Thursday, June 28, 2007

Homeschooling is often so easy!

I just love homeschooling!  We are mostly on summer break.  In other words, we are doing child-led activities, finishing up a few things I wanted us to do this year, and taking advantage of all those things that just come up!  Just looking at today alone the little kiddos learned how to play Candyland and Connect 4 (brand new games to us -- gifts from Ronald McDonald house), did two reading lessons(Mom led), did an entire workbook on same/different (child-led), built with blocks and Legos, played in the sandbox and spent 30 minutes on the Internet looking at skeletons and blood vessels, etc. with Grandma (child-led).  Wow, and it is only 1:45pm!  What more will they learn today? The sky's the limit.  While the little kiddos were doing all that, the big teen was off at the nature center doing his internship and tonight he will be helping dh sand down and refinish the dining room floor.  In addition, we watched the "Grapes of Wrath" this week and hopefully will be learning how to use our new microscope this week.  Of course, not all days run smoothly and there are moments in days when I think I must be nuts to be on this journey; but overall it is just wonderful to be blessed with this opportunity!

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Counting Blessings Sunday #3 -- Ronald McDonald House

Well we are back from Duke and Ronald McDonald House (RMH)!  I thought I would count my blessings around this trip today.  What a blessing RMH is for people with a sick child who have to travel far from home to get medical care.

1)  Thank goodness for the staff and volunteers that run RMH.  They are always so welcoming and helpful when we arrive. This was our 8th year and I think our 9th or 10th stay.

2)  I am thankful that, although sometimes it has seemed like I wouldn't be able to take one more step on this journey of taking care of my special needs children, that second wind always comes.

3)  I am thankful for all of the people who are there to help us every day and in so many ways!  Just this trip alone, our cardiologist thinks he has found the answer to how to get my big teen medical insurance in adulthood.  Handicapped adults with pacemakers are often not insurable.  This has been such a huge worry of mine, since he will be cut off from our health insurance on his 19th birthday.

4)  I am thankful for the excellent medical care that my big teen has received in his lifetime and that we still have him with us.  (He has had several heart attacks and been legally dead twice).  RMH can be a very sobering place because the walls are covered with photos and stories of little angels who have gone on to heaven.

5) I am thankful that our minivan, which has been a little unhappy as of late, made the trip without any problems. 

6)  I am thankful that we have a supportive one-on-one for Goldilocks that was able to keep her in respite so she only had to stay a short while at Ronald McDonald House.  Goldilocks has RAD and really can not handle any level of chaos, even if it is fun.

7)  I am thankful that, despite all the hardship our family has experienced over the last 17 years, we still have a fun-loving spirit and a sense of adventure.

OK! here is my plug for RMH!  This is really a great place that is changing and helping the lives of children and families every day.  If you are looking for a charity for you and your kids to get involved with, this would be a great choice.  RMH is happy to accept many kinds of donations, from money to new toys and board games.  If you happen to live near one, they are always looking for churches or other organizations (like a homeschool group) to provide dinner for the guests of the house.  RMH not only provides support and a loving environment during a difficult time, but they also provide dinner every night and a full kitchen for residents to make other meals.  The cost of RMH is $10 a night, and if you can't afford it, you do not need to pay.  What a gift for families struggling with medical bills!  They also collect soda can tabs to help provide services.



Thursday, June 21, 2007

Off to Ronald McDonald House!

OK!  My kids are jumping all over the house!  They can't wait to get on the road for the 4 hour trek to Duke University Hospital and Ronald McDonald House!  My kids think this is the best vacation ever!  After all, the house serves McDonalds food for dinner and they have cable TV.... Do you think we need to go on a real vacation someday?  Anyway, we are off to my big teen's yearly pacemaker and cardiac check-up.  We will stay an extra day to see some of the sights.  We plan on going to the Life and Science Museum and a recycling art center which is filled with scrap art supplies from different factories in the area.  My artsy kids should be in heaven in a store like this.  You can buy the stuff by the pound and then take it home and create away!   Be back in a few days!  Oh -- if you have time, scroll down to the next entry and answer the question there. Thanks.

Blessings and Peace!

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Counting My Blessings Sunday #2

In honor of Father's Day, this Sunday I am going to count the blessings my husband has given the children and me.

1.) My husband truly wants to be and strives to be the very best father he can be.

2.) He loves reading the kids bedtime stories which allows me to be off duty just a little bit earlier.  (He has even taken over bath time most nights.)

3.)  He enjoys working out with our teenager and teaching him how to live a healthy lifestyle.

4.) My husband truly appreciates the gift of having our wonderful yet special needs children to raise and says so often.

5.)  My husband lacks all those horrible vices that trap some men (drugs, drinking, smoking, laziness, lying, cheating, pornography, etc.).  This makes for a great role model for the kids.

6.)  He has a strong work ethic and completely supports having me stay home to raise the kids, even though that means we (especially he) goes without some of the newer things that he/we want.

7.) He has spent several nights holding a child who had the stomach flu and caring for all their needs so that Mommy could get a little sleep.

Oh dear, we are at 7 already!  I wasn't done yet, but since that is the theory behind this entry, I will stop here.  Oh, I do have to add that he does dishes, laundry, bakes bread and actually likes ironing!  This man's a keeper!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Funny things said around our house this week!

My funny Tom Sawyer (5) is an endless source of funny sayings.  Today he said that I was one of his favorite things right up there next to candy!  He also told me that he was so proud of me every morning when I manage to open my eyes.   He is a very early riser and sometimes stands by my side of the bed cheering me on for a long time before I actually get up.  He always says, "Good job, Mom!"

Oh! Here's a challenge!  He would like to know the address to GOD'S parents so he can send them a thank you note.  He wants to thank them for doing such a good job raising GOD!  He is very serious about the letter.  Any ideas?  My friend suggested a balloon with a note addressed to heaven.  I like that!



Sunday, June 10, 2007

Counting My Blessings Sunday #1

I am going to start a blessings list on Sundays.  There are so many things to be thankful for all of the time and great things happen to my family every week!  Sometimes we get bogged down and forget all that we have to be grateful for.  So join me on this little reminder to myself.

1) I am so blessed to have children who are on the path to being well trained.  Just yesterday we went off to get a $5 rabies shot for the dog.  Seemed like a great idea ... pull up to a tent and they reach in and give your fearful dog a shot.  Boy, did we get caught in a four hour mess of traffic with no way out of that line to get the shot.  So there we were winding around forever with nothing but a coloring book and six crayons with 3, 5, and 6 year old kids.  They were great!  They didn't cry!  They behaved!  They went potty in cups (the poor tykes)!  They were even cheerful like they were on some great adventure or something! (By the way, we will not be doing that again!)

2)  I am so blessed for the quiet moments with my husband.  I have really been enjoying having him at home at night so we can actually talk without directing children at the same time.  We even have started just sitting out on the deck, watching the sunset!

3) I am blessed to be so happily married after 9 years.  Every year just gets easier and easier!

4) We are blessed to have found a church that suits are family so well.  The children just love it and, even though it is a big church, we are making friends and feel very comfortable.

5)  We are blessed to have brand new tires on the minivan.

6) We are blessed to have a large, really good hospital nearby that has done wonders in getting my Mother back on her feet this week.  She was very ill with a kidney infection.

7)  We are blessed  that we finally got some rain this week.  We are down by 8 inches, even after the rainstorm, and our lawn has turned into a crunchy brown field.  My little Tom Sawyer says it sounds like Rice Krispies.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Two Weeks of WW II

I decided to do a two week unit study on World War II with my big teen.  He has been studying this period of time for a while on his own, but I thought I would tie up the loose ends with him.  In other words, I wanted to make sure he was really learning something.  Well, here we are three days into our unit study, and so far I have discovered that I know very little and my son knows all that I know and much more on this topic.  LOL  We are having a great time, anyway.  I decided to have him make a timeline of the war, complete with pictures, listen to some radio broadcasts he didn't know we have, read Eva's story (best friend to Anne Frank), watch several movies on WWII, and read my college papers on some of the unsung heroes of the war.  In addition, we will be digging through our family history to look at real "v mail" and reading about my great uncle's experiences in his own words.  We will finish up the two weeks with a WWII day of activities from A History With 21 Activities: World War II for Kids.  This book has some really interesting things to do.  We plan on making butter extender, camouflaging a bike, making a recruiter poster, learning how to extinguish an incendiary bomb (using a potato), playing a mortar game, making a hiding spot in our house and learning the physics of dropping a bomb.  If time and funds allow, we will go to Whitwell, TN to see the paper clip project.  This is a moving memorial to all of the Holocaust victims that was made by a middle school class.  You can learn more at  Wow! I better go get the teen out of bed so we can get to work for the day!

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Happy Anniversary

Hello all,

Wow! If you had told me 11 years ago that I would be happily married with four kids and homeschooling, I would have laughed until I cried.  A little over 11 years ago I met my husband in a Sociology class called Crime and Punishment, no less.  Yes, my husband has a whole list of jokes on that topic.  We then got married on June 6, 1998 (yes, I know it is D Day).  I always tell people that my husband picked that day so he wouldn't forget our anniversary (he was in the military for 12 years).  LOL  Anyway, what has happened because two people fell in love?

Four wonderful children. 

We have lived in three homes, two of which we owned.

We have had six cars, five used and one new.

More pets than I can remember. 

Sometimes it gets a little crazy around here, but we have a lot of fun and work great as a team.  My husband has been a wonderful supporter of all I have done, including homeschooling, of course.  Thanks, wonderful hubby.  I am having a wonderful time traveling this road of life with you, and it is an honor and pleasure to be your helpmate.

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Our Year in Review

First, I just want to say, Hurray for the new server!  My blog is pulling up easily!

I have been meaning to write down our year in review for a few weeks but haven't gotten to it until now.  We finished up for the most part a few weeks ago, and my son did his end of year testing yesterday. This was one of the best years we have had!  So here is some of what we did.

My teenager is loving biology.  We will be finishing this course up over the summer.  By the time we are done, we will have dissected a cow's eye, cow's heart, frog, and a starfish.  He also has a fancy new microscope for studying the micro world.  He was promoted to an intern at his volunteer job at the Nature Center.  This job has been a wonderful opportunity for him, and his boss says so many glowing things about him that it really makes my heart sing.  In addition, he loved our literature and film-based English program and the Meet the Masters Art Program this year.  He continues to do great in his homeschool chess club and enjoyed homeschool geography class.  Lastly, he did a great job in his acting classes and will be going on to perform in a play soon.  Good job, son, we are so proud of you!

The little ones had a good year, too.  Goldilocks (6) was a kindergartner this year and Tom Sawyer (5) and Little Red Ridinghood (3) had fun doing preschool.  They enjoyed Before Five in a Row and working through lots and lots of arts and crafts projects.  They also enjoyed doing their Muzzy Spanish program.  Tom Sawyer is starting to read and his writing is coming along.  He can now spell his whole name without help.  Goldilocks has made some progress with the healing of her heart (from RAD and PTSD, see earlier blogs for her story) and did well in her homeschool art class.  She will be starting in our local homeschool choir next fall.  Little Red Ridinghood loves sitting in on our lessons and knows her ABC's and 123's.  She is really blooming into a little dancer, and I will be looking for a dance class for her next fall.  All in all, a great year!  I will post our plans for next year soon.