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!!!

 

 

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!

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!!!

                  

The Meltdown…

Today I had a melt down!

I don’t have them very often these days but today proved to be too much for my patience to handle.

School was down right painful, even though the Little Professor only has two subjects left in Grade 2 – he actually finished one of them today, Yay!  The other, Animal Science, is a subject he just does not like, which is odd because he loves learning about animals.  I guess the way he’s learning it in the PACES has been very boring to him.  Part of me wanted to let him give it up, but I think it’s a good learning experience for him.  Not everything in life is super fun or interesting, but that’s not a reason to quit.  So, we are struggling through it!  I say “we” because it’s a struggle for me to have to say “get it done” a couple hundred times a day!  This has been going on for the past week and a half – it’s getting old!

Thankfully, there’s only one Animal Science PACE left!

Hopefully, by the weekend we’ll be finished Grade 2 altogether!

The Milk Monkey ‘s cutting two more top teeth making him tired and a little cranky.  I put him down for a nap twice today and twice he was woken up 5 minutes after he fell asleep.  He had his brother and sister to thank for that.  I just can’t seem to get the Professor and the Princess to keep the noise down during nap time.  Of course this made my already cranky Monkey even more ornery, a huge contrast to his normal cheerful disposition.  Later…I caught the Little Professor whipping balls at my grumpy little baby – they were very thin plastic, so not as damaging as it sounds.  I was horrified, he’s usually so gentle and kind.  It turns out he wasn’t trying to hurt his tiny, little brother but rather he was hoping if he did it enough it would teach the Monkey to do it back at him.  Then the two could have a good boyish game of whipping balls at each other!

To add to the stress…I spent all my free time yesterday cleaning the kitchen and getting it organized only to find it trashed this morning.  This really frustrates me because I don’t have a lot of time during my day between work, homeschooling and taking care of three kids.  Keeping the house tidy always ends up at the bottom of the list by default.  It’s very discouraging when I finally get to it and it doesn’t even last a full day!  I have a hard enough time teaching myself to keep things tidy, I find it almost impossible to help the kids learn the skill.  All my efforts seem to fall on deaf ears.

Even with all those things going on, I was still able to be my normal patient self.  Then I went upstairs to talk to the kids and saw their room.  It looked like a disaster zone!  There were toys everywhere, clean clothes ripped off their hangers and tossed every which way and dirty clothes scattered across the rug.  Then I spied the new items we bought at The American Girl doll store dumped out of their boxes and thrown about!! The tiny new doll glasses lost, no where to be found!  That was just too much!  It pushed me over the edge – I still feel guilty about spending so much money!! –  and to see it carelessly flung around proved to be my breaking point.

I completely lost my patience!  When I get upset with my children I don’t yell as much as my voice drops about 3 octaves.  They realize immediately that Mummy is about to have a melt down.  I’m not proud of myself, in fact I always feel so bad after, but I am a person like everyone else.  I have my flaws and I definitely have my limits.

It didn’t last long – you should see how fast my children can tidy up when they hear my deep voice!  Maybe I should always talk to them with a voice like an ogre!  We’d probably get more things accomplished.  I wonder if it would work on Daddy too??!!

Everything settled down again.  Daddy called Nana and asked if she’d be able to take our two older children for the day.  She of course agreed! She’s amazing like that!  Thank goodness for Nana J!  She’s so nonjudgmental and always there for support.  I couldn’t ask for a better mother in law!

Now as I write this, while munching on a piece of Hershey Special Dark chocolate, I’m ready to face tomorrow!  After all tomorrow is another day….

The Milk Monkey’s a Player….

I was working away at my desk when I looked up to see the Milk Monkey happily playing away.

He was making little sound effects and chatting away with the few words he knows “Dada, Mama, Nana, Hi” while driving little cars across the carpet.

He was tossing balls and rolling them around.

                            

Even after three children, I’m still in awe of how babies go from being completely and utterly dependent on us,

to playing, eating, walking, talking and all the other amazing things they can do.

Some how, almost effortlessly they learn so much in their first couple years!

With my first born, my Little Professor, I spent hours teaching him his colours and shapes, how to count and his alphabet at an early age.

I thought it important that he learned everything fast and with a little work, he did.  He was a fast learner and still is!

I stressed over it.

I was so caught up in his future, that I pushed him and we didn’t relax and enjoy the present.  Everything had to be perfect with him.  I changed his clothes at the tiniest mark, I constantly washed his tiny face and I agonized over every decision.

When my Princess was born I was determined to do the same for her!  Having two babies made that an impossible task.  It was barely all I could do to remember to breath during that time and trying to keep things perfect made me feel like a complete failure.

The Princess and I didn’t spend huge amounts of time obsessively going over her colours, shapes and alphabet

but surprisingly enough she learned it just as well as our Professor.

At some point it dawned on me…babies learn…children learn, it’s just in their nature.

They learn by playing, they learn by spending time with the ones who love them, they learn by mimicking.

Everything with my little Milk Monkey has been different.  I’m a more relaxed mummy.  I am able to enjoy all his moments!

Maybe it’s because I’m older – I definitely have the grey hairs and the wrinkles to back that up!  or maybe it’s just the experience from my other two darlings but now I’ve stopped reaching for perfection.

Now, instead of running for a new outfit because a puff has stuck to the Milk Monkey’s sleepers I just let him continue playing and sometimes I even join him regardless of the work that needs to be done.

I like to smell his sweet baby scent, his little curls softly caress my cheek as I kiss the back of his neck.

The Milk Monkey has learned so much already!

He’s learned it from his Daddy and I and from his brother and sister…the funny thing is,

we’ve never sat down to “teach” him anything!