Saturday, March 10, 2018

The Saturday 7: The one where I get myself in trouble by being snarky

1. I forgot to tell you guys about the "Homeschool Mom" sample pack I got with my curriculum last week:

  1. The jean skirt is a staple in every homeschool mom's wardrobe. Fortunately these are cheap at local thrift stores. I'm going to need one for every day of the week.
  2. We're obviously throwing out the birth control. Now that we've committed to homeschooling, we're taking this lifestyle all the way. 3 kids is absolutely not enough. Fortunately we've got a good start with alliteration. Unfortunately we've strayed from strictly Biblical names. Never fear, we will soon remedy that with Lois, Laban, Lachish, Lazarus, Lot, Lebanon, and Laodecia.
  3. The Beginner's Guide to Essential Oils is key for any new homeschool family. Down with traditional medicine. Have the sniffles? There's an oil for that. Behavior problems? Oil. Toxic mold? No match for Thieves!
  4. Turtlenecks in every shade (and a pattern fit for every holiday) are the perfect complement to the jean skirt. Modest is hottest!
  5. Holistic gardening not only saves money on groceries and traditional medicinal cures, it also equips homeschooling gardeners with superiority over inferior mothers who buy their vegetables pre-canned and full of MSG, BPA, and cancer-causing aluminum.
*BIG FAT DISCLAIMER* This is written purely in jest. I can make fun of homeschoolers now that I am one. If you love jean skirts, turtlenecks, essential oils, gardening, and quivers full of children, more power to you! Your life, your choices. You do you. ;-) 

2. My wonderful husband put together my Ikea shelving unit Sunday night and I got right to work organizing it. I was totally unprepared, however, for how it set off a chain reaction of epic "If You Give a Mouse a Cookie" proportions. I had to clear off a whole wall in our dining room, which required me to empty the girls' desk and a drawer-cart full of miscellaneous art supplies/papers/coloring books. I wanted to put the cart and desk upstairs, but the kids' bedrooms were so woefully out of control that I didn't have a place for them. So I spent an entire day cleaning and reorganizing upstairs before I could move the stuff up there. Then I re-arranged the dining room, re-arranged the bookshelves in my room, and finally filled the Ikea shelves to my satisfaction.
3. Levi had his 2 year well-child checkup on Tuesday. He weighed in at 25 lbs (14th percentile) and measured 33" (21st percentile). The doctor is mildly concerned about his verbal development, but said we can wait 6 more months before we discuss interventions. And he has an appointment in a couple weeks for a hearing test/tubes consultation at the ENT. He still had fluid on his ear on Tuesday even though he hasn't had an ear infection in weeks. The doctor said it's likely that his hearing is somewhat reduced because of the ear infections and fluid, hence the verbal delays. I'm not too concerned.

4. A house came on the market on Thursday that I immediately sent to Justin. It's in my ideal location, for an ideal price, and has 4 bedrooms! It is impossible to find anything with 4 bedrooms in our price range. Of course there were only 2 pictures of the inside of the house and they did not look very promising (hello, wood paneling), but I'm getting desperate. Justin talked me out of going to see it because: money, patience, still paying for private school through July. It wouldn't have mattered anyway. It was at the top of our price range, so we wouldn't have paid any more than they were asking. And as of today it is already off the market, so I'm pretty sure it sold at or above the asking price. #mylifeistheworst #sellersmarket #firstworldproblems

5. I made a new recipe yesterday: Crack Chicken Noodle Soup. I'm not a big fan of chicken noodle soup, but this looked good and was perfect cold-weather comfort food. It doesn't truly have crack in it - just ranch dressing mix, which is essentially the same thing. I made the chicken in the crock-pot, shredded it in the kitchen-aid mixer (best Pinterest hack ever), then made the soup on the stove. I was so proud of myself for remembering to put the chicken in the crock-pot before I left the house to run errands. So imagine my surprise and confusion when I came home hours later to frozen chicken!
I forgot to plug it in! 

6. In another installment of "Wow, my age is showing" I hurt my back cleaning the girls' room on Wednesday. I'm not even sure what triggered it - maybe carrying the desk up the stairs? But it was agonizing for a few days. I really, really need to work on repairing my core, but when it comes down to it, I'm never going to do anything in my free time other than browse Pinterest and watch Netflix.

7. A few more pictures:
Snapchat fun

The picture on the left is a (badly photographed) portrait of me as a little girl. What do you think? Does Levi look like me? #lovellchin #nosetwins 

Saturday, March 3, 2018

The Saturday 7

1. We made it to March! Spring is coming! Winter is almost over! (One can dream.) We had a busy last week of February. Levi's birthday was Wednesday . . . ish. We choose to celebrate on the 28th. I'm not going to explain this every year. Haha. We met up with some friends that morning to go to the children's museum. I drove since my vehicle fits everyone. I hate driving downtown, and Christina had to help me park, but we survived and the kids had a blast.

Lena on the rock wall
Levi in his happy place

Big bubbles

The iconic yellow car
That night we celebrated with pizza and presents. I didn't make him a cake because he's two and doesn't care and I'd end up eating it all myself. Lol.
He had a lot of help opening his presents. 
2. I splurged and bought myself some very expensive foundation this week. Every where I go lately people ask me if I'm tired or if I just woke up or if I'm ok. I finally told the last person, "I'm not tired. This is just what I look like now."

So apparently I need to start wearing make-up. I ordered it online and haven't gotten it in the mail yet. Stay tuned . . .

3. I only read one book this week (The Lacemaker by Laura Frantz - really good), but that brings my total to 20 for the year. If I can keep up with 10 books a month, I'll reach my goal in no time!

4. My homeschool curriculum came in the mail this week! It's a little bit overwhelming. Haha. I think the MFW stuff will be doable. It's Lucy's math and language arts I'm a tad nervous about. But I've got 6 months to figure it out. We can do this!!

5. My first step toward homeschool preparation is organization, of course. My fave. We have a catch-all closet that I clean about twice a year. In my defense, it's not heated, so it's horribly cold all winter. It's gotten especially out of control this year. It's supposed to house wrapping supplies, craft supplies, dress up clothes, and games. But this is what it looked like:

I spent allllll day working on it, and it ended up like this:
Pinterest hack #1: games in a sweater hanger

Pinterest hack #2: over the door shoe holder cut out to hold wrapping paper

This is my life now. I post pictures of my organized closet because I'm so desperate for appreciation. Lol.

6. And then today, the pinnacle of organization: an Ikea trip!! I was planning on waiting until sometime this summer when I had a better idea of what I'd need to organize, but Justin was itching to go to Bass Pro Shops during their spring rod and reel trade-in event (in store only), so we decided to head over to the East Side this weekend. And since we feel bad about foisting our kids off on my parents so often, we decided to make a family day of it!

We borrowed portable DVD players from my sister for the 2.5 hour drive. Best. Invention. Ever. The kids did so awesome. We actually turned Levi forward facing for the first time in his life for the trip today, so he enjoyed the double whammy of the new view and a DVD screen 6 inches from his face. Lol.

In order to cram everything in one day, I actually dropped Justin and the kids off at the mall, then headed to Ikea all by myself! He did his Bass Pro shopping then took them to Legoland.

Look at his little arm through the Lego girl's! I can't imagine where he learned to pose like that . . .

I had a bit of a nightmare getting myself from the mall to Ikea. It's a 45 minute drive that I assumed would be a straight shot down the highway. I was woefully misinformed. I wound through a couple residential areas and switched between 3 different highways. I'm such a nervous driver as it is. My anxiety was definitely in overdrive (ha - pun) by the time I got to Ikea! But it was so worth it. I spent 2.5 glorious hours looking at everything and managed to haul 2 boxes of heavy shelf parts into my cart then into my trunk. #girlpower Now the real fun of putting them all together can begin!!

7. A couple more pictures
This is a bad picture, but I got my hair chopped yesterday. Probably a good 6 inches. My rule is when it takes 3 ponytail holders to contain a messy bun, it's time for the ole chop-chop. 
We had a couple 50 degree days this week!
It's amazing how many fun things you find when you clean out the game closet!
I turned around in the car on Sunday and found Lena like this. Justin and I could not stop laughing. 

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Levi: 2 Years

I'm not emotionally ready to write this post. Haha. My baby is two years old, which unofficially makes him a toddler instead of a baby. Levi brings so much love and laughter into our lives. He still has the best dimples and the sweetest giggle.

His doctor appointment is next week so I don't have the official stats, but he's definitely still a shrimp. He's finally started to outgrow his 12 month pants. He can wear 12 month t-shirts but not long-sleeved shirts. I just got him a whole bunch of 2T summer clothes, so hopefully he'll be big enough for them by then!

I just went back and read the girls' 2 year updates and was astounded at how different they were than Levi. Lena was speaking in full sentences (paragraphs!) by this age, could identify colors, count to 11, and sing the alphabet. Lucy was slower to speak, but still had sentences, could count and identify colors, even knew some letters at this age! Ha! The only time Levi speaks a sentence is when he adds no to a word (No night night! No Lena!) or when he adds please (Up peez! More peez!) He does have a fair amount of words (I counted 40), but many of them are confusingly similar. Hi and hands (short for "I want to wash my hands") are almost exactly the same. Juice and fish are both "ees." Ball and bowl are both some variation of "ba ba/bo." We do a lot of guessing what he's saying and trying to figure out what he wants. Some of his funnier words are "mee-mee" for Binky, "yoom" for car, "mice" for mess, "lolo" for phone (because you say "hello" when you talk on it, obviously!), "roy" for scary, and "woof" for dog. He has no concept of singing the alphabet. He says "ee-oh" to signify counting. He thinks every color is blue. And he can't even dream of identifying letters! Ha! Poor non-verbal, third born boy.

I was also starting potty training with the girls by this age. I'm totally dreading it with Levi. Everyone says boys are harder and I'm pretty sure I have PTSD from training Lena a year ago. Levi is semi-interested. He sits on the toilet before he takes a bath. But he's never actually peed on it. He's pooped on the toilet plenty of times because he always tries to poop in the bath, but I almost always catch him and throw him on the toilet. I keep saying I'll get serious about it this summer when I can just let him run around outside naked.

The obsession love of Levi's life is cars. Or trucks or trains or anything with wheels, basically. It is literally all he ever plays with. Once in a while, I can get him to do a puzzle with me or play with a ball, but if left to his own devices, he will always choose to play with his "vrooms." Thanks to Christmas and his birthday, our house is a veritable toy store - at least the aisle of Hot Wheels, Thomas, Geo-Trax, and Cars 3 paraphernalia. We have ramps galore, tracks coming out of our ears, and Matchbox cars in every bin, box, nook, and cranny. And Levi is in his glories. When Lena was 2, she carried her lovies everywhere. Levi, on the other hand, doesn't leave the house without his "yooms." He even sleeps with one clenched in each hand. Last night he fell asleep without them and was awake at 1:00 am shouting, "yoom! yoom!" He didn't go back to sleep until I found two Matchbox cars to toss in bed with him. Haha.

He loves TV. His favorites are Cars (we have the 1st one and the 3rd is on Netflix), Thomas, Tayo the Little Bus (weird foreign Netflix show), and Llama Llama.

He's my best eater right now, but that isn't saying much. His favorite food is hands down pizza. He's obsessed. But he'll usually at least try what I make for dinner. He tends to like meat, so he'll eat chili, taco meat, sloppy joe meat, etc. He loves chicken and dumplings. He'll occasionally eat a veggie here or there if it's somewhat hidden in a casserole or something. But he never willingly eats vegetables. He loves all fruit.

He's definitely my most social kid. (They each got a little better.) He loves to wave and say hi to people when we're out and about. He's a little wary of strangers if they try to talk to him, but he's much more obliging than either of the girls has ever been. He usually goes into nursery at church without a problem. It's a very new experience for me. Haha.

Unfortunately, he did not miss the anxious gene. I thought he might have been spared, but it's been cropping up over the past month or so. He learned the word "scary" and applies it most often to the dark and loud noises (particularly thunder or the train that goes by our house twice a day).

He's usually a good sleeper. He goes down around 8:30 at night and wakes up between 7 and 8 am. He's not a great napper. I'm lucky if he'll sleep for an hour and a half. Usually it's only an hour. And at least once or twice a week he refuses to nap at all. A few times a week he wakes up in the middle of the night because he lost his Binky or can't find his "yooms" or just wants to be held. Unfortunately, the times that he gets mad and doesn't want to sleep, he tends to scream until he pukes. Ugh. I'm a pro at stripping pukey sheets.

In the past few months he's started to get a bit of an attitude. He scowls and pouts and sometimes even growls when he's upset. It's so adorable I can't even be mad. Haha.
Appalled that Lena beat him to the steering wheel and he has to wait his turn.

He's a major snuggler, loves his sisters and grandparents, loves baths (as long as he can bring 20 cars in the water with him), and adores being outside. He is silly and affectionate and brings us so much joy. I'm so sad to see the baby phase go, but am so excited to watch him grow and learn and become his own little person.

Happy birthday, sweet boy! We love you so much!

(Below are his words - just for my records. Feel free to skip.)

1. up please (ah-eeee)
2. no
3. hi
4. bye
5. uh-oh
6. ball (baw-baw)
7. bowl (bo)
8. all gone (aw gaw)
9. ow
10. ya
11. ready, set, go (eh, et, goooo!)
12. yum
13. baby
14. ew
15. whoa
16. beep
17. binky (meemee)
18. juice/drink (jees)
19. zoom/vroom (yoom)
20. mama (22 mo.)
21. dada (22 mo.)
22. oh
23. more (mo)
24. mine
25. scary (roy)
26. mess (mice)
27. yes
28. please
29. home
30. race
31. Lucy (wace)
32. Lena (ye-yah)
33. me
34. eat (ee)
35. hungry (huh-ee)
36. loud (lou)
37. dog (woof)
38. phone (lolo)
39. potty (bah-ee)
40. candy (nee)
41. blue (boo)
42. yellow (lello)
43. nigh-nigh
44. hands

Saturday, February 24, 2018

The Saturday "7"

1. I have very little to write about this week because I spent the past 7 days agonizing over whether or not to homeschool. I've been researching like crazy, Pinteresting like crazy, planning like crazy. And . . . drum roll please . . . We're jumping in with both feet and becoming homeschoolers!!

So many disclaimers:

  • This is not an indictment on the girls' school. We love their school. I'm somewhat devastated to pull them out of it. I adore Lena's teacher and she'd have her again next year if not for this decision. That makes me really sad. But the cost has become so out of our reach. We need to take a couple years to save and re-assess. Which leads to the next disclaimer:
  • I make no promises or declarations that this is a permanent decision. I might hate it. My kids might hate it. It might be a train wreck. I might have to be committed by November. So please don't laugh in my face when we enroll them back in school in December. Lol. Our ultimate goal is to have them back in their school. In my dream world, I'll be able to go back with them as the school librarian, but that's a pipe dream. I have 2-3 years before Levi will be ready for school. I'd love him to get his start at ACS so I don't have to be responsible for teaching him to read. Lol.
  • In light of that, I've been intentional in choosing our curriculum. We'll use My Father's World for our main source - it weaves together Bible, History, and Science. But we're supplementing Language Arts and Math with the same curriculum that the girls' school uses, so it'll be what they're already used to using and it will keep them on track with their peers at school in case they do go back in the future. 
  • I will admit that I'm slightly concerned I'm excited about the whole prospect just because it's a new "project." I'm bored. I've been a stay at home mom for 5 years now, and like I've said before, I don't have any career aspirations, and I don't want to be anywhere but here. But I'm itching for something new and exciting to do. I'm a planner. I love organization. I get a thrill out of re-arranging our dining room to make room for homeschool organization. I'm super-geeked about making a trip to Ikea to buy matching bins and boxes. I love love love planning. I'm not sure I'm going to love love love executing the plans. Lol.
2. I promise this isn't going to become a "homeschool blog." But it's all so fresh on my mind right now . . . I asked the girls this week what they would think of being homeschooled. They were both over-the-moon excited. Again, we'll see how they feel by about October. Haha. I know it will be really hard at times, but I'm also looking forward to so much:
  • Not having to get all 3 up and out of the house before 8 am. 
  • Flexibility in scheduling
  • Collaborating with my homeschool friends
  • Connecting with Lucy. I feel like our relationship has been damaged over the past few years. I'm too quick to shove her off to school and not deal with her attitude issues. It's going to be brutal, but I also think she'll benefit from the one-on-one time with me. 
  • Planning and organizing! :-D 
I'm feeling slightly optimistic about the girls transitioning well. They've both had enough school to understand sitting still, listening, doing worksheets, etc. I'm also going to start working hard on integrating some life skills as well. They're going to learn to do laundry. They're going to have more chore responsibilities. They might even get an allowance for the first time. So feel free to pray for us all as we transition in the fall. 

3. Whew! Enough about that. We had a great time with Baby Nova last weekend. She didn't let me sleep quite as well the second night as the first, but went right back to sleep after a quick bottle. The girls loved having her here, entertained her endlessly and fought over who got to give her a bottle. I had fun dressing up a girl again!
Lena was so excited when I put Nova in that^ outfit because she has one that is almost identical.
But I will say it's been good in helping me decide whether or not to have another baby. Nova is a great baby. She's so happy and easy going. But even easy going babies are a lot of work. I'm realizing how much I like the independence I've been gaining little by little as Levi gets older. At the same time . . . I did another clothing overhaul this week. I packed away a bunch of Lena and Levi's outgrown stuff and asked myself, "Why am I saving this if I'm done having kids?" I just can't part with it!! Does that mean I subconsciously want another one or just that I'm a hoarder? Lol.

4. For real. I'm sorry but that's all I've got this week! A few more pictures.
Can you tell he has older sisters?

He can't even . . .

Lap full of kids

Cuties at Chuck E. Cheese
More cuties at Chuck E. Cheese

Saturday, February 17, 2018

The Saturday 7

1. So the unthinkable has happened. I'm warming up to the idea of homeschool. In fact, I'm kind of leaning toward it.
I started looking at curricula and co-ops and even a membership to the Y. And it all started to sound less crazy and more do-able. I'd likely use My Father's World curriculum, because my friend Kelly uses that with her girls and loves it. Plus her girls are in the exact same grades as my girls so we could really feed off each other and work together. It's not cheap, but when I added it all up, it was almost exactly 10% of what we'd pay for Christian school. So maybe cheap is relative . . . And the idea of getting a Y membership relieves some of my anxiety about being stuck at home with my kids all day every day. They have free childcare (with a membership), so I can always drop the kids off and go sit on a stationary bike reading a book. Or I could even do a yoga class or something. I've also been toying with the idea of swim lessons for Lena and Levi. The Y is not super close to our house, but if my goal is to get out of the house, who cares how far we drive, right? And because they do income based membership fees, it actually wouldn't cost us that much (especially considering how much we'd be saving on tuition!). I still haven't totally committed to it, and I haven't said anything to the girls, so please don't mention it if you see them.

2. Another perk to doing homeschool is the financial freedom to explore finishing my degree. I did a lot of college, but have nothing to show for it. Lately I've been toying with the idea of getting my associates in library science. I know an associates isn't worth much, but it'd be enough to qualify me for my coveted job of librarian at the girls' school. I have so many credits already, that I should be able to transfer all the basics and only have to pay for the library classes. I've already found a few schools that do the library program totally online. Decisions, decisions . . .

3. We had a thrilling Valentine's Day as usual. The girls' parties were on different days, so I didn't have to juggle them. And Justin was even home for Lena's so I could leave Levi with him.

Lucy actually got semi-creative with her box this year!

Levi came to Lucy's party and was a major troublemaker. 
On Valentine's day, the kids each got a small toy, Justin and I each got each other a card and chocolate, and we did our traditional Valentine's Day meal of Velveeta Shells N' Cheese. During dinner, we went around the table to tell everyone what we love about them. Lena's were very practical. She loves that Daddy makes money for us and that I clean the house for us. Haha. And actually, only the kids had shells n' cheese. Justin and I dropped the girls off at Awana, then went to Qdoba for buy one get one free entrees!

4. Yesterday we had a belated birthday celebration at Chuck E. Cheese with our friends. Since Lena was sick on her actual birthday we rescheduled for yesterday when Lucy didn't have school. We also hung out with these friends Monday night at the library and I was struck anew by how different Lucy and her BFF Presley are. Lucy showed up Monday night wearing a lacy shirt, fringe boots, and a purse. Presley showed up wearing a spiderman shirt, track pants, and spiderman shoes. Lucy picked out books about princesses and ballet, Presley picked out books about superheroes. But they love each other! And I love that they have each other.
There's no denying whose kids belong to whom. 
5. We got to watch my sweet great-niece this weekend. She's 4 months old and is staying with us for 2 nights. Last night she did great, went to sleep easily, and didn't make a peep 'til 6:45 this morning! None of my kids ever slept that well at 4 months old! The girls adore her.

 Levi is intrigued, but annoyed that she garners so much of mommy and grandma's attention.

I figured this weekend would be a good test to see if I can handle 4 kids. The verdict is still out. Stay tuned. Haha.

6. Off to small group. No time for another point. Pictures.

Literal cheese face

Levi's a bigger fan of the Bumbo than Nova is

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