Sunday, January 31, 2010

My boy is four! Squinting into the too bright sun, he still manages to look adorable.

He loves "gorilla" bars, they make his heart "beep" faster.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Making My Home a Haven, week 2

Last week went much better. The kids are picking up their chores and the kitchen is clean. And I've been able to keep up with my daily Bible reading and prayer time. Our morning routine is really working even when I have to adjust for nightowl babies.
Last Saturday's plans were changed for me - that happens some times! - so I'll try again this week to have everything done for dinner and for church by Saturday afternoon.
Monica's challenge this week is about planning. My favorite! Stopping to think things through is an absolute necessity. The things that really start to grate on my nerves are usually the same things that I haven't taken the time to plan (or maybe I had them all out but something changed...these kids are always growing and changing on me). Several things around here could stand to have a little thought applied...
  • Meals...I do usually plan suppers, but I don't always stick to the plan. And lunches and breakfast need more planning, too.
  • Luke's nap...he's been napping in the school room with us, but he's beginning to wake a little too easily for that so we need to find him a new spot.
  • School...the basics of school are planned out for the rest of this year, but I do need to make copies, reserve books, and plan projects. The fun stuff. And I want to start thinking about next year and plan a planning day like last year.
  • Tea time...Brenna's asked me to have a tea party with her so we're going to make this a regular girls only time on Sunday afternoons (although the boys will still be able to snack on any goodies we might have). I think I'm looking forward to this as much as she is!

That should provide a nice, full week. I don't usually have any free time to sit and think, but since Casey's going to work earlier, I'm planning to use that time. I'll just have to write myself a list of things to plan!

Thanks to Monica for hosting this lovely series!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Making My Home Home a Haven - Week 1

I got off to a slow start on this week's goals. Getting the kids back onto their chore schedule proved tough because of all the late nights I've been having with Luke and Christian. When Mommy sleeps too late mornings get off on the wrong foot! Getting the kitchen clean in the evenings fell prey to the same problem...I was too exhausted after supper most nights to worry about it.

But I got so much more done this week than I would've without the challenge! I read a chapter in my Bible every morning and wrote down my prayers every morning. That's something I've wanted to get back to for a long time so I'm really tickled about it. I did a little more blogging, too, which was nice. And I have this afternoon set aside to settle down with some tea and fill in my Bible - I've been looking forward to it all week.

For next week...
  • Continue working with the kids on their morning and afternoon chores. We're getting the toy room and bedrooms completely picked p today - that should help.
  • same goes for the kitchen!
  • I also need to gt to bed and get up earlier through the week.
  • On Saturday, I'm planning to have all my work cleaned, church clothes ironed, dinner three so that I can have a little time "off" and we can all have a relaxing evening together.

Thanks, Monica, for hosting this series. It's such a help!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Raising a young lady

Being the only girl in a houseful of brothers probably has its advantages. I do worry though that I will be so busy with these wild and crazy guys that she and I will miss out on all those wonderful girly things. I'm determined to spend more time this year focusing on raising a young lady...and painting our fingernails.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Making Your Home a Haven

I've always enjoyed this series that Monica hosts every so often, but these lovely hydrangeas just called out to me to join in.

We've been focused on school for the last few weeks so the house has had to make do with a lick and a promise. Hopefully over the next few weeks we can turn our comfy, lived in!, home into a true haven.

Here's what I'll work on this week.

  • starting the day with my Bible reading and written prayers. I'm working on reading just one chapter per day from the New Testament.

  • getting the kids back on the chore bandwagon. I've been very lax about reminding them lately and we all know how that works:)

  • cleaning the kitchen every night before bed. Nothing is more depressing than waking up to dirty dishes!

  • making time to blog a bit more often. This blog serves as my only scrapbook for right now and posting about what I've managed to accomplish is a big encouragement.

  • filling in my brand new family Bible - a Christmas present from my grandparents. I'm so excited about writing our family history in the front.

That's enough, I think, to keep me busy for one week.

"First" Day of School

Our first day of school for this year was actually back in July. Then we took a long fall break and official school days were all chaotic and twirly (but not in a good way) after that. So after Christmas break I was ready to get back to a regular routine. I commemorated the event by finally taking first day of school pictures for this year.

Levi is a second grader this year. He did not do well with the lack of routine over the last few months - I think school seemed a little too optional and, given the option he'd rather play than work. I can identify. But the last few weeks have seen a total turn around. Once he knew the (challenging) expectations, he's taken right off...most days he does even more than I expected.

Brenna has been the one begging for more school. She's only 5 1/2 but is doing mostly 1st grade work. Math seems to come naturally to her (which makes me scratch my head) and her reading skills are coming along. I haven't managed to teach her to love books yet...I'm beginning to think that isn't something you can teach. But I am planting all the seeds for it...

Jack is my preschooler this year. He loves the Kumon workbooks - working his way through Tracing and Sticker & Paste right now - but I'm also trying to spend time reading just with him every day. He was too young for a lot of the picture books and Bible stories when I was reading them to Brenna and Levi, so I'm rereading them with him now. He still listens in to everything the big kids do, though. Especially science. And we all are studying the catechism together.

I'm really excited about the last half of the school year. Our homeschool group has been a lifesaver! I'm teaching a short class on Medieval Times for the co-op that I'll share more about soon. It's so fun to work with all of these great kids and to see my kids making friends. Just the booster shot we need every now and then:) And I'm so glad I finally took their pictures...look how much they've grown since last year!

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Luke's Baptism

We had Luke's Baptism on our anniversary. It was really precious to me - he grinned at the pastor and seemed to enjoy it, too. Just about our whole family was able to be there.
Luke and my dad

Here are Casey and the rest of our little tribe. Brenna had a hard time deciding between gold bows and a gold headband for her hair. That was (miraculously!) the biggest drama of our morning.

Casey, Christian, Levi, Brenna, and Jack

After church everyone came back to our house for an extremely casual meal of make-your-own subs and some yummy desserts. It was so fun to have everyone together to visit and relax. The kids played outside (and got my nephew's brand new rc helicopter stuck in a tree) and the grownups stayed in and talked and snacked and talked. Lovely.

pictures by my sister, btw. I never would've included the mayo jar:)

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Happy New Year!

I'm still wrapping up 2009, but in my head I'm making big plans for 2010. More on that later. In the meantime I thought I'd catch everyone up on the last few months of 2009 since posting got lower than usual on my priority list after Luke was born.
Casey's work went back and forth between too few hours and overtime, causing quite a bit of upheaval. It was well worth it though to have him home a little more often.
Our schooling was very slow to pick back up after the fall break we took when Luke was born. We did the bare minimum most days and I postponed a lot of extras, but we kept up with our great co-op group and went on a fun field trip.
The most difficult thing we did this year, by far, was leaving our church. It's a decision we've been praying over for a very long time...God was gracious enough to keep repeating Himself while I hemmed and hawed. But we've settled in a new church and been very blessed by it. The pastor was even kind enough to work Luke's baptism into the holiday schedule so that our family could all be there.
The baptism was a truly happy day. Luke grinned through the whole thing - he's a happy little fella. And then we had friends and family over to the house for a (very relaxed!) lunch.
Casey and I celebrated our 12th wedding anniversary just after Christmas by going out to dinner while my parents watched *all* of the kids. So nice. I'm so thankful that God brought us together when we were so young and has held us together since then. Sometimes I feel like we're toddlers on His lap and, whether we play happily or push and pull and try to escape, He holds us there, loving arms restraining and protecting us. This past year we've played happily with only a very few minor tantrums:)
And now I'm looking forward to getting 2010 off to a good start. I'm full of ideas for school and home. I can't wait to make a brand new notebook! But first I think I'll get the Christmas tree put away:)