Baby’s First Trip to California

My cousin got married last weekend!

My dad called me a few months ago and asked if I would like to fly to California with him to attend the wedding. My mom offered to stay here with Hula Girl and Monkey Man so Jonathan didn’t have to take any time off work. I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to see my cousins and to visit Jonathan’s parents. So, we booked our tickets and made our plans to stay in California for four days.

In order to achieve our goal of spending time with family, we left early in the morning (REALLY early- 4:45 am!) from my parents’ house on Thursday. I was super worried about Sugar Plum’s sleep. She is my third Babywise baby, and I have worked hard to give her a good, consistent schedule all her life. Of course, she has endured many more disruptions to her schedule than her siblings ever endured, so I really ought not to have worried so much! I woke her at 4:15 on Thursday morning, and she slept a tiny bit on the way to the airport. She stayed awake all through checking in and security, and through boarding the flight. I nursed her as we took off, and she fell asleep for about 30 minutes or so. Then I moved and woke her up… and she never went back to sleep. She didn’t cry, though, so it was fine.

Sugar Plum slept REALLY well while we were at Ama and Papa’s (Jonathan’s parents’) house. We stayed with them during our visit because Ama so kindly offered to babysit Sugar Plum while we went out to see family and attend the wedding. We had a pretty major problem, though: Sugar Plum won’t take a bottle. I tried for weeks in advance, and I had Jonathan and Auntie Nay Nay (Jonathan’s sister) try at various times in there. No dice. She doesn’t cry when offered a bottle, but she just kind of chews on the nipple and looks at you like, “What am I supposed to do with this?”So I couldn’t really LEAVE her with Ama and Papa for very long. Fortunately, she is a good night sleeper, and once I got her down for the night, I could leave her and be pretty sure she’d sleep just fine.

While we were there, Sugar Plum basked in the attention lavished upon her by Ama, Papa, Grampy, and me. She didn’t have to share the spotlight with anyone else, for once in her life! She worked hard on rolling and got *so close*. She lit up and smiled her giant gummy baby smile whenever she saw her Ama. I got to take a couple showers and dry my hair and put on makeup… it was quite the luxurious trip for all of us!

My dad and I made plans to see his brothers and my cousins on Friday afternoon. We drove about an hour away to visit and have a barbecue. I took Sugar Plum over there to meet everyone (she made special friends with my cousin’s eight-year-old daughter, who is just the sweetest thing ever and loves babies so much!), then I drove her back to Ama and Papa’s house for bedtime. I went back to my uncle’s house to visit with family some more  (another uncle and several more cousins showed up then–hooray!), and then we drove back to Ama and Papa’s house for the night. It was a lot of driving but it was SO worth it. Family is extremely important to me, and I am very glad we had the opportunity to reconnect, at least a little bit.

Saturday was the day of the wedding. I worked on getting Sugar Plum good sleep during the day so she’d sleep well during the evening, when I left her with Ama and Papa. Unfortunately, the afternoon didn’t quite work out as I had planned, so when I left for the wedding, I was not sure how the evening would go. But I knew it was only one evening, and even if she stayed awake until midnight, at least she was with someone who knew how to care for my baby! (Jonathan’s parents are awesome grandparents! I couldn’t imagine better grandparents for my kiddos than the ones they have!) Lo and behold, Sugar Plum ended up waking up around 8:00 for part of the night. Ama gave her a small bottle, which she chewed, and rocked and snuggled her for a while before putting her back down. She went back down without a peep, and was out like a light for the rest of the night.

Now for the reason for our visit: the wedding. It was a superfun wedding. It was wonderful to catch up with (almost) all my cousins on my dad’s side– I haven’t seen any of them in over five years! The location was a small building in the middle of downtown LA. My cousins had decorated with tulle and lights and beautiful flowers, but it definitely was not overdone. It was a great mixture of hard and soft elements (thank you, Tim Gunn, for bringing awareness to this juxtaposition, haha). The food was AMAZING. They hired a street taco vendor, who doled out hundreds of delicious tacos during the evening. There was a small cake, but most guests satisfied their sweet tooth with a vanilla glazed donut instead. Yummo.

Even better than the decor and the food was the company. My cousins are just so cool. The last time I saw most of them was when I was still in high school. Getting to know a family member again as an adult is such a rewarding experience. It is really fascinating to get to know about each person’s unique interests and pursuits, and to witness the maturation of someone you’ve known since you were born. I would imagine it’s a similar situation as when siblings grow up and hang out for a while again. I am excited for and proud of my cousins and most, if not all, seem quite happy with where their lives have led them so far. There is NOTHING like family for comfort, entertainment, and encouragement. We had such a great trip and loved getting to know you better.

Our trip home was long but uneventful. Thank you, Dad and Mom, for making the trip happen. Thank you, Ama and Papa, for your hospitality and for the babysitting. Thank you, K&K, for getting married and providing a reason for us to get together. Love you all!

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*Kindergartenish, Here we Come!

*Kindergartenish– www.amblesideonline.com lists the academic levels as Year 0, Year 1, Year 2, and so on. There is no kindergarten to speak of. But, by golly, I want my kid to be able to say what grade she’s in! 

Tomorrow is an exciting day for us. Hula Girl is starting Kindergarten!

Yes indeedy, it’s a strange time of year to be starting school. I spoke with several teachers and students who are literally counting down the hours until summer. Haha! However, Hula Girl is dying for some intellectual stimulation, and I’m more than happy to provide it! I’ve been looking at all sorts of homeschooling resources. I’ve learned about different homeschooling styles, made pro/con lists to highlight each curriculum’s features (or lack thereof), and done a bit of soul-searching and praying about what I really want to see out of all of this. In my last post, I described some of the options I considered, and how we ended up going with the Charlotte Mason method.

Most of my posts about school will be written so that I can share our progress with family members, and so that I have records of where we’ve been when I look back on it all. With that said, feel free to keep on reading along! I’d love it if our journey is somehow helpful or enlightening for someone along the way!

So I’ll just jump right in with what we’re going to be doing this year, shall I? Hula Girl and I have been avid readers throughout her entire life. So when I visited Ambleside Online and looked at the Year 0 curriculum guide, I found that we had already read every single book on their guideline, along with all the extra books recommended by the collaborators on the website. So I called my friend who has been doing CM with her daughter for a few years now, and I asked her what she thought of me going ahead and starting with Year 1. She knows where Hula Girl is and she gave me confidence that Hula Girl can handle it. So that’s where we will begin!

The books we will be reading this year are:

History: Early history (55 BC to 1066 AD), and people throughout history.

An Island Story, by H.E. Marshall
Fifty Famous Stories Retold, by James Baldwin, selected chapters
Viking Tales, by Jennie Hall , ch 1-11

American History Biography

Benjamin Franklin, by Ingri D’Aulaire
George Washington, by Ingri D’Aulaire
Buffalo Bill, by Ingri D’Aulaire

Geography

Paddle to the Sea, by Holling C. Holling

Natural History/Science

The Handbook of Nature Study, by Anna Botsford Comstock

James Herriot’s Treasury for Children, by James Herriot
The Burgess Bird Book for Children, by Thornton Burgess

Poetry

A Child’s Garden of Verses, by Robert Louis Stevenson;

Now We Are Six  and When We Were Very Young, by A.A. Milne

A Child’s Book of Poems, by Gyo Fujikawa

Literature

The Aesop for Children, by Milo Winter
Beautiful Stories from Shakespeareby Edith Nesbit
The Blue Fairy Book, by Andrew Lang selected chapters.
Just So Stories, by Rudyard Kipling
Parables from Nature, by Margaret Gatty, selections.

Additional Books for Free Reading

Charlotte’s Web, by E.B. White
King of the Golden River, by John Ruskin
Peter Pan, by James M. Barrie
Pinocchio, by Carlo Collodi
The Red Fairy Book, by Andrew Lang
St. George and the Dragon, by Margaret Hodges
The Velveteen Rabbit, by Margery Williams
Little House in the Big Woods, by Laura Ingalls Wilder
Pocahontas, by Ingri D’Aulaire

Other Stuff We’ll Do:

  • Bible: We do a week-long study of a passage of scripture, and we do fun activities related to the verses.
  • Scripture Memory: Our whole family is working on memorizing scripture together, using this awesome scripture memory system found at www.simplycharlottemason.com
  • Reading: Hula Girl can read, but not well. I’m taking her through Teach your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons. Then we’ll work on some other reading material.
  • Math: We’re using Math-U-See. I like it. I figure we’ll finish the primary level by September, then we’ll start with the Alpha level. Hula Girl is good at math, even though it’s not her favorite thing to do. The constant struggle here is to make sure I’m not boring her with too much practice but that I’m giving her enough practice to solidify the concepts in her mind.
  • Nature Study: We’re combining this with drawing for now. We go for nature walks every day. We look at what God’s made for us. A couple of days each week, we bring our sketchbooks or clipboards and draw what we see. I plan to start using other media to record God’s wonders soon.
  • Handicrafts: Hula Girl has mastered the art of making pot holders on the loom. This term she will learn to embroider (HA, and I will learn with her!), and we will also be creating some beautiful gifts for family members for Christmas gifts.
  • Copywork: This is what it sounds like. Hula Girl copies sentences to practice her handwriting and to review important passages of scripture, lines from songs, phrases from books, verses of poetry, etc.
  • Composer/Picture Study: Each afternoon we have tea and listen to a specific composer while we look at pictures created by famous artists.
  • Folksongs/Hymns: We listen to and sing these during housework.
  • French: I am going to order the Nallenart “L’Art de Dire” curriculum to use informally. A good friend suggested we do French in a time when we’re just hanging out. I’m thinking we’ll do it in the car. Captive audience. 🙂

So, that’s a lot. What are we actually going to do this week?

Current Memory Verse: Ephesians 4:32

Current Hymn: “All Praise to Thee, My God, This Night”

Current Folksong: “Pick a Bale of Cotton”

Sunday (today):

  • “Sunday Stories” with Daddy- “The Terrible Lie” from the Jesus Storybook Bible
  • Reading lessons 1&2

Monday: (Mondays and Thursdays are the heaviest days as we stay home all day and can accomplish more!)

  • Bible- Read Genesis 1:26-31; 2:7, 20-25
  • Poetry- “Bed in Summer” (Child’s Garden of Verses)
  • Natural History- Chapter 1 from Paddle to the Sea
  • Math- Math-U-See (MUS) Primary level, lesson 12B (dealing with place value)
  • History- “Sword of Damocles” from Fifty Famous Stories
  • Copywork- “Be kind to one another” from Ephesians 4:32
  • History- Chapter 1 from Island Story
  • Nature Walk
  • Reading- Lesson 3
  • Picture Study- Van Gogh’s “Bedroom in Arles”

Tuesday:

  • Bible- Make people and animals from playdough, use to narrate story of God’s creation of Adam and Eve and Adam’s naming the animals
  • Poetry- “A Thought” (Child’s Garden of Verses)
  • Literature- “Wolf and Kid” from Aesop’s Fables
  • Math- Math-U-See (MUS) Primary level, lesson 12D (dealing with place value)
  • Literature-Whale” from Just So Stories
  • Copywork- “tenderhearted, forgiving one another,” from Ephesians 4:32
  • Nature Walk
  • Reading- Lesson 4
  • Picture Study- Van Gogh’s “Bedroom in Arles”

Wednesday: (This day is quite light due to Hula Girl’s dance class in the morning)

  • Bible- Narrate Genesis 1:26-31; 2:7, 20-25
  • Poetry- “At the Sea-Side” (Child’s Garden of Verses)
  • Literature- “Lesson of Faith” from Parables of Nature
  • Nature Walk/Nature Study
  • Reading- Lesson 5
  • Picture Study- Van Gogh’s “Bedroom in Arles”

Thursday: (Mondays and Thursdays are the heaviest days as we stay home all day and can accomplish more!)

  • Bible- Read Genesis 3:1-24
  • Poetry- “Young Night Thought” (Child’s Garden of Verses)
  • Math- Math-U-See (MUS) Primary level, lesson 12E (dealing with place value)
  • History- “Sword of Damocles” from Fifty Famous Stories
  • Copywork- “as God in Christ forgave you.” from Ephesians 4:32
  • History- Chapter 1 from Island Story
  • Nature Walk
  • Reading- Lesson 6
  • Composer Study- Brahms

Friday:

  • Bible- Felt board re-enactment of “The Fall”
  • Poetry- “Whole Duty of Children” (Child’s Garden of Verses)
  • Literature- “Tortoise and Duck” from Aesop’s Fables
  • Math- Math-U-See (MUS) Primary level, lesson 12F&G (dealing with place value)
  • Copywork- “Praise God from whom all blessings flow” from “All Praise to Thee, My God, this Night”
  • Nature Walk/Nature Study
  • Reading- Lesson 7
  • Composer Study- Brahms

Saturday:

  • Bible- Narrate Genesis 3:1-24
  • Nature Walk
  • Reading- Lesson 8

I’ll update tomorrow once we’ve gotten through the day to let y’all know how we fared! 

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