Sunday Journal: Just Another Week in Paradise

Littlest and his history book.

Littlest and his history book.

I just drank a pina-colada the size of a rainstorm so this might be a bit rambly. You’ve been warned.

Well, the drink was mostly pineapple juice. Vitamin C for the day (or possibly the week)–all taken cake of. I indulged in my weekly cocktail too early tonight. Now that the massive (maybe not that massive) storm has passed I would like to go on my evening walk. But since I might be too sociable with the neighbors due to my rum infused beverage…maybe I’ll just stay in for the evening.

poetry tea time

poetry tea time

Yesterday my husband and I got to go out together for the first time alone since December. That was nice until I got sick. So that kinda sucked. Our time together was great albeit short lived. Maybe we can do that again sometime before Christmas (without the sickness this time). He did get me a totally cool bulletin board made out of rulers while we were out. I plan to use it as a vision/intuition board in the school room. A little place to post prayers and ideas and such.

birthday cake

birthday cake

Sparkles made and decorated a birthday cake for Shannon (my husband-her Daddy) this week. While she prepared the cake I made the cream cheese icing. He opened a few gifts and we had a nice little family night.

Sparkles decorating cake

Sparkles decorating cake

I’m gonna brag on Sparkles for a moment. When she first started taking her medication she complained constantly. I thought this was going to be a real battle with her. However, she completely took charge of her pill regimen. She learned which pills (10 pills daily plus a fiber powder) she needs to take and started taking care of herself. I wasn’t expecting this much independent self-care from her so soon. I still check-up with her daily just to make sure…but she took responsibility just a bit quicker than I anticipated. We will

Sparkles making cake

Sparkles making cake

all be glad once she goes off the steroids since they affect her moods and eating habits but otherwise we are very happy with her body’s response to the medication. She isn’t so miserable anymore and her pain is clearing away. We meet with her doctor again in a couple of weeks for a follow-up and I hope to get more of our questions answered about UC.

School is swimming along just perfectly. Sometimes we have

Littlest learning piano from Oldest

Littlest learning piano from Oldest

some drama filled moments but overall the year is off to a great start. We are quickly approaching our first project week and I’ll have to get the shopping done for everyone soon. I figure the project week will either be great or a total disaster…probably a combination. Our first of five terms is nearly completed. Are we “behind schedule?” You bet! Do I care? Not one bit!

dew drop on Sunday morning

dew drop on Sunday morning

On a personal note–I actually prayed this week (the Jesus Prayer with my old Rosary) and even read a passage or two from the Bible (from Job—as if I even have the grace to understand that book!!). I’m not really sure that I addressed my prayer to the Christian concept of God but I broke my stubborn silence anyway. I’m still finding my way in the murkiness but at least

little bug with my macro lens

little bug with my macro lens

the red-hot pissed-off anger has passed. My husband and I did discuss looking for a church after the Labor Day holiday. I assured him that wherever he and the kids decide is best I will follow along and promise to be polite. I want my family to be happy and the older three have all expressed to me their need to return to church in their own way. Personally, I am open to exploring other avenues of expressing spirituality. Our world and all of the cultures that exist herein are so vast and fascinating; I have the desire to explore them all.

It is amazing out there…

 

 

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Sunday Journal: First Full Week Back

20160815_104602 (640x480)Our first week of the academic year is now history. Even though I would not call it catastrophic in any sense of the word…the days certainly had their moments. I also just didn’t get my walks in this week and I guess that did not help my mood at all. I’m fairly certain that the less alone time I get the worse it reflects on my humanity. Really, I’m rather terrible.

Being introverted can be hard sometimes…like having a monster in my

first day of school fun cereal

first day of school fun cereal

Well, I’m not sure what should follow after that…I kinda lost my flow since the kiddos came and gave me “goodnight kisses”.

Guess my introverted monster isn’t as bad as I imagine since my peeps still love me enough for kisses and hugs.

Littlest in the school room full-time was fun this week. He loves his Logic of English reading lessons so long as I leave the games

Littlest working on his lettering

Littlest working on his lettering

out. He tells me he only wants “serious school not baby school”. He got really mad this week when we hit a review lesson and he didn’t “learn anything useful”. He insisted we do the next lesson right away. I also have some Kindergarten workbooks just to keep him busy (I know…busy work is bad). The workbooks have the directions and answers for parents on the same page. Littlest realized that he was capable of reading the answers and could self check his work. He thought that was hilarious! Clearly, he’s outgrown Kindergarten after one week of school.

Boots and Bach

Boots and Bach

Two little words came to my mind at that moment and one of them isn’t very nice…

One of our favorite moments of school this week was listening to Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto. Our kitty Boots was sound asleep during the entire hour or so of read-aloud time. As soon as I turned on the music she sat up and listened and was a still as the Sphinx of Egypt. Once the music was over she curled back up into a little kitty ball and snoozed for hours. Even though we went through the series of questions and talked about the instruments we heard and the emotions stirred…we’re all curious to know if Boots will react the same way during our next Bach appreciation moments. Serious science right there…

Oldest took his first science exam since we started homeschooling. I was happy with his results and I know he will improve now that he knows what to expect. He is using Dr. Wile’s General Science this year and in one of the essay questions he had an entirely different opinion than his book on the reasons for scientific advancement during the Renaissance. The author argued for Christian worldview and Oldest argued for the printing press. He’s twelve and already arguing with his textbook/authority…it is going to be a fun year.

Sunday Journal: Break Week

Littlest on his day out with Daddy

Littlest on his day out with Daddy

We took a break from school this week while my mother was visiting for Sparkles’ procedure. Tomorrow is our first official full day of school for the new year. All of the books and baskets are organized and ready for tomorrow…and hopefully the rest of the year. Over the last few weeks we worked on establishing our morning routine so tomorrow should roll along smoothly. Go ahead and laugh if you want. I know tomorrow will not go as planned. But for the moment I would like to pretend the children will be delighted to learn math and write compositions with happy smiles.

I like to indulge my delusions sometimes.

Grandma and Littlest

Grandma and Littlest

My mother’s visit went fairly well this time around. She spent more time with Sparkles than she ever had before. I was busy the first part of the week tending to Sparkles and spent the latter half of the week prepping the school room. My husband finished the shelving and I was able to get all of our books out of the hallway and organized for the year. At some point this year the cabinets will be painted to match the shelves later this year. I’ve ordered a storage bench to fit along the window and I plan to get some nice curtains to add some color and softness. We have a couple of hummingbird feeders

school room ready for tomorrow

school room ready for tomorrow

outside our window and I spent a bit of time watching them this week. The little birds are fun to watch and the females are quite content to share the feeder but the males chase each other constantly. The lovely little hummers will prove to be a nice distraction during our time in the school room. I feel so very blessed that we can have a school room.

I knitted a coffee cozy

I knitted a coffee cozy

I am also glad that I had the room to work on during my mother’s visit…the work kept me from feeling pinned down by her. In a way, I feel badly that I left her to her own devices during her visit but I also know that the experience was less stressful for me (and everyone that has to live with me). She did say a few things that irked me but I let them go…well, my husband knows.

Anyway, Sparkles seems to be responding well to her medicine since her diagnosis with Ulcerative Colitis. She wasn’t happy to

Sparkles and Boots

Sparkles and Boots

be taking so many medications at first but has already adjusted. I can’t blame her. I avoided my doctor for two years when he mentioned that I might need cholesterol medication. My daughter may take too much after me…One of the ladies I met at the retreat last month was also diagnosed with UC at the same age as Sparkles and she has generously answered so many of my questions and given awesome guidance. We are so blessed that Sparkles was diagnosed so quickly and that we have recently met some really amazing people who can guide us. For many people a diagnosis takes years…yet we managed to encounter the right people at the

Poetry tea time

Poetry tea time

right time to get our daughter treated relatively quickly. She is a blessed little girl.

Tomorrow I plan to take first day of school pictures. I have some fun unhealthy kid cereal to set out on the breakfast table for in the morning and candy bars to put at their places in the school room. It isn’t much but hopefully it will help the day seem special for the kiddos.

Sunday Journal: Doctors and the Computer Interface Misappropriation

my little helper

my little helper

Monday morning was horrible. Sometime during the night Microsoft stole Windows 7 and replaced it with Windows 10.

WTF Bill Gates??? What a dreadful thing to do on a Monday! Well…any day of the week, really. I am not happy with you sir!

The rest of our week was slow and rather quiet. We took lots of walks around the neighborhood. The boys played outside and worked on some schooling. Sparkles slowly began to show some signs of improvement. She tires very easily and is still very ill. She received a get well card from one of her aunts this week and it just brightened her day. She carried it around for hours and it is still sitting at her spot at the table.

waiting for the doctor

waiting for the doctor

I took Sparkles to see our new family doctor this week. He is wonderful and didn’t want to wait for Sparkles to see a specialist to begin tests. He spent lots of time asking questions and ruled out several possibilities already. The nurse had a hard time collecting blood samples because she is so dehydrated. I’ve noticed that Sparkles is trying harder to stay hydrated after that experience. The doctor also sent us home with a five gallon bag of sampling equipment to bring in tomorrow…and I’ll spare you the details. I am glad a friend recommended this doctor to us. We’ll be able to go to the

morning sunshine

morning sunshine

specialist’s office with the results from these tests and get answers and possibly a diagnosis much sooner. We love out new family doctor…who just happened to have been homeschooled!!! Sadly, we did learn that Sparkles has lost ten percent of her body weight since her trip to the emergency room…in eleven days. Frightening. We also got a call this week and her appointment with a specialist was moved up to June 21st.

Good night

Good night

For those of you who have been praying for her–Thank you so very much!!

I haven’t any big plans for this week. I plan for the boys to continue with some schoolwork…math and such. I am considering getting Oldest started on his science for seventh grade. We could do some one on one time together and get him prepared for working and learning on his own. Dr. Wile suggested this method to me when I asked about teaching science at the middle grade levels. I can also spend more time with Littlest too

pool time

pool time

as he learns to read. I had lots of plans for group learning over the summer but I think I will switch over to one on one time with each kiddo. Sparkles can rest this summer. She has participated in the art and nature journaling this week and even wrote a little essay on her trip to the emergency room. I will simply let her choose when she can work on schooling. She tires out rather quickly.

page in art journal

page in art journal

I’ve spent time reading this week and working in my art journal. I’ve nearly completed the Sarah Mackenzie book and plan to begin The Living Page by Laurie Bestvater next. I finally came up with an idea for my art project for the Brave Writer retreat and plan to do some sketches to work on how to approach the idea. Maybe I’ll have something to show next week…

Linking up with: Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers

 

Journal: A Wedding, Beatersville and Ember Days

the feast

the feast

I had the perfect school week planned out. Naturally, the days did not work out as expected. Sparkles came down with a nasty illness on Tuesday and still does not feel well this evening. Just as we thought she was getting better, down she would go again. Sparkles has managed to keep food and liquids down only a couple of the past six days. Sometimes she seems to feel just fine so long as she skips most foods. Right now she can tolerate bananas and those full meal drinks.

cuties

cuties

By Friday we thought Sparkles should see a doctor. Something is going on. One doctor said their earliest appointment was in July and another practice refused to see her until they had her immunization record in hand. Seriously? There was a time when people who practiced medicine actually gave a damn. Frustrating! I reached out to the local homeschooling community and neighbors asking for doctor references. No one I spoke too receives medical care in this town. Isn’t that crazy?! Hopefully, I’ll get Sparkles into a physician’s office this week in another town.

the happy couple

the happy couple

This week we replaced our poetry tea time with our Medieval Ember Day feast. The recipes we tried were very tasty and most likely the healthiest food we’ve eaten in a long time!!! Sparkles came downstairs to look at the feast and sample some pottage before going back to bed. Our school week was a little slow without Sparkles. I worked on some lesson planning for July and with Littlest on his reading lessons.

The weekend was busy. We drove to western Kentucky for our sweet niece’s wedding. Sparkles made the trip okay but I worried

Littlest asleep at the wedding

Littlest asleep at the wedding

about her constantly. She and Littlest rested on me during the wedding ceremony. The next day we went to Louisville for Beatersville. Always fun to look at the cars and it is a great event for people watching. They moved the venue to a new location and it just wasn’t the same. The industrial section of a large city just doesn’t have the same vibe and many of our favorite cars were not at this year’s event. Boo-hoo…

I spent today putting out flowers in the yard. My husband pulled out his smoker and made smoked meatloaf and garlic. He even

Beatersville

Beatersville

wove one of the loaves in bacon. Yum!!! It was so delicious as lunch we’re having it again for dinner.

This week begins our summer session of school. The kids are working through lessons from ArtAchieve, Composition and Poetry from Blackbird and Company and math. Maybe we’ll toss in a science experiment or two. All of the neighborhood kids are on summer break so I thought shorter school days would be best until late July. Our read-alouds will be based on Kentucky history for now…well, and Les Miserables. Hopefully, Sparkles will feel well enough for school this week.

Linking up with: Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers

Sunday Journal: What Happened to May?

at baseball game

at baseball game

I lost an entire week. Not only did I manage to misplace the time but didn’t even notice the discrepancy until Friday…thought Friday was Thursday too…

I think homeschooling has absconded with my mind. Or maybe the kids.

The weather was abysmal this week too. Cold and rain nearly everyday. The weather experts say the rain will continue this week too. At least the days are supposed to be warm.

zoo

zoo

Today was nice and dry so we drove up to Cincinnati to visit the zoo and lunch at our favorite nearby pizza spot. I like walking around the zoo and enjoy the people watching as much as the animal watching. Though, I must admit to feeling a bit sad for the animals sometimes.

Boots tried to join poetry tea time this week

Boots tried to join poetry tea time this week

Monday night my husband took the older three to a local baseball game. It was cold and drizzly but they had a good time. I took Littlest out for ice cream and then shoe shopping. Later in the week I took the others shoe shopping. Maybe their feet will not grow the rest of the year. I wish. Shopping for clothing and shoes is about as much fun as going to the dentist. I had to buy a dress for a wedding. The last dress I bought was about eleven years ago and was for a funeral. I tried on about a dozen dresses and modeled them for the kids. They helped me choose the dress and Oldest found a

shopping trip with Littlest

shopping trip with Littlest

sweater for me to wear with it. Sparkles had the grace to let me know why I should never (ever!) wear some of the outfits I tried on. Hopefully, I can get a decade’s use out of this dress too…

Oldest and I began reading Les Miserables (do not rely on my spelling for French words!). I’m not sure what to say about this book yet. If I was reading it for myself…honestly I would have given up by now. The descriptions are very long and the author takes pages and pages…chapters

composition class was outside

composition class was outside

and chapters even…to say that the Bishop is a good and holy man…the very soul of compassion and mercy. There will be a medal or something for finishing this book…right?!

I purchased all of the ingredients for our Medieval feast this week. We decided to keep our little feast simple and chose recipes for an Ember Day observation. We noticed the term in a couple of the books we read and got curious about the meaning. Ember days are set aside at the beginning of each season for fasting, half-abstinence, and prayer. I chose a few dishes from various times and regions. I’ll share all of the recipes in a post this week along with our final thoughts on the Medieval Study.

Linking up with: Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers

Sunday Journal: Low Ebb and Dreams

poetry tea time

poetry tea time

Nearly all of my free time this week was spent in pre-planning. I have a freewrite list of ideas for this summer and our upcoming year. A hopeful list of wishes full of mommy-school pipe dreams. Every year I have written this list of radical desires and every year I have tossed it into the garbage bin. I pour my heart into a list of dreams and then shred my desires blood-red into oblivion and accept the conventional path of education.

I’ve got an opinion on conventional and it begins with “F” and ends with “it!” Sorry…well not really. Conventional gets you Donald Trump and Hilary Clinton as presidential candidates…what happened to my country?!

Middle Boy

Middle Boy

I’ve spent some time pondering and remembering what I wanted these years to be. What sort of memories do I want my children to have when I am nothing but dust in the ground? This time I tossed the conventional and kept the dreams. I am not tackling every idea this year…just two…maybe three.

First we will learn nearly every subject together. I’ve dropped every curriculum we have used except Beautiful Feet Books and Brave Writer. I really cannot express how huge and scary that feels. Our read aloud time will move up to three hours per day. I’ve had to take some criticism for that choice from other homechoolers but after listening to Rea Berg, Andrew Pudewa and hours of personal research I stand by my decision.

Sonatina saturday

Sonatina saturday

This year we are going to study the poetry of mathematics. I haven’t found much to help me with this desire. I admire mathematicians. They see beauty and the Creator’s artistic expression like I try to grasp a fading dream upon wakefulness. I see the beauty of mathematical language but cannot articulate with any clarity. About three months ago I found this article by Paul Lockhart. I spent a month really trying to digest its meaning. Lockhart is like the stentorian Old Testament prophets of ancient

Sparkles

Sparkles

times. Seriously raging! Beautiful and confusing. I think Lockhart makes some very interesting points but he is both overly idealistic and pessimistic. Math isn’t the only subject screwed up by the educational system in America. Even I found a way to learn and love math (just algebra mostly), despite the way its taught. Applied math in the everyday mundane in not only relevant but also useful, beautiful, and kinda fun. Most importantly people have different learning preferences and some of them do prefer structured traditional curriculum with lots of repetition. Lockhart’s article is fascinating (and really long) and I’d love to hear any thoughts or opinions on the matter.

Littlest during his first official read aloud time

Littlest during his first official read aloud time

Anyway, we started out literature based study of mathematics with a lovely book called “Chasing Vermeer” by Blue Balliett. Amazing book!!!

I’ve poured so much of myself onto preparing and planning that I’ve suffered with low energy. I slept in every day this week and barely prepared any meals (my poor family!) I plan to be a much better mother and wife this week and get my head out of the planning cloud…

This week Littlest officially joined us for read aloud time and started his learning to read studies. We only did school twice with him this week and I am happy with that. By mid July he will be working and learning in a full-time schedule. I’m not in as big a hurry as he seems to be.

Older three out with Daddy for the weekend

Older three out with Daddy for the weekend

The older three traveled to western Kentucky this weekend to play piano before judges. I did not get to go because Littlest had a fever and needed to stay home. The older three did okay but not great. I constantly struggled with them to put in the proper amount of time to truly learn their Sonatinas by heart…and was met with constant opposition. I have to confess that I let them fail. Tomorrow I will discuss their results and judges comments. They will feel sad and the sting of disappointment. Sometimes failure is the only way to grow. Now, they will listen when I explain to them why they must practice for an extended time each day. I have several quotes from Mr. Suzuki prepared for them to copy in their notebooks this week. I felt terribly guilty that I had to stay home with Littlest and leave my husband to prepare them for their concert. They all had a tough weekend…

sick Littlest trying to play

sick Littlest trying to play

My mother arrives on Friday…my long time readers know how hard this will be for me. She never has a kind word for me and seems to enjoy telling me just what an awful and wretched human being I have turned out to be. I am a disappointment to her. I took a path in life for which she has no respect…and I refuse to offer apologies. If you pray (and I honestly do not care to which God you offer supplications) please ask that I humbly keep my tongue and temper…

Linking up with: Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers