Archive | July 2011

The End of Our Visit with the Nephew

Let’s start this entry off with the silly kid moment of the day… My mom came to collect my nephew and take him to her house and while she and I were chatting the boys were running upstairs (which they aren’t supposed to) and Echo was sleeping in the basement. I mentioned to mom how loud that is for the person in our bedroom (aka Echo) and how they sound like elephants… Trinity ran by and said: “they aren’t elephants Mommy they are BOYS.” And then sweet as pie went back to playing. Little bitty children certainly have radar ears!!

We have come to the end of visit with Jimmie… the kids were all overdone today, lots of fighting and frustrating moments. Emanuel and Trinity have not had decent naps since Saturday (are you shuddering like I have been with that knowledge in mind?) and REALLY need them BADLY. Add to the cranky and somewhat over done children Ken gone to the city for the day to FINALLY get the last of our stuff (work and emergencies and appointments interfered until now) and I was one stressed out momma.

BUT we managed… a good breakfast and then back to playing, colouring and building in the bedrooms. Sadly the chaotic atmosphere was no longer half way under control. So there were more time outs, taking away of individual toys and stern reminders of the rules! 

Butterfly spinning time

We had tomato soup (well the twins did) and grilled ham and cheese sandwiches for lunch and then it was time to say hello to Grandma! Talk about excitement. We have not been to her home in a while and actually I think it has been quite some weeks since we have had her and Mike over here. Thankfully she had the time to hang out and chat… first with yours truly and then out in the backyard with the kids. 

Sitting in the shade

Gavin took initiative (and the wish to get more time on the computer playing Minecraft) and mowed a large portion of our backyard! He did an AWESOME job and worked up quite the sweat. Though that got Trinity VERY interested so I had to let her do a bit with assistance. 

Gavin mowing

Trinity TRYING

Sadly that was not enough and in order to calm her down (and in fact, get me a needed break) we went on a little excursion on our own to the convenience store (it really IS so convenient). We picked up a slurpee (of course) that we snuck past the masses and a nickel candy for all the kids… and Grandma – Trinity was adamant the she have one and eat it in front of her. 

A much happier girl post walk

We had the whole family out in the sun… even Echo got in some cuddle time with Grandma and then moved onto her blanket in the shade of our umbrella. She was pulling up grass and throwing it around by the end of it and when we came in, post snack, VERY sleepy. A little nursing and back to nap for her. In fact, after snacks and good-byes and some tidying up the 3 youngest ALL went for naps!

Asleep

That left the twins with some open and quiet time… perfect for reflection on their visit with Jimmie so that they could do an illustration with a little text for their Summer Folder. We have been trying to do a little documenting of some of their big enjoyable and sometimes not so enjoyable events to save and show their facilitator. Even Zander is starting to really get into drawing more complex pictures.

Two new pages for the folder

What amazes me is how suddenly Trinity is drawing THINGS… people with heads and looong legs and not bodies mostly! But YAY! I am sending my dad (with some of the boys’ art too) her first real piece. After all he and my step-mom don’t get to see much of the kids so why not share some of the best of the best? I hope they enjoy them.

Trinity and her Grandpa and Grandma card

I have been chatting up a storm with interested and POSITIVE parties in regards to our homeschooling choice and am starting to feel the confidence I had before returning. In fact I am VERY thankful to all the people who have put their voice and their love behind us and our choice to do this! From all walks of like and differing connections we have had words of positive reinforcement, love and appreciation. It is a good reminder that we really ARE supported by those who have seen, been a part of, asked the questions and learned about what we are doing here. I started really doing this blog on a daily (or near daily) basis for this very reason, to share my experiences AND to hopefully find like minded people to help me learn more along the way.

Gavin playing with the magnets

I ended the evening with more company! This time ADULT company… Karyn, Lauralee and newly returned from Manitoba Victoria. There was story time, play time and for Mommy, adult visiting time. This was lovely as Ken was late back due to having to do some work halfway through his final clean AND the dump being busy. 

Storytime with some of our best readers

After he got home Karyn and I drove Victoria home and I got to meet HER two kitties. I only got a picture of the one – Benjamin. But he was a cuddly suck! 

Benjamin

So now for the rest of my late evening – making white bows out of ribbon I picked up yesterday from Walmart and hopefully continuing on with the tutu dress… then there is the tidying away of my craft supplies for Ken’s LAN party on the weekend AND a hunt for the promised toy cars to go into a bucket in the twins’ room in return for them being awesome baby minders today while I did dishes and cut said ribbon! Who needs sleep?

Perfect afternoon shade

The Joy of Local Family

So I am pretty sure the weather did NOT get my memo – you know the one: “Stay at home mom staying home with SIX kids all amped up because one of those 6 is a not so often seen cousin… please send plenty of sunshine without heavy heat to allow for outside play.” Apparently what it REALLY meant to the weather was… RAIN oh and invite some brand new mosquitoes to join in on the fun… BAH.

Instead the morning was spent in a play-doh frenzy. I have been told that MOST of what they were making was off the game Minecraft but what I did notice was a lot mixing of colours of play-doh to see what happens which is just fine with me. Emanuel was especially proud of his bird with her eggs in a nest. 

Busy Play Doh artists

Not the best picture but there is a birdy with eggs in there

In the mail today I got a lovely package!! A very sweet lady who was in the hospital today having her 5th little girl sent our Echo some of her handmade hair barrettes. She figured that they would stay nicely in her hair… she was right! And the colours are so lovely. Below is a picture of all the bows – there were 4, AND below that her business card. I am going to link her on the side of this blog under her Facebook company title: Hairbows For Princesses. I am already enamored with her quality, wisdom in her colour choices (I just said Echo is our purple girl), the speed of shipping AND the simple fact that she is a lovely lady! Be sure to click the link and check her out… or contact her with the information on the below business card!!! 

Lovely lovely well made bows

Business card

The larger of the purple bows

There is not much to see on the stocking by the way of progress as I have been working on white bits on white aida cloth so far. BUT I am making progress… Tonight I plan on stitching some of the BLACK so at least there will be something instantly and immediately visible. 

After a lengthy quiet time in the rooms (sadly NO ONE napped)… it was back to go go go here… I found one of the neglected toy buckets with something called Trios in it and set the kids to work. Not to say that is was a harmonious play, because it really wasn’t! But they all seemed to have a pretty good time!

Jimmie and the Trios

Supper was a family favourite… for Ken and the kids anyway. They got to teach Jimmie how to make his very own pita pizza… and as a super special treat – the cheese on top was mozzarella! Usually we just use cheddar or marble but it was on sale! Apparently it went over well, though Jimmie wasn’t overly interested in trying the other family (except Trinity) favourite – baked beans.

Putting the ham on his pizza

Last minute change of plans and my dear, sweet Cousin Elizabeth came over to watch the 5 bigguns and let me, Karyn and Echo fly out on our own. This meant Ken could stay in the basement and work to meet his deadline and EVERYONE was happy. (sorry no pictures of the ensuing fun, but I am told Legos were involved as were Safety City things – where she works etc etc) She is moving to a new place this upcoming weekend and took a break in her packing to spend some time with the kids and get some baby cuddle time. This freed me and Karyn up to do some scouting out of ribbons for the August wedding (I found some white in the bargain box for 1.00 a skein… 2 skeins!). And lunch at the bigger mall… EDO JAPAN!

SUPPER

The amazing Cousin Elizabeth

Safe mess

Since we were there anyway Karyn convinced me to stop in at H&M where she caved and got Trinity a shirt (on sale of course)… and I got Echo part of her birthday present… BOTH on sale in the end and BOTH Hello Kitty themed!

The yellow is brighter than the picture

We both had pictures to pick up – Kodak Gallery of course… hers at Best Buy and mine at FutureShop. I really need to sit down and work on those scrapbooking pages now that I have so many pictures sitting here in the ready. Just not tonight. Tonight I have to go back to the bows and get done at least the cutting of ribbon lengths!

Tomorrow is another 6 child day, but not for the whole day. Jimmie is onto his next adventure – going to Grandma’s house for the rest of the week. I think she will be visiting for a while here as well. We started making Creepy Crawlers today to be finished tomorrow anyway… and there is of course, the need to tidy up post 6 kids adventure. There is so much to do to get ready for our next gathering – this weekend’s LAN party to thank the guys for helping us move! Yikes! OH and be sure to check out Petite Sheepette’s version of our hospital adventure on Fat Sheep’s site.

Echo and her smaller bow

I Have The Right and So Do You…

I have the right to make the choices I want to in regards to my family just as you have the right to do the same for yours. What I do NOT have the right to do is to expect or pressure YOU to make the SAME decisions or choices. And in turn I expect the same from you. What I am trying to say is friend or family, close or far, it is up to ME and KEN to make the best choices for the family we have created based on what we know about ourselves, our children and our situation. I think it is KEY to remember that we are all on the outside looking in when looking at other’s choices. There is NO WAY to know all the ins and outs of someone’s daily life when we are not there living it with them. Instead we need to have FAITH that they are doing the best according to that life to create a positive and prosperous environment. In fact, I believe I am! What I cannot prove to the world outside of our home and our support system is that it works. I am slowly coming to grips with the fact that there could potentially ALWAYS be someone friend or family as dear as they are to me that refuse to back us in this choice to homeschool, to have a large family, to live where we are and not here or there. I have had to face facts that perhaps I need to be less someone’s daughter, grand-daughter, niece, friend and more the mother of 5 and the wife of Ken… We have not jumped into the decision to homeschool blindly, in fact friends AND family should remember that I have been talking about homeschooling since I was pregnant with the twins in 2003. I honestly think people were assuming I would just give up on that “nonsense”… instead I spent months and years researching, collecting information, learning the legalities, talking to homeschoolers and the homeschooled alike. I was raised well (in my opinion), and have learned to ask questions, try and see things from all the angles, be adventurous AND not walk into anything blind. 

For all that negativity I have to draw attention to a bright light among the family (merely one of many if I am honest) in the form of my sister in law. She (and her mother actually) is very supportive of MY decision to homeschool our 5 (eventually) and in turn I am very supportive of HER decision to put her son into the public system. Our children have different needs. Hers is a VERY only child. He really needs and enjoys the socialization public school offers as well as the fact that he pushes all her buttons when they tried schooling BEFORE he was of age to enroll. My 5 are very social kids, able to welcome in another kid easily or join a group. What my twins require is one on one time to do their work. This is something those larger classes simply can’t offer them. I know my personalities here – Gavin is VERY sensitive to criticism… something I work on daily… and Zander is easily into being the more aggressive, assertive bullying type. This is another thing we struggle with but are making headway. I CAN put Zander into time out and take away things to deal immediately with the behaviour and with Gavin I can sit down and explain how being wrong is ok and correctable… after all there is NO red pens or permanent ink here!

I have reached out to the online homeschooling community and have found amazing support. It is crucial to realize that I am NOT alone in the issues with support with our family… that sometimes you simply have to go beyond being someone’s daughter, grand-daughter, niece, sibling and be the mom… the teacher… the adult. I need to realize that I am not going to get everyone’s support and adulation… it simply isn’t possible to appease everyone NOR is it really reasonable nor important to do so. Instead I have begun to rebuild our social and support system here in our new place as well as continue doing things that work and altering those that don’t… I have the freedom to do so here and am really enjoying the evolution of our schooling day by day. 

But enough about that! Now onto what I am SURE everyone has been waiting for – the past two days in the Reinsch-Johnson clan. Sunday was a HUGE excitement for all involved… first we bought some minutes for the pay for cell phone and activated it (thanks so much Adam!!!) and then took a portion of the pay for minutes and got me TEXTING! Woot! That covered us for our drive an hour and a half south to go pick up my nephew Jimmie for the first half of the week. We lucked out and Lauralee was free to spend a nice chunk of the day at our house watching the 4 bigger kids so that I could go with Ken (and Echo too). We only wanted to take as many people as could fit in any of our emergency contacts’ vehicles so that no one was stranded. We trust the van repair but we dislike going so far out of the city less than a week after a repair. This all had us out after noon. (thank you to everyone who said they would watch their phones)

We got TO my brother’s before 3 (remember we had to go to Tim Hortons to get a snack… of course!) and Ken had a nap while Echo got some one on one time with her Aunty Holly and Jimmie unpacked a few things to show me. We packed him all up and got out the door in pretty good time with a quick stop off at 7-11 for drinks and a big bag of pretzels and then home it was. We actually made it home right around 5 pm to be regaled in all that happened while we were gone. Apparently Lauralee is an AWESOME babysitter who played with them, fed them AND took them to the convenience store for treats (I made sure to leave some cash in case she wanted to). She has already been requested for a repeat performance by the masses!

Aunty Holly and Echo

This left us with dinner, play time, tv time and then BED TIME! Can you believe it Emanuel and Jimmie were up until midnight!! I stayed upstairs way longer than I usually do – until Karyn came over to share her folk fest adventures actually! And the little buggers waited until I went downstairs and then TURNED ON THE LIGHT! When Ken and I went up for our super late super he went in, had them clean turned off the light and BANG asleep in minutes!!

Supper!

Post midnight crash

Even so they were up decently early this morning! Ken fed them breakfast and then woke me up to send them outside to play in the backyard… was that ever a great idea – burn off that energy… which apparently they have an unlimited supply of today!!

Mini trampoline!

 Just as quickly it felt like, they were back inside to play play play… over the span of the morning we went through crafts, play doh AND trains… 

Fun at the craft box

Gavin's play doh creations

And then in the afternoon trainsets, colouring, marbles and kitchen set… bang bang bang… I finally  gave up at Echo’s short and late nap time and turned on the cartoons so I could escape upstairs to eat something and regroup! 

Extensive train set work going on here

You add in one more high energy kid and it is like EVERYONE’S energy triples!! CRAZY. But even crazier was Echo in there on her own following along and plowing in. She had a blast until she got worn out or hungry. 

Future soccer player??

My one quiet child today was Gavin who has come up with a new project… He is working on individual illustrations, whatever he wants, on lined paper… and then we are picking out some words  that are in the picture, sounding them out and writing them in. These are all going to go into a binder. He does so much art this gives him the chance to really keep it all together instead of papers strewn everywhere!

Not one of the book illustrations but a definite on the fridge masterpiece

There has been some requests to see work by the younger two of our very mobile 4… so here goes! First is a fridge favourite – Trinity’s colouring (in marker) of Lightning McQueen off of Cars… I am so proud of how hard she worked to stay in the lines.

Trinity's finished colouring... note the random o's...

And here is Emanuel (and Jimmie) with some of TODAY’S art! He is getting much more into scenes and such for his pictures and less random shapes!

Both proud to show off

So I DID sneak off, once Echo was down for her lunch time nap and the kids busy where Ken could watch and work, I snuck off to the convenience store and picked up milk (expensive) and a slurpee (to make me feel better about the above first few paragraphs). The walk is brief but it was blessedly quiet! Tonight the plan is to work on as many unfinished projects as possible… stocking, tutu dress, tidying, hunting down the still missing box of photos in frames… Tomorrow it is our busy day all over again (did I mention the boys let the neighbour boy in the yard without asking and then proceeded to fight… well Emanuel and Zander so we had an early back into the house after supper… not sure if it is the kid or the reaction to the kid that is the problem but with Jimmie here too I wasn’t about to test it). So today was a wild and crazy at home day… I think tomorrow we may do the same… the baby is a napper and going solo with 6 anywhere is daunting when she is so tiny. I may just have to pull out more boardgames and maybe a bucket of long lost toys… be a good reason to actually face the ever daunting tv room closet with its unknown contents! Stay tuned to find out! 

Oh, I also managed to finally paste down the pieces for a scrapbook page… Echo and Anna’s last visit before we moved. It feels good to get some crafting in!

The ones on either side are just paper and pics waiting to be played with!

But here’s hoping the kids are all asleep BEFORE midnight… hmm maybe?

Cute as a button in the middle of chaos