July: School’s in session July 31, 2016
We officially kicked off our homeschool year on July 4th (don’t worry, we had plenty of time for celebrating our nation’s Independence Day!), and it’s gone much smoother than I had initially anticipated, but not perfect, for sure. We’re now 4-weeks in and have pretty well got into a groove.
This new school year meant second grade for Abigail. The biggest changes in her curriculum from first to second grade included the addition of Latin (she really enjoys it, and I’m learning a lot too!), increased amount of work in cursive, and more challenging read aloud books. She’s thriving so far and shows a lot of pride in her work.
Reading is still her absolute favorite past time, and she’ll often read the same chapter book 4-5 times during the week or two we have it from the library. As quiet and still as she can be reading, she now has the exact inverse energy in spurts throughout the day—chaos! She’s never really been a wild, energetic child, but lately, she will intermittently be bouncing off the walls/flipping or jumping off the couch, doing cartwheels, etc.
Remember how I was taking her and Madilyn swimming each weekend? I’ve stuck with it, and now Abigail is comfortably swimming short distances underwater to me, and she’ll jump in the pool (no float!) and swim underwater to me. This is HUGE for her. Never did I think we’d get to this point so quickly. Now to master coming up for air…
Oh, and Abigail will be SEVEN in less than a week. How is that possible?!
Madilyn is now a month in to her kindergarten year, and she’s doing so well. She seems to enjoy handwriting the most—or at least she just likes working on it a lot. I will come downstairs during quiet time, and at least 2-3 times a week, Madilyn will have filled up the front and back of 1-2 handwriting sheets with her name, our address, letters, numbers—just whatever she felt like practicing. She’s doing well with reading too but wants to be as fast as Abigail. This equates to her speeding through a text and guessing at the words incorrectly. Working on slowing her down as she has a great foundation to be a strong reader.
Aside from handwriting, Madilyn thoroughly enjoys building with the Magnatiles and coloring/drawing/crafting. She makes all number of creative things, and they are all precious and cannot be torn down/thrown away/recycled. This makes the organization of downstairs tricky. Often, we have to negotiate a bit to pare down the number of drawings/cards/constructions, etc.
Just like Abigail, Madilyn is now comfortably swimming underwater and doing fairly well above water too. She’s pretty fearless in the pool, so she keeps me on my toes during our weekend swimming time. I’ll be waiting to catch Abigail or something, and Madilyn will suddenly be beside me in the middle of the pool or trying to sit on the bottom.
This gal starts preschool at the end of August, and I think it’s going to be really great for her. Now that school is in session at home, she’s having a tough time not getting as much attention as she had been. I will say, though, that she and Gideon tend to play pretty well together for small chunks throughout the school day, and I’ll take it! But I know that all the play/buddies/music/etc at preschool will provide her with the stimulation she so desperately needs and that I have such a hard time making time for. It’s tricky navigating a 3-ish hour (total instruction and work time) school day with a 2.5 year old and nearly 1 year old in the mix!
Naomi’s talking continues to improve, and she’ll say the funniest things! She adores music and will dance and sing along (in her own way) to just about anything that she hears. Her newest phrase, “Mommy! I have to tell you something…right now!” cracks me up!
She’s still pretty intense, behavior-wise, and has issues with hitting, pushing, and throwing toys. What’s been the most difficult with being consistent with discipline is that I am not always right there when she’s committing these offenses. I may be upstairs with Gideon when she hits Abigail/Madilyn or immersed in school when she pushes Gideon over, etc. With both Abigail and Madilyn, I was right there basically all the time because of our tiny townhome, and I was nearly 100% consistent and immediate with enforcement of rules/expectations. Sigh. Just going to take a little longer with this one.
Naomi does love very hard, though, and it’s precious. She’s got a tough exterior but a sweet heart—just wish she’d let it show more!
We’re now in countdown mode to his first birthday, what!? He’s 11.5 months old now and into absolutely EVERYTHING. Our girls didn’t climb early at all, but he’s on top of anything. If he can’t get his knee up over the edge, he can often just pull up with his arms. Thankfully, he’s learning what the “edge” is and doesn’t just sprint off the side of things. For a little while there, I was having to stay right beside him the whole time he was awake to prevent him from falling on his head repeatedly!
With all this activity, Gideon has pretty well organized his sleep to 1 long afternoon nap (1.5-2.5 hrs) and sleeping a solid 6:15pm-6:30am (give or take 15 min). He goes down without an issue and wakes up with happy noises about 50% of the time. The other half is mostly fussing from hunger. He sure gets hangry!
As of July 18, Gideon is down to just nursing at night. I’m a little sad about the end of nursing forever coming up, but mostly I’m excited about the next stages of life for both him and me! I’ve been nursing or pregnant the most part of the past 7.5 years. It’ll be nice to have that phase behind me.
Gideon’s pickiness/weirdness with food continues, but he’s still eating a variety of foods. However, he may like something today and hate it tomorrow before loving it again the next day. We’ve just learned to have a variety of options on hand and to cycle through them. Current favorites? Watermelon, banana (always likes these), hard boiled eggs, cheese, yogurt, goat’s milk, smoothie (packed with spinach and berries), any berries, carrots, corn, green beans, nectarines, peaches…but again, he’ll like this stuff one day and then push it away the next. Maddening!
He’s up to 8 teeth now and appears to be working on his 1-year molars based on how he’s chewing on his fingers in the very back of his mouth. He climbs on everything, thoroughly enjoys music (xylophone toy, beats on everything like it’s a drum, and dances with his head and by stomping his left foot), adores his sisters, claps and waves, does signs for milk, more, all done, blows kisses, and says mama and dada. Can’t wait for his 12-month check up at the end of August to see how much he’s grown!
Even though school is “in session,” I made sure the girls were free to participate in whatever activities were happening around town and/or with friends. On July 4th, we went to the Biltmore House with just the girls for ice cream, playground play, animal petting, firefly catching, dancing, and ultimately, fireworks. This was our 3rd year celebrating in this way, and it’s so much fun! We’ve also gone blueberry picking 3 times this month in Brevard because at $1.50/pint, how could we not? So delicious and cheap! In addition to swimming at the Y, the girls continue to try rock climbing and work their way closer to the bell at the top! And we went with our connect group pals to the Henderson County Police Department for a tour and—the highlight of the trip—to meet Snoopy, a k-9 unit who tracks missing kids and seniors. Fun and educational trip!
We had a week there in the middle of July where every night we had a severe thunderstorm. We ended up losing power a few times, branches and trees and power lines were down all over, and David had some extra work to do. I am all for summer thunderstorms but not when they happen at night when my kiddos are sleeping…
On July 12, we went with our good friends to Chick-Fil-A for Cow Appreciation Day. Dress like a cow and get a free meal! We arrived at 10:30am for lunch. You may laugh, but we beat the crowds that came later, got to hang out extra with the Chick-Fil-A cow, had the play area to ourselves, and got out of there by 11:45am as the masses arrived. Perfection! Total cost for me and my four kids to eat lunch and have dessert? $0.00. Excellent!
Also, after a bit of a dry spot with editing, I got three substantial editing jobs back to back in July which made for a lot of late nights and editing-filled afternoons, but I really enjoyed getting back into my formatting and editing groove!
June: Campalooza June 30, 2016
This month contained the majority of our summer break prior to starting up school again, and we packed it full of fun activities for the big girls which game me ample time with the littles. We have another week before kicking off kindergarten and second grade, and we plan to spend it relaxing as a family as much as possible.
As Abigail was at camps for the majority of the month, I don’t have a ton to update other than the fact that she ate up being so busy with fun each day. Who wouldn’t? She especially enjoyed the Arboretum’s camp where she got to go hiking a couple of times each day and learn about animals native to the WNC area; she even got to track an eastern box turtle that the arboretum had tagged.
After a scary incident at a friend’s pool party a couple of years ago, Abigail has been incredibly hesitant around the water—even having accelerated breathing and shaking when we get close to the edge of a pool. Over the past couple of years, we’ve tried swimming lessons but made little progress. I committed a few weeks back to take her (and Madilyn) to the YMCA’s pool at least once each weekend and to move at her pace. Doing this has allowed us tremendous progress—that and the fact that I’m not distracted by Naomi and Gideon while trying to teach her. I hope that sticking with this will enable her to gain enough confidence to be safe in the water without a float by the fall.
At the beginning of June, Abigail wrapped up her second, and final, year of ballet. She enjoyed it for about a year and a half, but the second half of her second year, her interest waned. It was a great teachable moment about sticking with commitments and giving your all until the end—which she did. She did a beautiful job at her recital and afterward said, “Even though I don’t want to do ballet anymore, I did actually have fun on the stage.” Awesome, dear.
Madilyn was also at camps basically the whole month, and I worked the weekend. Didn’t get to hang out with her too much, but I know that she really enjoyed the smaller VBS near our house. She was bubbling over each day with all that she learned and had to show me the newest song with motions pronto. Because of her closeness in age to Abigail, I sometimes sort of act as though Madilyn is nearly 7, but during the craziness of the camps, her true age of less than 5.5 was evident as she fell asleep multiple days of her arboretum camp and our home church’s VBS. The poor thing was just wiped out!
Madilyn has also been coming to the pool with me for a couple of weeks and is very ready to start swimming. We will probably look into lessons within the next few weeks to support her enthusiasm and fearlessness as I just can’t seem to teach the actual art of swimming. Heh.
Naomi’s personality is coming through more and more–especially with Abigail and Madilyn being at camps and VBS for the majority of the day for the month of June. I got a lot more individualized time with her allowing me to really pour into her. She soaked it all up! Another perk, she really buddied up with Gideon in June. She’ll now say, “My baby!” or “My Gideon,” to the big girls when they try to interact with him, and she’s begun looking out for him often yelling to me, “Uh oh! Gideon doing!!” indicating he’s running amuck in some way or another.
Her talking continues to improve, and while she still omits basically all articles and many direct objects, she’s a lot more intelligible. She’s also trying much harder to make sure her message is understood which is really encouraging as in the past, she would just stop trying after the first or second attempt if I didn’t understand her. She wants to make sure me, Abigail, and Madilyn see EVERYTHING that she does, so a car ride is never quiet. “Abba! Mada! Mommy! Look! See it?! I see _____!” It’s cute the first few times, but eventually it can be a little trying. She’s also fond of saying, “Mommy, I did it!” “I can touch/reach/do it” and “I caaaaan’t!!!!!”
We had a bit of a scare with her at a park earlier in the month when she fell head first off of a 4.5′ platform. She apparently flipped in the air and landed on her back, but she either sprained her ankle or had a hairline fracture in her left leg/ankle as she wouldn’t bear weight for a few days. She recovered pretty quickly though and is back to her, “Mommy! I running!!” self.
Gideon is now officially 10 months old and drooling like no tomorrow; he’ll soak a bib to the point of saturation within 15-20 minutes. Lots of laundry for bibs as we own 30, and he goes through them all within 1-1.5 days)! He’s also gnawing and biting David’s and my shoulders when we hold him. Nothing is safe from his teething rage haha!
He’s now an avid cruiser and is beginning to walk while we just hold one hand. His birthday is 8/10, so perhaps he’ll be taking some steps by then. Exciting stuff for sure.
As for sleep, he’s definitely dropping his morning nap. He had a solid week in June that he only took one 2-3 hour afternoon nap (12-2pm or 3pm), but he then had a stint of morning naps again at the end of the month. I’m personally looking forward to the departure of the morning nap so that we can be happily away from the house for a full morning!
He is still crashing for bed early, usually asleep by 6:15pm at the latest, and sleeping until at least 6am. No complaints in that department! He’s also pretty consistent now about going down super easily—even lunging for his crib when we turn out the lights and start to sing to him.
He’s still eating solids really well but is somewhat picky. He’s learned how to point and will clearly indicate what he wants next. If we don’t give it to him, he’s smacking his tray, turning his head, and/or swatting at whatever we provided instead. Strong will, much? He’s now just nursing 3 times a day and taking a sippy cup of goat’s milk for the other one. Bottles were never his thing though David got him to drink goat’s milk from one once a few days ago. Better late than never!
The last Sunday of June, Gideon apparently picked something up from the church nursery because by that evening, he had a low grade fever which climbed to 103+ by Tuesday night. A visit to the pediatrician on Wednesday morning yielded the dreaded, “It’s just viral…Ibuprofin every 6 hours” prescription. By the end of the week, he’d basically kicked it, thank goodness. We had one night there, though, when he was up from 2:30-4:30am miserable despite me nursing and us rocking and trying to console. Poor thing.
As the title of this post suggests, our June was full of camps and VBS’s for the big girls, and they had a blast! Naomi will be in on the fun next year as most of the camps required a kiddo to be 3 years old at least. Abigail and Madilyn participated in a gymnastics camp, a NC Arboretum camp, Vacation Bible School at our church, and VBS at a church closer to our house. It was pretty awesome for the big girls to see the difference between a HUGE church’s VBS and a tiny church’s one. Both were great for different reasons, and the girls definitely enjoyed both and could appreciate the differences.
Also in the mix of events during the month was Father’s Day (we sent David rafting in TN with some of his buddies from church), a horse show at the Ag center (it’s awesome we live less than 5 minutes from that place!), Abigail and Madilyn’s first movie in the theater (Finding Dory—highly recommended!), rock climbing at the YMCA, and the addition of a new member of our family: Penny (Penelope) the hamster: our homeschool’s class pet.
May: Summer break begins May 31, 2016
That’s a wrap on first grade and 4-year pre-k. While it went really well, and we had a lot of fun, I think we’ve all been looking forward to summer break. So far, it’s been a blast!
This gal is starting second grade in July. I showed her the curriculum we’ll be working through, and she’s legitimately excited to get going—especially learning Latin. Yes, she and I will both be learning that one. Haha! Her favorite pastime is still reading, and we’ve actually had to limit her daily reading time because it was pushing 3 hours/day. Don’t get me wrong, I am thrilled that she is such an avid reader, but she was reading instead of playing outside or spending time with family. So we cut her back to 1-1.5 hours a day, and she’s just fine with that, thankfully.
At the beach, Abigail was braver than years past but still maintains a fear of swimming. The actual beach was a much larger success for her in that regard than the pool, though she enjoyed both. In the pool, she insisted on wearing a puddle jumper AND a pool noodle to feel safe. We opted to back WAY off this year in terms of swimming lessons. We’ll revisit it next year as she is started to notice that most of her same-age friends have some swimming ability, and she wants to as well.
There have been a couple of moments this month (can’t remember specifics) when Abigail said something or interacted with a sibling a certain way, and it was like she aged a bit before my eyes. She’ll be 7 in August–unreal!
Preschool ended for Madilyn at the beginning of the month on the same day as the Mother’s Day Tea (such a sweet event). She made a lot of good buddies during her time there, and when we stopped by the school a couple of weeks after she finished, she was mobbed by her classmates, “MADILYN!!! YOU’RE BACK!!!” It was good for this mama to see Madilyn smothered in love like that.
Once she finished preschool, she and I did reading lessons each day up until our beach trip. She’s around lesson 75/100 in the book we’re using and is doing really well building her foundation as a reader. She’s really excited to start homeschool kindergarten in July; I am too! Her curriculum looks really fun, and I’m sure she’ll enjoy it.
At the beach, Madilyn had a blast! She was jumping off the side of the pool to my dad, digging in the sand, charging the waves, and saving EVERY shell she saw. I’m serious. It was like she was on beach clean-up crew. Ha!
A couple of random comments about Madilyn that I want to note for memory’s sake: she is almost daily making gifts/cards for others–such a big heart. She is still completed amazed by all things bugs (don’t dare kill one if she’s looking) and rocks. And finally, she has the hair I had at that age, but unlike her, I had no idea what to do with it until high school. I introduced her to mousse, and she’s a fan.
She’s officially 2.5 years old and had her check-up in the middle of the month: 27lbs, 33.5″ tall, 19.5″ head. Her personality is beginning to really bloom though she tends to clam up in large groups. In general, she is talking more, really enjoys pretend play, likes making us laugh (e.g. she has learned to cross her eyes and will do that to amuse anyone around her).
She is an unabashed dancer, and her favorite song to dance to is “The Bear Necessities” from the Jungle Book. She says it more like, “Bear nesesties ov IFE!” She repeats our prayers at the table (precious) and likes to sing/say/yell “Happy birthday to YOU!!” Other favorite things to yell? “ME DO IT!” and if anyone offers to help her do something she truly cannot to, she yells, “NO! MOMMMMMMY DO IT!!” Lucky me. Hah!
Naomi enjoyed the beach—especially sitting in her beach chair just in the surf and letting the waves wash over her feet. She had a little mishap by the pool (walked right in without a float on) that was pretty scary, but she’s a-okay. Praise God for his protection over her!
This little guy continues to be less little each week it seems. He’s 9 months old now, and at his check up was 19lb 10oz, 29″ tall, with an 18″ head. He’s cruising slowly along furniture, walking while pushing his car toy/walker, and waving hi/bye pretty consistently. He enjoys banging things together, handing toys to anyone around that will take them, and is in to EVERYTHING!
At the beginning of the month, he was falling asleep daily on our way home from the YMCA, and he’d let me transfer him without issue. None of our girls would let me do that! It felt so good while it lasted!
In terms of sleep, he’s going to bed around 6:30pm and waking up between 5:45-6:30am. Really hoping he’ll start going closer to 7pm-7am as I start weaning in another month or so. He still takes two naps but is beginning that transition to one nap. His morning nap only lasts about 30 minutes (10-10:30am usually), then he’ll nap 1.5/2 hours in the afternoon around 1:30/2pm. Looking forward to the official dropping of the morning nap so we are more freed up during the day.
He’s still nursing 4 times a day and has begun playing with his feet while nursing resulting in quite a few kicks to the chest for me. He is definitely nursing less during the middle two feedings and enjoying table food. It’s such a relief to be finished with purees and just feeding Gideon whatever we’re eating.
And separation anxiety appears to have kicked in as he begins to cry if I’m out of sight until I am back in his view. Hopefully it’s short-lived!
Big events of the month: I turned 32, mother’s day, strawberry picking, end of school year party with co-op, beach trip with my parents and brother.
April: Sports, Races, and summer approaching April 30, 2016
Our homeschool year and Madilyn’s preschool year are winding down; summer is upon us; we couldn’t be more excited to have great warm weather and time to play outside!
This month saw the beginning of Abigail’s first soccer season, and she is really enjoying being part of a team. She doesn’t quite get the ins and outs of the sport, but she is truly having a blast. It’s fun to watch! She had her first game on the 30th, and her smile was huge anytime we caught her eye.
She’s also participating in the Healthy Kids Running Series. Her age group does a 1/4 mile run once a week. It’s been neat for me and David to get to talk to her about pacing herself, breathing, stride, etc. Makes us both want to get back into distance running one day!
She finished her 1st grade homeschool curriculum a couple of weeks ago, so until the middle of May, we’re doing our own low-key school to keep practicing her skills. I wrote down activities on slips of paper in 5 subjects (reading, writing, arithmetic, science, computer), and each day, she picks slips out of a basket to create her school day. Some are more fun than others, but so far, she’s thoroughly enjoyed the randomness of it all. Our last official day of school is May 20. Exciting!
Madilyn also started soccer this month (second season), and she has definitely gained confidence and ability since last year. She one of the oldest girls on her team and is enjoying being able to run as fast/faster than her teammates. During her first game, she got hit square in the face with the soccer ball during a throw in, but she hardly cried and got right back on the field. Tough girl!
The Healthy Kids Running Race for Madilyn consists of a 50 yard dash which she is running really well. So far, she’s finished with 1-2 other kids behind her, and after all last place finishes two years ago, she’s thrilled with herself. We’re pretty proud too!
Madilyn is really eager to be home with us for homeschool, so we decided her last day of preschool will be May 4—the same day as the Mothers Day Tea event at school. She told me, “Mommy, you just can’t miss it!” Her amazing teachers arranged for her to have an early graduation ceremony since we’ll miss the real thing; she was SO proud of herself that day. It was adorable. Once she’s home, she’ll then get to pick little slips out for her school day with me for a few weeks before summer break. Then we’ll kick off her kindergarten curriculum late June!
And perhaps she’s going to be a geologist or entomologist one day. This girl admires rocks and bugs. She’s been catching anything that creeps or crawls or slinks around our backyard now that it’s warmer and the critters are out. Eep! She’s been “rescuing” caterpillars with Abigail and putting them in the habitat that we used for our painted lady butterflies. Three of the caterpillars from our backyard have made cocoons in it!
As far as rocks go, she collects them and gifts them to others. “Look mommy, this rock has a little red on it and a sparkly part. Isn’t it beautiful!?” Although, if you ask Madilyn, she’ll tell you she wants to be an ice cream man when she grows up!
I’ve been taking the kids to the gym M-F for a few weeks now, and Naomi has really enjoyed the structure provided by the main childcare worker there. Anytime I pick her up, she’s sitting and completing some craft or other activity. Seeing that success, I started doing more preschool type activities with Naomi this month (colors, shapes, counting, sticker books, coloring books), and she really took to it all well. She’ll be going to preschool in the fall, and I think she’s going to love it!
New developments with this gal: she’s going to the potty solo with the help of a stool and calling, “MOMMMMMYYYYY! Wipe me, please!!” when it’s my turn. Yee haw!
She’s also in the “why” phase, and she asks it following more than 90% of what I say. Tries the nerves, my friends. Whew. Other favorite words/expressions? “ME do it!,” “Peek a boo!,” “push me HIGH please,” “Hey Mister Gideon!” (pronounced “ideon”).
She’s really taken to her brother, and David and I are loving it. She sits by him in the car and talks with him, plays peek a boo, lets me know if he needs something, etc.
Her manners are top of the line right now (what?! never thought I’d be able to say that about her): please, thank you, yes ma’am, no ma’am, (you’re) welcome, sorry. VICTORY!!
Her tantrums are top of the line too. Geez. They don’t happen nearly as much as they once did, but oh man look out when they do. I probably have to put her in a tantrum time out 2-3 times a day. Thankfully she snaps out of it quickly.
For the most part, she’s now a fun, zany, spirited little gal.
We’ve hit the dangerously mobile stage with this one, and he’s only 8 months old! He pulled up to stand on April 4 and hasn’t looked back since. It did take him a few days before figuring out how to sit back down after standing up, but he’s got it mastered now. He’s beginning to move his feet a tad while standing up but not quite cruising yet. He transferred from one chair to the chair behind him on April 20. Ah!
Keep in mind that at this age, all three of his sisters were either not even crawling yet or barely crawling. Forget about pulling to stand!
Gideon is obsessed with doors and will play with the edge of one moving it back and forth for minutes on end. He’s drooling like his life depends on it, often soaking through 10+ bibs a day (and yes, I mean like I could WRING out the bib) without much to show for it (he has his two top teeth to match the two bottom ones now).
He’s babbling a lot now—mostly da da da, ba ba ba, and ma ma ma though no consistency yet. He does significantly increase his babble when a familiar face comes close to him. He mouths just about everything but just started banging toys together and will slap his hands on any hard surface. He loves peek a boo (especially with Naomi), is highly ticklish, and his hair has started to CURL!
He plays a little game with us when he’s in the highchair. He leans his head over to the side until we do the same, then he’ll sit back up until we copy. Rinse. Repeat. If I’m holding him and a new person approaches to talk to him, he snuggles against me to look away from the new person. It’s so sweet!
He has a fabulous laugh and is into everything. He adores his sisters and lights up when they come to play with him. Naomi plays a little too rough at times, but Gideon doesn’t seem to mind.
As far as eating goes, he is losing interest in nursing. Combine that with the fact that he won’t take a bottle (yes, we’ve tried everything and continue to try without success) or sippy cup, and I’m not sure what we’re going to do. Praying he sticks with it for another 2-3 months! He still nurses 4 times a day, but only 1-2 of those a decent nursings.
For solid food, he’s loving puffs and can pick those up to feed himself. He’s also tried avocado, white potatoes, kidney beans, cannelleni beans, and carrots. Applesauce is still a huge hit for him along with bananas and sweet potatoes. Eager to get him eating table food, just for convenience sake!
His sleeping for the most part consists of two naps a day (9:30/10ish for 45 minutes and 1:45/2/2:15 for 1.5 hours), and a good 11+ hour stretch at night starting at 6:30pm.
A list for the month for my reference:
-Colds for me and Gideon—lasted nearly a month for me and overlapped with allergies and a period. Boo!
-Released our butterflies—the caterpillars in a cup from Greg and Chelsey turned into painted lady butterflies that we got to release into our backyard. So fun!
-Love loud—our connect group helped beautify the outside of MAPS (Mountain Area Pregnancy Services); the girls helped with weeding and mulching.
-Backyard steps—after getting private contractor quotes for $4,000-$5,000, David opted to buy the material himself and enlist the help of a few friends to build stairs down our back hill. It only took about 4.5 hours!
-Different devotions—at the homeschool conference in March, Lisie and I went to a seminar about taking devotions out of the box. We’ve done a few of these devotions so far, and the girls thoroughly enjoy them and seem to retain the nugget of truth taught much longer than they would without a hands-on type deal.
March: Baptism, Easter, and a Few Warm Days March 31, 2016
This month flew by. If I didn’t have the pictures, I’m not sure I’d remember all the details!
The big news for Abigail this month was her baptism. She has been counting down to this since December and was thrilled to have so much family in town to celebrate. Mr. Bill, our church’s children’s pastor, had some really nice words to say beforehand, and David and I got to be up beside the baptistry to watch and greet Abigail after. Such an incredible experience, and we’re so happy that she’s taken this step!
She’ll finish up first grade in a few weeks, and I’m really looking forward to doing homeschool with both her and Madilyn in a few months!
And she’s a climber for sure! Climbing trees or the outside of our swingset…or really any structure on which she can get a foothold is her thing these days. Might have to look into rock climbing!
This gal lived up Dr. Seuss week at her preschool through crazy hair day, silly sock day, and crazy hat day. She’s spunky for sure!
One thing I’m not sure I’ve documented in this blog is how much Madilyn enjoys all things art related. She’ll color for her entire quiet time (2 hours!) some days, really likes creating things with craft supplies, and sees beauty in some of the simplest of things. She’ll be taking an art class in the fall, and I think she’s going to really enjoy it!
I had a huge breakthrough with her this month! I attended a home school convention in South Carolina with a few friends that was incredible. Instead of going to seminars related to homeschooling, I found myself gravitating toward parenting-strong-willed-kids seminars. The techniques I learned during those seminars have made a world of difference in Naomi’s demeanor, obedience, and her interactions with those around her. This is HUGE!
She’s also continuing to add words to her repertoire and stringing more together. I no longer have a “panic” light on in terms of her language development.
Gideon started crawling on March 16 and now, at the end of the month, is pulling up to his knees on anything he can, and on fixed items lower to the ground, he’s able to get to standing. Oh my!
His top two teeth have broken through (thank goodness!) after a few weeks of 5:30am wake ups. Yawn. He’s also really enjoying nodding, though he obviously has no idea what it means. Haha!
He turned 7 months old on the 10th, and he’s starting to show the first signs of separation anxiety. Hopefully the fact that I have been dropping him off daily at the Y or at the church nursery will help soften the blow of the anxiety. Fingers crossed!
He’s still nursing 4 times a day, though he’s easily distracted and would much rather be motoring around. He’s eating solid foods really well still. New this month: tofu, peaches, carrots, and puffs.
His daytime sleep isn’t super consistent, but he usually naps around 9:30-10:15am, and then again from 1:30-3:15ish. It varies widely based on how much he’s been moving around while awake. At least he’s pretty much happy while he is awake since he’s awake a lot more than his sisters!
Nighttime sleep is consistently starting between 6:15-6:30pm, but he’ll wake up anywhere from 5:30-6:30am. Gotta find a way to keep wake up time to at least 6am. Seeing a “5” as the first number on the clock in the morning is a blow to the gut!
I didn’t keep good notes this month, unfortunately. We had several great homeschool co-ops this month revolving around the NC Primary election and Easter. We also spent a lot of time with friends; I even braved the Biltmore Estate with all 4 kids with five other mamas. I think there were at least 15 kids combined and only about 500 steps to drag the double jogging stroller up. Haha!
February: the sick cloud has passed February 29, 2016
So it’s official; we’ve had winter. Let’s bring on SPRING, please! My kids are dying to get outside. Or maybe I’m dying to send them outside. Regardless, we are over being cooped up due to sickness and weather. Hopefully no more than another month of the intense weather! We did actually get out a few times this month, and it was incredible. Counting down to spring!
Abigail officially has 6 weeks left of 1st grade. We somehow got ahead of schedule with the curriculum, but that’s ok. Will probably start 2nd grade at the end of June. She’s really excited to start some new stuff, and I have to say, I am too! She and I are those type-A, school supply loving, let’s move on to the next step people. She’s definitely my daughter. Ha!
Her biggest event this month was getting her own library card. She did the whole process by herself and has been so proud to tout her card any chance she gets. It’s pretty adorable.
As far as school goes, cursive, reading, and keyboarding are her favorite things to work on.
This gal is now 5 years old! She had a great “all about Madilyn” day with us–breakfast at Cracker Barrel, a play lodge day, birthday themed co-op, cake and ice cream—so fun! At her wellness checkup, she was 40.5″ tall and 40 lbs. Everything else checked out great too!
I just got her kindergarten curriculum in the mail, and Madilyn can’t stop asking about it. She’s really looking forward to getting started!
Her favorite school subjects are handwriting and reading, but above all ART! She thoroughly enjoys drawing, coloring, stencils, painting, etc. Investigating art camps/classes for her as I really think she’ll love it!
Naomi is finally completely healthy after a month of the stomach stuff and a horrible cold (likely RSV) which hung on for three weeks before finally leaving. I’ve become her official speech-language pathologist after fighting it for a while, but it’s going really well. There have been hiccups, of course, but she is using more and more words in combination which is incredibly encouraging.
She’s gotten adept at climbing just about everything, wants to learn how to ride the Stridor bike, really enjoys coloring, but above all, BOOKS, BOOKS, BOOKS! Her favorite thing to do hands down is sit in a lap and look at books.
This little guy is 6 months old now. How did that happen? Halfway to his first birthday already! At his well-visit, he was 17lb 13oz and 28.25″ tall (over a pound lighter and 2″ taller than any other of our kiddos at this age) with a 17.75″ head circumference.
His top two teeth appear to be really close to coming through, so the fussiness has ratcheted up a bit lately. Other than that, he’s a really, really, really happy baby boy. He is such a joy!
In scary news, he developed RSV early in the month which required a sick MD visit and a lot of stress on me and David to pay attention to Gideon’s breathing and hydration. Thankfully, he is fully recovered now. It took over 2 weeks to get there, though.He is still sleeping well—11-12 hours at night, and takes two 1-2 hour naps during the day, nursing 4 times a day. We introduced solids much to Gideon’s disdain. He’s doing a little bit better now, but he’s definitely taking his time. So far, he’s had banana, applesauce, butternut squash, sweet potatoes, and pears, but he hasn’t really eating much of any of it. Still trying, though! He also hates bottles. Still trying there too. For now, I’m sort of his only source of nutrition and hydration. Considering it a blessing as much as I can—focus on the positive, right? Yes!
Gideon is our most active kiddo at this age; he’s sitting up independently, easily up on all fours, not crawling yet but close, rolling all over the place, and he absolutely loves the jumper.
We had a somewhat busy month when we weren’t quarantined due to sickness. Ha! Just keeping a list for reference: the girls went to the circus; Wee-Trade was a success again; went to Greenville for my mom’s 60th birthday; David and I celebrated our 9th anniversary at Posana and the French Broad Chocolate Lounge; David took Abigail and Madilyn to a late night daddy/daughter dance, I took all the kiddos to a “Royal Tea Party” at the library; and I took Abigail and Madilyn to their first ballet performance.
January: Naomi’s saga January 31, 2016
Naomi spent the better part of this month battling a mystery GI “bug” or infection or something. She threw up and had diarrhea basically every day between December 27th and January 21st. so.much.laundry. She lost 4 pounds, regressed with her potty training and expressive language, and slept upwards of 16+ hours in every 24 hour period. Unreal. Then just as quickly as it came on, the illness disappeared. All lab tests were negative (tested for viruses, bacterial infections, parasites, etc), so we have absolutely no idea what happened. We are praising God that it’s over, though, because we were pretty concerned. We made an appointment at Levine Children’s Hospital with a pediatric gastroenterologist for the end of February that we may or may not go to depending on Naomi’s health by then. Praying this never happens again!
Abigail has proven her first-child responsibility with Gideon and Naomi over and over this month. She protects her brother without any prompting at all, and it’s so sweet. She’s also started really helping out with Naomi—even in the not-so-pleasant times (e.g. cleaning up after Naomi has an accident)! Fabulous!
She started her second reading log at the beginning of the month, and had to read 60 chapters to complete it. She knocked it out in a couple of weeks. Ah! Just started the one for February—90 chapters: 45 of which have to be in her Bible. Excited about this girl’s love for reading.
Her whining and complaining has picked up a bit in the past couple of months, and we’re working to nip that in the bud. She also has a really hard time if Madilyn can do something better than her. In such a case, she usually dissolves into a pool of tears of injustice. She’ll mature soon enough. For now, lots of talks about how to handle such emotions.
I ordered her second grade curriculum, and I’m really excited about starting it later this year. I planned to do year-round home school ending for a slightly longer break in June, then starting back up mid July. However, it looks like she’ll finish first grade around the middle of May, so we may go ahead and start second grade mid-late June. Why not? We’ll just keep the school days shorter (maybe spreading the curriculum out a bit) so that she has plenty of time to play with buddies while they’re out of school for the summer.
Madilyn has made huge strides this month with her reading—in large part to the reading log. It’s been a great accountability tool for me to ensure I’m encouraging her to read consistently. She’s about 55 lessons into “Teach your child to read in 100 easy lessons,” and is picking up sight words quickly. She wants to read as well as Abigail, so she will often read a little too quickly and guess at words incorrectly, but she’s making incredible progress.
She is incredibly affectionate (love language: physical touch) with everyone, especially Gideon. “I just love this little boy! *kiss kiss*” and recently started telling most every woman she interacts with that, “You’re beautiful.” I told her not too long ago that the best thing she can say to a pregnant woman is, “You’re beautiful,” and she’s applied that more liberally. I’m all for it!
This month also marked the beginning of Upward basketball games where Madilyn is a cheerleader. She’s nearly the oldest girl on her cheerleading squad, and she’s really into it. She practices her cheers at home, and Naomi has been copying her every move. Adorable!
Most of Naomi’s news this month is related to her stomach trouble. She got to experience 3 weeks of life as a gluten and dairy free child. That was tough for us to enforce, and tough for her accept. Both have been reintroduced without incident.
She’s pretty much back on track with potty training and language. I’ve been working with her intentionally for the past week on combining words. She’s not quite putting 2 words together spontaneously, but she’s been incredibly responsive to my prompting. I know she’ll get there. She’s able to communicate her message very effectively and understands everything said to her. Just need to keep working on lengthening her utterances.
This not-so-little guy is now 5.5 months old. He’s officially down to two naps a day (9-10:30am, 1:30-3pm), and is pretty consistently sleeping from 6:30pm-6am. Victory! He’s nursing 4 times a day (6:30am, 10:45am, 3pm, 6:15pm) and still hates bottles. Ugh. We will start him on solids around his 6-month-old mark. I’ve already made purees out of sweet potato, pears, peas, and butternut squash and plan to include bananas and applesauce in his menu as well. Hope he takes to it easily!
He’s giggling, putting everything in his mouth, has two teeth that broke through mid January, and started pushing up to his hands and knees on January 23rd. He’s now rocking back and forth on his hands and knees and lunging forward. He likes sitting up and is moving all over the crib when he’s sleeping. He’s also jumping like a crazy boy in his doorway jumper.
He adores his sisters but shows favoritism toward David and me. We’ve left him in the church nursery a couple of times this month, and he did really well. All in all, he’s growing up incredibly too quickly!
A list for my reference:
-AWANA and all other weekly activities started back
-Baabal’s for completing reading logs
-Mandy’s baby shower
-Clemson vs Alabama
-SNOW! We got a full 12″!