Saturday, November 29, 2008

I miss my camera

I never thought that I would miss my camera so much. It isn't like I need the thing to survive or anything, but I find myself constantly reaching for the camera to record whatever the most recent nutty thing my children have done. Never more do I miss it than on family holidays when the kids pull out all the stops to serve as entertainment for the rest of us.

I do believe that we are creating a monster with Robbie. He has to be one of the most purposefully, funny toddlers I have ever been around. He has had the rest of the family in stitches for the last two days and I have yet to get one picture of it. His latest is his harmonica act; he plays a bit on his harmonica, "sings" a measure or two, back to the harmonica. When he is done and everyone claps...he bows. No one will admit to teaching him this either. Class Clown is too tame a word for this kid.

We have had a wonderful holiday. Being so close to the in-laws means we can come and go as we feel like it, and as the children need a break. Dinner on Thursday was great as always, even though I am never allowed to actually help. On Friday the aunts took the girls to the movies and Randy went over to his parents to clear out some of the fallen & leaning trees in the woods. While also getting us some much needed firewood. I stayed home with Robbie while he napped and tried to do some work. We went back over for dinner-part 2.

Today, Randy was able to get three tickets to the State football game this afternoon and is planning to take Mary and Katie with him. I'll stay home with Emily and Robbie, and again try to get some work done. Tonight the kids will stay with the in-laws (beauty night for the girls) while Randy and I attend the Christmas party for his job. After their mini-party they will bring them back home and put them to bed for us.

I hope everyone else has been able to spend some precious time with loved ones this weekend.



Thursday, November 20, 2008

Christmas Shopping and Time Away

After the craziness of last week I was able to escape for a couple of days away. I meet my mom in Wilmington and we spent most of two days doing our Christmas shopping. Just the two of us. It has been such a long time since I have been able to spend anytime alone with my mom, which made this such a nice treat.

In two days, without kids, I was able to get all of our Christmas shopping done!!! Yeah...I am so thrilled that I don't have to sweat this out into December. I think the kids are going to be so excited this year. We didn't do much, but I really tried to listen to the kids throughout the year to determine their presents.

That was the highlight of my past week, a lot more has been going on. Last Saturday I picked up a desktop computer from a friend's house. It had some issues that they didn't want to mess with so gave it to us to see if we could fix. I reloaded the operating system, and now we have a second desktop for the kids to us. Bliss to no longer all be fighting over one computer.

The cold weather has settled in it seems. Tuesday afternoon we had snow flurries! The kids were so excited and Emily kept telling me about the snowman she was going to build. I started a fire in the fireplace once we were home for the day, and we enjoyed doing our reading and playing a few games together in the family room.

Tuesday I took Mary in for her last dentist appointment for the year. Everything is now all fixed and her next visit will be her six-month check-up in May. I know she is thrilled to be done with all those dentist visits.

Of course, I should never have assumed that I would be done taking children to the dentist. Katie bumped her mouth over the weekend, and we noticed that she had swelling that kept getting bigger. This morning I took her in to have it checked, and she ended up having her top front baby tooth pulled. It was already loose before the bump, but somehow infection and formed around the roots. Everything else was fine, and while it was a little traumatic for Katie she has bounced back well and has actually gone out to play this afternoon.

With everything going on I still feel very refreshed going into the crazy month of December. Presents are bought and hidden, wood is piled and handy, lots of games and books just waiting for us to slow down enough for them.


Thursday, November 13, 2008

Museum trip and lots of driving

We did make it to the Museum of Life and Sciences yesterday for our outing. How heavenly it was waiting the one extra day. It wasn't empty, but not crowded at all. The kids were able to enjoy and take their time with what they wanted to do. We were even able to participate in one of the learning labs and do an experiment testing whether or not certain foods contained fats.

We spent a total of three hours there, but did leave for a lunch break in the middle, to prevent those pesky toddler meltdowns. I do have to say that the fieldtrips this year have been wonderful. All the children are young/old enough to enjoy our trips. I'm no longer juggling an infant and a toddler. And, Mary and Katie have each achieved certain levels of independence that are letting them enjoy new aspects of the museums. The next trip has already been requested, The Marble Museum in December.

Further evidence that my brain doesn't always click on all cylinders; we were having so much fun at the museum I totally forgot about all the running around that is my Wednesday evening. My friend called to confirm that I was going to be home to meet her children after school (it is a standing Wed. thing), which reminded me that we had Emily's dance class at 4pm. And, I still had not confirmed with the other parent in Mary's soccer practice carpool. We got home at 2:45, called the soccer carpool (they want me to drop Mary at their house at 5:20. Mary meet the school bus at 3:15 and at 3:50 everyone loaded back into the car to drive Emily to class. Brought everyone back home by 4:10, made arrangments with friend to bring Emily home with her. Let everyone play while I made sure that I had actually washed Mary's practice uniform. Emily is home at 5:10, send friend's children home and hog tie a kicking & screaming Emily (who does not want to get in her carseat one more time today) back into the car to drop Mary off. *I should point out that this Wednesday is actually lighter than it has been, since Katie's soccer season ended last weekend!!!

Emily did manage to overcome her car trauma, and by the time we got home was begging me to get out her maze workbook. I fed them all dinner, had baths and put the two little ones in bed early since naps were pretty much non-existent.

And, since my online work is pretty much non-existent right now while some IT issues are corrected, I spent the evening trying to play catch up with some bloggers and do some long-missed internet research. I found and downloaded the role-playing game Faery's Tale from Firefly games. It is for ages 6+ and looks like it will be so much fun to play with my creative, inventive children. After school work, we will spend the afternoon reading about how to create our Faery characters. A good way to spend a dreary, cloudy cool day.



Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Changing Plans and Changing Weather

We had plans to do our monthly visit to the Museum of Life and Sciences yesterday, until I was reminded that it was Veteren's Day. I knew it was Veteren's Day, but that never clicked in my mind that it also meant the schools were closed until yesterday morning. Going to a museum on a school holiday is not something I plan on doing, again, so we re-arranged plans.

The school kids were home in the neighborhood and my children disappeared to a neighbor's house to enjoy a stolen day of freedom. I played with Robbie and Emily, piddled around the house and did some web surfing. I salvaged some chicken breasts from the freezer that were on the edge of freezer burn, and boiled them to use in Dh's favorite pasta dish for dinner.

In the afternoon Mary and Katie decided that they needed to do some raking in the front yard, and cleaned off the walkway for us. Then they helped me gather wood so that we could have a fire ready when DH came home from work.

The evening was spent hanging out close to the fireplace. We read, going through the girls' current reading material. It gives me a chance to check how independent reading is going. Then reviewed this week's spelling words. Followed by bath time and hair braiding while warming ourselves near the fire. And, finally, off to bed early because we will be heading out the museum today.

It was a wonderful day even if it wasn't the one we planned.



Monday, November 10, 2008

Hearing from a long lost friend

A few weeks ago my sister convinced me to set up a Facebook page so the two of us could keep in contact with each other easier. Even though there were hundreds of people from my high school who have pages I had stayed away from setting up any other friends just because I didn't know how involved I wanted to be in it. My life is pretty boring to try to condense in quick one liners. For example, this morning my entry was "Making homemade waffles. I love Mondays." Can a person be anymore boring. There is no room to describe how calm my weekly homeschool life is compared to the franticness of weekend ball games and errand running. And, honestly who but other homeschool parents can understand the thrill of those perfect homeschool days.

Last night I received a message from one of my dearest school friends. A guy that is pretty much in all my memories from 6th grade on. We went to the same college and then half-way through he came-out of the "closet" and disappeared. He is one of those people I have missed having in my life during all these years. We chatted for a few minutes before I had to go put everyone to bed. I was so very excited to hear from him. Since we have become "friends" on Facebook, several other of my high school friends have found me and it has been kind of neat catching up with them. I feel better about it than I thought I would.



Saturday, November 08, 2008

Really good week

Coming back to a structured curriculum by Mary's choice has been a very good thing. The emphasis in that sentence is Mary's choice. The last six months of unit studies and projects with very little structure was just the time she needed to do some internal growing, developing or maturing. It is also perfect since the seasons are changing and we are all ready to hunker down in front of the fire place for a little winter downtime.

One would have thought after six months some review would be needed or that I would have to go back to at least where we stopped. Instead, I pulled out all new third grade language arts workbooks and started with those. Language Arts is the subject we have skimmed the most the last few years as I have waited for her reading skills to develop. By her choice, Mary has jumped right in and is doing great!!

Not, to be outdone Katie is joining us and is working through her own curriculum again. Being the opposite of Mary, she thrives in the world of words and books and finds math to be a chore. Following the one thing I have learned these past few years, this is the time for Katie to do what she likes, to grow and develop that area of herself. Later will be the time for stretching into more difficult areas. It doesn't mean 'no math', just not math workbooks every single day.

The week ended with a beautiful 80-degree day that we had to celebrate by going to the park to play. And, in the evening both Mary and Katie each had sleepovers to go to giving me a somewhat quiet night at home to do some catching up. And, this morning it is raining and cool...yeah as it is just in time for our end-of-season soccer games/potluck. I won't bore anyone with all the multitudes of ways that I am glad recreational soccer is over this season. Don't worry, Mary's competitive team keeps playing and practicing right through the winter. I'll have plenty of soccer to keep me busy.



Sunday, November 02, 2008

Time! I need more time in a day!

Seriously every day seems to slip away from me faster and faster. I am beginning to enter the dark abyss of stressed out mommy and the holidays are not even here yet. I feel as if I am so busy with the little stuff lately that I am missing out on some of the big things.

We have made it through October. I cannot believe that October has already come and gone. As the end of the month came I found us at loose ends as far as schooling was going. We had finished up the Elizabethan study and had not really found anything to fully fill that void. We were spending our days playing some games and Mary was enjoying doing some trivia research, but we all felt really blah about how it was going. So, Mary and I sat down and evaluated what we are doing and where we want to go for the next few months. Her idea is to go back to workbooks for a little while. She wants the structure in them, especially as she works on her writing skills and grammar. Thankfully I have a pile of them that I had already purchased thinking that we would come back around at some point. We are going to focus on reading, research skills and writing for the next little while. Math will still be a part of the day, as always, but history and science will become a by-product of the language art skills until we get to the point Mary and I feel comfortable again.

Now that we are all starting to feel a little better I am hoping that we can go on a few more outings. Nothing like each one of us getting sick for a week, each separately to really make a month disappear.

I'm getting to the point that I am going to really schedule myself with my work time. I'm going to limit myself to 2 hours a day during the week (one in the morning and one in the afternoon) and then 4-5 hours each on Saturday and Sunday when DH can take over with the kids and some of the chores. Otherwise I keep finding myself on here for long periods working because the more I work the more $ I can make. But, it is just too much and I need to have limits. The worse the economic news became the more obsessed I was becoming about earning more money. Security and all those other hang-ups I have.

Maybe, just maybe we can all get back to normal around here and can start really enjoying our days again.


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.