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!

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.

Funny Kids

January 3rd, 2013 by Rachel

I drafted this post a few weeks ago, but forgot about it.
The kids had us in stitches last weekend with all the hilarious things they were saying. The bigger two participated in their first race. While they have attended several races to cheer on Mom and Dad, this was their first to run in. They surprised me with how well they did on the 1.2 mile course. I hoped and prayed that they would finish it without giving up halfway, and they did!

Sugar refused to let Thomas run with her, and opted to run with a friend of hers and his daddy. Afterward, she boasted about not needing a daddy to run with like her friend did, but I pointed out that she just used her friend’s daddy instead of her own. Her friend’s daddy relayed some of their conversation along the run:

Sugar: I just had to wear my hair in a ponytail this morning or else I would have hair all in my face. You can’t run with hair all in your face! You can’t see where you are going!

Later, Sugar: I am going to need a bath after this! Running makes you sweaty and stinky like a hamster. Hamsters stink and I am going to smell like a hamster! (I have no idea where this came from!)

While explaining to Bud about Johnny Manziel winning the Heisman Trophy, Bud failed to see the significance of the event. Finally he said, “If the trophy isn’t made of solid gold, I don’t see what the big deal is.”

Thomas and I got all dressed up to go to his company’s Christmas party. I bent down to tell Sugar good-bye while she patted my hair, dress and jewelry.
Me: I love you, Sugar.
Sugar: I love your earrings.

Sugar is 4.5

December 4th, 2012 by Rachel

You are finally four and a half! You have waited for this day since you turned four, six long months ago. I wish you would stay little, but you are in a hurry to be a big girl, and you have your big brother to keep up with and your little brother to mother.

Even though you are surrounded by all these boys, you are one of the girliest girls I have ever known. Your clothing choices are labored over (sometimes days in advance). You have been working hard at styling your own hair, sometimes using up to 25 bobbypins and 10 clips at once.

You also love to accessorize. HEB has jewelry-dispensing machine, and though you have been getting pieces you don’t like, you continue spending your hard-earned quarters there. You almost always have on a ring and necklace, and often sport a bracelet or huge clip-on earrings. We have reached a compromise on your clothing choices–you can wear whatever you want as long as it is weather-appropriate. I tell you long-sleeves or short, pants or shorts, and then you go for it. The only exceptions are family pictures and weddings.

You are such a little momma to all of your dolls and stuffed animals. Every stuffed animal is dressed in doll clothes with your hair clips on their ears. Your favorite is a tiny dog you named Newborn around the time your baby brother was born. Newborn has been in your arms almost nightly as you go to sleep. You feed her, diaper her, and apparently she wakes you often in the night to nurse. However, recently Newborn aged quite a bit and you spent three full days planning her wedding. You made confetti, flower arrangements, and you even wrote a song which you performed on her big day (and rehearsed at the top of your lungs that morning at the park for a good 15 minutes.) Daddy officiated the wedding so you could be free to orchestrate it. You have an attention to detail that amazes me. Someday, you will be planning our parties.

Though you act like a very big girl, you have say some very adorable things. My favorites include:
-I wonned ya! (Instead of “I beat you.”)
-It is going downer. (Instead of “getting lower.”)

You also got a big girl bike recently. You manage it very well, and have woken up very early in the morning to practice riding it while I workout in the driveway.

You insisted on getting your hair trimmed last month after begging and begging me to take you to cut it shorter. I held you off for a few weeks, but when you threatened to cut it yourself, I knew it was time to go. However, you cried for at least two hours about it when we got home before you decided you liked it.

You amaze me with how much you are learning in CC. You don’t often participate when we are reviewing memory work, but then you blow me away with how much you know when you do participate. I have been holding off on teaching you reading since you are content to draw pictures and play with your dolls most of the time when Bud and I are doing school. Last week, I got out the letter tiles and put together several simple words, which you sounded out rather effortlessly. I guess it is time to start formally teaching you to read.

You are such a blessing to our family. I love you so much! Happy half birthday.


October Field Trips

October 27th, 2012 by Rachel

We were able to go on two field trips this month. I’m not sure if that is what you call them if you are homeschooling, but you understand.

Our first trip was to Washington on the Brazos for one of their homeschool days. It was a wonderful trip, and I highly recommend it. Speedy stayed home with Thomas which made the experience much more enjoyable.

First, one of the ladies that works in the museum talked to the kids about life for pioneer children who were early settlers in Texas. They were able to see different tools, chores, clothes and toys from that era. We made a few simple toys together, and then we toured the museum before enjoying a picnic lunch outside.

In the afternoon  and during their outback adventure , the kids got a tour of the Barrington Farms portion of the museum. First, there was the tour of the pioneer house and time to do some of the chores–feeding chickens, carrying water, and washing rags in a bucket with a washboard and then hanging them on the clothesline. Sugar loved the “laundry”.

Afterward, we got to see the farm side with pigs, turkeys, cotton plants and lots of dried corn.

We got to see the slave quarters and compare them to the house. They were exhausted by the time we were done, and Sugar was out of smiles.

Last week, we went on a tour of the air traffic control tower at our local airport with our PE co-op. We also got to sit in a little airplane and look at other planes in the hangar. The kids enjoyed it, and Speedy learned the sign for airplane after watching a plane takeoff on the runway nearby.

This was my favorite picture of the trip.

Speedy is 13 Months Old

October 5th, 2012 by Rachel

I am playing catch up on blog posts today, but wanted to remember some of Speedy’s milestones this month before I forget. Speedy is hilarious and we spend a lot of time laughing at his antics. Some his latest skills include:
-making animal sounds–for a dog he sticks his tongue out and pants, he will tweet like a bird, and growl when he sees a picture of a lion or dinosaur
-sitting for long periods of time looking through board books
-climbing up stairs
-climbing on small chairs/stools
-blowing kisses
-giving hugs (mostly to stuffed animals)
-being unreliable in nap-taking (some days he fights one of his naps, fun!)

Speedy loves being outside, and he would play in the garage, driveway or backyard all day long if he could. Speedy’s words include: bye-bye, nigh-nigh, ball, Daddy, Momma, Ya-Ya (brother), Ees (sister), truck, car, poo-poo. Twice this month he told me he had a dirty diaper by walking up and saying “poo-poo”. I was shocked.

He is a fairly good eater, except he barely eats breakfast. This makes for a very grumpy boy who has to get out of the house in the morning so he will eat Cheerios while riding in the stroller. He refuses to be spoon-fed anything, but I can occasionally get him to suck on some baby food through those new baby food containers (pure genius).

A New Year of Homeschooling

August 28th, 2012 by Rachel

Bud is starting first grade, and Sugar is doing a little more school this year than the last two years where she basically played and colored. This is what is on our plates for this year:

Reading/Phonics – All About Reading Pre-Level 1 – We have been working in this for a few weeks now, and it is very appropriate for her reading level. We are working on letter recognition, sounds and handwriting.

Handwriting – Handwriting Without Tears and various activities (stickers, playdough, gluing)

Math – We are working on skip counting songs, counting, number recognition and writing numbers. So far, this has been through a few workbooks, but I plan to start doing Saxon 1 with her once or twice a week starting later this winter.

Geography, Grammar, History, Timeline, Latin, Science – She will be participating in a Classical Conversations class this year and will be working on memorizing her weekly memory work through CC and at home. In addition, she will completing many activities with Bud to supplement our weekly history and science.

Reading – We are working through Explode the Code Level 5, a few sheets a week. He also reads chapter books to himself and some aloud to me (A to Z Mysteries, Magic Tree House).

Spelling – Bud just finished All About Spelling Level 1 and will be starting Level 2 next week. I love this curriculum!

Math – Bud is already almost a third of the way through with Saxon Math 3. He made some great progress over the summer with speed and consistency with math facts. Math is one of his favorite subjects.

Language Arts – First Language Lessons by Susan Wise Bauer. We have been doing a few of these lessons a week with both Sugar and Bud. He is memorizing poetry, practicing narration and learning more grammar.

Geography, Timeline, Grammar, Latin, Math, History, Science – memory work through Classical Conversations

History – we will supplement our CC weekly history sentence with readings from Story of the World and various activities to go along with them. I have lots of fun activities on Pinterest.

Science – For the fall semester, we will be supplementing our CC science memory work with lessons and activities from Evan Moore Science books for grades 1-3 on Vertebrates, Invertebrates and Plants. We are also planning to raise some tadpoles into frogs and caterpillars into butterflies. We have completed most of our vertebrate unit already as the kids have been begging for more science.

Geography – we will supplement our CC memory work with learning a bit more about the countries we are locating (each week they will work on finding different countries and physical features on their maps and practice tracing them–we are doing Africa and Asia this year). We will also read biographies of missionaries to those countries, and use Window on the World to pray for those countries. We will also eat food from those areas and perhaps watch a travel guide show about some of them. This is not applicable for every week, but several of them.

Fine Arts – through CC we will be working on drawing for the first six weeks and supplementing at home with various activities and lots of time with Ed Emberley’s drawing books. Then we will do music and practice playing tin whistle and reading music (perhaps we will get a keyboard do more with this?), then in the spring we will work on art history and painting along with orchestra and classical music.

Physical Education – we are part of a PE co-op that meets weekly. The kids will also continue with gymnastics for the fall semester.

Scripture Memory – both kids will be memorizing Exodus 20 (the Ten Commandments) with CC. In addition, we have been memorizing a verse a week from My ABC Bible Verses. I really like the applicable stories that go with each verse. Bud practices handwriting by doing copy work for the verse each day. We are also still plugging through some simple catechism work.


August 21st, 2012 by Rachel

Today marks one year since Sugar had surgery on her tummy. In case you missed it, last summer Sugar had really bad abdominal pain that was so bad she couldn’t stand up straight. We took her to the ER since we thought it was her appendix. They thought so, too, but couldn’t tell for sure, and since our community doesn’t have a pediatric surgeon, we were sent to Dell Children’s in Austin where they do procedures as appendix removals or ostomy procedures, using ostomy bag belts for sale which help a lot with this. She had surgery on Monday morning where they removed a duplication cyst from her small intestine, along with that piece of intestine and her appendix. Basically, a pouch-like cyst had developed along her intestine as her intestines were forming in utero, it got infected and inflamed with some food in there and she was in a ton of pain. All these pictures are from her hospital stay, except the last one, it was from last week.

While this was not a huge emergency and many families deal with much more tragic and life-threatening events, it was a bit of a turning point for me. I am still thankful for each day I get to spend with this spunky girl. She is so healthy and strong. It really is amazing that all that happened to her.

Afterward, I wondered why she had to go through all of that. I honestly have no idea and I hope we never have to do it again. It taught me that each day with her (and each of my kids) is a gift. Sometimes I forget that in the midst of all the tasks of mothering–unloading and reloading, folding and sorting, cleaning and wiping, bathing and shampooing, correcting and disciplining, reading and soothing–sometimes, we need that jolting wake up call that this is not about the to-do list and the meals and the house and the schooling, but about their hearts and their souls. These little people are growing so fast into the people they will be. Our time with them is short, and at one year after we came closest to losing that time, I am so thankful for each day I have had. Even if some of those days are spent reminding myself that it is just hair and it will grow, crayon wipes off most things except for carpet, a table is just a table and bite marks add character, and so on.

Games of the XI Supercinskiad

August 13th, 2012 by Rachel

As I mentioned before, we enjoy the Olympics. If you have been reading our blog for longer than the past two years, you might recall that nearly every summer, we compete in our Supercinskiad games. Most of our games the first five times were board games, word games, and card games, except for leg wrestling. The Supercinskiad was not held last year as I was too busy nesting for a new baby to stop and play games. This year, we decided to make it more for the big kids to enjoy, and I think it was a blast. The kids got really into it, and even made flags for themselves. Sugar’s got ripped up by Speedy, but she was a good sport about it.

It was a grueling day of competition, but the athletes handled it well. The day started off with track and field shortly after breakfast before it got too hot. The first competition was hurdles… maybe 10 meters? Bud’s longer legs helped him secure an easy gold medal.

Then we headed to the park for some more games. Long jump came first with each competitor getting three attempts. We had watched highlights from long jump the day before, but Thomas gave the kids some pointers. My husband is awesome.

Check out the height Bud got on his last attempt! Again, Bud’s longer legs secured him the gold.

Afterward, we attempted some javelin throws with an old tent pole. Hilarious. Bud triumphed once again.

Check out the “javalin” right in front of Sugar.

Then we combined discus and shot put into a ball toss. Bud won, again.

Next the kids did a short distance sprint across the basketball court. It was a very close race with Sugar right on his heels, but Bud managed to secure victory in all three heats. The last track and field event was a longer run, about 400 meters, which Bud accomplished, but Sugar chose not to finish. It was really hot.

At home, we fed and hydrated our athletes, put Speedy down for a nap, and the gymnastics competition was underway. First was floor routine (super cute), followed by balance beam. Sugar managed to secure the gold in floor, but they both tied scores in beam. It was too hard to judge.

After lunch, the games continued at the pool. We had several short swims to Mommy, which Sugar won all but one heat. (She has turned into a little fish this summer!) Sugar won all the swim races except for the back float contest, which Bud was able to float the longest.

It was a lot of fun and I hope we get to do it again next year!

Hide the Scissors

August 5th, 2012 by Rachel

Rather than napping today, Sugar gave herself a haircut… bangs, short ones. At least she cut them rather straight, but my, oh my, she looks different. I sure hope this is the last time she does this!