Thursday, January 28, 2010


Another clue to the puzzle as to why I've been so emotional this week and feeling unable to accomplish anything, is I think a cold is trying to take up residence. I've been cold all morning and more "blah" than usual. So after my dental cleaning this morning, I drank an Airborne, and made and ate lunch. David had visits in the next town over so Hannah and Ellie rounded up all the library books and some of their schoolwork, and they'll sit in the library reading and working while their Dad finishes visits and brings them back home. The three younger ones are firmly planted in front of Looney Tunes, and I'm heading either to the couch or my bed to finish listening to Rush, nap, and read more of The Bourne Ultimatum.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Narnia Morning

Last week we had warm weather, in the thirties, which allowed lots of moisture to rise into the air. Overnight that dense air-moisture clung to trees and made for some really foggy mornings, but one morning it was more beautiful than all. Everything looked like the pictures below. Later that morning, I had to drive to Mankato. As we drove and saw all the trees like this, we all marveled at the beauty and kept saying how it reminded us of Narnia.

Homeschooling Golds

Okay I couldn't think of another color that would lend itself towards the happy things of homeschooling to counteract the sad things I posted previously, all too easily described as the blues.

As Pastor made announcements after service on Sunday, he commented on the closing hymn, "Alleluia, Song of Gladness" (LSB 417) including the words, "in 586 BC the Jewish people were taken captive to Babylon along the Tigris river." My 8 year old daughter turned to me, smiling, whispering, "Tigris River! Between Two Rivers!! Tigris and...and...and...Euphrates Rivers!"

And regarding my son who takes forever in Math. Knowing how hard it is for him to focus and get done, it makes all the little accomplishments much more exciting for me. Day in and day out he was continually missing the question regarding telling how much of the square is shaded, giving it as a fraction, percent, and decimal. But now he's gotten right two days in a row without me helping him think! Woo Hoo!!! And he has gotten everything right that I've had him do by himself the last two lessons! An even bigger WOO HOO!!! I don't think it would be nearly as exciting to me if I didn't know how deeply he struggles to do this.

And one more bright spot. On Monday the day after the event which must not be discussed took place, our 12 year old daughter hid herself in her room for awhile in the morning. Closer to lunch, David showed me the mail, which included a note from that daughter given to him:
"To remind you of what we are:
Please wear your jersey today. Be a good sport!"

Included was a mini-cross stitch that said

I know how good homeschooling is, even with all its faults. There are definite blues and golds in it as in any other part of life. I think I feel them more, but that more than likely has to do with my hormones and health, which I should probably start taking a more serious look at and seeing if, anything, I can do to help make me more level than up and down.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Homeschooling Blues

Last year was our best year yet for meeting our goals in homeschooling. I foolishly thought this meant I was on the uphill climb and each year would get a little better. Boy was I wrong on that one (and you can stop laughing now).

It isn't that we aren't getting some things done, just not everything I had planned and hoped. (Again - stop laughing!) Not even some of the things we were able to accomplish last year and I'm having the darndest time trying to figure out why. I know that part of the reason is that Math takes so long now, all because of one child. The two oldest are taught Math by their father, so that leaves the three youngest for me. The two youngest can be done rather quickly, but for Nathan it takes much. much. much. more. time.

His head is so full of stories and thoughts and questions that to get him to focus and copy the problem onto his paper correctly takes a long. long. long. time. So I've taken to sitting with him and doing most all of it orally, only making him work on paper by himself a few each day. I know he can do the math, the trouble is the focus. I figure that's a skill he needs so I might as well work on it this way. But there are always tangents in his mind, that lead us off track, which are helpful, learning discussions, but don't make Math time any shorter.

Since this takes more of my time, I'm finding less time to get other stuff done. My 7 year old still isn't reading, but I can see signs that he is starting to understand words on a page. He always wants to point (or have me point) to the words while we sing our hymns during evening devotions,to the words during morning Matins, or during the Sunday morning liturgy. And today he was the first one to point out Mycenae on our Ancient Greece map in history when I asked where it was in relation to Crete. I know he is getting there, but I feel quite guilty not working with him as dutifully as I did some of his older siblings.

And I haven't taught Nathan and Abby nearly as well with spelling and grammar and simply reading aloud like I did with the older two. And I could go on and on. This adjusting to having to expect a lot out of the older ones while still trying to expect much/teach well the basics to the younger set is HARD! I can't mentally get my mind wrapped around it. Maybe I never will, and maybe it never can be done. And I even have David who does a lot of the teaching with the oldest two! Oh well, like Dori, I'll "just keep swimming, just keep swimming, just keep swimming, swimming, swimming."

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Post Vacation Let Down

After spending the week enjoying this:
and this:

and this:

is it any wonder that I have no motivation to do the work staring at me here at home?

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Not Like Most People

Most people send their children to day care and the mom goes to some job. But not us.

Most people send their children to some conventional school. But not us.

Most people eat out on a regular basis. But not us.

Most people think nothing of sleeping in on Sunday mornings and skipping church, thinking, "well we went last week or the week before that." But not us.

Most people vacation in Florida or someplace warm during the winter and "up north" during the summer. But not us.

When my mom lived in Florida we loved vacationing there during July or August. And now for our winter vacation, we are heading "up north." I can't wait.

The week will be filled with sipping hot chocolate while sitting by this:

We have books and games packed, and also outdoor gear in order to try snowshoeing and cross-country skiing, have fun sledding on the tubing runs, and playing broom-ball.

Our good friends will be in the cabin next door (obviously dressed much warmer than this!).
We don't mind not being like most people.......................................most of the time.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

When I was a kid...

We've all heard that line start and end any number of ways a million or more times. The ending, "I had to walk uphill (both ways) to get to school," doesn't work for me, but there are others.

"I had to get up to change the channel."
"We only had (insert number) channels on tv."

Tonight I thought of another one because my son was complaining "No, no, no Mommy, please don't make me take that. Why do they have to make all medicine taste so yucky?"

I about laughed. Was he talking about the much sugar- enhanced, grape flavor of cough syrup that's sweeter than candy? Crimeny. When I was a kid, the medicine really tasted bad.

Looking Back on 2009

If you haven't yet read Dave Barry's year in review, go here and read it now. We always print it out and laugh and laugh as we read through his humorous take on the year gone by. I guarantee you'll never use the phrase "hiked the Applaachian Trail" with a straight face again.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Warm little piggies

My slippers were beyond repair. A hole along the seam and the lining ripping into pieces. But I still wore these lovely things for about a month because I couldn't decide what type of slipper I wanted to try. I new that I wanted two things in my next slipper: warmth and comfort. Warmth because I live in a cold climate in a house with wood floors, and my toes are always cold. Comfort because if I don't wear some sort of shoe during the day my heels ache.

I finally decided to try furry-lined Crocs. Monday night we drove to the Mall of America to try them on. This is the pair I bought:
I love them! They really are very warm, even without socks! They are also very comfortable, my feet haven't ached the last two days while wearing them. Yippeee! David also bought a pair (it helped that there was a buy one get one half off sale) and he, too, loves his new slippers.

I also like that if I have to step outside to get the mail, or take out the trash, there is good grip on the soles, which helps with all the snow and ice around here. Another nice quality is that the lining is removable and washable.

If you too are looking for a new slipper, I would suggest that you look into a pair of fuzzy crocs!

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

What does this mean?

I've finally figured out (for now) that I have to answer the question, "What does this mean?" for more than just catechesis. I'm not even talking about how this question should be written on a sign and held up so many times a day when living with children. No, I mean how I have to answer this question when I want to change some habit or learn a new one.

Examples: What does it mean that I want to be more organized? or that I want to eat healthier? or that I want to lose weight or get in shape? or that I want to learn to take better pictures or edit them better? or that I want to spend more time in God's Word? or that I want to read more? or any number of other things?

All these questions I ask myself at various times and I'm sure others ask them of themselves. The only answer is to ask "what does this mean?" What does it mean that I want to be more organized or spend more time in God's Word or eat healthier or read more? The answer to this question then shows me how I have to make conscious decisions to meet the goal.

In other words if I want to eat healthier, what does that mean? Do I want to go vegan or do I just want to eat less sugar or drink more water or eat organic or eat more vegetables and less chips or what? And if I'm already drinking enough water each day (ha ha ha ha ha) and eat little to no sugar (ha ha ha ha ha ha ha) then maybe the answers are to eat less meat and more vegetables. If that is the answer this time to the question of what does it mean that I want to eat healthier, then I can make a more conscious decision in meal preparation to work towards this healthier eating. I can choose to fix vegetables with each meal, or even two.

If the answer to what does it mean that I want to spend more time in God's Word is to read my Bible more or pray more, then I can see when in my day I can do these things. And when the time comes, do it. If I miss a day, do it the next day.

If the answer to what does it mean that I want to lose weight or get in shape is to be healthier, then I look at what I can do it reach that goal. If I'm already exercising two or three times per week (ha ha ha ha ha ha) then maybe my goal will be to either do it longer those days or do it more days. Or maybe it will be to try some core strength training or try running instead of walking, or add lifting weights or simply try to do push-ups and true sit-ups. If I'm doing nothing in the exercise department, then maybe I will simply choose that I want to walk one tenth of a mile the first day and add another tenth each successive day. Or plan to go to the gym twice or three times per week.

I've always been more of the type to wonder why talk or think about it ad nausea, just do it. And when I'm done thinking and talking about it ad nausea (hee hee hee) answering "what does this mean?" is the way I "just do it."

Feeling a bit like Pooh Or Maybe it is Eeyore

I tried some new settings on my digital camera for Christmas, trying to get the lighting right. Although the lighting was much, much better than before, somehow most of the action was blurry. Oh bother.

I really need to take time to actually read, practice, and learn more about my camera. But that takes time and I keep pushing it off, worried that I won't understand it and feel even more like the dummy I am. Oh bother.

I also need to learn how to edit my pictures better. I have Photoshop elements on the old Dell. But it is so slow and I like working on my iMac so much better. Plus I download all my pictures onto my iMac, so I would have to transfer them to the Dell, work on the slow computer, trying to get it right, retransfer them back to the iMac and then upload them and order them online. Yes I know I could do some of it right in the wonderful world of iPhoto (and I have done some) but there are some things that can only be done in photoshop. Oh and I need to decide something because I'm going scrapbooking the last Sunday in January and I need to order pictures beforehand. Oh bother.

One day I might know what I'm doing, till then I'll just keep pretending.