Sunday, October 29, 2006

Pumpkins And Costumes

This past Saturday, Grandma and Grandpa M. and Paul arrived with pumpkins and Kori's costume. Kori did her own carving this year and is quite proud of the results. Raiden stuck both hands inside of his pumkin - holding scoops chopstick style - which is great progress. I still don't think he's actually touched pumpkin guts, though.

Kori's costume, an Egyptian mummy/Cleopatra, turned out really nicely. Paul put a lot of work into it and trekked around to more than one theatre supply place in Toronto to do so. Kori is pretty happy with it. Raiden is a 'Karate Guy'. That's it. Just 'A Karate Guy'. No embellishment...actually, come to think of it...this picture is a fairly accurate representation of my kids' personalities...

Thursday, October 26, 2006

How Do I Feel? Let Me Count The Ways...

In a previous blog I mentioned that I had felt a bit of mother-guilt relief after I discovered Raiden could read 6th grade sight words. This evening I ran into an old acquaintance. She's a teacher and a previous employee of mine in my past life. We used to be kinda chummy until I began homeschooling. Of course we caught up quickly: she's teaching 7/8 at a local school; my kids are 4th and 2nd grade; still homeschooling. In the midst of the chit-chat, she opens up ds' backpack and checks out the things he brought to do. He's packed a few books and she asks him if he can read these books. He says yes and she is somewhat impressed. Wouldn't it be nice if her grade 8 kids could read those books, she remarks.

So, how do we feel about this...

First, I'm a little put out that she was so forward to go into a backpack that wasn't hers. Second, I was relieved that I could set aside her unsaid assumption that my kids weren't going to do very well without a 'real' teacher. Third, I was happy that Rai spoke up for himself. And fourth, I'm still disappointed that her opinion of homeschooling is such that I am only delaying my children's entrance into the system. Fifth, I am feeling confused as to why I feel the need to impress/explain to/justify my choices to this woman.

More Sleep/Less Sleep

Raiden decided today that he is the type of person that needs less sleep. It's true. He can go to bed at midnight and still be up and functioning at 7am the next morning. Rai still likes his bedtime stories. He gets very upset if we dont' get a few chapters of some sort of chapter book in before we turn out the light.

Kori made it very clear that she recognizes that she needs more sleep. She also needs wake-up time in the morning. She also prefers to have up to an hour of quiet time bofroe light's out at night. She reads, knits, draws, journals. Not to label, but she is a high-needs individual.

So, it looks like we're going to try an 8:30pm lights out for a while. And we're going to try an 8am start to our day. 8's not so bad if I get to bed between 10 and 11. I sound so spoiled. I'm such a whimp.

More of the Grand Design later on...for's off to the pool for swimming lessons!

A Quick Check In

Some points and highlights from today so far....nothing earth-shattering....

Went to visit Grandpa out at the house today to see how the kitchen demolition is going. I think we'll go out on Sunday with masks and gloves to help get the lathe and plaster off the walls....not to mention the various layers of wallpaper and drywall. There's no insulation, I noticed. Crazy!

Stopped and let the kids run rampant through the grocery store on the way home. lol No, really I went and collected a few items while they looked at toys. Kori seems to think staring wantingly at the 'Cuddle Chimp' for extended periods of time will get me to buy it for her.

I just discovered Limewire. This might be a problem.

Tom Cochrane is releasing a new album on Hallowe'en. On it he has done a cover of 'Spirit In The Sky'. I used to love that song. I'll probably love his version of it as well, since I'm not opposed to Tom Cochrane.

The kids are getting along wonderfully lately (<--happy dance..couldn't find a 'knock on wood' smilie). They are even helping each other out and being considerate.

Brian is still sick. I have watched him suffer enough so I went and collected some special teas for him today. I drink this stuff when I have a cold. One cup every four hours and your head stays clear, your throat is soothed...and you have to pee like a racehorse...frequently. But even that would be better than this 'close to death' state that Bri is walking around in. The rest of us have sore throats and even Kori is starting to get a sniffle. So I think I will share some of Rai's Cold-FX around.

K, cold meds, lunch and then we hit the calender.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

A Long, Uphill, Bumpy Ride Over The Hump This Week

Wow. Is this week ever dragging. It feels like we've been slugging through mud, uphill and someone keeps moving the darn hill! It's been cold and dingy out. The kids are playing outside if I send them. It seems I have begun to hibernate early this year. Brian has caught a terrible cold. I wish he would let me put him on ColdFX...or echinacea...or that nice Cold/Flu tea that mom gets us. But no, he'll battle it out...and of course, he has absolutaly no time off in the forseeable future.

We've had two different recipes of crock-pot cider the last two days. Makes the house smell nice instead of like old-stuffy-carpet. And the kids like it. They heard me read the recipe we tried today (maple syrup, allspice, cloves, cinnamon, orange juice concentrate, cider) and then they actually tried it and had seconds. Did you know that cloves are expensive?!? Almost $7 for one of the weeny shaker bottles!! And I was thinking of doing Cloved Orange Pomanders at Christmastime...

Rai's Hallowe'en party was awesome - he says. I managed to drop him off and return only to help clean up. He's having a good time at Beavers and I don't need to be there. Progress!! I forgot the camera so I don't have a pic of him in his 'Karate Guy' uniform. One of the mom's commented as he went in, "That's a pretty fancy belt for a kiddy Hallowe'en Party". I cringed as I knew someone was going to say something. I know nothing about the Martial Arts (other than Ninjitsu rolls cause my brother to break collar bones in turn causing mom to yank all her offspring out of that 'violent silliness'). I was tying his belt when we were getting ready to go knowing for certain that I was doing it wrong and probably breaking 14 Cardinal Rules of Katate Uniform Respect. Oh well...he loves his costume and didn't ruin is all white, you know.

Rai's finishing up his last week of meds. We finally received our Clinic Appointment: November 21. I need to dash over to the hospital and get his films from the ultrasound. We are in big trouble if we don't bring them. When the lady called to book the appointment with me, she told me about them twice. Then, we received confirmation by mail and it's in there too. Twice. Highlighted. In Pink. Twice. Apparently we are going to see how Rai does without his meds for a couple of weeks. We will monitor him through weekly urinalysis at the hospital lab, watching for rising levels of infection. I spoke briefly with Dr.W who mentioned he had seen the ultrasound results. Rai's left kidney seems to be the culprit. There seems to be a couple of different problems with it. Suddenly the abdominal pains and the urine infections make sense.

We are looking froward to a homeschooler's day at the Museum this Friday. Hopefully I will remember to pick up local postcards while I am out. We also are hoping to check out the new park at Blockhouse Island with friends after our program.

And the last thing I will share tonight....I am just about ready to throw the towel in. Everything takes so long to accomplish here at home. I can't keep up with anything. Every time I start something, someone else needs me to do something for them. I am too scatterbrained to get back to whatever it was that I was doing in the first place. A simple 'pick up the house' (declutter) took me two and a half hours last week. I insisted the kids helped. Once I am able to get everyone on the same page (stuff put away, ready for the day, fed & watered) we are all too frustrated to hit the books. Stuff piles up and I avoid it. Case in point: still haven't filled out October's calendar. I am so scattered right now I'm avoiding the phone. So, instead of jumping off a bridge...I fear I will have to make lists. And charts. And I'm going to have to really try to stick to a schedule. Oh joy. Oh bliss. We've been talking about doing what needs to be done first and then enjoying free time so we don't feel rushed. Excellent in principle, not so successful in practice. Over the summer I read Sidetracked Home Executives. Amusing. Practical. Good ideas. Now I'm going to have to do it.

That's a good idea. I think the kids and I will sit down and do it together tomorrow. IT being a daily/weekly schedule of stuff-to-do-after-breakfast-before-dad-gets-home-for-lunch-and-before-anyone-leaves-the-house-or-uses-the-electronics. I'm even thinking of getting Bri to lock out the PC until he gets home for lunch. Isn't that what husbands are for? To help with accountability?

As always, lovely chatting with you and catching up. Cross your fingers for us on the 21st.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

A Memorable Friday

I love to take pictures of the kids and the first snow of the season. Of course, noone else understands this. I won't bore you with the horid details, but here are the two pictures I quickly took. The snow was very surprising...huge, wet flakes coming down very fast. They stayed for quite a while and the kids had a chance to go out and play in it. Well, dd only lasted a few minutes as Nanny came to pick her up to do some shopping. For flip-flops, of all things. She come home with $30 Crocks and a new ball of yarn for her knitting basket.

Otherwise, Friday was a busy day. Brian had a surprise day off and I tried my hardest to stick to my plan of house cleaning, laundry and basement tidy-up and preparing for Madeline and Gerald's visit. Worked pretty well...didn't get the walls washed or the yard work done though.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Algonquin Mig-Wich

Today we were lucky enough to catch a talk given by this guy - Mitchell the Storyteller. I have to introduce him that way as anything more formal would be a disservice to him. He was the most down to earth, unassuming, casual, easy to be around guy that you've ever met. He didn't really tell a story, per se, he jumped around from topic to topic as he meandered over things he thought the kids should hear about. Raiden was surprised he wasn't orange and Kori didn't believe he was Native until he spoke words in Algonquin.

The other more interesting and novel part of the day was the trip to Prince of Wales P.S. When we arrived at the library, the librarian told us the children from the school couldn't walk to the library because of the heavy rain. (Apparently 2 classes of children cannot walk to the library in rubber boots and raincoats, but a good portion of their school mates can participate in an outdoor, all day soccer tourney, get hypothermia and walk home soaked to the skin, covered in mud...but I digress...) So Librarian Maureen invited us to attend as her guests. Off we trek to the school and wait inside the main doors where Raiden asks, "Is this just like what a real school looks like, Mom?" We proceeded, awestruck, to the grade six classroom where a class of grade 3 children joined us.

Raiden says schools aren't as noisy as he had expected. Kori thought there were too many boys. I had forgotten how cluttered and crowded classrooms were! Every available space was crammed full of something. There was no lack of visual stimulation, that's for sure. And, the ever-neurotic me did ask Raiden if he noticed the words above the blackboard. He did and he said he could read most of them. That helped with some of the mother-guilt.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

The Things I Think About When Alone In The House

Tonight I am single parenting. It has been a very long time since Brian has worked late or not been around in the evenings. Tonight he is being wined and dined and entertained. He is in the middle of the third period as we speak at the Sens game in Ottawa courtesy of the company that holds his contract. It is definitely a special occasion as they have never done anything like this for the guys before. I really hope they (his 3 co-workers and the contract manager) have a great time.

Today we managed 2 consecutive hours of school work. That is not including our reading. For those curious, and not in any particular order, each math subtraction facts to practice their proficiency; Kori finished the chapter work of the current chapter of her literature study (dictionary work, synonyms, parts of speech, crossword puzzle, opinion questions, characterization); we read one chapter of her book out loud; Rai silently read 2 Robert Munsch books (woohoo! he's reading!!); we read and discussed "The Making of The Paper Bag Princess" together as Kori is interested in the book-making process; Raiden did a page of printing (I figured it was about time he learned to spell his 3-syllable very German last name). During lunch I read 2 chapters of Farmer Boy and we looked at pictures of Almanzo and Laura Wilder on the internet. Kori spent the better part of an hour planning and cutting out the paper pieces required for the name tags she is making for her GirlGuide Hallowe'en party. Raiden and I spent some time doing logic puzzles ( Nonograms ) before bed. Kori went to swimming lessons with Nanny tonight as I am car-less.

We are looking forward to Brian's mom and her husband coming to visit tomorrow. As well, we are going to try to catch the storytelling at the local library. An Algonquin storyteller is going to share some stories and legends of his culture. Of course, I have high hopes of fitting in a house-clean, the school work and whatever else that is bound to crop up.

A friend mentioned to me this week that she is attending school with her son because the teacher says he can't focus and he figits. I also was reminded of my days in the classroom: I frequently heard "Bonni needs to stop chatting and should improve her listening skills". It is so hard to discuss my opinions or the situation in general as one of a couple of things are bound to happen. First, I am discredited as I know nothing about the current issues affecting the classrooms, the teachers, the students as I have no part in that as a homeschooler. Or second, I come off as being a big snot for bragging about my most wonderful and ideal set-up as a homeschooling family. It is really discouraging to think that these kids are being expected to go way above and beyond their abilities, to be little adults, to fit into the cookie cutter. It just seems so glaringly obvious that not everyone is going to do well in a sit-down-and-do-this environment. I know that teachers don't have a lot of space/time/resouces/magic to work miracles....but could some common principles not be adhered to consistently??? I guess there are so many things working against institutional education today that the smaller class sizes, better teacher:student ratios and the like are just not possible.

I see the same sort of problems in Rai's Beaver group. Out of the 12 boys, two don't show up regularly, two can't sit still/listen/behave, one is so loud it is painful and disruptive, one is too shy. Two are dropped off early and the same two are picked up late. These are the same two that never have parents present for any of the activities. The three leaders are forever trying to include everyone, keep them all safe and engaged, remind boys of the rules...multiple times, lead activities, wait for everyone to be paying attention, re-doing parts of the opening/closing to get it right, finding shoes, parts of uniform, coats and newsletters and then trying to get home to their families on time. I can't image a lone teacher with 25-30 students for six hours a day.

I wish society was more accomodating at times. If parents were able to take their kids to work or work an accomodating schedule, I wonder how many of them would simply yank their kids out of the system. Just to keep them safe and protected. I'm not even thinking about homeschooling them yet. Just take them out of school so they can save their children's self confidence and preserve their personality. I'm sure it must be very tempting to some...I'm sure for some kids it would be the best thing. After my public school experience (I unwillingly provided many young girls many hours of sadistic enjoyment) I can safely say that it will not make them stronger and it may come close to killing them. I wish that I had my act more together and was at a different place in my life when I hear stories of a parent's frustration and worry for their schooled child. I would love to be able to have the kids here to crash on the couch, to choose which math page to print, to pick up and go to the library with when the mood strikes. To learn to make scrambled eggs and bacon because that's what they feel like for lunch, to learn to divide 12 into threes and fours because you need to cut strips of paper for an art project, to teach the dog a trick, to play Dance-Dance-Revolution and really get what they mean when they talk about rhythm, beat and cadence. But we can't have our cake and eat it too. I guess I have to be content with the fact that there are parents out there that are an advocate for their children. I am glad for the parents that pull their kid just to make a point (ok, and to save them from the playground torture) until a situation is resolved. I would hazard a guess that even frequent interruptions in the school year are not going to negatively affect a child. In fact, I would wager that the child will understand the situation better and return to school better equipped after a day with mom. And there we are...back to the family. It is the family that should be a child's greatest influence - not the three other kids that your desk is mashed up against. Some kids are blessed with strong, outspoken, protective parents that are not afraid to explain, coach and lead their kids through life's tangles. These are the kind of parents that are going to override the classroom clutter. I wish there were more out there like that. It is the kids of involved parent's that are going to go out confidently into the world.

And on that note, I will sign off...Kori is not going to go confidently out into the world tomorrow unless she quits reading, shuts out her light and gets some sleep!!!

The Sunflower

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Uphill Both Ways....But The View Is Great

It's only been six days since my last entry, but it feels like I've dropped off the edge of the earth again. Part of that is my own fault. I am beginning to feel somewhat productive in our days...although I've been awful at the 'get up at a reasonable hour' lately. Have to work on that. One of the things falling on the wayside is my telephone chit-chats with a couple of friends. So, I almost feel organized...but with the guilt of not keeping up-to-date here and with friends....there's always something, I guess.

School work is trekking along. Still have to order a math program for this year, but I'm not desperate for material yet. Kids are both working away on their literature studies. We're reading supplemental material covering the topics we've already read in Story Of The World. I've discovered that Raiden is finding dinosaurs and other ancient creatures boring. I've been making a serious effort to include Bible and Chracter. In fact, one day that got so involved in our Character lesson that it was the only thing we accomplished all day. We were reviewing the ten commandments and talking about how to use those as rules and guidance in our lives. Then we talked about our roles in the family and how we try to be a blessing to our family. I tried explaining it about five different ways and I finally said to them "How are you a blessing to your family/brother/sister?" And suddenly the floodgates opened. I had no clue they would relate to that wording. Anyway...apparently the discussion was popular and we're going to continue it with What We Can Do In Our Day To Be A Blessing In Our Family. They want to make a list and post it so they can remember all the nice things they want to fit in throughout the day.

You know how sometimes you want to drive to the outskirts of town and sell them to the Gypsies?? And then they come up with some amazing thing that make you just want to squeeze them and keep them that sweet and wonderful for all time? Yeah. And you kick yourself for ever thinking they were less than perfect...and you give them treats...just because. Ok...enough of that...

Tonight was Rai's Beaver Investiture. He was invested as a White Tail, his last year of Beavers. There was the ceremony and then there were snacks and drinks. Kori and her Guide friend E served drinks. The "I'm so grown up" attitude was just emminating off of them. Yesterday was Guides for Kori. She's all excited because she volunteered to use my brand new stamps and scrapbooking supplies (meagre amount that they are) to make name tage for 35 girls to use at their upcoming Hallowe'en party. Should be fun. We also invited a friend to go swimming with her on the weekend sometime. That will be fun...haven't done a lot of that so it will be interesting to see how Kori does. She's funny with people. Keeping her locked in the homeschooling closet probably doesn't help that...just kidding...I should write an entry one day outlining her particular social idiosyncracies.

Last weekend was busy. Apple Day for the Beavers Saturday morning. Then Thaksgiving Dinner for my side of the family. Had my brother for a short visit on Sunday and then we went out to Bri's brother's for dinner.

Dropped the last of Rai's paperwork off at the Doctor's office today. I'm not in love with the new receptionist. Perhaps I'm used to more personal treatment and I don't know what it is like to be 'just another patient'. Or perhaps she was having a bad day. Whatever it was, I had to get out my Pushy Mom hat and put it on. Ended up having a nice chat with the doctor himself in the empty waiting room. He has extended Rai's meds. Rai will stay on them until ??? The infection is in his kidney and is not going to go away on it's own. There are 2 problems with his left kidney and something is going to need to be done. His tests will be forwarded to CHEO today and we will hopefully hear from them with an appointment soon. But not too soon. They triage their the worse your problem, the faster you're seen. Catch 22 for me...I want him in and taken care of asap, but I don't want it to be anything so bad that it's urgent, you know? I also don't want it to take months for him to be seen as he will be on meds until scream with me now....

I'm off for now to do a bedtime or two. Perhpas I'll get on later and get to some much neglected picture tasks. I haven't gone through any since August...they all need to be renamed and organized. If I'd get to that, I'd be more likely to include more pictures....L&L
(haven't spell checked yet...but I'm posting anyway b/c I know you've missed me )

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Mid-day Thoughts

Just making lunch for the kids (yes, at 1:30...they ate breakfast at 9:45 so they're really not staving...and we had milkshakes with our school work so they're good) and I thought I'd check in and throw down some notes in order to get my thoughts together later on.

I'm cold. And my throat hurts. I think the cold has more to do with the weather and my refusal to turn the heat on just yet. Maybe the milk shakes too. Oh, and showering and then rushing out in a tee shirt to spend a good portion of last evening on the river with wet hair.

My dog is bald. She's blown her entire coat...the only place I can feel fluff is on her head. She rolls over and you can see the pink of her skin in among her hair. She's a husky! They're not supposed to show skin!!!

I have to give blood this afternoon. If my veins don't constrict into nothingness from this chill.

A few people have rsvp'd and want to come to our homeschooler's coffee evening on Thursday. I wish the people who were so very excited about regular meetings would come. But I am looking forward to seeing those who are coming. The months slip past so quickly. It's amazing how much time goes by between get-togethers.

I have a 'to do' list a mile long. I won't even start to write it down here. I will say that I have been knitting a bit, the laundry is caught up (for the most part) and the kitchen is able to be cooked in. School work and house work have both happened for a few days in a row now...hopefully I won't jinx it.

More later today (I hope) after some more school work, the aforementioned house work and maybe a bath to warm up. Thanks for checking in.

Monday, October 9, 2006


Thanksgiving dinner was nice. There was no turkey, but we had a lovely ham. None of us are particularly turkey lovers, but we all love a ham dinner.The kids tried beets and asparagus. They had appitizers. There was wine. Brian and I made and served dinner together. And then we cleaned up.

I think this may have been the first Thanksgiving that we celebrated at home on the actual day of the holiday - just the four of us - it was great.

Of course you think about being thankful and you try to express that to the kids. So after Kori rolled her eyes and Raiden told me how he 'already knows that' I just quietly thought thankful thoughts and ate my dinner. I was thinking about how I appreciate what we have. Not what we have compared to 'we do have/we don't have/ the Jonses have'. Just how fortunate we are in our family. It's nice to have a good dinner on the table, food for tomorrow in the fridge, my kids with all their indiosyncracies, my husband to provide all of it and the ability to try to take care of it. We really are blessed.

Saturday, October 7, 2006

A Busy Saturday

Ho-ly Hannah. You'd think I was perky or something. Let's look at the I don't feel like getting philisophical on such a nice day. Now, you have to remember that normally, we do nothing on the weekends. The kids usually fend for themselves and I drink too much coffee and put off doing things until next week...

I slept in 'till 8ish. Then I took my knitting and sat on the couch with Rai. I finished his hat except for the back seam. At least his head will be covered. Showered while Kori ate leftover pizza for breakfast. She and I went dowtown to Dream Weaver to buy her friend a birthday mug. That done and Kori's Maplelea Doll shown off, we continued down to the Market. Didn't see anyone we knew but we did get to meet Tony Barnes, candidate for Mayor. We bought beets and maple syrup and cinnamon buns...or Chelsea Buns...depending on which end of 'der valley' you're from. Stopped at Wal-Mart on the way home to finish off the birthday gift. Grabbed coffees and arrived home almost on schedule. Moved the laundry forward, helped Kori wrap the gift and set Rai up so he could make his cinnamon toast. Made sure Bri was functioning and we girls were out the door once again. Dropped Kori off at her friend's. Drove cross town once again to the grocery store. Got everything I needed in one pass...or so I thought. Took the groceries home. Cleaned up the main floor so I could get the groceries in the door. Cleaned out the fridge, the pantry and the cupboard. Moved things around in the freezers. Put the groceries away. My men decided to come with me to pick Kori up. Drove by the party; they weren't quite done so I swung over to the kiddy consignment store and dropped off Rai's Thomas bedding. Talk about the end of an era. Thomas will be missed. Kori was finally ready and we came home, dropping off the rest of the things in the trunk at the Goodwill on the way. I made lunch for all. Bri washed the car, the bike and organized the garage to make room for the BBQ. I cleaned the kitchen. The kids were playing with a friend outside. We loaded up again and went to Hall's. Beautiful store, but good luck finding the Mulling Spices. Off we went after I successfully navigated around the pumpkin wagon in my blind-spot. I don't like driving very much when my 'concerned' husband is the passenger. Next, it was to the soccer field where we flew the helicopter. Then home for dinner as Rai was starving. I discovered that pumpkin-pie-from-a-can requires an egg and evaporated milk, not condensed milk (of course I've got two of those taking up space in the pantry...). So, after sausages and rice we dash off to the grocery store to pick up the canned milk stuff. DQ Dilly bars for the kids' dessert and we came home for the night. Washed Rai...well, he says he washed properly...and he was off to bed. We finished the very popular Pokemon chapter book. Kori and I knit for a few minutes and then she was off to bed. I have started Kori's hat. She's choosen to have white as an accent colour to her blue/green/purple blend. Hopefully that will work out ok. It will look 'girlish' anyway, and apparently that is what we're aiming for.

So that's it...a day in the life...

In the midst of things, I popped in and out of my usually-favorite message board. I'm not enjoying it lately. Perhaps I'm outgrowing the HSing forum. It just doesn't seem to be filling the need right now. And I'm not really feeling like I belong in any of the other forums. Oh well, it's hard not to lurk. Perhaps I'm just getting sick of virtual people. I think I prefer to stick with the blogs right now. It's nicer to stay in touch this way, I think. Although a message board is always good in a pinch. I did sign up for a HSing post-card exchange, though. I'll have to do that. I'm actually looking forward to it as the kids enjoy getting mail. Almost stopped downtown today and picked up a load of postcards while I was there...but I decided to wait until I had Rai with us...that and cash would have helped. Kori and I spent the last of the shopping change on maple sugar candy.

Not much else before I sign off...I wish I had had the camera on me during our drive this evening...there was the most wonderful harvest moon out tonight. I joked with the kids that they would have to eat their Dilly Bars with their eyes closed because Daddy and I were going to do some kissing in the moonlight. They just love it when I joke like that at their ages. I may need to get out more if that's how I amuse myself...getting a rise out of the kids should not be the highlight of my day...

Maybe more tomorrow...I'm playing with the idea of dragging myself to church. And we should visit my sister. Haven't seen the new place yet and it's almost been a month. Apparently there's a ladder to the sleeping quarters?! Here's hoping they practice their fire safety plan...I'd hate to have to navigate a ladder in the dark half asleep. But, I guess the view makes up for any lack in design. And pumpkin tarts. And mulled cider in the crock pot. And maybe ask BIL, SIL, niece and nephew to visit as it is neice's birthday on Monday...

Love & Laughter to all

Friday, October 6, 2006

Watch Out For Giant Smilies!!

Today was...ok. I think I had a happier heart. Every time I grumbled about something, I tried to remember that I am the one who signed up for this; that noone is making unreasonable requests of me; that people communicating with me, telling me what they's all good.

Today the kids and I planned our Thanksgiving Dinner menu. We even planned extra goodies and hot apple cider for the crock-pot in the hopes that we can share. We talked about what a rich time of year it is, how the pioneers prepared for the long winter and how we are lucky and blessed to have all that we do. We talked about how to be thankful. For example, when clearing 40 items off your new dresser to dust, (we also tidied the bedrooms today) instead of grumbling, we should be thankful that we have those 41 things and we should clear them and dust with a smile on our faces.

It was a quieter day today...although Brian was woken up by country music this morning. It seems the new neighbours keep a radio very close to the shared wall of the master bedroom. This isn't the first time, either. There will be something said this weekend if it continues, I'm sure. Yesterday we noticed an event going on at the community park behind us. Every hour there were announcements on a loudspeaker. However our first real clue was the rising crescendo of noise that came early in the morning. It was like an invasion of blackbirds coming closer and closer...and closer. The entire local public school population (ok, maybe not the entire lot of them, but there was a lot of kids!) marched past our house. Once the paper came out, I realized it was a huge cross-country meet. I thought it would be a great idea to take the kids over to see. Then, thinking about it, I decided not to. The last time I tried a stunt like that, a few teachers were not impressed with me. My over-protected, unsocialized children tend to find familiar faces in large local gatherings and the grown-up supervisors get all flustered with 'they-who-drift-around'. Oh well, maybe next time.

We did lots of reading today. We began Farmer Boy by Laura Ingals Wilder. It introduced our pioneer discussion nicely. We also read the first half of The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo. A very interesting read. I'll have to fill you in when we've finished it. It's sort of Velveteen Rabbit-ish with a twist. It pulls no's definitely not your warm-fuzzy-inducing type. But the kids are really liking it.

Kori came and knit with me this evening. She's off to a birthday party tomorrow. I think we'll hit the market in the morning. Mmmm...maple syrup candy! And Dream Weaver is right there...great place for a little girl's birthday present. I have to do groceries as well, so I hope to get to those while Kori is at the birthday party and the boys are at home. Might try to fit in a trip to the apple orchard in the afternoon. They'll have the apple cider things, I'm sure. I'd even like to get a batch of pumpkin tarts made...however, that might push me over the edge of 'ambitious'. We'll see.

Happy Thanksgiving, all. Hug your family and be glad you have them.

Thursday, October 5, 2006

What Is Up With Me?!

Every day this week I have been meaning to get the big calendar down from the fridge where it lives and sit at the table with it, the children and a cup of tea. We should have planned the month days ago. Yet I am procrastinating. We did not get to our review today. Nor did we review math facts. We did finish Prince Caspian. We didn't do any science reading. I even did the morning chores so I didn't have to interrupt the kids to do them.

Earlier this week I should have sat down and planned out meals for the next week and gone to the grocery store prepared. Now I will have to go back during the busy weekend.

The basement is currently 'on hold'. I climb onto the arm of the big blue chair, lean over and reach with my left hand to open the drawer to get my socks. I trip over the ironing board to get to the dryer. The laundry is being done...barely. I'm certainly not getting ahead. Brian had to go down to the laundry room today to choose a work shirt.

Of course, I had time to sit here and read through some blogs. You know how sometimes God comes along and smacks you up the side of the head? Yeah. I need a pink slip...or at least a quarterly review. So I thought I would share my self-induced guilt here.

I really like this picture. It was taken in November '04 in the front yard. It was the first snow of the season. The kids are wearing their sweaters and hats that I first attempt at such a venture. I think the pattern I used was the simplest thing you can find. Kori's sweater had a diagional diamond pattern running through it. They wore those sweaters everywhere. This year, I started a sweater for Rai. I've torn it out and begun it 5 times now. I really don' t know what I'm waiting for. Yarn for Kori has also been bought. And it's waiting as well. Last weekend Rai and I found a pattern book for $1.83 that has a simple child's sweater (not only is it simple,
but it is easy to customize the pattern...something I've been looking for). Not only does it have the sweater pattern, but it also has a hat and mitten pattern to match the sweater. Really, I think God is sending me messages.

So what am I waiting for?!?! Arrgh!

I am off to join my poor, patient husband. I am going to start Rai's sweater. I am even going to ignore the part of the sweater that I had already begun and worry about ripping it out later. I am going to knit until Bri is tired and then I'm going to lie there until I go to sleep. And not put off bedtime by reading. Perhaps while I'm lying there, waiting for sleep, whatever it is that I am putting life on hold for will occur to me. And I'll thank God that Brian hasn't figured out he can fire me. Yet.

Wednesday, October 4, 2006

The New School Shelf

I thought I'd share the new set-up...I'm embarrassed to even think of the old arrangement. This is working very well in our wee small house. The kids and I each have a cube and the rest of the materials are nicely accessible. I still have to set it up in an organized-to-me way...however, for now, it's perfect.

Singing In The Rain

The kids are outside running in the field in the pouring rain. Their friends have joined them. It been far too long since they've had a good run and time to just run and scream and play. Doesn't that sound odd?? Them being kids and all...

It is still very dark at 5:50am. I was up at 5:00, 5:18, 5:44 and by 5:50 I couldn't stand it any longer and I just got up and started the morning. I woke up with a killer headache and plowed through the nauseas part and hoped for relief before I had to wake the kids up. The morning went smoothly. We arrived at the hospital in good time. The ultrasound went smoothly and the tech even went on to do the post void bladder scan so we didn't have to spend the rest of the morning waiting in another department of the hospital. In and out in a little more than an hour. We returned home after collecting Kori from my sister to eat breakfast only to go out again half an hour later. I figured that Brian might like some lunch. What a treat at the grocery store!! You could shoot a canon through that place.Which was great news for us - in and out in 30minutes - not to mention the little red-headed 2-year-old driving demon we saw navigating the Produce Department at Mach2. They ought to make smaller carts for the wee shoppers...or at least put in a track!

The kids sat down and accomplished some work today. I'm trying very gently to get Rai to print a bit each day. It's not his favorite. Both worked on their Lit. Studies today. For Kori that involved dictionary work and definitions; using words in context; using clues to assist in definitions and reading comprehension of the first chapter of her book. She is ready to move on to Chapter 2. Raiden has completed three Robert Munsch works and activities to go with each book. Listening to the story on tape has been very popular, even though the tape rendition varies from the final form the book has taken. The Model Magic has been out for a couple of days. the kids mixed colours today and made miniature pumpkins in anticipation of the Thanksgiving celebrations this weekend. We are nearing the end of Prince Caspian. I am looking forward to reading our next selection before returning to the Narnia Series.

Thanksgiving will be a quiet familiy affair this year. Which I am very much looking forward to. We have decided to have a ham dinner with all "the fixin's". Hopefully over the course of the weekend, we will be able to visit with Bri's brother and family. Perhaps we will take in a bit of the Brockville Bowl: the two rival city highschool football teams vie for the honours. Last year (the 1st annual) the Pirates won. I'm sure this year, the rightful champions will be victorious...Go Rams Go!

More tomorrow...We are going to get to our review of the first couple of chapters in The Story of the World, math, science AND October's calendar....really!!

Tuesday, October 3, 2006

No Time To Blog!

Tonight I'm catching up the laundry and getting kidlets to sleep...tomorrow we're at the hospital first thing (7am!! Who makes an appointment for 7am??! We don't move around here until 8! Is it even light out this time of year at that time...seriously...I don' t know??) for Rai's ultrasound and bladder scan. Our appointment was for the 25th...but the Dr. called while we had our exam today and got us in the 'back door'. Today we had the consultation part of his's all part and parcel to the package that CHEO requires to see him. We need to do 2 weeks of charting after these tests and then we wait for our appointment with the specialist. Many hoops to jump through, but that's's all the leg work so we spend as little time as possible with the specialist getting to the bottom of this mess.

Kids are stressed but they're dealing well with the interruptions. With the weather, we're not getting a lot of outside playtime...going to have to make that the priority as they are a little wrangy.

Hope all is well and healthy wherever you may be!

Sunday, October 1, 2006

Rain, Rain, Go Away

After a very stressful Friday evening, things are settling down and the weekend is shaping up nicely. My very wonderful husband put up with my nasty habits and cleaned the house Saturday morning in anticipation of Saturday afternoon's company.

Our stressful evening involved me trying to remember the phone number of my childhood neighbour. Who is our family doctor. Every fiber of my being told me it was wrong to call him at home, however it was one of those 'the things you do for your family' situations. I called, he phoned in a longer, stronger prescription for Raiden and I was off to hassle the pharmacy staff. They worked for their $11.99 dispensing fee as I hovered first at the Drop-Off counter...then the Consultations counter...then the Pick-Up counter. You know, when the pharmacy tech says 20 minutes, he really means 37. I made it home in time to give Raidne his medicine and soon enough he was sleeping somewhat confortably.

Saturday, he seems much improved from his situation last night. This week will be spent tracking down the appropriate tests required to take to the specialists at CHEO. School work will be fit in where we can.

Both kids have begun their literature study...if you can call Robert Munch 'Literature'. Maybe I should call Raiden's work Language Arts...Kori was grumbling about her literature study until her Grandparents showed up. Then she was all sunshine and smiles showing what she had accomplished so far. I still have not ordered math curriculum. We are having fun doing a unit on Roman Numerals. We can also do time and money and work on our fact memorization if I don't get around to ordering something in the next little while. We are well into Prince Caspian and the kids seem to be enjoying it more than I am. Being comitted to one chapter a day is working out very nicely. For Science, I think we will continue with some simple experiments and relevant reading. We are reading Things That Spin due to the current intrest in BeyBlades. So far we have determined that a spinning body will keep spnning until some force stops it. Which, of course, leads to discussions about friction. We began Nature Journals in the rain last week and the kids surprised me. They want to invite their friends to 'nature journal' with them. It's amazing what you notice when you're looking for something interesting. Once I figure out how to post pictures here, I'll share our Maiden Nature Journal Adventure with you.

Today, I think we are going to use up the early harvest apples by making apple crisps for the freezer and friends. The kids love the stuff and Bri suggested an assembly line to make them. I'm looking forward to it.

I've noticed that at some of my favorite online blogs, there are many who are down and out. Hopefully this dreary weather will clear and we will be blessed with added reserves of energy to catch up and keep moving. Although, sometimes there are just days that come along where we don't have a choice and we make the energy come h*ll or high birthdays and weekend visitors...Here's to a good week for all.