Wednesday, February 29, 2012

An Average [Homeschool] Day In The Organized Chaos Household

I've been asked quite a few times now to write this blog. So here it is!

Just a little disclaimer... We don't have a super strict homeschool schedule, so this is honestly pretty boring and probably not very useful lol. You're not going to see exact times and how long lessons last. Sorry!

I am *usually* up after my husband leaves for work around 5:30am-ish (On duty days or when he's otherwise not here, I might sleep a little longer.). But that's my time with the baby, nursing him etc. I typically make my bed and pick up my bedroom/bathroom. If the baby allows it, I get a shower. If not... I try to squeeze one in some time during the day.

The kids are usually up 7-ish. Sometimes earlier, sometimes later. They eat breakfast and do that usual morning stuff.

We try to start school first thing, right after the kids make their beds. I have them begin with math, then reading etc. Alex (9.5) is more independent because he can read and understand everything well. Cameron (7) and Wyatt (6) still need assistance with directions. There are a number of things the toddlers will be doing during this time. They will sometimes play quietly together with the play kitchen, work on puzzles, do a workbook, color, do little activities with me or they could be napping. The baby pretty much needs to be attached to someone 24/7, so I'm usually wearing/holding him. He IS starting to play with the toddlers more now though!

As we go along with the lessons I help who needs help, as they need it. In between assisting with work, I am picking up, wiping toddler snot, cleaning the floor, dusting, cleaning a bathroom, doing a load of laundry, preparing a meal... whatever needs to be done. Often I am multi-tasking (but I always give the real attention to the lessons). Cameron and Wyatt are almost always done with school by lunch. Alex is done by lunch probably 70% of the time. If Alex isn't done before lunch, he finishes right afterwards.

Once school is done that leaves the afternoons open to do everything else that needs to be done around the house or to bring the kids for a walk or something like that. After lunch/once school is done, I like to finish most of the house work. I have the kids make sure their rooms are picked up, just to keep them from becoming a complete disaster. After that is done, we play, go for walks, play with neighborhood kids/friends, read books, draw pictures... We do stuff together.

When the time to make dinner rolls around, the kids go off to play in their rooms or relax. Sometimes I have them help me (which is actually more work for me, but I make lessons out of it!). After dinner is done and cleaned up, we spend more time together and they play.

Before bed, the kids have to pick up and dust their rooms, clean their bathroom (to the best of their ability anyway LOL. I end up re-cleaning.) and Alex vacuums the 2 boys rooms. I vacuum my room, Annabella's room and the hallway. Then they do their bedtime routine, like brushing their teeth, showers/baths, you know, the usual stuff.

So there it is... Our average day. I told you it was boring. Some days are exciting.. but not our average day! lol

A boring Wednesday morning.

I definitely like to throw in field trips now and then. When the spring comes I plan to do a lot more outside. I also plan to get the kids into outside activities/sports again. The weekends we almost always go out and do something. Even if it's just the park. I also take one weekend afternoon or evening (more often than not, Sunday) to deep clean everything, move furniture upstairs to vacuum baseboards, to organize etc. It makes my week easier.

I think I just got a glimpse into my future...

When I went to wake Annabella (age 2) from her nap for lunch, she refused to get up. I went in nice, talking to her softly and telling her it was time for lunch. Her reply was "GOOOOOO Mommy!" and pulled the blanket up over her...

Did my daughter just channel her 16 year old self? I think so.

Wordless Wednesday: Fluffy bums are the best

This one, just because...

That cloth diaper is a BumGenius Elemental, Albert print, in case anyone was wondering!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Ode to Keurig

My Keurig is a serious enabler to my coffee addiction.

Ode to Keurig

Oh, Keurig how I love thee
I'll take a cup of coffee... or three

Even when my machine breaks, how could I stray?
You send a replacement out, next day!

My machine is amazing,
Customer Service is great.
You're always ready for me,
even when I'm running late.

I have a variety of k-cups galore,
but can't help myself and keep buying more.

Here's to you my friend Keurig,
who I use all day long.
I can't stray from you ever,
you keep me going strong.

I'm a mother of 6... coffee is my FUEL!

Cameron had me laughing this morning

I really DO need to blog about the things my kids say. This morning I was laughing so hard I almost couldn't breathe. It wasn't really *that* funny, but the way Cameron said it completely cracked me up.

Cameron: *yells down stairs* "Mommy! Zayne doesn't have blue eyes! He has green eyes!"

Me: "They are still mostly blue, but they look more green than yours."

Cameron: *while running to his bedroom* "Zayne was adoooopted!"

If that boy wasn't homeschooled, he'd be the class clown, I'm sure of it.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

This is why I'm a clean freak

THIS is why I'm a clean freak... or one of several reasons anyway!

My husband and I were putting away our laundry and we let Declan explore while we did. He decided that under our bed, was a good place. [Note that there is NOTHING allowed under beds here. It drives me crazy. Oh and yeah, the supports under my bed are beat to hell from all of the moves we have done. Yeah, that's it...]

Declan loves to explore all over downstairs too, of course.

Some people think I'm nuts because I vacuum downstairs twice a day (The floor AND baseboards.), swiffer all throughout the day and use our hard floor cleaner (Hoover Floormate... I LOVE that thing!) at least a few times a week, but usually daily. Upstairs I vacuum once a day, because the dogs do not go up there at all. [Side Bar: Stormy is terrified of stairs, so she wont go up them. Emmie and her have to be together 24/7, so Emmie stays downstairs with Stormy. They are co-dependent or something.] Besides the fact that I like everything clean and organized anyway, the baby (and all of the kids before him) exploring all over the floor is a big reason I clean the floor as obsessively as I do. I don't want that little guy army crawling all over and getting all dirty from the floor. Plus, I don't want MY feet getting dirty from the floor.

There you have it. A little look into my floor cleaning insanity.

Friday, February 24, 2012

One of *those* days

You know those days where you're cranky because of a bunch of insignificant little annoying things? THEN just when your annoyance level begins to level out, you come across something that just makes you want to punch a hole on your laptop? Yeah, that's me today.

I didn't just see one thing, but TWO things that really just got under my skin. It has irritated me to a level that is logically unreasonable, but it still did. One good thing about it though, it gave me a new appreciation for my very real and open portrayal of myself and my life, online. When you know how someone is and then you stumble across their blog and it's loaded with FAKE, oh my... it's frustrating. It is to me anyway. I shouldn't even care, but alas, I do.

I don't try to pretend I'm something I'm not. I'm a pain in the ass. I'm a clean freak and I'm an organization freak. It drives my husband crazy. I can cook and bake pretty well, but I'm no Martha Stewart. I'm crafty, but I'm not some amazing crafting visionary. 90% of the time I look like complete crap. I need to lose weight and because of that I barely own any clothes that fit... but when I go shopping I just want to cry looking at how terrible I look in everything, so I don't buy anything that does fit me. I really have no sense of fashion either. I'm perfectly content rocking my chucks and a pair of black pants or jeans with a sweatshirt. I do try to look good when I go out, but I can only look so good when I don't have any nice clothes lol. Hair and make-up only goes so far. But anyway, now that I've given everyone a picture of just how much of a hot mess I am... back to the point. I'm far from perfect, my kids are normal kids and my husband... is a man. Raising my children, homeschooling them, keeping my house clean, cooking meals and taking care of my husband, is all far more important to me than trying to be a fashionista or the most popular blogger. I'm ok with the fact that people aren't looking to me for fashion tips or for the next best home decor idea. I'm ok with the fact that my life doesn't come across as something to be jealous of. At this time in my life, my children are my focus. I'd rather be here with them than trying to go out and pretend I'm someone else.

At the end of the day, I do have something to show for what I do. I can be proud of how my children behave when we go places. I can be proud of myself for keeping the home in order while my husband works. I can be proud of the job I'm doing educating my children. I can be proud that I have focused on what really matters and not on an image that I want to portray.

Now, I should probably go try to squeeze a shower in, so I don't start to stink.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

A talk with my boys

Today, I had to sit my older boys down and have a talk about name calling. They know that calling each other names, such as "idiot" or "stupid", I consider the same as them using curse words. I have heard some name calling lately, so I needed to deal with it. They wouldn't dream of calling another child names (so far anyway), but apparently think it's ok to call their siblings names. I wanted to refresh their little minds, that it's in fact, not acceptable in this house.

I explained to the boys that calling people names like that is hurtful. We had a discussion about the importance of choosing your words carefully when you're angry or frustrated. We talked about different ways they can address how they are feeling and how to deal with being mad at each other. I was actually a bit surprised at how receptive they were and how mature the conversation was. I guess the older 3 just aren't babies anymore.

I understand that kids will be kids, that siblings will fight and that name calling is just something that will happen now and then. However, I just want them to learn better ways to deal with things than lashing out with hurtful words. Thankfully, physically hurting each other is something very rare. That is just not something acceptable at all and they know it.

I'm trying so hard to raise them to be conscious of other people's feelings, even when they are angry. I want it in the back of their mind so that when they do say something hurtful, they can recognize it and fix it. I can have a sharp tongue myself and it's something that over the years I've worked hard on. I'm still very flawed (Example: Just today I was kind of a jerk to someone who thoroughly annoyed me and was rude to me, and I don't feel bad about it. Yet.), but I do put a lot more thought into things I say. I don't expect my children to be perfect, after all, they are human, like myself. I do want them to grow up with empathy and to be intuitive to others feelings. Even if those other people have done wrong themselves.

I want them to grow up to be better people than I am.

Let me tell you a little something about growing babies

I'm not a Dr. I'm not an expert. I'm just a mom, who has had a good amount of healthy babies. A little... "discussion" today, sparked this jewel right here.

I am going to quote a staff member from one of the Navy clinics I went to (I didn't even like her either.) with my 4th son's pregnancy. "Pregnancy is a state of wellness, not a state of illness." In general, that quote is absolutely the truth. For a healthy woman, pregnancy is not a condition that should be treated as an illness.

I certainly don't know everything, I wont pretend I do. There are however some useful things I have learned along the way during my multiple pregnancies, labors and deliveries. Some of those things can vary based on the mother's goals, but some of those things are very general and good for every healthy pregnancy. For example, exercise and physical activity are GOOD. For a healthy woman, having a healthy pregnancy, continuing normal physical activity or exercise after they become pregnant is ideal. It makes for a healthier pregnancy. This is not my opinion, this is fact. Healthy eating habits are another thing that is ideal. The old school thought that you are "eating for 2" and should consume anything and everything, just isn't true or healthy. You do increase your caloric intake, but that doesn't mean it should be all cookies and chips. This too, is not my opinion, it's fact.

This discussion today, took place on the facebook wall (shocker, I know /sarcasm) of a young and newly pregnant family member of mine. She asked those of us who have had babies, if some cramping in early pregnancy is normal. Most of us assured her it was and told her the usual "as long as it's not severe and you are not bleeding heavily, it's normal". She is a healthy young woman and thus far, albeit early, her pregnancy is healthy. Her uncle on the other hand, started telling her how she needs to take it easy, needs to not walk too much, she shouldn't have too much sex etc. because it can be fatal to the unborn baby. This nearly made my head implode. Is it really necessary to make this newly pregnant and young girl unnecessarily worry that her going for a freaking walk, will cause her to have a miscarriage? NO, it's not. At this point, there is absolutely no reason for her to "slow down" or change her typical moderate activity, from before she became pregnant. The exchange between him and I went on a bit, until I gave up because it was a lost cause, really. Of course, not before he basically told me, he has 5 kids (I wont even go into THAT one) and I don't know what I'm talking about. That literally had me laughing here at my desk.

To all of you newly pregnant ladies out there. If you are healthy, have no history of miscarriage and are having a normal pregnancy. You keep on going for those walks, you keep on working out and you keep on enjoying sex with your partner! Oh and indulge in those cravings, but keep it reasonable! Your body, your health and the healthy baby you're growing, will thank you for it later.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

I think I bought my son a modern "Chucky" doll...

Yes, that's what I said. I think Zayne has a modern Chucky... or something.

Months ago Zayne asked for a "boy baby". I searched all over and found a boy doll (which was harder than I thought it would be!). The company calls this doll "Hayden", so I told Zayne that was his name. He was so excited and played daddy etc. After a while he didn't want to play with him much anymore. Zayne is 3, so that wasn't anything surprising to me.

Today, Zayne says to me "Hayden's family is dead. They had blood all over them." My kids don't watch violent movies/shows or anything like that, so I have no idea where that came from! After talking to him for a few minutes, apparently this is his reasoning for not liking Hayden anymore.

So yeah... I guess I bought my kid a modern Chucky... 

Sunday, February 19, 2012

A cute and easy kids decor idea

I thought this was a really simple a cute idea for the kids school room. I think it would be adorable for a nursery or playroom too!

5x7 whimsical alphabet cards, hemp twine, wooden clothes pins and small hooks.

This is another picture I HAD to have in the school room :).

The Evolution of our Homeschool Room

When we first started homeschooling we just kept the material where it would fit, then our diningroom doubled as a school room and now we have an actual dedicated school room. Since we're homeschooling several children, it makes sense. We spend a large portion of the day in that area between school, art, coloring etc. I really love how our homeschooling and the area that we have dedicated to it, has evolved over the years.

I would love to have a bigger and better space for it, but in the Navy housing we currently live in, this is the best we can have for now. I have lots of plans for a better room someday :).

This is our CURRENT homeschool room!

This is what our homeschool area was 2 years ago!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

My Daughter...

My Daughter just might be the death of me... If nothing else, this girl is going to really be something special.

Annabella is the most determined child. It's both adorable and frustrating at the same time. At 27 months old, when she has her mind set on something, it isn't exactly easy to change it. The other night she sat down on the couch, put the boppy on her lap, lifted up her shirt and demanded that she breastfeed her baby brother. We tried to explain that only Mommy could breastfeed him and that she could breastfeed one of her babies. That just wasn't good enough for her. We went ahead and put Declan on the pillow and when he wasn't interested, she looked at my husband and I and said "He doesn't want it." very matter of fact like. At least that was enough for her to let it go lol.

Future Blackmail... This was her telling Daddy to give Declan to her so she could feed him.

This little girl is already VERY vocal when it comes to what she wears and her hair. She loves pink and anything  girly. She has to have her hair clips in... She has to have the shoes she wants on... It's cute but drives me crazy.

As girly as she is though... Tonight before bed, she stood in front of the toilet, holding herself, trying to pee like her brothers. Oh boy.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Multi-Child Magnetic and Dry Erase Chore Chart!

I ventured out yesterday to the craft store with grand plans of adorable chore charts I'd make each child. When I started pricing what I was going to need, those plans quickly changed. So, while standing in the middle of AC. Moore, I came up with a new idea on the fly and I'm pleasantly surprised at how well it actually turned out, especially for not being all that well thought out.

Here is my new Multi-Child Chore Chart! I'll tell you how I made it, below.
I decided I would do 6 separate sections. 5 for the first 5 kids (since Declan is just a baby) and the 6th for a section to keep track of whether they completed their tasks each day or not. Each day they will either get a green check, showing they did everything or a red X showing they didn't finish everything. At the end of the week, those with green checks every day, will get a small treat or reward. I decided to do the chores pretty detailed, like "Clean Room AM", "Clean Room PM", "Clean Table After Breakfast", "Clean Table After Lunch" etc.

This was really easy to make. It was a little time consuming (about 2 hours) because I am just a tiny bit of a perfectionist (and by tiny bit, I mean I am obsessive).

Here is what I needed:

Large, magnetic dry-erase board.

2 rolls of black 1/8 inch vinyl art tape (The craft store didn't have it, so we bought it at an office supply store.)

Scrapbook letter stickers

A roll of magnet tape

Brightly colored paper (Printer paper, not construction paper. I also bought this at the office supply store.)

Metal rulers we had in the garage

Measuring tape

I also bought those day of the week magnets because they were cute...

Here is how I made it:

I took the large magnetic dry-erase board and decided how I wanted to divide it up to make the separate charts.

I used the rulers and measuring tape to figure out where the lines needed to be made to evenly divide the parts of the chart.

Then used the rulers as guides as I applied the vinyl art tape to make the lines. (This took a while because I wanted it JUST right)

When all of the lines were done, I used the scrapbook letters to add all of the names and text to the board.

Finally, the second most tedious part (second to applying all of the lines) was making the magnetic chores. I cut the magnet tape into 2-inch sections and printed the chores out onto the brightly colored paper.

Once the chores were printed out, I cut them out, larger than the magnets, peeled the paper from the magnets to expose the glue and stuck the chores on. Then I trimmed the extra paper tightly around the magnet to finish them.

It's completely ready to go, from there!

This idea is so basic, it can EASILY be adjusted and varied to fit your needs. The best part about this is, EVERYTHING on it is removable, so I can change it later!

Let me know if you make one too!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Starting Something New!

I am generally an organized person. I like my house clean and organized and I like things done in an organized manner. My husband hasn't been around much because his work hours suck and they wont be getting any better (hello sea duty), so our days here haven't been going as smoothly as I'd like. Things are getting done but it's a little chaotic, so I've decided I'm going to find a better way. I'm going to make a multi-child chore/behavior chart to help better organize and keep track of our day. I'm going to try to come up with something that looks decent so I can hang it in a conspicuous place downstairs, to keep it in sight. I'm also going to try to incorporate some kind of reward system into this.

My goal is to get our daily tasks done in a more organized and less stressful manner. Including homeschooling. My husband being gone so much is wearing on the kids, so I think the extra structure will really benefit them.

Tomorrow I'll be heading to the craft store and utilizing my creative side!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

I can't be the only one, right?

I CAN'T write or blog when my husband sits right next to me, because I know he is reading while I type. I mean, he reads it afterwards anyway, but I just can't focus when I am being watched. It drives me crazy. I don't know why I'm like this, but I just am and I hate it! I had just started this long thought out blog and he came over and sat next to me... now I just can't focus!

I'm not the only one with this problem, right?

Oh, well now that I've completely lost my focus and it's getting late... he fell asleep.