Thursday, August 31, 2006

And my newly flexible life has its first test . . .

Well, I've been bragging to everyone about how much I love homeschooling, and how it's just going to make my little angels even more perfect and well behaved -- okay, only those of you who have not personally met my little . . . angels . . . would believe that. But I have been seriously plugging the flexibility.

And now I can say, seriously, this flexibility is WAY COOL!!

J-Bo is sick -- not just a little sick, but vomiting, fever, alternating crying with sleeping, sick. Now, I know it's just the same bug that has been going around. But he's still miserable.

And we were able to structure the whole day around it!! Do the school stuff when he was sleeping, hold him when he was crying. It was all good. We got done what we needed to, and J-Bo still got cuddled. :)

I'm still not the world's best time manager. For example, he's asleep, and I need to clean the kitchen, but I'm blogging instead.

Oh, well. I'm still learning.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Why do I bake?

Why do I bake? Why do I make hot fudge cake (from a box, but I still claim credit for it. It takes a lot of skill to pour that cup of water in and stir it fifty times). I LOVE hot fudge cake, so I suppose that is the answer. And I fool myself that it will be mainly for the children, that I will only eat a piece. Or, at the most, two. And then I end up thinking, "Well, B-Boo has some hyperactivity issues. He really can't eat more than one piece per day. It's not fair to let J-Rooni and J-Bo eat it in front of him." So, I end up eating more than a piece or two. Like, seven.

I have already been fitted for the dress for Melanie's wedding. I cannot gain any weight between now and December 2. It cannot happen.

So, why do I bake?

Monday, August 28, 2006

Seven Fantastic Years . . . . .

To my husband:

Seven years ago, you and I became man and wife. We stood up in front of our friends and family and vowed to love, honor and cherish one another, in sickness and in health, for as long as we both shall live.

We had absolutely no idea what we were in for.

It has been an incredibly crazy seven years. We have seen some ups, and some downs, and some middle-of-the-road times. But through it all, you have stood by me, stood with me, and supported me when I could not stand on my own. You have prayed for me, prayed with me, and become the true, Biblical head of our household.

You are a wonderful husband, and an even better father. Watching you love our boys brings a smile to my face every single day.

You will never know how much I love you.

Love, Me


My children have had a great time this weekend, riding their riding toys down the hill. It's not a steep hill, but steep enough to send the riding toys flying through the yard. We have more than enough riding toys to go around (if you're ever in the area, my house is the one with so many toys outside that it looks like a preschool). However, they stopped being content with just racing down the hill. Instead, they made an "invention." They are all big Jimmy Neutron fans, and so they are always inventing something or other. This invention involved a plastic riding tractor, a plastic wagon, the Radio Flyer red wagon, a tricycle and my entire meager collection of belts. And the dog leash. And the binocular straps. These were finagled by J-Rooni, to all be hooked together. And then ridden, while tied together, down the hill.

I will have you know, it has not been necessary to make a single trip to the emergency room.

I wished all of their "inventions" worked so well.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Odd . . .

I just spell-checked that last post, and do you realize that's built-in spell checker doesn't recognize the word "blog."

Ironic, ain't it?

Our first day!

Okay, I really, really promise - this is NOT going to turn into a homeschool blog. But I couldn't tell everyone so much about the concept, and then not talk about our first day, could I?

Yesterday, as I wrote earlier, we went to the library, and each boy chose books for their book bags, which are the bags full of books (hence the oh-so-creative name) which I use to occupy one child while working one on one with the other when doing the reading and math, which are the only two things they have separately.

This morning, we got up and started our school routine (get up, get dressed independently, brush teeth, pick up your room, come in, eat breakfast), and we sat down at the table at about 9:30 to begin work. It will usually be 9:00, but my mom had a meeting in town, so we had to feed the calf. So, we sat down and I distracted J-Bo with Mr. Potato Head while we did Bible. Then, I had J-Rooni start on reviewing his letters and printing all of them in his best handwriting while B-Boo did his reading. Then, while B-Boo was doing his activity, J-Rooni did his language arts part. By this time, J-Bo was bored with Mr. Potato Head, and so I let him draw on the dry erase board. B-Boo finished up and played with J-Bo for a minute, while J-Rooni finished up his language arts part. Then, we got back together and did a little more review. We sang some songs, did an art project (page one of our Creation Book), which J-Bo got to help with, and then we were done! During J-Bo's nap, I read aloud for thirty minutes and they each read for at least fifteen (B-Boo) or thirty (J-Rooni). Not counting the reading time, we had a little over an hour and a half in school!

Now, this is just the introductory unit, which lasts about ten days. Since the curriculum we're using is My Father's World, which focuses on the world around us and God's part in it, the intro is an overview of creation. Usually, we'll have about two and a half hours each day with book work, not counting activities or the reading time.

I'm really fortunate, b/c the curriculum is easily made to be a multi-year approach. This means that both boys are in the same unit, in the same place, doing the same activities. I only do separate reading and math. After all, only being 17 months apart, there isn't a lot of cognitive difference in them as far as science and art go. And I just go as deep in depth as they want to go, or as I think they need to go. They each absorb to their own level. I expect more memory and more detail out of J-Rooni, since he is older. And he has a first grade (actually, it's really a second grade) language arts and math curriculum. Once the real work starts, ten days into it, we will do calendar and number of the day and 100 Chart together, with me expecting B-Bo to know the numbers and the day before and the day after, and J-Rooni to do simple equations (i.e., ___ + ___= number of the day). So, it limits my preparation and the amount of downtime each child has, but still allows me to go to the limits of their individual ability.

Well, that's enough droning on for tonight, I think. I'm just so fired up that it was such a great, great day!!!!

Now I have to go make homemade clay so we can make pottery jars tomorrow . . .

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Off to the library . . .

The boys and I went to the library this morning with my mom and my sister. My mom took us to lunch, for our last day of summer. She is a bus driver for the local public schools, so she went back to work on Monday. But, of course, she is off during the day.

On the way back, the boys were hot and whiny. They started whining that they wanted to ride Mannaw's bus, and that they wanted to go back to their real school. My mom is not really "pro-homeschool," so this was about the worst timing imaginable. She made a couple of comments about how she just wasn't sure about this whole idea, and then we moved on.

This led to a common (for me) dilemma. How much do I take into account what my boys want when I'm considering what is best for them? Obviously, not too much, but it plays some role. It's all about balancing what they want with what they need. Nate and I, as their parents, have determined that we want for them an educational system that allows us to put the Lord first, and credits Him as appropriate with His creation of the universe, and ongoing role as Lord and Savior. We, as their mom and dad, have determined that the boys need more one-on-one time, that our family needs to slow down and enjoy life more, and that we need to be more flexible. Homeschooling allows all of this. It doesn't, unfortunately, allow for the same peer group that they became used to last year. However, given some of the words B-Boo came home with last year, that may not be a bad thing . . .

*sigh* - being a mom is NOT easy. Don't let anyone ever tell you it is!!

Monday, August 21, 2006

Things I wish my children instinctively knew

- Toilet flushing is not hazardous to one's health

- Toys do not magically put themselves back in the toybox. It does not matter how long you leave it lying on the floor; it will never grow legs and walk in by itself.

- Dirty dishes operate in much the same way toys do.

- "Helping" doesn't mean doing the part you think is fun. I love you, but sometimes, really helping means staying out of the way.

- It is possible to play without hitting, wrestling or destroying something.

- All the whining does is irritate me. Really. It's not helping.

- The best way to get what you want is to obey.


I guess this is the reason they need me, right? :)

Saturday, August 19, 2006

This is not a homeschool blog . . .

But it is a blog about my life and what I'm thinking about. And, right now, all I'm thinking about is homeschooling. I tend to do that about things. When something is big in my life, it's sort of all I tend to think about. I have a bit of an obsessive personality, you might say. I've been reorganizing and cleaning my house to make room for a school area and an organizational system; I've been researching homeschooling on the internet and finding sample schedules; I've been embroidering "proud homeschool mom" on all of my clothes -- okay, maybe not that one.

So, I was sitting on the bed trying to set out lesson plans. Now, the curricula come with lesson plans, but I'm trying to adapt them by combining some activities between the two kids, and allowing J-Bo to participate as much as possible. I've never actually homeschooled before, obviously, so this may well be an exercise in futility. I like the idea of a nifty schedule and a more structure day, as it keeps me accountable. However, realistically, I know that we won't always (ever?) stick exactly to it. After all, the flexibility of homeschooling was one of its biggest selling points to us.

I suppose I better just wing it for a week or two, and then reevaluate. Or, most likely, just keep winging it -- after all, I haven't ruined my kids so far, right? :)

Thursday, August 17, 2006

School shopping

I had the privilege of going school shopping the other night, with my husband and without my children. As this is our first year of homeschool, I believe we may have gone a little overboard with purchasing our supplies. I was afraid I would be right in the middle of a lesson and not have what I needed. Plus, lots of old homeschool veterans have told me, over and over, "Make sure you have what you need. Don't try to scrimp on supplies. You will only create frustration." So, off to K-Mart I went, with my wallet-carrying husband in tow.

We got everything on the list in the curriculum, in duplicates, along with some extras for J-Bo to play with while the older two are having school. We spent about $115. At first, I could not believe how much it cost. Then, I happened to take a look at the lists of required from the public schools that were on all the shelves. There was more stuff on there than we bought. They now require hand sanitizer, tissues, wet wipes, crayons and such to share, specific types of notebooks (and woe to you if you buy the wrong one!); the list went on and on. After glancing at the lists, I believe that we would have had more in supplying the kids for public school!

I thought it was supposed to be free . . . .

Tuesday, August 15, 2006


A side effect of my recent attempts at prioritizing better, including setting aside time to blog more regularly, is that I have thought about the things in my life that are important, and are worthy of my time. Obviously, my faith and my family are first, and are worthy of my time and attention. But something that I think we as women often forget is friendship with other women.

I have three particularly close friends, outside of my family. I have many acquaintances, and some others I would call friends. But these three are the ones that come to mind when I think, "Friend."

First is my friend Melanie. She has been my friend since 9th grade, and has known me the longest. She knew me in high school, when Nate and I were dating, and through our wedding and the addition of three boys. She is now preparing to get married, and so we are and have been at very different places in our lives. But friendship is more than just superficial things - I have the facts of marriage and children in common with tons of women. And we could always find something to talk about! But Melanie and I have honesty, at an unusual level, and deep, core values in common.

Second is my friend Cathy. We met first about eight years ago, but really became friends first about four years ago. She is a woman with whom I have children and marriage, and the type of work we do, but so, so much more in common. We view so many things the same way, that it is scary sometimes! I can say things like, "I wish my children would just go away today," or, "You know, if I don't sweep up the goldfish they just spilled, the dog will eat them eventually," and know that she feels just where I'm coming from!

Third is my friend Val. We haven't been friends very long, but we very quickly went past the preliminary getting-to-know-you stages, and have progressed to the, "Now, I'm leaving all three of my kids with you for more than one night, and you're good with that, right?" stage. I have kept five of her eight kiddos, and she's keeping all three of mine at one time. Because of the age spread in her kids, she's actually taking on a lot more work than I did! But, we don't work that way. It's about helping, and talking, and having a sounding board and someone to be where we are, right there with us. We have a lot more than just our kids in common - we were both young moms, we're active in the same church, for starters.

Well, ladies, I thought that you deserved your own post, for all of your influence on me. Thanks so much for being my friends!! I need you and love you all more than you know!!

Sunday, August 13, 2006

The joys of sick children

Two out of my three kiddos are sick or afflicted in some way this weekend, and I am going to be perfectly honest - there are some good things about sick kids. Now, I am not talking about serious sickness, where you are terrified for them and would give anything, anything at all, to see them healthy again. I am so blessed to have experienced that sort of sickness only peripherally, when B-Boo was a six week old infant and struggling to breathe with RSV and pneumonia. It was a crazy time in our life, and I think back and am so, so grateful it passed quickly and I can look back on those days with the knowledge that Lord brought him the next breath every single time.

I'm thinking today about the kind of sickness every child has. The kind of sickness that causes the following sentence to come from the mouth of a four-year-old, "It's okay, Mama. This time, it was just big, mushy poopy-doodles." J-Bo had an accident yesterday, and as a result has a busted lip and is feeling a little sore. So, he's just kind of laying around. B-Boo has an upset stomach (obviously) and lots of congestion and runny eyes. So, he is just kind of laying around. I don't want any of my children to be sick - I want them happy and healthy, of course. But, they are all getting so big that they don't really cuddle with Mama much anymore. And, it's kind of nice to have them wanting to be in my lap. And, to be honest, when they're sick I don't feel guilty cutting on the TV and letting them watch while I do some of the eight million things I don't usually have time to do. They are a lot easier to watch that way.

So, while I certainly will be glad when they are all well again, there is some part of me that loves that Mama is the only one that can hold them, the only one that makes it better.

Except when it's 2:00 a.m.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

What was I thinking?

What on earth was I thinking? Seriously. Somehow, I had this magical thought that once I was at home with my children full time, I would have oodles to say and be blessed with hours worth of time to type it. Okay, maybe I wasn't quite that naive, but I certainly thought I would have more time than when I was working full time.

I think maybe what I didn't realize was that I would still be working full time. Only, even more so than before. Working full time outside of the home was easier than this, at least for me.

And I haven't even started my homeschool year yet . . .

But the other thing that I've learned is that I need this place to just say something, to just put my thoughts out there. Even if no one ever reads it -- and I don't know if anyone ever does. But that's not what it's about for me. It's all about feeling heard. If any man were to ever read this, they would likely not get that last statement. But for the women who may read, I think you will. If I put it out there, I feel heard.

So, I am making a commitment to be more disciplined about this!! After all, how will I be able to keep a maintained school schedule, if I can't even commit to fifteen minutes to write a day?

Keep me accountable!! :)