Tuesday, September 24, 2013

A One-Month Comparison

People are always curious if a new baby looks like the siblings.  I'm not very good at seeing those things, so I thought I'd put together a picture of each of the kids when they were around a month old.  I thought it might be fun to compare them side by side!


Joanna - of course the pink makes her look a little different!  =)



I never knew just how much Benjamin and Joanna looked alike!  Ezra and Tobias look different, especially Ezra.  I had forgotten that he was blonde as a baby!  The others were all born dark.  Ezra still looks so much like his baby picture, and I can still see a bit of Ben, but Joanna looks completely different.  It's fun to see them all together like this and look at the similarities and differences!

What We've Been Up To

The end of summer just flew by, and now here we are at the end of September and the beginning of fall.  Chilly days are here and we're ready for all the fun that fall brings.  Our days are simple but busy, full of everything that comes with life and raising four little people.

Toby is giving us adorable baby smiles now, which we are loving!
Joanna is into everything girly these days - princesses and ballerinas and mermaids.  I found these ballet shoes at our local consignment shop, and the dress I found in the costume section at the thrift store.  The fun she's been having with them is totally worth the $6 I spent!  She looks an awful lot like a ballerina here, but she's actually "being Tinker Bell".
The bathroom remodel is finally in the works.  We'll be working on it slowly over the next few months or so, starting by tearing everything out.  This is what it looks like right now, with most of the wallboard and some of the flooring gone.  
The garden is nearly finished, although we're still enjoying a few things.   The tomatoes have been quite productive, which is awesome, except that I have to actually do something with all of them!  I've been working on them here and there, dicing them up and putting them in bags in the freezer.  
Ben spelled his first word all by himself.  True, it was by sight, but still, it's something!  The kids watched the Toy Story trilogy recently, and they're a little obsessed with them!  Ben was adding the different numbers for the different movies (1, 2, 3).     
Keeping Mommy company while she works on sewing projects.   I'm trying to keep the kid's store stocked with my changing pads and crayon rolls, and I'm also working on building up my stash so I'll be ready for the bazaar I'm doing next month.
Not only are Duplos great for building all kinds of skills, they also make a great replacement for lots of other toys.  Here Benjamin built a Buzz Lightyear that he was then playing with.  He made one for Ezra, too.  He built several of the Toy Story characters.  No need for more toys!  Some of his other favorite things to build are trains and dinosaurs.  He is very specific and detailed with his building.
Ezra literally wears one of these masks all day long.    He is very physical right now and is always trying to wrestle and climb on people.  He almost never stops moving.  I think the only time he sits for more than a few minutes is when he's eating!  

Unschooling: Calendar

One of the things I love most about the unschooling philosophy is the idea of learning about things as children show interest in them.  Which is why we now have a calendar on our fridge.  I've had the calendar for a while, but it only just recently made its way out, as Benjamin is constantly asking what day it is, what we are going to be doing tomorrow, and, most importantly, "Is Daddy home tomorrow?"  It is only natural then, that we have a calendar to show us those things.  I always loved doing the calendar with my preschool class, so I was excited to get this going with the kids.  We don't do a formal calendar time or anything like that.  Sometime during the morning (whenever I happen to think of it), I ask them to help me with the calendar, and we count all the numbers, ending with whatever today is, and add the new number.  Then I tell them the day/date (as in, "Today is Sunday, September 22"), and we'll usually count the number of days until Daddy is "home for two days" as the kids say.  And sometimes we'll talk about anything else we have going on in the next couple of days (like church, going to someone's house or going to play time at the library).  It's just a couple of minutes in our day, something fun that the kids are interested in and enjoy, but at the same time we're learning numbers, counting, months, days, and other concepts of time (today, tomorrow, yesterday, before, after, etc.).

A funny side note: I've had to change the way I write some of the numbers.  A while back, Benjamin informed me that my 4 and 9 were not right.  I have always written an open 4, and I write 9 with a straight line, and apparently Benjamin was only familiar with the ways they're written here.  I tried to tell him that both ways were fine, but he wasn't convinced.  So I've had to adapt. =)

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

August Garden

Looks aren't everything, right?
With the exception of watering every few days (a necessity this summer!), I have done absolutely no work in the garden for the past month and a half or so.  While it visibly shows in the abundance of weeds and now-finished plants adorning the plot, thankfully my lack of attention has not seemed to have affected production.  A decent portion of our produce intake this summer has been supplied by our little backyard garden.  July was spent enjoying peas, lettuce, and spinach, and now we're working our way through all the beans, zucchini, and cucumbers.  The tomatoes are now turning red, and we're still picking some rhubarb, too.  We're in the middle of blackberry season, as well, thanks once again to the abandoned house next door.  I didn't plan on preserving much this year, but I do have our year's supply of jam and blueberries in the freezer, and I've been freezing blackberries, as well as a few beans.  I'll  also be freezing tomatoes and zucchini, and I'm planning on trying this pineapple zucchini. 

I love coming in from the garden with a big bowl full of produce!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Three Weeks with Toby

Tobias is three weeks old now and has grown and changed so much!  We are so blessed by this sweet little boy!  The transition to four has gone really well and we are soaking up these baby days and last days of summer while slowly finding our new normal.  It is nice to have kids old enough to help a bit!

Here are a few of our favorite pictures from the last three weeks: