Thursday, March 31, 2011

So we had a birthday...

Even though I was against it. #5 turned 1 a couple of weeks ago. And I will admit to him being a pretty terrific 1 year old!

I've said before that our home here in Eugene is a little on the small side, so the idea of putting a birthday party in here on a likely (it is Oregon) spring day had me a little nervous. So I asked my mom if we could hold the party at her house. Aside from being perfectly large it is closer to a lot of family on Mr. Wiedz's side so I was hoping for a good turnout.

The party was perfect! Little #5 charmed everyone with his cuteness. Little and littler cousins were there from Mr. Wiedz family and both Mr. Wiedz's grandma and my grandma were there.

"Grandma Great" (Mr. Wiedz's grandma) with all of her great-grandchildren.
Great Grandma Ruth with 5 of her 19 great-grandchildren. She was really excited to get to be a great-great-grandma this fall when my niece has her first baby.
We enjoyed our last alligator cake.



And opened gifts.




Not sure how I'll manage to have this baby grow but I am sure lucky to have him.

**I know I'm breaking the "rules" with the above photos of the kids' (gasp) faces but the pictures are perfect and with the loss of my grandma just a few days later these are pictures I will treasure and I'm so glad I took.**

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

A mama-knit vest for #5

Wow! A lot of knitting posts right now...

I've finished up some projects the last couple of days. I'm so excited about this one!

I first saw this vest in a Soulemama's post. And the first one I made was the first actual garment I ever knitted. I loved it and put #5 in it nearly daily even though it didn't start really fitting him until summer. I think I even put him in when it was too small for him.


My favorite outfit: those monkey pants (!), striped shirt and mama-made vest.

But using Soulemama's guidence I cast on for another, bigger one.


And it has been sitting in my knitting basket in differing stages of done for many months. Lately it has been haunting me just waiting for buttons, which I actually had but hadn't taken the time to put on and weave in the ends.

Today! I got the buttons to replace the buttons I lost after it all sat around for so long. And during a blissful moment of quiet when baby was asleep and the big kids were playing in the yard (sunshine!) together (not fighting!) I sat and finished it! Ravelry link here.

When #5 woke up from his nap and the other boys had tried it on, they really want their own mama-knit vest, I buttoned #5 into it and took him outside for a little photo shoot.

Then we loaded up and headed to tee ball and softball practice. This vest is just right, I think, for all our early Oregon spring field-sitting.




Tuesday, March 29, 2011

A mama-made hat for #2

#2 has been (so far) left out of the mama-made knitting around here. Something he pointed out regularly and I was determined to fix.

Grammie N purchased some beautiful yarn from here but can't for the life of her figure out this knitting thing. (strange since she's so excellent at everything like knitting) She couldn't see keeping the dk weight yarn when it didn't really fit the crocheting she likes to do. So I was the lucky recipient of all this gorgeous yarn!!!! Lucky me!!!!

And lucky #2.

He has always said he wants a yellow and green hat. And actually wanted the yellow and green all mixed up together, not stripes (thank goodness! I just really didn't want to do stripes), like I did on a vest I've got mostly done (need to finish and post about that).

There just happened to be a skein of green (not exactly the green I would have chosen but a nice green all the same) and a yellow in the gift from Grammie so I cast on and not too long later #2 has his hat!

Ravelry link here.

Friday, March 25, 2011

:: this moment ::

:: this moment ::  A photo from the week. Not too many words. A simple moment, extraordinary, special. Something I want to remember, cherish, to pause over. If you have a "moment" leave a link in the comments for others to find and share.

inspired by soulemama

Wish I could hold on a little longer too.
Great Grandma Ruth - 1922-2011

Friday, March 18, 2011

St. Patrick's Week

We didn't "row" anything this week but I tried to incorporate some St. Patrick Day stuff into our week, especially for the little boys. I've alway enjoyed St. Patrick's Day but this year it was fun to learn a little more of the man and about what he did.

Sensory "Tub" ::

I've been really interested in the idea of doing sensory tubs for school for the little boys. I'm not sure I could pull it off but, oh I love looking at all the great ideas out in blog land (here and here are some of my favorites). I did a mini sensory "tub" for our St. Patrick's Day week, split peas in my large Tupperware bowl. I gave the boys a small pot from the play kitchen, a spoon and my ladle. They took turns playing with it; #3 did a fabulous job keeping the peas in the bowl, #4 not so much! I'll definitely keep the idea in the front of my brain...we'll see if I can justify the expense and work it into my plan for next year.

Play dough ::

Another thing I'd like to incorporate into the little boy's weeks is play dough. I used a great recipe found online but is one I'd used before, #1 and #2's kindergarten teacher used this recipe and shared it with all the parents each year.

So I made green play dough of course. I used green Kool-Aid for the coloring as it also adds a great scent (and it's cheep)! The little boys got to play all by themselves the first day but I got so much complaining from the big kids that when we finished school later in the week we got it back out for the whole group to play with.

Sissy's Leprechaun ::

#1 planned a great St. Patrick's Day treat for her brothers. She colored, cut out and organized shamrocks as a scavenger hunt path leading to the leprechaun's pot of gold. She didn't want to actually wait for St. Patrick's Day (her chicks were due to hatch that day) and our Wednesday's are miserable so sissy's leprechaun left his treasure on Tuesday morning. Fun for all!

How sweet is she! Really, came up with the whole thing and spent the better part of the afternoon and evening making it happen. Such a big heart. I love this girl!

Tradition stands ::

Green oatmeal and milk for St. Patrick's Day breaky!
Seat work ::

We colored and labeled a map of Britain and Ireland, St. Patrick's stomping grounds.

I downloaded a St. Patrick's Day pack and printed off the scissor skills and some handwriting practice pages.

As a group we made this cute shamrock craft! and had a mini lesson about the trinity as St. Patrick explained it.

Links ::

play dough
Cute shamrock craft
Musings of me St. Patrick's Day unit

:: this moment ::

:: this moment ::  A photo from the week. Not too many words. A simple moment, extraordinary, special. Something I want to remember, cherish, to pause over. If you have a "moment" leave a link in the comments for others to find and share.

inspired by soulemama

we've hatched!!!!

Last week was a candled egg if anyone was wondering...

Monday, March 14, 2011

Just like Star Wars

#2 was looking through his math assignment today and noticed we start Roman numerals.

Oh, I know all about these...just like on Star Wars.


Friday, March 11, 2011

E is for elephant

After realizing #3 would be in kindergarten next year I decided on a course of action to make our ABC book and make sure he had all the letters down well.

Find ABC and D if you're interested.

This week I had big plans to cover at least E and F (now that I look back I say that a lot). So much so I jumbled up my letters and did writing practice for E but read books that focused on F. Ah...they don't even notice.

But our craft for our ABC book was cute and they liked it!

This craft actually laid out drying for days so today I was ready to just be done with it. I cut out the ears and the tail pieces and put them on #4's during quiet time. Since #3 was near me during quiet time I let him come up and finish his...sigh, I would have preferred the ear to be where it should be but it is HIS.

E is for elephant comes from homeschool creations

Linking to homeschool creations preschool corner

:: this moment ::

:: this moment ::  A photo from the week. Not too many words. A simple moment, extraordinary, special. Something I want to remember, cherish, to pause over. If you have a "moment" leave a link in the comments for others to find and share.

inspired by soulemama

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Rowing :: Angus Lost

Angus Lost

This week the little boys and I had a great time reading Angus Lost by Marjorie Flack. It is such a sweet book! We also checked out some go-along books, Angus and the Duck and Angus and the Cat which were big hits as well.

I had made a few plans in preparation for rowing this book, most of them hinged on Mr. Wiedz bringing home big boxes to make our own dog houses. Since that took quite a few days and many reminder emails and texts we did other activities while we waited for the boxes.

Who needs boxes? The boys made caves in the couch.

But the boxes did arrive. I cut doors and windows out then gave the boys our tub of markers to decorate their houses. House construction was done in the garage so that #1 and #2 could do their school work. But we did move the boxes in for playing with and I set up each house with a bowl of "food" (coco puffs). There was a lot of great playing with the houses and a lot of sharing.

Eating his "dog food".

We made some dog bone cookies for afternoon snack one day. I wanted a peanut butter cut-out cookie which I thought I found in my Cookie Bible Cookbook but it turns out it called for peanut butter chips melted and not peanut butter. I used what I had and hoped for the best...kind of hard to have the boys all set up on the counter next to the mixer and tell them never mind. We got 4 cookies out of the deal and they weren't terrible. The kids thought it was fun to eat a dog bone.


When I was still waiting for the boxes to make their appearance I poked around blog land for ideas about what other people did when they "rowed" Angus Lost. I found this link for a video about milking a cow. Put it on. And immediately had an audience. Seriously, my kids have a sense when a youtube video comes on the computer...they are memorized! By Friday, I searched YouTube and found a few others, though do be careful of the thumbnails of what comes in when you put in milking a cow... I really wanted to find a video about old time milk men but didn't find anything. My boys were extremely put out that our milk is not and never has been delivered by a milk man.

Lapbook :

There is a lot of great stuff on homeschool share for lapbook work to go with this book. As I was reading it I thought there must be something to do with the TOO SHORT and TOO LONG legs of the dogs...sure enough there was little pockets and dogs to cut out and sort. And a milk making process book that was really great.

delightful learning
homeschool share
I planned to make them scotty dogs to love- but didn't...
Making milk
Video with cows being cared for and milked and what happens to the milk - there were more on you tube...about milking a cow and milk from cow to store

Rowing next : well it looks like we're going to concentrate on our alphabet book for the rest of the month and "row" Blueberries for Sal at the beginning of April.

Friday, March 4, 2011

:: this moment ::

:: this moment ::  A photo from the week. Not too many words. A simple moment, extraordinary, special. Something I want to remember, cherish, to pause over. If you have a "moment" leave a link in the comments for others to find and share.

inspired by soulemama

Reaching for the sun too.

Dinner needed done, the living room needed tidying, the laundry needed folded...she was right, this is the best part of the day.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

The bowl

I made a salad the other day...and put it in the bowl.

Last night I filled the bowl with chips for our salsa.

Today's popcorn snack went in the bowl.

I reach for this bowl many times a week, and even more than once a day. And every time I do I think, all I got from Elkhorn was this bowl. All I got from following Mr. Wiedz's dreams... All I got from signed contracts and legal meetings... All I got from the phone calls that stopped whatever else we were doing...

Even typing those sentences makes me cover my eyes and start to cry. I don't think I'm strong enough to talk about what Elkhorn did. I joke about it. I mutter to myself as I pull the bowl down that all I got for three years of blood, sweat, and tears was a wooden bowl. I roll my eyes and put up barriers when anything comes up about the lawyers or the banks or the camping spot or the tournaments or the memories.

Just over five years ago I sat in my grandmother's house and told her about the "deal" that was put together for Elkhorn. I was so proud of Mr. Wiedz. He had done the impossible. He had negotiated with the big boys and got a great package put together. He had worked so hard. He'd had so many meetings and they all culminated with a great contract with lots of zeros. The months of work were so worth it. The time he'd invested was coming back to him. The diligence had paid off and this was going to get to be his work. He was going to do what he loved.

I still remember her response. Why is someone going to pay him for doing that?

As it turns out, they weren't. As it turns out, in the real world contracts don't mean as much as you think. As it turns out, our dreams weren't coming true. They were turning into nightmares. They were changing who we are.

But God uses everything for his glory.

How trite. How mocking. How difficult.

I like to read blogs. I especially like to read other people's stories. I've found some good ones. And I read how someone going through unimaginable pain; losing a child, battling cancer, or going through life changing difficulties can rely on God and trust in his will.

I'm a trusting girl. I'm a glass-half-full girl. I'm a believer that God will use the pain, the hurt, the yucky, the unimaginable and turn it for His good.

Do I see the good in Elkhorn yet? It's been years since the beginning, middle and end. I'm removed from it. I've forgiven. I've sought forgiveness for the matters it did to my heart, for the attitudes that I still try to carry.

If I'm honest, the answer is no. But my timetable is not God's timetable.

So far, all I see is a bowl.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011


I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that #3 isn't reading. And he actually doesn't really have a lot of interest in learning to read...he'd just wants to read. I'm not terribly worried about his reading, he just turned 5, after all. And I know that like potty training, when they're ready they're ready and you just have to wait for that magic moment.

That being said I've been on the lookout lately for possible alternative ways of teaching him to read. I've been a phonics girl from the beginning. And used The Ordinary Parents Guide to Teaching Reading with #2 and began it with #3 this's not working. He really dislikes the lessons and nothing is sticking.


I was doing my normal blog-hopping this morning and over at homeschoolcreations I saw a Pre-1 reading program being announced from All About Reading. I followed the link to the free e-books and downloaded for myself. Thought I'd pass along this find for anyone else looking for a reading program.


I haven't used anything yet but at a first glance through there is some really nice pre-reading stuff in these little books. Story sequencing and rhyming and listening and comprehension. The activities look easy enough I can implement them in but not too much busy work that #3 will turn his nose. I'm looking forward to giving them a go.

*Disclaimer: All About Spelling knows nothing about me or my little blog here...they don't even know that I exist. I just thought anyone else looking for a reading activity for their preschooler would enjoy hearing about these free books.