Thursday, September 27, 2012

Checking In

Thursday. I'm up too late. I've been wanting to blog so badly but my arms are full of fat sweet baby and I haven't figured out how to hold her, conduct school, assure that my husband has clean clothes and my family has food, and blog all at the same time.

But I'm working on it. Because I miss blogging. It's almost like I'm having a real conversation with grown-ups!

Which doesn't happen too often.

Which is why I was so chatty with the optometrist today. She probably just thought I'd had a bit too much caffeine.

I hadn't, by the way. I was just happy to be visiting with an adult!

So my brain is full--just chock full--of stuff to tell you!


  • I had Freebirds for lunch today. I really like that restaurant.
  • Sweetheart and I both need new glasses.
  • I'm a preacher's wife. I had my first pull-preacher's-wife-to-the-side-and-ask-hard-questions-of-her moment this week.
  • I did OK answering. I think.
  • Baby Bee has a tooth.
  • She's 4 months old.
  • She looks like this:

And this:

Not sure where she gets the big mouth from. Hmm. 

Anyway, there's more!

  • Sweetheart is such a neat kid. She still plays and enjoys life but you can have a real-life grown-upish conversation with her too. Thirteen is pretty neat so far. 
  • Little Bit cleaned Bee's room today (Translation: cleaned part of MY room) and now I'm happy when I walk in there. It was pretty covered in clean laundry and other stuff. She rocks. 
  • School is going better since I had a conference with the principal earlier this week. He helped me figure out some priorities and let some other stuff go. 
  • Looking forward to going camping next month! It's been a year since we went camping. We're going to buy one of these for Bee.
I guess that's enough for now. If you know me in real life, you know I could have easily fit all of these topics into one conversation. I am THAT talented. 

But it's better for you that you read it instead of try to keep up with my crazy talk. 

I'll try to return with more cohesive thoughts next time--no promises. 

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Fun Fridays

It just sort of worked out this way. Every other Friday, we will be meeting with friends to do 2 fun things.

One thing is our Keepers of the Faith club. Last year, my girls and the girls from our friends the Holiday family formed a Keepers at Home club. It was awesome!

Our girls and the Holiday girls showing off their club work for Pawpaw Holiday last year. 
But the Holidays moved a little over a week ago. What would we do about our club now???

Well, before we knew they were going to move, Carrie had already asked about maybe joining our club. it's Carrie's family and us. Which, even though we miss our friends, is really nice. I am very glad we didn't have to stop the club because we all really liked it. (And the Holiday family found some clubs in their new hometown they can look into.)

(We still really miss them though.)

So last Friday we had our first meeting of our "new" club. We just sort of explained what the club was about to the girls, talked about some of the badges they will be earning this year, and did a craft. Oh, and I served awesome brownies that looked like meatloaf. Yum!

 Somehow I missed getting a picture of Emily. We had the girls make the first page in a scrapbook for their Keepers activities. Now we just have to be really good about taking pictures at our meetings so they will have stuff to scrapbook about!
 Matt kept Bee busy by reading her a Lego catalog or something. All I know is I overheard, "See? That's the BAD guy. We don't like him!" So, she was really getting an education during the meeting! :)
And when she got tired of Legos, we found a way to contain her.

The other fun thing we will be doing every other Friday is science. A friend from our old church is homeschooling her daughter and niece. This is their first year homeschooling and the girls are really de-toxing from public school. Working together is seen as cheating. She asked them to write 5 sentences in their journal about their favorite color. She told them, "write what you think. you cannot do this wrong" and they were just paralyzed.

Well, we are both using Apologia's Elementary Anatomy and Physiology this year. I really wanted to make sure the first meeting was fun. They need to know school can be fun! (And you can still learn!)

We did the first experiment together, which is to make an edible cell.

Anything involving jello and candy sounds like fun, right?

And then, just to kick things off--we traced their bodies and had them glue cut outs of their organs in them.

So, we will get together twice a month to do the experiments and other fun stuff with them. Oh, and go on some field trips too.

Looking forward to these two fun things this school year!

Oh! And H-Mama, I have a fun field trip planned for us too when we get to Japan, OK?

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The Day of Productivity...For a While

Yesterday was Monday and I was so determined to start a fresh new week and get ALL our school work done WHILE taking care of Baby Bee and the house.

What can I say? Sometimes I have delusions.

But we really did have a good day for the most part.

Bee was in a good mood. It was chilly so she opted for her pink pants.

After breakfast, we all did science together. We finished up Lesson 1 in our book so now we are right on track again. Science is another post, however.

Then we started in on math. Math has to be completed early around here or there is great wailing and gnashing of teeth. Sweetheart was working in her room and Little bit worked with me at the coffee table. She's working on this with the door open. It was SUCH nice weather!

Bee was content to play for a while. Which is much easier than one-handed teaching with a baby on your lap.

And don't let this picture fool you...she only slept 10 or 15 minutes at a time all day! I kept awaiting the glorious 2-3 hour nap so we could finish school, but alas...I waited in vain.
So we plugged on. Sweetheart labored diligently at her desk.

And then entertained the baby while I read her read-aloud book to her. She was learning to multi-task!

Sometime during the course of the morning, Baby Bee rolled over. We were all out of the room and came back to find her on her stomach, smiling. I consider that an accomplishment just as important as math!

At lunch, we made foil hats for the baby. pretty much went downhill after that. We kept waiting for nap time that never came. I told the girls to do what they could without me. That would be piano practice for Sweetheart and Explode the Code for Little Bit. 

And the rest of the day was just trying to juggle stuff and the baby at the same time. She was in a great mood--just FULLY AWAKE all day! Finally I caved and called Grandma to come hold her while we finished some things up.

Then my sister came by after work to play with the baby, but the baby wanted to eat so my sister was left frying okra on the stove while I fed her. Therefore, I had to feed said sister because if you help cook, you get to eat you know.

We ended up finishing everything but spelling. That's OK. I'm giving us a little more time to get used to this year's curriculum and then we'll work on adding those last 2 subjects in (spelling for both and grammar for Sweetheart). Spelling is important, but it can wait until the wee one is on more of a schedule, you know?

And today was some the same and some different. Every day is just a juggling act, that's all there is to it.

Also? I know in a few months things will be nothing like they are right now.

And I know that I am blessed.

Monday, September 10, 2012

The Strategy Was a Success

Well, today was the day I was determined to be ultra-productive!

And, if you remember, I had a little strategy planned to get a certain child moving in the mornings.

I'm sharing this not to shame my daughter, but to offer encouragement to any other mamas who might have a child like mine. The kind where organization is an issue. The kind who need training. I get her. I AM her. It was a mystery to me how my sister kept her half of the room so clean and mine always looked like a bomb went off. A real mystery.

Our brains just don't work the same way as other people's brains do. But that isn't an excuse! It's just a reason. I firmly believe that I can train my daughter and help her to figure out more organized ways of being before she leaves this home. I don't want her to struggle with this her whole life.

And I might feel guilty and like I'm a real parenting failure....except I also gave birth to S's mini-me. Our other daughter keeps her room practically perfect with no prompting. She will never need to be  taught how to be organized--she was born that way.

But for us more creative types--organization can be a mystery. And I? I have unlocked the keys to the universe for my daughter.

I sat up last night and typed up a little sheet with 2 columns:

Place & Activity

I listed, for example, "BATHROOM" and then in the 2nd column, all the things that one should get done while in the bathroom including "take your dirty clothes and wet towels with you when you leave." Then, I listed all the things one should accomplish in their bedroom BEFORE they come to breakfast.

After her shower, I looked into the bathroom and saw this: (cue angels singing)

No puddles of water on the floor. No dirty clothes or towel. No stuff all over the cabinet. Shower curtain closed. Shampoo bottles not laying in the middle of the floor. (Seriously.) That bathroom was left company-ready!!!

And when she came be-bopping to the breakfast table, dressed, hair fixed....I peeked into her room:

Bed made. NOTHING on the floor. Desk ready for school. Oh my word y'all!

Here is the most amazing part: That girl was ready in about 30 minutes and we started school at 9:00am. There was no back-tracking. She did everything that needed to be done in one area before moving on to another area. She was so proud too. I know I always felt relieved when someone helped me be organized. I felt lost on how to get started until someone showed me. I get her.

I don't know if it was a one-hit wonder or the start of something grand, but that little list made a WORLD of difference at our house today.

Just a little help ordering her motions was all she needed. A little logical thinking that would have never occurred to her on it's own.

Thankful and happy tonight!

Tomorrow I'll share about how our plan to be super productive panned out...

Sunday, September 9, 2012

New Week = New Strategy

I have such cute pictures to share with you. I just have to go into the other room and get the cord, attach my phone to the computer and load them. Then, I have to insert them into the post. I guess you can tell I'm willing to type all they out more than I'm willing to DO it.

Tomorrow is the start of a new week! Even though it should be week 4 of school, it'll be week 3. We lost a few days in there somewhere. But I'm glad we are starting fresh at the beginning of a new week. We don't have very many places to go this week, so I'm looking forward to being really, really productive!

One certain child of mine is usually the first one up and always the last one ready to start the day. Why? Because she wastes motion. She showers and then leaves the bathroom to go get dressed. Then later she has to go back to the bathroom and wash her face. Then, after breakfast, she has to brush her teeth.

Folks, our home is only 1500 something square feet, but she's walking MILES every day! So I'm going to start working with her on doing things in a more logical order. This is not something you have to teach every kid, but this one? Yes. Back when they had checklists for their "morning chores" or "morning routine", I did this for her. She just needs a little reminding is all.

Also, I'm hoping to spend significantly less time looking for things this week. Do you want to know where we finally found her reading book? UNDER the rug in her room. How does one even DO that?

I'm looking forward to a fresh start, lots of good school work completed (who cares in what order) and lots of time spent with my girls every day. I love my family so much and am so thankful to be here with them. What a blessing!

Tentative Title for Next Post: Reality Hits

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

If I Ever Get a Spare Minute

Wow. I am really busy.

Not "man I have a lot of things going on and I obviously have over-committed myself" busy.

Nope. I'm just plain ol' "just trying to get the basics done" busy!

Bee has complicated things, is what I'm saying.

(What a wonderful complication!!!)

Little Bit LOVES being a big sister!
I must admit, I had a little bit of sorrow over my inability to really do school well. After a less than stellar year last year due to pregnancy and exhaustion, I was really looking forward to digging back into things this year. Getting back to my old self. I really do love teaching.

But I realized over the first week of school that I just wasn't going to be able to do things the way I used to. And I was a little sad for a while.

Now I have moved past that. I am determined to give my older 2 daughters the best learnin' I can give them, while taking the best care of Baby Bee that I possibly can.

My plan? PRAYER!

By the way, Bee did (accidentally) roll over today AND learn to suck on her toes. So, there's always that.


Seventh grade is really something. The demands are much greater in Core F than they were in Core D+E last year. We are really feeling the change. I love it--Sweetheart is learning to research and write--such good stuff! But wow.

And with all the nagging I have to do at that girl to keep her room clean and pick up after herself and sometimes I feel like I'm the NEGATIVITY CHANNEL--All Nagging, All the Time! With all that, do you know what she is worried about?

Everyone has better handwriting than her!

Sweetheart: Here, Mom, I'm done. It looks awful and I really tried.
Me: What do you mean? It looks great!
Sweetheart: My cursive is not good. Every 13 year old has better handwriting than me!
Me: (wide eyed) Wow--you've seen EVERY 13 year old's handwriting??
Sweetheart: Moooom!
Me: OK--whose handwriting is better that you've seen?
Sweetheart: (lists 3 friends)
Me: Hmm.

Baby Sweetheart--before she had so many concerns. in life. 

So I go digging up my 6th or 7th grade folder. Yes, my mother still had it. My handwriting was pretty bad. Sweetheart said it was beautiful. I told her it wasn't awful, but it sure got better as I got older. Hers will too. I had to write in cursive from 4th grade on, and she's just now being made to write in cursive this year.

Then she asked if she could spend some of her birthday money on a handwriting book so she could practice. Why does that break my heart? I don't want her to feel badly and concern herself over something like that.

Furthermore, why can't she be concerned about her room instead????

Ug. You could not pay me to be 13 again.


Today I:

*taught school
*cooked 3 meals
*took 2 kids to piano practice
*went to the chiropractor (He said my neck was "pretty jacked up." That cracked me up!)
*wiped the table
*washed the dishes once
*went swimming with the big girls for a few minutes (thanks Sweetie for taking Bee from me!)
*helped Little Bit write a letter

It's after 10pm and I still need to:

*pay some bills
*eat a snack
*go to bed

Accomplishing something every day,

Your busy friend Brenda