Monday, June 28, 2010

Cruise control

Im set on cruise control. No slowing down & definitely no stopping! Im still waiting for my cord for my computer so i can do an actual post with pictures :) this Iphone is super hard to type on.

Just know that we are basically on a 2 week vacation staying at a friends (huge) house with a (huge) yard while they are away. And, by the way, we are ALL loving it!!

Monday, June 21, 2010


A couple posts ago I mentioned that we spent the day out at Shenandoah Springs Camp because our church held a baptismal service out there. Well I finally got a new cord for my phone (more about that later!) so I am now able to get the pics off of it to put on here :)

The road leading to the camp. It was actually pretty freaky driving on this road. It was wedged between two steep ditches and obviously only one lane (though, thankfully we didn't meet anyone trying to go the other way) and it was also real curvy, as is everything in Virginia!

Here is how the kids sat during the service, which last a good 2 hours.

But...the kids did get somewhat antsy so Dad took them aside and threw them around for a little while, literally! We can't blame them for getting antsy though, most of the adults were too given the fact that it was only in the 90s and super super humid. It felt like we were standing in an oven. Aren't dads always so fun?!

This is the lake where the baptisms were held.

After they finished, we swam in the lake and Nathan even played a nice game of sand volleyball. Go Dad!

Needless to say, this is the way the kids looked on the way home :) (Take note of Ariella in the mirror...sleeping beauty too :)

Fun day!

And I was going to post about my amazing Father's Day weekend, but that will have to wait until next time. I'm extremely tired from staying up way too late the past couple nights and it's already getting late, so I'm off for now!

Thursday, June 17, 2010


Can anyone guess what is going on in this picture???

Yes, that is Caedmon and yes, he is sound asleep, and yes his pants are pulled down. But why you ask? Well, he got hurt outside (of course!) and came in crying. I told him to sit on the couch with a paper towel layed over his thigh (where he got hurt) and he fell fast asleep. :)

We even spiked his hair and one of his siblings threw the remote in his lap but he didn't move an inch. What a sweet kid....but it did make for a funny picture :)

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

mom's the teacher.

On Sunday we had a special church service out at Shenandoah Springs Camp to hear testimony's of those who were being baptized as believers in the Lord. (I have pics but since my phone cord melted, I need to get a different one to upload the pics to my computer!) It was a great time hearing what the Lord did in these peoples' lives and then after the service we had a pot-luck lunch followed by the baptizms in the lake. When that was done I took turns taking the boys for a swim in the lake. (Nathan watched the other kids since he, for the time being, has Sunday's off again!!) It was a sweltering day reaching 99 degrees and super humid. The lake felt amazing!!

While we were standing by the lake in the shade trying to figure out our next plan of action, a lady probably in her 60s started a conversation with Tiernan. We stood back smiling, wondering how he was going to answer her questions since he is such a story teller. Here is about how it went....

Lady: "So are you going to be starting Kindergarten in the fall?"

Tiernan: "Yep. After we move and then come back, then I will go to Kindergarten."

Lady: "Oh, so maybe you're going on vacation and then when you come back, you'll start school?"

Tiernan: "Yeah. We hafta move to Colby's house for a while first." (We are house-sitting for some friends for a couple weeks while they go on vacation.)

Lady: "Which school are you going to?" (She named a couple but can't remember names)

Tiernan: "Yeah. I'm going to Kindergarten. And it's called homeschool. And Mom's the teacher."

Excellent Tiernan! Well said!! It was so cute though because when he said "and mom's the teacher", he tipped his head towards me and stuck his hand out towards was so cute! She proceeded to say that she was a kindergarten teacher at a school in town so she's quick to pick out the 5-6 yr olds.


I've done a lot of looking at curriculm and researching different methods and approaches to homeschooling and here is what I've decided to do for this year anyway....

First, I've decided to homeschool year-round. I (we) decided this mostly for me. I know that once I am in a routine and have things down-pat I want to keep in the swing-of-things. If I were to take a 3 month vacation from school and get into another routine and let my kids get into another routine, I will be much less likely to get motivated to get into that routine all over again. I'd rather keep the routine going all year and take mini-breaks. There are a few different ways that year-round schools operate and after looking them over, I think a 45 day learning time (not including weekends) and then a 10-15 day break (not including weekends) is what we'll end up doing. I actually don't even see my kids wanting to take that long of break (since they LOVE to do school stuff) so we'll see once we start. Being flexible is one thing that goes along with homeschooling. You have to be flexible. Stuff happens, babies cry, lunch needs to be made, kids need naps, butts need wiping...all this has to be flexible in order to fit into a schedule. And some days maybe we'll just feel like skippin' school for the day and having an "eat homemade popcorn for lunch and watch a movie" day. And that's just fine by me!

So what do we plan to do exactly? Well, like I said, it's flexible and we'll have to see once we actually start how things will go but here is what I have so far.

Tiernan is obviously the one I will be focused on as far as 'school' goes, but since I have an almost 4 yr old and an almost 3 yr old that wants to do everything Tiernan does, I will have to have stuff planned for them as well. Here is what I have for Tiernan.....(times are approx but a guideline)

10 min -- Bible and verse memory
10 min -- Phonics and/or reading
10 min -- Writing
10 min -- Numbers and math
15 min -- Science, history, animals, colors, weather, telling time, money, anatomy (will rotate)
20 min -- Activity time -- crafts, dramatic play, music

And one day per week I will do a theme day where everything for that day will revolve around the theme. Ex) Theme could be 'trees'. So everything from math to science to crafts will be about trees.

Last year I ordered the K5 curriculm from Abeka. They are a Christian based curriculm, supplying private schools or homeschoolers with all they need to teach for the school year. There are some other books I will suppliment with, including Discovery Works, Scholastic, and misc ones that I have found at garage sales and through my mom!) The money and budgeting tools I will get from Dave Ramsey which is called FPU for Kids. Super excited about that!

I will do what I can in the morning since that is our most productive time and things that are a little more in-depth, I will probably do during nap time so Ariella at least will be sleeping so I can focus a little more. The other boys don't regularly nap so this is where file folder games and activities come in real handy! There are a gazillion things you can do with file folders and you can make them for any age group. For a few examples, visit here. .

I also will keep in mind the learning that takes place doing everyday activities such as cooking. Explaining the steps and why we do what we do and how food affects our body and 1/2 cup plus 1/2 cup equals what, etc....all this can be taught and learned just from makin' lunch!

By the way, school starts July 12!! You might ask why then? Well, frankly, I don't want to wait until the end of August and I figure a month is not going to make a my kids are begging to 'do school' every day....why not officially start?!

Monday, June 14, 2010

when the cat's away, the mice will play

This is what happens when we take a nap on a Sunday and choose not to get out of bed when our kids do.

It's a tough choice but I'm not sure the few minutes of undisturbed rest was worth all the clean-up time. But at least the kids had fun!!

Thursday, June 10, 2010


I mentioned in a couple posts ago that we saw family and friends over the 5 day-off break that Nathan had over Memorial weekend. Let me tell you some highlights of that weekend.

Friday--We were hanging outside when Ariella ended up being the only one inside. Not a big deal since we kept the front door open so the kids could come and go as they please...but since Nathan was working on the side of the camper, he needed the door to be closed. After closing it, I walked over to the door and AS I was saying "We should keep this open because Ariella will end up locking herself in", we heard the lock latch. "CLICK" Uhhhhh..... I tried the door, locked. I tried to open it again, locked. And again, locked. (For some reason I thought the more I tried it, maybe it would just magically unlock...didn't work). So here we are, all outside, except out sweet 14 mo old little girl who has just locked herself inside along with our phones, keys, and every window that is CLOSED. Sooo...we tried to think of everything. Check all the windows, try to coax her to unlock the door, climb on the roof to see if a vent would open, which window should we break that would cause the least amount of damage, everything. Nothing worked. At one point, a frustrated Nathan (frustrated because he found more damage on our camper than he thought was there) said "whatever...she locked herself in" and he went back to working on the if she knew what she did and was doing it in defiance! ha! So long story shorter...we were able to pull a window open enough (while waiting for it to bust!) to get my hand through to reach the knob to open it big enough to shove Tiernan through it. Then he ran to the door and unlocked it. No damage and we've learned to ALWAYS have our keys with us when we are outside!!

Then Friday evening was finished with a picnic at our friends house.

Sunday we enjoyed the company of Nathan's sister and family with us at church and then after church out brother in law and Nathan left for hiking and camping in the mountains. Nathan thought the ideal trip would consist of a 3 or so mile hike into the mountains, set up camp, and then next morning hike back. Well, it was kinda like that except they hiked over 10 miles one way!!! Sheesh! Which made the round trip about 20 bears. Yes, bears. At one point they were 20 feet away from a black bear. They didn't see it until Nathan looked at what was 'rustling' in the bush next to them. It was walking away from them but stopped and looked back at them. Jack said they better keept moving...thank you Jack for saving Nathan's life. He would have probably been eaten by the bear since he wanted to 'see it closer'. 20 feet away is close enough for me!
And after 20 miles of hiking in the mountains, he came home with a very sore knee. It'll be awhile before another 20 mile hike! :)

While he was hiking, we went to his sister's house and played!! The kids of course love it at "Jack Austin's house" (their 14 yr old cousin) and I was able to do a little shopping kid-free, clean my van (thank you sarah!), give the kids an actual bath in a tub rather than a tote, and do big loads of laundry!! It was a great time!


A few days ago we made a quick trip to my friend Meggan's campground. It was the first time we've made it out there since they moved from here. It was a super hot day (in the 90s and humid!) and their campground has a pool! We hung out and enjoyed the sun, pool, and fun times with friends!

Here is what our camper and site looks like when there's not 3 feet of snow on the ground....ugh, I don't even want to remember that!!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

ring around the pole.

who needs toys when you have your brothers and a random pole in your yard?!

Thursday, June 3, 2010


My husband had 5 days off last weekend. It was great! We spent time with family, friends, and each other. Now it's back to reality!! Good thing that most of the time 'reality' is pretty nice!!

The other day I thought that I would put some water in a tote to let the kids wade in a little since it felt like a bazillion degrees out with 100% humidity. Well, we don't exactly have the cleanest or clearest water here.

So that idea was scratched. And don't worry, we have filters...lots of them! This was right from the water faucet outside. From the other side of the faucet is where is goes in to our camper and we have a filter out there before it goes through the hose. Then once it gets inside, we have a filter under our sink before it comes out of the kitchen sink and then before we drink it, we filter it through the Berkey Light, which is an AMAZING filter that makes the water crystal-clear, sediment and chemical-free but leaves all the good minerals in!

And here is the typical view in front of our front door. It's a constant battleground with the shoes and socks. I try to keep just one pair per person out, but still that ends up to be 12 shoes in a very little area.

I've been trying to re-organize and de-clutter stuff again. This time in Ariella's room. I would like to get it cleared out enough that instead of using the bunk beds for storage, we can actually use them as beds! We are thinking of putting Ariella in the bottom bunk with a bed rail and Tiernan in the top. That way the 2 little boys don't have to share a bed anymore. They often complain about the other one kicking them :) I think their legs are getting too long!! BUT, that means that I need to either 1) get rid of a bunch more stuff or 2) find another home for all my stuff that I have in those bunks!! Well, I've been doing some of both! Yesterday I did figure though that we have too many books.

And this was AFTER I got rid of a huge garbage bag full of books a few weeks ago! I figure that we have "camper size" everything else, we should have a "camper size" supply of books too, and this doesn't look like it! So I went through the books again....threw away the ones that had several pages missing, put some aside that we love and want to keep for our kids' kids to show them what mom and dad read when they were little, put some in storage for long car rides (like if we ever make it back to mn), and then donated the rest! We now have about 15-20 books. Perfect! One tote down!

And speaking of totes...the idea of trying those 'space storage bags' for our clothes finally 'clicked' to me! So I went to the store and bought some. They are SO AWESOME!!! I would recommend them to anyone that has lottas clothes/blankets/anything that can 'squish' easily and limited space. I had 3 totes (one 31 gallon and two 18 gallon) full of winter clothes, winter coats, snow pants, and hats/mittens, etc. I ended up with this when I was finished.

I was amazed at how narrow the bag got with all our winter stuff in it! Wow! What a help! Now instead of those 3 huge totes under our camper, I just have these bags and TONS of space!!...something always needed when you live in a RV :)