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The winter that just won't quit


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Saturday, April 26. 2008

I recall other springs in the past in which the snow lingers a bit or you get a bit of snow late int he season but this year it seems to not be able to leave. It lingers on and the temps are cooler and we have been getting a fair bit of snow when we should be focussed on sunshine, rain showers and the blooms of spring. This morning we awoke to the ground covered in snow and snow fell on and off throughout the day as the temperatures hovered around freezing. S is going on a very long bike ride tomorrow. Hopefully the precipitation holds off and they can enjoy the ride without freezing to the seat! Perhaps May will bring warmer temps and the rest of what we expect for spring!

Moving Forward


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Saturday, April 26. 2008

L has a hard time letting go of things. She loves to save little trinkets, clothing that doesn't really fit or she doesn't like anymore and bits of papers. She saves treat bags from parties, tickets and programs from events and activities we attend and doesn't like people in her room trying to help her pick up. Despite our best intentions, when we try to help her pick up clothes and toys and stuff in her room, it ends up in a screaming match and she ends up shutting us out of her room.

Today was a very different day. We have wanted to get the girls dressers as they have one and a metal basket one in the closet that is not useful. Change comes hard for L and we have made a number of changes in their room in the past few months from bunk beds, to storage for toys, took out the old bookshelves and now the move for dressers.

As I prepared for the process of tidying up to make way for the dresser and her friend sleeping over this evening, I was quite anxious as no one looks forward to causing stress to their child and winning the "You're the meanest Mom!" award! I was amazed at her today! She let go of a lot of stuff that she decided she no longer needed and in her words was "junk" or "not her style anymore." I am so proud of her! We have made the first step towards getting their room in order and I am sure the battles will continue as we move her clothing from the makeshift space to her new dresser but at least we are moving forward. Now to find the time to do that in every room of the house!

Reading with my boy


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Saturday, April 26. 2008

AJ has been reading a lot lately. It seems to have connected with him. Signs, books, papers, anything with print. He tries to sound things out. Guesses at words or makes them up. Things that b,d, and p are all the same letter which makes for some interesting words but is really making progress and enjoying the process. The world of print is opening up for him and he seems to be excited as he begins his journey into literacy. At the beginning of April we started his "book Worm" and for each book he reads (now granted these are not 300 page novels as one of his friends who is also in kindergarten is reading but they are beginner readers) he gets to add a segment to his worm. He helped make the multi-colored circles and we write the name of the book on each one when he is finished. He has read 71 books since the beginning of the month.

His favorite thing to read about currently is grass. Yes, you did read that correctly. It is grass. The reason that this subject brings him such incredible joy at the moment is not anything scientific or knowledge based. It has to do with spelling. "Hey Mom!! That says ass!!! You can't even get mad at me for swearing because you made me read the book!!! It says ggg rrr ass!! HAHA Look at that Mom. It says ass in grass!!"

Traveling at the speed of...................


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Friday, April 25. 2008

...............well I am not too sure what it is except that it is way too fast. When things get so hectic and busy, I really don't enjoy it. I like things to be a bit slower paced and not piled up on each other. For the most part this doesn't happen, however there just seems to be a few days each month where everything seems to occur in the same time frame and when you finally sit down to catch your breath, you give your head a shake because in the end the things you value most are not those that you spent the most time with.

The week of the 14th to 18th was like that for us. S was really busy at work. I had to work. The kids' regular piano lesson was replaced by group lessons which are wonderful but last later into the evening and provide a disjointed evening. Of course the day they had group lessons, happened to be my birthday. S had to leave early for a work meeting. Then there was preschool, work, piano lessons and no time for the fun things a birthday can bring such as a special dinner, cake and time with family. I was given a special gift of a picture frame in the driveway of the piano teacher's house in between the younger kids group lesson and L's and I finally got some cake 3 days later but it was far from a relaxing, soak up family moment as we inhaled it before we set off on a 10 hour journey to Canada to visit family and have LJ baptized. It did make me realize that I prefer more calmer times, when we can take time to be with each other and celebrate the milestones in our lives in a special and meaningful way rather than rushing through the mechanics of it.

Trips to MB, always seem too fast and leave me wanting more. More time to visit, more time to be with family and friends and more time just to relax (although what really is relaxing when traveling with 4 kids!). We saw so many people and it was so incredible to celebrate such a special time in LJ's life with so many special people. It felt somewhat like a wedding though where you barely get a chance to talk to anyone. Given the limited time we had in MB and the reality of life with 4 kids (I rarely ever get to have a full conversation with someone without being distracted by someone needing something or me needing to tend to a situation that would result in bodily injury if I didn't!), I felt like I didn't get a chance to visit as much with anyone as I wanted. It was so great touching base with everyone but I was left wanting more. More time. More of them. I felt very blessed to have the opportunity we did to share and celebrate and I was very grateful for the love and joy that surrounded but there was this little nagging twinge in the back of my heart that longed for more. Perhaps if you asked my Dad and step-mom they may have felt differently having all of us crammed into their 2 bedroom suite at the seniors complex!

A little bit of culture


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Sunday, April 13. 2008

This afternoon we attended a performance in a music series at a nearby church. I was really excited to be attending Clara's Visitor as it was a blend of drama and great classical music. It was extra special as L had chosen to do a presentation last year on Clara Schumann, whom the play/music was about. L had a "bad attitude" about the entire thing. At one point, I was trying to ask her what she thought of the music, could she really feel the "moods" of the music, what it was like to live in the 1800's and so forth. No response. The costumes were great, the music superb so I thought there was something she would "connect" with. I waited for a response. She leaned over and said "Her butt looks really big!"

My Biggest Kid


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Saturday, April 12. 2008

His child like energy, joy and wonder in life are some of the most admirable traits that drew me to S., my wonderful hubby, 12 years ago. He keeps things stirred up and many evenings I am left wondering how the kids will ever settle down. He is in there like one of the kids showering them with love and affection. Many times people have commented that I have 5 kids rather than four and a husband. He truly is a kid at heart. And I guess in some respects I need to admit that so am I. That is likely why we enjoy each other's company so much. He is a kid at heart and I love that!

Being the kid at heart, he has been wanting a Wii for quite some time. Each time we are in a particular store with the kids in tow, he always asks "Should we get a Wii today?" and of course there is never one in stock and the kids emotions rise and fall like a roller coaster. This has gone on for several months now and he has built anticipation and excitement for "someday we can get a Wii"

Today, he was running errands with the boys while I had the girls at dance. The store had one in stock and he fortunately was in a financial spot to purchase it. I truly do not know who was more excited about having the system....the kids or him. It provided for lots of fun, rowdiness and cheering at different points in the day. My biggest kid is upstairs now playing various games (actually sweating as he boxes with his opponent) all under the guise of "learning the features."

In case you are worried that our "no kid left inside" family from my previous blog post is turning into a video game zombie family, we still got out and enjoyed some real family fun exercise/activity at the pool at the Y.

No child left inside


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Friday, April 11. 2008

I recently read a posting on an email list I am on that was entitled "no child left inside". I found it humorous as it was playing with the schools act of "no child left behind." They were making reference to an upcoming speaker (that I would love to go and hear but unfortunately am working hat evening). It went on to say how children are not getting enough time in nature, exploring and playing and how these activities are essential to children's emotional, physical and spiritual growth and development. As I read that, it struck me that for a lot of people being outdoors and finding time to be outside is very difficult with long hours at work, school and indoor activities. I realized that this is one of the areas that comes easily for us as a large part of our homeschooling has a nature component and we are a family that enjoys the outdoors (although according to my kids today the are done with the snow and are waiting til spring to go outside!). I am very grateful that we have the opportunities for nature exploration and play that we do and I am looking forward to making sure that none of my 4 kids are left inside!

Three year old logic


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Friday, April 11. 2008

This afternoon, in a very rare moment, A-girl and I were alone sharing some special time together. At one point, I asked her to help me pick up a few things off the floor that her brother had dumped that was right in front of the door and the older kids were going to be dropped off from p lay dates so I thought we should tidy up. She sat there staring at me as I picked up. I asked her again and she continued to stare. I then asked her why she wasn't going to help me pick the toys up. She replied "I don't really feel like doing what you asked." I talked to her about how we often have to do things we really don't feel like doing as part of a family or community. I talked of how polite it was to help when asked and how everyone works together in the family. Without missing a beat, she informed me, "I think I will be rude today!" and picked up her doll and left the room. I couldn't help but smile. I hadn't said anything about being rude but she feels that the opposite of polite is rude and she wasn't going to help me so she decided she would be rude. Its another example of how that little spit fire tells it as it is leaving little room for any discussion.

I want, I want


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Friday, April 11. 2008

This morning we went to a local museum focusing on electricity with some friends and had a great time. There was a small gift shop and as we were leaving the kids were finding all sort of neat things they wanted. "Mom!!! I want this!" with great enthusiasm or "Mom, Can I get this?" repeatedly left their mouths. I felt overwhelmed by the constant request....now granted all these things really were cool and I would have loved to have them to add them to our science activities, library etc however, it wasn't realistic. After AJ had asked for what felt like the 100th time, "Mom, can I have $1.50. I want $1.50?", I said to him. "You know what I want? I want world peace and for our family to get along lovingly, joyfully and peacefully all the time." He replied, "OK Mom....but can I first have $1.50?!"

A winter that just won't give up


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Friday, April 11. 2008

After such a warm and glorious couple of days to end last week, the temperatures have been cooler and we have had more rain. Yesterday we got a nice rain/snow/ice pellet storm that turned to snow during the night. We only got a couple of inches here in the metro, however those tot he north of us received 9 inches and it is still snowing. Not sure what happened to spring.....maybe next week!

Spring is here!!


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Saturday, April 5. 2008

We enjoyed another warm day today...it is hard to believe that just 5 days ago we were buried in fresh snow. It is definitely spring and the kids are loving being outdoors.

Here are the signs of spring at our house:

- AJ has torn the knee out of every single pair of pants he owns in a matter of just a few days.
- We had a BBQ this evening and ate dinner outside on the back deck.
- We need to bathe our children each night to ensure that they really are our children and not some other mud covered youngsters that we picked up along the way.
- I discovered this evening that when saying "wash you hands for dinner", I really need to change that to "Wash your arms from your shirt sleeves down to your finger tips." as AJ sat with very clean hands at the table, however his arms were filthy!
- The children go through twice as many clothes in a day due to the "mud factor" and I need to restock laundry detergent and stain remover!
- AJ's new obsession is baseball and from the time he wakes up til its dark he can be heard "Who wants to play baseball!" "Come and throw the ball with me!!" "Come pitch to me!!"
- My children's energy level seems to increase exponentially with their excitement of playing outdoors (not that they didn't play a lot in the snow!) as seasonal allergies zap mine and the remaining equation is not conducive to the type of day I would love to have.
- Bike rides are becoming a regular event.

Spring Fever has hit and we're loving it!

To be a kid


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Saturday, April 5. 2008

Yesterday after meeting friends for an event indoors (birthday bash), another mom and I were talking about how our kids needed to run outside. We decided to meet at the park near our house and have a picnic lunch followed by some playtime. The temps were creeping towards 60 degrees and it was glorious. My friend and I were comfortable in our pants and jackets and our children ran joyously through the field playing baseball, digging in the sand and playing on the playground equipment in bare feet. AJ wore shorts and a t-shirt. I had tried to convince him earlier in the morning that it wasn't quite that warm, and finally gave up after much argument and decided to go with the logical consequence line of thinking (he'll be cold) but he just didn't seem to care. The 4 kids (my older three and our friend) were hilarious. It didn't seem to phase them that there was still snow on the the north facing surfaces and obstructed areas of the playground or that the wet mucky mess was very cold. They ran barefoot without a care in the world. As they "slid" into home base during their baseball game and sent mud flying everywhere, their joy and happiness couldn't have been more evident. To them, the only thing that mattered was that they were outdoors, soaking up the sunshine and the fresh spring air. We had intended to be out a short time and found ourselves finally packing things up after three hours of glorious playtime as the rains moved in.

Perhaps the greatest part of the afternoon was watching little LJ explore his world. Last year, he explored that park primarily from my arms and occasionally the swing. He was tentative initially and wasn't sure what to think of the sand and mud as he crawled along. Pretty soon, after some reassurance, he was right in there with everyone else. He was crawling through the mud without care. He has a unique crawl so his pants were completely wet and muddy on one leg from the knee down, dry on the other and very wet on his bottom! To him, that didn't matter as he was focussed on a mission. He discovered the joy of going down the slide, crawling over tot he toddler climbing structure and making his way up the three steps to the top of the slide and going down again. The area at the side of the slide was a mixture of snow, ice, water and wet sand. He loved it! He laughed out loud, squealed with delight as he crawled around and had all of us laughing and enjoying ourselves almost as much as he was. It was incredibly heart warming. One thing that became very evident was that I will have my hands full chasing him around this summer. He isn't walking yet but he crawls very quickly and climbs without fear. He will definitely give me a good workout!

Fashion Queen.....or not


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Saturday, April 5. 2008

As the temperatures warm up, L has been excited to dive into her closet and pull out things she has been asking to wear for the past several weeks. Yesterday, we had gotten lost in the joy of being together and playing and time slipped away so we were running behind to get to playgroup. L offered to help pick out some clothes for A-girl and I gladly accepted. I ran around gathering things to head out and all of a sudden noticed A-girl running through the living room in a t-shirt, undies, socks and shoes. I asked her where her pants were and she replied....."Momma! those pants were tooooo short. I am not wearing those!" I tried to explain that they were capris pants and supposed to be short but to no avail. She found something completely different to wear! Given her response to capris pants, there may be some articles in her drawer that are not going to be worn this spring/summer!

A moment of fame


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Thursday, April 3. 2008

Its funny when I find myself out and about and a kid will notice me, recognize me and burst out in excited cries of "its my swimming teacher!!!" Today was one of those days several times over. This morning we went to the final Young People's Concerts at Orchestra Hall. These concerts are very popular with home school families. As we got into the elevator in the parking ramp, another family followed us in. I had recognized the kids as they are in the swim and gym program. As we went down in the elevator, one of the girls (about 11 years old) recognized me, gets this look on her face, exclaims...."hey you are my swim teacher" and then excitedly turns to her Mom and explains it all again with sheer enthusiasm. This happened about 3 more times on the way through the skyway to Orchestra Hall. Inside, our group must have been seated across the aisle from at least half the other families in the Home School swim and gym program. Kids were jumping up and down and waving to me, calling out to me "Hey swim teacher!!! It's me!!!" Its not surprising to me that our paths cross in certain activities as the resources in our community for home educators are amazing. It does warm my heart though.

Blast form the past


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Wednesday, April 2. 2008

As a kid, I had the Barbie swimming pool. The one with the plastic round pool shape that was held together with little interlocking notches and a plastic liner, diving board, floating chair and slide. I remember playing for hours in the basement with my pool and my dolls. Somehow that box (the original pool box) ended up in some of my things in our garage and the kids have been bugging me for quite a while to play with it. I kept putting them off thinking the thing would likely fall apart if ever used and I wasn't certain all the pieces were even in there.

Yesterday, we decided to pull it out and try it. The plastic pool frame was badly damaged and the interlocking pieces broken in several places but we got it all set up.......then LJ smacked it as only a 14 month old could and the brittle plastic crumpled under his weight. The other three kids looked devastated as they watched him grinning with delight at the new sound sensation he just made. I assured them a little duct tape would fix everything. As we pulled out the rest of the pieces it became evident that the pool liner wasn't in the box and neither was the slide. We creatively used a garbage bag as our liner and set up the rest of the pieces and the kids have had two days of pool party fun on the kitchen floor (I wasn't trusting my pool liner to hold the water so we didn't venture too far or leave it set up too long.

It was so much fun to watch the three kids playing in the pool that brought me so much joy and pleasure as a kid 30 years ago!



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