December 29, 2003

Home Library... I am so excited I can hardly contain it! We have mostly finished the library. This is a dream come true for Serona and I and we can hardly believe it has been accomplished before we are even 30! I thought I would share some photos with you.



The other side of the room:



And there is a walkway into the office between those shelves. It is beautiful and I am so excited. God has truly blessed our family and we hope to be able to use this to serve him well. Just wanted to share.

Peace,
Tenn

December 28, 2003

ClassroomsCare Reading List

This is a list in roughly the order we have read the books. I will update it somewhat regularly. Our goal is to read 100 books by December 31 so that Scholastic Book Clubs will donate 100 new books to one of its charity partners. I am NOT including the "real little" books we read. Though I wonder if our storybooks are what they had in mind - and yet we are reading age appropriate books so that is what I will count. I am also only recording each unique book we read once, not every book we read as we read many of these books several times in a week (and often in a day).

LIST BEGUN October 25th, 2003

Mr Brown Can Moo, Can You by Dr Suess
Ten Little Ladybugs by Melanie Gerth
ABC by Dr Suess
Quick as a Cricket by Audrey Wood
Sylvester and the Magic Pebble by William Steig
Angelina and the Butterfly by Katherine Holabird
Butterfly Kisses by Bob and Brooke Carlisle
Mama Do you Love Me by Barbara M Joosse
Cinderella the Masked Ball by Walt Disney
The Little House by Virginia Lee Burton

Hard Scrabble Harvest by Dahlov Ipcar
Jacob's Gift by Max Lucado
You are Special by Max Lucado
Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBranty
Thomas Gets Tricked by Rev W Awdry
Never Ride Your Elephant to School by Doug Johnson
Little Bird and the Moon Sandwich by Linda Berkowitz
If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Numeroff
The New Baby by Mercer Mayer
The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry and the Big Hungry Bear by Don and Audrey Wood

Because I love you by Max Lucado
Sailor Moo by Lisa Wheeler
My Five Senses by Aliki
Just the Way You Are by Max Lucado
All You Ever Need by Max Lucado
Butterfly House by Eve Bunting
DW's Library Card by Marc Brown
God Made You Special by Zonder Kids
The Ugly Stepsisters by Walt Disney
Crawdad Creek by Scott Sanders

Meeting Trees by Scott Sanders
Bashi Elephant Baby bu Theresa Radcliffe
Homeplace by Anne Shelby
Poppleton in Fall by Cynthia Rylant
Clifford's Busy Week by Norman Bridwell
The Looking Book by Mary Ann Hoberman
Let's Count it out Jesse Bear by Nancy White Carlstrom
Prayers for Family by Merrigold Press
Cinderella by Walt Disney
I spy A Book of Shapes by Patricia Hall

There was an old woman who swallowed a fly by Books, Incorporated Ladybird
Cliford's Itchy Day by Norman Bridwell
Who's Got Game? The Ant or the Grasshopper by Toni and Slade Morrison
Kipper's Toybox by Mick Inkpen
When the Chickens Went on Strike by Erica Silverman
Four friends together by Sue Heap
The Race by Caroline Repchuk
A Name on the Quilt by Jeannine Atkins
Johnny Appleseed by Steven Kellogg
Right Here on this spot by Sharn Hart Addy

Is Your Mama a Llama? by Deborah Guarino
La Nina Sin Nombre by Jose Luis
You Can't Smell a Flower With Your Ear by Beverly Collins
Kisses by Cyndy Szkeres
Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter
Little Bear by Else Holmelund Minarik
Emily is a Flower Girl by Claire Masurel
Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr and John Archambault
If You Give a Pig a Pancake by Laura Numeroff
If You Give a Moose a Muffin by Laura Numeroff

Silent Movie by Avi
Does a Tiger Open Wide by Fred Erlich
Frog and Toad Together by Arnold Lobel
Frof and Toad are Friends by Arnold Lobel
Finding Nemo by Disney Pixar
My First Purse by Rebecca Bartlett
If You Were My Bunny by Kate H. McMullan
Amelia Bedila and the Surprise Shower by Peggy Parish
SWIM! by Matchbox
The Silver Chair by CS Lewis

Crocodile and Hen by Joan Lexau
Mrs Chicken and the Hungry Crocodile by Won-Ldy Paye and Margaret H Lippert
County Fair by Eilsha Cooper
Coyote in Love with a Star by Marty Kreipe de Montano
The Giant Carrot by Jan Peck
Chicken Little by Sally Hobson
How Chipmunk Got His Stripes by Jospeh Bruchac and James Bruchac
Carlo Likes Counting by Jessica Spanyol
My "C" Sound Box by Jane Belk Moncure
Circle of Thanks by Susi Gregg Fowler

Crab by Rebecca Stefoff
Cars by Hal Rogers
Cats Colors by Jane Cabrera
Caves and Caverns by Gail Gibbons
Cats by Gail Gibbons
Constellations by Diane Sipiera
Clever Tortoise by Francesca Martin
Growing Crystals by Ann Squire
Coyotes by Emilie Lepthien
Clifford Takes a Trip by Norman Bridwell

The Costume Ball by Katherine Holabird
Camping Out by Richard Scarry
Outside Over There by Maurice Sendak
Corduroy by Don Freeman
What Do You See in a Cloud by Allan Fowler
The Caboose Who Got Loose by Bill Peet
Cars! Cars! Cars! by Grace Maccarone
Copy Me, CopyCub by Richard Edwards
It Looked Like Spilt Milk by Charles G Shaw
Caps for Sale by Esphyr Slobodkina

HOORAY - 100 BOOKS DONATED - November 5, 2003


The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
Little Cloud by Eric Carle
Calico's Cousins by Phyllis Tildes
Circus by Lois Ehlert
Clown by Quentin Blake
Sector 7 by David Wiesner
Czech Republic by Henry Pluckrose
Count-a-saurus by Nancy Blumenthal
Parade Day: Marching Through the Calendar Year by Bob Barner
Canals by Elaine Landau

Castles by Franklin Watts
Circus Caps for Sale by Esphyr Slobodkina
Going West by Laura Ingalls Wilder
The Circulatory System by Darlene Stille
Cicadas by Ann Squire
Cows by Rachael Bell
A Ticket to Costa Rica by Tracey West
China: Picture a country by Henry Pluckrose
The Cat in the Hat by Dr Suess
Curious George Goes to a Chocolate Factory by Margret & H.A. Rey

Curious George Goes Camping by Margret & H.A. Rey
The Cabin: The Sound of "C" by Cynthia Klingel
Canada by Elaine Landau
Fun with Color by Maria Gordon
Cars & Trucks by Karen Rissing
Moses in the Bulrushes by Mary Auld
Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney
Once a mouse by Marcia Brown
My Little House Songbook by Laura Ingalls Wilder
Manners by Aliki

Old MacDonald Had a Farm by Glen Rounds
All the Mamas by Carol Shough
The Mean Hyena by Judy Sierra
Music From the Sky by Denise Gillard
Follow the Money by Loreen Leedy
Eye Wonder Mammals by Sarah Walker
Clickety Clack by Rob and Amy Spence (a hold out hiding in our library basket from last week)
Me on the Map by Joan Sweeney
My Map Book by Sara Fanelli
A Picture Book of Martin Lutehr King Jr

Marsupial Sue by John Lithgow
Young Mozart by Rachael Isadora
My Mother is Mine by Marion Dane Bauer
Is Your Mama a Llama by Deborah Guarino
Malls the Sound of M by Cynthia Klingel
Mona Lisa by Letizia Galli
From Metal to Music by Wendy Davis
Market Day by Lois Elhert
Mabel Dancing by Amy Hest
Our Marching Band by Lloyd Moss

The Mitten by Jan Brett
Mountain Dance by Thomas Locker
Table Manners by Vladimir Radunsky (definitely DO NOT recommend this one)
The Calico Mother Goose Book of Games, Riddle, and Tongue Twisters (we skipped a few pages)
Monkeys are just like us by Allan Fowler
Mama do You Love Me by Barbara M joose
One Lighthouse One Moon by Anita Lobel
Going to Town by Laura Ingalls Wilder(no real M connection)
And if the Moon Could Talk by Kate Banks
The Moon Book by Gail Gibbons

Mountains and our moving earth by Pam Robson
Marshmallow by Clare Newberry
Mustang Canyon by Jonathen London
Marshmallow Kisses by Linda Brennan
Mirror by Alexandra Day
Goldilocks and the Three Bears by Jan Brett
My Great Grandmothers Gourd by Cristina Kessler
Green by Sarah Schuette
Gold Fever by Veria Kay
Geoffrey Groundhog Predicts the Weather by Bruce Koscielniak

Grandfather's Dream by Holly Keller
I Wanted to Know All About God by Virginia Kroll
Marvin K Mooney will you please go now by Dr Suess
Before I Dream by Karen Henley
Lou Gehrig: The Luckiest Man by David Adler
Goodnight moon by Margaret Wise Brown
God Knows My Name by Debby Anderson
Green Eggs and Ham by Dr Suess
Going to Sleep on the Farm by Wendy Lewison
Curious George Takes a Job by HA Rey

My G Soundbox by Jane Belk Moncure
Good Night God Bless by Susan O"Keefe
God is Like by Julie Waters
Gifts for Gus by Peg Ballard
The Gas we Pass by Shinta Choh
Postcards from Greece by Denise Allard
Give me Grace by Cynthia Rylant
David and Goliath by Mary Auld (do not recommend)
Giant Ape by Michael Goecke
Gathering A Northwoods Counting Book by Betsy Bowen

What the Sun Sees by Nancy Tafuri
What the Moon Sees by Nancy Tafuri
Giraffes by Julie Murray
Grandfather's Journey by Allen Say
George Washington A Picture Book Geography (not for the real young readers)
Baby's First Bible by Reader's Digest
Fox in Socks by Dr Suess
Winnie the Pooh Nightime Mystery by Walt Disney
A Tiger Cub Grows Up by Joan Hewett
Taste by Patricia Murphy

HOORAY - 200 BOOKS DONATED - November 26, 2003


Sam and the Tigers by Julius Lester
How Teddy Bears Are Made by Ann Morris
Emma and the Silk Train by Julie Lawson
God Made You Special by Big Idea
The Tangerine Bear by Betty Paraskevas
Giraffes by Lepthien
Gymnastics by Christin Ditchfield
Grizzly Bears by Stuart Kallen
A Place to Grow by Soyung Pak
I'm Taking a Trip on My Train by Shirley Neitzel

Little Bear by Else Homelundd Minarik
LIttle Bear's Friend by Else Minarik
Jeremy by Jan Karon
Machines at Work Fire Truck by Caroline Bingham
Big Machines at Work Dump Trucks by Jean Eick
Touch by Brenda Walpole
Trumpets by Pamela Harris
Katy and the Big Snow by Virginia Lee Burton
How Do We Think by Carol Ballard
Shamu and the Adventurous Seal Pup by Marc Shulman

Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown
Curious George by Ha Rey
I Hear I See I Touch by Helen Oxenbury
Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
Sylvester and the Magic Pebble by William Steig
The Sneetches by Dr Suess
Sky Tree by Thomas Locker
Ten Go Tango by Arthur Dorros
Pete's a Pizza by William Steig
The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats

Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse by Kevin Henkes
River Story by Meredith Hooper
The Children's Book of Virtues by William Bennett
Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson
A Baby Sister for Frances by Russell Hoban
Leo the Late Bloomer by Robert Kraus
William's Doll by Charlotte Zolotow
George Shrinks by William Joyce
Baby Says by John Steptoe
From Head to Toe by Eric Carle


Freight Train by Donald Crews
Bed Time for Frances by Russell Hoban
The Stinky Cheese Man by Jon Scieszka
The Crippled Lamb by Max Lucado
Learn Your Numbers by Grandreams Books Inc.
What if the Zebras Lost Their Stripes by John Reitano
You're Adorable by Martha Alexander
How Do Dinosaurs Say Good Night? by Jane Yolen & Mark Teague
The Little Merbaid by Walt Disney Pictures Gallery Books
The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg

If You Take a Mouse to the Movies by Laura Numeroff
The Star of Christmas by Big Idea Books
The Travels of Babr by Jean de Brunhoff




Last Updated December 28, 2003

December 26, 2003

Been awhile... I think this may be the longest I have gone without blogging, including when Sirah was born! The move has gone quite well, thanks to all of you who have stuck with me during this time. We are recovering from yesterday. We had an amazing outpouring of generosity and love that came our way in the form of presents and phone calls from our family who live so many miles away. Thanks again!

The kids are coming off their sugar highs (we let them have some candy and other sweets throughout the day - pretty unusual for them) and they are enjoying playing with all their new presents. I am busy trying to find a home for all the new items and referring squabbles that occur over who gets to go first. I just put the kids down for some quiet/naptime and thought I would try to sneak a few minutes to blog - before I get booted off the computer again from our terrible cable connection - which rumor has it is supposed to be fixed next week.

Serona and I are busy creating our home library. Yes I said home LIBRARY! A dream come true for the both of us. Last night he put together two more bookshleves to bring the total up to 8, tonight we will finish the last two for an even 10 and hope our books will all fit in them. We are also going shopping for a nice reading table and a few other little things to make that room have the feel we want (and can afford at this point). We sat on the futon looking at the full wall of shelves and both thought it was a beautiful sight and shared how we were happy to have married a fellow reader instead of TV watcher.

Today the kids have put on dances and concerts and have played dress up and considerable time with the new wooden train set. We have played a butterfly catch and had breakfast and lunch and even squeezed a little cleaning in there. We have worked on thank yous and had a good day so far. Hope all is good with you and yours and I hope to be back to consistent blogging after next week.

Peace,
Tenn

December 18, 2003

Great Political Resource... Serona has been all fired up lately about Howard Dean's statment that "the capture of Saddam has not made America safer." so I decided to find the whole speech text. I'll let you read and decide for yourself.

My search brought me to this wonderful website called Project Vote Smart , I highly recommend it. Here you can type in a candidates name and find things such as: Backgrounds, Issue Positions, Campaign Finances, Performance Evaluations and Voting Records. There is a lot of valuable information to be found here and an easy starting place for a lesson on voting and learning about the candidates position.

Peace,
Tenn
The Joys of Moving, Not... Don't get me wrong - I love our new place but I would like to have reliable internet service. My ISP is spotty at best and hasn't really worked since it was installed on Monday _sigh_ hope to be up and running again soon. Of course I also hope to have th boxes out of my garage soon and my daughter keeps reminding me how many days until Christmas!

Peace,
Tenn

December 17, 2003

Reflections on “Homemaking”… Well we are officially in our new house, sort of. All our possessions have moved from one location to another, but many of them are still in boxes and most of those boxes remain in our garage for the time being. It will be a slow but steady process. The new house is wonderful and soon it will feel like our home. As I type this we are still without internet access, my children are all asleep and Serona is watching the X-men downstairs. It is so nice to not hear his movie from my upstairs bedroom for a change. I feel like we have so much space here and it is definitely a house that can and will grow with us. Here I can see my kids growing up and that is a wonderful feeling (though part of me just wants them to stay little – especially Sirah) and for once I feel like saying let’s just stay here and put down roots. Everywhere else we have lived has felt or planned to be so temporary – but this time I feel different and so does Serona, and it is a nice feeling.

I find myself reflecting on how blessed our family is and how much we really have. I am so thankful for my marriage, children and the family we have created. I am thankful for good friends and extended family. I am thankful for our wonderful new home and all the things we are blessed with that help change this house into a home. We really are so rich in so many ways and it is amazing to me. I am so thankful to God for his faithfulness and his generosity in his provision.

I’ve never worn the title “Homemaker” with much pride. I always think of myself as “Mom” and for some reason that title has always made me fill more fulfilled – until recently. You see I finally realized the value and importance of building a home for my family. I don’t mean providing a building for them to live in that is kept clean and well stocked with the necessities. Rather a home is a place for them to receive all they need to go into the world and fly. To have their fountains filled here: spiritually, physically, emotionally, intellectually and the many other ways we need to be filled. For my husband and children and yes even myself to feel like our needs are met and we can move on to take on the world.

I want our home to be a place of peace and comfort, a solace, a place we all want to be. A place filled with real people and real things. A place of beauty and calm. A place one comes to feel refreshed and you leave here feeling better for having been here. Those are lofty goals and maybe someday we can achieve them – but we will make babysteps each day to try to get closer to that goal.

Tommorrow I will start by unpacking the boxes and finding homes for everything (a place for everything and everything in its place) and letting go of the things we no longer need or cherish. I will try to not hold on to tightly to those things that weigh us down and to truly enjoy and cherish the things that help lift us up. I will try to teach this lesson to my children as we work side by side.

Each day I will try to add something to make our home a more beautiful and enjoyable place for every member of our family and every person that stops by for a visit. I will try to remove the weeds of anger, yelling, too much TV, excess possessions, and discord in relationships. I will try to fill our days with good music, art, and literature. I will try to focus my family on their individual relationships with God and teach them the ways of the Lord. I will choose each day to serve God and to show my children my relationship with him. I will build my husband and children up and help them feel loved and special. I will take time to fill my cup and meet my own needs so I can meet the needs of my family. I will maintain and manage my household so it has legs to walk. I will prune out the weeds so it has room to grow and need not compete for the good soil. I will try to create an atmosphere of learning and peace so we all have time to spread our wings to learn to fly. I will work hard to turn this house into our home.

But I realize that I can not and should not go at this alone. I need the support and help of each member of this family. We all need to value our family and our home and we need to do our part to help accomplish and maintain that atmosphere of home. So I will teach my children how to meet their responsibilities as well. Hopefully Serona and I can train up our children in the way they should go so they will not stray from it later in life.

So the next time you are asked your profession and you circle “homemaker” stand proud and realize all that you do and the value of your job. I know I have a new appreciation for my field of work and I can’t think of any profession I would rather be in or that I am better suited for. I am thankful for this job opportunity and I fully intend to do my best for each member of my family.

Peace,
Tenn

December 13, 2003

Mid-move... Well we are mid-move here and I have only a few moments. Things are crazy - we still have internet access for another few hours (at the old house) and then we will be without access until Tuesday. We are almost fully moved out and are cleaning the old place and have a garage full of boxes and possessions to unpack (how do we collect so much stuff) and it seems like we will already fill the new house that has almost 800 square feet more!

The kids are holding up amazingly well and I have to thank our homeschool support network again. Two of the moms from the group came and helped today - we could not have done it without them. They watched and held kids, played with them, brought treats, packed boxes, cleaned and made car runs. I can't think of anything they didn't do - Thanks! You were amazing! They also helped us hire two men to lift the big heavy things for us and we had another generous friend from church helping us. The move has gone about as smooth as one could ask for in the snow and freezing weather.

Serona is incredible and has been working hard all day and we will be working well into the night. Will touch base again sometime next week. Hope all is well with you and yours.

Peace,
Tenn

December 11, 2003

A Heartwarmer... It seems so rare these days to find feel good news stories - but here is one. This very caring 13 year old girl, Makenzie Snyder, has given over 28,000 foster children duffel bags and stuffed animals. Read more here.

Peace,
Tenn
Lessons While Moving... Just two days left until the move and our stress level is very good. Today is the final big packing day (I need to pack all those things I needed to leave out - a box or two in each room) and we are going to tie up loose ends (get the rest of the utilities working at the new house, change our address, etc) and the kids will make going away cards for our neighbors. They are excited about the move, but will miss some of our neighbors. I am trying to help them with the transition by allowing them to draw pictures and visit people.

We have also been counting boxes - practicing stacking objects - some piles nearly reach the ceiling, practicing self-restraint in climbing and of course getting out energy by climbing in "safe" areas, and a million other little life lessons this move has given us opportunities to teach. I have learned how creative my kids can be with very few toys and learning materials. And they have enjoyed that they get to watch a video nearly every day (not the norm in our house).

We have been listening to music (Christmas carols, classical and praise) nearly all day long and taking breaks to dance all together or in different pairs. The kids have taken little breaks to color or do worksheets or file folder games or play with play-doh. Today we will work on stewardship lessons and teaching them to care for all the things God has given us and to leave our home in excellent condition for it's new owners. This will be taught mostly through practical cleaning exercises, LOL!

Actually I have learned that my kids really enjoy cleaning and fufilling tasks. Even ones they aren't so fond of are made fun by the use of a timer and a reward if they get done before the timer. You would be amazed how fast my children really can put their toys away when they feel motivated. Part of me just wants to put videos on all day so they will be "busy" and I can get alot done. But the larger part of me knows I would regret losing all those "teachable moments" we will have. So it will take us a little longer but we will do it together and they will learn and we will have fun and be all together. I'll save the video for the hour I need to make phone calls to set up utilities and the like.

Well I guess I better be off for our final day of packing and cleaning in our current humble abode. Thanks for your patience with me through these crazy times.

Peace,
Tenn

December 10, 2003

Weekly Update... Just a few minutes to blog - we are a one car family this week and need to head out to pick up Serona from work. Three days until we move and I can't pack another box until Thursday night (how is it we need so much stuff for just three days?) but seriously our progress is really good this time. We are excited for the move.

It's been a good week, we got a bunch of snow (hooray) and it has even been nice enough for the kids to be outside playing with their friends, sledding, building snowpeople and making snow angels. They have had alot of fun doing that recently. We also managed to make cookies with them - snickerdoodles which were fun because they rolled them in the cinnamon and sugar mix themselves. We even had some apple cider.

I have given up on doing anything for the next few weeks. We just found out grandpa is coming to stay with us next week - yay that will be alot of fun for the kids and I can get some unpacking done. Well I had better be off.

Peace,
Tenn
On Vaccines Again... I decided to leave this soapbox over at CyberEcology but it is worth a click to find out about problems with the recent CDC study on the link between autism and mercury in vaccines.

Peace,
Tenn

December 9, 2003

Kindergarten Behavior... Reading this article both saddens me and reinforces our decision to homeschool and to have a full-time stay at home parent with our children.

Time magazine reports Does Kindergarten Need Cops? and while the headline seems a bit aggressive the article is even sadder. There are serious behavioral problems being seen in children in larger numbers and in earlier ages throughout the country.

The article highlights some sad examples and then discusses some reasons people are citing for the behavior. One woman states:


Many cite economic stress, which has parents working longer hours than ever before, kids spending more time in day care and everyone coming home too exhausted to engage in the kind of relationships that build social skills. "Kids aren't getting enough lap time," says Karen Bentley, a seasoned elementary school administrator in Miami, who sees increased aggression in young students.


Not enough lap time? That to me is so sad - and one thing my kids will not be lacking. It is so sad to me that children are unable to enjoy their parents and to spend time with them in meaningful ways. I am again thankful for the gift Serona gives me in enabling me to stay home full time with my children.

So today when you get stressed with your kids while they don't want to follow a lesson or get something done, think about what other families and children are facing today and put your kids in your lap and read a story or just enjoy some quality family time together.

Peace,
Tenn

December 8, 2003

Little by Little

"Little by little" an acorn said
As it slowly sank in its mossy bed;
"I am improving day by day
Hidden deep in the earth away"
Little by little each day it grew;
Little by little it sipped in the dew;
Downward it sent out a thread-like root;
Up in the air sprung a tiny shoot;
Day after day, year after year,
Little by little the leaves appear;
And the slender branches spread far and wide,
Till the mighty oak is the forest's pride.
"Little by little" said a thoughtful boy
"Moment by moment I'll well employ,
Learning a little every day,
And not spending all my time in play
And still this rule in my mind shall dwell
"Whatever I do, I will do it well'
Little by little I'll learn to know
The treasured wisdom of long ago
And one of these days perhaps we'll see
That the world will be the better for me."
And do you not think that this simple plan
Made him a wise and useful man."

-Anonymous
Space & Finding Teachable Moments    Here's a nice article on Space.com about helping kids grasp the details of space, distance, and answering the question, "why don't we just go there?". The article is HERE.

There are also some neat sample lessons (PDF format) here, although I cannot vouch for their content:
Science Detectives: SETI Institute
Project Haystack: SETI Institute

December 7, 2003

Brief update.... Well I have been packing like a madwoman for the past 45 minutes and decided to take a break - just 15 minutes of course. The move prep is going very well actually - we have packed up almost everything but the essentials we need to make it until the weekend. The only room left untouched so far is the kitchen - which I will tackle tomorrow. We are living amongst towers of boxes - the kids really just want to climb inside them or better yet on top of them. We have even cleaned out the attic already - seems everything is on track.

We went to get our pictures taken for Christmas cards and what a fiasco that turned into. Rhiannon refused to smile, Ciaran kept giving the 2 year old "CHEESY" grin and Sirah just wouldn't look at the camera. It was an event - sometimes I am convinced a snapshot captures my children far better and far cheaper! I get complaints from family and friends that our kids don't get "professional" pictures done (we may do it once a year - yes even when they are babies) but our experience has not been good and they are always so expensive. I will admit it - I am NOT a "creative" memories mom. My memories will be passed on to my children in the form of this blog, their personal journals and probably a shoebox of photos and a ton of digital pictures and the occasional video. Each mother is different I suppose - hopefully my kids can appreciate our written history and the snapshots that go along with it. I simply don't have time or interest in cutting paper into pretty shapes and gluing things into a book.

Hope you had a great weekend and please be patient with me this week and next as we move (we will actually be without computer service for atleast 4 whole days _sigh_).

Peace,
Tenn

December 5, 2003

Clay Field Trip... Today we went on a very interesting filed trip to a clay factory. The kids seem to enjoy themselves and the tour guide did a great job explaining the process to their age level. The tour included viewing the materials, machines and process for mixing and packaging the clay and the glazes. We also saw the kiln and they actually took our pieces out with us there- we helped, it was very interesting. The kids made some ornaments and coasters and pinch pots and had glazed them as well.

It felt good to be out doing stuff again, we have been self-quarantining ourselves since we were exposed to chicken pox - but the incubation is over and it appears to have passed us by _whew_ so it was nice to get the kids out. They behaved so well I was so thankful and very impressed with them. All the kids on the tour did actually - it was a nice time.

Peace,
Tenn
Our Favorite Children's Books...
I've tossed the idea of reviewing all the books we read on this site - but we simply read too many. Instead I've decided to highlight a few favorties from each family member. My choices are books that I enjoy reading to them or that I love the story. They are not in any particular order, just as they came to me.

Rhiannon
Quick as a Cricket by Audrey Wood
Anything with a Disney Princess
All the Angelina Books
The Little House Series (both the regular and the storybooks)

Ciaran
The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry and the Big Hungry Bear by Don and Audrey Wood
Ten Little Ladybugs by Melanie Gerth
Marvin K Mooney will you please go now by Dr Suess
Goodnight moon by Margaret Wise Brown
Thomas the Train books

Both of them
If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Numeroff
If You Give a Moose a Muffin by Laura Numeroff
If You Give a Pig a Pancake by Laura Numeroff
Sailor Moo by Lisa Wheeler
Little Bear by Else Holmelund Minarik
Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr and John Archambault
The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
Any Curious George
Before I Dream by Karen Henley
Any Pooh Bear stories


Mommy
Mr Brown Can Moo, Can You by Dr Suess
You are Special by Max Lucado
Butterfly House by Eve Bunting
Meeting Trees by Scott Sanders
It Looked Like Spilt Milk by Charles G Shaw
Sector 7 by David Wiesner
Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney
My Little House Songbook by Laura Ingalls Wilder
All the Mamas by Carol Shough
The Mitten by Jan Brett

God Made You Special by Big Idea
The Children's Book of Virtues by William Bennett
Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson
A Baby Sister for Frances by Russell Hoban
Chronicles of Narnia by CS Lewis
Blueberry Shoe by Ann Dixon
Mama Do You Love Me by Barabara Joose
The Napping House by Don and Audrey Wood
Moving Progress... I thought I would post an update for those of you following my move.

Days to Move: 7
Boxes Packed: 39 - plus two storage units full
Closets Left - 2
Stress Level - Low
Family Health - Good

Actually we are doing the best I have ever done in our 5 moves in the past 4 years, I guess you just get better each time. I feel like there is little I can do this week - I have already thinned our clothes down to what we need to wear - the kids toys have almost all been packed. I left out a basket of blocks and a basket of puppets and hard vinyl animals and a little rubbermaid tub of cars and some books of course. I have even packed up the desk and all our files and office and school supplies. The only major things I have left are the kitchen - which I always wait until the end for and our linen closet. So I really can't complain this time.

Tenn
More Reading Lists... Well we aren't making as much progress on the ClassRoom Cares List as I had hoped, because we need to read "unique" books and we have be in a reread all our favorites stage. The kids keep requesting the same books over and over again and I am not going to deny them their picks (though I do sneak a few new ones in) so we are still reading alot but I am not writing down all the titles over and over again. Some recent new reads include:

Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse by Kevin Henkes
River Story by Meredith Hooper
The Children's Book of Virtues by William Bennett
Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson
A Baby Sister for Frances by Russell Hoban
Leo the Late Bloomer by Robert Kraus
William's Doll by Charlotte Zolotow
George Shrinks by William Joyce
Baby Says by John Steptoe
From Head to Toe by Eric Carle

Pete's a Pizza by William Steig
The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats
Freight Train by Donald Crews
Bed Time for Frances by Russell Hoban
The Stinky Cheese Man by Jon Scieszka

December 4, 2003

Screwed Up World.... Okay warning this has nothing to do with homeschooling - skip it if you like. I am VERY FRUSTRATED right now about the status of the National Breastfeeding Awareness Campaign.

I started out hopeful and excited - for once a message that stated the truth - not just "Breast is Best" but that choosing not to breastfeed has potential and proven consequences. The campaign ads were to illustrate that children who are not breastfed have a "higher risk of developing asthma, diabetes, leukemia and other illnesses."

But lo and behold in comes the formula manufacturers to express their displeasure at the risks of not breastfeeding being highlighted (THESE ARE A REALITY PEOPLE) and suddenly the AAP changes it's position. From the article:
The campaign has divided physician members of the American Academy of Pediatrics. Dr. Joe M. Sanders Jr., the academy's executive director, and Dr. Carden Johnston, its president, sent a letter to Tommy G. Thompson, secretary of health and human services, in early November expressing their concerns about the tone of the campaign and the soundness of the science providing the base for some of its claims. That upset the academy's own breastfeeding experts, who had been working with the government on the ads and supported their aggressive message.

Dr. Lawrence M. Gartner, the former chairman of the pediatrics department at the University of Chicago and current chairman of the academy's executive committee on breastfeeding, said he believed that academy officials might have sent the letter to appease formula manufacturers; some of them are large financial donors to the group.



The Dr's claim they were changing their position before the formula companies objected because some members were "concerned that the advertisements could make mothers who chose not to breastfeed feel guilty if their child later developed leukemia or another medical condition."

While I empathize with their point - these mothers are ENTITLED to the truth and not to be shielded from the truth for fear of hurting their feelings or potentially making some people feel guilty. They should only feel guilty if they KNEW the risks and chose to do it anyway. The AAP and formula companies seem to be advocating hiding the truth from parents - letting the soft "Breast is Best" campaign continue.

Don't get me wrong I am all for supporting "Breast is Best" but our breastfeeding initiation and continuation rates in this country show that it has not been enough. I believe many parents simply don't realize that there are risks if you don't breastfeed and then chose to bottle feed. If these parents knew that breastfeeding would offer their children not only advantages but be preventative of many other things perhaps some would choose to breastfeed than.

It just enrages and saddens me that we live in a culture that will put babies and small children's health at risk for fear of hurting someone's feelings and so some companies can make more money. It is disappointing and disgusting in my opinion. Perhaps people need to be offended and feel a little guilty to instill a necessary change in our country. Progress isn't always comfortable - but that doesn't make it wrong.

Read the article for yourself. Breastfeeding Ads Delayed by a Dispute Over Content.

Peace,
Tenn

Bringing in the wood... I love children's imaginations. Rhiannon went to see Little House Christmas yesterday and now she is leading her brother in an imaginative reenactment of scenes from the play and the books. As I type this they are using several of the empty packing boxes to "bring in the wood" and make a nice warm fire. They are sitting by the fire to warm their feet and they are talking about different things from the book. Rhia wants me to call her Laura and Ciaran Mary and I am to be referred to as Ma and Sirah as Carrie. Pa is off at work. They are so cute. Perhaps I will try to just stay with the Little House theme all day to get them to do what needs to be done.

Peace,
Tenn

December 3, 2003

Little House Christmas... Today has been a great day for our family. Serona took the day off to have a special date with Rhiannon, they went to see a performance of Little House Christmas. They really enjoyed it, she is very into the series, we have been listening to it on tape so far and we will be giving her the set of books for Christmas. They had a special date complete with a chocolate treat from what I hear.

Meanwhile Ciaran and I had some special playtime while they were gone and Sirah was sleeping. We built castles with blocks and then drove cars around them. He played with his "Brown Bear, Brown Bear" cutouts and we read some books together. His favorite is Still "The Little Mouse, The Red Ripe Strawberry and the Big Hungry Bear" by Audrey Wood. We then made pancakes together and had a lot of fun - he loves to cook and to wash the dishes.

When Sirah woke up we all sat on the floor together and listened to Christmas music and sang while we played with the blocks. Serona and Rhiannon came home and then he headed out to run an errand with Ciaran and left me with the girls. Then he headed over to pick up Ciaran a new life like animal - a treat he loves for less than 5.00 and it lasts and gets played with over and over again.

This time Rhiannon and I worked on a few things. She drew a replica of our front door wreath complete with pinecones and bow in her nature study notebook while I did our online bills and banking and then we read several books. Her favorite was "Harold and the Purple Crayon" by Crockett Johnson. Then we did a few review questions and discussion from the play she saw this morning (provided on the theater's website) and talked a bit about Little House in general. Now she is playing quietly by herself and Sirah is in the swing while I write this - I am going to try to pack a bit now.

Peace,
Tenn
Days and Nights... Why do babies get these mixed up? Sirah has been sleeping during the day and ready to party at night. Right now I so want to go to sleep but she is still up and raring to go. Serona is working late and there is no choice but to be awake. I used to never really mind but with three it is harder as one is awake when the others are asleep you know the others will wake up when this one falls asleep and then you have lost all that sleep. I am reminded of the Bare Naked Ladies song" Who Needs Sleep? Well your never gonna get it." Yet even as I complain I don't really mind. I know these days pass by too quickly and I know I will sleep again someday - as my father told me you can get a few good years in between the youngest turning 5 or so and the oldest becoming a teenager - then you never sleep again until they are fully out of the house. I have learned to function on less sleep though I am a much happier mom when I get more rest. Perhaps I can go bore her to sleep now.

Peace,
Tenn

December 2, 2003

Good Afternoon... Before the chaos of bedtime hits I would like to let you know we had a great afternoon. Rhiannon started her Nature Study notebook with two drawings of the flowers on our table and a short poem from The Children's Book of Virtues "Try, Try Again". She also had me jot down a little note about one of the flowers and God. It was a nice moment. She worked on her art while I danced around the room with Sirah and Ciaran took a nap, a nice peaceful moment in an otherwise loud and crazy household.

The kids are making forts and houses and climbing on all our moving boxes those that are full and those that are empty. Sirah has slept away much of the day so I am anticipating a long night. It seems whatever sickness we had has passed us by and that is wonderful!

I am trying to psyche myself up for the bedtime routine and reading some stories now and then heading back down here to the mess to try to pack up some of my desk and file all the stacks of paper that have collected around the house. Hopefully I won't miss any bills during this crazy time. Keeping track of paperwork is always the hardest on me during a move.

Peace,
Tenn
Raising Whole Children... I have recently been reading A Charlotte Mason Companion:
Personal Reflections on The Gentle Art of Learning
by Karen Andreola, and I can't say enough good about it. I LOVE this book and I love almost everything I am hearing in it.

Sometimes I feel like each new book I read awakens a part of me I never realized was there before. It seems each new homeschooling book (almost) I read teaches me something that I decide I want to utilize in our home and family - but this one was different. This book reinforced what I am already doing in my home and helped me think of better ways to do it. That is a special book - kind of like the first time I read The Baby Book and The Discipline Book by Dr Sears and found someone describing the way I was parenting. It is nice to find yourself in a book and to find new and better suggestions.

Some ideas that we have decided to start implementing right away (ok AFTER our move) are a Nature Study Notebook, Narration, and studying one composer and one artist for 3 months. I really want my children to grow up cultured and I suppose I have a very different definition of culture than what it seems is promoted to children these days. I read a Jane Austen novel and I love that they had a thorough appreciation for art, classical music, poetry and worked on these skills. I want my children to recognize and love Bach, Beethoven, Monet, Manet, Keats, Dickens, and Shakespeare to name a few. I want them to appreciate and love beauty in everything and I want them to be whole people.

I recognize this culture starts in the home and in the atmosphere you raise your children in. We are already clearly a family of readers and reading is encouraged and cultivated at every turn in our lives (including a library in the new house!!!!) and that will continue. But as of recently I realized I have been so focused on literature that I have let music and art appreciation slip through the cracks, not to even mention poetry. Now don't get me wrong my children are still very young and I know they have plenty of time - but how easy it is to play classical music while we make and eat lunch. How nice it is to read a simple and short poem as a respite between play. How wonderful to show the children real art masterpieces and encourage them to truly draw themselves. How much more can that enrich their lives. I can't do it all at once. But in true FLYbaby style I will babystep it one step at a time.

It is easy to get several CD's by a single composer and big art books from the library (or as our budget affords) and keep them on display and on the stereo for three months at a time. It is easy to listen to classical music for just 30 minutes a day and read one poem a day. We recently began reading one proverb a day (corresponding with the date) and I found it didn't take long to become a routine and it doesn't take much time at all.

Again I come back to my "I can do anything for 15 minutes philosophy" and I realize how easy it is to introduce my kids to a large variety of culture and in a meaningful way. We will work on introducing classical works, art masterpieces, wonderful poetry and sketching God's creation into our days and I am sure that is a decision we will NEVER regret. I want to grow whole children and I think there is much wisdom in the days of past we can and should learn from.

Pick up a copy of A Charlotte Mason Companion:
Personal Reflections on The Gentle Art of Learning
by Karen Andreola and find yourself refreshed and inspired. The pictures alone in the book are worth it. They represent the kind of atmosphere many of us want for our children. They show children at peace, at play and in an atmosphere that promotes the love of learning and the growth of a whole child.

Warmly,
Tenn


UPDATE: AS I was reading this morning Linda's blog had a link to get a sonnet a day. How easy some things are in the days of the internet and email!
Reading List...

Little Bear by Else Homelundd Minarik
LIttle Bear's Friend by Else Minarik
Jeremy by Jan Karon
Machines at Work Fire Truck by Caroline Bingham
Big Machines at Work Dump Trucks by Jean Eick
Touch by Brenda Walpole
Trumpets by Pamela Harris
Katy and the Big Snow by Virginia Lee Burton
How Do We Think by Carol Ballard
Shamu and the Adventurous Seal Pup by Marc Shulman

Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown
Curious George by Ha Rey
I Hear I See I Touch by Helen Oxenbury
Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
Sylvester and the Magic Pebble by William Steig
The Sneetches by Dr Suess

December 1, 2003

What to Do With Little Ones... Karen Andreola (author of The Charlotte Mason Companion) has a great site with excellent resources. On this site is a nice page of ideas for preschoolers during class time. Check it out.

Peace,
Tenn
General Malaise... Well we are sick here now _sigh_ with less than two weeks to the move. Rhiannon is having general not feeling well symptoms: low grade fever, upset stomach, sore muscles and tiredness. She doesn't have energy to smile, laugh or talk. She just wants to cuddle, sleep, watch movies and listen to stories. We were exposed to chicken pox two weeks ago and I am wondering if it coming now. Of course it could also be this terrible flu going around. Time will tell - but I will be out of commission for awhile.

Peace,
Tenn