Friday, July 22, 2011

July 22, 2011

Are you wishing for Christmas and winter weather these days? I don't know if it has anything to do with this extremely hot weather we are having but it seems like the boys have been talking about Christmas a lot lately. Today Ben was telling me what he thought would be a good Christmas dinner, beginning with a roast. Isn't that funny?

We are doing pretty well around here. We are all well now, after a couple of weeks of colds and some strep throat. The worst thing about that was that Nick seems to have developed an aversion to taking any medication. We have always had a challenge with this with him, while Ben, on the other hand, likes it too much. But this time was much worse than normal and we went round and round, trying to get him to take the antibiotic for the strep. It was not a good thing and, in retrospect, we should have just taken him in for a shot. We discussed it and he was very anti-shot too, of course, but, in hind sight, it would have been the lesser of two evils.

I bought a pack of orange tic tacs and tried to teach him to swallow a pill but he couldn't do it yet. He is the kind of kid that gets easily frustrated if he does not learn something quickly. Yes, I have my work cut out for me, in regards to homeschooling him. It will definitely be a growth opportunity for us both.

The weather here is so hot that we cannot really be outside much, unless we are playing in water. The good thing is that the boys are taking gymnastics twice a week and swim lessons once a week, plus violin lessons, so that keeps them busy. Between that and just generally running errands and grocery shopping, they are happy to be indoors at home, especially since they are sooooooo into Legos these days. They are definitely the number one toy in our house right now. As a matter of fact, the boys both agreed that we could give away our train table, tracks and the large collection of Thomas the Train trains that we have. They were all given to us so we will be happy to pass them on to someone else who will enjoy them. We have another set of tracks and Thomas trains where the trains run on batteries. It is a large set so it has to be set up on the floor. The boys like that one better so they said we can give the other one away. I'll be a little sad to see it go, on the one hand, because they have played with it a lot of the past couple of years. But, on the other hand, it does take up a significant amount of space so, in that regard, I won't be so sad to see it go. Now I just have to find another child who would like to have it.

The boys are almost done with their gymnastics lessons for the summer. After their lesson yesterday, we talked about which they would rather do, gymnastics or soccer. The dad and I had discussed it and we both felt that soccer would be best for them (cardio exercise, team work, staying competitive with their age group). When I first asked them, they both said they wanted to do gymnastics. I told them that the dad and I had discussed it and thought soccer would be best for them. I expected them to whine a bit or whatever but they both asked why we thought soccer would be best for them and so I explained what the dad and I had discussed and they both immediately said they wanted to do soccer again. So we drove right over and signed them up. They got to see their coach again and they are both very excited to get started. They will do soccer for three weeks in August and then they will be off for two or three weeks before starting again.

So, when we start K, they will have one swim lesson a week and one soccer time a week. This is why I really like the place where they play soccer. They meet only once a week for an hour. The coach spends part of the time going over drills and then they split up into two teams and they scrimmage for the rest of the time. But we don't have to go to other practices or games during the week/end. Eventually they may end up on a team that requires extra practice/games but, for now, this is really nice. We will also be meeting with our homeschool co-op at least once a week. I think this will likely be plenty for us to do, when added to everything else and just free play time inside and outside with kids in the neighborhood.

There is not much new going on around here. I am trying to get organized so I can be ready to start K with the boys sometime next month. I have not picked a date yet.

The new kitten is growing very fast. I can't believe how quickly she has grown. She is going through a phase where she is quite ornery. And poor Dancer. She just won't leave him alone. He bats her around pretty good and sounds real fierce but she just keeps coming back for more. He cannot walk through the house without her attacking him. He looks like he is biting her but I can never find any wet spots or anything on her afterward and she never acts hurt at all.... quite the contrary actually. He is probably not being tough enough on her. She gets very upset when we are eating at the island and she does not get anything. She climbs up on the back of the chair nearest the island and watches, while licking her lips. She hates that Dancer can jump up high on things and she cannot. I sure hope she settles down a lot when she gets a little older. I don't remember Dancer or Zoe acting as ornery as she does. We play with her a lot but she wants us to play with her all the time. If we get busy doing something, she will climb up and scratch and bite (playfully but it still hurts), trying to get us to play with her again. I have clipped her claws twice (which was not easy at all) but they seem to get sharp very quickly.

She has really made me appreciate Dancer all the more:). And I feel for him and do not like how she treats him. She also has very little time these days (next to nothing - one or two seconds) for being loved on and cuddled, which is a bummer. So, this must be like the terrible twos and I will be glad when they are over. She is currently climbing into the back of my recliner, as I sit and type this, and has been running all over me and scratching my chair. I finally put a sheet over the other recliner, as she has been scratching and biting it terribly. She is a little terror right now, but a cute one. For once I am glad they grow up quickly.

The new house is great. It fits us quite well. I changed the library around a bit again and I like it much better. It allows more floor space for playing, which is always nice. It is really a play room and a place to keep all of our books and homeschool materials. When we get our piano from my sister's house when it cools down in the fall, it will also be in the library.

I have gone around and around in my mind about where we will do what, as far as homeschooling goes. I think we will likely use the dining room table, the kitchen island counter and the living room couch for most of what we do. The boys will also probably do some reading in the library but I have stopped reading to them in there because the small loveseat couch is too small for us all to fit comfortably. I really want one of the large chalkboards on the wooden stand that is on wheels and can be moved from room to room. I think we would use it a lot. I also really want some maps that roll up into a holder, where you can hang it on the wall above the white board or bulletin board, can pull the maps down when you need them and then they roll back up out of sight when you don't need them. These are the two big things on my list but I have not been able to find used ones and the new ones are a bit on the high side. I am still hopeful though that we will eventually get them.

The funny thing about homeschooling is that I have been preparing for it for such a long time and now that it is almost here, I am a little nervous and dreading it a bit....but looking forward to it at the same time. Isn't that odd? And I know I need to appear confident in front of the boys, even if I don't feel it.... which makes me a bit more nervous. I'm sure after we get the first week or two down, we will fall into a good routine and everything will be fine. Right?

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

July 6, 2011

We got our new kitten over the weekend and she is very tiny and so adorable. She is currently living in the dad's office, as she is too small and young to let roam. When I have taken her out of his office she very cautiously went a few steps down the hallway and then quickly ran back to her room. This is actually working out very well because our 14 year old male cat, Dancer, needs some time to get used to her. He is slowly but surely adjusting, or so it seems. He is certainly progressing nicely but the question is whether he will ever get to the point where he accepts her. Eventually we'll see but, for now, they live in separate worlds, although they can see each other through the french doors into his office.

We are in sick city around here and have been for over a week now. Ben caught a bad cold virus which included lots of fever and strep throat. He started recovering nicely and was almost finished with his antibiotic when Nick came down with it. Nick seems like he is finally fever free today but he still has 3 more doses of antibiotic for the strep.

Nick hates, hates, hates any kind of medicine (quite the opposite of Ben). So trying to get him to take the antibiotic the last two nights has been a total nightmare (both the kid's liquid form and a crushed up tablet in applesauce). I was crying by the time we finished yesterday evening. Today I bought some Tic Tacs to see if I can teach him to swallow a pill. We have not tried it yet but will soon. I hope he can learn it quickly so this won't be an issue for him anymore. My heart really goes out to him.

We had a pretty tame 4th of July because of all of the sickness (did I mention that I now have a sinus infection and it will be a miracle if I don't end up with strep). The dad took the boys to see the fireworks display in our neighborhood, which is actually pretty good (we went last year). I stayed home because I was tired and not feeling well. They enjoy it and I enjoyed catching up on some sleep.

The husband has Thursday and Friday off this week, which means he doesn't work at all this week because it is his light week, so we are trying to get a few things finished up around here. I made a trip to my favorite large nursery today and bought a van load of plants, shrubs and flowers. I didn't count them all but it sure was a lot. That van can really hold a lot.

When I arrived at the nursery I thought it was closed because nobody was around. They weren't. It's just that nobody shops for plants in the July 100+ weather. I was the only one there, which is so nice because I get all the help I need and can get out quickly. It gets very hot in there. I brought all the plants home and unloaded them and placed them in the different beds, around where I think they should be planted. It looks nice and, once these are planted, we should be almost finished. There is a small bed back by the garage but we are not going to plant anything there until after our fence is up because the fence cuts right through it. So we have a few more things to plant after the fence is up and then we are finished.

We just received two quotes for the fence so I think we will be moving on that pretty soon. We are so close to being finished and I can't wait to be completely done....just in time to start weeding:). I am satisfied with the inside, although I still have about 3 or 4 boxes that have a bunch of junk (odds and ends) in them that I need to sort through. I will do that next and then I should be finished with the inside.

My next thing is really starting to prepare for starting Kindergarten. I follow The Well Trained Mind Forum and I am always seeing posts where people show pictures of their homeschool rooms. Some of them are so great that it makes we wish I could have had school there! I need to at least get organized around here. I had started it a while back but then some things came up and I have not looked at it since. So I have a bit of work to do in this regard.

As for our K work, we will keep it pretty simple and I am hoping to do about one to two hours of work, 4 days a week and then we will join the homeschool co-op on Fridays. I am planning to do an age appropriate Bible devotional with the boys and then we will cover phonics, reading (they each read aloud to me and I read aloud to them), spelling, math, learning to write their letters and then practicing through copy work and practicing the violin (we are taking a bit of a break for illnesses right now). We will throw in some crafts projects and some fun geography lessons here and there for fun, along with fun cooking projects. Additionally, they will still have their violin lesson once a week, swimming once a week and one other sport (soccer or gymnastics) once a week.

The other thing is that I have not had the boys doing any chores really since we moved here, other than picking up their toys. So I really want to make this part of our new routine when we start school. Simple chores like spreading up their beds, emptying trash, helping to put away dishes from the dishwasher and clean clothes, and also helping to clean up after meals and sweep the floors. I need to work on a chore schedule.

So, that's my plan but, you know, the best laid plans.... There is the plan and then there is the reality. What I have learned is that when I am teaching, things tend to take longer than I had thought they would. Hopefully this will not be the case when we start K but, if violin practice is any indication, I won't be holding my breath.

I suppose after the plants are in and the fence is up, the tree house might be next on the list of to do's. Possibly. The boys haven't mentioned it in a while because it has been too horribly hot to be outside much but, I know when it cools down a bit, they will be asking about it again.

Oh, and we should have the new camera up and running very soon so hopefully I can post some pics in the near future. We still have not found the old one.

So, that is about all I can think of for now. Until later then.