School Begins Again…

Today was the first day of Grade 1 and Grade 3 in our house.

No, the Professor and the Princess didn’t get dolled up in new outfits, they didn’t have new school supplies and they didn’t pose for pictures.

It was actually rather uneventful.

Aside from the amazing little Milk Monkey trying so hard to participate from the side lines!

School took place in our living room and we were all super comfy in our pj’s.

I enjoyed a nice cup of coffee as I began the journey of teaching my Princess to read and write.

The Professor easily fell back into his normal school routine.

It all feels so natural now.

Of course, there were the usual moments of holding back my frustration, especially while the Princess learned to write the letter “A a”.

Her tiny little fingers gripped the pencil as she tried to form the curved part and then connect the “stick” just right.

I wanted so badly to be able to help her do it perfect but instead I encouraged her gently “That’s it, you almost have it!  You’ll get it on the next  one!  Keep trying!  Remember it’s a lower case ‘a’ keep it between the lines.”

She was trying so hard her forehead had little wrinkles and her nose was scrunched,

her little freckles displaced – I love those freckles!

She blew through the math, at times losing patience with me “Mummy, I get it!” and she did get it!

She’s so smart!

The Professor and I came to an agreement, he’s now on summer work load.  It just made more sense.

He’s still 6 years old and he blew through Grade 2 in less than 8 months!

It’s time to slow down a bit.  We’ll supplement with lots of reading and some fun projects!

Today I added up his grade average for last year – 99.2%!

His response was “That’s it?!  I’ll have to try harder this year!”

I reassured him he did awesome this past year, he definitely doesn’t need to worry, just keep up the excellent work!

I’m a big fan of my Little Professor!!!

We made a pact – this year I’ll try to be more patient and he’ll keep on working as hard as usual!!

Just in case I haven’t mentioned it enough…

I absolutely adore my children!!!!

Mother’s Day Extravaganza….

Ok, maybe in reality it wasn’t that over the top but in my mind it was!

We woke in the trailer – we backyard camped – to homemade cards and beautiful flowers!

I also woke up to snuggles, kisses and giggles – my favourite!

Then there was some Lego Creativity time with my boys!

    

And more snuggling and jokes with my Princess – we do a lot of “pillow chatting”.

She always wants to me whisper secrets in her ear, so I do, secrets of  love and adoration and rainbows and anything pink.

Then I tickled her for a while and listened to her deep, heart filled laughter!

Later I sat on the floor with the Milk Monkey and we danced and practiced standing on his own.

Daddy cooked a yummy dinner and we all decided we needed to backyard camp one more time.

We just weren’t ready to end the magical day!

Actually now that I look back on it….extravaganza fits perfectly for me!

Motherhood is…

 

May always gets me reflecting about motherhood.  For one, the obvious, Mother’s Day takes place in May but also the Princess was born in May as was my Little Milk Monkey.  I have been blessed with 3 healthy children.  I’m so thankful for this.  It’s seriously something I thank God for every single day and some days more than once.

This year I seem to be inundated with stories about the lives of brave mothers everywhere who are going through or have recently been through trials with their precious children.   These amazing women are faced with challenges and devastation that no mother should ever have to experience.  I’ve quietly cried for their losses, pain and disappointment, I’ve prayed for them often, sometimes daily, and I’ve silently cheered for every little victory they’ve shared.   My heart goes out to those mummy’s who would give anything to make their children well.  I want to hug them and tell them they’re amazing!  Instead I pray, I pray hard and I enlist those I know who are prayer warriors around me to pray also.  I don’t know what it’s like to have a child in the hospital fighting for their life or what it’s like to lose a child and I pray I never do.

I have had my own struggles as a Mummy.  After my Little Professor was born I started experiencing a lot of anxiety which was unusual for my normally care free self.  Every night as I lay in the dark trying to get to sleep I would go through different scenarios in my mind.  What if there was a fire, how would I get to the babies room, what if the natural gas heater blew, what if the people downstairs has a gun and shot it through their ceiling, what if someone breaks in how would I protect my children?…it just went on and on.  Leaving the house was even harder.  I would dread a trip to the grocery store.  What if we were in a car accident, what if someone showed up with a gun, what if someone tried to take my babies?  I would constantly assess situations and try to figure out potential hazzards to my children.

To the reasonable mind those scenarios are unlikely but they would reverberate in mine.  I would become paralyzed with fear.  It was clearly controlling me and the decisions I was making.  It was interfering with my ability to be a good mother.  I saw it reflecting in my children at times.  Some days, when the children went to work with their father I would sit on the couch and cry in fear that they weren’t coming home.  Some nights were so bad that I would lay in bed shaking, pleading with my husband to pray for me – pray for us to be safe through the night.  I often wondered how much torment my mind would be able to handle before I snapped.

Thankfully, I have been able to overcome the fear with the help of God.  I started reading Psalm 91 every single day.  Whenever I would start to panic I would read it again.  I realized the fear and anxiety started with thoughts and whenever one would start forming in my head I would think to myself “no”.  Sometimes, I’d even have to say it out loud to myself to drown out the thoughts.  There have even been times when I have struggled with a thought to the point of tears and shouting “no” to myself until it passed.  I am determined to not allow fear to dictate what I do.

For so long I have kept this to myself, only sharing it with my husband and a few other close to me.  I always felt ashamed about it.  I didn’t think anyone would understand and maybe they won’t, but sharing it now is liberating!   I have been to a very dark place and with God I’ve survived and overcome and I’m so very thankful for that!  Every Mummy has an amazing testimony because Motherhood is hard and challenging and amazing and rewarding!  We need to tell our stories and we need to pray for each other and we need to celebrate our victories!!!

 

 

Daddy Says… Freedom

Freedom, I think that’s one of my favorite things about homeschooling with the kids.  It really gives us a lot of freedom.  Freedom to be flexible, to take field trips when we want, to bring the kids to exciting places where they can learn more in a day with their family than they could in a whole week of classroom time.

We have had the pleasure of taking them to the Children’s Museum, where they get all sorts of hands on lessons in a fun environment.  It’s all so much fun, they don’t even realize they are learning!

      

      

We have also brought them to the Science Museum.  They both really get into the various experiments and displays.  The Little Professor spent a good deal of time analyzing the exhibits, and the Mighty Princess has such a bright, inquisitive mind that they both had a lot of fun.

      

We also recently took them to Plimoth Plantation, where they were able to get a first hand history lesson.  They both had so many questions, and absorbed all the answers.  They really enjoyed interacting with the Wompanoag people, seeing how the tribe had lived in the 1600’s.  They also really liked the English Village, where people were roleplaying as members of the village as it was in 1627.  The Princess had a lengthy conversation with “Mrs. Bradford” – the Govenor’s wife, and the Little Professor spent some time learning from one of the mates of the Mayflower, learning about nautical navigation using the “Science of Triangles”. They were both also quite impressed with the cannons in the fort.

      

 Even our trip to Disney will be a learning experience.  They will be attending special classes put on by Disney to give them a behind the scenes look at the physics involved in some of the rides. And all of these things are made available by the freedom homeschooling gives us. Someday we will even be able to take them out on the road to learn and experience North America.  To travel to all sorts of different areas of this incredible and diverse continent we live on.

There are so many amazing things to see and do, it really gives me a thrill that our children will have these opportunities to grow and learn.

Crashes, Falls and Cookies…

At the moment I’m laying on the couch moaning and whining in pain.  I know I’m acting like a baby but my body hurts so much – I’m giving myself permission to complain.  It’s been an eventful day and not necessarily the good kind of eventful, though there were some pretty good moments.

The day started off as usual, woke up tired, dragged myself onto the treadmill –you’d think, with all my treadmill time I’ve been logging, I’d be losing weight faster than I am – worked, and even got some sewing accomplished.  It’s the kids week off before they start their next grade so that makes life much easier on me.  I had been secretly hoping it would pour rain all day so that the Professor’s soccer practice would be canceled.  We have all been fighting off a cold –and so far we are winning – and I didn’t want to expose everyone to the cold, damp weather.

Rain was forecasted for all day but as usual the predictions were wrong and the clouds refused to give up the rain.  Soooo…I piled the kids into the truck and made our way to the soccer field.  I was trying to find a parking spot where I could see the field from the truck in case of rain.  I really didn’t want the Milk Monkey getting wet.  As I was backing into the spot I ran right into one of those big garbage bins in the back of the school.

There was a unison of gasps as we heard the smash!

I caught the Professor’s look in the rear view mirror, his eyes were huge and his mouth was wide open in horror.

I jumped out and rushed to the back!  Thankfully the damage was minimal, it was just the rear light lens that was damaged.  As much as I’d rather not spend $50 on a new one, I’m very thankful that it wasn’t worse.

Fifteen minutes into practice it started raining.  I returned to the truck with the Princess and the Milk Monkey while the Professor finished his practice in the rain.  Later, at home I sent the children up to shower and get pj’s on.  That was around the same time I fell down the whole flight of stairs – ouch!!! – and that brings me back to my whining.

Thankfully, I didn’t do any serious damage, just some soreness.  I’m so thankful it wasn’t worse!

On a brighter and sweeter note…the UPS man showed up at our door today bearing gifts!

I’m a big fan of the UPS man!!

I didn’t order anything so I was a little suspicious – even more so when I realized it was a tin of cookies – my over active imagination in full working order!

Inside I found a little thank you card from the RV dealership we bought our trailer from.  I thought that was a really nice touch, especially since we were a for sure thing!

I would recommend buying an RV from Flagg RV to anyone – not just because they send really delicious cookies if you do!  They were very helpful and have excellent customer service, also their prices are far better than any other dealership we talked too.

So today wasn’t great, but it wasn’t the worse day ever!  Even through it all I can still find reasons to be thankful!

Graduation…

When our children graduate from one grade to the next we like to make a bit of a big deal about it.

After all, they’ve worked so hard and it’s nice to celebrate their progress at each milestone.

This past Saturday was graduation day in our house!

We ordered pizza and I made Strawberry Shortcake- menu chosen by the graduates of course.

We invited Nana J and Papa over to celebrate with us.  The Little Professor and the Princess love having their grandparents join in the festivities.

Grandparent praises are extra special!

       

    

There were plenty of gifts and lots of fun to be had!

Now my precious little students have their week off before starting next grade.

I’m so proud of them!

They study so hard and give school their full effort.

It amazes me!

I love them so much I just want to squeeze them forever!

I just can’t get enough of them.  I’m so thankful to be their mummy!

       

Fare Thee Well…

I love it when I can give my children the opportunity for some hands-on learning.  To say we had that chance this weekend is an understatement.  We took a visit to my favourite place – Plymouth.  I just love it there, it’s so beautiful by the ocean with it’s relaxed atmosphere and it’s significance in history.  Usually when we spend the day there it’s all about the scenery but this time we were there to visit Plimoth Plantation.  What an awesome place!

We started the day learning about the Wompanoag people.  We were warmly greeted at their homesite and they willingly answered all the questions the kids threw at them.  They explained how their people use to live back in the 1600’s.  All the information was so interesting and it was amazing to see my children eagerly learning the history of their country.

 

 

We learned about their Wetu’s, the Wompanoag homes and were invited in to experience what it was like.  The Princess wanted to know how the beds were made…she was fascinated by the animal furs spread out everywhere and wanted to feel each one.

We tried to guess which animal each fur belonged to.

The Little Professor was impressed by the process in which the mishoons (the Wompanoag word for boat) were made.  They used fire to hollow out a tree.  They would light a fire and let it burn then dig out the burnt wood and coals, then they’d restart the process over and over again.  We were told that if they were to work on the mishoon 24 hours a day, without stopping, they could have one completed in a week however it takes them about 3 months to complete one at the plantation.

                                    

The thing I found the most interesting at the Wompanoag homesite were their dolls.  They were made without faces for a few different reasons.   One being that the beauty in the doll was in the craftsmanship, the Wompanoag people did not feel they needed faces to be beautiful.  The other reason – the one I really loved – was that since the dolls did not have faces they couldn’t say that one doll was more beautiful than the other, they were all pretty because of what they were and not because of their faces.  The lesson to the children being that everyone is beautiful and not because of how they look but because of who they are.  It’s not our faces that make us special.  What a wonderful and important lesson for children to learn – so many adults need to learn that lesson too!!

 

We eventually made our way to the 17th-Century English Village to learn about the lives of the Plymouth Colonists.  This area was a lot of fun because it’s a re-creation of the small pilgrim community.  We were able to wander about the village, enter the houses and touch everything.  The kids really liked being able to sit in the chairs and handle different items while they talked to the various Pilgrims who responded to all their questions as though they really were the Colonists from 1627.  It helped the kids get lost in the history and really become a part of it.

                     

They asked many questions like:

What responsibilities would I have if I was part of the Colony?

How do you wash your clothes?

Do you make your own clothes?

Do you have a pet cat? – that one was the Princess of course!

Where do the children sleep?

What are you growing in your garden?

Can you read and does the average woman know how to read?

…and many, many others.  I was amazed the “Pilgrims” never broke character once, even with all the questions!

 

On our way out we stopped by the Patuxet Cafe and bought some uniquely prepared dishes from the 17th-century to try.  We shared Succotash, Indian Pudding, 17th-Century cheesecake and Stewed Pompion between us.  I couldn’t help but wonder if the meat in the Succotash was that of the rabbit we saw cooking over the fire at the Wampatoag Homesite.  Trying the foods made us want to try cooking some of the recipes found on their website.  Completely unrelated – it made me want to cook over the open fire next time we go camping!  It won’t be freshly caught rabbit!! 

It was amazing to watch the children thoroughly enjoying history.  It lit a fire in me to make a bigger effort towards the hands-on learning we wanted the kids to experience with their homeschooling.  We will be returning to the Plantation soon – we bought a membership for the year.  The Princess and the Professor have already thought up more questions they want to ask!

We need this pile of wood for camping!!

A picture to add to my Brave Birds of Plymouth collection!

Daddy says… Brilliant!

Brilliant, absolutely brilliant.  That’s my kids.  Just brilliant, wonderful kids.

The little princess took a test today, a special test that’s part of the curriculum we use and it’s designed to see how ready she is to start a 12 week learn to read program. She aced it with a score of 94%.  I’m so proud of her! There were some math aspects to the test as well and I was surprised and pretty impressed to see she had no trouble with those at all.  She’s so smart!

And the Little Professor is just on the cusp of finishing Grade 2.  He’s pretty excited, planning his graduation dinner. There are long discussions of what he’d like for dinner, who might be there and, of course, what type of desert there might be.

And even the Milk Monkey has been impressing us this week.  No, he hasn’t started school yet, but he has been practicing his speaking, mimicking everything people say to him.  I’m so proud of our little ones, they are such smart little students it’s pretty incredible to see them learn and grow.

Give Me A Hint….

I’m beginning to think I’ve taken on more than I can handle.

With sewing the quilt, that is.

I’ve been sewing like a maniac and there just doesn’t seem to be a lot of progress.  I know there has been but it doesn’t seem like it.

I strongly suggest to anyone out there who might be thinking about taking up quilting…

Give yourself more than a month to work on your first one!

I can’t give up…the Princess is so excited about Mummy making her something special for her birthday.

Every day she sits on my lap and asks me for a hint!

Some of my hints have been:

It’s something sewn.

It’s something I’m making.

It’s made out of fabric.

This makes her giggle…because the hints are so obvious to what she knows and do not help her one bit!

“Tell me another hint”, she says.

Sometimes when she asks, I say “I can’t tell you!” in a silly voice and then tickle her until she’s doubled over gasping for air.

She loves to be tickled!

I’m beginning to realize that the anticipation of the gift is probably more exciting than the gift itself!  I hope she’s not disappointed – I don’t think she will be.

Tonight she sat on my lap after she came home from Nana’s.  She started guessing for the hundredth time about what I was making for her.

This time, she guessed it!

She looked at me with her big, beautiful, blue eyes – I always get distracted by her cute freckles scattered across the bridge of her nose

– and she said, “It’s a blanket!!!”  She was very excited about the idea.

I just continued smiling and casually said in my silly voice “I’m not telling you what it is!”

But deep down in side I was jumping up and down for joy!

My little Princess is going to love the quilt I’m making for her!!!