outside & inside the house

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Grace and I found a Garden Center yesterday pretty close to home.  It was big, exciting, and bright and full of ladies of all ages filling their carts to the brim with annuals, perennials, potting soil, pots, vegetable plants, fertilizer, tools, and mulch!  I said, “I’m NOT going to get distracted by wanting alllllll the flowers!” and then I admit I did indeed became a tiny bit distracted which made her wander off to some flowering trees over in the quiet back corner while I made up my mind, eventually, to buy two huge RED hanging baskets and two RED watering cans planted with RED geraniums.  They look wonderful against our YELLOW house.  I now have the Memorial day//July 4th bunting up, too.  Home Sweet Humble Home.

Meanwhile, inside the house:

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I also picked up this little cabinet from a (new-to-us) Thrift store.

It has become our Scrap/Art-booking cabinet.

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Grace promptly ran off to find some books to put on top of it.  Mary Oliver poetry, a book I’m reading, a book she JUST finished, and one of her beloved Dictionaries.  (She has a weakness).

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Inside the cabinet there are removable shelves for our books and papers.

My scrapbook is on top, then Grace’s and then Sarah’s.  We each have one.  We glue anything and everything inside of them.  Someday I’ll take a few videos of them to share. Joanna does them with her girls, too, and when we’re together we love to spend time looking through each other’s books.  We also mail each other papers to include in them, too.

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Again at the thrift store, I couldn’t resist this 1070’s child’s tablecloth with Raggedy Ann and Andy on it.  Seeing it made Sarah remember that she had a Raggedy doll (which used to be Grace’s).

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***

Guess what?  My Christmas Cactus is blooming again!  It gives me great joy (rather like a christmas joy!)  Two buds; one small and one just-about-to-open.

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Sherlock sleeps in his favorite bed all day long (he reminds us of a taco in a shell, so his new nickname is Taco-cat which is the same backward and forward, David told me).

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Parker was sleeping so soundly on my bedroom floor that I had to stop and check his breathing.  He’s fine just really tired.

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My current read; Grace and the boys listened to the audiobook when they were still homeschooling years ago and I remember how much they loved it.  I was in the mood to try reading some Newbury Award books that I missed as a child, so I pulled this one off their shelves.  I think of them as I read it.

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I found this one just sitting on the couch.  I’m guessing Grace is reading it because I mentioned that I wanted to go see Laura and Almanzo’s house next summer but that she probably wouldn’t want to go with me because “you never really read the books like I did as a child.” To which she became slightly offended and said yes she did too read them.

This morning Grace couldn’t find packing tape.  I told her where to find it.  She couldn’t find it.  I went to check and found it promptly.  Then she could not find her shoes.  I bent over to look under the coffee table.  “They’re right there under the coffee table.”  “HOW DO YOU DO THAT?”  She was impressed.  “You’re like a MEDAL-DETECTOR of lost things!”

I felt really proud of myself.  Someday when you’re a mom you’ll hone this skill, too, Grace.

HONE:  refine or perfect (something) over a period of time.

Jacob wrote “A Dog’s Prayer” this morning for his Language Arts lesson.  It is fashioned after an example in the book, only that one was “A Horse’s Prayer”.  Ethan was inspired by Jacob’s work and asked me if he could do that lesson, too, and I agreed….eager to read what he would come up with.

I’ve been thinking a lot about homeschooling lately, and reading some books to encourage me yet again in this endeavor.  It’s reading things like the following that make me LOVE what we do here at home. 

Here they are, typed as written, both titled, “A Dog’s Prayer”

“To you, my Master, I offer my prayer, provide me a home, and I pray if I do not behave inside, then do not just hitch me outside, but provide me with a doghouse, so I will not be cold and unsheltered.  Give me food and water whenever needed, and walk me, at least two times a day.  Provide me with chewable toys, so I will not pass the day in boredom.  Do not kick or hit me but train me to do your bidding.

And finally, my master, love me, and I will love you, serve me, and I will serve you, and be good to me, for I am your best friend.”   written by Jacob, age 12

“Dear Master,

I am a dog that shall do no harm to my dear master.  So do not kick or leave me.  You don’t no what I go through.  Walk me every day and feed and give me water.  Do not muzzle me when I bite for it is just defence.  Take me to the vet when I am sick but pertect me from shots dear master.  Take me in when it rains oh master, and give me lots of love and treats.  Do not throw me in the water for abuse.  Do not sell me, if you do, sell me to a kind master nearby.  Finaly beloved master, do not crush shoot or laugh at me.  And you shall be my master for a very long time.

PS (give me christmas and birthday presents)

Your loving Dog”

written by Ethan, age 10

 

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our day, so far

(Well, this first picture is from yesterday.)

David, arriving back home from his first day of school, (he is gone from 8 until 11:45, a nice half day.)

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He did fine, absolutely fine.  He really didn’t talk my ear off, I had to ask creative questions to get information out of him.  A couple of things I found out:  He was too shy to participate in gym class.  He just sat and watched.  And, he did not realize that school was every day.  He said to me, as he ate lunch, “I want to go back there again sometime.”  Soooooo, I was a little alarmed-like and told him, “David.  You’ll be going to school every day, except Saturday, Sunday and holidays like Christmas.”  “MOM!!!!”  (which meant:  “How dare they close school for those days?  I want to go every day.”)

This morning, while we waited outside together in the cool morning air, for the bus, I talked to him about being shy.  I told him that today his special class would be MUSIC and that he would probably be shy but I wanted him to still participate, and that he would like it.  I told him I would pray for him about that.  When he got home I asked him how it went and he said, “I did it, Mom, but I never got to be IT.” 

My xanga pal Jenny suggested that I take some photos of the older children back to school, too.  So, I did that today.  Yesterday was a little rough for me, because I was drained, emotionally, from sending David to school.  The day went well, but today was MUCH MUCH better.  It is so nice and quiet here, with Davy-do busy at school.  Caleb is easy to keep quietly busy, and the older three and I had such a nice morning of home-school, and I felt quite productive.

We began the day with a few hymns:  “O Magnify the Lord With me”  “A Mighty Fortress is our God” and “There is a Redeemer”  (they each picked one).  I play the piano while they sing.  I sing when I can (I still have trouble, playing and singing at the same time).

Here are the pictures of the day:

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Cursive writing practice, the top picture is Jacob.

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Ethan, happily working at the “Jungle Desk”, upstairs.

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Caleb did some coloring~he colors all the time.

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We spend most of our time at the kitchen table, Jacob is looking up at the handwriting display paper, on the cupboard.

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We spent quite a while with this next book. which I really like.  I read aloud, and we learned all about celebrating the Sabbath.  We will be celebrating it together as a family, next Saturday. 

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Grace, later on, reading about Dinosaurs~

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Ethan and Jacob were still waiting for their Math books to come from A Beka, so in the meantime, Ethan did a “Math Window”. . . .

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 . . . .while Caleb and Mama mixed up cookies for Davy-do, who put in a special request.

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“Don’t put your hand in there, or the mixer will break it up into pieces”

You should have seen him break the egg, the whole thing went in.  Thankfully the shell was in two pieces so I could easily fish it out.

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What’s he looking at?  ***He was looking at his and David’s picture, in my cupboard:***

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David came home just as we were finishing the cookie dough.  So, everyone got a scoop of raw dough on a spoon (yes, I’m one of those sorts of mamas) and then we left, to go to eat lunch at McDonald’s.

That is where I got my headache.  LOL

It is hard, to take the children to a play place.  They are so loud, and make up games like, “Let’s try to stay away from Caleb”  which means they run screaming if they see him.  I took magazines so that I could relax after we ate, while they played, but I only got through half of one.  It was C-R-A-Z-Y.

But, fun, I guess, for
them.  Just look at Ethan’s face!  He’s having FUN.

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I was glad that we had the playplace to ourselves, it would have been even more chaotic if Others were involved.

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They knocked heads, coming down the slide, this is real-life, folks!  LOL

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Oh my!!! they were loud, and so we left.  We all had enough.  After refilling our drinks (I only buy 2 and we share, it’s great for building up their immune system, just like the raw cookie dough consumption, LOL), we got into the van to take the older children to their Art class at our friend’s house.

I took a picture of the five Art students.  They were wild-acting and crazy and as I left, I begged my friend to try to calm them all down.  Life is just so exciting when you’re this age, you just MUST laugh, yell, and be silly, now and then.  Also, I really don’t think McDonald’s playplace and bright orange drinks are the best things to do right before Art.  What was I thinking?

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When the little ones and I got home, we found the A Beka order on the porch.  Won’t Jacob and Ethan be thrilled?  (I already had Grace’s book).  I also bought the boys each a penmanship book (Grace has one), and one 6th grade health textbook, to do all together.

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So now, I only have about five more hours to get through, before my husband gets home.  The only time I shed tears today, was when he told me on the phone that he had a function to go to after work.  Another dinner without him.  Ugh.  We are both looking forward to the long weekend.

Ummm, let’s see. . .oh yes.  Someone asked about the pregnancy.  I am feeling fine, absolutely normal except for the extreme tiredness.  I get sleepy in the afternoons and am usually sleeping by 9 or shortly after, every night.

I had a doctor’s appointment on Monday, which went well.  I heard the baby’s heartbeat, and fell in love a little more (it’s so fun, to daydream about newborns).  An ultrasound was scheduled, for September 24, which is The Day that I hope we can find out if the baby is a boy or girl.  Grace has been doodling, “Lydia May” on scraps of paper. . . . . . .we shall see. . . . . .

I can wear some of my stretchy-type pants and skirts still, which is nice.  I’ve gained about 10 pounds but I feel great.  (**yawn** except, I’m tired) 

The little boys are in bed, and have calmed down, so I’m off to go try to read for a little bit. 

Hope all is well with you, friends.

~Shanda~

I thought you might enjoy seeing/hearing my Ethan recite his poem.  He learned the last 8 lines this morning and to celebrate, I recorded him up in his room (trying to get away from the noise downstairs!).  Ethan is my sweetie, in fact, last night we snuggled in my bed together and watched TV until Rich, Jacob, and Grace got home from music lessons.  It was cozy.  It made me remember him as a 2 year old, he always got up early in the morning and got into bed with me to sleep some more.  He’s my #1 cuddle-bug.  Everyone loves E!!!!  (his nickname)

 

“The Robin”

In the tall elm tree sat the robin bright,
Through the rainy April day,
And he caroled clear with a pure delight,
In the face of the sky so gray.
And the silver rain through the blossoms dropped,
And fell on the robin’s coat,
And his brave red breast, but he never stopped
Piping his cheerful note.

For oh, the fields were green and glad,
And the blissful life that stirred
In the earth’s wide breast, was full and warm
In the heart of that little bird.
The rain cloud lifted, the sunset light
Streamed wide over valley and hill;
As the plains of heaven the land grew bright,
And the warm south wind was still.

Then loud and clear called happy bird,
And rapturously he sang,
Till wood and meadow and riverside
With jubilant echoes rang.
But the sun dropped down in the quiet west,
And he hushed his song at last;
All nature softly sank to rest,
And the April day had passed.     –Celia Thaxter

ETHAN GREGORY, age 9

 

 

“It makes me so nervous to be video-taped.  That’s why I keep forgetting my lines.”  —Ethan

 

While we were upstairs in their room, I took this picture:

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See the tail????   It was all that was left from some little critter that the cats ate.  It was actually MY idea for them to wash it with shampoo and keep it!    The soldiers were found at a tag sale a few years ago.  They are solid metal, were only a couple dollars, and are perfect for the boy’s room.  They hung the artwork (and tail) without my help.

Well, I do enjoy my boys and watching them grow and develop their own interests!  I hope you enjoyed hearing E’s poem.  I’ve never showed a video of any of the kids before so I’ll be curious to read your comments.    I wonder if you held your breath toward the end of his poem like I did? 

 

 

5 minutes

I sat down to read a letter.  Jacob had a question on his schoolwork, I got up to go help him.  I knocked over someone’s full glass of apple juice and it splashed all over the floor.  I cleaned that up and as I did, the dog all of a sudden started galloping through the living room and knocked Caleb over, who started screaming and crying.  I yelled for Jacob to get the dog (to put him in the basement) and picked up Caleb to comfort him.  He had a messy diaper so I took him in my room to change him, meanwhile Jacob chased the dog.  The dog ran upstairs and peed on the rug.  Jacob cleaned up the dog mess and finally got him downstairs and I got Caleb cleaned up.   I gave him some infant tylenol.  David started screaming, “MOM, LOOK MOM LOOK” so I looked.  He was very excited because he was throwing a square toy around and it ended up on the kitchen floor spinning like a top.  After I congratulated him,  I sat on the couch, and to get Caleb to stop crying, (he has a big bruise on his knee from the dog knocking him over), I sang him “Little Red Caboose”.  In a somewhat strained voice.

And, lest I forget this 5 minutes, I came here to record it.

Now, back to my letter.  Or, I would be better off phrasing it like this:  Now, back to my letter if I can find it???????????  I hope that it calms me down.  LOL

home-school re-vamp, yet again

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(Rich took these on Monday.)

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I had such a day yesterday!  Blame it on the rain?  I don’t know. . . .all I know is that I was spinning around the house in several directions at once all day long!  I was so grieved by the end of the day, after the kids were in bed, that all I could do was wonder, “Am I doing the right thing?”  “Are my children going to grow up to be uneducated?”  “Is homeschooling really the best choice?”  ect.  Fears and doubts.  Bad.

Rich and I were both asleep before 9pm last night and I even dreamed about home-schooling.

When we got up this morning, the second I was fully-awake I grabbed the nearest homeschooling book (Easy Homeschooling Companion, by Lorraine Curry) and dove right in, searching for the solution to my problems:

1.  The preschoolers—what to do with them?

2. Math–takes forever and usually causes tears

3. Not completing my day’s schedule, therefore a constant feeling of “making up” for missed work.

4. Juggling many tasks at once–housework, preschoolers, dog, 3 schoolchildren w/their own set of needs. 

5. Finding myself content with less than quality work from the children, too busy, too tired to “stay on top” of things.

So, I was reading in the book, but then my husband came in with our coffee and I told him all about my struggles.  No tears, just letting him know what was going on.  Talking to him made all the difference.   There is no book on earth that can make me feel as good as his approval/advice.

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He encouraged me and helped me come up with some solutions.

1. Keep preschoolers busy during school, using videos, educational toys, and gating them in their room.  David joins us for some subjects (Bible, handwriting, art).

2. After about an hour of school in the morning, play/read all together until lunch.  This will help me with feeling guilty about “neglecting” preschoolers during morning schooltime.

3. After lunch, put preschoolers down for nap.  Use naptime as schooltime for older children. 

4.  Math–During the day, I am to use 1/2 an hour to drill flashcards, mult. tables, etc.  DH will do their math worksheets w/them at night after supper while I am spending quality time with the little ones–giving them baths, reading, quiet play, bedtime.  Huge major relief for me.

5.  Pay attention to mastering the important subjects, if I have to skip a subject on a certain busy day, let it be an “ornamental” subject like art, nature notebook, music.  Keep consistent on Bible, Reading, Writing, Arithmetic.

6.  I ordered more supplies.  I ordered the preschool/kindergarten pack for my 5 yr. old  from Rod and Staff.  This will give him something important to do while he sits at the table with us.

7.  Keep studying and learning for myself all about homeschooling.  The more I learn, the better and more confident I will feel about it.

8.  Stay close to God and beg Him for help, repent of bad attitudes ASAP, get the strength I need from HIM.  Remember that I am doing all for HIS GLORY.

9. STAY POSITIVE, focus on what we did do, what we did learn, instead of what we didn’t accomplish.

Please Pray for Me!

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Dirt and water pics:

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 Books that I got this week in the mail (ordered from amazon):

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