Thursday, December 30, 2010

Let's Go Back to High School

Wow, trying to get a nap in with my 3 boys is an exercise in futility.

But now that I have abandoned that burning hay wagon, I have found myself with a few minutes to blog.

Lucky you.

Noah and I have been married for 10 1/2 years. We got engaged during my junior year of college and his senior year. We were dating/friends during late highschool early college and just liked each other during junior high. It has been a long road, filled with all kinds of drama.

There is a box in my office filled with notes and letters. The notes and letters are from me to him and from him to me. The box is a 92 Target Diaper box. Needless to say, there are a lot of letters and they include a lot of drama, a lot of baseball play-by-plays and a lot of other stuff that makes no sense to my 30 year old self.

Not that the baseball play-by-plays make any sense to my 30 year old self, either. Truth be told, they didn't even make a lot of sense to me at the time, although I would never admit that to my 17 year old love interest. Love me, love my sport, right?

Round about 1996 Noah spent a couple weeks out in Colorado attending a Summit Ministries Conference. Let me break this down for you: Summit Ministries is a highly conservative Christian ministry and there are a lot of high school boys there who are out to change the world, and there are a lot of high school girls there that are desperately trying to find their sweater vest wearing soul mates.

He left 2 weeks after he gave me roses for my 16th birthday.

I was convinced that he would come home from Summit betrothed to some jean skirt wearing, long hair sporting, homeschooled girl who had goals of becoming a secretary(only if she wasn't married and making her own butter first!) and then homeschooling his 12 children.

Never mind that if I could see the future I would know that he would be married to a jean skirt wearing (but it has big slits!), long hair sporting (but ONLY when I don't have time to get it cut), homeschooled girl (but not through high school!) who had goals of becoming a nurse and then homeschooling his (ahem) 4 children.

Ahh, but back then I didn't know the future.

I am out of time...

The drama will continue...

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

When They Are Too Much Like Us

I got a little prayer journal for the boys for Christmas. It has fill-in-the-blanks for their prayers; "I love you because...", "I am sorry for...", "thank you for...", "I need..." and a place for answered prayers.

Teaching children the concepts of needs vs. wants, love vs. thanks is difficult. I try to just write down what they say, because it is their prayer. I do make attempts to discuss the concepts with them, however, if the opportunity arises. I hope to look back over the years and see their spirituality evolve from "I love you because you let me have a Turbo Tank for my birthday" to something deeper, more meaningful. I want them to understand that we don't love/hate God just because he gives/doesn't give us what we want. Love is bigger than that.

Earlier this week we came to the "I am sorry for..." section. Deacon piped up with "I am sorry that I dropped my lego stormtrooper's gun down the drain." Poor Deacon. He will still come out of his room at night sometimes and cry telling me how bad he feels about losing that gun. I have told him and told him that it was an accident, he didn't mean to drop it. I tell him that he can be sad about it and try to be more careful next time, but that he has to forgive himself. I try to tell him there is a difference between feeling bad about something we do by accident and needing forgiveness for wronging someone intentionally.

But it concerns me because I am the same way. I beat myself up over things that I can't control, things that I need to let go. I don't want him to hang on to accidents, ruminate on them, never be willing to let them go. Yes, of course I want him to learn from his mistakes, and I want him to feel guilt when he does something wrong and needs to ask for forgiveness, but I wish he wasn't so hard on himself.

He also has a really hard time letting stuff go. He cried when we had to throw out his old shoes. He gets practically hysterical when it is time to sort through stuff and give stuff away- even when it is not his stuff.

And I don't know what to do about it.

Noah and I both have a tough time relenquishing our hold on "stuff" and it plagues us. I did not want to pass this on to my children. I want them to hold the things of this world loosely, and instead store up treasures in heaven. And I want to teach them that. But it is so hard!

And so I plod on tonight, attempting to teach both Deacon and myself what it means to forgive and what it means to let go.

Christmas Traditions

We only actually have one Christmas tradition: we all sleep in the living room by the Christmas tree on Christmas Eve. Noah and I get the couches, and around 0130 we get up to play Santa Claus.
In the morning, when we wake up with weird injuries, we wonder why we ever started the tradition.
Anyway, all that aside, we did start another tradition this year: reading Jotham's Journey.

This book is an advent book, and so there is one chapter for every day in the month leading up to Christmas. I didn't use it last year, because it seemed a little too intense for where the boys were at last year.
. This year Deacon loved it, Roman only left the room sometimes and Lincoln paid no attention at all.
It is a story with lessons and it ends at the manger.
The boys are already talking about getting the next book in the series for next Christmas season.
note: I would preview the chapters before reading it to young children.

Monday, December 27, 2010

More Children

I have friends who have a lot of children, and I have friends who only have 1 child. I have friends whose children are grown, and I have friends who don't yet have any.
Here is the deal, though.
No one ever wishes that they had less children.
Some are content with the number that they have.
But, let me tell you a secret.
When I talk to older women they often say things like, "I know it was hard when my kids were little, but I wish I would have had another."
So, when people act shocked when I say I have 4 kids, and my oldest just turned 7,
I simply say,
"no one ever wishes for less kids".
And this Christmas,
I have become more convinced than ever,
that the best gift we have given our children,
is each other.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Around Here

We've been having a great time playing with toilet paper...

Shoveling snow...

and more snow...

Playing Monsters INC. (the Green Lego structure is Mike, the blue one is Sully and the large sheep? Well, we don't really know, but he seems to play a pivotal role in the scaring)...

Oh, and we can't forget "Little Boo", perched on Sully's head. Roman is obsessed with Little Boo.

We also have to empty the duplo box every day...

Playing is what we do best...

Ooo...someone made their own "Slave I" out of duplos. Awesome.

And me? Well, I have been hanging out with the rotton bananas and using my notebook and calendar to keep track of financial calculations, birthday party games and guest lists, important numbers for work and giving Deacon a place to perfect modern art- all on the same page.
Ready or not, Christmas is very nearly here!

Middle and Both

Last Sunday at church Lincoln's Awana teacher mentioned how much his speech has improved since September. And it is true. When Lincoln started private therapy last June he could say less than 10 words, now he uses lots of words and will attempt to repeat almost anything.

And he can write his name.

It is such a funny thing to have a child at the articulation level of probably an 18 month old, but to have the mental capabilities of a 3 1/2 year old.

People ask me why I haven't taught him sign language and I say that it is because he has no need or use for "baby" sign language- simple signs taught to alleviate frustration. If we were going to do sign language, we would need to do the whole ASL- and that would be very time intensive. Right now we have chosen just to concentrate on his speech.

In the last couple months he has made a couple of verbal "jokes" or using his words to be funny or silly. Baby sign language doesn't allow for that.

His speech therapist asked him last week if he wanted the yellow car or the green car. In the past he would stiltedly say "yellow green" meaning he wanted both. On Monday he said "both". When she asked him where he wanted to put a certain car instead of pointing or saying "here" he said, "middle". We talked about it a little. It is just funny to hear a child like him using more high level descriptors. Obviously the vocabulary is there, it is just the pathways from the brain to the mouth that need practice, and he is not able to use all the words that he does know, because his brain to mouth connection won't make them. He is forced to repeat as best he can, and to rely only on the words he can articulate.

Today Deacon and Roman wanted to go the the icerink. I had already told them that we were not going to be able to go today because it was too cold for me to take Berean down there. Lincoln didn't want to go either. Deacon (who has taken to spelling words for emphasis) made up a poem. "don't say no, just say let's G-O". Lincoln gets a twinkle in his eye and says "N-O". Deacon said, "G-O" and Lincoln repeated "N-O". Even though the whole conversation was rather obnoxious, it was fun to watch Lincoln figure out the spelling and use the nuances of language.

I was in the shower the other day and he actually told me, through the closed door, that he wanted a drink. I rely very heavily on visual clues to figure out what he is asking/telling me, and I think it was probably the first time that I was easily able to figure out what he said without seeing him.

Roman has been doing a lot of interpretation for him as well.

And it is cute. Deacon got a Star Wars Guess Who game for his birthday. The boys have been playing it, and Lincoln loves it. He knows how to play and asks "does he have a purple light saber?" Or "is he a clone?" with the best of them. And it is building his confidence.

We are just waiting to see what will happen with him next!

Monday, December 20, 2010

New Skills!

Guess how we spent our afternoon?
Yep, Berean discovered that our kitchen chairs work just as well for pushing as the ones at ECFE do.

She was so proud

So I followed her around, making sure she didn't head for the stairs,

and turning her around when she got stuck.

Finally, she abandoned her chair to empty her toybox.
We think she is the cutest thing ever,
and I would like to dress her in striped pants everyday.
30 year olds just can't pull off that stripey look the way a baby can.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Christmas Gifts and Hot Pink Cats

My daughter loves a Hot Pink Cat.


We were volunteering in the homeschool co-op nursery a few days ago.

And there she was, eyeing another little girl's Hot Pink Cat.

Berean grabbed that cat's face.

And the girl grabbed that cat's back and pulled.

And the girl had probably 20 pounds on Berean,

so she didn't fight.

But she watched.

Poor other girl is not potty trained.

As soon as she was whisked away for a diaper change,

Berean saw her chance.

She headed for the Cat and grabbed an ear and shoved it in her mouth.

It is mine, now.

I removed it from her mouth and set it aside for the Other Girl.

Poor Berean.

Poor Mommy.

No Hot Pink Cats.


Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Tree

Noah's side of the family all wanted to go Christmas Tree Hunting a couple of weekends ago. I already had a commitment, so it was decided that Noah and the boys would go with his parents and siblings on the Great Hunt and Berean and I would stay home.
I pulled Deacon and Roman close before they left. "Boys", I whispered, "do not let Daddy get a short, fat tree. If he shows you one say, 'no, Daddy, Mommy says we have to find a tall and skinny one!'"
I do not like short, fat trees. And Noah does. It has been a matter of debate for the last 9 years- basically ever since we lived in a house that allowed "was-living-before-we-cut-it-down trees".
And the skinny part? Well, our living room isn't exactly huge and I prefer to not have 1/4 of it occupied by a pokey, decorative object.
Remember the Winnie-the-Pooh story when Pooh gets stuck and so they use his legs to hang towels on while they wait for him to lose weight?
If something is just hanging out in your living room, it does seem prudent for it to be useful.
But I digress.
I don't even like Winnie-the-Pooh.
After a very long hunt they arrived home with a tree.
Well actually they didn't.
I asked Noah, "where is the tree?"
He said he wasn't sure but he imagined that Bro-in-law had either dumped it on our driveway or would be dumping it on our driveway at some point in the very near future.
And so he did.
Noah hauled it in.
It is a monster and actually a very beautiful tree.
I had the camera out while we were hanging ornaments. Unfortunately I can't post very many pictures of that because we had a naked baby in the house, and she managed to streak her way into most of the pictures.
After the ornaments were on, however, the boys commandeered the camera. I was looking through the pictures and found these.
I like them.

Roman's "R" from last Christmas. They love their own ornaments, especially the ones with letters from their names.

Deacon helping to hang. Yes, it is December and I am wearing 4 layers while my son runs around in boxers and my baby is naked. It is weird. I admit it.

Aunt Elise gave the boys these 2 animals last year for Christmas. They are seen here hanging with my childhood bear. The raccoon and chipmunk move around the tree, they are never seen in the same place twice.

Roman, who is obsessed with babies- especially baby animals, is in love with this puppy that he got when he was an infant. Above it you can see a little bit of one of my favorite childhood ornaments- a bird at a feeder.

Roman's marshmallow with nightshirt is labeled "R '06". My horse is next to it labeled "Julie 1983" Also in view is an ornament we got at a tree farm in IN. The woman's husband had suddenly died during the year and she was selling off the last of the ornaments that he had made.

One of Noah's many baseball ornaments, hanging next to my babysitter bear.
I told the boys that the little boy who gave this to me was an absolute terror.

The boys love the snoopy and Woodstock ornament that commemorates our Engagement Anniversary- and it sits next to a homemade internally painted glass ball.

Deacon's homemade star and the Abelskiver Days commemorative ornament.

Noah's family likes expensive, glitzy ornaments. They are on the top of the tree.

All of our ornaments have a story and I love bringing them out every year and telling the boys about what each one means to me and about the relatives and friends that gave them to me.
This is the first year that they were able to do some of that memory game stuff too- hopefully it will be a tradition that continues for years to come!

Monday, December 13, 2010


Today I am going to be kidless for a couple of hours.

Today I am going to go through my front hall closet

and my office

and my basement.

Today I am going to have a pile of trash

and recycling

and give away

and "find a place to store".

Today I am wondering which pile will be the biggest.

Today I must go distract that little girl,

Or else I will spend most of Today rewrapping toilet paper.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Maybe Roman?

Do you know how much time the boys spend looking for their shoes? I don't know precisely either, but I do know that it is a lot. Roman got new shoes a couple of months ago, however, and he took it upon himself to come up with a solution so that he can always find them.

Yep, he keeps them in their box on the shoe bench.

I look at that box and I think that there is organizational hope
for us, and maybe a future of being able to find our shoes.
But than I look at this: the basement shoe store, where all the too small shoes/boots/sandals
go to wait for the next-in-line brother.
and my hope falters.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

All In A Day's Work

Noah stayed home from work today.

Today was the big day.

The day of the Boy's Dental Visit.

After their last appointment I informed Noah that I was not doing that alone again.

So he stayed home.

No bribes were given or offered.

No punishments were suggested.

I laid down the cold, hard rules.

We don't kick or hit people.

This includes Dentists, hygienists and our parents.

We don't scream and yell.

Even if you don't like how the toothpaste tastes.

I was in charge of Roman.

I held his arms.

I heard him scream.

But he quit when he realized that it wasn't really that bad.

Noah was in charge of Lincoln.

It took a lot to keep all 40 pounds of 3 year old anger in that chair.

What about Deacon?

He is almost 7 and I really needed him to not freak out.

He is big.

And scared.

And still traumatized over his oral surgery visit from age 4.

He got into the chair (grudgingly)

And I was struck with an idea.

I told him he could hold Berean.

I sat next to him.

Berean sat on his lap and he held her hands.

He wanted to be a brave big brother.

And he was.

Not a fuss.

Not a yell.

He just held his baby sisters hands.

And she watched.

And once she tried to get the tooth brush.

And she helped him to be calm.

And maybe he gave her some career aspirations.

I love the support system that siblings can be.


We were listening to a radio program- Adventures in Odyssey- the other day. I hadn't heard the episode before, and so I was as surprised as the boys when through a series of events this little boy's mom miscarries his baby brother. The boy had been jealous and was afraid that he had caused the miscarriage by saying he didn't "want the baby".

I didn't really know what the boys were thinking.

The car stopped and the boys unbuckled.

Deacon leaned over Berean and in a quiet voice said, "Oh Berean, I am so glad you didn't die. I always wanted you."

Roman and Lincoln both quietly and quickly added affirmations of their love for their baby sister.


Berean had her 9 month check up today. She is 17 pounds, 7 ounces. Basically she is about the same size as my boys were at 4-6 months. But that is ok. She is almost exactly the same weight as I was at her age.

She is crawling up and down the stairs and trying fancy moves like only holding on to objects with one hand while standing. She is currently also very into clapping her hands.

She has 5 teeth, but doesn't like to eat food very much.

Let me rephrase that: she likes to feed herself and she is not very interested in being fed. She really likes pancakes, crackers and things that she can make a mess out of.


Soon to come: pictures of our gigantic tree and our fruitless quest for the perfect holiday photo!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Ding Ding Ding!

I love the guesses on the last post...but my dad, sister and Noah's-coworker-who-has-a-12-year-old-daughter were right...Justin Bieberesque was the style Noah was going for as he combed Roman's hair.

Hmmm...we'll see what Roman looks like in 10 years...

Monday, December 6, 2010

Remind You of Anyone?

Noah was combing Roman's hair the other day. What famous person does he resemble in this picture?

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Cave Art

Noah brought this box home so the boys could pretend it was a cave and do a little "cave art".
After the artists had abandoned the project, a newcomer moved in.
I am sure she had all kind of questions about the nature of the man that had lived in the cave before her.
They must have been great warriors- the pictures show that they had swords
They must have traveled in boats a lot, because there was a picture of a boat
And what are all the letters on peoples bodies? They must have been some sort of custom or body art.

Poor Berean. She may never know.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

All I Want for Christmas

6 people in the family.

That means a minimum of 6 coats in the entry way.

12 shoes in the entry way.

12 boots in the entry way.

6 scarves, 12 mittens, 6 hats.

6 pairs of snowpants.



And that is the minimum.

It is overwelming, to say the least.

So do you know what I want for Christmas?

A mud room

The room of my dreams.

A room with doors.

Closed doors.

A room with hooks for coats.

Lots of hooks.

A room with with bins for shoes.

And boots.

A room with drawers for mittens, scarves and hats.

And one for spares.

A room with a sink.

To rinse off boots.

A room with cupboards

For swimming stuff, and backpacks.

The room of my dreams.

Really, it is all I want for Christmas.

And it is clearly laid out in my addition plans.


Monday, November 29, 2010

Snow In November (and other stories)

Since Noah was going to be off over the Thanksgiving holiday, I decided it would be a good chance for me to do some hard core shifting in the old ICU.
And it was busy. At one point, while we were helping with a task, one of my coworkers looked up at me, blew the bangs out of her eyes and said "this is the kind of thing you don't tell people that you do at work."
I said, "I know".
So I won't.
Instead I will show you what the rest of the family did while I was sleeping.

Yep, that is right. A little snowboard practice in the ditch by our house.
Here is Deacon. I am hoping his pants don't start saggin' anymore.

Yes, this is what we wake up to in the morning. She can peer at us over the side of her crib!
Now that I am home, I am trying to get caught up.
There are a few important things on my list:
1.Must buy new jeans that fit
2. Must give old jeans to my mom as payment for childcare
3. Must go buy new running shoes
4. must run
5. Must put the new tabs on van (only one day of November left)
6. Must pay utilities (due tomorrow)
I suppose I should start thinking about Christmas soon, and Deacon's birthday. I suppose I should get my hair cut and go grocery shopping. I suppose I should go back to work tonight, since they sound desperate. But it is raining, and it supposed to turn to snow.
I think I will just stay home and fold laundry.
That needs to be done too, right?

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Taking 4 Kids 6 and Under to the Water Park Capital of the World

Last week we suddenly decided that it would be really fun to take the kids to Wisconsin Dells overnight. So we did.

We did a little research and on the recommendation of a neighbor, we booked a room at the Wilderness- home of multiple waterparks, both inside and outside. Of course the outdoor ones were closed.

Taking 4 young children anywhere (even the grocery store) requires at least a loosely thought out plan. Either that or a random aunt or grandma that can come along as an assistant. Alas, our aunts all had work or school and hmmm...I guess we never invited the grandmas.

They are our children afterall, so we decided to attempt this waterpark hopping feat by ourselves.

And do you know what? It went fine.

Turns out, waterparks are our kids things.

We had no "Roman fits"

We had no "Lincoln freakouts"

We did have one "Deacon panic attack" but that was only after we decided to add 96.5 miles to the trip to buy Noah new pants- a panic attack under those circumstances is to be expected, I think.

Here are some things we learned. Hope they will help you!

1. after a couple of hours of waterparking, ordering pizza to your room is a good thing. No one wants a bunch of wet, cold, tired kids at a restaurant (least of all me). Having pizza delivered to our room while the kids watched the Disney Channel was a good thing.

2. bringing life jackets with hoods and handles is important. Yes, they provide life jackets at the park, but we brought our own- ones with handles. This saved Roman's life more than once in the wave pool.

3. spelling out the life jacket rules prior to entering the water is helpful. We told Roman and Lincoln that they had to keep their jackets on unless they were in the 6 inch deep kiddie area. Deacon only had to wear his in the Wave Pool. They knew these rules beforehand and they didn't fight with us about them.

4. having a totally laid back baby who is content to be dragged around the waterpark wrapped in towels is handy. If you have a baby, I recommend only attempting this endeavor if your baby is super low maintenance.

5. if you are a nursing mama, wear a two piece. Nursing a baby in a one piece in the middle of a waterpark requires more skills than most have. It is definitely a 4th or 5th baby kind of manuver.

6. if your 3 year old loves the waterslide, be prepared to walk up all 88 steps, holding his hand, over and over and over and over again. Bonus: this will wear him out.

7. Come up with signs to use between you and your husband. You can use these when one of you is at the top of a waterslide with 2 children and you can see him on a bridge with one child. Obviously that makes one kid awol, and this must be communicated promptly. I suggest coming up with sign language for " child # blank is missing", " Child # blank is coming down slide, may need a rescue at the bottom" and "this is the last time I am taking this child down this slide. I am exhausted. It is your turn." Of course, it is more fun if you also have signs for "you look awesome in your swim wear".

8. Be on the lookout for sudden maniacal looks in your children's eyes. This may indicate that they are about to jump off their tube in the wave pool. This may mean that they have developed a sudden grand delusion of being a famous body surfer who is much taller than 40 inches.

9. I am not usually real organized and I don't plan ahead for any disaster (I don't even carry a diaper bag). I thought about the areas that were most important to me and planned for them. The 3 things I made sure I had were these 1. life jackets 2. bandaids 3. 2 swim suits for me so I wouldn't have to put on a wet one. Ewww.

10. Watch for maniacal looks in your children's eyes before they go down a waterslide. This may communicate that they are planning a dramatic somersault at the end of the slide and will indeed be chastised by the lifeguard.

11. Don't let your 6 year old stay up late watching Hannah Montana- even if he is running in tight circles around the room. Sit on him or pat his head until he falls asleep instead.

12. Let each other have fun! It doesn't all have to be about the kids. If you have a chance, gather the children around to watch one of you go down a more adult slide. Of course it is rather disappointing when the slide you want to go down requires at least 2 people over 48 inches tall...

13. Figure out before hand how tall your children are and ask the park what slides etc they will be allowed on. Then you can warn your kids beforehand and they won't end up as disappointed.

14. You will have your hands full with 4 kids. If your camera is more expensive than the birth of your children, leave it home. You don't need to be focusing on picture taking and having to make decisions like "do I jump in to save my child and destroy my camera or do I set my camera down and risk it being stolen before I jump in?" I am a little sad that we have no pictures of our trip, but I think it was less stressful and we do have our memories :)

I am not the only one up anymore, so those are all the tips I have time for today! We will certainly go back- it was an active vacation, and that is what my boys do best!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Controversial Monday: Blinking Eyes in the NFL

I may have mentioned this on here before, but the "living" head shots on the televised broadcasts of NFL games creep me out.

Do you know which ones I mean?

They want to talk about Peyton Manning, so they throw a picture of him up on the screen. And for a second, you think it is just a nice head shot. And then you see his shoulder twitch. And he blinks.


Or maybe they put Tom Brady up there on the screen. And once again, you think it just a mug shot. But then you notice his hair blowing slightly in the wind.


Every time I see one of those "living" mug shots I can only think of one thing:


You know, where Harry Potter goes to school.

And the portraits.

You know, the ones that are living.

The people at Hogwarts don't have to stay still in their portraits, just like the NFL guys.

And it disturbs me.

How about you? Have you noticed the correlation?

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Star Wars Talk to Your Kids PSA

Our friend Jason sent me this link on facebook. Funny stuff!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Sunny Day!

I have some great posts mulling around in my brain. The imagined posts have some great titles too, things like "The One In Which Noah and Julie Take 4 kids 6 and Under to the Water Park Capital of the World", "What happens When you Take a 97 mile Detour to Buy Pants in Wisconsin" and my personal favorite, "How to Manage a 6 Year Old Having a Panic Attack in the Back of the Van". They sound thrilling, don't they?

But the post of today takes us back 8 days to a beautiful, sunny November afternoon. I drove the kids down to Noah's work, picked him up and we went to the park for a couple of hours. It was exceptionally wonderful because it is November and we were wearing short sleeves. 5 short days later we were shoveling the driveway, but we won't dwell on that anymore.

There are not too many pictures of me on my blog. Well, there you go!

Deacon loves shiny "sports shorts" and they really helped him on the slide! He kept flying off the end and landing on his rear. He tried to be cool about it, but I think it kinda hurt :)

Even Berean got in on the slide action. And yes, that gray stuff on her outfit is dirt. Don't judge.

Lincoln took over the camera for awhile. We were waving at him, not looking dorky at all...
Oops...there goes Berean, trying to escape into the play structure!

Lincoln getting artistic.

Yes, I know, he is as cute as they come.

Yup, this rule follower immediately instructed Deacon to get off the ledge- as soon as I read the sign.

The cargo nets were a hit!

And what was Berean doing during all the fun? Well, she was doing a little exploring, a little climbing and a little soul searching.

She is such a trooper.

Friday, November 12, 2010


Wow, it has been a long week. We spent last weekend with the stomach flu, moved on to juggling our work, kid activities and intensive broomball schedules and now end the week with a visit to urgent care and an ear infection diagnosis.

As of tonight I have slept a total of 8 hours since I got up Wednesday am.

But, I can't help thinking of things I am thankful for through it all. Here they are in no particular order:

1. Unseasonably warm November Weather
2. In laws who took the baby from our stomach flu infested household and cared for her all day so we wouldn't have to.
3. In laws who are hosting a grandson sleepover this weekend
4. Urgent cares, antibiodics and ibuprofen
5. Being able to see a small glimmer of humor in a 6 year old's drama when sickness takes over
6. Having a son who is totally dramatic when he is sick, but bounces back quickly and loves to help in a crisis.
7. Having another son who prefers to vomit alone and suffers in silence
8. Having parents who took care of the other boys while we visited urgent care.
9. A mother and sister who spent all evening helping me clean my house
10. A job for Noah and a job for me
11. Garbage collection!
12. A proud baby girl who can stand up
13. Homeschooling
14. Deacon loving Awana and finishing his book this week
15. Seeing the joy on Roman's face during "preschool"
16. Hearing Lincoln count and sing his alphabet
17. A Grandma who brought over 2 Christmas dresses for Berean Joyce
18. Coworkers who make me laugh and who support each other
19. That all my jeans are falling off! (dropped that last 5 pounds!)
20. A new furnace for the coming winter weather
21. NOT hitting the deer that ran in front of my van
22. Getting ready to celebrate Noah's birthday
23. CD player in the van- I love listening to books, adventures in Odyssey etc with my boys!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

School- Julie Style

I have been meaning to write a homeschool post for awhile, but well, it just has been sitting in amongst all of my other well-intentioned drafts. And it has gotten stale.

The above is what I use for Deacon's school work. I like the system because it is easy, quick and
I can prepare it, revise it and manage it with only the help of a pen. Oh, and I have to be able to find this particular notebook, which can be challenging.

My original thought was that he would like to cross things off his list. This is not the case. He could care less- I am the one who is frantically coloring in rectangles as the day progresses. And yes, I could care less what color marker, pencil or broken crayon I happen to pick up when it is time to fill in a square. When I was 16 I cared. Now, I am just happy if I can find something that is not color wonder or dried up.

I don't intend for each item to get finished every day. I add notes to the bottom if we did something special, such as : "cooking with Grandma" or "field trip to the Doctor's office" or "vomiting all day long". At the beginning of the week I jot a basic plan in the squares of subjects which require a plan. I adjust those as needed as the week progresses.

Get Dressed and Brush Teeth- Deke handles these himself

Math- we are using Math Expressions which is what our school district uses and provided for us. I like it. I also supplement with flashcards.

Geography- Deacon loves geography. We talk a lot about the world and he knows his continents, oceans and facts about different countries etc. Currently he has a United States workbook and our goal is for him to know all 50 states by Christmas. By the end of the year I expect him to know all 50 states and their capitals, be able to label them on a map and to be able to list major countries on each continent.

Writing- writing is a challenge for Deacon and he doesn't really like it. On Tuesdays he has a writing class at our co-op and he does like that. He actually enjoys making up stories but actually writing things out is difficult for him. I try to do a variety of handwriting activities to keep him from being bored. Sometimes he writes a story, sometimes he copies his awana verses, sometimes he copies something I write out for him. Sometimes I make him write 3 rows of certain letters. I want his writing to be legible, but I am not super concerned about beautiful penmanship at this point.

Reading- Self- this is another subject that is harder for Deacon. I am not sure why. He does read some, but phonics are very difficult for him. I still am wondering if there is a bit of a dyslexia situation going on with him. Yesterday I got a new phonics book, and I am going to give that a try.

Reading-Mom-My favorite thing to do is to read to the boys. We read library books, Aesop's fables, short stories, chapter books and we listen to books on CD in the van. We just finished Charlie and The Chocolate Factory, Charlie and The Great Glass Elevator and The Hundred Dresses. We read a lot of Magic Tree House as well and have started to read some American Girl Books (to go with our history time periods). This year I am also reading to them all of the literature sections from the K,1st and 2nd grade Core Knowledge Series.

History- We are using the Sonlight Kindergarten history as well as the Core Knowledge series. History is important to me and so we supplement with a lot of library books and biography stuff. I am still working out my exact plan for this. He is familiar with a lot of history, I just need to make sure he understands the timeline a little better.

Science- once again we are using Sonlight and the core knowledge series for science. Deacon also is learning a lot about the body in his co-op science class.
Bible- reading through a Bible Story Book.
AWANA-Deacon is going to finish his 1st grade Sparks Awana book this week and will start on review. He is highly motivated.
ART- Deacon has art class at co-0p. My mom also does a lot of art work with him. In addition I give him assignments from the core knowledge art sections.
Music- I check books out of the library for him about music and he is in choir at church. Once again we also read the music sections of the Core Knowledge Series.
PE- Deacon and Roman go to Gym and Swim at our Y once a week. Deacon played football this fall and they both did swimming. Deacon will start basketball in January. They will both do more swimming lessons. In addition I try to get them outside and running around a lot- and as it gets colder I am planning to start taking them to the Y to do running and swimming more frequently. I also hope to take them to open rock climbing at the Y as it gets colder out.
Family Activity- it is not on this list, but I am trying to get our family to do a short activity together every evening after supper. Sometimes we play a game, sometimes we do a puzzle, sometimes we have a family talent show or play outside. The boys love it and it gives us a chance to pay attention to them together.
There you have it! Our homeschool in a nutshell!
*oh, in case you were wondering- I do not spend time doing cutsy crafts etc with the kids. WIth my children I don't think that it actually helps their knowledge of a subject, and it takes more time and energy than I have. They would rather play. And I would rather have them play.*
(I am having formatting issues...I am going to publish this anyway)

Monday, November 8, 2010


I really shouldn't blog when I feel this grouchy.

Next I was going to type that I don't really know why I feel so crabby. But I do know why. There are a bunch of reasons.

It doesn't help matters that lovely daylights savings time has landed us in the dark. And it is going to get cold. And I am going to have to keep track of 10 mittens. 5 hats. 5 jackets and a variety of snowpants, scarves and boots.

This isn't really very fun, is it?



Friday morning my 2 oldest boys got the stomach flu.

Wow. Although that story is somewhat funny in retrospect, I don't have time to do it justice now.

Oh, and my next best story is one that I don't think I will be telling anyone for oh, 42 weeks or so, at which point it may move from mortifying to funny. My neighbor says it is already funny, but I am not at that point yet.

Nor do I have time to tell you all about why I am an insomniac for the week.

So instead I am going to leave you with this- a quote from my friend Kim (who runs for the joy of running and has a lot of dogs. And a husband. And 2 daughters. And she always comments on my facebook status's which I really appreciate):

"The curse of being the Mom is that the ratio of mom tasks to the number of moms in the house is freakily disproportionate." - Kim-Who-Runs-For-Joy

So true, Kim, so true.

And it is why my household has been asleep for the last 3 hours while I have been scrubbing baseboards.

hmmm...scrubbing baseboards...that sounds like a good job for my favorite 5 & 6 year olds...

Sunday, November 7, 2010

3 mile walk, anyone?

Noah and I both laughed as we read Baby Blues in the comics today. That is pretty much what happens at our house...only difference is that I go along :)

Thursday, November 4, 2010


She is mobile! Very, very mobile and she has a fascination for stairs.
She stands by the stairs and tries to get a knee up. But she is just too short.
But she continues to try, and I am sure that one day she will succeed.

Sometimes she gets her arm out of her sleeve.
I heard Deacon say, "No, don't stop her. Let her fall down the stairs! I am the only one in the family who missed her falling last time and I want to see it!"
We had a little conversation.
He said, "well, I don't think she cried last time, so I don't think it will hurt her."
Roman chimed in, "she cried".
Deacon, upon realizing that she could get hurt, recinded his earlier wish to see her fall.

And no, she isn't always falling down the stairs. Now that she is more mobile we keep an extra close eye on her, the stairs, the legos, the playmobil pieces, the crumbs,
and the list goes on...

it is a full time job.

An Update on This Guy

previously on the Antics of the Three 22nds...

we learned that Lincoln, the 3 1/2 year old has a severe speech delay. It may be apraxia, it may be phonological in nature. It is unclear.

We also discussed how our insurance had said they would cover therapy, and then 2 months into it said that they would not.

When we last visited this topic we were in the middle of the appeals process and we were private paying his weekly therapy session.

After I spent a significant time on the phone regarding insurance stuff- being as persistent and assertive as possible without being overly aggressive, we finally got the insurance company to agree to covering his services from the summer (what they said they would do).

We are very grateful for that.

Since September we have still been bringing him to private therapy, but we have been doing a private pay option. This option is pricey, but doable.

Lincoln also goes to phonological preschool once a week and the school district has just added an extra session for him during a drop-in ECFE class.

So between all of those things he has therapy 3 days a week. We are seeing improvements in his speech, although he is still severely delayed.

His receptive language is fine, and his preschool teachers consistently say that he is very intelligent and that his receptive skills are higher than average for a child of his age. They also say that his behavior is very good :)

As he has been talking more we have been seeing more frustration when we don't understand him. But apparently he behaves well at school, which I am grateful for.

We are still trying to figure out insurance stuff for next year, and hopefully will get some sort of resolution soon.

Thanks for your prayers!