Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Home Again, Home Again, Jiggity Jig!

We got home from my parents' Monday. Now to get back into the swing of chores and school and such after a week of play LOL.

Some random highlights from the last week or so:

  • L is getting more willing to write phonetically, the big girls & my mom have an on-going game that mom's kitchen is a restaurant and the big girls are her helpers. I didn't completely follow the story, but apparently L met (or already knew) an imaginary woman with "20 kids plus a baby" whose husband had just died, and L invited this woman to leave her kids (all of which were 6 & under, lots of multiples in that family I'd say . . . and not much breastfeeding to spread out the gap between kids LOL, just because I'm a geek about such things I figured out that if the baby was 4 mo old (per L), and the baby & the 6 yr old were singletons, and all children were 11 mo apart, it COULD be done as long as all the ones between the baby & 6 yr old were at least triplets, and one set of quads LOL. . . anyway, L proceeded to write a list of all the kids names, need to work with her on LISTING things one to a line, and perhaps skipping a line if it's a narrow ruled paper, but readable or not, at least she's writing :o)
  • Between Little House and American Girl and I'm not sure what all else, the girls have wrapped their minds around the fact that money was worth more "back then", I missed the beginning of the conversation but something was said about a quarter & one of the girls said "that would've been alot of money back then".
  • They have also grasped the fact that we live in a much more materialistic society than Colonial America, as we were driving home yesterday talk turned to Christmas wish lists and A decided that her new (colonial) doll, Sarah, needs presents as well, there then followed a conversation between "Sarah" and L, where Sarah asked for a multitude of things on her Christmas list, and then asked "am I being too greedy?" to which L replied "not for these days" LOL
  • When A & L were using the cross-saw to saw through a log, the guy showing them how, said that children in colonial America would have learned to do that, and it would have become one of their chores at age 6. I commented to the girls that "that makes unloading the dishwasher not seem so bad, huh?" to which A replied, "but THIS is fun!!" sigh . . . I give up LOL
  • Little Bit is SO close to crawling, she can get on hands & knees and rock, she can bring her knees forward, OR she can leave her legs laying behind her (instead of being on her knees) and move her hands forward, just hasn't put the pieces together EEEEEEKKKKKK!!!!
  • One thing we've been working on is being "honoring" as defined by Turansky & Miller in Say Goodbye to Whining, Complaining, and Bad Attitudes... in You and Your Kids. It's fun to see the girls start to "get it" when I point out that they are being honoring when they do more than asked. It's also fun to hear them do the same to me "Mommy, you were being honoring when you let us write a shorter verse for copywork today" hee hee.
  • Yesterday I hit my limit on the girls' messy room, had them put away a bunch of stuff and then I got in there and got things at least looking better (there are several "stashes" of odds and ends of junky toys that I haven't dealt with yet, would like to start working slowly to get things better organized in there so it's easier for them to KEEP it clean). This morning A told me "Mommy, it's so nice to not have an obstacle course to get out of our room! she also said "we'll keep it this way from now on . . . RIGHT L?" ROFL.
  • Little Bit didn't read the books that say "pincher grip" doesn't come till 8-12 mo. Yesterday while sitting in the (desperately needs to be vacuumed) upstairs hall she not only managed to pick up the yarn "kite tail" that was laying in the hall (A's turned the playroom into a "craft store" and the sign, stuck to the wall outside the door, is a kite, complete with yarn tail) but also picked up a scrap of paper that was about 1/4" square (left over from one of the many craft projects the girls are always doing)
  • We've been experimenting with solid foods. Little Bit LOVES broccoli, continues to enjoy bagels (a "hotel treat" since we rarely have them at home), to keep her happy while we were eating various meals on this trip, we discovered she's a big fan of "ritz" type crackers, sweet potato fries, avacado . . . and last night, roasted potato.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Historic Williamsburg

From Historic Williamsburg
My parents & I took the kids to Historic Williamsburg on Wed & Thurs this week. It was the last week of their fall Homeschool Days when homeschoolers can visit Historic Williamsburg at a greatly reduced rate (the 5 of us (Little Bit was free) got in for 2 days for approximately what it would cost for one comparable adult normal-price one day pass). There were also extra demonstrations and such for homeschoolers though we didn't find time to fit much of that in, and quite abit of it is geared for age 8+.

Still, we had a great time & will definitely be back! You can click on the link under Little Bit's picture to see all our pictures.

I was thinking in terms of sweatshirts & BabyLegs not sun hats, so when it ended up hot & sunny we "had" to get straw sunhats for the big girls and a "mob cap" for Little Bit.

Our favorite "trade" tour was the silversmith, the woman in there did an exceptional job of explaining her trade on a level 6 yr olds could understand and found fascinating.

A declared the only "boring" thing to have been the guided tour of the Capital, which was led by a woman with a British (I think) accent that made her abit hard to understand and her lengthy explanations of legal process, etc were WAY over their heads (and while not over my head, much more detail than I cared to know LOL). We ducked out part-way through that tour.

Yesterday we had a less-educational, but still fun day at Busch Gardens. It rained some, but that kept the crowds away & the heat down, making it a perfect day. We also were able to visit a few minutes with our friends Keith & Christine (and kids) AND strictly by accident bumped into a babywearing friend of mine, Kim O, who was there with her family, I hadn't met her youngest yet & she hadn't met Little Bit, so that was a lovely treat.

Today we're heading toward home, perhaps by way of Oxon Hill Farm if the rain continues to hold off.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

It's My Blog and I'll Brag if I Want To

We've spent the last 2 days at Historic Williamsburg, it's been hot, but we've had alot of fun. And if you'll indulge me for just a minute I wanted to record a few of the compliments & comments I got about my kids while we were there.

  • The woman working at the silversmith when we went there was AWESOME at explaining her craft even to young kids, A & L were fascinated, as they listened to her and asked questions an older couple who'd come in while we were there commented on how good it is to see young kids so interested and asking intelligent questions.
  • While we were in the Governor's garden, after completing the tour of the Governor's Palace a woman commented to my mom about how well-behaved L & A were during the tour and how interested they'd been in it.
  • Numerous people commented on how cute my children are (didn't hurt any that A & L were wearing their straw hats, either on their heads or pushed back onto their backs (see picture, above) and Little Bit was in the wrap, wearing a mob cap (pictures of that to come once I get pictures off my Dad's camera).
  • As often happens people commented on Little Bit's smile and how happy she is, I've decided that's her God-given mission, at least for this season of her life, to make people happy with her ready-smile :o)
  • Coincidentally, the man who was at the gate of the Governor's Palace when we went for that tour, and conversed with A & L while we waited for that tour to start, was the tour guide when we went on the Randolph House tour. He was a GREAT tour guide, actually remembered that one of the girls' names was L (not sure if he remembered who was who, and intentionally "got it wrong" (he'd pretended to "get it wrong" right after hearing it the day before at the Governor's Palace too, so may have been pretending again) or if he just remembered that one name was "L" and randomly guessed which was which, but even remembering a name was impressive. . . partway through the tour he was talking about what age children would be allowed in the parlor and asked A & L how old they were, when they said 6, he looked surprised and commented that they acted much older, he'd thought they were 8 or 9!
  • We also got several compliments from people on tours with us, about how well-behaved the girls are, and they were VERY GOOD these last 2 days, especially considering how hot it was and how much walking we did! Dad logged over 10,000 steps each day and while he did some walking we didn't, the girls' legs are alot shorter than his.
So all in all, not only did we have a fun time (will write more on that when I have the pictures to go with it), but it was nice to have so many nice comments on my kids :o)

Monday, September 14, 2009

Little Bit's Dedication

We had Little Bit's dedication at church this week (9/12/09 or I'll never remember it LOL). My parents came up on Friday to help me get ready & Dad brought the swing that he'd started installing last time, only to find that hardware stores no longer carry plain old swing seats, so he had to build one. Despite our rainy Friday, A & L were able to try it out & pronounce it perfect!
From Little Bit's Dedication Weekend

The dress Little Bit wore Friday as my mom's, made for her by her grandmother, so Little Bit's wearing a dress made by her great-great-grandmother, how cool is that?!?!

From Little Bit's Dedication Weekend
The lighting in the church wasn't great for pictures, but here we all are

From Little Bit's Dedication Weekend

From Little Bit's Dedication Weekend

And just because I love the picture, 2 of my favorite people! :)

From Little Bit's Dedication Weekend

It was a nice weekend, Grandmom (dh's mom) & Aunt Lynette (dh's sister) were able to come up for the day on Sabbath. Pastor Mike has been sick, so opted not to hold Little Bit like he normally does babies during dedications. We appreciate him not getting her (or us) sick LOL. We also celebrated dh's 40th birthday (which was Sunday). If you click on the link under any of the pictures you can go to the album & see the rest of the pictures, including pictures of Little Bit trying some apple (on Fri) and broccoli (on Sabbath). She's enjoying solids, especially since she gets to feed herself.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

First Week of School

We started our new school year this past week. With Daddy home on Monday (Labor Day), Little Bit's check-up on Wed, and Mama & Papa here on Fri, we only managed to fit in 2 days of school this week, but at least it was a start.

In addition to continuing with Polished Cornerstones, we started Prairie Primer. My wonderful hubby was able to find me mp3's of the Little House books, so I don't have to re-read the whole series to the girls, we just listen to that day's chapter(s) and then get on with it.

Chapter 1: We were supposed to make a corncob doll, but I'd forgotten to get corncobs from my parents' cornfields when we were down there before our Indiana trip, so we had them bring corncobs to us this weekend, we'll make the dolls this week. We DID make "crackling cornbread" (using bacobits since we're vegetarian), and begin a book on manners.

Chapter 2: We continued our book on manners, talked about making butter (but didn't have time to actually make it, perhaps this week . . .), and the girls each drew "Jack Frost" according to how Laura describes her mental picture of him.

A has decided she wants to continue with reading through the McGuffy readers, she recently finished the Primer and started on the First Reader, which, we discovered, starts back at the "beginning" rather than continuing on from where the Primer left off, so she's easily reading 2-3 lessons each day as we review easier words and shorter lessons than she was doing at the end of the Primer. L hasn't shown any interest in continuing to read through the old SDA readers, so I'm not pushing it, they get reading practice with their daily Bible reading, reading the verse of the day for Polished Cornerstones, etc. And L generally gets a book or 2 from the library when we go, and reads those.

Instead of using handwriting paper for their copywork, this year I gave them each a spiral notebook and they write each day's copywork in the notebook, yay for not having to remember to holepunch papers & get them in a notebook, and having random papers floating around when we forget!

So all-in-all we had a good start to our new "school year".

2009-2010 School Year - Resources and Description

This year we are continuing through Polished Cornerstones for Bible/Devotions. We spend a week on each lesson, whether we end up doing school 5 days that week or 2 (sometimes if we have 2 weeks of 1 or 2 days in a row I'll use the same lesson for both weeks).

Our main curriculum is Prairie Primer. We'll be spending this whole school year doing this unit study on the Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder. It's designed for grades 3-6 so we'll be picking and choosing, and adapting, as necessary to bring it down to a K-1 level (IF the state had a right to ask me what grade the girls are in this year, which my state doesn't, until age 8, I would have them in K this year, but in some areas I think they're not quite there yet and in other areas they're probably more of a 1st-2nd grade level, the beauty of homeschooling is that works LOL).

Additionally, a month or so ago, A decided she wanted to get back to using a reading book to improve her reading skills, so she is continuing through the McGuffy readers that we started using last winter, she recently finished the Primer and started the First Reader (which starts back with VERY SIMPLE words/lessons, so she's reading 2-3 lessons per day until we get back up to level).

And in a nutshell, that's what the plans are for this year. I will list resources (from Polished Cornerstones & Prairie Primer) here as we use them, as well as anything else we decide to add in.

Polished Cornerstones; Projects for Daughters on the Path to Womanhood

The Prairie Primer: Literature Based Unit Studies

McGuffey's First Eclectic Reader, Revised Edition

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Little Bit's Check-Up

We finally had Little Bit's "4 month" checkup today (we had some scheduling conflicts that pushed it till now). She officially weighs 15lb 13oz (just over 50% on the charts) and is 25 inches long (just under 50% percentile). Everything looks good, nothing much to report.

We got the official go-ahead to start solids. The doctor recommended starting with vegetables (though her reason was "so she learns to like vegetables" which I don't buy, since A & L ate EVERYTHING until they were about 4 yrs old and THEN got picky (which, interestingly, is what I did too), but whatever . . . obviously vegetables are a good thing, whether or not they impact future picky eating), and said to drizzle them with extra virgin olive oil (or cook them in olive oil) and to add about 1 Tbsp of blackstrap molasses (though I must say, molasses on vegetables sounds gross to me . . . though as I type that, it occurs to me that "normal" people like the orange vegetables with brown sugar & such on them, so maybe that's what she was talking about, when I hear mollasses on vegetables I think of it on green beans or something, shudder . . . ) anyway . . . that was the appointment. We go back in Nov.

Ps. The picture is of Little Bit wearing the longies I made for her for this winter! Not too shabby for a first attempt huh? LOL.

What to Do about the Flu!

Partially so I remember, and partially to help out others who might be wondering, while we were at Little Bit's well-baby visit to the doctor today, Dr. F told me her recommendations for dealing with the flu. Notice that she does NOT mention anything about getting a flu shot, have I mentioned I LOVE our doctor!!!!

Throughout the season, make sure to take your daily dose of Vit D3, this dosage varies from person to person, since I'm nursing, my dosage is 8,000 units, A & L's dosage is 1,000 units . . . this should be taken all the time, but is especially important during flu season, which, of course, coincides with the time of year when there is less sunshine.

Also use hand sanitizer and wipe down surfaces as needed. She recommends using benzalonium chloride hand sanitizer rather than ethanol.

At the first sign of flu:

Take extra Vitamin D3 for up to 3 days
Oscillococcinum (you can find this at most grocery stores & such too), she said to carry a tube of this with you and use it if you even THINK you might be getting the flu! BUT she said to take 1/3 dose at a time, so instead of the recommendation of one tube per dose, split each tube into 3 doses
Ferrum Phos, also marketed as Infludoron (though I've only ever found ferrum phos LOL), also available in drops. Take 10 drops or pellets every 2 hours for 2 days, then 4 x per day. Note that Ferrum Phos is also available in 30c dosage, which is a much higher dosage, make sure to adjust the dosage or get the 6x dosage.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Book Review: Radical Womanhood

I finished reading Radical Womanhood: Feminine Faith in a Feminist World a couple days before we left for Indiana, and didn't have time to write my review before I left.

AWESOME book!! Carolyn McCulley does a great job of condensing the history of feminism into a quick read, as well as pointing out how it has crept into our churches without us even noticing.

Unlike some books, articles, etc that I've read, she doesn't make blanket statements about not working outside the home or what your stance should be on birth control, etc. She simply provides the history, and biblical references and principals that can be drawn from those references and leaves the specifics for you to decide for yourself.

I truly believe this is a book that all Christian women should read. It is quite scary to realize how feminism has wormed it's way into Christianity, especially once you realize where much of feminism originated.

We're Home!!

To read about our trip, in order, scroll down to "Indiana Trip, Day 1", as I explain there, I wrote posts as we went but waited to post all of them until we got home.

We're home now! Yesterday dh was working, helping GPMM get their books set up. I considered taking the girls to Pittsburgh Zoo, but the timing of me having the car didn't coincide well w/ Little Bit's nap-schedule, and I figured the big girls could use a day to just chill anyway, so we hung out at the hotel all morning, the big girls played with their Little Pet Shop toys, and played school and just did their own thing. After eating lunch with dh, we went and hung out at GPMM for the afternoon for a change of scenery & bigger space, teh hotel room was getting abit claustrophobic. After supper the big girls went swimming with Daddy. Someone had left a beach ball at the pool at that hotel so I guess they spent the whole time playing a kind of catch/volleyball game where Daddy threw the ball up in the air & they tried to hit the ball as they jumped into the pool, then swam underwater back to the steps to do it all again.

This morning we took Daddy back to GPMM and then the girls & I went back to the hotel to get packed up & checked out (and the girls got some playtime in there too). Then we went to GPMM and hung out there for a couple more hours while dh finished up what he needed to do there, and then we headed home.

And now we're home, the big girls are in bed, the car is (mostly) unloaded . . . ahhhh!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Starting Home . . .

We left Indiana this morning and began our journey home . . . but it's not a "direct route" kind of journey LOL.

This morning we drove to Columbus, and spent the rest of the day at COSI. WOW! What an awesome museum! The girls had a BLAST! We were there for probably 4 1/2 hours and could have spent MUCH longer there if it wasn't closing . . . and if we didn't still have a 3 hr drive ahead of us LOL. The big girls learned about space, the ocean, Egypt (hence the camel picture), went down into a tiny 2 man submarine, learned about weather, including seeing how a 100 mph force will shoot a pencil through a board, and touching a cloud. Tried to lift a car using a lever (they weren't quite strong/heavy enough to do it, but I could LOL), L and Daddy were stuck to the wall in a spinning chamber (A was too scared, and Little Bit was too little) . . . the list goes on.

Little Bit mostly rode around in the wrap, but she did get to pretend she was a bird . . . or perhaps she was a snake, since she was trying to eat the eggs?

And played in the water at the water table for abit.

I would LOVE to live close to this museum! What a great resource! But at least we were able to enjoy it today, and I suspect will try to schedule another visit during future Indiana trips if at all possible.

We left at closing time, ate supper, and headed on toward home . . . and tonight we are in Pittsburgh. I think we've succeeded in wearing the kids out this trip, here's how L fell asleep tonight!
And after we moved the book (just because I love pictures of sleeping kids LOL):
A fell right to sleep too (did I mention I love sleeping kids LOL).