Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Kallahan has something to say...

It was obvious yesterday when I went to eat with the boys and Granny that Kallahan had discovered his voice.  I took a quick little video with my phone  (again sorry for the poor quality) because it is too cute how he has continued to talk throughout the day.  However, by the end of the evening and into the wee hours of the morning it was not nearly as cute.  I think this cowboy has decided he will scream for his bottles, we’ll have to work on this one.

"A baby has a special way of adding joy in every single day."- Unknown

Monday, February 27, 2012

Moments To Remember: Grandparents

Moments to Remember was developed as a simple way to look back on our week as homeschoolers and find photos that encompass the memories we want to remember.
The week may have been tough, there may have been more bumps than smiles, but in the end these are the moments that keep us going, the ones we need to remember.

One of the benefits of homeschooling is that other family members get to be involved with the girls' learning!
They have been blessed with 2 sets of grandparents who live nearby and do all they can to help us and support us!
Moments like this one - Nana helping the girls with their lapbooks - are so special.
I know from experience that memories made with a grandparent are priceless!

The Snowy Day Experiment

I'm beginning to *attempt* weekly science experiments with the girls.
Mostly, I'm trying to instill in them an enjoyment for scientific things and a desire to ask questions and find answers.
So we'll keep it pretty simple but I have to say I am even intrigued by many of the preschool science experiments I've come across!

This past week we worked with ice.
I froze several small objects in ice and added food coloring just because colorful things make for a happier time (right??)!
Then the girls predicted what would make the ice cube melt the fastest: salt, warm water or a blowdryer.
Then they each got an ice cube and went to work with the different methods of melting ice...

First off, salt.
They watched and waited for a couple minutes then set it aside since nothing seemed to be happening.

Then they moved on to warm water.
I considered having them spoon the water over the ice cube but really didn't want our experiment to last all day.
Instead they plunked their ice cube into a glass of warm water.
Instant results!

Finally, they used the blowdryer which took far longer than I had anticipated.
(See, I'm learning too!)
I had to laugh at Tait covering her eyes to keep the warm air from blowing in her face!

Afterwards, we went back to the ice cubes we had added salt to.
They had melted a fair amount and we talked about how we put salt on the driveway to melt the ice and prevent it from being so slippery.

The results:
Warm water melted the ice cube the fastest.
Salt took the longest amount of time.

Piper was bang on with her prediction.
And we all had a blast playing around with ice cubes!

Science is fun!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Weekend Whoas!

1)      Saturday 7am:  “It’s time to get up, it’s sunshiny mommy” – bittersweet but the sound of his little voice started the day off right
2)      I finally figured out the perfect ratio of skim milk  to tea to sweetener for my dad’s famous hot tea – L.O.V.E
3)      Saturday date night with the hubby was great.  Even if it was work related it was nice to get out.
4)      Our table took the coveted “best decorated” table award at the chamber banquet!
5)      Baby Kal slept 12 hours on Saturday night!  Granny was “Super Nanny!”
6)      Sunday 7am:  Tyler & I both see a balloon bouquet float by our bed.  We both laughed and looked down to find Keeler carrying around the balloons we brought home for him from the chamber banquet. 

7)      This sweet lil' cowboy's hair just makes me smile – I think he has been cursed with MY HAIR it will not stay down!
8)      Keeler letting me know that he saw some jeans on TV that I need, “mommy, you can just pull them off!” (Could he be referring to Pajama Jeans? – score!)

9)      We attempted to recreate a meal from Olive Garden.  We made their salad dressing, breadsticks & Chicken Alfredo on Sunday night and it was nothing short of AMAZING, fattening but amazing!

10)    Our youngest nephew turned three today!  We can't wait to celebrate with everyone next weekend.  Happy Birthday Bryon, we love you!!!! 


Saturday, February 25, 2012

The Snowy Day {BFIAR}

After several months of flying by the seat of our pants, we finally have had a week of well planned and implemented school time!
It feels SO good to be back on track!
And to top off the excitement, we started something new:
This is our trial run to help me decide if I truly want to use Five in a Row for Kindergarten in September with Piper.
It caught my attention because 1) it is affordable and 2) it is literature based and 3) it comes highly recommended.
And as far as I can tell at this point, I think we are going to love it!

This week we began with The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats.
I figured we should get this book in before the snow disappears!

Of course, you can't read The Snowy Day without playing with some snow!
With a new baby in tow, it can be difficult to get outside and play (Daddy and grandparents provide those adventures lately) so we brought the snow in!
We added some extra delight by coloring the snow!

Taitum has been working on learning her colors lately.
To reinforce this with something related to the book, we made a traffic light and then the girls had to sort and add various craft materials to the lights according to color!
We also later played the infamous "Red Light, Green Light" game since we also discussed what the different color lights mean in traffic.

In the story, Peter makes tracks in the snow with his feet and then with a stick.
We pulled out the playdoh to make our own tracks using different polar animal toys.
This was short lived though - the playdoh I made wasn't the greatest...
(Any GOOD play doh recipes out there?)

The girls used puffy paint (50/50 mixture of shaving cream and glue) to recreate a snowy picture from the book.

They later added Peter to their paintings using crayons.
I think he's super cute!

We also did a science experiment involving melting ice but I'll share that with you in another post!

The girls stayed busy with different workbox activities, too.
These did not all necessarily relate to The Snowy Day but included a polar animal theme and left over Valentine activities.

Magnetic Pom Poms with Polar Lands Magnet Pages

Fishing for alphabet snowflakes

Cutting practice with The Snowy Day cutting practice sheets

I also assembled Snowy Day lapbooks for each of the girls.
Every day we worked on a different activity from each lapbook.

Taitum's lapbook:
Winter Clothing Colors
Mitten Match
Winter/Summer Clothes Sort
Snowflake Counting

Piper's lapbook:

We didn't get to do all the acivities this week (we're continuing with The Snowy Day next week, too) but the girls were so excited about the ones we did do!

Piper impressed me with her ability to remember the sequence of the story!

And Tait was all over the mitten matching!

And the clip counting cards were way to easy for Pipe!
I think I'll have Tait tackle this one next week!

We are continuing to work through our All About Reading program and the girls are still LOVING it!
We've completed the upper and lowercase letter sections and have moved on to phonetic sounds.
For each letter they have to cut and paste the pictures that begin with the phonetic sound.
Piper and Tait are thrilled to get to use scissors everyday!

 I also found these winter snowman printables.
For each letter, Piper has to dot the pictures that begin with that sound.

It has felt so good to finally have a productive week of school!
It's a bit challenging trying to work around a newborn's schedule but by being very flexible, we've been able to make it work!
Next week we'll continue on with activities related to The Snowy Day but also take some time to learn about polar animals!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Happy 5 Months!

Dear Kallahan,
You are five months old!  Wow, how time is flying.  I can’t believe that next month you will be half a year.  You are such a little cutie pie.  This month you have gone to your first friend’s birthday party.  You have been somewhat sick this month with a stuffy nose so we have been running your humidifier and having you sleep elevated.  It seems that you are now starting to feel much better.  Knock on wood, but you were the only one in the family that has not come down with a stomach bug this week.  Keeping our finger’s crossed. 
You are so happy!  You love to be talked to and are starting to babble more and more.  You are reaching for objects (even with your feet). Now when you see your bottle coming you get so excited.  You reach for it with both hands and try to manipulate it.   You love to play with your toys and now that you are feeling better you will just lie on a blanket and play.  We have tried to feed you rice cereal with mommy’s milk and applesauce on four occasions but you still not quite into it. 
You are still taking cat naps throughout the day.  Typically after your feedings.  Sleeping at night has become a bit of a struggle.  You do not like to go down when it is dark.  Mommy and Daddy are still rocking you through your fits and it typically takes about 30 minutes to calm you down.  Once you are down you usually sleep through the night.   Mommy is going to start researching “sleep training” this weekend.  On a good note, your little laughter is nothing short of magic. We love your laugh so much that we’ll do just about anything to get you to giggle – the best is when you will crack yourself up in the mirror.  The magic of your happy giggles can wash away the stress of even the worst of days. 
Happy five months sweet Kallahan!
Cowboys both at 4.5 months
I had to dig in the archives but I found the picture that I have been thinking of.  These are pictures of both of the lil' cowboys at four and a half months.  I can’t believe how much they resemble.  How did I get so lucky to have such cute kids?  We are so blessed to have two healthy, happy cowboys.

This weekend American Implement is hosting a table at the annual chamber banquet.  The theme is “Totally Awesome 80s”  Our table is geared around toys in the 80s – it’s so cute! 

Lastly but most importantly, I ask that everyone keep my dear friend, Sabra, and her family in your prayers.  She lost her father this week.  Her family lives in south Texas about six hours away.  I wish that I could be there for her but I know that God's comfort is needed most during this time.  We LOVE you Sabra & Sam!!

Love is how you stay alive even after you are gone." - Morrie Schwartz

Thursday, February 23, 2012

The Hard Days

Mothering is not easy.
I don't think it was meant to be.

I thought on this today, a rather difficult parenting day.
I thought about how maybe it would just be easier to send Piper to preschool.
Or to put on movies all day.
Or even to put them in a room and lock the door.

Yes, it was that kind of hard day.

But I am learning something about hard days.
They are the ones in which I learn the most.
And as I thought about all this, I considered how much less patient of a person I would be if I were not home day in and day out with my little ones. 
I am learning to love in spite of the chaos and the attitudes and the meltdowns.
I am realizing that the hard days are refining me in ways so few other roles could.
I have been stunned to discover that in the midst of the turmoil of an unruly day I am made to depend on my God more fully, to run to Him in the same way that my children run to me.
(Because really, we're not all that different from our kids.)
And I have been surprised to find that peace is found in embracing my kids rather than pushing them away from me.

A nap with the fussy baby on my chest.
A storytime with little girl heads resting on each shoulder.
A random, unsolicited kiss on the cheek from a passing child.

For a moment, the crazy day ceases enough to gather myself and see
That in the midst of the snotty noses, the poopy diapers, the terrible twos, the whiney voices and juice spills
There is so much to be gained.
We can do the hard days because we delight in the good ones.
We can endure the difficult because together we are being shaped into more than could be imagined.
We won't despise the days gone awry because we treasure the beautiful ones.

And maybe the dreadful days are beautiful, too.

Love is patient.
Parenting’s this gentle way of bending over in humility to help the scraped child up because we intimately know it takes a lifetime to learn how to walk with Him.
Love always begins with patience.

~Ann Voskamp

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Time With Tait

Of my three children, I think it would be fair to say that Taitum is the one who gets the least amount of one on one time with me.
Piper and I hang out during Tait's nap time and Renly has my undivided attention pretty much whenever she needs 3am....
I don't spend too much time worrying about this or feeling guilty.
The truth of the matter is that Taitum gets lots of time with me.
I make a point of including her in everything even if what we're doing is a little advanced for her.
I go out of my way to provide her with opportunities that are more at her level.
Its just that its always in the company of her sisters.
Which is good.
I'm glad they get to grow up together, sharing everyday life with one another, forming a forever friendship.
But this afternoon when the girls' Nana took Piper out for a while and Renly was napping, I grabbed the opportunity to spend alone time with my second born girly!
Because I love her.
Her quirky little personality, silly antics and sweet comments made in the most adorable 2 year old voice!
And spending time with just her is a delight. I fall in love all over again!
I know its not something I can do everyday but I revel in the times that I can hang out with each of the girls separately.
Their individual relationship with me is important.
They are important.
And as much as I think its beneficial to grow up with siblings and to be part of a family dynamic, I also want them to know I love and appreciate who they are all on their own too!

So here we are, Taitum and I baking cookies.
Snickerdodles to be exact.
(Which Tait would say in the cutest way!)
She was extremely enthusiastic about getting to bake!

I love who you are, Taitum Jubilee!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Photos thru Video

I think it’s a typical mommy struggle to get pictures of your kiddos but I am struggling more than ever to get one, yes just one good photo of my precious boys. Below is short video of how my photo shoots typically go. Even though I am usually discouraged because I never got that one shot I decided to make a little video to recall the moments – because all moments with these two are worth treasuring. I hope it makes you smile as much as is does me!
Self-Improvement Update:
I have managed to go jogging or cross train every day since I set my goal (aside from rest day on Sunday) and have not had any sodas!


Wednesday, February 15, 2012


I watch him coo at the baby, "Don't cry. You're safe with me."

He steals every opportunity to lay with her warm, cozy weight on his chest.

He does the potty dance in the middle of the living room as little girls gallop around him, fingers pointing to the sky.

At the sound of her call, he's up and running in the middle of the night to the little one who needs a drink of water.

At a request for 'shoulders?', he scoops up a girl child and romps around the house to the sound of her delighted squeals.

He is the inventor of imaginary games that only a Daddy could dream up.

He bathes giggly, energetic girls, makes pony tails and plays princesses.

Once they're all tucked away for the night, he shakes his head and says, "I love them so much!"

And when I stumble back into bed after a 3am feeding, he's the one who pulls me close, murmuring an "I love you" into the quiet of the night.

He runs for copious amounts of water and nursing pads and diapers when my hands are full of baby.

He takes over Friday night plans, piling high homemade nachos with extra avacado just for me.

A Saturday morning is devoted to adding baseboard to our soon to be schoolroom, knowing that this causes me over the top kind of joy and excitement.

He sits in the ER til 4am, by my side, juggling a newborn and making me smile despite the reality that he must head to work the next day.

He walks in the door with that adorable grin on his face, flowers in hand along with 3 bags of my favorite chips. "They were on sale!", he explains.