Life in the Second Week of November

November 13, 2010


On Monday, we went to Target & looked at all the pretty Christmas decorations.  They had some fairly reasonable prices on decorations so bought some & did the unthinkable…

Yes, we decorated in November.  BEFORE Thanksgiving.  I need an intervention.  (I even caught myself enjoying Christmas music at the bookstore this morning.)

Tuesday began our Diary of a Wimpy Kid 5 saga.  If you don’t know the story yet, you follow me obsessively enough. ;-)

I also FINALLY finished our artist “board” for the term.  Hey, there are still 6 weeks left so it’s not that bad. :-D (Btw, that’s Albrecht Drurer, in case you’re curious.)

On Wednesday we took the dogs for a walk & DB4 wore his “new” jammies cuz it was so cold.  Well, by SoCal standards.  DB4 would like to let you know that he is very happy in this picture. He should be.  These jammies have a nice, long lineage.

One day, during our bible lesson, we noticed the reflection on the wall from the window (which is actually from the sun reflecting off our “third car garage” aka the Burb).  Note it says “Happy Fall” not “Merry Christmas.” I still have some dignity left.

On Thursday we had our now infamous “fence incident” due to our very blustery day.  I think it’s time to re-read Winnie-the-Pooh.  The kids did not get it when I kept telling them it was “Winds-day.”

DB4 at the piano teacher’s house practicing his new obsession: the alphabet.

DB5, also at the piano teacher’s house.

On the way to ballet from piano we ran into extreme traffic and had to take side streets for a while, but we had this nice view of the mountains for part of the way.

Toys R Us has a great sale on some of their games this week so I bought a few on Thursday. (They also have small, temporary TRU’s set up all over. Just FYI.)  On Friday morning, since we didn’t go to the park due to DB3 waking up with a sniffle, we played Scrabble, Jr.  On one side of the board it is similar to Scrabble, with no words.  But on this side the words are already set up to teach the kids the basic idea of Scrabble.

DB4 was the first winner of our new game.

DB5 has his own way of entertaining himself.

Saturday morning brought an end to our DWK saga.  The book is now read & put away until the next time we need a chuckle.

Saturday also brought an end to our (not very long) search for a barn.  DB4 has wanted a barn for some time now.  I promised him one for Christmas, but I found this one at a yard sale today (10c).  I went to TRU (a trip I was making anyway) and bought him a farm animal tube for $5.  Now he already has his Christmas gift.  I hope he enjoys “opening” the new bed that will actually be their gift.


Life at The Living Desert

October 29, 2010

On Wednesday we piled the Monster Van full of people (2 adults & 8 kids, to be exact) and drove off to The Living Desert

Hard to see all of them here as two are rear facing and one is blocked by another carseat.

We stopped by the Garden Railroad and saw the new Mt. Rushmore display.  It’s so realistic, I never have to go to South Dakota.  Well, that’s the excuse I’m gonna use.

We saw the zebras.

Rode wild boars.

Looked at the giraffes.

Found the hidden ostriches.

Banged on the drums.

Learned just how serious animal rights activists are about their cause.  (ie leave people in poverty & squalor for the sake of the preservation of an animal)

  And caught a cheetah.  Don’t worry, we released it.


Life During the Third Week of October

October 24, 2010

Here are some miscellanies from the week:

Monday was a gray day.  Our friends are visiting from Seattle and brought their weather with them.  We spent the day learning about bugs & working on our Little House lapbooks.  The kids also watched Little House on the Prairie and we disected it to the point of annoyance.  Hint: Never watch a movie based on a book with us. :-)

Here are the spiders the kids had made & I melted for them on Monday:

We bought a cheap inexpensive craft at Michael’s last week. On Monday we finally found the iron (needed to heat the pegs & melt them…we don’t use it for much else) and permanently attached all the melty beads.  DB1’s spider is the top left.  He was incensed that the spider in the craft had only two eyes, and they were white.  DB2 is on the top right.  He went by the book.  DB3 thought it needed something more creative so he made his to be weaving a web.  DB4 was upset that the project was a spider, not a butterfly.  He proceeded to create his own butterfly pattern.  There, in a nutshell, you have, not only my four oldest children’s crafts but perfect descriptions of their individual personalities. :-)

As indicated above, we also watched Little House on the Prairie: The Pilot…3x–once during the day, for school, 1.5x while I was at ballet with DB2 & 3, the rest was still playing when we arrived home.  Yep, the kids, even DB5, absolutely love this movie.  To see one of their favorite books come to life before them, in not too terribly a ruinous way (ie. it was somewhat close to the book), made them very happy.  Louis wants them to make Little House in the Big Woods into a movie now.  After seeing what Hollywood did with Narnia, I hope they never do.

Tuesday’s are our weirdest days.  I take DB1 & 3 to ballet.  Take DB3 home after class, leave DB1 for his classes (he has two). Drop DB3 at home, take DB2 to ballet. Pick up DB2, kill time, pick up DB1. ( I swear I’m gonna forget someone, somewhere. lol)

Last Tuesday this big fella was “waiting” for us in the parking lot when DB2 & I arrived.  I was never so close to a hawk before, not even in Montana.  City hawks don’t seem to be as nervous of people as country hawks.  They’ve probably read the “no-shooting-inside-city-limits” ordinance.

During DB2’s class, and I suppose DB1’s if you think about it, I nipped over to Sprout’s to get some snacks & bread for our trip to The Cube.  I was met by this happy sign.  Needless to say I bought a bit more than planned, including two Amy’s Pizzas, 2 boxes of Kinnikinnick donuts, myriad cookies, and a few extra loaves of bread.  Or is it “loafs” now?  It’s so hard to keep up with spelling and grammar changes when you get to be my age.

On Thursday we studied some more about bugs, and made this nifty craft.  Again, DB4 was not satisfied that the craft was a bug with wings.  He wanted a spider.  Um, yeah.  So, we worked on that attitude lightly.  But once I stuck wings on his bug he was most displeased.  I’m not sure what this is.  Maybe his idea of what things would really look like if Evolution was true?

On Friday, after the All Saint’s Day party, we said “Good-bye” to our favorite rental van and picked up our Monster Van from the shop.  The 2010 Chrysler Town & Country will long live in our memories as a sweet family ride.

That’s all there is, there isn’t anymore…except this: May you have a blessed Lord’s Day & worship our God & Creator in Spririt & Truth.


Life on All Saints Day (or Thereabout)

October 23, 2010

We’re not Catholic, but when a friend at ballet invited us to her Catholic homeschool group’s All Saints Day picnic I was happy to go.  As I shared on FB, just to be able to go some place new & meet new people without being innundated with rude comments about the size of our family was extremely appealing.

On Thursday we did a mini-study on All Saints Day since, of course, the kids know nothing about it.  That night I was talking to some people at ballet about the party & one of the women brought us a box of costumes since, of course, we have none.  I used the costume pieces that I thought could be washed in a machine, cuz with my luck…lol. 

DB2 used the borrowed costume.  DB3 used part of a costume for his shoulder wrap.  It was supposed to be on his head, but I forgot that piece of twine.  I bought a large white t-shirt for DB3’s costume.  Twine for the belts on both.  DB4 is wearing a shirt of his dad’s, inside out, sans twine, cuz I forgot that piece too.


Life at the Insect Fair

October 21, 2010

So we finally got to the Insect Fair at CalPoly this year.  I’ve wanted to go for several years but we’ve always been busy with Nutcracker.  Obviously, that will not be the case this year (a subject for another post), but even before that knowledge I had decided we’d make it this year since we are studying bugs this term in Ambleside.

It was pretty fun.  They do need to add to their program so it looks more like a fair and less like a swap meet. (Hmmm, didn’t I just think that about the LA County Fair?) But there was one exhibit by some Entymology majors at UCR (if I remember the school correctly) where we got to let the bugs crawl on us.

This is DB2 petting the Madagascar Hissing Cockroach.  Yes, that’s right, DB2. He is quite the Entymologist wanna-be.  I never would have guessed but he absolutely loves all the bug stuff.  He did, however, beg off letting it crawl on him.

DB1, taking a walking stick in hand.

That’s me, trying to impress my kids, or at least show them there’s nothing to be afraid of.  Note, it’s the walking stick, not the cockroach or the tarantula.

DB2 checking out all the flying bugs that probably sting and give me hives.  I have been assured, though, that I should be OK if they are dead.  I’m not planning on taking any chances.  Tweezers and garden gloves for me.

I took this pic for DB4, cuz at this point he was still too terrifed to even be held up to look at dead bugs.  He heard they were butterflies though so he wanted to see them at some point in the future.  He loves butterflies.

DB1 petting what I believe is a skink. (?)  It was there because, uh, it eats bugs?  Actually, there were two bug/reptile associations there.  It seems that a love for cold blooded creatures & one for creepy crawlies goes hand-in-hand.  Who’d-a-thunk?

Now, here are some bugs DB4 is willing to touch, play with, dance with, sing with.  Poor kid.  I guess in hindsight it’s better that we didn’t buy the tarantula, the scorpion, or *sniff* the hissing cockroach.  Gosh, but I did so want a hissing cockroach.  (Really, ask DB1.)

There are many more bug things forthcoming as we spent the week studying bugs.  When they will come forth remains to be seen.  I seem to remember now that time was a factor in my quitting the blog before.  Of course, I suppose if I gave up my Frontierville habit…nah.


Life on 9-28-10

September 29, 2010

We interrupt our previously scheduled photo blog of last week for something more current…

The day started normal enough.  We had decided to meet my in-laws down at Belmont Shores to “escape” the heat.  Not much escaping done as it was hot and muggy down there, too.  But the kids got to get into the icy cold Pacific while I sat with the baby and wished he wasn’t going through his “fear of strangers” stage. :-D

DB5 spent his time checking out the many leaves on the beach. Quite a few due to a Juniper tree that shades part of the beach here.

The kids had a snack on the nifty table my in-laws have that can either be regular height or kid height.  DB5 also spent a lot of time cruising around it, at least where the blankets were.  He wasn’t too thrilled to get his feet onto the sand.

He also played, briefly, with some of the toys we brought for him.

I got myself a new profile pic for facebook. :-)

DB3 had quite a lot of fun…well, after we washed off the sunscreen which caused an allergic reaction.  He used his grandma’s collander to create an under-water “sink” in which to wash his hands which kept getting muddy for some reason.

DB4’s hands kept getting muddy, as well.

DB1 & DB2 played frisbee with their grandparents.

This was as deep as DB4 ever wanted to get.  Forbid he should get his clothes wet. 8-O.

DB1 took a break to read.  I’d love to credit my great example & his Charlotte Mason education, but, really, he’s just reading HP7 so he can critique the upcoming movie.  OK, well, I guess we can credit my example for it. :-)

Lunch time. We are so enjoying our Udi’s bread.  Now we can have picnic lunches again.

As we were driving home it we decided it was time to meet the guy driving behind us on the freeway. :-( We were on the 22E interchange to the 5 & 57, right before the 5 splits off.  Needless to say, this is one of the more “brilliant” examples of freeway engineering stupidity.  In less than a mile, people who want to get from the street on-ramp to the 22E, have to cross three lanes of California traffic.  I emphasize California because I’ve driven all over the country and I’ve found California drivers to be the most rude of all drivers.  People have to shove their way into the lane they need to get in.  Then traffic must come to an abrupt halt.  We started with more than a car’s length between us and the person in front of us…we nearly hit them.

This is all that happened to us.  I love, love, love, big cars.  This is just like when our ‘Burb was hit while parked on our street.  The little car was totalled, our car had inconvenient dings that needed to be hammered out.  The inconvenience here is that we can’t open the back so getting to the strollers will be nigh impossible right now.

Years ago a friend convinced me of the safety of having a child ride rear facing until much older than required.  Yesterday I was so glad she did.  DB5 slept through the entire incident.  This is where his seat normally rests…

This is where it ended up after the accident.

I feel bad for the guy who hit us.  It was just a true accident.  I was only kept from hitting the car in front of me because I could see way ahead and was able to figure out,  just in time, that I needed to stop quickly.  He couldn’t see that in his little car. It was the type of accident I think I avoid on a regular basis not from any skill of my own, only by Providence.

I’m thankful to God for keeping everyone safe.  No one was injured in either car.  The biggest concern in our car was whether we’d make it to any of our dance classes that afternoon.  We did make it to two, out of four. :-)

As for our little Honda…it’s days are numbered…


Life (and God’s Providence) with Ambleside Online

September 23, 2010

Let me tell you a really weird tale.  Well, weird if you don’t see Providence everywhere you look. ;-)

For years, and I really do mean years, people told me about Ambleside Online.  For years, I can’t really explain why, I resisted.  Finally, while waiting for #5 to arrive, I did some serious research into it (you can only play Facebook games so long before insomnia becomes boring).  I decided we’d give it a try last year and, well, to say weird stuff’s been happening would be the truth.

First, there were the peculiar incidences involving all the Shakespeare plays we were supposed to read for the year~~DB1 had performed in one of the plays, the kids’ ballet academy was to perform one, and the other just happened to be performed by the Met and broadcast in HD here to Ontario, so I took DB1 to see his first opera.  Then, this year, it has started again.  Julius Caesar was to be our first play.  In July, while we were at the CHEA Conference in Pasadena, we happened upon Shakespeare by the Sea.  We couldn’t stay for that performance, but they were performing…you guessed it…Julius Caesar the following month, so we attended.

There have been so many little things like this throughout the year, as if God was really trying to show me, “Yes, this is what I want you to do.”  So, it shouldn’t have been a surprise when, the night we started reading Pilgrim’s Progress (on this terms reading list at AO) I should be sent this on Facebook.

As for the kids: DB1, and really, all the kids, have responded so well to this schooling.  So well, in fact, that this is the first year I didn’t ask myself at the beginning of the year, “Why do I do this? And is it really worth it?”  DB1, who hates to read, was reading Shakespeare.  DB2, who struggles along–due to perfectionistic tendencies–is now reading the KJV (recommended by AO for language acquisition).  DB3, well, he just loves it, I think, because there’s so much reading involved, and that, of course, means so much snuggling on the couch. :-)