Sunday, October 31, 2010

I figured something out...

OKay. Homeschooling is not for the faint of heart.
It's just not. 

That said -- Public school is also not for the faint of heart. (There. Equal billing.) 

It's just different stuff.

The difference between Public school and Homeschool - at least in THIS blog post is this:

I can start over.


I can start over. 

Public school has a set amount of days. Set curriculum. Set ...'s set.

I don't have anything set. Except that we're supposed to be doing school.  and on the days we only do 'half days' - the subjects for those days are "Grammar" and "Math". 

We started our school year way back at the end of August. It was a dismal start of the year.
Stress the Mal because, Mal means bad. .... 


Nary a one of us wanted to start the school year, except the Professor. And his theory really was, "Ya gotta start sometime." 

Except he used proper grammar and I think I've got this cowboy thing going for me here....pardner.

I figured out this weekend, that I have the blessing of starting over. 
I don't need to start over in books, I like the books we're using.
What I can start over with is in our attitude and approach. 

Of course, I'm writing this now at 11:42pm on a Sunday night. Tomorrow morning at 7am, my attitude and approach may be to bury my head under my pillows. The kids will hope that I do - because if I sleep late, they play. If they play nicely and quietly together - I sleep. See how it works?? 

Of course, I wouldn't sleep past seven if I weren't such a night owl. It's when I get my best writing done, though. And I don't mind them playing in the morning. We work later in the afternoons. 

The thrill of knowing we can start over in attitude and approach excites me so much that I might just do a jig. 

It's not much of an epiphany -- but In truth it might be. 
How many times have I gotten bogged down...and just needed the freedom to start over? 

That's might impressive if I do say so, myself.
I've gone and blessed myself.

It's helped remind me in a fresh way just how new HIS mercies are every morning. 
Mighty excitin', let me tell ya.

I love how my mind works...

....Except when I don't.

...Or it doesn't. 
Work, that is.
I was having a face to face discussion with Bubbles, aka Mini-E. She's not quite so Mini any longer. She's going to be 5.



4 + 1 

6 - 1

Five. Five. Five.

Hold up your hand with all fingers and thumb sticking out -- that many.


Watching her eyes twinkle and her face light up as she smiles, I reveled in her nearly five-ness. It was with a bit of a stun that I realized she'd gone through her 4 1/2 phase of life. Or at least she's passing it. 

I didn't notice it because she's always been my challenge of a child.
Today, I'm fairly certain she stuck her tongue out at me...though i couldn't be ABSOLUTELY certain. It was that faintest hint of doubt that saved her from a smack on the bum. That and I was in a really awesome story arc of a story no one will read.

If I had been absolutely certain, I'd have dropped the arc and gone for the swat. Promise.

She's just that kind of girl.
World Changer. Future leader. Future rabble-rouser. I don't know...but it's going to be awesome.

Miss Awesome-world-changing-rabble-rouser is going to be five in February. 

I got teary eyed. 

Then I stopped to analyze WHY I was teary eyed and choked up. ("Seriously. There could be tears.") (Firefly reference FTW!!!!) 

Yes, I stopped my sweet moment with my nearly five year old to analyze. 

I've never been one to rue the passing of time. I do not get maudlin when the age passes. I do NOT miss the baby stage. I enjoyed it. I enjoyed the walking and the falling down. I enjoyed the toothless laughter. I enjoyed the discoveries that they made.

But I will not miss it. 

I celebrate the milestones. Each and everyone. That's why I don't look back and get yearny. I'm thrilled that she's turning five. (In four months -give or take a few days - I know. I did the math.) But still...I celebrate that she's going to be five.

That is what brought me to tears. That's what choked me up. I know it is. I'm okay with that. 

All gooey in fact.

Of course, it might have been the fact that she survived to tell the tale.


So here's to milestones!!!

(here's to surviving the hardest child I've ever had to train!!!) (HUZZAH!!!)
(we're not done yet, either.) (...)

Friday, October 22, 2010

Did you hear?

Oklahoma had an earthquake.

Oh, yes. We're so proud. Our very own earthquake.

The local news media even got their computer people busy.

 Are you impressed??
Seriously, these guys have mad photo layering skills or something - no sooner (snicker...)(OK *is* the sooner state) ... No sooner had we figured out that we'd had our very own earthquake - they had this out and running.

I guess it helped to have an earthquake last year...but that was really quite localized. 

My neighbor called me and said, "This is going to sound crazy - but I think we just had an earthquake."

OH!!! "Well, that makes sense. The bed just shook like the cat was jumping on the end- but there was no cat."

She was properly freaked. I was just amused.
The more she freaked - I actually got annoyed at her.
Sheesh.  She was messing with my amusement. 

I called the Professor, "Hey. I think we just had an earthquake."

"We did."


Of course, the hubbub about it lasted longer than the actual earthquake.

Some people have gotten a lot of fun out of the entire deal. There's a facebook group wanting answers for the 'mysterious earthquake'. Before the day was up there were TWO groups saying "I survived the Oklahoma Earthquake"

Then there's my favorite:

After reading that someone had purchased Earthquake insurance and remembering my freaked out neighbor, this picture just makes me laugh.

Of course, we don't have the earthquakes that California has. 
It wasn't a quake on the New Madrid fault (That will be a big freakin' mess)...
And I didn't have to sit in my bathroom for an hour waiting on the tornado to pass over head....

So I'm allowed to be amused.

Thursday, October 21, 2010


Do you suppose Cain and Able squabbled BEFORE that fateful day when Cain bashed Able over the head?? 

Oh... I love the part in that story where the God of all creation...the God who SEES EVERYTHING asked Cain, "Where's your brother?"

And Cain said.... like an idiot... "I'm supposed to keep up with him??" 

He HAD to know that God sees all...knows all. I mean.. Cain's DAD walked with God on a person to person -out for a stroll kind thing. Of all people... you'd think Cain would know not to trick God. 
Oh, well. That's not what I wanted to write about.

Today we hit a milestone in our schooling.

Besides the fact that we actually DID school... J-man and Bubbles know their vowels. It's been a long haul to get there. 

Our speech therapist has been wonderful explaining that J-man's hearing issues really did delay other areas of his life. I've felt like a failure for not teaching him the way the others could learn.

In fact, I prayed, actually prayed that Bubbles wouldn't learn to read before he did because J-man desperately wants to read. His brain just hasn't been processing things well.

However, the kid is rolling in math. He's acing and pushing. I may have him in first grade before the year is up. Phonics though -- So today was an encouragement to Me.

And to Him.

I teach J-man and Bubbles at the same time when we do phonics. 

And I can't. Or at least there can be no sense of competition in what we do.

There is literally too much "I'm smarter than you." going on. 
No matter how much I explain that this is a wrong outlook - the competitiveness is still rampant. 

Even to the point that the seven year old told the ten year old "I'm superduper smart and you're just a little bit smart".


THIS IS NOT in ANY of the Homeschool how-to books. NONE.
Not that I've read them all .... but i can guarantee you it's not.

There is a lot of "It's my turn"...and..."No! It's my turn!!"
I'm trying to take it all in stride...but sometimes it's not easy. 

All the competition really boils down to the fact that I've got four leaders in my house. 
Four world changers.....

...and, as someone pointed out, they're learning how to deal with the world through their interactions with their siblings.


Look out world....

Sunday, October 17, 2010


I had this song in my heart when I woke up this morning...

The line that kept repeating was "I am captivated by you ...."

When I hear a song come to me this way, I know God's talking to me. 

Laying  in the covers I thought, I am captivated. But really -- I knew that He was singing to me. It was a little difficult to accept.

I know where my faults lie.
I know my selfishness.
I know my sin.

Yet He's telling me, "I am captivated by you."

It's hard to think that He's looking past the sin, selfishness and faults to find the good.
He's looking at the personality. The heart for worship. He knows that I find it difficult to understand that He is pleased with me - and yet He tells me so. When He talks He speaks my language so why is it so difficult to receive His pleasure.

I get too focused on the bad stuff that I know of....and He sees my heart. He sees the blood shed for me. So really - He sees Jesus. 

So I hear Him sing to me and can do nothing else but turn it around in worship.


Saturday, October 16, 2010

A little Daffy...

J-man loves to play act what he sees. He makes stuff up - he takes a character and runs with it. 

He's actually a lot like me.

When I was  younger, I put myself in movies. Or took the characters and made new scenes for them. 

I would have made an excellent fan fiction writer. And really, I'm not saying that just to say it. I just didn't know what Fan Fiction was back then. 

So when J-man takes something like "Zorro" or a "Jedi Knight" and makes it his own, I commiserate with him. It's good for his imagination. 

It was good for mine. I was rarely bored. 

Tonight he was taken in by "The Scarlett Pumpernickel" as played by Daffy Duck. Gotta love it.
Okay, I guess you DON'T.... but I do.

It's rather fun to identify with your kids, I think.
It just makes life fun.

He took The Scarlett Pumpernickel to his video game and before long I hear him voicing the characters..

The bad guy says: "Ha HA!!! I've got you now Scarlett ExtraNickel!!!!"

I love that kid.


I can not possibly be the only one who does this.

Though. I might be.

I sat down to blog something that J-man said because it was perfect.
And then I forgot what it was he said.

Am I the only one??

Let me tell you what he said recently, you know, before I forget.

In the van, he tends to jabber. Talk. Discuss. Smack talk. When he's not playing that is. Or just watching the world pass by his window. Sunday though, he jabbered and jabbered and jabbered. 

"J-man," says I, "You have opinions about everything don't you?"
 "Yeah." he says slowly, "It's 'cause I'm smart."

He really is starting to remind me of my brother. Both of them fall into the "third child. Second boy" birth order. Uncle KickButt's motto was "Diplomacy is the art of getting people to do things YOUR way." J-man is starting to use his words.

I'm trying to convince him to use his words for good. 
Not smack talking or hurting his sibs.
I've got a long way to go. 
because he could be a personification for the word, "Wail". Oy. that boy can cry. Those big blue eyes well up and that lip pouts and.... he criiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiies. He's six. He'll out grow it. 


So I was going to blog about the cute things said. Mini-me said, when she was watching her brother to make sure he didn't get away with something,  "I'm like a living alarm system with alarms."

Sitting at the computer, my mind went blank.

"Someone else said something cute. I know you did. Who was it and what did you say?"


Bubbles, (who's four) came up and said, "I cute, mama." She batted those lashes and grinned.

Yes you are. She uses it to advantage.
This morning I was considering blogging about my memory loss (Before I forgot what I wanted to say) and realized....

Bubbles and Dot Warner have a lot in common.

Just sayin'.

Monday, October 11, 2010

adjusting school

I will confess that my homeschool experience is limited to my own schooling (I don't remember much of my brothers' schoolings) and teaching the kids. We've been homeschooling since Mini-Me began Kindergarten. That was the EASIEST year EVER!!!!

She'd learned to read in K-4 at a local Christian school while I was taking classes. That year, I had Jeremy and Gabriel who was 3 or 4 depending on the part of the year. Then I had Gabriel to teach - but we waited a year. So the second year was easy, too. Sort of.

Lots of issues and changes in curriculum even then.

And that's one of the blessings of homeschooling. Especially here in the state we're's a very homeschool friendly state. Anyway -- Our year for the 2010-2011 year has not started the best.

I didn't want to do it. I wanted to send half the kids to public school. Holy Spirit told me no. The professor told me "It won't be a good idea". So we started the school year...and we got off to a very slow, very rocky start. There were tears. Mostly mine.

The Professor kept encouraging me even if I discounted his encouragement because "he wasn't home during the drama". Then he took the initiative to teach J-man his lessons in the evening. I swear, my husband has the best patience with kids when mine is short.

So ... all that to say We're gaining momentum. Holy Spirit told me one of the reasons we're still teaching at home. (Protection of ideas and securing a future) and he's given me a very Excellent friend who's willing to listen even though she sends her kids to school. She still listens to my crazy and loves me for it. (*waves enthusiastically*).(She knows who she is) (and she'll wave back)

One day when we were out for a much needed sanity break for the both of us, we found the coolest calendars that had a week per page. We both had uses for them. So we purchased.

First Use of Calendar
I bought two. One for Mini-Me and one for G-man. I put their lessons for the day and told them that if the work didn't get marked off, it gets moved to the following day. Then the day after, and the day after until Saturday. Saturday could be forfeit to homework.

Mini-Me who loves schedules loves it.
G-man gets stressed.
There might be more adjustments.
A stressed child is no fun to be around.

In case you didn't know.

A friend talked to me last night and I was expressing my concern that G-man was having problems getting his work done. She told me that his age is perfect for just filling his head with knowledge. She said to ignore the curriculum and go get science books and history books and to let him read. Get him to memorizing facts and poems. Anything.

So this morning, I asked him what he'd like to learn about.

Architecture. Designing. Blue prints. Construction.
I can see the science in this. So we've ordered the books from the library.

He was funny. He told me, "I DON'T want to learn about bugs. They're creepy."

Duly noted.

The little kids are working on Phonics.
I LOVE my post-its for phonics and numbers. Easily movable. Easily adjustable.

Phonics and Post-its
G-man likes to watch the little kids plat at learning. I think he'd often like to go back to kindergarten to play. So maybe we'll make up some games to play for him, too.

Adjusting school means I have to adjust, too.
Hopefully, I'm up to the task.
I'm a dreamer. ... hopefully these dreams are easily doable. might not be pretty.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Future builders?

Do you ever catch yourself wondering "Do I want this to show up on Google's search engine?". I just did. All because of the subject matter. 


Maybe one mention won't hurt...but when your kitchen table looks like this: 

I can't explain the monkey.  Not gonna try.
You can see why I worry about one mention being enough.

Anyway -- J-man built this:

His tower.
When he went to a sleep over with my mom, Bubbles decided that it needed to be remodeled. 

Eye of the beholder?
She remodeled it because he was gone...and she really really likes post-its. 

I mean...REALLY. 

So maybe if they should make a lego post-it??
I'd buy some.

I might even share.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Jack Oy, the Porch Cat...

Saying Hello
He started coming up on our porch daily. Very thin - but he had a great face. 

I fed him one day as I was leaving the house. He ate dog food and didn't complain.

Then the kids noticed him. 

I knew if they named him we'd be in trouble. Oy.

Mini-me named him Jack. 
A facebook friend added the oy (by asking "his name is Oy?")

And really the name suits him. The Oy's just for fun.

He didn't leave, of course, it was really quite hot during this stretch of August. We didn't want to go anywhere either. He slept in the Boxwood shrubs and we fed him. 

We talked of adoption. We made the appointment and he disappeared. I had to cancel the appointment and he came back the next day. We set the limit for him to stick around. I fully expected him to walk off. 

Especially when we found out the neighbor kid down the street wanted to adopt him. He called Jack "Tigger". Sigh. It doesn't suit Jack at all. It's unoriginal. But Who am I to say?? Little Boy down the street was upset with us but his mother apparently told him that "Tigger" (Jack) was not nice to their indoor cat (A Siamese.) 

Jack and Maggie don't get along either...but I wasn't worried. Maggie doesn't get along with anyone. 

Jack stayed for the duration and we took him to the vet for blood work and ... well.... neutering.

He passed the blood test but he had worms. 

I've never seen a drugged up cat before. I'm fairly certain Jack's eyes were rolling around in his head. Maybe cartoons are based on fact, after all. 

The professor and I happened to be standing outside when Jack was able to venture outside. He looked at us and started walking down the road.
I watched him go. With only shadows of his "manlicathood" remaining, and I laughed. He walked a bit stiff legged. 

Then I laughed harder.  The more I thought about it the harder I laughed.
I called The Professor and laughed ... but the professor didn't think it was as funny as I did. I think he just humors me most of the time.

What if we'd just hacked off the boy parts of someone else's cat?
I laughed and laughed just thinking of it.

"Welcome home Morris! I was wondering where....WHAT HAPPENED TO YOU?!?"

I just laughed. Every now and again, I still chuckle about it.
I was that amused.

Jack did come back, though.
AND he started coming into the house through the doggie door.
Gizmo doesn't mind. At first, we started seeing Gizmo's herding instincts and I tried to break him of it. After a week or so, I realized Jack and Gizmo were becoming friends.

Of course, views like this helped tremendously to alleviate any inter-species worries.

Sharing a bed in the night
I guess boys stick together. I thought it might be a fluke...but then we started watching Jack and Gizmo playing in the back yard. 

Snoozing on the Couch
 Jack comes in at night, when he wants to nap and when he wants to eat. I suspect, he also comes in when he's stirred up some trouble and needs to lay low.

Maggie tolerates his presence briefly before she turns her regal back and slinks off. 

The kids adore Jack. Gizmo adores Jack. 

But I'm fairly certain J-man has a special fondness for Jack.

J-man and Jack
But it's just a hunch.

we've recently said farewell to Mini-Me's hamster and J-man's betta fish. It's been fun for all to say, "At least we have Jack."

He seems to like us.
So it's a win-win.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Extra Yarn

Back in August, I said yes. 
Then being short, I wondered why. Because I couldn't quite step over the creation.

The boys used skeins of yarn to build a house wide spider web.
I should have given them lessons. they didn't make use of any of the door knobs. 
Oh, well.

The next day, they wanted to reuse the yarn. 
I left them with The Professor. J-man persuaded him to take a picture.
I'm fairly certain it's not for the faint of heart.

spider web = HOURS of play time
I'm fairly certain this ranks right there with this event. Cleaning up was ... interesting to say the least. They had fun. Hours of entertainment.... that is priceless to me.