Tap, tap, tap

August 10th, 2014 by Rachel

Is this thing on? Sorry for the huge break since the last post. The computer was dying a slow death, but Thomas showed me how to post from my phone! So you can expect brief posts with more pictures and fewer words.





Fall Fun

October 25th, 2013 by Rachel

We have been enjoying the cooler weather by going on lots of field trips, hitting up our favorite parks and frequenting local pumpkin patches.

Our first field trip was to Washington on the Brazos to the museum and Barrington Farms. The kids had a great time, but it was really hot by the time we were on the outside part of the tour. Sugar got a real bonnet that she has worn almost daily since then.

We had another field trip to Royalty Pecan Farms near Caldwell. It was a beautiful day and the kids enjoyed running through the open fields after our hayride tour.

August & September in Our Home

October 25th, 2013 by Rachel

I’m getting more and more lax about updating over here and learning over interest rates. We started back to school in August, beginning by just doing math two days a week, adding in reading and spelling and then increasing slowly to three days a week. By September, we were mostly doing four days a week and ready to start back with Classical Conversations. Bud started fall baseball, and he is loving it.

In the middle of all that, we enjoyed a trip to the bowling ally with friends, Bud got his cast off and we had a few last swim days. I helped at our local birth center’s annual Labor Day party, attended a Labor Day rally for improving maternity services and was even on the local news–it was a slow news day.

Speedy discovered the wonders of coloring on paper, tables, floors, walls and doors. He also became attached to stuffed animals and turned two. He is very much a two year old in every way.

Speedy is 2

August 25th, 2013 by Rachel

It is hard to believe that it has only been two years since Speedy came crashing into our lives, full of life, laughter and intensity. He is our little monkey, climbing on everything he can climb on, and once he stands up on it, yelling, “Ta Da!”

He loves dancing, running in circles around our living room, swinging on swings, climbing on things (did I mention this?), and reading books. He will sit and read books for a long time, often by himself and reciting much of the book (or at least the major word for each page). He also enjoys coloring (known as “green blue!” in Speedy-speak), and playing with trains on the “new” train table we acquired at our own garage sale. He loves all things Curious George, both books and the TV series.

It seems like in the last month, Speedy has had a verbal explosion. We can understand much more what he is trying to say these days, and he is putting together more and more words everyday. Just this morning, when I went to get him out of bed, he said, “ant bite, right there” and pointed to his hand (where there was no ant bite). The cutest things he says are “green-blue” for coloring, remembering the names of all the Thomas trains that came with the train table (he calls Thomas “Tom Choo Choo”), and he calls his sister “Eesey” now.

It is true what they say about third children often becoming the clown of the family. Everything Speedy does is met with giggles, repeats, and more repeats. He is turning into quite the little showman.

Speedy is so full of energy and at quite a demanding age. He has a need/want and it must be met immediately. He doesn’t understand abstract ideas such as “later” or “wait”. This can lead to lots of tantrums and crying when he sees my phone and wants to play with it, glimpses a snack in the pantry he wants or decides he would rather read books and play trains than get in the car. Not my favorite part about parenting a toddler, but he can be a lot of fun.

He sleeps about 12 hours at night and naps for about two hours during the day. He started climbing out of the crib a few months ago, so he now enjoys the comforts of a crib tent keeping him from climbing out. His favorite foods are typical toddler fare–nuggets, noodles, crackers and fruit, but he also really loves cauliflower (he calls it “flower-flower”), sweet potatoes, butternut squash, carrots, peas, broccoli, green beans and other veggies. He can eat half a head of cauliflower at one dinner some nights.

Speedy, we love you dearly. You are so much fun, and I love to hear your laughter. We are so thankful for these two years with you, Bubby!

June & July in Our Home

August 7th, 2013 by Rachel

We enjoyed slow-paced and relaxing months this summer. We started June by participating in our local Classical Conversations parent practicum This was three days of encouragement and training for the coming year. I helped lead the Hey Tutor and the foundations tutor training, so there was a lot of preparation going into this three days. It was a great experience, and I was relieved when it was finished.

All the kids had swim lessons for two weeks in June. I have a love-hate relationship with swim lessons. I really appreciate how much Bud learned this year, but the dressing, sun-screening and drying of all the towels and swimsuits starts to feel like a never-ending scorching hot version of Groundhog Day.

Sugar participated in a mini-dance camp while the boys and I enjoyed long bike rides and park playtime while she was away.

There was some unseasonably cooler weather for several days in June, so we spent a lot of time outside, and it wasn’t in the pool!

I “doula-ed” at two hospital births, one in June and one in July. They were both great experiences, and I was so honored to be with each of them. I also started a new Bradley series in July with nine couples.

We had our floors updated in July. We didn’t do it ourselves, but some friends who were on vacation and generously let us house-sit for them while the tile in the kitchen and laundry room was replaced and new tile was placed in the bathrooms. We also had hardwood floors put in the living room.

Around this time, Speedy picked up a tummy bug and then a cold-virus slowly worked its way through our family. As soon as Speedy was well enough to go to the pool again, Bud broke three of the bones in the top of his foot. He started with a walking cast and crutches, but then was upgraded to a waterproof cast. He can put weight on it now and we are even able to go swimming again!


2013 Goals Revisited

August 4th, 2013 by Rachel

I meant to do more of a quarterly recap of these, but that obviously didn’t happen.

-Clean 100# (current max is 90) ~ I haven’t attempted 100#, but did 95# twice at the gym a few weeks ago
-Back Squat 150# (current is 135) ~ Thomas and I did a squat strength training program at home. I haven’t attempted a new 1RM, but I hate back squats now and I don’t care anymore :)
-Front Squat max was 100#, and I just did 3 reps at 100 recently. I like front squats a lot more than back squats now.
-Deadlift 200# (current is 170) – Again, haven’t attempted a new 1RM. I have been more cautious with heavy deadlifts due to the rod in my back. I don’t want to do any damage with heavy lifting, so, perhaps this goal should be voided.
-Jerk/Press 100# (current is 90) ~ I did 95# in March and failed on 100#, haven’t reattempted yet.
-Be able to do a full handstand pushup ~ I was able to reduce to just one ab mat under my head and have been practicing wall walks
-Run a < 9 minute mile (I really need Thomas to pace me to make this happen) ~ I did a 8:41 at the gym last month!!! So excited. I almost threw up, but I was so happy.
-Maintain lifting/crossfit workouts 3-4xs/week, run once a week ~ I did really good with this for the spring. This summer, I’ve been back at the gym 2xs/week and running twice a week with one lifting-style workout at home.

Do some sort of Bible study/devotional (will update when I find one) ~ I recently ordered a devotional book that has really helped me. 

Have people over 20 times this yar. Since Micah was born, we have not been as good about inviting people over for dinner like we did in the past. Dinner time is louder and crazier that it used to be, but I need to get over that. ~ We have been doing a lot better about this, even with more spontaneity. I’ve learned to simplify while entertaining. I don’t have to impress friends, just feed them. We even had a family of five stay with us for a long weekend. Dinner is crazy, but we’ve had more fun with friends.  

Streamline meal planning with a paleo-friendly meal plan. Meal-planning and making a grocery list have been taking longer than they should (I abandoned my 12-week meal rotation I made two years ago because we don’t eat most of those foods anymore.) ~ I made a meal rotation that worked for a few months, but I need to rotate some meals out and include some new ones.

-Make a schedule for reviewing past week’s memory work. ~ I made a weekly schedule that helped us so much with Memory Master. We are going to stick with it this year.
-Start doing a reading curriculum with Annalise (ordered it yesterday), and in the summer, begin math with her. ~ We have been doing All About Reading Level 1, and she is making good progress. We just started Saxon Math 1 last week.

-Attend 1-2 births this year. ~ I have done 4 already, I think… definitely 4, maybe 5
-Complete 15 CEUs by June. This was one of the goals I forgot about last year. Yikes! I need to get busy. ~ I got it done! Now just 15 more for next summer.

April-July Books

August 1st, 2013 by Rachel

Lots of fiction lately, but not much reading went on for most of April and May.

14. Gone Girl – I kept seeing this book recommended, and I was the 25th person on the waiting list at the library. It was a page-turner and I had to find out what would happen in the story as it kept taking turns that I didn’t expect. However, I wish books came with a rating like movies. It would make it much easier! This one had a lot of language, and I’m not sure if I would really recommend it because it was so strong.

15. The Silver Linings Playbook – my book club read this one, but I was on a long waiting list for it, so I didn’t read it with everyone else. I rented the movie one weekend when Thomas was out of town. The book was a lot better than the movie (isn’t it almost always?), but I liked the way they cast the movie.

16. The Orphan Train – this was another book club book that I didn’t get to participate in because I was too cheap to buy the book. It was a really great book, though. I remember reading some books about the orphan trains when I was a kid, and this was a more grown-up version. If you enjoy historical fiction, you might like this.

17. The Lucky One – I know, I know… Nicholas Sparks on my reading list? Summer reading is getting to me, and the library had it on a kindle edition. This was a nice, fast read and I rented the movie when Thomas was out of town for work. Notice a theme here? Thomas is a hard person to watch chick flicks with. This book was okay. It was enjoyable to read, but too predictable and the characters were too cliche.

18. Safe Haven by Nicolas Sparks – I know!!! I read this one in two days while Thomas was traveling. I rented the movie to watch, but ended up being called away to a birth, so I didn’t get to watch it. Oh well, probably for the best. Again, it was about what I expected. A quick read and a nice distraction while Thomas was away, maybe a little better than the Lucky One, but not much.

19. The Winter Sea – This was the July book for my book club. It was really enjoyable.

20. Dad is Fat by Jim Gaffigan – We are big fans of Jim Gaffigan’s Mr. Universe show (watch it on Netflix, it is hilarious!) This book covers most of his parenting bits from his act and more parenting hilarity. He is the father of five children, and almost every chapter had me cracking up. I could relate to so much of his experience.

21. The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton – this is our book club book for August, and I was able to get it from the library early and finish in time. This was a great book. It took me a little while to get into it, but there was so much that I didn’t expect.

Interview with Sugar at 5

June 25th, 2013 by Rachel

What is your favorite color?  red, green, blue and pink

What is your favorite food? pizza and ice cream

Favorite animal?  a baby raccoon and a baby cat

What are you really good at? I’m really good at riding my bike.

What are you not so good at?  I’m not really good at gymnastics so much. It was hard this week.

Who are your favorite friends? Rylee, New Katherine, Old Katherine, Miller, and Hunter

What is your favorite part of school (CC)?  getting to learn stuff

What is the best thing about having a big brother? that he can play with me and have a good time with me

What is the best thing about having a little brother?  taking baths with him and making tea parties and birthday parties. He makes the soup pizza and cookies and I say, “The pizza’s ready! and the birthday boy is here! Get ready!” and we play.

How are you different from your brothers?  I do different things like they don’t pick flowers and I do, and I play in the sand, and Speedy doesn’t.

What does Bud do that makes you mad?  He punches me and pretends to spank me.

What do you want to do when you grow up?  I want to be a doctor for little, tiny, tiny babies like Baby Caroline.

If you had a lot of money, what do you think you would buy?  I would buy a slave to work for me. He would clean my room and my daughter’s room (???), call the nurse, wipe the lamps, and cut off bad guys’ heads. (????)

What is the best thing about your mom? She goes and does fun things with me sometimes.

What is the best thing about your dad? That he goes dates with me and scares me and I jump!

Tell me something that is really funny.  Knock, knock. (Who’s there.) Pizza face. (Pizza face who)? Pizza slapped in your face when you open the door!

What is your favorite thing to wear?  A beautiful dress with little sandals and my hair in a braid bun, that you braid it up and make it into a bun.

What makes you cry?  If Bud says stupid to me.

What does love mean?  That you love someone and you don’t like it all the time, but you still like them.

What does it mean to be a good friend?  You like him or her and you can play with them sometimes, but not all the time because you don’t see them all the time.

What makes you worried?  If I jump off a high, high, high, high monkey bar. If I climb a tree so high and I jump down and break my head open.

What does it feel like to be 5?  I get taller and I get older and I’m getting closer to being a nurse or something.

Who is your favorite song?  “Oh Church, come stand in the light, our God is not is not dead, He’s alive, He’s alive! Christ is risen from the dead trampling over death by death, come awake, come awake come and rise up from the grave.”

What were some of the best things you did this past year?  Have my birthday!!!! Seeing Nana and Pa and Gigi and Maris.

What is your favorite book?  Hmmm…. Hmmm… The Hardy Boys!

Interview with Bud at 7

June 24th, 2013 by Rachel

What is your favorite color?  green and red

What is your favorite food?  strawberry milk shakes and Kroger (rotisserie) chicken

Favorite animal?  My favorite animal is a baby deer and a giant squid

What are you really good at?  Swimming and building Legos

What are you not so good at?  Reading. Some days there are hard words.

Who are your favorite friends?  Maxwell, Miller, Ethan, Hunter, The J-Brothers (Jacob and Jude) and Jada

What is your favorite part of school?  CC–seeing friends, learning, timeline, and fine arts

What is the best thing about having a brother?  He plays with me, he likes me reading him books, he says, “YA YA!” and Ironman.

What is the best thing about having a sister?  Talking in our beds at night and making each other laughing. And she said, “What if there was a tongue gun (a gun that shoots out tongues) and one comes out and licks you.” I laughed so hard I peed in my pants.

How are you different from Sugar?  She sings weird at nighttime and I can read and she can’t. She can’t swim as fast as me.

What does Sugar do that makes you mad?  Interrupting me when I am reading.

What does Speedy do that makes you mad?  Yells at me, “Ya Ya!”

What do you want to do when you grow up?  I want to be an engineer and build secret tunnels from one island to another for cars to drive in and go see football games and basketball games on the other island.

If you had a lot of money, what do you think you would buy?  Pokemon cards and a sky scraper (Grandparents:  DO NOT buy him any Pokemon cards, please!!!)

What is the best thing about your mom?  That she takes naps with me and snuggles me

What is the best thing about your dad?  That he scares me and tells the funniest jokes

Tell me something that is really funny.  What’s black and white and red all over? The newspaper!

What is your favorite thing to wear?  My green Batman shirt and Superman shirt with blue plaid shorts and tennis shoes.

What makes you cry?  People coming up to me and being mean and punching me. And an elephant stepping on me.

What does love mean?  I think it means that you are friends and you should love people by being nice and not being mean and sharing.

What does it mean to be a good friend?  Being nice

What makes you worried?  Going on the bungee cord at gymnastics

What does it feel like to be 7?  That I’m really old and it feels good.

What is your favorite song?  Trouble by Taylor Swift

What were some of the best things you did this past year?  Playing with my friends

What is your favorite book?  Super and Powerless by Matthew Cody and the Third Grade Detective books

Homeschool Year in Review

June 22nd, 2013 by Rachel

For my records (and if anyone else is curious), I am doing a review of our homeschool year. Bud just finished his first grade year, and Sugar did Pre-K. We participated in our Classical Conversations community for the third year, and I tutored Bud’s class of 6-7 year olds.

Making a binder for each child with dividers for each subject was one of the best ways I organized the kids’ schoolwork this year. I roughly followed these suggestions. Next year, I will use 3-inch binders.

We also put a large whiteboard on the wall in the kitchen near the table where we do school. This was a tremendous help for reviewing memory work at home since Bud could read it, and Thomas and I could review more often. Thomas hung some showerboard with some little mirror hangers, and I think it cost less than $20. It has helped so much this year.

I made a simple schedule that I think helped us stay on top of the memory work and helped Bud and me with Memory Master review. Each day, we reviewed the current week’s memory work. On Mondays, we reviewed every week’s worth of Latin and Grammar. On Tuesday, we reviewed all of Geography and Science, Wednesday was CC, Thursday was all of Timeline, and Fridays we reviewed all of History and Math.

History – We read through Story of the World, Level 1 this year, much of which coincided with our timeline and history sentences in CC. We did activities from the activity book, but that slowed down a lot in the spring.

Geography – To augment our memory work for CC, we would read about one of the countries in Window on the World and pray for missionaries we knew in that part of the world.

Spelling – We completed All About Spelling Level 2 and most of Level 3 with Bud. I think this is a great curriculum, and I highly recommend it. I found that it worked best for us by introducing the new lesson on Mondays and then dictating 8-10 spelling words and at least two sentences every day as a review.

Reading – Sugar finished All About Reading, pre-reading, and we have been slowly working through Level 1 this spring. She is picking it up so quickly, but it was hard to find one-on-one time to work with her while Speedy isn’t in our laps. I really like this reading curriculum. With Bud, I used The Ordinary Parent’s Guide to Teaching Reading, and I think it is a great approach, but it was painfully dry for Bud. All About Reading is very multi-sensory, and it does a great job of keeping Sugar engaged in the lessons. Bud has been devouring books this year. He finished all the A t0 Z Mysteries, all the Magic Tree House books, and all the Geronimo Stilton books. We haven’t found as many books that he wants to sit and read for an hour like before, so he has some mandatory reading time for 30 minutes while Speedy naps and Sugar has a rest/nap time.

Grammar/Language Arts – We finished level one of First Language Lessons by Susan Wise, and this was a nice, easy integration of much of our grammar memory work with CC.

Math – Bud has been trucking through Saxon Math level 3. We have also found that spreading the lessons out over two days was the best for us. I introduce the lesson and then Bud does one of the worksheets. The next day, he completes the remaining worksheet. The lessons seem so long and take over an hour if we do it all in one day. We are most likely going to do Level 3.5 next year to help solidify concepts since he is a little young to move up to level 4/5.

Scripture Memory – We completed ABC Bible Verses. This was really great for both the kids, and we combined the scripture verses with handwriting practice. We also memorized Exodus 20 with our CC campus.

Bud also participated in a weekly art class and both kids took part in a local PE co-op.