Sunday, December 26, 2010

Family Time can bring about Question Time...

I love getting to see family and everyone, but with me homeschooling, we inevitably get questions about what the boys are doing and if they are "where they are supposed to be." I don't mind the questions really. I guess I could look at it as if they didn't care, they wouldn't ask.

Braeden, my youngest monkey, is 6 and in first grade. However, he is really struggling with reading.  My mom was asking him something and he told her he couldn't read. Of course, this made her question me. She didn't think it was funny when I looked at her and said "Ohmygawd...I'm supposed to be teaching him to read?!"

He can read more than he gives himself credit for, but this has recently been a big issue for him. So with his insecurities, he simply says he just can't.

This is one of those areas where I refuse to freak out. I truly believe that he will get this on his own time.  I know saying that may come across as way too nonchalant, but his father and I have always, and will always, do what's best for our boys.

I have absolutely no shame in admitting when I can't handle something or if I need a little help with something.  If there is ever any point where I start to wonder if he has any learning disabilities whatsoever, the people in my life should know that I will do whatever I need to address those.

Right now, we are giving him some time.  He is making small steps, but we are comfortable with those steps for the time being.


It was a great visit with my parents. We got to spend a couple of nights with them and the hubs and I took the boys to see Yogi Bear on Thursday. They laughed all the way through it. Even I giggled a few times and thought it was ok. Walter was pretty miserable the whole time, lol. I don't expect to see it on an "Oscar Watch List" or anything, but it's a movie about a talking bear. His expectations were obviously higher than mine. :D

Christmas Eve was filled with great food, love, laughter and lotsa presents! :)  My next post will be about the holiday fun, as well as our visit from Santa, Christmas morning, our sleepover and playtime in the snow.

Yes.  SNOW.  :)

Right now, I need to sleep.  I don't know that I've done that since Tuesday. Even though we have fun with everyone when we aren't at home, none of us sleep very well.  Certainly not as well as we do in our own beds.

This week I have a lot to do around here.  All of this loot has got find a home and I have a pretty large amount of housework to do before our New Year's Eve gathering next weekend.

I can always hope that we will accomplish some school related stuff, but truthfully... I doubt it, lol.  I might be able to get the boys to play some spelling games or something, but with all of the new play stuffs they've received over the last few days, I don't know that I will be able to get them to eat or anything.  Much less do school. :)

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Sickness and Surprises...

Two weeks ago, Braeden (my wee one that always gets sick!) got his flu shot.  This did not please him.  Not a shocker...

But he has been having more and more problems with his asthma and the doctor really thought that it would be a good idea to give him the shot.  I don't always do what the doctor recommends (I hate over-medicating and/or doing something just because a doctor said to do it), but I got the flu last November and I really didn't want him to go through that.  Sooo, he got the shot.

At the time, the doctor said that I could bring Bailey in when I got a chance and he could get one too, just as a precaution.  Considering that Bailey gets sick MAYBE once a year - and even that's a high estimate - I was in no mad rush to get him back to the office.

Guess who has the flu?

Am I the best mom ever, or what?

Of course I just knew that when the doctor confirmed this at his office, he really wanted to wag his finger and tsk at me for not getting Bailey in sooner.

It has not been the best week, but better this week than next week. Hopefully he will be feeling back to normal before Christmas.

He has been sunken into the couch for several days.  Watching Christmas movies or surfing through and seeing what Netflix had to offer.  This has not been happy times for Braeden.  When Braeden feels fine, he wants everyone to play with him, lol.

I've been trying to get him involved in things so he can leave Bailey alone. I tried suggesting logging into his curriculum and just doing one or two things. I really wanted him to do this so he could sit at his computer while I was working on mine. This way we could talk and interact, but I could still do what I needed to do. He was willing, as long as he didn't have to do anything in the math program. Some days he doesn't mind math, and others he simply doesn't want anything to do with it. Since it's technically a break (really... it's always a break here, lol... we are trying to dip our toes into the "unschooling" realm, as I've mentioned before, and honestly the boys respond so much better when they have more control of their day), I haven't pushed him.

Now for the surprise part that the blog post title referred to...

I have been introducing the boys to other websites. I know I've talked about sites where they can play educational games. Bailey is so competitive that works for him. It works for Braeden because ... well it's a game. He'll play anything. :)

On one particular site that we enjoy, Braeden always wants to play the preschool games. He's in the first grade... it bugs me that he wants to play those games. When I ask him about it, he says he likes those cause he always does well. Duh, lol...

I'm trying to persuade him, without pushing him, to try and branch out.  He will do some of the spelling games. He has enjoyed some of the animal games. Even some of the keyboarding games.

That's about as far as I can get him to branch. But the other day, when I was suggesting other games for him to try, he shocked me by agreeing to try one of the science games and give some math flash cards a whirl!

I was thrilled! The science game was good, but I don't know if he got anything from it...I heard a lot of mouse clicking but he couldn't really tell me what he was doing, lol.

He did well with the multiplication x 1 flash cards, but after that he was done. I could have tried to get him to start on the x 2 cards, but I was so pleased that he at least spend a few minutes on a math activity, I let it go.

Maybe next time he will try again...

This week is going to be so crazy. I'm sure it will be for most families. The hubs is working his butt off trying to get everything done so he can have Friday off. We have a lot of things to do around here.  I have wrapped one, ONE gift. Blah. I have many more to wrap. I love gift giving.  I hate gift wrapping.  We are going to go down on Wednesday to spend a couple nights with my parents and Walter's mom (they live in same subdivision - how convenient is that?!).  We will be heading home on Friday, just in time to wait for Santa!!

Sending wishes for many blessings and a joyous Christmas to everyone!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

I went Christmas shopping today...

... and I made it home alive!  Yaaaay!

Normally I love shopping. I only get bothered when I'm trying to shop for someone and I have NO idea what to get them. I end up wandering around, aimlessly, for hours...only to end up with a shopping cart full of crap that I didn't go to get in the first place, lol.

Add to that the fact that today was the next to last Saturday before Christmas and you can imagine how my aimless wandering went. It wasn't pretty.

But I went. I shopped. I made it home. All is well. I have a few more things to get, but I'm pleased with everything so far.

This time of year is always crazy busy for us, but this year it seems worse. This week the boys didn't do anything school related. At least I don't think they did.

The fact that I don't even know really should put me in the running for that homeschooling-mom-of-the-year award, huh? Geez...

We have been "relaxed homeschoolers" for quite a while. Most would even call what we do borderline unschooling. Well this week, we definitely fell into that unschooling catagory. :)

I had planned on the boys doing a little something school-like this week. If nothing else, I was hoping to pull some words from Time4Learning's list of online spelling words for them to work on. But even that didn't happen.

Tuesday I got a new desk. Of course it had to be put together right away. It ended up taking ALL DAY.  Naturally.

Wednesday I had a little meeting at the tax office (holy season is just around the corner too!) and that lasted longer than I had planned.

Friday our homeschool group did our annual Christmas caroling at the nursing home.

Weeks like this, I'm glad my kids can at least make themselves a bowl of cereal and some Easy Mac so I know they didn't starve. :D

Tomorrow we are taking them to see the new Chronicles of Narnia movie. We are all excited about that.

Hopefully this upcoming week will go a little smoother...but I'm not planning on it, lol.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

I need to rant a minute...sorry. :)

As a word of caution, this blog contains my opinions.  Shocker.  Every now and then, I may post something that many will disagree with.  Another shocker.  Please feel free to leave a comment if you want.  But remember, it's MY blog so can I delete those comments that I don't like.  ;)

Every year during the holidays, I encounter people of many different belief systems. I'm fine with that. I love that! I don't believe I shouldn't be allowed to say Merry Christmas, or celebrate Christmas in the way that I want. Nor do I believe people should be forced not to say Happy Hanukkah or Season's Greetings or celebrate THEIR holiday in the way they want. I say Merry Christmas. That's the holiday I celebrate. But that doesn't mean that I don't respect those that do not.

Why do I celebrate Christmas? Because I am a Christian. No, I don't go to church. To be perfectly honest, and I'm sure this will piss people off, we simply have not found one that isn't full of hypocrites. Church should be about worship, not cliques and social standings within the church. Church should be full of people who live by their faith EVERY day of the week, not just on Sundays.  But that's a whole different rant...

I'm sure that surprises people who thought we were weird heathens (we are really...there's just a teensy bit of good in us, lol *wink*). I don't know a lot about my faith. I was raised in a Christian household, but I don't think I truly found my faith until I was an adult. I pick and choose parts of my faith that I live by. I know that's wrong, but that's how I roll.  

I don't judge. Or at least I try not to. Yeah, yeah, there are lifestyles and actions that many have interpreted the Bible as saying are wrong. I'm not saying that those things are wrong or right, I'm saying that they have been interpreted as such. If in fact they are wrong, then that's something that each person, at the right time, will address with God. Why do we feel it's our place to place criticism upon them now?  I'm not saying you have condone or accept that which you think is wrong. But if you truly feel that they are going to hell, then why they can't at least have a nice time while they’re here, lol? 

I also participate in what many Christians consider pagan practices. My kids dress up and go trick-or-treating, so I guess that means we “celebrate” Halloween. Does that mean we celebrate paganism or the devil or whatever by sacrificing animals and casting spells? Well of course it does, but that’s beside the point. 

Really, I had to google why Christians were even opposed to Halloween. My entire life, I thought the only meaning it had was playing dress-up and getting candy. For reals. 

Does that mean that I scoff at Christians who hold “trunk-or-treats” at their churches, rather than go trick-or-treating in their neighborhoods? Absolutely not. I respect the differences in everyone’s beliefs. I do wish that those same “trunk-or-treaters” wouldn’t scoff at me for letting my boys worship the devil trick-or-treat.

I understand more about Easter and Christmas. Those days have significant meaning for Christians. Do I think those holidays should be about, and only about, the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus? That depends on what they bring me.

Of course I don’t! My boys participate in both heathenistic (is that even a real word?) practices, but they can still tell you what those holidays are about and why we celebrate them. My boys can come up with a wish list a mile long for Christmas, but they will tell you why it is that we exchange gifts on Christmas.

Why can’t our children experience a little fantasy and wonder in their holiday? People say “well if my kids found out I lied about Santa, then they will wonder if I’m lying about God.” Really? I guess I can respect that argument. I disagree, but I can respect that. 

However, when I found out that there was no Santa, I did not immediately think “well that’s just great…if there’s no Santa then there most certainly isn’t a God.” My parents were responsible enough (yes I’m being mean and that’s a dig at people) to explain to me about the Santa thing. They made sure I knew Santa was not, nor should he be, compared to Jesus. Santa’s a thing of fantasy and excitement during the holidays. It’s also a fabulous bribing/blackmailing tool for kids… “If you do that, I will tell Santa.” Oh wait…was I not supposed to admit that? 

For as long as we “believed” in Santa, we never got a gift from my parents, or at least not much of one. You know that look on your child’s face when they opened or received a gift that they had been wanting for SO long? That feeling of sheer happiness when they looked at everything around the tree and you could tell that, at least until next year, this was THE best Christmas ever?? Yeah, well my parents sacrificed that for our wonder and joy. 

When I found out that there was no Santa, I was not heartbroken or sad. I was grateful and appreciative. My parents could have shared in some of that gift giving glory, but they didn’t.

I am not as good of a parent as mine were. I’m selfish. That ONE thing, that one big gift that my boys have been wanting? That comes from us, lol.  Santa gets to bring a lot of stuff, but that “best Christmas EVAR” moment?  That’s all ours.

Back to the “if you lie about Santa, you lie about God”thing…

Is the big fat man with a magic sack full of presents real? Well, no. But he is BASED on a real person.  Yes, we’ve changed him around a bit. Ok, a lot. But that fact is, there is history and truth behind St. Nick. He’s based on a real individual. There’s no belief there. There’s fact.

What about God? Well, if you ask me, I see God every time I look at my boys’ faces. There’s my fact. But truthfully, there isn’t any “proof” is there? The whole point behind your…well, it’s faith. Faith means believing in something regardless of whether or not there’s proof.

I know this kinda went all over the place. I’m not sure what I’m trying to say, I just needed to get this off my chest. I guess I’m tired of people professing to be true (insert my awe at their perfectness *ahem*) Christians, then turning around and judging or criticizing the actions of those us they deem not Christian enough. 

My participation in the Santa thing does not make you a better Christian than me. It does not mean you love God more than I love God. It doesn't mean your kids are better than my kids, or smarter than my kids, or that they will grown up to better individuals than my kids.   

My boys are good boys. We are teaching them to be respectful and kind. We are teaching them that they need to treat others as they want to be treated. We are teaching them that there are consequences for their actions. We are doing the best we can. 

As I’ve stated before...even if I disagree with them, I still respect those who have different belief systems than I do.  I respect their opinions for choosing to take part in, or choosing not to take part in, certain traditions/celebrations.  I don’t scoff at you and your family.  Or at least I don’t scoff within your earshot. ;)

All I’m asking is for people to have the same respect for myself and for my family.  

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Post Thanksgiving Update...

I actually took some photos of our Thanksgiving weekend.

Of course, that does not mean that I have put them on my computer yet so I can post them here, lol.  But I will...

Our weekend was great and we enjoyed seeing family.  I even braved the Black Friday shopping fiasco with Tracy, Scott and Tracy's mom.  I left the house at 930pm on Thanksgiving night and got home about 5am that Friday morning.  It was CRAZY!  After some mad shopping, we had a 3am snack at IHOP.  :)

The boys are enjoying the holiday season.  We have put up our tree and what few odd decorations we have.  They love, love Christmas music...which absolutely thrills me!

As far as school goes, I was really hoping to be more break-like by now, but alas, we are still working on a little school.  Braeden is pretty much on a break.  He may hop on his computer and play some online math games or something, but he's not really working too hard. :D

Bailey is doing more of his normal schoolwork than he would like.  He would be doing less if it weren't for the fact that has done waaaay more of his science program than his language arts and math, lol!  He will gladly log on in the mornings without me asking him to, but he always does the science and social studies first.

You may think that this wouldn't be a problem, but there is about twice as much math and language arts as there is science and social studies.  Sooo... on his "break" he is working only on language arts and math.

He isn't entirely happy with this, but without those 2 subjects his day is shorter.  It could be worse, lol...

We have a busy month ahead.  A few scout functions, a visit to a nursing home to go caroling with our homeschool group, and of course multiple family gatherings.  I love this time of year!! :)