Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Lucy is One!!

Today is Lucy's first birthday!!  It was rather low key since we won't be celebrating her day with a party until next weekend, when family members will all be able to come.  I wanted to mark her special day with a post about all the things she is currently doing... we'll see if I actually get it done here on her birthday, September 12, since she had two naps today and had a later bedtime and then had a bit of trouble settling completely... so, let;s start there, shall we?

Lucy, my twelve month old baby girl, at this age....

* either nurse to sleep quickly and then wake and need resettling when I lay you down, or you (more typically) take at least a half hour or more of squirming and switching sides back and forth to wear yourself out enough to fall into a deep sleep, at which time I can easily lay you down.  Either way, it takes about the same amount of time, and either way, you still usually sleep for at least a three hour stretch afterward, making you my first baby who has ever given me a couple hours of free time in the evenings before becoming a toddler.  You have been like this since nine months, which is when I first began putting you to bed before me in the evenings... up until nine months, you slept on me all evening while I hung out on the couch until going to bed.

* have begun taking your first steps.  You took your first three or four steps on September 5th, and now you still will just take one or two steps, maybe a few more, at a time.  You will also take steps with just one foot and start to go in a circle while staying in the same spot, which is pretty cute.

* have a huge grin for everyone, from the sisters to the guys giving us estimates on a backyard fence to the cashiers at stores... you are generally a cheerful baby who likes to be social!

* still have zero teeth.  I really think I can see the tippy top edge of the bottom front right tooth now, though.

* get so, so excited about a few things:
    1. the Wee Sing America CD, which we listen to as part of our homeschooling.  The first song, "We Love      the USA," sends you into a fit of giggles and excited noises while you kick your feet and squint your eyes as you grin so big it looks like your face will crack.  We got this on the camcorder because it's so hilarious.
    2. cats.  If you see a cat, you immediately make those excited yells again, but not while smiling... usually the look on your face seems to say, "One of those things!!!  Must... have... furry... living... moving... thing!!!!"
    3. going outside.  If you think we might be going outside (meaning, if I carry you to where you can barely see the sunroom door and it is open), you kick your legs and make those excited noises.  If we continue toward the door and we actually go out, then you get the big smile.  Woe to all in the house if you were mistaken and we just pass by the sunroom door instead... the cries and wails of disappointment are pretty fierce.  You have actually been doing this since about nine-ten months old, making you my youngest to have a temper tantrum.  You have strong opinions on what you want to do!
    4. your high chair.  You get so excited when we say we are going to eat.  I assume this is because you know you'll get to sample tasty things (rather than have them pulled out of your mouth by a quick finger swipe to retrieve yesterday's crumbs you found on the floor) and get to squish interesting textures and experiment with gravity.  You actually won't nurse if you think we are about to go to eat a meal because you think you'll miss out on something.  I am baffled that you get so much more excited by the high chair than the nuh-nuhs.  If you were my first child, I'd probably be offended and crying, but I just find it amusing, actually.
    5. Goodnight Moon.  I don't know what is so appealing about that book, but you call it "booooo," which either means moon or book, I guess.  You know where to look for it and get really excited when heading toward the bedroom because you think we're going to read it.  You like the kittens especially, and you like to make a "ksh" sound when I read about the old lady whispering "hush."

* are probably just a little over 16 pounds.  Yes, you are a light baby.  Maybe it is because you are so excited about things that you have to be coerced to nurse at times, ha.  We generally have small babies in both sides of the family (I was just 18 lbs 4 oz at a year, and Daddy was just 19 lbs...), but you are setting the record for lightest baby ever, that I know of, anyway.  You have been growing at a steady pace, though, so you are doing just fine.  You wear size 9 month and size 9-12 month clothing (why they have multiple sizing schemes is beyond me) and a few 12 month clothes, and if it was cooler weather, you'd probably be in size 12 month and 12-18 month pants, length-wise.  You wear size 3 diapers when in disposables and can still fit into size small Fuzzibunz and size 1 Kissaluvs fitted cloth diapers.

* love water.  The bath, the fountains downtown, swimming pools, the ocean.  You don't care who takes you in the water as long as you are in it!!

* ...your favorite food is probably banana, although you love rice cakes with mashed up stuff smeared on them (pureed butternut squash or spinach).  You also really like plum, pear, and blueberries.

* can either take two naps or one nap a day.  If two naps, you take a short one on me in the sling or Ergo carrier about three hours after waking up in the morning.  If you don't take that one, then you and I lay down together for about an hour and half about five or so hours after you wake up in the morning and just have that one nap.

* say a few words: mama, dada/dee, bird ("boooo"), nuhnuh, and sometimes cat ("dah").  You used to say "ath" for bath, but don't usually do that anymore.  You wave bye-bye and have for months now, and you have been playing peek-a-boo by hiding and then peeking for months.  You shake your head "no" although you don't seem to know what it means and just like us to copy you back.  You point towards things you like, and sometimes you point up when asked, "Where's the sky?"  You recognize the words "birds" and "hens" and know to look for them out the window when they are mentioned.  You know to look outside when I say "Let's go get the mail," and you raise your hand palm up in the "I don't know" motion when I ask you where something is.  You look for your shopping cart toy when I ask you where it is, because you like to stand up and walk along behind it... the first day you discovered how to do this last week, you walked all over the house like this for an hour!

* have started giving hugs in the last month by laying your head against me.  You put your mouth against me or make a smacking noise when I ask for a kiss sometimes.  You like to play "clunk" with Daddy and me, hitting your head against ours.

* know the sign for "more" and make it when asking for more food.  You sometimes copy the "eat" sign and the "change diaper" signs.

* are a squirmy worm during Mass, but you know where the candles and the priest and the windows are, and I try to distract you by asking you to look at those things.  You love the statue of Joseph holding baby Jesus much in the same way you love baby dolls with realistic-looking eyes... maybe you think they are some other living creature that you can try to communicate with?

* can reach the construction paper on the shelf now and like to pull it all down.  You also like to read books and prefer the ones with paper pages over the cardboard books made especially for you.

* are adventurous and will crawl all over a new place to explore, like the church nursery where we have our La Leche League meetings.  You want to get down in the McDonald's play area, but I won't let you.  You want to get down in the grass in the yard, but when you do, you eat pinecones and rocks and crawl into ants, so I don't let you very much... so you cry and writhe and try to throw yourself out of my arms when I pick you back up.  You do the same thing when I take you out of a shopping cart seat; maybe you just think they are the coolest thing since you usually ride in the sling instead of the cart.  You love to be carried around in laundry baskets and to sit in them when they are full of clothes so you can throw them out, and you cry when I take you out.  Your sisters put you in a laundry basket or your toy basket when they don't want you to get into their stuff, but you generally aren't fooled by this since it wasn't your idea to get into a basket in these situations.  You get excited when you get your hands on anything that belongs to your sisters.

* still don't always like your carseat but tolerate it most of the time and even fall asleep in it when very tired, a huge improvement over the first six months of your life, especially the falling asleep part which has only been happening the past few months.

* have a few nicknames I have given you... one of those is "honey bunch."  That's a normal term of endearment, right?  Well, Caroline has come up with her own variation which she calls you frequently: "butter bunch."  I don't know why...

* are my little ray of sunshine, sunny and delightful, and you are my little bundle of energy, able to struggle against sleep when other interesting things are going on.  Your little red head gets a sweet sweaty smell when you have been sleeping up against me, and your tiny fingers like to find my fingernails and subconsciously try to pry them back.  You are so lightweight and flexible, you're like a little bird; in fact, Caroline likes to sing, "You're my precious little bird, you're my precious little bird" to you.  You are so tiny that it is comical to see you standing and walking along with things, almost like it's impossible for you to be doing it.  You are strong-willed for a baby, more like a toddler, and you like to make your opinions known.  You like to look at me and make funny little noises and listen to me copy them back, like we're having a little conversation in another language.

I love you, baby mine, and I'm amazed it has already been one full year since you surprised me with your sudden entrance into this world, last year on our bedroom floor!  You will always keep me on my toes, littlest one!

Love, Mommy

Monday, September 03, 2012

Second Grade Plans

I like to share what we are doing school-wise here so that I can refer back to it in the future... I can't believe Cecilia will begin Kindergarten next year!!!  I am glad to have posted about all the fun Caroline had in K so that I can look back and hopefully implement some of it with Cecilia next year (although I don't know I will be able to do quite so much, since I'm also teaching Caroline and caring for Lucy now!).

Another reason to put my plans and actions into posts here is for the accountability.  Not only can people glance over this and see the "meat" of what we are doing (you know, and not just sitting around in our pj's all day, ha!), but if for some reason I ever need to document any of our learning, I have some of it here.  In fact, I am having to go back and pull things I posted about our chickens being used for educational purposes... sigh.  We're going to hope to prove that they are useful in our home-educating household so that we'll get to keep them.  Long story short, a neighbor reported them after seeming to be okay with them for almost three years, and now we're going to put up a fence and present how they are helpful in our home learning by applying for a special use permit which will hopefully allow us to keep them for educational purposes.  I hope it works out... it will be a big to-do, with letters being sent to all the neighbors and a sign in our yard about the public hearing date... ugh.

Anyway, I want to list out what we are doing in second grade and what resources we are using.  It is a big year: a sacramental year!  I also envision this year as preparing Caroline to do more independent work in third grade.  So, here's a list of all that's going on in our second grade homeschool!

Math U See Beta
Addition/Subtraction flashcards and games
Time Bingo
Skip counting with beanbags
Time and Amount of the Day
Math Living Books correlated to MUS

Primary Language Lessons by Emma Serl (half this year, the other half in 3rd grade)
Kolbe English 2 workbook
Journal writing 2x/week

Handwriting (hoping to introduce D'Nealian writing soon in preparation for cursive):
Poetry Copywork
New Testament Bible verse copywork

Reading/narrating from New Catholic Picture Bible (NT)
Classic Myths to Read Aloud
More Once Upon a Time Saints
Poetry: selections to be memorized from The Harp and the Laurel Wreath and Favorite Poems Old and New

Various other books, such as stories of the saints, and various chapter books read aloud for enjoyment... some we will do/have done this year are Ramona and her Father/Mother, Family Under the Bridge, The Secret Garden, Wind in the Willows, and others to be determined...  Also, we will have read-alouds during tea time every few weeks from The Acts of the Apostles for Children and The Seven Little Sisters Who Lived on the Round Ball (free ebook download!), and others as I decide.

Nature study/sketching in nature notebooks
The Earth: weather section (read and do experiments/record observations)
Burgess Animal Book for Children by Thornton Burgess (read and narrate, make own field guide using coloring pages from Peterson's Mammals Coloring Book Field Guide, refer to Audobon First Field Guide: Mammals)
Seed Babies (read, narrate, explore various seeds)
Trees Every Child Should Know (trying to decide whether to just use this as a reference... I downloaded it free here)
Nature Stories for Young Readers by Florence Bass (downloaded free to tablet here)
The Living Year (downloaded free here)

American History Stories Volumes I and II by Mara Pratt (spine)
Supplementing with corresponding stories from these sources:
Stories of Great Americans for Little Americans by Eggleston
Fifty Famous Stories Retold, Thirty More Stories Retold, Fifty Famous People by James Baldwin

We are also continuing to locate places on a world map where historical figures and saints lived and mark them with flags.

(I have found free ebooks of all of these additional books, but they are also available free at the Baldwin Project, which is where I linked them)

Foreign Language:
Learn Spanish with Grace! (once a week... I happened to have this program on my bookshelf, given to me for free - yay!)

Wee Sing America
Monthly hymns (selected by me to reflect the liturgical season)
Composer Study - Bach, Mozart, Chopin, Mendelssohn, Schubert, Schumann, Grieg - if we get to all of these!!  (Listen to selections from each composer, read biographies of them, play their music in the background, draw what a selection makes you think of... I also hope to get some use out of the Classics for Kids website.)

Picture Study - Renoir, Degas, Monet (read biographies of each, study their paintings)
Discovering Great Artists (doing projects from this book that reflect each of the three artists above in particular)

Religion/First Reconciliation Prep/First Communion Prep:
Faith and Life 2: Jesus Our Life (our PSR/CCD classes will actually be using this series as well this year, so she's going to get it in two places, ha!  I will have to see what to do in future years if they continue to use F&L in the PSR classes...)
St. Joseph First Communion Catechism (reviewing the questions; she learned them all last year)
Angel Food for Boys and Girls Volume 2 (read/narrate stories that correspond with catechism and F&L)

First Holy Communion Notebook (completing several activities to be compiled into a keepsake notebook)
Sacrament of Confession lapbook
Sacrament of the Eucharist lapbook

Leading the Little Ones to Mary
Blessed Imelda Glory Story and coloring book (free download at Holy Heroes)
Going to Confession by Fr. Lovasik
The Butterfly that Found her Way Home: A Story of Forgiveness
Little Nellie of Holy God
Friendship with Jesus: Pope B16 Speaks to Children on their FHC
The Little Caterpillar Who Finds Jesus
The Weight of a Mass
Jesus Speaks to Me on My First Holy Communion
Receiving Holy Communion by Fr. Lovasik

These longer books are to be read gradually and narrated/discussed after every few pages, gradually over the year:
St. Patrick's Summer: An Adventure Catechism
King of the Golden City
I Belong to God
Little Catechism on the Eucharist

"Retreats" just prior to FHC date:
My Path to Heaven
Little Lamb of Jesus Novena (downloaded here for free)


Whew!!!  A lot of that is done only once a week, or spread out over the year, and some of it is incorporated into a daily Circle Time/Morning Basket.  We also read from Morning Exercises for All the Year at this time (downloaded free version to my tablet) and do a calendar and saint of the day at this time, and Cecilia gets some nursery rhymes and fairy tales and classic children's literature read to her at this time.

My goals for this curriculum is that it is meaty yet easy to get through.  The plan is to spend no more than twenty minutes on each particular book or activity, although sometimes we spend more time creating pages for the FHC notebook.

A lot of this was selected from Mater Amibilis's free online curriculum list for grade level 1A, and the rest was pieced together by me from various resources and ideas I gathered from various places.

I have some photos of some of Caroline's work so far this year, but I'm going to go ahead and post this and maybe add the photos later...