Monday, October 21, 2013

The Very Hungry Caterpillar Party

Mommy suggested I have a caterpillar party,
a very "hungy" caterpillar party.
At first, I wasn't sold on it until she opened the book and then I knew this was the party for me.
Mommy recreated the caterpillar with cupcakes.

We decorated with polka dots.

Mommy found these cups on clearance at Kohl's. We added some "cazy" straws and M&Ms with a thank you card for all of my friends, who all were boys.
I asked Mommy why girls were not coming to my party. She informed me that most of my friends were boys.
I need to work on that.

Oh yeah, here I am soaking up the joy of my birthday party.

Mommy found this dress for a steal on Ebay. It's a caterpillar "jess."

We ran into a bump when trying to plan caterpillar activities. It seems most caterpillar parties are for one year olds who don't need activities. So, we came up with a caterpillar collage with tissue paper and buttons placed on a small canvas.

And then we got really innovative and created
"Pin the Food on the Caterpillar's Mouth" game.

And of course, what's a party without a piñata? A "pupcake" piñata at that.

We picked out this special birthday girl hat at Hobby Lobby.

The cupcakes were delicious.

The presents were amazing. I'm finally up to speed with the proper Rockin' Star equipment thanks to Dora and Grandmama.

My "Caterpillar Party" was a blast. Thanks to all for making it special!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Listen Up!

Listen up party people, the birthday girl is in the house.
And I'm all about some style.
I've got my official "Rockin Star" and the dress and moves to get this party started.

As the Dixie Chicks so wisely put it, "Some days you gotta dance."
Stayed tuned for my official "Hungy Caterpillar" pics. Something so awesome had to be introduced with some style and flare.
A.K.A with some Kate.

Monday, October 14, 2013

She's a Miracle

They tell me I've been alive for a year.
What a year.
My first six weeks were quiet, the most quiet of my life.
Drama free.
And then, then, my new family came to pick me up.
That's my mom. Some say I look like her. Kate often thinks I miss her. To be honest, if it weren't for this picture, I'd have no clue she existed. Maybe one day when Kate can read this it will finally put her mind at ease.
These faces below, well, they will forever be etched in my memory.

I settled in pretty well. Life was good.
And then, well, a little stress entered in.
I began to question this new home I'd been taken to. Kate in particular scared me and I wondered why Mommy was taking this picture and smiling while I was in fear for my life.
Little did I know my relationship with Kate would soon become even more deadly.
Because, just a few months later, I found myself wearing this:
A contraption no animal should wear. It was humiliating.
You see, my friend, Kate, who nearly strangled me to death on more than one occasion, released me from my "post" on a beautiful spring day. Being the curious, naïve pup I was, I saw that as an open invitation to go exploring. Unbeknownst to me, no one else knew about my adventure, that is until Mommy got a phone call from the vet saying they had me and I was okay....I don't know WHAT they were thinking. I WAS NOT okay. I was bleeding and couldn't walk thanks to that huge, monstrous vehicle who nailed my rear end that ended my pleasant escapade...and any pleasantries for the next 6 weeks.
For awhile, it was touch and go. While my family loves me, they didn't love me enough to pay THOUSANDS of dollars to invest in a surgery that would save my pelvis. Instead, they chose the cheap way...6 weeks of a prison sentence where I had to remain in my crate. It didn't look hopeful for healing. There was even talk of me going to an animal rescue shelter or, even worse, being put "down." But, call me a walking miracle. 6 weeks later I defied the odds and returned to my normal self.
I think a lot had to do with the kids' constant prayers for me.
Kate still prays for me.
I think it's the guilt.
And while I think my family is grateful for my miraculous recovery, I do believe there are days of frustration.
I'm still not completely potty trained. There, I said it. In fact, I most enjoy pooping in Grant's room. But that makes Mommy really angry. And I endure several "BAD DOG," comments. If only she knew how embarrassed I was about that then maybe she wouldn't be so hard on me. I watched her potty train Kate and I'm amazed at how quickly Kate caught on. And never did I once hear Mommy talk to Kate the way she talks to me if she had an accident. What gives?
In addition to that, there are those occasions, we'll say several...a week...where I do continue to run off. I always enjoy a little cat and mouse game. Apparently Mommy does not. I see her anger the strongest when she chases me down the street, through backyards, up people's decks, across patios, and into the woods. However, she has discovered when she makes a growling "Molly" sound, it scares me and I cower and give up the game. And yet, I find her a bit timid to say it for fear of what the neighbors will think.
Hey, it's scary sounding.
However, just recently this think called The Scat Mat has added a new level of scary. Forget the growl, the Scat Mat will send you running with your tail tucked beneath you, wishing you'd never even thought of escaping out the front door. I will call it a victory for them because after "Scatting" once, I've yet to return to the front door.
Now, the back door, well, they need to work on that one.
Other bad habits of mine that have caused stress include my digging and howling. And unfortunately they've managed to find a "shocking" solution for those. My bark collar is a literal shock. I wised up really quickly when I could and could not bark. And as for the digging, well, the taste of cayenne pepper in my nicely dug holes was quite shocking. I think I'll be staying away from those for now.
So you see, my first year, well, it's been dramatic. SHOCKINGLY dramatic. But my family loves me. They even took me to a dog park today as a birthday treat.
 I'm even getting used to the choke hold.
Hey, after what I've been through, nothing scares me...
besides the Scat Mat.

Kate is Three

Kate is Three.
It seems like just yesterday I was taking this picture before we headed to the hospital.

And thankfully, this little newborn face still is implanted in my memory.
Kate still makes this face when she cries.
Kate was an easy baby, the easiest of the crew.
But, alas, that calm, quiet demeanor soon started to become overshadowed by a bit of spunk. And this bruise on her head at her one year birthday was a timely foreshadowing of the liveliness that was to come.

And, sure enough, the spunk came and that timid smile from her first birthday emerged into a boisterous grin at her second birthday which matched her boisterous personality.
Kate is our "ham." The past year has proven it. She's sneaky. Oh so sneaky, but quick to say "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to," if caught in the act. She'll finish off your drink if you leave it on the table. Or she'll grab a few chocolates from the treat bowl if it's within reach. Kate's motto most defintely aligns with, "It's better to ask for forgiveness than permission."
She is expressive. Oh so expressive. To communicate, words are not enough, and she uses LOTS of words. She also includes hand gestures as well as appropriate facial expressions to communicate clearly. Perhaps we have a great orator on our hands. Or perhaps an entertainer, though hopefully more of an orator. However, her "haminess" and expressive nature have made her quite attracted to her "Rockin' Star," a.k.a microphone or to the unimaginative world, a pretend doctor instrument(thanks to Grandmama she now has the real deal). Nonetheless, she manages to draw in a crowd with her love for singing with this "Rockin' Star." I'm embarrassed to say that at the last doctor visit we went to she overheard "Call Me Maybe" and proceeded to sing loudly in the waiting room for all the patrons to hear. Still, I hope for the orator. Have you seen Miley Cyrus lately?
In the midst of her outgoing personality, she has a very soft side. Another appropriate name for our little Kate would be "Kissing Kate." She gives John and me kisses several times a day. And, starting when she was an infant, she still continues to grab my hand to lay her cheek in it. And just as she loves to be nurtered, she loves to nurture her baby dolls. Thus far, she has received a baby doll for her three birthdays. I didn't realize that until I looked at her past birthday pictures.
She doesn't seem to mind.
She rocks her babies, feeds her babies, and talks so sweetly to them. She definitely has a motherly side.
She is the one who is most enthusiastic about the play kitchen her Papa made. She cooks for us and enjoys to play in there for an uninterrupted time. She also has taken to the dollhouse I got for Hannah a couple of Christmases ago. Hannah barely touches it. I'm glad Kate does. It's so fun to see how different these girls are.
This past year Kate has continued to blossom and has changed our lives forever. She has catapulted us out of the "baby stage" of life and into a new season. She potty trained in two weeks, the quickest of the three. We took down her crib and said goodbye to the nursery, along with all our other baby equipment. Diapers are a thing of the past and so are Pull Ups.
It looks like Baby Kate isn't such a baby anymore.
She's a "big gurl" as she continues to remind us.
And that she is, but she'll always be my baby.
Happy Third Birthday Kate!
We love you and thank the Lord for you!

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Homeschool Diaries: Our Latest Adventures

It's October.
We've officially been at it for roughly seven weeks.
Our math books say 5 1/2 weeks.
Grant's reading book says 4 and 1/2 weeks.
But, we're trucking along.
This year I've been better at protecting our school time, which means being creative at times with when and where we do it.
Sometimes that means school is in a doctor's office.

But hey, that's a perk of homeschooling...the flexibility. The goal is to "get 'er done." And sometimes that also means doing so while wearing silly outfits.

It seems I have more of those pictures than any other kind. Should we be embarrassed?
Nah, a sense of humor makes some homeschooling days survivable.
Speaking of humor, Hannah got a real kick out of her reading vocabulary one week. We often talk about "dancing a jig" so when we came upon "jig" in Little Bear, well, she couldn't stop laughing. And we won't even get into goblin. Way to go, Little Bear, in keeping my otherwise uninterested daughter, engaged.
While Hannah is writing definitions of goblins and jigs, Grant has made great progress in writing his letters, and his name.
If anyone has followed this blog for any length of time you may remember our trials with Grant holding his pencil correctly. I am so proud of the progress he's made over the past month. His handwriting and pencil grip has improved leaps and bounds.
Someone who apparently does not share Grant's pencil grip issues is Kate.
However, what they do share is exhaustion after a full day at Classical Conversations on Tuesdays.

 When you have awesome tutors who incorporate Nerf guns with learning about Richard the Lionhearted, well, who wouldn't get worn out from all of that excitement.



Officially teaching two kids this year has had it's kinks to work out. And we're still working them out but I think in a way having two "school aged" kids is a bit easier. When Hannah sees that Grant is working too, she's more apt to dig in. And it provides more structure. Some ask what Kate does during "school." Well, she plays. Thankfully she's very imaginative and enjoys cooking in her kitchen while we work or she'll play with the dollhouse or with her growing collection of baby dolls. Or, like today, she'll have a Dora marathon. Just being honest.
My issues still include being patient. Lots of moms tell me they wouldn't have the patience to homeschool. Well, I don't either. I fail. A LOT. So, I pray, A LOT and I need to pray even more. I had a very bad day with Hannah last week where my patience was gone and my ugliness came out. It's a humbling place to have to repent to your daughter several times during a day/week. I told her I want her to enjoy homeschooling and I know I make it hard for her to do so sometimes.
By God's grace she said, "I do enjoy it."
Bless her.
The Lord teaches me a lot through my way in particular. They are quick to forgive and slow to hold grudges. I could be a monster and in a few short minutes it's as if nothing has happened. May I be quick to forgive and slow to hold grudges. I'm thankful our Lord is slow to anger and abounding in mercy. 
So, in a nutshell, we have our good days, we have our bad days. And the Lord is reminding me that homeschooling my kids is so much more than "hitting the books." It's in those moments when we spend ANOTHER week on the same spelling words because Hannah can't quite get them that the Lord is teaching me about my heart and how to encourage and love her's, even if it means we spend four weeks on one spelling list. This is so much bigger than an education. I pray I would slow down to see that and take the time to invest in my kids' hearts even moreso than their education.