Thursday, December 18, 2014

A Different December: How I Maintain our Mother Goose Time in Such a Busy Season ...

December, December. I have such mixed feelings about this month. I love the month for what it represents, my Savior being born. But I also hate this month because it can get a little insane. Rushing here and there. Christmas parties galore. Shopping. Wrapping. Cooking. And before you know it, the whole point of December being a special month has gone away. This is a month to cherish our families, spend extra time together, laugh together, play together. And instead, most times the opposite happens.  

Last year, our homeschooling in December pretty much flew out the window after the first week. I was struggling to maintain structure at the school table when I felt like I had 1,001 other things I needed to be doing. I knew the kids felt my stress. And it showed. Most mornings ended in a tizzy and I was crying over not making the adorable ornaments I picked out on Pinterest after narrowing it down to my 5 favorites for what seemed to take hours. 

This year looks so different. A good different. 

A great different. 

This year looks like looking forward to school every morning. And planning our schedule to have school all the way until Christmas Eve because we love it that much. And it looks like singing and dancing and creating art together. And it looks like actually reading all of the wintry books we picked out at the library. It looks not so chaotic.

Mother Goose Time has ignited a love for learning in our family, all the way from my second grader to my toddler. December is no doubt the busiest time of the year and you would think the most inconvenient time for homeschooling. But for us, it is the opposite. Here are a few tips for keeping the schooling not so crazy during such a busy season. 

1. Plan and prepare. 
It is no doubt that in a family our size, planning and preparing is a must. Trust me, I have tried it without it and I about lost my sanity entirely. One thing about MGT is how easy it is to plan your days ahead. Seriously, open a bag, look through it, establish a plan for the day and you are done! Planning is a must, but MGT makes it a breeze. Prepare. Grab any extra extras you know you will need for the following morning and have everything set out. For me, I set out 4 sets of whatever we are doing. Each child has a place at our table and I will set out their materials at their spot. When I call them to the table to begin our craft or lesson, everything is already sorted through and ready to go! My older boys have several other subjects to tackle, so I am also prepared for this time for Kruz and Kohen to have something to do. Kruz' current favorite is the counting bears MGT provided this month. He sorts them, counts them, makes patterns out of them. Having something planned for my little ones is a must because it keeps them out of trouble while my attention is primarily on my first and second grader. So plan, plan, plan and prepare, prepare, prepare. 

2. Forgive yourself. 
Seriously, it is not going to go perfectly everyday. Still plan, but forgive yourself if you end up counting blocks in the floor as math instead of your child completing their work in their MGT "My Little Journal". Just this morning, we ditched Language Arts and ended up dancing to "When You're Up, You're Up" in the living room. We laughed and laughed and I thought this- this is what December is about. Family. 

3. Take Advantage. 
There are some days during this busy time of the year when Mommy just can't be at the school table with her little chickies all morning long. A few days ago, my house literally looked like a train wreck had just occurred. And it needed attention more than most days. I had planned and prepared the night before knowing my attention would mostly be focused on the house and not the school table. I took advantage of an easier activity I felt Kollin (8) could lead the others in. I was close by in case there were any hiccups, but overall it went great! Busier days for Mommas are going to happen during busier seasons, that is inevitable. So plan for it and take advantage of an activity from MGT that will require less of your attention and that will keep your little ones busy on those mornings.  

4. Know It Is Easier.
I promise life is easier when your kiddos have received an adequate amount of your attention. For us, most times that is in school - which is really family time. Know this, your child is much more apt to let you get extras done in the afternoon when you have dedicated your mornings to them. I always try to have a little one-on-one time with each of the boys during our school hours. That time could be reading a book or counting blocks or checking math problems. Whatever it happens to be that day, fills my child's heart. Because I have spent the morning with them, they (most days) don't act crazy in order to get my attention. I am able to fold clothes or, for this time of year, address Christmas cards without them fighting for my time. So even though there are more duties than usual for us Mommas during busy seasons, be sure to fill their needs of attention first!

So chin up Mommas. We can do this! We can get through a busy season and maintain school time! If you have any more tips, I would love to hear them! 
Leave a comment below!

Merry Christmas!

"I received curriculum from Mother Goose Time for honest and authentic stories resulting from my daily experiences in using the curriculum. I applied to be an official Mother Goose Time blogger and will continue to share my experiences throughout the 2014/15 school year."

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

You Know You're Potty Training When ...

10. You know you're potty training when your child runs around naked And you let him. Because for some reason you'd rather just clean up some pee off the floor than to sacrifice another pair of underwear. 

9. You know you're potty training when there is a random toilet in your living room floor. 

8. You know you're potty training when you literally stalk your toddler all day doing the hand swipe. You know the hand swipe - where you run your hand over their crotch to see if they peed in their pants. 

7. You know you're potty training when you hear the words "Mommy, I have to go potty" for the first time and feel like the heavens just opened up because dear Lord, the child can communicate now! 

6. You know you're potty training when the conversation at the dinner table includes the words, "Well, Mickey Mouse goes pee pee in the potty."

5. You know you're potty training when you let your child drink their sippy cup while on the toilet hoping the drinking will trigger them to pee. Even if it is just a little drop. 

4. You know you're potty training when you step in a wet spot and actually say out loud, "Ah well, at least it's just pee."

3. You know you're potty training when it's perfectly acceptable to teach your son to "jiggle, jiggle, jiggle" his junk. 

2. You know you're potty training when you ask every 5 minutes, "Do you need to go potty? Do you need to go potty? Do you need to go potty?" Because really, his bladder could fill up that fast. 

1. You know you're potty training when your life has resulted to dancing in the bathroom singing 
"Ah, push it - push it real good
Ah, push it - push it good
Ah, push it - push it real good

Oooh, baby, baby
Baby, baby
Oooh, baby, baby
Baby, baby"

Because seriously, who cares at this point. Might as well have some fun in the process.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Missing Summer ...

This summer was a good one. I mean, yeah, I was miserable and swollen and exhausted and ill most of the time. But still, it was a good one. And I miss it.

I miss the sunshine. I miss my tan. I miss my friend Nicole. And even hearing Kollin and Josie bicker. I miss all the giggles the pool brings. I miss dipping the kids in the pool instead of in the tub. I miss it all.  

I know. It's December. So what kind of post is this? 

Well it's one of good memories. And it's one that makes up for my non-blogging-hermitness while being miserable in my last trimester. And it's one that makes me smile. 

So anyway, here is a look back to our summer ... 

We read. A lot.

We spent a lot of time with Josie and Gabe since they were moving away.  

The boys pretty much think my Dad is famous for racing at the Friday Night Drags. 

We were tan. 

We spent time smiling. A lot. 

We had lots of lunch dates at Mexican since the Hubs was working the late shift at Costco. This one just happened to be for Kolt's 6th birthday. 

We spent time soothing Kolt from lots of thunderstorms, this one just happened to be at the racetrack while we were waiting for a race to start. 

My Momma scored tickets to Thursday Night Thunder and even though we got rained out, the pizza before and the ice cream after made up for it. 

We ate way too much Chick-Fil-A since I was never up for cooking.  And still when we asked Kruz "If you could go anywhere for your birthday lunch, where would you go?" - we ended up at Chick-Fil-A.

We spent loads of afternoons at the new local splash pad. It was free.

We bowled a lot. It was free too.

We ate lots of cake. 

So yeah, it's December and I'm basking in the sun in my mind. 

Maybe I'll wake up tanned. Here's to wishing ...

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

When You Have To Give Them Back ...

There is something too special to describe about having our children dedicated.

 To some, this is taken lightly. And others may not even understand what a dedication is for. For Travis and I, we cherish these sweet mornings in which our children are dedicated. 

In our eyes, we are giving them back to the One who created them. 

We are giving Him the glory for blessing us, for trusting us, for allowing us to be their parent. We are asking God to guide us in guiding them and to help us in being the very best parent we can for them. We are asking for protection over their little lives. We are praying that they will seek His face and yearn after His Word. 

We are making it known that we trust God with their lives. 

We are proclaiming that we will raise them in His liking. 

Travis cried and I smiled. I love the way he loves her.

(Kruz is hiding) 

(Thank you MawMaw for this sweet dress and Bible for Khloe) 

This Bible is so precious and sweet. MawMaw found this and gave it to Khloe alongside her dress. This Bible was carried with her through her dedication and is meant to be carried with her as she goes down the aisle when she is married. I know, I know. I can't even go there. 

Khloe Ruth Nichols was dedicated back to the Lord on Sunday, December 7, 2014.
 Thank you Lord for this beautiful blessing. 

My Little Snowflakes ...

We've been playing hookie from school for about two weeks now. 

I decided we would take off Thanksgiving Day -duh- and the Friday after. I mean, we all know I was choosing to go shopping with my Momma. We spent the first couple days in recovery mode from the holiday weekend and then before I knew it, I was on a plane headed to Minnesota. I was only gone a couple of days, and whereas the husband was sure to wash all the dishes, there was still much Mommy work to be done around the house from being gone 48 hours. 

Just like that nearly two weeks have come and gone since we've gathered around the dining room table for school. And I swear, jumping back in is the.worst.

But sometimes the mess in the house needs to be ignored, the fact that nothing is really "planned" needs to be ignored and we just have to sit our butts down and just jump back in. Kollin and Kolt started their third math workbook and I pulled out our Mother Goose Time! 

December's theme is Winter Wonderland and oh my, it looks awesome! We are a little late getting started, but we love the crafts and other goodies so much we can totally double up (or triple up somedays) on the activities. This morning we talked about snowflakes! Snowflakes are all unique and this was a wonderful opportunity for me to throw in some Bible time! I read from Jeremiah as the boys made their Snowflake Stamps. 

The boys used scissors to cut slits around the circles given by MGT for our project. They took the long pieces of yarn and wrapped them according to how they wanted their snowflake to look. This was such a great project for working on fine motor skills. 

Once they designed their snowflakes, they dipped their piece into white paint and made Snowflake Stamps on their papers. Kruz' entire face lit up when he saw his design on his paper, he really loved this one. 

Even though this is a preschool curriculum, the big boys love the art projects, the books, the music, the games!

"Before I made you in your mother’s womb, I chose you. Before you were born, I set you apart for a special work. I appointed you as a prophet to the nations." Then I said, "But Lord God, I don’t know how to speak. I am only a boy." But the Lord said to me, “Don’t say, ‘I am only a boy.’ You must go everywhere I send you, and you must say everything I tell you to say. Don’t be afraid of anyone, because I am with you to protect you,” says the Lord. Then the Lord reached out his hand and touched my mouth. He said to me, “See, I am putting my words in your mouth. Today I have put you in charge of nations and kingdoms. You will pull up and tear down, destroy and overthrow, build up and plant.”
Jeremiah 1:5-10

I loved this project. It was so neat to be able to show the boys firsthand their uniqueness, just like their snowflakes! 

"I received curriculum from Mother Goose Time for honest and authentic stories resulting from my daily experiences in using the curriculum. I applied to be an official Mother Goose Time blogger and will continue to share my experiences throughout the 2014/15 school year."