Monday, May 24, 2010
The other day Jace was reading a Magic Tree House book in the back seat and reported to me that Jack and Annie remembered something from another book in the current book. Here's how it went:
Jace: Mama! I'm reading Magic Tree House book #39 and Jack and Annie remember something from Magic Tree House Book #4.
Me: They do? How do you know? Does it say that in there?
Jace: No, but it says something about pirates and in Magic Tree House book #4 they went on a pirate ship.
That's right...he remembered down to that detail. He always runs to get his Wildlife Explorer to show me things he's learned about animals. He reads each card when it comes in and then uses the binders as resources to convince the rest of us he knows what he's talking about...as if we doubt that!
Tyler's wise in a little bit different way. He's never had any problem understanding the spoken word, but he still chooses not to speak much himself. Instead he giggles and runs away. Or he might head butt you and laugh. Or, if you're his big sister, he's likely to climb up next to you when you're sitting quietly and say, "Ha ha!"
And then there's Scott. He's incredibly smart, first and foremost, for marrying me! But beyond that, he surprises me with little gems of wisdom as a father. One of my favorites is, "When their ears go to sleep, the rest of them is soon to follow." Kids become unable to follow directions when they're tired. And it's nothing but frustrating to try to get toys picked up or dinner finished or to get in and out of a store with a sleepy kiddo.
Trust me...I know. The kids have been plenty tired these last few weeks. But now they're sleeping peacefully, ears and all! Tomorrow there with be more astounding sparks of wisdom from Jace and more wise cracks from Tyler. And, in two days, we'll get hugs and kisses from Scott...and lean on his wisdom, his strength, and into his arms! We all miss him and can't wait to see him soon.
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
So, we've spent some time outdoors. This morning we went for a 2-mile walk with Grandma Nourse. Jace got a pet snail, which may have been left in the stroller when I put it in the van. Oh well...when I was younger I let a frog go in my parents' bedroom. I won't complain about a snail in the van!
And we just went for a bike ride. We stopped to see Grandpa Foote at work. He was actually working (not that I doubt that is his normal routine while at his place of employment) so we just said hi and went on to the park. At the park Tyler ate a little gravel, but once the tears dried he seems just fine. The ride home was tiring, but not physically...my patience was exercised!
Jace can ride fast. Gracie can't. The sidewalks were very bumpy and Tyler complained...but only a little. Glad to be back indoors for a little bit. But we've got a few beautiful days ahead...so perhaps more exercise will be in our futures.
Monday, May 17, 2010
Some day it will not take 15 mintues to stop at a rest stop on the road.
Some day I will not have to change diapers.
Some day I will not have to change the sheets after accidents with pull ups that are on crooked.
Some day I will not be a human jungle gym.
Some day I will not hear "mama" all day long.
Some day I will not hear "mama" all day long.
Some day I will not get frequent and random cuddles.
Some day I will not be woken up by giggling and whispering outside my bedroom door.
Some day my kids will realize I'm not perfect.
And, hopefully some day the kids will want advice from mama. They'll want my shoulder to put their heads on. They'll want my hugs after an tough day. They'll laugh with me, discuss with me, and share their dreams with me.
Parenting is no easy road, but I love my parents and just enjoyed a wonderful dinner with them. Childhood is no easy road either, but I also love my kids and hope to enjoy all the moments I can with them...and the occasional wine cooler and chocolate chip cookie too.
Friday, May 14, 2010
Mama: Gracie, eat your cheese.
Gracie: I don't like this cheese. Why can't I have a cheese stick?
Mama: That's the same cheese as a cheese stick except it came in a square.
Jace: Nut-uh, Mama. It didn't come in a square. (rolls eyes) It came in a rectangular prism.
Mama: Well, yes, Jace, that's correct. Gracie, it's the same cheese as a cheese stick except it came as a rectangular prism.
I'm gonna learn a lot with this homeschooling adventure!
What else have I been up to other than trolling the web for rental homes? Mostly, I've been working. That's right...I'm a homeschooling mama. It's a job! :) And I'm attending my first conference. It's an online convention: The Old Schoolhouse Online Expo. If you're just hearing about this, don't worry you're not completely missing out! You can go in and browse the vendor hall now, without buying your way into the convention! You can also order the downloads that will be available after the close of the expo. And if you're like me, and just getting into homeschooling, you might find these sessions highly informational! I've probably attended about half of them and taken almost 20 pages of notes! This morning I was looking through my notes, getting ready for today (the last day of the expo), and realized I need to weed through all that I've learned and really pick out what I want to work into our lives and what I'm willing to wait on. Even the prospect of that excites me! I'm a planner and am really enjoying designing our homeschool.
That's about it, ladies and gents! Even though I've been in New York for 4 days now, I haven't been running in 16 directions. I took one day to visit all our parents and I've been huddled in the corner with my computer since. Tomorrow should be a relaxing day - finally one without rain - so I'm hoping we can all get outside and enjoy it. And I'll be getting together with some old high school friends tomorrow night. Sunday we're going to see Thomas the Train, that should be fun. But thus far, we're not overloaded. I like that.
One thing I am doing, though, is counting down the days until I get to see Scott again. (Miss you!) He was around during the last move and moving out of the house without him and traveling so much with just the kids has been fun, but so very different. We've been sharing stories with him, but we're all excited to see him again! And, we're under two weeks...yay!
So, that's our lives in a nut shell. I hope you're all doing well today too and maybe you can take some time to listen to the birds outside your door too. That's the melody I have playing right now. That and a truck from the gravel pit! Have a great weekend!
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
But anyway, back to unit studies. Apparently I'm not the only one who likes them. If you google "unit studies" you get pages of links. Recently, though, I haven't had to google it. A few of the blogs I follow have written very helpful how to's. Tristan, whom I follow at Our Busy Homeschool, writes for Latter-Day Homeschooling and posted Simple Unit Study Planning a few days ago. And Samantha, of To Be Busy at Home, posted Planning a Unit Study Step By Step: Choosing Fiction Books. Check them out!
And if you do google unit studies or go to About.com or Suite 101, you can find even more info...including some already prepared lesson plans.
If you're not a homeschooler you can utilize all these great links too. One thing I'm learning is that I already lean this direction with my kids. When we go on trips we might read about where we're going first or they might color pictures of the flags of the states we'll be driving through. Those are exactly the types of things unit studies, and homeschooling in general, is about. So, with summer coming up, you might find some great ideas for things to keep your kids busy when they're bored...the second week of break!
Thursday, May 6, 2010
So, lessons have I learned on this day?
Well...it's race day in Darlington, SC this weekend. I thought that I'd be all relaxed about this little leg of our trip and not make reservations or even plan on where to stop tonight. Well, we made it to 20 minutes Southeast of Darlington. The first exit we looked for rooms at was booked. Thankfully we did get a room at the second exit. And in time for Survivor. (yay!)
Jace thinks I'm cool. Since today was his last day of school he gave me the Mother's Day card he'd made rather than waiting until Friday or Sunday. He basically wrote this: "My mom is cool. She whistles like the wind. She lets us cuss. My mom likes to cuddle with me. And she lets me buy Nerf guns with my own money." Isn't he too sweet! I'm thinking he threw the cussing thing in there hoping the power of suggestion would work for him!
Tyler can sleep through a gymnasium of Kindergarten, 1st graders, and 2nd graders yelling and cheering for their teachers. We spent the whole day at Jace's school today for his field day. All morning we were outside playing. Then we came in and had lunch, after which we went to the gym for class activities. After the classes all competed in tug o' war the teachers and parents got out there. I, unfortunately, couldn't go because Tyler was sleeping in my lap. And he slept through all the rowdy, loud, shouting. I couldn't believe it!
If you don't strap Tyler into his car seat, he will sit in it anyway and not get out and play. Very smart boy. For about 15 minutes after we left the school Tyler kept saying, "Ut-oh," and I'd ask him what was wrong and he'd grunt something unintelligible. He didn't sound too worried or hurt so I'd just say, "OK...you're all right." Finally, Gracie looked over and told me Tyler wasn't strapped in! Too much focus on snacking and not enough on safety before hitting the road, I guess. I promise to pay more attention next time.
Teachers have one exhausting job. Not only did I spend today in Jace's class, but I was in Gracie's yesterday. They've just completed 1st grade and pre-k. In Gracie's class of soon-to-be-Kindergarteners, there were kids reading words and kids learning to identify letters or name the last letter in their name. In Jace's class there are reading levels ranging from 4th grade down to whatever level is still learning sight words and phonics. We reviewed odd and even numbers in 1st grade this morning and not everyone got it right. We talked about odd and even numbers yesterday in Gracie's class and not everyone got it right there either, but some did. I didn't fully realize the range of students teacher's have to teach. And then there are the maturity levels. Both classes had kids who listened the first time and kids who didn't listen the fourth or fifth time. Both classes had kids to sat quietly and waited for the next instruction and those who couldn't sit quietly even if that was the instruction. I've known that teaching is a tough job and one that I've always had great respect for. But after two days in the classroom...I'm going to write personal thank you notes to my kids' teachers. They were given wonderful attention these past few years and I don't think the thanks I've already given was enough.
Well, I guess that's as good a lesson learned to leave off on as any. Tomorrow's a big day, fully of driving and chatter. Wish us luck! Have a great weekend and a fabulous Mother's Day!!!
Monday, May 3, 2010
I say it often to Jace. He's not very good at it. It takes him forever to tie his shoes. Well, not literally forever, of course. But a long time. And doing his home work...I've started simply saying, "Focus," every time he has an unrelated story to tell or answers a question Gracie asks or starts playing with Tyler. Hopefully eventually he'll learn better concentration. We'll see.
You are probably hearing some frustration in my tone. I can't deny it's there. Things seem not to be going as smoothly as I'd like with our move. Nothing earth-shattering has gone wrong, but just little things that put me off kilter. And Gracie's teacher noted that I looked tired this morning. She's right, but I'd hoped that I was covering that better.
So, I've also been trying to live by my own words, and focus on the ways my marvelous monkeys make me smile. I haven't been doing so well at it, but I've been trying.
Tonight I scolded them a lot, for being too loud, too rowdy, too much like kids. I finally realized that and stopped yelling. Soon after Jace asked if he could come cuddle with me. I love that. He's less than a month from turning seven. While he was snuggled next to me and we were watching the other two little ones frolic I was reminded of one of those pictures where everything is blurry except the subject's eyes or gentle smile. Tyler and Gracie were laughing and jumping and playing. I heard them and saw them, but they were in the background. My focus was on the prickliness of Jace's hair as I pet him and the way he giggled at his siblings.
That's how I'm going to try to stay positive over the next several days, maybe weeks, while our lives are upside down. When I feel like screaming at the kids or the guy driving like an idiot ahead of me I'm going to try to take a little snap shot in my mind. And I'm going to blur all the junk that's not important or positive.
Here's an example from today: I don't have a stove in my room. I thought I did. I was wrong. I bought groceries thinking I did. There is a full kitchen that everyone staying here can use. The key doesn't work. I tried to make breakfast there this morning and it didn't work. The receptionist said she'd be sure it was fixed by tonight. It wasn't. I was frustrated. At the end of the day though...that's all background. We ate food from the microwave and no one starved. In fact, we had a fun little picnic style dinner. Focus.
So, apparently while I continuously remind Jace to focus, I need to remind myself just as often. Feel free to jog my memory every now and then if I seem a little uptight to you. A little shout out could go a long way in helping me think positive and appreciate the beautiful children and wonderful life I have.
See? Cool, right? Especially for a new homeschooling mom like me (if I do say so). But, if you're interested in it too, feel free to head on over to Reviews and Reflections and enter in any one (or more) of the many ways she's set up for you to do so!
Keep in mind...this wouldn't be only super helpful for me, but anyone with or without kids could probably find a use for it. Good luck!
Sunday, May 2, 2010
Tyler hit the "call for help" button in the elevator on the way down to breakfast and it was still ringing when we took it back up after eating.
The breakfast bar was full of choices that made me feel sluggish just looking at them: cereal, bagels, muffins, waffles. Not a fruit to be seen. I'm craving bacon and eggs. Lunch will include these items.
The vast majority of stores in Georgia don't open on Sunday until noon. Noon is so long from now. I think all stores should be open when I want to shop at them. That's not too much to ask, right?
We have so much stuff. They took 12,000 pounds on the truck. Scott has stuff with him, and I still managed to pack the van. Gracie even noted, "It's a good thing Dada has the truck because he can't ride with us unless he holds the cooler on his lap." In truth he'd also have to hold the safe, the lap top, and a few assorted bags of this or that.
Jace is listing states and a few facts about them. He just read Nevada and Tyler got excited. "Dada?" Picture his little hands out, questioning. "Dada?" Jace explained, "No Dada, Nevada."
They do make me smile.
I'm going to end on that note. I won't dwell on being tired. I'll focus on smiling...smiling is good.