Monday, March 18, 2013

Happy {belated} birthday Andrew!

Dearest Andrew,

Happy belated birthday! You have survived in this crazy, but loving home for a year! Congratulations, I feel are in order. With you being the third baby in just 27 short months it has provided us with a challenge, but it's been totally worth it! We have loved watching you develop into your own personality. You are laid back, though you are developing a bit of a temper....I think you have been watching your older siblings have their little temper tantrums. You love, love to dance, especially to the "Happy Birthday" song. I guess with Benjamin's birthday in Nov. and then mine in Dec. quickly followed by Meredith's in January; you were all set to sway to the tune of Happy Birthday.

You also love food; in particular bread. Everyone teases you and says you are just like your great-grandpa John. Papaw John loved his bread. You get mad if you don't have bread with each meal...and you might as well give it to you first because if not, you won't eat anything else until you have your bread! Papaw John would be proud.

You can get around by scooting on your butt. You remind me of the babies in some of the diaper commercials where they scoot quickly across the floor. You sure can move and enjoy getting into everything! You love playing with your brother and sister, you three are going to have a lot of fun together!

So, happy birthday Andrew, yes it's a bit late, but it's no indication of how much we love you! Just like your siblings, you were also quite the surprise and we love our three little surprises! :)

Love you to the moon and back.

Monday, February 11, 2013

When Dreams Mix with Reality

It was love at first sight 
This past weekend we went to the Louisville Home, Renovation, and Landscape Expo, thanks to Alan's work for free tickets. We went last year and it was huge, this year it was a lot smaller and not as many landscape ideas. However, we did spot a log cabin company and fell in love. I have always wanted to have a log cabin on a couple of acres. So I talked with the people and they gave me some information on it. The downside is it is a bit expensive; however, they said since Alan is handy that he could do a lot of work himself and they could just build the basic home. Good idea, but I know how expensive renovations can be and how much hard work they are. We just (and by just, I mean two months ago) finished our basement.
our backyard when we bought the house.

When we moved into our home, it was in move in condition. A 40 year-old ranch style home, beautiful hardwood floors, 3 bedrooms, 1.5 baths, a kitchen, and two living rooms/den upstairs. The house, although not big, but not tiny either at 1,300 sq ft. Before moving in Alan had envisioned how he would take out the second den area that was on the back side of the kitchen and open it up to one large kitchen. Redo the opening for the kitchen and basically move everything around. His brother came up to help us for six weeks.

The kitchen before 
This was the second den. 
Finally, the house was ready. We still had a living room, but now we had a huge five foot opening into the kitchen. The kitchen is large enough for our big farm house style table to fit. This was a huge undertaking and wasn't cheap. In that time we got pregnant, so any major house renovations were completed. We refinished the bathroom floors, put in new closet doors, and did some painting. Fast forward to three babies later, we finally get the basement done in December of 2012. And now we have thoughts on moving?

We are excited over the idea, but then when we got home from the expo and driving around in the country, I walked in and said, "I don't know how I can move from here. This is our home." Maybe I'm being sentimental or maybe finally being done with all the major renovations, that the thought of doing this again is exhausting!
Kitchen after

We have a wonderful back yard and front yard that the kids love to play in, no it's not a couple of acres, but it's not tiny either. Our backyard backs up to a wooded area with a creek so you don't see the houses behind us. We have awesome neighbors, and are close to things we frequently visit like the park, library, Target :) the grocery store, and my parents! Our home is in on the outskirts of the city, five minutes south and your in another county. We've put a lot of love into this home and we aren't ready to give it up just yet. But then we have to think about schools and that was a whole other post.

So for now we will dream of log cabins on a couple of acres, but our home for now is right here at 9613 in a little cul-de-sac in Fern Creek, KY.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Happy {belated} Birthday Meredith!


This is forever late, but better than never...right? Anyway, you turned 2 on January 10th and what a wild ride it's been with you! When I think about you, the first thing that comes to mind is your spunky attitude. You have this wild, curious, determined attitude that you can see in your eyes. Wild child we call you. And that you are. You aren't afraid of anything. You will stand on the couch and say with legs ready to jump, "one, two...." and jump into the air, hoping that someone will have heard your count down and reach you before you hit the floor. You my darling, have no fear.

For someone with so much personality, you sure are a little peanut. Still in 12 month clothes, although we do have some 18 month clothes that we roll the pant legs up on. But you are healthy, despite living off of what seems like just bananas, yogurt, graham crackers, and cheese. And not sleeping. You need sleep to grow little one, so let's work in it, ok?

Sis, you are something else. You rule to roost with two brothers, not backing down when B takes a toy from you. You stand your ground. I hope that you keep your sense of determination, spunk, curiosity, and yes, even your daring, wild side (though, I wouldn't mind if you toned it down a bit).

Meredith, you are an amazing, smart little lady, who always has a smile, is always doing something funny to make us laugh. We love you Sis!

Love Forever and Always,

Monday, January 7, 2013

Day 1

Today was the day I decided we would begin our homeschool journey. Here is how our day went:

6:30 - 8 Meredith was the first one up, then B, and then sleepy Andrew at 8am. I let them watch about 30 minutes of t.v. (Sprout channel is a blessing!) while everyone was still waking up (including me)
8-9 Breakfast and chores for everyone
9-9:45 I started B with the day of the week activity. I printed out the day of the week that allowed him to trace the letters. We talked about the days of the week, and little did I know, he knows most of his days! He said, "Wednesday go to grr's (grandma) and pop-pop's house to cook" Yesterday when my parents were over for dinner, my mom told B that he could come over on Wed. when she was off of work and they could cook (his favorite activity!) Smart cookie. Next, I wanted to see which of his ABC's he knew, I know that he knew about 3 or 4 so I wanted to figure out which ones we need to work on. I showed him letters and asked him to tell me what they were. Turns out he knows eight. I did the same with the numbers, to see where we need to start. About 45 minutes was all that he wanted to sit still for so it was time for a break.
9:45-11 Break. Play. Clean, laundry, check/send emails, etc.
11-12 We went downstairs to work on a weather craft (thank you Pinterest). You take a paper plate, divide into 4 sections and write: sun, rain, snow, cloudy. Then we cut out rain drops, a sun, and a snowflake and glued them in the appropriate sections. For the clouds we used cotton balls. Then you take a clothespin and pin it to which ever section it is for the day. It took a few examples before B knew what to do, but then he got it and was so proud of his work! Meredith even made one too. I hole punched it and strung a piece of twine (realized we didn't have any yarn!) through it so he could hang it up. He ran upstairs and hung it on everything he could! It's currently residing on his door knob of his room.
12-1 Prepared lunch, ate, and cleaned up
1-1:30 We read books
And that is the end of the day for preschool for us. After we read, it's nap time and then in the afternoons they play and help me get dinner started.

I am not planning on doing this everyday. If we would send him to preschool, as a 3 year old they go 2x a week from 9-11:30. So I'm aiming for 2-3 days of 'preschool' work, probably on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Tuesdays and Thursdays he has speech therapy in the morning, so after that I think we will start going to the library or other adventure. Each day I would like to do the day of the week and the weather; I'm thinking we can do that during breakfast.

So that's how our day went. Meredith went right along with it, though her attention span was not that long. So she would hop in and out of activities. Andrew sat in his highchair and ate breakfast while B and I did the day of the week and the alphabet. And then he was very happy to play with his toys while we did the weather plate craft thingy. All in all, it was a good 'first' day.

I discovered that B knows a lot, more than what I thought he did and that's without any formal teaching. Which makes me realize that, especially at this age, learning is all about experiencing life. Every moment is a teachable moment and this has made me more aware of these every day moments.

Day 1 is in the books. A million more days to come. Bring it!

Planning it all out

*written earlier this week, just now publishing*

As I sit here trying to plan out Benjamin's 3 year old curriculum, I find myself wondering what do I teach him, where do I start? Obviously his ABC's would be a good place, and he knows some of the letters, but do I start with A? Mix them up? Is there a method? Turns out there is. Start with the consonants  Who would have thought? My guess was A.

Planning this out is a bit scary, but when I first thought about homeschooling, I thought how cool it will be to watch them learn. To go places, to be able to provide them with hands on learning. And then I realized that (at least for the first few years) it may not be all that difficult. Go to the zoo, count the zebras, what color are they? What do they like to eat? You can get your math, science, reading, and so much more all in a trip at the zoo!

And then I thought about when they get older. How cool will it be to be able to study the Grand Canyon and actually go see it??? Again incorporating math, science, reading, geography, social studies, etc all in a family field trip!

But it is easy to become overwhelmed with all this, there is a lot of information out there. I have decided that I will take it a year at a time. And if at any point we decide that this is not the right path for us, and the kids agree, off to traditional school they will go.

But for now, I am excited to watch them learn about the world they live in. Learning should be fun, it should be exciting! And I can't wait!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Cheers to 2013!

I'm not sure how it's already a new year, but it's going to be a great one! Here is a snapshot of 2012:

  • We welcomed Andrew into our hearts and home on March 5 with 5 inches of snow!
  • In our home we had 3 cribs...and all occupied! Holy cow! 
  • Bed Bugs. Freakin' horrible! Only found 4 and has (still is, required a monthly maintenance for a year) cost us an arm and a leg! 
  • Benjamin learned to climb out of his crib in the summer, so we transitioned his crib to a toddler bed. Then a twin bed when he turned 3 
  • Benjamin was potty trained at 27 months old
  • Meredith learned to walk and talk and developed her little big personality even more
  • We went to Sarasota (a 12 hour drive) with a 2 1/2 year old, a 1 1/2 year old, and a 3 month old. We should of had our heads examined! 3 pack n plays! 
  • We had a large garden and had more vegetables than ever before
  • I learned to can and make jelly
  • We finally finished the basement!!! 
  • We said goodbye to an amazing Papaw who will be forever missed
  • Found out Benjamin is severely allergic to nuts. 
2012 was filled with controlled chaos as we survived the first year of having 3 babies 27 months and younger. I'm still not really sure how we did it! But here we are in 2013 and looks to be promising:
  • My freelance writing is picking up, so much that I am struggling to find time to get it all done!
  • I will be a health educator (contract basis) for a new organization that helps people with nutrition, weight loss, and training for athletic events. 
  • We are starting Benjamin on the 3 year old preschool homeschool curriculum this month! So excited about this new adventure! 
  • I'm getting back into running! KY Derby Festival Mini Marathon - here I come!   
So far that's all I know what's going on in 2013! I'm sure with 3 kids, it will be nothing short of amazing! 

Thursday, December 27, 2012

A Simple Christmas

So how did Christmas go down in the Casa de Vaesa? Pretty well. I was a bit worried with crazy schedules for three days and kiddos that would get grumpy and overly tired because of missed naps, but honestly I can say that they did very, very well. However, they are still recovering; just today Benjamin skipped lunch and took a nap! Andrew has been taking 2 naps instead of his usual one. And even Meredith is sleeping in until 6am instead of 4am.

They will bounce back.

With having a one income household, there isn't much leftover at the end of the month. So gifts for many people were pictures of the kids, jelly that we made, and homemade scones. The presents that we did have to buy we used coupons and no gift cost us more than $20.

Alan and I both agreed that we don't want the kids associating that the more presents, the better. We don't have that kind of money, even if we did, we wouldn't shower them with tons of presents. Because that's not the meaning of Christmas. Baby Jesus received three presents and so will our little ones. They each received 3 presents; one from mama and daddy, one from the siblings, a present from Santa. Santa also brought a present that they can all play with. Their stockings had items like crayons, sippy cups, and socks.

I went to a second hand store for the kids gifts. I found a Buzz Lightyear and Woody for $7.50 (Target had them for $40 each!) I did buy Meredith the Jesse doll for $18 at Toys R Us since I couldn't find it anywhere else. Still not bad. The big present that Santa brought for all of them to share was the tent. Alan found the wood to make the frame. We only had to buy one piece at the Habitat ReStore for 50 cents. The fabric was the most expensive, thankfully we got it half off and only cost us $20 (most expensive present). Alan and I didn't get each other anything big, we got each other small presents. I went to Goodwill and found him an oil lamp for $8 and a small cooler to take to work for $3. I also got him some socks and candy that he likes. He went to Marshall's and TJ Maxx and found slippers and underwear for me (both less than $8)  He went to a consignment store and found a marble rolling pin for $8 (they retail for $90).

More is not better, at least we don't think so. The amount of presents is not an indication of how much you love your kids. I remember seeing a quote that went something like, "It's not the amount of money you spend on your kids, but the amount of time you spend with them." I couldn't agree more. Years down the road, kids will remember the memories, not each and every toy you got them. I clearly remember being just as excited over our little family's Christmas dinner. We got to help plan the menu, and it included food that we didn't have on a normal basis. Some years, we each got a cornish hen, some years it was sea food, other years beef tenderloin with hollandaise sauce.

Plus, the real reason for the season as we all know, is not presents or even Santa. It's something bigger. Something greater than all of us. Something that, even though we can't see, many of us believe. Because He made this all possible by arriving in a simple little manager.