Wednesday, September 29, 2010

My Girls' Weekend and Egg Carton Catepillars

So, I am back from my trip to Birmingham and it was pretty much as fabulous as I thought it would be.  I came back thinking, now that was a vacation.  I got to my friend, Laurahelen's house and walked right in, used several of her beauty products, not to mention wore a few of her outfits, just as if we had never left our dorm room at Auburn.  We ate, talked, laughed hysterically, ate some more, and talked a lot more.

These are my sophomore roomies.  We were pretty much joined at the hip from day one at Auburn, I mean, literally, our first or second day at Auburn we had all met and the friendships were instant.  Not much has changed except we've added several husbands, five little boys, two little girls, and Laura (far left) just found out she is expecting her third.  Girls, let's please not wait so long this time before doing it again!

Alright, so I was a bit behind on planning my week when I got back on Sunday.  But I think I've finally caught up on grocery shopping, laundry, and planning for our school week.  

Caution:  About to give quite a few details of our homeschooling thus far...might not be interesting to some.

School is going well.  Here is kind of what it is looking like.  We don't do anything on Mondays since Steven is home.  I really shoot for doing stuff on Tues., Wed., and Thurs. and then usually do Ellie's reading lesson on Friday.  I am using the website for Ellie, and mainly Luke.  LB introduced me to it.  It is free and it takes a letter each week and expounds on it.  I don't do everything, but try to do most.  We take Tuesdays to go to the library and check out the books that are suggested.  When we get back, I usually introduce the letter, the sound, and the vocabulary words for the week.  We read a couple of the books and I let them color a coloring sheet that has the sign language for the letter on it.  I print those off here.  Coloring sheets are their favorites!  It also helps them to listen as I try to read or talk about something else.  I really like doing the composer of the week.  It is so easy to go to youtube and type in the composer and then the music is right there.  Great to listen to while they color.  They also really look forward to that part.  We usually don't get to that until Wednesday.  An art project is by far their favorite, especially Ellie's.  I found this fabulous book on Amazon.  I also bought a science one like it and I try to do one art project a week.  We have only done one Science project so far.

On Thursdays, I try to finish up the rest of the library books, oh, and we also usually read a poem having to do with the letter of the week.  Thursdays we usually do one of the suggested "social studies" activities.  We have a huge map of the world on our wall that I bought at Costco for $6.  Have I mentioned I love that place?  :)  So we usually locate a country, and maybe color a picture of the pertaining flag, and try to read a few facts about it.  I personally like that part because I am learning a few things myself.  I'm pretty terrible at geography.  If we don't do the country, we usually pick one of the animals, and again, do a coloring sheet, and learn some about the animal.  That is pretty much it for "letter of the week".

As for Ellie, for now, I am going with The Well-Trained Mind--sorry, I think I have already mentioned this.  Anyway, the reading curriculum is The Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading.  This takes about 20-25 min. and we pretty much do this Tues.-Fri.  She is doing well.  No tears in the past few weeks (from either of us).  We are working on two-consonant blends and she is reading sentences such as this, "Next, the man did sit and bask in the sun."  With pauses, of course.  But still good, I think.  So very hard for me to know what is "normal."  Planning on meeting with some seasoned homeschool moms soon.  I am such a beginner with no teaching experience it is not even funny.  But we are surviving it, I think, one day at a time.

Here was a little of our day today.  Oh, what does Andrew do in the mean time?  A few of my friends have asked this question.  

Today, he ate a dum-dum and smarties, while Ellie and Luke made egg carton catepillars.  Don't judge me, it works.

Things quickly went south when I told him he may not have another one.  He found the stash and here he is begging me to open another one.
After I said "no, all done", he said, Fine, I will open it myself.
If you live in the Southeast, you probably heard the scream that followed this picture when I took it away.

Here are the egg carton catepillars.  This is from our art book.  It really is such a great book, and it has all sorts of recipes for great homeade stuff, such as playdough, clay, paper mache, and those sorts of things.  

I thought they were a hit, until we were done and Luke said, "Now are we going to make remote controls to go with them so they can move around?"  WHAT!?  Later, on the phone, Laura Beth said, "Wow, I guess he is ready for some major science lessons."  

Then, we moved it outside for more mess.  The weather is unbelievably perfect. It is an "open up your window" kind of day.   It would be a sin not to spend some of it outdoors.  
Andrew forgave me for the sucker incident when I let him feed himself macaroni 'n' cheese.

I am a firm believer that if you work on one thing and do it well in a day's time, something else gets sacrificed.  Today, we have done well on our school things and have enjoyed time outside. Other things have been sacrificed.  It is just how it goes. 

Enjoy your Wednesday!

Friday, September 24, 2010

The 210 Dollar Rash

A few days before we left for the beach Luke got a rash under his arm.  It quickly spread down his side, like over his ribcage.  Little spots that turned into little sores.  Weird.  We took him in the day before we left so we wouldn't be dealing with that at the beach.  The doctor thought it was bacterial.  $80 for oral antibiotic and anti-fungal cream in case it wasn't bacterial, $25 for the doctor's visit.  Healed quickly.  Then we got back from the beach and there was Ellie's rash.  Same place, opposite side of her body.  Again, weird.  Great, we still have the antibiotics, though.  The ointment was not taking care of it and the rash didn't seem to be responding as quickly to the oral antibiotic.  Responding, just not as quickly.  So we call the doctor to see if they could just call some more antibiotics in.  Nope.  $25 for another visit.  And a different antibiotic that was $80.  The doctor we saw (not our regular pediatrician) also wrote us a prescription for an antibiotic ointment.  She said, "I went ahead and wrote it for the larger size, it's just good to have around the house.  It will take care of any itching."  I was thinking, sorry, Ellie, you will have to survive a little itching.  So, $210 later we are almost rash free.

Just when you think are getting a handle on the money situation.  Sigh.

One more thing.  I spent a chunk of yesterday washing the sheets on our king size bed.  Including the mattress pad.  Last night at about 11:00, I was putting them all back on.  Just now as I was about to hit publish post, Ellie climbed on the bed and said, "Gross!"  I had been putting off changing a dirty diaper so I could finish this blogpost.  And when she said that, my heart sunk.  Andrew had climbed off the bed and left some of the contents of his diaper on the sheets, and also soaking through to the gigantic mattress pad.  Here we go again...

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Back From the Beach


The beach was, um, maybe definitely the most exhausting beach trip I have ever been on.  On our way out of town, we stopped for dinner and Laura Beth asked me if it was worth it.  I said, after a pause, "Yes, the kids had a blast."  I'm probably making it worse than it was.  Nothing bad happened and I can't even really put my finger on why it was so much work, it just was.  Pretty much five children five and under is what did it.  I really am grateful for the time spent with family and the opportunity to be on an incredibly peaceful, gorgeous beach.  But I was ready to be home again. 

My sweet Luke turned four years old. 

I wasn't able to say a "blog Happy Birthday" to him on his birthday.  But I certainly don't want to let the four year mark pass by without saying what an incredible blessing this boy is to me.  Sensitive, honest, kind-hearted, cautious, encouraging.  He loves his mama, but he really loves his Daddy. He loves all things boys, right now it is superheroes and cowboys. He has such endearing qualities.  You can't not love him. I pray as I do for all my children that he will grow into a Godly man, actually a boy.  That he would know Christ at a young age and seek Him and walk with Him all of his days.  To know the love that surpasses knowledge.  And that in Christ, his weaknesses would be strengths.

We celebrated on our first day at the beach and Ada, Luke, and Ellie woke up at about 6:00 as if it were Christmas morning.  It has gotten a bit out of hand on birthdays for all the siblings and cousins to receive a gift as well.  I knew we needed to cut back when Ellie was excited about her My Little Pony card, that said "it is good to be the birthday girl". 

We even got Andrew started early with a Thomas train.  No wonder they felt like it was Christmas morning. 
The highlight gift was definitely Woody.  He has not really left Luke's side since this moment. 
The batman and superman capes were a close second, although Andrew took to them as well and here he is modeling it for me.
We enjoyed being with Ada as she experienced the beach for the first time.  Well, John too, but he wasn't such a fan.  Ada had no fear and took to it immediately.  So it worked out well that the water was exceptionally calm. 
Andrew was so faithful to keep his sunglasses on the entire time we were on the beach.  And of course, faithful with his paci.
The beach weather really could not have been more perfect. 

It was also fun to come back to the fall.  Yesterday was the parade and so begins the "candy season".  After this will be Halloween, then Christmas, then Easter. 

In other news, Ellie thoroughly enjoyed her first ballet class.  And I thoroughly enjoyed watching it.
Andrew enjoyed watching too, and when the teacher said, "jump!" he gave it his best shot.

Hope you're enjoying a beautiful fall Saturday.  We are.  Pulling for Steven's bulldogs as they do their best to hang in the game.  And of course, later, I will do my best to cheer on Auburn from our little corner of the South.  No visits to Auburn this season :( and this may be the first season that Steven hasn't gone to Athens to watch a game.  Things are certainly different than they used to be.  But that is okay, seasons of life come, and they go.  I will enjoy each.  And next weekend, I will travel to Birmingham to be with college girlfriends.  To say I am looking forward to it would be a huge understatement.  It will be such fun to step back into that season.  I am in the process of developing a small team of people to run things while I am gone.  Haha...that is what it feels like anyway. :)

Sunday, September 5, 2010

This & That

Hello, blog friends...It has been one thing after another 'round here.  But good things, things to be thankful for.

First things first, I am doing well after the miscarriage. I so appreciate the sincere comments and messages I have received.  God has been gracious to heal us quickly and I am feeling especially thankful these days for the three children the Lord has entrusted us with.

We enjoyed a fun visit from Nana and Poppy last week.  Despite this picture, Andrew warmed up to them quickly.

 Especially after Wayne let Andrew play in his tea.

Ellie is officially signed up for a "pre-ballet" class.  She has her required uniform and is ready.  I'm not sure if I am ready.  Not for ballet, just opening up the door to extracurricular activities.  Once it is open, it will not shut for the next 18+ years.

I made a trip to Costco while we were in Huntsville to buy the ballet gear.  I love that place more each time I go.  I bought a bag of Krusteaz multi-grain pancake mix.  It has 38 grams of whole grain per serving.  38!!  And my entire family ate them and liked them.  Including Andrew and Steven.  I snuck in a dab of vanilla and a spoonful of sugar--just to help all those grains go down.

On Friday night, Steven, Luke, and my dad went to the high school football game.  Luke before they left...thrilled for it to be just the guys.

 Handsome boy.  I have to do a double take over how fast he is growing up.  4 next week!

         That left the girls, plus Andrew, to do a girl thing.  Dinner on the backporch...

I'm happy to announce the batman cape or "cave" as Luke calls it, and superman cape are finished-minus a button on the batman cape.  Pictures will come with the other birthday pictures.  Luke turns four on Friday and we will celebrate at the beach.  The plan is cake and presents after lunch.  Then dinner out and a visit to the "House of Bounce".  Similar to "Pump It Up", basically a large room of inflatable fun.  

Tomorrow I will head to Chattanooga for a large consignment sale.  I am hopeful that this will be a major jump start to the fall wardrobe for this year.  But we will keep our summer clothes for just a little bit longer as we head for the beach.  Lots of packing left to do...

Sorry to family members who might have been looking forward to a video.  Haven't quite figured that out yet on this new computer.  Happy Labor Day!