Monday, January 31, 2011

Today is most definately Monday

Oh boy!  Today we are all feeling the pain of Monday! 

I am recovering from working and getting no more than four hours of sleep/day for the past 5 days.

Kydon has the flu

The kids have been eating cereal and pizza and taking care of themselves for the past several days. 

NO ONE wanted to get out of bed today.  Well, actually, they did get out of bed at their normal time (5:30 am), but they didn't want to get dressed and go to school.  I can't blame them, but I still made them go. 

And then I crawled on the couch and watched tv for a few hours.  Hey, just because they can't doesn't mean I can't! 

My goals for today are simple:  go grocery shopping, since the fridge is complaining of lonliness, and make an attempt to recover the house (pick up clothes, do the dishes, etc). 

I will start my ambitiousness tomorrow. 

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Today... of all days!

The hospital called me on Thursday asking if I would come in and work.  They call me almost every day, and every day I tell them no... sorry (except I'm not really sorry).  Even though I knew I was already scheduled to work on Friday AND Saturday night, I still agreed to go in.  (I'll give you one gue$$ why I said yes this time). 

I have developed a very strict sleeping regimen for when I work, and a crucial element is getting a nap before going in.  Unfortunately, since I wasn't planning to work, the nap didn't happen.  Not a huge deal, but I was REALLY looking forward to sleeping the minute I got home on Friday morning.  The plan:  sleep 5.5 hours, wake up and get the kids from the bus, then get ready to go back to work.

I got home at a great time.  I cleaned up and got into my pj's and climbed into bed.  I was falling asleep quickly.  And then the phone rang.  I came thisclose to not answering it, but then I remembered the time and figured it was either Kydon needing to tell me something or my work, since nobody else calls me that early.

Nope, it was the school.  Calling at 8:00 am.  (School starts at 7:40).  Apparently Aidan could only hack it for 20 min before he had such a retching stomachache that he had to come home.  I thought about telling him to suck it up, but several of us have had a stomach bug that started with a stomachache and progressed to yuckier things.  So, I told them I would be right there and hung up.

Then I remembered that Kydon had taken the car to work... because I was supposed to be sleeping all day!  So, I dragged my tired self out of bed, got my tired self re-dressed, and hoofed it over to the school.  Once again, I am SO glad we live so close to the school!! 

Of course he would come home on the very day I was hoping to sleep the most.  Of course the school would call this time, even though I have heard of several incidents where they go to the clinic with some minor thing and the school never calls me.  Of course it would just happen to be the first time I have worked 3 nights in a row in over 7 years. 

And, Of course the little darling wasn't even sick.  He totally played around happily all the stinkin day, and when I talked to Kydon I found out that he had remembered it was show-and-tell day too late to run home for a toy, and Meanie Kydon chased him down and put him on the bus anyway.  What a surprise that 20 min after his huge fit he just *had* to come home. 

At least I lost out on my sleep for a good reason.  I mean, it would have been unbearable for him to have to show a dumb toy at school (he still HAD a toy to show-- just not the one he wanted). 

I'm open to suggestions for proper punishment!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Our Story, Part 4

Did you think I forgot to finish writing our adoption story?  Okay, I did forget for a while, but I did remember, so here is part 4!

(Continued from Part 3)

Ahhh. The bliss of having Abigail in our family. The bliss of being a mother. The bliss of having that girl- that sweet, cuddly, perfect in every way little angel. It made my life complete. It had been a completely crazy year- from Jan 2003 to Jan 2004 we started the adoption process, completed all the paperwork, waited, had a failed adoption, waited again, and were placed with a baby.

You would think that I would be ready for a break. Kydon certainly was. But when Abigail was just a couple months old, I was ready for another. I knew I had to have Kydon's agreement to pursue another adoption (which he wasn't giving), and I also knew that the agency we had used for Abigail required a one-year wait between adoptions. So I began to research other agencies. I spent hours on the internet, ordered countless information packets, looking at posting of available situations, and just generally wishing and hoping for another baby- as soon as possible!

If anything, having my miraculous daughter in my arms made my baby hunger worse than ever! Unfortunately, Kydon was not as anxious as I. I knew the agency we were going to use, and was just waiting for his agreement- which was not coming. In January, I got a phone call from my sister. She asked a simple question- would you be interested in twins?

I literally started jumping up and down! At this point, the only thing better than a baby would be two babies! I had gotten phone calls about potential situations before, but this one had me really, really excited. Twins would be a complete dream come true! Even Kydon was on board this time.  We were very, very unsure of everything. My sister had an online friend whose husband worked with the mother of the girl who was expecting twins. We sent her a letter and included a copy of our profile. We had no idea if she was even seriously considering adoption, or if she was considering us or not. We were excited but very much unsure. We went ahead and started updating our home study, since Kydon was now on board with being ready for another.

In February, we went up to North Carolina to meet with her. Heading up there, we really had no idea what to expect- if she was just meeting us to make her mom happy, or if she was serious about adoption.  After a long lunch with great conversations, and a huge family dinner the next day, we drove home pretty certain that we had two little boys on the way!  We loved Angela from the very start, as well as her mom and grandma.  They were each such beautiful, strong women.  We felt so blessed that they were willing to share their lives with us. 

We spent the next few months in a nervous excitement.  We still had a just-barely-one year old to keep us busy, we started remodeling our kitchen, and we were updating our home study and researching all the ins and outs of a private adoption (we decided not to use the agency and just do-it-ourselves with the help of a lawyer).  I remember feeling terrified- terrified that something would happen and we wouldn't get the babies, and terrified that nothing would happen and we would have twins!  Both were scary prospects!

Angela started going into labor at 28 weeks.  WAY too early for healthy babies!  She took excellent care of herself, and with medical help and her patience, she made it to 34 weeks.  We got the call at 10pm that she was going to the hospital.  We screamed a little, then took Abigail to my mom's house to spend the week.  We made a mad dash drive to North Carolina, about 4.5 hours away.  We made it there by 2 or 3 ish, and got to spend time in the room with Angela while she continued to labor.  Those boys were slow in coming out after all that!  They were born at about 12 pm the next day.  We didn't get to see them be born because they took her to an OR just in case there were problems.  We did, however, get to be the first to see them, despite the hospital being very uncomfortable and nervous about all of us being there. 

Both boys were healthy, and our time in the NICU was very short- only 10 days.  And if Aidan would have stayed awake long enough to eat, we could have left even sooner!  That time was pretty magical for me.  Although I missed my Abigail like crazy, I had two of the sweetest boys ever to focus all my energy on.  Once the nurses trusted me, I was allowed in there at almost all times, they let me do all the feedings, baths, changes, etc.  I saw the birth family every single day, and it was wonderful to get to know them better.   Spending time with my babies and the birthfamily was the sunny-side of my time in NC. 

On the not-so-good side, the legal stuff was a huge pain.  Our lawyer was not as cooperative as I would have liked.  It was a legally risky adoption anyway, and I ended up having to deal with a lot more of that stuff than I should have.  I can still remember very clearly going to visit the boys and feeling so much love and happiness and peace, then going back to the room to deal with all the stress and annoyance of everything else.  I felt so bad for Kydon being a single-dad to Abigail, my mom watching her all day every day, me not being with her, and just not able to do any of the things I normally do. 

After a grueling 3 weeks in North Carolina, away from my sweet daughter, I was finally given clearance to leave- at 5pm.  Kydon was going to drive up the next morning to get me, but I rented a car as quick as I could and drove home.  I just had this unstoppable urge to be HOME, with my family, to see my daughter, see my husband, and just hide from everything stressful!

Once we got home, reality hit hard.  Guess what- preemie twin babies are a lot of work!  :)  Just in case you didn't know!  We were still dealing with a lot of legal hoops, trying to get Abigail adjusted to two cute time-suckers, and of course not getting any sleep.  As I said before, it was a legal-risk placement.  We knew when we took them home that there was a strong possibility we would have to give them back.  I tried my best not to think of that, but it was always there, plaguing me with doubt and fear.  After about 2 months, we got the news that the adoption would not be contested and we could proceed with making them a part of our forever family!  What a huge relief that was!  It still took several months before we were able to finalize, but I didn't worry so much after that.

Now we "only" had to work out having 3 babies!  I still love how much Angela's grandma laughed at us when she talked to us after those first few months!  Let's just say we had NO idea what we were getting into- we just wanted more babies!  Of course it was hard at first, as all good things are.  I'm going to end the story here, as that ends our adoption journey.  It was wild, wonderful, stressful and crazy.  I feel incredibly blessed to have 3 children.  I am lucky to know the women who gave me this sacred trust and to be able to tell my children how much they were loved before they came to me.  And I am very happy to not have to do it again! 

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

A Grown Up for a Night

Last night I got to take a break from all the dishes, laundry, and whining to actually feel like a grown up and do something fancy.....

Kydon and I went to the opening night of West Side Story at the (fabulous) Fox Theater! I had seen the movie as a kid, but didn't remember much about it, except a lot of gansta boys doing ballet moves. (That part hasn't changed).

The music was incredible. I could have listened to those voices forever! And the Puerto Rican girls dancing in those twirly skirts was quite a treat for my eyes. And seriously, how in the world do those people remember THAT much choreography? The whole evening was filled with the same group of people dancing up a storm all over the stage in perfect unison. I can't even spell choreography without a little help- I was in awe just watching them move and dance, jump and twirl.

I was very grateful for my mom offering to babysit, as it is a little difficult to get the high school crowd on a school night! Any time I can go to the Fox is a treat, because the theater is just so amazing, and to see a great show was a bonus! Tickets for West Side Story start at only $18- about what you would pay to eat at Chilis!

Of course, I did come home to a sick kid with a very smelly mess to clean up, and I was awake all night helping my poor little pumpkin deal with sickness issues.... which made me even more grateful that I had a least a few hours to disappear into the lives of Tony and Maria!
I received 2 complimentary "media" passes to attend West Side Story, as if my little blog about living with children qualifies me to be in the media. We drove ourselves, found our own free parking, and walked 8 blocks in the rain. We had a great time, and I always enjoy myself that much more when something is free! Also, I really did clean up a very stinky mess when I got home. That more than pays for anything I might get free. I'm just sayin'.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Dinner Time Games

When we eat dinner, we quite often have some wild children. Okay, maybe that should say "we have wild children, and we quite often eat dinner"! Anyway, I have found that the best way to calm them and keep them from driving me and each other crazy is to get them involved in a conversation of some sort, and "what did you do at school today" doesn't usually cut it with my darling girl who SAID she doesn't want to TALK about it!!

So, we have come up with several conversation games. They are very successful at directing and focusing energy and attention!
  • Real And Fake

Every person takes a turn saying two things that happened to them that day- one is real and one is fake. We each vote on which thing is real, and then they reveal the truth. This is the favorite, and the one we play the most often. It did take a few times to help them catch on to the idea, but now they are experts! And please don't say we are just teaching them to lie!

  • Lefty Righty

Each person has to look first to their left and say something nice about that person, then look to their right and say something nice about that person. This is especially good when someone has had a rough day or is feeling bad for whatever reason. Also, it helps them to learn left and right!

  • Sweet and Sour

Each person says one "sweet" or nice thing that happened to them that day, and one "sour" or bad thing that happened. Abigail doesn't really like this one much... I think she hates revealing TWO whole things about her day!

  • Gratitude Game

Pretty self-explanatory- each person says 3 things they are grateful for.

I'm always looking for new ideas- do you have any dinnertime games?

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Goal Update

On January 1st, I blogged about my new year's goals. I accomplish nothing when I don't make myself accountable, so I thought today might be a good day to update any progress being made or not being made. Here it goes!

  • Clean and organize my home

Yeah, not so much. Between snow week and adoption conference week and working and lazy, it hasn't happened yet. Actually, now that I'm thinking, I did wash all the shutters upstairs, plus all the baseboards and ceiling fans. So that is better than nothing! This week hopefully more progress will be made on that front!

  • Increase exercise

I have increased it. I am consistently exercising about 3x/week, which is more than what I was doing before! It would be nice to increase it more, but I'll just take it step by step!

  • Drink more water

Done! I drink 6-8 glasses a day, and have done that since the new year. I almost never drink soda anymore- maybe 1-2 per week, where before it was my only source of hydration! Yay- progress! :)

  • Be proactive with my children's education.

Working and thinking about this one. I constantly think about homeschool. It obsesses me. It drives Kydon crazy! :) I did have lesson plans and all sorts of things that we did over Christmas break, and it was great. I don't know where this will lead, but so far, so good.

  • New shoes

This one has been shamefully neglected. Maybe if I get all my work and projects done this week I can spend some time working on getting some really fab shoes!

  • Dermatologist

Not yet. I should call this week for an appointment. Bleh.

  • Bake bread

I have a fabulous recipe that I got from a friend, that I'm sure will work wonders. It calls for Vit. C powder or crystals or something, so I did at least look for it when I went to the grocery store (they didn't have it- not that I really thought they would, but I figured I would check). So, the next step is to stop at a health store and get some. I'm getting there!

  • Complete home projects

None, nada, zip, zilch. This week should change that- I'm planning to paint the laundry room, touch up a bunch of assorted wall paint, and restain the banister and a bench we have. Should be easy to do in a week, right? Please, allow me my delusion.

  • Find the church bag I put away in a brilliant place 4 months ago

No luck on this one either.

  • Stop drinking Diet Coke

Done, I had one/day for about a week, and none since. Last time I stopped, I still had it in the house, and I replaced it with other caffinated soda. This time I just switched to water!

  • Stop eating ice cream every night.

Also done. I've only had ice cream once since Jan 1, and it was at a party- so that doesn't really count, right? :)

  • Lose 20 lbs (or so)

Working on it. A few summers ago, I lost 22 lbs. It was awesome! Then I gained about 30. That was not so awesome. I need to get it back off, but this time I am a lot more focused on keeping it off. Last time I was super-duper strict and anal about every little thing I ate. This time I'm trying, but I'm not killing myself about every bite, or beating myself up if I have a bad meal/bad day. It is slow, but steady. In all I've lost about 5 lbs this month, so better than nothing!

  • No more ugly bathrooms

The bathrooms are scheduled to be re-done in the fall. The one just needs new tile, new vanity, new mirror and some wall paper. And maybe remove a wall. The master bath needs new tile, new shower, new vanities, new mirrors, new wallpaper, and something to make it pretty. Hopefully we can get it going by July or August. It might be sooner, but my work is really slow in the summer, so if I don't work at all it will get pushed back a bit.

  • No more messy basement.

Also no progress. It is a mess down there! I have a few ideas for it, so maybe it will work out this week. Man, I have a big list for this week!

Hope you are all doing well on your resolutions or whatever that you are trying to improve!

Friday, January 21, 2011


My father in law came up over the holidays. It was a Friday night, and we were talking about what we should do the next day.

It was too cold for hiking, and we didn't have any other great ideas. He asked Kydon if he had anything he needed help with... Kydon couldn't really think of anything, and someone said they should see if Shanna had anything she wanted done.

Oooooohhhh, yes. I ALWAYS have something I want done!

Just because I would hate for anyone to be bored!

I had seen this idea on a blog where a girl had built a shelf to raise her washer and dryer. The space underneath allowed her to slide the laundry baskets underneath. It seemed like a great idea for my closet of a laundry room.

A pretty simple operation- remove and raise the cabinet, build a shelf capable of supporting all that weight, figure out the drainage and plumbing for the washer, etc.

Simple for my father in law. Overwhelming for anyone else!

I did help with the painting. That is my specialty.

And wah-lah! It was finished by Saturday night. We waited for the paint to dry and put it back together on Monday. It is awesome... I now have room to sort the laundry and keep it underneath. I no longer have to move the basket to open the dryer door.

It did reveal how stained and rough the floor looks in there, but that is well worth the benefit! Now if only I could find the time to touch up the paint in there and finish it off!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Pajamas and Pancakes

Abigail had a fine, fabulous birthday! On her actual day of birth, we did a small celebration:

Lots of presents, and a family dinner with all the folks. She was eagerly anticipating the next weekend, because that was when her party was going to be. There was a little confusion about the whole birthday being on a different day than the party, and I think she still believes she had two birthdays this year!
I was asking my fabulous friend if she thought it would be better for me to send Kydon away with the boys, or if it would be better to keep the boys and have an extra adult to help with the party. She very generously offered to come over and help me out! And it was a lifesaver, let me tell ya!

Abigail picked the theme of "pajamas and pancakes", which I was very excited about! When the kids came in, we made some Paper People (there were boys at the party, so they couldn't be paper dolls), and cut out some fun paper to make pajamas for our paper people.

Abigail insisted on inviting her teacher, even though I told her over and over that teachers are busy on Saturdays! Finally, I let her invite her, but emailed the teacher to tell her she shouldn't feel obligated to come. To my surprise, she was very happy and wanted to come! Abigail was super-duper excited to have her there! This is Abigail with her teacher and the best friend who lives across the street and is in her class as well!

When the paper people were wrapping up, we moved on to pancakes. Thank goodness I had my friend cooking and me serving and settling! If I had been alone, there would have been a lot of burned pancakes!
When the tummies were full and all the pancakes consumed, we moved on to a game that Abigail thought up: Hide the Pancake!

Abigail created a paper pancake, and they took turns hiding it for the crowd to find. I love games that can go on as long as you need them to!

We also played musical pillows- identical to musical chairs, except you use pillows instead of chairs. As the kids got "out", they moved over to the table to make some bed bugs! I made little tubes of stuffed fabric, and they added eyes and pipe cleaners to customize their little bitty bugs.
Here is my cute niece showing off her bed bug and paper person!
When it was time to go, I handed each one a pillowcase that matched their bed bug with a packet of hot chocolate and some mini marshmallows for the goody bag.

Here is the crowd with all the loot! It was a really fun party, and I'm glad it only lasted an hour and a half! Whew! And I'm VERY glad to have friends that will voluntarily enter into the chaos to help me out!
For Abigail's torture, I made her wait until AFTER the party to open the gifts. I once had a party where we opened gifts at the party, and all of the kids went crazy, and gifts were opened and scattered and broken before I could even figure out who gave what! I don't think I'll make that mistake again! She very nicely let her brothers open a few, which helped them keep from feeling so left out!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Snow Party

On the 4th day of snow days, I was doing okay, but I knew the kids would like something to do, and I knew most of my friends were getting mucho-stir crazy at their houses!

So I threw a snow party! The ice was sort-of slushy enough to get around, so I invited everyone who wanted to come over for a get together. I baked a bunch of sugar cookies, so we started by letting all the kids frost and sprinkle their own cookies. (I never knew you could fit so many sprinkles on one cookie). Then I just popped a mountain of popcorn, put it in various containers, and we turned on a movie.
When you think about it, it wasn't that different than what we had been doing all week!
Except that we had 25 extra kids over!

I was just going to pull out some old movie that we had, but luckily one of the others moms is a lot cooler than I am and had Despicable Me! Many of them had seen it, but it was new and interesting enough that they were transfixed!

Except for the girl contingent that was intently playing with tiny dolls (Polly Pocket and Squinkies) in Abigial's room.
It was fun for me to talk to the other moms and have all those kids in my house! I loved it! And during the party it was announced that school would be closed the next day as well to round out a complete week of snow days!

Kydon hid upstairs pretending to work until they all left- then he helped me vacuum up all that popcorn!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Talk about a long weekend!

Random cute pictures that have nothing to do with the post! Abigail in her sweet basket bed!

Someone figured out that in the past 26 days, the kids have only been to school 3 of those days! I guess someone must have heard me complain over and over that their Christmas vacation was too short!

I passed one of my major homeschooling hurdles this month. I had all 3 kids home for weeks on end, and I never felt like I was going to lose my mind!! Of course, there were moments, but they passed quickly, and I knew how to redirect so they stayed moments and didn't become hours. This was one of my biggest "home school fears", and I conquered it! There are still several other hurdles, but that was a nice one.

Much different than this age, where I was going crazy just about every minute of every day! My how times have changed- for the better! But aren't they cute????

So, while it was lovely having the kids home, and we all completely enjoyed ourselves, I didn't get a whole lot done (surprise). Well, actually I did get a lot done, but it was more the variety of school, basic cleaning, dishes, laundry, cook food, clean up, repeat. I have *other* things that I wanted to get done that made zero progress!

To make it worse, I paid the bills. Every time I pay the bills I get antsy, wishing we had more money. Watching it all get divvied up and go away makes me sad! So I paid the bills, then went to my work's website and signed up for an extra shift for tonight. My wallet will be happy, but my to-do list will be sad!

Plus I have a major party and adoption education class this weekend, which I have to get ready for. Things seem to sneak up! It felt so far away when we planned it!

So, this week's list looks something like this:

  • Today: do a little cleaning, then take a long nap. Work all through the night.
  • Tomorrow: sleep a little but not too much, finish washing the windows (a project that got started during those 3 days of school and never got finished).
  • Thurs: sand and paint the laundry room (another project that should have been finished weeks ago), prep for the dinner party and conference
  • Fri: finish prepping for party and conference, clean the house, cook food

I guess my long list will have to wait for next week!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Snow Day... Times Three!

It snowed in Georgia. Again. As if Christmas Day wasn't enough, it had the audacity to snow again. Last time was more of a dusting- a heavy frost if you will. This time it was/ is a full blown snow-in. We got around 3 inches. Which, in case you don't know, will shut the entire metropolitan area down until it melts.

No, I am not kidding. Public transportation is not running. Schools are closed, husbands are working (or not working) from home, stores are not open, meetings are cancelled.

Usually a Southern Snow Day means hibernate for 24 hours, build a snowman, watch a movie, and within 24 hours it has all melted and gone away and you my resume your normal life. I don't love snow of any kind, but that kind really isn't too bad. I mean, who doesn't like a day off of school or church once a year?

The problem with this snow storm is that it hasn't warmed up. At least not enough to melt all the white stuff. The roads are still icy, school is still closed, workers are still home. It has been 3 days, and it looks like it might hang around for a while.

I'm not complaining- it just means extra home school for us! The kids started to really ramp up the home school complaints this time, telling me that the neighbors don't have to do school, and their mothers don't make them do chores. I was prepared though, and I showed them the sugar cookie dough sitting in the fridge just waiting for 6 little hands to get to work. I told them that the other kids might not have to do school and work, but they also don't get to make cookies.

Once they had the right mentality, the work and school got done in a hurry! Then it was on to the cookie making!

I just divide the dough in thirds, throw flour on the table and let them go at it. They roll it, cut it out, eat it, poke it, do whatever they want, I pop it in the oven, and then they get to decorate with frosting.

**please note: I only offer these cookies to my own kids. That way I don't have to worry about trying to keep their hand out of their mouths.

Clean up really isn't that hard, just wiping up and a little vacuum. Oh, and a change of clothes. But it is worth it, especially when we are home with no where to go for 3 days!

Abigail with her completed project. I had to hurry and snap a picture as she was on her way out the door to play.

This is what our snow days have been: Work and school in the mornings (before the rest of the world is awake), then play or watch tv for a minute, still waiting for normal kids to wake up.

As soon as 10:00 hits, they get dressed in as many clothes as they can, throw on a hat and some very non-snow-friendly gloves and race outside. They stay outside sledding, building snow men, angels, and running with their friends until they just can't take the wet and cold anymore.

When the cold is unbearable, they ring the doorbell (hands are way too cold to open the door), strip out of their wet things and cry because everything hurts. Mommy helps them get into warm/dry clothes, wraps them in a blanket, and I make them hot chocolate and toast, just like my Mommy used to make for me after playing in the snow. I let them watch few minutes of TV while they warm up and refuel.
The second they are the least bit warm, I'm lucky to get a see-ya as they throw their coats/hats/shoes/gloves on again and go back for more. I start another load of laundry and wait for the next round! Repeat this about 6 times a day, times 3.

When the feet and fingers are super cold, we always have the option of the "heat vent huddle".

After 2 days of seeing the children for only brief moments throughout the day, and doing 15 loads of laundry, Kydon and I decided to finally venture out and see just what in the world they have been doing for hours on end. I know, we are total helicopter parents.

Unknown to all of us here in the warm GA climate, the neighbors across the street have the most ideal sledding hill ever. It goes behind about 6-7 houses, none of which have a fence around their backyard. It is sloped enough to get some speed and turn you around, but not enough that it is scary or dangerous at all.
The neighbors had raided all of their skii equipment, so we had plenty of boogie boards and inner tubes to share and take turns going down.

It looked so fun that Kydon and I had to join in as well- here is Abigail and I headed down! I even missed hitting the tree! Okay, I made contact with a few branches, but missed the trunk!

The kids all came home with minor scrapes on legs, noses, arms and faces! It didn't even slow them down- the fun was worth any pain!

After a little convincing, Abigail got Kydon to ride with her. Once he went, he was hooked, and insisted on going alone after that! I did my two turns down, chatted with a neighbor, then returned to my cocoon, leaving the rest to the fun.

Kydon stayed at least 30 more minutes, and came home looking like this!

I had to get a few pictures! And I love the gardening gloves doubling as snow gloves! The neighbors had socks with ziplock bags!

It's been three days, and it looks like we might have a couple more to go!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Handmade Christmas 2011

I love making gifts for the holidays. It is a little more challenging as they get older- esp. for the boys! But I love to do it, so I am up for the challenge!
First I have to show what my mom made- these adorable lap quilts for each of the grandkids! The fronts are gorgeous- a panel hand picked for each one, some cute piecing around the edges, and little personal touches to each one like embroidered names, colors, special quilting.

The backs are the super-soft minky. We have been snuggling in these ever since they opened the box. One day I had to wash Jack's. He had to go to bed before it was dry. He was quite upset and told me that he was only going to be half warm all night! I had to promise to bring it up as soon as it was dry to keep him all-the-way- warm.
I made plenty of these checkerboard sets. I gave them to all the families on Kydon's side, then made one for us as well. It folds up nicely into a little pouch. Kydon had the great idea to make the checkers reversible, and they turned out great!
I only have a picture of one, but I made each of them a huge fleece blanket. Customized with their name, of course! I haven't used my embroidery machine in years, and I was having a lot of fun with it! My mom gave them fleece blankets a few years ago, and we have used them to death... we needed to replace them!
These fabric snakes ended up being one of my favorite things! They were so fun to make, and the kids just went wild over them! So simple- just some fabric scraps, a little stuffing, a red felt toungue and two button eyes.

I sent some to a couple of cousins as well. Even Kydon likes to wrap them around his neck when he thinks no one is looking! :)

A hooded towel for each. I should have spent a little more time making them cute, but oh well! They still like having a towel with a "roof". The other mistake was that I made them last Spring, but saved them for Christmas- except Abigail and Jack both changed their favorite color. They still liked them, but it could have been a little bit better.

In Primary last year they started encouraging the kids to bring their own scriptures. I bought each of the kids a Book of Mormon, which promptly got lost and/or sent to the library. So I bought 3 more, and wrote their names in them. Those 3 also got lost and/or sent to the library, and I had to go through a giant stack of books each week looking for the one with their name in it. Huge pain! So, I bought 3 more, but this time I made cute little covers for them, I used courdoroy, with a print fabric. I embroidered their name, and included 2 page markers and an elastic to keep it closed. In hindsight, I should have put the elastic on the front to loop around the back so when it was closed up there wasn't a big elastic going through the name. But overall, I LOVE the way they turned out! And they better not get lost again!
I had one more project that I just didn't get to, so I'm going to work on it and have it ready for a first-day-of-summer surprise. It is a little felt tent that will fit over our table to give them a little place to play.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Christmas Afternoon

Whoops- I thought this had published already, but apparently not!

Christmas morning with all the presents and toys and excitement and fun was just the beginning of our day. We then went to my uncle's for a fabulous lunch, then over to Moms' for more present gluttony.

Even though it happens every year, I am still amazed when we pass out the presents and I look at the giant stacks! They kids just eat it up, of course. And, to be honest, so do I!

Aidan and Jack got marshmallow shooters from my sister- complete with a bag of mini marshmallows! We will probably be finding little white sugar balls hidden in corners for months!

Isn't this girl beautiful? I love this expression caught on camera!

Jumping with excitement! When the presents were all finished, we spent the evening talking, eating, and enjoying all being together. Abigail and her cute cousin came in at one point all dressed up and sang Christmas carols to the group. It was magical!

National Champs, Baby!

I just have to shout congratulations to our Amazing Auburn Tigers!! 2010 National Champs!

Yes, even though we are extremely strict with bedtime around here (upstairs at 6:15, asleep by 7), we let the kids stay up to watch the game... which started at 8:30pm! We did make them take naps, which they were more than happy to do after sledding and playing outside in the snow all morning. They came in, got some hot chocolate and toast, snuggled into their new warm blankets, and went right to sleep. Abigail slept for 2 hours, Jack slept for 4, and I woke Aidan up after 5.

We all wore our orange and blue, and cheered the team to victory! The kids were totally into the game- it was so fun watching it with them and seeing their level of concentration! Aidan did fall asleep about 11:30. We let him sleep for an hour, then woke him up for the last couple of minutes to see the end of the game. Jack and Abigail were going strong the whole time- but they all fell asleep within a minute of hitting the pillow!

War Eagle!

My Version of Homeschool

As my sister put it, "Shanna's home school just means that anytime you are home, you have to do school"! And she's right! I love the school the kids are in, I love the teachers, and I love having time to myself during the day. I also love the idea of home school and teaching my kids. So, for now, I just plan for breaks and time off school and give them supplemental lessons.

Over Christmas break I planned a unit study about Aesop's Fables. We read a whole bunch of fables, then used two for our studies. We focused on "The Wind and The Sun", and "The Ant and the Grasshopper". We did the Wind and Sun first, reading the fable, we talked about what makes a fable, etc. For math we did some tally charts where we asked all the family members what their favorite season was and who they thought was stronger- the Wind or the Sun. We also talked about attributes of why the Sun would be a good example of gentle and the Wind was a good example of ferocious. There was an interesting discussion about if they could have been swapped with the wind being gentle and the sun being ferocious.

We pulled sight words for the boys and spelling words for Abigail from the story- we did the "-ight" word family, which had a lot of words in the story for Abigail, and Jack and Aidan ended up with words like hot, cold, sun, etc. For art, we made sun catchers and wind chimes. It was totally fun!
When we studied the Ant and the Grasshopper, we did a lot more math. Abigail is really great at math, and I've been wanting to teach her to carry numbers for a while- it was where we left off at the end of summer. So I used the idea of an ant to carry the number all the way to the top. It really clicked with her, and when she was doing her practice problems, she drew little ants carrying each number!

We also did some math figuring out how much food we would need for winter... for PE we did some relay races and tried to see how much we could carry in comparison to our weight. I loved that this story fit into some of our religious values, because we talked about the Church's counsel to store food and why that was a good idea. For science, we talked about the insect classification and what characteristics make an insect.

We made cute little ants out of an egg carton. Man, I love this stuff! :)
At the end of the week, I had them each write and illustrate an original fable. They were totally adorable! Jack wrote: "The tortoise and the hare had a problem. The hare said he is bigger. The tortoise said I am little but I can swim". His moral: Even if you are little you can do cool stuff. I loved this from the boy who is always being called small and always getting frustrated that he isn't bigger and asking me what he can do to grow. I loved it!!

Aidan wrote: "A wolf said a husky did you fight to see who is strong. So they fought and the husky won". Uh, can you tell that Aidan got a stuffed husky for Christmas and he loves that husky just as much if not more than his previous favorite stuffed wolf? :) He had a hard time telling me a moral. At first he said the moral was that huskies are stronger, or that wolfs lose. Finally together we came up with the moral is: Being too wild can make you lose!

Abigail's ended up being pretty similar to another fable we had read, but it did have an original twist: "A turkey was walking down the street when he saw a peacock. Peacock said you are not beautiful, and if you're not beautiful you can't come to the party. Then you can't come to my party. That's not fair. Yes it is. No it's not." Moral: If you are mean to somebody, they will be mean to you. Her story was similar, but the moral was all her own.

Whenever I mention home school, they all cry and fuss and put up resistance, but as soon as we sit down and start doing it, they all love it and really get into it. And, honestly it is only about 30 min a day over the break, so I'm not exactly slave driving them! But they are learning some things, and I'm getting in my agenda! :)