Friday, June 29, 2007

potty training in progress

Charlie has been outside naked for most of the afternoon after using the little blue BabyBjorn potty 4 times this morning. Unfortunately, he came inside to inform me that he pooped, not in the grass, but in the garage and to make it worse, he rode his bike through the pile. Uggg.

After trying several potty seats and chairs I really like this one- one piece no fussing to empty it. These are also useful in the car for long trips or going to places with no bathroom, just use a grocery bag as a liner for easy cleanup.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Happy Birthday Timmy!

My little stand, step, crawl, 4 toothed smiley wonderful baby! You are a delight (except for those restless nights and early mornings) to all of your family, making all of us laugh, even when we have to check your mouth for choking hazards. You love all of us as well, especially those of us who feed, bathe, and help you down the slide. You look just like the picture of the baby on your mush (Gerber) and don't mind being hauled around under the arms by whatever kid happens to be around. You are a happy baby, never cross, and luckily you do like more than just applesauce.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

healthier eating

I have noticed that when I come to Maine I am more critical of what I put in the grocery cart, selecting local and organic rather than the cheapest. I buy butter proudly made in Maine, buckwheat pancake mix ground in a mill up the road, and our favorite ice cream parlor serves locally made ice cream with 25 flavor choices as well as giving Will the opportunity to practice the piano. Farmer markets abound, even with a growing season 2 months behind the mid-Atlantic states allowing me to buy free range chicken and eggs from a farmer who posts pictures of her flock of Rhode Island Reds. The girls came with me last week to the weekly market to also purchase a quart of gold from the sweet and gentle honey lady.
I don't know exactly why my attitude changes as the latitude changes, but perhaps it is the availability of good products, knowing that soon we will be farmers hoping someone buys our produce, or the constant greenie drumbeat in the local media of how important all these issues are to our health and to preserve the rural character of Maine.
NEWPORT - Maine’s farmers markets are open for the season and market masters across the state say attendance is increasing and customers are buying. And it’s not just the crisp spring greens or bright green asparagus and fiddleheads that are drawing people to the markets.
"It is a sense of community, entertainment and education," said Deanne Herman, marketing manager at the Maine Department of Agriculture.
Those who have been to a farmers market before know that it’s a different type of shopping experience, she said. "All of your senses are engaged. You’re seeing, hearing, feeling and tasting things that you’re not likely to have experienced at a typical grocery store." More than just buying food, customers have a chance to meet and interact with the person who grew it.
Public concern about food safety is another reason farmers markets are valuable, according to Hillas. "As consumers increasingly raise questions about food security in response to e-coli outbreaks, mad cow quarantines, and the recent recall of contaminated dog food, the farmers market offers the option of directly asking food producers about food safety," Hillas said. "Answers about production techniques and post-harvest handling are immediately available. In addition, market farmers are happy to share advice on cooking, nutrition or gardening topics."
According to last week’s New England Agriculture Statistics’ crop report, it’s been quite a spring for Maine’s farmers. Nearly all crops have been planted, fields were dry enough for farmers to get on them and work, and corn plants are already popping up.
Herman said that crops available in early June include asparagus, crisp lettuces, spicy mustard greens, arugula, spinach, baby carrots, radishes, broccoli, as well as an array of vegetable seedlings for home gardeners.
We will be going on Sunday afternoon on a farm tour of a dairy sheep operation an hour south of town. Hopefully the children will behave and I will learn lots about fencing and milking. I like the looks and docility of sheep, their triple usefulness in wool, milk, and meat.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

78th Carnival of Homeschooling

Is up at Homeschool Hacks. It is titled the surgery edition, but no internship or residency will be required.

time does fly

Today we took Tim to the airport so he can start back to work and earn money to keep a roof over our heads.
In thinking it over last night it amazed me that with so many flights with babies and toddlers under my belt, 3 of the kids have never set foot on one. As I heard some childless career woman yammering about how awful her last flight was last week because a family with 3 small children were aboard, I whispered, "I'm so grateful it wasn't me she was complaining about." I have been there too many times to count, including when 6 month old Will suddenly developed a fever post take-off. I recall trying to cool him off with damp papertowels while staring out the window at the snow-capped Alps. Luckily a nice doctor at the Gatwick airport walked me to Boots, where I purchased a bottle of Panadol. Sufficed to say, I was a worn-out wreck of a woman by the time I reached the Norfolk airport.

Tim has had a lovely time the last few weeks mowing with his new tractor. He will fly back up in late September to fetch us when we will return to suburban life. In the meantime, I will be grateful for the help from our new babysitter Maggie who is coming every day so I can get in my run. I will also be appreciative of my helper Mary who has taken over the bedtime rituals for Charlie. He actually has said, "I like Mary doing it better." A woman I encountered a few years back told me, "the whole dynamic changes for the better once the oldest girl turns 9." I have to say that I see the light at the end of the Mommy-having-to-do-everything-tunnel.

Monday, June 25, 2007

TV and morals

This is one of those "no brainer" studies that come out of the federal government. People who spend their time inside the house with their eyes glued on a screen are much more likely to believe whatever the talking heads say and are less likely to do much else. They don't go to church because the TV says that God doesn't exist and because MTV is more entertaining than going to Mass. They don't realize that abortion or fornication are wrong because they don't go to church since they are too busy watching reruns on TiVo. Also, the sitcom characters spout out that abortion is a virtuous act by saving our planet from excess population, as opposed to a morally repugnant evil specifically forbidden by God.
I always think it amusing when I am at a party and the talk turns to favorite TV shows. When I am asked my opinion and reply with, "we don't have a TV," everyone quickly responds with statements like, "oh, we don't watch very much at all..." These are people who just 2 minutes before listed 5-6 shows they watch religiously! Perhaps there are some families that watch 24 hours of TV per day to keep up the national average since I can't think of a single household that will admit they watch more than 60 minutes of the boob tube daily.
Heavy television watching parallels a decline in moral values and a sense of personal responsibility, a new study by the Culture and Media Institute of the Media Research Center has found.
In a new Special Report entitled “The Media Assault on American Values,” released by the CMI June 6, a clear correlation was shown to exist between an increase in the number of hours a viewer spent watching TV and a decline in the strength of personal moral values.
On the issue of abortion, 44 percent of light TV viewers (those who watch one hour or less per night) said abortion is wrong, compared to 27 percent of heavy TV viewers (those who watch four hours or more per night).
While 39 percent of light TV viewers said sex outside of marriage was always wrong, only 26 percent of heavy viewers considered sex outside of marriage to be always wrong.
While only 28 percent of heavy viewers are frequent church goers, 47 percent of light viewers go to church regularly. More than half (51 percent) of heavy viewers said they rarely or never attended church, while only 29 percent of light viewers said they went to church “rarely or never”.
When it came to a sense of financial and social responsibility, heavy viewers were much more likely to expect the government to provide for their health and retirement needs than light viewers, and they were much less likely to support charities.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

raising social misfits?

This article out of Canada seems to suggest that all public school children are well behaved, exceptionally intelligent social butterflies in comparison to homeschoolers.

It seems to me that one of the main reasons parents pull their children out of public schools is because they want their children to have a superior education with more opportunities to think outside the box and to interact with people of all ages. Homeschoolers also have more than the average number of children so they are not sitting alone with a grownup day-in and day-out. With 4 siblings to talk and play with, I bet my kids have more interaction with peers than the average. Even so, when I informed my family that we were going to homeschool, my little brother looked at me horrified before blurting out, "I knew some kid in college who was homeschooled and he was weird!" I replied, "I know hundreds of people who are weird and they all went went to public school."

There was a study a few years back comparing volunteerism and voting of young adults. Those who had been homeschooled were far more likely to be involved in their communities than their public schooled peers. According to this author it is not possible to be social in everyday interactions, but isn't that how adults make friends: in church, clubs, sports, and by visiting with neighbors?

The reason we started homeschooling was partly from seeing the strong social skills of some friend's daughters who were taught at home. One is now in college and doing extremely well and the other is preparing to join her sister in higher education. I think if this biased journalist met these young ladies she would completely change her mind that homeschooling is equivalent to raising social pariahs.

There are many pros and cons to home-schooling, but when they are weighed, there appear to be more drawbacks to being home-schooled than being in a traditional academic setting. A significant example is the amount of time - not to mention money - it takes to prepare and teach daily lessons and organize activities. Parents who chose to home-school would have little time to themselves and would have to pay for most of the resources needed to educate their children. It is unlikely many parents can match the resources offered by a government-funded school system.

But perhaps the greatest disadvantage is the difficulty in developing social skills. Social skills cannot be learned merely through everyday interactions, such as trips to the mall, church, sports and clubs or visiting with neighbours. It is imperative kids learn how to have relationships with their peers - and that can rarely be accomplished in a home-schooling environment.

Kids need more than book smarts, they also need to learn about real life - with its perils and pitfalls - and develop the skills they need to cope with it. And those skills cannot be learned merely by enrolling children in sports, church or community groups. It is that lack of exposure to the real world that poses a danger for home-schooled children, particularly those who are taught by their parents right through their teen years.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

smart kid

Yesterday was a milestone day, Charlie used the potty for the first time and excitedly received 3 m&ms as a reward. It only occurred to me that he should be out of the diapers when a friend told me how well her little girl is doing in that arena - her daughter is a year younger than Charlie. If it wasn't for the expense I would leave them in diapers until they figured it out on their own, I can't stand dealing with wet and messy clothes, the hanging around all day waiting for something to happen... Is it any wonder that Tim potty trained both girls in exasperation?

The other baby book worthy moment was after dinner when Timmy took his first step. The applause and smiles from every corner of the room were so worth it that when I hoisted back up to standing he did it again. I'm glad we are in a 1 story house for the next 2 months, keeping him away from the woodstove and the kitty litter is enough of a challenge these days.

So after thinking I have the most brilliant children on the planet, what should I spy as soon as I turn on the computer this morning? An article about this gorgeous 2 year old little girl in England who is being reported as the smartest child ever tested. Do notice that she is not an only child and not coached by her parents with flashcards (do you remember that book, Teach Your Baby to Read?).

According to an expert in gifted children, Georgia is the brightest two-year-old she has ever met.
Parents Martin and Lucy Brown have always regarded their youngest child as a remarkably quick learner.
She was crawling at five months and walking at nine months. By 14 months, she was getting herself dressed. "She spoke really early - by 18 months she was having proper conversations," Mrs Brown said. "She would say, 'Hello I'm Georgia, I'm one'. She was also putting her shoes on and putting them on the right feet."
Mrs Brown began to worry about Georgia's future education. She contacted Professor Joan Freeman, a specialist educational psychologist, for advice. To the amazement of the family, Georgia scored 152 points on the IQ test, putting her in the top 0.2 per cent of the population. Georgia was then invited to join Mensa, the High IQ society whose members have IQs in the top 2 per cent of the population. Georgia is one of only 30 Mensa members under the age of ten.
Mrs Brown, chief executive of a charity, believes Georgia has benefited by growing up as the youngest of five children. She has been absorbing information from her older brothers and sisters and father, a self-employed carpenter, while not receiving any special treatment. "There is always someone around to offer her something," her mother said. "But she still has temper tantrums, like you wouldn't believe, throwing herself on the floor. "She doesn't think she's better and cleverer than everyone else. She is a very kind and loving child."
Georgia, who has a "wicked sense of humour" is as busy as any toddler, enjoying a schedule of ballet classes, listening to stories, dancing, singing, sport and even watching the TV.

Friday, June 22, 2007

responsible driving

Here in Maine there are little placards all along the coastal road, "State Law: Yield to Pedestrians in Crosswalk." Route 1 is so congested in the summer from tourists traveling down east (meaning north) that in some towns a walker would otherwise never be able to get across the street. Even with such laws and friendly drivers, Charlie and I almost got hit when we were crossing the road yesterday to get to the local library. After my initial panic and fear, I got angry, very angry and had visions of tracking down the thoughtless teenage driver and threatening his life.
When we lived on-base in Italy the parking lot of our apartment became a toddler turnpike in the late afternoons with upwards of 2 dozen children riding bikes and scoot'n'go vehicles around and around. All the residents coming home from work knew to drive slowly into the quad's lot and shouts of "car!" periodically permeated the din. This could only have happened on-base, Italian drivers are so wild that all the children would have been squished like bugs in 20 minutes. We can't go to our local city park here in town because of the number of close calls with people thinking the circular gravel road is the Daytona 500. As a parent I see too many yahoos who exhibit little concern for others and threaten the safety of everyone within their path. I'm not saying I would have been part of the below mentioned murderous mob, but my heart goes out the the mother of the toddler more easily than the driver or his companion.
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - "Police on Wednesday were pleading for witnesses to help them track down members of an angry mob that beat a man to death after the car he was riding in apparently struck and injured a child.
Investigators were struggling to piece together what happened Tuesday when David Rivas Morales died defending the driver from members of a crowd. The car in which Morales, 40, was a passenger had entered an apartment complex's parking lot when it struck a 2-year-old boy, Piatt said. The boy was taken to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
The driver got out of the car to check on the child and was confronted by several people, Piatt said. When they attacked the driver, Morales got out of the car to protect the driver and was attacked as well."

Thursday, June 21, 2007

kitchen update

After my morning run (yes, I took Mary) I was at the hardware store at 7am. The paint counter lady was there and sold me some primer for the cabinets. She is now my second favorite local in town because she asked Tim when he went in the other day to pick up the yellow paint, "How does your wife stay so skinny?"

My all time favorite Mainer is the old man who asked me a few years back in the Shop'n'Save parking lot, "Are you a movie star?" Let me tell you, though we have movie stars come to town while on vacation and shop at the local organic market (Kirstie Alley), I am not one of them. Can you imagine having your cellulite and belly flab pointed out on tabloid covers at every grocery store in America?

Anyway, the cabinets do look much improved even with the top doors off and the primer applied. And perhaps I look so improved in the crisp, cool Maine summers that I do resemble Jennifer Aniston.


Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Martha Stewart, watch out!

Last week I finally had enough of peeling vinyl wallpaper in our bathroom and almost before I knew what had happened 1/2 of the tiny room was only sporting glue resin. I figured watching years of design shows on HGTV and This Old House counted for something and certainly the helpful folks at the hardware store could give me a few pointers. Maggie turned out to be a great helper in peeling wallpaper and all the kids wanted to try painting. After upteem trips to said hardware store for scrapers, joint compound, razor blades, paint, brushes, patch kit, and wallpaper remover I now have a beautiful sky blue bathroom with bright white trim and fluttering Italian linen curtains at the window. Every time I pass the doorway I stop and admire my handiwork. The rest of our vacation house screams "1970's tacky" but that one bath is a work of art.

Well, since I figured it only took me a week to finish that project, you can figure out what happened next. The wallpaper in the kitchen hit the floor yesterday during nap time and bright buttercup yellow paint is waiting for me in the garage. Tim took 4 of the children up to the farm for an hour or two. Timmy is snoozing away and I have sanded down the walls and put on the first coat of white on the trim. The ugly insulating curtains are in the trash to be replaced by pretty white ones I found yesterday at Reny's.
Somehow I didn't have the nerve to do anything drastic until this year. Boy, I wish I had done this 5 years ago instead of living with it just 'cause "we are only here for such a short time." If you have a project that is beckoning, get off the computer and just start. It will be finished before you know it and will brighten your mood too!
update: The yellow is really bright, it clashes terribly with the ugly brown fake wood cabinets. Seems there are two options: live with it, or look into painting the cabinets white.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

77th Carnival of Homeschooling

comparison shopping

I discovered these Dove dark chocolate covered almonds at Christmas and soon found myself scarfing down entire bags thoughtlessly while reading in the afternoons. So, when I saw a pouch of Hershey dark chocolate covered almonds for 40 cents less I bought both for a taste test. They are almost the same, but the Dove ones are a tiny bit richer.
Another few items for snacking while reading are dark chocolate covered Raisinettes and dark chocolate m&ms-yum!
Is it any wonder that I have gained 3 pounds in the past week? (though I did wear my new bikini out at the local pond yesterday, Tim thought I looked pretty good!)

Sunday, June 17, 2007

early to bed, early to rise

The last week or so I have been getting up at 5am and heading out the door for a short 2.5 mile run downtown and back. I love running early when everyone in town, including my family, are still snuggled in bed. Maine summers are actually quite cool and even in a t shirt I feel a bit chilly down by the water. This week it has worked out especially well, with low tide being early in the morning so I can participate in my favorite summer activity without feeling any Mommy guilt. Hunting for beach glass is free, fun, and therapeutic. I have 6 jars of it that I have collected over our summers in Maine. The girls love to sort it by color, and while I have filled 2 glass lamp bases with aqua pieces that our local beach is semi-famous for, I haven't really done anything artsy with it.
Friday evening before bed Mary begged and begged me to wake her up early so she could go with me so I whispered in her ear and she willingly got dressed and followed me on her bike downtown. After our hunting expedition we stopped for breakfast at the local diner and then I ran home slowly to avoid tummy upset. I am glad we did it once, but this morning she had her nose out of joint that I went without including her. 7 year olds don't quite get that a treat is a treat precisely because it only happens once in a while, otherwise it is defined as a routine.
My morning runs will soon come to an end when Tim leaves in a little over a week to go back to North Carolina, though I might have a sitter lined up so I can run sometime. I do know for certain that no 15 year old is going to show up at my door at the crack of dawn so I can go hunting for beach glass.

Happy Father's Day

Tim you are a great Dad, despite, or perhaps because you never thought you would become a father. You read stories, patiently tutor Will in piano and the dreaded multiplication tables, change countless nappies, preside over bath time, and shove mush into little bird-like mouths. You take the time to explain car maintenance to the boys and willingly listen when the girls try to teach you about color coordination. You praise, correct, chastise, thank, and discipline.

A couple of new t shirts is poor compensation for the hours you spend helping raise our children, but you need them and you don't play golf or need a new tie (one is enough!).

"Thank you Daddy! We love you!,"
Will, Mary, Maggie, Charlie, and Timmy (okay, he didn't actually say it, but just tried to eat a bug that Tim fished out, so he meant it)

Friday, June 15, 2007

real life

Being the mommy of 5 small children is not the easiest job in the world. I do realize that I am part of a family, not a corporation so I just can't quit, but some days I wonder why I have volunteered for this vocation.

Yesterday afternoon I spent over 2 hours getting ready to join Tim and Will out at the farm, making a picnic dinner, packing sweatshirts and tools, making sure all the baby's nappies were clean and dry and everyone had gone potty. We drove about 20 minutes through the scenic countryside before Mary yelled, "Mommy, Charlie has thrown up, and its all over ME!" I pulled over at the nearest gas station and blanched at the mess all over my brand new van - milk curds and goo over 6 square feet, much of it pooling in the van seat and dripping into the seat belt slots. It was covering all Charlie's clothes and part of Mary's as well. With my handful of wipes in the emergency bucket I wiped out the car as best I could, stripped down Charlie and put everyone back in to get to the farm. I was so frustrated with my carsick tot that I told Tim as he drove up on the tractor with a quizzical look on his face, "I quit. I don't want to deal with this again for the second day in a row," and stomped off to the next field over.

After about 20 minutes of recovering by being alone in the woods, finding a wild turkey hen and her chicks, and poking around the base of a huge oak tree, I walked back to the housesite. Tim had put all the children he could find in the van and said he was taking them to clean up. I could come home, making sure to bring Mary, when I wanted to. I worked out my frustration by smashing up dead tree limbs into oblivion for about an hour before I wanted to go home and resume my motherly role. It certainly wasn't Charlie's fault. We just have to realize that afternoon car trips over lots of hills doesn't bode well for the car upholstery.
Being a real life Mommy is not like being one on TV. It is often messy, inconvient, and stinky. Conflicts do not get resolved in 25 minutes with everyone smiling at the closing credits. But real life is full of emotions such as love, joy, and forgiveness that are only alluded to on the screen. Being a real life Mommy is better.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

look ma, no hands!

Yesterday afternoon we drove out to the farm with cupcakes and fireworks for Charlie's birthday. Unfortunately, Charlie ate too much chocolate frosting and threw up on himself, the carseat, and the van seat on the way home, but it is all cleaned up now.

When we arrived, Tim was beginning to re-mow the fields and decided that it was a good time for my first tractor driving lesson. This isn't some dinky lawn mower, it is an intimidating John Deere tractor with a 7' mower and a bucket on the front.

After about 15 minutes I took off down the field in 1st gear at about 5 mph. With a little more confidence I put it in 2nd and made 3 passes before the kids flagged me down to ask if it was time for cupcakes.

My rows were so neat and my turns so polished that I felt like a NASCAR driver in the winner's circle. I do want to thank all the little people who made it possible: my husband for the instructions on how to drive the thing, my son for telling me how to engage the PTO, and especially my patient mother for teaching me to drive a stick shift all those years ago.

While I don't think I will do a lot of mowing this summer, due to baby Timmy's need to be held, I have confidence that it is now something I can put on my resume under farming skills.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

76th Homeschool Carnival

is up at Kris's Eclectic Homeschool.

Happy Birthday Charlie!

Today you turn 3, our bright-eyed bushy-tailed little boy. You are willing to go along with everyone else's idea for adventure and have the bruises on your shins that never go away to prove it. In fact, you always look grubby, despite two baths a day. You play so hard that you instantly obey when I call, "Charlie! Time for milk and bed." You are my early riser, rubbing your eyes and sleepily saying, sometimes at 6am, "Good orning Mommy. Milk ease." You will never have osteoporosis with your habit of gulping down two sippycups full of milk before anyone else gets to the table at each meal. I refuse to cut your silky blond hair because I know that it will turn brown soon enough. I love seeing you walk around with your finger stuck in your belly button - a security blanket that can never be lost, but does need to be washed.
You are loved Charlie by so many people and charm them all. God bless you and may you always strive to know, love, and serve God in this world and be happy with him forever in the next.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

missing teeth

There is a on-going debate in our house of the milestone separating little kids from big kid status. Will claims that it is, "when you lose your first baby tooth," while Tim and I insist that it occurs, "when you learn to use the potty."

Of course Will picked his designation because Maggie can use the potty but has not yet lost any teeth. He loves to torture his little sister, but I am hoping they will both outgrow this phase and be best friends one day. She was so funny to listen to when she explained to our dentist, "I get a dollar under my pillow when I lose a baby tooth, but not if it is green or black. That happens when you don't brush your teeth and you don't get any money for those."

Mary has lost two teeth in the last two weeks, one never managed to make it under the pillow so last night the tooth fairy put $2 for the teeth and 50 cents extra for interest. She now has 3 gaps in her smile, including the front top teeth which makes her look more beautiful than any supermodel, at least from a mommy's point of view.

Monday, June 11, 2007

farm days

Tim has been happier than a pig in mud the past few days since his new John Deere tractor was delivered. I laughed at him when he drove an hour up to the dealership the day before to pat it and get the manuals, but in 3 days he has mowed 17 acres and is headed back up to the farm today to work on clearing the field edges. If left alone the poplars and wild cherry saplings will slowly creep into the fields making them smaller year by year. After years of thinking every tree is good and necessary for the world's health, I now realize that nature will turn our beautiful and useful cleared land into forest if we don't work hard to beat it back. I can clear out about 50 feet of saplings, dead limbs, and brush in the 3 hours of work time I am allotted before mommy duty makes me take the little ones back to town. At this rate it will take me 200 days to clear all the edges, not including time to do something with the detrius.
Now there are certainly fun things to do this summer like hunt for beach glass at low tide, ferry Will and Mary to summer camp in a few weeks, and picnic at the lobster pound for supper. But we are farmers now and Tim and I are enthusiasically jumping into our country adventure with both feet. It will take us the rest of our lives to develop this farm into our dream with a beautiful butter yellow house and garage, a barn and machine shed, a chicken coop, fences, a pond, a cross country ski trail through the woods, and a huge fruit and vegetable garden. God willing we will get to sit on our porch in rocking chairs looking out over our laborful bounty and holding hands in the twilight each evening.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

springtime anew

It struck me while running this morning at 5:30am (early to bed, early to rise girl here) that traveling up to Maine in June is a lot like homeschooling your children.

We already experienced spring this year in Virginia, way back in early April. The azaleas and tulips bloomed like mad, the evenings were still chilly but the afternoons warmed up enough for a t-shirt and shorts. Traveling 600 miles north I have been enjoying spring all over again, this time with the rhododendrons and lilacs blooming and the famous blue and pink lupines blanketing the roadsides. Our first evening up here we actually had to light the wood stove and put on our flannel jammies which we had packed away 2 months before. Presently it is summer in Virginia, with a high of 103 F yesterday.
Homeschooling is a reintroduction to learning material that might have been boring or too complicated the first time around. When we read science aloud to our little ones, listen to older elementary age children read history stories, or discuss religious morality with our teens we are learning right alongside them. Mom might even get more out of it than the kids! While we are giving them a great education, we are also teaching them that learning is a life-long process and schooling is not just about passing a test or advancing to the next grade.
This summer we are going to finish up the last few weeks and then take some time doing "fun schoolwork" like art, reading aloud Childhood of Famous American books, and lots of nature studies. Have fun this summer and learn along with your children, its like getting a second springtime!

Friday, June 08, 2007

75th Carnival of Homeschooling

Is up here at Homeschool Buzz.

We made it!

Well, it was a looong two day car ride from North Carolina to Maine. I swear the entire state of Massachusetts was one big traffic jam. The kids were great, Timmy especially is a great traveler and even fell right asleep in the pack'n'play at the hotel. We made it to Connecticut the first day and splashed in the pool for the kids to get their energy out. I got to soak in their hot tub to soothe away the stresses from trying to keep up with Tim in my huge van. I do love the space and being able to see over everyone, but the width makes me nervous about sideswiping someone, especially tractor trailers and the height exacerbates my fear of bridges. By the time we hit the state line I was so grateful to be out of traffic that I did a little happy dance in my seat. When I read the sign at the border that reads, "Maine, come for a vacation, stay for a lifetime" I wished we didn't have to go back.
The fresh air and cool temperatures in Maine have driven us all out of the house after the obligatory unpacking and grocery run. I have already weeded the front flower bed and spread compost from last year's pile on as mulch. The trees and shrubs have begun to get their annual hacking back, and our brand new John Deere tractor was delivered out to the farm this afternoon. Tim stayed behind to mow after I brought the kids and a picnic lunch while we waited for the delivery truck. After a few photo shots and a meeting with the architect of our soon-to-be-constructed garage, (for above mentioned tractor) I drove a bunch of very tired children back to the house in town. They are all out playing on the swings and in the very shallow stream while I rest and Timmy naps.
Now that the computer is in one spot for the next few months I am glad to return to the blogging world once more!

Saturday, June 02, 2007

I did it!

Yesterday morning I stepped onto the scale and found _ _0.0 staring back at me. After an hour I wanted to see again and it was 1/2 pound less. I lost those last 5 stubborn pounds I had been trying to lose for months now! Don't know how other than holding Timmy in the pool for 90 minutes each evening, trying not to eat everything nailed down, and drinking lots of water since it is sooo hot here.

The downside? I bought a new expensive Speedo bathing suit on Tuesday because both of my old suits had become see-through. To say it politely, taking 5 kids to Dick's Sporting Goods to shop for a bathing suit is NOT my idea of a pleasant shopping experience. I told Will and Mary to go over to the fishing section and just look, no touching, while I grabbed some suits and pushed the whole cart into the changing room with my maximum 3 items. If I wanted a different size I had to get dressed, grab my bag and all three little ones to seize it off the rack. That got old very quickly so I just bought the most plain blue tank I could find. Well, now it seems a wee bit big and I keep having to tug the backside down a bit when I get out- there doesn't seem to be enough bottom for the material to grip. I have some errands to run this morning now that Tim is back from checking out of his old command. I might sneak over there and try on some slightly smaller and more fashionable suits with only the girls in tow.

Friday, June 01, 2007

bye bye whining Charlie

A new friend asked me yesterday if Timmy was a good baby. "Oh yes, he is a wonderful baby," I replied as I kissed his soft head, "Charlie was the difficult one from day one until..."
Well, I realized at that instant that Charlie has matured, has become more compliant, more cheerful, and less fussy. He is willing to say "yes" more times than "no" and now waddles off after the others to play outside in the sand rather than simply hug my knee and fuss. He will be 3 in less than two weeks now and even though I have grown used to his difficult ways I am much more excited about a Charlie with a soft voice and and a more independent spirit. I have to balance this with the recognition that the baton might have been handed to Mary, our new tattletale queen.
Family life apparently never reaches a state of perfection, its always a balancing act.