Friday, September 27, 2013

I bet you are wondering how the next day of homeschool went.  Well, I did not allow T.V. until the end of the day and everything went as planned.

On another note, I now need to go on more errands with the children so they can practice good behavior in public.  They are always running off to play or look at things.  They are either going to do something bad, get hurt or kidnapped.  It's just childish play and curiosity, but it's really bad manners.  It does not seem to matter how I discipline, they are always losing their heads and behaving badly.  So my answer is that they need more practice until they get it right. ;-) Wish me luck on more frequent outings with little ones.

Now, I am going to have some chocolate cocktails with some girlfriends.  We get together every once in a while; loosen up with a drink or two and then speak our minds. ;-)  It sure is nice to have good friends.

100 8148

Mno Hiya Lita!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

We're All Laughing...

…and crying.

You know, words cannot express what it is to be a home schooling parent.  Just in the same way that no one can prepare you for parenthood, no one can exactly prepare you for what it will be like to be a home schooling family.  I read all sorts of books before my first child was born on how to prepare for parenthood.  When the moment finally came, I was flabbergasted.  Every moment to the next I dealt with the facts of life for which no one could have prepared me.  That is what home schooling is like.

To this date I have read probably six books that explain home schooling methodology.  The great consensus seem to be building up the confidence of the parents.  They also lay out arguments for home schooling to be the greatest good.  These tenants of home schooling are true.  The rest of the methodology is merely finding a plan that works well within your family dynamic.  Or as I have found, it is about finding something that works for now, because the children are busy growing in and out of developmental phases.  My job is to maximize the childrens' learning potential within their particular developmental phase.  As soon as I have mastered one phase someone is moving into another, or getting left behind...

Today, was one of those days in which I was doing everything right, yet everything was going wrong.  I made one critical mistake this morning.  I allowed the children to watch T.V. before school today.  This never turns out well.  For some reason if they watch T.V. in the morning they are a mess for school.  I knew this, but I was having a slow start this morning, so I let it go.  The rest of the day was war.  School took extra long.  It was painfully drawn out.  Everything would be going fine and then someone would get sidetracked.  I could not keep up with Annie's mischief.  I would blink and something bad would be going down.  

Paint came out when I blinked.  However, I succumbed.  What could go wrong?  I was there to aid and monitor.  Everything went fine, until Annie decided she finished her picture and then she dumped her paint water all over everything.  That's about the time Mommy lost her cool.  School was dragging out and there was paint on the carpet.  I was done with all the mischief and the crying and the what have you.

School finished late in the afternoon after having begun at 9:20 a.m.  The children were free to play.  I began dinner preparations.  The children were in the open living room.  I could hear them playing.  It sounded benign.  I finished dinner prep.  I asked Alex to come to the kitchen to have a long-needed haircut.  He said he couldn't because he was cutting Kristiana's hair.  I said, you mean you are cutting with the play scissors, not real scissors.  He announced, no it was real scissors.  Aaaagggh! Noooooo! I spoke loudly and firmly, not yelling.  I explained that he knew better, because he had done this before.  He was punished and sent to sit on his bed.  He was crying.  

I came to him a little later and asked why he had done that.  He said he was trying to help her, because her bangs were so long she couldn't see.  They are long and she can't see unless I pull her hair back, but we were growing them out.  It's not even a fixable haircut.  Someday her hair will recover from brother haircuts.  My hair recovered from sister haircuts when we were little.  He still should have known not to cut her hair.  It was sweet of him to be thinking of her.

It was just icing on the cake of a mischievous day.  We had laughing, crying, pudding and haircuts.  Then I burned off some steam at the gym…then an after workout cocktail.  Tomorrow is another day.  It will be better.  I'm not going to allow T.V. ;-)

Recess! Alex has learned how to fly while swinging.

100 8140

I should have known she was up to no good.  This is how home school began. (Notice something?)

100 8136

Kitty in a purse

100 8138

Monday, September 23, 2013

Close Call

Our new kitten went missing today.  We were starting to think he was gone for good.  Annie left our backyard gate open this afternoon.  I only discovered it when we were heading to ballet and I asked the kids where the kitten was.  They did not know, but they had thought he was in the backyard.  As I went into the yard I found the gate open.  I walked around the house and found my daughters pulling their bikes into the street instead of getting buckled in the car. Alas, no kitten.  I buckled everyone into their seats, locked up the house and texted the neighbor to keep an eye out for the kitten.  

A couple hours later, we returned and no one had seen him.  My husband had looked for him when he came home from work.  Of course Kristiana chimed in that we would have to go back and get another kitten.  I sneered that they did not show responsibility with this one.  Honestly, all weekend long they have been dragging the poor kitten this way and that. 

Happily, shortly before bedtime we heard a mew.  My husband found him sleeping in the office, hidden away.  Lucky kitty snuck a peaceful nap away from his tormentors.  He seemed to be in much better spirits for snuggling with Annie after the long nap.

We're not sure about this whole kitten thing.  We hope Annie learns to treat her kitten right.  Annie sat on the cat a couple times.  He is all she thinks about right now.  She dragged him into Lucy's crib this morning.  I am not sure if she scared him, but he peed in Lucy's bed.  Then no one bothered to tell mommy until I was trying to put Lucy for a nap.  

Was it a good idea to get a three year old a cat?  No, definitely not.  We're not going to take it back though unless something really goes wrong.  Here's hoping it all works out.  He is a really nice cat.

100 8127

On a side note, Annie still looks like a sweet peaceful baby when she sleeps.  Here she is taking a Sunday afternoon nap.

100 8122

Mno Hiya Lita

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Birthday Present - Meow

Annie received a toy kitty for her birthday last year.  This year she received a real kitty.  I had no plans to get a kitty.  But, whilst looking for a missing child, I ran into my neighbor who said I should come see her kittens. "No thanks," I thought.  Our home has no place for a cat, as much as everyone would like to have one.  But, since seeing kittens is always fun, I foolishly sauntered to her backyard holding the hand of my missing child.  We saw the kittens.  They were cute, but nothing special.  Then she said that the kittens had lived outside ever since they were born and she thinks they have been catching mice.  

An outdoor kitty piqued my interest, because even though we have no room for a cat, my husband really wanted a cat.  He finds them very relaxing.  Our dog needs an animal companion as well.  Annie definitely took a liking to my in-laws cats over the summer.  She was scratched countless times and still went back for more kitty petting.  So darn' it, I picked my favorite kitten and brought him home for my husband to see.  

The neighbor said that there is no pressure.  If it didn't work out, we could just bring him back.  Of course, the kids are in love and they named him, Titan.  Everyone said it was Annie's kitty for her birthday.  Daddy said he was Daddy's kitty.  Mommy doesn't mind as long as we all understand that the kitty needs to live outside most of the time.  We cannot have a litter box, because there is no place for one.  Now we have a cat.  We're doing our part for God's creatures, right?

For the rest of Annie's birthday, I had hoped to have another family over for a little party.  But, Annie ended up coming shopping with me this morning and she picked out a small cake and presents.  Then of course being three, she picked up the cake and hugged it.  It was ruined.  I helped her fix it later.  As soon as we were home she wanted to eat it.  So we decorated it and began celebrating.  It was a good little celebration.  Good thing she is still young and the third child.  She doesn't expect much.  ;-) May it always be that way.  Life is better when it's the little things that make you happy.

100 8108

100 8109

100 8111

100 8114

100 8119

100 8120

Mno Hiya Lita

I Can't Do Anything Right Either

"We're all still learning."  That's what I told a little girl at our home school co-op this week.  She was upset and crying, because her poster, "The Classifications of a Lion and a Dog," was not right and not getting done and time was up.  She was very angry with herself because she could not do anything right.  I really did not want to her to feel badly, because there would be time on another day to work on it.  There was nothing wrong with her poster.  She just needed more time.  I know that feeling that I couldn't do anything right.  Honestly, if I think about, there is not much I do perfectly on a daily basis.  Truly, I cannot do anything right either.  But, the important thing is to not give up and to not defeat oneself.  

I have never been good at anything at the start.  I have never been what folks call, "a natural," at anything.  Some may claim that I was a natural at art.  But, it's not true.  I can be quite terrible at it.  I simply have patience to make things beautiful.  However, I know I lack the craftsmanship abilities to be great at it. I digress.  I have always had to work at anything I have achieved.  When I feel that defeat at the beginning of something new, I always say to myself, "I will not give up.  I will be good at this."  Then I work at it until I feel at least at par. 

Tomorrow is another day.  I will be better tomorrow.  All will be better tomorrow.  I will make tomorrow better.  It is never too late to start anew tomorrow.  It is one of the graces God gives us, so long as we are willing.  Better yet, I will choose to be better now.

Aside, I have been trying to take pictures of the kids in their cute little uniforms they wear to co-op each week.  The first week they all looked so precious.  Even Lucy had a uniform.  I thought I had taken a couple sweet pictures.  However, when I returned home and looked for the pictures on my camera, there weren't any.  I do not know what happened.  It's time for a new camera, I think.  The second week, the batteries were dead.  It's definitely time for a new camera.  The third week, I managed to take a couple pictures.  But, it's not all the kids and I don't know where Lucy's uniform went.  Oi vey.  Here's a taste of co-op cuteness.

"We like our school."

100 8107

100 8100

Mno Hiya Lita

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Learning that Recess is Essential for Homeschoolers

Recently, I noticed that home school goes better if the kids get to play outside first thing in the day.  When I planned out our home school schedule over the summer, I planned that we would have P.E. right after morning prayers and our religion lesson.  The first week of school trying to execute this plan was a disaster.  The kids were soo squirrely, giggly, silly and playful.  I essentially live with the biggest giggle monsters on the planet.  The sillier and more giggly they got, the more I would try to "discipline" them into behaving appropriately/respectfully.  My authoritative commands never worked and my temper boiled until I was yelling at them trying to gain order.  Clearly I was losing the battle for good behavior.

As a result I would cut out P.E. because we had wasted so much time trying to sustain decorum during prayers in religion.  We would immediately go to our classroom to continue the day's lessons. I would make the children muscle their brains through half of their lessons and then I would let them break for recess.  They would get a snack and play for a while.  After recess, things always went more smoothly.

For the next few weeks I tested different scenarios.  The next week I brought in chairs for prayer and religion.  I thought that if they sit apart, not touching,  this would cause less silliness and would help them focus.  Another reason I needed chairs was because Lucy and Annie fought daily for sole possession of mommy's lap.  If they all sat in chairs, then no one could have mommy.

Alas, with the chairs came just as much silliness and interruption.  Not a single one of them could sit still.  They were so wiggly those chairs went toppling over countless times.  I thought I was going to go mad.  But, I was going to figure out how to get their attention for prayers and religion.  The next day I used my husband's belts to belt them into their chairs.  They thought it was so much fun to have seat belts.  Kristiana and Annie stood right up and went walking around the room with chairs belted to their bottoms, giggling, racing and bumping into each other.  So I gave up the belts after a couple days.  I liked the idea of the chairs though.  Believe it or not, it did keep them somewhat contained and kept their attention a tad longer than being free to sit anywhere.

However, one morning, they wandered out to the backyard right after breakfast and played outside before prayer and religion.  It was late in the morning before we started to school, but it went quickly and without discipline issues.  Another day, we decided to shake up the routine and went to the gym first thing in the morning instead of the afternoon.  I could not make a regular habit of this, because in general, if I wait too long into the day, they get tired and unfocused and do nothing or do it very slowly.  The day we went to the gym first, school went very well.  I did not yell or have trouble with discipline at all.  The next day we did the same thing and it also went well.  I decided they needed to get the wiggles out first thing in the day.  Perhaps, this is why schools always have time to play outside first thing in the morning.  

This week I have decided to force the kids outside to play before school each day.  So far, so good.  I think the physical activity gets their brains going.  It gets the neurons firing.  

One thing I have learned is that not only is routine important, but also keeping it fresh, light and fun is also important.

Morning Prayers with Decorum (sort of) - For those unaware, Byzantine Christians pray with arms folded across their chests to lift their prayers to God on angel's wings.  See how the hands crossed look like wings.  Or another popular posture is hands open to Heaven/Icons to show total submission and openness to the Almighty Creator.


Sometimes Lucy crosses her arms and sings too.  But in this picture she wanted to see of what mommy was taking a picture.


School When Everything Works out Right


Mno hya Lyta!

Monday, September 16, 2013

The Ten Minute Blog

I have just given myself ten minutes to write a blog in ten minutes.  This is an attempt to keep this blog alive and rolling and prove to myself that I do have the time and mental fortitude to continue chronicling our lives. 

I had a triumph today.  But first some background.  Annie broke her collar bone over the summer.  We had to get a second opinion because the first guy said nothing was wrong.  But, her shoulder was hanging lower than normal.  Not knowing whether this was permanent condition, and after getting advice from a nurse, we went to see a second doctor.  The second doctor confirmed the break immediately.  I sought the advice of the insurance company before going to see the doctor, but I was misinformed/misunderstood and the insurance did not cover the visit.  After speaking to a lot of nice people and writing a letter of appeal, I received a letter in the mail saying that the insurance company would cover the expenses.  It was such a relief.  We do not have to come up with an additional $275.  Now if all insurance issues were resolved so easily and quickly.  

Next up I have a letter into the hospital that misdiagnosed her.  Her records are under review.  I understand things are missed sometimes.  But, I do not think a proper exam, or x-ray was performed.  So perhaps we will get a small break on that bill as well. 

Over the weekend I made time to work on an icon.  It is a little under half done.  But hopefully, I will resurrect icon writing as well as blogging amidst homeschooling, co-op teaching, Tupperware selling, cooking, cleaning, and my regular exercise routine.  

100 8086

Finally, Andrew discovered this wonderful whiskey.  I am not usually one for whiskey, but I could drink this one all day long.  It is so good!  Andrew often fixes and builds computers.  Over the weekend he worked on some computers and received our favorite whiskey as payment.  I like this plan.  He needs to hang out his shingle and start taking expensive booze as payment. ;-) 

100 8089

That's all for now.  This blog actually took 30 minutes, including picture taking.  I'm back in the game.  Mno hya lyta! (May God grant you many years)

Friday, September 13, 2013

7 Quick Takes - Almost Blogs

  1. My four year old woke up this morning and made up a song called, "Man, Jesus, Dino."  #specialmoment
  2. She followed that little diddy up with, "Mom, one day I am going to fart like you." #likemotherlikedaughter
  3. She can't wait to grow up and have all the grownup lady parts and have a baby of her own as she tells me frequently. #notsofast
  4. I waited all week, used everything in my pantry, made a menu plan and grocery list. Finally the day came, I showered put on make-up (gasp!) and dressed myself and my girls nicely.  Then I went to the grand opening of a grocery store, which is a lot closer to home.  It was crowded, but I got everything I needed. #shoppinginstyle
  5. My husband bought me a new washing machine. This is how he shows his love among other things.  He must love me a lot considering all the stuff he does.  #mendostuff=love
  6. It may seem a small thing, but I think it is huge.  After weeks of having many outbursts about the children's behavior, I felt very discouraged.  All I could see was that my house was a wreck, I feel totally mad, I'm broke and everyone is at each other's throats.  Things always seem darker in the heat of the moment.  That night I said, "Tomorrow will be different.  I can do this."   I prayed for God's grace.  The next day was different.  We changed our routine a little.  The day went very smoothly.  It was miraculous. #Godanswersprayers
  7. These were little snippets from blog entries I have started and never finished.  I start all sorts of wonderful blogs in my head and then never get a chance to write them down.  Then they escape me completely.  I need to start jotting blog notes again.  Hopefully, I can get this blog going again.  But, who knows.  Those baskets of laundry don't fold themselves.  #becausesomedaywewillwanttoremember

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Homeschool 2013

We've started our home school year.  Actually we're four weeks into the school year.  Alex and Annie have been star pupils.  Kristiana has been a challenge.  I have struggled with silliness.  I have struggled with disobedience.  I have seen lots of Annie made floods.  (She has been liking to wash her hands a lot and holding tea parties on the home school table.)  It's not a bad start, but it's not picture perfect.  Today, I decided to work with Alex alone and then work with Kristiana.  This tactic worked well for Kristiana and Alex, but it left Annie to her own devices, which never works out well for mommy.  One of these days I will get it all right and I will wonder why I ever fretted.  Here's praying for those days. 

My Students:

100 8064

100 8073

100 8068

100 8074

100 8061

100 8009