Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Our School Room

Momma Kroh is at it again!  Making over rooms one by one.  I have been incredibly amazed with my motivation since becoming pregnant!  For real though.... we're coming up on the 3 year marker of living in our home and until I got pregnant, we had not painted a thing.  Not one wall!  All colors in our home have been the ones that the previous owners put there.  BUT now, I'm on my 4th room makeover, and probably the last before baby Joel makes his big debut.  Maybe we should seriously consider having a 4th child simply because we might finish the rest of the house if I had another 9 months of motivation!?  Ha!  Kidding!.... Sort of.

Anyway in anticipation of our upcoming school year, the school room was next on our list to complete and I am really happy with how it has come out!  I guess I should preface this with my thoughts on having a school room first because I know I will get some comments or questions about it.... Do I think a designated school room is necessary to homeschool?  Absolutely not!!  In fact, I never imagined that we would have space or that I would have a school room at all.  In my mind, I always pictured me and the boys surrounding the kitchen table or the coffee table in the living room to hunker down and do our work.  And that's what we have done over the last couple years with our reading lessons and pre-k work.  However, when we started rearranging rooms and some space was freed up and I remembered a certain pet peeve of mine, I knew that we could make use of a separate space for schooling.  What's the pet peeve?  .... Well, I kind of have this thing about clutter on the counters and on the kitchen table.  The kitchen is my happy place!  I can't cook without first wiping down the counters and having the dishwasher emptied.  I can't stand even having 1 piece of mail on the counter.  It drives me nuts when the boys leave toys lying around under the kitchen table.  The kitchen is Momma's domain, and the thought of having to clear the counters and the table of ALL of our schoolwork 3 times a day for us to eat just hurts.  Maybe that makes me weird... I'm not sure.  We're doing what works for us, and others can do what works for them.

So without further ado, here's what we've got for our school room so far.  This will be our first "official" year, (yay kindergarten!) so there is a big chance that some things will be added and changed along the way.

You may recognize the wall color from baby Joel's nursery reveal.  (Valspar "urban sunrise")  We just happened to have the perfect amount of paint leftover to put on the walls in here.  Hallelujah!  I was literally scraping the bottom of the paint can at the last wall.  We haven't painted trim or doors yet in here, that will come with time, but for now it's a working room.  And at the end of the day, a organized and working room is what the goal was knowing I'm throwing myself into our first school year with a newborn.

Last year I was offered two individual school desks by a family member and was intending to use those in our room up until we found out we were expecting again.  Then I got to thinking and switched gears a little bit knowing that in the upcoming grammar years how important it will be for me to sit WITH the boys as we school.  So we went with two "linnmon table tops" from Ikea with matching legs and pushed the two table tops together to make a larger table.  (Big enough for at least 4)  They can be separated later on to act as desks if we like when the boys get older.  The chairs at the table are ones that we already had-- gifted to us with our kitchen table.  We only keep 4 chairs at the kitchen table except when we have company and add in the leaf to the table, so these 4 chairs have been stashed in closets when they aren't in use.  (So anytime other than holidays.)

This piece of furniture above is a TV stand that came with our living room furniture years ago.  It has never been used as a TV stand because our TV is hanging on the wall but has been used the last few years as toy storage in our living room.  But now that I'm no longer keeping extra kids and our boys are bigger and play independently and clean up after themselves, the toys can now all stay in their rooms for them to get out and put away on their own.  The sliding doors have curricula and books stored in them and the white bins have school supplies, math manipulatives, and our timeline cards.  (Oh! And tin whistles stashed for now out of view of little children who want to make racket with them.)

On the far wall, dry erase boards, and this really cool "Ikea Dignitet" which apparently is a wire curtain hanger, but we are using to hang our timeline cards.  Or it can be used to hang art work and school assignments.  We purchased the clips and hooks that are made to go with it, but clothespins could also be used.  

Another large map on the right wall.  We've got the world map on the left wall and the US on the right wall.  The large laminated maps came from Costco last year, though I did see that they had some recently as well.  Very good quality maps and they are massive!  The boys are loving them and asking billions of questions.... and I have to admit that I am loving them too.  Who can resist a map!?

Maybe I went a little map crazy, but when I saw this duck fabric at Hobby Lobby, I couldn't resist, so we've got more maps and some airplanes for our curtains.  

And then on the final (back wall) we've got a large bookshelf that we already owned that is currently full of board games and puzzles.  And then we also purchased the "Ikea Mala" easel which is chalkboard on one side and dry erase board on the other.  I'm hoping the easel will encourage some handwriting and letter writing practice amongst the boys.  

.... And that's it!  So far is pretty simplistic--just the necessities and a little bit of organization.  More decor may come with time, but for now it is one more thing scratched off of my list and I can feel a little bit more confident going into our school year with a newborn that we are organized and ready.  We are ready and excited and I have prayed so much over this room and the learning and growth that will take place in it.  

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

1st and 3rd Difference

Just some subtle (and not so subtle) differences I've noticed between our very first pregnancy (which began about 6 years ago) and our current pregnancy with number three.  Maybe some of these ring true for you too? ... and maybe not.  Maybe some of them will give you a giggle this fine Tuesday.

1. First pregnancy, you belted it from the roof tops at the very first sign of the extra pink line that you were pregnant. Seriously, we were only about 6 or 7 weeks along when we literally announced to the whole world (or at least all of our social media followers) that we were expecting.  Third pregnancy, we didn't even tell our FAMILY that we were pregnant until we we were 13 weeks along.

2. First pregnancy, you received thousands of congratulatory texts and calls.  Your family and friends  were borderline annoying because they were driving you absolutely batty asking you 100 bazillion questions about how things were going and how baby was doing every 5 seconds.  Third pregnancy, people start to wonder if "you know what makes this happen".... I've never thought of 3 as a lot of kids, but suddenly being pregnant with a 3rd child, people look at me as if I have five eyes.  Not so much excitement!

3.  First pregnancy, the husband was at EVERY single doctor's appointment.  Including the ever so awkward ones where a male doctor had to "check" things in the Netherlands.... Third pregnancy, the husband has made it to one appointment--the big anatomy ultrasound of course.  For one, someone has to stay back at home to watch our first 2 rug-rats, and for two, you learn that the appointments are really not all that interesting.

4.  First pregnancy-- the baby registries!  Oh the baby registries... we had registries at 2 different stores, but I know people who have had more than that, and we also had 3 different baby showers.  SOOO much baby stuff!  And you don't do the registry on your own, you drag your husband with you even though he has NOT the slightest clue what any of these baby items you are registering for are.  Third pregnancy, you know better.... you know that more than half of the baby gadgets that are marketed to you are completely unnecessary because you took them all to the consignment store new and unopened shortly after your first was born.  You also most likely are not having a baby shower, so you're a savvy shopper hitting sales and only buying what you actually NEED.  (again... people are a little less excited.)

5. First pregnancy, you are on a first name basis with your doctor or midwife because you call them so many times.  (OR, if you aren't calling them, you show up to your appointment with a notepad of questions you have written down throughout the week.)  There are so many unknowns, and while you are reading every single "what to expect", "week by week," book that exists and have every single pregnancy info and tracker app on your phone, you STILL need to be sure that what you are doing is right.  Third pregnancy, baby will be fine..... surely he will be fine.

6.  First pregnancy, you absolutely did NOT eat lunch meat, hot dogs, sushi, or seafood.  You wouldn't even smell it!!  Third pregnancy, when you're craving sushi, you go get it.  And when you're feeling too lazy to make that salad at lunch time, you toss some sliced turkey meat on some white bread and you have at it.  Because surely he will be fine.

7.  First pregnancy when asked about your birth plan, you have a five page essay of all the possible scenarios that could potentially come up in delivery.  You do NOT miss a thing!  You've spent hours upon hours researching every single item in all of those books you have been reading.  Third pregnancy, the birth plan is "push baby out.".... You know the drill by now. You've done it twice already so it's just time to keep it simple.... just two words, "have baby" sounds like a great birth plan.

8.  First pregnancy, you CANNOT wait to have this baby.  You are so focused on that estimated due date and so focused on making time FLY.  You crave and need time to go by fast because you want that baby RIGHT NOW!  (In fact, looking back I sort of kick myself for rushing things along and not relishing.)  Third pregnancy, you know at the end you have a baby that cries and poops and pees and wants to eat around the clock.  You also know that you have two other kids that run and scream and eat around the clock.  It's much easier to take care of baby "on the inside."  Not so much a rush to get to the date anymore the third time around, baby can stay in there as long as he/she wants.

9.  First pregnancy as you near the end, you show up to the doctor's office at every single tiny twinge of pain.  Everyone says, "you'll know" when you are in labor, but you haven't the slightest clue what a contraction feels like, and again, in your head time will fly and time HAS to fly because you are so ready for this baby whether your body really is or not.  (Confession, I went to the women's hospital twice the last week of pregnancy with the first practically begging to be admitted and I was not in labor.)  Third pregnancy, you know the drill.  In fact, you might barely make it to the hospital because you spent more time at home than you probably should have.  You knew you were in labor, and you knew your birth plan was simple, just "have baby."

10.  AND last, but certainly not least.... First pregnancy, you couldn't imagine loving a tiny little human SOOO much!!  You're attached from the start of the extra pink line on the test and you are absolutely smitten and so thankful that God has blessed you with this tiny little heart to love on and enjoy as he/she grows.  And when baby finally makes his/her debut, you are speechless and in awe and SO in love! ..... Third pregnancy, you couldn't imagine loving a tiny little human SOOO much!!  You're attached from the start of the extra pink line on the test and you are absolutely smitten and so thankful that God has blessed you with this tiny little heart to love on and enjoy as he/she grows.  And when baby finally makes his/her debut, you are speechless and in awe and SO in love!

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Beach Fun!

We were blessed to have two adventures to the beach this Summer... and obviously with baby Joel's due date closing in, it will be the last beach adventures of the Summer.  (Though we haven't ruled out a Fall trip with baby in tow.)

Anyway, our first trip was at the end of May to Myrtle Beach in SC with some friends of ours.  We went with them last year as well and it was a good time together-- the kids have fun playing and the adults get to relax and hang out.  Naturally since I'm pregnant, one of my sole goals while there was to find good eats and this year they were certainly found!  There are some new (and old) restaurants that are now added to my vacation list so that we can visit them again in the future.

There was a definite LACK of pictures this year.  Part of that is the boys flat out refusal to participate in many, and a big part of that was me leaving the camera behind in the room.  I can't deny that I feel a little guilty about it and will be kicking myself at the end of the year when I'm putting together our annual end of year photo album... BUT at the same time, it also means that I was enjoying the moments live and relaxing a little bit too and I can't feel too bad about that. Right?

The next trip was the end of June to visit Daniel's mom on the NC coast for a weekend.  She moved East last year, and while it's nice to have a coastal connection, we GREATLY miss her here and love to soak up any quality time that we can get together.  It was a much awaited trip with countdowns beginning for the boys three weeks out.

We tried to pack in as much fun as we could into the weekend, and also included some more good eats of course too!

We went to the aquarium, which was really cool because we happened to arrive on an afternoon that they had divers in the aquarium teaching us about the sharks and fish.  AND it also happened to be shark feeding day which only happens twice a week!

We swam at Grandma's pool, and also went to see the movie "Inside Out".

... And we spent a day on the beach!  No shark sitings thankfully.  The closest we got to a predator was a sand crab that I almost sat on trying to take pictures of the boys. Ha!  That would have been a nice vacation story. 

These trips were SUCH a blessing!  There was a time when we went years with absolutely NO vacation, so to be able to head to the beach twice this Summer, we feel absolutely spoiled and lots of wonderful memories were made.  Now however as I near the 35 week mark, we will be sticking close to home and waiting on baby Joel to make his big debut.... still soaking up as much sun as we can though!  Hope you all are being spoiled by the Summer as well!