Sunday, July 9, 2017

Blogging Break

    I will be taking a brief blogging break while our computer is being repaired. I will still be updating other pages:

Facebook page -www.facebook.com/ourhomemakingstory

Pinterest boards- www.pinterest.com/homemakingstory

Instagram page- www.instagram.com/ourhomemakingstory (send private message to follow).

Saturday, June 10, 2017

May 2017 In Our Home




Blogging
     Clearly, blogging has not happened this month. I really wish I could post more but I simply don't have the time. I stay so busy during the day caring for the children and our home. My time for other pursuits is even more limited when David travels for work as much as he has this month. I'm not yet totally giving it up because this little space means so much to me and I so thoroughly enjoy the memories recorded. However, posting may continue to be very sporadic. Instagram and the Facebook page have become more preferable as they do not require quite as much time as writing full blog posts. Perhaps when all three children nap well during the day I can pick it up again. I do miss it, and greatly appreciate everyone who continues to follow!


Breastfeeding
     At the beginning of last month I was ready to move on from breastfeeding. Little Huxley and I were continuing to experience lots of problems from the oversupply and fast/forceful letdown situation. I decided to give myself a break by simply pumping and bottle feeding for a while. Unfortunately, since a pump doesn't empty as well as a baby and I make so much milk I ended up with a bad case of mastitis within a few days. It was by far the worst case I've had yet with it, and having to continue as normal in caring for the home and children didn't help matters. A couple of days and multiple cabbage leaves (crazy remedy, but it works!) later, I finally got it to clear up. (phew!). 
     After that experience, I returned to breastfeeding and I think we'll be pushing through just a little while longer. I don't want to experience that again! So, despite some continued problems we've pressed on. And, somewhere along the way I fell in love with breastfeeding. It's always been so problematic for me with the oversupply issues that it's always been more of a pragmatic matter. However, this time is different. Perhaps it's the effect of not knowing if this will be our last baby and my last time to feed a baby myself. Whatever the case, I'm now delighting in holding him close and loving on him in a way that only I can at this moment. 

Traveling Days & Parenting Solo
     This month was a very busy time for David traveling. He was gone one week to PA, then home a week, then gone a week to CO, then home a week. To say I was nervous about having full-time care of the home and children while he was gone is an understatement. Three children three years old and under all day everyday is no small feat. The week flying solo started out a bit rough as we had a plumbing problem and an adjustment for the children, but by the end of the week we were making it through just fine. I learned a few valuable lessons during these times: 
     1. I'm stronger and more capable than I knew
     2. It's okay to cut myself some slack (paper plates and semi-homemade meals are just 
         fine!)
     3. Prioritizing and letting go of nonessentials is a must. (So what if we don't do and go
          like some other families?!)
     4. I can keep my cool to be calm and joyful in any situation, even tantrums
     5. I can get by on very little sleep (hello, night time "napping." It's not pretty but I made it)

Tennyson
      Tennyson is in the middle of that "big emotions" time in life. I think I'm learning how to handle things just as much as he is! One thing I know for certain is that the more upset I get the more upset he gets. If I can remain calm and compassionate, then he can heed the lesson much better. Disappointment/disapproval from me and/or strong disciple are not effective at all with him. He's a sensitive soul and internalizes things so easily. It's a quality I'm needing to learn more about so that I can reach and encourage him to thrive in his own way.
    On another note, I've observed a characteristic of Tennyson's learning style. He does not cooperate with Q & A. Casually reveals knowledge within conversation. It's really remarkable how much he knows (and how much has come from books!)! I think a literature-based homeschool approach will be very well suited for him in the future. 

Annelise
23 months old!
     We continue to have bouts of frustration due to an inability to communicate clearly. She's has many words that she uses, but there are still many, many more that she has retained but doesn't yet have the ability to articulate clearly. I've been spending more time reading to her when she wakes up before everyone else in the mornings or naptimes. I've also been spending some time with her word book by having her repeat the words after me. I've considered flashcards, but haven't purchased them yet. If it weren't for her frustration, I wouldn't push such as this. However, she clearly has the desire to communicate to a greater extent but needs practice in articulation. (I'm open to suggestions for encouraging language development!)
   One big moment for her this month was getting a big girl bed! She has really enjoyed the extra freedom and is much calmer when she wakes. However, this has also meant that keeping her in bed has been a bit of a challenge. haha

Huxley
3 months old!
     Huxley is by far the easiest baby yet. As long as his belly isn't upset, he's such a content little guy. He doesn't mind playing in the swing, on his floor mat, in the bouncy seat etc. He indicates clearly when he's hungry or tired. I can often simply walk around while holding him and he will fall asleep. Speaking of sleep- this. child. actually. sleeps! He's our first to do so! (Our older two still don't sleep through the night for one reason or another). He still wakes up once or twice to eat. However, that one time at night may be at 5am. He's such the easy baby that it's hard not to want another baby! haha


Now that I've had multiple children, I'm more convinced that some things are more personality than training. Two have been poor sleepers and one..well, decent sleeper. Two have been belly sleepers and one is a back sleeper. Two have not taken a pacifier whatsoever and one absolutely loves it. So far, one is a picky eater and one eats everything offered. Two are of a calm personality and one is spirited. 

School time
Colored water exploration bin to go
 with our tot school unit that features
 the color yellow
   Sometimes I wonder if we should be accomplishing more in our school time. After all, Tennyson is three and most children his age are already enrolled in a formal preschool. It's tempting to fear he being "behind" his peers. But then, I go back to our reasonings for spending our days together as a family and homeschooling in the future, and I am confident in our decisions for the direction for our family. It brings me great joy, in fact. So, I push aside the comparison trap and delight in where we are presently. I feel like this is a completely appropriate time in life to just play and read stories together. If the children want to go outside instead of having school time, then outside it is! If we need to spend some time focusing on learning and practicing correct responses and properly handling those toddler "big emotions", then that's what we do. There are many areas of learning to focus on at this point beyond academics. It's not like we don't do anything academic. We still have our tiny tot curriculum and tot school curriculum, from which we complete an activity each day. We still accomplish learning, but it might just look different from a public school approach. (But the freedom and flexibility of choice one benefit of homeschooling?). The point is- know why you do what you do and then confidently and joyfully pursue it. Don't compare. Walk your own path!

New Books We're Enjoying This Month:
     I like to purchase at least one new book for each of us each month. For an additional look into the books we've enjoyed in our home, click the "Bookshelves" tab at the top of the page and then follow the links to our various online bookshelves. 

  • Me:
  • Tennyson
    • *Amazing Airplanes by Tony Mitton
      • We have *Amazing Trains as a part of our tot school curriculum. Tennyson really enjoys this book and has become quite good at naming all the trains and train parts. This book is part of a series and I thought the airplane book in the series would be a good addition. It would also help excite and prepare the children for our upcoming plane rides. 
  • Annelise:
    • *Five Little Ducks by Annie Kubler
      • This book is the fun little song in book form. Annelise really enjoys songs and their motions. Always fun when she can sit and sing the song as she flips through the pages. 
  • Huxley:
    • *Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown
      • This was the first book we got when Tennyson was a baby. We read it almost daily during his first year. Unfortunately, it didn't make it in our move to TX. I thought it only appropriate to purchase another copy of the book for the younger two children to enjoy as well. 
Note: The "*" indicates the inclusion of an affiliate link. I am personally an affiliate with Amazon.com, and as such receive a compensation for purchases made through the links. (Thank you!)

Friday, May 12, 2017

Daily Homemaking Schedule (3 yr. old, 2 yr. old, 3 mo. old)

   
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   I recently reworked our daily schedule a bit to meet our needs a little better. I wanted to improve it in two main ways- order of activities and one-on-one time.

     First, I created our mornings and afternoons to be the same routines but different tasks. That routine includes: getting ready, eating (plus a story read), housework, activities with the children, one-on-one time, and outside playtime. By limiting things to these main areas, the schedule and day is simplified a bit. Also, the repetition will be much easier for all of us to know what comes next in the day and transition more smoothly. 

     The second change I made was to incorporate much more one-on-one time. With three children three years old and under now, I'm finding much of the misbehavior to stem from a desire for greater attention. Their attitudes and behaviors improve quite a bit when they've been able to have either mine or David's undivided attention. This can be difficult to do in a day though. But, if I plan for it then it's more likely to happen. So, I've paired one-on-one time with time for independent play in the bedrooms. While I'm spending a little time with one child, the other one can be playing alone in a bedroom. We've yet to be successful with independent play, but we're going to really work on it because I know we're all at a point of needing some space (ie independent play) and one-on-one time. I have it scheduled twice a day so that we have ample opportunity to be together and it maintains the repetitive nature of the morning and afternoon routines. 

     Below is a copy of our current daily schedule. (Click the images to view larger).  


Notes:

  • "Tiny Tot School" refers to activities designed for Annelise's age (1-2 yrs old). This isn't a formal academic curriculum but more so just simple activities. For instance, this week we sang "I'm a Little Teapot," learned the sign for "no," read Llama, llama Red Pajama, stacked blocks and played "cushion crawl" (simply acting silly crawling over and around big cushions/pillows in the floor). 

  • "Tot School" refers to activities for Tennyson's age (2-3 yrs. old). We use the "All Aboard the Animal Train" curriculum from My Father's World. Again, this isn't a strict, formal academic curriculum but just simple activities. For example, this week we sang a song and played a corresponding game, read a story, sang "This Little Light of Mine" with the hand motions, worked on a puzzle, and then ended the week with a yellow water exploration bin outside. 

  • "Morning Jobs" refers to helping to unloading the dishwasher and to helping move laundry from the washing machine to the dryer. Both children are able to do these tasks. My desire is for them to begin to have a role in maintaining our home each day. 

  • "Personal interest" during naptime- If I don't designate or schedule such as this then it likely won't happen! It also likely won't happen if a little one takes a while to go to sleep or wakes early from sleep. I've learned to hold this time very loosely. Sometimes I get the opportunity, and sometimes I don't (okay, most of the time I don't but that's just the way it goes!). 

  • "Afternoon cleaning"- For me, the housework is manageable if I work on a little bit each day. So, I aim to have two rooms tidied and one deeper cleaning task completed each week. I haven't had the children join me in this effort just yet, but I'm going to try to begin incorporating them by assigning them one simple task as I work (such as picking up blocks if that particular room has toys strewn about). We may be successful in them helping, but we may not. They will at least witness that tidying up is a normal part of the day. haha

  • Anything else?
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