Monday, October 6, 2014

the middle child

our family has proven it is possible to have a middle child when you have 4 children.
because of different personalities, this boy has always been our middle child.
(he was stuck in his spot after the 5th baby too)
my grandmother once told me the 'squeaky tire gets the oil'.
he's never gotten much oil.

in his own quiet way, he's growing up and is now one of the big boys.

the only problem with this...
our next boy in line isn't really middle child material.

Monday, September 29, 2014

since i'm on a roll here:


i now have boys old enough to take off on their own
to mountain bike for hours at a time.
i have no idea how to check their tire pressure,
but they can change a flat tire on a trail and a bunch of other stuff i don't even know about.

i feel like i'm supposed to be sad.  i'm not at all.
i admire them.

i'm going to miss this


every night after we put our boys to bed,
we crawl into our bed to read and talk before we doze off.

in a few short weeks a different season will begin.
we will be laying in bed staring at our new son trying to memorize his every feature.
a few days later reality will hit and exhaustion will engulf us.
we will spend the next season quickly putting our big boys to bed and feeding the baby so that we can get a few hours of sleep before the baby is hungry again.

in no time at all though, we will be back to crawling into our bed by ourselves to read and talk.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

all the acorns

i don't pretend that my boys are perfect, because they are not.
after all, they are my boys.
but there is one thing i can say about them.
they all get along.  they very rarely ever argue.
they are friends.
i don't know if it is their personalities, something the husband and i have done,
or just a wonderful blessing from God.
watching their friendship is something that i enjoy.

this night bo christian decided that he needed all the acorns.
his brothers quickly filled his request.




Thursday, September 18, 2014

for me to remember


a month ago the boys and i closed the school books and went to the lake for the day.
it was just us.  not another person in sight.  oh, and the sun.  don't forget the warm sun.
the only sounds i heard for hours was them, the water and the pages of my mother earth magazine.
it was heaven.

i want to remember that day when it is cold and dreary this winter.






bo christian!
he does not like the water as much as his brothers did at his age.
probably because his mother has sat on the beach in a chair all summer instead of interacting with him.  but, my excuse is i've been growing a baby brother for him!
anyways, his feet must be touching the bottom at all times.


the best part of the whole day:
bronson caught his first fish!


Saturday, June 14, 2014

how i homeschool

micaela has a link-up that i can not resist.
i enjoy reading how other people school and of course i like to write about me.

how long have i been homeschooling?
i've homeschooled a total of 4 years, but not all together.
we started off in a catholic school- homeschooled for 3 years - a different catholic school - public school - and this past year we started schoolin' the boys at home again.
whew!
i like to think all this switching around has made my boys very flexible.  
we used to take it one year at a time.
however, this time we decided i will homeschool the rest of my life or at least the next 18 years.
but, we are the parents and that could change, but probably not.

what our mornings sometimes look like.

how many kids are in my family?
we have 5 boys and one due in november.
this coming year i will have boys in 9th, 8th, 6th and 4th.  i homeschool all of them.
don't forget the 2 year old to keep me busy.

our state laws...
i think they are very relaxed.
i send a form in saying what i plan to do with each child and their grade.
easy peasy!
i've been told those are just filed away.  i've never heard of anything being done with them.
children in grades 3-8 are required to take the iowa test each spring.  it only takes one morning.  we do have to take it at a state approved site.  luckily for us, we have a mother in our homeschool group who is 'state approved' to give the test.  the boys just spend the morning taking a test with all their friends.  they actually enjoy it.  my boys tell me it is much easier than the tests given in the public schools (which are a week long).
nothing seems to be done with the tests.
true story:
the first year one of my boys took the test, he did not do the english part.  like, it was all blank.  he just wasn't sure when to start, so he never did.  he scored in the zero percentile of that section. i was never contacted about his blank section.  it makes me wonder if the state even looks at the tests.


my homeschool philosophy or mission statement:
how about my goals instead?
our goal for our boys (and us) is for them to know, love and serve God in this world.  straight out of the baltimore catechism.
the way we see it, if we do those things, God will take care of the rest.  and yes, it is so hard to teach your children those things when you are not very good at it yourself.
i also want them to have a strong foundation in math, know how to write well and know how to learn.

my style:
i used to try to fit myself into one of those boxes, but not anymore.  i'm just me teaching my boys.

do i follow a set curriculum?
yes!  sort of!  only when it works.
i use the mother of divine grace syllabuses.  i really do like them.  we are not enrolled in the school.
i am good at switching things up when it gets boring or is not working.
for example, i have a slow reader.  he never reads all the books for history.  that would be way too much for him.
for math we use saxon.  i like it, but it is a lot of problems.  we never do a whole lesson unless we need the practice.
i have used math-u-see in the past.  i liked it too, but i was tired of all the little blocks and the videos.
this year i am going to use write shop 1 with my 2 oldest boys.  that is not on the MODG syllabus.  i don't have the confidence to teach my boys to write on my own.
oh, and i am using learning language arts through literature for my 4th and 6th grader.  it is what i used with my oldest boys.  emma serl's language lessons are good (what MODG recommends), but boring to us.
so, does that count as using a set curriculum?

a box fort:  all of these boxes are connected with boy sized tunnels running through them.

my best homeschool moments:
when my boys are learning.  that does not mean just book knowledge either.  last week husband spent some time teaching them how to tie knots.  one boy sat down with a book to teach himself more knots.  i like how he was teaching himself.  that will be useful in college.

my not-so-good moments:
first, when i loose my temper.  it could be because i can't explain something in a way they can understand or because they are being lazy.  i have gotten better at closing the book and walking away until later.
i think our relationship and showing love to each other is more important than any school subject.
second, when i over schedule us.  i can't teach and they can't learn if we are exhausted or we are not at home.

how do i stay on track?
this is not that hard for me.
i have lists (surprise!) and i know exactly what we need to do.  the MODG syllabus helps too.
last year we schooled 3 weeks on and 1 week off for most of the year.  the write shop lessons are set up in 2 week chunks, so this year we will go 4 weeks on and 1 week off.  the off weeks give us time to catch up if we got behind.  this is also when i have time to do projects for myself.

how do i keep the 2 year old busy?
i try to have a couple things (easy!) for him to do each week.  maybe play doh, paint the fence with water or sidewalk chalk.  he does have a school tub with his coloring books and markers.  he takes that very serious for maybe 10 minutes.  i read a couple of stories to him every morning so that he does get my undivided attention.  sometimes he takes his bath in the morning.  that could last for an hour.  i just teach from the bathroom floor.  but my real secret is that i never let the schoolin' boys take a break at the same time.  when they break, they automatically go to him since everyone else is busy.
there have been days that the boys are on their own until he goes down for a nap.  sometimes he needs me and i just go with it - this is where that off week is so handy!
however, i have never ever homeschooled with a newborn.  i know lots of mommas have done it, so i know i can.  but, the unknown...


homeschool advice i would give:
pray!
ask lots and lots of questions and then do what you think is best for your kid.  God gave them to you and He will show you what to do.  if what you are doing isn't working you can change it.
i would also say don't over schedule yourself.  give your kid time to be a kid.  but also make sure you give yourself time.  you have to refuel.

Friday, June 6, 2014

this.

this is my favorite time of day right now:
just look at my connor!
we all lay down and read.
it is so quiet for like a whole solid hour!

bo christian takes his 3 hour nap.
the little black fan drowns out all the noise for him.

this forces me to lay down and just read.  i enjoy that.
i just started the lions of little rock.
then after a bit i doze off.

hot summer afternoons can be the best.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

may excursions

husband had been wanting a 4 wheel drive truck that would seat all his boys.
after going on an exhausting 3 day excursion to get an excursion, he finally got one.
if i had known how happy that truck would make him, he would have had one much sooner.
we call it the "blue beast", but really it is just a fancy piece of crap that loves gasoline.
and i must say, there is something sexy about a man that drives a truck with a bunch of boys hanging out of each window.

he took us on a camping excursion in his excursion.
i really do not like to camp, but i live with all these boys and a husband that love it.
so, i go because i love to be with them.
this time wasn't that bad.  except it rained a couple times every single day.
as we were packing up, i realized i hadn't taken a single photo.
here is what i got in a short minute.
this was one of his favorite things to do.
we decided to come home when he ran out of dry clothes.
we only brought bo's bike...
husband and the 4 big boys canoed.
we spent a lot of time on the river playing and relaxing.
some boys fished and some just threw rocks.
we had a great time despite the never ending rain.

husband then took us on another excursion in his excursion.
i'm not sure what to call it.  maybe...
muddin',
trail riding,
driving on old logging roads???
whatever you call it, i don't think men with 5 children and one on the way do it.

this is how he felt about it:


the boys were assessing this situation to see if we could make it up and over this road:

i learned real quick when to roll up the windows so mud would not fly in the truck.
i also learned that this is not an activity to do if you don't like mud or laughing, screaming boys or if you don't like being jerked around.
also, his 4 wheel drive does work very well.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

my glasses and bump

i was never excited about my boys growing up.
i noticed that mothers of teenagers never had anything nice to say about them.  in fact, i have even heard mothers say not nice things about their teens in front of them!  it seemed that the moms always dismiss the unwanted behavior on the age.

well, this has not been the case for me.  at least not yet.
i enjoy my teens.  i like really like them.  i like to talk to them and sometimes i even find them very interesting.
although i must admit i do not think anything about r/c cars is interesting at all.
what i have observed is their behavior is the reflection of the people they are around.  if they are doing something really annoying, the husband or i probably do it too.

anyways we were having a conversation about contacts-
how i took care of mine, did they hurt...
at the end of the conversation, one boy asked what they were made of.
i replied plastic.
and then i freaked out.
i was putting plastic on my eyeballs every single day for all day long!
i don't even have plastic in my kitchen cabinets (besides the pyrex lids).

so, thanks to my boys who make me think, this is me in my glasses:


a 15 week bump picture too:


i feel way bigger than i look.
in fact, i didn't know i was so small until these pictures.
husband is right, i just look like i've birthed 5 kids.
and yeah, my shirt is a bit big.
it's this or regular shirts where i look like i'm rocking a nice beer gut.
i'll take the too big maternity!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

the bos


while i'm getting lunch together, 
he's just eating his apple chunks
while soaking his dirty feet
in a dirty pot.
(notice there is no water splashed out!)

just look at how long his 2 year old legs are!
his eyes are still so blue, but not as ice blue as they used to be.
he is the best little 2 year old i know.
i am so glad i get to spend my days with him.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

just like me right now...totally random

this picture gives so many glimpses into my life lately.
and it is only the backside of 3.75 of my boys.

it was chilly this morning.
bo christian did not have any clean jeans.
i can not find his light jacket.
so, i dug out of the donate pile one of connor's old sweatshirts.
it is only 3 sizes too large.
the boys thought he looked like a gangsta and convinced him to wear the hood over his head.
i did not have the energy to do anything about it.
dirty laundry, can't find anything which means my house is a mess and boys doing whatever they want.

but!
we still have to eat, so we went to sam's to buy groceries.
and we were all happy and i didn't yell.

**************************
i'm exhausted.
this girl that requires lots of sleep and is an excellent napper has something called
pregnancy insomnia.
i don't do no sleep.
if i am tired, i am not a nice person.
every bit of the patience and brain power i do have leaves my body.
i am short with the boys and nag them.
which means they are short with each other and they start fighting.
and then i start yelling.
it just gets out of control and it is all my fault...
(i do keep telling myself that at least i'm not nauseous anymore.)

being the granola person that i am, who refuses to take almost any medicine, i tried this:
for 3 nights now it has worked!
i just used regular table sugar and sea salt.
i put 1/4 tsp under my tongue and i will drift right back off.
this may be one of easiest and strangest things i've ever tried.
*************************
i've gotta start keeping track of the nice comments i get about our family.
my skin is not that thick and i really do get my feelings hurt when people say ugly things or ask rude questions.

today in sam's 2 ladies stopped and asked if all the boys were mine blah, blah, blah.
(these conversations always go the same way.)
the difference was the whole time they were smiling.
as they walked away, they told me how blessed i was.
i about fell over.  i've heard that just a few times in my life.

after i checked out and i headed over to the food court, they stopped me again.
they wanted to let me know how well behaved the boys were.
i was so surprised that they were talking about those 4 boys over there lounging on the outdoor furniture and that 2 year old who was running around turning every knob on each grill.
of course i couldn't get any of the right words out.
i wish i would have thanked them and
let them know how encouraging their simple words were.
especially after the way i have felt lately.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

today

today was the first day in weeks i did not feel one bit sick.
i was surprised all that i was able to accomplish.
the boys and i went to the store, i did 2 loads of laundry, vacuumed the house,
we got all of our school done while bo christian napped,
i made dinner, went for a walk and helped clean up the backyard.
(i did not even take a nap!)
it felt so satisfying to be productive!

but, i also noticed that i didn't pray as much for our baby.
i would forget for long stretches of time that i was even pregnant.
when i'm sick, i pray for my baby and my friends' babies.
i didn't do that today, so i need to figure something out.

today the boys did this:

and he figured out how to shoot a "lulu boom boom".
translation:
lulu - water
boom boom - gun

Friday, May 2, 2014

another blessing

i don't know if i have the words for all my feelings.
but i am going to try...

for years husband and i thought we knew better than God about what our family should look like.
i wish we would have had more faith.

one day we realized our greatest blessings were our boys.
(just like the Bible says and we always knew deep in our hearts)
it was then that we saw what we were missing.

we had paid money to have husband's body mutilated to keep God from giving us any more children.
we mutilated something perfect that God made...how stupid we were.
we then went and had all that mutilation "fixed".

having bo christian was a gift that has been unbelievable.
i don't love him more than my other boys,
but it is through him that i've been able to understand more clearly about God's love and forgiveness.

and now.
now, He has blessed us with another baby.
i still can't wrap my tiny brain around the fact that God could love us this much after we willingly disobeyed Him.

so! yes, 12 weeks.
thrilled does not begin to describe it.

after dinner this night, a man stopped me and asked if they were all mine.
i told him yes, all the boys were my children.
shocked, he asked, "all 5 of them?"
"yes, all 5 of them."
he points at husband and says, "i know why he is bald, but where is your gray hair?"
i wish i had thicker skin for all the hard questions about our family.
really, what i need is to show more love and compassion.
after all, that is exactly what God has done for me.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

39

yesterday i turned 39.
the day was all kinds of wonderful and normal mixed together.
perfect to me!
a friend stopped by for a visit, i schooled the boys, there was good phone conversations, a door knob was pulled off and i got a nap.
husband brought me home a new electric skillet and he made me my favorite brownies.

but, my favorite part of the day was when i asked everyone what i do to make them feel loved.

*there was the safe answer of going to mass together.

*one boy said when i make a good supper even when i don't feel like it.
(dear morning sickness that comes every single evening, you are so reliable)
i thought that was a really sweet and considerate.

*when i read chapter books out loud to them.
this one surprised me!
i have not been reading to them like i used to.
they reminded me of some books we've read together.
i will start again.

*when i help them with their school work.
i was also told they feel loved when i don't give them lots of math problems.
they will just have to feel unloved, because they are doing their math.

*when i take them to the skate park.
it is in a different city in a bad part of town.
i always feel unsafe there.  husband usually takes them.
guess i could take them once this spring or summer.

*the husband said when i get up early with him.
why did he have to say that???
i require so much sleep and he wakes up before it is even morning time.
by the time i roll out of bed he's exercised, done his morning readings, is even dressed and making a hot breakfast for all of us.
maybe i could try to do that once a year???



Saturday, April 26, 2014

the pigs

meet charlie and stanley:


the easter bunny left 2 guinea pigs.
they were quickly named joey and charlie and very loved.
i must say, they were very cute together.
i've even held charlie once.

(don't let me get started on the easter bunny...
we wish we would've never started with these fictitious gift givers.
i can see them quickly being phased out of our family with the age gap we have.)

sadly, to some, joey died a few days later.
he was delicately wrapped in paper bags and thrown in the freezer,
on top of all my beef.

the frozen pig was returned and the boys took the last remaining pig at the store - 
stanley, the huge scary looking albino.

of course stanley is very loved now too.
the boys have grown to 'adore' his uniqueness.
these pigs have had tunnels made for them in the backyard.
they've explored most of the neighborhood.
and they are carried around the house wrapped in towels.
my boys know how to treat their animals real good.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

snow

we've had so much snow this year!

the big boys made igloos again.


it amazes me they are able to make them.


thankfully, bo christian decided it is okay to
zip his coat,
wear mittens, which is pronounced mit-mits
and wear a hat, pronounced at.

this winter, even with all the cold temperatures, i have not been all frozen in my bones!
it has made this winter so different...kind of enjoyable to me.
thank you long skirts, it has been really nice.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Monday, February 3, 2014

several reasons to celebrate!

a few weeks ago i met a lady who was introducing her daughter to me.
she said:
this is _____, our newly adopted daughter.
but more importantly she is just newly baptized.

speechless.
i had never thought of it like that.

a few days later i read that Pope Francis said we are to find out the day of our baptism and celebrate it.
makes sense once i stopped to think about it.
it is that important!
and we are all for another reason to celebrate around here.

we celebrated bo christian's baptismal day a few days ago.
check out these cupcakes:

the girl that can't make a good cake made that!
the cake was fluffy and tall.
the icing was thick and perfect.
it even tasted really good.
i am so proud of myself.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

rickashay fredrick

rickashay fredrick passed away.

he used to be named rickashay when he was caden's gerbil.
(pronounced ricochet)
i wrote more about him here.
anyways, caden gave him to connor who changed his named to fredrick.

the only picture i have of the gerbils.
fredrick only had 1 front tooth and a severe crick in his neck.
his black fur had turned gray.
he couldn't climb like he used to.  i think arthritis must have set in.
he was about 4 years old.
i wonder how old he was in gerbil years.

hopefully he's running the tunnels in heaven with ralph.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

13 more weeks

just 13 more weeks until we are finished with school.
that is how i think of my life these days.

it will take us much longer than that though.
spring is coming and we will need to enjoy that!
a salt column.
this makes it sound like i don't enjoy schoolin' my boys.
the opposite is true.
and i am proud of the fact that i have aced pre-algebra!


working on his states.
things that i've enjoyed learning with each boy:
connor:  he's read the chapter books that i enjoy.
he's going to read little house on the prairie soon.  i can't wait!
bronson:  watching his spelling and writing improve has been awesome.
he's so creative with his writing too.  makes it fun to read.
caden:  this boy just continues to baffle me.
the way he processes math is way over my head.
bauer:  he's the one i get to do pre-algebra with.
i've also enjoyed reading through the book of acts with bauer and caden.
and doing grammar with those two...my brain is about to explode (in the best sort of way) every time we finish.  do they not teach grammar in schools anymore?  they can now pick out nouns, pronouns, adjectives and we are working on verbs.

only 13 more weeks left!

Friday, January 24, 2014

our week in pictures

monday:
God smiled at us on monday.
husband had the day off and it was a warm sunny 60'.
we spent the afternoon at the park.


tuesday:
time to clean the trash compactor.

using a dust pan to fill a bucket with hot water.

wednesday:
balancing school books.

thursday:
the art museum.


friday:
 finishing up our school week with brownies and milk.
(not a paleo-ish snack.)

Friday, January 17, 2014

lunch today with a confession and a recipe (sort of)

   lunch today was good.

the confession part:
i throw away so much produce.
today was a red pepper and a whole cucumber.
i live with people who would have eaten that if i would have washed and served it.

another confession:
i have food to cook and sometimes i don't.
like this past wednesday night i served cheese dip with chips and apples.
i could have given my boys something much more nutritious.

the worst confession of all:
this past sunday i made homemade soup for after mass.
it was on the stove in a pot.  all i had to do is heat it up and serve it.
we went out to eat after mass and ate food that cost way too much and wasn't nearly as healthy.

i have lots of excuses.
one of my excuses is called the two year old.
this one to be exact:
just washing his hands while i make lunch...
we all know that a 2 year old doesn't just wash his hands.

the real excuse is that i am lazy.

i have boys (and a husband) that will eat whatever i serve them.
he eats raw broccoli and has learned how to cheese real good!
so, as part of my resolution that we are going to eat more paleo-ish,
i will be back to report on myself.

my lunch today:
notice that my helper is in every picture...

it has a very fancy name:
the poppy seed dressing salad!

throw some lettuce in a bowl.
add some chicken - whatever is leftover in your fridge.
you will need some nuts - i like pecans, sliced almonds or walnuts.
feta cheese (a must!)
and some fruit - craisins, canned mandarin oranges, fresh blueberries, fresh strawberries or maybe some apples
and then top with the dressing - Brianna's Home Style Poppy Seed
don't you just hate to pick out dressings?
you can relax because this one is courtney approved!


today i had pecans that my nanny shelled, feta cheese and craisins with apples on the side.

no chicken today because it is friday.  it is way better with chicken.
i never know if we catholics are supposed to eat meat on fridays or not, so i try to avoid it.

i'll be back to report on myself.