Homeschooling

My oldest is school age but I decided due to the craziness of our life and not being 100% sure if we would be in PA or VA. I decided to hold off making it official for our son to be registered for school. I am hoping we will be in another state by the fall but a lot of things have to fall into place. Disclaimer: PA you don’t have to register until the child is 6. The thing is I am feeling a little overwhelmed and wondering how in the world am I going to do this with my oldest only be 6 when we “officially” start school. I will have a 4-yr-old, 3-yr-old, 1-yr-old, and two newborns. Honestly I’m not worried about the 1-yr-old or the newborns.

I am already doing school like activities and daily lessons with my boys. The thing is they are all on different levels and have such different personalities. I am using a book called “Teaching Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons” written by Siegfried Engelmann for my oldest to start reading and he is doing really well with the lessons. He sometimes fights me on writing but that’s because he doesn’t like to make mistakes so when he doesn’t do something right he gets frustrated and then does it wrong on purpose. Today my 3-yr-old ask me to do a lesson so I went back to the first lesson which was really short and he did it. He knows the letter sounds and he has been writing a lot. He typically likes to write his numbers but he been working on letters as well. I showed him how to do the two lower case letters and he did them. They took up half the paper but he did it the way I showed him.

The hard part for me is trying to see where one child is when the other ones are around. They all want my attention and my oldest is far ahead. It’s annoying when I’m asking one of the other two to tell me something and my oldest will say it. The other day I pulled out some animal magnetic tiles. I wanted to see how many animals my two younger boys knew, especially my 2-yr-old (X). When it came time to do it with my 3-yr-old (Z) he didn’t want to do it anymore. I know I just have to be patience and thankfully because I’m homeschooling I don’t have to follow a set schedule. I am beginning to start a new schedule during the week where no devices/tv are allowed until 3 in the afternoon. We do use the tv for a short period to do a few “lessons” with my 2-yr-old. When my oldest was 3 I started to work on letter sounds with him and we would watch videos by Jack Hartmann on YouTube. This is how my now 3-yr-old knows all his letter sounds. I really like the See It, Say It, Sign It video because it shows them the sign for each letter and teaches them the sound. I include some videos for the other two. My oldest is beginning to show interest in money and basic math skills. I know that my younger kids will pick up as they watch their older brother learn – hence doing the first lesson with Z.

I guess I’m just nervous when I have to actually report his progress. I have a lot of people in my life who isn’t happy we plan on homeschooling. I am saying we because my husband works from home and he helps with teaching the kids before he heads to work. I LOVE the unschooling mindset but my husband is not on board with it and no matter how much we talk about it he isn’t comfortable with usually the concept fully. I want to respect him and since I get to stay home with the kids I want to honor his wishes.

How do you manage homeschooling with different ages?
What are the age differences?
Do you know of any resources I could check out to help with doing schooling with kids of different ages?
What are some tricks to help your kids let the other kids learn at their own pace?

Pictures: In our dining room I have these three things hanging up to help with everyday learning. The calendar is to get them familiar with the concept but I don’t expect them to learn it until they are older. We have a word wall where I add words that are seasonal, monthly, and holiday related. I break it down quarterly so I will remove this set at the end of February. We also include pictures of family members and their name. We have our immediate and extended family. I was given a large stack of sign language cards and we are doing one card a day. The kids LOVE it and they are picking up on it pretty quickly.

Mental Pictures

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If you are fan of The Office or watched the two parter of Jim and Pam’s wedding then you know what a mental picture is referencing. I figure it’s pretty self explanatory but just in case you haven’t seen it. Jim and Pam are driving up to the wedding destination. Pam shares how her aunt suggested they take mental pictures of the high points of the wedding because it will go by super fast. My favorite mental picture in the two parter was when Jim cut his tie.

This concept came to my mind today when I was standing in the kitchen and neither my husband nor I had our phones on us. Our two-year-old (X) grabbed my husbands work gloves and hat he was wearing when he went outside to salt the sidewalk during the snowstorm we are currently experiencing. X put them on and was so excited. He took off to the other room wearing them. These are the moments as a mother I never want to forget. Our kids do things all the time that bring a smile to our face and those are the moments we will remember when they are adults. I know when my kids decide to leave and even start a family I won’t see a grown man/woman but the little child who did those type of things.

A few years ago I got myself a notebook to start writing down moments like those so I don’t forget them. I haven’t written it in a long time and I really need to start doing it again. The moments when they begin to make connects will one day be forgotten due to new experiences. I want to be able to go back and read all those moments. Our two-year-old is started to really come along with his vocabulary and today we were almost to the house when he yelled “Home”. He is making those connections and we made sure to praise him for using a new word. Our 5-yr-old (P3) is starting to get his own cereal in the morning and he keeps drawing family pictures making sure to include two babies in my belly.

P3 is next to me. Daddy is next to the tree and a random gift for Y. X is on the far right, next to Y, and Z is by my head on the right side. The twins are the four circles – they each have a head and body. I am not sure why he has stopped adding bodies to everyone else but I love it.

My husband had our daughter sitting on his chest while I was finishing up setting the table for breakfast. You can see into the dining room from the sunroom due to a window turned into an open shelf. I went to go upstairs to get the two younger boys, but P2 said he watched Y look at me and then turned to the door waiting for me to come through. This shows us that she is starting to make connection to her surroundings. Then at church I went to get the kids from downstairs. I was behind our 3-yr-old (Z) when I realized he was walking up the stairs with no railing and he was alternating his feet. This was a challenge for our oldest for a long time but it was the first time I have seen Z do it.

I want to remember these small moments and I don’t always have my phone on me. I also know that a lot of times by the time you get your phone out they stop doing whatever it is they were doing. X is always dancing – he will randomly start to sway his hips (like Elvis) and there will be no music. I am so blessed to be their mother and be able to stay home with them. I never want to forget that even when they are doing things that make me feel crazy.

What are mental pictures you never want to forget?
How do you try to capture the small moments?
How do you make sure to find a small moments with each child?

Counting with Apples

One of the benefits of being home with my kids I get to do activities like these with the kids. My favorite part was that my oldest helped lay down the apples for his siblings. I put together a chart and I found my third born looking at the apple pictures on multiple occasions. Even the second born liked looking at the numbers and pictures.

The kids LOVE apples but I learn they do not like just any apples – Gala is their choice of apples. There are so many activities you can do with apples. Counting, stacking, size compares, taste, and where we can get apples are a just a few ideas.

What activities have you you done with apples?

2 Girls or 2 Boys

We did a gender reveal party for each of our kids except our daughter. She was a surprise because I decided since it may be my last pregnancy I wanted to be surprise at birth. Now that is the last thing I want to do this time because having two at once I need to prepare for whatever gender. I have downsized the boys clothes over the years and I am starting from scratch with our daughter so I am going to need to figure out what we need. Now that we are currently resigning in PA again we were “close” to a Wegman’s so we put in a cake order. This is how we did it for the boys but we only needed one cake as I stated in pervious post we are having identical twins.

If I was going to sign a picture of the babies ultrasound I would be signing my name in pink because I think I’m going to have twin girls. I can see us having 3 boys and 3 girls. P2 pointed out how we could split the family when going out. I could have a girl days and he can have a boys days. I mean the whole reason why we tried for a 5th baby was because we hoped to give Y a sister. I of course have no idea how to deal with a sister’s relationship because I didn’t have one. I would have to ask my best friend who has an older sister so she could give me some enlightenment. I am already kind of freaking out about the time I have to deal with her getting her cycle and dealing with all those crazy girl moments.

We got the results on December 31st and did a gender reveal January 2nd. I had to give Wegman’s a 24 hour notice so the earliest I could pick it up was Sunday. We did know before we got the cake because I got the results on MyChart so it wasn’t like I could do an envelope. Then again our 3rd born was the only child I did not know before we got the cake. We knew for the first two but didn’t tell anyone. I put together a video as an announcement that we were having twins but I can’t post it because it has personal information on the ultrasound. We did a live video for the gender reveal but I am not going to post that either.

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Drum roll please…..

we

are

having

twin…

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I really thought I would have twin girls but I am EXCITED we are having two more boys. We will have five boys and one girl. We are done and Y will be the only girl. I had three brothers so I think she will be fine. Bonus she won’t be dating until she leaves the house. 🙂

2 Week Follow Up

I had my follow up appointment right after Christmas and I almost had to reschedule it. We were gifted a stomach bug that started in our family on Christmas Day. Our third born threw up on Christmas Day, our second born started the following night, and our oldest started on Monday. Thankfully it happened in shifts so none of the kids were sick at the same time. It didn’t last long but I spent the whole time washing sheets – my husband was a saint because he dealt with the throw up and cleaning the kids up. My gag reflex is REALLY BAD while I’m pregnant. Taking a pill can often make me almost throw up.

Moving on to my appointment I was able to go by myself but I forgot it was later in the morning. I like having all our appointments first thing in the morning. This appointment did not take as long as the last one but I had a different doctor who I had a hard time hearing. I hate masks because I rely heavily on reading people lips due to my hearing loss. He informed me that the baby b’s bladder was no longer a concern. This made me feel better and I left with another appointment in 2 weeks. I also had a doctors appointment with my original OBGYN right before Christmas where I got the genetic blood test done. I only did it so I could find out the gender of the babies. Due to us having identical twins we know that we would be having the same gender. I will share the results in another post.

I feel that we aren’t out the woods yet because anything could happen from here on out but I have to have faith and believe it will all work out. I am still able to lay on my stomach even thought I’m not really a stomach sleeper but for some reason once I get to big it’s all I want to do. The journey is just beginning so stay tune to our last journey because I am honestly done after having these two little bundle of joy.

Mono Di Twins

I had no idea that there was multiple type of twins – I guess it doesn’t really surprise me I just never thought about it. I was told at my first appointment that I would be going to a maternal fetal medicine (MFM) due to my age. This was told to me before my first ultrasound so we had no idea we were having twins. I went to my first MFM appointment and I had to wait for 45 minutes before the doctor came into the room. This made me nervous and I had a feeling something wasn’t right. The doctor walked in trying to keep the mood light but I was already stressed out and I had my 2-yr-old with me because he had a doctors appointment in the same location earlier that morning. He was getting to a point he was done and I was stressing and wanted to go home. I forgot that they moved me to another room when I first got there and the doctor didn’t know so she walked into the old room and scared the woman. She was like “So we’re having twins!” and the woman was like “Wait, what?”

I felt bad because I was in a bad mood and normally that would have made me laugh in general. Which I did later on when I told the story to my husband but I just had a feeling something wasn’t right. The doctor finally began to explain the type of twins I was having and what could go wrong.

Monochorionic diamniotic twins are identical twins who share a placenta (monochorionic) but each have their own inner sac (diamniotic). This type of twinning (or twin pregnancy) accounts for approximately 20% of all twins.”

The doctor informed me that there are times these type of twins do not play well together in the womb. They can steal each other resources and some cases they can have something called twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome. I was already stressing out about how this pregnancy is going to be so different from all my other ones and wondering if I would be able to have them naturally like all my other babies. Now I’m sitting here scared that everything could go wrong.

Once she was done explaining to me what Mono Di twins were and how I will be monitored every two weeks until I have these babies she decided to check on baby b because apparently the babies bladder was large. The concern was the baby was not releasing it’s bladder the way it should but she didn’t seem to to be concern at that moment. She informed me I will be coming back in 2-weeks to make sure the babies bladder is fine and if it wasn’t she would explain to me what would needed to be done. I didn’t ask because everything was so overwhelming and I figured it wasn’t good if she wasn’t willing to explain it.

I left the office feeling overwhelmed and scared. I got my 2-yr-old in the car called my husband told him what I was told and I started to cry. I ended up calling my best friend because I was so overwhelmed, tired, and stressed that I was out since 7 that morning with my very active 2-yr-old. Once I got a good cry in I felt better on some level and tried to not think about what was told to me. In true fashion my husband googled it and read up on these type of twins. He did manage to help me to know that the likely hood of something going wrong is slim. I even post on a mom’s group because I couldn’t think about anything else that day and I wasn’t feeling good due to a headache. A handful of mom’s shared they had mono di twins and let me know that it could all work out. I am still concern but all I can do is pray about it and believe these twins have a purpose.

First Ultrasound

I waited until the second test to find an OBGYN and made my first appointment. I couldn’t wait to get to this appointment because all I wanted was to see the baby for the first time. My husband and I joked the whole time about me being pregnant with twins. Then again we joked about this during our fourth pregnancy and honestly it wasn’t until the middle of the pregnancy that it was confirmed that I was indeed having one baby. Now back to my fifth pregnancy; the nurse told me she was going to start taking pictures but after a few shots she would turn the screen so I could see the baby.

We were causally talking and I was telling her about my kids at home. I told her I had three boys – 5, 3, and 2. I also informed her I had a baby 5 months prior to getting pregnant with this baby. She reacted the same way most people react when I tell them our kids ages and how crazy we are for having a fifth baby. Then I looked at the screen and saw the very thing I kind of already knew – which was the real reason why I wanted to see the baby.

I will admit I was a little overwhelmed and just spent the rest of the time trying to not freak out as I was talking to the nurse. Having another baby so close after having our fourth child was nerve racking but now there are two. Which mean all the experiences I had in my past pregnancies is now invalid on some level. This pregnancy is going to be so different and I have no idea what to expect. I will admit I had in my head that there was a chance something could happen and we could lose one of the babies. I will post another post about the experience I have had so far but we still have two babies. I told my husband that I wasn’t going to give him any information until I got home – mostly because I didn’t want to tell him if it was twins over the phone.

I stopped to pick up a few groceries before heading home and I got a 1/2 dozen of donuts. When I got home I came into the house and told the kids that mommy brought home donuts. They rushed into the dining room and I had our oldest who is 5 count the doughnuts. Once he said six I said out loud “That’s how many kids mommy and daddy are going to have.” My husband got this smirk on his face and he was like twins? I then grabbed the pictures and showed him. He kind of knew but still the reality was finally here and all our jokes were not longer jokes. He of course started to think of ways to make more money.

Now the next thing is finding out the gender – because we both decided we were going to find out this time because I couldn’t handle not knowing. I need to know if it’s two girls, two boys, or a one of each. I need to prepare because no matter what we will need more clothes, except if it’s one of each.

Baby #5

In ALL my pregnancy I have been able to take a test before my “missed” period. I would get that faint line and by the end of the period cycle I would get a darker line. This was not a complete surprise but it was on some level. I just had my fourth baby in June 2021 and I had my first cycle in August. I have never been blessed with not getting my period back shortly after having a baby like other moms who breastfeed. I have an app that I use to keep track of my period and document when my husband and I have alone time. Fast forward to October – I was standing in our entertainment room we call the sun room and I was having a melt down. I said to my husband I am either getting my period or an egg is attaching. Anyway – according to my app I was due to get my period so since my emotions were so out of wack I decided to take a test. The test was negative so I figured that I would take another one later because I could be getting my period any day, plus as I stated above I have always gotten a faint line right before my period. There was no faint line so I figured there was no way I would be pregnant. I took another test later in the week and still nothing. I was officially a week late according to my app and I asked a mom’s group I am in if anyone had this happen to them. I figured since I was still recovering from having my daughter that my period could still not be on track.

Then two days later I was making my normal breakfast of an egg bagel with pepper jack cheese when my sense of smell was so sensitive I stopped and was like – wait a second. I am sensitive to burnt stuff normally but this time it was really bad. I decided I was going to go take a test because the last time this happen was when I was pregnant with my first born. I remember walking into a Wawa and was wow that is a strong smell – I could smell a burnt smell in the kitchen area which was on the other side of the store. The funny thing is I didn’t have the smell thing with any of my other kids. I didn’t tell my husband I just went upstairs pulled out a test and did what I had to do to take the test. I usually don’t watch it but this time I began to watch it and I noticed the faint line. I decided to stop looking at it, set my timer, and did stuff in the bathroom for 3 minutes. I looked at the test and as you can see in the picture that is what I saw. I took the test downstairs and sat it on my husband desk. He wasn’t really surprised but I told him I will take another one at the end of the week to make sure it’s not a chemical pregnancy. I had a few of those when we were trying for our fourth child.

The thing that was bugging me was the app told me I was over a week late and according to the calendar we missed the window of our chances of getting pregnant. I got on the app to figure out what was going on and realized it was calculating my period for 21 days not the normal 28 days. Once I corrected it then everything lined up and I was suppose to start my period the next day of the day I took the test. We also managed to be together a few times in the ovulation window. I wrote a post back in September titled 1,2,3,4,…5?. We were on the fence about having a fifth child but we also wasn’t doing anything to prevent it. I did tell him that if we didn’t get pregnant by a certain time I would take it as a sign we are done. I would say that before I took the first test and it was negative I remember asking God that if this was his will that he would allow it. When I got a negative test I figured that was confirmation we weren’t suppose to but a week later I found out baby number five is on it’s way.

Did you know before you took a test you were pregnant?
What were the signs?
How long did it take before you took a test?

In all my pregnancy I took a test before I had a missed period so I never got that surprise – “oh no my period is like a week late” experience. Then again only one of my pregnancy wasn’t really planned but even then I knew in the back of my mind that I need to keep track to make sure and even with that pregnancy I knew before I had a missed period.

Hormones Release

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I have given all four of my kids breast milk. I won’t go into a whole lot of details of each child experiences in this post. I breastfed my oldest until he was 11.5 months and then he was done with it. My second born latest until 5.5 months and he was severely under weight so I stopped. My third son last only 2 months and that’s because I gave up after a certain point. Now I have a 4-month-old and she has not latched since the hospital. I have been pumping and giving her the bottle with the breast milk. This is working for us and I know I could have gotten her to latched if I would have taken the time but due to life I decided to provide her the milk but not from the source.

Now what I don’t remember feeling with the last three nursing experiences (but the last two were short) I don’t remember feeling so many emotions when the milk is released. Oh my goodness the hormones are coming on hard and it’s a hard feeling to deal with when it happens. Now this doesn’t happen every time I pump but when it does it’s pretty strong. I want to cry, laugh, scream, and hide all at the same time. I feel so vulnerable and I think that is the feeling that gets me the most. I am not exposed while I use this hands free pump and there isn’t anything wrong with being exposed. I just don’t need to be even thought I am in my own house. I am glad to be in a routine where I can give my daughter the best food source. I know that not having her latch isn’t allowing certain things to happen for her and mine benefits. I get that but with having three other younger kids it’s just easier to pump.

I guess since she is bigger now I could give it another shot but I figure at this point she would get more annoyed to have to work for the milk or she would prefer it and our routine would have to change. I know a lot of people have a lot of feeling about breastfeeding. I am a big advocate of trying as hard as you can but I also know there comes a time when its beneficial for everyone to just stop if it’s becoming a challenge. I have someone in my life who gets annoyed because I chose to breastfeed and does not believe me when I have shared how it’s the best thing for a child. I was told that they chose not to breastfeed so they could continue to smoke once they were not longer pregnant. I don’t know if that is the case but that was her choice. We have learned a lot about breastfeeding over the years and just because it’s the best choice doesn’t mean it will happen for everyone.

I am looking forward to the day when my hormones are not as crazy as they are now but then again by the time I’m done having kids and nursing my luck I’ll be going into the change of life. I felt my hormones were super crazy after my first child and they have their moments during this last one. I don’t remember feeling super hormonal after child 2 and 3 but I did get pregnant not to long after having my 2nd one.

TOYS!!!!!

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Cue music “I don’t wanna grow up, I’m a Toys R Us kid they got a million toys at Toys R us that I can play with….”

I remember hearing this song as I grew up but I barely ever got to buy anything at this store. I remember we had one right next to the Walmart. Now that I’m older I understand why I was never allowed to buy a toy at this location – it was always to much money. I have always been aware of the cost of items that even when family members would take me out to pick out a toy I would often try to find items that didn’t cost a lot of money. I had toys growing up but I also had a best friend who was an only child who parents got her anything she wanted. She had a pool, she had trampoline, she had polly pockets (the big sets), she had ever gaming system that came out, and she had a fisher price 3 in 1 gaming table. I LOVED going to her house because I got to play with all the latest and greatest toys. I longed to have those toys and even when I got older I found myself buying certain things to satisfy those desires.

I was in college when I finally got to play through Mario 64 and actually beat the game. I’m that person who likes to collect everything in a game and finish ever task. I will waste countless hours collecting ever star and finding every object. Now that I have kids I find that I am sort of living my childhood through them. Gifts are also my moms and MIL love language and they often get our kids toys for birthdays, Christmas, and just because they want to give them toys. I grew up with family members who LOVE going yard sales and thrift store shopping. I learned this skill from those family members and I have found a lot of nice almost brand new items over the years. I have also allowed myself to buy stuff that I didn’t need and ended up just giving it away afterward or throwing it out. I love the thrill of finding things for a low price. I will share more about this in a personal post on a later date.

Over the last four years I have strived to become more of a minimalist but I am not this way in the toy department. I will most likely post often about this topic because it’s an area that I’m trying to work through for myself. I have tricks I have done to help with inventory and I have a philosophy on the use of toys. I have gone against my belief in some areas and have embraced other areas. I also have allowed my work experience affect how I handle toys. I am hoping to share some old pictures of our other locations to share what I have done over the years but it will take me time to hunt them down.

I have an Instagram account that I wanted to share that focus on the toys I have found during my outing to local thrift store and yard sales. I share the price I find online and how much I ended up paying. I try to be mindful of what my children are interested at this time but I do find things for the future ages. If you like the thrill of finding a bargain check out my account and add me to follow my journey.

Share with me how you handle toys and you thoughts on providing toys. I will share my philosophy and why I have allowed myself to get where I am today in a later post.

How do you handle toys?
What areas is a weakness for you?
What areas are you firm on?

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