Monday, April 22, 2013


This is his starting block stance. He's about to take off and run at me to grab the camera and beat me over the head with it. What? Your toddler doesn't do that?

So, if I haven't mentioned it before, we've only got a couple of P.E. style goals for this summer: 1. Get Seth and Evan both swimming more confidently, and 2. Get Seth riding his bike without training wheels.

I think Seth must've overheard us talking about this because he told us a couple of days ago that he wanted to take the training wheels off his bike. Now, he told us this last summer, David took them off, and he then decided that he wasn't ready. Back on they went, and a year went by. 

David took them off yesterday, and then he ran with Seth, holding onto him or the bike, down our street and back again, over and over. Seth did really, really well. We were both surprised. There were many times when David was barely touching him, and he was balancing great. He's so pumped about this. I took lots of video, and he can't wait for Daddy to get home so he can do it again.

David is going to get his workout for the month running Seth up and back. It'll be good for him, right? (says his lazy wife...)

There were plenty of kids in the cul de sac for Seth's big moment yesterday evening. I got a couple of the older ones to help me manage Ben so I could video. Evan and our neighbor's daughter rode their bikes (with training wheels) alongside him to cheer him on. It was a perfect spring day, not too hot, not too cold. Our neighborhood was looking its best. It's during the 2 weeks that our azaleas all bloom. 

I hope he'll remember what it felt like to ride his bike with just his own balance and a little faith and hope. Big stuff, this milestone...

Thursday, April 18, 2013


Ok, so I've been meaning to post about these things called water beads. They are so super fun and so super cheap. I printed a hypothesis sheet from online, and we made guesses about what would happen when we added water. They start out really tiny, and as they absorb the water, they get bigger and bigger. (If you're getting colored ones, rinse them several times before you put them in a container with water or the color will stain little fingers, FYI.) You can get them in the floral section at Walmart for a few dollars. They're an absorbent polymer, probably made out of sodium polyacrylate or a cousin of it, the same stuff that is in baby diapers....

It's April, and I'm so ready for the end of the school year. David (who remembers things sooo much better than I do) said that some of the speakers at last year's homeschool conference said that homeschool moms start getting burned out in April and May.


I'm almost finished with the first Five in A Row manual (as in, we've rowed most of the books in it), and I think I'll intersperse my own short unit studies and days of reading books that we've gotten from the library about different topics with the remaining "rows" until the end of May. Summer vacation won't be a complete break from school. We'll still be doing math, handwriting, and reading lessons a few days a week, and we'll be reading and playing games and doing activities like we always do. I just won't be doing much planning and prepping unless I feel like it. I strongly suspect I won't feel like it.

I started getting drowsy doing Seth's reading lesson with him tonight. That happens too much lately. We do it upstairs on our bed, and its just so nice to put my feet up. Fortunately, his enthusiasm doesn't let me drowse much. He's enjoying it a good bit more than he did in the beginning when reading wasn't coming easily. And if I liked "All About Reading, Level 1" before, I LOVE it now. Totally worth the investment....

I got an email asking if I would be interested in helping with VBS at our church this year. There was a time when I would've been. We did a lot of teaching kids before we had them, and we still work in nursery once a month.

I feel guilty for not wanting to help, but I try to remember a blog post that I read at the beginning of this year that reminded me that teaching my children at home is adding a full time job onto the one I already have. If I am really tired and feel like I can't add much to my plate without cracking, I can remind myself that may be because I've already taken on an extra job, so I shouldn't be surprised if it's taking everything I've got many days.

And that means I can be ok with saying "no" to teaching VBS. Even if it makes me feel guilty. Maybe the guilt will never go away, or maybe I'll have some energy to help as the kids get older and more independent, and I can say "yes" sometimes. But right now? I'm all outta energy.

And in other news, lemme say that the trampoline we got for Seth's birthday is the best birthday present we've ever gotten any of them (ok, except maybe for his bike). The boys have spent a lot of time outside since we set it up. It's made the backyard so much more appealing that it was before, and I LOVE that. Next up? A cool tire-like swing for the rope swing on our tree... Evan's birthday is in May. =)

Saturday, April 06, 2013


Seth's first Lego creation.

Ben is upstairs taking his morning nap, and David took the big boys out to ride bikes on the walking trail. (Hmm, definitely need to get on researching a bike rack. It isn't easy to fit their bikes into the back of the minivan.) 

Went out for the first time in about 2 weeks yesterday. It felt unfamiliar to put on makeup, and I couldn't remember the last time I'd driven the van. We ate Mexican for dinner, but my stomach wasn't quite ready for it. And I still can't smell anything, so that means that meals taste a little weird. 

David and I are seeing a little improvement every day, but we agree that the recovery from this last sickness has been maddeningly slow. 

We found out that some of the local neighborhoods were having yard sales today, so we gave each of the boys a ziploc bag of coins, and we headed out. We've been learning about small businesses and money as part of school for our last "rowing", and Seth was eager to test out his skills.

He didn't want to go up to the homeowner at first because he didn't know her name. But I got him to ask, and he told her his name, and then he asked how much the toy was. It was more than he had, so she pulled out a box of junk, ahem, toys, that were a quarter. He found a train that he wanted, and he was very proud that he found the right coins to make the right amount. =) 

(People who overprice their stuff at yard sales bug me. I'm sorry, but you're really going to try and charge the same price for that sticker book that I paid for it new at Walmart? They make me want to walk away immediately, and I would've if it hadn't been for the boys.) 

They're cute, riding around, keeping their eyes peeled. Seth prayed quietly that we'd find another yard sale with toys. And though we didn't, we did find a yard sale with a lemonade stand being run by his friend and neighbor, Margaret, and they got to get out and buy sugary pink lemonade. Success! Ben even got a cup when I found an empty sippy in the diaper bag. :) And considering that I hear him talking to himself instead of napping, it seems like that sugar high was a rousing success. 

Getting back into school has been slow, but yesterday I found a good way to reinforce what we've been learning that didn't require much extra energy. I walked into the playroom and told them I'd come to eat at their restaurant, and I had money to pay. They jumped to attention, and I was served the finest plastic chicken in town. We used real coins and talked about what they were worth and added and subtracted. 

There was this little customer that kept coming up to my table and taking my food and running away with it. He was very rude, but the management told me that he was a "baby customer," so I guess its ok. He did seem to know how to pretend to eat, and he made "yum" noises quite well. :)