Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!!

I realised something about the video I posted last week. At the end, when he keeps saying no, he said "Um..... kitty!" and then we asked him for a doggy noise, and he says "no"... and then proceeds to meow at us. lol! Smart boy. I certainly didn't catch it in the moment. In fact, it took me two or three times watching the video to catch that he said that.

Lately I have simplified my life to where some who know me are kind of not sure what to think... got rid of animals that I loved, moved from a city I adored, got rid of a garden that I pride myself in... but I have needed to simplify. Let other people do the work that I have done for the last few years. Pull in, and strive to not have so much to do... so I am free to move just a bit slower, listen just a bit better, and react just a bit calmer. That is my goal for this move. So far, this move has been crazy. Not awful (although there are many things going on I could do without) just crazy. But in all that, I can already see it is a good change. Just in the way my children play.

I am wishing for a quiet holiday season.

Happy Thanksgiving all!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Blessings for Hannah

This is Hannah. My best friends little girl and one of Cyan's very dear friends.

Right now this beautiful little girl is very sick. She has a ruptured appendix and had surgery this morning. Please pray for her and her family and for her speedy recovery.

Many prayers are coming her way from us.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Monday, November 17, 2008

Toddlers are so much fun

Logan is learning new words all the time. Two days ago he ran into Alex’s room, ripped the head off one of his bionicals… and then ran as fast as his little legs would carry him. Alex goes out to get it from him, but trying not to hurt him, he just grabs his arm and tells him over and over that he has to give it back. And Logan starts SCREAMING “Let go! Let. Go. Me! No no! Let GO!” Then I walked over. I told Alex to let go of him, and then said to Logan “You can’t have that right now. It’s Alex’s. Mama says no.” And he handed it to me without even an abashed look. It was like he was thinking ‘well as long as I don’t have to hand it to him.'

Alex was not quite so pleased with the calm outcome as I was.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Cultivate Creativity

My clan.

“Call it a clan,
call it a network,
call it a family.

Whatever you call it,
whoever you are,
You need one."

- Jane Howard

"Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter, and those who matter don't mind." ~ Dr. Seuss

Friday, November 14, 2008

Cyan's review for November

Language Arts: This month she has started reading books. Simple, (very simple) books to get her speed and fluency up in reading. We are still playing games, but lots of them are packed, so books are easier. The first time she read two books in one sitting without much fuss I nearly jumped for joy! And she was happy with herself as well. She has started the 3rd Explode the Code book and is enjoying that, and we are still working with the Dolch word set... but mostly, she is just reading right now.

Math: She is finally slowing down on the Math-U-See work. She ended up stopping around chapter 8 because there were a few things she didn't understand, and so we have started to work with the blocks again, and have her get some of the concepts. What is funny is that this work is early algebra (ie: __ + 4 = 9 ) so after these three chapters that have to do with that, she may start flying through again... but at the moment, we are paused and learning fun new things.

Science: Still working with nocturnal animals. We will be moving on to trees and leaves. She can't wait to work with the leaves we pressed last month and paint fall scenes... so she will transition after the move into the tree unit easily I think. We finally got our Science curriculum... but I already have another planned out. Not sure how that is going to work.

Social Studies: Still in Egypt. She is really enjoying the Ancient Egyptian Fashions coloring book! Right now we are reading a book about ancient Egyptian gods and their wars for the world, and about the transition from Kings to Pharaohs. It is a fun and interesting study.

Fine Arts: We are studying Mary Cassatt and Mozart this month. When we get into the new house, we will be able to do more hands on art with the concepts and techniques of Mary Cassatt and Cyan is thrilled about that! She can't wait to paint. And she has been really enjoying the books and lessons of Mary Cassatt so far... she has told me that when she grows up she is going to be an artist just like her. Successful lesson. ;)

Alex's review for November

Language Arts: He is still writing poetry, and getting better at writing with his broken arm and often with his left hand. Reading to Cyan has become an issue due to sibling stuff, so we have stopped that and he is now reading aloud to the whole family during lunch time. He has also been reading "Dragonslaying is for Dreamers" and we have been discussing things such as summarizing the material, the setting, and other writing details.

Math: Right now he is working on exponents. We had to take a whole week to explain how to do exponents with fractions, but he is starting to move slowly but steadily again. Once he gets a thing, he really understands it. That is nice.

Science: We are still working with nocturnal animals although I have wanted to move on to trees and leaves. The kids are interested, but still draw pictures and write papers on owls and wolves. lol... so there we sit. I may start the trees unit a bit later and then see if I can get the motivation with all the naked trees around our new house.

Social Studies: We are pretty much doing the same thing as we were last month. Egypt in depth now. Talking about their lives and the transfer from kings to Pharaohs and what that meant for the people. We have had to pack away most of our globes and maps, but they will be back out soon and we will be able to continue with geography as well.

Fine Arts: This month is Mary Cassatt and Mozart. Lots of papercrafting to come as we get more into the life of Mary Cassatt and her art with mothers and children.

Technology: Going again. :) He is using the mouse and since the last update he has beat Carmen San Diego, and Zoogles (a math concept game). He will start his new typing program in three weeks after his cast is off and he has been working with the exercise ball for two weeks.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Alex's poetry

It seems he thinks in words. Which makes him a natural at showing what he wants in words on paper with his own quirky style. Here are his two latest from our lesson today:


I was in a train,
near a plain.
Along with some grain,
from the plain,
coming to the train,
in the rain.

And my personal favorite for this week:

The Wagon

The dragon was pulling a wagon
down to the bay.
But the wagon was a-draggin'
so the wagon had to stay.

I love his use of slang this way, it seems very natural... and before this year, it was him mispronoucing words to make them fit... now it is him using words the way they are used in language.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Stories of books and babydolls...

Cyan stated in July that she wanted an American Girl doll. I told her to 'save her money' with no thought at all that she would actually do it.

She started saving.

But the American Girl dolls are $100 a piece. Then my friend Jessica had the idea to buy one of the girls in our group a Our Generation doll for her Sept birthday, which are just as beautiful, the same size, and much more reasonably priced ($30) and I told Cyan about it. She redoubled her efforts to get this type of doll. Yesterday, when we were out getting Logan's hair cut, Alex wanted to stop at Game Crazy and trade in a bunch of his games so he could get a new one. (We don't buy them video games, but they are allowed to with their money.) Cyan had games to trade as well, but she didn't want game in return, she wanted money toward her doll. She sold $17 worth of games, making her savings total $31.25. So our next stop was to pick up her doll. She spent about a half an hour deciding which one to get, and finally picked Hally... a beautiful doll with blue eyes, a gym outfit and two blonde braids. She has taken her everywhere today, and changed her clothes (of which she has two outfits) three or four times.

But there is more to this story. We bought her this one already. It has been in the garage for weeks because we were thinking that she would not earn enough by Christmas and so we would get it for her as her 'big gift'. Don picked one out and packed it away for her gift and the next time we were in Target he asked her which one she wanted, and after much 'well this one has this' and 'that one has that' she said "I think I like anyone but that one..." and pointed directly at Jenny; the one he had bought her. lol! That night he ran over there and exchanged it for another one. Hally (in a different outfit). And now she just bought the one he got her. LOL!

I may have to throw in the towel for the surprise Christmas doll. Not sure, but I think she is getting what she wants without any help from Santa at all.

Here is Alex playing his new game he got with his game money.

Logan with his new haircut.

These books each have a little story, but since I have typed so much already, I will just share the most special ones. First is Owl Babies by Martin Waddell. On that link you can "look inside" the book and see why it is so darned charming. It is my favorite owl book ever, and I read it to our homeschoolers at the owl party just last Friday. I have gotten it from the library about 6 times, and every time I think "Why don't I own this book?" When I saw this at Goodwill today, I had to pick it up. It is a board book version, and perfect for Logan, who loved to listen to it already... now he can hold it too! (And all for $1.29. Lovely.)

This next book has a story that goes even further back. Too Much Noise was a book that Danny Kaye had in his vinyl record of classic stories when I was little. I LOVED listening to that record. When he did all the voices and the stories just came alive. I loved it so much, in fact, that when I was taking my oral storytelling class in college, I used it as my final project and did that story, start to finish from memory in front of my entire class and their friends (and Don, who was my fiance at the time). I have told it at campfires and at Harvest Moon parties but I have never owned a copy of the book, and although I have never searched for it, when I saw this copy for $.99 at Goodwill today, I started jumping up and down.

Literally. It was quite funny actually.

Don laughed.

Now, it's mine to read to my children. :)

I like to think it is just a whole other generation of stories being ready to be told. That start with these stories of books and babydolls.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Inspiring mamas

I have been looking through other peoples blogs today. Some I have found through friends, and others I have just surfed... and I have been really impressed with what I am finding. In my tired, 'after moving thousands of pounds of vegetables all day long' stupor, I found this mama. And this post cracked me up.

I was inspired by this mama and this post that she made... omg. What an amazing costume!

I watched this mama with ideas for a friend who also has to be Gluten free, and was in awe of all the things that she has found to make her life a bit more normal and a lot more fun.

I have never enjoyed surfing before. I think mamas rock. :)

Newest conversations with my toddler

"Mama!" as he comes toddling over, and throws himself on my lap face first. I pick him up and set him on my lap.

"What do you need little man?"

"Juice?" Which he pronounces 'jew'

"Nope. Don't have any. It's all gone." I hold my hands up with the 'finished' sign.


"Nope. Do you want to go to bed?"

"No no." with a bit of head shaking to make sure I know he is serious.

"Mama." He says as he sticks his hand inside my shirt.

"What are you doing?" I ask as I remove his hands.

"NO! Mine." He says, hands back in my shirt, and giggling.

Sigh. Thus is the life of a nursing toddler and the many things he may or may not get to drink during any given day.


He is also learning German. Now you all get to say things like "Wow, what an amazing Mom!"

However that isn't why he is learning German words along with English. The neighbor is teaching her dog, and she is often heard in the back yard saying things like "Nein!" (no) and "Seitz" (sit)... he just came over here and yelled "Nein!" when I took the DVD he had away. lol... Is he brilliant... or has the brain of a German Shepard.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

A busy week

We are moving in two weeks. Which means school gets even more creative than usual. When I feel like packing, I pack. When we feel like doing school (which we do often actually), we do school. And much of our schooling comes in the form of field trips and fun activities... which of course, make the kids very happy.

We had a class at the Tacoma Nature Center called "What goes bump in the night?" that included a night nature walk. THAT was cool. Then we got to come back inside and make wolf masks and have cocoa (we were the last nature walk, we actually missed the cocoa). They talked a lot about what makes a nocturnal animal different from a daytime or crepuscular animal (one that is up at dawn and dusk). Espically the eyes. The larger eyes of night time animals also have internal differences... we got to learn all about that.

Then yesterday, my homeschool group put on a wonderful owl party. A woman from the Audubon Society came over with all of these taxidermy owls, and a great slide show of what owls need to live wild in our areas and how beneficial they are to the people they live around. It was wonderful! And as always with our parties, we each brought a craft. My friend Sarah had the kids make felted Owl Pellets... she brought beads, sticks, feathers, and tons of felting wool in 'fur' colors to make them, and then the kids hand water felted them as she talked about how owl digestion worked. Sometimes, I am in awe of the creativity that comes from my friends. Seriously. The kids spent the rest of the morning playing 'owl' and 'pellet'... a game in which one person is the owl that flies around (using their paper bag owl puppets that was a craft of Heather's (another mama friend of mine)) and then the other person is the pellet (curled up in a ball on the ground), and as the owl spits them out they 'pop' open and flail their legs and arms back and forth like they are falling from a tree. Cyan was willing to reenact the whole thing for me when we got home. It was really pretty neat all the facts that they were reinforcing over and over in their play.

There are times that I feel like I can't get through to them alone... and these parties are just that much more meaningful because of those times. Cyan and I studied owls last year... and she got it, and enjoyed it, but wasn't gung-ho about it. This time, she was able to answer the questions with the info she already had, reinforce the things she knew, get some new facts, and some really cool hands on stuff to go with it... and then it was like a light bulb went on and she got it. You know that moment I mean? The one where your kids know all the little details and are able to 'play' with the information they have gathered.

Alex and Cyan were playing with that information all afternoon. They were owls and pellets... she was a mouse and he was an owl... his puppet and her puppet were fighting over nest territory. All of this play that is reinforcing all that they spent the morning learning.

I can't imagine a better way to teach my children.

If you have noticed. I haven't been taking many pictures lately when we are not at home. That would be because I am chasing a toddler. Even with Don with me, like he was for Wolf Haven last Friday, I still find myself, more often than not, chasing a very adventurous toddler around where ever we go. As the rain started coming the mud followed. Trying to keep my camera dry, keep Logan out of the mud, and do whatever we are supposed to do all at the same time is just a bit too much for me. So no pictures. ;) Perhaps someone else in my group took some that I can post later.

For now, here are two pictures from the last day our pumpkin city was out.

The one above seemed like the spirits of the night were coming up out of the pumpkins. It meant a slow exposure, nothing surreal, but it was a cool effect anyway.

And of course, my pumpkin coach to go along with Cyan's Spiderella Castle. :)

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Missing Summer

I miss the warm already. School is fun, I don't need to stop doing school... just be able to get outside and play when it isn't raining... yep. I already miss summer.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

She is just really amazing....

My daughter is a born artist. I pretty much can't wait until we can move so she has more space to do art. In this house she has been limited to paper and pencils. (She does have really good colored pencils that I got her.) I can't have paint inside with this light tan carpet, and there is really no other space for me to let her free to do art. In the new house, we have a HUGE room with tile floors. And I am planning on setting up my cutting table (adjustable height) just for art. Both the kids are good at it... but Cyan has a passion that I think could really become something later in her life. Or at the very least, bring something to her life that I get from doing my paper crafting (which is another thing I can start doing more of when we move).

Anyway. Here are a few of my seven-year-old's latest drawings.

"A Rose"

When she brought this to me, she said "Mama, I have never drawn a rose like that before. It just came from me. Like from my heart. I had never done it that way... and then I did."

I nearly cried.

In her picture, you can see the roots, seed, leaves, stem, and flower all illustrated in detail. Along with a worm, 'helping the soil'. The things you think you didn't get through to your children sometimes come back in the most amazing ways.

"My Wrapped Baby"

She has such a beautiful idea of the world. I keep all of her art like this in folders by year. She has had one since she started preschool 4 years ago. Looking back, it is really incredible. I honestly don't think she has any more talent than anyone else... she just has passion. Intense passion. She is just pretty darn amazing.

Oh, I can't wait to share some of Alex's poetry. I love having artistic children.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

So tonight...

Don bought a pumpkin pie from Costco while he was getting a loaf of bread.

And it wasn't near as good as the one we made from a pumpkin.

Score one for homemade!