Friday, November 21, 2014

School Fun

Here are some cool things, that you may not already know about, that have happened in our homeschool so far this semester:

  • Ruth has had a couple of special, first-hand opportunities to study Political Science. First, by attending a criminal trial in Burnet County. And, second, by attending an event where Condoleeza Rice was speaking. Ruth had previously read one of Ms. Rice's books and is now diving into another
  • Weston is practicing for PSIA Math, Spelling, Storytelling and Music Memory contests coming up in the spring.
  • Max finished his 2nd grade Math book, half-way through his 1st grade year.
  • Clay is super interested in first sounds of words and rhyming words. He is also interested in learning how to write some of the letters. And, he sits in on any of his siblings' classes that he can get away with. 
  • We saw a lunar eclipse and a blazing fireball in the night sky, in our informal astronomy class.
  • This first semester of CC, the older boys have learned all the states and capitals, most of the body systems, how to play the tin whistle, all of John 1:1-7 in English and Latin, many historic facts pertaining to early American history, many of the irregular verbs and their tenses, the math facts through the 15s, and many more fun and interesting things. 
  • The boys and I have been working our way through Weston's Magic School Bus chemistry set, and we finally got to the much anticipated volcano experiment. 

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

It's today!

For the last several weeks, Clay has been coming into our bedroom, early in the morning, and announcing with a great deal of enthusiasm: "It's today!" I'm not usually much of a morning person, especially before the sun is up, but with a greeting like that, it's pretty easy to face the new day. Yesterday, though, he took it to the next level. "It's today!" he squealed, "Do you want to see?!" And, then in a quiet, awe-struck voice, he added, "It's kind of awesome!"

Some mornings, I feel like I just need a few more minutes of shut-eye. And, some mornings, I feel like if I can just stumble my way to the shower and then the coffee pot, I'll be o.k. But, those things aren't the answers to starting the day on the right foot or getting through it without just getting through it. You see, the thing I often overlook is the spirit of that last part: "It's kind of awesome!" My kids teach me lessons all the time, but this is one I need to really let sink in.

Each day is an awesome gift, filled with new and awesome possibilities. It's not the burden I sometimes imagine it to be. It's kind of awesome that I woke up this morning. This is the only today I'm guaranteed, so I want to embrace it wholeheartedly.

It's today, friends! Do you want to see? It's kind of awesome.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Beautiful Bodies

For the last six weeks, we have been studying the human body at CC. We love CC for so many reasons, but one of them is projects like this, that I'm honest enough to admit I would be unlikely to tackle at home. Each week the boys, along with the other students in their classes, learned about a few parts, and today, they finally got the chance to put them all together.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Girl's Weekend

Last year for Christmas, I gave my mom a girl's weekend. I left it open-ended, with no specifics planned. Thankfully, we finally found an open weekend before Christmas came back around. We spent the weekend in Austin, shopping in and around The Domain, eating at amazing restaurants like Kona Grill, urban and Copper, and chit-chatting about everything in the world. On Saturday, we saw the Dirty Dancing broadway show, which was absolutely fantastic! We ended our weekend together and rejoined the rest of the family at Ruth's horse show this afternoon. It was so great to get to have this time together! I hope we'll get to do it again soon.

Dirty Dancing

Celebrating a wonderful girl's weekend with wine flights at Copper. 

Ruth and Cosmo tore up the arena. Two first place ribbons and a third.

Ruth also won "High Point" at the show
and was awarded a special ribbon and a beautiful drawing.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

To the manufacturers of smoke detectors:

First of all, let me say, I very much appreciate your efforts to create a product to protect my home and family in the event of a fire. I really do. It helps me rest a little easier at night. Most nights. But, I am seriously wondering who treated you badly as a child to make you grow up and configure these handy little devices to only malfunction in the middle of the night? There has never been a time in my memory when a battery went dead, with its accompanying repetitive warning signal, during daylight hours. Or, when the interconnected wonders began their blaring, for no apparent reason, in the middle of the afternoon. I used to think it was just a coincidence, but now I'm convinced it's an act of malevolence on your part. The odds are just against it being random.

And, is it really necessary for smoke detectors to be installed on ceilings, so that we are incapable of restoring peace to our sleepy households without having to drag the ladder in from the garage? It just seems like you've added insult to injury there. Having sleep deprived people several feet up in the air doesn't lend much credibility to your supposed purpose of creating these devices for safety's sake. I'm just saying.

I am very tired now, since I was up half the night enduring your vengeance, so I will close this letter. I implore you to find it in your hearts to rethink the middle-of-the-night workings of these otherwise useful contraptions.

Thursday, November 06, 2014

Prove it

I have this one kid that requires me to prove myself as a parent. Every. Single. Day. Often, multiple times a day. He does not take subtle hints or back down when threats are issued. If anything, those things feel like a challenge to him. He insists on seeing what I'm made of--on knowing if I'm serious, and worthy of his respect. It's like he's saying, "Are you really going to take away my toys or privileges, or come up with a consequence that is more painful than the fight is fun? Prove it!" I'm talking about a level of strong-willedness that even strong-willed children usually never reach.

And, if he ever perceives weakness, the fight will go on for hours, because he thinks there might actually be a chance he's going to win. I can never, ever back down or relent on promised punishments (even though it's tempting), and I often have to come up with creative ways to get through to him, because it is unlikely what worked with other kids will work with him or even what worked with him yesterday will work today. Frankly, this type of parenting is exhausting. And, sometimes I handle it with less grace and composure than I should, and sometimes with none at all. And, sometimes, even when I "win" the battle, it feels like a defeat, because I'm completely worn out, and because I know I will be back on the proving ground again the next day. (And, I firmly believe that the reason we are still daily engaging in these battles is because of my own lack of fortitude on those occasions when I just didn't have any more fight or creativity in me and have let him have the victory for the sack of peace. As all parents, I am learning as I go.)

Inevitably, though, on my steadfast days, there will come a moment when he realizes that I am a worthy opponent that is not easily defeated and therefore worthy of his respect. Something will get through to him and his countenance will change. And, from that moment on, he is just about the most compliant child in the house. My requests are met with a sincere willingness to obey and the most respectful responses imaginable. And, huge bear hugs will be given spontaneously for the remainder of the day. Once he respects me, it is easy for him to submit to my authority. He loves me more when he knows I'm going to be true to my word, no matter what.

Having to go through this process is frustrating because he's a little kid who has to obey certain rules for his own safety and edification, but oh! when he's adult who has learned how to control his impulses and can be his own boss, these traits will serve him well. If you ever intend to employ him or marry him, you need to understand that he has a serious need to be respected and to respect those around him. And, he will make you prove that you respect him and that you are worthy of his respect. Over and over. But, he will love you completely and do your bidding absolutely if you do. This one will do mighty things! And, if you earn his respect (and I do mean earn!), he may just let you come along for the ride.

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

3 ½ years of perfection

The smile. The nakedness. The shiner. The chocolate smeared on the arm and chest.
This is 3 ½ years of perfection, right here.
I love this kid so much!