Friday, January 6, 2012

Weekly Wrap-Up Journal

December 17-January 5

In Our Homeschool This Week/Time With My Preschooler This Week:
It was really nice to have all of the kids home for a few weeks. (Sissy was on break from preschool, and the boys and I are on break from homeschool co-op.) We did get into bad habits of staying up late/sleeping in/kids watching t.v. during the week. The kids are currently in television detox mode. They just cannot handle having t.v. as an option in life during the school week. We have to keep t.v. (other than occasional learning shows) as a special treat on weekends.

Sissy and I got to engage in more activities together.
She wishes she could help me at every single meal, every single day. She said, during this particular meal prep on January 1, "I'm always going to cook with you." 

I got out this loom (from Hobby Lobby) the boys have used before. I told her to make a pattern with the colors. It was a bit of a challenge for her to stick with the pattern, and the short fabric rings require a lot of stretching and manipulation, so I say "great preschool activity." We started weaving the opposite row, but we haven't finished yet.

They also had a lot of fun making Spin Art during Christmas break. I actually took this picture when the picture was in full spin mode. I wonder why it is so clear, but my camera doesn't capture people action that clearly.

I like that once I get them started, this is an activity they can basically take over themselves. They made a lot of cards that I'm either going to turn into notecards or make a banner/garland for their homeschool room.

Question I Have This Week:
As much as I loved having Sis home for the past two weeks, the amount of arguing heard around here has also increased. She and her 2 years older brother are GREAT playmates. (Seriously, they often comment that they wish they could marry each other; that's how much they love each other.)

They pick at each other just as much as they giggle and play together. It drives me batty. I mean, it really gets in the way of accomplishing things. The bothering then resulting tattle-taling can overshadow a learning moment. It even gets in the way of us all reading together on the couch. They can't keep their hands off each other. For some reason, it's the one disciplinary situation I can't seem to control. I know it's typical, and my siblings and I picked on each other...but HELP!!! I mean, seriously, I can't even imagine homeschooling them all together next year unless I can get a handle on this.

Edit: A lot of the times it's not that they're even fighting necessarily. They're just teasing one another. Or it's the whole, "She's looking at me! Stop looking at me!" and the other one is laughing. So even if they're just playing, it's very hard for us all to concentrate.

In My Life This Week:
The continuing theme the past couple of weeks has been "get ready for baby." Almost every cabinet and closet has been organized (at least, more than it was before). I've made five casseroles and various other things for the freezer. I finally (a week ago) got around to ordering all of the baby stuff we need - carseat, stroller, bouncy seat, etc. And this week, I took the kids out on individual "dates."
Tornado chose to paint pottery at a local studio. He picked out a Hulk face dish. (Hulk's hair is the lid.) In true Tornado-unconventional style, he made him the Red Hulk version, rather than the Green. I painted a Christmas ornament.

We also walked over to Whole Foods, and he picked out a rice-cream bar. On the way home, he commented, "That was fun!" more than once, without any prompting.

I'm so happy we had a great date because we actually had to go to the dentist before all of this. He usually does NOT do well at the dentist, but he was super sweet at this visit. Yay! He let them clean his teeth without fighting it one bit, and the hygienist got a kick out of how much he was laughing at the cartoons playing on the ceiling. No cavities, and he didn't need a tooth pulled like I was afraid. (He has a tooth growing over a baby tooth that isn't very loose yet.) I let him pick out a treat from the hospital gift shop. (He chose a car doodle book, colored pencils, and a bag of potato chips.)

For his date, Dash chose a trip to Tropical Smoothie. We ordered our favorite flavor (Sunny Day), split into two cups. I let him decide all of the details of the night, such as "sit here or take it with us," etc. He was grinning from ear to ear the entire night. When we first sat down, I joked, "So tell me about yourself," like it was a real date. He put his hands over his eyes and laughed in an embarrassed way. I kept saying things like that, and he kept giggling. Our next stop:

...Chick-Fil-A. Yes, this vegan Momma took her kid to a fast food place, ha! Someone had gotten him a gift card for his birthday, and we hadn't used it yet. He ordered a fruit cup and waffles fries and even chose to order another bag of waffle fries for his brother because he knows how much he loves them. After he ate, he played in the play area with a couple of kids who were in there.

The plan was to next stop at Petsmart to look at the animals, but by the time we got there, they were closing.

Sissy and I went to Ava Bella for pedicures. (I like this particular day spa because they use a lot of organic products.) This was her first "real" pedicure! Fun stuff!

Next, we went to Whole Foods for a light lunch. I let her pick out an essential oil to mix with water for her new perfume bottles she got for Christmas. We even got to sit outside in this amazing January weather.

She and I had a beautiful day, just as I had with each of her brothers. I love spending time with them one-on-one. I want lots of kids, but I always want them to know how important they are to me individually.

This is what I'm looking like these days. You don't really want to see my swollen face right now. I gained five pounds THIS WEEK. THIS WEEK.

What I'm Reading This Week:
I just finished Longing by Karen Kingsbury. I've cracked back open my newish Large Family Logistics.
I can't say the information in the book is life-changing. BUT. It is definitely inspiring and all of the ideas serve as good reminders of how to manage life and a home. It seems simple to say "lay out clothes at night" or whatever - things that I know and I do most of the time. But this book has helped me refocus and vow to take my job as a homemaker and a mom with even more fervor and wholeheartedness.

A Little From Christmas:
I'm still planning to post more Christmas pictures for my family/those interested to see. In the meantime, here are a couple of activities from this  year:
My siblings and I don't exchange gifts with each other or our kids. I saw an idea in Family Fun magazine to play Bingo with little gifts as prizes. Mom gathered little things she had put away in her closet such as flashlights, umbrellas, batteries, cards, kitchen utensils, etc. My sister contributed a couple of Starbucks gift cards, and I threw in a few things I had at home. After every round, the winner(s) got to pick a gift off the stool. Mom called out the numbers, and it was definitely a little loud and crazy with so many people playing at once. But I think overall it was a good idea I'd like to repeat.

Every Christmas Eve since my 11 year old was little I've organized a Scavenger Hunt. I take pictures of things around the house (like the kind you have to figure out what the picture even is - such as the corner of a particular cabinet or the top of the washing machine) and write clues. They scramble around, up and down the stairs, squealing and racing from one clue to the next. I really think it is one of their favorite activities of the whole year.

At the end they are rewarded with a gift plus Baby Jesus who needs to be placed in our nativity scene. The gift is usually new pajamas. This year I only got the boys pajamas because I'd just gotten Sister new p.j.'s for pajama day at preschool. And let's face it, she's not one to wear pajamas to bed. She strips down at night because she's always hot. (And we keep the thermostat around 69.) She got new leggings and a new shirt instead.

Sissy had her second girly sleepover. During Christmas With My Family Weekend, my 3 year old niece W came over for the night. Lots of giggling, lots of excuses to continue staying up, and lots of dress-up and pretend play.

What We're Eating This Week:
Here is part of our Christmas Day lunch: broccoli, edamame, tomatoes, almonds, and bell pepper. It has become a tradition the past few years.

I've been juicing a lot this week, hoping to help my body prepare for all of the...ahem...digestive issues that I'm sure I'm going to have following my baby's upcoming birth.

Kid Quotes I Want to Keep:
1) The other morning I caught one sentence from my 6 year old that I knew my husband would enjoy. Ryan is very excited about the John Carter movie coming out in a couple of months. He listened to the audiobooks and is totally into the whole story and background, etc. He talks to Dash about the story and the people, and my little guy just soaks all of that up. (The story is essentially a Civil War vet who is sent to Mars...something I could not soak up. Although it does star Taylor Kitsch so there's definite potential!) Anyway, this is what I heard coming out of Dash's mouth when he was playing pretend with his sister:

"Fate has brought you here, John Carter!"

2) These were on two different occasions but hold the same theme regarding how our lives are getting ready to become CRAZY even more wonderful.

Dash: "It's going to be a lot of work, Momma, cuz there's going to be crying..." (voice trails off to indicate "etc.").

Sissy: (sighing) "I don't know how you can handle all these kids."

3) At an enjoyable meal at the supper table the other night, Dash had a very sweet smile on his face and said (shrugging),
"I'm really happy right now...I don't know why."

Linking Up:

weekly wrap-up


Annette W. said...

Loved every bit of this post.

Can't wait to hear about your little guy! Soon!!!

I find lighting makes all the difference with action shots on the camera.

Mrs Random said...

Love the kids' quotes you recorded :) and I hear you about keeping hands to selves during together time. I only have two, and I sit BETWEEN them when we were reading together on the couch. (And if I have to get up to grab a different book, they immediately, immediately, fall all over one another. It's good natured, but it's distracting for the lesson.) Hope you find something that works for you!

Pam Rohde said...

I heard the best advice from a parent of one of my students way back when about your little issue. She always refered to their family as a TEAM! We are a team and we treat our team memmbers with respect and love. If someone on the outside is being mean to a team member we stick up for our team members and protect them. We will not be mean or disrespectful to our own team members and that includes you as the mommy and daddy team leaders because God made you the team leaders. There are plenty of people out there that want to beat our team down butwe will not let it happen. It builds unity among you like you wouldn't believe but takes lots of repeating before it settles in their minds. You have to speak it into their lives. I did this with that class that year and you wouldn't have believed what an amazing year I had! Seems simple but it works! Go team Lay!

PrairieJenn said...

Great post about your busy, creative, and fun-filled holiday season:) We love scavenger hunts too- we had one Christmas morning last year. I love that your daughter wants to help you in the sweet!
And Whole Foods?! I miss it terribly...the closest ones are Little Rock (three hours) and Tulsa (two and a half hours). That's just so sad:(

MissMOE said...

Wow, what a great post! I love your idea to make a banner from all the spin art! And your dates sound precious as well.

wdworkman said...

All of your "dates" look wonderful. I had forgotten about spin art. It was always one of my favorites.

Coloring Pages said...

A really great way to say a lot of things that I have such a hard time expressing as one of those kids. Coloring Pages