Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Please...

On this, the eve of February, I'm hoping for one thing.

Warm weather.

Yes, I know it's winter. I realize winter weather is supposed to be cold. But with cold weather comes this...




And, personally I can't bear to be transformed into a pink and purple marshmallow one more time in order to go the park.



Mommy and Mrs. Jessica had the brilliant idea of taking us there on the coldest day in January. The temps were in the 30s. However, my body temp was in the 100s. That was just standing still. Had I been able to walk in this contraption I'm sure I'd have worked myself up into a real sweat. Too bad I couldn't try that out. Nope. My time at the park was spent standing there or being held while watching all the better dressed, agile kids (i.e. Hannah, Grant, and Micah because everyone else is smart enough to stay indoors on the coldest day in January) running delightfully across the grounds with all body parts functioning at optimal performance.

So, February, please, please stay warm. I don't think I can take another episode of this:

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Make a Note


We have proof.

Not proof of our obvious inability to be photo ready...there's plenty of proof for that throughout the blog.

BUT...

Proof that we can clean up nicely.

Okay.

Let's be honest. Mommy is making us post this picture so when we complain that we always looked like ragamuffins, she has proof we didn't.

Even if that proof is ONE picture of us on Christmas Eve on our way to church.

I'd like to know who would look like a ragamuffin on that day.

But, we'll give it to her. Because, we have a far more convincing case...hundreds upon hundreds of pictures of mismatched outfits, uncombed hair, and peanut butter and jelly stains gracing our face and our outfits.

She doesn't stand a chance.

So, let her glory in this moment. It won't last long.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Next Best Thing

We don't have a pet.

Although these pictures may convince you otherwise.

We don't.

We simply did a little entertaining of one.

I guess it's the next best thing.

And we hope our neighbors aren't bothered that we "entertained" their little man for a bit. Hospitality is an important characteristic to hone.

After enjoying his company on the front porch, we decided to take the party inside. After all, it was raining and we can't leave an interested guest out in the rain.


I believe Kate was the most enthusiastic. Hannah and I believe the enthusiasm intimidated "our friend the cat" at first but, like any fun loving living creature, he warmed up to it.

He took inventory of our house. We followed.


Kate, reigned in some of her enthusiasm to lay many a controlled hugs on his back.



We think he liked it.

We even thought he may have an email account as his first room to visit was the office.

He may just be a smart cat. Hey, he did choose to hang out with us didn't he?

The only problem, you see, is that he came when it was clean up time. And Mommy quickly saw he was a bit of a distraction as we "cleaned." And so, our friend the cat was kicked back out in the frigid, wet air where he sat, in front of our door, eagerly waiting his next visit.

We don't know when that will be.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Bad Wrap

Sometimes, I get a bad wrap.

Chances are, if you've caught my mom on a particulary bad day, you'll hear my name...

And not in a good way.

Today I lost it. Again. All because of a shirt.

A shirt that I was convinced I could not put on by myself (even though I had done so previously several times the week before).

Mommy didn't buy it.

And, while I threw a raging fit, and yes, to be fair..raging is a great adjective to describe it, Mommy watched and reminded me I could do it.

And I finally did in the midst of some flopping to the ground, lots of discipline, shaking of my arms, and loud, uncontrollable sobs mixed in with the occassional "no," or "I can't do it!"

So,

I'm know for some pretty nasty fits and some very stubborn spells.

But, I'd like to think I've got some strengths.

Such as, my very tender love for my sisters.

So, if you talked to Mommy today, (like Mrs. Lynn and Mrs. Laura Beth) might I leave you with a more positive taste for me in your mouth.

While I can be passionately raging I can also be passionately tender.

I'll leave you with this moment...



If that doesn't make your heart melt, I don't know what will.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

My Colors Are...



(please read below with a strong, slow, deep south accent...it'll add flair)

"My 'colahs' are blush and bashful..."

"Her 'colahs' are pink and pink..."

"My 'colahs' are blush and bashful..."

Well, following after the lovely Julia Roberts in Steel Magnolias,

My "colahs" are Blow Pop Razzberry and light cyan.

Okay, my "colahs" are blue and blue...

Accompanied by clear snot.

It's a bold statement.

Friday, January 06, 2012

Homeschool Diaries: The Writing Road to Reading

We started back to our "normal" schooling routine this week.

It was a week, in a sense, that I was dreading.

Dreading because I would be implementing a new reading/writing program that is, well, tedious. However, after reading reviews and the book itself, it looked promising in its method and the results it would (hopefully) produce.

For you veteran homeschoolers, I'm sure you're familiar with it, The Writing Road to Reading.

It was recommended to me by the director of our homeschool co-op. It's encouraged that you attend a seminar to fully understand this method. And, after reading it, and rereading it, I would concur that that would most likely be the wisest move. However, not aware of any seminars near here nor having the money at this time to pay to go to a seminar, I am fully relying on this rusty brain and the Lord to put it into motion.

And Monday, that we did. I expected tears. Therefore, I was not surprised when tears flowed. Some of the best advice I can give to anyone on anything is to enter into it with low expectations or, if possible, no expectations. It's a win/win situation. If things go badly, no surprises or disappointments...if they go great, well, hot dog...celebrate!

I digress.

Like I said, the method is tedious. It begins with teaching your child how to sit correctly in a seat, hold his body correctly in the seated position, and how to hold his pencil correctly while also correctly using the "helper hand" to maintain control of the paper. All, according to this method, are essential to promoting a good foundation for READING. Yes, reading.

Close your mouth.

So, Monday we began. We prayed. Prayed for patience. Hannah was ready. Or so she thought. After repeatedly correcting her pencil grip and her seated position we were ready.

Ready to look at a clock.

Yes, a clock.

To understand where the pencil begins its formation of letters, this method refers to the numbers on a clock, primarily the 2, 4, 8, and 10.

You're drooling.

I modeled for her the formation of the letter "a" using the clock method. The author, Spalding, highly emphasizes that the way in which children form their letters directly coorelates with how they read them. Therefore, it is important that the child moves the pencil in the proper direction. It's interesting that Spalding also notes how often dyslexia is often the product of children not forming their letters in the proper direction, thus also causing them to read the letters in the backwards direction.

In addition to properly forming the letters with the aide of the clock visual, the child is also required to repeat the sounds that letter makes when writing it. This solidifies the sound with the letter by tapping into the visual, auditory, and kinestetic learning styles of the child.

It addresses all the phongrams (sounds) in the English language in this manner. So after we do all the letters of the alphabet, Hannah and I will then begin writing phongrams with more than one phoneme such as -eigh which has four phonemes but one phongram (sound).

Like I said, it's tedious. But I believe well worth the investment of our time and, yes, tears.

Hannah has already made progress in her handwriting. Did I mention it also requires the student to write on wide ruled paper? That also was a big adjustment, however, I am proud that Hannah can now keep her letters in the small space and sitting on the base line (most of the time).

Not only has it been a challenge academically, but it's produced an opportunity for character development. This is the most rigid environment Hannah has been in and the most challenging one. Therefore, I've had to remind her the importance of perserverance and an attitude that glorifies the Lord when things get hard. We even read a book about Helen Keller to show the product of perserverance in an academic environment. So when she says she can't do it, I can hang ol Helen over her head and remind her that she was blind, deaf, and mute but she learned to read and write. Take that. And now Helen Keller is on our most frequently read book list and the kids top choice to read at night (it's getting a little old).

And, it's been a huge opportunity for me to trust the Lord and beg Him for patience. By His grace, I have not lost my cool this week, though Hannah would say I have in the midst of her tears at the end of a lesson. She, however, misunderstands being "mean" with encouraging her to stick with it and finish the lesson.

I'll leave you with a picture of her work at the beginning of the week and the work she completed today. I will say, today I had tears in my eyes when she whipped out the letter "s" with such ease and confidence. I know, weird right? But when you are investing in something and someone so important it can't help but be emotional at times. I love this kid and I delight in seeing her successful, especially when it's come after much perserverance and tears.


Day 1

Day 2
 


Day 4
so this really DOES show improvement but I guess you'll have to take my word for it ;)

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Swing Training

Don't laugh. I like to think of myself to be in some fierce training. Swing training. It takes brut force, determination, and perserverance. Hence, the strained face.


And, like any extreme sport, yes I said extreme (the see saw swing eventually requires advanced skills that enable one to stand on the handles while soaring through the air), it takes focus. Focus that comes in the form on the Harman Tongue, a tongue that promises a heart that is focused on the task at hand.



Dare I remind you of this:

The combination of these attributes  translate into this.


Pure, uninhibited joy,

so uninhibited that even the gift of sight is absent so that the exhuberance is in its purist form as it pulses through my blood.