Sunday, April 28, 2013

Camping is definitely not for cowards. :)

We went camping!!  Our first camping trip of the year was this weekend.  We had a big Cub Scouts Camporee.  It was awesome.  Of course, Adam and I helped organize it so maybe I shouldn't brag about how cool it was.  :)  Camping is a weird thing for me...because I don't particularly enjoy camping.  There's the lack of showers and all that dirt.  In our huge tent, Adam and Adisson sleep on one air mattress and I sleep with the little boys on another air mattress.  But I'm so concerned all night about whether or not the little boys slithered out from under the blankets, are they getting too cold, is the blanket too close to their face, etc. so I sleep VERY little.  But, I like activities that allow us time to interact with each other more or with our friends as is the case with Scout camping trips.  So, I'll gladly endure the discomfort if it means that we're all having a good time.

I'll get pictures posted this week.  I didn't take any because good reason...but our awesome Pack photog snatched some super pics so I'm going to download and save those.  Stay tuned.

Last week was a short school week.  I had treatment on Monday, so that was a day off.  We spent all of Friday getting ready for camping, so that was a day off.  And the three days in between were spent on Math.  I'm hoping that all of this concentrated effort will pay off for my kiddo.  He's been doing really well.  When we're focused almost exclusively on this one area he has trouble with, it's easy to see his progress.

Zander has been working on some different learning activities, specifically learning to tie his shoes.  He prefers slip ons and wears them nearly all the time so I guess I haven't seen the need before now to help him with that task.  But he's six, so he probably should know.  I found this super cute idea on pinterest about using a piece of cardboard as a practice board.  You trace their shoes onto the board and add laces.  It seemed easy enough so I grabbed up a cool pair of laces at the dollar store last week and made the board for him.  He loves it!  He practiced several times.  He nearly has it, just needs tighter knots.  But I'm excited that he enjoys it so much that he keeps picking it up to practice again and again.

Jaxon is ...... Jaxon.  I just love him.  He's cute and silly and so expressive.  He makes these goofy faces that make everyone laugh.  He does this silly thing with his eyebrows that's hilarious.  And he's carrying on a "thumbs up" tradition that Z started.  Zander gets a little overwhelmed in new places/scenarios/etc. so when he was tiny, he started giving me the thumbs up sign to let me know that even though he was nervous, he was ok.  And Jax does it.  And every time he does it, I see Zander, all cute, blonde, and three being so precious. Jax, however, is such a difficult child.  I have to remind myself of all the awesome things about him because he spends a lot of time each day being mean and making us miserable.  :(  I keep saying it's just a phase.  I hope and pray I'm right.

I didn't make it to the christian homeschool co-op open house last week before my treatment appointment.  And it kinda stinks that it happened that way because now I'm pretty much NOT going to be able to participate in the co-op.  They have limited openings available and new members are the last ones able to select classes.  Since I didn't register on open house day, I'll be left whatever classes happen to be unfilled.  And all of the pre-k classes are full and Zander's classes are filling up, with one hour completely booked. So if I go, Jax and I will spend three hours there just hanging out while Zander has a class, an hour break, and another class.  Adisson has classes available all three time periods, but not the ones he really wanted to take, those filled up in the first few days.  The co-op sounds great and like it would be a lot of fun, but they openly state that their primary goal is for high school homeschooling so it's not surprising that the focus isn't on pre-k and elementary classes.  I haven't decided if we're going to give it a try or find something else, but it kinda already feels like the decision has been made for us.

Anyway, I'm tired from a dirty weekend of camping so I should finally go to bed.  I think we're planning another camping trip at the beginning of June...if I've managed to rest up enough between now and then.  :)

Monday, April 22, 2013

Be greater.

Last week, I spent a few days feeling very overwhelmed.  But here's how the week started.

Adisson and I got up early on Monday to get his permanent cast.
He looks so silly sometimes!
He chose his favorite color, red!

Adam stayed home with the little boys since they aren't allowed in the clinic.  We got back home as quickly as we could so he could head into work.  He reminded me to find some coverage of the marathon in Boston because a few of the guys from his shop were running!  His shop isn't very big so they all know each other really well.  I spent Monday cleaning, with a little help...

My little boys helping mop my bathroom.  :)
And then remembered to check the race updates again a little after 3:00.  And what I saw on TV broke my I could feel it tearing into pieces.  

And now, when I tell you how I felt on that afternoon, I'm reminded again of the many, many people whose lives were broken that day.  People there to embrace something that probably started as a hobby and then became something they just had to do...just run.  People there cheering on 26,000+ runners...strangers...but there all day cheering and screaming for them to stay the course, to not give up, to keep on going when they likely wanted to quit.  And then.......

I know I'll never understand why people hurt others.  I'll never understand taking what anger you have and casting it out upon so many just to make them hurt.  The following days of panic and uncertainty were difficult for me to handle and I'm nowhere near Boston.  So I just prayed.  

And I'll continue to do so.  I watched the news very intently on Friday night so I'm aware that those responsible are either deceased or in custody, so the threat from those people is over, but the hurt and pain they inflicted on so many will never be completely gone.  

We did have school last week, even when I had a hard time turning off the news or looking at pictures of the mayhem.  I feel like we're almost getting there with our test prep.  I feel like it's a slooooow and steady situation but we keep on trying, we keep on keepin' on.  :) 

Last week we talked about fractions, multiplication, decimals, and briefly ventured into our algebra curriculum.  He's getting a little better every day.  We've focused A LOT on math and a little on language arts (by playing hig pig games) as we get ready for his end of year testing and not much else.  Fortunately, we're doing a lot of science in Cub Scouts right now.  :)  I hate testing.  I hate the pressure it puts him under and I hate the fact that he feels like he has to score perfectly on his test because I don't expect that.  I just want him to do his best...and we'll go from there.  

Zander has been spending some extra time with his online learning lately.  Because I work with Adisson on my computer, it has freed up the kids computer so Zander has been taking advantage.  He's moving along with his lessons, though sometimes I have to remind him to go to the next one and not to keep repeating the same one even if it's fun. :)  He's still working on reading, of course.  I'd like to have some time to get some activity bags set up for him, but I feel like I'm burning both ends of the candle right now.  And our calendar for the next few MONTHS is going to be INTENSE.  

Jaxon still hates the alphabet.  I'm not kidding, if you even start to sing the ABC's, he freaks out and yells.  He's so much fun.  However, I know he KNOWS some letters.  I know this because the other day, he snuck onto his brother's Minecraft game online and renamed some stuff using his name.  I called Adam over so he could see Jax finding all of the letters to his name, without help!  I was so excited!! (Big brother not so much!)  It's something and I take what I can get around here.

This weekend was a busy one.  I volunteered for another organization.  I'm pretty busy with Cub Scouts, and homeschooling, and housekeeping, and trying to stay healthy and decided that wasn't enough.  So I said yes to a volunteer position through the local animal rescue.  They need someone to visit their booth at the antique mall to make sure it looks nice, organized, and ensure items are priced to sell.  The initial time commitment for me this weekend has been a rather large one and I almost feel like I regret saying yes.  Hopefully, I'll get the big stuff done and it will level off a little for me.   Otherwise, it might be more than I can say yes to right now.

This upcoming week promises to be another exciting one.  I have my monthly blood treatment tomorrow morning.  I'm heading to a homeschool co-op open house and then immediately to treatment followed by some shopping before coming home to get some work done in Zander's room (because that project was started TWO WEEKS AGO and I still don't have it done).  We're going to spend this week on math again and then on Friday, Adisson is going to take a practice standardized test.  From there, we'll be able to see what he needs to work on before his big test.  

Oh and our first camping trip of the year is this weekend.  At a camporee that Adam is putting together for our entire Cub Scout Pack.  So just add that to the already long list of stuff we need to do.  :)  Well, it's either going to keep me young or make me old.  I'm pretty sure I already know what direction that is going for me.  Anyway...
My parting words tonight come from the comedian Patton Oswalt.  He may not be someone I'll quote again but his words in light of the tragedy in Boston were a great comfort to many.  Among other things, he said the following:

"...When you spot violence, or bigotry, or intolerance or fear or just garden-variety misogyny, hatred or ignorance, just look it in the eye and think, "The good outnumber you, and we always will."

And that's what I have to keep reminding myself.  There will always be evil but the good in others will always be greater.  

Note: Everyone from Adam's workplace is safe, ok, and uninjured.  Thank God.  

Sunday, April 14, 2013

There's no way life is that simple.

Last week was a busy math week for us as we're gearing up for standardized testing.  Adisson and I have been busy reviewing multiplication facts, fractions, money, and other exciting math.  :) Sometimes, it goes really well and I think he'll do fine and other times he's off in outer space and can't hear a thing I'm telling him.  We'll still work on it this week, as well, and until I think he understands enough to test well.  I hate standardized testing and right about now, I'm wishing we lived in state where it wasn't required.

He's also been brushing up in a few other areas.  Fortunately, his reading comprehension, language arts, and vocabulary context understanding is a lot easier for him than math.  This week, I'd like to review a little more in those areas each day before we dive head first into math.  Maybe talking about something that he's good at when we start reviewing will help with his confidence when we start math.

The little boys are still doing the same thing they always do.  Zander is practicing reading and Jaxon is avoiding learning at all costs.  It's a daily struggle for me trying to get all three boys to do what has been planned...or even half of what I've planned.  For instance, if just once Jaxon would allow me to finish singing the ABC's before he clapped his hands over his ears and told me that he hated that song, I'd be a happy mommy!

In super awesome news, Adisson's essay for the writing contest will be published in the publisher's anthology.  We got a letter on Friday telling us that all submitted works will be used in the book.  There's a reception in May that we're invited to attend where entrants will be recognized and the winners of the scholarship will be announced.  Adisson is mostly excited because his best friend submitted a piece as well so they both will be at the reception.  I'm excited because I know how much Adisson has wanted to be a published author even if his response when I told him was, ""

This coming week will be another week of review for us.  I'm trying hard to make it fun.  We play pizza games for fractions and we found a site where Adisson and his pal can get online and play math games together.  I just wish my smart kiddo didn't struggle so much with math.  As a mom, you hate to see your kid struggle with something, especially when you know they want to understand.  But I can't make everything easy for him....there's no way life is that simple.  :)

Anyway, time for bed for this old gal. I'm super tired already and have a very early wake up call.  Adisson has an appointment at the clinic to get his permanent cast.  He's picked out the color he wants already...a picture later will tell you what he decided.  Stay tuned!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Picture overload!

Sooooo, wowza.  :)

Last week was busy.  But I say that EVERY SINGLE WEEK!! :)

On Monday, we took the boys to The Climbing Place in Fayetteville.  We had never been and I wanted to check it out.  I've been suggesting to the mister I'd like to have a date night there, so I thought taking the kids to see how fun it is first was a great plan.  I was right, it was fun!!

Here's some photos:

Adisson and Zander working on their bouldering skills.

Z climbing to the top of the kids wall.

Jax finally making it to the top.

Adisson then got the chance to get harnessed in
and here he is at the top of the wall!

Then, on Wednesday the boys had piano lessons (below is a shot of Adisson practicing since I posted one of Zander in the past) and we went to visit our favorite homeschool bookstore, The Pilgrim's Journey for a test prep book.  Of course, we bought a few other things.  We picked up some pretty neat looking chapter books for Adisson to read and some math stuff for the little boys.

Adisson playing piano.

Thursday we ran up to Raleigh to pick up my run packet for the 5k I was doing over the weekend.  And on Friday....Adisson broke his arm.  He was playing around with Zander, tried to catch himself when he was falling, and broke his arm just below his elbow.  Adam took him to the ER and they finally got home in the middle of Friday night.  I stayed up waiting for them which left me about four hours of sleep before a 5k run. :)  He'll wear his temp. cast for another week and then get his permanent cast put on for a few weeks. Kids.  :)  But this is our first broken bone.

My guy, sitting in the ER with his broken arm.  
Then, after a "nap," I got up on Saturday morning to run in my first color run.  I've done a few other 5k's but this was my first color run.  Oh, wow!  It was awesome!! :)

Just after the run!
With my #1 fan and the sign he made for me!! :)

After I got showered and rested, I took my little cutie out for frozen yogurt.  Zander was super amped up about getting to see me run and it turns out the boys weren't able to go because of Adisson's injury.  I felt so bad and to make up for it, I took him on a fro-yo date.

Usually, they are limited to 3 toppings on their yogurt,
 but on our date, Zander got to add as much as he wanted!

Ok, so now that I've soooo overshared with the photos, it's time for school talking.

A deadline extension was announced in the writing contest Adisson was participating in so that was nice.  However, I still haven't actually mailed the essay and it has to be postmarked by tomorrow.  Procrastination is my middle name, apparently.  He's never actually written an essay before so it was nice to have the opportunity to do so with the added bonus of a contest.  We had to work on setting up a paragraphs and essays correctly.  We also learned about outlines, rough drafts, editing, etc.  Thank goodness for online writing homework help!  Now, I'm putting a post-it note on the computer screen that will remind me in the morning that I must MAIL IN THE ESSAY!!

We've also been working on his multiplication facts because that's a neverending job and have also added in fraction lessons.  Swell.  It was a rough week.  At times it was really good because he was understanding things really well and then we stepped it up a notch and he got frustrated.  No quick fix for this situation.  :(  

Zander is still practicing reading.  Still working on math.  And still just being silly.  Speaking of silly, here's a picture of my other super silly kiddo, Jax, to try to keep things a little balanced on the amount of pictures I shared of each kid....
I don't know why...he's just goofy.  :)

Ok, so fun stuff, silly stuff, colorful stuff, broken stuff, and school stuff.  Now I'm hauling my stuff to bed!  (Stay tuned for info on Zander's bedroom makeover!)