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Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Back-to-School

~Marissa~
wants to be a writer
~Isabella~
wants to get married and have a whole bunch of kids . . . back-up plan a nurse or doctor
~Jackson~
wants to be a baseball player or storm chaser/meteorologist
~Emmett~
wants to be a Lego inventor and design Lego kits
~Owen~
wants to be a Wal-mart worker
(I kid you not, that is what he told me . . . apparently he is a big Wal-mart fan?) ;o)
~
We had our first day back on August 11 and completed our first week without too many tears or gnashing of teeth.  To be quite frank, I was kind of dreading this start-up, wondering over and over how I would do it.  I haven't put August on a schedule, we just kind of fit him into our life (i.e. he cries I feed him . . . ).  I really didn't know how that was going to work while trying to keep everyone busy and on task.  But an amazing thing happened last week--he decided to nap from about 8:00-11:00 a.m.! I KNOW. Totally God's graciousness there!  While he hasn't done quite as awesome this week, he is still being quite obliging to the fact I am busy, and I am so thankful. Our schedule goes something like this:

6:00-7:00~we are waking up. My goal is to be up at 6:00 every day.  Josh has a morning bus route and needs to be leaving the house by 6:15.  If I want to see him, that is my chance. ;o) (But alas, I missed him this morning . . .) I have been trying to get back into my tea/Bible/prayer routine, and it truly works best for me in the early morning in a quiet house.
7:00-8:00~kids are mostly responsible for their own breakfasts (we keep it simple with cereals/oatmeal or they can make an "egg mcmuffin") and getting themselves ready for the day.
8:00-9:00~time I spend with Emmett and Owen and nobody is supposed to bother us.  I am working on a new Phonics curriculum with both of them.  Mainly I got it for Emmett who has been having some struggles, but I am throwing Owen into the mix to see if maybe he can catch on as well.  So far I LOVE it (Logic of English, Foundations A, in case anyone is interested).  Superbly boy friendly! The older three are supposed to work independently during this time--practice instrument, read, and any workbook stuff (saving questions for me for later).
9:00-11:00~what I call MORNING BLOCK. This is where we do history (M,T,W) and science (TH, F), and any math lessons, or explanations of other lessons that couldn't be done on their own during 8-9.  Emmett and Jackson are doing Mystery of History, "Creation to Resurrection" and studying ancient history.  Marissa and Isabella are doing Mystery of History, "Wars of Independence to Modern Times." For science we have a set of seven books from the Wonders of Creation series, the first one we are doing is meteorology.
11:00-12:00~lunch break . . . we eat, clean up, hopefully get supper prepped, reboot some laundry, etc.
12:00-2:00~AFTERNOON BLOCK . . . this is where we finish up whatever didn't get finished in the morning.  Mostly, that has been Latin for the girls.  Um yeah, Marissa requested Latin this year . . . it is kind of kicking my rear . . . But she loves it.  Isabella tolerates it. It is kind of hard . . . I may do something different for Isabella, as she genuinely has enjoyed vocabulary in the past--this might kill that love. ;o)
And then we have the afternoon to try to tend to the falling apart house . . .
~
I am keeping my days and life as simple as I can this year.  If somebody were to stop by on a surprise visit they really would not be impressed with my homemaking abilities, but I can assure you it is NOT because I am sitting around playing games on my phone all day . . . ;o)  It is a "keep my head above the water" kind of year.  We have found a wonderful teacher in Columbus for violin for Marissa (I am REALLY excited about her!). We don't have an official day of the week assigned yet, but we had a first "trial lesson" last week. Isabella is quitting violin.  She loves the piano, so I am going to start giving her lessons on that. Jackson's cello teacher will be in Lincoln (when we journey in on Wednesday night for Awana).  And that will be enough activities for the school year! As soon as we have our whole schedule laid out I need to sit down with my rotating menus/grocery lists for this new season of life. That will be a bit of an undertaking, but it is always so worth it to not have to think "what am I making for supper tonight?"  Once that occurs I will have all of our routines ready for the fall--I can't wait to feel on top of things again!! Routine is good. (Amen). ;o)


Monday, August 18, 2014

August 10-16

 Sunday afternoon Isabella had a Target gift card burning a hole in her pocket, so I took her to Target.
She bought a Lego kit (she likes Legos nearly as much as the boys because she enjoys making stop-motion Lego movies).  The boys looked on with palpable envy while she assembled the new kit. ;o)
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 Back to school! For the first time in my eight (8!?!) years of official homeschooling I actually have a little room to devote to our scholarly endeavors--how fun!
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 Working on our letters the fun sensory-filled way--drawing in shaving cream. ;o)
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 Realizing one couch with not be sufficient for very long.
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 Weaponry 101
(the class that will happen during down-time if you have at least one boy in your home)
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 Next door neighbors.
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A simple bouquet of sunflowers, zinnia, and dill-going-to-seed. I kind of think it beats a stuffy expensive arrangement any day. ;o)

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

August 3-9

(No Sunday pictures, I spent the weekend miserable, five days of yucky sore throat, aches, fever/chills . . . not exactly in a picture taking mood!) ;o)
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 Here is our latest batch of kittens.  We started out with five but one (the pretty white one!) mysteriously disappeared and now we have four.  Tabby moved them under the swing set--a perfect place for little boys to snuggle them.
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 My August-boy and me. 
This little guy (and our move) quite efficiently turned my life/routines/schedules into utter mayhem.  People keep asking me how I am settling in and I laugh (with perhaps the crazed gleam of a maniac glowering in my eyes . . .). It has been hard.  One would think that 6th time around adding a new little person would be second nature. And while yes, there is something oh-so-familiar about the weight of a little one in my arms, I KNOW babies, I still feel like there are about 17 people in my family.  Do I adore him? Oh my, YES!  Is my house complete and utter chaos? YES!!  But I know it is a season and it can be survived. And we ARE surviving.  Food and clean clothes people, those are my goals. ;o)
Yay sunflowers!!! Yes, I post a sunflower pic every summer, but don't they just make you happy?
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 And yay green beans! My second picking and they are soooo good!
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 My favorite little swallowtail butterflies have been swarming the zinnias.  Almost every time I glace out a window I see one fluttering by.  I think I like them so much because they are my wedding colors . . .
~
His little face has rounded out and his eyes sparkle with brilliant blue.  He loves company and having conversations--all smiling, cooing, and squeals.  Josh and I have started to be reminded of a little Rissy-baby we had oh-so-long-ago.  How fun is that?

July 27-August 2

 I got a kick out of watching Emmett's attempts at diving--not the best of forms but he kept at it!
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 Just when I thought I had August pegged as being Emmett's mini-me he starts to change on me. He (surprise!) looks a lot like himself. ;o)
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 Owen still insists upon holding and snuggling his little brother.  Here they are watching Mary Poppins together.
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 I finally got my first zucchini out of the garden and promptly made 3 dozen zucchini muffins and this yummy casserole, which quite frankly is mostly cheese with a onions and a hint of zucchini, but a treat none-the-less.
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 And the sunflowers get ready to open! Everything is about a month behind because I didn't get things in until mid-June, but growing well in spite of my neglect.
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I didn't manage a picture on August 1st, but I did have this view from my garden to show you. This is looking out over the bluffs.  We can see the Columbus water tower, a good 10 miles away.  It is fun to watch the storms move through.  We hardly had storms, or even clouds in Arapahoe.  We have enjoyed the big puffy clouds and lovely rains in this new spot.
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And on this morning we sent our Jackson-boy off to his first summer camp experience.  He loved it, but the funniest comment my very scheduled boy made, "They made me stay up until 11:00!  Two nights!! And one night they made me stay up 'til midnight!!!" He was shocked (and tired). ;o) He is definitely an early bird like his mama.

Monday, July 28, 2014

July 20-26

 Watching Josh and the kids play Marco Polo after he and Marissa returned from another day of detasseling.
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A little bit of before bedtime art going on.
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Isabella and I went out to take some birthday pics . . .  many of which involved cats. ;o)
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 August's new trick--chewing on his fingers.  At one point he managed to stick his whole fist in his mouth.  That didn't go so well for him.
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 Happy birthday to Isabella!  We celebrated with both sets of grandparents at Grandpa and Grandma Cooley's house--taco bar and strawberries and cream cake.  As usual my cake was quite tasty but would not win any decorating awards (I seriously cannot decorate a cake to save my life!). But I try. ;o)
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Lots of swimming happening over the weekend--and quite frankly, it was the only way to survive if you were going to be outside!
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 I snuck a picture of Jackson admiring his baby brother. ;o)



Thursday, July 24, 2014

Happy 11th Isabella Faith!!

Back a long, long time ago, those big blue eyes of yours sucked me in.
Such a little dolly baby you were!
And today, that brilliant sparkle is still catching my eye.
You are a quiet and gentle soul.
You have this precious patience with all little creatures, be they of the animal variety or the human variety.
Small things are drawn to you.
Not because you are loud and attention getting.
But because you are still and you wait. You meet little people and little animals at their level.
Thank you for all the help.
For cooking pasta and snuggling the baby and playing "Car Hospital" with the preschooler.
For making awesome stop-motion Lego movies to entertain the whole family.
You are precious to me.
Happiest 11th Isabella Faith!
I am praying you grow up to be a godly woman and use the talents He has blessed you with to serve Him all the better.  Lots of love my sweet girl.

Monday, July 21, 2014

July 13-19

 Marissa's first day as a working woman-- she came back from the corn fields hot and muddy but with a smile on her face.  She's excited to see her new bank account getting a little stash in it, and we're happy to see that she is a good little worker.
~
Another batch of kittens--five of them--growing steadily out in the window well.  I am anxious to see that little white one a bit bigger.  One of these days my youngest brother is going to get a box of "assorted kittens" on his doorstep. ;o)
~
 When I looked out the window I saw Jackson and Emmett getting pulled around the yard by Owen.  By the time I got out to snap a picture Jackson saw me and ran away (he has been anti-picture lately in the event you wondered why you have hardly seen him on my blog--I do still love him just as much as everyone else, rest-assured). Anyway, I found it amusing that my little guy was pulling the bigger guys around.
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 At 6:45 pm Owen informed me he was so tired, and within 15 minutes he was snoozing away on the couch.  The kids have been so busy outside--lots of foot races lately.  Owen is definitely at a disadvantage but he gives it his all. 
~
 My sweet baby hit two months.  He smiles and coos and squeals.  He has rolled from tummy to back.
He is my little pal. I don't know where the summer has gone.  I kind of feel like it never truly got started this year--that constant "just keep my head above water" feeling has been my daily company. And so I feel like I had him and then I blinked and two months slipped right by.
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 Isabella found a baby birdie at Grandpa and Grandma's that had been kicked from the nest.  She spent a good hour following it around.
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Sweet August.