Monday, August 22, 2011

Michigan Fun

We packed the van up again and headed North this time.  Aunt Patti and Uncle Sherman's house in Michigan was our final destination.  They live in a beautiful log house that they had built 18 some years ago.  It is a large, comfortable, warm home.  It just oozes their personalities and is generously sprinkled with ancient artifacts that Sherman has found metal detecting all over the world and beautiful crafts and quilts that Patti has bought or made herself.  The house is located back off the road, nestled in the woods with a lush garden on one side of the long circle drive.  It is surrounded by green on 3 sides and a beautiful easy flowing river on the other. 

We had a great time at a children's museum that Aunt Patti wanted to take us to.  It had a ton of fun exhibits for the kids, and adults, to explore.
Trent and Tom working on the canal exhibit

Go Aunt Patti!

Aunt Patti and Penny, who was missing her nap and not happy about it!

Bass Man

Uncle Sherman, Nana, Penny and Charlie building trucks

Charlie and his love of gears
We had such a nice visit, chatting, eating, playing in the rain, chatting, going to a children's museum, chatting, walking around their small town, getting hair cuts at the local barber shop, going for tractor rides, playing board games, eating ice cream at the ice cream parlor, spending time as a family, eating some more, taking boat rides on the river, laughing, having dinner with friends, watching movies and just having a really nice visit.  The only downer of the weekend was not being able to visit our dear friends in a near by town.  Now we have another reason to go back :)

Penny love

Uncle Sherm gives Charlie a ride
We can't wait to go back! Love you Aunt Patti and Uncle Sherman!! Thanks for a great weekend!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

School Wrap Up 2010-2011

Ok, so I am WAY behind on writing about our first year of "official"  hscholing (home schooling).  Better late then never :)

A lot happened this year and in the midst of it all we started our hscholing adventure.  I was at the end of a difficult pregnancy, our beloved Nie Nie passed away suddenly, a little sister was born and then was hospitalized for RSV a few short months later, and then just throw in there everyday life.  To say the last year was a challenge is an understatement.  But even though there were many rough "life" moments, we still accomplished A LOT and had A LOT of fun in our first year of hschooling!

I learned a lot about my oldest little red headed boy and our relationship grew in many ways, ways I never would of even thought!  My favorite part of the year was watching all the little "light bulb" moments when something would sink and he would "get it"!  At the beginning of the year I was so worried if I would be able to teach Charlie to read, it was really my biggest fears about hschooling.  Being able to read and read well, is such an important foundation for ones' educational career, let alone life!  I was grateful to be the one to watch him on the road to reading.  To be with him when he read his first word, sentence and then book! We are so proud of him and all the accomplishments that he made this year!

Looking back on this year I can definitely say it wasn't so much about what Charlie learned, but learning how he learns.  Our boy is a mover, full of energy and needs a lot of reminders to stay on task.  So, pretty much like every other 6 year old little boy ;) He needs lots of activity and learns best mid morning.  He also does very well with manipulatives and hands on projects.

I quickly learned that if he had a good grasp on a math subject then he didn't need to do 4 weeks of review, one was more then enough for him and he retained the information when I would go back and review with him.  We worked closely with his K12 "teacher" and she encouraged us to work at a pace that was good for Charlie.  Some subjects we sailed through, others we stayed on target.  Charlie finished some of his subjects in April, and was completed with his work in the beginning of May.  The school year officially ended in June.  We didn't follow the K12 school year, but took off time when we needed when baby sister was born :)

Charlie's favorite activities this year included writing in his journal, specifically making up "Choo Choo stories" and the LEGO class that he participated in at our co-op.  We both really enjoyed all the time we spent together, especially our reading time snuggled up on the couch.

Not only did I learn a lot about Charlie this year, but I also learned a lot about myself.  I am learning how to be more organized and seeing how that greatly affects the atmosphere in our home.  I also was reminded how more times then not, less is actually more and that I need to even further simplify our lives!  It was also made very apparent to me this year that I must carve out even 10-15 minutes a day for reading the scriptures and prayer time.  My life is full to the brim with responsibilities.  I rarely have a quiet moment during the day to myself (not even in the bathroom :), and I would NOT have it any other way.  But, I have to make my relationship with the Lord first and foremost!  Even if that means that something else does not get done for the day!

This year was such a blessing!  I am so grateful to be able to educate our children at home.  I am happy that they are enjoying their school time and look forward to it (they are still kids and will sometimes cringe when I say "school time!" :).  There were plenty of struggles and challenges, tears were shed and voices raised, but there was much more joy, happiness, learning and love that was experienced!!  It was far better then I could of expected!

My Dearest Charlie,
   I had so much fun with you this year.  Learning right along side of you and watching you grow!  I pray that God will guide me as your Mommy and teacher, that I might follow His plan for you in all areas of your life!  I am so grateful for the time we got to spend together! It is priceless and I will cherish this year for all my life! I love you so much and I am so excited to see all the cool things you will do this year as a BIG first grader!!!
Love you baby!

We embrace the next year wholeheartedly, excited to see what God has in store for us!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Penelope Jane: 9 months

This little girl blesses our hearts and home everyday.  She is so sweet and so fun to be with. 
At nine months she is:
*still not thrilled with baby food and would prefer regular food.  All though, nursing is still her main source of nutrition and comfort.
*still doing the "army crawl" all over the house, getting into lots of trouble and has started to terrorize her brothers :)

*still very pleasant, happy, sweet, very lovable and likes to be held
*can play independently for short periods of time
*LOVES the cat and dog and will "chase" them around the house and squeal and chatter away at them
*definitely has a voice of her own and is rather chatty at times
*has a definite affection for other babies, and loves her dollie.  She also like the dolls that have eyes that open and close and she is fascinated with them.  She will sit for a long period of time, opening the eyelids with her tiny finger.  She also likes to now try and open my eyelids!

*she is getting her 3rd tooth!  Her top left tooth, and it isn't pretty :(
*still getting up a few times a night to nurse, but sleeping longer stretches
*still taking 2 naps, and sleeps from about 6pm-7am
*weighs 20lbs, wears 12 months clothing
*she has gone to the nursery at church a few times  and has had a rough time of it, but we will keep trying!
*still smitten with her Daddy and brothers!
Miss Penny,
We love you so much and we are so excited to watch you grow.  You are such a joy and a blessing.  Your sweet smile is just contagious and you fill our home with such warmth and love.  We thank God everyday for you!!  Love you sweet girl!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Happiness is.....

being surrounded by our babies.

Friday, August 5, 2011

The Homestead

One of our favorite places on Earth.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Grandpa's Birthday Weekend In The Country

Penny spending time with Grandpa

Honey Trent

Me and the babies

Charlie and Red

Bath time


Picking Nie Nie's raspberries

Harvesting the raspberries

Grandpa blowing out the non existent candles :)

Happy Birthday Grandpa!!  We love you.