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Motherhood is teaching me to be THANKFUL in my disappointments. Image
One of my disappointments right now is Nia’s issues with nursing. She has had issues latching since birth.
This is NOT something I EXPECTED. None of the other 5 kids had ANY PROBLEMS nursing! I love nursing and it’s my favorite way to bond!

What God is teaching me through this?:

1. That I am NOT in control.
2. To change my expectations so they better match my reality
3. To do the BEST I CAN and trust Him for the rest.
4. To be THANKFUL in ALL circumstances!
I am thankful that she can still benefit from breastmilk because of my pump.
I thank HIM that she is healthy, growing and thriving.
I thank HIM that there are SO MANY other ways to bond with her (I kiss her and hold her close while she feeds), and that I am able to be with her all day!
God is good, all the time! When a child won’t latch, potty train when expected and even in an unexpected diagnosis. HE’S GOOD!
Motherhood will bring much joy and much disappointments.
I pray I continue to learn to be thankful in all of it!
“be thankful in all circumstances”! (1 Thess. 5:18)

Pomo It’s Monday and I already feel like I am trying to catch up. As much as I always try to de-schedule and simplify, our life is busy!

Mom, YOU can relate!

The craziness starts even before their little feet touch the floor:

  • Getting their breakfast ready for their empty tummies
  • Making sure they do their morning chores
  • “What am I going to cook for lunch?”
  • Morning Devotions
  • Cleaning the kitchen

…and it’s still only 9am!

The demands on me as a mom make it essential for me to multitask. My days are filled with “the urgent” that needs to be taken care of NOW, like a hungry newborn. My daily tasks also include “the important”, like making my husband’s lunch, taking time to listen and converse with my son or playing tea party with my eager daughter.

The demands on our plate as moms are numerous. More than getting through our “to do list” what most of us really strive for is to be efficient in our home. We don’t just want to get the job DONE, but to get it done WELL!

I recently heard that in order to really be more efficient with our time one should do one thing at a time instead of multitask. This makes sense if you really want to focus on a task and really give it your best.

Multitasking is something that comes easy to me and that I do as second-nature. I also want to be more efficient with my time so I have been working on focusing on the task at hand. I found a little treasure on Ann Voskamp’s blog to help me in this effort! The Pomodoro Technique!

It’s VERY SIMPLE:

  1. Pick ONE activity.
  2. Set the time for 25 minutes
  3. Do the activity for the set time, with NO INTERRUPTIONS OR DISTRACTIONS.
  4. At the end of the 25 minutes, stop!
  5. If not done, take a 5 minute break, and then continue for 25 minutes.

There is a bit more explanation to this on the site and even the book if you really get into it.

I started using the technique a few weeks ago. Has it helped? Yes! It has helped me with:

Procrastination When there is something that I know has to get done but I don’t feel like doing it, I at least give it 25 minutes. Most of the  time it takes way less than I expected to complete it!

Efficiency It really helps me control my habit of multitasking. The sound of the timer reminds me that I have a set amount of time to complete the assigned task, so there is no time to tackle anything else!

My only challenge is finding a time in my day when I can do the task with no interruption and distraction. Is that really realistic for a homeschool mother of 6? I don’t know when it will ever be ;)

Give The Pomodoro Technique a try! I found a great way to carry your Pomodoro timer anywhere you go! I found a free version of it for Android mobile devices! I went ahead and purchased the paid version. This gives me the option to list my tasks right on the app!

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Today we spent our afternoon at The Cleveland Zoo – Rainforest. I STILL feel like I am getting used to having 6 kids. Every once in a while I get this sinking feeling that we are missing someone. A group of 5 and a group of 6 looks very similar, so I find myself counting heads, just to make sure! :)

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The kids always LOVE going to the zoo, but no one likes it the way my animal/nature lover does! He was so excited to take his new camera with him and took videos and pictures the whole time we were there. To his delight and Friday22surprise a couple of the monkeys had recently had babies. I loved to see his expression! He was so happy he would forget to capture it, because he was too busy sharing the great news with us! He is so special and really, so unique!

He really wants to start working on documentaries of things he likes and starting his own YouTube channel. He has so much passion and loves communicating with other about things he cares about!

His favorite topic of all…monkeys! During our trip he found out about the danger the Amazon Rainforest are in because of deforestation. I explained to him that the Amazon Rainforest could be gone in his lifetime! He was so upset, and so expressive about it, as always! His first comment was, “Well, that means NO MORE MONKEY!” The expression on his face and emotion in his voice was priceless! I LOVE his heart!

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He asked if there is anything he could do about it. How awesome is that?! When you love something it is difficult to do nothing! Love will spring you into action! Being a spectator is NOT an option! I realized yesterday just how much he loves animals and monkeys in particular. Although I do not share this love and passion with him, his desire to get involved makes me respect him and get involved with him.

I said that together we would find out how he can get involved! Now I am on a quest to find organizations or projects he could do to channel his passion and love of monkeys and nature and his desire to help save them!

Do YOU know of a way he could get involved?

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” - Margaret Mead

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Our “Normal”

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Nia Marie is 6 weeks old now and our life and homeschool is slowly getting back to normal. It feels like she has always been with us…she fits right in! :)

Her sister LOVES her and spends most of the day wanting to kiss her and talk to her. The boys are so excited and love to help feed and dress her. It’s difficult to explain but it seems like we all have a sense of completeness.

It’s taking me some time to adjust and get used to our new addition. To start with, this past Christmas will go down as the one with an undecorated tree. None! We bought one, but never got around to decorating it. We took it down today and my poor 4 year old is still wondering: “Mami, why didn’t we decorate our tree?”
Life is busy with 6 kids! ;))

As my family has grown I am learning to embrace the chaos and unexpected and even find beauty in these, realizing that they too make for great memories!
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I am slowly recovering and getting my energy back, so we have been a lot more active both inside and outside of the home. The two younger boys resumed their swim lessons and two of the boys are continuing their piano lessons. Best of all, I also have the energy to engage them in their extra curricular activities, making sure they practice their skills and complete their assignments.

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My oldest son is especially excited because he is FINALLY a part of a basketball team! He has been asking for this for the past few months and is so excited the season has finally started! He enjoys his teammates and really likes his coach. He especially likes spending time with kids his age and having time away from his siblings. He has been asking for this a lot lately so I am glad we found this opportunity for him to develop more friendships outside the home.

As crazy and chaotic as I know our life is and will be, it has become our “normal” :) One thing I never want to forget in the midst of it all is the importance of treating each of them as an individual! It’s challenging but also stretching me, in good way!

Minecraft Learning!

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We recently started using a new History curriculum and love it! The boys are learning about Viking Victories on Minecraft Homeschool. They are on their 2nd week and we are all DELIGHTED! Minecraft Homeschool hopes to add Writing, Mathematics and Science classes by Fall of 2014.

Based on our experience thus far, this is a program that will be here to stay, at least for my older boys :)

What I LOVE about Minecraft Homeschool

  • You can’t log into their server to build on Minecraft without completing the assigned reading and taking & submitting the quiz.
  • The teachers are VERY accessible and have answered all of my questions.
  • The boys get extra credit for doing some of the work with other students. They are definitely learning to work in teams, a skill that they will surely need in the workforce and in life.
  • The program is VERY well structured and organized! This makes it so much more enjoyable for them and easier for me!
  • The learning material is engaging and includes lots of images and videos!
  • The way the program is set up is teaching the boys planning skills, project management and meeting deadlines. This is one of my favorite skill to have them learn. It is one they will need fof college and beyond!
  • They interact with students around the country and some from around the world.
  • The rules are very strict, keeping the environment safe and productive for each child (I still monitor their use and who they are chatting with on the server)
  • The boys’ LOVE Minecraft is a great incentive and makes it a great learning tool and motivation to get through the week’s work!

Challenges I Have Encountered

  • Not as suitable for a 6/7-year-old as I expected. The site says a child as young as 5 can take the class. Children are different and each family has their own dynamic. With a new baby and 6 kids in the home I had to give my 7-year-old too much assistance. This made it unrealistic for him to use the program. He was also not too interested in the reading or even the videos. They were all too long for his attention span.
  • You only need one Minecraft account and can have children share. I found it easier to have them each have their own. This was an extra expense I was not planning for.
  • The lessons are very meaty and the homework a bit lengthy. I DON’T think this is a negative right now. It is definitely requiring the boys to plan ahead and plan out their week more!

The boys have learned so much and this new History program has enriched our homeschool. I am already looking forward to and planning for their next class! Check their site out! The next classes start February 24th!

We are BLESSED to have found Minecraft Homeschool!!

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