Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Eight Years


My oldest daughter turned eight this week.  It's been quite the wild ride with her in the past eight years.  As we like to say -- she sounds like a pack-a-day smoker with her deep, gruff voice, has the attitude of a teenager, and a flare for the dramatic like you wouldn't believe, but we are crazy about her anyway. 

She's an amazing person and full of energy and life.  Our on-going job as her parents has been and continues to be to teach her to use all that energy, power, drama and the rest for good.  She can be the absolutely best toddler watcher or the meanest sister in the house, all in the space of thirty seconds.  She can throw together a stunning outfit complete with accessories that I never would have thought of, but she's also the one who tries to dress her sister in blue stripes, pink spots and tie-dye all at once.

She's quite the kid.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Friday Quick Takes







--1--


You have eight children in the house (not counting the baby), they are all begging for food and pretending that starvation is imminent.  What do you feed them for a snack?  I opted for popcorn.  I made two batches in our popcorn maker (similar to this one) -- one with butter and one with sugar. Happy children all around.



--2--


Why had I acquired extra children?  Or did you not notice in the previous quick take that there were 3 unaccounted for kids?  Well, extra children arrived yesterday afternoon, because my friend was headed to the hospital to act as a doula for another friend.  I haven't heard yet about a new baby arrival, but I'm praying that all went well.

UPDATE: A new baby boy for my friend. Deo gratias! 



--3--


I have greatly enjoyed reading the discussion on pants in the Blogosphere.  Sometimes I wear pants.  Sometimes I wear skirts.  I have a few friends who only wear skirts.  I knew a few women in Fairbanks, Alaska who only wore skirts (or wore skirts on top of their pants).  No one has yet shunned me for my lascivious pants-wearing, but now, after this discussion on the broader internets, my husband has derived a lot of pleasure from saying, "Woman. Cover yourself and stop tempting me with those pants!"



--4--


We've almost finished our third week of school.  Unsurprisingly, I suppose, all my planning has actually helped us manage our days better.  Also unsurprising -- my staying off the computer helps the day run more smoothly.  But it does cut down on my goofing off/blogging time. Hmph.



--5--


Does anyone have any brilliant ideas for breakfast? I'm tired of eggs. I'm tired of cereal. I'm tired of oatmeal and I'm tired of pancakes/waffles.  I'm also just plain tired in the morning.



--6--


This guy has a lot to do with my sleepiness.



--7--


He's two months old now and weighs almost 14 lbs.  If he continues on this growth pattern and doesn't drop off sharply like his closest two siblings did, he'll weigh as much as my two year old in no time.



More Quick Takes to be found at Jen's place.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

An Anniversary


Three years and two cradle Catholics later, today is the anniversary of our reception into the Catholic Church.

Monday, September 13, 2010

The Best Laid Plans

My homeschooling plans are going fine. Now if the rest of the moving parts could stop causing problems, I'd be grateful. On Friday morning, I sent the three year old upstairs to get dressed. A bit later, he came down in his birthday suit, crying and with a Lego up his nose. I could see it, but it was soon evident that I couldn't get it out. So, I got him and everyone else dressed and out the door and we headed off to the pediatrician. She couldn't get it out either.

So we headed from there to the ENT at the Children's Hospital. On the way there, whilst getting into the turning lane, I scraped the side of another car and broke his taillight. I've never been in an accident before. No one was hurt. I was moving very slowly and the damage to both cars was minimal, but I was still shaken up and crying.

My husband came and took the little one to ENT, while I got the accident and dealing with the police taken care of. The Lego came out with special teeny ENT tweezers.

On Sunday, we went to Mass, had a lovely chat with friends. One person gave us a belated new baby meal and another gave us a cobbler (they must have known life was not so smooth). We got in the van to go home and it wouldn't start. The battery was fine. The starter motor had died.

And this morning? My e-mail account started sending spam hither, thither and yon. And now that it's sent so much spam out into the world, Gmail won't even let me send messages out explaining, apologizing or anything else.

I think I need a hole to crawl into -- preferably with copious amounts of merlot.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

The First Week of School

Where the learning happens...(and no, I didn't chose the paint color)
Pencils scratch across paper. Pages flip. Science experiments, Latin songs and watercolors start becoming routine. It's been a busy week in the house. Usually, I begin our school year at some time during the summer when it is hot as blazes and no one wants to go out any way. This year, I didn't have the energy to even think about it -- I had a baby in July, if you recall, and we went on a long trip in August.


I decided to wait until Labor Day to begin (and we actually began on Labor Day, so as to get in a full week's work). However, although we didn't begin school until this week, I spent a lot of time over the summer getting ready for this year. First came the planning stage, which involved considering what hadn't worked and what had worked and why, figuring out what I wanted to cover and researching curriculum, mostly over on the Well-Trained Mind Forums and talking to friends. I made lists and checked them twice, reviewed them, and dithered.

Whenever possible, I tried to review curriculum items that sounded good either in person or on the web, before ordering something blindly, but ordering came next, whether blind or not.
 
After actually getting my hands on the books, I took the bold step of actually flipping through everything, considering how long I wanted our days to be, what I wanted to teach when, and making notes about the length of books and how long I wanted them to last -- also taking into consideration the fact that I have one child who speed reads (with excellent comprehension), one child who dawdles over everything and one child who complains that all assignments are too long and too hard. I started creating lesson plans and schedules for the first quarter, including typing in books that just require you to do the next thing. I know after four years of doing this, that if I don't write it all down, I won't remember even those things. I would have loved to plan the whole year at once, but things change. People get sick. Books are reviled. I didn't want to make that much commitment to anything, so I stuck to a quarter and will carry on planning as I see how things are going. In the spirit of sharing, although these will probably be too particularly specialized to be valuable to anyone but me -- here are my mostly finished grade 5, grade 3, grade 1 and Morning Circle Time plans.

Besides planning everything and putting it in writing, I also got each kid a three-ring notebook divided into nine sections with their weekly lesson plan inside as well as all worksheets to be completed each week. In the past, I have often spent time every morning finding, copying and printing worksheets or other necessary paperwork. This year, I did the work beforehand, so there is no more searching around. And to further save time during the school day, I bought each child a milk crate to keep all their particular books in. Books are returned to their place in the crate after they are used (or when I find them lying around the house in strange locations) and the hunt for missing math books seems to be some what tamed.

Finally, to get ready for the year, we cleaned, edited and rearranged our school room (which is also our family room). Thus far, I am much, much happier with the new arrangement of things.

So far, so good. I hope the rest of the school weeks continue to go so smoothly.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

MIA

Where have all the Adams gone? Long time ago...

Sorry, channeling my inner Peter, Paul and Mary...

It's never the most auspicious start to a family road trip of a thousand miles, when -- an hour from home -- the five year old yells, "Ewwww, [the two year old] has wet stuff coming out of her mouth!" Sniffing the air confirmed rather quickly what that "wet stuff" indeed was, but after stopping to clean up the child and her car seat, one more vomit episode, another stop to clean up again and to buy towels, Lysol and Febreze, things proceeded less eventfully for the rest of the trip with no more "wet stuff" spewing (although there were a few unexpected naps that moistened a few other carseats along the way, so the Lysol and Febreze saw a good bit of action until we could get home and really wash things).

But where, you might be wondering, did the Adams family go?

Our first stop was here:

Recognize that? My war-like almost four year old ran up to some strangers on the battlefield and shot them with his finger-guns. This may be reason number 5,687 why I homeschool, some of my children would be expelled from public school before they even got started.

Another long bit of driving and we arrived at our actual destination, where we toured a nuclear sub, saw a Supreme Court case in action (we'll call in professional development for my husband) and visited this fort below. Steve-o, were he still around, would I'm pretty sure be able to figure out exactly where we'd been hanging out.

We also got to take the kids on their first trip (for most of them) to a beach.

We were actually on our East Coast tour to acquire a beautiful God-daughter (picture shamelessly swiped from said Godchild's mother). And then we drove home a different way. Introduced the baby to some of his relatives in Ohio and finally arrived back in Tennessee, where I've been spending every available minute getting ready to begin the new school year and rearrange the school room to make it less of a constant disaster and more of a usable space.

School is upon us now and life is busy.

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