This military life is one that I never dreamed I would be living. The moving, deployments, and constant change is not what I grew up knowing. I lived in the same house from 6 months until I was 18 and moved away for college. I went to the same church, same schools, had the same friends from K to 12 grade. I dreamt of what I knew when I was growing up.
And now, I couldn't imagine anything but our military life. I have a love/hate relationship with moving. I love the new places and the excitement of new adventures. I know I have posted this before, but hardest part of leaving and moving on is missing our wonderful friends (that are more like family) each place we go. But as I get older and more seasoned in this life, I am now seeing the blessing of moving and the chance to meet and make friends from all over the world.
Each time we get ready to move, my prayers become constant for God's hand to just place us in the right house, church, and to bless us with friends who love Him. I look back at our 12 and half years of the USMC, and those friends are still there. From each duty station. The friends that were completely chosen by God to come into our lives and bless us.
We were so excited when some of those friends came to visit us this past week. We all picked right back up where we left off. The children were in heaven. They played and played and played. I got to catch up with my dear sweet friend, Sue. And I think, if God had never moved me to Chesapeake, I would not have the chance to know Sue. Her happy, fun-loving, God-loving heart and all the silliness and fellowship we have together. I just love her and her sweet family. So I am learning to have a love/love relationship with moving. I can get over all the boxes and packing paper for miles so that I meet people like Sue along the road that we are on in this crazy military life.
We have officially hit the beginnings of Prime time Princess around here. Hayley was just about the same age that Hannah is now when she wouldn't leave the house without a tiara on her head and sunglasses on her sweet face.
Hannah found one of Hayley's dress up gowns and asked me to put it on her. Probably the first of many times...
Probably the top two questions I get asked about homeschooling are, "What do you do with Hannah Beth?" "How do you get things done with a 2 year old running around?" I ask myself those same things every morning that I get ready for another day of school.
First, I have had to let go of the classroom mentality. This is our home first and school second. We do have a set schedule in which we get things done, but it is also ok for part of school to be playtime with Hannah. When my type A personality finally let go of the classic classroom setting, our school day has been so much more successful and all my "students" don't want the day to end. They beg for more and I love that!
I have been reading alot about Montessori learning for Hannah and gotten so many great ideas from other homeschooling blogs and moms. I got my act together over the Christmas break and set up a center where all of Hannah's "school" items are kept. The cubbies were once in Luke's room for all his toys. We have moved on to a different storage system for him, and I though this would be the perfect place for Hannah's workboxes. The top three cubbies are some type of learning/exploring/motor skills center while the bottom three are exploratory toys for play (which also leads to learning).
Each activity is separated into a tray which makes it easy for Hannah to see exactly what to do. I sit and play with her showing her each activity and how it works the day before we start back to school.
The first activity is scooping the "fuzzies" into the pitcher with a spoon.
The next tray has color cards and colored cubes to match. I have her lay the cards out and we put the matching cube on top of the card.
The last learning tray has this coffee can with holes punched in it. She has to thread the glow sticks through the holes. This one was a little tricky because the holes were not quite big enough. I made them bigger and she likes it so much more.
I also put a puzzle on top of the shelves as one more thing we can play together.
The three boxes in the bottom have Snap n Style dress up dolls, Mag-neatos, and Zoob Jr. links. All toys that we have had since Luke and Hayley were toddlers.
The next morning we started our day with Math, Independent Work, and Tot School.
I can't even tell you how much smoother the morning went. Hannah was so content. I sat and played with her in the floor some and then went to work with Luke and Hayley.
She dove right into the dolls. These were her favorite and still are her favorites this week too.
She decided she wanted to sit at the table with us and work on her puzzle. I let her take the lead on what she wants to do for an activity next. Apparently she needed sunglasses to help her with school. Such a fashionista!
She picked the scoop and transfer activity next. She started out using the spoon and quickly decided it was much more fun to just use her hands.
I have the same activities out this week and I will change it up next week. She is loving the one on one time with me, and loving that she is included when it comes to school work. On top of all that, she is learning. Win for everyone.
So I went and bought 3 snow bibs, 3 pairs of snow gloves, hats, two sleds and extra warm socks.
Santa, such a smart one, brought 3 pairs of snow boots all in anticipation of our winter in Quantico.
When we moved here for the first time back in 2002, all 3 winters we were here we got a good amount of snow. The first winter I believe we got at least 4 really good snows. The kind of snow that you have to shovel because it doesn't melt away in a day or two like in good old GA where I grew up.
Well, no big snows yet this year, but we did see snow last week. And you better believe I suited everyone up and put them out in the white stuff for the 30 minutes of daylight we had left in the day. I don't think we had but 1 inch of snow, but they had a ball.
It was so pretty as it started to fall...
All ready to go. They all remind me of the kid in A Christmas Story...
"I can't put my arms down!" Ha!
Here's to hoping we get to use our snow gear MANY times this winter.
I cannot say enough good things about the Upward Sports program. We have done soccer, football, cheerleading, and now basketball through Upward. I love how they teach the child the sport and good sportsmanship. I love how the include a devotion tied to a Bible verse at each practice and they begin every game with prayer!
Luke decided he would give basketball a try for the first time this year. So far....
He was so excited that he got the #4 jersey. He was #4 for football in the fall too!
Happy New Year!!!! We have hunkered down this past week and jumped right back into reality. Was it fun? Not really. I think we all wished that we had one more week of vacation, but I really don't want to be teaching school into July! But, we did survive our first week back to school and I tweaked our schedule a little bit and seems that everyone is much happier with the adjustment. And by everyone, I mean the littlest Steele.
Now, onto the Legos...
We entered the world of Legos hard core around Luke's 7th birthday. He and I worked endless hours together on many fun Toy Story 3 Lego sets that he received for his birthday that summer. The true love of Legos was officially born and he has spent most of his gift cards and fun money on Lego sets. Now a year and a half later, he doesn't so much need my help anymore (tear). He is pretty much a master at his craft. And folks, some of these Lego sets come with instructions books thicker than most novels and with over 1,500 tiny, microscopic pieces.
Luke got 6 huge Lego sets for Christmas. He has completed 4 of them. An Ewok village, a space station, and a fire station ( I think the fire station alone had over 1,000 pieces). But here is his masterpiece.
I am a wife to one of The Few and the Proud, he loves his country and happens to be the most amazing man who loves me unconditionally and is truly my hero; a homeschooling mama to 3 wonderful children that make me smile everyday, and a Christian trying to live my life for the Lord. Though I fall and stumble in my walk with Christ, I live in His undying grace and mercy. He has blessed our family beyond my wildest dreams and I cannot praise His name enough.
After reading many of my friends' blogs, I thought this would be a great way to keep friends and family up on what our gang is doing! Let me know if you stop by and see us.