Friday, August 20, 2010

And Their Off...To School That Is

Backpacks packed and ready
They are a little excited, can you tell?

They were excited to get back to school. I went with Leah on the first day. She only went for an hour. After a bit of time, the parents had to go to the gym to hear from the principal and get other information. Leah cried when I had to go, but after that she was fine. The next day she was so excited to ride the bus with her older brothers. She didn't even want me to walk her to the bus stop. I did assign one of her brothers to be her "buddy" for the day. He would help cross the street, find a seat on the bus and also get her to her class. For the first week or so, we changed boys each day. She loved having the special attention from her older brothers and I think they enjoyed taking care of her.

The kids are loving school and mom is enjoying the quiet around the house.

Monday, August 16, 2010

School Supplies

This is what school supplies for four children looks like. I can't even imagine the amount, much less the cost for school supplies for seven.
Last week we sorted it all out and got their backpacks all packed. Here are the proud four with a little sister peeking in. They head back to school tomorrow . I have a feeling it will be bittersweet for all of us.

You're still the one

Happy 12th Anniversary, Steve!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Potty Training Advice

A friend of mine asked me to write tips I have on potty training. I have been thinking about it and pulling ideas together in my head. At first I thought, I don't have any advice because it doesn't always happen when or how I would like it to. I have learned a few things about potty training though and I do have five who are potty trained. So, we've done something right.

Facts I have learned about potty training:
1. Girls train earlier than boys, sometimes as much as a year earlier in our case. Girls seem to care more about this sort of thing. They want to be grown up. Little boys are too busy playing to care or notice they have to go. Plus they really don't care much if they pee themselves. The girls don't like it so much.

My oldest daughter trained at just before 2 1/2. My middle son was torture to train and he didn't do it until he was 3 1/2.

2. They get it and it clicks when THEY are ready, not when when I am ready. Unfortunately, even after training lots, I forget this and try to pressure them to train. I so wish they would do it on demand and it would only take a week, but that has not been the way it has happened in our family. Each child is totally different, just as they are in everything and have trained differently. My most recent, youngest daughter, didn't even know what to do on the potty. She would sit on it all the time and say she peed. But, she didn't do anything. I left her be and didn't pressure her anymore and then a few months later I walked into the bathroom upstairs to find her pooping on the potty. From that point on, she figured it out and she did it. I loved it with her, because I always have found it easier to train for pee. This time, she was trained the other first.

3. Just as with any other tool for parenting, you will finds various opinions on how and when to potty train. Please remember that you are the parent. You know your child and your circumstances best. Don't feel pressured from others, do what is best for your family.

1. Buy lots of extra underwear, even old ones from garage sales or save hand-me-downs. Often one would poop in their underwear and it would gross me out so much (mostly I would have been pregnant) that I couldn't get myself to clean them out. I definitely wasn't about to slosh my hands around in the toilet to clean them. If I had old ones, I didn't feel bad about just throwing the they yucky ones in the garbage. This took a lot of pressure off me and has been so worth it.

2. BE PATIENT - they will get it eventually. Maybe not in your timing, but they will.

3. If it leads to stress on you and them - STOP! Try again in a few weeks or months. Sometimes, they just pick it up on their own without any pressure, like my daughter.

4. Don't feel pressured to have your kids potty trained by a certain age, because they are all different.

Hopefully, this has been helpful to someone. If you have a tip on potty training, leave a comment.

*This is a repost from last year, but since we are going through this whole potty training process once again, I thought I would share. I find there principles still applicable with number six, who is a boy and also training at 2 1/2 years. When they are ready, they are ready.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Zoe - 6 Months

I can't believe she's half way to a year.

Zoe sits and is just starting to get up on her knees. I don't think it will be long before she is going places. She does scoot herself around on the floor, only it is backwards. Today I caught her saying "babababa."
I absolutely LOVE this age. She is so much fun!
Zoe has been eating two meals of baby food too. She loves her food. She is ready for the third, but I am waiting until the kids start back to school next week so we can get in a normal routine.

Her smile makes me wonder if I smile with my mouth wide open too!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Girls Room

Since we moved in, the girls have still been in their little toddler beds. They filled them right up from top to bottom. We want to get them bunk beds, but bunk beds are not at the top of the list right now. We had an extra double bed in the basement, which Steve's parents gave us. The plan was to use it for an extra guest bed as we already have another down there too. A couple of weeks ago, I decided to move it up to the girls bedroom since they are outgrowing their toddler beds and they have been insisting on sleeping together in those tiny, little beds.

I'm so glad for the help from my boys. We hauled the double bed...frame, mattress and box springs up two flights of stairs. It was a lot heavier than I thought it would be. My sister recently gave me some extra Duvet covers she had and one of them was pink and it matched their room perfectly.

I am so proud that I gave the girls room a total makeover in a couple of hours and I didn't spend any money. I am planning on making them some new curtains this fall or winter. I just need to find the perfect fabric.
The girls just love their new room and they especially love sleeping snuggled up together.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Holiday in Lower Michigan

We were so excited when we heard that our friend from high school, Sherwood and his wife Areli were going to be in Michigan from Guatemala the same time as us. It has been a couple years since we have last seen them. (They came to visit us in England.) We made plans to get together with them. On Friday July 2, we drove over to Kalamazoo where Sherwood was working for the week. We made it out of my mom's with only three kids...Andrew, Anna and Zoe. We enjoyed a nice dinner at an Irish Pub with Sherwood and Areli. It was so nice to chat and catch up.
After dinner we went back to their hotel so Andrew and Anna could swim a bit.

Andrew took this photo of Sherwood, Areli and Steve and me.
I can't get enough of this picture. They are both so proud. I love it when we mix it up a bit and take different sets of kids with us to do something special.
This is the best photo I have from the Fourth of July. We had a cookout at my mom's some of my Aunt, Uncles, cousins and their kids came. This is the second cousins playing together.
My Aunt Anne called to see if she could take the kids for a ride in her convertible. Three of them were thrilled to join her. I bet this was a highlight of our vacation for them. This is the first time they rode in a convertible and they LOVED it. Thank you, Aunt Anne.