Sunday, March 28, 2010

Annabelle has a few imaginary friends hanging about lately whose names are Kelly, Alice, Sarah, and most importantly, Ellis. She cracks me up daily with her conversations and descriptions of them. When one of my nieces was younger, she had an imaginary friend named Gally who was very misbehaved and always causing trouble. In fact, one time she even told us matter-of-factly that Gally was going to hell. What I find entertaining about Annabelle's friend Ellis, is that she, in stark contrast to Gally, is a little angel. She told me a couple of days ago that Ellis ALWAYS wears her tights and sometimes she wears tights, socks and shoes. Ellis also never pitches fits and doesn't wear her panties backwards. Ellis also loves baths and never cries when her mom washes her hair.

In other Annabelle news, she is such a little eavesdropper! The boys have rarely ever paid attention to my conversations, but not her! She is listening. So, no more talk of our power struggles when she's within earshot lest she become even more grounded in her identity as a strong-willed child. I am trying to only talk about the good things she has done throughout the day instead. And I am trying to be sincere.

The picture to the right is of her holding her doll whose name is Kenny. Kenny is a girl. I love it.

The boys went down to South Georgia with Seth this weekend. They had a blast fishing, riding 4 wheelers, building forts and fires, and getting dirty. The only picture we have from the trip is this one that Seth sent me with his phone.

Annabelle and I hung out here at the house. Lucie spent the night, I cleaned a lot of house, we hung out at Mimi and Granddaddy's quite a bit and best of all, I got to go play some music with friends on Saturday night. It was a good weekend for everyone.

I am off to wash the foul smelling bags of laundry the boys brought home.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Today is Thursday. It is the one day a week I do not teach class, we do not have kids camp at Church, the boys do not have scouts and therefore we try to stay at home. About six weeks after having Caleb way-back-in-the-day Seth began calling me the "stay-at-home mom who isn't ever home ". In my defense, I was just getting used to being at the house all day and had been cooped from a horrible recovery from the birthing aka "extracting" at that point in time. It is true, I like to go, though I have learned that it is much better to stay in more than I would prefer. Schoolwork gets done in a timely fashion, the house is cleaner, dinners exist and on and on and on.... So here I am embracing a stay-at-home-Thursday and trying to keep this blog up to date.

Frankly not too much is happening here. The weather has been warmer this week and we have been outside as much as possible. The fresh air and sunshine makes for happier moods all around. In fact, on Tuesday, the weather outside was so nice that we all decided to do half of our school work this coming Saturday and take the afternoon off. I figured a day out in the woods at that age makes for a acceptable learning experience itself and was just what those guys needed. At this very moment (Thursday @ 11:30ish) we are taking a break from school work. We were just writing a paragraph about our chapter from our book last night. Well, I was the one writing. Caleb and Adam were drawing a picture and helping narrate what I wrote. I am hopeful that composing a paragraph together each day is the first step in learning to write. They enjoy that part of the school day very much. In a little while, we will reconvene and finish Math and some handwriting.

For now they have disappeared into their room to play Legos until I drag them out. Annabelle is wandering around the house with her backpack and high heel dress-up shoes bringing me baby dolls to me ever so often. She tells me that I am the Mimi and I need to babysit her doll named Ellis. She is stuck on that name right now for her dolls and imaginary friends. I have no idea where it came from.

Seth and I are trying to make decisions on whether to list the house in a couple of weeks or just keep in for sale by owner. We are also making a list of the things we can afford to do to spruce it up and make it more attractive to a buyer. It really would be helpful if the kids would stop breaking windows. Please keep praying for us in all this because we NEED to sell this house and move on.
Our neighbor, Gentry, stopped by this afternoon to play. She is the gal who watches Annabelle one morning a week for me and is awesome.
Can you see the broken window in the background? Also, note that Annabelle is doing a ballet pose for the picture. cuteness.

4 hours later.........Well, we just took a little trip down the road to Toys'R'Us so the boys could spend some money they have earned recently on what else but....NEW LEGOS! I milked it for all it was worth before we left making them finish chores and school and then even having them sit down while I trimmed their hair. We just needed to get out for a little while I guess. :)

Tuesday, March 2, 2010


It is finally March and Asheville is possibly getting the last snowfall of the year out there today. OK, probably not but whatever. We have felt the effects of the plentiful snow this season considering when Seth (or me which accounts for a little income) can't get out to work, he does not get paid, and the electric and gas bills are through the roof, but whatever, the snow is so pretty and complaining won't help. Besides, the boys have had a blast sledding.

We have really buckled down on the home school front since November. Without going into too much detail, I will say that during the time leading up to the wedding we were really struggling. Both boys, in particularly Caleb, were "behind" for there grade level and many days were a battle with bad attitudes and frustrations for everyone, the boys, Seth, and even Annabelle. Angie, my sister in law, recommended that we set up an appointment with a Learning Solutions specialist, Ms. Moore, so she could help us out.
So we did. She met with Caleb and then with us a few days later. It was just what we needed at that point to get us set on a better, happier, and more productive track in life.

There were tears, there was laughter, and there many "ah-ha!" moments of realizations in the meeting and days that followed. I won't go into everything but will sum it up with a list of a few things we learned:

1.Most importantly she laid out a system of organization wherein the boys each have 7 or 8 baskets containing their assignments or work for the day. I lay them out and when they are completed the boys take them across the room to the "finished stack." I know it sounds simple but it has had a profound effect on our life. The concreteness of seeing what was to be done and what was finished was so very significant. The baskets have an assortment of things in them from flashcards and a book, to a workbook, or even a puzzle. It was very important that a couple of baskets had a drawing pad or a puzzle which they considered tolerable, if not almost a fun activity.
2. Ms. Moore noticed that Caleb has a hard time hearing some sounds....not that he has hearing problems, just he doesn't hear correctly or something. She recommended a program called Earobics that he plays on the computer everyday. They all three play it everyday. Yep, even Annabelle.
3. We talked a lot about Seth getting involved so that the boys have someone else other than me for accountability.
4. She recommended looking into Mothers Morning Out for Annabelle possibly once a week.
5. I also decided to rethink my aerobics class schedule mainly because we all function so much better in the mornings rather than afternoon.

Things started going better after that. much better. Annabelle goes to a neighbor's house one morning a week and I changed my class schedule so we were home 4 out of 5 mornings of the week. We are using the basket system for better organization. Attitudes have gotten better and skills have improved.

I decided a while back that the only downside to homeschooling (in my opinion) is this: Children tend to behave the worst for their mother. Honestly, I cringe when I write this but I do have to admit the tendency is there for most kids. I am quite sure that at least Adam would not have a meltdown and fall in the floor crying over reading a book if he were in a classroom setting and with a teacher. (not so sure about Caleb) I have considered this and given it a lot of thought. My mom has spent some time with the boys since then doing schoolwork to help with this issue. A friend and I even took turns reading with the other's boys a few times.

HOWEVER, I have come to another conclusion.....of course not on my own. As a parent we do our best to look at an issue and consider what is going on in our child's heart. Shepherding a Child's Heart is a book that explains it all so much better.... you should read it. For example, the unders battle with Annabelle was a major heart issue rather than just a physical thing. It really comes down to what is going on in my boys hearts when they act like jerks and don't want to do their school work. Sure, it is because the work is hard and they would rather be playing, but it is also due to a rebellious spirit toward me. Which needs to be dealt with......... now while they are young.
Should I add that I should do all of this with a compassionate heart toward my children? Again, thank God that his mercies are new every morning and I do not have to rely on myself to take care of their souls.

That may be over-simplifying it all but it is all I can muster up for the blog at this point.

So we push on through and I try to keep things fun and interactive, but they still must do handwriting everyday. And sometimes that means that we just work through a math worksheet. But other days it means that we play monopoly for our math lesson or we draw pictures of the book we are reading as another. By the way, that book is The Education of Little Tree right now which is awesome and another reason I love homeschooling my children. We are laughing. We are crying. We are learning. I remember reading that book as a sixth grader and am ashamed to admit that I hated it then. I think it had more to do with not liking my teacher and that my friends hated it than the book itself. I love it now.

This is a picture Seth took of the boys this past weekend when they drove up to Johnson City, TN to pick up Seth's cousin, DJ, who is a truck driver. The boys were highly impressed with his rig.

We were searching through the hand-me-downs in the basement for cleats and found these size 8 footy pajamas. Adam thought they were hilarious and has taken to wearing them every night.

Annabelle is at that point where she could use a nap, but if she takes one she won't be sleepy until 10pm. Therefore, the nap has been officially dropped. Sometimes she does fall asleep in the late afternoon and this particular time she just happened to be having a snack at the bar!

*It just dawned on me that I should probably go back and add that the boys are "behind" in reading and handwriting. Math is fine and of course they don't test their knowledge on revolutionary and civil war happenings! Plus you should see Caleb chop wood or ride one of those rip-sticks! :)