Monday, March 27, 2006


Went to NC last week to spend some springtime with Grandma and Grandpa. Got to see the GPs but no spring weather to be had! It was chilly and blustery most of the time we were there, but we had a fine time anyway and it turned out to be a good week to be there.

Arrived on Sunday after dropping Pete off at the airport for his trip to SLC for the week. Got in late, so just had some dinner, put the kids to bed and vegged out.

Monday, Nanny complained she couldn't catch her breath and that began our week of getting her to the hospital and visiting her there. It looks like a matter of time now, but no telling exactly how much. She seems very tired of all this poking and prodding and so would I considering the doctors barely talk to her and don't even ask before they just grab her arm or leg to examine.

Meanwhile conflict struck at the ladies golf assoc. meeting with a little woman personally attacking the board of which my mom is the pres. She was snotty and snippy and basically a jerk and although my mom handled the attack gracefully, it was not at all what she needed this week.

Then there was the cold--not the weather, the virus! Gpa and Katie had it the week before. Zack was hit first, on Monday. By Wednesday, Gma got a double-whammy from gpa and Zack and felt terrible for most of the rest of the week. I got hit on Friday but luckily never came down with the fever and hacking cough.

But was the trip ruined? No way!

While getting some paperwork from Jonathan's girlfriend, we went to B'way at the Beach and got to see the fire-breathing dragon and squish a few pennies as souvenirs. We also went to lunch at UNOs where Katie was able to make her own pizza which they then baked up for her-YUM! We rented movies, watched TV and sat around! We did the next math unit, read books, played games, built legos and almost finished Harry Potter at bedtime. We tried to fly a kite at the most wind-less beach in history, but when the kite wouldn't fly, we inspected the dunes and found a big black snake (either a Black Snake or a NC Swamp Snake).

We also struck it lucky when the Museum of Coastal Carolina and the Ingram Planetarium held a homeschool day with lots of activities including a tour, touch tank and scavenger hunt. We walked away with learning sheets a book on sharks and a discounted book on insects. Nice! Also, the local newspaper was covering the event and we think Zack may get his picture in the paper (much to the envy of Katie). This event had a double value of taking care of school that day and getting us out of the house while gma tried to sleep off the virus.

I also got to make a few dinners, clean a few floors and basically help out which, since my mother is like a well-oiled machine, I hardly ever get to do. I was glad I was there that week to lend some support.

So, it wasn't the trip we planned in our heads, but it all worked out the way it was supposed to, ofcourse. Missed Pete though :-(

Monday, March 13, 2006

The Feel of the Sun!

What great weather the past 5 days! I feel so much better when I can feel the sun on my skin again. We're back to reality starting tomorrow, but this has been a nice break from coats and cold.

We've been pretty busy around here. We started piano lessons, finished with swim level 2 and have had time to spend together as a family.

I learned a lesson in humility and lack of control last week. Zack had an intestinal thing going for most of the week and I didn't feel very well (but not really sick either), so we spent most of our time near home and taking it easy. I gave up on curriculum and just let us do whatever came into our minds.

So here's what happens when I leave things alone:

Katie made a dress for her Cinderella doll--well, let's say more that she designed a dress and let me know what I needed to sew, drew pictures, did word searches which she started in the car (I leave puzzle books there for them to grab) and brought in the house to finish, decided she can read Junie B Jones books on her own, her first delving into chapter books, and proposed making a timeline of her life so far and plans for the future.

Zack read the new Disney magazines, read some Captain Underpants on his own, did some more and watched a show on taxidermy with me. All the while running to the bathroom every twenty minutes or so :-(

They both did some math on the computer, did puzzles, made up a game about the middle ages, played with a new program on the human body where they learned how to build an entire person inside and out, and we finished the postcard geo project.

All without me leading anything whatsoever.

On Friday our HS group met at the UU playground to enjoy the fabu weather. I even did some yoga with a fellow mom (although I then found playground mulch in my belly button when I got home!).

On Saturday, the weather was still great, but sadly, we had to spend the morning at the Springfield Mall for the district pinewood derby finals. Zack was up for a style award and got a winners patch which he is very proud of. He didn't win one of the trophies on Saturday, but he had a good time and afterwards we took a spin on the carousel in the middle of the mall.

But as soon as the event was over, I insisted we do something outside. Katie had the great idea to have a picnic, so we headed over to the new Whole Foods in Old Town Alexandria to pick out some tasty morsels and head down to the riverside for a picnic lunch. What a terrific way to spend the day.

Sunday was STILL nice out, so after church we spent a nice amount of time on the playground. Pete wanted to take it easy for the day because he had a show that night. Late Sunday night babysitters are impossible to get, so we decided that I'd bring the kids to the show. They went to bed, in their clothes, at 7:30pm and I woke them at 8:30ish to go to the club. They crashed at 10:30, so we got to see daddy play about 4 songs. They hated the earplugs I made them wear but we got lucky that the smoke was not bad at all in the club.

SO a really great week and I learn AGAIN that I don't need to try so bleeding hard to ram an education into these creative, smart, funny, fabulous, kids.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Spring coming

The shoots are starting to poke up in the garden and we'll need to start thinking about spring planting soon. Katie has wanted a vegetable garden forever. I'm hoping to borrow or rent a rototiller so we can do it up right for her.

We are still doing tea, though not every day. Katie likes to bake treats in her Easy Bake oven to share at tea time. This one is a yellow cake with chocolate frosting and crushed candy cane on top, which she did pretty much on her own.

Katie and Zack made puppets in Sunday school and each made up a show on conflict resolution. Zack's (on the left) are the two super heroes that can show up when he's having angry or happy feelings. Katie made a puppet of Zack and herself (on the right) and did a play about the fight they'd had that very morning and how they resolved it.

I really appreciated the teacher letting me know what had gone on during class so we could talk about it on the way home. We all got a lot more enjoyment out of the puppets that way.

Here is our final Postcard Geography map with all the "postcards" attached.

About half come by email and I printed them out and attached them too. We looked all of the places up on Google Earth and then we found them on the big map. Most, as you can see, came from the east coast, but we did get some from Cali and one from Canada and from Australia.

Today we are having a curriculum-free day. Zack threw up last night :-( and was not quite back to normal today so it was a good day to do computer work. I broke out the Human Body game I've been holding onto for just such an occasion and it was a hit. We also got two Disney Adventure mags yesterday and they always want to dive into those right away. Right now, they're playing outside after I booted them out the door to enjoy the sun and mild weather while it lasts.

I really enjoy these low-impact days. We probably end up learning more on these days than when I'm feeling like we've got to work at it but I still need that feeling of Teaching in order to keep my anxieties down. I ordered the CAT tests yesterday and can look them over when they get here. I'm sure I'll calm down once the testing is over.