Saturday, September 27, 2014

Learning Notes V


Because Felicity was all caught up, she thought she didn't have to do any school this week. Silly girl. Scheduled Catch Up week isn't until next week and it is then I hope we will be able to catch up on Science and Music, both of which we fell behind on during the move.

It was a bit of a weird opposite day. While Felicity usually just plows through work and Cecilia procrastinates, this morning Cecilia got done her Handwriting, Geography, English and Spelling while Felicity did her Geography and struggled to finish her Phonics. Elizabeth got done about 6 pages in Math and then finished her Poem from last week. Opposite morning extended to the little ones as well as Teresa was surprisingly good, cheerful and out of trouble and Brigid was a supreme grump. Go figure.

The afternoon was spent trying to make sense out of the mess of my office/desk area and condense the 3 messy kitchen counters into one. By 4pm I was too tired and refused to move. But fortunately that is also when James got home to make a delicious spaghetti and meatball dinner with baguettes from Panera Bread. Mmmmm.
Brigid decided to join us.

Tuesday went pretty well. Brigid was still grumpy - getting up at 7 definitely doesn't agree with her, but Cecilia got a Vocabulary lesson, her Latin and her Typing done. Felicity got done her Latin and English. And Elizabeth got done her Spelling, English, Geography and a Reading lesson. Since Elizabeth still had more work to do at this point I spent more time with her this morning.

That afternoon I had my weekly checkup. When you are almost 36 weeks and measuring 37, they like to see how you are doing pretty frequently. Afterwards I worked on organizing and unpacking all of my homeschool books, papers, and supplies. I only got through 3 of the 4 boxes but progress is progress.


Wednesday we cancelled our morning school time in favor of a local playdate at a park with a great playground to meet some other Catholic families in the area. It was a bit warm and the bees were bothersome but the kids had fun and I got to chat with a few moms. One is moving soon to South Carolina. One moved here last November but is looking for a doctor as she is 9 weeks pregnant. Several homeschooled. Most had boys but there were a few other girls (we definitely helped balance it out!). We stayed about an hour and a half until Cecilia insisted she was going to faint or be sick without lunch, more water and shade and Teresa began wandering off twice. I really wanted to take them to Chick Fil-A for lunch but, alas, the only one outside of a mall and less than a 30 minute drive still hasn't opened yet. So we wound up at McDonalds.
I hate clowns. It drives me crazy how the kids ask me to take pictures of them with this thing. 
I keep hoping Teresa will just poke him in the eye. Did I mention I hate clowns? :)
After we got home and got Brigid down for a nap, Cecilia, Felicity and I did religion and began going over the story of Moses. The book, once again, divides the stories into two chapters but since I was losing the younger two by the end of the first chapter, I figured it was just as well to wait two weeks when we will get to the second chapter to finish the story.

Cecilia finished reading the second book in Lloyd Alexander's Prydain series and is now asking to watch Disney's The Black Cauldron. (We told her she couldn't watch it until she had read at least the first two books. It barely resembles anything of the books but the villain is particularly scary and having read his demise in the first book would help.)


Thursday Felicity finished all her school for the week, which included Poetry and 10 pages of Math. Cecilia got done a Vocabulary lesson and practiced Typing some more. Elizabeth finished her Math for the week and did her Poetry and two weeks worth of back Latin. Elizabeth has been a bit ahead in Handwriting and that is why she didn't need to do any this week. Same for Felicity.

I spent a couple of hours organizing my office space and finally getting all the remaining boxes out of it, homeschool books and supplies organized and everything off the floor. Although it isn't set up yet, I also got the bassinet/pack 'n play in there so Mr. Newby will be able to nap in my office on the main floor during the day while I'm doing school and I won't need to be running up and down stairs very much.
The girls thought my walls were far too bare so they colored some spare coloring pages and hung them up for me.
Must have books.
The closet has gift wrapping supplies, all of my art and craft and scrapbook supplies, homeschool supplies, basic sewing supplies and candles. You know, mom's stuff. :)
Cecilia spent the afternoon editing a movie she made on my iPad of Lego mini figures in which she sings, narrates and voice acts the entire thing. It is really rather impressive but I'm afraid it is far too long for me to put online. :(

Felicity spent most of the week reading a children's bible. She recapped every story in Genesis to me before plowing through many of the stories before telling me she had "read the whole bible."


Although I wasn't planning on doing much schoolwork on Friday, Cecilia did her last Vocabulary lesson to be all caught up in Vocabulary and Elizabeth did two more weeks worth of Latin to be all caught up in Latin.

I spent the afternoon cleaning off the kitchen counter. You know how you have that one table or counter where stuff just accumulates? Well, after moving in and trying to unpack and organize, we had three. I had condensed it to one, with a bit of overflow onto the second but, well, it was starting to drive me crazy, so I finally spent a few hours going through all of it resulting in this
It was a vast improvement. School books, crayons, colored pencils, tissues, wipes and a pencil sharpener remained on a clean counter. All that remains to be gone through fits in the red container above. It is so nice to have a clean counter for our daily school supplies!

Happily this means that the main living level of the house it just about set and fully functional. All I have left to organize really, beside that red container, are the DVDs. Which, considering I'm now 36 weeks, is nice. I even got the bassinet in my office finished and ready for baby boy and all the newborn/0-3 month clothes ready as well.

Certainly a productive week. Next week is my scheduled Catch Up week, which will be nice and should be relatively easy-going. I will do Music and Science with all three girls since we are all behind on those and then Cecilia will catch up in her Math and Elizabeth in her Phonics and Reading Lessons.

Visit Melanie for more Learning Notes :)

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Learning Notes IV

Since we took off the week of September 1st, we are still catching up but we are almost there.

Monday got off to a bit of a slow start but we made some good progress and should be set for History for the next two weeks, which is a break. The girls focused on Handwriting and Geography with a bit of Math. Every day after lunch I focus on unpacking or organizing something. I got a bit of order in my office but not much. We all headed out around 4pm to head out for a simple Burger King dinner and then attend our first Wisconsin AHG meeting.
Teresa was in a special kind of 3 year old's Purgatory watching her older sisters decorate cupcakes. She circled the tables whimpering like a pitiful little puppy. Elizabeth was kind enough to share some of her icing (she had eaten the cupcake, but it isn't like Teresa would have eaten anything but icing anyway... the cake part seems to be a mature taste with my kids).
There are two possible troops "near" us - one is 35 minutes west and one is 45 minutes south. Despite the greater distance, I really think the southern troop would suit us better. First of all, of the two, it is the only one planning on doing any camping, which my girls love. Second, the farther troop is meeting twice a month while the other is meeting only once. The other's second gathering each month will be a service activity, which is fine, but it will be by joining with a local school's service club. Since we homeschool, joining up with a school's club doesn't help us as much towards the girls making new friends as a second monthly AHG meeting does. 

The church where the AHG troop meets has a Catechesis of the Good Shepherd Atrium. Teresa saw this figure of The Last Supper, got very excited and said, "Oooooo! Happy Birthday!!!"
Now that I have 1 Pathfinder, 1 Tenderheart and 1 Explorer, meetings can be a bit busy. Elizabeth loved being a Pathfinder but who wouldn't enjoy decorating and eating cupcakes. She was only bummed she didn't have her own Pathfinder book since those didn't exist when I last ordered supplies in the Spring but one is now on the way. Felicity shocked me... she was either so excited or so desperate for other kids to be with my usually quiet and shy girls chattered nonstop. I had to speak to her twice about not interrupting others, particularly her leaders, and not bragging about all the badges she already has. I don't think she meant to brag but she was clearly over the moon to be there. Cecilia struggled a bit. She was uncomfortable not knowing anyone and a little disoriented that her unit didn't focus so much on getting to know each other as going over details of the flag ceremony and requirements for the joining award, both of which she already knows. She did make a new friend though, a Tenderheart, who she looks forward to seeing again. And we met another homeschooling family from just over the Illinois border with kids similar in age to ours and also expecting. 
When Brigid gets scolded, she either breaks down crying in hysterics or tries to be funny. So when I scold her for throwing fistfuls of crayons, she responds by shoving one in her mouth and just leaving it there like a cigar. She doesn't chew it, but the little Marx Brother routine makes me laugh every time so she keeps doing it. 
Tuesday was a bit of a down day. We did get more work done in the morning but I had a check up with my midwife in the afternoon and I just needed a day to not do much. In fact, the school part of the day is a bit of a blur. I need to start typing these posts throughout the week. Check up went well though and I am measuring about 10 days ahead. He is definitely losing space in there. 

Wednesday we made better progress and did two chapters in Religion to be completely caught up. It was easy though considering the book split the story of the Old Testament Joseph into two chapters, so basically we just did the entire story of Joseph, complete with Scripture passages, coloring pages and an animated video. 

At the Church on Monday's AHG meeting, there was a metal welcome sign that Elizabeth accidentally knocked over with her face. She actually got hit in the cheek and didn't make a big deal of it at the time, but by Wednesday morning it was quite pink and swollen. She never complained about her eye or vision and said it only hurt when she touched it. Fortunately by Thursday it looked much better. 
By Thursday we had done a nice amount of work for the week. It is tricky keeping up with what each girl has done and needs to do though considering each has been behind in some subjects but not others and rarely the same subjects. Felicity is more of my simply-do-it-and-get-it-done girl, so she generally gets more done each day. Elizabeth, being only 5 but doing 1st grade work, needs a bit more help and more breaks but it also helps when she takes those breaks for me to help the older two and she occupies the younger two. I spent Thursday afternoon cleaning up and finishing organizing the play room. Apart from any decorating, de-cluttering and the needed addition of a lamp on the desk, I consider the room done.

The desk has paper, magnetic words and letters and on top is the toy laptop. The pink and red bins on top are the only items left to find a home, but that is where a lamp will go as there are no artificial lights in the room. 

The bookcases which are just about out of room. I will have some kids books overflow in my office but most fit in here and certainly all the board and picture books. My office just has some of the extra chapter books. 
Friday we did some more school work just to try to keep catching up. Felicity is actually all caught up. Cecilia is caught up in everything except Math, which she is 1 week behind, and Vocabulary, which she is two weeks behind. She is loving learning her current poem though, a continuation of our Civil War unit. She has memorized the first two verses of Whitman's O Captain, My Captain and reminds her sisters every week who the Captain really is. I think that trip to Ford's Theater definitely made an impact on her. Elizabeth is only behind in Poetry, which being so new to she does struggle a bit, Latin and her reading lessons. Honestly, she plows through her reading lessons so well and so fast, I'm hoping we can finish the book this coming week. She only has 8 or 9 lessons left and she does very well with it. We only got behind in them because of the packing and moving but it will be nice to finish it and have one less book to need each week.

The rest of Friday was spent cleaning the dog's mess, cleaning the patio and setting up the kids' table, play table and toy box and trimming some of the bushes around the patio that wanted to take over the walkways. Then James and I finally finished unpacking all our clothes into our drawers and closet. Strange, but nice, to not need to get my clothes out of a suitcase for the first time in the past month. Then we began organizing part of the basement so we can finally get the girls' Lego table set up so they can get back to building again.

Under the window is the toddler area with the play piano and little toys. The slide takes center stage and is a favorite of Brigid.
The rest of Friday was spent cleaning the dog's mess, cleaning the patio and setting up the kids' table, play table and toy box and trimming some of the bushes around the patio that wanted to take over the walkways. Then James and I finally finished unpacking all our clothes into our drawers and closet. Strange, but nice, to not need to get my clothes out of a suitcase for the first time in the past month. Then we began organizing part of the basement so we can finally get the girls' Lego table set up so they can get back to building again.

In the corner, the Thomas Train set and tracks are stored beneath but can be played with on the table or around the room. Brigid showcases the little kitchen. Notice she is NEVER without that panda. The small bookcases next to the little kitchen hold all the board and early reader picture books. 
 It wasn't a bad week, but it was busy. Every day is busy. Every day is school in the morning and unpacking/organizing in the afternoon. By the time the kids are in bed, I'm too tired to do much besides sit on the sofa, catch up on Facebook, try to narrow down baby names and watch TV or a Netflix. On the one hand, when it comes to pictures to hang on the wall or such things, I don't care if they sit in boxes for months. On the other hand, there is a certain degree to which I'd like things organized, unpacked and ready before this baby makes his debut next month. So while some things I don't care if they get done, other things I really want done.
The basket holds the musical instruments. 
We are working on getting the back yard fenced in, but that won't happen until next month and I'm far too pregnant to chase Teresa, so while I can let the older three out back, she spends much more time indoors than she or I would prefer. Rosie's barking has already annoyed one neighbor (she is a Beagle... we have bunnies out back... she is leashed and can't get them and you must know how Snoopy enjoys bunnies... it drives her absolutely crazy!)
The closet, to which we removed the mirrored doors - can't imagine how those could go wrong in a playroom, has all the puzzles, board games, blocks and toy bins. The room is bit crammed but I have a hard time de-cluttering toys. What is the favorite of one is not the favorite of another and what is a favorite this week might not be next week but might be again the week after that. And the toys in this room have to engage quite the age range. So while I'd prefer it a bit less crowded, apart from storing some toys and rotating them out (which I might do once the basement is in some order), I've no idea how I'd go about doing that. 

I will try to blog next week as the week progresses so I have more details and a better account of the week.

 Much thanks to Melanie for hosting such a great Learning Linkup!

Sunday, September 14, 2014


We arrived at the new house on Sunday, August 31 but the movers didn't arrive until Thursday, September 4. What do you do with 5 kids waiting for all your stuff?

Because even when your day begins with this

Eventually, your kids are just running around naked doing this
That is a lettuce crisper on her head but when you have almost nothing to play with and nothing to do, you do what you need to with what you got. 

So we went out to Taco Bell for lunch... and Brigid loved the cinnamon bites.  

And we checked out a nearby mall that had a Lego Store.  
Each girl got to get a toy to play with at home but they couldn't spend more than $10 each which, if you know the cost of Legos, was an interesting challenge in itself.  
But that outing bought us through Tuesday.  

Wednesday we drove down near Chicago and went to the Lego Discovery Center. It is, in some ways, a miniature version of LegoLand. So we visited MiniLand

And the Adventure area of Lego animals 

And Lego Star Wars 
Brigid liked the Lego figured that were just her size. 
Unlike when we visited LegoLand, The Factory was open with a demonstration of how they make Legos. Cecilia and Felicity volunteered during the presentation. Each child was given a souvenir lego block.  

Now this would be fun... classic works of art in Lego.  
They even had a ride inside. James took Felicity for a ride. 
And since Teresa begged and crawled and screamed to go, he took Teresa but she spent the whole ride looking relatively terrified.  

And then he took Elizabeth. Cecilia didn't care to go on.  
I took Brigid over to the Duplo area.  
She absolutely loved it. 

She even ventured up the steps by herself  
And went down the slide by herself... she even got upset if someone tried to help her. 

Happy, happy girl! 

On Thursday the movers arrived and I needed to get the girls out of the house for a while when they moved things in. So, first I took them to the DMV with me and got myself a new license. I had to put them all on electronic devices while we waited but, lest anyone criticize, I think everyone preferred it over relay races around the waiting area. 

Then we went to WalMart and picked up some citronella candles to deter the mosquitos around the doors, as well as some discounted school supplies, Shout Gel, and a new leash or two for Rosie since she decided to chew through hers. 

I asked the kids what they wanted for lunch and they said McDonalds. I didn't care much where we went as long as it had a playground they could spend some time burning some time and energy on and I found a McDonalds not far from our house with a playground, so there we went. 

I feel like I'm letting them sit on the lap of 

Afterwards, I needed to get Brigid some semblance of a nap, so I distributed iPods to the older four and began driving. Fortunately she was out in no time and I basically spent an hour and a half stopping by 4 possible parishes that were recommended to us just taking a look and seeing if I could get a bulletin. I could tell from visiting them that two might work and two I would hate. 

Last Sunday we had to tag team for Mass since one of the girls was sick. I went to a possible parish, which is still a possible parish and James went to one of the two I said wouldn't work for us. He said it was awful. 

This week we are trying a different parish we haven't been to before. Here's hoping! :)

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Moving Day

Yes, we are alive. Sorry it has been a while. To say we've been busy is a gross understatement. 

On Friday, August 29, the movers arrived. It took them 11 hours to load everything into the truck. 

I spent most of the day upstairs with the girls trying to keep them busy and out of trouble. 

Meals were taken on my parents coffee table with videos on.  

That night the older four girls camped out on the floor in their sleeping bags along side James who slept on a thin portable mattress. Brigid, in her pack and play, and I, on an air mattress, slept in another room. Rosie was so noisy she slept in a closet. 

On Saturday, Teresa found some fun solitude outside. I knew she was getting soaked and muddy but it was so precious to watch. (And she was having fun and not bothering anyone.) 

Sam and Rosie watched and played a bit with her. Mostly Sam enjoyed rolling in the wet grass.  

We went out to eat with my parents at Maggiano's. It was delicious but slow. Brigid and Teresa especially loved the warm chocolate brownie with vanilla ice cream and fresh strawberries.  

Afterwards, we went home to finish packing up the car and get ready for an all night drive. All night drives are very tiring but they are faster, easier, and cheaper with 5 kids than day drives. 

Brigid slept just about all night with her panda bear on top of her. She adores that bear. 

I drove for a little while but I got very tired. Being 32 weeks pregnant wasn't making me as helpful as I usually am on such drives and, not surprisingly, I was requiring more bathroom stops than we otherwise would do.  Around 6am, we reached Wisconsin. 

We picked up Krispy Kreme donuts and Starbucks for breakfast and went to our new house. After breakfast we found a local church and went to Mass. Unfortunately it was not the parish for us. Our entire family brought the average age down to 55 and the priest didn't seem to even know the rubrics let alone stick to them. We had a late lunch at Chilis and then basically rested for the rest of the day. James had only gotten about 30 minutes of sleep during the drive and I had gotten about an hour and a half. 

Since arriving, we've seen numerous bunnies in our yard. They help mow the grass but we will be cautious with them next year when we hope to plant a garden. We've also seen three deer run across the driveway of the house across the street. And we recently spotted our first chipmunk out back.