Sunday, September 25, 2011

seven months...oh my!

a certain little boy (ahem...the only little boy!) at our house is 7 months old today. 7 in the world did that happen!?

since this is my blog i feel perfectly okay with plastering it with pictures of said all his smiley, roly-poly, giggly goodness. i've had more and more people tell me lately that they think he looks like me. for the record, lately i am starting to see a lot of my dad in him (from baby pics of my dad)...and comparison-wise...he is almost an even split of kate and jilly...jilly's eyes for sure and kate's mouth and nose (which makes sense...jilly is a replica of my sister and kate looks most like me in my opinion, while elizabeth is a replica of mike!)

at his six month check-up this little man was 20 lbs. and 29 3/4 inches long...way off the charts for height. i feel fairly confident he has managed to stretch even longer in the past month. he also has mastered the ability to roll all over the place...say "mama" (be still my heart!)...fallen in love with carrots, squash, and sweet potatoes (and mastered the ability to spit out anything green)...loves just about anything when kate is nearby (including being rolled over like a steamroller...while i say, "kate don't do gentle"...and she says, "but mom, he is laughing...he LIKES it!"...and really, it is hard to argue with that!). he still loves his sleep...yay! he is finally learning to hold himself in a sitting position...but, honestly, he would MUCH rather be left on the floor to roll...after all, who wants to sit when you could be rolling. :) he has four teeth with at least two more top ones right there ready to poke through, and he is desperately trying to get himself up on all fours to crawl (EEK!).

and did i mention that he is happy...seriously, this little man is so stinkin' happy. it does my heart good. he giggles...he laughs...he smiles...and then he giggles more...and laughs more...and smiles...and bats his little eyelashes. i have a feeling we are going to be in trouble here in a few more months...'cause who can resist those eyes?!

luke, we love you so incredibly much we could just burst!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

day to day

today has been we enjoyed some time outside this afternoon. i'm not going to lie...i often wonder whether hauling out the bikes and all the "stuff" is really worth the 10-15 minutes they spend actually riding them before getting bored and wanting to do something else (not to mention the moment where jillian is trying to catch up on her worm-bike (with her squeaky shoes announcing every move), elizabeth is waiting for permission to cross the street, and i'm rescuing kate who has freaked out because of the *tiny* dog at the end of the street, let go of her handlebars and tipped over, and luke is crying while laying on a blanket in the yard (HA!))...but really, it was fun to enjoy the front yard for a bit. i think we'll stick with the fenced in portion for the rest of the day. are some snapshots of what we are up to lately...

-elizabeth is eagerly awaiting the loss of her first tooth. it is really loose...but she will have nothing to do with the idea of mommy and daddy helping it come out more quickly.

-today elizabeth begged me to let her do more math during rest time. she watched an entire extra lesson of math-u-see and mastered it. amazing!

-luke is a rolling fiend...over and over he goes trying to get where he wants to be. he is also trying desperately to get on his knees...but he hasn't gotten there yet (and i must admit, that makes me a bit relieved...i'm not ready to keep up with him yet!)

-luke now has four teeth

-jillian is obsessed with airplanes (a-pays) and that girlie!

-kate can write all of her capital letters (and some lowercase). she is desperately trying to "keep up" with elizabeth. bless her heart!

-in the dismissal room at school elizabeth and kate greeted each other with a massive hug and "i missed you so much"...then proceeded to chatter and giggle the entire drive home. what a sweet reminder that they really DO love and enjoy one another...further evidenced by the fact that they spent most of their free time yesterday playing upstairs in their room and the playroom together.

-i just started reading "loving the little years: motherhood in the trenches" by rachel jankovic...and wow, it is so good so far (and a light quick essential at this point in life!)

park fun

i have a love hate relationship with parks. there have been plenty of phases where, to be honest, i have hated them...trying to keep up with everyone, make sure no one falls, gets lost or otherwise injures themself, etc. however, we are currently in a "love" season with the park. the kids are at perfect stages...elizabeth and kate are able to do just about all of the "stuff" and are both fairly cautious to begin with; jillian is brave enough to follow her sisters but also not kamikaze crazy; and luke, well, he is just the sweetest, happiest little dude ever. that said, we've spent a lot of time at parks now that the weather is cooling down a bit. what fabulous family time. here are some glimpses of our friday and sunday evening park excursions.

sister fun!

jillian would slide all day long. and, yes, she especially likes tall and twisty slides. at one of our favorite parks she has worn a path between the bottom of her favorite slide and the steps back up to the slide platform. i think she went down the slide at least 50 times on friday evening...probably more than that. and, can you see how she slides her foot out to keep herself from going to fast and shooting off the end...what a smart girlie! :)


kate likes to try going down the slide in every possible way...forward, backward, laying down on her belly, laying down on her back...she is hilarious!

peek-a-boo pretty gal!

lest you think luke doesn't have any fun. his favorite thing about the park is being with mommy and daddy...and swinging...he does dig swinging a lot!

i tried for a photo shoot sunday evening. he wasn't so into it...but he still is pretty cute, isn't he? even with tears. ;)

two peas in a pod

hmm...what should i do with all of these woodchips? i know...THROW THEM!

and seriously...not sure who has more fun at the park...daddy or his girls. here they are, all jumping and bouncing each other! love it!

on sunday i really wanted everyone worn out and ready for a good night of sleep. i had taken a thing of mini cookies to share as dessert, so the girls had to accomplish tasks for each cookie...running around the gazebo, jumping jacks, somersaults, etc. gotta love my little somersaulters. and, for the record, i succeeded...early to sleep! ;)

{first day} this post is just a *little* late...but hopefully you'll forgive me....our week ended up being a ZOO last week...including another visit to the hospital for jilly (fortunately, it was brief this time!--more on that later).

last monday was our official first day of school...our first full day.

the girls, as you can see, were really excited!

elizabeth even let me do her hair...something she is become increasingly more tolerant of and excited about (sometimes, at least...other times she begs me to get it cut or let it be wild and crazy all over the place)

this might be my favorite of captures just how excited she really was. she even wrote and illustrated a 5 page story for her kindergarten teacher.

i have to admit kate cried almost all the way to school after realizing she and elizabeth really wouldn't be in the same class. but, when we arrived, she confidently and happily walked right into her classroom. i think it was a hard day for her though...she really missed elizabeth (which is so precious and sweet). she did have fun with the other little girls, but she also just wanted me. its going to be a learning curve for her to navigate on her own, without elizabeth, but her second day this week was a bit better. honestly, it was a big eye-opener for me. at home kate is outgoing and rambunctious and likes to "run the show"...however, at school and church, i am realizing she really has sort of been elizabeth's shadow AND most of her teachers would describe her as reserved (she tends also to cling to her teachers...following them, sitting in their lap whenever possible, etc.). most of the little girls she would call her friends are elizabeth's friends (i'm so thankful elizabeth and her friends include kate...BUT i also want her to start developing her own little social skills). ;) so that is something we are working on...and i am intentionally working to invite some little girls over just for KATE to play with while elizabeth heads off to playdates of her own. it really has been valuable insight into our little kater-girl...pray for me as i sort through how to best reach and encourage her. i want to push her out of her comfort zone, but slowly and kindly rather than brusquely.

as for elizabeth, well, she waltzed right into the massive room full of kiddos. they have devotational to start the day, so it is the entire school (K-12) to start with. she sat right down, smiling and excited to see all of her little friends...and, oh my, what a dear group of kindergarten kiddos it is. and after school, well, the sweet girl never stropped talking about her day...she learned about the trans-continental railroad, starting memorizing a poem "The Statue of Liberty for Kids", learned about kinetic energy, had art and music class...and so much more. she LOVES it...i mean, really, truly loves it! what a gift to see her thriving.

and jilly and luke did a fabulous job in the nursery. however, poor jilly had some terrible diarrhea. she'd been struggling at the end of the week before, was finally much better sunday and monday morning before, off we went...but then monday in the nursery it started again. i ended up heading straight to the pediatrician after our LONG day at school. the pediatrician wanted blood work to see just how dehydrated she was. the results showed extremely low electrolytes and acidosis...and then tuesday morning mike had to take her to the ER, as she just wouldn't keep anything "in". fortunately, they prescribed her zofran, and that helped turn the corner. 24 hours later she was 100% better. the lab results from the ER showed nothing virus-wise, so they are thinking the dehydration from the original virus just zapped her, and she couldn't kick it. praise the Lord that she is better now. poor girlie has been through so much in the past year!

and then there is, i am LOVING the opportunity to teach in this setting. when i left teaching i had no desire to ever teach again...and i must admit, i was leary when i headed into this venture. but it is amazing. the kids are so neat...full of questions and excitement, quirky, eager, and totally middle schoolers. ;) it has been a neat outlet for me. i truly love my kiddos, and i want to be home with them, but this affords me an opportunity to use a different part of my brain...and to be around older kiddos (a good reminder that my kiddos won't be this little forever...and that is both a hopeful and terrifying thought!). and, at the same time, my kids are being cared for so well...learning, playing, socializing...even the nursery has lessons and crafts and an incredible structure. what a blessing! (and, for the record, many of the books are ones i hadn't read before ("the hound of the baskervilles", "treasure island", "farewell to manzanaar", and "the red scarf girl")--though i have read some ("the hobbit", "anne of green gables", "the hiding place", "call of the wild"), and the writing program is incredible...progym...a very classical program...amazing!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

our first day of school

we had our "orientation" day at the master's first time back in the teaching saddle in quite some time (it went well...and, for the record, i am FINALLY feeling a bit less overwhelmed...i've at least finished all my reading and prep for our first novel and the reading of our second novel--HUGE sigh of relief!). elizabeth was thrilled to wear her uniform...and kate was just thrilled to get back in her pre-K class. we start officially next monday!

in the meantime we've had our official first day at home. it was such a strange feeling when our local schools started (in mid-august) and elizabeth didn't get on that bus...we've been praying and feeling led toward home-schooling for quite some time now, but somehow that day just made it official...our official entrance into this wild and crazy realm. eek!

a sweet, sweet friend passed this table along to us (it is huge...six spaces, all with cubbies underneath!) as her kiddos were outgrowing it. what a huge blessing! the girls LOVE it...they have spent more time coloring and writing stories and fun!

tuesday was our official first day (we've been doing bits and pieces all summer, but i needed to pick a date and go for it!). we kicked off our school year with a trip to the local bakery, where each girlie picked a sprinkle donut. yum! i'm hoping this becomes tradition!

luke didn't get a donut, but he did get to chew on his teether...and smile (as usual!).

then we headed home and got down to business.

our morning starts with calendar and "circle" time (date, days of the week, months of the year, their alphabet song, prayer, a devotional, some singing)....then we do as much as we can. jilly sits still for about 5 minutes coloring and then terrorizes us the rest of the time (ha!). kate is working through workbooks, coloring, doing puzzles (and occasionally a bit frustrated because she would like to be doing exactly what elizabeth is). luke is typically up and in his exersaucer when we start up, and then he naps the rest of the morning (praise Jesus for a fabulous napper!). elizabeth works through some handwriting, reading, phonics, math (we're doing math-u-see alpha level), and explode the code workbooks. we have lots of little breaks...jumping jacks...a snack....shuffling around the table occasionally so whoever needs mommy most can sit next to my big red desk chair. elizabeth has her ups and downs....she LOVES the idea of school time, but i think she is still getting used to the fact that she doesn't get to just do "whatever" like jillian does...and i'm still balancing where she is (i think she is frustrated with anything that is "review"--but also frustrated when something is overly challenging)....we are working on it, and mostly working on the heart attitude behind it...less drama, more communication, please. ;) (and, of course, i'm trying to stay sane in the midst of the jilly-tornado that is tumbling around the room while we work!). but i'm very happy with our decision to make a go of home-schooling...and, i must admit, i'm also more thankful than ever for our involvement in the master's study! it is nice to know once a week i get to have a bit of a break and work with the older kiddos (with the literature and composition i love) AND elizabeth and kate get to have a day with friends and getting a different educational experience. love it! i'm still working on what our routine and schedule will look like, but so far i've also been able to get to the Y for a workout first thing (at 8 when childwatch opens), get home and start school by 9:15 or 9:30, and we are completely finished by lunchtime. hooray!