Monday, December 10, 2012

Crawling and Teething

It's been a week and we're adjusting, slowly but surely. Nathaniel has been changing already! The other night he popped through his first tooth and then the following night he started doing this...
It is what will eventually become crawling! He has very little interest in it. For the most part he's content sitting up and playing with the toys he can reach. It probably doesn't help that his big brothers love to corral his toys for him so he doesn't have to.
After the big brothers had gone to get ready for bed, though, he decided to venture out on his own to try and capture one of their water bottles. After a lot of effort he finally succeeded! I think he might be crawling before I know it.
We picked up a new toy for him that's for bigger babies than his other ones. He has LOVED it so far! He could spend most of the day playing with this thing.
The other two boys are up to things as well. I'll have to post pictures of those things later on. Being the only adult in the house with 3 kiddos and a long trip to pack for leaves very little time for things like blogging. :)

Sunday, December 2, 2012

It's That Time Again...

Phil just headed out on deployment again. The boys and I are adjusting well, all things considered.
We decided to go out to California for the holidays and stay for a while. We're looking forward to the company and diversion. For now we're busy holding down the fort and getting ready. One day at a time!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

School Pictures

I was trying to get a couple school-like pictures of the boys the other day. I accomplished my mission and also got these:

 Of course Joshua had to join in on the fun...

 Nathaniel doesn't make that many faces yet, but I had the share this one of him. The boys rolls have rolls!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

These days.

Life these days has been good. The boys have grown so much over the summer and now we can enjoy the outdoors a bit more now that the temperatures are more comfortable.
The new soccer season just started up and both of our older boys have been enjoying that.
Joshua is doing well at keeping up with the other kids his age. I love that he's becoming more independent these days.
Jeremiah is finally out of soccer tots this year and onto a regular team which he's enjoying a lot. It's so fun to watch them all run around the field. He played goalie this last weekend and did a great job at it!
Little Nathaniel has been enjoying soccer as well somewhat. My guess is he mostly enjoys getting his Mom and Dad all to himself for a little bit.
Joshua has recently started martial arts nearby. He's doing very well so far!
This last weekend was also the Khaki Ball for Phil and I. It's been a year since Phil made Chief. It seems like a lifetime ago! It was the first time leaving Nathaniel with friends and he did much better than expected. It was so nice to get a night off and be a regular grown up for a little while.
Overall things are going really well! We're staring down the barrel of another deployment coming up so we're trying to focus on enjoying the time we have left together. With that in mind, each day really does feel like a gift.

Monday, August 13, 2012

The New Normal

Recently I noticed the light in our dining room window was particularly nice and took this picture of my 3 boys and me.

I really liked it and made it my facebook profile picture. I have a feeling that over the years it will become even more of a favorite as I look back on that one moment captured on digital "film." The other night I was looking over the images on our memory card and flipped through the series of pictures I took trying to gt that one image and had to call Phillipp into the room to show him the last one I took before putting down the camera.

It may be a better representation of life these days. We both got a good laugh out of it.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Postcard Challenge

I had asked the boys what things they'd be interested in continuing to learn about over the summer. The two things they mentioned were to learn more about geography and about our Presidents. Joshua is particularly interested in the upcoming election so we've been trying to keep up with that a little (as much as an 8 year old is able to). 
For geography I've found an idea to help them learn more about our beautifully diverse 50 states. We started a challenge to receive a postcard from each of the 50 states. We've already checked 3 off the list. We've received several from California already but they're each from a different part of the state so it's expanding their understanding even more. We're putting post-it's on our state map for each postcard we receive. 
I've already submitted my plea on Facebook once, so I thought I would branch out and ask on here as well. If you are interested in sending the boys a postcard shoot me an email at Hopefully we can reach our goal before the end of summer!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Introducing Nathaniel Alexander

Nathaniel Alexander Pickle was born on May 17, 2012. He weighed 10 pounds 1 ounce and was 21 inches long.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Sympathy for a Lost Cinnamon Roll

I wanted to share something that happened this week between the boys that I want to remember forever and ever. For Easter Sunday I made a bunch of cinnamon rolls for breakfast. There were a few leftover and when the boys had gotten down to the very last 2 in the pan it was at snack one morning. Josh being a fast eater had already finished when I watched it happen almost in slow motion. Jeremiah's plate rocked and he tried to catch it but was too late. The very last cinnamon roll hit his shorts then fell onto the carpet. The tears didn't come right at first, but they certainly did eventually.
Not knowing what else to do aside from snuggle him until he felt better, I hadn't even really noticed that Josh had taken off. A little while later once he was feeling a little better, Josh came back in the room bearing this:

It reads:
"I feel very sad for that BIG cinnamon roll that fell on the floor, but there are still good things that are like when you learn how to drive a car or when you get married or when you turn your first decade these will be fun once they happen.
your brother, Josh"

I didn't ask to read it at first. I was so impressed that my big boy would take it upon himself to try to help comfort his brother in a dark hour. Once I did sneak in to be able to read it, I couldn't help but snicker. I can only hope my boys will continue to comfort each other and help remind each other of the bigger picture for years and years to come. I am so proud of who they are becoming.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Pregnant Pictures

We are just about 35 weeks along now and since I generally have babies on the bigger side, that means I'm feeling pretty huge right about now. I thought I might put together a few pregnant belly pictures I've taken for you to see just how much we've grown.
19 weeks 

 23 weeks

28 weeks

35 weeks

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

A Day in the Life: Homeschooling

I had a phone conversation last night with yet another friend who is looking into homeschooling this next school year. I'm always more than happy to share what we do since we have found a groove that seems to work for all of us. I try to always caveat, though, that each family has to figure out what will and won't work for them. Flexibility is key. Your plan that works for the first part of your school year may need to be tweaked for the later part. Staying inside everyday to do schoolwork in the cold season may seem like torture once the weather turns nice outside.
With that in mind, I thought I would share a completely honest look at how school works for us day to day for this particular time. I literally just picked up my camera and snapped some pictures of things so there will be messes and things on the floor and our shelves aren't the most organized they've ever been. You'll have to just forgive our mess and realize along with us that education on a whole is more important than a constantly immaculate house. So here is how most school days go:

The boys are both usually awake sometime between 6:30 and 7:15. I don't wake them unless I have to. I figure if they're still sleeping they probably need the sleep. We follow our usual morning routine of breakfast, getting dressed, teeth and hair brushed and all that. As you will see, Jeremiah asked very nicely to be able to stay in his pajamas today and I let him.
Then we head to the table and get going! This is usually about 8ish. We start out with whatever is first for that day. This morning we started with history. We happened to be at the end of a group of chapters and were doing some review cards. They worked on them for a long while but were tired and bored so we set them aside (which explains the colored pencils all over) and started math for today. We can come back to them later. Joshua is using his Saxon book with a notebook to write his answers in so we can reuse that textbook for the other kids. Jeremiah's 1st grade Saxon materials is a couple of books worth of worksheets so we photocopy them on the printer. He's working on one of those.
These are our school shelves. We keep our text books here. That bottom left compartment has the "school toys" Jeremiah sometimes plays with. Each of the boys has a side on top to keep their folders with their loose schoolwork in them. They each have one for history and other miscellaneous projects.
This is Jeremiah's math folder. Completed work goes on the right. His upcoming worksheets will be on the left. He loves that this folder is Cars Movie and it makes him look forward to doing math just so he can get out this folder. I don't generally grade their work, but Jeremiah likes showing me that he's gotten them all right, so I put a grade on top to make him feel good about it.
This is command central. I sit in this spot so I can do things like blog, I suppose. :) I generall don't do that, of course, but I have the computer here to be able to look things up when the boys have questions or pull up videos to watch. I find coloring sheets or look up ideas for things that are coming up. There's the phone in case the hubby calls or texts and over to the left is our scheduling apparatus.
This is how I keep track of what is going on when. The individual page is our weekly general schedule. We often shift things around but this helps me keep track of what I'd like to get done each week. You'll notice it ends at noon. That's when we do lunch. I do work in a break about halfway through the morning so they can run around the house or have a snack. Whatever they may be needing that given day. Today they're playing with the helicopter you see on the table.
The calendar is where I put the individual assignments. Helps me keep track of what chapter we're starting or what activity from our textbooks I'd like to accomplish that day. It also gives me a place to leave notes for upcoming field trips or other reminders about dental appointments or museums that are free that month. So far I have our year planned out until the beginning of May so we can be finished with our main textbooks before the baby comes.
We usually finish up our formal school day by reading a chapter or two... or three out of whatever chapter book we're working our way through. This year so far we've gotten through the 2nd year of Harry Potter, Sleeping Beauty, A Christmas Carol, The Jungle Book, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and we're working on Percy Jackson the Lightning Thief among others. Some have been more interesting to them than others. They also really enjoy the Magic Treehouse series so we're working our way through those as well.
Then they journal at the end of almost every day. The hope is that a quick review of some of what we learned that day will help cement it into their memory a little more. Jeremiah usually draws rather than writing.

So that's it! We have lunch, they read a bit on their own and play. We may run errands, go grocery shopping or go to a park or have a sports practice in the evening. That's what we're doing right now. That will certainly change as we figure out what does and doesn't work best for us at any given time.
I hope you find that a little helpful, at least, and now I need to get back to focusing on what I really should be doing this morning!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Our "Snow Day"

This winter everyone else in my house has been dying for snow! The boys have been wanting to be able to go out and play in it. Phil wants to take his car out in it. Me? I'd be perfectly content to avoid the white stuff all winter long.
This weekend we did get a little tiny taste of it but they're all still hoping for more, unfortunately.
It started shortly before bedtime and we had just a dusting stick until the next morning so the boys could kick it around before it melted.
Arthur and I are in the same boat. We'd much rather just hang out in bed until the cold part is over.

Friday, February 3, 2012

My 3 Sons

Tonight I had a friend point out that I never announced on here what we're expecting.
We found out shortly before our crazy trip to Oklahoma for Christmas so we put it out on Facebook and promptly forgot to put out the update on here.
So if you haven't heard before now, we are indeed having a 3rd boy! We had spent a lot of time preparing our 2 boys with the knowledge that it could go either way and they reacted very well. Every day since then they have been anticipating him coming more and more! They love to feel him kick and want to help pick out his name and help get his room ready for him to come.
Next week I'll be in my 3rd trimester. It has passed by so fast this time! There is still so much to do. I'm glad we still have a few months left to get it done in.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The Difficulty with Giftedness

If you would have told me 5 years ago that in a few years one of my children would be markedly gifted I would have been really excited! I have learned so much since then.
Joshua's uniqueness is something I tend to avoid talking too much about. I know exactly how it sounds for a Mom to call her own child "gifted." It is just a mother who thinks her child better or smarter than everyone else's. This may be true in some (or even most) cases, but not in all.
Whenever I do decide to brave the admission, "Joshua is gifted," I find I always have to justify that statement. "He was asking us how to do multiplication when he was 5 years old." "He figured out how to do basic square roots after a 5 minute conversation with a friend at a birthday party." "He enjoys figuring out how many days a person has been living in his free time." "He was asking to read chapter books in Kindergarten." "One morning I woke up to find he had been entertaining himself by converting temperatures from Celsius to Fahrenheit and vice verse." He is always providing these little snippets of proof so they're not that hard to think of when needed.
The trouble is most people don't know the whole story of what being a gifted child can be like. We assume it's based on the observation of a child who is brighter or smarter than his peers in some way but we don't realize the other side of this "gift." First of all, it is not always easy to keep up with a child whose brain seems to work in a completely different way. Second, for most gifted kids these areas of acceleration come partnered with other areas that can cause quite a bit of frustration, for themselves and for others around them.
It is a response to this very frustration that lead me to buy the book, "Living with Intensity" edited by Susan Deniels, Ph.D. and Michael M. Piechowski, Ph.D. earlier this year. As it reads much like a college textbook it's been a bit of a slow one for me, but I have laughed and cried multiple times reading it because of how much it has lead me to understand about Joshua and who he is and what is going on in his mind.
In this book they address a series of what they call "overexcitabilities" that are common among gifted people. There are a couple of these that seem to fit perfectly with Joshua's quirks that have come to light as he's grown up. I thought I might list some of the qualities that go along with them here so that others who love him might be able to understand him a little better as well:

Surplus of energy, rapid speech, marked excitation, intense physical activity (e.g., fast games and sports), pressure for action (eg., organizing), marked competitiveness, compulsive talking and chattering, impulsive actions, nervous habits, workaholism, acting out.
In young gifted children, we hear rapid, seemingly excessive, almost compulsive speech. They may explain things until you beg them to stop!

Reading through that list and the pages of continued description that followed brought a sudden feeling of relief that I am not the only parent who is trying to help a child who sees the world through a very different lens. It is because of this that other parents have asked if I've had him tested for one disorder or another. I've read up about most of them and don't feel that any really apply to Joshua like they should for a diagnosis. This list, however, does. 
The more I have read out of this book, the more I am certain that Joshua is merely a gifted little boy trying to function in a world that puts a high value on normalcy. It is my job as his Mom and his teacher to help him learn to do that. In the mean time, it is certainly a comfort to know that I am not the only one on this path.

""Gifted children can be exhausting, demanding, and perplexing enigmas. They often amaze, delight and confound adults who know, love and teach them."