Tuesday, February 28, 2012

she speaks!!!

and of course, we all listen right?

Because if we don't, she just gets louder.  And louder.  AND LOUDER!

And then she bites!  Which is a sure fired way to get anyone's attention I can assure you.

This tiny little LadyBug... soon to be our 2 year old, no longer a baby, LadyBug has started stringing some three word sentences together.

I asked her if she wanted breakfast, and she replied "beech peeze" translated Yes, please.  She climbs up into her big girl chair at the dining table and I head into the kitchen to prepare some breakfast for her.

Toast? "No"  Cereal?  "No".  And then she said it...

"Milk peeze Mumma"

Three words, strung together to form a perfect sentence.  And then repeated a number of times, increasing in volume because apparently you have to say it over and over again to get any kind of service around here!!

And again later, when LadyBug was getting her puzzle all put together, she places the last sheep piece in place and says "Baaaaa.  Did it!"

Just like that.

And you just watch, now we won't be able to get her to stop talking!

Monday, February 27, 2012

maybe God is trying to tell you something?

A scene from a tv show we sat and watched together yesterday plays over and over in her mind...

There seems to be some trouble with the car stereo, so Matt pulls over while his mum (Annie) sets about fixing the loose wires.  A man suddenly appears at the driver side window and robs them at gunpoint.  Annie hands over their money and jewellery and he takes it all and the car keys before fleeing.

But they are safe.  Later in the show they are able to positively identify the assailant, and it's then assumed he is bought to full justice for his crimes.  And although the family are safe and there is no threat at all any of them, LittleBee can't get past the fact that something bad happened to them.  And if something bad can happen to them, it can happen to her.  To us.

As we settle into bed for the night, she replays the scene again and again.  We pray with her and offer her words of comfort which settle her for the time.  She understands that it's fiction, a made up story.  But to her 8 year old mind that doesn't change the fact that it could be real.  She succumbs to a restless sleep.

Then the morning comes.  And the thoughts are still haunting her.  She is afraid of being alone her room.  She is afraid of being alone in the bathroom.  She is afraid to be alone.  Her little sister offers distraction and comfort, and knowing that the front door is locked is a securing thought for her for a while too.

I shared a verse with her as I was trying to comfort her, and entice her back into her room to complete the tasks I had set for her.  It's a verse we often quote when we feel powerless or afraid...

 For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.  2 Timothy 1:7

I explain to her what it means, and she accepts it, although would still much rather not be in her room alone.  A little bit of love and attention and she is alright again.

Driving home from an outing this afternoon, I changed the radio to 89.9 LightFM to catch the end of the news.  The announcer reads out a verse of scripture, as they do every hour.  At that time the verse was 2 Timothy 2:1-7!  God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power.  Of love.  Of sound mind!

"oh I think God is trying to tell you something LittleBee!  Are you listening?"
"yes, well I think I am"

I don't think it was a coincidence that I changed the station this afternoon.  I don't think it was a coincidence that the very same scripture came to mind in speaking with LittleBee earlier in the morning while I was trying to dispel her fears of the "bad" that might happen.  I really do believe that God was trying to comfort her, to remind her that He is there for her even when it's dark, or when she's scared, and that the fear that she was facing is not from God, but that He has filled her with a spirit of power and love.

It made me think of one of my all time favourite movies, "The Colour Purple"... a very emotional and powerful movie.  There's a very moving scene where a daughter reunites with her father after many years and a very disjointed relationship.  I love it when the elderly lady in the church says, "Shhh, let's sing 'God is trying to tell you something'."  I wanted to shout it out to LittleBee and burst into song there in the car, but that's a little dangerous while you are driving on a major highway in the rain!  But, now that I'm home I can rejoice.

I found the clip on Youtube :)  Have a look, and who knows, maybe God is trying to tell you something today.  Are you listening for Him?

Friday, February 17, 2012

little princess conversations

We're having some bed-time dilemmas at the moment with the littlest Girl. She's learned how to climb out of the portacot. I've taken the side off her other cot but that "bet" (bed) is just too fun. I'm typing this listening to her kick the walls from her new sleeping position in LittleBee's room. After fighting with her this afternoon, when it was time for a nap I took her into my bed.....

Me: "come on honey, it's time to lay down and have a nigh-nighs. You're a tired baby and you need a nap."

LadyBug: "nooooooo. I wan dancccce!".

Mumma won this one, even if it meant she fell asleep mid tantrum on my legs!

21 months old and dancing in her sleep?


LittleBee was frantically cleaning her room. We've been talking about this for a little while, and she decided that there was no time like the present to make space for her little sister to sleep in her room. While I'm lying on her bed entertaining LadyBug, I look up at LittleBee...

Me: "oh my you look so big up against your dolls!"

LittleBee: "gee Mum, what did you expect, I'm big now. I'm not a baby anymore! I'm practically as tall as you!"

8 years 5 months and not a baby anymore (apparently)

They're cheeky. They're growing up way to fast. But you gotta love them and their cheeky, girly ways.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

our homeschooling plans...

Our Worldwide ClassroomLinking up with the NBTS Blog Hop...

Sitting down and looking at the "plans" for this year has been a little daunting.  For the past three years we have enjoyed using bjupress home schooling curriculum.  They have an excellent program available, of which we generally use the Math, English, Reading, Spelling, Bible and Science lessons.  It is really colourful and fun for LittleBee and very easy to follow for me, either as I teach straight from the book or use as a platform for our lesson times.

We are waiting to order our curriculum for this year, and as it does come from overseas it costs just that little bit extra.  In the meanwhile though, I have been able to get together a few resources for Math and English skills from Pascal Press.  She has started the Year 4 math book, and Year 3 Handwriting book, as well as a Spelling and Vocabulary book.

These, along with her reading (I think the librarians know her by name now as she has already borrowed and read 7 books this term!) social (weekly outings with other homeschool friends) and sporting activities (gymnastics and swimming) and arts/crafts/home stuff will be enough to keep her busy while we wait for the new curriculum.  (The amount of times I have misspelled curriculum already in this post is astonishing!  I will definitely have it down pat by the end of the post!)

But that's just for now!  As I sat down to think about all the wonderful possibilities ahead for us this year, my head was swimming with ideas.  There is so much that I want to be able to teach LittleBee and so much that I want to experience together with her this year.  I think we are heading in to a very interesting age with LittleBee being 8 and a half too and as eager as she is to learn, I want to be as eager (if not more) to give her all the knowledge that I can.  Here are some of my thoughts on what we might cover this year:

  • Australian History:  I would really love to teach LittleBee all about our country.  We have family in Dunolly, which is in the heart of goldfield country, so I am hoping to do a tour of the region and get a good feel for what life was like here during the Gold Rush.  I want her to learn all about Settlement, the Aborigines and our origins.
  • Sustainable Living:  I have a friend who teaches Sustainable Living to 3rd and 4th graders, and when I found out that it involved keeping chooks and a veggie patch, I got very excited and started dreaming of my very own Sustainable Living program.  We are renting, so we are limited somewhat to what we can grow.  We already have a small patch of land I am trying to get a pumpkin plant to invade, and a number of herb/fruit yielding pots that scatter our yard.  The chooks will be a bit of a bigger issue!  We have a large block here, space therefore is not an issue, just as long as our landlord agrees to us making a few adjustments out back.
  • Arts/Technology: Little Bee has a love of anything that I am doing, so this year I thought it would be a great time to teach her how to sew.  I've asked a friend of hers to join in with us, and starting in Term 2 I will be teaching them sewing basic projects such as tote bags, aprons and simple dresses, and then work up to doing a quilting project.

    I have a photography program that we will get started on in Term 3, which will teach her how to get the most of her camera, and also how to edit the photos on the computer.  We are going to be incorporating both arts and computer skills into her report writing and creative writing throughout the year too, and hopefully start making some of her own films with the photos she takes.
  • Language: This one I am very excited about.  MrDadda has Indonesian heritage, and I have always wanted for us to learn Bahasa.  We will use the Indonesian this online program along with Languages online and these funky flashcards.  LittleBee's Pappa (MrDadda's daddy) will hopefully be on hand this year to assist in our language development too.  I am hoping to have lessons once a week using these resources, and of course it will mean a number of trips to Indonesian restaurants to learn more about (indulge ourselves in...) Indonesian cuisine.

Phew... I'm excited!  And I know that LittleBee is excited too.  Now to place our curriculum order (spelled it right the first time! yay for me) and get ready for a wonderful year ahead.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Not Back to School Blog Hop ~ Meet the Students

Our Worldwide Classroom

Joining in the Not Back to School Blog Hop.  This is my first real go at a blog hop.  I'm pretty excited to be able to share our homeschooling adventure, and also to see and share in how other remarkable families embrace education at home.

We're entering into our fourth year of homeschooling!  We loved the first two years of school.  ABC's and 123's were very fun to both teach and learn.  Now that our Oldest student is fluently reading, we have been diving into all sorts of literature, and having my own knowledge of a variety of subjects challenged.  I'm looking forward to seeing what we learn this year, and how our precious girls will grow.

In our little corner of the globe, in a little house nestled in a tree lined semi-rural street, you will find our "school".   And today, I'd like to introduce you to our very special students!

LittleBee ~ 8years 5 months
LittleBee, aged 8.  Favourite colour is purple.  Loves all things girly and sparkly!

This photo of our big girl was taken on our first day of 'school' last Monday.  She's sitting at the computer trying to concentrate on her math game.

LittleBee is in third grade this year.  She really enjoys doing Math and just loves reading.  She almost always has her head in a book.  LittleBee also loves doing art and science kind of projects, anything that she can do with her hands and create something is a favourite.  She loves dancing and singing and just being a fun 8 year old girl.

I asked her what her favourite thing about homeschooling is and she replied: "that would be math, oh and umm, that I get to go places on school days and I get to see my family everyday."

LadyBug ~ 1year 9 months

LadyBug, 21months old.  Loves play dough, eating biscuits and dancing.

LadyBug is adventurous and outgoing to say the least.  She seems intent on filling every moment of her day with fun and mischief.  So far her favourite part of being involved in our home school family is climbing into LittleBee's lap while she is trying to read, write, type, draw, colour, research, or well just about anything that she is trying to do for school.

Welcome to our school!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

an ordinary saturday morning at our place

LittleBee quietly tiptoes into our room.  Though it is still dark it feels like it's only 5am, but there is a slight opening in the curtains allowing the morning sun to peak through.  Thankfully it's not 5am.  The clock announces it is a little after 7am!  And it's Saturday!

LittleBee heads straight for LadyBug's cot, where it seems that she is standing, silently, watching her big sister to see if she will come to her rescue.  LittleBee lifts her little sister out of her bed, and plonks her straight on to my bladder!

"Good morning"

 "mawnin"  LadyBug parrots her sister.

It must be time to get up.  Sigh.  FatherBear groans and rolls over to avoid the mischief and mayhem two energetic little bodies bring to the morning bed.

Mumma is up... the cat knows it.  He's crying for food.

Mumma is up... now the dog knows it.  He's scratching to get outside.

And as I snuggle into the couch with a hot coffee, the Girls find me out!  I can hear them coming through the house... "let's find Mumma."  Giggle, giggle, giggle.

We sit and watch Jakers, and Shaun the Sheep, before I declare the words which make the Girls squeal with delight...


Saturday mornings have been declared pancake day by LittleBee.  I'm sure if it was up to the girls we would have pancakes EVERY day, but I managed to talk them into one day a week.  I love making them for breaky.  I have found a wonderful recipe from VeganYumYum (click here for original recipe) which accommodates LadyBug's egg and dairy intolerances.  And it is amazing.  I don't use spelt flour, unless I have it on hand.  And today I used self raising flour because that's what I had too.  They turned out very fluffy, just the way we like them!

While the griddle is searing hot, and I ladle the batter carefully, once then twice, I have a quick thought come over me... where is LadyBug and why is she so quiet?  I know that LittleBee is busy setting the table, although she races past me once or twice to do other, more fun things.  I glance behind me to find our little princess perched tiptoed on a little step, hands deep into the warm dish water trying her hardest to mimic what she sees me do countless times a day!

The table is set and the pancakes are consumed.  One more thing to finish off our perfect breakfast.... hot tea!

The rest of the morning flies by.  We clean up.  We brush our teeth and hair and get dressed for the day.  There is swimming, and shopping, and before we know it, the morning is over, and the rest of the day lays in wait.

I'm sure that LittleBee is already counting down the days until Pancake day is here again.... 7 more sleeps!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

first day of school ~ homeschool style

Monday 6th February, 2012 ~ first day of grade 3 for LittleBee

Sleep in til 8:30am!  Oops!

Swimming lessons with LadyBug start at 9am, so I frantically run around trying to find bathers etc, get myself and baby dressed in swim gear and fly out the door yelling instructions to LittleBee to start getting herself ready for the day too!

LittleBee probably has breakfast, gets dressed and makes bed etc interspersed with bouts of reading her library books... but to her credit she is all ready when we return home from swimming at 10am

At which time LadyBug and I eat breakfast while LittleBee starts her math work.

Normal household duties resume after breakfast... cleaning, showering, dressing the baby etc.  And LadyBug keeps on doing her math.

From my room I can hear LittleBee teaching LadyBug... "let's count the pens, ready... one, two, three" and LadyBug parrots in her jibberish.

I come out of my room now that I'm all showered and dressed to find the school room littered with toys, pencils and paper... and LadyBug "helping" LittleBee do her math!

Needless to say that the two allocated pages of math did take some time to get finished, but she got there eventually.  LittleBee was thrilled to be able to play some math computer games and then have lunch!

LadyBug goes off to bed after lunch at 1pm, leaving LittleBee (mainly) distraction free to do her handwriting exercises.  When that is all done, it's time to do a report on a trip she took with her grandparents over the school holidays to Werribee Open range Zoo.  That means sitting at the table writing down her plan, and getting on the computer to put it all together.

3:30pm, report is completed.

4:00pm we are sitting in a booth at Cones N Candy enjoying ice creams and some fun family time together.

Welcome to homeschool 2012!

playground adventures

The summer school holidays were mere days from being over, and the weather had been mighty warm in the week prior.  We had been spending a lot of hours indoors at home, waiting for the piercing sun to start it's decent into evening before being able to head outside for playtime.  On this day though, it was perfect!  Crisp blue skies, dotted with streaks of perfect white clouds.  A perfect day for a trip to the local playground with friends to see what sort of mischief we could get up to.  

We found ourselves staying with our friends, helping out and having fun.  Sadly, my friend needed to spend the day at work preparing for the new school year, but I was (gladly) able to accompany two of her gorgeous kids to the park for some adventure in the sun!  *nb Master K was with us during this trip to the playground, but he spent the whole time we were there on his scooter... and he is just too fast for me to photograph him!

Let the adventures begin...

LadyBug just loves a good playground.  She is quite the adventurous toddler, racing from one thing to the next.  If she's not trying to climb up the steepest slide, she's standing on the seesaw!  
Can I go on that one now, please?

LittleBee and Miss A really enjoy taking LadyBug around the playground, especially when it came to the double slide.  I had a split second to take this photo before LadyBug lead the way down the slide!  The two older girls took time out of their busy play schedule to teach LadyBug how to use the water fountain, and as you can see, she was mesmerised!

ready... set... 

A lesson learned the hard way:  don't walk under the swing when your big sister is in mid swing.  She won't see you and you will end up being knocked over and bump your head on the ground.  Thankfully it was just a surface graze and had healed quickly.

Do you think all that playing has exhausted them and they need to literally carry each other home?  Nah, they are just two gorgeous best friends, who love spending time together.
best friends forever

Thursday, February 2, 2012

the "firsts" are far from over

I thought the "firsts" were over.

The first day without him. The realisation that he wasn't coming home. The first week. I remember for a time that everyday at 1:30pm my heart would sink within me, as if even the clock was willing that I should remember his time of death and be pierced all over again.

The first Christmas.

Hearing a new baby cry for the first time, and remembering that was the one sound I desperately wanted you to make.

Celebrating the first birthday.

The "firsts" have swiftly melted into the seconds, the thirds, and on and on as the years have continued to go by.

I really thought we were through that. Over the emotional hurdles that face us day after day and year after year as we live our lives without our son.

Until I leapt eyes on a handsome little boy all dressed up in his brand new uniform ready for his first day at school. He looked simply adorable.

This little bloke is only about 6 months older than Oliver would be, and I guess I never realised that he has been like a point of reference for me since losing Oliver.

So his cheeky little smile in his sweet uniform and there it was... it would be Oliver's first day too.

I'd be dusting off the K-5 curriculum and setting out the workbooks. We'd be getting his own little workspace ready. LittleBee would be buzzing around him wanting to teach him all the things she learned with the same fun books. I can just see LadyBug stealing his pencils and running away with them, while no doubt I would be struggling to keep Oliver seated long enough to concentrate on the first lesson.

My heart sinks a little more tonight as I contemplate another phase of our lifetime without our boy to share these memories with. Yes it seems that the "firsts" are far from over.

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