Photo by Chunky Monkey Photography

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Healthy Kids

We had an issue come up suddenly this week that required us to drive 2 and a half hours to a specialist who then informed us our 3 year old needed surgery the next day.  Insert panic here.  Seriously.  None of my kids have ever needed surgery or even been put to sleep for anything.. not even tonsils or ear tubes.  The closest thing we've had is a concious sedation for a tongue that needed 5 stitches.... yes that was traumatic.  So this was a BIG deal for us!  We were nervous.  My aunt Pam and cousin Allex met Jack and I at the doctor.  I told James not to worry about leaving work because it was going to be no big deal, get some meds, and come back home.  Well when the doctor announced what Jack's problem was (meatal stenosis) and what was going to be required to fix it we were shocked.  I couldn't think of a single question except "Are you SURE that's required? It won't correct itself?" He reassured me it was required and that with the amount of pain (SEVER PAIN) and difficulty he was having it needed to be done ASAP.  So we made arrangements and prepared for a surgery the next day.  James of course got off work then and headed our way.

We get to Cooks Children's where a close friend of mine's mother happens to work and was in the day surgery dept that day.  She took awesome care of us.  She reassured us we had the best doctor and that while it's a big deal because it's OUR baby, it's really not a big deal... it would be quick, easy, and he'd be good to go.  The staff at Cook's is amazing.  Jack never even knew were there for anything but having fun.  They have an awesome play room for while we were waiting.. Nelson even got to play an ipod touch and the wii.  Jack got to pick cotton candy for the scent of his mask, he drank giggle juice (verced) to make him so happy he didn't care when they wheeled him away, and he was fed as many popsicles as he could stand when he woke up.  Cook's has this easing parents mind and keeping kids from being scared thing down to a science. 

While we were completely absorbed with what was going on with us throughout this process we were quickly reminded how blessed we are when we went in to the recovery room to see Jack.  We couldn't help but thank God right then and there for this minor surgery Jack had to have... for the complete health we have been blessed with... for outstanding facilities for all the other kids that were there for much bigger reasons.  The recovery room was not private, or even semi-private.  There were about 20 beds barely divided by a curtain. A couple of kids were like Jack... there for minor day surgery... but was painfully obvious that many were not.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Solar System

We had a lot of distractions during our first lesson in astronomy but we finally got through it.  The boys enjoyed it and have really absorbed more than I expected them to.  When you see them, ask them about Galileo and Copernicus... and natural vs artificial satelites...what constellations and stonehenge are used for  Oh, and the order of the planets. They made their own mnemonic phrases to help remember that...

Henry's is:
Mrs. Von's Evil Mother Jumped Softly Unto Nelson's Pants. 

Nelson's is:
Mary Valasco Eats Many Junky Salads Under Nancy's Parrot. 

Our project for the lesson was to make a model of the solar system.  Rather than do construction paper or styrofoam balls (what I wanted to do but oh so pricey$$$) we did it with flannel and felt.  It's actually to scale... except maybe the sun.  As we learn more, we may add things like the asteroild belt and different moons.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012


Gramps is the name given to my step-dad, Cary, by my boys.  He married my mom a couple of weeks before I started 7th grade.  He helped my mom take great care of me and my brother, John.  Later, when my first son was born, he was retired so he took care of Nelson when I went back to work.  He loved Nelson so much and Nelson loved him.  When Nelson was just 9 months old, my mom was diagnosed with cancer.  She battled cancer off and on for 6 years all with Gramps by her side.  He was an amazing support and care taker.  She passed away in 2008 and Gramps' heart was broken.  Even after that, he came around all the time and while he was happy in the moment... watching kids play their sports, coming to birthday parties, coming for dinner and just to visit... you could still see the saddness in his eyes.  The only time I didn't see that sadness was when he was surrounded by (and completely distracted) his grandsons.

When they were around, you may as well forget having a conversation with him.  While had a few health problems, we never expected the phone call we received on Friday, July 13th.  That Gramps had passed away sometime in his sleep the night before.  His dear friend and landlord was who found him.  We were all shocked.  If you knew Gramps, you know he seemed much younger than he was. We all expected him to live for ever.  The kids were crushed, we... James, my brother, and our other siblings that he had from his previous marriage... we are all sad not to have him here with us.  But we are thankful that he is no longer trying to mend a broken heart or fighting any health issues.  We are thankful that he has once again been united with my mom and has gone home to be with our Savior.  We love and miss you, Gramps!!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Astronomy Day 1 and Other Stuff

We started school today. Just science...Astronomy. It was quick and easy and the boys enjoyed it. This text book is designed fo reach lesson to be stretched over a 2 week period doing doing science only twice a week. I am certain after today that we will do 1 lesson a week and then start on the next text as soon as we're done. I really liked how well the boys paid attention and absorbed the info with me reading aloud to them. Honestly i was surprised...pleasantly surprised. I honestly expected teaching Nelson to be difficult because A. He is very smart. B. He's at that age where he "knows everything" and can have a smart mouth at times. And C. He thinks he is a comedian and has been driving me batty. Or maybe I'm just hormonal. ;) but there were no problems. It was our first day so maybe God planned that out so I wouldn't get disouraged right away! Sometime between now and August 1st we will add in Math. I looked at it breifly this week but got scared! Math is my strongest subject and I understand it but have no idea how to explain it to a 2nd and 5 th grader. My book has it all laid out there butI need to actually read it in advance and can't jua tpick it up and go like we did the Astronomy. I mean I glanced through that but I don't need to do amy prep except for the last day in each lesson which is a project. Anyway, after that... either when all the public schools start or after Labor Day we will add the rest of the work in which is history, language arts, Bible which are all kind of tied together (for Nelson). Henry's language arts isnt tied in with the history like Nelsons but his Bible is part of hi slanguage arts. Oh, and we'll ad handwriting in then, too. They are going to hate that. If my boys wind up doctors they are going to be doctors with nice handwriting! ;) So that's are homeschool plan for now. I'd love any input. And prayers... I am not good with patience a lot of the time so that is something I really need to work on. Especially with Nelson. He is almost as tall as me, he's the oldest, and I have a hard time remembering he's still just a boy and I expect too much from him...typical for first borns from what I've heard...

Oldest and Youngest

Nelson and Kash enjoying some time outside on our front porch.  I will miss this porch if we ever move.  I can't believe my oldest is 10.... and I can't believe my baby is walking.

Sneaky, Dirty Boys

Jack and Kash were playing in their bedroom (which is near the back door) while I folded laundry.  I kept hearing these strange sounds coming from outside the kitchen window and when I finally looked I caught Jack and Kash playing outside! 

They were so filthy and tried to wash themselves off in the outdoor faucet but ended up needing a good bath...

I've never seen such dirty bath water!

Fresh Veggies

We don't have a garden of our own this year (thanks to the dog).  James is planning on building a cross fence in the backyard so we can have at least one area the dog doesn't destroy and that will be where our garden will go this fall hopefully!  We joined a community supported agriculture program (CSA) through a farm an hour or so from us that delivers to a drop point near by.  We have really enjoyed all the fresh vegetables and tasting things we normally wouldn't grow (like eggplant...)  The kids aren't on board with the eggplant but James and I loved it roasted.  They also include fresh herbs in our box which is great.  Last night we had roasted zuchinni and new potatoes with fresh rosemary (all from the farm) seasoned with salt, pepper, garlic and olive oil.  It was delicious and made the kitchen smell amazing!  It's really helped on our grocery budget too.  I've been able to freeze some things for later (like the bushel of peas we shelled).

TAY goo

Tegu blocks caught my eye while Jack was a baby.  I couldn't justify the purchase at the time especially since I wasn't sure Nelson and Henry would be in to them.  I've looked at them online and watched for sales since then.  FINALLY Ecobabybuy had them on sale for almost half off a couple weeks ago.  I ordered a 52 piece set in Jungle.  So the day they arrived we opened them up and got busy.  I am wishing I had purchased more!  These blocks are awesome. They provide a great outlet for imagination and creativity.  Nelson, Henry, & Jack love them.  (kash loves to put them in his mouth).  I even had fun playing!  Now that I know how cool they are I would totally recommend purchasing them even at full price.  Besides being a really cool toy, Tegu is a great company.  The factory is in Honduras where 50% of the population live below poverty level.  They are providing jobs with good pay.  When you buy blocks, they plant trees to restore the forestry in Honduras that was destroyed in the 90's.  They also contribute to the education of many of the kids in Honduras.

Hello? Hello? Anybody there?

I have falling off the blog our life wagon... it has been crazy busy around here with baseball season, VBS, and just life in general.  But it's leveling out again and I'm about to bombard you with adorable pictures of my kids so be ready!  Pics are uploading to another post as I type this. :)

We will begin science school work today so I'll be updating you all on that at the end of the week.  Instead of doing a general science we are studying Astronomy and the kids are excited.  We aren't starting the full school load because A.) It IS still summer and we want to be free to go and do.  B.) I don't want to be overwhelmed.  Starting with one subject and adding in as we go will allow me to better gage how things are going to go and what I need to adjust in regards to my expectations of homeschooling two kids with a toddler and preschool underfoot.  :)  Wish us luck!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Sonlight Box Fun

Our Sonlight box had the outline of a castle on the inside so we took it apart, colored it, and made a castle.  Jack and Henry had a ton of fun with it!  Nelson was enjoying some time at the lake with friends so he didn't get to do the cardboard castle fun... I'm sure he is really dissapointed! (not)