Thursday, December 26, 2013

Christmas memories

Last year, my family gathered at my house for Christmas instead of my parents.  Unfortunately, the stomach virus decided to visit with us and many of us were affected by it at some point, which really put a damper on the whole thing.  One thing we kept saying was that we were so glad we were at my house (4 bathrooms) instead of my parents (one bathroom) because there were 13 of us needing one and sometimes it was quite urgent.

This year we gathered at my parents house (still one bathroom) and we lost power because of an ice storm.  Thankfully, they had a generator that was able to keep the well going for water, the furnace running for heat, and the fridge running, along with a few lights and outlets for charging.  *side note* - it's not easy to explain to a 6 year old that we don't have power so he can't watch a movie while he's staring at the ceiling light that's on.  When you have to pick between being able to flush a toilet or watch a movie, toilet wins every time. If we would have lost power at my house, we would not have been comfortable at all.  No generator would mean no water and only a fireplace for heat.

At one point, my brother said, "I'd rather be without power than be sick again!"  And while I agreed, I did wonder if there was an option c.

We came home on Monday afternoon and spent some time putting things away and then did a little shopping.  Tuesday was spent cleaning and really getting things put away because my parents and my sister and her family were going to come on Wednesday for dinner.  On Christmas day, we opened gifts, had breakfast and then did a little last-minute cleaning before family arrived.  It was a very relaxing afternoon and I thoroughly enjoyed the time together.

Today, I looked around and realized that my "after-Christmas" chores have been done.  When you have family Christmas early and then invite people over, things tend to get put away.  I've actually started cleaning out our storage area and am ready to organize and purge.  And we still have more than a week off!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Back to School!

I was really dreading it this year.  I kept going back and forth about what curriculum I wanted to use - and I think subconsciously I may have been thinking, "if I don't pick a curriculum, we can't start school!"  But then one day I finally made a decision and ordered our books.  (And then I second-guessed that decision and thought about returning some but finally decided to stick with the first decision.)

Our school area was a mess.  Books and binders from this year and last year scattered all over.  Last week, I was finally motivated to organize it.

I was on call this week for jury duty.  Monday I had to report in.  No starting school early for us!

But then something strange happened.  I came home Monday at 11 (not needed for the jury that day) and had lunch and then decided  to start math with all the kids.  Some of our books hadn't even been opened from the shrink wrap yet.  But we got all our supplies ready and I did a lesson with each of them.  And it just felt good.

We've done a math lesson every day this week and we're getting in the groove.  The school area is completely ready for this year, all our books are unwrapped and we're all beginning to settle into a new routine, with a little bit of summer on the side.  I don't know why I thought it would be so much harder this year.  I'm exactly where I want to be.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

The livin' is easy

Oh, it's summertime.  The sun has been shining, the pool is open, the water is clear and we are loving it.  Our days start out slower, evenings last longer and most afternoons have been spent in the pool.  What else could I ask for?

Okay, one thing.  Two weeks ago, the kids stayed with Josh's parents for a couple days.  I met a friend for lunch, ran a couple errands and then came home and went swimming.  By myself.  Heaven.  I laid on a floatie and started at the blue sky and felt the warm sun and just floated.  Bliss.  No one splashing or interrupting my daydreaming.  I think that needs to happen every once in awhile.  I could just *be*.  Maybe I can convince the kids to give me an hour by myself before they come out to swim.

Every once in awhile, we've had a rainy day.  A perfect opportunity to clean the house, catch up on laundry and plan some meals.

Yup, there is no doubt about it.  I'm spoiled.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Exercise, weight loss and food

Most of the time I'm okay with how I look.  There are always areas that could use improvement but for the most part, I'm happy with how things are.  In January, I started to get a little unhappy with some areas.  There were some things that were gradually increasing in size and number and I didn't like it.  My first response was to eat more junk because I felt bummed.  That was not helpful.  My second response was to find a blog with a 90-day fitness challenge and commit to doing that.  Much more helpful.  I started and was faithfully doing the work-outs every day.  Around day 21, my lower back was really sore.  I tried to stretch it out better and kept on doing the work-outs.  I also had not lowered any numbers.  I decided to give up pop and see if that helped those pesky numbers go down.

On day 29, my back pain was much worse, the numbers had not moved and I was missing pop.  I decided to stop the exercises until I wasn't in pain.  After a few days of that, I was drinking pop again.  The numbers started moving but it was in the wrong direction.  The back pain was not any better after a week of not exercising.

I went to a chiropractor and discovered my spine goes left towards the bottom and that apparently messes up a lot of things down there.  I was told it'd be best to not exercise for awhile so I started using a calorie-counter app called my fitness pal.  My goal was to leave enough calories at the end of the day so I could still have a pop and popcorn.  That afternoon I had a strange sensation - it was hunger!  I realized I hadn't felt that in awhile.  After a week of staying within my goal (except for two days of going over), my numbers are finally moving in the right direction.  It's good to see progress and I am excited to think about what will happen when I can start working out again!

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Schooling update

It's March!  Yesterday, Rachel was so excited that March 1 was the next day.  She was fully expecting it to be spring when she woke up and was ready to wear her t-shirts and skirts. Needless to say, she was disappointed when I explained the weather wouldn't warm up for awhile.  I know how she feels - my winter wardrobe is very old news right about now and we are done with winter around here!  I'm not sure if winter is done with us though.

Our school year is going well for the most part.  I have not been consistent with Rachel and Owen at all.  Not a big deal - it's just kindergarten.  And they're in good shape for first grade.  We've worked on reading some and done a bit with math.  They can write their letters and numbers.  Owen is fascinated with maps so we gave him a globe for his birthday and he loves to sit in the recliner with that and find things and ask lots of questions.  I'd like to get a more consistent with them so we can finish the year strong.  I think I know what curriculum I want to use with them next year and might order some things early and start now.

Tori is on her 3rd math program for the year.  I tried a new one at the beginning of the year and after 2 weeks, we were both crying when it was math time.  :)  So I switched back to Christian Light and things were going fairly well.  She would still get some things wrong once in awhile that made me wonder if she was really understanding what to do.  After talking with a friend, I borrowed a Math-U-See dvd and watched a few lessons with Tori.  I had used this in 1st grade with her and Brendan but felt like they relied on the manipulatives too much.  Turns out, the manipulatives really helped it all make sense to Tori.  I love having the dvd to watch and the worksheets have just enough practice problems.  Not too much and not too little.  Goldilocks is happy.  :)  And I am fairly sure we will continue to use it for the rest of her schooling.

Brendan switched to Math-U-See also.  I had been using a couple different pre-algebra books but I would pick and choose what topic we worked on and sometimes he would seem to catch on but then miss it the next day.  I borrowed the Pre-Algebra dvd from the same friend and loved that Brendan could hear someone else explaining what to do and then I can help him with examples if I need to.  Again, the practice problems are just the right length.  In the textbooks I had been using, there would be 80 problems!  Even assigning the odds seemed excessive.  Another feature I love about the Pre-Algebra Math-U-See is the honors problems.  These incorporate higher-level thinking skills with logic problems and involve multiple steps.  I am fairly sure Brendan will continue to use this program for the rest of his schooling also.

I think we're finally on the right track for math.  Now to figure out grammar . . .