Saturday, June 30, 2012

The Croup

I did something last Tuesday that I almost never do. I took Jonathan to the doctor. It doesn't seem so unusual - people do it all the time, right? Well, this was Jonathan's first ever sick visit. In fact, the last time I have had any of my children on a sick visit was when Aaron was 18 months old.
I was not shooting for any sort of record or anything and I am certainly not bragging about our lack of sick visits. We've had plenty of sickness in our home ... and more in the last year than ever! I just prefer to treat illnesses at home with natural remedies.
This time was different, though. I woke up to hearing Jonathan gasping for air and hearing a horrible barky cough. The barky cough is no stranger to Jonathan. Jonathan gets croup every single time he gets an upper respiratory virus/cold. The reason it was different this time is that he did not have any symptoms of a virus along with the labored breathing and horrible barky cough.
I immediately started thinking that maybe I had been wrong all those times I sat up with him at night treating him for croup. Perhaps they were all asthma attacks and I had just missed it in my attempt to diagnose.
Instead of trying to do all of the guessing that I normally do when I have a sick child, I decided that I would take him to the doctor. I made an appointment and took him in.
The doctor listened to him breathe for quite some time and told me that it was indeed croup. I had no idea that he could have croup without having all the other symptoms with it. I also learned that some children do not outgrow croup tendencies until they are 9. He also said that he is not ruling out the potential that Jonathan may be asthmatic considering the frequency in which he gets the croup, and given the family history of asthma. 

The first couple of nights of the virus, croup symptoms develop and I usually spend the entire night sitting with him, trying to keep him calm, so that the croup symptoms don't worsen. I also try to stay with him, so that I can make sure that he is breathing properly. Usually by the 3rd day, the labored breathing is over, but an incessant cough develops. It is, in some ways, worse than the barky croup cough. Then by the 4th day it is mostly over with just a mild lingering cough. I am hoping that Jonathan outgrows croup long before 9 years old! I also hope that asthma is not something that is in his future.
On a side note: I have been treating him appropriately all those times he has had the croup in the past. That's always nice to hear! Sometimes a trip to the doctor is worth the peace of mind that it brings.

To learn more about how to treat Croup naturally, I would encourage you to read The Healing Power of Herbs for Croup.  

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Drum Roll Please ...

The frog eggs we collected were NOT the upland chorus frog like we thought . They were Cope's Gray Tree Frogs. How cool is that? Tree Frogs!

We clearly didn't know what we were doing ... and discovered that these tree frogs were nothing like the toad tadpoles from our previous experience. They began to climb out of the water as soon as their front arms began to appear. We made places for them to climb out ... but didn't realize that they would actually climb out of the entire container. So, the next morning, we found 3 little dead tree frogs in different places on my kitchen floor attempting to escape their habitat.
So, we immediately scooped up the remaining tadpoles and set them free at the closest pond.
It was incredibly fun watching the metamorphosis and discovering what they actually were! Our tadpole days are officially over now. We are not going to be collecting tadpoles again anytime soon.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Final Week of the 2011-2012 School Year

This has been one crazy year for us!
We got off to a bit of a rough start and I had a difficult time getting myself together after that rough start. I am sure it won't be the last crazy year we have. Without a doubt, the content that we studied this year for 2nd and 4th grade was outstanding! We LOVED Martin's curriculum guide this year and all the amazing books we read together as we did an overview of world history.
We studied American History with Aaron and he really enjoyed it! He also discovered how much he loves to read. He has read several of the Chronicles of Narnia books this year and is slowly working his way through all of them. (I read the first 3 out loud to both Martin and Aaron and got them hooked!)
We've only just dabbled in Kindergarten with Jonathan. He can read pretty well considering that we haven't done anything consistently all year. He is so ready to be able to read like his big brothers!
Rosalie and Jonathan became best friends this year. I spend several hours each morning pouring over the books with my older two and that has caused my younger two to bond. They will fight like normal siblings, but they have truly developed a friendship that makes my heart happy.
Martin will finish the 4th grade this Friday. Aaron will finish 2nd grade on Tuesday.
We plan to take the month of July off and then start K, 3rd, and 5th grade in August.
I have struggled a great deal this year in my homeschooling journey. I've had many moments over the past year that were filled with tears and despair. My heart's desire is to have my children at home with me and to share in all aspects of their learning, growing, and developing. However, I struggle deeply with feeling inadequate at being able to do so. The older Martin gets, the harder it has become to teach certain lessons. I doubt my abilities to continue on this path without driving myself and everyone around me crazy.
Then I take a deep breath and calmly meditate on  the words of Scripture that can be found in Philippians chapter 4:6-9

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things arepure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.

His peace does come over me as long as I am meditating on those scriptures and spending time praying, reading the Word, and seeking Him in all things.
Praise God for another school year, lots of learning, lots of bonding, and a much needed month long break!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The Track Meet

The runners marched on to the field to the Olympic song. The yellow group is Aaron's group. (7 year old boys) Aaron signed up to run the 800m and the 400m.
The green group is Martin's group. (10 year old boys)
Martin signed up to run hurdles, the 100m dash, and the 400
You can see Aaron on the right side of the picture getting ready to run the 800m which is about a half mile.
We discovered during the week of Runner's Camp that Aaron's strength is in distance running. He ran the 800m in only 3 minutes and 44 seconds! He won a 2nd place ribbon in his age group!

He won a 5th place ribbon for the 400 m.
Martin got participation ribbons in some events, he got 5th place in the 400, and 3rd place in the shot-put. Rosalie and Jonathan ran the sibling race and each of them got participation ribbons too.
We had a super fun week of learning track and field events while also studying the truth of God's Word. They can't wait to go back next year!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

More Runner's Camp

I finally got a picture of all 4 of them in their RC t-shirts this morning before we left. It was very early and I had just gotten through waking them up. Martin had just told me that he was tired of being woke up. (these kiddos are a little spoiled with our leisurely mornings and always getting to sleep until they wake up on their own! Of course ... my children are mostly early risers ... so don't think for a second that I ever get to sleep past 7!)

Is that a cupcake in his hands?? We had a little birthday party at mini-camp today and the children enjoyed some yummy cupcakes!

All four of the children are loving their week at Runner's Camp! I'll have more pictures later this week of the track meet!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Identifying tadpoles

We caught frog eggs on the 15th of May.

They have grown by leaps and bounds in the past month! In the last couple of days, we noticed that their hind legs were out! We started with 14 tadpoles ... and all of them have had voracious appetites, and have been growing and thriving. We did decide, though, that 14 was just too many to keep up with.  I was having to clean the container out every other day. (who has time for that?)

We will see these 8 through their entire metamorphosis and then let all but 1 of them go.  Recently, we have been trying to identify the type of frog that they are ... and we are thinking that they are Upland Chorus Frogs.
Another fun science project for the Holland Family!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Runner's Camp

We are all going to Runner's Camp this week! Martin and Aaron are with 10 year old boys and 7 year old boys respectively. Jonathan and Rosalie are going to the mini-camp.
I am helping and doing some teaching in the 4 and 5 year old group at the mini-camp.
It was a great day for all of us. Jonathan and Rosalie loved the mini-camp and were so happy to learn that they get to go back tomorrow!
Martin and Aaron got t-shirts and a special runner's camp bag and Bible. We got a special lunch box for Jonathan and Rosalie ... and you would have thought it was the best gift they had ever received! They loved taking their lunch with them to mini-camp!
I'll come back later with a picture of all of them in their t-shirts. J & R got their own runner camp t-shirts  to wear the rest of the week! 

Monday, June 11, 2012

Painting our clay creations!

Last week the Jonathan and Rosalie made some clay creations and waited patiently for them to dry ... so they could paint them! Jonathan made a boat with an oar and Rosalie made a pendant and beads. 
What fun it was to paint them!!
I don't know about your children, but mine love to paint!
I used crayola quick dry clay to make their creations and crayola paints to pain them.
The clay is really great and we've used it a lot this year ... however it does break easily. As Jonathan was painting his boat ... the front of it broke. It's lots of fun to work with, just beware that it can frustrate a child when their creation breaks. Jonathan immediately said that it was no problem for him, though, because he would just pretend that it was a broken boat!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Neighborhood cookout

On Memorial Day, we gathered with our neighbors and had a big cookout. We all brought our own meat, brought side dishes and desserts to share. Oh, yeah ... chocolate cake.  (I also made whole grain pasta salad ... no picture, though)
I made homemade whole grain hot dog and hamburger buns ... and figured out an awesome trick to make them shiny and give them a great texture on the top. I brushed buttermilk on each of the buns before the rise, and then baked them. We all loved how they turned out!

Here is a picture of many of those gathered. We moved the chairs around all afternoon to stay in the shade.

They children played on a slip and slide and in the small baby pools. It was a fun day and we had the opportunity to get better acquainted with our neighbors. I hope we can do it again soon! 

Monday, June 4, 2012

Our Day Trip to the Outer Banks

Last week, we headed to the Outer Banks for a day trip. We started by visiting the Wright Brother's National Park in Kitty Hawk, NC. 

It was so much fun seeing the place where the Wright Brothers made the first flight. Martin and I read the book, The Wright Brothers and their Sister, last year and have been wanting to visit since we read that book! I will be reading it to Aaron this coming school year ... so the timing was perfect!

The walk to the monument wasn't a short one ...  but the walk up the hill ... was TOTALLY worth it!

The view was fantastic!

We couldn't make a trip all the way to the coast without sticking our toes in the water! We didn't originally plan to get wet ... but alas ... we got wet. (after spending about 20 minutes at the beach we had to head out to our next stop) When we got back to the van, I discovered a bag full of swim suits ... that I had no idea was in the van)

Next we headed off to the Roanoke Island Aquarium. We really enjoyed it!

We especially enjoyed petting the rays! We didn't realize that we'd get through the aquarium so quickly ... so next we headed to ...
the Bodie Island Lighthouse. They were still doing some repairs ... but it was fun to visit and see up close! We also walked around the historic house next to it and read all the fascinating history associated with this lighthouse.
And of course ... since we had time ... and those swimsuits ... we headed back to the beach for some REAL swimming and playing! SO MUCH FUN! This was the first time the children were able to swim at a real oceanfront beach (we've gone to a beach on the chesapeake bay and a beach on one of the rivers that feeds the bay and to Virginia Beach, but didn't get to swim)so, as you might imagine, the children were absolutely thrilled! It was so much fun to watch them enjoy it as they did.

Rosalie wasn't too excited about the water ... it took her awhile to warm up to it ... even after she let it touch her feet, she wanted to be holding someone's hand.
Jonathan was so funny. He kept shouting, "THIS IS THE BEST DAY EVER!" He was also very concerned about Martin and Aaron. He kept shouting at them to come back ... and telling them they were going too far in. Rich finally said, "Jonathan, it's okay buddy, I've got this! You don't have to worry about them!" After the beach, we cleaned up and went out for dinner. We packed snacks and lunch, but went to a restaurant for dinner. Since we do that so rarely, the children were super excited about that too!
This was the scene after we ate and headed home. The 3 boys were out like a light ... but Rosalie was still wide awake and driving us crazy with her NON-STOP talking. She finally fell asleep about an hour from home. We had such a fun time! I included bunches of more pictures for all the grandparents to enjoy ... and anyone else who has the time!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

It's what is on my wall...

Rich had the buck that he killed in Pennsylvania last year mounted and it's now hanging on my wall above the piano in my living room. It is a European mount - and I think it looks great.
The walls are somewhat bare all around it, though ... and if I had an eye for detail, I'd probably know exactly what to do to spruce that area up. But alas ... I don't have an eye for detail and I have no idea what to do to that wall.
So, for now it's the Buck and a piano.