Sunday, October 24, 2010

Geeking out...

This video is one of those little moments of motherhood that are precious.  The camera battery was starting to go, so forgive the's the audio on this one that matters :)

We went to a dress-up party this week - lot's of fun for all! 

The graham cracker houses gave me a great idea for religious ed.  The kids and I were talking about churches (the buildings) this week, so I think a snack very soon is going to be building a church and using candy for stained glass - sugary fun for all!

I was reminded of something this week...I'm a geek....not just sometimes geeky, but really big, full out geek.  Most of my eight siblings are too, so we've always thought each other hilarious, and being smart was something we all are, so no one was ever really singled out as the brainy one.  We've all grown up embracing our geek, so I self-describe myself as one with much humor and pride.

That being said, certain moments strike me when I realize what a big geek I really am.  I've watched Rachael Ray freaking out about food and thought to myself, "really Rachael?  It's GARLIC, c'mon.....take a deep breath and move on!"  Well, then I had an epiphany this week.  I'm just as bad - but about books. 

I've been purchasing additional curriculum to supplement kindergarten reading and math studies.  Now that Little Bean is getting the hang of number recognition and adding, I thought I'd broaden the horizons to some history stories.  Well, I checked out The Story of the World, Volume 1 from the library and loved it so much that I ordered it from Amazon, along with the activity book

I'd been reading the history book as a read-aloud before rest time and when the activity book arrived, I took a quick look....which turned into a longer look.....which turned into geeking out and calling my husband up from the basement to look at how cool the activity book is.  Yeah, like I said, I'm a big geek :)  But I was so excited, and still am absolutely thrilled with the book and look forward to getting into the activities.  Luckily for me, my husband is a history geek, so I got to have someone geek out with me while we looked through it.

I've noticed, though, that I geek out about new curriculum a LOT.  Not sure what it is about my particular geekiness, but learning and learning materials just trip that switch towards gushing.  This got me to wondering about others' geek-out topics.  Mine is pretty much all book/learning related, my husband's is more history/gaming related, Rachael Ray's is food...but I'm starting to think we all have some inner-geek who geeks-out about something in life.  So, I'm wondering, what does everyone else geek-out about while I'm doing the number from "Singing in the Rain" in the library?

My Recent Geek-Out Purchases:

The Story of the World, Volume 1
The Story of the World, Activity Book 1
The Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Farmer in Training

 What a busy week! 

Last Saturday, we headed out to a fellow homeschooling family's home for a back to school bonfire. 

The evening included pony rides - Little Bean's favorite pony being Pippen :)

 ~ Bonfire or future forest fire? ~

~ Up to mischief in the dark! ~

~ Daddy on duty ~

It's always been a daddy job to do bedtime.  I highly recommend it for all who haven't tried it yet :)

Keeping in mind that our family is naturally different from yours and all suggestions need not apply - definitely consider making bedtime daddy time!

As you can see, it's a big hit at our house.

As a stay-at-home mom, I spend a lot of time with our daughter.  My husband formerly worked a job where if he didn't put our daughter to bed, he wouldn't have spent any time with her from Sunday to Wednesday. 

From an early age, he's put her to bed at night to make sure that they have time together each night.  From a nursing baby who got handed off for a book and a lullaby to the 5 y/o getting chapter books read nightly, they have their own shared experiences and special time built into each day. 

They start with prayers together and move on to a book and finish with a lullaby.  We've been on this routine since we stopped co-sleeping at 8 months. I like it not only because I have guaranteed downtime each night, but also because that 20-30 minutes each night over the last several years has added a beautiful dimension to their relationship.  Consider giving your husband and children the gift of a special bedtime routine.....well, it would be a gift for you too :)

Continuing our Friday night pizza and family night, I made a frozen pizza this week.

Apparently it tried to turn into a space ship and fly out of the oven.....

~ Space pizza cleared for take-off! ~

The majority of our memory-making fun happened this Saturday.  We headed out to a wonderful pumpkin patch.

Here, she's pictured cuddling a feather in front of the chicken coop....gotta let the germs go and enjoy the moment :)

~ My very own ram ~ 

~ Mannequin for hire ~ 

~ 2,000 lb horse - meet 40 lb girl ~ 

~ Process improvement specialist - streamlining the handful of oats operation! ~

~ Visiting Bunnyville ~ 

~ Nothing goes better with "farmer pants" (aka overalls) than a tractor ~

~ "Mom, this picture means I didn't want to take anymore pictures" ~

~ Her first driving lesson ~ 

~ The surprise at the end of the corn maze ~ 

~ Soon she will get things off high shelves for me ~ 

~ Love to the bunnies ~

~ Feeding the goat and sheep ~ 

~ A star pupil with Farmer Jean learning about how pumpkins grow ~ 

~ Yeah, he's silly ~

~ Don't be surprised if our Christmas card looks strangely familiar ~ 

We had a great time at the farm together.  For those of you that have seen "Fiddler on the Roof", you might remember the part where everyone is talking about where they will go now that they are leaving the village.  The old matchmaker says that she's been saying for years at Passover, "Next year in the holy land, next year in Jerusalem".

Well, our family's saying would go something like, "Next year in the promised land, next year on the farm". 

Little Bean got to practice her farming skills and someday we'll get to feed our own goats and chickens.  Until then, we'll keep saying next year every year :)

~ I like this ruler - I look 5 1/2 ft tall! ~

~ Nope, still haven't grown.....maybe next year! ~

 I had an action-packed week.  Besides the usual schooling and chores, I helped a friend prepare her house for sale three days this week.  While it took time and energy, it was nice to help out a friend.  By the end of the week, I was really admiring her calm demeanor.  With an entire household to put into boxes, she was remarkably calm.  

I also discovered a treasure trove at my local library.  I was tutoring a statistics student (I'm tutoring - if you know any students - pass them on!  Voice lessons, math through algebra 2 and anything English, reading, writing related....ok plug finished!) and happened to be in a different section of the library than usual.

What did my eyes behold but an entire bookcase labeled, "Homeschool Resources".  Well, what homeschooling mom is going to pass up a peek in that direction?  I've read The Well Trained Mind by Susan Wise Bauer and Jessie Bauer so many times that I finally purchased a copy of the book.  

The library had not only The Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading (by Jessie Bauer), but the entire The Story of the World (by Susan Wise Bauer) series; two books I've been contemplating buying.  We worked out of the reading guide this week and I loved the lessons so much that I had to do an order this weekend.  

We also started reading the history book and I'm enamored.  This too was added to my order.  The parent's reading guide teaches alphabet sounds through fifth grade reading skills.  The history book reads like a storybook and we've enjoyed looking at the maps and reading them as a read-aloud before rest time.  

Perhaps once I return them to the library, you too can take a look :)

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Learning to Breathe and Picture Day - Homeschool Style

Still praying, still breathing.  On Monday, I made the unfortunate discovery that I hadn't changed over to my October calendar.  When I did so, I found the words "Due date" scrawled across October 21st.  I walked around the house sightless for a few minutes at this unexpected and painful reminder of the baby we lost in March to an ectopic.  Needing some outlet, this is what I wrote on my Facebook.

Breathe, breathe deep......let the bad go and be thankful for life today.....when it feels difficult to breathe, just try it one more time.

Perhaps someone needed that reminder and I was the way they got it, I'll probably never know. 

I repeated it to myself a lot on Monday.  It was a near thing that I made it through, and I stopped to breathe and thank God that my daughter still has a mother and my husband still has a wife.  I practiced breathing a lot this week.  I've been using that reminder a lot this week.  I'm still prayerfully working to discover where God wants me to be and how we should alter our income to meet our expenses and how to eliminate unnecessary expenses.  For all of us who have had to watch the purse-strings closely over the years, it's never really fun, but it brings it's own rewards (ie family-made pizza night in).

I've actually opened up Dark Nights of the Soul and started reading since the last time I blogged and I've been thinking about what I've gotten out of a struggle with infertility, the loss of a child in utero and a shrinking savings account.  I'm coming to the unsettling conclusion that God doesn't want me to be comfortable.  There's no growth for me in comfortable. 

You know that saying, God only gives you what you can handle?  Sometimes I think we all feel like saying, "God, maybe you could trust me a little less today!"  Everytime I reflect on where I've been and where we've been as a family through these last few years, I think, "God, perhaps I have enough compassion for humanity today...."  But, what's enough growth?  What's enough sacrifice? 

The budgetary woes will shake out.  I'm an educated, hardworking woman and if need be, I can go out there and get things done.  That's not the tricky part.  The, "God, what are you calling me to do through this situation?" WAY harder than a few bucks here and there.  I'm a fixer and a mender and the desire in me to eliminate all problems sometimes steps on the lesson or the direction God is pointing at through a problem.  I'm going to continue to use my struggles to grow....keep on increasing that compassion for humanity :)  My prayer right now remains, "God, I am yours.  I know you will provide.  Show me where you want me.  Teach me to live humbly and to trust in you for all I need."

For every moment I feel like things are unfair and I wish I had more of this or that, babies or bucks :)  I have a multitude of moments where I am so thankful to be right here, right now.  Moments with my daughter tend to elicit lots of the happy moments.  I made time for some special moments with her for picture day this week.

I remember picture day when I was in school; stand in line, wait your turn and hope against hope that you weren't blinking or making a weird face when that giant 8x10 with the clear plastic front showed up on your desk for all the world to see.  Despite the anxiety and the occasional mortification, looking back, those pictures are precious.  They were me, as I looked, and that's something special to show my daughter now. 

Those pictures froze a moment in time.  They are important parts of the story of me. 

Well, no one comes to your house and schedules pictures if you're homeschooling - you have to do that on your own.  So,  I decided that we were going to have picture day at a local park.  Here are the results of our "photo shoot".  Some are candid shots and others are ones we'll use as portraits for relatives.  All of them tell the story of a beautiful, quirky 5 year-old. 

To whom much is given, much is expected.....looking at her I know much is expected of me. 

P.S. I'm always surprised when people mention reading my blog in conversation.  Thanks for the support, smiles and prayers.....I know there is extra grace raining down on us thanks to you :)