Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Activities and Guests

Family is very important to me. I get tired, I get grumpy and I get overwhelmed but I can very rarely turn down the opportunity to be with family. It has been build right into my being. Through the loving parenting and teaching we had as kids, family (both blood related and not) has become one of our essentials. A support and network that is there in thick and thin. 

Sunday afternoon, my niece asked if she could spend time with us this week. As talk of this ensued, a nephew also made the request.  As an Aunty who didn't wish to leave anyone sad, I told them both to come on over and visit. 

Until Wednesday evening I am the mother or 6! I love it. Its loud and messy (wait, thats no different than normal) but at times easier than normal. New distractions and all.

Monday, I took them all with me to get some gingerbread houses so we could have a fun Christmas project to do together. It was an adventure with an extra two but they were so well behaved. Once we waited for Mr. Declan to nap, we got started on the building.

The finished projects next to the poinsettia that Dave bought me.

Ewan got to do his house solo (with a bit of help from mom).

Matthew and Isaiah worked away, compromising with each other about the placement of each candy.

Norah busily worked on the house while Levi snuck candy after candy into his mouth.

Messy and loud!


Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Trimming the Tree

We usually try to get our Christmas tree around December 5th since it is Sinterklaas. My sister in law, Vanessa, gave me that fun idea. Our husbands, who are brothers, are Dutch and as a way to do St. Nicks in our own way, we try to get our tree and decorate it.

This year it was the 6th. So we failed a bit but no one seemed to really care or even notice. Daniel and Amanda ( my brother and his wife) along with the kids, and Connor (my other brother) came with us this year to Thomas Tree Farm to chop down our tree. We hop on a wagon pulled by some horses out to the trees and come back on a tractor ride with our freshly cut tree.

Its expensive but an enjoyable tradition ( at least the boys and I think so).

The boys decorated vigorously and within 5 minutes they were done. I managed to catch Matthew adding a few ornaments but it lost its appeal after a handful or ornaments were placed.

From this picture, you can clearly tell they were the ones decorating. I think there are 5 ornaments on one branch. Pretty! I told myself I would go back later and move things around but it appears not to bother me. I think I just like the warm lights. I dont actually pay attention to the decorations once they are on the tree.

Along with the fresh cut tree I added some other trees (just not real).

This is usually the tree that the kids are able to decorate and undecorate all month long. They never really got to it though. So, it remains mostly plain which is still warm and cozy.

Are you wondering how the tree is standing up to Declan? Its a good question. I think one of the reasons I haven't noticed the crowded ornaments is that Declan removes them quickly and in great number. I have found them all over the house. Once I find them, I find a place for them on the tree in a slightly higher location. By Christmas all the ornaments will be at the top of the tree.

Meh! Its what we do :)

Hope you are all having a wonderful time getting set for Christmas.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Counting Down

Growing up, December first was exciting because we got to start opening our daily chocolates from our advent calendars. Counting down the days until Christmas morning.

I decided to continue the tradition, as so many do, with our boys. However, it hasn't gone as smoothly as I remember. One of the kids would go to open their chocolate only to find the treat missing. I guess their moving it down from its shelf proved too rough and the chocolate would slip down to the bottom. So we would have to rip open the cardboard to find the culprit and in so doing cause others to fall out.

This year I decided to try something new. 

These are my home made calendars. Each boy has a different colour and each pocket contains its treat. Yummier than the store bought cardboard calendars (though I am sure the kids really don't care).

I folded origami pockets, and stamped each one with the date. Some are all mixed up. It lets the older boys hunt for the number and the younger ones are in order so I can quickly grab their treat and hand it to them.

This is also not going as smoothly as I would have liked. Mostly because Declan is a climber. He brings a chair up to the calendars when I am out of the room and steals envelopes off of whichever is closest. Thankfully I have extra treats to replace the stolen ones.

Another tradition that we started several years ago is opening a book a day. They are all Christmas books and they are put away all year long so they aren't boring. 


Each child takes a turn opening a book until Christmas eve. They love it.

That's how we count down to Christmas. How about you?

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Solar System

This year I tried teaching science to the boys but the topic they chose was the human body. It took us way too long just to get through the intro and some of the first chapter thus I quit. It actually caused Matthew to become a germ-a-phobe.

After some thought, however, I realized it wasn't science but the topic that was making learning hard so I decided on a new topic without the boys input and I chose space.

What a great choice, if I do say so myself. I chose Exploring Creation with Astronomy from Apologia as well as their Junior Notebooking Journal and it is so much fun. We do little bits at a time and we have only finished two chapters; the intro and the Sun. The model above was after the introduction. We learned the name of the planets and also learned to use a mnemonic device to remember their names.

Here is the one we created together:

Matthew Vacuums Every Monday Joyfully, Sometimes Under New Plants

We have included Pluto for now because as we study each of the planets, we can decide what we think about its Planet-tude (invented this word).

Just thought I would share a little snap-shot of our schooling thus far.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Lipstick Anyone?

No, Don't Worry!!! I didn't let him play with my makeup...

He sucked on a marker!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Friday, October 31, 2014

Candy and Costumes

Please forgive the quality of my photography. I am a point and shoot kind of photographer with a very poor tool at my disposal. Sometimes I get a decent shot, but most of the time they are... blurry and sad. Oh well. the moment is caught to some degree.

Declan as a puppy.

 Matthew as a fireman.

Levi as the bumblebee (its been around for many years!)

Ewan as a giraffe. 
As you can see he will no longer be able to wear this as it is much too small.

The 2014 crew.