Friday, February 27, 2015

To prove they're not locked in the basement, I give you exhibit A.

It is my sincere desire to someday write down all the various reasons we've chosen to homeschool.  My masters is in language acquisition and brain development from birth through adolescence (which sounds all fancy, but the truth is that I'm just as perplexed as everybody else by kids and their weird behavior), and it is worth a separate post to discuss just how much I love the curriculum we've chosen to utilize and why.  The short answer is: it just resonates with me from my nerdy, brain-development perspective.

When it comes to homeschooling, the sticking point to most of the world - of course, always - has to do with socialization.  Which always makes me laugh a little, because... well, they're kids, not dogs.  And mine are definitely not locked in the basement, but that too is a post for a different time.

For now, I'll just relay that one of the greatest things about this program is that we have a cohort of absolutely wonderful people that meets once a week.  Mondays, then, are for more "traditional" school in our world.  The community aspect of this program is just phenomenal.

School is from 9-12, and in that time they do science experiments, learn new memory work in 7 subjects (timeline, history, geography, English grammar, math, science and Latin), play games to review past memory work, study art or music and give prepared presentations in front of the class.

In this photo, they're memorizing facts from the timeline of the world.  Today: Lincoln's war between the States, Reconstruction of the Southern States, Dominion of Canada, Otto Von Bismark unifies Germany, Boer wars in Africa, the Spanish American War, and The Progressive Era.  Of course, they have no real understanding of what these individual events mean or their greater significance in the world's history. That comes later. For now, we're just memorizing.

Her teacher is Mrs. Wilson, and she is absolutely fabulous.  Truly gifted as a teacher, and a wonderful example of Christ.

Each of the events has a hand motion to accompany it.  Because - nerd alert! - any time you engage multiple senses, your brain is more likely to translate the information into long term memory and you're more apt to hang onto it.  I know, I can't help it.  It's right up my alley.

Um... not to mention, like a layer of fudge on an ice cream cake, it's just awesome.

Here they are laying on the floor learning Latin.  Yes, this is how we amuse ourselves in my household.

It is just so wonderful to see what these kids can do.  They really know this stuff, too.  I am continually blown away by how much they know and can do at such young ages.  Because... well, who doesn't want to march around a classroom singing about how NATO was formed to resist the spread of Soviet communism?

If that's not your idea of fun, we'd probably better not be friends anymore.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Just February life.

 Home made Sunday cinnamon rolls.  Some pink tulips that made me happy.  An Elsa bathrobe.  And maybe some Halloween jammies.  We're rebels like that.

Not to be forgotten, our sweet Livvy Lou.  Rocking the I can't wait for spring purple.

A little furniture climbing, with a side of pirate "ARRRGGGHH."

A happy girl who's almost five.  Sigh.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

A tale of two vacations


My continued yearly nemesis.  It never gets any easier for me... this is a time of year that I just can't wait to be done with.  The weather is cold - and not the delightful, cozy, warm sweater kind.  The chaffing, icy, cooped up indoors going nuts waiting for spring kind.

Soooo... spring?  Yet?

I have heard, however, that there is a land of eternal spring, and, with apologies to the country of Guatemala, who I do believe hold the "official" title, we were invited to go there by some wonderful family.

I am referring of course to Florida.  OH YEAH.  Sunshine state, here we come!

Miss Olivia is turning out to be quite the little world traveler.  First Hawaii in October, and now Florida.  That's exactly twice the plane rides the others have taken in their lives.  This being the first, in case that was unclear.

That's right, we've never, ever traveled by plane with the kiddos before.  I was a bit apprehensive, but it was all made much less so considering Casey ended up flying with us - which was NOT the case when we booked our original flight.  Two parents + three kids = totally manageable.  Besides, they never cease to amaze me with their level of awesome when we're out and about.  The only down side was the amount of snorting and sniffling and hacking on the plane.  I wanted a bubble for the kids.  It was gross.

Naturally, the first thing we did when we arrived in Florida was to play outside.

We were warned by the natives that it wasn't exactly hot yet...

...but seriously?  People, we're from Colorado.  71 degrees is clearly hanging by the pool in just our undies and sunglasses weather.

And if the pool isn't heated?

It ain't no thang.

Of course we had to take time to visit the ocean.

I'm reminded of all those stories about how difficult it is to be the middle child, and I definitely feel for mine.

Both girls have been to the pacific ocean... we went to California when Leah was about three months old, and Miss Livvy got to go with us to Hawaii.  But for our sweet little Logan, this was his very first ocean experience ever.

I'm not sure he was quite prepared for just how intense it was going to be!  They both enjoyed the waves for about 4/10ths of a second before the tide came in and knocked them over.

Fortunately, soaked looked pretty good on them!

And, once they were wet, it was a bit of a free-for-all from that point forward.

Of course, I couldn't let the day go by without giving the little one her moment...

...which of course made me all nostalgic for that other time a little miss put her sweet baby feet in the wet ocean sand for the first time.

You might be wondering about the fact that the outfit is the same.  Total accident.  Far be it from me to remember the outfit Leah wore when she visited the ocean for the first time and intentionally pack and put Livvy in the same one.

That would be crazy.  This is just coincidence.

It was such a great day.  Truly, one for the books.

The next day, we went to a local park to play.  It was fun, but we didn't last long because Logan wasn't feeling especially well.

(And no, the kids aren't torturing Livvy.  This is just what happens when Mommy puts her down.  No, I'm not kidding.)

It was really fun, but after nap that day he woke up with a fever.  Which, 24 hours later, Leah, Casey and I had too.

Because somebody in all that sniffling, snorting mess of people on the plane had the flu.  And after about two days in Florida, so did we.

So that definitely put a damper on our visit.  Truly, we are so lucky to have such wonderful family, because I don't think there is anything worse than having house guests from out of town gift you with the flu.  (Luckily, though, maybe because they'd had flu shots - or because higher doses of vitamin D give you stronger immune systems - they didn't end up catching it.  Just the Colorado Crew had that delightful fun.)

We did a lot of laying around, wheezing and coughing after that.  And were read to and cared for by our fabulous family who should have been running screaming in the other direction.  God bless them.

On the last day of our visit, we did take a drive down to Key Largo for dinner, but everybody was still feeling pretty terrible.

The scenery, on the other hand, did not disappoint.

We had everybody cleared by the doctor, and thank the Lord little Olivia's flu shot kept her feeling well.  We put masks on the kids for the flight home and despite everything they did an absolutely awesome job.  They could not have been sweeter.

We cherished visiting family, and enjoyed our time when we felt well, but I can't say that it was the greatest trip.  I can't remember the last time I've felt that badly, and to top it off I felt just as guilty as could be that we brought that junk to our loved ones after all they had done for us.

On the plus side, though, it gives us a great excuse to visit again.

And so, February, as I say every year: we cannot be rid of you fast enough!

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Weight loss update: 30 days

So, you guys?

Remember how I said that I was going to be making some personal changes with regard to exercise and weight loss?

I started the year the largest I've ever been.  Maybe not the heaviest, I don't really know, but what I do know is that the weight was very stubbornly not coming off.  Even more stubbornly than it's been in the past.

I was big.  I was squishy.  I was just plain out of shape.

Fortunately, I found an exercise program, one that lets me work out for just a few minutes a day at home, and I've been doing it ever day for the last month.

It has been so energizing to get up every morning and invest 20 minutes in myself.  To tune out the needs of everybody else and let ME take center stage.  I can't tell you how long it has been since I've re-claimed that privilege for myself.  Actually, that's not true.  It has been somewhere in the vicinity of about 4-5 years, since shortly after Leah was born.  Yes, that's as sad as it sounds.

Most often, it is me and the tiny one who jumps happily and (mostly) quietly in her bouncer long enough for me to get my work out in.  Sometimes I'm joined by my big early risers, who always cheer me on or do the moves with me.

The best part is that I feel better.  I have more energy.  My body is more flexible and strong.  In all, I'm getting back to feeling like the person I've always known.

But here's the second best part:

I have lost 15 inches off my body in 30 days!

6 months post-partum, and I'm well on my way to getting back into those coveted skinny jeans.  For, like, the first time ever.  This is a big deal, folks.

After having been gone all month, Casey came home and saw the changes.  I do believe his exact words were, "W-O-W!"  Because, well, he's a good man.

I changed my font at