Thursday, September 29, 2011

US history in our backyard




Yesterday we had scheduled a trip for our co-op to go to Fort McHenry, home of Francis Scott Key and the Star Spangled Banner.  It's only about ten minutes from us and it offers lots of educational opportunities, but also has wide open spaces for the kids to run and play in.  Of course we woke up to impending rain, as is the case almost every day here lately in Maryland.  The skies were gray and most of those who did say they were coming backed out.  My friend Kelly had never taken her three little girls there and she had really planned for this day, so she said she was packing her raingear and they were in.  Since it was close and Dakota and I had planned to go as well, we packed up the baby and our own rain gear and headed to the Fort.  Once there we were met by another friend, Barb, and her three young sons.  Dakota and I have a Passport to the Parks book and we got to put our first set of stamps inside.  Then our three families headed inside and sat together to watch the film of the Battle of 1812 and how the British bombarded our fort and tried to overtake the city of Baltimore, but failed.  We learned the story of the Star Spangled Banner, who wrote it and how to interpret the words.  It cleared up just in time for us to go outside and tour the grounds.  The kids loved running in and out of the bunkers and barracks.  They weren't happy when we stopped them to try to impress something upon them or teach them a thing or two, but they humored us and then ran off again, happy to be together and outside.  We had a simple picnic lunch at the base of a statue and I enjoyed the company of Kelly and Barb as much as Dakota enjoyed all the kids. 

When we got home, Dakota and I talked briefly about legends.  We read a Level 2 book on The Sword and the Stone and then got comfy in the recliners and watched the Disney movie.  I love that movie and have always enjoyed it.  Dakota, in true form, could have enjoyed it more if he wasn't worried about when it would be over so he could go over the neighbor's house and play with the boys.  After a quick trip to help my friend drop off her car for new tires, he did get a chance to go over their house and came back happy and wound tight after they apparently played Rock Band and he got to sing Living On a Prayer :-)   I spent the evening helping my older son work on his college entrance essays and trying to squeeze in watching Ghost Hunters.  I ended up too tired to make the whole new episode, but DVR is wonderful and it will be there tomorrow when I am ready.

Monday, September 26, 2011

A Fun Monday

Today is Johnny Appleseed's birthday, one of my favorite "Today's Specials" to do as a homeschooler.  This morning we started by reading about apples and about Johnny Appleseed then went in to slice and apple and find the hidden star.  We went to this website, http://www.cooks.com/rec/doc/0,1713,144191-253197,00.html to get an easy recipe and made some tasty homemade applesauce.  Dakota was old enough now to help with the apple parer and to use a plastic knife to slice the apples and put them in a pot.  We let them simmer while we made an apple tree from tagboard and construction paper, using his traced arm as the tree trunk and his stamped thumbprint as the apples.  By the time we were finished it was time to add the cinnamon and nutmeg and turn up the heat on our applesauce.  I love extending a simple lesson this way.  The house smelled wonderful and my son felt very accomplished, having made a nice treat for the family (even though he won't touch it!)

Spanish is getting the best of me.  I can do the vocabulary, but I'm already using a translation site to help with the phrases.  Dakota doesn't seem phased by it, however, so I guess it's working.  We are taking a break from the states until Thursday and Friday , but we are continuing with mapping, learning about Christopher Columbus and tracing the route he took when he discovered the Americas.  This is actually the kickoff to our US History for the year.  I find it so exciting to do US geography and history, since it's my very favorite. For science, we are starting a week's worth of volcano fun.  We are reading the first three chapters of the Magic Tree House book Vacation Under a Volcano and doing the activities (http://www.mce.k12tn.net/reading11/vacation_under_the_volcano.htm) and this week we will be learning about the Earth's core and volcanoes.  We have two field trip days Tuesday and Wednesday so I am  making Thursday and Friday our volcano fun days and making a Smithsonian volcano kit and setting it off, learning about Rome, the lost city of Pompeii, making pasta, roman coins and a sundial and learn about mosaics and making a mosaic garden stone kit that we have had for about ten years and never done. Whew! That should be an exciting week's end.  We will wrap up the unit by watching Hercules Friday evening, which should be a great hit with the little man.  

Right now it's quiet in the house.  My husband and I are watching the news and my granddaughter is asleep.  Dakota's grandmom came and got him around 3:30 and they are going to see Dolphin Tale.  Tonight it's a little work and a little tv, maybe even a little reading if I'm lucky.  Monday, I would say, is a success.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Getting into a groove

Every September I start off with a bang, loading the homeschool schedule and asking way too much of my child and of myself.  I want to fit it all in, cover every subject and have everything go smoothly.  I do this EVERY year (for twelve years now!) and you would think I would know better by now.  I end up very stressed out with a stressed out child and I doubt my decision to homeschool at all.  And then I breathe....

The past two weeks I have felt like a spring pulled to capacity and ready to sproing off into the atmosphere!  I know that my hormones were raging as well, which didn't help things.  I was tense this past Wednesday morning, even though it was the first time in four years that I did not have to teach a class at co-op.  I hadn't followed up on the classrooms being open.  I got a late start.  Dakota was on my last nerve.  Same old, same old for the past few weeks, but I really felt like I was losing it.  So I get the kids in the car, stop for coffee, get to the church, schlep my things in and get ready for chaos because we would all be stuck in the hall again...but the classrooms were open.  Patty had heard my latenight plea and had stopped by before work and opened them.  What an angel!  And as the families rolled in, the kids headed down to their classrooms I saw that there was no chaos to be had.  My 7-9 teacher walked in with a sick child, but her aide gathered the materials and easily took over.  So at 9:30 I found myself alone in the big church hall, holding my granddaughter and reading a magazine...and things began to change.  The tide started to turn.  I started to breathe easier.  My headache started to leave.  About 10am I wandered down to the nursery and found all the other moms with little ones chatting and watching the kids.  I peaked in the older classrooms and all was going extremely well.  So I sat.  For the next 90 minutes I held my sleeping granddaughter and chatted with women I value and who have all been there.  We talked about the good and the bad in our lives, laughed at our kids and ourselves and related to each other.  By the time the classes were over I felt so much better.  Upstairs the kids played for a little while together and then we all headed home.  I had loaded my planner with activites for Dakota and I, but I didn't even look at them.  I let it go.  We had co-op and that is all we need to do for Wednesdays.  It's a day to get things done for me and for Dakota to have some quiet time to play and watch a movie or catch up on the things he finds important. 

Thursday started off much better.  It was National Elephant Apprecation Day and Dakota and I started our day doing elephant word games, making an elephant bag puppet and reading all the books we had on elephants.  We did our workbooks, read about hurricanes and worked on spelling words on SpellingCity.com.  We read the story of Cain and Abel and talked about what "I am my brother's keeper" really means and we made tp roll crafts of those brothers who were so very different way back then.  We finished our Pirates Past Noon Magic Tree House book and decided together that we really liked it.  We did "school" for a long time, but it was much more relaxed and we laughed and had fun and enjoyed our day. 

Friday was the first day of Autumn.  We definitely couldn't do anything with leaves since it's POURING down rain and all the leaves are soaked.  We colored some leaves though, and did a symmetry exercise with a scarecrow.  We read books about fall, did our workbooks, took a quiz on our MTH book and read another book about hurricanes.  We worked on our state of the week, Pennsylvania, and did some fun workbooks, coloring pages and made a collage from the Pennsylvania Visitor's guide that I had ordered online a few months ago.  We also watched the virtual tour of the Hershey's Chocolate Factory and Dakota remembered how much he enjoyed that when we visited there.  It's one of my favorites too.  I had a few more things on the schedule for today, but at 2:30 we called it a day and I left the rest for Monday.  Tonight I am going to swim down to Spalding to watch my older son play water polo...oh no, wait, football...in the pouring down rain and my brother in law is, thankfully, taking Dakota to a Baltimore Raven's football fun night with tours of the locker room and a movie for all.  I am very grateful to him because I really don't want to take Dakota out in this monsoon. 

So nothing has changed, really, but then again, everything has.  I have remembered what I choose to forget each year....we are homeschooling to avoid the grind.   We do not NEED to work from 9-3.  We do not NEED to get every subject covered every day.  Some days, we do not NEED to school at all.  What we NEED to do is enjoy each other and our time together because all too soon Dakota too will be grown and my homeschooling adventure will be over.  Make Every Moment Count!!  You can bet I am going to try.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Friday nearly did me in!!

Friday was the last day in the craziest of September weeks.  I had to be out the door, supposedly, at 8:20 for a field trip, but at 8:15 I still had a friend, my daughter, my husband and the two little ones in the living room.  We got a late start to the Anne Arundel County Fair Children's Day, but by divine intervention we made it there on time.  I only had one family do a "no call/no show", which is better than most times, and my sister, great nephew, Dakota, Natalie and I began our day.  There were the usual displays and animals and a new treat, a camel ride, that the boys really enjoyed.  We got to the pig and duck races just in time to see them and Dakota got picked as the "cheerleader" for the duck race, which made him happy.  I love spending time with my sister, so it was a real treat.  We got lunch and watched a police dog demonstration and then headed over to the rides.  My sister said that she would meet me at the rides after taking her grandson to see the cows, but she didn't make it back in time for the ferris wheel, so Natalie took her first ride, although she slept through it all lol.  Right after that I seemed to hit the proverbial brick wall and I was DONE!  I know I was grumpy and I just wanted to leave, but Dakota wanted to ride a few more rides and play a few games and Natalie was sleeping at last, so we stayed an additional hour.  When it was time to unload the stroller, however, I got even more overdone.  There was stuff everywhere and I just didn't want to deal with it.  By the time I got home I was a huge grump and, of course, my daughter was here trying to help, but I didn't want anyone to even breathe in my space.  Natalie was awake AGAIN and I fed her, but she just wasn't having any of playing on her own or being put down.  I ended up having to run to the bank and by the time I got back Natalie was ready to begin an hour of all out anger/temper cries and I was losing it.  Just about 4:30 I received a visit from an angel in disguise.  A young mother friend of mine stopped by to pay for tickets to a show I am running and I talked her into coming in.  She ended up chatting with me and putting natalie to sleep and by the time she left I felt some semblance of calm.  Of course, Natalie was up 10 minutes after she left, but her mommy was almost here by then. 

After my older daughter took the baby home, I lounged in the chair, surfing through channels.  About 8:15 I finally felt together enough to start my work and I put on one of my favorite movies and actually enjoyed my night.  My husband came home and bought us late night subs, well late night for us at 10:00, and we finished my movie and went to bed.  This morning I feel much more human and ready to face the day.  I guess there are just some days that get the best of you and yesterday was definitely one of them!!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Our only day home this week

Today we got a late start to schoolwork because I got caught up in trying to rearrange the playroom, soon to be Natalie's nursery only, and Dakota's room.  We got going about 10:30 and got in our ladybug packet and our work on Delaware.  I have lots of fun books and coloring books for the states and I am looking forward to sharing them all with Koda.  We got a call from our friends who were going to be in the are and, in true homeschool form, changed the schedule and had an impromptu playdate.  I got to chat with my girlfriend and Koda and his buddy got to play for a good 90 minutes before they left and we resumed our work.  We didn't have long before we had to take Brian to get his truck, so we squeezed in a little language arts basics and then I hooked up Dakota's car movie player and he watched a Rock N Learn Spanish DVD.  Rock and Learn videos are awesome.  They are fun and interesting and have always been a favorite for us.  When we got back, we did The Grasshopper and the Ant fable and the paperwork that went along with it and then played a game of Yahtzee for math.  I wanted to get in a few formal pages, but I had just pushed to the end of his limits and I knew it wouldn't go well.  We had baseball this evening, but just when we were going to head out, the wind blew up and the rain started so we put on pjs instead and enjoyed a night inside.  The temperature has dropped about 20 degrees already and our outing to the fair will probably be a chilly one tomorrow.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

I Knew It Would Be A Challenge!

Whew!  It's Hump Day and I knew that if I made it this far, I would be exhausted.  This was that one week in September that comes every year that seems to be jam packed with activities and wears me out when I even glanced at the calendar. 

In addition to my regular life, which is always quite busy, we had many activities to do this week.  Monday morning started with a trip to the pediatrician for Dakota's 7 year check up.  He did fine, had grown well and was even a good sport about getting a treatment for a wart on his knee.  When we came home I tried to get some reasonable semblance of a homeschool day going, but that wasn't really on Dakota's "to do" list.  At 3:00 we had our friends visit while their mom went to work and at 6:00 we had a make up baseball game in Catonsville.  Tuesday morning, bright and early, we got Natalie and got all our stuff ready and headed out to the Maryland Science Center for Homeschool Days and classes.  We went in right at 10 and Koda had 30 minutes of free time to play before we went into the Davis Planetarium for the One Earth, One Sky presentation.  I think we both learned alot about the moon, sun and stars and I know Dakota found it very cool to see the pictures superimposed on the stars that make the constellations.  Natalie happily snoozed through it all.  Afterward, Dakota had a Paleo Detective class and Natalie and I browsed the gift shop and I had coffee and some Baked Lays.  Again, Natalie snoozed.  We picked Koda up at 12:20, gave him 15 more minutes to play and then headed home.  We got in 2 hours of a little down time and then took Natalie to her daddy, our Daddy to Spalding and then my little son and I had our own "hot date" to dinner and a concert, his first, at the Anne Arundel County Fairgrounds.  We had been given the tickets through freecycle and Dakota was so excited!  We had our chairs on the lawn about 20 yards from the stage and we got to hear Colt Ford do some country rap (I know, right) and then Rodney Atkins perform his popular hits and some new pieces.  We were both very tired, but we made it to the end and finally stumbled through the front door about 11:00.

And then there was today....Natalie arrived at 8 and we had to leave by 8:45.  Koda was very tired and moving slow.  Natalie was demanding food and attention and I was putting last minute touches on my Delaware class materials for co-op.  We got there on time, but our classrooms weren't open so we had to have both classes and the parents and young kids all in the hall.

Today we learned about The First State.  My 7-9 year olds had all done their projects, which were "treasure boxes" decorated with the state symbols for Delaware, and we shared them, letting the kids show off their hard work.  We talked about the geography of the state, looked at the flag and then a map.  For history, we talked about Thomas Garrett and the Underground Railroad.  My kids had no idea what that was or who Harriet Tubman was, and they were very interested to hear about the slaves and Harriet Tubman and what happened so long ago on the underground railroad, that really wasn't a railroad at all (they were pretty surprised!).  It was a great discussion and we did a cloze activity and I felt a great deal of satisfaction when we were through.  For science, we talked about ladybugs.  We read some facts, did some cloze activities and a word search and then for art, we make a ladybug using a styrofoam bowl, markers, pipe cleaners and googly eyes. 

 The kids and the class went well for me, but the acoustics were not good and the kids couldn't really hear me and I ended up losing my voice from all the shouting.  The parents were great again, though, helping without asking, and getting the room together and in tip top shape before we left.  I was so tired by the time I got home I didn't have much left and my sweet little granddaughter did only cat naps and demanded alot of attention, which is completely unusual!  Tonight I am catching up on my computer and watching Ghost Hunters.  Tomorrow is a slow day until baseball at 6pm and I am not babysitting for more than 2 or 3 hours so we should be able to have a decent homeschool day, hopefully on the deck.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Remember When

Today is the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the United States.  New York, Washington, DC and Pennsylvania all took direct hits, but an entire nation will never forget the events that played out that day.  Where were you when you heard the news about the World Trade Center buildings?  What were you doing?  I will never forget that day either.  It was my first year homeschooling my oldest son, well, my only son then and he was my youngest child, eight years old.  My girls were 16 and 13, in high school and middle school respectively.  It was a normal morning and Brian was at the table doing his morning work, getting himself ready for the day.  I went outside to take out the trash and when I came in I saw the first tower in flames and the announcers were saying there had been an accident.  I wasn't afraid then, just thinking what a terrible thing to have happened.  I called my mom and we were talking about it when I happened to notice another plane in the picture on the screen.  I see it in my mind even now and it seems like it was in slow motion.  I remember saying "mom, there's another plane!" and then it hit the building and my heart froze.  This was not an accident.  Brian had come in to watch by then.  The events after that blur together a bit.  I remember my husband calling and saying he was working very close to DC and it was chaos, but he was heading home.  My oldest daughter called from school and I told her to get in her car and come home.  Now.  I don't care what the teachers say!  I headed out to the middle school to pick up my other daughter and there was a line of parents out the door and the principal was saying they were moving everyone into the gym and would release the children one at a time.  Ridiculous.  Fortunately a counselor who I knew saw me and went and got Keri right away and we went home.  When my husband got in we all sat together, watching the drama unfold, and being thankful that our friends and family were safe, while so many others were not.  You just couldn't even begin to imagine the pain they must be going through, not knowing, or knowing the worst had happened. 
Last night and this morning there was a special on MSNBC that replayed footage of that day while interviewing news anchors like Matt Lauer and Tom Brokaw.  I couldn't turn it off.  I watched it four twice last night and twice this morning.  The horror comes right back when you see the video and watch those huge buildings disintegrate before your eyes.  Always remember.  Never forget.  And pray that something like that never befalls the citizens of the United States of America ever again.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Crazy Dayze

Today we all got up early and my husband and older son left at 7am to go to the team breakfast before the big football game, the Patriot Classic, at Navy Stadium.  My oldest and her husband and baby and my mother in law all met here and with Dakota and I, we squeezed into my car and off we went.  We had to travel about 40 minutes into Annapolis and we had just arrived when my son called frantic because they all needed their red jerseys and I had to go home and get it.  We turned around, headed for home, got the jersey and headed back and got to our seats just in time to see the boys run through the tunnel to start the game.  It was a nice day for the game, thank goodness, because it took all of three hours.  Our Spalding Cavaliers beat the Potomac Wolverines 15-12 in a down-to-the-wire match.

 


The next game was starting immediately so we couldn't go onto the field to see the players or coaches.  We all piled back into the car, after a last minute bathroom emergency, and headed to Spalding to wait for the bus.  When we arrived there we got a phone call that the bus hadn't even left Annapolis so we went to Burger King to grab a bite to eat.  My son called to let me know the boys had left the bus because they had been on it for 45 minutes and the driver had left.  Finally, about 90 minutes after the end of the game, they finally headed home, only to be stuck temporarily in the mud!  We finally made it back home around 3:20, tired and weary.  My daughter hung out here and when the baby woke up we played with her.  She is learning to play repeating games with us and she's so much fun.  Tonight she will have her first sleepover with Nana and Poppy.  I hope she sleeps through the night!!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Normal is what I aim for!

Today was a nice, normal day.  My granddaughter came in and played and did her thing until 9:30 and by 10am Dakota and I had started our homeschooling day.  We read some, did some assignments and then had fun with our Adam and Eve religion lesson where we made a chain loop serpent to depict the "sneaky snake" in our story.  I am surprised by how excited he is to write in his Super Sentence book.  He doesn't like to write normally, but coming up with the details and the who, what, where and when of things for a good sentence seems to be something he takes pride in.  We have changed up our math, but it is too easy so we are changing to Harcourt and then eventually, after a thorough review, we will return to Saxon 2.  We found a great new spelling site that Koda thinks is lots of fun.  Visit at http://www.spellingcity.com/ and put in your own spelling list and your child can test, play games and hear his words and sentences to put them in context. 
Sometimes I doubt myself.  I wonder if I make schooling interesting enough.  He is a much tougher customer than my older son.  He has boundless energy and a quick turn off switch if you can't keep him interested.  Brian always loved to learn anything and everything.  He found it all interesting.  Dakota...sometimes I feel like he wants to say "what the heck does that have to do with anything???" :-)
Today, after working very hard on my part to keep him on task, he came out to the livingroom and told me how much he loves winter.....Winter?  Yes, because we can stay home together and do fun things and just enjoy being home.  This boy, who gets bored in a New York minute, really DOES love to be home doing fun things and just hang out.  He might need more stimulus than his brother, but his heart is tied to his homestrings just the same.  Thank God!

Tonight has gone very quickly.  My daughter picked up the baby, but she's coming back to watch football with her Daddy and spend the night.  Their apartment flooded today and everything is wet and nasty so she and the baby will be spending the night.  I like knowing that when things are uncomfortable, she knows she can come home.  Not that I want her to live here...I want her to have a nice home where she feels safe and comfortable...but to feel that home...the place where she grew up...is a refuge when she needs one.

A Co-op of My Own

Today was the first day of my new AAHE Cooperative, a co-op venture I started with my friends Kelly and Lavender to help meet our needs for our homeschooled children.  The location is less than 10 minutes from my home and it is small, with a less intense teaching schedule for the twelve families involved to help lessen the load that we all are under.  Yesterday I did a combined class with the sixteen children, ages 5 to 9, on the United States of America. We started with a video that talked about our country's patriotic songs and then played the songs for the kids.  They were quiet and focused, always good.  To officially begin the class, we did a KWL chart about the US and what they knew was impressive.  What they wanted to know seemed to center around the wars our country fought, which I thought was a little odd, but hey, I asked!  We then made a list of all 50 states and I got some cute answers, but all in all, they knew what they were talking about.  We talked about the symbols such as the bald eagle and Mt. Rushmore and then we talked in depth about the American flag.  We said the pledge together, talked about the original 13 colonies and the flag at that time, colored a page that showed them the difference in the flags then and now and wrapped that up with a tagboard/construction paper model of each one.  As a treat for their hard work, we played United States bingo and each child had a chance to "win" and received a patriotic pencil for their efforts.  The parents were great, helping when needed, and by the time I had cleaned up my teaching area the church hall was back to the way it was when we arrived and we all hurried out, trying to get home to beat the storms that were coming. 

I spent the afternoon relaxing and trying to soothe a very sore back, which has been giving me trouble for more than a week.  I ordered my older son's senior pictures, watched some Ghost Hunters and got a nice treat when my friend Leigh called to say she was coming by.  We chatted and ordered Chinese, which took over an hour to arrive due to the flooding conditions (5" of rain just today!) and then my guys came home from football and had pizza and we all relaxed and enjoyed the remainder of our evening. 

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Please don't let them all be like this!!

Today was one of those days in every homeschooler/stay at home mom's life when she says "why?".  Why am I putting myself through this?  Why don't I use public school and daycare?  Why don't I just enjoy a quiet house where there is no contention?

You know the days.  We all have them.  I had alot to do and it was weighing on my mind.  I got up on time, got the laundry done and the house straightened, took my shower and poured my coffee all before 8am.  My granddaughter came and she seemed pleasant enough.  I had all my work, school items and co-op class papers nearby and I was ready to tackle my day.

I'm not sure when things started to go south.  My son was not at all focused and while I tried to get him to do a few easy tasks, he fidgeted, talked back, took way too much time to color simple things and just, in general, didn't want to do much.  My granddaughter, who usually sleeps from 9 to 12:30, wouldn't go down until 9:30 and she was back up by 10:05.  Nothing made her happy for more than 10 minutes.  By lunch time I was fried.  I couldn't think straight with all the crying going on and my nerves were completely plucked.  I fed the baby again and gave Dakota an hour break so I could collect myself.  That wasn't the brightest idea, because instead of her normal 3 or 4 hour nap, the baby, of course, slept less than that hour and there was very little I could teach with an unfocused seven year old and a screaming infant.  I finally got wise and called it a day.  We'll finish up what we didn't do today when we get home from co-op tomorrow.

My daughter just came and picked up the baby.  Dakota and I have been trying very hard to watch Rio, but Natalie made it nearly impossible.  She went through 6 outfits today and I went through 5 shirts.  My head hurts, my ears are ringing and I am emotionally drained.  I am so very glad that I just do the weekday shift!!

Tomorrow is another day.  I start my new co-op with some great women and their children and I don't have the baby because her mom needs her for an appointment.  I truly do love homeschooling and I wouldn't have a stranger raising my granddaughter while her mom works.  It's just on days like today when I am feeling my age and doubting my sanity that I feel like tossing in the towel. Be honest...we all have these days!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Dakota's Bonfire

Sunday was the day chosen to host Dakota's family birthday celebration and he wanted to have a cookout/bonfire.  We had the family over, which I have realized now means quite a few people, and the festivities kicked off at four.  We had good food on our new grill and lots of family conversation and laughter.  We had enough tree limbs, courtesy of Hurricane Irene, to make a bonfire early and keep it going all evening.  Dakota got some really great gifts, including his own DSLite, his first game system that wasn't a hand-me-down, Mario Wii Sports and Jack Sparrow and an awesome pirate sword.  He toasted marshmallows and made smores then he and his cousin played some basketball and spent the evening inside playing Wii.  The adults got to chat, pass the baby around and enjoy fairly quiet time.  The young adults really enjoyed themselves and I got alot of satisfaction watching them and remembering when they were the children.  The festivities wrapped up around 11 and we kissed the birthday boy good night.  He had a wonderful weekend and I am thankful for our wonderful family!

Wow! What a Week!!



Today is Monday, Labor Day, and I can't believe that I started our homeschooling year last Tuesday and haven't even been on to post!  Not only is my son now an official first grader, but he is also a very proud seven year old!  It has been eventful, to say the least!

On Tuesday we started our homeschooling year.  We had a wonderful morning, working at our table on the deck outside in perfect weather while my little granddaughter slept the morning away in her room.  We got in all the important subjects and then some and had fun in the process.  Tuesday evening the 7/8 Rockies played the Red Sox and Dakota had a great game.  He played alot of second and third base for his fall ball team and I think he shows alot of promise.  Baseball is definitely a good fit for him and he has a strong arm and good fundamental knowledge.  I wonder if we will be able to take the same exciting path with him that we did with his brother, traveling with our metro team to places like Minnesota, Florida and South Carolina.  One can only hope, because they were very good days, indeed.

Wednesday was not so good.  I didn't get my work done Tuesday night for my transcription job so I had to keep putting Dakota off when he was ready to start school.  He was frustrated.  I was frustrated and it took twice as long to get my work done.  Lesson learned there.  I will work on the weekends and at night!  My daughter came in from Tennessee early in the morning and it was nice to see her, although I wish her adventure in Tennessee was a little more productive.  Right now she hasn't found a job and her money is running out.  I'm hoping this coming week is better for her.  Both Tuesday and Wednesday night we had my older daughter's family for dinner.  They lost power after the storm on Sunday and didn't get it back until Thursday night.  We had a huge family dinner Wednesday, nine of us!, and there was little room to breathe, but it was still nice to have them all under the same roof.

Friday night the guys had football practice and I took my little son to MomMom's for the evening so I could get his birthday shopping done.  I took my granddaughter with me for awhile and she was a little angel, cooing at me and riding along, pleasant as could be, while we picked out transformers, superheroes, wrestling men and video games for her Uncle D.  I stopped by my older son's practice to pick him up and ended up waiting for over an hour, but I wasn't terribly stressed.  After all, this won't be happening for much longer.  I enjoyed watching him play on the field, his movements and the way he carries himself so very familiar to me.  I've been watching this boy play for thirteen years and I never tire of watching him.  He is beautiful to me, both inside and out, and my heart swells with love and pride each and every time I see him.  On the way home we stopped and got little brother some birthday balloons and pirate gear for his big day and then picked him up and took him home.

Saturday was the big day!  Dakota Matthew is seven years old!  He was beside himself with excitement and was up at 6:50 asking to open his gifts.  He opened them at lightning speed and then I spent the next hour making his Bumblebee transformer into a car.  Afterwards it was showers and out the door for Brian David's senior year debut with Spalding as they opened their season playing the Frederick Douglas Eagles.  It was a good game, with Spalding coming out on top 21-8.  We followed up by meeting Kris, Brian and the baby at Texas Roadhouse for a birthday celebration dinner in the little man's honor.  Four very tired people trudged home around 7:30 and a quiet night with early bedtimes got us ready for our bigger day on Sunday!