Friday, April 22, 2011

Footloose and binky-free

Well, I don't know about the footloose part, but after 1 week, we are still binky-free.  I know I posted this picture last week, but I just had to post it again because I miss this binky-face :(.

Our biggest challenges are naptime and bedtime.  Somehow we got out of our naptime routine where Emory sleeps in her bed in her room, so this didn't help when she no longer had her comfort object.  Sooo, naptime in her bed has been extra rough.  Bedtime, of course, is hard too, but since she sleeps with us at night, it hasn't been quite as bad.

Other than that, it has actually been much easier than I anticipated and she doesn't seem too distressed by it.  It has definitely been nice not to be constantly searching for binkies ALL the time.  I am hoping once we get out of the binky habit that for the first time in two years, we might actually have a baby that sleeps well...hopefully...please...that would be great  :).

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Homeschool Update

For starters I have combined my homeschool blog with this blog, so they will no longer be in two different places.

It's been almost a year since I updated the homeschool blog.  I hate that I haven't been great at documenting Liberty's progress.  She has been doing so well and has learned so much this year.  First grade has been loads more fun for both of us and I anticipate that Second grade will be even better!

We have been using My Father's World for the past two years.  I orginally chose this curriculum because it is an all-inclusive curriculum with very structured and detailed lesson plans.  Since I wasn't quite sure what direction we were going to go with our home education, it was a great way to dive right in without a lot of stress for either of us.  Two years into it, I now have a much more research under my belt and a much clearer idea of what I want to accomplish with Liberty (and Emory) in our home education.  With a more defined philosophy of education, I have decided to go with a different curriculum (more on that later).

I do want to spend just a little time discussing the positives and negatives of MFW.  Since my girls are 5 years apart, it will take some serious brain power to remember what I did with Liberty when its Emory's turn.  Better write it down :).


1.  Structure.  It did just what I hoped it would and allowed us to get started and get a feel for home education without a lot of stress.

2.  Phonics.  The phonics program is absolutely the best.  Slow and steady wins the race is definitely the key to this phonics program, but for us it was totally worth the mind-numbing, snail pace.  We haven't had a single moments trouble with reading.  I don't really know whether to attribute this to the phonics program or a natural reader.  I'll give a little credit to both.  We will definitely stick with the MFW phonics approach for future students!

3.  Bible.  The Bible Reader/Notebook was one of Liberty's favorite things and I think she really learned a lot by doing her stories this way.  We are taking this concept and modifying it a little for next year.


1.  Math.  I think the expectations were too low and the program wasn't as rigorous as I had hoped it would be.  Unfortunately, I think I waited a little too long, hoping it would get better.  We did end up switching to Math-U-See a few months ago.  That puts us behind where I was hoping we would be by now.  But, that is one of the beauties of homeschool.  We can go at our own pace without the pressure to perform.  I have full confidence that she will be on target before long.  At any rate, I think we have made a good change.

2.  Science.  I honestly felt like this was a complete waste of time.  I think its much more beneficial for children of this age to be experiencing the world around them through a more natural approach.  I wish I had had a better grasp on this concept this year.  Liberty and I are both getting better and being more perceptive of the world around us.

All-in-all I have been so pleased with Liberty's progress, with the things she's learned, and the strides we have made in developing the model for our homeschool.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Liberty Update

735Oh my word, Liberty is almost 7!  She is growing up to be the most wonderful young lady.  I am forever surprised by her maturity, caring heart, and sensitive spirit.

Just yesterday she and Scott were playing basketball outside.  Apparently in the course of their play, Scott said something like “the most important thing is to win.”  Liberty pondered this comment for a little while and came back to Scott and asked him “What does the bible say about winning.”  In her little world, it only matters that no one gets their feelings hurt and that everyone has fun.  Since the idea of playing to win wasn’t fully computing in her brain, she needed to verify it with a higher authority.  I’m one proud mama that she chose the bible to be the deciding authority on the matter!  Scott and I read her 1 Cor. 9:24-27 and explained that she should do everything to the best of her ability to honor God.  These deep reflections are a constant thing with her and she has such a desire to please people and make sure she is doing the right thing. 

She is just about to finish up 1st grade and I have been so impressed with the progress she has made this year.  She is a natural reader.  It’s one of my favorite things.  She struggles a little with the abstract concepts in math, but she is still doing great.  We are a little behind in math simply because I decided to change curriculums just a couple of months ago.  I’m glad I did though.  She is doing great and responding really well.  Like a typical child, she doesn’t always like to do her schoolwork, but she is really doesn’t give me too much trouble.  She is very excited about 2nd grade.  Apparently she will really be a big girl then!  I’m also ready.  We are changing curriculums and I couldn’t be more excited about it!

She switched from cheer to dance this year with a little encouragement for me.  It was both cheaper and closer for her to do dance here in Guthrie.  It turned out to be a great thing.  She absolutely loves it and seems to have a natural talent for ballet.  She is also on a Jazz competition team this year.  It has been a lot of fun.  Her team attended the Hall of Fame Dance Challenge at Rose State College and they won High Score in the Rookie division.  It was the cutest thing ever and she had a blast.


She also started taking piano lessons last week.  She has been wanting to do this forever and for some reason or other we just haven’t started.  She is so excited.  I can already see that making her practice everyday is going to be a little bit of a challenge. Even so, I can tell that she is really going to enjoy it and pick it up quickly!

A couple of weeks ago she got a new rabbit.  She named her Sugar.  She has been wanting a rabbit forever.  I was trying to put it off until we moved, but moving just doesn’t seem to be happening right now.  So, the last time we were in Texas, I let her Papa  buy her the sweetest the Holland Lop ever.  Liberty was insistent that her rabbit be black.  Its so funny, she wouldn’t even consider having a rabbit of a different color.  We ended up having to drive 2 hours and spent a lot more money on this bunny than anticipated.  Her Papa couldn’t resist getting it for her though when she declared that it was exactly the rabbit she was looking for Smile.

Interesting facts about Liberty…

1.  Favorite foods are pizza and salad.

2.  She gets embarrassed very easily

3.  She auditioned for her first musical this year and will perform May 4.

4.  She loves Barbies!

5.  She loves to wear skirts.

6.  She is still wearing a size 6 because she is super skinny.

7.  She loves jewelry, especially earrings.

8.  Her top career choices right now include such things as, ballerina, pianist, actress, and chef.

9.  She adores her baby sister and has finally decided that she would like to have more siblings

10.  She is forever making up routines for us to watch her perform.  Most of these take place in our backyard.

11.  She hates vegetables.  I’m proud to say that I got and entire asparagus spear down her yesterday!

12.  She is very sassy and thinks she knows everything.  She is constantly correcting us.

13.  She still prefers to sleep with us although she will sleep in her room whenever we ask her too.

14.  She loves to color and draw.

15.  Her favorite color is purple.

16.  Her favorite animal is a cat.

17.  She is super excited about 2nd Grade, even though she has barely finished 1st!

18.  She loves to play board games.

She is growing up so fast!  She is such a bright, sweet, and sensitive little girl.  I can’t wait to see what God has in store for such a special little person.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Emory Update

628Ok, so much for blogging in 2011.  I’m only about four months behind!  I’m going to try to be better—starting with this post about Emory Smile.

Emory is 21 months old now.  Wow, the time is sure flying and she isn’t a baby anymore.  I think I got a little spoiled since she didn’t walk until she was 17 months.  I was hoping she would stay little longer.  Well, not only is she walking, but she has started to run.  Like everything else she does, she has her own style.  When she takes off, she ducks her head down and pumps her little arms.  She acts like she’s taking off in a 100m dash and its little more than a fast walk.  The most super cute thing ever!!!

One of my favorite and simultaneously most hated thing she does is twirl her hair.  She’s done it since she was very small.  It started out as a way to put herself to sleep, but now she does it all the time.  It’s her comfort thing.  It’s really cute, but the reason I also hate it is because she twirls her hair into knots.  She doesn’t have a lot of hair as it is and the knots are so bad that I have to cut them out.  Right now she is sporting what I like to refer to as a layered look.  That’s being kind, since I pretty much just hack the knot off wherever it occurs.  Thankfully her hair is so thin and wavy that it really doesn’t look that bad.  I hope she stops it before her hair gets thicker and more difficult to cut!


Sleepy hair twirling

I finally took her to the pediatrician for her 18 months well-child check.  I’ve been terrible about doing this since we don’t have insurance and because I don’t vaccinate.  It seemed kind of ridiculous to take her when she was perfectly healthy (and thankfully she has been remarkably healthy)!  She was still doing great at 18 months, but I was a little concerned about her speech.  She still isn’t talking—not a single word, no Mama, no DaDa—nothing!  I have been waiting to take her because it is obvious that she isn’t delayed in any other area.  She has also developed a remarkable sign language all her own and is quite capable of expressing herself and letting us know what she needs.  Anyway, the pediatrician recommended she be evaluated by early intervention services (SoonerStart).  I’m familiar with the services because of Lilly and I knew she would recommend we do it.  After her evaluation, it was determined that she is right on target or exceeds her age in every category except expressive language.  She scored around 24 months for language comprehension.  Again, I had assumed this was the case, which is why I let is go for so long.  She will start speech therapy this week.  It will be very low key and I will be responsible for making the recommended changes.  Her speech pathologist will only see her every other week.  I’m great with that and definitely don’t want to do anything more intense at this time.

Our two biggest challenges are still the binky and sleeping.  Both are a result of mommy’s overindulgence!  I have set her 2nd birthday as the termination date for the binky.  I have to get myself geared up for it.  I know it probably won’t be as bad as think.  She takes great naps.  She is down to one nap a day.  The problem is nighttime.  She is still sleeping with us.  She sleeps great with us and we actually don’t mind it most of the time.  Scott and I go back and forth about it and still haven’t come up with a good or consistent plan to get her sleeping on her own.


In her bed (with the cat) at naptime

We are really beginning to see her personality develop.  She is so like Liberty in a lot of ways, but at the same time very different.  It will be interesting to watch them grow.  She has a very affectionate and compassionate personality just like Liberty.  She doesn’t like to see others hurt and is quick to comfort them.  She is still very funny.  I think she is definitely going to have a more care-free spirit, unlike our brooding, worrisome Liberty.

Other interesting facts about Emory….

1.  She loves shoes.  She wants to wear them all the time.

2.  She is such a show-off and desires praise from everyone.  Telling her she looks beautiful is one of her favorite things.

3.  Favorite food is pizza followed closely by rice.

4.  Her favorite activity is swinging.  Don’t start pushing her unless you intend to stay at awhile!

5.  She is finally able to go to her own class during church.  Sweet Victory!!

6.  She is definitely going to suffer from allergies/asthma just like Liberty did.  Let’s just hope she’s grows out of them like her sister did as well!

7.  The only other toys she typically plays with are blocks and plastic food.  She loves to pretend to cook.

8.  Her favorite movie is High School Musical.  Is that ok?  Am I a bad mom?

9.  She loves books.

10.  She loves to be outside.

11.  She always reminds us to pray before dinner.  She reaches for everyone’s hands and smiles really big. 

12.  She has learned to unlock my iPhone.  I’m just glad she didn’t learn sooner.

13.  She loves to wash her hands and brush her teeth.

14.  Her favorite game is wrestling on my bed.

15.  She’s still not the best eater, but her new favorite snacks are cereal bars and granola bars.

16.  She’s not crazy about bath time.

17.  She thinks it’s really hilarious to wear mine and Liberty’s shoes.

18.  She hates it when her hands are dirty.  It’s a real pain when she eats with her hands instead of a fork because I have to wipe them off between each bite.  Thankfully she is getting really good with her utensils.

19.  She loves her Nana and Papa.  She is a real Papa’s girl.  Funny since we don’t see them all that regularly.

20.  She has both ridden and fallen off her first horse.  Very scary for mommy!


I just adore her.  I am thrilled that God blessed us with another child and that it was her!