Wednesday, August 27, 2008

injuries, cow births, bedhead... and more!

I've been plagued by injuries lately.  This isn't any surprise to me because I'm a pretty clutzy person, don't let my athletic physique fool you, I can trip with the best of them.  This morning though, I awoke to my second sleep-induced injury in the past week.  Last week I jerked awake after a nightmare and wrenched my neck.  That one left me doing the heat/ice routine for days and avoiding backing out of parking spaces.  This morning I awoke to a major shoulder pain brought on by the annoying pregnancy mandate of sleeping on your side.  I hate sleeping on my side (fist punches the air)!  I hate to skip my morning workout (insert sarcastic tone here) because I don't want to miss the stupid jokes on my DVD ("Do you have the bullets for my guns?").  Maybe this is a good time to ditch Bob and order a new DVD.   My other injuries include a nice slice on my calf as I was taking out the trash yesterday (I still maintain that taking out the trash is a BOY job, not a GIRL job, but this girl can't wait for the boy to get home sometimes) and stubbing my toe on a doorway this morning ("Do you need a Dora band-aid mom?"  "No, Cam, there's no blood.").  Sorry for all the parenthesis but there's a lot going through my head whenever I get injured!

Last night I hear Darren watching TV in the bedroom ("OOOOOHHHHH!  Man!  Hahahahahha!  Jen, you've got to see this!").  I go in and find him watching "Dirty Jobs".  Mike Rowe is assisting in cow births.  Seriously, I DO NOT need to see this.  So of course I settle in on the bed and peek out from behind the pillows occasionally.  If you've never heard a cow in labor it's pretty much the same noise Chewbacca makes in Star Wars.   Mike's just getting the hang of it (set your foot up on the cow's belly for leverage as you pull the calf out by its hooves) when the vets have him assist with a cow C-section.  Again, I DO NOT need to see this.  It's like a car wreck, you slow down to take a look even though you know you shouldn't.  I'll have these images with me forever.  I don't think Sierra Vista uses these same techniques, so that's good.  And I know they don't make me lick the baby to clean it up after it's born, so again, another plus for human medicine.  Apologies to all my ag-tastic relatives, but yuck!  This confirms my discomfort around animals once and for all!

Jason woke up this morning with rock-star quality bedhead.  I took the kids swimming yesterday (instead of battling mini-vans in a loading zone we were swimming, yeah homeschool!) so that didn't help with the state of his hair this morning.  I thought I'd document it for proof of what I get to deal with every morning.  Cameron had to get in on the picture taking, so here's a shot of her.  See if you can make out the shiner under her right eye.  Her face met up with Jason's foot in a wrestling match ("but she started it!").

Saturday, August 23, 2008

new camera!

Yeah!  We finally did it!  I bought a new camera the other night and I wanted to take a picture of it with the old camera so you could see it, but you'll never guess what happened... the old camera wouldn't turn on!  I know, shocking right?  So the new guy is a Nikon Coolpix (the kind with Ashton in the commercials.... not the reason I bought it).  We took the kids to the beach last night to roast hot dogs and marshmellows over a fire and play in the sand.  Here are a few pictures from the new camera of our fun night.

Friday, August 22, 2008

slight announcement and more thoughts on homeschooling

ANNOUNCEMENT:  Cameron likes salad!  Ok, to those of you out of the loop you may be wondering why this is a big deal to me.  The thing is I am a mom with a childhood history of eating bread and cheese in their various forms and very little of anything else.  My mom struggled to get me to eat a variety of foods let alone swallow a vegetable!  So I am very sympathetic to my kids' resistance to new foods, almost to a fault.  This week I've been eating salads every day for lunch to try to boost my veggie intake and decrease my need for bread for this baby.  Cameron will pretty much try anything that Darren and I are eating but only if it comes off of our plates.  So yesterday and today Cameron has been sharing my salads.  Now, I'll be honest, these are cheater salads.  While I use red leaf lettuce I also use turkey, ham, cheese and ranch dressing to help me get the "good for you" stuff down the pipe.  So my chef's salad isn't exactly the healthiest salad in the world.... but Cameron is eating lettuce!  And meat!  
     Ok, now to more thoughts on homeschooling.  We just completed week 4.  Crazy, right?  This has been very enjoyable for me and Jason but we have encountered a few glitches along the way:
1.  Crying.  Last year in kindergarten there was no way Jason would have cried about anything.  In fact, one day he got a pretty nasty scrape at recess and on the way home that day he told me "I toughened up, mom and I didn't cry!"  Well, if I had gotten that scrape I might have shed a tear or two.  But Jason was so affected by his environment and being brave in front of his classmates that he didn't go there.  But yesterday, he turned on the waterworks for 3 separate occasions.  The first time was because he didn't want to write a sentence.  He is required to do a copywork sentence every week so that he can copy proper punctuation and capitalization.  Well, apparently this sentence was just too much for him.  I can't imagine that he would ever pull that on Mrs. Ricks, so why me?  I'm mom, you can cry in front of your mom, right?
2.  Hair.  Just because we could do school work in our pajamas doesn't justify doing it in my mind.  I require that we are all fed and dressed before we start our school day.  That includes Cameron.  We start at 9am, it's not hard to get those goals accomplished.  But somehow, every day Jason's hair seems to allude us.  He has got this tuft of hair at the back of his head that refuses to sit down.  I'm so used to seeing his constant state of bedhead that I don't usually notice until Darren comes home for lunch and makes a remark about forgetting Jason's hair again.  Or we go out to do errands and I look over and see what a ragamuffin kid I've got tagging along behind me.  I would  teach Jason to take care of it himself, but I struggle with getting that hair down!  It would be very simple to just shave it all off, but then we're back to point #1 above.
3.  Science experiments.  The last few weeks we've been doing our science experiments on Fridays.  Every Friday I set up our things that we'll need and get confused because my kit does not include the things that the instructor's guide says it should include.  Today I took the time to solve this mystery and discovered that there was an additional kit that I should have included in our order.  Oh well, it should arrive before our next experiment... lesson learned: pay attention when ordering!
4.  Handwriting.  Should I require Jason to complete a handwriting program or will his language arts creative writing, spelling words and copywork be enough?  He struggles to write sentences because he is so slow to form each letter.  I've read opinions for both sides but I feel like I need to decide for him.  He can form his letters correctly and recognizes whenever he writes one backwards, but he frequently writes numbers backwards and doesn't realize it.  Next week I'll have him do the numbers section in his handwriting book and then try to make a decision.
5.  P.E.  I feel like we ought to do something more formal for P.E.  I take the kids to the playground or pool everyday but I'm sure we should try to incorporate some sports skills or something.  Another thing I'll have to work out.

So that's all for now, we're trying to get another announcement out this week (baby name) but we're still kicking that one around.  Stay tuned!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

big announcement week

     Let's see if I can rock your world all week long with announcement after announcement..... actually, I think this is pretty common knowledge: we're moving!  In a little over a month we'll be moving into a beautiful home.  I think if I've counted correctly this will be move number 9 for Darren and Jen, 9 moves in 12 years.  It's like we're a military family, only we're a ministry family... we get the call and we go!  Unlike the military though all of our moves have been personal and as we look back on them they have all been led by God for our own good.  We have never felt as though we're just a cog in a giant machine but people loved and cared for by a mighty God.  Sometimes we move for education, other times for a job and often because of money (or lack of it!).  This time it's because of our growing family and the need for more space!  It's a good thing that Darren and I are a little bit restless and travel-hungry because settling down in one place for twenty years does not sound appealing to us.  I think it was our cross-country drive in 2000 that really fueled our thirst for adventure.  We got to see so much of our beautiful country.  We especially loved the rolling green hills and brick homes in Kentucky and Tennessee.  We appreciated the way neighborhoods in the midwest forgo fences to have backyards of green space that seem to run together effortlessly and encourage neighborly behavior (or are you of the opinion that "good fences make good neighbors"?).  We recently gained appreciation for cities in our travels to Portland and Seattle, particularly the convenience of mass transportation, museums, parks and libraries, the availability of nearly everything.   Moving to San Miguel is pretty much the exact opposite of the big city, so I'm anxious to discover the nuances of small town living once again (I think my childhood in Gonzales might to come in handy for once!).
     As you can imagine we're very good at moving by now.  Darren and I have a rhythm that we slip into as the days count down to the big move.  I sweep through the house and clean as I pack.  I always start with the china because I love to take the time to wash each piece by hand and pack it myself with ridiculous amounts of newspaper to keep it safe.   It would be much more practical to leave it boxed up all the time but then I wouldn't have the pleasure of opening the cabinet and seeing so much history on my shelves (I collect pieces from family and friends... I never turn down a piece of china!).  I appreciate the way Darren handles the big stuff of the move, he gets things from here to there, making all of the arrangements.  I especially appreciate the way he handles our furniture, making sure not to ding my old stuff (even though he jokes that it would probably only add to the value if he roughed it up a bit).  I have an arts and crafts style library table that I love and would love to put it in an arts and crafts style bungalow someday.  I also have a 1950's tanker-style teacher's desk that I think is fabulous.  I rescued it from a dumpster so it has special value to me in that it was FREE!  As you can see I really like desk and old school stuff (remember I'm that sicko that actually liked school).  The kids get a little uneasy when we move, I'm sure it's disconcerting to see all the familiar stuff in your life packed up.  The only fun thing about moving for them is playing in all the boxes.  Why buy toys, right?  We all know that kids love playing in boxes.   
     Jason is mulling over a big decision: which bedroom will he choose?  How will he arrange his Legos?  How will he survive without a bit of pink in his room.... just kidding, that's a perk for our boy, no more girl stuff in his room!  And he can't wait to hit the hay without his chatty sister pestering him at bedtime.  Cameron has no idea what's coming, this may be traumatic for her.  She's comforted by having Jason in the same room at night and she may have trouble getting adjusted.  We would put the baby in with her, but she's such a light sleeper that anything will wake her and then once she's awake it takes a long time to put her back down.   Our life is definitely headed for some big changes, so stayed tuned to see what's next.  New baby, a move, first year homeschooling... no problem!

Monday, August 18, 2008

drumroll please..........

We have news, big news.  Today we went to get our ultrasound and we can now start calling baby #3...........

A GIRL!!!!!

We were a little shocked (ok, I was a lot shocked...).  My instincts (er, perhaps hopes) were for a boy, I was even crafting baby things in boys colors.  Now I have a lot of baby boy presents to give away!  Jason is dealing with the news pretty well, especially once we told him that he would get his own room from now on and we'd have the girls share!  So now we have to come up with a name, this is where it gets interesting.  I don't know if so much time is a good thing for us, usually we decide on a name during the drive to the hospital!  If you have any suggestions (not jokes or snide remarks) please feel free to leave a comment.  Cameron can't understand why we aren't naming this girl Cameron also, so coming up with a name will be very helpful for her.  And by the way, we do have a few pictures but the tech couldn't get a cute profile shot of the baby's face, she was being very shy and covering her face with her hands.  He dug around my belly, trying to prod her out of hiding (and bugging me at the same time...) but she wouldn't budge.  When he went to get a shot of the male/female area he said there was no mistaking this one.  He paused there to get a picture and typed "Girl" on the screen.  Sorry gang, but I refuse to post THAT shot of my daughter on the internet, I'm trying to raise modest young ladies!  We have a DVD of the entire ultrasound experience.  Alright, time to start crafting in girl colors......

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

freezer paper stencils!

Yes, we jumped on the bandwagon and tried our hand at freezer paper stencils.  "Bandwagon... freezer paper.... what?"  I know what you're thinking, what in the world is she talking about?  There are trends in crafts just like fashion and one of those trends is freezer paper stencils.  So yesterday the kids and I jumped into the car to go to Michael's and get our supplies.  Back at home we found clip art to trace onto the freezer paper (paper side).  Then I cut out the stencil with my handy exacto knife.  Next we ironed the paper (waxy side down) on to our t-shirts.  Once the paper was firmly in place we painted (with fabric paint of course....  found at Michael's on clearance... 50 cents).  After the paint dries we peeled off the stencil and the kids proudly wore their t-shirts to bed as jammies that night.  I haven't washed them yet so that maybe something to report on later.... we'll see!
In other news... I finally found the perfect department to shop in Kohl's.  I always have a problem when I walk in there because in my head I think that the junior's dept. stuff is cute... then I try it on and it doesn't look cute on me!  Then I head over to the misses dept.  Over there I always have to be careful because if I like it, my mom probably likes it too and we're going to end up looking like twins one day (guess who's gonna post first today!).  So today I was shopping with Darren to update his sorry wardrobe and guess what I found?  My favorite Dunder Mifflin t-shirt  "Dunder Mifflin: as green as we need to be".  Get it? They're a PAPER company!   Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha h a!  I finally found something at Kohl's that I LOVE!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

12 years!

That's right, gang.  Darren and I just celebrated 12 years of marriage.  I know you can hardly believe it, we're so young and fabulous.... or maybe just young... or maybe I just still feel young.  Anyway, we had fun in Pacific Grove.  Darren drooled over the 18th at Pebble Beach as we walked it and watched a group play through.  We stopped at all the tourist stops... Cannery Row, 17 Mile Drive, Carmel.  It seems the only time I go to the Monterey area is when I'm pregnant, no kidding, I've been there with Jason, Cameron and this baby all in the belly!  Back to the real world now, our next trip to get ready for is Legoland in September!  You know who is out of his mind in crazy anticipation... poor kid, it's almost too much!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

crafting around the world

Today in Jason's Peoples of the World book we read about crafts from around the world (be still my heart!).   The book included a simple batik project for the kids to try.  Well, who am I to say no to a craft?!  I set out white paper, a white candle and watercolors.  The kids drew a simple picture with the candle and then painted over it to reveal the design.  Easy peasy lemon squeezy!  I have a project for a simple batik on cloth stored away in my bookmarks... somewhere...  It involves using blue Elmer's glue and fabric paint.  I've got to get to the store so we can try this one.  Gotta go.... Cameron's moved on to painting her body....

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

a typical homeschool day

I thought I might document a typical homeschool day for all of you who are curious about what we do around here.  It's really quite simple.  The kids wake up around 7 and we eat breakfast and watch a kid's show or short movie.  The kids need a slow start in the morning because they take a long time to wake up.  I also eat breakfast (both breakfasts, usually about an hour after breakfast 1 I'm ready for #2.... blame it on the baby), read the paper and try to workout (my "Biggest Loser" DVD is getting really annoying and a little more challenging as my bump increases).  At 9 we officially start our school day.  I give Jason his Bible reading assignment out of The Beginner's Bible and I settle Cameron into an activity.  After his reading I ask him one of two comprehension questions and allow him to look the answers up if he needs it.  Then together the three of us pray for our day.  Cameron loves this part.  She likes to sit with her hands folded and corrects me ("No Mom, it's not 'Dear Lord,' it's 'Dear God'!").  Both kids like to hear me pray for them by name but when I ask for help for them in being obedient and kind to one another the excitement fades!  We then read our history assignment and literature assignment.  Right now we are using the Usborne series of books to learn about cultures of the world.  In literature we are reading Favorite Poems of Childhood.  Jason likes the challenge of listening to the poem and then going back to find key words that hint at the meaning of the poem.  This is pretty basic, most poems we have read so far decribe an animal and he has to guess the animal.  After all this reading he is wiggly so he gets a break for a half hour to play.  I use this time to dry my hair, do any unfinished dishes, throw a load of laundry in or sweep/vacuum floors.  You can get a lot done in a half hour!  Reading is usually done on the couch so after the break we move over to the table to do handwriting, math and language arts.  Jason loves math right now because addition is making sense to him.  I like our math program because it involves mental math as well as written equations.  Language arts consists of learning a new rule every week and then practicing in various ways.  Last week we learned about compound words and this week our rule is suffixes.  Spelling words are made from examples used in teaching the rule.  Jason is pictured here taking a spelling pre-test (9 out of 10 correct!) and Cameron is busy coloring at the same time.  We learned the hard way that Cameron can only draw with markers at the table, strapped in and under close supervision!  Jason also does written exercises to practice sentence formation and rules.  All this writing demands another break!  We save the best for last because Jason loves science.  Our assignments include a short reading and then worksheet.  On Fridays we get to do experiments.  Very fun!  This concludes our schoolwork.  At this point I include the kids in a household chore (yesterday we mopped the kitchen floor together..... yikes!).  Tomorrow we'll all fold laundry together.  This is also a good time for a craft project (today we painted sticks that we had collected on a nature walk) or baking cookies.  The afternoons are reserved for outings like the library, the pool or a park and also errands.  Mostly, the afternoons are a good time for naps, reading or playing.  School only takes about two hours every day.  I am thrilled that I don't have to battle traffic at drop-off zones or battle a young man who wears weird clothing combinations some days.  I like the moments when Cameron stops what she's doing to listen or watch Jason.  I especially like being home with my kids... I'm one of those weird people who misses them when they're away!