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Tuesday, August 21, 2012

that's quite a gap!

August 21, the day after the start of a new school year.  Kids across the valley have climbed upon those big yellow buses, to big whisked off to new classrooms with new teachers and, hopefully, old friends.  Or, in our case, they've gathered in homeschool rooms or around kitchen tables with a stack of new books, a pile of sharpened pencils, and all the time in the world.

Yesterday, we started off at a [not] back to school pajama breakfast at a local restaurant.  A gaggle of fellow homeschoolers sat around, sipped coffee, discussed the coming year, and gorged themselves on sticky buns.  It was quite delicious and even more enjoyable.  Later, we stopped by the library to pick up that last book we needed for our first month of studies (in our pajamas, no less), and returned home to begin the children's coursework. 

The funny thing is, I didn't realize until just yesterday that I was about to have a son start middle school on the same day that my daughter started preschool.  It was a big day for both of them!

Katie was very excited to start her first day of school.  Alex was less so.  At first, I thought that he might be feeling down because he wasn't going off to the middle school like his best friend.  However, upon inquiry, it turned out that he was feeling nervous about the amount of course work that he has to do this year.  I will admit, it is quite a lot.  

He will be using the following texts: Spectrum Math, the Tan Book for Literature, Logic Liftoff, Spectrum Writing, Apologia Zoology, Mystery of History.  Alex will also be taking Keyboarding and Spanish I.  I was a little dismayed when it took him 5 hours to complete his schoolwork yesterday, but I think that we will hit a groove and it won't take him quite as long after a few weeks.

Katie will be following a letter of the week curriculum, concerning which she insists that she already knows her letters.  That may be, but she doesn't know their sounds or how to actually write them.  So, that's the plan for now.

My goals for the year don't focus around academics so much, though there are obviously goals for both children in that regard as well.  I hope to follow a more consistent discipline plan (we just starting using the If-Then chart from Doorposts), and to teach Katie and Alex to more cheerfully help with house chores.  Furthermore, I will strive to maintain more focus on being in the home, rather than running here, there, and everywhere about town just because we can.  

Friday, July 20, 2012

going visiting

The kids are up and excited this morning, though it is barely 8 AM.  Why?  Oh, because we just have a fun morning planned.

Today, we're going to visit a friend of mine and her mini-farm.  Mrs. Kathy has been working very hard at becoming self-sufficient over the past few years and now has a herd of animals (goats and chickens), bee hives, and a garden of joy on her little piece of land in the country. 

I have been promising the kids that we would visit her again for nearly a year and, finally, we're packing up and driving out there for the morning.  Katie loves to get Mrs. Kathy's colorful eggs and Alex likes to play with her two boys. 

What's even better is that she's giving me some cucumbers for canning.  Oh, yum!  I can just imagine the jars of pickles I'll be able to put up next week.  My family liked my pickles so much last year that they were all gone by early spring, and those were just slices!  What with whatever amount Mrs. Kathy gives me today, paired with whatever I can pick up at the farmers market tomorrow, I'm hoping to be able to can enough spears, slices, and relish to last a whole year.  What would that look like?  I don't know.  A whole lot, I would imagine. 

On another note, we're going to visit one of Mr. Hull's cousins in a few weeks.  Apparently, the man is a prepper (which we are not.)  After seeing my husband's post for his love of spam (which I do not eat), he mentioned that we ought to come out and see his supplies sometime.  So, since I'm insanely curious as to how this guy's thoughts play out in real life, we're going to take him up on the offer. 

Which leads me to today's thought.  Do you can or otherwise preserve your food?  If so, why?  Are you a self-described prepper like my cousin-in-law, waiting for the shit to hit the fan?  Are you looking to become more self-sufficient, putting up the things you grow, like my friend Mrs. Kathy?  Or, are you more interested in saving money where you can and preserving things as they go on sale, but not actually growing them yourself, like me?  Or, do you dabble in the home chores and do it just because? 

Thursday, July 19, 2012

battle of the wills

A friend and I took all our children for a picnic at the park today.  It was a hot, hot, summer day, much like we typically have in Virginia.  But, we enjoyed the shade, the stream, and the company.  I should have taken pictures but, well, I didn't. 

Anyway, all too soon, it was time to leave.  My friend's children seemingly came to her obediently and all ran up the hill to the parking area, just as they were told.  I say "seemingly" because she later corrected me on my observation.  But, still. 

Katie, on the other hand, wanted one more push on the swings.  I wasn't quite ready to go yet anyway, seeing as she was soaked from plopping in the stream and I had wanted our next stop to be the gym.  Off to the swings we went. 
Higher, higher!


No, I mean, really, really done.

Could it have been the storm clouds looming overhead?  I think not.  She was just ready to go.  Ready, that is, until she was told that she would have to walk up that hill to the parking area.  It isn't a ginormous hill or anything, but to a little kid I know it looks like a mountain.  Heck, it can even look like one to an out of shape grown up.

And, that was it.  She planted her feet on the ground and said, "No."  Pouting her lip and cocking her head, her body language showed me that she just wasn't going.  No amount of ice cream was going to bribe her to walk up that hill.  So, I stood there with her.  For fifteen minutes, I stood there and she cried.  I talked to her, tried to reason.  I told her that it did look like a big hill and I imagined she was tired and just wanted to be carried.  But, I also told her that she was a big girl and she could do it.  I knew she could!  We would even race to the tree.  Ready?  Set?  Go.  

But, no.  She didn't budge.  Not even an inch.  Still, I thought I would win.  I really did.  I thought I was going to stand there like a good mom until she decided to walk up that hill on her own.

It didn't happen that way.  I grew tired and frustrated.  She outlasted me, she did.  I picked her up and marched her up that hill, proclaiming that she would just take a little nap when we got home.  That's it.  That'll teach her, I thought.  

We're home now.  I took her wet clothes off, put clean ones on, and put her in her bed and declared it nap time.  Ha!  We haven't had a set nap time in this house for at least a year, but probably longer.  She didn't stay there.  Oh, no.  For the last thirty minutes, she has been standing at her door (which is closed), asking to come out of her room.  At first, I replied that she must go back to her bed and lay down and take a little snooze in a sugary sweet mom voice.  Now, I'm just ignoring her.

Gosh darn it, I think she's won. 

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