AWANA Awards Night

The kids had their awards night for AWANA this week.

Audrey has finished her first year in Cubbies. She got a certificate, a medal and a little bear to put on her vest. It was so sweet to watch her as they gave them to her. She was so pleased with herself! She just beamed!

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Ethan finished his first year as a Sparky. He made it through his entire book and all the review verses this year. He got a certificate, a ribbon and a patch for behind his jewel pin.

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I’m so thankful for the scripture that they are learning. God’s word is life-changing and that doesn’t just apply to adults. The kids have a great time with their friends, too, as they are learning verses, playing games and having their story time.

First Grade- Coming Right Up!

I’ve mentioned it to a number of folks, but I guess I haven’t officially announced it on the blog yet. So, here is our official post to announce that we will be continuing to homeschool next year.

You have no idea how excited I am! I have been spending lots of my spare moments, looking through the curriculum I have for next year and researching which books I’m going to get at the library and which books I’m going to buy for our own family collection and contacting different people about finding a local co-op that would meet the needs of our family.

This year has been so rewarding. I consider it one of my greatest privileges to be there to watch and listen to Ethan as he learns to read, spell, count by 2’s, 5’s and 10’s and a thousand other things. I’m not a homeschooling “missionary”. I’m not out to convince everyone that they should do it. Nathan and I don’t have negative feelings toward our local public school either. We’ve just decided that, at least for this season, this is what we’re doing.

Here are some reasons, I’m thrilled to be a homeschooling mom:

  • We can focus on mastery of concepts and not have to worry about anyone else’s time frame. As a teacher with a 1:3 ratio, I have this luxury and it’s so freeing. I’m going to be mindful of general age-appropriate standards for different subjects to be aware of problems should we need intervention, but in the whole scheme of things, will it matter what age a child is when they learn percentages or how to perfectly write a capital “Q” in cursive?
  • Books and reading aloud with my kids. I’m almost giddy just thinking about it. I have spent hours, just today, looking up books on amazon and on different library catalogs. Do you know how many amazing books there are out there on American and World History as well as classic literature? I’m going to learn so much! I have a number of resources on age-appropriate books for these subjects and it has been fun to see the treasures out there!
  • It makes me feel more “purposeful” in mothering. Homeschooling has helped me to set a better schedule for our days and I finally feel like I’m really getting my “groove” as a mom. Does that make sense? When we were gearing up for this year, I was giddy and I said, “Nathan, do you think I missed my calling (referencing the fact that maybe I should have been a elementary teacher)?” and he said, “No, I think you’ve found it.”
  • The excitement of learning and academics doesn’t have to compete with or be distracted by social, relational and developmental differences. While Ethan is spending time learning about  Benjamin Franklin or multiplication tables, he wont be distracted by who did or didn’t talk to him at recess, or in what order he is chosen for a team of kick-ball. We will give Ethan opportunities to do team sports, and play with kids his age, but that can be separate from our academics.

Those are just a few reasons that I love what I’m doing. Others would have a different list. There’s a danger in doing lists like this. So, I want to clarify it by saying that none of these reasons are intended to be a statement on anyone else’s schooling decisions. As moms and dads I think we need to support each other. It is hard work to raise kids. Each family has different home situations, resources, and support. If you are engaged in your child’s development academically, physically, emotionally and socially, you know what your child needs and you are doing your best by them.

There you have it: my homeschooling manifesto 🙂

p.s. I do feel a tiny pang of regret that I’m really depriving some first grade teacher who would love to have a child like Ethan in his/her class!

Kindergarten Science Experiments- Surface Tension

My dad and Joyce gave Ethan this book for his birthday:

(image from Amazon)

We picked one of the projects to do this morning. I looked for one that was quick and easy and for which we already had all the things we needed. So, I picked the one on Surface Tension.

We started with a bowl half-full of water. We sprinkled pepper on the top of the water. Then we dipped a tooth pick in dish soap and then in the center of the water. The pepper immediately moved out to the sides. Then we did milk with a few drops of different colors of food coloring. We did the tooth pick thing again and this if what happened:

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The little, individual drops dispersed and mixed in the milk. It was very fun and easy. The book explained that the dish soap decreased the surface tension of the liquid and we had our science lesson for the day!

My Husband

I am so blessed to have Nathan for my husband.
I have been throughly drained for a couple of days. Tonight I told Nathan I just needed someone to hold me while I cried. He did just that and I feel a lot better. I’m so thankful to be able to go through life with Nathan.

A photo of Audrey’s Easter Dress

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The flower girl dress from Brian and Missy’s wedding is getting enough use! This is the third time she was able to wear it. We went through several headbands and none ended up staying on her head for long. She didn’t like how they felt. I don’t really blame her. They were cute though! The boys wore matching pants and shirts, but I don’t have a good photo of them together.

I am so tired. I don’t remember when I last felt this exhausted. Off to bed with me.

6 years ago

6 years ago, about this time of the day (8:00pm), I was at Abbott Northwestern Hospital. I was 33 weeks and 5 days pregnant and almost finished with labor. That was 6 weeks and 2 days before my due date. What a wild and crazy day that was.

We had gone to our local hospital the night before because there were some issues that concerned me and the on-call doctor thought we should be checked out. We went to the hospital, discovered that the baby (we didn’t know we were having a boy) was very low and that probably was why I was seeing some of the things that I was. No dilation or contraction so they sent me home with very vague instructions. “Lay low until your Monday doctor appointment.” I went home and pulled out my pregnancy book to see what it meant when the nurses said that the baby was at a +3 station. I almost fell out of bed when I saw how low that actually was.

I had some contractions that night. I didn’t know at the time, but I know now that I’m looking back on it. Then, Sunday, about mid-morning my water broke and harder contractions followed right away. I checked in at the local hospital, but they weren’t sure how healthy the baby would be that early and were concerned that they wouldn’t have the equipment or specialists that we might need. So, they hooked me up to magnesium sulfate to try to stop the contractions and order an ambulance transfer to Abbott Northwestern in Minneapolis.

I don’t advise laboring in an ambulance that is driving on bumpy roads.

The contractions didn’t stop. I labored all day until about 9:30 when it was time to push. The contractions that could not be stopped earlier, decided that this would be the perfect time to stop. So, I had to given induction drugs to start up the contractions again so that I could actually get that tiny baby to finish making his appearance. 2 hours later (which is about how long I had for my total labor and delivery with Audrey!) our first-born baby was born. He was head down, but he was “sunny side up” as they say (he was looking at the ceiling instead of facing the floor) which made for difficult delivery. They whisked him away so quickly that I didn’t know if he was a boy or girl. I had to call out to the doctors as they took him to take care of him. Ethan was 4 lbs, 11 oz.

Our first two and a half weeks of parenting were done at the hospital. Those were long and draining days. I was there from 9am to 9pm every day. During that time, every three hours I would attempt to feed Ethan (nurse and bottle feed), change his diaper and take his temperature and then go and pump the little breast milk that I had. In the very little in between time, I would read or wander around the hospital. At about 5:30, Nathan would arrive after work and help out until we would leave at 9:30 at night.

Ethan as a brand new baby:
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My first mother’s day:
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The last 6 years have flown by very quickly. That tiny baby is now starting to read! I’m so proud of Ethan and the more I get to know him, the more I like him. I”m so glad that God gave him to us.

Our family today:

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Wondering

. . . if our 3 children will sleep well together in the same room tonight with Nana and Grandpa Fritz. Pray for Nana and Grandpa!

. . . what time I’ll crash tonight after a terrible night of sleep last night at my dad’s. My dear, sweet Aunt Ann was also spending the night and gave up on sleep at 1:30am! At that point she showered right next to our room and stayed up all night tinkering here and there about the house. Love you, Ann! At least the children slept through it.

. . . how many calories are in the jelly beans and chocolate eggs I consumed today.

. . . when the sun will appear again.

. . . why I let my children play in the mud with the only pair of shoes they have with them this weekend. Well, I guess I know why– it was fun for them!

. . . how the Green Ring Conspiracy in AIO ends up. I’m cliff-hung.

Thoughts

Today is day 1 of several days of birthday celebrations for Ethan.

I decided to skip to week 2 of my Ripped in 30  DVD. It was hard. How many variations of plank poses are there? I think I did most of them today interspersed with comments like, “No way” and “Ahhhhhh” and the like.

I am feeling sore.

I’m happy to report that the first “song” that Isaac has learned is the theme song from DinoSquad. When he’s in his bed ready for sleep, we’ve been hearing him sing, “I’m in. I’m in. Dinosquad”.

One of the presents that Ethan got today was a bike that my mom had found at a garage sale. It was bittersweet to think that this is the last gift that Ethan will get from her.

Happy Good Friday, everyone.