Monday, January 31, 2011

The Test

Saturday Emma had her test into the Academy that we signed her up for. All of the Kindergartener's have to take a test and then there is a lottery system to eliminate 100 children as there isn't room for everyone.

I've gotta tell you I really am having my doubts about this school. I know it is to create some type of uber child but I also want her to be able to be a child! Good grief, it was kind of crazy!

My first fear is the fact that she will have all-day kindergaren. I really don't want her to be gone all day for Kindergarten. I thought I would have at least another year of half day school.

My other fear is the learning. Emma is smart and can keep up, but oh my goodness you would not believe the crap that they have these kids doing! Spanish, research projects, papers, TYPING up their own research papers, group projects, presentations, etc, etc. And that's in KINDERGARTEN! Yoink!

We definitely have high aspirations for her but at the same time we expect her to stay a child and have lots, and lots of fun!

So that is where we are with the test. We had to provide all kinds of progress reports, a teacher recommendation, and on and on to get her into the test. We find out in about a month if she got in or not. I am about to fall off the fence and into the homeschool lawn, and Nick just hasn't decided. We are praying about it and hoping for more direction after we receive the test results.

On a sidenote we are house-sitting for our neighbor's as the husband has prostate cancer and they are seeking out a second opinion for treatment. Please be praying for them. They are fairly young, just retired, and this came out of the blue.

In another side note it looks like Nick's infection on his foot may have returned. They are starting him on the strongest antibiotic...pray.pray.pray. He goes to the doctor Thursday :(
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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Hello Friend

Hey there!

So since it is 5:15 in the morning and none of my friends would appreciate me calling them so early to talk, I thought I would simply type. Here are random thoughts, things going on:

Cal had his evaluation for the special education preschool and it looks like he is only going to need Speech Therapy. Praise the Lord! They also said that they put him through the Kindergarten Readiness test and he passed...he's even on the high side of above average...the kid JUST turned three so I am pretty proud of the little guy!

I have been dealing with this huge fear of death...I am not sure what is going on but it is just almost mind always seems to find something to worry about if there is nothing really going on so...maybe that's what it is? I just feel like I have so much to live for and it kills me to think of the children and Nick if I were gone. Ugh. Nick said it's a thought that's there for everyone you just have to learn how to not think about it and just LIVE. So that's what I am working on.

Yesterday I forgot that Emma had show and tell. She said she was the only one that didn't have anything which made her and I cry all the way home...I feel like a terrible mother :(

Emma's evaluation into a local academy is Saturday. I so want to just homeschool the girl. Nick want's the academy so we are stuck.

The school cal was tested in is what would be our public school if we send them there...I hated it. Emma would get eaten alive by these kids...her little soul would just be crushed.

I have the best husband ever... ever

Last night Emma and I went shoe shopping and had THE best time! Nick stayed home with Cal and they had guy time. I love our family.

I keep feeling really, really stressed. No reason...or perhaps I need a break? :)

So that is what is going on with me. Hope you are all doing well! :)
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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Bear Down Chicago Bears!

Huge confession here: We didn't watch the Bears/Packers Game on Sunday. Not even a minute of it. Nick loves the Bears but he had to go into work (sucks!). He didn't get to watch it either.

I spoke with him Sunday morning and he was having a horrid morning...having to deal with something like not enough material for the two shifts after his and trying to figure out a solution. On top of other things it sounded like a rough day.

So I got the peanut gallery all dressed up and started shooting. I texted him this picture and got a response back reading "thanks guys, this makes my day, love you"...we love that man so much. He provides so well for us despite having to miss his most anticipated game :(

Oh and btw...he figured out the problem and saved tons of people from not being able to work...I love that he does things like that without commending himself or seeking credit. What a man of God!
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Sunday, January 23, 2011

A Chid's Perspective

Two year's ago Nick's Mom got the kids a digital camera. One of those super durable, kid friendly ones. Here's what I have ascertained from this camera:
a) This camera sucks like nothing has sucked before, or
2) My kids make horrid photographers...

Kind of think its the second choice :)
But I love them for it, and they're cute so we'll keep 'em...
Do you like the dog nose?

I think he was trying to figure out how to USE the camera

Almost there, but not quite...
I love these pictures. FINALLY found the usb cord for the camera (because that's how stellar of a mom I am!) and downloaded these pictures last week....320 and I'd say 10% were hardwood floor.
And as much as I am teasing the children, I do love to see the world from their perspective...the world probably is very much hardwood floor and dog noses because that's what at their level.

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Saturday, January 22, 2011

How I Cook with Kids

I've had a lot of people ask me how on earth I cook with the kids. Don't they make a mess? Doesn't it take so much time? Definitely yes to both questions. I do not cook with the kids all of the time because quite frankly, it would be a disaster. I don't want to cook with the kids when I am stressed or running on a strict schedule, because I don't want it to be something they remember as me screaming at them or herding them away.

Today though was a day of freezing cold weather so we are staying in all day. Why not make cookies? Better yet, gingerbread cookies. Here are some of my pointers for cooking with little ones:
#1 Be patient and breathe: just lower your expectations from the beginning. You can be sure not all of the ingredients will make it into the bowl...there will be a lot of unhygenic practices, and probably not a lot of sharing. Just know that going into it.

Step #2: If you fail to plan, then you plan to fail. I think that rings true here too. The kids are not patient people so them waiting for me to get the chair to climb to the tippy-toppy shelf to look for some forelorn ingredient usually is a recipe for disaster. So I've gone to measuring everything out ahead of time so we can just dump and mix. A lot of times we will measure out because that is good of course for math and all that, but with the two kids and just one Momma, I often time just pre-measure...especially when the recipe has a lot of ingredients as this one did.
#3. Laugh. I found humor in our "friends" baking with us today. I know some people think this to be gross but the cookies are just for us, and for Cal it helped him stay involved longer...let the toys play too :)

#4: Have the kids be prepared. I put the kids in their own aprons so they feel ready and excited. Thanks to my very generous Aunt Jan the kids have a great variety of cooking tools, pot holders, and all kinds of fun things, just for them. I think these help keep their attention a little longer and keep them excited

Chef #2!

#5: Find age appropriate jobs: I've learned this one through a lot of trial and error. Emma loves to cook but I've often given her jobs that were just too hard. She's frustrated, I'm frustrated, and then it's just no fun. I try to give the kids things they can do and feel a sense of accomplishment from doing.
Cook with your'll be glad you did :)

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You may not recognize this person but this is Emma. She is 4 years old and is looking so grown up lately. Wow, I can hardly believe she is going to be 5 in less than 100 days (she asks me how many days until her birthday practically every day!). Emma is a girl who is so after my heart and the heart of God. She's just kind to everyone. She's colorblind...not literally but in terms of race, or economic status. She'll play with anyone and I love that about her. She wants to be a Mommy when she grows up. She loves folding laundry and learning to embroider. She's just so cute! Every day during Cal's naptime she is up in her room for quiet time and I just love listening to her playing! Tea parties unfold, pretend villages for her Hello Kitty's, on and on. She's just so fun!
I don't talk about her much because she is just so no trouble at all...Cal on the other hand keeps us hopping and stumped most of the time :) . We've talked about homeschooling and if we should do it or not. My heart is really leaning towards it. I just want to keep her as young as possible. I want her to have a heart for God and keeping her naive is fine with me. It pains me to think of her ever getting picked on or made fun of. Those are my reasons for homeschooling. Emma has made it into round one though for a local academy so next Saturday she will be going through a testing process. I am nervous and excited for her. We've decided that if don't go to homeschooling then this is the only school we would want her to go to. I'm nervous about her getting in though because I am scared of her going there if God wants us to homeschool...Nick is pretty adament about her going to this school and I guess I am on the fence :/ Just pray for us. I know ultimately God's will will be done. I just need to have faith and now worry. I've been praying about our school decision for a long time and I am at peace with homeschooling. Of course we don't leave decisions up to our four year old but asked multiple times, Emma says she wants to do homeschooling. So we will see.
So that is what has been going on with Kazoo.
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Birthday Party

Here's a picture of how Cal eats a cake...apparently someone thinks this cake is just for him! ;) Last Saturday we celebrated Cal's birthday. It was a great time and it is always just so fun to fellowship with friends and family. Poor Cal had been waiting for so long to open presents since his party had been delayed so when he started ripping into gifts before the party even started, we didn't stop him. He got some wonderful gifts! He has been busy playing with everything! Still having a hard time believing that the kid is THREE! Wowzer!

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Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Maybe getting there??

Yesterday was the first day of our Operation Potty Training. As many of you know I've been on and off training Cal for the past year and let's just say it's been exhausting. I say on and off because after doing it for a while I would stop. He just wasn't ready. Or didn't want to. Or something but bottom line was, it wasn't working and all we were accomplishing was that Cal and I may have developed a mild disdain for one another. Humph!

My Aunt's words are still ringing through my head when she told me she bet I would see a big change in him now that he's three and those words are already true! So happy about that! He's starting to pick up toys without being asked! Or tell someone he's sorry without being forced. Wow!

Yesterday as I said was the first day of our new (and hopefully) final round of potty training. I am happy to report that he stayed dry...even through naptime! I put him in underpants and at nap changed him back into a pull up! I am hoping this is the start of something!

The only bad thing is that Nick and I have been holding Disney World over his head since Nick doesn't want to go until he's potty trained. We are going next year as scheduled but every time he sits on the potty he yells "I'm ready to go to Disney!"...he's got a little bit of a wait coming, that kid :)
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Christmas Pictures Part 2

One of the things that we do every Christmas season is go to Chicago to eat at the Walnut Room. They have this huge tree that can be seen here:
Every year they decorate it differently and we just love it. Anyway you eat lunch there and then we take our letters to Santa and mail them. Here are some pictures of the day:
Here's Emma. Isn't she just a doll? I love this lady so much!!!

Here's the Kazoo and me

And on the other side of the table are the boys...the stark contrast of pictures from either side of the table just makes me giggle! Love, love, love our family!

And here's C-Bear all on his own. If you look REALLY close you'll see he has a mark on his forehead. Yep, no day would be complete unless your mom smashed your face into the pavement, right? I'm such a good mother :/ From what I can remember though I tripped getting him out of the car and kind of pushed him out of the way of me falling on top of him. He bumped his head pretty good and I was freaked out. I was going to go get him some then I'm the mother walking to the restaurant with the child screaming "no ice! No ice! I'm ice!" so I knew he would be okay. Poor baby :(
And there's that hottie of a husband of mine! He just really takes my breath away. Ahhh..
When you to to the Walnut Room there is a Sugar Plum Fairy that will come to your table and sprinkle Fairy Dust. She's amazing! This is the same Fairy we had last year! She carries a bag marked "college fund" for her tips :) She has such a cool story and is so into it...she was telling the kids how she used to live a few doors down from Santa in a gingerbread house until one day the reindeer got loose and started eating her house! So now she lives closer to the Tooth Fairy. How precious is that? It makes our year, I tell ya! Oh and by the way, she's sprinkling Cal because every year Em gets shy and doesn't want to make a wish. Maybe next year???
We also get a picture every year in front of the tree so here we are :) CHEESE!

Here are our Christmas lists all ready to go! We spent a lot of time making them this year...they are decorated with stickers even :)
Here's Cal's going in...
hm, not so sure where Em's picture went with the letter box...oh well. Here's Nick at the Legoland store. We went there and the kids had a blast!

Here they are with their buddy! Well Emma's buddy. I think Cal's STILL looking for Buzz Lightyear, poor guy
So Daddy went and bought him one! Our last stop of the day was for icecream. There is this darling icecream shop and we had the best time!
Well...most of us had a great time :/ In here defense it did take a LONG time to get our order
So that's our trip to Chicago. On the way home we got stuck in some type of mother of all traffic jams. We sat in traffic for two hours before we were able to get off an on ramp and just take whatever roads we could find to get home. It was a long night home but the kids were such troopers. And our neighbors were great. I had the crockpot meal burning nicely on the counter and thankfully they went over and unplugged the thing and let poor Lucy out.
I think the next pictures to post are from Cookie Day :)
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Saturday, January 8, 2011

Happy Birthday

Yesterday was our sweet Baby Calvin's Third Birthday! I cannot believe he is three alreay! I am having a hard time with this one as this is my last baby, who now is not a baby at all! No siree he is a full fledge boy who likes to throw things and play trains, fight, yell, and dress like a mixture of a firefighter and a pirate. I love this little man!
Today was supposed to be his birthday party but on account that we received two feet of snow during the night, we figured it best to reschedule for next week. At first he was really upset but he said he wanted a donut so after we got that (and found a place that was actually open!) he was a happy camper!

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