Friday, September 21, 2007

"I love studying Egypt!"

Yes, that sentence was heard coming out of the mouth of my son. My son who whines and gripes about having to do History "every day!" My son whose favorite phrase is "do we have to?" My son loves studying Egypt. He says they were people who came after the early people. (I guess chronological history is paying off!) He made a mastaba out of wooden ABC blocks. He made a sand pyramid at the park - at least he tried to. And he told one of our friends that he loves studying Egypt and told her pretty much everything he knew about it. I wish I had had a tape recorder because it would have made a fabulous narration.

So yes, it was park day today so we didn't do any actual work but Egypt was all around. On a semi-related side note, it looks like I'm going to have to do some schedule revamping because it turns out that this park day, my favorite park day in the whole world, is going to be meeting every week instead of every other week. There's no way I'm going to be able to do phonics, math, grammar, spelling, history, and art on park day. We're generally very lucky if we just do math and phonics on park day. It's so worth it though. I really, really love this group of people.

Happy Autumnal Equinox. Our Fall Quarter officially starts today but since we will be on vacation next week, we'll formally start the Fall Quarter on October 1st. See you then. :)

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Not what I should be doing now

Blogging, that is. The homeschool newsletter deadline is tonight and I still haven't done the New Member paperwork that I need to have done for that and I'm supposed to write an article too. Did I mention that I am a procrastinator? You should've seen my senior year in college, lol. But since I'm here, I can't deny my loyal throngs the blow-by-blow of the day.

Started with a doctor's appointment. Lovely joy. My hCG is at 48. Almost zero, but not yet zero so I have to go get yet another blood draw in a week or two. Yes, I'm on a first name basis with the lab tech now. She loves Cassia, especially because she is so very interested in whether or not it is hurting yet. ;) Next was Trader Joe's. At one point there were cherry tomatoes all over the floor of the produce department and it ended with Cameron and Cassia forbidden to let go of their opposite sides of the shopping cart. I'll leave the rest of that trip to your imagination.

I don't know what happened to the rest of the morning, but we started school at around 1:00. (Again, super thankful that I came to my senses and postponed the first 4-H cooking project meeting, that was supposed to start at 1:30, until October. I would NOT have been at my best to teach/lead after that shopping trip, lol.) Phonics went ok. There was a review of all the weird short-vowel sound vowel pair words and Cameron read all of them like a pro, but then when it came time to read them in a story he just fell apart. Lists that follow a pattern, he can do. Random sentences overwhelm him and he just starts guessing every word. The word on the page is "they." He tries "the, there, chair, hippopotamus" until I final give him the ok that he found the right word or tell him what it is supposed to be. I don't know. On one hand, I guess that's a sign that he's still just not ready to read and it's stressing him out and he's not remembering and getting flustered. But on the other hand, when I freak out and demand that he stop being silly, sit down THE RIGHT WAY IN HIS CHAIR (oh, we have serious chair issues), and actually READ the words instead of guessing... when we get to that point that he knows I am really and truly at the end of my rope with him... he can read just fine. It's bizarre. I really don't believe in forcing a child to do something they aren't ready for just because *I* think they should be able to, but it really seems to be that he just doesn't want to. But I guess that's his right too, isn't it? Anyone have any brilliant advice here? He can read. He even finds it a useful novelty on rare occasions. But he refuses to sit still and look at the word long enough to do it right. OK, enough whining on this. Phonics took about forty-five minutes today because he had to go take a restroom break in the middle of it (whole other issue which I'm not going to get into, lol). Like I said, the list of words he read fabulously and then we struggled through the 15-sentence story.

Math was a disaster, but that was probably my fault. He's been doing so amazingly lately with working on his own that I just read the textbook lesson with him and then leave him on his own to do the workbook. I've been using that as my History/Science prep time, lol, bad me, I know. Anyway, he was not capable of working on his own today for some reason so it took about an hour and a half to do a three page workbook exercise. Yikes. Also partly my faulty because I kept reading mummy riddles to him. OK, totally my fault. ;)

But then, finally, we got to the mummy. Yes, THE Mummy. The infamous, ever debated and feared Chicken Mummy. Cornish game hens, in this case, but it was a big deal all the same. Cameron has this thing about getting his hands dirty. He thought the chickens were really gross and didn't want to touch them, lol, but made exceptions for the cool parts like rinsing the body cavity and patting the whole thing down like a baby out of the bath. Yes, we love our mummies like babies. Cassia was all over it though. That girl is NOT afraid to get dirty. Today we just washed them with water, dried them, washed them with saki (it's what I had, lol), and then filled them and their plastic bags with a baking powder, baking soda, and salt mixture. Next we read Mummies Made in Egypt by Aliki (our favorite author, I think!) and then called it a day. I had tried to read Cat Mummies while Cameron did his math, but he said it distracted him too much. Dust was distracting him today, but whatever. ;) At least he told me. Better that than for him to listen to the whole thing and do all his math wrong. I'm a one-at-a-time person too, so I totally get it. I can't even listen to music while I read or blog or anything like that.

We finished the day with a 4-H Leader training meeting for me (a big reason I felt no guilt in canceling the project meeting today - I'm not trained yet!) while the kids went to MomM's house for a couple of hours. Cameron and Cassia, apparently, played very, very well with L5 while they were there but sweet little Greyson cried the entire time. Poor guy. :( What is he going to do next week when we go out of town for our 10th Anniversary and he is left with Grandma for 3 days?!?!?!?!? He's still nursing first thing in the morning and sometimes in the afternoons (this second time mostly because of teething) but I was thinking that since it's really just a "I want Mommy" thing that if I weren't there, he would be fine with just cow milk or juice at those times. Now I'm thinking that maybe that little taste of Mommy - no pun intended - might help him to relax in those moments when he's missing me most. I haven't even looked at my pump for over a year. I've only used it once or twice this babyhood. I pumped all the time for Cameron, lol. Never let that first child be deprived!!

Anyway, this is way too long. It's now almost 10:30. I have one hour and forty-five minutes to do what I should have done several weeks ago. But at least I got a good, heart-felt blog in. ;) Gotta remember what's important, you know!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Walk like an Egyptian

Oh we had so much fun today!!!! We went to the Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum today and OH! what a field trip! It's always been one of my favorite places and I can't tell you what a treat it was to share it with my children. We used to live nearby and I was even a Rosicrucian for a couple years. That's on my list of "stuff to get back into" someday when I have more time, lol. Their spiritual philosophy (which is spiritual, not religious, and is supposedly compatible with all religions) just resonates right with my mind and my soul, but I got really behind on my reading. Months behind. Many, many months behind, lol. Always the procrastinator! I used to hide it because I was afraid people would think I was a freak, but now I realize that anyone who knows me already knows I'm a freak and doesn't care. Anyone who either doesn't know me and thinks I'm a freak or knows me and doesn't like me because of my freakiness, well, I think they're freaks. So there. ;)

Anyway, the museum has one of the largest collections of ancient Egyptian artifacts outside of Egypt. I love looking at all the little household statues and cosmetics pots and the gorgeous handmade jewelry. And to see the hieroglyphics... paint that has been there for 4000 years! It just leaves me with my mouth hanging in awe. The kids liked the mummies, lol. Human mummies, cat mummies, hawk mummies, even a baboon and baby crocodile mummies! They also liked the toys and games - something they could relate to.

But the best part was the replica of the stone tomb. We silently crept into the darkness, our footsteps echoing ominously against the cold stone walls. We stepped back into time. They took slow, quiet, tentative steps (MY kids!) as if they were the first to ever explore this tomb. It was magical.

Part of the way through the museum, during a bathroom break, I asked Cameron if he was enjoying himself and he said "Oh yeah! This is THE coolest thing EVER!" Gotta love that. Also gotta love the fact that we have been studying Egypt so they recognized things. They knew hieroglyphs and the Rosetta Stone and they recognized quite a few gods. They knew the difference between cuneiform and hieroglyphs. They knew how the clay tablets were made. But they were most thrilled of all to find that it was all, or at least most of it was, real. Such a cool thing. Did I mention that I love this particular museum? I also loved that I felt like an expert, lol. I recognized a lot of things from our studies and also from the museum's Teacher's Study Guide (from 2001) and informational pamphlet (copywritten 1974, lol) that DH's retired school teacher aunt gave me. I felt very powerful just pulling up strange facts from the top of my head without having to read the blurb, lol. It's the little pleasures. ;)

On our way out, I happened to notice that we were just in time for the planetarium show, so I asked the kids if they thought they could sit through that. They did fabulously! Greyson amused himself with a fruit bar and then a nice long sleepy snack of Milky Milk. Cassia, my princess, belched very loudly once, but other than that they were perfect! I am officially sticking my tongue out at all the doubting old people who rolled their eyes and groaned at us as we walked in. :P~ When it was over both Cameron and Cassia said, very loudly, "That was so cool!" I'm so proud of my little homeschoolers!

One final gush. As we were noisily traipsing from the last gallery into the gift shop, the little ones' patience at its end - though still cheerful and having a blast - an eldery man (see, he was nice so I'm not calling him "old people") said, "You need some more of those!" I think he was being sarcastic, his wife swatted him for saying it, but I just grinned and laughed and said, "Yep!" We had such a great time. I am so glad that I chose to cancel the stressy things this week and keep the fun ones.

I will end with the other favorite activity of the day: pose like a statue.

And let's not forget Greyson's favorite activity: running around the fountain.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Still here!

Sorry, it's always hard for me to blog on Mondays. Let's see, what did we do...

Monday was the typical one phonics lesson and one math workbook exercise. Cameron has really, really, really gotten the hang of this three digit addition stuff. I'm really proud of him. Cassia's getting all mathy on me too. We were on our way to WalMart and she starts in with, "Did you know that one plus one is two? And two plus two is four?" She got a little bit thrown once she got to three plus three because she had already told me that two plus four was six, so it didn't make sense to her that three plus three could also be the same thing. I tried to show her with my fingers, while driving, lol, how one finger from three plus three can move over to the other side to make two plus four, but I'm not sure if it sank in. I think it might be time for her to spend an afternoon with the Cuisenaire Rods. For History we read about the first writings in our encyclopedias and then we headed off to do a bunch of errands before gymnastics.

Tuesday we did a phonics lesson and I was able to leave Cameron alone to do his math all by himself. I really like this independent worker thing. Next we did History again and read in SOTW about mummies and pyramids because tomorrow we are taking a field trip to a local Egyptian museum. Monday, we had also gotten all the ingredients for making a mummy, except for our victim. I wanted to get that started today but I wasn't able to drag us to the store to find Cornish Game Hens.

We were also supposed to start a 4-H cooking project on Thursday - ok, I was supposed to start - but I've realized that I just had way too much on my plate this week, so I canceled it at the last second. I may piss off a couple people but it's better than completely freaking out from stress. It's been a tough couple weeks, especially when DH is gone. I was fine this weekend but today I am barely holding it together. *sigh* I see the OB on Thursday so I'm going to mention it to her. Hoping it's just hormones and will clear up in a few days.

So that's the news from here. Hopefully, I'll have some nice pictures for you tomorrow.

Friday, September 14, 2007

The Push

I'm going to take a shower and then it's time to get dressed and then do school.


OK, I'm out of the shower. Time to get dressed and make your bed.


Because I said so.

Can't I just play a little longer??????

*sigh* Determined not to have a repeat of yesterday where school was procrastinated all the way until after dinner, I pushed back. Several time outs later we finally finish a phonics lesson and a math lesson. And then we did Science. Yesterday was supposed to be science day but we never got around to it. I had told Cameron that for Science we would talk a little bit about the reproductive systems and really look at what has happened and is happening in my body. I keep being afraid that they will walk in on me in the bathroom and see the blood and be freaked out by it. I felt that I really needed to explain what has happened and clarify that the blood is the lining of the uterus and not the baby's blood or something horrid like that. Anyway, since we never got around to that yesterday, Cameron asked - begged really - to do Science today. He said he really wanted to know what was happening inside my body.

So we went over ovulation and fertilization (and thank goodness he did not think to ask how the egg and the sperm get together even though they are made in different people!) which we have discussed before, and how the lining of the uterus builds up and sloughs off each month and how that will happen to Cassia too once she becomes a woman, which we had never talked about before. She seemed to gain a certain amount of pride from that secret womanly knowledge. We talked about implantation in the lining and looked at some sketches of developing embryos. I told them that our new baby stopped growing at about this size (while pointing at a 5-wk old embryo) and then flipped back to the picture of the empty uterus and said that once that happened, my body shed its lining once more to begin preparation for a new, healthy baby just like it does every other month. I tried to stress the normalcy of the whole process but told them that that's why I'm tired and a bit cranky because it's a lot of work for my body to do all this. It's made me sore and tired, as well as sad. They seemed to understand.

And then of course that led to the usual marveling that a newborn baby can actually got out of that tiny space!! I think it hit Cameron especially hard since I said that it made my body ache to get that tiny embryo out, he suddenly gasped and said, "A full grown baby comes out that way too?!??!?!?" LOL, be thankful you're a man. ;) But then that was a nice progression to just talking about babies in general which is always a welcome conversation. Greyson walked in the room at just the right time too. I think the sadness of the whole affair is dampened by the fact that we do still have a baby wandering around to marvel at. We talked about the bones in a baby's skull. We talked about umbilical cords. We talked about lots of stuff. It was a nice conversation and I'm glad we had it.

Next was History and we read SOTW Chapter 3 on the first writings in Egypt and Sumer. The kids colored pictures of a scribe chiseling hieroglyphs into a stone. They found Egypt and Sumer on a map. Cassia and I made clay tablets with our names in cuneiform but Cameron didn't want to get his hands dirty so he wrote his name in hieroglyphics on a paper scroll. We also read the Egyptian creation story of the Benu Bird which kept Cameron's interest surprisingly well. He thought it was hilarious the way things were formed and they were both excited to see gods that they recognized in the drawings. I am willing to bet that they wouldn't be remembering a single Egyptian god if it were not for our Egyptian god dolls. Yeah me!

So school was done, with an extra subject even, by 2:30 and I only had to threaten him a few times, lol. Actually, after being sent to his room for three consecutive time outs for having a bad attitude he was quite happy to cooperate in the end. ;)

Thursday, September 13, 2007

The Day of Distraction

Ready for school yet?


Ready now?

Nope. Let me ride my bike for a few minutes and we'll do it then.

Are you done? Can we do your schoolwork now?

(No comment.)

Dinner is over and now he is wondering why I am so mean as to bring out the books now.

I'm thinking that although this technique may sink in the principle that school needs to be done each day no matter what, no matter how much he procrastinates, I'm still thinking that I don't like this approach at all. I barely have enough patience left after dinner to get everyone ready for bed without killing someone. This is not the time to be attempting schoolwork. This is my blog time. My dishes time. My glass of red wine time. School needs to be done before 2pm. No exceptions.

What can the family consequence be if we don't? Taking away tv and such - though it seems like a horrible consequence at the time - just ends up resulting in very fun imaginative play, so that's not much of a deterrent. In fact, for me, when we don't get school done early in the day it's usually because they've been playing so nicely that I didn't want to break it up!

So I guess the punishment, for all of us, would be this - to do schoolwork after dinner. We finally got through the math worksheet that wasn't finished yesterday (20 minutes for 5 problems, sigh) and a phonics lesson (10 minutes for that, not too bad). Then, the History reading went much better than expected. We read Seeker of Knowledge: The Man Who Deciphered Egyptian Hieroglyphs and the kids were really enthralled with it. They instantly wanted to go try to decipher some hieroglyphs themselves, but I told them that we'd have to wait until tomorrow. Very cool thing to look forward to though because DH's aunt used to teach 4th grade GATE classes and passed down boxes and boxes and boxes of materials on Ancient Egypt, Greece, Rome, and China and there's lots of stuff on hieroglyphics for us to explore. We've got a soccer game tomorrow evening so that's an incentive to get things done nice and early tomorrow so we have all day to play Egyptian.

PS To the lovely lady who sent us clay: Cassia now has very short bangs because clay does not come out of hair. We also have nice little clay shadows up and down our walls where they were bouncing big balls of clay down the hall. *sigh* Thanks again, so thoughtful of you. :P

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

The Wednesday with No Clever Title

LOL, even less clever the second time, isn't it! ;)

Things have been busy here. It's been a rough couple of days but I'll spare you most of the details and just give the highlights.

Tuesday morning was spent at the OB's office. Then Cameron and I had to rush off to the first 4-H meeting of the year which went quite well. There are a lot of new families this year giving a nice big age range. I had quite a few people sign up for both of the projects I'm leading which means I need to get busy and start organizing something! One of them has its first meeting next Thursday so I really need to get cracking.

DH was working from home the first part of the week so he got the honor of taking Cassia to ballet. He actually got her there on time, but forgot her ballet slippers at home so she ended up being about fifteen minutes late to class. Not great when the class is only 45 minutes to start out with! I had a feeling that was going to happen but yet I still didn't mention to him that there's a huge box of loaner slippers in the waiting room. I guess I figured that might make him think it was ok to forget her slippers or something? I don't know, but I stupidly didn't mention it. Next time I will. ;)

Anyway, we made it home before they did and took advantage of the time to do the schoolwork that we hadn't had a chance to get to yet. Cameron did one phonics lesson and one math exercise before DH got home with Cassia and Greyson. Next I brought out the Science workbooks and we got started on the half a million workbook pages on magnets. I am really tempted to skip most of them but I know Cameron is looking forward to finishing the book. You can't "finish" the book if you skip all the pages!

Wednesday we had to start the day by watching our library videos that were due back. The morning was spent watching "The Big Submarine" and "I Love Toy Trains #8." Certainly more educational than what a lot of kids watch for their morning brain candy! ;) Next I tried to rush us through math and phonics so we could go to Park Day. Cameron had other ideas. He wanted to start with math and finished up the first exercise pretty quickly. So quickly that he hadn't gotten his math fix yet and wanted to do another! So we had to read another section in the text first and his attention started waning. We finally made it through that but then he just got silly and careless when trying to do the problems and I finally just took the book away. Yes, I am the mean mother who takes extra math work away from her son and forces him to go to the park instead. LOL. First I had to rush him through a phonics lesson though and once I got him to stop spinning in the stupid chair (I HATE that stupid chair) and look at the words he was supposed to be reading, he did great. He's quite a reader now but you'll never get him to admit that.

Then we finally got out the door to return our library movies and then go to the park. We got there, with a bucket of dinosaurs, to find that L5's mom had brought just about every board game in their house! Cameron and L5 just played and played and played. They barely left the table at all in the two hours we were there. Her mom was joking that we really needed to teach those two some manners on how to get along, lol. Greyson, on the other hand, kept wandering away and climbing into the middle of a lawn bowling tournament. Crazy baby.

And then we came home to find a lovely box of hugs on the front porch. Thanks again, my friend, from the bottom of my heart. You don't know how much it means to me... or maybe you do. :)

Monday, September 10, 2007

The Monday with No Clever Title

Today we started the day with the typical whining about phonics. I decided to be nice and start him off with math instead but it turned out to be a VERY reading and writing intensive lesson, lol. He had three pages of reading and writing numbers in the hundreds. Big numbers like seven hundred ninety-nine. Ah, the irony. I told him that that could count as reading today if we also did another math lesson which was more mathy.

Meanwhile, Cassia did about eight pages in her new math book. She's pretty unstoppable once she gets going. There was one set of pages where you were supposed to match up a one-to-one correspondence of items and then write how many there were left over. Well, she didn't even need to match the items up! She just looked at the pictures and wrote down how many more there were in the larger set! Looks like I've got another math prodigy here. ;)

Next was History and we spent the "period" (for lack of a better word) reading library books. We read Bill and Pete Go Down the Nile by Tomie dePaola- weird story. I have NO idea why it was recommended in the SOTW activity guide. It was neither educational nor a particularly enjoyable story - I'm not a big Tomie dePaola fan though. It was just strange. I'm sure a lot of kids love it. Mine didn't. Then we read Croco'nileby Roy Gerrard. That was a fabulous book. The art was gorgeous. The poetry a delight. The story both fun and funny. Big thumbs up on that one. We finished with your favorite teacher, and mine, Ms. Frizzle's Adventures in Ancient Egypt. Always a good read there.

We finished off the day with gymnastics. Nothing new or exciting there except that now that school's back in session there are only three kids in Cassia's class and the rest of the gym is deserted! What a switch that is! If only we could get the same for Cameron, but his class is full of about forty-five kids who would rather be just about anywhere, I think. He did a really good job of trying, for a change, though. :) And now DH is home so I better get dinner started.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Meet the gods

I just finished our Egyptian god dolls. I love them! They are so cute! The kids love them too. They're already playing with them and having epic battles, lol. So without further ado...

Osiris and Isis

Amun and Horus

Thoth and Khnum

Anubus and Seth

a decent site with some quick descriptions of each, if you're interested.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Hanging in there

Thank you all so much for your support, your hugs, and prayers. It means so much. So sad that so many of you have been through it too. I'm doing pretty good. Physically it's not too bad. Emotionally, I'm hanging in there.

Yesterday for school, Cameron just did math. I didn't feel like bothering with anything that was going to involve even the tiniest bit of stress. The section was numbers up to 1000 and Cameron was so excited by it that he did two workbook exercises instead of just one.

After that we spent the rest of the day doing crafts. The kids painted these little wooden toys that we had picked up at Michaels for a dollar or less each.

Next we started working on our Egyptian god dolls. We got the bodies made and the face appendages molded. The picture didn't turn out too great, but you get the idea.

I've found that crafts are great distraction techniques. I spent all morning today gluing the pieces together and making little felt outfits. Now we just need to paint them. I really had a fun time with them. I know, I know, they were supposed to be crafts for the kids but the perfectionist in me wouldn't let them help much. They are coming out really cute and I can't wait to share them with you. I hope I will allow myself to let the kids play with them when they're done, lol. I may not. I've grown pretty attached. ;)

No schoolwork was done today because I spent all morning playing with dolls and then it was time to go to our favorite park day. There was a wonderful group of people as usual and thankfully only two knew I had been pregnant. One was G, who knew the whole story and very sweetly avoided my gaze the entire day so that I wouldn't start crying again, lol. Unfortunately it didn't work because I had to tell my friend M about the loss. She was almost as heartbroken as I because she had been planning on vicariously living through it with me. And then as we were leaving I had to tell someone else because she saw me popping a pain killer and asked what I was taking it for. I started to cry almost as soon as I said, "nothing I want to talk about right now" and then felt that I owed her an explanation lest she think I had terminal cancer or something. I probably should've just told everyone when we first got there but it's so much easier to talk to my virtual friends about. I hate for people to see me cry.

So that's what we've been doing. Thanks again for being here for me. You guys are the best.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

I have no words... just tears.

No baby. I suppose the time just wasn't right. It's tearing me up though. :(

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Egyptian gods

Today we got school started around 10:00 - after we got everyone out of the toilet. *sigh* We started with math and learned about the greater than and less than symbols. I can see where some people could get confused by Singapore's methods without the teacher's manual. Luckily, I had learned that the alligator eats the larger number when I was a kid so when a big crocodile was the only explanation of the section, it made perfect sense to me! I'm kind of weird that way though. ;)

For phonics we finished the second half of Tuesday's lesson. Phonics lessons are still a struggle, but Cameron is finally reading things when we're out and about. He reads words all the time now. He read "Read and Grow" on a sign at the library (except that he said the wrong form of read (red)). He read "Press Here" in the back of 10 Little Rubber Ducks by Eric Carle. He's reading the names of animals off of a big blow up globe that we have. So all the guilt about forcing him to read and possibly turning him off of it forever seems to be sinking away at last. He still has a fear of books - I can't get him to finish that Level 1 reader on rockets that we started last week - but at least he is reading in the real world. And it's not like he's trying either. He can just look at a lot of these words now and know what they say. That must be so liberating for him.

We had another reading breakthrough tonight at bedtime. I've been slowly reading Dar and the Spear-Thrower to them each school night before bed. They're more willing to listen then because it means they get to stay up that many minutes longer. Anyway, the chapters are only a couple of pages long so it's been taking us forever to get through it. I've been ready to give up more than once because they just don't seem to care most of the time. But tonight, even Cassia was hanging on every word! It was a super exciting chapter (finally) and I think that if I had offered, they would have even wanted to read another. But it was late and I think I like the idea that they might actually be looking forward to hearing what happens to Dar next. If we make it through, which I'm almost positive we will, it will only be the third chapter book that we've ever finished reading aloud. (The other two were Akimbo and the Elephants and Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone.)

For History today we read the Usborne Book of World History and the Kingfisher History Encyclopedia entries on early Egypt. Cameron woefully lamented having to do History "every day" but then ended up very, very interested in what I had to say. Silly boy. I remember being the same way as a kid: I never wanted to do anything but then once I was forced to, I enjoyed it. Anyway, we talked about kings and pyramids and gods and afterlives. There were some tough parts to the conversation. We've never really discussed god or religion or anything. I have my beliefs and they are very personal to me. I feel it is something that you have to reach on your own and I would never in a million years say that my views are the only ones or the right ones for everybody, even my own son. My thoughts on god are complex and have taken decades to make sense to me... I can't explain that to a six-year old.

But I made an attempt. I tried to explain god(s) and how people need him/them to make sense of the world and to explain things that can't be explained, etc. I must not have made a very good case of things because he said that was silly. He said, very point blank, "I don't think there's a god." I told him not to make a decision about that until he had time to learn more about the subject. I also told him that no matter what he believed, it was most important for him to not belittle anyone else's beliefs. I tried to stress very strongly that everyone has the right to believe in whatever god they want to and it is nobody's business but their own. I hope that made an impression. I think it did because when we were talking about Egyptian gods later, he did actually wait until we were in the car and the door was closed before he repeated, "I don't think gods are real." We will be studying world religions as they come up in the progression of History so hopefully he will get a greater understanding of what god means to people. I think we may have just started with a rather outlandish group of gods for an introduction to the topic, lol.

But back to those Egyptian gods, a reference on Maria's blog to these adorable little apostle dolls sparked my imagination and we ran off to the craft store to buy little wooden doll heads, felt, and pipe cleaners to make Egyptian god dolls. I also bought some clay, both air drying and oven drying, to try and mold some of those funky animal faces. Well see how they turn out. Who knows if they will be recognizable or not but I'm sure they will be fun.

For those of you who doubt

the truthfulness of my claims that Greyson is a big-time trouble maker, I share this:

Look at the pure joy on that face! Look how much he LOVES driving me crazy. And he managed this amazing feat in the time that it took me to go into the office, which happens to be the room right next door to that bathroom, and shred a couple pieces of junk mail. All I can say is that I'm glad he decided to go feet first and from now on, would you all please remember to shut the bathroom door when you're done!!!

P.S. Forgive the picture quality. I couldn't find the camera and didn't want to leave him in there too long while I searched for it, so I used my phone.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

When life gives you lemons...

make fruit salad! Or rather, when you go take a shower, leaving your 6-yr old in charge, and he decides to not notice when the baby (who happens to only be two feet away from him) pulls down the fruit basket and takes a bite of every, single piece of fruit, make fruit salad. The good news - besides the good news that we're having fruit salad with dinner tonight - is that if Greyson is anything like Cameron then that means we're in for a pretty easy Terrible Two. Cameron was a demon at around 18 months and then was positively delightful at age two. Then a demon again at three. Four was okay. Five was great. Six, so far, is headstrong but I am really enjoying the person he has become. His babysitting skills need a little work though. ;)

Cassia, on the other hand, didn't have the huge burst of demon-like behavior around 18 months. Two was definitely terrible though! Three was okay, a little whiney but generally an enjoyable year. At four she is amazing me with how grown up she is.

Funny looking at my declarations of good and bad behavior - I think I see a trend. Years when I am pregnant, I have proclaimed horrible behavior and years with a newborn are delightful. Perception is everything, I suppose.

Anyway, that has nothing to do with anything, lol. Today Cameron only did half a phonics lesson. It was a two-page lesson and he had some trouble with the first page - read and read, wind and wind - so I decided to save the second half for tomorrow. Next was a math exercise that he breezed through. It's still in the review part of the book but it's getting him used to doing more problems per page. We finished off with a couple of workbook pages in science. There are about a million workbook pages on magnets, stuff that I really feel we already covered with our experiments and readings, so I tried to skip some of it but Cameron wouldn't let me, lol. He hates leaving blanks unfilled-in.

Cassia made some great progress on her math book this weekend. She's just breezing through Earlybird 1B and only has two or three pages left. She tried to finish it off this morning but it was just too much. I did finally have a successful session with both of them working at once. Cameron is finally able to work on his math without help, at least this chapter, and Cassia was identifying and coloring different shapes, something she needs no real help on either. I was able to easily flit back and forth between the two keeping everyone moving smoothly along.

Next we were off to run some errands, make a quick stop at a friend's house and play with all of her kids' toys (but not her kids, lol), and then off to ballet. Cameron and I had our traditional quesadilla and mandarin Jarritos while Greyson smeared sour cream all over his face. The waitress there just loves Greyson, lol.

Nothing too exciting today, sorry. I did finally start the final Harry Potter book last night. The problem is that while I am so excited to finally be breaking into uncharted territory, as it were, I am a little burned out with the series. I mean, three months of the same books is a little hard on my poor brain, lol. But I know I will miss Harry when he is no longer such a big part of my evenings. Gosh, I might even have to straighten up the house or something after the kids go to bed instead of just curling up with a book! Nah, maybe I'll just find a new book. ;)

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Welcome to My New Blog Face!

Let's all say a big giant "Thank you!" to Darcy at Life with My 3 Boybarians for my beautiful new blog face. Isn't it gorgeous?!?!? Isn't it just so me?!?!? What a wonderful birthday present for me.

And speaking of birthdays, we had the best time yesterday. We spent the day at Salt Point State Park and let me tell you, I have rarely seen anything more gorgeous. We started with a short hike along the coast. The sandstone and mudstone was like something out of this world. Cameron and Cassia were quite the adventurous little rock climbers. We found little dried up pools in one spot where the depressions just glittered with crystallized salt. Science and art all wrapped up in one.

Next we took a hike inland a bit to the Pygmy Forest. Apparently, there used to be at least twenty of them in our county but all but this one have been bulldozed to make way for "progress" - aka housing developments. So the Salt Point State Park Pygmy Forest is one of the only places in the world where the effects of impoverished soil on the environment can be studied. Again, science and art all wrapped up in one.

We finished off the day with an overindulgent meal at Olive Garden. Yum. I really could not imagine a better place to spend my day. The kids were angels, my DH was the perfect husband and father, and my day could not have been better. Here's to a year just as wonderful. Salut.