Our FamilyRuss and I have been married 11 wonderful years. We recently moved to our 'forever home' out in the country, just 3 miles from my parents' home (the home in which I spent my entire childhood). We live in the gorgeous Willamette Valley, Oregon. We live less than 30 minutes from the state capitol. Just an hour from the beach, mountains, and Portland metro area. In less than 2 hours we can be in the high dessert. Both of my sisters and their families live within 15 minutes of our house. I cannot imagine living anywhere else.
Heidi (33). I love being a wife, mother, home keeper, and educator. I am passionate about family. I find education fascinating. I love creating a beautiful, well-kept home. I enjoy reading, baking and cooking, photography, scrapbooking, entertaining, and being with family. I am addicted to M&Ms and Dr. Pepper. I am a sequential, in-the-box, easily overwhelmed, people make things complicated, comfort and security seeking (and creating), dependable dreamer.
Russ (36) is the IT guy for a company in Salem. He graduated from Willamette University with degrees in science and education. After teaching for a couple of years, he moved to a career in computers. He joined the swim team in high school, swam in college, and coached for years. After being out of the pool for a few years, Russ is now swimming a few times a week at the college pool. He is an awesome, hands-on dad. Russ is an out-of-the-box, non-sequential, techno, sci fi, adventure loving, project tackling, 'how hard can it be,' unpredictable, involve as many people as he can, go-getter. I could spend all my days going places with this guy.
Levi (5) is the most talkative child I have ever had the privilege to be around. He loves to ask questions, encourage, negotiate, argue, convince, explain, and any other activity that uses words. He exudes enthusiasm. He is imaginative, energetic, exhausting, full of verve, and a bit of a drama king. He is interested in everything. He is constantly in motion, although he has an amazing attention span when listening to books or stories, or watching a movie. Nothing gets by him unnoticed. He loves people. Anyone. Any age. No one is a stranger. Everyone is invited to our house. He has already given them directions and told them our phone number. He thinks out-of-the-box. He is non-sequential. He cannot follow directions. His way is always better. He has the most infectious grin. I will be a lucky mom when Levi can read chapter books on his own. I could spend all my days reading and engaging in deep conversations with this guy.
Luke (3). Earnest. Boy of few words. Helper. Daredevil. Independent. Concerned. Insomniac. What can I say about Luke? It is all in his look. His face has held a thousand different expressions since he was an infant. The little furrowed brow. The sweet little mouth. The dark eyes and impossibly long eyelashes. The shrugged shoulders. The impish giggle. Oh, be still my beating heart! 'Aunt Shan, you get new clothes?' 'Mom, your hair is nice.' 'You may.' 'You may not.' 'I help you.' 'I love him.' (cat, dog, whatever) You mention that you need something and turn around--he's handing it to you. He is not at all shy, just doesn't have much to say. He would follow an adult around (stranger, or not--it doesn't matter), watching them work instead of playing with a group of kids. He is in constant motion. He has no attention span for books or movies. He is sneaky. He doesn't play well independently. He must help me with everything I am doing. He wants to do things by himself, be capable. I will be a lucky mom when Luke is old enough to do chores and cook meals on his own. I could spend all my days doing projects with this guy.
Leif (almost 11 months) is the most kissable baby ever. Period. All 28 pounds of squishable flesh. He loves to laugh at his oldest brother. Nothing stands between this boy and his dad, a vacuum cleaner, or an animal. He has to see what is going on around him. No amount of activity or noise seems to overwhelm him. He is crawling, pulling up to standing, and climbing stairs. He loves to smile at strangers (although he is very coy and puts his head on my shoulder while smiling--the only time I get snuggles). I could become a pro-wrestler with the experience I've gained from nursing, changing diapers for, and holding this kid. At the end of the day I feel like I've been wrestling an elephant. He sleeps a total of 12-13 hours in a day. The rest of the time he want interaction and movement. I will be a lucky mom when Leif can play upstairs or outside with his brothers. I could spend all my days squeezing, kissing, playing, and laughing with this guy.
Homeschooling: Russ and I will be providing our boys with a neo-classical education based from home. Russ is adamant that our children learn to play a musical instrument and speak a foreign language. He is also determined to travel with our children. A trip across the United States and a trip to Europe are the bare minimum. He will be in charge of science and technology. Both Russ and I are strong in math, but we may choose to outsource that and a few other subjects when the boys are older. Time will tell. I am enthusiastic about literature, grammar, history, art and all of the other learning experiences I will have the honor of sharing with the boys. We are currently planning on homeschooling through highschool, but we are open to what life will bring.
Curriculum: We are currently using The Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading, Handwriting Without Tears, and RightStart Math as our core curriculum. This fall we will be adding First Language Lessons and More Mudpies to Magnets: Science for Young Children to the line-up. Other than that, we use a variety of books and resources. I am trying to place an emphasis on 'living books' and literature rather that text-book-style teaching. Next year we will be studying ancient history using The Story of the World. We may use Apologia for biology. We will fit in Spanish, art, music, geography, and the extras as we can. I refer often to The Well-Trained Mind as an overall guidebook.
Extra Curriculars: Levi will hopefully be starting Tae Kwon Do in the fall, and piano lessons in January. Other than that, we just grab things as they come! Eventually all of the kids will spend some time on the swim team.
Schedule: Our life has been very chaotic lately (much to my dismay), but I am looking forward to getting into a comfortable routine in the fall. We will be doing our core schooling probably four days a week with one day for errands, appointments, and activities. Much of our learning time will be a part of normal life for us. In that respect, we will probably 'school' year-round, from January to December.
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