Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Aurelia's 1st Birthday

 I still have Malakai's birthday to post about, but since it's most fresh on my mind and in my camera card, I'll share how we celebrated Aurelia's very first birthday.

{the coral dress in these photos is the same newborn sized dress}

Aurelia turned one year old on September 5th and I mourned the fact that her baby days are slipping away. I'm still wondering where the last 12 months disappeared to. We celebrated her growing and learning and the joy she brings to our little family. Sadly, she had been very sick the entire week prior with 3 visits to the pediatrician, 2 trips to the pharmacy, and numerous called to the triage nurse. It started the week before when she had been acting fussy and spiked a fever for just a day. It broke on it's own and she didn't really have any other symptoms beside being extremely irritable. On Friday I decided to take her in just to be sure before the weekend hit and we had to resort to urgent care if things got worse. We saw one of the new providers at our pediatricians office and she checked Aurelia's ears, which were my suspicion because of her behavior, and despite no other symptoms she did in fact have an ear infection. 

She was limited in what antibiotics she could take due to previous side effects, so we decided to try the same one she had with her last ear infection in early June. After 2 days and no real improvement in her mood, she woke with a mild case of hives on her belly. That night she vomited shortly after taking another dose of her medicine. The next day we went in to the doctor to chat about her reactions and changing medicine. Then Aurelia started refusing the medicine, she'd spit it no matter how we tried to give it to her. By the Friday, a full week from when we previously took her in we were back for the 3rd visit to see if her meds were doing any good since she was spitting them out. Thankfully her ear was improving, so we kept attempting to get to to swallow as much as possible and prayed for healing. We were able to celebrate Grandma Debbie's birthday that day without too much of a fuss. 

On her birthday she was in great spirits. We went out to one of our favorite places, Johnson Brothers Greenhouses out in Coburg, Oregon. They do a really sweet little kids' event the first Saturday of every month. Then we actually celebrated her little friend who happens to be 8 days younger at her birthday party and ended the day playing at home together.

Sunday after church we threw her a simple little garden party at our dear friend's home and she was just a peach the entire day. It was so nice to have her finally feeling better.

{Mima outdid herself again with a beautiful cake}

We had some light snacks and drinks for our guests and played lawn games and had a good old fashioned visit.

We watched her daintily eat her very first bites of cake and frosting, and play with tissue and wrapping paper as she opened up gifts.

{banana applesauce smash cake}

She watched the big kids play and got passed around from grandparents, to aunts + uncles, to friends and crawled around in the grass with here cousin, brothers and little friends. 

It was a perfect little afternoon celebration for our sweet and sassy little girl. 

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

"Preschool Home"

We are loving getting back into the routine of school around here. As I did with Malakai I am homeschooling Desmond for his Pre-Kindergarten year. He lovingly calls it "preschool home".

Sonlight Curriculum

If you're looking at homeschool curriculum options I'd encourage you to consider Sonlight. This is my first year using it and we love it already. I'm so glad that friends of ours were able to share it with us and that we went with their recommendation. I wanted to pass along some of my favorite reasons why it really works for us.

* My children are getting a great education and loving it! Sonlight is a literature-based curriculum, so we read tons of great books out loud together. The kids devour plenty of books on their own, too. We stay away from boring textbooks and really engage in what we're learning. Desmond is currently using the Pre-K curriculum and Malakai (in 1st grade) is always begging to join us or save lessons for when he's home.

* That time spent reading together on the couch is creating some great memories--we learn so much about each other as we discuss the events, ideas and characters we discover.

* With the Instructor's Guides Sonlight provides, we can just open up the guide and do school every day without me spending much time planning. This is by far my favorite part about buying a homeschool curriculum. 2 years ago with Malakai I used a free curriculum but had to do all the purchasing and lesson planning weekly, it was like having a part time job! This way I can spend my evenings hanging out with my husband after the kids are in bed!

{our little school area}

* Sonlight prepares my kids to engage with the world around them. We study lots of different cultures and don't just focus on US history. My kids know that not everyone is like us, and they're learning to care about those around them with an intelligent and Christ-centered love.

* Sonlight offers the best risk-free offer of anyone. You can take a whole year to use 18-weeks of a curriculum package or Instructor's Guide. If you don't love it, send it all back (used books and all) and receive a full refund of every penny you paid.

* I get all the help I need from Sonlight's online forums, their curriculum advisors (who can help me choose which products will fit my family best) and their customer relations team.

I should also mention that on top of that, Sonlight has a Rewards Program I enjoy. If you decide to purchase from Sonlight, enter my Rewards ID when you register an account on their site and you'll get $5 off your first order ($50 or more).

My Rewards ID: SP20422761

Or just use this link:


Check out the "Why Sonlight" page for some great articles about Sonlight that may help.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

First Day of School, 2015

I'm still trying to wrap my mind around both of my boys starting school today. Desmond for the very first time. So far we have homeschooled the "Pre-K" year and then our kids go to a local school for Kindergarten on up. This saves us money on those Preschool years and gets me using my teaching degree. It was a challenge when I first homeschooled Malakai because I was doing all the lesson planning while juggling everything else and halfway through the year I was pretty sick while newly expecting Aurelia.  We've lived and learned and are trying something new this year with Desmond. We are using a homeschool curriculum called Sonlight recommended by a handful of friends. Everything is planned out for me and it's largely book-based, which we love. I didn't have to do any late night planning while the kids slept, I didn't have to stress when Aurelia was a challenge at nap time and only napped half an hour because everything was ready for us when we were able to get to it.

My plan of action for having a kiddo in full-day school away from home is to prep as much as possible the night before. Malakai has his routines written out and posted (I started this to motivate him to wear clothing when he was a 3 year old and it just stuck). His clothes are put out, his lunch and snack for the next day (or two) are packed and ready, his backpack is stocked and set out and we are ready to roll for the following morning.

The hardest part is waking up at 6am after being up several times the night before. Aurelia's constant teething (she's working on her 8th) and frequent ear infections have trained her to frequently wake and need comforted back to sleep. However, even with a lack of good solid sleep, waking up before the kids really feels great in terms of being able to get myself ready for the day before needing to help them get breakfast and move forward with their to-do's.

It was so nice feeling like we got ready on time and even out the door early. We took some pictures with our cute little signs and loaded up the beloved mini-van. All of my good feelings unraveled when I had to navigate walking 3 kids 2 blocks with a vase full of flowers in one hand and a heavy bag of school supplies in the other while pushing a stroller and making sure the boys didn't get hit by a car because there were no sidewalks. Thankfully I kept my composure and we all lived to see the 1st grade. Malakai sorted out his supplies into the marked boxes (I'm so thankful he loves stuff like that) and disappeared into his classroom. Desmond gave the flowers to Kai's teacher because Malakai was too shy and then I lost him. I figured he was fine for a moment so I could at least say goodbye to Malakai, who didn't want a hug. Des was getting in to the toys, of course, and I'm just ever so thankful he didn't tantrum about not getting to stay and play with them.

We made it out the door, chatted with some friends on our way and headed home. Desmond said he didn't want to do "preschool home" yet which was fine because it was 9 am and I hadn't even had coffee yet. He played sweetly while I got Aurelia down for a late morning nap and we had 30 minutes to ourselves to go over our memory verse, days of the week, a few stories and work book time before she woke up again. By then he was asking for more and more school work. Thankfully I have a few extra workbooks that are only 90% colored by Malakai so he was able to hunt for some pages to finish while I prepared lunch.

It was odd to have Malakai gone for so many hours, but somehow they just flew by and it was nearly time to pick him up. We played together, the 3 of us and the house was eerily quiet for early afternoon.

Ben came home early so he could greet Kai at pick up since he wasn't able to make drop off. When we saw him he looked a little pale and a lot tired. He said he didn't feel well because he went in circles too fast on the tire swing. We sat in the shade for a bit while Des played on the play ground. I chatted with his teacher and he perked up enough to play a bit and cooperate for a few more first-day photos before we headed home and vegged out for their daily ration of screen-time.

{not feeling so hot}

 {got his groove back}

{annual photo by the pillars}

All in all, first day of school conquered. Hope yours went well too!
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