Our two child things (5 and 2) are currently in Hawaii, but we are a military family, and we live where the Army tells us. This blog is designed to keep us in touch with our family and the friends we have made along the way, to offer insight into our turbulent military lifestyle, and to share our experiences as we try out "homing school." So glad you stopped by!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Our Favorite Book of the Week

We go to the library pretty much every week for story time and to let the kids browse for books. We stay until the youngest child thing starts madly pulling books/videos/magazines off the shelves (it usually doesn't take him long to get to that point), and then we check-out. Even with such a hurried and flustered trip, we always end up with some children's books that amaze me!

I am such a bibliophile (I dream of having a home with its own library...like a real library...floor to ceiling shelves filled with thousands of books. I have a collection of beautiful antique books. I also gave some serious thought to becoming a library science major during my college career.), so maybe it's not hard for a book to impress me. But there are so many awesome picture books out there, and they can open  up discussion and learning (for me and my kids) on so many different topics, so I'd like to try to feature our favorite library book of the week on my blog.

This week, our favorite was Where the Forest Meets the Sea by Jeannie Baker. In it, a boy and his father explore a remote shoreline in Australia. This book could lead to learning on the Australian continent, the Australian people and animals, environmental preservation, reefs, fish, dinosaurs, plants, and the list could go on. The child thing enjoyed the story a lot, and I found the illustrations to be very unique and fascinating.

Hope your library has this book, too, because I think you and your kids would love it and learn from it, too!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Our Homing School Schedule

When we started off this homeschooling experiment, it was not totally structured or planned out, but we have fallen into a routine that's working for us. Our focus is on phonics/reading, but our schedule allows us to touch on lots of other school subjects, too. Here's a little taste of how we do pre-school at home week by week.

Mondays: phonics (We use the Abeka curriculum, and we are seeing good results), handwriting (using a workbook published by Zaner-Bloser), art project (from the Art Projects K4 published by Abeka. Here's my opinion on it).

Tuesdays: phonics, science lesson (we read and discuss a chapter from What Your Preschooler Needs to Know).

Wednesdays: phonics, handwriting, science project (something that relates to what we read in our science lesson the previous day)

Thursdays: phonics, library trip, math lesson (We do a chapter from the math section of What Your Kindergartner Needs to Know. These are really more like math activities. They are very hands-on and lots of fun for the child things.).

Fridays: phonics, handwriting, picture study or additional art project

This schedule certainly isn't set it stone; we are very flexible and love adding on to this basic schedule, but it helps me to have a guideline. We also read lots of books, inspect the calendar every day, memorize a Bible verse every two weeks, etc.

I still am not 100% sure about what we're going to do about school next year, but I'm leaning towards homeschool right now, so I'm trying to be prepared for that if that's the route we go. So...any suggestions for next year? Do you see any glaring holes or have any advice on what we should include next year? I'm always open for ideas from those who have been there/done that! Thanks.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

9 Months Down

We have now passed the 9 month mark in this deployment. The end is in sight, and it's time to start thinking about moving back to Hawaii to welcome Scott home from Iraq!

The one word that sufficiently describes how I am feeling at this point in the deployment is weary. I'm tired of taking care of EVERYTHING in the house: cooking, cleaning, bills, taxes, garbage, laundry, pets, and I'm too tired to think of anything else, but I know there's more. That must be why God created marriage, so that two people could share the load.

My children are an amazing blessing, and they bring so much joy to me every day. I absolutely love being a mom. But I don't love trying to be both a mom and a dad. Trying to fill the roles of two parents is wearing me down.

And I'm tired of being lonely. I do have my family and Scott's family nearby, and that helps a lot! I am grateful to have had their support this year. But having them does not quite replace the husband-wife relationship, and that's as it should be, really.

I'm tired of worrying about him. Scott's actually in a pretty safe place this deployment, as far as war zones go, but there are still chances of bad things happening. And I certainly don't dwell on this because it would drive me nuts, but knowing, in the back of your mind, that the one you love could be in harm's way at any given moment...that will wear you out, too.

So yes, I am just physically and emotionally weary. Seems like every day ends with me feeling totally drained, even though I can think of no reason why I should be.

But I can see the light at the end of the tunnel! Soon our family will be back together, and I will have someone to help me do the dishes, figure out budgets, raise our kids and tell me he loves me. :) And I am an ARMY WIFE! They are the strongest people I know, so I can last three more months, no sweat. And, if the government happens to extend the deployment--say to 15 months or so--well, I know from experience that I can handle that, too. So, bring it on, deployment! I'm ready for 3 more months of you, but I will be incredibly glad when you are GONE!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Brainwashing by Bluebonnets

Our kids were born in Kansas and Georgia, but this year, by George, they are living in Texas! And since Scott and I are both natives (and proud of it!), we are making an effort to brainwash the children into becoming Texans. It is our dream for them that someday, they will plaster a bumper sticker reading, "I might not have been born in Texas, but I got here as fast as I could!" on the back of their beat-up pick-up trucks.

So of course, as part of the brainwashing process, I had to do like every good Texan does and take pictures of my kids in the bluebonnets this year. Child Thing #1 has had her picture made in the bluebonnets before. This was during a visit to Texas a few years ago.

Look at those plump little cheeks! Look at those rubber band wrists! There are no more chubby babies around here. She's just tall and thin and so grown up these days! Sniff, sniff.

 This year, we took a day trip with my family (in-law) to Brenham, Texas to find some bluebonnets, and naturally we visited the Blue Bell Ice Cream factory while we were in town. The bluebonnets are not spectacular this year. We found a couple of decent patches, but even those just weren't as thick or vibrant blue as they could be.

Lucky for me, everyone else in the party had a camera and was willing to share pictures, as my poor camera made it to Brenham without its memory card. Nevertheless, the child things had a great time playing with their cousin in the flowers and eating ice cream. I enjoyed myself, as well, and I got to check something off of my spring bucket list (taking pictures of the kids in the bluebonnets). And while we're on the topic, I must brag that I have accomplished other goals off of that list, as well.

When we went to the zoo, the kids rolled down the big hill. They loved it as much as I did when I was little!

One of my other goals was to learn a little about cake decorating in preparation for someone's birthday. So, I bought a couple of beginning cake decorating books. I practised making marshmallow fondant for a cake for my sister, so I can definitely check this off the list, too. The little something that I learned is that I'm going to outsource! Making a fancy cake and trying to throw a party and keeping two kids alive is just too much to handle, so, yes, I learned something. I learned that I'm not going to make her cake.

So, 3 of 5 items from the Spring Bucket List are taken care of. But the next ones are the hard ones. Now I have to tackle a quilt and swimming lessons!

Seven on the Seventh: What I Wanted to Be

This month, the Seven on the Seventh topic is 7 things you wanted to grow up to be as a child. So here are my childhood aspirations!

1. A mommy. Give me two checks for that one.
2. A teacher: Check! I used to teach 7th grade English in quite possibly the poorest school district in Texas. It was awesome! The paycheck, however, was not.
3. An astronaut: No check for this one. Doesn't every kid want to be an astronaut?
4. The first female to play professional baseball. *snicker* Not even close!
5. A novelist: Well, I do have a couple novels in the works, but they'll never be finished. Not until my children are away at college, at least. So look for me in 20 years or so.
6. A newspaper reporter: check! My degree is in English, but I started my college career as a journalism major. I worked for my college newspaper during the school year, and then during the summers I wrote for a small local paper.
7. A ballerina: I must not have realized as a young age that I have absolutely no coordination or rhythm and I am a terrible dancer! Needless to say, this dream was never realized.

If you're the bloggie type and you'd like to play Seven on the Seventh, you're welcome to! If you'd like to receive next month's topic ahead of time, just give me your e-mail address and I'll send it out to you.

Here are the other blogs participating in Seven on the Seventh this month. Check out their posts, too!


Friday, April 1, 2011

Ten Pounds of Strawberries

Busy, busy! Things around here have been busy. My sister, brother-in-law and niece visited from Italy! Then after that, one of my college roommates came to town to stay with us for a few days. It was wonderful having their company! Wonderful!

While my old roommate was here, we loaded up the kids and took them to a pick-your-own strawberry farm near our house. Everybody had lots of fun, and we came home with 10 pounds of beautiful, red, juicy strawberries. TEN POUNDS! That's a lot of strawberries! The kids just kept on picking till their buckets were overflowing. And the grownups kept spotting berries that looked too good to pass up, so we contributed to the excess, I must admit.
The strawberries taste as good as they look. We gave away quite a few of them, so I can't say for sure that none of the 10 lbs went to waste, but we definitely enjoyed the ones we kept, and we ate them all!
If you live to the south of Houston, you should definitely go to Froberg's Farm to pick your own strawberries. The child things loved everything about it. Besides the strawberry picking, there was also a picnic area, swings, smokehouse, and fruit and veggie stand. Great place! Hmmm...maybe we should turn our acreage into a strawberry farm!