Thursday, September 26, 2013

The First Week Of Autumn

This week the heat disappeared and cool mornings and evenings and glorious afternoons replaced it.  It has hovered in the low 70's with blue skies and clear air.  I have spent less time on the deck than I would have liked, but I have enjoyed my time at home very much.  Our truck was down again and we had three drivers and one car, so I was the odd man out, staying home every day but today, when my daughter took us to co-op.  I actually wish it could be this way every week.  I love my home and being here during the day.  I love homeschooling and working on the deck, hearing my granddaughter chatter as she plays, putting her down for a nap with a light blanket over her to keep off the chill.  My son has been working well and getting finished before 2, sometimes as early as noon, and this has been a welcome change.

This week we started delving into Ancient Greece.  We are reading the Magic Tree House Hour of the Olympics in Literature, doing Greek Myths and reading about Ancient Greece in Chapter 20 of Story of the World.  We are talking about matter in science, reviewing Rule 2 of the Essential 55 and we did the seven days of Creation, reading them from the primary Bible and doing 2 crafts to go with the story, a creation wheel and a decoupage Earth.  I am hoping that we are finally past the review in math and football is still our main physical education activity.

Today we had co-op and I had my son's group first.  We talked about the Autumnal Equinox and did a glyph and a word search.  Then I read them "Autumn Fires", a poem by Robert Louis Stevenson, and we talked about it and answered a few questions.  Then we learned about the pattern of the poem, which was ABCB.  We then did an acrostic for Autumn Bonfires and then the kids were given paper with room for illustrations and told to write their own fall poem and draw a picture to go with it.  Our last activity was a Hello, Goodbye paper as in Hello Pumpkins!  Goodbye Swimming!

Tomorrow we are doing our spelling test, independent reading, math and then diving into an Ancient Greece theme day.  We are going to read our myths book about Zeus, read some of the MTH book and then do some fun activities from a book I have on Ancient Greece.  I hope we can do a few crafts and maybe have time to watch Percy Jackson.

Next week will be a short week since my daughter is being induced at 6am Monday morning.  I am leaving work here for Dakota on Monday to do independently while his grandmother is here, but I am thinking we will go to see the new baby on Tuesday and I will be tired and I will have my two year old granddaughter for two days and she will be a bit out of sorts.  I am really looking forward to this second little granddaughter of mine.  The first  one has brought such joy to my life.  She is an ornery little devil, but a cuddle bug and a lovey and she brightens my every day.  I feel very blessed to be such a big part of her life.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

A Very Busy Couple of Days

Friday started out a very busy couple of days.  We had our annual field trip to the Anne Arundel County Fair Kids Day and enjoyed time with my granddaughter, Natalie and some homeschooling friends. Dakota, Natalie and friends enjoyed seeing the livestock, watching the pig and duck races and riding the rides.  I particularly enjoyed my granddaughter this year.  She was so much fun and really loved every minute.  She would say "Run, piggy, run!!" and when they ran back into the trailer after a race she would say "Oh no!  What wrong?".  Way too cute!  She and Dakota and I rode the merry go round at least four times.  She was terrified and clung tight, but loved it, asking for "more horsey!" each time it was over.  I got her a Dora blow up toy and we had lemonade and snacks and Dakota got to ride with his girlfriend and her sisters too.  It was over by noon, which really wasn't an issue for me at all.

Another exciting event this Friday was the news that the doctor would break my daughter's water on Friday, which would hopefully throw her into labor on her own and if not, he would induce the following Friday.  So baby Becca will be here very, very soon!  It's so exciting to think of a whole new little life being introduced into our family and I will have the honor of watching her come into the world, as I did her sister, holding my daughter's hand and crying.  How blessed I am to have two daughter, two sons and two granddaughters to love!

Saturday saw us heading to Edgewater for Dakota's noon football game.  He played very, very well, including helping on a tackle, and again we won, 25-0.  Our team is awesome this year and I am really enjoying having a friendship with the parents.

I had some plans for going through Natalie's baby things to get them ready for Rebecca that afternoon, but Dakota decided he wanted to try to learn to ride his new bike.  I took him up to the ballpark and we tried...and tried....and tried.  Epic fail.  He is NOT a natural at bike riding!  That evening after a late dinner, he and I watched Parental Guidance together again.  It's such a heartwarming moving and funny too, so we both enjoy it.

Sunday we had a slow morning, but since Dad and Brian were going to the Ravens game and MomMom is in Georgia, Dakota had to join me grocery shopping.  To make the idea more palatable, I let him spend his birthday money at Toys R Us and he got to buy two Lego Star Wars kits.  We went to ShopRite and I did really well with coupons and sales, especially considering I did not have a list or a circular.  I saved $39 in coupons alone and total savings with all the sales, specials and coupons combined was $143 and change.  I spent $240.  That's pretty darned good!  I also got back $7 in coupons good on my next order and a 10% off coupon on my receipt for my next entire order!!  Woo Hoo!!  Major score!

Watching the Ravens game currently and getting ready to really go through my granddaughter's baby stuff this time.  I have lots of errands, work and planning yet to do today as tomorrow it's back to daycare, football practice and homeschooling.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

A Matter of Perspective

Yesterday I tried to teach my son about 9/11.  We have talked about the subject before and watched just small snippets of TV coverage specials in documentaries, but I am not ready to show him the human terror and carnage that is depicted.  He is nine, so he understands more now and we are reading the I Survived series currently, focusing on the 9/11 attack.  The memory for those who lived through it will never dull and even though my other three kids were not grown, with my older son only being eight at the time, they all remember the fear as the country virtually shut down as a result of the unknown.  What would happen next?  Were we safe?  Never before had our country ever feared outsiders.  Never before had war been on our soil.  Now we were afraid and we hugged our loved ones closed and dared to think...what if, and not in a good way.

My nine year old is a fairly empathetic person.  He feels bad for others when he sees them hurting or in pain, yet he seems to see 9/11 as "just another day".  Maybe I haven't let him watch enough coverage.  Maybe the fault lays in my protective nature, but I just don't feel he needs to be subjected to bodies falling out of 100 story buildings and people talking about the sound they made as they hit the ground.  

9/11 bonded our country in a way that anyone who didn't live through it will never really understand.  We are now raising a whole new generation who wasn't there, didn't feel the fear or see the endless coverage.  While I envy them that in a sense, I hope that we, as parents and educators, can help them to feel the patriotism and brotherhood that 9/11 brought to our country while allowing them the benefit of not having to say "I remember when...".

Thursday, September 5, 2013

First Two Days

Yesterday was our start of Dakota's third grade year and my thirteenth year of homeschooling.  It was the first year, however, that I didn't cram in work for the first several weeks....too much for any one child to do...then stress over not getting it done.  He started the morning in his pjs doing a Lego Star Wars kit he got for his birthday (art).  The we had an awesome day out on the deck, doing his new routine for morning work, playing addition math war and remembering how to write in cursive as we practiced our spelling words.  He did the first half of a getting to know his science text activity, a math review sheet and we read a book and did a close activity on Amelia Earhart.  He read a couple of back to school themed books, did half of a Meet Me packet and we were finished, including a 45 minute lunch bread, before 2:00.  Very, very nice.  PE was football practice from 5:30 to 8:00pm.

Today, Thursday, is the Baltimore Ravens opener and Dakota asked that we do some football themed learning.  He started the morning with another Lego kit that he got for his birthday and then we rocked out to Jock Jams and some good football music before settling in for morning work and a BrainPop movie on Amelia Earhart, which covered media and continued Social Studies. Spelling was a continuation of cursive handwriting practice as he wrote the second half of his list 2x each and did a definition paper.  He went to Wikipedia and did research on his favorite Raven player and filled out a graphic organizer called Biography of an Athlete.  We will transfer the information to report form tomorrow.  For Science he used another form to do an animal report wheel on the raven bird, finding out lots of facts and some very cool trivia about them.  He had a timeline of the Baltimore Colts/Baltimore Ravens history to look over and an article from the Baltimore Sun paper printed to read on Michael Ohr.  He is going to watch the Ravens/Broncos game tonight for a media tie in and this weekend, we will watch The Blind Side as a family.

Now it's almost 1pm and he is done for the day and able to play his games and enjoy himself.  My husband and I are going downtown to enjoy the kickoff festivities at the harbor, including a concert by an up and coming band we really like, Parmalee, and a major concert with a stage on the water by Keith Urban at 7:30.  After the kick off we will come home and watch the rest of the game.  Looking forward to some time alone with Brian and a nice dinner downtown.

My Baby's Nine

On Tuesday, September 3, 2013, my little man turned nine.  He officially went from being a "little kid" to a "tween" or "big kid" and he is the light of my life.  He has spunk, swag and plenty of sass, but I wouldn't trade him for anything in the world.  We celebrated all weekend, but on his special day (after a trip to New York and a big dinner the night before) we went to breakfast at Bob Evans, ordering extra bacon, and then to Walmart, where he used his birthday money to buy a video game and two Star Wars Lego kits.  After football that night, we had cupcakes for everyone.

While I am nervous about raising such a strong willed young man through his teenage years, I am also excited about all the fun times ahead.  My boy has a great sense of humor and a plan for the future and I look forward to going along for the ride.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

New York, New York!!

This weekend we had our first trip with my new travel company, Sun and Sports Travel.  We loaded a bus at 6:30am and were on our way by 6:35.  I had gone around the parking lot before boarding talking to the people I had previously only "known" through email and found them all to be kind and friendly.  Our trip down was uneventful.  We got to know a few of the people sitting closest to us and we all watched the Oriole's highlight video from last year.  Dakota and his friend Logan were the only children aboard, but they were well behaved and excited to get to the stadium.  As we got to New York there was a heavy downpour, but it had stopped by the time we parked the bus and everyone disembarked and headed over to Yankee Stadium.  We took pictures and walked around a bit and then the gates opened at 11am and we went inside.  We headed up to the Malibu Rooftop Deck for our luncheon and got to know a few more people while we munched on hot dogs, hamburgers and popcorn.  Everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves and came over to tell me what a good time they were having.  We walked around a bit and then settled in our seats for the game.

The game was fairly uneventful at the start and by the fourth inning, we headed to the Yankee Museum to see what it held.  There was alot of great items to see including the World Series rings and trophies.  There were displays on Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig and Thurmon Munson.  They had baseballs signed by everyone that was ever a Yankee and a statue of Don Larson and Yogi Berra, who pitched and caught a perfect game.  My older son really enjoyed this, as it was right up his sports trivia loving alley!  We all got some great pictures and headed back to the game.

Just before the seventh inning started, my husband made a statement that this was going to be the inning that propelled the Orioles to the playoffs.  We laughed at him, but they started getting base hits!  My husband left and went to the bathroom and while he was gone, someone hit a home run! Then more hits and another home run!  We were now winning 7-3!!  Of course my oh-so-vain husband had to rub it in when he came dancing back up the aisle from the bathroom, but the small Oriole fan base was on their feet and cheering on our team.  We ended up winning the game and a bus full of happy people departed a few minutes ahead of schedule from the Bronx.

The ride home seemed a bit longer than the ride up, but we watched the Ravens Super Bowl video before stopping for food and a stretch at one of the rest stops on 95.  We got back to our park and ride at 9:15.  Everyone seemed satisfied and looking forward to our next trip and I went home and fell into bed, sleeping soundly after a great experience.