First Week of Homeschooling 2014

We survived the first week of homeschooling!!! I’m not going to lie, it was a little bit of a rough start – trying to get into our routine again. We’re still working out some problem areas, but I realize this is the beauty of homeschooling you can change and evolve what you need to makes things work better for everyone involved.

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Note: Noah is loving camo right now! He loves wearing it from head to toe…sigh!

This is what happens when I try to get a group shot :)

This is what happens when I try to get a group shot :)

Three things I learned in this short week:

  1. It’s not about completing ‘x’ number of worksheets per day; it’s about mastering and understanding the concepts. I admit my Type A/perfectionist personality wants my 5 and 4 year old to complete all worksheets nicely and beautifully all by 11:30 a.m. Are you laughing yet?!? I know! It doesn’t happen. I have to tell myself they’re 5 and 4 years old, and very active boys. They can’t sit for 2 hours straight writing on worksheets. My mom loves to chime in that in Korea students don’t have this problem, however later on she did tell me they don’t start school until around 7 years of age (or at least that’s how it was when she was growing up). I’m learning to add in fun learning activities to break up the monotony and to give their poor fingers a rest. I’m also trying to think of ways to involve the 2 year old with these activities as he very much wants to be involved, but loses interest since most isn’t pertaining to him. It’s all a work in progress!
  2. It’s okay that they don’t master all of the day’s worksheets. I tend to get sucked into our beautifully planned out curriculum and want the boys to not get “behind”. So if the lesson plan says ‘xyz’ is to be completed on Tuesday, I want all worksheets and concepts mastered, so we can start on Wednesday’s lessons. This is the completely wrong way of looking at the lesson plans. They’re a guideline. It’s okay that they don’t complete and master everything that day, we can continue working on them as needed until they do. The first grade curriculum is much more intense and challenging. Noah is starting this a year early, so if it takes us longer than a typical school year that’s okay. This is one of the reasons we homeschool, we can advance or keeping working where we need to. I think I put more pressure on myself since we homeschool – I feel like they have to be at least at the same level as kids in a traditional school, otherwise everyone will point and think how unfortunate it is that homeschooling doesn’t really work. In reality, the boys are doing great! They ask such great and insightful questions. I’m amazed every day how much they learn and put concepts together. That’s what really matters; not how many perfect worksheets they can do.
  3. It’s not easy nursing and caring for a fussy newborn while teaching. I’m still working through this one and for the most part, Isaac is sleeping through the mornings while I teach the boys, but there are days when he just wants to cry and nurse. This does push my patience to the limits and I feel like I’m pulled in a million directions and not to mention that I’m just plain exhausted from lack of sleep, but God gives me the graces to get through it. I know this is just temporary and we’ll get through it.

Our second week is going well. We currently school in the playroom where I have school set up, but I think the toys are distracting, so we’re thinking about moving school to the dining room. Yes this ruins my perfect homeschool area, but I have to adapt and figure out what works best for all of us; not what looks cute and pinterest worthy. I knew homeschooling would never be easy, but I know it’s worth it. I love seeing the excitement on their face when they accomplish something. Noah is starting to read words and Eli’s handwriting is improving everyday. They ask great questions, things I would never even think about like, “How do the clouds stay in the sky? Why isn’t gravity pulling them down?”, “What would happen if two galaxies collided?”, “How was God always in existence? He couldn’t just come from nothing?”

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My greatest hope for them is to know and love Jesus, understand and live their Catholic faith even in the toughest of circumstances and follow their vocation – whether it’s the priesthood, or marriage and a career. I’m blessed that I can be on this journey with my children. I read somewhere that the days may be long, but the years are short. This is so true. When they’re all grown up and living their own lives, I know I’ll look back on these days with fond memories. I won’t regret that I didn’t have more time to clean and organize my house or check out the brand new IKEA that just opened today. I mean seriously how nice it would be to spend a whole day at IKEA while the kids are in school. I’ve dreamed about having an IKEA near me. Sorry, I’m obviously a little obsessed with IKEA even though I’ve never even been to one. But really in the long run, those things won’t matter. What matters is that we got to spend our days together – growing and learning in our faith and academics and creating memories together. St. Anne, pray for us!

Isaac is 2 Months Old

Isaac is 2 months old today! He’s still nursing like a champ! And there’s still lots of spit up with that!  He’s still waking up about every 3 hours at night to feed, so I’m still so very exhausted. Although some nights he will go a 5 hour stretch, yet I’m still tired. My days are a blur and most of the time I feel like I’m in a dense brain fog. We definitely feel like he’s not the easiest baby; our last 2 seemed so calm and mellow. Isaac is much more fussy (much like our first-born, Noah); although he does have good days, which I’m grateful for. I think most of the fussiness is from an immature digestive system. We’ve been using gripe water and gas drops, both seem to help I think.

He’s getting big too! He’s wearing size 3mths now and is getting the oh-so-cute thigh rolls.

Milestones:

Weight: 11 lbs, 12 oz
Height: 23″

  • Smiling and even a little laugh when Daddy was making silly faces
  • Starting to coo and aah


Likes:

  • Still loves bath time!
  • Loves to stand!
  • He’s mesmerized by ceiling fans


Dislikes:

  • Still loathes the carseat!

 

Isaac at 2 Months

Isaac at 2 Months

His brothers still love to kiss, hug and cuddle him every chance they get it. But they can also get wild around him. I don’t know how many times we’ve said, “Don’t step on your brother!” Not that they’ve actually stepped on him yet…thank goodness :)

A Mother’s Prayer to the Guardian Angels of Her Children

I saw this beautiful prayer on the Catholic News Agency website. I love it and wanted to share :)

I humbly salute you, O you faithful, heavenly friends of my children! I give you heartfelt thanks for all the love and goodness you show them. At some future day I shall, with thanks more worthy than I can now give, repay your care for them, and before the whole heavenly court acknowledge their indebtedness to your guidance and protection. Continue to watch over them. Provide for all their needs of body and soul. Pray, likewise, for me, for my husband, and my whole family, that we may all one day rejoice in your blessed company.
Amen.

 

Isaac is 1 Month Old

Isaac is a month old today! He’s gotten so much bigger so quickly; I’ve already had to pack away his newborn clothes. This seems to have happened way sooner than with the other boys. He still grunts A LOT, especially at night, and is now spitting up too (I’ll be happy when that phase is over).  He’s still nursing like a champ! He went through a feeding frenzy a few days ago for couple days. He was nursing ALL THE TIME! That was exhausting. Lack of sleep and nursing are definitely the hardest parts of having a baby. I have to remind myself that this won’t last forever.

Milestones:

  • More alert
  • Lifting his head

Likes:

  • Loves bath time!
  • Being in his bouncer or swing

Dislikes:

  • Being swaddled
  • Doesn’t love the pacifier; he’ll only use it occasionally

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His brothers still adore him and love showing him off. Isaac went to his very first Mass today. I was worried he would be fussy and grunty the whole time, but he slept peacefully in my arms without making a sound the entire time. The power of God :) Maybe we should try sleeping there at night! Every one was excited to finally see Isaac and his older brothers were very proud to showcase him to our friends at church.

Some more cute quotes from his brothers:

“He’s my best friend.” – Levi

“I wanna cuddle him!” -Eli

“He’s so funny!” -Eli

“If you think he’s sweet, you should smell him; he smells even sweeter.” -Noah

“He smells like Heaven.” -Noah

Choosing Isaac’s Name

We had the hardest time naming our newest addition. For the other boys we had their names picked out weeks or months in advance. However, for our fourth we were stumped! We had a list, but none of the names seemed right. Plus we were over analyzing every name. We like classic names; names that stand the test of time and the names we’ve chosen for our boys all happen to be biblical; not necessarily intentional. We never picked a name because it had to be from the Bible, but the names we did pick happen to be in the Bible. So we toiled and toiled – Did the name flow well with his older brothers’ names? Did that matter? Was the name too Catholic? So what if it was, we are Catholic after all! Could the name be shortened to a nickname, an annoying nickname (this is sort of a pet peeve of mine)?

So days before his birth and after his birth we finally had it narrowed down to two names: Matthew Francis or Isaac Francis. We definitely wanted Francis as the middle name since our family has a special devotion to St. Francis of Assisi. Ever since Eli was very young, he seemed to gravitate to this saint, so he is Eli’s patron saint; thus he’s important in our family. And it doesn’t hurt that our Holy Father is Pope Francis. Win-Win! :)

We also added to his middle name, Wayne, as that’s a family name on Michael’s side. Michael’s middle name is Wayne, as is his dad, etc.

So we were told at the hospital that we had to have a name chosen by the time we left and since my stay was just 24 hours we had to make a decision. So we finally picked:

Isaac Francis Wayne

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The boys voted Isaac and everyone who knew our dilemma was leaning towards Isaac. So that’s the story behind his name!

Blessings,
Linda
+JMJ+

Baptism Gift Ideas

I’m in full party planning mode as I’m working on the details for Isaac’s baptism. I LOVE baptisms! The chrism, holy water and Holy Spirit…what a combination! That’s definitely something to celebrate…oh yeah and the whole getting rid of original sin :) Nothing like cuddling a pure, sin free baby!

During the fun process of planning his baptism party, I’ve come across some great baptism gift ideas. I think it’s always important to commemorate this special sacrament and I love having keepsakes that the boys can grow into and use well into adulthood knowing they were gifted the item at their baptism (i.e. a rosary or crucifix).

So here’s my go-to baptism gift guide! Many of these ideas could be used for First Communion too!

Baptism Gift Ideas

  1. Rosary – We gift our babies a rosary at their baptism. I love that when they start praying the rosary, they’ll know it was the same rosary from their baptism. Plus, you can never have too many rosaries.
  2. Crucifix – Of course it’s important to have a crucifix in the baby’s bedroom. Since our boys share bedrooms, each room has a wall where we hang their Catholic items.
  3. Saint Medal – These are great little keepsakes, especially if the baby is named after a saint. They can attach them to their rosaries. Tiny Saints has a collection of super cute saint charms too.
  4. Baptismal Bowl/Shell – I wish I had known about these with my first baby. I love the idea of having a family one to use at each baptism and then pass it down as family keepsake to be used for all the future grand-babies. How cool to know that your parents, grandparents were baptized with the same bowl or shell.
  5. Saint Softies – These are super cute. She has so many saints to choose from, another great idea if the baby is named after a saint, or choose a Guardian Angel or Holy Family one.
  6. Holy Water Font – We have one outside the boys’ bedroom. Always a great reminder of our baptism.
  7. Saint Statues – We like to have statues throughout the house to remind us of our Heavenly friends. So I think these make great keepsakes as well.
  8. Portrait of Saints – A beautiful site that has a large selection of wooden plaques and prints of your favorite saints.
  9. Catholic Books – There are so many great books to share the faith with your little one. Sacred Heart Books and Gifts has a great selection.

 

60th Birthday Celebration

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Last weekend we celebrated my father-in-law’s 60th birthday. I admit I was a little nervous and worried about hosting a party a week after delivering Isaac because I wasn’t sure how I’d feel recovery wise. So we kept it simple – I made all the printables weeks before delivering Isaac and gathered all the party supplies well in advance and we had the food catered.

Michael’s family came in from Wichita to celebrate the big event. The boys had fun playing and visiting with their cousins and everyone got to see the new baby.

Aunt Missy and Cousins, Mariah and Carson holding Isaac

Aunt Missy and Cousins, Mariah and Carson holding Isaac

Party Details

I went with a tennis theme as that’s one of his favorite pastimes. I also made him a Birthday Chronicle that highlighted fun facts and events from the day and year he was born. He’s a retired history teacher so I thought he’d enjoy something unique to mark his 60th.

The dessert table included cupcakes, Chicago Mix popcorn and chocolate covered pretzels. Michael even made some refreshing lemon strawberry infused water.

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Boys helping blow out the candles

Boys helping blow out the candles

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A good time was had by all. Good food and good company made for a great celebration. Happy 60th birthday to an awesome husband, father, father-in-law and grandpa :) We’re blessed to have you in our lives! We love you!