Friday, December 30, 2005

Decisions, Decisions

Well, we began our new house search today. This morning we left the girls at home playing with their grandmother and cousins while we went to walk through house #1. House #1 is a 5 bedroom, 3bath 1970's split level. We went with every expectation of the house not living up to our expectations. We wanted in some ways for the house to cry out to us "don't buy me." Honestly, that didn't happen. From the time we walked in the front door and up the stairs to the main living area I could see us living there. I could see our furniture there.

It needs only some cosmetic work. The walls of the main part of the house are pink. Lots of pink in that house. The two bedrooms downstairs are both paneled and would need to be primed and painted if we were not energetic enough to rip the paneling down and hang sheetrock - I am not Dy. The bar downstairs is uggglyyy and will have to be yanked out. But, the big things (roof, water heater, furnace and major appliances) have all been replaced within the last 12 years.

The eat in kitchen could not really be an eat-in kitchen for all five of us. But, can hold a small table that a few of us could eat at. The attached dining room could be used for dinners, when all of us sit down to eat. But the kitchen is large enough for elbow room for two cooks - which is better than we have now.

The yard is huge, and when we have our yearly snow would be the best sledding hill.

The storage is great. Big closets in every room, attic access and a laundry room/storage area as large as our family room right now.

We left thinking that this house is a definite possibility. I could tell from DH's body language that while he was not ready to sign any papers right then, could see us in that house. But, it is also the first house we have walked through. So, we left and told the agent we would talk to him after the holiday.

When we came home DH, himself, found the flier I had printed on another, newer house, that actually had a better location for us. He called the agent and scheduled us for a 4:00 walk through. This house was also 5 bedrooms, but had about 150 less square feet. He took the girs to hit golf balls and go to the park while I worked on some things around the house. Once EM was up from her nap we headed out to drive by another possible house. As soon as I drove into that neighborhood I knew we would not be interested. The neighborhood was very inconvient for DH's commute and it just felt wrong. So I could mark that one off my list.

Then we headed over to house #2 for the walk through. The neighborhood was great. Lots of amenities. The house was on a cul-de-sac and was really nice looking on the outside. The yard was horrible. A huge ditch running through the backyard, no fencing, only some scrub bushes separating the yard from a road (not a neighborhhod street). That lot was supposed to be the same size as our lot now. There was no way unless the next door neighbor put his fence on half of that lot. The interior space in this "huge" house seemed downright small. Not even cozy, but small. I don't think our furniture would fit in either the living or family rooms. The kitchen area, although it was supposed to be much larger than the house #1 seemed cramped and the 'eating area' would only fit a small round table - and then if you didn't plan on accessing the pantry.

The only space in that house that had any size to it was the master bed and bath. And athough I would love to have the bath, the bedroom was wasted space. It had two walk-in closets, one of which was larger enough to serve as a nursery for a baby.

Neither DH or I liked the house from the time we walked in. This one did scream at us "don't buy me!!"

So, what do we do now? Next week we have two different agents coming to our house for a walk through to let us know what they could do for us in selling our home. What projects we need to complete and what we coud just ignore. I guess because of the tremendous growth near us and the stability and success of the local schools; when we told the agents what neighborhood our house was in both were practicaly salivating. If DH and I were convinced we could get X amount and sell the house relatively quicker, then we might speed up our search. But, being convinced is the key word. Both DH and I hate pressure, that will turn us off quicker than anything.

We have to decide whether we want to put the house on the market and hope that we find a house that we really want before this one sells. Or, find a house that we really like, make a contingency offer (if the sellers would even accept one) and hope that our house sells quickly for what we want/need. How does anyone find the happy medium in making that choice?

Off to do some thinking.



Thursday, December 29, 2005

My Head is Thumping

We are going tomorrow morning to walk through the possible house. Tonight, I am ready to buy it sight unseen. Why? Well after today I am thinking that a house in which I could put the children all downstairs and still have an entire house upstairs at my disposal sounds like a wonderful idea.

The noise, ohh the noise that they will make. I make it until 3:00 pm, then my head just starts to thump and thud, pulsating from the inside against my skull. I call for quiet time, and retreat to the den. But that just seems to signal for yet more noise. My girls cannot walk or run quietly, it sounds like a herd of elephants moving through the house when they get going. I beg them to please go outside and play - it is 55-degrees and sunny. I promise them they will enjoy it. K runs and hides from me in her room. MB heads out and returns just five minutes later with a friend. To play at our house. To play Twister. They need someone to spin for them.

I just want to let them play. Let them be loud, and messy and run. I really don't care, except that I hurt and EM is finally asleep. I need a basement. With a lock on my side.

We did have a good morning. Everyone up, bright and happy. We dressed and had breakfast while I put together the "Guess Who" game, that was not a Christmas present - but just appeared in the game cabinet. 45 minutes of punching out little plastic pieces, feeding paper slips through the plastic pieces, and seperating paper game pieces without tearing them. We played for 20 minutes. Then off to a meeting.

Home for lunch, and more game playing. We played more of the Guess Who game, some Don't Break The Ice, an Uno. Finally, a phone call interrupted us, so that I could escape move on to some chores and chasing EM around while the girls settled in to watch the Peter Rabbit/Beatrix Potter CollectionDVD that someone got for Christmas.

Today has been a bust on the whole clean and organize my house front. I manage to put together a drawer system storage thing for my closet only to find out that it was too tall. I can never visualize size correctly in my mind. So, I moved it into the den and am going to use it to organize the extra homeschool - school materials that we own - notebooks, notebook paper, pencils, crayons, etc. I just grabbed an extra plastic storage bin and stuffed all my knitting things into there for now. DH is off for a four-day weekend, so I am hoping to get much more accomplished by Monday.

Next week we begin school again! After almost a month off I am looking forward to it. I am sure that the first couple of weeks will be a struggle, but I am thinking that MB is looking forward to it almost as much as I am. I still don't have a lot planned out yet, and probably won't for the first couple of weeks.

We are signed up for a science class in January at a local museum and we will have our science club on Thursdays. We will get right back into the math workbook and start studying Ancient China. I am going to begin using more sight word/spelling word worksheets this 'semester' in addition to our daily read aloud. MB received a human body model that needs to be constructed and since it is too cold for me to drag three children through the woods to look at bare trees, we are going to move on into studying the human body until March or April. We now have recorders (3) and a beginners music book for recorders, so we will add that to our weekly schedule. MB received a guitar for Christmas and I would like her to spend some time every week practicing the chords and techniques her uncle showed her.

I guess I have more there than I thought I did. How we are going to do it is a whole 'nother ballgame.

Have a great evening I am off to daydream about that dungeon basement and read a mindless romance novel.



A Beautiful Surprise

One of the benefits of cleaning out the clutter from all those hidden deep crevices in our house is finding lost treasures. While pulling some stuff my mom had brought up for me that I had stuffed in a previously unreachable corner of a storage cabinet (who really needs a pair of 7-inch wide black metal crab-shaped candle holders) I found a baggie with a bunch of sticks in it. Pulling it out I wondered why do I have a baggie with a bunch of sticks. Then I thought that maybe it was some more cedar sticks that mom had given me to use for storage. I opened in the bag and dumped the "sticks" out to find this:

A beautiful, hand-carved crech figurine set. Obviously from overseas somewhere - and we have no earthly idea where they are from and who gave them to us. Obviously I never had any idea what they were or I would not have stuffed them away so thoughtlessly. It was a wonderful find - especially this time of year when I could set them right up on the mantle.

And, if anyone does have a need for those crab candle holders, let me know.



Wednesday, December 28, 2005

I am still progressing on the organizing job. There are areas that look really nice, not the office/den that I am in now, but a few areas. Yesterday I finished my part of the master closet. DH still needs to weed through his clothing, but I am down to only using about 2 feet of the rod and a shelf and a-half. I have actual floor space in our walk-in closet. I can actually walk in our closet now. When DH came home last night and opened the closet door he said, "Oh Sh*t!" Which in this case I will take as a compliment. I was so psyched up about the closet that I continued on cleaning off the dresser area. Then I just sat on the bed for several minutes and admired both the closet and dresser. My bookcase area in the bedroom now needs to be added to the list as it looks bad compared to the other areas in the bedroom.

Last night my ankle began to ache an throb again. I took a nice, long hot bath after the children were in bed. And today I am not really planning on doing a lot. It has been my reasses day.

Today I unloaded 5 30-gallon trash bags full of clothes at Goodwill. It was a popular place, as we had to wait for nearly 20-minutes to turn the stuff over. Everyone must be trying to unclutter their houses this week. I wish I could have the time to wander through the store itself, as they look loaded. (of course there my problem may be - I am trying to get rid of the clutter in my own house and coveting the clutter other people have gotten rid of)

Then we headed over to BJs so that I could pick up some misc household and foo stuff. I found a very nice canvas drawer rolling storage thingy to store my hobby (knitting and crossstitch) stuff in the master closet. It looks so much better than the plastic things I was planning to use. I also found a closet system to put in the girls' closet. Their closet system was installed by the old owners and has to be the most poorly designed closet system to be used for childre. basically, except for one rod that I can put their dresses on, I cannot reach any of the other shelves or rods. So everything just ends up in a heap on the floor (Sleeping bags, shoes in storage for the nxt kid, ect.) I will probably tackle their closet tomorrow.

We are getting ready to head over to my sil's house so she can watch the kids for a couple of hours while I go to an appointment I have this afternoon. So, today is really shot for completing anything new. If I just finish up a couple more loads of laundry before I go to bed I will be happy.



Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Organizing and Planning for 2006

Just before Christmas struck us the idea for moving came up again. Both DH and I feel like the walls are coming in at us in this house. This was never meant to be our forever house, or even our long-term house. It was our starter home. Now, three kids later, we are really starting to feel pinched.

Part of the problem is me. I am horrible about getting rid of stuff. I do it, but I never seem to be able to get rid of enough stuff, or organize the stuff we are keeping so that we use space wisely. Homeschooling, and all the accompiant stuff has made it even worse this year.

So, last week during one of my 'let me just look through the on-line listings for what is available' moods I came across a house that is a strong possibility. It this first house that has made my husband sit up and say "call the agent and see when we can walk through it." It is 5 bedrooms/3 baths and has lots of interior and exterior space. And even more amazingly it would be something we can afford right now with only the slightest monthly stretch, if even that. DH has also said that I do not need to get my hopes up. He realizes that we need something larger and is ready to make it happen, but we really need to like (love?) the next house. And if it isn't something he feels 100% about we are not going to do it. But at least we are looking. We are going to hopefully go see the interior (we have already driven by and looked over the neighborhood and yard) on Friday when he is off from work.

Until then, we still have to tackle the clutter and the organizing of what we do have. Especially with the new Christmas and birthday things that we have gotten this month. Friday night as I was sitting and fretting over how messy and cluttered the house looked and how I was out of places to stuff things, I finally did something new. I actually went to my husband and said "help!" So he gave me some ideas and we discussed how we use certain rooms and closets. And then told me that with his four day weekend this coming weekend, he will physically help me sort, organize and dispose of the stuff.

Now, I know four days, with 3 children, is not going to be nearly enough so I started on it yesterday. So far I have:
Cleaned out the closet in EMs room, which was being used as general storage.
Rearranged furniture in both EM's room and the big girls' room
Made EM a play area in her room
Moved all misc toys back into MB's and K's room from the Family Room
Moved board books from the family room cabinet to EM's room
Reorganized board games in new cabinet space
Bought and placed new area rug in Family Room to replace old one (a puppy casualty)
Bought and put together new storage cubes to use in family room to store educational toys
Began sorting my clothes in the master bedroom closet

What we still have to do:
Reorganize all book storage throughout the house - move my books into Den to allow for homeschool stuff in FR
Reorganize art & craft storage and other homeschool materials
Make room in master closet to store my craft/hobby supplies
Move mine and dh's music collection from family room into den
Reorganize the girls' closet, maybe set up new closet organizing system
Reorganize the family room cabinets that hold board games and coloring supplies
Generally clean and find an appropriate home for everything!!

If we can figure out the best way to store all the cr*p we own, then half our battle will be done. I still think we will have to move. MB and K sharing a room just isn't working out. K is such an introvert I don't think she is comfortable sharing with anyone, and she is also 3 and drives MB nuts. MB is entering the phase of wanting some more privacy and places to put her very own special collections without sisters messing with them. So if anyone has some ideas of how to meet the needs of these children while they are still having to share a room, please let me know.

The movie is over,and I promised hot chocolate.



Sunday, December 25, 2005

Best Christmas Yet!!

I am awed and amazed at how wonderful today was. I have been really, really dreading Christmas since Halloween. Nothing like living in today, huh. My mood for the past few months has left a lot to be desired and I just was not really prepared for the whole holiday season.

Yet, over the last week or so I have slowly felt myself coming back to life again. And today, with my expectations set fairly low, wow!!

MB is six now, and she totally gets the whole Christmas thing. I thought last year with her was good, but this year it just wasn't about getting anymore. She wanted to buy presents for everyone, she wanted to be included in the wrapping of presents, she waited patiently for others to open their presents and then played along with her sisters showing them how to use their new toys.

This Christmas was also the first, in our entire married life that DH and I either did not have family staying with us or had traveled to family. It really made a difference. No need to entertain anybody other than ourselves, no need to referee, no need to get dressed before 1:00 pm.

Our day started off a little after 7 am, when I heard EM jumping in her crib, chattering and throwing her stuffies out. As I walked down the hall to get her I heard a crinkling sound from the big girls' room. And when I came out to the family room K was asleep on the sofa (she migrates there every single night) and MBs stocking was missing from the fireplace. Shortly MB came out, somewhat sheepishly, to tell me she had woken up and just had to see what Santa had left her. Then she saw the note that Santa had left for her. She began jumping up and down. She was so excited over that note, more so than any of her toys and candy at that point. She woke up K and we were off to the races.

We spent sometime with the Santa stuff before we moved on to the family gifts. DH and I have realized this year, that except for one or two specific items and clothing, that it doesn't really matter whose name is on the gift or whose pile Santa leaves it in, the girls all see it as community property. Both K and MB, in conversations to grandparents, explained to them all the things that we got. Not I, but we. I love that. The girls really do not mind sharing anything in the broad sense. We struggle with the immediate sharing (I am playing with this toy right now and don't want to share it at this moment) but rarely is anything mine. Of course, I think I may stop the whole struggling next year of sitting down and trying to determine who should get what toy, and instead just throw everything in a big pile and let them determine who gets what.

This afternoon, when it became apparent that the girls were ready for further entertainment we packed up and headed over the in-laws for the dinner and the evening. We took a few chosen gifts to show, and that the girls were not quite ready to part with. Of course they received yet more. And we spent the evening playing with those. With two grandparents, two aunts and one really playful uncle the girls were in heaven. MB learned some guitar basics from her musical uncle, K showed off her "very own" leapster and EM was just really cute.

While we were opening presents EM raced around and grabbed whatever bows she could find and stuck them on her head. Yes - she stuck them on her head. Then she would laugh and clap. We were rolling. Who needs presents at this point. That was just wonderful.

K had already received a pair of hot pink cowboy boots that she fell in love with immediately. From my SIL and BIL she also received a red cowboy hat and a wooden stick horse. Her evening was spent riding that horse through the house shouting Hee-Hawand Gid-up.

MB got board and party games!! We played Twister (which if one is recovering from a sprain this is a game to be avoided) and Pictionary Jr.

The biggest hit of the evening was something that my mom had actually given K. A magnetic Mandala board and pieces. Everyone at the in-laws sat down at one point or another to try to copy some of the patterns. It is quiet and relaxing. MB has fallen in love with it.

We came home around 7:30 with sleepy and happy children. It id not take us long to pack them off. EM only drank half of her evening bottle, before deciding that she would rather sleep. Then K decided that she needed to cuddle with daddy and promptly fell asleep laying on top of him. MB and I cuddled in the reading chair and read until she asked me to stop so that she could go to bed.

Everything is quiet. The house seems very happy tonight, messy and very happy. Tomorrow, we drag Christmas for another day. We will go back to the in-laws to do Christmas with another SIL, BIL and nephews. Five children, ages 11-to-1 will be running through the house and playing. It will be chaotic and great to watch.



Saturday, December 24, 2005

Happy Christmas To All

I don't know why when I sit down at the computer recently I just can't think of anything inspired to write. We are still waiting on the girls to fall asleep. Every now and then MB cries out "I am asleep, is Santa here yet?" So since we wait I decided to hop on the computer for a little while.

Earlier this evening MB and Katie got together and wrote notes to Santa which they stuck in their stockings. Now I just need to remember to write them back.

I spent my Christmas Eve doing all those things that I have been procrastinating on. Went shopping this morning. First with MB as she suddenly decided yesterday that she had to buy gifts for her sisters. I think it is wonderful - but I just wish she had decided this a little sooner. We went to the dollar store and found several little somthings for the girls. After that I dropped her back off at home and headed to Target to buy all the things I had not been able to get to because of my ankle. This included EM's birthday present (a new forward-facing car seat) and stocking stuffers. Amazingly the store was really not that crowded. The grocery side was very busy, but every where else in the store was nice.

I came home to an afternoon of wrapping and finishing the photo montage I did for the in-laws. DH took the big girls to church for the children's service. We were all going to go together, but EM has a Christmas cold and finally went down for her nap shortly before it was time to go.

We had a very quiet evening, pizza for dinner and plenty of old, old christmas cartoons on the tv. With my girls it is a better idea to keep the evening as low key as possible, otherwise we would never get them to sleep.

I am really looking forward to tomorrow. MB (6) and K (3) are going to be so much fun together this Christmas. I think we have done a fairly good job of limiting the amount of gifts this year so that we don't go through the whole overload thing we had last year. Because we ended up doing all the extended family gifts with our gifts - we ended up having to unwrap in three sessions. This year we have been able to spread it out much more. Yeah!!

I hope that everyone out there has a wonderful day tomorrow.



Thursday, December 22, 2005


This week I am doing so much better. I believe the SJW is starting to kick in and for some reason life just doesn't seem like such a struggle. Last weekend I stayed very busy and even started a few organizing jobs around the house.

My clumsiness kicked in Sunday evening and I ended up spraining my ankle badly on a curb trying to load my car.

So for EMs first birthday I was on crutches. I have just had to laugh about it, because if I don't I would probably just get more stressed out. My mom came up for a few days to help out with the girls since I could not do a lot with them on crutches. Today, I can limp around without crutches so mom has headed home to get Christmas ready for my sister and neice.

EM turned the big "1" on Monday.

It is so hard to believe that my baby is a whole year old now. She is such a character who loves to make us laugh. I was so worried about having a third child - but she just fit right into the family.

The rose that is on the table in the picture above was cut off our rose bush Monday morning. The weather has been so cold and nasty around here, but when DH went outside Monday morning he found this single rose bud on the bush. It is EMs birthday rose.

So besides laying around and healing my ankle, we have been busy. Having someone else around who insists on doing all the household things (although this too has been difficult, given my control freak nature), has allowed me to just spend time with the girls. Playing games and reading with them. The things that I can do while sitting on the couch. It has been nice to just be able to devote some time to them. And, my anxiety about being with them, that I have experienced over the last couple of months has gone. I am so loving that.

After Christmas I am going to get together with another HS mom who I have really clicked with. We are going to work together in helping me kind of plan our next three months of school. Honoring who are children are in their personalities while also teaching and leading them. I know, real commonsense things - but it will be nice to sit and go over things with her because she sees my girls a lot and sees them from a different perspective.

I am starting to look forward to a New Year. A change and a new start on things.

I will leave you today with a picture of EM that I took a couple of weeks ago.



Friday, December 16, 2005


I said that I would be back on Monday and here it is Friday. I have been having a pretty tough week and have spent very little time on the computer. We are on winter vacation, so no real organized learning is going on right now - which is a good thing since my mood has been so very dim.
This week, after more than 6 weeks of fretting I decided to try St. John Wort. Hopefully in the next week or so my mood will stabilize a little.

MB's birthday was on Tuesday - she is 6. I can't believe how big and grown-up she is becoming. Unfortunately, Tuesday was the pits for me. But, we managed to pull together a family party. MB and I made her cake and she wanted to decorate it all by herself. My in-laws came over for the party. So, thankfully, it was nice and relaxed.

She received a pair of in-line skates and then we had a couple of freezing cold and rainy days - so she has been skating in the house. Driving me to insanity. Today it was sunny and warmer so I have made her play outside.

I am sitting here trying to get into the holiday spirit. I need to clean my house and on my list for today I am supposed to wrap four presents - but it just isn't happening.

This post is just too moody, so I will end it here. I will check back in soon.



Saturday, December 10, 2005

Waiting on the Plane

I have been really bad about getting on-line this week. It has been a tough week on a lot of fronts. The main one being that we have been without hubby and daddy this week. But, I have been so very blessed with people helping me with the girls and providing warm, dry places where we can go play and hang out so the days (and nights) don't seem so long.

The girls have been really great. They have had their moments, but not nearly as ba as I had imagined it before. Now, we will know what to expect in January when hubby has to do this again.

Hubby should be home tonight. He had plane problems and issues with getting other flights so they are actually coming home 24 hours later than planned. And, to finish off the week I had to take MB to the doctor today to find out that she has strep.

I cannot believe all the relief I feel over just surviving this week. I did not realize I was dreading it as much as I was.

School is done for the year, unless MB asks for us to work on something (like she did at the docs today). We have reviewed and I feel really good about what we have accomplished, especially considering the Fall that we (I) have had.

We will be spending the day tomorrow with DH. So, I will be back on Monday.



Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Really Late Night

I have an admission to make; it is almost midnight and I still hear my girls going strong in the bedroom. I am finding out that I am really bad about bedtime when I don't have a husband around that *makes* me want to put them to bed. Having them up with me helps hold off the loneliness of being the only adult in the house at night. But, I am going to pay for this!!

Other than a minor anxiety attack in the grocery store today, I have had a good day. My MIL came over about 10 am (2 hours earlier than I expected) and sent me out of the house for the day with orders to do my Christmas shopping without children. I am done with the presents for the girls, but still had a few things left to get for some grown-ups.

So, I headed for the meeting that I had been packing up the girls to go with me to. That was nice to sit in that meeting without constant vigilance on where each of the girls are at any particular time. Then off for some shopping. Did not find any presents there, but did buy a few books for me ;) At the rest of the stores I had more luck. So, except for some bird seed, a shirt I have to order for my dad and a few gift cards - I am done!! Happy Dance

I got home in time to take the girls down the street to a neighbor's house for a tea (hot chocolate), after-school party. They played while we moms chatted. The neat thing about this is that the kids hosting it are boys (5 and 7). But they all had a blast!

Then a quiet, right, evening at the house.

Ahh, shhhh - quiet. I think it is time I sneak into bed and spend a few minutes reading and journaling before I fall asleep.



Monday, December 05, 2005

There is just so much grace floating around me right now. I am being very blessed.

I cannot remember Saturday - I have no idea what I did or what the girls did.

Sunday I took MB and EM with me to our new church. DH took K to our old church. Have I ever mentioned that DH does not like change. Except for the fact that we were meeting in a different place, with a different name it felt like normal. It was wonderful being around my church family and friends. We are there and we are together and that is wonderful.

After church, we spent the next few hours just being with daddy and helping him pack. At some point my anxiety began to build. I started making calls, trying to find a babysitter so that I could make a meeting. I still had not found anybody when it was time to leave for the airport, but when I got pack I kept calling. Finally I reached the mother of our teen/afternoon babysitter. This wonderful mother, with no idea what-so-ever of what I needed a babysitter for, said that even though her daughter was out she would come over and keep the girls for me. I felt like someone had given my heart a hug. Shortly after that my MIL called back and said she would come over. But, still the neighbor mother was just so great to offer that.

I made the meeting, and it was just what I needed. God blessed me there, last night. By the time I came home, except for the migraine that was building from the earlier anxiety, I was almost entirely anxiety free. It totally left me able to be nice and 'with' the girls. I let them stay up late and watch the movie they had started with grandmommy. They were surprisingly easy to put to bed and by 11:00 the house was quiet. Too quiet.

This morning continued to be peaceful and easier than I had anticipated. Except for an argument over who I was going to sit with and cuddle - since they refused to sit on the same sofa (the answer was neither since they were arguing), we had an easy, lazy morning.

This week is our last week before a holiday break. So, we are reviewing sight words and history that we have covered over the last couple of months. Since we are in the middle of a science unit we will just keep going with that. Our math program does continuous review, so we are good there. After today I am feeling good about the amount of material that MB is retaining. So, we will keep doing our thing until the end of the week, and for the next three weeks play it by ear. If they start acting crazy and needing some structure, or actually asking for work I will throw some their way. Otherwise, mommy is taking the time off to prepare for holidays, birthdays and general craziness.

Sis-in-law is coming over tonight to sit with the girls while I go out to my meeting. Then, MIL is coming back Tuesday afternoon so I can do some shopping. Honestly, I feel as though I am getting more 'alone' time than I normally do. But, I will just consider this my pre-christmas gift.

Off to cook dinner for all.



Friday, December 02, 2005


This week I have felt as if I have been trudging through mud, physically and emotionally. I find it absolutely amazing that most days things are getting accomplished. Not everything, and not all things well. But we are making it out and about, school is still cruising along in autopilot right now, and the house is liveable. Some things are becoming more enjoyable, while other areas I am just trying to ignore right now.

I am becoming more able to be with and touch my girls again - which for some really, really strange and odd reason would cause me to have anxiety attacks a couple of weeks ago. I still have not figured that one out -- and it really freaked me out, realizing what was causing the anxiety attacks. Since the attacks have disappeared for right now, I am taking advantage and spending as much time, individually, with each girl cuddling and doing things that they want to do. In a way the attacks did cause me to reflect upon what a precious time it is in their lives, one I do not want to miss.

I have to focus on being in the 'here and now' which really makes me in what is actually going on right at the moment with the girls. Before, I would often multi-task with them. My mind would be on the one-hundred tasks I needed to do in running the household, while I would be building a block house or reading a fairy tale. But, I don't even have the mental energy for that anymore, so I just really focus on what is right before me.

These two things, though the result of a very difficult time, have resulted in very nice benefits. I can't believe some of the small things I was missing out on by not fully concentrating on the girls when I was with them. Growth in maturity and abilities of all of them.

MB is really growing into her own. And, in general, I am so proud of the little girl she is becoming. Most of the moodiness and temper that we struggled with just a couple of months ago has gone away. She is helpful and in general agreeable. She is not so ready with an argument, although more than ready to negotiate about anything. The help she provides to her two sisters and myself cannot be measured.

As difficult as it might seem to be home all day, homeschooling, during this season of my life, it has become my light right now. It actually gives me a reason each morning to crawl out of bed, to cook and eat meals, to try and find fun things to do each and every day. It is hard for me to say, but without the girls I honestly do not know where I would be right now in this depression. Because of them, I cannot let go and just drop into the abyss. I have to put one foot in front of the other and as Dorie from Finding Nemo puts it "Just keep swimming, just keep swimming."

So, in an attempt to make myself feel better about this week, let's look at what we have managed to do.


Finished cleaning house, made brownies and set-up craft project for afternoon co-op. Due to illness, only one other family came. It was okay, because I think that one other family was all I could do this month.

Had an actual, non-family member, babysitter in the evening so that I could attend my first therapist appointment this time around. MB and K, love this girl. So, we will probably start using her on a regular basis for appointments and to just get a break. She lives in the neighborhood, on our street and her mother is at home. She also has a younger sister who, not ready to babysit on her own, would make a really good mother's helper. We will just have to see how much sanity breaks our wallet will be able to afford.


Attended science co-op in the morning. The first class in a month because of travel and sickness in the group. MB loved it and loved seeing her friends again. Then straight to gymnastics. I love gymnastics class. It is much larger than it was when we first started in September, but the mothers and father are really neat people and I do enjoy spending an hour each week with them.

After gymnastics we came home and all 3 girls collapsed. MB, did not actually go to sleep, but did lay motionless on the sofa for nearly two hours. I had planned on going straight into schoolwork when we got home, but I reconsidered after seeing how tired everyone was. So we took a two hour break. We got a couple pages of math and Dolche done before the neighborhood friends came to play.


The one morning that we really could have slept in this week, everyone woke up early. We made pancakes together and did some laundry. Then knocked out math and a couple history worksheets we still needed to complete. Then packed up and went to a meeting. The girls are getting used to being at the meetings. EM loves to charm everyone and is constantly trying to get the other two babies to play with her. K is in heaven with all the other 3/4 yr olds there. MB, does not like it the most because everyone is younger than her on most days. But, she is adjusting. She alternates between working Word Find puzzles, coloring and entertaining EM.

After the meeting we came home for lunch and a quick movie. EM went down for her nap, so MB and I played some card games from our Rightstart math program and K watched her movie. After five games I had reached my game playing limit, so we moved back to schoolwork. MB read me half of a Rookie Reader Science Reader on migration, then I read from One Small Square - Woods. We answered the science questions and discussed the project we are going to try to do tomorrow.

We finished up the week with a new activity I have been trying. On Fridays, MB has to pick something from history, science or a story we have read and draw a picture of it then write one or two lines. We generally spend some time reviewing the week together and let MB decide what she wants to do. Then she draws the picture and writes the sentences. I am trying to gently remind her to try and sound out words she is unsure of, but still help enough that she doesn't become frustrated and give up on writing again.

Tonight she finished reading the first chapter of a new early reader book. She is up to 12 completed books on the reading wall. At least half of these are actually early chapter or multi-story books. Once she reads 20 books we will take her and a friend out for pizza.

It is the end of the week, and I am flat exhausted by trying to hold it all together for the week. I am looking forward to a couple of days of dual parenting. I will get away to a very cool meeting tomorrow morning, before everyone wakes up, and then maybe escape for a little while later in the day. Still have some shopping to do for my extended family.

DH leaves Sunday evening for a week-long business trip. He never has to travel so I am totally unused to the experience of single parenting. I have mixed feelings about it. I am scared and a little anxious about being ON duty, by myself, for a week. Trying to figure out how to get my breaks in there. But, I have to say that I am kind of looking forward to letting things loose for a week. Mac 'n' Cheese and chicken nuggets for dinner - Sure, everyone curled up and reading in bed at 10:30 - Okay!! So, I guess we will see how it goes.



Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Today went very much like riding a roller coaster. Some very productive periods intermixed with some seemingly very unproductive periods. The morning was very quiet until 8:30, with all the girls sleeping in. Then they all woke up at the same time and somewhat cranky.

Shortly around the time they woke up one of Dh's friends stopped by with 5 bags of clothing and shoes for MB. This is a couple with one daughter who is a year older than MB. The wife loves to shop, and based on the bags of shoes must have a thing for shoes. The clothes were wonderful, and how this child manages to keep her clothes looking so nice I will never know. This is just one of the families that we tend to inherit clothes from and we are so lucky for that!! I don't like to shop and it saves us so much money. Money, which tends to be spent on the girls in many other ways.

MB was so excited with her "gift" that I think she ended up wearing four of the outfits before the day was over.

We were sluggish once everyone was up, so did not get to any schoolwork before we had to leave for my meeting. On the way to the meeting I had a very interesting conversation with MB. We were listening to one of my contemporary christian music cds and MB said "Mom, I don't think I believe in God." To be honest, I am not really surprised that this particular child is expressing this thought, but I didn't think it would be this soon. So, I asked why, and she responded, "well I just don't KNOW that there is a God."

Me: "I believe there is a God. What do you need to know that God is there?"

MB: "I can't hear God. I can't see Him."

Me: "There are a lot of things that you don't hear or see and you still believe in them. You have never heard Santa or seen the real Santa, but you believe in him."
I could have bit my tongue for that last sentence - putting God and Santa into the same sense. That may very well come back to bite me soon.

MB: "Yeah, but I get gifts from Santa."

Me: "You get gifts from God too. You and your sisters are gifts from God to your daddy and I. God created you and gave you the gift of life."

MB: "How did He create us?"

Me: "He was able to take two cells, smaller than the point of a pen and make them into you and K and EM. He gave each of you different hair and personalities even though you come from the same parents."


MB: "How did the mommy cell and daddy cell get together for God to make a baby?"


Me: "That is a good question, and when we have some time alone I will tell you."

Unfortunately, at this point the only part of how a baby is made and is born that MB does not know is ..... So, I guess it is time for that talk, already - Wahhh.

The rest of the conversation then moved into MB reciting the birth process. But, that conversation stuck with me for most of the day. I have been thinking about how to teach and lead MB to belief. She is a very 'real' person and since she was an early preschooler I knew that at some point she may have to struggle with belief. That she may in fact have to travel through a period of wilderness in her own life to learn and feel and believe in the power and love of God. Much like myself. But, like any parent I don't want her to feel that pain. I would rather she be blessed with the comfort and knowledge of God from childhood. But, the honest fact is I can 'teach' and show all the devotions and bible stories and such to her, but it boils down to her heart, and over that all I have is the power of prayer.

The rest of the day was spent just trying to play catch up. When we got home MB did a whole lesson of Math on her own. She has figured out all of the concepts they are reviewing right now and required no help. Even on the word problems, which she cannot read, she has figured out that she only needs to look for the numbers.

Unfortunately, except for a little sight word work an some reading tonight, that was all the schoolwork we got to today. As I then spent the rest of the day trying to clean the house some. Of course I would clean an area only to come back to it being messed up again a few minutes later. Which, was of course frustrating. The worst was spending nearly an hour folding a HUGE pile of clean clothes only to have the puppy knock the ottoman that I was piling it on and knock it all back down into a pile on the floor.

The girls had fun playing in the warm rain, when I finally kicked them and the dogs outside.

Well, I need to stop procrastinating and get back to the housework. I still need to clean the kitchen, sweep the floors and get things together for the craft tomorrow. I also need to decide if we are going to make cookies and/or brownies in the morning for the snack or if we are going to have to go the grocery store to just buy instead.


I think I am really beginning to like Mondays. I know it is strange, but of all my days of the week - Monday seems to flow the best, as far as homeschool, housework, cuddling, loving, playing etc. Maybe it is because on Monday we go nowhere!! I don't take the kids out to run errands on Mondays, we don't have any co-ops or meetings on Mondays. Or, maybe it is because after a weekend of limited structure the girls want more on Monday. I don't know, but I don't dread Mondays as much anymore.

The girls slept in yesterday, like they are today. So we had a very late start on the day. Before the girls woke up, I gave them a special treat by reconnecting the laptop in the family room. I had disconnected it for a trip and had just not got around to putting it back. MB, especially loves to be able to just hop on when she has a break. It is also nice to be able to just pull up websites that I have already marked for us to go through.

After breakfast, we were able to jump into math for MB while K worked on the computer. Then into some Dolche Words practice. After that we moved to the sofa for our other 'school' stuff. I was able to get MB to read to me a rookie reader and then she did her wall sticker for the book, by herself.

We took picture drawing break and I worked with K to write some of her letters. Then I cleaned the kitchen and fixed lunch.

After lunch we did history. We started on the Indus River Valley civilizations. This is very interesting, because if we actually covered this when I was in school, I must have not been paying attention. We talked about how all of the major civilizations we had looked at had large waterways running through them and why rivers were so important. Then we read the SOTW chapter and began looking at this neat website I found from The British Museum. The animations, pictures and stories are very interesting.

After another little break we came back and read The Monkey Bridge by Rafe Martin. It is a traditional Buddhist folktale about compassion. This ended up being one of those books that took us forever to read together because every couple of sentences we needed to stop and talk about what was going on and decisions that different characters had made. And, although it is a Buddhist tale, we ended up talking about gifts from God and how we are expected to use them. Do you use your gifts to become more important than other people or do you use your gifts to help and take care of other people.

After this the girls headed outside to play for a little while since the rain had stopped. I prepared the crock pot roast for dinner and tried, unsuccessfully, to begin cleaning the house for Wednesday.

Dinner was good - house is a wreck and I have a co-op coming over tomorrow. So I guess that will be on today's agenda.

I went to a meeting last night and did not get home until after 10:00. But, MB was still waiting up for the game of Clue Jr. that I had promised her. So, we played a quick game and then she read to me some more from Mouse Soup and I read some more from A Christmas Carol. She did not get into bed until 10:45. But that hour was worth it.

So, know the house is early morning quiet and I am trying to prepare myself for today. School-meeting-clean.

Have a great Tuesday!!



Monday, November 28, 2005

Two Down, Two More To Go

I am not a big holiday person. I have never been. From Halloween through New Year's it is stress for me. This is not just an adult thing, but I remember feeling this way about the holidays as a kid too. It must some type of effect from having Type-A, divorced parents and extended dysfunctional family issues that always made this season a bear to endure instead of enjoy. So I am counting them down.

Just for the record - generally the "holiday" is good. Just not the days before and after.

Thanksgiving was good. We spent almost the entire holiday time over at my in-laws' house so that the cousins could all play together. Food was wonderful and the girls were absolutely amazing. I couldn't have asked for better behavior. We found out that EM loves pumpkin pie - so three out of three. It makes me think that once I finish using the Mrs. Smiths I got on sale I need to start doing some baking of my own - pumpkin bread, pumpkin muffins, etc.

I finished the last piece for the big girls' ponchos. Now, I just need to remember how to stitch them together and find someone to show me how to crochet the fur on.

I headed out to do some shopping yesterday afternoon and am almost done. Just a few more people that I first have to figure out what to get. I am excited for the girls. I think they will be very happy with the things I have found them. I am so bad at keeping these things secret. There is a side to me that wants to drag the loot inside it and show it to them and enjoy it NOW.

After shopping the rain moved in. Cold, dreary, rainy - perfect weather. The girls watched Wild America while I put away the meat and did some other small chores. Then we drew and read. Then we read and drew. Then MB wanted math to do and K headed back to the bedroom to play with MB's Leapster. K and EM fell asleep and MB and I played sight word bingo.

Then we curled up and took a nap together. I did not make it out to my normal meeting. But that is okay. We were having such a good afternoon and evening, I didn't just want to blow it by rushing out the door.

I spent time last night trying to prepare for this week. We have an arts & crafts co-op coming to the house on Wednesday. I have an appointment Wednesday after that, that I need to find a babysitter for. I really want to see us doing a bit more in the school department around here for a couple more weeks - then we will take off until after New Year's.

I miss blogging, I miss my routine - the one before October. I am missing a lot of things right now. Anyway, as I try to hang on by my fingernails through the holiday season (since trying to get back on a routine right now would be sure to drive me to insanity) I am going to come back to blogging. So I am going to try to drop in again, I am going to try to find that funny thing each day, or failing that a gratitude thing each day to focus on.



Monday, November 21, 2005

... and it was good

Wow! What a day. Really can't explain how a mundane day like today could feel so good, but it does.

One whole hour of quiet time to myself this morning - and it was good

Wet, chilly, windy, rainy day - and it was good

Oatmeal with the two little ones - and it was good

Baking spice muffians with MB - and it was good

MB working independently on her Starfall project - and it was good

K working independently on her Starfall project - and it was good

MB doing two math lessons on her own initiative - and it was good

EM laughing and giggling and calling me "daaaa" - and it was good

Completing lessons for not only dolche sight words, but also history and math - and it was good

K becoming screamy and whiny - that was not so good

I not becoming screamy and whiny - and it was good

Teaching MB how to work word find puzzles - and it was good

Completing my very own Sudoko puzzle - and it was good

Making Thanksgiving crafts using footprints and handprints - and it was good

Smelling Chicken Cacciatorie (sp?) cooking in the crockpot all afternoon - and it was good

Washing three loads of laundry and folding two of them - and it was good

A puppy that refuses to "go" outside in the rain - not so good

Not calling SPCA to come and get her - and it was good

MB reading me 2 1/2 books tonight - and it was good

Knitting uninterrupted for over an hour - and it was good

Knowing that tomorrow will not be anything like this - and that is okay




I am not normally bothered by changes. Do things differently is a spice of life. But when so many emotionally charged changes come flying my way my flexibility and ability to adapt well tend to go flying out the window.

This Fall it has felt like one change after another. Some minor and some pretty huge. I almost need a record book to keep up with them all.

Yesterday was a difficult change for me, especially moving into the Advent season. We attended our last church service with the church we had helped to plant, beginning over 5 years ago. Because of differences that we have tried to resolve for the last 18 months with the governing bodies, the pastor and most of the congregation is leaving and it looks like forming a new church outside of the denomination.

"Yea!," I say to that because this is not the first time that as a member of a church I have run into issues of politics and $ that seem to be more important than how the church functions in its role as a family and serving the Lord. I am just about done with denominational churches. When man-made traditions become the most important aspect of a church's life it is time for me to run.

That being said, this is a difficult time to be without a functioning church family. Oh, I still have the church family I had two weeks ago. I know how to get up with most of them and they will still be there as a church family - just without the 'church' for a few weeks. But, Advent is the most special time for me. The whole season is beautiful and meaningful. The celebration is much more important to me than the actual celebration of Christmas Day (as it has become).

This year I am going to try and turn my family's focus away from the Christmas Day to a month long celebration. We are going to make advent wreaths, we are going to have nightly advent readings and actually do an advent calendar. I have also let my family know that this year it is just going to be me, DH and the girls. With the soap opera going on in my family right now, I don't want to be involved in the stressful family issue Christmas celebration. I talked to my mom this weekend and tried to explain, nicely, to her why we don't want to spend DH's holiday time traveling and how we would appreciate it if everyone would just relax over Christmas and just let it happen this year. I don't know if I made my point, but at least I got it off my chest.

This Christmas is a time for DH, the girls, and I to bond and come closer together. This is what we need.

This weekend I got out an bought most of the gifts for the girls. We have two birthdays just before Christmas also, so I got the gifts for those. It looks like the girls each are getting one 'big' gift and a few smaller ones. This is enough, with all that they will probably get from grandparents and aunts and uncles. The big gifts are something special that I know they have wanted for a long time. It felt good to get that shopping done.

In other news, EM is pulling herself up and standing alone for a few seconds at a time. She is trying to walk with her push toys. So I might have a third walker by Christmas.

K is spening a lot of time drawing. She gets into so well and will spend a lot of time on one picture explaining the story as she draws. It is just amazing how she has gone from circles and scribbles a few weeks ago to drawing people with facial features and clothing in the last week. It is funny that her people have more detail to them than MB's. I believe that there is a learning style difference that can be picked up on how detailed someone draws a person. But I will have to look it up. K has also really gotten into copying her letters recently.

MB just keeps going. Her reading is improving. More in speed and reading inflection than anything else. She has taught herself a lot of math outside her math book. And both my mom and I noticed that she can follow simple recipes by herself. We have been super slack on Science and History and I am hoping to get back into it. Even if over the 'christmas' holidays we only have science one day and history another each week.

Probably more important than what MB is doing academically is how I have noticed her attitude. She seems happier and is more willing to help out. She doesn't try to fight me on things as much as she was. Her voice tone and volume has decreased when we have 'discussions' and life is a little bit calmer around here.

I am having high energy and low energy days which is common for me when I am in this type of funk. But the overall mood seems to be improving. I am really concentrating on the things I need to do for myself, which is making it easier for me to deal with those around me (not running and hiding away from them). Very importantly, I feel as though I am coming back to my relationship with God.

With Thanksgiving coming up, it reminds me that we have a lot to be thankful for this year.



Wednesday, November 16, 2005

A Break

I am probably going to take a little break until things resume some sort of normalcy around here. I am not totally going to stop blogging but there just might be some long breaks between posts.

We are doing school only as we can and only with the basics. As much as I want to do history and science I am finding it very hard to have the energy and the focus. The girls are having a kind of hard transition with some of the new things we are doing, and I am too. I don't want this blog to become some sort of depressive journal about me. It is supposed to be about the fun things we do together - and recently that has been somewhat lacking (probably more my perspective than anything else).

I am having a lot of people stop by and do not know who they are, and well that makes me kind of nervous also about what I should share.

Anyway, I will still try to read and say-up-to-date with everyone else and comment.



Monday, November 14, 2005

How did it go?

So, How did my Good Monday go? In short, okay. I can't remember any real attitude meltdowns from anybody, me included. We went and did a thanksgiving craft at a friend's house and played. Came home and ate. The girls watched the end of Alice in Wonderland and I talked on the phone. Then they went outside to chase down lizards while I cleaned the house. Friends came over in the afternoon to play. And some school work was done with daddy while I was out tonight.

Topics discussed today included:
sales tax and why things don't cost what they say in the store
plural vs. singular words
why we don't keep lizards in the house

Out-of-the-blue learning jumps:
MB started writing her hundred values today from 100 to 1000. We have never really gone over this. She is definetly seeing the rhythm of math.

So, it was a Good Monday. I think the girls got some of what they needed and I got some of what I needed.



Good Monday!

Okay, it is only the morning but I am going to try to remember that today can only be as good as my attitude, right. So - Good Monday morning to you all. :))

I can't believe the holidays are coming up so quickly. I am still trying to decide if I am going to take the month of December off. It is not that I don't feel like we need a break, but MB and K really do seem to enjoy the structure of 'school time' however relaxed it maybe. Even if we only do one or two things it does make a difference in our day. So, I will probably follow their lead in December.

There are still two more weeks in November to concentrate on, so I am trying to figure out if there is anything, except preparing for the CO-OP at my house at the end of the month, that we absolutely have to have done. And, guess what I really can't think of anything right now.

I feel really good about both MB's and K's progress. In fact, yesterday at church I was talking with a kindergarten teacher and she asked me how things were going. Not in a testing sort of way - but really in a friendly - are you having fun, how do you feel about it, type of thing. So I picked her brain about some reading suggestions, which led to a discussion about what MB was doing comfortably with her school work. She was like wow, MB is probably at a mid-late 1st grade level with her math and reading. That made me feel good, mainly because of all the super-relaxed time we have had this fall with school.

All that being said. I am probably going to start trying to do more outside the home, group activities for awhile. We are getting ready to enter the winter duldroms and stress of the holidays and I figure it might help all of us to be out and about a little bit more before we start to hibernate.

This morning I have done my meditation, I know, wow - how long has that been. I am enjoying my tea and am sure I will hear my first little one waking shortly. So, here is my thing to remember for today: I cannot change what might happen to me today, but I can change how I react to it.

Have a Good Monday everyone,


Sunday, November 13, 2005

definition of insanity...

doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.

Please ignore the time, but I just couldn't stop thinking about this comic strip that I had hanging on my wall through college and once I got a job. I just recently decluttered, and I kind of miss it.

You see, Calvin is talking about luck. You are either lucky or unlucky, and while he is discussing this he rides right over the edge and falls in the pricker bushes -- just like the day before.

This is the crazy life I remember in high school and early college. I thought I just had really bad luck. Actually it was only a really hard head.


Thursday, November 10, 2005

Exposing the Soul

Sometimes when I am really struggling with things I am 'sent' poems. Things that I must write down and get them out. High School was really bad I have notebooks filled with poems from then ;)

Anyway, here are a couple that I want to share. Feel free to skip if you are not into poetry.

Shadow of the Past

Walking in the shadow
of what I once was
Not complete in form
restrained by forces
that lie beyond my understanding
It rises up again and again
I lose my step and stumble
Scars upon my palms and knees

Before me, where the shadow
cannot yet touch
A light shimmers
the sky glows
I stand still
knowing that I am the boundary
between the shadow of regrets
and the light of hope
I want no darkness to override the light
My body aches
My heart weeps salty tears
To move forward will be
to carry the shadow with me

Be Still

Be still and

Hear the bird that sings for you

Be still and

Feel the breeze I sent to you

Be still and

Smell the blossom I made for you

Be still and

Taste the food I give to you

Be still and

See the magic in the sky I create for you

Be still and

Learn the path I have for you

Be still and

Accept the love I feel for you

Be still and

Know I am God, Your Father



Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Will This Weather Last Forever?

I am just wondering how long this nearly perfect weather is going to last. It is absolutely beautiful outside and has been for about a week now. We could really use some rain, but I refuse to complain about low to mid-70s and sunshine.

Today I experienced one of those wonderful "this is what I imagined" moments. The three girls were playing on the swing set. Okay, EM was crawling around the yard trying to figure out if all those leaves and acorns are good to eat. I was sitting and watching them from the deck, enjoying just watching them play and enjoy. When we bought the house, before kids, and I saw the deck and the yard I *imagined* my children playing out there while I comfortably watched from the deck sipping tea and reading. Unfortunately, so often I am hasseled by all the chores and other things going on that when the girls are playing I am working.

Today I just enjoyed! I played and pushed and then I sat and watched and read some in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (re-reading in preparation for the movie). We spent about 2 hours outside. It was so worth it. And, guess what? I was still able to fold the laundry and have dinner in the table (Mac 'n' Cheese and Sliced Ham - real gormet here) when hubby came home. The house was picked up and the children fed. It really, really felt good.

And to those of you who were wondering about my energy turn around I have to say vitamins!! I never got back to my normal vitamin regimine after weaning EM and with everything else, boy was I shot. Last week I picked back up on my vitamins again and added a few, and boy can I tell a difference. I can tell that in some things I still need to 'take it slow' but I am no longer stuck in slow gear.

Here are some pictures of the swingset and my girls enjoying it!! Gotta love it

See how shiny and red it is

Three happy girls

If your weather is anything like mine - get out and enjoy! These will be the days of memories in a few short months.



Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Bright Red and Shiny

One of the things that has been "missing" at our house since we had the girls is a swing set. To be able to sit on the back deck and watch them swing from the monkey bars, learn to pump a swing, and perform other injury-defying tricks. DH has always had one reason or another for avoiding us purchasing a swing set, but after the trampoline broke I set in on it again.

The biggest thing is that I didn't want a wooden play structure. I wanted a plain, metal swingset with monkey bars. Like I had as a child. If the girls want playstructures we can go to the park, but unfortunately at most of our parks they have done away with swings because they require too much room and are dangerous. Whatever

Who knew that swingsets are seasonal, and are generally only available in the stores from February to May, otherwise we could pay 175.00 shipping on a 150.00 set.

So, I am talking with one of our grandmom neighbors (we have alot of them) and she just up and offers her set. DH tried to figure anyway out of it - checked prices himself online, ignored me, etc. Patience prevailed and he went and moved the set over here to our house yesterday. It is temporarily set up. We are hoping for some rain soon to soften up the ground so we can dig it down a little bit further. This morning for my quiet time I headed out with three cans of spray paint and painted that sucker bright red!! It is beautiful to my eyes, something I had been imagining for quite sometime. And, I would love to share a picture of it, but my camera has decided to go wonky today.

And here is the wonderful ending to my day --

I sit on my sofa, alone, sipping my hot tea and knitting some more on K's poncho - oh yeah, it does get better - when I hear a shuffling noise in the den. Upon investigation it is MB trying to sneak one of the Odyssey books to her bedroom to read. Can I just break out into a quick


Peace and Goodnight


Monday, November 07, 2005


Has anyone else been out to see the fireballs in the sky?

No, the world is not being invaded by aliens - it is part of the Taurid Meteor Shower.

Last night, after hearing about it on the local news I headed outside and laid out in my neighbor's front yard. (We have trees, she doesn't) I laid there for 20 minutes just exploring God's majesty and talking with Him. Meditating on all the things going on right now and just trying to find my way again. It was really a wonderful time. I used to love to just go outside at night and watch the sky when I was younger, it would really make me feel connected. I hadn't realized what I had lost by not doing this very often.

It would have been wonderful no matter what, but at the end I was awarded with a golden-red streak right out of the constellation Taurus that ended with a visible explosion.

And in other exciting news - we received and moved a 20+ yr old swing set from a neighbor's yard. We have set it up and are refurbishing it for the girls. The price was right - a few new bolts and nuts and some Rust-o-Leum Spray Paint. It will be so nice to have something that the girls can go out and expend some energy on. We used to have a trampoline but it finally bit the dust, and to be honest, except for MB practicing some of her gymnastics it had become 'boring' to the girls.



Thursday, November 03, 2005

Makes Me Want to Smile

With rather lower expectations recently for me and even my children, I have been quite amazed at what we are doing and how we are doing it.

Beginning at the end of September and continuing through most of October I was really wondering if homeschooling was the right for us. Everyday was a battle, I wasn't organized enough, MB wasn't interested enough and we just continually locked horns about everything. As I fell more and more into depression it seemed more and more that homeschooling was going to be a one-year thing for us. That my goal was quickly becoming just get MB through this year so that she will be ready for 1st grade at public school next year. It made me sad to think that because I really like homeschooling, I like the opportunities that it can give the girls, I like the freedom of education choices I have in teaching the girls, the relaxed nature and the focus on each individual's learning style.

Somewhere along the way I invested in a math program, Horizons by Abeka, and began working with that. Then I tossed 100 Easy Lessons in the corner and we just began reading together. I found an actual science curriculum that I thought would fit the girls' learning styles and ages. Then I had a meltdown and we took about two weeks off. We still read and we still did a math lesson, because MB wanted to. I stopped focusing on what MB was doing and started working with her to do more of it alone - then I would review and give stickers. I started sitting down with K, when she would ask, an working one on one with her.

This week, homeschooling is making me smile. It isn't a burden or a battle. MB, K and I seem to be reaching some sort of pattern to our lives that we are finding agreeable at this moment. I have become, while not totally organized more organized with some structured curriculums at my fingertips. Everyday I have some idea of what we are going to be doing. It is linear and continual - I am not flying away chasing some imaginary rainbows during the day. MB is responding by not fighting the 'school' time. She can now be trusted when she has to go take a break to come back and get back to work when it is over. Our day is no longer shot if we don't get started by 9:30am.

I have found that she really, really likes worksheets. Honestly, it makes it easier. I guess I thought that they would be too 'schoolish' or something. I was trying to do all the narration, and lets play and talk about what we learned. While she wanted something that she could do and see how much she had to do and whether she got it right or not. So , worksheets are going to become more common in our school day. I don't want a steady diet of them - but if she is enjoying them right now, then I need to go with that.

Normally Thursdays are a bust because we are gone all morning. By the time we come home after 1:00, MB doesn't even want to consider doing anything. This morning I placed a note on MB's pillow and when she woke up she ran in to tell me what is said and give me a big hug. Then on our way to Science CO-OP, she began reading The Secret Life of Trees to me in the car.

We picked up lunch after CO-OP and took it to gymnastics to eat. While the girls ate I began reading the pages from our science book. We talked over what we were reading and which woods we were going to use for our observation area.

Gymnastics was great. More families have joined. The parents are really neat and fun to spend an hour or so with. MB loves seeing all the other homeschoolers. MB is really getting her handstands down and looks so strong and graceful out there. K, just loves being with the other kids and doing all the different pieces of equipment. If she would follow directions a little bit better :|

Feeling fairly confident about the groove we are in recently I figured we would try school after gymnastics. I told MB what time it was and what time the neighborhood kids get home and told her that she had to do math and history before she could play with them. - Okay-

MB pulled out her math book, worked the lesson by herself with only some direction clarification. I was able to sit with K and read her an alphabet book. Then we all curled up together and read three chapters out of Joseph and the Coat of Many Colors. K fell asleep, my eyes were shutting so I curled up with K, told MB to watch some tv and fell asleep. MB stayed curled up with us and watched The Wizard of OZ. I woke up to her digging through the candy bowl. Oh well.

She is now outside roaming the neighborhood with the rest of the kids. The other two are still napping and I am ignoring the housework.

Have a good evening!



Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Leaves, Leaves Everywhere

Today was science day around the house. We have begun a new science unit on woods and since I was actually, until this afternoon, waiting for a book to come for the unit, We have been perusing our library finds on trees, taking the walk on Monday and such. This morning, after I changed out the empty printer ink cartridge that had been blinking at me for two weeks (yes I have to save up to buy ink for it) I went online to enchanted learning to see what I could find on leaves. I hit paydirt, activity book for MB discussing the parts of a leaf, and other scientific things, and an activity book for K working on colors and coloring. I also downloaded several other worksheets to use throughout the week. MB enjoys them and they give me 5-10 minutes to do something else.

First up - science experiment found in one of the library books. Soak green leaves in rubbing alcohol then have a coffee filter absorb to liquid - when it dries you are supposed to have all the various colors represented that are found in the leaf. It was a miserable failure. The only thing I can think of is that the leaves, even the green ones are so dried out from our drought that there is not much color. So far this fall everything is changing straight from green to brown and then falling off the tree. But we had fun doing the experiment.

We used one of the leaf worksheets for our math today, in which I decided on the spur of the moment to reintroduce MB to graphing. So we graphed the various different types of leaves found on the worksheet.

Then MB went outside and K decided that she wanted to do her schoolwork. So we worked through her leaf coloring book together. She is so funny with her coloring. Really tiny specific scribble marks and then she is done. I remember MB at this age with the broad, I'm in a hurry stroke. But, K knows her colors. Then she wanted to practice writing her name, or better yet seeing her name written. Then I had to write my name, daddy's name and sisters' names for her.
MB had come back inside and by herself got started on her leaf book. So I worked with her on some of the harder pages before I started lunch for us.

After lunch MB read my another chapter from her Wizard and Wart book. This is a very funny cute book that we are laughing over together as we read. It s an Early Reader - Level 2, mostly MB is able to read fluently with just a few words I have had to introduce as we go.

At this point, I was worn out and decided that history will have to wait for another day. Maybe make Friday history day. So school was called for the afternoon and playtime began.

The mailman and UPS man were very good to us today. I received my book order and MB was actually very excited over the Odyssey series by Mary Pope Osborne that I got her. She picked up the first one and started trying to read it. She wanted to know when we were going to read them and did I think she would be able to and so on. She enjoyed seeing that I had also received the B&N Classic copy of The Odyssey. I told her that we were going to read them at the same time so we can discuss. She liked the idea now, but will have to see when we actually get there.

In the mail were my new movies from Blockbuster. One of which was The Wizard of OZ. We had read this aloud a couple of months ago but are just getting the movie since I had used up most of my list on Egypt movies recently. So when it got dark and the girls had to come in I made them a quick dinner and started the movie for them to watch this evening since DH was going to be out. DH, came home to change and such and decided that instead of eating something he would lay with the girls while they watched the movie, and then he would grab something while he was out. It was so cute watching them all cuddled together on the sofa. Then I grabbed the opportunity and went to fold laundry.

K was very cute about the movie. When the tornado scene came on I was a little worried about her being afraid, but no, when it was over she said "that was neat. Do it again." Then here and there during the movie I would see her up and dancing around to the music.

MB asked us how long we can keep it because she wants to watch it every day. I guess we will be keeping it until I am sick of it - about 4 days or so :)

It was a good day. I made an extra effort to be available and to reach out and hug the girls. SOmething that can be hard for me when I am down. But, the girls appreciated it and I did not have nearly the pushing and whining I had yesterday. MB and I were even able to have a talk, yet again about her going to school next year. I explained to her the amount of hours she would have to devote to getting ready for school, getting to school, being at school, coming home, and homework. That she might only have a couple of days a week that she could actually go out an play. But, she wants to ride the yellow school bus. errrrrrr.

I do think she is starting to get it about school some though. She does understand that she has more 'free' time than her friends down the street and that she only has that because we homeschool. She understands that she has some freedom in choosing what she wants to study and when and where. But, that yellow chariot keeps calling her.

I am glad that we talked about it and will continue to talk about it. But in my opinion she is too young to make the call yet about school. Later elementary, she will have some say in the matter, but not now.

I better go to bed. Tomorrow is our out-of-house day. Science Co-OP and then gymnastics.



Joy In Life - Part I

Thanks to Carrie at Mommy Brain I have found these two wonderful interviews with Douglas Gresham, the step-son to CS Lewis at Christianity Today. Here is Part One and here is Part Two.

CS Lewis is one of my favorite writers and apologetic christitans. Very early when I was coming back to my faith, I was again becoming bogged down in the legalities often presented by today's christians. The modern day "thou shalts and thou shalt nots" bugged me to no end. Why does this attract so many people I wondered? Couldn't others see some of the hypocrisy I was seeing? What was it in this religion that we put christians up on a pedastle and weigh others beliefs to our own? And my real bug-a-boo, why, if God loves us so much does it feel like I will be struck with a thousand plagues for not doing what other humans deem 'right'.

About this time I joined a daytime reading club at my church (I would call it a mommy's club, but we did have a couple of fathers). The book chosen was Mere Christianity. It opened my eyes to what faith could be and allowed me to start thinking outside the punitive, legalistic box that much of christianity is in today.

Reading the Part One Interview by Gresham on a biography of CS Lewis' life I found this quote that I really enjoyed and I thought summed up some of the frustration I feel about how Christianity is sometimes portrayed:

Americans have latched on to C. S. Lewis, and yet here's a guy who was a chain smoker, who liked his pints, who told ribald jokes, and in general, wouldn't fit what we think of as the "typical evangelical." And yet we've all wrapped our arms around him. Why is that?

Gresham: One of the reasons is that through the—if you can excuse the expression—the bulls--- that has come to be taken so seriously in American Christianity, through all of that, they can still see the essential truth that Jack represented. The problem with evangelical Christianity in America today, a large majority of you have sacrificed the essential for the sake of the trivial. You concentrate on the trivialities—not smoking, not drinking, not using bad language, not dressing inappropriately in church, and so on. Jesus doesn't give two hoots for that sort of bulls---. If you go out and DO Christianity, you can smoke if you want, you can drink if you want—though not to excess, in either case.

But I think that even past the trivialities, many evangelical Christians can see the ultimate truth to what Jack wrote. I think that's why he's so popular.

I am not a Christian because of the things that *I don't do* but because of the things that *I do*. It is not about eating the meat that was given for sacrifice in the pagan temples - but how eating that meat might affect the person you are with at the time. You eat or don't eat the meat out of love for your companion. (1 Corinthians Chapter 8) If you are with friends and companions who are of the same mind as yourself, and you chose to go out and eat the meat, because after all it is just meat, then do it.

Holidays are a "meat" area in today's Christian world. Do we chose to celebrate certain holidays and how? It is true that our major holidays celebrations are descended from mainly european pagan celebrations. These societal and religious holiday celebrations found themselves a part of the christian world because they were a part of the world of these people. The 'pagan' holidays aren't even that 'pagan' when thought about with a sense of nature. Here is a group of people that viewed nature as their 'god'. There was no knowledge of this God that was known to the people of the middle east. Unlike the middle east, these european people faced large seasonal changes in amount of daylight and weather. So they celebrated these changes in their lives - they marked them, looked forward to them and, otherwise found joy in the harsh world that they lived in.

The Germans with an evergreen tree, in the middle of winter finding the one thing that wasn't dead in the middle of winter. The Irish and their festival of lights at midwinter, when it can become so dark and depressing - lets have a party to lighten the mood around here. The new year celebration at spring time when it was finally time to plant and grow more food (or animals mating) so that they could survive another year. The mysterious nature of death and where do people go resulting in the early celebration and remeberances of ancestors on Halloween. I can see these people finding the joy and love in their world through all these things and giving thanks and prayers to the gods as they understood them.

When Christians came in to convert, they realized that one cannot remove the culture from the people and instead adopted the same holidays to the religious calendars. But, they always remained minor holidays with traditions being very localized. It was America that began the whole "Holiday Boom" as cultures meshed together. The USA, was the country that created the Easter, Halloween, and Christmas celebrations that we see today.

The mark of a christian is not whether or not you chose to celebrate the holidays and how. But how you approach the holidays. Are they a time to share joy, love, gratitude or are they truly a hugely successful mass marketing monster. Can you share in both the commercial christmas and the christian christmas?

I think it comes down to The Greatest Commandments and finding what is in your hearts. Which I talk about in Part II



Joy In Life - Part II

In this post I want to talk about my feelings regarding How I Am to Live My Life as a Christian. Personally I believe the New Testment is kind of long winded as Jesus' teachings can be summed up into a couple of sentences:

And He said to him, "YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND." This is the great and foremost commanment. The second is like it, "YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF." On these two commanments depen the whole Law and the Prophets.
Matthew 22:37-40

Our calling to this faith isn't a calling to pick up a new burden of laws, and rights or wrongs. But a calling to live in love with those around us. To do for and to others how we ourselves would love ourselves. It seems so tough to lay down our own wants and needs so that we can reach out and give to others what they need - but it is freeing when we know and feel the same love in return. It is in a sense - Karma and in modern day tongue "What goes around comes around"

Be joyful, Be free and Be In Love with the world around you. That, I believe, is what God wants from us. Think about it, in love we are given strength to achieve and do things that we wouldn't do without it. In love, we can forgive ourselves and others for trespasses (I like that word better than sins). In love, we would walk to the ends of the world to do something for someone else. God doesn't want us to reserve that 'love' for our spouses and children, but to have that same love for Him and all the people around us (far and wide).

Jesus did not set an example of a sad matyr - but as a man who enjoyed parties, crowds and dinner with friends. He had a lot of friends. He knew what he was called to do, yet he celebrated life as he lived it. He didn't want people to be sad and under the burden of un-meetable standards. Be joyful!!

I will be honest, this is really hard for me right now. I am fighting through a bout of depression and some other situational type things that make it hard for me to find and act joyful in my life right now. And, that is alright too, because there are times we are called to the wilderness to grow and change. But, I can find joy in my life even when crawling out of bed is difficult. I can find joy in gratitude and thankfulness. And when I can find a small glimmer of joy I can try and carry that with me through the day to hopefully grow and multiply.

It's difficult and at the same time not so difficult. And sometimes it seems like it would be a whole lot easier to follow a list of written rules with shoulds and shouldnt's. But then we wouldn't be free.



Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Some Highlights from last night

DH takes the girls around the neighborhood for trick & treating. Why, I am not really sure? I would much rather be out than answering the door - but I always seem to have a baby who is too young to go out and needs dinner or other night time things. So, I sometimes miss out on the cute things the girls do.

I think DH and the girls scoured the neighborhood from top to bottom because they were gone a really long time this year. Which wasn't probably for the best as K had refused to put a sweater or jacket on with her fairy costume and was wearing MB's tennis shoes to walk in. Which would be why she was purple and limping when she came home.

The girls came in carrying full pumpkins, which was good because we were down to three pieces in our handout stash with more kids coming. (We had a lot more children this year than in all the other years we have lived here) So we rush the buckets into a check and sorting process.

We dump the cand on the table. DH looks through for any iffy/strange things and then we sort into the various piles:
candy for the girls
candy the girls don't like but mom does
candy the girls don't like, mom doesn't like and dh does**
candy that no one likes so we will hand back out to the unsuspecting children who are late

The candy that the girls and myself will not eat includes nuts and peanut butter. We do not have 'nut' allergies so to speak. I have never been able to stomach peanut butter - the smell or something. And, what is the good of homeschooling my children if I can'y brainwash them about something - therefore it is the ruining of good chocolate by mixing in peanut butter and nuts. Hubby doesn't seem to mind this, because well, he does not have to fight over the Reeses' Cups with anyone.

I was really taken aback by some of the candy that was handed out to children this year:
Hersheys Chocolate with toasted almonds and coconut
Hersheys Chocolate with cashews
Chocolate with macademia nuts

Really, does this seem like childrens candy to you. Although hubby had this gleeful little smile going while he sorted the candy.

K is three, and I think that this is the first year that she has *really* gone trick or treating. Some of the phrases that she used last night and DH shared with me had me chuckling.

"Give me Candy" said to a neighbor that does know us and K. So not too awfully embarassing.

"Happy Easter" DH has no idea where that one came from

And supposedly every time she was asked what she was for Halloween she responded with "I just beautiful"

K, is such a trip. Trouble in the making - but such a trip.



Monday, October 31, 2005

Happy Halloween

I hope that all your houses are being as inundated with fattening, chocolately good candy as my house. Oh yes, DH will be carting part of the stash to work with him.

Today the public school system gave the children the day off from school so that they could stay home and annoy their parents with - "Can we go yet?" "I want some candy." And other holiday utterances. Me, being the mean mommy that I am, so no need to take yet another day off. So I cracked the whip, beat them into submission and forced a hard days labor out of my children.

Can't you tell....

When they begin to revolt against my authority, I decided a forced march through rough territory was in order...

And so that they would learn to respect where food comes from - made them gather their dinner...

Yes, tree bark with some moss and wild mushrooms is on the menu for tonight**.

** Of course we neither picked nor ate any wild mushrooms, tree bark or any other item found on the nature walk. **

And here are my little ones...

Doesn't MB look like Professor McGonagall. And K is a fairy princess.

Have a nice evening!!


A family of six living and learning. You might catch us outside in the mud or working on crafts. We always seem to be on the go, come on and join us.