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June 3rd, 2011

2011 Curriculum @ 02:41 pm

I have four children, this fall they will be in 4th grade, 2nd grade, K and a 2yo. I have most of the curriculum set, so I'm looking forward to the fall.

4th Grade:
Handwriting: Reason for handwriting, cursive
English: IEW Writing and Phonetic Zoo and Editor in Chief
Math: Singapore Math
Science: Spectrum Geography and Christian Kids Explore Biology

I am still looking for a good history set/curricula. I put a heavy emphasis on reading history-related books, and I think I'd like to continue doing that. But I also wouldn't mind someone who's done the work for me. ;) I have looked at a couple of the literature-based programs, I just haven't decided yet.

2nd Grade:
Handwriting: Reason for handwriting, book B
English: TCR Phonics
Math: Singapore
and lots and lots of reading for geography, history, etc. I focus on the three Rs until third grade. The correlation to that being the first year of standardized testing is just a coincidence. Not really.

I have an art curriculum that I am hoping to do with all of them. The kids are also enrolled in an enrichment school one day a week where they get additional science, math, art, music, PE, and Spanish or German.

The girl in K is not going to school with the others because she won't quite be ready in the fall. But I'm hoping she can join them in the spring. She is also doing a good bit of the three Rs, and lots and lots of play.

The baby! Well, he works on identifying cars and birds, dumping and collecting, stacking and pouring and all that other stuff that toddlers SO love to do.


The Tickle Switch @ 01:55 pm

When I was a kid, I tried to tickle my grandpa often. When he got tired of it, he would turn it off.

On the other hand, we tortured my uncle mercilessly. :-D

Carol has a tickle switch! You can tickle her and she will be as straight-faced as a 4 year old can muster. I asked her how she can do that, and this is the approximate answer.

"Well, it's because I had cheese this morning. Cheese makes my tickle switch turn off. But don't have brownies, because brownies make you ticklish."

Noah gave roller skates a try this morning, in the kitchen, where we have hardwood. He's actually quite good!


May 3rd, 2011

Improvement, and the failed perfectionist. @ 11:34 am


im·prove·ment  (m-prvmnt)
a. The act or process of improving.
b. The state of being improved.
2. A change or addition that improves.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition copyright ©2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Updated in 2009. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved. (by way of The Free Dictionary)

You might know that I am a failed perfectionist. You might even be very familiar with that idea, personally. You see, I require such high standards for myself that I already know I can't achieve them, and quit before I even start. Perfect! lol

So, Jon and I were talking recently. I thought that the best way to start a habit was to force it 100% until it's established. He suggested that if you just focus on improving, you'll do just fine. "Hmm," I thought. "I don't know that I really understand improvement." I mean, yes, I understand the academic meaning of the word. But do I practice it? No way! So that's my focus this week. Instead of striving for perfection and getting discouraged, I am improving my situation, whatever it may be.

Am I procrastinating this morning? Nope! I am improving my blogging by posting this to you. It's all about positive thinking. :-P


April 14th, 2011

Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real @ 09:50 pm


Resurrecting the old blog to participate in a link-up! The ladies at Like Mother, Like Daughter have been really sweet to share their family lives, and little tips they've learned along the way.

So, I can share whatever I like, to the theme of pretty, happy, funny, real. Here we go!


This is Danielle, showing off her handiwork from enrichment school.

This is Carol. I just grabbed the camera and snapped this one. I am a sucker for sunlight and hair.


We bought this climber a week or two ago. It was a big purchase for us, not because we didn't have the money, but because we always try to spend wisely, and it seemed a bit of a splurge. But, there was a good deal on it, and we grabbed it, and it has been worth every penny, already!


Our two cats- Simon, the tabby and Comet, the tuxedo, have a love/hate relationship. They love to hate each other. So the fact that Comet found a nice cozy place and ended up with a nice hunting spot too made us all laugh.

For the record, this is one of the kids' rooms.


Fried chicken! While it tasted good, the kids just aren't big on meat as a stand alone. They prefer it mixed in with things.

That's it! This particular post has taken a very long time, and I don't even know if it will get posted. So I hope it gets easier.

I can't get the button to work. I give up! Go see the link-up here.


You're familiar with that phenomenon of tech support that mandates that anyone who asks tech support for help can't get it to do the same thing again? Well, there ya go. I came back to replicate the problem, and it works. Tada!

February 2nd, 2009

The time I thought she was a goner. @ 08:49 am

We took some time on Saturday to go to the Denver History and Science Museum.  (I think.  Long name.)
As we got started, I pulled the kids aside to run through the "If you get lost" guidelines.  Rachel passed with flying colors.
Then there was Danielle.  The conversation went something like this:

Me: Danielle, what do you do if you get lost?

Goner:  Stay with YOU!

Me:  No... if there's nobody around, and you're alone, what do you do?

Goner:  Stay with YOU!  (There were several variations of this.  Finally, she got the question and says,)

Goner:  Go home with another family!

(I grab her and tell everyone, "We're NOT letting go of this child!")

So, we run through the find-a-grownup thing, and move on....

Me: What's your name?

Goner: Danielle.

Me:  What's your LAST name?

Goner: Nickels!  (Later, Jon points out she was referring to her middle name.)

Me: (grasping at straws, at this point) What's his name? (points to Jon.)

Goner:   Daddy!

Me: And what's my name?

Goner: ANNA!

Me: What's my last name?

Goner:  I don't know.

(I consider crying, at this point.)

Me: OOOOOOOkay.  Grandpa, got a pen?

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I resorted to writing her FULL NAME and my cell phone number ON HER ARM.  Good grief, what else could I do?

Today's the first prenatal appointment.  I am looking forward to the sound of that heartbeat already!  I think I mightmightmight have felt a flutter yesterday.


January 22nd, 2009

Joining the big kids @ 05:19 pm

There's a very large bird that's been hanging out behind our house recently. We suspect it's a fledgling eagle. Yesterday morning, he was sitting in the tiptop of the big tree. I tried to catch a better look at him with the binoculars, but they wouldn't focus just right.

Today, there was a tiny bird sitting on the same limb. I couldn't help but smile at the contrast- do you think the little bird was pretending to be that majestic cousin?

Earlier in the week, we saw two fox ( says that both fox and foxes are correct) in the field. It's been a busy week for animal watching!

Carol has been in underwear almost completely for about a week. Only once has she had a really true accident, and that was today. The others were accidents of space or accommodations.

Danielle is doing some growing up, too. (Didn't someone tell them they're not allowed to do this all at the same time?!) Today she was working on some pre-writing skills, and she decided to try writing her name. She's been playing with a letter-tracing white board, but nothing really serious in the writing department. She asked for the letters, and I was quite impressed with the accuracy of her letters. I wasn't sitting right with her, she was on her own.


Rachel... her, too. Today, she brought me a 'newspaper', which is pretty common around here. She's always liked to include games (crossword, sudoku) and comic strips with her newspaper. This time, there was a purely original comic strip included. Very cool.


Ah, I should explain. The chicken scratches in some sticks, finds a jewel, runs away, and a girl finds it. :)


January 20th, 2009

Books @ 03:15 pm

I can't resist listing the books I got at the thrift store yesterday.

Magic Tree House "Knights and Castles"
Freedom Train Sterling
Journal James Edmond Pease (Dear America series)
Great Railroad Race (Dear America series)
Cleopatra VII (Royal Diaries)
American Revolution JoAnn Grote
Amelina Carrett
Robin Hood Blaisdell
Sleepy Hollow Irving
Time Machine Wells
Annie Oakley Wilson/Robinson
In the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson Lord
A Christmas Carol Dicken
Our Town Wilder
Whipping Boy Fleischman
Sitting Bull Eisenberg
Sacajawea Rowland
Skylark MacLachlan
Black Stallion Revolts Farley
Secret of the Old Clock Carolyn Keene (Nancy Drew)
Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm Wiggin
Hidden Staircase Carolyn Keene (Nancy Drew)
Black Stallion Farley
Twits Dahl
Boxcar Children Basketball Mystery Warner
Boxcar Children Mystery Ranch Warner
Little House Friends Wilder
Little House on the Prairie Wilder
Little House in the Big Woods Wilder
Reptile Room (Series of unfortunate events, book 2)
Bridge to Terabithtia Paterson
Boxcar Children Mystery of the Lost Village Warner


January 19th, 2009

If you're feeling lazy @ 05:00 pm

I have a perfect solution!  Say, maybe you need to sweep the floor.  A surefire way to clean it up quickly is to drop a glass drinking cup on the floor and shatter it.  Hmph.  Fortunately, when we bought these, we bought two sets of 16 (8 large, 8 small).

In "honor" of Martin Luther King, the local thrift store had a 50% off sale.  I had to go, didn't I?  I got some really fabulous deals, I think.

For $75 (I know, OUCH) I got:
3 large hospital-style flannel blankets
several shirts for the kids
a brand new kitchen linen set- hand towel, dish towel and potholder
another linen dishtowel
a little dipper crock pot
a set of 3 silver candlesticks!
over 40 children's books

The blankets will be used for sewing projects.  To get that much fabric for $7, versus paying for it per yard, it's a steal.

I did need the kitchen set.  I've burned a few items recently, some are wearing thin, and I'm running out quickly.

The crock pot is going to come in handy.

The candlesticks!  This is so awesome.  I saw these candlesticks at a thrift store in Denver.  I fell in love with them.  They were priced at $8 EACH.  What a bummer.  But, I found one in housewares today, then found the other two in the 'special' display case!  I got all three for $6.

The children's books... oh, my.  I have bibiographies, historical fictions, classic fiction... all kinds of really good stuff.  This is going to be a 'free reading' shelf for the girls.


January 16th, 2009

Reflections @ 10:57 am

Motherhood is on the brain a lot right now.  There's the kids, the baby... ack.  After moving a few times, it's hard to readjust to *another* new caregiver.  It would be nice if I could go back to a previous midwife, or even office.  But, that's not where I wanted to go with this!

Point being, I have to make decisions about my kids, and that's often stressful.  Yesterday was a particularly stressful day, but it wasn't a *bad* day.  There were bodily fluids involved.  (yuck)  There was a brief theological discussion.  Yes, even things got broken.  It's nice to have those kind of days and feel like you're still winning by the end.

When Rachel was little, she was often content to play by herself.  As she grew, she wanted me to PLAY WITH HER.  Not just any old play, but pretend play.  I admit, I was really really bad at pretend play.  I just couldn't get down on the floor and dream up a tea party or a day on the beach.

Carol has insisted recently that I take a pony (or two, or three) and play with her.  Strangely, it's much easier now.  I don't know if it's practice, or just learning from the kids (!) what to do.  But this morning, I had all three kids in a fit of giggles over what the pretty pink pony had to say to the purple ones.

It's nice to reflect back and think about how I've changed as a mom.


January 12th, 2009

Sly annoncement @ 04:46 pm

Someone pointed out to me that I hadn't mentioned being pregnant before I included our fourth child in the count of my children-in-a-box.

So, yeah, that would be interesting.  Guess how many children I fit in a box?!

We have having another baby, due in late July.  We are very excited, as are our girls.  That may actually explain the silence here for a bit, because I was really tired.  Things are looking up, though (just ignore the sleep lines on my face at 4:30.)

Goodness!  Did we celebrate Christmas around here, either?  Yes, we did.  Our camera has disappeared, so there are no pictures yet.  bah


Babble, babble

Random thoughts no one wants to hear!