Easter

I realized that I haven’t posted about Easter yet!

Kaanas worked the night before, and had to work again Easter night, so we planned around his schedule.  In the morning I just hung out with the kids.  In our church on the first weekend in April and in October instead of having regular church services we have a broadcast where we get to listen to our prophet and other church leaders speak.  This meant church started late and we could watch it at my parents’ house.  Kaanas woke up at about 11:30 and we got ready to head over to my parents’ house.  At my parents house, in addition to watching our church broadcast (well, some of it), we took pictures, which was kind of funny.  Getting pictures of two toddlers and a baby all together is a little difficult.  We never did get a picture with them all smiling and looking at the camera.  Either Ebo or Iella were usually upset.  Some of the pictures came out really cute, though, despite the upset kids (by the way, I learned how to blur faces).

Mingli playing peek-a-boo while we take his picture

 

Mingli giving Iella a kiss.

After pictures we had our Easter egg hunt.  Mingli figured out right away what he was supposed to do and loved going after the eggs.  Ebo is a little younger than Mingli and didn’t quite seem to know what to do, but he ended up with more eggs than Mingli.  This was because Mingli can sometimes be a really good sharer, and he choose the egg hunt as one of those times.  Throughout the egg hunt he would put an egg in his basket, then an egg in Ebo’s basket.  It was actually super cute.

Mingli putting an egg in Ebo’s basket

 

Since Kaanas had to be at work we had Easter dinner as more of a late lunch.  For years we have done a dinner with foods Christ ate (or at least foods that are mentioned in connection with him).  We have fish, bread and honey, figs, olives, grape juice (instead of wine), and corn.  This year we also added chicken because Kaanas doesn’t eat fish, and it mentions chicken in the scriptures when it talks about the cock crowing and Peter denying Christ.

After dinner Kaanas left for work and I came home.  After putting Iella to sleep Mingli and I cuddled together and watched the movie Finding Faith in Christ.  I explained it to Mingli as we watched it because he is still a little young to understand it.  It was a nice end to a nice day.

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Gospel Study – Resurrection

This week I started gospel study with Mingli.  I debated for a while trying to decide if I wanted to teach Mingli scripture stories or if I wanted to focus on doctrine and principles.  I talked to Kaanas about it and he said, “Why not do both?”  I thought about that, then realized I could.  So each week we focus on one story from the scriptures.  I decide what principles from the story I want to focus on, then I plan activities that to help Mingli learn the story and learn the principles from that story.

This week with Easter coming up we focused on the story of Christ’s death and resurrection.  This is a hard topic with a 2 year old.  It is hard to understand, and I didn’t want to go into a lot of details about Christ’s death.  I will teach him about it eventually, it is important for him to learn, but at 2 he doesn’t need to know all about how awful people can be.  I did manage to find good activities for him.  I didn’t take any pictures, though.  I will try to do better this coming week.

I decided that what I wanted to focus on this week was that Jesus loves us so much that He died for us and that Jesus came back to life.  So Monday we read a story called “Let’s learn about Jesus” from here.  It is about Jesus’s life and I thought it was a good way to start off gospel study.  Mingli was so focused as I read it and so intent on what I was saying, it was really cool.  Tuesday we looked at a picture of the resurrection and I told the story in simple terms.  On Wednesday we watched this video (we watched that one because of the pictures of Jesus, but the one on the side of the little girl singing is really cute).  On Thursday I used props (a picture of Jesus, a tomb, and a rock) to again tell the story of the resurrection.  Friday I used an idea found here.  I printed 6 pictures from Christ’s life and put them in plastic eggs, then hid them around the living room.  Mingli found them then we opened them and talked about the stories.  Saturday we were going to do a toddler version of Resurrection eggs, but I was having a hard day, so we didn’t.  Today we watched this movie about Christ’s life.  It was a little bit much for Mingle because it is half an hour, but we had snacks and I talked to him through it.

I think it was a good first week.

Organizing and preparing for homeschool

I have not been doing very good at doing school with my kids, which is totally ok since they are 2 years and 5 months old.  They really don’t need school right now, but I want to be doing it.  I know they would enjoy each getting some focused time with mommy where I have a fun activity planned for them.  I also enjoy it.  Mingli is also almost 3, which means that he would be starting preschool this year, so I really want to start building good school habits.  Because of that I have been doing a lot of planning.  Well, I was doing a lot of planning, then I packed up my stuff and am just now unpacking it.  I wanted more structure in my planning, so I found developmental guidelines for both kids up through kindergarten.  I found ones that are separated by category instead of by age group.  This was important to me so I can help my kids move at their own pace.  So, for example, instead of just telling me what a 2 year old should do, it says that a child will progress from cooing, to babbling, to single words, to 2-3 word phrases, to short, simple sentences, to longer and more complex sentences.  That way when my kids learn a skill I can move onto the next one.  I have printed off a set for each kid and I am working on crossing off everything that I am sure they can already do.  After that I will pick skills that I want to work on and find activities that help with those skills.  Then I made a lesson plan sheet for each child.  I have a weekly overview that is basically a table with the subjects for each child down the side and the days of the week across the top.  They will not do each subject every day, but having it all in a table helps me make sure each subject is getting covered every week.  For Iella every day I am going to read a book to her, then do one activity from the other subjects.  Her subjects are fine motor (small muscles), gross motor (large muscles), cognitive, language, social/emotional, and sensory.  I am aiming to spend about 15 minutes a day on her school.  With Mingli I am of course doing a little more.  His school will start with a music time.  After that will will move onto Gospel study.  I actually started Gospel study this week and will post about it at the end of the week.  After Gospel we will read a book together and do an activity that goes along with the book.  I am ordering Before Five in a Row to help with this, but I am also going to come up with stuff on my own.  After the literature activity we will do a short letter activity, then 2-3 other subjects.  His subjects are fine motor, gross motor, cognitive, language, social/emotional, sensory, general knowledge, creative, and cooking.  I am aiming for his school to take about 45 minutes each day.  They will each also have independent learning activities that are left out in our school area (part of the dining room) that will be switched out once a week.  These will be things like puzzles and texture cards.  I want to have about 6 for Mingli and 3 for Iella (Iella is scooting pretty well, so she can get to them independently).  I also have daily school sheets that give a little more details about the activities for that day.

I also decided to make a homeschooling mission statement.  I have read about these a lot and thought it would be helpful.  Kaanas says that what I wrote is not really a mission statement, that those are usually written differently, but I don’t really care, it serves that purpose I was wanting.  Kaanas and I both sat down together and decided what was important to us with the kids schooling, and now I have a direction and when I am trying to make decisions about what I should do I can go back to this and base my decision off of it.  Reading other people’s mission statements helped a lot for me, so I will put mine here in case it helps someone else.

I believe as parents it is our responsibility and privilege to teach our children and that the home is the best place for our children to get the kind of education I want them to have.  I believe that the most important thing for our children to learn is the gospel and gospel values, including how the gospel relates to their lives and other academic subjects.

I want our children to have a well rounded education, including learning about science, history, world events, government, other cultures, geography, math, english, literature, physical education, and exposure to other languages.  I want to educate the whole child instead of just focusing on academics. I want to help develop our children mentally, physically, emotionally, socially, spiritually, and creatively.

I want learning to be a way of life in our house.  I want to develop a love of learning in our children by nurturing their curiosity, hands on learning, and exploration.  I want to help our children become lifelong, independent learners by teaching them to ask questions, follow their interests, and develop their talents.  I want them to become confident in their abilities to learn and grow.

I want to teach our children more than just the facts.  I want them to truly understand what they are learning, including the why, how, and process.  I want our children to develop good problem solving skills. I want our children to be open minded and to be able to consider and think about new ideas then form their own opinions.

I want to teach our children practical skills.  I want to prepare them for the real world by raising them in the real world.  I want to teach them to be good, productive citizens and to work hard.”

There will also be nature study, library story time, and other outings.  I am hoping to start all of this in the next couple of weeks, but we will see how it all goes.

Making new habits

I have tried many times to develop good routines that I can use to keep my home clean and get the things done during the day that I need and want to.  I sit down, write out my ideal routine, then try and follow it.  It has never worked so far.  Recently I was reading FlyLady and what she was saying really hit me.  I don’t actually want to follow her method.  I don’t typically do well with a method or program that someone else sets out for me, I feel trapped with it.  I always need to come up with my own thing to do.  But one thing she was saying I feel is exactly what I need.  When you first start her method you are supposed to use the baby steps, and during the first month you slowly build up habits and routines by adding one new thing every day or two.  I realized this is what I need to do.  So I wrote out a new schedule.  It goes like this:

8 am – breakfast

10 am – snack

12 pm – lunch

3 pm – snack

5 pm – dinner

7:30 pm – snack

8 pm – bedtime

All of these times are approximate, give or take about half an hour.  I am also working on figuring out a good nap schedule for Iella.  I want it to be based on her natural sleep schedule, so over the next week I am writing down when she wakes up and when she takes naps, then when she goes to bed.  I am going to try and take what she is already doing and nudge it into a more consistent schedule, again give or take about half an hour.  Nap times and meal times will be the bare bones of my schedule, and I am going to start adding in other things slowly.  First I am going to work on reading scriptures every morning and making sure all the dishes are done before going to bed at night.  I will do these things every day.  That is not to say these are the only things I will do every day, but I will not be hard on myself for anything else that I do not get done.  These are the things I am working on.  Also, if I slip up and miss some days I am realizing it does not mean that I have failed and should stop trying.  I am developing new habits and that will take time.  If I fall down I will get right back up and keep going.  Hopefully this will help.

Living in our new place

So we have been living in our new apartment for a week now.  I was wanting to get it all set up before moving in, but I gave up on that pretty quickly.  My parents were willing to let us stay with them for longer, but it was getting annoying.  There were a lot of reasons.  I didn’t like having to keep going back and forth.  I wanted to be just my family again.  I wanted to be able to spread out instead of having all four of us stuck in one room.  And I hate being in between.  It is a lot more difficult getting things put together now that we are living here.  Before I would come over, get some stuff done, then go back.  While I was here I was just focused on getting the apartment unpacked and sorted.  Now there is food to cook, dishes to do, cleaning, and all the normal life stuff.  I am loving having my own place, though, even if it is hard still not having everything unpacked and put together.  I feel so much more relaxed, and when Kaanas is home and it is just the four of us it is really wonderful.

Moving

Last June we moved in with my parents.  At the time I was pregnant with Iella and really sick.  I wasn’t able to take care of Mingli the way I needed to, and my parents offered to let us live with them.  At the time it was such a blessing and I am so grateful to them for helping us, but there is a reason the scriptures talk about leaving father and mother when you get married.  It is hard having two family units living in one house.  Our families get along well, but there are still conflicts.  About a month ago Kaanas and I started looking for a new place.  At first we were looking down where he works, which is about half an hour from us, but we were having trouble.  There are a lot of drugs in that town and we couldn’t find anywhere in our budget we felt safe, so we started looking elsewhere.  Last week we found a place in our current town that we like and we started moving in Saturday.  I am really excited about it.  It is the biggest place we have ever lived, and it has a master bathroom!  And self-cleaning oven!  And private balcony!  And swimming pool!  And duck pond!!!!!!  In case you can’t tell, I’m excited.  I can just picture my family being happy there.  We are not currently living there yet, but we are working on it.  It is less than 5 minutes from my parents house, so I am trying to get things set up and unpacked before we start living there.  It is just a pain to be cooking with no dishes and all that.  Right now I am moving over everything except a few essentials and spending as much time as possible unpacking.  I am hoping to be ready to actually move over there by like Thursday.  We’ll see how that goes.

First escape room

My family loves escape rooms, but I have never been to one.  The reason is simple, I have two kids and I have never wanted to ask anyone else to have to sit out the escape room so I could go.  Well, last night my family was going and my dad asked if I wanted to go too.  As usual I told him I couldn’t, but this time my dad told me to just bring the kids.  I had never thought about that, but after talking to Kaanas we decided to try.  The room that my family was going to had exactly enough spaces for our family, so that was good.  I would never had tried to bring small children to an escape room with people I didn’t know, but since I knew that every single person in the room was ok having my kids there and helping me take care of them I decided to try it.

The story behind the room we went to was we were in a lab where a terrible disease had been released.  The cure was hidden somewhere in the room and we had an hour to find the cure and get out of the room before it was too late and the world was doomed.  It was actually really fun, but a lot harder than I thought it was going to be.  Mingli really loved it.  There were lockers in the room and he had fun turning the locks.

I’m still not sure if we actually beat it or not.  We solved it, but we couldn’t decide if the guy said “time’s up” or if we entered the code in first.  It was so close.  We are counting it as a win, though.

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