Wednesday, August 31, 2011

A Little Of This ..A Little of That

 A whole new way of life has hit our house this week.  Pete began his graduate program and mama is flying solo once again.  I was ready and it has been a good week.  Today was also the first day the girls went to my mom's house for a few hours. And to say the house was quiet is an understatement.  We FLEW through school and I did not get aggravated ONE SINGLE TIME!!  I can be a good mom..just not to EVERYONE...ALL THE TIME!!
 Lucy and Priscilla were as proud as can be going to Grammy's was very special for them.  They always get left behind when the girls or Jack has something to do.  So today they waved good bye to all of us as Pete drove them away and they were GLOWING!!
 But really what I have to tell you is I am without a computer most of the day now.  I usually blog at nap time and do all my picture stuff then so right now I am in blog/picture withdraw.  We NEED another computer..but we thought eating would be handy this month so waiting I will do.  I can find PLENTY I need to do during that time anyway and sneak a blog or two in while Pete is between use.
 A few more silly updates and I will be done here...

I got to talk to my friend Jane today..poor thing..I think she was just calling to say a quick Hi and I wound up YAPPING for almost 2 hours.  She has 2 older children and I LOVE hearing all about them.  I am sure she has no idea how much I get from our talks even if they are not that often.  After that I guess I was not talked out so I called another friend and took most of her afternoon up as well.  Talking to friends sometimes just..FEELS GOOD!! Thanks guys for the great Wednesday afternoon!!
 And the most amazing thing is happening with this little girl..she is being so..FUNNY!!  She is at the cutest stage right now and when she wants to be she can have us all ROLLING!!  I think I have had a hard time ENJOYING her as much as I should have been..just because she was not that ENJOYABLE for the most part and now I look at her and think.."When did you get here you cute little thing??" Hey that may not be a popular thing to say..but it can be hard to enjoy a little person when they are so...hard to enjoy (I really have no better way of saying it..please keep the hate comments to a min.  I love this child with my life but now it is getting easier to like her as well...lucky you if you never felt this way)But she is a party a minute and I am glad I was invited!!

(Excuse the laundry baskets in the back..that is what I have been doing instead of not as much fun)
And then there is this little person who has been so much kinder to my system the last 2 weeks..I feel like a new me.  I am about 19 weeks now and I know I will be on the down hill climb pretty soon..but next year is a long way off and I can't WAIT to meet this little person..until then I have PLENTY of people keeping my hands and heart FULL!!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Dear Friend From Alaska!!

 You wrote to me asking about home schooling and I thought I would spend some time here on this blog sharing a little of what I have found true of home schooling.  There are lots of different things that bring a family into the wonderful world of home schooling.  Some parents only plan to stay in that world a short time and some plan to make it a life style choice forever.  Whatever the case, it can feel over whelming when you get started.
 There are several typs of home schoolers.  I can only speak to the type that I am and offer information from my perspective.  That does not mean that all people will like or agree with my information..but I have to say it works for me!!
 I am a scheduled home schooler. And what that means to me is I make a weekly plan and stick to it.  All assignments checked off and corrected.  All work completed before we call it a day.  I make a plan and STICK TO IT! I have  mentioned before that I follow Mother Of Divine Grace Curriculum.  WHAT DOES THAT MEAN???
 What does following a curriculum mean??  Well I am like my own school district.  I decide what I want to teach and I follow a plan to teach it.  Just like your local elementary school teacher.  I get a book to teach science from and the answer key. Next I break down the book over how long I plan on teaching from that book and I MAKE A PLAN!!  That is following a curriculum!!  I use the knowledge and information from another source and teach it to my children.  What Mother Of Divine Grace has done for me is lead me to the right books to use  each year of their school..what order and a suggested pace!!
 I do break away from some of their suggestions because I have found something that works better for my kids..but for the most part I follow their guidelines and books.  Another thing some "curriculum's" do for you is help break down each subject into daily chunks.  Teachers at the local school get the same "help" from their selected text book company.
 As a home school mom I do not only impart my vast knowledge and skills to my children (nor does your local Elementary school teacher) ...I follow other smarter, wiser people through books and activities. This is how it is done!!  Some people do not follow a curriculum that is laid out for them.  They take books from different subjects and break it down themselves.  They decided if they want to teach physical science in 3rd grade or 4th.  Then they get the book they want and work out the way they will go through it!!
 The longer you are in the game of home schooling you realize certain things are not neccessary for your child.  Or maybe not neccessary in the way you were going about it.  For example, MODG has spelling as part of the curriculum until 6th grade.  We use the same book Writing Road To Reading from 3rd-6th.  This is our 3rd year doing it.  Emily is a REALLY good speller...(which she did not get from me)..she just reads SO MUCH!!!  Well, we often times skip spelling in a busy week  because I know she is getting spelling from so many different subjects that week and one less thing would actually be helpful for both of us!!
 There is so much to consider when you start the road to schooling from home.  What type of person are you?  How is your house run?  I am a morning person who like to get moving the minute the day begins.  I have to do all the hard stuff first before I can move on.  I need a plan in order to make things happen and I follow it !!  My kids know what is expected and we follow a basic routine EVERYDAY that we school!!
 None of this is as easy as it sounds right now.  Having many  kids is challenging and having  child is challenging.  When you committ to home schooling you take on the challenge of being all things to your kids...teacher, mom, social director, trainer, councler.  It can feel like a lot. 
 Some people try out for a short time and realize it is not for them.  Some people try it and decide they can never go back.  So much depends on your own family!!
 You do not need to know EVERYTHING to start..just starting will teach you enough to keep going!!  But this is a job!!  It is a full-time job.  A job that requires weekends and nights!!  A job that can end when you are done...but it is a job none the less!!
On a personal note... Sometimes I feel self concience about home schooling.  When you meet people and they say.."What school do they go to"..."Oh, we home school!!"  I hold my breathe sometimes.  Because I will get a reaction..either a "I COULD NEVER DO THAT" reaction..or "Oh" as they look for the next chance to LEAVE THE AREA!!  I have to get over that.  I don't know why it bothers me..but doing something outside the norm can feel...different enough to make me hesitate sometimes!!  You may feel this way too..or not....just know at least one other person in the world feels the same!!
                                             What should I Use?
Well...I already gave you some names but maybe other people who read my blog can shout out what they are using too. 
Some good books to have on your home school shelf are:
The Well Trained Mind
Designing a Classical Curriculum...

Please help add to this post with any advice you have for a mom who is making the home school plunge this year..even if it is for a short make it a good one for her!!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Feeling The End Of Summer

 We are in week 4 of our home school.  My curriculm follows a week long breakdown so I always know how much I have done and how much I have left.  We have gotten through this first 4 weeks REALLY well.  The little girls have been playing outside and  keeping happy in the morning hours. And Jack is SO FUN to do kindergarten with!!  And the girls know what to do so well they just go with the flow.
 Pete has been home and helping with breakfast and keeping things moving along and life seems..smooth!!  He goes to school next week FULL TIME and then we no longer have him to ourselves.  But I think we will be fine.  I think I needed this type of beginning and I feel lucky to have had it.  But besides feeling the "back to school" type of end of summer..I feel it in the air.
 We went down to our lake and stayed for several hours and it felt so good to be outside.  I think things are moving along and I feel such hope for what is to come. For several months now I have mostly felt.."ready" for whatever was to come..just staying focused on getting everyone settled.  But now I feel..hope and joy and happy about all that is to come.
 I bought 2 new skirts and a few new tops because one thing I know for sure is coming is a much bigger belly.  I asked Pete to take my picture and to be honest I could not show them...he is not the best picture taker, by his own admission, but these were EXTRA horrible.  I have a plan to get some pictures of me and it may involve a trip to Fredricksburg to see a lady with a camera!!What do you say pal, can we visit??
Until then we are recovering from a Virginia earthquake and spending our time collecting acorns and crunching some of the leaves that are starting to fall.  I am ready to put this summer behind me..not that it was horrible..just HARD and HOT!!  I like change especially if it does not involve me packing a box and driving several hundred miles!!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Finding My Groove!!

And my knitting needles..finally!!  I am sure that I am feeling SO much better and the first desire I had was to start knitting again.  For the last few weeks the idea of knitting made me feel sick..EVERYTHING made me feel sick.  But here I am a few rows in and I am making the little sack from Last Minute Knitted Gifts..nothing to fancy or technical...just fun and easy.

And in case you were wondering...
Pete took NO pity on me and we DID NOT FIND out what the baby was.  But all looks good and I am grateful for fingers and toes. As to what gender those items are attached to will remain a mystery until the end of January..which, by the way, is in like 22 weeks ...22 more Saturdays...that is like SO FAR AWAY!!!! can he do this to me????

But on a sad note ..I finished The Hunger Games and I am so sad it is over.  I ordered the 2nd book but the UPS man LET ME DOWN BIG TIME today...I can't wait to see that chocolate brown van pull up tomorrow.  I already told the girls no spelling this week and tomorrow we may cut down another subject or 2...the weather is supposed to be REALLY nice and I have some reading to do!!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Whole Lotta...

 I have been a bit wrapped up in this VERY good book...not a story line that would normally appeal to me but other people that have read the book have said the characters are so good you get lost in the people.  I agree..good characters and totally different story !!
 Otherwise I have been outside SWEATING to death..but watching the kids play in whatever they can dig up.  I keep trying to have deep thoughts, something interesting to blog about...but NOTHING!! All I have is me...still finding my way...and that is getting pretty boring.
 I could tell you that I am feeling much better the last few days because that is exciting to me, but kinda boring...and not very "blog worthy"!
 I would love to tell you that I have my ultra sound tomorrow and we are so excited to find out what the baby is..but Pete NEVER lets us find out what the babies are and it is TORTURE for sharing that bit of news would be...POINTLESS!!!
 I keep convincing myself that I am having a boy because I felt SO BAD for SO LONG....(17 weeks to be exact) and I just don't remember feeling this bad with the girls.  Not that I remember feeling this bad with Jack either ....I just don't know what to think.
 A boy would be good..this little guy is so sweet and having a brother for him would be ....
 so good!!!
 And every Sunday morning while I am doing all 4 girls hair all I can think about it..."If this is a girl we are NEVER going to make it to Mass on time...ever!!"
But I would love another girl, and I would love another boy.  I just wish with all my heart that Pete wakes up tomorrow and says..."Let's find out!! I read your blog and feel like you really should know ."
But that is not going to happen and hopefully I have something fun to share soon...cause I am really boring myself!!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Our Outdoor Story Begins

 The other day I went to another mom's house.  I was going there to get information on this really cool cooking club she was starting for the home school group.  I left there with more than information about her cooking club.
 Her backyard was GREAT.  It was simple, but very kid friendly and USABLE.  I stood there in her backyard and for a moment felt MAD at myself for choosing the house I did.  You see our house is actually on a pretty small lot.  I choose this lot because it is right beside woods and the woods are really deep. I figured we would would have plenty of room for the kids to explore and make forts right in our own "woods".
 But so far the kids have not been that interested in exploring the woods to deep.  On the first excursion Emily was stung by a bee and the next time they went exploring they saw a snake...add to that the EXTREME heat and they were not leaving the safety of the front driveway which is pretty stickin' hot and BORING!!
 I was increasingly feeling very TRAPPED in this much larger house.  The kids had no space to go burn off energy.  They melted upon leaving the front door and they were not that inclined to venture to far into the woods.  So after going to this other moms house and my little kids played the whole time out in her backyard I started feeling very aggravated at my own outdoor play situation.  I know it is hot but we have got to do something to get us outside.
 (And let me interrupt this story with a "poor Pete")..I left the house last Friday morning in a very good mood.  I came back a she-devil! He was a bit puzzled.  Finally, after I fed us all I began to tell him that I just left a backyard that made me want to start looking for a new place.  He was a bit...worried.  When I start talking like that he knows we are about to do something he may not like.
 I began pacing in the woods trying to figure out how we can make the space more livable and more inviting to play and exploration.  Keeping in mind we do not own the property in the woods we just happen to be the only ones with access to them next to our own house.  People in the neighborhood will mulch and make gardens and other sitting areas in the back of their houses that happen to be next to the woods.
 So after examining different parts of the attached woods we figured there was actually a pretty open space right in the middle if we cleared out the fallen down branches and sticks and trimmed a few branches...we could make a play area!!  WE could put some chairs and a picnic table and make a little backyard park!!
 So...we immediately got to work.  We raked and cut down a weed patch that took over  the whole middle space.  Once we moved the branches and fallen logs we had a pretty large space to play with.  I was so happy!!  We never hurt anything and truly just moved things (sticks and branches) further back into the woods.  We got rid of weeds..that were non-native pests and trimmed 2 low hanging branches .  This TRANSFORMED this little patch of woods.  Pete bought a playhouse yesterday and worked on it all day.  There is great shade back there most of the day and the weather was not to bad so he was able to finish.
We have ordered a truck of mulch to be dumped here this week and we plan on mulching the entire space.  Eventually we are going to plant some flowers and some other little shrubs to really make it look nice.  I love the dedicated space for the kids to play in.  We have no fence and privacy is a high premium around here..but it feels so "Ours" back there and I am so glad we did it.  Once again this shows how amazing Pete is.  I have a ..."We need to do this..PLEASE!!" moment and he makes it like 3 days!!!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

I Love...

 I Love Sink Baths...
And the back of her head..which is what mostly fills up my Sim Card!!