Tuesday, September 21, 2010


Have you ever noticed that Colds come at the most inopportune time? Not like anyone wants to schedule when they have a cold but honestly they always seem to appear at the worst possible - most busy time for me.

Take the one I woke up with. Yesterday I felt out of sorts - kind of crabby and just not my self. I am usually such a ray of sunshine. If you believe that I have part of a bridge in Brooklyn to sell ya. Anyhow, in the middle of the night I woke up feeling achy and by morning I was sure my head was going to explode and Scott would be having to clean grey matter off the office walls.

My week? Tonight is the kickoff for the Scout Pack fundraiser. Who is to present it to the parents? ME! Tomorrow Drew has his tutor and his therapies and I have choir tomorrow night. We will see what happens. Friday is CHILL (our homeschool co - op.) I am supposed to teach. My co-teacher is away on a business trip. Then as soon as CHILL is over we are to head to Bodega Bay for a CHILL camping trip. IF we don't do that we are supposed to go to OctoberFest at church as well as the Bishop is coming for his visit on Sunday morning to church. Not to mention I have to teach Drew all week.

I checked the scheudle and I have tried to explain to this cold that 3 weeks from now would be better if it would like to rebook. I was met with a full on coughing attack. Guess this cold and I will not be seeing eye to eye and it is planning on sticking around a few days.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Saturday Morning

Well it is Saturday morning. Again. Scott and his friends are on a re-con ride getting ready for the GranFondo which is coming up in a few weeks. I am staring at a mound of laundry. But instead I think Drew and I will go get lunch and go to the library. And Skippy needs his nails cut, and the car needs washed, and I am sure I can find 10 other things to do besides the laundry. But it will be waiting for me no matter what. So I will get it started.

We are getting ready to start our next section of ancient history. We will be spending a month or so studying Ancient Egypt. I have some fun stuff planned. We are going to mummify a chicken. I will take pictures to help document this one.

CHILL has started up again. Yesterday was like the first day of school for our homeschoolers. There was such excitement in the air as everyone gathered. New students, old students, new and old moms - all with the mission of giving their kids one more outlet for learning. Drew is taking Spanish, Nutrition and Getting ready for Fort Ross. That is several posts in itself so stay tuned for our living/learning time at Ft. Ross. I am teaching ASL. I have a great group of kids. My co teacher is such a great funny lady she should be the head teacher because she can keep their attention better than me. But together we make a GREAT team. I swear if I could I would get her on Last Comic Standing. She would walk away with it all.

IF I had my way Drew and I would be spending the day at Disneyland. Too bad it is a 6 hour car trip. I wish it was closer. I would never get laundry done. I tried to convince Scott we needed to go again for Halloween but I was informed that Christmas in Florida was enough. HUMPH.

We are headed camping next weekend with our CHILL group. We are going to the sand dunes of Bodega Bay. The weather is supposed to be good. LASt camping trip of the year. We need to start thinking about where we want to go next summer so we can get it booked. People start booking campsites in February for the summer. So I need to pin Scott down on where we are going. WHAT AM I SAYING????? No one would believe I enjoy camping now. There is something totally different about camping in California.

well the laundry waits and drew is STARVING.



Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Unit Studies

I think I may be getting the hang of this. This school year, so far is much better than the last. We are having fun. I am not nearly as uptight. I see lots of progress being made.

I attended a class a few weeks ago on unit studies. This used to be how school was taught. Most of the subjects were incorporated around a topic (writing, history, science, art, English). So I decided this year I would try my hand at using unit studies to teach Drew about the ancient civilizations. We just finished Mesopotamia and will start Ancient Egypt next week. When I was 8 I had no clue what the Fertile Crescent was let alone it was bordered by the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, Drew does and he can explain what a shaduf is and how it works. We learned that the Mesopotamians invented the wheel as well as the flush toilet (I thank them for both). We have learned about Cuniform and ziggurats. We have drawn pictures, colored maps, made puppets, discussed agriculture, roles of men and women. The list goes on. It has been LOADS of fun for both of us.

Today he started asking about where Dracula came from as well as Frankenstein, werewolves, why mummies were supposed to be scary. He already has Halloween on his mind. So it hit me. I home school! I can teach what I want! If it excites Drew then let's learn about it. We are going to take about 2 weeks close to Halloween and do a unit study on the myths and legends of Halloween.

We have the big trip in December that he doesn't know about. So, why not do a unit study on the life of Walt Disney and his vision? I actually have unit studies planned for the next 5 months. Maybe this will be one way to keep school going year round. In the summer we just do a couple unit studies.

We still do math and spelling most days but we have so much fun with these studies it is hard to get the other stuff in like we need to.

I found this video the other day and it sums up homeschooling so well. I was terrified at the beginning but my home school friends have helped so much. I have learned that every day there are opportunities to learn that don't involve a classroom. We embrace learning in a totally different hands on way. We now go camping, play dates, park days, museums, field trips to all sorts of places. We are going to Monterey Aquarium in November, Fort Ross in April. Drew will be taking Spanish, nutrition this semester with our local co-op. He is also taking a year long class to get us ready for Fort Ross and when we get back he will have to make a presentation board about what he learned. He has already picked his country for our International day.

I get really irritated at our pastors wife. She is a teacher and every time she sees Drew she asks him math questions, spelling questions, English (noun verb) questions. She is continually tell me that he is behind. UMM...NO he is not behind, he is where he needs to be for him. How may second graders do you know who can point to the Tigris River on a map and explain that is now an area in conflict? The math and spelling will come - heck Phil can't spell and he is about to graduate from college.

I guess what I am trying to say (getting off my soap box) is that while home school is not for everyone. For us it has been the best thing we CHOSE to do.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

THAT day

9 years ago I was driving my son to school after a dentist appointment. We were listening to the radio when the announcer announced someone with really bad direction had flown a small aircraft into the World Trade Center. WOW that is crazy I thought. We kept driving. A few minutes later the announcer came back on and said - it happened again - another plane had hit the other tower and it was a commerical aircraft carrier. WOW that is even crazier. Phil asked me what it meant. I had no idea but I assured him (with the confidence that every mother has in moments like this) that everything would be all right and he was safe.

I got him to school and walked in and told the secretary something crazy was going on and she needed to find a radio. I explained what we had heard on the radio. At that moment all of her phone lines started ringing with concerned parents. I hugged Phil good bye and said I would see him after school. I remember calling Scott on my way home and telling him he needed to find a way to get some news. This was 9 years ago before constant, instantious internet news coverage.

I went home and turned on the TV. My sister called (or maybe I called her) we sat watching the TV trying to figure out what was going on. We were 60 miles away from each other and it was one time in our life that I truly felt close to her. Our parents were on the way to DC on vacation. They were driving. My cell rang and it was mom. Amie called Dad on her cell. One most of my vivid memories is my sister yelling "OH MY GOD it is going down" as the first building fell. We watched in horror connected by that phone at what was happening before eyes. We begged them to come home. Finally they realized this was major. They were driving and only had our accounts and the radio to go by. They did turn around and head for KC.

The other day I was talking to Phil about what he remembered. He recounted what happened as the school day continued. I remember fighting the urge to go get him and bring him home (that safe haven every parent feels about their house for their child). As Phil and I talked the other day it hit me. For his generation, this is the first "I remember where I was when...." they will have. He was the about the same age I was when I had my first one of those moments,John Lennon being shot. Somehow, now that memory doesn't compare to his first of those memories.
I remember that day, 9 years ago wondering about the world my child was growing up in. 9 months later we adopted Andrew. He doesn't remember a world where you don't have to take your shoes off at the airport, or packing all your liquids in your checked bags. This is the first year I have exposed him to what happened that day. I wanted him to maintain his belief that the world is inherently good as long as possible.

I pray for Phil, his generation has VERY few of the "I remember where I was..." moments. I hope for all of us there is never another day that causes such fear. But like my friend Allan said... If you give into the fear, you let them win.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

On the move

Well it appears we are moving. No, not back to Kansas. (sad) Not back to Albuquerque either. We are moving about 6 miles from here. We will be downsizing BIG time. Fine by me. When we rented this house we anticipated that Phil would be moving to California at some point and we wanted him to have his own space. Well, obviously that is not happening.

So it is time to move. Our new house will be about the size of our house in Lawrence. Smaller backyard. Not sure what we will do with the pool or the trampoline. (getting rid of the trampoline will be hard. It was one of the last things my mom gave Drew - sentimental)

But the people who own it planted about 100 rose bushes. The owner hopes they are still surviving. He is concerned the current tenants have not taken care of things like they should have. That is why he likes us. We have taken care of our current house like it was ours. The owner has agreed to the dog and the cat. Not sure how Cavity will like the move. He is a pretty stubborn cat.

Not sure if the official move date is November 1 or December 1. I am hopeful it is November. Scott's mom is to come out for Thanksgiving and I would prefer to be in the new house so she doesn't have to navigate stairs or deal with everything being in boxes and my stress level during a move. Just have to see what happens.