Tuesday, January 30, 2007
Friday, January 26, 2007
Of course, we have bad days. I get frustrated just like the next guy when so-and-so still doesn't get it. I get looney over a messy house. Sometimes I wonder if I should revamp and do things differently. I wonder if I'm doing enough or too much. I wonder if there is some important thing I am forgetting. (Oh dear, you never learned that did you?) Those things all happen. I really do try not to "live there", in that state. I try to look at the good, which is pretty much only from the influence of my husband and sister because I tend to be a critical type of person.
A funny thing...just hours after I typed up our schedule for the blog, I had a talk with one of my daughters that caused me to rethink something and make a change. But I won't share that yet. I made up my mind quite some time ago, after I saw too many poor souls collapsing with the effort, that I would try not to drag everyone along on every rabbit trail I run down. Instead, I'll share what has definitely worked for me -- after I know it has worked. So maybe this summer, you'll hear about our changes.
If you get discouraged because your family isn't perfect, read Edith Schaeffer's writings. Or just come here for a visit. Her writings are a better bet because the proof is in the pudding. And ours is still in the oven.
Thursday, January 25, 2007
All this school year, PearlKeeper has voluntarily taken on the responsibility of cooking breakfast for the family. This morning, she and SmokeyBear got up extra early to make a grand breakfast of homemade waffles, turkey sausage, fruit, tea and hot chocolate with marshmellows. They even lit the candles on the table.
Our daily routine has been working out quite well this year. We start with our morning time together, which includes Bible (currently - the life of David including 2 Samuel and Psalms) and a read aloud, usually from Ambleside's 4th year's extra reading list or Sonlight's Year 7 historical fiction list. I'm adding Picture Study now on Mondays since I received my beautiful prints from a wonderful lady from the Ambleside list who sells the terms prints. Then we break for breakfast and I usually go and take my bath. After breakfast, we usually read a short chapter from the US geography book we are reading and review the previously learned states and capitols.
Next each child works from their daily lists while TheLittlestPrincess gets some attention for her studies. Lately, PearlKeeper has been reading her all of her own favorite "girl books" from her childhood. Then TLP reads aloud from her reader before PearlKeeper has to get ready for work.
The boys do their math, reading, writing and typing. Then I read them their science or history and we have narrations and/or notebook work. I recently purchased Sonlight's Year 7 manual because it coordinated George Washington's World and Story of the World with appropriate historical fiction. I am also adding Ambleside's other history readings from This Country of Ours and Trial & Triumph plus other AO4 readings. We only have about 10 weeks of the Sonlight schedule to accomplish this year and be on track for AO5 next year, so I can afford to stretch it out to include the AO readings too. If this goes well, we will continue on with this combination through AO5 and maybe term 1 of AO6. We are loving our science studies with Apologia's Swimming Creatures. I am so appreciate having a good science book because I spent years lamenting the lack of them when the older girls were younger. Our winter nature study is going to include sketching from the photos I took in the Everglades.
The girls have a more extensive list including math, science, history, current events and other readings along with language arts work.
If all goes perfectly as planned then the younger kids are done by lunch and the girls have a little to do after lunch. That happens probably half the time. The other half of the time we start later because of late night happenings or have other interruptions, so we may skip some things or go later into the day.
All in all, I'm happy with this year so far. When I evaluated at the mid-year point, I realized we had seen a lot of success. I listed areas I thought needed extra work and we have been incorporating them into the second half of the year.
I feel so blessed this year with our homeschool and other areas such as family, friends, church and business.
Tuesday, January 23, 2007
Here are 20 reasons I'm glad that I've been married for twenty years.
1. He is the calm in the storm.
2. He is always looking for ways to serve his family.
3. He's my favorite person to stay up late and talk with.
4. He's humble.
5. He laughs at me, even when I poke fun at him.
6. He still tells me I'm pretty, and he makes me believe he thinks I'm the most beautiful woman in the world.
7. He always says yes when I ask him if he wants to go out.
8. He loves to play with the kids.
9. He builds fun toys.
10. He is spontaneous.
11. He has worked hard and been diligent in order to provide for his family.
12. He is trustworthy.
13. He trusts me to run the home and respects that job as a most worthy career.
14. He is still in great shape.
15. He doesn't act his age.
16. He loves people and animals.
17. He supports me buying books (what more can one ask for? :) and homeschooling our children.
18. He still finds time to read picture books to TheLittlestPrincess.
19. He cares about the Kingdom of God more than anything else.
20. Because it's hard to quit at 20 and I look forward to our 50th when I can list 50 reasons.
Recently I was inspired by a gallery of paintings at our library titled "Out of the Box, Crazy with Color". To some of the artists, 'out of the box' was portrayed by large, colorful flowers or modern art type figures, but to others it meant digging deeper and instead of painting realistically (i.e. from photos), portraying the emotions and opinions. I have never tried this way of expressing myself but I did last week Monday night (or you could say Tuesday morning) a little after midnight with this acrylic painting, titled "After Cleansing". In an attempt to explain it...
The rock wall on the left is a progression of levels: Bottom to Top - Covenant, Communion, Repentance, Cleansing, Philadelphia (true brotherly love), Atonement, & Tabernacle. I came up with these and then afterwards realized that there were seven of them. The seven colors of the rainbow symbolize each level respectively and the splatters of color symbolize the pieces of the seven we find in each level. I believe those pieces help us to understand what the rest of the climb holds in store but we can only experience the true meaning of each level when we 'climb through' that stage.
The three levels on the right side symbolize the three primary feasts of the Lord. Passover, Pentacost, and Tabernacles.
The woman climbing symbolizes each of us on a personal level but also symbolizes the church's path as Christ's bride. She begins at the bottom where it is warm and comfortable but still hard climbing (especially through repentance) and progresses to the cleansing stage where she is met with the heat of the fire and a steeper climb. I believe that the hardest part of her climb is coming out of that stage. It becomes suddenly cold & black and the next reach is a far one. But the reward at the end is the tree of life, more glorious than any part of her climb. God will continue to bring His people to that point but many fail and fall and have to start over. We must each search our hearts and seek the Lord's help to reach beyond and pull up out of the blackness.
Wednesday, January 17, 2007
For those who are curious, here were the choices everyone made on the last day:
Mr. Pott's - Sand Sculpture
MamaLion - trip to nature center
AdventureQueen - beach volleyball
PearlKeeper - movie
Kezzi - tv time
BLOCHhead - painting/nature journaling
SmokeyBear - tv
Tigger - Shuffleboard tournament
TheLittlestPrincess - swim in the ocean
We were not able to do all of them. It was very chilly and windy on the beach so we didn't swim or play volleyball. We did get the sand sculpture done. Yes, it's a little weird. But what does every big family wish for more of? Bathrooms!
The seaweed is the bathmat.
SmokeyBear found an old toothbrush on the beach and all of the little additions like these nuts for the handles and the little glass bottle.
It was a lot of fun and even though there were not many people on the beach, we did get a few grins and snickers from the few passers by.
Monday, January 15, 2007
But then Sunday we came home from church and we couldn't find the new puppy. She always stays close and hangs out with the beagles so we were immediately concerned. Mr. Potts and SmokeyBear drove around the neighborhood looking. My mom came over, worried about it to. She had the idea to check in the pool, hoping she had not fallen in and that is where she was found, drowned. We were all very upset, to put it mildly. I felt depression clinging to me all night.
Mr. Potts immediately drained the pool and plans to tear it down. He had never had the chance to finish the railing and there was one spot where it could be accessed. I had blocked that off at one time but somehow it was open again. Before it was a child that ended up there, we decided to get rid of it thinking maybe in the future we would put it up if we could immediately put up a new deck and gate so that it would be fool-proof. SmokeyBear seems to be doing ok today. Mr. Potts promised to get him another pup.
Then today I got news that my old friend/neighbor/midwife had a car accident today and is in the hospital. I don't know much more than that except some kind of bad head injury and possibly a broken shoulder bone. We are waiting on more news and praying in the meantime.
While that was happening my sister is taking 4 week old baby Joseph to the doctor because he has a bad cough. In fact, she had to detour around the accident scene to go to town and she said she told Kezzi, who went with her, that she hoped it was not someone we knew. She just called me and said he has RSV and they are running some blood tests and xrays. So we are waiting to see if they need to admit him.
PearlKeeper and I were talking this afternoon about how strange we felt while we were out driving, seperately, last night. I guess loosing Tinsel was just the reminder of how fragile life is and it made us feel vulnerable. We both had feelings of concern about having a car accident and then hearing about our neighbor today. It just feels a little weird.
So, needless to say, I haven't been up to blogging about the rest of our trip. I will be spending the rest of the afternoon praying and trying to prepare for our CM/homeschool meeting tonight.
**Update: News on the neighbor is good. She's home and going to be ok. My sister is taking her baby to the Children's hospital right now just to be on the safe side. He seems perfectly fine until he coughs and then it is a little scary. It is hard to wait it out at home when they are so tiny so she's taking him in. We'll all be pitching in, helping with the kids until she's home again.
***2nd Update: Joseph was sent home from the hospital last night. He was not bad enough to be admitted. Yeah!
Wednesday, January 10, 2007
Here's what our agenda looks like.
Sand sculpture (we haven't decided exactly what we are going to make yet)
swim in the ocean (thankfully, the man-o-wars have moved south)
Trip to a local nature park
tv time (2 people chose this)
Rent a movie to watch on the NEW LAPTOP!
We'll let you know how it goes and hopefully post pictures tomorrow night.
Then in addition to all of the new experiences, M.O.M. (mean ol' mom), amid much protest, is making the boys spend 15 minutes each day writing about their activities. They resist but to no avail! :) I know eventually they will be glad they documented these times.
Maybe all of this "education" will counteract all of the time they are spending in between activities watching one of the three tvs here in our rooms. We don't watch tv at home so it is an extra treat that we feel we can afford to indulge them in on these rare occasions, especially since it is mostly Animal Planet and Discovery channel shows.
Tuesday, January 09, 2007
The first place we stopped ended up being the most packed with wildlife than the whole rest of the trip combined. The kids enjoyed being able to get so close to the birds. Kezzi, our bird lover who is studying bird biology this year, experienced a rather close encounter with a bird that was perched in a tree she walked under. :)
And then there were times we were thankful for a little barrier. What are they all looking at?
This guy. This was not a zoo or park. These are just living in the wild and only a few feet away. There were many places that afforded the aligators access to the walkway. I guess they get plenty to eat because I didn't see them go after anyone.
I was hoping to see a panther since there were road signs warning of them but no such luck. Apparently sightings of them are rather rare. There was a sign saying to not let the children run ahead on the wilderness trails though, especially after dusk.
After braving the wild animals, we headed onto the Miami interstates around rush hour. Yikes! I'll take the wild animals any day. I was thankful to return to "home" safe and sound.
Mr. Potts and I waited while the kids climbed to the top. TheLittlestPrincess looked a little pale when she returned from the hike to the top of the lighthouse, but she pinked up soon after I gave her a reassuring hug.
They also enjoyed climbing around on the big Spanish moss covered Live Oaks.
Yesterday we walked to this lighthouse. On the way we noticed strange blue bubble looking things washed up on the beach. Some older people stopped Mr. Potts from touching one and told us they were Portuguese Man-O-War! They can sting weeks after they are washed ashore and even when the tentacles are detached. We began to see all kinds of them on the beach and we had to really be careful not to step on them. Not long after this we came upon a family on the beach gathered around their son, looking concerned. I approached them and ask if he had been stung. He had. There was a long blue looking line along his neck and part of his chest. Mr. Potts had me bring along a little vinegar in case we needed to put it on a jellyfish sting, so I was able to offer some instant relief to the little boy. He stopped crying immediately and they left to see what king of treatment he would need. It ended up being a longer walk than we had imagined, especially facing into the wind on the way back. The exercise paid off, however, in the form of a jamocha almond fudge hot fudge sundae later on that evening!