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.


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.