Wednesday, September 25, 2013
With a baby there are so many firsts to look forward to...first time rolling over, first laugh, first steps, first word, etc...and in our family there are a few others firsts as well...
A couple of weeks ago we took Liam to hike his first mountain (Little Chick Hill)! Joe had a Monday afternoon off and it was beautiful so after the kids came home from school we hit the trail. Eli struggled a bit at first...he didn't want to hike, he wanted to go home or be carried, he was suddenly upset that his shoes were muddy (though mud has certainly never bothered this child before), etc... it was a little rough going until he discovered the mushrooms along the trail and loaded up his pockets and hands until they were overflowing! Thankfully Lily and Liam did much better. In fact, Lily was pretty amazing...she hiked like a little pro and without a single complaint. She loved every bit of it and was asking to go on another hike as soon as we were done. And true to form Liam really enjoyed being outside and looking all around. He fell asleep right before the summit and even got to eat on the top when he woke up. I think he likes the outdoors!:)
It was my first time and it had been many years since Joe had hiked this mountain and thus we ended up with a little more adventure than we were expecting (which seems to be the norm for our little family outings)! The trail was pretty muddy in the beginning, it was great in the middle, but then the last third of it was fairly steep and mossy and slick (a bit more technical than we would normally do with the kids). The way up was okay- Eli was a little nervous and needed a fair amount of help, but Lily did great and was loving it. Both of them were more nervous on the way down so I took the baby to free Joe up to help them as much as possible. We all made it just fine and chalked it up to a little adventure!
On the way up
Our little collector
Don't worry Liam, this isn't how daddy feels about you or hiking, it's just how he feels about me taking his picture!:) Yes, it really was this green and beautiful and mossy! Right before it got steep Joe instructing Eli to leave his collection of mushrooms on the rock so he could have
his hands free!
We made it!
And then just the other day Liam had another first. His first canoe trip! The day was gorgeous and just perfect for a short trip in the canoe. Liam enjoyed it for a while and then got tired and a bit cranky and didn't want to be in his life jacket. Feeding him helped a bit (this boy can eat anywhere...in a canoe, on top of a mountain...)but it was a short trip. It was sort of one of those trips where you can at least say that you did it
and got out!
Thursday, September 19, 2013
Wednesday, September 18, 2013
School. Honestly I never would have imagined that the decision of how and where and when to formally educate our children would be so difficult.
You see, before we had children of our own Joe and I swore up and down that we would never homeschool our children. I don't thing we went as far as to say never, but I'm pretty sure we didn't plan on sending them to private school either. We also didn't consider schools or school district in the slightest when we bought our house (we were still many years away from having children at that point and apparently it just didn't cross our minds).
And then we had children and everything changed. And each year for the last couple of years we have had to really think through and consider what would be best for each of our children in this area. Making these decisions hasn't been easy for me. Two years ago Lily did Pre-K at a program through the university here. She loved it and it was a wonderful experience. Last year we did homeschool kindergarten with her and it was both good and hard. Some of the hard parts, of course, had to do with the fact that I was pregnant and quite sick for much of the school year. So honestly for this year we considered all kinds of options. And it became clear to me that homeschooling Lily again this year would not be the best thing for her or me or our family as a whole. There are some women, God bless them, who are able to homeschool their older children with an infant in the house. But I'm just not that kind of multi-tasker. Will we return to homeschooling someday? Quite possibly. There are a lot of factors so we'll just take it as it comes.
So once we decided not to homeschool this year we began to consider a few different traditional schools. We ended up choosing a small Christian school. Now let me say right here that Joe and I are not against public school (we both went to public school from kindergarten through college). But there were so many factors at play in choosing the school we did for Lily (some unique to our family and some not). I don't have the energy to write about all of them here, but they certainly include the personality and needs of our daughter, the schools themselves, teachers, families in the school, other students, our unique situation being in ministry full time (and the crazy schedule that that includes), and all kinds of other educational, social, and political factors. In the end for this year we chose a small Christian school and I am so happy with our choice. I love that Lily is being taught from a biblical world view and I love that it is a school with very high parent involvement (not that I've really been able to take advantage of that yet personally). Joe really likes the school as well though he does struggle with the fact that it's so far away and more expensive than public school. And I have to be honest here...it is only because we get a significant discount for being in ministry that we can afford to send Lily here. And it is only because we are car pooling with two different families that we are able to send her to a school that is a good 20 minutes plus away from home.
So once we decided where Lily was going to go to school this year then we needed to decide what grade she would be in (gosh, will these decisions never end?)!:) We did homeschool kindergarten with her last year and she turned 6 right at the end of our school year last year. So normally she would have gone right into 1st grade but we decided to have her do kindergarten at this new school. This was mostly due to the fact that at her school 1st and 2nd grades are combined and that meant that Lily would have been one of the very youngest in her class. In addition, though I think she probably was ready, we never finished our homeschool curriculum last year (I was just too sick and we got just a little too far behind). So when we considered all of these things along with her desires (which was to do kindergarten- which is just a half day at her school) we realized that this, more gradual entry into traditional school, was the right thing for her for this year. One of the families that we are car pooling with is doing the same thing with their 6 year old son who is in Lily's class. And the wonderful thing about this school is that because the classes are so small they are able to individualize much of the curriculum so she will still be challenged this year and next year if we stay at the school she will go into the combined 1st and 2nd grade class and they will evaluate her then to see whether she is more at a 1st or 2nd grade level. Perfect!
So Lily is doing kindergarten this year and she is LOVING it and I am loving the school and her teacher and I am so very happy with our decision!
And here was a quick snapshot of her whole school on the first day! So that's Lily. She been in school for going on 4 weeks now. And that leaves Eli. Oh thank goodness Lily has paved the way for him and thus the decisions come a little bit easier the 2nd time around (at least so far). Eli is going to preschool for the 2nd year at the university (the same place Lily did Pre-K). This year he is going four mornings a week and he just started last week. He is loving it!
So there we go...I've got two kids in school and a few hours in the morning where it's just me and my littlest babe! And all seems right and I have at least a little time to enjoy it before I have to make any more decisions!
P.S. Ironically as I write this the kids are both home from school sick. Actually all 5 of us are sick (the dog is the only healthy one)! Lily has for sure had the worst of it so far, but both her and Eli seem to be on the rebound and I'm hopeful they will be able to go to school tomorrow. And our poor little baby has been having a rough morning...there is just something so sad about a baby with a stuffy nose. We sure would appreciate your prayers for health and especially for the baby!
Sunday, September 15, 2013
At the end of July my parents (aka Grammy and Bubba) came to visit and meet the newest member of our family! For a week and a half Lily and Eli were loving life with their grandparents and Liam was being soothed to sleep by his Grammy. We enjoyed eating out, time in Bar Harbor, and 5 days at a nearby lake camp that my parents rented. It was lovely. Really though I think the best part was that for that week and a half the kids got to enjoy their grandparents and Joe and I didn't have to worry about entertaining them! They love just being with my parents...going to the movies, going to the jump house, and just all the fun little crafts and games my mom thought of. So wonderful.
One of my goals it to capture more of our everyday life in photos (not just the big events or our days off). This hasn't been easy with my hands so full and thus it might be a goal I'm slowly working towards. But I thought that surely I could accomplish that when my parents were here (and we had two extra set of hands). As you'll see I think I started out well on the first day. And then...well...it just didn't happen. In fact, I didn't get a single picture of Liam with his grandparents. Epic fail. I had great plans for the last day of their visit and sadly dicovered, when we got out to the camp my parents were renting, that my camera battery was back home. Oh well...I guess I'll just have to remember, without the photos to prove it, that Liam was well loved on by his grandparents during that first visit! I'm sad that I missed that, but I did capture a few other moments from their visit...
The first day. My morning alone with Liam while the rest of the family went to pick blueberries and raspberries. Great Grandma's amazing chocolate zucchini bread that traveled all the way from Wisconsin!
And lunch with my other boy!
We love visiting the farmer's market when Grammy and Bubba visit! And another day we made new fairy gardens outside complete with new fairy houses (A flower garden for Lily's flower fairy Pink Fern. A water garden for Eli's new water fairy Splash. And a bug garden for Liam's bug fairy Cricket).
Another day we visited Bar Harbor. Joe and my parents took the kids out on a nature cruise in hopes of seeing dolphins. We decided that it was best for Liam and I to stay behind (he was rather fussy and we weren't sure how he would do for two hours on the boat). That turned out to be a good decision...he was quite fussy so he and I did a lot of strolling around the town and harbor!
The kids had a great time on the cruise, but didn't see any dolphins. It was quite foggy that day and when asked what he saw Eli replied, "Buoys and fog!" Joe confirmed that there was a lot of buoys and fog, but that they did see some seals and birds!
On the way to the restaurant that night we stopped on the bar in Bar Harbor (Eli was with Grammy and Bubba in their car)and watched how quickly the tide came in.
For 4/5 days we played at the camp my parents rented on Pushaw Lake! It didn't all go exactly as planned...the weather was sort of cold and crummy for a couple of days and then on Liam's first boat ride our boat died in the middle of the lake and we had to have the fire department come out and tow us in (Joe was not thrilled about this). So it wasn't perfect, but there were some shared experiences (as we like to say).
We did lots of fishing and the kids caught lots and lots of little fish! Grammy and Bubba preferred to stay out of the water! But not the kids... And Sadie even discovered that she loves the water! And of course there was Liam's first, eventful, boat ride... It wasn't all perfect, but thanks for a great visit Grammy and Bubba! We miss you!