Monday, December 20, 2010

December 20


On break for the holidays. Season's greetings!

Monday, December 13, 2010

December 13

Many are celebrating the feast day of Saint Lucia today. It's significant to me for another reason. Though I was born in the states, my mother is St. Lucian and I lived there till I was 6. I spent the rest of my childhood and teenage years visiting my family there whenever possible. Today is St. Lucia's National Day. Today, we will light candles and bake bread among other things. Wren really loves this story about Lucia's generosity and we have already read it twice today. I think I will surprise the kids with some Lucian food for dinner.

Friday, December 10, 2010

December 10

I've done a few things recently in an effort to enhance my daily rhythm and streamline things at home. First, I started menu planning. Using alliteration, we gave each dinner night a cutesy meal name. For instance, we have Meatball Mondays and Focaccia Fridays. The kids love knowing what we're going to have and I love not having to figure out what's for dinner at the last minute. I do about two weeks' worth of grocery shopping at once, filling in with fresh fruit, veg, and milk as needed. We eat out less this way b/c I'm prepared.

The second thing I did was to buy each family member a different color towel and washcloth. I read about a variation that called for a bias tape loop attached to same color towels. That wouldn't work for us b/c everyone would claim they didn't see the loop, couldn't tell what color it was, etc. Now, no one will "accidentally" use my favorite towel and then crumple it up in a corner for me to find still damp a few days later. Ahem.

The most recent change was to our school schedule. We are not going to do every subject every day. L suggested it and really, as simple as it seems, I had a revelation. I'm going to make two week plans just like I've been doing with dinner. The first week, we will concentrate on Math/Social Studies on M/W/F and Language Arts/Science on T/T. We will reverse that the second week. The kids will continue to journal and play math games daily, so they will never have a day without math or language arts. I'm also staggering lessons. I noticed Robin works best before his sibs are up, so we try to get his work done first, then Wren, then Finch. Already, things are...I don't know how to describe it. Lighter? More fun? I no longer feel bogged down by our work load. I've also lightened up on Finch, letting him do as he'd like. If he wants to read the same Bob book every day, fine. If he doesn't want to Explode the Code, fine. I don't blame him, I find it pretty dry myself. That was also L's suggestion. I think my husband is a homeschooler at heart. An unschooler even!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

December 8

Yarn Along {inspired by Ginny}



We're headed to NYC soon and the baby needs some cute new winter accessories. On the hook is a Brrr baby beanie. I can't believe this is going to be the first hat with earflaps I've ever made! I plan to add a little flower on the side. I'd forgotten how much I love to crochet and the almost instant gratification it provides. The yarn is some mystery yarn that I've had forever. I'm going to make a pair of matching mittens too as the last pair I made is way too small.

I'm still reading and loving Trust the Children. A conversation with L last night helped me to realize I need to change my approach when it comes to teaching math. I mentioned that our social studies and science lessons which are much shorter than our math lessons seem to "stick" with the kids more. We use a combination of videos, hands on material and a smidge of bookwork for those subjects while math is mostly worktexts. I was flipping through Trust the Children and came across several ideas we are going to try right away.

Friday, December 3, 2010

December 3

I've seen this on some homeschool blogs and decided to keep a little list this week so I can make myself feel like we've accomplished something. Heh.

Language Arts


Math
Science

Social Studies


Chanukah
two years ago
  • Dec 1 marked the 55th anniversary of Montgomery Bus Boycott. We discussed passive resistance, racism, segregation and did an activity from Teaching Tolerance.
  • Dec 1st was also World Aids Day. We talked in simple terms about HIV/AIDS.
  • Even though we know a bit about Hanukkah having an immediate member of the family who celebrates, we read a little more about its history.
  • We played listening games b/c when no one is listening, things can get nuts pretty fast. We played a "hot potato" type game where I counted out musical and they passed the "potato" on different beats. I think I read about it in Trust the Children. We also played Simon Says (I bet I could get them all out...and I did eventually!).
Notes for the week:
  1. Despite saying that I was opting out of all activities this spring, it looks like we're joining a small co-op. Open mouth, insert foot. Story of my life.
  2. I am considering switching Wren's math program to something requiring more instructor input and less mental math. I'm surprised to see she needs so much guidance when I thought Robin was the one who would need the help!
  3. My printer had a fit and decided to reject an ink cartridge that was already in use. Seriously? Maybe it just couldn't handle the now daily usage that comes from us being homeschoolers. I'm in the market for a laser printer anyway.
  4. I planned on buying a large world map...until I found one in my closet!
  5. I'm also in the market for some "all-in-one" language arts and I think Writing Tales will fit the bill!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

December 1

Yarn Along {inspired by Ginny}



I started this scarf as a holiday gift for my step-dad last year when I was pregnant with Lark. It's the scrunchable scarf, but for some reason, I've got k1p2 instead of k2p1. Who knows what was going on in my pregnant brain! Anyway, after learning about the minimalist knitter's handbook via Rockin' Granola, I decided it was time to either frog or finish all my outstanding projects. This went into the finish pile. I wish I had noticed that I switched patterns after picking it back up before doing 5 inches of work. *sigh* So, I frogged again, and this is where I am now. As for the book (How Did You Get This Number), I've been on the library waiting list for this book forever. I loved her last book and this one is just as funny.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

November 28

A new model of public education - I found this quite interesting as the high school I attended practiced some of the ideas mentioned.

The easiest and best curriculum - I would love to be this relaxed but...

'Ready to Learn' Equals Easier to Educate

Saturday, November 27, 2010

November 27

So we just finished up our 30 day trial of Time4Learning. I really liked having it in my first days as a homeschooling mom. It was especially useful for the times I was overwhelmed before I started to get my lesson plans together. Everything is organized by category so the kids can just log in and start working without any problems. I liked that I could set time limits for their work so that they didn't spend too much time online. The older kids really enjoyed it. Robin's favorite part was the Language Arts section. The wry humor used throughout was right up his alley! I think that worked against him in Math though as he enjoyed the funny stuff so much, I don't think he was paying much attention to the lessons. He was able to go back and continue to work on each until he understood though. I do wish the Science and Social Studies was as interactive as Math and Language Arts, but that didn't seem to be a problem for my kids. I heard Wren telling her brothers about her science lesson one day in the car on the way to swim. Loved that. I would continue to use Time4learning if my budget allowed as the cost is quite fair and I find it to be useful. Overall, I liked the program and would recommend it as a supplement or a even as a full program if you have a kid that loves working online.

I was invited to try Time4Learning for one month in exchange for my candid review. The compensation received will never influence the content, topics or posts made in this blog.

Monday, November 22, 2010

November 22

We haven't made it to any homeschool park days. We're skipping the homeschool P.E class too. Spring co-op sounds lovely, but we'll have to pass. You see, I've decided that while we're getting things up and running, we're going to keep the home in homeschool. One of our major motivations for homeschooling was to be able to spend free time together as a family. When the kids were in public school, even the empty calendar days were full. So though getting together with other homeschoolers and networking would be wonderful, it's just not a priority right now. We can't have any enrichment until we have the basics down, IMO. And the basics include a lot more (laughing, playing, movie nights, and read-alouds). All together.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

November 18

Besides homeschooling, I recently did another thing I have wanted to do for years. I took our family photo early enough that I will not have to scramble to send out holiday cards! Holiday cards and I have a complicated history. I always want to sent them out, but it doesn't necessarily happen. September comes along and I think, eh, I've got plenty of time! Then October and I think, oh, it's just Halloween. Next thing you know, I'm putting up decorations and getting fabulous cards in the mail and I have lost the will to handle my own. Something else than can be an issue for me is finding a seasonal card rather than a Christmas card. You see, I'm agnostic and celebrate the Solstice. My husband is a Christmas loving Buddhist. Then there's my Catholic mom and Jewish step-dad...and well, you get the picture. I'm part of a multi faith family, so it's important that anything I send out reflect that.

That's why I love this section over at Shutterfly. Now the biggest problem I'm going to have is choosing a design! This Holiday Window Card is Wren's favorite, but they are wearing so many colors in the photos I took, I fear there might a color explosion if I chose that card. I think the Mod Ornaments card is my fav, but I don't know if there is enough room to put our photo in without some faces being obscured. I love that I can just drag and drop to find out. The Love & Joy Christmas card really speaks to me because of the sentiment. After all, isn't it what everyone wants for the holidays?

I'm getting some gift ideas over at Shutterfly as well. L is almost harder to shop for than I am and I think he would love one of these wall calendars in his new office. So it looks like I'm going to win the holiday card battle this year after all.

This post is a sponsored post by Shutterfly. Bloggers, get 50 free holiday cards from Shutterfly.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

November 17


I've been waiting for us to have a "normal" week so that I could write about it. Newsflash: There is no normal. In an effort to make myself feel like we are doing things The Right Way, I forgot that we are also living our lives. We might do a little school on Sunday so we can spend the day with L on Monday. Or we take a long break in the middle of the day to grocery shop and go to the library. So what? I'll just call those a half day and math & language arts field trip. Heh. If the kids are doing well and we are all happy, that's all that should matter, right? In theory, but remember, I'm still sort of hung up on doing things The Right Way. I am constantly worried that my kids will not do well during end of the year testing causing a downward spiral of homeschool probation (yes, such a thing exists in my state) and CPS investigations. That's the way my paranoid little mind works. And I wish more homeschoolers would talk about that. The fear that first timers or even long time homeschoolers may have about screwing it up. BUT, I see things. Little things. The way Robin breezed through three pages of word problems and explained them to me with ease. He's never done that before. The discovery during spelling that he loves crossword puzzles. The realization that he is a better student when he works first (before his sibs are up) and alone. The things I never knew when he was in public school. The things that let me know that, hey, this may be working...we made the right choice.

    Tuesday, November 9, 2010

    November 9

    Today:



    egg salad
    • We played cool math games.
    • Robin helped me fry plantain.
    • I downloaded some blank lesson plans.
    • We revised yesterday's writing.
    • I was encouraged by conversations with two friends.
    • Finch read to me.
    • Wren and Robin played soccer in the yard with the baby (still happening).
    • I signed up for the JASON science site.
    • We watched a video about Pilgrim life.

    Monday, November 8, 2010

    November 8


    Finch and Wren at work

    In trying to avoid a rookie mistake by buying tons of curriculum, I've bought almost nothing.  Well, that's not entirely true. We do have Math Mammoth, a new dictionary, some Spelling Workout books, Learning Grammar Through Writing, and You Can Teach Your Child Successfully: Grades 4-8. And honestly, I think we could do without the last two! There are a couple more practical items (like a detailed world map) that I'd like, but I'm sure we could do without them if necessary.

    I'm finding that we already have most everything we need to successfully go about our days. Just like in other areas of our life, I'm realizing that we don't need more "stuff" to have a better experience. I am using Lesson Pathways as a guide for Language Arts. We already have most of the books used for the reading selections and those we don't have, we'll get from the library. I just couldn't decide on a formal language arts curriculum and now, I'm glad I couldn't! I love being able to choose what will work best for each child and that there are so many options available without me spending a dime.

    A friend told me about this cool notebooking thing her kids are doing for science and we're going to try it...whenever we get around to science! We haven't done that or history yet, but I bet we could get by with the "educational material" that we've collected over time. Art plays a huge part in our lives, so I also bought The Usborne Art Treasury which I thought would be a cute way to re/introduce famous works of art to the kids while incorporating something they know and love.

    So far, the only downside I can see to piecing things together like this is lesson planning! I'm going to have to start doing that soon so that things run more smoothly. Already, I feel like I'm trying to play catch up when it comes to planning. I've already said "let me just get through this week and then..." a couple of times. And it's not that I want the week to be over, it's just that we are so busy living that I haven't had the time. But I will. Just let me get through this week...

    Thursday, November 4, 2010

    November 4

    It's been such a busy week that I haven't really had any time to write. We are traveling and have some family events happening so things are hectic. I did get letters from the school division on Monday basically saying that they had received our NOIs. Apparently I didn't screw those up. So, yay! I guess we're really official now....

    Monday, November 1, 2010

    November 1



    Lark was a spider for Halloween. Her costume wasn't this good. This one lives in our backyard.

    Friday, October 29, 2010

    October 29

    Weekend links:

    FIMBY: Homeschool philosophy and practice I'm pretty much inspired by anything Renee writes.
    Very, Very fine: those who can't teach Hilarious take on homeschooling and pseudo crunchy parenting
    Organically Inclined: Those perfectly homeschooled children

    Thursday, October 28, 2010

    October 28

    I love to read and to do research, so it wouldn't come as a surprise to anyone that I've read a little about homeschooling too. I read The Home School Source Book last year which was um...interesting. The authors share a few of my views (attachment parenting, natural family living) but I could've done without reading their religious, racial, and political views. I bought it mainly based on the above mentioned shared views, but found it dated. I can see how it might have been a handy resource 15 or more years ago before the internets was huge.

    I started The Three R's by Ruth Beechick this week. I haven't gotten very far into it, but I really like her no nonsense, no curriculum needed ideas about K-3 education. I totally want to be Zen and just believe that I don't need any more tools than the ones I already have to teach my children. But then I go on the WTM forums and that all goes out the window...

    I also paged through Seven Times the Sun: Guiding Your Child Through the Rhythms of the Day as I'd been wanting to read it for a while. In AP circles, the term "Waldorf" gets thrown out a lot. So, many of the ideas in the book I was already familiar with (family rhythms) or practice myself (blessings and/or recitations before or during activities). I did learn a few new blessings which was nice, but I think this would be better book for a parent with a very young child (under two) who knew virtually nothing about Waldorf and/or needed tremendous guidance. I'm not really a "by the book" parent. In fact, I read an article recently that mentioned that while you may read parenting books, babies sure don't!

    Today, I started Trust the Children: An Activity Manual for Homeschooling and Alternative Learning which I picked up at the library yesterday. I already love it. I rarely buy books anymore, but I'm going to purchase this one for sure. Kealoha starts out with an explanation of her own background as a homeschooler/alternative schooler. She goes on to mention everyone from Dewey to Neill in a short (two page) history of alternative education. I find her proposed educational utopia wherein schools become year round public learning centers akin to libraries where children can come and go as they please a fascinating and wonderful idea. That's as far as I've gotten. Lillian Jones has a much more thorough review here.

    Wednesday, October 27, 2010

    October 27

    "This is Blahblahblah Elementary school...nothing is wrong." Um, not really what you want to hear when you answer a call from your kids' former school. Apparently, I hadn't signed some form. It had nothing to do with homeschooling. I was still anxious about going up there though. I was worried that it would be some kind of trap in which I would be forced to meet with the principal and explain myself.  Yes, I am paranoid...and a huge chicken.

    I thought I would miss the school once we started homeschooling. But I haven't. The truth is, I never really felt comfortable there for a lot of reasons. Now our school is the park, the library, the car, our dining room table or sofa. It feels right so far. And in the end, revisiting Blahblahblah Elementary wasn't as hard as I thought.

    Tuesday, October 26, 2010

    October 26

    Today is a little hectic, but that's o.k. I stayed up way too late last night and woke up way too early this morning. We've done a little math and a little language arts, but what we (I) needed most was to get outside. So, we went to the library. It's amazing how much a 30 minute outing can do. I feel energized but relaxed and the kids are thrilled with their new book discoveries as usual. They are heavily into graphic novels right now with Babymouse, Kit Feeny, and the new (to us) Geronimo Stilton being their favs. We'll "do more school" later. After all, flexibility is one of the great things about homeschooling. With that said, I'm going to curl up with some of my homemade granola...
    granola squares

    and The Three R's!

    Monday, October 25, 2010

    October 25

    Our day so far:
    • Early morning spent playing soccer in the yard (Daddy & Robin cut the grass yesterday)
    • Read aloud time for Robin and Wren.
    • Vocabulary and spelling words based on unfamiliar words from read aloud time.
    • Tears brought to you by the letter "P" which Finch has a hard time writing.
    • Fractions.
    • Too many sentences beginning with "I".
    • Division.
    • Hot Wheels.
    • Me loving Math Mammoth.
    • Time4learning. Much more fun than that pesky letter "p".
    • Breakfast...
    • again...
    • Snack...
    • again...
    • And in the background, nursing. Always nursing.

    Saturday, October 23, 2010

    October 23

    Every person we have told about homeschooling has brought up socialization. It wasn't something that ever occurred to me would be an issue. My kids had a few school friends, but they were all just that: school friends. The only time they would really spend with those kids were a few minutes during P.E. and sometimes lunch (and then only if they were in the same class as they were not permitted to talk across tables). We're lucky enough to live on a street chock full of kids. There is a knock at our door nearly every day after traditional school is out asking if my little birds can come out and play.  It's not unusual for my kids to spend two or more hours outside on a daily basis playing and exploring a nearby field and "woods". My door slams a few times an hour as they go in and out with bikes, toys, scooters, blankets and snacks. The large, active homeschooling/attachment parenting community here also organizes many events and park days. The only thing preventing us from attending was school! On top of that, Wren is a Girl Scout, the kids all swim, and the boys usually participate in fall/spring sports. So, yea, I think we've got that pesky socialization issue covered.

    Friday, October 22, 2010

    October 22

    Last night I dreamed that the kids hated homeschooling and asked to go back to public school. In the dream, I did the walk of shame through the school and could practically feel the superiority of the staff and the teachers. They knew I would fail. This dream came about b/c of a conversation I had with L right before I went to bed last night. I told him that more than anything, I fear won't be able to teach Finch, our 5 y/o, how to read. The older kids and I love reading, we have tons of books in the house, and we go to the library at least once a week. But I feel I don't know how to translate all that into teaching. We've been doing the free trials at Headsprout and Reading Eggs, but frankly, he finds those boring. He has asked that I teach him instead. So next up is The Ordinary Parents Guide to Teaching Reading which I requested from the library. Today is our last weekday of "free time" before we jump into working from a curriculum on Monday. We're planning on doing a science experiment and DD Wren is going to do some research on Siberia which we heard a little about on NPR this morning. I definitely love being to learn about something when we feel like it without time limits or expectations and I know the kids do too.

    October 22

    I've been invited to try Time4Learning for one month in exchange for a candid review. My opinion will be entirely my own, so be sure to come back and read about my experience. Time4Learning can be used as a homeschool curriculum, for afterschool enrichment and for summer skill sharpening. Find out how to write your own curriculum review for Time4Learning.

    Wednesday, October 20, 2010

    October 20

    Things got better on Monday. We met up with some other homeschoolers and my kids went letterboxing for the first time. I got to learn more about the co-op I'm interested in for the kiddos from a few people that are actually members. I woke up this morning without the butterflies I've had in my stomach for the past couple of days.

    Yesterday, I gave the kids some math placement tests even though I know we're technically supposed to be deschooling right now. They are both about a grade level behind in math. And these are "honor roll" students. Damn that Everyday Math! I picked up Wren's remaining school supplies and got a sweet encouraging email from her teacher which was nice. We went to the library which is one of the kids' favorite places to go. They were thrilled to go in the middle of the day and promptly came home and spent a couple of hours reading. Love that. I spoke to my mom about everything that we're doing and she told basically told me that she supported me as she knew I was doing what I felt I needed to. She did the same for my brother and I when I was growing up. She was a fierce advocate and activist and still is.

    I've made decisions about all our curriculum (curricula??) except for language arts for Robin (5th grade) and Wren (3rd grade). The breakdown is as follows:

    Math: Math Mammoth for Robin & Wren, Singapore Math Essential Math Kindergarten for Finch
    History: Story of the World 
    Science: R.E.A.L. Science Odyssey
    Language Arts: ?? for Robin & Wren, Headsprout for Finch
    Art: Our normal weekly family art days & museum trips
    P.E.: The kids take swimming and we are thinking of taking another class
    Music: Undecided, they may learn new instruments

    I'm also going to supplement with Lesson Pathways which is awesome and free (!) as needed.

    Monday, October 18, 2010

    October 18

    It's done. Everything is filed. Filing the NOI was surprisingly easy. I did it in person and made sure to get a receipt. I then went over to the kids' school to withdraw them all. The staff was a little surprised but told me they would notify the teachers. I plan to send each of their teachers an email and we'll be picking their things up after school today. I feel a lot of things but what I feel most is fear. The fear has risen from the pit of my stomach to my head and my ears are throbbing right now. It's the fear that has prevented me from doing this for so long and I'm just going to swim in it for a little while. Not helping is the fact that my mother is against us homeschooling. She hasn't said it, and would never say it, but I can tell by her tone she isn't pleased. My mother and I are pretty close. Having her "on my side" so to speak is important to me. However, we are going to do this, regardless of the opinions of others. And with that, we're going to go meetup with some friends at the park today and try to forget about all that!

    Sunday, October 17, 2010

    October 17

    I was up till 3 this morning cleaning house. For some reason, I really feel like I need the house to be perfectly spotless before we start homeschooling. As if a floor free of play-dough will somehow be the key to our academic success. I managed to tackle downstairs, and today I'll help the kids with their rooms. It's not just homeschooling that brought this on. With the holidays around the corner, I am trying to prepare for the deluge of toys that will inevitably enter our home in December. My children are the only grandchildren on both sides and are lucky enough to be loved by and receive gifts from quite a few people. On top of that, baby Lark will celebrate her first birthday two days after Christmas. So, yea, my house tends to look like a toy store at that time even though L and I buy almost nothing for them. This year, if anyone asks what they'd like, I'll recommend museum memberships and classes. Those won't have to be purged and I'm sure will provide many more awesome memories.

    Saturday, October 16, 2010

    October 16

    Perfectly fine. That's how our public school year was going so far. Sure, my kindergartner experienced some bullying, ate cheese balls at snack time more than once and got sick in the first two weeks of school, but other than that...everything was going o.k. One day this week, L came home early and so was able to help the children with their homework. He was astounded by what they didn't know. He felt they were memorizing things to be tested rather than learning information they would retain.

    At that point, I knew I couldn't do it anymore. Our afternoons were always extremely stressful with me sometimes spending three to four hours on homework with Robin who is in fifth grade. I lost my patience, there were tears, lots of breaks, and always frustration. I didn't want to spend my evenings being the enforcer when I knew my kid should be outside playing after spending 6 hours in a classroom. I thought, if I am spending this much time on "homework", my kid could just be at home. The plan was always to homeschool, but when the time came for Robin to start formal schooling, I was too scared. So instead, I sent him to school and boy, did we have some experiences. He was given a half day of in school suspension for eating another child's snack (the principal's child) in the second grade. He was bullied in the fourth. I fought the schools and the staff. Sometimes, I did nothing.

    Wren fared somewhat better, I guess. In first grade, her teacher asked me if we had any books at home. Then a classmate told my little six year old girl that she didn't like black people. When I told her we would be homeschooling, she cried. Said she would miss her very very nice teacher. I asked her what else she would miss about public school. "Events."

    Finch has only been in school for six short weeks but has already been called names and was afraid to stand up for himself for fear of getting in trouble. He is one of the wittiest kids I know and I really worried about putting him in public school. I worried it would break his spirit. I don't think he's going to miss it much.

    A few months ago, when I was certain I would not send them back this school year, I went to a homeschool park day and someone remarked that they'd heard that most people want to live in my neighborhood b/c of the good schools. I guess. But I can't shake the feeling that my kids are just being passed through. And that bugs me. Especially since I am raising children of color.

    On Monday, I will be filing my Notice of Intent (to homeschool) and withdrawing them from public school. And so it begins...

    Tuesday, September 7, 2010

    September 7

    Today is the first day of school. Nine months ago, I felt sure that school would take place at our dining room table come fall. However, due to the moderate postpartum depression I experienced after Lark's birth, L and I decided that for now, public school is the best place for them. There is almost nothing more important to us than their education.The mental health of their mother is paramount to them getting the best education. So, while I feel somewhat sad that things haven't turned out exactly the way I planned, I'm glad my children are learning in an environment that works for all of us.

    Friday, September 3, 2010

    September 3

    This morning I woke up to the beautiful rain and we decided we would take the kids to breakfast. I fell and twisted my ankle while holding Lark. She's fine, thankfully. After eating, we decided to run some errands, but our car decided to be troublesome instead! So, my weekend has been rearranged. It's not so bad though. I'm going to spend a lot of time on the couch vegging out, something I rarely do. I keep telling myself things could be a lot worse than having my family to wait on me hand and foot while I order in dinner. Right?

    Thursday, September 2, 2010

    September 2



    Hurricane Earl is headed our way and though we probably won't be hit directly, we are expecting a lot of rain since we are on the coast. The kids are always thrilled but terrified whenever storms head our way. I remember being quite afraid of storms as a small child. I spent the early part of my childhood on an island and my older relatives would tell teasing stories about houses swapping roofs during hurricanes and such. I sneaked an episode or two of the twilight zone late at night too and somehow combined those two fears. I'm better now. I love even the most intense rain and generally enjoy weather most people consider gloomy. I find it the perfect time to stay inside and cuddle up with a good book and some knitting. I plan on doing that tonight.

    Wednesday, September 1, 2010

    September 1

    This year, I swore I would not be scrambling a few days before school started to find all the school supplies. So, I bought everything back in July according to the lists that went out at year's end. I knew the teachers might change them a little, but I figured I had it covered. Cut to today, me in Target frantically searching for the right size, color, and type of each item still needed. There were about 3 items left on the school supply shelves. I came away with just a fraction of the things we still need. So, tomorrow, I get to hit up some more stores to make sure we have it all. I would gladly pay the school a supply fee for them to just have this stuff ready when the kids come in on the first day. Forget wrapping paper sales, school supplies could be the PTA's big money maker!

    Tuesday, August 31, 2010

    August 31

    To me, the new year really begins in September. There's back to school, the changing seasons, the lead up to the holidays... Everything feels fresh and new, from the smell of freshly sharpened pencils to the crunch of leaves underfoot. With those things in mind, and since my kids are headed back to school next week (yay!), I'm setting some New Year's resolutions:


    1.  I will get out of my computer chair and into the gym. I ripped out an article from Family Circle magazine (recently got a subscription dirt cheap and actually love the recipes) about 6 weeks to a 5k and I'm starting on the first day of school!
    2. I'll learn to use my camera on manual. I've been saying this for over a year now, and I've finally reached the point where I need to be able to focus manually. 
    3. I'll invest in quality clothing. I have to stop going on crazy $5 t-shirt binges and buy some grown up clothes.
    4. I'll make more of an effort to make friends before complaining that I don't have any. I'm just coming out of a 6ish month long PPD fog and am new to being a sahm in my area and I am so lonely!
    5. I'm going to make time to volunteer. I used to coach my kids' sports teams with L and even though I don't love sports, I actually did enjoy running around the various fields after 4-8 year olds. While I don't know if I'll be able to coach, there has to be something else I would like.
    That list doesn't seem so bad, does it? I'm going to make a note on my google calendar for a month from now to give myself a resolution checkup!

    Wednesday, July 14, 2010

    July 14

    albert

    Meet Albert, Wren's pet rolly polly. He lives in the garden, is the eldest of 6 and his parents are frequently away. He enjoys mudwrestling and crawling.

    Tuesday, July 13, 2010

    Saturday, July 10, 2010

    July 10

    My oldest child, Robin, turns 10 in three days. We have been traveling since school let out a few weeks ago and so I haven't really had the chance to put together a party like I wanted to. We are gifting him with an activity and a trip, but I still wanted to make some new decorations for him. The result of reading too many party blogs. Yesterday, after asking him for the millionth time about some minor detail, I realized he didn't care. I made him a birthday banner and crown years ago, and he has enjoyed both immensely ever since.

    A banner for my oldest son's 6th birthday!

    Why was I running myself ragged trying to make things just so when he is happy with what he has? Today, I am letting go. I am deleting projects from my delicious and email that I know I will never complete. Those include:

    A super fancy mobile for the crib Lark barely sleeps in.
    A handmade duvet for Wren who is content with the one that came from Ikea.
    A beach blanket. I saw some cute ones at Target that will fit the bill.
    A vegetable garden. Not going to happen this year. I finally have to admit, finding creepy crawly critters like snakes and salamanders had me a bit shaken, and so I'm leaving that alone for now.

    Thursday, June 3, 2010

    June 3

    Making me happy today:

    • A chance conversation in the parking lot of Trader Joe's about favorite local yarn shops.
    • Making a dinner favorite in a new way.
    • My new tea towels...

    Tuesday, June 1, 2010

    June 1


    Trying to find my voice again.