Monday, August 15, 2016

Sum - Sum - Summertime

Summertime - not my favorite season by far, but the best part is here!  It's almost over!  Seriously, that's how I see it.  The beginning of August means the beginning of the end and that's fine with me!  Bring on September with crisp mornings, cool nights, hoodies, clear skies and NO HUMIDITY!  It's been ridiculous here for the past few weeks with heat indices around 110 degrees and that's just rude.  No one wants to be out in that and my husband's high school football team and my son's youth football team have been practicing and it's hard on them and hard on me to even watch them!

So for now I'll sweat and swelter and try to enjoy the days that are free from schedules and demands.  I'll plan for homeschool and cooperative and hide out in my air conditioning, dreaming of fall and all the wonderful things that come with it.


Sunday, January 10, 2016

Death Of A Friend


On Tuesday one of the young men on my son's 100lb football team lost his mother suddenly.  She had been sick and had cancer, but had beaten it once.  It came back quickly with a vengence and her death was a shock to all.  I had to tell my 11 year old that his buddy's mom passed away.  This week has been one of my reflection.  He has asked a lot of pointed questions about death and about how his friend will adjust and how his life will change since his mom was a single parent and he had no siblings.  I answered him honestly when I could and we discussed things when I wasn't sure.  It gave me insight into the caring, thoughtful young man I am raising when what I usually get is often a snarky and rude kid.  

However, I have really traumatized my son today. We had another long talk about death in the car coming back from Ecoadventures before going to the funeral home. I was explaining the difference in a viewing and a funeral. He wanted to know why they left the "box" at the grave site and when did they throw the body in the grave.....What?? No, no, son. The body is buried in the casket! He was so surprised. The poor kid thought that your body just got tossed in a hole and they buried you!  That in itself had to be an awfully scary thought!

 Then his dad and I took him to  the funeral home and the first thing his friend tells him is he can't play football with them next year because he has to move to North Beach, which is about an hour from us. So Dakota is heartbroken about this news because he can't really grasp the whole reality of the other situation anyway. He just stands there looking at his buddy.  I tried to get him to speak to him, but he wouldn't say a word. 

Then we go up to pay our respects and there is no casket. Our friend's mom chose to be cremated. Sigh. I had to pull him aside and explain about cremation and ashes and urns. He was shocked and horrified. He lightened the moment with humor, saying "I am traumatized for life", but I could tell by his eyes that it was really a shock.   There is really no easy way to tell someone about that process, but we did talk all night about the reasons why some people choose that option. Now I'm afraid the poor kid is going to have bad dreams. He's worried about losing me since it happened to his friend and now he's got worries about how people are cremated. This week was full of a little too much reality for an 11 year old boy.

And now, a few days later, he has gone back to being his carefree self.  I am glad we got the chance to discuss things and that some of the truths that were revealed were calming.  I am sorry that he had to hear some of the more scary things, but life is scary and hard and at 11 and fairly mature otherwise, I felt he needed to hear the truth.  I don't think I could get much by him anyway.  

I look at my son and I am thankful for the normalcy he experiences in his daily life and my heart breaks for our friend's son who will now have so many changes and for whom nothing will be normal for a very long time.  Suzanne was a good woman who spent her time working hard and raising her son.  She was a proud football momma and I know she will be an angel on his shoulder forever more.  

Getting It Right

     Yesterday tanked after lunch time. Dakota was a beast, I felt defeated, Dad came home stressed and it just led to a tumultuous night with lots of grouching and arguments and tears. Yuk. Then to top it all off we learned that one of the kids on our football team lost his mom suddenly last night. Heartbreaking and shocking and of course it brings to light your own mortality. 

     So today I woke up ready to make this a better day. Dakota and I had a nice eggs and bacon breakfast and talked about what the problems were in our day yesterday and how we are all going to work to fix them. Neither of us likes when we are all angry at one another. After breakfast we got to work on morning chores, welcomed the girls and started our volcano, putting it together and then using paper mache to do the outside. He worked on a Scholastic News while the paper mache is drying.  While he paints it I am going to make witches brew with the girls.  I am hoping it turns out half as well as it does here  http://babbledabbledo.com/20-science-projects-for-preschoolers/ .    While the paint is drying I am sending all four of  them off to the trampoline because they have way too much energy to be bottled up inside.  I'll clean up and make lunch and they will come in pink cheeked and ready to sit down and eat.  That's what it's supposed to look like.....

And it did!  The experiment, Wizards Brew, turned out great and the kids loved it, from the 11 year old to the 2 year old!  They loved the glitter effect added in and we kept adding different colors and more baking soda and more vinegar and it gave us about 10 minutes of eruption!  Then they went outside to jump on the trampoline with my fuzzy socks on and their mittens and even though it was cold they got 20 minutes of exercise before coming in tired and happy to sit down and watch Magic School Bus together and eat lunch.  The kids all went down for rest/nap time after that and Dakota and I finished our day with Dad coming in and doing math later on.  Much better day for us and much better preparation.

Monday, January 4, 2016

First Day Back

Today was our first day back to homeschooling since the Christmas break and it went exceptionally well.  I am trying to work with the advice I received from my homeschool reviewer who was a retired 30 year veteran teacher of kids Dakota's age.  He told me ways to incorporate Dakota's strengths with my demands to keep things more peaceful here at home.  I felt like we were never doing enough and he said we were doing plenty and had a great well rounded curriculum.

My osn and I started our morning with less grouching since the puppy made waking up much more pleasant.  We got breakfast and morning chores out of the way and then tried my new Amazon Fire Stick to watch Disney's Johnny Tremain from Amazon Prime.  With the Fire Stick we were able to put it right onto the big screen.  We were trying to read the book, but it was going so slowly and Dakota wasn't enjoying it so I went with the advice I received and just allowed him to go ahead and watch the video to finish the story.  He loved the story that way and he reaffirmed so much he already know about the American Revolution.  While I was getting the Fire Stick started for the first time I had him write a short five paragraph essay on 2015.  After the movie and the discussions that were sprinkled throughout, he edited and made the final draft of his essay....and the next final draft...and the next.  Dakota is still lazy and he doesn't like to proofread.  By the end product, however, we got a good result.  To end our morning he did a Scholastic Geography Spin magazine and corresponding North American time zone worksheet while our pizza was coking

After a 45 minute lunch break we played a Rocks and Minerals game to ease back into Science.  I made it last night called Make Five from http://www.ellenjmchenry.com/homeschool-freedownloads/earthscience-games/makefive.php to practice mineral chemical formulas.  I used those  wooden kiddie building blocks every kid has laying around and made the chemical  formula dice and you had to roll the dice and see if what you rolled could be mixed and matched to make one of the 16 rocks and minerals on the cards.  It was so easy, but Dakota loved it and we played 2 rounds in about 15 minutes, all the while sharing puppy duties because what she wanted most of all was either to grab a die and run or frolic through our cards laid out on the floor.  After that game we eased back into math by playing Math Baseball  (http://www.education.com/files/74501_74600/74533/math-baseball.pdf) where we each had a team and you multiply your dice together and there is a scale for if you get an out, single, double, triple or home run.  Dakota was whooping my butt, but I caught up in the last inning and we had to go an extra inning where he ended up beating me 17 to 14.

By this point he was very wound up and starting to get crazy so we switched gears and got out our computers and dove into our Meet the Masters program and did the audio visual section of the lesson on Maria Marinez, a famous Navajo pottery maker.  I was actually quite disinterested in most of it, but he really liked it and hung in there through 22 screens of visuals while I read the audio parts.  I had hopes of listening to our Copernicus Legacy:  The Golden Vendetta after that, but it was 3:00 and he honestly was done giving me his time and attention so we called it a day.  9:30 to 12:45 and 1:30 to 3.  That's a good, productive day for us, but I also know every day cannot be as laid back with no workbooks for grammar and no math lessons.  Tomorrow we'll do some of that, but I also am planning to surprise him by watching a volcano video as we talk about igneous rock and then let him get out his volcano kit from Christmas and put that together for science and art for tomorrow.

Writing this it looks like a pretty complete day.  I would have liked to get in a lot more, but that's my downfall, pushing too hard and making us both grumpy.  I'll call this day a success and enjoy my evening with a feeling of accomplishment.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Happy New Year!

2016 has arrived.  I can't say I am glad 2015 is gone because all in all it was a good year for me. minus the cellulitis my granddaughter was hospitalized for late in the year and a few other odds and ends.  I am looking forward to this new year, but my resolutions are not anything outlandish.  I just want to continue what I am doing, getting better at everything I am trying, making good decisions, being a better wife, mom, nana, friend etc.  I have three of my three kids living at home right now.  One has returned to get herself together and get some medical attention she has needed for a long time.  One who is graduating college and hoping to move onward and upward in the upcoming months.  I try to not to think about that.  He deserves his life, but he's always been such a huge part of mine and I had always dreamed he would work nearby so that he could continue to be a part of vacations and football Sundays and family outings.  I know he needs wings to fly and that I have already given him very strong roots to grow.  I just hope that where ever his career takes him, it brings him back.  Life is too short to have any of my kids away.  I don't know how people manage that only see their kids once in awhile.  They must be built of a different fiber than me.  I always wanted mine close by, but I know that it's no longer my choice.  

Okay, moving on.  See, I said I can't dwell on that!  New Year's Eve was uneventful, too much so.  I felt like we were old fuddy duddy people and in 2016 I want to have some sort of plan in place to have more fun.  We enjoyed doing nothing yesterday.  It's been something we have done A LOT of in the past month, but something we do very little of 9 months of the year.  I am looking forward to winter coming, though I don't voice it because my husband hates it.  December was 70 degrees....what the heck was that about?  I am ready for a snowstorm and the fire place on and everything warm and cozy inside.

Today, January 2nd, I did some cleaning, some TV watching and Dakota and I took the two big dogs and the new puppy, Lacie, for a walk.  It's only been a week since we have had three dogs adn it has been some work, but I think it's all going to work out very well.  The dogs still circle round one another some and I think it may be easier if the puppy wasn't so small compared to the ginormous size of the other two dogs, but  they don't hate one another and actually they would like to play together, but one bark or jump by Riley scares the puppy into hiding and yelping.  When he barks it literally knocks the puppy over!  It will all come together though.  Now the cat....he hates the puppy lol.  Hate, hate, hate.  Loathe entirely!  But eventually they will get tired of making noises at one another.  

The guys and I had a nice dinner at Ruby Tuesday tonight and I am enjoying a quiet night watching Disappeared on TV while Dakota hangs out in his room and my Brians went to the Towson basketball game.  Tomorrow I need to get the playroom in order and ready for the girls this week and get lessons ready for them and for Dakota.  I am looking forward to getting a schedule back because being off makes me lazy, but lazy isn't always a bad thing!