot lines. I think it's fun to watch an author change and develop and try new things over the years. Maggie is one of my favorites!

3. Austenland by Shannon Hale
Didn't love it.  However, I did love all the Austen tidbits so it wasn't a complete waste of time.  I was really hoping to love it a lot.  Oh well.  The sequel is much better (as you'll see). 

4. Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan
I love Sarah Rees Brennan's personality and her tumblr page (she is hilarious), but her books are always disappointing for me.  I might try one more before I give up permanently.  

5. Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater
I was inspired to read this trilogy after I read The Raven Boys.  I read the first one several years ago, but never finished the trilogy.  This time I read the first two, but not the third.  They aren't bad books, I just have too many other books to read.  I might read Forever (the third one in the trilogy) one of these days.  

6. The Pearl Wars by Nick James
I really enjoyed this book. It was a pleasant surprise. 
There were two areas that annoyed me. The story is told by two characters, Jesse and Cassius. I tend to like stories told from different POV's, but this one switched from first person (Jesse) to third person (Cassius). It bugged me.
The other area that I didn't love was the world at the end of the story. It confused me. Maybe it was supposed to...but don't confuse intrigue with confusion. I wasn't intrigued in the sense that I wanted answers to my questions, I was confused and didn't understand what the author had described.
Saying that, those were minor annoyances and I will be continuing in the series. I loved Jesse and Cassius and can't wait to watch their relationship evolve! I am also interested in learning more about the pearls and all that entails.

7. Terrier by Tamora Pierce
I read this as part of The Book Smugglers "Old School Wednesday" read-a-longs.  I really enjoyed it although no one else seemed to find it very great.  Go figure.

8. Linger by Maggie Stiefvater
Sequel to Shiver (#5).

9. City of Bones by Cassandra Clare
I think this is the third time I've read this book.  It was one of the very first YA books I read so it holds a warm, fuzzy place in my heart.  Plus, the movie is getting ready to come out next month.  It looks like it might turn out to be pretty good, but I'll admit, I'm skeptical.

10. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Here's the thing. I loved listening to this audio book. LOVED. I have attempted to read the book twice and ended up not finishing it both times because I found it boring. I find that strange, but whatever. This book just came alive for me through listening. I'm so glad I gave it a shot!
I absolute love the character of Jay Gatsby. He is way beyond flawed, but he is a powerful character with many facets. I didn't love the setting, but I loved what the setting said about each of the characters in how they interacted with wealth (or lack thereof), power, and social status.
To me, Daisy is an unlikable character. I think Gatsby really is too in some ways, but for some reason I understand his flaws and give him grace, whereas with Daisy, I just don't like her.
I liked the way the story was told through Nick's perspective. It was a little hard to believe how he was always around for the major twists and such, but I still enjoyed hearing the story filtered through his mind. 
It was also a short listen (5 hours) which is a must for me with 3 my littles. Even just at 5 hours, it took me an entire week to listen to it while I cleaned the kitchen every night. 

11. Bomb: The Race to Build-and Steal-the World's Most Dangerous Weapon by Steve Sheinkin
Excellent!  This was awesome middle-grade non-fiction.  Very informative and interesting!


12. Persuasion by Jane Austen
Love anything by Jane Austen.  Yes, I am one of those women. 

13. The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield
Huge disappointment!  I have this problem where I have these "superstar" authors in my mind in every genre and others just don't stack up.  This book was ruined by my love of all things Kate Morton. 

14. Major Pettigrew's Last Stand by Helen Simonson
I don't even know how I feel about this book.  It has a really great plot and I have no specific problems with it, but it's not memorable to me at all. 

15. Quintana of Charyn by Melina Marchetta
If you have not read Melina Marchetta yet, WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU?!?  But don't start with this one.  It is the last book of a trilogy.  Start with On the Jellicoe Road.  

16. Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
I gave this four stars, but I'm wondering why.  I think it was pressure since everyone LOVED it.  However, I didn't.  But it was super clever and interesting so maybe 4 stars is accurate.  You decide!

17. The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
Lovely as expected.  A book for ayounger audience, for sure, but so universally loved by children and adults.  Will be reading it to my own brood one day. 

18. Midnight in Austenland by Shannon Hale
This was sooo much better than the first one in my opinion.  It involved a mystery and a much better love story. 

19. Divergent by Veronica Roth
Read this to see what all the hoop-la was about.  I think the author is a great writer, but the story itself fell flat for me.  I am so tired of dystopian books where the government is "out ta getcha!"  I will possibly keep reading this series just because I did enjoy the writing.  Plus, they are making a movie and that always motivates me to read. 

20. The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente
This book was flippin' awesome!! My best read of 2013 so far and now definitely one of my forever favorites.   I can not wait to read my hands on the sequel.  If only I was made of money :)

21.  The Mysterious Howling by Maryrose Wood
I listened to this book and it was so FUN!  The narrator did a great job with the voices!  I laughed out loud several times and that is something I rarely do.  Hopefully the sequel will make it's way into my path one day.  

Phew!  And, there you have it. 

Ocean Update

So, our ocean week has now turned into 2 weeks which is totally fine.  We have done 4 out of the 6 ocean ideas I wanted to do.  Trying to cram it into a week wasn't a good idea for me anyway.  If they get too messy everyday, I get burnt out on messy play. I also don't take enough pictures, but such is life.  I'd rather make memories than try to capture them ;)

This was out gelatin tub.  The oatmeal was supposed to be the sand.  It's hard to see because of the sun and because the water table is also blue, but other than the oatmeal, that baby is filled with blue gelatin!  Autumn loved getting messy, Caleb didn't.  Just as I predicted.   

Caleb embraced the messy this day.  Well, for him.  Autumn would rub paint all over her entire body if I let her!  We have struggled doing crafts in the past with Caleb.  He tends to get super frustrated with the process (the steps I mean), but this day he did really well (hence the pictures!)

And, this was frozen blue rice with some aquarium rocks and seashells.  Good times.  Caleb can now say shell :)

So, the other two activities I had planned were for an ocean themed bath which will only happen if my husband is ever home early enough to let me set it up (doubtful) and some sand play. 




Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Preschool

Autumn starts preschool next month.  I'm sad.  Not because it's not the right choice (I think, although I am praying through that currently), but because I don't want her to grow up.  I mean, I'm SAD.  I cried last night and it's a month away!  I have always thought that people who cried over their kids going to school were insane.  I just didn't get it.

People don't get upset because they can't handle time away from their kids.  People don't get upset because their child is taller than they were a year ago.  People don't get upset because their child is becoming independent.  (Well, maybe that one a little bit).  People get upset because their child is entering a new stage of life that is scary.  Yes, it is just preschool, I get it.  However, it is a concentrated number of hours every week that my child will be under the influence of other people/children.

My 3 year old is very sweet and is under the impression that everyone she meets will love her.  She is under the impression that adults are kind and will protect her.  We have tried to teach her about "stranger danger" without scaring her, but I'm not sure she gets it.  I don't think much about her beliefs will change with this preschool because we are sending her to an awesome, Christ based school with amazing teachers.  But, from this point onward, her days of innocence are ticking down.  She will learn, if not now, then at some point, that kids can and will be mean.  She will learn that some girls will hurt her for no reason than she is different than them.  She will learn that just because she likes a boy doesn't mean he will like her back and that will hurt.  One day, she will learn about drugs and child abuse and so much more than that.  A lot of that she won't learn for many years, but this is where it starts.  This is where she leaves me (and my protection) behind (or so it feels).

Another minor (selfish, insecure) thing that is making me weepy is that I know she is going to be like "peace out mom" and take off playing.  That's great, I know, but I want her to kind of feel like I do and she doesn't.  She isn't going to miss me, she isn't going to be sad about us losing time together every day...she is going to be way too busy having fun.  I know that's a good thing, but if I'm being honest (which I try very hard to be), it hurts me a little bit.  It makes me feel unnecessary and who wants to feel that?

The last thing I'm struggling with is the actual educational aspect.  I taught Autumn her ABCs.  I taught Autumn what all the sounds of the letters make.  I taught Autumn how to write those letters.  Someone else will most likely teach her how to read.  Someone else will teach her how to add and subtract.  This makes my heart unbelievable sad and heavy.  I wish homeschooling was the "norm" and/or I wish my husband was all about it so that the choice would just be taken away from me.  I wish I just "had" to do it because I would do it and I think I would step up and do it well (*think* being the key word...I am also totally afraid I would do a terrible job).  But instead, there is a choice (what a nasty nasty word!) we have to make.  And at this point, we are choosing preschool.  I don't know if it is the right choice or not.  I am very emotional about everything right now and feel that I can't be unbiased at the moment.

So, now I understand why people get upset when their kids go to school and you can bet I will sobbing the entire way home after dropping her off.  Unless, I cry every day until then, in which case, I might be ok.  I did that with Chris's deployment.  I sobbed every night before it happened for about 3 weeks and then when he actually left, I did ok.  It was like I had already mourned him leaving.  Weird, huh?




Poof! From a baby to a big girl, just like that!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Lately

My life of late has been as follows...

Craughing at it's finest ;)
She's getting so big!
We don't do this nearly enough!
This.  Always this. 
This looks like they all are happy to be sitting next to each other...
Looks can be deceiving :)
And this too.  We are battling food allergies :(


Oh, and this!
I've been getting "fit".  I use that term loosely ;)


I have been trying to put my health first lately and finding it to be challenging.  Working out everyday is nice in theory, but getting us out of the house everyday is hard and then coming back home hot, sweaty, and sore doesn't lend to much energy.  We would wake, eat, get dressed, go work out, come home, play for 30 mins while I sat on the couch, eat lunch, put Caleb to bed, shower, and then if I had any energy left over I would do something productive with Autumn.  It wasn't happening very often!  Then Caleb would wake up and they always watch a video while I make dinner.  So Caleb wasn't really getting any quality time with me.  So just in the last week I decided to only go 2 days a week and my parenting has been more focused.   I feel much better about everything.  In my opinion, my spiritual life and my family life must come before anything else.  I was sacrificing my kids for my health...which needed to happen because I was eating all kinds of junk and couldn't lose the baby weight and I think it is important to be healthy!  However, now that I got a grip on my eating, I needed to go back to having days at home with energy to play with my kids.   

I've got this grand plan for next week ;)  I will try to document it!  Here's my plan.
Our week will be ocean themed.  

On Monday we are going to make an "ocean" out of blue gelatin.  (Monday is "Messy Monday" haha)
On Tuesday we are to make fish and octopus crafts I found online. (Tuesday is craft day or maybe art day if I can get more into that...my kids are just so young right now)
On Wednesday we are going to have an ocean-themed bath. (Wacky Bath Wednesday)
On Thursday, they will play will an ocean themed sensory tub. (Sensory Day)
On Friday we are going to wear black and white and pretend to be penguins. (Pretend play)

Everything I found is appropriate for a 3 year old and a 19 month old.  I think it's pretty manageable.  We'll see though.  Sometimes I have these great ideas and then they flop.  Or I flop.  Or something like that.  Plus most of this stuff is just for fun...so as far as teaching Autumn to write or teaching Caleb his letters, I'm not sure how I will incorporate that stuff in.  I know they learn through play, but if you don't teach them their ABC's, they won't learn them by playing in blue gelatin.  Or something like that :) 

In other news, Chris has been gone waaaaay too much this summer.  Being married to a soldier is a total drag at times.  Last night I showered with all 3 of the kids.  Really!  I was just going to do the big kids and then Elizabeth had a poop monstrosity so I thought what the heck.  Anyway, he's only been home one evening this week.  It's a DRAG.  

At least it's one less mouth to cook for though, right?! :)

On that lovely note, I'm out.  Autumn & Caleb are fighting over a blanket.  We only have 200 of them in this house.   

Ladybug 4 Months

This is going up late by 11 days.  I almost forgot to do it.  I am barely blogging these days, but I want to keep up with her monthly posts since I will need to go back and fill in her baby book when I have more time.

We took two trips last month.  One was to Denver to see my brother graduate and one was to California to have a girls trip with my mom, my sister, and a bunch of my mom's friends.  We flew both places and she did pretty great.  Really, no complaints from me.  She did, however, get totally off her schedule both times, and is not anywhere near sleeping through the night like she was a month ago.  It's all good though.   In time :)

She also has cleaned up her messy eating ways.  She just doesn't dribble anymore.  I don't know why, but I'll take it.  She does drool a lot though!  First one of mine to drool.  I hope it doesn't last for months and months like some kids because it's kind of gross when I go to pick her up and her dress is drenched!  Time to bust out the bibs I guess!

She found her feet but isn't too interested in them.  Sometimes when she is laying on her back, she will lift her hand up and just stare at her fingers.  It is so funny.

She still the sweetest baby ever.  All the girls at Optimom (my work out group) go on about how easy she is...I'll ask how she did and they'll say "why do you even ask?"  So, quite a change from my baby man who still cries every single time I leave him!  However, Caleb laughs louder and longer than either one of his sisters.  Elizabeth has only laughed 3 times her entire life that I know of!  Caleb started cackling at about 2 months of age!!  So, there is good and not so good with all of us :)

Elizabeth's cry is so quiet that I have to use the baby monitor at all times.  It might be the quietest cry of all time.  Unless she gets really worked up (which happens when I forget to turn the monitor on so she cries in her room for a long time), then she screams bloody murder.  So I know her lungs work just fine...she just has to get really mad to use them to their full capacity.

We went to the doctor yesterday and she is 46% for weight (13ish pounds) and 79% for height (can't remember, but it's written down somewhere).  A little lighter and a little longer than Autumn at that age, but pretty close to her sister's stats.  All my kids are TALL (95% 99% 79%)!  2 of them are also thin, one is not ;)

No picture this month because I'm lazy!

Baby book details:
Favorite toy: Pink kitty cat rattle, or watching her older siblings, or mommy making funny faces at her
Although she doesn't laugh much, she smiles allllll the time.
Dislikes:  I seriously can't think of one.  Loud noises maybe?
Still can't tolerate dairy via breast milk
Uses the bumpo on occasion and does fine except it makes her spit up longer than 5 or so minutes.  Her core gets lazy ;)

Friday, June 14, 2013

Ladybug 3 Months




My pumpkin is 3 months old now and I can hardly believe it!  3 months has always been a milestone in my eyes.  In my experience, they tend to sleep more and cry less once they are 3 months.  Of course, this little one rarely cries and sleeps pretty great already!  :)

She has slept through the night 3 times so far.  I think it will be nice once she does on a regular basis, but I am enjoying her little state so much I am in no hurry.

She is still exclusively breast fed.  She is a pretty messy eater!  She lets the milk spill out of her mouth. My other two were very efficient eaters and also loved to eat (especially Autumn) so this is new for me.  I wonder if it will mean she might self wean early.  I hope not.  Although I really don't love breastfeeding, I think it is kind of sweet and pretty dang miraculous.  It is special to be able to do that for my children.

She has found her hands and although I have seen her looking at her feet, she hasn't grabbed them yet.  She sucks on her fist and fingers and even found her thumb once!

She smiles anytime I make eye contact with her and is a very content baby to be doing whatever.  She hangs out in her bouncy seat anytime I need her to and she stays in the swing almost the entire time I work out.  She will lay on her back on a blanket as well.  She also doesn't scream in her car seat.  That is brand new for me!  Both Autumn and Caleb hated their car seats (and Caleb also hated the stroller and any type of shopping cart).

She takes 3 naps a day although the times vary.

This is kind of funny, but she has learned that when Caleb comes over to say hi to flinch away!  She kind of closes her eyes to wait for the impact of his kiss!  Smart little thing!!

She is a precious gift sent from God and we all cherish her.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Mr. Man 18 Months

One and a half baby!  Such a cutie!  Such a Baby Hulk!!  Weighing in at roughly 32 pounds and ?? inches tall, Caleb is at the top of his class.  We love our sturdy little man.



He has changed so much since his little sister was born 3 months ago!  He has gotten much more independent.  He did it naturally and totally without him "having" too.  What I mean is he didn't learn to be independent after 3 weeks of being ignored or anything...he just was almost the same day we came home from the hospital.  It was a huge answered prayer.

Top 5 Characteristics
1. Emotional (highs and lows)
2. Sweet (gives kisses and hugs allll day long on his own!)
3. Chatty (although I can't understand hardly a thing he says, he "talks" a lot)
4. Strong willed (VERY)
5. Quick to catch on (another way of saying "smart" I suppose)

Sleeping
The boys sleeps like a rock.  I just love that about him ;)  He takes a solid 2.5-3 hour nap every day and he sleeps 12ish hours at night.  He goes down easily and looks forward to sleep.  If he is tired and you say "want to go night-night" he will reach up to be held, which means "yes, please".  He will say "nigh nigh" to Autumn who stays up later and have no issues about that.

Eating
He is a very diverse eater and will try anything.  He likes most things, but veggies are, of course, sometimes left on his plate.  He loves everything so I don't really know what his favorite foods might be!  Maybe bananas?    He is sill a chunk but is starting to get tall so he is slowing thinning out.  I am obsessed with his chunky legs and will be so sad when they are lean and mean.

Emotions
Ok, this is Caleb's most challenging aspect.  I don't know how to describe it.  He is emotional, yes, but so are all children.  I don't know that he is more emotional, but he expresses his emotions quite strongly.  He laughs LOUD and HARD when he is happy and he SCREAMS and CRIES when he is not happy.  Most days he has a tantrum of some sort.  Sometimes they are brief and sometimes they seem to last all day.  Things that set him off most of the time are not getting something that he wants.  For example, a toy or my cell phone or medicine (if I have to give Autumn some I have to be sneaky or give him something else at the same time or he LOSES HIS MIND).  Also if you do something he doesn't like, he starts to lose it and it is sometimes hard to get him back.  You can't just stop doing the thing he doesn't like, you have to distract him or just let him get the emotional overflow out of his system.  He doesn't do great with new situations.  New places, new people, new experiences...these things make him feel vulnerable (I assume) and it takes him awhile to warm up.  Awhile can mean 20 minutes or 2 weeks, haha.  When we first moved to our current house we would go outside in the back yard and it took about 30 minutes of sitting in my lap before he ventured out to explore the yard with Autumn.   We have been going to church nursery for 4 months and he still cries every time we leave him (obviously, my presence or lack thereof affects him too).  Trying something new affects him  long after we have left the place so we choose what we do carefully.

I don't mind that he is like that.  It is challenging, but I feel up to the challenge.  The only thing that I worry about is that I will parent him wrongly.  I don't always know what is best for him.  I rarely feet like this with Autumn.  I know what is safe and what is beneficial and what she can handle.  She rarely cries so when she is upset it is easy to know something is going on.  Caleb cries every single day so it is harder to know how seriously things are affecting him.  He cries over big stuff (Autumn pushing him down) and little stuff (wiping peanut butter off his face) and I can't always tell if he is really emotionally upset or just mad at me for doing something he doesn't like.  He has to get over me doing stuff he doesn't like.  I am going to always enforce our house rules whether he likes them or not, but I also want to be compassionate to his emotions since he seems to feel things A LOT.  It is not an easy line to walk.

For example, with dropping him off places (church, exercise group, bible study, date nights etc).  He is very attached to his family and doesn't want to be with new people or play with kids he doesn't know.  I need to find the balance between encouraging him to step out of his comfort zone, but not pushing him into things that are too much for him to handle.  I just want to do what's the most healthiest for him and I feel like I don't always know what that is exactly.

UPDATE 13 June:  I wrote this post about 3 weeks ago.  I have started going to a workout group 3 times a week on average.  Autumn, Caleb, and Eliza stay together in child care and he has grown soooo much in this area!  I think having Autumn there helps a lot.  I even went to a bible study for the first time last week and he didn't cry AT ALL!  It feel miraculous.  I know that's a big word and I know it's not really a miracle, but that is how it feels.  I never ever ever would have predicted a month ago that he would have "grown up" so much!  He is even crying/whining/tantruming less at home.  It is awesome!

Ok, moving on now...

Toys
He loves toy cars.  It is so cute to seem him scooting around on the floor driving his little car.  He always loves books as much as Autumn.  Yay!! That is such a blessing to have 2 children that love books.  He will sit on the floor with a book in his lap and "read".  He just sits and talks and talks while he looks at books.  He can say mama, daddy, Eliza (thy-tha), Autumn (Ah), papa (grandpas), shoe, sock, ball, teeth, hair, hot, eye, dog, cow, duck, book, snack, night night, bath, no, phone.  There are more but I can't think of them right now.  He also says outside, back pack, Tinkerbell, and water but they are too hard to write phonetically and I doubt anyone would know what he is saying except me (and maybe his daddy!).
Funny thing is he talks allllllll the time, but you can't understand 95% if it!  Hopefully, he will learn to enunciate better in the next couple of months.

Overall, he is healthy, healthy, healthy, and we are so glad he is OURS!!!!!!!