Thursday, May 31, 2012

Post-Interview with School of Ministry

I sat in the hot parking lot with Z, J, N and E, for an hour and twelve minutes.  It was hot.  The kids got out and played in the grassy area alongside the parking space and I took a few pictures of them practicing handstands and balancing on the cinder block wall that ran alongside the grass.  Did I mention it was hot?

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

A Small Vanilla & Dance Drama

Random subject line, right?  Well, hopefully, I can explain it here and somehow manage to keep two separate topics unified and concise.

Earlier today, J and N were playing a game where J ran a store that sold ice cream supplies (cones, etc.) and N ran a restaurant that sold ice cream and other things.  What a practical exchange of goods and services, or as I like to call it, Econ for elementary school kids.  Ha.

An Interview

S got a call today from the School of Ministry for an interview!  It's scheduled for tomorrow.

This doesn't mean much yet, other than one more step closer to figuring out what her Senior Year will look like educationally.  They apparently call all applicants for an interview upon receiving their completed application and their references.

But still, she's very excited and we're very proud of her for getting this far.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Daddy's Pop Quiz: Historical Figures

We arrived at the grocery store over the weekend, and before C ran in, leaving the rest of us waiting for him in the van, he said, "Which historical figure would you most like to meet and why?  And it can't be Jesus.  Think on that and I'll be right back."

Sunday, May 27, 2012

End of Year Evaluations

After final exams, I finish up each school year with evaluations -- this is usually a series of questions that make the kids think about their school year and their future, so we can record their state of mind about things for posterity.  Fun, right?  This year, I did the same.  I found questions from other teachers online and made up some of my own.  It was fun to sit down with each kid to go through their thoughts and ideas this way (the older kids did theirs on their own, but it's so fun to read).

I don't want to bore you with all of the answers, so I'll just share my favorites here:

1. What is something we did this year that you think you will remember for the rest of your life?
J: The shark craft using two cups.  Even though mine is wrecked now, I still remember it.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

30 Days of Journaling

Okay, so I'm giving this a try this year.  I've been following Janel's blog for a year or so now and last year, S tried to do this journaling challenge, but it got away from her.  So this year, we're both going to give it a go.

I'm not as artistic (not even close) as Janel, who is an art teacher, but I'm not intimidated.  I know I can find my own creative muscle and stretch it through this process.  I'll share the results with you here -- whether you like it or not!

Join me and many, many others, if you dare...


P.S. This post, mentioning my commitment to 30 days of journaling, is my 30th blog post this month -- the most posts I've ever made in one month since starting this blog.  Yay, me.  

Earth, Wind & Fire

No, this is not a flashback to the 1970s.  This is a tribute to the lovely wind we've been having here in central New Mexico that stirs up a whole lot of earth (sand) and brings in pollution from forest fires happening all around us.  It's great.

Okay, so I'm being a little sarcastic.  I mean, who wants to be surrounded constantly by the scent of a campfire without the benefit of its warmth and s'mores ... or camping?  And then while inhaling the aromas of burning forests, we also get to be pelted with sand.  It's a whole lot of sneezing and eye-watering going on around here for the past two days.  A lot of indoor time happening here.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Village Inn

After we attended K's fifth grade graduation this week, we went out for a celebration dinner at a local chain restaurant called Village Inn.  I had a 20% off coupon, so it was a good cost-effective way to dine out with a big group, plus there are a lot of choices to make kids happy there.

Final Exam Results

Now that the tests have been administered and graded, I thought I would share some of the results.  The kids did great and I'm really proud of them.  It's funny, because their test results not only show me how much they have learned, but they also help me know how effective I've been in teaching them.  I feel good about those results this year, too, but only because the kids did so well.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Finals Day

Today is Finals day in our homeschool. 

Through a process of trial and error, we have learned that regular weekly testing in most subjects isn't required to understand where our kids are at educationally.  Tests seem to put undue pressure on them to cram, when the fact of the matter is, I'm with them each day and I already know what they have grasped and what they have not grasped.

When there is an area of importance that they haven't latched onto, I find that a test just makes them feel worse about that and instead, it's best to just review the topics again and sometimes in other ways that might better help them understand.

But once a year, I like to do Final Exams.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Cutest Stickers

I'm in love with these vinyl "puffy" stickers I bought in the Target Dollar-Spot the other day.  So before I let the kids have at them, I scanned them so I can remember the various characters.  So fun!

I think I relate best to Little Miss Stubborn and/or Little Miss Busy -- in this season of life -- is there one or two that represent you best?

Monday, May 21, 2012

And Yet, Why Not See Another Doctor Today?

I'm choosing to begin this post with this picture of a bunny eating dandelions from our front grass because it's a much cuter image than the one that has been burned into my brain for the past several hours now.  The bunny was there munching away as we exited the house to go pick up N from preschool.  They are quite common here in the desert, but no matter how many times I see them, I still feel like it's a special treat.

Now, for you squeamish folks, enjoy the bunny and do not continue reading about Z's foot injury and ensuing trip to Urgent Care today.  Good day to you.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Solar Eclipse

Well, completely unprepared and yet apparently good enough at improvising, after a little research, I was able to create a pinhole camera out of a Pepsi 12-pack box and several viewers for the kids out of sheets of white cardstock and a thumbtack (for making a hole) -- and we were able to view the eclipse here in Albuquerque!

Sunday Delight

I am celebrating a moment of pride I'm having as a mama and I just had to share it with all of you.

S went down to Noonday and served meals to the homeless population of Albuquerque all morning.  Afterwards, the lady coordinating the service event told me that S worked soooo hard and scrubbed all the dishes herself (among other things).  They served 137 people today -- so there were a lot of dishes!  I'm so proud of her for representing our family well and being the hands and feet of Christ down there today.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

A Nice Day for a Walk

Yesterday, when I woke up, I just felt blah.  It was one of those days that I didn't feel like getting out of bed to do the same-old, same-old.  Weird, because it was a Friday and I love Fridays.  But there it was.  An off sort of day.

I decided not to let the day or my feelings overrun me and instead, I got everyone going pretty much first thing to take a good walk on part of the Rio Grande Bosque Trail, which always cheers me up.  We had E with us, and therefore, the stroller, so we couldn't go all the way into the bosque like we usually do.  The ground is much too sandy there, so we stuck to the packed paths that go alongside the bosque.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Homeschool Room

I was inspired by my sister's Thankful Thursday post and while I always have an abundance of things to be thankful for, I recently have been appreciating a few easy changes I made in our school room.  I wanted to share these with you here.

Lost Day

I got home from my less than fun doctor's appointment on Tuesday (are they ever fun?) and after sharing with C how things went, he was asking about what I wanted for dinner.  I didn't feel particularly hungry, so I didn't really know or care.  He was still coming off of his run at the quick little flu-bug that's been passing through the house and family (O, Z, N and E), so he didn't care much either.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

And More Doctors

So the year of the V is becoming more like the year of the D-R.  Doctors.  Although we have had plenty of vomit this year, there have been a lot of other reasons for visits to the doctor as well.

Fair warning for the squeamish -- this involves a mouth injury.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mama's Day 2012

The kids got me a giant card and while it was pretty and nice, I think I liked their group effort envelope decorations best.

Did you think I could forget to wish all the Mamas out there a Happy Mother's Day?  Heck, no.  This blog is specifically about recognizing Mamas and all their hard work (among other things).  Current Mamas and Grandmamas, future Mamas, even those of you women who are Aunties or good friends who watch other Mamas' kids for them now and then -- you all deserve to be recognized on Mother's Day.  Good work, Ladies.  And Single Dad's -- happy day to you, too.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

I Added a Widget!

So, I'm still figuring out all the ins and outs of blogging and what works and what doesn't (thank you for your patience).  Today, I discovered a widget that I'm trying out and I successfully installed it down below.

Scroll down to see the new way I've posted my favorite books.  Let me know what you think.

I'm just impressed I was able to figure out how to do it without my husband's help!  Wild.  I feel so tech-y now.

I just wish I could figure a way to link them to my posts about those books. :-\  One thing at a time.

A Reminder About Sensory Issues

Last night, a few of the kids came with me to Wal-Mart to get some groceries (what? isn't that what everyone does on Friday night?!) and I found myself practically rolling in the parking lot, laughing hilariously*, when I noticed the bottoms of H's boxer-briefs fluttering over the top of his jeans waistband.  I'm not sure how anyone could have their underpants so far up in that position and not notice it, but he didn't.

I'm not telling you this story just to embarrass my son, who had a good laugh about it himself when I explained to him what was going on back there.  It's just the best way to re-introduce the concept of Sensory Integration Disorder, which is just one of a few things H lives with on a daily basis.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Year of the V

A Teen-Jeopardy episode the other night reminded me that this is the Year of the Dragon in Chinese culture.  Here in our house, it's been the Year of Something Else.  Something scarier than a dragon.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Courageous Women: Grandma T.

Though dementia has taken my grandmother's mind in these later years of her life, I have heard that what is left of her personality are the joyful, kind parts.  I don't think she remembers a lot of the difficult stuff she dealt with over the years that hardened her and so in a small way, this illness has been a blessing -- at least for her.

Third Day

This is the third day in a row of J feeling better.  Hooray and praise the Lord!  Her appetite is going like gang-busters, too.  She actually enjoys tracking it in her food diary, too.  One day, perhaps I'll scan a page or two so you can see how she's doing. 

We told her she can have one more night in our room and tomorrow, she gets to move back to her bed.  I'm not sure if S is excited to have her roommate back or not.  But we'll be glad to reclaim the floor space where she's been sleeping in our room (while sick).

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Gluten? Really?

So I believe I mentioned it previously, but after a couple weeks and no good reason for J's prolonged illness (and the only clue being flared up sinuses and signs of allergies in her blood work), C and I started researching common allergies.  Based on her history of symptoms -- for as long as we've known her -- it seems that perhaps she has a sensitivity to gluten.

Now I know that it's very "in" to be talking about gluten sensitivities and/or allergies -- or so it seems to me, anyway -- but according to what I've read on from various sources, about 15% of the population is sensitive to gluten.  That seems pretty common to me.

Monday, May 7, 2012

CT Scan Followup, Part II (Already)

So I guess they were just joking when they said three days.  Probably three days for the official radiology report, but our pediatrician saw the results online today (that's one good thing now that everything is electronically recorded) and he called me personally to tell me the news.

CT Scan Followup, Part I

Okay, so she got through the CT Scan and the radiologist said she did great.  J first told me it was cool how she laid on a table that moved her into a tube -- but later, she retracted the statement and said, "Actually, it was a little creepy in there ... but I was fine."

We'll get results in three days.

Rushing Around

J's CT Scan got moved up to this morning at 11:30.  Just when I thought we'd have a semi-normal week, I'm left rushing.  But everything is okay and coming together.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Courageous Women: Mom

In church, we are beginning a sermon series stemming from the movie, Courageous, we watched a couple weeks back.  Today, the men were addressed as leaders in the home.  Pastor spoke about how men can be courageous in their homes -- by serving their families, taking initiative, taking risks, etc.  Next week -- Mother's Day -- he will speak about courageous women.

I began considering the women who surround me in life and who have inspired me at some point (or many times) along the way.  I decided I want to share a little about these women here.  But instead of making one long post, I think I'll try splitting things up into several posts -- for easier reading.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Seasonal Transitions

H's team fought right up to the very end with some awesome trick plays and exciting moments, but they ended up losing their first game today.  This meant that the season is over for them (except their end-of-year banquet).

Two Weeks

J was sick again this morning.  We've officially reached the 14 day/two-week mark.  It's funny because when we were last at the doctor's on Thursday, he asked, "What is this?  3-1/2 weeks now?"

I said, "No, only 12 days."

He said, "Gosh it feels like it's been so much longer!"

I said, "You're telling me!  Try living with it every day!  It feels like eternity at this point."

Friday, May 4, 2012

Today Was a Good Day

J woke this morning feeling good.  Over the past couple weeks, that's meant that the next couple days are terrible.  One doctor told us that she was overdoing it on her good days and prolonging the illness.  It's really hard to make J lay around and eat plain toast when she's finally feeling a bit like her old self again -- even if the feeling is temporary.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

More Tests

J's still sick.  We were referred to a GI specialist who won't probably be able to get her in till August.  Her regular pediatrician saw her tonight and he ordered a bunch more lab tests for tomorrow morning and ... a CT Scan.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Update & Other Conversations

Just quickly, because I know my vomit posts have been numerous lately and I don't want you to think that's the only thing I talk about here, J is having a good day today.  She's been eating stuff on the BRAT diet (per doctor recommendation and despite newer evidence that this is not a nutritionally sound diet) and drinking apple juice and water, as well as trying to play low-key games and activities: television watching, Barbies, Play-doh, etc.  It's definitely a challenge to keep a girl with her spunk down for long, but we definitely don't want her overdoing it and going right back to sick tonight.  She's also remaining medicated for nausea, so hopefully that's helping her heal and not just masking the cause of her illness.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

I Don't Know

I think some of the most frustrating words in the English language make up the phrase, "I don't know."  It drives me crazy when kids say it to me as their reason behind certain behaviors or choices made.  It drives me even more crazy when professional, highly-educated people -- like doctors -- tell me that's all they have to say about why our daughter has been throwing up for most of the past ten days!  Come on.

Give me bad news.  Give me good news.  Give me something.  Don't tell me you don't know.  It's making me bonkers.  I know it's mostly about control.  Not knowing means I have to trust God more, instead of facts.  But I still keep reviewing the facts over and over again.  I can't help it.