Friday, December 28, 2012

Christmas 2012

 Our neighbor made the kids' names in sugar cookies. 

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Then the neighbor took pictures for our Christmas card. It's the first year we have sent cards.  Now that we have done it once, hopefully we will continue.

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I made cheese bread for friends and neighbors.  I would have made it for more people, but, you know, I have four little kids all up in my business. I made ten loaves all together.  I was supposed to make twelve.  Christmas is not over yet.  Maybe I will still make them.  We just barely pulled off Holy Supper this year.  Someday, the kids will participate in making Holy Supper and then we will enjoy it's meaning more.

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Kids enjoying gifts.

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Now we have the whole series. It's a family favorite.

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Woooohooo! Now she's cruisin'!  Mommy found an outrageously awesome deal on this bike that fit into our minuscule budget.  Kristiana cracks me up with her tutu skirt and new pink boots.  It was freezing outside.

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Alex received a "lego" table, which also conveniently fit into our budget. ;-) This where he has been quietly playing for three days.  Oh the things he thinks up.

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Christ is born! Glorify Him!

Baby's First Christmas

300px Gerard van Honthorst 001 

Lucy received a big toy.

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Mommy broke it.  I put it together wrong.  It had snap together parts and I snapped in one part too early and it does not come apart once snapped in.  Now I cannot finish snapping in the rest of the parts together. I cannot get Playskool on the phone.  Stupid toy-stupid mommy.  Then the family started to make fun of me and as the master of Christmas joy, I was not amused.

But it's okay, because Lucy thought the box was great.

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And her siblings are having fun with the rest of her toys.

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Monday, December 24, 2012

The Icon of Saint Nicholas


...Icon work for this Advent.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Let's Move

Homeschool P.E.:  We just move and have fun. It's a break in the middle of studying.  Annie has this helmet on backwards.  She's loves baseball. 

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Monday, December 17, 2012

Baby Got Back

This blog is a little premature, but I was so excited because my old jeans fit! Yay!  I still have ten pounds to go to be back to my lightest adult weight, twenty pounds to ideal weight.  But, I think getting back into old jeans is enough to celebrate.

8 weeks post Lucy

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16 weeks post Lucy

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24 weeks post Lucy

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26 weeks - Sporting Leggings

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30 weeks - The Jeans

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Sunday, December 16, 2012

Blog Blocked

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Here is one of the reasons I have not been able to blog as much lately.  If I have any energy left over after the kids go to bed, I have laundry to work on.  Between washing, folding and putting away, I have laundry to care for about five days a week.  Are there any mom's with many young kids who have ideas on how to not be doing laundry all the time?!  I want my free time back!  I know a lot of my friends are just not on top of it.  My house really is not big enough to hide unattended laundry, so I really have to stay on top of it.  Not to mention the icky, smelly things that the kids create that must be washed.  Can I teach a six year old to wash laundry? Probably. I need to put that on my to do list.

Another reason I have not been able to blog is because Annie does not go to bed well.  She does not nap and most nights she tries to stay up and hang with mom and dad. If we do get her to go to bed, whenever she wakes up in the night she comes to our bed. Ugh.  She has been more difficult about sleeping than any of the other kids.  I don't know why.  She used to be so good.  I think she is feeling the squeeze of being a middle child and so she is getting attention and cuddles however she can get it.  

She's awesome. We love her.  If it weren't for the otter kids pointing out the unfairness of her staying up and our desire to watch that zombie T.V. show with all the violence and gore, we would be fine with her staying up and coming to our bed.   She, honestly, is sweet and nonintrusive, because she has our undivided attention.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Zombie Baby

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We've started to call Lucy, Zombie Baby.  She has started to vocalize by growling at everyone.  That's how we know she is happy and in a good mood.  She starts growling like zombies do in the zombie movies.  Then the baby slobbers all over us.  Zombies like to eat people and so does Lucy.  Funny, huh? One of these days I will get it on video.  She has quite a guttural growl.  We are always shocked the noise is coming from the baby.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Happy 4th Birthday

Well, I am a little late on this one, but I thought I would go ahead and show how we celebrated Princess K-dawg's 4th birthday. She had mississippi mud brownies with her best friend.  We're all birthday-ed out now.  Thank goodness there won't be another until May.  This fall we celebrated 5 family birthdays.  It's funny how I am not a fan of birthday cake like I was in my youth.  But, I confessed to Andrew my favorite cake this year and he had it made for me.  Yay.  Enough about me--more Kristiana.

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I love the anticipation on kids' faces as the open presents

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Joy as they hug the gift because it is just perfect.

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Disappointment and anguish as Annie realizes the present is not for her.

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Look Mom, I'm A Teacher

Every stay-at-home mom feels it every once in a while. "I should get a part-time job."  Lest anyone think I am not pulling my own weight because no one writes me a paycheck.  But, I have physical evidence of my product.  I have students and my students perform on tests. Woot!  My little son is a smart little guy and I cannot take credit for that fact, but I can take credit for a lot of his knowledge.  I know that he would not have learned anything and would not have had the discipline to do so without my help.

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In other home schooling news, our new classroom setup is working out well.  The only complaint I have is that I cannot work on dinner prep or laundry from the classroom.  I have to stay in the classroom and focus on my students.  If I leave to put on a load of laundry, my students do not stay on task.  Typical.  I guess I ought to be focused on the teaching anyway.  

I also made arrangements with my neighbor to watch Annie three days a week while we home school.  Annie continues to be our in to everything, two year old, trouble-maker.  I cannot begrudge her curiosity.  But, it certainly does drive me mad to be running around the house trying to keep her happy and out of trouble.  Going over to the neighbor's house actually seems to help keep her even and she seems more mature.  

One day last week she and Kristiana started playing house in the dog kennel.  I told Kristiana to come out and work on school.  Then I threw blankets and pillows in the dog kennel, and baby dolls.  I told Annie that she was playing house with her babies and if she were tired she should lay down and take a nap.  She played in there long enough to get some school done and keep me sane for a while.  Oh the things the mommy of a toddler will do.  I DO NOT expect to be getting any visits from CPS.  She was not locked in.  She could get out at any point.  This little playhouse idea is no different than a pack-n-play.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Fallen Asleep

Tonight we went to Kristiana's ballet show.  It was not a "recital" as the teachers said.  It was just an opportunity for parents to see what the girls do in class.  Well our little darling froze.  She did not move.  Then she was given a helper girl to guide her along and she moved, but she did not do much.  She kept staring blankly into the audience.  My husband was none too pleased to say the least. He asked me how much I paid for the class. ;-) I smirked. Nothing.  But, Kristiana is having a good time.

Everything makes sense. Even though she is our little performer and our little clown, she always tells us, "Tomorrow," when we ask her to perform for others.  It is funny to think that this was Kristiana earlier in the day.

And at ballet she was this little girl--scared as could be.  When we asked her why she did not move, she said she fell asleep. 

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Wednesday, November 28, 2012


I think there was a rock band leader who had special skills like my Lucy.  The other night as I was feeding Lucy I realized she was sticking her tongue out way far to receive each bite.  She just wanted to make sure ALL the food went in her mouth.  Hilarious.  I took a series of pictures of bite after bite.  She just kept doing it.  Of course, I did not capture full extension in each picture, but you get the idea.

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Happy Sixth Birthday!

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Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Home School Makeover

Our play room got a makeover.  The playroom (used to be a dining room) is now sharing with the home school classroom (which we thought we would eventually make this conversion.  We cut the toys down by one third.  We also bought a table that is the perfect height and has adjustable legs.  Now everyone can write comfortably and has plenty of elbow room.  

We used to hold school in the kitchen.  But, it was not good for writing posture.  I thought we might be able to get away with keeping school in the kitchen, but it was not working well and we kept moving to our little table, which you can see in this picture to the left.  But, when Kristiana wanted to color or join in, there was not enough space for two students.  There was a lot of fighting.

See baby Lucy off to the right.  Now Annie and she can play while we school.  I am sure I will have updates on how this is all working.

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Thursday, November 15, 2012

7 Quick Takes - Just Random

1. Confessions of a Fatgirl - I do not have an off switch when it comes to food.  It does not matter what kind of food it is.  Delicious food is obviously preferred, but non-delicious food will be eaten just the same.  Fasting foods do not phase me.  I like to eat them too.  Therefore, the only sacrifice is to not eat. 

Sometimes when it gets to mealtime or especially parties, I think, I should not even start eating because I can not turn it off.  My husband complains I don't buy enough food, because he has no easy munchy food.  I only plan and buy exactly what we will eat in a week, because if there is a lot of food in the house, I will eat it.  

I read an article on 10 Diet Tips You Haven't Tried.  One of the tips was that there really is a fat gene in which some people do not have an off switch and there are certain foods, especially rich foods, that trigger overeating.  Therefore you should avoid trigger foods.  After reading this article, my whole life came flashing before me and suddenly my overeating made perfect sense.

It is the amazing grace of God that I do not weigh 300 lbs.  No seriously, I pray about it and that does seem to help. 

2. For P.E. in home school this week I demonstrated cartwheels.  I am not sure what I looked like when I did it, but afterward the kids didn't want to try it too.  Maybe I should do it again and film myself just to see what I look like. 

3. P.E. is one of Alex's most favorite school subjects.  I need to get better at making P.E. fun.  Since there are only three of us, I actually have to participate.  And well, I am not a school kid anymore.

4. Speaking of P.E., I read in a home school magazine how doing things like army crawl is good for brain development.  Someone else at a home school potluck told me something similar.  She said she tried a program where they did hand play exercises before starting school and it would warm up their brains.  

5. Sometimes I think I am totally failing at this home school thing.  It's not nearly as cool as school outside the home and sometimes it's cooler (there ARE GREAT things about home school that you just cannot get in school).  There are so many cool learning things out there and I am not willing to go seek it because, one, it all starts to add up in the budget and two, I am exhausted on just the basics, plus a baby.  The things I would normally do during the day, I am not spending time doing home school and then I play catch up during the rest of the day. 

6.  I took Lucy to her to her six month well-baby appointment.  She did not gain very much weight.  The doctor was a little concerned, but I haven't done solids with her yet until this week.  I told him she hasn't pooped in two weeks too.  After a physical exam he said there was nothing suspicious and that I should give her some pear juice.  I did that evening.  She sucked down 6 ounces and an hour later, she exploded.  It was classic parenting fun.

7. I taught Alex about feasting and fasting with pictures to help him learn about the Nativity Fast.  We drew his favorite food in one picture and foods mommy makes during the fast in the fasting picture.  Visuals--that's my tactic.  For Kristiana who has to talk, touch and see, I draw it, she colors it. Yeah, go mommy.100_7163

Monday, November 12, 2012

Real Life

Lucy started eating solids today.  She has shown no interest in food.  But, on Sunday I decided to shove a little avocado in her mouth since she is of age to start solids.  She sucked it down with a curious look on her face.  Later at the church reception she gummed down some soft banana.  Then in the evening my neighbor brought over some prepared baby food left over from her own baby. The other kids were very excited that Lucy would soon be eating food.  They asked all day long today if they could be one to feed her.  I told them they could all take a turn feeding her.  I thought she would do the typical baby thing and push it all out with her tongue, but she sucked down two bowls.  The girls had fun playing little mommies with their sister.  Of course, Annie spent the most time and care feeding Lucy.  Then the girls each had a bowl of baby cereal themselves.  I don't know what that was about.  Maybe it was like comfort food to them.  

Yes, I had to snap a picture of my two year old gently feeding her sixth month old sister.  Perfect moment.


Thursday, November 8, 2012

Icon Writing With Kids - Holy Archangels



Oh how I wanted to do a large icon of the angels and paint it with the kids. But, the fact is that I just cannot seem to pull it off at the moment.  I cannot find energy enough to invest in such a project.  However, I am still happy that I have made the effort to continue the coloring book project.  October left me with little time and little inspiration.  This icon is really beautiful and inspiring.  Christ is held by three Archangels showing that their work is for Him.  They serve Him and uphold Him.

Let us pray to the nine Archangels to defend us against sin.

Bless the Lord, All you His Angels, You who are Mighty in strength
And do His Will.
Intercede for me At the throne of God,
And by your unceasing watchfulness
Protect me in every danger Of soul and body.
Bless the Lord, All you His Angels,
You who are Mighty in strength 
And do His Will. 

Intercede for me At the throne of God,
And by your unceasing watchfulness
Protect me in every danger Of soul and body.
Obtain for me The grace of final perseverance,
So that after this life I may be admitted
To your glorious company
And may sing with you
The praises of God For all eternity.
O all you holy Angels And Archangels,
Thrones and Dominations, Principalities and Powers
And Virtues of heaven, Cherubim and Seraphim
And especially you, My dear Guardian Angel,
Intercede for me And obtain for me The special favor I now ask
(State your intention here...).
Say 9 Our Father...

Friday, October 26, 2012

Grace School

"Beloved Christians, you and your children shall appear at that Judgment of Christ, and you shall give account for them to the just Judge. He will not ask you whether you have taught your children the arts or whether you have taught them to speak French, or German, or Italian, but whether you have taught them to live as Christians."  ~St. Tikhon of Zadonsk

At the heart of it all, this is what I hope to pass to my children.  This is why I wish to home school the children--so that they might freely live their faith every day with their family (Some might say you can do this all while going to school and living in the world.  But their picture of living faith is different than mine).  I pray that they learn and live the faith.

Today we finished the first quarter, of our first official year of home school.  To most, this would seem to be a small accomplishment in the grand scale of one's education.  But it's not to me.  If only everyone else could see how far we have come.  It's been a battle of wills.  It's been a trial of trust.  It's been an intimate family affair.  It has been a test of fortitude.  We have reached into the depths of our souls to justify this path.  We have fought against societal convention.  All of this we have traversed to reach this, the first official year of schooling.  

When I came to see that home schooling was the best kind of education I could give my child, it was then that it seemed this dream would never come to fruition.  I could not find a way to get my son to work consistently on minor home schooling activities as a kindergartner.  My husband thought that perhaps his personality did not lend itself to being home schooled.  My husband insisted that we would try public school while my heart still longed to teach my kids at home.  Then a friend, most sincerely, said that she would offer prayers for us.  Of course, I prayed daily about it.  Somehow in the following six months this adventure of home schooling came to pass. 

At the beginning of the quarter I gave the kids incentives to sit and learn such as candy and prizes.  I thought, my goodness these kids are going to be fat and I will be broke by the end of the year if this the only way the kids will sit for their lessons.  But, at the end of two weeks the kids had gotten into the habit of working on school lessons and they no longer asked for candy or prizes.  They simply understood that this was school time and they were going to work.  The habit had been established via conditioning. 

I am honestly so proud of my child and myself for this achievement.  He did VERY well on his quarter tests.  He's only five years old (almost six).  He's suppose to be in kindergarten, but we started him in first grade because he already could read, write, add and subtract.  He is very close to completing the next quarter in phonics and mathematics.  Every time I see him achieving in his studies I can not help taking credit in my head.  (When I was in elementary school, I am not sure how many times I actually gave teachers credit for my learning.  I am sure I will never get credit if I do not give it to myself.)

During this first quarter he was supposed to learn just the first three of the Ten Commandments, but I taught him a mnemonic device for all ten.   He was too excited about it and learned them all.  He also learned many prayers.  I bought a book on mnemonic devices for learning about the Catholic faith.  It's brilliant.  The first thing the book espouses is how can one live a faith one does not know, therefore, we must know and remember as much of the faith as we can.

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Some truths about my home school:

1. Sometimes I get impatient with my little students and show it.  I don't think this happens in schools.

2. We usually begin home school some time between 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. depending on what we have to do in the day and depending on how annoying little sisters are being.  We often just have to wait until they are napping to focus.  However, this odd hour can mean Alex is munching on his lunch while working.  This is not a good combination for when I ask him to read or respond to a question and he has a mouth full of PB&J.

3. Home schooling isn't nearly as fun and magical as my reading explorations led me to believe.  "You can have a field trip whenever you want." True, but if you want consistency and completion of your work you can not really take many excursions whenever you want. "You can do art and music every day when public schools are cutting such programs."  Yeah, there is a reason they might cut those programs.  I am not saying they are not beneficial, but art supplies and instruments are crazy expensive.  Let alone the effort you have to put into it.  

4. I am wishing we were having more fuzzy moments sitting on the sofa cuddled up in blankets reading stories or doing lessons.  I am wishing there were more painting, pasting and colored tissue paper.  Alas, I have the rest of the house hold to run, a sixth month old baby who needs nursing and care among other things.  But, I hope I can do it all well enough.

5. Sometimes we miss the magic of school plays and pageants and festivals; we miss packing lunches; school friendships; we miss the precious first day of school pictures and the stories they tell when we pick them up.  No, every precious moment of their little lives is ours--the good, the bad, the in between.  I just hope that in the end that it the price we have paid is more valuable than any earthly treasure.  I just pray that our reward is eternal.

6. Kristiana has a preschool work book and she works hard on it everyday. But, let's be honest, I am only pretending to teach her, because I am really focusing on Alex.  I kind of dodge in and out of lessons with her.  Guess what? She's actually learning a lot, so maybe I ought to straighten up and start teaching her in all those fun tactile preschool ways like I did with Alex.

7. We don't pretend to be perfect, but we do hope and pray for grace.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Baby Things

I caught Annie changing her babies' diapers on the changing table.  She's a good little mommy.  If I want to occupy her, I will ask her to care for her babies and she will spend time rocking them and hugging them.  She will line them all up and cover them with blankets.  She'll change their diapers and feed them bottles.  It's amazing that this all comes to her very naturally.  It is this activity of caring for the babies that makes her very calm, happy and at peace.  


I took this picture because I wanted to capture the spit bubbles running down Lucy's face. 


I put Lucy for a nap and she pulled the blanket over herself, nothing but her little foot was poking out.




About That Funny Little Girl

Kristiana has a b-i-i-i-g personality.  She always has.  When I was just newly pregnant with her, out of the blue, people would approach me and I ask me if I was pregnant.  I thought, "Wow, this baby is already making it's presence known."  An acquaintance of my husband's came up to him at his school and said, "Andrew, is your wife pregnant, because I had a dream she was."  It was so strange.

When she was a little baby, she had a way of screaming in the night that would make your hair curl.  She still does.  To this day, she still wakes and screams in the night, over the littlest thing.  But, I kept saying to my husband, you just watch, this little baby girl is going to be funny and your going to love her and have a special bond with her.  I was right.  Each night before she goes to bed my husband makes her swear an oath that she will not scream in the night.  "I, Kristiana, will not scream and cry in the night and wake everyone up, and will stay in my bed to sleep.  So help me, God."

Over the last week, I have been reminded of how funny and special she is.  One day this week she did her preschool homeschool for over five hours.  She could color pictures all day long.  She could sit and play pretend by herself carrying on conversations with herself all day.  

She hobbled around bent over holding a long toy as a walking stick and crackled her voice as though she were a very old woman.  She was good little actress.  She'll sing songs with gusto like the song from Annie, "Tomorrow."  She sings the Popeye the Sailor Man song in a scratchy Popeye voice…by she won't do it on camera. 

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And she loooves to organize things.  I do not mean she likes to pick up all her toys and put them away.  But, she does organize things--almost anything she can get her hands on.  When she dumps all the crayons out of the box to color a picture, she will line them all up in color order.


We have a basket full of kids shoes by the door.  She pulled these out of the shoe basket and while pretending they were animate she lined them all up and had them talk to each other.



Kristiana Quotes:

"I"M A TEENAGER! I'm a baaaad girl!"

"Daddy, your the strongest man in the WORRRLD!"

 "Daddy, you're reawwee strong like Popeye!" 

Mommy:  "Next Sunday we should get some fried chicken for Sunday dinner."

Kristiana: "No, we don't eat chicken on Sunday!'

Mommy: "Oh (pause), what do we eat on Sunday?"

Kristiana: "We eat caaandeee!"

As I write this she is pretending her sister's pacifier is a bird and having the pacifier fly from one side of the room into her sister's mouth.  What a creative clown.