Saturday, April 20, 2013

A little break

I know I've been taking a little break from blogging, but it's going to go on a bit longer. My dear friend Corina surprised me and showed up in my living room last night! She's here for about a two-week stay, so I'm not going to spend much time on here.

See you in a couple weeks!

Monday, April 08, 2013

A, B, C and 1, 2, 3

At the end of January I decided Katie needed a bit of extra structure in her day, so we started learning her letters. My goal was a letter a week which would take 26 weeks. Well, Katie wasn't satisfied with one letter and kept asking for more. So we did more. In two weeks she could identify all her letters(some with a bit of coaching) and the sound(s) each makes. Even some double letter combinations like "ow", "sh", "th" etc.

We've been using these flashcards that my mom had. I know they say not to teach kids who haven't started to read yet, but I disagree. I read in another phonics book about teaching kids sounds and their argument was that kids can know the whole alphabet, but not know the sounds the letters make. And they only make the sounds of their name, 10% of the time. Follow me? Anyways, Katie has been learning the sounds and the names of all the letters.

She loves to find letters in words and will pick them off signs as we're driving too. She hasn't made the connection that the letters makes words which you can read, but ya.. she's only three, so we're not pushing that! Shes knows that her name starts with 'K' and Emma's starts with 'E' and other names with their appropriate letter.

I've been trying to have a bit of schedule, so that after Emma goes to bed in the morning around 10am, we have coffee break and spend 1/2 hour or 45 minutes on her letters and activities. I bought a cute tracing book from Costco full of activities to trace in preparation for writing letters. I also printed some letter colouring pages which she likes. I haven't been that faithful in the last few weeks and she's been missing it.

She usually asks every day to do her "tivities" and letters. She also been learning her numbers here and there. She can count to 10 and has just made the connection to actually count items. She used to just randomly point and count to 10 every time, but she's now actually pointing to each item and counting them off and stopping when she's counted them all.  Exciting to see the connection made!

I've learned that so so so many moments are teaching moments; whether it's letters, numbers, attitude, general skills and most importantly if it's about Jesus. She just soaks up information and wants to know all the information surrounding it. She's not very content with vague answers. She is however easy to distract, so if something is just too complicated to explain we can usually grab her attention pretty easily with something else.

Unfortunately it's also so so easy to brush off those teachable moments because something else is going on or I'm busy with something. There are too many times where I just tell her to be quiet instead of taking the time to explain what's happening in the picture; too many times I tell her to go and do something else because I'm busy and don't have time to explain every single ingredient that's going into my bread, too many times that I ask Ben to just read 10ish verses of the Bible or close the meal with prayer and skip the Bible reading because the kids are cranky and crying and no one is going to hear anything anyways. But those teaching moments are so valuable and SO important; I need to just relax sometimes and not get my bread done in record time; sometimes we should just move to the living room for a change of scenery and then close the meal in peace mostly peace and quiet. Sometimes, no, all the time we need to ask, "Lord, what would you have me teach and learn today and in this moment?"

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

March 2013

We finished our tax return in record time on March 4, right after getting our last tax receipt. We have a very straight forward return, so Ben was done in a couple hours. This was our first year of using a Turbo Tax package and it worked great! We our cheques in the mail about 10 days later.

We all were sick the beginning of the month too. Colds, coughs, sinus infections. We all stayed home all day on Sunday; a first in this house! Thankfully our parents were willing to act as janitors for us for the day!

I had way too many appointments this month: multiple dentist, doctor, optometrist. Phew! I'm glad to be done and glad to be done asking for babysitting all the time! I had a tooth pulled! Ugh! It was my top, right molar at the very back. It had a small cavity, but it was right on the gum line and very hard to get at (hence the reason I got it in the first place). The dentist tried a few times, but it was just too low and it kept bleeding. I was fine with having it pulled, I haven't really missed it at all. The dentist said my teeth shouldn't shift much as my bottom teeth should keep the top in line.

I tried meal planning and grocery shopping for the whole month at the beginning of the month. I would say it was a partial success.  I had to do quick shopping trips for fruit and milk and I ended up picking up some extra food as we entertained a bunch which used up some supplies. It was nice to know that I had everything in the house for my meals each week, so I didn't have to worry about that. It was also easier for me to see and remember how often we're eating what and easier to see that, for example, we should be eating more chicken. I'm going to try again for April; I think it will improve as I get used it.

The whole VMS family went to Leamington to surprise Ben's brother, Eric for his 30th. He was surprised and, I think, happy that we all drove down for his birthday. On the way back we saw a hydro pole on fire: literally a tower of flames. We called it in and the fire truck was there within 10 minutes. It was very strange to see this tower of flames in the sky though.

Ben finished the play room downstairs for the girls. He started the last week of February and finished April 1, so about five weeks. It seemed like we were working on it for a long time, but it wasn't at all. I actually contributed more than my "usual" to this project and did almost all the painting and a lot of sanding. It was nice to surprise Ben one day who planned on coming home from work and putting the first coat of colour on the walls, but instead came home to both coats already on! Thankfully the kids were very good that day, so I was able to spend 5+ hours down there frantically painting!

Ben turned 27 this month too. We had our parents over for coffee and I made him his requested chocolate cake with chocolate icing. I also did our Thursday night church cleaning through the week so I could say "we're going out for supper tonight" when he came home from work, instead of church cleaning.