Monday, August 29, 2011

Excuses, Excuses

I suck, I know. I'm the worst blogger ever. I just haven't had the time or the inspiration to write much lately. Summer's been such a blast with the kids that we've just been using all our time enjoying life. Silly me. ;)
And now with school starting next week, who knows when I'll find the time to pop in and write, but I promise I'll try, really I will. Even if it's just to update what we're up to with school. So here's the scoop on us lately: the kids are great... all three have taken to the water this summer like little ducklings, whether it's in the pool or at the lake. And our friends and church buddies must think we've been kidnapped after not seeing us much of the summer, but really, who can resist camping when we do it in such glamorous style (really, we call it "glamping"... you can't call it camping when you have a/c, cable, and hot water on demand, and you do nothing but lay around on a floaty in the middle of the lake all day whilst children whoop with glee and swim endlessly around you).
When we weren't at the lake, we've been either frolicking in the sprinklers out back, splashing in friends' pools, or at the zoo. This is the life.
And now school is ramping up, and though I can't say I'm stoked, I am looking forward to it. This year, in addition to learning at home, the kids are in preschool/kindergarten classes at Grace Academy, a lovely local co-op we discovered last year, and I and my good buddy Lamanda will be teaching the girls' class of romping, stomping 5 year olds. I'll be teaching more of the "Five in a Row" curriculum at home, and supplementing with Math-U-See and reading instruction. Sarah starts 2nd Grade Hooked on Phonics, while Hannah is working on improving her phonemic awareness skills and simple sight word recognition with some kindergarten level readers thrown in. Sarah just sails thru reading and math instruction, while Hannah seems to have a slower pace, but that's just the beauty of homeschooling them, no pressure. I want Hannah to develop a LOVE for reading, at the pace that's developmentally right for her, while not holding Sarah back from her voracious appetite for devouring books whenever they're given to her. I'd also love to start adding in a little Spanish here and there, but I'm not sure where to begin there, so that's a work in progress... for now, Dora, Diego, your my team. Don't let me down.
And many folks have asked what I'm doing with Caleb all this time. I plan on sticking him in the closet on a coathook while I teach, just to keep him out of the way.
Ok, well, while we're not doing anything formal during school time for him, I am going to encourage him to join us at the table whenever he desires for storytime, crafting, songs, etc. If he's interested, great. If not, that's ok too. I'll keep working informally on getting him to know his colors, shapes, and letter/numbers (Gah! He's so close on his colors and shapes, and just when I think he's got it, he yells, "TRIANGLE!" when I ask him what color grass is... I think at this point he must be messing with me). And when he's not working, my little buddy does just great playing with his toys nearby, smashing and crashing about and destroying the room while we work at the table. During breaks, he gets lots of Mommy time, too, for stories, cuddles, snacks, or whatever else he might want. It's a rough life that boy has, I tell ya.
The cool thing for us, though, is P.E. includes frolicking in the sprinkler while it's still warm out, riding bikes around the block, and chasing after each other in hide and seek. Field trips are whenever and wherever we want, with no stupid permission slips needed. And when we're all just feelin' funky, skip it, it's kindergarten and they need to be outside playing and learning about life more than they need to be filling out worksheets and answering rote questions. I'm in seventh heaven at home teaching these kids, even if they drive me batty on a frequent and consistent basis. Friends always say, "Good for you, I'd never be patient enough to teach my kids." I hope someday I'll be patient enough, too, but for now I'm just covering us in prayer and hoping God guides them more than I do, because if this blog proves one thing, it's that I could work a bit on the "patience" dept. And the "not cursing" dept. But I got the "shower your kids with love and teach them about grace and maybe some worldly stuff along the way," dept. covered. ;)

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Two Face...

Caleb has really been maturing these last few weeks, and it's keeping me on my toes. He is potty trained now, needing diapers only at night in case of the rare evening accident, and he's starting to dress himself and peddle his own bike now, so that's less he needs me for now. And my goodness can that boy talk! He is a chatterbox, and in the most absolutely adorable and endearing ways. The other day when getting on the potty, he fell off the front and then said, "Mommy, I guess that means I have to sit backwards on the potty"- I about fell out. For a two year old to verbalize a plan to solve a problem like that just cracked me up. When he pretends, it's delightful:

"Mommy, I have a baby alligator. I caught it in my hands and it's name is George... do you wanna kiss it? Can you hold it for me while I catch him some food with my fishin' pole?"

And when he sucks up, it's both hilarious and powerful:

(Daddy comes home with strawberries in hand) "Daddy, your the BEST Daddy ever!"

But he has a dark side, too...

Ryan and I often sit and wonder over our sweet kids at night after putting them to bed, talking about how neat their personalities are and discussing what they did new that day, and a common theme for us is, "He's just so CUTE!... but so BAD!" You see, one minute he's a cherub- all sweet blue eyes and silliness and "Tickle me MOMMY!" and the next, he's intent on driving someone completely crazy. He's devious in a million brilliant and troublesome ways about how to make his sisters weep and wail and me pull my hair out. For example, at the kitchen counter yesterday, he found a wooden spoon and was tapping it to a beat on the counter and singing a horribly mispronounced version of "Blessed be your name"- cute huh? Next thing you know, I turn my attention slightly toward the sink and away from him, when in my periphery I spy my darling cutie rearing back his arm over his sisters head (who was not facing him and completely unaware of the danger) so as to bap her over the head with the spoon. My arm shot out like a cannon to catch the blow before Hannah had her lights put out, but Caleb just looked at me, giggled, and took off running from Mommy-the-Punisher.

Another example: The kids all made drums at their recent VBS out of various plastic containers with lids. My girls have been using those drums as containers again to carry around little trinkets and treasures they find, carefully sealing the lids to hold in whatever flotsum they deem precious for the day. Caleb, though, whenever he enters the living room, makes a bee-line for those drums, opening them swiftly and steathily to dump out the treasure and then, like a creature that destroys merely for the pleasure of toying with it's victim, moves on to the other sisters' toy to do the same. He wasn't at all curious or interested in what's inside, but rather wanted merely to see his sisters gnash their teeth for the millionth time today and proclaim, "Caleb, why did you DO that!?"

It's like the boy lives a double life... that of a cute and cuddly little sweetheart who can melt my heart on a moments notice, and that of a devious criminal master, stealthy like a tiny ninja. A tiny ninja with strawberry jelly stains on his lips, Captain America undies and a tendancy to piddle on my carpet when not properly monitored. And he has such POWER. Watch out for little Two Face... lest he bring down the spoon while you marvel over his cuteness!

My headgear makes me impervious to my sister's poundings. Tomorrow, I'm going to take over the world.