The meaning behind Firefly!

Firefly is a nickname given to me by my husband. I was attending Girl Scout camp with my daughter, Makayla, and was in need of a camp name. He came up with Firefly because he said I lit up a room every time I smiled. It stuck...Firefly...that's me!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Homeschooling...And Mostly Loving It!

I recently began using the letter of the week program created by for my three and a half year old and so far we love it! My daughter enjoys all of the activities and moves through them rather quickly. Plus, as we complete many of the activities and file them in a three ring binder I realize that a portfolio is being created without even trying. In the beginning, I was laminating everything but since my daughter is the last in line in our home and I don't have any friends interested in the program for their very young ones I need not spend so much money and time laminating everything. I do highly recommend this for anyone who has multiple young children that will be using a preschool program. It's very simple and straight forward with complete lesson plans included. For my six year old son, we began using the PACE program last year and moved through the Kindergarten pretty quickly but I wasn't overly thrilled with how things have been going since he started the first twelve weeks of first grade back in February. I was starting to cut things I didn't like out of his daily work and finding myself increasing his work in other areas. He wasn't really enjoying things and neither was I, so I decided to totally change things up for him. I already had (for years) the Which Way USA? program from Highlights magazine so we decided to start doing a state a week as our Social Studies. We also have a very expansive collection of World Explorer binders covering hundreds of animals which has become our new Animal Sciences curriculum. We intend to study a new animal each week where we will build a lapbook on all that we have learned throughout the week. We are going to continue using the Mathematics PACE's, however, we are definitely going to pick up the pace. The program had him working on the first PACE while he wanted to do more and worked so well that he moved himself to the fourth PACE before he would have even finished the first one. For Reading, I am turning to the Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading because I like the straightforward direct instruction approach offered. I am also using the Speechercise CD to assist him with his speech delay. Of course, we are getting lots of reading during our library time for both of the little ones. My oldest two are continuing with School of Tomorrow's Accelerated Christian Education and working fairly well at their own paces. It may take my older son a little longer than is the norm to complete his high school program, however, I would much rather that they take the time they need than just be socially promoted and passed through a system with the mere goal of getting done. We aren't sure where the older two are headed yet but our 16 year old son has begun expressing an interest in Computer Sciences and our 14 year old daughter has expressed an interest in Early Childhood Education. I'm excited for what lies ahead and nervous at the same time! What an exciting time in all our lives!!!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Teenage Angst!

Last night, Shawn and his girlfriend of 6 months had a little bit of an argument. Ok, it was kind of monumental to talk to Shawn. I'm worn out! Fortunately, after spending some time together at our house today everything is back to smooth sailing. But it made me stop and realize something. If the worry and concern for my son and his relationship with his girlfriend and the hurt that he was feeling was forefront in my mind and heart, I wonder how hard it was on my parents when I was a teenager and my relationships were my entire world. It's easy to look back on as an adult and realize that it was such a small part of things but boy was it EVERYTHING to me back then. I remember at one point feeling like I didn't want to live if I couldn't be with my boyfriend. Wow! And where is he now? Who knows? And really, who cares? It's hard to impart the knowledge that I have based on my life experiences to my own teenagers who are dealing with the same things now. For one, teenagers don't believe that we, the adults, were ever teenagers and faced these same sorts of issues. Second, do teenagers really listen to us...I mean really? For the most part, I do think my son takes my advice and hears what I have to say as long as it doesn't involve chores or school. Third, they just don't believe or want to believe that the likelihood of a serious, long lasting relationship developing from the one they have at sixteen is unlikely at best. Well, for now, crisis averted and all is well with the kiddos again! Phew! She is a great girl and we love her!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Catching up!

Well, my awesomely wonderful husband got me my own computer separate from our children so that I can take care of our family bills and important things without having it affected by the children's games and such. It's been awesome being able to access whatever I want whenever I want. Something that is mine...ALL mine! With four children I find that there are very, very few things that are just mine. I always find something of mine in someone else's room, usually my teenage daughter's room. Anyway, now that I have my computer set up I'm going to try to blog more often...again. So...what's been happening with us? Well, my teenage son is driving me nuts! Appropriately so, I would imagine, for being 16! He has a super sweet girl friend and is really a good kid at heart. He doesn't get into any of the "usual" teenage trouble you hear so much about kids his age getting into these days. Sure, he's homeschooled (that's another story), but he gets out with friends and chats with friends on his game system quite frequently. He's been around peer pressure but fortunately has enough intelligence, to this point, to not succumb to it. He does help out often around the house since my husband (his step-dad) has been away driving over-the-road, but is there more he could be doing...most definitely. He doesn't understand why he has to do so much more than his 14 year old sister. It isn't really that he has to do more, as I've pointed out to him, but he does have a ton more privelages than any of the other kids since he is the oldest. We pay for his cell phone monthly and I pretty much drive him wherever he wants to go including picking up his girlfriend so they can spend time together. Here's my only real issue with him....He no longer seems motivated to excel academically. We have been using a PACE program which encourages the students to work at their own pace, however, with much prodding his pace has slowed to a snail's creep. He has begun to work more diligently lately, only because the status of his phone and games has been threatened, however, still not interested in anything he is learning. UGH!
My teenage daughter is the opposite of my oldest son. She is more motivated academically than when it comes to helping out around the house. I guess that's a good thing to have them balance each other out. She is working at a much faster pace when it comes to her academics. If she continues on the course she is currently on then she will complete two grade levels before the start of the new year. That's great for her! She's even excited about all of it. But, on the other hand if I wait on her to clean the very few areas of the house that are supposed to be her responsiblity, well, let's just say we would get snowed-in in Florida first. She also is improving in this area but I better not expect results within my time frame. Usually I will just give her a hand in getting whatever areas completed or just shut her door so I don't have to see her room. She's been doing better with that since turning 14 last month. Let's hope this trend continues. Oh, did I forget to mention that she currently has flaming fire engine red hair? Ok, so she's definitely qwerky. She has her own style and does what she likes regardless of others. My feeling on this is that I would rather they get the craziness of dyed hair out of their systems at her age so whenever it comes time to really buckle down and get a job at 16 (or 17, or as soon as someone starts hiring teenagers again (another then they can be done with the experimentation with crazy hair color and styles. Now I do put my foot down on piercings and tattoos which I don't allow until they are adults and can make those lifelong decisions for themselves.
My six year old little boy is a great little guy! He has been resistant lately, as well, when it comes to his "school" work. That is in part related to the fact that he has a very difficult time pronouncing certain letters. It is still difficult for others to understand him at times. He is progressing in the right direction and will get there in his own time without major developmental intervention. He knows 18 of his letters currently. He is a whiz at mathematics. He counts everything and can count fairly high. He can count past 50 when he doesn't get distracted while counting. He tries to help out around the house but still limits himself when it comes to what he thinks he can do versus what he can actually do. The coolest thing about him is he is camo and army man all the way. Check out those sunglasses!
My sweet three year old little princess is so much fun! She has just about all of the time with everything. She's a real cutie pie and smart as can be. I predict she'll be reading words by the time she is four. She reminds me so much of her oldest brother when he was little. She loves to draw and color, play with play dough, do puzzles and most of all watch Dora the Explorer! Everyone who knows her knows she is all about Dora. She loves to dress up and is already proving to be a fashionista. She likes to have her hair done, take a purse, sometimes a hat, wears sunglasses and loves to wear skirts whenenver she goes out. I spend some time reminding her that she is not only pretty but that she is also very smart. It's easy for everyone to tell her how adorable she is and she knows it too, when she says, "I'm a tootie bug!"
These are the loves of my life. Of course, without the support of my most amazing husband to be able to stay at home with them wouldn't be possible. He allows me to vent when it just gets to be too much and supports my decisions with regard to them. He doesn't just cave in to whatever I decide but rather he discusses it with me and sometimes gets me to change my view point to see his ;) I love him more than I thought it would ever be possible in a relationship. No matter how chaotic things get...boy, am I thankful for all of the above and more!!!

Friday, September 16, 2011

A tough week for a five year old!!!

This has really been a hard week for our little boy. A week ago he was sitting watching television with a plastic sheath to a martial arts practice sword sitting in the edge of his mouth. He decided to bend down to pick something up but still had the sheath in his mouth. He hit the end of this near 3 foot long sheath on the floor and basically rammed I down his throat. It cut his tongue on the way in and left two gaping holes in the back of his throat. When he first came to me my initial instinct was to find out which of his siblings had hurt him. This was quickly replaced with he realization that he had a mouth overflowing with blood. I had his older sister get him some water so I could access the damage and determine how badly he had 'bitten his tongue' or so I thought.. Obviously once his mouth was clear I was able to see that he had punctured the back of his throat. It looked like something science fiction. The holes appeared large enough to fit the end of my ring finger in. I happened to be on the phone with Chris, my husband and his daddy, at the time. Upon seeing the extent of the damage I decided to get him to the Emergency Room to make sure he didnt need stitches and see if he would be okay. Off to Baptist we go. They got him into he back pretty quickly and after three doctors and four consultations they took two xrays. Fortunately, he didn't hit anything vital; no arteries, veins or vocals. So he was put on a liquid diet consisting primarily of ice cream and popsicles for the next three days until his follow up with the pediatrician. I was sure he might get to eat again after his follow up. They wouldn't keep hm on liquids too long, I thought. Surely he'll get to eat again soon but to my dismay he was to stay on liquids for the next week and a half while it heals and scar tissue forms sealing the holes up. While it would probably be most five year olds dreams to get to eat nothing but ice cream, Popsicles, jello, yogurt, applesauce and cold Sprite, my little guy has seriously gotten tired of it and has just about completely stopped eating. His full day consists of maybe a popsicle and a half and a couple of cups of Sprite and that's it! For a week now!!!!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

A New Us in the New Year

Typically you would post something like this around the New Year when resolutions are made and broken but we're a little behind this year. I decided that for 2011 I would make a concerted effort to change the way the family eats and to try to help everyone get more active. So, I joined Ediets and signed both my daughter and I up for Curves. I'm going to try to keep an update running here on how the family as a whole is doing, as well as, how my daughter and I are doing with Curves. We have our first weigh in on Tuesday evening.

I've been on ediets since last Wednesday, March 2nd and so far I love it! It does get costly with all of the grocery items you have to get in the beginning but I feel healthier already and don't feel like snacking all of the time. I am going to take the knowledge I get from ediets for myself and stretch it out for the whole family. I am so hoping that they all jump on board with this. I think my biggest challenge will be curbing snacking and trying to get my little guy, Phalyn, he's 5, to eat anything other than a sandwich.

I'm taking pictures of some of the meals I prepare and I'll post them along the way, too. Here are two meals I prepared over the past two days. The first one is Pork with Pasta and Vegetables (with an apple). The second is a Grilled Chicken Sandwich with a Cranberry-Walnut Salad. Both were very delicious and filling.

Weeee'rrrreeee Baaacccckkk!!!!

After spending the better part of the last year mostly "unplugged" we are back. We did away with cable television and disconnected the internet just about a year ago. It was a long year but worth it. We began the year with lots of questions from the older kids about what they might be missing on Facebook and their other sites of choice. They just knew they couldn't live without YouTube. We stayed away from the internet almost entirely for the first six months then we began needing to spend more and more time at our local library in order for me to conduct our family business on line. By the end of the year, it was clear that we really needed to and were ready to welcome the internet back into our home. The kids did learn that they really weren't missing anything on Facebook and things weren't so dire that they needed to check in all of the time. They do enjoy having the internet back on in our home, as do I, however, Shawn, who is 15 now, has taken to staying up late into the night to get his computer time in. Mostly, this has to do with the fact that his new girlfriend seems to be up half the night doing the same. I can't say that I like this for him, but then I stopped to think back to when I was his age. Chris, his stepdad, and I didn't have the access to the internet like the kids do now, but we did fall asleep while talking on the phone together nearly every night. Most nights we would talk well past 3 am. So really, what Shawn is doing isn't all that different from what Chris and I did back in our day, at his age.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

A Favorite Blog

I just wanted to make mention here of a favorite blog of mine. A Joyful Chaos is so enjoyable to read. It celebrates the memories of an Amish childhood, in part, as well as raising a family of her own after having left the Amish life. I find her writing so enjoyable. She has a way of making you feel like you could have been a part of the events she writes about.
My mom turned me on to reading about the Amish. We have read many books by Beverly Lewis, who I have had the pleasure of meeting. I have often said that I admire the simplicity of life and faith that go along with being Amish. I have even implemented technology free weeks in an effort to bring some simplicity and focus to my own family. I always wish we could make that time last a little longer but it seems that we are too technology driven these days to stay away forever. I think I could make it happen with training but with four children that are used to having computer access, television and video games, it would take immense planning and reprogramming. Maybe I'll start with a tech-free day each week. That definitely sounds do-able. I'll keep you posted. But until then, if you would like a relaxing and enjoyable read, check out A Joyful Chaos!