Wednesday, March 30, 2011

I Love Nature Girl This Much

She can be a little sneaky and likes to exaggerate. But, the flip side of that is, she is constantly coming to me with "confessions." No matter what I am doing, when NG comes to me, I stop what I am doing and listen.

She has confessed to using words she knows I don't like. Nothing bad, just words I don't think nice young girls should use. She has confessed to trying to get up on the roof, just to sit. She tells me when she does something that I have asked her not to do. She tells me when she has exaggerated a story to a friend. Sometimes she even tells me bad thoughts she is having, like calling someone stupid.

She tells me everything her friends tell her. She tells me things that her friends do, that she knows I wouldn't approve of. She is not very good at keeping secrets from me. I have told her, I always want the truth, I always want to know. She may be disciplined for her actions or words, and get a long winded lecture, but, it is much better to share with me than losing my trust.

Now, her confessions might be days, sometimes weeks after the incident has occurred. Which, I find amusing. Sometimes, honestly, I don't care about what things she has done. In the big scheme of things, it isn't anything tragic. But, I am doing my best to give her my undivided attention when she is ready to confess.

I am sure I haven't heard it all. But, I am hoping when the teens set in, she will continue to spill her guts. . .

Monday, March 28, 2011

Animal Rescue

Over the course of the last couple of years we have taken a baby possum, baby bird and a baby squirrel to the nature animal hospital. My kids, NG especially, love, love all animals.

Today Boop came running inside during Science time and was yelling about a red bird that couldn't fly. It was in the front yard and he reached out and touched it and it didn't fly away. We all ran out to see what was going on.

Apparently, two male cardinals had gotten into a fight. The "looser" was sitting in our front yard. While we were watching him, trying to figure out what to do, his offender came back to pick on him some more. The victim was able to hop, "fly" away. While I called hubby to figure out what to do next, he continued to hop and fly around. Not too far away.

While I made lunch the kids stood guard to protect him from the other cardinal and from cats and squirrels. As they came into the house to get their sandwiches, to eat them outside and watch, they lost him.

I told them I thought it was OK. That he probably just needed to regroup and they had given him that opportunity by keeping his enemies away for awhile. They continued to look around for awhile. But he was gone.

I love that they each care so much for the little animals in our yard. . .

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Silent Sunday

She moved it all herself . . .

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Last Night

Hubby is out of town this weekend. Which, except for his annual hunting trip, never happens. The kids don't like it. They don't feel "safe." I try to tell them, we have the safest house in the neighborhood. We have a big ol' police car sitting in our front yard!

Anyway, to make things kind of fun and to take daddy off of their mind, I decided to do a "sleepover" in the living room. We went shopping for spring clothes (which went fairly well all things considered), had dinner at Chick-fil-A (have I mentioned how much I love that place) and then rented a movie (Yogi Bear which was not my first choice).

We got home, showered, laid out all the blankets, pillows, stuffed animals, etc. and crashed on the couch and floor for the night. I had an ulterior motive, as well. My college basketball team was in the Sweet Sixteen last night. But, didn't play until 10PM. WAY past my bed time. So, I used the kids to keep me awake. Plus, I knew NG would stay awake with me for a little while to watch.

She made it until half time. I made it to the bitter, overtime end. We lost. By one point. Which was unfortunate. But, all in all, we had a really nice, "safe" night . . .

Friday, March 25, 2011

The Final Days

Our last full day consisted of hiking and hanging and a little bit of star gazing. There was a trail very close to our campsite that was called something like Weeping Falls. That isn't the exact name, but it was a trail to a small waterfall, at least I guess that is what you would call it. The trail was pretty easy and relatively short. But, full of wonderful nature.

It is hard to see, but the water is falling down in between the two trees in the middle of the picture. The roots of the tree, in the back, are exposed in the left hand corner of the picture. And the water runs down right next to them.

We were able to hike down into the "ravine" and get a close look at the "falls." It was beautiful.

There was a bridge over the "ravine" and we were able to take another group picture.

We rested and relaxed the rest of the day. Just hanging around the campsites, watching the kids play. They would break up into little groups. And then break up into other little groups.

The last night we had a plan to lay on the green area and watch the stars. Hubby had brought our telescope and my friend had a really cool app on her phone that when you pointed it to the sky, it would show you what stars you were looking at. The kids would lay on the ground for a little and look up. The darker it grew, more and brighter stars would appear. It was awesome. So peaceful.

The next day we took our time packing up. The little girls, EG and her best friend MG, played in the water to keep them in one place and out of trouble. It truly was a sight to see. When they are camping, they are definitely not girlie girls. Every day EG was covered, from head to toe, in dirt.

I just love the memories we are making with family and friends . . .

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Day Two

It always cracks me up that when we are camping, the kids are up and dressed within minutes and outside playing.

Sunday was big breakfast day. Eggs and sausage. Nothing is better than a breakfast cooked outside! I would say by 10AM the boys, big and little, were across the way in the green space playing catch. It seems, though, whenever we camp, time isn't a real big issue. So, who knows what time it really was.

Anyway, baseball was followed up by a hiking trip. All 24 of us. We seriously looked like a bus tour. Our trip started at a historical home at the state park. The view behind the house was spectacular. It is always so amazing to me, that even though we live in a pretty flat state, that the landscape can be so dramatic.

We took the double blue trail, the easier of the trails. It led through the woods with beautiful scenery. We hiked up, down and around. It was a pretty decent workout!

Later that afternoon we celebrated my friend's daughter's second birthday. With cake and water balloon games. All the kids had a great time. Never a dull moment to be sure. We barely saw the bigger kids. And the littles kept us busy with exploring and running around. Going from camping site to camping site to camping site.

Unfortunately, I didn't do very well in taking a lot of pictures. There just always seem to be "stuff" going on. The evening was relaxed, though.

The big basketball game was on late. Hubby had his work computer so the guys were able to watch it around the campfire. At least, I guess that is where they were. I had kid duty. Still not comfortable leaving them in the camper by themselves. Especially EG. Hubby did come in at some point and asked if I wanted to watch it and he would stay with the kids. I told him "no." I would feel a little awkward watching the game with "the guys" while the women were talking about homeschooling and kids and such. We won. And I was happy. Great end to a great day . . .

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

We're Back

And another post that will be broken up into bits and pieces because we had such a great time and don't want to miss putting any of it down in writing.

We got off to a rocky start, which honestly, seems like so long ago! Anyway, we had a little EG incident before we left which set us back about four/five hours but we were determined to go anyway. We just didn't want the other kids to be disappointed. We were meeting three other families so the excitement was almost unbearable for them. And, as I had mentioned before, hubby and I were looking forward to a little R & R from routine.

We got on the road a little before dinner time and, thankfully, the camp ground was only about 40 minutes away. We got there in plenty of time to get set up and just in time for dinner.

We did have a rather rough start, though. We think because of EG's little mishap before we left, she started to throw up just about everything she ate. Part of it was excitement and part of it was she hadn't eaten most of the day and was probably eating way too fast. But, we were concerned.

Then, while I was tending to EG and trying to help hubby get set up, my friend K brought Boop to me, crying. He had been hit on the cheek with a baseball bat. It was big and bruised and it hurt. (His first official black eye and this picture doesn't do it justice.) He went to lay down. But, with EG's earlier mishap and then throwing up and then Boop with his face, it all made us consider locking up the camper, piling in the van, heading back to town and trying again the next day.

But, Boop perked up pretty quick. EG settled down and was noticeably better so we decided to stick it out. And the night turned out beautifully. Wonderful food, kids playing everywhere (14 all total), parents chatting, a fire burning, a big beautiful moon and S'mores.

A rocky start to be sure, but a perfect ending to a great start of a long Spring Break weekend . . .

Friday, March 18, 2011

Spring Break

We don't normally take any time off for Spring Break. We take so many days off through out the year. But, this year we had an offer that we just couldn't pass up. Our family and about 4 or 5 others are going camping for 3 nights and four days! The kids are so excited. And, I have to admit, daddy and I are as well.

The campground is only about 35 minutes from here. So, we will pack up and leave mid morning tomorrow. It is suppose to be fabulous weather the whole time. We just love camping. The kids stay amused and entertained the entire time. And we, the parents, actually get time to just sit and relax and enjoy the surroundings.

We had hoped to get adult bikes for the trip but that didn't work out. But the kids will bring theirs and their scooters and field guides and bats and balls. I will bring numerous books to read (I usually get some time to read one.)

Anyway, we will be gone until Tuesday. So, I need to get going. We have school today, grocery shopping, errands to run and packing. See you next week with many pictures and stories.

Happy Birthday Grandma!!!! . . . .

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Pre-planning Planning

I am sure I have posted about this already this spring, but I am starting to look at books for the fall. Well, it might be books for late spring/early summer/late summer/early fall, depending on when we stop/start school. Anyway, I am having such a hard time thinking about what I want to read/have the kids read. I only use three sources for recommendations of books (because otherwise I would be really overwhelmed), Ambleside, Higher Up and Further In and SimplyCharlotte Mason.

I have pulled the lists for year 2 and 4 (we are about a year behind.) In our defense, not that I feel I have to defend myself, but the books on these lists are great books, books that I am pretty sure are being read at higher levels in "regular school" anyway. So, I am not so much bothered by the years the books are assigned as I am by the fact that I may run out of years to teach school before all the fabulous books are read, by me and the kids!

I know one thing for certain, we are going to keep on reading Our Island Story (British History), This Country of Ours (American History) and I have a new teaching tool to help us learn World History along side of Bible History. Oh, and Trial and Triumph for Church History. (Each one of these books has about one section a week and we will do the Bible/World History everyday.)

I have decided we are going to do dinosaurs for science and then Jeannie Fulbright's Anatomy book. I got it in the mail the other day and it looks phenomenal. We are doing living book biographies for Book Club next year. This is all I know for certain. The rest is kind of up in the air because I can not decide on what books to get, because I want them all.

I think I am set through the rest of the Spring. And we will take about 2 months off for summer. But, I am going to a homeschool convention/conference at the end of May and, I have been told, there are tons of vendors, with all their books. Oh Boy!! So, when I drag myself away from my lounge chair, poolside (did I mention I am going with three other ladies, no kids and no husbands) I want to have a plan of what I need, so as not to buy what I want.

I have to admit, I am excited about my trip for two reasons. Yes, the few days away is going to be great (haven't done that in years). But, the thought of being around all those books isn't a bad feeling either . . .

Monday, March 14, 2011

Scene on the Playground

I have always despised the preschool playground bully. You know the one, always pushing the kids, throwing the little tire pieces at other children, taking over whatever piece of equipment the other little kids are on.

They usually look unruly. Scraggly hair, no shoes on, lunch on the front of their shirt, clothes too big/too small or like their mama hasn't given them a bath in a while. Or a decent talking to about playground manners.

Oh my, I just described EG on the playground today. My poor, sweet little EG is the playground bully. She threw tire pieces at the little girl all dressed in a ruffled, matching pink and green polka dotted outfit, with coordinating hair bow and nice white sandals. I very humbly picked the tire pieces out of the little girl's bow all the while encouraging EG to apologize. Then EG climbs on the same toy as the girl. And I cringed. My child in winter clothes on a sunny, beautiful spring day. Shoe less and snarled.

I want to say "hey, it is a playground, let the kids play" or "I had to wake her to bring her here. She had a really short nap." Of course, when some little ruffian did that to my kids I was always quick to judge.

I really, really do love God's irony. Especially raising children. What a truly humbling experience . . .

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Random Thoughts

Stayed up way too late to watch the stupid basketball game. Stupid game because Kitchens made the game winning shot with less than a second left on the clock and after further review, they were able to tell that the ball didn't leave his finger tips until after time ran out. He literally missed the shot by less than like a tenth of a second. It was a real heart breaker but the team showed a ton of good sportsmanship.

EG decided she wanted to get up at 4AM. We didn't go to bed until midnight. I am one tired mama.

I really wish my two year old would watch TV. A few words I never thought I would utter.

Excited because daddy got to watch Boop at T-ball practice today. He said he is definitely not afraid of the ball. And I know he can hit. He just needs a little work on the hustling from base to base and throwing.

Sissy is coming for dinner tonight instead of tomorrow night. We have date night tomorrow with another couple. Looking forward to that!

My goal today is to master the laundry. I am tired of everyone saying they have no clean pants or socks.

Took EG, just EG, for a walk this morning. Not sure that has ever happened before.

Now, what to fix one child for lunch . . .

Friday, March 11, 2011

We Are A Team

Last night around 7:10PM, after Boop's T-ball practice, we, or should I say EG, had a little accident. I was thinking about getting dinner and Boop was juggling his water bottle, which he dropped on the floor and proceeded to pick up. Right at that same time, EG was walking into the dinning room, trying to get out of her jacket.

She tripped over Boop's feet and fell face first into the kitchen floor. Both of her hands were caught up in the sleeves of her jacket. So, she had nothing to brace herself but her face. At first I didn't realize it. But, thought it strange that she was crying and wasn't bouncing back up, like her usual self. (She is one tough cookie.) As Little Mama was pulling her on to her lap, I noticed blood. All over her mouth and hands.

That is when my wonderful family got together and acted like a well oiled machine. One child got ice. Another got a towel. Another called daddy (because I was sure we, or should I say EG, needed stitches.) All the while doing whatever they could to make EG feel better. And get her to stop crying. All I had to do was comfort. Everything else was taken care of with a little direction from me.

She didn't need stitches and she didn't knock any of her teeth loose but she was a little uncomfortable. So, while I sat with her on the couch, she sucked ice cubes, next to her big brother and sister, who didn't want to leave her side, and Nature Girl fixed our hot dogs.

EG has a big lip today and she says it hurts. And, I do feel bad for her. But, it was kind of nice to see everyone work together in a pinch. It does a mother good . . .

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Parables of Nature

Parables of Nature is one of the girls' school books. We have been reading one story about once a month for quite sometime. It is a unique book, in that, it is full of short stories about morals, but, using nature to tell the tales. The General Thaw and The Law of Wood are just two such titles of the stories within. It was written about 150 years ago by a wife of a minister, Mrs. Alfred Gatty.

Today, we finished one of the best stories, by far. The title was Kicking. It was about three wild horses who were caught. And the advice of the older, tame horses who occupied the same barn. The essence of the story is this, we all have masters of some sort or other. Someone whose laws/ orders must be obeyed. We can choose to kick every time we are asked to do something we don't want to do, thereby training ourselves to respond in a most selfish manner most of the time. Or, we can submit to the authority placed over us and learn to have a most happy and joyful life.

I think that is one of the most important lessons that I want to instill in my children. The importance of obedience. Even when they don't want to. Especially when they don't want to. It is important for obedience in a family, it is important for obedience in a job, it is important for obedience in school, it is important for obedience in society, most importantly is the obedience we give to God. I could go on and on, listing all the ways that obedience is a huge part of life. Every one's life.

I don't want my children to kick. I want them to humbly accept whatever challenge is placed in front of them. I believe disobedience is a habit just like any other. The more you practice it, the more it becomes your natural response, to just about anything.

In the story, one of the wild horses just refuses to be obedient to his master. At first, it was because he was being trained for riding. But, eventually, because he kept on kicking, when his sweet young owner, commanded him to do something he didn't feel like doing, he threw her off his back. The pretty, young little girl that did nothing but love him, give him food and pamper him was laying on the ground, at his feet. He had kicked, bucked authority for so long, it was just his natural habit, even though he would rather have had more control. "Those who indulge themselves in kicking at all, will sometimes kick when they would give worlds to forbear."

The story resonated with me in such a huge way. As I neared the end of the story, I had tears in my eyes as I read the end to my girls. It was such a perfect story on what I want my children to know about life. "Happy the colts who learn submission without a lifetime of personal struggle." I could not have thought of anything else so profound to get my point across about obedience. I think I am going to copy the above sentence, on a huge piece of paper, and leave it laying around the house . . .

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


Today I glanced through the newspaper. And the title of an article, that caught my eye, read something like "LOL, or not to LOL".

Anyway, it caught my attention so I started to peruse it. It was a whole article, near as I could tell, discussing the uses of LOL and how it has been overused! I am not much of a texter (if that is even a word). I keep a limited plan because my sister use to text me quite a bit. I have a friend who texts me. And my brother has a time or two. So, I keep a limited plan.

So, all that to say, maybe I don't appreciate the gravity of the article. I know, at least I think I know, I have never used the abbreviation LOL. Because, honestly, I have never laughed out loud while texting some one. I have had humorous thoughts while texting. And I might have SIS (smiled inside). But, have honestly, never laughed out loud. And, I have just felt to LOL would be deceptive. Because I wasn't LOL.

Oddly enough, the article addressed that very issue. That people actually felt guilt over using that abbreviation. (And here I thought I was the only one.) Regardless, I don't foresee me ever using LOL. Unless I actually LOL . . .

Monday, March 7, 2011

Over Worked and Under Paid

OK, so that is being a little dramatic. I get "paid" pretty well for what I do. And being "overworked" comes with the territory. We have had a lot going on family wise. Camping, company, things, etc. Just lots of stuff that has needed my attention. Phone calls, cards, letters, organizing, visiting with friends, planning, advice giving, adding a couple new responsibilities, etc., etc., etc. Not to mention just the daily stuff which needs to be done to survive. Laundry, grocery shopping, carting kids to activities, cooking, etc. Oh yeah, and cleaning.

Lots and lots of time consuming, little stuff. Stuff that can only be done at certain times of the day. One reason being, I have a very active two-year old. That needs lots and lots of attention and supervision. It is all good, productive stuff hat needs doing. Just never ending, as of late.

So, all that to say, my blog has been at the very end of that long, never ending list of stuff. Plans for posts I have in the future: Boop and t-ball, our science fair project, camping again in less than two weeks and, probably, little, funny anecdotes about potty training and the terrible twos.

But, for now, gonna run. Cell phone is ringing, emails need to be sent, naps need to be taken, ballet stuff needs to be found, kitchen needs to be cleaned, laundry folded. (Thankful that daddy has dinner covered for tonight.) Hopefully I will have something worth while to right in the next day or two. And, some time to write it . . .

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Flip Flop World

Now that it is a little nicer weather, at least for now, one of the benefits is flip flops. For the whole family. I love it because it shaves about 13 minutes off the time it takes me to get out the door. I LOVE that. I might actually be on time. Maybe even early . . .

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

In Another World

When I brush my teeth or blow dry my hair, I am in another world. For some strange reason, my brain starts thinking about ALL the things that I am unable to think about during the day. I literally can finish brushing my teeth or drying my hair and wonder how it got done. Granted I have been doing both for a really LONG time. And, it doesn't take a lot of brain power to do both. But, for some strange reason, I am in another world.

I think part of the reason is, is that I do both when the kids are usually asleep. I have no expectation of being interrupted. Hubby is usually asleep or not home, so I am virtually "alone." I feel responsibility free. My brain knows it and can relax and just wander. I think of fun things, important things, things that need to be done, things I have done (which probably shouldn't have), etc., etc., etc.

The bad side of the whole thing, is that when someone does come in the bathroom during either of those times, I FREAK OUT. I mean literally. It is SO unexpected that sometimes I scream or yell. I am never more startled then when someone interrupts those two things. After I get over my initial shock. And I mean SHOCK, I laugh to myself. And I try to laugh with the person who scared the you know what out of me.

For as many times as I have told myself to be prepared for the possibility, I am still so surprised. Can't explain it, don't understand it, it just happens. . .