Thursday, May 31, 2012

Summer School Begins!

Its a couple days after Memorial Day, and most of our lessons are wrapping up.  We've completed handwriting and social studies.  I just switched DS's math program from Saxon 1 to Math U See Alpha.  And, we will continue Math and Reading all through the summer.  The kids are reading aloud to DH and I before bed, as well as listening to a chapter book and the Bible. 

I didn't complete DD's science, so we are doing Science this summer.  We are so excited about this!  I found a couple great books- Squirts and Snails and Skinny Green Tails (Diane Swanson) and Where the Land and Sea Meet (Kirsten Carlson).  Yesterday, we watched a 20 minute video titled, "Life on the Beach Among Friends and Anemones".  So, Science will be about the seashore this summer!  We will read about it, and then go to the beach and do hands on activities. 

Today, we are going to learn about Intertidal Seaweeds.  This will lead us into learning about snails, barnacles, and limpets.  These creatures are primarily found in the Upper Intertidal Zone.  There are three zones:  Upper, Middle and Lower.  Some of the lesson will involve tide pooling.  So, we will watch the tidal schedule and hopefully walk the beach on some days with negative tides (very low tide). 

When we lived in Northern Michigan, we had sandy sunny summer days, but no ocean (obviously!) and honestly, I missed the sea.  I love beach combing and hunting for shells.  I love the salty sea spray.  I love walking the beach.  I have never been the girl who lays out on the beach. 

So, I will share the things that I love with my children.  The best part is, I get to learn things too.  And, I am learning that science does not need to be so formal.  I plan to add on to our lessons as my children's interest directs us, and enjoy the outdoors as we go along (including the rainy days, and we will have many of them!)

My daughter is going to participate in a couple camps this summer.  The first is a half day art class - and the second, Russian Culture class (folk dance and musical instruments).   DD and DS will also go to Vacation Bible School.  My DS doesn't want to take summer classes, so he will wait for soccer in the Fall. 

Saturday, May 26, 2012


So, it was a pretty good night.  Sleep training, that was what I tackled.  And, it wasn't so bad! 

This is not my baby.  I have a baby boy, but this is what he did.  Minus the thumb - he slept standing up.  And, every 15 minutes or so, I'd lay my sleepy, fussy baby down.  He seemed to welcome that, although he really preferred to be held and nurse.  I did nurse at 1:45, 3:45 and 6:45, but not until he was asleep.  At 3:45, he fussed for a whole hour, but we didn't co-sleep.  Tonight, DH will help eliminate the 1:45 AM feeding.  And really, there will only be one left, as he got up for the day at 7 AM.  I will attempt to decrease the time nursing too. 

Tatunka!  Tatunka!  DH was to go buffalo hunting today.  He got up at 3:45 AM and drove with the guys, hauling 4 wheelers.  The river was too high and they couldn't cross it.  One guy's truck got stuck.  Its actually American Bison.  No Bison meat for my freezer.  Too bad. 

Today, we will go to the Crab Festival.  The kids and I went on Thursday, and they enjoyed the rides.  It was so much nicer than the festival we went to in our Northern MI town, not the Cherry Festival - I enjoyed that, but the hometown festival that shall remain nameless.  I always found it dirty and gross.  I hated taking the kids to it.  Very redneck, which I am not.  The Crab festival is lots of fun and there is some nice stuff planned for the weekend. 

Friday, May 25, 2012

Changes in May

So, this seems to be the month to make changes and tighten up the loose ends.  I am not filled with joy right now.  But, maybe in June I will be filled with thanksgiving again.

1) Gave Scotty away.  This was over two weeks ago.  Why?  He growled at the baby.  He is re-homed and most likely happy.  I cried buckets.  End of story.

2) Instituted the 2 hour grounding in the boring guest room for being aggressive towards siblings.  This arrangement was designed after DD head butted DS in a public awards ceremony.  (Autism sucks, I am not going into the details here).  15 minutes of screaming and 2 hours of grounding has made a world of difference.  No aggressive behavior for one week and counting. 

3) DH has returned to grad school online.  So, we see even less of him.  He gets very little sleep, between full time CG work and school.  This will go on for over a year or so.  Hooray!  (sarcasm)

4) Thinking that DS is dealing with ADHD or a learning disability or both.  I ordered a new Math curriculum and it should arrive today, assuming that the FedEx plane made it to the island today (its rainy and foggy).  He cannot sit still, he cannot focus on math and writing at the same time.  He falls out of his chair, climbs on the desk, lays all over me etc.  Writing is really really getting bad.  During breaks, the poor kid is bouncing off the walls.  I made him cry the other day (not proud of it) because, as he has told me, "Mom, I guess its ok if you are mean to us".  That's right, I am a grouchy mean mom, and I have no patience. 

5) Baby boot camp starts today.  I really don't need any advice from the non-cry it out camp.  Because, I am heart-broken and co-slept for the last time with my little one last night.  I have tried all the alternatives and read lots of baby books.  This will be painful and exhausting for all of us, but it will work and baby will not be scarred for life.  I made my other two CIO.  I hate it.  But, DH is ready to start sleeping on the couch and tells me that I'm a zombie.  True, I haven't started to eat human flesh, but since I am "Mean Mommy" perhaps I should be listening to my BF and DH a little closer.  ((Sigh))  DD was 4 months old, and DS was 14 months old.  Since my baby is 10 months, I guess this is the right time. 

June will be better, I think. 

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Rounding the Bend

So, today is the one year anniversary of my move to Kodiak. I have been here exactly one year today, and last year at this very moment, I was driving my rental car into town to purchase some food and to see where I lived. My luggage was late, because I had gotten an earlier flight from Anchorage. It was due to arrive at 10:50 PM. I was in a fog, because I had just flown all day long. I was 30 weeks pregnant, and I was all alone. My family had begun to drive across the lower 48 on that very same day. You need to think about my shopping trip this way - I was an exhausted pregnant lady who was driving around feeling as though it were actually 2 AM, after a full day of travel, because I had just experienced a 4 hour time change. And, even weirder, the sun had not set. I know this, because the sunset is just peeking over the treeline, and I can see it out my window. It is just after 10 PM. It won't get dark for a while.

 We have one year left. Well, a year and a bit. We probably won't move this early, but later in the summer, next year. I don't know where we will move to. I don't have "the list" yet, and DH hasn't spoken to the detailer. We like the Pacific Northwest. Technically, we are already in the Pacific Northwest, but I meant in the lower 48. I really like the idea of moving to North Bend, Oregon. Or, maybe we will move back to Michigan. That would be ok, but not much of an adventure. Cause we've been there, and done that. We could move near my brother in Southern CA. It would be so nice to be close to family. It would be so awful, because there are a lot of people, highways and crazies in Southern California. We could move some place icky, like New Orleans or Miami. I'm not interested in going to those places. We could move some place dull like Elizabeth City, NC or Mobile, AL. But, we will probably end up in one of those places (NC or AL) eventually, so why go there so soon. But, we will move. We will move, because that is what we do.

My little boy is 10 months old now. He started waving and saying "Hiiiii" it doesn't really sound like hi, but that is what he is trying to say. He also said "Daddy" today, as he reached for Dad. He says "Woof", "Dog", "Mama", and other stuff. He crawls everywhere, pulls himself up, and makes lots of messes everywhere. He bites my nipples, he grabs everyone's faces, he pinches arms and pulls hair. He is a big ball of crazy fun right now! We love him!

 My daughter is identifying herself with Lucy VanPelt, from Peanuts. She loves my old peanuts comic books. I have a few dozen. They are old and falling apart. But, I asked her, "Who do you think you are like in these peanuts comics?" Without hesitation, she told me "Lucy". And, its kinda true. She is a bully to her little brother (not the baby brother). It is really hard to deal with! But, I am working on it. She is so sweet and also so crabby. She love chapter books and comics. It was hard to explain that in comics when you see "Sigh" in a bubble over the cartoon's head, they don't actually verbally say "SIGH", but actually just sigh. So, my girl walks around when she is frustrated saying, "SIGH" to everyone. LOL!

My middle son is a lego superstar. He has built so many Lego star wars models. He is really great at this. He hates writing and its becoming a problem. Its not that he doesn't try. Writing sucks the life out of him. I need to investigate typing programs. I already started having him dictate answers for his math worksheets, else we could do math for hours. He just moved into his baby brother's room. I think he loves this. He has never liked to sleep alone, and always wanted a roommate.

 I am preparing for next fall - and making new plans on curriculum. But, we are still hard a work finishing up the current year. Lately, we've read some great stories about missionaries. My son told me that when he grows up, he wants to be a missionary. I love that he wants to tell others about Jesus! How awesome is that?! Currently, I am reading "And the Word Came with Power" about Joanne Shetler who translated God's Word into the Balangaos language in the Philippines. She taught God's Word to a village of head hunters! It is a great story.

 Next year, we will learn American History. I plan to work on this for two years, and have the kids make lap books. We also are going to read some Living Books, and I have founds some wonderful curriculum that doesn't have the liberal slant, as much of the history books I read in public school had. And, most of all, it won't be boring. There is nothing fun about reading a dull text book about history. I didn't enjoy history in school, but the last couple years my daughter and I learned some cool stuff together, and read some fantastic biographies and interesting books about ancient civilization.

Science didn't go very well this year. We used Human anatomy, by Apologia, and it was too difficult. I will revisit science this summer, either learning about the ocean/sea shore or birds. Maybe both. This is the year that I need to see puffins. We are in Alaska, after all!

 Well, this is the start of year two in AK. Its going well so far, and I look forward to the many blessings God has in store for me and my family throughout this new year.