Bennett David Kahl

Bennett David Kahl
I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers Ephesians 1:16

Monday, August 27, 2012

Another BIG day

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Today was another milestone day in our family.  first day of school 022

Today our twins would have started kindergarten.

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Instead, our baby girl started her second week of homeschool and our little boy watched over us as he always does.

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My heart was so heavy last night.  Six years ago, I imagined sending our babies off on a school bus together with monogrammed back packs and tears in my eyes.  Today looked a lot different that I imagined it would back then.

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Different doesn’t mean worse though.  Although I would give anything to have my sweet Bennett here, I am beyond thankful that I get to have Ellie with me and that I am the one who gets a chance to teach her daily. 

I have been filled with anxiety over the pressure of homeschooling.  Mostly because I typically place unrealistic expectations on myself in almost every area of my life.  But honestly, when you are the sole individual responsible for the success or failure of your child’s education it is a TON of pressure!  I realized today that NOT sending Ellie off on a school bus to a public school wasn’t as big of a deal as I thought it would be.  I really DO love homeschooling and I really DO believe we are going to surpass even my unrealistic expectations.  Ellie is amazing.  She is patient and driven.  What she already knows at 5 amazes me.  

Today was the second best “First day of school” I could have ever dreamed of.  The only thing better would have been to have my blond hair, green eyed little boy standing next to his twin sister in our back to school pictures this morning. 

Dear Ellie and Bennett,

Today was a milestone day for you.  Ellie, I am so proud of you and what I know we are going to accomplish this year.  You work so hard in school and it is so fun to be your teacher!!  I can’t believe you are old enough to be in school and that today would’ve been your first day of kindergarten.  We both lost a lot when Bennett went to Heaven, but what we have instead is such a blessing.  Thank you for loving me as a teacher as much as you love me as a mommy. 

My little Bennett…thank you for watching over us every single day.  Thank you for all of the blessings you bring to our lives year after year.  Our lives would be so different with you in them, but you make sure they are wonderful with you watching over us.  I know you are absent in these monumental pictures of Ellie, but as your mommy I can see you so clearly standing right next to her in all of them.  You are my little hero and I miss and love you more every single day. 

Happy “first” my little miracles!



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Daddy’s little girl!

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Little brother was so excited, too!

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Roaring like a dinosaur!

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Total cheese-ball!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Mommy and me, no more

We made another step out of “baby-hood” this week. 

Cullen moved up to big boy gymnastics on Wednesday.  It was so surreal to see my baby boy in the big gym without me helping him with warm up. 

He isn’t typically a clingy little guy, but to be fair he really isn’t ever without me, so he has never had an opportunity to display that type of behavior.  It was a bit of a rough start in big boy gymnastics because he was having a little separation anxiety.  Thankfully, his favorite coach was in there to help out with the transition, but it was a rocky one. 

Exhibit A: It took two coaches to keep him from running to the door to get me.

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(this cracks me up: when they ask him to walk with his hands behind his back he always looks like a criminal)

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waiting his turn

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It didn’t take him too long to get with the program!

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He really got with it when they went into the foam pit and really loosened up on the bars ~ where he started to show off!  His best little friend Jenny is in there with him and I know they will really love being big kids every Wednesday. 

In other big boy news…our little turkey is in little under-roo’s!  Oh how cute that little turkey tush is in size xxs Gap briefs!  I do not trust him in public yet, so we still do a pull on diaper for outings and he sleeps in them at night too. 

Proving his “turney-ness” this morning:  Cullen was looking at me with the “I am doing something I know I shouldn’t be doing” eyes.  I asked him if he went potty in his pull up and he said, “YES!”  Then he crossed his legs in a standing position and told me “I keep it!” 

I laughed inside, and tried really hard not to on the outside.  What a B.O.Y!

Here is our little man with his “baby” it is a blanket that he has been carrying every.where!  I asked him if we could call it a blanket and he gave me a stern NO, and told me it was his baby!

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My little man,

Oh, how I am dying inside as you make all of these transitions out of baby-hood.  You are so awesome and amazing in every way and I am very proud of these transitions, but it is a little stab in my mommy heart to see you growing up.  I love my little bud bud, but I fear you will be a very big boy before we know it!  

I love you forever and always!


Friday, August 24, 2012

Ballet I

In addition to volleyball and gymnastics we added ballet to the mix of fun activities this fall! 

Ellie LOVES to dance and she was beyond excited for her first day of Ballet I.  She is the youngest in her class by over a year, but her teacher said she would have never guessed she was so young based on her class performance and behavior!  YEAH, for Ellie Grace.  Here is our baby on her first day back in ballet. (and I did NOT ask her to pose for any of these!  She does that all on her own…crazy girl)

Clothes are on, but hair isn’t done yet!

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Hair is done and she is ready to go!

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Dear little ballerina,

I am thankful that we are able to give you the opportunity to try so many activities and make the decision on your own of which one/s are your favorite.  I was sad that they have a closed curtain at ballet because I couldn’t see what was going on, but you got a wonderful compliment from your new teacher and I was so proud of you!  You walked out of class telling me how much you “loved” your new class so much more than your last one.  That means so much and it makes my heart so happy to see the joy in your eyes.  This is going to be a fantastic year in dance, my little ballerina!

I love you little girl!!!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Our classroom 2012-2013

Our room is (mostly) done and we love the set up!  We are very blessed to have an entire room in our house to keep all of our school goodies, but as most homeschoolers know, school doesn’t always ONLY happen in this room.  We LOVE to cuddle on the couch for reading time, and just yesterday Ellie sprawled out on the couch upstairs to do spanish.  I LOVE that my kiddos can learn in an environment that is safe and comfortable for them and that isn’t always in our 12x12 classroom!
Our classroom setup was inspired from blogs I stalked…for MONTHS!!!  I tweaked a few things to fit Ellie’s age, but I really found some great stuff at the following blogs. 
1. Calendar time: As a retired public school teacher I am familiar with the general set up of a classroom. Having a great set up and print friendly classroom has always been important to me because I feel like it makes the environment so much fun to be in. These 3 blogs have FANTASTIC resources and printables for your morning calendar time. Honestly, it is better than what we had as public school teachers!
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a. Confessions of a homeschooler
b. Mama Jenn
c. homeschool creations
Erica, from Confessions of a Homeschooler was SO kind to talk me through some curriculum woes I was having.  I am very thankful for the resources I have been able to take advantage of thanks to these VERY busy, intelligent and crafty women. 
2. Our school table-
I purchased our classroom table from HERE and evidently it is on major sale right now!  We’ve had this table for a few years now and it has been awesome.  Our kiddos are young and still need the one on one work time, so this is a great place for all of us.  (and yes, I DO sit in that green ikea chair ALL.DAY.LONG!)
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Both kiddos have their names spelled out on the table top with bulletin board letters held down by clear contact paper, but Ellie is now using the side with the name plate on it.
Our word wall hangs above our supplies wall and it is all within arms reach which I love.  Both boards are magnetic (one from Lakeshore and one from staples), but we use tabletop white boards for our All About Spelling lessons and everyday teaching.   
3. Library, Computer center and EspaƱol:
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I am SO happy I kept all of my books from teaching!  We have a pretty great selection from some top authors.  This is just ONE of the five spots you can find books in our house!  Our kiddos love to be read to!!!  Ellie’s CPU is kept on the desk hidden behind our EXPEDIT shelf in this picture.  Ideally, she was supposed to sit here and do computer, but she has been watching it on my laptop and getting comfy as she does so.  Her spanish words for the week hang in the green pocket chart and on the orange bulletin board.
3. Curriculum storage:
I have formed a love affair with IKEA during this classroom transformation!  It’s so inexpensive and I am so impressed with how sturdy it all is. 
These shelves house all of our curriculum, manipulatives, art supplies, handwriting paper, and basically anything else we need during the week.  Cullen even has his own shelf with some pre-k books that he works on during school is he isn’t napping.
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4. Our workboxes:  Ellie was SOOOOO excited about this addition to our room.  She is very visual/kinesthetic and having the ability to see what she has completed and placing the tag on the chart as she finished a box has made her so happy this week.  She is so proud when she gets to place a tag on the “finished” chart and gets so excited to see what is left.  On Tuesday, I made a surprise box which was a trip outside to swim for 45 minutes.  It was amazing how rejuvenated she was after the swim!  She actually focused better after the time outside than she had done earlier in the day.
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I searched a ton of workbox printables and I ended up combining a few different resources to make up our tags.  You can find the ones we are using here, here and here.  All three are super blogs about workboxes with awesome printable tags.
Here is a pic of our poetry center.  We had a TON going on this week, so we will start next week with this center.
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Another view of our little working area.  The supply bins from IKEA are SO awesome for all of our supplies!  Crayons, highlighters, markers, sight word cards, etc. are all right there.  It is probably one of my favorite organizational tools.
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This week we “started” school.  We are actually only reviewing AAS 1 and some Saxon lessons, but we did add all of our other daily lessons from all subject areas just so Ellie could get back in the swing of things.  On Monday, I will take her “official” first day of Kindergarten picture.  I want to get the whole mom/dad with her outside and her backpack on just because I’m sentimental that way!  I have my kinder picture and I want her to have one too!  Nonetheless, this was our first day back and even my little homeschooler has a snack box and matching hair bow!  We did go barefoot though!!
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Our dearest Ellie Grace,
I am so thankful for the opportunity to homeschool you. (most of the time!! HA)
I think this year is going to be amazing and you will really learn to LOVE learning.  We have had a (mostly) amazing week filled with lots of new learning and new extra curricular activities.  I truly can’t believe you are old enough to be in school now.  It was just yesterday that I was holding my 2 pound miracle on my chest in the NICU.  I am proud of you every single day…on our good days and our bad ones.  You are amazing, beautiful, smart, kind, talented and I am grateful every day that God chose us to raise you up to Him.  What a gift you are!!! 
We love you forever and always!
Mommy and Daddy

Thursday, August 9, 2012

A two-fer

I love going to the pedi’s office.  I mean they always greet me with the sweetest smiles.  We always make small talk about life.  They talk to the kiddos and tell them how cute they look. 

Basically, we visit the pedi WAY TOO OFTEN!  (I have been every week except last week for over a month)  I guess the upside to visiting often is that we do get treated so nicely by all of the other staff.  The downside is obviously the drive and the creepy valet staff there. 

Monday was nice because it was a “two-fer” day.  It was Cullen’s scheduled two year check up, but Ellie had developed a very, very bad cough, so our pedi saw her too.  Love it when I don’t have to make a separate appointment time or trip back up there!

So, this week Ellie was diagnosed with an upper respiratory infection.  Poor baby sounds terrible, but she is on steroids and an antibiotic now, so hopefully by next week we will be back to normal around here. 

Cullen was such a big boy for his check up.  Our doctor came in and asked him some questions:

Dr: Hey, Cullen! 

C: Hi Dr. B

Dr: How old are you now?

C: Two

Dr: What did you do for your birthday?

C: Ate cake…and swimming

Dr: What did you bring with you today?

C: My trucks.  My purple emergency truck with yellow “quares”  

Dr: (looking at me with raised eyebrows) Wow, that is awfully descriptive

C: weeee-ooooo-weeeee-oooooo (his interpretation of an ambulance sound)

Needless to say, she was very impressed with his verbal skills.  She said she would consider him above and beyond at this stage of development.  He has an “Amazing” amount of knowledge for his age according to her.  He did count for her and then proceeded to put his verbal skills on further display as he argued with his sister over who was going to sit in the orange chair! 

At his 2 year check these are his stats:

height: 36 in (75%)

weight: 27.4 (35%)

I asked how in the world there could be such a discrepancy between his CF clinic height and their height measurement.  She said to expect some difference, but since he was in the 35% for height at clinic and the 75% with them that it’s safe to say he is probably somewhere in the middle. 

We will take it!  He is growing and that is all that matters.

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Another fun day with my little angels. 


This week has been full of classroom decorating and curriculum organizing.  Fingers crossed I will get it all DONE today!  I would love to use next week as assessment and review week and start school the following

Dear Cullen,

You are so amazing to us in every single way.  You bring a smile to my face 100 times a day.  You are ornery, smart, adventurous and so loving.  I am so thankful for these last two years with you and I can’t wait to see your personality grow!  Your must say my name a million times a day and your daddy laughs at the way to do it.  I want you to know it is music to my ears (almost) every single time I hear it.  You are momma’s pride and joy, little bud bud. 

I love you,


Sunday, August 5, 2012

Happy Birthday, Snuffy!

Our little girl is seriously attached to her little cat she named Snuffy.

Precious snuffy has been a part of Ellie’s life for as long as I can remember, but it wasn’t until the last year that Ellie truly fell in love with her.

Snuffy is Ellie’s second best friend…next to me of course! 

Recently, Ellie told me this story in the car:

E: Mommy, I know how Snuffy came to me.

Me: Oh really, how is that Ellie?

E: Well, Bennett sits on the clouds in Heaven and he knows all about me.  He is kind of like Santa, so he made Snuffy just right and perfect for me to love and he dropped her down the chimney.

Me: You are absolutely right Ellie!  (I mean what do you say to that???)

Then a few weeks later she told me a very sad story about how Snuffy also had a brother that died.  UGH!  It is so heartbreaking to listen to these stories, but we focus on the highlights like now Snuffy has an angel that watches over her too. 

Like any other member of the family it came time to celebrate Snuffy’s birthday a few weeks ago.  So, as any other loving mother would do I bought cupcakes, themed plates for the kiddos, and got a candle.  Ellie made cards, Mimi bought new outfits and we had a true blue birthday party!  Complete with song and all! 

Now, evidently Snuffy has met the cat of her dreams because I got wind of a supposed wedding.  We intervened and I think the wedding has been put on the backburner for a while.  Lord, help me!  This girl and her imagination at age 5 makes me nervous for what it will be at age 10.

Snuffy also recently lost an eye.  Our world stopped turning for a minute until I promised we would find a new one and have it attached.  Unfortunately, I have been unable to locate the EXACT eye and nothing but the same will do for Mommy Ellie.  Fortunately, we have a doll hospital near our home, so I see a trip there in our very near future. july2012 009july2012 007

The proud mommy with the birthday cat

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Cullen enjoyed celebrating with Snuffy

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Reading her birthday cards

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Fun times were had by ALL!

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You did such a wonderful job planning Snuffy’s birthday party.  She is so special to you which makes her a special part of our family.  We look forward to celebrating many more birthday’s with your little kitty cat in the future.