Monday, August 19, 2013

Dear daughter,

In His beautiful wisdom and infinite love, God chose to bless our family with an amazing gift this year.  He gave us you. 

"Children are a heritage from the Lord,
    offspring a reward from him."
Psalm 127:3
We were so excited and surprised and happy to welcome you into our family.  I enjoyed about a week of getting used to the idea of being pregnant before the first trimester hit me like a bulldozer.  The next three months were a blur of sleeping and eating crackers around the clock. 

New Years Eve 2012

Daddy and I were able to have our first glimpse of you in February in an ultrasound at the doctor's office.  We heard your heart beating and were amazed and thankful and overjoyed.  You looked like a tiny jelly bean.  I have carried your first picture in my wallet since that day. 

Our first picture of you.  February 5, 2013

We told your brothers and sister that day that you were joining our family.  EM was very excited and started hoping that you were a sister.  JR didn't seem too surprised for some reason and accepted the idea of you right away.  LD didn't really understand what was going on, but we're thinking he's going to love having you as a playmate.

About the same time that the snow melted and the robins came back for the spring, I was starting to feel more like myself again. 

Your first Easter Egg
March 23, 2013

In March I went to the hospital for a 20 week ultrasound.  Daddy and I laughed as we watched you kicking and bouncing around on the screen.  The ultrasound technician was so sweet and showed us each part of you that she was carefully measuring and checking.  I cried happy tears when she showed us that you were a girl.  When the examination was complete, you were declared perfect and growing right on schedule!  Your estimated due date was confirmed as August 18th.  Five months until we can meet!
Beautiful baby girl, perfect and complete.
Daddy and I stopped at the hospital gift shop to buy "It's a Girl!" balloons to bring home for your brothers and sister.  It was a fun way to share the news!

It's a Girl!

We knew your name because it is very special and we had chosen it a long time ago.  Now, it was time to prepare for your arrival!  LD even helped by moving out of the crib. 
Making room for baby.

Painting some decorations for your nursery.

I knit a blanket just for you.
Your nursery is ready!
Now, we wait and watch you grow!
May in Disney World

August 16, two days before your due date.
Today is Monday, August 19th and we have all been patiently and not-so-patiently waiting for your arrival.  It's about 4:30am right now and I've been awake for the last two hours because I think God is getting us ready to meet!  I've been praying for you for months and I can't wait to see your eyes and kiss your cheeks.  You have such a loving and excited family to come home to, so I think it's time to come and take your place.  I'll be praying for you today!
Love, Mommy

Friday, August 2, 2013

2013-2014 Curriculum


LD will be using Sonlight's 3/4 Core for his Preschool year.  This is a collection of excellent children's literature which we will read through together.  The curriculum comes with a book of suggestions for activities to do with each book.  It's very simple and all about spending time together and enjoying great books.  We will also be using Erica's Letter of the Week Curriculum from Confessions of a Homeschooler. 

I know LD doesn't need formal education just yet, but I want to be intentional about spending one on one time with him each day.  With teaching the two older kids and taking care of the new baby I will surely need the schedule to keep me accountable! 

First Grade

JR will be using Heart of Dakota - Little Hearts for His Glory - as his first grade curriculum.  I'm very excited to have a curriculum just at his level this year, instead of combining him with EM.  Little Hearts has a gentle introduction to History beginning with creation and shows God's hand in every area of study.   

He will be using Singapore Math 1A and 1B this year.

I have found Abeka's approach to phonics as thorough and effective.  JR will use Level 1 Phonics, Reading, and Spelling. 

Third Grade

EM will use Heart of Dakota's Bigger Hearts for His Glory as her main curriculum for third grade.  The combination of literature based and Charlotte Mason learning is just what I've been looking for.  History for her this year will be a study of American history. 

HOD's Science using living books.
HOD's Drawn into the Heart of Reading Literature study and books EM will read independently. 
We will read books aloud together from nine genres.
EM will use Rod and Staff for English and Spelling, both level 3 and Cheerful Cursive.
She will also be using Singapore Math, Level 3A and 3B.
My art-loving girl will also be taking an art class through a local homeschool enrichment program.  Poor JR gets stuck with Math because that's what they had available for his grade at the same time.  Maybe next semester he can take gym.  Hopefully it's a good experience for them both.  Also, JR and EM will both be using Typing Instructor for Kids.  Looking forward to a new year!

Cranberry Thanksgiving

Cranberry Thanksgiving, by Wende and Harry Devlin, is a book that gives me warm happy memories.  My grandma had the book at her house when I was growing up and I remember loving to flip through the illustrations.  Add the cozy feelings the holidays bring and this has been one of my favorite books to row!  We rowed through it last November and I'm just now getting around to adding it to the blog, so hopefully I can remember everything we did. 

I borrowed Cranberry Thanksgiving from the library because, being out of print, the cheapest copy I could find to buy was $70!  I was over the moon excited to find a used copy this summer for just $9 at the ICHE Conference.  Now that it's a part of our home library I look forward to enjoying it again this fall. 

JR's Narration of the story:
"Maggie was getting wood.  Mr. Whiskers was grabbing wood.  Grandmother was shutting the curtains so Mr. Whiskers wouldn't see her secret wall.  Grandmother told Maggie, "Keep an eye on Mr. Whiskers!"  Mr. Horace was eating dinner.  Maggie saw Mr. Horace take the recipe.  Mr. Whiskers caught Mr. Horace.  They had pie.  Mr. Whiskers gave the last piece of pie to Mr. Horace.  "How about some more?"

We used lapbook elements found on  Homeschool Share, which I believe are no longer available, sadly. 

We read the book "The Thanksgiving Story", by Alice Dalgliesh and discussed the first Thanksgiving, as well as remembering our own Thanksgiving traditions.  JR said we, "Celebrate with our family by eating turkey and pie.  We pray to God to thank Him for our good things."   Each of the kids named a few things they were thankful for.  EM's list included:  Fuzzy and Owl, Christmas, home, food and water, Jesus, the Bible, and her family.  A few of the items from her list also made the list of what she would take on the Mayflower.

The kids learned where the New England states are located and a few of the things they're known for.  I've never been to the east coast, but it's somewhere I've always wanted to visit!  

I think it's safe to say that everyone's favorite part of the week was cranberry fun...err... cranberry science and math! 
Do cranberries float or sink?

They float!  Lets cut one open and see why!

Trying our hand at cranberry harvesting. 

Some cool facts about harvesting cranberries can be found here.

The kids thought it was pretty awesome when I told them we were going to guess how high we thought cranberries could bounce, and then bounce them!  In case your curious, a good bounce will give you nine or ten inches! 

Sensory play for LD
It's impossible to talk about Thanksgiving and cranberry bread all week without making some of your own!  We used the recipe in the book to make Grandmother's Famous Cranberry Bread Muffins.  They were so delicious!  This will have to be added to my list of our family's Thanksgiving traditions. 

Finally, I had each of the kids tell me "How to cook a Turkey".  Just because it's so darn cute! 

JR, age 6,  "Put the turkey in the oven.  Cook it for 40 minutes at 30 degrees."

EM, age 7, "First start by taking the bag with the inside parts out.  Then bake the stuffing and stuff the turkey.  Then put it in the pan and put butter and salt all over it.  Bake it for an hour and twenty minutes at 99 degrees.  Eat it!" 

Aside from being a little undercooked, I think EM's on the road to making Thanksgiving dinner!