Sunday, January 8, 2012

Take a Walk

The unseasonably warm weather we've been having in Massachusetts is weird.  I'm expecting a horrific summer, or terrible snow storms in April.  Darn global warming.  The earth couldn't have warmed up that fast. 
We took advantage of the 40 something degree weather today and went for a jaunt.  Not only did we wear ourselves out, we exercised, breathed fresh air, collected pine cones for bird feeders/Christmas tree decorations, collected rocks, ran races and were just together
Cesar Milan, you know, the Dog Whisperer, always reminds owners to just take their dog for a walk.  That should be extended to kids.  The boys were climbing the walls, tumbling over one another before we left.  We've been home almost an hour and they're playing so quietly and cooperatively.  Oh my, I should go knock on some wood...
I am totally famous for telling my kids to go play outside, but it's not the same as a.) going with them and b.) getting them to move.  I don't know about your kids, but mine will be wrestling and throwing one another around inside the house.  As soon as I get them outside they start doing individual activities...quietly.  They'll come back in and immediately resume their wrestling matches.  Um, so that's not what I had in mind. 
I am with my boys 24/7.  And I love it.  But it's a whole different ball game when you take them out of the house and do something that doesn't involve lists or errands or other people.  We just got to be out together. 
I don't do this nearly as often as I'd like.  The husband usually takes them on hikes into the woods so I can get stuff done around the house.  I think I'll have to schedule in times like this from now on. 

There's a collection of rocks in that sweatshirt pocket.

"I think that's Land Coral, mum."

He was in the middle of singing...

I almost died...they all actually stood still, posed and smiled...

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Electrica Fun...or not...

While making a lovely Buche de Noel courtesy of Nourished Kitchen, I turned to Eli to explain something about mixing the egg whites separately from the rest of the batter.  When I turned back to Odin, who was standing immediately to my left, I hear a crack, see a spark, a spoon goes flying and he jumps back saying, "I'm sorry, I'm sorry!!!" 
Apparently while I was momentarily engaged to the right, my inquisitive four-year-old took it upon himself to experiment with a metal measuring spoon and the outlet the mixer was plugged into.

The outlet is out.  The outlet the fridge is working from is now out.  My perpetual broth crock pot had to be moved.  I have a call into my husband, who is hard at work today.  Oy vey.
And yes, I have to admit that my initial reaction to the spark, spoon-throwing, cracking sound was not worthy of Mom of the involved expletives...loud, adult-content expletives.  I did, however, reassess and then turned it into an extension of their electricity kit discussions..."remember, metal is a conductor?  See how it it reacted to the electrical current?" 
Off to locate an electrician...

Customizing Family Games

I came home the other day to find this on the kitchen table.

  I love that husband o'mine.  Odin was thrilled to be operated on.

Keeping Track of Homeschool Progress

We don't really do a lot of "school".  At least, my kids don't think of the things we do as "school".  The few things I do have them do are met with such resistance.  For instance, I thought it was a good idea to have my kids track the temperature of the month by graphing it every day.  They thought it was fun for all of 2 days.  Then I was met with "Why DO I HAVE TO?!"  Sigh.
"You don't have to, but I'd like for us to see how the weather changes."
"You're the worst mom EVER!"
Sigh, deep breath.
"Perhaps that is so.  Let me pick you up so you can see the thermometer."

Then I thought it was a good idea to chart Eli's money saving.  He's saving for a Nintendo DS.  Ugh.  I am not very excited about this, but it's his money and if he actually saves for one, I'll be completely impressed, and he'll learn about the value of saving...right? I also thought it be useful to track what we've done so far this school year.  We're more unschooly/interest-led than anything else, so it was tricky.  The only way I keep track of things is via blog, photos and calendar.  I had to look through all of those things, month by month.  Then I put all the activities on a spreadsheet categorized by subject.  Holy cannoli, Batman.  That was time consuming.  But, it was also validating.  As a homeschool mom, I get the anxiety driven by not knowing if my kids are learning enough or are where they are "supposed" to be by school standards.  To me, it looks like we've done a lot.  I filled up spreadsheet after spreadsheet of academia.  I then showed it to my husband who had previously laughed at me for snapping pictures of the kids at the playground and holiday parties, jokingly saying, "You're just going to use everything they do as curriculum, aren't you?"  You bet, baby.  I then pointed out all the things they've done and how it applies scholastically.  Eyebrows went up..."Really, the grocery store applies?"  You bet, baby. 
I now mean to keep track a little better, but we'll see how long that lasts. 

Happy New Year, 2012

The holiday crazies have now passed us.  While I love the holidays, even the crazies, I love the calm after the storm...and the re-energized activities that find their way into our lives again. 
We have spent the past couple of weeks doing a lot at home.  We took New Year's weekend and rearranged a lot of furniture and created more usable space.  It was a great way to start off the year. 
We swapped out old activities for new ones.  The boys were taking some nature classes.  They have ceased their desire to take those classes and opted for something more active - karate.  We'll be doing a lot of nature based activities in Cub Scouts, yes, you heard it right...Cub Scouts.  I've started our own homeschool Cub Scout pack.  This ought to be fun!
We finally found an economically right karate studio for the boys.  Incidentally, it has a homeschool class smack dab in the middle of the day - not at dinner time.  Their previous instructor was really calm and the class was subdued.  This new guy...holy cannoli...he's loud and forceful.  The boys love it. 
"Mom, I need my face painted like a ninja so at karate everyone will know i'm a ninja."
We've started swimming at the local center again.  Yesterday was our first invasion.  Between seven and eight homeschool families showed up for this family time swim.  I had to giggle a bit.  The lifeguard sure hadn't planned on a busy morning!  She had to call in another lifeguard and did this with a look of horror on her face.  I felt a little bad for the moms with their under-one-year-old babies, though.  They sure weren't expecting a bunch of older kids jumping into the pool! 
While I'm not enjoying the cold, I am enjoying the new opportunities that it brings every year!