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Archive for August, 2008

Becoming a Spinster

This morning while this was still out

And the clock read this

I dusted these off

And headed to this

How long does it take for something to become a habit?

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Yea! The cute UPS man did make it to our house with the rest of our books. I just love the smell of new books! School “officially” started back for us today. We’ve been on a little bit of a hiatus with our move and with summer. We were unschooling for awhile. But it feels great to be back into a routine.

There are lots of different educational categories you could try and fit homeschoolers into although I don’t think any of us fit perectly into any of them. We pull resources from lots of different places. I guess we’re considered eclectic but we also lean toward classical. At the beginning of the year we ‘re fairly structured but tend relax quite a bit toward the end.

Since this is our second full year of home education, I’m still looking for programs and materials that fit us. This year I went a little crazy and bought quite a few new products. One thing I love about homeschooling is that by working so closely with my kids, I discover what kind of learners they are and I’m able to personalize their program to fit them. If something isn’t working, I have the flexibility to toss it and start something better. What works for one may not be right for another.

So here’s our plan for this year:

Maddy:

Reading: Books from the library and from her literature program

Language Arts: Language Arts Through Literature (gray book)

Writing: Write Shop I

Math: Life of Fred- Decimals and Percentages & Life of Fred- Algebra I

Science: LifePacs 8th grade & Friday Co-op Chemistry class

History: Story of the World – Medieval Times & New Testament

Music: Piano

Art: Friday Co-op art class

Home Economics: Friday Co-op sewing class

PE: Middle School Volleyball & ballroom dance

Volunteering: Weekly at a therapeutic horse riding facility for kids with disabilities

Personal Progress

Jack:

Reading: Books from library and from language arts program

Writing: Friday Co-op Creative Writing class

Language Arts: Language Arts Through Literature (yellow book)

Math: Life of Fred- Fractions & Quarter Mile Math

Science: LifePacs 5th grade & Friday Co-op Chemistry class

History: Story of the World – Medieval Times & New Testament

Music: Piano & guitar

Latin: From the Roots Up & Latina Christina

Art: Friday Co-op Art class (taught by moi)

Scouts & Faith in God

Erik:

Reading: Books from the library, LATL books, & Friday Co-op Book Club

Writing: Friday Co-op Creative Writing class

Language Arts: Language Arts Through Literature

Math: Math-U-See Beta & Quarter Mile Math

Science: LifePacs 2nd grade & Friday Co-op Earth Science class

History: Story of the World – Medieval Times & New Testament

Music: Piano

Art: community art classes

PE: gymnastics

Faith in God

Will:

Reading: library books read by anyone willing & Friday Co-op ABC class

History: Story of the World – Medieval Times & New Testament

Math: Counting and cooking with Mom & Friday Co-op 1,2,3 class

Art: Friday Co-op craft class

PE: gymnastics & Friday Co-op games class

Music: Friday Co-op Music and Movement class

If you’ve read this far, kudos to you!  Have a great week…

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Guess what.  Remember how we’ve had trouble getting the good seats at church?  The good news:  We got the good seats at church.  They were the REALLY good seats, the kind with the upholstered seat AND the upholstered back AND the individual armrests.  The bad news:  We sat in the stands because we gave the sacrament meeting talks.  But, we survived, there were no accidental burps or fainting or cuss words.  We’re done and can move on with life.  Phew!

Thanks to all who encouraged me this past week with all I had on my plate.  I’ve been able to get most of it finished, or at least started.  I cleaned my house for the book club meeting, which was very fun and lasted well into the wee hours of the morning.  If you haven’t read The Power of Positive Parenting by Glen Latham, you really must. It’s one of my favorite parenting books out there.

Jack’s cardiologist appointment went so well.  There’s always some anxiety before those appointments that the news might be bad, but he passed with flying colors.  I found out that he does have a left ventricle although it’s relatively small but it does do what it can to pump blood. A huge factor in his overall prognosis. Yeah! And we don’t have to go back for a whole year!  And he has no restrictions!  And the doctor encouraged him to increase his activity level with swimming, hiking, and biking.  All great news that could make me teary-eyed if I went on, so I won’t.

I’ve written the art program for co-op and it has the potential to be really fun.  I hope it is.  If not, it could be a long semester.  Still waiting for my last shipment of books so we can start school this week.  Keep your fingers crossed that we see that cute little UPS man tomorrow.

Last night after we polished up our talks and were getting ready for bed, we took the dog out and discovered a sure sign that we are now officially parents of a teenager.

Hope you all had a great weekend!

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Crushing Memories…

This week is chock full of stuff that needs to get done…by me. Like reading this in it’s entirety so that I can lead the discussion on it … tomorrow…at my house…which needs to be cleaned…before tomorrow. Instead, I’ve been trying to finish this.

Not only that but I need to finish my talk for Sacrament Meeting on Sunday. I’ve actually finished it but I do need to practice reading it. Yes, I will be reading it Celia. That’s the only way for me. I should also be practicing volleyball with my daughter Maddy who will be trying out for the local middle school volleyball team…this afternoon…at which I will not be cheering her on…because I have to take Jack to meet the new cardiologist here in Idaho. But we both decided we’d rather watch an old episode of Jon and Kate Plus Eight.

Back to the house cleaning, I really should at least be straightening it since I’ll be having a babysitter here this afternoon for the first time in, like, 3 years. As mentioned above, Maddy will be off at volleyball and Jack and I will be gone testing out the local stethescopes … which leaves a 4 year old and 7 year old…alone.

If I wasn’t doing that, I also need to help Will write his talk for Sunday School this week…or rather write it myself and rehearse it with him…or better yet maybe I’ll just give that assignment to Ralf. If that wasn’t enough, I should be writing my outline for the art class I will be teaching at the co-op this semester…starting in two weeks. Also on my list is reading through all the teacher’s manuals for the new curriculum I’ve bought for school this year…and then creating a master plan and calendar for each child so that we can stay on somewhat of a track.

Oh yeah, and I need to venture out to civilization to get a gift for the 8 hour long birthday party Jack is invited to…tomorrow morning. What reasonable sane mother would host an 8 hour long birthday party…at her HOUSE…for a bunch of 10 year old boys? Not me, that’s for sure!

But, with all that to do, I’m sitting here blogging. Why? Because I have been inspired by my new cyber-but-soon-to-meet-in-real-life-friend Jennifer. (Get this, in a round about way she “answered” my personal as an abnormally “normal” homeschool Mom who lives close by. Yea for me!) She blogged about her list of unconventional heart throbs that perhaps only the mother of young kids could appreciate. Check it out. It’s funny.

So in that spirit here’s my history of celebrity crushes:

It started with Leif Garrett. My bestfriend Jill Nelson made sure I knew it was pronounced Lafe and not Leaf. Either way he had neato hair!

Then came this hot little number.

I was more a Bo fan than a Luke fan. How about you?

Man, when The Outsiders came out, that was a feast for the eyes. Everyone, with the exception of maybe Emilio Estevez, made it onto the covers of my schoolbooks, outlined in hearts and all.


Ok, at about the same time I discovered Blackie from General Hospital, a crush that has withstood the test of time. To this day he’s a favorite.

John Stamos only gets better with age.

Confession time. PLEASE keep in mind, it was the 80s and he still had most of his original face. Sad but true, Michael Jackson makes it on my list of teenage crushes. Am I the only one???

Thelma and Louise changed my life forever. The bar had been raised. And despite his weirdo kid-collecting love fest with Angelina ( I am willing to look away), he remains a lifelong crush of mine.

These days when we’re not watching The Office, we watch The Food Network, Animal Planet, and The Discovery Channel. But that hasn’t kept me from finding my favorites.

Jeff Corwin is easy to watch.

Probably because he reminds me of Ryan Reynolds, another favorite.

And if it’s the Food Network that’s on, I’ll tune in to see Jim O’Connor from The Secret Life Of.

Never seen him? You should.

How about you? Feeling nostalgic yet? Ponch or John? J.R. or Bobby? Corey Haim or Feldman?

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Desperately Seeking…

Thirty-something, fashion-conscious, intelligent, abnormally “normal” homeschooling mother of 4 seeks fellow homeschooling mother with similar interests and with similar aged kids for get-togethers to share ideas, books, field trips, play dates, science labs, and friendship.

Must be vain enough to wear make-up, have an actual hairstyle, and appreciate the value of a great fitting pair of jeans. Please no denim jumpers or polygamist braids. Must be able to have an intelligent conversation about something other than organic farming, home birthing, and attachment parenting. Must own a television, have cable, and be able to name at least one character from “The Office”.

For playdates, children must be updated on vaccinations and arrive with clean clothes, hair, faces, and fingernails. They may not dispell the realities of Santa Claus, The Tooth Fairy, or The Easter Bunny to my younger children. No public nose-pickers (over the age of 4), or thumb-suckers (over the age of 6).

If you know of anyone that fits this criteria in my area, please pass this along. I am in desperate need of a fellow homeschool mom that’s as abnormally “normal” as I am. Thanks!

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Refreshing

We are loving watching the Olympics! The gymnastics, the synchronized diving, the swimming… I enjoy watching to see if the athletes know the words to their national anthems. And we got a kick out of Mark Spitz’s generous but somewhat arrogant interview this evening.

But I must vent a little. While I can appreciate the that he’s a specimen of speed, finesse, and physical perfection, I am getting a little TIRED of Michael Phelps!

It’s getting far too predictable for me. “Ooh, is that Michael Phelps in lane 5? I wonder if he’ll win by a few seconds or a few milliseconds.” Sorry, but it’s a little redundant.

My new appreciation is for Dara Torres:

She’s a 41 year-old mother competing in her 5th Olympics! Not only is she confident in her post baby body, but she even looks great in that very unflattering body suit. And you can totally tell that she’s a mother. This evening, the athlete in the lane next to hers had a tear in her suit and so went to put another on. If Dara had been a young, competitive, self-concerned swimmer, she might have quietly hoped that the race would start without her. But, being the mother that she is, Dara alerted a race official of the situation, calmed the other racers down, waited for her racemate to return in a new suit, and then turned around and won her event! Now THAT is refreshing!

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Playing Catch-up…

It’s been a crazy couple of weeks. . . and it’s not over yet. A quick recap while I’m sitting down.


I took the kids to Utah and dropped off Maddy and her cousin in Provo for a week of this:

While the boys and I spent the week at my Mom’s:

Hanging out with my sister and her kids.

Passing the time doing this:

And this:

And making huge messes in Grandma’s house:

And transforming into a Jedi with whatever we can find laying around the house:

Who said Grandma doesn’t have any boy dress-ups?

Or royalty:

WHY the fascination with that thing?

My sister, being the fashionista that she is, organized an awesome Enrichment Night while we were there. The cutest girl came to talk to us about fashion and about how the way you dress says something about you.

She’s a personal shopper at Anthropologie. We learned about body types, styles, colors, “underpinnings”, mixing and matching, dressing your age, and dressing appropriate to the occassion.

We made personalized fashion books with all of our information to take with us on shopping trips.

We even had cute “mocktails”.

At the end of the week we all went to BYU to see what the kids learned about ballroom dancing. We figured the finale show would be short and sweet. The kids would dance a quick foxtrot and we could collect their belongings from the dorms, and head home. Oh no, after waiting an hour in line:

The gates were opened and the torrent of parents, siblings, and relatives invaded the main ballroom where we scurried around battling one another for the 10 chairs that were set up. Finally, after the mayhem settled, the show began. It was really sweet watching the hundreds of tweens and teens thoroughly enjoying and demonstrating what they learned. What an amazing experience for them to spend a week with kids their own age, with similar values, learning a lifelong skill from some of the best ballroom dancers in the world.

My daughter informed me that she IS going again next year. “Just so ya know”. Oh, I just LOVE this age…

The show lasted a LONG time. So the kids made their way out to the hall to practice:

Our week was also filled with visiting friends, visiting the Children’s Discover Museum, and of course, the Parade of Homes. None of which made the photo cut.

We left to come home on Saturday and brought my sister, the cousins, and my mom with us. They were in need of a little country life.

The kids had a great time playing and swimming in the neighbor’s pool:

This morning they gathered their things, packed the car, and we said good-bye for the summer. We’ll be excited to see them again for Thanksgiving.

As I sit here, we are looking forward to our next house guests. A good friend I grew up with and her five kids  should be pulling in any minute now.

Hope you’re enjoying your last little bit of summer too.

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