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Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Old Schoolhouse

Recently, I think I told you that I got a new "job" as a reviewer for The Old Schoolhouse...or TOS as many refer to it, which is a magazine for homeschoolers.  I am really excited about doing these reviews, as this magazine is the only magazine that I have ever gotten that I truly read cover to cover - including every single advertisement.  There is just so much helpful stuff in there for homeschoolers. 

I have a LOT of friends who are teachers.... public school, private school and even Sunday School.  I think this magazine would have a lot to offer them too.....things like ideas for unit studies, different ways to focus on learning, learning styles, cool products that help you have those "light bulb" moments with your students.


Take a look at the brand new Summer digital edition of The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine. TOS is offering this digital issue of the magazine totally free with no strings attached. Enjoy this free gift from TOS—no registration or email address required to view the magazine! Take a peek here. Then share the link with your friends by clicking on the share button at the top of the magazine pages.
So take a peak and see what you think.....homeschooler or not....if nothing else, maybe it will give you a little insight into how us weird homeschoolers think!!! 
TOS Digital Edition

Monday, July 25, 2011

May the Force Be With You

Last week one of our local libraries held a special event.

And the kids dressed for the event.

We had 3 Princess Leia's.....

And a Boba Fett and Darth Vader....

The library had these....

A Storm Trooper...or is it...Clone Trooper....I can't keep them straight.

A Darth...

The Creepy Anakin - right before he becomes Darth Vader...

As creepy as he looks - he was actually a very nice man.  When he saw that V-girl was getting scared, he took his hood down so she could see he was just a regular guy!

S-girl looks a little nervous that her "father" may not have the best of intentions.

D-man did not go in costume.  He complained about having to go - even though he loves Star Wars - and ended up having fun.  I think it just didn't seem like a cool thing for a teenage boy to do.  But, I think he got over that after seeing how excited his siblings were to see the characters.

Now, let's talk about V-girl for a minute.  I have shared with you here and here about some of her seemingly fearless escapades.

Well, we have found her Achille's Heel....

She was terrified of Yoda,  or, as she called it  "Pup-Pup"....which I assume is 1 year old speak for puppet!

Really, they all had a great time.

Oh, and here are the kids you know who is who....

May the Force Be With You!  And by "Force", I mean God! 

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Here is One More.....

Right after I told you about finally getting to sleep through the night....of course, V-girl had 2 bad nights where she got me up.  Oh, well, I am sure it was just a fluke!

Oh, and she has added one more "skill" to her name....

Yup...look at her poor, little scared face!

Poor little thing....obviously, she is scared to death!

Just in case you were wondering, she climbs up onto the top of the couch and then climbs the rest of the stair risers from the outside.  This is the sixth or seventh step up.

I am happy to report that she did clunk her head on the stairs shortly after this picture was taken and ever since then she has pointed to the stairs and just said, "Owie!"  Not that I am happy she hit her head, but, for the sake of my heart,  maybe there is hope that this little trick has seen its last!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Finally.....Some Zzzzzzzs!

At last!

This little one is sleeping through the night!

It all started about a week and a half ago.  I didn't want to say anything too soon, just in case it was only a trick!  And, quite honestly, I just started sleeping through the night  a little less than a week ago. 

You know how when your kids first start sleeping through the night?   You don't sleep through the night.  You still wake up expecting them to want to be wake up because it is a habit and you are used to waking up at 2:33 a.m. every wake up and stay awake because you start to wonder....are they okay?  Did something happen?  So you then have to sneak in and take a peek at them, adrenaline pumping, just to make sure you can see their chest rising and falling.  They are.  But, now your system is full of you can't go back to sleep.  You proceed to lay in bed.... to pray..... planning you day....and making all those necessary lists that we moms make....

But we passed all those little hurdles, so I am making the official announcement.

This is the first time in over 2 years that I have slept through the night.....and it feels good. 

Really good. 

I was so used to making do without good sleep, I forgot how it felt to be rested and have a bit of energy.  To wake up in the morning because your body is signaling it is time to get up ...not someone else's little teeny, tiny body doing the signaling for you!

The funny thing is....little V-girl has gotten more energy too.  She seems to have turned a corner in a way.  For those of you that "know us", she is starting to remind us of a female A-man.  Yup, she seems to have that kind of energy....and dangerous ideas.

Like when D-man was giving her a piggy back ride last night....she just scrambled up until....

Once she had done it once, she wanted to do it all night long....laughing the whole time!

Then there is this.....

And this....

And this...

And this...

(That is cheese, by the way...)

And this....

And this....

My baby girl is growing up.

I know there are people who either feel sorry for me that I have 6 kids or think I am crazy.

I won't address the crazy comment on the grounds that it may incriminate me.  But, I will say, people should not feel sorry for me....look how much free entertainment I get out of just one of my kids!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

A-Man Uncensored

He just looks like trouble, doesn't he?

He is....but he is a little sweetheart too.  He recently told his little sister not to say that mom was fat because it would make her sad.  He is right.  It would make me sad.

He is also smart.  I am not sure yet if it is "book" smart or "street" smart though.

Since the time he was really little, he has had a way of working around the rules - not in a malicious way, but in a way, where he has thought things out and, while twisting them a bit - finds a way to basically follow my rules.

Here is an example:

It has always been a rule in our house, that you do  not say "Shut Up!".   It was the rule when I was growing up too.  It just sounds rude.    Anyway, when he was about 2...maybe 3....when he would get upset at a sibling...he would shout... "Shut the Door Up!"  He said it with the same tone of voice someone would normally use when they were telling someone to actually Shut Up.  The kicker came when he was questioned about it.  He matter of factly stated, that I had said that they couldn't say "Shut Up"....not, "Shut the Door Up". 

Here is another one....this one too started when he was about 2 or 3:

Another rule in our house is that you do not call anybody else in the household "stupid".

Leave it to A-man to find a way around that one too.

When he thought they deserved it, he would call them.....Stuart.  Yup, Stuart.  Imagine it said in the same derisive tone as the word "stupid" and you have got it.  Again, when questioned, he replied with, "You never said we couldn't say Stuart!"

This kind of creative thinking has turned into a very funny little guy....

Like the time I asked him to help me get dinner ready and get the bag of chicken breasts out of the freezer.  He replied, "Oh, you mean the chicken boobs?"  I am not even sure how he figured out in his 6 years on this earth that breasts and boobs are the same thing - but it was funny.

Here is one final A-man story for the day.  Our neighbor recently got married to a very nice man. 

In May, the 13th fell on a Friday.  A-man said, " Oh, no, our neighbor is going to put on a mask and come get us....with an axe!"  First of all, let me assure you he was joking.  He didn't really think our neighbor was going to come get us.   Let me also assure you that none of my children have seen any of the Friday the 13th movies.  I, myself,  have only partially seen one of them -  through my fingers at a 9th grade slumber party ( and My Bloody Valentine.....yuck....oh, how I wish I could erase the snippets of those movies from my mind....oh, be careful little eyes what you see....oh, be careful little ears what you hear......)

Anyway, can you guess our neighbor's new husband's name?


Gotta love that kid!

He actually comes up with new ones almost every day - but some would get lost in translation.  All of them make me wonder what he is going to be when he grows up and how we can harness his mind and this skill for good, not evil!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

America, The Beautiful

We had a GREAT 4th of July this year.  Rainman was off work, which doesn't usually happen, so score 1 right there.  We went to see fireworks this year....score 2.  It is not that we haven't ever gone to see fireworks before, but, in the past we would do something like this....

...try to figure out what time various cities around us were having their fireworks (just what time is dusk anyway?)

...try to decide if you will harm the kids mental health if you just stay home and catch glimpses of the few fireworks your neighbors will shoot off,

...decide that you really should go try to see a real display,

...try to figure out which one would involve the least amount of traffic both to and from,

...try to figure out where to park to get the best vantage point,

...then after choosing one, go there and find that your imagined viewing point is very popular,

...find another spot to park, the fireworks from the van (because watching fireworks outside in Minnesota - even if you are coated in Deep Woods Off -  is like taking your life into your own hands....or, like handing it over to the mosquitoes)

... sit inside your vehicle, everyone fighting for window space to crane your necks up to look at the fireworks, gets really hot and humid inside a van with 8 people breathing

...when all is said and done,  join the line of traffic and get on home....thinking "maybe the neighbors 6 fireworks will be enough next year..."

But this year?

We were invited to a friend's house.  They are from our church.  They live on a lake.  They are awesome!

They passed out sparklers AND glow sticks for the kids.

V-girl wanted to hold a sparkler so bad.  She just kept saying, "Me!  Me!  Me!"  Finally resorting to using her manners and saying "Please!"  So, we let her. She did great.  L-girl supervised.  V-girl held it away from herself and others...but when it came time to let go - as seen above - she didn't....luckily the her hand was low enough that the flame went out before touching her.  She thought it was all great fun!

The big kids got to shoot off, I think they were called Roman Candles...they followed all the homeowners rules and nobody got hurt.  A-man shot off 6 of them!  No pictures of these because I was enjoying just watching the kids....

These are pictures of them spinning their glow sticks....but, I don't know how to change my shutter speed...or even if I can with my point and instead of the cool circles, it just looks like the kids are getting ready to whip each other!

This is them being "angels".....

And, A-Man being Geordi LaForge from Star Trek the Next Generation...

When all the glow stick and sparkler fun was done, the show began....we had a few tense moments when we could hear thunder in the distance and thought there may not be time to get in the fireworks....but we did!!!

Again, this was taken with a point and shoot - but you get the idea - you have seen fireworks before.

V-girl loved the show....but, thought it was too loud.....

It started to storm just as we were driving away.

Perfect timing.

It was sort of like the 4th of July celebrations that I have read about in magazines, but didn't think really existed.

Happy people, blankets on the grass, lawn chairs sprinkled around the yard, children with their glow sticks zipping around, one little weinie dog with a glow stick on his collar sniffing around trying to steal food (little did he know that his cute glow stick collar was giving him away every time), a fireworks display that was, in Rainman's words, almost as good as the ones they put on at Comiskey in Chicago.  I agree.  It was huge.  It was awesome.  I don't think I have ever been that close to a fireworks display.  A-man kept saying it was like a 3-D show because they seemed like they were coming right at him.

For those of you reading this from Minnesota, I want to make it perfectly clear that:

- we were outside

- we were lakeside

- not one of us received a mosquito bite

- read that again....not one of us received a mosquito bite!

I said to Rainman, it felt like another, God given, hidden blessing of our move to Georgia.

Of course, since I really am a nerd, earlier in the weekend I had DVR'd an episode of Naked Science called the Secret World of Fireworks that explains how the fireworks are made, how they  make the colors, how they make the sounds (yes, they actually craft the sounds into the fireworks, it isn't just something that automatically goes along with the show), for example, the ones that sort of sizzle....those are pieces of metal that are added because they sizzle as they burn), how dangerous it can be as a job ( they work in little cement block buildings - they have to touch a copper plate before they enter the building to get rid of any static electricity they may have on them - the roofs aren't bolted down - just in case there is an explosion so if there is one, it will go straight up in the air),  and just about everything you may want to know about fireworks and the chemistry we stayed up and watched that when we got home....only S-Girl fell asleep!  Apparently, we are a family of nerds, because we all were fascinated with the information in the show!

We were all left wondering how much the people who create the firework shells make and how expensive they must be to shoot off, because they are all crafted individually.

So, Lynn and John....thanks for treating us all to a great show....for giving us a chance to live out a scene from a magazine....who knew Georgia would end up being so awesome?!?