Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Another Wednesday, Another Snow

For the second Wednesday in a row, it snowed. That means we once again missed our Wednesday out-of-home activities! Bummer!

This week it was a good 4 inches of dry, powdery snow. It was pretty, but couldn't do much with it. We all got bundled up though and walked around.

The cars got cleaned off. Aliza took care of the roof.
Anna got cold and wanted to go inside. I went in with her. We watched everyone play and she kept banging on the window wanted Daddy to throw a snow ball at her. So he did...
...and she reacted like it was going to hit her. Every time!
Jeremy worked from home today and each child took a turn sitting close to him to watch him work. Life is just good when Daddy is home!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Getting Away

Jeremy and I had an amazing, relaxing weekend together in Ocean City last weekend--compliments of a golf tournament raffle! This means our children got to spend 2 nights at Grandma and Grandad's house. Let me tell you they made sure my relaxing did not begin until the exact moment that I closed the door at Grandma's house and jumped in the car and shut...with much enthusiasm...the door!

Friday morning Aliza made me a book. It's entitled "Endangered Kids." Here's a sampling of the content.
Kid loves their home.

Kids do not want to go away.
But they love home!

Josiah presented me this picture of a happy home with big tears in his eyes. He was crying while he drew it! (He may as well have ripped my heart out and stomped on it!)

I'm thrilled that my children love their home and family. I couldn't ask for anything better...except I'm afraid they may never leave!! Regardless they spent the weekend with Grandma and Grandad and, despite Aliza's threats that she would NOT have ANY fun, they had a great time. When we got back Aliza had 3 days worth of journals documenting everything she (and her siblings) ate, all of their activities, and everything they watched on TV. It's priceless. She told me every detail of the Shark Tank episode and the (on demand) Duck Dynasty shows they watched.

Caleb says stop. Josiah says poop. Gideon is holding Bella. I'm holding Laura.
Needless to say, these pieces of work are in a file folder that I'll be hanging on to! And, yes, when we got back they weren't ready to come home! For that matter, Jeremy and I may not have been ready to come home either. The first night we didn't talk about the children at all, but by the second night we were giggling about their antics and we were ready to see them. But, oh my, it was SO good to get away and just relax and eat a lot of really good food!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Tub of Snow

After yesterday I knew I needed some kind of new activity for today. I searched "snow day activities" on Pinterest and after digging through the obvious...bake cookies, read a book under blankets, play board games...I found pictures of snow in bath tubs. What a novel I idea! When it is too cold to be outside, bring the snow inside. I was afraid it would melt as fast as we carried it in, but it didn't. It lasted quite a while.

So I bundled everyone up, gave them buckets, told them to find shovels and off they went. Aliza was into the idea from the outset and she filled buckets.
Josiah thought it was a dumb idea. He dumped the buckets in the tub.
The play started out like this.
Then everyone put on boots so they could be IN the tub.
Anna kept getting pushed around and squished out of the tub so I filled up one more bucket and dumped it in the sink.
Your tub will be dirty, but it's worth the happy bit of play.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Some Snow

Snow around here is such a funny thing. It's sortof like a hurricane. Everyone starts preparing days in advance and then it rarely amounts to anything close to what was forecasted. Yesterday school were closed for impending weather conditions. The snow started with the smallest flurries at 4pm. By 11pm we maybe had a dusting. Overnight we did get a couple inches. Let me tell you whatever we didn't get in snow, we got in cold. It was 8 degrees when I was out this morning with a wind chill of -11.

It was too cold to enjoy and there was so much drama that it was even less enjoyable. Aliza decided that the tracks in the snow were fox tracks. Then she was certain she saw the fox. So she was far too scared to go outside--until I had gone out and searched the yard and deemed it fox free and safe. Josiah was mad because I could not produce the exact pair of gloves he wanted. Said gloves are probably buried under snow where he left them outside. He was so upset. And Anna. She just wanted me to carry her. She didn't want to walk in the snow. As you can see, it wasn't fun to be outside.

Nor was it fun to be inside. I try to make snow days fun with special food or extra time reading or something. I grew up with snow making for school closing. We still have school on snow days. Snow makes for great school days. Apparently snow days are also great for bickering and boredom. Oh well. I have an idea for tomorrow. We'll see if any child here thinks it's a good idea.

One day when I've retired from teaching and my nest is empty I'm going to hibernate with a good book on a snow day.

(Schools are already cancelled for tomorrow too. Weird. Poor kids are going to have to go to school in June when the weather is most lovely.)

Monday, January 20, 2014

Back To Healthy

Wow! No blogs for a whole week! What happened? I'll tell you. We continued to have a sick person (Josiah) in our house last week. I got major cabin fever and thought I might go crazy! It wasn't that he was miserable--I called it the Tired Disease. He was taking two long naps a day and sleeping all night too. And he didn't eat well at all. By the end of the week I got some time out of the house. I had dinner with a friend on Thursday and I had a scrapbook day on Saturday. I could feel myself reviving on Saturday. Such a good feeling. Then yesterday we had a VERY late night watching the championship football games with Dad. I was hoping the 49's/Seahawks game would be decisive so we could come home, but it wasn't. We got home at 10:40pm. Thankfully the children sleep in this morning and we have the freedom to have a very slow, relaxed morning.

So we are back in the Monday routine of laundry and school. Everything was going well until Josiah thought he needed to aggressively protest a simple writing assignment. He carried on and on and then it got quiet and I thought he had just given up. His lesson was playing and I walked over and found this....

For some reason I feel this is a foreshadowing of high school. It was one of those, "This is definitely going on my blog" moments. I'm hoping it was the late night last night. He is eating differently, but a lot more. After 2 full weeks of sickness, I'm really counting on a healthy week...and some good blog stories.

Monday, January 13, 2014


We have started watching Duck Dynasty. I know. We watched Season 1 in it's entirety during sick week. I know. I'm shaking my head too.

There's more. I laugh. Until I cry. Something about rich men with scraggly beards doing ridiculous things and talking with completely straight faces makes me laugh, I guess.

One more thing. The whole family watches it. Aliza loves it. She'll probably marry a man with a scraggly beard, long hair and outrageous looking headband. Thankfully she misses a lot of the humor...or else we'd have a lot of explaining to do. What I do hope she gets...that family will always be there no matter what, that family can laugh and joke and do crazy things together, that Dad will always stand up for his daughter (and she should maybe feel a little nervous about bringing a boy to meet her Daddy...and her Mom!), that her grandparents and aunts and uncles have things to teach her too, and we will all meet at the table to eat and pray before the meal. That's not too bad for a mainstream television program.

Josiah. He claims the Ipad during Duck Dynasty. He claims he doesn't like it. However, he has decided that I'm a GOOD cook and, that, is worth it's weight in gold. It would be pretty big problem if he wanted me to start cooking like Miss Kay!

Friday, January 10, 2014

Highs and Lows

This week started on a high and has gone downhill since then! We'll start with the high. I had my fall homeschool review by the Board of Education. This year each family was assigned 2 reviewers and the reviews were moved to a different department within the Bd. of Ed. I really didn't know what to expect. Since we were told there were going to be 2 reviewers I recruited Jeremy to attend the review with me. Moral support. And someone to carry my increasingly heavy bag of books! The format of the reviews was changed entirely. Jeremy and I sat with 2 Vice Principals of elementary schools in the county. They started asking me for things and I had answers and evidence for everything. They asked what I do for spelling. I open to the Spelling label of Aliza's binder. They asked how I determine the list of words. I pulled out the 2nd grade Spelling book and explained the five day sequence of lesson. Their eyes sparkled and I knew I was good to go. After that they pushed aside the computers and said, "This is like a field trip. Talk us through everything and then we will fill in the form." They said things like, "This is so organized." "Look! There are date stamps on every page." "How long does it take you to organize this?" (20-30 minutes every single evening). "You really know this curriculum." (Thank you. I consider that my job!) "This is a rigorous curriculum." "You owe yourself a cup of coffee." "Do your children have homework too?" (haha.) "This is advanced for a 2nd grade reading textbook." "May I look at the kindergarten readers? I used to be a reading specialist and I'm curious." Then the weird moment at the end when the lady asks, "May I see a picture of your kindergartener?" And Jeremy pulls up a picture from my blog and I can't help myself, I say, "Yup, he's healthy, clean and happy!" Of course there's always more that they want. Pictures of the children in music and physical education activities. I just kindof smiled and looked at my piles of books and said, "You know, there are only so many hours in one day."

I was so pumped when I left. It's the review I've known I deserved, but wasn't sure I'd ever get. I felt like I'd won a competitive event. Yes, I do compete with the school system. I'm setting my children up to compete with publicly educated students when my children apply for college or jobs. I'm am striving to give my children a "traditional" education in an alternative environment. An environment that, from my experience and Jeremy's, is much more conducive to learning, self-esteem and confidence. This review told me that, from an educator perspective, I'm being successful.

Jeremy actually got sick during the night before the review (Monday). He pulled it together to look alive for an hour and after that he has been utterly miserable. He worked Tuesday and Wednesday and has been back in bed Thursday and Friday. Miserable for both of us! Anna had a fever on Wednesday. Aliza was just tired and complained of her head hurting. No one has eaten well. Josiah had a fever today. And I've had a most horrible cold. To top it all off, Jeremy and I had to reschedule a weekend away that we had planned for this weekend. 2 nights alone! At least it is rescheduled and not cancelled.

I'm pretty sure Jeremy is on the mend. Josiah was much more himself this evening. The girls seem back to normal. If I can just get a good nights sleep and a nap one day I think I'll feel a lot better! It's been a long week! As soon as Jeremy is up for conversation, I'm negotiating some time out of the house!

Saturday, January 4, 2014

A New Year

New Year's isn't much of a holiday here. Jeremy had planned to work and ended up staying home and doing a bit of work during the day. That was a nice change of plans. Josiah thought we should do something to celebrate New Year's Day. I asked him what he recommended and he said "fruit and candy dessert." He and I bought some fresh fruit and we have enough candy to last until Easter. We had an enjoyable dessert and Christmas Veggie Tale movie night.

My brother traps as a second job in the winter. Well, it's a hobby too, but since he sells the fur for profit I'll call it a second job. This week he brought a science lesson over since he had trapped a beaver, otter, red fox and raccoon in one day. It was fascinating! The beaver was trapped in the pond down the road from our house. That beaver (on the left of the picture) is probably 2 years old. A small one. Apparently beavers can make quite a mess of the drainage systems. We love to watch the otters at the zoo. I didn't really know that they were wild in this area. Brian says the otter run a long cycle. They come through the same area every 2-3 weeks. He trapped two otter this week.
The girls were too scared to come out. Don't ask me why they are afraid of dead animals. Sometimes I'm pretty sure they just need to use every excuse for drama possible. Brian took each animal to the window. Here he is showing them how the beaver has webbed feet.
Aliza informed me last night that we have had too many days at home. I didn't realize that until then that we had been home all week, except for running our drive through errands. Tonight seemed like a good night to eat at Friendly's after church. Mom and Dad joined us. While we were waiting for our food, Dad pulls out his ipad and he and Jeremy start watching football. Really??! My Dad!! The one who never allowed singing at his table. (I was the child inclined to sing or hum all the time.) The moment begged to be documented. =) And, you know, I didn't really care if he watched football at the table. I'm just so thankful that he was at the table, happy and healthy. He spent some time in ER yesterday for difficulty breathing. When you get a call like that from your Mom, it makes you think. Turns out he most likely had some kind of allergic/asthmatic reaction from the very dirty work he was doing at a rental property the day before.