Monday, June 27, 2011

We're a team!

Me: We're the girlies!
Rosalie: (moving her head up and down with wide eyes) We're a Team!

I have no idea how she came up with that - but it is certainly true - she and I have to stick together in this house full of boys! She is such a funny girl!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

This is what naptime is like now ...

... that the crib is gone. Now that I have instituted a mandatory rest time in our home ... the fact that she is playing quietly in her room is fine with me. It almost always ends with her sleeping at some point. I am just so thankful that she's happy to play by herself and she gets a little sleep too. Win-Win.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Martin and Aaron break a board!!

The final night of the Tae Kwon Do Camp - each camper got to break a board! Here is a little video of Martin and Aaron breaking a board.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Tae Kwon Do Sports Camp

Martin and Aaron had an amazing time last week at the Tae Kwon Do Extreme Sports Camp. They learned all sorts of kicks and punches while also learning that they need to keep their focus higher. (on Jesus) It was a great week!
In the videos below, Aaron is the third person from the left. Martin was completely terrified of being up front, so he got permission to be in the back. So, we were unable to see him do his kicks and punches. Aaron was perfectly happy being directly in front.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Busy, Busy Week!

We've had a busy week! Martin and Aaron have been going to Tae kwon do camp all week long and tonight is the presentation night. We are super excited to go and see all that they have learned this week. The camp functioned like a sports camp/Vacation Bible School. I knew that Aaron would absolutely love it - he thrives in social situations and loves to be with lots of people. I was worried about how Martin would like it. . . he doesn't thrive so much around others and is quite shy in new situations. He has loved it just as much as Aaron. I don't have any pictures to share yet, but I'll be sure to post some pictures next week of the presentation night. They will each break a board tonight. (How cool is that?)
Rich and I have been taking turns taking the two older boys each night or staying at home with the younger two.
I have also been very busy working on a Kindergarten curriculum to use with Jonathan this fall. I absolutely love Heart of Dakota and will continue using it. I just know that Jonathan isn't ready for Little Hearts for His Glory(LHFHG) and the guide before that one is too young for him. So, I have been developing an in between curriculum. I have taken all of the Kindergarten recommendations from LHFHG and will be using those. (i.e. Math, Phonics, and Handwriting) I will be covering Biblical History in great detail. I will be using the Christian Liberty Press "Our Father's World" for Science ... and I have already pulled activities/worksheets off of the internet to use along with those lessons. I plan on using the extra credit Awana workbook for Bible. I have selected several read alouds that are much shorter than the read alouds used in LHFHG. The read aloud concept along with narration training will get him ready for the longer chapter books that we will read aloud for 1st grade. I thought that I had it completely finished (after working on it for a couple hours a day for several weeks). I copied it all out - all 60 pages of it - and then decided I wasn't satisfied with it. So, yesterday I went back through the entire curriculum and tweaked it. Rich has asked me to be certain before I print it again. :)
The blog has suffered as I have been working on this curriculum - but I wanted all 34 weeks of it to be complete before we start the school year - since I will have my hands full once the school year begins. (k, 2nd, 4th grade ... let the fun begin!)
I think I am finished with it now ... but I plan to give it a few more weeks of reading through it and possibly tweaking it further.
Next week is Vacation Bible School at our church. We have another busy week ahead. The 3 boys will be participating. Rosalie will stay at home with Rich each night. We will be busy next week too, but I'll try to update the blog.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Rest Time

What do you do when most of your home-schooled (never away from you ... always within arms reach of you ... would follow you to the bathroom if you let them) children aren't napping anymore?
That's right. During the school year, we spend the entire morning doing chores, doing school work, and trying to keep the little ones occupied. Lunch time comes and along with it 4 hungry children and at least 1 hungry adult - usually 2 hungry adults. So, lunch is quickly made and passed out and eaten ... and off the littlest one goes to her bed to nap. I send each of the other boys to a room where they are required to spend at least 1 hour (more if I can manage it) by themselves to spend in quiet. They can just lay there, play with a quiet toy, or read. Usually they read. Jonathan will look at books or play with toys.
The three rules are:
1. They have to be quiet
2. They have to be alone
3. They have to stay there until I come and release them

Ahhh ... it is just the breather that I need after a busy morning. You may have guessed by now that quiet time is not as much for the children as it is for me. I really need an hour each day without someone needing something from me or (quite frankly) without someone talking to me. Peace and quiet is one of those things that I absolutely cherish - and because of this season of my life - don't get very much. So, rest time is my friend. I look forward to it each day. I even try to spend it doing something that I like to do - and not something that I need to do. It's refreshing to my soul - and gives me a much better attitude toward my children for the second half of the day.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Amblyopia Patches

Jonathan's new patch

Aaron's new patch

Both Aaron and Jonathan have amblyopia.
What is Amblyopia (lazy eye)?
Amblyopia, commonly known as lazy eye, is the eye condition noted by reduced vision not correctable by glasses or contact lenses and is not due to any eye disease. The brain, for some reason, does not fully acknowledge the images seen by the amblyopic eye. This almost always affects only one eye but may manifest with reduction of vision in both eyes. It is estimated that three percent of children under six have some form of amblyopia.

When we discovered that Aaron had it, he wore a patch on his eye for about 6 months. The adhesive patches were uncomfortable, they caused the skin around his eye to be raw, and it was not fun for him at all. He stopped wearing the patch because the doctor wasn't seeing much improvement with it. He kept wearing his glasses, however. We went back to the doctor in April, and decided to start patching him again. We waited until we were done with the school year ... and went right back to the patching. Once again ... we were dealing with the same issues. The patch is terribly uncomfortable for him. So, I went looking for some sort of alternative. I found this: Anissa's Fun Patches

I cannot begin to tell you how thrilled I am to have found these patches. Of course, Aaron would prefer not to have to wear anything at all. I wouldn't want my good eye to be patched up either! However, I am thankful that we have an alternative to the adhesive patches.

Jonathan's eye is not nearly as bad as Aaron's, so we are waiting to see if just the glasses will be enough for him. We went ahead and ordered one for him just in case we would need to patch him after he is rechecked.

Rich and I both had to be patched as children, so he and I both know how uncomfortable those patches can be. So, if you know anyone who has a child who needs to be patched ... pass on this great information!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

End of the School Year celebration

For our end of the school year and promotion celebration, we took the children to eat at a Japanese Restaurant!

Since we rarely eat out, it was a huge treat for them! They absolutely loved the fun cooking show that was performed right in front of them.

Our table was definitely the loudest in the restaurant with all the laughter and shouts of glee!

Jonathan was a little overwhelmed by it ... but rather enjoyed the volcano that the chef made out of onions.

I am not actually sure if Rosalie got any of the funny jokes from the chef, but you better believe she was laughing harder and louder than any of the children. She didn't want to feel left out.

Aaron used chopsticks the entire evening.

Jonathan and Rosalie both enjoyed the soup!

It was a super fun evening and the children really had fun ... and there smiles and laughter made the whole night worth it.
Additionally, I am super proud of Martin and Aaron and the hard work they did this year in the 1st and 3rd grade. It's been a fantastic year ... and I look forward to journeying with them next year in the 2nd and 4th ...and starting the journey with Jonathan!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

It's Almost Done!!!

After working in the garage for a couple of weeks, Rich was finally ready to start working in the backyard.

The boys served as great assistants as Rich built it. They fetched tools and parts from the garage as Daddy needed them!

The children are so excited about this playset that they can hardly contain their joy!

Here it is almost done!

Today it was done enough that they children were able to swing on it. Rich spent today putting on handles and getting the sandbox area prepared for sand. Rich still needs to anchor the set. Once it is anchored, they will have free reign!
The children have said a couple of things about it:
"Thanks Nanny and Pupup - we love this playset!!"
"We have a park in our own backyard!!"

Monday, June 6, 2011

Rosalie sings ...

This is a girl who loves to sing! She makes up songs about everything. This particular day, I got her to sing along with the piano.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Today is our last day of school!!

Martin has completed the 3rd grade!!

Aaron has completed the 1st grade!

I am so excited to say that today is our last day of the school year! They both had an outstanding year. They have both grown tremendously in their skills. Both Martin and Aaron had fantastic scores on their standardized achievement tests. I can hardly believe the year is complete!
Martin is now a 4th grader and Aaron is a 2nd grader!
Jonathan will begin Kindergarten and enter the "official" Holland School in the fall!
We have a super fun promotion and end of the school year celebration planned for the children. (A blog post and pictures to come later)
We are all looking forward to taking about 8-9 weeks off this summer.
I have lots of plans and goals for myself this summer and I am already working on schedules and charts to keep the 4 children in a routine.
I'll share more about that later.
Happy Summer Vacation!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

He will fall asleep anywhere!

Jonathan will fall asleep anywhere. On this occasion, Rich had just put him in "time out." Before Rich had a chance to release him, he was already asleep.