Thursday, January 28, 2010

Bubba Speak

Backstory: Little David has an aversion to wearing clothes. While he will put this aside for daytime (usually) he absolutely refuses to wear pajamas to bed. He will only sleep in his underwear and if you insist on jammies, he will take them off the second you leave the room. We decided this wasn't a hill to die on and since March of last year he hasn't worn PJ's.

***
It's mid morning and Little David still hasn't put clothes on. He is watching a cartoon on the couch, it's rainy and cold outside and the house is getting a little chilly.

UK: Bubby, you need to put sweatpants on. It's cold.
LD: No. I under a blanket.
UK: It's still cold, though. You need to wear clothes.
LD: No. I under a blanket.
UK: You're just watching TV, you're not even sleeping. Put. The. Pants. On.
LD: No. I under a blanket and when I under a blanket I must not wear pants. I do not like it. It do not feel good. Dis is better.
UK: You are ridiculous.
LD: Lub you Mamma.



Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Isn't It Always This Way?

The days you have the longest "To Do" list are always the days when the baby is teething and has a tummy ache.

Monday, January 25, 2010

In Which I Ramble About Homeschooling and Kindergarten

We're about halfway through Tot's Kindergarten year right now, a thought which completely boggles my mind. She's doing very well with all her work and is progressing at a rate I am pretty comfortable with. It's hard to know sometimes how to judge these things because every child learns at such dramatically different rates. I learned to read at 3 or 4 (or something like that, right Mom?) and I know others that learn to read at 6, 7 or later - all of whom are proficient readers as adults. Even the phrase "learn to read" can mean different things to different people. Are they reading alone or with prompting? Are they sounding each letter out or blending? Is it just consonant-vowel-consonant words or are they reading trickier things? So, while I say that Tot has "learned to read" - meaning she can read mostly without prompting, both blends and sounds things out, reads words longer than 3 letters, but sometimes completely freezes and can't remember what sound the "e" makes - I suppose others would say that she is "beginning to read".

Wondering where this is all coming from?

Well, I'm hip deep in planning (aren't I always?). We're working on our budget for 2010 and included in that is my homeschool materials for our 2010/2011 school year. This means, I have spent the last week or so digging into 1st grade curriculum, getting a feel for what I want to use, and laying out a "Dream Budget"/"Bare Bones Budget"/Middle Road Budget". I try to do three because given Carte Blanche, I could spend some serious cash on school stuff. I rarely need it all, though, so it's wise to see what we actually need, and then what we need plus some extras - like cute math manipulatives and geography puzzles. But I digress. What I'm really doing is looking at all of this first grade stuff and judging it's rigor and pace. Wondering how Tot will measure up. If what we are doing now is adequately preparing her for what will be covered and expected in the first grade material and if by the end of the year she will have a solid enough base to move to the next level.

I struggled for awhile with what grade to put Tot in. In Texas (as well as many other states), Tot would still technically be in preschool. She has a mid-September birthday, so if she were in public school she wouldn't even start Kindergarten until this coming year. We initially chose to start her in Kindergarten materials early because 1) we felt she was ready and 2) while planning for this year we were thinking about moving to a state where Tot would be in Kindergarten if she were public schooled. Despite not moving, we've kept her in Kindergarten thinking that if it looks like the work is too much for her, we can simply turn Kindergarten into a two year affair and keep her at a normal grade level for this area. As it stands though, I feel confident that she is handling the material well, and that she will be ready for 1st grade material this coming year.

Making these decisions can really mess with you because there will always be someone smarter and someone not quite as smart. You think she is ready, but you know this other person who was way more ready and didn't move ahead. And you worry she'll be behind, but know others who were way more behind than her. Once again, I am reminded of the entire reason that we are homeschooling. So that Tot can learn at her own pace - not mine, not a school districts, not a workbooks, not anyone else's but her own. Of course, to learn you must be challenged - so I can't just present her with material she already knows, there has to be incremental steps towards mastery. Sometimes in my zest for completing things "on time", I forget what I'm actually aiming at. For example, I want to finish her Kindergarten Math book by the end of our school year. Well, we switched math books about 2 months into the school year - so we are trying to make it up by doing two lessons a day. That's great and all, but sometimes the material moves faster than she is ready for. She gets frustrated and freezes because she's unsure. I get frustrated and push because I know if we don't finish this lesson, we'll be even further behind and don't want to be finishing the K workbook at the beginning of the 1 year. It takes all I have to remind myself that finishing this lesson today. Is NOT my end goal. Finishing this book by the end of the school year isn't even my goal. My goal is for her to LEARN. And she won't learn if I get all stuffy butt at her and freak out because she consistently switches the "teen" numbers with the "ty" numbers - ala thirteen & thirty.

Sigh.

Homeschooling is certainly shaping up to be a giant Flaw Mirror for me. I don't think I've ever had such daily lessons in patience, self control, and gentleness. The funny part is, we decided we wanted to homeschool for the children and I really think the person growing the most is me.

Anyways, I think I'm about done with the rambling and cheesy self realization. This post really had absolutely no forward moving plot, but at least you got a glimpse into what it really is like to homeschool. And I did say at the beginning of this journey that I would try to give you a look into how it actually plays out in our day to day life. It's a lot of thinking, judging, deciding, and wrestling with internal motivations.

Oh good grief, will some one please just shut me up? I can't seem to end this post without getting started on some other tangent of reflection and I'm starting to roll my eyes at myself.

I'll leave you with this bit of levity while I get my head out of my buns -



Friday, January 22, 2010

Gator Dance

This video is so funny, I had to post it right away :)


Tot Speak/Bubba Speak

Watching Dirty Jobs: cricket farming or something.

LD: Momma, is them the crickets crickin' outside?

UK: Yep, Bubba. Sure are.

LD: Them is the crickets crickin' in Texas?

UK: Yep.

***
At rest time, Tot was running in and out of her room trying to sneak a peak of what I was watching on TV (tivo-ed Biggest Loser)


UK: No, Tot! You may not watch any tv! Get your buns back in your room. It. is. rest. time.

T: Mooooom, why won't you just let a young woman watch a little TV?

UK: snicker

T: For real, Mom.

UK: Get in your room, Tot.

T: Ugh.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Thankful Thursday

Ahhh...Thursday. If there is one thing that I love about the internetz, it's Thursdays. You can hop, skip, and jump all over this thing and you will find some one being thankful on Thursday. I know it's mostly because everyone loves a good alliterative title, but still. It's nice to take a break from the snark and hear what is good is going on. And on that note, here is what your very own Unsinkable is thankful for this week:
(photo courtesy of wordtoyourmother-mindi.blogspot.com)


1. The girls sleeping late again today. Friends, it is almost 8 o'clock. AM. I can not even begin to explain how this rocks my world. To think that we are on the cusp of that dream land - when kids actually want to sleep instead of wanting to wake up at the butt crack of dawn - is sheer joy to me. The boy is still waking up early, but not near as early as he used to. I think I may be loving this having older kids thing.

2. My coffee. At some point, Dave has slowly changed me from a no-coffee drinker, to a sometimes coffee drinker, to a cup every Saturday, to a cup of cheap coffee most days of the week, to a cup of cheap coffee every day of the week, to a cup of whole bean coffee every day of the week, to a cup of really strong whole bean coffee every day of the week, to two cups of really strong whole bean coffee every day before 8am. I would be a little irritated if it didn't taste so stinking good. The man knows his coffee.

3. DATE NIGHT. Tonight is Date Night In, my friends. The kids go to bed around 7/7:30, we order take out, and snuggle on the couch to watch our Thursday night shows. I LOVE Date Night In. And because we've been doing it so long, the kids are actually pretty good at going to bed early. Mostly because they know that tomorrow night, Friday, is Family Movie Night. We go to the dollar video store and the kids pick out a movie for us all to watch and then Dave and I pick out a movie for us to watch when they go to bed. Then we make homemade pizza (ummm...unless I forget to start the dough, then we just get Little Caesars :) ) and we snuggle up in the living room and have ourselves some cuddle time. So I guess I'm really thankful for both Date Night and Family Movie Night.

4. Seriously, the girls sleeping past 8am. I can not express that sentiment of thanks enough.

5. The birds chirping outside my open window. It's another beautiful day here, and though I know it's about to get a little colder, right now I'm enjoying the breeze and the chirping birds and dreaming of Spring.

6. My Good Morning candle. We all know I have this thing for Yankee Candles. Well, I went into Hallmark some months ago and found a scent I had never seen before called "Good Morning". YUM. It smells so good, and it just adds such a nice touch to the general feel of the morning. Everyday I wake up and before I start my quiet time, I light it and smell it. If I over sleep, then Tot helps me light it and we sing a good morning song. It's odd how a candle really can make the morning feel Good.

7. My red robe. I'm sure I've spoken of my robe before - I wear it every single day and have worn it every single day (except some days in the summer) for over ten years. It was a gift from my tall Mammaw and it comes from the Tall Girl Shop. It goes all the way to the floor and is the perfect weight. Sigh. I do love this robe. Worth it's weight in fleece.

8. Our new math curriculum. Around October/November, I decided that the math curriculum we were using just wasn't cutting it. Tot hated it, it confused her more than it helped her, and it was very dry. So, after pushing through it for a few months I decided that since the whole reason we were homeschooling was to be able to change what wasn't working, so I went off to our local homeschool store, chatted with the workers, and picked out a new curriculum - Horizons math. And can I just say - LOVE IT. Tot has progressed a thousand times faster than she was, math is now one of her favorite things to do, and I'm just so pleased. If anyone is looking for a curriculum (or even just a workbook to do in addition to regular school), I highly recommend Horizons.

9. I mentioned the girls sleeping in, right? Cause Laws, it is rocking.

10. But the thing I am most thankful for? Starting mid February - Dave will be working from home FULL TIME. I know!! With his new job we didn't even think about the possibility of working from home, but his boss decided that was the way to go and I could not be more grateful. Currently, Dave is commuting an hour each way and gets up so early and gets home so late. This will not only give us two more hours of time where he would be traveling, but we'll also get to have lunch together. I am singing thanks to God for giving us more time with Dave. He's such a hard worker, and he never complains about the commute, but this will be a breath of fresh air for our family.


Anyways, that's what I'm thankful for today. What are you all thankful for?



Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Field Trip: The Heard Natural Science Museum

Okay first of all - So. Much. Fun.

The Scoop: We went with Dave's mom, Neina, and Laura Beth to The Heard Natural Science Museum yesterday. They had a life-sized animatronic dinosaur exhibit going on (seriously) and it was stinking awesome! The Heard has a few miles of trails to walk, and on one of the loops they had dinosaurs stationed at different points. Each dinosaur was life sized and moved around (well, not like walked around, but their bodies and arms and heads moved) and roared loudly. The kids absolutely loved it, and we took the chance to go over dinosaur names and the periods they were from (Jurassic, Cretaceous, yada yada yada), and really just let the kids run wild and freak out when the dinosaurs were loud :). And can I just tell you, all I could think about was how totally nuts it was to think about the size of these things. They. Were. HUGE. Could you even imagine them walking around now?

There was also a section where they had live exotic animals. Guys, they had Capybaras. I know this will mean little to nothing to most of you, but it was THE HIGHLIGHT for me. Tot and I just finished reading a book for school called "Cappyboppy", which I can not recommend enough. It's a cute book, cute illustrations, but mostly it's enjoyable to read aloud. I have a hard time finding books that I like to actually read outloud. Anyways, the whole story is about this family that has a Capybara as a pet. A Capybara is a GIANT rodent -like a 100 pound Guinea Pig. The whole time we were reading the book I thought it was a kindof made up animal, maybe not totally made up, but definitely exaggerated. Then Tot and I looked it up and found out it was completely real, and really that big. So moving on, we were at the Animal Conservation Exhibit, and lo and behold - The Capybara. I jumped around and squealed and showed Tot, thinking about how great of a "Living Book" moment this was, and she was all "Yeah Mom, A Capybara. Whatever. Let's go see that bird."

Sigh. At least I was excited.

Anyways, on the whole a completely awesome day. We had the greatest time with Neina and Laura Beth, and I'm so glad Neina found this place and invited us. We will definitely be going back often!

Tot's Favorite Part: "Ooohhh, the baby dinosaurs. You know, the one I got from the gift shop. And the giant T Rex that moved! He was soooo adorable! And the real animals!"

Little David's Favorite Part: "My favorite part was buying my dinosaurs, and the TEEEE REEEXXXX" (Cue bursting into song about dinosaurs)

My Favorite Part: Um, The Capybara. Here is a picture I found on the internet, mine didn't turn out very well. Aren't they awesome??

The Pictures:







Thursday, January 14, 2010

Thankful Thursday: I'm Going To Miss This

I read another mom blog recently about how she "does it" with small children. She said that she was reminded one night when she was totally at the end of her rope, tired and not wanting to sing just one more time, that when her kids were adults she knew she would give anything to have these moments back. So she repeats to herself, "I'm going to miss this" and tries to soak up the moments as they happen.

I feel like that.

It seems like my kids are just getting so big and as I was leaning over Gator's crib last night, the crib Tot used to sleep in, I looked over at Tot and there she was - all sprawled across the bed like a person. Not like a baby, curled up on their tummy or side, smushed like they are still inside. Just everywhere. And I thought "I already miss that."

And it made me want to write it all down. All those things I'm going to miss. So this week, to restart Thankful Thursday, I'm going to list somethings that I will miss when my children are grown.

I'm going to miss:


1. How they all fit in our queen sized bed. Barely.

2. Tot falling asleep within minutes, Little David taking forever. Little David calling out from his room "Mommyyyy! When you done nursin' Awwie, you come kiss me snuggle me? I save you spot!"

3. The way their cheeks get flushed and soft while they sleep, their bodies all snuggly warm.

4. Nursing them all. I can never replace or regret all the moments I spent feeding them, no matter the hour or level of exhaustion. Nothing can compare to holding their sweet little bodies close to me and it being just the two of us.

5. Tot saying "Tink Tu!" for "Thank You". Her round little toddler cheeks, giant head and tiny body. She was a complete ball of energy in such a ferociously cute little package. I already miss that.

6. Little David running up to Tot after he had been put in time out "Tay-Yore, I missed you! I so wonesome wifout you!"

7. Little David telling Dave before he leaves for work "Love you Daddy, have fun at work. Be safe. Don't let your truck get in a wreck with cars!", then asking me "Can I sit inside your robe and snuggle?".

8. Tot's running commentary, set to song. "We're going to the stooooorrreeee....here is the tuuuuuurrrrnnnnn." She's already stopped doing this as much, and while it could get totally annoying, I do miss it already.

9. Being able to fit them all around me and have my arms on every one. When Tot is 25, Little David is 23, and Allie is 20 - I think my heart will break thinking of them all fitting on my lap - however smushed it may be.

10. Looking out my back window, with Allie on my lap, watching Tot and Little David run around playing together - the best friends they've ever had.


Sigh. I am so very thankful for my little creatures.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Do You Hear What I Hear?

It's the sound of all my favorite TV shows coming back from break!!!


There will be How I Met Your Mother.

There will be Big Bang Theory.

There will be House.

There will be Biggest Loser (!).

There will be Community.

There will be The Office.

There will be 30 Rock.

There will be The Mentalist.



Do you hear that? It's the sound of one very happy Unsinkable who has missed her TV shows.

Do you hear that? It's the sound of one Unsinkable who has realized exactly how much TV she watches and is thinking maybe she needs to tone it down and go on a walk or something.


Nope. I decline.

Bring on the new TV!!




Friday, January 08, 2010

Unsinkable Updates

I know! It's been forever, but here is an update on our little family. It's a long one, so get yourself a comfy spot and a drink. And maybe a snack, too.

Also, please ignore the fresh out of the shower Unsinkable, and focus on that cute little Gator trying to stand. :)

With The Children: Have I mentioned how much I love having three kids? I may do individual posts on them later, because I could write a book about all the new things they are each doing, but as a whole, I love being a mom of three. We've moved past the juggling, and Dave and I have found how to best work our zone defense. You know, it really is different from having two. With two, the ratio is always one parent to one child. Now, one of us always has two kids to look after. We split them differently for whatever we're doing, but it usually winds up being I have the girls and he has the boy, or I have the Gator and he has the Elders. It is, without question, a little crazier. But you know, it's not like we have three babies at once. The Elders can walk by themselves and take care of themselves a little more, and Allie is still being carried everywhere. I'll be interested to see how life changes when she can walk. With the children, right now, we have definitely adjusted to having three and now we are back, once again, in dealing with the usual parent things: obeying the first time, using good manners, and using enough energy during the day so they don't go bat stinking crazy at dinner time.

With Our Marriage: Things are good right now. We've been doing great at getting our Pal time in, and we've been even better about doing that with out necessarily going on dates. I think that has been something I tend to forget. We don't have to go OUT to get our Pal time. The holiday season makes going on an actual date (not to a company Christmas party, etc) difficult. Our family babysitters are all busy, and even if they weren't, we are. There just aren't that many free days to get a date in. Thankfully, we've been in this season before, and so I know that the best remedy to that is to keep having our regular Date Night In (kids to bed early, we order pizza and watch our favorite shows and snuggle) and to remember that it's us against the world. It's not me and it's not me and the kids, it's Dave and I. Whatever else goes on, we've got each other's back. So when the kids go nuts, our families go nuts, our friends go nuts, or we go nuts alone, the other one is there. To sneak the last two pieces of pizza when the kids aren't looking, to send a crude text message to make the other laugh, or hide in the closet and laugh and hope the kids can't find us. It's great to have a Pal.

In The Kitchen: Newsflash - I've been eating like crap. So, so crappily. And honestly, I only feel sort of bad about it. Hardly bad at all, really. I LOVE the holiday season. And I LOVE to eat. And I LOVE to eat holiday food. So, I did. And I ate lots of it. Candy, Elcair dessert, pies, cookies, cookie dough, Chick Fil A (that's a holiday food, right?)....you name it and I over indulged in it. And it. was. good. But now it's January, and that means it's back to business as usual: Green smoothies, making the transition to whole and natural foods, experimenting with Chia seeds, and scouring vegan/raw blogs for ideas. For the record, our family will never be full on veggie, vegan, or raw, but I have been finding great food ideas from those that are. It's helpful to step out of the box to find new things, and we've been enjoying finding things we never thought we'd like. I'm constantly surprised at what the kids will/will not eat. For instance, they are currently in a love affair with flaxseed, wheat germ, and chia seeds. However they will not touch anything that remotely resembles a pepper, and peppers used to be absolute favorites. Anyways, our next mission is to find a really good stir fry recipe that uses LOTS of veggies. We usually make our own, but we seem to be in a rut there.

Around The House: Oh the house. Obviously, my housekeeping skillz have not been at their zenith of late. There are piles everywhere, there is dust accumulating on the baseboards and fans, and if you looked into any cabinet or closet you might run away screaming - I know I do. But, like FlyLady says "You're never behind! Just jump in where you're at." And so jump I will. I've got some laundry going, a few piles picked up, and I'm getting a little done at a time. Baby steps, Baby steps.

In The Schoolroom: I can not express how much I love homeschooling. You know, I have a tendency to flip flop a lot, but this is one thing I don't see myself going back on - it's not something we're "trying", it's something we're doing. Tot is reading well now. We've moved past "The cat is on the mat" and she is reading words with more letters and trickier phonics. Little David, on the other hand, is as apathetic as Tot is anxious. While at this age Tot was SO into "school", he could absolutely not care less. There are times when he insists that he is in "Kinnergarden" like Tot, but mostly he's content to do a tracing worksheet or two, and then be done. I'm seeing that this homeschooling thing has a steep learning curve. I've learned quickly that the end game is not to have my children learn more faster. It's not to have them grade levels ahead of their peers, and it's not to make them the smartest children in the room. Our endgame is to give them a love of learning and the tools to learn whatever they want to know. Now, of course I'm striving for excellence here, but not at the cost of the joy of learning. What good would it do for all three of my kids to be able to read but hate doing it? So, we are making sure that in the quest for a high quality education, we aren't losing the joy.

What I'm Reading: As for me, I'm currently still (vaguely) plugging away at my George Washington biography (I really want to like it, but it's just.so.dry.). I'm also re-reading Little Women and The Well Trained Mind. And a lot of blogs. Of course.

How We're Rolling: I'd say we are moving forward with Joy.

What Everyone Really Wants To See:






Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Unsinkable's Back, Alright!

(Author's Note: Please sing the above title to the tune of "Backstreet's Back" by the Backstreet Boys. Critical for maximum enjoyment.)

Well, that was certainly a much longer break than I intended! You know, I have been blogging now for almost five years. FIVE. YEARS. And the entire time I've never taken a longer break than a week. About October I just started to feel...talked out, I guess. There was facebook with the updates all day, Twitter with the tweeting every now and then, blogging a few days of the week (down from my usual every day posting), talking with friends on the phone, talking with people in person, being talked at by my kids, and being updated by all my friends on their respective blogs, facebooks, phone calls, etc. I felt saturated with information. There was nothing new I wanted to share, even though my life obviously didn't stop, and not much I wanted to hear, even though I normally love hearing everything. I just needed quiet.

And so I took it.

I took my quiet and made it my own. I deleted my Twitter account (which I never used much anyways), dropped my blog, updated facebook less (I didn't want to lose touch entirely), called friends less, talked to Dave less, wrote exactly nothing, and just was quiet for awhile. I scaled Christmas back (we only put up the kid's tiny tree), took two weeks off from homeschooling, and dropped all my normal routines and lists.

And it was wonderful.


For a little bit.


Over the years I have discovered something about myself: I am a verbal processor. I NEED to get things out of my head and out loud to think straight. It's like inside of my head it's all one great, big twirly mess but as I try to say it out loud, or put it on paper, or write about it on the blog, it streams out in a manner I can deal with. Most of the time, that's a good thing. I'm glad I learned that about myself, because when I start feeling all twirly I know what to do: talk or blog. It's just that for a while, I got tired of the extraction process. But one can only keep your head and mouth quiet for so long, if you are by nature a "Share-er". And so I'm back :)

It may take me some time to find my blogging groove again, I may be touch and go for a little while. But I'm definitely ready to start sharing again. Because you wouldn't believe what the kids have been doing lately. :)


Friday, January 01, 2010

We Wish You a Merry Christmas and a Snuggie New Year :)


Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!!!

~ From all of us here at The Unsinkable's