Kindergarten has begun!

kindy
We officially began our kindergarten year on August 3rd, so we’re going on week four even though schools in the area began their year yesterday. So far, it’s been going really well. J is loving and thriving in our curricula choices for the year, and he looks forward to our 45 minutes of school each day. We actually only do Monday through Thursday with only our main curriculum on Friday. Yet, he asks each weekend to “do school,” as well. Even though it can be tricky with the distracting 3 year old and demanding newborn, I’m really enjoying that special time with him. It does us both a lot of good to have that intentional time.

Our plan for each day begins with our main curriculum, Build Your Library Kindergarten, and then we go through a rotation of the remaining curricula until the 45 minutes is up. We have a chart posted, so he’s able to follow and knows what to expect and what is coming up. He currently always anxiously awaits doing math and a kiwi crate ūüôā

Our Curriculum Choices: Kindergarten

I’m looking forward to what the next year brings and to see how much he grows!

Review: Math-U-See Primer

20150716_121832Yesterday, I broke the news to J that it was his last lesson in the Primer level of Math-U-See. I thought he’d be excited, but he got really upset about it! I think that speaks to the program quite a bit. He’s really enjoyed working through each lesson and looks forward to completing all of the worksheets. I was a little concerned that it would be too “workbook” for him, but he loves it. He doesn’t use the blocks as much as I thought he would, but he knows that they’re there when he needs them. A lot of the skills in Primer were just review for him, but he had no issue picking up the new skills. We now have a child who can tell time, and he’s so proud of himself! I’ve been really impressed by how the program introduces everything and feel very confident that we’ll be sticking with Math-U-See for awhile.

I showed J the Alpha books, and he wasn’t upset about being done with Primer anymore! He especially loved that the’re green! We won’t be starting it for a few weeks, but it’s ready to go! The Primer books are all put away waiting for the day G is ready for them, and I know he’s going to love it, as well.

 

Our Newest Student

justbornOn June 24th at 10:07am after 16 hours of active labor, 29 hours after the initial stages of my water breaking, Baby Girl K arrived into our family with lots of dark brown hair!

kara'sbirth She came much earlier than anticipated, but she was welcomed at home in a wonderful, yet intense, water birth. It was quite the mind game to labor for so much longer than I had planned on (her labor was more than twice as long as both of her brothers’ births combined, and that’s just considering active labor!) and was exhausting since it occurred mainly overnight. In the end, I got a beautiful daughter out of it, and we couldn’t be more infatuated with her! She was a tiny thing at only 5lbs, but she’s a great nurser and has far surpassed her birth weight at 2 weeks old. Her brothers are loving having her here and constantly want to hold, kiss and talk to her. She prefers to sleep with lots of noise, so it’s been a great match with these three!¬†boys

Over the last two weeks, we’ve settled in quite nicely to our new family of five. Jony begins working again this next week, so we’ll start to get our true taste of real life with three kids. If baby girl remains as sweet as she has been, it should be a relatively seamless transition!

Zoofari!

zoofari2

It was a hot and exhausting week, but J loved his experience at Zoo camp (or Zoofari) this week! We’re no strangers to the zoo, but we rarely catch any of the shows or special exhibits that may be put on while we’re there. While the kids are still pretty young, we keep it low key. Needless to say, J got to do it all this week, and it really gave him a different perspective about the zoo! I’m pretty jealous, actually! Each day was three hours long, and he got to see different animals around the zoo, have an animal encounter, and even a snack/some crafting time. He was able to see a show about sea lions, elephants, rhinos, and gorillas (maybe even more? It’s hard to get too much out of a five year old). He fed the giraffes, which was his favorite thing the entire week. He got to play in the petting zoo and ride the carousel. He met and touched a snake, tarantula, and an armadillo. Basically, he had a great time. He really looked forward to going every day, and the zoo has it down to a science. If it weren’t for parking being so chaotic, it would have been an A+ camp. Even still, I give it an A. J is super sad that it’s over and is already talking about going next year and taking G with him (since they can start attending at 4)!zoofari1One of my favorite parts of Zoofari? On Thursday, J and I had a special mommy/son date day. I took him to swim team practice and we went to the chiropractor, but then we had lunch together and rode the train before dropping him off. I don’t get that much solo time with my oldest, so it was fun to have good quality time before little sister shows up.

zoofari3

Good-bye, Pre-k!

The “official” 2014-15 school year is over, so our first year of homeschooling has come to a close! Although we’re continuing on a year-round basis for what works for us, especially with a baby coming next month, we’re still going to be sticking with the grade labels on the public school side. Therefore, J has now graduated to Kindergarten!

This pre-K year was a big risk for us; it was basically us deciding if this was the lifestyle that we wanted and could handle. It went far better than we expected, and we’ve been far happier being outside the school schedule than when we were in it for J’s preschool years! There are definitely days when I would be glad to be rid of them, but it’s usually G that I’d prefer to ship off for the day than the older one! Overall, it’s been a great year. I’m really looking forward to the year ahead. Being in Kindergarten doesn’t really change much around the house, but it does open a lot of opportunities for him around the city. I’m certain we’re going to get more clicked in to our local homeschool community than we already are, and we’re all excited about that.

Taking a look at what our¬†Yearly Goals¬†for this past year, it’s exciting to see how far we’ve come.

My goals: I’m certain that patience will forever be at the top of my list, but I don’t think I did TOO terribly with it this year. My biggest struggle was organization and staying in a routine that works for all of us, but we have managed to find something that works right now. I’d like to think that the majority of the issue was the pregnancy, so we’ll see what happens next year. J has requested more routine, and I think we’ve figured out a way to make it work for both (all) of us. Again, this pregnancy forced me to stay in the present much more than I likely would have if it hadn’t forced me to slow down/stop altogether. I can for sure get caught up in planning, but I wasn’t really allowed to do so this past year since I had so many set-backs!

J’s Goals:

  • learn to read at a basic level-¬†check!
  • read a clock/tell time –check!
  • ride his bike without training wheels¬†– we haven’t really worked on this at all, so it moves to a summer goal!
  • write both uppercase and lowercase letters with ease, as well as numbers 0-9-¬†he has his mix ups every now and then, but I’d still say that he has reached this goal, as well
  • continue to work on sharing (especially with G) and other similar virtues¬†– he’s pretty good at this, I will say. It will, however, forever be on his goals list most likely!
  • tie his shoes on his own¬†-haven’t worked on this at all. His feet are still small enough for velcro, so we haven’t had to deal with this yet
  • regulate his impulses and activity level¬†– a constant progress for J
  • to find new interests and passions and build upon current ones– I’d say he found a passion in dinosaurs, so check!

G’s Goals:

  • recognize all the letters in the alphabet and numbers 0-9 –¬†check!
  • work on small motor skills in preparation for writing-¬†check! He’s even writing some of the easier letters
  • continue to increase vocabulary¬†– check!
  • find interests of his own apart from what J is interested in¬†– He’s definitely become more independent this past year, but I feel like this will always be a struggle for both of them since they’re so close. He, however, is not as into dinosaurs as J is!

 

G is three!

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Yesterday, my littlest boy turned three years old. I keep flipping between thinking it’s crazy that he’s so old already and trying to remember what our life was like before him (and, mostly, failing). He’s been a force to be reckoned with since his birth day and has always done things on his own terms. He is most definitely our dramatic child (for now, at least; this one inside me seems like she may give him a battle on that!), but he is spunky, goofy and hilarious. He loves to sing and requests songs constantly. Luckily, his brother likes to oblige him on this some to give my (not great) singing lungs a break. Trains are his favorite, and he has a strong preference for the color yellow. His big brother is his absolute favorite person ever, followed closely by his daddy. I may fit in third, but that will change soon as he is SO excited about having a little sister. He squeals with delight whenever he sees a baby girl and tells them/their mommies that he’ll have one of his very own soon. It’ll be sweet to see his affectionate side really come out to play when there’s a new baby in the house. He’s super energetic, as is the Hammond way, and is constantly on the move. Intelligence isn’t lacking in him, either; he knows the alphabet, can count to 20, and is even putting the correct sounds for letters together. He’ll tell anyone who asks that he loves “school” since he always sits and tries to participate in whatever J is doing, but his favorite activities involve meeting friends to run and play.

 

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Disregard how terrible I look; it’s proof that I’m 6 months pregnant!

Only one other person can drive me as crazy as G can, but I absolutely adore my little bug. Every year, we cuddle up and take a picture together at the exact time he was born (4:20pm is what we decided upon that day) in the exact location in which he was born. I love sitting there and reminiscing about his birth story and remarking how much he’s grown. Here’s to a great year three!

Under Construction: Paint!

paint

 

Our bedroom now looks more like a bedroom than a construction zone. We went with Behr Relaxed Blue for our paint color, and I’m in love with it. It’s just the right mixture of light/dark, and it works so well with the lighting we have in the room. Trim took awhile to get back up, and you can see that we haven’t gotten the crown moulding finished up just yet. When that is complete, they’re will be no more big construction projects in the actual room! We’ll move on to decorating and the closet. The fan is fully installed again, outlets are all finished up and we got our new blinds put in. Those things really brought on a finished look, and it’s so exciting to look in there and imagine how far we’ve come!

Jony has started another few weeks of heavy travel, so it’ll be sad to see the progress slow down so significantly. We’re starting to feel a bit of crunch time stress with the due date quickly sneaking up on us, since we have a few other projects we want done before she arrives. Luckily, we’re getting closer to the stage where I take on most of the heavy lifting, so to speak. I’m all over Pinterest and Etsy looking for ideas on how to spruce our space up! We’ve compiled our IKEA shopping list, so things should move along quite nicely over the next few weeks. The next step is moving the bed back in!

Current Progress:

  • tearing down current drywall/ removing current trim
  • removing all the old, insufficient insulation
  • replacing insulation
  • repairing termite damage
  • electrical overhaul, including finally putting in a lightswitch!
  • replace drywall¬†
  • remove popcorn ceiling and re-texture
  • paint
  • put trim/doors back up¬† (note: crown moulding NOT complete)
  • total hallway closet overhaul- new shelves, mainly
  • decorate!

Under Construction: Ready to Paint!

pre-paintingWe are officially to the “finishing” part of our bedroom. Jony actually installed the drywall, but we hired a crew to come and do all the taping/floating. With Jony working out of town, it was so nice to see the work getting done while he was gone! No question they were able to do it better and faster than he would of, as well (don’t worry, he’d say the same thing!). When he returned, Jony was able to finish removing the popcorn ceiling, sand it and re-texture it. It was an exciting day when the light fixture went back up for the final time! He was also able to texture the walls. I was skeptical, but he ended up doing a really amazing job with it. When that was finished, the annoying plastic doors that we’d been using to keep all the mess in the bedroom were able to come down! With all of the major stuff checked off the list, it’s time to put the room back in working order. We’ve chosen a paint color (and you’re getting a tiny sneak peek), so now things get fun!

 

Current Progress:

  • tearing down current drywall/ removing current trim
  • removing all the old, insufficient insulation
  • replacing insulation
  • repairing termite damage
  • electrical overhaul, including finally putting in a lightswitch!
  • replace drywall¬†
  • remove popcorn ceiling and re-texture
  • paint
  • put trim/doors back up
  • total hallway closet overhaul- new shelves, mainly
  • decorate!

Under Construction: Master Bedroom Update

bedroomduring

A fair amount has gone on in our bedroom, but there’s still a long way to go! We cleared everything out, out of necessity, so our living room is in major chaos. Our bed is underneath our TV, our dresser is in the hallway, and all of our stuff is piled up in a corner next to our piano. Adding all of that to our current two couches, ottoman, dining room table and all the kids’ stuff? It’s a little cramped. Now that Jony is back to travelling, the work has slowed down substantially. I’m looking forward to a sense of normalcy again, but I know it will be worth it.

There ended up being a fair amount of damage that needed to be repaired from our termite infestation a few years ago, so it was a good thing we went ahead with this project. Most of the support beams surrounding the window had to be replaced, and I’m glad that it was able to be accomplished without the window falling out! Jony’s dad was able to come and help out with the electrical work, but Jony still had to spend a considerable amount of time hanging out in our attic. Luckily, it’s only March! Finally, all the new insulation has been installed. You can already tell how much better insulated it is, so maybe I won’t be complaining all this next winter about being cold in our room?

The boys haven’t been able to involved in a fair amount of the work due to insulation dust and such, but they’ve highly enjoyed the few moments they have been able to participate! A few more years, and we’ll have a fine set of full helpers on our hands.

boyshelping

 

Current Progress:

  • tearing down current drywall/ removing current trim
  • removing all the old, insufficient insulation
  • replacing insulation
  • repairing termite damage
  • electrical overhaul, including finally putting in a lightswitch!
  • replace drywall (we‚Äôre hiring out the taping and floating)
  • remove popcorn ceiling and re-texture
  • paint
  • put trim/doors back up
  • total hallway closet overhaul- new shelves, mainly
  • decorate!

Under Construction: Master Bedroom

We’re currently living in the chaos that is unavoidable when doing a major remodel. Since baby girl isn’t getting her own nursery for us (me) to decorate since she’ll be staying with us for a good portion of the beginnings of her life, we figured we’d take the opportunity to actually put some effort into OUR bedroom. After the initial painting when we first moved in, we’d done nothing in there in over six years. It was pretty needed, and the idea of that being captured in our newborn photos was embarrassing to me. So, here we are!

About three years ago before G was born, we had a run in with some termites. We got the house treated and all has been quiet on that front since then; however, we never actually checked to see if we needed to make any repairs in the wood around our outside window. We figured that this would be a perfect time to do that since we were going to be re-painting the drywall, anyways. Once we got that set in our head, we decided to just take ALL the drywall down since the previous owners had done some terrible patchwork all around the room. This decision turned our remodel into a major overhaul of our bedroom!

Here’s the break-down of what’s going on:

  • tearing down current drywall/ removing current trim
  • removing all the old, insufficient insulation
  • replacing insulation
  • repairing termite damage
  • electrical overhaul, including finally putting in a lightswitch!
  • replace drywall (we’re hiring out the taping and floating)
  • remove popcorn ceiling and re-texture
  • paint
  • put trim/doors back up
  • total hallway closet overhaul- new shelves, mainly
  • decorate!

And now, the before photos. I even included the terrible mess it was in, proving in photographic form that we need an overhaul of organization in there.

bedroombefore closetbefore