|Posted by AFarmhouseFull on May 10, 2013 at 9:40 AM||comments (6)|
My tips on grocery shopping with half a dozen munchkins:
Are you guys liking the videos or do you like the "regular blogs" better?
|Posted by AFarmhouseFull on January 17, 2013 at 4:15 PM||comments (0)|
We are working our way through astronomy here at the farmhouse. The kids are really enjoying it and I have incorporated more projects into our history and science lessons than in the past. At times I feel like the extra projects are a lot of extra work on my part (because they ARE), but they really do help it "stick" in the kids' minds. This week we talked about the moon phases and names for each different phase. Using one of my Pinterest photos I decided to do this little project:
If you will be doing this with your kids here are some tips to make it turn out great:
|Posted by AFarmhouseFull on January 5, 2013 at 6:35 PM||comments (0)|
Sorry I have been away....we have had a busy couple of weeks! Time for a Random Recap? YEPPERS!
So I think that catches you up in a nutshell! How was your Christmas/New Years?
|Posted by AFarmhouseFull on December 16, 2012 at 11:10 AM||comments (2)|
Getting a baby to sleep in a house filled with lots of noise is sometimes a challenging feat. Our last two babies have been VERY light sleepers. Babies 1-4 could have easily slept through a bomb raid; babies 5 and 6 awoke at the slightest things (unless they were already in deep sleep). The fact that these light sleepers were the most recent additions to our family has its advantages and disadvantages. The biggest disadvantage is the extra noise. With each child the noise and chaos of our home has increased a bit. It isn't like monkeys swinging from the ceiling fans, but I do have 6 kids playing, talking, learning, laughing and the like all over the house all day long. It is just a fact of life with a house full of kids. I can't expect the older kids to walk on eggshells all the time....they're CHILDREN after all; and children I will allow them to be. But there is an advantage to having the light sleepers as child #5 and child #6.....my skill level is ever increasing with each child, as is my patience. I am always amazed at the amount of people who say to me "You must have been born a very patient person". WHOA, you’re talking about ME....patient? HA! Ask my parents; patient I was not! God obviously wanted to fix that little flaw in me and did so by downloading the patience package into my operating system via Children6.0! While He has greatly improved that attribute in me, He has much work left to do! Although it is so hard to consider myself a "seasoned" mommy to babies (because it makes me feel OLD!!!), I will offer you some tips and advise on babies, sleeping habit and "spoiling" from my "seasoned-mommy" brain.
Getting a baby to sleep
First try the 5 S’s – Google it if you have never heard of them….they are life savers! I will list 3 of them because the others, I find, are only needed in cases of colic or a way overly tired, overly stimulated, cranky baby.
Swaddling – This works SO well I have listed it first. I have heard many people say that their babies don’t like it. I presume most of them aren’t doing it right. While there may be a baby or two in existence that DON’T like to be swaddled, they are the exception not the rule. Learn how to do a good TIGHT swaddle from an experienced mother or neonatal nurse. The big idea of a swaddle is that it has to be TIGHT! The babies where crammed in a nice, warm and SMALL womb for 9 months; they are used to the movement restrictions. In fact most of the time my newborns would awaken themselves because they would “startle” and their arm movements jolted their bodies, waking them up for good.
Sucking – Some babies just like to suck. Ever seen a baby sound asleep at the breast or a bottle and then you remove said apparatus from their little mouths to lay them down (because of course they are OUT) and their little eyes pop WIDE open? For some babies sucking is synonymous with sleep. Go with it. Most of the time they will drop the pacifier or you may remove it if you are so inclined once they are sound asleep. I would suggest a pacifier being used as a tool while they are small and not carried over into toddlerhood (or beyond), but again…do what works. That five year old with a pacifier will eventually give it up, guaranteed. Sometimes as parents we need to pick our battles.
Side or Tummy – Most babies prefer their side or tummy to sleep on. Guidelines today say you are not suppose to sleep them on anything but their backs, so weigh your own conscience and good sense with this one. If tummy positioning seems to help my fussy babies I make sure they are on a flat (FIRM) surface with no loose bedding and I stay close to them checking them often. Also, they can always just sleep on their tummy on you…another excuse to sit down and do nothing but snuggle and smell that oh-so-soft baby head!
Other Tid Bits
Lack of Sleep. Just get used to it! (Sorry, but I am gonna’ tell it how it is, sister!) Stop comparing your hours of sleep now with your pre-kid hours of sleep. Try not to be irritated that you must awaken all hours of the night for various reasons…this is a short season. It is a blessing to have a baby to be up with, try to be thankful for that. I know it is easier said then done. It became a WHOLE lot easier, actually, for me to do so with our “surprise” blessing. Ezra really wasn’t suppose to be here (by our planning) and I fell so head over heel with him in those first few days that I would actually SMILE and beam when I got up at night with him marveling at how I couldn’t imagine not being able to snuggle this little baby! So, my advice here is just to give of yourself joyfully to the service of motherhood. Lack of a sleep is not going to go away by complaining and being angry about it. It is a fact of life with a new baby. My advice for this comes from a Little House on the Prairie book that is often quoted around my home: “What must be done is best done cheerfully.”
Nap schedule. Don’t get so wound up over “schedules”. Think of it more as a routine. From about one to three months your baby will have random sleeping/awake/eating times. This is normal. It may differ from day to day. Go with it. I have found that once they are awake for longer periods of time (6 weeks +) most babies will fall into a E.A.S.(Y.) schedule (you can google “EASY schedule” for more info). Eat. Awake. Sleep. (Yourself – time for yourself) So for instance, if he wakes and eats, he will be awake or a short period of time and then get tired and sleep for a bit. And the cycle starts again. So if you notice your baby is getting a bit fussy an hour or so after they eat he may not be hungry again, but tired. Try swaddling and snuggling (and giving a pacifier maybe) him and see if those cute little eyelids start to get heavy. It is a lot easier to transfer a baby from arm to crib successfully if they are tightly swaddled (see below). Once babies are about 3-4 months old they will start taking longer, more routine naps. Right now Ezra is 3 months exactly and he usually takes a morning nap (9ish), an afternoon nap (1ish) and another one around dinner time (6ish). He also takes cat naps here and there but this is his general (longer) nap schedule. As they get a bit older 6 months + they start to drop either the afternoon nap or the evening one, keeping two naps per day. Then again at about 9-15 months they will drop the morning nap and take a longer nap after lunch. Eventually they will stop napping (2-4 years), but we do have a rule here at the Farmhouse that if you are not yet school aged (Kindergarten) then you must have a nap or quiet time in the afternoon (1pm-3pm). Most of my older nappers end up falling asleep at this time.
Nurse them. Not sure if this works the same with a bottle, as all my babies have been tried and true booby babies, but you can try. Nursing will always send my babies into a sleepy milk-induced coma if they are even a little bit tired.
The Swing. If all else fails put them in the swing. Some babies just adore these things and it works like an instant sleeping pill.
Co-sleep. Again this is one of those “not-suppose-to-do-things” from the pediatrician, so do this at your own discretion. I am a light sleeper (even when very tired) and I sleep with them in the crook of my arm so that I would basically have to break my arm to roll over them. I also sleep with my knee jutted out so that if my husband rolls he would hit my knee first. I would NEVER recommend co-sleeping if you are deep sleeper or move around a lot in your sleep. Mike would be a danger to the kids if he were to try it! If you are comfortable doing so, co-sleeping lets mom AND baby sleep more restfully. I have co-slept with all of my kids from newborn till about 6 weeks and then off and on (whenever convenient) until they are sleeping LONG stretches (like 8-10 hours) which usually happens anywhere from 3-9 months, depending on the baby. At that point they are moved into their room and into their own crib. Up until then they sleep in a small crib in the master bedroom.
Gas. My kids never really had too much of an issue with gas, so I have little advise for you there. If you nurse your baby from the breast it seems to lessen gas (because there is no air inside your breast for them to swallow), although I have had times where the baby gulps so quickly they can end up with some LARGE belches. After about ½ the feed, raise baby to your shoulder pat their backs and rub from middle of the back to the top, leaning them slightly forward and back once or twice. Usually this will get a solid burp out. I have heard gas drops work well too although I don’t have experience with them either.
MOST IMPORTANTLY – ENJOY THEM!!! You can NOT spoil a newborn! They are only small for such a short period of time. Enjoy them, snuggle them, kiss them, SMELL them, rock them, keep them close to you, wear them in a carrier all day. You will not ruin them if you do. They can not get too much love and affection at this age. They need, want and crave you. Give yourself to them fully and with a cheerful countenance. They are one of the greatest gifts given to us in this broken world, so enjoy them!
Side Note: This blog was written a day or two before the school shooting but I believe it makes the last paragraph even more important (for your older kids as well). We never know when our last day or when their last day is. My heart breaks for the families of those lost on December 14. I am sure none of them thought that the goodbye kiss in front of the school bus or the lunch they packed or the words they said would have been their last to their precious children. I can not imagine their pain. May God hold all of them tight and comfort them in their grief. May God bring His glory from this tragedy as I know that everything that happens will reveal His glory even if, with our finite minds, we don't see or understand it.
|Posted by AFarmhouseFull on December 4, 2012 at 4:50 PM||comments (2)|
Continuing my recently (well…okay…NOT so recently) started “homeschooling series”, today’s topic is our daily school schedule. Over the years our schedule has changed quite a bit and I have posted past schedule that we have used in previous blogs. I usually review our schedule every fall (beginning of the school year). I look over what works and determine what changes are needed to better suit our needs for that year. I also tend to look at things in the spring as well because with little kids things change quickly. Also, ever since I have been homeschooling I have been either pregnant or nursing and each requires different adjustments.
We are currently finishing up our 8th week of school and our routine is working out nicely. While it very rarely goes EXACTLY like it is written below, this is our daily plan. Things come up, of course; a baby needs nursed, a boo boo needs kissed, an attitude needs gently corrected, a squabble needs resolved, a tween needs a heart-to-heart…..the list goes on! But that is what life is with 6 kids – the schooling is only a part of it.
Here is what our daily schedule looks like now.
6:00-7:45am –Wake. I usually pry my eyes open between 6 and 6:30 (lets be real here….. occasionally it is 7:00….but then I pay for it later!). Just for the record I am NOT a natural morning person! After I wake up and nurse Ezra, I get ready (dress, makeup, hair, tidy bedroom/bath), have a cup of coffee, and look over the day’s events (meals, appointments, etc.). I would love to say that I have a quiet devotional (like I did before having Ezra), but quite honestly, in this short season of my life (nursing a small infant and getting up in the middle of the night), it isn’t happening in the mornings.
7:45-8:45 – Breakfast. One day (or two, if I am being extra nice and/or lazy!) a week I let the kids have “crap” cereal. I used to never buy it, but after protesting Mike (my husband likes his sugared cereals) in the cereal aisle one day I self-righteously grabbed a box of his “crappy” cereal and compared it to my “most-certainly-more-healthy” cereal that I usually buy and low and behold there was NO difference in the sugar content….. So now the kids get to pick out a
“crappy”“fun” cereal once a week and it is a treat. Other days we serve eggs and toast, yogurt and fruit, oatmeal, whole wheat waffles, bagels and cream cheese, etc.
8:45-9:30 – Chores. After breakfast we all get started on our chores: unloading dishwasher, dusting, trash duties, wiping bathrooms, swapping laundry, etc. I will clean the kitchen at this time, trying to have it looking tidy and neat when done. Then we all make our way upstairs (where the bedrooms are) and do our personal hygiene. The kids brush their teeth, dress, put away their laundry and clean up their rooms. We have a chore pack system so they remember all the steps. I will share that with you in another post. I dress Ezra and Georgia and help Faith where she needs it. I also make the younger ones beds and supervise. I throw in the first load of laundry and then we head back down stairs to a clean kitchen/living room to start the day (SUCH a nice feeling!). If the kids get done unusually early or I have to nurse they have a little free time.
9:30-11:00 – Morning school. The little ones are included in a “morning circle time” that includes prayer, The Pledge of Allegiance, scripture memorization, calendar and some form of poetry reading and/or Psalms. Then the older kids get to work on the things that are more independent (handwriting, spelling, reading, typing, math facts) and I help Michael (my kindergartener) with his handwriting and math and we do a lesson in phonics. The little ones play in the other half of the basement (within eye and earshot) and in some dire situations (where they are not playing very well together or are unusually loud) I put a short educational DVD on for them. Once I finish helping Michael I will do a short phonics lesson with Faith (my pre-Ker) and then I will usually play with/read to Georgia, Faith and Michael and help where needed with the others. After school we do a “3 minute clean up” and head upstairs for free time.
11:00-12:00 – Free Time. After school I swap laundry upstairs and take care of any diapers that need changed. We then have a little free time before lunch which can include playing outside, board games, a walk or just hanging out inside.
12:00-12:30 - Lunch. I will usually read our literature selection at this time. We just finished “A Wrinkle In Time” and are now starting on “Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH”.
12:30-1:00 – Chores and Outside Time. The kids have 1 small chore to do after lunch. Currently AJ and Michael stack wood in the garage for the woodstove, Maddie loads the dishwasher with lunch dishes, Faith feeds the chickens and Georgia and Ezra just look cute. Afterward they usually play outside for a bit. When it is extremely cold I back the van out of the garage and let them have “open gym” in the garage.
1:00-1:30 – Naps. At this time I take the nappers up and lay them down for their rest time. Our 2 year old and 4 year old currently nap. While I am upstairs (after I lay them down) I fold the laundry and start another load if I am needing to do a little extra. Sometimes I get it all done; other times I will finish it when the kids are doing their nightly chores.
1:30-3:30 – Afternoon School. With the little ones down we dig into our historical fiction book we are working through (current selection: The Broken Blade). Our historical fiction book corresponds with what we are studying in history. After reading a few chapters we start math and grammar. We then finish up with history or science, alternating days.
3:30-4:30 – Media Time. This is the chance the kids get to play Wii, watch PBS, play on the computer, nook or ipod. They sometimes choose to play outside or do other things but it is their 1 hour of screen time if they choose to use it. If they have any school work left over from the day they must complete it before they engage in any media time.
4:30-7:30 – Family time. This time is not scheduled. While I cook the olders have a half an hour of reading time in their rooms without their youngest siblings. The younger ones ususally play or help mommy in the kitchen. We usually eat at about 5:30 – 6pm. After we eat dinner everyone helps clean up.
7:30 – Bedtime Routine. Depending on who needs baths/showers (we alternate: littles one day, olders the next….otherwise there is not enough hot water!), we bathe the little ones and have the kids run through their nightly chores which is basically PJs, teeth, and clean room. They gather in our room when they are done and we do a bible study with them which ends in our nightly family prayer. Right now we are working through the shorter catechisms in a book called Training Hearts, Teaching Minds.
We try to get the littles in bed by 8-8:30 and the olders by 9.
Before I go to bed (I am usually in bed by 11:00-11:30pm) I will tidy the kitchen/living room (I LOVE waking to a clean/organized house…make my day go SO much better!), workout (if I get to….lately I have been SLACKING!) and shower.
That’s what is working right now…..hope I didn’t bore you to death!
|Posted by AFarmhouseFull on November 2, 2012 at 3:25 PM||comments (2)|
This year we have three children that are "officially" homeschooled and I am doing Pre-K with our fourth child. Here is our curriculum choices this year:
Andrew, 9, 4th grade
Maddie, 7, 2nd grade:
Michael, 5, Kindergarten
Faith, 4, Pre-K
Subjects that we do together:
What are your curriculum choices this year?
|Posted by AFarmhouseFull on October 31, 2012 at 5:05 AM||comments (0)|
Ezra was dedicated on our church's Family Blessing Day last Sunday!
We are so happy to have him and are SO thankful to God for every single one of our little monkeys!
|Posted by AFarmhouseFull on September 21, 2012 at 7:40 PM||comments (1)|
Oh me, oh my! What a busy two weeks we have had. I need a nap! Let me just give you all a run down of the last 14 days or so....
"After" photo of poor Maddie's head!
I am planning on taking it easy for the next week! The only thing we will have (hopefully) is soccer practices (4 a week) and games for a bit. While I am a bit tired (sleepless nights with a newborn on top of all the activity lately) I am EXTREMELY grateful for my beautiful family for all the help they have thrown our way lately. My mother has been a tremendous help to me...watching the older kids while I have had doctor's appointments (that seemed to occur HOURLY the last couple of weeks!), coming with me to the ER when I couldn't get a hold of Mike (cell phone issues), and keeping all the kiddos during the hospital stay. I don't know what I would have done without her! (I love you, Momma!) Mike's dad has also been at every soccer game of the kids and they love to have their "Papa Charlie" there watching them....not to mention and extra hand with the littles when we have to split the herd and have games in different cities on the same day! (Thanks, Papa!)
The daily stuff has been going well and it really has been an easy recovery (probably my easiest) and I feel AMAZING! I was able to jump back into my normal routine and have been happy that it is running quite smoothly. This week I plan on implementing some routine changes to get ready for school which will be starting on the 15th. I am planning on changing some chores around (to allow more time in the morning so we can get started with school at a decent time), getting some "busy bags' put together for my littles for school time, and adding back in some things that have fallen to the wayside over the last bit of summer; namely our literature time for read alouds and practicing math facts to name a few.
Most of all though I feel so awesomely blessed by this little guy......this little happy miracle that blesses me beyond measure. I couldn't imagine my life without all SIX kids, even though our plans were to have only five. I can't help but to be completely overwhelmed at some moments thinking about how God's plans were SOOOOOO much better than my own! He is such a perfect addition to the family and he has been getting his fair share of love!
|Posted by AFarmhouseFull on September 15, 2012 at 10:10 AM||comments (7)|
My "Little Miss Georgia Grace" is TWO!! Yeah, hard to believe! My little tiny baby isn't so baby-ish anymore! We celebrated with an (early) breakfast of baked oatmeal and ice cream topped with some candles, of course.
We opened presents (early) in the morning.
We did all of this so early because we headed into the hospital at 8am to have our little boy, Ezra!
Ezra was born at 2:04pm weighing 7 pounds, 10 ounce and 19 inches long, making him our TINIEST baby to date! He is so stinking cute and we love him to pieces. For now I will leave you with some photos.