Monday, April 30, 2012

April 30, 2012

Last night, the boys had already been in bed long enough that I thought they were sleeping.  I was in my room reading and the husband was working out of town for the night.  I heard the pitter patter of little feet upstairs and heard doors opening and shutting.  I waited, thinking one of them got up for something but would (hopefully) soon be back in bed.  A little time went by and I kept hearing the little feet running around and more doors opening and shutting.  I finally got out of bed and went upstairs.  As I went down the hallway, I noticed Ben's door was open (they always sleep with their bedroom doors shut so the cats will stay out).  I went into his room.  His lamp was on and his bed was empty.  I walked through their bathroom, no sign of Ben.  I poked my head into Nick's doorway and there was Ben, standing right next to Nick's bed and leaning over his head, brushing Nick's hair with a blue baby brush that was theirs when they were babies.  Nick was sound asleep.

When Ben saw me, he came trotting over immediately and headed toward his room, with a sheepish grin on his face.  As he went by me, he accidentally dropped a pair of plastic play tweezers that go with their doctor set.

The next day he told me that he had also built a 'bed' next to Nick's bed, which was made of two large stuffed animals and a couple of blankets.  He made it in the small cubby spot between Nick's bed and the wall.  I asked him why he had the tweezers and he said he was going to use them to remove the ear buds from Nick's ears so he could take his CD player and listen to some CD's.  I guess I came in before he had gotten that far in his plan.

Ben is usually asleep when his head hits the pillow so I'm not sure what was going on in his little body that night.  At the time I was annoyed because I was tired and he was suppose to be in his bed, not running around playing and he could have awakened Nick.  In hindsight I think the whole thing is hysterical.  I don't know what he thought he was doing brushing Nick's hair with a baby brush while Nick slept but it was so funny to see him doing it.  I can still picture it so clearly and I wish I had a picture of it.    Funny kid!

In other news, things here are about the same.  We are still doing school.  The husband is in the process of opening his practice, working on advertising and getting the word out there.  In the meantime, he has finished his last day at his old job and he just finished his first two days at one of his new part-time jobs.  This one is an urgent care.  It is about an hour and a half from here though so when he works there multiple days, they pay for his overnight stay in a hotel.  The other part time job that he has secured but has yet to start is with a small ER.  It is also a ways from here and when he works there he will work a 24 hour shift (I think).  He is waiting to hear back from at least one other part-time job.  He will likely need at least three of them to get the number of hours he wants.

Ben is still playing the violin and getting ready for his second recital in May.  He will also be playing with the local youth orchestra at a couple of performances in May.  We will be taking the month of June off of school and Ben will not have any violin lessons or practice that month either.  I think Nick was suppose to start his piano lessons in June but I am going to see if we can move it to start in July.  Our neighborhood pool is going to open in early May so we will be doing school light in May, taking June off completely and having fun.  We will start back to school after July 4th, although I may try to lighten the load a bit for the summer months.  Some of it we will play by ear and go with the weather.

School is going pretty well these days.  It seems that adding history and science to the mix has really helped improve the boys' attitudes about school in general.  They both really enjoy these two subjects.  Last week we were studying Egypt and they did a coloring page of Tut's mask.  Then we decided to make our own masks.  We tore up some newspapers and used a mixture of glue and water to paste the strips of newspaper to one side of a blown up balloon (one for each child).  We let it dry overnight and repeated the process the next day.  After it was thoroughly dry, we popped the balloons (the boys really liked this part).  I cut the edges of the masks to make their shapes a bit more mask-like.  They came out really good.  Now we need to paint them and decorate them.

The other thing that has probably helped a bit with improving school-related attitudes is that they are getting better at writing.  Ben really likes to write, especially if he is using cursive.  He has finished his cursive curriculum and is getting pretty good at writing in cursive.  Nick is getting closer to being finished but still has a bit to go.  They also still practice their manuscript writing every school day.  I have noticed they are getting faster at it but also more sloppy so I need to start sitting with them again and watching them so they will take their time and do a better job.  Nick, in particular, still does not care to do too much writing.

This school year we have spent an inordinate amount of time on adding and subtracting numbers from 0-10.  We have spent so much time on this that I thought for sure they would have them memorized by now.  I have tried to do some flash cards with them but I was probably not as organized about it as I should have been and we also did not do it often enough.  I have done some reading about how important it is for them to have these basic math facts memorized so I feel very strongly that we need to do this.  I have read that children who do not have these basic facts memorized will be slower at math, as it gets harder, and they may end up hating math or thinking they are bad at it.  It will also make math harder for them because they will still be having to calculate what 5+3 is while also trying to do harder algebra problems, for example.  So, I learned about a computer program that helps kids to memorize these facts.  It makes it fun with games and has some great reporting for the parents.  The boys have been playing it every day and Ben especially has already mastered almost half of what he needs to learn by instant recall.  Nick is further behind but he is definitely making progress and they have been doing this for less than a week.  The great thing is that they get really excited about it and really want to play these games and they are playing these math games instead of the Angry Birds or whatever games they were playing before.  So I am hopeful that doing this every day for the summer will get them to where they need to be on their instant recall of addition and subtraction math facts.  The math game is called Reflex, in case anyone is interested in checking it out for their kids.

On to another topic.  My mom was here for about a week.  My sister came to get here last Thursday and she bought the boys each a pair of roller blades while she was here.  They are loving them.  The husband also decided to change his membership at the YMCA to a family membership so the boys can participate there a lot now.  They have a great indoor swimming pool there, very fun for kids with an awesome slide, so the boys are loving this.  That is where they are now, while the dad is swimming his laps.  Anyway, back to mom.  She did pretty well while she was here, although she was having some bad dizzy spells every once in a while.  My sister took her to an ENT on Friday because we were thinking it had something to do with her inner ear and a really bad knock to the head she had a couple of weeks back when she took a bad fall in her kitchen.  The ENT said it could have been that but he didn't find anything wrong.  Then Mom fell again yesterday, although I have not heard how bad it was yet.  She sure is falling a lot lately though and we need to find a solution for this before she really hurts herself badly.  She is also not acting like her normal self a lot of the time so we are hoping to have her seen for that also.  And she struggles with losing her independence and her freedom and has had some difficulty accepting that.  It is a hard time for her and it is hard for us to see her going through this and not be able to do more.  Getting older is just not an easy thing.

My nephew (my sister's son) will be graduating from high school in May and getting ready to head off to college.  I also have two nieces who will be graduating from college in May.  My sister's daughter is becoming an English teacher and is already teaching at her new job not far from where she went to college.  My brother's daughter is planning on continuing to get her Master's degree in Accounting and is planning to become a CPA.  My sister and her husband and their son and daughter are all going on a big vacation to Hawaii in May.  With their daughter graduating from college and their son graduating from high school and heading off to college, they have planned this big vacation as their last real family get away together before the kids are off doing their own things.  My mom will be staying with us while they are gone.  I enjoy having her here but it is definitely a lot more work.  It turns out that it is probably a good thing that she didn't want to move in just yet because I don't know that I could have handled it full time.  It seems to work pretty well when she stays here for a week every now and then, when my sister is having to work many days in a row and we don't want mom alone during the day for that long.  It gives my sister and brother (who lives in mom's house with her) a break too, which they need.

Well, time to sign off.  I must go get some things done.  Bye for now.