Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Pea Soup

Oh.....the humidity. It's so sticky, just loading groceries into the van was too much. We are enjoying the day by staying in the air conditioned house, swatting the mosquitos that flew in during the brief moment the door was open.

Yesterday, we beat the heat in town at a friends house. They have a pool, which felt so good. And of course, everyone slept well last night. Lou didn't even make it through supper.

We have more plans to swim, tube and ski with some friends on Saturday. We are all looking forward to getting wet again. With such short summers in Wisconsin, we have to enjoy every minute. Before you know it, it's cooling off for fall.

The girls started dance today. They loved it; each of them takes a combo ballet/tap class. Lee stayed home and worked with dad. It's summer and we drive to town almost everyday for an activity. Come fall daddy Lee and I need to limit the activities again. I think things are getting a little out of hand. Reality sets in really quick when Lee comments that he doesn't want to be dance for 6 weeks this summer. Of course, I said to him, "You're not in dance." His reply was something like, "no, but I have to go along, which cuts into my biking and catching frogs time." He's right! We travel in a pack of 5 always, and on Sundays as a pack of 6.

Less than 2 weeks and my baby will be 1. Where did the time go? Thinking back brings tears to my eyes. With the first it seemed that the first year took forever. I couldn't wait for each new stage. Now I wish I could stop time and truly enjoy each moment.

Thursday, June 23, 2005


We met friends at the beach yesterday. Dawn just finished her first year of homeschooling her four children. I'm so proud of her. She even commented that she can't imagine ever sending them back to public school, ever. I was reminded by her not to quote her on that. Sorry, Dawn. We enjoyed a picnic lunch and then hit the water for four hours. Honestly, it was the fastest four hours of my life. The girls did regular beach stuff: dug in the sand, jumped around in the water, buried their feet in the sand, layed in the sun, ate snacks......girl stuff. The boys on the other hand brought along true metal shovels. They dug huge holes and excavated large flat rocks, laid them out on the beach to make roads around their sand castles. They dug elaborate river systems and finally, to cool off, rolled in the sand, covering their entire body (hair included) and then jumped in the lake. They proceded to play dunking games and scared the girls with clumps of seaweed.

Despite my attempt to return home without any sunburns, we all have areas of pink. We did slather on the 45 spf, but of course, managed to miss spots. This morning we are all feeling sun-kissed. Can't wait to do it again.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Blast from the Past

Summer has officially started. The calendar says so and so does the library. Today was the first summer reading program. It was a fencing demonstration. How cool. We met some friends there and watched the instructor, who was awesomely witty, and his assistant demo different styles of fencing, discuss the history of fencing and how to critique movie sword fights (and take all the fun out of them). The whole program was fascinating and engaging. To top it off I checked out The Princess Bride (1987). It was a great way to finish off the day. I couldn't help reminiscing about the summer of '87, fresh out of 9th grade with nothing better to do but babysit fulltime for $40.00 a week and watch The Princess Bride in all my spare time. Grace and Lee loved the movie and, of course, can't wait to watch it again tomorrow.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Mosquito Fest

One wood tick, one hairy spider in MY shoe, too much sand in the tent, one great swimming hole, two fun water rafts, great food, too many sunburned cheeks and lots of laughs. It was another fun Mosquito Fest. Jan and Rod hosted the 3rd annual campout. We came home tired and ready for air conditioning, but what a blast we had!

Today it's back to the normalcy of life. We'll work together to do the Monday Home Blessing and then I'll mow the lawn. If all goes well, that'll be done before lunch and then we can relax outside in the afternoon. Oh, and do laundry, all 5-6 loads of it.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

A Day Late

It's Tuesday and time for the Monday Home Blessing, yes I know that doesn't make sense. However, after yesterday's foot in the egg pail, egg white and yolk dripping from the counter top and trash can situation and the dropped glass candle holder in the bathroom incident, we did enough cleaning for one day. This all happened before 10:00 AM. We had plans to pick up my mom, get a bucket of chicken and picnic at a park. We finished eating, not quite in the nick of time. We had to pack up and run to the van in the downpour. In the last last 5 days we've had 6 inches of rain. When will it stop?

Yesterday we also planted the garden, a little late this year, but better than never. We're trying carrots again. Last time I tried with no luck.

List of vegetables planted:
sweet corn

The kids have a friend over today. They all helped out with the home blessing. With us all working together we finished in under an hour. The kids worked so hard. I think we'll have a friend over next Monday; for some reason friends are so willing to help clean, which in turn motivates my kids. It's a win:win situation.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Weekend Recap

Grace had violin Saturday morning. I hit a garage sale, all by myself! Found a great foam U.S. puzzle and some jeans for Lee that ended up being too small. The afternoon went by quickly. We went fishing on the upper pond and caught one bass. Another round of thunderstorms came through. Grant and Anna had a piano recital that we attended in the evening and then played for a few hours afterwards.

Sunday started out with church and then an afternoon of mostly rest and relaxation. The kids watched a video called I Love Dinosaurs. I believe it's a National Geographic film. 80 excellent minutes of dino entertainment and it's educational, too. Well, I learned a few new things anyway. It seems when I point out something new I learned, my kids always say "Oh, I already knew that". I practiced piano; it's such a great feeling to stretch my mind. I'm definitely out of my comfort zone. Speaking of comfort zone, my muscles ache and my knees are quivering. Grace and I are preparing to run a 5K on the Fourth of July. I believe that's about 3.2 miles. Neither one of us are runners. Most days I think we are crazy. Deep down I wish I could just quit, but since I'm the adult I guess I better just shut up and set a good example.

Later this evening we have a graduation party to go to. They have horses; the kids can't wait.

Friday, June 10, 2005

You Can Teach an Old Dog New Tricks

Grace and I have been fervently practicing piano for 2 days. I was pleasantly surprised by my ability to learn the bass clef staff of notes. You see I have known the treble clef for about 23 years and have been scared to learn the bass clef, because the notes are in different spaces and on different lines. Well, it's not so bad. We chose the Piano Adventures series by Nancy and Randall Faber. It goes ever so slowly and explains each new bit of info clearly. My favorite song to play if "Planetarium". Grace's fav is "Two Black Ants".

Lee has been working on place value, tens and ones. He is so smart when it comes to math. His writing has become more fluent over the last few months. He seems to enjoy using a pencil more and more, which just so happens to be the goal.

Wednesday, June 8, 2005

No Lettuce?

Lou came in with a single chive. She asked to make a salad.

"We don't have any lettuce."

She frowned.

"We don't have any carrots."

She frowned and then put in her last request. "I can make a salad with chips?!"

I offered her some Triscuits. She ate the crackers and handed me the chive. Now I have onion breath.

Yesterday was my birthday. Lee senior and I took the kids to a friends (for another birthday celebration) and we went biking on the Green Circle in Stevens Point. Ray enjoyed riding in the Burley, for the most part. Went out for lunch with my mom. Grace and Lee made me a cake from scratch. They measured and read the recipe. What determination!

Today Grace and I each bought a beginner piano book. We plan on teaching ourselves to play piano. We each conquered our first lesson. So far, so good.

The latest in questions from Lee: "Did George Washington have a piano?" We'll have to stop by Ask Jeeves in a few minutes.

Monday, June 6, 2005


Children look at the world with such awe. For example, Lee asked me Saturday, "Which is bigger, a daddy longlegs or a baby mouse?" I just love the way his mind tackles the tough issues.

We went to the beach! We are a beach family. Everyone loves to swim and yesterday was hot and a little humid...perfect for the beach. Since we only have 3 short months of beach weather we try to make the most of it. Yesterday was Ray's first time at the beach; he loved the sand. He crawled, dug, scooped, ate and played in the sand until he was covered from head to toe.

Lee senior had my birthday present delivered today, a Clavinova. It's a digital piano. I've wanted to play piano since I was a kid. Can't wait to get some beginner books. The music store owner thought that since I play violin I might be able to self teach myself. I'm concerned with learning bass clef.

Kids are begging to know when summer vacation starts. It's so hard to explain that learning can happen any day. Do we really need to have an end date? If we do does that mean that they'll only want to watch TV all day? How do you other unschoolers handle this?

Friday, June 3, 2005

Mail Call

I received the new Love to Learn catalog in the mail today. I love good mail days. The wish list is long.

A Lot of Mouths to Feed

Lord, help me! I have 7 kids in my home today.

Boys ages: 8, 6, 5, 10 months

Girls ages: 7, 3, 3

No time to blog.

Thursday, June 2, 2005

Summer Vacation?

"Tommy's on summer vacation, mom. When do we start?" my kids hollered in the van on the way home from the park. Since we unschool, my question is, did we ever really start school? This is a hard concept to convey to a 7 and 6 year old. So I asked them what they considered to be school. They answered: reading to mom, math, and exercising.

My reply was simple: "Stop doing those things. Remember that exercising includes biking, running, swinging. Math includes Yahtzee, cooking and using the tape measure." They decided to continue with school.

Still, it's hard for them to understand the concept of learning all the time in a world that wants learning to occur in the confines of a classroom.

Grace kicked Lee

What is it with kids? Why do they have to lash out at one another? Grace kicked Lee, apparantly because he looked into the bin of clean socks. It's Grace's month to fold socks and she seems to be a little posssessive about the job. Grace is on my time today. So far she collected and disposed of the trash, scrubbed all the trash cans, cleaned under her bed and is now reading and writing in her journal.

Grace and I are still working on reviewing the first grade material in the book, Home Learning Year by Year.

Last year I came across a book that I ended up buying titled, Math for your 1st and 2nd grader. A college math professor wrote the book basically because he was disgusted in the lack of math skills of high school graduates. He believes that it all comes down to learning the basics. I first checked it out from the library and used it with Grace for 2 weeks. Then about a month after taking it back to the library Grace asked when we were going to do more of "that book". I logged onto Amazon.com and bought it used. We finished 1st grade about 6 weeks ago. Yesterday Grace asked, "When are we gonna start on 2nd grade?" So we got it out and she counted to 200 aloud. We giggled and remembered how much we love math!

Baby Ray says mama, dada and stands by himself for 1 second before falling.

This morning we discussed the phrase, "let sleeping tigers lie". This of course was referring to Lee when he falls asleep in the van.