Saturday, February 27, 2010

Valentines Photos

These are a bit late to my blog, but I wanted to get them here...

We've been going to a beautiful baby store in Redlands lately to purchase cloth diapers called Kissui. We happened to be there one day when Patrice Gaspard-Nelson was doing a fundraiser for the people of Haiti. For a $5 donation she would take valentines photos and give you an 8x10. Well, this mama is a bit slow at getting #3 to a professional photographer, so I thought I'd try it out. It was a rainy day and she was taking photos just outside the shop. My babe was sleeping, but she had me lay him on a little rug she had on a door step to an empty shop next door. The results were amazing!!

I'm so happy I asked her to take another of my three kids. It too turned out beautiful.

I am so happy with these results and happy to have been at the right place at the right time.

Friday, February 26, 2010

This moment...

A moment I want to savor...Sleepy Happy Baby in his favorite spot wrapped to mama.

5 Things I'm Thankful For

Here is a quick list of 5 things I'm thankful for right now...

These three precious children

This playful man.

These chunky hands.

Our beautiful rainy weather this month.

These kids and their mamas.

Just 5 of the many things I have to be thankful for.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

A New BMX'er

We have a new BMX'er in the house. Emma tried her hand at our local BMX track last week and loved it. She did an awesome job too. She only fell once, and got right up and tried again. She really surprised me.

I stood at the gate with her (with Luke in his wrap) and held her bike until the gate dropped and then let go... which was not easy for this mama. Here I stood at the top of this huge hill letting go of my four year old baby girl on a dirt bike (with all sorts of safety gear on) to peddle around a dirt track that is raced on by professional BMX riders. Dan stood at the bottom of the first hill so he could assist her in getting up the next one. She only needed a little push and then she continued around the track with Daddy running after her and assisting on the bigger hills. Yes, Dan got quite the workout!! By the end of the night there were only two hills she needed help getting up. AND by the end of the night I could tell she was hooked and we had another BMX'er in the family.

This is not a bad thing : )!!!!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

On the Needles

I have a very long boring project on the needles right now. I've been working on it for several months. It promises to be very cute once it is done, but in the mean time it's basically one stitch over and over and over.... get the point? Actually it has been a great project right now, since I am still learning how to breastfeed and knit at the same time. I don't have to worry about counting stitches too!

The pattern is the Twirly Skirt by Barefootknit. It is a free pattern on their website. It is so cute in the picture I had to start it up for my little girl.

I broke my rule about starting another project while one is still going, but who am I to stay within my own rules. I have a dear friend who has a baby due next month. His little feet just needed the baby booties from Knitting for Baby. Of course I gifted them before I shot a photo, but maybe I can get one when they are on his sweet little feet. : )

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


I promised more on the cloth diapering, and here's where we are so far...

I'm in love!! I've found cloth diapering to be surprisingly easy, and it feels so good to be putting cloth on my babe instead of paper/plastic. But, best of all, the cloth diapers I've used so far laugh at my babe's explosive poops!! "Not getting by me", the cloth diaper says to the poo. Seriously though, it's been really amazing.

I've been experimenting with two different diapers so far: the Bumgenius 3.0 One Size Diaper and the Gro Baby diaper. Both of these diapers are adjustable to fit an infant, baby, or toddler. I like them both, for different reasons.

First, the Bumgenius. It is a pocket diaper, meaning the soaker pad is in an "envelope" in the diaper. Each time you change a diaper you must wash the shell and the soaker pad. I am amazed at how long my babe can wear this diaper with two soaker pads (which come with the diaper) in it. He goes through the night with no leaks. With a disposible, we would change him at 5:00 am or wake up with a wet baby next to us (which meant a wet me, wet sheets, wet baby jammies, bath for us all, and way too much laundry). He has also throughly tested this diaper with breastfed baby poo, which has the tendency to get everywhere. My babe has a way of shooting it right up and out the back of his disposables. The Bumgenius has always held it in, even when soaked from an all-nighter. Amazing! This diaper is a little bulky, which doesn't really bother me.

As for the Gro Baby diaper, we use that more during the day and when we go out on the town. The difference with the Gro Baby is that it has it's soaker snaped into the shell, and lays on top of the shell. When changing the baby you can unsnap the soaker and toss it into the diaper pail and re-use the shell. I've found that the shell does get a little wet, so I usually rotate between two shells during the day, leaving the one just used on the diaper table to dry for the next changing. The soaker rarely holds in the explosive baby poops, although the shell always does. If we have a poop, I just toss both the soaker and the shell into the diaper pail.

I'm a newby at all of this, but I am finding it very doable and actually enjoying it. We have collected 5 cloth diapers all together so far, plus 4 extra soakers for the Gro Baby. This usually gets us through a whole day. Obviously I need to purchase more so we can go a few days between washings. From a cost standpoint I am curious to try the good old fashion flat diapers that my mom used with the plastic pants when me and my sib's were little. There are all sorts of new covers you can use with these that make them easier too. To get more information on all this I recently joined a cloth diapering group. I am also looking forward to a cloth diapering 101 class this week. (Are you amazed there is so much info on cloth diapering? I certainly am!!) I figure after this class I should have enough information to purchase several more diapers.

So, after thinking I knew it all now that I am on my third little one, I find there are still many things to learn... even in the diapering world. But Ohhhh my, he is so worth it : )!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Soap Nuts

I have been researching the cloth diaper world (more on that soon) and have been looking for an alternative to regular laundry detergent. Something without the harsh chemicals and detergents that will make cloth diapers less absorbent. I think I have found a great solution.

Soap Nuts.

Straight from their web site, here are just some of the things that are so great about them:

  • They are simply a dried fruit — 100% totally natural.
  • They are organically grown and are free of harsh chemicals, so they are incredibly gentle. (This makes them especially great for those with sensitive skin — including babies and those that suffer from allergies, eczema, and psoriasis).
  • They’re totally biodegradeable, so they’re better for the environment than regular detergent.
  • They’re antimicrobial, so they’re even good for septic and greywater systems.
  • They are low-sudsing — exactly what you need for HE (or high-efficiency) washers.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

We Love 1st Grade

Yes we do! We are sticking to our same curriculum that we used for kindergarten, My Fathers World. I'm still so happy we found it. It is perfect for our family and the planning being done for us is perfect for this mama.

We started 1st grade over Christmas break (well Dan's Christmas break). We had finished K about 3 weeks before Luke was born and I decided to just wait on 1st until after Christmas was over. It really worked out perfect, just as all things do when God is involved : ).

This year in first grade Zachary will be learning so many things, and Emma and I are excited to go on the journey with him.

The whole year in Bible is based in Proverbs. Zach learns a verse a week, and copies the verse on the second day. He is getting much better at using lower-case letters instead of just resorting to upper-case as he did so often before we started school. He is learning sentence structure through copying his verses (capitals, periods, commas, etc.). Later in the year, as he is reading more, he will be reading a Bible reader on his own (so exciting!!) and then keeping a Bible notebook by writing about what he read and illustrating it. I imagine this will make quite a keepsake.

Zach is also diving into phonics, which is opening up his world of reading. He learns a new phonic rule every day and practices marking the words and reading them. This will lead him to the Bible reader soon.

We learn a new science concept every week. This week is rain. We check out many books from the library every week on our subject and read them throughout the week to enforce learning while having fun (this is also a part of school which is easy to do while nursing an infant).

Math is done very gently, or so it seemed at first. It really is quite full. We do our calendar everyday and talk about the number of the day. We put the number of the day on a number line. We add coins to his coin jar and count them, trading for larger coins when he can. We add beans to a bean cup everyday and when he gets ten, they get glued to a stick to teach him his 10's and 1's. He writes equations using these concepts for the number of the day. Each week we also learn a new concept (counting, comparing, adding, geometry, time, money, etc...). We also check books out from the library that enforce these concepts in a fun and practical way. (By the way, all the books from the library are suggested in the curriculum. Another great thing for this mama!! I just go on-line and reserve them and swing by the library and pick them up. So sweet!)

We also are doing a drawing program. This is also gentle and fun, and great for me too. This will help when we get to the Bible notebook for his illustrations. Do you know any adults that say they are a good artist? This program helps you learn to "see" what you create as your own original - no negativity.

So we are schooling Monday through Friday, with Wednesday being our Exploration Day. This means we use this day to do hands on "stuff" on our science concept for the week. We get outside and explore God's world. We sketch in our notebooks in the yard. We don't do any structured math or reading that day, but we do usually "play" with our pattern animals which teaches reasoning and math (but, shhh don't tell him). We also are learning art appreciation that day in two awesome books that are teaching us to look deeper and differently at some awesome paintings of both portraits and landscapes. And lastly we are doing music appreciation by learning about a different instrument each week.

Sounds exhausting, doesn't it? But it's not. It's really quite do-able, even with a four year old wanting to tag along and a baby nursing alongside. We get it all done in an hour or so each day, and if we skip a day, we've made it up on the weekends.

I still can't believe that I am homeschooling my children. I had never even thought of or considered homeschooling before Zachary was 3 or 4. I never knew anyone that was homeschooled. I find it odd that this is what we feel called to do. I really want a God- centered Christian education for my kids and I would have to have a full-time job out of the house in order to be able to afford a Christian school for them. I want to be the one raising my kids, not strangers. We do have to sacrifice a great deal by having me home, but it is so worth it. I am startled by stories from friends about what goes on in their kids public classrooms, and I am so thankful for this option to be the educator of these children that God in-trusted us with. God is so good, and he has a reason for everything that He does. I wrote recently on Facebook that if He leads you to something, He will see you through it. Yes, God is good. [I didn't even notice that I stepped up on my soapbox, I'll get down now. Please know that I am completely aware that every family is different. What is right for our family, may not be right for another family, and that is great.]

We start every school day in prayer. Zachary leads it. He often prays for family or friends that his little (huge) heart leads him to. Can I ask you to pray for us too? Pray that we are persistent and have the endurance that it takes to learn and to teach. Pray that what we do is pleasing to the Lord, first and foremost.

I need to have my camera more handy during school, but below are some photos of the end of Zach's kindergarten years. (I can't wait to do it again with Emma and then Luke!!)

This was our penguin week.

Zach's 100th day of school. He got to count out and eat 100 pieces of trail-mix.

Yes, we often school in our jammies : ).

I guess we do have a 1st grade photo. Multi-tasking mama/teacher. Nothing is better than school on the couch. Don't you wish you were taught this way? I sure do!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Well It's About Time...

It has been nearly 3 months since my last post. To say I've been a bit busy would be putting it mildly. I figure it is time to introduce our newest addition to the blog world. (He is two months old today!)

Luke Samuel Noack was born on December 2, 2009 weighing in at 8 lbs., 7 oz.

He is a big healthy beautiful baby, and already we can not imagine life without him. I will admit that adjusting to three kiddos has been much more difficult for me than the adjustment to two. I'm not sure exactly why since the other two are such awesome helpers, but so it is.

With this birth brought Aunt Dawny from St. Thomas to help out for two weeks. It was lovely, and I would recommend never having a baby without an Aunt Dawny (or really good substitute) around. She cooked, she cleaned, she did laundry, she showered love and attention on Zachary and Emma, and she danced the most wonderful dances with baby Luke. He fell in love right away. It was hard to let her go, but I know the trade winds will blow her this way again soon. Besides, now she knows the sweet smell of new baby. It is impossible to get that out of your system. (Today just happens to be Aunt Dawny's birthday... happy happy to you sister!)

Soon after Dawn's return to the island came Christmas and a two week break from work for Danny. Ahhh, more wonderful help with the kids. He is the most awesome husband and daddy that exists. We trudged along together, sleeplessly feeding and loving on the kids.

Christmas was kind of a blur in some ways and in other ways it was full of sweet memories. What a wonderful time to grow our family, during the remembering of the birth of our Jesus. We implemented a new tradition, a Jesse Tree, and enjoyed it so much that our prayer time in the evenings has now turned into devotions too. Unfortunately, Dan and the three kids where sick through the holidays, so we spent them quietly at home which turned out to be a blessing. Nana, Papa, and Nana Sue came out for Christmas morning and brought brunch with them. After that we settled in for a quiet afternoon snuggling Luke and watching the kids play with their new toys. Pretty perfect on all accounts.

I'm trying my best to get into a rhythm with the three kids at home on my own. January flew by, but we are keeping up well with school. Zachary started 1st grade over the Christmas holiday and we are truly loving it. There will be more on that soon, but I have already gone on more than I should have here today. I haven't started back with work yet. I am not sure exactly how I am going to incorporate that into our days yet, but I will have to figure that out soon. For now I will just continue getting by one day at a time with a baby wrapped to me and two wonderful kids to teach and learn from.