Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The Perks of Home Learning

Like I said in another post, my children learn no matter how little time I spend teaching them. Here is a prime example.

Sid the Science Kid is my amazing gifted and talented child. At 18 months the boy knew all his letters and the sounds they make. And he learned it from toys, not mom. Still today, the boy learns more from books and games than he has ever learned from me. Today this is what I found him doing:

Title of book: United States of America. There is a key on the side that tells you larger states will have their name on them and smaller states will have a line connected to a magnifying glass to show you the name of the state.

At Clubhouse Sid is learning about Patriotism and about our country. They have learned a song that lists the states and their capitals in order. Ever since he started Clubhouse he has been enjoying reading books about our country and learning more about the geography of the states on his own. This will be a great introduction to American history that we'll start this year!

The first few states: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware and Florida. He traced the pieces from our puzzle and labeled each capital location.

Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho and Illinois.

Indiana, Iowa, Kansas and Kentucky.

Sid amazes me every day. I wonder what exactly God has in store for him.

Soccer Tournament, Birthday Party and Church Fun Fest

We had a busy weekend! At 9am Saturday morning we set off for Sid the Science Kid's soccer tournament. This was an 8 or 10 week program, and something we will not return to. The "coach" had never played soccer, most of our practices were rained out or we had conflicts, and Sid's team started out with 8 kids and ended with 4. It was just not well organized and too much money for what we got. The tournament was a one game elimination.

Anyway, we started out with 3 players for the first game. In other games we used a younger sibling to play goalie when we were short a player. Because this was a tournament, the other team did not want to allow anyone else on the field. But, they were also not courteous enough to play only 3 players, and played 4. I was secretly glad we beat them 2-0. Our fourth player joined us some time in the second quarter of the game. But, prior to that the three boys did great even without a goalie. The second game we won again 4-1. We started out with only three players again, too. Game 3 we won again and the boys were psyched! We were going to play in the championship game...I was somewhat shocked. But, they were playing really well. Here Sid the Science Kid is saying they've won 3 games:

The championship game they played a full game. The first three games they played only 2 quarters. Our boys were so tired at this point. They had been in the sun all morning long, at over 85 degrees. Most of the other teams has 6 and 7 players, so they also got breaks from playing time. Our boys played every minute of every game. They were dragging. Mr. Prince said they looked like they were in the fourth quarter of a boxing match. But still, they were winning 3-0 going into the third quarter. The second half of the game they just couldn't take it. They couldn't run, they couldn't concentrate. Our coach asked if we could cut the game short, but they wouldn't. Exausted, they gave up 3 goals and it was tied in the last few seconds of the game. At this point you almost didn't want to watch them because you felt so bad for them! Last 10 seconds our goalie had a kick and didn't drop back into the goal to protect it. They scored and the whistle blew. They lost 4-3. Thankfully they didn't care, they were so exausted. They also didn't do anything special for the champions, which I personally thought was a little silly. Everyone got a trophy, which is great, but the champions should get something, right? Yeah, I'm a more competitive person, but not the the extent of yelling at my 5 year old to "get their head in the game" or "run faster" like these other parents were!! Sid really enjoys soccer, so we will find a better program next spring.

Sunday we went to a birthday party for a friend of the girls. They had water fun outside most of the time. Princess Pea and Angelica Pickles had never been on a slip-n-slide, so that was fun to watch.
They also had a pinata, which was hilarious to watch them try to hit it.

Later that evening we had a Family Fun Fest at our church. We started with the water games and Boo Boo really enjoyed getting drenched by this one stream of water.

Later he was examining grass and even went for a taste once. Toddlers are so funny!

I cannot believe they did this, but they let little kids rock climb!! Sid the Science Kid was so excited! Angelica Pickles begged to go too, but her weight wouldn't allow her to come down with the electric machine working the ropes. She didn't weigh enough, and her legs were too short anyway. Sid the Science kid made it up a little ways, but got stuck where a lot of kids did. He did great, though! I didn't rock climb until I was an adult!

It was a packed weekend, but the kids had a blast. By the end of Sunday evening they were all in tears because they were so exhausted from being in the sun and water. I can't wait until they are older and can handle days like this a little better. We really do try to limit their activities to not overwhelm them, but skipping naps on a day like that just doesn't work.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Why I Hate Unions Rant...

So, my husband is a teacher. He's expected to join the union. In general, they seem like a good idea. They are supposed to protect the teachers from false accusation and unfair treatment and they fight for salary raises and benefit options. Sounds good, right?

Well, what does paying $3000 into a union over the course of five years do when the union does nothing to protect your job?

Nothing. Absolutely nothing.

My husband is being threatened and treated unfairly by his principle, but the union says they can do nothing! They advised him to find a position elsewhere! Where the heck did my $3000 go??

I've always said that we shouldn't join the union, but my husband disagrees. He thinks he needs protected as a male teacher from false accusations of harm or abuse because of how today's society is. I think we shouldn't make decisions out of fear. I think we should trust that God will take care of us and not leave it in the hands of some organization to protect us if false accusations should arise. What are the chances anyway? And they aren't protecting us, so where has it gotten us?

$3000 less.

That's it.

Unions suck.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Garage Sales are Grrrrrrrrrreat and Pedicure Friday

I had some good finds today! Unfortunately I know not all of the association sales were up because it's Friday, but I won't be able to go tomorrow because of Sid the Science Kid's soccer tournament.

So, here they are:

**2 shirts for Mr. Prince (one not pictured because I forgot it in the car) $1
**3 shirts for Boo Boo $2
**Running shoes for Mr. Prince $2
**Next size (4) soft sandals for Boo Boo $1
**Black purse for me $.50
**Singer "mending" portable sewing machine like new $6 (This will be great for my sewing nights with my friend Cherry, and to bring for all those friends of mine that want me to teach them to sew! My 20-some pound Singer is getting difficult to lift these days.)

Find of the Day (not pictured):
**3 tents (2 that zip together that will hold 6-10 people and another dome one that holds 6-8) $21.75

I literally had $21.75 on me and the guy was selling them for $30, and he took it! He had them both standing and they were in great condition - even the floors on the inside were clean! One of the cross bars needs the elastic put back in, but that's not a big deal and will function without it, too. Hey, backyard adventures are coming! And, if my parents get sick of us visiting next month, we can camp out back if needed...HA!

Garage sales are overall more expensive this year. Because of the economy, people want more for their stuff. Not that some items aren't worth what they are asking, but I am used to spending no more than $.25 to $.50 on a piece of clothing and no more than $5 at an individual sale. I did negotiate on everything I purchased today and got half off or more (besides the tents), believe it or not.

I couldn't resist showing my cutie Boo Boo. He was asking "please" for his drink. He did excellent in the car while I was shopping today and fell asleep on the way home, along with both of his sisters! I gave him a hair cut a few days ago. It's a shorter version of Zac Efron...

It's Friday, which means it is Pedicure Day at our house! The girls adore having their nails painted. Princess Pea has copied Mr. Prince's and Sid the Science Kid's bad habit of biting her nails. So, to deter her from biting, I told her every Friday I would paint her nails if they are growing out and she doesn't bite them. It actually works! So, here we are with our beautiful feet!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Homeschool Planning for 2009-2010 year

With a new baby due in September, our year-round school will need to start early....in July! I'm trying to decide on curriculum and receive all my stuff before I leave for our yearly trip to visit my parents in Illinois. That is where I will do most of my yearly planning and we will start as soon as we get home.

So far our homeschooling has been very informal. Last year for Sid the Science Kid's 1st grade year the only formal teaching I did was Singapore math, which honestly was quite boring for him. And we did Horizons K with Princess Pea - half of it. So far she hasn't learned too much she didn't already know, but I know the second half will have her adding two-digit numbers by the end, so I'm sure it will take almost a whole year to get there. We also did a lot of character training using random resources. I started out the year doing a few units on Johnny Appleseed and Indians, but we didn't get past those. We also celebrated Advent and did a lot during Christmas. But, mostly we just learned through books and learning materials throughout our home randomly.

But, my children are not lacking when it comes to learning! Sid the Science Kid is reading at a 4th grade reading level and has enjoyed reading books on his own like Stuart Little, the Magic Tree House series 1-29, the Magic School Bus series, Henry Huggins, and more. He is a little book worm and retains everything! He actually has been begging for me to do more with him this year. In the last few weeks he has:

**begged to plant an apple tree (which we tried, but it died due to too many fingers exploring it)
**drawn a picture of the inside of our bodies from a Magic School Bus book he read and labeled every part
**written a book about his sister and her pig doll
**figured out that with 4 poptarts each of the three children would get 1 and 1/3 poptarts to eat
**drawn a map of the solar system complete with the astroid belt, dwarf planets and correct number of moons for each planet
**taught his 4.5 year old sister how to play chess and checkers correctly
**taught the chorus of a state and state capitol rap to his sisters
**acted out numerous Magic Tree House storylines with his sister traveling back into history

So, the child initiates learning more than I could ever have imagined! And, honestly, I feel like sometimes I am holding him back from what he is fully capable of.

Princess Pea is flying through her Horizons K curriculum with ease and is starting to read. She was very excited to receive her Bob Books in the mail today. She flew through the first two, and I suspect she will fly through the first 2 whole sets, too. We are putting a sticker on the outside of all the books she has mastered and putting her name and the date on the inside cover. It will be a great resource to look back on if I use these books with the rest of the Klan. She was reading CVC words last fall but having a harder time blending the sounds together to form a word. She probably could have been reading 6 months ago, but once I got back to normal life after Boo Boo, I was sick with my currently pregnancy. Now she can pick up these books and not even sound out most of the words! You can tell she is sounding them out in her head but only saying the end result. It's so neat to hear her little voice read! She is a little sponge when it comes to reading aloud and begs to be read to throughout the day. Currently we are enjoying the Milly-Molly-Mandy adventures together, the highlight of her day. She also loves the books on tape I've gotten from the library recently and probably listens to them a few times throughout the day. She can basically read the stories to you by just looking at the pictures now.

Angelica Pickles is a little different from my first two children. Sid the Science Kid and Princess Pea loved the Leap Frog toys, games and DVDs and knew their sounds and letters between 18 and 20 months old. Along with phonics they knew their colors, shapes and numbers. They both could read a digital clock perfectly when they were three. These things just came easily for them and interested them. Angelica Pickles doesn't naturally lean toward learning activities and toys. She does know her letters, but I can't be sure she would recognize her lower case letters. She can count to 30, but still doesn't recognize 1-10. She does know her colors and shapes, though. So, even though I have never done any formal teaching with my previous children, I do plan to do some phonics and number recognition with her this year. I think I'm going to do an alphabet lapbook to start with, and figure out what to do next later.

So for this year, I have decided that a little formal lessons would do my klan some good. I do follow the Charlotte Mason theory of teaching, so bible, character training and family living will be our main focus still. We will be using Leading Little Ones to God by Schoolland, Junior Bible Quiz flashcards, ABC memory verses I put together, daily chores, Aesop fables, and a ton of character building books and DVDs I own.

In addition, Sid the Science Kid will be doing:

**Horizons Math 2 (I didn't like Singapore)
**All About Spelling
**First Language Lessons
**Science and History to be determined
**Junior Bible Quiz competitions
**Piano lessons
**Jump Start Spanish CD w/mom reinforcing understanding
**Handwriting practice by printing memory verses
**Writing by creating books and stories based on experiences and books he's read
**Reading a wonderful collection of books suggested by Sonlight, Ambleside Online, My Father's World, etc. and narrating or drawing what he's read
**Nature walks hopefully, if I can find time and lesson plans
**Enjoying many read alouds with his siblings

Princess Pea will be doing:

**Horizons K, 2nd half
**All About Spelling, learning all the phonograms, and reading through Bob Books
**Science and History with Sid, to be determined
**Ballet classes
**Wants to get involved in JBQ, but will not compete if so
**Jump Start Spanish CD w/mom reinforcing understanding
**Handwriting practice integrated into All About Spelling curriculum
**Nature walks hopefully, if I can find time and lesson plans
**Enjoying many read alouds with her siblings

Angelica Pickles will be learning:

**Lowercase letter recognition
**Number recognition
**Basic bible stories
**Other concepts through "Activities in a Bag" that mom will create like patterns, cutting, etc.
**Anything else she picks up from being around Sid and Princess, which is a LOT!

Science and History has still not been decided on, and I have been researching these for months! For a stand-alone science curriculum I am leaning toward Sonlight K. I want all my children to be able to participate and learn, which means I can't advance Sid the Science Kid as much as I really could. But, I also haven't done anything formal with science, so I think he will enjoy learning more about plants, animals and weather just as much as the girls. I want to keep science and history together for as many children as I can, which will probably be just the first three for the next number of years.

For History I am looking into:

**My Father's World
**Tapestry of Grace
**Mystery of History
**Story of the World
**Beautiful Feet
**Winter Promise
**History Through the Ages

Researching these has been so overwhelming! I personally did not like history growing up and did not retain a thing. So, when these curriculums list the years and topics they cover, it means nothing to me! I've sat down with history-buff Mr. Prince and had him list chronologically much of what we want to teach our children about history. That has helped some, but I do wish I understood history myself. So, the research continues! I lean toward a history curriculum that weaves in bible history along side world history like Mystery of History or Tapestry of Grace, but I really like living books and want to retain my own collection for future years. These curriculums can cost over $700 a volume once you add in the extra books! Sonlight has everything included, but it is not chronological and can't span as many grade levels as I'd like for the future. Story of the World is basically secular. I have my positives and negatives of them all, and am still looking into them.

Right now I am leaning toward Adventures in My Father's World for 2nd and 3rd graders. I believe I can adapt this for my girls and science and history is all included. I was going to try to do my own US History unit studies this year, but I'm afraid it will flop with a new baby. MFW covers US History, the states, stars, weather, plants, animals, atoms, energy, gravity, friction, sound, computers, and drawing. Basically, everything I was going to include in my own made-up curriculum, but it's done for me! And, I don't have to purchase a separate science curriculum. I actually already own 4 of the titles given for this unit study, and will supplement with others from Sonlights books lists. No definite decisions yet, though.

But, after this year I need to decided which history curriculum I will stay with permanently, or at least until I hate it enough to change it....which I hope doesn't happen! Maybe I'll like MFW...maybe I won't.

I really do enjoy researching homeschool curriculums and such and wish I had more time to devote to reading and researching. I still haven't made it through my Charlotte Mason Companion or For the Children's Sake. I want to finish The Well-Trained Heart and Grace-Based Parenting first. Not to mention all the foster care books I'd like to work through on top of parenting and homeschooling! I'll find out in a week if that's necessary reading for me, I guess. Parenting and home-teaching is the hardest job I've ever had! Too bad I'm not getting paid....with money, that is....

Monday, June 22, 2009

How Do You Keep Your Toilet Clean?

This is a serious question!

I have a six year old boy that thinks it's a game to see if he can "aim" with no hands. Either that or he "forgets" often to put the toilet seat up.

I have a four year old girl that only occasionally misses the toilet when throwing her paper away.

But, I also have a 3 year old that is "too big" for baby things like a stool to help her up and off the toilet, and therefore often smears her contents across the seat.

So, unless I am in the bathroom over 25x a day with each of my children and my own pregnant bladder, how am I supposed to keep the toilet clean?!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

I Love My Husband Because...

...he loves me for who I am, despite all my faults.

...he is the most loving and involved father I know.

...he looks hot in khaki shorts, a t-shirt and flip flops.

...he is committed to his family and works hard for us every day.

...he makes me laugh.

...I feel safe in his presence.

...he is willing to cross over typical marriage roles and do laundry and cleaning.

...he doesn't complain about changing cloth diapers.

...he has beautiful eyes that change colors with different shirts he wears.

...he massages my feet almost every day.

...he cries when his babies are born.

...he believes in my abilities as a mother and homeschool mom.

...he is a gifted teacher that wants to make a difference in the lives of children.

...he still finds me attractive after 4.5 pregnancies.

...he is always the first to apologize, but most of the time he shouldn't be.

...he encourages me to have 'girl nights' and time away.

...he never tells me no if I want something.

...he sticks up for me, whether I'm right or wrong.

...he loves Christ and desires for his children to understand the depth of His love.

...he is great at cuddling.

...he has dealt with a hormonal pregnant/nursing wife since our honeymoon, with no break.

...our goals in life are the same.

...he thinks I'm beautiful even with 40 extra pounds and a basketball tummy.

...he appreciates the work I put into our home and children.

...he never complains when I get behind on housework or laundry, and still apologizes when I get upset that he forgot to take the recycling out.

...he is the better half of our marriage.

...I believe he is exactly who God created for me to be with the rest of my life, and he agrees.

I am a lucky woman, and I know it. The challenging is showing it in every day life with 4.5 children. Thankfully we both know that no matter what, we are a team. We are one. And we will remain that way until the day that one of us dies, which will hopefully be many, many years from now.

I love you, My Prince!!

Homemade Dresses for the Girls!

This summer I have already altered two flower girls dresses for a friend and altered a few shirts and dresses for myself. I haven't had any time to sew projects at all this year. My biggest project still awaits: a diaper bag for a friend who's baby was born in DECEMBER!! I've probably had the fabric for a year, too.

Bad friend, bad friend!

So, although I said that was my next project, I got preoccupied with figuring out how to smock during a sewing night with my friend that I'll call Cherry.

I've had 1 yard of multiple fabrics since last year that I purchased for dresses for the girls. I made a handful last year, but never got to them all. I probably over-bought anyway. My girls only like to wear dresses, though, so I really need to have enough of them so I don't have to force them to wear shorts. Anyway, Princess Pea is 4.5-years-old and the dress pattern I have always used for their dresses doesn't quite fit on 1 yard of fabric for her because she's so tall now. I wasn't sure what I was going to do because I had many coordinating fabrics for the girls' dresses and I was going to be bummed if I couldn't have them wear them together.

My sewing expert mother-in-law, GrandmaK, came to the rescue! She found an adorable smocked dress pattern in a book from the library. You only needed 3/4 of a yard and it seemed pretty easy the way they described it.

During my sewing night I completed all my mending projects and all I had left was these dresses to try. (I didn't want Cherry to see me make the diaper bag, although she knows it's coming, so I had to find something else to do.) I probably read online and in a sewing book and practiced smocking for over an hour! I could NOT figure it out! My machine was not doing what the instructions said it should and I wasn't about to try to do it by hand! I was quite frustrated by the end of the night thinking I'd never get theses dresses made. But, after reading through the instructions one more time at almost 11pm, I decided to adjust my stitch length the opposite way, and.....it worked! Dorky me was adjusting it backwards!

I didn't get the dresses started that night because it was too late, but yesterday I didn't have anything better to do and I was curious to see how quickly they could be made. Working with elastic thread is a pain! They say hand-wind it. I did that, but then I got tired and decided to find a quicker way. So, I put the bobbin on the machine and ran it while I gave it some tension.

Now I know why they say hand-wind it.

The bobbin actually grew in size! When I tried to put it in the machine, it was too tall! So, I set up a new bobbin and held the tension while the elastic thread came off the warped bobbin onto a new bobbin. I figured I would just watch closely and stop if it started to warp again.

Wrong. There really is a reason why they say hand-wind it!

I am just too stubborn, I guess. This time the bobbin popped. So, I eventually hand-wound it. Annoying. After that drama I finally got started and it took me a while to get the hang of the elastic thread. I had to reinforce the ends 3 and 4 times and I had to adjust the tension often it seemed. In the end I got the hang of it. The first dress took 2 hours, the second took only 1.

I decided to start with these adorable ladybug fabrics. The girls picked them out last year. I like them, but knew I had other fabrics I would be really upset if I ruined, so I started with these.

I think they turned out great! I made them extra long so they would last two years, but I do prefer this style dress to be a little longer anyway. The other dress pattern I've used looks better right at the knee and usually won't last two seasons. Angelica Pickles' birthday dress was the original pattern. You can see it here.

The girls had fun posing for me. I never expected to finish them in time for church this morning! Believe it or not, the dresses were the first thing Angelica Pickles spotted when she came down the stairs this morning and immediately asked to put it on.

Two cute dresses for under $5, can't beat that!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Sid the Science Kid Continues School Experiment

In an earlier post, I had mentioned that Mr. Prince works at a summer Clubhouse program that runs for 4 weeks and we had decided to put Sid the Science Kid in the 1st grade class this year. We had some struggles last week, but after many long discussions last week and this weekend, we have decided to let Sid continue to attend Clubhouse on a day-by-day basis.

Our concerns were he had had a card pulled, or an official warning, for his behavior 3 of 4 days last week, his behavior wasn't great at home in the evenings (although he did do better this weekend), he is getting significantly less sleep because Mr. Prince and him leave the house at 6:45am, he has broken down in tears for things like not being called on to answer a question and losing a game, and some of his negative behaviors were likely attributed to his friendship with a child who had behavior issues in Clubhouse last year due to ADHD.

We have talked to the staff and they have all been very encouraging that he is doing well and is a joy in the classroom. Much of his behaviors are due to the fact he has not been "trained" for the last two years, like the other children, to sit in a classroom for 6+ hours a day. He doesn't know the drill of raising your hand before you speak, staying in your seat at all times, listening for long periods of time to instruction, or rules to games and activities the other children do. Everything has been a learning process for him. I just wanted to make sure it wasn't too overwhelming and it didn't affect his behavior training at home these last few years. They do have minimal peer interaction that is not structured, which I like. I don't feel it is necessary to have him be with a classroom of children his age at all. We mostly agreed to send him because he will learn a ton, enjoy new activities like art, music and chess class and thought the Relationships class would complement our own character training. I'm please with everything he is learning so far. And I would never do this if Mr. Prince were not constantly right across the hall from him.

We did ask the entire staff that they keep him and the little ADHD boy apart for the remainder of Clubhouse and explained to Sid that we are going to help him choose good friends and that we have decided that this little boy would not make the best friend. We talked at length why and I'm sure it won't be our last friend conversation. I also didn't allow him to attend the field trip to IPFW last Thursday, mostly because I find it highly unnecessary to send a 6-year-old to visit a college, and also an entire waist of a morning traveling on a silly field trip didn't seem near as fun as having him home with his siblings. I think it was a good break for him and the girls have missed him. He didn't ask for Clubhouse the whole day, but Mr. Prince did say at 6:45am when he was leaving Sid came downstairs in tears that dad had not woken him up. He had to be reminded that he wasn't going to Clubhouse that day and cried, but by the time he got up for the morning at 8am, he seemed happy to be home.

So, this has been a learning experience for all of us. Although I think the program is a great one, I'm not sure that I'll be as excited to send Princess Pea there next year, because she's already asking! I do think she will do better due to her personality, but we'll see. The girls have missed Sid, and I can't imagine just having Angelica Pickles, Boo Boo and BKM next summer for a whole month. I think Angelica Pickles will not do well. I know, I know...a long time away!

On an encouraging note, Sid the Science Kid didn't get his card pulled on Monday AND he earned a character sticker! Stickers are earned by a staff member noticing that a students went out of their way to help another students, or showed a specific character trait that day. If students earn three stickers during the four weeks of Clubhouse, they get some neat prize....but not sure what it is. So, I was proud!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Update on Foster-Like Situation

An earlier post I had mentioned that my brother had a young friend who was thinking about finding another caregiver for her infant daughter. I have not talked to my brother since he told me that this girl had decided to keep her daughter for the time being and told him our offer to help will still be on the table at any point if she should change her mind. Well, I got an update from my mother this week.

This teenage girl has handed her baby over to a foster family. Apparently she was in foster care at some point with this same family and trusts them. My understanding is that she considered us, but that since she doesn't know the future for her daughter, she wanted her to remain close so she can visit and keep in contact with her. They are two states away from here.

I agree. The goal of foster parenting is to get the parents more educated and in a better place to care for their children. It is not to just take children away from struggling parents. Although I had thought of this when we originally offered to take in this little girl, I also didn't think she had a local outlet to receive such help. And I wasn't sure she would want to put her daughter into the "system." But, I'm glad she does have someone she trusts and somewhere her baby can be that is close by.

I will talk to my brother this weekend on his birthday and probably get more information. I do hope she can get some more confidence and help to be able to care for her daughter. I can't imagine living life knowing my little girl is growing up somewhere else. But, if in the end she decides to give up her little girl and this foster family is not interested in adopting her, I hope she would consider us again.

All this is a little emotional as we wait for our foster license committee meeting on June 30th to determine whether or not we are approved for foster care. My heart is so there, but maybe it's not the right time for us... I'm trying to be patient as I wait, while still not trying to rush these last 14 weeks before BKM comes.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Changes in the Home

We've had a busy last few weeks!

Mr. Prince and I attended a wedding the weekend of our 7th anniversary. It was a beautiful wedding that the bride did mostly herself. I always love going to weddings around our anniversary. I forgot to get a picture of myself and Mr. Prince, so you only get one of me and BKM. We went to Red Lobster afterward and finally used a gift-certificate that I had recieved for my birthday last year! This is one of the maternity dresses I got off of E-bay.

Grandmama, my mother, came into town for the weekend. The klan has been asking about her and Poppie for weeks now. We had an adventurous weekend and went to see the butterfly exhibit at the Conservatory and went to the Children's Zoo. We also went garage saling and got Angelica Pickles a small bike with training wheels for $5, many more school books and Mr. Prince TWENTY-SIX dress shirts and t-shirts! We even tried to re-arrange the furniture, but MommyK was stubborn and put it all back. It was a good weekend! I only have pictures of the Conservatory because I forgot my camera at the zoo.

Sid the Science Kid started Clubhouse on Monday and it's going OK. I went to school with him on Monday to observe and determine whether or not I wanted him to continue in the program. Although I don't like him being gone so much of the day, right now we are allowing him to attend. I like his teachers and leaders and I think it's a good program with character building and things he hasn't experienced much of before like chess, art and music classes. He got into some trouble today with a few boys not keeping their hands to themselves, so if that continues he won't go back. Right now we have told him to stay away from the little boy he had the interaction with (they had problems with this child last year and he has ADHD) and we are making all the teachers aware that we want them separated for the entire span of clubhouse. We'll see how the rest of the week goes...

I went to a used homeschool curriculum sale today and added many more books to my collection. This motivated me to organize our bookshelves in the office, the ones that have needed some organization for YEARS! We have four full-size bookshelves packed full, believe it or not. We are teachers....what do you expect? And, I am a garage sale junkie... So, here are the two shelves I have completed. You can't really tell, but I have this all organized into sections.

Top shelf: Pooh, Disney/Golden, Character building books
Second shelf: Non-fiction history and science and Faith-based books
Third shelf: Early readers for Princess Pea, books for Sid the Science Kid to read that I have picked, Dr. Seuss, Franklin, other small collections like the If You Give A Mouse a Cookie series etc, and picture book read alouds
Fourth shelf: picture book read alouds
Fifth shelf: Baby books and board books

This next shelf is my homeschool book shelf. Don't mind the piled-high laundry basket.
Top shelf: Teacher resources, parenting/homeschool books
Second shelf: Books by groupings like Eric Carle, Thanksgiving, Christmas, ABC books, Math concept books, Winter, etc.
Third shelf: current curriculum I am using for the children including extra help books to reference
Fourth shelf: games
Fifth shelf: Math manipulatives and other teaching aids like letter tiles, flash cards, etc.

Yes, this basically took a good part of my afternoon and evening time. I still have two shelves to go!

THIS is what I've gotten rid of! Not to mention the trash bag full of garbage...

GrandmaK watched the girls and Boo Boo while I went to the used curriculum sale and instead of giving them stickers like she often does, she made them each a skirt! The girls wore them proudly all night long.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

I HATE Pro Fed: The Woes of a Pregnant Mom of Four

Ok, I called Pro Fed this morning to get a load payoff amount for our Chrysler Town & Country. They gave me the amount, but told me if I didn't have cash or a cashier's check, I couldn't not get my title right away. So, unfortunately, I had to add to my already three-stop errand run going to another bank! Annoying. It was pouring rain and I had four kids with me and my big prego belly. No use using an umbrella...

So, I go to Chase, wait 5 min or so for the people who were parked in the two-car lot to move and ended up having to park far away and run my kids through the rain. Grrrr! I get my cashier's check and three suckers for the Klan (I HATE suckers) and run through the rain again. Boo Boo looked at me confused the whole time. I was drenched by the time I got to the car and the Klan's jeans were soaked half way up their ankles.

We arrived at Pro Fed and thankfully got a close spot. Only a little wet this time. The Klan plays while the man pays off my loan. When he hands me my receipt and says "good day" I question him where my title was. He told me they would send it in the mail in 12 to 15 days!!!!!!!!


Didn't I just run through the pouring rain with four little ones and a big belly in order to LEAVE WITH MY TITLE?!

I was NOT happy, to say the least. I only have so much energy to get me through the day and Pro Fed just took half of it! I want to call them and tell them they suck, but not sure that would do anything.

So, here I am....complaining to YOU!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Home-Study Completed

Well, that was easy!

Now I feel like all our little projects wouldn't have even been looked at if we had left them as they were! A basic walk-thru (three of our kids were sleeping in every bedroom) and we read through her assessment and recommendation for us that will be sent and reviewed by the foster care committee. The recommendation was a good one, but this time she said her "only" concern was that the committee might pend the license until after our baby is born in Sept/Oct. She didn't mentioned the concern about us having a large family this time, but maybe that was because she had already talked to us about it....?? Anywho, we will know the first week of July the status of our license. Not to rush June, but looking forward to July!!

It's in God's hands now....