Friday, January 30, 2015

Learning Notes XVI

I was so busy last week that I never wrote a Learning Notes post. And I know from experience that if I don't write them as the week progresses, I forget things and mix up days in my head. So I am going to summarize last week and this week together so pardon me that the order of all this might be a bit random.

 Thomas is doing really well. He is a pure joy to snuggle and so cute when he sleeps and smiles.

He has really got his head control down quite well and is doing well mastering his hand coordination. He loves batting at the toys that jingle back at him.  
 Last week he turned 3 months. 3 months!!! Where does the time go?

But I'm afraid he has only begun having his big sisters dress him up. Fortunately so far it has only been as Winnie the Pooh, a nice choice for a cuddly little bear. 
He is a really good sport about it too. 
He has also begun really getting those push-ups down. He is building those back and arm muscles and amazes me how quickly he progressing. 
 He has begun practicing sitting up in the Bumbo seat and he likes joining us for school in it.
 I admit less tends to get done this way.
 But it is hard to resist.
You just can't get anything done with such adorable, soft piggies staring at you just begging to be caressed and tickled!

 Allow me to shock you. Since turning 2, Brigid acts like it! Despite her small size she can throw a tantrum with the best of them. But my biggest Brigid challenge is how clingy she is. She wants me, and only me, every instant she is be exhausting.
But my biggest Brigid challenge is how clingy she is. She wants me, and only me, every instant she is awake. It doesn't matter what I am doing, she wants me to hold her or let her sit on my lap and it can be exhausting. It is hard to refuse with a face like that though.
She absolutely loves a Youtube video of Elmo singing the ABCs with India and asks to watch it repeatedly. On the upside, she has the alphabet song down really well.
James and I spent two days last week rearranging 3 1/2 of the upstairs rooms. Which was exhausting. And we still have 2 or so closets to sort out.
The cost of stupid sandpaper-like texture walls while you are moving furniture.
But in the end, we had set up Brigid's new big girl bed. She actually really loves her new bed and throws a fit if Teresa tries to get into it and take anything. She also loves having bedtime books read to her. Her favorites are 10 Little Monkeys, The Going to Bed Books and I Like It When (I believe inspired by Melanie's Lucy and Sophie) and she asks to have them read half a dozen times. But getting her asleep is its own challenge. Even after bedtime prayers and multiple books, she will play and bounce and sing and dance and... well, pretty much everything.

Her sleep routine is still a work in progress. She still needs a nap, but she won't go down for one easily and I can't spend hours getting her asleep by leaving Teresa unsupervised and Thomas crying. So I generally just wing nap time and if she conks out great and if she doesn't oh well and I try to have Thomas in his swing for her bedtime in case it takes a while. She has slept all night in her new bed though so she can do it.

Last Sunday we went to Mass and Brunch at the seminary where James teaches and they asked us to bring up the gifts. The deacon knelt down to receive them from Cecilia and Felicity. Before he got back up though, Teresa left our side to go up to him, put her hand on his shoulder and began chatting. I've no idea what she was saying but it was so cute and so funny and so very Teresa.

During the last playoff game before the Super Bowl, Teresa got in our Elsa costume and put Let It Go on repeat and danced and spun and sang non-stop for 20-30 minutes. I was amazed watching her go. And it was especially priceless watching Brigid copy her.

I learned my stove was not designed for my lasagna pots.
While I caught up on Downton Abbey.
But it was still so, so delicious. One of my favorite meals. You know it is a favorite when you can eat it multiple times a day and for any meal.

For the feast of St. Agnes, Elizabeth's patron, we had donuts for breakfast. Yes, they are the Packers colors, but more importantly, green is Elizabeth's favorite color so it was very fitting. 

In History we have been reading about the rise of Hitler and World War II. We have even delved a bit into the Holocaust. Yes, I printed coloring pages of Hitler. This was an extra copy Cecilia decided to have some fun with. But I really wanted one where they could see the swastica well. WWII and the Holocaust is a hard subject to do with younger kids. I want them familiar with it but not having nightmares from it. I'm told the D.C. Holocaust museum has a well done children's section designed just for such a purpose but we are too far for that one now. This past Sunday we did watch The Sound of Music with commentary from myself and they could see some of the Austrian customs, clothing, etc., the beautiful Alps, and see the family desperately trying to get away from the Nazis rather than serve them.
Despite the trauma of the northeast, we only got about an inch of snow. Just enough to see our front lawn pet rabbit's tracks going here and there. My girls are quite jealous and really want more snow. As long as we are stocked, sounds good to me. :)

I met my new dentist and got a much overdo cleaning. For the first time in my life I've been struggling with sensitive teeth, sensitive to both hot and cold. Turns out my teeth are fine, no cavities or decay or anything. But my gums apparently got a bit too much brushing exposing the root of a couple of teeth, so they've switched me to sensitive tooth toothpaste. He said it was a fairly common problem to have but it was new to me. Has anyone else ever experienced this?

Cecilia, Felicity and Elizabeth have all kept up their handwriting, spelling, math and english. Cecilia wrote a letter to her best friend in Maryland two weeks ago and a letter to her grandma last week. Felicity is a few pages behind in English but she has a wicked cold and is having trouble concentrating. She also just began learning roman numerals and multiplication this week.

In Religion we are going over the 10 Commandments and fairly in depth. We reviewed them all the previous week and focused on the first three this past week. I think it will be a wonderful prep for Felicity before her First Confession.

The past two weeks have been very busy from my dentist appointment to an AHG meeting, gym class, rearranging 3 rooms of the house, school and a check up for Cecilia but it all culminated in a birthday.

Cecilia is now 9! That's half-way to 18! We celebrated by going to her restaurant of choice: Red Robin, at which she got sung to and a free ice cream sundae.
We are waiting until next week when my dad will be visiting to have cake and open her presents from him and my mom but we did sing Happy Birthday yesterday over various treats and she got to open her presents from James' parents and us. We got her five books: Habemus Papem! Pope Benedict VI (a mange type comic book about Pope Benedict), Merlin and the Making of the King, The Kitchen Knight: A Tale of King Arthur, Sybil Ludington's Midnight Ride and Season of the Sandstorms (Magic Treehouse book #34). We also got her a special Lego set called Research Institute which consists of 3 Lego scenes of different scientists, all girls.

James' parents got her a Hello Kitty top with skirt, Frozen puzzle book, a figure of Snoopy that plays the drums and a set of Hello Kitty stationary.
Otherwise, she played video games much of the afternoon but she also got to Skype with her best friend from Maryland, so that was a nice treat. Even though we aren't having cake until next week, we will also be going to the local children's museum, going to see Paddington and having wave 2 of presents so, while she said she had a great birthday, it isn't really over yet.

I hate to admit it, because I realize this post is really long, but that is just the surface of the past two weeks. Unfortunately many details are lost since I wasn't writing as the week progressed, but I will try to do better next week. Next week will be busy as well but that is another post. Blessed Weekend! :)

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Learning Notes XV

(On Sunday evening, Cecilia went out front and teased Brigid by throwing snowballs at the window directly in front of her. Brigid thought it was hysterical.)

Monday, January 12

My mornings have become a bit crazy. 

Generally speaking, Teresa gets up around 6:15 or 6:30 and immediately wants breakfast. Only after I've made her breakfast do Cecilia, Felicity and Elizabeth begin appearing, one at a time. I then fix their breakfasts. When they are done eating, Teresa generally wants any extra beverages they haven't finished. Thomas gets up around 7, so I run upstairs and get him, change his diaper and nurse him. Then he gets tummy time and I usually try to eat my breakfast at this point. Then I need to get Brigid up at 8 and get her breakfast, which she usually likes to eat along side any leftovers from the other girls. Occasionally Teresa will see Brigid eating and come back asking for a second breakfast. Basically, breakfast has become this rolling, non-stop enterprise almost every morning. It is a bit tiring and takes a while. 6 breakfasts (not including my own), 3 diapers and at least two trips up and down stairs. And that is assuming I'm not starting any laundry that morning. 

Today we were starting something new. I signed up the oldest three girls for a local, Catholic, homeschooling gym class. Generally speaking, I don't think my kids are lacking in exercise at all, but this class is supposed to teach them how to play basketball, how to play volleyball, how to play soccer, etc. It should also help them meet and become friends with some of the other local Catholic homeschooling kids. And I get to chat and meet their moms while they are in class. There are 12 classes and the whole thing cost a total of $30. Nice huh? On class days though, we do need to leave the house by 8:30, so they each got one relatively easy thing done before we left. Cecilia and Elizabeth did their Geography and Felicity did her handwriting. 

The gym class went well. All three girls enjoyed it and I met several moms, a couple familiar, most not, and practiced putting names with faces. 

On the way home I picked up Burger King and we had an early lunch. I don't know that we would pick up something after every gym class but Cecilia's stomach was a bit touch and go this morning and she was starving by the time we left and I know from experience that getting her something to eat is the best way to avoid vomit. 

After lunch all five girls went out front for sledding, snow angels, snowballs, and fun. 

Once I had Brigid and Thomas down for their naps, we sat down and did some History. We read about Black Tuesday and the great Stock Market Crash and the Great Depression. And we read a bit about how the Great Depression effected Europe and in particular Germany and encouraged the rise to power of Adolf Hitler.

Then they had blue raspberry snow cones followed by Cecilia's sorting of the laundry and picking up the living room while Felicity and Elizabeth went sledding some more and then picked up the playroom.

Tuesday, January 13

This morning school was delayed about an hour due to snow. Playing in it that is. The girls have been having a blast playing in the snow and they wanted back outside right after breakfast. All five of them. So we delayed school a bit so they could enjoy some winter fun.

Afterwards, Elizabeth did a page in her handwriting, 2 pages in math and two pages in English learning what an action verb is. Cecilia did her spelling, one math lesson, and wrote a letter for her handwriting for the week. Felicity did her geography and 2 pages in math. Teresa and Brigid colored, played, and watched a Muppets version of The Frog Prince while Thomas took an impressive 3 hour nap.

After lunch I spent time sorting through dentist recommendations and making phone calls trying to set up cleaning appointments, since all of us are due for cleanings and I just couldn't deal with it last Fall. I also called mine and the girls' previous dentists to request the transference of our files. The whole penance took about two hours.

Wednesday, January 14

This morning did not go well. Sometimes I find it difficult to juggle everything and this morning was one of those mornings. When Teresa wants me to inflate a toy ladybug to ride on and Brigid is crying for me to hold her all morning and Thomas doesn't manage to nap a solid hour at a time and three girls are each asking me three different math questions at the same time it can become a bit much.

We did manage though to get some work done. Felicity and Elizabeth each did a few more math pages and Cecilia did another math lesson. Felicity and Cecilia did their English and Elizabeth did her spelling.

Honestly, I spent the afternoon just recovering from the chaotic morning. But Felicity finished reading The Black Cauldron.
James made chili and we had Frito Pies. Since I added sour cream to mine, I called it a Wisconsin Frito Pie. Yum!

Thursday, January 15

Today got off to a much better start, partially because James was home to help get the morning going and partially because I finally realized one of the reasons our mornings were such chaos is that I was still starting school at 8:30 and with the rolling way our mornings have been going, I simply didn't have enough time before we began school and I bumped school back to 9am. When you are juggling feeding, changing, etc. 6 people for almost 2 solid hours and don't even eat breakfast let alone a break yourself before jumping into school work, it is a recipe for stress. We also took a couple more breaks to help ease things. Cecilia finished both of her remaining math lessons, Felicity did a couple more pages in math and her spelling and Elizabeth finished her math for the week.

Friday, January 16

Felicity finished her math for the week. And I sat down with Cecilia to work on her crystal growing kit with her only to discover I needed distilled water, which I didn't have, so that got put on hold, unfortunately. We cleaned up some and the kids played, some of which was video games.

This week wasn't easy. Coming off 3 days playing single parent while James was at a conference to leap into our first week back in school after a long break overwhelmed me. The kids were not used to less screen time and more structure and I wasn't rested at all to deal with their adjustment. By Friday I was tired and emotionally unstable. Taking Friday off was definitely helpful. Part of my difficulty is that Brigid has become exceptionally attached to me. As in, some days she wants to sit on my lap or have me hold her as long as she is conscious. Hopefully next week will be better.
Playing in the snow till the street lights come on and the sun has set. 

More Link ups at Melanie's!

Friday, January 9, 2015

Happy 2nd Birthday Brigid!

 Yesterday was pretty cold. But it has been all week. Yesterday was special. It was Brigid's birthday.
 For breakfast the birthday girl wanted a strawberry pop tart with chocolate milk, which she shared with her beloved Pandy.
 After breakfast, the birthday girl got iPad privileges. In her pajamas.
 While mommy baked her cake.

 We all braved the cold and the snow to go to Red Robin for her birthday lunch. Cheesesticks, macaroni and cheese, french fries, balloons and a free Sundae - what is not for a little birthday girl to enjoy?
During our lunch the snow had picked up and was blowing quite a bit by the time we headed home. "Blowing snow" means that the wind picks snow up off the ground and blows it up. So there was snow coming down, up and sideways. 
But while we were snug inside and Brigid and Thomas napped, I iced and decorated Brigid's cake.  
 She loved her cake.

 But as hard as she tried, she struggled to blow out the candle. Which was just as well as Teresa was melting down that there was no birthday cake or candles for her. So Teresa helped Brigid blow out her candle.

 Brigid got several wonderful board books and a cute ladybug outfit.

 And a big sister and a toddler sister for her My Loving Family dollhouse she got for Christmas. (I'd love to add a baby brother, but I've had trouble finding that figurine.)

 The highlight gift though had to be this lovely rag doll. Brigid adores her and affectionately calls her "Baby."

I won't say Pandy has been replaced, but I think he might have a new best friend. 

Brigid didn't get her gift from us yet. Her own twin mattress is being delivered on Monday. Her gift from us will be her own big girl bed. 

She is such a sweet 2 year old, such a blessing to us all. Blessed Birthday my sweet Brigid Lucia!