Friday, August 24, 2007

Nesting and my Mr. Clean

In pregnancy we always hear about "nesting" that occurs closer to the end. While I have a touch of it at times, with each of my pregnancies my husband is the one to really get a major dose of nesting. He can so quickly produce results that would take me at least twice as long to accomplish that I often refer to him as Mr. Clean. I think he takes after his Mom in this area and while he may not have been clean when he lived at home, she did have an influence after-all!

I have 10 weeks to go until my c-section and this week I received an email from my husband with the subject "cleaning plan". I burst out laughing when I opened it up to see our weeknights scheduled with a different area of the house to clean. He also thought it would be best to rip out the carpeting in our bedroom to help with the allergies I have and make it cleaner for the baby. Seeing as we have hard wood floors underneath I thought that would be fine. Unfortunately we didn't stick entirely with his plan as other things came up so that we weren't home each night but we did get a major start on the front area of the house.

I began trying to clean up our bedroom this afternoon. It is mainly cluttered with baskets of clean clothes waiting for a home of either a plastic bin or a drawer. Sorting through clothes that no longer fits and trying to find a place for them is never a favorite job of mine, especially since we are a little short on space for the boys clothes. The four of them sleep in one room with a small closet and one dresser. Tank's clothes are still in the bedroom with Missy Blue but will need to come out to make room for baby clothes. Needless to say this produces baskets of clothes without a home and while they may be folded initially, they rarely stay that way. Hmmm, I wonder how that happens? Okay, so I moved the baskets out so I can thoroughly sort through them again and find them a permanent home.

My husband came home and was happy to see the floor again. I figured we would do more cleaning again but after starting a load of laundry came to find the boys with their Daddy ripping out the carpet. I guess that was the project for the evening. They did a great job and the floor looks so nice. Next on the agenda -- the boys room and ripping out their carpet which is so stained that shampooing does nothing for it anymore. I must say, it is a lot more fun when we all work and clean together to accomplish a goal.

The boys helping tear out the carpet.

The finished room!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Farm work and dirty fingernails

We are privileged to have an organic farm/CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) right down the road from us. The farm offers subscriptions where buyers receive a weekly box of produce, eggs, and artesian bread (optional). We have chosen a worker share which means that we work 3 hours a week during the season (June – Nov) in exchange for our box of produce.

One of our completed boxes. Produce varies from week to week there is also lettuce and corn in this box. Lately it has been filled with corn and favorites!

This is the third year the three older boys (thanks Mom for watching the little ones!) and I have been at the farm and I am delighted with how well they work. The first two years we did jobs such as washing scallions to bagging/weighing salad mix and also making and stacking boxes in preparation for packing. With that type of job I had them work for at least an hour and then they could go and play as there were others helping out as well.

Pete with scallionsPete getting ready to put scallions in the box. Before-hand they were washed, counted out and rubber-banded, then the tops were evenly trimmed.

This year however, we work during packing which works out much better for us. When needed we do help process some produce but for the most part our job is on the assembly line with each of us assigned to put a certain item/s in the box as it comes down the rollers. The boys are able to work so much longer as they are kept busy and it is fun being with other children on the line as a friend of mine works at the same time with her family. It gets a little chaotic for us Moms at times but I am thankful that the boys continue to have good attitudes and do not usually complain about the task no matter how long it takes. They do get a break and are often found in the chicken coop looking for eggs. (Not my idea of fun!)

assembly lineStarting to get ready on the assembly line. The boxes stacked at the back are how many we fill.

Re-Pete starts the line this day putting the box on the rollers with George putting in beans.

We help to pack around 270 boxes of produce each week. One week we ended up working 4 ½ hours and I was amazed that the boys did not even realize how long we were there. Fresh produce is so tasty and we are able to try so many varieties (beets, eggplant, etc.) without the work of our own garden. The boys are also learning how to work together in a different situation. Although it is getting harder for me each week to keep up my energy level, I love working on the farm with my little crew -- dirty fingernails and all!

Here we are together on the line with a friend who lives at the farm.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Homeschool Open House

Tiany at Less of Me~More of Him is hosting a Homeschool Open House and it looked like a good way to learn what others are doing with their children and I thought it would be fun to participate.

Our Family...

We have 5 children (see side bar) and one due the beginning of November. This will technically be our 4th year of homeschooling which when I think about it doesn't seem possible. This year George who is 8 will be 2nd/3rd grade and I will start working more with Pete and Re-Pete  who are 5 1/2 in Kindergarten. Tank is 3 1/2 and Missy Blue Eyes is 21 months. I have gone back and forth on what I use with the children depending on our situation at the time and what new thing has intrigued me along the way. I enjoy the Charlotte Mason method of learning but also a bit of Classical.

I had planned on schooling throughout the year with breaks at various times but this year have taken the summer off. My plan was for George to finish up a math book and his phonics but that didn't happen. The children did participate in the local library summer reading program and I was very happy with how hard George worked at reading alone, which doesn't come easily to him. We also did a few nature study type things.

Our typical day... not scheduled but does have a routine to it. After breakfast, etc. we begin with,,,

  •   Bible-time on the couch all-together reading from The Child's Story Bible (this is such a well-written book and makes it easy to learn and remember without glossing over or dumbing down events.) We have a prayer time for current needs and finish with a time of song where each child selects their favorite. I often introduce a new song to learn for a week, either from a scripture memory CD, Hymns for a Kid's Heart or just a sunday school song.

  • George works on phonics and math with me while the other children play.

  •  Pete and Re-Pete work on letter and number recognition and such while George entertains the little ones.

  •  History with all three boys. George did more notebooking while the others usually only listened to the story. We used Beautiful Feet last year.

  • Lunch and then playtime. Naptime for the little ones later in the day. If need be school could be done during that time also but we usually finish by lunchtime.

I will need to make some modifications this year as I am guessing Tank will want to be more involved and Missy Blue won't be taking a nap in the morning anymore so she will need something to occupy her time also.

Where we have school...

Someday in time we will have an official "homeschool room". The basement is in process of being remodeled but time is very lacking and so I never know when it will be done. In the meantime I changed our kitchen eating area into our school area. (We eat in the dinning room instead). Yes, we do have a little student desk for each child because I thought they were so cute and the boys do enjoy using them. It gives them a place to store their own items and a place to color, do math, etc. Most of our books are here but there are many still in other areas of the house waiting to be organized.

We enjoy spending time in the living room on the couch reading or doing other activities that don't involve writing. It is such a warm and inviting area in the winter as a fire is always going.

The children spend a lot of time outside playing and exploring. There is state land bordering two sides of our property so we go hiking when we can and enjoy wading in the natural springs along the way. I have thought it  would be fun to read together in the hammock but everytime I hop on the boys jump on and it suddenly becomes a ship on rough seas with sailors that cannot sit still.

The boys had the project of cleaning around their desks so I could take a picture. (Okay, I needed to clean around my desk also). I still have much organizing and cleaning out to do.

What I have used...

  • Five in a Row

  • Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons

  • Beautiful Feet Early American History

  • A is for Adam for Bible Time

  • Sonlight Core K

We will be using... (I am still in planning stages but so far...)

  • The Child's Story Bible supplemented by The Children's Illustrated Bible

  •  Veritas Press Phonics Museum

  •  Saxon Math

  •  Mystery of History - Ancient Egypt supplemented with Veritas History Cards and various literature

  •  Nature studies (birds of our area using a coloring book, field guide and the internet) and reading through Christian Liberty Press Nature Readers.

Other activities...

-- I joined a homeschool group through an area church which has been a good thing for me and the boys. We have enjoyed many field trips and this past year George was part of a writing class that met once a month writing and presenting simple projects. He liked the creativity of it but not the speaking.
-- Some friends and I started an art class with our children that met bi-weekly. It was four families and each Mom took a turn teaching the lesson. I cannot recall the book we used at this moment but are looking for something more this year.

Difficulties I have encountered...

When I began homeschooling our oldest I thought reading would come so easily for him. He was a fairly smart child, could recognize letters, and write his name before he turned 4. He loved books and being read to. I began with the Phonics Museum at age 5 and we were moving along when I had a baby and then summer came so we took a break. Trying to begin again did not work well and George struggled to catch on. I decided to try the 100 Easy Lesson book which worked to get him back on track so that we could continue with the Phonics museum. Here we are and he is now 8 still trying to complete phonics. I can see much improvement and he has the desire to read but often thinks he can't. If we sit and work with him he reads fine. I think once we finish learning all of the "rules" that will help. This has been a struggle of mine and at times I felt it to be my fault but I have found that he learns and retains everything else so quickly and I know that other children struggle with reading and suddenly it clicks and they read everything in sight. That is what I am praying for.

I will probably think of more to add along the way but that is our homeschool in a nutshell. I hope you enjoyed a brief glimpse into our days!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007


Here is a picture of me pregnant at 27 weeks. Summer is not my favorite time to be pregnant especially when hot and humid. Thankfully our air-conditioner cools the house enough when need be. (After putting on an addition we never increased the size of the unit so it doesn't cool the entire house well but does take out the humidity everywhere). I love to have windows open during the summer (the only time we can) so I am thankful for the gentle breezes blowing through most of the time.

I am feeling good despite the typical stabbing pain I have at times with scar tissue from my c-sections stretching. With each pregnancy I have had a racing heart mornings for maybe 4 weeks or so. I would wake up and shortly after my heart raced to the point that I needed to sit down or feel like I would fall over. It wore me out quite a bit and even at rest my heart rate was high. Thankfully I seem to have passed that stage and my energy level has increased slightly.

I have 2 1/2 months until this little one makes it's appearance but do not feel anywhere near prepared. I know in the end everything that needs to will get done. I will have my 4th c-section and we set the date next month.

In the meantime the children are enjoying feeling the baby kick and move around. I love to watch their faces light up when they get kicked. "Mommy, I feel it!" I continue to work on narrowing down my choices for names. For some reason it seems so difficult this time. Thanks to everyone who gave suggestions!

The countdown continues and this week baby is growing eyelashes and baby fat.



Another Weekend Away

We have kept busy this summer as usual and it seems I am always either doing more laundry to prepare for a trip or to catch up after a trip. Being pregnant, my energy is not what I wish it to be, so right now I am thrilled to be home, relaxing (and trying to get my homeschool order together).

My husband had another race this past weekend, this time in Upper Michigan. My parents were able to come to this race along with my in-laws who help out at every race. The highlight of the weekend was that after a trying season with countless problems my husband was able to grab the holeshot and lead the entire race pulling out a win on Saturday. We were all so proud of him! As he was being interviewed our boys ran down to the fence admiring their daddy.  Unfortunately the next day’s race wasn’t as successful as he had some contact in the beginning with another car which caused a flat tire. He kept racing as long as he could but pulled off to the side as the wheel was smoking. Thankfully he was able to cross the finish line and so will get some points for the race.

Camping at the racetrack this time around was not my idea of a good time. Usually I sleep without a problem but Saturday night was so humid and still with no breeze coming in and I could not sleep. In my wake time I realized what I thankfully usually sleep through… a lot of noise and partying. Unfortunately, there are spectators that camp right along with racers and they stay awake drinking and such until who knows when. I was having a hard time with my attitude as I thought of my children sleeping while drunk people were passing by our motorhome making loud noises and my husband was able to sleep. I wanted to go out and say something but at 1 a.m. was not dressed for the occasion and what would I say to people who were not in their right mind anyway? Instead as they passed by I quickly opened the blinds which scared them enough to not come past again. As I finally prayed about the situation God answered quickly and sent a loud clash of thunder and a downpour followed which put a damper on the parties going on.

But alas, sleep was not meant to be. George fell off of his bunk bed screaming and we went running. Thankfully he landed on the bed across from him and only hurt his stomach in the position he landed. It could have been much worse if he had fallen on his brother laying on the ground below. Not long after that Tank woke crying and ended up throwing up and I was ever so thankful for a motorhome with a toilet rather than having to rush to the porta-potty! My husband and I both fell asleep exhausted.

I am thankful for an area Bible Church that we worship with each time we are in the area. It is so good to meet with fellow believers even while away and get to know them so that now when we walk through the door they recognize us. Some even attend the races and cheer my husband on.

We arrived home Sunday evening to relax from a long weekend away. “There’s no place like home” is so fitting for how we were feeling. Two more race weekends to go but unfortunately that also brings with it an end to summer.

I love this smiley picture after his win! The clean car means he lead the whole race! Click on the picture and scroll down to Super Buggy for full story and another picture.

Sitting at a campfire with Grandma and Grandpa

Being interviewed for the Speed Channel.

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