Decisions on Schooling

Friday, February 27

One of the biggest things that has been on the discussion table for the past few weeks years is schooling for Avelyn. In NY schooling is not mandatory until the child is 6 years of age before December 1st. Last month we received the letters from our local school regarding Kindergarten enrollment and knew it was time to make a decision.

It was not an easy decision, as neither answer {homeschooling or public school} is without pros and cons. Matt and I literally sat down one Saturday afternoon and weighed every option and discussed the entire thing for 2 hours…I’m not kidding.

We talked about the logistics of schooling with a newborn and the triplets, from having the time to homeschooling, to getting Avelyn there and back every day for public schooling. We talked about what is best for her and her personality, what is best for me and my personality, and our personalities together. We talked about the monetary cost of homeschooling and the other costs of public schooling. It was not a decision that was reached lightly.

The biggest fact that made the decision somewhat easier to make, is that whatever we decided doesn’t have to be permanent. We’re not committing to anything for the next 12 years. We’re making a decision for this year, for one child. That’s it. Talk about taking a weight off your shoulders.

So what did we actually decide?

For this year, we’ll be homeschooling 1st grade.

This past school year we did a lot with ABCMouse.com and working on our own learning and LOTS of reading. I’ve compared what Avelyn is able to do with what is the requirements for Kindergarten in our area, and for the most part she’s spot on, and we still have 3 months of this “school year” to accomplish things.

The other part of the discussion was since we have decided to homeschool what are we teaching, what curriculum will we be using. My sister was homeschooled {I was not}, so I’m a bit more aware of the whole thing than most beginners {but not by much}. My mom always pulled together her own curriculums, but always enjoyed Sonlight for their reading and book lists. Last year I had purchased a bunch of the recommended readings for Avelyn for Preschool/Kindergarten and we’ve loved them all.

Matt and I checked out Sonlight’s catalog and were beyond impressed with the whole curriculum for 6 year olds {which Avelyn will be}. We also felt that this being our first year, with a newborn, and triplets, that having a whole curriculum and lessons planned out for us was our best bet. I just don’t know how much time I would have to figure out what we need to learn and a schedule; this will free me up to focus on what needs to be accomplished and give me a format to do it in.

Of course, I still have another 5 months to sit here and deliberate and hem-and-haw about the decision and whether we’re doing the right thing, but that’s just me. Deep down, I know, and Matt and I agree this is the best decision for us, for now. For right now, this is where we’re feeling our family to be led and knowing that God has it all in His hands, regardless of where our children are schooled.

Here’s to starting homeschooling in September!

Sonlight Blog Party

W.I.P. Wednesday

Wednesday, February 25

It’s done! Finished the baby quilt that I’ve been working on for the past few weeks! Yay! Of course I ran out of all my label making supplies; so, I gave the quilt, then asked for it back so that I could finish the label…classy. IMG_8081

We even had a sunny day so that I could take it outside to get some pictures! I did decide that sitting on the floor pinning quilts isn’t going to be happening much longer, so I need to get a move on and get these other 2 baby quilts finished so that I don’t have to.

IMG_7746Always doing some stretching while working on a quilt…IMG_7758

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I always love a quilt that comes entirely out of my stash of fabric, which this one did. I had it all sitting there, just waiting to be pulled together, and it pulled together quite nicely. I’m loving the shots of orange!

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Since this quilt is done, I started working on my next quilt or at least buying the fabric for it.

I was perusing FatQuarterShop.com the one day an found the absolutely most perfect line of fabric Folklore by Heather Rosas for Camelot Cotton. It was so perfect that I just HAD to get it; Matt agreed. I love it so much, that I may just have to buy a few yards of the red, so that I can make the girls some skirts or dresses from it.

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I’m actually planning on repeating a quilt I’ve made before, the first quilt I made. I think the pattern is going to be perfect for it. When I made it the first time, it was a bit of a struggle, so I’m curious to see if my skills have advanced over the past 5 years. I am going with the original pattern, so it won’t have the extra borders on it.

I haven’t had much time to actually sew lately: I’ve been working on a project in the mudroom {more on that soon….I’m hoping to finish the project this weekend} and suddenly a couple of little boys don’t always want to take a nap.

How’s your Wednesday going?

**Linking up with FreshlyPieced.com

A Few Words on What’s Been Going On

Monday, February 23

There’s this little detail about having things to share with you…it means I actually have to do things. For the past few weeks, I’ve been working on a baby quilt, but honestly I’ve just been exhausted. Fortunately, we figured out one of the reasons why I’m exhausted. Besides growing a person, I’m severely Vitamin D deficient. Normal is between 30-100, I’m a 17. Yea. Not good. I was trying to figure out how the heck I could be Vitamin D deficient, when I realized that for almost 2 years I haven’t been out of my house.IMG_7680

Now, before you think I’m some weirdo that never goes outside….We went from last winter, which was long and cold, to living in my in-laws basement, to moving back into our home {and working on projects INSIDE}, to this winter, which is long and cold. The last time I was outside with any regularity was the summer of 2013. Pathetic. Fortunately, my mom also has issues with her Vitamin D, so she gave me what I need to take.

Interestingly enough, one of the side effects of Vitamin D deficient, besides tiredness, is that your body pretty much needs it to do anything. Great! So the cold I wasn’t able to really kick for almost 2 months {a slightly scratchy throat lingered}, is now finally gone. I’m getting things done around the house: Trying to completely some of the bigger to-dos on our list, before baby arrives.

I did finish that baby quilt, the first one I’ve stitched in over a year, we’ve been working on our mudroom and master bathroom, and I’ve got the fabric lined up for another baby quilt. I feel productive. Now, mind you, I’m still rather tired, but I at least feel like starting projects…which is a good thing. I actually had the motivation to reorganize our pantry!

I have to say though…I love winter. I love snow. I love the cold….it’s the only time of the year that I can literally breath freely {heat and humidity do not agree with me} and I feel like there’s a good reason to be curled up with a book. After this whole Vitamin D thing, I’m honestly ready to have some sunshine on a regular basis!

Despite the “norm” of life for us, we also have several other projects in the works, that are taking up some of my brain power. I’m hoping I’ll be able to share more on them in the next month or so. Right now, we’re just trying to get through most days without the kids going completely batty, which I think may be a lost cause at this point.

How have you been managing this winter?
FYI: If you feel a lack of energy and like you’re unable to get/stay healthy, give your doctor a call about having your Vitamin D levels checked.

Surviving the First Year: Helpful Tips from a Mama of Triplets plus One
{4 kids 2 and under}

Tuesday, February 10

I’ve never given much thought to what things helped us get through having a {newly} 2 year old and triplets {besides God}, but there was a lot of things that made that first year more bearable. I pestered Matt to help me think of the things that we did to help us survive. Most of them were pretty straight forward and easy to implement {we didn’t have a lot of excess income and lofty ambitions during that time…and still don’t}.

Surviving the First Year Helpful Tips from a Mama of Triplets plus One {4 kids 2 and under}

1. Ditch the Diaper Bag

Even before the triplets were born, I knew that my super-cute Vera Bradley diaper bag, was just not going to cut it. We had 4 kids in diapers…cloth diapers. The space alone was lacking, never mind having no free hands. I pulled out the LL Bean Deluxe backpack that I purchased before heading off to college and started using that….oh my goodness! So much easier! It was so great, that we bought a second one, to keep stocked in case we had appointments or what-have-you with only a couple of the kids.

2. Put the seat down

I am still {almost 4 years later} mourning the loss of my beloved Honda CRV, but logistically it had to go: There was no choice but to get a minivan. Through a series of divine events we found our van and it was perfect. The big thing that I wanted was to fit all the car seats {for the triplets} in the back row, so that we could keep 1 captain’s chair down…we did. Keeping that seat down has been an incredible life {and back} saver. We didn’t have to hump around the inside of a car with kids in infant car seats. {I’m honestly not looking forward to putting up that seat in order to fit Number 5, this summer, but until we get another vehicle we’ll manage}.

3. Evening showers

I know a lot of people can’t wake up until they shower in the morning. I’d love to say I get that, but I don’t drink coffee either. In college I had started showering in the evenings to kill time, before Matt and I could chat on AOL Instant Messenger {does anyone else miss AIM?!} The easiest thing for us, was evening showers.

We could either peacefully shower once the kids were in bed, or we could do family showers, when one of us would get in and pass a baby back and forth for their bath time. Oh the pictures I wish I had! We’d line all the babies up on the floor of the bathroom and spend 30 minutes getting everyone clean. It’s still my favorite way to bath babies.
Life Saving Tips from a Mama of A LOT OF LITTLES {4 kids 2 and under} @LifeintheWhiteHouse.com
4. TV

I hate to say it, but between Avelyn and me…TV was a life saver. To the point that Avelyn was speaking with a British accent from watching Kipper. That’s just what happens when you have 3 babies born in the winter and a little that’s still too little to go outside {or anywhere} alone.
For me…I spent a lot of time sitting on the couch doing feedings. The TV kept me company. Matt was working full time on the route and needed to sleep. I would stay up until 1am or so for the last feeding then go to bed. I wish I had a picture of that too…me sitting on the couch feeding all 3 babies at once.

5. Easy meals

I did not have lofty meal ambitions that year. I honestly couldn’t tell you what we ate, because it was non-remarkable. We had 2 or 3 meals delivered by people, and my parents sent leftovers and meals when they could. We did what we had to.  I don’t remember us starving and we didn’t prep months of freezer meals in advance {and there is no take-out where we live}. We had good food in the house and ate what we had on hand.

6. Minimal outings

When I say we didn’t go anywhere that first year…I mean we didn’t go ANYWHERE! Between my mom and Matt’s mom I was able to go grocery shopping, while leaving everyone home. Our biggest outing during that year was going to Hershey Park to see Matt’s family {the triplets were 8 months old} and it went better than I thought it would. Other than that we didn’t go out. {The other thing was that it was exhausting to try going out, between the looks, comments, and questions}.Life Saving Tips from a Mama of A LOT OF LITTLES {4 kids 2 and under} @LifeintheWhiteHouse.com
7. Quad stroller

The one thing we did do, was go for walks…once we had a quad stroller. Another triplet-mama from our area gave us a quad stroller they had picked up years before at a yard sale and we made it work until the seats literally broke. The only way we got out of the house was with the quad stroller, whether it was for a walk around the corner or out in the yard. The stroller at least gave me a way, by myself, to move all of the kids around outside at once.

8. Baby wearing

When the triplets were very little one of them would always be awake and wanting to be held. The easiest way to handle that was to put them in my Moby wrap and go. There were even times when Avelyn needed a little cuddle and she would go in there so that I could get things done around the house.

9. Easy access

Once the babies were home our house was taken over by the things we had for them. Our living room became baby central: We had a pack n’ play {changing table attached} with a shelf above it for clothes, diapers and other necessities, three swings and three bouncies. We removed all unnecessary furniture {coffee tables, end tables, etc} and did everything possible to keep things on hand and enough space for Avelyn too. Now, before you think we have a huge living room…the whole room is 12x13, if that. Not very big at all, but it worked!
Life Saving Tips from a Mama of A LOT OF LITTLES {4 kids 2 and under} @LifeintheWhiteHouse.com
10. Low key wardrobes

I was looking back at pictures a few weeks ago, from 2012-2013, and it struck me that almost all the pictures of the kids had them in PJs. At first I thought “wow, way to go mom”…boy I was lazy. Then I thought about it. It was winter, it was cold, we didn’t go anywhere, it was that much less laundry to do and it made the day a lot easier. Avelyn was always dressed to the Nines, when you have one baby that’s ok to do; when you have 3 babies and a 2 year old and you don’t honestly care, it’s OK.
Which brings me to the next thing.

11. A LOT OF GRACE

There was a lot of grace during that time. It was hard…I think I forget just how hard it was, because you just did what you had to. There were 4 kids clamoring for your attention and requiring it for their survival; there never was a choice to just not do it. There were temper tantrums and melt downs {by mommy}, but we got through them. Most everything on this list, was our way of showing grace to ourselves, by not putting lofty expectations over our heads and only doing what we needed to care for these little blessings.
Life Saving Tips from a Mama of A LOT OF LITTLES {4 kids 2 and under} @LifeintheWhiteHouse.com