Monday, September 22, 2014

Ava's Book

Ava created this completely on her own. All I did was video her explaining to me everything that was in it. Such a creative girl!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Amazing Memorization

We have known for a long time that Ava has some pretty amazing memorization abilities/skills, but today she blew me away. Each unit we do in her homeschool kindergarten is 6 days long. We started Unit 1 last Monday which means we were finishing the last day of the unit this Monday. One of the daily things we did in Unit 1 was read this poem, My Shadow.
So we read this poem a couple times each day last week Monday-Friday. No school Saturday-Sunday. Today we were supposed to read it one last time before we start a new Unit tomorrow, but Ava told me she already knew it and just started rattling it off.
She recited it almost perfectly without me even reading through it once since Friday! She finished having no idea how awesome that was and was ready to move on to the next thing. I just sat there like WhAt!? Needless to say, I am going to be expanding her collection of Bible verses to memorize and get her going on some whole Psalms. She is such and sponge! And she loves learning! 

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Cade's First Birthday

Seriously, all but one (decent) picture I got of Cade all day is of him eating something. I intended to get some shots of him being cute or actually SMILING, but I guess these food shots say a lot about where he is growth-wise right now.

Anyway, we never have done huge, all-out planned birthday parties for the first few years (they don't know or care anyway), so it was pretty much a regular fun day with some EXTRA fun added in. It was a long, full day yesterday. School in the morning, cake-making and naps (for all 3 kids) in the afternoon, then a quick peanut butter sandwich dinner and out the door to get to our first night of Awana! The girls did great and had fun. Richard and I volunteered and ended up helping out in a very full, chaotic 4 year old class. Cade used his good looks and great fussing abilities to milk all the ladies in his room and be held the whole night. (Lots of stories within this one paragraph here, but I shall move on…)

So we got home around 8:45pm tired, still hungry with our half-dinner long gone, and Cade was one cranky fellow. So here's the awesome video footage from his cake time:

He was yelling the whole time we were singing and then when I tried to prevent him from burning himself on the candle I scratched his hand. But once we got past that he sure did enjoy that frosting. I cut into the cake a bit after the video stopped and he ate a ton of that too.

So after the traditional singing and cake we did baths and all. Cade loves bath time, splashing, running around naked afterwards, etc and he's always in a pretty good mood when he gets his jams on too. Here's some fun we were having before bed. (He gets more stumbly than usual when it's late and he's tired.)

After this little game of chase we all sat down for some Bible reading, memory verses, and Cade's last time nursing (there will be a whole separate post for that whenever I get my wits about me). It was a great day and Richard and I are so thankful to be this little guy's parents.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

First Birthday Cake

When Ava was turning one she had never had the slightest bit of sugar and I wanted to make a cake for her that we would all like and that wouldn't blast her into a sugar high. After a brief search for "healthy" cakes, I decided on this Applesauce Healthy Cake. I can't remember where I found it so I can't give proper credit, but here's a picture of the recipe itself that I copied down into my personal recipe book. (You can probably google it and find where it originally came from.)

It was a total hit. On her first birthday, Ava ate like literally half the cake all by herself. So it became our traditional first birthday cake and now it's also the one we make at Christmas each year to sing happy birthday to Jesus. Looking at the recipe above, I personally use 4 T sugar, no walnuts, and good old frosting rather than confectioner's sugar.

Today Ava, Raina, and I made this Applesauce Healthy Cake for Cade! It was so fun to bring this tradition out again and the girls are no strangers to the deliciousness of this cake so they were pumped about helping. All three kids are down for naps right now (!!!!!!!whoop!!!!!!!) and the cake just came out of the oven to cool. I am about to get myself ready to take everyone to Awana tonight (kick-off night for the year) and then I'll frost the cake in a bit.

Speaking of delicious recipes, we had a few families over for dinner and just for fun the other night and my new friend, Jen, brought some cupcakes that night. Unfortunately she left them here for us to share with neighbors finish off as quickly as possible. They're called Banana Chocolate Toffee Cupcakes (which doesn't even sound like something I'd like, honestly) and they are AmAzInG. Here's the link to her blog with the recipe for those too. Enjoy!

Friday, September 5, 2014

Cade is Almost ONE

I can't believe our sweet baby boy is almost ONE YEAR OLD! This year has flown by with a big move, trips, and lots more coming to plan for. I will definitely be posting about Cade's cake smashing/eating next week. We're not planning on doing a huge party or anything; just making an Applesauce Healthy Cake like we did for both of the girls and letting him go to town on it.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

A Whole New Adventure

So… We have officially decided to homeschool Ava, starting Kindergarten this year! I sent in my "letter of intent" to the superintendent of our school district here in VA and I have ordered the curriculum we finally decided on (My Father's World). For a while I was praying that I would want to do what we knew we were being called to do; well now I can't wait! Richard is totally on board and super supportive as well.

I don't have time for a long post today, or really anything to say about it yet anyway, but there will be more to come. :)

Friday, January 3, 2014

Breaking Free of Weary

A couple weeks ago my grandma called one morning and delightfully asked "What are you guys up to this morning?" I sighed, looked around and said "Well, we just got up and Cade is screaming because he needs to nurse, Raina wet the bed for the first time in a long time and is crying because she's upset about it and needs a bath, and Ava has already asked me about 17 times when she can have breakfast." (And Richard is at work.) Gramma chuckled knowingly and said "Oh, so just life stuff, huh?" Yes.

Ava is strong-willed, challenging, sassy, back-talking, questioning, and pumped about being 5 years old now (super grown). Raina is sensitive, emotional, snuggly, tender, and excited about life at the sweet age of 2.5. Cade is an awesome, easy baby that eats and sleeps well at the age of (not quite) 4 months old but still needs everything done for him. He just mastered rolling from back to front but now seems to have forgotten how to roll from front to back and gets stuck screaming face down on the floor (while the dogs try to lick whatever spit-up may have escaped during his angry tummy time). A & Rae play great together but I have to keep a close eye to make sure A is not railroading Rae. All three of them require constant mental attention like thinking about, verbalizing, directing, and/or doing what they each need to do for us to leave the house ever. They all require physical assistance with so many things ("Will you wipe me please, Mom!?" or "Can I sit with you?" or "Will you hold my hand?" etc) All of these are necessary and/or wonderful special things but while I used to consider physical touch one of my primary love languages, now I want everyone to Get.Off.My.Body!

Every day is a constant juxtaposition of "I was made to be a mother! I love this and wouldn't trade it for anything in the world!" and "I can't wait for them all to be in bed and if anyone wakes me up in the middle of the night AGAIN, so help me!"

I found this blog to be funny and true in many ways. It is a little exaggerated at points but really captures the feelings that go with the daily grind. I have felt so weary with our 3 lately; not tired, but weary. To quote the blog writer, "There is no time when nobody needs anything. Ever."

There are so many things that I would like to do (crafting with the girls, working on reading with Ava, more floor time and face time with Cade, solidifying letters and numbers with Raina, more quality kid-free time with Richard, implementing more structure and intention in our business, having more meaningful conversations as a friend/sister/daughter/sponsor, etc… but by the time I deal with all those little things that start each morning and continue throughout the day, I feel like the day is already shot and maybe I can try again tomorrow. I don't believe this is completely reality and what I should settle for but it IS how I feel. (It's like what they say about lots of paperwork; death by a thousand paper cuts.) It's not that each thing is so particularly hard and trying, it's just that it's endless and I spend so much time putting out little fires that I lose sight of tackling the tasks and goals I intended to focus on. Do I need to seriously reevaluate my time management? Do I need to reevaluate what I think is important and needing to be done? Is this just the "season of life" that I'm in? I think the answer is YES.

So, for now my first plan of action is pray, pray, pray for wisdom and direction and to read the following two things upon waking each day:

***Isaiah 40:28-31
"Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint."


***The 7 Decisions for Success (from The Traveler's Gift by Andy Andrews)
1. The buck stops here. I am responsible for my past and my future.
2. I will seek wisdom. I will be a servant to others.
3. I am a person of action. I seize this moment. I choose now.
4. I have a decided heart. My destiny is assured.
5. Today I will choose to be happy. I am the possessor of a grateful spirit.
6. I will greet this day with a forgiving spirit. I will forgive myself.
7. I will persist without exception. I am a person of great faith.

If you haven't read The Traveler's Gift, I highly recommend it. It is an easy read (in story format) that I was able to finish a few minutes at a time before passing out in exhaustion falling asleep each night.