"What lies behind us, and what lies before us are small matters
compared to what lies within us."
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Computer Woes

Happy Saturday to all Catherine's friends! This is her friend Carol posting on her behalf. Both of Catherine's computers are in the shop for repairs and she's currently undergoing severe withdrawal from all her Facebook and blog friends! She hopes to be back on-line early next week and will provide an update on all her exciting family "doings" at that time!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Simple Pleasures

I've had lots of time to contemplate the meaning of life this week. I've also counted all the designs in the ceilings a few times too. Somehow I managed to throw my back out, so I have been spending a lot of time laying on the floor with a pack of frozen carrots on my back. Gee, I can't imagine how I could have hurt my back, could it be from lugging these three lightweights around?

While I was laying there, feeling sorry for myself, I got a package in the mail! All the way from Iceland!!!! Thank you so much Dagbjört! You made my day! Look at all this cool stuff!  
Dagbjört's mom works in the sock factory that made these socks. 

Magnets!!!! What a beautiful place Iceland is!

Yummy lollipops with the Iceland flag.

Chocolate that is already long gone (I only shared a little bit!)

What a great lunch! I was so excited, I even managed to stand up.

Dagbjört even sent me this Icelandic fish oil. Victoria will probably be a genius from taking it by next week. 

After the excitement died down, I still had to figure out how to entertain everyone from a prone position. I am lucky that my kids are so easy to please. No fancy, fruity popsicles for them. They are ecstatic over frozen ice.

Victoria kept herself busy with a towel.

Oh yea, peek a boo rocks! She had gotten really loud when she laughs. I'm so glad she has finally found her voice

For dinner, uh, I mean dessert, we had ice cream and root beer floats.

Catherine pretty much wakes up in the morning and puts on her bathing suit, whether we are going to the pool or not.

Whip cream is kind of healthy, right?

Things were all cheery until I put a dollop of  whip cream in Francesca's dish. This is a kid that will eat a raw onions, but the whip cream threw her into a state of hysteria.

She was literally cringing in fear.

I made the mistake of moving her dish a centimeter closer to her. She totally panicked

At least everyone else had a good time.

That's the good thing about living in a big family, sometimes you just have to learn to get over things.

Victoria is having her EEG tomorrow morning. I'm really hoping that she isn't having seizures  Please say a prayer for her!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Working for the weekend

I declared that this weekend was going to be project de-clutter! I'm not absolutely positive, but I think Catherine is growling in protest in this picture. 

After a nourishing breakfast, we were all ready to begin.

Some of us really jumped at the chance to get organized. My new philosophy is:  if I see if on the floor, you must not care about the toy very much, so I will give it to Goodwill. Also, everyone gets one bin to keep their special items in. Everything else is going to be played with on a permission only basis.

While the kids were busy putting all my clean towels on the floor to make doll beds (why can't the dolls sleep on the kids' beds?), I actually cleared off a windowsill. Doesn't this look so zen? I didn't take a before picture. I didn't want to scare you all.

Meanwhile, Victoria was contemplating the merits of the wooden chair.

Ummm, can I get a little help here?

The doctor gave Victoria permission to be upright. She was thrilled! 

Oh yea, I'm a pro at this!

I may have chocolate on my foot and blue marker on my arm (as well as all over my father's shorts - he really shouldn't fall asleep when I am feeling artistic), but no time for a bath right now, unless this chair is coming with me! 

Good job little sister! Francesca may be a sticky fingers, touching everything within reach, but she sure is empathetic!

She figured out how to put her shoes on all by herself! We'll work on learning the difference between left and right another day.

See you all later! I gotta rest, cause who knows what I'm gonna figure out how to do tomorrow! 

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Creative Homeschooling

Several people have asked me how I homeschool Isabella and Anastasia, (and Catherine too, since she insists on it!)  so I thought I would share.

I am not an unschooler, nor am I a classical homeschooler. I guess I am kind of an eclectic type of teacher. I use a variety of curriculum that fits each kid's learning style. I homeschooled Elliot through the fourth grade, when he decided that he didn't have to listen to me, so off to public school he went. Isabella and Anastasia go to a two day a week school. They focus on Science and History. I pretty much homeschool all year round, though we take breaks when we want.

We read a bunch. I usually check out twenty-five books from the library every other week. When Francesca and Victoria take a nap, I read chapter books to the other girls. This is kind of our special time. I don't insist they read for a certain time each day, but they love to read.

"To Kill A Mockingbird" is quite a favorite with the preschool group.

Here are some of my favorites:

I am thinking of using "Teaching Textbooks" next year for math instead of Horizons. It is a computer math program that is graded. Has anyone used it?

One of the best things about homeschooling is seeing all the creative ideas my kids come up with. They turned the recycling containers into a rolly polly habitat. Then we researched them on the computer. Did you know that they are the only crustacean that can spend its entire life on land?

We conducted an experiment to use what was the rollie pollies favorite diet. Lettuce won by a landslide.

Anastasia found an old bird nest and decided to make her own. She also got a chicken egg, blew out the inside and dyed it. 

Everyone has learned tons of medical terms thanks to Francesca and Victoria. The girls like to bandage up their dolls' heads and give them cranial vaults. 

They learn so much from each other. Catherine is teaching Francesca that worms are not something to scream about.

They really look out for each other.

I try not to be immediately available to help them with every little thing. I like them to try to figure things out on their own.

Francesca is dividing the dog food into thirds. What a math genius!

Besides the 3 R's, I hope that I am teaching them to be kind and caring and not to just think of themselves.

I would also love to hear ideas from other homeschoolers, especially about how to homeschool older kids with little ones. 

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

That's the Spirit!

Victoria is darn tired of sitting She has decided to take matters into her own hands. First, she figured out how to push herself around in the wheelchair. 

Next, she managed to lift herself up into a sitting position. The doctor didn't think she would be able to do this for quite a while. She has only been out of the spica cast for two weeks.

Meanwhile, my son got himself a job. He is selling knives. Who wouldn't buy knives from this responsible citizen?

While Elliot was busy cutting things, Victoria has been a verbalizing wonder!!! I thought she never would talk, but I was determined. Every single day, several times a day, we do this puzzle. I say the animals sounds and she looks at me like, "yea, whatever mom" and grabs the puzzle piece. Well, my annoying voice must have sunk in, because now she can say  "neigh", "moo", "he-haw", "maaaa" and "ba" (but only if she holds her nose). She even clucks like a chicken. Isn't she brilliant! She is ready to move to a farm.

Here is my speech box. We do this everyday too. Francesca loves going over and over the photos and she can name almost everyone in the family. Victoria started saying "weee-oooo" like a fire truck! She has a really quiet voice, like she is very unsure about the sounds coming out of her mouth. If we get too excited, she covers her ears.

She doesn't like me to feed her at all and she still can't fit in her booster seat, so I just plunked her in a chair. She was a happy camper! 

If she drops something off her spoon, she will take her other hand and put the food back on the spoon.

But here is the really amazing stuff. Victoria is putting her feet down and trying to walk! I know it probably hurts, but she is one determined kid!

See how she is shuffling her feet forward?  She only has to wear her brace for naps and bedtime and she is taking advantage of her freedom! 

I remember when I thought she would never learn to cuddle. She loves when Grandma rubs her back.

We have a few important doctor's appointments coming up. Francesca is going to have a sleep study to determine if she has sleep apnea, which is common in kids with Aperts. Victoria is going to have an EEG done to see if she could be having seizures. Not big seizures, but  she does a strange thing with her eyes sometimes. She moves her head to the side and her eyes move rapidly.  Please say a prayer for her!