Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Mine!!!

Mini-E has a habit of just walking out the front door if it's open. Yes, she has to push open the screen door.

Come to think of it, it wasn't really walking either. It was more of a sneak. Anyway...

The other day, the door was left open after someone retrieved the mail. She started going out the door. I called to her in my best mommy voice "Mini-E, No!" she took another step so I said another "no"

The look she gave me was not the look of an 18 month old. It really wasn't. It was the look of an 18 year old and it said "You're not the boss of me." It was the look that did it. I went forth to retrieve my child. She realized that I was coming and she started to book it. She didn't get far, because she had waited too long giving me the look.

As I scooped her up she started kicking and hollering, "Mine, mine, MINE, mine, MINE!"

I nearly dropped her from laughing. I was impressed with my calmness and said something like, "That may be, but You're mine and I said "No"."

After it was all said and done, I couldn't get another picture out of my head....

A picture of another small person who looks at the world and says "Mine."

Looking at the spiritual side of life, I rather believe God looks at us and says the same thing: "Mine."

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Fruit....

Fruit goes stale. It's a known fact.
So does Fruit of the Loom go stale?
If not, then why do they come in "Resealable Bags"?

Friday, August 24, 2007

Things said in the dark...

Have you ever played hide and seek in the house with most of the lights off? We tried that tonight.

It was sort of an accident. We just didn't turn the lights ON when we started. I was it and just grabbed the flashlight when it was time to seek. I mean, they use flashlights on CSI. I just looks COOL. (Silly, but cool. If they're not going to turn the lights on, neither am I. And I'm not looking for evidence.)

Then it was my turn to hide. Which is fun. I love finding that one perfect spot. My theory is that I can teach them to hide by hiding myself. I really try not enjoying besting my children at games - too much. (I took great pleasure it besting The Professor at Mancala, though. Twice.)

The First time I hid, I hid in G-man's bunk. He keeps animals up there it was easy to lay down among them. He didn't find me during his first sweep through. Then he got the idea to check all the beds.

Mini-me said, "I don't think she's up there. The blankets aren't chubby enough."

Hey. I resemble that remark.

So it was their turn to hide. Mini-Me wanted to play, too. PLaying in the dark seemed like fun - especially with the flashlights. So I counted...and went to find them. I had a little help with the seeking. J-man will sometimes follow them around and watch them hide. Then when it's time to seek, he'll help do that, too. Makes my turn as "it" so much easier when I have a snitch.

I mean Help.

It's back to my turn. I had scoped out a corner that I wanted to try as a hiding place. Among the dress up clothes, in the dark, it might just be difficult to find me. So I put the box in my lap, a hat upon my head and snuggled up amid the hanging dresses. And waited.

They walked past me several times. Talking about where I might be and how scrunched up I might be while in my hiding place. I was quite comfy.

They come back. Flashlights blinking...and landing right on me. I love my new hiding spot. Of course, it will only work in the dark.

"Maybe she's under the bed!!" was G's suggestion.

Ever the logical one, Mini-Me says, "and how do you think a chubby lady will fit under there?"

I almost gave my position away by laughing. Chubbies jiggle when laughing comes from the belly.

I did have to vacate my perfect hiding place after Mini-E wandered around the house calling out "Mommy" quite forlornly. She decided to console herself in my absence by playing in the cat box. (I caught her just in time. Gotta get her a sandbox. Mini-e, not the cat.)

G-man was a bit upset with me when I wouldn't reveal my hiding place. Despite that, they're ready to play again! "Tomorrow??" "We'll see. We'll see."

There's only so many places a chubby lady can hide, dontcha know.

Casting Off!

The doctor said it would take a bit for the elbow to loosen up but the x-rays look great! So no further casting would be required. Well, that's good news. I didn't know it was an option. Which really, it wasn't. Because I prayed that it would be healed so I was expecting it to be that way when x-rayed.

We prayed over her muscles and elbow to relax and loosen. She was so sweet, she told me, "Thank you for praying over me."

She can write and color, she's tried them both! She even had a good, castless time today playing games. School re-starts on Monday. :-) I hope I'm ready because, now, she is.

Stanley's Last Day..

When I saw the post at Training Hearts about Stanely's virtual escapades, I thought it would oodles of fun to participate in. I'll be honest, we had the most routine of all weeks this last week. I'm still not sure what happened. So I was concerned that our visit wouldn't be as grand as Stanley's visit to here. I mean he got to meet royalty when he visited there.

Still in all, I think Stanley was pleased to visit us. Maybe our house seemed much like his own. He was certainly allowed to be a kid. *L* Bouncing on the couch and all.

Stanley sat with me while I did a bit of Bible Study while the little kids were asleep. Mini-Me's cast came off the same day. It was quite the treat for everyone. I wanted to ask Stanley if he knew Jesus, but he was a bit quiet on the subject, so I didn't push the conversation. He was all smiles about my study, though. Maybe he knew something he wasn't telling...or maybe he was just happy to be there. He certainly was the quietest Bible Study partner I've ever had.

While I did my study, the kids built a fort. Oddly enough, it looks a lot like computer jail. I guess it's the intent of the builder. Stanley had fun. They decorated, well, Mini-Me Decorated. They had a drawbridge pillow that went down and up. There were secret passages. It was a great fort. It got dismantled for dinner, and then reconstructed after. One is not welcome to sit on the outside "ledges" of the fort, as that blocks the view from within. You've been warned.
I got the bright idea today, after seeing all the scattered puzzle pieces, that I needed to clean out the game "closet". Really, it's also the linen closet, the medicine closet and the construction paper closet. Then I remembered all the games stuck at the top of the coat closet. So I got them ALL down....
After getting them all down and in the kitchen I discovered that I had games I don't want/need anymore. I'm the gameskeeper around here, just to clarify my position. I found a game that I haven't played in over 10 years. Even though it brings fond memories, it's got to go in order to make room for something new. (It will probably go to Goodwill as I'm a reforming "collector")(See: Packrat - definition two)
I discovered two games that my bigs could play NOW: Mancala and Chinese Checkers. So we got them out, dusted them off and learned how to play. We taught Stanley, too. You never know where he might turn up. He needs all the knowledge he can get.
Here they are laughing at something I said. Really.
Stanley got the joke, after all he has a younger brother, too.
The board is all set up and Mini-Me makes her move:
After this rousing game, it was nap time for the littles.
Then it was time for a heated and confusing match of Chinese Checkers.

I amaze myself when I just assume that my kids understand what I'm talking about.
Chinese Checkers involves moving your pegs (or marbles) from your starting triangle to the triangle across the board. You can jump opponents pieces but you don't capture them.
AND you have to jump in a straight line, no arcs.
These were slightly difficult concepts to grasp after learning to play ordinary, old fashioned checkers. You know, the one on the square board.
We had a good time, though.
Stanley thinks it's time to move on. So we're going to wrap him carefully in a box and send him to Africa to visit our friend in Uganda. Hopefully, he won't eat her chocolate on the way there. I'll be sure to pack him some sandwiches for the trip.

Farewell Stanley, Good Journey

Thursday, August 23, 2007

A "Normal" Day just for Stanley

Monday's are not usually "normal" around here. I'm not sure why, either. They just aren't. They're usually chaotic and full of unusual struggles. Just for Stanley we had a normal day.

In my last Stanley post, I neglected to link to Training Hearts' post about Stanley. I'll make this right. Sorry about forgetting last time. I wrote in a hurry. Which, I've also noticed, leads me to type in short sentences.

At least they're complete sentences. I hope.
I digress. Sorry.

Back to our Monday that was normal just for Stanley.

The Professor had to work late and we had Spaghetti for dinner. It was yummy. I like spaghetti. It's one of my favorites. Stanley and Mini-Me seemed to enjoy it, too.



After dinner, there was a jumping on the couch marathon. I waffle between two opinions with the jumping on the couch. Part of me says "No, you'll break the couch" and another part of me says "Is this a battle that really needs to be fought?"

So Here they are - pausing to take a picture. I think Stanley had fun.

We all gathered on the aforementioned couch to read about Stanley's adventures. You can see him right next to my ear. I guess he really wanted to see.
We got many laughs out of Stanley's escapades. He becomes flat after a bulletin board falls on him during the night. His family is very quick to adjust to his "condition" He talks his mother into using his size to retrieve something from a hole in the street. "Hey, lady, is your yo-yo stuck?" His father rolls him up like a roll of wallpaper. And the chapter about the sneak thieves gave us many laughs.

We read the story of him getting flat again - and decided that the first one was funnier. Though, the second was not without humor. We just found the first one funnier. (We are wondering about Stanley's other books and will probably seek them out at the library.)


All in all, we recommend the books and a visit from Stanley. He was quite a good houseguest. He was very quiet and kept mostly to himself. It has been fun having him here.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Brotherly love - Wordless Wednesday

She crawled up into his lap on her own.
My mommy's heart just about burst.
Now let's see if I can remember how to do this:
For More Wordless Wednesdays visit

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

B.I.G. AND U.G.L.Y. Bug

We went to Walmart this morning. It's a great deal of fun being able to just go to the store without having to maneuver the after school crowd. We saw several mommies with their toddlers. J-man loved running ahead and then stopping and running back to me. He's at least staying in the same aisle.

He thinks he's big stuff.

Once Home, everyone helped carry in the bags. Mini-Me said, "There's a big bug outside. It's yellow and black striped with a brown head. I stayed AWAY from it!"

Okay. I said absently. Checking for messages and any e-mails that might have come in that needed immediate attention.

I went outside to gather in bags and purse and a diet coke I didn't need and she said "Look mom, there it is!"

I looked. It's a Cicada killer.
They are among the creepiest bugs EVER. A huge wasp...Oh - wait...Here's a link I found. I couldn't run in and get my camera soon enough - Prof. Holliday here has a picture at the bottom with a cicada killer actually climbing onto his hand. He's either brave or nuts. He's got fabulous pictures!

Then there's Wikipedia. And any number of other sites, come to think of it.

The first time that I saw this type of wasp, it flew past me and went into an underground burrow. It was huge to me - I mean it flew right by me. I first thought of the creatures from "Apollyon". Then I called my dad and said, "What the heck...?" And he told me what it was.

So when I saw it today, it was dragging a cicada across the lawn. I followed it to the tree and then watched to see what it would do. I wanted to see where it's burrow was located. It went up the tree!! It was the freakiest and coolest thing ever.

It climbed with a few feet and flew with it's wings, NEVER letting go of it's food source. It kept going straight up. I don't know why, as most of what I've read said they burrow underground. I don't know if it would go up and get a better lift off to fly home...or if it had found a place to live in my tree. It went straight up...Of course, standing there I got a bit nervous. What if it accidentally let go of it's paralyzed cicada and it bonked me in the face.

Mini-Me was not as fascinated as I was. That wasp had tenacity. It never let go of it's kill. It kept going up, up, up.... Resting when it could get a good foot hold. For it's two front feet.

Granted, I don't want to paralyze anyone, I just want that kind of stick-to-it-ness.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Hide and seek with Stanley


When Stanley arrived, he was promptly introduced to all members of the family.
For some reason, Mini-E decided that she needed to give him a talking to. And a poke in the eye.
He and J-man got off to a good start. J-man can even say "Stanley". A fact that pleases my mommy heart very much.
Stanley and J-man sat in the big blue chair and watched a repeat showing of Go, Diego, Go! Save the Jaguar (for the bazillionth time). I think, for Stanely, it fell a little flat.
After all, he's a fellow of letters. He needs more mental stimulation. More -- action!! Something like a rousing game of Hide and Seek!! Lately, though, instead of just a regular game of hide-n-seek, it's more of an orienteering event. One person hides something and then draws a map to where the object can be found. Think Treasure hunt. G-man absolutely LOVES this game. He can navigate the house by way of a pencil drawing.
I'm very impressed.
He and Stanley got to go first.
Time to Hide.

Time to draw the map. Where's Stanley?

Peek-a-boo! Hiding behind a curtain.
Mini-E found him first.

After her aforementioned eye-poking, I mean - lecture, Stanley was a bit apprehensive.
I think he was afraid she's eat him.
He was right to be afraid.
Now- It's Mini-Me's turn..
Shhh! It's a secret!
Since Stanley is flat, he can hide anywhere - even under the white board.
G found him very quickly via the map that Mini-Me managed to draw with her left hand.
All in all, it was a rousing Game of hide-n-seek.
J-man still sees Stanley, who's watching and waiting for something exciting to happen, and he'll holler, "look! There's Stanley, Right there!"
Yep.
I'm afraid that Stanley came to visit at a most boring time, though. Things in the laundry pile are a bit normal.
I think Stanley might just be bored.
flat bored.


Friday, August 17, 2007

My kids are great sports!

I forgot, in the hustle and bustle of life that is the Laundry Pile that I was to paint faces TOMORROW for a church outreach. Luckily I won't be the only one...and really I"m only blogging about this because I'm terribly proud of my kids!!
I said, will you guys let me practice on you?
They said "SURE!!"
Mini-Me even said "Me first!!"
That's trust, let me tell ya.
I've wanted to figure out how to sponge on paint - to give back ground colors to a design - without having to paint it on. Here are my two attempts. Mini-Me is seeing stars...and G, below,

Well, I wanted something that looked boyish.

While I was painting on Mini-Me, Mini-E got up from napping and wanted to have some fun, too. I painted on her foot (above). It looks so cute...she had to stand on a tip toe to see what it looked like.

Then J-man got up from his nap

I wanted to erase this and start over - maybe a lightening bolt, instead?? But He wanted to het his face painted. And sat so very still.

Today we had to go to Wal-mart - I needed a certain sponge. We didn't find sponges at wal-mart so we headed for Hobby Lobby. J-man Said "Hobby Lobby"!!!! Where we found sponges AND GLORY!! Paintbrushes on sale for HALF-OFF!!

I had just mentioned to The Professor that my crafty paint brushes were pretty much junk now and needed to be replaced!! HALF-OFF!!! I bought three packs of different brushes with acrylic handles!! LOVE THEM!! I'm so giddy about it - I almost want to paint something other than children!

If you give a kid a....

Actually - it's more of a "if she gets her hands on" - but this is more rhymey.
If you give a kid a Nintendo DS and she throws it in the toilet..
She'll want to play with a camera.
If she plays with a camera then she'll want to cell phone, too.
If she plays with the camera and the cell phone then she'll throw them behind the bed.
If she throws them behind the bed she'll forget all about them and then she'll want to play with your MP3 Player.
If she plays with your MP3 player you'll think it's cute and adorable as she talks to it - like a phone. If you think it's cute and adorable (and it is) then she'll continue to push buttons until she erases everything from Memory.
If you give a kid an MP3 player - you'll be glad that it doesn't have a "Format disk" option - and you'll have to reload everything.
If you give a kid anything else, you really deserve what you get,
And you'll probably need a cookie.
And if you give a mom a cookie, she'll want a Diet Coke (Or a Frappacino) to go with it.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Electronic Hide and seek


I was all ready to journal about Stanley's visit to our house and couldn't find the camera. I had taken a picture yesterday of Mini-Me and Stanley reading together...


Oh - wanna see?

After taking this picture, I put the camera down and went about my business and to wait for a photo chance with G-man.

This morning, Stanley was ready to check out our day but the camera was no where to be seen. We cleaned the front room because today was the day for it - no camera. We checked the kitchen counters and under the mail - still no camera. We checked the computer tables - found some dust, but no camera. After cleaning the front room we found oodles of pencils, though.

Oh! I know! Maybe the Professor has the camera with him at his training day. I'll get the cell phone and text him, just in case he's in the middle of an important lesson. He's handling the GPS training today.

I can't find the cell phone. .

I remember calling the Professor on our way home from church last night. I remember taking it off of Vibrate. I remember taking it out of my pocket and putting in on my dresser - so it wouldn't inadvertantly get washed in the laundry.

Maybe I'd made it all up. So I did the obvious thing. I called the cell phone from the house phone. Nothing. Maybe I hadn't taken it off of vibrate after all. I sent Mini-Me out to the van to look and to get the mail. She came back with the mail and no cell phone.

I'm getting frustrated. I called it again - and could hear it vibrate. Aha! It was near by. I could tell. Because of the vibrations I could also tell it was near something wooden. I had the kids turn on their listening ears and we would follow the vibes.

That was a good idea until they started hollering "I can hear it!! I can Hear it!!" Rats. Foiled again. I hollered "SHHHHH" and called the phone again. I'm in Mini-Me's room now. I don't remember being in there with my cell phone.

I call it one more time, This time I hear music! I didn't leave it on vibrate!! I get a "lock" on the direction of the sound - and I go in.... This is Mini-E's bed.

The one Mini-Me was jumping onto when she hurt her elbow and then her lip. (I can not figure out how to get the sheets to stay put, as they are too big.) Half of it is under the top bunk, the other half isn't. The kids call this the "Cave". The music and vibes are not in Mini-Me's bunk - they're coming from the Cave!

Behind the head board, on the floor, I found my blinking cell phone AND right next to it - my missing camera.

I'm not losing my mind, I'm just losing my stuff.

I pulled the bed away and retrieved my things, and put the bed back. I was tempted to leave it pulled out - you know - just in case.

At least it wasn't the toilet.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Look Who came to visit...


Unfortunately, he didn't arrive soon enough to go to the pediatrician with us - but hopefully he'll be around for a few days. I can't exactly get the code to work for my side bar. However, I've got Stanley hyper-linked above.
Stay tuned for updates about Stanley's visit.
Maybe he'll be here long enough to see Mini-Me's cast come off.

Monday, August 13, 2007

I'll have what he's having...a journal ramble

A "That Could Preach" moment
---==+==---
The Miracle of an Obedient Heart at the I-35 Bridge
by BCN Exclusive by Aimee Herd : Aug 10, 2007 : Breaking Christian News (Exclusive)

"People were going around me—about 20 feet away from the bridge. That's when it snapped—[the bridge] broke down and crashed. I saw 2 cars go off the bridge, and I was like...'wow!'"

EDITOR'S NOTE: The following is a very special account of a miracle that happened the day of the recent bridge disaster in Minnesota. This is the testimony of a young man named Matthew who is not a stranger to the voice of God. The part of his story that I found most remarkable was the fact that his obedience to God ended up saving the lives of many others, who otherwise could've just ended up another statistic in this tragedy.

Matthew's account made me wonder: do we ever stop to think of the lives that are affected by our obedience to the Lord? Not just our own—though we know the Bible says blessing comes with obedience to God—but also the lives of those around us. Every one of us is affected by another's actions...but can we actually save lives (even unknowingly) just by doing what we know God has asked us to do? Read on...and you'll see a perfect example of this kind of obedience to the Lord. –Aimee Herd, BCN.

(Brooklyn Park, Minnesota)—Wednesday, August 1st, seemed to be a day like any other in the St. Paul, Minneapolis area. But at 6:05pm—in the midst of rush hour traffic—the busy Interstate Bridge that joined I-35 with the city of Minneapolis suddenly broke apart and fell into the Mississippi River.

There have been many accounts already, which have pointed to the grace and protection of God in the midst of such tragedy.... Due to the construction on the bridge, the traffic was not at the normally full flow, or speed. There was a train riding underneath the bridge at the time, which may have stopped some of the collapse. And then the school bus, filled with 50 children that rode the concrete on the way down during the collapse, and didn't tip over—all the children were saved.

And then there is Matthew's testimony of God's protection. What happened to Matthew (last name withheld) on the day of the bridge collapse is nothing short of miraculous and amazing!
After being contacted by one of Matthew's family members, to inform me of his story, I later spoke with Matthew directly. First I asked him go back to that moment, before the bridge collapsed, and explain everything that happened next.

"I was coming home to take a shower, and then pick up my friend across the I 35 W. bridge," Matthew recalled. "I was headed into the city [of Minneapolis], it was bumper-to-bumper."

"I was praying and talking to the Lord, and the next minute the Lord gave me this vision. In the vision [the bridge was] shaking—it started to snap and broke through. I saw two cars go off the edge into the Mississippi. Then, [after the vision] I said, 'What is that all about Lord? You need to talk to me.'"

"God told me to 'STOP!'" (I was 100 feet away from the bridge)

"He said, 'You need to stop right there.' I said, 'Lord, there are cars behind me,' (There were about 100 people in the line of traffic behind him, and many had begun honking their horns at him). But God said, 'That's okay, you need to stop.' So I stopped. And then the Lord said, 'Look.'"

"People were going around me—about 20 feet away from the bridge. That's when it snapped—[the bridge] broke down and crashed. I saw 2 cars go off the bridge, and I was like...'wow!'"

"At first I was sitting in the car waiting, thanking the Lord, because it could've been me on that bridge. Then people came up to me and said, 'Thank you.'"

"I got out and looked from the side [at the collapse]...it was traumatic seeing what happened. And then the police told me to go back in my car and turn around."

I asked Matthew what he was thinking at the moment he saw the bridge begin to break...

"I was realizing that the Lord is awakening [His people] and saying, 'Listen to Me, you need to listen to Me.' I realized that if I [hadn't] listened to Him, I would've gotten on that bridge and took a ride."

"After that I called my friend and told him I couldn't pick him up because the bridge broke through. Then I went to the Holy Spirit conference [that was happening nearby] and worshipped the Lord!"

I then asked Matthew, "As you look back at what God spared you from that day, and at what happened with the bridge, what immediately comes to mind?"

"When I look back," said Matthew, "I realize the Lord has a calling [for me], and He's preparing me to be obedient and ready, and to know it is 'time to roll'...and to know who Jesus is."
----+---
You know what?
I want what he's got.
I want to hear the voice of God. To be obedient...
To be ready to roll.
To be so intuned with God - that I never have to question that it's His voice I hear.
There was a time, not so long ago, that I would be afraid people would think me crazy for being radical. I wouldn't have claimed "Jesus Freak" as a title. I couldn't because I knew my own heart.
I'm not perfect, by any stretch of the imagination.
I still battle my flesh.
I have to be on guard against apathy.
But I love my Jesus. I fully claim the Title of a Jesus Freak radical because I know where I was...and I know in Whom I believe.
I want to be like Matthew - Ready to roll. or to stop. At a moment's notice.

The first day of school....

Was a complete fizzle.

The good news - We took Mini-E into the ear, nose and throat doctor. Fully expecting him to set up a time for us to have a 2nd set of tubes put in her ears. He said they were fine.

He's doubting, just a bit, the diagnosis of our pediatrician.
I'm not. Because I'm here with the kid all the day - and all the night if the Professor doesn't get roused first. (he's nicer than I am in the middle of the night) I prayed over her last night. I prayed specifically and a bit desperately.

So I'm praising. It's okay if I don't know if God worked or not - I'm just happy that we don't have to have tubes.

--- I had scheduled the appointment early in the day so that we could come home and do school work - but we got home and we really needed to clean our rooms. So we did.

And then I realized that I hadn't prepared ANYTHING for school work - due to rocking in the chair with Mini-E. So our first day of school work fizzled.

Tomorrow will be different.
Mainly because it's, well, Tuesday.
(That was very punny of me, if I do say so myself.)
Tomorrows are always different.

Oh - Tonight. Mini-Me tried to hop onto the bed. You have to understand that it's low to the ground. And she missed (She takes after me) and her face plowed into the foot board. Well...that's over dramatizing things. Her cheek and footboard collided.

The footboard won. She looks like she's been punched. I even told her so - and she asked me later, "So this is what it feels like to be punched in the face?"

"Pretty much, yeah."

"well, it hurts."
My Poor baby. I just sat with her for 30 minutes.
I just felt for her.

I guess lessons weren't a total loss.
Mini-Me learned about bruises & gravity.

Tomorrow is Tuesday.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

HomeSchool Curriculum

Friday's topic for Back to HomeSchool week is Curriculum.

What curriculum do you use? Where do you buy it? Have you found a "gem" that you must share with others? Was something in particular a complete failure for you and your kids?

Oh, a chance to get link happy!!

I was surprised to find that we are embarking into our 4th year of homeschooling. But still, in curriculum years that's not very long. Our first two years with Mini-Me, we did ABeka Academy. While it had its good points, it was very rigid. It worked well for us, but with a new baby brother in the house we quickly fell behind. Catching up was not easy. Bible memory was fast and furious and I don't think she remembers much of it any more.

Our 3rd year we opted to not do the academy, and use just ABeka Book supplies. They use the same books, they are just two different entities.

This year we are using the following:

Mini-Me:

ABeka Language, Writing Skills (though I don't know how hard we will hit this book), Arithmatic 3, and a smattering of spanish that I've picked up here.

For G:

ABeka Phonics 1, Language 1, Arithmatic 1, and Writing 1 (manuscript).

For both we'll us Adventures in My Father's World. It has History, Science and Bible lessons integrated into small, doable lessons. With this curriculum came the art program, I Can Do all Things. I have one book that says I can make copies for both the kids (as it is a consumable text).

I had also purchased reading books from Sonlight. Without getting up to look through my receipts I can't tell you which package I purchased. I really only wanted the reading books as the books seemed to go along with Adventures.

Last year, I bought KONOS. While it is a great product, it just didn't work for my family. For some reason, every time I looked at it to sit down and plan things out, I couldn't. I became convinced that it just wasn't going to work for my family at this time. Especially considering we could only do certain parts of our school work. So to me, it seemed like I was just doing the hard stuff and none of the fun stuff. When, in reality, I was getting the basics done. And that was just fine.

That falls into the category of I wish I'd known... that it is okay to just do reading, writing and 'rithmatic. Easy on the writing. :-) Even though I've got the Writing curriculum from ABeka, if it's painful for us, I'll move on to something else. Something like copy work. Mini-Me really liked copying poems from a little book that we absolutely loved. Oh, and this year, she has her very own pen-pal. I hope that will help her writing skills, too. She is beside herself with excitment.

That is our curriculum in a nutshell. I still get curriculum envy when I look about because not everthing I have is perfect. So we'll keep what works, and toss out what doesn't. (I guarantee we won't be doing all of the "seatwork" prescribed by ABeka.)

I can't wait to see what curriculum others are using.

We interrupt our program....

To bring you the results of a very valuable and weighty experiment.

Nintendo DS Lites do not float.
I repeat:
They. Do. NOT. Float.
The "lite" is not referencing their weight.
Also, Having an absence of color (being white) does not make the lighter. (pun intended)

This news flash was brought to you by Mini-E. Where her current mission in life is to see what floats in the toilet. Her previous experience has been paper cups and socks.

Thank you.
I now return you to your regularly scheduled blogging.

Why she couldn't have picked on my mp3 player, I'll never know.
I have a replacement policy on it...at least for a year.

If only I'd known..

Today's Back to Homeschool Week topic is:

If I had only known...What have you learned on your homeschooling journey? What would you/did you change? This is an opportunity to encourage others who are just starting out or who are struggling with issues that seem unsolvable. It is also a perfect opportunity to tell us about one of those days made you want to throw in the towel. A funny story? Perfect!
If only I had known....

When we started schooling at home, we had a baby. If I had known how hard that was going to be I would have planned differently. At least I would have thought differently - so as it turns out - If only I had known not to be too hard on myself.

One thing I did know - it's okay not to get it all done in a day. Ironically, that's also the one thing I kept forgetting.
If only I had guarded my mind against comparing myself with other people who "Did more" or "did neater stuff" or "had it together" with their school work. Those that were doing more or neater stuff often did not have wee ones - and if they did, they were saints.
So now when I find myself longing for the neater or the more that someone else is doing - I look to see where they are in life? Do they have 1 child? 2 children? how old? I have to be careful not to feel like the babies are holding back our learning.
A very wise mom told me that they will, indeed, make it up. If they have a hole in their school one year, they'll make it up in another. It's just the way it works.
Another mom told me that she finally figured out that the kids could learn ANYWHERE. Learning wasn't relegated to a desk and chair. We took that wholly to heart. We started out in the kitchen. Last year - we moved to the couch. I love clip boards. I love my Giant White board - but now I've added baby white boards to our supplies. And Baby white board markers. It's a happy white board family.
Here's Mini-Me, with her knees in the knee-hole of the computer desk. Her paper work on the chair. Learning can happen anywhere.
Here's G. Reading a book. I said Reading. But he's facing the couch the wrong way:
There is much freedom in not trying to do school at home...but, instead, to learn at home. Two completely different outlooks.

Each year is different. Each child is different each year.
I expected my kids to absolutely love their teacher - they do, but not all the time.
I expected them to love school because I was their teacher - they don't.
I wish I'd known to be careful of my expectations.
I wish I'd known how much of a beating my emotions would take - so I could be on my guard.
I wish I'd known that I really wouldn't want to give it up - even when, in the darkest moments, I felt like I wanted to.
I wish I'd known how much fun it was going to be to see ideas click in the brains of my children. I wish I'd known how much joy I would feel at seeing them learn and grow.
I wish I'd known what mush my heart would be at watching them bond with each other....at watching them give their hearts to Jesus...at watching them watch the world.
I wish I'd known just how closely they were going to be watching me.
Or how funny it was going to be to see math paper work being handed to me under the bathroom door.
I wish I knew what next year was going to hold, because that would make my life so much easier.
But - it's not all about me. (I wish I could remember that) It's just too forkin' sad, as far as I'm concerned.
As we plan on starting our school year - and I wish I knew what was coming my way and I don't - it's going to be an adventure!
That much I do know.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Going out...

The Back to Homeschool Week Topic of the day is:


Extra-curricular activities, community involvement, volunteering, sports teams, music lessons, making sure your kids have opportunities to be social, co-ops, etc...

~ or ~How do we get out there?

This area is the most difficult for the Denim family. The Professor tends to shut all the doors and keep eveyone inside. I think it's his way of crowd control.
I want the kids to be involved in activities with other kids who homeschool - so they won't think they are the only ones. Right now, Mini-Me knows more about blogging than she does some other things. I'm not worried about socialization...as the world calls it. My kids socialize with people of all ages just in our family. I just want them to know that others homeschool, too. I'd love for them to make Godly friends.
Just last year we found a homeschool group. We were able to attend, I believe, 2 functions. It was not the best of years. I wasn't in a hurry to find a group with the big kids were younger because they were, well, younger. I'm hoping that this next year will be better and we'll get out there and meet more friends.
Hmmm....Now that I think on it - this is probably the one topic I shouldn't write about.
You see, Last year we had a lot of sickness - with a virus going through, ear infections, 2 ear-tube surgeries and the like...
So among all the doctor's visits, grocery shopping, errand running and the like, we've had over the last year alone - it seems really hard to schedule in an extra-curricular activity. So I got to thinking about it - how DO we get social interaction?? (Mostly, how do my kids learn to behave around others?)
We live in a very small community. That's pretty much a commuter community to a bigger city. People live here and drive there. The nice thing is that we live close enough to the library to walk - except that it doesn't open until noon. Wait. I digress... sorry.
After reading part of the book by Scott Turansky, I've been working on teaching the kids about honoring others. So that's been part of our training at the store. J-man is still getting away with much of his immaturity because he's 3.5, but the older kids don't get the option. The kids have learned talk to people while standing in the aisle at Wal-mart. Last week, we were stopped by a grandpa who was expecting a new great-grandaughter from Guatamala. He was proud of us for homeschooling. It made my day.
Mini-Me has discovered a great way to learn to interact with others - get a cast put on your arm. She told me at church that "at least 20 people have asked me 'what happened?'"
We had a great time at the pool this summer. Both mini-Me & G were able to meet some other kids and have fun. It was fantastic to watch. Mini-Me even had the guts to ask the lifeguards for a lifejacket. That is what I want! I want them to be self-reliant when the need arises!
We get most of our social outings at church. The previous years we were HIGHLY involved - which also led me to limit our involvment in other things. We don't seem to be as highly involved this year, in daytime events. So maybe it's a good year to branch out.
What we will be learning: How to find the right violin and guitar teacher. Mini-Me wants to learn how to play the violin. The Professor has been rather busy and hasn't consistently taught her. And G wants to play the guitar. It would be good to find teachers in one location to save on the drive. And I read about a family that would require the teacher to come to their house - which would be a brilliant idea. Except that most teachers from "There" probably won't come "here". How do families in rural areas handle this situation? (I guess we could do school work in the van. Isn't that what clipboards are for?)
While it bothers me a bit that the kids don't have more friends, I have realized that being home can be used to our advantage. I just need to keep my eyes open for those moments that we can use. It really only bothers me slightly, because I know my kids are set apart. They are to be in the world but not of it. It's a hard balance to achieve.
So if I'm uninspiring, go see what others have written at I have to Say - Randi's got an entire linky list just ready to be clicked on.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Leaving on a jet plane...

Or maybe a train...
or Bus...
Or a Car??

This sounds like the book "Go Dogs Go" instead of a song from Peter, Paul & Mary.

But that's what we've been pondering lately. How to get from Here to There.
The "There" being 2600 miles away (round trip) to visit The Professor's family. *Sigh*

Airplane:
Tickets for a family of 6. PAINFUL. *MEDIC*
Travel time - less than 5 hours. Only perk to the thought.
Airport hassles just add to the pain of the ticket price.

What if we took the Train?
We would be spending 36 hours sitting in "Coach".
6 of us.
sitting.
36 hours.
*gag*
What if we got a bedroom?? The train has 1 family bedroom. So we'd have to get another bedroom.
It costs as much to ride the train as it would to fly.
36 hours Definitely not worth.

What if we took the bus?
Time of roughly - 1 day 4 hours.
No power outlets for must have Gameboys.
No guarantees of when we would stop for the kids to run around.
Headphones a must - indicating to us that they would like the bus ride to be quiet.
Excuse me?
The cost is right (compared to the other means of travel) - but we can't guarantee that we would have a seat on the bus. It says so on the website.

What if we drove?
Roughly 18 hours straight through.
While it doesn't sound pretty - actually it might be pretty painful - this is what we'll probably be doing in a few months. We'd at least be able to pack what we wanted to pack and they kids could make noise if they want to make noise (and they will).

I'll be doing some purchasing of items for the trip, I'm sure. DVD's and 1 or 2 Gameboy games. As I told the Professor, I can make anything work. :-) Mini-Me might be getting a portable DVD player for her birthday. And we could get some of those seat back organizers. And disposable cameras for the kids.

It could work.
It will work.
I'm just not sure how pretty it's going to be.

HOW??

The official question of the day - Tuesday - from Randi's back to Homeschool week is:

Tuesday, August 7---How do you homeschool?Scheduling, classical education, unschooling, getting the kids to help with chores, how to be "mom" and "teacher" at the same time, special needs, teaching an advanced child, how to teach the tough subjects, teaching high school, teaching with babies and preschoolers in the house, budgeting for homeschool supplies, notebooking, etc., etc., etc...



I read the question. I re-read the question. I Thought about it and I've decided something.


I don't know what I'm doing.


I was shocked to realize that this is going to be our 4th year to homeschool. I've been around some homeschool moms who appear to have it all together - I'm not one of them. I've never been one of them. About the only thing I have together is knowing who I am in Jesus.


Well.. and my kids names. Most of the time I even get their names straight.


Don't get me wrong - knowing who I am in Jesus solves a lot of problems. Especially when you're sitting next to a "perfect" homeschool mom.


I can not answer the "How Now" without tell you about the "When Then".


When we first started homeschooling, the Professor wanted us to be under the umbrella of a certified school. Okay. While this wasn't what I originally wanted to do, I started looking around. We opted for the ABeka Academy. Mini-Me was starting Kindergarten after 2 years at a Christian school while I attended a local Bible "college".

Their program was full of the basics: reading, math, writing (cursive). They had the lessons listed by the 6 weeks. Memory verses. Tests. It was school at home. Which wasn't bad for the first time out. The thing that got us was the fact that J-man was new at the time. G wasn't in school at all. And then someone got sick.

By the end of the year we hurried to get things done. We did First grade with Mini-Me in ABeka Academy, but knew that G would not be able to do the cursive writing they required through the academy. So we waited to put him into the academy. We got him books and we did as much as we could. We got through half of the phonics program and he just couldn't grasp the concepts. He couldn't get his brain around them. So we called an end to the school year knowing we'd do our official year of Kindergarten the next year.

Again - we had time of sickness.

In Mini-Me's 2nd grade year and G's official Kindergarten year, we decided not to go with ABeka Academy. We had a series of illnesses this year which put us behind. So we did some school work through the summer. Oddly, while I'm bummed about it, I'm not stressed. We'll keep trucking along.

So that's my long story of the "Then When".

So now - to answer the question - How do we homeschool?

We have a pretty laid back style. I try to make sure we cover the basic 3.

Our curriculum this year looks like this: ABeka for Phonics (for G), Language (for Mini-Me), Math & some writing. (I've learned that designated writing pages every day is a complete drag. Mini-Me really enjoyed copy work. so While I have the penmanship book, we'll be using it just as a guide. )

We'll be using Adventures in My Father's World from My Father's World for History, Bible and Science. I'm rather excited about this. I'll be modifying it for G as it requires writing. We did some over the summer, but with swim lessons and this and that - we never really got as far as I wanted to get.


What I'm going to try to do this year is to schedule the generics of our day because Mini-Me likes to know what to expect. Here's an example. What I do know is that interruptions are really hard to overcome...even with a laid back teaching mom - because you lose the kids attention. I think I'll probably be more stingy with our time. I'll have to keep myself off the computer unless it's necessary. We'll have speech therapy this year to contend with once a week.

For chores, I'm using Choreganizers. Mini-Me & G both have chore charts but J-man does not yet. He likes to help with unloading the utensils from the dishwasher and he can help pick up. His favorite thing to do is make messes.

Oddly enough, it's Mini-E's favorite thing to do, too. Which leads me to homeschooling with preschoolers.

I'll be utilizing much play-doh this year for J-man and I'll be looking to invest in some more pre-school computer software. I have not mastered the ability to teach the two big kids and handle the two younger ones to optimal levels. My J-man is pretty high maintenance. He likes attention. Really, Who doesn't?

Mini-E last year was quite young. This year she'll be 1.5 when we start school, she's already got an ear infection, and she's my social butterfly.

What worked best in the Laundry Pile last school year was for me to teach one big kid and have the other big kid play with J-man. I would try to get him interested in something else, and teach the other big kid. It may not have been optimal, but it worked for us.

With their combined school work, this won't work again this year. I'm still trying to find my groove in teaching 2 grades at once. Hopefully I can find it before I have to teach 3 grades. I have about 2 years.

My weakest area, I think, is introducing other ways to brighten the school day - like lapbooks or unit studies. I realize much of what I see as a weak area is probably due to the fact that I've had babies the last two school years. It will get easier as time goes on.

That's how it's done in the Laundry Pile.
Homeschooling isn't just about teaching the kids, that's for certain. I have to learn as I go. What works and what doesn't. It's been an interesting year - I wonder what this year holds for us.

One thing about it - it's never dull.

You can lead a mom to Homeschool...

...but you can't make her drink.

Or something like that. I know I've joked often enough about wanting a stiff drink even though I can't stand the stuff. So the question of the day - on Monday - was: "What led to your decision to homeschool?"

I didn't read a lot about homechooling. I didn't research the status of public schools.
Well - I guess in a way, I did.
I was homeschooled as a child.
In the dark ages before it was widely popular (except in really rural areas, of course). I remember being told to be cautious as to who we told about our homeschooling. We finally did have a smallish homeschool group when I was older. I think there were more homeschoolers in a neighboring (and larger) county, but driving was not an option. It was an hour away.

My first year to homeschool was my fifth grade year. My younger brother was going into his 3rd grade year and my baby brother has never been to a public school.

As I grew up, I just knew I was going to homeschool my kids. Looking back now, I can't say that it was taught to me - though it probably was - it was just in me to homeschool. Which I'm identifying now as a call from God...because even though I might want to send the kids to school on those "Days of the Overwhelm" I just can't.

When The Professor and I were talking about marriage we talked about kids and how many and we talked about homeschooling. I told him I wanted to homeschool and he was in agreement. If I remember correctly, his thinking was a little different than mine, though. He said that he didn't want to come home to "yo.pop." in the gangsta tone of voice.

I was pretty confident I could do this - after all, I was homeschooled.
I'm going into my 4th year *gasp* of homeschool and I laugh at that pre-homeschool confidence.
It was a rocky 3rd year and quite possibly could have been my last - had it not been for my "final answer".

Really, my final answer to why I homeschool is that God called me to it. He won't let me quit.
The academic reasons, the spiritual reasons, the personal reasons are all butter on the bread to me.

I'm so terribly glad I answered this question. I guess I needed to sit down and think about it...because I feel it in my spirit. Quitting is not an option. Did I read that in a book somewhere?

I can't wait to read what others have written.

Hmm. How 'bout that? My spell-checker doesn't like the word "homeschool". I'll try not to take it personally. (Insert gales of laughter here)

Bleach Free blessings!

Back To *home*School Week


Randi at I have to Say is hosting a Back to Homeschool Week. Here are her questions, I thought they were very good questions, too.


Monday, August 6---What led to your decision to homeschool? Why do you do what you do? What brought you to homeschooling? What factors played a part in your decision?


Tuesday, August 7---How do you homeschool?Scheduling, classical education, unschooling, getting the kids to help with chores, how to be "mom" and "teacher" at the same time, special needs, teaching an advanced child, how to teach the tough subjects, teaching high school, teaching with babies and preschoolers in the house, budgeting for homeschool supplies, notebooking, etc., etc., etc...


Wednesday, August 8---Getting out there...Extra-curricular activities, community involvement, volunteering, sports teams, music lessons, making sure your kids have opportunities to be social, co-ops, etc., etc., etc...


Thursday, August 9---If I had only known...What have you learned on your homeschooling journey? What would you/did you change? This is an opportunity to encourage others who are just starting out or who are struggling with issues that seem unsolvable. It is also a perfect opportunity to tell us about one of those days made you want to throw in the towel. A funny story? Perfect!


Friday, August 10---CurriculumWhat curriculum do you use? Where do you buy it? Have you found a "gem" that you must share with others? Was something in particular a complete failure for you and your kids?


I, you know totally being me, am already a day behind. Mondays do that to me. I shall play catch up - because I want to. And because I've decided that school starts on Monday. :-)


If you want to play or have wisdom, insight or stories to tell Come along!!
Visit Randi and copy the questions. The more - The merrier!

Happy Back to Homeschool Week!

Thursday, August 2, 2007

All Star Cast

Well... it's official.
The orthopedic office took two x-rays.
The Orthopedic doctor who came in talked to Mini-Me. Asked where it hurt, what happened, felt around. Compared arms. Felt fingers.
Looked at the x-ray.
He said something akin to: We expect to see some lines in the bones. But that one's not supposed to be there.
The only thing I can figure is that maybe it was going "against the grain", so to speak.
The fracture is right above the elbow joint.
When he mentioned "cast", Mini-Me immediately got bummed and fought out right tears. So we asked the doctor to explain why. He said the cast would protect the bone and prevent it from breaking. If the fracture turned into a break, it would require surgery.
After that, Mini-Me chose the path of positive thinking.
As we waited for a "casting table" she said "At least it's not surgery."
They got us in very quickly.
Cam, the "cast technician", was very sweet and had a good personality. He explained all he wanted to do. I held onto Mini-Me's fingers - and she thought her arm would be in a constant upright position. We told her that she would still be able to bend it at the shoulder.
When the fiber-glass "cast" was bonding, Cam told us that it could get hot. When it does, her fingers might have extra blood flow and get darker in color than the other.
Mini-Me said, "awww." And I think asked "Does that mean I'm going to have a bloody hand?"
That tickled Cam as he'd never heard that question before.
That's because he'd never met Mini-Me before.
At least it's not surgery.
And it's Pink.
Very Pink.

****see note at bottom****

And she can swim in it. The very nice lady who checked us in signed the cast first.
Giving Mini-Me a heart.

We decided a consolation prize for the cast would be a new Game-boy game.

I'll have to make good on that later today.

We can go swimming - no water slide - though he advised us not to let her swim over her head. The cast could get heavy in the water. We'll have to give it a shot - and see if it's worth it for her. The water slide and diving boards were her favorite things. I'm not sure she'll like just "water". Maybe a floatie? We'll have to wait and see.

We go back in a week for a follow up x-ray. We'll have the cast on for 3 weeks.
And it's NOT surgery!!

I wrote right over her elbow: "Healed in Jesus Name"

Even with a cast, we know that God is taking care of her. Last night we went to church. Mini-Me and G were in a scooter race. The type of scooter that you sit on. They were to ride back ward, pushing with their feet. Mini-me was in a scooter/chair collision and bonked her elbow. She also told us that at one time she fell over, landing on her arm.

God was definitely watching over her. Otherwise, we would have ended up at the ER.

Now we know - and it doesn't require surgery.


*Photos removed because they're some how being googled. and it bugs me*

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Slinging her arm around...

When she's not elevating and icing her elbow, the girl just slings her arm around like nobody's business. She got a little bummed this morning when she couldn't figure out the system for getting her shirt on without straigtening her elbow...but we figured it out and she's good to go.

We went to Wal-Mart to buy some games to help break the monotony because she's not convinced she can color. And my offers of school work are met with scowls. So we are now the proud owners of Uno and Connect Four.

I think I'm going to have to visit Callapidder Days for Katrina's Game Reviews. We like games around here, really. We're just learning and growing. Sometimes I expect my kids to be further along than they are...gotta watch that.

It's funny, G is really good a memory type games. Mini-Me is good at logic games. She can beat me at checkers if she really puts her mind to it. However, she really doesn't like to loose.

How I got from Arm slinging to gaming, I'm not entirely sure.