Thursday, February 26, 2009

It was a great day!

Yesterday was a GREAT day!

...until dinner. OMG, what is it about dinnertime that drives them absolutely BONKERS and then sends me over the edge. By the time DH got home I was seriously spewing smoke out of my ears and shooting lightning bolts from my eyes. Gah. Tell me other kids do this? Tell me that it's normal for children to lose their sense of hearing and respond to nothing but their sibling's maniacal giggle. Tell me that they will outgrow this and I will survive!! OK, enough venting. I feel better now.

So since last time... Thursday was ballet where we signed up for the Annual Student Showcase. Did I tell you about that? They're doing a full ballet called The Enchanted Garden and each class gets to be a different flower. The exciting part is that it's a real production with a dress rehearsal and publicly sold tickets and everything. Should be really fun. Friday was Favorite Park Day. Man, did we miss that! Between sickness and the weather it had been over a month since we'd been able to play.

Saturday brought the first Little League practice of the season. I think it's going to be a great season. The coach really impressed me for some reason. I haven't even talked to him face to face yet, lol, but his level of organization and contact is a thousand times better than our coach last year. The scary thing is that we also signed Cassia up for tee ball this year. I know Cameron's games will all be at one of the three fields at this one park and I'm hoping that Cassia's games will all be at the elementary school across the street so that if we do have game overlap during the week (when I can't count on DH to be home to drive one of them) it won't be too tragic of a situation. Of course it's also possible that I'm going to end up dropping poor Cameron off by himself and then driving Cassia all over town for her games, but I'm hoping for the best. And he won't care either way. And there is a parent on the team that we know from last year with a little girl that Cassia is good friends with, so I'm sure she wouldn't mind keeping an eye on him if need be.

The rest of the weekend was pretty chill. At one point, Cassia got out her phonics book and started working on it. Cameron said, "Cassia, what are you doing?? It's the weekend! You don't have to do school today!" I wonder if that difference in attitude is simply because I had put more pressure on him to do school every week day or just a difference in personalities?

Monday we went to gymnastics and as I was digging through the school bag to find something for Cameron to work on while we were there, I realized that I never got out his new math book! All that build up to finish the old book and then we forgot to get the new one out, lol. Yes, unschoolers at heart, all of us. So we did science instead. He started a workbook page where he was supposed to rearrange phrases to make a logical sentence and then find the word that it was describing. The first sentence was "Only plants / can use this energy / from the sun / to make food." That was actually a great lesson because we got to discuss sentence mechanics too - two subjects in one! The workbook didn't have enough space for him to actually write the sentence out (since it is a 4th grade book and his writing is still 1st grade size) so he wrote it on the only paper I had in the bag - story paper! Of course this prompted him to draw a picture to accompany the sentence and then, since it was science, he labeled all the pictures. So that made it art and spelling too. And he never did make it past the first sentence but I think he got quite a lot out of it!

Tuesday we went to another Odyssey of the Mind practice and the kids rehearsed again. They're doing a fabulous job and I can't wait to see what the final creation is going to look like. The kids seem to really like it too. I wonder if this will spark a love of acting/theater? Our 4-H project for the day was canceled due to the sickness of the leaders. That's the problem with being the first ones sick. Once we're better and want to do stuff, everyone else is sick! I can't remember what we did instead. Did we watch a movie? Play a game? I really can't remember. Hmm.

Wednesday was our day off from activities. We watched the Tinkerbell movie. We built with K'Nex. We finally started Cameron's new math book. The first lesson was numbers to ten thousand and he did great until we got to the "write the number in words" section. Does any kid like those? LOL. Those last four problems took a crazy amount of time. Cassia did three or four lessons in her math book in that time. After they finished their math, we read two of the last four chapters in Story of the World, Volume 1. Even though we haven't really done a lot of extra stuff in the last half of the book, we're still pretty much on schedule with our 5-year plan for the four volumes. So I'm happy with that. The next two chapters are on the fall of Rome and then after that I think we'll spend a week or two going through some of the myriads of Roman stuff that DH's aunt (a retired 4th/5th GATE teacher) gave me before moving on to Volume 2.

Today we spent the morning spring cleaning and then did an in depth phonics and grammar study - we watched The Electric Company on DVD. ;) Did you know that Bill Cosby and Morgan Freeman (OMG, he was so funky cool, rofl) were on that?? After lunch we went to ballet. During that Cameron did two exercises in his math book - obviously there was no writing of words involved, lol. Greyson had me read a couple books to him and then he followed one of the ballerinas around the studio watching her vacuum. He's such a nut. Cameron wanted to do history too but just then we heard the pitter-patter of little ballerina feet coming down the stairs. I planned to do it once we got home but they got distracted with K'Nex and I got distracted blogging and now I don't think we have enough time before baseball practice. Oh well. Tomorrow is another day. :)

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Busy busy!

So as not to disappoint my loyal fan base of 2, I'll blog instead of doing something productive like laundry or grocery shopping or cleaning or bread-making or any number of a zillion other things.

We had a busy day yesterday! We started out with a really great Odyssey of the Mind meeting. It was raining (oh and we saw several of the most beautiful rainbows on the way there. I wish I could upload the pictures in my head to share with you!) so instead of working on the set and props like we had planned to, we went ahead and did a rehearsal. I can't remember if I mentioned it or not, but the challenge is to portray a candy factory that makes five different candies that each feature a healthy ingredient. The factory needs to have a candy maker giving out and describing samples and a comical customer who buys them, as well as machines and such.

The kids auditioned for the parts they wanted and Cassia was chosen as the head candy maker! Well, actually the three kids who wanted the part Ro-Sham-Boed for it and she won, lol. But she did a FABULOUS job. She stood behind the register and had to completely ad lib the candies and how they are made with a healthy ingredient. Everyone was pretty impressed. Cameron and another boy, E6, are her assistants who run the machines. The kids decided that the comical customer would be the oldest girl, C9, and that she would enter the candy factory with her kids, N5 and I6, who also happen to be the shortest and shiest kids so it worked out really well. C9 was a fabulous mother too. She is a natural ham, lol, but was also wonderful at prompting Cassia for the things she was supposed to say. The final member of the team, T6, who was originally only going to participate if he didn't have to perform, was the sound effects guy. He sits in a large box full of noise makers and makes the sounds of the machines. He also did an EXCELLENT job. All in all, I was extremely impressed with the kids. I had been getting a little concerned about how and if it was all going to come together and whether anybody was going to get anything out of it at all, but now all those fears have been put to rest. They're going to do great.

The coach video-taped the rehearsal and the kids loved seeing themselves on tv, lol. After we watched the recording and reviewed some of the things that might be better done (like not talking over people, lol) we all went out to McDonald's for lunch. Yes, you read right. We went to McDonald's. I still feel over-salted, lol. But the kids had fun. There was a huge indoor plaything and we've all been cooped up way too long, so that was worth it.

After that we rushed off to go pick up some farm fresh eggs from a friend and then rushed home to meet another friend who was bringing by some aromatherapy stuff. I love that I'm getting so much stuff lately from friends. I have a friend for eggs; one for aromatherapy sprays, bath salts, and the best all-natural hand sanitizer ever made; one for Arbonne which I am very quickly getting addicted to; and then I have our farm for veggies which feels like I'm getting them from a friend. :)

And then we rushed off again to mail some packages and get a PO Box for our homeschool group - both of which turned out to be a bigger ordeal than I anticipated! Apparently, PO Boxes are a hot commodity in this town and it looks like I'm going to have to go to a commercial post office to find one. So that kind of sucks since it is on the other side of town and not next to anything that I regularly go to... except the drive through Starbucks, lol. So that whole thing took a lot longer than I was expecting so we had to skip the grocery store and come straight home to shove some noodles and marinara sauce into our mouths and rush us out again to a Homeschool 101 meeting.

The Homeschool 101 meetings are something new that our chair has been organizing where new homeschoolers and those considering homeschooling can come together with veterans to ask and answer questions. This was the first one I've been able to make it to and it was fun to get out and talk shop. The dynamic was interesting though. There was one woman considering homeschooling and then 5 families who, like me, are still pretty new at this but also kind of feel like experts at the whole thing! LOL, so what we had was this one terrified and confused single mother being bombarded by 7 expert opinions by people who are really still newbies themselves. I wonder if we helped her at all. One person, in particular, I'm afraid was a bit intimidating and the chair had to keep redirecting the conversation away from what's wrong with schools and back to what's unique to homeschooling. But it was fun to get out and I hope I'm able to go again next time - though hopefully I'll be able to leave the kids at home.

Today we are making up for being so busy yesterday by being exceptionally lazy. C&C didn't get dressed until 1:15 and have been watching tv all morning. I really need to run some errands though so I better get moving. One of the things my friend dropped off yesterday was a spray that promised to focus the cluttered mommy mind so that one can prioritize and actually get things done. It worked yesterday but today I used it just before hopping on the computer and so it had the effect of focusing my computer time. In other words, instead of doing all the things I should've been doing, I just spent the last two hours uploading photos and blogging. I guess that's better than just wasting time on Facebook like I normally do, lol. I think I should ask her to make a spray that will instill the nesting instinct. Nothing like that pre-baby need to organize and clean up your life. Anyway, off I go. Nice chatting with you. :)

Friday, February 13, 2009

Now back to our regularly scheduled lives

Wow. That was quite an illness we had there. We suffered through everything, very slowly, one at a time, for weeks. Blech. I guess it really is better to only have one puking child at a time though, right?

This week has been spent getting us back to normal. Cameron has been v e r y s l o w l y making his way through the last two reviews in his math book and finally finished today. He's been reading here and there and he seems to really be getting better all the time. We've been reading books on dinosaurs and woolly mammoths. We've been watching documentaries on butterflies and submarines and Bill Nye the Science Guy on earthquakes. We've been listening to Vivaldi. We've been playing cribbage and 'Smath and Options (Scrabble with prism shaped tiles that you can flip).

Cassia has flown through her math book and her phonics book. She's on exercise 18, I think, in math after only a couple weeks. And you know we aren't doing book work more that a couple times a week. She just sits down and works for over an hour every time she does it. She's also about a third of the way through Explode the Code 1. It's amazing how well she is learning to read from that. Totally different experience than with Cameron. She's also been reading library books and doing Starfall. And the art... oh man, that girl is creative. She made the most amazing abstract drawing today. She says that it's a Spanish Chess board but it looks like, well, here let me upload it... (Egads. The effort of that and the distractions that followed have delayed my getting back to this for about 24 hours!) OK, nevermind, let me just say that it reminds me of a Picasso. Beautiful work.

Greyson has been Greyson, lol. He's been busy fixing everything with the plastic tool sets he got for Christmas and cooking with a combination of my and Cassia's dishes. He's amazing with sounds - animal imitations and voices and the like. He's also really becoming able to play *with* the other kids and understand their games. It's nice to see. Of course he's also able to express his displeasure with things too and he and Cassia, especially, have been clashing heads a lot. That's not so nice to see. But it's all part of growing up, I suppose.

After missing 4-H and rollerskating and gymnastics and the PARK for about three weeks now, it was really nice to be able to get back to some of those things. For 4-H Puppetry, we made these this week

Unfortunately, it was raining for our Valentine's Party at Favorite Park Day so it's been postponed to next week. Waahhhh! We REALLY wanted to go to the park. We were even going to ditch the 4-H Origami project to go but the weather just wouldn't cooperate. Some people suggested having the party at someone's house instead, but I think the point, for quite a few of us, is to get OUT of the house. Usually when we have these parties half the crafts and activities go undone because the kids are just too busy playing in the sand box and climbing trees. But it was okay because we had Origami to go to instead... until the project leader told us that her kids were sick and they had to cancel! So we went from having too many things to do on Friday to too few. We ended up going to the grocery store and doing laundry instead. Joy of joys.

We did get to go to the farm too though and it's been way to long since we'd been there. LOL, I was watching a show on the Travel Channel the other night and my mouth literally started watering when the host tasted some local cooked greens on his travels in Greece. I knew right then that it had been way too long since we had any good fresh veggies in the house! But now we are stocked and our menu for Valentine's dinner include Pink Beet Pilaf and sauteed dinosaur kale. Mmmmm. And on that note, I better get planning.

Happy Valentine's Day