Sunday, August 31, 2008

A fun filled weekend!

It started Friday afternoon with the homeschooling monthly bowling activity. Annalee bowled and had a great time until the shoes started hurting her feet. Michael would rather sit and read instead of bowl.

Then Friday evening we went to Grandma Shelia's apartment and swam for awhile. Everyone had fun there!

Saturday we went back to Grandma Shelia's apartment for a birthday party for Ashley. The kids loved that! I think I found the cookie cake I want for my birthday. The icing was soooooooo yummy! I cannot believe I enjoyed it more than Great American Cookie Company! I thought there was no cookie cake that could compare to their's!

What a beautiful cake! It was awfully rich, but was beautiful! The cookie cake was out of this world!

The birthday girl blowing out her cool, sparkling candles!

Michael holding Bella. She loves her big brother! I think he loves her quite a bit, too! :)

Is it so hard?

Disclaimer: This is only my opinion!!! One of the most important lessons to teach our kids is that if you cannot say something nice, do not say anything at all. There are some people that will tell you to ignore hurtful things that are said, but I do not believe it is our place to ignore those things. I believe more parents should teach their children to think about how your words are going to affect others. There are adults that will verbally abuse children every chance they get. I believe people that are enabling them are just as bad as the abuser. It hurts to stand by and watch someone say hurtful things to someone. Yesterday we heard somethings that we were not meant for our ears. It is hard to respect someone(that is leading a Bible study) and take what they share to heart when they seem to be constantly talking about others behind their back. I think I am a little naive at times and think that maybe they do not realize how hurtful they are being to others. It is hard to see a family torn apart because of someone saying hurtful things. But at the same time I have to realize that the one complaining about the family not being close is the one that is causing all of the hurt feelings. It's hard to sit by and watch and I really wish someone would tell her what she's doing. It's a hard call, though, because once words have been spoken they are out there and cannot be taken back.

Friday, August 29, 2008

The Five Love Languages

Ernie and I read this book a couple of years ago. We were both trying to understand each other better. This book describes the five love languages in detail. It explains that you might think you are showing your love to your spouse, but he/she might not be receiving it because you are not speaking in his/her love language. Until we took Terra's The Way They Learn class at the mini conference, I had never thought about what the kids love language is. So, on the way home we asked the kids what their Daddy and I do that makes them feel the most loved. Or when do they feel the most loved by us. The choices were: quality time(doing something together as a family), gifts(receiving presents), words of affirmation(being told good job or we are proud of you), physical touch(hugs, cuddling) or acts of service(doing things for them). Both of the kids were quick to say quality time is the most important thing to them. It is also my love language. I feel the most loved when I am spending time with the people that mean the most to me. When Ernie and I were newlyweds that was one thing that we argued about a lot. Quality time is not his love language, so he did not understand when I would scream and cry and tell him "you never spend time with me"! I didn't want gifts, I just wanted time. I think it makes it easier to meet the kids love language since it is the same as mine. I want to make memories and take pictures with us and the kids. When Joel preached on Thirty Days to Live it really opened my eyes. None of us know how many days we have on this Earth. My number one priority is to make the most of what time I have with my husband and kids. They are the most precious things in my life. They are such a blessing, a gift. I hope they know that there is nothing in this world more important than them.

The Golden Rule

Have people forgotten what this is? Is it so hard to try to live by it? The key word is try. I am far from perfect, but I do try to live by the golden rule. I try to think things through before saying them. I do slip up at times and say hurtful things, but I do try. It is a struggle some days to make myself talk to people that are so critical and quick to judge others. It is hard when you love them so much and long to have a close relationship with them. It is hard when you feel like you have to keep walls around your heart and halfway listen to conversations with them because you are almost certain that you will leave that conversation feeling down, criticized, not good enough, never worthy of approval, a failure. I have to remind myself that we are all human. If this human cannot give me the unconditional love and support and approval that I have cried out for my entire life, God will. God will heal all of the hurt and pain. He will heal all of the disappointment, if only I ask.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Bella had her first taste of chicken pot pie tonight.

We had chicken pot pie for supper tonight. Bella loved it! I could not feed her fast enough! She would make little grunting noises between bites. It was so sweet. This baby does not want anything at all to do with baby food. It's all about table food in our house!

Yay! We have our toilets back!

We actually had them back yesterday afternoon, but I was so mentally drained and did not think I could manage to post a decent blog. One plumbing company so lost my business. I am not going to say I'll never use them again, because I never say never! I will say that the only way we would use them is if absolutely no other plumber in town was available. Roto-rooter did a great job. He found the problem right off the bat and had it fixed in no time. They also were here within about 40 minutes of Ernie calling. We should have called them first, but you live and learn. We are thankful that we now have use of our toilets and bathtubs! What was the problem? There were tree roots growing into a pipe. The plumber had to go onto the roof to get to the right drainage pipe to clear out the problem. Once again, all is good!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Watch out world!

Bella is standing! She just turned 7 months last week and she is already pulling herself to standing. It scares the mess out of me! It seems like she just started scooting yesterday. She does not want to be confined in any way, shape or form. She never wanted the swing much. We thought she would love the jumperoo because she would be upright. That was wishful thinking! She will tolerate it in small doses, like ten minute doses. She will sit in the bouncer while I blow dry my hair, as long as she's right in front of me with me bouncing her with my foot. Other than that, she wants to be held or on the floor constantly. Her favorite toy is Bullseye(our cat). Thankfully he likes her, too. We might be in trouble if he didn't. She screams with glee when she sees him walk or run past.

Our favorite place to visit

We spent a little while at the library this afternoon. The library is such a wonderful place. We are a family of readers. Sometimes I cannot get out of the library with fewer than 30 books for the 3 of us that check out books regularly. Michael has been asking to go to the library for 2 days now. We were just there last week, but he had finished all of his books. I love that the kids love to read. I don't think you can ever read too much.

Bella even seemed to enjoy the afternoon at the library! After the kids finished their school work for the day, they both chilled out and read for awhile. They both already finished one book from today.

Plumbing stinks! Literally!

We had to have a plumber come out after hours this evening. Our toilets were trying to overflow and dirty water was coming out of the bathtub drain. Can you say disgusting?! I was just a little freaked at the thought of the plumber coming to our house. The last time we had him out, we had to dish out $98 for a simple 15 minute snake job! Luckily I had the co-op orientation tonight to get my mind off of things. I think if I had been home I would have felt my blood pressure rising by the minute! He was here for two hours and could not fix the problem. The poor man(poor is a relative term, he has more money in his pocket than I do now), could not find the problem. So, we are stuck without toilets and a bath tonight. Thank goodness we took a bath earlier today! So, he walked away with my check and we have nothing to show for it. The bad news is that they may or may not be able to get back out here tomorrow to fix what he thinks might be the problem. He thinks there is a broken sewer line. Ernie is going to try to wade around near the drainage area tomorrow and dig to see if he can find the broken line. Hopefully it will be close and easy to fix and we won't need to be at the plumber's mercy again. Everyone has to have toilets and baths! We are just putty in his hands at this time, if we need his services again.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Reasons we decided to homeschool

There are many reasons we decided to homeschool. I will list a few in no particular order. It would not be possible to list all of them, because I think of more every day.

1. Family - It is such a blessing to be chosen to be the parents of these kids. We are honored to be able to raise them. Time with them is so short. We want to be able to relax and enjoy each other. We do not want to be apart for 8 hours a day and then be stuck doing homework every evening. When the kids were in school they needed to be in bed by 8:00 every night to get enough sleep. They would wake up dreading to go to school, so the mornings were miserable with everyone grumpy. They would come home from school unhappy because they were bored at school all day. Which leads to number two.

2. Learning - So many times last year the kids came home from school and said they were bored at school or they did not learn anything new. With this "No Child Left Behind" law, the teachers have to teach to the lowest end of the class. Where does this leave the higher end of the class? Bored out of their minds! They are expected to just sit there and wait until everyone in the class gets the new concept. The teacher may spend the entire day or more than one day on just a few students while the rest of the class is left to twiddle their thumbs. Why would I want my kids to sit there most of the day or even longer with nothing to do? Or with busy work? The teachers have to cater to the iLeap test and Leap test these days. After January last year it seems like all Michael did for the rest of the year was prepare for the iLeap test. There were special incentives if the kids did not come in tardy, get checked out early or miss a day of school for two months. The students were taught to memorize, not to think constructively.

3. Confidence - I want my children to be confident. I want them to see themselves for who they are, not for who a child or a teacher tells them they are. I want them to realize their potential. Annalee is scared to death she is going to get in trouble any time she has an accident(i.e. knocking over a cup, running into the cats' water dish, dropping something) because she fell at school one day and another child told a teacher that she tripped him. I do not want my child to be scared she is going to get in trouble because of something that was an accident. The last time I checked, not one of us is perfect. She is nervous around other kids because she was teased so much at school. Michael is worried he's going to be teased or bullied because of other kids. He had a teacher last year that told him to stop being a baby and grow up instead of disciplining the bully.

4. Time - How much time is spent in meaningful learning in a school day? How much time is wasted with discipline? How much time is wasted waiting on that one student to grasp a concept? How much time is wasted waiting on the class to be quiet and pay attention? How much time is wasted while the teacher talks to other teachers? How much time is wasted while the teacher checks and responds to email?

5. Socialization - My children are socializing with people of many different ages and backgrounds. They are socializing with children in extracurricular activities. They are socializing more with children we approve of, children with parents that are actively involved in their lives.

6. Shelter - Some people would say that we are sheltering our children too much. Or even that we are trying to keep them in a glass bubble. I disagree. I believe that these children are on loan to us from the Lord. It is our responsibility, and what a huge one it is, to protect them(shelter them).

7. Faith - We want to teach the children to have faith. We want to teach them to live by the golden rule. We want to teach them to be givers.

8. Teaching yourself - We want to teach the children to learn how to teach themselves. We want to guide them, but not give them a sheet just to memorize it for the week and be done with it. We want them to learn to think things out on their own.

9. The joy of learning - I have rediscovered the joy of learning during this past week. Children learn by example. You cannot expect them to only do as you say. They will do as you do. If you love to learn, they will love to learn. If you love to read, they will love to read. If you are curious, they will be curious. If you read the Bible, they will want to read the Bible. If you eat healthy, they will eat healthy. If you exercise, they will exercise. Having only 4 hours with the kids after school every day, fitting in homework, supper, baths, chores, etc. is just not enough time to lead by example and teach all of these things.

Homeschooling is not for everyone, but it is just right for our family. It is the perfect fit. I truly feel blessed to have the option to do this for our family. I do not have a degree, but I love my husband and my family more than anything in the world. I want what is best for them. I know that with God ALL things are possible. He will give me the knowledge and the grace to do this. We are having to retrain this fear that Annalee has and the low self-confidence that both kids have now from school, but I have faith that it can be done.

A new chapter in our lives has begun.

Friday afternoon while Bella took an amazingly long nap and I was wired from taking a dose of Robitussin to fight this cold, I managed to get the hall closet cleaned out and organized with our school books and supplies! On the top shelf there are containers of stamp supplies for art. Then we have Michael's textbooks, workbooks and binder. On the next shelf we have Annalee's textbooks, workbooks and binder. At the bottom we have various supplies and book bags. One would think we do not need book bags for homeschooling, but we are going to the co-op on Wednesdays. The kids needed something to take their books and notebooks in each week. Annalee says her bag can double as a dance bag. That was nice of her! :) Grandma Shelia took them shopping for their bags.

I am excited to have the books off of the dining table and out of sight for the most part. It feels good to not have to move them every time we sit down for supper. The kids know where everything is at all times. It is a great thing!

We are waiting for our Singapore Math textbooks and workbooks to arrive and Annalee's Spanish, then we are set for awhile! I could so easily become a curriculum hog! There are so many options out there and I love to learn. I feel like I am relearning things already in the short amount of time we have been schooling. It is a very good thing! I am very excited about this school year. I think it is going to be the best yet! The kids love getting their school work out and done every day. I love spending the time with them. It is such a blessing.