Monday, December 27, 2010

And a merry Christmas was had by all...

We all had a wonderful Christmas.  On Christmas eve, we went to a special family worship service at church.  They handed out silly putty for the kids and Christmas CD's for each family.  Our pastor used the silly putty in the service but both of the boys dropped theirs (and watched it roll into the darkness between rows of legs) before we could sing the last carol. Afterward, we read Luke 2 to the boys while they played with the paper nativity made out of the CD case.  Rod had carefully placed their new trampoline away from the playroom windows so that they would not see it right when they woke up on Christmas morning.  When the boys woke up, they looked out their bedroom window to see if it was snowing yet, and low and behold, what did they see instead?  Their new trampoline!
After ripping the wrapping paper off of the rest of their presents, we ate breakfast and read our last Jessie Tree devotion.   Then we loaded the car for a five hour, chilly, rainy drive to Dothan.  We spent the rest of the day with family, playing with cousins, and enjoying Christmas. 

Monday, December 13, 2010

There's No Crying in Basketball

Wellll, yet again I find myself coaching when I did not sign up for it.  But, I have to admit that there is a side of me that does enjoy it, at least the part where I get to spend quality time with the boys.  I just finished flag football with Briggs, that was fun and the parents were great, but I think we (not Leslie) are ready to try out tackle next season.

Lookin Good Mom, Nice Job, Really...

The Y asked me to coach 3 and 4 year old basketball, that's THREE and FOUR year olds, "playing" basketball.  So far it's been fun and at least I get to pray with the boys, we've had a few practices and this past Saturday had our first game.  It's an interesting dynamic when I try to setup our prescribed zone defense and the opposing coach informs me that I'm missing one, I look and sure enough one of the boys is missing.  I look to the bench...nope, check the bleachers...not there, maybe I should count to 10 and see if I can find him, finally a grandmotherly figure kindly informs me that my missing child had to go "potty", great.  Also, my lone three year old (everyone else is four) spent pretty much the entire 40 minutes crying anytime he got more than 2 feet away from mom.  I was a little uncertain of how to handle the situation.  Kid is crying, mom and dad are telling me he'll be fine when he gets on the court - pushing him toward me, I'm obligated to put him in the game, kid does not stop crying, kid cries while trying to obey my instructions, awesome.  A few other things I've never had happen, after every score kids run off the court to get hugs and kisses from mom/dad/grandmom/grandpa.  Kid gets thirsty, regardless of whether or not they're in the game, kid goes to get sippy cup.

There's a Basketball Game Going On?
Max at least is being a big boy, for the most part.  Mom tells me that he cries everytime it's time to leave the house for practice but when he gets to the gym he's fine.  He listens well and is so proud when he scores.  Dribbling looks like a 4 year old trying to kill an orange cat by slapping it to death but hey, he's trying.  He pays as much attention as the rest of team during the game, which means I'm going hoarse trying to get the kids to not look at their family and the fly on the wall while the other team is trying to score.  Next up, Briggs' 7/8 year old basketball (where there had better not be any crying, nose picking, or sippy cups).  Here's a video of Max's first basketball points, pay no attention to the slight travelling violation, gotta love the little hop in his step on the run back...

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The reality of our new life of homeschooling, increased work load, and e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g-e-l-s-e has set in hard!  It seems that there is little time to slow down and catch your breath and blog breathe.  So tonight I'm breathing and blogging and gave her a new do!  I have finally figured out Photoshop enough to do a proper header and I really love it!  (Special thanks to my sweet friend/photog Magan for awesome pictures of the boys). 

Homeschooling is... well.... it's weird sometimes.  Some days it clicks along great and we almost feel like we are officially "at school" complete with the pledge, recess, and a class president (Briggs was properly elected by majority vote over Thanksgiving holidays).  Then other days all our good intentions go to pot and it seems like the only thing anyone learned is how fun it is to stay in your PJ's all day.

I struggle with the weight of the responsibility of teaching my children contrasted with my own selfish desires to clean/sew/craft/zone out.  I can definitely say that God is using this time to bring to light my own sinful nature, my desperate need for grace, and how to extend it to my children.  In that regard, homeschooling is a bit like being refined in the fire and it burns sometimes.

Since we are wrapping things up to take some time off at Christmas, I thought it would be good to take a long view of what we have accomplished so far this year.  I think it will be an encouragement in the days to come, as I hear January is a hard month for homeschooling moms and the cold, gray days it brings.

We have read through our Jesus Storybook Bible and decided to just start over and read it again!  We love it so much and it is just as effective at teaching me as it is them.  They have memorized one Bible verse a week for the past 16 or so weeks.  We have memorized one poem a month and the boys love to recite all of them daily. 

In math, Briggs has learned:
Addition with carrying to the hundredths place
Subtraction with borrowing to the hundredths place
Multiplication through his 3 times tables
Division through dividing by 3
and a little algebra!

He has learned all his cursive lower case letters and most of the capital letters.  He said he can't wait to learn cursive numbers next and was sorely disappointed when I informed him there was no such thing.

Either he or he and I have read the following books:
Stuart Little
Trumpet of the Swan
Treasure Island
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (the abridged version)
Rabbit Hill
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
The Horse and His Boy

We have gone on field trips to:
An apple orchard
the plays "Zorro,"  "The Frog Prince," and tomorrow, "The Best Christmas Pageant Ever" at the Birmingham Children's Theater
American Village
McWayne Center- workshops about weather
Botanical Gardens- learned about Japan
Alabama Power- Safetyopolis
and had a Thanksgiving feast!

We will finish off the year's field trips with the Alabama Ballet's Nutcracker.  Since we have been studying composers each month and listening to some classical music, I have high hopes for the boys' enjoyment of the Nutcracker.  We have listened to it multiple times in the last couple of weeks and I have told them the whole story several times.  I have regaled them with tales of when mommy was a ballerina and danced in the Nutcracker.  Max requests to listen to it in the car.  He loves the "music without words."  Yes, I am sure they are going to love it as much as I do.

Who am I kidding?  They're boys.  I just hope we make it through the whole performance without an incident. 

Science and history have taken a bit of a backseat lately, but we are going to refocus after the holidays.  We have completed one whole 9 week unit in history in the last 16+ weeks.  The OCD part of me says we have to do twice as much to catch up to where we should be, but the realistic part reminds me that it's okay, there are no history police, other than the ones in my own head! 

So there you have it!  And although I am proud of what we have accomplished so far, the most important things are the intangible ones- the relationships and discipling that are happening alongside the learning.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Christmas, Christmas Time Is Here

I can't believe that the Christmas season is here and I have failed to blog about many things lately, specifically:

Max's birthday (that was in SEPTEMBER!)

Briggs' birthday
(which happened to fall on the same day as our home school group's Pilgrim and Indian feast, so we celebrated, Indian-style)

 and other various and sundry field trips and Thanksgiving!  For some reason, Blogger won't let me add any more pictures, so I guess that's all for tonight!!