Friday, October 24, 2014

Little Punkins

Last Sunday Brennan and Trace were invited to a birthday party at a pumpkin patch. I tried to get some good pictures, and I realized something. 

I don't have the patience to be a photographer.

I was going to let Brennan pick out a pumpkin to keep, but after this picture she threw it back down into the pile, and didn't want it.

Okay then.

I could barely keep Trace's hands out of his mouth for a picture.

 Then he fell over and bonked his head on a pumpkin and we were done with that.

We went through the corn maze with some friends. Bethany came to help me (and mostly because her friend Sarah was going to be there.)

 This was our first time ever to a pumpkin patch or a corn maze.

Trace wasn't very impressed.

 Overall, we made some memories and I got a few good, and realistic (ha!) pictures!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Sanchez Homeschool Kindergarten!

WELL, I had wanted to write this two years ago when Thomas was in Kindergarten, but, yeah, I didn't get to it............

So, now that I'm teaching my EIGHTH Kindergartener, and I had a recent inquiry about how to do Kindergarten, I thought I had better get up a post about it.

I practice the "Kindergarten is LOW stress" homeschool method. In most (maybe all?) states Kindergarten is not a requirement. But, of course, because schools do offer it, we moms feel that our children will be behind for their entire academic career if they aren't reading by the end of that year.

In our homeschool, if my Kindergartener wanted to do the work, then we would do work. If they didn't want to, then we wouldn't.

Since I have older kids now (who aren't given that option) the little one who is in Kindergarten usually wants to do work so they can be like big brother or sister.


Brittany (my oldest) was interested in learning to write when she was four, so we started then with phonics. We made a simple ABC book that used magazine cutout pictures for every letter of the alphabet. Now I know some programs discourage using picture/sound association, but I found it helpful if she would forget what "m" sounded like, we could open the the little book and see the picture of the moon or whatever. So, I've used this for every child.

I used to just write simple silly sentences with Brittany like "Brittany is a red man." to introduce short vowel sounds. Then I found the Bob Books which are basically the same thing. I didn't realize that there were five sets until I was teaching Tyler (my 2nd) to read and so I bought them and have used them with all the kids since then.

I was really excited to find some other moms had created activities to go along with the books!

Walking By the Way has activities for the first two sets, but not the last three.

This Reading Mama has activities for all five sets.

This Reading Mama also has lessons plans for all five sets (also included in the lessons plans are activities from several other bloggers).

She also has extra activities for set one and could maybe be adapted for other sets also.

So far, I have used the first two sets from Walking By the Way. She has simple activities that require minimal supplies. I take about one week to read the book a couple of times and do the activities for that book.

Supply list for Walking By the Way:

Basic school supplies: pencil, crayons, scissors, glue stick, computer for typing (if your child likes to type)

Extra: bingo marker, small stickers, pair of dice, "markers" for tic tac toe (I used some construction paper squares in two colors), abc tiles (I used foam and made an upper case and a lower case set) and a brown paper bag

All of these things I found at Dollar Tree. I just keep it all in a ziploc so it's together and ready when we pull out the activities.

I have not used the This Reading Mama activities yet, but just glancing through the supply lists, it looks about the same.

I keep all the printout sorted by book and paperclipped together in a folder. (Because I need to be organized like that.)

Since I have many more children that will be using these, I decided to laminate some of the sheets.

We also check books out from the library that I read aloud to them, and I use read alouds for history and science for the older kids as well, so there is plenty of opportunity for reading comprehension practice for the Kindergartners.

After the Bob Books we move onto easy readers and increase the levels until they seem pretty proficient then move to age appropriate chapter books.

**Homeschooling provides the perfect opportunity to move at your child's own pace. If your child needs more time to "take off" with reading, then you are able to do that. I hate to sound cliche, but some kids, and especially boys, may need a little extra time with reading.

As for writing, I've printed some practice sheets off of the internet or in the early days when my older ones were little I just bought a tablet and wrote a few things that they could copy.

These sheets came from Confessions of a Homeschooler.


I've been using Math U See for a long time. Instead of creating a bunch of busywork worksheets that seems to overtake everything, I laminated the some of the lessons for the Primer and put some of the cutouts on notecards, so they could be used over and over. Really, you could start the Primer for some kids at age 4, because the first half of the book is really very basic. But, if your child finishes the Primer in Kindergarten and stays on track to finish one level per year, then by 7th grade they will be completing PreAlgebra which is the average college level track.

Also, there are activity sheets for Primer if you'd like to use those. I did print off a few and laminated them.

I made these numbers for decimal street years ago. I printed off some clip art cars and numbers and just laminated them.

This is also the same decimal street I made years ago.

I also keep various puzzles, file folder games and such on hand so that my Kindergarteners can rotate through activities (which is especially helpful when I need some quiet time to work with the older kids.) It's mainly stuff I've made or picked up at the dollar tree or yard sale.

For everything else........

I think the two biggest "sit down" subjects to work on for Kindergarten are phonics/reading and math. Everything else (science, social studies, etc.) can easily be learned by reading books aloud, nature study, games, puzzles, etc. I would say, even until maybe the fourth grade, you could keep the focus that way. But, if you prefer to do things differently, then BY. ALL. MEANS. It's your choice. ;)

If you only have a Kindergartener, then you could just add things in that they are interested in, or maybe put up a calendar and go over the days of the week and months. Keeping a weather chart is great, too.

I like to use this devotion for the younger ones for Bible Study.

Devotions for the Children's Hour   -     By: Kenneth N. Taylor

And, that's about it!

Monday, October 13, 2014

At the Fair!

For the last few years I had been planning for the kids to enter something into the Tulsa State Fair. But, life always seems to get away from me and then it's one of those things that just never happens.  

But, this year I was determined that things were going to be different.

I told the girls to look on the internet and find a tote bag they wanted to make. I knew they could do a great job, considering how well the diaper bags turned out.

Bethany chose a smaller bag with a decorative ruffle and flower on the front. Brooke chose more of a "scrunchy" type bag with a belt for a strap.

Tristan and Thomas made Lego designs. There are always a ton of Lego entries at the fair. But, the boys were very creative.

Thomas and Tristan got participation awards for their Legos.

Brooke took 2nd place for her bag!

Bethany took 1st place for her bag!

David took pictures of their stuff in the display cases.

I am so proud of them. I thought it would be something neat for them to do. They are trying to convince me to enter one of my scrapbook pages for next year. We'll see!

Our fair also has a lot of neat stuff for kids. They have an entire building devoted to hands on exhibits for the younger crowd and it's FREE with the paid entrance ticket. There is a petting zoo, sand pit, science labs, ride on toys for the very littles, a ball pit, balloon animals and craft tables.

Here the kids are scaling the rock wall....

One thing I love about the fair is the food.

I mean, really. When else are you going to eat deep fried red velvet Oreos? (Every day of my life if I could.)

Or, scorpion pizza? (NO thanky.)

We also had a funnel cake, grilled corn, deep fried Reese's  (which weren't as good as the Oreos), giant corn dogs, fried green tomatoes and lemonade.

Don't worry, we burned all those calories walking and sweating back to the van.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Monday Musings: Fascinating Edition

Travis (4) at the zoo: "Mom! Look at that gecko! It's fascinating!"

Travis also fell asleep unnoticed with half a pack of gum last week. Let's just say it took a fair amount of peanut butter and scrubbing to get it off.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Monday Musings: Crazing Edition

Bailey (5) was trying to untangle some earbuds: "Mom! This is crazing me nuts!"


(Last week......)

Me: Why when I ask y'all to do your chores do you run off and do something else????
Bailey: I guess we're just naughty children.

And there you have it.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Sew, a needle pulling thread.

Well, for some reason I had it in my head that I wanted to sew a diaper bag for this baby. Which is sort of crazy because, well, I don't sew.

I mean I still have to look up how to thread the machine, people.

I want to sew. But, I just don't seem to be able to make the time during the school year and if I need to do any trouble shooting, well, just forget it.

But, I had decided I wanted to sew a diaper bag and that's what I set out to do.

Brittany found some discounted canvas in a very cute owl print when she worked at the fabric store. So, I picked that up and it sat for a couple of months on my desk.

Then, around the middle of May I realized that if I was actually going to make this thing then I needed to get on the ball, so to speak.

I went to the store and bought the fabric for the inside, the batting and the thread. And, it sat on my desk. And then I had the baby.

Then, I realized that if I were actually going to use the diaper bag for this baby, it wasn't going to sew itself. And, I need to get on the ball for real.

So, I cut out the fabric and then it sat on my desk for another week while I wondered what in the world I had gotten myself into. Then, I told Bethany, that live or die, I was going to sew that diaper bag on Monday. I did the mechanics and Bethany ran the sewing machine.

Here's how it turned out.........

I LOVE how it turned out!!! There are also four pockets on the inside.

I added these buttons, but otherwise, I followed this tutorial from Sew Christine. The pocket directions were backwards, so make sure to read the comments to get the correct way to fold.

As a matter of fact, I was so pleased with it that I had Bethany help me make one for Brennan. I altered the measurements to make a smaller bag, and I didn't do pockets inside for hers.

Since this was supposed to be "the easiest diaper bag ever" I guess I shouldn't sing my own praises, but it did inspire me to try some other projects and the girls are going to make bags to enter into the fair.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Trace's Birth Story

Now, that Trace is 3 weeks old I finally have time to post his birth story. I know this is a lot of details, but I want to remember.

So, when I calculated out when I thought my due date would be based on the usual signs and symptoms, it came up as May 25. But, after I had an ultrasound the doctor thought it looked more in line with June 13. I had another ultrasound a month after the first and the measurements were still in line with June 13. I was fine going along with that date since I have had due dates based only on ultrasound before when I haven't been able to calculate it out based on the usual signs and symptoms. So, I was preparing for a June baby.

When I was still about two weeks or so out from May 25, I felt like the baby was so low I could barely walk and he was moving around so much, and I just felt all over "big and pregnant". And, I had already stopped walking on the treadmill about three weeks before, because I could barely walk afterwards. This is usually the sign the end is near and  I still had over a month til my June due date and then a little more if I was my usual week or so late. I still had in the back of my mind that I could be due the 25th, but I still focused on June 13th.

This pregnancy had really been, well, boring. Which is GOOD. It seems like with every other pregnancy there is some other crazy big life changing event taking place or something with the pregnancy like high blood pressure or the scary bleeding that I experienced with Brennan. But this time, everything was good. My blood pressure was good. My sugar was good. The baby was good. The ultrasounds were good. NOTHING out of the ordinary had happened. I didn't even have Group B Strep this time.

The morning of May 27th I had a doctor's appointment. That week I intended to finish up homeschool for the year and get the rest of the baby's things in order. That would still give me two weeks to get some meals in the freezer and a few other things I felt like I needed to get done. So, before my appointment I went to Walmart and got the little dresser for the baby's things and some cleaning supplies. Going to Walmart always seems to involve a lot of walking, which I had been trying to avoid, but I wasn't feeling any contractions or anything.

I stopped and got an egg mcmuffin and small coffee that I was going to wait and have after my appointment, but I was so starved after walking around Walmart that I decided to go ahead and eat it. I had gotten in the habit several kids ago of not eating before my appointments, because no matter what I would eat, inevitably the nurse would test my urine sample and say, "WHAT did you eat this morning?" and then need to do a finger prick (which would turn out fine). So, I learned to just schedule my appointments in the morning and then eat afterwards to save myself (and my fingers) some trouble.

When the assistant took me back to the room for my appointment, she said that (dread of all dreads) the doctor wanted to do a cervix check. Now, I hate cervix checks for at least two reasons. 1) PERSONAL SPACE and 2) What my cervix is doing is usually no indication of when I will deliver.

He found that I was at 4 centimeters and 100 percent effaced. I wasn't really having any stronger contractions than Braxton Hicks, but he felt my stomach and said that I was having a contraction right then. Didn't I feel that? I told him that yes, I did feel it, but I wouldn't describe it as painful. He said, "You must have a really high pain tolerance." I said, "I don't know about that, but I do know how painful it will eventually be, and this isn't that."

He wanted me to come back at 1:45 to see what the contractions were doing then.

Now at this point, I know how this is going to go.

I will go home. I will come back at 1:45. He will admit me to labor and delivery. I will have to labor at the hospital tied down with monitors and ivs. I will continue to have contractions, but at some point he will determine I'm not progressing fast enough and want to give me pitocin and then I will want the epidural and then I will throw up.

That is the exact opposite of how I wanted it to go. I wanted to labor at home, get to the hospital at the last minute and deliver before I could be tied down for very long (I was only at the hospital 20 minutes when I had Brennan. Perfect timing!), avoiding the epidural and the throwing up.

I left the doctor's office and texted David to call me when he had a stop on his route and then Brittany called me because she was supposed to pick up Tyler from work, but abandoned him when he didn't walk out the door at 11 on the dot. So, I headed to pick Tyler up and found him walking halfway home through the neighborhood. David called me and I let him know what was going on. I drove on home and sat on the bed and the contractions got to where I could feel them, but they still weren't really painful.

Brittany insisted that she was driving me back to the doctor.

Because, what if you are driving yourself and you have the baby in the van BY YOURSELF, or something crazy.

I guess everyone thinks that by your 11th, the baby is basically just falling out, and don't sneeze or anything, because HERE COMES THE BABY!

That is a myth.

Anyway, Brittany drove me back to the doctor at 1:45. We had to wait at least an hour because he was already over at the hospital delivering babies. I guess out of consideration all the women waited until after Memorial Day to go into labor. After he finally got there he said that I was a 4/maybe 5 and to go on over to labor and delivery. I told him, "Well, I guess this means I'll have to cancel my dinner plans." My good friend, Julie was planning on taking me to Olive Garden that evening to celebrate Trace's upcoming birth.

I convinced the doctor to let me go home, because I hadn't even packed my bag. He said I could, but just don't waste any time and get back up to the hospital. I was thinking to myself, "Well it might take a reeeaally long time for me to pack my bag........"

But, Brittany wouldn't let me waste any time and insisted she was driving me back to the hospital, because what if I drive myself and have the baby in the van BY MYSELF.......

I texted David and let him know what was going on and he texted back, "DON'T WAIT TIL THE LAST MINUTE!"

I texted back, "Why would I do that?"

So, between the doctor, my husband and my daughter, I was outnumbered and had to make my way up to the hospital. David called in to get someone to finish his route and met us there after we checked in.

It's funny, because of the difference in priority when you come up to labor and delivery and say in a calm, cheery voice, "Hi, the doctor sent me over to be admitted.", you get sent to the waiting area for half an hour. If you come in doubled over in pain and moaning they escort you back to a room right in a hurry.

We were in the waiting area when David showed up, and a little while later they took us back to a room. I had to do the usual paperwork, got hooked up and tied down with the monitors, and I had to get two ivs again. Contractions at this point were still not really painful. I told the nurse, "No offense, but if it weren't for everyone else, I wouldn't even be here right now." She was a really supportive nurse and said she totally understood and agreed with me and she wanted me to be able to move around if I wanted to. I appreciated that so much, but still, there is only so much moving around you can do, because the monitors end up losing the baby's heartbeat and and you have to move all the tubes and wires (they ended up inserting an internal monitor as well for contractions so they removed the contractions monitor on my belly), and it's just a bother. So, basically I could move from the bed to the chair (where I ended up spending most of the evening) and that's about it.

David, Brittany and I just sat around and waited for the contractions to get closer together. David was mostly playing on his phone and Brittany was mostly taking pictures of us and posting to instagram. Finally the contractions got a little stronger and the doctor wanted to check my cervix. I knew I probably was at a six. And, I was. He also broke my water.

So, we continued to wait.

I don't remember the exact time frame, but I would say around 11 pm he came back in to check my cervix again. There was really no point, because I knew I was still at six. And, I was.

I could have told him every step of the way what my cervix was at, because I can tell based on what the contractions and pain feel like.

So, remember how earlier I said that I knew how this was going to go?

Apparently because I've had so many children I have a "tired uterus", and he wanted me to have some pitocin to make the contractions stronger. And, as I had already told him, I would get the epidural. I am so over dealing with pitocin. My doctor said you wouldn't be able to pay him to have a baby without an epidural. Ha!

Well, if I hadn't have had that darn appointment that morning, then everyone wouldn't have freaked out and I wouldn't have had to go over to the hospital and I could have labored at home. Oh well. I know that I could have refused the pitocin, but by that point, I decided it was fine to just go ahead with it and get the baby here sooner.

So, I got the pitocin, and the epidural, and by this time I'm sure it was after midnight-well past my bed time, so I dozed off a bit. After a while I felt a lot of pressure on my bladder and about that time the doctor came in and and Trace was ready! It only took maybe two very light pushes and he was born at 1:21 am.  He was 7 pounds, 7 ounces and 20 and 1/2 inches. His apgars were 8 and 9. And, then I threw up for the next two hours from the epidural. Yay.

Brittany had stayed for the entire thing. It was her first birth. I guess everything really worked out for the best, because 1) she got to be there, and 2) she wasn't permanently scarred from ever having her own children because I had gotten the epidural and things were fairly uneventful. She had stayed the entire time and didn't leave until around noon when my friend Jennifer and her daughter came by and, also the lady came in to take Trace's pictures. David had gone on home just a short time after I delivered. He always stays until he makes sure the baby and I are fine, and then he leaves.

I know that ultrasounds are pretty accurate, but this time I think that my calculations were correct. Trace was average weight, but he was long, and he had long fingernails. And, when I look back on the four weeks leading up to May 25, it does seem like things were progressing like that was my real due date. So, I'm going with that. Trace, like his ten brothers and sisters was LATE. Eleven for eleven.

I'm so, so thankful he's healthy and already here!

Waiting for Trace to show up......

Travis and Trace

Brennan reaching for her new brother.

Brennan wondering why she wanted a new brother.

Bailey and Trace

Tristan and Trace



Brittany and Trace

Travis, Thomas and Trace

Trace had a little jaundice so he had to spend a few days under the bili lights.

And, now he's doing just great!

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