Tuesday, August 30, 2011

this school day was better than the last, thankfully. even though we slept in and didn't get started until later, we ended up finishing most things by 2:30. i'm getting more comfortable with skipping some lessons or work sheets. i'm trying to figure out each kiddo's learning style so i can best help them along. i had John doing all this book work as that is what Abeka calls for, but so much of it is repetitive and he, being a boy, gets really bored with work sheets. we played with these phonics tiles that my MI gave me a long time ago and he really enjoyed seeing how many words he could make. i also started transitioning him into cursive writing, something they don't teach in public school.

thankfully William is having a much better week, though his odd behavior persists. he seems to have suddenly turned ADD on me, whereas Samuel seems to have matured out of it. anyways, his seemly inability to control his impulses can be really trying.

Margaret and Samuel are doing really well so far. Samuel is doing way better academically this year than he was in school. he does seem to need an older boy to look up to, or to put him in his place, as he seems to feel the need to bully his brothers a lot.

i can really tell that the Lord is giving me grace to make it through each day. at the end of the day i look back on all that was accomplished and am amazed. i know He is the one carrying me through.

i got me some far out running shoes over the weekend. after ,much trial and error and much dollars spent, i have decided i don't need to buy 'spensive shoes as long as they are the right type for my feets. i generally go through two pair every 9 months. there is just no way i can justify $100+ on shoes that often. not with 6 other people in my family that also wear shoes.

anyways, here's what i got -

bright, huh? they are similar to one of the pairs i got last time and those have suited me well. . i'll probably get another pair in december. i generally buy a pair in september when i start building my marathon miles, and another in december or january in time to break them in before february's marathon. i've been doing this for many years now. sometimes i find some awesome deals on shoes in december because that's when they're clearing out the year's model.

i had better get to tidying up the ol' homeplace before the man gets home. happy tuesday, y'all.

wow. what a day yesterday was! up at 5 to run my 4.5 miles, which went much better than the last time, by the way. didn't take as many walk breaks and have figured out how to run a steady pace without feeling like i'm overheating, which is the biggest concern with running while pregnant. after i got home, i took the kids out for their exercise, walking a mile with William and John, while Margaret and Samuel ran their 2 miles. then we hit the books, doing non-stop school from 8:15 until 3:30! during the time i managed to do multiple loads of laundry, make a chicken soup, and get a measure of house cleaning done. strangely enough i never tired out. i think it's the running, it increases my stamina and ability to "take on the day". Brian worked until 9:30 last night, so there was no let-up in the day. after dinner, the kids and i ran to Wold Market to exchange something, and then to Half Price Books. that is one of the most favorite places on the planet, and they each bought something, and everyone went home happy. we got home around 9 and had ice cream. then everyone needed showering, so no one got to bed before 10. such a long, long day. i think i did 5 loads of laundry because it was time to wash the bedding, my least favorite chore. but the Lord gives grace, and i went to bed with still a bit of life in me and was able to do a little personal reading.

dinnertime without Daddy who had to work late ~

ice cream!

the alarm didn't go off this morning, so i slept in until 6, missing my chance to go run or walk. i guess i'll get it in this evening. i am really hoping we can get our school work done earlier today. is there something i am doing wrong, or is this just to be expected when your homeschooling multiple students?

sports will be starting up next week. Samuel and William will be doing boxing for the month of september, and all four will be doing a basketball clinic. then they'll all start soccer in a few weeks.

Brian and i had planned to go out last Friday, but i was too tired. and Margaret got called to babysit at the last minute, so she wouldn't have been here to watch the boys anyways. we ended up getting away for a little while on saturday night, going over to Cherrywood Coffeehouse.

well, i've run out of time to write anymore this morning. my kids are waiting on  me.

Friday, August 26, 2011

got out this morning and did my first run in ages. i did my four+ mile loop with walk breaks. boy, carrying an extra 20 pounds makes a big difference, especially when those 20 are sitting on my bladder. my legs were killing me at first. propelling my body up hill just ain't the same as it used to be. but i did it. ran my loop in about 50 minutes. i haven't decided how often i'll try to run, maybe just three days a week, and walk in between. i'm not out to meet any time goals, just complete the race, so i don't need a rigorous training plan.

this has been just about the hardest week of my life. one child in particular has given me so much grief. i cried just abut every day. we were in survival mode all week. the goal was just to make it through the week. and we did. today is our day off and we're going out to Blanco to visit my grandmother and all her animals.

this morning i'm listening to jars of clay: furthermore-from the studio-from the stage. i love this album!

and here is my nearly 30 week belly -

(sorry there is no head included in the picture. i'm not really great at using the camera timer. LOL.)

Brian asked me out on a date, so we're steppin' out tonight. really looking forward to time with my love.

blessings on your weekend, folks.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

just signed up for the IBM Uptown Classic 10K on October 2. call me crazy - i'll be 8 months pregnant - but i feel plenty capable. that's the race i have my 10K PR in - 46 minutes and some change. i'm not gonna be making any PR's this year that's for sure. just gotta get some new running shoes. still using the two pairs i got last Christmas and they are worn thin.

i have something to train for! can't wait!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

yesterday was a really rough day. William has had an earache, and has done no work the past couple of days. he tends to be my slacker when it comes to school work anyways, so it's hard to tell if he feels too bad to do any work, or if he's just being lazy. the day was so long, too. sitting at the table from 8 to 3 is just way too much. i had to go in my room and cry a few times just to make it through the day. i am really hoping today is better.

mama came by and brought some things for baby and some books for the kids. i was on the verge of tears when she was here. i think she could tell.

but i do have much to be grateful for. Margaret was a huge help yesterday and did laundry, swept, vacuumed, cleaned the bathrooms, etc, without being told. she's growing up a lot and is such a blessing!

it has been so dry here. my nose is constantly bleeding, something new to me. also i always feel dehydrated even though i've been drinking a lot of water. really praying for God to send us some rain!

11 weeks until my due date. i'm hoping for ten or maybe 9 and  half weeks. i've never reached my due date, and John was born 10 days early. i keep thinking that i at least want to make it through Halloween so i can dress up like the great pumpkin.

Brian made reservations for us to get away to a b&b for a few days around my birthday. it will be our "babymoon". i am so looking forward to it!

speaking of my love, i realized yesterday that it was 18 years ago this september that he walked into my life. and it was 15 years ago this september that we went on our first date. i'm so glad he moved to Austin all those years ago. =)

well, it's nearly 5:45, which means it's time for me to head out to exercise. until next time....

Monday, August 22, 2011

back in the saddle again

it's early monday morning. i wanted to get a few lines in before i head out to exercise.

we got home from vacation yesterday. it was a fun, much needed trip, one where many memories were made. it was interesting taking two beach trips back to back like that, the first with my family and the second with Brian's. it really magnified the differences in our families. the most obvious is the size. my family is just so much larger, even though i have just one more sibling than Brian. when we all went to the beach, it was a party of 18 - my grandfather, my mom & stepdad, my siblings and i and our spouses, and all the kids, all ten and a half of them. with Brian's family it was his parents, his sister and her husband, and then us and our 4 and a half kids.

i'll post some pictures of the trip later.

i got in a lot of reading during all the hours of driving. i now have a good grasp on the political, social, and economic history of the US from the end of the Civil War through World War II. i also go a lot of sleeping in while we were at the beach house. i guess i needed it. i finally feel fully rested.

local schools start today, and last night i had a little panic attack realizing it's for real: my kids' education for this year is all in my hands. both Brian and i felt sadness at not being a part of things at Malpewood this year. we stayed up extra late last night and had a pep rally, talking through lots of things and in the end feeling better about our decision to homeschool this year.

well. it's time to lace up the ol' shoes and get out to exercise. happy monday, y'all!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

my day

very long day of homeschooling and life. as usual, it started at 5 am. and hasn't slowed down yet.

here's what a typical day looks like for us now.

5  - up making coffee and chatting with Brian
5:45 - out the door for my 4 and a half mile walk. i get in my Bible reading/prayer time then, as it's much easier for me to focus when i'm away from the house. i get so distracted by all the things around me. when i'm outside while it's still dark i feel like it's so much easier to commune with the Lord.  i've been using this reading plan for years and can't say enough about how great it is. i read it on my trusty (ok, that's a stretch) HTC HD2, which is a lot easier to carry than my little Bible.
7:15 or so - back home where the kids are finishing up running with Brian. we had started this routine of having them go walk with me, but it just wasn't quite working out, so now they go run with Brian a few days a week. Margaret runs 2 miles and the boys run 1. we'd like to get them all up to 3 miles so they can run in a 5K sometime this year, but i'm not sure if we can motivate the two younger to work toward something like that.
then breakfast
8 am. school starts
sometimes the kids are more motivated and finish before lunch, but more often than not, we're dragging it out until the afternoon.
read aloud (we finished Anne of Green Gables today)
phonics (for John)
penmanship (for William)
history (mondays/wednesdays)
science (tuesdays/thursdays)
piano (only for Margaret so far)

by late afternoon there is a lot of cleaning to do around the house, so i spend the next hour or so doing that. and cooking dinner. the kids have started helping me around the house a lot more, which is a real blessing. after a long day of school work, i really want to get them outside, but it's just too stinkin hot, unless we go swimming, which is what we did yesterday.

5:30 - my knight walks through the door and it feels like a thousand pounds have been lifted off my shoulders. we eat dinner and then try to do something active with the kids - a kickball game out front, a walk around the neighborhood, basketball at the park, or some other such sport.
7:30 - attempt to get the kids bathed. this usually takes a lot longer than it should.
8 - Bible time and read a loud. Brian does this and i'm usually finishing up cleaning house.
8:45 - everyone to bed. the boys always want to listen to Adventures in Odyssey online while they're going to sleep, so we spend some time getting that set up, then listen to the talking and giggling coming from their room for the next 15 minutes or so.
9 - Brian and i fall down on the couch and rest our old bodies.
9:30 ish - i'm reading in bed for as long as i can keep my eyes propped open.
and then it starts all over again the next morning.

well, it's 9 pm. now and i'm squeezing in a bowl of cereal before i head off to bed since i have my blood glucose test in the morning and won't get to eat until after 9 am. for me that's like three meals too late. i have low blood sugar and eat my first meal at 5, the second after i get done walking, around 7:30, and the 3rd around 9. thankfully my metabolism slows down by the afternoon so i don't have to keep filling the tank every couple of hours.

oh, and our vacation starts tomorrow. can hardly wait! a whole week at the beach!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

baby tummy.

went to see Dr. Love today. he wanted to do another ultrasound to check on the placenta position and all. everything looks good and she is indeed a girl. =) i have my blood glucose test on friday. i'm feeling good, albeit a little tired. my weight is creeping on up. i've gained 18 pounds so far. i keep telling Brian i'm trying to catch up with him. he keeps lifting weights and eating a little more just to stay ahead of me.

three days of school down so far, one to go. i think we're getting the hang of this.

when i was at the doctor, they gave me the hospital preregistration papers. that means we're getting closer! i find myself day dreaming about baby quite often these days. i feel so humbled and blessed to be carrying another life!

well, since everyone is finished with school for the day we're headed to swim before meeting friends for dinner at Central Market.

Monday, August 8, 2011

taking a little break from schooling. ack! how on earth do you keep three boys on track??? need help! if anyone has any bright ideas, i'm all ears. i hate the constant threatening that i've had to resort to.

Margaret just left for work. i'm hoping to get the boys school work done before she gets back so i can focus on her.

speaking on school, i'm not doing so well in the science department. William and John had to start some seeds as part of their lesson on germination. that was nearly two weeks ago and still no side of any seedlings. according to our book, they should've come up many days ago. might have to resort to using Miracle Gro.

the nerd in me is captivated with this history book i found while thrifting a few weeks ago. it covers the period after the civil war to the present. so interesting!

i'm sure this week will fly by, what with us doing school four days and then preparing for our trip which starts friday. we'll be at Ft. Morgan, Alabama all next week with Brian's parents and his sister and her husband. what a great way to end the summer!

i pulled up my garden the other day. most of it wasn't worth trying to salvage, but i did save my tomatoes. i put them in the front yard where they wouldn't be subjected to such intense cooking from the sun. i put the biggest three by the a/c run-off pipe so they'd get a constant trickle of water. the other two are in the flower bed. i also put my basil and parsley up front. i'm going to try to get the garden all fertilized and ready just in case i decide to do a fall garden. as it looks, i am pretty doubtful that we'll get enough rain for one.

well, gotta get back to my boys.

here are a few more pics that Brian took from this past weekend.

patrick and samuel showing off patrick's big catch



tommy, william, and thomas fishing with uncle thomas

samuel posing in front of the place we stayed in rockport

Sunday, August 7, 2011

we had a great weekend down at the beach with my side of the family. there were 18 of us in all - my grandfather, my mom and stepdad, my sister, my brother and his wife, and the cousins, all ten of them.

Brian, me, Leah, Meredith, Thomas, Mama, Mike
Claire holding Annie, John, Patrick, William
Tommy, Samuel, Thomas, Margaret holding Aili

the kids had so much fun. what great memories were made with the cousins!

today is my mom's 56th birthday. we've been through good times and bad together, but i wouldn't trade her for any other! happy birthday, Mama!

Friday, August 5, 2011

i have been so tired this week. i don't know if it is the heat, or that i'm closing in on my third trimester, or that i've done more physical work than usual. or maybe all of the above, but i've been beat! yesterday i had 9 clients on my Meals on Wheels route, which means my list is picking back up - yay! earlier this summer i had as few as 6. my clients are in two apartment buildings in a "55 and better" complex. i take the stairs to get in a little extra exercise. it's always hardest in the first building since i have two big insulated bags of meals to carry, but as i make deliveries my load obviously gets lighter. but now that i'm pregnant there is one load i carry with me the whole way and i'm really starting to feel it. it is getting tough to climb those stairs, and the apartment complex only has 4 floors.

i woke up at 4 am. with bad pains in my lower belly. i think it was round ligament pain. it felt like baby was standing on my spine and stretching out as tall as she could get. i'm betting that she'll be my biggest baby yet. Samuel has been my biggest at 7 pounds 7 ounces. if she comes out fully ripe, i wouldn't be surprised if she's 8 pounds.

i'm baking my mom's birthday cake right now. we'll all celebrate down at Port Aransas this weekend. it should be great fun to have the three of us kids and all ten cousins together for the weekend.

i haven't removed myself from the Maplewood yahoo group and i've been getting more messages now that the school year looms so near. part of me has a sense of sadness that we'll not be a part of things this year. Maplewood made great strides this year and became a Recognized school for the first time since the ratings have been established. i'll miss the sweet times i had with the librarian, Ms. Cobb. i'll miss hanging out in the office with Ms. Banks and Ms. Monica. there is a sense of disappointment that John won't have the wonderful 2nd grade teacher, Ms. Van Nort, and that Samuel won't have the great 5th grade teachers Ms. Kelsey and Mr. Levi. and there is sadness about abandoning friendships it took a couple of years to establish.


i also feel a sense of relief that i can cluster my chicks around me and have them close for a little longer. there is so much i want to experience with them, so many things i want them to learn before they take to their wings.

it's interesting to read other people's opinions on education. and there are so many opinions out there. i can't say i have found the particular camp i fit into. i read supporters of public school and think, "yeah, yeah! that's what i believe!" but then i read something by a supporter of non-traditional forms of education, and think, "hmmm, yeah, that makes a lot of sense." i guess i'm not 100% on board any certain method. there are things about every path we've tried that i like, nay, love, and then there are things i don't like, even detest with each. one thing i really like about public school is that there is no status in saying that you send your kids to public school, particularly an inner-city public school as we did. it's every man's education and there isn't anything elite about it. i find myself in the camp of my liberal neighbors in the regard that i can't tolerate elitism. and that attitude was prevalent in the private school circles we were in and even more so in the homeschool circles we've moved in. but it makes sense.  with private school, you are paying so that your children can attend better than average schools. you're making sacrifices that others are not which gives you a sense of superiority. with homeschooling, you are everything to your kids and your whole identity is wrapped up in how they turn out. you're sacrificing your everything to educate your kids. you get all the credit for how well they do. of course you also hold the bill if they can't read of write, but i've yet to find a homeschooled kid that can't read or write at a decent age. we move in a circle of pretty educated people (not that we are - heck, i wasn't considered a high school graduate until i was 30 -  but a lot of our friends are), and they all have high expectations for their kids, wanting them to achieve above and beyond what they themselves have. most are homeschoolers of the highest order. alot is riding on whether Johnny got his latin chants exactly right, or whether 4 year old Suzie can tell you all about who Gorbachev was/is. if he or she doesn't come through for mama, mama will look like she's not doing her job. mama might be looked at as a failure of a teacher and that means a failure as a mother, too.

there just seems to be a lot of competition between homeschool moms. not all are this way, but many that i've encountered. so in many ways, i feel i fit in better with the non-homeschool parents. there is a humble attitude of, no, i know i can't be everything to kids and i have to delegate some parts of their training to others.

i just don't see us joining a co-op this year of homschooling. i think i would fall prey to that jockeying for position thing, that competition to be the mom/teacher that gets the most accolades. women are insecure, myself included, and are looking for a place to shine above their peers. for the woman who didn't succeed as the beauty queen, or isn't a good athlete or even in shape, who can't seem to get the crafty thing down, and has not sense of style, well homeschooling might just be a thing she can be successful at, something she can hang her hat on and receive praise for.

i hope i don't sound too cynical, it's just that i've been in homeschool circles for 25 years, Christian school for even longer, and public school for a couple of years, and these are my general observations. i will say that i know individual families who homeschool beautifully with grace and humility, who don't seem in competition with anyone else and who have nothing to prove to anyone else. these families are a delight to be around and make you feel at ease.

well, i've gone on and on and have probably offended what few readers i have. if it's any consolation, i didn't have any of my possible, probable readers in mind when i blogged this.

i would love to write more, kind of wrap this thing up, but we're about to drive away to the beach for the weekend. this will be the first of three weekends at the beach, and then it'll be time to hit the books big time!

have a great weekend, y'all!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

wow, keeping up with a crawling baby is exhausting! i only watched the K. boys from 7:45 until about 12:45, but it pretty much seemed like all day. Mama decided to keep the kids out there another night, so i had the rest of the afternoon to myself once Robyn came and picked her guys up. Brian and i went over to the Chipotle down the street for dinner and then walked to the library. it was hot, but still nice to get out for a walk together. and the library is always fun.

Mama bought me some baby stuff last week - a diaper bag and some clothes for Hazel. now she has more than just a big stash of diapers.

i called Maplewood this afternoon to let Ms. Monica know that the kids wouldn't be returning to school this year. she was sorry to hear that, but said there was nothing i needed to do as far as disenrolling. she'd just take their names off the rosters. i'll need to go back up to the school in a few weeks to get our unused money from our cafeteria accounts, but that's all.

we've had mixed reaction to our decision to homeschool this year. my mom and stepdad are thrilled, of course. Brian's parents aren't so much. friends seem mostly surprised.


it's tuesday morning and i have the K. boys here again. i am so tired today and am praying for grace to make it through. i could so use a nap!

we head to Port Aransas this weekend, the Ft. Morgan, Alabama the next weekend. really looking forward to all the beach time over the next couple of weeks. once we get back from our trips we'll be hitting the books "for real". we have about 2 and a half weeks of school under our belt so far. i like to think of it as our cushion for when Hazel arrives.

well, i'm off to get some house cleaning done while the baby naps and the other guy plays wii.

Monday, August 1, 2011

this morning i'm babysitting two of the cutest boys ever.

since my kiddos are gone, i'm left to try to figure out the wii on my own. ugh. i've never played the thing, so it took a lot of fumbling around before i could get the Lego Star Wars game up and running for Phin.