It’s Friday

Our party plans may have been bamboozled by the ongoing winter weather, but we’re still going to celebrate tomorrow, just the four of us. Natalie is excited to decorate and so am I. We’re going to swing by the bakery and then hit up the winter farmer’s market and then head on home to decorate and spend time together. 

I’ve been thinking and reading a lot about homeschooling and James and I have been discussing things to make sure we’re on the same page (we are) and then I read this today and rather than write up a post myself, I wanted to share it with everyone. This sums up so eloquently how children are different. James is planning on writing up a post about horseback riding, so stay tuned for some ‘tails’…nyuk  nyuk nyuk! I know, that’s pretty bad. I’m tired!!

Happy Friday, everyone!

Seeds and saplings

Happy Birthday, Conrad!

Today, our sweet boy turns two. He came into our lives at a whopping 8lbs, with a full head of hair. He’s brought more love into our lives and he’s a good complement to our sweet girl, his favorite person in the whole world. Here are some photos from his first weeks at home…..

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Here is our big boy today! This one is our favorite, he’s saying, ‘cheese!’:

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He’s chatty and persistent, with an unabashed love for Natalie. He’s charming and has a temper, and loves Izzy as if she really were his doggy mama. He’s goofy and a daredevil and he gives James a lot more gray hairs. In short, he’s perfect! Happy Birthday to our sweet boy! We can’t believe you’re two!

Some more thoughts

– We’ve rearranged our living room, thanks to the return of the bee rug! Photos to follow.

– I have to choose between the playgroup/mom’s support through church or the homeschooling group, since they meet the same day and time. Homeschooling group wins.

– The best time to rearrange your entire living room is NOT days before a big party. Too late though, it’s done – at least I’m fast and determined about it.

– We’re really excited to see everyone this Saturday!

– I like living in a small house, as long as it’s not too small. Plus, I’ve already started purging a bit! We gave all Conrad’s old clothes to the family behind us, and we’re collecting things to bring to the local thrift shop. We don’t really need a big house….just a big enough one. We like being all together!

– Natalie LOVES horseback riding. Even though it had been a few weeks and it was only the second class, she was fine right away. She’s excited to get ready to go, and she is brave and comfortable on Odie. He’s HUGE, btw.  We might have found her ‘thing’!

Tuesday

We got our security deposit in the form of money orders, so we’re good to go! I also contacted a homeschooler here and learned that the second Wednesday of every month, they meet at our local library! I’ve also signed up for a homeschooling conference that is being held at Pheasant Run, in St. Charles. I’m excited about both!

Conrad might be getting sick, heck I might be getting sick….our kids never have warm feet unless they are sick…and his were quite warm yesterday. We’re keeping an eye on him. It would explain his awful sleep Sunday night…..

We’re still doing ok in the less TV department! I did let Nat watch a few shows yesterday, while Conrad was napping and they both watched one after he woke up from his short nap. They just seemed really run down and tired, but then again, we did have a busy weekend and they are the kind of people that need to rest after that.

We’re getting killed by gas bills, so we really, absolutely can’t afford to keep the building for another winter. So, fingers crossed it sells! We won’t be ready for our March 1st list by date and honestly that’s ok. We’re doing the best we can and James has been working the weekends that we haven’t seen family or had some family time of our own. He was at the building yesterday and will return on the 2nd to do some more clearing out. We’ve turned down the heat here and we tried turning the heat down at the building, but it’s really drafty and our tenants complained that it was too cold, so we returned it to its previous levels (which still aren’t really that high, we’re not cold over here either, so no worries).

Horseback riding lessons resume this afternoon and Natalie is thinking thinking thinking about her party and what decorations she’d like to get! We’re putting in our catering order today (Italian beef and sausage) and are grateful for the sides being brought by family.

I’ll leave you with some driving photos:

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Again with the closets!

Last night, I finally felt like finishing up our downstairs closet areas. Nothing like a looming party to ignite your organizing fire! The garage is a MESS, but we’ll deal with that in bits and definitely as it starts to warm up. It’s also directly under Natalie’s room, so we try not to make too much noise in there after she goes to bed.

Here is the laundry area before:

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Here is the laundry area after (the hamper stays – we’re fine with it, because we use it and need it there):

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And now for the second closet’s before – it was a total hodge podge of crapola:

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Now for the lovely after! The bins are filled with things that can’t stay in the garage during the summer months or they will get ruined (Christmas decorations, photos, and keepsakes):

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It feels good to have it done and it only took me 45 minutes to complete! Happy Monday!

Sunday

Some brief thoughts –

– Considering a handwriting curriculum since Natalie writes a lot…but after reading about them, I’m not so sure. Thankfully, we can try them out before purchasing at the library in McHenry. I don’t see why we can’t just sit down and write with her…..instead of purchasing something…which is always where I go, and why purchasing a curriculum seems really odd.

– We are both reading a book, “The Highly Sensitive Child”, and finding it both validating and necessary to help us parent Natalie even better. We’ve done most of the recommended things (which if you ask James, he’ll tell you it’s because we are awesome, haha!) but it’s got some really good tools to help us on our way.  It’s a good read and filled with lots of yes! moments. 

– We’re on day 3 of no TV and it’s awesome. Yes, we’ve done this before and yes, I’m sure there will be times when we turn it on. The kids do much better without all that extra stimulation going on in their brains. Seriously better. James and I are trying to watch less too so that we can do other things, like read, play games, talk. Will we get rid of it? Nope, we like TV. However, we’ve noticed that Conrad has this overstimulation quality  and so while it’s hard to pinpoint exactly what it is, it’s there and TV exacerbates it. We don’t think it’s related to any disorder, he just isn’t a kid who sits for a long time and plays with stickers, he is a very physical learner and explorer. Like so many other boys…..and some girls for that matter. 

– We went to downtown Crystal Lake yesterday to eat lunch and explore the local toy store. We ate lunch at this little European deli/wine bar and Natalie told me that it was ‘cool’ and we should return sometime. It was pretty good and we like their downtown a lot. It feels bigger than Woodstock and has many more things that we’d utilize. Bonus: it’s 20 minutes away! 

This tidbit is just for Dad: the downtown Woodstock bakery where we’re getting the kids’ cake, makes cinnamon rolls on Sunday mornings. They open at 7am, so you guys should get some on your way out of town!! They go fast!!

Interesting!

Apparently, there are a decent number of homeschoolers out here, who knew?!? The Crystal Lake Park District offers a whole slew of classes, specifically designed for the homeschooler and the McHenry Library has a Homeschool Resource Center that was built in 2001 after receiving $55,000 in grant money. It’s exciting!

I’ll be light on posting this weekend, as we get some things done around here. Horseback riding lessons resume next week as well, so Natalie is excited! Pictures to come of some lovely looking closets and cupboards and hopefully our new tenant’s security deposit check won’t bounce a second time around!

To leave you with some cuteness, here is a conversation I had recently with Natalie:

Natalie: Mama, I really love your wedding ring.

Me: Thanks. I really love it too. One day you’ll get one too.

Natalie: I know, when me and Conrad get married!

Me: (laughing) Yes!

Natalie: Will we all live together when we’re grown up?
Me: Sure. (I tell her this b/c it makes her pretty upset to tell her otherwise and well..she’s 4, what difference does it make?)

Natalie: Are you married until you die?

Me: Yeah. Well…unless you want to be married after you die?

Natalie: No, I think just until you die.

Me: Ok, I think it can be what you want it to be.

Natalie: Mama, will we all be together when we die?

Me: We definitely will, sweetie.

Natalie: Will appah get to see his appah again too?

Me: Yes.

This made Natalie smile and then we hugged.