A Homeschool ABC-Book {a review}

As we have started including Mister (2.5yo) in our learning time routine more and more, I am always looking for fun ways he can learn along side big sister.  Thankfully, we reviewed a precious book, S is For Smiling Sunrise and its audio sing-along song, by WordsBright; we have enjoyed reading this book each day as part of our learning time!  He considers it his special learning time book, but big sister loves it too! It is inspiring, positive, and a fun way to include an ABC-book in your homeschool!

S is for Smiling Sunrise: ABC Character Book

About S is For Smiling Sunrise {and why we love it}

This hard back book was written by a father for his daughter to grow up with; it is perfect for children of all ages.  You can read this with your toddler, and it continues to be great for emergent readers as your child ages.  My children are 2.5 and 4.5, and they both enjoyed (and are still enjoying!) the book.

S is for Smiling Sunrise isn’t your typical ABC book, which I love!  It includes both character traits and fun rhymes that your children will grow to understand and love.  The illustrations are lovely, bright, and printed on heavy, crisp pages.

What’s even better, WordsBright has included a Pre-K and K to 3 Teacher’s Guide to help parents expand on the content in the book.  There is also a precious audio CD; we really enjoyed listening to this during in-home transitions (such as after learning time, before lunch, etc.), and the kids listened to it during their independent play time in their room.  You can get the song as a free MP3 download directly form the website.

My son loved pointing out the capital letter and “little” letters at the top of each page, we made it a game which really helped encourage him to identify his letters (one of his goals for our homeschool year).  The illustrations are beautiful and so much fun for little ones!  He also learned new words, such as interesting, and dawn, while identifying things he knew in the pictures.

My favorite part of this book, is you can just tell it was written with love; almost like a sweet love letter from a daddy to his baby girl. The little rhymes are fun and it is much different from any other ABC book we have read, or own.  The Teacher’s Guide helped give me more ideas for expanding on the book, and we enjoyed that as well!


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S is for Smiling Sunrise: ABC Character Book


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Homeschool Curriculum Choices 2015/2016 (K5 & Preschool)

Curriculum Choices K5 & Preschool 20152015 {QuieInTheChaos.com}

Wow- I can’t believe I just typed in title! This year has truly snuck up on us; but alas, I am ready! (I think ..)

I am going to break this down by child/age. It is hard with Lexie, mainly because she is 4.5 years old, 5 in the fall, and doing a mix of kindergarten and first grade work, but is still not old enough to register for school. So while she will be doing mostly first grade and K work, I am not sure what to tell you in terms of “grade” for you to compare or look at for your child. This will be her K5 year (next year will be K6 and she will start 1st when she is 7).
I would recommend looking at the curriculum’s scope and sequence for each level, and ALWAYS do their placement test (at least look over what will be taught in that level and what prerequisite skills are needed to be successful). I will say, Lexie probably didn’t HAVE to begin with AAR Level 1, but I am SO thankful we did because she got that firm foundation before moving on. I know a few parents can get overwhelmed with the school curriculum, which is totally understandable as we’re not professional teachers and have no idea how to even do this work half the time, so seeking advice or a little help can be really useful when setting work for children. Some parents choose for their child to use a tutoring Adelaide service and others choose to use online tools, like YouTube, but whatever the method is, as long as children are learning something it’s all worthwhile.

Good foundation ALWAYS trumps advancement in my opinion, no matter the subject.

Lexie (4.5/5 in the fall, working on K and 1st Grade Level)

  • Core: Sonlight Core A– (history/cultures, geography,Bible) We did P4/5 last year and Lexie just flew through it; she never skipped a beat and I swear she still talks about some of the stories which I have long forgotten … She LOVES it, and so does Max. So we will do Core A next, and Mister (and Ila, too) will sit in with us. I plan on stretching this core 18-24 months, and using it as her “Kindergarten” year curriculum (when she is 6 and we register with the state). We are adding in LOTS of sequels, and I will probably buy the Five In A Row literature pack from RRC (I already have the teacher’s book and a few of the read alouds) to add in also to help stretch it out. This core is SO exciting; we get to begin our timeline book, learn more about geography, look at maps, and expand our learning tremendously! It will be fun!

Language Arts:

  • All About Reading Level 2– Here, AAR is going to give her all the reading skills she needs
  • All About Spelling Level 1– They suggest beginning AAS when your student starts AAR Level 2. From what I have seen this will mostly just reinforce the reading rules she already knows and teach encoding. For all intents a purposes, we will say she will be 5, which is young for a spelling program; but after looking at the scope and sequence, I think she can do it and it will help with her writing. If we aren’t ready, we can shelve it til she is =)
  • Sonlight Language Arts 1- this is really just for extra practice; I like that they include spelling words, narration, comprehension questions, and copywork so I thought we would use it mainly for that. I bought some of the readers, but not all of them. We will just see how we like it. (I don’t feel like their LA’s is “enough” for us, so we will use it as a supplement)


  • Saxon Math K– we were going to use Saxon K this past year, but I just continued on with Singapore K (early bird). Because Lexie isn’t registering for school I am going to use this as a “review,”/nail in the foundation year for math. Plus Saxon will go a bit further & deeper than Singapore did. It will start very basic, but that is fine with us. Max will probably sit in on some of the more basic lessons.


  • Elemental Science– I went around and around on our science choice for over a year. Every single time I landed back on ES. So I finally said, Okay! This is it! You may have read that we enjoy the Charlotte Mason and Classical Education models. I like teaching and organizing this way, and the kids seems to thrive learning with these models (for now), so it is a win win. ES is a classical/CM combo curriculum, and I like that! I will do another post entirely on why we chose ES some other time.


  • Gymnastics at a local gym
  • Violin lessons with a local teacher
  • ARTistic Pursuits (best art curriculum EVER)

Max (2.5/3 yo in fall) Preschool

Ah, I can’t believe I just wrote my baby will be “doing” preschool. Honestly, I am not sure where to begin with him. haha

Mister is definitely a boy- he is developing much faster physically than Lexie was at this age, and isn’t quite where she was cognitively at this age. (for instance, he just started gymnastics and is MUCH better at it than Lexie was when she was 2/5, but he isn’t reading cvc words like she was at that age, either).

  • Before Five In a Row: You know I love some BFIAR! It is easy, fun, and means lots of snuggles with my baby. He *loves* the stories and I think he will really enjoy all the activities, too. My favorite resource for all things homeschool is Rainbow Resource Center- they almost always have the best prices, and here is their literature pack. Trust me when I tell you, you cannot buy all those books, even used, at that price; many of them are also out of print so to get them brand new from RRC is pretty awesome!
  • Language Arts– I know a lot can change in just a few months, but for right now I don’t think Max is ready for ThisReadingMama’s curriculum. Whenever he is, that’s what we will use as a supplement and beginning curriculum. I think maybe by fall or Christmas he will be ready to start! Until then, we will just review a letter a week or so, and continue with BFIAR. The other option is when he is to start him on AAR Pre-Reading; I never used that with Lexie, we just did our own thing to learn those skills, so I may just teach him myself without a curriculum.
  • Math: I don’t have anything in particular ready for Max and math. We have a TON of manipulatives and will just use them to learn basic math concepts and number sense- 1:1 correlation, sorting, patterns, more/less, etc. We are already playing with some of those concepts and will just continue down that path. Also, we will work on recognizing his numbers (he surprised me the other day by recognizing way more than I thought he knew!), and counting past 20.
  • Play, Play, Play, Play, Play! We will play a LOT. He is not my desk learner; he does LOVE to join us for learning time, he enjoys sitting at the counter and writing and listening in on Lexie’s lessons, but he isn’t ready for a long stretch of school yet, and that’s A-Okay! So we will play and learn through play.
  • Sitting in- Mister will sit in on our read alouds, join us for science lessons (and probably keep his own little science notebook), and anything else he shows an interest in.
  • Extracurricular- He has started gymnastics and *loves* it. He keeps asking about violin, but unlike Lexie I don’t think he will be ready at 3. So, we will see if he still shows interest as he gets older.

That’s it! That is our curriculum choices for 2015/2016.


Preschooler {3 yrs old} and Toddler {23 mo old} Summaries

(Written Thursday, August 28, 2014)

17 days until baby wright #3 should be here (September 14th) … of course it could be more or less than that, only the baby and God know the plan.  I talked with my very sweet friend that is going to have Bug and Mister while I labor, and it feels good to know my babies will not only be safe and taken care of, but that someone else is praying about this for me.  God knows our circumstances, and theirs and we know He will send baby on when the time is right.

I woke up this morning, about 2:30am, to more storms.  We have had a TON of rain here the last 10 days, so much the trail and parks we enjoy most are flooded terribly.  (Good thing we decided not to have the birthday party at those parks, just in case in rained).  I couldn’t go back to sleep so I hopped in the shower and am drinking my first cup of coffee since July 2nd.  I quit coffee, mainly because I like it with cream and I am doing no dairy for baby, so this is really nice even if it is with rice milk.

I can’t believe that next week  my babies will be four and two years old!  I will begin with Lexie’s summary.

birthday dress

Proud of her birthday dress

To say Lexie is vibrant, happy, and full of silliness is an understatement.  She loves to play in her dressy dresses, go “camping” with Max, and read books (all. day. long).  She is currently reading the Bob Books: Advanced Beginners books.  You can read a bit more about that Here.

She enjoys our learning time together, helping me bake, and playing downstairs.  Of course outside is usually her very first choice of play time, especially if it involves water.  Developmentally, her language is amazing.  Her fine motor (writing) skills are improving, and her confidence has grown by leaps and bounds.

If there is anything I can say about being a parent for the first time, it is that you can definitely go with your gut.  Lexie has always been very social, but despite being in daycare and Mother’s Day Out when we lived in Arkansas, she was/is still very introverted in a group.  Whether it is at daycare, library story time, or gymnastics, if it wasn’t her close friends and family, she wanted to sit by the grown up in charge and watch (she is my people watcher!) or play mostly by herself.  Today, she starts out that way in a new setting, but quickly warms up!  And just a few weeks ago at the neighborhood block party she jumped right into the festivities without needing us to encourage her at all!  My point is- we have never rushed her.  We did not push her to stay the night with family before we felt she was ready, participate in things she didn’t feel comfortable with, and here she is learning within her OWN boundaries how to feel confident.  There are definitely rules to raising an introverted child, and being an introvert myself I understand her insecurities and what makes them “flare.”

I love watching her grow and change, but am very sad my baby is almost four and not such a baby anymore.

Lexie and Max are sleeping in the same room now; it is going surprisingly well!  Hopefully it continues to go well after baby arrives …  Lexie wakes some nights needing to go potty, and sometimes that wakes Max up, but in the last few weeks he has gotten used to her being in the same room and he sleeps through it.

He naps in his crib from 12:15-2:30/3:00.  J.Tom comes home for lunch and Lexie spends that time with him; at about 12:45 she goes downstairs and has “rest time” on the bed down there.  She is allowed her books on the bed with her but must be quiet.  She does pretty good with it.

As for Max Payne, well he is a little “stinky pot,” as he calls himself.  He is TT potty trained; we are still working on poopy, which he usually does after he wakes up at nap time, but some days that isn’t the case.  I am not sure he has distinguished between having gas and needing to potty, or if he is just a bit afraid of using the potty?  Either way, he will get there and we have aaaall winter inside to get it down!  haha  In the mean time, we are down to using 2 diapers a day (nap and night time) and that makes this mama a happy camper!

He does and says everything big sister does.  Everything.  They are a mess together and I am thankful they are such good friends (for now..) and pray we can continue to foster that relationship as they grow.  He can identify many of his letters, but not all.  He just hasn’t been interested in learning them like Lexie was, and if there isn’t interest it just isn’t going to happen.  So I haven’t been pushing it.  He loves to count and read nursery rhymes.

Oddly, he isn’t a big fan of messy play or crafts.  He gets most interested in painting, but even that doesn’t hold his attention long.  He would rather be driving trucks and engines around on the floor and furniture.  =)  Or playing in water.  The boy still loves water, and being outside.  He and Lexie will spend what seems like hours downstairs playing pretend together.

At this point (well, for a while now), he is jumping with two feet, climbing everything he can get a foot on, and LOVES to bounce on the trampoline.  “Dog dog” is his buddy- poor Charlie girl puts up with a lot from Max!  He refuses to say Charlie, although we know he can.  She is just “dog dog” for now.  She doesn’t seem to mind.  =)

Best Buddies

loving on his “dog dog”

His personality has just blossomed in the last 6-8 months- he is funny, rowdy, and so sweet.  He and Lexie are both obsessed with their Daddy, and we are so thankful we have had this summer home with him.  It has been wonderful watching him do nap time with Lexie during his lunch hour every day, and eating dinner with him every night.

The Bears (that’s the boys, per Lexie) spend time together every night when Daddy gets home, just rough-housing and being “bears.”  Lexie gets a bit jealous; she is very much her daddy’s girl and wants to join them, but she loves to laugh at them and their silliness.  We try to encourage her to let daddy and Mister have bear time.  Both of them are super snuggly and I think they will do great with Baby #3!





trip to the county fair

petting the “baby cow” at the fair

enjoying the cool mornings

enjoying the cool mornings and teaching Max to swing


enjoying the cool mornings

Silly babies!

I really can’t believe we will be a family of 5 soon- Lexie and Max will both be such good big siblings.  *feeling blessed*

Curriculum Choices {summary} 2014/2015

curriculum choice 2014/2015 Sonlight

This is a more condensed version of my original post here.  That post was more on what we were choosing and why.  This is just a quick summary of our choices and supplements for this year, 2014/2015.  Lexie will be turning 4 in September, Max will be 2 in September, Baby #3 is due in September!

Core/Spine- (includes: Bible/memory verses, history, science, and cultures)- Sonlight P4/5

Math– Finishing Singapore Earlybird Math, begin Saxon Math K (at some point, probably after first of the year when things are more settled with baby)

Handwriting/Fine motorHandwriting Without Tears PreK (we *love* this program/book and will be using their entire series for the future).  We only use the workbook and teacher’s manual.  It has built Lexie’s confidence tremendously in coloring, which she refused to do before we started it.  And because she will now color, her fine motor skills (writing/drawing) are improving.  She has never enjoyed coloring, which is fine.  But we do need to start building her dexterity.

ReadingAll About Reading Level 1   Again, *love* this program.  She pulls our her Bob books now to read them all by herself.  She is doing great!  We are working through it slowly, and we are both enjoying it a lot.

Supplements- we will supplement with:

This is what we will work through the next year.  We started early, because the baby is coming in the fall, but we are working slowly as we find time.  Some days we just play, cook, bake, and make messes.  Other days we are outside all day and just don’t find time for anything but play and reading books.  Which is why I *love* homeschooling my babies!

Have you narrowed down your curriculum choices for 2014/2015, yet?



Weekly Wrap Up: July 11, 2014

The last week we have finally gotten back into a routine form our travels to AR and TN. We got all the hard stuff (unloading, unpacking, laundry, etc) done the afternoon we got home and madly did it pay off! We had the rest of that week to menu plan, get groceries, pay bills, and just get things back in order. The last thing we want to do is find payday loans in Texas, United States. However, if we have too, we will.

The following week we started back on our learning time routine. We did a quick review and a lot of playing. We have spent all morning, every morning, outside playing in the back yard, playing in the pool, eating apples, and playing with the dog. It has been wonderful!

Here are a few snaps I managed to take during this week:

Lexie found a picture of blocks in the back of her Highlights magazine and she wanted to build what they were building. I helped her with a few pieces- but I was amazed at how well she would perceive what they had done. Some of these were HARD!:

building blocks {Quiet In The Chaos}

We have read more books this summer than I think we did while stuck inside last winter. Mister has really become obsessed with reading books, and of course Bug wants to (read or) be read to all the time.

reading together {Quiet In The Chaos}


My children *love* to be outside- we spend most of our time outside when the weather permits. Lexie had a great idea when she wanted to combine their love for books with the great outdoors!

reading in their


Our sweet Charlie girl:

Charlie Our Springer Spaniel {Quiet In The Chaos}

Charlie Our Springer Spaniel- 11 months old, July 2014


As you know, we *love* the free and fun curriculum from This Reading Mama (we use it with our AAR). Here, Lexie is working on her new sight word, “me.”

Sight Word

The week wouldn’t be complete without baking something yummy. We made (whole wheat, NO refined sugar) chocolate muffins. Lexie just had to lick the spoon. =)chocolate muffins {Quiet In The Chaos}

Last week was a lot of fun- during all this fun, we also started potty training Max. I do have some SUPER cute pictures of that, but they’re probably not appropriate for the blog. haha

Monday the painter comes to paint Lexie’s room; then the kids will start sharing a room! *so scary* Just praying they get used to each other and sleep through the night fine. Lexie wakes up needing to potty and sometimes with night terrors, so that could be a problem. After Mister’s room (aka the nursery) the nursery is painted, I can begin decorating, organizing, and playing in the nursery. YAY! Eight More weeks until baaaby!


We Choose Virtues {a review}

We Choose Virtues Review

 I have mentioned before how much we enjoy character lessons in our home, so when we had a chance to review a set of Parenting Cards ($38.49) by We Choose Virtues.  The parenting cards are a wonderful resource for any family wanting to implement character lessons in the home, and are best used with children ages 3-18.  (I reviewed the NIrV of the parenting cards- this version includes both Old and New Testament verses.  The NKJV only has Old Testament verses.)

Each set of cards teaches the same virtues:

  • diligence
  • helpfulness
  • perseverance
  • gentleness
  • contentment
  • attentiveness
  • honesty
  • kindness
  • self-control
  • patience
  • obedience
  • forgiveness

How We Used The Parenting Cards

We enjoy character lessons, and integrating them into our conversations through out the day- everywhere from reading Bible stories to our own behaviors- Lexie really likes to point out which character traits/virtues we should be working on and when.  =)

Implementing these cards into our homeschool was very natural for us.  You can teach the virtues in any order you’d like.  As you may have read we are using Sonlight for our core curriculum.  Each week of our SL lessons includes a character/virtue topic with a matching Bible verse; I thought this would be a perfect way to add in our We Choose Virtues cards.  I simply organized the cards in alphabetical order for easy navigation, and choose the card that is most closely related to our topic in the SL.  Some weeks we had perfectly matched character traits (obedience, attentiveness, diligence, and kindness to name a few), and some weeks we just had to choose what was most closely related to our topic.  I loved doing it this way.

So after I chose which card we would focus on that week, I quickly looked it over.  The front of the card tells you which character trait you are focusing on, has a really cute catch phrase for what the trait means, then it also explains what that character trait does not look like (which is a great reminded for little ones!).  At the bottom there is a Bible verse that goes with the trait.  You can see an example below:

We Choose Virtues Parenting Cards {Quiet In The Chaos}

The back of the cards is where any “teacher notes” can be found.  Here you will see a “User Challenge” section that give your family a challenge for the character trait, such as doing kind things for others without them knowing (on the Kindness card).  It has a reminder of what the trait looks like coming from the parent, so for instance, “kindness is best taught by passion and lead by example.”  There is a “Teachable Moments ….” section that gives you things to think about, topics to discuss with the family, and activities to enrich your lessons.  At the very bottom on the back of each card, there is a “Kids of Virtueville” section that has the name of a character that goes along with the card to help children remember that particular card.  We didn’t focus very much on the characters themselves, but we did read their little story and discuss the question included.

We Choose Virtue Parenting Cards- backs

What We Thought

I truly love using these cards in our home!  I posted ours up on my weekly board in the kitchen, where I write down what we are studying (so I have everything handy for us talk about throughout the day).  This was a perfect spot, because every time bug looked up and saw it from the table, she wanted to discuss it!

I like that each cards says, “I am … ” Kind, Obedient, etc.  It is positive reinforcement that they already have these characteristics.  Then the “I am NOT …” tells what the trait is not and reminds us what behaviors we should avoid.  These cards are meant for the whole family- and I love that!  Because can’t we all use some character lessons sometimes?  (I certainly can!)

The cards themselves are made of a great quality cardboard material, so they are very sturdy.  If you have a laminator, which many of us homeschooler do, they would be easy to laminate, though not necessary.  They are 8.5 x 5.5 cards, which means they are nice a BIG, but not too big.  The illustrations and words are big and bright enough to help make them stand out.

We also received the We Choose Virtues Download Bundle; this bundle is $7.99 by itself, but is free when you purchase the Homeschool Kit.  The bundle includes extras to go along with your cards:

  • Teacher’s Handbook
  • Family Character Assessment
  • Coloring Pages
  • Butterfly Awards
  • Sing along song sheets

These were fun and easy to incorporate into our lessons- the teacher’s handbook has tons of helpful information and activities to include.  I did the character assessment for Lexie, but really she is a little young to understand the concept- however, she can understand the concept of improving, so that is what we focused on.  The coloring pages are of the characters that are mentioned on the cards; we didn’t do these with the lessons, but just for fun when she wanted to do some coloring (she really doesn’t like to color very much ..)  We have not used the butterfly awards yet, but this will be a huge hit!  And the sing a long sheets are fun!

Quiet In The Chaos: WCV Cards


****And for the month of June, use Promo Code BIG50 for 50% off WCV’s amazing set of 12 11×17 Kids of VirtueVille Posters!  Then, from June through August, use Promo Code BTS20 for 20% off anything in our WCV Store. This includes any kit. Let’s start School with Virtues this year!  (*Only one promo code per order)

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Beginning Sonlight P4/5 Part I: new schedule/routine

Monday, May 26th, we began our Sonlight P4/5 curriculum.  You can read more about my first impression when we received everything here and why we chose what we did, here.

I wasn’t sure if we would begin in the summer, or closer to the fall when baby #3 arrives.  I have been so excited to get started, and in desperate need of a new routine for Lexie’s learning time, that I decided to start now.  I am glad we did!

Had we waited until fall, we would probably be all the way through our current math (which is Singapore early bird) and would begin Saxon.  But, since we are starting early, we are just continuing on with Singapore.  I am not super impressed with their program, and don’t find it challenging for Lexie at all cognitively; but it does keep us in the routine of doing some math thinking skills so we will continue with it for a bit.

We also began our All About Reading Level 1– to say I LOOOOOVE this program is an understatement.  Love love love.  Honestly, everything she is doing now she has been able to do for months; almost a year, actually.  But it is giving her a great foundation and building her confidence in literacy SO much.  Lexie has been sounding out CVC words (like “cat” “cup” “pig” etc) at least since her third birthday, but when I would introduce a reader like Bob Books, she would always say, “I can’t read the words.  You do it.”  So, while we played around with decoding (and reading by sight words), I didn’t push her.  (besides, she has many years before she needs to be a fluent reader!)  I just follow her lead on what she is comfortable with at this point.

All About Reading has built her confidence so much, and in just the first week.  She has been reading any cvc word I put in front of her, loves the short activities that go along with the program, and looks forward to getting everything out of her workboxes each day!  (well, we don’t do learning time every day, but when we do do learning time …)

(In addition to AAR, we are still using our little curriculum from ThisReadingMama.  I will talk more about how we incorporate it in my following posts in this series.)

Like many children her age (under 4) her writing and fine motor skills are still developing.  Her cognitive development is way beyond her writing abilities, so we are practicing fine motor skills and handwriting (just how to form the letters and numbers, not making them perfect).  She does not like to color very much (bummer) and prefers to “write,” in her special books daddy brings home to her.  She is still enjoying Logic of English, but we are only using the handwriting portion (because we love AAR).

So here is what our schedule looks like now for days we have learning time (it’s a little detailed ..):

  • 7am- wake/brush teeth/milk and snuggles/breakfast/clean kitchen
  • (we do our memory work and Bible verse during breakfast)
  • 8am- kids clean up any toys they got out.  I get our Sonlight read alouds for the day and potty chair for Max, we all go to Lexie’s room and read while Max plays and practices pottying
  • 9am- Max to independent play, Lexie’s learning time, then independent play for a few minutes while I clean up, get laundry changed over, and do other chores
  • 10am- walk to park, play outside, pool time in backyard, play games, chores, run errands
  • 11:15- lunch, clean up, free play, baths if necessary
  • 12:00- nap for max.  depending on our morning Lexie will either have a little more independent play here, or she will go down for nap
  • 1:00- Lexie goes down for nap if she had a low key morning
  • 1-2:30/3:00- everyone is napping, including myself if I am super tired (and at this point I usually am)
  • 2:30/3:00- up and go to the pool, park, play outside, or run errands
  • That’s it until dinner, baths and bed!

So, you can see learning time doesn’t take up our whole day, or even a whole hour usually.  We are also doing some lapbooking (which is SO fun) , on days we lapbook or do puzzles or something during learning time it takes a little longer to complete.  But we have FUN and play a lot. On days we don’t do learning time, the kids play out back, either with me or together while I do chores.

I live by routine and schedule; my kids need the structure and so do I.  I don’t do chaos well, however we alway have fun!  We are always dancing, playing music, singing songs, etc.  But we just do it in a controlled-chaos kinda way!  😉

I like this routine, because Max can be involved with our read alouds; but during the time Lexie needs to focus and have my undivided attention Mr. Rambunctious is having his down time in his room.  I would LOVE for him to sit in on learning time, but at this point he is way too hands on wanting to be in the middle of everything she is doing; it just makes it harder for her (and me).  So we play and learn with Max later during the day through songs, puzzles, outside, and just good ole conversation!

When the baby comes along, his/her naps and feeding schedule will go right along with everything we already do.  I am not worried about that at all.  I am actually looking forward to it!  =)

coloring by SIght Words

(I did the red as an example for her, she did the rest)  activity from Reading The Alphabet

  •  My second Beginning Sonlight post will be about how I organize all our materials for everything.
  • My third Beginning Sonlight post will be more details about our Sonlight curriculum and how exactly we use it as well as along with our other programs.  Every Sonlight family uses it differently, but we are really enjoying it this way so far; of course if that changes, I will let you know.
  • And, look for my post on our workboxes!

Baby and Preschooler Summaries: 18 months and 3.5yrs

{I began this post in march, but just now finished proof reading and editing errors. So, It is a month late! =) }

On March 2, Mister will be 18 months- we FINALLY have molars! He has cut the top right, and just finished the bottom right. He is now getting the right eye tooth, and has started cutting the left molars. I have to be honest- I was starting to wonder if we should see a dentist such as Dentist Framingham to see what was going on. The boy hasn’t had a tooth in months! By 18 months, Lexie had ALL but her two year molars. She had a mouth FULL of teeth, poor Max doesn’t. Hopefully by summer he will be about done (of course then it will be time for his two year molars …).

His sleep is mostly good. He takes one nap; I put him down at 12:00 on the dot, and he stays in bed until 2:30-3:00 depending on how long he sleeps. During all the teething his naps have been hit or miss- some days they are only an 1.5 hours, other days they are over 2. I have been rubbing diluted thieves oil on his gums before naps and bed time, and he loves it. The thieves helps numbs his gums.

building a city with unit bocks

building a city with unit bocks


I have looked back at Lexie’s 17-18 month summaries, and wow! That girl was talking like crazy (and has never slowed down …). Mister had lots of words, but isn’t using complete sentences. The most he says in the way of sentences at this point is “bye bye, dada!” Everything else consist of one or two words for things he wants.

He signs more and please, and uses words for most everything else. He is bad about wanting to grunt for things- but I really try to make him use his words instead of responding to his grunts.

Physical Development

His physical development is crazy good- especially his fine motor skills. For a boy, he has always had advanced fine motor skills. His gross motor skills are good too-climbing stairs, moving stools, climbing on furniture, kicking a ball. He and Lexie love to “play soccer” in the back yard or in the house. He recently learned to climb the ladder on the playground out back, and is very proud of himself. Lexie is in gymnastics, so naturally she is all the time doing rolls and cartwheels around the house. Mister tries SO hard to do forward rolls like big sister. It is pretty cute.

shape sorter during morning

shape sorter during morning “learning time”

He especially loves to tinker with things; you will often find him putting small toys inside cups, pretending to eat with a spoon, or stashing odd and ends inside a jar. Water is still his favorite activity, and calms him instantly. He will just let the water run through his fingers and is instantly soothed.


Personality wise- Max Payne is all boy. he never stops. Ever.

He is determined, and gets frustrated very easily. He is very vocal about what he does and does not like, over all is very sensitive, and snuggly. The only time he stops to relax is if he is getting tired. He loves to read books, but a few pages in has to get up and do something, then come back to finish. During playdates he does great- he snuggles me at first, and then is off to play and explore, even in new settings.

mommy and max time

mommy and max time

Lexie is most definitely his favorite person; he follows her around and does what she tells him to … most of the time. He is her little minion- she asks him to pick up her toys or hand her something and he just doesn’t so happily. Haha, that probably won’t last much longer.

Overall Max is a joy and my biggest challenge (other than losing the weight I put on while pregnant with him). He gets bored easily and wants to do everything big sister does, even when he isn’t quite capable. That frustrates him. But it won’t be long and he will be doing everything she does and more!

When we decided to get Lexie a violin for her third birthday, and start her in lessons there were some people that told us “good luck with that; a 3 year old in violin. ha.” I am proud my girl has proven them wrong! =) She graduated from her practice violin (which helps young children get used to handling the violin, the weight of it on their shoulder, etc) her teacher made to her real violin. She is learning to play little rhymes on each string/note and where to put her fingers. She knows all her positions and how to hold her violin properly, though she is getting used to the new shoulder rest.

Overall, Lexie is a snuggly, sweet, happy, girl who is very eager to learn. The more she can take in the better- there is no such thing as too much information or reading at this point. I struggle to keep up with her thirst for knowledge and that is where she challenges me- I am always on my toes trying to fill her need and love of learning. I can’t believe she will be 4 this year. Where has the time gone?

Graduating from practice violin to real violin

Graduating from practice violin to real violin

Spring is here! {2014}

{pictures March 28, 2014, on an oddly wind-free morning!}

This winter, Lexie learned to swing all by herself!  And, she can actually go pretty high…  Then I convinced her (why, oh why?!) to jump out!  She is very proud of herself.

Spring day play


Max learned to climb to the top of the swing set by himself this winter.  We will spend the spring learning how to climb down ….  haha



Max enjoying the warm morning

Look!  Green grass!  (and a sweet, worn out dog.)




Charlie enjoying the spring day

Are you spending time outside this spring?

Pregnancy #3 Update: Beginning of Second Trimester

Well, with my first two pregnancies I updated pretty regularly. This time, we didn’t announce the pregnancy until almost 12 weeks, so I haven’t really been writing updates thus far.

We are almost 16 weeks along now; I had a doctor appointment last week and everything was great. The heartbeat was 157 (I think…) and the doctor okayed me to stop the progesterone supplements. My next appointment is in April and we will have the anatomy scan. Here, they only do one ultrasound (what’s up with that?!) at 20 weeks. We had an ultrasound at 6 weeks, to date and confirm the pregnancy.

6 week 2 day ultrasound- Quiet in the chaos

We will not, however, be finding out the gender. We have a girl and a boy, all babies are September babies and the nursery can be gender neutral. I am good with that. (ok, so if you know me well, you are probably as surprised as I am that I am okay with not “planning” for a girl or boy…) The urge I have to perform a home baby gender test is a little too strong at the moment!

The surprise of finding out in the delivery room with only my husband far surpasses my innate need to plan, design, and decorate. I can’t wait to spend that moment with him. We are also not talking names. To anyone. Or to each other, for that matter. =)

J.Tom and I haven’t even discussed names, because we can’t seem to agree on anything. So, I figure if we wait until we have him or her in our arms, we can whip out the handy dandy name list and we can go from there. I just don’t feel like arguing over names, or listening to other people’s opinions of names when we don’t even have a name semi narrowed down yet. *and I’m not saying that all snotty* If we happen to come up with names before the baby arrives, I will be happy to discuss. But we said this time we want to wait until we have our baby in our arms, and that’s what I am sticking with.

It will be fun.

Lexie is very excited about “baby #3.” We don’t call the baby “the new baby” because that just seems mean to the siblings. So it is baby #3. Max is pretty clueless, of course. He is too obsessed with eating, throwing things, and chasing the dog.

Oh yes, we got a new dog. She’s furry, and sweet, and smart, and precious.

We will room Lexie and Max together. For now we are planning on J.Tom building bunk beds- the top bunk will be above the crib, and then when Max is ready to move to a big bed we will build a bed frame for a bottom bunk. I really like snuggling in the bed with Lexie, so maybe I will just put the crib in her room and take out a dresser…. It is up in the air for now.

It is hard watching my babies all grow up on me! It is exciting, of course. This pregnancy wasn’t originally planned. After experiencing a loss in early December, we decided at the very last minute (literally) to try for baby #3. The timing worked out to being another September baby, which I had hoped would happen, but hadn’t actually thought would happen. Just before our loss and all we decided to wait another year. Funny how God works.

No nausea since about week 12-13. I have 3-4 days of TONS of energy, and then a day or two where I am exhausted and can’t keep my eyes open. I workout a few times a week with T25, or we go for walks on warmer days. No weight gain so far (well, technically I gained back the weight I lost in the fall, but that happened before this pregnancy, so I don’t count it) but I am pretty sure my hips are bigger! How does that happen? … And I haven’t lost the weight from Max, so it doesn’t seem likely that I need to gain much. The doctor is good with that.

Still praying for a healthy 5 more months. I hope to go full term, as usual. Big healthy babies seem more durable when you have a Max Payne running around the house. Poor Mister, he has no idea what is coming! Then again, neither do I.

Pray for me, friends! =)


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