Saturday, April 29, 2006

Breakfast Conversations

Both MB and K got me good with conversations this morning over breakfast.

First MB and I were working together to fix breakfast for everyone this morning. She makes a mean batch of pancakes. I told her how wonderful it was to have help in the kitchen.

MB -- "This is what we do."

Me -- 'What?"

MB -- "Women's Work"

I like being in the kitchen and preparing meals - but so does my husband. Granted, his are always more on the gourmet, restaurant style - but he likes to be in there too. I have never referred to what I do as "women's work." So I am not sure where she is getting this from. But, while she is enjoying "women's work" I have about 2 loads of laundry I would be willing to share.

After we sat down at the table to eat MB asked me a question about our wedding (DH's & mine). K's eyes got really big and she looked at me like she had never seen me before "You not married to daddy!"

Me -- "yes, your daddy and I are married."

K -- "no, no, no! I gonna marry daddy! You not married."

And, yes, K is daddy's little girl.

I don't think MB and I ever could convince K that daddy and I were married. Of course later in the day MB asked me if daddy could have married one of his sisters. I didn't say it - but I did think for just a moment replying with "no, we don't live in Alabama ;) "



Thursday, April 27, 2006

Rainy Day

I knew when the rain woke me up at 2:30 am this morning I would have to do some plan changing. We had made plans to meet some other kids and parents at the airport observation park for a picnic today - but it rained, and rained and rained some more. No one wanted to do anything else, deciding to spend lazy days at home. Unfortunately, because I limit our out of the house activities the girls were not up for another day at the house.

MB and K suggested their favorite science museum, but I didn't want to drive that far. Instead I suggested an indoor children's activity space. I had not been to it since before K was born and I thought the girls would get a kick out of all the dress-up and pretend activities.

Anyway, we get there - all the way to downtown Raleigh, through highway construction traffic, in the rain, pay our $20.00 entry fee and set out to have fun. It is totally designed as a parent-child interactive. Fine with one or two children who can agree that they want to play grocery store, doctor or whatever. Nearly impossible with three who have three different personalities. EM woul have been happy spending the entire 2 hours at the water sensory table pouring water all over the one set of clothes I had for her. MB thought most of it was babyish, and except for the "hospital" that she could play with the gloves and masks would not do much of anything else. K was the perfect age for the place - and got the most enjoyment out of the totally realistic car and castle. Mommy lasted about an hour-and-a-half before I started wondering if my head would explode from all the toddler squeals echoing around in there.

I should have listened to the girls and taken them to the hands-on science museum. More space, less noice concentrated in one area, and always educational. And, since we have a membership it would have only cost us gas. Live and learn.

As a treat for all of us, we went to McDs. My girls were especially good all day - but I have to say that a couple times in McD's I looked at them wondering why they weren't whining to be allowed to go play before they ate, arguing about their seats, EM wasn't screaming to be out of the highchair. They sat and they ate and we carried on conversations. They finished and asked politely to go play - MB even asking if she could take EM to play. And, she did play with EM styaed with her, helped her down the slides.

Days like this I am noticing are happening more and more frequently. My girls are growing up and they are starting to respond and adapt to some of our changes. I have started to put a lot more trust into the fact that my girls *know* how to act and expect them to act that way. I don't go into so many situations now expecting them or me to melt down- and we all are responding to the new energy around us.

I am not doing a very good job of explaining this. Since MB was about 18 months and we started having some issues with her in public (strong-willed type things) - I decided it would be easier to just be home with her. I would mentally cloth myself with battle fatigues everytime we had to go anywhere. As K and EM have come along - I do try to get out and do some things but try to make wise choices and look for places without many temptations or people. I walk into situations already feeling tense and am ready for whatever meltdown, destructive activity might result from my children being in public. (I know this sounds really bad).

Recently I have been made to realize that I don't trust my children or, especially, myself in how we act in public. I try to control the behavior of the kids so much that they have to push back. I am armed and ready so that the slighest little thing sets me off - I cannot divert or re-direct, instead moving right into battle mommy. Lets say that doesn't make outings very fun. It was me -- Just figuring out to put the responsibility where it belonged, remembering to pray before we go and letting go, relaxing once we are there has made a world of difference recently.

Boy, I got way off topic --



Wednesday, April 26, 2006

All Hail the White Board

The white board doesn't only help MB stay on task but is greatly helpful to me also. The school days are going well, although there have been some resistence to the board - just because it is there. But, with the white board - not only has MB and I stayed focused easier, but K has really wanted to be a part of the day again. It feels good to be in a kind of comfort zone again.

We spent an hour on reading/phonics activities this morning. I have gotten concerned about some of the same continuous mistakes MB has been making for the last 6 months. To the point the idea of having her tested for dyslexia has popped up. DH and my father have it, and I swear I have some of the "signs" for dyslexia. I have been reading up on techniques and have decided to implement them now - it is a slower, more repetitive approach to really help with phonetics and word recall. Even if she isn't dyslexic this type of approach can't hurt her and will help with the same problems I keep seeing pop up.

Anyway, she is actually liking the approach. I am pleased so far that the frustration and fighting has seemed to decline a little. On the other side, K is really attentive to these lessons and I have a fear that K (3 1/2) might take off reading. She keeps disappearing into her room with books for long stretches and when we are working on worksheets she tells me she doesn't need directions - and then proceeds to actually complete them. I would love to have K love and enjoy reading as much as I do, but I am not sure what it will do to MB who is 3 yrs older and loves being the "big" one and the leader in everything.

During Math today - I gave MB a worksheet to help reinforce some of her addition facts and K counted equal number of cherries in the Hi-HO-Cheerio buckets. I sat on the couch to be there in case they had questions - :snore: the next thing i knew MB was waking me up to tell me she was done.

And to just let everyone know how slow we are in history - we are finally to Chapter 18 of SOTW 1. Since September we have managed to make it less than halfway. At this rate the four year history plan is going to take us 8.

I better go - MB just came in to inform me how much work it is to keep her two little sisters from doing things that they shouldn't be doing. All while blowing her bangs out of her eyes in frustration. I just had to laugh and give her a big hug.




We have returned to our "woods" science unit that we did not complete before it got too cold this past fall. I am kind of skipping around in it for good "spring" activities as it is reall a good curriculum for the fall and is designed as such. This week it is decomposition and fungi - actually pretty cool to me. MB seems to be enjoying it - but hey I handed her a dull butter knife, a magnifying glass and some baggies and told her to go explore the old tree stumps in our natural area. For MB, this is wonderful!!

Yesterday, she spent several hours outside collecting specimens and picture of things she could not touch (mushrooms) and loved watching all the "bugs" in these old pieces of wood. She thought is was neat that something as large and thick as a tree could end up becoming dirt.



So Many Things


We have not gone back to our storage unit yet to start moving things back into the house. I am getting to the point I am starting to miss some of our things - mainly homeschooling materials and books. The one thing I am not missing, and apparently the children are not either, are all the toys that were packed away - 2 LARGE boxes and a medium size one. I am not sure how to approach this. (1) most of those toys were given as gifts and I would hate to hurt anyone's feelings by just getting rid of them (the people who gave them are around enough to realize whether or not they are here and will comment) (2) there is alot of money invested in those toys - to the point it kind of paralyzes me to just donate it all and I do not do yard sales (bad memories). Honestly the girls have only really missed some of their board games - and I have not hear a word about all the other things that were packed away.

I do know I want to keep the Little People Collections as they have continued to play with the ones that are out during this time - and we have at least two more children who will be growing into them. I also use them in teaching history :). I also want to keep the train set. This is one of those one again/ off again toys with us. I personally love to play with it, and if we have a boy this time around we will already have this toy for him (not that the girls don't play with it). Dress-up is a must have in this house - to the point we never even packed it away. So, I am left with boxes of stuffed animals, dolls, play food and kitchen gear, and I don't even remember what else that I have to figure out what to do with - without hurting anyone's feelings. But we cannot bring this clutter back into the house.


Monday, April 24, 2006

Dinners Ready!

It is five-till-seven, and the girls are still outside with daddy playing. Food is ready to be served but I just can't bear to bring them in.

We moved K up to the larger bike, MB's old one, putting the training wheels back on. It just seemed like she has having so much trouble trying to pedal the little 12-inch bike. Now, she is out there just riing in circles in the road and loving it. It should make our next trip to the library much easier for all of us. (we can walk/bike to our library if so inclined - and gas @ 3.00/gal inclines us.)

EM has already found the little 12-inch bike, climbed on and just sits there with the biggest smile, not that she knows what to do - but with two big sisters out there I am sure it won't take too long.

Daddy and MB are playing a little game of softball, using my van as a the backdrop - I am really glad they are using a soft ball and soft bat.

Does anyone else have trouble getting everyone down for dinner before 7pm when the weather is nice and the sun setting so late?


This weekend has been nice, but not much going on unless you want to hear about my shopping expedition on Sunday in which many items I had been considering for a few months were suddenly on sale, and well, the girls finally have new sheets that don't have stains and dry rotted elastic. I did pick up an inexpensive, small portable white board to use in our daily planning. I have missed the one we packed up and put in storage, in the very back of the storage room no less.

The new white board and a couple of hours yesterday afternoon while the girls were at the park with daddy, and I was able to organize this weeks schoolwork. That felt really good. So I sit here this Monday morning, ready to tackle the day.

Our retired neighbors who have a swimming pool informed us last night that they are going to travel all summer in their RV, and want us to use and take care of their pool for them. So the girls are psyched that they will be able to swim till their hearts content this summer.

We watched The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe" Saturday night. I enjoyed it, but apparently since it has been nearly a year since we read the book, and several months since we listened to the radio play - MB just couldn't follow. Her favorite book in the series so far is The Silver Chair and she thinks of this when we say "Narnia." So, a little confusion for her. I have pulled back out The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe"and we started reading it again last night - slowly, stopping every few sentences to discuss WWII and various word meanings. My goal is to proceed slowly, checking for comprehension often. But, when we finish we will watch the movie again. MB is all for it, since she did not see the end of the movie this weekend - because she was sent to bed for horsing around during movie time, and she can't stand to not see the end of any movie - even one she barely paid any attention to.

Like I said, not a very exciting or happening weekend. It is Monday, so we will stay home today - maybe go to the library. Otherwise it is our relaxed, gear up to the week slowly day.



Friday, April 21, 2006

Wonder and Joy

I keep feeling the push to keep gratitude lists, to remind me of all the awesome gifts that God has given me. Yet, I never seem to quite get around to it. I get wrapped up and want to expound on the magnificence of each one. So, today I have decided to focus on the gift of my children and how they remind me each day of the forgiveness, grace and love of our Father.

It is their gift of wonder and joy that they give me each day for God's creation. It is the reminder to not be a "Martha" all the time, but to sometimes step into "Mary's" shoes and just watch and listen. I don't think that I am very different than most adults when I say that my day gets filled with to do lists and chores. I do feel the pressure to keep the house running well, the children safe an educated, and provide meals for all - this is my job - my service.

So, my days tend to go off in some checklist fashion, even if I don't keep one. Breakfast - check, laundry - check, play game with kids - check, and so forth. It does start to become a burden after awhile. Then the girls remind me - stop, take time, watch and just be.

I'll admit that there are times that I become frustrated when MB runs in, yet again, to tell me to come look at what she has discovered. I am up to my elbows in cooking dinner, or some other such thing and I just want some peace and quiet while they are outside playing. But I go, and there I will see that she is watching a spider wrap up its dinner, or the flower that has just opened, and "can't you see all the beautiful colors Mommy?" the bunnies having their meal in the neighbors yard. My active, seldom still daughter stops and admires these things and just knows that I need to see it to.

K experiences joy so completely, down to her very cells, that she actually shakes and squeals when she hears or sees something that excites her. Everything is like a gift to her, to be experienced as deeply as possible, for as long as possible. I can get very frustrated with her because of her "pokiness." K doesn't rush anywhere. She takes her time, looking all around her, experiencing where she is at anyone moment in time. I am normally there pushing her to go faster, to keep up - but what am I in a rush for? K experiences her joy, her sadness, where she is in life at that moment and takes us all along for the experience.

EM finds the good things in life and believes life, at this point I believe to be very funny. She took her time smiling and laughing - but more than made up for it by developing this quick sense of humor and a deep, contagious belly laugh that soon has all of us rolling even if we don't get the joke. At her young age, life is fun and full of fun things to try. She recently discovered the small plastic slide - down she slides not knowing how to stop herself at the bottom she keeps right on going until she plops off the end and lands on her rear. Then she just laughs and jumps up to do it all over again. Books I have read ad nauseum to the other two have taken on newer meanings with EM as she points out the little things and starts off laughing about them. Laughter is the best medicine and life can be filled with many fun things, EM seems to be telling me.

Thank you Lord for the gifts you give each day, for the gift of the girls and their reminders for me to be aware of your even greater gifts - the wonder of your creation, the chance to be an experience life in all its colors, and fun and laughter. Help to step back and embrace these gifts today.



Thursday, April 20, 2006

The park was a great succcess yesterday. But, memo to myself, remembering to take the camera and remembering to actually remove it from the bag and use it are two different things. I have really great pictures of the day - unfortunately they are stored in my head not the memory of the camera.

The day started out well - which I guess is the reason it went so well. The girls got up and helped me with making breakfast - scrambled eggs all around. K broke the eggs, MB whisked them and cooked them on the stove (under my supervision). Then we all helped pack our lunch. The excitement was great for an actual field trip!!

Our plans did change slightly as we were pulling into the park an I received a call from on of our favorite homeschooling families. They were also going to a lake/park for a play day and wanted to know if we wanted to join them. So we pulled out of the parking lot and headed over to another park. Great change of plans. With us, there were three families and seven children. I think this is just about the perfect number.

We played on the play structure, roamed the woods, put our toes in the water and built sandcastles. We had lunch and visited. I ended up home an hour-and-a-half later than I had planned - but with no one whining and crying from being too hot or too tired.

We all rested for about an hour and then hit the books. After MB's intial bucking at the new way her subtraction problems were written it all went smoothly. I even got her to write two sentences about her day (although you might have thought I had asked her to remove her fingernails one-by-one).

On the way to soccer, DH called to say that he needed to work late and then he was going to go straight to his Wednesday night thingy so we would not see him until after bedtime. We picked up a frozen pizza on the way home and had pizza and french fries (MB's choice) for dinner.

We did baths/showers and cuddled up to watch the Amazing Race. off topic for a moment: I have never sat to watch an entire season of this, but I do like the idea of the show. Generally, I have been turned off with the amount of time spent on the arguing an backstabbing of the contestants. I have to say that I was really, really pleased last night as I felt the arguing was minimal, there was a lot of cheering for teammates and the scenery of Oman was beautiful. We talked about where Oman is, the Middle East and some of the cultural aspects that MB noticed in the show (like you only saw men in Oman - she wanted to know where all the women were.)

After the show, MB read me the rest of her story. Then we read the next chapter in Peter Pan.
The girls were so tired and headed off to bed, where they could watch the stars from their beds. (I move around their room and placed the bed next to a window that they both can lay in bed and look out the window - this was very exciting for them.)

It really was a good day. I wish I could bottle it - find out the secret to the day.

Anyway, everyone should be waking soon and I have a few chores I would like to knock out before then.



Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Home Education Musings for Us

We are settling back down into what I might refer to as normalcy around these parts. Something we have not had since, I don't know, maybe September. It seems like such a long time to have one thing after another -- I am ready for it.

With every thing going on I have just felt like this homeschooling year (our first official for the extended family) has been a bust, at least viewed from the outside. I *know* the girls have learned and grown, and just all in all doing exactly what they need to do. I also know that my DH and some of his family have looked at this year and responded with ya'll have taken so many breaks when have you had time to "do school." Where is the discipline in your day? (Discipline - not in punitive punishment, but as in regular structure and expectations). I am not going to fight this out with the in-laws, because it reall isn't worth it. But, DH is one of them looking at this past year and shaking his head. I admit that this year has ended up nothing like we had imagined it, but what in life does. So I don't know if I am going to have to battle to keep on homeschooling next fall or not. DH and I decided to take it one year at a time, and this is just not a good example.

In some ways, ways that not everyone sees, this year has been highly successful for homeschooling. A lot of my preconceptions have gotten dashed. I have spent time educating myself on different learning styles and watching my girls as they go about their day. I am more open to using many different approaches, rather than stuck with just one that we would us no matter what. Which all basically means that I have learned that I need to learn more. And I have decided that the only way to learn how to homeschool my girls is to homeschool my girls.

Some things I want to do differently and I need to work on are:

1. Getting out of the house more. This could mean more family field trips, more HS group trips and get together, or more just hanging out. My anti-social personality trait really kicked in this year and I do regret that.

2. The girls and I all need to develop our expectations and really stick to it. Do we have three at home days and really spend that time on our "paper" learning and have two days out and about? If I give MB an assignment I really need to stick to the ball and make sure it is done - not get so sidetracked with other things.

3. I need to spend more time developing and preparing. Just letting it come has become stressful and almost like drudgery. I don't even want to face it some days. If I could just get each week in advanced printed out and prepared I believe things would go much smoother.

4. All in all I need to work on my organization and my disciplines. I set the example of expectations for the girls. Without a strong role model this year they really have learned to kind of run over me, and I just haven't had much of an energy to "fight" back.

I can't wait to get my white board and all the extra home education books and materials that we stored three months ago out of storage and re-set up. I am missing my library at my fingertips.

I am excited about the Sprummer (Spring/Summer - our weather can't decide which it is) being here. I am entering my second trimester and our housing has been decided for the next year, at least. I am ready to concentrate on life immediately around me: homeschooling, nesting, becoming better financial managers, etc. These things excite me, challenge me and touch my heart. I love being a mother who can be at home, even though I was raised to be a mother who would work. I have done both - and this fulfills me - right where I am. I write this not to make a point or to enter into any larger SAHM/working mom argument; but because I am consistently surprised by how satisfied I am - because I never imagined this as my life.

I need to go pack our picnic - we are going to head out for a morning at the local lake and play ground.



Monday, April 17, 2006

It Is Done!

Well it took a long weekend to finally find out what was going on, but this morning I have finally heard back and we are officially out of the contract to sell our house. I know to most people this would be bad. But DH and I are so relieved. We cannot really put a finger on it, why in particular we are so relieved. But, apparently, both of us being so relieved in general is a good thing. A God-given blessing.

Now, we have a chance to step back and determine what we really want, what we need and where we are supposed to be going in this journey. I have some vague ideas regarding next steps, but honestly I am so tired right now I don't even want to start working on them for the next few days. I just want to take the time right now to enjoy God's gifts that we have already received.

I also had my first doctor's appointment today. Everything is looking great. I even got my first glimpse at "version 4." My doctor always does an early internal ultrasound to determine a more "exact" due date and check heartbeat. This is the latest I have ever had this done so it is interesting to see how well formed, and large this baby already is. It waved at me and was very busy dancing around. Because the baby measured large, and I am certain of the date of my LMP - the doctor told me that I am due on 10/29 - but I will probably go early (I always go early).

It has been a really nice morning all in all. Good house news, good baby news and the public school kids are out for the day and my two oldest are being well entertained with the passel of kids hanging out at my house.

I will try to have Easter pictures later today.



Saturday, April 15, 2006

Nonsense photos

These really don't have a story. I just thought they were cute.

The Cool Spot

While the big girls run around dressing up and playing their roles as princesses. EM and puppy Ginger have found their spot in the sand underneath the plastic playset.

Queens of the Castle

The big girls received this castle tent as a Christmas present. I have finally gotten around the putting it up so that they can enjoy playing with it in the wonderful, summer spring days we are having.

Child Prodigy

Miss Em is the earliest of my children yet to manage the delicate task of eating applesauce with a spoon and not end up bathing herself, my floors and the walls in it. I tell you when it comes to food this child is a genius.

Update- Changes in Plans

I have not updated in awhile because I have been hoping to have some type of resolution to share,but apparentlythat is not going to be forth coming anytime soon. So, here is the quick update:

(1) we have canceled our contract to buy on the other house.

(2) we are in punch list negotiations with the buyer of this house, and I guess you could say we are trying hard to convince her to withdraw her contract to purchase.

Yes, I know those that read are shaking their heads and going "huh?"

After prayer,discussions and new information that came to our attention we no longer feel like moving is in our best interest at this time. Early this week we found out that the seller of the house we wanted to buy would not address any of the punch list, with that info added to the fact that the house did not feel "perfect" to both of us and the money crunch I felt like we were headed into -- we did not feel like this was the house for us. We had an out, that would allow us to recoop most of our money, and took it - especially in light of the buyer'spunch list on our house.

I will not go in much detail on our house, but we had what I would see as a fairly normal punch list for a house this age. But, the buyer's wanted us to address issues that are common with settlement on houses in this are, and that are costly and time consuming (issues that are normally accepted as those you would find and don't generally require repairs to). The general consensus was that she was also looking for an "out" on our house.

With the loss of the other house, interest rates going up on us in mid-process, and other costly issues that have come up- DH and I just don't think moving is it for us. It always comes back to some of the same issues. First of all, the location of our house in comparison to where DH works, the girls' activities, shopping, etc., is the best one we could ever hope for. Secondly,we have a yard with space and interest (there is also room for additions).Third, we bought and then refinanced this house during the time when interest rates had bottomed, and we bought before this area of the county began to experience its growth - leaving us in a very positive financial position regarding housing.

Anyway- there is no resolution to this yet. The buyers have not requested to cancel the contract yet - and may very well accept it leaving us with the option to either cancel it ourselves and pay them money or to continue shopping and hope we can find something and close in the next three weeks.

We are going to try to have a very nice, thoughtful and relaxing Easter with the family and forget that this is going on for awhile.



Monday, April 10, 2006

Fears and New Recipes

This weekend I have been trying to fight off the yearly sinus infection that is insistent on arriving at the worst time. Thankfully the girls have been kept busy by other family members and activities so that I can sit around and stress about all the changes in our lives. I am stressing about the idea that our home buyer might still pull out of the contract based on the home inspection and force us to back out of our new house (this even though I have no known reasons why our home inspection would come back so poorly). But on the other hand, and almost in the same breath, I am stressing about reworking our new family finances in a new home. The thing is that I stop and pray (when the stress gets so bad and I start feeling like I am hyperventilating) for God to take this from us and for me to stay out of the way - then I start to feel better and almost immediately my attention is taken up into more enjoyable pursuits. Then two or three hours later, back slowly creeps the fears and insecurities. It is like riding a teeter-totter.

Even though I am a female, I have just enough Mars (Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus) in me to look for solutions when I get stressed out. Stress and fear in the right amount are wonderful motivators for change, it is when I get locked into the stress and fears and become unable to do or enjoy anything that I have a problem. Anyway, I have been working on budgets and cost cutting ideas. I can't do anything about electricity, water, sewer, garbage and gas as they are locked into the community. But, I have managed to find some less expensive options for phone, internet, cell phones and television (must have for DH). I have also decided on the need to get back to more oversight on our grocery budget. These last four months have been killer for that - I have barely hit our warehouse store and we are doing way too much drop in grocery runs for 1, 2, 20 items.

This weekend I manged to get over to the library alone so that I could explore the nonfiction stacks without prying a climbing child off the shelves. I came home with six different cookbooks to review. So far I have managed to work myself two-thirds of the way through one - jotting down recipe ideas as I go. I have been pleasantly surprised by the number of recipes that I have found that I think we can save some money with, especially since this cookbook is not a budget cookbook, but an italian-american one. The biggest thing is the number of recipes I have found that require very little meat or none at all. The meat that is often used are cheaper cuts. Being that DH is little bit of a food snob, I think that I might have found some definite recipes to try that will satisfy him and our budget. I picked up a bread cookbook and am really excited to get back into some fresh bread making after the move. And the other cookbooks are mainly stew and crockpot ideas.

I am looking forward to cooking more in the new house. The kitchen there has just been so warm and welcoming every time I have been in the house. Here I dread the kitchen, and just don't want to spend my time in it. I am salivating at the space in the kitchen in the new house, the size of the sink and the area that the kids can be there helping without actually being near the stove or oven. From the kitchen I can see the family room, dining room (library-school room), sunroom (play room), and backyard play area. So much more motivation for me.

My mom is coming in today to spend the week. She is going to help me pack and entertain the girls while we do some other house stuff. I may or may not get on much, but I will try.



Saturday, April 08, 2006

Musicals and Butterflies

This is actually from Saturday - I forgot to actually POST it.

This last week the big girls have really grabbed onto the musical genre. I guess this is what the classic disney animation movies prepare them for - but since the 60's not many very good musicals have been made. We have watched Mary Martin in Peter Pan, always a favorite; Julie Andrews in The Sound of Music; and Dick Van Dyke in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, a surprise as it was on cable last night. Children dancing and singing - both onscreen and in the middle of our family room. What a joy it has brought me to watch K with her arms outstretched, dancing on her toys, singing "I float, I fly, I fleetly float I flyyyy." MB last night trying to sing the very difficult theme song to Chitty Chitty, was worth a laugh even though I cannot do it justice here. Rewatching Chitty Chitty last night has reinvigorated me to want to continue building my musical collection, and I want to begin again with this

The Special Edition. I just have to wait until we are settled. I do have a birthday in three months - mhhmmm.

And, so you won't think we have just been couch potatos - butterflies have returned!! Hours are spent outside chasing them, watching them. I have even caught MB and K, catching butterflies, with their bare hands, and taking them back to their bedroom. Apparently, MB wants to open her own butterfly house. It is the strangest thing. MB can catch creatures like butterflies and small lizards - they will then allow her to walk around with them as they just sit on her arm. For as long as an hour I have seen these creatures sit and "visit" with MB.

But bedrooms, especially bedrooms in a house with two dogs is no where to start a butterfly house. But, I am thinking after we move I might set up our screen tent that MB can use to observe butterflies for short periods of time before they are set free.



Friday, April 07, 2006

Today was House Inspection Day. A BIG day for us, as it is the only thing at this point that could possibly mess up our intended move. They told us we could stay here for the inspection, which was good being that it started at 9:00 am and I was just making breakfast when they arrived. The inspector came, along the with the buyers agent and buyer's father. I actually had a really good time visiting with the agent and father. Very nice people there. The girls did a great job listening and staying out of the way of the inspector. We played outside for about an hour and then I let them come in and watch a video for awhile before they decided they would rather be out in the 80-degree weather.

The inspector stayed 3 hours. I don't know whether that is good or not for us, but I am sure he was very thorough for the buyer. A couple of times when the inspector and I crossed paths he asked about where we are moving and if we are excited. I had to bite my tongue not to return with "Well, that depends on your report." Because that is what it is down to.

It is at least over. I have spent the last weeks going around the house looking for things that I coul go ahead and fix. Now, I don't have that pressure hanging over me. Early next week we will get our list from the inspection and actually know what needs to be repaired. As the inspector left he shook my hand and said congratulations. I hope that means we are not going to be raked over the coals.

Three more weeks basically....



Thursday, April 06, 2006

Changes Afoot

I could really lay out a major vent here about moving. But, as a friend reminded me recently that I need to be grateful that I have things like houses, and caring family members, and the ability to be home during the day without working, and possessions - all to worry about. And, I am so very grateful for this gifts we have received. And, these are just all things, material items, mostly. I wish that this was a mindset for me in the most normal sense, but I have to remind myself over and over that my circumstances in life have no bearing on who I am and what I am to do with my life. I can only do those things that God has given me to do each day, I do not have the power to make other people be happy. I can do what I need to do and turn it over - then go do the next thing on my list.

It has been brought to my attention that I try to do too much in some regards. I see it when I take care of all the household things, just so DH won't have to be bothered - but often times that ends up just keeping him out of the loop and unaware. I am not being fair to him, even though my reasoning was that he works all day, he doesn't need stress here at the house. I also see it with my kids, in that I don't expect enough household help out of them. I found that doing it myself was easier. I don't generally have a 20 minute agrument about whether or not to pick something off the floor with myself. But making their life easier, isn't being fair to them either. They need to learn to be a part of a family, they need to learn to clean up and they need to learn how to clean.

I am not trying to look for a way to be lazy here, as there are many areas I need to improve on in my own life and in my own household areas. But, I need to stop taking on the responsibilities of others in the family. I can look at it two ways for me - (1) It is a control thing. I know everything that is going on and I can do it the way I want it done. and (2) A misguided sense of love and care. I really love my family and I want them to be happy. If I have the ability to make their lives easier why shouldn't I do it? (for answer see paragraph above).

The thing is the move is giving me the chance to practice letting go at all sorts of things. Slowly, DH is being brought into the loop and is having to face some things that he has needed to face. I am not doing as well - my fingernails are chewed down and I keep wanting to have update meetings with DH to make sure he is on the same page as me. But I am trying.

Also with the move comes a new home and a place with new rules. While we are doing things new, the girls are going to get some new responsibilities. Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes!



Monday, April 03, 2006

Packing 101

Today I have begun our adventure in packing. We have basically a month, with Easter and family visit thrown in for good measure. I do not feel crunched with the time, but also don't want to find myself procrastinating down to the last minute, either.

So, today I started by packing up all the girls' winter clothes. I figure after the thunderstorms last night and this morning I can go ahead and figure that Spring has sprung. This led us over to the in-laws house to pick up the Spring/Summer clothes that have been in storage over there. So, what I have accomplished in packing has been made null & void by the scattering of clothes across the floor while I figure out who can wear what this year.

In between Em's teething induced screaming episodes (in which cuddling said screaming child is the only affective treatment), I have managed to pack my few remaining books that are not in storage. I know I can go ahead and pack up my pottery and pictures that I had left for decorating purposes. But, after that I am at a loss at how to proceed with packing for the next month.

How many toys do I leave out and available?

How early is too early to eat off paper plates?

I look around and see all this stuff that has to be "last minute" packing, and that is just scary. So, for those of you who have moved with children before how early did you begin packing away stuff?



Sunday, April 02, 2006

Actual Education Post

There is nothing like a good cleaning to find things that are lost or even things that one doesn't even remember having. The cleaning has been very conducive to the girls getting excited about a little self-directed learning.

Friday I was cleaning out the storage containers where I had put thrown our CD-ROMs back when we had cleaned out the desk for house showing purposes. Buried within was a treasure I had forgotten. About a year ago I managed to find a good deal on some older programs, most of them being free. Most of them are from the mid-90's and don't have all the graphical bells & whistles one sees in computer programs today - but they are still educational sound programs. Really the alphabet, phonics, basic math and US geography hasn't change in the last decade.

You would have thought birthdays and Christmas had come early. First we had to load up the talking math program (which is really missed named since it also contains spelling, complete the sentences, alphabetical order and US Geography all on the same CD-ROM). There is nothing fancy about this as it really is just talking flash cards with little sounds when you get it right. But hey that is more interesting than me sitting with flashcards. The girls were having so much fun with this program that a friend called us and wanted to meet at a local fast food restuarant with play ground, and yet the girls kept me waiting - "I just want to do it again,"; "five more minutes, please." Being the mean mommy that I am I finally insisted that we go load ourselves up with fatty food and play on a germ-ridden playstructure so that mommy could have some adult time.

When we got back I had to load up the Body Works CD-ROM. Which has cool 3-D cutaways and images of body systems and major organs. I had bought this specifically to use when we studied the human body this winter then of course forgot that we had it. Anyway, since we had just finished the unit it was pretty cool to go through it again. The text was way over MB's ability - but that was okay really we just wanted it for the cool images.

Saturday was a "Frog Festival" at a local park. MB and K had been talking about this all week. It was our plan to head over there Saturday morning while DH had to be gone somewhere else. As it seems like happens when we try to plan things someone got sick. This time it was my very healthy, never-ever sick EM. She woke me up over night sporting a very high fever. So, we regrouped. DH went to do his thing while the big girls helped me clean a little and then went to play with friends. When he came home he took MB and K to the festival, while EM and I napped.

It was probably better he took them anyway. Reptiles and Amphibians don't generally bother me, but I don't have the interest and knowledge about them that he does. So they had a great time and MB came home talking about all the snakes she had seen and touched and the different activities. So we sat down on the computer and looked for examples of the different creatures so she could show me.

While looking we came across a photo image that someone had inverted the colors on to emphasize something. That led to a discussion of what color inversion is and the need to open the basic paint program on the computer. MB then proceeded to spend the next 45 minutes figuring out the color inversions for the standard colors and creating abstract art and then inverting it to get the colors she actually wanted. She did some very cool pieces.

MB has also returned from her one week break from reading aloud. She had advanced so quickly in the last couple of months that when she asked for a breather I allowed it. I am glad that I did. She has returned even more relaxed about it. She is tackling long, difficult words on her own. And comprehension wise she has learned not just to sound out the words, but if she sounds it out and still doesn't know the word she is stopping and asking me. This from a child four months ago would rather do anything than read aloud and when she did would read through as quick as she could not caring what the words actually "said."

I would still like to see her "fall in love" with reading the way I am. But, I don't know if I am ever going to see that here. MB is so active and a kinesthetic learner to boot, that I think sitting still to read is almost painful for her. She loves sports and nature and being outside, and those are the gifts I need to cultivate in her.

Have a peaceful Sunday

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.