Wednesday, November 19, 2008


Tuesday, the only thing we had on the agenda was a committee meeting for the 4-H Holiday Party. I have a few gripes about the meeting but I don't think I'll get into them here. I will let you in on a brag though - they were trying to figure how to solve the ultimate dilemma of too many desserts and no food at the potluck and Cameron came up with the solution. He suggested that everyone bring both a dessert and something healthy. Sure, there will still be a ton of sweets, but then it will at least be balanced with an equal number of other foods, regardless of how many people come. In previous years they've assigned people entree, salad, or desert based on their last name but then it ends up unbalanced when there are no-shows or rebels. So, even though the role of the kids at the meeting was less than I like to see, their suggestions were taken seriously (the meeting leaders just had to be reminded to actually ASK the children for their input).

After the meeting we had to go pick up our meat buying club meat. We've switched from a medium to a large order and got lots of roasts this time. I think I'm going to have to put a touch of effort into menu planning though so that I actually take things out to thaw. (Hmm, what is for dinner tonight? Nothing is thawed!) There should've been plenty of time to do other stuff too, but I somehow never got around to anything. I felt a bit achy, which progressed to my skin feeling like it was on fire during dinner, which progressed to chills and a 101 fever not long after that. A good night's sleep did wonders though and *knock on wood* I haven't had a fever since about 5:30 this morning.

Today we had nothing on the schedule at all for the first time in ages so that took all the pressure off the day. Cameron built a Tie Fighter out of Legos and I made Cassia turn off Sesame Street (her newest addiction) and read her a few fairy tales, including this version of Hansel and Gretel. I actually managed to get a few loads of laundry done AND once Grey went down for his nap around 3:30 we did schoolwork. Cameron read The Three Billy Goats Gruff from a book of tall tales we have for reading. He complained A TON about the writing being too small and it being too hard and everything else but once he finally did it, he realized that the language in the book was actually much easier for him to read than the DK Readers he's been struggling so much with! He even tried to give the troll a scary voice while he was reading. Next Cassia did a phonics lesson on "ck." She was pretty rusty at first, but ended up reading very well. Math was fun because the lesson was on estimating one liter and then checking yourself. The kids waaaaaaayyyyyyyyyy underestimated by saying a 5 gallon bucket would hold two liters, lol, but I think they really gained some conceptual knowledge from the process. We finished up with history and I read them the story of China's first Emperor, Qin Shi Huang, and his terracotta army. They were not the slightest bit enthused by it though Cameron did a good job of at least pretending to be interested. Cassia complained that history was boring since we never do the maps and coloring pages anymore. I agreed that if they'd stop complaining and procrastinating so much about the whole process that I'd make sure I found the time for the fun stuff too.

So, all in all, it's been a pretty productive day. I think I just got a big burst of motivation when I realized that I wasn't going to spend the whole day in the throes of fevered chills. Thank goodness! Now let's just hope that it was a minor 24-hr bug thing and that I'll be right as rain tomorrow. My dad is coming over this weekend and I have a lot of cleaning to do before then.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Poor baby!!

Today was that time in a mother's life that she dreads. At least I do. And I probably dread it in a different way than they typical American mom does. Today, my baby boy had his two month check-up - that means vaccinations. I am so torn over vaccinations. Cameron and Cassia both got them on schedule and I barely thought a thing of it... except, of course, that heart-wrenching feeling of letting someone hurt your baby ON PURPOSE. By the time Greyson came along I was pondering their safety and then he went and had a nasty reaction to his first series. He went from rarely crying and a pretty defined sleep/wake schedule (his schedule, not mine) to a pattern of completely zonked out one minute and then screaming the next that lasted about a week. It was a huge temperament change. Seems like he also had some mild physical symptoms too like swelling and a mild fever. It was nothing serious or lasting, but it was real and it was caused by the immunizations. I spread the rest of his shots out, coming back two or three times to finish all the recommended shots with each well-check.

So anyway, today it was Linus' turn. I've been debating waiting until 6 months to even start them at all, but then I see the terrified and concerned look on the pediatrician's face and I go ahead and do it. I did say right off the bat that I wanted him on a more spread out schedule though, so he got the DTP today and then will go back in two weeks for the hep and something else. They tried to sell me on a new oral rotovirus vaccine, but I declined. To be fair, she really didn't try to sell me on it at ALL and nodded understandingly when I said that I didn't feel comfortable giving my baby a new vaccine (especially a live virus - eek), but the fact that 90% of parents probably go ahead and get everything "just to be safe" kind of freaks me out. I'm not generally a conspiracy theorist or anything, but drug (and pesticide) companies have way too much control over our lives.

But he survived with nothing more that a big soundless cry at the time (and when I took the band-aid off) and an extra long nap afterward.

Around noontime I tried to get school started. Cameron read a couple of pages from a DK Reader on Star Wars spacecrafts, but it was frustrating for us both. He guessed practically every word. I mean, he would get "Galactic Republic Starcraft" right but then miss "ride." It was ridiculous. I'm tempted to go back and make him do all the phonics lessons again, but I know that would just make him hate reading (and probably me). I guess I just need to stay away from the Level 3 stuff, but the lower level readers are soooooooooooo booooooooooorrrrrrrrrrrriiiiiiiiiiinnnnnnnnnnngggggggggg for him. At least he was interested in this book - even though he was doing more repeating than reading. *sigh*

So that put a bit of a damper on my school spirit and I let everything else slide until gymnastics. Greyson fell asleep in the car on the way there so we sat in the car and did a few science workbook pages during Cassia's class. We had skipped the workbook pages for the previous chapter, respiration, so that's what we did. He loved it, in fact he's the one who chose that subject to do, and we both actually learned a few things. (Quick quiz - how does a tadpole breathe? Mouth? Skin? Gills? Air holes?). He has a bit of a headcold and felt too sick to do gymnastics today so after that we just went home. I fully intended to do math, grammar, and hopefully history once we got there but it never happened.

We have a relatively light week ahead of us for a change. Oh, I forgot to blog about last Friday. We skipped Favorite Park Day to go to an Origami project for 4-H. The kids were so sad/mad about it when I told them on Thursday but, thankfully, they had a great time doing origami. The craft itself was fun AND they had lots of friends their age to play with too. The made a couple of things, then played, then made some more things, then played some more so it was a nice balance. And they didn't mention the park once. They made cups, boats, and cootie catchers. The cooties catchers have been the big hit - especially once I showed them how to write the "stuff" on them and play the game.

OK, someone is telling me it's time to make dinner and someone else is telling me it's time to hold him again. :)

Thursday, November 13, 2008

It's a record!

It's a record, both for blogging and for schoolwork this week. ;) Sadly, that record is three days of blogging and two of schoolwork but it's something! And "schoolwork" today was pretty lame, but I used the word and made him do something that he didn't necessarily want to, so that counts. ;) LOL.

The kids spent the morning making sticker art and for one of the first times ever, both of their pictures made perfect sense. Cameron's was a race track with race cars zooming around. The stands were filled with penguins watching the race. Cassia's was a camping scene. Two ballerinas with sparkly crowns were camping with the squirrels and raccoons. There was even coffee on the camp stove. I know, the penguins and ballerinas sound a little off, but they worked with the pictures and it wasn't just a giant jumble of stickers. They were actually telling a story. I don't know - I liked them. ;)

We spent the rest of the morning doing some chores and then we went to ballet. While Cassia was in class I whipped out my HSC bag of books and announced that it was time for school. Cameron didn't actually complain at all. That is, he didn't complain until I told him that I had forgotten to grab a book for him to read so he'd have to read one from the lobby there. I picked up an "About the body" book that I knew he liked to look at and told him to read that. I figured it was a great tie in to the science that we've been (sort of) doing. He said it wasn't "fair" and that it wasn't good to read too much science. I forget what his exact logic was - and I use the term loosely - but the girl behind the counter started laughing. Anyway, I finally convinced him to read it because it would count as both science and reading.

And that's as much as we did. Told you it was lame. Oh wait, I did read the next section in his math book to him but it was on the liter and you needed to actually use a liter of water to do the work. Couldn't really do that in the ballet studio and we ran out of time anyway.

After ballet, we met some old friends at a park and spent the rest of the day climbing trees, wading in ponds, and throwing sand. Cassia fell out of a tree. The branch that she was climbing on broke beneath her, but she's okay aside from a nasty scratch up her back and a sore bum. Greyson fell in the pond, lol. He thought it was fun. We scared off some little girl's dad at the playground. The kids were rough-housing a bit and playing "sandstorm" - *sigh* - and the dad promptly swooped his daughter up and left after only about five minutes. The girl had been having fun but that's just not the way kids are "supposed to" play, I guess. It actually sparked a great conversation between MomJ and I as we pondered how many parents our kids scare off and what fun they're missing. ;)

One of the super fun things that the kids had been doing that I'm sure most kids, at least around here, miss out on was a leaf slide. There was this huge ravine/dry river bed that was covered in dry leaves. They had been climbing up and down a little path and we kept warning the little ones to stay back from the edge because the leaf litter was slippery and we didn't want them losing their footing and getting hurt. I'm sure you can see those little seven year old brain wheels turning! Leaf slide!! Sure we had just said to be careful of that, but sliding down on their behinds was perfectly wonderful fun. Nothing I would have suggested, but something amazing that only a young child would discover. And I can guarantee you that most parents I know would never have allowed it. Well, except for the crazy bunch of ruffians we hang out with, lol.

Now see? How can we get any bookwork done with all that other fun going on??? We were all educated by the forest nymphs today.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Theatrical Day

Edited to add pictures!

We had a great day today!! We started out with a school showing of James and the Giant Peach. Like I said yesterday, we have never read the book nor seen the movie so although we were going into it with zero expectations, I was a little worried about such an unknown holding their attention. I don't know about your kids, but mine like things more and more the more they are exposed to them. A particular Time Warp Trio episode is better the five hundredth time to them than the first - unlike for me. But this showing of James and the Giant Peach captured their attention and their imagination like few things have. Cameron said, and I quote, "That show was so good that I forgot about Zelda and everything! All I could think about was the story and wondering what was going to happen next!" Wow. It made him forget about Zelda?? That's big. I think a trip to the library for a certain Roan Dahl book is in order!

Cassia was sitting in rapt attention the whole time too. Wide eyes. Hair chewing. Edge of seat sitting. Great stuff. :) Even Greyson was an angel. And you know I rarely use the words "angel" and "Greyson" in the same sentence... unless the term "angel" is followed by the words "of death" or "of destruction." ;) He LOVES the theater though. He got a little restless towards the end of the hour long show but he jumped into his chair after every song to clap appreciatively. I wonder if he will have a future theater career or will just remain a fan.

After the show we came home for lunch and then went to the 4-H center for puppetry. We made Pilgrims and Indians out of poster board with yarn for legs and felt for clothes. We also made the cutest turkeys ever. I got brown work gloves and we glued googley eyes on the thumb with felt beaks and waddles. Next we covered the glove fingers with feathers and voila, cutest turkey ever. While the kids worked, I read The Thanksgiving Story to them. No one was really listening, lol, but they were polite enough. When it came time for them to do their version of it, one girl said "I'm from England and now I'm on a ship." Another boy said, "Here turkey!!! Yum, yum!" LOL. It was cute. One thing I noticed today is that even though we spend 85% of the time making the puppets, the performances are what they really look forward to. Next time, I think I'll prepare a script so that we can try out a more formal show. That may take all the fun out of it though. We'll see.

Next we went to Trader Joe's and the kids were... get ready... GOOD! I couldn't believe it, but I was thrilled. ;) They have been happily making more puppets since we got home - at least an hour now. Cassia is making characters from Humpty Dumpty and Cameron made Link (from the Legend of Zelda) and a giant centipede (from James and the Giant Peach).

Cassia's "Indian Dancing Girl" and "Humpty Dumpty"

Cameron's "Pilgrim," "Turkey," "Link," and "Giant Centipede"

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

What? Blog??

OMG, I am such a bad blogger! Can you ever forgive me?? Life has been crazy busy. I have been spending a ton of time online, but it's been playing games on Facebook rather than doing anything useful. (Wait, is blogging useful?)

Schoolwork has been practically nonexistent. On good weeks, we've gotten work done on Monday. And that's it. And that's a good week, lol! We've been doing a ton of extracurricular stuff though. 4-H projects, Halloween costume designing, pumpkin patch field trips, "play dates" (What is an educational sounding term for that? Visiting other schools? Research into alternative schooling methods? Studies in group dynamics?), sports, theater, a planetarium show, etc! Not to mention laundry! OMG, I can't believe how much stinkin' laundry I have now. I am NEVER caught up.

So this Monday we did school at gymnastics. Cameron read a Star Wars easy reader... a VERY easy reader. I think it was good for him to easily read a book though. It built his confidence up a bit. Next he did a couple of (also easy) exercises on capacity for math. We finished up with copywork/science and I had him copy several sentences about the heart from his textbook. That was not easy. They were long sentences and he complained the whole time about doing it. When he went in to his class, Cassia jumped on the school boat and did several pages in her math book on subtraction. The gym is practically deserted during Cassia's class so Cameron has the place to himself but once his class starts the gym gets filled to capacity. So Cassia had more than a couple interested onlookers to her scholastic journey and she was more than happy to oblige them, showing off her arithmetic skills.

Today we went to 4-H and a couple of new projects were announced that we were very interested in. Cameron signed up for a chess project where they will get to build their own chess sets. Cassia signed up for sewing. I really don't think either of them will be the slightest bit interested in the other project so I may, for the first time ever, do a drop off thing. It's weird that they're growing up!!

Tomorrow we are going to a play - James and the Giant Peach! We've never read the book nor seen the movie so the performance won't have any expectations to live up to. ;) Actually what I'm hoping is that it will inspire a desire to read the book. After that is the 4H project that I am leading, Puppetry. We are going to make turkeys out of brown work gloves and poster board pilgrims and Native Americans. I plan on reading The First Thanksgiving to them while they craft and then let them perform their own interpretation of it afterward. Should be quite amusing, lol.

So there's a little catch up for you. I was feeling kind of guilty for not getting more bookwork done the last couple of weeks (ok, months, lol) but this has made me realize just how much we are doing.