Friday, August 29, 2014

Thriftin' With the Crew

Y'all, since I've started homeschooling the boys, I've become obsessed with books!! We have a math curriculum (Math U See) and some language arts workbooks, but everything else we learn is through games and reading books for 1 hour together, every day. We learn mostly from unit studies which I have planned out and collect more books for. We have books in every bedroom, books in the kitchen, dining room, basement, bathroom, car and; even in my purse.

This weekend, our Value Village had a 50% off books sale. On top of that, when you buy 4 books, you get the 5th free!!! You'd better believe we hightailed it to Value Village right when it opened. We camped out at the book section for 2 hours, reading, sorting, laughing and filling our cart with amazing books.

 I spent less than $7 on this lot of books, most of which will be used throughout this homeschool year. We're doing unit studies on NW Native Americans and Thanksgiving, American history and geography, maps, marine life, the moon, planets and space, the 5 senses and a few historical people. I also found homeschool curriculum for early writing and grammar as well as two French children's books. I am so excited about this pile of books y'all!

While we were there, we browsed for a few items I've been looking for. Hiking shoes for the boys, a beautiful handmade queen sized patch-work quilt and 3 sweet pieces for Ruthie Mae: a whopping $17.The absolute miracle is that these were all things on my thrifting list!!!

Like all trips to the thrift store, I had to resist purchasing gems such as this:
I mean....everyone knows Mr.T and Me books are incredibly enriching stories, right? Riiiiight.....

We also passed up this retro doctor's office chair:
Not without testing it out first. There were TWO of them!!! Whoa temptation!!

The boys each got a transformer toy, which they bought themselves. We had a blast and the boys felt proud about helping plan out their own education. Win Win!!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

First Week Back at School

Don't you just love our special Pinterest-y back to school photo!? Hahaha! Well, this picture of my boys is one reason why I LOVE homeschooling! They can wear whatever they want and we start school when we're awake enough to pay attention, ha!

My biggest fear about this school year : Ruthie Mae Monster!! This girl is nothing but busy, knocking down everything the boys build. Thankfully, she's taking two long naps a day, so we have plenty of time to work without Ruthie Mae getting in the way.

She just wants to be with her brothers.

We've started slow with lots of games, reading and science projects. We've shined pennies

We made our own colored sand (Kosher salt and food coloring!) for some new sensory bins.

We take frequent dancing breaks and I've found it really helps them to focus. They have become such hard little workers!! 

I love living in the Northwest, but with the winter rains coming, you have to get out when you can. Right now is peak hiking season, so we organized a mountain play date.

The boys just thought it was soooo silly to be playing int the snow in August.

So far, it's been a great start to a new school year. We definitely do 2 solid hours of work almost every day, but that still leaves us with so much time to get out and enjoy the sun as long as it lasts.

 This year, the boys will have different character traits to work on and pray for. For this first trimester, we are all focusing on teamwork. These guys loved reading in Exodus about Moses and Aaron working together to lead the Israelites. I think it helped them see each other's skills and how they can work together to accomplish a difficult goal. Y'all, this is the stuff you just can't get in normal schools!! The time, space, prayer and opportunity to learn such important life lessons-I feel so lucky to be able to teach them such things!! We take homeschooling one year at a time, so I'm never certain how long I'll have them here with me. For now, it's (mostly) cupcakes and sunshine!

Activities on the calendar for this school year include:
-3 months free karate classes
-8 plays/shows/concerts at the Mount Baker Theatre
-weekly visits to the library and our Family Interactive Gallery at the art museum
-rock climbing
-low tide/beach combing
-horse back riding
-visiting various farms for berry picking/pumpkin picking
-Seattle Science Museum
-Vancouver Science museum

This list will likely grow with time as opportunities arise. I cannot wait to experience life with these little people this school year!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Celebrating Lazzy's 4th Birthday

I love celebrating people. Birthdays are such a joyous time because you get to spend lots of time simply celebrating someone's life. In true Robbins form, we spent a few days celebrating Lazarus. We took our time opening presents over the weekend, went out to eat (with free dessert!!), hiked in the mountains (Artist Ridge at sunset) and had a little party.

Lazarus was very clear about not wanting a party. He only wanted his friend Henry to come over and eat hot dogs. Simple enough right? So, we had the Walker family join us for dinner.

The day before his birthday dinner, Laz decided he did want a theme:Transformers. And because he's my little introvert who never asks for anything and is so generous, I ran out and got transformer stuff for a totally generic Transformers birthday!!

Oh, he also wanted a brown and orange cake.....

It was a challenge for me to figure out how to both love Lazzy and not overwhelm the poor introvert, but I think he felt really loved. All in all, he had a great weekend turning four. Next birthday on the calendar is Ruthie Mae and I'm in complete denial!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Happy Fourth Birthday Lazarus!!!

I cannot believe my baby Lazarus is four years old today. His birth was so special, my first water birth.

Lazarus was THE easiest baby. He slept anywhere all the time. As long as he had his thumb, he'd sleep.

He's still an easy kid. So thoughtful, always ready to help and so tender hearted. I am in complete denial that he is four years old. It just hurts too much.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Thoughts on Being Interrupted

While I was shaving my legs in the shower, I hear intense loud knocking on the door. I say "come in!" not knowing what's about to happen...
Lazzy throws open the shower curtain with tears in his eyes and says "Well, my fire truck picture is just all broken up." and he melts into a sobbing mess.

Again, I have a razor in my hand and I'm naked. With the water running.

I try not to giggle at the situation, but it's hard to show true sympathy in those moments. It's just so awkward! Another thought crosses my mind - "why aren't DAN'S showers interrupted? Why is it always me? Can't I have some peace and quiet in the bathroom!?". Then I was reminded of this C.S. Lewis quote (which is so perfect for parents!):

“The great thing, if one can, is to stop regarding all the unpleasant things as interruptions of one’s ‘own’, or ‘real’ life. The truth is of course that what one calls the interruptions are precisely one’s real life – the life God is sending one day by day: what one calls one’s ‘real life’ is a phantom of one’s own imagination.”

This is my life. I have 3 wonderful children who love me and each other. We live in this small Robbins community where there is love and fighting, forgiveness and many many "interruptions". My life isn't laundry. It's not dishes or scraping banana off the floors. No, life is so much more spontaneous than those things-the "interruptions" that become my most cherished memories, the stories we'll tell twenty years from now.

His firetruck drawing was his best yet. This sweet boy has gotten very serious about his art and school work. This particular picture was his favorite-his pride and joy. He hung it on the fridge a little too low and Ruthie Mae had her way with it. Lazarus was devastated.

I realized that this "interruption" was Lazarus giving me his heart. He was sad about his picture and because I'm his mother, he trusted that I would care. The "interruption" was an opportunity to love, not an inconvenience for me to grumble about

My sensitive, generous and thoughtful ninja will be four on Sunday. 

He comes to me to fix his ninja mask 37 times a day. I need to remember that it's not only my job, but it's my joy, my life to stop what I'm doing and look into those sweet blue eyes and fix the boy's mask. Because it fills him up and it brings us peace and it shows love and it makes a difference. It's my life right now and I'm learning to embrace it.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Northwest Hiking

It was the hottest day of the year and the mountain was calling our name! We met up with a friend and headed west to Baker. It's 1.5 hours through farmland and up a few switchbacks to Bagley Lakes trail head.

We actually never saw Baker, but had great views of Shuksan instead.

This hike is just a 2 mile loop with beautiful views of mountain, wildflowers, rushing water and lakes. Most of the trail is flat with a few rocky parts. The boys loved "climbing".

The boys with Miss Nikki. She's been exploring lots of trails around Bellingham and has inspired me to do the same.

We even found some SNOW!

We were rewarded with a fresh mountain water swim!

We'll definitely do this hike again!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Growing up is hard work!

Ruthie Mae is 9 months old now. She has officially been out in the world longer than she was safe inside my womb. It's amazing to watch a completely new person grow and develop over time. It's probably my favorite thing about motherhood. Watching and noting changes...Perhaps I should have been a scientist!

Over the last month, Ruthie has become very active. I often hear her yelling from another room and when I come looking for her, she's in awkward situations:

Her newest trick includes standing up in her crib and YELLING for mama "Neh! NehNAH!!". The first time I saw her like this, we immediately lowered the crib mattress.

It's absolutely adorable and completely frustrating. Poor little girl hasn't been getting much sleep and often looks dazed and confused: 

Girl needed sleep and so did her "Nehnah"!! In a moment of great clarity, I decided to put her back in a sleep sack but with arms inside, too. Now, she's back to long naps and no fussin'. It's funny how with children, third time is NOT the charm. Sure, there are things I've learned in my 6 years of parenting, but all lesson cannot be directly applied to each child.

 And while this little one is busy growing teeth.... biggest is busy losing them!! Literally. It's lost. In the lego bin.
 He's so proud of this accomplishment (because, you know, it's hard work letting pieces of your mouth fall out of your head!). I love watching him try to talk with a gap between his teeth. There's a slight whistle to every word and it kills me!!! It will only get better as he continues to lose teeth.

I am constantly in awe of our first born. He's always up for an adventure, always looking for fun. The other night, we were at a company picnic with some friends and we got to zipline together. I have to admit, I got scared for a second and wondered if Eli would actually jump with me. When those green doors swung open, he was GONE! I love his adventurous spirit.

And let's not forget this one:

Always dressed up.

Always in character.

He's so stinkin' silly, but also sweet and serious. What a complex little human we have on our hands!! Lazarus will be 4 by the end of the month, and I'm in mourning. 

My heart hurts to think that my babies are becoming people that don't need me so much anymore. They are really my pride and joy.