Friday, April 27, 2012

Dairy Week

I am in love.
I am in love with a brilliant method of learning.
I want a t-shirt that says " I heart Unit Studies".  We have been rounding out the remaining weeks of Kindergarten by doing various unit studies together. Today we finished up "dairy week" in which we learned about a different dairy product each day. We also made homemade butter and homemade ice cream.

I love that I can make all subjects "more" fun by encasing them in a theme. Dairy Week methods: Multiplication is more fun when you can color in the answer on a yogurt carton! Learning what a "sphere" and "cone" are and how they differ from a circle and a triangle is pretty cool when its all about ice cream cones. The library never lets me down; I found a great children's book all about how ice cream is processed. And there is the ever-helpful internet, land of videos on yogurt production and milking machine diagrams!

I love unit studies because Blue Elephant likes the fun and different spin on things... but I will tell you a secret: I love unit studies because I love getting to create them! Finding just the right "how it's made" video or drawing ice cream scoops around double digit addition problems makes my heart sing. And a hands-on, homemade butter project? I'm in heaven!

This is a huge step for me in my homeschooling journey. I feel like so much has changed since last August! I began the year pretty much in stark terror that I was going to be the first homeschooling mother to get this gig completely wrong. I was scared to deviate from the curriculum in any matter. It had all been pre-planned for me, after all, and we had spent money on it! I HAD to use it to it's fullest, right?? 

BE took to schooling like a duck to water. He has always had a huge thirst for knowledge, and I saw him drinking deeply every day. So deeply in fact, that he began to progress faster than the curriculum was allowing for. Then came a day about a month ago that I realized we had left the curriculum far behind. I had been creating lessons from bits gathered here and there, themed around a fun book or an animal of the week. Nature studies, tiger facts, dairy week, bug explorations... we were out of our seats for 75% of the day, and BE was blossoming!

I was "winging it" and I was not afraid. You might say that I finally learned to fly! :)
Now I will not pretend that there are not still "off days"... and I don't "unschool"... we still get in pencil to paper on 5 subjects a day, 5 days a week. But theres just so much more spark, color, creativity, noise, action, glue and glitter. And I am loving it!

I want a shirt that says "I Heart Unit Studies"... and maybe I will just have to pull out the puffy paint I just bought last week (on clearance!) and make one!.... As a part of a "fabrics and how they are made" unit study, of course! 

Sunday, April 15, 2012

A Short Cut

A short cut. What comes to mind when you read those words?
Almost always, its the idea that there's a quicker way to get to a destination; be it a craft project or a car ride.
For me, the phrase has a new element of meaning.
Last week, my darling BE decided that 6 a.m. was the perfect hour for a short cut. the kind that comes with scissors, and his little sister's beautiful, almost lower-back length hair.
and what a SHORT cut it was.
Pink Elephant is now sporting a stack cut... the longest piece of hair on her head reaches her chin.
I cried.
and cried.
(Partly because of the rediculous steroids... see previous post.)
But mostly because she just looks SO much OLDER, now.
Little "baby girl" will be 4 in just a couple months, but she is still my "baby"! the problem is now she doesnt look the part.
Ah yes, short cuts.
PE's hair is a short cut.
BE's decision to use the scissors to play Paul Mitchell?
a short cut to the end of my patience!
(I wish I were kidding!)
I suppose I am the ONLY parent on the face of the planet who will actually admit that there are occasions where I wake up and dread the fact that i have another day full of "misadventures" awaiting me.
Like waking up to "craft time" in which half the bedroom and all of both kids are covered in glue.
Like realizing that the sink has been dribbling water for the last 2 hours since someone last washed their hands.
Like 6 a.m. short cuts.
Since I am the only one who will admit to burnout, then let me stand in my solitary camp and say loudly and with much gusto, "I wish there was a short cut to getting these kids raised!!"
I do mean that.   And I don't.       But mostly, I do.
I wish there WAS a short cut to the monotenous routine of "please do not do that" "that is not how we are supposed to act" "no really, I meant stop the first time"....
but there's not.
you know it, and I know it.
there is no short cut to this parenting thing.
its a long, long road, and theres alot of scraped elbows, snotty noses, and scuffed knees. (and thats just ME, on the floor groveling before God for some help and peace of mind... nevermind the kids! lol)
there are no short cuts.
not if you want to "do this right" anyway.
I supposed I could spend all my time distracted, ship 'em off to school, sports, relatives to visit, hobbies, summer camps, youth activities, retreats, etc. keep 'em spinning, keep the calendar full and the minivan gassed up.
and take the whirlwind short cut through parenting.
where the sagest advice i have to hand out is "mind the babysitter, and please stop picking your nose." ...and off to a mani/pedi and a latte.
But you see, there's just this thing inside me that just stubbornly WON'T let me... i don't know if its pride, i dont know if its the tenacity of a mother's heart, but theres just this force sticking in my chest that
that makes me CARE. that makes me TRY. AGAIN. and AGAIN.
and makes me keep coming back for MORE. there are no short cuts to brilliantly, well-done parenting.
and no, my parenting is NOT brilliant. some days its not even anywhere close to "well-done"!!
But it's not one of short cuts.
Someday, I have to stand before the Lord and give an account for who I was and what i did. and part of that is my mothering. I don't want to have to pipe up and say "well you see, Lord, I took a short cut...."
and thats why, even when my days are full of hair-vacuuming and short cuts,
I can take a deep breath and grit my teeth.
I'm in it for the long haul.
No short cuts here.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Some Days

Some days you just know its not "your" day, you know??  today is one of those days!

 last week i woke in the middle of the night from a not-so-great dream and my body felt like it had been taken over by aliens. the room was spinning, i was certain i would be sick all over the floor if i tried to move from the bed, i was hot and sweating. NOT a pretty picture, i assure you. i woke my husband, and he helped me out of bed. i tried for a long time to get back to sleep, and when i finally succeeded, i woke feeling exactly the same.

Plus, now my eyes were having tremors. I was officially. freaked. out. !!

Hubby scrambled to get childcare (thanks to his dad and wonderful grandmother for sitting with the elephants!) and we were off to the doctor.
The walk-in clinic recognized they were in over their head. we called and got an open slot at an ENT my hubby knows from years ago.

After a looooooong very doctor-officish wait, a hearing test, and a quick eye exam, the doctor diagnosed me with "Labryinthitis" also known as inflammation of the inner ear, causing extreme vertigo problems with side effects of eye tremors and nausea. yep, that was me.
my response?
"thanks, David Bowe".
blank stare from the doctor.
oops, guess he was in the throws of medical school during the 80's and missed the movie. (is that possible?)
anyway, the REASON today is not my day, is because i am simple NOT
the treatment for labryinthitis is a month's worth of steroids (for the inflammation) and a month of anti-vertigo meds.
ooooh, you betchya.
steroids cause extreme mood swings (think pregnancy and times it by 20) extreme hunger (ALL THE TIME!) the computer looks like it would be tasty with the right kind of spicy mustard....
and a sense of extreme energy, with difficulty sleeping.
(I was up til past midnight last night, pinteresting and lesson planning!)
the anti-vertigo meds cause extreme sleepiness, and slight nausea, but are actually helping ALOT with the horrible dizziness.
Not to say that it's gone, just lessened somewhat.

today is NOT my day, simply because i am NOT "myself" i am the steroided hyper/moody/ravenous/sleepy/exhausted/nauseous/ didisaymoody? version of who i normally am.
mix that with two little ones with post-easter sugar highs and a concentration level of zero for any of my (carefully thought out and excitedly planned) homeschool ideas for the day, and you get a recipe for a dizzy disaster.

today is NOT my day.
BE ended up doing a stack of worksheets, on his own, and i checked his work. (after i cried over pinterest home and fashion pages waiting for him to finish). GOOD NIGHT! i really, really do NOT like these feelings, nor the meds that contribute to them.
But, as i cross one more day off my calendar (where i have meticulously written out my doses to keep up with the meds) i know i am one day closer to "normal" and having this behind me. and i know each day, as the world still spins around me, and as the kids still have that special sorta cute but really makes me want to douse them in salsa and eat them attitude about them, i KNOW that there is one steady rock that i can cling to. a shelter in the time of storm.

jesus, thank you that you have risen, you are present, you are with me, and you are still holding me. even if bacon sounds awesome for my mouth but spells trouble for my thighs. even if my kids are driving me nuts and all i want to do is cry. (wow, that could be just about the worst mommy-sounding worship song ever!)

still He is Risen, still He is faithful, still He accepts me just as i am.
he will see me through this, till the Labryinthitis is gone from my body and the meds are finally flushed out...
and i am thankful for that.
I am clinging to that.
Even so, i doubt i will EVER want to watch the movie again in my life.
thanks, David Bowe.