Monday, July 31, 2006

Humble Pie

We've been really busy this week with the painting and decorating and spending time with Bria. And, for those of you who've asked, yes I'll post before and after pics when I'm all done. I'm still picking out curtains and decorations. ;) Today her siblings and mother arrive so we'll be out playing for a few more days.

I'll leave you with this...

Matthew was invited to the neighbors last night for dinner and swimming in one of those 3ft deep blow-up pools. He came home and I asked him if he had a fun time.
He said, "Yes, but they were jumping and splashing me and the sign said, 'NO JUMPING or diving'!"
I said, "I think the sign means that you can't jump from the ladder. They were just jumping up and down in the pool, right?"
Matthew: "Well I don't like to get splashed. And they were diving too. One of them made me breathe under water."
Me: [stunned silence] This is the kid who refuses to go any further in his swimming class because they'll make him put his head under water. This is the kid who still can give quite a fit if he gets too much water on his face during a bath. I was amazed he wasn't making more of a deal about it. As I recovered, I said, "How did they make you do that?"
Matthew: "They were being really rough and accidentally crashed into me and I went under the water."
Bria (his 12yr old cousin): "Well, most other kids don't have as nice manners as you do."
Matthew: "I know."
Me: [chuckling to myself] I think, and none are nearly as humble either. ROFL But it's good that he's so confident. Boy will he need it in this world! ;)

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

The Birds and the Bees and Meerkat Manor

My kids love to watch Meerkat Manor every week with Grammy. I get weekly updates on Flower and her clan after Grammy babysits. Today, however, I got a report from Grammy...

Apparently they were doing a craft she brought over. They were cutting and coloring cats and gluing them together to make little stand-up teepee cats. They each made a mommy cat and some baby cats and then Rose announced she wanted a daddy cat. Grammy gave her the cat she had made but then Matthew chimed in with wanting a daddy cat too.

Grammy: "Well, I'm sorry but that's the last cat that we have."
Matthew: "I need a daddy cat for my mommy and baby cats!"
Grammy: "Hmm...well, maybe you and Rose can share the daddy cat."
Matthew: "No, my family needs their own. [pausing to think a few seconds] Well, on Meerkat Manor, Zaphod is the husband of two of them."
Grammy: "Something like that. Animal families are a little different than people families".

Wait a second...did my 5yr old just discuss polygamy? And I thought Animal Planet was one channel I didn't have to preview.


Yesterday, I finally started painting our dining room. We've lived here for six years and we still had that contractor flat white paint. ICK. But I have, slowly, been painting each of the rooms in our house until all that's left to do is the entryway (and that will be a nightmare because it's a two-story entry and I can see my clutsy self falling off a ladder and then WHO would unschool these kids? lol) and our bedroom & two baths upstairs. So I'm getting there. ;) Painting your home does take longer when you move into it at 6 months pregnant and then proceed to have 3 kids in under 5 years.

My 12yr old niece, Bria, is visiting and she wanted to help but didn't have any painting clothes with her. So I found an old t-shirt of Hubby's but she was stuck with her own shorts. After she got paint on them, we decided to implement Grandma's quick-raincoat idea of draping her in a garbage bag. It worked really well...err...well, it protected her shorts anyway. Her mom reads this blog so we won't discuss how much paint was on her legs when the night was over. ;)

After Matthew and Rose got up from nap, they were very excited to help us paint. Now I must admit something to you here. Sometimes Laurie-Mom and Unschooling-Laurie have conflicts. This was one of those times. The mom in me wanted them to stay out of my way and let me get the job done! I'd already done a coat of primer and trim...and a coat of paint trim and working on the wall paint. I really wanted to see the home stretch. And, Laurie-mom reasoned, 'they'll probably only want to paint for two minutes and then I'll have to stop and clean them up and it will take so much of my time!' But the unschooler in me won out this time, thankfully. Actually, I guess Matthew won out - he informed me that, "Painting is a skill I will need when I'm an adult." Now how could I argue with that? I told them that I was saving a spot for them but they needed to wait a little bit longer so I could finish what I was doing and help instruct them with minimal how-to's on wall painting.

They went into the other room and busied themselves. I didn't know what they were up to: I was on a roll and wasn't going to be stopping until I was done with this wall. A while later, Matthew comes around the corner with a small plastic white shopping bag from our recycling bin. He had turned it upside down and cut out a hole for the head and holes for the arms.
"Ok Mommy, I'm ready to paint!"

No sooner had Bria and I finally caught our breath from laughing at his copyright infringement on Bria's idea than Rose came around the corner with her bag too.
(Please pardon the deer-in-the-headlights look on my children. They were unaware I had the camera! LOL)

I showed them how to dip the paintbrush and wipe the excess drips on the edge and warned them about not letting the drips run down the wall and I went to the other side of the room (against my Laurie-mom instincts) and soon forgot that they were first-time painters.

(They did all of that! What great painters!)

In the background I hear some conversations going on...

Matthew: "Rose, maybe when you're older, you'll paint as well as your big brother does." (ROFL)
Rose, determined: "Yes I WILL!"

[a while later]

Matthew: "When I'm a daddy, I'm going to let my kids help me paint."
Rose: "Me TOO!"
Matthew: "When you have babies, you'll let them paint too?"
Rose: "Yes I will."
Matthew: "Oh great! You're gonna be a great mom!" [he side-hugs her]

They ended up painting for about 45 minutes. They did a great job and had lots to tell Daddy when he got home from work. How could I ever have doubted that they could do it? I had much more paint on me than either of them did and there were no spilled cans of paint or paint in the mouth or entire bodies covered in paint, as Laurie-mom had envisioned.

It's hard to always let them do things they want to do. Our reasons vary but usually it's a matter of taking too much time or we think they're too young or we just don't have the energy. But this is part of unschooling - letting them discover and learn things in their own time. Thank goodness Unschooling Laurie won out yesterday. ;)

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

I'm back!

Finally, I got my computer back! My dear sweet husband was updating software on my computer and found spyware on it that totally frelled up my profile. So the last few days were spent working on getting my profile back. Yay, it's back! :) And I have to spend today and probably tomorrow painting the dining room (oh my back aches already and I haven't even started! LOL). If only it were as easy as Photoshop PaintBucket! The bloglets are exceedingly excited to help me paint...and I have my 12yNiece visiting who, rumor has it, is a great painter. ;)

But I wanted to say a huge THANKS to TnChick for hosting the Photo Scavenger Hunt! It was really fun and I actually won the Photo of the Week (photo posted a few entries back)! I had to PhotoShop out a couple of shoulders on the sides as it was really crowded that day but apparently even a novice at PS like me can still do it convincingly! LOL Don't forget to start looking for next weeks topic photo in your files - Pets/Animals. And then head on over to TnChick's website and sign up! :)

Until later, see you on the other side of the paint bucket! (Note to self - remember to take pics of bloglets helping me paint...)

Sunday, July 23, 2006

A break in the weather...

Sweet relief!! The weather finally broke, along with some fierce storms in our area. We didn't get the brunt of it, thankfully. While we're out enjoying the nicer weather this weekend, I thought I'd just post a few great blog entries I've come across lately.

Andrea posted about Setting Up For Creativity in the home. How do you encourage? How do you limit creativity in your children?


Susan posted a humorous and thoughtful piece about Finding Answers to that dreaded question, "Why do you homeschool?"


Please don't miss out on last week's Carnival of Homeschooling here.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Unschooling Carnival

Joann over at A Day In Our Lives has started the Unschooling Carnival again! Yippee! I had to jump right in with the first question. And, as is typical, I'm a bit long winded. ;) Her question this month is...

How did you and your family come to unschooling?

The honest truth is that I was asking myself this question recently and couldn't come up with a detailed answer. How could *we* have come so far from our origins? Let me back up a little.

My mother taught pre-K for 20+ years at our church. She still works there today but has moved to office work where she (get this...) writes the curriculum, among other duties. [Yes, I'm pausing for the unschoolers to laugh at with me.] Actually, she's been much more understanding of our unschooling than I originally expected. After all, the proof is in the puddin'. ;) I have an uncle who is a retired professional teacher, another uncle who is a superintendent, a brother who went overseas and taught English as a second language and a sister-in-law who teaches college English, not to mention the cousins and other family members who are also in the teaching arena. For an even greater laugh, I'll even admit that I taught preschool myself for a few years. I worked in the day school throughout high school and college. I even played with the idea of becoming a teacher for a while but I just wasn't passionate enough about the subject to pursue it.

So my background is thus: I went to school. I hated it. I couldn't stand the social part of it ('you actually wear WRANGLER jeans?? Ewwww'). I couldn't stand the learning-just-because-I-said-so part of it (as I stated before, when has that frog dissection actually helped me in life, other than provide a somewhat humorous blog entry for which I'm not paid?). And I couldn't stand the pick-a-career-now-and-love-it-for-your-whole-life because it's-too-expensive-and-timely-to-change-your-mind-down-the-road of college. But I went to school because that's what we sheep did. Baaa. I paid my dues at two years of college and came out with a B average, something that was very beneath me but I just wasn't giving it my all because it felt, more than ever, like it was learning-for-learning's-sake.

Enter my husband. He also did school. I don't think he deplored it as much as I did and he actually has very fond memories of college life even though he was a 4.0 student and not a partyer at all. (I had to say that because I've never heard anyone else say they really enjoyed college who was NOT a hard partyer).

So here we are, two fairly intelligent people, both having done the college route and were in decent jobs. We went through several years of infertility before starting our family. When our son was born, life changed drastically, as it does for most people. Our son was a hands-on baby. And I mean that in the most literal way you can mean it. He. never. let. me. put. him. down. Ever. We quickly adapted to the attachment parenting style, simply from the fact that my son would have it no other way.

Sooner or later, we began talking about schooling. Preschool? Yay/nay? My husband had mentioned homeschooling within the first couple months we dated. Pictures of me hulked over the sticky jellied kitchen table, finger pointed out at the kids who were crying because I said, "Just DO the math worksheet N.O.W.!" sprang to mind and I immediately said I wasn't interested. He said he was open to either but knew it would be a major commitment for me and wanted to leave the decision to me since I would be most directly affected by it. Over the years though, that image had relaxed some and I had an idea that maybe, just maybe, I could actually DO homeschooling.

When my son was three, I was online (where else?) looking for worksheets for him. The typical pre-K coloring page with the letter A surrounded by smaller pictures of an apple, airplane, ant and alligator. Of course, he refused to pick up any writing utensil, especially a crayon. He didn't know his letters yet and I was concerned we were behind. True, he had a September birthday and would be one of the oldest in his class so there wasn't any reason to truly panic...yet. As I continued to research curriculums and remember what I used with my three year old classes, somehow, somewhere I [gasp] clicked on an ad.

There, I said it. I unabashedly admit it. I clicked. Once. Once in my life, I clicked on an internet ad. (I really hate to encourage those advertisers and I have since declared myself a non-clicker.) Fortunately for me and my kids, it was probably the best click of our lives. It led me to the book, Christian Unschooling. I found the ideas in that book like a breath of fresh air from the stuffy ideas I had in my head about homeschooling. So I did what any other computer junkie does - I found a message board about unschooling. ;) Then I found The Unschooling Handbook and entire websites dedicated to unschooling. Why had I never heard of this?

As I read more excerpts out loud to my husband, we realized just how different our learning could have been. This was what we wanted for our children. We've never looked back. And my three year old who didn't know his letters? Well, he's five now and has been reading chapter books for at least six months with no help from worksheets or curriculum or books with cheesy titles about 'teach your kid to read in 12 days'. No, he learned on his own. He learned because he wanted to. He wasn't forced to sit through hours of phonics lessons before he realized the big picture about reading. He wanted to learn and he learned...when he was four. the puddin'...that's all I'm saying.

Homeschool Meme

Susan over at Imperfect Genius has started a homeschool meme. OK, I'm game. ;)

1) What country/region/state do you live in? Missouri

2) How long have you been homeschooling? Just getting started, old pro or somewhere in between? Technically? Since my oldest was born (almost 6 yrs)

3) Write a little something about your family. Ages? Stages? Jade, 16mos, has just figured out what those two long things inbetween her tush and feet are and she has been using them like crazy! Rose, 3 1/2yrs, has been having a blast becoming more independent by the minute. It's great to see but scary too. Matthew, almost 6yrs, is loving Transformers and having a blast creating his own from Legos. I, 33yrs, am writing and searching for publishing houses and agents and learning whatever I can about the process. Hubby, 37yrs, has been busy with the garden and Morrowind (well, who doesn't like Morrowind??).

4) Share some good homeschooling advice you’ve run across. "Let them do it in their own time. Relax."

5) Tell us something you’re passionate about (besides your family and homeschooling, those are givens!). Writing, breastfeeding, reading, (and recently) photography

6) If you could take the ultimate field trip, where would you go and why? Hmmm...out of country. Probably Ireland or Australia. I would love to give my kids the experience of seeing a different culture. While there are MANY places left in America that I want to take the kids, the ultimate would be immersing ourselves in another culture for a month or two or three... ;)

7) What is a resource you can’t do without? The internet, of course! And the library. ;)

8) How do you homeschool? Classical, Charlotte Mason, Waldorf, Unschooling, Eclectic? Unschooling

9) Share a website or two that you visit often - can be your favorite blogger or a curriculum supplier, just any sites you really like. Sooo many sites, so little space to share. Please see my side list of favorite blogs to the right. I also visit,, ebay and amazon on a regular basis.

10) Tell us about one of your favorite projects/activities/trips you’ve had in the past few months. We took the kids on their first camping trip in June. It was a great experience for them and we had so much fun getting to know our extended family friends better!

11) What is a current/previous homeschooling challenge you’ve faced? Do unschoolers really face homeschooling challeges? Maybe the time that Matthew thought he wanted to go to school and "play all day like my friends do".

12) Share an accomplishment, something about you or your children. Come on, brag about it! I think I'm officially a writer! I have received my first rejection letter - I'm going to frame it, I promise. ;)

13) What are you looking forward to over the coming year? Honestly? Seeing where the kids will go. It seems we're a long way off from where we were last year at this time. I wonder where the adventure will take us this year.

14) Name three things you like doing in the summer with your family. Eating ice cream in the air conditioning, reading in the air conditioning and looking forward to autumn in the air conditioning. ;)

15) Have a favorite homeschooling quote? Share it here. Probably not a homeschooling quote but this is my current favorite.... "What would you dream for if you knew you couldn't fail?"

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Meaty Bones

Matthew: Mommy, it's sooooo cold in here! Brrrr
Me: You need to grow some meat on your bones, boy.
Matthew: I do have some already. It's just that my meat is cold!

Might I just add that only my dear son and dear hubby could POSSIBLY complain about air conditioning during a week when the heat index has exceeded 115? ;)

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

QOTW answer July 10

A few days back, I asked the QOTW (thanks for playing!).

We had gone to Sams for our weekly shopping trip and found ourselves there at lunchtime with several other errands to run. So I treated us to a couple slices of pizza. While we were sitting there eating, Matthew suddenly asks me what a business is. I asked him to use it in a sentence (a great idea especially when they're using perhaps a word you never thought you'd hear come out of their mouth. lol). He said, "We're in business for small business." Ahhh The Sams slogan on a poster that was on the wall near us. I explained business much like you did... 'a business is a person or group of people who sell things. Sometimes it's a big store like Target selling lots of items. Sometimes it's one kid selling lemonade. Sometimes the business is selling a service, such as our internet connection or our satellite TV." He lets that sink in a minute. I asked him if that made sense. He said yes. He kept thinking. I thought maybe he was confused and didn't want to admit it. I asked him if he could name some businesses for me. He named Walmart, Sams, Great Clips, grocery store. He got the concept. He was still quiet. I munched my pizza and stayed quiet, hoping he'd give me a glimpse into the wheels that were spinning. I wasn't disappointed.
M: "What's a small business?" Aha! He was still trying to figure out the poster.
Me: "Small business. Hmm...well, that would be a business that maybe only has one store or maybe someone making things out of their home and selling them online."
M: "Is there a big business?"
Me: "That would be a business, or company, that has lots of stores like Walmart and Sams and Target."
Matthew was still deep in thought. After a few more bites, he asked, "Why are they [Sams] in business for small business?"
Me: "Well, people who own small businesses come here to get their supplies. Say me and Aunt D decided to buy a small store and sell scrapbook stuff. Aside from the scrapbook things we were selling, there would be other things we would have to buy. Like maybe toilet paper for the bathroom. And pens for the front desk. And a cash register and paper so we could print receipts and orders. We might buy one of the electric signs so we could advertise our sales. So Sams is here selling things to mostly small businesses. But you can be just a homeowner like me and Daddy to shop here too."
"Oh." He was quite satisfied and quickly followed it up with, "It would be neat if you and Aunt D had a scrapbook store." I think so too...but let's not go there.

Spiderwire Story continues

Previously on As The Spiderwire Turns... #1 and #2

Last night, Matthew received in the mail a package of Trilene fishing wire.
M [overly excited]: "I can't believe they sent me a package to try! I can't wait to go fishing again!"

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

What about Math?

Melissa over at The Lilting House is hosting this week's Carnival of Homeschooling. You still have time to submit your entry this week, so get a move on!

Weather update: current heat index 113. What else to do but blog? ;)

"OK, ok - enough about unschooling reading for now! (Here and here if you missed them) I'm getting the idea now!" - you say?

So what do you want to know about next? Typically it's math. "How do you work math in? What about those kids who detest math?" you ask. Brace yourself for my answer: I don't think kids will learn to detest anything if they are able to discover it on their own, in their own time and they have someone who serves as a research assistant (me and hubby and Grammy and Grandma and Grandpa, you get the picture?) through it all.

Yes, they have the typical number counting books that every other toddler acquires from someone along the way. At some point, they realize that numbers are important and they get interested in counting first. Rose has been very interested in counting and identifying numerals lately. How do you know? She puts an emphasis on numbers in almost everything. "Mommy, I have THREE (3 fingers held up) cats in my bed!" and "I put BIVE (5 fingers held up) legos on this and it's a baceship". So I see that interest and I jump. I get out Jade's baby counting books and strew (that's a fantastic article) them around, I ask her to get three cups to set the table, I read some great "math story books" (there's a superb list over at, and we cook.

As a full-on girly girl (with a little tomboy in her too), Rose loves to help with girly things like cooking and unloading the dishwasher and doing the laundry. She counts the socks, she matches the socks, she separates them into groups of "Matthew socks" and "Daddy socks", etc. Granted, I could get the laundry done MUCH faster without her help but where would the fun be in that? At least this way I have an excuse for leaving it all over my dining table. "But Rose wanted to count the socks, dear." And I'm sure her version of counting and matching and sorting is much more fun for her than boring old dry worksheets.

Cooking is a whole other subject and I could (and probably will) go on and on about for days. Matthew loves to help me cook as well. Just out of pure curiosity one day when we were making cookies, I needed 1 cup of sugar. I showed Matthew that I had the 1/3 C measuring cup out and asked him how many of those would I need to make a whole cup. (We have never discussed fractions that I can recall.) He thought for about 2 seconds and then said, "Three," with confidence.

He loves to pour and mix and measure and just yesterday, he cracked his first raw egg into a bowl and didn't get one piece of shell in it at all. (Of course, his loves-to-cook-mother watched while grinning like the cheshire cat with pride.) Is that more fun than doing equations on a white sheet of paper? Yep. Will he ever need to know how to do equations? Probably, and I'm glad you asked. He's also been interested in numbers lately. He sees them in the books he reads. It seems story books aren't just about stories these days - they all try to be [that nasty "educational" word (but that's another post)]. I'm sure he's seen them in Amelia Bedelia books and his Ranger Rick magazine and on some more of those great books listed at and he's seen them on Cyberchase, etc.

The other day, trying to beat the heat, we headed to the mall with Grammy. In the bookstore, the kids busied themselves with reading and playing on the Thomas train set. (Rose had picked a book out for her stuffed cow to read and had the book opened and the cow looking at the page. Man I wish I'd had my camera that day!) I was perusing through the aisle and found the neatest little math set of books. I bought the addition one. It has a sliding wheel and makes equations for you - for instance the format is x + 1 = y. When you slide the x=1, the y shows as 2, and when you slide the x=2, the y shows as 3, etc. It looked like something that would make a good tool. So I bought it and casually handed it to him a few hours later when we got home, "I bought this book today, thought you might like it". He was quite impressed with it and soon started asking me & Grammy to write some equations down for him so he could look them up with his new book. Voila! Equations. ;) He thinks it's a fun game instead of "uuuuugh, I have 3 pages of math homework tonight!"

If I could only figure out how to work in long division by cleaning his room...hmmm....

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Heat Index

The *lovely* weather forecast just gets better and better....
Now the excessive heat warning has been extended to Friday. And it's supposed to be a heat index of 110 on Tuesday. For those of you who don't know what a heat index is...just be glad...heck, be overjoyed.

Heat index is what temperature it FEELS like when you add in the humidity to the normal temperature. As relative humidity increases, the air seems warmer than it actually is because the body is less able to cool itself via evaporation of perspiration. So it goes like this...
Monday temp = 97, heat index =105
Tuesday temp = 94, heat index = 110 (this means it will feel like the temp is 110 on Tuesday, even though the temp will only be 94)

Living in Missouri, we get a very good share of humidity. Somehow smack dab in the middle of the US, the northern jet stream and warm currents from the gulf swirl together and we get a lot of humidity (and tornadoes but that's another weather lesson...or two). I have a friend who lives in New England and told me this tale five years ago. I love to re-tell it as often as I can because it affirms within me that I'm not just excessively whining about the heat and humidity really IS bad. Here's her story:
But, as I've told you before, MO is just too darn hot for me. You probably remember my "laying on the floor of the hotel shower with the cold water running on me" story. I almost expired in Missouri in July '94, and I'm thankful I made it out alive. :-) If the pizza delivery man hadn't brought me a big cup of ice water with my pizza (I was too hot to even leave the hotel room for food, and the ice machine was across a large, paved parking lot - lol), the hotel maids would have found me melted to the floor the next morning.
I know, from experience, exactly how she felt that day. (I've had sun poisoning three, yes, THREE times. Apparently it takes a little repetition for me to remember important things.) I cannot even fathom living without an air conditioner.

And while my sister-in-law (also a Missourian) teases me that I should use the experience to see if my son can beat the sun in "eating a popsicle" or if we can actually fry an egg on the sidewalk, I'd just like to take the opportunity to childishly stick my tongue out at her in response. Just because I can.

Anyone else have any smarty pants ideas they wish to share??

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Reading List

I enjoy reading other bloggers reading lists so I'm listing some of our recent titles for you.

Matthew (almost 6yrs, reading on his own):
Magazines: Dig (kids archaeology mag), Ranger Rick and My Big Backyard.
Series chapter books he's been going through: Magic School Bus, Bionicles, LarryBoy, Amelia Bedelia, Bunnicula
Other books: The Hissing Cockroach, Giant Jam Sandwich, The Great Kapok Tree
Favorite book: "I just have too many favorites to pick ONE, Mommy!"

Rose (almost 3 1/2yrs, having stories read to her):
Magazines: Baby Animals (she LOVES this one - it's a great preschool age mag, more like a booklet)
Books: Mice Are Nice (her new favorite - she actually HUGGED this book when I finished reading it and now she's on the "can we get a mouse?" bandwagon), So Many Bunnies, First Thousand Words in Spanish, 1001 Things to Spot (in fact, all the search type books from Usborne), Joey's Cat
Long time favorite: Snuggle Puppy by Boynton

Jade (15 mos):
Books: many board books, her favorites are by Boynton. She also likes the Step 1 early reader books - they only have a couple sentences on each page and she will sit for them. ;)

Me (Laurie, 399 mos):
Magazines: Creating Keepsakes
Books: Photoshop for Dummies, Photography, Starting From Home, Down to the Bonny Glen, Windows to the Soul and all the books listed on Rose's list.
Blogs: Well, most of them are listed to the right. ;)
On my list to be read: The Sound and the Fury, The Year of the Dog


Earlier this week, I decided to purchase a new coffeemaker. I decided to go with the Senseo, especially after I saw the $50 gift deal. So this morning, after my dear children asked for a special breakfast, I threw on my clothes from last night, ran a brush through the bottom strands of my hair and ran to Walmart (hey, at least I *mostly* wiped away the black mascara smudges from under my eyes!). Along with some other breakfasty items, I included run-of-the-mill chocolate covered mini doughnuts. When I came home, only Rose was around and the conversation went like this…

Rose: I put on clean underwear already! What's that?

Me: Great job! A new coffeemaker. [I start unloading the bags]

Rose: What is that [eyeing the doughnuts]?
Me: [smiling slyly, I hand her a mini chocolate doughnut]

Rose takes it, looks at it with untrusting eyes, gives me a side glance and takes a small bite.

Rose: YUMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM. Heeeheeeheeeee. [yelling] Matthew, come here!

[no response from upstairs. She continues to laugh herself giddy and repeat YUM over and over.] MATTHEW!

~Enter Matthew~

Matthew: Wow, that was a super sonic quick trip to the store, Mommy! (*everything* is super sonic these days)

Me: Yep [I hand Matthew a doughnut]

Matthew: Oh WOW, THANKS Mom!!

Rose: [happily munching on her 2nd] They’re CHOCOLATE Matthew! YUMMMMM

Matthew: They’re called ‘doughnuts’, Rose.

Rose: Oh. [awed Homer Simpson voice] Doughnuts.

I ask you, does any other 3 ½ year old have to be TOLD what a doughnut is?? My poor depraved kids. Pray for them. ;)

And my nightgown is back on my body, where it belongs at 8am on a Saturday morning.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Weather Outlook



o.h. j.o.y.

QOTW: July 10

What is QOTW??? Question of the Week. I simply list a question that one of my kids has asked me this week. You post your answer (and your kids age(s)) in the comments section and a couple days later, I'll update with the answer I had for them. Just your raw answer - no cheating by looking up answers online. What would your answer be, straight from the gut?

This week wasn't a hard one, per se, but it did make me think about it for a few minutes until I came up with an answer that was all inclusive. So here goes...

QOTW: What is a business, Mommy? (age 5)

Tuesday, July 11, 2006


Matthew: "Mommy, do you have any old wood I could use?"
Me: "Hmmm....what kind of wood? What do you need it for?"
Matthew: [pauses] "Well, I want to make a bird blind. How about that wood that Grammy brought over?"
Me: "You mean that bookshelf she brought a few weeks ago?"
Matthew: "Yes!! I just need to cut a hole in it so I can see the birds."
Me: "Well, it's really thick wood and I really don't want to tear up the bookshelf. I wonder what else we could use."
We look around the garage for a few minutes and find a perfect sized cardboard box, cut it open, cut viewing holes, tape the sides a bit so it will stand nicely and....voila...a bird blind!

Can you see their little noses poking out?? LOL

Monday, July 10, 2006

More on Reading

Since Matthew taught himself to read, I'm often intrigued about how he does it. Did he memorize words? Does he sound them out? Did he teach himself phonics?

This weekend, he told me he just finished reading The Time Warp Trio, but he pronounced trio with a long i [TRY o]. I told him how trio is pronounced and he said it a couple times and continued with his mini book report. When he was done, I asked him what trio meant and he told me, "it means there are three of them". It's fascinating to watch him learn things.

Rose is working on early reading skills. This reminds me of where Matthew started on his reading-on-his-own journey. I would read him a book and he would read it over and over to himself after I left. He had an excellent memory and I presume that in the beginning, it was word memorization. That led to environmental reading, such as when kids begin to see the red circle target and know that means they are at the store, Target. The first sign I noticed Matthew ever 'read' was the red exit sign at the Science Center when we went to a special moon exhibit just after he turned 4. He was reading small words two months after and full fledged reading came quickly after that. Rose also likes to grab a book and lay down next to Matthew, already engrossed in his own, and pretend to read. I don't expect Rose to have the same experience or time frame as he did but I know she's on a similar road to reading and it's a neat science experiment on my part to watch how their journeys compare and contrast.

Jade took about 10 big steps today!! Her record was sticking at 5 but last night, I saw her very intently concentrating on it. She stood up, looked down at her feet and then took one step and then another. Then she'd flop on the floor, head to the side, laughing wildly with pride. Then she'd stand up and do it again. And then I saw it - the LOOK. She looked me in the eyes with her own glistening with astonishment as if to say, "Look!!! I can make them MOVE!" Next she'll be wanting something pretty to put on them.

At Jade's 15 month checkup last week, my pediatrician practically shamed me that I didn't know how many words she was saying. Well honestly, if you have 3 kids under the age of 6, it's hard to say when a babble changes into a word, believe you me! With the first child, even a hint of a 'm' sound is the word, 'mama' in a mothers eyes. But by the third child, the other two are non-stop loud talkers and who can really say what the third child is saying? I know I've heard a distinct 'mama' and 'dada' and 'mo' (more) from her but anything else? I'm not sure. Lots of babbling. Am I worried? No. But I've been encouraging her to say certain words for two weeks now. I know she CAN say them. I know she HAS said them. I know she HAS said them in the right context. But will she? Nope. Not for applause, not for her dear siblings, not even for a cookie. She refuses. Instead she laughs at me and makes babbles in completely different letter sounds. I was beginning to waiver in my strong conviction that she would talk just as well as the next toddler in no time. When...

The four of us were having lunch today and Matthew started whispering something to me. It wasn't a secret - just a whisper. I whispered back to him. Rose jumped on the bandwagon too. Then, just beside me, Jade leaned forward in her highchair and...yes, she whispered babble at us. We all laughed and thought it was a cute coincidence but Matthew started the game again and for the second time, Jade leaned forward and whispered at us.

Yeah, she'll be talking in no time at all. Heck with the pediatrician's 'chart'...after all, we're unschoolers. We do things in our own time. ;)

Our latest find

Missouri Matthew

OK, guesses as to what we dug up in the backyard. This is an unknown object to me. Feels like smooth plastic. Before our house was here, this was a farmer's field. But I'm sure DH will figure it out when he gets home. Please post your guesses!! Aspiring Indiana Jones' want to know! :)

Friday, July 07, 2006

A week's worth

What a week!! I'm exhausted. Last Saturday, we all went fishing and had a great time. My mom invited me to see The Devil Wears Prada, which was a predictable movie but had that stick-it-to-'em feeling and allowed me escape from my life for a couple hours so it got a partial thumbs up from me. That evening we went to watch a "big" firework display and the kids loved it. I was worried about Jade, who is only 15 months old but after she checked my face to see if the loud booms were good or bad, she started yelling and clapping with the rest of us.

On Sunday, our town had their sesquicentennial celebration (say that 5 times really fast! better yet, spell it 5 times really fast!), complete with horse-drawn carriage rides, a free ice cream social, pony rides, big bouncy blow up things, several bands and other fun stuff in our city park. We all had a fun afternoon and came home to spaghetti and Monsters Inc.

As you can see, great fun was had by all. ;)

On Monday, I worked on making scrapbooks. Yes, I'm a closet scrapper. I typically work very well when under great pressure so I tried to pressure myself to have it done in three days. I was making one book each for DH's grandparents, as a surprise. Rose and Matthew enjoyed helping me and playing with all my scrapbook supplies. They especially loved my punches and my small Sizzix die cutter. Monday evening, DH and I went to see Superman Returns. Though I did enjoy the original Superman movie, I found this one to be *incredibly* slow and, for once, wished I had the number of the girl-who-was-messaging-her-friends-on-her-cell-phone a few seats down from us so that I had someone to entertain me. Sad, I know. But I have to say that I honestly LOVE the current Smallville series and also enjoyed the Lois and Clark series that played in the 90's.

By Tuesday, the 4th, we decided that we had no major objections to Matthew watching Superman Returns but we weren't sure if he would sit through such a slow movie. But his Grammy wanted to take him and take him she did. He seemed to enjoy the movie well enough but I find that he's more interested in seeing Pirates of the Caribbean II now. Heck, so am I! Even if it's a total, absolute flop, who can't watch Orlando and Johnny for two hours? I'm certainly not above that. ;)
We did the BBQ thing for supper and set off a few fireworks in the driveway. Our neighbors, who have been doing fireworks non-stop for 5 days picked this night to pack up and leave home. We really expected to get a good show this year in our little cul-de-sac but we were the only ones home. However, after we set ours off, we went up to my bedroom and looked out the window. Having a two story home on a hill is a great thing on the 4th when you're out of fireworks. We could see the city's display in the distance and many subdivision displays and other homeowners with their smaller fireworks. It was a really nice evening, finished off with ice cream and strawberries.

We went to a friend's house on Wednesday for some fun play time, where I clocked a little baby cuddling time. And I finished up the scrapbooks that afternoon.

Yesterday morning we went to the local cinema's freebie summer movie-of-the-week, March of the Penguins. We've seen it, heck we even OWN it. But when it's free and there is popcorn and soda involved in a cold theater in JULY in one of the most humid areas of the US, it doesn't take much convincing.
Actually, it's a great story. Sure, if you haven't seen it, you're thinking, "Penguins?? Seriously??" But as it states in the beginning in Morgan Freeman's deep voice, "It's a story about love". And it is. I would recommend pregnant and recently post-partum women (and any other overly emotional people) against seeing it because the thing really takes my breath away at different points. Rent it. I know you'll love it too.

Today has been spent just chillin'. Rose has a new plug-n-play game the kids have been playing most of the day. And I have been working on finding publishers to send my manuscript to. Yes, I'm also a closet wanna-be-published writer and I have an outstanding children's book here for any publishers who are reading my blog and are desperate to read just one more magnificent piece of work for the week. (If you are, please email me at Because that could SO totally happen.

Well, it's almost dinnertime here in the heartland so I'll bid you adieu. Have a great weekend! :)

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Spiderwire's response

If you're just tuning in, please read this entry first.

Spiderwire does not work on a closed faced reels and will tangle up. Let me send you a replacement spool of line that will work on your reel, ok.
What pound test do you use?

Customer Service Representative

Matthew was exceedingly happy to hear that Spiderwire agreed with his evaluation of the situation. However, he told me to tell them that "Daddy already bought new line for me and put it on my fishing rod so we don't need anymore". This was also a good opportunity to explain that it might be a good idea to try her sample so we could continue to support their company. We discussed good business ethics and good customer service and consumer roles as well. His response:

I would like to try another line. I use 6 pound.

Thank you,


Wednesday, July 05, 2006

My bloglets

My bloglets showing all their personality, awaiting fireworks.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Happy Fourth!

Happy Fourth of July! Enjoy the festivities and I'll update as soon as I crawl out from under them myself. ;) For now, you can gasp in awe of my stunning award-winning photo (well, I at least give myself an award! LOL).

If you need some last minute picture tips, run on over to Tracey's Picture This! site.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Dear Spiderwire

Dear Spiderwire,
We are very disappointed because of your Spiderwire. It only catches seaweed, not fish. The box said, "Nothing gets away" and that was not true. It doesn't work on my closed-face reel. It only tangles up on my reel.

Matthew, age 5

P.S. Never use Spiderwire on a closed-face reel.

Can you guess how our fishing trip went yesterday morning? Actually we had a lot of fun and found a spot where we were catching pan fish on every cast! However, we did have trouble with Matthew's line. The Spiderwire worked just great Rose's closed reel but for some reason, his was a disaster so he sent this email this morning to Spiderwire. We aren't expecting much but it certainly was a great opportunity to talk about false advertising and how companies will tell you just about anything to sell their product.