Homeschooling with Baby

3/24/2014

We homeschool. And yes, we have an infant in the house. How do we combine these two? 


Well, I figure it's never too early to start the education process?!  :-)

Honestly, we took about 4-6 weeks off of school when the baby was born. That was just out of necessity for my own sanity. We school year-round and one of the major benefits of this approach is being able to take breaks as we need them. This year, we needed a long break around Christmastime, as adjusted to life with a newborn. No problem. We're still basically on track to complete our 180 days of school within a one-year time frame. 

What we continued to do during those early weeks was read. While I was tied to my "nursing chair" for many hours each day, I read to the kids. We read some "school" books and some leisure books. My 6-year-old especially liked reading through favorites like Charlotte's Web, Ralph S. Mouse, The Trumpet of the Swan.

We also worked on practical skills. My 10-year old learned how to make some basic lunch meals. We have had many discussions about how babies develop and grow, what they can and can't do at each stage, what toys they like, etc. I've heard it said before, "the baby is the lesson." That is so true. While we may take a break from traditional homeschooling, much learning is still going on.

Now that baby is around 3 months old, we're back into the swing of school. I continue to work through this book "Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons" with my 6-year-old. He's doing great as he learns to read. And my 10-year-old is old enough to do much of her work independently, requiring only supervision and sometimes help. She's studying human anatomy this year for science, which has dovetailed nicely with life at our house with pregnancy, baby, and growth. 

Again, I will say how thankful I am that we homeschool. There's flexibility in our schedule - we don't have to get up early each day, which is a blessing with a newborn! There's flexibility in our yearly schedule - we can take a maternity leave and it's fine! We can lighten the curriculum load in some areas and focus on others for a time. And there's no rigidity even with teachers - Dad can help teach!  

And ultimately, my children get to grow up together. My 10-year-old gets to interact with her baby sister... and grow and learn through the experience. My 6-year-old is learning how to be a big brother. We're all learning and growing together. It's a beautiful thing!

Baby Girl is 3 Months Old

3/14/2014
   
The last 3 months have flown by.


Baby Girl has already been with us for 90 days. 
13 Weeks. 3 Months. 


She gives lots of smiles now. She's giggled a few times, but no belly laughs yet. 


 

Here are some portraits of her at 3 months. 

So adorable, with that toothless grin.


Love this one - baby in a box. And those little shoes in the foreground. So precious!


And one with the beautiful hat a friend made for her. 
Is there anything more beautiful in the world than a baby with a hat?!

She's sleeping fairly well at night, but not much during the daytime. We'll need to start some sleep training to get those daytime naps in. But she's sleeping at night from 9 pm until 9 am, getting up twice (2 am and 6 am). 

She's just generally very alert. Big eyes taking it all in. She loves to watch big brother. He comes over to pat her head, give kisses, and talk to her often. She just soaks it up. 

Happy 3-months, baby girl!

Family Photos

3/12/2014

A new baby in our home means it's time for new family photos.


We keep a family portrait hanging above our fireplace in the living room. Above is the one we had there, from fall 2012.


And here's some new, current shots with all 3 children.

My heart is so overjoyed and thankful for the family God's blessed me with. What a delight to share life with these people!

Baby Adjustments

3/4/2014

We're almost 3 months in with our baby girl. This is when the days are very long but the weeks somehow pass quickly. 

I had some concerns about how my older children would adjust to having a baby in our home. But they have been wonderful. 


My 10-year-old daughter has surprised me by asking to hold the baby now and then. 


And both of the older kids have become entertainers for our baby. They enjoy talking to her, showing her new things, and just interacting with her. 

It's been neat to watch the older kids grow up a bit. Babies do that to families - force us all to grow up, mature, take on new responsibilities. My 6-year-old son especially has had to move out of the role of "baby of the family" into the role of big brother. He's done great. No resentment. No hard feelings. He's growing up. He's had to learn to be a helper, instead of the one needing help. 

We're all growing up!

Friday Funnies

2/28/2014

I'm a big advocate of writing down those funny things kids say, because I know that they won't make it into my long-term memory. So here are a few of the funny things my children have said recently. 


My 10-year-old daughter took a shower early one morning. She told me afterwards that she was so tired, she just felt like "a pig made of jello on an upright spit." What a word picture! 

Last week our 9-year-old niece Racquel was over for a playdate. She and my 10-year-old daughter were talking about weddings and boyfriends (ay, ay, ay). Racquel named a boy she'd like to marry and then asked who should be the "ring barrier?"

My 6-year-old son used this funny combo phrase "scared me out of my horses."  He also mistakenly referred to my favorite Girl Scout cookies (Carmel DeLites) as "carmel good nights." But my favorite was when he was watching baby sister. She was trying to drink and "talk" at the same time, making those super cute baby noises. My son said "That's bad table manners to talk and eat at the same time!" 

Smile! 
Remember there's always something to smile about!

Baby Girl at 2 Months

2/14/2014


Baby Girl is now 2 months old. 

She weighs just over 10 pounds. She's smaller than average by weight, but bigger than average by length. 

She smiles a lot now. She lights up when she sees mama. She's definitely a mama's girl. 

We have so many names for this little girl. We use pet names a lot, like "rosebud" (which turns into "rosey" a lot) and "little miss" (which turns into "missy" a lot). And we sometimes call her "sissy" (as in "little sister"). She just may grow up to be confused about what her name actually is! 


I've been pleasantly surprised at how smooth the transition has been for my other two kids to grow to love baby sister. It's been beautiful (and entertaining at times) to watch. 

We love this little girl!

Love

2/12/2014


Here's a recent picture of my baby, all ready for Valentine's Day! 

Been thinking about love lately. We've worked on memorizing Romans 12, which includes a verse "love must be sincere; hate what is evil and cling to what is good." I've explained many times to my children that love must show itself in action. The words "I love you" are meaningless if they aren't followed up with action. 

And so I've been more intentional about verbalizing "I'm doing this because I love you and love must be sincere" while I'm preparing food, cleaning a dish, pouring a cup of milk, changing a diaper :-) 

Love must be sincere. 
I'm so very thankful for those who show sincere love to me! 


Baby Comparisons - Smiles

2/6/2014



My newest baby started smiling this week. I love it when the smiles start. Baby becomes more interactive and I start to feel like there is a little bit of gratitude for the hard work of parenting for these first months. 


These smiles remind me of my other kids' first smiles. So fun to look back, to remember, and compare their individual looks. 


Here's a picture of my oldest daughter in 2003 with some of her first smiles. I notice the chubbier cheeks. 


Here's my son in 2008 with some of his first smiles. 

Babies. So beautiful. So special. So unique. 

We are so blessed! 

One Month Baby Girl

1/24/2014 

My newest baby girl is already 6-weeks old! 

I seldom have a spare moment to blog (or take a shower for that matter), but here are a few pictures to share. I know a few have been asking for some updates, so this is the best I can do for now. 

Here's my hubby after rocking the little one to sleep. They are both out like a light. 


Grandpa R holding baby for the first time this past week. 

 
A bit of play time on the floor. She's quite the kicker - constantly moving those legs. 

 
Asleep in mama's arms, with hands folded. 


In a moby-wrap carrier with mama. This baby doesn't want to be away from mama for even a minute, so the carrier is a great way for baby to be close to mama and mama to have hands-free to accomplish other tasks. 

We love our baby girl!

Baby Comparisons - Baths

1/15/2014

Life is moving at break-neck speeds. 
My newest baby is a month old already. 

Giving the newest little miss a bath recently made me recall the experience with those of my other children. 
Here are some photo comparisons, just for fun. 
It's the same blue baby bath tub in each picture.


Picture of little missy's first bath at home at 3 weeks (2014).


Picture of my enormous son's first bath at home at 3 weeks (2008).


Picture of my eldest daughter's first bath at home at 3 weeks (2003).

I think my two girlies look a lot alike - small, petite, delicate. My son, well, he was just unbelievably huge.

Of course this also reminds me how much I love that baby fresh smell after a bath!

Snow Day

1/6/2014





We've had major snow the last few days and now super cold temps to go with it. But before it got too cold to be outdoors, Dad and the two older kids enjoyed some sledding time. 
 



Winter fun!

New Baby Break

12/18/2013


We have a new baby! 

I'll be taking a blogging break while we adjust to life at home with our baby girl! 

I will be back soon.

Pregnancy - 41 Weeks

12/12/2013


 41 Weeks Along

No pregnant mama necessarily wants to reach this point. The due date has come and gone... still no baby. 
People call to check in, to see if they've missed some big news... nope, still waiting. 


How I feel: ready
I'm trying to be patient
I'm trying to enjoy these days while I can focus on my older children.  
And I'm trying to rest up. 

We will be induced soon, if baby doesn't come naturally. 

We are ready for you, Baby Flutter, and will see you oh-so-very soon!

Family Photo Friday

12/6/2013
 
 It's Friday which is when I try to post a few family photos.


A week or so ago we had our homeschool co-op end-of-semester program. One of the classes that performed a song on stage was the "Armor of God" class. My kids were not in this class, but my son was so impressed with their costumes that he immediately began talking of making some armor at home. 

It wasn't long before he and his sister had homemade swords and helmets. And this led to a number of discussions about the armor of God mentioned in Ephesians 6.


It also led to some birthday gifts that fit the theme as well.



This picture doesn't show the stickers as well as I'd hoped, but my son chose stickers to represent each member of our family to put on his shirt. He put a smiley face on for Dad, Mom, sister and himself. Then he added a sticker of a gift for Baby Flutter. So sweet.


My hubby and daughter were busy in the kitchen making soft buttery pretzels. Mmmm.   



My kids worked together to put up our Christmas tree this week. Team work at its best.


My son loves drawing and creating with the dry-erase board. He was very proud of himself when he drew this awesome picture of a firefighter, fire truck and burning building. Great job, Buddy! 

Happy Friday to you!

Pregnancy - 40 Weeks

12/5/2013



40 weeks along

 I am really big. 
I think I'm waddling with each lumbering step I take.
It's hard to stay on my feet for long.

We're thankful that we've made it into the month of December, which is when our "real" insurance took effect. For most of October and all of November, I was covered with a temporary insurance (that would NOT have covered labor/delivery) and the rest of my family was without any coverage. But now... we're ready!


A day or so ago I had a burst of energy and was able to do some serious nesting. 

I've been craving peanut butter for the last few weeks. 

I continue to have indigestion all day long, regardless of what I eat or avoid eating. I'm up in the night at least twice for a potty break and to sit in the recliner at an incline to help with the middle-of-the-night indigestion. 

I do believe that we're ready for this baby. 
Each last-minute item has been checked off. 
We're ready to welcome you to this side of the world, 
Baby Flutter!

Kindergarten ABCs

12/4/2013

My son has been working hard to learn his ABCs. 



He's doing very well and is starting to string together letters to make words. He's proud of himself, as he should be. 


Here are a few pictures of him working on putting together two different alphabet puzzles we have - one uppercase, one lowercase.

I've struggled, as many homeschoolers do, with how hard to push my son in the area of reading readiness. I struggle to not compare him with his older sister, who learned to read at age 4. My boy turns 6 this week and is much further behind than my girl was at that age. But he wasn't ready sooner. It seems that recently the light bulb has gone on and he's grasping the letter sounds and combinations better than before. Another example of how you can't push kids to do things they aren't ready for - they will learn them when they are good and ready (whether it's potty training, learning to read or tie shoes). 

Happy Birthday, Little Man!

12/3/2013



My little man turns 6 this week! 
This birthday seems extra special, at least to me, as I'm carrying a baby due on his exact birthday. I'm recalling what pregnancy was like exactly 6 years ago and that birth experience... and how quickly the last 6 years have gone.






It's quite a privilege to be a mom to this little man. He's taught me to lighten up, to laugh more, to enjoy life more, to let go of the reigns of control more.


He's all boy. He's into swords and guns. He loves to be active, to hit and kick and run and jump. But he's also got a very tender heart. He likes to snuggle and take naps next to Mom.


I'm so thankful to be his mom and so thankful to God for putting him into our family.
 

Happy Birthday, Buddy!