Thursday, January 27, 2011

Our Basketball Star

We don't have the kids participate in many league sports.  It takes a lot of money, desire from them, and most impotantly, time.  (When Matthew was five, he played soccer and they wanted those kids to meet three times a week!  No way!  Chris became his coach and only met for one practice a week and that, coupled with a game every Saturday, was too much in my opinion, for five year olds.)  If I can't get at least two kids involved in something at the same time, we end up finding it's more of a pain to get to practices and games than it's worth, even to the participating child.  It's not just we parents being selfish or lazy;  our kids are young and usually their interest will wane before the two month long season is up, but we require them to finish up the season they started.

Gabe is a different story.  He's been awesome at things like throwing balls since he was a baby.  (I try not to compare him to his brothers, but it was evident even then that he got a bit more of an athletic gene than they did!)  He's been to his brothers' soccer and football games and has wanted to play for most of the years of his life.  When the older boys played flag football last fall, the coaches talked about the upcoming basketball season quite a bit and Gabriel let us know that he really, really wanted to play.  The church that the older boys played football though didn't start letting kids play until they were in first grade, and the older boys did not want to play.  Luckily for Gabe, I found a league that he was old enough for, was pretty inexpensive, and was very conveinant time and location-wise.  Whoo-hoo!

So Gabe started playing basketball two weeks ago at the Schertz YMCA where I attend my Weight Watchers meetings.  Even better, they only meet once a week, and it happens to be directly following my WW meeting every Saturday. 

To make the deal even better, I had signed Leah up for a Mommy & Me tumbling class that met at the same time as Gabe's basketball, but they ended up changing the time for that and it didn't work out.  :o(  But I still am thrilled that I get two activities (WW and basketball) out of one morning and at one place.

And Gabe is doing so well, and most importantly, he is loving it. He sits through my WW meeting for 30 minutes with his Leapster and is ready to play ball when it's over.

Swoosh...nothin' but net!

Gabe had to slide into the back of the line after every turn.  He's all about falling down as much as he can for fun!

At the end of every session, the kids put their hands on their head and get stickers on their hands.  This is one of Gabe's favorite parts of the day!

Leah came with us last week because Anna was sick and wanted all of Daddy's attention.

I'm not sure how long he'll be in the top half of talent on his team because of the whole height issue (or lack there of) that he has, but we'll enjoy it while we can!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

On School Stuff

Gabe has been plugging away in his kindergarten curriculum. (MFW Kindergarten)

For the past week he studied the letter and a unit study of I-i-insect.  What could be more fun for a five year old (and his brothers) in a insect study than making an ant farm? 

I feel kind of dumb saying this, but I really think that these ants are smarter than they should be.  They are supposed to be digging tunnels all the time but a group of them sits at the top of the ant hill a lot and I think they are trying to figure out how to get out.  There are little air holes at the top that the ants are bigger than, but I don't know if they can squeeze out.  They even piled a little hill of sand at the top that I had to disperse with stick.  The whole time the little top was open while I was doing that, I was expecting the ants to jump out and attack me.  And these are big ants, and they bite.  I don't like squishing big bugs very much and I secretly hope that these ants die soon.  But it's one of those things about raising my children, like allowing them to race their bikes down the sidewalk or climb huge rocks, where I'd rather they just stay safe and secure in a soft room, but I make myself allow them to do those fun things in life that will grow them.   

Okay, now that you know about my ant anxiety, let's move on. 

We did this same kindergarten curriculum with Matthew two years ago (yes, I love it that much and will use it two more times for my girls) and some time after we did this insect unit, I saw a jar of honey at Walmart with a piece of bee hive still in it!  I thought it was cool and bought it so we'd have it when we needed it for Gabriel (otherwise I'd never remember). 

So we got to look at a real bee hive up close.  The boys checked for bees in it but didn't find any.  I think they were a little disappointed. 

And then we enjoyed a yummy snack of honey spread on bread.  Thank you God for bees that give us yummy honey!

We also painted ladybug rocks.

Leah started some "school" of her own using a Kumon coloring workbook.  She was very proud of her work and was excited to show her daddy her work.

I've been trying out a new schedule with the kids.  Leah will be three years old in May and is well past the point at which all of the boys stopped taking naps.  But I need Leah to take naps because she wants to do school with the boys when she doesn't take a nap (hence, the new workbook).  But she wants 100% of my attention so it's not like I can just keep her busy with it while I do school with the boys.  Anyways, we ended up scooching her bedtime from 7PM with Anna, to 8PM with the boys and she takes her nap a little late.  Or I put her up for a nap and she plays in her bed until she hears Anna wake up, which is fine with me, and on those days, she still needs to go to bed at 7PM.

But to make up for her shorter nap time, and so I can have a little break during the girls' naps instead of schooling for the whole naptime, I've started having Christopher and Matthew do their more independent school work in the morning, after breakfast, before any Wii is allowed.  We just started this week, and it's gotten mixed reactions from the boys.  The first two days they did fine but yesterday they complained a bit.  But it was nice to have shorter school afternoons, and they both get through their independent work rather quickly, less than an hour for Matthew to do math, spelling and english, and the same for Christopher to do math, english and writing, most days, and then we have about an hour more school to do in the afternoon. 

We've never broken up our school day before, but I think this will work.  I've also been using Anna as my alarm clock since she is still waking up for an early morning bottle.  Thankfully, she goes back to sleep for a couple of more hours.  So I wake up between 6:00 and 6:30 AM to give her a bottle and then I have been staying up to do some stuff in a quiet house...actually having a time with God and reading my Bible, getting on the computer, making hubby's breakfast and lunch (he loves that one), and just getting some house stuff done.  Here is what our day now looks like:
6:00 (ish) - Mom wakes up
7:00 (ish) - Boys wake up, play
7:00-8:00 (ish) - Leah wakes up, plays
8:00 - Breakfast, Bible reading to the boys, morning chores
8:15 (ish) - Older boys do school, younger kids play, Anna wakes up some time
9:15 (ish) - Wii, play, go to gym some days
12:00 - Lunch, midday chores
1:00 - Naptime for Anna
2:00 - Naptime for Leah
2:00-3:00 (ish) - School, play
4:00 (ish)- Girls wake up
5:00 (ish)- Chris comes home and saves me

Notice how everything is (ish) except for meal times and Anna's nap.  The boys are not very flexable when it comes to food and I'm not very flexable when it comes to naps!

Oh, and we go to our homeschool co-op on Friday mornings, so all school (not very much as it's scheduled as a "light" day) is in the afternoon. 

Alright, I am being beckoned to make breakfast.  Right on time!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

A Princess Turns One

One year and eight months ago, our family was excited and surprised to learn that we would be increasing in number.
One year ago January 3rd, Chris and I were putting away our Christmas decorations around the house, when a most unexpected thing happened. 
My water broke.

Taken the day my water broke...37 weeks on the dot.  And no, it's not twins. :o(

Unexpected because I had a full three weeks before my due date.
Unexpected because my water had not broken on its own before in my four other pregnancies.
It was followed by an unexpected eventful birth the next day, January 4th, followed by a one week stay in the NICU for our little one.

This was taken after a tube was taken out of her mouth and sensors were taken off of chest.

But though a lot about our fifth child was unexpected by us, we are happy that God knew all about her and decided she was to be.

Happy Birthday to our sweet Anna Leella.  We love her so.

And we celebrated her with lots of pink.  Because she's a princess and after three boys, I still haven't gotten my fill of pink with her and Leah.

Her birthday was actually on January 4th, the same day as Chris' promotion.  So we had leftover promotion cake for her that evening.

And we had a pink princess party for her the next day with her friends.

Awesome cake made by her daddy!

Now here's a pretty non-princess-y story...see the octopus bubble machine to Anna's right?  She stuck her hands into the bubbles and then like usual, into her mouth.  I was laughing as I took pictures of the funny, gross faces she was making.  Not very nice, right?

Anna didn't think so.  This was taken about one second before she vomitted all over herself and the counter.  Take that, Mommy.  She was kind enough to miss the cake though.

Here is Anna with her guests eating pancakes, mini bagels, mini muffins, tator tots, bananas, mini meatballs and mini quiches.  It was all easy to make; we may have brunch parties more often.

Anna had her own little 'smash' cake. 

This was 100% the best cake eating show I have seen from a one year old.  She was chewing this thing without even lifting her mouth from her cake!  She looked like she was sucking on it.

I'm not sure that she looks very proper princess-y here!  What a mess!

Anna with her birthday gift from Mommy and Daddy...a new pink rocking chair!

I'm pretty sure that Anna had a really fun time at her party and while it makes me a bit sad seeing how quickly she turned one, I'm so excited for the little girl that she is growing up to be!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

A MAJOR Accomplishment

Nine years and seven months ago, my super duper hubby graduated from the ROTC program at the University of Florida (Go Gators!) and was commissioned into the United States Air Force.  Two days later, we moved with our two month old son to San Antonio, Texas. 

I had no idea about military life or being a military wife.  I learned quickly, and I loved it.  I still love it.  Most of it anyways.

And I love being married to my man who just pinned on his new rank...Major. 

And we were thrilled that his dad and step mom as well as his mom were able to come from Arizona and Florida to celebrate with us.

I am so proud of my husband and so blessed and thankful for the job that he has.