Archive for July, 2007

Art Camp and the Aftermath

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Still Life, by my 6-year-old.

Art Camp ended on Friday, and I’m still recovering from it.

Five straight days of driving up to our friend’s house, and then either driving right back to my place to retrieve a forgotten item, or just hanging around talking with other moms, keeping the toddlers occupied and happy, watching everybody knit beautiful, complicated scarfs and sweaters while constantly telling myself it’s okay that I’m not doing a craft. It’s okay. Really. I’m okay. I write. I do dishes. Laundry. Blog. Teach. Read. I do not need another hobby in my life at this time. It’s okay that I’m not knitting or crocheting or tatting doilies or making macrame or embroidering or sewing or quilting.

Really, it’s okay.

Right?

Anyway. While not knitting, and while watching my 4-year-old and another little boy spend the week searching fruitlessly for the cat (who remained INCREDIBLY hard for the little kids to find ALL WEEK LONG believe it or not) I spent a good week just chatting with other homeschooling moms and getting a few phone numbers for other groups (although our social calendar is getting way too full already). After the art class ended, we’d all stay and have lunch together, and then the kids would play for a while either in the yard or by the pool depending on the weather.

By the end of the week, we were all exhausted. By the end of each day, really, we were tired. And we’d get home and there’d still be laundry piling up and toys piling up and dinner to make and dishes to do, and baths to take, and exhausted tantrums to get through. And you get the picture. My kids are still quite little, after all.

What we needed, was a weekend in which we didn’t go anywhere or do anything. We were supposed to go to a barbeque at one of RegularDad’s dear old aunt and uncle’s house. But we begged off, and just stayed home.

You know what I did on Saturday? Errands. Just plain old errands. Lots of them. All by myself. It was really refreshing. And then on Sunday I went upstairs to the playroom and spend pretty much the entire day cleaning it and getting the toys organized. I even managed to box up some of the infant toys we don’t need anymore to take to Goodwill.

Today, though, I’m paying for that marathon cleaning session with a sore back and sore legs. I went up and down the stairs to the attic and basement a few too many times I guess. I keep telling myself it must have been a really good workout. I like to look for that silver lining, you know.

We’re gonna hopefully have a quieter week here. At least, that’s my plan. We’ll see how it all plays out. You know how it is when you have a plan, right?

Just when I was worried we weren’t covering enough science…

Even with the hectic schedule of Art Camp all week long, my 6-year-old has managed two terrific finds in the yard in the past two days. Find #1: this small, perfect bird nest that apparently blew down from one of the tree tops over night.

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She, of course, attributed this magnificent find to Corey-Bear, her faithful companion and trusty sidekick. (Doesn’t he look cool with that bandana on?) But I suspect that she played a somewhat significant role in this particular discovery. She’s determined not to steal Corey’s thunder, though. So, we won’t either. Good job, Corey!

And Find #2: Meet Fluffy, everyone!

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After a good hour and a half on the Internet, I finally determined that Fluffy is a Sycamore Tussock Moth Caterpillar, and after some more (increasingly anxious on my 6-year-old’s part) searching, I determined that Fluffy is NOT a stinging caterpillar, as are many of the tufted, hairy caterpillars. Nope. Fluffy is harmless. Therefore, Fluffy gets to live.

Fluffy now resides in one of the many empty, washed-and-ready pickle jars I keep handy. We’ll be watching Fluffy carefully, and feeding him fresh Sycamore leaves. Who knows? We might just get ourselves a moth. All I have to do is keep my 4-year-old from trying to take Fluffy out to pet him.

Next week, after Art Camp’s over, we’ll add Fluffy into our nature journals.

Here’s another shot of Fluffy, in profile:

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Those are some serious eyebrows, aren’t they? From the front, he looks like some sort of Yorkshire terrier lapdog type thing. I tried to get a picture of it, but he was eating and not agreeable to lifting his chin to assist in his photo shoot. Doesn’t it just figure? Of all the Sycamore Tussock Moth Caterpillars out there in the world, we end up with one of those tempermental Hollywood-starlet-wannabe-ones. Pretty soon he’ll be wanting a bigger pickle jar, then his own trailer, his own hairstylist, maybe even his own blog, for cripes sake. Like I don’t have enough to do already.

So, welcome to our latest science project, everyone. We’ll keep you posted on how it all turns out.

Time well spent.

Well, I finished reading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows last night at around 10:00 pm.

Was it good? I think so! Am I gonna tell you anything about it? Nope! No spoilers here. Except to say that I was WAY WRONG on the majority of my plot predictions. Seriously. I was way off. And I’m glad. It’s more fun to be surprised by stories, rather than sit there saying I knew it! I just knew it! over and over again.

Buying at Borders turned out to work well for me. I didn’t go to the midnight party. My kids are too young for that. And they get up early. So if I had tried going to the midnight party, and then gotten home at maybe 2:00 am and kept reading until dawn, I would have fallen asleep just as they were waking and just as RegularDad was leaving for work. And that would not have been pretty. At all.

So I went early in the morning instead. The kids got up at the crack of dawn as usual, and waved goodbye to RegularDad who sadly had to work all weekend. We had a quick bowl of cereral and got dressed and brushed our teeth. We found shoes and got in the car. I gave them granola bars to nibble on for the ride to Borders.

When we pulled into the parking lot, it was mercifully almost empty. I knew I wouldn’t need to go to Target. The parking spaces had been written on with sidewalk chalk. Each slot had been assigned to various Harry Potter characters. We parked in Bathilda Bagshot’s space, next to Arthur Weasley’s space, which was empty. I guess Arthur had to leave the party early. Ministry business, perhaps.

We walked right in the wide-open front doors and up to the large table where books were being handed out. They found my name on the preorder list, handed me my copy, plus a free poster and lightning bolt tattoos for the girls, and that was it. The girls each wanted a new book too, so we spent maybe 10 minutes in the children’s area while they chose their books. I rushed them through it as best I could, and went up to the register where there was a short line forming. We paid for our books and left.

Back home again, I made sure the answering machine was on, put on cartoons for the kids, gave them permission to raid the fridge for cheese sticks and fruit, and got busy reading. Around noon, I slopped together some PB&J’s. Around 4:00, I let the kids have some leftover cake, and then they finished up the scrags in the last 2 bags of chips. RegularDad brought home a pizza and salad for dinner.

He immediately took over the kid situation, which ended the constant questions from my 4-year-old: Mom? Are you done reading Harry Potter yet? Mom, can I look at the poster? Mom, I’m still hungry. Mom, what’s a tattoo made out of? Mom, can I go online? Are you done yet, Mom? Please can’t I look at the poster? PLEASE?… All of which, I’m proud to say I was able to answer without losing my temper and while still reading, hardly skipping a beat.

Not long after the kids were in bed, RegularDad opened our bedroom door to check on me and said: I knew it! I just knew it! and flipped on all the lights. Then he left, mumbling as he closed the door: reading in the dark AGAIN….

A couple hours later, I emerged from the bedroom a bit headachy and with an incredibly sore neck, but knowing finally how it all turns out. RegularDad gave me a neck massage and we watched an incredibly BAD movie on the Sci-Fi channel. He asked how it ended and I refused to tell him until he threatened to just go read the last page. So I told him, and then made him promise not to tell anyone else for at least a month, just in case they hadn’t finished reading yet.

Today, I’ve got to wash all the dishes that have been left sitting since Friday. And maybe deal with the laundry. Maybe.

Or maybe I’ll just start re-reading.

A typical primer lesson.

Me: Let’s look at these 3 words: lively, livelier, liveliest. Now let’s read those words together.

6-year-old and me in unison: live-ly…live-li-er…live-li-est.

Me: Good. That’s very good. Now–

6-year-old: Mom, what’s “lively” mean?

Me: It means energetic…someone with lots of energy. Like your sister. Your sister is the liveliest 4-year-old that I know. Do you know of anyone livelier than your sister?

6-year-old, after some serious consideration: Um…a rabid dog?

A bit of a scheduling snafu.

Duh!

After a much-needed three-week break from schoolwork, somehow I thought it would be a good idea to start up school work again the week before Harry Potter 7 comes out.

Not to mention that I somehow forgot that I signed up my 6-year-old for an art camp all next week hosted by our new most generous friends, so we’re schooling this week and then we’ll end up taking next week off since mornings will be taken up with art camp.

Posting may be scattered for the next 10 days or so. For the rest of this week, it’ll be re-reading Harry Potter 5 and 6 and continuing our slow re-entry into school work. Next week, it’ll be reading Book 7 while my 6-year-old paints in the garden. In the afternoons, we’ll probably swim with our friends.

Wow, next week is sounding pretty damn awesome. All we need to add is chocolate, and it’ll be perfect. 

Did I say scheduling snafu? Pardon me…I meant to say: Homeschooling ROCKS!

Rite of passage.

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Another award, and this one I didn’t even have to make up all by myself. Sweet!

Check it out, you guys. Amy at the Foil Hat handed me one of these:

reflection-awd.jpg><br>  I assume that this award means that people come here and read the things I write and they really sit and reflect on them afterwards. For days. I know I do. Especially my recent post on Crunch Berries, which is the deciding post that made Amy pick me.</p>  <p>And I gotta tell you, RegularDad and I were just giggling up a storm on the living room couch that night while I typed up that discussion that we had just had. Yes, it's true. We really did have that conversation. I edited out a lot of the repititous stuff like the several times that I said 

I think it’s because people come here and read my posts and get all reflective. Or maybe it’s because I’m reflective. And not just because I painted my toenails with that reflective paint they use on road signs last week on a Mom’s Night Out Triple Dog Dare Gone Horribly Wrong.

Amy mentioned my recent post on Crunch Berries as the deciding factor for choosing me for this award. Over here in my corner of the blogosphere, it doesn’t get more reflective than that.

RegularDad and I were really giggling like mad the night I typed out that particular conversation and posted it. And yes, it’s true. That conversation actually did happen. And we weren’t even stoned when it took place.

What’s funny about those kinds of posts, is that after you post them, you find yourself CHECKING YOUR STATS constantly to see if anyone will comment, and what they’ll say. Because people will either laugh with you and finally admit that they’ve got a box of junk cereal in the pantry right now, or they’ll ignore you and your horrific dietary habits. It was a stressful afternoon. And a special thanks to andie over at andthemama for breaking the ice (not to mention stabbing the roof of her mouth) with her Cookie Crisp Confession.

And it’s not even about the cereal, in the end. What you’re checking for is: do they think it’s funny? do they get it? or am I the only one who thinks like this? maybe I am crazy. Getting comments on strange posts is a reassuring sanity check. And not just for me, either.

RegularDad actually said to me not five minutes before I checked my blog and found this award waiting for me: gee, you didn’t get a lot of comments on the Crunch Berries. And he sounded a little disappointed.

So I was glad to be able to tell him just five minutes later…hey look, the Crunch Berries won this award. In other words: take heart, dear. We’re not the only crazies out there. And watch out for that Cookie Crisp.

So, I’m glad it was that post that brought me this award, because it shows me that maybe there are lots of people out there who ponder the Crunch Berries. Let’s face it, the Crunch Berries are worth a moment or two of your pondering career. And after you’re done pondering the Crunch Berries, if you find yourself with nothing to ponder and you feel lost and bereft thereof, you can always fall back on the question: why is it that breakfast cereals need websites at all?

Because that question keeps me up at night. It’s the reason for all that damned insomnia. And if you can figure it out, please do let me know. Because I’m really ready for a full night’s sleep.

Thanks again to Amy at the Foil Hat. Check out her blog and her soap, if you haven’t seen them yet.

I’m gonna pass this award on now to 5 bloggers who make me reflect. These are good blogs. You should read them. These women at these blogs make me think and laugh and not feel so crazy at the end of the day.

Our Report Card, and the mama, the Learning Umbrella, Land of our Fourmother, and Not a Stepford Wife.

And thanks to Ami for letting me know these links were screwed up. They should be fixed now.


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