Sunday, January 31, 2010

Pregnancy Update

So I am way over due with a pregnancy update on the blog. But better late than never.

So many of you have been praying for me and sending kind thoughts my way. This means so much, really, I tear up just thinking about how ya'll are so wonderful. Isn't it great how ladies who have never actually met can share, pray and care about each other the way blogs enable us to! I am so blessed to have you all as bloggy friends. And yes, my family and friends who read this blog too, I love you all.

I am feeling better, praise the Lord! Right now instead of every day being yucky, I pretty much have some totally good and some totally bad days. Weird, but I much prefer it that way. At least I am able to have those days of rest and energy.

We have had our first ultra sound. It's early, but after all the craziness with Caroline it's nice to see our little one right away. They are doing great, the right size, growing well, and of course their little heart beat is amazing to hear and see.

This one should make an appearance in August. And they better stay in there until then. Caroline came 5 weeks early after a month of bed rest and NUMEROUS hospital visits. So it would be wonderful to make it till 40 weeks, or well, maybe 38 or 39. I might be going crazy by 40. =)

I am already starting to show a little. This is the earliest I have ever shown before. I guess I have no stomach muscles left. Funny, but with my first I couldn't wait to look pregnant. Now I just want to stay in my regular clothes as long as possible. But really, whatever the Lord has planned is fine by me. I'll just do the pony tail band in the pants thing for awhile.=)

Thank you again, I can not say this enough, for the prayers. They are amazing and powerful and mean so much. God is great and I don't want to ever take that for granted.

Now I'm off to have a cup of hot tea and a snack. Yum!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Blog Awards!

I have some wonderful bloggy friends and have been blessed to receive some blog awards lately. I am behind in posting about these, so please forgive me.

I received the Kreative Blogger Award form Susana at My Family My Forever. To accept this award I have to tell you 5 things you may not know about me.

1. I married my high school sweet heart when I was 19. We have been married almost 10 years and I love him more now than ever!
2. I would have TONS of children, but my husband is a little more conservative in that area. Plus this current pregnancy is kicking my behind.
3. I love comfy mode. I would stay in comfy mode if I could. Alas, there are too many times that I must get more appropriately dressed. =)
4. Sweet Tea is the best drink in the whole wide world.
5. I am a very impatient person. I try hard and pray often to not be this way. By the grace of God there are actually days where I manage to pull this off.

Susana also passed along the Lovely Lady Blog Award. If you do not read Susana's blog you are missing out. She is a wonderful Mama, loves the Lord and is very creative.



To accept this award I have to pass it along to 5 people. Here are my 5 in random order. They are all lovely ladies!

3. April at April Flowers
5. Michelle at Delightful Learning

Ladies, I know I have said it before, but I'll say it again. You are all busy wives, moms and homeschoolers. So do not feel like you have to pass this along. Just know that I enjoy reading your blogs and getting to know you.

And last, but not least, I received From Me To You by Amber at Journey of Grace. To accept this ward I have to tell you 7 things about me you may not know. After the previous 5, this is getting harder. But I'll try! =)


1. I am not a huge ice cream fan. I like the toppings more than the ice cream itself.
2. I hate dusting and laundry. Is there anyone out there who enjoys these two things?
3. I prefer the NLT translation of the Bible. It just makes sense and speaks to me.
4. I read multiple translations of the Bible though. I like to hear read God's word in any form possible. I don't want to miss anything.
5. Spiders are not my friend. But my son loves them, so I am trying to have a better attitude about them.
6. I love nature, being outdoors, hiking, sitting there and just soaking it all in.
7. I spend way too much money on books. Thank goodness I am thrifty else where. Not kidding, I would skip a meal in order to save the money to buy a book. And not just for me, but kids books too.

Thanks Amber, that was fun. And thank you to all of these lovely ladies. It is a privilege to get to read your blogs and glean ideas and encouragement from you.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Winter Unit Study

So we started Winter Wonders, the Down Load N Go from Amanda Bennett. I have to say that so far we are just so so impressed. I mean for our family and our homeschooling style. Others may feel completely different. Especially those of you who lapbook.

I do have to say though it only cost 8 dollars and is a great way to have an outline of what do for a unit study. So you can take what they have and build on it. You will have to build on it if you want any crafts or hands on activities.

PROS:
Great book suggestions
Lots of links online
Made my planning of what to study about Winter easier
Many areas to study, so you can pick and chose what you like
Lapbooking Components for each section (we do not lapbook though because Caleb is not interested in it)
Suggests nature walks through out whole study
From a Christian perspective, although not a lot in this area


CONS:
Very little hands on activities (I had to plan my own)
Many of the online links are just encyclopedia entries or very wordy articles (not great for the younger set)
Lots of seat work if you chose to do all the pages (we did not)
Pretty much no crafts
No specific nature activities except take a walk (I had to plan my own)

Here is what we have done so far:

We started with learning about seasons. What they are, how they are caused, and specifically of course about Winter.

We love many of the books suggested. You can see those over on my right hand sidebar. I also added in some we like and already own.

We watched a link to Bill Nye the Science Guy. Caleb thought this was pretty funny. I know nothing about this show except what we watched in the specific link. It was quite entertaining and presented great info at a child's level. ( I have not added this link since it is in the unit. I feel like it would not be right to put it here for free since it would be taking money away from Amanda Bennett.)

We did some of the worksheets: I liked the calendar ones where Caleb had to write his numbers, count and find out when winter started. Otherwise, really at this age we mainly discussed what they asked you to write.

Caleb was fascinated with the fact that the Earth rotates around the sun and is tilted. So I added a hands on demonstration with this. It really needed a visual to explain this. (this is also what the Bill Nye the Science Guy clip was about.)


Yes, the sun is totally out of proportion with the Earth. The sun is MUCH bigger than Earth. Caleb wanted something yellow though, and we only had this small yellow ball. He made sure to tell me multiple times it was smaller than the sun. As long as he know, I'm okay with it.


We of course took a nature walk. We specifically focused on trees in winter. There was a worksheet about this, but I did not care for any of the links they suggested. Instead I found a great book from the library, Winter Trees, by Carole Gerber. We read this and then took our walk. To be fair we have also done a pretty extensive study on Deciduous trees and why leaves change colors. So we knew lots of this info already and this was a great time to review it.


If you really wanted to learn about this subject the one worksheet and the links provided are for older children. But Shining Dawn Books has some exceptional nature studies about Deciduous tress and Conifers. I highly recommend them if you are interested in this area. They have lots of info, hands on ideas, crafts, experiments and nature study activities.


Here is Caleb with the fruit from a Sycamore tree. Such a pretty tree in winter. The bark is lovely shades of gray and white and brown. It has the coolest look too. It looks papery and it's peeling. Plus the trees are massive and tall with long spreading branches.

The fruit hangs on the tree all winter long and is very easily seen since there are no leaves. Great if you have kiddos that like to collect nature treasures. We brought some home and examined them more closely. It is made up of tons of tiny little seeds that have fluff attached to them.

In the spring the fruit splits and all of the little seeds are dispersed. We spent a long time discussing how God makes all of this work and why they disperse in the spring verses other seasons. Why not Winter, I asked. We talked about why the seeds would have fluff attached and now Caleb wants to plant one so we'll have a Sycamore tree in our yard. =)

We also decided we couldn't wait till spring to see all the little seeds, so we cracked one open with a hammer and took a closer look at all the little seeds with their fluffy ends.


Next up we will be talking about Snowflakes, Snowflake Bentley, Balto and the Iditarod. All of these are suggestions from Winter Wonders. I have been waiting a little to start this because we are having no snow right now. Crazy huh, we've had gobs, now its totally gone.

As for how Caleb feels about this so far. He has asked me to do a craft every time we have done school. Or an experiment. He does not like to see me pull out the worksheets. I have started reading the worksheets myself, and then we discuss what they ask while we are sitting in the rocking chair reading their wonderful book suggestions. Obviously I need to find crafts and/or experiments to go with each area of study. Too bad, since I specifically tried this out to cut down on my planning time.

Winter Nature Walk with the Cousins

We took a wonderful Winter nature walk with Blythe, Beau and Evan the other week. The sun was shining, the air was brisk and the kids were full of energy to burn off.

Caleb found a stick right away. No nature walk would be complete without a stick in hand.


We checked out the frozen lake over at Glenmere. The pier was quite slippery, but the lake is frozen solid. The kids were concerned about the fish. This was a great opportunity to explain how under the ice there is still lots of water for the fish to swim in. It also tied in nicely with one of our current issues of Big Backyard. We read this when we got home. (Caleb and Mama did.)

Ahh, more sticks. Apparently boys can never be too old for this since Evan loves them as much as the little ones.

This is a little creek that runs through part of the park. It is always moving, so it does not freeze completely. The water was so pretty running through the snow covered ground.

Here are TONS of Black Crowned Night Heron nests. They love to nest all through the spring here.

We also found lots of Canada Geese tracks which is not surprising since this park is home to lots of Canada Geese.

Here they are taking flight. Caleb always loves to see them doing this. There are so many you can hear all of their wings beating. It's pretty cool.
We had a great time on our walk and always enjoy sharing our love of nature with anyone willing to tag along. It was good to have Evan, Blythe and Beau with us.

Home Safely and Fun With Friends

Cale is home and we have been having a great family weekend. We also had a good time while daddy was out of town, but we really missed him. Thank you for the prayers and kind thoughts!

We had some friends from church over to play and for lunch. We also made some pine cone bird feeders to share with our birdy friends. Not everyone got totally into it, but a few of the kiddos did.

Isn't she the sweetest ever? I love her smile, which is pretty much always there.

And of course my Caleb had to clown around for his buds.

We have been doing school in a very spotty way. But hope to get back on track, have I said that before? =) Good thing Caleb is only 4. I will post some of our school updates this week.

Now Cale needs the computer for work, so I need to wrap it up. Just wanted to post a quick update though.


Monday, January 18, 2010

Travel, School and Prayers

Hi all! Cale is leaving for a trip to New Orleans in an hour or so. He'll be gone Mon through Thursday. Since he takes the laptop I will be bloggy absent for awhile.

The kids and I will be starting Winter Wonders Down Load N Go, so we'll have lots to post about when he gets home.

Any prayers for safe travel would be greatly appreciated. I worry when he flies. Silly I know, but I worry all the same.

Hope ya'll have a wonderful week. =)

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Siblings

These are not the best pictures in the world photography wise. But I love them sentimental wise. There are times when my kiddos make my heart so filled with love my chest actually hurts. The other day they were playing in the playroom quietly. I went down to check on them, it was so very quiet and this made me wonder. When I walked down the stairs this is what I saw.


There they were snuggled together just talking away. Totally happy and loving each other. As a mama this is what I dream of. That my kids will be best friends, enjoy their time spent together, take care of each other. As a mama, well, I get to witness many times where this is not the case. But my heart soars during the times when it is.

And yes, Caroline is wearing Caleb's underwear over her pants (first picture). It's one of her favorite accessories. Hmmm.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Moraine Basin Christmas Trip

So here is another one of those catch up posts. Before Christmas we decided to take a trip up to Estes Park to see all the pretty Christmas decorations. They normally decorate Main Street and it is so festive. Well, we get all the way up there and there is not one Christmas decoration up. Not a single wreath, light or piece of holly. Bummer.

So instead we went into Rocky Mountain National Park and had a little impromptu nature exploration.




We saw LOTS of animal tracks. The kids loved this. We had a great time trying to identify them and follow them to see where the animal was going.
Elk Track
Feline Tracks, Maybe Mountain Lion?
Of course Caleb's favorite, scat. This being Elk scat.
Moraine Basin in the winter. The Big Thompson River was frozen solid in this location.
These little guys are hard to see in this picture. They are mouse tracks. We followed them into a big bush by the river's edge.

This is a Stellar's Jay. There are lots of these birds in Rocky Mountain Park. We get Blue Jays at our feeders at home. But the Stellar's Jay prefers the higher altitudes and Coniferous Forests in the mountains.
Here's a Magpie. They are actually quite a colorful bird. But that's hard to see in this picture. They have black and white and a pretty bright blue. Their tail feathers are very long and showy.
Here's Caroline. The whole experience tuckered her out. The boys on the other hand were quite happy to stay outside as long as we let them.
I love this picture. Caleb called me over and said, "Look mama. I'm like the tree." At first I could not figure out what he meant. Then I realized he was bent over just like the tree was. Too cute.
We had such a nice day, even though we saw no Christmas decorations. To tell you the truth, God's creation is more beautiful anyway.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

School Plans 2010

Well, I called this post School Plans 2010. But to be honest, it's really January and February for now. I am re-planning or tweaking some things since I will be very pregnant and having a baby during 2010 schooling. I find the need to simplify this time period so that we will still do school and have fun!

I have some planning done for March, April, May, June. But we are still in the process of praying to make sure we are following God's will in those months. I can get excited and charge ahead. Ahem. I am trying to be a very good mama and consult God first for this time period.

JANUARY:

Phonics: (links to these on my left hand sidebar)
Explode the Code Book 2
BOB Books
Leap Frog Books
Happy Phonics Games

Math: (links to these on my left hand sidebar)
Singapore Earlybird Math Book A
Math Games I Create

Winter Unit Study/Nature Study:
- Seasons
- Snowflake Bentley
- Snow
- Balto
- Iditarod
- LOTS of Nature Walks
- Nature Crafts
- Big Backyard Magazine

We will be trying out the new Down Load N Go, Winter Wonders, from Amanda Bennett to see what we think. I have expanded on it quite a bit though. It looks like a great resource that we can add to and surely made my planning easier!

Bible:
We are doing something new for Bible that Cale and I are so pumped about. We have been praying and really feel this is where God wants us to be taking our family.

- Mondays: Family Prayer Night
- Tuesdays: Family Worship
- Wednesdays: Family Worship
- Thursdays: Family Worship
- Fridays: Family Movie Night
- Saturdays: Free Night
- Sundays: Care Group

Here are some of the resources we will be using:
- The Child's Story Bible by Catherine Voss (this book is EXCELLENT!! If you have not seen it go look at it right now. It is not really a story Bible. The title is misleading.)
- Bible Activities I Create (I plan on posting about these as we do them.)
- Bible Memory Verses


FEBRUARY:

Phonics, Math and Bible:
Same as January

Birds Unit Study/Nature Study:
- Bird Characteristics (beak, feathers, etc)
- Great Backyard Bird Count
- Favorite Bird Research

We will be using NaturExplorers, Beautiful Birds Unit. Of course I added some things that I felt Caleb would enjoy and took out some things I felt he was not ready for. We have used multiple units from them before. I have never been disappointed.

We will also be reading, reading, reading. We tend to read tons of books that go with our Unit Studies. Caleb and I also do a read aloud together. Right now we are reading, Cat Stories by James Herriot. Our read alouds sometimes coordinate with our studies and are sometimes just something that Caleb and I would like to read. It's working for us, so we will run with that for now.

As for Tot School. I am at such a stand still with that. I actually have been including Caroline in lots of our school time. Especially Nature Study. Then we have LOTS of educational toys that I rotate about once or twice a week for her. Puzzles, playdough, shape sorters, toy food, misc little activities that I've created, you get the idea. We all do Tot School with Caroline. It is just not as planned out as it once was. But I feel like she gets plenty of one on one time because if she does not she demands it!

I have spent so much time lately praying about and figuring out what homeschool should look like for us. I tend to compare. Well no more! It's too stressful and counterproductive. Then I just feel like a failure and want to quit. So, the above plans fit our family and we are happy and excited about them. Should have sought God's advice earlier and saved myself some worrying. When will I ever learn.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Hair Styling, The 18 Month Old Way

Since I have been pretty absent from the blogging world lately I have major catching up to do. I have no grand ideas that I will blog about everything that I've fallen behind with. But here's one ya'll might laugh about.

Two days before Christmas Caroline decided to try her hand at hair styling. Or something. She somehow found a bottle of red nail polish, somehow got the top unscrewed and then decided it would look great poured all over her head.

I did not get any pics of what it looked like when I found her. I was in panic mode trying to get it out quickly. It was very red, very sticky and I was worried it would get in her eyes. But here is the result after washing her hair 5 times, combing finger nail polish remover through her hair and brushing, brushing, brushing.

It actually came out of her hair with all the above being done. But her scalp was tinged a reddish pink color for a week or so. It eventually just wore off.


Here is how she felt about having to endure the removal process. Hopefully that will discourage her from ever trying that one again. Just incase all finger nail polish has been moved to the medicine cabinet above the sink.
I tell you what, girls are a tad bit more challenging than boyos. By the way, I am making a major understatement with that one. But we wouldn't want to hurt anyone's feelings. =)

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Sow To Please The Spirit

Oh what a morning we had. It started with spankings and tears. I absolutely can not stand starting the day this way. It breaks my heart as a mama. Then I start thinking, "What am I doing wrong? Why does it seem we have to spank for things we have talked about and spanked for before? Am I not consistent enough? I need to pray more." Well, you get the picture.

I especially get frustrated when I have to spank for something I feel like my children should already know not to do or that we have disciplined for before. It makes me wonder, "Do I really have their heart?"

Then in my inbox I found this:

Galatians 6:7-8 says, "Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life" (NIV).

Paul used the analogy of planting to explain the principle of spiritual growth. He encouraged his readers to sow into the things of God, with the promise they would reap the things of God. In the life of a Christian we sow into God by how we think, speak, our actions, where we spend our money, and our time. These are investments in a God-honoring life, which reaps a harvest of blessing – but not in the same season. There is always a delay between sowing and reaping.

What if we considered our children's hearts and lives as a garden? The principles of sowing and reaping apply as well. Every day we sow into those "gardens" through our words, behavior, and the disciplines we teach them. However, just like a vegetable garden, if we plant carrot seeds, we will reap carrots – not corn. Consequently, if we sow negative seeds of discouragement, we will reap despair. If we sow seeds of impatience, we will reap frustration. If we sow seeds of laziness, we will reap stress.

Conversely, if we sow healthy seeds of good choices, we will reap self-discipline. If we sow seeds of patience, we will reap peace. If we sow seeds of perseverance, we will reap success. Our children's hearts are rich soil prepared by God to receive good seed. As conscientious gardeners, we need to plant those that will reap a harvest in our children's lives and prepare them for service in the kingdom of God.

What if you don't see results right away? That's normal. After a few days, the farmer doesn't get frustrated with slow growth and rip the seeds out of the ground. No. The farmer continues to water the soil, shoo the birds away, and pull the weeds. The farmer protects the seed until it has a chance to grow in its own time.

May we be gardeners who don't give up until the harvest.



Oh, how impatient I can be as a mom. I want to see instant results. One spanking or one talk should correct the issue forever right? Well now, I'm sure the Lord feels this way about me on many occasions. Yet He is so very patient with me. God keeps loving me, keeps forgiving me, keeps teaching me, and yes, keeps disciplining me too. How could I do less for my own children.

Lord, help me to be a mom of patience and perseverance. Give me the wisdom and guidance to sow to please the Spirit when it comes to parenting my children. Help me to look to you as the best example of how a parent should be. And Lord, please forgive me when I mess up. Cause Lord, I know I will.

Please create in Caleb and Caroline hearts that are turned to you with love and obedience. And let me be their example in both of these. For when I love and obey you God, not only is my life the better for it, but my children's lives as well. In Jesus' Name Amen!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Over the Moon, but Under the Weather

Hi all. Hope everyone has been enjoying their holidays. We had a great Christmas, busy and fun!

For those of you who do not already know Cale and I are expecting our third little one! We are over the moon, but I am under the weather, if that makes any sense. I have been nauseous, very tired and more that you would rather not hear about. =) This is all very new for me, my other pregnancies were nothing like this. So we have been quite surprised to be sick everyday all the time this way.

This would explain my lack of blogging and commenting on all of your blogs. I would really appreciate any prayers. I am told over and over again that it will soon fade and I will feel like myself again. Believe me I am waiting for that to happen.

Until then, thank you all for the awards, wow! I will post on those soon, hopefully.

I have a Drs appointment on the 15th, so I will update everyone after that.

Hope you are all having a good 2010 so far. I am excited for what God will do in our lives this year, He has already given us such a huge blessing with this new little one.