Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Love/Hate the End of the Year

I see the end! The light at the end of the tunnel! I have decided that no matter what, our last day of school is next Friday. Now I'm just trying to cram what we need into that time.

I'm coming to grips with the fact that some stuff just won't get done.

Deep breath. It's OKAY!

But the looming end of the year stresses me out some too. The girls are desperately wanting to be off. I'm wanting to be done. I feel the change of schedule coming and that stresses me out a little. After 10 months of the same thing every day--a new schedule is an adjustment.

Plus I always feel a twinge of guilt because my husband still has to get up and go to work just like always. I feel like the house should be extra clean when he gets home in the summers. I feel a little bad that I can go swim with the girls in the middle of the day.

I know being a mom is work and all but....really, its SUCH a blessing! I am so grateful to be home with them.  I don't know why God chose to bless me in this way. But Praise His Name, I'm glad He did!

One thing I'm looking forward to is being home a bit more. Bee is taking one nap a day now (usually) at a half-way predictable time. We need to run our errands early in the morning (to avoid all the people and for her and because of the heat) and then hang out at home! The girls did want to continue piano but I convinced them to take July off. On the day we go to piano, we'll also swing by the library like usual.

The girls and I last summer. I'm large, Sweetheart was 12, Bee was 1 month old, and Little Bit was 8.
I don't even have plans for the house this year like usual. Normally I attack a closet, or do some sewing, or paint something but I just don't have any plans yet this year. Perhaps my impending freedom has not fully hit me yet?

Today is Wednesday. The one day I can say "no" to swimming or bike riding. We have church tonight. We don't need to have to all take showers right before church. Wednesdays Mama gets to relax.

I'd like to start thinking about summer fun though. The girls are so much older than I'm used to planning for. Don't get me wrong, Sweetheart does still play with Little Bit. I love that they still play together some. But she's not going to be on board with any of my themes like she used to be. Still, art, sewing, projects....those kinds of things they would both enjoy.

What are your summer ideas? What do you do with older kids in the summer?

Oh my precious girl. I loved this age but I'm looking forward to a more active summer!

Sunday, May 26, 2013

The Year That Just Won't End

We are in the home stretch for wrapping up this school year but as it turns out...the home stretch is stretchy. Or really long. Weeks seems like months.

We are down to just the basics--reading, math, history. Those are our basics anyway. We need to wrap up science too. I'm claiming Lee Binz' advice that public schools call it good when they have completed 80% of the curriculum. I'm all for finishing 100% of most subjects, but in science I'm shooting for that 80% this year.

Can I play the "we had a newborn this year" card one more time please?

Thank you.
Sweetheart suffering through one of Bee's beauty treatments.

The calendar goal has been to be finished by June 14 all along. That's one week later than public schools around here so I was really hoping we could speed that up and get out the same week as them.

And we just may. Either way about it, I am super proud of the year we have had. I think we did an incredible job for a year with a newborn.

I am ready for this year to be done and the new year to start.

Little Bit struggling through the standardized test.
Well, after summer of course.

And there is summer school naturally. We're homeschoolers. Well, homeschoolers who aren't just doing preschool. If the kids were little still, we'd be having fun in the sun. But older kids just have too much to squeeze in during the year so some of it must be done in summer.

But it's a nice, relaxed schedule. Just a little bit of school each day is fine. There is still time for swimming, art, library, and just plain old playing and sitting around.

Mama is ready!

If your school year is already over, please feel free to refrain from telling me that in the comments. If however, you are still suffering...please give a girl some encouragement!

Just kidding. You can brag here too. I will be joining you in just a few more weeks.

Just so you know its not all smiles around here.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

In Which Testing Makes Us Tired

It wasn't just the standardized test the girls just finished. It was the getting up early every morning. It was the leaving the house at a certain time. It was the packing our snacks and backpacks and diaper bag the night before. It was bathing every night and having to lay our (presentable) clothes out the night before.

I don't know HOW I could get all these kids to public school/daycare every day. Thank you Lord that I don't have to!

I truly had forgotten what a blessing it was. Whew.

We need a few nights of good sleep and a few days at home to recover.

We'll get the test results in about 6 weeks. Right now, I'm just glad its over!'s time to wrap up our Keepers at Home club for the year (tomorrow) and get ready for Baby Bee's first birthday on Saturday!


Really, this was me last year:

Can not believe its been a year.

frog legs :)

I'll be back next week with party pictures!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

It's Summer School Jack!

OK. We don't have TV. But we have watched several episodes of Duck Dynasty and Sweetheart just loves that show. We watch it online after it has already aired. We have a lot of respect for the folks on the show and she likes it a lot so I thought, "Why not have a Duck Dynasty birthday party this year?"

She said no thank you.

Humph. And there was a lot of cute stuff on Pinterest too.

Double humph.

So.....I already had a pin board called "Language Arts Boot Camp." That's what I was calling what we were going to do this summer. We pretty much ignored language arts this year in school because we had a newborn and were doing good to get everything else done. Therefore, we are spending our summer break cramming some major language arts down little throats. Er...filling their little heads full of knowledge I mean.

Why not combine the two ideas? Yes sir. We are going to have camo pencils and use some camo duct tape on our binders and we are going to have us a fun theme for summer school!


I'm the drill sergeant.

I might wear a whistle.

So last night I was trying to really start thinking about how this will all look. S was in the Navy (no camo there, but boot camp nonetheless) and what they did a lot of was drill.

This week we are taking the IOWA test with our homeschool group. I am already seeing what gaps my girls have in their education thanks to this test. So I know for a fact they need drills on grammar and punctuation and capitalization and all that jazz.

In the 90s when I was a public school teacher, we used to do DOL or Daily Oral Language. You would have a few sentences on the board when the kids got there and they would copy them down in their journals, making corrections of the on-purpose mistakes. THIS is what my girls need. Not every day...but some.

So I know we will be drilling rules. And I'm going to be doing writing instruction with each of them separately. The other girl will be in charge of playing with the baby. She's such a sponge right now. Little Bit sat down and played play food with her last night. In just a few minutes she had learned to shake the pepper on her food, squirt the ketchup bottle, and pretend to eat it all. They are so proud to teach her things. So they will enjoy that job.

Spelling will also be taking place. And reading practice. And math will continue 3x a week. Oh there is a lot to be done this summer. I sure wish we could just take off, but no. We have much to do.

And don't think there won't be push ups involved.

By the way, the drill sergeant doesn't have to do push ups.

Just wanted to clear that up.

Here's my Pinterest board for boot camp.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Go Time

I'm ready for a break from school, folks.

Actually, I'm ready for summer and for school to be over. But I'll take a break. I was reading one of Lee Binz' e-books yesterday about high school courses and she was saying if the course is 80% complete--call it complete. After all, that's what public schools do.

Hmm. This theory may work well for me as far as science goes.

We need to finish up quite a bit of stuff in the next 5 weeks, that's for sure.

But today is our last day and then a small break! We're taking a few days off while our friends are visiting. I plan to relax and enjoy NOT doing school. Maybe I'll stop grinding my teeth.

Then next week we have the IOWA test. Our homeschool group offers this test each year and we certainly don't have to take it. This year I am having Sweetheart take it as next year is her 8th grade year and I want to fill in gaps before high school. I suspect I know what those gaps are, but this test will help. Hey, if she already knows something (even if I haven't taught it), I certainly don't want to waste my time teaching it! And Little Bit didn't want to be left out. I've never had Little Bit take the test (Sweetheart took it in 3rd and 4th) because she's not on grade level. Plus, she doesn't have Sweetheart's personality. The test will unnerve Little Bit. Nerves = more tics for her.

So, the solution is, I will administer the test to her in a room by ourselves. She won't have to worry about holding any tics in or being quiet for others in the room. I'm testing her on the 2nd grade test as that's closer to what level she's been working on in reading and math. Hoping she blows it out of the water!

Therefore...with these 2 breaks coming back to back, and company coming...we've got work to do today!

You know, finish school.
Scrub the potties.

Stuff like that.
Come on Holiday girls!! We're waiting for you!

Monday, May 6, 2013

In Which Life Gets Easier

I feel like we're digging out of the last 2 years lately. The house is getting back in order. We're throwing stuff away right and left. We're keeping on top of chores somewhat.

Compare this to the year of all the sleeping (otherwise known as when I was pregnant) and then the year of the newborn...

Now? Bee is sleeping through the night 95% of the time, which makes a HUGE difference in how I feel physically every day. She's a walking, going maniac, which means she's happier and more content and I can get more done every day. We're wrapping up the school year--which makes everyone happy!


This week our good friends the Holidays are coming for a visit. We haven't seen them since January and its time! Mr. Holiday will be working out of town, so Mrs. Holiday and the 4 little Holiday girls will be coming. Can't wait!! We're taking a few days off of school to spend time with them so that means a short week at school.

It also means a lot of cleaning went on over here this weekend. Having house guests is GOOD for your home! It makes you take care of areas you otherwise happily ignore.

We were able to get the girls new bikes this weekend. Sweetheart's was stolen earlier this year right out of our backyard and Little Bit had outgrown hers. We added a bike for me too, with a seat for Baby Bee so now we can add "bike riding" to our routine instead of just walking all the time. I still want to walk sometimes--it's good for you, but boy peddling a bike with a 20 pound baby on it is good for you too!

Baby Bee last May...

I just can't believe Baby Bee is about to be 1 and I also can't believe what a difference a year makes. Yes, we've seen an amazing difference in her of course. But what a difference in our whole life! I'm so thankful to God for the blessings of this family and for the health to enjoy and take care of them.

Baby Bee now...with a little friend at field day. She LOVED his hair.

Oh and by the way, it's Teacher Appreciation Week this week.

For a homeschool mom, this plays out much like Mother's Day, don't you think?

So if you have a minute, go ahead and send me some appreciation for all my great teaching. Ha!

Friday, May 3, 2013

It's Friday!

Love on your people this weekend!

Take your car for a spin.

Enjoy some time outside (maybe...brr!)

And whatever you do, don't get in trouble!

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Just So You Understand--This Wasn't Planned

I always admire those Mamas who take a picture of their child in the same basket every month of their first year of life. They end up with this neat little montage of their baby's growth.

I tried that a few times. Never could remember to take the stupid picture.

But by complete accident, I did something kind of cool. See, when Sweetheart needed to go get her 9 month pictures made, my mom had made her this really cute dress. I picked the sunflower/basket prop from Sears, and wah lah:

Snapped a picture of the framed picture. Thus, the reflection.
When it was time for Little Bit to have her 9 month pictures made, 4 years later, I couldn't find a good outfit for her to wear. I still had the pretty little yellow dress, but I didn't want my poor baby to wear hand-me-downs! Unless....

I asked the lady at Sears if they still had the basket and sunflowers. She went climbing through the prop closet and emerged victorious! And so:

Naturally, since both girls had their pictures made in the dress, I kept the dress. I didn't hold out hope that Sears would have the same props 8 years later, but still.

I went to Hobby Lobby and bought sunflowers. I showed the lady the older girls' pictures and she went and found that same basket. And so:

Seriously--am I not SO planned and ORGANIZED? Are you amazed at my ability to coordinate this over a 13 year span?

I thought so.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Daddy's Birthday

S turned 43 yesterday. We hadn't mentioned his birthday in front of him because we kind of wanted to surprise him by decorating the house and having dinner for him when he got home. (Why yes, me cooking IS a surprise! Not really... just kidding.)

But yesterday morning when we woke up, I didn't want him to feel unloved so I told him "Happy Birthday." Yep, he had completely forgotten it was his birthday. He even had planned to meet someone at church that night.

The girls decorated the dining room with streamers and birthday banners and set the table for dinner. Then we met Daddy at his work and got to eat lunch with him. That was nice. He works long days and we don't get to see him as much as we'd like to. After we dropped him back at work we went to buy his present. My plan was to get him a couple pairs of jeans and some shirts. He needs them and I knew he would appreciate them. But when we got out shopping, I suddenly had an idea.

An idea that caused us a lot of work!!!!

So we went to a local discount store and bought some patio chairs. The tables were not a good size and we already have a wooden table out on our patio. We bought a table cloth, a new welcome mat, a wind chime, something to hang on the wall, and a pretty citronella candle to go on the table.

Then we went home and started cleaning the patio. It was pretty bad. The girls have recently been playing a game that involves mud. Ahem. We threw a lot of stuff away and even got it out to the curb in time for the trash truck AND they took it all!

Then we set out all the new stuff and waited for Daddy to get home to show him his new, clean, relaxing patio. The girls were so excited.

There's a lot more I want to do out there, but this was a good start. Seriously, if you had seen the before, you would be more impressed.

I hope you had a good birthday S! Even though you had to work and all. We love you!

Bee worked hard on Daddy's card. She absolutely understood that she had made one just like her sisters. Daddy asked, "Is this one from you?" She nodded her head big and beamed.