Thursday, January 31, 2008

A Day in the Life

On a message board (for homeschool mommies) I read, members occasionally post "a day in the life" to show a typical, or maybe not-so-typical homeschool day. These are interesting for homeschool moms, particularly those of us who sometimes wonder if we are doing enough of all the right things for our children. Yesterday I posted my day, or at least the first several hours of it:

6 am daughter (E) awakens crying, needs to snuggle

7 am untangle myself from her, get up

7:05 let Max (our dog) out

7:10 feed Max, let Casper (visiting dog) out

7:15 feed Casper, start a load of laundry

7:30 wake everyone else up, start thinking about breakfast, shower

7:45 remember that no one has cleaned up the backyard in a couple of days (dogs don't clean up after themselves, you know), put on my martyr mom hat and go outside in the rain to pick up.

7:50 start making breakfast

7:52 tell dogs to stop fighting, let them outside, continue making breakfast

8:00 let dogs back in

8:02 use towel that dogs are supposed to stand on when coming in to wipe the rest of the floor (we have Max trained to stop there and sit for a minute but with Casper there, forget it)

8:05 eat breakfast, read catechism and Bible about being thankful to God for everything. Laugh out loud

8:45 start kitchen cleanup

8:50 let dogs out again

9:00 let dogs in again, wipe floor

9:10 try to set up MUS DVD lesson for E; discover I still don't know how to work the "new" (2 months old) tv set

9:15 get J (son) to set up DVD; I'll learn another day; someone lets dogs out

9:20 remind kids they need to do schooltime today even with the excitement of dogs playing "vigorously" (looks like fighting to me) in the backyard

9:30 let dogs back in.

9:35 dogs start barking madly and running around the house, we determine they are barking at the high wind.

9:40 help E with her math; J watches his DVD lesson

9:45 husband looks out window and announces that a neighbor's recycle bin has been blown over and papers are flying all around the neighborhood in the high wind. Kids and I go out to pick them up. E asks if that will count as a "good turn" required for girl scouts. I ponder whether it "counts" when her real motive is to get out of math.

9:55 realize we are locked out of the house as I left my keys inside and husband is now in attic and can't hear the bell.

10:00 J learns how to climb over the fence.

10:45 math and cursive practice are finally finished.

10:55 J decides he needs more practice climbing the fence and that E needs to learn. I am too distracted with dogs and let them go.

11:15 Kids come in, dogs go out. J and I work on a report about George Washington for cub scouts Friday night. E writes a thank you card from her birthday 3 weeks ago.

11:25 dogs come in, floor is wiped, more laundry is started

11:30 keep working on report. E is still writing her letter and keeps coming to ask how to spell words. I wonder why she is asking how to spell "chaotic."

12:00 start thinking about lunch

12:15 eat lunch while reading history.

12:45 3 science experiments, very simple ones, one of which involves jello.

1:15 fill out lab sheets, eat jello

1:30 kids fold and put away laundry, I wash dishes.

1:45 take dogs out to play with new ball. Dogs fight over new ball. Muscle Casper into the house and play with Max.

2:00 bring Max in the house, husband takes Casper outside to play ball with him.

2:02 E and I can't stand Max's whining while watching Dad play with Casper, so we take him for a walk.

2:30 come home to find Casper still outside. New ball has been destroyed already.

After that it calmed down a little, I guess...

That was the end of my post. I don't remember much else except laundry, letting dogs in and out, and stumbling into the office where the seminarian was working and asking desperately if there was more coffee made. No, there wasn't. He offered to make some for me, but at 5 pm it didn't really matter. Instead, he offered to make a quick run to the local wine shop so we could have wine with dinner, a rare treat these days. Aaahhh....

Oh and there was a (mercifully short) lecture to the kids about the homeschool laws in the state of Pennsylvania and the fact that if we take every day off while Casper is visiting we will not get our required 180 days of "school" in. Because no matter how you count "schooltime" I don't think watching dogs tear up the backyard counts.

Edit: I don't know what's up with all the fonts. I can't change them!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Zero to two dogs in 3 weeks

No, we didn't get another dog. At least, not permanently. We are babysitting a dog though! Some friends are jetting off to Russia to finalize an adoption. They easily found places for their 4 kids to stay. The 80-pound lab/weimaraner mix was a little more difficult. My spousal unit made the offer to board the dog before Max came into our lives. But no matter; their big dog - we have nicknamed him "The Bus" because when he's coming at ya, ya need to get out of the way - needed a place to live for the 25 or so days they'll be gone.

So while I'm still learning how to care for one dog, I am involved in dealing with dog dominance issues. It's hard for me to watch these two boys go at it. Most of the time the tales are wagging, but not always. There have been some tough moments. Today The Bus tried to get into Max's bed. Big mistake.

Max is outweighed by 50 pounds, but he seems to be showing that he's the big dog in this house!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Hate to diss someone's church, but...

this article about a new mega-church in the Atlanta area had some disheartening things to say about the state of Christianity in the US. (Kerri, I'm expecting to hear from you on this one...)

The new church includes "facilities for children, from birth through college..." What is wrong with that sentence?

Of course, most churches anymore have "children's church" or Sunday School during the church service because kids aren't expected to be able to sit through a church service. Though our church doesn't separate kids, I remember a few occasions when they were younger that the sermon content was something I'd rather they weren't exposed to just then. Still, it bothers me that
"...congregants are encouraged not to bring children into the worship experience center..." because "We don't want a 2-year-old to disrupt anyone's experience." I don't know if kids are allowed in the cafe, either.

The facility cost $30 million. Movie-making equipment and staff are probably pretty expensive! I guess that's money well-spent if it really gets people in the doors, hearing the Gospel so they can truly become part of the body of Christ, ready to go out and minister to others. My brief experience with an almost-mega-church makes me a little cynical, though. My guess is people will hear "nice words spoken" (not a quote from the article but something a nonbeliever who attended a Christian church once said to me; she also complained about the icky focus on the Crucifixion on the Sunday before Easter) and go on with their lives. I hope I am wrong about that.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

It's amazing how much time there is for exercise...

when one has a "real" reason for it.

When we first moved here, I was thrilled to be in a "regular" suburban neighborhood where I could walk. For the first couple of weeks I got up early and walked. Then it got hot, and humid... then I got too busy. No time for exercise, no sir.

Then Maxwell Dog came into our lives. He needs to be walked at least twice a day. And run around the backyard. I have to do at least some of this walking and running.

And here I thought I was too busy to exercise...

Monday, January 21, 2008

Ask your kids this question:

"You find a wallet with $200 and the owner's identification in it. What do you do?"

Then go over to Dr. Helen and read this thread. Don't skip the comments!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Tearing one down to build another up?

Lately I've noticed a tendency in women to do a weird thing. Well, women do a lot of weird things. (So do men, but as a woman I notice the women's weirdnesses more.) It's one of those social things that women are so good at: tearing one person down in order to build another person up. Here's what I mean:

Woman A compares herself to Woman B, and worries that there is something wrong with her because Woman B does things differently. Being a woman, she asks her friends what they think about this. Being women, the friends assure Woman A that there is something wrong with Woman B, and that Woman A is all right and fine and dandy.

It doesn't matter if both Woman A and Woman B have valid (though different) opinions on some point, or different reactions to something, or different methods of cooking potatoes. If Woman A is concerned that she is wrong, then the friends have to assure her that she is right, and that means Woman B cannot also be right. Woman B must be neurotic, or callous, or a bad cook, or whatever. Whatever makes Woman A feel better about herself.

Why can't we just say "yeah, well, I guess you're different" and leave it at that?

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Intermittent blogging is bad for maintaining readership...

but since I don't keep any stats anyway, I guess it doesn't matter!

We are finally dog owners. We have been semi-promising J a dog for quite some time now. Before we moved, it was difficult because we had a big yard, but no fence. The idea of fencing it was a little daunting, and we never got around to just fencing part. When we moved, we knew we would have a fenced yard, so that excuse was gone. The months after the move flew by, till it was almost Christmas and we knew we'd be traveling. We said we'd start in earnest after Christmas. And, we did. And now Max is part of our family.

Max is not my choice of name. The rescue organization named him, and the kids would not let me change it. I wanted Calvin. (You can decide if I was thinking of the cartoon character or the reformer.) If we had gotten a girl, I was thinking of Nancy Blackett, a name which of which they approved. Oh well, it's a boy and Max is his name. Maxwell, technically.

But who cares? He is a sweet pup, born somewhere between 5 and 12 months ago in North Carolina, moved for some reason to Pennsylvania. I am convinced that there is a family that still misses this dog. Someone trained him! He is very polite in the house. No chewing. No accidents. Only a couple of tentative paws on the furniture, quickly removed.

Outside he is a speed demon. He loves to run and run. He tires himself out which is good, since we cannot play with him all day long. How do dogs who are alone all day survive the loneliness?
He is getting to be pretty good on the leash, unless another dog comes by - he wants to play - or when a car goes by. He is mildly afraid of cars, terrified of larger vehicles. What secret lurks in that sweet heart of his?

So, walks to take, more laundry to do (it's very muddy outside and we go outside a lot), more playing to be done. It's a wonder I can educate these children. But that is coming along pretty well too. Mostly.

Friday, January 11, 2008

"It's killing TV."

On the radio yesterday I heard this snippet from a conversation about the television/movie/whatever writers' strike. And I couldn't help but think... wow, the end of tv, how great would that be?

I realize that tv and movie-making are a large part of the economy but really, it is hard to see the loss of most tv as anything but a good thing.

This morning I heard something about how the strike is going to affect the Academy Awards. Since I rarely see movies I don't really care about that anymore. But, I thought - what, these people who get on these shows and give awards can't come up with their own words? They need writers?? Some of these people love to speak out about how terrible America is, what a doofus Pres. Bush is, global warming panic, ad nauseum. But they can't get up and use their own words to hand out a movie award?

And still we idolize them.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Don't you think Hillary...

would be the first one to attack a woman for breaking down emotionally and crying? Don't you think she would say such a woman was weak, manipulative, and unfit to be President?

I am a crybaby. I get teary-eyed over the stupidest things. It's not manipulative crying. which I know some women engage in. Sometimes I cry when I'm in a difficult conversation and I'm nervous. I even cried when I was quitting a job I hated and couldn't wait to get out of! So I understand when a woman breaks down a little and can't hold back the tears. Some of us are like that. I just don't think Hillary truly is.

But it sure worked for her, didn't it?

Thursday, January 03, 2008

A grown up 9 year old

Today my little E and I talked some about her upcoming birthday. She turns 9 on Monday. She loves a birthday party but it's always hard for me, coming so soon after Christmas. She has always had high expectations for the right decorations, cake, party favors etc. It can be difficult for me to empathize with her need for this as I am pretty low-maintenance when it comes to birthday celebrations. I guess my mother made me that way - I remember being allowed to have one friend over for cake the day after my birthday, and that was it!

I have tried to make my kids' birthdays special but not so much that they feel it's a huge holiday. Kids with birthdays during the school year don't skip classes; working adults usually go to their jobs. In my little homeschool we don't necessarily take the day off. Since her birthday falls on a Monday this year, we will still do our usual Monday things. I believe in flexibility (too much, sometimes), but we don't need a "day off" right now.

So today we talked about what to do, and one of us came up with the idea of not having a birthday party, but a valentine-making party instead. She was really excited about the idea of using the money we'd spend on decorations, favors, etc. and putting it to use for supplies.

Of course I like the idea that it gives me a little extra time to get something together. But I'm also glad she's happy to forgo gifts and move the focus off of herself.

Should be a fun little party!

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

The lure of midnight

My kids told me that last August I had told them they could stay up till midnight on New Year's Eve. I don't remember that, but I figure it's possible I made a rash statement like that, so we let them stay up.

It wasn't as exciting as they expected. We watched a movie - a dvd of the 1933 version of Alice in Wonderland, of which I had great memories from my childhood, and which I discovered yesterday is very, very weird. They liked it, though, I guess. Then we played a card game and ended the evening by watching a show on zebras on Animal Planet. We turned the tv back to the channel with the ball coming down from Times Square - we thought - but missed that moment. Then we made a quick call to some friends in Oregon and headed to bed. Oh, right before bed J remembered to open his new page-a-day Duct Tape Calendar. Unfortunately there was no duct tape project for today. Or maybe fortunately, for he'd probably want to stay up to do it...

Of course I didn't let them sleep too late this morning or there will be sleeping trouble tonight! So everyone is a little lazy today. They are glad they stayed up but I don't think they will be so anxious next year. I'm glad we didn't make the night more exciting for them!

Happy New Year!