Monday, February 28, 2011

Schooly stuff

Well we're finally starting to come up for air after the huge commitment for the boys in the adult theatre. A few pictures will be up here eventually. They are both very sad for it to be over, Jake especially. He's been playing the CD and singing the songs since he got up this morning. I have mixed feelings about the end of it. I'm sad to see it end for them, it was a huge opportunity. I'm glad that they don't have to be out until 11 half the week any more though. It's going to take us a while to catch up on sleep, chores, schoolwork, etc. Tiffany posted on her blog and our homeschool yahoo group asking people to describe what they are doing for school this year. I love this kind of thing, but it took me about a week to get myself together enough to post mine. Below is roughly what I posted although I've tried to leave out some of the names and locations for blog safety purposes. Also for some reason some of the lines are short, but oh well! Most of this I've said on here before because this is first and foremost a homeschool blog anyway, but like I said recently sometimes I forget to preach what I practice, so here it is again.

Hi Ladies,
I, like many of you, really love hearing about what other people are doing for
school. My kids are Jonathan 15, Madi almost 13, and Jake 8 and we have always
homeschooled. We started out in the delayed academics, somewhat unschooly, camp
and have grown and changed as the kids have grown and changed. I guess you
could call us flexibly structured. Currently my 8 year old does Singapore Math
2B, we have been big fans of Singapore Math for years and I highly recommend it.
He does Catholic Heritage Curriculum for spelling, language arts, reading, and
faith. We've not found a real groove for science this year, but he and I are
currently reading through the Usborne First Encyclopedia of Science. For
History he is listening to Story of the World volume 1 along with his siblings.
He also is very interested in the US presidents so we've done a lot with that
this year as well. Let me stop here and say, when the other two were this age
we didn't do this much "curriculum" we did a lot of reading (we're huge Five in
a Row fans), playing outside, field trips etc, but he is a different kid and our
lives are different now. The beauty of homeschooling is that you can tailor it
to your individual children and individual family circumstances. Madi is in 7th
grade and for the first time this year is taking some classes with FLVS, we are
very happy with them. She completed Art in the fall, and is currently taking
Science and Career Education. She uses Catholic Heritage for spelling,
language, and reading comprehension (she is 13 and this is the first year she
has EVER used a spelling book or a language arts workbook). She's used
Singapore Math since she was in 3rd grade and after finishing 6A (it goes to 6B)
last month, she begged to switch to Teaching Textbooks, so she just began
teaching Textbooks pre-algebra. Jonathan (15) finished Singapore 6B when he was
in 7th and went right to TT Algebra 1 for 8th. Madi probably could've done that
too, but she was getting increasingly frustrated with math (Singapore is very
heavy in word problems and doesn't explain a lot which gets harder in the later's worked great for all my kids in the early years) and is loving
Teaching Textbooks she'd love to finish pre-algebra before the fall then go
right into Algebra for 8th grade, but again with homeschooling it doesn't have
to be started or completed in any specific timeframe, so we'll see how it goes.
Jonathan... this is our first year homeschooling high school, and so far it's
going really well. Not nearly as scary as I and a lot of people would think.
We are and always have been registered with the county (we are big proponents of
that). For high school we just have to keep track of credits for his transcipt.
He is taking English and Spanish with FLVS, so those are easy credits to keep
track of. He also took Driver's Ed with FLVS in the fall and got 1/2 of a
credit for that. He is now doing TT Geometry. You can carry over three high
school credits from 8th grade, so he got a credit last year for Algebra also.
For Science he is doing Apologia Physical Science. I'm in the process of trying
to figure a credit (or 1/2 credit) for Theatre. All of my kids are very
involved with Theatre. Jonathan (and Jake) just yesterday finished an 18 show run of Phantom
with the mainstage adult theatre. Jonathan was very involved
behind the scenes as well as being in the ensamble. He also does lighting or
sound for many of the other shows. He had the opportunity this
past fall to be a production assistant for an independent movie that was filming
locally (Ryann Watters and the King's Sword)...yes I need to count all this as
something! Until this year History has always been our biggest focus with
school. This year we are doing Ancient History with SOTW vol 1, but it really
been taking a backseat lately. Jonathan has read or listened on audio to some
of the Henty books from this time period as well as Homer, to beef it up for
high school, but even then we don't seem to get to it as often as we should. I
just decided recently that we are just going to call it 1/2 a credit for History
this year, we will still finish the whole book with some (not much) writing,
tests, extra reading and activities, but I won't stress so much about making it
a "true" full credit high school class...again it's our homeschool and we can do
what we want! Next year Jonathan plans to take World History with FLVS, as well
as continuing with 10th grade English and Spanish 2. As I'm reading this it
sounds like a lot, but we definitely aren't getting to everything every day and
my kids are older, please please please if your kids are younger (like 6th grade
and under) just enjoy them, read a lot, talk a lot, be with friends a lot, spend
a lot of time outside. Jonathan never did a Language Arts curriculum in his
life and is easily getting an A in 9th grade English with FLVS. He is also taking a Theology of the Body class at church that I hope to count as 1/2 a credit.
People often
put so much pressure on themselves and their kids to get the curriculum done and
I personally think all that busy work is a waste of time. What we've always
done (relaxed) and what they are doing now (real big kid classes) seems to be a
good example of what I've always believed. I love to talk about homeschooling,
and am enjoying the our new experiences homeschooling high school so it any of
you want to talk about any of that please feel free to contact me.

Enjoy your day!
Enjoy your kids!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

misc pics and recipes

I have been in the food mood lately! This week I made a yummy yummy Artichoke Chicken that I found online somewhere, but I'd had it saved on my ipod for so long I completely forgot where, so I'll just have to take the credit for it myself since I cannot give credit where credit is due.

1 can (15 oz) artichoke hearts cut up and drained
3/4 cup parmesan cheese
3/4 cup mayo
1 pinch garlic powder
4 skinless boneless chicken breasts

-mix the first four ingredients
-pour over the chicken
(I've taken to pounding chicken breasts first with a meat tenderizer...this makes a big delicious difference)
-bake on 375 for about 30 minutes or until chicken is cooked

soo soo good!!!

Tonight we had this pizza.

Every time I make pizza (almost every week) I seem to use a different pizza dough recipe. Sometimes we find a really good one, then I forget where I got it from. Today I used this one and it was EXCELLENT!!

Tomorrow would've been my "Mugga's" 94th birthday. Madi and I decided last month that on all our deceased loved one's birthdays and anniversaries of their deaths, we will have foods (or treats) that remind us of them. Last week we had Kielbasa in honor of what would've been Papa's 91st birthday. Tonight for Mugga we had butterscotch oatmeal cookies (actually we made them into bars). She would've loved them!!

In a few minutes Mike and I are heading back to the theatre, no Phantom tonight it was this afternoon. This time it is to see Rabbit Hole. This is going to be a sad show, Jonathan is doing tech. I think Jonathan has had only one night off in about 3 weeks!

Here are a few pics before I go...

Phantom is about 3/4 over. There are 5 more shows, so far we have no real pictures or any video to show for it. I'm not sure if we'll be able to get any video, this is just one more way in which adult theatre is very different from kids' theatre. I keep asking Jonathan to bring a camera and take some pics back stage of him and Jake in their costumes. His response "it's not like we're having a party back there!" So no pics yet of Jonathan in his Renaissance looking outfit (complete with tights) or in his demonish black hooded garb. No no pic of Jake in his young phantom wig or mask. Here are a few quick shots taken with my phone post show.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

24 hour update

Good morning! Now that we are on this side of yesterday, I have some good information in favor of the "fly by the seat of your pants" life that we lead. Madi got woken up to an oral exam phone call from her Career Education teacher at 9:45 yesterday morning. The call was actually scheduled for 9:00 (we had both forgotten about it), she was able to go from a sound sleep to having a very mature conversation about her skill set and career interests with a virtual stranger (pun intended) in seconds. This ability of hers could very well be attributed to our fairly consistent lack of planning and the practice that we've all developed of changing gears when at a moment's notice. Jake, while waiting for his siblings to get up, watched the first episode of The Cosby Show on netfilx. This is probably the best episode ever of that series. It's the one where Theo tells his Dad he just wants to be "regular people". I definitely remembered watching it and enjoyed sharing it with my son (that's a memory right?) I'm really not such a huge fan of TV inspite of the fact that I've mentioned a different sitcom in the last three posts, I'm just playing the devil's advocate of "it isn't necessarily the root of all evil" either. Everyone got a reasonable amount of schoolwork done. Slight progress was made on the new desks. My never consulting my calendar (whether or not I actually write down what is scheduled is another blog post) was highlighted again when I had forgotten that I'd agreed to keep everyone's favorite 1 year old not just for the regularly scheduled 3:30-6:30 tim slot, but well into the night so his parents could go out for a belated Valentine dinner (as opposed to the belated Christmas dinner we plan to take them out for). Even though, I had forgotten, it was easy for me to keep him longer, he's so snuggly and cute! We had tacos for dinner, a family favorite. Jonathan and Jake got to the Theatre in plenty of time. Madi was only 10 minutes late for CCD. Most importantly, yesterday we had some very good conversations and about friendships and growning up. This could never have been scheduled on a calendar, I'm so glad we had the chance and choice to do this because this is what life is all about.

AND when the kids and I pulled into the driveway at 11pm, my loving husband who had been out of town was home, awake, and waiting for us!!

Just for fun, here's what I found on the computer this morning... (keep in mind while not inappropriate for children, this is definitely an adult show). This is a glimpse into the mind of the quirky eight year old that I'm raising...

The Phantom……………………………Jake S
Christine DaeĆ©………………………………...Sara G
Gerard Carriere…………………….....Brandon W
Phillipe, The Count De Chandon………......Joe P
Alain Cholet……………………………..…...Wyatt G
La Carlotta……………………………..…Olivia F
Inspector Ledoux………………………… Tyler A
Joseph Buquet………………………….….…Josh B
Jean-Claude……………………………….….Jarred H

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Spring Cleaning a work in progress

With the windows open for maybe only the second or third time since Thanksgiving (don't tell me we don't have a change of seasons here!), I think it's time for some spring cleaning. I started with my blog. I finally learned how to do a collage picture--thanks for the link Kirsten! It's not exactly how I wanted it, but I've already spent more than a reasonable amount of time on it, so as with everything else for me right now it's a work in progress. At least it is farther along on the work in progress continuum than my house! I've got it into my head that I want to get rid of TONS of stuff. I've started on the Lenten purge about a month early, but it is slow going. The home in my mind and the one that we work, play, live, and love in everyday look very different. I think I just answered my own question. We LIVE in this house everyday. Four of the five of us probably spend an average of 20 hours a day in here maybe more. Remember HOME was my word of the year afterall. There's a fine line between making the house look nice and homeschooling three dynamic children. I'm in the throes of walking that line right now. Last fall I had the idea to switch around the two downstairs rooms (in the process we removed all the bookshelves from the room that we called the library). It worked. Now I am happy with both of those rooms. Our current focus is the loft. This room has never looked like I've wanted it to. This weekend we got rid of the huge falling apart particle board computer desk. I had been throwing away pieces as they fell off anyway, so it was surely a lost cause. We are now in the process of putting together two new adult looking (although still particle board...remember we are not rich!) desks up here. The consensus so far is that it "looks like a hotel"... this is a compliment. Well, it reminds Jonathan of the hotel business center where he did some schoolwork this fall when we were in Atlanta. Jonathan's neatness standards are not on the same level as mine and his periferal vision isn't that good either. If I close one eye and squint I see what Jonathan means, unfortunately I also see piles of books and stacks of paper, baskets of miscellaneous cr@p that has to be gone through, and all of the "nonessential" parts to the desks that have to be dealt with (like the drawers). Work in progress!

The new chore system is still a work in progress as well. When two of my kids are out performing until 11pm three nights a week (four this week for Phantom, plus Jonathan was involved with tech for two other shows this week, so last night was his only "night off" in about 2 weeks), schooling and chores bright and early in the morning isn't on their agenda. I want to make sure that they get the sleep they need and yet we need to get something accomplished each day...another fine line I am walking.

In the last few days I've come across suggestions about "unplugging" the TV etc. Jake's reading book had a cutesy sweet story about this adorable fake family who watches no TV. They have so much time for other noble pursuits. The story even mentions how memories come from people and not TV. While this is certainly more true than not, I have to say that when Madi was watching Family Ties yesterday morning and it was the one where Alex and Ellen first met (it has that Billy Vera and the Beaters song in it), it brought back memories for me...memories of myself at Madi's age, memories of my old friend and sometimes blog reader Bonnie, memories of young love. I know in this age of "courtship" young love is frowned upon, but call me "old fashioned" (hahaha) I still have a fondness for it. Not to mention in real life "Alex and Ellen" have been happily married for about 25 years and have four kids, where would they be without TV?!

Sometimes I think I'd like to be more structured, more black and white. Things like no TV and knowing what we're going to have for dinner every night of the week sound appealing to me. The thing is, I'm not very structured and I'm definitely more grey than black and white. In the book The Giver the characters aren't allowed choices because they might make the wrong one. This would certainly take some of the stress out of life. The thing is though it also took the LIFE out of life. So there, that's my excuse for why my kids are still in bed at almost 9 and my house is not a showplace. I'm not sure who's going to do what schoolwork today and I have absolutely no idea what we are having for dinner. I'll call em as I see em, stuff will get done today, we'll live a lot of life, and we'll make a lot of choices. We are works in progress.

Monday, February 14, 2011


The kids and I were pulling into the parking lot of the gym today, when I saw it...the big red bus! The last time I gave blood was Halloween, it was easy to remember because the Tshirt has vampire teeth with dripping blood on it, and I happened to put that shirt on to go to the gym today. I figured it could be a new tradition for me to give blood on holidays. Last time Halloween, this time Valentine's Day, maybe I'd do it again on Memorial such luck! My iron tends to hover right around the threshold of being able to donate blood. Usually if I know in advance the bus will be somewhere (usually church) I make a mental note and take iron supplements for about a week in advance. It does the trick. So today, I sent Jonathan and Madi into the gym and went into the bus with my usual, "let's check my iron first just in case." There must be a lot of iron in all of the chocolate I've been eating today because it was fine. So went I went through the usual checklist, yes I have been pregnant, I have three kids, I had basal cell carcinoma and it was successfully removed, no I've never done any of the illegal and immoral things they ask about, blah, blah, blah. Let me back up a little, on Halloween when I gave blood, I found out that starting last fall if you go to Cozumel, you can't give blood for a year. While my most recent cruise was a surprise present for me, I knew Mike had been looking into another one and I specifically requested that we not go to Cozumel again because of the donating blood thing. No problem we went to Labadee and Jamaica. Anyone who has talked to me about the cruise knows my guilt over going to Labadee (which is in Haiti) and just basking in the sunshine (actually in the shade, remember I have had skin cancer more than once) and not doing something tangible to help the people there (we did spend a little money and supposedly Royal Caribbean does a lot of good for the Haitian people, so I tried to let it go). Well now I have a whole new reason to feel guilty about Haiti... I can't give blood for a year!!! UGH!!! This really frustrates me. There is so little that one person can do to improve the world and donating blood has been a no-brainer for me. I am eligible, unlike a lot of people, and it is easy for me to do. It really bothers me how few people are eligible to give blood AND it bothers me even more how many fewer people are willing to give blood! So here in my tiny piece of cyber space, I make this plea. If you are able to donate blood, would you consider giving it a try? If I can't, the least I can do is try to encourage others to, I'll watch your kids or bake a bread for you or something. Give it a try, it's not as bad as you might think. Also it will make you feel good to know you're doing your part to help someone in need. Since I didn't give blood, I did at least spend a little time on the elyptical at the gym (not very long because the kids had already been in there for a long time). At they gym, my new "playaway" (digital audio book) from the library wasn't working (not my day so far huh?), so I had sometime to ponder my frustration over the blood thing. I kept coming back to an episode of FRIENDS where Joey and Phoebe debate whether there is such a thing as a selfless good deed. Like I said I didn't workout very long, so I didn't really come to any conclusion on this one, but the bottom line is, it does make you feel good to do good deeds. Likewise, it makes you feel pretty stinky when you can't do the good deed that you want to do, and therein lies the frustration!

Thursday, February 10, 2011


I know it's time to change my "header" picture, I'm just not ready yet, I love that pic! While we're on the subject, how can I get more than one picture in my header? I tried once and couldn't figure out a way, anyone want to talk me through it?

I'm cold! I have pants and a sweater and fuzzy slipper socks and other slippers on top of those on and I'm still cold. I've been drinking hot tea all afternoon. Madi put on shorts and a tshirt to wear today, I had a few things to say about that and made her at least wear a sweatshirt too. On the way home from dropping the big kids at theatre ("senior tour" where they are writing a play about conservation that they will perform at local schools this spring), I saw a boy outside wearing shorts and no shirt. It's about 58 degrees outside and cloudy! Florida kids are crazy! This confirms my suspicion that at the same temperature, northern kids dress more appropriately than southern kids. Here's why... our shorts aren't packed away, so they think they can wear them whenever they want. Also my kids have not worn their winter coats all year, even though we've had plenty of cold enough days. They aren't in the habit. That and they still think long sleeves and coats are the same thing!

Madi and I had bookclub yesterday and we discussed one of my all time favorite books The Giver. I could've talked about that book for another few hours, it went by way too fast and all of a sudden it was time to go and pick up our cute little (already one year old) buddy Landon. You've gotta love babysitting when your own kids are capable enough to run the show and you can run out to the gym for a quick workout. Don't worry I #1 arranged it with his mom ahead of time and #2 had plenty of time with him just to myself later in the evening when everyone else went to their various activities.

Madi started a different math curriculum today. Actually it was "in the plan" for us we just opted to start it ahead of schedule. She was doing Singapore Math, which I love, but she was in the last book and she was not retaining a lot of stuff like she should've/could've been. Singapore has a lot of mental math, it's almost all word problems, and there isn't a lot of practice or explanation. She was going to be moving to Teaching Textbooks next year anyway and we were on the fence about if she was ready for Algebra 1 or Pre-Algebra. We decided to just go with Pre-Algebra and start right now. She's loving it and did two lessons today. She hasn't loved math in a long time, so this is a very good thing. She plans to finish it all before the fall so she can do Algebra 1 in 8th grade. If she continues to want to do this, there's no doubt in my mind she'll be able to, when she sets her mind to something she's very self motivated.

Homeschooling high school is not as complicated as most people think. Our virtual school opportunites certainly help with this, but even with that aside, it's not really rocket science. The hardest part is having kids who are performing in plays until all hours of the night and then have a very hard time getting up and moving in the morning! Seriously though, it's not bad. I know a lot of people who are going to be entering this arena in the next year or two and I hope that I can be helpful to them. This might be another one of those areas where I'm not preaching enough about what I'm practicing. A lot of people get caught up in things like "grade level" and diplomas and I think they are wasting a lot of valuable time and energy worrying. Jonathan is going to have way more than enough "credits" the complicated part is going to be figuring out which ones to "count" and which ones not to worry about for now. Besides his Geometry, Physical Science, Ancient History, English and Spanish. He's completed 1/2 a credit in Drivers' Ed, will have 1/2 a credit in Theology of the Body (a class he is taking at church and we will add to it with supplemental reading and writing at home), we were planning on 1/2 a credit for cooking/home ec, 1/2 a credit for phys ed (at the gym) and he spends enough time working and performing at the Theatre to have many many credits there. This is only his first year, there are three more to go. Also he carried over one credit from 8th grade (Algebra) -- you can carry over up to 3 credtis from 8th grade. So here's my soapbox for the day, don't think you can't homeschool high can!

Jonathan just "butt dialed" me from Theatre. Madi did on Tuesday. A mom can't help but get anxious when their kid is calling home when they are supposed to be occupied somewhere else. Everytime I see one of their numbers, I get this "oh no!" feeling, but everytime there's just some quiet talking in the background. They just like to get my heart pumping.

We officially have unlimited texting. It didn't start out that way, and it's costing more than we'd like (the kids are paying their own), but I have to say I've quickly become a big fan of texting! For future reference though, when the verizon guy says the $5 plan includes unlimited verizon to verizon, don't believe him, he's lying!

Gotta go round Jake up from playing with the neighbors and get him something to eat. Then I need to drop him off at Theatre and pick Madi up. Jonathan just has to go from one building to the other and he's got a sandwich to eat on the way. Then I get to come home and eat with Mike and Madi before Mike and I head back to Theatre to usher for tonight's show. No wonder homeschooling high school doesn't seem that complicated just figuring out who needs to be where when is far more complicated than that.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Preaching what we Practice

I'm fairly good at practicing what I preach...except of course when it comes to screaming things like "why do you have to yell like that?" at my kids. I'm around enough people to know that this is common so I don't worry too much about it. I have just recently been challenged to preach what I practice. This is a little more challenging. I'm not much of a "preach-er", actually I try not to be "preach-y". Sometimes, however, I just assume that people know what I know and I'm finding out that is not always the case. I'm quite good at "preach-ing" in the case of homeschooling and socialization. "Oh my kids are too social to homeschool" someone might say. That person can then expect to hear an earful from me about their misconceptions regarding homeschooling. Theatre is an area where I'm not as skilled in the "preach-ing". Up until last month when our children's theatre joined ranks with a local community theatre, we were the best children's theatre in the area performing in a very poor rented location. The directors were paying an arm and a leg for the rights to the shows and more than an arm and a leg for the less than ideal space and they were barely breaking even. I would find myself getting extremely annoyed with people who complained incessantly about ticket prices etc. I just ASSUMED people knew how much it was costing them. Often I'd find out later that people had no idea about the costs involved in running a successful children's theatre. I spent an awful lot of time frustrated with people who simply didn't have all of the information I had. Church is another where I have trouble "preach-ing". The Catholic Church is probably the most misunderstood organizational body in the world. It is certainly misunderstood in my corner of the world, by Catholics and non-Catholics alike. I've been Catholic my whole life, but I've only begun to scratch the surface of what that really means. I tend to clam up or walk away when I hear about these misconceptions because I feel unqualified or unworthy to attempt to explain them. If somebody misunderstands my point about homeschooling or theatre it's not really all that crucial. If I somehow misrepresent THE CHURCH, there's too much at stake...too much pressure. The problem is, by doing and saying nothing, I am making a statement and I've come to realize it is not a good one. There's a saying "you might be the only cathedral someone sees today." This applies not only to trying to be gracious and considerate to everyone you meet, but also in explaining why I go to the Church with the Eucharist instead of the one with the best jelly donuts or the most welcoming people.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

The computer is going to explode...

...and so is my head!

I just typed this post and the computer officially crashed, thankfully blogger saved this. The problem is I'm now attempting to finish and edit this on my iPod, and I can't get to the bottom of the post. I think it's considerably scattered and might end right in the middle of a sentence. I guess it really is a good representation of my muddled brain and our dysfunctional computer situation.

Our computer is doing some crazy things. I think it's a ticking time bomb. Just before our cruise, crazy spyware stuff kept popping up. Miraculously, when we got home it was working just fine. I think it was happy to have had a rest. Now it's back in full force and doing all kinds of kooky things. I came home this evening after a very very long week and was heading for a hot bubble bath. After needing to print one quick (well, if you call 25 minutes of fighting with the computer quick) thing for my religious ed class tomorrow, I somehow got this crazy idea to blog about the dumb computer and thus spend more time getting completely irritated by it. The reason, I think, is that the computer is reminding me of my brain. They both seem to be in overload mode. Since my blog is the best way I know to unload my brain (I wish I had a pensive like Dumbledore) it forces me to spend more time on the computer and then my head hurts even more having to deal with it. Do you see the irony here?

Anyway, you know the saying about when you have kids your heart walks around in another body? Well, obviously after 15 years I'm fairly used to that. The thing is the majority of these last 15 years the other hearts have been walking around in fairly close proximity to mine. They still are really, but this adult theatre (that phrase always sounds so wrong to me) experience is a new dynamic for our family. Jake and Jonathan have been out most nights until after 11, actually I think it's been every night since we got back from the cruise. They are involved in something pretty large that has almost nothing to do with me. It's strange. Last night was opening night (which I didn't attend...more on that in a sec) and afterwards there was a reception at the coffeehouse nextdoor to the theatre. Jake and Jonathan were walking around and everyone there was talking to them, and taking pictures with them, and hugging them, etc. Jake was even fairly gracious to them. My kids are growing up! The night before last was "friends and family night", it was actually a dress rehersal open to the public. {It was a great show, I highly recommend it and tickets are selling out fast} I have been to EVERY SINGLE childrens' theatre performance my kids have been in. Not just every show, every performance of EVERY SHOW! This is different, this is mainstage theatre. This show is going to run about 20 times. I don't "work for" the adult theatre (althought we will be ushering a few times). The show is going on right now and I'm not there. We weren't at opening night (Madi was). Last night waiting for the show to end a man who knew we had two kids in it came up to us saying, "you do plan to see your kids in this show don't you?" I had a really hard time with his tone and implication. I asked Mike if it bothered him, and it didn't. "Who is that guys anyway?" Mike asked. "I don't know," I said. "So why would it bother you?" was Mike's reply. Because I'm the mom! Because I am the homeschooling, over-involved mom! Because my "hearts" are a part of something that I am really not a part of. All of this is good and healthy and natural and normal and overwhelming. We've been doing such an all encompassing job of giving them roots, it's a little strange to wake up and realize they are starting to use their wings too. It's not like

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Snippets from the first of the month

Mike and I got back from our cruise on Saturday. It was A-mA-ZING!!! It was so reasonably priced too! I always feel the need to mention that. $199 per person, this includes TONS of food, great shows every night, and of course the little itty bitty but very cute room for 5 nights! Growing up my parents owned a small grocery store. It was the only store in a very small town. Everyone thought we were rich. We weren't! To this day I have trouble with people thinking I'm rich (I'm not!-- well I am very rich, but not financially). Currently, I worry that people will think we're rich because we live in a pretty big house. We got a very good deal on it, just like the cruise. We're not rich, we know how to find a bargain! But I digress. We are definitely becoming "cruise people", even if it means people will think we're rich. It is such a great way to vacation. Extremely cost effective (did I mention $199 a person for 5 nights?!), so relaxing, and you are treated like kings and queens. Interestingly enough, I have no problem being treated like I'm rich, I just don't want people to THINK I am (cause I'm not). We're looking into options for the next one. This time we really will bring the kids and my parents.

We just finished the first month of our new chore system. It was a success, though definitely a work in progress. I'm going to miss Jonathan being "kitchen boy", now Jake is "kitchen boy" which really means Mommy's kitchen helper. Jonathan pretty much did all the kitchen clean up all month. I do feel the need to mention however, that while Jake is definitely a large part of that "work in progress" that I mentioned, he is far more involved in clean up that Jonathan was at his age. The moral of this story is that you don't have to "train" your kids when they are tiny for them to be very competent housekeepers in their teen/ preteen years. There is not a limited window of opportunity as some people would lead you to believe. It's never too late, take my word for it! Anyway, Jake is now kitchen helper, Madi is laundry (so while I will be doing much more kitchen work this month, I won't spend much (if any) time on laundry, and Jonathan is front room and family room (dust vacuum etc). Today Jake was "helping" in the kitchen and he noticed that Jonathan had organized the plastic container cabinet. Jonathan really did do a great job on this. Jake's comment was, "our house isn't fancy enough for this cabinet to look like this!" The kids get $5 a week each if all of this work is done to satisfaction and their rooms are clean, and they do any other menial tasks we might assign to them without a huge amount of griping and complaining. This might sound like a lot of money to some people (and now you're probably thinking we're rich), but the thing is our kids have to pay their own way for most of what they do (they have had to even before we started paying them). This includes T-shirts and other costume related stuff for theatre, plays, movies and other entertainment like Disney or Universal passes, certainly anything they want to buy and often most things they need like sneakers etc. Either way it's fairly cheap labor for us and very good experience for them. A couple times this week a kid didn't get paid, I won't mention names, but it involved two of the three kids. Today we added a new amendment, if you don't earn your money you also get basically no "screen time" for the following week (obviously there are some exceptions to this rule like virtual school). Not to mention you are still responsible for the work. The month long system is working well because it really gives a kid a chance to learn the jobs involved and also enough time to keep it up. Last year we did a similar thing and rotated each week, that wasn't enough time to get a job done and was often left for the next in line to deal with.

Jake and Jonathan got home at 11:30 last night! This being a part of the adult theatre is a big commitment!! It is really good for them though. Jake seems to be maturing daily. He's taking this very seriously. Yesterday I was taking down the snowmen decorations (more on that in a minute), and I was standing very precariously on the piano bench. At the same time, Jake was standing on a very small rocking chair. I suggested he get down because I didn't want both of us to fall and break our necks at the same time (we were the only ones home). I said I needed him to call Daddy and 911 if I fell and broke my neck. He got right down and said, "Mom, it would be bad if you broke your neck but it would be worse if I did...I'm not replaceable in Phantom!" (apparently as a homeschooling mom, I am fairly replaceable!). Both Jonathan and Jake seem to be impressing some adults some of whom don't even like kids. Yesterday someone told Jonathan if he was ever going to have kids he'd pick him. Jake even seems to be able to hold actual conversations with people when I'm not there to stand behind. He's gotten people to take them out to dinner and even buy him dessert! It is interesting to just let them go and see how they fly.

Today is the nicest day of the year so far (well, here I mean, not counting the cruise). All of the windows are open. AAAhhh, it's about time. Some far away readers aren't going to like hearing this as half the country is in the middle of a blizzard right now. My two best friends growing up both facebooked that their kids have a snowday today. They live 1500 miles apart! So anyway, we're enjoying the springlike weather here and the last of the winter decorations are in the process of getting shoved under the stairs.

As I am putting away the snowmen etc, I am once again reminded that we have far too much stuff. Even though it seems like we are always in the process of cleaning out, I am gearing up for a major purge! Last year in blogworld there was a lot of talk about purging 40 bags of stuff in 40 days of Lent. I am definitely up for this challenge! There is no way I'm going to be able to wait another month to do this though, maybe I'll make it a year of purging a bag a day. Sometimes I think I could get rid of 365 bags of stuff and hardly miss any of it. And we're not even rich, imagine how much stuff we'd have if we were!

This week there is a mission going on at my church. This means three days of talks in the morning and different talks at night. The priest doing it is really a fantastic speaker. Yesterday's morning topic was "every pearl began as a pain in the shell". Each talk could (and maybe will someday) be a blog post of it's own. For now let me just say that this quote immediately made me think of Jake. I came upon an interesting picture recently (on Tiffany's blog) that might shed some light on why Jake is generally the most challenging of my kids. I hope you enjoy analyzing this picture as much as I have...