Tuesday, September 29, 2009

changes of season

in my old age maturity, i’ve come to really appreciate the rhythms that flow throughout the year, bringing the seasons and their changes and uniqueness and the varying ways these affect our lives. when i was younger, i always said i liked summer the best, because i liked warm weather. i held to this until a year or two ago, when in the spring, we were driving down a road and i was practically jumping out of my seat with excitement over the beautiful flowering trees and the other deciduous trees which were starting to get their leaves. that combined with the vigil i start keeping in late january when the first little green peaks of what will be daffodil leaves poke their way out of the frozen ground caused dave to point out that he thought my favorite season was really spring. he’s got a point. so i’ve thought about it, trying my best to come up with a firm ‘favorite’, and i can honestly say that it’s impossible! the closest i could come would be to identify a least favorite season, which would probably have to be winter because i find coats to be bothersome and i don’t really like being cold. BUT, with winter comes a chance for snow. and if you want to see me REALLY get all crazy-excited, just tell me there’s a chance of snow in the forecast! seriously. i LOVE snow. i could sit at the window and watch it fall for HOURS. no, really. HOURS! there is something so incredible about seeing a familiar landscape, such as your own front yard, completely transformed by a blanket of white. i love the way it smells when it’s going to snow. i love the way everything is so quiet. even in the middle of the busy suburbs, it makes me think of my favorite robert frost poem, stopping by woods on a snowy evening. “the woods are lovely, dark and deep…”

but i digress…

now it is fall. leaves are changing from that long-awaited green to beautiful shade of yellow, red, orange and brown, spiders hang in webs everywhere imaginable, my pumpkins are ripening, it’s windy out and we’re building fires to keep the house warm. i love all this too.

this change of weather is always hard on the kids though. for the past four months or so, they’ve made very little distinction between their play indoors and out. they’ve roamed freely between the house and yard with little thought to it. now they are irritated by having to be bothered with impediments like shoes and jackets. it’s like there’s a conscious decision that has to be made whether to go out or not, whereas before, the only real distinction was the surface under their bare feet and that they could be louder.

i suppose this will seem like a small transition, come hat and mitten weather! ;)

Monday, September 28, 2009

bad blogging

so, i’ve been really bad about blogging lately. apparently i’m not the only one since hardly any of my bloggy friends post anything anymore either…

my excuse is different lately though… it’s not that i have nothing on my mind or nothing i want to write about, it’s that the stuff stirring around in my mind is of a nature that it would probably offend, shock or alienate most people who would read it.

am i the only one who does this? do other, seemingly normal, people out there walk around with thoughts in their heads that are so different from the actions of the masses that the sheer thought of people acting on them in any sort of numbers would cause some sort of major upheaval in the way our society lives? or is it just me? am i some sort of revolutionary or prophet, too afraid of saying what’s really on my mind, so as to make my ideas and opinions completely irrelevant? probably so. i guess i’m just wondering if anyone else ever feels like that.

somehow or other i’ve always felt like i was in the minority for one reason or another. true, i’m a caucasian, american female. i was raised in a middle-class household. i had two parents, one brother, and a dog. from a statistical standpoint, i’m pretty run-of-the-mill. i should fit in. and for the most part, i do a pretty good job of looking the part. when i was younger, all i wanted was to fit in. to be just like everyone else. i was tired of sticking out like a sore thumb for one silly reason or another… usually WAY amplified in my immature mind’s eye. NOW i kind of want to stick out, but for a real reason. maybe my whole, not quite normal, life has all just been preparation. training in not fitting in…

but i’m starting to get to contemplative here, and nobody wants to read that. like i said, this isn’t good blog material.

i really do want to write this stuff down though. i just don’t really have an appropriate venue for it. perhaps i’ll go back to my old days of journaling… only this time the pages won’t be filled with whichever stupid guy i had a crush on and how mean my mom is because i can’t see whatever stupid movie it is i wanted to see. maybe i’ll start another blog that nobody gets to read. just for my thoughts. who knows. maybe, after i die, someone will find this stuff and realize how really brilliant i was and the world will change. probably not, but it’s a fun thought. ;)

Friday, September 18, 2009

God’s bounty in MY yard!

this is yesterday’s harvest…087

yup. the garden is doing what it’s supposed to be doing. these are just some of the 100’s of cherry tomatoes i’ve brought in in the last month. i’ve had 2 big tomatoes before yesterday, but HOLY COW! i think i’ll need to share those. this is one of 2 red cabbages i’ve got. it’s beautiful! we had some in our salads last night. YUM! dave and shane were good sports and tolerated it. layla was ecstatic, as was i. and micah just ignored it (as he does with most food). that was just yesterday! i don’t think the other one will be as good, since it got attacked early on by some sort of bugs and still looks kind of pathetic. but we shall see.

looking back, we’ve had 2 full meals’ worth of green beans (one of which i tried to steam w/out any water, so that was a bust). kind of pathetic, considering i’m doubtful we’ve got more than a few beans left on the plants. the crows were out to get me this year and pulled out or plucked off most of my plants just after they sprouted. but the survivors were fruitful, there just weren’t enough of them. next year, i’m definitely switching to pole beans. the bush beans just don’t produce long enough.

my 1 cucumber plant gave me 6 or 7 wonderful cucumbers. i was ready to call it done, but yesterday i discovered new leaves, fresh flowers, and baby cucumbers starting on it! i’m so excited.

i’ve had a little lettuce. my first 3 green lettuce plants did okay at first, but when we got back from our trip to california, something had eaten them. the red lettuce that angie gave me disappeared and then came back about a month later. i’ve had a few little leaves off of them, here and there, but they never got very big, and now a few of them are starting to bolt. oh well, they added a little color to our salads.

i’ve also got 2 ‘big’ pumpkins and 3 mini pumpkins that are on my front porch. there are a few more mini’s on the vine that i’m waiting to ripen up a bit before cutting them. there’s 10 or so more big ones in various stages of green and orange.

and then there’s the squash… i didn’t plant squash. well, i didn’t intend to plant squash. my dad had several pumpkin starts in his greenhouse that he gave me. i told him that i ONLY wanted pumpkins, no zucchini or squash this year. well, either one of those starts was a squash, or i had one volunteer from the squash i grew (and let rot on the vine because we don’t eat it) last year, but i’ve got squash. LOTS OF SQUASH! i’ve got a couple almost ready to harvest, and 10 or more still getting bigger. sheesh! murphy’s law, right?

what else? i salvaged a fair amount of strawberries from the slugs and my freezer is FULL of bags of frozen raspberries, just waiting to go on ice cream or into yogurt. YUM!

contrary to my early predictions, this year’s garden has been almost a complete success. my snap peas were a bust, thanks to the deer who couldn’t leave them alone. as soon as the plants got big enough to produce any peas, they would eat them. corn was a bust too, mostly because the stupid crows kept pulling them out. the ones that did survive were wimpy and only produced a couple wimpy ears that weren’t really fit for human consumption. and so the search for a good corn variety continues. my blueberry plants had a handful of blueberries on them this year (they were new last year), but the birds got all but about 2 of those. i’m hoping for more next year.

i’m already starting to think about next year’s garden. and the best ways to pest-proof it. i’m totally turning into mr. mcgregor!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

first day of school

so, we started school today.

this is a big deal because it is OUR first day of official homeschooling. you know, here. at home.

most everyone reading this is already aware of the fact that shane has been homeschooled since first grade, but that he has spent the majority of that ‘school’ time, with my mother as his ‘teacher’. this was a fine arrangement, she was willing and more than qualified, and he was learning. but for a variety of reasons, not the least of which being my mother’s current cancer issues, it had become clear that it was time for me to take over. AND,with layla being 4 now, i really wanted to do a little bit more preschool stuff with her.

being a little bit of a chicken flake, i (with much urging from my loving husband) decided the best route to go would be with a packaged curriculum. i figured it would be the most time-effective way to cover what we needed to cover, and be somewhat dummy-proof, but at the same time, having the option to supplement with as much or as little as we wanted to. so we went with switched-on schoolhouse, a computer-based curriculum that covers math, language arts, science, bible, and history/geography. shane was super excited about getting to do his work on the computer, until i informed him that i was also going to make him do some stuff on paper too. oh well.

for layla, i felt more confident (having done this sort of thing for a living) putting together stuff on my own. i’m not super-stressed because she’s so academically motivated anyway and already knows half or more of what a pre-k class would be wanting her to learn. my main areas of focus for her will be learning to write all of her lower case letters and working on letter sounds, numbers, value and patterning, and bible story lessons. i will work in themes, similar to what i did in my classroom, frequently related to seasons/holidays/stuff going on, and filling in with other fun stuff that she’s interested in. i still STRONGLY believe that the best way for her to learn at this age is through play and life experience.

so, today was the day. it didn’t go perfectly, but it went well. as far as glitches go, there were plenty to be had, but we rolled with it. layla woke up at 5am with a cold, later to be discovered that it came paired with a low fever. micah refused to nap. shane started to throw a fit expressed frustration and i had to deliver the first “change your behavior and your attitude or you can go to your room and have to finish this later” warning, which fortunately, he listened to.

but for the most part, things went amazingly smoothly. shane learned about Jesus calling peter to be a disciple, living and non-living things, place value, properties of maps and globes, and read a story about a kid named joey and the sad tree in his backyard. his reading and writing struggles are going to be his main source of frustration as usual, and we need to get him a typing program asap so he won’t have to waste so much time hunting for letters. other than that, he liked the lessons, did well on the questions, and seemed to be interested. i’m going to have him do a daily journal and some extra phonics and reading work, but i’m not going to throw that on him yet.

layla worked on writing letter A’s (may as well start at the beginning), we read a silly story about ‘apple auntie’ to learn the sound A, and did our bible lesson for the day. i didn’t plan much for her because i wasn’t sure how much shane would be needing me as he was learning how his school work was going to work, and because she wasn’t feeling well. she liked the silly story a lot, did good A’s (even lower case ones which she’s been resistant to). but she was upset because there wasn’t anything to color in along with her bible lesson. ***note to self: find coloring pages to complement bible lessons. and probably every other lesson, since it is layla we’re talking about. our first theme will be fall with related topics like apples, garden/harvest, pumpkins and spiders. FUN!

so, day 1 is done and we were blessed.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

latest micahisms

i know i wrote a post about “nonnies” recently (bananas), but i’ve been noticing that micah is starting to abandon his cute baby pronunciations of some things and i want to make sure i write them down before i forget.

  • doko=hot dog (or any similarly shaped object)
  • bopple=apple (similar to layla’s bapples, but not quite)
  • lala=layla (not the teletubby)
  • beebee= baby (usually in reference to dolls, but he got super excited at the library the other day when he saw a real baby and kept pointing and yelling “beebee! beebee!”)
  • gaygake=pancake

there’s no more mama or dada, we’re mommy and daddy, or sometimes even just mom or dad. SO depressing! and the one that’s killing me is “toot toot” is starting to change over to train. sometimes we get “toot toot, train” now. like he has to combine both before switching.

we really like his “what doing?” and “where going?” questions. if you’ve seen phineas and ferb and know isabella’s tagline, “whatcha doin?” that’s the spin you’ve got to put on it. SO funny!

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