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Archive for October, 2012

October, Part 1

So much happens in October, especially this year! To start off, the first weekend in October is…

Festibal of Family Farms

I write ‘Festibal’ because afterward I was having the boys do some writing activities regarding our outing and they INSISTED that it was spelled a ‘b’ and not a ‘v’.

We didn’t get to visit as many farms as we usually do, as James was getting sick on Saturday, and we stayed home on Sunday. We did have a blast, though, and started Saturday out as usual, out at Cascadian Farm. We always have ice cream, go on a tractor ride to the upper fields & listen to Farmer Jim, and pick out pumpkins.

I love the outfit Liesel picked out for the day! She’s a dress girl, but she always wears her overalls for big outdoor adventures. She just put her colorful skirt and scarf on over!

Choosing a pumpkin can be difficult! Especially at Cascadian Farm! They always have so much squash variety that there are many colors, shapes and sizes to choose from. Also, normally, the field also has cornstalks and sunflowers scattered throughout, which gives some height and more color to the display. Unfortunately,  due to the lack of rain and trying out a new farming technique, they lost their pumpkins this year and had to bring some in to sell to people! The kids didn’t seem to mind.

A quick stop for a picnic lunch. We checked out a big tree that had been cut down so it wouldn’t fall across the highway. I love the picture because Aslan and James are standing the exact same way!

On to Double O Ranch!

We didn’t get any pictures at Taylor’s Shellfish Farm, but we did eat some yummy oysters! We also temporarily lost Liesel there. I got to witness Shiloh finding her. She was so relieved and gave him a big hug! It was very sweet. And I’m sure that skirt helped Shiloh and I to spot her!

Festival of Family Farms is always a big event for us. I’m already looking forward to next year!

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September

September

September has been a great month! It’s been full of family!

School

The kids and I began some more formal home-schooling in September. Before, we’d really done ‘school’ all year long. Last year we were a part of the Learning Center with a learning plan that we were expected to stick with. Though we could change it, I felt more obligated to do things that just didn’t fit at the moment, and I began to get my first taste of burnout. So, we took the summer off. By the second week of September, we were ready to begin studying some of the 3 R’s more earnestly again. Now, I’m missing some of the fellowship I had at the Learning Center and I think I could make a better learning plan, so we might join again next year. For now, with the new baby coming, I’m glad to just be doing our schooling on our own.

We ran into some road blocks that we have slowly but surely been working through. When we stopped our formal schooling for the summer, Baird still took two naps, now he takes only one, and I also like my own quiet time in the middle of the day. He is at an age that he gets into everything and makes it hard to do much when he’s awake! We still are trying different set-ups from day to day depending on how much we can do in the morning, if I need a rest, and how long Baird naps. Whatever we don’t get done, I just let be. When the weather is nice, I let the kids still spend their afternoons outside. All in all, we’re having a good time. I have to say, I feel like I’ve learned a lot (and made a lot of mistakes) over the past year, but we’re still going strong.

I love teaching Liesel’s age! Here she is after asking for me to teach her math like I do with the older boys.

She also enjoys independently doing craft projects. I set her up to cut and paste little fish in the shape of a big fish after we read the book Swimmy.

Liesel loves to do MiniLUK. It’s a system that I remember doing as a kid. I got it for the boys, but they never showed as much interest as Liesel. One places tiles in the correct pages on a little board with a see-through cover. When done, close up the board and a pretty pattern is on the back! The books we have are intended for 5-7 year-olds, but she does well with most of them. I usually help her a bit because 12 tiles can get a bit complicated. Through it, she’s learned to recognize the numbers though! I let her put a little red star sticker on the pages she has completed. A great one-time purchase that will last through all the kids who show an interest!

Inspired by one of my own high school teachers, I gave Aslan and Shiloh a challenge to catch me whenever I say ‘school-work’ when I really mean ‘table-work’ (which is writing and math) or ‘couch-work’ (which is reading). If they catch me, I give them a little treat to eat. They were beginning to dislike their ‘school-work’ because they thought it was just the little bit of workbook work that I have them do, when really I consider their outside play, board & card games, science experiments, building, drawing and other art, field trips, pretend play, storytelling, Bible reading, history reading, and read-aloud times to also be part of their education. I didn’t want them to think that they disliked the homeschooling we do, because most of it they really enjoy. It’s fine with me if their ‘table-work’ isn’t always their favorite, I know that for math and writing mastery, it’s not always going to be a ton of fun. They’ve caught me a few times and it’s trained me well!

It’s getting harder to get the bigger boys as excited about some of my ideas now-a-days. They are growing up! They have their own wonderful artistic ideas and their pretend play based on our reading is amazing! But, I was able to get their attention the other day. I told them they could take apart a broken clock that we have. I occupied Liesel and Baird while Aslan and Shiloh had a blast! I also notice that I don’t have as many pictures of the boys. They are off on their own adventures and only coming to me so that I can take a picture of a bug they found. Maybe I’ll have to get James to take a picture of the big boys and me as we have our special reading time before bed. Liesel, on the other hand, is constantly asking to have her picture taken.

A magnified model of blood.

Froggy Frank, found in our swimming pool.

What is this thing? A huge flying insect that landed on my shirt. I was terrified.

The boys are always catching and finding things for me to take pictures of or, if it’s already dead, pin to a bug collection board.

Sewing

I also pulled out my sewing machine and discovered online tutorials! I love to sew but I haven’t done much other than baby blankets and patching pants in years. Tutorials are the perfect fit for me! I prefer them over trying to deal with a pattern. I made Liesel several outfits and bloomers out of old clothes and scrap fabric. I made the boys 8 pairs of boxer briefs out of old shirts! I made all the big kids new cozy pajamas. The boys’ were from an old flannel sheet that we don’t use. The boys have also been doing dishes. In the summer they did them with their shirts off, but now towel-aprons seemed appropriate. I modified an online tutorial and used old towels. So far, I only had to purchase a bit of elastic as I had all kinds of old clothes, scraps of fabric, and notions to make things out of! I can tell though, that this hobby could become an expensive one when I run out of that stuff!

James

James has been working hard and long hours. He’s such a trooper and so faithful to our family! He’s been given many opportunities to take on new responsibilities at his job. This job and the opportunity to work into a leadership role have been such blessings! Unfortunately it also has meant that there is some lack of planning that nobody concerns themselves about because they know James will step in and it will all turn out all right. So, for the next couple of months, we expect more overtime then we really want, but we are oh so thankful for a good job to provide for the family. We are totally aware that in the end all it is in God’s hands and He has taken care of us so faithfully. For his job, James also shaved off his beard so he could be fit-tested for a respirator. He put it off as long as he could, but one evening came home and did it! Beforehand, he talked to Liesel, who has never seen him without his beard. She cried, until he promised to put his beard in a little Ziploc bag for her. (Ewww!)  That worked, and she was okay with it. We all agree that James looks like a little boy without his beard, though, it was that face that I married, so it was nice to see it for a while, and to see his beard growing back again quickly! We knew James was in for plenty of jokes at work, which included his big boss who refused to look at him! I made him a beard hat. It got plenty of laughs too.

James has also been out hunting this fall. He got more time in during bear season and has been hindered by work during this deer season, but hopefully we’ll stock our freezer sometime! James is going to hunt for deer with a bow and arrow, so the season is extended. He’s gotten lots of exercise and feels great out in the woods. He also brings back some great pictures of his early morning drives out to the mountains.

Aslan, 7 years old

Aslan is our eldest, and our little leader. He loves to tell stories and lead pretend games involving characters from books, especially Narnia. He’s working on learning to lead by serving instead of bossing. Sometimes he does a pretty tricky and wonderful job of gaining Liesel’s cooperation, which makes Liesel happy in the end but is sure funny to watch as parents! He really does have a way with Liesel! The two of them can play for hours alone together when Shiloh needs a break. Otherwise, he and Shiloh are constant companions and best friends. I love how encouraging Aslan is. He randomly tells me “I love you!” throughout the day and comes to give me a hug when I’m feeling down. He is always talking or making some kind of noise with his mouth, but the most common phrase out of his mouth is, “I’m hungry.” He has read to Liesel before bed a few times, and the other day he told me that he should learn to rock Bairdy to sleep so that he can help me once I have the new baby. What a thoughtful young man! He is an awesome help when it comes to doing dishes and vacuuming! Aslan loves to read, especially his Tintin books. He usually draws tiny detailed figures in a vast landscape, and his pictures are constantly improving. He enjoys learning history with the Story of The World books and coloring pages.

Shiloh, 6 years old

Shiloh is our little theologian. On the way to church the other day, Liesel started asking questions about baptism and communion. James and I tried to answer her, but Shiloh kept taking over with more detailed explanations than we expected from him! We happily sat back and listened. He is quiet, but when he speaks it’s worth listening! My favorite quote from him is from last Easter. We were explaining that we were going to do an egg hunt for fun. It had no purpose regarding the true meaning of Easter, but God is pleased with families having fun together. Shiloh sighed as if he couldn’t believe he had to explain this to his parents. “Welllllll,” he said, “It DOES because remember in that song it says ‘I once was lost but now am found’. So finding the eggs IS about Easter.” My other favorite Shiloh quote is “That doesn’t make any sense!!!” but you’d have to hear and see him say it to really get it! The kid totally cracks me up. He knows things that would not expect, especially since he’s not reading fluently yet. I was explaining to him about the camera I had when I was a kid, the kind with film that had to be taken to the store to be developed. A light went on in his head as he said he knew what I was talking about. He proceeded to draw a picture of a really old camera sitting on a tripod with a big light on top and a person under fabric to take the picture. Nope, that camera was before my time buddy, but what a great job, I thought! Shiloh is Baird’s go-to guy when he wants someone to play with him. He is also very strong and physically active. It’s impossible to get the kid to sit still, though even when he doesn’t seem to be paying attention, he seems to remember everything! He loves climbing and practicing with the bow and arrow James dug out for him. He often surprises me with his speed and accuracy when thinking mathematically. He too, enjoys drawing amazing pictures.

Liesel, almost 4 years old

Liesel, Liesel, Liesel. She’s so different from the boys. So intense and so sweet! She loves caring for people with her hands. She tries to give me little shoulder massages like she sees James do for me. She pretends to be a midwife or tell a birth story. So cute! In her play, she is more like Aslan, with lots of pretending and storytelling. She is so aware of her being the girl in a family of boys. Most of our friends have boys her age also. She loves to get some girl time whenever she can. Sometimes just the two of us go grocery shopping, and she recently wrote a ‘letter’ to a little girl she knows, which is turning into a pen-pal relationship. She also seems to benefit from some scheduled ‘alone time’ otherwise she just ends up overwhelmed trying to keep up with or compete with the boys. If she can get away to a room with some toys that she can play with alone for a while, she comes back refreshed (and less likely to scream every couple of minutes.) She is just now starting to enjoy being read to. The boys were quite a bit younger when they began sitting and listening to books, but Liesel preferred talking about pictures or listening to short bits of poetry or song. Now we are reading more children’s books. I’ve even read a few stories that span more than one day. Every night she sings with me as I put her to bed. We sing Peace Be Still, then Twinkle Twinkle, then Amazing Grace. After praying we say, “Traume suess von sauren Gurken!” (Have sweet dreams about sour pickles) “Ich liebe dich!” (I love you!) “Gute nacht!” (Good night) “Blumen und Schmetterling!” (Flowers and Butterflies). Then she finds a pink flower and butterfly on her pillowcase and sheet. We hug and I turn on her music. Then I can slip away and she goes to sleep. I love that kid!

Baird, 17 months old

Baird is our little “Dee-Do” Man. After Mama and more, Dee-Do was one of his first words, and it means thank you. He first said it at a birthday party when he was 13 months and we were handing him grapes. He then starting saying it when he handed something to someone and expected them to take it and respond by saying “Thank you.” Now he says it when he is given something again. He makes singy sounds when he is looking for his sippy cup because I sing ‘Sippy’ when we go through the house looking for it before bed. He loves machines and outlets and anything electronic. If he finds a phone, he’ll say, “Na, Na,” (No) as he picks it up and brings it to the appropriate owner. We’ll often find our computers or the internet unplugged due the little rascal. He loves the airplane sounds above our house and makes the sign for airplane when he hears them. He tries to get into the front seat of the car to play with the steering wheel whenever he can. If he’s hungry he’ll bring a plate over and put it in my hands to let me know. When someone is hurt, he strokes their head to comfort them. All in all, he doesn’t have as many words as most of our kids did at his age, but he is an excellent communicator! He’s big and strong for his age, and very determined to make things like vacuum cleaners and baby gates submit to him.

Baird loves order and keeping everything predictable. He’s a great hugger and kisser and wants to make sure everyone gets their hug and kiss from Papa in the mornings. If he didn’t see Papa kiss someone, he will point and make kissy sounds and insist that Papa kiss everyone in his presence. On weekends, he brings James his work pants and shoes if he doesn’t feel he’s getting ready in time. He also puts on James’ hat and goes around kissing everyone and waving bye-bye. He hates going to my prenatal appointments where he feels out of control. He wanders off into a corner with his adorable pouty face when strangers touch me. I talk to him about it beforehand, and he gets upset then too. I also saw a doctor for some unexplained bruising on my foot. When I took off my sock and the doctor got off his rolling stool for me to put my foot on, Baird flipped out. The doctor was supposed to sit on the stool and my sock was supposed to stay on my foot! He whined and pouted and tried to push the stool to the doctor and laid my sock on top of my foot. Shiloh is the only one somewhat able to comfort him in those moments. It’s sad, but it’s so cute and sweet at the same time. He’s a very protective and loving little guy.

James was sanding the finish off a gun stock, so Baird found a strip of wood and a rock and starting imitating.

And, a few other random pictures of our family and then I’m out! That takes care of September!

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The Blog

I’m a perfectionist. I would like to go back and fill in all the missing parts of this blog from the last couple of years. That’s just not realistic, and it’s prevented me from blogging at all. I did manage to blog the most important event in our family last year, The Birth of Baird Isaiah here https://briannacorinne.wordpress.com/2011/09/24/blogging-again-the-birth-of-baird-isaiah/. Here’s him and me a few of hours after his birth:

Now, we’re living in a cute little house only a 20 minute drive from James’ work and LOVING it here! I’m homeschooling the kids and periodically teaching childbirth classes, James has been taking on new responsibilities at work and hunting, AND we are expecting our 5th little one next March!

Here’s how James and I found out about our new little blessing:

I wondered if I could be pregnant, but thought that I was probably not yet. Obviously I was though, because my brain was not functioning quite right! That always happens to me at the very beginning! On Sunday, I woke to find out it was Father’s Day. Oops! I hadn’t forgotten about Father’s Day, I had just thought it was on Thursday! Sometimes Father’s Day is on my dad’s birthday, that’s where my confusion had come in. But silly me! Father’s Day is ALWAYS on a Sunday! At that point, I hoped I was pregnant just for an excuse for that brain failure! On Monday, I dropped a $35 bottle of Myrrh in the driveway. I could have kicked myself! At that point I REALLY hoped I was pregnant so I had some excuse! So, on Tuesday, I took a test, even though I knew I should wait until Thursday. It was negative. I have gotten early positives before, so I took that as the final answer for the time being.

Jump to Thursday. James was having a rough day, and though I didn’t think I was pregnant, I took a pregnancy test midday so I could surprise James when he got home and brighten his day IF I happened to be pregnant. I knew that you’re supposed to look at the lines a few minutes after taking the test, but usually my positive tests have shown up immediately and this test looked negative.  Kids were screaming outside the bathroom door, so I came out, and threw the test in the garbage, under some stuff so James wouldn’t see it.

Jump to Thursday evening. It was 10 and James and I were going to head to bed. He went outside to get his phone from his truck. Things just didn’t feel right to me, so while he was outside I began digging through the garbage can. He walked back in to see me pulling a pregnancy test out of the garbage with a shocked look on my face. There was a faint second line. Happy Father’s Day Honey?!?!?! That was not how I’d planned on telling him, but it was fun nonetheless!

On Friday I gave the kids the dinner I’d planned on telling James about the baby with: a Full House-style baby dinner! 

It took a bit of prompting for the kids to figure it out, but they were excited in the end!

Next, we got to announce to our family and friends! We did this with an old photo that I’d been itching to use for a long time! I don’t remember how we ended up holding all my childhood dolls, but we did! James and I were engaged at the time, and his sister Katie took the picture. The gender ratio is a bit off, but oh well 🙂 We’re such goofs!

“We’ll retake this picture with all our kids… in March or so smile:)”

First trimester equals extra sleep for me! I don’t have much that I can complain about regarding nausea, but I do need a nap every day!   It was so nice to have sunshine and a sliding glass door leading to a fenced in back yard that I could send the kids out to when I needed some extra rest.

This summer:

My brother and his wife and her brother were able to come home for a bit before he left to be stationed in England. We got to celebrate his birthday and take a trip to the zoo with him!

We had a family of robins in a low bush right in our yard! The kids also found an old nest at the base of a tree. We’ve seen and heard huge Pileated Woodpeckers and their baby, a family of quail, hummingbirds, and others! Did I mention that I love where we live? Especially our lovely back yard!

At the end of July we celebrated Aslan’s 7th birthday. I can’t believe my baby is seven!

Shiloh turned 6 at the end of August. Since it was a Saturday, we spend the morning enjoying a nearby beach before the crowds rushed in. We also went blackberry picking! The boys (and the James) stayed up late trying to figure out a simple but difficult 9-piece puzzle.

Look at that! I went back farther than I meant to, and I haven’t even gotten to September! I do feel that it’s time for me to wrap up this blog and give my kids some structure for the day! Hopefully I’ll be back again soon!

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