Bodomint Diaper Bag

I don’t know why on earth I didn’t start using a backpack diaper bag sooner than now! Likely because I haven’t really needed a diaper bag the past few years. But with another baby on the way, and also doing nature hikes and other trips while homeschooling, I need to be able to carry water bottles, snacks, etc., while often needing a hand for each twin. This new bag I recently received from Bodomint has honestly been life changing for me. And now that I’ve experienced what it’s like to be hands free on the job, there’s no chance I’m turning back! Bag on back, baby in front, one twin in each hand. That’s how I’ll be doing life come February.  This particular bag has so many pockets and dividers for keeping things organized too, a necessity for me. And I really had a hard time deciding between the solid black and the stripes because I love them both!

The dress I’m wearing below is from Dwell and Slumber and I’ve basically been living in it lately. It’s SO comfy. And I’ve loved it especially during that awkward stage of being pregnant, when I’m definitely showing but don’t have that perfectly round baby bump yet. Thanks for reading you guys!

 

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Homeschool Planner Printable

Well, we’re one week into homeschooling and so far, we’re LOVING it. So far! Believe it or not, teaching is something that really excites me! I love lesson planning and preparing fun activities and while we’re taking a more casual un-schooling approach for junior kindergarten, i’m still adding in mini-lessons here and there.  I wasn’t quite sure how our school days would look and figured we play around with things that first week. And that we did. As I shared in my last post, my main goal for the year is to instil a love of learning into my children. Most of the time, I want them to be learning without even realizing it.

I prepared each of my boys two binders for the year. One for their “work” and one for art. My kids LOVE to do art. I did a ton of photocopying at the end of the summer and each Sunday, I insert the work I want us to cover that week into each of their binders (it’s not a lot at all as my approach is more hands on learning, less book work). While I make a rough outline of an activity to do each day, I’m really flexible with when it get’s done, as long as it get’s done by the end of the week! We have been doing about 20 min of focused “school time” each day but the timing for when we do this is different each day depending on what we have on the go. Some days it will be first thing in the morning but if we have nature group,  swimming lessons or a play date that morning, we might do our “school time” after lunch or even after nap/quiet time. But the boys have been excited about it and remind me saying “mom we haven’t done our school time yet” if it’s later in the day.

While my kid’s have great letter recognition and can print a lot of them on their own, we’re still focusing on a different letter each week, to perfect their printing and ensure they know all their sounds in preparation for reading.

I designed this little planner to help me with my planning on the weekends and also to keep as a record each week in my teacher binder of what her have accomplished. I have a section at the bottom for a to-do list for mama’s and also a section to keep a running list of my kids interests for future lesson planning. That section is key for me with our un-schooling approach as I want the topics we learn about (besides phonics and math work) to really reflect their interests.

For kindergarten memory verses, our verse each week corresponds with the letter of the week. I will provide a separate printable for this soon!

Happy homeschool planning! You can print yours here: Homeschool Weekly Kindergarten Planner

And I also have one without “letter of the week” for any homeschool age here: Homeschool Weekly Planner

Thanks for reading!

 

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It’s a…

We’re thrilled to be welcoming another baby BOY into our family. This little monkey tricked us as we ALL thought it was going to be a girl again. Even these two. But when we told them they were getting another brother, they were equally as excited! So far, their votes for names are Hunny Bunny Boy, Glider, and Vancouver. ha! Don’t ask.

As for us, we are thrilled! I have come to absolutely love having boys and I see it as such a privilege to strive towards raising up strong, respectful, and integral men.

So bring on more trucks and mud, hockey and skateboards. We’re ready for you baby boy!

Thanks so much for reading you guys!

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15 Week Update

Each day that this little life grows in me is just another gift from the Lord. We don’t know what the future holds, what is in store for our family. None of us really do, right? But we wake up each day, making another conscious decision to trust. To trust that He know’s what He’s doing. To trust that we serve a God who is sovereign and merciful and just. And with Him in control, what do we have to fear? 

How Far Along:  I’m just past 15 weeks. I know that’s still pretty early but for a pregnancy that I thought would seem like forever, it actually feels like it’s going by really fast.

Weight Gain: This is something that’s been a bit difficult for me. I normally love being pregnant and embrace the changes my body undergoes to grow a healthy baby. But the weight I gained in my pregnancy with Paisley, I didn’t lose before I got pregnant again. So while I’ve gained around 14 lbs in this pregnancy thus far, I’m about 25 lbs heavier than I normally am at the beginning of second trimester. :S  I’ve been trying to just be ok with it and focus on staying healthy and eating well but it has been something I’ve struggled with some days when I realize I have to go out and buy a whole new maternity haul that fits.

Mood: Pretty good for the most part. Considering the road we’ve been down over the past 6 months, there have definitely been hard days when I’ve found it challenging to navigate through all the feelings of grieving the loss of one baby but being excited about another. It might seem to some like all is well for us now, because we are pregnant again. But the truth is, a new child doesn’t make the loss of another any less easy. It’s been really hard for me to be around other newborns, especially during the months of July and August when Paisley would have been with us. It’s just painful reminders of what our family is missing. But again, we most certainly feel completely and truly blessed that the Lord has given us another baby so soon and for the most part during this pregnancy, I have felt really good.

Favourite Maternity Clothes Right Now: hmmmm I’ve been pretty much living in dresses all summer. (Pink Blush, Maxi dresses from Old Navy and my Dwell and Slumber dress have been my faves!) They’re loose and cool and comfy and while it’s normally my favourite season for fashion, I’m a little nervous for the transition into fall.  I’ll have to go out shopping for some new maternity jeans, leggings, sweaters etc.,  I want to find some more loose fitting shirts like the one I’m wearing below! It’s from Deck and Oar and it’s sooooo comfy you guys! I’ve been wearing it on repeat these cooler days since I received it! And if you head over to their site, you can get a shirt of your own for 15% off with discount code: NATALIE.

Sleep: Sleep has been fine. No changes really other than waking to go pee a few times a night.

Symptoms: So this pregnancy has been identical to my pregnancy with P and I’m just going to come out and say it…  I have a strong feeling this baby is also a girl. As I’ve mentioned before, my pregnancy with the twins was a breeze. No morning sickness, full energy, my skin was amazing and I just felt great. With this pregnancy, as with P, I’ve felt constantly nauseous, extremely exhausted, really bad migraines and the worst food aversions. I will be VERY surprised if it ends up being a boy! ha!

Movement: I think I’ve felt a few flutters here and there but I’m not completely convinced it’s the baby and not gas bubbles.

Cravings: Again, same as with P, so different to the boys when I didn’t really experience cravings at all……Bread, bagels, muffins, pasta, more bread, and sweets. I could literally just eat a bagel for breakfast, lunch and dinner at this point. I’ve been trying my best to maintain a healthy balanced diet though!

Stretch Marks: Just all the same ones as last time, becoming more prominent as my belly expands and grows.

Names: Hmm we definitely have our tops but nothing set in stone yet. We’ll have a better idea once we find out the gender.

Least Favourite Food: Meat has probably been the biggest thing. Just not feeling it much at all. But veggies have been hard for me at times too, something I normally eat a ton of.

Nursery and Baby preparation: It’s been difficult to continue with working on our nursery since we had started it for Paisley and are now finishing it for this new babe. It brings back all the memories and feels whenever I enter that room. But at the same time, it has also been healing for all of us to have something to be excited about again. To have a reason to finish the room and know that the crib and other things that were meant for little P will be used by her sweet sibling on the way. When my sister was down last week, we prepped the walls for painting and so will be doing that soon.

Things I’m looking forward to in Second Trimester:

  • Seeing our baby lots! We had our first appointment with our OB last week. It’s the same one we had with the twins as I’m considered “high-risk” again. While we’ll also be using our midwives through this pregnancy (I don’t think I could ever not!), we’ll be having bi-weekly appointments and ultrasounds with our OB from this point onward so I’m excited to be able to watch our baby grow!
  • Less nausea and headaches – it’s already gotten so much better thank goodness.
  • Finding out the gender!
  • Working on the nursery and buying all the baby things.

That’s pretty much it! Thanks for reading guys!

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Our Un-Schooling Approach to Homeschooling

I’ve been asked a few times recently which approach we’ll be taking to homeschooling this fall, which curriculum we’ll be using, etc., The truth is that I really struggled for a few months not knowing exactly which route to go. I mentioned in a previous post that I was homeschooled myself and I’m also a teacher so I think most people just assume I have it together and have this amazing plan in place. But I don’t. Things have changed so much since I was a kid and there are sooo many different curriculums to choose from and different approaches to homeschooling. So I started to do some research. I watched a lot of you tube videos and read a lot of other blogs about what other homeschooling mama’s do. But to be honest, that kind of made things worse. The options were overwhelming and every time I felt I had made a decision, I would hear or see something else and change my mind. Having a type A personality doesn’t help either because I like to have everything organized and ready to go far in advance.

It was only as we began to dedicate some time to trying “school work” a few times a week (as a sort of test drive) that I have realized what will work best for our family as we dive into this new adventure. First off, my boys are SO different when it comes to learning. I love this about them. They are both very bright and like to learn but Bryson has a longer attention span and his fine motor skills are a lot more developed then Sky’s. He will sit down and color and won’t leave the table until every spot is complete, trying his very best to stay within the lines. Skyler will do some quick scribbles and be done with it. Bryson was writing his name on his own a while before Sky because he loved the challenge of being able to do it on his own. He would sit down and practice in his own time and would run up to me and show me his paper, so proud of what he had done. Skyler couldn’t be bothered until just recently, when he was good and ready. I was soon noticing that forcing Sky to sit down and practice printing or do a worksheet for more than 5 minutes was an extremely gruelling task. This kid has a wild imagination, and he is such a creative little soul but extended periods of seat work is not what he enjoys doing right now and it wasn’t fun for any of us. I was starting to get frustrated that the boys weren’t always interested in what I had planned out for them and I began to really question my decision to homeschool. But around that time, I remember reading about how at this age,  it’s important to focus on instilling a love for learning. I realized I wasn’t doing a good job of that. I was forcing the boys to do things they weren’t always ready to do and while it’s a good thing to push and challenge our kids,  I don’t feel I need to do a lot of it quite yet at this age.

SO. Things changed. I decided right there and then that I wasn’t going to order a set curriculum for kindergarten. I wasn’t going to follow a rigid schedule for the year with planned themes and activities the way the traditional teacher inside me wanted to. Instead, I was going to take an un-schooling approach. The definition of un-schooling for those of you who are a little confused is: an educational method and philosophy that advocates learner-chosen activities as a primary means for learning. In other words, I want the interests of my children to be a guide for what they learn about.

Studies have shown that children retain a lot more information when they actually enjoy what they are learning about and I started to see this myself since we’ve begun to implement this way of learning. So using a recent example, the kids have been really into “maps” lately. I noticed they were drawing a bunch of shapes and lines on paper, mixed with some letters and then they would roll up the paper and carry it around as their map.  Taking note of this interest, I told them that next week we would learn how to make a real map. I’ll teach them how to make a title, a legend, and a scale and we’ll probably start with just making a map of their room or the upstairs of our house. This may sound a little advanced for 3 year olds but they’re into it and excited to learn. And by making maps together, we’ll be tying in math, writing,  geography and art all into one project.

Using another real life example, the boys have just been introduced to chewing gum and one day one of them swallowed his by accident. They both started to cry worried that something bad would happen because they knew that swallowing their gum was forbidden! After calming them down, we came home to the computer and I found and printed off some diagrams of the digestive system and they learned about how it works. This made both the boys feel a whole lot better when they learned that the gum would slowly but surely make it’s way through. They colored in their diagrams and they can now tell you by pointing to each part how everything we chew and swallow travels through the digestive system from start to finish. Again, sounds a little complex for a 3 year old? My kids are not little geniuses by any means. I’ve simply been observing their interests and using them to determine what we’ll learn about next. It’s been working great. 

And don’t get me wrong, there is most definitely a time to practice printing our letters and numbers and all that important stuff, (I’ll make sure we get through the kindergarten expectations) but we’ll be taking a more relaxed approach. I give them a worksheet (we have a few workbooks from target and scholars choice and the amount of free printable’s online these days is amazing) or have them practice printing a letter a few times a week while I’m preparing their lunch. Or on this particular morning, we brought these fun new chalkboards from Chalkfull of Design  to a coffee shop and worked on number practice and shape recognition after they enjoyed a yummy treat. The boys LOVE these boards and I’m totally planning to order the letter and clock one as well! Learning can happen anywhere and you might just find us taking our books or printing practice to the beach or a park too. The flexibility of where and how we learn is probably the thing I love most about homeschooling.

So while we haven’t officially begun our school year, the focus of the year for us is going to be about instilling a love for learning. It’s kindergarten. We’re going to be doing a lot of play, a lot of free exploring, and our learning will be guided by their interests. I’ll jot down their interests as they come up and in future weeks, we’ll take out library books based around that topic, plan activities and field trips around it, etc.,   We also have a weekly nature group in place for the fall with a number of other homeschool families. We’re really excited about this as our kids already LOVE to be in nature and it provides so many opportunities for learning and free-exploring the world around them. A few weeks ago after a hike through the woods, we had seen a huge turtle in the water and the boys wanted to know the difference between a tortoise and a turtle so we came home and researched it together. Learning can be fun. And that’s what this first year of kindergarten is going to be all about.

Thanks so much for reading!

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