Hello, January

Watch out World, I finally discovered I can narrate blog posts into my phone whilst doing something else! This is how it works. I'm currently narrating into my Notes app while driving to the gym (don't worry, it's hands-free with the little microphone on my earbuds). When I get to the gym I have a big mess of a paragraph with no punctuation, but the bones are there, and I edit while I ride the stationary bike. Multi-tasking at its finest! No, I don't get as good of a workout in while tapping on my phone, but what can I say, blogging is worth it to me.

I've been meaning to write another old-fashioned blog post like this for a couple months, but it just doesn't seem to get done between figuring out how to take care of all five kids while homeschooling, so this is my solution for now. 

Back To School

Speaking of homeschooling, as of the second week of January we started school again for the first time since Georgie was born. Five days a week until the end of May will get all of our required days in before summer. That seems pretty good to me considering I took two months off for "maternity leave". I find myself putting a lot more effort and creativity into homeschooling the last couple weeks, more than I did last fall. I think I underestimated the amount of energy that being pregnant took out of me at the start of the year. Even though I have a newborn now, I feel like I'm able to put so much more into our days without getting worn out.

I shared my homeschool bullet journal on Instagram last week (don't worry if you missed it, I will have a blog post about my homeschool bullet journal in the months to come once I refine my process a bit more). So far this method is working like a charm! I really love keeping track of what we're doing this way, and I'm finding it really motivating to write down everything with my highlighting method to make sure we're getting a good variety of subjects in each week. Some homeschool moms really seem to thrive on a weekly schedule for different subjects, but I am doing better with just having weekly goals for our subjects and squeezing them in wherever it happens to work for that week. We've accomplished so much more with this flexible method than we did when I was trying to schedule our whole week out.

Family Outings And My Toy Strategy
Let's see, what else? We've had some fun weekends so far this January. We took a weekend road trip into the mountains and did a short hike with the kids. It was freezing cold, but I tucked Georgie into my Solly wrap, and she was asleep within two minutes, despite my frozen fingers.  It was nice to get outside. It's so beautiful in the mountains, even in the winter. 

We also took a trip to the stock show on MLK Jr. Day. The stock show is a family tradition going back to when I was a kid myself. It's fun to take the kids now and show them all the animals and wander through all the vendors together (and sometimes go to a rodeo, though not this year). We ended up getting the kids some really sturdy metal toys so they can set up their own little ranch. The set was expensive, but it came with a tractor and three trailers, and fence pieces that fit together, and a cow. The kids have been playing with it nonstop since we got it. We feel a little sheepish for spending so much on it right after Christmas, but this is a toy set that will last through all our kids, and probably even until we have grandkids. It's also an easy set to add to, which is something I'm working toward with the kids' toy collections. I don't know about you, but I really don't like getting random little toys for the kids that will break two months down the road.  I'm trying to narrow all the kids' toys down to a few categories that can be added to - like this ranch set, Legos, pieces to the boys' train set, Calico Critters, and eventually Barbies (yes, I'm getting my girls Barbies - I'm not one of those anti-Barbie people).

A New Bible Study
In more recent news, we did try a Community Bible Study in our area this week. When I was a child we went to our local CBS for years.  In case you might have forgotten, I was homeschooled from fourth grade through high school. CBS was one of the ways we got in our social interaction and Bible curriculum (all at once!). I have so many fond memories of those Bible study days, and I am still in touch with some of the friends I met then.

So I have known for a while that I wanted to get involved again when my kids reached grade school. I decided now was the time. On Wednesday we tried it out, and the kids LOVED it.  It was so cute to hear them talking in the backseat on the drive home, all about the Bible lesson, and what they played in the gym, and the snacks they had. I was also surprised when I went into the sanctuary for the concluding lecture to see Clyde, onstage, dressed in a furry robe. He was acting out John the Baptist for all the moms!  He was waving at me and blowing kisses. That's Clyde for you, my little extrovert! I am looking forward to next week.

This is where I would normally start talking books (because when do I NOT feel like blabbing about what I'm reading?), but I have an entire post waiting in my drafts about my reading plans for the year. I am hoping to have a little blogging time in the morning on Saturday (Derek is so sweet and lets me escape to the coffee shop every now and then).  I have several posts in the works, which makes me want to ask a weird question: which post should I try to get up next week?  My blogging time these days is limited. I'll let you all choose, if you have an opinion...you can help me prioritize!

What I'm Drinking: Coffee with Southern Butter Pecan creamer (because I forgot I was supposed to bring it to our mom's group yesterday - whoops).

What are you drinking on this fine Friday morning?  How is your January going so far?
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Angi said...

Calico Critters! I've been eyeing those toys and I can't wait until Imogen is old enough to play with things like that. I'm with you on quality toys that will last. We've bought her a few cheaper things just because she's little and it's fine, but we try to stick to mostly good quality wooden toys that will last through however many kids we have, at least. Plus, friends and relatives do all the cheaper toy/stuffed animal buying so that category is pretty much covered.

My sister and I were homeschooled for most of our school years, too, and my mom always enrolled us in homeschool groups and things like that. I didn't think of it at the time, of course, but as an adult I so appreciate her finding ways to keep us involved in things outside the home so we didn't get too cooped up. Plus, I have friends from those years that I still talk to, 20-some years later. It's a complete myth that all homeschooled kids are anti-social and have no friends!

Rachel said...

I so love classic toys, like the metal set you described or wooden toys for babies. My grandma still has a lot of my dad's old toys from childhood, so we grew up playing with "Lone Ranger" cowboy action figures and building sets whenever we visited her house. I haven't bought any toys for baby boy, though just last week I spotted some wooden toys that were adorable and was sorely tempted!

blessingsandlilacs said...

Southern Butter Pecan is my fave!

Elizabeth said...

That's cool that you can narrate posts! When I used to blog a lot I would make a whole outline while commuting and then it would be really easy to type it up when I got home. I actually prefer that to typing on my phone, still haven't really figured out how to do that. My kids have a ton of toys due to grandparents, but I do try to add on to existing sets so that we can do more with them. And my son is quite the collector so he is into that, too. As far as your last questions, I treat myself to caffeine in the morning, so a nice cup of black tea brewed correctly, or the occasional cup of hot chocolate. For January I've been trying to troubleshoot my sleeping schedule, hoping to have more energy during the day, particularly during the dark winter days. But my 1 yr old is in sleep regression so that's frustrating.

Callie said...

Yes, I love the sturdier wooden or metal toys! You will probably get a ton of the cheaper plastic toys for gifts too once your little guy grows, and then you'll appreciate the sturdy ones even more. Toys break so easy these days!

Callie said...

Calico Critters are so cute! I wish their houses were a little bit sturdier though. I want Derek to make the girls a wooden house for them!

I didn't know you were homeschooled too! How cool! So true, I think most homeschooled kids are socialized quite well, and probably even more today than back then! I appreciate my mom so much more now too, especially when it comes to the effort she put into homeschooling and everything. It's so much easier now than it was when she started!

Callie said...

It's so good!

Callie said...

Ugh, I hate the sleep regressions! Yes, narrating posts is so nice! I HATE typing on my phone, so narrating is the only way I can get any blogging stuff done on the go!

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