Monday, January 31, 2011

Jonathan loves "his" letters

I've recently taught Jonathan how to navigate on the computer - so now one of his most favorite things to do is "his" letters on the computer. I am convinced that if I don't start him in K next year, he's just going to do it without me. I am having a hard time making up my mind on what I should do with him. He's a super motivated learner. I have some time before I decide - but I am thinking about it all the time. If I do start him in K next year, I'll have K, 2nd, and 4th grade going on here at the Holland house.
There is certainly no hurry in starting him, but I can't think of a reason to put it off another year either.
I keep wondering how it is even possible that I could already have 3 school aged children.

Lord, help me to treasure each moment I have with my children!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Sometimes you just have to make a mess!

I made chocolate covered pretzels the other day. The children really enjoyed them! I rather enjoyed watching them get covered in chocolate. It was such a fun treat for them. It was also fun to show Rosalie the picture of her covered in chocolate. She was so surprised and her giggles were fantastic. A little chocolate goes a long way!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Martin plays the recorder

It is very important to me that each of my children learn how to read music. I know that they probably won't become musicians, but I at least want them to know how to read music.
I gave Martin the option of learning the piano along with Aaron or learning the recorder. He chose the recorder. So, I am teaching him how to play the recorder. My plan is to use the recorder as a tool to teach him the language of music. I do have plans to move him on to a different instrument in a year or so. I am not sure which instrument ... I am far more comfortable teaching a woodwind than a brass ... but we'll cross that bridge when we come to it. I will post a video of Martin soon playing his recorder.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Aaron's piano lessons

I am so excited that I have finally scheduled piano lessons for Aaron! I have been wanting to start him for quite some time. He's doing quite well with the lessons. He catches on quickly and does really well with learning each of the concepts.
I will post a video soon of him playing.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

"cause, said so"

Rosalie floored me the other day when I asked her, "why?"

Her answer was completely unexpected! She said, "Cause, said so!"

Really?? She's not two yet!! How can she possibly be saying these words to me?

Well, I had to get her on video saying those words. So, yes, this is somewhat engineered - but I really wanted a memory of her saying this ... and proof too.
She amazes us everyday. I am not used to this "girl" attitude at all!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Grace Flows Down

Jonathan is 4 years old. A lot of children are done napping by the time they are 4 years old. Martin was done with naps by the time he was 3. Jonathan, however, is not done with naps. He takes good naps almost everyday. Every once in a while, he will come downstairs . . . and I will suspect that he never really slept . . . and by about 5-6PM, I will know for certain. (via meltdowns and red eyes)
The boy still needs his naps. Today, since we had friends over, I let the nap slide. He didn't want to miss out on the fun, and I didn't have the heart to make him leave the fun.
By the time 6:45 rolled around, I was ready to put him to bed. He was more than ready to go to sleep. His eyes were so tired. He was wrestling with being very tired and not wanting to be alone. The rest of the family was downstairs hanging out on the couch together. I couldn't blame him for wanting to be there too.
He needed to be sleeping, though. I took him upstairs and he melted in my arms and started crying. I could see that he really needed time with me. So, I sent Rosalie downstairs and asked Rich to keep her downstairs so that I could be with Jonathan. I told Jonathan that I would stay with him until he fell asleep.
I was irritated about it, though. When it's time for my children to go to bed . . . I will admit that I am ready to be done. I need them to go to bed quickly for me ... so that I can have some quiet time, down time, me time.
So, I sat there with him. (not with a happy attitude) While I watched him calm down, though, I started praying for him. When he had visibly calmed down, I quietly began singing his favorite song to him, "Grace Flows Down". I had barely gotten to the 3rd word when, a smile spread across his face, and I visibly saw the tension leave his body. He completely relaxed as I sang to him. By the time I was done singing, he had gotten into position for falling asleep. Fingers in mouth, clutching his night-night, and baby. (yep, I just said fingers in mouth ... he still falls asleep with fingers in mouth)
I stayed next to his bed on my knees, praying for him, and watching him fall asleep. It was very clear when he finally slipped into a beautiful and contented sleep.
By the time he fell asleep, my attitude had turned from frustration to pure joy. Clearly, my attitude was all wrong to begin with ... but staying with Jonathan was exactly what I needed to do ... not only for Jonathan. For me. Sometimes, I need a reminder to slow down, and just enjoy these precious opportunities with my children. This was an opportunity to deepen my relationship with Jonathan. This was an opportunity to be next to him on my knees praying for him as he fell asleep. It was precious. It was just what Jonathan needed. It was just what I needed. Thank you, Lord for Jonathan. He is a precious gift.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Little Curls

For those of you out there that only get to experience our family in pictures ... or for those we don't get to see nearly as often enough - I have to share with you what is behind my seemingly bald baby girl's head. On the surface ... it may seem like she has no hair ..

... but indeed, the girl has hair. She has precious little ringlets that hang from the back of her head. Yes, I spend way too much time trying to straighten my own hair ... which gets curlier and curlier the older that I get ...
However, as much as my "curly" hair makes me crazy ... is how much I adore Rosalie's curly locks!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Hangin' with the Reid Children

Ansleigh and Jonathan

Martin, Graham, Campbell, and Aaron

The past 3 weeks we've had a blast on Thursdays hanging out with the Reid children! They've showed up bright and early and spent the morning and afternoon hanging out with us. My children have had the best time!! We get one more Thursday with them before they track back in for school. Rosalie is a social butterfly and has loved playing with Campbell each week. She talks about her just about everyday.
We can't wait to have them back in our home again on Thursday!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Mom's Heart Conference

I am very excited that I am going to get to attend the Mom's Heart Conference!! I am thankful that for the two days that I will be occupied with this conference, that Rich is going to hold down the fort at home.
I am thankful also that my friend, Shannon is going to go with me. I am looking forward to spending time with other Mothers who have devoted their lives to nurturing the hearts of their children and cultivating in them a love for Jesus. I am excited about learning from mothers who have been where I am and live to tell about it!
If you live in one of the 4 areas across the US where this conference is taking place ... check it out ... it may be just what you need!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Working on the Dining Room

We almost have the living room done. We are still looking for wall decor ... just haven't found the right thing yet. So, we moved on to the dining room. We bought all new furniture, put up curtains, and decorated a little. We have browns and blues in our living room, so we wanted to continue with the browns and blues in our dining room since it's all one great room. We are also still looking for a wall hanging to go on the wall above the buffet. We just haven't found it yet.

Once we finally finish the living room ... it will be on to my bedroom. I am also working on Rosalie's room as well.
The boys' room feels like a lost cause to me. I have no idea what to do with it. So, for now, I have no plans.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Jonathan can write his name!

I started "preschool" with Jonathan last August when we started our school year. We did about 4-5 weeks of it before we started getting ready to move, and I admit that I decided to let that part of our day go. There was too much to do and since preschool is not really necessary, we let it slide. Jonathan really enjoyed doing while we were doing it. He surprised me in that he was a very motivated learner and a lot more focused than I expected him to be. He's my "all boy" child. He's my child that plays all day without stopping. He's my child that would be happy if he could spend the entire day in the dirt. I didn't think for a moment that he'd also be so studious as well. At this point my day is full of 3rd grade, 1st grade, and keep Rosalie out of trouble. So, preschool is going to stay on the back burner until further notice. However, Jonathan, (completely on his own) has developed an intense interest in writing letters. He learned to write his name! I am super excited about how easy it seems to come to him. Both Martin and Aaron struggled a great deal with handwriting, but Jonathan not only doesn't struggle - he LOVES it!

So, even though I am not doing "formal" preschool with him. We do spend some time every now and then working on his letters. He also soaks up quite a bit just listening to the lessons I teach his brothers.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Martin's latest lego set

Martin can sit and do legos for hours. I am amazed at the patience he has to work on a project from start to finish. This particular lego set has 592 pieces. He started working on it when he woke up this particular day ... had a couple of breaks factored in throughout the day for meals ... and finished at about 7:15 PM. Occasionally I will sit down with him, look at the instructions and try to do a few pieces with him. He looks at the instructions and instantly know how the pieces go together. I have to orient the picture this way and that way ... orient the legos the same way as the picture ... and eventually I can figure out how the pieces fit.
I guess you could say that legos just aren't my thing. They are definitely Martin's thing, however!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Rosalie and shopping ...

I took Rosalie shopping with me today. I needed various items for my dining room. Just a little side note ... I am not a shopper. I never have been. I don't enjoy it at all. I don't like to spend money either. Rich and I are a good match in that respect ... we are both savers.
I have to say that Rosalie makes shopping a lot of fun for me. The girl is not even 2 years old yet, but she is quite the little shopper. She sits in the front of the cart and points and says, "ooh" and "ahh". When I place something in the cart she wants to hold it. If I let her hold it, she touches it and exclaims with glee, "I like it!" Wow. Shopping with my little girl ... is lots more fun that shopping by myself!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Being efficient with our time ...

We are back in school this week. I look forward to breaks more than anyone ... I also look forward to getting back to routine more than anyone! So, I am a happy camper being back in the routine of school.
I worked on a master schedule a little over the break. I desire to me more efficient with our/my time. I tend to be an all or nothing kind of a person. I need more balance. I need to be able to have a set schedule, but also enjoy having the ability to stray from set schedule or even just adjust as needed. So, I have a set schedule. I like to follow it as closely as possible ... and try very hard not to stress out and make the rest of the family miserable if it's not perfectly followed.
I have placed in to our schedule a few non-negotiables, however. I am super excited about those!
Aaron started piano lessons yesterday!! I tried teaching piano lessons to Martin a couple years ago. It really went well, but we started right before Rosalie was born ... then we moved ... and piano lessons got set aside. I kept meaning to pick them back up again, but in the midst of it all ... Martin lost interest in playing. He really doesn't want to play piano at all.
Aaron is so excited about playing. He loves music so very much ... and I am thrilled to be starting him in lessons. So, he is taking piano lessons every Monday afternoon at 4 PM. That's right. It's a set in stone part of our schedule that is a non-negotiable. I used to always think that it was such a great thing that we wouldn't have to pay someone to teach piano lessons to our children ... what a great money savings!! It really is a perk - don't get me wrong. I can tell you, though, that it's a a lot easier to get your child to a lesson when you have money riding on it! We never missed a single soccer practice ... nor did we miss an ice skating class. However, it is so easy to say, "oh, we'll get to that later ... or let's just do that tomorrow!" So, I have learned that we must schedule it as if we have to put our coats on and drive somewhere. (or it just won't happen)
I also noticed that our school day kept starting later and later throughout the fall semester. Rich and I would linger over our coffee in the morning ... thus giving us a late school start ... and him a late work day start. Wow. That's easy to do when he works from home.
So, I have decided that we need to be more disciplined about the morning and getting started.
Our mornings:
7AM - coffee with Rich
7:30 - breakfast/Bible reading and prayer
8:00 chores
8:30 - Scripture memory
9:00 Get Aaron started on written work
9:15 - History, read aloud, Geography, elective, Bible, Poetry with Martin
10:00 - read alouds, elective, Bible, Poetry, and History with Aaron
10:30 - Martin and Aaron are doing independent work while I start dinner prep
11:00 - Boys outside for PE (weather permitting)
11:30 - lunch
12:00 - Martin continues independent work - Aaron does German on Monday/Thursday/Friday
12:30 - Music Appreciation (Having so much fun with this! We are studying the music of Franz Haydn for the next couple of weeks)
1:00 Martin does German on Monday/Thursday/Friday

Aaron has piano lessons 4 PM on Monday.
Martin has recorder lessons 4 PM on Thursdays.

I put this schedule to the test today ... and it worked really well. I am so pleased with how well the day went.

If anyone is wondering ... Jonathan and Rosalie played with play dough, and played in their room while I was doing school with the other two. I also put in the leap frog Letter Factory DVD for them to watch. Jonathan is all about writing letters these days. I am amazed at how much he loves to write ... and how easy it seems to be for him.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy 2011

Happy New Year to all of my readers!
2010 was a really great year for us!
Some of the highlights for us:
**Rich working with the Huffman Campaign.
**Rich having plenty of work during these hard economic times.
**Our first family vacation to the Smoky Mountains.
**Making the decision to stay here in NC.
**House Hunting.
**Finding a home that perfectly met our needs.
**Moving to our new home.
**Staying healthy.
**Rosalie walking and talking.
**Jonathan improving enormously with his speech.
**Aaron starting 1st grade and excelling beyond my belief!
**Martin hunting with Daddy.
**Martin getting his first gun!

Believe me when I say - Rich and I count our blessings daily. We are so thankful for all that God has provided. Our desire is to keep our eyes focused on Him.

Just for fun ... a couple of pictures to compare.



What a difference a year makes!