Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Advent In Our Home

Advent In Our Home...
1. Introduced the Theme: Watch, Prepare and Wait
We hung up the sign I made in a word document. I printed it, laminated it and then ran purple ribbon through it.

2. We placed our Advent Wreath in the middle of our dining room table where we eat dinner every night. We blessed our Advent wreath. If your candles are not staying in place melt them into place...Branden had that idea this year! Great Idea! Advent Wreath Daily Readings and Prayers can be found at

3. We created a purple chain that has quotes from Saints on each day. I got all of my quotes from EWTN's daily readings and copy and pasted them into a word document. I printed it and then the kids pasted the paper on purple construction paper and then we cut each strip. Then we stapled each strip together. We will read one each day of Advent. Before Tristan could read I just put numbers in each. I will probably do Bible verses one year or maybe parts of the Catechism etc...
4. I took our big chalkboard I use for entertaining the little kids while I teach and we are using that to track our Advent Giving Mission. Every day the kids look for ways to be extraordinarily good or helpful or look for ways to serve someone. Every day after we read the quote of the day from our chain we paste it to the board and then that evening we talk about the things of the day. An example is when we were in Walmart a woman dropped her bracelet and Tristan ran to go and get it and give it to the woman. He saw it and acted.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Expecting More than I am Willing to Give

In the realm of parenting.
1. How often I expect the kids to ask me one time for something and not ask again if I say no...because my no means no. They do ask more than once and sometimes many times leading me to great frustration and sometimes anger, but they have learned that what I expect is inconsistent with what I give them. On a rough day, when I am tired, when I am overwhelmed and sometimes out of desperation to get them away from me I will say yes on the fifth time after I have said no four other times and said the same exact words no means no. So actually what I expect and what I am giving them with my actions are two entirely different things. What they are hearing is we should ask more than once and maybe many times just to make sure mom really means no because sometimes she says no, but then she changes her mind so maybe I should ask five more times just to make sure! Wouldn't you do the same if you knew that would be the outcome! They are smart.
2. So often I expect first time obedience or another way of saying this is listening the first time. Whether it be walking through a parking lot and keeping everyone together or getting out of the car or picking up their toys or coming to dinner. I expect them to listen on the first time and often when they don't listen the person it inconveniences the most is me and this leads me to great frustration and I wonder why they don't listen. I expect first time listeners, but I give them a wife that doesn't always listen to her husband. I give them a mom that is on the computer and to distracted to listen to their big ideas or look at their newest lego creation. Even in other very important areas of life such as meals and schooling I fall into thinking my things and my time are more important. So often during these things that I think are so important I tend to not listen to the kids. Whether it be an I can't listen right now, or get out of here and find something else to do or I yell at them for being in the way or I just say uh huh...oh neat...okay and I really am not listening to their story or looking at their creation or whatever it might be. They think and believe as we all do that we are super important. Fortunately for us adults we know there is an Africa out there with tons of starving people dying daily and we know that there are babies being aborted daily and we know that there are families falling apart all around the world, but unfortunately for us on a daily basis we don't choose to live in a world bigger than ourselves. For the little ones they don't know or understand where or what Africa is and they don't understand that children can starve to death because they only know their life and can only understand how they have felt. They cannot go outside of themselves and are not supposed to at this point which makes them really a big part in this world that they know. They are a big and very important part and that is the way God intended it to be, but as a parent I tend to not let them know and let them feel as important as I should by listening intently to their ideas or looking at the pile of rocks and leaves they have found...the mom that doesn't listen looks at their rock and leaf collection and sees just rocks and leaves but the mom God created me to be sees those rocks and leaves turn into the beautiful treasures that my children are seeing.
Children will listen if we listen.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

A Day at the Farm

A day at the farm. We have some friends who own a farm and we have been able to enjoy a few days out there fishing, having picnics, going on trails, riding horses, throwing rocks, playing in creeks and getting dirty! It is such a blessing! One day when we went out there we took some pictures. They turned out so wonderful!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Babies and Sleeping

Great Article. We co-sleep around here for the first year or so and love it! There is more and more research showing that co-sleeping is great for everyone! Read the article and read through the experiments. Very fascinating. Here is a little blurb from the experiment. To me it seems so natural to just have the baby right next to you especially when nursing.
What to call it
Sleeping with your baby has various labels: The earthy term "family bed," while appealing to many, is a turn-off to parents who imagine a pile of kids squeezed into a small bed with dad and the family dog perched precariously on the mattress edge. "Co-sleeping" sounds more like what adults do. "Bed-sharing" is the term frequently used in medical writings. I prefer the term "sleep-sharing" because, as you will learn, a baby shares more than just bed space. An infant and mother sleeping side by side share lots of interactions that are safe and healthy.

Our study revealed that Lauren breathed better when sleeping next to Martha than when sleeping alone. Her breathing and her heart rate were more regular during shared sleep, and there were fewer "dips," low points in respiration and blood oxygen from stop-breathing episodes. On the night Lauren slept with Martha, there were no dips in her blood oxygen. On the night Lauren slept alone, there were 132 dips. The results were similar in a second infant, whose parents generously allowed us into their bedroom. We studied Lauren and the other infant again at five months. As expected, the physiological differences between shared and solo sleep were less pronounced at five months than at two months.

Inclusion - Teaching to the Family not just the individual

With Tristan in first grade and Annaliese in kindergarten and one more child added to the mix school has definitely become more interesting this year! So we change. With life you can never stay the same. Honestly to stay the same would be incredibly boring and very frustrating (I have tried before and it didn't work)! So we keep moving and keep changing as we need to. So here are a few things we have been doing with school lately. I am including everyone more and more in the activities we do if not there are more messes than I care to deal with and more crying than I can handle and a super frustrated mom! So I have changed and it is working...for now :) One activity we do for math on a regular basis is Mom's Shop. We do a lot with this and everyone is working on a different skill. For Gavin he is working on identifying the coins by hearing the name and pointing to it and matching the picture of the coin he needs to use to buy something. Annaliese is working on knowing the names of the coins and the values and Finn is working on using his words and manners. Tristan is working on adding and subtracting and substituting coins that have equal value! This makes everyone happy. I sometimes add special things to moms shop, but the way that we do it most of the time is for the kids to buy their 10am snack! They love having a choice and I love that they are learning. You can see we use a window and I sit on one side of the window and the kids on the other side and AMAZINGLY it turns into MOMS SHOP and the kids think it is so much fun and so do I!

Another thing we do is we use laminated letter cards for different games. One is a hopscotch type of game where they hop from letter to letter saying the sound or blending a word or saying the letter name. Finn just has fun! Gavin is learning letter names and basic identification. Annaliese is learning sounds and works on blending. They love this game. Then we take the same cards and the kids are timed and crawl on their knees to identify the answer to a question I will give them and touch the answer with a bat. An example of a question is what letter says ____ or touch the letter a ____ or spell the sounds ac etc.... Pictures will hopefully help give you a better idea of what I put into words.

The last thing that you will see a picture of that we recently did was learning the letter H. It was cool enough where we could all say the sound of h on the window and cause it fog up. Finn just fogged up the window and made it dirty. Gavin said the sound and fogged up the window and made it dirty. Annaliese said the letter the sound and wrote the letter on the fog and made the window dirty!

As you can see we are just trying to include everyone in some way and it makes every one happy, especially me!

And in the picture where Gavin and Finn are crawling through the window...sometimes we do make it window day. We don't use the door only the window...even me!