Monday, July 30, 2012

July 30, 2012

Last week there was a fire just south of our neighborhood.  We didn't even know about it until a couple of days had passed, as we had not exited in that direction (really need to start listening to local news reports sometimes).  It apparently spread very quickly, as everything is dead and the temps are reaching into the 105 to 110 range these days (it's brutal), and we have some open fields on some sides of our neighborhood.  Also, our neighborhood is relatively small because it is new and upcoming so the fire was able to get pretty close to new homes and to the community pool area.  At one point, it jumped a road into another field and then even ran up into a backyard of a house that has gone back to the bank (this one is not in our neighborhood but is in one across and down the road a bit).  I was shocked at how close this fire came to this house and also to the new ones being built in the southern part of our neighborhood.  What really shocked me was that we never heard the firetruck sirens or anything else about it.

Today the husband was headed to his local office to see a patient and called to tell me there was another fire at the end of our street, just across the road in this field.  The boys and I walked down there to see it and, again, I was just shocked to see how much land had been burned so quickly and how close it had come to the houses just north of us.  I talked to the fire chief for a few minutes and asked if they knew what had started this fire today and he said it was still under investigation.  Actually, he seemed to act as if he thought he knew but was not ready to say anything about it just yet.  I expressed my concern that we had had two fires in two weeks, one just south of us and one just north of us and it seemed kind of strange that that could just be a coincidence.  He indicated that he also thought it was more than coincidence but did not think they were being set deliberately.  He just thought someone was being careless.  I asked if this one today was from someone throwing out a cigarette and he that it was not.  I hope they figure it out and make sure it doesn't happen again.  It is getting a bit too close for comfort.

In other news, there is not much other news:).  We have been doing school, watching the Olympics, staying in out of the heat and the boys have been swimming a lot.  Dancer cat has still been going outside and he stays pretty close by.  I have been worried about him being out in this heat but it doesn't seem to bother him too much.  Every once in a while he will scratch on the door, I let him in, he steps just inside the front door and flops down and sleeps for a bit.  I think he gets hot and then he likes laying on the cool wood floor by the door.  Sooner or later, he cools off enough and he is ready  to go back out and find a place to nap again.  He spends the majority of his time sleeping so he is not exerting himself too much.  He knows when to come in though.  Between 10:00 and 11:00 every night, he is waiting on the porch, ready to come in for the night.  Also, when the fires are going on, he stays in the house for days at a time.  The first time, when we didn't even know about the fire, I had no idea why he no longer wanted to go out but I figured it out later when  I saw what had happened.  So it is no surprise today that he came in and is sleeping in  my closet.  Smart cat.

The boys are doing fine with school.  It is kind of funny that we just happened to be studying Ancient Greece in history and just today we were reading about how they started the Olympics.  Good timing.  In math we are studying how to tell time.  They are both doing very well with their music practice and I really like Nick's new piano teacher; exactly what he needed.  We are still finishing up Farmer Boy and we have also started Black Ships Before Troy but we haven't gotten very far with either over the past week because I had a bad cold last week and really couldn't even read aloud.  Feeling much better now though.

The dad took the boys to have their eyes check the other day and Nick will be getting a pair of glasses on Tuesday.  They had been at the dad's office a week or two ago and they were playing around and trying to read the eye chart he has up on the wall, when he noticed that N could not read as much of it as he should be able to.  Ben has cried a couple of times because he does not feel it is fair that Nick is getting glasses but he is not.  We have tried to explain but he is very into this fairness idea so it does not matter how much we explain, it still isn't fair.

They are almost done with basketball.  They have one more practice tomorrow night and one more game on Saturday.  It has been a good experience for them both and they have learned a lot about team work.  I think we are going to sign them up for swimming again, possibly with the idea that they will eventually swim competitively on swim teams.  After watching the Olympics, Ben is saying he wants to do gymnastics but I don't think we really want to put in the time and money required to do that sport competitively.  It seems to ramp up so quickly at such a young age.  Swimming seems very healthy and relatively safe and is a good long term sport to learn, as in they can still swim to stay fit when they are older.

Both Nick and Ben recently each made public decisions to have Jesus Christ be Lord of their lives.  They were both very excited to be baptized at our church a couple of weeks ago, which is a public symbol to others that they have made the decision to be followers of Jesus Christ.  We were very excited with them and for them.  It brought back a lot of good memories for me too.

Our church is a Baptist church so they do full immersion baptisms.  It was the cutest thing when Nick was baptized, as he was laid back into the water, his feet came up out of the water where everyone in the audience could see them and everyone gave a good chuckle.  It was really funny and the dad got it on the DVD camera.

My niece, Jana (my sister's daughter) is now engaged to be married.  We are all very excited for her and her fiance, who happens to have the same first name as my dear husband (he must be a great guy, right?;).  They are currently planning their wedding for next summer, in June.  Nick and Ben are going to be in the wedding so they are very excited about that.

We are suppose to break heat temps again tomorrow, both the low of the morning and the high later in the day.  Something to look forward to, eh?  Today I had to stop school long enough for the boys to run 20 laps around the kitchen island.  They love doing this.  They laugh for the first 5 laps.  It's pretty funny and it really helps them to settle down and focus.  I think these hot temps are much worse than winter temps.  These are the dust bowl temps from the 30's.  Actually I guess they are worse, since we are breaking tons of heat records.  Anyway, it doesn't take long to get overheated outside so you have to be very careful, especially when you are not use to being in those high temps.

Well, that's it.  I had better publish this before I am interrupted again.  I have been writing this post off and on all day long.  Goodnight!

Monday, July 16, 2012

July 16, 2012

Today was our first day back to school after being off for 5 or 6 weeks.  It was a mixed bag day...some things went pretty well and others were a bit difficult.  My lesson learned is that 5 or 6 weeks off was a bit too much for them, as they really slid backwards in their writing ability and that was the thing we had really worked on a lot (ability and endurance) and had made a huge amount of progress.  I almost feel as if I need to buy another handwriting curriculum and start over with them and I may end up doing that.  AND the backwards slide was for both cursive and manuscript.  In retrospect, I probably should have had them writing something at least every other day or so, just to maintain what they had learned.

The other lesson learned is that I need to pay more attention to where we are stopping in math when we take a break.  We just stopped at whatever point we happened to be at and it was at a bad place.  I think I probably need to back up a bit and cover some of what we had already done again.  I think they need the refresher to remember what we had learned and they also need it for their confidence level in math because it is currently not there.  I had thought they would start math again and think it was easier because they had been doing Math Reflex games during our break but we were just at a really bad stopping place and Math Reflex didn't help with that.

In retrospect, I probably should have planned for a week or two of review in our skill subjects, instead of trying to jump in right where we left off.  I will correct that little oversight tomorrow and we will hopefully have a better day.

On the other hand, history went very well, their narrations were good in both history and grammar and our new Bible and spelling curriculum both went pretty well also.  Their reading seems to be coming along very well also.  We read so much that they didn't lose anything there but I do need to have them read aloud more.  Nick does a lot of mumbling through words as he reads because he reads faster than he talks and he finds it frustrating to have to slow down long enough to enunciate well.  But, overall, they are both reading well and it seems they are also comprehending pretty well.

They still have to do their music practice for today and, while one is practicing, the other will be reading aloud to me.  Then we will be finished for our first day.  We took off for a long, special lunch out today so we are running a bit late.

Well, I was interrupted by the timer, as it was time for music practice and reading.  So we are all finished for the day now and we have eaten a quick dinner.  The boys are cleaning up their toys and then we are going to head over to the pool for some good, energetic playtime.

We are reading Farmer Boy now, as our fun read-aloud and we are all enjoying it a lot, especially me and Nick.  I don't think I read this when I was young.  I am enjoying learning about how they did everything back then and I am astounded at how much time they had to work and how little leisure they had in comparison to now.  It really is amazing.

Off to the pool...