Thursday, June 30, 2005

Prairie Schooners

In continuing our study of the Oregon Trail, we made models of Prairie Schooners today. MB came up with this by herself, she saw the shoe boxes and said that they looked kind of like the wagons in the books we have been reading.

We used some shoeboxes from Walmart that have an angle to them as the wagons. Then using pipe cleaners and construction paper made the covers. The wheels were made from toilet paper tubes and toothpicks. MB chose to paint her wagon red and K chose blue. MB helped a lot, although most of the gluing fell to me since we used a hot glue gun. I think they turned out pretty well considering the complexity of the craft and the age of the girls.

It was really neat seeing how MB's brain was digesting all the Oregon information. She told me when things looked wrong and came up with some of the details. She says that they are still not done. She wants to make baskets and bedding to put in the back of the wagons. She also wants to make horses, but I have no idea how that will happen.



Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Happy Birthday to Me

Today is my birthday, and I just found out that I was reviewed today. Thank you for the nice things you said Kim.

My mom came up for my birthday and asked me what I wanted to do. "Take the girls to the museum." So we invited one of MB's friends and headed up to the Museum of Life and Sciences, a favorite of mine.

It was very, very nice!! The butterfly house was excellent and for the first time did not feel like I was going to die of heat exhaustion when we were in the house. The displays the butterflies put on were wonderful and I only wish I could have taken a picture, but I was to caught up in the moment to think about it then.

Having a friend with MB was also great and really allowed my mom and I to divide and conquer K and little EM.

Tonight we will be having take out from my favorite restaurant, I really did not want to go out to eat and would rather spend the time at home with the family.

Here are the pictures from today.

The first one is for Tenn and her son.

MB watching an insect eat through a microscope.

A Baby Bear and his snuggli

A Woodchuck saying Hi!

I have to say the animals were extremely active today. Much better than when I normally go and all are sleeping.

We have been getting back in track with school some this week and except for today's field trip we have completed math, phonics and geography everyday. MB is so much better when she has something to do, even if she doesn't act like she wants to do it.



Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Book MeMe - I was tagged

Lisa tagged me for the book meme. I was a little worried abuot this as I am afraid to try to guesstimate how many books we own. But here it goes...

1. Total number of books owned?
I have no idea???? I have books everywhere, double and tripled stacked on shelves, in baskets, on the floor, on any flat surface, in storage. Muliple thousands of books.

2. Last book bought?
I went out last week and bought a bunch of books. Some for me and some for read alouds for the girls. The last one I picked up was Fame by Karen Kingsbury. I love her Christian romance/family novels as just good escapism reading. They only take me a few hours, but I don't have to think.

3. Last book read?
Homeschooling the Challenging Child by Christine M. Field. Read this over the last few nights as part of my preparation for the fall.

4. Five Books that mean a lot to me:
Ohhh, this is hard. Because, almost every book I read means something to me. Here is the list. It will undoubtedly reveal to all my deep psychosis and multiple personality.

First of all is my Bibles. I have multiple translations, mainly because I love to see how each translation reads different passages. Along with this is my Daily Text which is my morning devotion book that is put out by the Moravian Church.

The Chronicles of Narnia. I was introduced to these as a child and enjoy reading them today. I have even begun reading a few of them to my children.

Gone With The Wind. I love historical fiction, and this is a classic. Every year in the spring I pick it up and read it again. It is a quicker read each year.

Riverside Shakespeare. All of Shakespeare's works in one handy college text. Leftover from college, but I still refuse to part with it.

The last is my collection of Beverly Cleary and Judy Blume books from when I was in elementary school. In my opinion very few of today's juvenile literature are as good as these. Funny, without being stupid and gross. These are my childhood books and they are dog-earred .

I don't even have room to get into my picture book loves - Authors like Virginia Lee Burton and Robert McClascky.

There you go. No need to inform me of my strangeness, I already know.

I tag... Aine, Jess, Scooby and ....



Monday, June 27, 2005

High-lites from the weekend

Just thought I would give a few high-lites from thias weekend. A lot happened, but nothing earth shattering.


DH worked all day. MB went to spend the day and night with her aunt. I puttered around the house and worked on some summer units for MB. Saturday evening I watered the plants outside and was attacked by yellow jackets who did not like the fact I was spraying water (unknowingly) into their nest. Had 10 stings, ran inside yelling for help (those suckers will follow you anywhere). DH gave me two Benadryl, spread some lotion on the stings and sent me to bed. I was asleep by 8 pm and slept straight through until 8 am this morning.


10:15 AM
Took K with me to church and left EM at home with DH. I had nursery duty and played with three toddlers (mine included). The two that were not mine were very serious and quiet and only wanted me to read books to them. While my own was climbing furniture, building and destroying with blocks, and generally loud. Yep, that is my child. At least she did not freak out this time when I held other children on my lap.

1:30 PM
Come home from church and was informed by hubby that he had decided that today was a good day to lay our new kitchen floor. So he took K and to the store to get vinyl tiles. I stayed and cleaned the kitchen so that we could move furniture around. When he returned we prepped and began laying tiles.

3:00 PM
MB returned. I visited with SIL for a little while. Played with MB for a few minutes then she wanted to help daddy. So we laid more tiles while the two little ones slept. Lay tiles, play with children, lay tiles, listen to children.

5:45 PM
Realize that we have 15 minutes to get to church for the meeting. MB and EM go with me so that DH could continue to lay tiles.

8:30 PM
Come home just soon enough so MB could join K in the sprinkler. Return to helping DH lay tiles. Girls come in and get ready for bed.

9:15 PM Put all three girls down for night. Went back to laying tiles. Realized that we are a box short. Floor all tiled except for the entry way. Decided I would head out tomorrow and pick up another box.

11:00 PM
Wendy's drive-thru picking-up dinner for DH and I.

12:20 AM (Monday)
Typing this entry and heading to bed.



Friday, June 24, 2005

The house is Painted!!

Just a couple of pictures of my newly painted house. Very excited.

It used to look kind of like this..

Now like this...



Neat Lessons Today

Today we began our Oregon Trail Study in preparation for MB's trip to Oregon later this summer. I wanted to give MB a concrete feel of the trail. So we began by putting together our US State Map floor puzzle. Then we borrowed K's little people and I told an interactive summary of the Oregon Trail while MB moved the people along the trail. Here is a picture after the people made it to Oregon. You can see the number of things that were left by the side of the trail along the way, including wagons and animals.

MB had a lot of fun and it was a good introduction before we start reading some books about it.

In order to keep them occupied on this last day of painting I pulled out the modeling clay. MB made this really neat elephant.

Good Day.



MB's Note to me

While MB was in the mountains she wrote a note to me. She wrote it on a post-it note, and I understand that she only needed help with the word 'beautiful.' Her handwriting is coming along, and looks much better when she writes small. We are working on correcting the whole uppercase letter thing, but I am very proud of my girl.

Now if she can write like this, why is reading such a struggle?



The magical? mobile baby

Last night I laid EM on the floor to play while I washed K's hair. A few minutes later when I came back she had moved 4 feet diagonally across the carpet to another toy. "Oh my gosh, EM is really mobile." So I moved the toy away from her again and sat to watch her in motion. Nothing. Minutes ticked by, and there she laid flapping about like a beached fish.

So, off I went again to dress K. I come back, and again EM has moved herself across the carpet to reach the toy. So I sit to watch again. Nothing and this time she determined that if I was going to be in the same room with her I should also pick her up.

So EM is mobile, although I haven't actually seen it with my eyes. For all I know she could be blinking, a la Jeannie, to move herself from one spot to another.



Thursday, June 23, 2005

Not much really

I thank everybody for their comments to the post below. I do know that we are doing the right thing for our family by homeschooling. I guess I am just becoming a little nervous with all the planning, arranging and having to discuss it with family members. But at least they are asking questions about it instead of being judgemental and ignorant. I love my in-laws, and the fact is they love us and the girls a lot, but the idea of homeschooling is absolutely brand-new to them and I guess a little 'off.' In fact my mom-in-law did not realize that the compulsory education laws do not even apply to my daughter for almost 2 more years. She thought, as many I believe do, that 5 year olds must be in school.

The past couple of days we have been busy. The contractor has come out and begun the repairing and prepping of our house to be painted. My birthday present!! For three years we have talked about doing this and now I am watching the work happen. DH told me last night that I can even get a new front door. I have never like the front door, and it swings the wrong way for the way traffic moves in our house. Yeah, I have picked it out and it is beautiful to me. We are going to paint it red. I have always wanted a red front door. I will be posting pictures when all is done, because, well I am just so very happy about this.

I also finished the slides and research gathering for the bible study I have been working on since March/April. I took them to our Pastor, who is also a closet graphic and layout designer. He is going to help me with the whole "presentation" thing and also help me to weed through the oodles of information and narrow it down into talking points.This is designed though to be a little different then your small group discussion-based bible study. It is more of a seminar, information-sharing format, with introspective questions. I will be giving it in July and am very nervous about it, as I have never done something like this. I still have several logistical issues to work with, but feel good about the whole thing.

This is also the week where we find out where our congregation will be 'going.' A while back I mentioned that the larger church government had some issues with our new church and was going to replace our very much loved pastor, and become more involved in the everyday runnings of our church (totally against the laws of the church, but hey we are dangerous) {snark}. Our view point was the larger church was placing specific cultural customs (historical, not biblical) before the work of God. OUr music is more contemporary, we celebrate communion weekly and that sort of thing. But it also revolved around the fact that our congregation is made up of a lot of young 30's, twenties and college students*. Most who are very, very involved in the church community and larger community, but who don't have the deep pockets. (Big pet peeve of mine about churches and money) Anywho, we were told that we had not been growing in the appropriate direction. Excuse me, anytime you can attract that age people, not only to sit in the chairs but to show up early on Saturday and Sunday mornings for service projects and band projects, to participate as teachers and caregivers to the children, that is wonderful. I only wish I had started off my adult life the same way, it would have saved me a lot of heartache.

Okay, I got way off the point. This week is when they meet with our church board to discuss our future. They met with the Pastor on Monday and meet with the board tonight. When I saw the pastor yesterday he looked more chipper than he had in the previous six weeks. I am hopeful.

MB is back from her visit with the grandparents. She had a lot of fun, and the grandparents gushed about what a wonderful, smart and interestng child she is. Great time for all. Of course she came back with all sorts of new things, grandparents will do that.

Today, my job will be entertaining the children enough to keep them out of the way of the workers outside, because that is way more interesting than our normal life :). Hopefully tomorrow the workers will be at the stage that I can leave for a few hours and take the girls out to park day with the local HS group.

Have a great day.



* We do have some older members; grandparents, empty nesters and parents with teenagers. It is just that nearly half of our congrgation are younger and just getting started in their adult lives.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Late Night, Tired Morning

I was up too late last night stressing over hmoeschooling for next year. Doubts are beginning to creep in. Will we be able to do it? How can I make MB interested in it? Am I up for the initial fight? Am I expecting to do too much? What is the best approach for both MB and I?

Then there are the thoughts about the other girls. Is it unfair to them that spend a lot of time worrying about MB?

Then the self-inflicted berating; "What can I do about the bad habits I have let take hold?"

I know that homeschooling is the best option for MB. This article that I found last night confirmed it for me. The author's description of her son could be written about my daughter. In fact recently I have been wondering lately if I should take her to a psychiatrist to have testing done. Not for drugs or long-term therapy, but maybe find out if there is something I could do to make her mood swings easier to deal with for all of us. Wondering if there might be some sort of disability that I am missing that maybe I could take into account with my planning.

No, this is her temperament. In social or public situations she is a wonderful child, but behind the closed doors of our house, where she feels comfortable, she breaks down in such ways that I often do not know the trigger (and I am not sure that she does either). It is something that maturity will help, along with a lot of love.

Of course it doesn't answer my question about what will be the best method, approach for schooling this next year. It is not so much the subjects that are worrisome for me. But how to do it so that we don't spend the first few months in battle. Battle's that will wear me down and take away my time and energy from doing things with the younger two.

This year we did kindergarten while she also attended a three-day morning preschool. It was easy and very, very relaxed. I would say a kind of child-led aprroach. I would introduce something and if it didn't take hold put it away and come back later. Most of our schooling revolved around art and science, with whatever I could sneak in. I felt as if I was doing a lot of flank attacks when it came to certain things. It was fun, and towards the end the battles were limited. I also did not have to prove anything to anybody. Nobody was looking over my shoulder and examining her skills and development.

Next year it changes. We are going to be put under a microscope and examined by many people in the family including DH. When I plan for next year, I just feel this heavy rock of responsibility sitting on my shoulders. I still want us to be relaxed, but with goals for each week. I have to be able to plan. MB does seem to do better when she sees a list of things to do. So we will use the family white board to list out daily assignments.

If I just want her to meet the requirements for 1st grade, I wouldn't be so stressed. But that is one of my reasons for homeschooling. I want her exposed to so many more things, I want her to learn to think.

A tentative plan that I worked on last night for MB. I thought about how she loves to be read to, do hands-on projects and even workbooks. So here are my thoughts for the day.

Fall Semester - to begin August 29
Math: RightStart Level A (second-half of book), Then reassesss for next level math to begin in January
History: SOTW I
Literature: Ancients - using recommended reading list from WTM and corresponding to history lessons.
Science: Life Sciences: Sept-Dec Birds, Felines, Canines, Bears
Jan-Mar Human Body - Muscles, Bones, Circulatory, Digestive, respiration, Diet and Exercise
Apr - Jun Plant Life- Tree Identification, Bulb vs. seed plants and garden planning.
**Phonics/Reading Skills: Ordinary Parents Guide to Teaching Reading
Giant Basic Skills Workbook
The Complete Book of Phonics Workbook

Any other way that I can think of to sneak this into her program
Writing Mechanics: Cursive Writing continued(we have started this and she enjoys it much better than having to relearn the print mechanics that preschool messed up on)

Other: Art appreciation, drawing, piano lessons, gymnastics, music appreciation
Tools I want to use: Narration, Copy Work

** This is the toughest subject for us. MB will fight against doing this more than anything I have ever seen. I have tried Pathways to Phonics and 100 Easy Lessons with limited results. What I have found to work so far are a few worksheets a week and games. Sight Word games, phonics games, computer programs like Study Dog and Starfell.

I am praying so hard over this right now. I don't want to screw up my girls for anything in the world. I feel such pressure over this.

Better get back to the laundry - no thinking required.



Monday, June 20, 2005

Question for computer people

I have a question for you blogger pros/ computer gurus out there. I normally use Netscape on my desktop for blogging, but since I finally got my laptop back I have been doing a few things on there using IE. This morning when I went to my blog using IE, the sidebar is all messed up, it is all the way down on the bottom of the page; but on my desktop it looks fine.

Readers out there: Is my blog layout messed up?

Is there a way to fix this?



Fun Trip

We returned last night from our trip, but with my post-driving headache the most I could do was do a little reading before bedtime. We had a lot of fun and were able to visit with people we only see once a year.

I took the girls up early so that they could spend some time with their grandparents before the reunion. That was nice, although I am still never really comfortable around my in-laws with my girls. They are older, and more old school than my folks, and well I cringe over some things that the girls do that to be honest wouldn't bother me so much at home or we would laugh about around my parents. For instance, MB has started doing this thing where she will call people by the name she hears others saying. I call my father-in-law by his name, so she started calling him by his name. She means no disrespect, she just thinks it is funny. So several times I had to sit own with her and explain that he is her grandfather and a very good man, he deserves to be called by 'grandfather' and it is a sign of respect. I believe she heard "blah, blah, blah, call him whatever you want." If something like this happened with my father the two of us would probably chuckle about it and I would remind her that she needs to say 'grandaddy' and that would be the end of it. Up there when it would happen, I saw pursed lips and shaking of heads. So my 'gotta-be-liked' drive kicked in and I stressed over things like that.

The girls really did very well and they had a lot of fun. MB is even staying up there a few more days and will be coming home with the in-laws on Wednesday.

Thursday I was able to get away by myself for a quick shopping trip to the outlet mall, manly to pick up the clothing that DH asked me to get him, but I came home with something for everyone. Friday I spent with the girls. We headed down to the town in the valley below the in-law's cabin and played in the town park. This park was one that time forgot. And, before I go into detail don't get me wrong I like my children to be safe but I do notice that sometimes parents have made things so safe that children no longer get to experience things. So this was a park that has not been updated in about 40 years. It was located behind the town library - wouldn't that be neat a trip to the library and the park at the same time. The equipment was all metal - the hot burning type of metal, if it actually got hot up there. There was no awful mulch to get in the girls' shoes, just a soft carpet of grass. On one very steep hill the town had fashioned a very long slide down the hill, almost like at bobsled shute. No steps back up the hill just a very steep climb. Picnic table located here and there under old shady trees and a small creek ran through the center of the park. The girls had a blast. Like most of the other children there, they were drawn to the creek (because here at home if there is water near a park it is fenced off). They could lay sticks in the water an watch them float downstream over the rocks and small water falls. They took off their sandles and felt the cold water between their toes.

After the park we headed back into town and went to the Cheese Factory where they could watch cheese being made. At the Cheese Shoppe I picked up a block of my favorite cheese and some fudge for the girls. We had just finished reading Chitty Chitty Bang Bang the night before and at the end of the book it gives a basic fudge recipe, and MB asked what fudge was. She has had it before, but did not remember. Then we went back to the cabin and waited for DH and my sis-in-law to arrive.

Saturday we had the family reunion over at the church camp that my brother-in-law is the director of. Every year less people show up, mostly the 20-somethings who have so much going on in their lives, but it is nice to catch up with people we only see once a year. This year was special because we had three babies born within a week in December. Three six-month-old cousins (not real cousins - 2nd, 3rd, once removed and all that jazz that I can never keep straight. We have decided to keep it simple and if you are not directly an aunt/uncle/grandparent you are considered a cousin). The big girls had bigger cousins to play with - generally involving rolling a ball down a hill then chasing it down. But we also had a chance to head out in canoes. Very fun. DH and I took K out in one and bil took MB out in another. I haven't been in a canoe in almost 20 years - we had a blast.

MB in the canoe

K along for the ride

Little EM wearing her baby gift and looking cool. K is blowing bubbles in the background.

DH's trip to the US Open was canceled so he was able to stay with us for Sunday's breakfast with the family that stayed the night. Then we headed homeward.

It was a wonderful trip and a great get-away. Today I will be doing all the post-trip unpacking and laundry. I will also be trying to get things ready to have our house painted later this week (yeah!!). Also I have to put the finishing touches on my bible study to send to our pastor tomorrow. I am trying to read and catch up with everyone - but it seems so overwhelming right now. I can spend nearly 30 minutes at each blog.

On last picture for the day - Little EM turned Six months yesterday. She is such a sweet little baby and is fast becoming mobile - trying to catch up with the big sisters I believe. Happy half-birthday EM and I can't believe that we have been blessed with you for this long already!



Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Gone Visiting

I am off with the three girls to go visiting for the rest of the week. We are looking forward heading to the mountains and getting out of this heat and humidity for a few days. We will also be attending a family reunion for my husband's side of the family.

DH will be joining us Friday evening, but will be coming home Saturday night because he was given a ticket to attend the final round of the US Open in Pinehurst. So he will be spending his Father's Day doing one of his favorite activities!

I am taking my laptop, but don't know if I will be able to jump online or not - I hope so even if it is just to read.

Have a blessed week!


Monday, June 13, 2005


Today we tried to get back into some sort of rhythm, although by the time it was over I wondered why I even tried. MB is in town, out of town, in town and then we will all be out of town. It is hard on everyone, although she really is having some wonderful experience and I also am able to get larger projects done while she is gone.

After her first trip when she came back everyone was refreshed and ready to go again. Her attitude was good and my frame of mind was very positive. This last trip I really concentrated on getting a number of projects done or at least a good start made while she was away. We worked on the projects through the weekend, but still spent some time individually with the girls, including MB. But I noticed today that she was really clingy with me. The constant touching and incessant talking. All signs that she is craving my attention and that she has a little too much undivided attention and just a little spoiling recently.

It has totally blown the rhythm that I thought we were achieving out of the water. Correction again is being met with tantrums and she believes that she can argue with me. All while my attention is still being divided with K still recuperating (cranky) from her recent cold, some household issues that have to be dealt with this week and the bible study I am under the gun for right now.

All that being the case I can say that today went well enough. Again, I am so very happy to have my laptop back. Otherwise I believe that I would have run screaming to my room at some point today.

This morning I managed to wake up before the girls and was able to actually read my morning devotion in quiet reflection while sitting outside on our clean deck. After breakfast MB helped me start some laundry while I hopped on the computer to fix some of the damage to my blog from yesterday. Then we all got dressed since I had someone come by to give us an estimate on painting our house.

While the guy was here I totally came across as one of those mothers one might see on SuperNanny. The big girls were playing in the driveway while he and I spoke about what DH and I wanted to do. MB left K in the driveway alone and came over to see what we were doing. When I turned around I saw K's tricycle but no K. So the hunt for K began. I first glanced in the van since that is often the place she will try to head for first but didn't see anything so MB and I headed over to the neighbors to see if K had gone visiting. The gentleman was working up my estimate in his truck and I heard him honk his horn, he pointed at the back of my van and I saw something move. It was K, she was "play hide seek" from me. After locking the van I dragged all the girls back inside and again went over the rules for playing outside and how the van is a no-no (especially now that it is getting hot).

Once I was done with the painter we tried to actually get our day going. After EM went down for her nap I sat down with the big girls to play some dice games. This was kind of a on-the-spur game but it worked for our math for the day. I gave MB and K each two dice. Then worked up a sheet of paper with 2-12 listed, the first person to roll all 11 numbers would win. MB had to add her two dice together to come up with how many she rolled, then she could count to check her answer. K counted her dots to determine how many she rolled. We had fun playing it together.

After "math" we went outside in the backyard to play without waking EM up. I sat on the deck and worked on the bible study to prepare for the meeting I have tomorrow morning and could watch the girls run around at the same time.

After lunch MB and I worked on her 'Map Skills' something I will count as geography and her reading for today as she really worked at reading the directions by herself. Then she went outside to check on the mole family that we found last night while K and I read a little bit before K's nap.

I sent MB off for some free time - something I guess MB did not really want today, but mommy needed. So that I could work on the bible study a little more, but gave up after only a few minutes because MB was in and out constantly and eventually woke EM.

The afternoon was spent yo-yo-ing between MB, EM and the laundry. I finally got back to the study late this afternoon when I took all the girls back outside to play.

Tonight we read a couple more chapters in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. MB is so funny, halfway through the first chapter for the night she was soooo bored and didn't like the book. But when we finished the chapter we just had to read the next chapter because, "I can't possibly sleep not knowing."

Then all the girls were asleep in their own beds. Quiet, peace and quiet. And you know what the day really was fairly productive.



Now look what I did...

I was messing around with some of my settings and blew out my links. So I figured why not go ahead and change the background. Can't really find anything that fits, but that is another story.

Anyway I am having to recreate some of my links and my reading list. So if you come by to visit and are normally on my list and don't see your name - don't get mad or anything. I am working on it as quickly as I can, but it is midnight and I am bushed. So sometime on Monday I will get back to it.



Sunday, June 12, 2005

YEAH! I am wireless again

It has only taken a year, but we finally got around to having our old laptop fixed and it cost us much less then expected. Double yeah!

Thanks to a friend I have a working laptop with all upgraded systems and programs. We can finally put our wireless network I invested in to use and I don't have to work on the computer away from the girls unless I want to.

I am a happy camper. We have been digging in the dirt and finishing household chores all weekend. I am sore from pulling out some ground cover plant that was starting to choke plants that I actually want. I also yanked out three bushes that kept growing over and blocking the walkway. I figured I was done with the constant trimming and just took them out.

The house, exterior at least, is starting to look better. We have someone coming by tomorrow to give us an estimate on painting the house. We are finally moving along. Of course all I have to do is get in some manic mode and bring DH along with me.

MB is back from her visit with my mother and a lot of fun. It is nice to have all my babies at home again for a little while. Although I just got a call from my mil and they would like MB to stay up there with them following our trip next weekend to visit - so we will be without MB for 3 more days.

I better get back to working on my bible study - no more excuses now that I have my laptop back.



Saturday, June 11, 2005

My gross tick story

Tis' the season for ticks as I can see in my recent blog run and by the fact I have removed ticks from almost every member of my family. Since I have lived in tick land all my life it generally does not gross me out. I knew that this summer was going to be a bad one for mosquitoes and ticks because we never really had a cold snap.

This week I had to remove a tick on myself from the most unlikely of places: between two of my toes. It went easy enough, all the tick came out and it obviously had not been on me very long.

Well, over the past couple of days I have developed an infected abscess where the tick was. Okay now I am freaking out, what horrible disease do I have...

I have researched it and have come to find out that it was not a result of the tick, really. That the webbed area between a persons toes has one of the highest concentrations of bacteria on the body, no matter how clean you are. And the tick bite allowed a point of entry of said bacteria into my skin.

So tonight my poor hardworking husband who is now, in the dark, applying a protectorant to our newly washed deck will be helping me solve my toe problem. And next time I will know to triple disenfect the area between my toes.

That is my gross, ugh, disgusting tick story to add to blog land.



Thursday, June 09, 2005

"An Energy Burst, Captain"

I do not know what is up with me but I have been riding an energy burst. This week has been really productive and I keep looking around and trying to figure out what other projects I can do.

In the past couple of days I have completed:

Heavy, clorox cleaning of two bathrooms
Rearranging/Cleaning of MB's and K's room (Considered ripping up the carpet to expose the hardwoods underneath but figured I could not complete that job before MB came back this time)
Powerwashed more of the deck that DH had not finished and all deck furniture
Cleaned and reorganized kitchen, then stood around and tried to figure out what color I should paint it when we have the new countertop exposed. Still not sure.
Normal cleaning and laundry
Played, fed and loved to little girls.

I am not bragging, but just wondering where this energy is when I really need it. Like when all three of the girls are home, it's 90 degrees and they want to go to the park.

I have made up a list of the "big" projects for the house that dh and I need to do. Unfortunately I can't do any of it by myself...I have to wait on others...painful...painful. Can you tell I am one of those that makes a plan and is ready to go and get it done.

We go and pick up MB tomorrow. I have missed her this trip. We talked on the phone daily and she has had a lot of fun at the daycamp. Today my mom took her to a local museum for a special program they had on snakes. She was able to hold a corn snake and my mom said that she asked lots of questions so I can't wait to really hear about it.

Tomorrow we are meeting at another nature museum that is about half-way between our two towns. It should be fun. I have never been there but mom says that it is very centered on the wildlife along the Neuse River (Eastern NC wildlife) and that it is a very interactive museum.

Looking forward to having MB home again for awhile as this is her last scheduled trip until August.



Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Rearranging and Sick Kiddies

Yesterday morning little EM woke up with a fever and then by mid-day K was also hot. I could have blamed the red faces and dripping sweat on the weather, but no, DH insisted that I turn on the AC the night before. I can't understand, it was only 91 degrees and 93% humidity in the house.

The girls only symptom seemed to be the fever and a general lack of energy. So they had a quiet day around the house. I took advantage of the energy lull to do some rearranging between cuddles.

Recently I found a rug (finally) for our family room to go over the laminate floors so there is something to cushion our rears when we sit on the floor. I had also been paid by Wally World to take home a play mat that I found on the clearance rack. One of those neat carpets that have roads, stores and houses printed on them. I thought it would be perfect for K to play with her "Little People" on.

About a year ago we moved the two older girls and ALL of their toys into a shared bedroom. There has never really been enough room for everything to stay neat. Plus the girls do like to play in the family room. So I succumbed to the natural instinct of our family and yesterday I rearranged an area of the family room to accomodate a play area where all the "Little People" toys could be stored for easy access and the little playmat to play on. So far it has been great for K. Because she didn't have to go back and forth between the family room and the bedroom she was easily able to clean up and put away the toys.

I was able to put a small table back into the girls' room to accomodate MB's writing and art work that she likes to go to her room and do. I still need to get in there and organize the room a little better from the shuffling.

I also organized the two little 3-shelf narrow bookcases to stand up on the fireplace which holds current kiddo reading books and puzzles. These are two more bookshelves in addition to the two in their bedroom and the two large built-in shelves in the family room, two large bookshelves in the den and a bookshelf in my bedroom. And we still have books in baskets and boxed up in storage.

I even tried my hand at making tortilla shells thanks to mellinium hippies. They turned out alright, edible but not very pretty. It seems I am incapable of making anything resembling a circle out of dough. But rectangle-like shells do okay for making cheese quesadillas too. :)

It was a pretty decent day yesterday, all things considered. This morning little EM woke up without a fever and seems very happy. K is still warm and kind of cranky, but she also came down with it later. I plan to spend another day cuddling and seeing to whatever I can get to. My level of expectation is fairly low. Which is fine because there is absolutely nothing I HAVE to do today.



Monday, June 06, 2005

Classical Unit Studies

My mom and I were talking earlier today about how we are starting to see MB's brain working. Both of us commented on how we notice that MB takes in the information she is told or discovers, but is generally unable to immediately put it to use. Instead she takes that information and mulls over it for awhile. It may take just a couple of hours or a couple of weeks, then she will come back totally understanding the information or ready for more in-depth study. She likes to concentrate on one area until she is suddenly through with it.

Both she and I have enjoyed the 'unit' studies we have done this Spring. But I also really like the progression of the classical method. So I was thinking that I may try to do unit studies with science and history/literature next year. I was thinking a science unit (2-4wks depending on interest) then a history unit (2-4 wks) and then science again. Her other subjects would continue like normal, most of which would be combined some way into whatever we are studying at the time. I was thinking this would give her time to process what she is learning before we move on, without also feeling like I am repeating myself until "she gets it," which would pretty much send both of us up the wall.

Has anyone ever tried something like this? Any suggestions?



Bigger isn't Better

Saturday night DH, the little girls and myself went to a birthday party for the wife of one of DH's longtime friends. We had been out of touch with them for awhile, partly because they had been busy for the last two years building their new house.

Their house is beautiful. Old brick and curved lines. It is also big. And I feel very sorry for them. I can look at their house and realize how in debt they probably are. The rooms are filled with expensive furniture, all brand new. Their only daughter (age 7) has a large suite and another large playroom, all designed to be as far away from the parents as possible. The husband has an office and a large den and the wife has her own rooms. They are rarely home as they are either working all the time to pay for this or shuffling the daughter around to all of her activities.

Yet, as DH and I were catching up wth his old high school friends I kept getting comments like, "baby making machine" and "aren't ya'll busting at the seams in that little house?" and "Will you be going to work when the girls are in school?" I actually just began to zone out. It stopped being worth my time to try to explian.

But I will let all of you in on a secret I have learned, Big Houses are not better. I look at their house and admit that yes it is a beautiful house and the decoration is also very nice, but it looks like a lonely house. A show house.

My 1500 sf house on the other hand would never be described in that way. But I like to think that it is a happy house. We don't separate and go off to our own space very often. We have to do things as a family, we have no choice. The girls have to grow up learning to respect each other's personalities and need for time alone, like they will eventually have to do.

DH and I have considered finishing off the garage and making another room out of it. To use as a playroom or maybe another bedroom. We have even gone as far as having estimates done. But when it came down to it we realized that right now the girls like to play where we are and that means the family room. We could build them a room, but if it was away from the other family happennings they would not use it. So we have put it off.

We talked about moving since DH is now working in another town and has a fairly long commute. But we looked around, and even though we could probably get something a bit bigger, we could not find anything we liked as much as our little house - warts and all.

Other reasons bigger isn't better:

that much more space for the kids to wreck
that much more space for me to try to keep clean (5 bathrooms - 5 toilets to clean)
imagine the power bills as the cost for power keeps rising
property taxes
big house - itty bitty yard

I did come back with a little envy though. Her house was so clean and my house has not known the true definition of cleaned and organized since before EM was born. So yesterday DH and I went to work.

I cleaned an organized the toys and books in the family room. Cleaned off the kitchen table. Added casters to a cedar chest that serves as a coffee table in the den (it has to be moved when the sofa bed is opened), and put away all winter clothes.

DH borrowed a power washer and went to work on the outside of our house. It looks so good. He plans on finishing the deck this week.

Today I hope to clean out a built in bookshelf that serves as a resting spot for everything that doesn't have a home and clean the kitchen. If I can still move after that I may start tackling the girls room again.

Have a blessed day,


Friday, June 03, 2005

I'm Dreaming

After the past two days I am dreaming about finding a house, any house, out in the middle of say 4-10 acres. I am so tired of living in a neighborhood, especially my neighborhood right now.

I feel as though I live in a glass house right now when it comes to the neighbors. We are pretty much the only family left living here with young children on a full-time basis. I am constantly asked why I let my children do some of the things they do, like it was any of their business. I am asked about MB riding her bike, and so often I want to ask them to repeat to me the bicycle safety list because I am sure they can't but MB can. It is not like we live on a busy road, the only place safer would be at the end of a cul-de-sac. Where am I when they are outside, why I am either outside with them or sitting just inside the house with total view of them.

I am totally expecting all heck to break loose next year when they see that MB doesn't climb on the yellow chariot. Because they will notice, the nosy buggers.

Truthfully, I don't really care what the neighbors think. But what bugs me is that they feel as though they must tell me.

Then there is the time of year. School is out and children are visiting grandparents and non-custodial parents. In the case of the children visiting parents, these children are being left home alone during these visits. Lonely elementary-age children are finding their way to our house to play because I am one of the few adults around and we have toys. Unfortunately I have become so wary of their play I have to be on top of it every second they are around and I get nothing done.

I feel bad that these kids are alone and have nothing to do, but call their parent every hour to check in. I have tried to be friendly and helpful because I have been there. But I am over it now. When MB returns from her trip at the end of next week we are just going to put the kabosh on the whole thing. I am worn out mentally and MB is stressing out again. It is just too much for the two of us.

Sorry for the vent, I am just at the end of my rope. We did not get the card made for my grandmother that we are going to see in the nursing home tomorrow and I am still trying to do laundry so that I can pack MB's suitcase. I have to fill out the medical forms for her day camp and I really need to do some household bookkeeping. At least I do not have to worry about dinner, my in-laws before they headed out of town gave us four tickets for the BBQ fundraiser their church was having today so I headed over there this afternoon and picked up our plates. Eastern North Carolina BBQ a true delicacy, with hush puppies, german coleslaw and boiled (buttered) potatoes. A heart attack waiting to happen - but so good.

Just fyi in North Carolina "barbecue" is a noun and you have a "cookout" when you cook outside.

Have a nice evening.



Thursday, June 02, 2005

A lesson learned the hard way

There is no doubt that my 5 yr old must learn by doing and experiencing, She has proven it over and over again. When MB was around 3 years old she burned herself twice. She remembers both of them and will tell me all about them to this day. She burned her hand on a humidifier after we had told her over and over again to not touch it, then one night she snuck out of her bedroom and into the nursery where she promptly but her hand over the steam vent. The second time was on the stove. It was one of those split second things, but she had burned her finger by trying a burner after I had told her HOT, stay away.

She has been very helpful and safety conscious when she has been helping me in the kitchen lately, so I left her alone cutting hot dogs (with a table knife) while I changed EM. I heard the scream.
MB: K bit me! K bit me!
Mom: Let me see!
I take a look and see a blister forming.
Mom: That is not a bite, its a burn.
MB: Sobbing K pushed me and my finger touched the burner.Italic
Mom: Trying to console and get MB to the bathroom to run cool water over it. Its okay, Its okay. Take another look at the burn and it is on the pad of the index finger, realize the only burner on was in the back of the stove. Obviously she had to reach out with the finger to test what I said. Even as she kept blaming it on her sister she kept saying I'm sorry, I'm sorry.

I know she is lying about it because lately that is her thing. (She told me she killed a rattlesnake last week at mom's house) But she is in pain so all I can do is comfort her and hope that three burns may finally convince her that when I say don't touch - DON'T TOUCH.



Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Nature Walk today

Today we had our nature walk with the local hs group. We got ready to go and it started to rain, the spitting, drizzly type of rain and MB started to become upset thinking that we were not going to be able to go on the walk. I told her that it was not raining that hard and often times it may rain in one area and not in another so we hopped in the van and headed over to the lake.

It was still doing the half-way rain thing, but I figured that I wouldn't melt and we all had hats. So we meet the rest of the group. I figure we had about 15-20 children there with there mothers. The guy who did it is a homeschooling dad who has advance degrees in ecology or environmental science. It was very informative and fun, even for me a parent. Three things I learned today:
1. Virginia Creeper can be used to neutralize poison ivy if you end up in a patch. And Virginia Creeper can almost always be found near poison ivy.
2. You can tell how old a fish is by looking at the underneath of their scales and they have rings like trees do.
3. No matter how much your 2 1/2 yr. old begs you not to take the stroller, take it anyway. My shoulder is killing me between carrying little EM in the sling, my backpack with everyone's paraphernalia and K for half the trip. I could have put one of those three things in the stroller.

The weather ended up being okay. It never rained hard enough that we felt it once we were in the trees. It also stayed really cool and did not have to worry about being overheated.

I ran into my old friend and got to catch up with her. MB hit it off with her son, so we will definitely be getting together again.

When we came home we took it easy. We had lunch and the girls asked to watch Jungle Book for quiet time today, and since my shoulder and back were begging for a lie down I gave in. K and little EM promptly passed out, while MB sat there for the entire movie. It was nice and quiet.

Tomorrow will be a rainy, messy day so I am trying to decide what interesting thing to throw at them so I don't set myself up to be driven to distraction.

Menu for tonight
Italian Sausage Spaghetti
Cheesy Garlic Bread

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.