Sunday, May 31, 2009
We had a wonderful weekend in the charming city of Louisville. The occasion was the bi-annual Christian and Missionary Alliance conference. My in-laws were missionaries with CMA as were many of my friends at boarding school (my parents were with the heathen baptists). So this was a weekend for spending time with Mark's sisters who are missionaries in Africa and the Middle East and with many other missionary friends I have not seen for years. We were also able to be part of the commissioning of a very dear friend who is heading to Africa shortly.
A relaxing, fun weekend...and now if only my husband's perks would provide for a substitute VBS teacher so I could sleep in tomorrow morning.
Friday, May 29, 2009
Thursday, May 28, 2009
I suppose the word family implies the whole thing. As in all six of us. But we're traveling, so I don't have a tripod with me. And really, who am I fooling sounding all professional using words like tripod and stuff? Even if we had the tripod, I have no idea how to use the timer on the camera.
I suppose I could have gotten my better half in the picture too, but I decided instead to make this a kids-only picture. What else is new?
Not that this picture was any easy feat, mind you. Although I rethought my bribe approach (too much of that already occurs), it indeed took much, um, persuasion to get them to leave their hotel TV to sit nicely on the stairs. And by nicely I mean without kicking, scratching, pinching each other. (See how nicely my oldest has her hands resting on Michael's shoulders? Well, that is NOT a look of happiness and cooperation on his face. He's waiting for me to snap the picture so he can swipe her hands away and then turn around and do who knows what to her if I don't stop him in time.)
So here it is...my family picture. Or 1/2 family picture. Or something like that. You can see my fave picture of a member of the family from this trip here.
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
I expected a flood of Drama when I broke the news to the Princess, so I mustered up all of the enthusiasm I could and asked, “Do you want to go to K-Mart when we get to the hotel and pick out a new My?!?” She bought into my enthusiasm wholeheartedly, made a rather quick choice and snuggled her new, soft My all the way back to the hotel. Her only concern when we got back was, "Can we take my new My home with us?"
Sunday, May 24, 2009
"This is the beach," she explained as she marched two popsicle sticks across the up-ended end of the ottoman. "And this is an alien," she indicated, describing one of the popsicle sticks. The alien stick took a dive into the ocean. "I can't swim! I can't swim!" she said in her best alien voice.
"And this is Darf Bader." She introduced another character, and this is where the plot kind of fell apart. I think there was a light saber fight. Or two. And..."His head fell off."
I'm afraid the influence of two big brothers runs deep through her creative veins.
Note to self: Research ways to train her so that she retains some semblance of royal etiquette despite the boys.
Friday, May 22, 2009
"private(s)" and why it is inappropriate for a certain princess to approach any one of her brothers' friends with the statement, "You're a boy, you have a ....."
But the Princess had a serious question for her daddy. "Daddy," she said, "why is one of the penguins in Madagascar 2 named 'Private'?"
So many words with so many meanings. It's a confusing world for a little girl.
Thursday, May 21, 2009
A touch of Sweet Honey mixed in with freshly milled flour, yeast, yogurt, warm water, and salt.
A healthy snack which the children love...a Sweet Deal for kids and Mom!
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
(Note to self: Buy her more socks. OR...Buy yourself some new socks and let her keep all the old ones.)
Monday, May 18, 2009
Anyway...Annie tagged me in her Great Eights post. So here we go:
8 Things I'm Looking Forward To:
(In order of their expected and/or planned occurrence)...
1. Warm weather--surely it will come soon.
2. Family trip in a couple of weeks to Kentucky via Nashville. We'll visit a museum in Nashville while Mark works. In Kentucky, we'll have the pleasure of spending time with family and friends. One main purpose for our visit to the Bluegrass State is to share in a special commissioning ceremony for a friend who is headed to Africa to work as a missionary pediatrician. He's headed Home. We went to boarding school with him. I would love to put "Going Home to Africa to visit him so my kids can see where Mom and Dad grew up" on this list, but since there are no such plans (as of yet), I'll save it for a future list.
3. Every year there are any number of reunions occurring in various regions of the world. Well, that's not news. But these are opportunities for those of us who went to boarding school at ICA in Africa to get together. We don't always go to them. But this summer there are two here in our area. One is this coming weekend. It's a small one, but a couple of my very dear friends (1 an old roommate) will be coming. My brother-in-law is hosting a second reunion later this summer. It will be people from an "older" class, but I still remember them (even if they don't remember me since I was just a little kid then!).
4. I LOVE VBS, and I always volunteer to be in charge of the Bible study teachers. Although I'm looking forward to VBS, however, I'm more looking forward to it being over. I feel very disorganized this year, and I'm getting a little stressed out, especially since we will be returning from our trip in #1 at about 10:00 pm the night before I have to be at church at 8:45 AM.
5. I'm sooo looking forward for this school year to be over. I have those end of the school year blues.
6. I'm sooo looking forward to the beginning of a new school year. The last of all of my curriculum came in today. I'm having a great time looking through it all and planning.
7. Someday having another date with my husband. A date means with the children NOT in the same building, not just having the children sit at the table next to us.
8. I am so looking forward to growing in the Lord and to continuing to become the mother and wife that He wants me to be. I'm learning slowly but daily about patience and about what it means to serve my family. In so doing, I'm enjoying the blessing of getting to know my family--specifically the kids--better and of discovering what a joy they are to be around.
8 Things I Did Yesterday:
1. Taught Sunday School.
2. Found out that next week our church is doing a combined service at 11:00. Translation: No 9:00 service. Which means: We don't have to teach. Which also means: We get to sleep in.
3. Took a nap. If it hadn't been raining, we would have played volleyball.
4. Enjoyed nems for dinner. Nems are Vietnames (cooked) spring rolls. We called them "Nems" in Africa. Mark makes them taste just like home.
5. Watched the "Survivor" season finale.
6. Wrapped presents for Jacob. His birthday is Wednesday, but he opened presents today and had his celebration today.
7. Examined the hermit crabs' new habitat for signs of life...as soon as they got their new digs, they decided it was time to molt, so they dug under and have been incognito for a week. One did resurface last night, but now he has vacated his shell and, I guess, disappeared into another one. From my research, I've learned that they should be left alone during this time, which is difficult for curious little boys and girls (and curious moms). Michael asked how long they would be out of commission. I said, "Four to five weeks." "Forty-five weeks?!" he said. "How many days is THAT?!"
8. Watched a couple of MASH re-runs because I couldn't sleep on account of #3.
8 Things I Wish I Could Do:
1. Play the drums.
2. Play the electric guitar.
3. "Speak" in sign language. We're going to begin learning a little this year...I have a DVD that teaches praise song signing.
4. Go back Home with Mark and the kids. I want the kids to see where we grew up, and I would love to go out with Mark since we have never been out together as a married couple.
5. Go to Italy.
6. Catch up on my scrapbooking.
7. Draw/paint/be artistic.
8. Be more "out of the box" with the kids (as my bloggy friend Annie discussed), more spontaneous with school stuff and with life stuff in general.
8 Shows I Watch:
3. The Mentalist
6. Burn Notice
7. In Plain Sight
8. My Boys
8 Bloggers I'm Tagging:
1. TeacherMommy at Diapers and Dragons
2. Mitzi at The Road Less Traveled
3. Nikowa at Knowledge House Academy
4. Courtney at Life on Courtney Lane
5. Mare at Mare's Musings
6. Crossview at Down on a Red Dirt Lane
7. Dina at 4 Lettre Words
8. Mama Knucker Hatch at Our Golden Apples
So here's how to do this 8 THINGS thing: Mention the person that tagged you. Complete the lists of 8's. Tag 8 of your wonderful bloggy friends. Go tell them you tagged them!
Friday, May 15, 2009
Thursday, May 14, 2009
I wish I had brought my camera today. If I had, I would have had the opportunity to capture expressions of...
...delight as the children fed the geese and their goslings. Obviously accustomed to human acts of kindness, the geese bickered with each other as they gathered around, each vying for the biggest crust of bread.
...intrigue as the kids observed a large, varietal range of turtles in the pond. Some were small, tennis ball size with shiny, new shells. The ones that held the most interest, however, were the large ones with long tails. Clearly older, these astute reptiles slowly but intentionally came up to the surface to get their share and to show off their algae-covered shells.
...curiosity as they questioned the myriad of water bugs skittering across the glassy surface of the pond.
...anticipation as we headed for a new exhibit at the park zoo.
...mischievousness as they observed the 3 alligators who occupied the new exhibit; still as statues, the kids schemed ways to get them to move.
...disappointment when the children discovered the otters are no longer residents of the zoo.
...excitement when we visited the bears' exhibit and discovered one bear who was mostly not napping.
I wish I had brought my camera today. Because good days are even better remembered with a picture.
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
Phonics & Reading: (A)
The boys have really, really improved this year in reading. Jacob went from reading zilch to full-fledged reading, and Michael is still plodding along as well.
Areas for Improvement: Find something and stick to it! I may have found that very thing already in Hooked on Phonics, Master Reader. Both boys are going through that now. Michael is on his first "novel", and Jacob has already finished the novel and is now on the second level of the program. I need to stick with this and then figure out a comparable program to follow up with: perhaps the HOP Reading Success product, although I haven't yet submitted it to my "research-it-to-death" process in order to finalize the decision. The boys are also going to be finishing up their Abeka Phonics books, just the ones they're working on; I won't buy the next level because they are just too tedious for them.
I give myself a B because, while Alex had fantastic grammar instruction this year, the boys did not do much by way of grammar. They are young, however, so I'm not too worried. They did do some activities that came up in their Frank Shaffer reading books. Alex learned a lot this year and is almost finished with her 4th grade Abeka Language book.
Area for Improvement: Be consistent in offering Grammar instruction. Have everyone start and regularly maintain a Grammar Notebook to get all of those rules cemented in their heads.
Literature & Writing: (B)
The kids are young still for a lot of writing, although Alex composed some fantastic pieces of writing throughout the year. We covered some quality literature, but I would like to do more.
Area for Improvement: Next year, I'm sticking to my trusty reading lists (Ambleside and Classical Christian Homeschooling) for independent reading. Learning Adventures, too, provides great suggestions, and I need to stick to their read-aloud suggestions. I want to have Alex complete the writing assignments she will face in Learning Adventures and Shurley English both, and I want to do all I can to get the boys confident in their handwriting and creative ideas so that they can begin to become budding writers.
I should do a separate report card for the boys and for Alex because the boys are bringing my average down! I give myself an A, not an A+, because I think I've done really well with Alex. She can zip through ALL of her facts now and has learned many, many new concepts this year.
Areas for Improvement: Quiz, quiz, quiz the boys on those facts!
Spelling went great. I enjoyed using Spelling Workout. If I didn't already have Abeka's Spelling and Poetry 2 for the boys, I'd order the next level of SW. Alex will stick with SW and will be in Book E.
Areas for Improvement: More fun activities with words and learn more new vocabulary.
I can't believe how much everyone's handwriting has improved this year! I used a curriculum this year (A Reason For), but I plan to do just copywork next year. I think this will be more meaningful and teach them more about grammar.
Areas for Improvement: Knowing my propensity to plan but not follow-through, I need to be diligent in having the children do copywork daily.
I give myself an A because History is one thing we didn't skip; however, I really jumped around a lot from Prairie Primer to Story of the World.
Areas for Improvement: Stick with one thing (Learning Adventures). Use more living books as resources. Be consistent in keeping on projects like timelines, etc. Consult more maps to build in that geography along with the history. Do more hands-on projects!
I skipped around a lot from curriculum to curriculum to make-your-own curriculum. Hopefully, I stick to Learning Adventures next year for a deeper year of Science. The kids did, however, have a lot of life experiences--museums, nature, etc.--which enriched their scientific lives. They also all had science of one kind or another at co-op, so that added good depth to their studies.
Areas for Improvement: Stick with one thing (Learning Adventures). Use more living books as resources. Actually FINISH projects that are started. Stop being lazy when it comes to gathering materials, setting up experiments, carrying them through, and cleaning up!
I started to give myself a C, but then I remembered that the kids are at least a third of the way through learning the states, their capitals and abbreviations, and their locations. In addition, we always find on the map any country that is mentioned in any other subject. Last year, I did a particularly good job of keeping Geography part of the mix by actually preparing a country study for every chapter of Story of the World. I just wasn't as good at it this year.
Areas for Improvement: For each country studied in history, do a thorough geographic study with the kids. In addition, teach more map skills, especially to the boys. Hmmm...what curriculum or book to use for that...
Foreign Language: (F)
I was supposed to teach them a foreign language? I decided this year that I am NOT, nor will I ever be, a foreign language teacher--even if I know the foreign language I am trying to teach. Mark and I said before we had kids that when we did have children, we would speak French in our home so the kids would learn two languages. Right. That didn't happen. So...I've ordered a computer Spanish (rather than French) course since they might actually use Spanish later on.
Areas for Improvement: Be consistent in making time in everyone's schedule (maybe even mine; we'll see) to sit down and learn Spanish!
I know how to play the piano, so how hard it is, really, to walk upstairs and give a child a lesson?? Apparently as hard as it is the speak French in front of them. The problem is, I forget.
Areas for Improvement: REMEMBER to give piano lessons. AND to make them practice. And be consistent and thorough in covering the classical music that is presented in Learning Adventures.
Thankfully, the older two got art at co-op because they sure didn't get it here!
Areas for Improvement: Be consistent and thorough in covering the artists that are featured in Learning Adventures. Do more hands-on activities in all areas, which will strengthen their artistic side (which, if they possess it, did NOT come from their mother).
Obviously, the kids get a lot of the Bible with church and family devotions. We did no formal study of the Bible, however. I would like to do more formal study as well as do some memorization as a family--not just at AWANA.
Areas for Improvement: Stick with what is presented in Learning Adventures. Be diligent in working on memorization. Use character studies from Contenders for the Faith.
I am also adding some beginning logic/critical thinking by Critical Thinking Co. and Latin from Memoria Press for Alex. Should be a busy year, but I'm excited for it. Now if we can just get through the next few weeks which, I know, will draaaaggg. To see a complete list of the curriculum we're using next year and all pertinent links, there is an Our Curriculum link on my header.
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Go beachin' with...
Enjoy dinner with at The Back Porch...
And play mini-golf with...
This was Audrey's first "real", non-family member sleepover, and she loved it. Of course, Mom felt better knowing her baby was just 11 floors down (Actually 10 since they left out Floor #13, which means we were actually on Floor 21, not 22. You know, they cater to the superstitious but completely ignore the obsessive compulsive. I smell a frivolous lawsuit.).
Saturday, May 9, 2009
Which do you like best?
And why don't you give it a try?
Write a poem that begins with Bring me the sunset in a cup...
Bring me the sunset in a cup
to pour out over sunsets past
and all those still to come.
their brilliant colors made more vivid
by fiery flames and ashes.
their reflections mirrored on the waters,
capturing poignant moments.
sunsets with those I love,
moments wrapped in the laughter and warmth,
that only a sunset can bring.
Bring me the sunset in a cup,
and I will remember my Father
who holds all of Creation in His hands,
who holds all of my
circumstances, good and bad;
hopes, great and small;
dreams, attainable and lofty.
Bring me the sunset in a cup,
and I will pour it out,
knowing it is not I who can contain it.
She worked on "hatching" a couple by herself and finally handed one to me. "Will you please help me hatch this one?"
On the way home from lunch, she was quite the jokester:
Audrey: Knock, knock!
Me: Who's there?
Audrey: Sock on your head.
Me: Sock on your head who?
Friday, May 8, 2009
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
Still, in my research, I heard many say that it is difficult to keep a saltwater hermit crab alive in captivity, so I encouraged our little boy to return "Hermit" to the ocean. We made a big to-do about Hermit's return , and there was much fanfare as the waves swept him out to the deeps beyond. Although I didn't tell my little boy, my research also revealed that even saltwater crabs need some freshwater, so I'm not sure what Hermit's fate will be, but at least his graveyard will be "home" to him.
After our big production, and against our better judgment, we headed down the beach to a
It's not like this is our only pet here on the ocean. We also have about 50 tadpoles who made the journey through Podunk County, Georgia, and Middle-of-Nowhere, Alabama, with us. Because I
So it'll be a full car when we head home on Friday. Until then, we have lots of critters to observe, including the fever (go ahead--look it up) of stingrays that swim along the beach in front of our condo every evening.
a) I didn't want to disappoint the kids. They call it a "dolphin tour" like you're guaranteed to see dolphins and like you'll be taken on an actual tour when in actuality there's no dolphin guarantee, and you take the pontoon boat out yourself (which, I have to admit, I prefer over having to play nice with a guide). I have done the jet ski dolphin tour before, and we saw dolphins, but we had a guide who seemed to know where to find them.
b) I've been very cold down here, and the thought of being out on the open sea with the chilly air rattling my body gave me goose bumps.
c) He scheduled our "tour" for 9am. (See letter b.)
When we got t0 Shell Island, we had all 7 miles of the island to ourselves for about a half hour before one other boat showed up. And it wasn't until we were leaving that another boat beached itself. The kids had some great science lessons while on the island, most of which centered around hermit crabs as they were plentiful. Against our better judgment, we even let Michael take one of the hermit crabs home.
After an hour or so on our private island, we headed home and then enjoyed lunch at Treasure Ship.