Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Baby update

Just a few weeks left until the arrival of our newest family member. The Braxton-Hicks contractions and the baby kicking are constant reminders that the big event is nearing. It makes Christmas seem a little less important this year, as I know there is another big event to prepare for. All of the visits with the midwife have gone well. Baby is growing – maybe a little too much. The last visit when the midwife did her measurements, I was about three weeks larger than what I should be. The due date is in January, but it has been changed several times, so I’m not sure if I believe any of the dates that have been told me.

Once Christmas is past, then I will get very serious about preparing for the new baby. I have done several things already, but a few major ones remain. I want to get the crib repainted – a project for my husband. We need to purchase a mattress for the crib. I need to rearrange things in our room to make space for baby and all the things that are needed for her care. I feel rather unorganized. I do not even have a list of what I need to accomplish before the baby arrives. I have been very tired lately so that is why I haven’t posted much on my blog. As time and energy allows, I will continue to post family events and other things.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Recent happenings

School is going great they love all the extra activities, and are often begging for more school – especially Abby. One day we used rocks from our driveway to form the letter of the week.
This week we are learning about us for the letter Uu. We are talking about our five senses. For hearing we made our own band of homemade instruments.
We learn about nests for the letter Nn, and one activity was to build our own nest! All three helped and they were proud of their work.
Abigail and Robert have memorized the entire chapter of Psalm 100. We did Psalm 1 during the months of September and October. After listening to Bible Memorization sermon by Pastor Anderson, I renewed my memorizing of the Bible and I started working with the twins. I’m sure Josiah is learning some too, but since he can’t say much right now I don’t know how much he is getting. I am so excited to hear them quoting the Bible. What I find really neat is how they will start quoting their verses while playing, or they recognize their verses when they hear a preacher read or quote them. Abby wants to go to sleep at night listening to preaching or the Bible on tape. I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth. (3 John 1:4)
After learning Psalms 1 we went to DQ for ice cream. This time it is too cold for eating ice cream and playing on the play ground outside. I bought them games for their leapsters this time. Now I need to decide what chapter to work on next with them.

Josiah eating brought two spoons with him to the table the other morning. He found a new way to eat his favorite dish of oatmeal. It would be better than getting it all over his hands, face, hair, and body.

My chickens surprised me about two weeks ago they started laying eggs. I wasn’t expecting eggs until the spring, since we got them as chicks in late July. It is wonderful to have eggs that I know are healthy and organic for my family to enjoy. They were real tiny the first few days, but are getting bigger as the days pass. So far just my white chickens are laying eggs, but maybe my black one will soon start since she is only a few weeks younger than the white ones. I also have two red ones that are much younger than the others, and they may not lay eggs this winter. I have a light in their house to keep them warmer at night and to make their days seem longer.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

New curriculum

I am trying a hands-on curriculum for the twins. It is called My Father’s World. My sister-in-law uses it with her girls. When we went home this past July, I looked through her teacher’s manual and other visuals. I liked all the activities and science that I saw. When I saw it for sale on my favorite use curriculum site, I used the money I made at my yard sale and bought the teacher’s manual. One problem with this curriculum is they do not use the King James for the Bible verses. This is only in the teacher’s edition so I can easily look it up in the King James and read it to them. It is better for them to see me open the Bible to read it anyway.

This is little of how our day goes. I started this when Rueben was working with his dad for a month so I had time to develop a rough schedule without interfering too much with his studies.

I do our Bible lesson while the kids are finishing their breakfast. This way they are all seated and somewhat occupied. I read the Bible to them and then draw a picture to show what the story is about. This helps to hold their attention, and they can tell me the next day what we talked about already that week. Then on Sunday I use the same lesson for the 4-6 yr. old girls class that I teach.

After breakfast we finish up our morning chores, and have some free play time before starting school. During school time we start by going over our memory verses and sing a song from the hymn book. I try to pick a hymn that has something to do with the week’s theme. For example we sang “Sunshine in my Soul” when we studied the letter S and the sun.

Our first subject is math. First, we go over the calendar. We review the days of the week, mark the day we are on, and talk about up coming events – like trips, holidays, or birthdays. I just purchased a chart with the months of the year that we will soon start going over each day. Then we count. I made a chart of numbers from 1-50. Each day we go over a new number. We started at one and are going in order for the numbers. Each day we add a straw in a bag that I attached to the wall by our chart. When we reach a ten, I put a rubber band around the bundle to illustrate the idea of ones and tens. Then we search the house looking for that number. They find them on the clocks, calendars, boxes, papers, and so on. They love this activity! Next we go over how to properly write the number. We practice on the chalk board, and then with their finger in a small box with salt on the bottom. Abby loves this because she likes to lick off the salt from her finger, but I do not let her put her finger back in the salt once she has licked it, so she has learned to wait until she is all done writing before licking her finger.

Josiah joins in the fun. He runs around with them when they look for the number of the day, he scribbles on the chalkboard, and loves to “write” in the salt, too.

Since I do not have any the student book, I have made math papers to go with the weekly theme. Right now we are working on writing our numbers, counting objects, and doing simple adding with objects to count. I try to keep the pages simple and short since they are only 3 and their attention span is rather short. I have mistakenly given them long worksheets only to have them quit after the first few problems.

After math we work in our phonics workbook to continue their phonics learning. I am still using the Amish books that I got this summer. I love these books because they are very unworldly, and they remind me of where I grew up.

Then we take a break and go for a walk if the weather is nice.

After lunch we do the reading section. I usually wait until Josiah is asleep to do this part. The teacher’s manual is for teaching sounds, but since the twins already know all their sounds I am stressing the handwriting of each letter and just reviewing sounds. They have a science theme for each week that corresponds with the letter being taught. For example they learned about the sun for S and the moon for M. Now we are learning about leaves for L and apples for A. I am trying to do the two letters a week, since we don’t need to learn the sounds; we just need to practice writing them. The manual is full of fun activities to teach and review the sounds, plus they have a section on handwriting activities – like the salt in a box. One I haven’t tried that will be messy, but fun is writing in pudding on a tray.

They have an activity for each day of the week. There are also suggested books for reading and activities to go along with each book.

After we finish our work for the week I put all their papers together in a small book using construction paper for the front and back cover. Then they show dad, or anyone else who comes to visit, the book of their work. The only problem with this is it will create clutter. In the past I have thrown away most of the papers we do – when they are not looking of course. I hate clutter and I am not very sentimental and I don’t feel like I need to hold on to every thing.

So far, this new curriculum is working real well for them. I enjoy the freedom of taking the ideas in the teacher's manual and adapting them to the needs of my children.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Visit from family

I have been extra busy, but really enjoyed having my parents here for about two weeks. They did spend a few days with my sister who lives nearby as well, but since we have a larger home than her, they spent most of their time here. I moved Abby’s bed out to the living room and gave her room to my parents.
Our first project was to make bunk beds for the boys. It turned out great and the kids think it is a new jungle gym for them to climb on! We installed ceiling fans, outside lights, and fixed a few other minor electrical things. I love working with my dad. Grandma would stay inside, watch the kids, and take photos of our work. We tore apart our weed trimmer to see why it didn’t work. The parts for it cost more than getting a new one, so it is headed for the dump.

The kids are watching Grandpa cut wood for the bunk bed.
Checking out Grandpa's tools!

Abby writing on the boards for the bunk bed.
Aunt Becky works at a fire department. We went to see her at work one day.

An afternoon ride/walk around the neighborhood.
We put the bed together in the boys room while the older two were napping. :)
The finished bunk beds are in use!

We also took a day trip to Chaco Cultural National Park. The only problem with that was several of the kids and I had been sick the night before we went, but since my dad’s sister came in from California I didn’t want to disappoint them and just stay home.

My aunt spoiled them with educational toys, games, and books. She has no grandkids of her own so she has gone to spoiling mine and my brother’s kids, too. I like the educational things she bought for my kids.
Chaco ruins is full of impressive buildings built by the ancient culture.
Robert's new Lincoln logs. Rueben build the little village for him. It didn't last long before Josiah knocked it down.
Abby playing her new leapster.
Then our last few projects were putting shelves in a closet so I can use it to store my home schooling stuff and building a nest box for my hens. He also put cabinets in my sister’s kitchen for her and fixed her plumbing leaks. We did not finish everything on my list of projects for my dad, but that is okay. He gets bored if we don’t have something for him to fix or build. Maybe my husband will get some time to do a few little projects, but that is hard since he works over 50 hours a week.
They left for home Thursday morning and Saturday evening they called to say that they made it safely home to PA. Abby wanted to pray that evening that Grandpa she would make her a bunk bed, too, before Christmas! : )

Monday, November 10, 2008

Sunday Soul winning

We had a great day soul winning yesterday afternoon. My husband and I each had a new partner. I lead two boy to the Lord during Jr. church, and then I went right after church with a lady who just moved here from Tennessee. She wants to learn how to soul win, and was very excited that I asked her to join me. We had several good visits but no one saved. After our soul winning we met with my husband and got the kids, then he and his partner went soul winning for two hours and had four saved. We were excited and those who went out with us were excited last night at church. Hopefully the excitement catches on and more people come soul winning with us.
My parents are still in town. When they leave I will post more of what we have been doing.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Abby's Pictures

Abby has been using my digital camera.
She loves taking pictures.
Here are a few of her better shots.
One morning we found Robert sleeping on the floor.
He moved himself there after I put him in bed.
Josiah fell asleep at lunch.
Josiah just got a diaper change.
Abby's art work on the refridgerator.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Phoenix trip

We had a great trip to Phoenix this past weekend. We visited the Faithful Word Baptist Church. We have been listening to the sermons that Bro. Anderson preaches, and we wanted to meet him and to learn more about soul winning from him and his church. It was wonderful to meet other soul winning ladies that had similar standards and convictions as I have. We got to go soul winning Saturday morning and Sunday afternoon. In those two days, my husband had 8 people saved, and I lead two people to the Lord. All together the church had 48 saved over those two days. That is really good for a church that had 46 in attendance Sunday morning while we were there. I enjoyed the preaching and fellowship after the service. I took my camera and I did plan on taking pictures, but I never did. I was enjoying myself too much to worry about taking photos.

I didn’t want to leave, and neither did my daughter. Every time we got in the car she would ask, “Where are we going?” If we said, “home” (usually meaning the hotel) she would say, “I don’t want to go home.” Monday she told us several times that she did not want to go. She wanted to stay in Phoenix. She made several friends and did not want to leave them.

This coming weekend my parents are arriving so now I need to clean house and rearrange beds and rooms so they have a place to stay. The kids are excited to have grandma and grandpa coming, and my list of projects for my dad is growing. He doesn’t sit still, so I have to keep him busy to keep him happy. Our big project is to build bunk beds for the boys. He made up plans to build bunk beds that will work with the crib mattress. I’m not ready for my son to be up too high on a regular twin size bunk bed.

It may be a while before I blog again since my family will be here for two weeks.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Our busy Saturday

I had a wonderful day this past Saturday. That morning I got to go soul winning with a group of ladies from another church in our town while my husband, Rueben, and the kids did our bus visits. We have been trying to get it so I can go on with a lady from our church on Thursday night while my husband keeps the kids at home, and then he and Rueben go on Sunday afternoon. The only problem with this plan is no ladies are showing up at soul winning meeting that need a partner. The few that do come go with their husbands (IF they go at all). So I call the pastor's wife that I knew of another church in town and she told me when they go on Saturday mornings. It worked out great for me. I got some fellowship with other soul winning women, and I got to lead one person to the Lord! I had been feeling lonely the past few weeks, and the fellowship with these women really helped me. Now I know they will be upset at the church I attend when they find out that I went soul winning and invited people to attend another church, but is that really a crime? Anyway, I had a great time and I will do it again. This allowed me to watch the kids on Sunday afternoon while Gabe and Rueben went soul winning after dropping off the bus kids.

After soul winning and bus visits, we headed out as a family to Crow Mesa to pick pinons (pine nuts for those of you back East that don't know what I am talking about). Two of the kids took a nap on the way out. Since my husband surveys for the oil field companies, he knew of a good place to go picking. The kids enjoyed wondering around the forest making lots of noise and playing games. They did pick up a few pinons, but I guess it reminded them too much of picking up toys, so they soon came up with their own games to play. Josiah was the best picker, but he would sit on my lap so I couldn't move to pick more myself, or he would stand right were I wanted to pick! Anyway, we came home with a bowl full of pinons for me to clean and roast this week.

Crow Mesa Wildlife AreaNapping ChildrenPinons still in the cones.

Abby enjoyed counting the pinons.

Robert is using the lid to "drive" his truck around the forest.

Look at those dirty hands!

Our harvested pinons.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Baby update

We had a check up today. I am at about 25 weeks. Everything is going well. The kids went with me since I did not have a baby-sitter. They got excited when they heard the baby's heart beat. It was awesome to see their smiles when they heard the heart beat.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Out of the mouth of babies

Children see things in a different light than what we do. It is sometimes very funny the things they come up with on their own.

When the workmen were here putting the pipe through the wall for our pellet stove, Abby and Robert saw the insulation in the wall. Not knowing what it was they came and asked me, "Why is there trash in the wall." How do you explain that to a three year old? I tried to explain it, but they still call it "trash in the wall". When I told my husband that evening, he thought it was hilarious, and he now calls it "trash in the wall" too.

The other night my husband was trying to get Rueben to hurry and come help him so he told Rueben, "Hurry we're burning day light."
Abby heard this statement and went to the door and called out to her dad, "Dad, we’re not burning daylight. It's already dark outside."
Gabe answered her, "I was wondering what was going on."

This is just two examples, but they are constantly doing and saying cute, funny things. Sometimes the constant questions get to be too much, but I wouldn't trade it for anything else in the world.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Our Saturday

I had a stay-at-home and go-nowhere Saturday. I like them every now and again. We usually spend the day in town visiting our bus families and doing errands, but my husband had to take a class Saturday for his work so he and Rueben did the visiting on Friday evening. Also, the Shiprock parade was happening Saturday morning, so very few if any one would be home to visit. Shiprock parade is like a holiday for the Navajo.

Friday I had a yard sale and sold a lot of unused and unneeded items. Saturday morning I tried to sell more, but with the parade going on in Shiprock I had very few customers. While waiting for customers the kids played in the back yard and I finished my housecleaning for the week.

A little before noon my sister came to visit. Her husband was working so she came to hang out with us. The kids were all excited to see Aunt Becky. After lunch it started to sprinkle so we gathered in the yard sale things, and spent the afternoon talking and playing with the kids. We made whoopee pies which have their origin among the Amish. We grew up in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania – the heart of Amish country. We love the Pennsylvania Dutch cooking. It was fun to be baking again with my sister. The kids had fun helping and licking out the bowls.

While the whoopee pies were in the oven, we put together the train track for the kids then we got on the internet and shared sites and ideas. All too soon Aunt Becky had to go home. Robert cried when she left. He wanted to go with her.

That evening after the kids had their baths, Aunt Renee, Gabe’s sister, stopped by to see the kids. She was in town for the Shiprock fair. They had a blast chasing their aunt all over the house. Grandma, who came with her, brought the kids sunglasses that she had picked up at a booth at the fair. It was hilarious to watch three kids chasing their aunt with sunglasses on. Who needs TV when you have entertainment like that?

Thursday, October 2, 2008


Monday, I canned peaches. It was a real experience to can by myself with three kids under four. I’m experience at canning, but doing it without help is a first.

My dad grew up on a farm, so we always had animals and a garden. Now that we have land of our own I also have a garden and my own animals. Every summer Grandma, my dad’s mom, would come for a week to help can. We would go to an orchard to buy our peaches and other fruits, but mostly peaches. We would can around 300 quarts of peaches in about one week with Grandma’s help. My dad built an outdoor canner where we would blanch the peaches and later can them. He used the tub of an old wringer washer and built a brick fireplace around it. We could can 24 quarts at one time in Dad’s canner. It kept the heat and mess out of the kitchen.

I started early this morning by washing jars and cleaning up the weekend mess in the kitchen. After feeding breakfast to the kids and doing our chores, I put in a Baby Einstein movie about colors for the kids to keep them entertained and out of danger. I usually don’t let them watch any TV so this was a treat for them. While they were busy I got the peaches blanched and peeled. Then they got tired of the movie and started running around the house. In between breaks to check on what they were doing, I got the peaches cut and into jars. By lunchtime the first batch was in the canner. We had a quick lunch and the youngest went for a nap. I spent the afternoon cleaning up and getting the second batch in the canner. They looked great when they came out of the canner.
I was worn out that night, and very thankful that the kids all went to bed early.

Sunday, September 28, 2008


Hurray!! He has finally finished his tenth grade work. He took his last test this afternoon. It took us 13 months, for several reasons. One reason was not finishing Algebra I during ninth grade. He didn’t do well with the complicated math. He knows his basic fact for adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing. I made sure of that. I have been teaching and working with Rueben since he was in fifth grade. That is how his dad and I started talking and dating.

Rueben has a lot to do with our being together. Rueben rode the bus to church for many years. Finally his dad started coming with him. Gabe got saved after a couple of years of attending church here. I moved here from Florida to teach in the church’s school. Gabe and I went to the same church for four years. We rarely spoke because Gabe thought I was too good him, and I thought he wasn’t interested in me because I’m not Navajo. But, once Rueben was in my class we had to talk. : - )

When Rueben came into my class from public school his reading level was very, very low. He got a very poor foundation in reading from the public schools. Parental involvement is really needed in the area of reading. In Rueben situation, his mother had left and his father was working a lot so he was with his grandparents much of the time. We have worked on his reading over the past few years, and it has improved greatly, but he is still behind for his age and grade.

It is very hard to make up for time lost in the area of reading. If there is one message I could send to parents of young children, it would be do everything you can to give your child a good reading foundation. Start when they are babies and toddlers. Read to them. Let them see you reading. Teach them yourself. Don’t expect some school to do it for you, because it probably won’t happen the way you expect it to. In just about every student that came into my class from public school, they could not read well. The only exception to this was one family where the mom made her kids read to her and had worked with them on their reading. It was the parent that made the difference not the school, and she was a single mom working as a nurse.

The other evening Rueben’s younger aunt needed help with her algebra homework. Rueben looked at it and said he knew what to do. I was very excited to see him helping his aunt. It was great practice for him, and I could see that he had really learned something from the algebra that we struggled with for two years.

Rueben is my helper with the young ones. I try not to put too much on him, but is nice to have a back-up when it a tight situation. When I need to get all three out of trouble, it is nice to have an extra set of hands. When running errands I can take one child with me into a store, get what I need, and quickly get out again without unloading and reloading every one. He also is a great help with grocery shopping. I shop at the same store every two weeks (I don’t like to shop, so I try to do it for two weeks at a time). I have a list that I created on a spreadsheet that has all the aisles of the store and what items are on that aisle that I use. I make the items needed write in the things that are rarely bought, but needed that week. Then I can give Rueben half the list and one child, and he will get the items on that half while I get the other items. He does carry a cell phone so he can call if he has any questions.

We are taking the month of October off of school. Rueben will go to work with his dad for about five weeks. This will give me time to order his eleventh grade work, and he gets to learn more about surveying from his dad.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

The baby of the family (for another four months)

Josiah is my fun loving, very, very active little boy. He has Robert’s looks and Abby’s outgoing active personality. When happy he runs around the house yelling and chattering as loud as possible. He is very vocal, but unfortunately I do not understand much of what he is saying, yet. He does have a few words that we understand, but most of the time we have to guess what he wants by his pointing. Over the past few weeks I have figured out a few more words he is saying. He uses the sound /bo/ to mean several things like; ball, book, bottle. I have tried to teach him signs like I did with Abby and Robert, but he doesn’t seem to care to use signs when his pointing works well enough for him.

He loves to follow the twins around and get into their stuff. They will be playing with something like Robert’s train, and Josiah comes and starts taking the pieces to what they are doing. They start chasing him to get their stuff back and he runs away laughing. He loves to be chased. When he doesn’t get his way he will hit or through a fit. Abby calls it “taking a fit”. They all can play well together – unless Josiah is tearing apart what they built. For that we have nicknamed him Hurricane Josiah.

When I do ‘school’ with the twins he enjoys going from seat to seat and bothering Abby and Robert. I got him his own desk, but he never sits in it for long. When I tell Abby or Robert to go make their bed, Josiah will run ahead of them and crawl onto their bed. Then they come out and complain that they can’t make their bed because Josiah is laying on it. I have learned to keep him busy collecting trash (which he loves to do) while they do their chores. He loves to try to help, but they don’t always understand him or appreciate his help.

He also loves the animals. He gives weeds to the rabbit and chickens. He spreads cat food all over for the cat, and will hold them as long as they put up with it.

He is learning to use the potty. After waiting too long to start to train the twins, I decided to start sooner with Josiah. When I remind the twins to go potty, Josiah will lift up his shirt and head for the bathroom. The lifting of the shirt has become his ‘potty’ sign. The month of October we will work on going potty more often, since Rueben will be on break from schooling.

When I first got pregnant with Josiah I was worried about how to handle a baby and two year old twins. I am glad God gave me Josiah, and I am looking forward to our little girl. Since Josiah and the twins are learning to do chores around the house they are becoming big helpers.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

The second butterfly

Today the second monarch hatched. Robert was awake and got to watch this time. I let them stay up from their naptime so they could watch. All three were awake when we released the monarch.