Monday, March 23, 2015

Happy 18 Months Luke!

Each day that passes reminds me just how big you are getting. The 18 month mark also reminds me that you really aren't a baby anymore, but fully toddler in all that you do. You can still show your very serious face, but you've also got an amazing grin that you love to flash at us. Sadly, I did not take many pictures this past month. :(

You love, love to play with buckles. You are greatly entertained when we go out to eat, and the high chair has a buckle you can play with. You also love the buckle lion toy (called a Buckleyboo). Unfortunately, you can't unbuckle the buckles yet, but you have a great big sister who loves to help you out. :)
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You've had an explosion in your communication this past month. You've started saying many, many more words (I can't even keep track of them all anymore). You also finally decided you'd sign the words we've been trying to get you to sign for months now! You've also been demonstrating a good understanding of both English and Spanish. Our entire family has been working towards becoming fluent in Spanish, and you've done a great job picking up on it. Though I'm not sure you say anything in Spanish (though I've been suspicious a few times), you definitely recognize and understand phrases such as when we ask you if you are hungry or for you to say please in Spanish.20150305-IMG_1130.jpg

You continue to be a very busy baby, often running wherever you go. You are into everything, and you can be very stubborn about getting into whatever it is you want. You are slowly getting better about not throwing a fit when we tell you no, but you still don't like to be told no (who does??).

You are getting somewhat better about not being quite so picky with food, and I think a large part of that is that you love to get to use a fork. You do a GREAT job with your fork (sometimes better than Troy it seems!).20150306-IMG_1131.jpg

You really love to play with balls, and you've really enjoyed your new basketball goal. You're pretty good at it too!

Luke basketball from Lisa Kennedy on Vimeo.

You continue to love to sing, and you've gotten even better at singing and doing the motions to your favorite song over the past month ("Read Your Bible and Pray Everyday"). You also do some of the signs to the song "My God is So Big."

Luke singing from Lisa Kennedy on Vimeo.

You also finally made an animal noise! It was so funny - you walked into the room with a cow saying "moo!" when you hadn't ever done it before with us.

The cow goes moo from Lisa Kennedy on Vimeo.

Signs you do: more (you finally started doing the sign correctly!), finished, thank you, hungry, thirsty, please, sleepy

Body parts you can identify: nose, ears, mouth, eyes

Animal noises you make: cow


Favorite foods: Yogurt, chicken (especially chicken nuggets/strips), applesauce, nutrigrain bars, donuts, mac and cheese


Favorite activities/toys: Books, balls, little figurines (like Mickey Mouse), cars, buckle stuffed lion. You love to "put things in things" as well as throwing. You also love to play chase with the other kids, and you've added a new level of "fun" since you started walking. You like to chase after Reeses as well, but she's not to sure about that. : ) You also enjoy shutting doors and drawers. You also love to play peek-a-boo!


Words you say: You have had a huge explosion of words this month. It is hard to keep track of them all - but here are ones that you say most often: Mama, Dada, Eh-wa! (Ella), "anks" (thanks), "eeses" (Reeses), hi, bye, "inished" (finished), "ba" (banana), Rhu-Rhu (your grandma), Pop-pa (your grandpa), "pees" (please), "mah!" (more), uh-oh, yay, my (you yell this a lot, and we think you are trying to say "mine"), grow, go, God, baby

Luke @ 17 months
Troy @ 18 months
Ella @ 18 months

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Ella's 6th Birthday Interview

I know I say it every year, but it is hard to believe that Ella is six years old. It is strange sometimes to think about life before her, and I'm so thankful we have her in our life.

  1. What is your favorite color? Pink, purple, and red
  2. What is your favorite toy? My dolls
  3. What is your favorite fruit? Pear
  4. What is your favorite vegetable? Sweet potato
  5. What is your favorite TV show? Handy Manny
  6. What is your favorite thing to eat for lunch? Mac and cheese and chicken nuggets
  7. What is your favorite outfit? That dress and sweater and stuff I wore last night
  8. What is your favorite game? That up and downs games (Chutes and Ladders)
  9. What is your favorite snack? Pretzels
  10. What is your favorite animal? Zebra
  11. What is your favorite song? Let It Go (from Frozen)
  12. What is your favorite book? Green Eggs and Ham
  13. Who is your best friend? Karsyn
  14. What is your favorite cereal? Chocolate Chex
  15. What is your favorite thing to do outside? Bounce on my bouncy thing
  16. What is your favorite drink? Sprite
  17. What is your favorite holiday? Valentine’s
  18. What do you like to take to bed with you at night? Everything in my bedroom
  19. What is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast? Cinnamon Roll Pop Tarts
  20. What is your favorite thing for dinner? Sweet potato
  21. What do you want to be when you grow up? An eye doctor
  22. What is your favorite movie? Frozen
  23. Who is your favorite Disney princess? Elsa
  24. Where is your favorite place to go? McDonald’s and Chuck E. Cheese
  25. What is your favorite Bible story? Moses when he was a baby
  26. What is your favorite memory verse? Mark 16:16 
  27. What is your favorite letter? E . . . L  . . . every letter in the alphabet!
  28. What is your favorite thing to do in school? Read a book

20150201-IMG_0784.jpg Check out the rest of the birthday interviews!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Happy 17 Months Luke!

I'm only a little late writing this . . .:)


This past month has been somewhat challenging. Although you have been doing so many fun new things, you have also been testing us quite a bit. You do not like to be told "no" and often break out into a full on cry when you don't get your way. Hopefully this is just a product of some "growing pains" as you learn there are some things you can do and some things you can't do. :)
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Lately, you been quite intrigued by music on tv shows. You often start dancing when you hear it come on. I haven't caught it on video yet, but hopefully I will soon. It is pretty cute!

You continue to LOVE books, and ask us to read them to you. You can be very demanding when you want one of us to read you a book. You really love "Goodnight Moon" right now.
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You've been testing Ella and Troy quite a bit as well, also letting them know when you don't like that you don't get your way or the toy you want. But, although you've been testing them, you've also been super sweet with them at times. One of the new things you've been doing is plopping down in their laps when they are sitting on the floor.20150104-IMG_9434.jpgUntitled

You are quite obsessive about making sure that buckles are buckled, doors are shut, and drawers are closed. You can make tasks in the kitchen quite tricky when you won't let me keep the fridge door or the trashcan drawer open because you are so worried about closing them. Speaking of the trashcan, you will now take things to the trashcan when we ask you to. Sometimes you even find something that doesn't need to go in the trash to put in. : ) You've also started wanting to turn off the light switch when I carry you out of your room when you get up from sleeping.  20150126-IMG_0699.jpg

You are a little singer, and I love it! I havne't caught it on video yet, but you love to sing "Let it go!" I think a lot of that stems from listening to the Frozen soundtrack A LOT when you were younger on car trips : ) You also will sing and "grow" when we sing "Read Your Bible, Pray Everyday"  - which I did catch on video!


Luke grow from Lisa Kennedy on Vimeo.

You love to laugh at yourself, and if we laugh at you that only fuels the fire. A perfect example was when Ella and I were saying "shoooy!" to you when you were stinky. You thought was sooo funny and you started laughing and grabbing your nose too. (Ignore my voice trying to get his attention again : ) )

Luke grow from Lisa Kennedy on Vimeo.

Luke is stinky from Lisa Kennedy on Vimeo.


Signs you do: more (though you are "lazy" most of the time and do a modified clap instead of the official sign), finished, thank you (one time!)

Body parts you can identify: nose, ears

Words you say: Mama, Dada, Eh-wa! (Ella), "anks" (thanks), "eeses" (Reeses), "eye" (hi), "inished" (finished), "ba" (banana), Rhu-Rhu (your grandma), Pop-pa (your grandpa), "pees" (please), "mah!" (more), uh-oh, yay, my (you yell this a lot, and we think you are trying to say "mine"), grow, go

Favorite foods: This is so tough! Yogurt, chicken (especially chicken nuggets/strips), applesauce

Favorite activities/toys: Books, balls, little figurines (like Mickey Mouse), cars. You love to "put things in things" as well as throwing. You also love to play chase with the other kids, and you've added a new level of "fun" since you started walking. You like to chase after Reeses as well, but she's not to sure about that. : ) You also enjoy shutting doors and drawers. You also love to play peek-a-boo!

Luke @ 16 Months
Troy @ 17 Months
Ella @ 17 Months

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Ella's Kinder Curriculum

As I started thinking about writing a reflection post about how homeschooling has gone so far, I realized I probably should start with a post about what curriculum/materials I decided to use with Ella for kindergarten. I meant to write this post back in September, but since I didn't I can actually comment on what I like/don't like so far.

I'm not using an "official" pre-made curriculum for everything, and honestly, particularly for kindergarten I'm not sure that official curriculum is necessary. But there really is some great material out there, and so far I'm glad that I've chosen to use at least some pre-made curriculum with Ella.
  1. Reading. I taught Ella to read using Teach Your Child To Read In 100 Easy Lessons prior to starting kindergarten with her. So, right now our main focus has been to have her read at least one book at day and then for her to draw a picture about one of the books she read. I plan to start using Book Adventure with her as well. She also did some work with the Reading Eggs App (which teaches sight words), but she had already completed most of that prior to us starting kindergarten stuff.
  2. Spelling. I will freely admit I was not at all excited about teaching Ella spelling. In fact, after we had a kinda rough (yet perfect in its own way!) start to the first week of school, I put off starting spelling with her while things got settled. I chose to use All About Spelling, and this curriculum has changed my mind about spelling. I initially chose to use this curriculum because I had been advised that this method flowed really well out of Teach Your Child To Read In 100 Easy Lessons, but I didn't know a whole lot about it otherwise (turns out it really does flow well as a next step after that book). I really, really love this curriculum. I like how it teaches the rules about something rather than focusing on memorizing how things are spelled. We can go over a new rule about spelling and Ella can then usually spell all the words in the spelling list for that section without ever having spelled them before. I also enjoy how the review is built into the method. And, although she was reading prior to starting this, she could not spell (these are separate, yet related skills). There is also a curriculum for reading called All About Reading. I have not used it, but am curious about it because I like All About Spelling so much.
  3. Math. I struggled a lot when it came to choosing a curriculum for math (more than for anything else). I really wanted to do Singapore math when I first started investigating, but ultimately decided against it as my main material (I think in the long run I might incorporate some of it as supplemental material). I ended up choosing Math-U-See, and I've liked it so far. I started Ella with the Primer because I wanted to make sure that she had all the basic things down before moving to Alpha. However, I found that ultimately Ella probably didn't need the Primer. She is partway through Alpha now and she's covering several of the same topics again that were covered in the Primer (which ends up being boring to her). I like how there are several worksheets for each lesson to give extra practice if needed. So far, I also like how the concepts are taught, and Ella enjoys watching the short lessons on the DVD.
  4. Handwriting. For handwriting we've been using Handwriting Without Tears (which was recommended to me by just about everyone except those who didn't actually use a curriculum for handwriting). I also really like this curriculum. It was really cheap too, which is a plus! Ella really likes that she gets to color pictures with each lesson as well. This is one curriculum that I felt that I didn't really need to use the teacher's manual for (I have it, but haven't used it since the beginning). We also used the Wet-Dry-Try app that goes with Handwriting Without Tears. I made Ella complete all the letters on the app prior to starting actually using the workbook. I think some may choose to use the app for a particular prior to the lesson on that letter though. I really like this app as well. Prior to using this app, I'd downloaded several handwriting apps and this one blows them out of the water!
  5. Science. I have not been using anything official with science. We've been reading through the AP Advanced Readers, which Ella has really enjoyed. We've also explored different animals (through some books from the library), as well as tracking leaf colors as we moved into fall and winter.
  6. Bible. We have a devotional (including Troy and sometimes Luke) just about every day. During that time we sing, pray, maybe read a Bible story, and/or ask some Bible questions. We also use the Charlotte Mason Scripture System, which has been great! Ella and Troy have both learned several verses, and really enjoy doing it. I've also been teaching Ella how to look up scriptures in her Bible, as well as having her read aloud some from her Bible.
  7. Spanish. One of the reasons that factored into choosing to homeschool was that I wanted to include teaching Ella Spanish as part of her homeschool. Ella has been using Rosetta Stone, which I would say is ultimately probably a bit above her level. She's able to do it so far (though she isn't that far into it), but she needs my guidance quite a bit of the time. I was hoping that she'd be able to be more independent with it, but that will come with time. She's definitely been picking up on some things though, which is good. 
This isn't a comprehensive post about everything we've done so far, but describes the main curriculum/subjects we use for kindergarten.
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Monday, January 12, 2015

Three Ways to Encourage My Children's Relationship With Their Father

It goes without saying that as a wife and a mother I have a lot of responsibilities and influence within my family. When it comes to raising my children, the responsibilities sometimes feel countless and never-ending, and though those responsibilities are often exhausting, those responsibilities really are a great blessing. One of those great blessings includes the opportunity for me as their mother to uplift their father.  Am I building up their relationship with their father, or tearing it down?

  1. Show my husband respect. The world, particularly through media such as TV and movies, often show fathers to be incapable, ignorant, irrelevant, and irrational, and then act as though men can't help being those things. I need to remind my children that their father is none of those things! Do I encourage them to respect their father by my own actions? Do I nag at him and drag him down? Do I make it easy for him to lead our family? My relationship with my husband as a wife shows my children what I really think about him, as well as my attitude towards following God's Word since I'm called to a standard when it comes to my relationship with my husband (Ephesians 5:22-33). 
  2. Discipline my children. As mama I must be involved in discipling our children. If I leave all the discipling up to my husband, what kind of view of daddy will that give our children? Additionally, if I don't discipline them, that can also bring on other problems besides skewing their view of their father, particularly in regards to how they behave when only I'm around. This also goes back to the idea that I wrote about before that mama and daddy are a team
  3. Allow him to manage, play, and interact with our children as he sees fit.  I suppose this could have been classified under the idea of showing my husband respect, but I'm separating it out. Have you ever noticed how boys and girls naturally play differently? (I have that on perfect display in my house right now!) I shouldn't expect my husband to interact with the kids the same way that I do. When I try to put how our children play and interact with their daddy into a box of "dos and don'ts" based on how I would act, I may be hindering their relationship. One of my children's absolute favorite things to do is to play "wrestle" with daddy. Is that how I would play with them? No, but does that mean it is a "wrong" thing to do? Not at all! In fact, it is special time of bonding for them. Similarly, do I complain about how he dresses or feeds the kids? He's plenty capable and responsible to take care of our children. Just because things aren't done exactly the way I might do it, doesn't mean it is wrong or inadequate. 

I'm more thankful every day for my husband and how he lives his life as a husband and father. Our family is blessed daily through his leadership and love.
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Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Happy 16 Months Luke!

Watching you grow each month is a true blessing. It is amazing how much you grow and change in just a month's time. From the way you walk, you'd hardly believe that you only started walking last month. You get around with ease, and quickly follow after Ella and Troy or chase after Reeses. You've also had an explosion of words this month. In just a few days time, you had several new words. You get better at communicating each day. You like to yell "my" at us - we think that means something along the lines of "mine."
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You are very funny when you don't like something. One of the funniest times was when we were opening our Christmas presents. You didn't know what was going on, and you did not want Dad to help you with unwrapping your present. You had a complete meltdown until you figured out what was going on.
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You continue to love books. You love to look at them on your own, or for someone to read them to you. One day you asked me at least twenty times to keep reading the same book over and over to you.
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You are so proud of yourself when you do new things. I wish I could capture that essence in a photo. For instance, you had been carrying that little green seat around, and then finally sat it down and climbed into it. When you got into it, you were so proud!20141222-IMG_8947.jpg 
We have said for a while now that you are a "busy" baby. You are always up to something or playing with something. One of your favorite things to do over the holidays was to buckle your seat over and over again. You couldn't unbuckle though, and would "yell" at someone until they would unbuckle it for you to do it again. You also loved playing with the hammer and nails set. You actually did really well using the hammer (I was surprised at how well you could coordinate to use it).20141224-IMG_9043.jpg 20141229-IMG_9380.jpg
You really did well over the holidays. It is never an easy time for you or your siblings with all the travel, crazy sleeping arrangements and schedules, extra excitement about Christmas, plus grandparents and cousins around. You had lots of fun opening presents, and playing with new toys as well.20141226-IMG_9233.jpg

Signs you do: more (though you are "lazy" most of the time and do a modified clap instead of the official sign), finished, thank you (one time!)

Words you say: Mama, Dada, Eh-wa! (Ella), "anks" (thanks), "eeses" (Reeses), "eye" (hi), "inished" (finished), "ba" (banana), Rhu-Rhu (your grandma), Pop-pa (your grandpa), "pees" (please), "mah!" (more), uh-oh, yay, my (you yell this a lot, and we think you are trying to say "mine")

Favorite foods: Yogurt, chicken (especially chicken nuggets/strips), grilled cheese, baby pouch foods

Favorite activities/toys: Books, balls, little figurines (like Mickey Mouse), cars. You love to "put things in things" as well as throwing. You also love to play chase with the other kids, and you've added a new level of "fun" since you started walking. You like to chase after Reeses as well, but she's not to sure about that. : ) You love to push things around too (boxes, your push toy - especially if Ella is riding on it, etc.).

Luke @ 15 months
Troy @ 16 months
I didn’t start writing these monthly posts for Ella until she was 17 months old