Saturday, August 26, 2017

20 weeks, stats and updates

So this definitely should have been in my post last week, but Mr. Luke weighed in at a whopping 16.13 lbs at his four month check up. Almost four pounds heavier than my last child at this age, but still smaller than his brother.  And, also: Leah.

His ginormous head is off the charts.  They stop measuring at the 99th percentile, so that's where he officially ranks.  In reality, it sits fairly high above that growth arc.

He sleeps so well through the night.  I'm such a lucky momma.  He falls asleep easily between 6:30 and 7, wakes to eat when I go to bed between 10:30 and 11, and usually sleeps until around 2.  It's fantastic.

But, to reassure you that there are no perfect humans, his nap schedule sucks.  This child cannot get over the 45 minute sleep cycle, and would currently prefer to take 5-6 naps per day and still be cranky at me after each one.  You know... because 45 minute naps suck for all involved!

I keep thinking he is going to pop a tooth or two, but so far, he continues to be a drooly, mouthy hot mess of gums.  But, he does give amazing kisses, so we'll forgive him.

He is rolling.  His favorite place to sleep is on his side, so long as he doesn't accidentally roll onto his stomach in his sleep.

He's just my favorite tiny person.  I love that chunky monkey so!

Friday, August 25, 2017

Back to (Home) School: Week 1

A few additional highlights from week 1.

I'd be remiss if I didn't talk at least a little about this cool, rare(ish) thing that happened: a solar eclipse!

Someone in our family (ahem: I have no idea who that someone might be...) was a little slow on the uptake and neglected to get the cool solar glasses that were going around.  Fortunately, amazon visits our house often, and the internet has great ideas.

We did a little role-playing to explain how the orbits of earth, moon and sun all conspire to create an eclipse.

Although, even afterward, Logan was convinced the astronomical phenomenon was purely in celebration of their first day of school.  

We took full advantage of our status as homeschoolers to enjoy the entire effect.  In Colorado, the eclipse was nearly total, which created a fun and eerie atmosphere in which to work and read.

And play, of course.

The light.  It was SO cool!

We will begin Classical Conversations in two weeks, but since this year's cycle centers around American History, we began our own studies - naturally - with a short but oh-so-fun Native American unit.  

The kids had a great time.  Quick break-down of our readings and activities, since I didn't get pictures of everything: 
This Country of Ours by H.E. Marshall: How Columbus Fared
Pocahontas by Ingri d'Aulaire
The Legend of the Indian Paintbrush by Tomie dePaola
Jingle Dancer by Cynthia Smith
The Sign of the Beaver by Elizabeth George Speare
Paddle to the Sea by Holling C. Holling
The Burgess Animal Book by Thornton Burgess
Thanks to the Animals by Sebastian Allen
The Legend of the Grand Canyon (Book of America)
Winnie the Pooh by A.A.Milne
Poetry: When We Were Very Young by A.A. Milne

Composer: Review from last year (Mozart, Haydn and Beethoven)

Picture study: Treaty of Penn with the Indians (Benjamin West, 1771)

We made these feather necklaces, and read about the culture and lifestyle of several different tribes of Native Americans.

As our weekly virtues study, we wrote and memorized Charlotte Mason's student motto to kick off our school year: 

On our first day of school, we relish getting dressed up and taking photos...

...but it doesn't take us very long to return to our natural (and favorite) attire: jammies!  Although we've been working on setting an alarm and training ourselves in the morning to dress, tidy and make beds before we come downstairs - tasks that they are absolutely doing awesome with, I might add - I relented by Thursday.

Now I see the secret of the making of the best persons.  
It is to grow in the open air, and to eat and sleep with the earth.
- Walt Whitman

Livvy Joy is a champ when it comes to keeping herself busy during our school day.  It doesn't take very many activities, and she stays busy for the roughly four hours as we do school.  That child is dedicated to her play, and has such creativity and imagination.  Logan joined us for a "formal"-ish preschool when he was three, but I am so content to let Livvy play and touch and experience.

One thing that so appeals to me about Charlotte Mason an Classical Conversations: flexibility.  We have a handful of regular workbooks - math and writing, to be precise - but so much of what we do can be moved around to suit our weekly schedule.   We're not glued to the table; we're free to take advantage of the beautiful outdoors, or even, through the magic of audio books, take it on the road.

Of course, that's not to say that I don't have a schedule we adhere to regularly.  Children thrive on routine, so most of what we do follows a predictable pattern.  But if we're having an off day, if a toddler needs extra love or a baby insists on taking five naps instead of two, I'm at perfect liberty to can whatever we're doing, change or tweak it appropriately or simply move it around to another day.  

The object of education is to teach us to love what is beautiful.
- Socrates

I think my favorite moment of the week, however, was the addition of something new.  Something I've never done before.

I called it our Thursday Think.  It's an incredibly simple idea, really.  

I wanted to know what they remembered from our week of learning.  What they had taken in; what they were passionate about.  Which subjects resonated with them or questions still lingered.

I rolled a large sheet of butcher paper across our table, put out the pastels and most of the materials we'd used during the week... and off they went!

I love what came pouring out of them. 

I discovered that Logan likes to write. 

He wanted to write more than he wanted to draw.  I did not see that one coming. He also has quite the knack for spelling... even if not for spacing his words.  (For the record, that purple one reads, "Is Logan here mom?  No.")

And Leah, as ever, is my perfectionist.  This, with it's lack of structure, kid-driven, no-right-answer was way outside of her comfort zone... but she kinda loved it.

And my little artist Livvy adored this project.  She sat and colored for an hour straight.  We're gonna need more pastels.

And then on Friday, to wrap up our week, it was time to head to their enrichment program.

Just in case life wasn't rich enough already.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

First Day of School 2017

 We're back!

And it was a GREAT first day back!

I used to love setting up my classroom for the first day of school.  There is such excitement in the air! I couldn't help but try to bring that same feeling into our school, even if it is predominantly at the kitchen table. 

I found these adorable growth-mindset posters and decided they were just begging to become a banner.

So, there are a few big days in our house.  Wonderful days that tingle with excitement.  Christmas, birthdays of course, and... the first day of school.  

The kids were so stinking adorable.  We've been practicing waking up to the alarm for the past several weeks, and they have been doing a good job.  But a full 30 minutes before the alarm went off, I could hear the eager rustling of blankets.  As soon as it went off, little feel came jumping out of bed.  They couldn't wait to get downstairs!

They were SO excited!

Leah is going through a "posing" phase.

Then, we started school, as we do every day, with a little dancing. Of course, between my bed rest, the hospital visits, Luke's birth and my recovery from surgery, we haven't started our school days with dancing for a loooooong while. 

 August's song of choice: ABC by the Jackson Five.

Oh Yeah!

We always kick off our school year with a treasure hunt for school supplies.  It's one of the highlights of our first day.

They LOVE running from place to place all over our house, seeking out treasures they'll use for the school year.

Our little stone-faced Livvy.  I swear, she had fun!

With a 7 and almost 5 year old, I was able to get a little more creative this year than ever before.  It was FUN!

We had such a great first day.  I am so excited about school with these little faces!

It's going to be an AWESOME year!

Friday, August 11, 2017

18 Weeks

We've been having some very unusual weather for Colorado at the beginning of August.  Cool.  Almost cold.

But, wherever there is Luke, there is always sunshine!

Our little guy is one heck of a wiggler, as you can probably tell from the background of his photo.  He's practicing sitting up on his own, and has amazing control of his body.  He loves toys, and handles them beautifully from whatever surface they are on right into his mouth.  He is also coming to enjoy tummy time for brief periods of time.

This week, I introduced a few of our "big kid" toys like the bouncer and high chair.  It's nice to give him a few places to go besides my arms.  Unlike big sis Livvy, he's pretty happy to check them out.  That's a nice change for me, too, what with him him being so much heavier than Liv!

I changed my font at