Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Art Camp

The seven year old is spending the afternoons this week at an Art Camp held at the local art museum. When I signed him up, I didn't know what to expect exactly, but knowing his love for art, I knew he'd enjoy it. It's a treat to pick him up every day, see his excited smile, hear what he did and listen to him tell me once again, "Thank you for signing me up!"

No pictures yet of his artwork. They'll be having an art show and bringing it all home on Friday.



Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Hippie Skirts

In style or out, one of my favorite kinds of skirts is the long and flowing hippie skirt. I'm actually most comfortable in jeans most of the time, but when I put on a skirt these days for church or just because, I like the kind that looks good with Birkenstocks (although I do wear them with nicer shoes as well).

They aren't made for those times one needs to be really dressy, obviously, and at those times I prefer something more classical and tailored, but I love the way hippie skirts flow and swing around my legs. When I walk down stairs, they flounce around me and I feel certain that if I spun around they would twirl just like my daughters' favorite skirts and dresses.

And that's really the crux of my love for them. Hippie skirts satisfy a little girl longing for flouncy, feminine twirliness that combines well with my love for comfort.

Monday, June 25, 2007

School's Out

We finally dragged to the end of the school year on Friday. Math and language were holding us up, but we made it through a year of homeschooling.

Sunday I started planning for next year. Although I've been researching and thinking all year about what I like and what I don't like with this year's curriculum. I think the seven year old got a good first grade education, but I think if I did it all again I could do it better with even better books and materials.

For instance, although I think he got a good grounding in grammar from First Language Lessons, I was rather disgusted by the fact that the poems chosen for memorization were all revised and rewritten and they chose not use fine art for the picture studies. If children aren't learning the standard versions of poems then something is lost from cultural literacy. The kids are going to think they know and understand references, but they aren't. Next year I plan on using Primary Language Lessons by Emma Serl. I think it will provide much of the same stuff that I liked from the other book, but with more authentic texts. I'm not sure what we'll do for spelling. I may just have him write more and practice words that he has trouble with.

Last year we used Saxon Math 1 and again, I think my son got a good first grade education, but it took a lot of prep work on my part, even though the lessons were scripted, and although my son now claims to have loved every second of math, some days it was a challenge to get him actually to want to do his lessons. I think for next year we may switch to Math-U-See.

I'm not sure what I want to do for science. That was the subject I had the hardest time with this past year. Nothing clicked well with either of us.

History was my son's favorite subject throughout the year. We used The Story of the World and I liked it for the most part. Although I liked the writing in Hillyer's Child's History of the World a lot better. I'm trying to decide whether to switch from the Story of the World series by Susan Wise Bauer to a much older Story of the World series. It's still written in a narrative that will captivate the audience, but the writing is better. On the other hand, it doesn't have the handy maps and activity guide that the books designed to go with A Well-Trained Mind provide and I might miss those a lot.

For my four year old who will turn five in the fall and who learns in a very different way and doesn't do much of anything that she doesn't want to do, I think we'll be taking a different approach from that of her brother. I plan on using Five in a Row as the springboard for her Kindergarten studies with a heavy dose Waldorf-style meaningful activities (like cooking, cleaning and sewing) and the ritual of different activities based on the seasons.

We'll also start Latin this year, I hope, and maybe do a little passive German. I'm a bit embarrassed that I have not taught the kidlets any language at all.

So that's my preliminary plan. The kids will probably continue taking swimming lessons and the four year old wants to take ballet. It will be interesting to see how things go when we start up again. But in the meantime, I'm enjoying a little break -- if you can call it that. As I type, the seven year old is sitting across from me making me teach him how to add large numbers that involve carrying digits.

Children in Church

"If the two-year-old is in church with us, it's only because he's sick in the first place. Without the nursery, we wouldn't have heard a sermon in years."

I don't want to pick on Lenise, but I don't like church nurseries or special children's worship services. We go to church to worship God and part of that worship is listening to the sermon, but that is not the only part. One of a parent's primary jobs is to educate their children about God -- to train them up in the way that they should go.

When we send our children out of the service to a nursery, we tacitly say they are not part of the main church body. They must be shunted off some place until they learn to behave. But if they are sent out of the service, when do they learn to participate in it? When do you change from fun nurseries and watered down children's services to "Okay kids, now you have to grow up and listen to the boring stuff." Wouldn't it be better to train the children that the one service is for everyone? God is for the eight month old and the eighty year old alike.

Jesus said, "Let the children come unto me." Are we to suppose that listening to an entire sermon or making sure that nobody around us is bothered by a wiggling toddler is more important than teaching our children that they are a vital part of a church.

Are my children perfect? Do they sit still, face forward and pay attention? Almost never. Are they part of the body of the Church? Yes. Do they need to be acknowledged as such by encouraging them to participate in worship with the adults? Yes.

In today's society, we grownups spend a lot of time trying to get away from the kids we have, because we think they are annoying. Sometimes they are. However, it doesn't make them less annoying if we don't spend time teaching them how to be adults. I take my children to real restaurants, on errands of all kinds and I take them with me to church.

I do not take them everywhere I go and I occasionally like some down time away from them (I like dates with my husband and quiet trips to the grocery store as much as anyone), but one place I think it especially my duty to instruct the little blighters is at church. Sure send them to Bible classes when they split up into various ages, but when the congregation comes together to worship God as a body, they are part of that body and they need to be there.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Sniffle

When a two year old snuggles up to you in church and falls asleep, do you (a) assume she loves you and loves to snuggle (b) needs a nap (c) someone slipped her narcotics (d) check for a fever? In my experience, the answer is always (d), although there have been times when I longed to slip a particularly active and wiggly child a little something to make them drowsy.

The two year old has been running an on and off 103 fever since Sunday morning. Unlike my other children who would feign illness in order to get their hands on medicine, this child is particularly resistant to medication. She won't take it in liquid form. She used to be okay with the rapid melt kind, but now that also has gone to the unapproved list. There is one other way to get Acetaminophen into a child and that involves sticking it where the sun don't shine. That's always fun and non-traumatic (NOT!).

Adding to the excitement around here, as far as I'm concerned -- I have a cold. I'm sniffling, snorting and I sat up in bed and pulled a muscle in my neck. So imagine me bent over snorting and wheezing. I'm moving like I'm about 85 and picking the baby up is no fun. And naturally, I've passed the rivers of snot onto him as well.

We're just a barrel of contagion over here. Want to visit?

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Flowing Tresses

I've almost always been a short haired girl. Although I begged to have hair long enough to put up in Princess Leia buns when I was in Kindergarten, my mother insisted my hair remain short enough that she could keep it combed and detangled with minimal effort. I got a lot of Dorothy Hamill haircuts and almost never had long enough hair to even manage a pony tail.

In high school, I briefly had long hair when I played Margot in The Diary of Anne Frank, but I got tired of it pretty quickly. In college, I grew my bangs out and the fastest way to get your bangs to match the length of your hair is to keep your hair cut short. I did eventually grow my hair out to a length where I could wear a pony tail, but I didn't like how it looked and chopped it all off again. Since then, it has stayed pretty short, until now.

During my last pregnancy, I decided to grow it out. I was tired of short hair and ready for a change. I've had it trimmed a few times since then, but I'm enjoying the slightly long hair.

The most unexpected thing for me is how much a certain spouse of mine likes my long hair. He never seemed to mind me with short hair, but when I last said I wanted my hair trimmed, he quickly replied, "Don't get too much taken off."

What is it about long hair? Did I miss out on being a femme fatale and having a large male following in my single days by not having long hair? Do most of you men prefer a woman with longish hair? Or is it just my husband?



Tuesday, June 12, 2007

The Return of the Tooth Fairy

The Tooth Fairy got to make a surprise visit. We'd put the kidlets to bed and were about to have to go up for our usual "knock it off and go to sleep" visit, when the seven year old came downstairs holding his hand to his mouth full of blood yelling, "My sister kicked my toof out!"

Sure enough. He'd been talking and the four year old wanted to go to sleep, so naturally -- she kicked him in the mouth. It knocked out one of his front teeth, but fortunately, his front tooth was ready to come out. It had been loose for months and would have fallen out long ago if he'd ever wiggled it. Still, it had been held in by some skin still and that's where the blood came from.

After it stopped bleeding though, the Boy was pretty happy to have lost the tooth and even happier when he woke up the next morning and discovered that the Tooth Fairy had come. Good thing she didn't oversleep.

A reenactment:



A happy (if fewer toothed) boy:





Thursday, June 07, 2007

Good Eatin'

My friend at Musings of a Housewife tagged me for a restaurant meme requiring me to tell you my five favorite restaurants. It is an interesting question, but since I firmly believe that the best restaurants are usually local, most of you won't know these places or ever get a chance to sample their yumminess, unless you travel to Nashville.

Sadly, I have far too many favorite restaurants. I really love to cook, but I love it when someone else plans the menu, slices, dices and cleans up too.

The two best restaurants I've been to in Nashville are both on the side of town where my new house is! Yay!

1) Margot Cafe

The menu changes every day. Everything is fresh, inventive, made in-house and absolutely delicious. It's a great date restaurant.

2) Eastland Cafe

Another great date restaurant, this one is also close to my new house and easier to get a reservation at for those times when a babysitter falls into your lap at the last minute. The herb-filled oil for dipping bread into was so good, I could have licked the plate and after the blueberry beignets for dessert, I think I did.

3) Sitar

My children sometimes call in "Mango Lassi Land" which gives you some inkling of what they really go there for, but although I do think their mango lassis are some of the best I've ever had, I would also recommend pretty much everything else on the menu too. Or go for the buffet at lunchtime and try it all. We've been going there since before my oldest child was even a gleam (or leer) in his father's eye. It is always good.

4) Monell's

There are a lot of restaurants that I've been to more often than this one and probably some I like even more, but it is definitely unique and perfect for taking visitors to, especially non-Southerners -- a good Nashville meat-and-three, with the usual Southern vegetables like macaroni and cheese along with turnip greens and okra. The tables seat twelve, so a large family can all sit together, or if you are there with a small party on a busy night, you'll get to cozy up and meet some new folks. Food is served right away and family style, so the kids are happy. There is a ton of food and it is all good country cooking -- everything from drinks to dessert is included in the price and there are choices set out on the table for just about everyone (though vegans would have difficulties). Outside the old house in which the restaurant is located, is a beautiful garden which my kids love to run around in after dinner, while the grownups finish up thirds and fourths.

And now for something completely different...

5) Sonic

My favorite fast food. The burgers are yummy and they can make any drink known to man.

I don't know who to tag. I guess I'd especially like to know what Nashvillians think, but anyone else who is interested feel free to join in.

I Forget Every Year



Gardening is, for me, restful, peaceful and restorative. At least until it gets too miserably hot and the garden is covered in weeds, that is.

Gardening with children, on the other hand, is one long prayer for patience, interspersed with shouts of "No!" "Not yet!" and "Don't touch that!"

Sigh.

But my "garden" for the year is planted.




Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Forward Locomotion

Guess who started actually moving forward yesterday!

That's right -- the wee one. He's still pretty slow, but picking up speed rapidly. Nothing is safe on the floor any longer.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Train Up a Husband In the Way That He Should Go

Mrs. P delivers some of the finest writing about how a man should dress.

As an aside, I finally let Justin get rid of his bucs when we moved. I'd convinced him to keep them for years, but I'd never successfully convinced him to wear them. He's totally on board with the whole seersucker and bow tie thing though, but such was not always the case. Fortunately, he was willing to learn.

Long Distance Gardening

One of the hardest things for me this spring and summer is the fact that my potential garden is on the other side of town. I miss my old flower beds and vegetable gardens and sometimes wonder how my old friends are blooming. I wouldn't be thinking so much about my old garden, but for the fact that I don't really have a garden yet at the new house, and since we aren't there, I can't spend much time tending the garden any way.

Before we sold our old house, I moved a lot of plants across town. We made a big flowerbed down the side of the driveway and created some beds in front of the house. Things are growing nicely, although the short, 18" max sunflowers I planted are now 3'+, so the beds are a bit more crowded than I'd expected, but that's not much of a problem. The beds are full of weeds along with the flowers though and I haven't even had time to mulch.

I wanted to have a vegetable bed, and we certainly have room for one, but I don't have the time to tend to it, water it, weed it, or even harvest anything. I'm trying to decide whether to give up on a garden completely or if I should buy a determinate tomato plant or two and some basil for a few easily movable pots. Doing that would probably make me happy, but the thought of settling for that "garden" is kind of depressing. Sigh.


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