He works a lot. Actually he pretty much blows in and out with
the wind, catching a few winks of sleeps and handfuls of food in the
Today was his birthday though, so it was an excuse to slow down for a while, and have everyone over to celebrate.
I invited my side of the family to come here instead of having our regular dinner at mom and dad's.
Hanna was so excited that it was her dad's birthday.
She said things like "Let's get this party started!" and "Rock on!"
and "Daddy is 29 today! He's a man!!"
Oh, that girl.
Matt's a pretty special kind of guy. I don't think there's many like him out there. He's old-school in the way of thinking, but likes technology and is quite geeky. He doesn't care what anyone thinks - almost to a fault. Picture him wearing flamboyant woman's pajamas using Baby Glow Worm as a flashlight to find something in the dark. Yup. That's my man.
But, he's the girls' hero and Ben's his biggest fan. His kids are his life, and they know it. He gets an A+ for his Daddy abilities.
What kind of a guy would go on a camping trip and secretly take photos like this:
The kind of guy who knows his daughter would love more than anything to have a book featuring her most beloved stuffy on a grand adventure in the wild.
I'm proud of who he is, and glad I've been able to grow with him through the years.
Happy Birthday, Hunny.
I'm happy to be stuck with you for the rest of your birthdays.
Before we know it we'll be wrapping Christmas gifts and watching the ball drop.
It's true what they say. When you get older, time flies by.
The same is true when you're having fun.
And we, have been having fun!
Every day around here there's something going on. Whether were sitting around on a rainy day, or out and about getting things done.
It's the words, and phrases, and funny little questions that keep things interesting! There's a lot of little mouths in this little house, and every single one of them has a whole lot to say!
Even little Benny, who says an awful lot without using anything even close to words.
I am thankful beyond words to be able to hear the little voices every morning asking when breakfast will be ready, prayers before bed, and every babble and untranslatable word in between.
The other day Yuli and I went out with the kids to the grocery store quickly on our way back from Gracie's swimming lessons. We needed to get a couple things each, so we split up. Hanna was with Yuli and when Yuli said "Okay...I need cheese..." Hanna responded with "You need cheese? Okay, I'm on it!" She also told the cashier at the dollar store after being told her hair was pretty "Yeah it is. I have highlights in my bangs."
Hailey's hilarious during prayers. She thanks the "woe-wud" for the "dutts and kitties" every time it's her turn, and adds in something new every night. Sometimes it's the snack she ate earlier, and sometimes it's the pink socks she wore all day.
Gracie's just busy. She's always talking. I admit that sometimes I have no idea what she's talking about - only because I'm not paying attention at all because I'm doing other things. I Just nod and respond with "Yeah? That's crazy!" But she keeps going. Even if I totally interrupt her to yell at Ben, who just spilled the crackers all over the floor to dance on them, she just keep going. She's funny. She loves calling Bryanna and Austin, and would stay on the phone all day if I let her! Ben doesn't say a whole lot. He says "pizza!" as clear as that, and he meows like a cat and barks like a dog. That's about the gist of it. Oh yes, and he makes some truck noises as well as he drives them around the furniture. Every day is such a joy just listening. It's a blessing that I will never take for granted.
I'm still trying to get into a good routine with Hanna in the morning, trying to change things up just enough to keep it interesting.
For the last couple weeks we've been starting with braille practice. We take out the brailler, a sheet with the braille alphabet on it, (which is seen under the activity she's working on in the video), and her activity. (Not sure what I should call it!) I stole a little paint palette from my mom and ripped the little balls off of a few paddle balls, and I had a perfect accessible braille cell, just like the one Maryse uses with her.
She makes the letter first, then feels the "real" one on the paper, then types it on the brailler. It's great practice for her, and it's really sticking.
I told her I'd take a video of her if she could make me the letters as fast as she could, and she did a great job!
She learned "F" today, and our goal with Maryse is to know up to "J" by the end of November. I think we're well on our way to making that goal!
I wanted to share some pictures I took for Michelle (my sister). She wanted some family pictures of her and the kids, and I think some of these are really cute. How could they not be with models like these?!
Between dance and piano, therapies and school, you'd think we have enough going on. Maybe I'm nuts.
I can't have one in something, and not the others.
They all had a choice this year (out of a few options)as to what they wanted to try.
Gracie wanted to take swimming lessons. She's a fish at my mom and dad's in the summer, and she just wasn't ready to be done with the water for the year.
We registered her for a Red Cross Swim, and she's in a class of three.
It's perfect for her. It will make her more confident, and it's basically one on one because of the small class.
She wasn't feeling 100%, since if I have something, everybody has it, but she really wanted to go. She tried to make me believe that she wasn't sick so that I wouldn't make her skip it, but I could tell she wasn't right.
She was a bit uneasy when we got there because she didn't know what to expect, and she got a little upset at the beginning of the class. It didn't help that the other girls in there were very hyper and bold, and I think she felt a little out of place. She ended up having a great time though, and finished up the class with a giant cannonball, so I think it's safe to say she loved it.
I'll have pictures next time to share here as well!
My mom, being the hero she is, brought her because I was under the weather, and really didn't want to pass anything around. My mom also knows her, and was comfortable bringing her and introducing Hanna.
Aleda, her teacher, wants to get to know Hanna and get a good idea of how she should best teach her, so she's seeing her twice a week for a couple weeks, then only once a week.
So far, Hanna loves it, and loves Aleda.
This will be great for her dexterity, strength and finger isolation.
I hope she continues to enjoy it, because it will be so beneficial for her!
Hopefully next lesson I will be able to sneak a few pictures to share.
Oh yeah, and my mom brought me home a special icey treat on her way home, just so that I could pass on to her, what I had.
My girl. She is doing so well. She's excited for school every single day - although not always co-operative for very long (she has an attitude some days), and she is learning so fast.
She's got a lot on her plate. She's learning to write with her brailler, write with a pencil, read with her fingers, read with her eyes, math both visually and tactically, and she does it all with a happy face.
She enjoys our morning routine and listens well while we go through out health and science books. For the past three days she has told me all about how her bagel with cream cheese is giving her protein for muscles and fiber for energy. :) Close. Gotta give her credit for at least paying attention!
She's a funny kid.
My mom takes her once a week to work on different areas that we don't focus on every day at school. Today, they made me a necklace! Her fine motor skills need lots of work, so stringing is great for her. They also drew a picture of that necklace making sure to colour in the beads in the correct pattern.
She was so excited about this necklace! After dinner she says to me "Ok. I'm gonna put this in a special spot" *puts it on the kitchen island* "and then you make sure you wear it tomorrow for school when you're my good teacher. Ok?"
And she will make sure I don't forget.
Ben had an extra amount of dinner in his ears tonight, so while he was having an extra long bath, Hanna comes in with a book. She says "Alright Mama. I'm gonna read you this book. Ready?"
After she "read" it a couple times, I talked her into waiting until bedtime, so I could give her the attention she deserved.
Sure enough, at bed time it was the first thing on her list. She ran into her room, jumped on her bed, and called me in.
"Mama! I got my boooook!"
The girls and I all went in and she says "Ok, now everybody just be calm and listen to me read. Ok? Alright everybody? Just. Be. Calm."
I couldn't hold back the laughter. She laughed too, with a smart-Alec look, obviously knowing I was laughing at her. And soon enough we were all laughing! She is so funny!!
The things she says now are just so grown up. She's a smarty pants!
I wish I had the time to run to the computer to document here every time she says something off the wall, because, man. It kills me!
She's quite a riot.
She's even just acting more grown up. You always hear that six a milestone, and I believe it. She's not even there yet, and I see it!
She's starting piano next week, and I can't wait to see how she does. Finger isolation and strength are both a huge part of brailling, so on top of being something she's going to love, it's going to be so good for her, too.
But even better, they all love eachother too! It's so funny to see the kittens and ducks play. The quackers clean the kittens by pecking their fur really fast, but some kittens like it more than others. One of them just bats the duck in the face when he does it and then the duck quacks back as if he's yelling at the kitten. It's actually hilarious. The kittens are now even warming up to Koda.
That took a surprisingly long time.
There was a nasty storm the night before these photos were taken, and that is a tree branch down in the background. Everyone gathered there to check it out.
It fell into the side of the house directly on the girls window which was luckily closed from the rain, and wasn't heavy enough to cause any damage, (except to my pretty hostas) thankfully.
I remember the luxury of a fallen tree or branch big enough to climb on as a kid. It was a big bummer when my dad finally took the chainsaw out to clean it up.
The girls will be disappointed when Matt does the same with this one soon.
How things change as we grow. Now, instead of pure excitement of seeing a fallen tree, all I see is danger to my family and house, and damage to a perfect tree. Not fun at all.
Today we kicked off school successfully and happily.
I think we'll quickly get into a nice routine this year with Hanna having a schedule right next to Gracie.
All three girls started their day this morning with breakfast, followed by getting dressed, teeth and hair brushing, and chores. Gracie's in charge of feeding the animals and Hanna and Hailey make sure their room is clean for the day and the bottom bunk is made.
After that, Hailey joined us at the table for our morning calendar/weather time and some reading from our health and science books, and then she was happy to go and play. Ben is going to be the trouble this year.
We'll work on him. :)
If we can do every day like today, I think our year will be perfect. Hanna was happy with everything she did and stayed focused the entire time because I kept each subject short and sweet.
She worked for 2 hours, which I think is plenty.
Gracie did great and is excited to start cursive writing this year. She's looking forward to writing "fancy notes to people".
We kept it simple today and didn't get right into the big stuff. I did short lessons and kept things fun because I want her to love being home for school. I have to start out right if I want this to work. She's such a good girl and I really want her to enjoy the entire experience.
I'm hopeful that she's going to do just as well this year as she's been doing - while losing a little bit of her one-on-one time with me because Hanna is now in the school picture.
They did great together today, and kept to their own work. I think if I continue to do the first morning work as a group, it starts things off in the right direction, and they're happy to focus on their own work after that.