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Showing posts from October, 2011

7 Quick Takes, Volume 43

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~1~
The five AIRY5 children are all sick.  That's 5 stuffy noses, 5 sore throats, 5 aching heads.  Time for 5 little shots of whiskey, all for mom to make it through the day!

Since everyone is sick, this will have to be the quickest 7 takes ever.  So for the remaining 6, here are some homeschooling takes I've been thinking about lately:

~2~
I highly recommend Draw Write Now for Language Arts for young children.  My girls are all enjoying these activities immensely, and ask to do them even when we aren't "doing" school.  Here are some of our creations:



~3~

Reading out loud is magical.  We are currently reading By the Great Horn Spoon, by Sid Fleischman.  Reading out loud makes us slow down and spend time together.  By reading out loud to my kids, I have discovered that my reluctant readers are amazing listeners: their comprehension is outstanding, and I would not have known that without taking the time to read to them.


~4~

When I showed the kids on an atlas that in …

Reward

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Today we locked wills. Today, you wanted yeses and all you got were nos. Today, we both shed tears of frustration for the same reason: not getting what we wanted.
I understand, my sweet. I see your amazing strength, your goodness, your will to kindness.  I see you.
So no, you are not just a handful, not just a challenge, not just defiant.
You are the light of the world.
And in a darkened living room, at the close of a day that swirled with anxiety, tension, conflict, you, your sleeping sweaty-ness, your warm weight on my lap, are my reward.
One I may not have earned today, but which God in his infinite goodness and mercy, has given me anyway.

I want this to be enough.  I want to be grateful enough and clear-sighted enough to let this beautiful face carry me through the day.  To keep me on the right path, to keep me hopeful, to help me be your light of the world, until you go on to light up other places.
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I Finally Figured Out This Parenting Thing

On good days, parenting is one of the most amazing, collaborative, relational, life-transforming acts a person can do.

On bad days, parenting is basically one miserable battle between the parent's sanity and the offspring's self-esteem.  Both cannot win.  One goes down in defeat while the other rises from the dust and struggle.

Guess which kind of day I'm having?  I'll give you a hint: the highlight of my day was listening to the phppt! of the Racer 5 cap as it was released from its bottle.

Oh, I've had the other kind of day, too.  Why else would all five of them still be alive?

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At Least She Knows What She Likes

Today, in the car (of course), Lady E and Little T got into a bit of an argument about who has the better life.  It started with Little T complaining that she never gets to have play dates with friends.  Lady E, to her credit, was merely trying to make Little T feel better by pointing out all the fun things the youngest one gets to do.

"You get to play in the garden!  In your sand castle!  In your pirate ship!  You get to play dress up!  And you get to go visit Emmett (our neighbor)!  And you get to play with Tule (our dog)!"

She went on for awhile.  It was a little too much for Little T, who started getting madder and madder.

Finally, from the backseat, Lady E said: "Mom!  I'm trying to make her feel better and she just said to me: 'Oh, yeah, and here's another thing I like to do: ANNOY YOU!'"

Sighing inwardly, I chided Little T: "Little T, that is not a very nice thing to say.  Your sister is actually trying to make you feel better."

Lit…

If I Lived in San Francisco...

...which, sadly, I do not, I would vote for John Avalos for Mayor.  San Francisco readers, as you know, election day is on Tuesday, November 8th.  For your benefit, I am sharing the following video produced by Madnomad Films for the Avalos Campaign.




Once upon a time, in what seems like a life time ago, I worked with John, so if he wins, I'll get to say that I personally know the mayor of one of the country's best cities.  So if you live there, vote for him, so I can have the bragging rights.  Plus, San Francisco, my native city, is near and dear to my heart, and I can't have just any ol' yahoo at the helm.  That wouldn't be right.  So again, vote for him, so my city can hold its head high.

What will you get out of it?  A mayor with integrity, vision, humor, humility, and skill.  A rare kind of mayor, one you can trust.

Plus, he's got the cutest kids!


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7 Quick Takes: Volume 42

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Well, another Friday has arrived.  Honestly, I'm not sure that's a good thing.  It's soccer season, so Friday just means it's my day to cattle prod the kids into getting ready for their games on Saturday.  By the time I close my eyes tonight, I will need to know the precise location of 6 pairs of soccer socks, 7 jerseys, four pairs of shorts, and two sets of team warm-ups.  Not to mention cleats, shin guards, and water bottles.  And since I'm not supposed to be doing things for the kids that they can do themselves (whatever), this Finding of Things will take forever.
Remember when Fridays were actually relaxing?  Yeah, neither do I.
But here's a relaxing thing to do!  Click over to Conversion Diary, our 7 Quick Takes host; click a few more times to peruse some of the other bloggers who are Quick Taking today, and by gosh -- leave a comment.  Comments are good.
And now...my takes.

~1~
I have been watching Little T "skip" for months now.  Except she has…

Trippin'

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We've been field tripping all over the place.  Trippin' with Little T is quite an experience.  While getting ready for one of our trips this week, I stood in the shower and listened to Little T pound all over the house yelling "I'm not ready to go yet!  I'm not ready to go yet!"

Later, in the car, watching all the people stuck in our hideous Bay Area traffic, I remarked on the awesomeness of the carpool lane.  And as we zipped past all those barely moving cars, my sweet five year old pointed at them and said: "Yeah, SUCK-AHS!"


Sigh.

Anyway, our trips this month: We went to the John Muir Historical Site, and learned about one of the greatest hippies who ever lived.  He had a "scribble den" in his big beautiful house.  I want a scribble den.    A photo from the trip:



We went to the California Academy of Sciences, a place that rocks.  And that has lots of cool rocks, too.  A video of that trip:



There are a surprising amount of fish in the Ac…

Monday Morning Pop Quiz

In order to get your intellectual and creative juices flowing for the coming week, I've come up with a little quiz.

As the last few posts have shown, teenager-ness is dominating my life right now.  I'm sure (I hope) that by the time my 3rd, 4th, and 5th kids are teenagers, I will be a pro at this, but for now, everything is new and challenging.  I'm definitely still getting my Teenager Legs.  I'm almost at the point where I don't need to run to the starboard side and vomit over the railing every time there is an upheaval.  Almost.

Anyway, I've got Teenager-ness on the brain.  Thus, this quiz.

(1) Finish the following sentence:  "Trying to get a teenager to help with the weekend yard work is like ___________________."  (Bonus points if you include "with a helpful attitude" after the phrase "weekend yard work."

(2) Scenario: Your teen has an evening guitar recital for which he is less than prepared, and he has expressed to you that h…

Genius

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Takes 8, 9 and 10

Yesterday, after posting 7 things I've learned since welcoming my first teenager, I thought of three more!  So, here they are.

~8~
I have learned that when lecturing your teenager on the importance of self-control, it's a good idea to maintain a little yourself.  A tirade about self-control that includes none whatsoever is not effective and worse, makes you look ridiculous.  And a teenager needs no help seeing his parents as ridiculous, so it's best not to give him any fact-based evidence to support that view.

My kids love the story their dad tells them about his Pop Warner football coach, who would come unglued at some player's mis-step, and then scream like a wild animal, with eyes bulging and arms flailing: "COMPOSURE!  COMPOSURE!  KEEP YOUR COMPOSURE!"

I'm learning just how much I do not want to be that coach.  Oh, and also how hard that is.

~9~
I have learned to love the electronics that my kids obsess over so much.  Oh, I still hate the 24-7 access th…

7 Quick Takes, Volume 41: The OMG I HAVE A TEENAGER Edition

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It's official.  I have a teenager.  Life has fundamentally shifted.  I am still getting my bearings.  Here are 7 things I've learned so far:

~1~

Do.  Not.  Under any circumstances.  Attempt to fight every battle.  There are just too damn many.  You'll tire yourself out and the enemy will win.  Actually, both of you will lose, because no one wins when everyone is yelling.

~2~
It's true: teenagers live inside a bubble of self-absorption that is nearly impossible to burst.  It would be impressive to behold if watching it didn't feel like an all over body itch on the inside of my skin.

~3~
My teenager really does believe, with all his heart, that I am daft.  Nerdy, daft, pitiable, and so, so clueless.  I do not need to take this personally. I just need to wait a few years, until I suddenly become brilliant again.  (Of course, given that he has four youngsters beneath him charging inevitably towards the Teenage Years themselves, I actually have something like 13 years bef…

A Family Scene

The scene: a minivan in middle America.  And by middle, I really mean on the edge of the country, one earthquake away from beachfront property.

The cast: Mom, Girl #1 (6 years old), Girl #2 (9 years old), and Girl #3 (5 years old.  Doesn't really figure into the story.  Spends the entire scene sucking her thumb.)

Backstory: It's been a long, grumpy day for everyone.  Lots of whining, shrieking, complaining, and yelling.  The kids haven't been all that great either.

____________________________________________


Mom looks in her rearview mirror and sees surly Girl #1 slumping down in her booster seat, definitely not taking advantage of the safety benefits of said booster.


Mom:  "Girl #1!  Sit up straight!"

Girl #1: "No!  I don't want to!  Why should I?"

Mom: "Because it's not safe to sit like that."

Girl #2: "Yeah, you might get hurt if mom smashes into the car in front of us."

Mom: "Sit up!"

Mom sighs deeply and lets her mi…

Not Sure What This Is

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We do lots of stuff around here.

We make homemade pasta with friends.


We make cornbread.


We sport some lovely aprons in the process.


We do puzzles.


We write the most adorable stories about girls and dogs and flowers and suns and rainbows.


We weave beads.


Sounds fun, right?  We also watch great movies, do a little Kahn Academy, juggle soccer balls, make an insane amount of art, and read lotsa books.  We are almost finished with our current out loud book, The Thief Lord.

I'm not sure if we ever really do any science.  Or history.  Although, we do watch movies that could be classified as history.  And come to think of it, we did a pretty cool little project about bones, joints, and the skeleton.

The kids and I are getting ready for our first monthly meeting with our "Educational Consultant" at which the kids will need to hand in their monthly work samples in Language Arts, Math, Science and Social Studies.  So it's my monthly round of a little mind game I like to call …

12 hours later...

...and I'm nearly dead.

I made the dinner.  I do not have the energy, will, or desire to actually serve it.

Chili, corn bread, and salad, all ready to go, and whaddya wanna bet some of these people still starve, due to my recent announcement that if they want to eat, they need to serve themselves?

The angels have quieted considerably since the glorious chorus that attended my morning.

I'm going for day #2, anyway.

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Ya' Hear That? Yup. It's Angels.

I did it!  I did it!  I got up before my family and did my morning routine!

Wait -- does one morning make a routine?

Doesn't matter.  I don't care.  I did it.

And it was, and is, glorious.  I'm sitting here sipping my 2nd cup of joe, having been awake for 2.5 hours and I haven't had to interact with a single solitary soul.  Which is a very good thing for my single, solitary soul.

So here's what I did.

I woke up around 4:50 and struggled to keep my eyes open for 15 or 20 minutes.  Then I stalled a little by playing scrabble on my iPhone.  Finally, I got up and started workin' my list.  I folded laundry, put it all away, rode the exercise bike for 20 minutes while listening to NPR (total NPR geek here), ate breakfast (Fruit Loops*. Can you believe that?  And a banana.  And water and coffee.), quick cleaned my bathroom, took a shower during which no one knocked on the door, prayed pretty much the entire time (please God, let this getting up early thing not be a …

Ridiculous, But I'm Going For It Anyway

My whole nutty life could be summed up in one phrase: Attempting the impossible.

I'm certainly not the only one for whom this is true.  But I put it out there because really, I spend precious minutes being utterly flabbergasted by the truth: I can't do all of the things I am being asked to do, and I can't figure out what to delete from the list.

Take, for example, my morning routine.  My morning wish routine, as in, I wish it was my routine.

A few months ago, I decided that I needed to give myself a morning routine that would prepare me well for the day.  You know, as opposed to dragging myself out of bed at the same time as the kids and needing to hit the ground running over gritty floors in bare feet and then not stopping the running until hitting my pillow many, many hours later.

So a few months ago, I came up with my dream morning.  It goes like this:

Get up around 5am.Ride the exercise bicycle OR walk the dog: 25-30 minutesPray: 15 minutesShower: 20 minutesFold and pu…