Sunday, May 31, 2009

Potty Training...Here We Come!

Well, I decided it was time to get the little potty out for O. She is 22 months old today and is showing lots of "readiness signs". She often pulls at her diaper when she is wet and she loves to put on her big brother's underwear (I think she is partial to Diego!). She also keeps getting diaper rashes, which is driving me nuts (her too, probably).

So over the weekend, Brendt got the little potty out, I cleaned it up and O couldn't wait to sit on it. My plan is to let her spend this week getting used to it. If she desires to actually try to use it, great! If not, she can just sit on it with her clothes on.

I am going to buy her a girlie going-to-the-potty book and I will get out our potty video. We may even go shopping for underwear!

Over the weekend, while Brendt and M are camping, we may really try to do the potty-training thing. If she wants to do it, we will go for it. If not, I will put the potty away for another day.

Keep your fingers crossed for us. I think that potty-training is the hardest part of parenting so far (I know, wait till the teenage years, right?).

Friday, May 29, 2009

First Day of Kindergarten!!!

Today was the BIG day...M started Kindergarten! Before I start describing our day, I have to say those words that all moms out there say when their babies start Kindergarten...Where did the time go? Honestly, it seems like only yesterday that M was a tiny little baby. Just in case you don't remember, here are a few pics of him.
First bottle -

First food (rice cereal) -

First Halloween (I picked this one because I am in it too!)-

First Christmas -

I just can't believe that he is even old enough for school yet!!! Now for those of you who are wondering why in the world we are starting Kindergarten at the end of May when most kids are getting ready to be finished with school for the summer, here goes. I work part-time, so I don't have the normal Monday - Friday available for school. We will be doing a lot of school over the weekends, which is fine since M doesn't know any difference. I know that lots of "life" happens over the weekends and there will probably be many times when we will have to put school on the back burner. Therefore, if we start now and school year-round, I am confident that we can get in a full school year, even with my schedule.

So back to today, we started the morning by giving M some special books for school. He received a Big Bug Book and a Bug Dictionary. As you can see, he was thrilled!

Of course, O got a book too and she also had to have her pic taken (by the way, we normally do put shirts on our daughter...she was being a bit difficult this morning and was refusing to wear one - she was also refusing to relinquish the paci, but that is another story).

Next, Brendt and I decided to start a tradition and we took the kids to Bob Evans to celebrate the first day of school. Here is M waiting on his pancakes to arrive...
...and O trying to master the art of drinking from a straw (we did this A LOT today).When we arrived back home, we started our first exciting day, which was actually a little on the short side since we were all tired from seeing Peter Pan last night (thanks Janelle for the tickets!) and from our fabulous breakfast.

We started our school day with our Bible Memory Verse (Acts 9:20b Jesus is the Son of God) and then we moved on to our Five in a Row (FIAR) selection, The Salamander Room. Finally, we did some handwriting practice and our ETC workbook and called it a day!

At dinner tonight, M told us that he enjoyed his first day of Kindergarten but he was wondering if tomorrow will be his last day. This is going to be a long 13 years!!!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

School is starting...

So, last week, I got some time to myself. Actually, I got (almost) three entire days to myself!!! Can you believe it? (well, I can't - it seems as though it had been about 5 1/2 years since I had been alone...crazy!). I could have spent my free days lying around, reading a book or watching tv. But no...I decided to spend my time cleaning and organizing (crazy again!!). Actually, I thoroughly enjoyed myself, as I finally had the opportunity to clean out and organize all of my school stuff.

M is 5 years old and ready for Kindergarten. Since I have my crazy work schedule (Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday), we will be doing school on Friday, Saturday, Sunday (very little) and Monday. Now, I know that school is not "supposed" to start until the fall, but we are going to start this summer (tomorrow, actually). Since we are schooling over the weekends and I know that lots of life-things are going to happen over the weekends, we are going to school year-round so that we have plenty of time to fit it all in.

My plans for school - my goal for school this year is really just to foster a "love of learning" in M's life. He is such a curious kid (aren't all 5 year olds?) and I want to keep that curiousity alive. Here is the curriculum that we will be using:

Five in a Row - This is an awesome curriculum that I found years ago when I was just researching homeschooling (thanks again to my cousin, Marla). It incorporates awesome picture books into learning. This is how it works - you read a great picture book 5 days in a row. On each of those days, you do a different activity pertaining to that book dealing with Social Studies, Language Arts, Art, Math, Sciece or Bible. It will be a great (and fun!) way to learn.

RightStart Math - RS Math is a hands-on math program. What I like about it is its heavy use of manipulatives and the way that it encourages you to "see" numbers.

For phonics, we are using a combination of two programs: Explode the Code and Happy Phonics. Explode the Code is a workbooky curriculum and Happy Phonics is phonics games. For ETC, we are still working on the primers (which teach letter sounds), but M is doing so well with them that I think we will be moving onto Book 1 in no time.

Handwriting Without Tears - Obviously, this is a handwriting program and it is great for left-handers! We went through the preschool book last year and M did great!

So, there you have curriculum plans for the year. In one of my next posts I will write about how I am planning our school days, but for now, I will leave you with pictures of my bookshelves, which I oh-so-happily organized during my "alone-time" last week.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Our Exciting Day with the Baby Birds

I have been meaning to write about this and post pictures for a while now. Last week, while M was at his grandparents, Brendt (hubby) told me that the baby birds in the nest on our swingset are getting bigger and that we might want to take some pictures, as they would likely be gone by the time M comes home. So, I went outside with my camera and climbed up in the fort to take a picture. I did get one picture, but quickly climbed down as mama bird apparently didn't like me being so close to her babies and she kept trying to attack me (well probably not, but it sure felt like it!). Here is the picture that I took (see, not so great):

I wanted a better picture, so I asked Brendt if he would mind to take a few pictures for me. He agreed and went out with the camera. Instead of climbing into the fort, he climbed up on the side of the fort and took some pictures. And then IT he jumped off of the side the fort, he shook the swingset and all three baby birds fell out of their nest. Immediately, I freaked out. First, as a mother myself, I felt so sad for the mama bird, even though moments before she had been trying to attack me. Then, I thought of M and how he was going to be maaa-aaad when he found out what had happened.

We weren't sure exactly what to do, so I googled "what to do when baby birds fall out of their nest" (google is my friend!) and was linked to the Ohio Wildlife Center. On that website, I found a phone number that you can call if you find an injured animal. I talked with a very nice lady and asked her what to do if baby birds fall from their nest (I didn't mention that the fall was our fault!). She said that they need to be put back in their nest, but to be warned, if the mama bird is around, she may try to poke your eyes out!!! She mentioned that you might want to put a metal bowl on your head to protect yourself and wear sunglasses as well. So of course, I decided that this was a job for Brendt.

Here he is wearing a hat (I couldn't get him to wear a metal bowl), sunglasses and gloves - ready for action.

Here is a picture of him bending down to pick up one of the baby birds...

And another picture of the attacking birds (this one is my favorite!). And here he is chasing one of the babies as it walks out into the street.
Finally, after all of that work, you will never guess what happened...the baby birds jumped out of their nest! So I called the Ohio Wildlife Center again and talked to the same nice lady (who asked me if my husband was wearing his metal bowl) and she told me that the birds are probably old enough to fledge (the wings are developed to fly, but the bird just hasn't flown yet) so she said that if the mother was still around (umm...yes, she has been attacking us all day!) that we could just put the baby under a bush to protect it from predators and the mother would feed it on the ground.

Here is the final picture of the day - one of the babies in her new home. A few days later, all of the babies were gone. We are assuming that they just flew away!!!

Monday, May 11, 2009

My Latest Obsession!

I have a good friend who loves to sew, and she decided that I needed to learn to sew too! My first lesson was a few weeks before Easter. She helped me to make a little bunny rabbit stuffed animal for O for Easter. Then, on my very own, I made M a stuffed bunny too. They both received them in their Easter baskets and they now sit proudly on shelves in their rooms (i.e. neither of them plays with their bunnies). While I enjoyed making the bunnies, I was almost ready to hang up my needle and thread for good...that is, until I learned about Pillow Case Dresses!!!

Yes, it is truly possible to make a dress from a pillow case. My friend started making them and they are so, so cute!!! I just had to learn how to make them myself. And now that I have...let me tell you, I am HOOKED!

Here is a picture of the dress that I made for O.

And here is a close-up of the embroidery (who in the world knew that I could embroider???).

And here is O posing in her new dress (don't you love how 1 year olds pose for pictures?).

And finally, here is a shot of O relaxing in her new dress.

So, now I am completely obsessed with sewing. I want to make O another dress, a shirt, a dress to wear over leggings...the list goes on and on. So the next time you see O, she will likely be wearing a lovely pillow case!!!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

My First Blog Post

So, this is my first ever blog post. I never really imagined that this day would come. Not that I have anything against a matter of fact, there are a few that I read on a regular basis. I guess I just never imagined that I would feel like I had enough to say to actually create a blog.

Why am I blogging then? Well, I am starting school with M in just a few weeks and I thought that blogging would be a nice way to record our homeschool adventures. Also, we have a lot of out-of-town family and I am hoping that this will help us to keep in touch.

Since my intention with this blog is to talk about our schooling, I thought I would write about the one semi-academic thing going on in our lives right now (not counting our daily dose of Curious George).

A few weeks ago, M noticed that there was a bird nest with 3 little blue eggs on top of his swingset. Luckily, it was right beside the fort and he was able to look inside (only when mama bird wasn't there, of course).

Yesterday, M went outside to play and guess what he saw???

Here is a pic of the baby birds waiting on some food.

And here is a pic of the mama bird ready to feed her babies (if you look closely, you can see the worm).

Amazingly, we just got a copy of the The Handbook of Nature Study by Anna Botsford Comstock yesterday (thanks Marla!), so we have been able to do a little robin-studying of our own. Of course, M is loving it! He even made the baby birds a card today at church. Too cute!