Sunday, June 30, 2013

New Blog

I have been sort of irritated with blogger recently.  It is probably because I have not been on here enough to mess around with some of the changes blogger made (awhile ago).  I have thought about switching to Wordpress for awhile. . . and thought maybe switching things up a bit would be enough to get me blogging again.  We'll see!  I transferred all of my posts from this blog to the new one - that way everything is still all in one place!

Here is the link to our new blog!  See you there!

And just for fun. . . . a preview of a post to come on the new blog.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Happy 7th Birthday, Lucy Mae!

Lucy turns 7 today!  Wow!  Thinking back to this time 7 years ago, I am so very thankful for her sweet little life.  She had to fight a little harder than most full term babies, but thankfully, God breathed life into her when no one else knew what was going on.  Here is a post I wrote about her birth.

Do you know the book The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman?  Lucy is the only one of the three that has 2 distinct love languages.  For Norah we can sort of pick one out (and I can tell you a couple that she is definitely not) and we haven't been able to identify one for Daphne for sure yet.  Without a doubt, her love languages are acts of service and physical touch.  She is constantly hugging (or hanging) on whomever is nearest to her.  She wants to sit RIGHT next to her sisters on the couch or link arms/hold hands when they are walking.  Physical touch is not mine or Norah's - so this is really hard for us to take sometimes.  She is also the first of the three girls to offer to do something helpful or to just do it as a surprise.  Several times in the last couple of weeks, Lucy has picked up the basement all by herself while the rest of us were busy doing something else.  She also is the first to offer to help one of her sisters with their chores so the job goes more quickly. 

Lucy is pretty easy to describe - she has a pretty enthusiastic, intense, passionate personality.  Every characteristic that describes Lucy. . . REALLY describes her intensely.  She is a happy, go-lucky kid.  She loves intensely. She plays passionately. She hugs intensely.  She even fights passionately.

Lucy is taking a dance class and a drama class right now - which are obviously great classes for a child with a passionate personality!  ha!  She pretends, dances, and sings all day long!  Getting school work done with Lucy each can be. . . . entertaining.  She tends to read or answer questions with an accent of some sort.  It is often an English accent, or sometimes Australian. 

It is crazy to think how quickly the last 7 years have gone.  We are excited to see what God has planned for her life as she continues to grow!



Sunday, April 28, 2013

Silver Dollar City World Fest

We are almost done with My Father's World Exploring Countries and Cultures (technically we could be done by now, but we are going to do one big ocean unit to finish our our world geography study).  The girls really enjoyed learning about the continents, a number of countries on those continents, and the various people groups living in those countries.  What better way to end our study than with a visit to Silver Dollar City during their World Fest Celebration?

My parents came with us . . . which always helps with keeping track of the kids!  Friday was a nasty dreary day - it literally rained the ENTIRE day.  We were hoping to get to SDC as soon as we arrived in Branson, but as hard as it was raining, we had to wait.  The girls were dying to go by Saturday morning.  It was lightly raining but we decided to head out anyway.  It basically rained off and on all morning - and it was pretty chilly, but we made the best of it.  We did whatever we could inside - and did a couple of rides once it stopped raining.

The Argentina Show

A favorite of the girls - the elephants!

Island of Fire

 Kevin and my dad braved the old barn swing.  They tried to get Norah to go, but she wasn't interested.

This was definitely a great way to end our great study of world countries and cultures!  I would highly recommend it!  Silver Dollar City is such a clean, family-friendly amusement park!  
My parents left on Sunday morning - they have a much longer drive than we do.   We headed back to Silver Dollar City for a few more hours of fun! 

We can't wait to come back!  Yay for season tickets!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Happy 9th Birthday, Norah Rae!

(seriously, I get later and later on these birthday posts. urgh)

(picture by Kelsey Aberle)

Norah turned 9 on March 23.  It seems like yesterday that God gave us this teeny little thing with spiky brown hair.  You can go here to see pictures of her as a baby.  She was such a little peanut!

Norah is definitely growing up. . . it is so crazy!  We are full swing in the tween years - she is not a little kid anymore, but obviously (thankfully) not a teenager yet.  Some days she enjoys playing with dolls or pretending with her sisters, other days, she thinks she is too grown up for that stuff.  Plus, we are already seeing some of the emotions/drama that go along with having teenage girls.  Ha!

Norah LOVES to read - we literally cannot keep enough books around for her.  She gets so lost in every book that she reads and is always so disappointed when the story is over.  I love it!  She also loves to create anything - from jewelry, to sewing projects, to paintings, to clay projects.  You name it - she can create with it! 

Norah started taking piano lessons a year ago January and she is doing fantastic!  I know I am biased, but even her piano teacher says she is doing amazingly well.  She loves it for one thing, but also her tendency to be a perfectionist has really helped her to grow and learn very quickly.  Now, sometimes I do have to insist that she steps away from the piano and do something else for awhile.  She wants every song to be perfect every week.  She also spends a lot of time making up her own little songs! 

Norah is really enjoying her Lifelight Youth Theater drama class.  She was SO shy/quiet for so long!  Even 2 years ago, we would never have guessed that she would want to be in a drama class that puts on a play at the end of the year.  It has been so good for her and she loves it!

We have hit a point with school with Norah where things are relatively easy.  The work itself isn't always easy, but Norah is a very hardworker so she concentrates and really focuses well until things are complete.  It makes teaching her much easier than it was even a year or so ago.  She does a lot of independent work while I work with Lucy and Daphne - she loves the independent work.  I make her a list everyday and she seems to find pleasure in crossing each item off her list - she must get that from my mom and sister!

At Norah's well child visit, she was 49 inches tall.  I realize that she is not tall - she is still only in the 5th%, but she is only 1 foot shorter than me - that is crazy! 

We studied world cultures this year.  Norah loved learning about different people groups and really has a heart to help those who are less fortunate.  We pray that she always feels this way and that God will use her to do good for those in need. 

We are so thankful God gave us Norah and we are excited to see what He has planned for her as she continues to grow and mature! 

(headbands by Here's the Diehl)

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Happy 4th Birthday, Daphne Jane!

Happy Birthday!

Wow.  4.  My baby is not a baby anymore. . . and she likes to remind us that she is NOT a baby.  She is a big girl.  I am thankful to report that Daphne is a happy, funny, entertaining little girl.  Three months ago, I probably would not have described her this way (honestly, I would have said that she was a semi-grumpy, always tired, and easily frustrated child).  Daphne spent about 15 months of her little life (from 2.5 - 3.75 years old) not napping and not sleeping at night.  We were going crazy with exhaustion and no one seemed to know what was going on with her.  She was sick a lot - ear infections, coughs, sinus infections, etc, but nothing seemed like that big of a deal.  Crazy long story short, Daphne ended up having her tonsils and adenoids removed in October.  It was a rough surgery and recovery, but we are finally almost 3 months post surgery and Daphne is a totally different little girl.  She cracks us up.  Her goal every day is to make us laugh.

Milestones from this year:
1.  The biggest one is that Daphne actually sleeps through the night most nights.  I really never thought this would be a 4 year old milestone!
2.  Daphne is taking ballet and gymnastics and loves them both.  She is always walking around in her tiptoes and twirling.  She is more outgoing than Norah or Lucy were at this age. . . she actually talks to her teachers!  ha!  She is also doing forward rolls all over the house.
3.  Daphne has suddenly become a good eater.  I am sure this is related to the tonsils coming out, but hey, I will take it!  She loves fruit. . . LOVES it.
4.  Daphne can spell her name out loud and can basically write it.  Watching her concentrate as she goes through one letter at a time is so cute!
5.  She is not our tv kid.  She would much rather play and pretend than watch tv.
6.  She is always pretending and talking to imaginary people. . . I always think she is talking to someone, but usually no one real.
7.  Daphne is FINALLY back on the growth chart - barely, but she is there!  She weighs 28 pounds and is 39 inches tall.  

Funny things Daphne has said or done:
1. Daphne has an issue with worrying about what her sisters are doing. If Lucy makes a mess, she insists on telling Lucy what to do and telling me. We are constantly reminding Daphne to worry about Daphne - and not anyone else. So, today as she is tattling on Lucy, I asked her, "Who are you suppose to worry about?" She said, "Lucy and Norah."

2. Daphne (showing me a card with a picture of the Nativity on it): Mom, look! We got a Christmas card from Mary and Joseph! I bet Jesus sent it to us!

3. Driving home from Morton - 

Daphne: Mom, look! Bears! Lots of bears.
Me: Umm, Daphne, those are cows.
Daphne: I'm sure they are bears.

4. While I was attempting to clean up glitter from a project the girls did earlier today, Daphne literally stuck her face in my pile. She had glitter all over. . .on her eyebrows, lips, even up her nose. She was in the bathroom rinsing it off before I could get out the camera.

5. Mom, do I look like Captain Minnie? Cause I'm her. Really, I am!

6. Dear God, Please help me to like mommy and daddy. Help me to stay in bed all night and not wake mommy and daddy until sun comes up. Help me not wake Norah, Lucy and myself. Help me not go downstairs and look around when mom and dad are still sleeping. Help me like mom and dad. Amen.

7.  Daphne is SO loud - seriously, I had the doctor check her ears because I thought maybe she can't hear.  The doctor said her ears are fine - meaning, it is probably a behavior thing.  Tonight, Norah told Daphne that she didn't have to be so loud all the time.  Daphne shouts at the top of her lungs, "But I LOVE to be loud!"

8.  Daphne never really told anyone that she was three.  She spent most of the last year telling people she was some random age - age 18 and 85 seemed to be her favorite.  Funny thing - she now says that she is four and gets mad when the girls say she is anything other than that.

Daphne is definitely a happy little girl who adores her sisters and loves life.  She has been tell me recently that she "loves everything and everyone in the whole world!"  We pray that her love for others never fades and that she will always show others the Jesus has for them, too!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Dry Spell

It has been so long since my last post . . . and apparently Blogger has made some changes.  It took me about 5 minutes to figure out how to actually begin a new post.  Ooops.  While I realize I may not have any readers left out there. . .well, other than my parents.  Who knows? Maybe they gave up on me too!

Just a few quick points because I can't possibly recap the last 5 months!

1.  We had a great summer.  It went by very quickly, but we a lot more hang out time this year than the last couple of summers.  We took a mini-vacation with my family to the Lake of the Ozarks.  The weather was beautiful and my 31 year old brother is the only one who ended up with a sun burn.  We took turns planning meals, and I must say, we are great cooks!  

 Umm, yes, my brother did bring his juice extractor and his kitchen aid mixer.  I mean, who doesn't?

Had to throw in this picture.  Just looking for sympathy - this is what Daphne has been like for about the last year.  This is what happens when you give up naps at 2 years old.  

2.  We got a dog.  This was a big step for me. . . the girls had been begging.  Kevin was totally okay with it. I was the last one on board.  I have to say, we couldn't have ended up with a better dog.  Hugo is such a sweet, calm dog.  He is 5 so he was totally house trained and the only thing he chewed up was a plastic pear.  I think maybe he thought it was real!  Ha!  The funniest thing is that he follows me everywhere.  No, I mean, EVERYWHERE.  If you know me, you know that I NEVER sit down for more than 5 minutes until about 8 p.m.  I go up and down the stairs about 100 times a day and Hugo follows me.  Every once in a while we will be in the basement and I realized I forgot to print something off for school.  I will run up 2 flights of stairs to grab something out of the printer and run back down.  And, yes, Hugo follows me even then.  The girls and Kevin are totally jealous.  Kevin often tells Hugo that I was the last one on board!  

3.  School got off to a great start.  I hope to blog about what we are doing this year at a later date. . . but don't get your hopes up!  Norah is doing great.  She is goal oriented so she works very hard to get everything accomplished carefully, but at a decent pace.  Lucy is entertaining.  She is doing well, but her goal seems to be to just make it through the day.  She is not quite a careful - but she doesn't stress out about her school work.  She loves her math - a girl after my own heart!  Daphne is enjoying the fact that I actually have something prepared for her about 3 days a week.  The 2 days that I don't, she begs for school!  She, however, is a perfectionist.  Last week, she cried because the horse she drew didn't actually look like a real horse.  I am not even kidding.  She SOBBED.  I kept telling her that hers looked great.  Finally, I told her that 3 year old can't draw real horses.  

4.  We went apple picking last weekend.  We went to a quaint, little orchard about 30 minutes from our house.  It was perfect.  The weather was great!  It wasn't busy and there weren't a million other things to see and do.  

As I said, I hope to be back at the blogging thing, but I can't promise anything.  Life is just busy.  Not in a bad way, just busy.  

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Happy 6th Birthday, Lucy Mae!

Better late than never. . . .

Lucy turned 6 on May 1 and she finished kindergarten on May 10.  This was a big and . . . interesting year for Lucy.  Kevin and I have concluded that age 5 at our house tends to be a rough age.  So far, we are 2 for 2 when it comes to the full passion and opinions of a 5 year old taking control of emotions at the Swinigan household (I am PRAYING that 5 is different for DJ).  Anyway, Lucy has grown a lot, but despite some rough patches, she is a very happy, go-lucky kid.  She LOVES and LIVES passionately.  Everything that Lucy does is BIG.  When she is crafting, there is stuff everywhere. . . literally falling off the table because every square inch of the table is full.  When she plays - whether dressing up, playing Barbies, etc - things are everywhere. . . .and she uses everything that she gets out.  When she eats, she eats big - food and crumbs are everywhere.  When she paints - there is paint everywhere on her, the floor, the table. . . everywhere!

Lucy has a huge heart when it comes to those she loves.  She is the first to give up a toy to make her sisters happy.  She always wants to make (or buy) things for other people.  She enjoys helping out - especially when it comes to jobs/chores that seem too big for her.  She just wants to try.

School was a big change for Lucy this year.  While homeschooling is all Lucy has ever seen, doing the work that I expected was sometimes a challenge.  She has no problems doing schoolwork if it is all fun and games, but as soon as something is hard - she panics.  Lucy has done fantastic this year - she has picked up math incredibly fast and is doing a great job with her reading.  My goal this summer is to have her read something everyday just to build her confidence - she can do it, she just doesn't think she can.

Lucy played soccer and while she is not overly aggressive, she did really well.  She picks up the skills quickly and she had a blast!!

How did Lucy go from this (spring 2007). . . 

to this?

We are so thankful for Lucy's life - for her  passion and personality!  I pray that God uses her passion to touch the hearts of those around her.  I look forward to another year of excitement with Lucy!!