Thursday, December 31, 2009
:: He decided that dressing himself from head to toe is totally easy. Putting on his own shirt is now a piece of cake instead of a big wrestling match.
:: He has been eating a TON these days. Like if we're having sandwiches for lunch he is eating three. THREE! Two bowls of oatmeal for breakfast, a second breakfast about an hour later . . . he must be turning into a hobbit.
:: Ender ventured into 100 piece puzzles. He received two for Christmas and it's been fun to watch him work on it for awhile and then wander back several times through the day to continue his work.
:: He followed the directions on a new set of trio blocks to complete the project on his own for the first time. In the past he has asked for help around step 2 and this time he finished it completely on his own. When did that happen?
:: Ender has been helping Daddy around the house this month. He is rarely to be found without a measuring tape, a pencil and paper in his hands writing all kinds of numbers.
:: Since Ender first saw his bike on Christmas morning I don't think he's taken his helmet off except to sleep, and that's only because we made him.
:: Ender, you are sweet and affectionate, caring for your family and taking good care of us. You make sure that we read every day, remind us to laugh, you make great jokes, and think through everything. Four-years-old looks good on you, Son. You are such a blessing to me and I love you more than I can put into words.
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
1. Plant a garden this year and hopefully end up with edible produce. We tried strawberries, tomatoes, peppers, spinach and loose leaf lettuce. We ended up doing pretty well, but I battled a few squirrels over those tomatoes. I'm already looking up ways to keep them away from the tomatoes next year. The peppers did really great, and I have a few bags in my freezer full of sliced jalapenos. This spring I think we will only plant 1 of each kind of pepper so we won't be over run, and I think I will better know how to care for the tomatoes this year.
2. Eat at-home prepared meals only for a week. Thanks to a tightening of the belt this fall we've done this quite frequently in the last few months. My goal in this was to get used to being in the kitchen every single day again, and thinking of our meals differently. My views on food and meals have changed so much this year.
3. Read 20 fiction books this year. Because of my mad dash in October and November I think I'm going to end up with 31 for my final total! Superman argues that the Laura Ingalls Wilder books shouldn't count since they are so short, but at least nine of the books on there were over 500 pages, so I think it balances out. Next year I'd like to keep better track of my non-fiction reads as well.
4. Start Bible memory with Ender and build it into a habit. We started out well, and we're ending well, but the middle months left a lot to be desired. That is my fault, not his, but we're making this into a family event for next year and I think that will be the key to consistency for me.
5. Keep my nightstand area completely clear for 30 days except for vitamins, Bible and 1 current book. This hasn’t happened yet. This may never happen in my lifetime. But it's important to Superman, so I keep trying. Maybe next year.
6. Keep/Toss/Donate 15 items each day for 30 days. I finished this in January/February. It felt so good to get some of those little things out of the house and it didn't take long to do each day. I may need to keep this one for next year as well.
7. Move systematically through the house to declutter and re-organize. I did well, but it's been a few months since I completed this and already I need to go through again. The boys have outgrown toys and clothes, we have acquired some things without making the room for them . . .
8. Drink water. Make juice an occasional thing and soda a rare thing. I did well with this a lot of the time, but awful at certain points too. It is better though, and I'm trying to hold onto this habit.
Monday, December 28, 2009
Outside my window… PILES of snow. You may have heard about a little blizzard we were hit with on Christmas Eve. And then it just keeps snowing. We don't get this kind of snow very often around here, especially not in December. It usually hits in late January or early February, and rarely more than an inch at a time. Usually it's a dusting that melts by the end of the day. When Ender woke up Christmas morning he asked if it was real snow outside. He sort of remembered seeing snow last year, but he wasn't really sure.
I am thinking… about money. Is that okay? We were hit with two big things last week- Superman was in a minor car accident on the 23rd in his work truck (the one we own) and we have to replace one of his lights and the front bumper. Insurance covers most of it, but we still have the unexpected expense of the deductable. Then, on the 24th Superman's company announced significant changes on Christmas Eve that will cut Superman's paycheck significantly. We are praying (and submitting lots of resumes) for a new job.
I am thankful for… our beautiful Christmas. Snow on the ground, Ender discovering that Santa had eaten the cookies he'd left, that the stockings were filled, and best of all there was a bike next to the tree with HIS name on it . . . (All Ezra cared about were the donuts for breakfast!)
Always Learning… I'm feeling really good about Kindergarten stuff now and have a good idea of where we'll be going for the rest of this year with Ender. I promise to share more details later.
From the kitchen… Sugar cookies with Nana on Christmas Eve, mulled cider and lots of hot chocolate (don't forget the marshmallows!
I am wearing… A long jean skirt, knee high Christmas socks, a long sleeve tshirt and a hoodie. I am soooo not a winter person!
I am creating… a very cool sweater in a very bright blue. Still. But I am on the last few rows- one more movie night with Superman should do it.
I am going… to find a tux for Ender today! My sister got engaged on December 19th and they are getting married January 2, and Ender will be their ring bearer. We just have to find him a tux and he'll be ready. He's already done this for . . . well, four of my siblings, so he's a pro.
I am reading… Naamah's Kiss by Jacqueline Carey and Homeschooling: A Family's Journey.
I am hoping… to finish cleaning out all the closets before the end of the week. They are all disasters! We tackled Ender's yesterday, and I'm planning to work through Ezra's today. They are growing too fast, and I never seem to keep up with packing up their outgrown clothes and toys.
In my prayers . . . My sister-in-law Abby who announced at the family Christmas that she and my brother are expecting their first child. She has been very ill so far, and if she doesn't stop losing weight soon she may be facing hospitalization for a bit to get the hyperemesis under control.
Also, my sister that is getting married on Saturday- she and her fiance are also expecting a baby in early February. They have so many changes happening within just a few weeks time. It is a lot to have going on all at once.
I am hearing… Steven Curtis Chapman's new album Beauty Will Rise. I still pray for their family and this album is a beautiful tribute to their young daughter.
Around the house… I'm letting Christmas linger a bit- but the tree will have to come down sometime.
One of my favorite things… Ender whispering to me last night before I left his room, "I love you all the way to the moon . . . and back."
A few plans for the rest of the week … Wedding stuff for my sister, a little "winter cleaning", trying to stay warm, hosting a New Year's Eve party. Oh, and the wedding on Saturday!
Monday, December 21, 2009
:: Said his first real sentence. "Where are you going, Daddy?" he asked when he saw that Superman was putting his shoes on to take the garbage out.
:: When Ender's fish died Ezra patted his brother's back and said, "s'okay Ender" and gave him a hug.
:: His new favorite word is "WHAT?!?!?" said in a very high pitched and incredulous tone. He says it every time someone says something silly.
:: This is the first year he has remembered a bit about Baby Jesus, Mary and Joseph. We've been reading one or two books each day and talking about Jesus' birth every day. He's been holding his baby as baby Jesus for about 2 weeks now and talks about Him constantly. Combine this with his love of opposites and you have an interesting morning:
Me: Ezra, what do you want to wear today?
Ezra: Baby Jesus (laughs)
Me: The green shirt or the blue shirt?
Ezra: Green baby Jesus. (hysterical laughter)
Me: What do you want for breakfast?
Ezra: Baby Jesus.
UM . . . . .
I told a friend about this and she laughed and said, "You do realize that he's telling you that the answer is ALWAYS Jesus, right?"
:: Ezra, your compassion and sincere love for your brother is such a joy to see. I love that you always ask for a snack for your brother when you are getting one for yourself. You look around for Ender whenever you're trying to decide what to play. You literally cheer when you hear Ender's door open in the morning because you are SO excited to see him each day. I am so happy that you two are so closely knit and watch over each other so carefully, cheering each other on and hugging each other so much more often than you argue. A dear brother is such a precious gift.
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
10:00 p.m. Superman and I started talking about his coursework for next semester, getting books, schedules and other brain-bending matters. We both finally get to sleep around 12:30.
1:00 a.m. Ender needs help using the bathroom, and I get him back to bed afterwards.
1:20 a.m. Ezra is coughing a ton for some reason. I go check on him and get him a drink.
1:25 a.m. Ender comes in crying that he wants to sleep in our bed. He climbs in and falls asleep almost immediately. Superman carries him back to bed.
1:40 a.m. Ezra wakes up crying. He finally falls back asleep after lots of singing and cuddling. It's now 2 a.m.
2:40 a.m. Ender is back. At least he's on Daddy's side of the bed.
3:00 a.m. Ezra starts coughing and crying again. I despise coughs that show up in the middle of the night. How he went from zero symptoms at his 8 p.m. bedtime to a gross nose and ugly cough in less than 8 hours is beyond me. He's not able to stay propped up very well in his bed to breathe easier, so he comes in with us so I can help him sleep sitting up. After I get Ezra settled in I take a sleeping Ender back to his bed.
3:45 a.m. Ezra is kicking and tossing and turning. I try to settle him back, but he's too restless. Back to his bed he goes, so that we have a chance for some sleep.
4:30 a.m. Guess who's back? Ender!
4:50 a.m. And another little boy cries again because of this cough, so he joins us.
5:45 a.m. Superman's alarm goes off. Both boys are sleeping so soundly that neither wake. Superman takes them both back to their beds and leaves for work. I usually get up when he leaves at 6:15, but for *some* reason I'm worn out. I change my alarm to 7 a.m.
6:45 a.m. Ezra cheerfully calls "Mama!" from his room as if he got 12 hours of uninterrupted sleep. And wouldn't you know he has only the tiniest sniffle this morning?
I'm on my third cup of coffee. How about you?
** A note to say that this is really atypical. We're not usually up 50 gazillion times at night, but last night was so special it deserves it's own post. **
Monday, December 14, 2009
I mentioned before that we spent a lot of time on our trip talking about what we want Kindergarten to look like for Ender next year and about our individual expectations for homeschooling in general. We've had the general conversation many times before, but this time it felt more refined for some reason.
We spent more time talking over the weekend, and in between discussions I've been reading a ton, so thought I'd share a giant info-dump on the things I've found in my kindergarten search.
Scope and Sequences:
For these I was looking for a wide spectrum of Kindergarten objectives. I was curious to see what was average and to see where Ender fits- or if he fit at all.
I also have reference to my Montessori albums and the book What Your Kindergartner Needs to Know.
1. This giant list that includes a TON of links for every subject.
2. Kelly's Kindergarten for ideas.
3. Mini Office to help Ender write independently (scroll to Jan. 2005)
4. BrainPOP Jr.
7. The Brain Food List from HolyExperience.
I know science isn't a huge deal in Kindergarten, but when you have a science loving boy, it is. The scary thing about this for me is that science is my weak area. In my searching I've come across some great lists:
1. MacBeth's Opinion
2. Good Science Books
3. Fun Schooling's Science List
1. Math Journals
2. More Math Journals (scroll down to April-July 2006)
3. Math is Fun
Feel free to add links in comments. Any links to K-3 materials works here.
Friday, December 11, 2009
Jen has more Quick Takes at her place.
This week has gone so fast! I finished all the laundry last night while Superman was in class, and as soon as I get the suitcases taken down to the basement we'll be completely unpacked from the trip. Then I I have to catch up on the regular house stuff . . .
I have a baby shower to go to tomorrow and no gift- yet another thing that completely slipped my mind because of the trip . . . I think I'm going to make a few bibs tonight- maybe a few burp cloths too? Do you have a go-to last minute baby gifts that you like to make?
I'm really stuck on this Kindergarten thing. Trying to keep it simple, but also satisfy my husband's request for "real schoolwork" is tricky. I think his concern is mostly grown out of the things relatives have said to him about our decision to homeschool and having tangible things to show them concerning the boys' education would make him feel better. We're working on it.
I REALLY have to finish up Christmas gifts!!! The truth is that I need to start making in September rather than late October so I can be done earlier and not still be making until the day before Christmas Eve! I have still to finish:
An apron for my sister-in-law
Capes for the boys
A bag for Ender
An apron for Ezra
I know that list doesn't look too bad, but I still work a full week next week and I'm just too tired on most of those evenings to stay up and sew. So I'm going to work at them this weekend and try to get as much done as I can so that I can hopefully finish up on my days off the few days before Christmas!
We've been having a great time with our Advent reading list this week. I'm so thankful for the list posted at Serendipity because I was having a really difficult time sorting out good reads at our library. Our local library has holiday books marked with a sticker on the side, and some of them at first glance through looked like good books, but at a more thorough read were not what I was looking for for helping my young ones to understand this season.
We're using the books on the lists marked Stories for Preparing Little Hearts plus some of the books on the list for Fireside Tales, specifically the Jan Brett books, but also a few others.
We had our first snow on Wednesday. It was barely enough to call it a first snow (since you could still see our grass through most of it!) but it counts. It's been bitterly cold this week- so cold that we have only left the house to get to the grocery store once. We get a lot of ice here and we also had our first ice of the season, and that doesn't usually show up until January. It looks like we may be in for a LONG winter.
I'm hunting more books to read. My to-be-read stack is a little sparse for my taste. I've finished a few series in the last few months and I'm looking for more to try. Ideas? The only genres I don't read are romance and hard science fiction. I love all kinds of fantasy, YA, mysteries, historical fiction and mainstream stuff. Have a look at my book list for this year if you want to see what I've been reading recently.
Thursday, December 10, 2009
1. I do not "relax" well. It felt so strange to have nothing that *had* to be done and it took most of the trip to get used to that. There was no cleaning of bathrooms or doing of laundry- I didn't even make the bed! While it was nice to have the break it made me realize how much I like the routines of those things and how they give structure and rhythm to my day. . . . well, I won't include doing laundry. I loathe laundry and don't think I will ever be convinced of thinking that there is some kind of peace in folding laundry.
2. I really rely on specific routines during my days. I'm so used to packing my shoulder bag with the snacks, drinks, books, favorite airplane, favorite black doggie, etc. that I didn't realized how streamlined the system had become until I had to pack my little bag for a few hours at the beach and I started looking around for the sippy cups. Packing was as easy as sunscreen, towel and a book and that felt really odd!
3. I have a serious information acquirement problem. We had no internet access and using our phones cost quite a bit per minute so we had to plan our calls accordingly. I didn't realize how often I google things! I was also surprised to discover that it actually felt wrong to not be able to look that information up right away.
I generally keep up on a collection of homeschooling blogs and a message board, sewing and knitting blogs, and a message board for mothers- I missed keeping up on it all, but the time without them made them feel less needful and I know that is for the better. I've struggled with this feeling that if I don't keep up on new ideas and activities that I will miss something that might be important for my kids to learn. What I really need to do for a time is step back, and follow up on the next point without a ton of outside influence.
4. I'm a lot more stressed out about starting "real school" with Ender next year than I thought. That was the primary topic on my mind while we were gone, and I was having a bit of a serious panic. I have a general idea of how I want kindergarten to look, but then I'm having a panic that maybe I'm not including enough, tempered by the educator in me saying- this is Kindergarten. He will be five. You don't have to do everything right now. But then my Mama heart starts worrying that I might be missing something really important- what if he really does need history or more science than I plan to provide or something like that?
The other factor in this is Superman, who has no idea what the possibilities for homeschool include and has a rosy picture of "school at home" where we all happily sit at the table for 3 hours a day doing paper after paper. So, since our ideals are slightly opposite, we're both trying to meet in the middle on this. I need to make some final decisions about whether or not to continue with Montessori math, to buy a text, to make our own plan . . . too many choices! Do we include history yet or wait until he's older? Should I include science? How much?
I'm working on it, and the time without distractions over vacation was tremendously useful, but it was only a start.
Points 3 and 4 are directly related. I just have to figure out how to balance the two parts of my brain, make a plan for Kindergarten and not second-guess it. I'm open to suggestions.
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
Outside my window… Frost. Potential for snow. REALLY green grass in my front yard. I don't know how that happened exactly, but it's bright green.
I am thinking… about our December schedule. Fitting in our family stuff with extended family stuff, work schedules, Superman's finals this week, finding time to really be in the season . . . Hopefully this is the last year of craziness like this. Only 5 months til graduation now!
I am thankful for… my beautiful boys. And grandparents that love them so much that they kept them for an entire week and still cried when they dropped them off at our house Sunday because they would miss them so much.
Always Learning… We've all been taking it easy and our plan for the rest of the month is to enjoy Advent books (many from the Serendipity list) and some Christmas-y baking and crafting.
From the kitchen… Um, my kitchen is bare! I picked up the bare necessities of milk, bread and eggs yesterday to keep us in sandwiches and breakfast for a few days til I could get my brain together to go grocery shopping.
I am wearing… Jeans, knee high Christmas socks, two camis and a long sleeve t-shirt. I'm a cold girl today!
I am creating… a very cool sweater in a very bright blue. I saw it on Soulemama a few weeks ago, bought the yarn and took it on vacation. Superman may have rolled his eyes at me because I was knitting while sitting out by the pool, but I'm very happy with it so far.
I am going… to get groceries later, for sure! I'm just waiting to see if it really does start sleeting when they say it will. If not, we're going to make a mad dash and hope the weather holds!
I am reading… A TON. If you go look at my booklist you may be a little, um, surprised at how much reading I've done since I last daybooked on Nov. 16th. I'm going to guesstimate low at 3000 pages of fiction. Yes, that's *three* zeros. You know how I said I read Twilight in like 2 days once I actually got going on it? Yeah, turns out my sister had the set so I borrowed them and finished them all by the 3oth. Ahem.
Otherwise, current reads are Storm Front by Jim Butcher (fiction) and The Power of Play by David Elkind (nonfiction).
I am hoping… to finish up Christmas gifts this week.
I am hearing… Christmas music. Steven Curtis Chapman is my favorite voice these days.
Around the house… I'm almost done with all the post-trip laundry and I'm counting that as a giant victory.
One of my favorite things… Ezra's special kisses. He's so sweet and affectionate.
A few plans for the rest of the week … Catching up, hanging out at home and celebrating the season.