Monday, August 31, 2009

I Gave In

At the end of Spring when Ballet and science club ended. I decided we wouldn't sign up for any more classes for awhile. Sophie loved her dance class but the next class for her age was a hip hop class and I wasn't excited for that. Science club in the Fall didn't sound like something we would really be interested in so I thought we could skip that too. Usually I would have signed the boys up for Soccer. Ian has done it for two years now and both the boys just talked as if it was a given that Soccer was going to happen again this fall. I didn't want to do it again. It ties up every Saturday for 10 weeks and Henry barely even played last year he just kicked the ball for about 10 minutes and then wanted to go and climb on the jungle gym that was there on the playground. So I wasn't going to sign them up for Soccer this year. I had thought it was going to be nice to not have a bunch of extra classes and events we needed to get to each week, especially since we have a new baby. It would be nice to get her on a regular schedule and that is always hard when you are juggling a bunch of outings.

But.... I gave In. I signed up the kids for classes.

Ian didn't want to do Soccer again. We had been discussing Karate for a number of months and you have to be 6 years old to go to the karate class given through the community center so we have been saying he would start when he had his birthday. But then I saw that the YMCA gives a karate class for 5 year olds and up. So I registered him for class. He is excited and will start this week. It is a night class so my husband has volunteered to take him to this class each week. How nice is that! A little boy bonding time. I hope my mild, sensitive lad enjoys the Karate.

Since I signed up Ian for a class I felt like I should really sign Henry up for something but the only thing he wants to do is play Soccer. Lucky for me the YMCA is giving a soccer class for 3-4 year olds in a few weeks. It is every Saturday for about 8 weeks but at least it is early in the morning and the same time each week. Unlike the soccer club we played with for the past 2 years. They have games early in the morning some weeks and then some Saturdays the games weren't until 2:30 or so. And when both boys were playing we would often be at the soccer field for hours at a time. I can't say I enjoyed that a whole lot and it made it very difficult to do much except Soccer on Saturdays. Henry's new soccer class is also a parent and me class so my husband will be taking him to it each week. Some Dad and Son time will be great for Henry. He is still adjusting to not having as much attention since Molly came.

And of course we couldn't leave Sophie out so I talked to my husband and looked at the other classes that the YMCA was offering this Fall. There was an Art class that I knew Sophie would enjoy but my husband wasn't excited about. There was also a Lego Robotics class that she will be able to do next year (9yrs and up). But we finally settled on a cooking class. Sophie is excited for her class. When we cook at home the kids all fight over who gets to put in each item and I can't say it is all that fun. The class is very small so I hope she will enjoy these cooking lessons. Maybe she will come home each week with fun food to sample or even better.... with homework. Maybe she will be required to cook dinner or breakfast. She can take over this task for me.

And not to be outdone. My husband has decided he too needs to get a little recreation so he decided to join the YMCA also. He is determined to get more exercise in his life and he knows how much I have enjoyed my membership so now he is going to be waking up early to head to the gym and burn off some of those calories that I am sure Sophie will be cooking up.

As for me... I am going to try to get back to my cycling class as well as my trips to the gym now that it has been 6 weeks since Molly was born. I am going to take some time off of Band, which was fun and good for me. It just doesn't work well with a nursing baby in toe. Maybe in a few months I can add that back into the mix too.

Wow... that does sound like a lot to keep track of. My calendar is looking a bit full. The next few months are going to be a bit hectic. These classes on top of all our other regular activities make things a bit crazy. Let's hope it all works out and we are all happy with our activities. As long as I remember to get everyone to where they are supposed to be, I am sure we will all have a great time.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Picture Window

For the past few days I have been spending hours in a rocking chair that sits right in front of this large picture window. This is the view out of my parents front window. We went there for a few days and I let my big kids run around the house and yard. They played with their cousins and swam in the pool. I mostly sat right here in this chair, held Molly, read a book, and looked out the window. I watched the birds, insects and kids flit around the yard but mostly I just enjoyed looking out at the beautiful view. From this chair I could see the kids enjoy playing in Grandpa's garden and Orchard and at time the cows out in the pasture. Sometimes there was even a rainbow I could spy in the spray of the sprinkler that was moved about on the grass. It was lovely to just sit and look out at this. We don't get views like this in the city so we always enjoy our trips to Grandma's house so we can experience a little bit of country living.

It was a nice break,

Thanks Mom!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

1st 1/2 Week of School

I can't really claim this as a full week of school. We still haven't added in all the subjects we pan to study and we didn't even "do school" each day. But at least it was a start and my kids seemed to need it. Our mornings went pretty smoothly but I can tell that things are going to be a little different once my husband heads back to work and I have to juggle a third grader, Kindergardener, preschooler and a newborn all by myself.

We did:
  • Read our Book of Mormon every day.
  • Math four days. Not too much complaining :)
  • Learned two new Latin words and made it through three lessons
  • Listened to 3 audio books

  • Ian did a page every day in his Explode the code workbook
  • We read through What's smaller than a Pygmy Shrew?
  • We made an atom collage rather than a drawing. The kids wanted to cut and glue something.
    Different colored pompoms were the electrons, protons and neutrons. They felt like this fulfilled their desire for a project, thank goodness, since I hadn't planned it beforehand. I am sure glad I have a few art/craft supplies taking up space in the closet.

  • We went on a little field trip on Thursday with some friends. We went to a farm out near the coast to pick Strawberries. It has always surprised me how many farms there are within a two minute drive from the beach. I would never have thought that this land would produce as much as it does. But there are farms all along the coast of California.
    We picked some berries and then the kids played on the old tractors and looked at the animals that were also kept on this little farm.

    And of course since we were so close to the beach we stopped to go climb some rocks and get dirty.
    When we got home I spent the rest of the afternoon making jam.

That is about all the academics we covered. There is still a lot to add in but I think we are going to add things in little by little. And try a few new things as well. But everything seems to depend on how well Molly does and how much of my time is taken holding and caring for her while trying to squeeze in the school work.

I am still trying to teach Molly to use a Pacifier. Here she is actually taking it and holding it in herself. It doesn't happen all the time but I will take what I can get.
She still sleeps a lot but wakes up often to eat and be held. But she is staying awake a little more during the day and is more content to lay on the floor or swing and look at toys then she used to be.

So far so good

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Wow Birds

For a number of weeks we have been hearing the call of some birds in the early morning and often at night as well. We have been calling them the Wow Birds because that is what their call sounds like. It is like they are screeching out the word Wow over and over again. It isn't the most pleasant sound anyway but to hear it early in the morning it is especially unwelcome. Tonight we finally got a good look at these birds that have plagued us. They are a small group of parrots. (There were four in our tree tonight but some of said to have seen up to 6) No parrots are not native to these parts but this particular flock has lived in our neighborhood for years. Someone must have let some pets go or something years ago. We have often heard others that live near us speak of them but until recently we hadn't seen or heard them.
For some reason they have decided to hang out in the pine tree in our yard. Our next door neighbor's theory is that they come to talk to his parrot which is kept in his front room. I guess it gets a lot more agitated when the parrots are outside making noise.

For what ever reason, they are here, visiting us often and at least now we know what they look like. The kids are very excited to have parrots and look for them all the time. They are disappointed when they aren't in our tree.

Sorry the pictures are a bit fuzzy. We had to zoom in on the birds at the top of the tall tree and evidently the zoom on our camera doesn't do a great a job.

Monday, August 17, 2009

We jumped back in... a little early.

My husband didn't like my observation that school doesn't happen when he is home that I made in my last post. He doesn't like the thought that he somehow throws our schedule off. So this morning he decided we should do school. I wasn't totally prepared to do all our subjects and I still haven't made us a checklist of things to cover each day but we got started on things that I did have ready.

We started our day with reading Book of Mormon Stories for Young Latter Day Saints. This is an old out of print book that my Mom remembers from her childhood. She has collected a few copies so when I saw it on her shelf I thought it would be fun to read through with the kids. It is a little more advanced than the Book of Mormon Stories reader which we have already read through a number of times. This old book goes through the Book of Mormon chronologically so it started with the stories of the Brother of Jared. Sophie especially liked the illustrations.

We jumped into our table work next. Ian and Sophie did some Math. They just picked up where they left off a month or two ago. Sophie needs to review her multiplication tables again, but Ian actually did even better at his math than I remember him doing before. Henry did some cutting from his Kumon cutting book. Ian also did a lesson from his Explode the code book too. He had trouble focusing on this after already doing his math so next time we wont try to do one right after the other. Maybe a break will be better.

We started our Science today. I broke out the dollar store poster of the Periodic table, I had picked up months ago and we looked at it for awhile and then hung it up on the wall. And then we read a few pages of What's smaller than a pygmy shrew? which is the first book from our Chemistry curriculum. (Yes I sprung for the more expensive chemistry program. I just loved the idea of reading all these great books for chemistry and having them on hand sounded so nice. I won't have to worry about trying to find the books at the library or replacing one with something else if the library doesn't have it.)

We even added in Latin today too. I picked up this latin book last spring and planned to work it into our year. We did the first lesson, which was just the introduction of our first Latin word. It seems like a strange one to start with but the kids had fun. The word was Nauta so we talked about nauta and then found a few ways we use this latin root in our words today. Then the kids drew a picture of a Nauta. Sophie drew a sailor and Ian drew an Astronaut.
So it was a start at learning some latin roots.

That is about all we formally covered today and will be adding some history, art, music, poetry, grammar and all the other subjects that we weren't ready to do today. But it was a start... and I can tell it is going to be difficult to juggle school work with a baby. With Dad home to give the kids the one on on time they needed with Math and such we were able to do it. But once it is just me.... everything may be a lot more crazy!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

A Plug Would Be Nice!

Is there a secret to teaching your baby to take a pacifier? Sophie was never able to take a pacifier because of her cleft, Ian took one finally when he was teething and he was a number of months old, Henry never took to a pacifier (and I really tried!). I really want Molly to take a pacifier. And I am trying but she just doesn't seem to take to it. Once in awhile she will but mostly she doesn't. I still try though hoping she will eventually take it and be content.

I see babies happily and quietly sucking away on theirs while Molly spends her awake time crying and screaming. She loves to be held but I am not able to always hold her so when I put her down she screams. She will swing for a short amount of time and sometimes will allow me to lay her down on the floor while she looks at the world around her. But mostly she screams.

I don't know if it is just that I have forgotten what a newborn is like or if Molly in particular is a bit more cranky then most but it is really hard to deal with at times. She has also decided to be colicky. Every night from about 7 to 9 p.m. she shrieks and there is nothing I can really do about it. The pediatrician told me to try camomile tea and to make sure to swaddle and bounce her. It hasn't really made a difference.

Sophie really tires to help. She will hold Molly for a bit while I finish making dinner or change the laundry or whatever chore I am trying to squeeze in between feedings. Sophie even tries to take over some of my chores, like getting breakfast or lunch for the boys. She is really trying new things that before she just left up to me.

Ian doesn't seem to be changed since the baby joined us. He still goes about his play and ignores the crying. Henry on the other has been a lot more needy lately and throws a lot more tantrums thinking that we will give in if he whines and cries too. maybe he sees that Molly gets held because she cries so he thinks we will give him what he wants if he just cries enough.

Or maybe this is all just me and my lack of sleep talking. I just think things are hard because I am making it through each day rather sleep deprived. Or maybe it is just time to start getting back onto our usual schedule and head "back to school". My husband still has two more weeks off of work and we have always found it hard to "do school" when he is home. He is too big a distraction, I guess.

Sorry to not post in almost a week and then when i finally do I just complain. I really don't mean to complain or whine. I knew having a newborn is rough. And I do know the rewards are worth the trouble in these first few weeks/months. I am just a bit bleary eyed and fuzzy headed the last few weeks and don't have much on my mind except trying to get through each day.

Monday, August 10, 2009

9 years

Last week my husband and I did something we rarely do. We actually went to a movie in the theater. We hate spending the money on going to a film when the price of the two tickets pays for our month of Netflix or we could even buy the DVD if we wanted to just wait a while. So usually we just see what is coming out and add it to our Netflix queue and wait. The only exception to this is Harry Potter. We have gone to the theater to see each of the films as they have come out. We even saw a number of them the first day they were released. It is actually really fun to go to the movies when people are so excited about the film and are even dressed up as their favorite characters.

So we went to see The Half Blood Prince last week. We went to a 10:00 p.m. showing, on a week night. We ended up being the only people enjoying the stadium seating and big screen. It was a good film but, as usual, we both agreed the book is a lot better. Even though we hadn't read the book in a long time there were still things we knew were left out. And it is always fun to be reminded of some of the things we had forgotten about.

So why is Harry Potter so important to us? Why would we spend the money on a film when we usually wouldn't? Harry Potter is part of our marriage. That may sound a bit strange but there are many happy memories associated with Harry Potter that started from almost the beginning of our married life.

We were engaged in the spring of 2000 and that was when the 4th book was about to be released and the hype was big. We didn't know much about the books but knew everyone was talking about them. Even my Mom had bought the first few books and so we decided to give the first one a try. We needed something to do together that didn't require us to spend money, so we read books to each other. Or actually I just listened as my then fiance read Harry Potter to me. He enjoyed doing all the different voices for the different characters and I am not as good at the accents and voices. So I listened while he read the first book and then the next one. Our emails to each other during this time, often consisted of us discussing what we thought was going to happen next and how we were looking forward to that nights chapters. (I know, sort of cheesy!)

The fourth book was released in July of 2000. We were married in August and took the fourth book with us on our Honeymoon. It went all the way to London with us and we read some of it there. We even visited Kings Cross Station to see platform 9 3/4. There wasn't one there of course but I have a picture of me standing on Platform 9.

As each of the books has been released we have read them aloud together. We usually tried to read them aloud together first so we could experience the excitement, and be scared or worried together. My husband would read one or two chapters after work before he was tired and started to fall asleep, it was just taking too long. By the time the 6th and 7th books were released we had a few kids and I was home with them, and the books were there on the shelf. I couldn't resist reading ahead. So the last two books I read to myself first but he still read them aloud because he really enjoyed doing the voices and loves to read aloud. I do admit those read alouds weren't nearly as fun, since I already knew what was going to happen.

So yes, Harry Potter has become a fond memory of our engagement and early married life.

Today as I have looked back over the last 9 years it is hard not to remember those hours spent enjoying the books and movies together as a couple. I would never call us Harry Potter fanatics but for some reason when I remember those months of our engagement, it is Harry Potter that comes to mind.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Not just sitting at home

People are always telling me that I am amazing for getting out and about so soon after my babies are born. It isn't that I don't need extra sleep or that I need some time to heal. I just can't stay home. I love fresh air and go a bit stir crazy when inside too long. So even though we have a newborn and she keeps me from getting a good night's sleep, we have still been keeping ourselves busy with activities and outings.

My three older kids start to really bounce off the walls if we are home all day long, so my husband has made sure to get them out and about each day and leave me to get a nap. Molly and I still join them on many outings so we too can get some fresh air and a change of scene.

We have actually spent the last week at my parents house. The kids have cousins to play with and a big yard to roam around in. Grandpa's orchard has been a favorite play place while we have been here. I think because it is fenced off and you have to go through a small gate to get in there seems to be a bit of magic about this part of the garden.

We took the kids to see the Big Trees. The southern California cousins hadn't ever been so we felt like we needed to show them these giant sequoias.

They all had so much fun climbing on, around and through the trees and rocks.

And of course the kids have spent a lot of time in the pool each day.

Grandma's house is a great place to take a little vacation.