Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Sundays at the Martineaus

So what do we do for fun on Sundays? Usually our home is full of excitement, fun, and a little noise on Sundays.

This past Sunday was really exceptionally great! It was the primary program which was so fun to watch and all the kids especially my own were amazing. But it was the overall relaxed chill atmosphere that seemed to be present in my home that was so memorable and special to me.

{the Balancing Act}
With six little children 8 and under you can hardly expect a quiet moment, and Sunday was no exception. Scott is always so wonderful to play with the kids and this Sunday they talked him into balancing them all on his hands. I was impressed! I sure have one super-hero strong husband no doubt. Of course I couldn't resist the urge to whip out the camera and snap a few photos of the action.

Here are all six of my children youngest to oldest...

Rebecca 3 months old had no fear of falling to her death if Dad's strength failed him. That is what I call TRUST! She is such a sweet gentle little baby. I love her so much, and can't wait to get to know her more as she continues to grow.

Brea 15 months old wasn't really sure what was happening, but didn't want to miss out on the action since everyone else seemed to be wanting to be hoisted up in the air. She is so relaxed which is very uncharacteristic of her. Brea is a little go getter. I love her so much and can't wait to see what she is going to be able to accomplish in her life with her smart determined personality.

Hyrum 3 years old is super athletic and my little dare devil so of course he didn't miss out on the balancing act. In fact he was enjoying himself so much he couldn't help from belly laughing the entire time he was up in the air. It was hilarious. I love his spunky little personality! What a cutie!

Cooper 4 1/2 is my amazingly sensitive kind one. He is so sweet and always sharing and helping others out. He is going to be one amazing person. Here he is shining like the little star he is. Man I love him!!
Megan 6 is also a total daredevil like Hyrum. I couldn't believe Scott could really lift her and then Jarom up. Anyway as you can tell from the picture she is loving it. She loves roller coasters and anything that moves fast and crazy. Sometimes she pretends to be shy, but I know its just an act because she is so out growing and such a people person. Megan has the best smile and sweetest personality. I love her to bits!
Jarom 8 3/4 is my eldest child made sure he got a chance to get in on the balancing act. I love his smile here and was surprised how long he was able to stay up in the air. Jarom is growing into such a handsome, helpful, and kind young man. I am so grateful for his quick whit, creative mind, and kind heart. He help s me out so much and is truly an amazing person. I love him and am grateful to have him for a son.

{Stuffed Animals and the Ceiling Fan}
I am all for creating home grown entertainment so I couldn't get to frustrated with the kids when they started using the fan and stuffed animals to keep them entertained. They would stop the fan place the stuffed animals on top of the blades then turn the fan on and see how long it took for the animals to fly off. They also had fun trying to catch the animals before they hit the ground. What a hoot! They kept at this for over an hour.

{the Talk}
As church time approached we had a dress rehearsal with Megan giving her talk. She did great at home and even better during Primary. I was so impressed with her. She picked her own topic which was The Good Samaritan and practiced until she had it down pat.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

All things Saturday...

{Sleeping in my curse}
Today was awesome but talk about crazy. Our stake asked all the sisters to try and attend a noon temple session, followed by lunch at 3pm, and concluded with the Women's Broadcast at 5pm. Then we planned a family adult only get together at our home following the broadcast. So how did it go?

I woke up about 5 minutes after 7am a bit panicky because I was suppose to be on a conference call that started at 7am. Shoot! I ran downstairs as quick as I could (luckily no children were awake yet, and Scott was gone mountain bike riding) and jumped on the call. I was happy that they hadn't started yet and I hadn't missed anything. Phew!

I am responsible for teaching our 5 Pillars group all about the Scholar Ladders this coming Thursday and I am still trying to understand them better myself. Its a process learning how we naturally evolve through the educational process if exposed to the right environment and experiences. Its truly fascinating, but sometimes I struggle to understand since I never really went through these phases of development and education myself. Now that I am starting to understand the phases of development I realize that educationally I am still a 14 year old. Oh yes I went to college and got the degree, but as far as owning my education and discovering what my life mission is I never totally progressed past 14. Man I missed out and have a lot of make up to do. How sad is that! That is why I am in the 5P class.

{Stuck, but ready to get past 14}
You may be thinking what a total loser, and you'd probably be right. But just so I don't feel quite so lame a lot of children who are the product of Public Education are stuck where I am too. Not all of them, of course there are exceptions to the rule. I'll try to explain here...never mind I can't really explain it, but if you want to try to figure out what I am talking about call or email me and I'll try to explain it. I am sure most of you think I am crazy. Oh well! I can live with that. :)

{Making connections}
The conference call was AMAZING!!! Its funny because the more time I spend learning about education, life, the natural process of development, how children and adults learn, why we act the way we do, the cycles of man kind, reading classic books, ect... the more connections I am making, the happier I am becoming, and the more life itself is making sense.

The call was all about the natural developmental/educational process we go through as human beings. WOW!! What was really crazy is that when we were in the temple session later I saw, heard, and felt things in the session that reaffirmed that what I am learning about people, learning, and development are a universal TRUTH and it is how the Lord has worked all along.

{On the Go}
Back to my day...I had about 30 minutes left of the call when kids started waking up. It all worked out and my wonderful Jarom took care of Brea until I was done with the call and was finally ready to take care of her. Scott got home right after that and I gave him a quick hair cut before showering and getting ready to head to out the door at 10:45.

When we got to the temple it was packed, and our session was full with three or four times as many women as men. It was a bit crazy! We headed home and went right over to the stake center in time to eat lunch (the food was awesome), listen to a pre-program, and then the broadcast.

{The Broadcast}

The broadcast was excellent. A couple of my favorite quotes and take aways where...
1. "If we heed to personal revelation we can not fail." RS President Julie Beck
2. IDEA: I need to make temple attendance more of a priority in my life. I think I may schedule out temple days a month or two ahead of time and view them as non-negotiable events. (from Silvia Allred's talk)
3. "If you live up to your privileges the angels can not be restrained." Barbra Thompson
4. "God is a God of creation and compassion." Elder Ucdorf
5. Thoughts from Elder Ucdorf's talk:
-We all have a deep human desire to create.
-We were created to experience joy and happiness.
-We need to start creating and being more compassionate.
-We need to learn knowledge.
-The more you rely on the Spirit the more you will be able to create.
-He challenged us to start creating and it would bring us great joy. Some ideas he gave were to create a garden, happy organized homes, sewing, smiling, writing, learn a new skill, beautify your space.
-"Those who follow the Savior are compassionate."
-"The more we serve our fellow beings the more substance there will be in ourselves."
-"Work will cure your grief."
-"Those who bring sunshine to the life of others can not keep it from themselves." James Berry author of Peter Pan (Elder Ucdorf quoted him)
-"Happiness is your Heritage."
-"The words of encouragement only require a tender heart but may render a life changing event for another."
-"He that is greatest among you will be your servant."
-"The number of prayers you say is important, but more important is the number of prayers you answer."

{My Do's}
So what am I going to do now? In How to Read a Book it teaches that when you are taking notes to have a 'DO' column on the page. I've been trying to do that lately, and its really helping. So here are the 'DOs' I wrote down during the broadcast.

My DO's:
1. Make more of an effort to receive revelation!
2. Schedule time to go to the temple! Once a month to start with.
3. I need to work on developing an attitude of contemplating with the desire to understand the Lord and His ways and what He wants me to do.
4. Do something extraordinary every day!
5. Start creating! I need to make a creating list of things I want to create!
6. Be more compassionate to others.
7. Remember that happiness is my heritage.
8. Pray to be the answer to other people's prayers!!!!!

{Hanging with the Martineaus}
The rest of the evening went well. It was SO FUN to have everyone over to our home, and I really enjoyed chatting with everyone about the different Martineau Family Cabin options. Hopefully we can figure something out and get one built for our families to enjoy together. I married into such an awesome family.

Tomorrow is the Primary program, Megan is suppose to give a talk, and I have to read three books this week! I better go to bed so I can start my week off rested.

PS I forgot to mention that Scott watched all six kiddos for the entire day so I could participate in all these activities. He is totally the best husband alive! I am grateful to have him in my life, and thankful that he is always willing to help me out when I need him. I love him tons!!!!

Doctor appointment recks my routine...

Today my two oldest kiddos and I had dentist appointments. I am so thankful for my amazing sister-in-law Brigett (who lives across the street from us) who babysat my four little ones so we could go.

Anyway, I know going to the dentist is important. I mean no one wants all their teeth to fall out, but it sure does a number on the flow of my daily routine with my kids. Even though we were only gone about two hours total it just messed up our entire flow. I am sure this is probably because our routine is still very new to us all. We haven't even been homeschooling for a year. But how do I adjust for doctor appointments and still somehow maintain our routine versus what happens now which is our hole day was totally less effective and productive?

I know there needs to be a balance of some type and I know I am kind of off balance right now. I've been avoiding the mail, the phone, and other tasks that are part of running a home because its interfering with my home school flow. I know I am such a weirdo, and I admit I probably am because avoiding necessary tasks required to run a home (like get the mail and pay the bills) is retarded. I don't ignore tasks like cleaning my house or keeping things organized however, because number one they are important to me and number two I simply can't exist or even think clearly in an environment if its dirty or disorganized. Don't get me wrong my house is far from perfect, but I try my hardest (which requires tons of energy when you have 6 energetic kids home 24/7) to keep everything in fairly good order.

I think part of the solution to my problem is to have a default schedule that everyone knows by heart and knows that we stick to it almost no matter what. I also think it might be helpful if I picked one day a week or month or something that was set aside as a errand/Dr. appointment day and I know ahead of time that any non-ongoing outings that need to take place out of the home take place on that day. Would that work?

One thing is for sure I am needing to work and focus my energy on organizing my family's time. Lately I've been trying to tackle the chore of organizing my family's things. I am almost done with those projects and ready to enter organizational maintenance mode. As I am writing this I am realizing that now its time to transition from organizing things to organizing time. I know it will change my life and my stress level if I can figure out how to get our 'time' organized better.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Pilates, Quilts, and lots of Potential

{Where did the day go?}
So its 1o:30 now and I am trying to look back on my day and figure out what the heck happened. It seems like I didn't do a whole lot, and we definitely slacked a bit on our 'school' inspire time. Oh well we still did some great stuff I guess.

I started out the day by doing my Beginners Mat Pilate's work out. Okay I am TOTALLY out of shape. 6 kids in 8 1/2 years will really do a body in. I think my biggest shocker was my utter lack of flexibility. I use to compete in gymnastics and I could do all the splits and everything. Now I can't even get my legs to stay straight when I lean over in a pike position. I took for granted my flexible condition growing up...never again will I take flexibility for granted. And I aim to work on it until I am flexible as I was when I was 17. That would be awesome!

So back to the point. I was just finishing up my 40 minute work out which kicked my little booty and was getting ready to jump in the shower when I noticed Meg sitting on my bed. She was super interested in what I had been doing and restarted the DVD and did the entire Pilate's work out herself while I got ready for the day. It was so cute watching her do it!

{The Power of Example}
Now I am going to pause because tonight at 5 Pillar class Susan read a paper she had written on the book A Thomas Jefferson Education that reminded me of this experience I had with Megan this morning. She talked about her toddler who had all of the sudden started randomly walking up to walls in their house and pressing his face to them. He would do it 3-4 times a day and for no apparent reason. Her husband and her joked that the little toddler must take after the other ones side due to the complexing and strange behavior. They were completely confused and admitted it was very odd behavior, but since he didn't exhibit any other strange behavior didn't worry to much about it. One day Susan thought she heard a car pull into her drive way so she walked over to the door and looked through the peep hole to see who it was. The little toddler followed her and pushed between her legs and likewise pressed his face against the door. Ding! The light went on. The toddler was copier her. He wanted to be like her. He had no idea what behavior he was coping or what it meant when his mother pressed her face against the door until she lifted him up and let him look through the peep hole. Immediately his behavior of leaning against the door stopped and he started pulling the chair over to the door to look through the peep hole. He now understood what his mother was doing and continued to copy her behavior.

This morning Megan was exhibiting that same desire to copy me. She is the most amazing little girl and I am so glad that I recognize her desire to learn by modeling my behavior. This privilege of being her and all my children's mentors also places a HUGE responsibility on me. Do I want my children to become like me? What types of behavior am I role modeling for them?

{You NOT Them}
Earlier this week I was kind of stressing out over the fact that I had to lead the 5 Pillar class's writing workshop. I was overwhelmed, busy, trying to get organized, inspire my kids to want to learn, oh and did I mention busy?! I was kind of feeling like I didn't have time to work on my education. I was too busy trying to keep a hold on my family...keep my house cleaned...my kids fed...my homeschool going...I didn't have time. My kids needed me to teach them...WAIT!!! That is when I stopped. By working on my education, by modeling reading, studying, and writing I was teaching my kids. I was teaching them without words that I think my education is VERY VERY important. That is the most powerful type of education I could give them. An example of someone in love with learning and sharing that knowledge and desire to learn with them. If I can do that they will also love learning because they will see my real example and much like the toddler in the story follow in my footsteps.

I use to be skeptical of this concept. I really believed that one person had the ability to teach another person. Now I believe differently. One person can have the power to inspire someone else if the relationship is right and both people love and respect one another. BUT the only person that can educate you is you. Education is not simply just learning a fact or multiplication problem...education is when something inside you changes. I heard that at a seminar this past spring and I was changed forever. 'Education is when something inside you changes.' To me that is so powerful.

So now when my children want to do what I am doing I am going to remember this powerful lesson (instead of showing them away because I don't have time or don't want to deal with the mess) and allow them to copy me, and help me. I can only hope that I have a strong enough relationship with them that they will allow me to inspire them to reach new heights.

{Kids are Amazing}
Wow that was a little long winded. Moving on with my day. Jarom made us all pancakes for breakfast which is HUGE!!! I am really beginning to realize all the untapped potential and abilities my children have and I am usually the reason that potential is not being fully tapped into). I've got to start allowing my kids to discover how amazingly capable they are. That is going to be a goal of mine this year. After we had all eaten our yummy pancakes he and I cleaned up the kitchen in 5 minutes flat afterwards which resulted in more glass beads going into our 'celebration jar.' WOO-HOO!

{the most important hour}
After breakfast we had our devotional including prayers, songs, scripture study, journaling, and scripture mastery. I am so glad we fit this in before getting busy doing other things. It makes all the difference in how our day goes.

{our year long project}
Then it was time to visit our quilting mentors my mom and her sister Joyce. It was amazing. A few days ago I read the Keeping Quilt with the kids to get them ready for our year long project of making a special Keeping/Reading Quilt of their own. Today we met with my aunt and mom to start planning out Jarom and Megan's quilt so we can go shopping for fabric next week. It was so fun!!
After our quilting session I let the kids play for a couple of hours before we headed home and I made my final preparations to teach the 5 Pillars class tonight. A couple of the kids fell asleep in the car on the drive home so I actually got around 30 minutes of uninterrupted quiet time to work on everything. Then when the kids did start waking up Brigett my awesome sister-in-law who lives across the street came over and watched the kids out back for another 30 minutes or so before Scott got home. I am so lucky to have her living across the street from me!!!!

{5 Pillars}
Tonight went well at 5 Pillars. It was our first class where we all brought a writing sample from a book we had recently read. All I can say is that it was life changing, totally inspirational, and completely amazing. The woman (and one man) that are in the class are so talented and insightful. I can't wait to see them all next week!!! Oh that reminds me I've got a lot of reading to do to get ready for next week. Here's to reading!!

{here's to being domestic}

Oh PS I just finished my ebay purchase (that my mom actually found for me) of a Bernina Sewing machine. Its new to me but is actually an older machine that is the same model as my mom's. That way we'll have two machines for our weekly quilting session and I'll have one to start playing around with as well! I can't wait for it to come.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Music, the Microscope, and a Black Eye

Okay I admit it I slept in today. I woke up at 6:30 (I guess I am going to have to wake up at 5:00am to beat the kids) and heard my two oldest once again down on the piano figuring out to play their Let's Play Music songs on the piano. I can't say enough amazing things about this awesome music program!!!! It is so inspiring and teaches the kids all about music in a fun, entertaining, and interactive way! The kids can't get enough of it, and are learning more than they even realize.

So back to my morning. I hadn't even been awake 2o seconds before my sweet Hyrum came over to the bed as I was rolling out of it and told me he was stinky, had a sore bum, and needed a diaper change. Oh and he was also hungry. Well, I got him taken care of and told the other two to help themselves to a bowl of cereal and rushed upstairs to take a quick shower (oh boy did my hair need a good washing it was looking BAD). I was thrilled that I was able to get in and out without anyone needing anything and before the two baby girls woke up. WOO-HOO! All was looking a little better.

I was getting dressed and still listening to Jarom and Megan playing away when I remembered about Jarom's piano books I had purchased for him a year ago. Yes it was almost exactly a year ago when I had decided (without talking to Jarom) that it was time for him to start taking lessons...needless to say he wasn't ready or interested much in taking piano lessons. However, now he was showing interest and I thought to myself I wonder what would happen if I quietly laid his piano books on the bench next to them.

I decided I wouldn't say anything to them at all just set them on the bench and see what would happen. Well all I can say is SUCCESS!!!!!!!! (TJed principle do WORK!!) Within 20 seconds Jarom spotted his old piano book, busted out the books, and started playing. In fact he was playing so much that Meg and Jarom were actually fighting over who's turn it was to play the piano. I don't really go for the kids fighting, but if you they are going to fight I can't think of many things I'd rather have them fighting about. :) Before long Jarom started taking turns and was actually teaching Megan what he knew...giving her a lesson of sorts. I tried to stay out of the room so they didn't feel any pressure from me. I wanted it to be something they were playing out without my interference. After reading How Children Learn I was even more aware that children often learn through play. Right now playing the piano was just that play, but boy were they learning a lot while they were playing. And best of all they were doing it because they had been exposed to music and had decided 100% on their own to pursue it more on their own.

{Structure Time NOT Content}
I was tempted when it was 9:30 (yes almost 3 hours of piano playing with a short breakfast break) to interrupt them because we were suppose to have devotional at 9. However, I tried to be patient and let them continue what they were doing. I knew eventually they'd need a break and would stop playing. Its hard to break from the conveyor belt mentality that we do math from this time to this time and reading from this time to this time and instead structure time NOT content. What I mean by that is that I structure 'study' time during certain blocks of time during the day. But I don't structure exactly what has to be done in that time. Sure I usually have a plan, but if the kids take it a different direction we just go with it.

I think I am finally starting to get that concept. I mean what good would it have done me to stop them from doing something so amazing as self directed piano practicing just so devotional (which is also important) wasn't late. It just doesn't make sense now that I am starting to see the bigger picture. Eventually we will get to devotional and all the other things we need to study, but if my kids are really into one thing for an entire day then there is nothing wrong letting them dive 100% into that topic. We can study what I wanted to expose them to today tomorrow. No worries!! I love the freedom and flexibility this gives me. It also help the kids get more out of each day. If they are interested in what they are doing they will totally retain and learn more about that subject than if I forced them to study it at a certain time just because the schedule dictates that.

So back to my day...finally around 10 they did stopped playing the piano and we had our devotional. Which is starting to really get amazing. A few weeks ago I introduced scripture mastery into our devotionals. This year we are studding the New Testament and so we are going to memorize all the seminary scripture mastery verses too! I am so impressed with the kids. Four days ago I introduced this idea and presented Mathew 5:14-16 as the first scripture to memorize. Tonight Scott, me, Jarom, and Megan all had it memorized. We worked on it this morning and then tonight after dinner all recited it by memory to dad. What an accomplishment. I've also (starting today) introduced journaling during devotional. Its the last thing we do before we close devotional and the kids were so excited about it. In fact Megan continued writing in it throughout the day as she would remember something else she wanted to include in her entry. Devotional is the most important hour of our family's day by far.

After devotional the kids started making paper airplanes again. I was feeding Becca now and with them at the kitchen table making airplanes I sat on the nearby couch and started reading our morning book A Wrinkle in Time. We are four chapters into it now and the kids are staring to really get into the story. We read for probably 30 minutes before the kids needed a break and started having flying contests off the loft down to the first floor, and I was busy changing diapers and getting ready to put both baby girls down for naps.

Once I got them both down for naps the kids were wrapping up their contests and looking for something to do. It was lunch time so we did a quick pick up of the house and ate a little lunch. I've started setting a timer once everyone has pretty much finished eating their meal/snack giving them 10 more minutes to grab any other food they may need to sustain them until the next snack or mealtime. Once the timer goes off the kitchen is CLOSED! I finally resorted to this after many many days of feeling like my kitchen was always open and kids were constantly snacking because they didn't eat enough at meal time.

After lunch the kids helped pick up and them they were kind of looking a bit board so I whipped out our history book and officially started our history lessons. I purchased a couple of books called History of the World which are in narrative form and tell the history of the world. The best part is they are entertaining and easy enough to follow along that I just read out of the book and we were all completely memorized by the story of King Charles V who was alive in the 1500's and became king of most of Europe. This happened because his father was king of the Netherlands, one grandfather was king of Germany, and his other grandfather was king of oh shoot I forgot but another big European country. When they all died he became king of all of them! To bad his desire to become the ultimate leader drove him to his death bed basically and he ended up giving up his thrown to his son and uncle. We are studying modern history which I planned on starting around the 1700's but the book I purchased started a little earlier and it was such an interesting story that we are starting in the 1500's. Jarom was so cute while I was reading this and was cuddled up next to me the entire time I was reading.

{the Microscope}
After about 30 minutes we were done with that and the kids were restless so I pulled out a book about cells and basic life cycles. Then I showed them our brand new microscope and for the next hour or two we read about cells and played with the microscope. Cooper and Hyrum even got in on the microscope action. SO FUN!! I love hanging out with the kids.

{Playtime is learning time}
The kids continued to play, do some arts and crafts (Megan did a couple projects on her own), and hung out for the next hour or so. I figured out what I was going to cook for dinner and started making it with my assistant chef Megan at my side. She is such a great helper. I am actually starting to enjoy cooking again and am finding peace in the process instead of frustration in the huge mess cooking makes. Okay I am still working on finding peace, but I am getting better.

Jarom had scouts tonight so we spent about 30 minutes looking through his scout book to see what requirements we still needed to work on and signing off requirements he'd already completed. Jarom will turn 9 next month and move up so we are trying to make sure he is ready to advance. He is my first scout and I am trying to figure out what it takes to be a good scout mom. Hopefully I be a quick study and be up to speed before to long.

{making time for Dinner}
For dinner tonight I decided to actually set the table and not cheat and do it buffet style like I usually do. I brought out the glass dishes and everything. It was so nice to not be up and down all through dinner. Everything we needed was at the table...my little family isn't so little anymore and I am starting to feel like I need to set some family traditions like a quality dinner time together talking about our day and eating good food. Tonight for dinner it definitely met my expectations and we all sat around the table relaxed, enjoying our time together, and talking about our day. It was beautiful.

Bedtime was great tonight. I bathed the kids, and then took plenty of time (I didn't rush it at all) and read the little boys 7 or 8 short books and sang them songs then moved on to my two big kids and read them an entire chapter out of our night book Tom's Midnight Garden. Scott finished the older kids up with songs. Anyway it was just a very pleasant day and evening. I have TONS to do still so I'd better wrap this up and get going. Its already 9:30....ahhh.

{the Black Eye}
Oh one more thing. I just have to write this down and document it with pictures before I forget. Last week Hyrum had an unfortunate encounter with a wall.

Basically he was running so fast that he miscalculated and ran into the wall instead of through the door.

This week Hyrum has two black eyes as a result. Whenever I say something about his eyes he points to his forehead (that is where he actually hit the wall) and tells me all about running into the wall and how bad it hurt.
I don't know if her realizes that his forehead looks fine its his eyes that look beat up now. What a tough little guy.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Airplanes and things that fly...catching a SPARK!

So yesterday night Scott, Megan, Jarom and I returned from the ultimate homeschooling field trip to Washington DC! It was awesome, and now I have a big job in front of me to go through the pictures and journal about our amazing experiences we had with the two older kids. Maybe tonight I'll have the energy to do that.

The reason I start with that was that I totally assumed that today would be a 'homeschool day off.' I have loads of laundry to do, a house to make heads or tails of, and kids (oh and me too) that have been out of the habit of our daily routine for a week. I just figured I wouldn't stress about inspiring today and just worry about working through the mess of coming back from a trip. However, to my delight and surprise today ended up being a fairly good homeschooling day. The only reason it isn't amazing is because I still have yet to do devotional with them, but we'll do that tonight at FHE so I guess that will count.

Today started out slow and late. I was exhausted from all the traveling and crazy time changes. I woke up about 7:40 and remembered that Jarom and Megan had riding lessons at 8:30...not much time to get everyone dressed, fed, and loaded in the car. We made it only a few minutes late (which was miraculous) and the kids had a blast! They love their lessons.

I dropped them off and rushed home to tend to the other kids and try to get a start on putting my house back together. I was able to unpack all the bags, start the first few loads of laundry, and pick up breakfast before it was time to pick them up. That was HUGE!

The boys getting ready to launch their paper helicopters. They totally worked and were so fun to watch spin down, down, down!

Once we got back home I fed Becca again and pulled out some of the souvenirs we picked up in DC. I put a paper airplane making book we picked up at the Air and Space Museum and then made Becca a bottle and started feeding her on the couch. Within minutes the kids spotted the airplane book much to my surprise and started making airplanes for the next 2 hours. They made all sorts of styles and had all kinds of contests with them. I was happy that they were busy playing and finished some of the household chores that had to be done. Once I was done and again sitting on the couch feeding Bec I started to read to them A Wrinkle in Time. That lasted for about 40 minutes before I felt like no one was listening anymore due to their complete excitement with the new airplane contest they had invented.

Then I remembered the How Airplanes and Flying Things Work book that I had purchased as well. I had planned to try and do some other things during 'school' time with the kids today, but realized that the kids had a SPARK and I had an Opportunity to capture that SPARK if I acted on it. So I did, and it WORKED!!!!

Becca fell asleep and so I put her in the swing and walked over to the table and sat next to Jarom. I started reading to him all about airplanes and how the invention of the airplane timeline. People are always saying and I totally believe it that all the subjects (ie math, science, history, English, etc...) are actually one HUGE interconnected subject. Today I had a real experience with that when Jarom and I were discussing the history of the airplane.

His first question was, "So mom if Nana is 53 today what did the airplane look like when she was born?" What an awesome question. So I asked him how he thought we could figure it out. We talked about it and did the math problem 2008 - 53 = 1955 we then looked at the timeline and talked about what airplanes were looking like back then. Then he asked, "So mom what did airplanes look like when Nana's mom was born?" Good question and so we made some deductive reasoning and again created another math problem to figure out about when Grandma Aleen was born. It was awesome!!!

Then we began reading about the Hot Air Balloon. He was so interested and even though he was still making paper airplanes would often stop and follow along as I read. We learned all about our air and what it was made of, the differences between hot air versus cold air, how hot air balloons work, where we get helium from (not the air), and at the end of the chapter it showed us a little experiment we could do.

I was so glad we had all the needed items for the experiment because Jarom was anxious to do it, and I wanted to capture his curiosity before it moved on to another subject. We did a little experiment showing how hot air expands becoming less dense and cool air condenses becoming more dense. The kids had a ball and after we were done with the experiment Jarom said it was the best homeschooling day ever! What a reward hearing that was!

So today in our homeschool we covered science, reading, spelling, history, math, arts & crafts, and writing. Sounds like a success! I just love homeschooling!!!

Here Jarom with the balloon as the air is starting to get heated from the steam in the boiling water below. It was starting to really expand and we were excited.

Jarom kept a little log of how many inches the balloon expanded while heating up. Here he is measuring the balloon.

Once Jarom was done heating it up he cooled down the air by putting the water bottle in ice water. Boy oh boy did the air cool down and pretty soon the balloon was limp and deflated.

Here Cooper is with the totally deflated balloon. Wow what a great experiment!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

A typical day...

{the Book}
My typical day isn't anything like most people's typical day. So why in the world (when I could have three of my six kids gone all day in school) would I decide to keep them all home and as a result have a typical day that includes me and all six of my kids hanging out together? I know many of my family and friends are utterly confused and can't understand why I homeschool my kids. I have to admit a few years ago I would have wondered the same thing! I know I've mentioned this before but if you really want to figure out why I homeschool you've got to read The Thomas Jefferson Education by Dr. DeMille. It's an amazing book that has changed my entire outlook on life and sent me down the homeschooling path. Even if you don't want or have any desire to homeschool its a wonderful read that will open your eyes. You'll love it.

{a typical day}
So what in the world does a typical day look like in the Martineau home? Well, there is no such thing as typical in our home each day is so different, however, my idea of what our ideal day should look like doesn't happen as often as I'd like. But don't take that the wrong way. What I mean is some days I have an entire plan figured out to inspire and expose the kids to something, and then one of the kids asks a question about another topic and we end up spending most of the day talking, researching, and reading about that subject. OR we start reading a good book and end up spending more time reading and don't make it to anything else. OR we get busy working together on a project (I think its so important to work along side the kids and teach them how to work) that we spend more time than I thought we would. You get the idea. One of the things I've come to really cherish about homeschooling is the ability I have to adjust what we learn to my child's interest. I LOVE this.

::the Morning Routine::
Our morning routine goes something like this (but I am working on improving it!!! The words in green are new components I am going to be adding to our morning routing starting in October).
1. Breakfast: We have breakfast around 8am. In order to eat breakfast you must be dressed, bed made, hair combed, room cleaned, dirty clothes put away, teeth brushed, and personal prayer said.
2. Devotional: After breakfast we have our family devotional that includes; an opening song, prayer, 15-20 minutes reading the New Testament, journal time, scripture mastery, closing song, and prayer.
3. Family Book: We (mostly Jarom, Megan, and I) read a family fictional book together. Right now we are reading A Wrinkle in Time.
4. Inspire US time: I am doing this on a much smaller level right now, but I am working on developing this time into something even more fun and exciting for everyone. In October I am going to start a one-two hour 'school' time where I will start exposing my kids in an inspiring way to new subjects and topic matters. This isn't going to be them getting a prepared lecture from me each day (although I do plan to prepare). Its going to be a time to share with them what I am learning, loving, and want them to learn and love!
5. Lunch/Play/Dinner Prep
6. Personal Study time/Quiet hour(s): I have found that I need more time to study and my children aren't spending enough time reading. So I am going to start quiet time where I will play music for probably one hour to begin with, and while the music is playing everyone will be expected to stay in a pre-determined spot and quietly play, read, color, etc... If one of my children wants/needs help with what they are studying I will be available to help them with their personal studies. Otherwise if they are busy I will be spending the time reading and studying for 5 Pillars, Inspire US, or other interests I want to pursue.
7. Free time: Each day each child has 30 minutes to play with electronics. I am considering switching this to a child of the day approach. This is where each child has special privileges one day a week. One of those privileges would be playing on the computer or Wii for a set period of time. I am still working on this though and am trying to figure out how it would work best for our family.
8. Pre-daddy pick up/final dinner preparations
9. Dinner
10. Daddy play time
11. Stories, songs, bed time
12. Personal Study time/hang out with hubby time/project time

::Morning Routine in Action::
How do I homeschool with 6 little kids is a question I'm constantly asked. Our learning environment doesn't look anything like a traditional classroom. During reading time we sit on the couch with the older kids next to me and the younger kids playing quietly (they aren't always all that quiet) on the floor in the same room. Why do I want the little ones close by? Because I think they absorb a lot more than they let on, and I want them to be included in our family's activities.

Its always so cute how often times by the time we are nearing the end of our family reading time I have kids sitting all over me listening to the book.

During reading time we often stop and talk about why the characters in the book are making the choices they are making or why a certain chain of events happened. Someone once told me you can live thousands of different lives by reading books. You can learn through their choices and consequences...through their joys and successes...through their disappointments and heart aches. How amazing is that opportunity and what valuable lessons we learn each day as we read our family book.

Scott snapped a couple pictures of us during family reading time this morning. You can see we are all just hanging out in the back room reading together. I am so blessed to have this opportunity to spend with my kids.

::Pokemon Lunch::
Today I was super mom to my kids because I made them Pokemon Mac-N-Cheese! They loved it, and it was so SIMPLE. I had to smile at how excited they were to list off all the Pokemon on the back of the box. We seriously spent 20 minutes talking about Pokemon over lunch and looking at all the boxes of Mac-N-Cheese. What a hoot!

::Homeschool Recess::
Brea saw her siblings playing out side and wanted to get out of her booster chair and go outside to join them right NOW.

I am so excited that its finally cooling off. WHOO-HOO!!! After lunch today the kids headed out to the backyard and played for at least 30 minutes on the swing set and tramp. The wind was blowing and it was beautiful. I can't wait until October its going to be amazing!!!!

::Happy Birthday to you...Jarom?::
Jarom's birthday isn't for another month, but he's already got his birthday present. We are heading out of town tomorrow, and Meg and Jarom are coming with us. Jarom's been thinking about getting a Pokemon DS game for a while now, and after quite a lot of convincing he was able to get a very early birthday present (a DS and a game) so he could have it when we went on these two trips. He is such a good boy, and I have to hand it to him. Scott and I gave him a certain amount we were willing to give him for his birthday money. It wasn't enough to buy a new Nintendo DS so he started searching on Craig's List and calling used game stores to see if he could find one in his budget. Finally he remembered that Tanner (his cousin) had both a DS and a PSP. He decided to call him and see if he was in the market to sell his DS and lucky Jarom he was. The other great news was that Tanner's DS was in Jarom's price range. Jarom has done such a good job taking care of his new present, and I hope he will continue take such great care of it.

Did it!

Its been 13 years since I really would say I've consistently exercised. Today I started my new routine and it started with 45 minutes of exercising. Followed by 30 minutes of my 'foundation.' It feels so great to start developing a routine. I've always pretty much flopped when it came to creating a routine for myself or my family. I've always just winged it and not thought much past that. Everything usually got done, but I had a lot more free time to do it in. Now with homeschooling I don't have that luxury and am ready to take control of my life.

I am bound and determined to create what I am going to call my 'default family routine.' Exactly what should be included in my 'default routine' is still coming to me, and it is SO EXCITING to see that routine being created. I don't know if its because I am getting older, wiser, or less lazy, but I 100% prefer the take charge approach to life vs. my old way of kind of just letting things happen. My old way leaves a lot to be desired, and lots of time I didn't get the most important things done because I got distracted by the good things and didn't have a plan. Here is to planning and a new start!

Monday, September 15, 2008

What I did today and will do tomorrow!

Today started out slow. I was totally tired from our Sedona Trip which was a blast. But we ended up getting home around 1am Sunday morning which burned me out! I was still paying for this late night Monday morning (today) and finally dragged myself out of bed around 7:30 because the kids needed to be fed. Things started to pick up a bit and by 9am I was able to feed everyone, start the laundry, get all the beds and rooms cleaned, pick up breakfast, and get everyone dressed. However, I hadn't done my foundational things, devotional, or family reading time. So I still had lots to do. I also wanted to get some organizing done.

I've learned that I can't seem to get anything done if we haven't done our morning devotional. It's awesome how the Lord works. That was definitely what happened today! I felt like I was in slow motion, not inspired, and less than effective. So I stopped what I was doing and did what was more important than doing the dishes. We had devotional. We sang all three verses of The Army's of Helaman followed by a prayer by Jarom. Then we read for 20 minutes out of our Picture New Testament. I was amazed how attentive Megan and Jarom always are, and how curious the two little boys are becoming.

{School Time}
After devotional we started the book A Wrinkle in Time. The kids seemed to enjoy the first chapter which is all we got through today. After that everyone played for a while before Jarom and I sat down and started reading The Life of Fred. I can't ever remember having a better time doing math EVER!! This book is amazing!!! Jarom and I couldn't stop giggling as we were reading the book, learning new terms, and working out problems. This is the most amazing, intriguing, unique math book I've ever seen! There is a whole series of books about Fred, and I am sure once we get through this one we'll be more than excited to start the next one. What a delight!

{Project: Organize the bookcase}
After Math, Reading, and Devotional I decided that it was time to move onto WORK! I had some projects that had to be done so I could think straight and so the kids and I started the long process of organizing our family bookcases. What a mess, but now they are labeled, organized, and I am able to find what I need when I need it. This was one of those dreaded projects that has been on my To Do list for months, and its was such a huge relief to finally be able to cross it off my list. WHOO-HOO!!

Above is my bookcase neat (okay maybe not neat...books always look messy to me because they are all different shapes and sizes so they usually don't look pretty) and organized.

{Label Maker...get one!}

I think everyone should have a personal labeler. I never in a million years thought I'd ever use one until I had a gal come help me get started with some of my organizing projects. She got me addicted and now I seriously don't know what I would do with out it. I have organized my toy bins, craft containers, pantry, bookcases, closets, laundry cabinets, etc... with this little labeler. LOVE it and a life saver for me in my organizational endeavors.

{Goodbye Business Books}
As I was going through our bookcases, which were so unorganized, and under utilized. I discovered that Scott had about 40 business books on the shelves. So I made a huge pile and I think he is going to be taking them all to his office tomorrow. I thought at first he might be a little frustrated that I pulled all of his books off the shelf, but he seemed okay with it. The only thing he chuckled at was the bag I put them all in which is never going to hold them all without totally breaking. Oh well! I didn't really think about that. I just wanted them off the shelves.

How funny is this? Last week I signed up to be a USBORNE book consultant. I LOVE their books and wanted to order so many of them that it made sense to just sign up as a consultant. I got my 'starter' box of books a few days ago, and was tickled to look through them. They seriously have the best books I have found, and I am so EXCITED to order more. I love the way they have their consultant program set up because I really don't have a quota I have to order each quarter. If I did I am sure just my orders alone would fill it. :)

If anyone is a book-aholic like me and wants to order some awesome books for their kids just let me know! I have a little online store they set up for me. You can visit it by clicking here.

This is an awesome little game that teaches kids their letters! I show this in April and fell in love with it. I am so excited to have one to try out with my kids.

Here are just a few of the many books I just got with my 'starter' packet. The kids and I were reading them today and just having a blast!!

Last week I ordered a few Pilates DVDs and they arrived today, my goal for tomorrow is to actually exercise by doing a 30 minute Pilates work out. I am crossing my fingers that I will be able to pull that off. Its been since high school that I consistently worked out and man am I out of shape. Let's change that! Its time to kick some chicken and get rid of all this extra baby fat!! What comes on must come off right?!

Sunday, September 14, 2008


{Fun with Aunt Darby}
A few weeks ago I went out of town and my awesome sister Darby watched 5 of my kids while Scott and I got away for our 11th wedding anniversary. Every day she would text me multiple times a day letting me know what they were up to and occasionally sending me pictures too. It was so wonderful and helped me relax and just enjoy the vacation rather than worrying about them the whole time.

In fact when we got home I asked them if they missed us, and they said they loved me but didn't really miss us because they were to busy having lots of fun with Darby and Jon. She had planned activities for them to do out of the Family Fun Magazines, scheduled time for my sister and sister in law to come visit, took them to the mall's splash pad, and the list goes on and on. I am so thankful to have such an amazing sister who was willing to create such a fun experience for my kids while I was out of town. Thanks Darby!

Oh and the best part like I said was that she took pictures for me of some of the things they did. Here are a few of them dipping apples in chocolate (or caramel) and sprinkles. YUM!

{Brea eating}
Even though Brea has 11 teeth she's had texture issues since she was a baby and has had a hard time getting use to eating solids. When we were gone to NY Darby helped her get over some of those issues...thanks goodness!!! She started loving eating, and one day Darby said she sat in her booster seat for an hour happily eating. Of course she refused to have any help, which cracked Darby up. I am so glad she snapped this picture of what Brea looked like after and hour of feeding herself. What a hoot!!

{Jarom's sickness}
The day we were returning from our trip to NY City Darby called to let us know that Jarom had come down with a stomach illness of some sort. He had thrown up 6 times in the last 12 hours, and was having trouble holding even water down. Of course I got worried and was grateful when we were able to get an earlier flight home to be with the kids sooner. It took him 3 days before he was able to start eating again, and when he finally requested eggs and jello as his first meal we all celebrated! I was so grateful that he was getting stronger and making a turn for the better! The first thing Jarom asked once he was filling better was when he was going to get his $6. Scott has a deal with the kids that if they are sick and throw up in a bowl, toilet, sink, etc... they get a dollar a throw up. I was totally cracking up the first time he presented the plan to the kids, but it totally works. I am just waiting for one of them to make themselves throw up because they need a little extra cash. :)

{Pokemon Mania Continues}
Yes this is totally random and doesn't quite fit with the rest of this entry, but I wanted to document that all my kids are still obsessed with Pokemon. Here Megan and Jarom are playing the Pokemon Battle game. I have to admit it's a little tricky to play and requires a lot of positive interaction between the two of them. So here's to Pokemon!