My tiny baby is less than 2 weeks away from his 1st birthday. It’s been a very fun year! I’ve got to say that this 3rd baby has been so much easier and more relaxed all the way around. Having a baby around feels second nature now and both DH and I have felt more calm about all the little changes that a baby brings because we know that this phase is gone in the blink of an eye. I feel like we’ve been able to appreciate and just enjoy the baby stage more and more each time.

 

 

So what is Zane up to now?

  • Each day he walks more and crawls less. He can walk across the room now and even attempted to “run” to his daddy last night.
  • He loves giving hugs and pats me on the back while he hugs me. When I sit on the floor with him he will play for a bit and always come back for a hug over and over.
  • He is the most smiley little kid. All day he smiles. He even tries to smile while he’s crying as if he can hold on to some positivity in his situation.
  • He sleeps well at night and hasn’t woken during the night consistently in quite some time. Maybe a few times a month he will wake up and cry and need to come snuggle for a bit before going back to his bed. He naps once a day for at least an hour and a half, but up to 3 if his brothers don’t wake him up. Sometimes he will take a short evening nap for maybe a half hour before waking up for a bottle and diaper change and then a little play time before bed. 
  • Currently we are doing well to get three 4oz bottles of formula or thawed breastmilk in him a day and maybe a few sips of water from his sippy cup. And the milk or formula must be very warm which makes it hard to get him to take a bottle on the go since he will usually refuse it if it isn’t really warm. It is a pitifully small amount of fluids considering that my milk stopped on the 18th of Oct. I haven’t had a let down since then and have only a bit of milk trickling in every few days. Zane was down to nursing just twice a day and since my milk is gone, sometimes he will nurse for a couple minutes once a day but the last couple days, he isn’t even nursing more than a minute. It’s hard and I’m sad we didn’t get to get through the winter with nursing but Zane was never too excited about nursing as he has more exciting things to do. He’s a very busy baby!
  • Last week on the 22nd and 23rd, I discovered he had 2 new teeth!. They are on the bottom right and left. He has another coming in on the top right and it is definitely causing some pain for him. Poor baby. He now has 7 teeth. πŸ™‚
  • I notice him saying “dada” frequently and “mama” more so when he is hungry or upset. I haven’t heard “babababa” as much lately. No other words as of yet but definitely some jabbering and he loves to *sing* along while I sing. It’s freaking adorable!
  • Zane is still wearing size 4 diapers and is in mostly 12-18 months clothes. 18 months still has abundant wiggle room.
  • He is my smallest baby at this age. I weighed him at home and he was somewhere around 18.5-19.5lbs. (Hard to get an accurate reading) We should get a better reading at his appointment next month. That would put him somewhere around the 12th percentile for weight. He’s always been on the smaller side but never under the 30th. I’m not entirely surprised though because although he is a snacker all day, it’s hard to get him to eat very much at a time.
  • Occasionally he has chowed down 3 jars of purees but that is rare. Most times he will eat 1 or 2 jars at breakfast and just snack at lunch and eat a small supper. He is eating more and more meals that we are eating and really likes all the different tastes and textures. But again, he doesn’t eat much of that either. I will sometimes add a little virgin coconut oil to his food for extra calories. Overall though I think he is healthy and just a petite little guy. For now. πŸ™‚

 

 

 

It’s funny how Zane’s baskets of toys sit untouched for days at a time now. Once he became mobile, baby toys became boring. Even new toys that he got at his birthday party are hardly touched. All he wants to do is steal his big brothers’ toys… all day, every day. And they make no small fuss about it either! HAHA. His favorite toys are any kind of toy with wheels that he can push while he crawls.

 

 

Zane is not my cuddliest baby, (that award goes to Levi) but he does let me hold him a good bit, especially when he’s tired or has just woken up. I absolutely love our snuggle time and kissing his little face. There’s just nothing like that fuzzy baby hair and smell. I just can’t believe he’s almost 1!!! Did I mention that already?

 

 

 
Dear God, thank You so very much for this precious baby and how much he’s grown. I am so thankful for each new thing he has learned to do and for how happy he is. Thank You for how much love and joy he has brought to our family. Please watch over him and bless him every day of his life. In Jesus’ name, amen.

 

 

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Peekaboo is one of our favorite games.

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We celebrated Tru’s 5th birthday this month. On his actual birthday, Tru and I made chocolate cupcakes during naptime (and yes, there was spoon licking… actually we just ate a whole spoonful). He requested chocolate cupcakes and blue icing this year. There was only 1 toy that he really had his heart set on and it was a dinosaur set with a T-rex and smaller dino. There was absolutely nothing in the world that he wanted as much as the “T-rex that opens it’s mouth and the bloody dinosaur”. I pretended that he might be getting something else instead and he would just clasp his little hands and plead with me “Please, please, please, please, please!!!!!????” Every time we were at the store near the toy isle, he would just sit on the floor in front of the dino set and stare at it. …. Naturally, he got the dinosaurs. πŸ˜‰ And because we knew Levi would feel left out of the playtime, DH picked up a small dinosaur toy for him also. I tell you, those were some happy little boys!! πŸ™‚

 

 
The joint party for Tru and Zane went really well and was so much fun, if I do say so. πŸ™‚ There were so many little kids running around playing and I just felt so thankful. Thank God for birthdays and for the little boys He has blessed us with, despite the statistics and despite what was supposed to be possible. I am so thankful for all of my precious babies.

 

 
Tru is at such an awesome age now. I know I always say this but I seriously just love this age! We have reached an age where reasoning and talking things out is much more frequent than the spectacular fits that used to happen. Don’t get me wrong, Tru can still have himself a nice meltdown, but he’s becoming so much better at controlling his temper and talking through how he feels. I positively love our talks! Tru is not only a sweet and loving little person but he also has a great sense of humor and sarcasm. Sometimes he throws out a sarcastic comment that just completely catches me off guard. Many times DH and I just end up sitting there laughing like …. “What even?”

 

 
I am so glad that my boys haven’t inherited my lack of skills in the art department. Tru already draws far better than I ever have been able to. His proportions and attention to detail are very good and he has no trouble staying in the lines and using appropriate colors for whatever he is drawing. He loves to draw dinosaurs (imagine that!), aliens and basically all animals but I see elephants and monkeys in his drawing books a lot. He also likes coloring books but seems more interested in free hand.

 

Unfortunately, I don’t know how to rotate this… But these are some aliens.

Picture Tru colored for me.

I absolutely love these monkeys he drew!!!

 
Tru absolutely loves his brothers and is so good at watching out for them. He is awesome with Zane and keeps him occupied a lot. He always wants to hold Zane in his lap or help him figure out how his toys work. It’s precious! Thankfully, Tru and Levi play together well the majority of the time. I do break up fights that either of them start, but more often than not, they are happy together. Levi has always wanted to be on the move more than Tru and today Tru cracked me up when he said “I can’t relax because Levi always wants to play all the time!” I have noticed ever since he was literally just a few weeks old that Tru needs time alone to just chill. Naptime has always been his time to just quietly play and have some space. Bedtime used to be also but now that he shares a room with Levi, he doesn’t get that time. Even though he doesn’t fall asleep during naps and hasn’t in a really long time, I have him sit in my room and play by himself while Zane sleeps and Levi either sleeps or has quiet time in his room. Tru loves to just sit in there and put together and take apart his new dinotrucks (birthday present from Gma) or color.

 

 
I am so happy to say that Tru hasn’t had ANY fevers due to the supposed fever syndrome since the beginning of this year. πŸ™‚ I am so thankful to God! Our church had prayed and prayed for Tru not to have fevers and this year has just been so wonderful in that way. After dealing with fevers every few weeks from ages 1-4, this is absolutely amazing!!! Tru has grown so much this year, going up to size 6/7 shirts and already outgrowing his size 5 jeans. He wears an 11 in shoes too, which is just…… When? How? How did those tiny newborn feet that I was JUST kissing and tickling, turn into these big kid feet that outgrow shoes faster than I can buy them!? He weighs almost 40 pounds, which confuses him because he’s 5… not 40…duh!

 

 
Tru loves preschool and wants to “play school” constantly. He is learning so much, so fast! He is definitely soaking up the material like a sponge. He can copy whatever I write down for him onto a separate sheet of paper and it is legible. His handwriting is already looking really nice. I think he will take off reading soon because he constantly points out letters and wants to know what things say. I am really excited about this!! Tru is always begging me to read him books and getting new books at the library is basically his favorite. We try to get 10 new books each week when we go to storytime and those are all read in a day or two. Then he just sits and pours over the pictures and pretends to read the books aloud to Levi or just to himself.

 

 
I could ramble on and on all day, I’m telling you. There is just so much I love about this beautiful and precious little boy. It’s all going so fast and even though I miss him being a baby so much, it just gets sweeter and sweeter watching him grow up and become this amazing little person!

 

 

 

Dear God, thank You for Tru and for the precious blessing that he is in our lives. Thank You for a year without fevers and a year of growing physically, mentally and spiritually. Please continue to watch over and protect Tru throughout his life. Help him to love and trust You and spread Your love with everyone around him. Help us to bless and take good care of him and raise him up right. In Jesus’ name, amen.

 

 

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The boys planted these zinnas from seed this spring and enjoyed watching them grow. We started them in the house, then moved them outdoors.

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If Rocky has a favorite person, it’s definitely Tru. πŸ™‚

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Painting kindness rocks

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Tru and Levi picked these stuffed animals out for themselves. Tru got a sloth which he named “Slothy” or “Sloth-Sloth” and Levi got a penguin which he named “Susan” or “Susie”.

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Tru is drawn to the animals everywhere he goes. He loved my Aunt and Uncle’s farm dog. πŸ™‚

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And of course, Tru was a big help at chore time. πŸ˜‰

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Brothers playing together at my Aunt and Uncle’s house on our trip to see family last month.

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And a kitty that he was so drawn to.

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Making his birthday cupcakes

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I don’t have many pics available right now from the party, but here are the cupcakes. πŸ™‚

 

I’ve been waiting for a spare minute to do a post but a spare moment hasn’t come my way in I don’t know how long, so I’m just going to sit down in the midst of chaos and write anyway.

 
We are planning to have Zane (1) and Truett (5) joint birthday party this Saturday, so I’m working on party prep for that. Originally it was supposed to be a TMNT party because Tru was in this 100% obsessed with ninja turtles phase. And then just like that, he was completely 100% obsessed with dinosaurs and asked if he could have a dinosaur party instead. So I’m saving all of my exciting and way tacky TMNT party ideas and switched to dinosaurs. You guys, I’m having way too much fun with this theme. You know those weird parents who get stupid excited about kid toys and stuff? I’m them.. they are me. I am definitely liking the dinosaur phase.
So, because our house is small and I don’t know how to invite just a few people (bor-iiiing!), I decided we should have the party in the pole barn. The one that has a mouse infestation, and assorted nasty bugs aplenty – that barn. Therefore, I have spent the last several days cleaning, cleaning and cleaning both the house and barn. Thankfully, DH is always on my case to get rid of junk, so we have very little stuff in the way but the floors and walls and counters in the barn were seriously disgusting. I have it smelling all lavender orchid and vanilla now though, so, on to food prep!

I’m planning a menu of meatballs (they are venison and my entire family now calls them “deer balls”), hot dogs, chips, veggies, dip, soup beans (because it’s cold y’all!), cheese and crackers and of course an assortment of drinks. The cupcakes have green icing (or they will, when I actually make them) and little plastic toy dino toppers. I am way too excited about the dinosaur egg piΓ±ata I made too.
I want to do a proper update on each of the boys asap. For now I’ll say that Zane is taking 3-5 steps at a time, has 5 teeth, and says mama, dada and babababa (bottle?) on occasion. Tru is my little artist and shocks my socks off almost daily with the adorbs pics he draws. Levi is on a constant snack attack and has grown so much this year! He is ever my little snuggle bug. πŸ™‚

 
When I’m not cleaning, I’m crocheting. I am working on 4 different afghans all at once right now. I finished a baby blanket recently. I hope to post pics soon! Someday maybe I’ll figure out how to channel my crocheting energy into blog energy, but I find that writing takes brain power and I’m very much not having any of that right now. So, how about you? How are you doing?

This post is either going to make your day or make you think I’m crazy. πŸ˜‚ 

Back in April, I decided on a whim to buy another hamster. Critter had lived out his full life expectancy the year before and I missed having a little hammy to watch. Critter was a larger hamster but I really wanted to get a dwarf hamster this time. So, I took the boys to the pet store and they picked out a little gray baby girl. I wanted to name her “Thimble” because she’s tiny. But Tru was leaning towards something that sounded like Simba. So that’s what we call her. πŸ™‚ 

Anyway, she’s the calmest and sweetest hamster ever. And absolutely the most softest little furball on earth!! I thought it would be fun to set her in Levi’s toy helicopter one day. She looked so cute!! And thus started my week-long obsession with posing her in various vehicles. The boys were positively cracking up with each new picture! DH was sure I’d lost my last marble. Anyway, the results were nothing short of adorable, in my opinion. See for yourself! 

Simba went on safari….

And chugged the vast railways…

Rescued everyone with cuteness…

“Watch where you’re going, fleabag!”

And even went on the road.

Guys, I can’t even deal with her little paws on the handlebars!!

Simba is a good little farmer

She’s the best little pilot.

….

Years ago, when DH and I first got married, we had a small fish tank (maybe 1 gallon or so) and a few neon tetras. After a year or so, we upgraded to a 10 gallon tank and over the course of several years we had an assortment of platys, guppies, mollies, tetras and a huge pleco. At some point (I think either during my pregnancy with Tru or after he was born) we decided to take a break from the aquarium and found homes for the remaining fish with a couple relatives.

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Circa 2009 – Our first tank and “Phillip”

 

 

I think I mentioned it on here already but last year when we were at the fair, a boy gave Levi a fish that he won at one of those ball toss games. Well, it was late in the day and I had no idea how long the fish had already been in the bag of water but I took him home that night and poured him into a vase until I could get a tank the next day. I went and bought a small aquarium after church, brought it home and, lo and behold, it was USED! Someone had returned a very scratched and icky tank to the store in the original box. So, I took it to the store and explained what happened and bought a different but even smaller tank.

 

 
Why is any of this important? It’s not… Anyway, I figured that rainwater would be safe for the goldfish, but it wasn’t. He developed terrible black stuff all over his fins. I swapped his water for bottled water and the black stuff spread to cover his whole body. But by this time, the boys were a little attached to this fish, and considering we had lost our dog in may and our hamster later on, I wasn’t about to give up on the fish just yet. I bought this assortment of water treatment supplies and, what do you know… that little fish was back to normal in no time!

 

 
And he grew. A lot… a whole lot. I don’t know how big your average, ordinary, fair prize goldfish is supposed to get but this guy got huge! …. I attempted to measure him just now by holding a measuring tape up to the tank and he’s almost 5 inches. …. After a few months, we found ourselves buying yet another tank (this is getting expensive, btw), this time a 5 gallon one. So here we are, over a year since we got the fish, and talk is that we are going to have to upgrade him to a bigger tank, AGAIN! He’s now outgrowing the 5 gallon tank (should have went with the 10, but I was all “It’s too much space on my TV stand.) and at this point I’m thinking, let’s skip 10 and just get him a 20 gallon tank. For reals!

 

 

When you want peace and tranquility but your kids want a gator skull..

Funny thing about healthy fish… They don’t hold still for pictures.

Anyway, the other day it occurred to me that I had an empty 1 gallon tank sitting under my sink with absolutely nothing to do. So of course I immediately set it up, bought a better (read, quieter) filter and bought a new fish the next day. It’s a betta and he’s not cool with the filter. Therefore, at the first opportunity I get, I plan to move him to a large wall bubble aquarium (It’s an acrylic fish tank that hangs on the wall…. yes, I know.) and get a different fish for the 1 gallon tank that is in my bedroom (tranquility). Then the 5 gallon tank needs to go…. somewhere… and we need to move Goldie (I know, how original. Our blue betta is named Bluie. The kids are just awesome with names) to a bigger 20 gallon tank.

The betta tank, currently

Earlier today I was at the pet store looking at some very gorgeous gigantic tanks that only cost a mere $400-$700 and was just dreaming….

Also, today I branched out into new territory… an aquatic plant. I’ll keep you posted!

The morning of the homeschool group meetup, (where we were planning to check out the group my SIL joined with her kids) we woke up dark and early to drive the 1.5ish hours to the arboretum where the meetup was taking place. The kids were not in the mood for breakfast so I just gave them both an applesauce squeeze pouch and packed a bunch of breakfast biscuits and our picnic lunch.

 

 

We got about 45 minutes into our drive and Tru said “My belly hurts.” Eh, he says that all the time and lots of the time, he’s fine. So I kept driving. A few minutes later, Levi said the same thing. I kept driving. Lots of the time he says the same stuff as Tru, because, sameness. Then I heard Levi gagging! I hurried up and pulled over and covered his chest and lap with a sweatshirt and covered Tru too while I was at it. I had given them both some of the breakfast biscuits and they were nibbling on them, so, I decided to keep driving since no barf had happened.

 

 

Well, a little over an hour into the trip, Blech! Barf all over Levi. I pulled over and cleaned him up and at that point, I turned right around! I stopped to get us some pop at a drive-thru to settle everyone’s stomachs. Tru ended up panicking twice about the idea that he might barf, (because he is my kid) so we pulled over 2 more times just in case. Then when we were a mere 15 minutes from home, Blech!! Barf all over Tru. I had just pulled over for the 5th time and was able to assist him so we didn’t have a bad mess. Levi was sound asleep at that point but Zane was crying and screaming at me every time we pulled over and didn’t get out of the van.

 

 

Finally (!!!) nearly 3 hours after we left, we arrived back home and got the boys a bath and some cartoons to watch while I disassembled and washed 2 car seats (It could have been worse… there was no barf in the van!). They rested for awhile and were back to normal after that the rest of the day. I really have no idea why we had the barf episodes but I’m thrilled that was the end of it. My friend sent us some essential oil to help with tummy trouble after she heard about our little adventure. THANK YOU J!! ❀ I’ve already used it on them 3 times when they complained of tummy ache.

 

 

So yeah, the homeschool group adventure that was not. But maybe next time! πŸ™‚

This is NOT an affiliate post. Just my opinion. I’m not linking or getting compensated. 
Lately I have been giving Zane 2 or 3 bottles a day of breastmilk from my freezer stash or formula. I just don’t have a lot of milk right now and it fluctuates a lot with my cycles. It’s been so hot here lately that I discovered Zane was starting to be dehydrated. One day he had only 1 wet diaper! 😨 I felt horrible to know my baby had been thirsty all day. 😦 

Zane never loved bottles all that much when he was a little guy, so I stopped trying to fight him to take one every evening. He would do alright hit and miss but it was annoying to have to pump in place of nursing him anyway. So it had been a few months since he’d taken a bottle when I reintroduced it. At first I could only get him to take it in his sleep. He would drink it down really well as long as he was just dream-feeding. But pretty soon he got used to it (and the taste of formula, which he definitely didn’t love at first) and now he takes his bottles well usually. 
I decided to use drop-in liner bottles this time around (T and L both used regular bottles once we started them) and I like them SO MUCH BETTER! I don’t have to wash a bottle. No scrubbing with a bottle brush or hoping the dishwasher will get them clean. And no filmy bottles! Plus, we only have 1 bottle currently and it’s not a problem! With the other kids, I always had several bottles in different stages of washing, drying, feeding… But now all I do is wash the nipple and put in a new liner. We were on vacation last week and it made bottle making in the car a breeze! 

Anyway, you may be wondering why I’m bragging up these bottles when I’m not even getting paid… Well, the reason is because I’m frustrated that I can’t seem to find liners and replacement nipples (let alone another 4oz bottle) easily in most stores. So I’m stuck ordering the liners online. 

Which brings me to another point… I can get a 100 count box of liners online for under $6 with free shipping. So it’s not as if the liners are cost prohibitive. But it seems the bottles may be going out? Like they are on their way to extinction? And I just don’t get it! Something convenient, easy to use, air free, sterile…. Yeah… Let’s not make that too handy to pick up in stores. πŸ™„
And a word on the accuracy of the measurements, I get that it is a bit harder to judge. But I don’t find it to be an issue. If I was seriously concerned (like with a newborn) I would just measure the water in a regular bottle and pour it into the liner. Still wouldn’t be stuck washing a bottle. And Zane likes his milk warm so I use a bottle warmer at home. I put the milk in a cup in the warmer and then pour it in the bottle. It heats up faster than setting the bottle in hot water and I can put the cup in the dishwasher. Maximum laziness… I mean, time management… Achieved. πŸ˜‰ 

I’ve known for years that I wanted to at least try to Homeschool my children someday but I’ve always had some apprehension about doing so. That is mostly because I feel way under qualified to teach the higher grades in a comprehendible way. I mean, the kids have to actually understand and grasp the material and in order for that to happen, I have to have a good concept of it myself! And I’ve never been overly confident in my grasp of certain subjects; math for instance. πŸ™„ I absolutely loved Science, Biology, and History but I’ve been far less excited about English and Math in the upper grades. So all of this has made me worried over the years, until recently….

 

 
My SIL found a great curriculum which we actually used bits and pieces of over the years when I was a kid. I liked it pretty well myself back then but we never had a set curriculum. It was always some of this and some of that. Which worked out alright I guess but personally, I think I’d rather teach with a set course that is all laid out and organized. And one that will give my kids a real diploma at the end so they don’t have to get their GED like I did! The curriculum my SIL is using looks really simple to teach from and comes with all the teacher answer keys. I like that it is a Christian based program too and is affordable. DH and I have also talked about using online schooling at some point. I think that would be a really good option for the higher grades but when the kids are younger, I prefer the flexibility of schooling on my own time. I will definitely still want to keep a schedule with it but if we need a day off or something, I think it would be nice to make it up as we go along. I’m not sure at what grade I would want to switch to online but I’m sure I’ll be able to tell when the time has come. 

 

 
The other pro to doing a curriculum that isn’t online (at least for the first several grades) is the ability to tweak the lessons to fit the learning styles of each child. For example, I can sit with Tru and read him books and watch educational videos with him and he soaks it up like a sponge! He also loves to work on projects with me and has a pretty high level of patience for hands-on learning experiences. Levi doesn’t learn as well this way though. Sitting still and reading isn’t his thing. He has never liked watching videos very well and he doesn’t have much patience for sitting down to do a project. Of course, he’s 3, so I expect his attention span will grow with age. I just want to make sure that I present lessons and projects in a way that my kids can learn from as individuals with their own learning style.

One thing that is extremely important to me is that we get involved with a Homeschool group and that my kids have the opportunity to play sports if they want to. It’s absolutely not negotiable. It’s the one thing that I always said I would do differently for my kids so that they don’t feel left out or cut off from their friends. We are already scheduled to go on a group outing next week and I’m super excited! I have also found another group that does hiking adventures and I know that is definitely one I’m interested in with my boys. πŸ˜‰ 
 

 
There is a possibility that Tru and Levi may be able to do the same grade at the same time since they are only 17 months apart in age. I’m not sure how that would go over but I would really like to try to start them both in kindergarten at the same time and see if it works. If it doesn’t, we won’t worry about it. But can you imagine how much easier it would be to teach them 1 class together? YAY! If they were going to school, that probably wouldn’t be a good idea but for me at home teaching them, it may go over alright.

 

 
We started preschool last week (officially – we have done preschool workbooks with Tru for the last couple years but now we are doing it for real) and both boys are absolutely loving it! We do a worksheet or two from a preschool workbook and follow that with an art project that incorporates the lesson content. We also like to use dry-erase tracing books just to make it more fun. We look for numbers and letters everywhere we go. Both Tru and Levi know all the primary colors and most shapes. I have lots of flash cards that we play with to help reinforce the things they have learned. I try to keep it short and simple (about an hour at a time) and as fun as possible. I hope that we continue to enjoy “playing schoolwork”, as the boys say. πŸ˜‰

 

 

What about you? Do you think Homeschooling would be fun? Any insight or tips?

It’s been quite awhile since I did a real update on Rocky. He’s heathy and happy as long is he is with his people. (True of most dogs, I would say.) When he isn’t with us, as in, in the same room…. even if he can see us, he gets sad and frantic, and that is where we have a problem. I do believe that he has seperation anxiety, and given his history as a puppy which we can only make a guess about, that’s understandable. When we got Rocky from the shelter, he was very very skinny and had been presumably dropped on the side of the road before someone brought him in. The fact that he absolutely spazzes out when I leave the room or get in the car makes sense. Lately we have started giving him melatonin to help calm him. He still doesn’t like me being away from him but he does seem calmer in his demenor. He still runs around in big crazy circles like a normal happy dog and is still alert and playful. I like that the melatonin doesn’t seem to make him drowsy but just helps him feel less anxious. He also hasn’t been jumping on the kids (which was getting to be a dangerous problem at his size, and the fact that he scratched Tru by the eye) AT ALL since taking the melatonin. I’m still hesitant to say that it is 100% helping him, mostly because it feels too good to be true, but I honestly do think it’s working.

Because we could never get him to stop soiling himself in his crate even during short times in it, we had to start doing the dreadful tie-out as our yard isn’t fenced. I’ll say this, I do hate seeing a dog live it’s life on a chain. It’s just a sad situation and I’m positive that it just makes matters worse in an anxious dog. But it is the only option we had at the time or when we couldn’t be with him and it was never meant to be a permanent solution. SO, we bought an inground fence and I am so excited to start using it! I think Rocky is going to love the freedom to run the yard and get his energy out, while we are able to section off all the flower beds from his reach. (he loves to rip up the flower beds) He will be able to come and go through the kitchen door without us having to tie and untie him. (Ideally we would have a doggie door but since we are planning to move soon, that would be a waste of time to put in.)

And as for that, a word about housebreaking. Rocky has never gotten to the place where we can trust him not to go in the house. I’m really not sure why. I tried different methods for housetraining but just never got him to a trustworthy level… I tried staying with him 100% of the time… he peed right beside me without showng any cues such as sniffing etc. I tried taking him out on the leash and rewarding with treats. He would eventually go pee, eat his treat, come inside and pee again. Tried sending him out by himself to go in case I was making him nervous. He’d just sit by the door and not go…. right now though I can have him indoors for an hour or so before taking him out to pee, but I can’t trust him to hold it beyond that. So, it’s kind of a lot of work but I think the inground fence will help since I won’t have to babysit him while he spends 20 minutes deciding if he wants to pee. (As you can imagine, this doesn’t work well with 3 kids in the house that I have to be next to for their safety!) Therefore, when Rocky is in the house, he is strictly in the kitchen on the linoleum unless we are activelt playing with him in the family room. And I try to never push him past an hour because I don’t want to reinforce the idea that he can pee in the house by letting him have an accident.

And the thing is, Rocky is a smart dog! He learns new tricks after just a few times of repeating and rewarding. I know that he CAN be housetrained, I just don’t know how to get him there. And I think I have read just about every article Google has to offer. I’ve literally read for hours on the subject. Since he never got to the point where he would hold his pee in the crate, I wonder if he just doesn’t see peeing in the house as being a problem. ?? I really don’t know… Hopefully someday! I successfully house trained 2 other dogs we had years ago with basically no problem. I’m truly stumped this time.

Overall though, he’s a fun dog. Loves to play, loves the boys, will happily lay by (and by “by”, I mean ON) our feet and sleep. He dearly loves to go places. He sits in the back seat next to Tru or lays on the floor by Levi’s feet in the van. He is getting better by itty bitty painstaking margins at walking on the leash without pulling my arm out of socket… His maners have improved enough that he doesn’t *usually* grab food away from the boys while they are eating. I think he’s a good dog for the most part and certainly a really cute dog. I’m so happy with how well he’s filled out and looks so healthy. My sincere hope is that we can ALL enjoy our life together and even though Rocky can’t be the full-time indoors dog (yet, at least) that I had hoped he would be, I hope that we can have a safe and happy compromise with the fence and lots of time with us indoors. πŸ™‚

Shew! The last few weeks of summer are flying by and I just can’t hardly get enough of being outside while the weather is good. It cooled off a bit the last week and that was nice since summers here can actually be pretty miserable and muggy (buggy too). I’ll still take it over winter any day of the week!

To update everyone on the dog situation: I went back the day after we spotted the skinny little beagle and looked for him again. I took my brothers P and M and we all hiked around the nature preserve looking for him. I took along a crate and food etc. Sadly, we didn’t find him. BUT, I think someone else must have because I saw that someone had set out food and more water for him. Hopefully they caught him! I posted for him online in case someone turned him in to the local shelters because we would have adopted him in a heartbeat! DH and I both instantly knew we would love that little guy but I’m thinking it’s just not meant to be for us right now. As it is, we are still having a lot of issues with Rocky as he still has separation anxiety with me. I’m currently trying melatonin as a natural and vet approved way of helping him feel more at ease. I want to say that it maybe does help at least a little but time will tell. 

Tru and Levi are ready to start preschool at home this year (I have a post partially typed up on that). Zane just cut his third tooth (top left) and almost has his 4 through. The transition to his own room was absolutely a success. Now most nights he goes to bed before 10pm and wakes to nurse once or twice. Then he will generally sleep until at least 9:30am but sometimes as late as 11am! I think he’s sleeping late because of the teething and him not feeling well, so that’s probably just a short phase, I’d say. Tru and Levi are still loving sharing a room and still staying up talking way too late. We are still working on that. πŸ˜‰ 

We are in the pre approval process of getting a loan for a piece of land that we might buy. If we do get the land, the plan is to stay here for the winter and start building a house in the spring. It’s simultaneously exciting and absolutely terrifying!! Yikes! Definitely praying about this possible move. 

To relax, I’m doing a bit of knitting. πŸ™‚ The boys are already loving the feel of this “cozy-cozy” blanket. πŸ™‚ 

I guess this update isn’t so quick after all! Have a good weekend, y’all!! πŸ™‚ God bless. 

Rita New

Artist, Homeschool Teacher, & Social Media Influencer

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