Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Wishing for an end to November

I hate to wish a single day away. What joys and blessings might I miss along the way?

But I do so wish November was just over and I already knew the results of all that is to come this month.

Here's the lineup:

Nov. 9 - My only sister is having a hysterectomy. She is 48.
Nov. 10 - My husband is traveling to Mexico for work. We live in Ohio.
Nov. 13 - He hopefully comes home this night. This is also the opening night of the high school musical (Seven Brides for Seven Brothers) that my son is in.
Nov. 13-15 - Potentially stressful weekend with my stepdaughter here. Sometimes we have a great weekend, others are horrible. I never know what to expect.
Nov. 17 - My dad has his liver resection in Detroit. (Karmanos Cancer Institute)
Nov. 19 - Concert - son's high school competition show choir
Nov. 21 - Son's show choir - 1st competition of the season - all day event
Nov. 25 - Possibly husband's last day at his current job. Nothing else lined up yet.
Nov. 26 - Thanksgiving - Praying we have lots to be thankful for. A day at home, I believe.
Nov. 28 - Thanksgiving party at the in-laws' - who knows?

Yep, November is full. I'm good if I'm in control of things, but I'm not in control of ANY of this and nothing I do could affect the outcome of any of this. So I'm trying to figure out what my best practices for this month should be. So far, no clue. Just need to relax, breathe, remember that it is God who is in control, and watch my attitude.

God help me.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Happy Birthday to my dad!

Today, my dad is 73-years-old. Quite an accomplishment, just making it that far, given his history.

We will be celebrating at Mom and Dad's this afternoon.

Then, on November 17th, he will undergo a liver resection, removing the left lobe of his liver, which includes a large tumor.

I read a little bit about liver resection this morning. It sounds very positive. I believe he will come through fine, and will still be around next August to celebrate his and Mom's 50th wedding anniversary.

What a party that should be.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Days Such As This

... and how I hate them! {{Beware! Long story, not made short!}}

Before anyone can understand how a day can get so off track, you first must know the dynamics I'm working with here:

In total, we have 5 children. I have two from my first marriage who are 18 and 16. They are responsible, well-rounded individuals who have taken ownership of their educations, despite being brick-and-mortar kids all their lives (I say that like it's a bad thing?!?). No, really, part of their success is probably due a little bit to my having supplemented all their lives with homeschool-type activities. These two are in and out of the house, splitting their "home" time between my house and their dad's during the week, and trading off every other weekend. They are also in and out during the day because: the oldest attends a nearby college and is close enough to come home between classes; the second child attends a tech center north of home in the morning and our local high school south of home in the afternoons. Mom's house and food happen to be in between.

In the middle of the family is my stepdaughter who does not live with us, but is with us every other weekend.

Then we have the two "little ones" who aren't so little anymore. They are 8 and almost-7 and are the ones I'm responsible for homeschooling. And let me just put this out there one more time (not the last time!) ... we are still new to this and trying to figure it all out.

We have varied weekends ... one weekend we'll have all 5 kids here, the next it's just the little ones and mom and dad.

This past weekend was one of the maniacal ones with all 5 present. Oh, I forgot to mention the boyfriend of the oldest ... I love him and count him as one of my own, but it's one more big body in the house!

Anyway, there was a lot to do this weekend: shopping for fall dress clothes and a winter coat for young ones; soccer game for an older one; special day at church for one younger one; surprise date night for mom and dad thanks to the oldest and her boyfriend. Top that with the adults being exhausted on Sunday afternoon, and the kids all being full of energy with nowhere to go ... it was not a good combination.

This is all to say that it was a very unproductive weekend by the standards of these two adults. My goal for the weekend: put together plans for this week's schooling. Get organized! Hubby's plans? No idea, but I'm sure he had something in mind. Let me just be clear here: I HATE starting my Monday without a plan.

So, I awoke this morning. Generally I prefer to sleep until I awaken. Today the alarm was set because the 16-year-old is a heavy sleeper and I'm always afraid he will oversleep. I went downstairs, as is my routine, started my coffee, and watched the news. I thought I heard the boy awake upstairs, only to come to find out he wasn't. At the time that he should've already been on the road to school, I abandoned my coffee, woke him up and sent him on his way. I don't think he brushed his teeth today. Hmmm.

This should've been my first clue for today.

He left and I was free to pursue my plans at least for today, since I knew there wasn't time to plan the whole week, like I had hoped to do on Sunday.

But alas, of all days for my creatively-minded, night-owl, late-sleeper 8-year-old to get up early, fully refreshed and ready to get busy (with anything but schoolwork - which I wasn't ready to give her yet anyway).

The 6-year-old followed and we proceeded to fall back on my cheating-school: I let them watch The Magic Schoolbus, etc. I finally said "Turn the tv off!" and sent them off to do morning chores (buying myself just a few more precious minutes).

No sooner did they show back up than ... drumroll please ... the 16-year-old called. His battery had died at the tech center and he might need picked up. Ok, I can handle this. I asked if he had jumper cables in his trunk. He got out to check his trunk, the door blew shut, and he was then locked out of the dead car.

My morning then became picking up the boy, bringing him home to get the rest of his belongings, and taking him out to the high school. By the time I got back home, the morning had disappeared into thin air. (I might mention that we live in the country, with miles in between, well, everything.)

I could mention at this time that I "started" today also, and I have cramps. But I've learned to use the laptop as a heating pad!

Accomplished today: next to nothing (though the creative 8-year-old has accomplished about a million things!). And thanks to the cramps and frustration, I still have no plans for tomorrow's schooling. But the oldest shouldn't be around until evening (thus no distraction from her) and the big boy is staying at dad's tonight so it's not my job to make sure he gets up. If I go to bed NOW (8:12 pm), maybe I can get up earlier than the young ones and get something planned for their day.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


We're first-year homeschoolers. We're still figuring out our style and philosophy.

I'm currently checking out lapbooking and unit studies. I feel like I've done nothing since mid-August but research homeschooling methods, ideas, philosophies, styles, blogs, websites, and I've probably checked out 200 books from the library!

My mind is spinning, and I'm doing more research than the kids are doing "school work," but they are still learning, and they are happy. And I've got enough materials around here that I can say "Come do this" and they generally do it without too much complaining.

I'm curious as to where this adventure will take us over the course of this year, and where we will be next year at this time.

One day at a time, one day at a time.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Dad's Surgery

Dad came through his surgery ok, but later that evening he had an oxygen crisis. Apparently he had a reaction to some medication they gave him. On top of that, they did a chest x-ray and found pneumonia.

When we went to the hospital, we didn't know:
#1 - if they were going to remove his gall bladder;
#2 - if he'd be staying the night.

#1 - No, they didn't. The doctor said that each time he touched a blood vessel or something, it would bleed, so no removal in order to avoid unnecessary bleeding. The gall stone is not giving him any real problems at this point, so this is fine.

#2 - Yes, he stayed the night. I'm so glad, since he had that crisis. It's 10:30 am now and I am at home with my kids. I wish I was there, meeting with the doctor during his rounds, and finding out if it's likely he'll come home today or not.

So now I wait ... and wait. I'm pushing the kids to get their schoolwork done as quickly as possible, but slowpoke Annie is making me crazy!!! And now, after only one lesson, she's going to take her shower. I'm letting her because:
#1 - she desperately needs a shower;
#2 - I'm going to scream if I watch her pokey-ness any longer;
#3 - I'm so on edge at this very moment that any bit of noise makes me want to scream. I can't even bear to hear my chidlren talk!

I so need to be alone right now ... and to maybe take a nap and wake when the kids are ready to be 100% agreeable and cooperative and FAST. Hmmm, guess neither of those will happen. The nap might happen. I think I need it like you know when a toddler needs one or they will fall apart. Yeah, I need one.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Surgery Day for Dad

Dad is having surgery today. They are supposed to be doing another surgery on his liver. This will be #3. Last time they froze the smaller tumor with cryoembolization. Today, I don't know what it's called, but they will "microwave" the same tumor because the cryo didn't get all of it last time.

If he's well enough, the doctor also might remove his gall bladder.

I'm not feeling very confident this time ... I am usually completely at peace with all of this, but this time, I'm just not. I'm not worried so much as just acknowledging that I'm not fully confident that all will turn out fine.

I will be going with them to Flower Hospital in Toledo. I don't normally go, and they don't normally want anyone with them. Too bad. I need to go this time. Annie and Andrew are with Grandma Hassan until Caity gets out of class at Owens, then she'll pick them up. I didn't know it was going to be so cold today and I didn't send warm enough clothes for them!

Of course, the kids spent the night at Grandma's, so we should've slept like babies. But no, we couldn't sleep. We've been up since 4:00. Dishes are done, laundry is done, coffee is almost done, ate a 1/2 bagel with cream cheese. Started packing the book/snack bag for the hospital.

I just want the surgery to be done so I can get on with things. Worked on the lesson plans and organizing over the weekend so I'd be ready whenever we are able to get back to schooling.

Time to actually start getting ready to go now. Prayers continue to flow.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Works for Me Wednesday - Afternoon Clean-up

Being new to homeschooling, it's taking some getting used to. My kids play together really well, but have a habit of *gasp* of making a mess as well. We get all that fun literal schooling out of the way early in the day, and then they have hours to think creatively until Dad comes home.

We school at the table in the morning, mostly clear that "out of the way" for lunch, then move mostly to the couch and floor and out of the house, etc, for the afternoon. Don't tell anyone, but we rarely clean the kitchen right after lunch.

Once I set the kids free with the words "Ok, school is done," the house just really goes downhill from there.

THUS ... I have implemented "Clean-Up Time" in the late afternoon. They must take a break from whatever they are doing, clean up all the messes (including lunch), and then they are free to go back to whatever they want.

This leaves the house tidied up for when Dad gets home, and gives them the responsibility for the mess they've created.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Works for Me Wednesday - Organizing Tips

Never Run Out Again!
We have a 6-year-old bedwetter. He's a heavy sleeper, and we've been sleep-deprived for so long thanks to his older sister, we still haven't tried the idea of waking him up in the night to see if he can get all the way through -- dry.  Call me lazy, call me stupid, just don't call me in the middle of the night. Sue me, I'm tired.

Some nights he DOES make it through, and wakes up dry. But I'm no psychic ... I don't know when this might happen.

Thus, Andrew wears Pull-Ups to bed, and we're good with that. He's not complaining and neither are we.

However, we have experienced, more than once, a bedtime when we suddenly realized we were OUT of Pull-Ups! *Gasp!*

We live 6 miles from the nearest store, and by the time we reach bedtime ... like I said, we're tired! Neither of us wants to run out *just for Pull-Ups!*

Ok, like any other adult would do (ahem, cough cough), we have managed to get through those nights one way or another. However, since this blog is NOT about nighttime potty training, we won't go into our alternative methods.

No, this week's theme is about orgainzing, isn't it? So here's the solution to our problem of running out of Pull-Ups ...

when we buy a new pack, Daddy takes 2 or 3 and hides them in the linen closet!!! Yay Daddy! What a genius! By hiding more than one, we also don't run into the problem of having only one Pull-Up left and still be 3 days away from payday.

If you liked this, visit Kristin at We Are THAT Family for more Works For Me Wednesday tips.

Works for Me Wednesday

Multiplication Ideas

My 8-year-old, Annie, started learning multiplication last year in 2nd grade at public school. Now I must admit, I seem to be raising math geniuses. I'm not bragging (much). I did not grow up with the same math skills that my children have, but of the 4 I've given birth to, it just seems to come naturally to them.

Of course, maybe it could have something to do with the fact that I always provided them with educational and developmental toys from toddlerhood on.  We counted as babies, we sorted and grouped as toddlers, and we learned to recognize numbers as preschoolers.  My babies were raised in an atmosphere of "learning," so this might be what led to their ease with Math.  One can hope.

Now that we have begun homeschooling this year, our first time ever, I wanted to cover multiplication as soon as possible with Annie. Luckily, her 2nd grade teacher was fabulous (if Annie could've had her every year for the rest of her school life, I would've left her in public school -- maybe).  Annie has retained her understanding of how multiplication works, so now my goal is to give her a "Classical Education" twist. We are going to memorize the facts, factors, and multiples.

We started a Math Notebook today (just a regular spiral notebook). Annie wrote "factor x factor = product" as her first note.  I covered this on the whiteboard, showing examples, and labeling one number "factor 1" and the other "factor 2" at first, then showing her that we can have these switch places, with the second number becoming "factor 1" and the first number becoming "factor 2" but the product staying the same.

She then wrote the rule for "zeros" -- Any number x 0 = 0 -- and "ones" -- Any number x 1 = that same number.

She already has a very firm understanding of the 2's since the answers are "the doubles" (this is how she thinks of it -- it works for her, so I'm not changing it). Thus we didn't worry about a rule for two's today.

We then turned to a clean page, and I made 4 sections by drawing a line across the middle horizontally, and one vertically as well. I labeled the top two sections "0's" and the bottom two sections were labeled "1's." I then got her started so she would know exactly what I expected from her and to make sure she understood the commutative property of these facts.

In the top left section, I started her off with writing 0 x 0 = 0 on the first line. Across from it, in the top right section, I wrote the same thing. On the next line down, I wrote 0 x 1 = 0, and 1 x 0 = 0 ... and the next down line, I did 0 x 2 = 0 and 2 x 0 = 0.  I then did the same thing on the bottom half, using the 1's facts.  She got the idea of what to do to continue the pattern, and was able to complete these on her own.

She was so excited about the fact that she knew what she was doing, and that she already knows her 2's also, that she wanted me to go on with the next page, so I did! Why stop for the day when the child is engaged?!? However, I wasn't going to just set up the top half of the page with the 2's and leave the bottom half blank. I set it up for the 3's.  AND, since we had basically covered things she already had a good grasp of, I decided it was the proper time to cover the 3's.

At this point, I pulled out the Legos (she didn't feel like it was just "more of the same" this way) and picked out 12 little Lego pieces that each had 3 circles on top.  I also pulled out a Lego that they would describe as a 2x3 brick (read: 2 by 3). I asked if she could tell me a multiplication sentence that describes that brick. She could! Yay!

I then showed her the chart in her notebook, with the beginner problems I had started for her, and  showed her how we could "show" this with the Legos. I also showed her how she could count the circles on top if she needed help. We used that method to "count on" once she knew how many she had so far, and just "counted on" 3 more.  Annie then used the manipulatives (Legos) to physically illustrate each sentence as she continued filling in her chart.  She loved it.  By the time she got to 9, she was able to pick up on the pattern she was making (adding 3 more to the previous product).

As she finished the chart, I grabbed a sheet of construction paper and cut a ctrip from the long side, about an inch and a half wide.  I then used my Sharpie marker to write the multiples of 3 (although I just realized I didn't teach her the word "multiples!" Bad mom!!) from 0 through 36 down the length of the strip.  When Annie had finished her chart, I showed her the multiples strip, and asked if she could tell what the pattern on it was ... she could! Again, yay!

We then spent a minute looking at it, reading the numbers down the strip, and then I asked her (she likes a challenge) how far she thought she could remember without looking.  She loves praise, so even though she only got to 15, I praised that.  We then taped this strip to the front door, which she passes many times a day. I told her we would see how much of it she could memorize before Daddy gets home.  A few hours later, she had the whole thing memorized and was able to recite it for Dad when he got home.

Tomorrow we will do the 4's, and maybe the 5's, since they are so easy.

Oh, I should mention that we did try filling in a multiplication chart (a 10 by 10 chart) first, but that idea didn't seem to click with her, so I scrapped that idea and went on with the notebook idea instead. I personally feel like you need to treat the most important subjects for your children (math, reading, etc) like you do potty training: you just keep trying the known methods, and maybe some of your own, until you find one that works with your particular child.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Charlotte Mason

Thanks to Kris' blog at Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers I have found links to so many useful homeschooling sites and the answers to so many questions. Since we are new to "official" homeschooling (I've supplemented my children's brick-and-mortar educations all their lives), I have spent a considerable amount of time lately doing research into different homeschooling styles, and trying out different methods.

My most recent research has lead me to studying the Charlotte Mason methods. I can't stop reading! We're in a serious money crunch so I depend on the library for most of my materials, but I often have to wait for books to come in. Thus, I spend a LOT of time on the computer. Thankfully, I can usually count on Kris to do the hard work of finding the right materials for me to be reading so I don't waste a lot of time searching through the garbage to find the gold!

Thanks, Kris, for leading me to Catherine Levison's website: A Charlotte Mason Education. I'm learning so much! And thank YOU, Catherine, for spending so much of your time studying Charlotte Mason for me, and putting it into wrods I can understand.

Enough writing, back to work!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

School in August?

School in August? Are you kidding me??

It's hot, it's humid, and we're feeling significantly lazy. (Am I wrong, or aren't these called the "dog days of summer"?)

Besides, I supplemented their brick-and-mortar education last year (last year? as in 2008-2009 school year ... which, incidentally, is really still this year, right?) with so many extra educational activities, they must've had at least a year-and-a-half's worth of schooling!

Besides (or as Andrew says, "desides"), here in Ohio it was an unusally cool, dry summer and felt like Spring all the way through July! We only went recreationally swimming twice before August (as opposed to swimming lessons, which don't count as "fun.")

Why rush the start of school? Just because the neighbors and all of our friends from church went back to school yesterday, the 19th of August? Just because the oldests' college classes started 3 days ago? Just so we can "be done" by the end of May?

My argument is that there is no reason why we have to be "done" by the end of May ... learning is learning, all year round, all your life. And we had a beautiful day yesterday ... while the other kids were in school learning how to behave in school, my kids were: sleeping off their late night out with Mom and Dad, doing morning chores, and my 8-year-old was making deviled eggs. They also spent 2 1/2 hours playing outside with the neighbor who didn't get to go to school yesterday because she's in Kindergarten and they start on a different day. Oh yeah, then we ran to the library, bank, and UPS store, and went swimming with our cousins for 3 hours. Then we got free ice cream sandwiches at a community event, and enjoyed a nice drive home, getting home just in time for bed.

So, while most of the kids we know were in school for 7 hours (plus more than an hour of bus time), and coming home to do some homework while Mom filled out form after form after form (to be returned the next day in order to earn something special for the child!) my kids spent a minimum of 6 hours outside either playing or swimming or walking or running in a park. Yes, they also spent an hour riding in the van both to and from the cousin's, but guess what? That was almost the only time they spent "sitting" all day!

Now that is my idea of summer. And to me, August is still summer (technically it is, you know?). We're just not ready to start school yet. (Alright, fine, I'll admit that I've been making the kids do some schoolwork already ... but we're not doing a full day's worth yet, and we're not doing it everyday yet!) September and cooler weather will be here soon enough. Maybe we'll start then!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

"Falling behind" in school

I've read blog posts about how homeschoolers and unschoolers feel it's utterly ridiculous to think that a child could "fall behind" in school if school is closed for an extended amount of time due to weather, or if one particular child has to miss school for a period of time.

And at first, I agreed. That's true (I thought!) ... how can a child "fall behind" when each new day presents another opportunity to learn something new and make progress in an educational sense. They are never "falling behind" if they are always learning something, anything, new. So when they get back to school, they just pick up where they left off, right?

Well, here's the thing ... from someone who has spent just enough time in "the system" to understand this ...

School officials, administrators, school boards, and teachers are all worried about one thing ... testing! Standardized testing, to be more specific. Because THAT is how they are judged on whether or not they are doing their jobs. Period. The sticking point to this is that all standarized testing takes place on the exact same days. Period. Once the testing days are established, there is no changing the calendar. End of story. So even if a district has seen the worst ice storm in history and school was closed for a month, the tests are still administered on the days they were scheduled for (barring the possibility that the tests were scheduled for the ice storm month, that is). And those children, teachers, administrators, school boards, and districts are then judged on what those children have learned up to the point of the testing date (or retained, for that matter).

So if the neighboring district didn't get the ice storm, or had more money for road salt, or decided to risk the children's lives and make them go to school through the storm anyway, those districts may score better on the tests, making them appear to be a better school, and making it seem that their children are "farther ahead" than the others.

So this is what it comes down to when some people worry about their children falling behind. They don't want them to fall behind other districts, other states, etc ... want me to start telling you about how those tests scores then affect the amount of money a school gets from the government? No?? Ok, I won't.

Monday, July 27, 2009

My baby's growing up

My daughter is 8 years old. She is the 4th out of 5 children. The older 3 are quite a bit older. As a matter of fact, her oldest sister is 10 years older than her. Annie is somewhat less mature than her peers due to the fact that she is one of the "babies" of the family, and she doesn't watch shows like Hannah Montana, etc, and because she has had enough anxiety in her 8 years to keep her from some of the things that help young girls grow up faster ... like sleep-away camp, swimming in the deep end, etc. On top of all that, her "best friend" (whether she would ever admit it or not) is her little brother, Andrew, who is 6 1/2. They are only 19 months apart. The choice as a parent is to either allow the older one to stay young awhile longer, or allow the younger one to mature faster. In my book, childhood is so short as it is. I've watched my stepdaughter mature at an extremely accelerated rate (she "started" at age 8!), and I'm sorry that she missed out on some of the joys of just being a kid, and I'm constantly concerned about what her relative maturity is getting her into now that she's into high school. But I digress.

All I'm trying to say is that Annie has seemed younger than her peers and I've been mostly ok with that ...

Then came today. I needed to take Annie to the doctor to get her ears checked. Usually, where Annie goes, Andrew goes. However, we had the blessing of my oldest being home today and Andrew was able to stay home with her. Yea! I had some private time with Annie. So rare, and so special. It really helped that I had had a very relaxing weekend away from the two of them while attending my older son's out-ot-town weekend-long soccer tournament. I felt calm, not frazzled, and was happy to just listen when she talked. Of her own free will, she read a book to me about ladybugs, because that interests her. What a glorious time.

I knew she was maturing when I suggested that she could go to church camp if she wanted, and she wanted! She doesn't seem scared, but instead seems excited! Maybe she just doesn't really understand that it's THREE nights away from home?!?

But today sealed the deal on this maturity thing ...

After her doctor's appointment, she asked me if it costs money to go to the doctor. She was so disappointed to hear that it does. Why? Because she's concerned that people who don't have a lot of money can't afford to go. That they could die if they don't go. That they have to live in pain because they can't afford to go. .... Wow. .... And she announced then and there her intentions to become a doctor. So she can help people who can't afford healthcare. And I can't remember exactly how she phrased it, but she said something about God and her heart, so I am choosing to assume she has discovered her calling, at the ripe old age of 8!

Ok, that was the biggie. But then there was the little part too.

We went to the store to get her prescription filled, and did a little shopping for her upcoming first trip to camp. As we looked through the travel sizes for the toothbrush holders, etc, she saw mini-deodorants and asked if she could have deodorant too. Well, I suppose so. She has to start wearing it sometime. Might as well get in the habit while she's got the interest, right? Right?? Boy, I hope I'm right on that one. So Annie is now the proud owner and wearer of a sweet baby powder scented deodorant! Yes, I'd have to say, my baby is finally growing up.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Furniture Arrangements

Ugh. When we decided this past Spring that we would start homeschooling this Fall, I didn't anticipate the arranging and rearranging of furniture that I would be doing all Summer.

Garage sale desk in ... moved here, moved there, moved out.

Couch sideways across the living room to split the room into two parts: the living room part and the classroom part. Nope, couch hides all the mischief the kids can get into when I'm not paying attention. Switch the entire room, so the classroom is at the other end and I can see into the living room part.

Much needed previously stored furniture still in storage unit from earlier attempt to sell house. Can't get to it myself because hubby packed the unit. Two brains working in vastly different ways ... he'd never guess I would want this or that, so of course, this and that are all stored behind all the junk I don't really want but don't have time (nor the desire) to sort out yet.

Did get the tallest bookshelf back and moved into it's perfect spot. Already loading the shelves with "this and that" that I should really just get rid of. All in good time.

Too many drawers filled with "stuff." If I got rid of half of it, I would have plenty of storage for more of the "stuff" that's laying around waiting for a place to store it.

Of course, this day that I choose to move furniture again turns out to not have the wonderful cool breeze blowing through the house like I've had all week. So I'm hot, tired, and slightly grumpy. But at least I'm done moving furniture for one day. I'll start again tomorrow.


Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Independence Dance x 2

My 8-year-old and I are having a hard week. And it's only Tuesday.

My two-youngest, Raggedy Anne and Andy, are my second set of kids. I was married once before, and have two children from that marriage. Caity just turned 18 on Saturday, and we're doing a dance of independence ... her enjoying her newfound independence, and me learning to get along independently, without her childcare support for the two Raggedys. Jack, on the other hand, is turning 16 in August, and rarely makes an appearance at this point. They are "good" kids, by society's standards ... they don't drink, do drugs, have sex, skip school, or get bad grades. They are generally clean, healthy, and mostly respectful. We've spent the majority of their lives living with a shared parenting arrangement, so I feel like I've only half-raised them ... which means I can either take credit for all the good, feel guilty for all the bad, or figure we did a really good job of working together at raising these kids while living apart. The hardest part, I'd have to say, was being consistent and firm while raising them, but it seems to have worked.

Then there are the other two. Since Dad is the man of my dreams, and he seems to really like me too, these two poor children have no options but to be raised by me on a daily basis. The poor things!

Raggedy Anne is 8 ... she and I are also doing an independence dance. (Darn, I should've saved this post for July 4th, but it's relevant today so I'm not waiting.) Annie is struggling ... she wants to do what she wants to do, but she also wants Mom or Dad to do everything for her. She wants to eat right now because she's hungry and won't wait ... but she refuses to go look at the list and choose something that she's allowed to have right now, and get it for herself. She's also struggling with the idea that I am choosing what we are having (most of her issues revolve around food) and she doesn't always like the choices: eat what I fixed or be hungry. Then there are activity issues. She wants to watch tv, I want her to get dressed. She wants to watch a movie, I want her to practice her piano lesson. She wants to play with the kids next door, I want her to go grocery shopping with me (well, not really, but I don't have a choice other than to not go).

So Annie has been throwing childish fits. Yelling, screaming, interrupting me even when I'm trying desperately to stay calm, kicking her feet, sneaking downstairs when I've left her in her room, etc.

I want to throw a fit of my own! I'm tired of this. I want to whine and yell and ... and ... and WHATEVER!

A good solution to this problem would be if I could get up earlier, have my coffee and quiet time, and get through my morning computer time before anyone else is up. That way I would be ready when she gets up and could run the show efficiently before she has a chance to ask for what SHE wants only to be told no (I'm sorry but we are NOT having popsicles for breakfast ... until it's 90 degrees at 8 a.m.) and starts the fit-throwing.

The problem with this "rise earlier plan" is that she is also my night-owl. AND, has been waking me up in the middle of the night every night (nighttime fears). I'm just plain tired! I want to go to bed early to catch up, but can't get her to cooperate (again, the irrational fit-throwing dance of independence ... it's summer and she doesn't WANT to go to bed yet). I want to just sleep through the night so I can wake refreshed no matter what time I get up. And I want this for two, maybe even three nights in a row.

So, I must resort to getting by on interrupted sleep (I know it can be done, I've birthed 4 children!) until I can solve this sleeping problem (believe me, we're trying). In the meantime, I'm starting to really wish I had chosen to homeschool her LAST year, before she developed this attitude problem.

I know what the real problem is ... I'm trying hard to be consistent and firm. And she doesn't especially like that. She just wants what she wants. Boy, it's hard being 8.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Ultimate Homeschool Expo - Awesome!!!

Wow, wasted a lot of time finding this, when I should've been getting ready for Vacation Bible School, but it was worth it finding this ONLINE Homeschooling Expo! I really can't afford to travel for something this extensive, so I am thrilled to find something I can attend ONLINE!!! And it's sooo cost-effective, I can't pass it up!

Yea for wasted time!!!! ;)

Budget Dilemma

I need to set up a new budget. We've budgeted for a while now, and I'm pretty good at it. However, we got to a point where I didn't have time to work on it, we were paying all the bills and extra on our last credit card without me needing to log it all in, we had extra income for 5 months which meant we wouldn't get into any trouble if we kept living our normal lives, so I had stopped budgeting.

I don't actually need to set up a new budget, but I want to. Our lives are settling down, and I think I can do more with our finances if I take a closer look at them. So I want to go back and regroup now.

Besides that, my man's job should be changing sometime within the next 6 months, and I want to be prepared.

So here's my dilemma: the last budget I set up was with an excel spreadsheet on our old desktop computer. I rarely use that computer anymore ... it's an aging dinosaur that needs time to wake up and get moving. I use my laptop 98% of the time (except when my oldest two don't bring their computers from dad's house, and ask to use mine). But I don't have Microsoft Office on my laptop. I got a great deal on the price of this laptop (an HP Presario CQ50, which has worked extremely well), but it didn't come with Office. I was able to use a trial version, but it was just that, a trial. Now I need to purchase it. However, without my handy budget that I previously used, I'm not ready to just plunk down a chunk of money for the software until I have planned and saved for the purchase.

Guess I'm going to have to resort to the dinosaur, plan the purchase, and wait patiently until I have it. Ugh. I hate waiting patiently.

Not Really Betty

I think I should put it out there right away that I am not really Betty. My name is Jane. How boring is that? I guess if I'm going to write a boring blog, I could actually go with my boring name of Jane, but that ruins the alliteration effect for my catchy blog title.

Yeah, the blog title. That was hard. Considering the number of themes I will probably write about, I had a hard time coming up with a creative title that encompassed the most important themes. Then I considered the fact that it was likely no one would read my blog anyway, so why would my title even matter? If I can't even think creatively long enough to write a blog title, what makes me think I can write an interesting blog post??

Thus the title. Hey, maybe I'll surprise you and write something close to interesting once in a while, but don't hold your breath. I don't want to be responsible for you passing out.