Thursday, August 21, 2014

Happy 4th Birthday Calvin!







Sweet boy of ours,

Mommy and Daddy love you very much!  Today you are 4 years old!  It seems like just yesterday we were taking a squawky baby home from the hospital.  We didn't know what it would be like having a Calvin, but we were so excited to find out!

You have had a great year!  You've grown inches and are now as tall as Mia was when she was 5.  You will surpass her, just not for a little bit longer.

By the grace of God, you finally potty-trained this year!  Woohoo!  It wasn't easy because you were motivated by nothing...but one day it happened and it is fastly fading what it was like before underwear.

You have a love for learning just like your sister.  You can already read and counting is a breeze.  You love practicing writing and can scribble a pretty good Calvin.  Your drawings are starting to improve and we can tell what is on your picture most of the time.  ;)

You still love frogs, but now we've expanded into a love for sharks, whales, eels, snakes, bugs of all kinds, and germs.  Yes, you really want rabies and heartworms...in the plush form.

Your favorite food is peanut butter and jelly.  You ask for it at breakfast, lunch and dinner.  You still do not like vegetables, but will tolerate an occasional carrot.  We make you eat 3 bites of veggies before you get dessert and you usually get it done.  I'm not sure you will like it when we up it to 4.

You have an innocent, childlike faith, which is so sweet.  Your favorite Bible story is Jonah and the Whale.  The other day we were talking about how when you disobey God, there is a consequence and you replied, "Jonah's consequence was going in the whale."

We love you sweet boy, we love watching you grow and learn about life.  We thank God that He gave us you!

Love always and forever,
Mommy and Daddy, Mia and Asher

Monday, August 18, 2014

First Grade




This year we took the plunge and decided to homeschool.  It had been tugging at my heart for awhile and after weighing all the pros and cons of public, private, homeschool...we landed in the homeschool camp.  Just to get our feet wet and see if homeschooling would really mesh between Mia and myself, we started in June as a sort of trial period.  We figured if we sank horribly, we would just go with the plan to enroll Mia in a regular 1st grade classroom with an aide to assist her when necessary.

This summer went great and so we are jumping in completely to this challenge.  There were so many different reasons to do this, one of the biggest motivators was to address Mia's shortcomings.  She is so bright, academically she is further along than a first grader already, so in that sense, school would not be extremely challenging to her.  Yet, physically, she is a bit behind.  In some ways, Calvin at 4, is more advanced than she is at 6, physically.  We wanted to tailor her learning to her needs.  Homeschooling lets us do that.  We get to work on some of her struggles, while still challenging her academically.

One of her biggest struggles will be writing.  Her fine motor skills are behind and there is a disconnect between knowing how to write something correctly and physically making your hand do that for you.  I've seen little bits of improvement over the summer, and many of our activities are very purposeful in that area.  She gets the one on one attention she needs and the time to practice.  Of course, she is rather stubborn and will fight me in writing, but we are working on the concept that we can't do everything perfect and we all have to practice and redo things in life...that is life.

It works great with Calvin and Asher here.  Sometimes Calvin joins in with the lesson (and Asher too) and sometimes the boys just go play on their own.  We aren't doing anything formal with Calvin at this point, but letting him be a part of as much as he wants.  Calvin and Mia work very well together, so this is another great thing.  They really are best friends.

Everyone's big concerns are that socially, she won't get to play with her peers enough, but we've already had other homeschooling moms and their kids come over for play dates and I think we won't be short in any of those.  She does Sunday school and Awana on Sundays and she will be part of a grade level specific bible class on Wednesdays when I am at Bible study myself.

So, we are just going to go with it.  We are going to trust God as He continues to provide for us and for our children.  We are excited to see what God has for us this year!


Saturday, August 16, 2014

Whales, Sharks & Eels...oh my!

We celebrated Calvin's 4th birthday a little bit early this weekend.  He invited a few of his friends over and we had a great time!  There was a bounce house, which was a huge hit and kept the kids fairly occupied.  I've noticed he has a hard time settling on one special want, he sees different things and will change his mind constantly about what he wants.  So, settling on a birthday cake was extremely difficult!  We went from a germ cake, to a ghost cake, to a mario kart cake, to an eel cake.  I was happy when we settled on the eel cake because I felt like that was doable.  I used two bundt pans and chopped the pieces and rearranged.  He was very happy with his eel cake. 







He told me he wanted a chocolate cake and he wanted his eel to be brown.  I was so excited because Calvin has a hard time with artificial coloring, we steer clear of it as much as possible.  When he has artificial colors, he tends to have an inability to listen by the end of the evening.  Brown, I can do brown.  He told me he wanted a "spotted american eel", where does this kid learn this stuff?  (From our visit to the aquarium of course, someone must have mentioned it to him...he has such a good memory!)  So the chocolate chips came in handy for the spots. 









One of Calvin's gifts was a germ plush, Mange.  I don't know exactly how he stumbled upon germ plushes, but he is obsessed with them.  For awhile he was begging me, "mom, I want rabies, I want heartworm, I want toxioplasmosis."  Which sounded really funny coming from my 3 year old's mouth, I would have been really confused if I didn't know he wanted plushes!  He has learned to search on google for whatever animal he really wants with plush attached to the end...he can then look at pictures and ask me how many dollars a particular animal is.  The other day, Brad and I were looking at our mini ipad (the one he uses to browse) and there were so many different tabs open and his spelling was too cute.  Bllfrog Plush, Big Wale Plush, Eele Plush, Jerm Plush.  Google is so smart, it quickly adjusted each of those for what he was looking for. 



Look at this girl and her missing teeth!  Love this smile!

To end the party, every kid got to take home their very own snake...I mean, eel...that's what we are calling them.  They were a huge hit.  Calvin really enjoyed his party, he loved all his friends that came and for the rest of the day he tried out every gift he got that I let him.  He loved everything.  Our sweet boy, he is a blessing from God and we are grateful for him.  Thanks everyone for helping us celebrate today!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Family

Brad's Grandpa Bob came out to visit us in California for a few weeks.  He split his time between our neck of the woods and other family near LA.  So, on the weekends, we got together down in LA and did some fun, family activities. 

It was a great time for everyone.  Mia, Calvin & Asher loved all the fun stuff and especially all the family.  Brad's extended family down south has cousins that are close in age to Calvin and Asher and they had a blast playing together.  Calvin keeps asking when we can go back. 

And of course, time with Great Grandpa was especially sweet.  All the kids loved spending time with Great Grandpa, but Calvin was especially fond of him.

We visited the California Science Center, which is in LA across from USC (my old stomping grounds).  I immediately noticed how different everything was since I've been there.  So many new buildings and changes.  Isn't that how life works? 

The kids loved the science center.  There are so many hands on activities and it is free!  We also got to see the Endeavor (not free, you had to pay to see that.)  How amazing to be so close to the shuttle, it is huge. 

The following weekend we ventured down to the Long Beach Aquarium.  The kids enjoyed all the animals.  Asher especially liked the huge fish and the birds.  We then headed up to Brad's Uncle's house and enjoyed an evening meal and S'mores on a fire pit.  That was a huge hit with the kids, there first time having s'mores. 

The next day we did a few fun activities around where they live and headed to the beach.  This was the first trip that Calvin probably could remember.  He loved the ocean, wanted nothing more than to go deeper and deeper into the crashing waves.  I was super grateful that Brad didn't let go of his hand.  Mia wasn't opposed to the water, but she wasn't rushing to get into it...and Asher wanted nothing to do with it.  He was content to scoop in the sand and just play close to mama.  Such a fun time!

Sadly we had to say goodbyes, but there were so many great memories made and such a blessing to have Great Grandpa here for a little while. 















More Pictures





Wednesday, July 30, 2014

London

Since the team flew through London, Brad got the opportunity to stop off for a few days and see Tim, Rachel & Joy before heading home.  It was his first time visiting them in London and they packed in quite a bit in those few days.  I'm so glad it worked out for him to see them!









He's Back!

Brad went with our church on a mission trip to an orphanage in India for the past 2 1/2 weeks.  We are happy that he is home!  He came back on Saturday and we are adjusting to life with Daddy again.  For the most part, the kids did really well with him gone.  I was really surprised that Asher had the hardest time of all, but everyone is so happy that Daddy is home.  It was a neat trip, his first overseas mission trip!  They did a VBS program with the kids.  He says that we should all go because it's one thing to share, but nothing compares to actually going.  Here are some photos of his trip!








Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Summer Cleaning

My mom and I have been cleaning my house from top to bottom this past week.  Rooms are getting switched around and it was time for a thorough cleaning.  Who knew there were so many nooks and crannies to hold junk.  And dust...oh my, dust.  We ended up moving the office furniture up to the front room and we are going to make a den/playroom out of the old office.  Since there is so much space in that room, I was able to put all the kids toys in it and I FINALLY have my living room back...without any kid toys in it.  It feels great! 

Mia lost another tooth, this one on the bottom.  When it rains it pours?  Calvin keeps checking his teeth to make sure they are all there, he doesn't want to miss the tooth fairy when it's his turn. 

We've had some accidents with potty training, to be expected, I guess.  We've made a lot of progress and overall I think he's doing well. 

Asher is struggling with his sleep so much and I know that this will pass and he will be a great sleeper again, it is just making things a bit harder in the day.  I dropped his morning nap and he makes it until about noon and I wish he would take a three hour nap, but he can't seem to make it that long and wakes up crying after an hour and a half...it is just lots of adjustments right now. 

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Milestones!

Yesterday Mia lost her first tooth!  She has quite a few wiggly ones in her mouth and so it was only a matter or time before it happened!  She was super excited and the tooth fairy came to visit last night.  She got a little pillow with her name and a tooth embroidered on it...in her pocket she got $5!  Rumor has it that the tooth fairy gives $5 on the first tooth and $1 for each one there after...

Calvin was hoping the tooth fairy would visit him, but I told him that the tooth fairy only visits those children who lose a tooth and that in a couple of years, he would get a visit then.  Slightly saddened, he was still thrilled that the tooth fairy was coming for Mia.






In other news, Calvin is now officially potty trained!  Woo hoo!  It took us a week, but he is done and I am so happy to have 1 less in diapers...that's a big deal!  He got these bug underwear that have a different bug each day of the week and he is always super excited to see which bug he gets to wear.  He told me a few days into the process, "mama, I don't need a potty chart anymore and I'm ready for school."  Hehehehe.  If he only knew he could have milked the rewards of a potty chart for a lot longer!

We moved Asher's crib to Mia's old room in the back (Mia and Calvin are now sharing a room).  That has been a tough transition for him.  He has pretty much told me in his own baby body language (screaming) that he does not like change.  I guess he gets that from his mama.  We'll give him a few weeks to get adjusted to it, but it is so nice to have the kids on the same side of the house and to have our living room back!  Asher's old room was a bonus room right next to our living room and so when he went to bed at night, we were banished to our bedroom...life is all about adjustments, right?

Thank you Lord for these precious babies!!!

Monday, June 30, 2014

VBS

The kids had a fun week at VBS last week.  Unfortunately, they all came down with colds.  So, we have been in recovery mode for awhile now.  The cough is still lingering, but with the humidifier at night, they seem to do pretty well. 

This is a big week for us, we are officially working on potty training Calvin.  I don't know why my kids can't figure this out, but it is not a simple task for them.  Ask me at the end of the week how we are doing.  ;)  I keep telling myself, everyone does it eventually...right?

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

MARE

Yesterday was Mia's last day at MARE for the summer.  They offer morning riding sessions through July, but by 11am, it can be really hot and it's nice to take a break.  So aside from OT, we don't have very many commitments for the summer. 

The kids keep getting bigger, I blink and it seems like something has changed.  Asher now eats at the table with a plate and a fork.  Such a big boy.  He, of course, loves to do everything that the big kids are doing.  His vocabulary is increasing daily.  And his comprehension is so good, he can follow directions very well.  When I ask the big kids to go wash their hands, he right there first because he understands so well. 

Calvin has developed a love for legos and the wii.  He can now finish a race in mario kart on his own.  He also has started writing a bit on his own and can do his letters pretty well.

Mia and I have been doing some school at home and she continues to surprise me at how smart she is!  She is doing second grade spelling (that's when they start spelling) and the workbook we use had an activity with 7 words scrambled...she had to get the words in the correct order to make a sentence.  I thought that was difficult, she looked at the words for 15 seconds, maybe and then she would tell me the sentence.  All that reading is paying off for her.  I think writing will be her biggest struggle, but we continue to work on it and I see some improvements slowly in that. 

Friday, June 13, 2014

Summer

Summer has arrived in Bakersfield.  We've quickly adjusted to life at home.  It's been so nice, for the most part.  It's been nice not having to rush in the morning to get Mia to school.  It's been nice not having to worry about when and where naps are happening.  It's just been nice.  Of course there have been some trying times with kids getting tired of each other, but for the most part, they really enjoy being together.  More often than not, they are frustrated with the little guy because he wants to do everything they want to do. 

Brad and I were blessed to get away for our first overnight ever.  All three kids stayed at home and the grandparents had a sleepover at our house.  Brad and I really just enjoyed the time, a brief pause from life with littles...a chance to talk without being interrupted...what is that?  The little things in life. 

We are doing a little bit of school at home this summer and Mia is loving it.  This has been good for giving our day some "structure" and not having too much free time.  A little free time is a good thing, but I've found that really long chunks don't work so well with my kiddos.  And Mia is a learner, so she loves everything we do.  Her handwriting skills are probably the farthest thing behind at this point, so we've been working on taking our time and practicing our letters.  And I have to say, it is starting to look a little better. 

So grateful for our little ones and thankful for a God who loves us!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Pokey Pastures

We had a great memorial day weekend.  We spent some time with the grandparents on Sunday and then headed up to Palmdale on Monday to my brother's place.  Grandma Cheri, Uncle Paul and my Auntie Eva were also there.  It was a nice visit and the kids enjoyed time with the cousins and time with the sheep!






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