For the beauty of the earth, For the beauty of the skies,
For the love which from our birth Over and around us lies,
Lord of all, to thee we raise This our grateful hymn of praise.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Day 2 of 180

The second day of school was a bit slower. I got bogged down checking all my important websites' passwords after my email was hacked.  :/

It's also terribly hot here. I know we've had it easy all summer but it picked a bad week to warm up. :D It's supposed to be cooler next week so hopefully it will be easier to concentrate.  I haven't been sleeping at all. Last night I couldn't even force myself to finish grading papers and putting the grades in the grade book I was so tired from lack of sleep. So I slept for a bit, but was up far too early again. It's been a two-cuppa kinda week. :)

Babycakes officially, finally started the Mommy & Me class at the same community center HF has his preschool & reading classes. The first month we tried it was cancelled due to low enrollment. Then, last week, the teacher forgot it started. But now we are in and he had a great time.  It's easier to do a Mommy & Me class with Babycakes than HF. HF was easily bored with just sitting & singing songs. He always had to have his hands on something, exploring, etc.  Babycakes loves to sit and watch people sing and play. He likes toys too, but he doesn't mind the sitting, especially if I'm sitting with him.

Finger painting from the first day of class. Babycakes preferred to paint with the q-tip, though. :)

On Thursday, HF takes a reading class at his preschool. It's just an hour but he's already impressed his teacher with his reading skills. ;) I credit Signing Time with that. He learned to finger spell when he was three so it's really helped his reading already.

The only other really exciting news is that we received our Emerson String Quartet tickets (I originally typed "stickers." Go figure. :D) in the mail. Thing 1 absolutely loves them. I took him to see them in LA earlier this year at Disney Concert Hall.  Sir James Galway was with them so I got to fulfill a nearly lifelong dream myself, to see Sir James in concert, at the same time. 

Thursday, September 8, 2011

1 Down, 179 More to Go

We finally had our first day of school here.  Most everyone else we know has already started, even if they just started Tuesday. I intended to start Tuesday, but a few weeks ago I finally found a homeschool friendly, daytime women's Bible study on Tuesdays about 35 minutes from the house.  Couldn't pass that one up. :)  It's been great. We met some other homeschoolers, one who is around The Teenagers age and a boy to boot. :D They hit it off great.  My poor Teenager hasn't had a homeschool friend his age in years.

Our first day went pretty good considering the 109 temp and lack of a/c. I sat between our two fans in the kitchen and anytime I had to get up I was reminded that, yes, it is hot. XO! (Anyone else think Blogger needs to input smileys?) Everyone was able to get all their scheduled work done except HF for whom I will be scheduling less work on Wednesdays. He has preschool in the morning so he was only able to complete Art and Bible.  We had to race off to Ballet at 3:30 coz there was no class on Monday. Normally that won't have to happen & we'll be able to work up to dinner if need be coz we won't have to be anywhere until 6 when The Teenager's AWANA club starts. (The other kids start at 6:45 which I'll get into next Wednesday when it actually starts.)

As I've previously mentioned (I'm sure, and too lazy to go look) we are switching almost entirely to Christian Light this year. Thing 1 and Thing 2 really love it. HF is just getting used to the math and art. He likes his math book so much though that he took it for Share & Tell last week for school. :) The Teenager is still out on whether he likes it or not.  He chose to stay with Saxon Math, which I would have found surprising if it wasn't just like him to complain about the difficulty of something but to actually love it.  (The mind of the child, who can understand it, for it is full of fluff & stuff...or something that makes no sense to adults. ;))

This is a pic of the Middles practicing their blending skills. You can't see it but I colored too.  I don't get the cool pitures from the Artpac, though. I had to use an old Power Rangers' coloring book.  Now I understand why the kids don't like coloring books much. It's nicer to color on the white paper than that nasty, cheap newsprint. Bleh!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Learning Our ABC's

We've been so busy (& and sometimes under the weather) that I've had time for Facebook only. Hey, what can I say? I know where my priorities lie. ;)

But I promised a friend I'd post some pics of this project H-F is working on so it's a good excuse for a blog entry. :) H-F already "knows" his ABC's but this is a fun book to put together & learn more about things the letters start with.

We are using the free Alphabet Lap-n-Note from Homeschool Share (my all-time favorite site).

I buy binders in bulk at Costco.  For the school year (I suppose) they actually had color binders so I splurged. The white are cheaper I think. Anyway, I found an ABC coloring page for our title/cover page. Just google it and you'll get a lot of options.

While most of the pictures are, of course, apples. There were a few that weren't.

H-F had to write ABCDEF after his name.  That's apparently his ABC book name. :) He also realized while we were putting the book together that the word "answer" starts with A so he wanted to include that.

This coloring page is from A Bible Alphabet Activity Book by Alison Brown. There is a story book that goes with it.

This is a list of the books we read for the letter A. I found the form at Donna Young (of course). I just cut it to fit our book.

Tomorrow H-F goes back to preschool. It's just a one-day a week class but he loves it. This year it's 3 hours. We also signed him up for an hour long reading class on Thursday mornings with the same teacher.  He's dying to back to see his favorite teacher. :) 

Getting ready for the first day of preschool consists in covering your bucket with stickers earned at the library's summer reading program. :D

Friday, July 22, 2011

Summer Weather in My Heart

I love the book The Valley of Vision. It's a great prayer tool.  You can use it when you know what to pray and especially when you just don't. Organized into different sections such as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; Penitence and Deprecation; Approach to God; and so on, you can easily find a prayer to inspire you to go deeper with your communion with God.

My reading today ended with "...and when I am restored and rest in thee give me summer weather in my heart." That might elicit a silent guffaw with folks considering how hot it can get in summer.  But when you realize what used to happen in winter, the heat of summer was probably a welcome relief.  When the prayer was written, people still contracted pneumonia with no hope of recovery. Disease during a winter that was often long and miserable wasn't the only depressing thing.  Lighting was not what it is today. The nights were long & dark. A candle or oil lamp would be the only light in a room of most common people.  Houses often burned from logs falling out of open fires or candles carried too close to draperies. And if you've never lived somewhere that gets truly cold and snowy in winter, and where people use wood or coal for heat, you probably don't know about the smell.  It smells of smoke, always.  The air inside the house, the air outside the house.  Everywhere you go it smells of smoke.  Your clothes and your hair always smell of smoke.  When the first sniff of spring comes it is truly a breath of fresh air.

Life is like that.  Especially life in the darkness of mental illness.  For those who don't know me I have suffered for the most part of the past 14 years with post-partum depression, with occasional bouts of post-partum psychosis.  It has only been within the last year that I have finally been released from this.  There is no feeling like it in the world except, perhaps, the feeling one has when they are first born again. It is truly summer in the heart.

"...then take away my mourning and give me music;
remove my sackcloth and adorn me with beauty;
take away my sighs and fill my mouth with songs;
and when I am restored and rest in thee
give me summer weather in my heart."

Monday, July 18, 2011

Lots of Swimming

The middle boys started swim lessons today. They were very happy...mostly.  HF decided a few minutes into his lesson that he wanted to be afraid. He acted like he'd never been in the water before.  Fortunately, he's the  lowest level & there are only 1 or 2 swimmers allowed in that class....and he's the only one in it. :)

Then we came home and, because we had surprise company, got to swim some more instead of do our chores.  I haven't heard a lot of complaining.  And, since the chores involved dusting and vacuuming, two chores Thing's 1 & 2 still like, I won't hear too much tomorrow. :)

Friday, July 15, 2011

Where Were You at Midnight?

Well I, along with The Teenager & his buddy, C, and about 1,000+ other folks, was at the local Edwards Theater waiting to watch the long-anticipated HP7.2.

We arrived to the line about 7:30 but still ended up in a pretty good spot.  We got great seats, all the way in the back so no one was behind us and I could lean the seat back as far as it would go. :) We did have to wait outside this year; but, aside from the wind and the cold (yep, it's cold here in SoCal--stupid "global warming"), it wasn't unbearable.  I took an old pillow to sit on this time, instead of a blanket.  When we figured out we were going to be outside until right before the movie I did call my dh and have him bring a blanket to wrap myself in. A sweater wasn't cutting it anymore.

The best thing this year was the people in our line were much more sociable than last year. We were in a weird situation where our part of the line had the same 8 people for a long time before anyone else came and none were people opposed to engaging strangers in conversation.  I like that kind of people. :)  Eventually there were three of us who were avid readers of all books so we discussed books made into movies and what we liked and disliked about them.  Yes, I brought up my disgust with The Lord of the Rings movies. :D

The Teenager & C played with some older guys who had a hacky sack and, fortunately, these guys were not far enough removed from their teen years to forget when they were annoying and obnoxious and took it all in stride.  The Teenager learned a new "game" that kids are taught on the playgrounds these days that involved hitting people when you saw a certain type of car pass by.  Needless to say I will not encourage it. LOL.

As for the movie, it was better than the last.  I always have issue with even guys changing shirts in film because I know it is only for the exploitation of the person they include it so I find it disgusting.  Hey, what can I say, I just don't think anyone ought to be exploited.  I'm so narrow-minded that way. :P But that's about all I had to say negative (aside from the things they changed from the book but I think that should go without saying. ;D)

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

COURAGEOUS Movie Trailer

Saw this on Mom Life Today this morning. I didn't watch Fireproof (not a big Kirk Cameron fan) but this one looks good.

Friday, July 8, 2011

And So the Week Is Finis

3in30 Challenge

As I watch the sun come up through the trees across the street I realize...Oh, my gosh, it's Friday!!! Already?!? Oh, and, I had better go shut up the front of the house coz it's gonna start getting hot now.

OK, we're safe now.  Well, at least until it gets so hot it doesn't feel like it made a difference. :D

Basically this week, and it's goals, was affected by the heat.  It's darn hot. It's not a little hot, it's way too hot.  It's so hot I was considering air conditioning. 8O! Yep, sinuses be, um, darned. I'll take a sinus infection over this heat. OK, so I've already forgotten how horrible a sinus infection is, but seriously, how bad can it be compared to not being able to move? :D Yes, I was thinking how much easier housework would be with a little (or a lot, rather) a/c. I probably would have emptied far more boxes, cleaned far more dishes, etc. I think I only made the bed one day the whole week. Ugh.

I did realize though, that I need to get started at least on a Morning Routine. I've put it off waiting for the normal school year to start but I think it would be far more effective if I got that part going now.  I can probably even get a basic evening routine going, though, let's face it, I might have to throw the whole evening part out as soon as August arrives.

I *did* get one important thing done.  I cleaned off the dreaded corner on the kitchen counter.  Honestly, when I went through the 31 Days Challenge I didn't have a problem with the counter, but it's since started to bug me so I went through everything in the drain and got rid of half of it. 8O!! Now I have to wash up all the sippy lids we are keeping (that's the main component of the corner) and match them with cups.  So I got half the kitchen done.

So here's my view of my goals:

1) eh, not so good. I did do it several times but I think 10 minutes is too short a time for me.  It gives me an excuse to take a break too often. :D But I think it is good to show me just how much I can get done in 10 minutes.

2) um, slow and steady wins the race? Well, I got the kitchen started.  I think it might be easier this coming week when there is not even a threat of triple-digit temps.

3) uh, well, I uh, it was HOT, OK?!? hehehe. Oh, and there was a holiday weekend.  We actually weren't home much. Yeah, that makes me feel better. :) This one is going to be more difficult than I thought.  Even three boxes a day, when trying to maintain everything else and get everyone where they need to be when they need to be there, is daunting.  I will give it another go this week, though.  It really must get done. And swim lessons start the following week...**wimper**

Saturday, July 2, 2011


So I found this somehow. I never remember how.  It's usually one of those six-degrees-of-blog-separation things. :D It looked like great fun.  I bought some sticks & glitter & decided to save money using fingerpaints we already had, which means they didn't turn out red, white, & blue. (Take that UO Style Guide. :P)

Thing 2


Thing 1. For those who don't know, and those who don't remember: Thing 1 has NEVER used finger paints.  He has tried twice and both times he refused once he touched them.  He did still talk about how weird the paints felt but he did the whole project. :)

In true Thing 1 fashion, though, he had to use a different finger for each color.  Good thing he used only two colors, that might have been a bit confusing. :D

The finished products.

Friday, July 1, 2011

I'm "Challenged"

OK, I couldn't think up a spiffy title. At least it's not the date again. :D

This month I was led (via Apologia's Facebook) to 3 in 30 Challenge.  I've been trying to figure out how to mix this with the Homemaker's Challenge ever since. So here's my go at it.

1) Clean a messed up area for 10 min 3x/day.

2) Incorporate the new cleaning "challenges" from 31 Days to Clean.

3) Clean out the garage by cleaning out 3 boxes/day.

Yeah, I'm good, I know. </sarc> After this I will not be clicking on any more links to cleaning challenges. :D

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Giveaway, & Other Stuff

They are having a particularly wonderful giveaway over at Sally Clarkson's blog, I Take Joy.  Please do not enter, though, since that detracts from my entries (as if the other million entries won't). ;D

I hope everyone is having a wonderful summer.  I have started my clean-out-the-garage project. I have another project in the works.  Between the two, I may have to cut back on my Treasure Isle time. 8O!

The Teenager & Thing 2 have started Summer Intensives.  I need to figure out a schedule that will work for us, having two out of the house all day, and having to drive back & forth several times a day.  I should get that all together right about the time they finish the 5 weeks. lol.

Gee, that's all the excitement around here.  I'm good with that. :)

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Texas 2011

This marked our 2nd annual trip to Wichita Falls, a place I only visit because my grandmother is in an assisted living facility there. Last year the trip went smoother than anything I'd ever planned & executed in my entire life. The trip itself was the final break, imo, of the horrible false teaching I had received at the hands of certain people that God was only a God of hate looking for a reason to pour out his wrath. My theological education since then had brought me to the head knowledge that God is faithful & loving to those who are his, the trip gave me the heart knowledge . It was pretty amazing.

This year, it was a test of my metal. :D

As my previous post indicated, we didn't get off to a glorious start.  Thing 1 was sick the night before we left so we cancelled all the reservations and my dh took him to the Urgent Care. It was his gut that was in pain and we don't mess around with that with Thing 1. His innards are pretty jumbled up and he has a higher risk of intestinal blockage than a normal child.  It turned out to be nothing serious so when I woke up the next morning I suddenly found myself feeling that I must leave the next day, not wait until August. So off we went with a still woozy 9yo. Poor kid.

Our first stop was McDonald's in the pass to eat breakfast and watch the trains go by.  Woozy kid scarfed 3 pancakes. Should've ordered some to go since that was pretty much the last thing he ate for the next 2 days. I understand though. When I was preggo with Babycakes all I could get to stay down was MD's french fries.

At the rest stop outside some town in the California desert that exists only because it has a DQ & a gas station.

On the second day we stopped at the Petrified Forest National Park to eat lunch in the parking lot & watch the large ravens. (That's one flying there in the left of the picture.)

This is going into NM from AZ.

Sky City, NM. It was probably more pleasant before the confusing off-ramp was built to accommodate the casino.

Day 3. Welcome center in Amarillo, TX.  Here, let me help in case you've forgotten the words to the song you are now humming...Amarillo by morning, up from San Antone. Everything that I've got is just what I've got on...I'm sure you feel better. :)

H-F was so excited to see all the metal cows. :)

At one of our favorite rest stops in TX. It was a bit hot so they played in the shade more than on the playground.  Yes, TX rest stops have playgrounds. :)

Outside my grandma's "villa." H-F loves this perpetually empty bird-feeder cuz it's shaped like a barn.

Walking back to the hotel from my grandma's.  That was one of the cool things that happened last year. Without knowing my grandma's address, I picked the Hilton-brand hotel (I prefer Hilton) right next to her place. :)

My grandmother's hair hasn't been this long in about 50+ years. My uncle took her to get it cut Tuesday after we left.

H-F loves his grandma and prays for her every night. 

Getting up close & personal with my uncle's horse.  You know, for a kid who desperately wants riding lessons, he sure has no interest in getting near a horse. :D

Thing 1 was much less nervous.

Thing 2 & the Teenager with my aunt and her horse.

Babycakes probably would have been far more interested if the wind velocity was not upwards of 40mph.

Thing 1 feeding the horse a carrot for a treat.

A pause from the footage to explain how things went directly south after this.  Triple-digit heat aside, it hadn't been too bad a visit up to this point.  That night, the night before we were supposed to leave on our return trip, the Teenager became more sick than I had ever seen him.  I would have taken him to the emergency room if I hadn't suspected the cause.  About 4 years ago he went GF to help with his hyper-activity and his growth.  See, he hadn't grown in 2-3 years. I convinced him to try the diet by reminding him how Thing 2 also didn't grow for a year before he was dx with Celiac.  I suspected his behavior problems were related to gluten after all the reading I had done.  Sure enough, in less than a month everyone began noticing a difference in his behavior. His teachers noticed he was able to sit still longer & focus better.  He's never truly gone back on gluten before.  However, I told him that if he could control himself I'd let him have some, including pizza.  By Sunday night it had done it's damage, I believe. I will probably have to call the Celiac center down in SD to see if we might not have to have him scoped. It's possible it's not just a sensitivity he has. :(

So, I was up most of the night with him. Then the baby was up with a cold.  By 4 am my allergies (I'm allergic to whatever the heck is in a/c) had turned into a sinus infection.  We didn't get out of WF until after 10am.  It was only by God's grace I even was able to stay awake all the way to Santa Rosa.  After getting the kids in & fed I let them know we'd not be swimming that night but going to bed.  Thankfully, they all slept all night.  Well, Thing 2 tried to crawl into bed with me twice but I booted him.  It's hard to sleep with a 7yo's feet in your back. ;)

Anyway....on the way to SR, we saw the Billy Elliot truck.  This is probably only significant to us. The Teenager auditioned for BE a few years ago, when I was pregnant with Babycakes.

Another great TX rest stop.

Give Babycakes a room full of perfectly good & safe things to play with & one dangerous thing and he will immediately go to the dangerous thing.

At the AZ Visitor's Center checking out this relic.  I'm sure the kids are thinking, "50cents? Why don't they just use their cellphone?" :D

Again, BC wants into the janitor's dangerous closet.  He can probably smell the toxins a mile away.

Finally we were home & I was still sick. So I opted for the carwash. I mean, who wants to deal with millions of dead bugs when they are sick? Not me, that's for sure.

Ah, that looks much better. :)

We arrived home to a few open sunflowers.  My faves. :)

I have some pics on my phone that I might get around to publishing later. We'll see how that goes.  Gotta go see Cars 2 tomorrow morning with our good friends N & D. Then Summer Intensive starts Monday.  If you're not into ballet that means nothing so let me just say that two-a-days are probably the only thing in sports that comes close. :D