Whoa

Wow. Where to begin?

Seven months goes by SO QUICKLY! I never meant to fall off the face of the earth, but here we are.

Our third little boy was born January 10, weighing in at 8lbs even. We named him Benedict Michael (hereafter on this blog as “Beanie”, thanks to his older brothers). He’s a sweetie.

The birth went really well and there were no complications and he fits into our family perfectly.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/91936282@N00/27333732630/in/datetaken/

His brothers are growing up, too. Yuri turned 3 a little over a month ago and is delightful and trouble and mischievous and clever and very hard to stay on top of. He colors on walls without abandon and without regard to consequence, cuts his hair with no second thought, punches his older brother on a daily basis, and really enjoys helping out in the kitchen. He has also recently learned how to play minecraft, so he and Kostya do that nearly every day, until Yuri starts breaking everything Kostya has made. I think this photo pretty much sums it up.

Kostya turned 6 in February, and he is a delight as well. He is progressing through his phonics, and he is a fantastic big brother and a great help around the house. He is usually at the receiving end of a punch from Yuri, but he almost always kind of deserves it, if that makes sense.

I cannot believe how old they are getting! I have three sons! It is the best ever.

After Christmas I decided to shut down my etsy shop, probably for good. Kostya was going to be doing proper homeschooling, I would have three little ones to look after, and with the etsy shop, all of my free time was spent working on it instead of doing any fun sewing. The money was nice, but after four years, it was time to say goodbye. I don’t miss it at all.

In the meantime I have made real progress on my WIP list from the past few years, and, of course, started many new ones and have about a million other things I want to make.

I finished this in the spring as a gift for a friend of ours whose daughter was born about a month after Beanie. I really enjoy using the Quick Curve Ruler and the patterns that go along with it, and this Bonnie and Camille fabric was darling.

After

After I gifted the quilt, however, Baby’s Mother told me they actually fell in love with the back side of the quilt. Mom had always referred to her daughter as her “Little Mermaid” in utero, and so I found a mermaid panel printed by Hawthorne Threads, and so this is the side they display in the nursery. (This shows off the quilting I did a little bit)

I also finally finished the pink and brown BOTM I started years ago (in my gallery is it’s twin, Jun) and gifted it to one of Kostya’s friends.

I also finished a Halloween wall hanging using Cotton + Steel’s Spellbound line. It’s actually quilted and ready to hang, but I don’t seem to have a picture of it all finished. I’m not sure why I made a wall hanging, and a Halloween one at that. I don’t typically decorate for holidays or anything, and I’m not particularly attached to Halloween. Maybe I just really liked the fabric.

Another big finish (well, almost), is this quilt top I started last spring, but then fell pregnant and felt absolutely horrible and set it aside until this year. The pattern is Alsion Glass’s “Timber” and I chose to use dark neutrals paired with Jennifer Sampou’s Shimmer and Shimmer 2 lines because I felt that, altogether, it would feel “masculine” and even a little bit “dwarfy”. This quilt will be my husband’s when I’m finished and it’s the first quilt I’ve ever used wool batting in. I’ll report back on how we like the wool. In Texas.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/91936282@N00/28468222176/in/datetaken/

Of course there are a million other things going on. I’m homeschooling a bit and I need to update the homeschooling blog. I’ve been reading and cross stitching some. My brother got married. Our garden did well this spring. Life is busy and I am a terrible updater. Also I hate computer, the internet, and most social media, so there you go.

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Homeschool Review weeks 3 – 4

This should be the last totally homeschool post on this blog, as I am in the process of making one specifically for these types of posts. I think I’ve come close to deciding on a name for our school. I know it will be something along the lines of “Divine Mercy Homeschool” or something like that, and I’ll go into the naming later on that blog.
(edit, here is the blog. suuuuuper exciting)

Overall, I would say our first block (four weeks on, one week off), was a great success. Kostya is a delight to teach, and kindergarten is a great first year to start since we have so few real deadlines and our goals are few (basically, I want him to be a beginning reader by the end of this and for everything else I just want a feel for what approaches are best for him and what kind of pace we’re looking at and what interests he might have we can pursue in the future).

Reading lessons have slowed to one lesson per day. Kostya recognizes the new sounds and how to say them almost immediately, but putting it all together into words and short sentences is much slower, and so of course sentence comprehension isn’t there yet. Totally fine. We are *just* starting, after all! His writing is picking up a good deal and so instead of practicing one letter a day like we had in the beginning, we are doing two – five most days.

Mathematics has been fun. I’ve had to rework how fast we would go through materials, and he has surprised me with how quick he is to pick up on certain things. He can add numbers quite well, especially with some sort of manipulative, so we are working on recognizing the notation. Last week I went ahead and introduced place value. All I have to say as far as that goes is thank goodness for youtube! He loved the songs and cartoons that were available that helped break things down in ways I could not. While I did not have him use the work book, our last two math lessons last week were the lessons out of the actual Math U See Alpha book. My hope is that next week, when I start block 2, we can use that more. Whenever I felt like I couldn’t really tackle what MUS was doing,  I used Life of Fred: Apples instead. I have a feel that if I used that as our primary math book with some supplements, Kostya would blast through it. As it is, I intend to keep using it once or twice a week. I don’t have anything really planned out, it’s just how I feel that day: Do I sit and try to explain a proper math lesson from MUS, or do I just read the “story” out of LOF and make up some accompanying exercises? I was worried this approach would be confusing, but so far it has not been for either of us.

At this point I wonder when I should start giving Kostya easy books to try, or if I should keep doing our 100 Easy Lessons for a while longer. I suppose I could just wait until winter since we will have to stop school anyway for baby boy #3, who is due to join us early Jan.

I’m not much of a crafty person, but I’ve been trying to incorporate some other activities into our schooling. In the last month we’ve baked cookies a few times, made play doh, and went to the grandparent’s house to help with honey harvesting (“bee milking”, as my FIL calls it).

Some photos, since I haven’t posted any in a while

Homeschool Review: Week 2

I have no intention of doing this every week, as I would prefer to keep this blog more craft oriented, but as I have no created a homeschool specific blog (haven’t thought of a name yet), this will be where I post some homeschool thoughts.

This week was a bit tougher than last week. It was our first four day week (Fridays are library/activity days), and our first week with math.

While Kostya progressed through the first 20 reading lessons in three days last week, we have since slowed down significantly as he comes across new, less familiar sounds and letter combinations (one of our successes was mastering “th” this week!). There are things about early learning that I sometimes take for granted that I have to back up and teach him, like sentences ending with a period. He rolls along with things rather well, though. He still enjoys the lessons and sometimes asks for extra after lunch. I have a collection of Bob Books, so after he’s learned new sounds, I pull out the books that have those sounds for extra practice.

Writing is still slow as molasses, but that is okay. We are almost finished with Lesson 2 of the Memoria Press Copybook. I suppose I could lay off writing entirely and he would be fine, but I think that as long as we move gently through this, it will be okay. Kostya is always asking me to write lists and letters, and I’d like to give him the tools to do so ASAP. I may change my tune later, but I don’t want to stop writing completely. Not unless he shuts down with it.

Math has been interesting. Like I wrote before, I am hoping to use Math U See Alpha. Now, I think brain wise, Kostya is more than ready for the concepts, but after viewing the DVD that came with the program, I realized that format would probably not work with Kostya at his current maturity level, and might move too fast. What I’ve done is reviewed the first few lessons and broken them down into teeny, tiny pieces. Actually, here we are at the end of week 2 and I still haven’t even said “Place Value”. Only today, day 4 of math lessons, did I bring out the blocks and show how they were organized and divided. We spent the first three days practicing how to write numbers correctly and legibly, and since writing is the hardest for Kostya, we still have a long way to go. Today I made a simple worksheet of single digit addition problems with no carrying, and even though Kostya could read the problems out and answer them quickly with and without the blocks, writing the answer down was a huge stumbling block, so I think next week I will lay off writing numerals and just let him dictate the answers to me and I’ll think of another way to bring in writing the numbers at a later time. I want so badly for him to enjoy math as he has done so far and to not be frustrated.

Another  little hiccup, which I understand is totally age appropriate, is his ability to listen and repeat back to me a story I’ve read. I’m reading short Bible stories to him, and only a fraction of the time is he able to tell me anything back in the story. Today’s problems were more behavioral than ability, though, as he got tired of listening to me and walked out of the room in the middle of the story. We had a chat afterwards about how that was unkind, and that it was very important to listen, because in order to learn, we *must* listen. I told him trying his best in his schooling was not at all about pleasing me, but that in order to be the man God has designed him to be he must try his best, and that means listening. I do not ask or expect perfection, but I do want him to try. He cried, and we hugged and I told him how much I enjoyed our time together, how much I loved him, and how honored I was that he was my son. Then we sat and read the story again, this time while he played with blocks, and he was able to retell a bit back to me. I was very surprised when he cried. He doesn’t often show disappointment with himself and I hope I wasn’t too harsh (hence all the hugging and kissing afterward).

And then there is Yuri. My sweet Yuri, who spent all last week sweetly sitting next to us, coloring away. Yeah, that’s completely gone. I think he must be going through some development spurt, because his food intake has nearly doubled this week and his behavior is a dumpster fire. Oh, and he’s actually napping right now. Yeah, there must be some serious brain growth happening. Totally appropriate for his age, but man it’s frustrating. He has colored all over every page of Kostya’s. He tells me “NO!” after every request. He takes things out of Kostya’s hands and close fisted hits him for no reason, and seems to take joy in destroying everything Kostya builds. I think he is an expert in the “terrible twos”. Weather the storm, I guess.

Homeschool Review: Week 1

It’s 1pm, Thursday afternoon, which means Kostya and I have finished our first week of kindergarten homeschool. I’ve tried it before, which he was 3.5, and it didn’t work out. In my enthusiasm to get him started and ahead of the game, I had forgotten he was still so small, and while  maybe mentally capable of learning sounds and putting them together, he was not mature enough for lessons, and frankly, at 3 years old, he really didn’t need to learn how to read (even if there were other homeschool moms with reading 3 year olds. Good for them!).

But he’s 5.5 now, and just so much more grown up. There are several children in our neighborhood close to his age, and after hearing about what they do, he’s been begging to start school for months (we’ve talked a bit about the difference between our school and their school, and so far he seems perfectly content in knowing he can stay in his underpants and only have school for an hour and snacks when he wants, as opposed to what their school schedule looks like).

I had told myself after we tried lessons at 3 years that we’d wait until he expressed a desire for school, and so that’s what we’ve done. In the beginning I had such a focus on making sure we completed lessons, that he stayed seated and still and focused, and that we did everything at the same time and ended at the same time that it was such a mess, and we both burned out so fast. This time I’ve made sure to remind myself that with Kostya, being flexible is very important. I need to follow HIS lead, HIS interests, and not let the lessons dictate how fast we go.

I realize it’s just been three days, and that isn’t a lot of time, but every morning he has asked for school and has been as attentive as I could expect an energetic, easily distracted five year old boy to be. We are using Teach Your Child to Read again, and in three days we’ve done the first 16 lessons. It’s gotten a bit tougher now, so when he starts to get a little flustered I ask if he would like to stop for the day or take a break, even if we are right in the middle of the lesson. I don’t want him to dread this, I want it to be enjoyable and empowering for him. The time for sitting still and pushing oneself through difficult lessons will come later.

The only other subject I started this week was writing, using Copybook I from Memoria Press. Writing is proving to be more difficult for him, and we are moving much more slowly. For example, the first page is writing simple capital letters like “T” and “L”. That’s supposed to be one day’s worth of work, but we are having to go so slow that we just finished our third day, and he still hasn’t gotten to the “L” because he only seems to have enough interest in getting through one line of letter copying a day. Still, that’s fine though. I do not have firm plans for this first semester. My main goal is to have him on the road to reading, and other than that it’s time for us to learn about each other in the homeschool setting – finding out his limits, learning discipline, following my instruction, and just getting used to having this as a part of  our daily routine.

We finish the school day with a short bible story. I never know where to start with these, so I’m starting in the beginning. I’m using a children’s bible, so things are broken up nicely and appropriately edited. Each day I ask a few questions about the previous day’s reading, do a short review (because Kostya has inevitably forgotten most of what happened), and then read today’s and answer questions.

Yuri sits with us at the table, and so far hasn’t been a huge distraction. He wanted to nurse most of today, but for the past two days he has been content to sit with us and color in a coloring book (Kostya would have NEVER done this. He is still just not a coloring/craft kind of guy).

Next week I intend to introduce math, using Math U See Alpha. I believe Kostya has an interest and an aptitude for mathematics, so I’d like to see that at work. If that works and we can get a smooth(ish) schedule going, I would eventually like to add in poetry, music, and art before January, but that may be too much. We will see.

Hot Springs (mini vacation!)

Last week we packed up the boys for our first real road trip and vacation as a family of four and it was… illuminating? Exhausting? Something like that.

We left Tuesday morning and all was well. We fed the boys some breakfast from Chick Fil A, and like most other times, they didn’t really eat anything and the chicken got lost on in the back of the car somewhere and we still haven’t found most of the chewed up pieces. They slept fairly well until we got to Texarkana, where we thought it was a good idea to get Chick Fil A again for lunch. While I like their chicken sandwiches, two meals in a row is just too much. Too much. The boys played at a park while we ate to burn off a bit of energy. We realized at this point that Kostya had not used the restroom before we left, which was a big oversight on our part, as he had peed sometime before Texarkana. Luckily, I was a super great and prepared mom and had packed several extra changes of clothes for both boys.

On the second leg of our journey, from Texarkana to Hot Springs, we discovered that Yuri gets carsick! Especially on a full stomach. I heard him cry and cough in the backseat, and then we heard the gurgle and splat as it all hit the back of his seat, so we had to stop and change him and I nursed him for a while. The  outfit was a goner, so I just tossed it and opted for naked (except for the diaper, of course), so I wouldn’t use another outfit in case he needed to vomit again. Luckily, he didn’t.

We arrived at Hot Springs in good time, and our hotel, The Arlington, was gorgeous, and one day I might actually read the history on it. It’s located right on the main street of Hot Springs, at the end of Bathhouse Row. We’ve actually been to Hot Springs, before, two years ago, but we were not able to get a room at the Arlington because Hot Springs hosts horse races, and we weekend we went there were races, and all of the rooms at every decent hotel we booked, so we had to stay like five miles out of town. It was definitely worth staying at the nicer hotel because we didn’t have to drive anywhere this time. All the restaurants and other places were within an easy walking distance.

Here are some terrible pictures of the hotel

Our bed was lumpy, but they were really quite comfortable.

We checked in and went to our room. The hallway was definitely channeling some creepy Doctor Who vibes

By now it was almost evening, and we were all hungry and ready to walk around, so I went to change from my gross and sweaty t shirt and skirt into one of the few cute things I brought to wear for dinner, only to find out that Yuri, the night before, had unpacked a lot of my things and I only had about half of the clothes I thought I had packed. So I was stuck in frumpy t shirts and skirts. Sigh. Kids. We found a delicious Cuban place and I can’t remember the name (sorry), and the food was SO GOOD, but I got indigestion because of the stress of worrying about whether or not the boys could be entertained long enough before they exploded. Restaurants haven’t been good to us recently. Lots of prayers were said and answered, and we actually finished the dinner and received compliments from other patrons and some wait staff. We went back to the hotel and hung out, and I worked on some sewing handwork.

We woke up the next morning way, way too early and ate at a place called Pancakes, which for a place called Pancakes, was pretty good but not like, amaaaaazing. I love eating out for breakfast food, but Wafflehouse is almost always better than any other place. After breakfast was a visit to a small aquarium (for the kiddoes) across the street. There they had a tortoise named Slowpoke who walked freely. The kids liked her. My stomach was bothering me again so I went back to the hotel. Like home, the bathroom door didn’t shut all the way so I had no privacy. Just like home. Children are gifts from God. Then a nap happened, Alleluia. We took the boys for a swim in the pool on the 7th floor, but the water was too cold for me, and Yuri hated the hot tub, and then he found a katydid bug that scared him after it buzzed and everything fell apart because he kept trying to throw himself down stairs, so we decided swimming was out, and it was time for dinner!

This time we opted for this delicious italian place called Angel’s. It was some of the most flavorful italian food I’ve ever had, and they do not skimp on the garlic. Not in the least. It’s excellent. Like every other meal, James and I sat through it on the edge of our seat, trying to prepare ourselves for tantrums/broken items/thrown food/the apocalypse, but amazingly, we made it through. There were some close calls, but fortunately we were seated out of the way from everyone, so no one noticed.

At this point in our evening, despite the weather forecast predicting just a “cloudy, breezy” day, the sky opened up and it poured. We were a good four or five blocks away from the hotel, with no umbrella or cover for the stroller, and it was a serious, soaking rain that didn’t look like it was going anywhere for hours. We decided we were just going to run it, so I strapped the kids in the stroller and took off. We got soaked nearly immediately, and Yuri started to cry, so James took him out and carried him while I ran with Kostya, who also started crying.

It’s hard to see in this picture, because I’m a terrible photographer, but this was actually after the storm had lightened up, and it’s still solid rain.

Yuri was so unhappy.

At this point I had no clean clothes and we needed warm baths, so I was gross. Originally, I had thought we might be able to stay an extra night, but food costs, lack of clothing, and the inability to relax in any way cut that idea out. I had also intended to hit up the in house spa, but that never happened, so I had to settle for a bath in the hotel room (can’t complain too much – the tubs were huge and the water so so hot and wonderful), but because the door didn’t latch, Yuri could come in, so I spent my bath trying to deflect all the random objects he kept trying to throw in the tub.

James and I ordered coffee and chocolate cakes from room service, we managed to get the kids to sleep at 11, and went to bed. James was able to sleep, but Yuri is growing four teeth at the same time and so I didn’t really sleep at all. We checked out the next morning, had some Wafflehouse on the way out, and I was a zombie for the rest of the way. Yuri slept the whole way home, though, so that was good.

So, things I learned – vacations with small children are not relaxing at all. We had fun, the boys seemed to enjoy themselves, but James and I are definitely going to try for an us-only overnighter at some point. Children are really good at doing things that could probably kill them, and that’s stressful.

In between quilts. My son turned 4. Where has the time gone?

I want to start this post off by wishing my sweet boy a happy (belated) birthday. FOUR whole years old! I’m amazed at how *old* four years seems. He is just starting to learn letter sounds and put them together. He is doing well with adding and subtracting. He is quite the capable helper around the house (when he wants to be). Why, just today he decided he needed to “work” and, using the screwdriver from a real tool kit we got him some time ago, he unscrewed all the intake vents throughout the house! They needed to be cleaned, anyway…

Fries-1 (1)It is really a  joy to be his mother. We have ups and downs, but he’s four and I’m still human. This “mom” job is so much better than anything I ever imagined.

Then there is that other guy I’m mother too. Tomorrow Yuri will be 8 months old.

Yuri and the Quesadilla

Yuri and the Quesadilla

Even at just 8 months, he’s already quite the force to be reckoned with. I knew that he would be different, but it’s still shocking just *how* different he is already from his brother. For one thing, the temper.

The bubbles were touching him.

The bubbles were touching him.

He’s much more emotional than Kostya, and much needier. I can’t be out of his sight or he’s inconsolable. Kostya was a bit more independent and to this day no one is a stranger, whereas Yuri definitely has his favorite and not so favorite people. He’s only just now warming up to his Papa, and will stand to snuggle for more than half a second while I go to get something done. But, like his brother, physically he is quite capable. He crawled before seven months and is currently standing and cruising along anything he can climb to standing. I would not be surprised if he walks soonish.

Anyway, on to quilting! I feel like I’ve been really busy with it lately, but I don’t have a whole lot to show for progress. I’ve been practicing my free motion quilting, and thanks to Cindy Needham’s classes on craftsy.com, I think I’ve got the tools to do very well. However, my first attempts are… lacking.

oh boy

oh boy

It looks better from far away, I promise. And the filler for the outside surrounding this stencil is pretty terrible. I did learn a lot, so this piece isn’t a total failure. I learned that variegated thread is not always a good idea, and that I really need to plan how I’m going to follow my stencil lines if I am using one, because I did a lot of up and down with the needle on this one and you can totally tell.

That brings me to this piece.
12467130604_8bf75b2670_bIt’s hard to take pictures of quilting, but I used a stencil in the center of this block, and then did close repeating lines around it. I’m happy with it and think the finished product will be nice when I get around to finishing it. Right now I cannot because after fussing with the machine setup I decided I really needed to break down a get a table that the sewing surface can rest flush with the table so I’m not fighting gravity the whole time. I made a lot of mistakes because of that. The etsy shop has been really slow lately, so I don’t know when I will have the funds for the table. Every time I think I do, something breaks or an expense comes up (isn’t that the way of it? This month our washer broke and we need to replace it. The joys of homeownership) and there goes the money.

I’m itching to get to sewing, though. I have several quilts in my brain, but I don’t know which to focus on. I have a few that have been requested from friends and family, but I know I do not have the fabric for those (my stash is actually quite small), and won’t for some time (see previous paragraph), so I have to stick with what I’ve got. I have several boxes and bags with fabrics and patterns already picked out and organized, so the logical choice is to make one of those. We’ll see.

Christmas is almost here holy cow

I am no good at updating.

The boys are great and amazing. Kostya is growing and learning so much it makes me want to cry. He counts everything in sight, adds, and has actually just started multiplying very small numbers. The very first time he did it I nearly cried. It’s all been of his own interest, I haven’t lead any of it. He will come up to me and tell me, “If I have three groups of three, I have nine!” and then wander off to do something else. He’s also started asking me how to spell and sound out everything, so I think reading might be right around the corner. I know earlier I posted all my big plans for homeschooling, but as it is, he seems to be leading himself just fine, so I’ve taken a completely hands off approach about it, just making fun things available and addressing things as he asks. DH thinks we can keep this up for the next several years and not have to bother much with boxed curricula or anything. Sounds fine to me! Here are a few of my favorite pictures from the last few months.

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Yuri is six months old now, can you believe it? He’s precious. He’s got a bit of a temper, and he’s a bit clingier than his brother was at this age. It’s fun to me to see the differences in personality develop. He’s a lot bigger than Kostya at this age. At the four month appointment, Kostya was 15 pounds and 25″. At Yuri’s four month check up, he was 18 lbs and 27″ tall! Here is the latest of him, taken on his half birthday.

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And a family picture!

I think that’s a pretty good looking group of people, yeah?

It’s been forever

Apparently momming two little boys is time consuming. Who would have thought? Kostya is taking a break from phonics because we hit a little wall, and I wanted to back off before it became a struggle. Yuri is four  months old now and huge and adorable (17 lbs and 27″ tall at the last appointment!).

 

Here’s the fam at a nursery recently. It’s so hard to get a family picture now that isn’t blurry or has everyone’s eyes open or someone isn’t doing something goofy. 10303995236_3b50493852_z

In crafting news, things are as slow as always. I did get one of the block of the month tops done, though.

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The other is about 85% pieced. I just need to finish the sashing and borders. My points aren’t perfect on either, but I’m  pretty pleased. After the brown and pink one is finished, I’ll need to switch my brain into quilting gear, because I’ve got what I imagine will amount to at least a year’s worth of quilting work before I get back to piecing again.

First Day of School

I have agonized and agonized for months trying to come up with a name for our school so I can make a separate blog for it, but the flash of inspiration hasn’t yet come (I’m secretly waiting for an idea as awesome as a fellow homeschool mom’s – Catapult Academy – “Flinging Our Children into the Future”).

But immediately after vowing I would wait another year to begin school for my dear Kostya, we started our official school year a few weeks ago. I’ve received a lot of advice from people to wait, and I understand their points – We don’t want to burn either of us out, we don’t want to make simple things a struggle. Kostya is just 3.5 and his most important work now is being a part of the family and play. I feel like with our simple schedule he still is, and the routine of having “school” every day has helped the flow of the entire household immensely, and I find we both feel more productive.

So, for our first semester of school, my primary focus is letter recognition and learning the sounds of basic phonograms. Kostya is a bright boy and so far things are going rather smoothly. We are also learning our prayers, and begin the day with them. Then I read aloud to him for a few minutes, and some days we play around with objects as I assess his math skills, since I’m considering adding a little bit of more formal math next semester (although I don’t know if it will really be anything more than what we are doing now).

These are all the texts I am using this semester. See? Not so much, and it still looks like more than we are actually doing. Our main phonics text is Teach Your Child to Read…, and I move as slowly as I need, sometimes breaking a lesson into two or repeating a lesson, particularly on Mondays after the weekend break. Alphaphonics is a supplement for when I feel like 100 Lessons is moving a bit too fast. We just sound out the words in the first few lessons. Kostya can sound out words well, but sound blending is still a little beyond, so he isn’t reading, just sounding it all out.

texts for fall 2013

texts for fall 2013

Then I read short Bible stories to him. The New Testament story book is actually a lovely find from my husband’s grandparent’s house. His late grandmother used to volunteer at a St Vincent de Paul thrift shop and would bring home things she liked, so when the estate was recently dissolved, I snatched this up. Each story is a small part of the life of Jesus, and each is no more than a page or two, perfect for Kostya’s short attention span. I don’t ask many questions, and I’m sure he isn’t absorbing much, but we will probably revisit this book soon when he’s older. Reading this book is as much for Kostya as it is for me to get into the habit of reading aloud.

Marshmallow Math is just simple guidelines for introducing simple math concepts for young children, from counting to ten, to twenty, one to one correlations, and simple addition and subtraction with fun items.

We begin each school day after breakfast with our prayers – An Our Father, three Hail Mary’s, a Glory Be, and one Fatima prayer. Kostya has the Glory Be memorized and says it with me, but we haven’t moved on to the other ones. He just listens for now (I say listens. Most mornings he’s running around or trying to stand on his head or jump off the table. It’s tough being three).

Tonight, since he’s starting his first class of Faith Formation class at church, so I thought it would be fun to take a picture!

First Day of School! 2013

First Day of School! 2013

Yuri, for his part, is completely unimpressed.

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Whew

I. Am. Exhausted. I feel like I shouldn’t be – I haven’t done a lot in the way of physical activity or anything, but I am so very tired.

Some general updates, since I don’t have any photos to share this time –

We closed on our house last Thursday, praise God. There were some hiccups, and I have to say not everyone involved in the process was entirely helpful. In fact, a few civil servants were decidedly unhelpful and delayed our progress by a few weeks. But it’s done! I learned a whole lot, and the majority of people we worked with *were* very helpful and in some cases did more than their job entailed to help us along towards our first home. I did take some pictures of the house, but in all of our moving, I have misplaced my camera. I will say that every day I visit the house (we aren’t living there yet – no bed!) I am more and more pleased. No buyers remorse or anything like that. It’s a small, but lovely home that was well kept and is essentially a blank slate, just waiting for our personal touches. I look forward to watching our sons grow up, gardening, and making the house a home.

I am more than 35 weeks pregnant and am enormous. I have a hard time getting around, getting out of cars, standing, sitting, or doing much of anything. I hope this baby is not like its brother, who came eight days past his due date, and is a little more punctual. That being said, I have less than five weeks to get the baby clothes sorted and washed, the cloth diapers where they need to be, and the baby room and our bedroom set up with the appropriate gadgets and gear. Luckily, we went through Kostya’s infancy with very little baby stuff, and I intend to do this one the same way, but I still need a few things that will help me along, since now I’ll have a three year old to contend with.

I don’t know how long it will take to get into a rhythm with this new one, but I do hope to have some sort of schedule by August or September. I have so many plans for the late summer and fall. I need to get my etsy shop rolling again, get a few garden things done like have James build my compost bin and one raised bed, get started on weeding the front yard and getting the fall garden bed cleared of jasmine. I would like to have a two -four week menu plan written, as well as a daily and weekly schedule so that come fall, I can do some very, very basic school stuff with Kostya (mostly just reading to him and getting him used to chores and work around the house) so that by next spring, we can make some small transitions towards school. He is bright and capable, and next spring, if he hasn’t taken the initiative to start already, I’d like to work with writing and some basic phonics. Maybe next fall we can start a little bit of kindergarten.

As for my sewing, I’m sad to say I haven’t done much in the past weeks at all. The machines are packed away, the fabric is put away in totes, and since I’m moving out of my Mother in Law’s house, I no longer have a sewing table. Before I can really get back into sewing and quilting I will need to get my own table to cutting and prepping, and several shelves and drawers for storage. Yuri (baby #2) will be coming right when I’d otherwise be getting to that, so all of my fun sewing seems to be months away and that makes me sad. The sewing for my etsy shop requires much less space and supplies, so I will hopefully get back to that this July.

Changing direction entirely – one of my blogging friends has nominated me for.. something. I’m not completely sure. It seems like a blogger meme sort of thing, and she’s asked for me to answer a few questions, so I will!

1.  How many jobs have you had and which did you like the most? – I have had two jobs outside the home. One was just for six weeks at my uncle’s floor tile business doing basic filing and cleaning. After that I worked for four years at Starbucks. I enjoyed it a great deal most of the time. I met my husband there and made some good friends. It’s been almost five years since then, and I have been a SAHW/M since then. I enjoy staying at home more than anything.

2.  What was your favorite school subject? I have always enjoyed science and mathematics. In fact, I went to a very good public college prep high school called The Science and Engineering Magnet High School, in Dallas, TX. I did quite well there and got a full scholarship to attend college. I got a little burned out during college, but I did manage to graduate, even if it was in History. I look forward to teaching my sons to value science and math, since so many school kids today seem overwhelmed and intimidated by them.

3.  What is number 1 on your bucket list? I honestly don’t have a bucket list. There are a lot of things I’d like to do ranging from travel to learning skills, but nothing seems to rise above anything else. I’d like to be a good mother and wife – one my family can look back and remember and think that I actually did try to take my vocation seriously (and maybe even succeed sometimes).

4.  What do you wish you had more time for? Right now? Honestly, sewing and quilting. I’m not a very good manager of my time, so I do waste a lot of it. I hope to do better as I get older, but right now those particular things seem to get moved aside when other things come up, and I find myself going weeks without doing much. It really is a creative release for me, but so many other things end up being more important. I know that once our move is completed and our second baby is born, I will be even more busy with the responsibilities of running a house, but I’ve discovered that the busier I am, the more efficient I am with my time, and I end up being able to do *more* than when I have a lot of free time.

5.  Do you collect anything and if you do what? Other than fabric I do not collect anything. As a child I had collections, but I have grown out of them. I do not like or really approve of collections for their own sake. I believe every thing we own should have a purpose and place, and I do my best to set aside any sentimentality towards things because they are just that. Otherwise it seems our things start to have a little control over us, and that is very disturbing for me. That’s not to say I feel nothing for anything I own. I do, but I always fight it. I have seen items and possessions become serious problems for people, and our Western materially wealthy lifestyle does nothing to help.