Saturday, May 22, 2010

Our week, and the official announcement

Sarah, no I have not read that book, but I will most certainly be checking into it!  Thank you for the suggestion.  I am so excited to be embarking on this new to us way of homeschooling.  It is also a little scary!  We printed out the  list of books that we need to get and are looking into ways that we will be able to take the online books with us on the go.  Ambleside Online does a great job in linking you to all the books on the booklist that are found on the web for free.  That really, really cuts down on the cost of things.  However, I am not always at the computer to do school.  So we are looking into other options at this point to make it more portable.

Thank you Lisa for playing my patterns game!!!!  You were right about the patterns and what they mean!  Yeah!  I wish I had a prize to send you :-)  In case any of you missed it, or were not interested in 'playing', I made up a little game in order to announce the news that we are expecting our seventh child.  However, my sister thinks it will be our seventh AND eighth children.  Hey, Trac, just a heads up, I increased my water intake a bunch and I am not having such a hard time with the blood volume or sickness issues.  So maybe I was just dehydrated!  Of course that still does not explain why my body is trying to increase it's blood volume this soon, but dehydration does indeed affect it.  I think I will have to post a poll to see if anyone else thinks we are having twins.  Just for the fun of it.  I am totally convinced that I am only having one baby boy this time around :-)  But I suppose I could humor my sister!  Ha, Ha!!  Love you bunches my favoritest sister in the whole world :-)  She assures me she is going to hound me about this twin thing, so I have to get her back some how. 

This little peanut is proving to be persistent in making it's presence known :-)  It started only two or so days after we found out I was expecting.  I wasn't expecting any pregnancy symptoms for at the very least another three weeks.  This has made tackling my to do list very much impossible.  Between being green, or my heart pounding due to my blood volume trying to increase (much sooner than its supposed to), or that I fall flat on my face by 3 PM every day....well it makes things difficult.  Drinking a bunch of water is helping some.  I'm not so green, and my heart isn't pounding when I stand, sit, raise my arms, lay down, or basically do anything else!  I'm still tired though.  The due date is January 7th, 2011.  That still gives us some wriggle room for this baby to fall into the even year pattern we were in.  It's a lot easier to remember that way. I am indeed wondering what the Lord has planned for the extended gap between this baby and Jonah.  It was very apparent that the Lord was ever so gracious in giving us a larger gap between Moira and Flannery.  As my longer time readers may remember, Flannery was a very difficult baby, and toddler, well for that matter child!  Ha! So that has made me a bit nervous to wonder why the bigger gap.....of course if could be for no reason at all, only time will tell.  We are all very excited about the new baby coming.  The girls are thrilled and haven't stopped talking about the new babe to be.  I already had my to do list swirling around in my head, but when I saw the blue line pop up (and it popped up really quick!) I made sure to put those thoughts onto paper.  I have a renewed sense of urgency to get these things done, way before baby is due.  I would really like to get the boys into their own room very soon as I know there will be an adjustment period.  Plus, I really don't want to be doing a lot of work right before the baby comes.  I would like those few weeks before to be relaxing.  Ok, I just about laughed out loud after writing that, but it would be nice wouldn't it?

I just found out the other day that Jed will not be having speech therapy during the summer!!  Yeah! Phew!  I was really looking forward to a break for a spell.  Having speech mid day just breaks into our 'groove'.  And I find it hard to get back on track when we get back home.  His therapist will be sending us some packets of materials to review with him over the summer, so we will still be working on speech, just not having to leave home to do so.  His last day of speech for this 'school year' is June 9th, so just a couple more weeks. 

This week was a doozy!  Between the normal stuff (speech, church during the week), we also had to get the van fixed, which took longer than expected.  One of our goats almost died, had to give both of them medicine which means we have to now wait to be able to consume their milk.  I got one milking out of them before they got the medicine and I am very excited to say that their milk tastes great!  I am so relieved.  Some goats will have funky tasting milk, or their milk will taste goaty when put into things.  I was able to use it in some recipes with no notice.  And the girls were thrilled to be able to have free reign of drinking milk...although very short lived!  But by next Tuesday we should be up and running with drinkable milk.  We also had the privilege of having some visitors yesterday.  I made homemade pizza and some cookie bars.  She made a fruit salad and a green salad (that came from her garden).  Scrumptious!!  The extreme hunger that I usually get early in pregnancy has not hit, but my taste buds are on in high gear.  The simplest things taste divine.  I find that so funny.  It's happened pretty much with all my pregnancies and I find it so amazing that our normal, no frills, baked potato now tastes gourmet!  I have to be careful not to over eat because food tastes SOOOO good.  I wasn't sure what I was going to do with my Saturday.  I obviously wanted to knock off some things from my to do list, but I woke up in slow motion mode.  I need to find that switch, so that I can control it :-)  I just kind of puttered around.  I did go out to clean out the van.  I was thankful that we had leftovers for lunch.  And now it is 3 o'clock and my eyes have been growing heavy.  So after a little rest I do hope I am able to get on the ball.  The oldest three girls have just left to go to a friends house, leaving us with the three youngest.  It is always amusing that years ago when we only had three it seems soooo hard.  But now, when we are left with only three children, I feel like I have a vacation.  How time and number of children can change your perspective! 

I haven't really taken any new pictures, and I still haven't been able to get up the pictures that I told you all I would.  Hopefully some day.  In the mean time enjoy your weekend.  Maybe I'll be back with a poll.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Big changes in store...

So I briefly wrote that we had some changes in store.  At the end of each school year I like to take an inventory of how our year went.  Are we still heading in the direction that we had planned or hoped for?  This year I was a bit troubled by my answers.  At the same time I happened to read some articles that brought me back to my original ideas of homeschool and lifestyle that I had when Isabella was but a mere thought and up through toddler hood.  As it stands right now we have children who, when they graduate, will be able to read, spell half way decent and crunch some numbers (this is only educationally speaking, although it is hard to separate education from the rest of life).  That is not what my goals were when we began this homeschooling venture.  I wanted children who would turn out to be thinkers, not followers, and would look outside the box when it came to life.  And right now we are not headed in that direction.  Right now we have a bunch of followers, who think like everyone else around them.  Yes, I know they are still young, but we are not fostering their independent thinking by our educational methods or means.  Our society is filled with non-thinkers, who don't look past the end of their noses when it comes to the future.  The decisions they make are only made for their comfort in the here and now.  I don't want my children to be like that.  I want them to have a voice and use it to wake people up to the reality that society is crumbling around them.  Phew, that is some challenge!  And so with those realizations I set about to rethink this thing we call homeschool. 

I do not make any claims that my way is the best way, far from it!!!  Homeschooling is so much more than what curriculum you choose to use.  One hundred families could all be using the same curriculum, but their homeschool day would each look totally different because of how they *use* that curriculum.  So the changes I talk about here are only what I feel will put my family on the path we believe that God has for us.  For starters we plan on getting rid of a lot of *stuff*.  The children's computer time and movies being two of them.  Although we will see how they do with a once a month movie night.  It has become overly apparent that the only things going through my childrens' heads are foolish, and silly replays of movies or of comic books that they have read.  Oh, so put 'twaddle' books on the list of things to go as well.  Seriously, not one meaningful thought comes out of my childrens' mouths, and I am not exaggerating.  What goes in, is what comes out.  And so it will be my job to find the good, and meaningful things to put in.  We will be going with the Charlotte Mason approach to schooling.  But I see it more than just a curriculum, I see it as a lifestyle as well. 

Part of that lifestyle will be simplicity and beauty.  My house is a mess.....ALL the time.  Now we do get it cleaned up at times, and can even keep it clean for a little while.  But even when it is clean, there is no beauty.  This part has been hard for me to wrestle with.  On the one hand I think of the people in this world that have nothing.  I look at our family and I know we have SOOOOO very, very much.  But with that abundance has come the lack of thankfulness and the lack of taking responsibility for what we have.  Does that make any sense?  I mean if you have 20 coloring books, who cares if five get messed up because you spilled something on them?  A simple, simple illustration, but I hope you see my point.  My children take everything for granted.  They do not take care of their belongings or other peoples belongings (like library books).  So I plan on doing some major, major paring down.  My goal is to bring order, beauty and peace to our household by making our home free of the over abundance.  At the same time I am hoping to add beauty by getting around to painting. Also by getting rid of what I call our "junk furniture".  And if not get rid of it, then paint it in hopes that it adds some beauty instead of looking like we picked it up off the side of the road :-)  I know that I can not think straight in the middle of chaos.  Which means that I have not done much thinking over these past twelve years :-)  How can I expect my children to be able to think in the midst of clutter.

This is going to mean a LOT of work...a lot of work.  I made up a list of what needs to be done, and it's quite long!  The good thing is that we just finished up the school year. I plan on taking the rest of the month off to tackle our list.  Jed will still have speech though, and depending on how much that interferes with the work that needs to be done than we may take off June as well.  I plan on schooling year round, so plans are to get us up and running by the end of June at the latest.  How our days will run is still in the planning stage.  We are not sure yet about which book list/s we will be going with.  We may take the 'some of this and some of that approach' or go with something like Sonlight.  Although I love that Sonlight gives you everything you need in one bundle, you PAY for it!  So we may just gather a few books at a time. 

The girls are not exactly thrilled with all of the changes.  I can't blame them.  It is so much easier on the brain to be handed your thoughts (movies, computer games), or easier to read 'junk' books, which only require you to be able to read - no thinking required.  I suppose their little minds might actually physically hurt for a bit, as they work out those brain muscles :-)  But my goal is that they actually start thinking about what they read, about what they see, and about what they do.  I am hoping that I will spend more time focusing on our relationships than on 'school'.  I also am hoping that with simplifying we will have more time to do other things than clean all day.  What those other things will be I am not certain at this point.  I am hoping that we will tackle some gardening, and put some time into making our outside surroundings more useful and beautiful.  I am hoping that the girls will find more time to pursue their desires.  For example I know Isabella would really like to train her dog in agility.  We don't have the money to do things like horse riding lessons, or piano lessons, nor do we have things we could barter/trade to do so.  But possibly with our new found time we could start to learn on our own (piano) or learn to make/do something that we could barter lessons for.  If they really want it, they can learn to work for it (with our help of course).  I should look into 4-H, as I really think our girls would love it.  The possibilities are many, we just need to find the ones that the girls are interested in and that we can handle financially.

I think I will put up my 'to do list' on the side of my blog.  If only for accountability!  Plus I won't lose my list, which I am very prone to doing.  Once I get an idea of how I would like our days to run I'll put that up.  And I'll write about more specifics once they happen (like what other types of things I get rid of or add to our life).  Before I go I'd love to pass along a post on homeschooling that helped to solidify some of my thoughts.  I think some of you may really enjoy the series that this group of women are doing.  I'll link you to one post, and at the beginning of her post will be links to the other ladies blogs.  So far they have had two posts each on the topic of homeschool. The first was about their philosophy on homeschooling and this past week was on which curriculum they use.  I really love Raising Olives thoughts on this, and I would recommend that you read her 'background' posts that she links to.  One of the other women in the group told us about how her teenage daughters wanted to take some college courses in history.  The professor was so impressed with their ability to *think* that he then invited them to take a few more classes he was teaching....for FREE!  And these girls had never written a paper before.  Again, it's getting our children thinking and analyzing what they read/hear/see/do that I think is the difference.  So if you are not worn out reading my seemingly never ending post do stop by at Raising Olives.

I will try once more to upload my pictures in the hopefully near future.  I know you are all dying to see me in a sack race with my kids :-)

What a day!

We spent the day at an old fashioned picnic.  They had a bunch of fun old time games to play.  And play we did!  It was sooooo hot out.  We were all worn out by the late afternoon.  When we got home, the van nap the boys had was enough to re-energize them, so that they wanted to go right outside when we got home.  Um, no, I don't think so.....maybe when the temps go down a bit.  Jonah was not taking no for an answer, which resulted in much crying.  But there was no way on earth I was going to take that child outside! 

I uploaded a bunch of pictures from the past few weeks.  Hopefully they will load the way I entered them.  Blogger has updated some of their features.  One of which is queuing up photos, letting you just keep adding, and adding to your list. The only thing is that it still takes forever to load!  Oh well.  So as I wait for my pictures to load I would like to play a little game.  A pattern game.  See if you can tell me what the patterns are and make sure to fill in the last one.

Pattern Game:
Pattern 1:
1.  Monday, even, ~8:30 AM
2.  Monday, even, ~8:30 PM
3.  Wednesday, even, ~1:30 AM
4.  Wednesday, even, ~1:30 PM
5.  Saturday, odd, ~6:30 PM
6.  Saturday, odd, ~6:30 AM

Pattern 2:

Pattern 3:
___________ (fill in blank)

Leave me a comment to tell me what you think these patterns mean.

Meanwhile, my photos are still not done.

Alrighty took FOREVER to (supposedly) load a ton of photos only to find out one got on my page.  I will have to try again later.  After two attempts at loading pictures I'm in no mood to try for a third.  The pictures you see above, which I also had no inclination of trying to rearrange, are of Saoirse's birthday.  And yes,what you see for cake, is indeed, real sugar laden stuff.  We fell off the bandwagon there for a bit.  I just spent two weeks on the phase one of the Maker's Diet (no all) and I'm just coming out of that.  I am hoping that will give me the incentive to stay on track.  It is very hard to keep everyone on track when we are bombarded with junk on all sides.  Sigh.  But I will keep trying, more so now than ever as we have a very big reason we need to remain healthy this coming winter.  In order for us to do that we need to keep our diet healthy all year long.  OK, off to tend to the boys. 

Friday, May 14, 2010


So I opened our BCBS mail today to find out that they did indeed deny our request for the Dynavox.  It was expected.  So I made a couple of phone calls, because I didn't remember where we were to go from here.  The Dynavox rep told me that his company got the news last week and they already put in a request for a review to the "people higher up" in BCBS.  We are supposed to hear back from them next week.  Mr. Rep said that they have built some relationships with the higher up people, so we may get our "yes" from them and be able to proceed to getting the device.  If not, then we have to file a formal appeal.  Although they have had good success from their appeals, it just means more waiting.  And waiting is hard when Jed will not continue talking to me, once he's got my attention by calling out 'ma', until I look directly at him.  That includes while we are traveling, while I'm in the middle of tending to something in the oven, etc.  He does that because he knows that I can understand him better when I am looking at him, seeing any additional signs he makes to go along with his words.  The thing is he won't stop calling my name until I look at him, even if I am driving the van!  I try to explain, every single time, that when mommy is driving I can't look back at him or we could crash.  Doesn't matter.  I'm hoping that the Dynavox will help in those (and many, many other) situations.

I have some big posts coming up, but we've been in the middle of year end testing here, so they have been on the back burner.  Lots of changes planned to take place.  Once the testing is out of the way (we have two girls that need to take one more part tomorrow morning, yes on a Saturday...we're so cruel that way :-)) and I make some headway in getting my house back in order, I will write.  Until then have a great weekend, and if you think of it, say a quick prayer that Jed's Dynavox comes through.

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Busy, busy week/weekend...

Oh, my I have a lot to write about.  Not sure how much of it I will be able to get on here, it is late, but I find it ever so much easier to type with two hands than with one, or with a toddler crawling all over me :-) 

I had separate posts running around in my head for days, but now they need to get all stuffed into one.  I was really bumming that I did not bring my camera with me this past Friday when we ran errands.  We needed to get out to do our big shopping.  I planned on leaving early, but our departure was delayed because we realized that our dog, Kayla, was not able to walk!  It's a long story, but she had a broken leg as a puppy that went unnoticed and it healed wrong.  Due to her having to walk at an odd angle she has developed arthritis.  And apparently she was having a very, very bad day!  The vet gave her a cortisone shot and it took about 24 hours to really make a difference, but she is up and walking. She had never had any episodes like this before, but the vet told us to expect it to be more of a regular occurrence.  So after Jeremiah came home to take the dog to the vet, the rest of us, minus Isabella, left for the stores.  It may sound odd but I have been hoping to take some pictures of the gas station we frequent.  Like I said, odd, I know.  But nowadays with these new gas stations with the videos playing at every pump I just have to take a bunch of pictures of our rural gas station.  They do not even have electronic pumps...Gasp!!  You actually have to walk inside to pay!  And unless they know you, you have to prepay!  I am glad to say we go there often enough, and our van is recognizable enough that I don't have to prepay.  Yes, that makes me feel very special (I'm just kidding about that).  Anyways, I wanted to snap some shots of the old place.  Well there I am on Friday pumping my gas when one of the guys who runs the place drives up in a really, really old tractor to get gas!!!  I kid you not!  Talk about the small town feeling! I really need to keep my camera on hand for things like that.

Saoirse had her birthday on Wednesday.  I will make a separate post for that, because that's just what I do for birthdays :-)

Oh, yes, on Friday after all of our shopping we had come home and rushed to eat a late lunch.  The girls were invited to be a part of a book club!  How neat is that?  The three older girls were meeting with the other girls and the rest of the gang hung out in the backyard at the host's house and played with their younger children.  Their first book they will be reading will be, "Rebecca of Sunny Brook Farm".  And it's a good thing for us that we have that book already, and it was on my list of books to read for the girls! 

Come Friday evening Isabella had her first game of the season end soccer tournament.  The did very well and won their first game.  They did not do so well in the fall, and they had improved for the spring season.  But I must say I was suprised at how well they were playing.  I could tell a huge difference in their game!  We only stayed for a very short time due to a certain child having some issues.  Oh well.  I knew she was going to have two other games the next day so I just packed the gang back up and left for home.  I was very glad that I did a lot of food prep on Friday night because that made Saturday go so much easier!  I got to Isabella's second game late (oh, what a surprise!).  And by golly they won that game as well!  Both games they won, 3-0.  We had a good hour before their last game was scheduled so I decided to take the five younger kiddos with me to Walmart to grab some cold food product....hey, it was hot out!  Well we never made it there.  Not half way there there was a police check point, where they were checking for your drivers license. And wouldn't you know it, I didn't have it on me!!!  We started taking out cash to pay for our groceries. So the beginning of each month I go to the bank to do so.  I didn't have my check book on me so I gave the teller my atm card and my ID.  She gave it back to me in the little white cash envelope, which I then put into our special grocery pouch.  And I forgot to take it out!  So that took a while as he was looking up my info.  He told me I had to go to the police station within two weeks to show it them.  I told him I lived only five minutes away and could I just run home and get it?  He said yes, and that is what I did.  But that meant we didn't get to Walmart, AND we were late for Isa's last game!  UGH!  It was a close game, but they won 2-1.  That meant that they made the final!  WOW. The championship game was a tie, 1-1.  All the kids were so worn out.  Not to mention that one of Isa's team mates had broken his collar bone and arm in the previous game!  The officials were figuring out what the rules were for a tie...did they have a sudden death?, OT? or what?  Well, as they were figuring it out their teammate with the broken bones, came walking on the field, straight from the hospital to try to catch the end of the game.  Just then the officals called over the coaches and had a little talk, and the next thing I know our coach is jumping up and down.  He runs over to tell our team that they won the championship.  Come to find out their rules state that if there is a tie, the team that had the least goals scored against them during the tournament wins!  And that was our team.  How very neat for Isabella.  The coaches took all the kids out for pizza.  I had the privalege of transporting the whole team in my van!  At the end, the coaches handed out their trophies (all the players get them just for playing in the league).  It was really neat that Moira got one as well as she had played in the fall season.  It came as a surprise to her to hear  her name get called.  We went home and I got the younger kids washed up and they all zonked out promptly!!!! I'm zonked as well! 

I know there were other things I wanted to talk about, but it will have to wait till another day.  As a matter of fact I plan on posting the soccer pictures later as well.  Blogger takes forever to load pictures.  And uploading just a few could take up to a half hour! So soccer pictures and birthday post coming soon :-)
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