Friday, March 26, 2010

Happy Birthday Baby Girl!

Our baby girl turned 1 today. She got lots of birthday hugs & kisses from all her brothers. We celebrated with some family traditions. Here's a pic of KG with the same white bear that we've taken pics of all the kids each month from 0 to 12 months.
We had Friday night pizza night. Here's KG trying to eat the pooh 1 year old candle that each of the boys has had on their 1 year old birthday cake. Over the years he's lost an ear and the wick so tonight's candle wasn't lit. We also didn't have cake- we're waiting for the big celebration until next weekend when our families can come. Tonight the candle was on a cookie- the boys helped make lots of cookies yesterday.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Wonderful Wednesday

I started to write wordless Wednesday since that seems to be the trend and I mostly just want to add some pics since I've been behind on pics, but they can't be wordless and today was wonderful!

I love the spring- the beautiful flowers outside, awesome weather, fun things to do. Today we went to Farm Days in Raleigh with friends. They had lots of animals- pigs, cows, turkeys, chickens, horses, ... The boys got to hold baby chicks, pet rabbits, pigs, and a baby goat and play on lots of tractors. Then a beautiful picnic and free ice cream! What a nice day!

who says hospital gowns aren't cute! Here's K before his surgery last week.
we've spent lots of time building outside- race tracks, obstacle courses, parks, houses, ... good thing we're packrats so we kept the scrap wood from when James built the deck.
KG's shirt was green under her jacket. can you guess when this was?
KG's first playtime at CEC- a birthday party for a friend.
I don't have any pics from yesterday's birthday party at the skating rink. The boys all had a great time. Even KG got to go out on the rink- I skated and she rode in the stroller. Lots of fun!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

True Confessions

In my DINK (Dual Income No Kids) life, in addition to making new friends, every time a friend had a baby, I also frequently wondered what stay at home moms could possibly do all day. I figured the bon-bons & TV on the couch must be true. 4 kids later I know that's not true. I recently had a friend (who is going back to staying at home after being out working) ask me what things make my life easier. That made me think about what things help me make the most of out of the day instead of hoping to make through it most of the day.

here are a few things that came to mind- including a piece of chocolate which I ate as I sat down to write this:
-decide what things you want to get done- like what you want to teach your kids plus the obvious things like taking care of the house/ feeding, dressing, bathing

-think about what things your kids can do by themselves (like take a nap, blanket time, and our new family favorite- watch a 30 minute movie after naps)

-think about what things you can do with the kids (either while they're doing something else or things they can help you with) I recently saw this post on ways young children can help around the house which has some good ideas. I do most of my cooking & regular kitchen clean up while the boys are playing after meals or coloring, doing puzzles at the table.

-decide you want to do without the kids help (like personal devotion time, weeding through the growing pile of artwork & toys)

-develop a routine/ schedule which matches those up & fits your family. Don't be a slave to your schedule to let it help you. I really think routine helps most people esp. kids. Know that your schedule will change over time especially with young kids

our day generally looks like this
7 am kids up (I plan to get up at 6:30 to shower/ read my Bible before they're up but I haven't been great at that)
7:30 eat breakfast/ read Bible together
8:00 chores/ get dressed/ clean rooms
8:30 kids play/ I finish cleaning kitchen
9:00-11:30- our time for outings (parks, libraries, Fun Fridays, stores, ...), blanket time (I never read this post before right now but it explains a way of doing blanket time & a few other good suggestions- I think I'll have to remember sound off TV once I have more readers), puzzles, crafts, bath time, outside, book reading...
11:30 lunch
12:00 play/ cleanup
13:00 nap (my quiet time if I didn't do it early. much better when it's my time to listen to a podcast and get stuff done)
14:30 read with oldest (we just finished Teach your Child to Read in 100 easy lessons) which K & I both liked. it was fast & easy. now we're reading different things each afternoon- Bible, easy readers, Starfall reading )
15:00 Math/ snack- I'm trying to bribe my kids to like math :) there are just so many great things to count & add- like pretzels, grapes, ... some days we
15:30 The prize- 30 min movie for boys who did their chores & a good job at naptime (my time for doing something with quiet/ still kids)
16:00 play outside with good weather, walks lots of days
17:30 get ready for dinner/ boys play. I almost never cook dinner late afternoon- too many tired people. I usually pull it out of the freezer or make it in the morning and stick in the oven in the afternoon. A huge help has been planning out meals way in advance with a meal plan
1800 dinner
1830 ready for bed, playtime or family time (game night, movie night, family devotions)
1900 bedtime books, prayers, bed

of course, that is the plan. sometimes someone doesn't nap or doesn't get a prize or naps at the "wrong" time, and it doesn't work out. but this is the plan

what else helps?
-a wonderful woman recommended getting out of the house at least once a day- a lot of days that means getting out in the back yard or for a walk around the neighborhood. some days it's a trip somewhere- walmart, a friend's, a park. good for everyone!

-most of the time "less is more." I started out the year with the good idea fairy adding tons of school plans- now we usually do Bible, math, & reading and anything else is bonus. the same goes with stuff (shoes, books, toys, clutter)- the more you have, the more you have to clean, dry, put away, ... decide what you & your husband are comfortable with for tidiness. I don't like having many dirty clothes so we do a load (or 2) a day but the clothes may not get put away every day. That's okay with me but might borrow some. here are more tips.

-There are tons of great curriculum out there. I have looked at some but I've tried not to look at too many because I really like what I've read and heard about Ambleside Online and I'd rather spend my time & energy doing that than deciding. Right now we're doing grapes, pretzels, lego math but I'm leaning towards Math-U-See. We have been borrowing Decimal Street with our building supplies. We've also opened several toy stores to practice buying & selling. K & C like to draw lots & do deductive reasoning puzzles. We have some preschool workbooks- Spiderman made math very fun for a week or so. We're going to start handwriting.

-don't waste time and energy comparing yourself to others. Just because I see someone who has as many responsibilities as I am but still is able to make beautiful things like these and many more, doesn't mean I'm not doing or being enough. :) I can only be and do the things God calls me to- I should not try to do more or less.

-"academics" doesn't take very long when they're little & you only have a child or two to teach. Don't feel like you have to spend all day doing it- you're not in a race to see whose child knows what first. Teach them more than facts. Teach them to learn. Look for teachable moments. the boys were so excited today to read the Operation Christmas Child Special Report and see one of our boxes in Africa. K recognized the wrapping paper and tried to figure out which boy or girl is getting that box- that made it real to him.

I learn something new every day. I have learned that bon bons and TV on the couch isn't true but a little chocolate helps :) (not as much as trusting God though!)

oh and turning off the computer during the day helps too!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Field Trip Ideas

Auntie Annie's
Great Harvest
cold stone creamery

yes, I should have been cleaning/ folding laundry something but I got on a googling field trips kick

Monday, March 1, 2010

Is it really March?

Is my baby girl really turning one this month? Where did the time go? I mean I know where it went- lots of nursing, trips to the beach, Disney, enjoying Thanksgiving and Christmas with family, doing diapers, making bread, learning to cook without wheat, milk, eggs, reading books, going on walks, ... but how did it go so fast?
I do have to tell the story behind these cute dressed up boys. I woke up one Sunday morning to big boys already dressed in button down white shirts and corduroys handing me ties for them to wear. K found T's shirt too and asked for a tie for him too. Thankfully we had 3 ties. Then they found sweaters by themselves and asked so sweetly if we go eat at a restaurant to celebrate Valentine's Day. How could we say no to such cute kids? even if this one looks like he's up to something.

What else have we been up to? we had a great weekend at the ROC (Reach Out Celebration) . We went to the banquet Friday night and saw the Children of the World Choir- they were so good. Saturday James went to the Men's breakfast and I went to the Ladies Lunch. Then we all went to the CHAT. Great to hear the stories of all the missionaries at work around the world. The boys really got into acting out missionaries. Now they've added that onto their list of what to be when they grow up- the current list includes construction worker in Sri Lanka (because they have a lot of dirt there), crossing guard, animal rescuer, Army man, school bus driver, and hot eater.
We've also had some new cooking- learning to cook without milk, eggs, and wheat- what's left? Most of the time it's gone well- although the cupcakes & brownies didn't turn out so hot. We also caught the tummy bug going around. Other than that all is well. K is doing terrific at reading and math. C is so full of life. T is becoming his own little man. and KG is super sweet (especially if she's on a lap!)