Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from November, 2010

The World Did Not Stop Spinning Because We Skipped Math!

Today I thought it would be a good idea for my children to reflect on how they feel about being home.  We have had many discussions lately about sharing, caring, respect and friendship.  Some days my girls are doing great things like working together on their version of an iCarly show called the Abby and Madeline Show.  Other days they fight like cats and dogs.  It is the days that they fight with me that leave me emotionally exhausted.  Typically the fights stem from not wanting to do something that I want them to do.  Like math.  Math is the thorn in my side.  My nemesis.  It should not be this way. I like Life of Fred.  I think it is challenging, educational and fun.  Grace does not like it because it is challenging. She does not see it as educational or fun.  She is so used to worksheets of straight computation where she can get one problem wrong, move on the the next and since there are 50 problems, she will still score an A.  I am sure at some point in school she did higher level …

Holiday Hopes

There are so many things I want to do with my girls this holiday season.  I feel like having them home is a gift.  I can obsess over completing the stories they have in progress, finishing up Lilah’s math workbook, moving ahead in our Greek mythology study or I can stop and breathe.  When I breathe deeply I know that while these things and the other subjects we are working on are important, taking this month to stop and reflect on the meaning of Christmas is also important.  If this is my only year with both girls home, I will regret not savoring the holidays with them.   Paper Chains.  We always did this December 1st.  24 brightly colored strips of paper linked together.  For some reason we fell away from this tradition.  I plan on reinstating it.Jesse Tree.  I don’t know much about this Christmas tradition.  I have signed up for a free e-book and hope to take a deep look at the meaning of the holiday that means so much to us.  We know the advent story, we have read books and watched …

39 Things They Love About Me

Today is my birthday.  I have been thinking of doing a 40 before 40 post for some time.  The problem is I am so content in my life that I can’t find 40 things that I want to do or learn in the next year!  Sure there are some, like become a better knitter and pierce my nose but trying to list 40 things.....that is hard!   Today my family gave me a beautiful hand made card that listed the 39 things they like about me!  I love my card.  It is probably my favorite card of all time.  I thought I would share it with you. the way you drive (I hardly let Greg drive -- we both know I am much better!)your smileyour banana breadyour blogyour love of the fire (I am obsessed with my fireplace and the need for a constant supply of firewood) your clothing crisis (This surprised me. He finds joy when I can’t find anything to wear???) your creativity your patience (I was not aware I had any) your cinnamon rolls (I have to admit, they are pretty good.....) your artistic ability your ability to talk to ne…

Not now, not yet.

Sometimes I struggle with what is best for my girls when it comes to their lessons.  I always have.  In 2006 Grace had the flu.  She spent two weeks on the couch watching the Winter Olympics - watching figure skating at the Olympics.  She looked at me and said,  “I want to do that.”  She wanted to be in the Olympics.  She wanted lessons.  She wanted them NOW!  I took her to a local rink and signed her up for their learn to skate program.  Basic levels were passed at a rapid rate.  She could not get enough of the ice.  I used to say she was the happiest in skates.  Because she seemed to have a talent and because we were just close enough, and because she talked about the Olympics all the time, we decided to take her to Simsbury for lessons.  She completed all 8 Basic Levels.  She completed several of the Freestyle levels, all before she was 8!  She won her first competition and she placed in her second.  Most of all she loved the sport and she loved her coach.  But ultimately, she love…

Weekly Accomplishments

So much for my plan of slowing down!  Last week was wonderfully hectic. We packed it all in, knowing that starting tomorrow our “official” slow down begins with days being posted on the calendar just for us. Math - Grace passed her first bridge for Life of Fred.  She completed chapters six and seven.  Some other important lessons were learned though.... Life of Fred is good for her in that answers are dependent on one another.  Get the first one wrong, most likely you got the next three wrong also.  Grace is not used to this.  In school her work was mostly worksheets.  Get one wrong, no problem, just move on to the next.  She pitched quite a fit when I made her go back and redo the entire chapter.  Even though her mistake was simple, caused my incorrect addition, I would not let it slide.  I told her that her father is immersed in numbers all day.  He has made many spreadsheets, only to toss them aside, and begin all over again when the numbers did not add up to what they expected.  If…

Field Trips

When you chaperone as many public school field trips as I have you notice a few things.  There are some children who are genuinely excited to attend the trip.  They may have an interest in the subject, have some prior knowledge of the subject matter or truly wish to learn more.  They are few in number.  Many of the children are happy about having a “day off” from school and a chance to leave the school building.  They may race from exhibit to exhibit, barely taking in the basic information, and at times are an annoyance to those students who are there to learn.  For the most part they are disengaged, but peaceful.  Then there are the few that you need to pair up with a chaperone one on one because they will disrupt the entire trip once the built in structures of the classroom are removed.  This is just one class of 25 students.  Rarely do field trips include just one class of 25.  For cost containment, usually an entire grade level attends.  Multiply that 25 by three at least.  Wonder…

Owl Pellets

Sometimes I get frustrated with outside activities.  Monday we have flute and flute ensemble plus the girls’ job to take care of a neighbors dog.  Tuesdays are for piano and a tutoring position I have.  Wednesday = sewing and cooking.  Thursdays means it is girl scout day.  Friday is usually our free day.  It can get overwhelming, especially when the girls are in the middle of something really great.  This week has been mostly about the Greek Gods.  We began The Lightning Thief and we have a bunch of books from the library.  When we come across a myth in the book, like the story of Kronos, we stop and learn about it.  The girls are also reading the picture books and teaching each other what they have learned.  I showed them how to make a copy of an illustration and use a dull pencil to trace it on their sketch journal.  They both did a great illustration of their first myth (Medusa and The Minotaur).   Today I did not want to interrupt their learning even for one of my favorite classes…

Please don't hold it against me....

I keep getting asked when we can have a stay-at-home day.  I am trying really hard to make that happen.  A good friend recommended writing FREE DAY on my calendar once a week, blocking off an entire day just for me and the girls.  No outside appointments unless it’s an emergency, no errands, no outside lessons.  Just a day at home to learn and be.  We need that badly right now. I feel like the holidays are rushing towards me.  Usually by now I have my Christmas cards ordered and the envelopes already written.  My shopping is mostly done and my house has been deep cleaned ready for Christmas decorations.  This weekend I was able to take all of Saturday and spend it with my Mom.  We shopped for thirteen hours before dropping from sheer exhaustion!  I was able to get many gifts and now feel like some of the stress have been lifted.  This is my first year trying to shop with children at home full time.  I don’t even have a picture for my annual Christmas post card that I usually send out t…

Our stuff

Two blogs that I enjoy are Heart Rockin Family and Metropolitan Mama.  Both families are undergoing major changes.  One has made the decision to sell their home, most of their belongings, and travel the country in an RV doing good for others.  The other family is contemplating doing something very similar.   Following these families has made me think in a new way about my own.  We live in a relatively small house, at least compared to the standards of most in my community.  Our house was built in 1930, before the days of shoe addictions, technology explosions and master bathroom requirements.  We have small closets, no coat closet, an unfinished basement, detached garage, tiny kitchen and uneven walls.  These may be unattractive features but there are so many positives to our house.  We have plaster walls, inlaid hardwood floors, curved archways between rooms, 9 ft ceilings, baseboard molding, radiators,  and glass doorknobs.  I love my house.  Especially when it is clean. Being home wi…

5 More Ways It Is Working

5 more ways I know it is working....... My girls never use their DSIs.  Before this adventure, the DSI was a constant companion to doctor visits, car rides, even Sunday dinners at my parent’s house.  Now it is rare to see them with their nose pressed up against the screen.  They are more likely to have their nose in a book while waiting at the orthodontist or doctor.....We hardly every listen to the radio.  I cannot say that I miss Hannah, Selena and Demi.  I love that my girls eagerly await the next audiobook choice.  So far we have enjoyed How To Eat Fried Worms, Once Upon A Marigold, A Crooked Kind of Perfect, The Monster’s Ring and others.  Our next is 100 Cupboards.Sisterly love is growing!  Two girls that had very little in common are finding things they enjoy doing together.  They have transformed our attic into a studio and love filming the Abby and Madeline Show, their version of iCarly.  They blog together.  They ride bikes together.  Just this week they completely rearranged…

The Most Wonderful Time

It is 8:00am on a Monday morning.  The world outside my window is coated in white.  Leaves blow and swirl in the gusty wind.  The freezing rain is pelting off my window panes.  Thankfully, we are warm and cozy inside.  My girls have already been outside in their pajamas documenting the first visual proof that winter is here. Soon they plan to blog about it.  As the school buses rolled by splashing slush, loaded with children wearing hats and mittens looking out at the slush, my girls were in it, appreciating it, playing in it.  Their favorite picture is of our dogs’ paw prints on the back stairs.  I wonder what they will write?   They are back inside and I sit with my hot cup of coffee, my dogs curled at my feet, and the radiators of our old home creaking away.   This is my idea of wonderful.  The girls are now upstairs cleaning their room.  Yup....cleaning their room at 8 am on a Monday morning because THEY WANT TO!!  Most wonderful.   I have looked forward to this season at home with …

Weekly Accomplishments

If this week occurred one year ago, the outcomes would have been very different.  Monday Grace went for retainers.  I thought after having a palate expander, face crib (like headgear) and full braces, retainers would be easy peasy.  Ha!  When is anything easy?  Pain.  Tylenol, Motrin.  Tears.   She still made it to her flute lesson and we squeezed in some writing.  Not much else happened for her that day.  Monday Lilah and I had so much fun taking the pictures to illustrate her Lovely Doll story.  Her story chronicles her 4 dolls escape from her bag in our favorite coffee shop.  They visit all our favorite haunts in the arts section on New Haven before they find their way back into the bag.  She and I approached each shop keeper to ask permission to pose and photograph her dolls in their store.  The results were fantastic.  The story was published.  The Lovely Dolls are actually Henri Bendel dolls, made only for Henri Bendel stores (where her Dad happens to work).  He brought her stor…

My Biggest Fan

Who is your biggest fan?  The person who supports you no matter what?  I am blessed that my biggest fan in my husband.  No matter what idea I bring to him he reflects on it and finds a way to partner with me to make it happen.  Go to China alone to study karate?  Go.  Quit your job and go to graduate school full time?  Quit.  Buy a puppy, and then another.  Well....okay but I am not loving it.  Volunteer at a homeless shelter?  Do it, I’ll be home for the girls.Homeschool?  Let’s learn about it and do it.   This has been a tough week for Grace.  Monday was retainer day.  Her top one is just fine but the bottom one is causing her pain.  We gave it a day to see if the problem was just adjusting to it, but it seems a trip to the orthodontist is needed for some alterations.  Then on Tuesday she slipped and fell.  While reaching out to break her fall, she cut her hand on the metal floorboard heat coil cover.  A nasty cut that required 4 stitches.  She is in more pain than I would expect and…