Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Educational (and other) Goals for 2012

What a big year next year is going to be.

Hunter is going to turn seven. Seven.

Wasn't he just, y'know, like two?

By the end of next year, this little crawling monster of mine is going to be an eighteen month old, talking-running-hopefully reading, full-fledge toddler.


There are also a lot of other changes coming up for our family next year, although I can't really discuss all of them on this blog. They will be big, though.

So here are a few little thoughts on things that I want to do and accomplish in this next year. (I might add to this more, later).

1. Start our running program as a family again

2. Build a new brachiation ladder (monkey bars) for Hunter's room

3. Blog regularly and increase readership with good, useful content

4. Read at least 10 "high level" novels aloud with the boys

5. Work with Hunter on improving his penmanship and composition

6. Teach Damien how to swim independently

7. Have Damien reading simple sentences and home-made books

8. Teach Damien (and Hunter) at least 1000 bits of intelligence (flash cards), (in: art, biology, general science, geography, history, human anatomy, languages, literature, mathematics, music, and scripture)

9. Potty train Damien

10. Build own website

11. Learn how to develop apps

12. Start online business - thousands of free downloads and a few material things to sell

13. Learn more about Montessori activities, specifically for infants and toddlers

14. Touch up on my Spanish - be able to hold a simple conversation again

15. Help Damien understand simple mathematics and numbers

16. Complete our studies of ancient history and move onto the middle ages

17. Read through the Bible with the boys at least once 

18. Read through Proverbs with boys at least 10 times

19. Visit all museums in local city

20. Have Hunter ready to begin algebra and geometry by end of year (Math 8)

21. Have Hunter working at at least a fourth to fifth grade level in most subjects

22. Inventory, declutter, and simplify school supplies

23. Teach Hunter to play piano beyond beginners level

24. Take the boys to Yosmite

25. See the Grand Canyon with the boys

26. Resume "Word of the Day"

27. Go to bed every night with a clean kitchen

28. Keep a simple homeschooling journal for each boy

29. Touch up on Hunter's geography skills

30. Eat homemade dinners 6x a week - limit processed food and eating out

31. Wean Damien from pacifier (by 12 months)

32. Limit sugar to once a day - less regularly for the boys

33. Learn at least 200 words in American Sign Language and use regularly with Damien

34. Take pictures every day

35. Have Hunter baptized (he voluntarily asked if he could be last December)

36. Smile. Be patient. Enjoy each moment.

"A man's heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps." 
Proverbs 16:9

Hunter is 6 years, 9 months old
Damien is 6 months, 3 weeks old

Sunday, December 25, 2011

The Year Where I Accidentally Discovered the Secret to a Stress-Free Christmas

It's Christmas morning.

Merry Christmas!

But this picture wasn't taken today. Or even this weekend. It was actually taken in the beginning of December.

Originally, the idea of choosing to celebrate Christmas several weeks early due to Daddy's military obligations was kind of a bummer.

I mean, it would have been "better" to have Christmas on, y'know, Christmas, right?

But this Christmas season turned out to have a million little hidden benefits accidentally twisted in. And I wouldn't trade the lessons I learned for the world.

You see, knowing that we were going to celebrate Christmas early, meant that everything else had to be done ahead, too.

Throughout the fall, we purchased the boys' Christmas gifts here and there. A little something one day and a little something another, as we were doing our regular day-to-day shopping. In the end, all of their gifts were all bought and wrapped by mid November.

No rush, no stress, and coincidentally, no big hit on our budget since it was spread out and gradual.

After Thanksgiving, when the actual Christmas celebrations started rolling out, we kept it simple.

No stressing out about perfection. Just enjoying our family, together.

And then, "our family Christmas" was over. But that's when the magic started happening.

For the rest of the world, they chaos called December began. Stressing. Worrying. About the lines at the stores. The crazy drivers. The money. The late night gift-wrapping marathons. The question of what to get who. Forgetting something followed by hectic last-minute store runs. So much to do in so little time.

And do you know what we did? We watched.

We watched everyone worrying and hurrying and stressing and fretting and... We drank hot chocolate and watched Christmas movies.

We played board games under the Christmas tree.

We built graham cracker houses and painted ornaments and took pictures with Santa.

We read books, and sang songs, and really thought about the reason for the season.

And it was incredible.

It wasn't perfect, of course. We missed Daddy, and that was hard.

But the accidental gift of having to have every obligation done early, was priceless.

Christmas was peaceful. Christmas was stress-free. Christmas was everything it was supposed to be.

The secret, one that I already knew, was one simple thing. Early. Ahead.

I've known that little trick for a long time. But never got to experience its magic until now.

So next year, when we will hopefully be exchanging sweet gifts and commencing festivities on the 25th, and maybe even enjoying it with extended family, I hope that I will always remember the magic that was this year.

And have everything ready before December rolls around. So I can once again enjoy the peacefulness that Christmas is supposed to be.

Merry Christmas!

May your celebrations be filled with peace, whenever and wherever they occur!

"For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace." 
Isaiah 9:6
Thank you for your comments!

Hunter is 6 years, 9 months old
Damien is 6 months, 3 weeks old

Monday, December 19, 2011

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Chess Match

Merry Christmas everyone!

Hunter is 6 years, 8 months old

Monday, December 12, 2011

Inspirational Babies


Never content to stay at their current level of skill.

Always, always, always learning something new.

They're so inspiring, aren't they?

Damien is 6 months, 1 week old