Sketch

Today, Sketch turns nine!! This is his last year in the single digits and I can hardly believe it. Last night, I was mulling over some photos of him for a simple collage and I couldn’t believe how much my little man has changed on me.

For example, I forgot just how blonde his hair used to be…and now he pretty much has brown hair. It’s crazy, I didn’t even notice it changing. It’s like I woke up and he was a brown haired boy. But look, I’ll prove it with a rare photo of his toddler years.

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See, blonde haired boy!! Now, his hair is almost as dark as Radar’s hair. Not only has his hair changed but the boy is only a foot shorter than I am. This makes both him and Pilot quite thrilled.

He is my lover. He likes to wrestle with his brothers but he’d much rather draw, color or create. Part of his name means “defender of mankind” and that he truly is. If he sees somebody being picked on he’s the first to step in and ensure they’re not alone and I pray he forever maintains that same compassion. He has such a sweet soul.

He is my artist. He spends hours doodling in his notebooks and because of this we have a vast assortment of notebooks floating around but he draws in them all. When I flip through them I love looking at his thoughts and I can’t wait to see where this passion will take him in life because I’d be surprised if this isn’t part ofhis future.
He’s my lone wolf and a stubborn one to boot. He has no issue standing alone. He’d prefer to have others with him but he has no problem jumping to the aid of another and being the only one to do so. He also had no issue standing for what he believes in despite other people standing with him. Some people say stubbornness us a bad quality but I firmly believe it can be a fantastic one if learned to be channelled properly.  Not only that, he becomes so focused that he doesn’t even realize he well have spent hours working on something. I know adults less dedicated to their cause!

He is my Sketch! People often say that I need not baby/savor my big boys when I have little boys still but the truth of the matter is that I have but one Sketch. He is irreplaceable and I love him more than words can say. He will always be that tiny little six pounds, eleven ounce baby we brought home and we worried as we’d never had such a tiny baby. He was the first baby his daddy got to see be born! He was my first and (thus far) only c-section. He is also my child who tends to resemble his daddy the most which I love! He will always be the oddball toddler who refused to touch any condiments (seriously, what kid hates ketchup?) and yet he loved food so passionately that he’d cheer when it was did time!

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So, happy birthday Sketch! I pray that despite being in a hotel for your birthday, you’ll have a great day and know just how much we LOVE watching you become a young man and how much we LOVE you!!

Chicken Nuts

Recently we took the kids to McDonald’s to play, yes, normally we’d have gone to a park but it was stormy raining, so McDonald’s play area it was!

Radar and I sat there for three hours as they ran off energy and right before we were headed to the car Walter runs up to us, and loudly shouts, “Mama I’m hungry, can I have some chicken nuts?” Radar and I about keeled over we were laughing so hard and Walter, having caught his mistake, instantly started cracking up too.

The older three were in the tubes above Walter when he asked for chicken nuts and having heard it came tumbling down laughing hysterically. Walter thought he was the absolute funniest guy. Thankfully, there was nobody in the room so we didn’t get to share that laugh with anybody….and yes, chicken nuggets are officially chicken nuts in my home…BOYS!

Aghhh…

….the jellyfish are attacking!!!!

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Okay, well they are not attacking everybody…just poor Pilot. While wrapping up our day he was sung by a jellyfish’s tentacle. He came up to me freaking out saying his arm was in excruciating pain and it was both stinging and numb. Well, sure enough I watched as he attempted to peel this thing odd of him but he dropped it and it reattached to his arm!

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(The red mark is six hours later and above it you can see tentacle marks all over his arm!)

By the time he finally got it off of himself it had got his neck, side, back of the hand, arm and face… the jellyfish totally won that round. To pay it safe because of the number of sings we took him to the ER and cow to find out he had a normal reaction to the dying of a jellyfish! Poor kid but he now has an awesome story to tell!!

Beach Time!

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After a fairly stressful homeschool week I needed a break. My kids were tired of being cooped up in the house and so was I. I informed Radar we were going to go for a drive to see what we could see and though he wasn’t thrilled about the idea he went along with it. We ended up, after quite the drive, at the ocean.

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I don’t know about you, but I LOVE the ocean. There’s something so awe-inspiring looking out at the vastness of the ocean and catching just a glimpse of just how big this world is. On top of that though, I love watching my children playing in the water. Adobe of their earliest and forest memories revolve around the water and we realized how much we miss it! We didn’t have towels or a change of clothes for them, and our trip ended in the ER (see my next post)…but there’s something so peaceful there about being at the beach.

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Call me crazy but smelling the salty air and hearing the tides rolling in and out calms me. It was exactly what I needed after such a hard week. Returning to the east coast reminds me just how gorgeous our west coast beaches are though and makes me miss them more. However, it was just the therapy I needed. Now, to plan an entire weekend there with no ER trips!

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Sigh

I’m going to start by saying that we are extremely fortunate. Typically speaking all five of our children that are in school enjoy school. In fact, my pre-k and kindergarten guys get mad when the weekend rolls around and there is no work to do.

That being said we have had a hard few weeks with Sketch. He’s a very bright boy but he’s nine and he’d much rather play…or clean…or anything other than school work. I’m all for having fun but lately we have had issues with him getting up in the middle of a lesson and going to play with his siblings’ toys. He doesn’t want to do any of his work…and I’ve kind I’d beat my head about options for him. We live in a state where he has to be tested this year and I love his free spirit but part of me thinks he just needs to buckle down and do his work.

Now I’m not a huge workbook fan, he doesn’t have lots of busy work or tedious writing assignments. He normally enjoys school when he allows himself to engage himself but there are days he hates school. He does deal with TBI issues though and I’m wondering if that’s affecting his concentration. So starting next week we are going to attempt a few new ideas and see if they help him maintain his focus a bit better.

Do you have one (or more) that are a bit more difficult to teach? How do you handle it?

…nope not MINE

Eating out is fun.
Eating out with children can be fun.
Eating out with small children is pushing it.
Eating out with seven small children…. not so much.

That was our experience, and if you happen to be one of the poor patrons dining nearby, I humbly apologize. Normally, my children know to behave while we are out about but you see, we had just come from the grocery store and all their”behave power” was expelled whilst walking through the store rapidly BEGGING for every sugary goodie they could feast their eyes on….which when there are seven of them…that’s A LOT!

Anyways. It was kind of late, We were all The adults were kind of tired and the kids were wired and ready to play some more. Thankfully they all figured out what they wanted to eat quickly and I actually took the longest gecause I had Red in my arms (he’s already for months people, not cool) and Walter talking my ear off in decibels far too loud for pleasurable dining experiences for those next to him(but thankfully not so loud we were getting dirty looks…yet).

Now, normally they all behave super well and people comment on how well behaved they were. Tonight we were expecting glares, tomatoes thrown…our worse… Our boys were so crazy!

Now let me tell you, we run our home not much unlike the military, afterall, there are SEVEN of them and only two of us. We are fully aware that our children are fantastic human beings and that they are normally super well behaved. We ARE aware of this. I promise.

So anyways. After first things went great. We had all ordered and were waiting for food. Our waitress disappeared and didn’t come back for a long time and therefore we were unable to ask for our cops and salsa. Well Squirt and Echo, seated next to each other were bored. Squirt decided to keep shoving his menu into Echo’s area causing Echo to get mad at Squirt. The madder Echo got the happier Squirt got. Finally Radar stepped in and out an abrupt stop to their “game”. Now because of Squirt’s hearing loss he can’t hear a whole lot so he and Echo screech at each other. The decided that while we waited for our food was a great time to start this up.

Finally our food comes out and we are happily eating. Well Squirt decides that silverware is not longer an item he knows how to operate. He proceeds to eat like a cow…literate eating it off his plate, spotting it out, and then eating it off his plate again. IT.WAS.DISGUSTING. NO JOKE! Radar makes him stop but at this point Echo finds it hysterical! Luckily he’s old enough to know better and he did not join Squirt.

So despite that, two people, the manager and several waitresses commented on how well behaved they were. I about asked them if we had been watching the same kids as me but smiled and thanked them instead. One of the ladies that approached me asked if they were all mine and for a brief second I almost claimed they were my neighbors kids! Almost! On the way home Radar informed me we were never going out to eat again. I couldn’t help but laughing at how comical the entire scene was to somebody else.

Rain!!

One of the best perks of homeschooling is that we are able to stop with our scheduled work and enjoy the random rain shower! I know as a kid sitting in class KNOW ING it was raining ruined my day, I longed to be outside in the cool water. I lived for the times there would be a sudden downpour while I walked home or when my mom let me stay out and play in it. It’s almost magical…a rite of passage during childhood…something every child should be allowed to enjoy. That’s something I always wanted to do with my own children. I mean, seriously, what adult would prefer work over rain play?? Not me!!! When’s the last time you played in the rain??

9/11

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There are so many things I could possibly say and yet it would mean so little. 9/11 is a day that will forever live in the hearts and minds of the American people. It is one of those events where time literally stood still and now 14 years later people can still describe with vivid detail where they were when the first plane hit; a scene forever etched in the minds of those who witnessed it.

Thousands of people died a senseless death and where I am grateful that it was not my husband, my father, my son… I mourn for those whose reality far differs from mine. I mourn for those who wake up with a deep longing to see their loved one once more, to hold them close and whisper how much they loved them. I mourn for the generation of children who grew up not knowing their fathers but knowing their father was a hero who laid his life down in the attempt to allow somebody else to continue living theirs. I mourn for the children killed, the mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles and grandparents. I mourn for the friends. Their loss far exceeds anything I can fathom and I pray for their families often.

I am thankful though. This day can do nothing but leave you thankful for the things that you do have. People hold each other a little closer and love each other a little harder on this day and we cherish the time we have together a little bit more. 9/11 reminds of us the frailty of life and that tomorrow is not promised so if you do nothing else today remember to love those around you like crazy. 

God Bless America

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Don’t Forget…

Tonight I had the reminder that despite having MANY mini monsters Radar and I still have to make sure we take time to have fun together..and not just “mommy daddy private fun”…but like real fun! Sometimes Occasionally Once in a blue moon that means we go out on an actual date together but let’s face it when you have to pay a sitter to watch seven kids it has to be an AMAZING date, like on the movie Date Night, to make it really worth it. Normally, we stick the kids in bed a bit early, make a nice dinner for two, watch a movie or play a game. BUT, I must say, my favorite is when it’s spontaneous fun. You know, he comes home after a long day and is just in a fantastic mood, you joke around together, have a good time, and remember why and how you fell in love in the first place.

For us, tonight was one such night. Radar hasn’t been home much this week and has had a sporadic schedule. Much of this week has been the monsters and me…but sometimes that’s nice. Anyways, he got home tonight around ten. He made a quick snack and because I was a bit hungry after not eating a normal dinner he made me a cheese quesadilla. He was a bit quiet, which is normal for him, and then he placed this in front of me.

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He cracks me up! In fact, his goofy sense of humor is one of the reasons I fell in love with him in the first place. He can always make me laugh when I’m down and out but tonight it was so random it was refreshing.

Though our evening was short tonight, and ended minutes after quesadilla man was gobbled up, alas, he DOES have to go to work tomorrow, nevertheless it was fun. This wasn’t “mom and dad” fun this was “he’s definitely my best friend”, good natured fun…two people who genuinely like each other fun and I think when there are lots of little people running around this is so easy to forget. It’s easy to neglect your marriage when the kids and work can take so much from both of you but I think little bits of fun are definitely needed and so good for the soul!

One Notebook Wonder

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Many many years ago, when we were just starting out in our homeschool journey, and I still read lots of “how to homeschool” articles, I found myself slightly overwhelmed. I mean can you blame me? There are like millions of articles and blogs about the”surefire foolproof way” to homeschool or “this method is absolutely the bestest ever!” Each night I’d go to my husband and I’d tell him verbally vomit everything, I mean EVERYTHING, I’d read that day. He would listen and nod (such a smart tactic) and then he’d follow it up with, “Do whatever you think is best Honey.”

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GRRR!! THAT was helpful…NOT! I jumped from one extreme to the other. “We are going to unschool! ”
“No, wait that sounds insane! We are using a classical method! ”
“We are so going to do lots of worksheets! They’re so fuuun!!!”
“Worksheets are terrible!  Who would submit their poor little kids to all that busy work??”
This went on and on AND on for days  weeks months and my husband, bless his heart,  would nod and grin. (Total squirrel moment. ..but this so reminds me of Skipper from Penguins of Madagascar when he says, “Smile and wave boys,  smile…and wave.)I digress, Radar was amazing and would just go along with my crazy ramblings. 

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However,  in all of that, somewhere I stumbled upon the idea of a one in all notebook.  A lot of people have a different notebook for each subject for each of their kids.  This idea was asinine to me…who could possibly stay sane while remembering where each notebook was? Certainly not me!  I might be capable of keeping track of them all if there were tracking devices on each of them, but the jury is still out on that one…I have a tendency to lose things.

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So, rather than fumbling with fifty million composition notebooks each and every day I elected to put all boys information in one notebook each year. So, if they have a map for geography I might three hole punch it anf stick it in their binder (each kid has his own binder as well) or I might have them cut it out and paste it into their notebooks. If they have practice math exercises it goes in their notebooks. Their spelling lists, their history and science notes…and various writing excerpts from simple handwriting to full on essays for Pilot…these ALL go in our handy dandy notebooks!! One year Pilot did so much that he did need a second one but the first one was put up.  Another time Sketch lost his (can you imagine how often they’d lose them if we have ten per kid? ?)and I gave him an extra one (we ought to buy stock in these stinking things) and then he had two.  When he found them we just kept one as a backup for the next time he lost it.  I can’t claim to be the originator of this brilliant idea but I have passed it on to dozens of people and it always surprises me how many people message me back and tell me this idea is revolutionary and it has helped them immeasurably. 

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