Friday, February 26, 2010

Walter Henry you are NINE Months old!

Walter Henry you are NINE months old!

That's something to be excited about!
You are 27 1/4" tall.
Your head is 47.5 cm.
You got your 3rd tooth two days ago.

You haven't quite figured out how to crawl but you scoot backwards.
You weigh 16 lbs. 9 oz.
You wear 6 - 9 month clothes.
You are eating most any food you want. Cheerios are a popular favorite.
You still haven't figured out a cup. It's more for playing than for drinking.

Up until a few days ago, you were in a wonderful nap routine. I'm hoping the new tooth has just upset it a little. For about a month you would wake in the morning and stay up for 2 -3 hours. Then you would take a nap for about 3 hours. After being awake again for 4 or so hours you would take a nap for 1.5 - 2 hours. Bedtime is around 9 and you sleep for 12-ish hours.

You are such a joy to our entire family!

I can't believe how much you've grown and learned.

Arkansas Auctioneer's Association Convention

Last weekend was the Arkansas Auctioneer's Association Convention {if you can say that really fast, 3 - 6 times in a row - they might let you join ;) } . Daddy and Uncle Kirk learned that they could take care of all of their continuing education and have a good time with other auctioneers. They spent the entire day but that evening the kids and I joined them.

We all came to participate in a charity auction that was raising money for a camp for children with disabilities. The auction was part of a ring man and bid calling competition. We were in a room that was much smaller than I expected for much longer than I expected! Ha! Guess I know what to expect next year. ;)

Uncle Kirk and Daddy wanted to compete in the competition but decided they should take turns and not compete against each other. Uncle Kirk went first.

Mr and Miss Mark came {Ben calls Miss. Janet, Miss Mark - soo funny!} and they purchased a ceramic birdhouse. Ben was intrigued. First he looked inside to made sure there weren't any birds. Then he stuck his nose in the hole and sniffed. He told us it was shew! But he kept going back and sniffing. I wish I would have thought to video part of his antics. I told Janet that if we ended up at the ER with a child that was high., she would have to back up our story of how it happened!

It was finally Uncle Kirk's turn to compete in the first round of the Pro division. He did a great job and told a few jokes to keep the mood upbeat.

The room we were in was fully equipped for sound and in addition to the bid calling that was going on, we also had a few intermission songs. This is proof that Henry really can sleep through anything. He took about an hour and a half nap. If he hadn't gotten so hot against me, he might have slept longer. Can you tell he's the youngest of five! Noise doesn't bother him.

Nana and Papaw were on the row behind us and we had a few extra chairs so the kids could move back and forth. If we had been forced to sit in perfect rows, I don't think we would have made it!

I think the suspense of waiting to see if Uncle Kirk made it to the final round was really getting Madisyn.

Nana with her lap full of monkeys. We heard lots of giggling and turned around to see that Nana had been attacked. :)

Uncle Kirk made it to the final round and got the chance to call some more bids.

After the bid calling was over, Henry woke up. Maybe the chattering of 75 people was just a little too quiet for him.

We just thought the waiting for the final round announcement was tough. It seemed to take forever to get to the awards ceremony. We were disappointed that the judges didn't agree with us that Uncle Kirk deserved a trophy but we had a great time anyway.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

It's a contest!

I'm giving away a $20 gift certificate on the Sew Darlin site.

There is also a coupon for $5 off a $25 purchase. Check out the redesigned site and look at what's available. You're bound to find something for your Darlin'!

Wanna win? Click here to find out how!

Have it your way

Last Friday the kids and I were heading to Little Rock to meet Daddy at a convention {more on that later ;) } so we met Mimi and Granddaddy for lunch. Burger King is a popular place to meet for 3 reasons.
It's close to Mimi's work so she can meet us easily. They don't have a playland/ground so there's no arguing when it's time to go.

And #1 - it's next door to a scrap yard so 3 out of 4 boys are very entertained. It's also at a busy intersection and we saw several trucks hauling backhoes. Backhoes are one of Ben's new favorites. He gets Kent's phone and begs to see the backhoes. Kent has pictures of equipment that he has bought or someone is trying to sell him. Mommy has scored massive Ben points because I can look up backhoe pictures on the internet on my phone . I've even bookmarked a site of nothing but backhoe pictures. :)
So dinner, a show, and an early start on clogged arteries all for only $20.

Henry had a good time because he had his first taste of fast food french fries. I think he's hooked! Good thing we don't eat there often. LOL

Monday, February 22, 2010

School Days

As hard as it is to imagine now, I know one day I'll look back and not be able to remember what a normal "school" day was like. I didn't get a picture of Griffin doing his preschool workbooks (he loves doing school) but the rest is pretty much how our day goes.

After Griffin, Ty has his sit down school. Here he is working on his Bible Notebook. We start his day with My Father's World 1st grade. We skip the science and history portion and add Saxon for Math. (He does science and history with Madisyn.) First we go through the books of the Bible in order and then review memory verses. Next, we have currently have a page or two of phonics lessons. Then he reads. He has a simplified Bible Reader (put out by MFW) that he reads a Bible story in. Generally, he reads the same story I will have just finished reading. After he reads the reader, he summarizes what he read in a sentence or two. Depending on the day, either Ty or myself will write the sentence in the Bible notebook and then Ty illustrates it. When MFW is finished, he starts his Saxon math lesson.
While Ty does school, Madisyn finishes up piano practice and then begins her independent work. Most days she starts with math. We use Saxon math grade 3. Anything she has a question about she leaves blank and we go over it later. Then she moves on to spelling. We have some spelling books we purchased at an auction and she completes the activities for each lesson set at her own pace. I check these throughout the week and we have a practice test on Wednesday. If she doesn't miss any - spelling is over for the week. The regular test is on Thursday.
After math and spelling, she starts her writing program. Depending on the day, some of it (copywork, etc) can be done independently.
Then Madisyn and Ty do MFW Adventures together. We have another Bible lesson. Right now, they are learning about the different names for Jesus. This past week was about Jesus being the head of the church and how we as members have roles. Adventures also covers basic American History. We have a fact sheet about each state that will be completed by the end of the curriculum.
Science is typically 2-3 days a week with at least one hands-on activity. We have read-alouds built into Adventures but we are usually ahead because once we start the book, it's too hard to read just one chapter a day.
The kids also have "book basket" with Adventures. These are books that tie in with the history or science for the week. The goal is just for the books to be looked at as extras but lately Madisyn has taken to reading most of them. This is another independent activity generally completed while I feed, diaper or put Henry down for a nap.
After Adventures, Madisyn and I do grammar and go over any other subjects that need work (math problems missed, new math concepts, etc.).

What does Henry do during this? After breakfast (which now consists of Cheerios for him!) he hangs out in his jumperoo near the table. About 3 hours after waking, he is ready to nurse and then go down for a nap. Very rarely is Henry asleep when I place him in the crib but he almost never fusses when it's bedtime. His naps are when we get to the deeper studies (Math for Ty, Science and History for both bigs, and Grammar for Madisyn).

Griffin and Ben destroy the playroom until Ty is finished with school. Then if the weather is nice the boys all head outside while Madisyn completes another 30 minutes to an hour of school (she starts later because she practices piano first). The length of school depends completely on the attitudes of the day but most days we finish by lunch.
After lunch the kids can play until 2:00 when it's naptime. Griffin and Ty must stay in their room (they share with Ben and Henry) until Ben is asleep. If Griffin is still up, they can play quietly or play outdoors. Madisyn uses quiet time to read or draw.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Playroom re-do

Previously, our 4th bedroom was our school room/office. We did "school" in there for a while but it just didn't work for our family. There wasn't enough room for the littles to play while the bigs did their work. It was too far from the laundry and kitchen. Eventually we moved everything to the kitchen/dining/living room area and starting doing school at the kitchen table.
The before pictures are from when I re-arranged to make it work for school.

I added the mat to help with the noise. We don't have any carpet in our house - which I LOVE - but it does make for noisy tractors and trucks on the floor. The mat helps some but I would like it if I could cover the whole floor or at least more of it.



Let me just say that I don't see this bookshelf/cubby unit going anywhere. For one thing it's solid wood and weighs a TON! But I really like it. It is very versatile. We purchased it when the McCrory school district moved the elementary to a new building. We had an auction for them and sold all the surplus equipment. I also have some wall maps I bought there (3-4 years ago) that are still waiting to be hung on the wall (will require strong anchoring and they are heavy).

It previously housed our non-fiction books, read alouds, and chapter books (all the easy reader were in another shelf). We cleared out some closets and moved all those books hopefully - out of sight, out of mind for the little boys. Anything that is out now, they can play with.

My awesome mother-in-law made this bookshelf/storage unit for the boys a few years ago. {I figured you would ask ;) } She also made Madisyn one shaped like a house. I saw similar units in a catalog but they were particle board. Nana took the general idea and really improved on it. The barn has two trap doors, the silo opens (I left it cracked so you could see), the silo has shelves and the roof is copper sheeting. We've had it 3 years and it still looks this great!

Proof that it doesn't always look nice. In fact, that's one of the best things about it. There are no toys in the boys' room. No more tripping over tractor/trailer rigs in the dark of night.

I allow the playroom to stay messy (though there is a no books on the floor rule) until Thursday afternoon. Friday is our lite school day and we generally do our cleaning and errands then. This way the playroom is done before we start our Friday activities.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

PETA would be proud

Recently the M family treated the Soaring Eagles 4-H club to a day at the farm. Mrs. Jennifer invited all the kids (and several parents as well) to come and build bird houses.

First Jenna explained how the houses would be assembled. Each child got a stack of already cut materials.

Then we turned them loose with hammers. Sort of . . .

The nails were a bit on the flimsy side so they kept bending. I helped Ty and eventually we got everything to work.

Ty has a habit of breaking into a few words of hymns. Out of the blue I find myself startled by bellowing of "Amazing Grace" then nothing, few minutes later a few more words. He kept doing that while hammering. :) Henry was in the wrap and actually slept through the sound of 15 kids with hammers! His position on me and the fact that the table was full so we were in the floor made it a little hard on me. If only I could sit like Ty.

Since I was helping Ty, Madisyn was on her own. I had plans to get Ty started and then help her. I looked up and Jenna was helping Madisyn. She was holding the boards and letting Madisyn do all the hammering. She never once tried to take over.

A little later Mr. M (Jenna's dad) came to the rescue (those nails were really giving the less experienced kids fits LOL ).

When Madisyn and Ty's birdhouses were completed I realized that Jenna was just starting hers. I have to say that she is one remarkable young lady. She helped someone else even though her own project was started. AND she helped with the "grunt" work aspect. I hope that our children show themselves to be as self-less as Jenna.

Once the houses were assembled it was time to sand . . . .

and paint.

Between the sanding and painting stage, we had a hot dog lunch. Mr. M cooked and we all ate. You could easily tell that my kiddos don't eat chips and cookies often because I think they each ate their weight in Cheetos and Chips Ahoy.

We had some trouble with the paint we brought for Madisyn. I don't think it was shaken before she began and the nozzle might not of have been on straight. Her hands are still covered in paint.

The kids also cut holes in gourds (Ty whacked his with a hammer and was lucky it didn't break), removed the seeds, and ran hanger through them. The final step for the gourds was also paint.

Some of the counties finest builders. :)

Thanks M family - We had a great time!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Snow Day - Part 3 Granddaddy Comes to Play

You may have noticed in our other snow post that we don't have so much as an ant hill for sledding. So what can you do for winter fun? Well, all the good rednecks know there's nothing better than a 4 -wheeler (Thanks Uncle Justin!) and a car hood (Thanks Granddaddy!).
Granddaddy is now a man of leisure. Hahahahaha!!! He retired at the end of the last school year so he took a day off from his numerous projects to come play with the kids. Ben was not to happy about riding on something that moved. I eventually got on and he fared a little better sitting on my lap but he never really got into it.

He much preferred hanging out in the back of Granddaddy's truck. LOL

Ty wanted to drive and so did Madisyn so they compromised and drove together. That left Griffin on the sled. Griffin probably weighed less than the hood. He was sliding all over the place but never made the wide sweepings that happened when there was more weight.

In fact, I think he got a little bored. =)

His chauffeurs, did not.
After we made enough ruts in our yard we loaded everything and everybody up and headed to Daddy's office. With 30 + acres, surely we could find somewhere for some fun. Henry found his fun in the nice warm office.

Eventually, he had to be held but he really entertained himself well. Granddaddy was worn out from driving and freezing so he took a break and played with H.

After some begging and pleading, Daddy came out to pull the sleigh. Griffin felt that he should get to drive but I don't think his arms were even long enough to reach the gas.

I love this shot of two of my favorite men.

Even Uncle Kirk succumbed to the begging and rode a few rounds with Ty. It's probably a good idea that Daddy and Uncle Kirk never pulled just each other. We might have needed a medic! :)

Ben finally decided that maybe he didn't want to stay in the office but he didn't want back on the hood. I think he wanted to take over driving just as much as Griffin did.

Faster, Daddy, Faster!!