Sunday, September 30, 2012

Uno

I feel like we've hit the fast forward button.  Tonight we played Uno.  We, Dad, Mom, G, M and lP.  It's so fun watching lP hold the cards and pull out her matching color.  Our luck has held fairly well that she usually has the color needed, and is happy to get a new card if needed.

Today was such a day of rest.  And I didn't expect it to be such a good day.  G told me "Uh, mom, it looks like you might be having a bad day." this morning when I finally got everyone into the car. 

Parenting.  I started reading "Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet" and the description of the son in college gave me pause.   Like a wake up call I realized that in general I'm never going to enjoy my children more than I do now.  So I should try harder. 

Saturday, September 29, 2012

enough!

It's funny how often I sit down to the computer and ask it to entertain me.  I to to facebook hoping to see pictures of people I know or thoughts they've had.  Mostly I just see Memes and political stuff.  In the groove of trying to simplify, I was thinking I should just stop using Facebook.  Then today I got on and saw that the team facebook had taken all my private messages from 2010 and before, and made them public on my timeline.  Thank you team facebook!  That was exactly the push I needed to just deactivate my account.

It's interesting to notice how sometimes a door is closed and that is a good thing.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

And it came to pass...

So I went through and got rid of all the pants that I don't like to and or can't wear.  Not like it was a truck load, but a brown paper sack, yes.  And I got rid of a lot of shirts that I was wearing every day and feeling embarrassed about.  That leaves me with 1 pair of pants jeans and 1 pair of shorts for daily wear.  For shirts, I suddenly find only decent, even nice shirts on my shelf.  And it came to pass that I have more skirts than pants/shorts.  Who would have ever thought this would be my reality?

And I want to get chickens.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Game on, and on...

So I was in charge of games for a group of 8 children this month.  They were ages 6-9, once a week for a month.  We basically played duck, duck, goose games.  We also played Old Maid cards.  Something that we did that I felt really good about was repeat the games each week.  We played duck, duck, goose, week after week.  The last week we sort of burned out, and played cards more.  This was fine.  One of the things I really like about the Waldorf method is the idea of Reverence and Repetition.  So we were playing games that were increasingly familiar. 

I have a brother in law who likes games.  Actually, I think many of my brother in laws like games.  But one in particular always wants us to play new games.  For me, since I'm slow, this is incredibly frustrating.  I need to play 2 times to even get the rules and 3 times to actually have fun. 

So we've been having the Old Maid cards around and have realized that it's a game lP can play.  She can totally handle grabbing a card.  Wahoo!  She just turned 2 on Wednesday.  So it's been a year of having her grab at cards and such, to the point that we just weren't playing anything.  Tonight we played Uno, and that's another game she can play!  She knows her colors and loves putting her card down in the discard pile.  We played picture bingo.  Good times.  It's so fun now that everyone can play and we don't have to live our lives in fear!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

not a perfectionist, so lucky

We had our primary program today and it went great.  I am so proud of how many children signed the songs in the end.  We taught them all along the signs, and really expected them to sign 2.  But there were hearing kids signing on every song. 

Some things that we did that were effective:

Songs with lots of verses, spotlight kids singing duets and have the rest join in on the chorus.  We had all but 3 children involved that way at some point throughout the program.

Make their seating arranged so that parents can see them even if that means they are spread out.

Put a list next to the podium with the order of classes and songs so they can see really easily what's coming up next:
    Valiant 8/9
    Sunbeams
    "As a child of God"
    CTR 5/6

Give teachers a copy of the songs to sing from.

For songs that everyone is singing, have the children come forward to the rail so parents can see them.  Practice where they should stand and how to get there fast.  It was adorable and comical how our kids were dashing to their spots.

We used strips of lint remover tape to put their names on the seats and show where their class should stand on the carpet. 

Be responsible for all talks and papers the children are reading from so they won't be forgotten on the day of the practices or performance.

Use a consistent script for the children so they will not be put off by miniscule changes and forget what to say.  M can't really read, but seeing the same script each time prompts her to say the part right.

Encourage the children to memorize their parts so they can look out at the audience.


I'm lucky to be very vain.  Everyone keeps saying that this is the best primary program they've ever seen.  I'm surprised, but I also believe them.

Ahhhhh, so glad to be done.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

measuring board

Several years ago, on Christmas eve I asked my sister in law to paint this board white.  I was in the hospital with G on an unexpected hospitalization that looked like it was going to extend over Christmas, aka G's first birthday.  Of the many disappointments we suffered that year...   That sweet sister in law also made us a delicious cake which I ate the entirety of myself, if I recall with any accuracy.  I remember waking up that morning, just me and my baby, in a hospital room, Merry Christmas, Happy 1st Birthday!  Harsh!   I don't even know how we got his first measurement since I had a severe fear of him touching the floor of the hospital. 
 So we measure the children each year on their birthday.  It's a sweet family tradition.  I smile like a cat thinking how glad I am that we've had this board for every birthday of all our children.  Now that we live in such a permanent residence, we consider mounting it.  But since we don't want it to get written on during the 362 days it's not in use, we tuck it away in its Gator polar fleece sleeve and put it back in the closet.
We are so optomistic.  Our measuring board goes to 6'11''.  I'm not sure why it's not an even 7' but hey, we plan on the kids being pretty tall.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

simplifying clothing choices

One of the aspects of simplifying your is life, is to only have clothes you wear and like.  This is hard for me since I just love having a ton of clothes that don't fit and have stains on them.  I love how I don't think to do the laundry because all those clothes I don't want to wear in public are still on the shelf so clearly I'm not out of clothes.

Tonight I was going to help someone interpret.  I had only talked to the person on the phone so I figured I should look presentable since I had the opportunity to actually make a nice impression.  She would not even know the difference and would therefore maybe not say "Wow, you look nice!" which I often take to mean, "wow, you look not so scrapy."

I do actually have nice clothes that fit me and that I never wear because they are nice.  Why is that? 

So I got rid of a lot of clothes that I never wear.  Sure it's good to have a set of painting clothes.  But I actually only have 2 pair of pants and 1 pair of shorts that I actually want to be seen in public wearing.  And getting rid of all the embarrassing clothes, I can justify 1 or 2 items to bring me up to a functional number.

Also, I want to wear skirts more often instead of shorts.

The great thing about this simplifying of your wardrobe is that you can feel great about what you wear every day because you get rid of the things you don't want to wear.  You get rid of clothes that don't fit.  They no longer stare at you from the shelf with condemnation.

Getting rid of things that make you feel guilty is great.

Monday, September 17, 2012

simple living

So now I have a name for it.  My tendency to not bathe.  My preference for buying all our clothes at thrift stores.  My love of making things.  My empty fridge. It's called living simply.  OK the bathing is just me being gross.  But really, I'm not into consuming.  And there is a definitely consumer market for being clean.  It involves keeping up with a look and having products.  The shelf in my shower has a travel size bottle of shampoo and conditioner and half a bar of soap.  I love how uncrowded it is.  

Now that I know what it is, I have a sense of direction for getting rid of the things that own me. 

I also have a new lease on life when it comes to the kids books.  If it is garbage, I'm allowed to get rid of it.  Last night I read a version of Peter and the Wolf where Peter catches the wolf and takes it to the zoo.  Dumb.  Of course I'll donate it so some other family can have this trash book. 

Months ago I brought home a discarded beach chair with lovely rainbow material.  Last night I finally made a backpack for M out of it.  This simple living idea helped me to overcome a little of my fabric hoarding. 

I need less than I have.  I don't have to take in other people's junk because it might be valuable.  I don't need to buy things that I won't use.

So when G comes home with a new pair of basketball shoes from the school...  We sent in $25 to the fund for clothes and shoes for kids that need them.  His old shoes were worn out.  Then he lost one.  So I sent him in a pair of new/used shoes that were a little big and had a hole on the side.  The principal tried to give us the money back.  I was able to explain that we can afford it, it's just that we had not chosen to buy him shoes.  We prefer to live a simple life.  Yeah, it was a little embarrassing, but it was actually a choice.

better than summer camp

We've started to attend a homeschool group on Mondays.  Many of these same families are in a group that meets on Friday where I teach music/recorder. 

The first Monday and Friday were sort of terrible and lame as I tried to find my feet.  Monday I lead games and there were some new kids in the group that demanded a lot of attention.  They were not interested in the games but rather, in playing games.  Like messing up the games.

This Friday I had the children doing a hop scotch solfege game.  We had learned a simple tune.  We could clap the rhythm.  We could do the solfege.  Now we were really putting it into our bodies.  The kids loved it and we got in crazy amounts of repetition by doing each song through these ways, and oh yeah, on recorder too.  : )

Today for games we did Duck Duck Goose, then Charlie over the Ocean which is like Duck Duck Goose, but with counter motion circles and a call and response song.  : )  We played Old Maid and the kids were really interested in that and it was so cool!  Then we played another Duck Duck Goose game called Drip Drip Flood.  You use a cup of water and go around getting everyone wet.  It was really fun. 

Next week we'll play one last variation where the kids have to list objects in a category ex; mammals... and when they say something out of the category that is the "Goose".

What was so magical about today was the children.  I was just there to play with them.  I introduced the practice of everyone sticking a fist in and doing a "Inka Binka Bottle of Ink" rhyme to choose who was first.  I also told them that everyone could only be it 1 time.  The kids really like that because they knew they would get a turn and it added a level of keeping track of that to the game. 

It's such a pleasure to work with a group of kids having a kind time. 

Saturday, September 15, 2012

on math

Last year G was taking Science/Social Studies and Reading/Writing at school.  We were supposed to cover math at home but found that by the time he had done 3-4 worksheets for school homework, he wasn't interested in more work.  So we didn't make much progress on math last year.  Over the summer he cruised through the whole years worth of worksheets in math. 

This year he's at school for PE and Reading/Writing.   We've decided to let him do the math homework, 1 page a day from the school.  This works out nicely because he'll be able to take whatever tests they're working on.  The kids at school do 5 pages a day plus the homework.  I can't imagine why they need to have their brains numbed with so much repetition.  As repetitive as his homework is times 5 pages a day?  Insane.

Last night I was listening to some bloggers talk about homeschooling.  One was an unschooler and the other seemed to enjoy the freedom for travel.  So the traveling mom asked the unschooler what is done about subjects that just have to be taught, like math.  The unschooler talked about how kids don't need math that is not useful in their lives.  She sited a study where students were not taught math until 6th grade, and in one year had surpassed their peers who had been taught math since kindergarten. 

What math is useful in your daily life?  Do your children see you enjoying math?  If math is such an important life skill that it must be taught; isn't it such an important life skill that you cannot afford to make your children hate?

Because of credit, people are free to ignore the basic addition and subtraction of a budget.  And it's so "unpleasant" to do any math because kids are taught from a young age that they hate math.  Even, and especially, kids who are good at math don't learn practical uses for it. 

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

a cruise... someday

A friend of mine went on a cruise last week and I was just curious to see how expensive they are.  They are down right cheap!  Once you've invested in getting a passport ($150, so not cheap) going on a cruise, departing out of the city down the road, is $35 a night!  That's room, board, entertainment, child fun, cool!  So it's not something we'll do for a while.  But it's something I never imagined doing and suddenly it is quite high on the list of things I might do.

Monday, September 3, 2012

$0.25

It's amazing what a good time you can have in this town for $0.25.  Today we went over to the Lightner museum and fed the fish.  P dispensed the pellets 4 at a time and the kids happily fed the fish little by little.

We had  a good  time in the museum.  Also at Fort Matanzas, and at the beach.  But since that was all free, I can't count them in on the value of the quarter.

At the end P gave G and M 6 pellets.  They squealed in delight.  Oh the bounty.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Stay Strong

The children are not enrolled in any activities right now.  A few years ago they did soccer.  Last summer they took gymnastics.   They've always had a pool until recently and we go to the beach a lot.  Everywhere we go people are suggesting that I put M in dance or gymnastics or .....

One, we can't afford it.  Two, we already have G in school 5 hours a day, M in homeschool group, that's 2 five hour days a week.  And getting G to speech 2 times a week, that's a lot of stuff.  Three I'm the primary president and cannot get overbooked.  Four, we're having a lot of fun together.

I would like the kids to do martial arts when they are older, like 8 and 10.  P is generally against this violence, but I've convinced him that it's like dance, but without the sexy.  We would like M the strong to someday play volleyball.  For better or worse she says cute things like "If I grow a foot taller than daddy, I'll get a scholarship."  There is an organization north of town that starts girls in volleyball at age 12. 

So in general we've decided to let the kids enjoy their childhood and do a bunch of different activities for 1 year each.  I don't see how we'll keep them from having the attitude I hated to see in students "Oh, I know how to do that..."  Maybe I'll teach them to say "My parents let me do that for 1 year, it was fun."

When they're 14 I think they get to decide what they want to seriously play/do.  There is so much they can do, especially with the beach.

Soccer
Gymnastics
Basketball
Volleyball
Sailing
Surfing
Tennis
Swimming
Martial Arts
4H

x-ne on the dancing, cheerleading, shake your money maker-ing.

video
And I want them to be musical.  We got a piano book and the kids have been enjoying that this summer. 

Also, we're busy building racetracks on the moon.

And lP is busy perfecting her funny faces,

  and falling asleep on books.