Wednesday, May 30, 2007

egyptian wall murals

We're always doing art lessons every day. Most are spontaneous bouts of creativity straight from E's imagination.

This one is actually from our art curriculum that I paid money for (why did I buy it when she apparently just teaches herself?). Anyways, we were learning about Egyptian wall murals, and when it was her turn to draw about what she had learned, she began this large drawing of Pharoh. I was amazed at how quickly she can draw, and the details and perspective she adds to her pictures.

The bottom picture is also a mural, but it is a palm tree with a coconut falling down. Notice the detail of where the land is and the water. If I were to draw this picture, I would have the ground be a simple line along the bottom of the page, but she has figured out how to draw dimensional perspective into her pictures with the background at an angle.

She should teach me a few things!!
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Me draw too!

Poor little snapdragon... I guess she wanted to draw a wall mural too. Silly mommy forgot to tell her she needed to put paper on the wall first.Good thing we just painted that wall with a fresh coat of paint 2 weeks ago. Kids always seem to know the best things to do to get your attention, don't they?
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Where did all the toys go?

Toys, toys, everywhere... the story of my life.

That is... until we put our house on the market and boxed up 95% of what we have. Seriously, I really did go through every room in the house and put away ALL of the toys I saw.

We had a lot of toys and I wanted our house to look clean and uncluttered... and stay that way. I kept out two knights, a princess on a horse, a fairy (all from this set), some wooden blocks, some cars, and a few craft items (crayons, paper and glue) with one craft book.

Am I a mean mother, depriving her already TV deprived kids of fun and exciting things to do? HA! Far from it. First off, our house sold in less than half a day. (thank you God!). The couple who bought it don't have any children and were able to envision living here thanks to the clean uncluttered floors, shelves and walls.

Secondly, the kids have never been happier. Their play has become so imaginative. They build endless numbers of houses, boats, towers, and castles with their blocks and castle kit. They spend hours outside in the yard running around, digging in the mud and splashing in the water, and they draw and color and craft with our meager craft supply, never complaining of being short changed in the 'stuff' department. In fact, I think they are appreciative of how easy it is to keep their room clean, and how fast it is to pick up their toys before bedtime.

I think we will be having a big garage sale when we move into our new home and get rid of most of what is in storage!!

Here is some more food for thought in the blog world about the toy challenge:

The Lazy organizer talks about paring down her daughter's toys to one stuffed animal and one dress-up dress, and the ensuing happiness that followed...

In the Trenches of Motherhood: talks about Aesthetically pleasing, child friendly, and most of all practical toy storage advice and has great photos to inspire you.

Shawna, at As Simple as Two plus Two, another mother of 'twins' has great advice on A Little Toddler Psychology: Keep it New, Keep it Few!

building the nile

Another homeschooling project that had to go on a vacation while we were selling the house: The Nile River!

We've been learning about ancient history off and on this year, and one weekend we were feeling sort of crafty so decided to make this Nile River diorama. It was lots of fun. We learned that most of the land in Egypt is a desert and not much can grow there, but along the banks of the river, there is fertile soil and lots of water to help everything grow very lush.

We also had fun making clay pyramids to put on the desert.

The kids planted grass seeds in the dirt and we waited for them to spout. Unfortunately, while we were still waiting, we had to let the river have a sleepover at grandma's house due to putting our house on the market so we missed being able to check on it every day.

The excitement when we got it back looking so green and full of life was worth it though! Look at our jungle paradise :-)
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Saturday, May 26, 2007

What is this stuff?

In an effort to get the babies to sleep for longer stretches at night time, we began solid food with them last week. It didn't go over so well. I'm not sure they really like the idea of eating anything besides mommys milk, paper, and their toes.

JP is in yellow and Peter is in the blue here. JP was pretty annoyed at me that I was trying to give him food, and Peter just looked like he couldn't figure out what we were doing. Neither of them actually swallowed any of it.

Maybe we'll have to try ketchup with it. Seems to work with the older kids :-)
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More on the stick bugs

They are growing up so fast, those little stick bugs. Currently they are on vacation at a friends house (while we were trying to sell our home, I thought they might be happier over there... didn't want to scare away potential buyers LOL). Apparently they are well cared for and loved in their new home. They have laid eggs and we are awaiting the appearance of the babies.

These pictures are of one day when I was really brave and decided to clean out their home all by myself when sean was at work. Nothing a stick bug crawling on your kitchen counter to spice up your day!!

My favorite adventure with the stick bugs by far though, has to be when one of them accidentally got dropped onto grandma Jeri's foot during a birthday party last month. I never laughed so hard since I found out I was actually pregnant with twins :-)

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Monday, May 21, 2007

A good morning...

...even if it's SNOWING outside. That's spring for you where I live!!

Hope those plants I have out there survive.

Everyone is feeling much better around here. Thanks be to God.

Daddy is enjoying a much-deserved sleep in the morning, the kids are being silly at the breakfast table, snapdragon the toddler is torturing one of the babies on the floor, the other one is snoozing with daddy.

Mommy is enjoying some pretty music and a realtively calm moment to write a short blog post.

Our house sale is now final on both ends. YAY!! We will be moving this summer. I am so excited. Like my lovely sister in law told me, it's a real 'grown-up' house!! Living room, dining room, fireplaces, big bedrooms, big back yard, finished basement. I think I will feel a bit like a child when we move in there... espceially since we don't have nearly enough furniture to fit into all the living spaces. With so many little kids running around that's not necessarily a bad thing.

So what's going on with us lately?

-JP and Peter both have one tooth and another shortly on the way

-E has two LESS teeth. She now proudly matches her brother's smile

-H can talk up a storm now. "mommy do it!", "I wan come too!", "UP UP", "Bye mommy!", "(here you) GO mommy", "Want Juice!", "baby crying", and she proudly calls her relatives by name, calling both grandpas sweetly by their first names. "Hi ED!", "bye, Jack!".

-JP and Peter have started to eat solid food now, although they don't really enjoy it. I'll have to post some pictures soon, because they make the most adorable faces when you try feeding them something other than mommy's special milk.

-E has finished her choir for the year, ending with a special spring concert last weekend. She has learned a great deal from this choir, and we are so proud of her. Last night she was singing for us in our bed, and I was amazed by how her singing voice has matured, and how her range has grown.

Blessings to all of you out there. Hug your families and say your prayers. So many people love you.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Super daddy

When mommy gets sick, the whole household can fall apart within five minutes...

that is, of course, unless super-daddy steps in to take care of it all!!

He's amazing, my husband. He's taken care of the twins, the toddler (who is also throwing up), the preschooler and the first grader... he's made meals, cleaned up the house, done the dishes, made muffins, gone grocery shopping, went for a 3 hour housing inspection on our new home, put kids down for naps... and managed to get a bunch of his real job (manager at Bell) done in the midst of it all.

Wow, he even managed to get a blog post written (see below).

Thank God for daddies. And for wonderful, loving husbands who will bring you warm chicken broth and soda crackers, and a laptop to surf the net while you are laying in bed. What would we do without him?

Friday, May 18, 2007

Only in a Catholic Homeschool...

...Will you find a copy of St. Thomas More's "Utopia" sharing a bookshelf with a package of Baby Wipes.

Just thought it was a rather odd, but telling combination.
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Friday, May 11, 2007

toddler moments

... in the midst of packing and cleaning and selling the house, I was still trying to parent 5 small children. The most challenging of them all, being my sweet little toddler snapdragon. She's a such a delight to us, and definatley keeps us on our toes. She's also quite demanding and has learned to yell loudly to get attention. I guess being a big sister to twin babies will do that to you :-)

Anyways, on one particular occasion I was laying on the couch with a headache, very much sleep-deprived and stressed over the sale of the house. My darling husband had just returned home from work, and I was trying to hide out, away from my noisy children, and get some much-needed peace.

"I'm going to DIE, sweetie!" I wailed, in my dramatic way of complaining. "Good-bye! I will see you later.. I just can't take it anymore!"...

Expecting some sort of sympathetic look or hug, I turned instead, to see my toddler running full force at me, with her own wailing, "I come too! I COME TOO!!!".

aHHH!! I can't escape!

The bunkbeds are back up. We had to do it to sell the house, because I didn't think that a king size bed crammed into a tiny kids room made the house look very appealing. I took a book out from the library on "Home Makeovers That Sell" and took most of his advice seriously. We did over the whole house, and it paid off. However, we still have the small problem of the toddler and the bunk bed. She's already climbed up to the top numerous times since it's been back up, and I just don't know WHAT to do with her, short of moving her bed into my room so I can keep a close eye on her. But that just doesn't seem very appealing to me. ( see first half of post).

Maybe we can try moving her into the kitchen? I could teach her how to clean the floor so she's occupied in the middle of the night.


Speaking of the middle of the night, last night she fell asleep in her brother's bed (the bottom bed on the bunk beds). She climbed in with him, and was obviously perched precariously on the edge, because shortly after midnight I awoke to a baby crying, quickly followed by a loud THUMP and then a wail. Daddy raced into see what was the matter with her (I was feeding the babies), and found her on the floor with blood pouring down her face. Lovely.
Finally, Snapdragon earned her very own trip to the emergency room. She must have been jeallous of all of her sibling's visits... right.

Anyways, daddy was in the ER with her all night, and came home at 7:30 am just in time to eat breakfast and drive off to work. Poor man! He works so hard.

Oh where oh where did Melanie go.. oh where oh where can she be?

What excitement we have had in the last two weeks here!! I've been so literally busy I haven't even had time to sleep, never mind blog about our adventures!

Yes, for all of you curious readers out there, we are moving. Here's how it all happened.

I was at church 2 weeks ago when a nice lady (with 10 kids) graciously offered me her old exersaucer.

"I would LOVE to have it, thank you so much... but we don't have enough room in our house for anything!"

"oh," she said... " I do happen to have a five bedroom house for sale, do you want that?"

"WHAT??... a five bedroom house? I've been looking for something like that since the twins were born." And the wheels start furiously turning in my head, searching for a plan that can help me to afford to buy this amazing house..

Later on that week, we went over to her house for coffee and a small birthday party for her 5 year old, and I got to see her lovely house. Five big bedrooms on the upstairs, a living room, dining room, finished basement, FIVE MINUTE WALK TO CHURCH, a big yard, across from a playground. This is my dream house. This is what I have been praying to find ever since the twins were born and I started to feel like a pea in a pea pod slowly being squished by my growing children.

Long story short, they gave us an amazing deal on the house so we could actually afford it. All we had to do was sell our own house in 3 weeks or less.

Right.. no problem! Sell our tiny 1300 sq foot house bulging with baby toys, clothing, books, too much furniture and oodles of children running around. No problem!! Maybe I could just take people through the house to view it one room at a time. Monday can be kitchen viewing, Tuesday can be the bathrooms, weds can be the living room... I'm sure I can keep one room clean at a time.. that is if the kids are all sleeping at the same time. Oh, and then there's the matter of the master bedroom turned nursery, and nursery turned into cramped room with King size bed.

We needed a miracle.

But who am I to doubt in God's providence?

Our amazing friends and family came through with so many helping hands that we turned our house into one of those Reality TV show sets where you make over your house in 48 hours so you can sell it. We had people painting half the walls in the house, people packing up all the clutter in the kitchen, washing and polishing the cupboards, scrubbing the toilets and the bathroom floors, moving furniture into storage, digging up the garden, washing windows, power washing the outside of the house, planting flowers, painting the fence, finishing the drywall in the basement, rearranging furniture, bringing fresh cut flowers, babysitting the kids for hours on end, holding the babies, changing diapers, doing the piles of laundry that were ignored in the chaos and putting the clothes away, cleaning up the mess in the basement, hauling away loads of garbage to the dump, cleaning the oven, and steam cleaning the carpet... WOW. Can you really DO all that in one weekend?

Only if you have oodles of friends and family helping, and you don't go to bed until 2am every night.

We did it though, and we were ready and waiting on weds afternoon when the house went on the market. Tired, and sore from all the work, but our house looked immaculate. Definitely not a house with 5 small kids and tired, harried parents who don't have time to keep up with the house work or yard work.

The end result: Our house was on the market for a mere 8 hours before it SOLD!! The second people who went through the house made an offer just short of our asking price and we jumped for JOY.

Thank you , thank you, thank you!! Thank you to God, to our friends and most especially to our family who never cease to amaze us with their love.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Mother Mary in May

May is traditionally the month that is dedicated to Mary, the mother of Jesus.... Where I live it is a perfect month for this, because it is when spring really hits us for the first time. The trees are finally starting to leaf out, the flowers are starting to bloom, and the grass is turning green. The world is full of the lovliness and beauty of nature. Innocent and pure, delicate and sweet.

While I don't have time to plan all sorts of inspiring crafts and lessons this year (what with the twins, sleep deprivation, and a possible upcomming move), but thanks to the amazing world of blogs, I can benefit from the creativity and time of other moms.

Jordan, from Cheerios and Fingerpaints paints a fun picture for us of her plans with her young children this month. I love her idea of the foam pieces rosary.

Cottage Blessings is alwasy full of beautiful craft ideas to help celebrate and enrich our faith. She has some lovely pictures to help illustrate all of her crafts too.

Dawn, at By Sun and Candlelight also gives us some inspiration for what to do on May Day. Lovely!!

Or maybe... I'll just play it really easy, and go over to Illuminated Ink online, and get some of their craft kits that are already made up for me.

Mary Paper dolls

Mary grotto kit

Rosary holder

We'll get to at least one of these beautiful ideas hopefully!!

A beautiful story

There is a blog I have been following for the past few weeks of a woman's journey with a brain tumor. She is only 32 years old, has 3 small children, and was just diagnosed with a brain tumor a few weeks ago. I wanted to share her story with you all, because her strength and faith through the whole ordeal is so inspiring, and because she would appreciate more prayers, I am sure.

The whole story starts here, when she found out, but today's post when she is talking about her impending surgery that could have many complications including death, is especially beautiful. I only pray to have as much strength and peace in my heart when I come to a moment like hers in my life.

Hug your family today, and be grateful for each breath!