Friday, April 11, 2014

babysitters, bike rides, and San Francisco

My air conditioning kicked in this week.  In April.  Early April!  This can't be a good sign.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

counting small blessings

To continue from last week's post, we did not end up going on our field trip to Safetyville.  Charlotte hit her head a number of times the day before (and I managed to whack her with the car door and send her sprawling, so that pretty much finished her off.)  She woke up multiple times in the night crying and upset and then threw up in the morning.  Poor thing would not move or eat, and wasn't even really talking to me.  So off to the emergency room we went, and after approximately a million dollars in ER bills (plus tax), her brain turned out to be fine.  Welcome to California?

Monday, March 10, 2014

home, give or take 500 miles

I shared in my last post that our family planned to relocate to the Sacramento area by the end of the month, and somehow, it actually happened!  I remember looking forward at the three remaining weeks of February and thinking, yeah, we'll just see about that.  I guess when God moves you, he moves you.  I'm sitting here in my new "home," of course surrounded by boxes and still just shaking my head at the whole thing.

The last week of February consisted of many bittersweet goodbyes and last times.  I was blessed to overflowing at how many people made extra efforts to say goodbye to our family, and I marveled over and over at the many wonderful friends we had made in just three years.  Thank you, people!

Since this was a corporate move, we had packers come in and pack up most of our stuff, and then load it all up and drive it away.  Due to the short notice and other limiting circumstances, this meant that, except for what we could pack into our cars, we didn't have our belongings for about a week.  Yes, having other people pack my stuff was really weird, and yes, it was totally worth it, even if they did pack the coffee separate from the grinder and the french press parts separate from each other.

Post-packing, we headed south by way of Sisters to say another round of goodbyes, and then broke up our drive to California into two parts - the first chunk at night, when the kids were supposed to be sleeping.  Grant drove with Wyatt, who was nice and fell asleep, and I had the girls, who apparently didn't know what to do without their brother to pick on them, so they picked on each other.  To make things more fun, Charlotte declared that she had to go to the bathroom, so I had to pull over in the middle of national forest land.  In dealing with this, I realized what she really meant was that she already had done her business.  The car was packed full and the guinea pig was riding shotgun, so I was left doing a standing diaper change on the center console of our Tahoe.  During this process, I saw an ODOT incident response truck go past, whip around, and pull up behind me, lights flashing.  Charlotte was standing naked from the waist down between the two front seats under what amounted to a spotlight from the overhead light.  I gestured at her while I explained that, no, I did not need any assistance.  And then, another car pulled up next to me, and I realized it was a state trooper, also checking to see if I needed assistance, to which I also responded with a point at my half-naked child.  Both of these young men left laughing.  After the state trooper left, I muttered that I was embarrassed, and Ava asked why.  I looked at her, and said, "You know what?  You're right."  And now it's funny.

There's more about the drive, but it's all pretty much the same: bickering and roadside bathroom incidents.  Anyway, we made it without any car trouble or major mishaps and I'm very thankful.

 The following week, the first week of March, was spent between the Holiday Inn Express and our new house.  We had the keys but not a stick of furniture beyond a step stool.  It might sound awkward, but it worked.  Grant was working, so the kids and I had breakfast at the hotel, then drove over to our house for lessons and wild running around - because how often do you get to scamper all over a totally empty house?  Among the things I stuffed into our car were the kids' scooters and an umbrella stroller, so we made sure to walk around our neighborhood every day too.

One day we explored a nature area just outside of town, and on Thursday (March 6th), we went to our new Classical Conversations group.  I was very thankful we were able to transfer our registration down to California and not really miss a beat.  The Classical Conversations model emphasizes certain methods that keep each campus closely aligned with all the other CC campuses nationwide, so my kids walked into a totally new place with new people and but had the comfort of familiar structure and content - and instant friends.  Wonderful!

(This time might look good in pictures, and it was, but it was also very, very challenging as my children demonstrated in all kinds of creative ways that they were somewhat stressed by all the changes, and I failed to always respond in love and grace.  I have decided not to recount any of it, but I did want to mention - just in case this move somehow looks like it went down as a well-run operation with well-behaved little cherubs. . . it didn't.)

Thursday also happened to be the day the moving truck meandered into town, but Grant was very sweet and managed most of the unloading alone so we could go to our CC meeting.  So from then on, we've just been unpacking and attending to all the details that go with moving.  Tomorrow, we will go on a field trip to Safetyville USA.  I have no idea what that really is, but someone invited us and I jumped at the chance.

So that's my recap.  When unpacking is about to drive us all batty, we wander around outside looking dazed until someone asks, "just move in?" or they see our Oregon license plates and say, "Hey, what part of Oregon?  My aunt's sister's cousin lives in Oregon!"  People have been very friendly and the particulars of the move have gone very smoothly.  Many, many heartfelt thanks to those of you covering us in prayer.


Monday, February 10, 2014

in which I am the pinball

In my new year's post, I talked about my word for the year: climb.  When I wrote it, I imagined myself bravely soldiering through the everyday life of a wife, mother, and homeschooler - pausing to take in and admire the view; working hard to find purpose and inspiration in the monotony; daintily wiping a tiny bit of sweat from my (unlined) brow from time to time.  I had this it-will-be-hard-because-it-will-be-the-same-old-same-old attitude.

Turns out, it will be hard, but it will not be the same-old-same-old.

Mr. Cyrus has been asked to go do his job elsewhere, but in a good "we want you" kind of way.  He'll still be working with Target, but in a different building in a different state.  In California.  Where Californians live.  (I read something funny about this California-Oregon thing, written by a Californian.  Californians think: "There are other states besides California?  They don't count as much as we do.  Oregonians think: "We love everyone in the United States except Californians."  From Sips of Jen and Tonic.)

I said to my husband, "well, have fun with that."

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Ransom Note Poetry

BraveWriter is a language arts curriculum for sale, but author and creator Julie also has a steady stream of content from Facebook, email, and probably Twitter, that is really encouraging and helpful.  I get her Daily Writing Tip email, which contains an activity idea or sometimes just a lifestyle tip for homeschoolers or anyone who has children at home.

One activity we did recently was just about playing with words.  Seems like young kids love to cut things up, so we pulled out old magazines and went to town cutting out any words that caught our attention.  Of course my kids are hoarders too, so they kept cutting out pictures and wanting to keep them.  I gave my standard reply: "If I find it on the floor. . "

We talked about font, color, sound, all that, and then put the words together in little poems.  Simple, fun, and interesting results:

my poem

Wyatt made two versions.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

CC Connected Round Up: Cycle 2, Weeks 13-18

For a brief introduction to Classical Conversations' file sharing site, click here, and here for weeks 7-12.

I have an odd mishmash of things to share today.  Many CCers are starting to think "Memory Masters," so I included a few review resources.  (Students in Classical Conversations have the option to try for the title of Memory Master, which means they have proven that they know all 24 weeks of memory work for the year.  Parents can do this too, but I am not.)

Newton's 1st Law of Motion (actual file name CC C2W16 Science)
(username Ksweetness)
I don't personally use many songs for the science memory work, but this one I found amusing.  It's Newton's 1st Law of Motion set to the tune of On Top of Old Smokey.  As the author points out,  you can have your students picture the meatball (from the original song) *in motion* rolling off the spaghetti plate.  This user has another song for Week 22 and the characteristics of light.

Ephesians 6
Armor of God ESV
(username daniellecyrus)
In our house, we primarily use the ESV bible translation.  Our CC community is memorizing this year's passage in the King James.  We have been working along with this for the first part of the year, but I'm finding the second half of Ephesians 6 too cumbersome for my little ones.  So I made an executive decision and we switched to the ESV for verses 11 through the end of Ephesians 6.  Much better.  I made this page to go in my kids' daily notebooks.

original graphic by Amen Designs

Weeks 12-15 Foldable (actual file name Wks 12-15_Math_Foldable_KK)
(username kkillingsworth)
A simple foldable page page for practicing measurement equivalents.

Week and Cycle Review Sheets (actual file name ending varies. begins C2 MM Checklist)
(username RebeccaM)
These are pretty self-explanatory.  The weekly lists are for marking areas your Memory Master pursuer still needs to master, and the subject sheets for more detail and for each round of testing.


Trivial Pursuit Cards, Classical Conversations Edition
(username brandyferrell)
Brandy of Half a Hundred Acre Wood created Trivial Pursuit cards for each CC cycle.  They work with any Trivial Pursuit game, although you might have to color over one of the category colors if they don't match.

That's all for this round, finished almost ahead of time!  Previous editions listed below.

Cycle 2

Weeks 1-6

Weeks 7-12

Sunday, January 26, 2014

motherhood art and posts for encouragment

I keep a list of my favorite mothering blog posts in my task list: posts that remind me to slow down; posts that refocus my child-training efforts; words that encourage me to stay present and keep climbing.  I set this list to pop up once a month in my to do list app, so that these moments of clarity don't get buried under all the laundry and whining.  Today, I'm sharing a few links from my list with you all.

This weekend I came across this amazing artist Katie Berggren and I couldn't help but include a few of her sweet paintings as well.  Her originals are a little spendy for anyone who actually has children (aka mini-destroyers) in their home, but Berggren sells prints on her blog and in her Etsy shop that are less likely to cause heart failure if someone slings peanut butter across the room.  (No, I'm not her salesperson.  I just fell in love with her work!)

mother and child warm winter white blue - Warmth In The Cold - archival signed 12x12 motherhood print
Ava, Wyatt, and Charlotte??  by K.M. Bergreen via Etsy

by K.M. Berggren via Painting Motherhood

mother and child blank cards - Variety box of 10 5x7 Motherhood-Themed cards
By K.M. Berggren via Etsy

Romancing the Hearts of Our Children for Christ
Motherhood is unscripted and sometimes not at all harmonic. You are dealing with your own selfish flesh as well as the little ones around you. We live in a fallen world.  In order for perfect harmony to take place in the imperfect family we must know our place before Christ, clothe ourselves in His perfection and work together as one. At that time, the romance can begin. We romance the hearts of our children for the cause of Christ.

Six Strategies for Sibling Rivalry
The trouble with parenting advice is the expectation that things are going to go perfectly right when you implement it. After all, when you look up why your car is running poorly, you don’t want someone to tell you something like, “Do these things, pay this money, put up with the noise, and in a few years things will look up.”  Can you imagine that? Of course not. . . God will give you the grace. I’ll give you my six ideas for avoiding sibling rivalry — as long as you understand that nothing is perfect in this world. Jacki, your husband is right — some sibling rivalry is part of growing up. Especially a girl and boy are not going to get along well — not the way we moms want them to — and maybe that’s a biological safeguard, you know? Because if you love your brother in the way we wish our daughters did, how would they ever leave home to marry anyone? It’s hard enough as it is.

When Parenting Means Steering Into the Skid
The more I've thought about it, the more I've realized that much of the advice given to drivers navigating hazardous road conditions actually speaks quite perfectly to parents who are navigating the precarious parts of parenting that are inevitable in the life of every family.

Parenting a Child with Anxiety
. . .My mother is a worrier too. And when I worried to the point of dysfunction, she worried out loud. On my wedding day: ">What if you don’t get better…people are already at the church…we can’t move a wedding…you don’t want that do you? And of course I didn’t want that and I didn’t want my mother to worry either so I tried to reassure her, which is quite the opposite of relaxing.  Today I have four children and one of them is anxious.  Here's what I do when her anxiety prevents her from fully living . . .

Please share your own favorite posts!


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