Tuesday, September 30, 2008

We interrupt this blog . . .

I have not had a chance to write in a while. I wish I could write about our week of school. Our fun trip to the Science Museum on Friday and how much fun the boys had. I wish I could spend a few minutes writing about how much I love Fall. I wish I could write about all of my favorite Feast Days of the Church happening this week. But, I cannot. My mind is a bit preoccupied.

Sunday baby A had a "fainting spell" (more involved than that, but I do not feel like writing exactly what happened). After a call to 911 and a visit from the paramedics, my little boy, who "came to" quickly, had to go to the ER to get checked out. We were there from about 6 PM till Midnight. After several tests and much waiting, I was told there were no major problems or concerns and we could go home.

Yesterday I had to take him to our pediatrician for a follow up appointment. I really expected our pediatrician to look at him, say all is fine and to send us on our way. That's why I felt a bit blindsided when he said he was very concerned about baby A's EKG and that there was something potentially serious on it. He said we needed to see a cardiologist as soon as possible, because, if what he saw on the EKG is serious and if he had another episode like he did on Sunday, it could be life threatening.

Since then, I have not been myself. I cannot stop thinking about baby A and I keep hoping and praying he will be OK. Not knowing for sure is the hardest. I keep looking at the calendar hoping today is Friday, the day we go to the cardiologist. In the mean time, I do not want to be away from him. When he is napping, I am uneasy until he wakes up. When we are in the car, I keep looking in the rear view mirror to make sure he is OK. I pick him up immediately when he cries, hoping he won't "faint" again. Sometimes I think I am being ridiculous. Worrying for nothing. But he is my baby. Mothers are allowed to worry, aren't they?

Luckily God sent me a few angels today. I went to go pick up my kids at a friend's house. She had another friend over and they were asking me about what happened. They, maybe unknowingly, gave me a little perspective.

Hopefully this week will fly by and Friday will be here soon. I am confident that God's hand is on that little boy and He will be with baby A.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Spidermen!!


Last week we went to our local Chick-fil-a. That particular night was Family Night. Kids get free kid's meals and they could get their face painted. Well, J and K wanted to be Spiderman. They were so cute. They ran around the play area "shooting webs". Joshua, who is normally shy, kept on wrestling with another boy who had his face painted like "the bad Spiderman".

Apples, Arrows, and Nature


It is hard to believe that we are already in week 5 of homeschooling. The days and weeks fly by and I now understand what many say when they say to treasure the time with your children because it will go by quickly. I guess that is why I am writing on this blog. So I can keep a journal about what we are doing. I look forward to the end of the year and review how far we have come.

I look forward to seeing J's progression. Last week we made a Nature Journal. At first, when I read that that would be a part of his work, I thought it a bit silly. He is 5, cannot write, and does not draw anything that is truly recognizable. So, on Friday, we put it together. Joshua was like a child on Christmas morning. I explained to him what he could do with it and what "Nature" meant. He could not wait to take it outside. As soon as it was done he took it outside and sat in the grass. He began to draw the clouds with his pencil. He also drew a cicada shell, a tree, and he collected leaves too. I labeled everything so that we could remember what it is. I loved watching him work. He was so serious as he studied the clouds . . . as if he wanted to capture them perfectly on the paper. I cannot wait to look back at this journal at the end of the year to see how his writing and drawing skills have developed.

This week we began to read the Apple and the Arrow. Once again, I was surprised. At first J did not want to read it. But, once he saw a picture of William Tell with his bow and arrow, he suddenly wanted to read as much of it as he could each day. I really like the Sonlight curriculum for the books it has as read alouds. They are books that I would not think to read J, yet he loves them. He is now fascinated with bows and arrows.

Overall, I am surprised at how much I like homeschooling. I like the rhythm of our days and how it adds to our family interactions. I like that, each day, I can see how J is growing in knowledge. I hope I feel this way at the end of the year!!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Keeping up with the Joneses

Several months ago I read a book called The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey . It is a great book about managing your money and getting yourself out of debt (He considers anything that is not your mortgage that you are paying on, debt . . . some people do not see it that way). In that book, he says to stop trying to keep up with the Joneses because they are probably broke.

For some reason that stuck with me. I have always struggled with the desire to keep "up with the Joneses". In Christian terms, let's call it what it is . . . sin . . . coveting your neighbors' things. I have wished I could have someone else's house, their car, their husband's salary. Thanks to reading Dave Ramesy and some grace from the Holy Spirit, I gained a great deal of peace in this area.

But, over the last few weeks, I have realized that this mentality, "Keeping Up with the Joneses," can be found in any area of life. Homeschooling is no different, except that it could be called "Having you kids keep up with the Joneses' kids." Truth be told, it is hard not to compare your child and what he or she is doing, or not doing, to other children you know.

Since I just started to homeschool this year, a common question that I am asked, or that I ask too, is "How is it going?" Usually, I go through what were are doing, the special things we have done and the things that Joshua likes (and not to mention, the things that I am most proud of). And, others I speak to, usually do the same. I am amazed by what others have accomplished with their children. How they can write. Recite things. Read things. I used to get upset and think I was not doing a good job when I heard these stories. I used to want to "Keep up with the Joneses."

Now, I have come to realize more and more, something that I knew, but did not always "Live out". My son is unique and God created him with special gifts that others may not have. And others have gifts that he does not have (it is the "Body of Christ" as mentioned in scripture). Realizing that has allowed me to let go of trying to keep up with what others do with their children and allow our family and each individual to move at their own rhythm and pace (After all, that is one of the blessings of homeschooling). It has been freeing.

Still, I sometimes need to mentally cover my ears and go "la, la, la" when someone is telling me all of the wonderful things that they have taught her child and what her child can do, but I can let go of it more easily and be confident that what we are doing here is growing the children that God entrusted to us in the way that is best for them.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Launchfest


This past Saturday, I took the boys to a special event at Goddard Space Center, called Launchfest. I originally had no intention of going. Matter of fact, I did not even know about it until about 11 AM on Saturday, after we had gotten back from CCD. I have been telling J that I would take him to Goddard for about a year now and this seemed like the perfect time to go. So, I got really excited and called my hubby (who had to work) to see if he thought I should go, by myself, with the three boys. He thought we should go (it is only one day a year after all). And I would be able to take the stroller, so I started to get ready to go. Right before we were going to leave, I started to lose my courage . . . take the three boys, by myself, to a place where there would be thousands of people??? Haul the stroller on and off a shuttle bus (with the three boys) just to get there?

. . . . Did I mention I would have the three boys by myself????

So, I asked J one more time if he really wanted to go. Usually I can count on my "home body boy" to say he wants to stay home, but not today. He was too excited.

Off we went. We got to one of the parking lots, and headed to the shuttle bus. I had told Joshua that when K was not in the stroller, I would need him to take care of K and hold his hand. And he did a great job! While I folded the stroller to get it on the bus, J held K's hand and walked him to the grass to stand. The bus driver put the stroller on the bus for me.

When we got on the grounds, we went through the visitors center. They gave us a huge booklet of all that was going on. There were tons of things to see there, unfortunately, most of it required hopping back on a shuttle bus, so we decided to just go to the things we could walk to. The boys got to see model rockets take off. They made straw rockets (I got to find that thing for J's school portfolio :) ) J got to launch a balloon rocket. We all got our photos taken as "astronauts". Plus the boys got cool NASA bags with goodies in them.

We stayed until in ended (4:30 PM) and headed back to the shuttle buses. Praise be to God, I happened to get the same bus drive, who, once again, helped me with the stroller!! By the time we got to the car, I was exhausted. Physically, from pushing J and K in the stroller and having A in the carrier on me all afternoon. And mentally too, from having "hawk-like" eyes on K every moment he was out of the stroller.

I am so glad we went. The boys we so good. They made me realize, once again, that they can rise to the occasion and be on their best behavior. It was so cute to watch them climb onto the bus hand in hand. J is such a good big brother.

We'll have to put Launchfest on our Calendar for next year!!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Cute K


We call him K for short. He loves being in front of the camera and is never bashful about getting his picture taken!!!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Monet, Picasso, they are not . . . ok, well maybe Picasso


Since starting to homeschool, I have really tried to do more "arts and crafts" with the boys. This is a stretch for all of us. I am not crafty and cannot think of any fun craft on the spur of the moment. And the boys, by their nature, do not like to sit long to complete a craft. So, when I read on another blog, about how to make sidewalk paint, I thought we had a winner.

So, this Wednesday, J and I made the paint while K was napping. I headed out with J and he began painting. Within minutes, K woke up and he was painting too. Now, I had a picture in mind of what they would paint. Both the blog that had the recipe on it and the blog that I found the idea on had pictures of beautiful paintings that the kids completed. Flowers. The Sun. What beautiful creation would my boys come up with???????


Well, within 5 minutes all the colors were mixed into a drab brown and it was splattered all over our porch. K then took his sandals off and began to wiggle his toes in it. J furiously tried to cover as much of the porch as he could in brown.

I am not quite sure what it was, but it was a unique masterpiece that only these two boys could create.

They had a great time and keep on asking when they can paint outside again

Saturday, September 6, 2008

2 down, 34 to go!

Weeks of school, that is.

Week 2 of homeschooling is complete and it went well. It was a shortened week with Labor Day on Monday and my "tutoring" at the homeschool tutorial on Tuesday. It was a bit hard to get into the groove on Wednesday.

By Thursday, I was already tired of doing workbook work for Math and Writing, so we headed outside to do a counting and adding "hop scotch" game. It was fun and even Caleb got in on it too! I think I may need to switch from the Miquon math to something else . . . Joshua likes the rods, but I am finding the rest of it tedious for his age.

Friday started off rough. I am realizing more and more that kids learn best what they like best. We started with our Bible reading and , to practice narration, I asked Joshua to tell me what we read about in his own words. He responded, "I do not remember". And no prodding or guidance could move him to say anything else. Next, a saint story . . . Mother Theresa. After reading it, I got the same response. By this time, I was quite upset and I was not sure where to go. But, we moved on and he completed all his other work well. He completed his handwriting lesson so well, he even started to teach his two year old brother!! Joshua was completing a page on writing the letter F. While he is writing, I make him say the strokes out loud, so that I know that he is completing it methodically. Well, Caleb sat down next to him and Joshua gave him a worksheet and a pencil and promptly told and showed Caleb how to write an F. Caleb even started to recite how to draw it while scribbling on the paper!! It was such a cute site to see. It gave me another reason to love homeschooling.

Finally, we ended with Science. It was a lesson on how wind is formed (something I "tutor" in Physical Science to 9th graders). Do you know, I can still ask him how it is formed and he can tell me almost word of word what he learned in the lesson!! He has got such an incredible mind and it seems like science is his subject of choice. I am glad that I got such a great science curriculum for him. I think it will help me to teach him the other subjects "through" science.

Overall, I was very content with the week. The days seem to fly by now and I am finding that I am still having a hard time getting everything else done around the house. The thing I miss the most is having quiet time to pray. I do pray throughout the day, but I really love to have quiet time to sit and pray and I have just not found that time yet. Hopefully next week I will go to bed earlier (no more Olympics or Political Conventions to keep me up!), and get up earlier for that time.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Just Keep on Rollin'


My baby hit a milestone yesterday, September 4th . . . He rolled!! Good Job Baby A!!

Floor Cleaner for Hire

My two year old was lying on the kitchen floor, pulling himself along by his hands. Who needs to scrub the floor with him around . . . maybe I should throw water on the floor and attach scrubbers to his shirt!

He can come to your house too (for a small fee)!!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Palin Power

I know, I know . . . the whole country seems to be "a buzz" with this topic. I guess I am just one of the crowd.

I guess, too, I am somewhat of a political junkie. Ever since my husband and I bought a house, my husband has read up on local, state and national politics (so, really, he has pulled me in). We have volunteered for numerous campaigns and my husband even worked for a senatorial campaign. We were not too excited about this presidential election. We really liked Ron Paul, but once McCain won the nomination, we resigned to being inactive with this election, although we planned on voting for him because there is no way we wanted Obama in the White house.

This changed when McCain picked Palin as his running mate. My thought still is, "Boy, that was smart. He now has picked up fans of the ticket, where he only had passive voters before. It worked." I really like Palin for many reasons. I like her toughness, her strong beliefs, her stance on abortion (and her uncompromising stance on it even when she has shared it with the press), and her track record as the Alaskan Governor. Plus, I like her because she is like me, a mom. She wears her baby in a sling to meetings. And you can tell, she genuinely loves her husband and family.

Last night, her speech was amazing. I was like a giddy child waiting for her to start. I could not wait to see her family too. The speech was well written and well presented. After the speech was over, it was so nice to see her face light up when her family came on stage and to see Palin take her baby and kiss him and say "That's my baby." I know I could not do what she does. I could not leave my children so much to work. And I thank God, that is not my call. But, I thank God that HE has given her the strength and the family the courage to do it.

So, I am a Palin supporter . . .

But a strange thing has happened too. I have never really like McCain's politics, but I must admit, I deeply respect him. I respect that he chose to serve our country in the armed services. I respect him for his bravery in Vietnam and as a POW. For that alone, he is more fit to be the president than Obama.