I loathe sand.
I do.
In fact, the one downfall to most beaches is the fact that sand gets everywhere and then you get in the vehicles with sand on you and then bam you have to spend two hours cleaning your car.

Last year our then four-year-old was given sand for Christmas.  He equally hated his gift…at first. Then…ah, then he realized this was super cool sand that stuck together and you could build really awesome things with. You really can. Look at this castle that our now five year old made. It’s amazing!

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The best part about this sand is the fact that it doesn’t get everywhere like other sand. Don’t get me wrong, it COULD, but so long as the kid isn’t throwing it the sand should be relatively clean. Walter loves this sand and begs to play with it almost daily…and since it’s so low maintenance I generally let him.

Thankful

The last two months been pretty intense.  Nine people in one small hotel room with such a tiny kitchen in not sure it really constitutes a kitchen. It really want terrible and bed time was by far the hardest part.  However,  after two months,  only two days before Thanksgiving we not only found a place but got keys the same day!!! To say we were elated would have been an understatement.  I think Pilot nearly cried he was so happy!

Our Day

Recently I was asked what our day is normally like with lots of small children and four that homeschool. Well,  I must start by saying that each day is entirely different and I have no set time for anything.  I seriously loathe schedules much to the dismay of my husband. Each day looks different because of our younger children… but here is our day thus far…

8- I woke up and made breakfast.  Nothing fancy just scrambled eggs with cheese and buttered bread and the boys were delighted. 

8:30- The baby was changed and dressed and I got seated at the table ready to start my morning planning. 

9:20- Begrudgingly,  the boys stop playing catch with the soccer ball and join me.  We start with Bible and have several interruptions from Squirt, Echo and Walter…so it’s much slower than normal. 

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Nevertheless, we read Luke1:1-26 and have a fantastic discussion on Zechariah and John the Baptist. We even learned about casting lots and the boys found this highly interesting.

10:10- I spend time correcting Walter and Echo who are loudly fighting and running rapidly throughout the entire house!

10:20- We read a chapter in The Story – Book of Science (we are on Venom).

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The boys have lots of questions and as we are discussion people we discuss snakes and their venom for some time. Then the boys write out the steps for what you ought to do in the event of a venomous snake bite.

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They are unsure what it means to bind tight the finger, hand or arm…so I show them. We discuss the usefulness of the paracord bracelets Pilot made in Boy Scouts. So I drew bites on each of them on different spots and asked them to discuss where you’d bind it off for each “bite”.

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They also felt it was a loose binding so I showed them how tightly they’d have to squeeze to make it work. This highly amused them as they tried to tie it the tightest on me…each trying to outdo the others.  To finalize this subject for the day they draw a copperhead snake and Sketch and Bones color it in while Pilot discusses snakes with me a bit more.

11:45 – Potty break, drinks and diaper change time. I give Walter instructions on his art lesson and then read Bones his. He is able to read but still prefers me to read it to him. I don’t mind. The little ones clean up their mess because it’s much more fun to make another mess later when it’s clean to start with!! (Seriously people, those three DESTROY it!)

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12- All the boys are working on their art lessons. Pilot and I discuss what “freehand” means. Bones discovers that drawing a good circle is harder than he though and Sketch happily works away!

12:15- Red is laid down for his nap.We start reading our history. We are currently studying World War I.

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Today we read about zepplins, Gothas, the home front, women who had to take over the jobs previously only held by men, and Gallipoli. This led to a discussion about diseases, how terrible war must smell, disentary and pnuemonia…we chase a few squirrels but it’s okay…they are learning right?

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Normally we would take notes but today I’m letting them just listen.  Discussion is far more important to me at these ages. 

12:50- The boys are still working on their art lessons so I move on to our read aloud. We are only one chapter in but we all really like it thus far. 

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Bones is getting a bit restless so we will have a break for lunch after this reading. As we finish our chapter we discuss a few of their questions.

1:30- We stop to start lunch and another potty break. Pilot gets the water on the stove while I check on the little boys. Red is still napping. I find Echo under Pilot and Sketch’s bunk bed with Pilot’s kindle, Squirt is raiding their clothes trying on random shirts and high tails it out of their room as he sees me. Walter has quietly been playing with his sand since we started our reading of the Falcons of France.  

1:32- Bones laments how he wishes we could read from Book of Marvels so I agree and grab our book while the water starts to heat up. Our next chapter is on Popocatepetl. We spend ten minutes simply trying to say words like Popocatepetl, Tenochtitlan, Orizaba and Ixtaccihuatl. My boys and I seriously LOVE this book.

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It is a black and white book but the way the author writes catches the attention of even my youngest children.  Bones interrupts my reading to tell me when we read this book he feels like he is watching a movie playing out in front of him. We all agree that it is written in such a way we feel like we are actually there.

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We read about Cortez with the Aztecs…and the boys marvel that he won while being outnumbered one to a hundrded. Then we “climb” the volcano and the boys are on the edge of their seats breathless. They eagerly jump to see the black and white pictures in the book as I pull up colored photos online. 

2:15- Squirt has fallen asleep on my lap as I read to the boys so Pilot and Sketch finish lunch for me. Thankfully it’s just macaroni and cheese so nothing too difficult.  Bones and Sketch clean up everything that we have already used to clear the table and Bones reads to me his section in his McGuffey reader. He is in the first book. Sketch looks over his spelling words for his next section in his McGuffey reader. 

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2:20- We sit down for lunch and the boys create a dozen or so be That’s Not My books for my company. This provides tons of entertainment.

2:45-

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Clean up is done and Sketch and Bones are continuing with their spelling words. When they finish we administer an oral test. They will continue until all words are mastered. Sketch hates this part of our day where Bones excels at it.

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Pilot works on his speech practice. The McGuffey Third Reader helps students be better public speakers. Pilot is slowly working his way through this book…and hating every minute of it. Walter and Echo play in the adjoining room occasionally coming in to show us what they are doing.

3:00- The boys work on their individual reading, spelling, copywork and math until they are done with their work. This will take various amounts of time but at this point my school day is over for the most part. Once their work is done they are done for the day and are free to go play. Today is fun though as Bones has a super loose tooth and as I wiggle it the tooth becomes lodged and we are forced to remove it. He squeals and the boys erupt into fits of laughter.

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Each day varies greatly but this was our day today. Tomorrow we may not read Book of Marvels and instead may opt for Plutarch or Shakespeare but thankfully our lessons today went well.

Also, days I do actual Kindergarten with Walter but if he’s not in the mood I don’t push it. Today he was not in the mood but since he listens in and comments randomly on all his brothers work I think he will be just fine to jump in with us next year.

WWI

Bones is obsessed with learning about war. He loves it. I’m not sure if that’s normal for a seven year old but he just loves the history behind it. He loves the machinery used and watching the progression of the machinery upgrades. He loves studying how and why countries switched sides and he is LOVING our newest study of World War I. Seriously, he counted down the days until we were on it and now he begs for us to do like a weeks work of material per day. He’s just a bit crazy passionate.

Now, Bones is a bit quirky anyways so this passion doesn’t really shock me. No, what shocks me is that before teaching them their lesson I had NO early idea why WWI was started. None. However, Bones and his brothers know so much more than I did at their ages. They are learning things in elementary that I was taught in high school and they are absorbing that material far better than either Radar or myself ever did…and we weren’t the class dunce by any means.

I live that homeschooling allows me to teach them at their levels and when they are ready despite what may be the normal time to introduce topics.

A new love has enticed my boys…all of them…from my husband to the two year old…they are all suddenly smitten.

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Okay, well that’s not entirely true. Pilot has been in love with skateboarding for years. However, the others were only vaguely interested because it sounded cool. Now, now that are all doing it…including my husband who it’s trying to learn!

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(Pilot was gifted this board by his uncle…and has risen it hard for the last two years. It finally started to bit the dust.)

Since we don’t do a technical PE and we spend 12+ hours a week here I totally count this as our PE time…don’t judge, they are in fact using more muscles and energy than I can count, they’re running and exercising and they’re getting tons of fresh air! Sounds like a great PE class to me…even if most of their gym-mates are 2-3 times their ages!

What ways do you get PE in for your kids?

We went out to eat tonight after looking at a house (we are still house hunting). When we sat down (only four kids were with me at the time), I surveyed the people around us. I noticed them looking at the kids with that look of disdain and sheer terror that the boys were going to be loud and obnoxious the entire meal. I sighed. The boys were tired and super hungry. I knew the meal could go one of two ways and feared it would be the bad one. Radar joined me with the other three boys and I saw the looks of terror escalate rapidly. Several were on the brink of massive heart attacks!

Thankfully, we ordered and there was no issue during dinner. I noticed several people staring at us and then quickly whispering amongst themselves. One lady, who was being grinned at by Squirt, told us she was so impressed with the kids. I smiled, glad we had escaped an episode…this time. Then, to my surprise, two more ladies, who barely escaped heart attacks themselves, approached me and told me how wonderful it was too see a large family with such well behaved kids. Thanking them, I chuckled! Next time we might not be so lucky…I mean, it IS hard being little afterall!

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I have no great lesson or even words of wisdom in this post. However while reading my Bible recently, this verse really struck home for me.

Jeremiah 29v11-13 ” For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope. 12‘Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. 13‘You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.”

What really stood out for me was verse 13 where He says,  “You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with ALL your heart.”

I don’t know about you, but I know more times than I’d like to admit I am not seeking him with all my heart. I’m not even seeking him with half my heart. I’m seeking him with whatever I have left after being mom, wife, teacher, chef…you name it…He gets what’s left. And though the Bible says he mends our brokenness (Psalm 147v3), I don’t think he wants us to always and only seek him half heartedly and in our brokenness. My husband doesn’t want to only be greeted by tired, worn out, stressed out, nagging wife…He wants me to greet im with enthusiasm and happiness and I feel God’s the same way. He will take us in our broken state…but He wants us to seek Him wholeheartedly as well. He doesn’t want to be an afterthought,  He wants to be our first thought.

I know in my life, when I want something our need something it sometimes because more of a gimme gimme gimme situation…and I stop seeking the will of God. I stop considering His plan for my life and it becomes more about me…when really it needs to become more about Him and less about me.

So, maybe I’m reading this all wrong (feel free to correct me it’s you think I’m wrong) but this is the conviction I got while reading this passage.

Aviation Museum

The second largest aviation museum in the United States isn’t too terribly far from us. We recently decided to go. Pilot, Bones and Walter want to fly them. Sketch says he wants to build them…and Echo and Squirt just love looking at them and even prefer the airplane books to any other. We had a great time and it was a good pre-study field trip. We went on A Sunday and started the aviation era that Monday!! To say that the boys had fun would be a gross understatement.

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I’m not what it is with little boys and airplanes but I know mine are all smitten with them. They talk about them, they draw them, they point them out, they make models of them… my boys are thoroughly airplane crazed.

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Paint By Number

Sketch is our artist and for his recent birthday I found an awesome present for him! I was honestly super excited and couldn’t wait to give it to him but both Bones and Pilot didn’t think he’d like our that much. Sure enough, his paint by number was one of his favorites!!

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I’d never heard of these before honestly. I’ve seen plenty of color by number but these are really quite neat…and challenging. This far, Sketch has put about ten hours into this project and he still has some way to go!

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I absolutely love watching this cow together, but more so than that, I love watching how serious Sketch is when he paints. It calms him. He literally gets lost in his work for HOURS. This is his passion. I don’t normally think of children as being passionate about painting, but this boy is. I’m so excited to frame this picture and to hang it up. However, I’m even more excited to see where this takes him next. As his mom I feel Ita my job to help introduce him to a vast array of artistic styles knowing this is what excites him so I’m always looking for something new to expand his creativity.

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Squirt

Today, my sweet little boy is two. It amazes me just how fast time goes because in my mind there is no way that my sixth son is already two! It doesn’t seem possible that this feisty, bouncing, ornery toddler has only been apart of our lives for two years. It doesn’t seem possible I’ve only known his awesome silliness and his strong love for a mere twenty-four months. I feel like Squirt has always been apart of our lives.

Squirt has probably changed our family more than any of our other children. I’m not saying he’s more important or that he is better or worse, he has just changed us. He’s changed the way we have had to communicate with each other but in no way has his hearing held him back from anything. He is also our first real preemie (Sketch was three weeks early but still considered right at term) and we have had to adjust his age and expectations for that (though he always superseded where his actual age us). He’s not a hard child to parent per say, he’s really good at understanding what we want him to do but he’s equally amazing at pretending to not see us signing to him. I mean when your are deaf you can just turn your head and obviously that means mom and dad are done talking…right? Well, when you’re a deaf toddler it does and boy does he use that to his advantage!! He’s such an ornery guy too. He has this infectious evil laugh and upon hearing it you know he’s up to trouble and smacking his brothers in the face places him immensely. (Granted, this isn’t entirely his fault as THEY initiated it!)

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He is such a loving little boy though . He hugs and kisses all of us DOZENS of times a day and it slightly thrills me to say he’s a mama’s boy…though he loves his daddy too. This little boy melts by heart! I cannot wait to see what mischief awaits him as he grows!