April 30, 2006

Date Night

An important part of the way we parent is to have regular date nights with our kids. We don't set an actual date or time frame but more read their barometer and do our best to have them before it starts to drop or more frequently during challenging times with particular children and atleast every few months with each child. We tend to take turns making sure they get special time with each of us.

Today was my turn with Rhiannon and we had a great night! In general on my date nights I try to give them freedom to direct the night as they want and try to say no as little as possible. Sometimes I offer suggestions or guidance and occasionaly say no as needed but all in all it is their night.

Rhiannon and I were joined tonight by Laura Felicity (her Felicity American girl doll that she also calls Laura for Laura Ingalls) throughout our date, which was cute and fun. We began at a yarn store picking out yarn for matching ponchos I am making her and her dolls (she also has an Elizabeth doll) - she picked purple because the Romans thought purple was for royalty and highly valued. She got to pick out a little treat as well and she picked a bag of shells and a container to hold them in. She also got a piece of candy as was estatic when I agreed to Bubble Gum Tape (6 feet - what was I thinking?!?!?!) which she opened immediately.

We then went to the library to return books and pick up some others. She choose the Kaya series from AG. We were there briefly and headed to a mall. There we ate dinner at a sub shop she really likes and then walked the mall. We went clothes shopping and she got to pick out a pretty peach dress, a skirt and a top. Then she rode one of those pay rides I never say yes to (this one was a roller coaster) she was excited. So far bubble gum, clothes of her choice, dinner at the restuarant of her choice, pop, and a pay ride, all usual no's from me.

We went up for some ice cream and then decided to watch a movie. We went to see RV with Robin Williams. There were funny moments, there were cheap joke moments but Rhiannon found it very funny and there were glimpses of my own life in there that made me laugh and sad at the same time. Blackberry's, families that IM to communicate, kids growing up fast, homeschooling (not world's best portrayal though atleast attempts to redeem itself), trying to find a wireless signal and connecting as a family. I am not going to say this is our life as our kids are still little and we have different family values, priorities and approaches but it had its funny moments. I'd say wait for the rental.

Still we had a nice fun time together. For once Rhiannon did not have to go to the bathroom in the middle of the movie and she even had a little kids pack of popcorn, pop and candy! So many treats for one day for her but a special time.

We had great conversations and hugs and laughs and smiles. She was able to be honest and share some things and I was able to give her complete undivided attention and my heart, mind, eyes, ears and hands focused just on her for a change. It was a time to fill up her love tank and I could tell by the end that we had and my own love tank was filled up in the process as well.

At one point tonight we were talking about school and she was hesitant to share with me I could tell. I told her she could tell the truth to me or to dad if she felt uncomfortable and after a deep breath she said "Well I don't want to hurt you or upset you and I think if I say I am unhappy or stressed with school that I am saying that you are a bad teacher and I don't want to say that or hurt or upset you." What a tender heart she has and how she represented the quandry many homeschool kids and parents can find themselves in as they navigate both grounds together. We talk of how hard it can be for a parent to be both a parent and a teacher but overlook how hard it can be for a kid to be both a child and a student of their parent. What ground they tread!

Our heart to heart went well from there and of course with reassurances that she is loved unconditionally no matter how she does at school or in anything. She was able to share how she really felt about some things and we moved on to subjects like friends, field trips she would like to see and her struggles with her siblings as well as the joys and victories of recent.

Date nights are so important for everyone involved. I was encouraged when we returned home and Rhiannon jumped up and gave Serona a huge pick me up and hug me daddy hug and thanked him for watching the other kids so she could have some special time with me.

At the end of the night she gave me big hugs and kisses and three seashells from her new treasure. Gift giving is important to her, her main love language. I have learned to cherish these treasures from the heart.

While tonight's date night was much larger and more expensive than a usual one it seemed to be what was called for in this particular situation with Rhiannon at this time. It seemed to be just what filled her tank while on another day it may just be getting an ice cream cone up the street and getting away for a half hour.

If you do not already have dates with your kids, make it a priority! It fills everyone's love tanks and reminds us all of what is special about each of us, parent and child.

Kiss and hug those kids!

April 28, 2006

Fort Sleeping

The kids are all sleeping in a giant fort they have constructed in our living room. They are falling asleep listening to books on tape inside their giant fort all together. Some childhood memories are truly priceless for both the children and the parents.


April 26, 2006

Mmmmm Diner

Yummy vegetarian fare. Tonight we are having Pasta with Baby Red Lentils and Ginger.

I will admit I have been in a cooking rut, not so much from scratch lately. But the smells that filled my kitchen as I prepared this and the joy of using individual fresh ingredients might have just wooed me back even with the extra time. Was easy to make, a bit of time involved, but short for the results.


April 24, 2006

Amazing Reading

Rhiannon loves reading. It is quite possibly her favorite thing to do. She can be found with her nose in a book several times a day often at length. At first when she finished a book I did not believe that she really had. I feel terrible saying it but it is true. I mean she is 6 years old and she can read a Little House on the Prairie book or its equivalent over the course of a few days! I quizzed her about each chapter even down to little details that I thought she might have been breezing over and she always answered me right. I finally just believed her until today again.

We are going to see a theater production of Pippi Longstocking and I wanted her to know the story first. I was going to do it as a read aloud with her but added it to her weekly reading chart instead. She needs to read 30 minutes a day though she often reads much more. She sat down with the book and read the entire thing in one sitting. It is about a 140 page book. It includes some pictures and is a smaller sized book but still. I honestly did not believe her and quizzed her down to some very specific details and had her narrate parts of it. She knew all the details! Guess I need to stop second guessing her but it was hard to believe.

The funny thing was she really did not want to read this book. She has been resisting me for a week because she has been in the middle of the Mary Poppins series and wants to read nothing else until she is done. Normally I would just go with that but since we have the play coming up I insisted she read the book. She grudingly did and I knew she would love it. She laughed out loud and you could see she was really enjoying it. She asked me if there were other books written about Pippi and could I get them for her. Tonight she picked up her Mary Poppins series again (she is on the fourth book in the series) which she is also really enjoying.

As a family we currently have three read alouds going. The kids like having one special one that just dad reads (Serona actually does the voices) so his current book is Redwall. Then Ciaran and Sirah really fought about who gets to pick the next one so I agreed to work through two at the same time. So we are reading "The World of Pooh" by AA Milne (I just adore the artwork and the language and story yet again) and "Rogue Planet" - a star wars novel (which I do edit some as I read). We just finished off "A Horse and His Boy" and "Charlie and the Glass Elevator" for audio car books.

If you have a young daughter Rhiannon really recommends Mary Poppins and Pippi Longstocking, either to read herself or as a read aloud.



Day one of t-ball. Temperature 45 degrees with a blustery and biting wind that had us all (Ciaran excepted) wearing full winter coats and gloves. This very day I had thought about packing them away but remembered it is just April in MN. It was a beautiful 75 yesterday.

Ciaran still did well. He is a lefty - but he can bat either way. He has very good coaches, patient people who obviously love the sport and love kids. He got a uniform and hat which he loved and worked on grounders, pop-flys, hitting off the tee and running the bases. He also got to try his hand at first base.

Ciaran is sometimes a literalist. When he was told to stay in his position (after trying to field a ball on the other side of the field) he literally stayed. A ball went two feet in front of him and he thought he could not move to get it. When the ball went past him at first (either because he missed or it was a bad throw) he thought he could not go retrieve it. His coaches told him to draw a line in the sand for batting and he drew an actual line. He was told to step and then throw and he literally steps, stops and then throws. Think we will be working on some nuances with him :) All in all a great first day of T-ball.

Though to be honest not sure the girls will attend all of the practices and games, two nights a week may be a bit much for them especially if the weather stays like this!!!

April 21, 2006

Rhiannon's Project

Rhiannon had a heart to share with our neighbors today. She really wanted to tell them all that Jesus loves them but she wanted to do it in an anonymous way and she wanted to do it in a way that would not upset or offend anyone who did not want to believe in Jesus. She asked if she could make little posters or things to hang on the doors. How do I say no? So here is what she made and distributed by hanging on doors.

I just wanted to send you a little something
that tells you that Jesus loves you
and will always love you no matter what.

Have a great day because Jesus loves you!

One Man Star Wars Review

Serona and I had a great date last night. We went to see One Man Star Wars in downtown Minneapolis at the Pantages theater. I surprised him with front row seats and he surprised me by not asking us to wear our full Jedi costumes! I was ready to but I must admit it was nice just being a normal fan instead of the full costumed fans we usually are! Plus being in the front row it was nice to just keep a low profile, a simple Star Wars t-shirt for him and a "I'm blogging this" t-shirt for me instead of full Jedi with lightsabers. So I said I was blogging this, so here you go.

For those unfamiliar with this show it is one man, Charles Ross, who acts out the entire original trilogy on stage. He is dressed all in black and with the exception of the use of some lighting tricks that is it, him all in black and his amazing talents acting out the trilogy, music, characters, lines and events from ANH, ESB, and ROTJ. You can see clips at his website, where you can also order tickets to upcoming shows.

We completely enjoyed the show. He was very funny and as fans who know the movies very well we were able to understand even the little things he did and the significance of facial expressions or seemingly small actions. I was thankful we were in the front row because we could see these little actions (like when he quivered his lip to represent Mon Monthma)and he ended up the floor of the stage often as well so we got the full experience.

Would I recommend the show? To someone who really likes star wars, hands down I would. You will laugh and you will enjoy it and you will get it all. He was very funny and captured the essence of the films well. To someone who sort of likes the films, I still would but would not call it a must see like I would for big fans. He was very entertaining and very funny, we laughed the whole night. However, the show is short (one hour total) and not cheap so you would need to consider that.

More specifics. The show was an hour, about 20 minutes on each film I would estimate. At our show he also ended with coming back out on stage and sharing some of his experiences and words of encouragement for the audience. Both Serona and I felt his strongest film was definitely "A New Hope" he really captured the characters and the events well. My only wish was that he represented R2D2 with atleast a quick sound at the awards ceremony at the end but he did do justice for Chewie which all fans want to see. We also agreed that the weakest of the three (though still good) was "Empire Strikes Back" - I think that film must be really hard to capture in this sort of shorter format because so much of the film is back and forth banter between the characters that builds and builds.

He definitely did the characters well and had funny ways to cue you to the character and represent who they were. I thought he did an excellent job with Tarkin and Luke. Serona really enjoyed his representation of Han and the attention he paid to detail (like when Luke throws down his lightsaber during the battle in ROTJ). We literally laughed for an hour. So if you are looking for a fun evening filled with good laughs and Star Wars I recommend One Man Star Wars by Charles Ross.

The show is pretty family friendly too, like the Star Wars films themselves. There are a few moments and gestures you might need to explain or deal with for younger kids like his way of representing Han's macho personality (as he grabs a certain part of his body briefly) and his way of expressing Han and Lukes emotions after Leia kisses them. Still I think it would be fine for kids to see. I would not bring my own because they are just too young to appreciate a single actor all in black doing the films and would miss too much. However, I would say a child around 10-12 age probably would appreciate and enjoy and understand what was going on. Much younger than that and you may need to explain things and miss enjoying it yourselves.

The demographic of our particular show was pretty varied. We are in our early thirties, sitting next to us were two guys either late 40's early 50's, a group of teenagers came together, three rows back was a guy in a mowhawk, parents were there with their kids, a few people in their 60's and a bunch in their 20's and 30's. The 501st had several storm troopers and others in costume greeting us at the theater. Of course the fans of star wars are a pretty diverse demographic as well.

At the end of the show Charles Ross came back out on stage and talked about how One Man Star Wars was born and encouraged us to pursue our strange hobbies and passions. He talked about performing at Celebration 3, big star wars convention a few months before the release of Revenge of the Sith. Having gone to Celebration 2 I could completely envision what he was expressing when he said he got to perform to the perfect audience for his show. Several thousand people, all big enough fans of Star Wars to show up at the convention, many costumed. While I imagine that would have been a fun, and loud venue to see him in, I am glad we saw him in this venue. I mean we had front row seats - which are pretty hard to come by at Celebration!

A great night for us. A recommendation for you. He is a talented man and the show is worth your money in my humble opinion. But then again we do this for fun!


April 18, 2006


Check out a great new blog, Hands Up in the Air by Mamadala! She has a great writing style and can make you laugh or cry depending on her mood and what she is sharing. Welcome her to the world of blogging!

In Him,

Just Let Me Get My Crown

Sentences just uttered as we are walking out the door to pick up Serona:

Mom: Okay we are leaving now
Rhiannon: Okay just let me get my crown!

Perhaps it is not as funny as I write it. But it is fitting of first daughter who thinks she wears a tiara throughout life. I love her but sometimes she really thinks she is a princess and the world will wait as she "Just gets her crown!"

She is dressed in full dress up Princess Aurora crown and all to go pick up daddy.

Balancing it Out

Spring is a time of readjusting for us. Our family desires to be outside all the time, the end of school is lingering over us and the house is falling apart. Okay so it is not actually falling apart but let's say my stewardship level has fallen. I have to reasses my involvement in each thing I am doing and repriortize to open up more time for being outdoors.

In the winter blogging is very easy for me. I am trapped indoors with three kids and writing is a good outlet. The spring comes and I want to put down the computer and be outside more and more each day. Those days of transition are intersting as I try to rebalance and refocus and figure out how and when to do all that I want to do.

Balance, that is always the trick isn't it? Figuring out how to balance work and family, work and play, responsibility and fun. Balance is so tough and so important. We all need it, we all crave it and so rarely do we find it with any regularity. Balance with my kids, balance with my friends, balance with Serona and balance with my family.

There are so many great things to do, so many good opportunities. So many things I enjoy and I am blessed with talents in. How do you know where to focus and how to prioritize? How on earth am I supposed to teach this if I can't master it myself? Yet we press on and we juggle and we manage a way to hold all the balls up in the air and hope no one throws yet another one in there.

I have always been impressed by juggling. I was never good at the actually activity of juggling, though juggling responsibilities, priorities and people has been a lifestyle for me as I try to keep in balance and keep all those things going at the same time. Praying that my arms never tire and my judgement never falters. But of course it does and all the balls are affected as I decide which to drop to keep the others up in the air.

Well I am rambling now. Hope you have found a balance in your life. Pray I can find some in my own.


April 17, 2006

We're Going to Disney World

I finally caved! We are going next month!

If you are a family member or a friend, Shhhhhh!!!!! We have not told the kids, it is a surprise.

Pray for my sanity and the kids to have a hoot!

"Song for John" - June Carter Cash

Started as a poem to John, she added music to make this great song. One that makes me think of Serona. Thought I would share it with you.

I try to remember the things that are precious to you, and I'd give you money if that would do. But money won't do it, that's not your way. Your money's been for givin' away. Now if you precede me and go to your grave, and the angels knock the clouds about when Jesus comes to save, I'll be standing there to rise with you and go up as you do. And I'll always love you, you'll always be mine. Forever and always, till the end of time. Till the mountains split open with the weight of the sun. We'll rise up together....as one.

So I'll let my hair down 'cause that's the way you like it. And I'll keep myself neat and nice for you, and I'll have good food on your table, and I will keep your house in order. And I'll always love you and you'll always be mine. Forever and always, till the end of time. Till the mountains split open with the weight of the sun. We'll rise up together....as one.

And I'll pray for you, for your wisdom and understanding and your charity. And even if you've been wrong, and I've known it, you've always been right, because that's God's order. And I'll always love you and you'll always be mine. Forever and always, till the end of time. Till the mountains split open with the weight of the sun. We'll rise up together....as one.

And I will smile for you and I'll be kind, and I'll love your babies just as I have loved mine. And when I could give you nothing, God blessed me and gave you a son. And I'll always love you and you'll always be mine. Forever and always, till the end of time. Till the mountains split open with the weight of the sun. We'll rise up together....as one.

April 13, 2006

Jelly Bean Prayer

Author Shirley Kozak

Easter Lesson Ideas

Here are some Easter lesson ideas we use each year at this time.


April 11, 2006

First Frogs of the Season and Homeschooling

Well life as my family knows it has now changed for the next few months. Tonight I heard the first frog or toad calls of the season. Ciaran would know which frog or toad made the sound but not me :) He was already asleep which is about the only thing that saved us from putting boots on, finding flashlights and going out that very moment if he knew the first frogs and toads were out.

For anyone new to the blog you will quickly understand that my son Ciaran REALLY loves frogs. I mean really and we get really into them. There is not a doubt in my mind, weather permitting, that we will be out and about on a frog hunt in the morning or early afternoon of tomorrow. He has been asking since there was still snow on the ground when we the first frogs were coming. It is not nearly descriptive to say he will be very excited at the news tomorrow.

So the next few months will be filled with frogs, toads and other slimy and furry creatures that Ciaran manages to catch and find. Last year he caught a baby duck who was injured and numerous frogs, toads, worms, grasshoppers and other little critters. What will this year bring?

We filled the bird feeders and tonight's news was about the swallows that are apparently building a nest in our tree and there are many robins all around. The arrival of these little animals and the wonderful weather we have been having, the sounds of frogs at evening and being able to leave the windows open are truly wonderful features of spring!

Spring brings so many opportunities to school in nature. The nature notebooks come back out, the field guides and books on animals and just being in nature and experiencing it. Lessons about God and his creation are a natural follow up to all the awe and wonder going on at creation all around them. Science is easy as we watch the circle of life in birds, butterflies, frogs, and so many other critters. We watch the ice melt to ponds and lakes and see the fish begin to swim again. We feel and see the changes in season. We witness the natural blooming of flowers from a silent buried plant to something green, to buds to full blooms.

Somehow PE time is so easy and fun as bicycles, skateboards, scooters, baseball mitts and balls of every kind come out and begged to be used all day. Impromptu kickball, hide and seek, freeze tag and other running games are played by kids all around.

Spring may be the easiest, and the hardest season for homeschooling. Easy because everything around you is truly an easy lesson in itself. Tough because the call of playtime and leisure is so loud. Easy because you submerge yourself in learning all around you. Tough because you never want to come inside or do anything else. In balance it definitely comes out on the easier side for us. So you adapt and you go with the flow but the real life learning and passions sparked during this season are truly wondrous things that do far more to encourage and solidify learning and knowledge and a passion for them than any book or serious study ever could.

Soon we start our frog lessons, we start our flower lessons and we continue learning through life. In the end we are trying to raise life long learners who have a passion for learning, knowledge and wisdom. Also children who love the Lord and the wonderful world he created. What better way to close this post then in the nightly words of my dear son Ciaran. This is a prayer from his heart and it shows a glimpse into it. There is nothing rote about this prayer, though he says it every night he means it every time. Every night since he was two years old and started praying Ciaran begins his prayer with the following:

"Thank you God for all things good in this wonderful world."

Homeschool Planning Resources

Well it is that time of year again, homeschool conferences, planning for next years curriculum and finalizing schedules. I thought it a good time to remind you of the great free resources that Donna Young provides. She has many free printables for schedules, planners, calendars and other great planning helpers. Check it out as you plan for next year.


Spring Fever in Homeschooling

We are in the throes of spring fever and the desire to be outside all the time. A common struggle for many homeschoolers I imagine. It also brings home the reality that we need to finish up school because it is only going to get harder each day.

So far we have been using the good weather as motivation. We have found ourselves done with school around 11am each day so we can be outside the rest of the day. Sometimes we stop and take a break in the middle of the day and then get back to school in the afternoon after we have had several hours outside.

I am thankful we homeschool on days like yesterday. As the weather hit over 70 yesterday we were outside by 11am and took a walk and spent the afternoon outside. We came home and took some rest time and Rhia finished up one last subject and then it was back outside to play with the neighbors until dinner time. I headed back outside after the kids were in bed to relax and read on my deck in the cool breeze.

How does spring affect your homeschool? What are strategies you use?


April 10, 2006

Kids, kids and more kids

We have a lot of kids in our neighborhood. As I type this sitting out on my deck there are over 20 running around just in front of my house and the two nearby neighbors. Many ages, birth to about 14 or so I think. All girls and my little Ciaran, the only boy in the neighborhood, but he just joins right in whatever they are doing. Parents are getting home from work and staying outside to enjoy the gorgeous 70 degree day we are having. Cars are actually paying attention and slowing down as they drive past all these kids running around and playing and the kids are doing a fairly reasonable job staying out of the street.

Ciaran and Rhia are right over in the thick of it. Sirah is right here next to me exploring rocks and drawing pictures with chalk and pushing around the stroller and her little car. The dogs are barking with frustration at not being a part of the chaos and fun. What a perfect way to spend an afternoon and early evening. A simple quick stir fry for dinner, we walked to the store to get fresh veggies and we will eat outside. Best time to do it, weather is nice and their are no bugs to speak of. We have spent so much time cooped up indoors that it is wonderful to feel the sun and breeze and enjoy the neighborhood.

Time to put the computer down and play with Sirah,

Yield to Pedestrians?

Does this concept exist anymore? It is very frustrating when walking or biking with three children across streets and no one yields to pedestrians. I don't have my kids try to cross in front of cars, against lights or anything like that. We push the button, wait patiently on the curb and enter the street when we have our pedestrian light. But people do not stop! They do not yield, most of the time they don't even look! They are too busy talking on their cell phone, or revving for the light to change to even glance at the sidewalk. Twice in our short walk today I had to yank my kids back up on the sidewalk after we had started into the crosswalk because someone did not pay attention at all. It is exasperating and dangerous! It also sends a terrible message to my kids - that people will not even let them cross the street when it is their turn. I understand most people drive in suburbia and their is more respect for walkers in more urban areas but the law is the same wherever you are.

Just needing to vent. Hope it is better where you live.

April 6, 2006

Illustrated Bible Sample


Rhiannon did a great job on this illustration of the story of the birth of Jesus. She really took her time and drew everything herself. She paid close attention to detail and is proud of this work Unfortunately the scan does not really do it justice. Her detail on the horse and Mary especially shows marked improvement in her artistic talent.

April 5, 2006

Out of Hibernation and Other Important and Silly Moments

Today was another beautiful day here. It was a good day all around. We slept in a bit with a big cuddle all together on the bed. Up for breakfast, reading some storybooks and then started school. Everyone was on task for the most part as the incentive of going outside was high. We stopped for lunch and it became clear the younger two were crabby and needed a nap. We all took a two hour nap!!!!

Upon waking up we headed outside. The kids were very disappointed that I could not get their bikes down from the pegs in the rafters of our garage. I could not manage to balance on the big ladder and handle lifting the weight of the bike up and around the hooks to get the bikes down. They had to settle for a walk, though Ciaran did have his scooter and he even let Rhiannon take a few turns on it.

We brought a garbage bag because on our last walk Rhiannon realized how much trash had been uncovered with the melting of the snow and all my kids have a heart for stewardship and God's creation. We spent the next hour walking around our neighborhood and up to a local pond and park picking up trash as we went along. We ran out of room in our kitchen sized trash bag and were sad to pass more along the way. Still we had filled an entire trash bag - all the kids helped and were enthusiastic about it.

I was especially proud of Rhiannon. At one point she saw several of her neighborhood friends playing together and jumping on a trampoline and I was all ready for her to ask to join them. She didn't she just stopped and looked at them and then continued picking up the trash. I wondered what went through her head but she seemed to not want to talk and we continued with our task.

A few moments later a woman in her late 60's I would guess came up looking for her dog who we had just stopped as he greeted us. She saw us with the trash bag and smiled. She asked me if I was teaching the kids about citizenship today. I smiled and said yes they were being good citizens and stewards. Had our paths crossed longer I would have shared that it was my 6 year olds heart that led us to do it, not my motherly wisdom. Still she saw a family picking up trash from the park.

We hiked down through brush and mud and cleaned up along the shoreline of the pond, even fished a few things out, we walked down and up a hill and once the bag could hold no more walked over to the playground to place it in the trash bin and then play at the park for awhile.

Spring has definitely sprung here in Minnesota. My neighbor said it is like we are all like bears out of hibernation. It is true I saw more of my neighbors today than I probably have all winter long! The kids were all out playing, the parents out talking in little groups, everyone seemed to just be outside for reasons and no reasons alike. The park was packed it was actually a bit overwhelming for my kids who are used to arriving to an empty park. There were kids and parents biking, walking, playing basketball and just standing in driveways and on lawns.

We spent as long as we could outside. Stopping over to see some neighbors on our way home. The kids ran through the yard and rode their bikes and scooters and the parents talked and commented about how much older everyone's kids seemed. We caught up on events since last October, sad I know, but it happens here. It is as if life was on hold for a bit and it all just picked up right in the middle today.

We eventually had to head inside for dinner and the kids getting ready for their Wed night program. Sirah and I took advantage of the free time and met a friend and went for yet another walk outside. This one might actually count as exercise for me. My friend's three kids joined us on bikes and hot wheels and Sirah in a stroller we walked around her neighborhood and a nearby wooded path, chatting and enjoying the good weather. It was a wonderful way to end the evening.

When the kids arrived home it was baths, stories and bedtime. A giant sleepover tonight, everyone in our room. We said prayers and then everyone got to tell a funny story they made up. Glimpses into their hearts and minds are always fun. Rhiannon's tale was about a young maiden (her words) that is offered a coin by a young man, she refuses but can not stop thinking about him. A few days later she accepts his coin and his offer of marriage.

Ciaran's tale was a rather inventive one about an ordinary snake looking for some food. Each time he comes upon some food it does something strange. The cucumber walked away, the apple turned into a rat, another item ran away and something jumped out of the trees. It was very inventive and funny. Sirah's story was a 2 year old's story about a snake (because Ciaran's had been) and about eyeballs and eyebrows (which she thanked God for during her prayer time) and a few other random things thrown in.

I am almost ashamed to write my own story here. I need to give some context first. We had a stomach bug going on in the beginning of the week and all three kids have been struggling with uncontrollable and terrible gas. It has been embarrassing, tough for them and rather stinky in our home truth be told. They were all a bit embarrassed about it as we were all sleeping in the same room so I decided to made them laugh and relax.

So anyway my story was about a family who could not stop tooting and they filled their house with so much gas that it lifted up into outer space and eventually exploded. Everyone jumped out in time and luckily their gas saved them. For each time they had another toot it brought them back down further and further to Earth. By the time they all landed they had no more gas in them. The kids were cracking up the whole time and everyone seemed a bit more relaxed. So there my secret is out you now know that I can have a potty humor side too.

Well everyone is asleep now and I must be off to bed myself. I am leaving a sink full of dishes, undone laundry, and plenty of clutter to pick up throughout the house. But I have three content and happy children, love tanks that were filled up, a beautiful fun filled day outside, a cleaner neighborhood, and a full heart myself. Hope your day was as fun as ours.


Goodbye Darth Vader: Reflections on Tonsillectomy

Nope this has nothing to do with the movies, rather with Rhiannon. As she sleeps next to me I realized that her Darth Vader breathing and heavy snoring are completely gone! I mean she is silent now. I feel like a mom of a newborn again as I place a hand on her chest to feel it rise and fall she is so still.

Rhiannon's tonsillectomy was rough. It was not the simple surgery we thought it would be. She had complications, vomiting, high fever, dehydration, three weeks of sickness, pneumonia and so on. But still for all that she went through over the course of that tough month I am thankful we did the surgery. She rests so much more peacefully. She can actually sleep through the night now, she never did before I just thought she was a bad sleeper but really her tonsils were making it tough.

She is no longer getting tonsillitis with terrible sore throats every 2-3 weeks. Her voice has changed a bit and she is learning to talk without the adnoids and tonsils in there she sounds younger and clearer. But laying next to her makes me realize just how much she gained from this surgery. She is sleeping so peacefully and as a mom it is wonderful to see. So despite the difficulties she experienced post surgery it was definitely the right choice for her.

Sharing random thoughts,

01:02:03 04/05/06 Timestamp

Strange things are afoot at the Circle-K.

We shall not see this again for 100 years. Did you sleep through it?

April 4, 2006

Spring Moments

I love these spring days - we actually got over 50 today and it felt WONDERFUL! The kids and I headed up to the library. We got some books and then headed for a walk around our downtown area. We stopped in at a store and the kids each got to pick out a little toy. Sirah picked an Audobon bird, the kind that make the actual animal sounds, Rhiannon a princess from the knight series and Ciaran a paratrooper with parachute. We also picked up The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe which came out on DVD today. I treated the kids to a slushie drink and a big pretzel.

Mostly we had fun being outside. We explored the new grass growing under the dead grass, saw our first birds nest, explored rocks, climbed hills and ran in the grass. We played ring around the rosey and sat and watched the sunset. We talked about the clouds and wondered at God's creation. Rhiannon asked for a moment alone and she got down on her knees and prayed, she was really in awe of his creation today. The kind of moments you just want to bottle.

It was fun walking hand in hand with the kids and just being outside again. I am a much better mommy when the weather is nice. I really come alive much more and we just have a lot more fun. We enjoy exploring the world together and it is so much easier to do outside! We smiled, we laughed, we were silly, we were explorers, we held hands and we were goofy at times. People kept smiling at us as they passed by in their cars or a few on foot.

Tommorrow the kids vowed we need to get a garbage bag and go around town picking up trash. It is amazing how much stuff was hiding under all that snow and how much needs to be cleaned up. I am glad I have kids who have a sensitive heart for that, of course they come from "tree huggers" so I suppose I should not be shocked!

Get out and enjoy the beautiful weather if you have some of it now! We are supposed to reach the 60's tommorrow! I can hardly believe it but look forward to it.


Some Inspiration

I Can't Wait
by Sara Groves and Don Chaffer

When you reach the proper age
I will teach you to read and you can turn the pages
How to dress and tie your shoes
Your one plus ones, and your two times two's
And you'll teach me
Of hearts and dreams
And all the most important things
And all that i have lost along the way
And I can't wait

As you grow, I'll show you things
How to ride your bike and kick your legs out on the swings
To fold your hands and bow your head
How to say your prayers before you go to bed
And you'll teach me
Of hearts and dreams
And all the most important things
And all that I have lost along the way
And I can't wait

How do you sleep so peacefully?
How do you trust unflinchingly?
How do you love so faithfully?
How do you dance so joyfully?
Oh you'll teach me
Of hearts and dreams
And all the most important (essential) things
And all that i have lost along the way
And I can't
No I can't
Come teach me
Of love and dreams
And all the most essential thing
And all that I have lost along the way
Cause I can't wait

Purchase this CD at Sara Groves.com.

April 2, 2006

Two Year curriculm

When I purchased our different curriculum books this year I knew it was possible I would use them for two years - I am happy to say that we still like them enough to use them next year, with a few modifications.

Here is what we have been using this year:

- various classics, legends, folktales and historical fiction
Math - Miquon orange and red workbooks
Copywork - bible verses, poetry and cursive handwriting practice
Phonics - Phonics Pathways (which we gave up mid year once reading well)
Language Arts - First Language Lessons
Spelling - online age appropriate spelling list
Bible - My Father's World bible, the picture bible and making an illustrated bible
History - Story of the World Vol I
Science - old classic style science texts, Christian Liberty Nature Readers, nature journal
Music - studying works of one composer per quarter (Vivaldi, Bach, Beethoven)
Art - study works of a great artist per quarter (Monet, Van Gogh, Cassat)

Next Years Curriculum Plan

- Ambleside Online Year Two Books
Math - Miquon blue and green workbooks
Copywork - bible verses, poetry and cursive handwriting practice
Phonics - possibly Explode the Code
Language Arts - First Language Lessons
Bible - Karen Henley's Story Bible
History - Story of the World Vol II
Science - possibly Apologia Creation through Botany, nature journal
Music - studying works of one composer per quarter (TBD)
Instrument - begin one (TBD)
Art - study works of a great artist per quarter (TBD), beginner art techniques
Latin -

So I am happy with the choices we made and it makes planning next year quite easy since we will just keep following the same format for the most part. We are getting our money's worth out of the books we choose and still look forward to working with them next year. Just thought I would share what has been working for our family.


Curriculum Feedback

I am contemplating Explode the Code and Apologia Science for next year. Has anyone used these and have any feedback?