Thursday, December 10, 2009

Cousins at last!

There's something special about a cousin.

Especially when you are only two days apart!!

A ready-made friend.

(I tried to get a nice picture of all of them.... really I did. Good luck getting 7 kids 9 and under to sit still and smile on cue - at the same time!)
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Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Feast of Saint Nicholas

How can it already be past the feast of Saint Nicholas?? I am in awe of how fast time passes as I get older and have more children. It really is true what they say about how quickly the littles grow up. My oldest is already nine years old, and becoming a little lady. Here she is holding Samuel for me, while all the siblings gather round and humor me so I can take a photo of all my sweet children.
The kids put their shoes out the night before, and could hardly stand the wait until morning when they could run downstairs to see what Saint Nicholas might have left them in their shoes. They were not dissapointed!! At the peaceful hour of 5am the awoke and waited (patiently) until 6:30: Chocolate coins, holy cards, a rosary ring and a big chocolate St. Nick (gluten free of course). Oh, and they all shared a new veggie tales movie and a book.

(In case you aren't familiar with this feast dat, it's largely a European tradition, where children put out shoes or stockings on the evening before the Feast of Saint Nicholas - december 6th. He is the patron saint of children, and was a well loved bishop in the third century... go to The Saint Nicholas Centre website for stories, history and activities).

After a breakfast of chocolate, we headed off the church for the 2nd sunday of advent, in a big snowstorm, and spent the rest of the day resting, watching new movies and enjoying each other's company. At bedtime, all the kids piled into mommy's bed and I read them one of the many xmas books I have taken out of the library. Good thing I have a kingsized bed!!
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Thursday, December 03, 2009

A is for Advent...

Advent is upon us already, and we are enjoying the change of our usual school routines. We will spend the next four weeks preparing for baby Jesus to come and getting our homes and hearts ready for the grace-filled Christmas season.

This year, with so many preschoolers in the house, we are doing an Alphabet Advent. There are 26 days of advent, so we are doing one letter a day until christmas. We have made our advent chain as in years past, but this year we have a letter for each day and an associated activity. Thanks to the always inspiring Jennifer at O Night Divine (a fabulous blog for advent/christmas ideas), we were inspired with many crafts, books and activities.

A is for Advent Wreath: light the first candle, Angels: color a picture
B is for Bethlehem, baby, birthday: read the story B is for Bethlehem and make our own nativity picture collage in the style of the illustrator Elisa Klevin.
C is for Cookies (gluten free of course... the recipe is from Carol Fensters 1000 Gluten-Free Recipes) and D is for Decorate. Yummy!!

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

A smile to cheer your day

Just look at those little cheeks. Isn't that enough to make your day brighter? (and people feel sorry for me, having so many little kids around... if they only knew how sweet they can be).
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6 weeks old

Samuel is already 6 weeks old, and he's a cutie pie. He hardly ever cries, is very peaceful, and smiles for his family often. We are all quite smitten with him :-)
The twins especially love their little brother. They are always checking on him, kissing him, rocking him, and wanting to hold him. It's so good for them to be the 'big' ones now. They 'help' with diaper changes, putting him in his carseat and even keeping him happy if he gets fussy. They have tried to play swords with him, but to their dissapointment, he can't hold one yet.

I can only imagine the craziness when Samuel starts running around the house with them in another year. Next xmas will be fun indeed! Four boys under 7 can liven up any house.

And here are all of my wonderful children! Six little blessings.. each on different in their own special way, and I'm so privileged to be their mommy.
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Friday, November 27, 2009

And on we go...

Another season in our life over, and a new one beginning and I feel like I've just emerged out of this big fog, and walked into this new world, fresh with possibilities and sunshine!

Life since twins has been so so crazy. Especially life since unexpected twins.... double especially since becomming pregnant with child number six after unexpected twins. (and did I mention they are BOYS? TWO of them?? and the crazy age of three?).

Most of my pregnancy was filled with fatigue, worry and weariness. I had no idea how I was going to cope with another little child to take care of... no idea how homeschooling would be managed, no idea how I would feel physically or mentally.

Two big joys in my life

But then along came Samuel.

And the lessons were learned all over again.

'Melanie' , I heard whispered to me,

'children are a gift'

'You are loved'

And now I know it will all be ok. Life is hard at times, but so manageable when I look at all I have been blessed with.

Babies are such a sweet precious gift to a family... and when little Samuel, in turn, becomes another crazy three year old, maybe God will bless us with another little baby to remind us of the sacredness of human life and that we all need to live one moment at a time.
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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

baby news

Sean & Melanie are overjoyed to announce the arrival of:

Samuel Lewis Blair

Born Oct 19 at 5:36pm at home, weighing in at 7lbs.

Mommy and Baby are relaxing at home and are doing great after a relatively short labor.

Samuel was very alert right away and is very curious about everything going on around him. I believe he finds his many doting siblings the most interesting!

Thank you to all our family who helped with the other kids and with the house while we were occupied with his arrival!

Many Blessings,
Sean and Melanie

Sunday, October 18, 2009

I'm an Auntie!!!

Welcome to the world little Lukas William!! You are adorable and we are so happy you are here.

Love, Auntie Melanie

Thursday, October 08, 2009

My little midwives

Some people's kids play doctor... mine play midwife.
Good thing too, because if my labor is as short as it was when THEY were born, I might need the help :-)
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Monday, October 05, 2009

Hide and Seek with toddlers

I love watching the twins play hide and seek together. It's their new favorite game.

They recently turned 3, and are just so cute right now. While their language skills are a little behind, they certainly make up for it in exuberance.

Here's how it goes: P will hide somewhere (usually while JP is watching LOL), and then JP will say "me 1, 4 5" (meaning I'm going to count now). He then runs away to a different room and counts to 10:

"1, 4, 5,6, 8,9, 10! ME COME!!"

P giggles in anticipation in the other room, while JP runs to where he's hiding and yells triumphantly,

"Found ya!!".

Then they trade places and repeat the whole process 5 or 6 more times, usually using the exact same hiding spot. This can keep them occupied for a good 30 min or so, and they've been doing it a few times each day for the last week since their big brother taught them how to play.

I'll try to get a video of it next time they do it, because it's just so cute. Problem is, they are both usually missing at least one important item of clothing, so I'm not sure they'd appreciate me posting it on the internet :-)

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Small Successes

Well, I guess it's time to try this out again.
8 1/2 months pregnant, tired and restless... I am sure I can still accomplish things during the week! I spend too much energy being hard on myself for not being perfect all the time. I am learning to live in the moment and do the best I can with what I am given.

So what are three things I've done this week? It's so tempting to list all the things I HAVEN'T done, because they follow me around like a noisy marching band, but I will ignore those.

1. I finally organized my linen closet with my trusty label maker. It's so fun to open the door and see freshly folded neat piles of sheets, blankets and towels.

2. We are almost done week 7 of school already!! Two more weeks and we will be done our first quarter. I am feeling so organized and am thankful for all the work I did over the summer to get me here.

3. I cleaned up my room, got all of our home birth stuff organized and in one place, and brought up the baby cradle, carseat and other essentials we will need this month. (AHHH! it's already october!!)

Wednesday, September 30, 2009


One of the advantages of homeschooling... you can take off on a nice fall morning and go fishing with your grandpa.
The kids had all sorts of fun, and apparently they are pretty good at casting their lines into the water, and pulling out fish!! Z caught 7 and E caught 3!!

They also enjoyed the grandfather's perrogative of taking them to McDonalds for breakfast AND lunch on the same day LOL. I'm sure they will remember this day for a long time.
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Monday, September 21, 2009

Fall Family Walk

We went walking in a lovely park by the river yesterday. The kids had a marvellous time running through the big trees and rows of thick bushes. There were some wonderful old trees just perfect for climbing (and picture taking), and they had fun making crayon rubbings of the bark and collecting leaves.

Later on, we spent a fair amount of time throwing rocks into the river, and then headed off to the slurpee store for the before-promised treat.

All in all, a nice fall afternoon.

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Wednesday, September 09, 2009


My little 4 year old girl is so excited because today is her first day of joining the girls choir that her sister has been in for 3 years.
She keeps trying on new outfits to wear, and just recently came down with some hair accessories.

"Mommy can you put this barrette in my hair?"

"Sure honey... there. You look so pretty!... you look like your big sister!"
(she scrutinizes herself for a few seconds)...

"No, actually I look like a normal person."

"What's a normal person?" (and what does that make her big sister? LOL

"Oh, I don't know." she says, nonchalantly and then after a mere 60 seconds of being a normal person, she takes it off and declares she doesn't want to wear it anymore.

I wonder if she thinks I am a normal person. hmmm...
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New bike!

Feeling sorry for his little preschooler who couldn't keep up with the big kids, daddy decided to use his RBC Points to purchase a fancy new tricycle for H this summer. It's red and silver and shiny with a bell and a horn, and a seat on the back to take friends with you. She loves it.... but (and couldn't you see this coming?) the TWINS love it more. You should see P whiping around the driveway and sidewalk on this thing. Looks like daddy needs to start saving his points again so he can buy another one.

H (and all the kids really) has spent the summer playing all day at the park across the street with the neighborhood kids. Within one block of our house there are 5 girls close to the kids age, and 1 boy for Z. Including our kids, there can be a mob of over 10 kids at the park at one time playing tag, chase-the-girls, catch the butterflies, and other inventive games. What a fun summer! Even the twins got to enjoy the fun by being scary dragons that chase the other kids around up and down the slide.

This is just the sort of fun that children love. Warm sunny days outside, close to home, but far enough away that they are in their own little world. Thank you God for giving us this wonderful house and wonderful neighborhood!
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Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Week 4!

With a new baby on the way shortly (I am 34 weeks pg already!), I decided to start school a little early. The kids were a little unhappy about the idea at first, but as we quickly fell into a rhythym, everyone has been enjoying the new structure that school gives to our days.

Z is in grade 1 already, and is doing a fantastic job of all of his work, although he detests reading lessons (but we are persevering because we know that there is a light at the end of the tunnle and he is improving every day).

E is in grade 4 (can't believe how old she is getting). She has been enjoying her schoolwork this year too.

H is in preschool and is learning new things all the time. She loves letters and enjoys copying words from all over the house, and making up her own words.

The twins... well, let's just not talk about them right now LOL. They are quite a pair, and enjoy getting into mischeif. This is a whole new post of its own.

Here's our plans for this year... i'll start with grade 4 and do grade 1 when i have more time.

Grade 4

Math: Horizons 4 (still working great for us)

Spelling: All About Spelling (starting at level one for review and working through the rest of the
4 books as time allows... the kis LOVE this new spelling program and look forward to it each day)

Copywork: Memoria Press Cursive copywork book. (E is just practicing her cursive formation here)

Latin: Latina Christiana 1 (this is going great this year).

Writing/grammar: Writing Tales 2 (we love this program... I wish I had found it last year, and I wish she would write higher levels of the program... it's a great gentle introduction to writing).

History: History odyssey level 1, Early Modern Times

Science: Exploring Creation with Astronomy (2009 is the International Year of Astronomy and we are having fun already... posts on this to follow)
Art/nature study: Hearts and Tress Kits (more on this later... we are loving these mom-friendly kits for nature and art study. )

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Speaking of the Twins...

From first day of school 09 1

I tried so hard to get a cute picture of the two of you KNOW how hard it is to get two 2 year old boys to smile (facing the same direction) at the same time??

Why do I torture myself? I think I just need to take a bunch and then get my dear mother to photshop them for me!!! The first picture is where I'm saying 'smile!' and they are saying 'NO'. Not off to a good start.
From first day of school 09 1

The second picture: notice the mischevious look on Ps face... throwing leaves and being the ham he always is.

From first day of school 09 1
The thrid picture is to trick you... did you notice they switched places? This is because they ran away chasing leaves and I had to threaten them with going home if they didn't sit down and smile. Now JP is throwing leaves.

From first day of school 09 1
In the fourth picture they were actually both smiling, but just as I pressed the button, P burped (their latest skill they are proud of). sigh.... but the final picture was the best one of all....
I decided to play the game their way. Instead of telling them to smile, or say 'cheese' I resorted to telling them to say 'Poop!' and I finally got some smiles.... well sort of. Maybe next year we'll get some better 1st day pictures.

From first day of school 09 1

One of the things I love about the twins

Is how when they want to come inside after being in the backyard for awhile, instead of yelling at me, calling for me, or just plain banging on the door, they stand there side-by-side sweetly pretending to be doorbells, going 'Ding Dong! Ding Dong! Ding Dong!'.

They truly do love sound effects. I think 90% of their language is made up of sound effects. For such a long time, everything they said was an immitation of our intonation. No words, just 'uhhhh' with the correct ups and downs in their voice, so we knew what they were talking about.

We knew they were saying such things like: 'my turn' (me me), '*I'm* being good', 'I didn't do it -HE did it!'....

And the sound effects: a Big anything is 'Hooowaaaah!'. A little anything is a 'baby' (like hooowah tree, baby tree). Trains are 'dootch dootch', cars are 'beep beeps', cats are 'meow', horses are 'neighs', cows are 'moos', etc...

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

First Day of School

Blogging has been sparse, I know. I had a really hard spring where I was feeling overwhelmed all the time, very very tired and super-antisocial. I took the first two months of summer to relax, rest and remember the joy that I can find in the midst of daily life with my crazy little family.
I'm feeling much better now, remembering to live one day at a time.

I can hardly believe it, but I'm 31 weeks pregnant already, and we've started school again for the next year. I plan to take a few weeks off when the baby comes, so we started early.

Yesterday was the first day.

Grade 4 for Elizabeth, Grade 1 for Z, and my own preschool class of 3 monkeys.

Here are a few pictures. We had fun at the park, soaking in the sunshine, and I tried in vain to get all 5 kids looking at me and smiling at the same time:

Thursday, April 23, 2009

That's not exactly the point, mom...

Oh when did she get so sophistocated?

Grandma and Grandpa took E to the museum this week to view an exhibit by Joe Fafard, a fabulous Canadian sculptor.   She had a great time looking at all of the detail in his work, and later playing in the discovery room.

Anyways, when she got home, she showed me a flip book that illustrated how he created a huge horse image in a field of various different grains.  It's only recognizable from the air, and it's quite interesting. 

I joked with her about how it wasn't gluten free, and she shot back, quite quickly:

"You know, that's not exactly the point, mom"....  "It's ART, not food!".

This from a tiny little 8 year old, who apparently is growing up faster than I thought LOL.

Monday, April 20, 2009

a wee update

We've been busy with school these last few months getting down to the basics of:

  • reading (Z is doing so good now!),
  • learning to write letters (little H is now 4 and wants to do school everyday, so we've been following Serendipity plans for Along the Alphabet Path.)
  • grammar (E is slowly working her way through First Language Lessons 3...)
  • history (The middle ages)
  • math (E is starting to learn long division already. Z is almost done his Horizions K book, H is learning about big/small, long/short)
  • latin (the verbs to be, to be able to, the Lord's Prayer, the Table Blessing, The Sanctus, Gloria, and lots of vocab)

E is still in choir and piano lessons, and getting ready for her final concert and her piano recital. I can't believe the year is passing so quickly.

I am going to be an AUNTIE!! Woohoo!! My little sister is pg and due two weeks before me. This fall will prove to add lots of excitement to our little side of the world.

We have just about made it through the spring rush of birthdays and holidays. We still have my dad's birthday, my birthday, mother's and father's day, and sean's mom's birthday. Then early on in the summer is my mom, grandma, and brother-in-law. Phew! What a busy time of the year.

Anyways, here are some of the latest art creations. E has been inspired by the flower fairy book to draw and paint some of them, and there are always veggie tales drawings on the fridge from various kids.

Z has become quite the little artist as well.. this picture is a creation for the girls. It was a surprise for them. He worked very carefully in the homeschooling room for quite a while before he proudly gave it to them. What a sweetie!

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