Friday, October 28, 2011

Sandbox Fun

   Last year we discovered our little Addie did NOT like sand when we visited Lake Michigan in the late summer.  Thinking that was long ago when she was 1 I had the grand idea to get new sand in our sandbox for her on her 2nd birthday this spring.  Kind of kill two birds with one stone, we need more sand and she could care less at the age of 2 what she gets!  It was great, the relatives had cheap and easy options for presents (sand toys) and it was going to be great!  Or not.  She STILL hated the sand!  She wouldn't touch it!  So all summer it sat untouched.  What a bummer.  Then all of a sudden a couple weeks ago she out of the blue ASKED to play in the sand and... the rest is history!  We've had some pretty muddy water after baths some nights but I'm so glad she's playing in it I don't even care!

Sister fun! 

Hannah was burying her feet. (Confusing angle I can't figure out how to flip it for you!) 

 Here I was trying to show how dirty she was, not sure where all the silly faces and poses came from but it was cute :0)  
 Love this pose!  She was so funny... and filthy!

Dirty ladies headed straight for the tub.  Too bad she didn't figure out this love when it was still warm enough to rinse off in the hose or kiddie pool first!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Zoo Trip

   My girlfriend Holly set up a great field trip at our local zoo for the kids.  We got to meet 4 animals up close and personal and then go hang out in the zoo for the day.  The animals were a duck, snake, turtle and a ferret.  The snake was the biggest hit with my family...ewww.  It was a beautiful day to be out and they had a ball seeing the animals while hanging out with friends.  Thanks Holly!

 Funny the snake kind of camouflages with the zebra in the back ground!

 That cute little one in the pink coat is my baby :0( She thought she was so big sitting with all the kids.

I wanted to strangle my boys after this presentation.  She asked all sorts of questions about birds which we just studied and they sat there mute!  I asked them why they didn't answer any questions... typical boy answer, "I don't know."  I asked them if they knew the answers, "Yeah."  Ergh!  Usually I can't keep them quiet, here's there chance and nothing.  Oh well it was still fun.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Hannah's First "Love"

   We visited our friends a few weeks ago and Hannah was so thrilled because "her" Erik would be there.  Erik is 18 (maybe 19??) and a freshman at University of Michigan, my girlfriends oldest of two boys.  For some reason Hannah has been smitten with him since she was 2!  He listens to her jabber on and on and for some reason she just adores him.  He's a great guy, I'm just not really sure WHY she is so drawn to him but she is.  It's pretty cute.  So here's a few pics from our visit... with bad lighting on my old cell phone but Hannie doesn't care :0)

Notice the piles of cubes all sorted by color, she then showed off her counting skills a million times while Erik sat there patiently encouraging her.  Gotta love that guy!

Friday, October 14, 2011

I Want to Know HIM More

   In all my home/school struggles this fall I have just felt off.  I haven't been able to put my finger on it... just off.  Finally talking to one of my best friends helped me see what was going on.  I was sharing with her my frustration and then this moment of watching the Duggar Family and Michelle saying something along the lines of how kids can learn anything the Lord puts on their hearts to learn.  That it's never too late.  But also their goal is to build wisdom first and add knowledge to that.  I watched and thought, "Hey! That's what we always said!" but that's not what we've been focusing on lately.  I have so many friends with kids in special classes or doing special activities or trips and it's almost like a homeschool peer pressure to keep up. However, I really know that as of now I don't feel the Lord leading us to use any outside classes for our kids.  So I've been rummaging through curriculums and schedules and discipline ideas all to find the answers to the challenges/pressures I feel while never being able to settle that feeling of being "off". As I was going on and on to this friend she stopped my rant and hit the nail on the head. She said, "Tami, maybe that's what God is trying to show you.  He never called you to this for academic reasons (not that that's not important) but for heart reasons.  For character.  Really when you get down to it, it doesn't matter which curriculum you use.  Any of them will do to teach diligence and self-control and obedience if that's where you FOCUS lies." I let out a huge breath and felt like suddenly I figured out my issue!  I think it was like a catch in my Spirit as I was trying to find answers in all the wrong places!  My goal is to know HIM more and for my children to love and know HIM more!  Yes, I want them to "know" math but not more than I want them to know Him!  If they could never add... well, can't say I'd be super comfortable with that BUT that is not my top goal!!  Somehow as we've hit this new season my focus got very caught up on acadmics and accomplishments and records and grades and and and.  I'm sure a lot of that has to do with high school being so close for Carter.  AND it's not bad to reevaluate or look for better fits but when you're looking without The're looking in vain.  I think we all know this but for me I needed a reminder.  So here's YOUR reminder from me!  What solutions are you looking for in life with your work, spouse or children?  Are you looking to programs or advice from other people and forgetting to look to The Creator??  I know sometimes it's hard to hear Him!  Sometimes it's hard to trust.  Sometimes you can hear and trust but lack confidence in YOUR decisions, constantly asking yourself if you're sure you heard right!  But seeking the Lord first is where the promise lies...

Matthew 6:33
But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

So I will seek Him and I will trust Him to add unto us all that we need...

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Light Bulb Moment

   I was part of a very good webinar a week ago on positive parenting.  I've never done one of those but it was really cool!  Anyways, it's had my brain spinnin' and thinking since then on all different challenges and successes we've had in our home. While in the midst of analyzing some issues I suddenly had an "ah ha" moment.  It really didn't have a lot to do with what was taught it was just there. I was thinking about our inconsistency and trouble with scheduling.  We seems to always be trying a new one and never sticking to anything for long.  What I suddenly realized was I was giving WAY too much of the decision making to the kids!  I guess I thought if I asked their preference or ideas they'd be more on board with me.  What I've learned is asking their opinion just seems to make them think they have way more say than they do with how life flows! Actually I was giving them a ton of influence on my decisions and now I see their only real desire is to get out of work (human nature right!).  So their opinions weren't actually helping me accomplish my goal, they were hindering me!  Now I just need to figure out how I want things to go.  That's how I know they've had too much input... I'm not really sure how I want things to go!!  So I'll be thinking and praying on that!  All this power I never knew I had! LOL!  Actually I had it, I just didn't realize how much I was handing over!  It'll be interesting their reaction when I say, "This is how it's going to be... period."  I'm sure they'll just look at me strange like whhhaaattt?  Hee hee, that'll be fun ;0)

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Five In A Row

   I said last week I'd do a quick post about this so here ya go.  We LOVE FIAR.  You can check it out here.  It basically takes great children's stories and you read them... five days in a row.  Hence the name.  Then each day you take a different subject and learn about it in context with the story.  So for example you'll read The Story About Ping and on the day you learn about geography it will give you all sorts of ideas of how to explore the Yangtze River in Asia.  It covers Geography, Social Studies, some math, Science, Art... on and on it goes but the great part is it's up to you to decide which subject you want to do which day and even within each subject there are several ideas.  My kids LOVED these and still have great memories of them.  They have Before Five In A Row for 2-4 year olds which we've done at times as well.  All the volumes are full of great books I may have never heard of without FIAR. Let's face it we all know young kids love the same story over and over again!  This is just adding purpose to it!  You add your own math and phonics/language to it and you're done.  They do have Beyond Five In A Row for ages 8-12 and I've looked into but for some reason never did it, I'm not sure why since we loved FIAR so much.  For me it feels like home.  Whenever schooling is going bad or I feel overwhelmed we pull out FIAR and breathe again.  You can use it as your whole curriculum or just bring it in when you feel like it as a unit study.  Looking through it this week I always marked the initials of the child I did it with and the date by each activity, I forget how little they were just a few years ago!  They have one volume for even older kids but that must not have been very popular because that's all they've had since way back when I started with Caleb.

  Like I said earlier, if you are thinking of homeschooling and are just starting, you're working with little ones before they start school or you want to continue learning while they're off for summer break, Five In A Row is a great tool.  It was the first thing recommended to me when I started homeschooling and I'm so glad it was.  They also have a holiday addition with books and ideas for holidays, a cookbook for recipes to go with various books and a Bible supplement to go with some (all?) volumes.  They have message boards online to help you and they'll ask you which volume you're "rowing" ;0)  Cute.

  There you have it... my glowing review of FIAR.  Check it out if you're looking for something that allows you to snuggle up with your kids and learn together.  We loved it and I think you will too.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


   Nugget is doing so great with our family.  We really really love her to pieces!  I think she's going to be my new exercise partner!  I've always wanted to walk in the winter but I never can get too motivated when it's so cold.  I'm thinking Nugget will be motivated regardless of the temp!  Maybe I'll have to get her doggie booties to keep her paws from freezing!  Oh no!  I'm turning into that person!!

Here's some pics from our recent trip to see friends in Lansing...

Happy Family :0)

Monday, October 10, 2011


  Twenty two years ago today Paul and I sat with our entire sophomore class in our high school gym taking state standardized tests all day.  It was so fun I still remember it to this day!  NOT!  I remember it because on 10/10/89 at 10:00 while we were suppose to be concentrating hard on testing I had Paul's class ring quietly passed to me by many classmates while they all smirked. We sat alphabetically and since we were H and R we were quite a ways apart. They all knew we'd been "seeing" each other for awhile and leave it to my man of few words and much confidence to just pass his ring and assume I'd take it...I did!  Afterwards we laughed and talked and realized it was 10/10!  Cool!  Little did we know we'd still be remembering that 22 years and 5 kids later!  I was 14 and he was 15!  Yikes!  How crazy is that!!  We actually had a bet going we wouldn't last for longer than 2 weeks!  At the time we both liked "the chase" but never really enjoyed settling down with one person as an official "couple".

  Obviously we lost the bet and 10 became our lucky number and we were married on July 10th many years later.  Now we seem to be just living life each year and all of a sudden we'll notice that date sneaking up on us and we will immediately just smile.  It's such a fun memory for us.  I never believed the "old" people in my life when they'd say, "It feels like it was only yesterday" but truly I can be back in that gym in a flash and remember it all... like it was yesterday!  In fact sometimes I remember it better than the REAL yesterday! LOL!!

 This year we decided we should go down and see our favorite NFL team play the Monday night game in Detroit!!  Then we saw tickets were $200 a seat and we decided to go see a movie and be home in time to watch the game at home!!  We're going to head out to see Courageous and I'm so excited!  I've heard it's great and we own and love all of the movies by Sherwood especially Facing the Giants. I'll give you my review later in the week.

  Maybe I'll go grab his class ring from the drawer before we go and wrap it in angora yarn!  Do you remember that??  Ahh, the strange things we did!  I wore that gigantic fuzzy ring on my finger while the cuffs of my jeans were wrapped nice and tight around my ankles and my bangs hair-sprayed high!  Paul had the classic 80's mullet with the top of his head spiked and the back a little long and Guess or Girbaud jeans (a must at our school).  Imagine we loved each other even like that!  Now that's true love!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Konos Update

   So we started Konos a few weeks back and I thought it was going to be great... strange issue has come up.  They are having so much fun I'm not sure how much they are retaining!  They get so squirrely and dork around so much I'm not sure what we're getting out of it.  They can answer the questions at the time but later, not so much.  I thought it was just us until I had a girlfriend say they had the same issue when they did Konos.  So here's the question, can you have too much fun while learning that you...don't learn??  Hmmmm, I'm not sure! I would have said, "No way!" when we started but now I'm not sure!  I have kids who remember drinking soda with a straw out of the bottle but forget it was learning about how humming birds can lap up nectar. They remember the hard work they've done but aren't remembering why!  Maybe it's my bad teaching or maybe it's just them....or both! We're going to finish where we are this week and I'm not sure what then!  Again I say, this is why we did Sonlight last year!  It just fit. I can't say I always loved it but it was always there waiting for me all planned out and ready. If it weren't so darn expensive, although I've now heard several people getting great deals on Ebay.  Considering what you get it's really not bad but that doesn't change things when you only have so much $ to spend!

   Anyways! Now while we figure out what we're going to do with Konos, I really  want to spend some time teaching to my littles.  I'm going to pull out our favorite Five in a Row!  We LOVE that curriculum!!  I did it with Carter and Caleb so now it's E and Hannah's turn!  I'll have to do a post on why we love Five in a Row!  I think somewhere I even have a Beyond Five in a Row for older kids but we never did it...actually forgot about it till I started writing! Hmm, I'll have to check that out too. Next week I'll share some about FIAR.  You'll be especially interested if you have kids 2-8 and are just starting to homeschool, thinking about homeschooling or just want to do something special at home with your littles before they are school age or even over the summer.

  Well, this is an odd post and is basically me thinking out loud!  Sorry!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Funny Lines of the Day

   I love recording some of the funny things the kids say on here. When I look back it cracks  me up.  Here's a few out of the mouths of my babes lately...

Addison-  She LOVES our new dog but pronounces dog with a long o, so it's dOggie. She goes up to her and smooshes her with love saying, "I love you dOggie!  You a good dOggie."

If she wants something and isn't getting it she says she's a baby, if we call her a baby she'll say, "NO! I Addie!"

Caleb will chase her and say, "I'm gonna get you!"  If she picks on him and he doesn't decide to chase her she'll ask, "You wanna get me??"

For days I thought she was asking for a Pull-up to wear but she wanted "pretty lips" which is her princess chapstick ;0)

Hannah-  Today while Paul and I were snuggling on a chair with me in his lap she runs up and jumps on top of us and says, "OH!  Love pile!"  She's such a girl!

Caleb- While out in the yard the other day with Nugget Caleb looks at me and says, "Mom, this is the most secure I've ever felt with a dog."  Almost made me cry!

Carter- He came up today claiming he made a new Bill of Rights for our home that said, "We the children of the Rodriguez home declare we shall have Mc Donald's for lunch and a free video game day!"  It was all signed by each of them.  We told him that sounded more like a page of demands than a Bill of Rights!

Elijah- "I like having school!  I was kind of bored all summer just playing all the time."  Now that's one to record to show him later!!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

I Quit!!!

   The last few days I have been defeated.  I can't keep up.  I'm not good enough and there is not enough of me to go around.  I know in a few days it will be better, a few more I may feel on top of the world but today... I quit!!  Wish I knew who to give my resignation to... but it appears no one cares and the only thing they say is, "What's for dinner?"  It's just one of those days (well, actually a string of about 3!) but it will pass...that's what I keep telling myself...this will pass.
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