Our Summer

Being at the end of my pregnancy in the middle of summertime, with a toddler to care for, has been a little tricky. I never want to go outside. I can't stop sweating. I wake up in the middle of the night & I swear Andrew has turned the heat on. But no, he hasn't. So then I wake him up to turn the fan up higher or turn the air down lower. Or both. But I NEVER want to go outside. This is a bit of a quandry seeing as how Anderson LOVES being outside. I decided we must compromise. Of course we plan swim play dates & he plays in the yard...

...but about 2 days a week we just stay home, inside and he gets to play outside when Daddy gets home. Besides, it's cooler then so it works out. But what's a toddler to do inside when he doesn't want to "play toys" anymore? {I will say Anderson is very good about playing by himself & will "play toys" alone for 30 minutes - an hour depending on his mood}.

I put us on a routine when we moved. Andrew calls it a schedule but I tell him it's a routine because routines are more flexible than schedules. He just rolls his eyes. Either way we've been on our routine for about a month or so now & it's been really great! We obviously do not follow it exactly every single day but on "stay-at-home days" it's been wonderful. 

My friend shared their family routine on her blog & I thought it was great so I'll share ours as well just in case you might be interested.

7-9 - wake-up time / breakfast / TV time
9-9:30 - Table Time {Anderson & I do some sort of "school" activity or craft. Usually centered on a book}
9:30-10 - Snack Time / Bible Time {this isn't super involved. Sometimes I just read a Psalm or a verse or 2 related to an issue we're dealing with. For a few weeks he was really "scawed" of shadows & monsters so I would read verses related to fear}
10-11 - Free play {while he plays I usually do housework}
11-11:30 - Lunch
11:30-12:30 - Free play
12:30 - Music/Listening time {I put on a CD of instrumental music, usually a sleepytime Mozart CD we have, & we talk about what instruments we hear. We'll pretend to play them or he'll bounce around on the couch. I have to remind him we are practicing self-control & to listen. Usually he calms down after several songs & will say, "Wub back me" so I'll rub his back while we listen to the music & he usually falls asleep}
1-4 - Nap time {GLORIOUS NAP TIME}
4-Daddy gets home - Free play / TV time / Dinner prep
Daddy gets home - Dinner / Catechism time {we eat dinner & may talk about a question or 2 from his Baby catechism book he got when he was baptized. Most of the time we're just catching up on our day & don't talk about the questions but we try to incorporate it into our convo}
After dinner - 7:30 -  Free play {Andrew usually does yard work or goes on a walk & Anderson follows close behind. I usually clean up dinner. In silence. Wonderful silence!}
7:30-7:50 - bath time
7:50 - 8:00 - clean up toys {Anderson cleans up his toys, not me!}
8:00-8:15 - family Bible time {this has become a really sweet time as Anderson LOVES it. He sees Andrew picking up the Bible & he'll excitedly say, "Yets wead Bible!" Andrew reads a chapter or 2 from the Bible & we'll pray together. Once again when Anderson sees Andrew closing the Bible he'll quickly clasp his hands together & say, "Yets pway" while he squeezes his eyes closed. It's really so sweet}
8:15 - bedtime {Andrew puts Anderson to bed. He reads him a few books & turns on his "stars" & they look at them together until Anderson falls asleep. I usually sit on the couch & enjoy a bowl of chocolate ice cream!}

Ok, the purpose of this post wasn't to share our routine but there it is. The purpose was to share some "Table Time" activities that we've done that have been successful. I purchased the Before Five In A Row {BFIAR} book at the beginning of the year & love that it does different activities based on children's books. I won't share any of their ideas here since they're copyrighted but I will say if you need ideas definitely purchase the book! It's great! Also, I recently read Honey For A Child's Heart & I think it's my new favorite book. She discusses the importance of reading GOOD books to your children & the wonderful benefits of doing so. She also has a wonderful chapter, Honey From The Rock, where she talks about the importance & benefits of reading the Bible together as a family and it meant a lot to me. In the back of the book she has a HUGE list of recommended books from pre-school to adults. I was so happy to see that many of the books from BFIAR were on her recommended book list! 

Table Time is one of Anderson's favorite times of the day. He loves painting & drawing & writing & helping me in the kitchen. I love being inside. Because I have the air on. And I tend not to sweat. So, Table Time is great for both of us. Here are some of the fun Table Time activities we've done. PLEASE SHARE any fun ideas you have that we can try! Most of "my ideas" have come from Pinterest & I'm always looking for new ideas so please share! 

One of our first activities was based on If You Give A Cat A Cupcake. Anderson loves all of these books. I bought a cake mix to use for cupcakes but couldn't find my muffin tin. I swear some of our moving boxes ate some of our stuff! Anyway, we ended up just baking a cake & putting the sprinkles on top just like the sprinkles on the cupcake in the book.

  It also talked about looking at seashells in the book & I remembered I had collected a lot of seashells last summer in OBX for him to explore later. I dug them out of the abyss that is my craft basket & he loved playing with them. And by playing I mean lining them up, because that's his favorite thing to do with toys. Line them all up.

He really likes the book Where The Wild Things Are which is so surprising to me since he gets scared so easily of things. I actually think this book helped him get over his fear of monsters but I'm not entirely sure. Either way, he likes this book. One morning after reading it we made a crown & he LOVES his crown. It is ripped & falling apart now after being played with for a couple of weeks but for a few days he kept calling it his "King Max". It was cute. But now he knows what a crown is!

Another "hit" activity has been "matching". This is a pinterest idea. One of the things I got for Christmas was a laminator. Lame, I know, but I asked for it & was SO excited to get it & I LOVE having it! I wrote out the letters of his name on a piece of construction paper & laminated it & cut the letters out. I put magnets on the back & put the letters on a cookie sheet. I put one set of letters on the sheet so they spelled his name & he matched the second set of letters under it. He loves doing matching.

One of our fun Table Time activities from this week was a Story Bag followed by journal time. I recently found the book Ask Mr. Bear at 2nd & Charles and he really likes the story. It's simple & sweet & includes lots of familiar items & animals. I collected various props & put them in a little bag & pulled them out as we read the story. He loved it so much & wanted me to keep doing it. Sidenote: I needed a piece of cheese and some milk  for 2 of the props. We have A TON of fake food in his kitchen. But apparently we don't have fake cheese or a fake carton of milk! What?! But not to worry, I did find a fake can of Oxtail Soup and little plastic crackers with fake caviar on them...Oh the woes of yard sale-ing in upscale neighborhoods.

Anyhow, after we did the story bag a couple of times I showed him his special journal I had bought for him {it's so special it was a whole $0.50 at The Wal-Mart. We keep it classy}. Since he loves writing so much I decided to get him his own journal to write in. I also saw the idea of a pre-school journal on pinterest. I wrote the title of the story we had just read at the top of the page & set out the props in front of him for "inspiration". I gave him several choices of writing utensils & he went to town! Seriously, he would pause, think & then write/draw some more. It was so fun to watch him!

As you can tell from the pictures most days we are in our pajamas for Table Time or even on the couch! So the point is these activities are usually pretty simple so what simple ideas do you have to pass along?


Let's Play The Name Game

You may recall that the moment those two pink lines showed up on the stick, with Anderson, I became a total freak. Sometimes I'm amazed I could still function. But somehow I pulled through. I did many a first-time-psycho-mom things one of which was to go through my Facebook friends list & remove 400+ friends who I thought had the potential of being or one day being a predator. Most of these friends were male (sorry guys, it's just reality) & most I did not know or really care to keep up with anymore. 

Another thing I requested was that Anderson's full name not be posted anywhere. I also asked that family & friends not put all of his birth stats on social media. (1.) Because, who cares? (2.) Because that's a lot of deets on a person just to be floating out there for all the world to know.

But now, I'm more laid back, you know, it being our second time around & all. I'm practically a pro at all of this (HA!).

I love knowing what people will name their children & how they decided on those names so I'll share how we picked the names we picked but first up is Anderson because I never did this for him when I was pregnant.

I just assumed that if we had a boy he would be named after Andrew & we'd call him Drew. In fact, I thought that was his name when we did find out he was a boy but sitting in the waiting room Andrew said he wanted his son to have his own name & he wanted to decide the name RIGHT NOW! Ok, ummm...no pressure.

We did have a list we'd been referencing but I just couldn't imagine he wouldn't want to use his own name when it came down to it. I was wrong. We decided to go with JOHN ANDERSON.

The gospel of John means a lot to both of us. John & Romans are my two favorite books of the Bible and my life verse is in John:

I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.
John 15:5

Andrew & I had studied the book of John with our small group & learned so much. Also, there are lots of wonderful Christian men named John: John Piper, John Owen, John Calvin & you know, the Apostle John. 

Also, John means "God is gracious". We both love the name.

Next up was Anderson. It has been on my list since high school. I found out it is my uncle's middle name & I loved it. I thought it sounded so strong & manly & was unique but not weird. Andrew also liked it. When I looked up the meaning we KNEW this had to be his name. Anderson means "son of Andrew". It also has the same meaning as the name Andrew, which is "manly, warrior".

Our sweet John Anderson:

Next up is our coming son, JAMES CALVIN.

James is a family name. It is my grandfather's name as well as my youngest brother's middle name. A fun fact, this baby's EDD is on Stephen's birthday! Also, I have 2 cousins that had babies last year that used James/Jaymes as the middle names. 

Our pastor has also been teaching on the book of James & it has meant a great deal to Andrew. Especially James 1:2-4 which says,

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
James 1:2-4

Calvin is for John Calvin who has influenced our faith & beliefs so much. His ideas have helped me to better understand The Gospel & grow to love theology. I consider it such an honor to name a son after him.

Our precious James Calvin:

We're keeping with the theme of a "J' first name & calling him by his middle name. Stephen said we're turning into the Duggars. Of course, I love it! But really, I have no idea if we'll continue on with this "theme" or not in the future. I will say if it had been a girl she would've had a "J" first name but just because that's the name we both liked but we would've called her by her first name, not middle so it's not something that is set in stone for us & who knows what names we'll like next time around; Lord willing there will be more!

What I want to know is how did you decided on your children's names? Familial? Meaning? Sound?


Lesson #1

For now our plan is to homeschool. Yeah, I know, easy to say & plan & dream when we only have one child & he's just 2 but for now that is our plan. We know plans change & we're open to that. Also, we don't think that there's only one right way to do school. Every family is different & what works for one family may not work for another. We also don't think homeschooling is a more spiritual form of school. In fact, we both graduated from public high schools & so far neither one of us has tried crack. With all of that said we've decided to test the homeschooling waters.

I've known for a while that I wanted to use Before Five In A Row {BFIAR} with Anderson. It uses lots of classic children's literature to form a strong foundation of loving to read & loving to learn. I was debating whether I should start it with him this month or if I should wait until the fall. Well, when we found out I was pregnant I decided to start it in the new year as something fun for us to do until Baby arrives this summer. We probably won't do much, if anything, in the fall so I figured this would be a great time.

Anderson LOVES books. LOVES LOVES LOVES them. He wants us to read him books all night long. We eventually have to tell him no more books, it's time for bed. He then cries & pitches a little fit for "mo' bookths" & sometimes we even have to spank him. I'm like, "What kind of mother spanks her child for wanting to read more?!" Not that that's what I'm actually spanking him for. More like for having a disrespectful attitude but you get my point.

Lambert even says in the intro that this is not a cirriculum that is going to help your pre-schooler do math work sheets & accounting & physics at an early age so that they can be a star student & wow The Masses. No, it's a cirriculum that is designed to instill a love of reading & learning but ALSO to teach parents how to teach.

Well, I certainly learned the first lesson this week!

We already have 6 of the books on the list. I spent a long, embarassing, undisclosed amount of time creating mini lesson plans. Basically just to make sure I was prepared & had the supplies on hand that I would need. Also, I loved the planning. The chart making, the list making, the whole thing. It was fun.

See, we're not doing rocket science over here.

So Monday arrived along with some tummy troubles. I wrote the day off to couch-laying & TV-watching & napping. Lots of napping. I didn't really worry about not doing that day's activities. Afterall, this is a perk of homeschooling right? Flexibility. 

So Tuesday morning was met with a much happier pregnant tummy & hormones more in check. Except all of my previous planning had not gone into action & we didn't have some of the supplies we needed. After a while I got us both decent enough to get to the store to gather some of the supplies and while I was there I picked up some things for dinner too because hey, I was feeling ambitious.

After Anderson's nap we immediately read the book for the week. He seemed to enjoy it enough so I told him all about a fun craft we were going to do while I got all of our supplies laid out. He was giddy with excitement.
 "Oooo! A cwaft!"
"That's right, buddy! A fun craft!"
"Pate! Pate! Pate!"
"Ok, just a minute. Mommy has to open the paper plates & then I'll show you what we're going to do."
"Pate! Pate! Pate!"
"Here just hold this plate for a minute while I finish getting everything else ready."
Satisfactorily, "Paaaaaaate"

The book of the week was Ezra Jack Keats' Snowy Day. The craft was to make a mixed media piece of artwork that resembled the ideas of the mixed media used in Keats' book. First we were going to cut up bits of tissue paper, glue them to a paper plate & then use water color paints over the paper & see the effect.

Well, I couldn't find the daggum watercolors. Maybe I threw them away in a cleaning frenzy. He had mixed up most of the colors anyway but stil I thought I had them! Maddening!

Ok, forget the water colors. We'll just practice cutting & gluing & talk about how the paper bits were like snowflakes. All unique & different.

Scissors are apparently not as easy a tool to use as I thought they would be. He was just frustrated with not being able to cut and quickly became bored. So I handed him the purple glue stick.
"That's right. Can you rub the purple glue on the plate?"

I showed him how to use the glue stick & it was an instant hit. I then showed him how we were going to put our paper "snowflakes" on the purple glue on the plate to make some pretty artwork.

"Look, can you put the snowflakes on the glue?"
"Yes, put this piece of paper on the purple."

I set the glue stick to the side which was a big mistake.

"Puuuh-ple! Puuuuh-ple!! Puhhhh-ple!!!!"

So I decided he could just be the glue-sticker & I would put the paper on the plate. Soon he discovered the pile of tiny pieces of tissue paper just sitting in front of him on the table. It obviously looked appealing as he picked up a big handful & threw it into the air. Uncontrollable laughter followed.

I tried to re-direct his attention to the task at hand. But he would not be diverted. He continued to gather up the paper & throw it into the air laughing hysterically & saying, "I make a mess! I make a mess!"

I, thankfully, quickly abandoned our craft plans & joined in the laughter. 

Lesson Learned: go with the flow. Sometimes "the student" has more fun with a pretend snowpile than a snowy craft. And remember, he's 2. So there's no pressure.

Andrew arrived home & asked Anderson where his craft was. Yeah, about that....

The few bits we had glued to the plate he had ripped off to add to the pile that he was throwing all over the kitchen. In the end, he enjoyed the book & had a great laugh. And even though my plan wasn't accomplished we still had fun together.


This Time Around

We are so excited, thrilled, joyful, grateful, lots-of-good emotions about this new baby!

I will say, this pregnancy has been different than the last time, for sure.

Last time I was a total freak and quite frankly I just don't have the brain capacity to keep up with all of the "rules" and guidelines I followed when I was pregnant with Anderson. We're pretty much in survival mode.

I need a nap. << this sums up my thoughts & feelings right now.



Anderson is TWO!

Didn't I just write the One post? Here I am writing Two. What a blessing!

I'm amazed at how much he has changed, grown, learned this year. It is truly astounding to watch God's design for the human body literally take shape. He has gotten so much taller & has become so much more verbal.

Some highlights from the year:

He took swimming lessons this spring & absolutely hated it but thankfully this summer he LOVED swimming in the pool. I give all the credit to the puddle jumper!

We went on a long road trip & saw some new states he hadn't been to yet!

I weaned him this fall which was bittersweet for sure. And NOT easy.

He moved off of the baby hall at the church nursery to the sunday school hall. *tear*

He got some new cousins this year (Noah, Ava Jaymes, and Millie)!

Some of my favorite Anderson words/pharses are:

"Crackees" - crackers
"Oh cold me!" - I'm cold
"Pocko" - cup (sadly, he's learned the word cup now)
"Moush, Noshe, Cheen" - mouth, nose, chin
"Nice" - he says this after he makes a good football throw, after we do "cheers" at the table, pretty much anytime he's pleased with what's just happened. It's hilarious!
"Oh Waining?" - due to the yucky weather lately everytime I open the door he asks if it's raining.
"I dub oo" - just this week he's starting saying I love you! It's been breaking my heart that he wouldn't say it & it's still few & far between but when he does I melt on the inside!

Favorite Colors:

Green {with the exception of pink all colors are "Geen or "Not Geen" but he is quickly improving his color-recognizing skills, many thanks to Play-Doh!}

Favorite Things:

Balls {especially footballs}

His tennis shoes - seriously, he's slept in them. He LOVES them!

Kitty-Kitty - he's so obsessed with the cat. If he knows the cat is inside he'll yell, "Kitty-Kitty! Kitty-Kitty!" Also, I've recently told him, "Don't put money on the cat" {I have no idea why but he loves putting coins all over him}, "You can't sit on the cat", "Be sweet to the cat", "Don't throw the ball at the cat", "No no touch the cat food" {he loves to pick up one tiny piece of cat food & try to feed it to him}. Surprisingly, the cat has become more tolerant of him recently, maybe it's just because he's tired of running so much ;-)

Trains - anytime he sees a train or we talk about a train he says, "All Aboud {no "r" sound}" while he does his arm up & down "Choo-Choo"! It's so adorable!


2 of anything {especially 2 hats}

Mickey Mouse - he LOVES to watch Mickey Mouse clubhouse! "Watch Mickin, Mama!" He knows almost all of the characters: "Geefy" {Goofy}, "Donal" {Donald}, "Meenee", "Mickin" {Mickey}. He dances to the songs & says, "Hotdog!" I love watching him watch Mickey Mouse Clubhouse!

Cheers - this is a fairly new favorite thing & I'm not sure how long it will last but right now he loves to do "cheers" with our cups when we are sitting at the table. I'm not sure where he learned this or if he has just seen us do it with wine glasses before & is just now able to express that he knows what it is but he really loves to do cheers. We eventually have to say, "Ok, no more cheers, it's time to eat."

Praying - this one is the most meaningful & the sweetest. He loves to pray & whenever I say, "Anderson, we need to pray." He immediately runs over, bows his head, closes his eyes & puts his little hands together. Sometimes he evens prays out loud with me & it usually goes something like this, "Nonnie, Poppa, Ganma, Anna, Uncle Aimee. AMEEN!" Also, when he lays down for a nap we pray and when he lays down for bedtime we pray & it's just a very sweet time. We kept him in the church service with us last week & when we would whisper, "It's time to pray" he would bow his head, close his eyes & put his hands together. I could feel his little eyes watch me after a few moments since he wasn't sure if we were still praying & I would show him that we were & he would assume the position again. It was so sweet & I nearly cried. The Lord shows me, through my sweet son, His faithfulness & how little moments of discipline (easy & hard) are fruitful! What a blessing!

Anderson, we couldn't love you more. You bring joy, fun & laughter to our family. Everyday is something new and learning right along with you is the best adventure! I love you, son and I'm grateful for every moment we share with you!