Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Happy Christmas to all!

Christmas 2012

2012 has been a year full of big events here at the Rogers' home.

First, and most important, we would like to announce the birth of our fourth child, Alyssa Madison Rogers.  She was born 8 lbs, 4 oz and 20.5 inches on June 22, after a rapid 1 1/2 hours of labor.  At almost 6 months, she is a very happy, inquisitive, social, demanding little girl.  She knows what she wants, and knows how to get it.  She is currently toothless, settling into a regular sleep routine, and sitting by herself.  She is also an expert at giving baby loves; holding your face, playing with your hair, mouthing (kissing) your face, nuzzling your face with hers, giving an "I love you" face, and grabbing you to chomp your nose when irritated.  Her favorite things are her pacifier, her mommy, playing butt naked on the changing table, being where the action is, gnawing on anything she can hold in her fist, and laughing at Bailey.

Blake, who just turned 6, started his first year in Kindergarten, and he is loving it.  He finally gets to go to APEX (once a week public school for the homeschooler) with his sisters where he is learning lots of things like music, PE, Spanish, science, and more.  At home, he is learning to read, currently at about a first grade level, and write his letters.  He is also learning addition, clocks, money, calendars, skip counting, and other advanced math for his grade.  Blake continues to enjoy building things, playing outside in all weather, being involved with his older sisters, helping others, and reading stories with Mom and Dad.

Bailey recently turned 8 and was baptized a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  She is officaly in 2nd grade this year, though she is doing 3rd grade work at home in everything but math, where she is doing 4th grade work.  This year at APEX, she is getting ready for her first theatrical performance in the Granny Awards for her Intro to Musical Theater class.  She is also taking Spanish, Art, 2nd year piano, Passport to the World, and Science.  Bailey continues to enjoy playing with friends, drawing, singing, watching and playing computer games, reading with Dad, and snuggling with both people and blankets.

Sierra, who is now 10, preformed in her first theatrical production this year.  She played the part of Toulouse in Disney's Aristocats, a part which had her on stage and preforming during the majority of the play.  She is currently in 5th grade and is looking forward to starting junior high next year.  At APEX, she is gearing up to play in School House Rock for this coming year's performance in Musical Theater soloing in the Preamble.  In World Percussion, she is learning to play different instruments such as the xylophone, tom toms, kettle drums, bells, triangles, tambourines, and more.  She is also taking Spanish, Art, and Mythology.  Her interests are starting to mature as she grows, and she has found herself truly enjoying reading.  She also likes art, being silly, having long and thoughtful conversations with Mom, reading with Dad, and exploring new ideas with her friends.

Misty has had a busy year.  Not only has she had a baby and continues to homeschool the older kids, but she also put up walls in the basement, cut and canned a bumper crop of crabapples, leads the Activity Day girls at church, has made over 30 cloth diapers, and is currently in the process of making almost 30 more.  Alyssa takes up most of her time though.  The little girl wants continual entertainment while awake, totalling about 10 hours a day.  Due to that, a lot of things have been put on hold for the time being, but Misty is planning to get back to them soon enough.  This would include getting back in shape, finishing the basement, and making regular meals, all worthy goals on their own.

Seth has had a rough year.  He has finally accepted that his Bankruptcy Business is not working and has begun looking elsewhere.  He is currently applying for work in Land Title Analysis for Oil and Gas companies as Colorado is one of the big areas for the fracking boom.  On the side, he has take up swimming with the local Masters Swimming group here in town and enjoys reading to the kids in the evening.  He just finished reading the entire Lord of the Rings Trilogy to the two older girls.  He also read Water Ship Down to them before that, which the girls absolutely loved.  He is a very good reader, and it is a tradition that we all enjoy.

As for our cat Casper, he was beloved by the entire neighborhood.  I've never seen a friendlier cat.  Unfortunately, he passed away not to long ago.  We do not know what exactly happened, but he was found on our neighbor's door step with no blood or mark on him that we could see.  He would have been 3 this spring.  It feels a bit lonely now at night.  He used to curl up on the couch to keep us company or sleep with Bailey in her bed.  He has definitely been missed, poor kitty.

So, yes, it has been a year full of big events, both ups and downs.  A good year in many ways, and a very hard one in others.  That is how life goes.  Even so, we have found a lot of joy along the way.

We miss you all and wish we could see you more often.  We also wish you the best this coming year.

Love from all of us,

The Rogers Family

Sunday, September 16, 2012

A New Way of Thinking

When my oldest was 5, we started to homeschool.  We would do one lesson of reading, one of handwriting, and one of math.  It was supposed to take about 30-45 minutes a day.  Supposed to.  In reality, it tended to take us much, much longer.  As it turned out, my daughter and I didn't understand each other.  We had way different ways of thinking, and it made it very difficult to teach her.  Her brain is wired like my husband's, although we both have a strong perfectionist streak.

It wasn't too long into schooling before I started noticing odd behaviors.  She had a very hard time focusing.  Her mind seemed to be going a million miles a minute.  She couldn't block things out.  If the TV was on, she would hear it, every last word.  Same with any conversation going on around her.  Yet at other times she could block out everything as she sat staring at something for long periods of time.  When she was in large groups of kids, she would always be the one being too goofy, slow to catch commands, and easily distracted.  Even as an 8 or 9 year old, I would repeatedly have to get after her for dancing and singing down the grocery isles, climbing into the clothes racks, and lying on the ground spread eagle at the check out stand.

I was certain she had ADD, just like her dad.

At somewhere around her 10th birthday though, things have started to change.  She will have not only math, reading, and writing for school, but also grammar, spelling, music, and logic.  More often then not, she will now finish all of this in much less then 2 hours.  In groups she's  calmed down, becoming more attentive and aware.  At the store she can now be civilized, though she still needs an occasional reminder.  Basically, she's become a normal, well behaved kid.

So now I find myself wondering if she was really ADD in the first place.  It's possible.  Some people do outgrow it.  Others have a predisposition toward it but never fully develop it.  Others simply learn to cope well enough that you wouldn't even know it was there.  Do I wish I had never thought she had ADD in the first place?  No.  Learning to understand it has helped me to understand my daughter and others who are not hardwired the way I am.  I just need to learn to let go of the assumption that she actually does have it, because she seems to not be ADD anymore.

The thing is, now my son, who is turning 6 soon, is starting homeschool.  In a lot of ways he is very similar to his oldest sister, and I find myself trying to explain his actions as I had done with her.  I'm wondering though if it is better or not to just let things be.  Do I find a label that seems to fit him so that I can understand him better, or do I simply try to understand him without the use of any structural framework?  It's a tough question, and one that I will likely be asking myself for some time yet.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Kids in the Basement

My kids have been watching me working in the basement  for over a year now.  They find it facinating and like to help where they can, which up until now hasn't been much.  Well, now we're at the point where they can help, and boy were they excited to do so.  They've done work in 30 minute chunks of time, doing 1 or 2 sessions a day.  They've even helped with clean up!

The girls got to tape the walls of their soon to be bedrooms with the mesh tape, supervised, of course.  Then yesterday, we all went down and worked on the mud (wallboard joint compound) in Bailey's room.

I was actually surprised at how well they did.  I had to fix things up a bit when they were done, but it was pretty good job for a 10, 7 and 5 year old.

Sierra was the best at it.  I hardly had to do anything to her work when she was done.

Bailey liked to put it on rather thick.  She also really liked to cover up the screws.

Daddy helped with the ceiling where the kids couldn't reach.

After the mud dried, they even worked on sanding things smooth.  I made sure they wore a face mask to keep the dust out.  Blake even wanted to wear glasses.

Look what I did!

They should have fun when we get around to painting too.  Ha!  Now that's going to be a mess!

Monday, May 14, 2012

2012-2013 APEX Schedules

Options will have a new name next year as it is being taken in by our local school district.  So, now the once a week public school for the homeschooled will be called APEX.  In any case, I just sent in the girl's schedules for next year, so here they are.  Should be fun.

Sierra (5th grade)
1- World Percussion
2- Musical Theatre
3- Musical Theatre
5- Spanish A/B (with Bailey)
6- Mythology
7- Art (with Bailey)

Bailey (2nd Grade)
1- Science 1
2- Passport to the World
3- Keyboard 2 (or PE if she can't do piano)
5- Spanish A/B (with Sierra)
6- Intro to Musical Theatre
7- Art (with Sierra)

Blake of course will be in the Kindergarden program which is set by the teacher

Monday, April 16, 2012

Sierra has decided that she wants to do Saxon Math next year instead of Horizons. I'm completely fine with that. Not only does it save me money (I can borrow everything for Saxon from Option/APEX), but it seems to have less busy work, fewer lessons, and more explanations. Besides, I was planning on making the switch to Saxon some time in the near future anyway. Horizons only covers K-6.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Happy 10th Sierra!

My oldest is now a decade. Boy does time fly!

The girls helped decorate the cupcakes. Blake put on the leaves.

Happy Birthday Sierra!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

How to make a Pocket Diaper, BG style

I'm in the process of making my own cloth diaper patterns from retail diapers that I like, both for myself and for my mom who likes to sew things for her grandkids. So, I thought, since I need to write up the instructions for my mom anyway, I'd put them here for anyone who is curious. I hope it makes sense.

Make Your Pattern (or get one from someone else)

With a lot of tracing, stretching, and measuring, you can make a pattern for any diaper you are determined to copy. Here's the one I made for this diaper.

Interior layer, pocket liner, and pocket cover all made of suedecloth (a polyester fabric similar to velvet used to wick away the moisture from the baby's bottom)

Exterior layer, tabs, and inner front strip PUL (polyurethane laminated cloth used for a waterproof layer)

PUL lining, (to stabilize the snaps on the PUL outer layer)

Then cut out the pieces.

Suedecloth inner layer, pocket lining and pocket cover.

Outer PUL, tabs, and inner front strip

PUL lining

Now to make your pocket, where the absorbent soaker will be stuffer inside the diaper.

Match up the line on the suedecloth inner layer and the pocket liner, right sides facing each other. Sew 1/4 inch above, below and to the side of the line, creating a long, 1/2 inch wide rectangle.

Cut through both layers along the line, cutting at angles inside the corners of the rectangle.

Flip the pocket liner to the wrong side of the suedecloth inner layer through the slit, secure with pins, and sew down to secure at 1/8 inch and 3/8 inch from the hole.

To make the pocket cover, hem one of the long sides 1/4 inch, then again at 3/8 inch.

Baste pocket cover over pocket hole in the suedecloth inner layer, both pieces facing up.

Finish the inner layer by sewing on the inner tabs and inner front strip, matching front sides together along edges. (Oops, I forgot to sew on the pocket cover before doing this and had to unpick).

Secure the seams by folding them open and topstitching the seam flat at 1/8 inch over seam allowance.

Now for the Outer layer.

Baste PUL linning to outer PUL layer, both facing wrong side.

Sew outer PUL tabs to Outer PUL layer, right sides facing. Fold open and top stitch down at 1/8 inch.

To place snaps on the diaper front, poke a hole through the 2 layers of PUL fabric with an awl.

Push the cap peice through the hole, lay the stud or socket piece on top, and clamp together with the pliers. If the snap has a hard time snapping together, use the pliers agin and be sure to pinch the snap all the way down.

Time to sew the inner and outer layers together. Pin them, right sides facing each other, and sew together at seam allowance, reinforcing your stitching at tab corners

Flip the diaper right side out through pocket hole. Press seams flat. Sew 3/8 inch from edge where the elastic will go to create an elastic casing. Top stitch all other seams, starting 1 inch away from elastic casing, at 1/8 inch to secure.

For elastic, turn the diaper inside out again, attach a safety pin to the end of 1/4 inch elastic, secure other end to seam allowance just outside of the casing, and work it through the casing. Pull elastic to desired length, and attach to the seam allowance just outside of casing on the opposite end from before.

Turn right side out again, and place snaps on the tabs.

Congradulations! You're done.