Saturday, February 2, 2013

A Forgotten Blog

I sort of forgot I had a blog.  Life happens.  The internet isn't always a part of that. 

To sum up since my last post: Tiffany and her kids moved out, I had a miscarriage in August, got pregnant again a few weeks later, had the worst morning sickness ever, attended Nathan and Emma's wedding in Boston while in the midst of the awful morning sickness, Matthew got out of the Marines, God provided for all our needs, Christmas was fun, we found out the baby is a girl (hooray!), January most of the kids got sick and I got the worst case of the flu I've ever had (this has not been a fun pregnancy), and here we are at February, which means 2 birthdays, Super Bowl, and Valentine's Day all in the first two weeks.  We're also trying to find a job for Matthew and move, though we have no idea what kind of job or where we're going to move to.

Life is crazy.  But I'm loving living and learning with my little boys!

Nikolai, Age 3

I started interviewing the boys last year.  I think I've settled on these questions as the ones I'm going to ask them each year on their birthday.  Nick was a little difficult since he still doesn't seem to "get" everything I ask him, and his speech is still very immature (but considering he spoke barely 30 words 6 months ago, he's doing GREAT!).  His birthday cake this year is Angry Birds, my choice after he spent a lot of time switching back and forth between that or dinosaurs.

What are you going to be when you grow up?
This! (points at a picture of a girl on the beach) A picture!

What's that going to be like?
That picture.

What are your favorite toys?
Dinosaurs (Mommy thinks it's the Nabi)

Who are your best friends?
At church

What makes you happy?

What makes you sad?
You. (Why?) Because you do to make me sad. (I don't think he gets the question)

When you dream at night, what do you dream about?
Waking up

What do you like to do with Daddy?
Hugging him

What do you like to do with Mommy?
Kiss your baby (I'm pregnant with #4.  He comes up to me lots of times throughout the day to hug and kiss or rub my belly, especially when he's upset or tired.  I think it's becoming his comfort item!)

What's your favorite color?
Black and white

What's your favorite book?
Those books (points to two My First Little House books he was given for his birthday- County Fair and Prairie Day)

What does Daddy do during the day?
Play video games (answer supplied by Colin)

What does Mommy do during the day?
Hugging our dad

What do you do during the day?
Peeing in the potty

Friday, June 29, 2012

Summer Bliss

The kids and I had a great day today!  Let's see how much I can remember of it.

I had a hard time waking up this morning, so they started out the day watching a movie or two.  When I finally got going, I started to make a batch of cream biscuits, then decided to make them into more like cinnamon rolls, with a sprinkle of cinnamon sugar inside, then decided to add blueberries, too, then decided that I couldn't possibly cut up the not-very-well-rolled concoction, or it Would Not Be Pretty.  BUT!  I baked it, and put some frosting on top, and the kids started asking for more before I even got to finish mine.  So, round 2 was made and mostly devoured shortly after.

After that, I had to go on base to get a new military dependent ID.  I got to spend some time with Matthew during the day, and that was nice :)

When I got back home, Tiffany had to go to work, and Kailey was still on the computer, so I kicked her off, set the kids to cleaning up the living room, and heated up some hot dogs for lunch.  Not the best lunch in the world, and I'm really not much of a fan of hot dogs, anyway, but we need to go grocery shopping, and Tiffany had bought a couple packages yesterday, so hot dogs it was!  The kids mostly didn't eat, and were getting fussy and whiny, so I put the little ones to bed, and put in a Celtic Thunder DVD for myself the bigger ones while I blew up the swimming pool. 

Once the pool was inflated, I set it outside, turned the hose on, and set Colin, Brennan, and Kailey loose, with instructions not to drown each other.  About an hour later, Colin came inside.  I don't know what his deal was today, but he was being mean and angry for seemingly no reason, and when he came inside, he asked if he could have a turn on the computer.  I said yes, and he brought it out to the living room, and laid on the living room floor playing games for quite a while.  I watched him every now and then, and he really knows what he's doing on that thing!  I was pretty amazed at how well he's doing, even on games he JUST started playing, and got to brag to Matthew when he came home :)  After a couple hours spent on the computer and mostly alone (which may have been what he needed more than anything), Colin's attitude stayed positive for the rest of the evening.

When the little ones woke up, I brought them outside and sat with them, and ended up getting soaked by a crazy Nikolai delighting in the hose.  At that point, I got in the pool and soaked myself the rest of the way, and then sitting out there with them was a lot more bearable!  It was HOT today!

For dinner, the kids and I decided on oven barbecued chicken legs and a veggie tray (then I added some leftover baked potatoes).  A pitcher of ice cold peppermint tea was the perfect complement to a delicious meal!

After dinner, Brennan took a turn on the computer for a while, and the kids all played around (then cleaned the boys' room) while we waited for it to get dark.  I did sparklers with the kids, since we got such a big package of them from Sam's Club.  Between five kids 6 and under, there was only one minor accident, when Nikolai tried touching the top part of the metal stick right after it went out.  I had Colin get him a wet washcloth, but it wasn't that bad.  There hadn't even been a mark when I looked at it before bed, so hopefully between my screaming for him not to touch it, and the heat, he probably saved himself from worse.

Tonight's bedtime stories were a book about Independence Day, another about Molly Pitcher, a cute little story about animals building a house for the shepherd boy (new from Grammy when we visited at the beginning of the month), and we read the story of Samson.  When I put the boys to bed after that, I laid down with them for a little bit, and spent some time rubbing their backs, giving them kisses, and whispering how much I loved them.  Nikolai spent part of that time expanding his vocabulary- including finally saying his brothers' names!  Brennan was awake when he said "Brennan", and was so pleased!  I got him to say "Noni" for Colin once (what Brennan used to call Colin), though Colin was already asleep and didn't hear.  I think Niko is still having trouble with the "C" sound, but Noni works!  Just, please, call your brothers SOMETHING!  He has names for almost everyone else in the house, and even said the next door neighbor's name tonight, Naijah.  He actually said, "Naijah mom 'n' dad" and something that sounded like "Naijah mom walk", but he said walk wasn't it when I repeated it.  I was surprised at the "mom and dad" part, because he's only said "mama" and "dada" before now, and this was in relation to someone else's parents, not even Matthew and I.  It's just been funny how his vocabulary is growing so quickly now, and he's saying all these things you don't expect him to almost any time you turn around!

Tiffany and I went out to get a few groceries after the kids all went to bed, and now I'm the only one up.  It's been a while since I'm the last one in bed.  The quiet is so nice, I'm almost loathe to go to bed and miss it.  But, I know if I don't go to bed, I'll be too tired to get up with all the Wild Things when they start their rumpus.  So, bedtime it is.  I'm going to try to make tomorrow as good of a day as today was!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Springtime Summary

This spring has been crazy.  Let's see how much of it I can remember!

-Soccer was INSANITY!  I learned we are not yet ready for sports, at least not until people can put their own sports gear on.  And there is help, maybe?  Four days a week between Colin, Brennan, and Kailey was too much for me to do alone, plus dance another day, and church on Sundays.  We ended up not usually going to the SCA because I needed a break from all the other days' activities.

-Colin performed in his first dance recital.  And yes, I cried :)   He's still not sure if he wants to continue or not in the fall.  If he does, I think he'll drop the ballet and just do the tap, or possibly we'll see if they have a hip-hop class for his age.  He liked the dancing/performing aspect, but I think being the only boy in the class sometimes made him uncomfortable.  He kept complaining about one of the girls "making blinky eyes" at him!

-Nikolai, at 24 months, had a vocabulary of about 35 words.  It took me over a week to compile the list.  Finally, a couple weeks ago, he started speaking for real!  He's been adding several new words a day to his vocabulary since then, and is starting to put sentences together!

-Brennan has been doing better in most areas lately, though we're still having major trouble with potty training.  He still has his meltdown days, but it's been the opposite of what it was- good with a few bad thrown in, rather than bad with a few good.  I'm so thankful!

-Tiffany got into an accident at work, so Heather came for 6 weeks to help me with the workload.  It was lovely, as always, having her with us!  I ended up driving her home, and the boys and I spent a couple weeks visiting everyone.  I wish we could have spent more time there, and seen all the people we didn't get to see, but it was a good trip anyway, and I'm glad we got the time there that we had. 

-I fixed Nathan's old laptop!  All by myself!  With only a little internet guidance and a video tutorial to guide me!  That computer is now more of a family computer/the boys' computer.  They've been learning a lot on there.  I put their allowed sites on a bookmarks bar for them to click on what they want without needing my help, and they've been doing all their little games and videos and such on Starfall and PBS Kids.  We actually spent the rest of their Christmas money on a subscription to Starfall, they were loving it so much (and learning so much from it!)  And, I don't know whether it's been a result of their computer usage or not, but Colin has taught himself to read!  He still has a little ways to go, but last night he read about 3/4 of a Beginner Book all by himself, with only a little help from me in sounding out a few words.  I'm so proud of my little man!

-We've gotten chickens.  We had ducks.  They got given away because they were too stinky and messy.  And we totally weren't even ready for the chickens, let alone another, completely different type of barnyard fowl.

-Matthew is getting out of the Marines in September.  We're not sure what's happening after that yet, but I'm hoping to stay on the east coast.  I really love it over here, especially the weather!

-One of today's escapades: I brought the boys with me on The Great Fabric Hunt today, to get some fabric to finish a couple of the projects Grandma gave me.  Hancock's was a nightmare!  They were literally running and screaming around the store, and when I got two of them in a cart, Niko managed to climb out and on top of all the fleece!  I brought them all back out to the van, put Niko very tightly in the moby wrap, threatened the other two with the double stroller, and brought them back inside to finish.  Finished, and Niko threw a fit about getting in the carseat.  He fell asleep on the way home and slept for probably over two hours.  HA!  Take that, tired!

Anyway, that's all I can think of tonight.  Now, to put Wild Things to bed, and crash pretty soon myself!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Spring Science, and other goings-on

The weather is getting warmer again, and with that comes something that moms and little boys have two completely different opinions of- bugs are coming out of hibernation!

My boys love bugs.  Caterpillars and ladybugs especially, but no creature that wriggles, flies, or hops is too small to escape their detection.  They even managed to find some of those teeny tiny blood-red bugs about a week ago when we were picking Kailey up from school and tried to convince me to let them take them home.  Umm, no.  There are very specific bug rules.  Such as "All bugs that come in the house must be in and stay in glass jars with lids" and "Caterpillars will not be put on your food to share your meal" and "If Mama finds a bug where it shouldn't be, it will be put back outside, or killed".  Better add "Bugs will not be brought in the car or put in your pocket" now, too."

But hey.  As much as I don't like creepy crawlies, I don't want the boys to become afraid of them or get grossed out by them like I am.  It's sort of irrational, really.  I used to play with roly polies all the time when I was a kid, catch lightning bugs, let ladybugs crawl on my arms.  What happened?  Why do I have to force myself not to have a negative reaction to them now?  I want to avoid that happening to them, if at all possible.  So far, so good.  Brennan catches crickets, Colin puts four caterpillars of various types in a jar to watch them turn into butterflies (though they usually turn into moths).

There have been a few times I thought bugs were just completely beautiful and awe-inspiring, though.  When we lived in Monterey, I was walking the boys one day, and saw a group of moths fluttering around some flowers, with the sunlight filtering through the trees and lighting up the dust and the moths.  It looked so ethereal!  It was such a beautiful and magical sight!  The second unforgettable bug experience was when we went back to Texas a couple years ago.  I was sitting outside, and my attention was caught by a bunch of winged bugs of some kind coming out of the wood that made a raised bed around a tree.  They just kept coming out and coming out, there had to be hundreds of them, and the realization that bugs actually do hibernate in the winter, and I was seeing them wake up from their hibernation, really struck me and confirmed in me that bugs are beautiful- or at least they can be sometimes!

So, the boys are having fun with bugs.  And I'm encouraging it.  We read a book that had a little section about bugs in it today.  It also had a section about humpback whales, and I'm planning on drawing a life-size humpback whale in the cul-de-sac when it gets a little warmer.  They've been interested in whales for several years now, starting with a book Grammy and Grampy gave them about a humpback named Humphrey who swam up the San Fransisco River.  Great story, based on something that really happened!

I've started reading the Jesus Storybook Bible to the kids.  I like how all the stories point to Jesus, and why Jesus had to come to Earth, and what Jesus had to do.  There are a lot of parallels in Old Testament stories to Jesus that I'd never noticed or paid much attention to before, and I love that it's opening my eyes to all of these.  We read a handful of little science books on various subjects, and a few "fun" books just because.  I love storytime!  It's one of my favorite parts of the day, and really one of my best chances to teach and disciple my children.  It may be kind of untraditional to use bedtime stories as homeschool time, but I think it's a lot more natural, and it works for us.

They've also been doing a lot of computer games lately.  I replaced the screen on my previous laptop, and gave that to them to use as a family computer, and they used the last of their Christmas money to get a subscription to Starfall.  It's been one of the best things I think I've ever done for them!  They're always on PBS Kids, and come out to tell me about this or that they learned, and "Mommy, did you know...", and "2 and 6 make 8!"  It's so amazing seeing them learn!  Starfall has been a huge help in teaching them, because all of the games are designed to teach the basics of what they'd be learning in school, but it's all in a game format.  They're picking up on reading remarkably quickly for me never having "taught" them.  Starfall and PBS Kids both have everything verbalized so you don't have to know how to read, and it's been teaching them how to.  When you hear the word "back" every time you put your cursor on the arrow that says "B-A-C-K", you'll eventually realize that those letters spell the word, and then you'll be able to read "back" any time you see it!  I'm so happy they're learning so much, and in the ways that each of them learns best.

Other schooly things I've done lately: we have a few spots in and near the kitchen that I like putting worksheets and printouts and other fun things on.  We've done a couple maps, and those are hits, and the ASL alphabet was so popular I had to make another one to replace the first copy.  I'm trying to get the kids more involved with cooking and other household tasks.  Sometimes it works well, sometimes it doesn't, but I think we're better off than we were a month ago.  We've been discussing songs in the van, various things that are mentioned in them.  Prohibition, immigration, Ellis Island, Scandinavia, some myths and legends.  It's amazing how many teachable moments there are when you look for them.  We're learning about raising chickens.  The ducks were less than successful, and had to go.  The chickens are coming along, though.  This week we're gonna have to build the coop to get them out of the living room.

Nikolai has put together a few sentences, which is exciting.  Other than that, I haven't seen too much else developmentally for him.  It's probably more me not noticing than milestones not being there-this is the crazy house, after all! 

I think more than anything else this last few weeks, I've noticed how much I'm learning, and I'm trying to pass on at least a portion of what I learn to the kids.  It's been really cool, some of the conversations we've had.

That ends tonight's monologue.  I've gone on long enough :)

-Amanda -_-*

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Chicks and Other Spring Occurences

After a winter that can hardly be called one except by name alone, spring is here! And again, despite my best intentions to the contrary, we've started experimenting with homesteading again. Last year was more or less a fail at gardening- I think we had the wrong proportion of regular dirt to fertilized dirt. This year, we haven't planted anything yet (and may not), but we've gone and bought half a dozen chickens and a couple ducks. The kids are loving our chickies! There are 3 Rhode Island Reds, and 3 Black Barred something-or-others, and they really are adorable! Their names are Piper, Princess, Celeste, Sterling, Lily, and Ariel. The kids helped name them. (Our ducklings are Duck-Duck and Goose, which is already pretty confusing!) They love holding them, and feeding them, and doing just about everything they can with them. Even Nick and Bella are warming up to them, though they're still pretty rough with the little things. I wasn't wanting to get chicks since we'll be moving later this year, but I really am looking forward to having lots of fresh eggs. We're not sure if the ducks are male or female, but we're guessing Duck-Duck is male because of his size and aggression. He's got that whole dominance thing going on with the other birds.

I bought a book about Passover a week or so ago to read along with the Easter books. I've actually learned about Passover from it. I've been so amazed at how much I'm learning about God and Christianity by going back to the Jewish roots and Jewish celebrations. It's like seeing the inside of a quilt. There's nothing wrong with only seeing or appreciating the outside, but when you look at how it's been put together, and you get that knowledge of what went into making it what it is, it adds a whole new depth of understanding about it.

Since Easter has sort of snuck up on us this year (less than two weeks, really?!), I saw a little project someone posted that the older kids and I did yesterday. You cut out an egg shape, put it on wax paper, draw what you want on it with preferably a white crayon, drip food coloring all over it, then spray it with water. It makes a very pretty watercolor effect (and is a good lesson in color mixing to boot!) We're going to hang them up in the kitchen today.

We got a lot of really interesting books from the library last week. One of them was a Backyard Science book that Colin has been completely enamored with. We have plans to do some of the projects in there, but haven't yet.

A few weeks ago, I got to give the kids a couple astronomy lessons. Venus and Mars got really close together, so I pointed that out to them, and showed them the constellations know. Colin actually remembered Orion from last time.

Brennan and I did a color-blind test online, and he knows all the letters and numbers by sight. I was surprised, because I really haven't done anything about teaching him or exposing him, other than a couple kid shows on Netflix. Oh, I did the color-blind test because he never says "brown" is brown. Depending on the shade, he calls it grey, orange, or black. Nothing on the test showed he was color blind, so he may just be using his artistic mind to try to explain variables in the shades (or something like that- Matthew explained to me what he thought it might be, and my brain did not process most of his explanation!) I've always known he's my artist. though, so that explanation lines up with what I know about how his brain works.

Nikolai is speaking a little more. Sometimes he's adding several words a day- one of our jokes about starting a farm is that it's teaching Niko to speak! He learned "chick" and "duck" on the same day! Most of his words are only distinguishable if you have a good understanding of Caveman and are a master of Guesstures, but at least he's getting the right amount of syllables in words, and a few of the right letters. It's still frustrating that he's taking so long to speak, when the other two were so much faster.

Annnnd, we got a little keyboard on our last trip to the thrift store. The musical ones among us are having a blast! I'm going to look for some el cheapo piano books to see if I can start learning/teaching any of them how to play.

I love this homeschooling life! <3

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Interviews with the Boys

Since several other people have posted interviews with their kids lately, I thought it would be fun to interview the boys and see what they had to say. So, here goes!


1. What is something mom always says to do?

Obey, clean up

2. What makes mom happy?


3. What makes mom sad?


4. How does your mom make you laugh?


5. What was your mom like as a child?

I don't know

6. How old is your mom?

You tell me, I'm not guessing

(Smart boy!)

7. How tall is your mom?

Really big, a little bit big as my daddy, but a little bit close

(Translation: Almost as tall as Daddy!)

8. What is her favorite thing to do?

Clean up at night, put us to bed, read stories, make food for us, out of the house for a while, all that stuff

9. What does your mom do when you’re not around?

Clean up

10. If your mom becomes famous, what will it be for?

I don't know

11. What is your mom really good at?

Reading books

12. What is your mom not very good at?

You tell us.

(Hehehe, he really doesn't like hurting my feelings!)

13. What does your mom do for a job?

Help people, clip nails, you're good at cutting cake, scooping ice cream, wrapping presents, all that kind of stuff

14. What is your mom’s favorite food?

I don't know

15. What makes you proud of your mom?

Getting some stuff like my robot dog, which I really wanted, and my robot

(The robot dog was from Grandma and Grandpa Rodgers, the robot was from me)

16. If your mom were a cartoon character, who would she be?

You could be, well, I don't know. I don't know!

(Comes from not watching a lot of cartoons. And I'm so glad he didn't say something like one of the Backyardigans!)

17. What do you and your mom do together?

Sometimes when it's closer to somebody's birthday or when it's closer to Christmas, we wrap presents

18. How are you and your mom the same?

Because we have white skin

19. How are you and your mom different?

I don't know. I just want to paint.

20. How do you know your mom loves you?

Because Jesus loves us and He made everybody to love each other

21. Where is your mom’s favorite place to go?

Aquarium, book store, Walmart, the thrift store, the Aquarium, the zoo, all that stuff


(he did most of this at the same time as Colin, and repeated some of Colin's answers. And, because he's Brennan, a lot of his answers don't make sense, or he refused to answer.)

1. What is something mom always says to do?

Clean up

2. What makes mom happy?

Telling the truth

3. What makes mom sad?


4. How does your mom make you laugh?

Playing with toys and doing puppet shows

5. What was your mom like as a child?

A baby

(I'll take that in the literal sense, which is, I think, how it was meant!)

6. How old is your mom?

Big, very big, all the way up to the sky

7. How tall is your mom?


(After I told them how old I was in relation to the last question)

8. What is her favorite thing to do?

If somebody stays dry, they get a treat

9. What does your mom do when you’re not around?

Be happy

10. If your mom becomes famous, what will it be for?

Be happy

11. What is your mom really good at?

Cleaning with us

12. What is your mom not very good at?

Not reading books

13. What does your mom do for a job?

Clipping nails

(Clipping nails has, for some reason, become the favorite activity. What makes this even odder is Brennan chews his nails to the point I can't clip them.)

14.What is your mom’s favorite food?


(We were eating bread sticks from Papa John's. Definitely NOT my favorite food! Still, I like the garlic sauce.)

15.What makes you proud of your mom?


16. If your mom were a cartoon character, who would she be?

Clean all of the characters- the toy characters

17. What do you and your mom do together?

I don’t know

18. How are you and your mom the same?

You’re big, I’m little

19. How are you and your mom different?

You’re big, I’m small

20. How do you know your mom loves you?

Refused to answer/I don't know
(He'd reached his limit at this point, after two separate days of me trying. Maybe I'll revisit these later, maybe not.)

21. Where is your mom’s favorite place to go?

Refused to answer/I don't know