Thursday, January 31, 2008

Like the Energizer Bunny...

... going, going, going!

We try NOT to succumb to the frenetic pace that seems to be pervasive these days, but it is critical to our progress that we keep going. So here are a few reflections on "going."

* We are totally excited because Grandma NanZ and Grandpa Bob are officially GOING on a mission! They'll begin in June serving in Salt Lake City, UT, in the Family and Church History Mission. We'll be visiting them there sometime this year -- can't wait to get vacation plans GOING!!

* Jelly & Doodle are taking piano classes. Once a week, they are GOING to Patrick's School of Music. They've had two classes so far and they are loving it! Their teachers are both fantastic, doing a great job of engaging the kids - making music fun while also imparting some good basic foundations in theory and appreciation as well as keyboarding skills. Thank you so much, Poppa!

* We've missed GOING to Liahona - our local homeschool support group. Yesterday, though a still-stuffy Doodle stayed home with an equally-stuffy Woody-Daddy, Jelly and I were able to go to park day and reconnect with our friends there. Not only was it nice to be there, but it confirmed that I truly am fully recovered from last summer's medical challenge - driving to the park yesterday for a day out with Jelly was the first time I've driven anywhere since my hospitalization last July. There'll be no stopping me now! ;o)

* Our newest unit study, on Ancient Rome and all things connected, is GOING very well. The Learning Adventures curriculum really does work well for us. It isn't really necessary, because there is already more than enough, but we add more hands-on with lapbooks and a way-cool pre-assembled history kit. We notebook, too. Today we'll be updating our Book of the Centuries (timeline a la Charlotte Mason), spelling notebook (mostly rules and examples), and vocabulary dictionary (roots, prefixes, suffixes, etc. - their origins from Greek, Latin, etc., and their meanings). We're also going to make an edible model of the earth. Yum!

Better get GOING for now. ;o)

Labels: , , ,

Monday, January 28, 2008

On Comet... I mean Cupid!

True, the Christmas season has come and gone, but it WILL come again, and it is STILL on the minds of the young, and the young at heart.

We have been, here at our house, working for a while now on having a House of Order. You are probably aware of the wonderful FLYLady. Daily FLYmails help keep order in my mind, even when we haven’t actually quite gotten there. This morning, though, something happened here that I thought might bring a smile, especially to other FLYbabies who are still working to have their own Houses of Order.

I had just finished in the kitchen. Dishes were done, counters and stovetop wiped down, and dinner was in the crockpot. Though I hadn’t said so out loud, we then proceeded to do a 15-minute tidy in the living room. The Doodlebug, sick with a nasty headcold, had earlier finished a yogurt for breakfast. The container, spoon inside, was sitting on her tray. I asked her to put the container into the recycling bag which is hanging on the back door, and to put the spoon into the left-hand side of the sink. She hopped up quickly, happy to comply. (Both the girls usually have great attitudes about helping, unless it interferes with a really great game of pretend!) After depositing the recycling, she walked to the sink, looked in and saw that I had sprinkled it with cleanser to sit for a bit before I shined it up. “Mom, I can’t put my spoon in the sink, it has Cupid in it,” she informed me. Not Dasher or Dancer, or even COMET… CUPID!! :o)

I think Cupid is a much better name for a sink cleanser, especially for FLYladies who LOVE their shiny sinks.

Labels: , ,

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Thoughts on Homeschooling

We, as you probably already know, absolutely love homeschooling. Let me just pronounce the usual caveat right up front, though. Homeschooling is absolutely NOT for everyone. We are, contrary to popular belief, supporters of public schools, in more ways than just by paying our taxes and receiving NO financial support for educating our own children.

So, having gotten that out of the way,
check this out. There are many items listed that I would NEVER say, or with which I don't even agree. However, there are many items listed with which I DO agree.

It's lunchtime here at Wonderwood Academy. Normally on a Wednesday afternoon we'd be heading for the park or a museum or some other location to meet with our support group, but it is rainy here in sunny Southern California this week. We need the rain, so we're not complaining. We're staying in today, cozy and happy. Because we have some unexpected inside time, we'll probably bake some cookies, listen to some classical music while we do an art project (a collage representing high and low musical sounds - an assignment given by the girls' piano teachers last night at their piano classes), put in some extra final touches on our lapbooks about Ancient Greece, and read an extra chapter or two from Shadows in the Glasshouse (our current read-aloud).

Yes, indeed, we absolutely love homeschooling. For our family, it is a perfect fit.

Rain, or shine.

*Update - The link has been changed to reflect the original source.


Friday, January 18, 2008

Thankful Thursday

Technically, it's Friday, but since I haven't gone to sleep yet, it still counts as Thursday night. Tonight (or this morning) I am feeling very grateful for the following "top ten" things (in random order as they pop into my slightly-fevered brain):

1) being married to my most wonderful and supportive friend

2) our overall good (and improving) health

3) a Heavenly Father who knows each one of us as His much-loved child

4) available medical care (and insurance!)

5) two sweet daughters that have been extremely thoughtful and considerate lately (not that they aren't usually)

6) our cozy home that is a refuge from the world (and the wind!)

7) homeschooling - always a blessing, but this week because we don't have to completely miss school when we have "sick days"

8) an amazing support network of family and friends, in "real" life, and online

9) a consistenly clean kitchen sink (a la FlyLady)

10) making progress (baby steps, but progress) in reaching goals, personal and family

I was kind of hoping that counting blessings would work like counting sheep is supposed to work, but I'm not feeling sleepy, just very, very, blessed!

Labels: , , , ,

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Just Jelly

The eyes have it! Thank Heaven our Jelly's beautiful blue eyes are so much more than all right!

There is a gene carried by many of the women in our family that we know goes back at least four generations. It was first manifested, that we know of, in my maternal grandmother, and has not yet skipped a generation. We haven't seen signs yet in Doodle, but unfortunately, Jelly has undoubtedly inherited it from me. For lack of a more scientific name, we call it the "worry gene."

After she got her long-awaited Nintendo DS for Christmas, Jelly played with it almost exclusively for three days. Our family has definite limits on TV and computer time, for lots of reasons, but it didn't even occur to us to limit her use of the tiny gaming computer. She had been waiting SOOooo long to have a virtual pet - a NintenDogs puppy she named "Dandy." After three days of puppy training, she began to complain of what she called "screen vision." So we set a 15-minutes-at-a-time limit on her Nintendo use.

When the complaints didn't stop, and her descriptions changed to seeing "specks" and "shadows", we stopped her DS time altogether, to give her eyes a rest. A call to our pediatrician resulted in a referral to a pediatric opthamalogist. Her appointment was this morning, and the doctor assured both of us (yes, my worry gene has been just as overworked as Jelly's lately!) that her eyes are in excellent health, except for a virus that will disappear in a few days. If it doesn't, he gave us a prescription for eye drops to fill that will irradicate Jelly's eye infection.

Her eyes are not only beautiful, but they are "normal!" Before we left the doctor's office, she whispered in my ear, "Mama, ask him if it's okay for me to play on my Nintendo DS, please!"

Her worry gene went into "relax" mode when he assured her that she could resume caring for Dandy - 15 minutes or so at a time.

:o) So did mine. The picture of Jelly is from our family New Year's Eve celebration, but we're celebrating again tonight!

Beautiful, normal, precious eyes.

Labels: , ,

Doodle's Day

Saturday came and went, but will never be forgotten!

Doodle has been 8 years old for over a month, but she chose to wait to be baptized until her grandparents could come from Texas to share her very special day. She has been so excited since right after Thanksgiving. That's the magic time, because after that, the next holiday in our family is her birthday. Last Friday, though, she was nearly beside herself... "Mama, I'm going to be baptized tomorrow! I was a little nervous, but now I'm not at all." And the peace on her face verified the words.

That same peace and joy was there all weekend, and though it has been a bit of a challenging week, she is still very much at peace. Her excitement also has not waned. Today she told me, with joy sparkling in her smile and in her eyes, "Mama, I've been a member of the Church for five days now!"

Many family members, friends, and members of our church family were able to share Doodle's special day with her. She, and we, will always be thankful for them. We are blessed to have a supportive family, and true friends. In an account of the baptism to an auntie that wasn't able to make it to the service, it was reported that Doodle glowed. It's true. The Light of Christ was most definitely in her countenance. My mama-heart was so full of joy!

Doodle is striving to strengthen her relationship with her Savior, learning to rely on her new companion, the Holy Ghost. She wants to make wise choices, and to shine that Light as an example to those around her. I'm so glad to be able to travel with her, and her daddy and sister, as we make this journey we call earth life.

I am filing away the memory of the strength of spirit that I felt on Saturday - to be able to pull it out on those days when my own spirit isn't as strong as it should be - adding it to my store of "golden" moments. I think most of us have those times when we struggle, for lots of different reasons. When I do, the memory of Doodle's day will be one of those I count on.

I am learning so much from our amazing daughters.

Labels: , , , , , ,

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Our Very Own Island

I'm sure it isn't EVERYone's dream to have their own private, personal, island paradise. Our Father's children come in all shapes, sizes, and colors, with all shapes, sizes, and colors of hopes, dreams, and desires.

Even so, one of our dreams has come true! We are the proud owners of our very own (albeit VERY small) island. "Lucky!" you may be thinking to yourself. "Indeed!" I say.

If you have been a regular ready of The Inner Dad, you may remember "The Move from Hades" series. We've been working for a long while now, (brief in only the eternal perspective!)sometimes more steadily than other times, on having a House of Order. We STILL have a ways to go, but we ARE making progress. Life keeps getting in the way!

Our latest adventures in organizing are taking place in the kitchen. We have made it more than half way around the room - de-cluttering, cleaning, and organizing as we go. It's awesome if you stand facing the window... you can only see the side we've finished! :o)

Woody and I both enjoy working in our kitchen. It's not a huge room, but it is much larger than the one we had in our townhouse. We can actually both be in the room at the same time - it's even large enough for our Home Ec. class at Wonderwood Academy!

There is something very rewarding about cooking there for our family and friends. There is comfort in using recipes that are tried and true, and there is satisfaction that comes from trying a new recipe with successful results. The only (small) frustration has been a lack of workspace that is accessible as I accommodate my arthritis - sitting in a rolling office chair that makes it possible for me to do most kitchen tasks (a la Grandma Wilkin).

So, on Thursday, Woody and I pooled our Christmas money (Thank you again, Mom and Bob!) and bought a small island! (Some assembly required, but Woody-the-Toolman took care of that right away!) It has everything we were looking for in a private, personal island. I inaugurated it on Friday by using it to assemble one of our new favorites, Crockpot Lasagna, followed by mixing up a double batch of the best oatmeal cookies to be found on this planet.

Island paradise!

Labels: , ,