Sunday, August 25, 2013

Paige Problems

This girl is now weighing in at 12.3 lbs and is not even 8 weeks old.   

She is FAT.   The rolls are never ending.

Unfortunately, just like her sisters, she is a crabby baby.   There goes my theory that fat babies are happy.  Why do my babies all come out hating life?   I am serious, if she is not eating or sleeping, she is fussing and screaming. 

Quick, she's awake and happy!  Get the camera! 
(This is her happy face)

This is also a common occurrence.
 We got her some gripe water and it seems to really help most of the time.  But sometimes, nothing helps and after so long of rocking, bouncing, walking, swaying, patting and shushing with no effect, we just have to put her in her swing and she screams and screams until she passes out or until it's time to eat again.
We love you little punk, but is this really necessary?

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Our First Week of School


We had a very successful first week of school.  We tried to get a good "first day" picture


 But most of them turned out silly.

I am so glad and relieved that Claire LOVES school.   I realize that we have just finished 1 week and only have 520ish to go but wow,  I could not have asked for a better first week!

Reviewing letter blends in Sing Spell Read and Write.
 She can read them but not as fluently as I would like yet.
 We played lots of rounds of bingo with letter sounds.

Math was too easy for her as it is still introducing numbers and counting.   She complained that it was too easy and I promised it would get harder.  It did introduce left and right which we haven't really addressed before so that was good.

 Geography was our busy and fun subject this week.  We learned about the earth, the continents, oceans and maps.  I thought the girls would enjoy making a paper mache earth.
We used one of those huge punching balloons instead of a regular balloon because they are actually round.  The girls loved them because unlike regular balloons, they could blow them up by themselves.
Well, Claire could at least. 
 
We have never done paper mache before.
 
Claire didn't really like the goopy part but she worked until it was finished. I put it outside to dry where the heat popped the balloon prematurely and the whole thing imploded.   So, we started all over again and this time it dried inside.  The next day, we popped the balloon and painted it blue but then it started caving in on itself and we decided that paper mache was not for us. We talked about how we were glad God made the world and not us.

Later in the week we started to learn about maps; the different kinds and how to read them.  We played a game where she would hide a stuffed animal in the house and then draw a map to where I could find it.  At the end of the day she went on a treasure hunt I had prepared for her.
She found the X and dug up her prize - which was a necklace from her prize box.

All week we practiced the continents and oceans song I had found on youtube.  By the end of the week she could sing it and point to the appropriate areas on the map.



At the end, she started to repeat the ocean part again and realized she need to end it instead - which is why it sounds weird and explains her expression.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

School Year, Here We Come!

We are ready to start school!  I reorganized the play room so it is now more of a school room.  I left out only the toys that they really play with and are somewhat educational. 
 
 I have found that when it comes to toys, less is more.  Ever since I removed over half the toys, they have played so much better with the ones they do have.  They both actually play with the toys rather than throw them around and cry when I tell them to clean up.

I have really enjoyed planning for the school year, looking at curriculum, planning lessons, spending way too much time on pinterest, and other various websites looking for interesting kindergarten activities.  It's so fun!

Growing up, we were textbook/test style homeschoolers.  I loved that.  I loved taking tests, I loved doing well on tests.  I liked doing the work, having a definite start and finish and I loved knowing that when you finish the book, you are done and you've learned all that you need to.  I have always planned on homeschooling my kids the same way but unfortunately I can tell already that Claire is not going to be a textbook homeschooler.  She is going to be a hands on, "how does this make you feel", experience-it-in-every-way-possible-before-you-understand-it, type learner.  The kind of learner that is going to require a curriculum like Konos. Ugh.  Don't get me wrong, I am a fan of Konos and I still vividly remember the Konos studies that my mom did with us when I was 3 and 4 years old, it is just A LOT more work than my preferred textbook route.   I looked into it extensively and decided that although I know she would love it, I am going to wait and start it when I have at least 2 kids able to benefit from it. 

That being said, I am extremely happy and excited about my alternative choices for Claire's kindergarten this year So, here it is, my 2013-2014 curriculum!

Reading/Phonics:
Sing, Spell Read and Write - We started this over a year ago so she is quite a bit ahead. We haven't done it since we've moved and she struggles still so we will do a review from the beginning and then keep forging on.

Science:
McRuffy Kindergarten Science. I really need science and social studies to be my fun hands-on subjects since math and reading just aren't and in my opinion never will be.  I have always been set on doing Abeka for science and history but abekas K science was so lame and boring. I stumbled on this curriculum by chance during some bunny trail google searches and immediately knew it was the one.   
 
It is simple enough for kindergarten but I can make units that interest Claire so much richer through extra curricular activities and crafts. So, with science, we are kind of going with a simple/pre-konos approach.  I also like that McRuffy aligns there material with the National Science Education Standards so I feel like she is learning what she needs to in this area. (There are sample pages on the website)

Math:
Horizons.  I always knew I would use Horizons, no surprises there
 
My younger brother was lucky enough to get to do Horizons instead of Saxon for math.  I vowed when I was in 5th grade that I would never make my kids do Saxon math - a vow I am very passionate about and plan to keep.  McRuffy actually has a kindergarten math book which I ordered to compare with Horizon.  Concepts being taught were identical, but Horizons' pictures and printing quality was better so I returned the McRuffy.

Social Studies:
Again, Abeka was a total bomb in this area and I found that there really isn't history curriculum out there for such a young age.  I decided I would like her to know the basics about the world.  Isn't it funny to think that little people need to be taught even the most simplistic concepts?  Like, the world is round, there are continents and countries, the world is a big, wonderful place and they are not the center of it?  Then I think how serious a responsibility and privilege it is to teach her these things accurately and that there is no way I would entrust that job to some stranger at a school who could  impress her young mind in anyway they wanted.
Anyway, so I decided to teach a very basic, hands-on geography. I cut out this enormous world map out of felt
 
and ordered a few books from Amazon; Beginning Geography, and two different A Trip Around The World books.  The library is also probably sick of me for putting so many books on hold. I plan to incorporate crafts, recipes and other activities into our entry level study of the world. 

Bible:
Claire will be a Sparky this year so I planned her Sparks book as her Bible curriculum.  We also were given this Bible on cassette tape that we will listen to each morning. 

Poor Joy is going to feel left out I think.  We plan for her to join us for the Bible story and any crafts and activities we do.  Hopefully she and Paige will behave themselves in the mornings.

We start on Monday!  We can't wait!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Good Times

Our evening outside:

Run
Swim
Shower
Chase
Stare
Plan
Swing

Friday, August 9, 2013

Fingerpainting



Aunt Marisol gave Joy a set of finger paints for her birthday and today we tried them out! Cause as you can see in the background the house wasn't messy enough already
 
....actually the rest of the house was quite clean and picked up, just not the play room and isn't that what a play room is for? 
 
Yet another reason I love our new house.

It was Joy's first time finger painting on purpose.  Naturally, she loved it. 
 
But creating a masterpiece is a serious business and takes all your concentration.

When we were done, Claire and I were washing dishes and Joy was unsupervised with the paints.  She was rubbing all of the colors around on her hands like it was lotion.   She came up to me, held her brown, slimy hands up and said "look!"  I pretended to be upset and said "oh no Joy!  Did you go poopoo on your hands?!?! Oh no! Naughty!"  Joy for a split second had this worried look on her face like she was thinking.  "wait, did I?", looked down at her hands and then broke into a huge smile.  "no!" she said "it paint!" (in her little Joy voice that only she can do.) She is a precious girl.

Aunt Marisol, you can expect a masterpiece to be in your mailbox in a couple of days!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Shiny....


Lights


are

 
mesmerizing.


  



Tuesday, August 6, 2013

My Meal Plan


This month we are so excited to start officially homeschooling Claire.  I can't wait.  We are planning to start the third week of August.  I have the entire year planned out in my handy, dandy planner but I am still waiting for our geography curriculum to come.  If that comes early and I have a chance to prepare and plan it, we may start sooner since Claire is SO anxious to start.  For weeks she has been watching me go through her books, cut out felt continents and collect fun supplies for science, games, and prizes.  (I will go into the curriculum I chose at a later time)

I am so excited to start too -I have planned on doing this all my life after all! But now I am just nervous about my schedule and having time for everything.  I also still have my part-time job at Big D and don't want to be up til midnight every night sorting and filing paperwork.  I am trying really hard to guard my schedule and I've already had to say no to a couple of people asking me to do things for church and I feel so badly!   I am terrible at saying "no".  Even if I don't want to do something, I usually do it because I'd rather hate doing it than tell someone no.  But now it is necessary - at least until we get started and I figure out how much free time I will have for extra things.  (So don't ask me to make any commitments right now or I will have to say no!)

One area I have become more efficient in after Paige was born is my cooking/meal planning.  Before, I rarely used to plan ahead which led to many trips to the grocery store each week and many days of staring into the fridge hoping for some last minute inspiration at 6pm. I decided that making a meal plan was now a necessity - not a luxury, since running to the store is a huge ordeal for us right now.

I made a list of all my regular, tried and true recipes, arranged them according to genre (Mexican, American, Chinese and Italian) and spaced them out so that there weren't any time where we were eating a certain genre of food 2 nights in a row and then did my best to mix up the chickens, beefs, pastas and porks so that we weren't eating chicken for 4 days straight.  Then I put a reasonable suggestion for a side dish next to each meal.  It was a little work at first but now that it is set up, I just look at the list, refer to my recipe book to write down what ingredients I will need for that week and go shopping ONCE.  Since I know what I am making ahead of time, I can let my meat thaw the correct way instead of in a hot water bath a half hour before we eat.   Why is such a simple, common sense thing like meal planning such a nemesis to us homemakers?  I don't know, but now that I have my system that works for me, I am sticking to it.  My life has been SO much better in the cooking department since I implemented it a month ago.

Here is my list in case anyone wants to see it.  Recipes available upon request.

Main Dishside
Tortellini salad
Chicken Fricassefruit
Arroz Con Pollosalad
20 Minute Stir Fryegg drop soup
Pulled pork Sandwichescoleslaw
Pecos Pastasalad
Patio Tuna Squaressalad
Carbonarabroccoli
EnchurritosMexican rice
BLT Pasta Saladfruit
Chinese Chicken ColeslawHawaiian rolls
Tacos/Tostadasnone
Beef Stroganoff Sandwichsalad
Parmesean chickenpeas
Carnitaschips and salsa
Chicken Orientalbrown rice
Cheeseburger piecoleslaw
Green Chile Lime TaquitosMexican rice
Chicken Pot Piesalad
Lasagnasalad
Chilequilesfruit
Tuna Casserolepeas
Orange Chicken and Ricesalad
Hamburgerswedge fries/beans
Tamale Bitessalad
Grilled Chickenbrown rice/veggie
Baked Rigatonisalad
Springtime Broccoli SaladHawaiian rolls
Chile chicken casserolecoleslaw
Homemade Pizzasalad
Deli Style Pasta Saladfruit
Versatile Stir Frybrown rice
Taco Piesalad
Maple Oven Pancakeeggs
Spaghettisalad
Tortilla Soupquesadillas
Barbecue Beef on Corn Muffinsfruit
Chicken Tamale Casserolefruit

There are 38 meals.  When we get to the bottom of the list, I just start back up at the top.  I don't make dinner on Sundays or Wednesdays so we have well over a month before repeating a dish.

And now, because I can't post a blog without some sort of picture, here is one of Claire smothering her sister.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Paige-d All Night Long

Well, I haven't written much about Paige since she has been born.   That is because she is extremely non-photogenic so I have not been inclined to post pictures.  Let's just say she is taking her time to get out of those awkward newborn weeks.  She has gotten a lot better the past few days.  Not so pimply and crusty.

Paige has been a little bit of a handful.  Way more so than I ever dreamed.  Everyone always says that the third child just falls into place and blends into the family, that they are the easiest, so on and so forth.  Not so with this one - at least not yet.  You see, Paige just now started sleeping at night.  Not through the night, just at night.  You'd think I'd know how to adjust a baby's schedule by now, I have done it twice before, quickly and successfully but for some reason Paige was resistant to all my techniques.  We desperately tried the babywise method of feed, awake, sleep on a 3 hour cycle but this blob had no awake time so it was eat, sleep, eat, sleep, all day and when she wants to sleep, she's going to sleep, cold baths wouldn't even wake her for more than a few seconds.  Typically around 11pm she decided it was her awake time that lasts for a couple hours followed by a few hours of restless sleep.  Josh and I were up and down every hour to half hour with her all night every night until yesterday.   This week I decided she was old enough to let her just scream it out.  I said look punk, you are tired, (she had been awake for like 5 hours straight) you are fed, you are clean, you are safe and comfortable, there is no reason for this nonsense, and I let her scream.  She screamed for maybe 12 minutes and then fell asleep for 4 glorious hours.  She does a little better each night so we are glad for that.

Now that she is sleeping better we are all happier and I am hoping she stops gaining weight at such an alarming rate. (many nights she nursed for 8 hours straight because I was so tired and it kept her quiet)   I mean, look at her!  She is FAT.   
I ordinarily wouldn't think anything of it but the other two were so tiny for the first 3 years of their lives, I am concerned for her.  She is 5 weeks old and weighs over 11 lbs. 

Adding a third child to our family has been harder than I thought it would be.  I feel ridiculous saying this.  Obviously, there are plenty of people out there who have 3,4,7, 19 or more children and manage just fine.  I am just trying to find my groove I guess.

 Joy always asks to hold her but doesn't like it when Paige squirms or cries.
 
This week, I ran a bunch of errands with the girls all by myself (usually I do my shopping with my mom)  They were so great and well behaved, I felt so proud. We went to 5 stores, and were out for over 3 hours. The very last store we went to was Goodwill, just for fun.  I found a ton of great things, mostly books and little girl clothes.  All was well until we started to walk to the front to pay.  Then Paige decided it was screaming time.  (She had eaten not too long ago and had just woken up so there was no reason for it but to scream).  So I got her out of her carseat and tried to calm her down, she spat her pacifier on the floor and then I stepped on it.  I tried to push the cart while holding her.  Joy loves to push the cart and kept pushing it into things while I was trying to steer with one hand.  I told her to stop but then decided it was better than having her running loose while we were trying to get to the front.  I don't know what Claire was doing - not helping though.  We get to the front and of course there were 3 people in front of us.  I thought of just abandoning our cart and going home but there were a few things in there that were too good to leave behind so we stayed in line.  Claire and Joy started annoying each other and whining, Joy was on the floor.  The guy behind me was not amused by the ear splitting screams coming from Paige, Claire was pushing the cart into the lady in front of us.  I gave up telling the girls to stop because they couldn't hear me over Paige anyway. Joy started crying for some reason.   We finally get to the checker and she decides to be chatty, I was trying my best to answer her between screams but then I heard Joy shouting "Mommy!" loudly and repeatedly, so I turned around to see her hold shorts and she said "potty."  In a serious tone.  At that point I was laughing because the whole situation was such a mess.  I calmly told Joy to please wait til we got to the car, finished paying and left.  I am sure there were probably cheers from the people behind us in line after we finally got out the door.  Most of them passed us up in the parking lot as we walked to the car, went potty, loaded up, got drinks handed out and cried and complained.  As soon as we got home, everyone took a nap.  That day, I learned to stop while you are ahead...
and that nap time fixes everything.