Things have been busy around here...when aren't they busy.  Construction continues on the house.  At this point, I am not sure when it is going to end.  Our contractor has grand ideas, but seems to have difficulties bringing them to fruition.  I expected the project to take awhile, but the space just sits there calling me to utilize it.  Especially in the afternoon when the sun shines in and warms everything.  I just want to curl up in there and read a book in the sun.  We have finally ordered the floors, so completion, of the inside, will take about another month.

We have been slowly settling into our homeshool routine, very slowly.  This week we strayed a bit because everyone took turns with a cold.  So we spent a lot of time relaxing, watching movies.  It is hard to keep the boys confined, though.  Around 10am each day, they end up outside 'building' in their play house - really this means destroying things and hammering wood with nails, but they are having a blast.  We headed out for our usual after dinner fresh air bike/walk and the twins had a bit of an asthma relapse, which of course extended into the night and are still recovering from.  The cold and the strain on their respiratory system was a bit too much - oops.  Alas, I recieved strict instructions from my husband to not let them outside today.  Easier said than done.  These guys are goers.  Usually, they only sit for about 45 min at a time and then only if the TV is on.  (This, of course, does not include book reading because for that they will snuggle until my voice disappears.)  Thankfully, my husband ran to the movie store before work this morning and picked up a stack of movies.  This may keep them  inactive for a few hours?!?

As I was saying, we are slowly settling into our school routine.  Wednesdays and Fridays find us out and about: library and swim lessons on Wednesday afternoons and co-op on Fridays.  That leaves Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturdays for 'homeschooling'.  I say this loosely, because I leave the school part for the kids to lead.  Usually, I wait until they find something they want to try.  One day they pull out the book of science experiments and we flip through and pick something to try: balloon rockets and soap crystals so far.  Or they pull out a game to play, focusing on following instructions, taking turns, colours, numbers, letters.  Or, the shape tiles are brought out and we make huge pictures on the kitchen table.  Or they ask to craft.  If no directions is taken by the kids, then we sit and read books, which takes place daily.  Once a week we read a few bible stories.  One of the three school days also includes some outdoor outing: hike, zoo, museum, tour....  Daily, the kids have chores, cleaning the downstairs, putting away their dirty laundry, putting away their dirty dishes, and/or cleaning up some huge mess that has occurred as a result of their self directed learning.  Also, they help cook one of the three meals each day.  Oh, and don't forget the constant character development that takes place - constant.  "Patience," seems to be uttered from my lips hourly.  Learning is constantly taking place, thus, I use the term 'school' rather loosely.  There may not be any scheduled sitting around the table, but if you were to write down all the learning that takes place, I am sure it would rival most kindergarten classrooms.

The baby has decided to change things up a bit lately.  She spent three days refusing to nurse.  When I offered a feed, she would bite me.  I have to say I was a bit crushed.  I was not prepared for an abrupt end to our one-on-one time.  I am so busy with the other kids that nursing offers the baby and I some carved out time together.  I cherish that time we have.  I had been talking about slowly introducing a bottle of Almond milk to see how she would do and allow me to start heading out of the house on my own, but I was not prepared for the transition to take place so decisively.  So, after feeling rejected and missing our calm moments together, I decided to persevere.  After 3 days, I am happy to say she has returned to nursing as usual.  She did catch the cold that we have been passing around, so perhaps she wasn't feeling hungry.  I have to say I appreciated the reality check, though.  I was starting to feel too tied down and was ready to start weaning, now I know I am not ready.  Those few minutes here and there spent just with my baby girl are too special.  I do now know that she is happy to take a bottle and has no problems digesting Almond milk, so I have scheduled my first outing sans-baby.  Eeek.  The twins and I are heading out to watch a play at a nearby cultural centre tomorrow afternoon.  I am looking forward to not juggling an infant around, the twins are excited about some time with just Mom, and Dad is excited about some time alone with the littles.

And not to forget my toddler.  He and I have been spending a lot of time together.  When the twins head out of the house to play and refuse to let the toddler play, I take him under my wing and we cook, read books, puzzle.  He has such an amazing personality.  He is constantly seeking out attention in weird and wonderful ways.  He is wild, WILD, and will try anything once.  He is stubborn and extremely structured.  Once a routine is introduced he doesn't forget.  He is constantly trying to reason out the order of the world.  His current question involves pointing something out and asking, "For me? For brothers?  For Dad?  For You (Mom)? For peoples?"  Adorable.  He is extremely affectionate.  When I sit on the couch he always sidles in close for a snuggle.  And he prominently takes the seat on my lap during book time.  He is very quirky and wonderfully original.  I have never seen anyone be able to use their eyes so expressively.  He could tell an entire story just with those big eyes.  And his laugh lately.  He has developed an evil laugh lately.  I'll have to record it and put it up.  Too funny.

It's funny.  A month and a half ago, I could not have fathomed how anyone 5 year old could be ready to head to school and spend an entire day without their parent.  Over this last month, though, I have noticed the twins slowly transitioning away on their own.  They head outside and play in the their playhouse for hours, or dig in the dirt, or ride bikes in front of the house, or build trains in their room, or build Lego, or race cars - all without me and without any guidance from me.  Although, I do not agree with all day kindergarten, I can see that 5 year old do start to seek out independence and perhaps are ready to head to school.  I absolutely do not regret keeping my kids at home.  At this point in our lives public school is not for us, but I now understand why 5 is the age it all begins. 

I noticed this one Friday during co-op.  We had a Guide volunteer to introduce us to the world of foraging: identifying edible plants, names, uses.  The Guide was introduced, we headed off and my kids stuck pretty close, insisting on holding hands as we walked.  Once the Guide introduced the first plant, twin1 was gone.  He attached himself to the Guide and I did not see him until the end of the walk.  Even then, he remained alongside the Guide while plants were cleaned and prepared to eat.  Independence.  He even found his own wild ginger to bring home and turn into tea, which he did later that afternoon.  He boiled the water, cleaned and cut the root, and steeped the tea for all of us to enjoy.  Then we sat around the table and enjoyed the fruits of our labour.  A wonderful, wonderful moment in my life.  To think, we may never have had this opportunity had the twins been sent to school.  No regrets.

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