Monday, February 25, 2013

My Big Summer Idea

So I think we've been doing pretty well in school this year considering our added distraction blessing this year.

We started out the school year with a 3 month old laying on the couch beside me or nursing all the way through school and now we've graduated to a card table set up in the middle of the living room every morning. She's crawling, she's pulling up, she's cruising, she's grabbing, and she's not conducive to peaceful learning.

But oh my word we love her.

Anyway, I think we've been getting a lot done in spite of it all. However, there are several subjects that have been neglected. All I can think to do is hit them in the summer, because our days are maxed out.

One of those subjects is language arts. Now that's a pretty big term. That can include handwriting, reading, spelling, grammar, English, literature, writing, etc. Of course we are hitting some of that each day, but not all.

So I'm thinking of having a little "Language Arts Boot Camp" this summer. What that would look like is 30-45 minutes a day (four days a week) of instruction (each girl on her level) with a little practice thrown in in several ways.

I'm still thinking through it all.

But I think that a small amount each day of focused instruction, rather than squeezed in hurried bits and pieces each week, may be more effective.

Now to just think of fun ways to do it all. And what curriculum I may want to use. And what my goals are.


Good thing I love planning!

Monday, February 18, 2013

In Which Brenda Gets You Caught Up On Her Riveting Life

I just had leftovers for lunch and now I'm eating cake. The big girls are outside playing and, as usual in the spring, I don't have the heart to call them inside to get to work on school. (We already got some done this morning.) And since Bee is sleeping, I thought I'd blog.

I was looking back at our calendar this morning and looked at all the reasons we've taken off of school or missed school this year: my uncle's funeral, a camping trip, a trip out of town to see friends, helping friends move, a few days off here and there to just get caught up on things around the house, etc.

Visiting with friends is > school!

I guess considering it all, we aren't too behind this year. We're still on track to finish in the first half of June, which was the plan all along.

I "attended" my first webinar last week or maybe it was the week before. It was by Lee Binz, The Home Scholar and the topic was high school. I feel much more prepared and glad that I have Sweetheart's 8th grade year to really wrap my head around it all. I cannot believe I will soon have a high school student!

Enough about school--who wants to think about that all the time? I'm working really hard on our finances/budget/bills right now. That's exciting, right?
Little Bit watching a movie.
And when I say "working hard", you do understand that I mean "15 minutes here and there", right? It's challenging to sit down and focus on a pile of paperwork and numbers and think clear, coherent thoughts with 3 kiddos home. It'll get done. Eventually.

We've also been working on the house a lot. S and I have really big plans, but no time or money to actually implement them. So, the LEAST I can do is declutter and clean up. The girls and I took the day off of school 2 weeks ago just to spend the whole day cleaning. And we did. They worked SO hard. We got every room done. Not everything, mind the bill paying desk. Ug. But every room got attention and we threw out 3-4 bags of trash. It felt good!
Mrs. Holiday fixed Sweetheart's hair. Curly hair takes work!!!
Bee got her first ear infection this weekend. She's feeling much better now but we've had a line of days of whiny--only want mama to hold me--time. And even through that, I cleaned out 2 boxes of paperwork and filed stuff from the desk.

Bee contemplating which room to mess up next.
My life is nothing but glamor, all the time. School, finances, housework....but you know what?

(I actually love it.)
(Because I'm home with my children.)
(I wouldn't trade lives with anyone.)

What glamorous things have you been up to lately friends?

Monday, February 4, 2013

True Confessions

I am a horrible person. And very selfish.

You know, ever since my ambulance ride nearly a year ago, I have worried more about my health. It was a tiny taste of my own mortality. Something could go wrong. I am not immune to illness and poor health.

Every time I hear a cancer diagnosis (which is a lot) I think, "Oh please not me." We've had two people in the hospital lately--my cousin is still hanging on and a young man at our church just passed away last night. I am sad for them. I pray for them. I am concerned.

But my thoughts go back to me far too often. What if that were our family? What if that happened to me? To us? It's not right to worry. So I'm confessing here that it scares me.

Oh, I'm not afraid to die. I am afraid of leaving my children without their mom. Who would homeschool them? They can't just be dumped into public school! They aren't "on level" in everything! What would happen? What about Little Bit's tics? Who would take care of Baby Bee? It breaks my heart to think of leaving them before they are grown.

So I pray. I pray for mercy that I do not deserve. I pray for good health. I worry about what I'm eating. I worry--what if something is growing in my body right now and I don't know about it? What if we don't catch something until it's really bad?

And I am thankful. I am thankful for every single day I have with them. I am happy to fix their hair and wash their clothes. I am glad to do really normal, unpleasant, everyday mom things. I am thankful that I can do them. That I am here.

But I have to stop worrying. Yes, I need to eat healthy. Yes, we live in a toxic waste dump. I wish we could move. Yes, I need to exercise. Yes, I need to teach my children diligently while I have them here with me.

I am weary. I am tired of diagnoses. I am tired of death. I am tired of this broken creation and of people snubbing their nose at the living God.

And yet, He waits. He does not want anyone to perish. How great is His love for us!

Come quickly, Lord Jesus!

Friday, February 1, 2013

Maybe If We Move Out, Then Back In?

I've talked about this a little, but our house really isn't working for me right now.

Oh don't get me wrong, I'm THANKFUL for our home. And really, I LIKE our home. But our family has changed a lot and our house is not keeping up.

In 2006 when we bought this house, we had a newly turned 7 year old who attended private school at our (then) church. We also had a 2 1/2 year old who went to day care a few hours a day at the same school and I worked part-time at that church as the secretary. S worked where he does now, plus was the youth minster part-time.

So when we moved in this house, we set it up for a working family with 2 kiddos who went to school and day care.

Flash forward to 2013:  We have three children, all of whom stay home 24/7 and homeschool. A mama who stays home 24/7 and teaches them and keeps house, and a Daddy who still works 2 jobs. Only now he's preaching instead of youth ministering. Which means he's home far more than he was then.

And of course you may know, dear readers, that I'm a bit of a re-arranger. I keep trying to find better ways for things to work in our ever-changing situations. Let me give you an example.

1. We got rid of TV service several years ago.
2. We only kept the TV for the Wii and movies on the VCR/DVD player.
3. So all those electronics are in the front room where S has his office and we keep our bookshelves.
4. We no longer have a homeschool room since we found out about Bee.
5. So now I use the TV armoire/cabinet for our homeschool cabinet. It's my answer to not having a room. Everything is in one place!
6. Now when we need to make more room in the front room for S to have an actual office to work on sermons, we don't have any more space.
7. Of course the TV et all should go in the TV cabinet.
8. But then where would our homeschool stuff go?

What I really need is just one more little extra room. Or a big one. Whichever.

Hold that. I actually do have one little extra room.

It used to be my sewing room. Then, just earlier this year, I put the homeschool cabinet in there, but that's in the living room now. Right now this little room has a lot of junk. Shelves we can't fit in Little Bit's room anymore because Bee's crib is in there now. Some of the shelves have things on them, some don't. And also my antique sewing machine cabinet, which I have always had a place for since we got married, is sitting out there.

I guess basically that room is furniture storage right now.

Do we have too much stuff? Well, yes. I truly think 95% of Americans have too much stuff. S built the shelves. His Daddy built one of them. The sewing machine was my grandmother's. It's not just junk I want to kick to the curb.

It's like a big giant rearranging puzzle THAT I CAN'T FIGURE OUT!!!

So either I need a different house, a room added on to this one, or a new idea.

I'm going to go to bed and pray for a new idea. There HAS to be a way to make this house work for us!

My brain hurts.

OK I'm back. I've been walking around the house in the dark trying to figure this out. Everyone is asleep and I'm the creeper who keeps popping into their doorways to stare at the furniture and see where I can put a bookshelf. I've got it figured out except one little bookshelf.

Seriously, can we just move out and then back in? Where is Ty Pennington when you need him?