Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Fair, finally.

August asked me when I was gonna wrap some presents and put them under our tree. Procrastination. So I did. I noticed that I had one less for Sawyer and that the Bionicles (ducking the boos for the made in china plastic lego crap) I bought for him didn't "match". So I left two bags out empty for him. I mentionned to Don that there were less gifts for Sawyer. His comment "they won't even notice". So what's the first thing they do in the morning? "LET'S ORGANIZE THE PRESENTS!!!!!" So they organize. What do they notice. Sawyer has three less....I call him into our room and explain I made a mistake and two more were coming for him. So out he goes happy, and says, "those 2 empty bags are for mine...." So off I head to Walmart, Zellers, Superstore (ducking again....) and guess what? Bionicles are sold out everywhere. So then I figure out the 3 year old doesn't need matching bionicles, he'll probably be happy with one, so I re-wrap the 3 year olds bionicles - one big/one little that match - for the 5 year old (I'm a good mummy I changed bags....) and wrapped 1 for the 3 year old (I got them for him so he didn't feel left out, turns out he didn't need em.....) Then I dig out another gift I had in the cupboard and now all the kids have gifts again. The next morning there is another re-organization. Later that day Holdy, 3, says to me, "Where is my little bag, I had two little bags and 1 disappeared" He NOTICED I had switched out one of his little gifts.....I couldn't believe it. So luckily, I remembered another gift I had stashed a couple of months ago, popped that into a bag for him, and all was "fair", finally.

The play that goes on with the Bionicles is so sweet. These slasher shooter creatures are sick, and in the hospital, their mummies help them get better, they go to sleep overs.....I get a good giggle out of it.....

Santa, that dastardly fellow, got them a 250 piece set of tinkertoys....ok, what brainiac wanted that gift cuz now there are 250 wooden pieces of made in china crap all over our floor......

Junie B Jones. A sweet little thing. I laugh when I read it to the kids. Especially when the mother or the teacher puts her head on the table/desk in exasparation. I hate the fact that some of the "grammar" is SO bad. So what do I do? Read and correct as I go (so when August is reading with me sees me say different words than what are written), read it as it is so he matches my reading to the words (inward groan) or not read at all. I know it's useless twaddle; I read a lot of twaddle free literature to them too. I also hate some of the topics. To 3 boys I just read "the mushy gushy valentine" Argh! About boys and girls 'liking' each other, getting a Valentine from a "secret admirer" and bugging each other because they "liked" each other etc. It was just so out of context for my kids, I wanted to quit reading and move on to the next book, about a field trip to a farm. But of course I couldn't. Pretty sure my kids took it as liking as in for a friend. But this makes me believe that it is media, books, tv and just being in school that teaches this, for want of a better word, sexualization of boy-girl relationships so young. Right now one of August's best friends is a grade 5 ten year old girl. They spend hours together. Go figure, he's in grade 2. Another reason not to send my boys to school. Note to self, pre-read/scan silly books to make sure topics are ok......

Friday, December 26, 2008

Nice Christmas

The kids were soooooooooo darn cute....August left a wordsearch for Santa "find egg" and Sawyer made a little book for Santa in an envelope....and August went out and dug fresh carrots for the reindeer....No mean feet as there is 40+ cms of snow on them and halfway thru we got a call from the neighbor that a bear had headed in our front gate. I ran out screaming for him to come in.....and then we all watched the bear meander down the field, past the veggie garden to the back and over the fence into the neighbors.....very cool.....
Everyone behaved and we had a 21lb free range turkey cooked a la martha stewart with a cheeseclothe over the breast soaked in white whine and butter, and basted every hour OH. MY. GOD. the BEST BEST BEST turkey I've ever had!!!!!!!!!!!
The kids didn't get too many gifts and seem thrilled with everything, played and played and played today with all their gifts. Pretty funny when the bionicle with the slashers and shooters has to go ask his mummy if he can go on a playdate.......
Happy Holidays All!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Rampant Consumerism at a halt.....

Watching the news last night the newscast was full of the doom and gloom we are all becoming used to. The focus was the fact that the economy is going to suffer because Canadians are not spending money because they are afraid of a slowdown so they are going to cause the slowdown to be even worse......
OR MAYBE Canadians are sick and tired of all the plastic/junk Made in China crap they buy on impulse at Walmart, Zellers, Stupid Store er I mean Superstore, Liquidation world, don'tgetmestarted on Dollar Stores and various thrift stores and their houses are full to the brim, so they are junking it all, feeling guilty at the landfillage (new word?), and deciding that all the crap is NOT NECESSARY. So they are going back to the basics, and trying to make Christmas more about family and less about things. At least that is what I hope they are doing. Sorry to say, I was out looking for something to buy as I don't have anything for Hubby. I hate buying because I should.

I find that if I go to those stores and look around I can always find something that I NEED, but if I don't go, surprise, I don't buy anything. So I try my hardest not to go. I avoid the crap aisles like the plague at SS and avoid Walmart as much as possible. It's amazing how much I don't need. Everytime I buy something I look where it's made. The hat I bought August when he was one, and it still looks as good as new? Made in Canada. Even upmarket gift retailers are full of Made in China SH!T. When we lived in HK we went to a HUGE trade show in GuangJong, like the hugest there is, the one all these wholesalers go to, and guess what we saw? Everything that is in the stores today, mass produced.

My sisterinlaw is very very frugal. If you look around her house you see the same stuff everytime you visit. She doesn't buy stuff. Never. There is nothing extra, and her house is deliciously neat, organized and clutter free and easy to care for. And I bet she has a big bank account for it.......

A friend recommended watching the "story of stuff" gotta find that now.......will post link......

Monday, December 22, 2008

Christmas. is. wonderful. right???

Do mother's never quit? And I mean MY MOTHER. ARGH!!! We just spent a couple of nights with her and we heard non stop "when are you going to cut their hair, they look like girls" and "make them clean up their mess" and "poor Sawyer, he's never been to school to meet friends." I have NO IDEA where that one came from....but she elaborated, of course. I guess she feels August went to K and met friends and Sawyer has never had the chance. Yep, my poor socially inept Sawyer - he's going to suffer forever because he's not in school (if you knew him you'd know this was completely laughable.....) and to top it off August has no friends from K (read back to read about his K class) and in fact the class was a bit of a disaster.....So I really have NO IDEA where my mum was coming from except this is her new tactic.....The old "homeschooled kids are not socialized...." Don't get me started. Hubby was complaining/venting to our neighbor who said "wow, i need to sit down and tell her about all the things my 10 year old daughter is exposed to at school that I wish she wasn't....." (AND when she is 13 she'll be at high school with 18 year old guys in the new configuration, great.)

Now, to top it off, my mom is pulling the guilt trip, poor me, I'm not appreciated, I'm so hard done by, my kids are so evil, trip on us and it's CHRISTMAS for CHRIST's sake. Now apparently she's pissed because my dad is going to be here (you know the 82 year old, who's birthday is the 24th, who's housebound due to snow, blind and deaf, sleeps in the chair most of the time and used to be married to her.....and yes, they have been coming to my house together since we moved here, and she's even had him out to her house for dinner with us....) and she was here last year and he wasn't and she made a scene because the stuffing everyone loved she hated because it had raisons in it......I digress. Christmas is great isn't it? Oh but, it's HER TURN THIS YEAR NOT HIS, REMEMBER, I 'changed the rules' apparently. Wow are you confused yet? There's more, way way more, but I won't bore you with details....

We (hubby and I) have determined to be the adults and I phoned her tonight to make peace. Impressed? Makes me want to ralph, quite frankly. She must have seen my number and didn't answer.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Christmas, goodies and all

Stoppped by my mum's last night...an left with three boxes of Xmas goodies....and I have zero willpower (witness the almost finished 2 gallon bucket of meringues.....) THREE BOXES I'm positive it's some sort of passive aggressive I'm going to feed you til you explode type of thing. So what do I do about the kids? Do I make them finish their meals before having a "treat" or does that start some bad patterns....Do I let them eat til they feel sick? Do I try and balance the two? ARGH! Right now it's a battle to get the little guy to eat a meal, and usually the only reason he finishes is for his desert, which I HATE. But whatdoyahdo? I think we have pretty realistic expectations about how much he can eat...I put very little on his plate.....The oldest 2, 5,7 are of course human vacuums.....

Last year their best gift was the $2.49 on sale BATMANs that I got at a closing out sale and Santa "left" on their bedroom floor to open first. They spent hours first of all trying to open them and then hours playing with them. Once we got up it became 'how fast can I open this and what's next'.....kind of a bummer really....so I've done a LOT less this year hoping that the main gift is cherished and appreciated and played with for hours.....I've avoided "madeinchinapiecesofcrap" that are so prevalent everywhere as much as I can - don't get me started on that one.....I'm scared to look where the bionicles are made. Santa is bringing consumables - bubble bath, toothbrushes, and a couple of hotwheels....and socks.....they are sooooo excited already, and are busy making pictures for us.

They made tissue paper covered jar candles for the grandmas, which will be appreciated......we'll see how this xmas goes....

Started writing this a week ago, so must get on with it.....

Thursday, December 11, 2008

My boys!

This morning after dealing with the ongoing 3 boys bugging each others for awhile at the breakfast table, I said something like "you guys are driving me bananas!!!!" To which Sawyer answered "Mummy, How do you drive a banana??" Which made me laugh!

We took a mini art class at a scrapbook shop - an accordian book that the lady had purchased and then cut a bunch of cool christmas paper to glue on both sides of each page, then some reindeer stamps, part of the rudolph song for one side of the pages and room for xmas pictures on the other side of the pages. Very cute little book. The 2 big boys got right in there with the glue, it was all very systematic and not much room for creativity....but of course they found a way, coloring over the words with felt pens, coloring with sparkly pens then felt over top to make sparkly colors, coloring over the neat scrapbook paper....you know, making a very Martha Stewart project their own. What were the little girls doing? Sitting quietly following instructions with nicely colored reindeer.

Just like the Piano lessons August was in the last two years. A cool program called Music For Young Children, which is group based with parent involvement. August was the only boy. All the "homework" he did was big scribble scrawls...and all the girls' had beautiful colored and glued and cut stuff. The difference is startling and unexplainable if you don't have boys.....at the Consignment store today I said something that sparked a conversation. (I bought shrink art but wasn't sure my 7 year old could do it as his fine motor skills weren't that great....and she agreed that her son was the same - the conversation went on.....) The lady had 2 girls and a boy, she was like "yah, tell the boy to go brush his teeth, like 8 times, then go and see what they're doing and they're filling the sink with water and floating things" I remember reading something by Eddie Murphy years ago to the effect that you better have your boy first or you'll think there is something wrong with the boy if the girl comes first. Homelearning mommies with girls have it easy, that's my story and I'm sticking to it!

BTW Shrink Art went over WELL here!!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Homelearner Neurosis....

My friend wrote in her blog about her crappy week and her doubts about their path, ironic when my blog delved into that last week. I'm pretty sure she doesn't read here. My kids play all day, hot wheels, trains, forts, sliding on mattress, worms in manure pile, bug/slug eggs from garden. tv-magic school bus and etc, -so today, feeling guilty that I don't "school" them I had them sit down and do a little workbook stuff....no major arm twisting, they could choose letters or numbers.....hmmmm I wonder when they learned more....Reading Advent calender scavenger hunt clues (4 or 5 to figure out every morning to find their chocolate kiss) Overheard "think August think.....where do we keep our favourite toys???"......the reading we do, library visits, imprompto google searches or the listening to books on tape.....or doing some workbook pages. LEARNING BY DOING right? My dad asked me "how long are you going to do this schooling at home thing?" I think he means "Man you never do anything resembling school when I'm here" (He's here 1-3 nights/week) I still wonder how any mom can find the time, I never get anything done....My house slowly morphs into a pit my laundry stacks up, my kitchen floor looks like the driveway and my bedsheets....well I won't go there.....Maybe this is the secret reason why most curriculums fail????? TIME. I often think how much more organized my house would be, how much more time I would have to cook/clean etc if my kids went to school.....
An 18 year old killed himself this week in a car accident here.....5 kids in the car, no seatbelts, N or L licence ....perhaps alcohol involved with running the red light. This scares the crap out of me. Watching my friends/family/acquaintances with older kids I see my future and hope to hell my kids stay close.....I'll have to video Holdy bawling "I don't want to leave you mummy, I want to stay with you forever!!!!" when I explain that one day he may move into his own home...What exactly is my SIL going to do when her now 10 year old daughter wants to stay out with no curfew, I mean her son, 16, has no curfew......stays out all night and and and....and who am I to judge my boys haven't got there yet.....She asked me what I thought and I said just that "How can I say what I think you should do when I'm not you and my kids are only 3,5 and 7" Hold on to my kids, hard, hope, pray (to whom I dunno) that they choose the right path, knowing that they will do stupid things, just like I did, and hopefully get lucky, just like I did....and hope that they make WAY better choices than their friends......

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Angus Young is one LUCKY dude!

Yep, we had a 3 day trip to Tacoma to see AC/DC.....and it was everything and more. Mostly more.....man they rocked, the stadium pulsed, the crowd roared, the music blared and we didn't stop screaming for the entire show.....THEY ROCKED!!!! What a show!
Regrets? That the kids weren't 5 years older and with us....it was SO COOL to see parents and kids rocking together....
Thoughts? To be 53 and to ROCK ON like Angus did ... Man, he found his passion young. He was working so hard he was sweating a river, and when he stripped down to the jockey's with AC/DC on his butt, highlighted for all on the big screen, it may just have been the biggest roar heard from the stadium all night.....or was it when the played "all night long" or "dirty deeds" or "she's got the jack" or "thunderstruck" Man it was FUN!

Just got a link for an awesome website: http://sandradodd.com/pam/howto

A must read!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Don't know yet

August figured out how calenders worked today....spent a bit of time working out what day of the week Christmas is, what day it is today and tomorrow. Cool.
He also wrote me a shopping list. Mouse traps and bag of 75 chocolates (for the advent calenders we made.....) His spelling was interesting but I'm SO HAPPY HE WROTE SOMETHING!!!
My dad is 82 and getting old. He had a hip replaced 10 years ago, a quintuple bypass and a bout of prostate cancer. His eyesight is almost gone, his hearing is bad and basically he's quite unhealthy and the hip is starting to go again. He falls, regularly. He falls asleep, regularly. He spends 1 or 2 nights a week here and I do all his banking, shopping, etc with him. He lives about 25 minutes away, which makes for an hour round trip not including errands. I am getting concerned about his hygiene and eating habits and afraid he may fall and seriously hurt himself and not be able to get help. However, he also has his pride. So I got his Dr. to call him in, without letting on it was me behind the appointment. I was then informed he had a dr's appt. So I hand the receptionist a list (handicapped parking tag, lifeline, homecare, hip problems, falls regularly, asthma, etc.) and softly say (my dad cannot hear me) please don't let my dad know I've given the dr. this list, he has his pride. So 5 minutes into the appointment the doctor calls me in, and with my list in hand, and with my 3 boys pinging around the small room, he goes over the list with my dad and I. I am steaming mad at this point (and afraid of what my dad would say to me).....I leave the room and get mad at the receptionist, in a totally disrespectful manner, which I am trying to change about myself. My dad comes out a little while later, we make appointments, fill out forms and head out to take him home. What does he say to me now?? "Wow, that doctor was certainly organized eh?"
He didn't/couldn't see that the list the doctor was using was from me........
Now I find out one can make an appointment to see one's parent's doctor to discuss ongoing issues. Wish I had known that.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Am I Robbing My Children?

I know I'm not, but it's a constant internal battle. My kids aren't learning in a structured environment. They aren't learning things in a straight line.....but we did blow up balloons with vinegar and baking soda tonight, and then blew out the CO2 in the balloons on their beans that are growing in front of the fire, growing from seeds that came from our garden this summer, that I didn't believe would grow, and they did.....look long and scraggly, but they ARE growing....what was my point??? Ah yes, am I robbing them. Today we did some Christmas crafts read a little, watched a lot of TV (August is sick, again) and played with Hotwheels.....I'm having a hard time trying to put words to how I'm feeling. I guess I'm doubting the path we're taking. Would my kids be better off at school? Would they be happier? Would they learn more? Do they need to learn more? I find it hard to find time to do anything with them in between cleaning, cooking, caring for 3 boys and hubby, groceries, don't ask me about the mountain of laundry that needs folding, garden work.....HOW DOES ANYONE GET ANYTHING DONE???? My days are not long enough......Wow what an eclectic confused post, I guess the churning in me is now in front of me.....

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Desperately seeking.....

It's funny, but I read often from homeschooling parents, mothers mostly, on forums etc. that they spend time desparately seeing the perfect curriculum....buying one after another after another, spending gazillions of dollars on curriculums that they ditch after a short while because they don't work. I started doing this while tutoring young chinese kids in Hong Kong. I ordered the perfect "phonics" program, bought book after book, workbook after workbook, each one a boring failure and the lightbulb slowly went on for me and I understood more and more. I still didn't know about homeschooling and unschooling at this point. I found that the best way to reach the kids was to read cool books with them and then design FUN activities around the books. I read Roald Dahl a lot with the kids, Captain Underpants too - a huge hit, and I learned. When I had kids, began my journey into attachment parenting, LLL, Continuum Concept, and finally homeschooling I started researching curriculums, finding free ones like Letteroftheweek.com, Five in a Row and Sonlight....FIAR's literature lists and ideas are great, I ordered the books and the guides, and did nothing but read the books over and over to my kids. I don't know that I did ONE thing from the guides. Activities to reinforce learning SNORE. Sonlight's literature idea is awesome but by now I knew I would never do everything....so ordered some of their reading list but stayed away from their IGs. I have purchased less than most people I think. I did a few lapbooks with my kids, but again, reinforcing learning isn't really necessary. Either they get it or not. Either they want to know about something or they don't. If anything, by doing the lapbooks I killed their interest in certain topics. (here's a whole nother blogpost i suspect) I haven't completely given up on them, maybe when they are older they may enjoy the project aspect of lapbooks....but for now I have let them fall by the wayside. I have fallen for a couple of Math programs, but spent relatively little money. And I know with my kids its all about living and reading about real life stuff, and doing real life stuff every day, like catching mosquito larvae to put into your fish tank. You know the whole circle of life thing. You know Charlotte Mason's twaddle free literature, and living books, and living history???? Yep, she knew what she was talking about. Are all these parents desparately seeking the perfect curriculum wasting their time and money? Yep. It's right in front of their noses. Great books! LIFE LEARNING. SELF DIRECTED. Let the kids free to explore their own interests...and as a parent watch....and feed....spend all that money feeding the passion......and of course READ READ READ to them.....

All this just hit me today.

I figured out what August said. His loose tooth is driving him batty....it's been almost out for a week now, he finally said....."Maybe tonight I'll just put my whole head under the pillow and the tooth fairy can just take my tooth!" Ok, well *I* thought it was funny.

Monday, November 17, 2008

It's over

Visit with teacher facilitator went fine. Mostly just me looking at PLOs and ticking off what my kids have done. August read for her and played piano, Sawyer too. She's super sweet and all the worry was for nothing.

I'm noticing August sitting and actually reading books today, not just pictures. Cool. I knew it was gonna happen soon......

August made me laugh today with something he said, and for the life of me I can't remember what it was. How can I forget? I need a memo machine or a notebook.....I was driving so I don't know how I could have written it down, but even one word and I may have remembered.....

My kids want to know how the old man went to bed if he was already snoring.....

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Panic Attack

Teacher supervisor visit tomorrow.

Me Panic.

Me kinda ticked that the 'unschoolers' were given a new hire who hasn't even read John Holt.

That I have to work on/educate her to see where I'm coming from.

Good thing she's pregnant now, she will start to understand....but unfortunately she will be off all next year and won't finish this year...

I tried to market math workbooks to August Saying that I would get in trouble if he didn't do SOMETHING.....he still couldn't do them, and I felt bad going against all my principles trying to get him to do them.....Believe me I didn't even TRY to get him to write anything....So it ticks me off totally as I`ve probably set August back months in real `learning` in trying to coerce him into doing stuff he had no interest in. When will I learn.

So I gave up - I know he understands the Math already, maybe not in its formal form.....but intellectually he does...

He has chosen books to read to her, this is not an issue.....and I suspect he will play piano for her.....

I'm still panic stricken......

SLUG SLUG SLUG Where are you????

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Learning all the time....

My husband learns all the time. He wants to figure something out, he researches, asks those who know, tinkers and figures it out. Right now he's installing our neighbors pergo floor in their brand new house. He's never done this before. He's never farmed strawberries before either, and we've owned a strawberry farm for over 3 years now. Can you imagine the things he's figured out? Tractors, PTOs, irrigation, fertilizer, planting....tractor implements. While I just thought it would be cool to own a farm. After taking a week to plant 4500 strawberry plants by hand he found a transplanter rusting at the back of a friends farm, negotiated for it, ordered parts (it was designed in the late 1890s and not modified much since then) and refurbished it. It now takes us one day to plant 7000 plants. Manure spreader? yep, this one was built in 1939.....he's reconditioned it too. Rock Picker? (We live on boulder hill, don't ask about the rocks that truly DO grow here.) Yep, got one of those....he's rebuilding some of it right now. Let's get pigs honey....Build a pig house we can move with our tractor. Check. Oh, for inside the house.....pinball machines, yep we have 8 or 9 in various states of working order. Jukebox? That was a weeklong project in September - take apart, clean, categorize......Antique Tractors?? We've got 2. 1940s era.....One in pieces in the barn. Why do I bother to worry if my kids will learn on their own, look at their father :)

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Shiver Me Timbers!

My Little Pirates, August is sick, but forced himself to go - How could one miss halloween, poor guy. I told him that I would have gone sick as a kid too. As we were about to drive down the driveway he said "do you have your pencil mummy?" He did want his mustache afterall! They had such a blast too. We actually got home made candied apples at one house (we get them every year), must be the last place on the planet, and we ate them too...and we got "cars" toothbrushes at another!! Cumberland, an old mining town, with Victorian houses, is decorated to the 9s and many people are dressed up to give out candy. Such spirit! The kids had the big candy sort and trade this morning - I got the coffee crisps!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Naked Butts

After letting the naked kids run and jump rampant on my bed JUST before getting them ready for bed backfired and I had 3 wired kids to calm down.......I was getting August into his jammies and yelling at er I mean respectfully and calmly asking Sawyer to "get his butt over here and pee before bed" Yelled back at me was "You want my butt, ok, here comes my butt, I'm taking my butt off, it's coming at you now, my butt's on it's way" Of course all 3 kids were busting their sides at this one.....I expect idioms are going to go over well with this kid.......

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Playing War

We went to a pumpkin carving party today. The kids, 8 boys from 3 to 7, had fun, except when all the kids began playing "war" and August came to me because 1. he didn't know how to play 2. he didn't have a toy gun and 3. I think he felt uncomfortable with it. These were 7 year olds. Hmmm, don't know what to think about this.....

Pink Socks and Knitting

My kids wear pink and flowery socks.....and that's ok. So far. They love the colors and fight over who gets to wear which ones....and that's ok. So Far. August expressed an interest in knitting (There must be some developmental stage where kids want to figure out how our every day things are made) this is after we "weaved" with grasses all week.....So I take him to the local Village Yarn Shoppe and the store owner recommends the best needles and shows us the sale yarn.....He chose a funky red-yellow-orange - yellow - green -yellow morphing yarn. He is thrilled. And knitting is hard for 7 year old fingers. And his concentration tongue is sooooooooooooooo cute.... I`m so glad my son thinks it`s ok to knit. If he went to school he may get it figured out for him that it`s a `girl` thing, like figuring out PINK clothes are for girls - I was really sad the day August pointed to the aisle of girl clothes and said ``**Those*** clothes are for girls....` Of course all the bright and colorful clothes are there. Boys clothes, for the most part are pretty dull and drab. Sawyer is stuck right now. His favourite shirt is a pink beaded flowery shirt an older female friend gave him. He wants to wear it. He loves it. Yet he feels somehow he`s not supposed to. Once he showed me he was wearing it under another shirt.....
The best thing about some of the blogs I follow is the pictures of other kids....SouleMama`s son has long hair and was wearing a funky hat.....my kids can see other kids are like them....

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Photos of Tshirts and Pillowcases

Sawyer drawing his rainbow

Holdy choosing crayons for his hands....

ironing the "transfer"

Peeling the transfer and it worked!!

Look at my hands!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Poop Vac

Remote control poop vaccuum. Yup, someone's baby had an accident during swimming lessons today and we were all told to get out of the pool Let me tell you, watching the cleaner guy vacuum poop with a remote control vac was WAY more fun....

I read on a blog somewhere, wish I remember which one, about a cool activity - a blog linked from "unplugyourkids". So after swimming today I bought some sandpaper, 100 grit, and brought it home. The kids made pictures on them with crayons. Then we turned them over on t-shirts and pillowcases and ironed them. COOL!!! A transfer. They loved it! And if you color in the same place again it's reusable......August went outside and colored a maple tree that's beside our deck, Sawyer did a rainbow then balloons and Holdy wanted to do his hands so we traced them and I colored them in for him.....what an EASY awesome activity!

Sawyer, "Mummy we're doing lots of things, why?"

Overheard Sawyer on the phone to a 30 year old friend "so, what do you want to talk about?"
This was after he played 2 songs on the piano for her "old macdonald" and "twinkle, twinkle" (he's had like 5 lessons) and the three boys all sang "Moose Song" on three different phones with her....and he waited to call her back after she went to help a friend who ran out of gas......Can you say 5 year old ladykiller?

Monday, October 20, 2008

Tide is High....

So we head down to the beach again yesterday to cut grass to weave. We noticed the high water, but assumed that was it. You would never have known I grew up there......so we go down to the low water line. It's quite a hike thru a bunch of dried up river beds.......and then over some grass flats to the beach....We cut a bunch of grass, collect sticks to make a frame, goof around, see a seal swimming out the mouth of the river (there *must* be salmon going up the river) and make our way back across the grass flats and ..... the tide is up and I have to carry the boys across the first wet spot, laughing and giggling about what a geek mummy is. And "good thing mummy wore boots today!" and "when we can see the moon we should know the water is coming" and me "when I was little we would see our cat swimming across here when she got stuck..." Then we get to the completely flooded dried up riverbed that is over my boots!!!! I watch the water and figure it is slack tide so we sat down to weave as I did as a child. August picks the technique up right away and loves it. (He is now on his 3rd mat.) And the water keeps coming up. I decide that we better get across now before it gets any higher and we're stranded for hours......and this mummy, who hates being cold, takes off her boots and socks, hikes up her pants and wades across the river, carrying her boys and all our stuff. It is soooooooo cold it hurts......Like I said, you'd never know I grew up there. We LIVED for high tide. The tide coming up over the warmed by summer sun mudflats, up the river for a deep warm swim....I knew how to read tide tables young! On the drive home August told me that rule number one is to remember the mobile phone so we can phone daddy. Who had the piano in pieces when we got home......
Today we went to a different beach and watched how fast the tide comes in - the power!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Salmon, beaches and leaves....

Robin at OurBigEarth.com gave me the idea to check out the salmon starting to come up the rivers around the Comox Valley, the beautiful place we call home. Why not the river where I grew up? The river about oh 5 kms from where I live now. The home of my childhood. The home of all my memories and dreams. The smell of childhood. I got out of the car at the end of a cul de sac where I rode bikes FOR HOURS as a child. It did seem like a steep long hill. It's a street with about 5 houses along each side. We walked down the trail, which is totally different, someone bulldozed the embankment - we used to have to balance down a slippery log. The smell though, it was familiar, it made my heart and stomach ache for the innocence of childhood. The days when all you had to think about was what to do next? When such a huge pallette was open to the young mind full of nothing but curiousity and brilliance. I ached for the child I was and the person I became and the person I want to be for my kids. I watched them run ahead with eagerness to see what was next. I gazed around at the overgrown riverbeds that have changed so much in 30 years since I played there. I have tears in my eyes now. I had no idea then my mother was an alcoholic. A functioning medical doctor alcoholic. I had no idea my dad - gosh I have no label for him, he was a product of his misguided parents. I had no idea school and misquided parenting was going to ruin any innate intelligence I may have had, the search for praise, awards and 'A's would sap the curiousity and love of learning from me, that I would be able to memorize and regurgitate anything but not truly enjoy it, that I wouldn't realize I wasn't the brilliant daughter of doctors that everyone thought I was until Professors at university truly challenged me to think and learn and I couldn't....I didn't know who I was or what I wanted....all this from a walk where the innocent me used to roam....My beautiful eager children running ahead of me, my little guy holding my hand, how I hope I can provide more for them, but I fear I can't I'm too damaged. Now I'm openly sobbing alone here in my chair. I wish I had the neverending patience of the beautiful unschoolers I read about. I wish I could always be there for my kids. Why do I ruin a perfect day with impatience at bedtime??? Why do I finally get frustrated and shout the 5th time I ask them to do something??? Wow, I was just going to write about the great time we had and all this came pouring out. I'll let the pictures tell tale of the rest of my day.....ending with my 3 year old stripping naked at bedtime to dance in the leaves, because you can only jump in the leaves naked you know. And then the big brothers crash at bedtime. Aren't they the best?

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Jenga fun

The many uses of Jenga blocks:

1. Play the game
2. build towers, see whose gets the highest
3. build castles
4. build domino type courses
5. build buildings to smash down with hotwheels
6. build buildings to smash down with remote control spider
7. build roads
8. build anything else you can imagine...
9. Make letter shapes...

My kids are all busy right now with jenga blocks, we have 2 sets....

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Every motherès nightmare

i want to write something>>>i"m searching for the right word<>>>>> and now my keyboard"s wonky and i remember last time this happened don had to fix it>>>> I want to write something that is life changing for someone.....eyeopeningÉÉÉ cool different funky neato""" the word escapes me

today was homeschooling swimming lessons> my boys love going<> so we"re late<>

<'''''''''''now itès really wonky' at least maybe iève kinda figured it out' but hard to read noé

23 HAY Numbers are back, and commas, I have no idea how I changed it.

Ok back to my story....we get to the pool late, as usual, and since August is basically ready and his lessons start in like 30 seconds and he just has to get his shoes and tshirt off, I send him in while I pay for me, and then head in to the change room with the other two boys.

I get into the pool into the shallow end with the two little guys and I realize I forgot to put in contacts before leaving the house. This is bad. Out in the deep end I see a head bobbing up, take a breath and head back down....over and over .......It looks like August, I start screaming MY SON MY SON, and pointing, but I canèt do anything as Ièm with a 3 and 5 year old, who canèt swim and who would follow me out......the lifeguard is about to jump in when the mother of the bobber jumps up and yells IT IS MY SON AND HE IS FINE. ok, I am a loser. August was on his back swimming with his instructor. I still havenèt spotted him and keep asking Sawyer DO YOU SEE AUGUST DO YOU SEE AUGUST - he has distinctive goggles, but I can not see him. Sidenote: I have told August in the past that if he gets in over his head and starts to sink to go to the bottom and shoot up so he can get a breath. My heart and insides were in turmoil for the rest of the swim. the kid DID look like my kid, and same goggles, I think. His mother talked to me later, she felt bad that she was so blase at the time, but realized the panic I felt. I was just happy to see her get up, cuz then I knew it wasnèt August........Which takes me to the time Holdy almost drowned, in our backyard pool with Adults standing RIGHT THERE.

Scene, birthday party, blowup backyard pool, big mess, Holdy a baby at 10.5 mos and pulling up only....mommy cleaning up as party is essentially over. I head in and out of the house clearing up and the baby is furniture walking around the yard chairs. In the kitchen I have to pee, I have two choices, go thru the hall-laundry room to br or thru the dining room where I can look outside thru a glass door. This is the route I choose and as I look out the dining room sliding glass door I see two baby feet disappear over the edge of the pool ..... you now see one mama running and screaming at the top of her voice JESUS CHRIST JESUS CHRIST.....and finding her baby under the water drowning. I did not sleep for a week. What if I had gone to the bathroom via the other route. I probably wonèt sleep tonight. The two adults who were less than 3 feet from the edge of the pool where he went in had their backs to the pool and were talking and did not notice the baby head that way......

My sister had JUST told me 3 kids drowned that summer in Victoria in backyard pools.

Needless to say, I am not comfortable at swimming lessons with three energetic boys. And when they get the waves going (I hate those dang waves, they PULL you out to the deep water, and my 7 year old still sinks.....) I really panic.....

Holdy did not (canèt use apostrophes) like baths for QUITE a while after that.

Today he was dunking his whole head under the water for fun, he JUST turned 3.

Profound, that was the word I was looking for.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Busy Day .... and Thanks

Well we had a busy day here. The boys got up at 7 and immediately began playing with their cars. Right outside my bedroom door. And came in to tell or show me something every oh, 10 minutes or so, when i was just getting back to sleep. And got me out of bed, eventually, when they were hungry. I got them breaki, and August wanted to work on his lego ATV he got for his birthday (yesterday) with 200+ pieces. Interestingly, he's put it together mirror image from the directions, I'm waiting to see if this has an effect on the final product. And I got websites going from the book we read last night, and we read about Mammals, and we read a bunch of stories, and then we worked on the "F" page in their alphabet books......The boys, except Holdy, got right into it. Sawyer knows how to write an F, but is not solid on the sound it makes. Holdy played with Playdoh! And then we made FINGERPRINTS!!!! Now that was pretty cool, they loved that. And it seemed to all flow. Facilitated......Fun. Definately liked the way the morning went, interested involved boys .......
And I had them practice piano for their lesson tomorrow. Sawyer loves it so far (year 1). August is fighting it, and said he hated it, and wasn't going to practice. (We just changed programs and teacher and hopefully this improves his attitude) I said fine, if you don't want to play piano, I'll pull you out. I don't want to fight with you about this all the time. And went to do something else. And next thing I knew he was playing all his songs. The longest he'd practiced yet. And then he was upset because some keys don't work on our piano, so we had to take his piano books to grandpas to play on his piano. Wow, so maybe giving him the option to quit, and the choice, gave him what he needed. I hope so. I don't expect maestros, but I'd like them to have the option to be able to play what instrument they want later on.....
Wow, then we drove to our ski cabin with dry goods/freezer goods for the winter (it's walk in only in the winter), saw a squirrel, a river and picked some wild blueberries, drove down bout some toilet paper on sale at canadian tire, and then picked up my dad and then went to my cousin's for thanksgiving dinner, then home. Listening to screaming all the way home, Holdy LOST IT, sooooo tired, so frustrated, so ready for bed poor thing. August sang to the tune of "down by the bay" "all I ever want is eeearr ear plugs...." I'm like, yah, I can relate......

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Facilitate More....

Happy Birthday August! My first is 7, I can't believe it! What a journey. What I didn't know. What I think I know now. parenting. parenting respectfully. trying. "discipline" frustration. respect. love, joy.
I've decided I need to facilitate more. Sawyer obviously wants to learn, and I need to give him direction. August, loves birds and leaves, so I've got to facilitate more in that direction....So tomorrow, we're breaking out the "Alphabet books" that we started years ago and we'll cut out pictures to go in the F page, the letter Sawyer learned to write.....I found a page with some Stellars Jay information, maybe I can direct August to that page.....
Also, reading before bed tonight, they both wanted to go to websites in the back of the book, TICK, must do that tomorrow. I've been too lacidasical (sp?) got to plan my unschooling a bit more, right? ARGH!!?? Why do I doubt myself so much? I will make a loose plan, and see what happens......
We will go outside for a walk and collect leaves and......................lets just see what happens.....

happy Birthday August

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Friday, October 10, 2008

Happy Birthday Holden!

My baby is 3!! I can't believe we've had him for 3 years!!! And he gave me a great gift....he slept with his brother's all night! (Usually he starts with them and ends up in our bed sometime in the middle of the night) We went down to Nanaimo and met the cousins for lunch. Holdy has been talking about decorating muffins for his birthday for 6 weeks. His idea. So we did it. he was thrilled. Next we went to an indoor playgym for a couple of hours.....Can you say run for a couple of hours and then drop from exhaustion? They loved it! I got Holdy a Dragon book and Dinosaur cards....and August found some Secret Code Cards that I bought for him for his birthday (in two days) so he's been working at the codes. And they are not easy. And he has to use letters, print and read. And he wants to do it. Can you say sneaky mommy?

Thursday, October 9, 2008

August's Tractor Instructions


Today was painting day at our house. We started with a Pig activity from a new Usborne book....

While that was drying in front of the fire, we started a Tractor.

August began taking photos of his tractor as he made it. Here are his instructions:

1. You need to get a piece of blue paper.

2. Then you get scissors

3. Then you cut a square.

4. And then you cut a rectangle too.

5. Then you paint blue and green on a piece of paper.

6. Then you glue the rectangle on. Then you glue the square on.

7. Then you draw wheels.

MamaLou back: August also drew a farmer driving the tractor, probably Daddy, aka Tractor Don. The kids had fun, we haven't finished our pigs, they are drying in front of the fire. It al;ways seems like doing some art is going to take so long and I don't have time, but it doesn't really take that long, and the kids LOVE doing it. My new motto, art everyday, painting etc, I have some really great books with super easy ideas DO THEM!!!!
Our Teacher visit was today. Can you say DISASTER??!! We have a new teacher this year, and last years' teacher was with her. Of course the old remembers all we did last year and asked August to get out his lapbooks, which he hasn't seen in 6 months and asked him to play piano, which he doesn't like to do. And asked if he wanted to show them anything, he didn't, he just wanted to build our new bookshelf. The only one who really performed for them was HOLDY who is almost 3 and not really part of their job.....I felt like a complete failure, but I know I'm not. They wanted to know about Math and Writing, neither of which we do. I explained quietly in the kitchen...that I am waiting for August to decide what he wants to do and that he doesn't want to perform for adults. I was a bit out of it, a head cold, no sleep. So probably made a really horrible impression. And the house looked like a cyclone went thru it, especially with the new bookshelf and all the styrafoam (argh) packaging spread across the living room floor.
Tomorrow will be a better day. It is Holden's 3rd birthday. We're headed to Jumping Gymboree gettogether with the cousins. I made chocolate muffins and we're icing and decorating them at Holdy's request. Stay tuned......