Thursday, September 27, 2007

How I FINALLY potty-trained Abby.

This is going to be quick, but in case anyone is reading this and needs the tip, here we go.
Abby has been "potty-trained" for a L-O-N-G time. The problem is that she wet herself CONSTANTLY! Gee, sounds terribly potty trained to me!! Hahaha. She would get busy and just go...not a lot, but enough to be gross and stinky and cause the sand in the sand box to stick to her nether-regions and look really bad!!

I was at my wits end and didn't know what to do, so here's the idea I had. This was along with my dad telling her she couldn't go to Tahoe with them and go on the boat and stay at a hotel if she was wetting herself--not to mention the fact that she's ALMOST 4 and it's about STINKING time that she "got" it...but anyway, here's the idea...and it's working for a LOT of bad habits!!

Each time she went potty on HER OWN (without me having to take her because it's really annoying to drop what you're doing to take a child who can very well go potty on her own) and her pants were dry, I'd give her a nickel (not too much money on my part and she doesn't really understand money too much anyway, it was more exciting to just HAVE the money than to worry about what she was going to do with it). If she was wet, I'd TAKE a nickel. I have to say, it took about a week and she had a jar full of nickels and my dirty laundry no longer reeked of urine! Horray!!

It's also worked with her addiction to her pacifier...she still sleeps with it but had gotten into the bad habit of taking it downstairs with her and leaving it in weird places so I had to hunt for it before bed...and she'd cling to it as long as possible and she's just TOO DARN OLD FOR THAT!! So I started giving her a nickel each time she came downstairs from bed with NO paci! She's EXCELLENT with it now. It took 1 crying/screaming fest and it's a done deal. It's also been good with keeping her in bed once I've tucked her in at night--no 20 trips to the bathroom, trips downstairs because she had a "bad dream". She's been very good about it.

Today I took away a nickel for each shoe of the girls I found outside...I'm tired of them leaving their shoes outside. We'll see if that one worked!! Hahaha!!

Now the difficulty is finding more thing Savannah can EARN nickels for. I need to start a chore chart...just another thing that's been on my TO DO list for AGES and has yet to be completed! Just like GOING TO BED!!!!

A Better Week.

Yes it's still busy here...barely enough time to breathe, but things have been much better. I've switched brands of birth control pills I've been taking and I'm not sure if it really has helped, but I think my hormones are more leveled out now and that definitely helps with the overwhelm! I was starting to think, either my character is COMPLETELY flawed, or I need some happy pills! I know a womans hormones can definitely do a number on her though, and the fact that I'm still technically post-partum leads me to believe that a lot of my "issues" are hormonal! Anyway, I'm feeling better now, leaning on the Lord more, although definitely NOT enough. It's weird how I seem to think that that's just one MORE thing to add into the daily "stuff", but really, without my daily time with the Lord, without CONSTANT prayer for wisdom, patience and strength...I cannot make it through the day successfully. Yes, I can make it through the day, but it'll be one of those days when I notice my windows and door are open and cringe because I'm sure the entire neighborhood just heard me "gently" chastising my children. Oh, I'm always gentle!! Hahaha...Uh Huh!

Anyway, with much encouragement from my friend, AmyBeth...and much prayer as well, I'm re-evaluating the way we're homeschooling. I mentioned it before, but things are somewhat coming together to make that happen. We're still doing the same math, we're still doing handwriting (although a bit different from day to day) and we're still doing reading--just less and more focused lessons. I'm integrating more read-alouds into our daily routine, more character development stuff and *cringe* I need to add Bible study into our DAILY lesson. Yes, I do admit (albeit VERY shamefully) that Bible has fallen by the wayside. It's not that I don't love doing it with the children and they love it as's that Savannah is at a higher level than Abby and I want to do it with both of course what I need to do is Bible from BOTH levels. The girls have also started AWANA, so they have their weekly memory verses from that that we can throw into the mix. Savannah is now a Sparky and after MUCH nervousness and pleas of "Mommy, I changed my mind...I want to stay in Cubbies", she's thrilled to be a big Sparky. Abby is back in Cubbies and is excited because Kaeden is in it with her...yes, that's the Kaeden who woke us all up a few weeks ago at 6:45am. I'm happy to have my Wednesday nights back again where I can have coffee, go to the mall or have a "date" with Jeremy (and Luke of course) while the girls have AWANA. It's wonderful
The girls are riding their bikes like fiends lately. It's so great! I can finally go on walks with them where I ACTUALLY get some exercise!! I put Luke in the stroller--he loves walks--and we take off to the park, around the block or to the library. The girls need to get into a bit better shape because it IS hard work (strangely Abby is in better shape than Savannah...either that or she's just more stubborn and determined--hmmm...yes, that's probably it!) but don't we all need to get into better shape? Savannah can actually ride Jeremy's electric Razor scooter. It goes pretty fast and it's so funny to see her zooming past! She's got the throttle and brakes down pretty well. What a big kid!

Jeremy just walked in the door--finally home from work at 9:45pm and I said, "Can you believe that September is almost over?" to which he replied, "I CAN' life feels like it's been on TURBO!". NO JOKE! I was just thinking earlier this evening...this is the time in my life where I wish all of the wonderful gems of each day could be recorded so that later in my life, when things slow down and I'm able to sit with a cup of coffee and reflect and enjoy each day, I could watch these memorable moments and enjoy them because right now, it's very hard to find the time to stop and enjoy the moment. Of course, there are those sweet, precious times (like today) where we spread a blanket on the grass, lay on our tummies and read a couple of books together outside. We do find the time to stop in the afternoon and sip tea and share a few moments together as a family. But the days FLY by, the months even slip through my fingers...where does the time go??? It's kind of sad because I know these are truly the sweetest years of our lives...watching these little blessings grow and learn...and I know these will be the times we reflect on and reminisce about in the future...I need to remind myself daily to take time during EACH day to enjoy the sweet moments as they come...and then RUN inside and jot them in my journal so I don't forget one more funny, insightful thing the children say or do.

Quick notes:
Luke has been rolling over. Not super often, but he's done it a number of times now. The other day he was in his crib and he started crying and I thought he had rolled. I went up and the poor guy had pulled a blanket over his face and couldn't escape!! Poor must be tough to be so silly!

He has also discovered his FEET! He's been grabbing at them like crazy and has managed to get them into his mouth a few times...I'm sure he'll just get better and better at that one!

Luke can sit up pretty well, although I wouldn't leave him on his own...he still leans WAAAYYYY forward and is rather tippy, but he's definitely got the strength!

Luke LOVES animals! Every time he sees a critter he goes crazy. He gets all shaky and crazy and squeals and talks to it. His favorite is when they finally give him a good lick in the face!!

Luke always smiles and coos and squeals when other children are crying. I don't know if he is trying to make them feel better, because it is rather funny the way he does it, like he's trying to get their attention or something, or if he just plain thinks it's funny that they're crying. Either way, Abby gets all upset when he laughs when she's crying...she thinks he's "making fun" of her!

I hope that's all...I know it's not, but that's all my sorry brain can remember at 10pm!! Time to go to bed!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Lukes Food Journal

I'm just trying something out, so please bear with me.

Friday September 28, 2007
Most recent food: BANANAS
He's still not chowing down by any means, but we're getting there.

Thursday September 27, 2007
Most recent food: APPLESAUCE
Luke is finally starting to eat better. He's still very messy, rather tentative and very slow, but I'm hoping that he'll take to eating in the very near future. I'm going to work toward 2 meals a day very soon, but I just recently started doing one meal a day consistently. I got 5 cans of formula today and it was $78.00, so I'm looking forward to being totally weaned off of that stuff in the next 6 months!!

Thursday September 20, 2007
Most recent food: CARROTS


Life has been crazy busy lately. There are definitely not enough hours in a day, but if there were, I’m not sure I could be coherent for them!
This entire year has been quite full, but with the onset of homeschooling, it’s just getting more busy. We’re plugging away with our schooling, some things are going well—better than expected in fact (not that I can mention what those things ARE right now!) and some are definitely going to require some ironing out. Savannah is incredibly smart. She learns quite quickly and is definitely above her grade level in most things. The problem is that she’s very lazy. She’s definitely mine and Jeremy’s child! “Hmmm…how can I use my brain to get past having to do this??” Unfortunately at this stage, there are many boring, dull, repetitive things to learn. Handwriting just isn’t all that FUN to learn, I’m sorry! While I’m trying to make it more interesting and fun, I also feel like I’m always at least one step behind (if I’m lucky…usually it’s more like a hundred!). With 3 children, one of whom doesn’t yet have a set schedule and needs a lot of mommy (although I have to say, Luke is definitely a wonderful little guy and gives me LOTS of slack!), I find it so hard to keep up with everything. We’ve been homeschooling for 3 weeks now and there have been at least 3 or 4 days when I just wanted to throw in the towel and send Savannah to public school and put Abby in preschool. I know that’s not what I really want, but my goodness, some days it’s just so hard. I know it’s always going to be hard in the beginning…but I read the blogs of some of my friends and it seems like they’re just having a jolly good time and plugging along with nothing but success. Not only are THEY enjoying it, but the children are just thriving! I can’t say the same here. Savannah lolly-gags through her work, she sighs and makes faces and tells me how much she doesn’t want to do her work. She acts like she just doesn’t get what I’m teaching her and I wonder if I’m pushing too hard or if she’s just being lazy. Last week we were working on math and she just was NOT getting it. I stopped and let her do some basic addition worksheets—more for the number writing practice than anything else. Then a few days later when we went back to her other math, she got it with no problem. Perhaps I’m working too fast for her, perhaps I’m approaching it all wrong or perhaps she’s just not wanting to do it yet. I wish I could put life on pause for a good long while so I could get caught up. There is so much to research and organize, but alas…that’s just not going to happen!
Have you ever noticed that everyone has a ton of advice and yet they never want to step in and walk in your shoes? It’s that whole arm-chair quarter back thing. Yes, I too could come up with the PERFECT plan, the PERFECT life and the PERFECT schedule…the problem is: I don’ t have the PERFECT life, I don’t have the PERFECT children and for heaven’s sake, I’m just about as far from PERFECT as someone can get. It’s so hard to teach someone self-control when you lack it. It’s hard to teach patience when you lose yours regularly. I tell my children not to yell at each other and to be kind to one another and then I lose it with them and yell at them… Oh to be like Jesus!! How in the world do I do it?
Anyway, I digress…sorry for the bummer, but life has definitely been a bit on the rough side lately. I’m definitely thinking that I need to step back and re-evaluate how we’re going about things. I did just purchase the Hooked on Math program, hoping that it can make something as boring as rote memorization of addition facts a bit more exciting. The handwriting is not going to stop, it’s a necessity. Reading…well, she’s a great reader, but that always seems to fall by the wayside because she’s already above her grade level and by the time we finish with math and handwriting, there are always so many other things that need to be done. I think I shall re-read some of the Charlotte Mason literature I have and construct a more nature-based study plan. I really, really want her to enjoy learning and I can already see Abby looking at Savannah thinking, “Oh dear God, I don’t want to do THAT!” and she wants nothing to do with “school”! EEK, NOT WHAT I WANT!!!
Okay, on to more simple things:
Luke rolled over the other day for the first time. Poor guy, he rolled over and bonked his head and cried and cried and cried! But it’s pretty exciting! He’s getting very big and strong. He’s SO incredibly grabby! Giving baths is always a wet, fun messy time. There is no way to get through bath time without getting totally soaked—well, there is ONE way—pawn it off on Jeremy!! Hahaha!
Luke is not the world’s greatest solid food eater. I’ve given him rice cereal, oatmeal, bananas, peas, sweet potatoes and carrots. Most recently we’ve been doing carrots and oatmeal and he does OKAY with it, but he’s still got a pretty strong tongue-thrust reflex. My goodness, the little guy is almost 6 months old, he needs to start eating! He likes the sweeter stuff a lot better and seems to do better with oatmeal than with rice. He’s still got some time, but I’m hoping he starts eating better soon.
He’s started waking at night more recently. Some nights it’s 1pm and then 3 or 4 or so for a bottle and then waking a bit earlier in the morning—lately he’s been the first child awake! I can definitely feel something in his bottom gums, how close he is to actual teeth shall remain a mystery though. Of course he never lets me take a good look, but he LOVES having his little gummies rubbed. He likes to blow raspberries (something the girls did when they were teething), but I don’t think it’s close enough to actual teeth yet…not a whole lot of drool yet. You never know what it is that’s making them wake up, but I have to say, I’m not fond of it! I really can’t complain though, he’s been such a sweet, good baby. His naps aren’t as good these days either, but they’re still decent. He usually takes one 1 hour nap in the morning and one 1.5-2 hour nap in the afternoon and then usually a little 30 minute cat nap in the early evening.
About 2 weeks ago Luke discovered his voice. We were visiting at Steve and Valerie’s house (Jeremy cousin and his wife) and Luke just started squawking away. He was super loud and it was very funny. He definitely loves to squeak and talk, no real babbling yet though…I really, really look forward to that. That same day he also started shaking his head back and forth like he’s saying “NO” like a maniac. That’s what he now does when he’s done eating or when he doesn’t want his paci and we’re trying to put it in his mouth.
There is so much more I could write about, but it’s late and I’ve got another busy, crazy day ahead of me…although tomorrow I think we’re going to take it a bit easy.
One more thing I wanted to note. Last night I asked the girls to put the laundry from the washer to the dryer and start the dryer. I really didn’t think they could do it since it’s quite hard to reach into the washer…but they worked together and managed to do it! I went downstairs last night and opened the dryer and inside was a load of freshly dried laundry. I tell ya, I was BEAMING!! I’m so proud of those little girls! They’re definitely precious!

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

OUR first day of school.

Today was our first official day of homeschooling. It went very well. Of course, this was one of those rare mornings that the girls actually slept in, so our routine was slightly off, but not too bad. Normally what I'd *like* to happen is for them to get up at 7am (I'm still not to the point where I'll wake them up if they don't get up on their own...I figure if they're sleeping, they're tired) then they're allowed about 30 minutes of tv/veg time. I need it, they need's also our snuggle time, so I'm not doing away with that. Then it's get dressed, hair done (makeup for me), chores (swish/swipe bathrooms for me, throw laundry into dryer, etc.), breakfast and whatever else needs to be done. School starts at 9am.

We're focusing on 4 major areas:

As I get better and more into the groove, I hope to add more creative projects in as well as more detailed nature study and more structured activities and also GERMAN.
I've got Rosetta-Stone, Usborne First Thousand Words in German and also Muzzy, so what's my problem?? I feel that since I don't speak the language well enough, I'd like to be at a point where I can at least follow along so they're learning properly. But I also realize that all of this will fall into place as we get more into schooling.

I do have more detailed ideas for science and we're using the Story of the World for history. I've got the book and the CD's, so Savannah has been listening to it during "rest" time.

So this morning we started out with writing. This is the area Savannah needs the most work. She's very advanced in reading and math, but some of the math she can't do yet because she can't write her numbers. I'm not too worried because I'm not a big worksheet/book-work kind of person, but it definitely is something that needs to improve. She's currently doing first grade Singapore Math and although we're using the Ordinary Parents Guide to Teaching Reading, today I just had her read to me from her Bible...she is an AMAZING reader!! Definitely above where she should be right now, so I'm not sure if we'll do a structured teaching part on that or if I'll just allow her to read and learn from doing. We'll see how things go.

Considering this was our first day I think it went pretty well, but I've already definitely seen areas that I need to work on myself...and PLANNING is the biggest area. So I'm off to write out a calendar of housework and meals so I don't have to think of that...and then get a lesson plan started for this week...and if not this week, I'll definitely have it for next week. I'm still considering this week our trial!

I did something fun with Abby this morning while Savannah was working. We took Play-doh and letters from a puzzle and pushed the letters into the dough and spelled words. She can do her own name, but I did C-A-T and D-O-G so she can start to get the idea of blending sounds. She knows the letters and the sounds they make, but it hasn't clicked in her head yet how you blend them together...but I have seen a very dim light bulb go off in her head, so I know it's coming soon!! :) Watching your children (and being an active participant) learn is so much fun!!

Monday, September 3, 2007

I've got Wii fever!

Now I understand why these things are flying off the shelves! We were lucky enough to get one from the Coast Guard exchange (retail price with NO TAX!) a few days ago. Jeremy and I started bowling in the evening the other night and it's such a blast!! I cannot even begin to describe how incredibly SORE I am. It's such a great workout, you'd never guess!! I'd definitely, definitely recommend the Wii to anyone, it's SO MUCH FUN, and the girls love it too!! I should also mention that I'm TOTALLY anti-video game, so this is a big deal for me!
Next we need to buy another Wii-mote so the girls can box each other...let's see if we can channel that frustration!!

Speaking of frustration (totally off topic here), Abby told me that she had a dream that when she was getting frustrated, she turned into a monster...and she started turning all red...hmmmm...very interesting!!

One more side note:
Luke ate his first food yesterday. I've fed him numerous times, but last night he actually ATE it instead of spitting it out. It was fun because our friend, Lorraine (from New Jersey) was here and she got to be the one to feed him! How special!
He's also getting SUPER grabby...grabbing for everything within reach and "clawing" at everything. We've got a little toy in his crib that hangs on the rail and he never paid much attention to it until just recently...yesterday he was pushing at the buttons and all. He still doesn't know how to "push" stuff yet, but I have a feeling that'll be just around the corner!

How we were (so rudely) awakened this morning.

This morning was unbelievable! At 6:45am I was awakened to the sound of the girls voices chattering--VERY LOUDLY. What I thought was going on was that Abby got up to go potty and Savannah was already going and they were talking to each other loudly. Since the bathroom and their bedroom open to a common area where my room AND Luke's room are, I did NOT want them to wake Luke up, so I jumped out of bed and said, "SHHHHH....BE QUIET!!!" (yelling while whispering, nice touch!). As it turns out, I was not yelling at MY children, I was yelling at our NEIGHBORS boy, Kaeden who apparently got himself dressed, put on his backpack, walked right into our home and up to the girls room and was wondering why they were SLEEPING?!?! I could NOT believe it. His mom didn't know he was here either because she's got a little one and had a rough night and had fallen back to sleep with the younger one and Kaeden took off. How nice. Of course the girls would not go back to sleep. I was very disappointed because we had a late night and I thought for sure the girls would be sleeping in. No such luck! What a morning!