This was our first year having Christmas away from family, and while I did really miss them, it was fun to be able to start some of our own traditions. Ever since college I have had this idea to do a "Shepherd's Dinner" for Christmas Eve where we would all dress up like shepherds watching their flocks, eat on the floor, and eat simple foods that people may have eaten in Jesus' time. And this year we got to do it! We spread out the "Indian Blanket" (an old wool blanket we've had since I was little), pulled out the electric candles Jon's Grandma gave us, and ate olives, cheese, crackers, dried fruit, hard boiled eggs, grape juice, bread, and olive oil with balsamic vinegar. For some of the foods like grape juice, bread, vinegar, and olives, I found scriptures that talked about those foods. For example, I read the story of Jesus turning water to wine, the bread of life analogy, when Jesus was given vinegar on the cross, and (briefly) the analogy of the olive tree in Jacob 5. It was nice to focus more on the life of the Savior and the kids-- surprising-- were really excited about it all. It brought a really sacred feel to our Christmas Eve celebrations, even though Jon threatened to bring the sheep inside to make it more authentic!
Christmas day the kids opened their gifts from Santa in the morning (though Asher is always most excited just to see if Santa ate his cookies!) and then after breakfast we got dressed and went to church. Last year we went to Catholic Mass, and it was a really great experience, but this year we had met the pastor of the local Lutheran church and thought it would be nice to attend his services. It was really different, but I loved worshiping Christ on his birth day. I think that going to Church on Christmas is one of my new favorite traditions. It sort of made me laugh at my post where I asked for ideas on how to make Christmas more Christ centered... umm go to church! It doesn't get more Christ centered than that.
This little girl has been a handful lately.
People keep asking me, "Is she a good baby?" Most of the time I just don't even know how to respond to that one. But if by some chance I had it altogether this is what I would say, "Of course she is a good baby, she is only four months old. How could she not be good!" But if you mean does she let me sleep for more than four hours a night, does she constantly want to be held, does she rarely take naps longer than 45 minutes, then NO. But that doesn't make her a bad baby. She is a wonderful baby... just a handful."
But rarely do I seem to have it all together, so at least I've vented it all out here. Thanks.
Really, she is a fussy baby. I wouldn't call her colicky, but after Abraham (who was the easiest baby in the world) she seems like a challenge. Most of the time the only way we can ever get her to take a nap is to put her in the swing and play white noise on the iphone. Which, I will say, is much better than when Asher was a baby. He was also a pretty fussy baby and Jon and I would regularly put him to bed by running a blow dryer in his room. We burnt out two blow dryers in four months. The iphone is so much better. I'd take a picture, but it is currently snuggled against Tabitha's ear, and if I move it she will wake up.
But you can imagine.
I am pretty sure my kids are going to grow up thinking that to get babies to go to sleep you need to swaddle them, stick their binky in, and play ocean noises on your phone. In fact, my cousin and her kids were visiting us a few weeks ago and we laughed when her daughter wrapped up her dolly, put her in the swing and then put her toy cell phone next to her baby's ear!
I haven't posted about homeschool for awhile and so I thought I'd give an update.
It is going great!
Most of the time.
We started school back up this week because we took the week before Christmas off in order to focus on making Christmas gifts and such. I started to notice that without the order and routine of school our house was utter and complete chaos. By the Friday after Christmas the kids were begging me if we could do school again and on Monday when I told them we were having school that day... they cheered. It made me feel like a super hero.
Asher has been doing awesome with his reading and math. He was having a hard time blending sounds together to make words, but our supervising teacher (which is required in Iowa) suggested I make sound flip books for him. I found this wonderful template for free and Asher loved them. I had him draw pictures instead of using the ones she provides and that really motivated him. After finishing all of them he moved on to reading the BOB books and the readers for our reading curriculum. It is so exciting to see him grasp the idea of reading and to get excited about it. Teaching him to read has really been one of the most rewarding things I have ever done as a mother... perhaps because the results are so noticeable!
Rose mostly plays during most of our school time, but this week we started doing a Chicka Chicka Boom Boom tree. Everyday we read Chicka Chicka Boom Boom and then add another letter to her tree. She is a very auditory learner and so the story has been a good approach with her. We've probably read that book about 100 times but she still loves it. I am hoping that she will have the whole thing memorized by the time we are done!
Other than that we have been playing math games and learning about molecules. I got a wonderful book about Albert Einstein from the library (did you know he never went to college!) and it got the kids fascinated about atoms, so we have been doing lots of experiments with water and air. Yesterday we got a jar of water and watched what happened when you put a drop of food coloring in it. We talked about how water is very "friendly" and likes to latch on to things and pull them apart. They had a lot of fun experimenting with that and then we got curious what would happen in different temperatures of water. So we got a glass of hot water, tap water, and ice water and watched how the food coloring diffused at different rates. Here is a picture of the kids drinking the colored water afterwards... they thought that was really funny.
Overall, I feel like our homeschool has been going really well. I think the only thing that my kids are really missing out on is recess. Somedays I feel really bad knowing that if they were in public school they would be required to go outside and play for at least sometime each day. But when it is cold outside I have such a hard time dragging all the babies out there to play. I keep telling myself we will just make up for in the Spring :)
Speaking of cold, the HIGH on Monday is suppose to be -8 degrees. Brrrrrr.... and welcome to Iowa I guess!
We have been trying to separate them when Cutie Pie is...flirtatious...but sometimes the goat will leap the fence to get at her! Jon, in a fit of fury, even taped foam and a bike helmet to Little Red's horns to give Solomon, the ram, an advantage. I don't think it helped, and boy did he look goofy. Unfortunately I didn't get a picture of it, but you can see the remnants of it on his horns in the picture above. We have been trying to keep them apart as much as we can but the goat always seems to have the upper hand. Jon has been really fired up about it and one day just about threw the goat over the fence when he saw Cutie Pie snuggled up against him.
We are rooting for you, and hopefully you've had enough alone time without that pesky goat to win your lady back...and give us some lambs in the spring.
Have a wonderful weekend!