Sunday, July 31, 2016

Liam turns TWO!

I could not let the month of July end without sharing these pictures of Liam on his birthday. He's lucky (just like his big brother) to not have to share his birthday month with anyone else in the family. A week and a half ago, we were able to celebrate this little boys second birthday. I cannot believe my baby is already two! Where does the time go?!?

We like to keep things low-key and simple. All four grandparents were able to join us for presents and cake. For gifts, my parents got him an peek-a-boo Elmo and my in-laws gave him a toy firetruck. He has since slept in his crib with both of his new toys ever since. 


I decided somewhat at the last minute to make Liam an Elmo birthday cake. I had the pan from Bridget's second birthday years ago, but did not use it for George because he absolutely hated Sesame Street. Liam does not care for television, but has spotted Elmo in a few books and also on his diapers (thank you, Pampers, for making it so my two-year-old will not wear any diaper that does not have a picture of Elmo). He gets excited and shouts, "Mo-mo!" every time he see's this silly red monster. 


I had to strip the baby down for his birthday cake, because I loathe trying to remove stains from clothing. Bridget and George are so good at celebrating Liam's birthday (or anyone's birthday, for that matter). They sang loud and were possibly more excited than the birthday boy.


Of course since I stripped Liam down to his diaper to eat his cake, he decided he would eat like a civilized person. His utensil-using skills are very good for his age. After a while, he realized how cute he was being and entertained us. The entire day, I was only able to capture one picture of Liam looking directly at the camera.


These next pictures I took of the children the night before Liam's birthday. I had just put the cake in the oven and the children gathered around to watch. 


This redheaded little boy has brought so much joy into our lives. We are so lucky to call him ours. 

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Taking a Break

You may have noticed that my posts have become few and far between lately.

 I am taking some time off to focus on me and my family. 


We are not experiencing any sort of crisis, so there is no need to worry. I am exhausted mentally and physically (staying up late to watch political conventions will do that to you) and I simply need a break before the start of a new school year. 


I should be "back" at the start of August. See you then!


Friday, July 15, 2016

Week in Review 2016: #27 and #28

This is a a short summary of the past two weeks. This week has been so hot. My parents had us down for dinner and the kids played in their backyard with the water hose. They had a grand time, of course. Liam (the 23-month-old) wanted to be the boss of the hose and Bridget and George were fine with that, most of the time. I managed to take way too many pictures, but here are just a few to share.


The week before, we re-arranged the kids rooms for the last time in our current house. Bridget (6) and George (4) have shared a room for awhile now and are constantly at war with one another. With Liam turning two later this month, it was a good opportunity to give the boys their own room and Bridget her own room. We converted the nursery to a girls room. It was not a big project. No paint and no new furniture or decor. We will be in this house for only another 5-6 months. 


The boys are liking their "new" room. I did not know how Liam would react to sharing a room, but he has done well. George is staying in his bed at night (rather than getting up to terrorize his sister) and Liam stays in his crib and reads his books. The past couple of nights, Liam has fussed a lot and we've determined that he is doing it just to get us to come back. Now I am ignoring it and once he figures out I am not coming in, he stops and settles down under his blanket. George is surprisingly able to fall asleep while Liam fusses.



We are still homeschooling through the summer and are studying Rome, which means we are on the home stretch for ancient history. Bridget is also zooming through her math lessons and doing well on her tests. I was unsure if we'd be done with first grade work by the time I wanted to start second grade, but now I think we'll be fine. It's a lighter, more casual homeschooling routine, which makes up for us not having a vacation before second grade begins. 

Linking Up With:


Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Pre-K Curriculum | 2016-2017 School Year

My 4-year-old will officially be joining us in school this year with a very relaxed Pre-K curriculum. He has waited for this moment for a long time. We are so excited to have him with us!!!



Language Arts


Reading

It is time for the boy to start reading. I have a confession to make. My 4-year-old son cannot read his letters. There, I said it. He knows the alphabet, but we have not worked on reading the letters. He has had no interest in learning and I chose not to force it. However, it is now time to change that. I will be using the same book with him that I used for my now 6-year-old. It worked wonderfully for her and I see no reason not to use it again. The Ordinary Parents Guide to Teaching Reading is one of the most important books in my homeschool. It lays a perfect foundation for reading.




We will also be using BOB Books, as they are good practice for a beginner. We'll start with the pre-reading books and move up to the beginning readers.



Handwriting

With learning to read letters, my son will also be learning to write them. We do not have a special book for this, and we will be starting with writing lines (horizontal, vertical, circle, etc.). If I feel that he is ready, I may start early with the kindergarten level Zaner-Bloser Handwriting book.


Literature

While my son will be joining his big sister on the couch as I read various stories related to history, science, or anything else, I wanted to include a special read-aloud time with just him and I. We will be reading classic children's stories and doing an activity related to the story. We hope to get through Rumpelstiltskin, Jack and the Beanstalk, Little Red Riding Hood, The Little Red Hen, The Three Little Pigs, The Three Bears, The Three Billy Goats Gruff, and so on. I will also include Aesop's Fables and any other stories involving a lesson.


Mathematics


Mathematics in the early years, if done right, can be very fun and rewarding. My son is already an excellent counter and knows simple addition and subtraction, but I will still be formally going over the basics with him. This way it all gets covered and if we move at a faster pace to meet his needs, then that is what we will do. 

Just this year, The Well-Trained Mind Press published a book by Kate Snow called Preschool Math at Home: Simple Activities to Build the Best Possible Foundation for Your Child. At first, I had no intention on getting the book, as I did just fine with my oldest with preschool math. However, after watching this video, I got to see the concepts and activities of the book in action. I am always on the look-out for fun and effective ways to teach my children, and my son is a very active hands-on little boy, so I am eager to give it a try. 

Because the book is geared toward the early preschool years (age 3), I anticipate that my Pre-K student and I will work on two lessons per week, alternating with puzzles, counting bears, and other activities.


History


At this age, I do not do any formal history lessons but he usually likes to join in when I do history with his older sister. This year, we are studying the Middle Ages and I know that the stories of knights and kings will be of great interest to him.


Science


I did not do Pre-K science for my oldest, and I regret it. This time around, I will be using Elemental Science's Exploring Science. We've used this for both kindergarten and first grade with my oldest and it has been a big hit. Looking at the lessons, I know that my son will look forward to science each week. The concepts are simple and the experiments are easy. For the experiments, we will be using the suggested book Science Play.



My hope is that my son will feel included in our school day and that by keeping his lessons simple and fun, he will not only learn but also enjoy having school with us. 

2016-2017 Curriculum Link-Up:




Thursday, July 7, 2016

Life's Trials That Made Me Better {52 Lists}

This was a difficult list to come up with, not because I haven't had my fair share of trials, but because of how personal some of the trials are. However, this could be therapeutic for me, as some of the trials are still ongoing. (Please note that this is not a complete list, but are the first few that came to mind.)


So, here goes:

  • When I lost my grandparents. The circumstances surrounding their death were difficult but I feel that the experience gave me a better understanding of life and the sufferings of others.

  • When we learned that our 18-month-old son was born with a congenital heart defect which could only be fixed with open heart surgery. We were told that without surgery, he may not have lived to see his 5th birthday. In the weeks leading up to the surgery and all throughout his surgery and recovery in the hospital and at home, I had never prayed so hard in my life. Prayers for strength and healing later became prayers of gratitude as I watched my son make a full recovery. Today, my son is a happy and healthy 4-year-old. 

  • When I made the decision to change to a vegan diet. Having inherited a genetic high cholesterol disorder (where my body produces far too much LDL, or bad cholesterol) from my mother, I knew I had to do something drastic. The change has made me more aware of my health and I am much better off than I was before I made the switch. 

  • When my husband abruptly quit his job just two months after I gave birth to our first child. His employer at the time had created a hostile work environment and my husband could no longer be a part of the company. As a result, I went back to work while he stayed home with the baby and studied for the GMAT to go back to school and get his master's degree. We nearly drained our savings during the time he was attending school, but it has all worked out in the end. 

  • When someone very dear to me revealed that they were transgender and undergoing hormone replacement therapy. I knew something was going on because we had not spoken in over 8 years, and before that I could see that they were struggling with something. I never expected this. I had to do a lot of soul-searching to try to make sense of it all. I feel firm in my Christian beliefs, and while this persons choices are not in line with what I believe in, I feel that I have had to exercise great compassion and understanding for this person and their community. I have gradually lost contact with this person again, but I realize that their trials are much bigger than I could ever understand.


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Friday, July 1, 2016

Week in Review 2016: #26

Last Saturday as my husband was out working in the yard, he discovered a small turtle in the storage shed. Over the years, we've had a few critters show up in our fenced in backyard like bunnies and snakes, but a turtle was a first for us. I called my two older children outside to check it out. My husband was nice enough to pick up the turtle so that I could get a better picture of it (and to move it out of harms way).


George named him Sam, and my daughter insisted on calling it Sammy (hoping it was a girl), though George did not like that name. Later in the day, I went outside to check on it and it had somewhat burrowed itself into the grass where it stayed for a few hours (maybe it was taking a nap?). By the next morning, it was completely gone. We still don't know how it got in, or how it got back out of our backyard.


On Monday, we decided that George needed a haircut. He gets so overheated when playing outside, and my husband felt that a haircut would help George out. Because we had nowhere else to be for the week, and grocery shopping was done, I took this opportunity to give George his very first mohawk.


There is actually a reason I did this. At the beginning of summer, back in the 1950s, my grandfather in Hawaii would give his sons a mohawk once school got out. I was able to find this picture of my dad with two is his two older brothers, sporting their new mohawks. My dad is in the middle and his mohawk is barely visible, as he was the only child with light blonde hair.

"Papa" and his older brothers, about 1953 in Waialua, Hawaii.

I surprised my dad the next day by showing George with his mohawk. My dad sure got a kick out of it. George's mohawk is more of the "punky" look, and it tends to curl over even with gel in his hair (George has naturally curly hair). I told George he can keep the mohawk for the rest of the week. I asked him last night if I could cut it and he said he wanted to keep it for just one more day. I told him that would be fine as long as it was gone before Sunday, as the mohawk is not appropriate for church (my personal opinion; not a church policy). 

The very next day, Bridget lost another tooth! This is two weeks in a row now that the tooth fairy has made a visit to our house. Fortunately, Bridget has no more loose teeth in her mouth. I thought that she would have difficulty talking and eating, but she seems to be doing just fine. Her adult teeth are already coming in. I imagine she'll have a full smile again in a few short months (though the goofy, toothless 6-year-old look is cute, too).


I couldn't post pictures of the older two without including this little guy. My husband snapped this picture of him last night as I was cooking dinner. Liam now opens the kitchen gate and invites himself in to the kitchen while I am at the stove. He knows he is not supposed to be in there and I reminded him that the stove is hot. As he is saying the word "hot" over and over again, he puts on both of the oven mitts to show that he is being safe around the hot stove. My husband got a kick out of it. I must say, he is one funny baby. He will be two later this month so I guess I should stop calling him the baby. 


We are enjoying our summer and doing school work when circumstances allow (usually when Liam is taking his afternoon nap). The power went out two nights ago for a couple of hours and I took that opportunity to read a couple of chapters of The Iliad to Bridget. She was scared (it was also very stormy) and I knew a story would calm her down. Even at 10 o'clock at night, I'll find the opportunity to do "school".


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