Who I am...

Just more rambling from yet another homeschooling mom. I hope that I can honestly share my struggles and triumphs in this journey. I would love to inspire and encourage others, because if I can do it - so can you!!


schooling, cooking, baking, studying, working, photographing, eating, writing, playing, learning, praying, loving, imagining, creating, crying, hugging, laughing, giggling, mess-making, sleeping

Trying out a slideshow from flickr

Here is the slideshow from all the nine million images I uploaded to flickr in the last 2 days!

Colorado Balloon Classic, Day 2

This morning I dragged myself out of bed. No, wait, Kevin kicked me out of bed. Yes, he shoved me out of bed because I couldn't figure out why the music was on in my room, in the dark, in the middle of the night. At 5:45 am. I threw on my clothes, this time with my shirt right-side out, and went to the kitchen to start some water for coffee. Did you know that the thought of making yourself a cup of coffee at 5 in the morning, doesn't translate to giving you a caffeine boost if you don't actually make that cup of coffee? It's true.
Colorado Balloon Classic
Kevin kindly got the girls up and to the potty for me. I poured Liberty and Melody each a bowl of cheerios, and dressed them while they sleepily shoveled food into their maws. They had their typical morning argument, completely in whispers. Why did I think it would be a good idea to take these two? At least they were quiet while they accused each other of staring . . . Oh my.
Colorado Balloon Classic
We grabbed three cameras and headed out the door in tennies and sweatshirts and holey jeans. And a snow white headband.
Colorado Balloon Classic
We made it down to the park again just as the balloons were rising! We have impeccable timing. This time, we parked closer to the far side of the lake, and watched as the balloons rose up over the trees, skimmed across the lake, and headed straight for us! It was pretty exciting. Melody was interested for approximately 30 seconds, give or take 15. She took a handful of pictures, and then spent her time alternately whining about breakfast (which I had been sure to feed them before we left for this very reason) and throwing clods of mud into the lake. Occasionally her spirits were lifted by a PINK! balloon, a garish yellow balloon shaped like a chicken head wearing a bow tie, and Noah's Ark. Though to ask her afterward, she had a fabulous time, and of course she would like to go to the glow tonight. We'll see about that.
Colorado Balloon Classic
Liberty was a great photography partner. She helped me switch my lenses. She pointed out all sorts of lovely balloons with unique markings. She loved the Old Fashioned Patriotic Balloon with Swags and Stars and Stripes. It was my favorite balloon too! She only occasionally asked about breakfast. Mostly to be sure that we were in fact going to eat at a restaurant exactly like the one Ainsley ate at yesterday.
Colorado Balloon Classic
We walked around the lake towards the festivities, but I knew we were on a tighter schedule, so we didn't actually go all the way to the concessions and launching area today. We found out that there is swimming at the lake for $3 a day for kids, and boat rentals, and a nice playground, and fishing! The girls really want to go back with their fishing poles. We also didn't see any tadpoles this time which was quite disappointing to Liberty.
Colorado Balloon Classic
Afterward, we headed back up to IHOP with very hungry tummies. The last time we ate at IHOP, about 6 months ago, they were having a Horton Hears A Who promotion, and my girls were sorely disappointed when the Seuss-like creations were missing from the menu. But a "Create-a-face" pancake was tolerable substitute. That, and I let them sample some of every type of syrup. Melody just had to tell the waitress how much she loves tomatoes and enchiladas. Liberty was a bit tired and cranky at this point, and I was glad we were close to home. The poor kid sounds like she is hacking up a lung. But I am glad she was able to make it out to see tha balloons. And while it wasn't quite the peaceful, meandering adventure of yesterday, it was still a nice time. It's amazing how taking just one child out of the equation makes them so much easier to handle! The rest of the day is going to be filled with regular Sunday activities, with the possiblilty of going to the glow tonight if the weather stays nice. We've never actually made it to a glow, the weather is usually too cold, rainy, or windy! Or the kids are too cranky . . .
Colorado Balloon Classic
Tomorrow should be nice too. Kevin has the day off, and I might just venture down to the park for one more photo excursion! Hopefully Kelly will come along too!
Colorado Balloon Classic
The pictures so far have all been mine; I am going to dedicate and entire post to the girls' pictures, sometime in the next couple of days . . .

Colorado Ballon Classic, Day 1

I dragged myself out of bed at 5:45 a.m. and pulled Ainsley out of bed a few minutes later. We dressed in the dark (I even had my shirt on inside out, whoops!) and stumbled out to the car. Then we drove away into the sunrise!
Colorado Balloon Classic
We walked up to the top of Prospect lake just as the first balloon was taking off!
Colorado Balloon Classic

Ainsley and I both took lots of pictures, and she took a couple of videos. We had a really nice time just the two of us. And I bought a souvenir that I have been wanting for three years straight. So I bought it. :) I will wait to tell more about it until I have a picture!

We chatted, we oohed and ahhed over the balloons. We cheered for the folks whose baskets dipped into the water. We cheered for the ones who made it back out again when it looked like they might get stuck (and soaked!). We smelled the lovely street fair smells. Ainsley won a hat from the Geico booth with a little green gecko on it. She loves hats!

Colorado Balloon Classic

And when all the balloons had floated away, and some had even come back to land at the starting area, we chatted with the local weatherman, and he was much better looking in person. We lazily made our way back to the car after swinging on a park bench. (This park has several bench swings!) Then it was off to breakfast at Mimi's!

I had such a lovely (early!) morning with my oldest. It made me realize how much I need to do this more often. Not just to grab a kid and run her to the grocery store, but to intentionally do something special individually, just for no reason at all.

Colorado Balloon Classic

Thank you garbage man!

We were wondering what were going to do with our nasty burned up microwave, and I forgot to put out the trashcans this morning. Thankfully the trash collector came to my door and asked me if I had any trash! I asked if was able to take the old microwave, and he said, "Of course!!" Hooray! It's the little things in life that excite me.

Tomorrow is the annual balloon festival! We'll see who ends up going with me in the morning. I'd like to go every morning, and to at least one balloon glow, but that's very ambitious. We just all had such a good time last year, and I know the girls really want to go. So, we'll see. Liberty has been under the weather and has a nasty cough, so I don't really want to drag her out of bed at 5 in the morning. *must go look up time of sunrise!*

Co-op should be interesting. Its very different from our old co-op. Especially because everyone is going through the same curriculum. It should be very helpful, especially because I can see literature and writing becoming very time-consuming for Ainsley this year. And I think that Liberty needs that extra little bit of social exposure. Kelly is going to be teaching her History class, so that ought to help, I think. I am teaching a class in which I have no students, and no access to the curriculum. I am hoping that I might be able to get my hands on the cds and videos, but there is no guarantee. Nobody seems to have it . . . Hmm, should be interesting. At least I am finally going to get to put four years of college into action, even if its only 45 minutes a week. The plan is also to start teaching my girls piano. I am also thinking about starting a homeschool choir. Its just an idea right now. But I was always really impressed with my sister's homeschool choir, and thought it was something I could do. I am praying about how to go about it. Its something I am considering anyway. I might need to get in touch with my sister's choir director and chat with her about how she got started. It would also be fun to have a little music ensemble. Now that I am getting connected with the local homeschooling community, but brain is turning with ideas. Of course that means I have to actually talk to people. And just the thought gives me hives.

The girls had their first chat with the teach, which also left me feeling a bit ambivalent. Is that the right way to say that?? But there it is. Part of me is really bummed that I didn't get the other teacher. I already have had some really good conversations with her, and I feel like she and I would be friends outside of COVA. But maybe it's better if I cultivate that friendship with her apart from school. I don't have specific complaints about our teacher, so I can't really explain why I feel the way I do. But I am sure as we get to know her better, it will be fine.

I think I am rambling, but there is a lot in my head today.

Oh yes, dinner was delicious! Kelly fixed a double batch of lasagne and brought the second one over to us today. Yum. And I didn't have to do anything but pop it into the oven. Oh, and the sourdough bread from Target was ever so delicious. The girls proclaimed it as good as Disneyland. Which is a high compliment considering my girls could live off the sourdough bread from Disneyland. The bread from Disneyland is made by the Boudin Bakery and is the perfect combination of sour, sweet, crispy, soft, and delicious. Especially warm from the oven. And tonight's bread was so very close. I may have to go have another piece right now. Thanks Kelly!! (And I hope you sleep comfy in your tent tonight!)

Also, I am very pleased by McCain's choice for VP. I'd heard Palin's story right around the time she gave birth to her sweet little baby boy. I was impressed by her then, and am even more so now. I think she was an excellent choice!

I am also praying for my mom and dad today. They had to put down their sweet dalmatian today. My dad has been through so much since January, and this was just one more painful thing for them. I hope that seeing my sister tomorrow will help ease their hearts. I am glad that I can be there a little for my mom, but I wish I could physically give her my shoulder to cry on tonight. Okay, now I need to go get a tissue.

Twilight at the Zoo

Last night was a really unique experience. We got to see all the animals at the zoo at dusk and into the night. The more nocturnal animals were all active. We got to hear the mountain lions huffing and puffing and growling at us. The porcupines were climbing their tree. It was so neat! I have some videos to post eventually.

This morning was our first meeting/ parent orientation for co-op. It looks like I am going to be teaching 3rd grade music. Finally going to put my degree to some use :)

I have plenty more to say, but my pillow is beckoning me, so it will have to wait until snacktime tomorrow!

America's Got Talent . . .

Or Why Do Celebrities say Really Dumb Things?

This is the first season I have ever tuned into AGT, other than that one time my friends were buzzed off the show. I was watching the first hour when I heard David Hasselhoff say to a group that something was "As American as the Olympics!" Come again? Did he seriously just say that? Um, am I the only one that thinks that is completely insulting to, oh say, the rest of the freaking world? Yeah, ok Hoff. *smacks forehead* Maybe some people just shouldn't do live TV. I think I am done watching that show anyway, not really into the freaky entertainers. But I did like the little stunt girl, she did great. And I didn't watch the second half of the show because the Democratic National Convention cut in half way through, and rather than give any ratings to them, I just turned off the TV and went to bed. I didn't listen to Hillary at all, but I did see a funny McCain commercial this morning with Hillary saying McCain and I have a lifetime of experience and Obama made a speech in 2002. And that folks, is why we are always careful about the words we speak, as they may come back and bite us in the butt. How can she honestly, with integrity, come back and try to get people to support the man she spent months tearing down?

In other news, we are heading to the zoo tonight to meet with all the COVA folks in our region. The girls are excited, and it should be neat to go to the zoo at night! I've missed the zoo! We also have a meeting tomorrow for our co-op. I am so nervous. I don't know why I get so nervous meeting new people. Either I completely clam up and can't say a word, or I go to the opposite extreme and can't stop talking! Its really embarrassing either way. I am glad that I will already know one person there. And that she lets me lean on her a little in those situations :) Right, you will do all the talking for me, right right right?? See I am nervous already! Two situations in two days where I have to meet new people and not come across as a complete crazy person! Pray for me . . .

Well, there went another snack time. Time to get back to those 3 R's!

Blogger ate my posts

That is weird, the last two days of posts didn't actually publish. Not that I had anything truly remarkable to say, but hmm. . . . I will have to look around my computer and see if I can find them.

Yesterday we had a very pleasant day of school. Liberty is really starting to fall into a nice pattern, and is working very hard. Ainsley is taking a bit more to motivate her, but once she got going she completed five chapters in Pippi Longstocking. All she has left is the unit review. Its a lot of writing, so I may have her only write down the answer to the first question (3 paragraphs!) and then orally answer the rest. The actual writing is still very painfully slow for her. And even though she is really trying hard to write her answers, it is definitely still a struggle. I also need to install her new typing program.

I have also registered for a weekly coop and have an orientation meeting this Thursday. It should be a good thing for the girls. It is all K12 students, and they get together to do Science, History, Art, Music, and PE. I am not sure how it will work for music, since my kids are not enrolled in Music but in Foreign Language. But it would be great if they could do music as well.

I think I am also going to start them in children's choir at church. I think it is for 1st grade and up, but I may see if I can help out and let Melody participate as well. She loves to sing and dance and can carry a tune really nicely. I loved choir as a kid, but since this one is on Saturday nights, it has been hard for us to be motivated to join. It would be easier if it were during the week or on Sunday Mornings.

I am supposed to be putting together Kevin's lunch, and he is almost ready to go. We also need COFFEE. I am hoping that today goes just as smoothly or moreso than yesterday!

I ought to learn to blog earlier in the day

I had a busy busy day, and I feel like I haven't yet recuperated from the zoo trip yesterday. I am so ready for bed.

The girls have been saving their money for months. The older two both had money from the tooth fairy for several teeth, and Ainsley had some birthday dollars saved as well, and we'd decided that after such a great start to school it would be a good time for them to spend their money. They'd both saved enough to purchase webkinz. We literally have not purchased toys for them in months. I don't think they'd gotten anything new save for a very few kids meal toys and a box from Nana and Papa at the beginning of the summer. So this was a very special treat. Even more so because they were able to spend their very own money. And they each went to the cash register, counted out their hard earned cash, and got their very own receipt. Then they promptly came home (after traipsing through a downpour to get to the car!) and logged into webkinz and added their new pet! Melody didn't have money of her own, what with the fact we don't pay them for chores, as we feel it is something they do for the benefit of the family, and she still has all her original teeth! But she was able to pick out her very own Lil'kinz as well, a pink poodle that she has been waiting for nearly a year now.

I feel like they are going to really appreciate these toys, and now just toss them aside in a few short days. In fact, the last toys they got were purchased as a special treat while on our last trip to Utah. They still treasure those toys and play with them almost daily. Now we just need to get around to clearing out the playroom of all the millions of toys they already owned before Mommy decided to become a minimalist! ;)

Microwave installation techniques . . .

Home depot is open one hour later than Lowe's, just in case you ever need to get washers at the last minute to hold up your new microwave. . .

Last night was crazy, and by the time the microwave was installed, I was beat. I fell asleep in the armchair, and Kevin dragged me to bed some unknown time later. I am yawning just thinking about it.

Today was our first outing to an event sponsored by COVA. We went for a free day at the Denver Zoo! We all love the zoo, and Kevin decided to take the day off to join us. I am so glad he did. It was a lovely day. The girls were exceptionally well behaved. We learned lots about the animals, and saw many wonderful exhibits! We definitely need to go back as we know we missed quite a few things!

We all loved the brand new 10-day-old baby giraffe! So little, and yet already 2 inches taller than Kevin!

Denver Zoo

The rainforest exhibit was really wonderful. So many interesting and varied animals and creatures! We saw vampire bats, poison dart frogs, giant snapping turtles, and humongous fish!

Denver Zoo

I loved the elephants, the cheetahs, the zebras, and all the African animals. I think I need to go on a safari!
Denver Zoo

Overall, we were really impressed with the whole zoo. On the way home we drove by the Capitol building, the U.S. Mint, and made our way to Baja Fresh for dinner! Yummy fish tacos. . . It was a great day! And if you didn't get your fill of pictures in this post, feel free to browse my flickr account for plenty more!!

Denver Zoo

And now I leave you with this video:

Happy Birthday Dad!

To celebrate, we ate homemade ice cream; peanut butter chocolate chip, pumpkin pie, and green tea. Yummy.

I have plenty more to say, but I am 99% asleep at the moment. Goodnight!

Letters to the teacher

Just thought I would post the letters the girls wrote in response to their new COVA Supporting Teacher's questions.

Liberty's letter:

Dear Miss T--,
I like going ice skating and riding my bike. I also like going swimming at the Y and jumping on the trampoline. I like learning about the oceans and the states and the countries. I also like learning about paintings and how to do art. I don't really like reading that much, or saying the French words. I like going to get treats when I have been really helpful, and I have a cat named Molly and two birds named Charlie and Lola. I would like to know what your favorite animal is. My favorite animals are frogs and I also like cats and bald eagles and manatees, whales, and dolphins. I like going new places, like Mount Rushmore, and I want to go to New York City. I also want to see the Eiffle Tower in Paris.
Sincerely, Liberty

Ainsley's Letter:

Dear Miss T--,
I have enjoyed the past days I have done this new school! I was born in California too! I have lived in Colorado for 2 and a half years. I would really like to meet you and go on field trips with you. Are you going to be at the zoo next week? Anyway, I like to read and cook. My favorite books are Dragonrider and the Dragonspell series. I like learning about fossils and the past, like archeologists. I don't really like math or spelling. I really like unicorns, dragons, and dragonflies. I like to go fishing and camping. I saw some fish, but I didn't catch any! You should have been there, there was an island full of calling seagulls! It was funny. I would like to know what some of your favorite recipes are, and maybe we can cook them together someday.
Sincerely, Ainsley

And now I need to run and check on my green tea ice cream that is churning in the kitchen sink. School has been going well, not getting quite as much done as I would like, but its just the first week :) I did get a nap today, which was lovely. I just really need to finish getting the schoolroom and my desk in order, and I will feel more organized! I think I hear the motor on the ice cream machine slowing down . . .

Well, I missed a day. . .

But it wasn't because I didn't remember, I was just busy busy busy. Had a maternity shoot yesterday, then lots and lots of hours of proofing with Kelly. We also did a little redesign on her blog. Eventually I need to get a list of blogs I read added to my side bar! Kelly's blog is here.

The maternity shoot was great, and I can't wait to photograph the birth!

We got one tiny shipment this morning from K12 for Liberty, a laminated map and a blow up globe. We are supposed to get a ton more today and another few more later this week. The girls are still enjoying school, but I think it will get better once their books actually arrive! The girls both love the art curriculum so far. I also found a great blog from an art teacher with lots of wonderful ideas I am going to implement when we run out of lessons (or maybe interspersed with K12 lessons). Kelly may even have access to a kiln, and I would love to do some ceramics with the girls!

I just talked to my dad. He is on a plane home from the teeny airport in Omaha.

So, there is a lot going on around here, and not a moment to sit still. We really need to go on one more camping trip, just to close the summer on a high. Its been pretty awful weather the past few weekends, so I am hoping for a nice clear weekend soon!

Alrighty, its back to school time for me now, recess is over!

So very tired

My dad came over today! But I stayed up so very late, and then was up early to maximize the time I could spend with my daddy. And now I am exhausted. A peppermint mocha is the only thing keeping me awake enough to watch Michael Phelps swim. And that is only barely working!

But my daddy got to see my green green grass, the new playroom, the schoolroom, and my rockin' drums ability on Rockband. We also did a little mini photoshoot so we could have some pictures to hang on the wall. Maybe I will have a chance to actually edit and print them someday :)

I love my folks and I miss them so very much. I miss being able to stop by for an impromptu visit. Its time for them to come visit again!! The girls were so happy to hang out with Papa, even for just a little while.

We also bought (at least ordered) a new microwave today. And even though it was needed, and we knew we were going to have to get a new one eventually (the lcd went out about 9 months ago), it was not what I wanted to spend money on this weekend. But at least we got it on sale!

And now . . . with a yawn and an eye rub, I am turning off my computer, and crossing my fingers for Phelps.

Still working out the kinks

I have a new template for my blog, and I like it, but I am not too fond of the colors, so I need to tweak it a bit. But if you are reading my blog, I'd love to hear what you think of the new template!

Still watching the olympics. Still ought to be cleaning. I actually have about nine million pairs of socks to fold, but there is no TV upstairs, so I guess the socks have to wait :P

Ainsley and Liberty both did several lessons in school today. Liberty just loved her history/geography. We used our awesome globe from my parents to find and name all the continents and oceans. She then journaled about the ocean, drawing a great picture about a dolphin in the ocean. Ainsley did two lessons of French and a quick Math lesson.

We did lots and lots of cleaning and organizing today. I completely rearranged my bedroom, and we carried up a really heavy computer armoire from the basement. My house is still a disaster, but at least it is improving. And my bedroom is really much better organized!

Whoops, I forgot to put soap in the dishwasher (again!) Urg.

Well, I think I am going to go to the basement, turn on the Olympics there instead of the main floor, and set up a new bookcase so that we will be ready for the boxes and boxes of curriculum that are supposed to be arriving on Monday!

Oh, I forgot!

When I asked Melody to tell me why she disobeyed me, she said she didn't know, but it made Jesus sad. And I asked her what should happen to her now that she disobeyed me, to which she replied, "Be fired?"

If you are reading this from my blog and not a feed

Sorry for the messiness and lack of working links, trying to add a new custom template, and it is taking me some time to get it working properly! But I am not going to work on it anymore right now, there is a massive lightning storm outside, and with my luck today, I will fry my computer if I leave it on!

One of those days . . .

You know, one where if it can go wrong, it will be worse than you imagine possible? Yeah.

I was upstairs in the bathroom when I heard the microwave beeping every five seconds or so. My kids are NOT supposed to use the microwave, except once in a while I will ask Ainsley or Liberty to put something in the microwave for a specific amount of time. They know they are supposed to ask if they want something warmed up, and I have been teaching the older two how to properly used the microwave. So I called downstairs and found out it was Melody who was microwaving a corn bag. I asked to her to come upstairs, talked to her sharply about not using the microwave and told all the girls that they needed to stop using the microwave. Mel apologized and I thought that was the end of it.

About 2 hours later, I went outside to take out the trash, noticed a pretty flower blooming, and came in to get my camera. I went outside and took a few pictures, walked around to the front of the house, and came back inside when I saw and smelled smoke. Lots and lots and lots of smoke. Acrid, nasty, burned corn smoke. I came into the kitchen and saw it just pouring out of the microwave, heard the hissing and sizzling, and loud popping and cracking. It was disgusting. The smoke was making me gag and burned my eyes. I can still smell it in my nostrils over four hours later. And the house still smells just awful. I am sure the microwave is beyond repair. It has turned brownish yellow inside and outside on the vents. I have opened all the windows in the house to no avail. I have no idea how to get rid of this horrible stench!

Melody admitted that she had put the corn bag in the microwave for who knows how long. Our display was already broken, so you had to be extra careful when using the microwave that you didn't push the button one too many times. For some reason, she decided that she didn't need to stick around, so I never saw her put it in there. I am guessing it was in the microwave for over 10 minutes judging by the destruction.

Then I just had more and more little things go wrong the rest of the evening. My silverware drawer picked tonight to fall apart again. I busted a plate taking the cheese grater out of the dishwasher. I burned my knuckle taking biscuits out of the oven. I stubbed my toe on the kitchen island. My kids were uber cranky during dinner and just couldn't be bothered to be kind to one another. Honestly, they were all just lucky they survived 'til bedtime.

On the bright side, tomorrow couldn't possible be worse. Right?

Feeling thankful

I was able to go shopping by myself today at Walmart. I actually found fabric for a Dorothy dress for $1/yard! Such a deal! It was so nice to be able to drop off the girls and run an errand alone!

ooh, that was scary, poor Japan!

Once again, watching the Olympics and blogging. Starting to sound like a broken record!!

My crazy children were running through the sprinklers at 6 o'clock tonight. There certainly are not going to be many more days where they will be able to do that this year! We also got some great news that my dad is going to be able to visit us this weekend.

Tomorrow on the agenda: school, cleaning, laundry, food, grocery shopping.

Sorry for the stream of consciousness blogging, but that is that happens when I wake up on the couch and realize that I was sleeping instead of watching the Olympics!

Day 2 of COVA

Today we got our French curriculum online activated. Not sure how I feel about it yet. I think I like the Powerglide junior that we already own a little more. The stories and the voices are much easier to listen. And I am going to have to figure out how to get the girls to work on their french at the same time, because listening to the story twice each time might make me crazy!

We had a good time together today overall. Everything seems to be going fairly smoothly. I think I need to set up so that both girls are on the computer with headphones. It gets a little frustrating to go back and forth between the two rooms and the two computers. Perhaps as we settle in with the curriculum, Ainsley will be able to be more independent.

The art was fun again. Liberty drew her self-portrait today, and Ainsley drew a non-representational piece, loosely based on the designs of our hand carved African giraffe. We also completed another 2 lessons in math, some phonics, and a few other things.

Whoa, the news looks drunk . . .fix it please!!

Watched gymnastics again tonight, this time the girls. What a fantastic show. I cannot wait for the individuals and the all-arounds. And can I say how much I love love love Bela.

And now I really need to get some sleep. I think that school is going really well, and I am so pleased at how hard my girls are trying to get along, and to learn. Its adorable that they are having so much fun. I couldn't be more pleased. I think it is only going to get better once the rest of our supplies actually arrive. And as silly as it probably is, I am seriously considering turning the playroom into the school room, now that it is all set up as the playroom! I think I am loosing my mind. I just need to get my hiney in gear and finish the basement schoolroom!


As I almost miss blogging once again, I will have to blame it on the Olympics! Those male gymnasts!! Wow. And swimming. Amazing!!! Its just incredible.

But what I ought to be blogging about is our first day of school. I am now schooling a Kindergartner, Second Grader, and Fourth Grader. I cannot believe I am the mother of a fourth grader. I remember fourth grade so well. And while my fourth grader is a year and a half younger than I was when I was in fourth grade, it is still amazing to me. We started all of our COVA curriculum that was available to us online. We completed two days of Math, a little Language Arts, a lesson of History that Ainsley was able to do completely on her own, an Art lesson for each girl, and we sorted all of our new school supplies. The school room still isn't set up completely, but we worked quite a bit in the playroom, and that actually worked pretty well. I still have to think through how I want everything set up . . . Art was fun. Liberty sketched a garden scene and colored it in with crayon. Ainsley used a large mirror to sketch a self portrait and color it in with colored pencils. She read and followed all the instructions on her own, drew it completely on her own, and did a fabulous job. I will scan it tomorrow and add it to this post. She also told me how fun she thought school was, and that she really plans to work very hard this school year. I was very very proud of her. All three of them really. My biggest struggle is going to be occupying Melody without the help of COVA. Kindergarten requires so much one on one interaction, as does second grade, and since we aren't using K12 for Melody, I am once again creating my own K curriculum. And I have plenty to draw from, but I need to be better prepared in the morning setting her up with activities she can work on alone while I am working with her sisters.

And now I really ought to post and get in bed. Does it still count as posting every day if I post this at 12:02? I promise I started the entry at 11:40p.m. :)


Michael Phelps and the American 400m relay team were AMAZING. If you missed that race, you need to go and find it and watch it now. I was screaming in the living room cheering them on. I am quite sure they heard me all the way in China. Incredible. And the fact that even the fifth place team finished ahead of the previous World Record. Just WOW.

And the poor American girls gymnastics team. Bela said it well that at least now they have a mindset of coming to win from behind. I just don't envy them; they are going to really have to work hard to beat those Chinese girls. And the judges were really harsh, particularly on beam. Give me a break. I was also amazed by the 33-year-old gal who I remember watching in Barcelona when I was 15 and she was 17. Her vault was amazing, and she is still a powerhouse. I cannot wait to watch her in the individuals. Our girls could also take a few pointers in artistry from the Russians. They perform so beautifully; its like watching Nadia all over again. My girls are finally showing an interest in gymnastics, and I think Liberty could be really really good. So we may look into lessons for them after the New Year and after they complete 2 more months of Karate.

Church this morning was nice, especially sitting with friends. Even if I didn't know the songs, and even if I couldn't stop sneezing because someone nearby was wearing perfume I was allergic to ;) I loved the message, one of my favorite passages was the topic. Apropos for the Olympics, he talked about running the race, and that if we are Christians, we are in the race, and the only observers are already dead. I had other observations from the message I wanted to share, but my notes are in the basement, and I am sitting at the new desk in the playroom, in the new PINK office chair! I will have to share more thoughts tomorrow.

We went to Staples today looking for a specific item which I promptly forgot to look for once we arrived. But we got a cute pink steno chair for the playroom, and set up Liberty's computer on the corner of the desk in the playroom. I think it will give her a nice, quiet spot to do her schoolwork, as long as the toys are not a distraction! We will also be moving the desk that was in the basement up to our bedroom. Fortunately it is cherry colored and will match our bedroom furniture. I am going to use it for storage, and maybe a TV and DVD player. Right now all we have is a little 13" TV to put in it, but I am going to keep an eye out on Craigslist for a cheap, slightly larger TV since we gave my sister the 19" TV we used to have. We've never had a TV in our bedroom since Kev and I got married, but I thought it might be nice during the winter to sit in bed under our nice electric blanket and snuggle and watch movies when the basement is freezing cold!

Tomorrow we are starting school. Our COVA curriculum still has yet to arrive, but much of it can be done with printouts from the computer, so we will start there I will also count setting up the school room and introducing the girls to the new curriculum as part of our school time. Everyone knows in a brick and morter, the first week of school is all about getting to know the teacher, classroom, schedule, etc anyway, so I figure we will be well ahead of that by the end of our first week! And we can't actually start recording attendence 'til next week anyway.

And now I have to go finish folding and putting away laundry so I can actually go to bed before tomorrow!

My poor laptop

It is falling apart like crazy. I am waiting for a new peice to arrive, but I was just trying to open my screen a bit, and noticed it won't even open properly anymore!

Today, it as rainy again, but we let the girls go out and jump on the trampoline a bit for the first time in weeks. They had a good time, and it helped them get their wiggles out. Didn't do too much today otherwise. Played lots of board games, did a bit of baking, and cleaned around the house. Kevin got a haircut and worked out at the Y.

I am watching the Olympics now. Wow, those Chinese guys are good. And the guys on the USA team, a couple of them have biceps the size of CANTALOUPES! The guys that were in gymnastics at the gym I grew up in were never that buff, lol. (For some reason my spell checker just forgot how to spell never and said I spelled it wrong, weird.)

Still working on the criticism thing with my kids. I am reading chapter 2 of my book, while simultaneously re-reading You Can't Make Me; But I Can Be Persuaded by Cynthia Ulrich Tobias. It is a great book if you are a parent of a strong-willed child. I highly recommend it.

I am knitting a scarf while watching the olympics, and my girls want to learn how to knit. I think we will go to knitting club at the Y on Tuesday, maybe someone there can help them learn, as they seem to not like learning how to knit from me. For some reason, they ask me to teach them, and then run away aw soon as I set them up to learn! No patience for it I guess.

Ok, Michael Phelps is about to swim, time for me to go now.

Watching the Olympic opening ceremony

And to say it was amazing would be an understatement. Wow. I completely loved the opening ceremony of the Sydney games, and this ceremony was just incredible. The girls really enjoyed the beginning, and Ainsley got to stay up and watch most of the parade of nations as well. We munched on pizza and discussed geography, cultural differences, space, and sportsmanship.

It sure does make me want to travel more!

I have more I'd love to talk about, but I can barely keep my eyes open :P Remind me to blog earlier in the day when I am more capable of cohesive thoughts.

Rainy rainy day . . .

Wait, didn't I have a very similar title already? Well, today was rainy all day. It was damp when it wasn't raining.

It was actually quite lovely. It really hasn't stopped drizzling, and it has been cool and cozy. I would even almost welcome a fire in the fire place. I can see autumn coming, and its thrilling. I love fall. I love winter.

School is starting soon. We've purchased school supplies; I love the smell of new erasers! The girls got to meet one of the COVA teachers at the park yesterday. I had a nice chat with her, and she seems to really understand homeschoolers. I was wondering what the attitude of the "teacher" was going to be, and I was definitely pleasantly surprised. It would be nice if she were the teacher I ended up with!

In other news, I discovered (via a friend) phonezoo.com today. So fun! I have been searching through available ringtones and adding lots of crazy things to my phone. Highlights include the theme to The Office, The Funny Farm, Attack of the Killer Tomatoes, and various musicals. I also made of bunch of my own ringtones from my iTunes library. The best part is that it is super simple, and free! You can see my ringtones if you add me as a friend, my phone zoo name is Strawberree. Bonus points if you understand my user name!

I also cleaned a vast majority (or maybe just a large percentage) of the basement and the kitchen. We read lots of books, and discussed more about school. The girls are getting very excited about this new school venture. I think they are going to be thrilled when their books finally arrive!

Hmm, maybe I can convince my sweaty husband to watch a movie with me . . . He isn't always sweaty, he just got home from the gym. And we are going back again tomorrow together, which makes twice this week. (3 times for him) Oh, and just so you know, we make a pretty awesome Rockband. Maybe we will do that instead of watching a movie. Perhaps this time I will even let him play the drums. But he shouldn't count on it!

Why do My Little Ponies have hearts in their eyes, Mommy?

"I don't know, Melody, what do you think?"

"I don't know either. I have hearts in my eyes sometimes."

"Really? Wow, let me see!"

"I have hearts in my eyes when I see a boy that I like. . . Like Daddy."

". . . "

"Someday I will have hearts in my eyes when I see God and Jesus who I love."

Rain, rain, rain

The excitement for the day was a huge monsoon, complete with lightning and thunder directly overhead. The street flooded, and the yard got marshy. So fun.

Still working on less criticism, more patience. A massive tantrum was thrown this morning, and I kept my cool, held the child accountable, and eventually got the situation resolved peaceably. I am proud of my girls for working hard to get along together. Ainsley even cleaned the catbox today without a single whine. And she said she is going to try harder to remember to clean it every day so it stays nice and clean for Molly. She and I had a good snuggle tonight, and I was able to tell her how proud I was of her attitude and helpfulness today. I sure do love that kid.

Melody has been such a crankypants lately. I don't know what is up with her, but she is rubbing everyone the wrong way. I am trying to help her work through whatever it is, but, ugh, I have no idea what is going on.

Tomorrow we are going to the park to meet some of the COVA teachers. I was on the phone with K12 today trying to find out why we still don't have any curriculum. It normally arrives 2 weeks before school starts, and now it looks like it won't be here until a day or two before school starts. I would love more time to look over everything, so this stresses me out quite a bit. I am trying to have patience!

And why is it that I cannot bake anything at this altitude? Chocolate Chip Cookies are not as yummy when they are the consistency of toffee :P

Already almost missed a day!

But perhaps that is because there is like a whole lot of nothing to blog about today.

We sorted more stuff in the playroom, folded blankets and laundry, fussed about cleaning, and in general had a fairly typical day.

Melody and I had a super quick mini-photoshoot. She was Alice Through the Looking Glass. I am supposed to be sewing her an Alice costume for Halloween, but this was our makeshift version. A little gingham dress I made when Ainsley was around 2, and an pinafore from another dress. Mel loves these little mini-shoots :) The whole thing was cut a little short by the LOUD peals of thunder! But I got some shots I was pleased with, and it makes me want to start sewing her costume right away!

We also went to the gym and worked out, then promptly went to Wendy's to consume double the calories that we burned off. Oh well. All in all, a nice day, but I am ready to start in on a regular school schedule again.

Just call me Handy Manny

Or something like that :)

In the past two days I have: built/installed a desk system in the playroom, built a shelf for that desk, built a 9 cube organizer, installed a ceiling fan, installed a new light switch (which didn't shock me, but did shock Shawn! Whoops!), rearranged the playroom (again!), cleaned the kitchen, washed laundry, cooked meals, shopped, showered, brushed my teeth . . . and still had time for an impromptu visit and meal with friends. It has a been a full and productive weekend. I still didn't go shopping at Penney's though ;)

The girls LOVE the reorganized playroom. I have been considering selling the train table for quite some time now. It takes up a lot of space, and tends to become a clutter magnet, and doesn't get played with as often as I would like. This morning, Kev and I were awakened by the sounds of shuffling wood, cooperation, and choo-chooing. My big girls love to arrange and rearrange track, and we have MILES of it. I told them I would give them one more chance to show me that they could work together to keep the train table clean and tidy or it was going to have to find a new home. The novelty may wear off, but I enjoyed hearing them work and play together so nicely this morning.

The new desk was at times today: an art table, a nursery, a veterinary office, a neighborhood, and a store. I was told by each of the girls how much they loved the new table. It fills a whole wall, and gives them plenty of play space. We also drilled (with the hole saw, fun!) holes for cables so that lights, and possibly computers someday, can be used on the desk. Liberty asked several times if we could have school in that room. It might make a nice spot for her to work independently.

In other news, our grass does actually seem to be growing! I know, everyone is shocked. And no one is probably more pleased than our OCD neighbor who takes meticulous care of his own lawn. He probably hated having to look across the street at our barren wasteland. Or perhaps I am projecting. He is very nice, but I imagine we receive plenty of dirty looks from behind closed doors! The front yard is actually looking nicer than the backyard. Which is great because it means no one will call the neighborhood beautification police on us! But man I wish the backyard would be nice and lush so the girls would quit tracking in so much mud. Hopefully another week or so and it will fill in more like the front. I am sure everyone is sick and tired of hearing about my lawn, but I am feeling quite proud!!

Its almost time to switch the laundry from the washer to the dryer, and my husband would really like to watch a movie with me.

So far I am meeting my goal to post everyday. I would like to post at least once a day for the entire month of August. I think if I can do that, I might actually get into the habit of blogging, and have a nice journal to remember these fleeting moments!

Playroom shenanigans

It has been project after project around here lately! We started a reorganization of the playroom back at the end of March, and just today got around to really finishing it off. Even now, its not totally done because I need to find some new, taller chairs for the new desk we just built. But its a LOT more done than it was this morning. No longer does it look like a toy factory exploded in there! And I am sure I will find a lot more tweaking to do, including possibly adding a computer to the desk. We'll see . . .

But it sure feels good to get more organized. And as I listen to the sound of the sprinklers, I am thinking about how lovely the new little shoots of grass look in the yard! That was something I was really bothered about, having the ugliest yard in the neighborhood! Besides, having grass in the backyard is almost a necessity. I couldn't believe how much mud and dirt was being tracked into my house because the grass was dead!!

The girls were very helpful today too. Melody cleaned up the basement all by herself! They had turned half the basement into a library, and she stacked and shelved all the books :) Liberty cleaned and organized her room. She also helped me install the desk brackets. And she helped daddy return the movies we rented. Ainsley also cleaned her room, helped organize her closet, and helped daddy with the new school computer.

Ack, I thought everyone was asleep, but I hear crying. That's my cue to hit publish post!

8 Weeks to a Well-Behaved Child

I can't remember where I got this book by James Windell, but I know I got it when I had only 2 children, and my oldest was quite young. There has been a lot of fussing and fighting in my house lately, and I never want my children to grow up thinking Mommy and Daddy were mad at them all the time. So, I really want to work on my discipline style. Especially on keeping my voice low, and effectively letting my kids know I am disappointed in their behavior with just a look! So, we are starting this 8-week program, and I thought I should blog about the experience. We'll see where it goes!

The first week's homework assignment is two-fold. First, keep track of every time a critical remark is made to a child, watching for excessive anger and disappointment and keep a running tally of all negative and critical remarks made. Second, make a list of 10 things you like and appreciate about your child. "List the child's strengths, assets, good qualities, positive traits, and aspects of appearance, personality, or temperament that are likely to helpl rather than hinder him or her in life . . ."

So that is what I am going to record here for each child this week:

  1. Enthusiasm for life
  2. A love of reading
  3. Friendliness
  4. Sense of humor
  5. Very intelligent
  6. Passionate
  7. Innocent and trusting
  8. Innovative
  9. Persevering
  10. Imaginative and creative

  1. Steadfast and loyal
  2. Sensitive and tender
  3. extrememly dextrous and athletic
  4. Smart
  5. Funny
  6. Has a wonderful memory
  7. Extrememly observant
  8. A strong desire to be helpful
  9. Creative
  10. Kind to those in need

  1. Funny
  2. Adorable
  3. Smart
  4. Persuasive
  5. Persistent
  6. Considerate
  7. Kind
  8. Creative
  9. Playful
  10. Athletic
So that is the beginning, I will post week 2 in a couple of days, as we are already about halfway through week 1.

Anyone care to join me?

Water water everywhere

Let's see . . . I have been watering the new little seeds 3 times a day. We went to the YMCA to swim again, and the water play area was a blast!! That waterslide was so much fun! The kids had a great time, and probably never would have gotten out of the pool if we hadn't been forced to leave :)

Today, in just a few minutes, we are heading to the outdoor splash playground. This time about a million gallons of suntan lotion will be required! I am excited because I am meeting a long lost friend and her little boys, someone I haven't seen since I was probably 8 years old!

We are actually getting some little sprouts in the grass as well. I don't think we are going to get full coverage in the yard, but it should be better than it was before. Its been a good week, even if it has been a bit crazy.

I am SO very sleepy, I am hoping that the water will wake me up a bit :)