Wordless Wednesday: playing catch-up!

What have we been doing since I blogged last???

IMG_6257Pink received this hat from an aunt this winter, and it became her daily wear.  Seriously.  Every day.  She even wore it to bed.IMG_6266Science projectsIMG_6314Link made a table in his woodworking class at co-opIMG_6400Roughing it on a field trip to The Mariner’s MuseumIMG_6411A trip to the orchestraIMG_6445A regular favorite – archery!IMG_6489Zoo field tripIMG_6491#zooprioritiesIMG_6514Human bird feederIMG_6518Skyride at the zooIMG_6519Hoodlums 😉IMG_6610A sunny EasterIMG_6687New family member – the CUTEST BUNNY EVER, Floppy!!!IMG_6688IMG_6702Birthday time for PinkIMG_6704Yes, those are panda sheets she’s huggingIMG_6722Spring cleaning time – but for a break, ice creamIMG_6751The end of another successful soccer season for AstroIMG_6854The James River on the Blue Ridge ParkwayIMG_6857Mom/Dad–selfieIMG_6863Wading in the chilly mountain creekIMG_6865Otter CreekIMG_6866IMG_6868IMG_6870Now THAT’S sedimentary!IMG_6871IMG_6875IMG_6883Beautiful overlookIMG_6886Shenandoah ValleyIMG_6889IMG_6891IMG_6910More Floppy!!!IMG_6911Relaxing by the fireIMG_6912

Happy summer, guys!

Another year – ver. 2016

Ah, another year come and gone, and as always, I forgot to blog most of the time.  🙂

 

At least I’m reliable.  Reliably lax in my blog upkeep.  That can be my thing, right?

 

So 2016 has passed.  I’m actually a little late writing any sort of recap, but I’ll do it anyway because in my brain I have to write this before I write anything about 2017, so…

Just some highlights.  🙂

Winter:

Unsurprisingly, I only have 2 photos for winter.  Because EW WINTER.  🙂  One in the snow:img_3608And one on our first ice skating trip!img_3652Spring:

I have many more from spring.  Namely from our short trip to DC.  At the zoo:img_5788During the Night Tour of the Monuments.  I highly recommend this!  So cool and pretty!  img_4074The next day: Jefferson Memorial.  IT WAS CHILLY UP THERE!  And, unfortunately, during the Cherry Blossom Festival!  Ideally we would have avoided that at all costs, but it was when our family could get off work to make the trip.  🙂  img_5803At the GORGEOUS FDR Memorial:img_5819img_5822Ornament making at the glass blowing shop in the city near us:img_4245Summer:

Hooray for summer showers!img_5069img_5070These kids love some tie-dye.img_5378Autumn:

The kiddos on their first plane ride!  We went to visit my family for Thanksgiving, and since The Man couldn’t get off work, we flew!img_5697Part of the ‘Top of the Rock’ in Branson, MO.  SO MANY WATERFALLS!  This was SO fun and cool!img_5736See?  So pretty!img_5755We drove in golf carts.  How fun is that?? The closest one to us there is the boys with my Grandpa.  I was driving the ‘girls cart’, so Pink is taking pictures.img_5766Behind them is a cave.  It’s small but tall with a waterfall inside.  Again, SO COOL!img_5836And much of my extended family lives in Pella, Iowa, home of this beautiful little place.  SERIOUSLY.  Dutch Letters = <3.img_5893And here at the dam near Branson, on our last day before heading home.  img_5909Winter again!

Here they are making gingerbread houses at co-op.  Yes, Astro’s is amazing – he had some help from one of the moms 😉 (not me lol!)img_5952img_5955One of Astro’s selections to make for Christmas Day.  This stuff is SO SWEET – but it’s good.  I can only eat a tiny bit at a time lol!  And this is before we had added the Lucky Charms marshmallows back in!img_6016Kida is not forgotten on Christmas!  She’s already made a bit of a hole in her chicken leg. 😉img_6020Christmas morning!!img_6023

That’s a brief wrap up of our 2016!  We had a good year, and I hope everyone else did, too!  Here’s to an awesome 2017!

February

February is cold.  As I begin this post, which usually encompasses the entire month, it is very cold outside – it is supposed to ‘warm up’ to the thirties this evening.

That should never be a phrase.  ‘Warm up to the thirties’.  Ugh.

(note that I’m talking in degrees Fahrenheit here)

Anyway.

There is snow on the ground and ice on the branches and the wind has been blowing fiercely.

I hate winter.

March will hopefully bring along at least the whisper of warmth, sunshine that warms the skin, and promises of green and life and beauty.

We just have to get there.  We’re not too far.  Halfway through February.

(And as I come back to finish this post up, we are seeing higher temperatures in the 60s, and I’ve gotten to go outside and take walks and enjoy the respite from the bitter cold.  The cold hasn’t ended, I’m sure… but these few days, they are nice.)

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So.  What has February been for us?

Actually, I’ll be covering the us portion in another post – so instead I’ll rephrase:

What has February been for me?

 

On my list of things for February:

The Celebration of Discipline: Prayer

a targeted daily devotion based on prayer

– IF:Gathering

– More books: Woman of Influence (a reread) by Pam Farrel, Piercing the Darkness by Frank Peretti, The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger by Ronald Sider, Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates; also a preread for Link for his book club – The Case of the Missing Marquess/Enola Holmes #1 by Nancy Springer.

Oh, and if you’re wondering, my colors this month are periwinkle and tangerine.

I don’t know how long this color thing will go on.  😀  But my nails are a pretty tangerine-y peach-y color today, that are bright and springy and contrast with my black hoodie and dark blue leggings BECAUSE IT’S FREAKING COLD OUTSIDE and they make me happy.  And I bought periwinkle eyeshadow.  So.  I don’t know.  Whatever.

Oh, I also begin reading Stormie Omartian’s The Power of a Praying Wife again, as I thought maybe it would be nice to read it along with Chapter 2 of Celebration of Discipline being about prayer.  I’ve read one chapter and looked at the screen in disdain when it came to all the things that a woman should be for her husband.  Uhhhhhhhhhhhh…. not sure I’ll keep going.  Why don’t I remember that from the first time?  But my intent was to read a chapter per week and focus on that chapter for the week – the first one is ‘his wife’ – aka, pray that I’ll be a good wife.  It’s not that I can’t get behind the sentiment, because I do think it’s important – it’s her description of what a good wife is that has me like *insert this face here*.  She goes into some particulars about all the things one should do to remain ‘attractive’ (Wow.  Just wow.  *insert the 3rd, 4th and 5th faces here this time*) – but in general, she basically throws the whole Proverbs 31 woman in there – takes care of the home, runs it well, knows how to buy, sell, make investments, stays healthy and energetic, dresses attractively (hashtag what), works diligently, has marketable skills, is giving, prepares for the future, contributes to the husband’s good reputation, is strong, solid, honorable, not afraid of growing older, speaks wisely and kindly, doesn’t sit around doing nothing, watches what goes on in her home, is praised by her children and husband, doesn’t rely on charm and beauty, knows that the fear of the Lord is what is best, supports her husband and still has a fruitful life of her own.

Are you kidding me right now?  That is….(goes back to count)…a list of TWENTY EIGHT things.

Twenty eight.

I’m somewhere between laughing out loud and just staring in complete disbelief right now.

No wonder so many men in the history of the planet have undervalued women – they were using something completely unattainable as a guide to what we’re supposed to be!!  *tongue in cheek, guys, don’t hate*

But seriously.

I also feel that this could be why Solomon had so many wives.  He needed that many to be able to fulfill all of the prerequisites listed above.

But I digress.

 

I deleted the book.  Ain’t nobody got time for all that mess.  Ridiculous.

MOVING ON…to my other books.

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Woman of Influence was a good reread.  It gets to stay.

Piercing the Darkness is another old Peretti friend.  Despite things being less-than-stellar in plot lines, dialogue, and a little bit of silliness, I can easily forget it all because it’s familiar and fun.

Obviously, I didn’t finish my intended 4 books for February, though I *did* technically still read 4 books.  I was about ready to start The Scarlet Letter last week, but I made the mistake of stopping by the ‘recent releases’ portion of the library when I went to pay all my fines last week… and came home with Between the World and Me and a Star Wars book.

The Star Wars book, I read about 100 pages of but couldn’t get into it.  I’ve read tons – tons – of SW books, but they’re never awesome.  They just aren’t really well written, things can get very dull, etc, but overall in the past I’ve been interested enough in the long term story arc to stick to it, and there were a lot of memorable moments in those books.  But… this one, just nah.  It picked up right after Episode VI with all sorts of people and places and things, and I just wasn’t invested enough in it to remember who everyone was or what they were doing or why… and I was bored.

So, I did something I never, ever do – I dropped it.

Between the World and Me is a lot of things.  It’s heavy, and so far… it feels a little hopeless.  I only wish that the author had more hope for mankind, for racial relations and tensions to be worked out and eased.  But he doesn’t, and to be honest, I don’t know if I know enough about all of it to really come on here and disagree.  It’s a good read.  It’s very interesting and gives voice to a whole school of thought that I didn’t even realize existed.  I will say I haven’t actually completely finished it yet, but I should in the next day or so.  Overall I would say it is thought provoking, either way.

 

In other news, I cleaned out my closet using the KonMari method (from January’s read: The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up) and got rid of FIVE TRASH BAGS OF CLOTHES.  Just out of MY wardrobe. (That half empty one there?  Now totally packed!)

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I obviously had a lot of clothes.  And shoes.  And I’m not even a shoe person – I literally wear flip flops, like, 10 months out of the year.  *shrug*  Idk.

 

Anyway.  That, as they say, is that.  For February, at least… in the next few days I’ll be sitting down to write something up about the end of our third quarter.

The END of our THIRD QUARTER!  

Wow.  🙂  *happy dance*

 

Doing different things every month makes each one particularly interesting and fun.  I find myself looking forward to beginning new things with each ‘1st’.  I can hardly believe it’ll be the third one already soon.

In general, though, I’m glad to wave goodbye to February.  Hello, March!!!

 

 

An ode to water

There are much more pressing things.

I could do a blog post about other things – things on my mind, things we’ve accomplished (week 24 – check! – which may come yet in the next few days), whatever.

But instead, perhaps because it is cold outside and I’m longing for warmer weather, perhaps because the subject came up on a forum I frequent today – I just want to share about water.

Not like the glass of ice water that is sitting next to my computer.

But swimming – because, as you may know, I love summer and one of the main reasons I love summer is because of water.  And, as is the case with many things, I think about summer now, with kids, and I picture mine outside in the sprinkler, or at the edge of the pool, or at the beach.

So I’m just going to indulge myself in this and imagine that it’s more than 30*F outside, and share some favorite memories and pictures of the kids and… water.  🙂

Astro was born loving the water.  Well, okay, I’m lying, I think all babies sort of hate the water that first few weeks.  But past that?  Yeah, it was this.  All the time.

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First we have 2007 – Link was 4.5, Astro was about 20 months.  It was Astro’s first time at the ocean, and the two had very different reactions to the rough waves that day…

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Though, in the end, Link was okay with it as long as he wasn’t in the ‘crashing waves’ part.12_P12_012

Fast forward to 2008.  This picture isn’t great, but what preceded it was this:  Astro (2.5) playing in the little pool, kicking around with us in the big pool, and then seeing this float, saying, ‘Ahh.  I’ve been looking for this.’  and adopting this spot for himself for the foreseeable future.IMG_2202

Also the same day that Link took this picture of Astro, which is still a favorite.  🙂IMG_2223

2010: Pink also always liked the water.  Here she thought she *should* be able to crawl in it.  Didn’t work so well.IMG_3718

Worked fine here though.  :IMG_3708_2

And the boys began their obsession with goggles.  Big goggles, little goggles, goggles the size of their faces…IMG_3727

2011 – we got a dog and a sprinkler.  Let the fun ensue.IMG_0694 IMG_0696

hashtag action shot 😀
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2012 – the year we were near the beach but never had time to go to the beach.  Astro’s reaction:IMG_2846

Also the second time we went to Great Wolf Lodge, during their magical Christmas hoopla.  IMG_3271 IMG_3272

2013: the year we went to Jacksonville and it was October, so it was too chilly to get in the water.
It was oh so pretty though.  ❤IMG_3925 IMG_3941

Another favorite of Astro.  IMG_3955 IMG_3956 IMG_3968

But like seriously, can I just live at the beach?  No?

2014: The year of all these cousins jumping in the pool at the same time… except Astro, who apparently missed the signal.  😛

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And of a much calmer ocean than the one from many years before.  IMG_4836 IMG_4839 IMG_4842

 

And that’s pretty much it.  That’s my walk down (warm) memory lane for today!

Do you have anything like that?  Something you enjoy doing with your family on a (semi) regular basis?

 

But yeah, it’s decided.  I either need a pool, permanent warm weather, or life on the beach.  Don’t you agree??  🙂

 

 

January

 

I don’t know what made me assign colors to the months of 2016, but I did.  I had already decided to focus on one of the Spiritual Disciplines in The Celebration of Discipline each month, and that sort of started this whole thing.

January: Meditation.

Meditation gets a bad rap because it is too often only considered in the New-Age, Eastern mysticism way.  But truthfully, the Bible has long held the word meditation as a core way to live out the Christian faith.

Where the color thing comes from I’m not sure.  But I was thinking about the word Meditation and what it means for the Christian – meditating on God, on his Word.  And sometimes creation can call us to meditate upon the greatness of God.  As I was putting things on my pinterest board (the meditation one, in particular, is hard to find things for that don’t relate to chakras) I came across some pictures, none of which really sparked anything in me.  But it gave me the idea to maybe have some pictures on each board that made me think of the Discipline of the month.  So anyway.  Dark teal and light pink were January’s colors.

Sounds weird, doesn’t it?  I think it’s my way of keeping myself constantly reminded.

So it’s win win for me.  But I can definitely see where it can look really strange from the outside.

I digress.

So anyway.

The new year starts like this:

– Began reading My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers (something I had long intended to do but often forgot.  And because the dates are listed starting on January 1, I felt I had to start on that day even though I *knew* it wasn’t necessary.)

– Did 30 Days of Lists from Wedgienet.  (This has been incredibly fun)

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– Read the 1st (Intro to the Disciplines) and 2nd (Meditation) chapters of Celebration of Discipline.  I also revisited Chapter 2 as I worked on, this month, practicing meditating on God and Scripture. 

– Read the first four of my fifty-two books for the year:  This Present Darkness by Frank Peretti, Captivating by John and Stasi Eldredge, The Heavenly Man by Brother Yun, and The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo.

The books:

This Present Darkness

Frank Peretti has been one of my favorite authors for as long as I can remember.  I first read Piercing the Darkness in late middle school or early high school, not realizing that my grandmother was reading Prophet at the same time.  Soon after I read all the books he had written at the time, and as he’s written more, she buys each one for me, reads it, and then gives it to me.  🙂  I will say I love his older stuff more so than the newer, but this year I’d like to go through and re-read all of his works, so maybe my mind will change with subsequent readings.

The Darkness books by Peretti are my favorites.  I’m updating this post as I actually read them, and right now I’m in Chapter 18, reminded of the fact that I always get a little emotional at this part of the book.  I wouldn’t remember it if it weren’t happening again now!  But I just love it – the first time that, in their little community church, the people gathered together are all true believers with no other agendas.  In light of all the struggles the pastor has gone through, the excitement of it is actually palpable to me as the reader.  So good!

Peretti is one of those writers (at least in those older books that I have read over and over again) that, once you get started, it’s full steam ahead.  I couldn’t put the book down and finished it in just a couple days.

The end found me a little sad.  Not necessarily teary, but more that ‘end of the journey’ type of feel that one gets at the end of a book with characters they’ve enjoyed.

Now, all that said, don’t get me wrong – there are some definite flaws with TPD.  I’ll be the first to admit that there is some writing that feels a bit… uncomfortable (for lack of a better word?) for me.  The casting out demons portions, for sure.  Those read weird to me, and overall I just try to get through them as quickly as I can.  There is also some clunkiness in the storyline and some situations and relationships feel a bit forced.

However, it’s still just an overall enjoyable, fun read.

I wrote multiple blog posts on Captivating… so I won’t rehash that here.

The Heavenly Man

So this book has gotten some criticism from some Christians, claiming that his stories fall too closely to scriptural accounts of Paul and others.  Some say that the ‘real’ Christians in China distance themselves from Brother Yun, as he is seen as not being authentic or true.

However, I don’t make a habit of speaking for things that I didn’t see.

So it’s entirely possible that the cycle of events in The Heavenly Man – preach, arrest, abuse, escape, repeat – is all a huge story that someone has woven together for our enjoyment.

At the same time, it’s entirely possible that all of the things in the book really did happen.  So.  Who am I – who is anyone? – to judge whether it is true or not?

Is God capable of all the things in the book?  Absolutely.

So.  I’ll just take it at face value.  And if in the end it was a big lie and conspiracy, well, things happen.  Either way, I know that the things are possible.

Through the first few chapters of the book, it really feels like it’s going to be an unending cycle of depressing events, as listed above.  Long periods of time in prison, away from his family, beatings from the guards, and release only to have it happen again in time.

However, as it moves along it really does begin to move along and feel more interesting.  Around the end – probably chapters 24-25?  – dude starts preaching and that’s pretty good.  A favorite:

Forgot to post yesterday's #wednesdaywisdom from #brotheryun #theheavenlyman #52in52

A post shared by kayelbee05 (@kayelbee05) on

In the end, it was enjoyable.  I’m going to keep it around.

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up

Some people hate this book; others love it; others hate to love it.  😀

I thought it was awesome.

Disclaimer: I haven’t started discarding yet.  I’m hoping that sometime this week I can tackle the clothing portion (the first category in the grand undertaking that is ‘discarding’ via the KonMari method).

But I seriously CAN. NOT. WAIT.

So basically it’s this: If you don’t love it, get rid of it.

Yeah, that’s it.

Take everything out, touch it, and if you don’t love it, if it doesn’t ‘spark joy’, as she says, then it goes.  No magic number of things that you should keep (this many shirts, this many dresses, etc), no short and easy weeding out over time.

So yeah.  I’m pretty stoked.  🙂

I’ve seen people say that Marie Kondo is a bit crazy.  That may very well be the case – I can’t say I know many grade-schoolers with the obsession with organizing and decluttering that she has always had.  However, if anything, I think that is more of a sign of a possible case of OCD? (Idk, I’m not a psychologist!!) than any sign that the lady is actually crazy or has anything wrong with her.

She does say in the books to vocalize things that sometimes seem odd:

When you get home, say ‘Hello!’ to your house, or later, thank it for being there.  Or something to that effect.

When you’re discarding clothes, thank them for a job well done.

Etc.

I actually see these things as not being as nutty as some people seem to think.  I think that to express thankfulness is actually more so that you’ll realize it in your mind, when it comes to the house.  How many people really think about the fact that they have a roof over their head?  Not many.  So if the reminder from her is to vocalize thanks to the house for all it does, what harm comes?

Does the house care?  No.  The house is an inanimate object.

However, to express gratitude – even inwardly – for something that you don’t often realize or see as something to be grateful for (like a home), it changes something in you.

As for thanking the clothes, I honestly see it as a way to let go.  Some people, I think, would have a lot of trouble getting rid of some clothes because they think maybe I should keep it.  However, the fact is, (and yes, she says this in the book), if you love something – if it sparks joy – you already use it.  Why keep the rest of the things that you don’t love just because you think you should?

I really do think that one has to have the mindset that this item has fulfilled its purpose for me in order to be okay with discarding the large number of things that will be required.

Anyway.  🙂

(Oh, and people have problems with the idea of the socks not having time to rest.  Am I the only person who totally gets that sentiment???!!  I lay my socks flat in the drawer right now, but I certainly don’t ball them up!!  I find that to be extremely hard on clothing, and have actually used the phrase ‘the fabric needs to rest’ before.  So.  Maybe it’s just me.)

 

That pretty much sums up January, on a personal level.  We have almost finished Week 24 (!!!) of our school year, so I’ll post about that in another week or so, I’m sure.

 

Happy February!!

 

What am I good at? And some jumbled ramblings.

My word for 2016 is Be.

Yes, I know you know that already.

 

I’ve got a few things that I’m doing this year.  52 books in 52 weeks, for example – I’m already ‘ahead of schedule’ on that one (aka I’m on my 2nd book and a full week hasn’t passed yet.  😀 ).  Focusing on a different spiritual discipline in The Celebration of Discipline (which I know, I’ve recommended on here several times) each month.  Not making an idol out of them, but just taking each month to sort of focus on one.

This is where my frustration is beginning to show.

Because I’m here, and I’m a few days into January, and my word for the year is Be and the spiritual discipline I chose for this month is meditation and I’m not being particularly meditative or still.

Yes, I made a pinterest board.  I always do!!  It’s pretty random.  I don’t know why I decided to pick colors.  I think I just like colors.  I’m the type of person who can easily relate a color to a song to a mood to a feeling to a word to… yeah.

I’m being frustrated because I’m letting things get to me that shouldn’t, and I know it.  But you know how sometimes you’re just frustrated and annoyed and angry anyway?  Even though there may be no good reason for it.

I went out on a limb and said something about SADD/depression and was offered chocolate.  I wanted to throw the chocolate at them.  Because while I’m not saying I’m depressed or have SADD, really?  These are real mental disorders, you can’t throw chocolate at them.  To do so is incredibly demeaning and insulting to all the people who really do deal with these things, day in and day out, for their lives.

People are ‘busy’ and I’m not and it makes me wonder if there are things I’m forgetting or if I just have a higher tolerance for busyness.  I am the extrovert, I am the fast paced person, I am usually the first in a group to suggest an outing or a get together.  I know that the needs and schedules of others are very different from my own.  But then sometimes no answer begins to feel like being ignored, and it begins to wear on the mind and feel like my time is not as valuable as others’.  Doing things that I think are fun become less so as I begin to wonder if people are just expecting it of me now.

So I guess I wanted to be real and I’m being real.  And not feeling very still or content or zen (don’t get religious on me – you know what I mean).

But that’s only one aspect of life.  I figure, if nothing else, I wanted to be okay with being me, including emotions, so… there’s that.  I guess?  😀  lol!!

 

Other things about this month, that are brighteners in my days:

I’m planning on picking up a few random ’30 day challenges’ on Pinterest – the beginning of January I decided on 30 days of lists (drawn, though my drawing skills aren’t great, and sometimes I draw them and others I just make traditional lists).

So far it’s been really fun.  There have been some things I had to put some thought into – for example, ‘Things I’m good at’.

For me, it’s always really easy to jump to the quickest conclusion here.  I know what I’m good at.  So yes, music is somewhere in the middle of the page.

But I wanted to put a little more thought into it, to dig a little deeper.  Are there other things I’m good at?  Like what?

Is it okay to say I’m good at things?

Sometimes I say that I’m good at something and it prompts a wary look.  I think the problem is honesty here – if I’m going to be honest, I can say that yes, I am good at planning things.  I’m good at budgeting for school years.  I’m good at reading music and remembering it.

But the one that shocked me as I thought of it was this one:

I’m good at teaching my kids.

It seems almost wrong to say it.  Because I say, over and over, that I’m not a teacher.  That I don’t have that something that makes me a teacher by trade, that makes me the person people turn to when they want to talk education.  Sometimes, I’ll admit, it has bummed me out a little bit that no one ever talks to me IRL about homeschooling.  Then I remind myself that I’m not the teacher.  I’m the planner.  The extracurricular activity coordinator.

But this time around, I was surprised when it occurred to me that I’m doing this teaching my kids thing well.  That’s not to say I know everything.  That’s not to say that I’m perfect or have everything figured out.

Do you know what it says?

It says that I’m actually, for the first time since the first year I homeschooled, enjoying the time we’re spending together every day.  I’m enjoying knowing my kids.  I’m enjoying that even if a concept is difficult, I’m there to help figure it out.  And again tomorrow.  And the next day.  And next week – as long as it takes.

I’m appreciating the fact that I’m here, that I made the choice to invest in their lives and spend time with them this way.

I’m appreciating the fact that I can read when things really are too much and I can adjust accordingly.

I’m appreciating that we sit and laugh over things, that we play hangman on the chalkboard at least once a week, that even though Astro hates writing we’re finding ways to do it that ‘aren’t too bad’. 😉

I’m appreciating that Pink gives me a high five when she gets all of her math problems right on the first try and that Link has finally decided to try to exercise his writing chops in ways that were, in the past, uncomfortable for him.

So it was with pleasant surprise that I wrote, that day, that I’m good at ‘teaching my kids’.

 

Huh.  And after typing all that out, it brings back to light the important stuff, you know?

So I’m curious – what are you good at?

 

 

 

 

Semester One – CHECK!

We are halfway through the school year.

 

Halfway.

 

Eighteen weeks.

 

Is that not crazy awesome?  🙂

 

An update on where we are:

Academics:

Link/6th:

Math – finished MUS Epsilon; on Lesson 10 of Zeta

Language Lessons for the Secondary Child – halfway

The Most Important Thing You’ll Ever Study (Bible) – halfway

History (WTM 6th grade recommendations) – halfway

Heart of Virtue – almost finished

Logic – most of the way through Critical Thinking, Book 1

Next semester changes/additions:

For second semester, most everything will stay the same except he’ll be adding a Study Skills class (delayed lecture) through the Well-Trained Mind Academy and will be taking the semester off from a writing curriculum.  I want to take the semester to focus more on just writing and journaling, the process of writing, etc.  

Astro/4th:

Language Lessons for the Elementary Child, book 2 – halfway

Latin – just finished Latin Test 3 in Latina Christiana I, so halfway

Math – finished up Lesson 19

Handwriting and Typing – halfway through HW; just started the first lesson of Dance Mat Typing this week for an easy intro

Bible – just started a new book on The Armor of God

History – finished Chapter 21 of Story of the World 4

Next semester changes/additions:

Second semester, I’ve decided to start up CAP’s Narrative I with Astro.  I did Fable for a short time with Link, and while I wanted to love it, it didn’t work for us at the time.  However, the things that didn’t work then will, I think, not be an issue now.  So I decided to go for it.  I’m actually looking forward to giving it a try!!  We’ll also be reading up a little bit on the governmental structure, which he’s not gone into before.  Nothing real involved – we’ll save that for logic stage learning – but just brief overviews of the branches of government, voting, etc, etc.

Both boys:

Science – We’re in Chapter 3 of Unit 3 (Earth’s Waters) of Earth Science.  So, again, right at halfway.  Everything is lining up well!!

Below: Each of the boys had to find the best way they could to build a dam using rocks, dirt, etc, for a project at the beginning of Unit 3; more recently, not really having to do with anything we were studying, we decided to use vinegar to clean pennies.

IMG_2999 IMG_2992

IMG_3258

 

Diagramming/Spelling Wisdom – these two we aren’t really doing on any schedule.  We do diagramming once a week to fill in the gaps in ELL/SLL (which doesn’t include diagramming) and we do Spelling Wisdom as either copywork or dictation once a week.  

Pink/1st:

Grammar – finished up Lesson 54 of FLL 1

Math – done with Lesson 17.  We could have moved on this last couple days but I figured we’d wait to start something new until Monday, rather than start it and then have 5 days off.  🙂  

Science – only two weeks left of the Animal Kingdom!  She’ll finish up with fish and we’ll start on the human body

History – through Chapter 24 of Story of the World 1

Here she’s doing one of the activities in the Activity Guide, ‘painting a vase’ (not the actual title of the activity, I can’t remember what it was)  And she is still wearing pajamas lol – she insists that she ‘doesn’t get dressed till after lunch’  – a self-imposed rule of hers, I guess.  😀

IMG_3179   IMG_3180

 

Phonics/Reading – She recently started Explode the Code Book 2.  She has an easy time with most of the stuff in there and it serves as a good review/reminder of the things that she’s already learned.  We move through the Ordinary Parent’s Guide to Teaching Reading a little on the slower side – I want to make sure that she has fully grasped each thing before moving on.  We also spread some lessons out over 2-3 days, if there is a lot of student reading in the lesson.  At this point, her reading is pretty well on track so I’m focusing on not making OPG into something she dreads by having long lessons.  🙂  We’re working on the different vowel pairings that make the long ‘e’ sound.  Not sure the exact lesson.  

We also borrowed a basket full of books (little readers for beginners) from a friend who used to be a classroom teacher and those have been wonderful!!  She reads one new one per day and puts it in her ‘box’ of books that she can read in her free time.  Then she reads 4-5 books to herself during school time.  In the evenings, I have a separate set of books that we do a new one of each night – some of these are a little more challenging, and we may read them a few nights in a row before she adds them to her box.  Then she reads me 3 more that she’s been reading on her own and I put them up/away when she has fully mastered them to ensure that she’s still getting practice on things that are getting incrementally more advanced.  

This has made more of a difference in her reading than anything else I have ever done.  Back when Astro was learning to read, the hardest thing for him were sight words and fluency.  As a result, I wanted to be sure to have plenty of practice for Pink, so that we could hopefully avoid some of the struggles he had – though I know all kids are different, so there’s no guarantee that one or the other would have worked better for either kid, anyway!  But in any case, this has definitely not done any harm, and has made all of her reading better and better.  She picks up books on her own out of her room and reads them, too.  YAY!!!!

Second semester will be the same for her. 

Here they are today, celebrating the end of our semester with a drink from the coffee shop!  (Link has a bit of an emo look here lol)

IMG_3375

 

Other fun stuff:

 

This kid:

… turned 10!!

IMG_3066

We celebrated with a party at a putt-putt fun center.  Which was quite fun!

 

This December we tried something new: each day, we tried to do something Christmas-y, whether it was making wreaths or cards for kids in the hospital or cookies or ringing the bell in front of Wal-Mart:

 

That pretty much sums up our semester (or at least what we’ve done since I last posted)!!  Now we’ll enjoy a few days off for making candy and gingerbread houses, baking, and celebrating Christmas with family before we start back up again next week!!

 

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and Happy halfway-through-the-year!!  Woohoo!!  🙂

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