Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 Blog Recap

This is one of my favorite blog posts that I do all year - my blog recap.  2013 started off with a wonderful surprise and has been a crazy, but good, year!

January - It's crazy to look at pictures of Meredith back in January.  She has changed a lot in one year!  January was full of outside play time, home preschool, tot school and general fun with the girls.  It looks like I attempted to start year long organizational challenge, but clearly never got past week 1! ha!  Behind the scenes and not blogged about...Brandon received a promotion at work on a Wednesday and the following Monday I found out I was pregnant.  What an exciting start to 2013!

February - I didn't blog too much in February, but when I did it was mostly about the school activities I was doing with the girls - mainly Mackenzie.  I bought a light scoop for my camera this month and still LOVE IT!

March - In March we finally announced my pregnancy!  Meredith lost a fingernail after smashing her finger in the garage door and we picked strawberries.  It appears I like doing random list posts this month, so I offered quite the variety of information and memories of our goings on. ;)

April - We got sick this month!  We rarely get sick, but this month all of us got something! Brandon built some night stands and we spent a lot of time outside enjoying the spring time weather.

May - We went on a quick vacation in May!  Mackenzie still mentions it at least once every couple of weeks and talks about when we'll go back with Miranda.  The biggest event was finding out we were having another little girl!  And then announcing the M name.

June - With summer rolling in, we visited Granny & Papa, learned that Meredith likes to "fly" in the pool, and spent some time at the library.

July - I started preparing for the girls' birthday party this month.  Well, actually that's not true - I only started blogging about my preparation in July.  I think the highlight for the girls was probably the firestation tour.  The bummer was all of us girls getting sick again!

August - I had a lot planned for August - our last summer month prior to Miranda's arrival.  The girls and I did a lot of swimming, went to a children's book reading and the butterfly exhibit/museum in the first two weeks.  Then of course, I said all was going well in my pregnancy...only to find out it wasn't!  2 weeks later we met sweet baby Miranda, 6 weeks early, and celebrated Meredith's 2nd birthday.

September - September was the month of adjustment!  Miranda came home 12 days after she was born.  I had the privileged of taking all three girls to the doctor and Mackenzie turned 5 years old!

October - I didn't blog much during October.  Miranda and the big girls occupied a lot of my time - and still do!  Our biggest event was finally having the girls' birthday party this month!  We LaLa loved it! ;)

November - I recapped our Halloween fun in November.  Mackenzie had a daddy/daughter day in Aggieland and I somehow found time to organize my pantry.

December -Tiny came for a visit or two and Meredith sang Jingle Bells A LOT!!!  Mackenzie had her school Christmas program and in general we just enjoyed the holidays and family time together!

Happy New Year everyone!  I can't wait to start 2014!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Tuesdays with Tiny: 2013, Vol. 4

So, this is our last installment of Tuesdays with Tiny.  She'll watch over the girls today and then go back home tonight.   She may or may not leave them a letter tomorrow morning telling them how much fun she had.  She hasn't fully decided...;)

Day 18: She had a little fun playing with all of the candy canes we have.  Because of this, the girls asked for candy canes for breakfast.  I told them they had to eat a breakfast bar first.  So, yes...they each had a candy cane at 8:00am. :/

Day 19:  We are not quite sure what she was trying to do here! ;)

Day 20:  She built herself a little chair out of blocks!

Day 21: Tiny became an Aggie today!  This is one of those times where she stayed in her hiding spot all day and whenever Meredith would see her she would laugh and say, "Tiny is funny!"

Day 22:  She left some Holiday greetings for us...

Day 23: Just hanging out on the mantle...

Day 24:  She brought the girls pajamas for tonight.  I'm hoping this becomes a yearly tradition!

The girls loved looking for her this past month and I'm sure the excitement will continue through to next year and they can share Tiny's adventures with Miranda as she gets older.  Until next year...

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Christmas Photos

I needed to get a picture of all 3 girls for a Christmas gift, so we had an impromptu photo shoot this morning.  Miranda wasn't too happy without her pasi.
So both girls tried to comfort her...
And then Mackenzie just gave up and smiled!
I thought changing locations might be better and we gave Miranda her pasi, but it didn't help.
 At this point we took a break and I held Miranda for a couple of minutes to calm her down.  Meredith was also having issues, but that's because she is TWO.  They are not named the "terrible twos" for no reason! :/  I bribed Meredith with chocolate if she would stop crying and smile.
"Come on girls...real smiles, please."

Finally!  Not all looking in the same place, but oh well. This is the picture I'm using for the gift.
Miranda was finally a little happy without her pasi, so I said, "oh, just one ore picture!"  And this is what I got.
Meredith was on the verge of full melt down mode when I took this picture.  I tried adjusting Miranda, but she started fussing.  Then, Meredith moved her head back and hit the wood part and that triggered the melt down.  That's when I called it quits.  All girls were changed back to their play clothes and the big girls got their chocolate.

At least I got one good one. ;)

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Christmas Preschool Program

Mackenzie had her school Christmas Program a week ago Thursday.  She has been practicing for weeks, both at school and at home.  The 2's and 3's class sang first and then her Pre-K class got up to sing.  I was surprised to see her wearing her Santa hat without any issues. She's the third from the right. 

She was concentrating so hard that she had a furrowed brow the entire time she was singing! ;)  

The biggest surprise was her being called to lead one of the memory verses.  "I will praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Marvelous are your works and that my soul knows very well." Psalm 139:14  My regular camera was acting up, so I took some photos with my camera and this is the best one I have. :/
We have video of the whole program, so at least I can watch that since my pictures aren't great.  Afterwards, Santa came to see all the kids.  This is the first year Mackenzie has been interested in taking pictures with Santa.  We've never tried before since she was always extremely afraid.  Meredith on the other hand was super excited to see Santa.  That's one of the big differences between Mackenzie and Meredith.  At 2, Mackenzie stayed in the corner of her classroom, with her back turned, when Santa visited her day care.  But Meredith never had any fears!  When I asked her that morning if she wanted to wear a pretty dress for Santa, she said, "yes, I wear minnie mouse dress."  Um...no, that's a costume, sweetie. ;)  I love this picture because Meredith is showing Santa her dress!  Definitely a lot more social than Mackenzie was at 2!

Mackenzie enjoyed it and smiled, so after 5 years I finally have her first picture with Santa.  Meredith smiled the whole time and on the way home kept saying she had fun with Santa.  That 5 minutes was awesome to her! ;)
I'll get to see this Christmas program several times since Meredith will be at the school next year, followed by Miranda 1 or 2 years later.  I look forward to every one!

Friday, December 20, 2013

Friday Randomness

Having the time to blog is getting harder and harder.  It's a little frustrating because I WANT to blog.  It's my way of documenting our lives.  I turn the blog into a book and boom - I have an instant scrapbook!  Miranda is starting to have a bedtime routine, so all this week, I've been able to feed her and put her down about the same time as the girls and she'll sleep in her swing for a few hours.  I stay up until her next feeding, which gives me 3-4 hours of no kids!  This week I have wrapped gifts, sorted the girls stash of gifts, blogged, read books and watched movies.  Tonight is another blogging night.  I remember doing this when Meredith was a baby.  From 8-11pm I got A LOT accomplished!  My body is already used to the sleep deprivation at this point, so why not get some stuff checked off my to do list, too! ;)

A couple of weeks ago "us girls" were being silly in the playroom.  I'm not even going to show you my crazy picture because my eyes look like crazy eyes, but I will show you this picture of me and Miranda.  I look like I'm laying on her, but I'm not.
Mackenzie was extremely silly...
And Meredith just wanted to pose:

On another day, the girls decided they would fix my hair.  It didn't feel quite as nice as a professional stylist might feel. ;)

Miranda sat in the bumbo seat for the first time the other day.  She's not fully in control of her neck just yet, but that's what's great about the bumbo.  With such a high back, it kind of helps babies.  She won't sit in it for a real long time, but it's something for her to occasionally sit in and have a change of scenery.
Of course, with a standard "first" photo like this, I have to compare to the other girls.  With Miranda's adjusted age at a little over 2 months in this photo, she's right at the same age I put Mackenzie and Meredith in the bumbo for the first time.
Notice the bumbo color?  We had sold our other one, so a friend is letting me borrow hers.

Brandon is sick right now.  He has the flu, but was able to start Tami flu this morning - within 36 hours of the symptoms starting.  He has quarantined himself to our bedroom in hopes that me and the girls don't catch anything.  We all (except Miranda) received a flu shot this year, so here's hoping mine and the girls' work better than Brandon's did! :/  I've got lysol wipes and two different sprays that I'm using a lot and will continue to use!  

Miranda smiles a lot now.  Mackenzie gets excited every time and shouts, "Momma, momma, Miranda smiled!"  I wonder when the excitement will go away.  I guess it will probably just transfer to the next firsts...rolling, crawling, walking, talking.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Tuesdays with Tiny: 2013, Vol. 3

I know you guys are anxiously awaiting pictures of where Tiny's been this past week!  I'm happy to report that she remembered to move every day this week and had quite a bit of fun doing all kinds of stuff! ;)

Day 11:  Tiny found a little car model of Brandon's and decided to take it for a spin along the bar.  Her little bootie just barely fit! ;)

Day 12:  Tiny made a Christmas tree out of plastic cups.  At least that's what I called it.  Mackenzie on the other hand said it wasn't a Christmas tree because the top was not yellow like it's supposed to be." :/

Day 13: She liked swinging on the light fixture so much last week, that she thought she'd swing on the swing mobile!

Day 14: Just taking a ride on Princess Twilight Sparkle!

Day 15:  Gummy worms sounded like a good midnight snack!

Day 16: Tiny decided to spend a little time reading Meredith's Bible.  Like the microphone from last week, Meredith wasn't too thrilled that Tiny was using her Bible.

Day 17:  She was cooking up something good in the kitchen this morning!  Again, Meredith wasn't too happy about Tiny messing with her stuff.  She came running to me in the bedroom with her nose all scrunched up saying, "Tiny cookin' in MY kitchen!"

One more week to go!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Preschool: K4 - Letter A, My Little Pony

So....it's December and I'm doing my first post about our home preschool for the year.  The good thing is, it's only been 2 weeks since we finished the unit, so I may be behind in actual school lessons, but not blogging about them! ;)  Of course, this was not my intention.  I've blogged before about my plans of starting school in September and then taking a break in October while we adjusted to Miranda.  Obviously, with Miranda being born early, that didn't go as planned.

Although Mackenzie goes to preschool 2 days a week, she was asking to do our school quite a bit.  We (I) finally got our act together and had our first school lesson in mid November.  Mackenzie was super excited about it.  This year, I'm using Carissa's Raising Rock Stars Kindergarten packs as the main lessons.  Mackenzie really liked the Raising Rock Stars Preschool curriculum we used two years ago, so I thought I'd make it fairly easy on myself by using a premade curriculum.  I'm also going to incorporate the memory verse for each unit into our devotionals for both girls.  My plan is to add other activities and crafts to these units, including our continuation of the You Can Read sight word curriculum.  Can you tell my favorite blogger is Carissa at 1+1+1=1? ;)

Notebook Time:
I expanded our notebook this year to include more calendar time and writing, rather than just songs.  I downloaded these printables from Confessions of a Homeschooler.  We don't do everything, but I am introducing the concepts.  I'm pretty excited about this first sheet.  She will write her name  every month and we'll see the handwriting improvements along the way.
I put the sheets in page protectors and she enjoys using the wet erase markers to write the days of the week and dates.

Since she already loved the daily drawing sheets from 1+1+1=1 that we were doing last year, I kept those in.  On this first day of our school, she decided she needed to fill in all 4 squares.  This is her pondering what she should draw next.

Like the RRS Preschool packs, the RRS Kindergarten is based on the book My ABC Bible Verses by Susan Hunt.  We'll be learning the same memory verses as last time, but through different activities and hopefully a little more depth of meaning.  We started with letter A and will be going in alphabetical order.

The memory verse is "A soft answer turns away wrath." Proverbs 15:1.  This is a great verse, especially for little ones who argue and also when children are a little sassy and for us adults too!  Mackenzie, Meredith and I talked about the verse together and what "soft" and "wrath" meant.  I had intended to do a craft with the verse, but didn't get around to it.  However, application of the verse was made (and still is) several times in the two weeks we spent on the lesson.  On one occasion, Mackenzie gave a little too much attitude when she was talking to me and I responded badly, by yelling at her.  I then reminded her of the memory verse and said that had she used nice, "soft" words, she might have turned away my "wrath."  That made her upset and cry because I had said "wrath" which she knew meant I was angry with her.  We both apologized to each other and learned that this verse applies to both kids and adults and can change a situation greatly just by remembering to use soft words with each other. 

Here she is tracing her verse...
She traced the verse again another day and then cut and glued them in order.

The sight word for this lesson is "away".

She used "soft" and "away" in sentences for me to write down...
Learning sign language...
I really like this listening sheet.  She listens to my instructions as to what color or markings she has to put on each shape.  She actually messed up the last one, I believe, so I'm glad we are doing this.  She tends to talk constantly while we are doing these things and doesn't always pay attention to what she should be doing.  This particular activity helps her to concentrate on what she is supposed to do.

Speaking of following instructions...whenever an activity says to circle the matching item, she always decides she wants to cross out the non-matching objects.  The letter A sounds worksheet was no exception! ;)
One of my favorite things we did was for me to write down a story that she dictated to me.  The instructions were to look at the picture in the corner (from our memory verse) and tell a story about it.  This is the picture:
This is the first time I think we've ever done something like this, so she struggled a little bit with making the story about the picture.  The mother and children sit down like the picture for one small sentence in the story! ;)
It's very random, but cute.  I'm looking forward to doing these each unit!  The RRSK units included a few other activities, but I don't have pictures of those.

Letter A:
We did a couple more letter A activities outside of the RRSK curriculum.  Tracing A's...
Since she likes to draw, I thought some drawing sheets from 3Dinosaurs' Romping Roaring A printables would be great.  She had to draw certain things that started with A.
I love that her animal is an "angry polar bear."  She wasn't quite sure what armor was, so I drew a helmet and shield on another piece of paper (see below).  I thought she drew the helmet pretty well.

She also wasn't sure how to draw an astronaut or air plane, so I offered some very crude drawings.  Again, I'm impressed with her own drawings below.

YCR/Sight Words:
As far as sight words, we picked up where we left off this summer.  We started unit 7 of You Can Read and learned "to", "run", "find" and "play".

Coloring the color by number sight words.  This is an instance, like I mentioned above, where she's so busy talking, she forgot to switch colors and colored the r and u the same.

We also used 3Dinosaurs' sight word path printables.

Since we started at the beginning of the alphabet, I started at the beginning of the number line too.  Tracing 0's
We used the rhyming ladders from Confessions of a Homeschooler's Pre-K printables for the first time and they were a little hard for her.  She could rhyme pretty well, but I think trying to write the first letter was a little confusing.  I think we'll wait a month or two and try again another time.
One of her favorite things about preschool is getting to learn Spanish.  She has a Spanish class for 30 minutes once a week and loves it!  I thought this was a perfect opportunity to use or spanish color cards from Homeschool Creations.  She most likely used the color swatches to match the words, but she is learning the actual color words in preschool, so she did "read" the colors also.
We also did this puzzle match game.  I love things like this because it causes her to think about letter sounds, but 26 letters is A LOT!  And with Mackenzie talking and playing with each match before starting another one, it takes FOREVER! ;)

Theme Pack:
As an added bonus, she worked on some My Little Pony printables, also from 1+1+1=1. (Carissa has a daughter a little younger than Mackenzie, so she tends to create the printables that are of interest to us, too.)

She wanted to use Halloween stickers instead of dot markers for this sheet.

She never tires of these tracing sheets...
Or the "what's different?" sheets...
When Meredith was working on her Doc McStuffins 1:1 sheet, Mackenzie was right next to her doing My Little Pony.

Tracing shapes and matching pony names...
She liked the color book and recognized a lot of the words.  Not sure if its because the pony was that color or if she new the word.  I need to pull out a color word activity that isn't colored to see how she does.  Maybe on the next unit.
Counting practice with a number puzzle and number paths.  She does well with recognizing numbers in order, but if I ask her to point randomly to the numbers 12-19, she's not as confident.  We just need to work a little more on recognition of the teen numbers, not just number order.

I finally used the toilet paper cardboard tubes I've been saving up - we painted apples!

We also painted leaves and other things...

For her birthday, Mackenzie received a bucket of art supplies.  We opened it up and she chose a craft to make out of the packet.  She used the picture as a "shopping list" to gather supplies.
Then she started crafting...
It had to be exact! ;)  She had so much fun, she made even more silly paper faces.

We took about two weeks to do this unit, but she had a lot of fun and so did I.  I felt like we were finally back to our "normal" schedule since Miranda's been born.  We started working on the letter B this week, so hopefully we'll stay sort of on track and finish the alphabet before she starts Kindergarten in the fall! ;) 
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