Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Father's Day and 41 Years

June is insanity for me and more so this year between my dental surgery and prepping for Bubby's hearing test. I just can't get things done properly so it's all rather piecemeal and late. Thankfully nobody seems to really mind (either that or they don't bother me because they see I'm on the verge of losing my mind)

For Father's Day, Kent and I took the longest waking break from our kiddos in years and went out for lunch and to see Newsies at the Gammage Theater. It was so nice to calmly eat our meal, fresh and hot, to talk without interruptions or just be silent. Sometimes it's the small things I think we miss most. It took two weeks but I finally got to making Kent's favorite Chinese foods, savory green onion pancakes, potstickers and Chinese broccoli. It was neat to have Keila helping me. I had to work hard on my OCD neurosis to not try and fix every lopsided, malformed potsticker she attempted. It was the effort that matter and one day, with time and practice this will be easy for her.
We are so grateful for our Baba who does so much for our family!
Crazy girl helping with all the food prep!

The trip to see Newsies was really all I counted for for my birthday but Kent surprised me with a cake that evening. I also had a chance earlier that day to visit with an old friend I hadn't seen in well over a year. The evening was topped off with some quiet me time swimming laps - 800 m - not bad for a woman in her 41st year!
This little guy totally gets birthdays now and was vigorously signing 'cake' when we began the singing!
Life is good, my blessings are many. May the next year be just as sweet if not sweeter!

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Productive Stress

When it comes to motherhood, nothing is logical. Logically speaking it seems counterintuitive to have mini-me's running around who take up so much time and energy. They have your heartstrings tied so tight that you feel like you're giving up a major organ when you hand them over for their first day of school. And yet these are the very heartstrings that resonates with an indescribable joy and warmth from head to toe when they plant a sticky, genuine and unsought for kiss on your cheek.
So of course when you munchkin needs to go under general anesthesia you suffer panic attacks and anxiety such as you never truly felt except perhaps when you left home, college bound and became untethered to the familiar. It didn't matter that he'd been under it before successfully, or that it was really a minor procedure compared to the million other procedures there are - the slight risk is enough

It also might have to do with the fact that he HATES anything that smells remotely of a medical facility, let alone medical personnel. Inevitably there is screaming, kicking and growling. The last time he woke from the anesthesia it took three people to hold him down and he refused to calm down until all lines were out and he was in my arms. Then there's the added fact that he'll be hungry, REALLY hungry and this boy loves to eat.
All of this and more just had me in knots all night and through the day for his ABR hearing test. We had tried for months to get him to tolerate having headphones on his ears so that we might test his hearing the simple way. with so much delay in his speech we had to find out for sure, hence the need for all the stress.

We got there in plenty of time, I brought all his favorite toys and blanket. He kept up a constant whimper while checking in and any nurse who tried to approached him was met with banshee like screaming and vigorous waving of arms to keep them at bay. They finally opted to dose him with versed (similar to Valium) that had him super dopey, giggly and a little more compliant.
This video is of him drugged up but alert enough to know when the nurse knocks on the door. Notice the playfulness is gone again when he sees a nurse. The little stinker!

It turns out his hearing is normal!! Now we know for sure. Such a monkey!
Hooray for stress that is productive in some weird indirect way! Now if you'll all forgive me, I'm going to need a few days to recover!

Friday, June 17, 2016

Educational Philosophy? Anyone?!!?

We've begun meeting other homeschoolers and have enjoyed our interactions thus far. Isaac will make anyone a new friend instantly (even if he can't remember their name 2 minutes later) and Keila likes reaching out in her shy way with the small intimate group setting. I just like hearing adults speak ... I'm often preoccupied with watching Bubby or Pumpkin and lucky to finish a sentence before chasing after one of them. While visiting doesn't happen much for me it is still nice to know there are people out there that talk in a boring adult-ish manner who's response is more than just, "Why?"
A meringue cookie Keila and I tried from a recipe book she borrowed from the library. Pretty but not particularly tasty.

In the process though, I've discovered there are sometimes questions as to our philosophy of homeschooling. Back in college we had to study and write our own philosophy of education. Montessori, Mason and Holt are what I remember from those days. With the growing popularity of homeschooling, other visions of education have risen, oftentimes based on these people or developed from studies of them. TJed (Thomas Jefferson Education) being one of them. It's been interesting to read them and think of them along the line of what works best for my family. Whether you simply provide many materials and children learn in self-directed activities (Montessori), or that you provide a broadbased study in liberal arts and sciences (classical approach) the ways of homeschooling are endless.
Backyard goofiness in the pool.

When asked I simply reply that I'm Eclectic. To some that might mean, "She hasn't a clue and is just winging it!" or others might think, "She can't decide." and yet others might think that's the easy cop-out reply. Whatever the opinion, I feel that I cannot truly honor my child's education to their unique personality by adhering to one particular dogma. I have one child that develops a passion and will learn and study everything about it, but lacks any discipline to continue when it gets hard. To them it means it's time to change their 'passion' which really just doesn't work in real life though it might for TJed. Another child is so timid and terrified to make a mistake a box of supplies with no definitive direction would overwhelm her and have her in tears constantly.

Homeschool day at the Vertuccio Farms. Kent took the day off for some family fun!
Absolutely love that I caught this wide mouth smile from Bubby!
While all the games were fun at the farm, EVERYONE wanted to pick the peaches! Nothing beats fresh sweet peaches off a tree! Little noses pressed into the sweet flesh to dig as deep a bite as possible, front shirts soaked with the fragrant juice ....

Right now we read a book, inevitably questions come up and we take these and look for videos or info online or at the library. Currently we are reading The Bronze Bow by Elizabeth George Speare (author of Witch of Blackbird Pond) a Newberry I read every summer at my American Grandparent's home. It has them asking all sorts of questions about the Roman empire. We've watched re-enactments of how they fought, looked at maps of their empire, watched parts of Ben Hur and talked a great deal of how this all played in biblically with Christ. I learn right alongside. I can't really plan all of it, it only frustrates all of us if I force an activity or study. It'll probably lead us on to the next subject of interest which is a journey in and of itself. The one thing I can count on is the fact they love to hear me read to them. We still do books on CD (currently Anne of the Island) but nothing quite beats folding laundry while listening to me reading a story or snuggling up to discuss characters and their motivations. Anything and everything could be our curriculum - the world itself! Not being in total control has never felt as natural as it does now!

This picture cracks me up, as if she's studiously taking notes from a presentation!
Hark back to my days in junior high with an unwieldy camera in drama class! This find was at a thrift store and I bought it with the idea of the kids having some fun taking it apart. Major parts were missing so there was no real hope of having it in working order.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Nine Days of Celebrating?!?

June is our crazy month. Between swim team meets and practices, two birthdays, father's day, Cub Scout daycamp and just our regular stuff (which this year includes several doctor appointments to prep for Bubby's qualifications for anesthesia for a particular hearing test) I tend to feel a little frazzled. I did make sure to plan for Isaac's birthday and it was done in spurts through the month but he enjoyed it all the same.
There was the dinner out and a birthday present so carefully selected with Bug-love's help that she was bursting at the seams to tell him and ruin the surprise. Had I known anything about Pokémon 'rare' cards I would have done the task on my own to save the poor girl from biting her tongue ever few minutes! Six days later Kent took time off to take the oldest two on a 3 day campout with friends we don't see often that live in Queen Creek and Snowflake.
Finally we planned and put together a minecraft cake, his dream cake. I saw this amazing video online and we had to give it a try. I like the process of doing something creative and tend to keep the decorating part for my joy, but I knew that Isaac would really treasure building his decor for the cake. I put in the layers and placed the 'sidewalk concrete' in place, envisioning a mine craft jello lakeside scene. I made a small house with bushes on the corner. He and his friend had other ideas such as two wells and a 'muscle man' swimming in the jello pool! All the cubes are chocolate I made from a silicone mold.
I haven't a clue what half the stuff is on that cake but he had a blast making it. It's crazy to think he's been with us nearly a decade and nearing 'tween' age. How quickly times flies! I love you Bud with all my heart! Best wishes for this next year and a lifetime through!