Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Hollywood and a pg update

Hollywood is cruel, especially when you're 5. Matthew's latest obsession, Transformers, is bringing out a movie next JULY. Yes, an entire year from now. How cruel to my sweet son who's [upcoming] birthday list consists of:
17 Transformers and 1 set of Magnalogs.
Hmmm...wonder what he'll be getting this year?

In other news, I went to the hospital today and got a litre of IV fluids and some top-shelf hyperemesis medication, Zofran. I cannot begin to tell you how much better I feel than this time yesterday. Hoping against hope that it lasts, I still feel the need to say that I will probably still be sporadic in posting for a while. The kids were exceedingly sweet and my dear mother took several hours off work and watched the kids for me. One of the big downsides to being a SAHM and/or homeschooler is these things that come up - like doctor appts, etc. - where you'd really like some privacy but don't have many places to drop the kids off. So you try to rotate within your small group of people who can help but still feel like you're calling on them all the time. Mental note - find more local homeschooling friends that you can trade off with. ;) Oh yeah, and make sure they don't look like this when you mention 3 or 4 children.

In the meantime, check out my RL [real life] best friends new blog! Yes, I've converted yet one more mommy deep into the blogging world. [insert evil laugh here] Mwahaaahaaahaaaaaa She's asked that I not share her site just now but I had to announce her conversion with pride. teehee..

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

It might be a while

It looks like my morning sickness is going to be on the severe side again. So I probably won't be posting regularly for a while. If you haven't signed up for my RSS feed, please do so and you'll know when I'm back in business. The RSS site is:

And, of course, all prayers are welcomed. I keep trying different medications but nothing's working yet.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

AND we homeschool...

It was eery this morning, driving through a couple subdivisions around 10:30a, to find them completely devoid of children. I've never really noticed it any other year [perhaps because Matthew would be starting K this year?] but it was kind of a shock to the system.

Speaking of shocks, we've had a stressful week and a half. I didn't post about any of it so I'll briefly sum it all up now that things are fine. As you remember, I had the positive home pregnancy test a week before this past Saturday. It was a shock to us, though we definitely wanted one more child in our family. A couple days later they did an ultrasound to find out how far along I was and couldn't find a fetal pole or heartbeat and we thought that I was far enough along that we should see them. We feared the worst. We were given a glimmer of hope on Friday, when my HCG numbers almost doubled in 48 hours but we knew it still could have been bad. So we held our breath and prayed. Lots and lots of praying. Today I had another ultrasound and voila - there IS a heartbeat and fetal pole. YEAH!! So we're thanking God for His ongoing faithfulness and watchfulness over us. I'm 6 weeks, 6 days along and due on April 14th (tax

I was reading a post by a friend today where she was appalled by watching that show, Wife Swap. The show she saw had paired up a city family with a homeschooling country one. The homeschoolers were shown as eccentric and having out-of-control kids and messy homes, etc. The city family made comments like, "Each of our kids have a playstation so they don't BOTHER us," and yet were portrayed as 'normal'. I.E. If you think you fall into that 'normal' category, I'd be mad too! LOL

That post got me thinking about what people picture when I tell them we're homeschoolers. [As a side note, why does it seem that either 'the kids go to school' or 'we're a homeschooling family'? Well in our family, it's definitely a cooperative effort. So I feel I must include myself in the education statement and say "we" are homeschoolers. But if I sent the kids to school, that's "their" thing. Just a passing thought, forgive me.]

So whenever strangers comment, after seeing my three little ones, that "you MUST have your hands FULL" or "bet you can't wait til they start school!" and then I smile and say, "We're homeschoolers", I always get THE LOOK. You know what I mean. They look at me and see THAT SHOW going on in my house. Their thoughts go like this:
I'm a freak and my kids are so far out of control and ohmygosh, I probably have a GARDEN out back too! (You should see the looks I get when I mention the compost pile! ROFL) For fun, we must grow our hair out to our knees, hang out at the library and learn how to weave baskets. We must go from door to door selling the fruits of the garden and schedule every other weekend as canning time. We stay in our four little walls with no tv or modern niceites and ~ oh, the horror~ hang our laundry outside to dry (which my subdivision actually doesn't allow us to do)! I don't allow my kids to play with the freakish public school kids across the street, for fear that my kids will learn a little too much about life before I'm ready. We have converted our dining room into a one-room schoolroom, complete with desks and a chalkboard. We are strictly scheduled and have ourselves wound so tight that you'd better not talk to me or I might break down on the spot and weep in front of you.

If you've been reading my blog for any time, you know that there's not a whole lot of truth up there in that so-called snapshot of our family. Ok, so we do have a large garden and compost pile (Hubby's passions, not mine...but I do cook the food), we DO actually hang out at the library quite a bit and if my kids want to learn how to basket weave, we'll venture down that road too. But I see the above story in the strangers LOOK when I admit that we're homeschoolers. It's actually pretty fun to see the horror flutter across their faces as they say, "Wow, then you really ARE busy...and a little crazy! [nervous laugh]". But it usually shuts them up...kind of a show stopper. lol

But Matthew is getting to that age where people are expecting him to be in school during the day so we will get the question a lot more now that school has started. I need to find some other great comebacks to add to their suspicions...perhaps I should mutter something to the kids about the "science experiment" in the basement on the way past them (in truth, we do have some garden onions drying on racks down there so they'll last all winter - not too much of a real experiment but it could work). So if you have any great suggestions for me to use, I'm all ears. ;)

Oh, and what do/did you think of homeschoolers before you met one (or read their blog - lol)? Admit it, you had the same image in your mind. Well, close to it. ;) Guess what? SO DID I...and that's why I did NOT want to be one.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

The 12 Days of Public School song

Hope I don't offend any of my schooled friends! But I came across this on a website a few years back (sorry I can't give proper credit to the author! If the author stops by, please let me know. ;)) and thought it was pretty cute. So, I'm posting it for my other unschooling friends in honor of our public school district starting tomorrow.

The First 12 Days of Public School song

And a one, and a two...

On the first day of public school my neighbor said to me, "Don't your kids just watch TV all day?"

On the second day of public school my neighbor said to me, "Where's your curriculum? Don't your kids just watch TV all day?"

On the third day of public school my neighbor said to me, "What about the TAKS test? Where's your curriculum? Don't your kids just watch TV all day?"

On the fourth day of public school my neighbor said to me, "Don't you use workbooks? What about the TAKS test? Where's your curriculum? Don't your kids just watch TV all day?

On the fifth day of public school my neighbor said to me, "PLAY CAN'T BE "WORK"!! Don't you use workbooks? What about the TAKS test? Where's your curriculum? Don't your kids just watch TV all day?

On the sixth day of public school my neighbor said to me, "Don't you set limits? PLAY CAN'T BE "WORK"!! Don't you use workbooks? What about the TAKS test? Where's your curriculum? Don't your kids just watch TV all day?

On the seventh day of public school my neighbor said to me, "Life isn't like that. Don't you set limits? PLAY CAN'T BE "WORK"!! Don't you use workbooks? What about the TAKS test? Where's your curriculum? Don't your kids just watch TV all day?

On the eighth day of public school my neighbor said to me, "John Holt was crazy! Life isn't like that. Don't you set limits? PLAY CAN'T BE "WORK"!! Don't you use workbooks? What about the TAKS test? Where's your curriculum? Don't your kids just watch TV all day?

On the ninth day of public school my neighbor said to me, "You have no structure. John Holt was crazy! Life isn't like that. Don't you set limits? PLAY CAN'T BE "WORK"!! Don't you use workbooks? What about the TAKS test? Where's your curriculum? Don't your kids just watch TV all day?

On the tenth day of public school my neighbor said to me, "Kids need a schedule. You have no structure. John Holt was crazy! Life isn't like that. Don't you set limits? PLAY CAN'T BE "WORK"!! Don't you use workbooks? What about the TAKS test? Where's your curriculum? Don't your kids just watch TV all day?

On the eleventh day of public school my neighbor said to me, "I just don't get it Kids need a schedule. You have no structure. " John Holt was crazy! Life isn't like that. Don't you set limits? PLAY CAN'T BE "WORK"!! Don't you use workbooks? What about the TAKS test? Where's your curriculum? Don't your kids just watch TV all day?

On the twelfth day of public school my neighbor said to me: Wow--you're so...different. I just don't get it. Kids need a schedule. You have no structure. John Holt was crazy! Life isn't like that. Don't you set limits? PLAY CAN'T BE "WORK"!! Don't you use workbooks? What about the TAKS test? Where's your curriculum? Don't your kids just watch TV all day?

On the thirteenth day of public school I smilingly replied: We like being different, go read these websites, kids don't need a schedule, we don't like structure, Holt was a genius, Life isn't like school, No, we don't set limits, LEARNING NEVER ENDS!! We use what the kids like, Tests don't accurately measure knowledge, Our curriculum is in a landfill ..and the purpose of unschooling is JOY!

On the fourteenth day of public school, my neighbor said to me... My kids really hate school, maybe I should withdraw them, I don't really know them as people, their friends are kind of nasty, the parents seem even worse, there's just so much stress, I hate the government raising my children, UNSCHOOLING SOUNDS SO COOL (but kind of scary at first), I would like to try it, I think my kids would like it, my spouse might need some work, but I know you'll help me out cause you're so awesome!

The Big Fat Rat

We're heading out to Chuck E Cheese today to celebrate the kids best friends last day of summer break. And though mine don't go to school, most of their friends do and it's gonna be a long year inbetween regular playdates again. I've signed up for MOPS and they'll make more friends at church (as they've moved up in classes there themselves) so we have some friends there but their very best friends will be in school. It's sad for me too. Sad that we won't see them as often but sadder still that the friends wanted to go see the Big Fat Rat himself today.

Barely holding onto the contents of my stomach and going to a greasy pizza-party joint with tons of kids celebrating their last day of summer freedom. Wish me luck! ;)

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Saturday Photo Hunt - Youth

What says "youth" better than trying on all of your new Christmas stuff at once (surrounded by empty boxes and wrapping paper)? New nightgown, princess dress up and fairy dress up.

And, seeing everyone's kid pics, I got jealous so here's me and my brothers on a Halloween night, which is always the first thing I remember from childhood.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

A morning in the life...

Thank you for listening to these words from our sponsor, pregnancy. Now back to our regularly scheduled program, "unschooling".

Matthew just interrupted me to ask if we could make a cardboard dagger. "You know, a dagger." He swings his arms in the air as if holding a dagger. "And could you please find my cardboard box? And get the craft glue. And scissors. And I really need you, Rose, to get your craft scissors! Mommy, I need craft scissors. Cardboard scissors, I mean." Looks like it'll be an interesting project. He decided on a Pirate theme for his birthday party and it looks like we're starting already. Now, where did I put those dagger schematics??

Rose comes running up to me this morning, in tears, over, "Matthew hurt my feelings!" and Jade is right on her heels, standing next to her, fake crying. Yes, my 17 month old who mostly refuses to talk, is fake crying with her sister. She's got her face all scrunched up and doing the whining cry and trying to crawl into my lap. What am I gonna do with them?

So the real reason of my post today...
Two days ago, Matthew decided he wanted to make a science experiment. He was very secretive but asked if he could use a few items from the kitchen. But he didn't want any help at all. "Sure, just clean up whatever messes you make." See, he's old enough now to actually be able to clean up after himself. MAJOR accomplishment ranking right up there with using the toilet, walking and talking, in my book. ;)

["Mommy, where is my cardboard box with the blue paper on it that I made into a plane?" "Check the garage." "I'm scared to go in there by myself. Rose, will you go with me?" "Yeah!"]

He asked me to set out some ingredients for him...salt, sugar and colored sugar crystals. So I did and I left. After a while, he comes to show me his experiment. It's those three items and water that have been stirred up. "Awesome, Matthew! What is it?" "It's my experiment!" He and Rose studied it for a long time and poured more into it and complained that not all of the sugar crystals dissolved.

["We couldn't find the box Mommy." "Well, go in the basement and see if you can find an empty cardboard box." "Okay."]

That evening, when Hubby got home, Matthew and Rose were very excited to show him the experiment. I was on the couch, trying to contain the contents of my stomach so I'm a little fuzzy on the details but after a while, Matthew and Rose each came in and showed me their official experiment. They each had a container (one a mason jar, one an empty clean soda bottle) with the experiment inside.

["We can use our old bird blind," said bird blind being hauled up the stairs behind her. "OK, if you want to." "Mommy, I still need craft scissors. I mean cardboard scissors!" "Just a second, hunny." "And some glue!"]

On the outside of their experiments is written:
Hypothesis: It will might grow mold.
Started: 8-15-2006
Apparently he wanted to leave himself a little wiggle room on the hypothesis.

["This is the final piece. This will be the handle. Rose, the scissors, please. OK, we have all the stuff we need. This is Grammy's glue - it's better than yours because it's washable." He glues his dagger together, complete with handle. Rose hurries over with her pieces. "Mommy, me too, me too!!" (her favorite phrase) I help her glue her pieces together.]

Now I could be one of those over-achieving homeschooling moms who wants my kid to learn something and I could say, 'Honey, that won't grow mold very fast, if ever. You should try a piece of bread instead." But I don't. Why? Because the result isn't important. What is important is that he came up with this idea on his own, he now knows what a hypothesis is, he is following through on a project and he's having FUN learning.

["Mine is better than hers." "Hey!" "I mean, 'Wow Rose - that's a great dagger! It's even better than mine!'." My heart melts a little. Commence the swashbuckling dagger fights. "A dagger is a type of sword, Rose." "Oh."]

So we sit and wait for the experiment to grow mold. I don't know how long it will take for them to lose interest, if any. But for now they eye them suspiciously every day and compare their containers, looking for signs of mold.

["Mommy, I want to make a better one." "But yours is already better than mine, Rose!" "Oh...yeah." The finished products:
Matthew's dagger:

Rose's dagger:

You might think that Rose doesn't get as much blog time as Matthew does. To some, this might seem unfair. And it could be, if the following weren't true... Rose wants to do whatever Matthew is doing. The phrase, "Me too" is heard 534,297 times a day in our home. While I see her own personality emerging, I'm sure she'll get much more screen time in the near future. ;)

[Grammy just called and Matthew said, "Please tell whoever it is that me and Rose just made daggers out of cardboard!" I relayed the news to Grammy and she said, "Oh, we were discussing swords yesterday. He said he could make one and I told him I could just buy him one. He said he could make one out of cardboard and I told him that it probably wouldn't last very long and I could just get him a nice plastic one. He told me that it would be cheaper and more fun to make one."]

What will we get into next?


The second best compliment of my life came yesterday by my best friend. How cute is it that I'm 33yrs old and have a best friend?? teehee Hey, don't knock it - I'm making up for lost time. What was the first best compliment, you ask? Well, when my very musically talented 12 yr old niece, Bria, said, "Aunt Laurie, you sing better than Amy Grant." Amy was my idol (little 'i') growing up. I listened to her music 24/7. I had many fantastical dreams and plays in the basement when I was singing in front of thousands of cheering fans, just like her. This will surely still be the best compliment of my life on my death bed.

So the second best compliment...She said, "I watched a friend's two boys the other day and told my husband last night that your three kids are much easier to watch than the two boys....because..." are you ready for this one??? "...because....your kids listen." Please be my best friend forever!

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh...... The. Second. Best. Ever.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

They've got heart too

My mom, a.k.a. Grammy, babysat this morning for me. Matthew's birthday is coming up next month and the wind-up to it has started.

Today's conversation was told to me after the fact:
Grammy: "Matthew, would you like me to bring you presents or money for your birthday?"
Matthew, deep in thought: "I think........hmm...presents."
Grammy: "Are you sure? It might be fun to have a shopping trip instead."
Matthew (still not confident): "Ummm...I think presents."
Grammy: "I could get you a gift card to Toys R Us and you could go pick out whatever toys you'd like from there."
[quiet pondering]
Matthew: "I think I'll go with presents because Jade is so cute rolling in wrapping paper!"

A while ago, I was reading someone's blog and found something incredibly hysterical. We dealt with infertility for some time before we finally achieved our first pregnancy. But somehow, my body now knows what to do and our next three pregnancies have been naturally obtained. I stumbled across [read: clicked a link from another link until I was lost on how I got there] someone's blog who was (in '03) dealing with failed IVF's and quickly found myself wanting to follow her story to the 'end'. Her ability to emote through written words had me thoroughly immersed, combined with all the feelings that I felt back when we dealt with it. I suppose I was more entrenched in her storyline than I thought because I suddenly found myself laughing so hard that I had salty tears pouring down my face. And in the literal next breath, I was crying those heart-wrenching sobs, followed by laughing tears in the next breath. I was doing a great Jekyll/Hyde impersonation, to my children's horror. They didn't quite know what to do with me.
Rose crept closer, wanting to help but not really knowing what to do. "What hurts, Mommy?" "Nothing sweetie." "Why are you crying?" Oh to be so naive/young to think that tears are only for physical hurts! "I don't know." Laugh, laugh, cry, weep.
Matthew quickly started to read the blog entry to find the source of my tears. "Don't you ever just feel like crying sometimes?" "No. I wish you felt happier Mommy." "Well, a couple of hugs would help." I find myself innundated with a barrage of hugs. Jade runs over to get in on the huddle and I feel myself relaxing a bit. Matthew jumps up and starts singing in a silly voice and trying to make me laugh. While I'm not sure that will calm down my exaggerated feelings, it *is* funny watching him dance around the living room, singing about his new Transformer that 'bit his rear'. Yep, I'm pregnant alright. (Of course, as my three kiddos snuggle up to watch some tv with me, I take the opportunity to explain that hormones can make pregnant women crazy sometimes.) Ahhh the sheer bliss of it all.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006


OK, so my last post, "Name Our Baby!" was evil after my pg announcement (thanks Mrs. S - that goes down as my all-time favorite comment! ROFL). So now I'll get to the good stuff...

We told the kids and they're so excited. Rose keeps telling me that she feels the baby kicking already (when she's on the other side of the room, no Matthew is convinced it's a boy. And Jade...well, Jade is just always happy so I say she's excited about becoming a big sister too. ;)

We went out for a celebratory dinner at my favorite Chinese place on Sunday. We all opened our fortune cookies.
Rose got "Opportunity knocks on your door every day - answer it."
Hubby got "It is time to help a friend in need."
I got "Keep your ideas flexible, and don't ignore details."
Now these three, stretched a little, could be pointing towards the baby. Though no one said it, and the baby wasn't the topic of conversation, I found it mildly cute. Then an unusual calm settled over the room. And Matthew reads his from the end of the table "Soon someone new coming into your life will become a very good friend." He squints in thought and suddenly his face lights up with a huge smile - "THE BABY! I can't wait!!" This goes down as one of my 'best moments of motherhood'.

I have two older brothers and no sisters. My oldest brother is 8.5 years older than me so I feel I have always been perceived as 'the baby' to him. And my other brother was only 3 years older but let's face it - there were two boys sharing a room and then me in my room. I wasn't exactly close to them and in fact, the middle child and I fought like cats and dogs most of our lives. Seeing my children so happy about welcoming another family member (and seeing how close the three already are) just warms my heart to the point of bursting [no, pregnancy hormones have not kicked in yet, I swear!]. ;)

As I listen to them playing behind me, I wonder why anyone would ever *choose* to stop at just one healthy child (aside from medical or financial reasons)...but I know that those people also wonder what would drive a woman so insane as to actually want four under the age of seven. ;) Please don't misunderstand me - I'm not judging parents of only children at's just something I wonder about.

Strangers don't get this about large families...and maybe some of my own extended family members too, though they mostly keep their opinions to theirselves (it's not like we're related to Ray Barone). All through my last pregnancy, it was like strangers were saying, "Hey, you *have* your boy and your girl - why keep going?" And some did actually SAY it, believe me. So, I'm looking for comebacks from you, my readers, for when those comments start coming in. Leave me some good material that I can work with, k? ;)

Monday, August 14, 2006

Help Name Our Baby!

Help Name Our Baby!

Vote online and continue to check back see updates of the wee one!

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Saturday Photo Hunt - Funny

NEVER NEVER EVER think that your kids are playing NICELY when they’re quiet and getting along out of sight… Only now, almost 2 years later, can I truly laugh about this.

This was Rose's first experience with Nestle Quik powder. I thought they were playing very nicely in the kitchen and came around the corner to find this...

And if you think that's bad, you should have seen the carpet!

Some pics of the kiddos

Check out this awesome picture I got of Matthew leaning against the Arch a few weeks ago...

Rose is becoming quite the dancer these days...

Jade is now walking...EVERYWHERE...


Guess now we'll see if my mother and mother-in-law actually *do* read my blog. Yes, I'm so evil....mwahahahahahaaaaa

Time since my announcement (and still counting!) that my mother and mother-in-law still have not read my blog and don't know my news:

UPDATE: I called my mom a little while ago and got a "Congratulations, by the way!" - so it only took her 1 day, 21 hours and 38 minutes. She didn't seem upset with my timer though she was at work and probably on her best behavior...rofl. So come on, Mom - everyone's dying to know what you think. Leave a comment. ;)MIL & FIL are still on their way home from out-of-town. Won't this be a neat birthday surprise for MIL today, if she doesn't ruin it by not looking?? teehee :)

UPDATE #2: I caved and told MIL & FIL last night. They got home from their trip and were having internet problems. Of course, their son (a.k.a. my hubby), worked on it remotely for an hour or so before deciding it was unfixable remotely. lol Anyway, it might be this weekend before they're up and running again and that really *would* have been mean of me to make her wait that long. ;) So see, I have some heart (sorry, Mrs. S, to not live up to your standards...heehee). I was also tired of not posting anything else and and to spill the beans.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

I've been tagged

I'll do this one because I've not said I won't before but - I'm not doing ANY more of these silly things...I mean it! (anybody want a peanut?)! ROFL

Jobs you have had:

1. Mommy/homemaker
2. Preschool teacher

3. Waitress at Shoney's

4. Burger King (lasted an entire 4 days!)

5. Mortgage Specialist

6. Computer Contractor for various co's, including one that starts with "i", ends with "m" and has a "b" in the name. ;)

Movies you could (or do) watch over and over again:

1. Sense and Sensibilities

2. Little Women
3. Red Dwarf re-runs
4. Star Wars, Indiana Jones

5. Contact

I'm stopping the list here because I will watch most all movies over again - it's like a painting - I always see something new each time. I love re-watching movies. ;)

Places you have lived:

1. Missouri

2. Missouri

3. Missouri

And, other than 6 months, I have lived on the same main road in the same town all my life. And you thought I wasn't quite that boring!?!?

TV shows you love to watch:

1. I've been suckered into Treasure Hunters because of the history aspect - lol
2. Desperate Housewives
3. I've been watching new-to-me re-runs of Everybody Loves Raymond - somehow I really feel connected to Debra. ;)
4. Bones

5. Smallville - what a great series!!!! Not only a good Superman series but what great relationship stories!

Places you have been on vacation:

1. Utah (honeymoon)
2. Florida (Disney World twice, Universal Studios, Kennedy Space Center)

3. New Mexico (mission trip '82, built a church for Pueblo Indians)

4. Louisiana (mission trip '87?)

5. Colorado (family vacations as a kid, had snow on me at the top of Pikes Peak on a 100+ day at the bottom, Silverado, ghost town, camped in Rocky Mtn Nat'l park where I watched as a wolverine chased my cycling brother up the mountain, waded across the freezing Colorado River)

6. North Dakota (drive through)

7. South Dakota (badlands, Mt Rushmore, Crazy Horse monument, which I swear hasn't changed in about 20 years or more)

8. Kansas (driven through many times, worked as a camp counselor several years)

9. Arizona (to visit my brothers & on honeymoon - visited Grand Canyon several times, camped in Sedona, Sunset Crater)

10. Canada (twice on fishing trips off Eagle Lake, somewhat near Dryden, Ontario)

11.Texas (several business trips/mini vacations/to see friends - mostly Dallas area)

12. Oklahoma (yes, I've been to the biggest McDonalds ever...well, it was at the time!)

13. Tennessee (DH's family and vacation - saw Miss Saigon, visited Elvis' house, Mud Island, art exhibits)

14. Michigan (DH's family - Lake Erie)

15. Ohio (DH's family)

16. New York (on business that extended to vacation - watched Les Mis on Broadway, went up Empire State Bldg, waved at Ms. Liberty, toured Broadway)

17. New Jersey (on business, that extended to vacation - toured the Jersey turnpike on the way to Pennsylvania - lol)

18. Illinois (Cahokia Mounds, Chicago, East St. Louis, saw Phantom of the Opera in Chicago, toured Chicago History Museum, Lakeshore Drive and their wonderful fabulous aquarium)

19. Minnesota (drove through several times on the way to/from Canada and stayed in a hotel I wouldn't suggest to my dog, if I had one.)

20. Pennsylvania (toured Philly, saw Liberty Bell)

Wow, I've really seen a LOT of the US! I would love to see more of the east and more OCEAN!!! I've only ever seen the ocean three times that I remember - once was the gulf from LA, once was gulf from FL and once was the Atlantic from FL. Mom swears I've seen the ocean from TX when I was about 4 (and has the video to prove it) but I can't remember it.

4 Websites you visit daily( usually):

1. Mine (teehee)

2. Yadda Yadda Yadda and a bit more (mommy to RJ's site)

3. Happy SAHM

I have been unfaithful lately but I usually try to go down my list - my "usual" sites are listed in my sidebar.

4 of your Favorite Foods:

1. ice cream
2. fresh corn on the cob

3. good chocolate
4. Moo Goo Gai Pan from my local chinese place - oooooh soooo yummmmmmm - if only they weren't closed now :(

4 Places you would rather be right now:


2. in my bed, sleeping very very soundly for the next 12 hours

3. on vacation by myself (somewhere cold and woodsy and remote - see #1 - teehee)

4. in a time machine, traveling to the past and future - just watching. I wouldn't want to change past things - just watch them.

4 Bloggers you are tagging:

[aghast] I WOULD **NEVER**!!! But, if any of you want to, leave me a link to your post. ;) And, MommytoRJ - don't you EVER do this again! LOLOLOLOL :)

Unschooling God

I sell Usborne Books. This is not to make extra money (though that would be nice). The real reason I sell them is because I love good books...and if I sell these, I get a discount on the fabulous Usborne books I buy. Sure, a party or order now and then is great, don't get me wrong! But I'm a book-a-holic (especially when it comes to my kids) and Usborne appeases that in me.

I recently placed an order and got a few new books for my kiddos. One is called Time Traveler. It's a bind-up of 4 different books about Knights, Vikings, Romans and Pharoahs. Hubby has been reading through it with Matthew each evening for a while now and Hubby likes it because, "It tells it like it really was - that gladiators were really slaves that fought to the death. It doesn't gloss over the real history just because it's a children's book." He came downstairs tonight after putting Matthew to bed, his face paused in sheer bewilderment.

"You know, when your kid does things that are out of the ordinary - like reading at a young age - you don't think that he's a genius. You figure that ok, he's ahead in this area - but not that he's a genius. But sometimes, you find it really hard to not be blown away."
I patiently eyed him suspiciously.
He continued, "We were reading about the Romans tonight while I was laying down with him. After lights-out, he asked me if they left real food for the gods. I told him they did and I told him that they only thought they were gods - there is only one true God. The conversation went like this..."
Matthew: "How do you know there is only one God?"
DH (dear husband): "Because He told us."
Matthew: "That's right - 'thou shalt have no other gods before me'."
~I must pause here and say that while we are definitely a Christian family, we don't push bible stories on the kids, just like we don't push anything else. We like to let them explore God in their own way. We do take them to church and we discuss God throughout our daily life. But this quote from Matthew took DH back a bit.~
DH: "Right. Where did you learn that?"
Matthew: "Daddy, turn on the light!"
Matthew grabbed one of his many Bible story books, flipped open to the page and showed DH. "See, it's one of the Ten Commandments!"

This leads me to thinking about more along that line...
Last week in VBS, Grandpa said that when he introduced the Bible story, Matthew was the only one who knew anything about it. But surely there were kids there who've attended church much more regularly than mine. I've had 3 kids in 6 years - we've spent many Sundays with at least one of us sick, I assure you. lol

I've always had issues with the way Bible stories are told to kids. You know that scene in the movie Contact (a fabulous movie, btw), where Ellie says something like, "I always asked too many questions in Sunday School - like where did Mrs. Cain come from? - after that, they asked me to stop coming back." I learned at an early age to take the stories at face value. I didn't really learn to explore what the stories meant to *me* until I was in my 20s. I also heard the same stories over and over and over again. SO many stories - good stories - are left out of 'curriculums' these days. It's *very* hard to even find a children's bible that doesn't have the same 50 stories as the next me, I've looked! What about the story where the young men were making fun of bald Elisha and he commanded two bears to come out of the woods and kill them? I never heard that one as a kid (I bet you didn't either! LOL). What about when Jesus curses the fig tree until it withers? My gut tells me that adults have trouble understanding some of these stories and instead of not knowing how to explain it, they shy away from even telling them to children. But my gut could be wrong. ;)

My brother is involved in a Montessori-based program called, Godly Play, which seems, to me, to be unschooling God. From what I understand, they have a playset for the kids - we'll use Noah's Ark and animals as an example - and they present the story with the facts along with the playset. Then, instead of saying, 'this is what this story means to you...' or 'the morale to the story is...' (as was usually said/implied to me), they use a bunch of "I wonder..." statements and help the kids brainstorm and explore the story and leave the sets out for the kids to re-experience the stories over and over. I think this is a good program for a group setting.

But taking things a step further (as I often like to, I like the unschooling God that we do around here. I'll leave you with a brief conversation we had today...

My kids had their first ever Blizzards today (for you non-USers, it's a treat by Dairy Queen that is basically ice cream with candy bits mixed into it - yum!). DQ was running a "proceeds to your local Children's Miracle Network" today for all the blizzards sold so we splurged. As an added bonus, I decided that it wouldn't kill us if we just skipped lunch and went straight for the ice cream - hey, they got peanut butter cups and ice cream - protein and dairy - not too shabby. ROFL So as I told the kids the plan, I expected them to be totally on board. Rose coudln't have been happier. Matthew however, thought about it for a few minutes before declaring, "I think it's a sin to not eat a healthy meal before having a sugary dessert!" This opened up a huge discussion about food and what God says about gluttony and how this is a one-time-deal-special-treat. In the end, he was more than happy to indulge, 'just this once'.

More blogs

I've added to my blog listings in my sidebar. I wanted to note them -

Essential Outlet - this is a blog of a first time mom. She's due with her first baby in about 11 weeks. She has very thoughtful blog entries and I find myself remembering all those feelings that she describes so beautifully.

The Fifth Column - this is a blog of a brother of a friend of mine. While I'm not Catholic myself, I find that reading his blog has dispelled some myths I've believed about Catholics. I admit that sometimes his entries are a bit over my head or he discusses some current affairs that I'm unfamiliar with but I enjoy the reading.

Muttering Munkins - this is a blog from a good friend of mine. She apparently likes my blogs so much that she had to start one herself (teehee). She's a brand new blogger and not sure what her blog will be about yet (I vote for her two furbabies) but she's got a great sense of humor and I'm sure that will be apparent in no time. ;)

I think that's all of the new ones. Check 'em out! :)

Wednesday, August 09, 2006


I'm a bad blogger....bad, bad, bad. Nahhhhh...just busy. I've had company for two weeks and during that time, the kids had VBS and we did some fun extra things and went swimming and painted, etc. It's been really busy. So hopefully my blogging will pick up again now that things are settling down.

You know, I love that this is the time of year when things start to settle down for me just as everyone else winds up for school. teehee Of course with my favorite season just around the corner, we'll probably be out doing all kinds of fun outdoorsy things. So no promises to my faithful readers. ;)

Yesterday we had a local election. Now I know that Matthew and I have discussed voting before but he wanted an explanation again. So in the van on the way to my polling place, he started in...

Matthew: Mommy, what is voting?
Me: Well, sometimes we vote to choose who our new leaders will be. Like when we vote for the President or the Governor or Representative. When we vote for the President, all the adults in our country get to say who they would like to be President. Say I vote for David and you vote for Carl and Rose votes for Mary. Then after everyone has voted, whoever got the most votes wins.
Matthew: Are you voting for President?
Me: No, not today. Today I'm voting on some offices (like Governor and Mayor) and a couple of bills.
Matthew: What's a bill?
Me: [mental note - need to rent Schoolhouse Rock videos...giggle] The bill we're voting on today is whether they can keep charging tax money to keep up our State parks.
Matthew: [yelling firmly] NO MORE TAXES! I VOTE NO! NO NO NO NO NO - I win!!
Me: [muttering] Guess you'd be considered a libertarian?

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Unschooling myself

Looks like I'll be unschooling myself in the french language for a while. ;) I was happily going through the Unschooling Carnival posts and stumbled across one entry posted by Phoebe. It's hard enough to find unschoolers around here but to find them in another country (I have found anyway) to be quite rare.

And THEN, to find that her story was so simliar to's quite surreal really. Anyway, her blog is written in french but for you non-french-speaking people, you can drop it into to get a fairly good translation. I took one year of French in high school but that was eeeeks - fifteen! - years ago and I'm sure I've forgot more than I learned. LOL

Mais je trouve que je me rappèle pas mal d'aussi. [But I find that I remember quite a bit too.] I look forward to reading more from Phoebe. ;)

Friday, August 04, 2006


Matthew and Rose have been attending VBS all week at Grandma and Grandpa's church. The theme centered around archaeology and Matthew was ALL into that. ;) Rose had a ton of fun too. Tonight was their last night and when I picked them up, Matthew jumped immediately in with an over-excited voice that he had won the mascot, a stuffed owl named Who. Matthew has never shown much interest in stuffed animals but this is big around here, let me tell you. Rose won a treasure box to put her mini plastic cats and dogs in. Their cousins, Ryan and Christine, also went with them a couple nights but left for home this morning and didn't make it to the last one tonight.

On the way home, the conversation went like this...
Me: "Rose, what was your favorite part of VBS?"
Rose: "Well, it was getting my treasure box to put my cats and dogs in."
Me: "What else was fun?"
Rose: "Getting my other treasure box and digging up things in the dirt to put in my box."

Me: "Matthew, what was your favorite part of all of VBS?"
Matthew: "Winning Who!"
Me: [chuckle] "Well, of course it was! What was your second favorite part?"
Matthew: [thinks for a second] "When Ryan taught me how to roll under the chairs in the sanctuary".
Me: "You mean the pews?"
Matthew: "Yeah!!"

Unschooling Carnival

The Unschooling Carnival for July is up! There are some really great entries and I wanted to send you over there. ;) So after you're done catching up on my blog, check it out!

The September question was from me so fellow unschoolers, please go all-out this month! LOL I want all your thoughts on allowance/odd job payments, etc. I want the kids to be able to use their own money but how do I get the money to them?

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Truth #1: Unschooling can be embarrassing

We have guests for a few days. I love having guests but here's the problem with this particular mix of ours and theirs. Ours typically go to bed at 8pm, maybe 9pm at the latest. Why, you ask?? Am I totally insane? Yes, go ahead and berate me and tell me that the later they go to bed, the later they sleep in. Not. My. Kids.

My children will wake at quarter past the crack of dawn *no matter when they go to bed*. Don't worry - they make up for it with extreme crabiness throughout the day until they get to sleep earlier the next night. Our guests (including a 3 and 6yr old) stayed up until 1am this morning. Of course, being a great hostess, I stayed up with them and watched Sense and Sensibilities (one of my favorites that I just can't say 'no' to). Might not seem like a huge deal but let me explain my morning more thoroughly...

After a completely refreshing 4.5 hours of sleep, I awake at 5:30 to find Rose climbing into bed with us. She then proceeds to toss and turn and snuggle as closely as she possibly can (which did include actually crawling on top of me), wiggling some more, kicking me, yanking blankets, followed by more tossing and turning. After 20 minutes of this, I growled out, "Lay STILL". She did. And she fell asleep. Good girl.

Just as I'm drifting off to sleep, Hubby's alarm goes off at 6am. He hits it after five blaringly loud beeps and a few kicks from me, then he snuggles back under the covers. I'm wide awake again. [sigh] I try to ignore my mounting anger at his alarm as it goes off again and I kick him. Again. Hard. I would yell but Rose is asleep almost on top of me and Jade is in the playpen in our room, having given up her room to our guests. I decide that my anger level is too high and I'd better tell him to turn it off or I'll never go back to sleep and the girls will wake up.

So I kick him a few more times (that helps with my anger...a little) and he whisper-shouts to me, "Turn it off?" I growl, "YES". He whispers, "Ok". I'm thinking I might be able to drift off again when I hear Jade shift. Oh. No. Please. For the love of all that is good and holy, please do not wake up at 6am. PLEASE. I hold my breath.

I hear the shrrrrrr of the playpen fabric as she stands up. PLEASE. Lay. back. down. "Babababaaabaaaa," I hear. Out of sheer panic that she will wake Rose up at 6am also, I grab her and leave the room. [sigh]

Of course the rest of the house is utterly silent and there are two tweenies on my couches so I'm trying to feed Jade and keep her quiet in her early morning happy squeals and giggles. After an hour, I get to lay Jade back down to sleep. She's out for the count. Can I go back to sleep? No...Hubby and Rose are awake now. And Matthew has woken up too. I take my shower and get ready. There's no salvaging going back to bed now.

At 8am, I decide that there's no possible earthly way to keep Rose quiet for much longer and I suggest she and I run to Target and get some milk for our guests breakfast. She happily agrees. Matthew (the home-body) stays home and agress to be quiet.

Rose and I head out. The very moment we walked out of the house at 8am, our bodies revulsed in heat and started immediately pouring sweat from our very core innards. We're having storms tonight as a "cold front" moves in. A COLD FRONT. Yes, they had the audacity to call it a COLD front. The high tomorrow will be around 90. But I know how I feel about air should be EVERYWHERE.

Once in Target, I attempt to give our guests a little extra sleeping quiet time by browsing around the store. At some point, we head to the bathroom. It's just shortly after the store-opening hour and very few customers are in the store. We have the bathroom to ourselves. Rose begins to repeatedly vocalize one word in the stall next to me.

"Weeeee. weeeeeeeee. Weeeeeeeee!! WeeeeeeeeeeEEEEEEEE!" This goes on for a bit. I'm not sure what she's really doing but how much trouble can she be in (apparently I still have a lot to learn as a As her wee's increase and reach the apex, someone comes in the bathroom. Rose is going full-steam ahead.

I decide that maybe Rose is in some kind of trance now and doesn't realize there are other people in there now. So I say in a silly voice, "Roooose, what are you doing, silly girl?" Swift comes the excited reply...
"I'm learning to whistle Mommy!"

What could I say to that? Could I tell her that saying "wee" in a high pitched squealing voice did not constitute a whistle? Nah.

"You go girl!" ;)