Wednesday, September 24, 2014

i yell at my kids.

I sometimes yell at my kids. Sometimes. Not all the time just when I have said the same thing 32 times and for some reason what I said 32 times hasn't been heard or apparently understood... then i try yelling. which in most cases work. yelling gets the point across. all the "how to be an awesome parent" methods tell you not to yell but sometimes... momma just needs to be heard. or do i?

 i dont want to yell. i'm not comfortable yelling but its just a reaction when your running on 3 hours of sleep each night, dinner is burning, the baby is screaming and your 3 and 2 year old are fighting over the broom. you just have to yell. or someone is going to get knocked on the side of the head with a broom handle. And i know from experience that fighting over a broom doesn't end well... just ask my sister.

I have gotten pretty good at holding in my yelling when around other people bc there have been plenty of times when other moms have commented on how calm i am with my kids.  But, when people say those things to me, i'm shocked at first and then i secretly want to give myself a pat on the back for hiding my sin so well. bc yes, yelling at our kids in anger is a sin. yelling at our kids is not how we speak life into them. in fact, we can tell them they are being disobedient without yelling at them. we can correct their behavior without yelling at them. we can "train them they way they should go" without yelling at them. can't we?

  i recently read an interview that Michelle Duggar (the mom who has like a million kids) did and she was asked how she stays so calm when are kids are misbehaving. She said, "if my kids can't learn to hear my voice, they will never be able to hear God's voice." Her response really struck me and though it first made me feel guilty, after pondering about it, it was very encouraging. Michelle Duggar for the win. I may not be a fan of long blue jean skirts, tator tot casseroles or side hugs, but i certainly think that woman is filled with more wisdom than I can only hope for!

What Michelle Duggar said has so much truth to it and not just how we speak to our children but even how we speak to our husbands or even ourselves really. I find my self often asking myself "am i speaking life or death into [so & so]" how easy it is to distinguish the two when you simply just ask. Every word we speak has the power to uplift or the power to damage, how incredible is it that we get to choose what were going to do with that. it makes me appreciate my husband even more for being a man of few words. He knows the damage words can bring, he knows and realizes the importance of them and uses that knowledge wisely & carefully.  

So here i am trying not to yell, not to be that one crazy mom and to just see my children the way god sees them. a blessing. so simple sounding isn't is? our children are a blessing.  regardless of how many times you have to tell them to stop throwing their spinach leaves on the floor while spitting their milk on one another. ;) yes. a blessing indeed.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Letter L (continued post)

I had planned for each unit to take us 3 days, however it took us 6 "school days" to finish up everything. Some days it was because we spent more time on something they enjoyed doing and other days it was cut short due to needing some attitude adjustments ;) Either way we finished. Something I remind my boys a lot, "we finish what we start.. even if we don't like it."  

We are currently finishing up letter H, I'm trying to get caught up so the blog coincides with what were doing presently but I keep getting behind! So forgive me if this seems a little unorganized... but hopefully you can at least pull some ideas for your kiddos to do at home!!

Above: Painting "lines" with q-tips on our letter Ll Printout is from the Jesus Loves Me site. 

Above: tracing "lids" with colored pencils. I find switching up things to color or write with helps keep them interested in writing. So we switch a lot from colors, markers, colored pencils, chalk etc.

Above: making patterns with colored counters. We use this little pocket chart a lot! Boys really like it. 

"Lacing" shoes. My mom sent me these.. really cute! 

Above: put a certain amount of stars in each square then gave him the number puzzle, He had to count the number of stars in each square & place the right number on the correct square. 

our Lion craft! We made this after reading "Lion's Speedy Sauce" and "Daniel and Lion's Den" from the Jesus Story Book Bible. To make the craft they painted the toliet paper role yellow with dot painters and roll painters. Used pipe cleaners for the legs, a paper cup cake holder for the face and yarn for the tail. 

Gave them popsicle sticks to paint yellow (our color of the week) and to make the letter Ll using their sticks. 

Tracing the letter L, print out is from Raising Rockstars and laminated. 

Above: busy activity using pipe cleaners

Above Hudson used the pocket chart and mini number flash cards (found in target dollar aisle) and placed numbers in order to the highest he could... 12! 

gave them paper to rip or cut up and then they glued the pieces of paper on the letter Ll

Above: all his pieces had to be in order...;) 

Cutting dotted lines. Letting Hudson cut has been a really calming down activity for him. So sometimes I give him a piece of paper and draw some lines for him to cut or an old magazine and have him cut out pictures he likes. 

Above: a cup of lacing beads and pipe cleaners labeled with a number  He had to place the correct number of beads on each pip cleaner. 

Was suppose to separate paper clips by numbers... he just played with them and linked some together. Typical hampton rarely does things the way I have planned out for him. 

And that my friends is a wrap of the Letter L! Next school post will be on the Letter T. 

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Letter L Books

Top 5 Ll Books

1) Lion's Speedy Sauce

Such a fun book! Comes with a seven-track CD with an audio version of the story! We have a lot of "cd" books but this one is great because the lion "roars" when it is times to turn the page! And right now it's half off!! Only $4.00! 

Sweet book on getting to bed with out all the drama ;) Children will relate to Baby Llama's need for comfort, as much as parents will appreciate Mama Llama's reassuring message.

I really cannot say enough good things about this book! My boss gave this to me as a gift right after I had Hudson. From the first time I read it to him it has been a favorite in our home. It is now Hampton's favorite bed time book and I'm certain a year from now it will be Palmers as well. 

I love books that make kids want to hold and touch them! Great sensory book and keeps kids entertained! The boys loved counting the ladybugs! 

When you have three kids all under the age of four and who have a hard time understanding the words "be quiet"... going to the library can be a disaster.  This was a really cute book to talk about how to act in the library! We are big Lion fans so the boys always enjoying "roaring!" 

So far these have been my favorite "L" books to use!! Would love any other suggestions if you have come across another good one! 

school on a non school day

Believe it or not, non routine days are usually the hardest for me. When we don't have school and if we have nothing planned like play dates or grocery shopping or train museum etc. then I find myself pulling my hair out by 10 AM. My kiddos (and myself) operate best under a schedule. So when all else fails, even on our non school days, we sort of are doing "school."

So on this particular day,we started our morning out reviewing the letter Ll, the sound is makes, how to write it, as well as talking about some words that begin with the letter L.  We made our popsicle stick props, worked on our bible verse and talked about how each person in the family can "let their light shine." After that, Palmer woke up early from nap and we headed to the park to do some exploring. We searched for sticks, rocks and leaves. We made L's out of the sticks, drew L's in the rocks and found a lot of leaves & rocks! Hampton worked on drawing circles in the ground and finding "big" and "little" rocks. 

These are our "popsicle" props. We don't use them a lot, but they are cute to make. Hudson likes carrying them around, hampton likes ripping them up =/ If you have a "ripper" I suggest laminating them.  We use the props whenever we read books, sing songs or go on "scavenger walks." Reminds the boys what to look for. 

After rest time, we played bingo! I love this little bingo game by Melissa & Doug. It comes with a little push spinner that Hampton loves.

So not a lot of worksheets or structured activities but it was nice day to get out of the house! This is also a great time to use a lot of ideas from "God's Little Explorers" curriculum!! Love all her outdoor activities! Perfect for my little adventure seekers ;)

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Mini Sessions

Christmas Mini Sessions...

So, I will be making a trip to Texas here soon! Probably late October, early November! Would love to do some Christmas pictures for anyone who needs them done! Here are the details:

Cost: pay what you want! Is that not the best "tis the season" news ever?!

Whats the catch: you come to me ;) I travel so much going back and forth around the DFW trying to see friends and family I just cant add anymore travel... especially since I"m already driving a bus with the three kids in it over 900 miles.

Also, I most likely will not have any props so feel free to bring your own ideas! Sessions will be 15-20 minutes! Really, the goal is to get that one awesome picture that you will want to use for your cards or hang above the mantel! I'll send you either a disc or flash drive (whichever you prefer) with about 10 edited pictures that you can print/post anywhere. Now, most of you know you always get more than that because I  can never narrow it down to just 10 but...just to be on the safe side I always say 10!

All I will have is my camera, a couple lenses, and I wont be pregnant!!!

Oh and for all you GA people, same applies to you! I'm available Sunday evenings only...starting now!!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

The Letter L- Day 1

The Letter L

The Agenda for the week:

  • Verse: Matthew 5:16
  • Letter: Ll
  • Color: Yellow
  • Number: 1(one)
  • Sight Word: see
  • Song: This Little Light of Mine
  • Verse: "Let your light shine before men, so they may see your good works and glorify your father in heaven" Matthew 5.18

(Hudson knows his letters, colors and numbers...for him it is more about writing them)

Okay, so I try to take as many pictures as I can, but for a lot of things I cant always have my phone out snapping pictures but I'll do my best to explain what we did. I have a binder that has my lesson plans in that I'll share in a future post. We are a book loving family so we read a lot of books. I'll only talk about the ones that we use in school in my "school" post. All the books we will use for school this week will either use an L word repetively or the word "see" a lot.

I have an old window frame above the yellow dresser that is sort of my "bulletin board."  I start out by pointing out everything on the board.  Which I'll share in my next post on how it is organized. Similar to this post on the Raising Rock Star site. I have these big letter cards that I got a consignment sale a couple years ago and they are wonderful, I'll try to remember to post a picture of them sometime in case you ever see any...grab them!

While I talked about what day it was Hudson traced the numbers on a calendar that has been laminated all the way to Tuesday the 13th. I always encourage him to write his name on everything he does and usually he will do it if I make the "tracing lines" other than that he usually will only do the H in his name. ;) Almost all our tracing handouts are laminated. I have this laminator that I got from target for $20, it works great and I use it A LOT!

the craft filing cabinet in the back is where their "boxes" are, they each have one and the boxes snap close. They are very durable. I got them from JoAnns. I used a 50% off coupon, a 20% off entire purchase coupon and then a $5 off your total coupon. So...i got them for around $30...originally $99 I believe. 

Hampton's activities do not "flow" like Hudson's do, he pretty much does a lot of random, busy activities. Here, his box was filled with 4 colored folders and colored blocks...he was suppose to match up the colors. Almost all his activities are related to shapes and colors. 

Here Hudson is getting ready for the Letter L. Learning how to draw straight lines. This handout came from the Raising Rock Star Curriculum. 

more L tracing
 The box after learning how to write the L, had a couple of books and Cd to listen to the song "This Little Light of Mine". The books we read were "I love you through & through", "Jesus Loves Me" & "My L Book."
His next box had his bible verse in it, a highlighter, a piece of construction paper, scissors and glue. He first had to highlight all the "L/l's" in the verse, then he cut out the verse and glued it on the paper.

Hampton's next box had "colored counters" in them, again to match up on the folders. He really never matched them up but loved putting the counters back in the container or inside the folder pockets. Made a mess but kept him busy. 

I love having them use these trays, especially if they don't want to sit at the desk or table. 

After reading books and singing the song (15 times ;) Hudson connected dots to create a Letter L, I cut it out, then placed dots on them, let him hole punch the marked dots, then he was able to "lace" the letter L with some yarn. Hampton liked the lacing part and coloring his letter L. 

Hudson Also had a sticker sheet that had letters on it, I had him find all the Ll's to decorate his Lacing L.

After lacing, we worked out our "legs" by doing "lunges" outside.  When we came inside the boys had a quick snack while we read "Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?" This is when I introduced our first sight word, "see."

The whole time during school I'm always putting an emphasis on the letter L and the sound it makes. I have them make the  L sound a lot. Hampton loves doing this.

After lunges, we talked about what we learned today while they worked in their Wipe Clean books.

We move pretty quickly during our mornings and if something is boring for them I pretty much just move on. I encourage them and try to help but if they aren't feeling it then we just forget about it. I try to get them moving around a lot too. We start out in the school room at their desk, but then may shift to the floor, the kitchen table, or outside, then to the living room or on their bean bags etc. My kids do so much better when they are able to move around and not expected to just sit in one spot for 2 hours.

So that was Day 2 of school but our first day for the Letter Ll.

I'm sure I'm leaving a few things out since this actually took place almost 3 weeks ago but hopefully you get the idea! 

Sunday, August 31, 2014

three really isn't that bad.

Now that we have our third kid, one of the first things people ask me is "so hows life with 3?" The second thing they ask is "are you going to try for a girl?"

I can see how people think having three kids, all three and under would seem like it's hard, almost impossible and most certainly exhausting... and yes, I would have to agree that some days are, but really it's not that bad. And to be  honest, just having two was harder.

When Hampton was born Hudson was 16 months old. 16 month olds are babies. not toddlers, babies. So life with two babies while living with your inlaws then moving into a 1100 square foot home and not even 6 months later moving 900 miles away to a completely new state away from all your friends and family... now thats hard. Depressing really.

But to be even more honest, having just one has and was probably the hardest. Because everything is so new. I mean I called the pediatrician because Hudson didnt poop for 4 days. Seriously. I filled the kiddie pool up with "luke warm" water from our sink carrying buckets of water through the house because the hose water was too cold. I sent an email out to family telling them not to come to the hospital even if they had the sniffles in fear of Hudson getting sick (now thats embarrassing to even admit).  Being a new mom is hard. It's like sitting in a calculus class looking at the syllabus for the year when you know "math" is totally not your thing. Its all a learning process and some days you fail and some days your just thankful for the curve the Lord gives out.

One thing i am learning is that most older moms can forget what it feels like to be a new mom.   I know the fears, I still have them. I know how exhausting it is, I'm still exhausted. I know how lonely it is, because I am alone. I pray on a regular basis that I never forget these days, because it really is easy to forget the bad and hold on to the good. And yes, I know we shouldn't dwell on the bad but I think its important to learn how to cope with the hard days especially when it could help someone else down the road and we all know more hard days are just around the corner.

So the next time you are around a new mom who is worried about her 2 month old sniffling, or doesn't understand why her son's poop is purple (personal experience), or is wondering if she will ever sleep again... dont just give her little smirk and make a "its only just a season" comment, listen to her, try your hardest to remember the nights you were up alllll night long with your kid running a fever and nothing would get him back to sleep... not even your boob. nothing.

Being a mom is hard, being a new mom is even harder. The great unknown, we only learn from experience and from what I experienced the more kids you have the easier it gets, more like "controlled chaos" and immune to the exhaustion ;). I mean look at Michelle Dugger, now that lady knows what she's doing. ;)