Saturday, December 31, 2005

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Wow! Fascinating!

I received the two books that I ordered today that will be my main source of information and planning to implement the RDI program for Austin and Reece. If you're interested, there is a website packed with information www.rdiconnect.com ! I'm only 2 chapters in to the first book and already I feel like I'm on the right track!

I am sure I'll bore you to death in the next few weeks with more ramblings about this, but I just had to share what I read tonight! This whole program hinges on the fact that children with autism have deficits in the way they relate to other people... and it's helping me to see my kids' interactions with new eyes. I remember the doctor pointing out to me that while Reece does talk and "interact" with adults, it's not really "interacting". She's mostly just talking, or reciting, and it doesn't matter what the adult happens to say. The reason that it was hard to see, and that even other adults have a hard time seeing it, is that adults are "programmed" to go with the flow of a child's line of talk. So it seems so cute that Reece comes up to tell you that there are butterflies outside, or that she is going to be a ballerina when she grows up. But she says that to everyone, it's not really an "interaction". You can ask her a question about it and she'll just move on to the next line. And when it comes to other children her own age, Reece doesn't even try to engage them. She totally ignores them. But with the help of this program, we'll help her figure out that kids her age can be lots of fun, even though they are more unpredictable than adults! :)

Now, Austin is trickier! I have been SO thrilled to see him playing football with boys in the neighborhood, and with boys at his sister's ballgames back in October. I was a little discouraged that if they decided they didn't want to play football anymore, then he wouldn't decide to do what they wanted to do. But I figured it was progress. Then I read this tonight: "In instrumental encounters, we engage other people because there is something we wish to obtain from them -- information, an object, or participation in an activity. Other people are agents, perceived as necessary only to deliver the product to us." WOW! And then the next characteristic of instrumental encounters vs. experience sharing (the goal of typical interaction): "Any partner who knows the right rules and possesses the necessary knowledge or skill will serve in an Instrumenal encounter. In this respect, partners are fairly interchangable. Futhermore, we may quickly - and in a decidedly detached manner - exchange a paterner with who we have shared experiences for a new inexperienced partner, if that new partner is more willing to provide us with what we seek out of the interaction."

This is truly eye-opening for me! Here I was seeing this new fascination with football and Austin's desire to play football with everyone he sees as being a major step into the social arena for him. In fact, at the park a few weeks ago, he stopped playing with his buddy C and started playing football with a total stranger. I was thinking "Oh how cool, he's making a friend!" but he's really not! He's just trying to find someone to play football with, and C didn't want to play football anymore. I've seen it in the neighborhood too... the boys will all be playing football, and they will get tired of it (Austin NEVER gets tired of it!) and they'll leave to play something else. Austin will just turn around and play football with the 5 year old across the street instead! It's not who he's playing with... it's the fact that someone is filling the need of his football playing.

Please don't take this to mean that I am upset by Austin's interactions (or Reece's)... on the contrary, I'm totally excited that I am understanding that what I thought it appropriate interaction is not in fact "experience sharing"! I would not have been serving Austin's best interests if I thought that he was figuring this out on his own and I didn't need to worry about it anymore! I have caught a cue! I can help him figure this out! And the strict script I was trying to get him to work on with other kids is not the way to do it! Because when the script runs out, or the other child doesn't answer the right way, Austin's left clueless! We are going to help that! This is very exciting!

Well, I'd better get to sleep, if I can! :)

Monday, November 28, 2005

Calling for backup!

(BTW, we are managing to do school today, be it ever so slowly! lol)

I have been terribly confused lately about what to do next to address Austin's problems. The auditory processing test revealed some concerns, and I'll give the report to Reece's Speech Therapist on Wednesday and see what she can pull together for us. But after that, I'm really confused. Do we proceed with dyslexia testing? Do we get a developmental evaluation? Do I call a psychologist? Psychiatrist? Podiatrist? (Just kidding on that last one!) Once I do call them, what am I asking for them to do? As you see, I'm confused.

So I called this morning and made an appointment to see the intake social worker at the office of the specialist who saw Reece. She was very helpful back in the spring about where we should start with Reece and who we should see and what we should do while we waited to see the doctor. I'm not sure that Austin will eventually see the doctor at all (appointments are booked 5-6 months out), but at least the social worker might be able to help me figure out where to turn next! The appointment is at the beginning of January, and dh will stay home with the kids while I go.

I feel better now! :)

Sunday, November 27, 2005

"Do we have to do school?"

If you are within earshot, you will surely hear that sentence uttered a hundred times a day around the Black Pearl Academy...

...by the teacher! ROFL

Oh! I have lost my motivation! If you find it, would you kindly email it to me? Or fax it? Thank you very much! :)

Monday, November 21, 2005

Movie Review: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

I should preface this post by saying that I am very new to the entire "Harry Potter" phenomenon. My mother has been encouraging me to read them to Austin for years now, and I have always said no. I really shyed away from them because of the huge outpouring of condemnation from the Christian community. But my mom is what I refer to as a "seeker" (no, she doesn't play Quidditch!). She is a person who knows about God and Jesus and is open to learning more, but has not professed that Jesus is her personal Savior. She has very negative feelings about 'the Church' in general. Mom finally got around to reading the HP books over the summer, and really loved them, and again encouraged me to read them to Austin. I told her that I would read them myself first. She lent me #1 and #2 to take on our vacation in September and I was hooked! I am currently reading #5. And in the last 10 days I've rented the first 3 movies, so I would be prepared to see Goblet in the theaters.

I really did enjoy this movie! There was alot that had to be left out, of course, because the book was so indepth and long. But overall I found it to be very, very good! I will go back to see it again as soon as I can, just to catch things that I missed the first time! :)

Pros: These 3 kids who play the main characters of Harry, Ron, and Hermione are just fantastic! The movie in general has some wonderful special effects, and the Yule Ball was beautiful! The movie did a really good job of showing the awkwardness of young teenagers, especially the boys, when it comes to the opposite sex! That was charming! I laughed at many scenes, as did the rest of the audience! I also cried in a few places! :)

Cons: I don't care for this particular Dumbledore (the actor). Or maybe it was the writers fault. But he did a couple of very 'non-Dumbledore-ish' things, and it irked me. Also, Ron has such a foul mouth! It's just not necessary. The movie just seemed to fly by from scene to scene too, because there was so much action to get in. I found myself wishing there would be an "Extended Edition" like there was for the LOTR movies! LOL

Overall it was very good! Because it is PG-13 I'm not sure if I can recommend it for younger children. However, if they have read the book (and the previous books) then they really should know what is coming. Yet, sometimes it's harder to see things on the screen than it is to read it. You really will have to know your child! I think if they can handle LOTR or Star Wars, they could handle this one.

I give it a 3.5 or maybe a 4 on the Savvy Scale.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Reece's playgroup

Ok, it sounds sort of weird to be calling it a playgroup when it's just one other child, but I can't think of a better name. Social Skills group? Social Skills lesson? Anyway, it's the time when her speech therapist works on social skills with her and a little boy who is almost 3, whom I'll call "A".

Today was the 2nd session, and I watched a little bit this time through the 2-way mirror. (Miss Marty in the office allowed Riley to do her math in there with her so there wouldn't be any concern about Riley leaving the building like she did over the summer.) Austin was working on adverbs in the hallway.

Reece and A were on the floor with Miss Alexis. They were playing with dollhouse furniture and the dolls. A's mom said they had already played with one toy and picked it up, and this was the next toy they chose. Neither Reece nor A were paying any attention to each other. Alexis was making them ask for the piece of the toy they wanted to play with, and A was having a hard time doing that. Reece asked for the swing and a baby. Alexis modeled for her how to say it in a full question format instead of just "swing and baby". Once A asked for his pieces, Alexis tried to get them to interact with each other and their pieces.

They are very good at copying, or echoing, what Alexis tells them to say, but there was no initiating of conversation. Many times A would get upset and tantrum (he spins when he gets upset) and Reece didn't even look up. That really bothers me. Alexis said later that Reece handed him the toy slide, which he wanted at one point. So that is a good thing! And a few minutes ago, she said to me "A was crying today!" and I was so excited!! (3 hours late, but that's still something good!!)

When it was time for Reece to go to Occupational Therapy, and for A to have his Speech Therapy session (Reece has hers before A comes to play), they had to clean up toys and say goodbye to each other. Alexis will say "A, say 'goodbye Reece'" and Reece said "Goodbye Reece!". Like I said, they are both very good at copying what she tells them to say, they just don't understand the meaning behind it. And trying to get them to look at each other when they talk to each other is quite a chore! But I really do think this is good for both kids!

A will be gone on vacation next week, so we won't have a session then, but they will start back in December! I'm going to make sure Reece takes a little gift to A for Christmas! :)

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Austin's language test

He did SO well! I have to admit being totally surprised by the way he has handled himself in these testing situations! He really focused hard, paid attention, and did his very best! He wasn't nervous at all about the test today, because it was with Reece's Speech Therapist.

I got the results of the tests today! The one test has a normal range of between 85-110, and Austin's scores on the various sub-sets were 84, 86, 91, one I can't remember and one that was 96. So they were at the bottom end of the normal range, which Alexis seemed to think was a good thing. I guess my brain prefers to see above average! lol The other test had an average of 8-11 and he had one score of a 6, one 8 and one 10, so again he came out in the low average range.

All in all, Alexis thought the results were consistent, and nothing to send up any alarms! She wants to wait to get the audiologist's results, and then make a plan of action! She suggested a few things today just in the process of discussing the test results, but said we really need to wait to get a full picture from the results the other testing. She thinks we could do a few sessions of therapy with him, but mostly teach me how to help him at home and through his school work. And there are various computer programs as well.

I'm so glad it went smoothly! That's been the biggest relief of all!

Sunday, November 13, 2005

A fresh, new week!

I was just on my way to bed, but hated to leave a sad post up there glaring at everyone!

Tomorrow is Monday and that marks the beginning of a fresh week! Here is wishing a lovely week to everyone!

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Lesson "Planning"

It's sort of hard to call it planning because, for Austin anyway, I am just opening up the Calvert manual and figuring out what is next! Mostly, I'm looking for things that might pose him some problems. I also try to match up how much activity we have going on in the week, in case I need to move some things around to allow me to have enough time for everything.

Tonight, while "planning", I just became overwhelmed with sadness. I don't even know if I have words to explain it. It's just that I know Calvert is a demanding curriculum, and I just don't know if Austin will be able to keep pace. Or if it is going to meet his needs.

I am feeling the weight of the many questions I can't answer right now:
How much should I push him? A little? A lot? Not at all?

Should I take science/history back to a storybook format and not worry about the 'lessons'? Just read to him and try to talk about it informally? Or do I make it even more formal, having him write out answers to questions for the practice?

Is he going to need to be a sight reader? If so, should I start writing words on notecards and drilling them?

I finally just put everything away and lay on the couch and cried. This is so hard!

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Can you hear me now?

Austin can, he is just having trouble processing what he is hearing, according to the audiologist. I will have the full report in a week or so, but she did say that she could tell he was having trouble with 'auditory decoding'. I've googled that a bit and it seems to mesh with what I am seeing academically!

He is having a Language Processing eval next week, as suggested by the audiologist! And then she also suggested a psycho-edcuational evaluation to rule out dyslexia.

I'm tired, and my head is going to explode! LOL

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

No Q



This is what happens when you have a 6.5 year old who is too big for her britches!

Riley's assignment from Explode the Code Book 5 was to copy the 'qu' words, and X the picture that goes with them. I came back to find her assignment completed with these additions: on the 2 entries that weren't 'qu' words she drew an arrow and wrote "No q" next to them.

::shaking head:: What do I do with this girl?? LOL

Friday, November 04, 2005

Diva Riley

I'm not sure how much I've posted here about my newest obsession: Wicked the Musical. I heard about it through a little preview while we were waiting to see Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I read the book, found out the musical was much more tame, and bought the soundtrack. Somehow, in the middle of all of this, I brought Riley into my little obsession! She and I now have orchestra level tickets to see Wicked the Musical when it comes to our town next year!

Riley listened to the Wicked soundtrack to the beach and back, and for days and days on end after that! She and I love to sing the songs and we've made up our own little drama to go with it. Let me tell you, this little girl has one heck of a voice! Being that her daddy is a musician, he has taken notice. She has been asking for voice lessons for awhile now, but she's still quite young and rather, um, rambunctious! But last night, daddy was playing around with some melodies and he noticed that our little singer can figure out harmonies and hold them while someone else is singing a melody. I could see the wheels turning in his head! :)

Today, dear husband tells me that one of his friends teaches voice lessons (it's someone that he plays with often in some of the different bands), and that she is willing to take Riley on as a student! So my dear daughter begins voice lessons next Thursday afternoon! She is SO excited!

I'm glad it's with this family friend, because if it's not going to work out that Riley is too young yet, I have no doubt that she will tell Russ and not just keep taking the money! Riley is bright, and she's got a great voice, but she does not have a filter between her brain and her mouth and sometimes that causes problems! I suspect that will mellow with maturity! Ok, I PRAY it will mellow with maturity! LOL But this will be something fun for Riley that will help her with something she loves to do! :)

Thursday, November 03, 2005

On math tests and similes

Austin* had his 2nd math test today! He had a harder time with this one and ended up with an 82, which is a B minus according to my grading schedule. Not too bad, I suppose. Two of the mistakes were in not following the directions, and the other mistakes were from that darn regrouping with addition. If there are two regroupings, it just throws him off. We are back to regrouping with subtraction tomorrow. I hope my heart can take it! LOL Knowing what I know now about him probably being a visual, concrete learner (because of being on the autism spectrum), I may be placing him in Math U See when we are ready to tackle multiplication! I have a few more months to decide.

I'm proud of myself for a few things I've handled well with school this last week or so. On Monday, the lesson in Calvert was about similies. Now, I had just read in a book a few days prior, that children with autism have a hard time understanding similes and metaphors. Any part of language that is not concrete and literal. And in my own observations of Austin, I had known this to be true. So when the assignment was to have the child do pages X and Y independently, I knew that would be an exercize in frustration! So we did them together, and he didn't 'get' them. I told him he would eventually memorize what they mean, and come to understand what people are trying to say when they are using them!

Now, for those of you reading and wondering what on earth is the 'big' deal, just bear with me! In the past when things didn't work with Austin, I worried about what was wrong with Austin. I didn't consider that the method of instruction didn't connect with him. Or that he could need more time. I worried about conforming Austin to the curriculum. And that's a mistake! I've still got a long way to go, but now I'm trying to be more deliberate about finding out what will work for HIM.

*Yeah, I'm tired of the nicknames, too!

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Mime 101

That is on the lesson plan today as Mom/Teacher woke up with absolutely no voice! It was fading fast yesterday afternoon, and then I took the kids to the fall festival last night. I think the combination of the cool evening air and my shouting Peanut's name all night did me in!

So here I am this morning trying to tell everyone what I need them to do without saying a word! It's just not happening! LOL Thankfully 2 out of 3 children can read, so that helps somewhat! But I've given up on actual lessons today! We'll just stick to reading and trying to be good so mommy doesn't have to write out punishments on the white board! :)

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Bye-bye Spammers!

After a daily average of 7 spam comments this last month, I've decided to turn off the comments feature. Somehow there should be a way to email me if you have a comment. I hate to have to end up doing this, but I am tired of getting nothing but spam on this blog. So it was either turn off the comments or delete the blog entirely, and I really like having a place to put our school information out there!

Hope you understand!

Friday, October 21, 2005

Today's school news

Today was a very successful day! I wasn't expecting it, really, so that made it even more pleasant!

Bubba had his Calvert tests today! He scored a 74 on his reading test (20/27), an 80 on his history test (8/10), an 83 on his science test (10/12), and a 100 on his geography test (11/11). I thought that was pretty good, considering we just got back onto the Calvert schedule 2 weeks ago! I think the next set of tests will really give me a better picture of his abilities! Also, it's very important to note that he didn't cry once! He doesn't have much experience with testing, so I tried to keep everything laid back and reassured him that all I cared about was for him to do his best! For me, the most important part was that he did the testing without crying! That means more to me than any number or letter grade!

Princess was not in the mood for school today! She reluctantly did her work, with a frown on her face! She got in trouble today for yelling at me when she was frustrated with her history project. @@ Is 6.5 supposed to be a really difficult age? I'm wondering, too, if she's just very tired. She's had 2 late ball games and AWANA this week! I hope next week is better!

Peanut cuddled in for some storytime today! I am setting a goal to read to her every day! So often the only reading she listens to is for the big kids! So I'm going to start making sure I get some of the 'classic' books and read them to her for her own special storytime!

Monday we're going on a field trip to the Pumpkin Patch, with friends! I'm very excited!

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Deep Thoughts

If a blogger blogs, and nobody stops by to read it...

oh well, my brain is too crowded for deep thoughts these days!

We've had a decent week! Bubba is preparing for his first round of Calvert tests. It's really test 40 which is the 2nd group of tests, but I decided not to give him test 20 because we were going on vacation. I'll post tomorrow with the results!

Princess took a Pathway Readers placement test on Monday and placed into the 2.2 book. She started it on Wednesday and really enjoys it so far! I'm not sure if I'll get the workbook to go with it. If I could find it locally for cheap, I probably would!

Peanut is doing well in her therapies, though she's back to being a little naughty with the Speech Therapist. For awhile the ST was having her do some OT exersizes at the beginning, but now Miss Honey-Roasted-Peanut is refusing to do it. And she's not focusing well, and she's pouting and pretending to cry. Wonder where she gets that flair for drama?! ::insert innocent expression here::

I promise to post more tomorrow! :)

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Can we rewind please?

Last week, Bubba managed the entire week to get through his lessons without the first tear!

This week, Bubba has not managed to get through one lesson without tears!

My head hurts.

This does no good for the whole "Can I do this?" theme! lol

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Homeschooling and Autism Spectrum, revisited

OK, so there is apparently a good Google and a bad Google. Because I have been Googling more, and have gotten more happy looking information! Whew!

But for now, I'm a human yo-yo! If you were to talk to me, it's about 50/50 whether you'd get the "I can do this, I can do anything, I know my kids and what to do" mom, or whether you'd get the "Oh my gosh, this is horrible, I can't do this, Will my kids have a future at all?" mom. I've been sort of quiet and not really talking much IRL to folks because I'm also having a tendency to break into tears at the drop of a hat. IMs work well. Emails do too. Phone calls? Let's put it this way... yesterday was my dear friend Kristi's little boy's 4th birthday and I couldn't even manage to call back (he was asleep when I called the first time) to sing Happy Birthday because I kept crying when I dialed.

Yesterday was a hard day for Peanut, and her AWANA teacher called me to come pick her up because she wouldn't stop crying. :(

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Reflections on September

This was a really busy month, with fall ball season for two kids, and then our week-long vacation at the beach in Florida! And it ended with a big bang with Peanut's evaluation.

Princess finished her Calvert 1st readers, and this coming week will take Test 60 in math. The next few math units are about telling time, geometry, fractions. I think she will sail through those with speed and great ease! She has also been flying through the Sonlight 2 Regular readers, and yesterday when one of the Intermediate readers that I'd ordered arrived, she also read it. It seems like she can just read whatever she picks up! It's amazing! She is still enjoying the Calvert Science and History. I got her an Explode the Code book (#5) to work through since she's not doing the Reading Work Pages, and she really likes doing the ETC! She is anxious to start cursive and we will do that at some point this year! She really does not struggle with anything at this time.

Bubba has been working hard with his Calvert lessons, too. I dumped Calvert Spelling (CD) and ordered Sequential Spelling instead. It doesn't stop the tears, but he seems to be doing a little better with it. I also like how it helps him to pay attention to the patterns in spelling and I would really like that to translate to his reading as well. I had taken the Calvert manual apart and tried to reorganize it, so that our days would be more balanced. But I've decided to just go back to using the manual as is, and that's including taking the stories at the slower pace they are scheduled. I'll use extra time to work on his reading multisyllabic words, and working on comprehension and vocabulary. I'm going to stick with the 4 day week, so if there is anything that we can't get to on those 4 days we can always add to our 5th day. Or we can skip it! ;) He is doing well with Calvert math right now. We start the chapter on addition with regrouping this week so we'll see how he manages with this again. He made it through the chapter on thousands and ten-thousands fairly well! And he got a 100% on his Test 20 in math. We skipped Test 20 in the other subjects. He is really enjoying the mythology, history, and science. He struggles to retain information, and I'm going to start really reviewing vocabulary with him every session in the different subject areas. And I need to call Calvert and ask them how much they are supposed to get on a first-time reading/hearing basis.

I realized during Peanut's evaluation that Bubba most certainly has an autism spectrum disorder too. My guess would be he would be labeled with Aspergers because he did not have the language delay. Anyway, some interesting information that was in Reece's packet is that there is commonly an auditory processing problem that comes along with autism spectrum. So I will keep Bubba's appt. in November for the auditory processing testing.

Peanut has done pretty well this month too. She is still fascinated by the playdoh and we've gone through 6 of the containers of it since the beginning of school! LOL I don't know what her future holds with school. I will just watch her for signs of readiness and be prepared to take things slowly as I have had to do with her brother. I wonder if I can do a classical, rigorous education like Calvert or WTM with her (or her brother) and be successful. But then if I say that, it makes it sound like I don't want to try to push them to their highest potential. I do know that I will homeschool her, as I've homeschooled her brother. That's about all I have been able to process just now! :)

October brings about the start of Book-It, and hopefully some cooler weather! We just got our caterpillars in the mail on Friday and they have already tripled in size! So we'll be growing some butterflies in a week or so! Princess has another 2 weeks of fall ball. Bubba's season ended this past Friday! I'm ready for things to start slowing back down!

And we're off to start the 3rd month of this homeschool year already! Hope yours is going well!

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Homeschooling and Autistic Spectrum

I highly recommend that if you are within the first 24 hours of a diagnosis of "autistic spectrum disorder" that you refrain from Googling the words in the title of this post. Especially with the "and" in the middle.

Peanut yesterday was diagnosed with austistic spectrum disorder. In the process of the evaluation process, and with the doctor asking questions about siblings, it also became apparent that Bubba is on that spectrum as well. It wasn't a big surprise. After all, I initiated the whole evaluation process because I suspected this very thing.

I've been doing alot of reading, and trying to do some posting of questions about homeschooling and the autistic spectrum and I'm frustrated with what I'm getting. Right now, I am not interested in hearing about public school programs. I KNOW they are out there. I KNOW they are free. What I want to talk to folks about is HOMESCHOOLING and autism. Why oh WHY do I get the same answer when I ask on Special Needs Homeschooling boards? "The public school programs really aren't all that bad." Ok, that's not what I'm asking!! I am asking about Homeschooling and DUH, since I'm on a HOMESCHOOLING board I thought maybe there was someone out there who actually homeschools a child with these needs!?!?!

OK, the use of DUH up there is probably not going to win me any 'blogger of the month' awards. Not like I'm in the running anyway, so back to my rant....

I do not want to send my children to public school. Bubba has 'been there, done that'! It wasn't fun, for me anyway. I know a lady who is a parapro in the older grades for an autism class and while this lady is super and I know she enjoys what she does, the stories she tells me are just not what I have in mind for my children.

OK, here is the disclaimer: I'm sure public school and even autism classes within the public school are a wonderful option for many people out there, even devoted homeschoolers. Yadda yadda yadda.

I am a homeschooler. And apparently, today I'm cranky.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

7 things!

Got this from Lisa's blog! It was fun! Try it, and make sure to link me to your blog so I can check out your lists!

7 things I plan to do before I die:
1. Spend a night away from the kids alone with my husband! ;)
2. Go to every major league baseball park
3. Go to the Holy Land
4. Go to Hawaii
5. Mentor moms (not sure how or who, but it's in my mind)
6. Buy a home on St. George Island, FL (I can dream!)
7. Memorize a whole chapter in the Bible

7 things I can do:
1. make a budget
2. balance a checkbook
3. obsess over homeschool curriculum
4. make Slop
5. find 5 new ways to get anywhere
6. recite most of the Pirates of the Caribbean movie!
7. country line dance

7 things I cannot do:
1. sing on key
2. stop worrying
3. crochet
4. sew
5. write quickly in cursive
6. understand The Matrix ;)
7. drive over long bridges

7 things that attract me to the opposite sex (or things I notice):
1. eyes (have you seen my husbands??)
2. butts in jeans ;)
3. upper backs
4. smiles
5. politeness
6. respectful
7. mumbling (Just Kidding!)

7 things I say most often:
1. Cool!
2. Jiminy Christmas!
3. Oh for Pete's Sake!
4. We don't get what we want by whining and crying!
5. Give me your eyes! (that's pay attention, we don't have removable eyes here!)
6. I don't think I can do this!
7. Yep!

7 celebrity crushes (past and present)
1. Johnny Depp ('only a little')
2. Sean Bean
3. Matthew McConaughey
4. Tom Glavine (former Braves pitcher, current Mets pitcher)
5. John Taylor (guitar player from Duran Duran, in 7th grade)
6. Viggo Mortensen
7. Shaun Cassidy (when I was in first grade!)

Random stuff!

We started back to school yesterday after our vacation!

Bubba: I gave him the Reading Reflex diagnostic test and got some pretty unusual and disquieting results. He scored more poorly than I thought he would. And even more poorly than I think he is capable of reading. So I'm going to be working more deliberately on his decoding and blending skills. He started Sequential Spelling yesterday and so far he loves it! His story today from his Tales from Far & Near (Calvert supplementary reader) was King Arthur, and we sat down to read it and he goes "Oh I love this story!" That made my heart skip a beat for sure! Math and Handwriting were the only other things he has done.

Princess: She started on the Sonlight Core 2 readers (well not the Beginners Bible because she read that one last year). She chose Frog and Toad All Year. She read 2 of the stories yesterday and one today. Her math is super easy, she's doing her handwriting and today she asked if we could start with grammar! Go figure! I'm combining lessons in First Language Lessons quite a bit more with her than I did with Austin. But that's not a problem! I decided to get her another Explode the Code workbook, since she's not doing the RWP from the Calvert lessons. We went down to the School Box today and they only had book 5, 6, and 8. But to my surprise, it looks like book 5 will be right on target. I'm a bit concerned about the writing in it, but I'm prepared to modify! While we were there she saw The Wizard of Oz in "Illustrated Classics" version and begged for it! Being the good mom I am, I purchased it! :) She started reading it right away and I'm all for that! (I also bought Bubba a Step Into Reading book about baseball!)

Peanut: She got a surprise at the School Box too! While I was looking at the ETC workbooks, the kids played at the train table and Reece wandered over to the sand/water table. No sand it in but it was full of these little pompon balls, like for crafts! She asked if we could take some home! LOL So I found her a big bag of them in all shapes and colors. I figure we can use them for sorting games!

That's all we've been up to this week! Next week we'll get back into a good groove and add some history and science back into our days! :) Oh, and I am gearing up to resume Spanish as well!! WOOHOO!

Monday, September 19, 2005

Sea Turtles!

OK, so it's mostly just a nest! St. George Island is big for the Sea Turtles! So much that they don't even have street lights, and you're asked to turn off all lights at 9 PM so that the light won't confuse the little critters! We checked back several times during our stay but these guys didn't hatch before we left.

::sigh:: and I was really hoping to rope a couple of them, latch them together and make a raft. Wonder what I could use for rope? ;)

Aye, Sea Turtles!

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Now I know why Capn Jack wants that horizon!



That's the view from the condo where we stayed last week! I'll have more pictures and stuff to talk about later! Still trying to catch up from being gone!

Don't forget tomorrow is Talk Like a Pirate Day, mates! Savvy??

Saturday, September 10, 2005

You have reached the Black Pearl Academy!

I'm sorry, but nobody is available to post to this blog. Please leave a message, and I will return your comments in a week when I get back from vacation!

Now, bring me that horizon! :)

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Am I really supposed to do school??

We're 48 hours out from our big beach vacation!! How on earth am I supposed to stay focused and get our school work done? LOL All I can think of is sand and ocean and hurricanes that need to just go AWAY! :)

We'lll do bare mimimum today, and call it 'beach fever'!

Sunday, September 04, 2005

About Bubba

You know, it seems that most of what I put up here about Bubba is somewhat negative. Yes, he has many many challenges and always has, but he does some pretty cool stuff. So that's what this post is about!

1. He can find his way around a Bible better than I can! I was watching him today during the service looking for the book of Eclesiastes (not sure if that is spelled right!) and he got to it much faster than I did! He continued all service to go back and forth between the Old and New Testaments with ease!

2. Despite all his struggles with reading, he always volunteers to read passages from the Bible during Sunday School and at AWANA! Today he read a passage that was 6 verses long! He isn't afraid to try when it comes to the Bible, and he has been blessed with some very nice church teachers who are encouraging and help him with the words without making him feel bad.

3. He volunteered to lead the teams in prayer after his baseball game last week. He does this often!

4. He has a natural gift for playing the drums! He hears things in music that I couldn't begin to hear!

5. He has become a really good baseball player! It didn't come naturally to him but he worked very hard and has gotten very good, especially in the last year. He earned the chance to play 2nd base/shortstop/1st base this fall season, and was placed in the 2nd batting position!

So there you have a few neat things about my oldest!

Saturday, September 03, 2005

First Month Reflections

OK, now that I have a minute to sit down, I can reflect on our first month of school! What I learned is that I should never again take a two month long summer break! :) It was necessary this summer, but we just can't do that again! Also, I really like the 4 day week this year, rather than schooling 5 days and taking a whole week off every 4-6 weeks!

First, reflecting on Princess: I have to admit I majorly screwed up in selecting Calvert 1st grade for her! I had no idea she is such a strong reader! I thought the reading would be a 'little bit' easy but not insultingly so! I am just stunned! It's completely my fault, though. I knew I hadn't given her the academic attention she deserved, so I should expect that I wouldn't be aware of her capabilities. She will finish her Calvert readers this coming week (she could have last week but I need a few extra days to organize an order for the Sonlight readers she will attack next, and we'll get to that after our vacation!). The math will do, since I found the new place for her to start. She'll finish the intro to addtion this week and pick up subtraction when we return from vacation. She really enjoys the science and history so I'll continue that! We'll start in with cursive sometime in January! Her printing has really come along nicely!

Now, reflecting on Bubba: He isn't doing too bad, really, for someone who completely shut off his brain for the summer! ;) He continues to struggle pulling information from materials he listens to or reads, so I am pursuing some testing for him. I'm going to start with auditory processing testing, since his teacher back in public school K 4 years ago mentioned that to me, but he was too young to be tested for it. After that, I'm not sure. In the meantime, I'm going to work diligently with him on how to find/listen for information in a passage. He will also start the Reading Detective Beginnings book. He's doing great with composition and I'm having him write narrations for the Calvert stories rather than having him write out the answers to the questions found in the text, like the Calvert lessons suggest. The Spelling CD isn't going over very well. He is missing alot of words and because he is such a perfectionist, it is extremely discouraging to him. I'm pondering my options. Math is going well! I can honestly say he learned something new this week in math! ;) He also enjoys science and history and mythology, but like I mentioned earlier, he is having a hard time with comprehension.

And finally, reflecting on Peanut: she's definitely not ready for formal academic work, beyond what we're doing for her speech. She likes to 'play preschool' either at the table or with her sister, but she's not ready like Princess was at this age for the Explode the Code primers. She has alot of developmental ground to cover first, and I will try not to worry if she doesn't start the primers until Kindergarten. But honestly, I'd be happier for her to start next fall for Pre-K. We'll just have to see how she grows over this next year. She's done very well this last month, playing while we're doing school. She loves the playdoh and Color Wonder the best, and I had to restock the Color Wonder paper and get new playdoh. (She mixes all the colors together and it just makes me crazy... but she likes it!). I think she is finally getting used to all of her new activities (AWANA and therapy), just in time to start gymnastics next Friday! lol

I think we had a very good first month of school, overall! We have a short week this coming week, with daddy home Monday and a swimming playdate scheduled for Tuesday. We'll be taking a week off next week to go to the beach, but I have a beach unit that we'll do while we're down there. It's really not anything terribly involved, though so they likely won't even know we're doing anything at all! I'm looking so forward to this vacation!!! :)

Monday, August 29, 2005

A brand new day!

Can you believe August is nearly over? It seems this first month of homeschooling is just flying by! I am really looking forward to the fall though, I have to admit! I love the cooler weather and the changes that come with fall! It's my very favorite season I think! I love pumpkins and hay rides and Thanksgiving! And I really love fall clothing like sweaters and jeans and boots!! Mostly this fall I'm looking forward to cooking and baking fall foods... especially breads! I think the big kids are old enough now to help with the baking!

I'll formally evaluate our first month of homeschooling on Thursday, but overall I can tell you it's been very positive! I can tell you one important thing I've learned: never take a 2 month break from school! LOL It was very necessary for me to process all that was going on with Peanut, but it didn't help Bubba one bit! Poor guy has forgotten nearly everything! He has struggled with what should be review with Calvert math, and tomorrow he's actually going to learn something new. I think he'll be OK though...and I think he'll pick it up quickly! I hope he does anyway! :)

Princess was given free reign of her readers on Thursday of last week and since that time she's finished 2 of them and is halfway through the 3rd. There are only 5 for the whole first grade curriculum! Oh, well... it doesn't matter! She's happy, and loving reading and that's all that matters! I'll find her something else to read!

Peanut wants to 'do school, too!' so she's been joining us at the table or has been getting home preschool from her siblings. Princess is in charge of storytime and 'lessons' and art. Bubba is in charge of PE! Nothing better than getting two sensory-sensitive children together and letting them bounce off each other for some self-therapy! :)

It's late and sleep awaits me! Will write more tomorrow!

Friday, August 26, 2005

We survived the library!

This morning we did our Bible and AWANA and then headed for the library! It was so successful! It was the first time in over a year that we've gone to the library and I didn't leave thinking "OK, never doing that again!" Peanut was a little bit wild, but overall she did much better! The big kids were good too! We got alot of fun books, and Bubba even picked a chapter book that we'll read together! Princess is still into American Girl!

Maybe we'll go back to the library in September! ;)

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Home

That word has been foremost in my mind for this last week. What makes a home? What makes a homeschool? What makes a homeschool different from a home school? Is there a difference? Now before I even start, it's important to note that what I'm saying is from my own head! I'm sort of typing out my thoughts as they come. Welcome to stream-of-consciousness on the Black Pearl!

OK, that article I wanted everyone to read and think about! It prompted so much thinking from me! There has always been a chasm between the mom/homeschool mom I want to be and the mom/homeschool mom I seem to be by default. I'm not sure why that happens, or how, or how to fix that. For example, a classical model for education really appeals to me... and implementing it with a WholeHeart/Charlotte Mason approach just gives me a warm, fuzzy feeling all over! And my reality: Calvert. :) Calvert has been a very big blessing in many ways this year, because I'm not sure how much school we would get done. But something that is becoming very evident as our school days continue is that it's not the schedule that's helping me get school done, nor the lesson manual. It's ME getting it done. It's me saying, "OK, kids, we've still got science and history to do!" It's me gathering the materials we need for science, and being willing to do it. So in short, the planning is not my problem. Implementation is my problem. I can implement with Calvert or without Calvert. Since I have spent the money on Calvert, obviously I'll be implementing WITH Calvert this year! (Relax my wonderful husband! LOL I'm not switching gears again! We're Calvert users this entire school year!) That information is just, um, informational!

OK, the home thing... we're just never here. I want our home to be a place of peace and refuge. Those are the words that keep coming to me: home and peace. Last night I attended the last of a series of WholeHeart workshops that I've been attending locally. The theme was 'habits, discipleship, character'. The moms who spoke about those topics kept reiterating that we really have to be close in our own walk with God, to be able to model that for our children, and to be able to take advantage of the teachable moments for our children! It seems so simple and yet I'm just clueless! I live in an area that is very active. You could literally pick from so many options for homeschoolers that you might never actually be home. That is such a blessing, I know! How wonderful to have the opportunities available and have to make choices! But that's where I have such a hard time is in making the choices! I want my kids to have all sorts of opportunities and I don't know where to draw the line.

Right now, I feel we're over-extended but I don't know how to drop anything. I do know I can't say 'yes' to anything else that's a regular committment, which means we're going to miss seeing our friends at Bible Study. :( My kids just don't do well with running all over the place. Peanut especially takes several days to 'come back' from a day that's just too busy and full. She's been like this forever, and today her OT told me that she just might be a child who needs a slower pace. It was so ironic that her OT said that on today of all days! I wish I knew how to actually slow things down and do that!

Well, it's been over an hour since I started this post! I got up to answer the phone, then finish our school work! So my train of thought has derailed! LOL! I'll have more to say later, I'm sure! ;)

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

AWANA and math

AWANA went well tonight! The kids are all wound up though... it's nearly 10 and they are ALL still awake! I don't think school will be starting on time here tomorrow! :) There was a slightly larger crowd than last week! I think maybe 7 or 8 Cubbies, same number of Sparks, and alot more T&Ters. I think there were maybe 11 of them this time, compared to 4 last time!

Now as for math... while I waited for the kids to finish AWANA I was able to address Princess' mathematics concern. Yesterday she asked me when we were going to do 'real MATH'. She's bored with Calvert 1st grade math, at least the beginning of it. As much as she did not like MUS last year, she did at least consider that to be 'real math'! LOL So I looked through the book and bumped her up by 20 lessons! I think those will be fairly easy as well, but it's introducing ways to attack addition, so I want her to understand how Calvert approaches it. It appears to be very similar to how MUS approached it though, so it shouldn't be difficult! And maybe she will be happy to have some 'real math' tomorrow! ;)

The 'HOME' in Homeschooling

I came across a link to this article on the WTM boards! I really enjoyed reading it! I hope you will too! Once I have a few moments to ponder it, I will post some thoughts!

http://home.att.net/~MikeJaqua/HOMEschooling.html

Monday, August 15, 2005

What exactly IS the Black Pearl Academy?

"Wherever we want to go, we go. That's what a homeschool is, you know. It's not just the books, and the pencils, and the games, and the lessons. That's what a homeschool needs. But what a homeschool is... what the Black Pearl Academy is... is freedom!"

Inspired by Captain Jack, our founder!

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Week 2 in review!

Well, this week was certainly crazier than the first week! I'm actually contemplating for next year not starting school until after Labor Day so we can get used to our AWANA and Fall Ball schedules!! :)

We started back to AWANA this past week with a new church and it was fantastic! This is a small AWANA program. They have fewer children in the entire program than my son had in his class last year at the old church! I absolutely love it! I hope the rest of the year continues to be as nice as the first evening went! Peanut went for the first time too, and it just amazes me that she is old enough to actually go to AWANA! It seems like just yesterday she was born and we were embarking on his homeschooling journey! And now, she's jumping on board with us!

Bubba and my Princess started Fall Ball this week as well! This is Princess' first season of ball, and it's sort of surprising because she's such a girly-girl! I wasn't expecting her to want to play! This is Bubba's 4th ball season (they do Spring and Fall here), but they changed the cutoff date so now instead of being the very youngest each season he will be in the middle, to one of the oldest! The boys seem to be much more of a normal size this time around! LOL! In the spring, the boys were nearly as tall as my husband!!

Monday we took the day off to have our 4th annual "Not Going Back to School" party at Chuck E Cheese. It is always the first day of public school. The reason I did it the first year was because I was afraid without someplace to go, I would run Bubba over to the nearest public school! I actually did cry when the bus went by without him! This homeschooling thing was such a foreign idea to me! I can't believe this starts our 4th year of homeschooling! Time is flying!

The rest of the week is a blur of school work, seeing my mom who was in town on business, husband being home one day when he shouldn't and gone alot when he should have been home, and of course, ball practice! And Peanut was coming down with a cold, but I didn't know it yet! So come Friday morning, this little engine completely gave out! I called school off for the day, and we went to the square for another Brown Bag Lunch concert. This time it was a magician and he was very funny! I wish they had these into the fall! It was alot of fun! We were joined by the R family again, and it was nice to see them! We had another ball practice last night, and then came home and Peanut showed the full-blown (no pun intended!) effects of her cold. Sorry R family if we gave any germs to you! :(

Peanut and I stayed home today and dh took the big ones to ball practice! It was a nice day to play around with her! I think she had fun with the run of the house! :)

And since I haven't mentioned it lately: Yes, I still am loving using Calvert! I am not the least bit worried about whether or not we're doing enough for school! It's such a measure of peace of mind for me! And it really helps on those days when I don't feel motivated to do school... I know all I have to do is open up the manual and follow the directions! And I'm not quite as worried about it been too easy for Princess anymore. The pace is really fast, and honestly, if she weren't such a strong reader I wonder if she'd be able to keep up! They expect alot of reading out of these little first graders! :)

So now I'm updated! I'll try not to wait next time until it's the 3rd week update! ;)

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Our First Week in Review!

Well, we definitely had a great first week!! I can't describe in words how much Calvert is helping me to relax this year about whether or not we're doing enough! It's such a blessing to me! The pace is a bit difficult to keep up with at times, but our schedule is a real help! On the days both kids have science experiments though, I believe someone (probably Bubba) will have to do their experiment in the afternoon after rest time!

Bubba has worked hard this week, and he's done really well! He LOVES the notecard making for science and geography! He did very well with the first composition assignments, even though he complained about the amount of writing! But he did it! :) I am a bit concerned about him when he replies to questions that test his comprehension. Sometimes he answers things that don't even relate to the question. I remember his Kindergarten teacher in Public School mentioning that as well! Anyway, I'm going to ask Peanut's Speech Therapist if she can test for Auditory Processing problems, or if that's what the audiologist does. In the meantime, I'm going to watch this more closely! I started reading him Owls in the Family! What a neat story!

His favorite thing from school last week was the science experiments!

Princess has done very well, too! Her work is totally easy so far! She is doing fairly well with her assignment sheet, better than I expected anyway! And her printing is really, really so much better than it was last year! I taught how to write her name in cursive the first day and she's writing it every chance she gets!! She has seemed to enjoy the stories in reading, but she is totally over the patterning chapter in math! Thankfully, she is finished with it! I read Mary on Horseback to her this first week, and started B is for Betsy! It wasn't on our original list, but I had purchased it from Sonlight for Bubba's reading last year and it was too hard. Anyway, someone mentioned it on the WTM board as a book about a little girl going into first grade, so it was very appropriate!

Her favorite thing from school last week was learning to write her name in cursive!

Peanut did so much better during school too! She didn't spend nearly the time on my lap that she has in previous school years! I didn't do as well as I wanted to with her floortime, but that is a work in progress! She loved playing with the new toys I bought for school, and also she loved getting at the playdoh every day! It's definitely a big change from homeschooling with her last year!! I can see the light at the end of the tunnel... it's gonna get easier and easier with her being part of the homeschool!

If I had to guess, I think her favorite thing from school last week was the playdoh, or maybe the aquadoodle!

As for me, the peace of mind from using Calvert has been priceless! It's definitely more work than we're used to, but not overwhelmingly so. It's probably not a fair judge yet because I haven't had to do much in the way of teaching with Princess! But I do appreciate having the discussion/comprehension questions with their reading and other subjects! And I forgot how much I like Calvert Math! We'll see if Bubba is able to keep pace with it this year! I don't worry about that with Princess! I was really really tired by the end of the week though! If we do not have Bible Study this fall, then we may go to a 4 day school week!

My favorite thing from school last week was not worrying whether or not we were doing 'enough'!

Monday, August 01, 2005

First Day of School

Well, the schedule was a big hit!! It flowed nicely, and really the morning just flew by! I think the times I allowed are going to work well, with adjustment! I understand some lessons might require more time than others so we will be able to be flexible within the framework! The kids really enjoyed "Recess" and "Snack Time"! Anyway, I'm so glad for that schedule... it gives us all just the knowledge of what comes next when!

The big kids did great with their assignment sheets! Princess was very proud of herself to have an assignment sheet! :) The Peanut had a hard time adjusting to all of us being busy again, but playdoh and an Aquadoodle entertained her for most of the morning! I highly recommend the Aquadoodle!

It was a very nice first day!

Sunday, July 31, 2005

As ready as I'll ever be!

Assignment sheets are printed out, kitchen/school room is clean, clothes laid out for tomorrow, and I'm going to get to bed on time!! We're all set for our first day of school! I'll post an update during rest time tomorrow!

For everyone who is starting school tomorrow, hope you have a lovely first day!

Feeling nervous!

Tomorrow we're "back to school"! We've had a 2 month break, which is the longest we've taken since starting homeschooling 3 years ago! I've been so very excited about getting started, and especially since our Calvert materials arrived! But now, I'm feeling something new... I'm feeling nervous!

What if Calvert doesn't help? What if the problem really lies with me, and even with having it all laid out for me, I just really can't handle it? What if Calvert is TOO much, and it's a struggle to get it all done with everything else going on? How will I get school done on Wednesdays when we have ST and OT for 90 minutes right in the middle of the morning? What if I fail?

OK, deep breath! ::inhale, exhale:: One day at a time! I think I'll get the house really clean today! That will help me feel more in control! :)

Church first, though! Hope everyone has a lovely Sunday!

Saturday, July 30, 2005

We're going to grow butterflies!

Don't panic... you didn't click on the wrong blog by mistake! And nobody has hacked into my blog! I - Niffercoo- and my 3 adorable little homeschoolers are going to attempt to grow living things in our home!! Seriously!! LOL I think some of you still don't believe me!

I bought a kit tonight at The School Box, and you send off for some caterpillars. The caterpillars will (in theory) grow up to be butterflies! I am so excited!! We're going to get all crafty and science-y! I have to thank Calvert for making me get this kit! Bubba's science book has him doing the caterpillar thing, and at least with the kit, I have a fighting chance of something actually growing! LOL!

You know, this may just be the turning point year for the Black Pearl Academy!! We might actually do art, and science, and music! ;)

Friday, July 29, 2005

3 kids, a mom, and a Homeschool Expo!

Well, let me start by saying that taking 3 children to a Homeschool Convention is much different that going with 2 homeschool moms! LOL Not quite as relaxing and invigorating for some reason!

The kids went to meet Senor Gamache, their Spanish Teacher! We just completed La Clase Divertida Level 1, and were going to purchase Level 2. The entrance fee to the Expo was less than the cost of shipping, and I knew the kids would get a kick out of meeting him! He is a delightful man, and just as neat in real life as he is during the class videos! I forgot my camera though and was so disappointed when the kids hugged him goodbye and I didn't have a picture! http://www.funclase.com Go check out the curriculum! It's an excellent and fun way to learn Espanol!!

That was all we went for! We browsed for a little bit and I purchased Moneywise Kids to play with. The game retailer that was at the convention in May was not at this one and I was disappointed! But that's OK! I'll order a couple of other games from CBD for Christmas instead!

OH! I got some cute homeschool stuff from a retailer. Her website is http://www.homeschoolmania.com I got dh a ballcap that says "Homeschool Principal", a shirt for me that says "Time Well Spent... Homeschool", and a magnet for the van that says "An Education for Life... Homeschool".

They also had a shirt and bumper sticker that looked like a warning sign and said "Caution:Unsocialized Homeschoolers on Board". I didn't have the courage to buy it but dh says we need it! LOL Maybe when I'm feeling a little more confident! :)

We stayed for about 90 minutes... Peanut kept getting out of her stroller everytime we slowed down! So it was a little bit wild! But I'm glad I took them to meet Senor! Next year when we go back to get level 3, I'll make sure to take my camera!

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

The excitement is building!

Last night I pulled together all of the materials we will need for next week. I cut out the Reading Word Cards for both kids. I haven't decided yet if I want to put Bubba's cards on a Word Wall like I am supposed to do for Princess'. It's mostly a matter of velcro and how much of the stuff I want to end up buying! I also got the math pages for the first week taken out of the books, and the little stories from the 'Phonics/Readers Library" taken out and folded. I read everything the kids will be reading next week, and I wrote out the definitions for Bubba's study cards for science and geography. That way he can write the correct word on each definition and ease him into the amount of writing that Calvert requires.

I forgot how much I liked Calvert Math. I went away from it last year because of the cost, and the 3rd grade math looked like it would be too hard anyway. This year it's just right for him! Princess asked to look at hers and she approves!

A little bit of the guilty feelings have creeped back up into me for spending so much money, and for not pulling everything together myself! But I quickly pushed those feelings aside and know that Calvert is the best choice for us this year! I am going to start working on Peanut's schedule now that I've got the kids' materials ready. I want to get an index card file of activities for her OT so that I'm not having to think of things on the fly. Ultimately, I hope she will come to be able to tell me what she's in the mood to do. But for now, I want to introduce lots of new stuff to her so she'll have a wide range of things to choose from! Also I must get her boxes organized with the new toys I bought, and get out the HWT wood pieces and Capital Letter cards for her to start playing with!

I think we're all excited for school to begin on Monday!

Sunday, July 24, 2005

The best surprise!

I came home today from a short weekend at my parents' house and there was a large envelope waiting for me! I instantly recognized the return address as being from Lisa, and was excited because she had told me she was sending me something to make my school year more fun! Honestly, I had NO idea what to expect! And let me tell you how surprised I was, to open the envelope and find...



A POTC folder with Captain Jack on the front!! OMG I have no idea where you found this, Lisa, but I will treasure it!! I have never seen such a thing before!! I thank you from the bottom of my heart! It is truly a mighty gift! Thank you dear friend! You have put a smile into my heart! :)

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Our Schedule 2005-2006

Here is our school schedule for this year! I stick to it pretty strictly for a few weeks to a month, then it becomes more of a routine than a schedule! But it helps me stay focused on the times and see howmy estimates for how long something should take and how long it actually takes mesh!

6:00 Mommy wakes, curses homeschooling*, showers, dresses, does Flylady chores, and devotions
* just kidding about that!

7:15 wake kids: kids do their morning routine which involves getting dressed, eating breakfast, making beds, and their daily morning chore

8:00 Bible, AWANA practice/Preschooler's floortime
8:30-9:30 3rd grader's first lesson time (Math, Phonics, Composition, Reading)
Girls have playtime
9:30-10:00 1st grader's math and reading lesson
3rd works on his assignment sheet
Preschooler table time
10:00-10:30 RECESS (this is Peanut's morning OT time)
10:30-10:45 Snack
10:45-11:00 Preschooler Speech Therapy Homework
3rd Spelling/Vocab CDrom
1st works on assignment sheet (until 11:30, or sooner if she works fast)
11:00-11:30 Bubba's 2nd lesson time (Science or Geography or Mythology or Art)
11:30-12:30 1st finishes up any lessons we didn't get to before recess
Mom starts lunch
3rd finishes his assignment sheet
12:30 -1:00 lunch
1:00-2:30 Rest time

I may end up saving art for after rest time, depending on how time goes. Also, the history and mythology for Bubba might work well for reading aloud in the afternoons. The first few weeks will really let me know how long I can expect a typical lesson to take, and hopefully I'll start getting a feel for being able to look at the lesson manual and judge that myself fairly accurately!

The times where Peanut doesn't have something specific to do, she'll just be playing with her school boxes or like last year, sitting on my lap! I'll have to wait and see!

***Edited because it dawned on me that my Peanut is no longer a Toddler, so I changed the Toddler references to Preschooler ::sniff sniff:: ***

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Power of 10 List! (ala the Quing and some other person who quotes movies but shall remain nameless because I don't know if she wants me to say it)

10 things I need to do before school starts:

1. Design and Create Princess' Word Wall. DONE!

2. Get the kids' school boxes filled with fresh supplies. DONE!

3. Fill out and print the kids' assignment sheets for the first week of school. DONE!

4. Design Peanuts's morning OT program so I don't have to come up with it on the fly. I want to incorporate at least 2 new activities each week from The Out of Sync Child Has Fun. finishing it today!

5. Read through the teacher's manuals for the first week and gather materials. DONE!

6. Gather any science materials I need for the first 20 lessons. DONE!

7. Redo Peanut's school boxes to make them a little more appropriate for an almost 3.5 year old.
8. Decide where will be attending AWANA this year. DONE!

9. Wash the school desks and walls in the school room/kitchen. DONE!

10. Have the kids work through the prerequisite technology lessons for their Calvert grades. DONE!

Monday, July 18, 2005

Morning Routine run-through!

Today we started the new morning "before school" routine that we'll be using when school starts in 2 weeks! I didn't wake the kids up at the time they will have to get up, but just had them go through the motions of what all needs to get done before school time!

It went very well! Everyone was a bit slow, though... but I think that will work itself out with time and getting used to the routine! Also, anyone who doesn't finish their morning routine before school time has to finish at recess! ;)

I think we're all getting very excited about the first day of school! Or maybe it's me and the kids are just catching it! :) So the plan is to keep this up all week, and then next week the kids will start getting up at the time they'll need to be up for school! Should be interesting! :)

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Another step closer!

Today I've made another step closer to being prepared for the first day of school! I filled out, printed off, and addressed the Declaration of Intent form required by my state! It sure was strange to see Princess' name on that document finally! It seems like she's been homeschooling forever, but now she's really official! I also filled in and printed off the attendance forms for this coming year!

I have gotten the kids' Read-Aloud lists finalized and ready for printing for their notebooks. Also, I got the cover pages for their notebooks ready to print for decoration on the first day of school!

Oh! I also got the kids' Morning Routines and Evening table chores made into a WordPerfect file so that can be printed off and placed on the fridge! I think I managed to get our daily schedule arranged, but it's going to require early mornings and some sense of order! We'll start getting up early next week and practicing the non-school part of the morning routine! :)

I am really excited about school starting back, and I think the kids are too! Now if I can get this darn cough to leave me and Bubba, everything will be set! Oh, and I have to go school supply shopping too! :)

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Movie Review: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Oh!

My!!

GRACIOUS!!!!!!!!!


I loved this movie!!! It was absolutely delightful! I took my son and he and I both just had so much fun watching this film! (Older daughter lost the movie as a punishment for some behavior that was inappropriate, but I'm going to try to find a way for her to earn a chance to see it! It's that good!) I am not one of the people who was 2nd guessing whether this remake would be excellent, or compare to the original movie, or be creepy, or that JD was just pathetic for the role of Willy Wonka. I KNEW it was gonna be awesome, and I wasn't disappointed.

Pros: Um, everything! :)

Cons: It was only 2 hours long! LOL! Oh, and the first two Oompa Loompa songs I couldn't really understand the words very well! I will be glad when the DVD comes out and I can use the subtitles... or maybe I'll take the book with me next time and follow along! :)

I give this movie a 4.75 on the Savvy scale... it's just so hard to give it the 5 that's reserved for POTC or LOTR. But it comes SO close. Maybe more like a 4.99? :)

Friday, July 15, 2005

Movie Review: Mr. and Mrs. Smith

Let me start by saying that I'm very glad I used my Regal Crown Club points for a free ticket to see this movie! It wasn't bad, per se. But it wasn't all that good, either. It was just sort of there! There was lots of action and some romance!

Pros: Lots of cool stunts! Some funny jokes!

Cons: It just didn't keep my attention! I kept wondering when we were going to get to the end where they made up! :)

I give this movie 2 on the Savvy Scale!

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Peace of mind!

The Calvert boxes came today and I spent the better part of the afternoon going through the materials! The kids are going to learn SO much this year! I am really excited! There won't be any lingering doubts this time next year if we've done 'enough'! I am a little nervous about the workload, because this will be more work that we've tried to do before. But we'll take it slowly and steadily and allow some time for everything to fall into place! :)

I am very excited and looking forward to the first day of school in just 2.5 weeks! I've got to make a word wall for dd6, and gather science supplies, and then we're all set!! :)

Poll: Should my movie reviews remain on this blog, or go to my family blog?

Comments, anyone? :)

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

I'm getting excited!

This time tomorrow my Calvert materials will be here!! I am SO excited! I can't wait to get my hands on everything and get a feel for how our school year will flow!! :)

We start back to school in 17 days!

Back in focus!!

I wanted to let everyone know that I'm going to get back in focus on this blog! Back to homeschool stuff and not so much personal information that isn't what you're looking for!!

The kids' Calvert materials will be here tomorrow! Time to stalk the UPS guy! :)

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

A bittersweet time!

Today I took my 9 year old son shopping for deodorant! I will spare you all the details about how we determined he was ready for it! LOL! So today we went down to the Health Food store to find a nice, natural deodorant! After sniffing what seemed like 50 varieties of Tom's of Maine deodorant, he settled on "Calendula" scent because "it smells like Dad!" He strutted his way to the checkout and I forked over the $4.50 for this all natural deodorant (remind me to rant at some point about why we have to pay so much more to buy stuff that has stuff NOT in it!). The cashier apparently recognized this moment and handed the bag directly to him, who then strutted to the van!

We got in and he said "I have to put my deodorant on now! 1-2 just like Dad taught me!"

It's sad and sweet all at the same time to see my 'little' boy growing up! Sad in that I know how fast it's all passing me by and for some reason I can't seem to manage to make the most of the ordinary moments! It's sweet though in watching my son just be so excited about this growing up stuff! So often, he doesn't embrace change! It's neat to see him jazzed about changes and becoming a man! :)

Monday, July 11, 2005

We're all set!

I placed our Calvert order this morning, and should have the boxes on Friday! :) I'm so relieved that this decision-making process is over and I'm looking forward to a productive year with Calvert!

Sunday, July 10, 2005

A Drumroll Please!!

Ladies and Gentlemen, we have a curriculum decision!! I would like to take this opportunity to thank Hurricane Dennis and the 4 hour power outage he gave us last night which afforded me the time to ponder, discuss, and plan!

And now, the moment you have all been waiting for! Our curriculum for school year 2005-2006:

Calvert 1st and 3rd grades!!!

::insert cheeering and applause here::

I will be placing my order tomorrow, and this afternoon I'm going to start listing the things on the swap boards that I am not going to need this year! I am so glad this decision has been made, and a week early to boot! This will give me time to get the order from Calvert, go over the materials, and gather any supplies I'll need for science! I also want to come up with some sort of routine or schedule for us for our school days so it will be easier on everyone to know what to expect starting off!

I went back and forth and back and forth as usual, and last night I even got out the WTM book and my history supplies and sat down to try to do some planning. I just got all jittery trying to figure it all out! Calvert has what I WANT this coming year, and that's what matters. It's not a matter of being fearful that I can't give the kids a good education. It's that Calvert has what I am looking for in their language arts, math, and science programs. We will listen to SOTW 3 in the car because we enjoy it! I'm not terribly intimidated by the schedule or workload because I'm confident in my abilities to take what I need from it, and leave to the side anything that seems like busywork!

I think so much of the struggle I have with these decisions results from what I think people think I should use, or what my friends are using. But they aren't me and I'm not them! I'm so glad that my friends each use what works best for their families, just like I am! That's a very freeing feeling! For us, for this year, Calvert is going to be what we need! :)

Friday, July 08, 2005

And let the countdown begin!!

There are only 364 days until the release of Pirates of the Caribbean 2: Dead Man's Chest!!!!


WOOOOOHOOOOOOO!!!

Movie Review: Batman Begins

It's been quite awhile since I've been to a new movie! I was starting to have movie withdrawls! It was really hard to choose which movie to see, too! There were so many great ones that I haven't seen yet, like Bewitched, Mr. and Mrs. Smith, War of the Worlds, The Longest Yard. And of course, there was the chance to see Star Wars Episode 3 again! :) And we all know that Charlie and the Chocolate will be coming in just one week! YAY!

But in the end, I chose Batman Begins! I'm glad I did! It was a fantastic movie! Christian Bale was the best Batman I have seen yet! Perhaps it's because he's not a superstar? Personally, I've never seen anything he is in, but a trip to his www.imdb.com page shows that he's been in several big flicks! I really enjoyed his performance as Bruce Wayne/Batman! Couldn't believe he is from Britain! He does a great Gotham accent! Also, Liam Neeson was superb, as usual! And the actor who played Dr. Crane/The Scarecrow was just incredibly creepy! I loved him! His name is Cillian Murphy!

There wasn't much I didn't like about this film! It was a bit slow in places, but the storyline still kept me engaged!

Pros: I actually was taken by surprise by a plot twist! That so rarely happens in movies that I was really excited! I won't spoil it for you here, but I was really not expecting it! The acting was excellent overall. Katie Holmes seemed a little young in her role, in my opinion. The car was the coolest! And Morgan Freeman's character was one of his best, reminded me his character in The Sum of All Fears!

Cons: Some swearing and the use of G-D which again was unnecessary! Other than that, not too much bad in this film!

I give Batman Begins a '4' on the Savvy Scale!

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Shhhhhhh...

not that I'm getting excited or anything... but my little peanut has not had a peepee accident in TWO DAYS!!! ::wooooohooooo::

Pretend you didn't read this, don't want to jinx it! :)

Nothing like a well-child visit to make you smile :)

Today ds9 and dd6 had Well-Child checkups! We have new health insurance and I was grateful for this opportunity for the big kids to meet their new doctor! What I wasn't expecting was to spend most of the time laughing at the funny things my children said and did!

First was my son. The doctor asked his age, what grade he was going into, and did he like school. He answered those and said he was homeschooled. The teacher said "What kind of grades do you get? As? Bs? Cs? Ds?" My son, who has never been graded in his life, said "Yes, but I really have known my alphabet for quite awhile!" The doctor just looked puzzled, then she turned to me and asked me what sort of grades he gets. We had a lesson titled "What are grades" on the way home from the visit, and he indicated he would like to start those in the 5th grade! :)

One more funny from my young man... when the doctor stepped out for a few minutes, he said "I'm worried." I asked what was bothering him. "I'm afraid she's going to tell me I need Tommy John surgery." Now for those who may not be baseball fans, that is a surgery that pitchers have when their elbows go out! I laughed so hard, I nearly cried!

Now onto my Princess to make me giggle: The doctor finished with ds and turned to dd to ask similar questions. She asked if dd was going into the first grade and was she homeschooled too. Also she asked "Are you starting to learn to read some words?" Princess replied "Oh I can read whole BOOKS!" Then the doctor asked "Are you learning some simple math too? Like, what is 3 plus 5, no that's too hard, what is 2 plus 3?" She said "Those are both easy! It's 8, and 5!" The doctor was impressed! So she asked her next to raise her left hand. She obliged, but then looked at me and asked "Mom, does she know that I'm SIX??" LOL Apparently Princess was a little insulted by the ease of the questions! :)

I have to say that I'm glad the kids were so animated for their appointment and not the least bit shy! But this was certainly one heck of a way to introduce ourselves to the new pediatrician! :)

Monday, July 04, 2005

Fireworks and Lightning!

I wish I could have taken pictures of it to share! Tonight during the fireworks show we attended, it was pouring down rain, thundering and lightning, all while the fireworks were being fired off as quickly as possible before they were ruined! It was so amazing! You didn't know whether to ooooh and ahhh over the fireworks, or over the lightning! Each were amazing!

The kids all did so well, despite being cooped up in the van on the side of the road until the fireworks started. Once they started we stood out in the rain and got soaked! But it was alot of fun! :)

Happy Birthday America! And God Bless America, my home sweet home!

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Ben's Story

Today at church, I got to hear about Ben Bowen. I didn't get to meet him because he died on February 25, 2005 at the age of 2. He had a brain tumor. But I got to hear his dad speak to our church this morning, and was moved to visit his website: www.bens-story.com .

Ben's daddy was a firefighter who volunteered to go up to NYC and help with search and rescue/recovery at Ground Zero. He spoke to us about the nightmares he suffered from as a result of the sights he saw at Ground Zero. He also spoke to us about Job, trusting in God, and believing God. Then he shared how he was tested a year ago when their youngest son was diagnosed with a brain tumor.

Ben's Dad (Tom) shared how he and his wife (named Jennifer, like me) had to decide then and there whether they were going to walk the talk that Tom had been sharing throughout the country when he would speak to churches about his experiences in NYC. Today was his first speaking engagement since Ben was diagnosed and died. I'm not sure how you could listen to this man's honesty in sharing his life over the last nearly 4 years and not be moved to tears.

I wanted to go over to Ben's Daddy and tell him how much I needed his message today, but I couldn't. I was too emotional! What I left with mostly, is that God has given us tools such as worship and prayer to help us live this life. And we should practice using these tools every day, just as a firefighter practices with his tools of the trade daily, for the time when they are needed!
It was a powerful message, and it has touched me deeply!

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Out of the mouths of babes, er, big girls!

Last night dh got home from work early, and we all went outside while hot dogs were cooking on the grill! I said outloud to dh how this was just the perfect way to spend a summer evening: All of us together in the backyard. Daddy and Bubba having a catch, Princess sitting in the fort of the swingset drawing in her sketchbook, and Mommy pushing the baby in the swing, while dinner cooks on the grill.

Peanut took offense! "MOMMY!! I not a baby! I a big girl! I NOT a baby! I a BIG GIRL!"

Apparently she doesn't realize that I will always think of her as my 'baby'. (Especially since she's not potty trained! LOL)

But I just won't say it out loud anymore! :)

Thursday, June 30, 2005

A Toast!

Please join me in lifting a glass in honor of the last day of June!! May July be infinitely better! :)

Monday, June 27, 2005

Skip this

This post is going to be more for me than anything, not directed at anyone in particular, and really is just going to serve to be a therapy for mama. I will not be offended if you choose to move on to another blog, and I hope if you come back in a few days or so, there will be something much more interesting to read.

Mama's Therapy 6/27

I am so sad. I just feel like I want to cry and cry and cuddle up on the bed and cry some more. I just watched Peanut totally lose herself during her speech therapy appointment today. I don't even know who to talk to during all of this. I know my friends are getting tired of hearing about this stuff. And if you're not living with her, you really don't understand what it's doing to the whole family anyway. So I can't expect them to want to listen to me ramble on endlessly about being terrified of what's going on with my Peanut, and being so worried all the time and so upset and having the big kids being upset too. Sometimes I wish I could go back to before we started all the evaluations and stuff and just be in my little ignorant "maybe there is a problem" world. I know in the long run, what we're doing is for her benefit! I really know that. But it's so hard to see all this stuff thrown on her all at once. And all my energy seems directed towards her now and that isn't right for the big kids. At some point I need to be directing some energy towards planning for next school year, considering we start back to school in 5 weeks. I start thinking about it and my mind just gets all clouded up with wondering how we're going to do all of this at all! Have you ever heard that analogy about parenting.. where you are expecting a trip to Italy and you end up in Holland, but that Holland is beautiful and lovely and you'd really enjoy it if you'd stop wishing you'd ended up in Italy like everyone else? Well, I feel like I'm in Holland, but one of the kids is in Italy, one of them is in Holland but only speaks Chinese, and the other kid is in Antarctica. Nothing makes sense. I don't even know what I'm supposed to do next. I feel all alone.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Mama Guilt, revisited

Hubby just told me that when he was tucking Princess into bed, she asked him why we pay more attention to Bubba and Peanut than to her. She said we ignore her. It would be sort of annoying, except in my heart I know she's right. She's very smart, so I ignored alot of her schooling last year. Bubba struggles and he needs more of my time. She got things easily, including reading especially, so I just left her to her own. Obviously you know Peanut's story if you've been reading my blog. Now she has twice daily OT sessions and a ST therapy session. It adds up to about 90 minutes a day. And she's potty training, so that takes time.

I thought I was doing better though, because I've been giving Princess 'cooking lessons'. I've got to find more time for her daily. This year she becomes 'official' with homeschooling so I will be forced to do a better job than I have in the past.

I really wish I wasn't an only child. I just don't know how to balance all of this!

Thursday, June 23, 2005

The Black Pearl Mini-Gym?

It appears that I will be opening this up within the next week or so! Peanut's OT has set her up a system of exersizes to be done twice a day for 30 minutes each time. I am in the market, as it were, for a mini-trampoline, an exersize ball, and some other 'stuff'. We are still new to this and it's a bit tricky to figure out timing and what activities of the ones she showed me that we will do. But she said to have patience, and as we get more used to doing the therapy, our home program will have more of a flow to it. I was amazed at the difference in my Peanut yesterday afternoon after I did our first run at it... but we only made it 20 minutes or so before I ran out of ideas. This is definitely something that's going to require some advance planning on my part. I'm thinking maybe a checklist or something. I have on hold a book from the library called "The Out of Sync Child Has Fun" which is supposed to contain lots of the sorts of activities that will help her. I can't wait for it to come in! And for our next OT appt, I'm taking a notepad to help me remember all the stuff she is telling me and showing me!

I'm doing better today than yesterday. I was so overwhelmed at the thought of having to get this done with Peanut twice daily, plus her speech therapy time, plus schooling the big kids, plus housework, plus cooking. I'm still overwhelmed, but holding it together better than yesterday. I haven't had my night out this week yet, which I know isn't helping. I'm also really leaning towards using Calvert for the big kids next year to relieve some of the daily planning from our school routine. Right now, I cannot see how I will be able to plan everything out myself.

One more very interesting thing before I head for bed... I used one of the techniques the OT showed me for Peanut on Bubba last night. It's a deep pressure massage and I used a tennis ball on his back. It's to help them get settled in for bed. Within 5 minutes after I was done, he was asleep! That's just amazing! It usually takes upwards of 2 hours for him to fall asleep! I'm anxious to try again tomorrow night! (He and Daddy are at the Braves game tonight!). I hope it wasn't just a fluke!

Just about time for this head to hit the bed!

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

It's been that kind of week!

The kind only Captain Jack can fix! :)

If you are looking for me, I'm watching POTC, savvy?

Drink up, me hearties! Yo HO!!

Monday, June 20, 2005

Reflections

Ok, now that the kids are in bed and I've had a nap and can look back on these events, I will write some more! Peanut did great the rest of the day! She had her moments, but nothing much different than usual! She did not like the antibiotic ear drops one bit. I'm sure they felt quite odd! She was happy and dancing around! I do have to say that I think I was expecting a much more pronounced change in her hearing though. She still doesn't act like she hears very well when you call her name. And I was sort of thinking she would just start speaking clearly instantly. She really doesn't seem much different.

I have to give all the respect and appreciation in the world for the staff at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta's Surgery Center at Meridian Mark. They were the most caring, understanding, and genuinely wonderful folks I've dealt with in a very long time! I will never ever forget the anesthesiologist rubbing my Peanut's forehead and hair as he was holding the mask to her face. She got really freaked out when the mask was put on her. I was holding her hand, and I started singing her favorite song, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, and rubbing her hand. She started to settle down, and I noticed that the anesthesiologist was rubbing her little forehead. When she fell asleep, the nurse said "OK, Mom" as my cue to go... and the anesthesiologist said "Do you want to give her a kiss before you leave?" That was just so awesome! Great guy! Don't remember your name, but you made a nervous mom feel like her baby was in good hands! :)

I also have to just tell everyone how fabulous Peanut was today! She was so patient and playful! She sat on my lap a good bit of the time in the Pre-Op room, and every now and then she'd ask "I'm gonna be OK?" so I know she was nervous! But she was such a good girl through everything! Like I said, she got nervous in the operating room, but honestly that was an intimidating place! I don't blame her one bit at all! The huge light above the operating table was enough to freak a grown-up out! I am so proud of her for her bravery!!

Hubby was super through the whole thing too! I know he was upset that he couldn't go back into the operating room when they put her to sleep, and I definitely know he was concerned that I would lose it and upset Peanut. But he didn't press the issue beyond reminding me on the way down there how bad it would be if she saw me crying. I assured him I would be fine, and if I felt anything but fine, I would have him take her. But there is no way I could not go in there with her. I admire him for having the trust in me to be able to manage! And I hope he forgives me for not letting him do it himself. :)

I am SO glad this is all behind us now! We have 4 more days of antibiotic ear drops, and then a follow-up visit with the ENT in a month! I am really praying this makes a big difference in her hearing and in the fluid she had in her ears! I am going to sleep very well tonight!

We're back!

Peanut did great (I did too!)! She had a very hard first hour coming out of the anesthesia, with lots of crying and such. She is doing much better over the last 10 minutes though!

Thanks for all the prayers!

Here we go!

I'm getting ready to go wake up Peanut so we can head down to the surgery center! Please pray for smooth going for everyone involved! I will post again when we return! Thanks!

Sunday, June 19, 2005

A Diversion!!

Ok, to distract myself from the fact that in 22 hours my baby will be going under anesthesia, I present you with my read-aloud lists for the big kids for the school year 2005-2005! Enjoy! (And I hope this keeps me busy typing for awhile!)

Princess, 1st grade:

Mary on Horseback (Sonlight K)
In Grandma's Attic (Sonlight K)
Capyboppy (Sonlight K)
A Grain of Rice (Sonlight K)
Mountain Born (Sonlight 1)
The Year of Miss Agnes (Sonlight 1)
Little Pear (Sonlight 1)
Understood Betsy (Sonlight 1)
Follow my Leader (Sonlight 1)
The Wheel on the School (Sonlight 1)


Bubba, 3rd grade:

Owls in the Family (Veritas Press 2)
Encyclopedia Brown (Veritas Press 2)
Baby Island (VP 2)
Pinocchio (VP2)
The Trumpet of the Swan (classic book)
Misty of Chincoteague/Assateague (VP 3)
Mustang (Sonlight)
Paul Bunyan (VP 3)
The Railway Children (VP 2)
The Story of the Treasure Seekers (VP 3)
The Dragon of Lonely Island (VP 3)


OK, that only took 10 minutes. Shucks. Well, I'm going to go see if any of them are at buy.com so I can use my $5 off a $25 purchase coupon! :)

Saturday, June 18, 2005

11 years ago today...

I was getting married!! :)

Hubby and I had met a year earlier when his band was playing at a country dance club called Bubba 'n Buck! I used to line dance there with my friends at least 3 nights a week! I wasn't looking for romance, but it found me in the form of a gorgeous guy wearing cowhide boots, a black hat, and a tie dye vest! When he started singing "Wonderful Tonight" my heart skipped a beat or two, because that song had been one of my very favorites and I used to tell Suzanne (my best friend in high school) that the man of my dreams would sing me that song!

I am so lucky to have Hubby as my husband!! He is one of a kind, and is my soul mate! He also gets big brownie points for having the patience and courage to just live around me all the time! LOL

Thursday, June 16, 2005

I've been tagged!

Ok, this is exciting because it's the first time I've had to answer questions on my blog because someone tagged me! Lisa ( http://www.livejournal.com/users/rejoicing9/ ) wants me to list my 6 favorite songs! This is gonna be a hard one but I'll just go off the top of my head in random order:

1. Pour Some Sugar on Me, Def Leppard
2. Holy is the Lord, Chris Tomlin
3. It Takes Two, Rob Base and DJ EZ Rock
4. Home Sweet Home, Motley Crue
5. Voice of Truth, Casting Crowns
6. O Praise Him, David Crowder Band

Wow, I wonder if I should separate that 80s metal/90s rap from the Contemporary Christian? Nah, that's who I am! :) God loves me this way!

I don't know anyone else to tag... so if you want to do this, and you read my blog, consider yourself tagged!!

We're all scheduled!

The doctor's office just called me with Peanut's time for surgery on Monday morning! It's first thing in the morning, which is good! I was worried about how to keep a 3 year old from eating breakfast... or how to keep a 6 and 9 year old from eating breakfast in front of the 3 year old who can't! When we leave that morning, it's likely the big kids won't even be awake yet!

Surgery is set for 9:10 AM, and we have to be there 90 minutes early! Prayers are appreciated!

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

We are going around the leaf!

OK, real quick: which movie is that from? I'll give you the rest of this post to think about it while I explain why it is the title of today's blog entry!

I am easily flustered. I know, it's hard to believe! Even through the computer I exude such an air of self-confidence and an ability to just roll with the punches! LOL OK, so now that we've all chuckled... it really is true. Bubba is the same way. Peanut is going to be the same way too, I can already tell. Princess, on the other hand, is much more easy-going... but when she does get flustered she acts more like her daddy. :)

When things get thrown in my path that I'm not expecting, I panic. It's my first response. Hubby will tell you that I'm truly getting better! But it's a long road. For instance, my 16.5 year old nephew is coming to spend the night from CA next Saturday... and I'm completely on edge about it! My carpet needs cleaning and I don't have the money for it. I don't have a clue what he's going to do here because I don't have anything appealing to do for a teenage boy... no video games, no internet for him b/c I don't feel right with him getting on my internet without his parents here. I guess we'll watch TV or a movie after the kids go to bed? Well, I'm trying not to panic!

Another instance is when the garage door broke last week. It just completely flustered me. I was on the verge of tears because I was so overwhelmed by it all, and that was just the last straw. It was something that wasn't so bad in the long run... we could live without a garage door opener and park on the driveway. But at the time, it felt like the end of the world.

So here I am... going to work on a new motto for my self and the 2 of 3 children who seem to take after their mother: We are going around the leaf! Did you figure out which movie it came from? Here is a clue:

Worker Ant #1: Oh no. I'm lost. Where's the line? What do I do?
Worker Ant #2: Help.
Worker Ant #3: We'll be stuck forever.
Mr. Soil: Do not panic, do not panic. We are trained professionals. Now, stay calm. We are going around the leaf.
Worker Ant #1: Around the leaf. I-I-I don't think we can do that.
Mr. Soil: Oh, nonsense. This is nothing compared to the twig of '93.

It's from A Bug's Life! What a cute little movie! It's a family favorite around here! Anyway, from now on, at the Black Pearl Academy, we are going around the leaf!

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Plan B

And it doesn't have anything to do with homeschooling! ;)

The Occupational Therapist called this morning to cancel our appt. and reschedule, so we ended up moving to Plan B: getting swimsuits on and going over to play at the fountain at the mall! We had a blast! I wish I would have remembered to take my camera, but I didn't. It's OK! We'll surely go back again! We ate lunch at the mall afterward, then came home to rest! It was simple fun! I sure needed that! :)

Tomorrow is our pre-op appointment for the ear tubes!

Monday, June 13, 2005

Now that it's out of my system...

I'm feeling better. I did a 3 mile walk tonight (with Leslie Sansone and my 3 pound weights) and I think that helped alot. I'm going to have to work my way through this and come out on the other side with some lasting confidence, and a game plan. Otherwise nothing is going to change.

It may have to wait until next week, after Peanut's surgery. Right now, that's where my focus lies! BTW, she did really well in Speech Therapy today! She had alot of fun and moved on to a new letter sound to work on! Her ST said she could tell we've been working on it alot at home! The big kids are out of sorts... maybe worried about Peanut? Bubba is crying at the drop of a hat and it's driving me nuts. I told hubbys tonight that this must be what it's like living with me?! On a good note, Princess thinks I'm amazing because I put her hair in braids tonight like Betsy from the Betsy-Tacy books!

Now, I'm going to bed! Things will look better in the morning! :)

I don't trust myself.

I think I've narrowed down all my indecision problems to one simple fact: I do not trust myself to make the right decisions! The last few weeks (and what we're going through with Peanut) just seem to reinforce that fact.

I should have gotten her in for testing back in the winter when I started to really suspect something was amiss. She would have had 6 extra months to be able to hear correctly, and get help with her speech. Along those same lines, I really wish we had gotten Bubba evaluated back when he was 5-6 like we started to, instead of just thinking he would grow out of everything. He has grown out of alot, but if there was something we could have done 3 years ago that would make his life easier and less stressful for him then I would want it.

Of course, that still leaves Princess stuck in the middle. This morning she was talking funny, and when I asked her what was wrong she said she didn't know but maybe she needed speech therapy?! @@ After I told her she would have to go to the doctor like Peanut to make sure there wasn't anything wrong with her ears or mouth, she decided she could speak just fine. She just wants the attention that Peanut is getting. And Princess' school work... she probably could be much further ahead of where she is now if I just worked with her as much as I do Bubba. I'm so afraid of her passing him up and how that will make him feel.

Now that we're on the topic of school... could I keep screwing up any worse?? I really am starting to think I should just order Calvert for both of them and keep my pathetic lack of decision-making and planning out of the equation.

I can't keep screwing everything up and expect these kids to have any sort of a future. Look at the wonderful job I've done so far? One kid who needs Speech and Occupational Therapy, and tubes in her ears because mommy figure out she couldn't hear correctly. One kid who needs some sort of therapy for his struggling emotions and reactions to the world, and who desperately needs some sort of direction and pushing with school. And then the kid in the middle, who really needs to opportunity to shine and be her own very smart person, but mommy is too wrapped up in the other two that she doesn't have time to let her.

Why should I trust myself? I just keep messing everything up.