River's Edge Urban Academy

Homeschooling 4 kids ages 9, 6, 4 and baby while working as a postpartum nurse and lactation counselor.

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Hmmmm... Do you ever feel like the universe is trying to tell you something? Here I sit carless again. As usual, the blessings abound: we are all okay, I did mega-grocery shopping yesterday AM so we aren't carless and milkless and cereal-less all at the same time. However, I still can't be quite as happy and thankful as I was two weeks ago when we emerged from a car incident unscathed.
We were in a minor - though frightening car accident yesterday. I was driving the kids and I to the pool which is about ten blocks away, straight down our street. As we crossed the one and only busy street on our route, we were hit by another car which went through the red light. We were spun around and hit a stoplight. We were all very scared and shaken up but essentially unhurt. Of course my back and neck didn't appreciate the experience much.
As soon as our car came to a stop, I jumped in back to see if the kids were okay. They were all crying and I did too for a second, but once again realized I needed to pull it together so they could calm down. The woman who hit us was heartbroken as she saw the baby and other kids file out of my car. I actually felt worse for her than for us as I could tell she felt just horrible about it. My initial flash of anger towards the person who endangered my kids was squelched by feeling so bad for her, as it was apparent that the guilt she will feel in regards to it is worse than any other punishment she receives.

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Okay this is not exactly a cute kid story because it is really disgusting, but I am going to share anyway because this is my blog. nah nah :)
We had two extra kids at the house this afternoon so it was wild and at one point Joss says "I have a seed on my head,"
Well, I may be a bad mom but I was a little distracted and said "uh-huh" and promptly forgot about it.
After supper she says, "Mom! I have a seed on my head, right back here,"
I started digging through the hair at the back of her head and as my fingers brushed against a small, firm, round object, my stomach turned. I have seen corneas harvested, looked into a man's open, infected chest wound, torn apart blood clots with my gloved fingers to check for pieces of placenta. I've touched worms, snakes, spiders and admired slugs. But, I really hate ticks. I have gotten very close to hysterics after finding a tick on myself.
My daughter had a tick attached to her scalp, swollen up to the size of a dime. It was the sickly pale grayish hue that they get from being so distended. Under these circumstances, a good mom should remain calm so as to avoid frightening the child. It was not my finest moment as a mother. I left the room and shouted between gagging spells for my husband to get it off of her.
After it was removed and dissected with a butter knife on the back steps, Joss came back inside. She asked me, "So what was that thing on me?" I told her it was a tick, to which she responded, "Oh, I thought it was the seed God made me from." I thought it was adorable and hilarious, esp since her knowledge of where babies come from is the daddy puts a seed in the mommy and God sends a baby. I'm not sure if she thought it had been there since conception or what but it made me laugh hysterically and call all the grandmas.
Life has been wild lately, hence little blogging. I actually have more free time than usual but it is so wierd and out of my routine to have free time that I hardly know what to do with myself! 
The kids have VBS this week so Joss and Zeff are both there in the morning. Fate is kind in that the baby has napped for most of the morning every day so far, as well! We have also had friends over yesterday and today. Yesterday was okay but more fighting than usual. Today was great. I took my kids plus our cousin (7) and a friend (6) to the playground directly after VBS. At the playground I told them that they would put on a play and the first task when we got home would be to paint the set, so they should decide what the play would be about. It was neat to see all three big kids sharing the tire swing and planning their play, it was heavily derived from Harry Potter 2 which the eldest had seen, and they decided to paint a castle.
When we got home they had lunch and got to work on their set. I gave each kid from the 7 yr old down to my 3 year old a paintbrush and a jar of paint and they went to work. They painted for a full 1/2 hour with no fighting and all kids being included, though Zeff wandered away from time to time. He also painted his police car and the sidewalk with my permission (it is washable paint). At one point in the painting the biggest kid lifted Zeff up so he could paint something at the top. Sooooo sweet.
They also had fun making costumes of the dress up clothes, though the oldest child was very insistent that he needed black sheets, which we do not have!
The play never got past the first rehearsal, they got very caught up in it but then couldn't agree if the play should move to the basement or stay outside. The opposing factions split off to do their own activities, for awhile.
The kids then rode bikes, played tag and a game they made up called Sonic the Hedgehog (more of the 7yo's influence I think). That was interesting, no rules that I could see instead of chasing each other around and declaring oneself a hedgehog, or superfast hedgehog, or a few other things that I didn't recognize.
VBS has been great again, of course. This is Joss's 3rd year and it is one of the highlights of her year. It is Zeff's first year and I wasn't sure how it would go as we quit pioneer group because not only couldn't he separate, he couldn't even stand being there when I was there and had a really tough time following the teacher's direction. I worried quite a bit about how he would separate and listen to the teacher.
All for nothing, though as I only had to stay with him for twenty minutes before he followed the teacher out of the room for story time downstairs and never gave me look back. It took another twenty minutes to convince him to leave when it was over!
The next day I helped him settle into and he kissed Keian and I goodbye and that was it. I came early to pick him up and spied on him. To my surprise he was one of only a few kids following the directions to leave their activity and go the rug. He then participated in the actions of their song. I was sooo proud of him, and when I came to get him he hung up his nametag with no argument, hugged his friend and his teachers goodbye and we were on our way.
Today was even easier and he continues to be extremely proud of his activity sheets and is able to tell me about his snack, the story, the movie and the activity. He also is recognizing his name on his name tag. It might help that he is the only Z kid. I think that is pretty good for a 3.33 year old! (not that I'm a bit biased!)
Well, it's been a great week. I adore spending as much time with my kids as I do, but it is nice to get a little vacation here and there. I can't wait till next week with no scheduled activities outside of playgroup, we will go use our new Zoo membership, a birthday gift from my folks.
Well, it's past my bedtime.

Tuesday, June 08, 2004

Today was fun and thankfully, less eventful than yesterday. We set up the new pool for the kids and they played in it for about 4 hours total. It was much cooler than yesterday so we did another 2 Calvert lessons complete with Science (I just cannot make up my mind about their Science - this unit: animals is fun and I see its value but some of the other stuff is sooo dry and boring). Zeff and I also made chocolate pudding w/banana popsicles together (I love them but the kids do not!) Our cousin came over this afternoon to celebrate the last day of school by playing in the pool with us.
Well, he is done, but I would like J to complete the 41 Calvert lessons we have left b4 we start 1st in September.. I think we are on track to do that as it is not hard at all for Joss to concentrate and complete 2 lessons at a time (we do cut some stuff out - but also increase the difficulty of other things). Even doing two lesson she still never takes more than an hour on school unless we get interrupted or take long breaks. So, I don't think it is too mean to have her do a lesson or two each morning on the days she doesn't have other activities this summer. Should have us finishing up by September when she can move right into Calvert 1st.
We have also been enjoying playing a cooperative board game called Harvest Time, even Zeff played with J and I this evening. It is such a nice game for us as it doesn't require reading, is about gardening (something the kids and I all enjoy) and has an objective you are trying to reach together rather than competitively. I picked it and two other very nice new board games at a garage sale for $1 a piece last weekend. Along with a cotton candy machine that Joss cleaned the entire playroom on her own to earn. I have mixed feelings about a candy machine but it is too big a pain to use frequently so just using it for special occasions should be okay. It is fun to see the cottony candy fluff form though, and I always wanted to make cotton candy like you see them do at the fair so I got a secret wish fulfilled as well.
Joss and I are more than halfway through "Danny the Champion of the World" by Roald Dahl and I can't believe her memory and concentration. I really was surprised that she likes it as much as she does. I asked her a question about the story and she answered by reciting several sentences from the previous night's chapter. And we went walking and she asked "Are the birds heisting?" She meant roosting as the pheasants do in the book. I was shocked that Zeff also listened to her chapter tonight, but that may have more to do with how exhausted he was from the pool than any real change in his attention span!
Well, I should get to bed, I never got the phone calls made that I was supposed to today, so I am planning to get up early (8a) and make them b4 the kids get up (9a). Peace.

Monday, June 07, 2004

Wow! What a day! It is the hottest day so far by a long shot, flirting with 100, my minivan thermometer said 99 degrees! We got out early for a walk and play at the park since we knew it would be too hot to go later. Came home, had lunch and the J whizzed through 2 more lessons. Only 48 to go! We then set out for Walmart to buy a wading pool and a few other things. What happened next could have been viewed as a catastrophe but it was very clear to me how blessed we are through it all. After we got off the busy highway and had made our way to the small low-speed parkway that we take home, there was an awful screeching under the car. Almost immediately it became very difficult but possible to steer. At the next stop sign though, I realized I had lost my brakes almost entirely. Thank God we were able to pull off the parkway and park at the side of a street without getting hurt. I then realized we were still in a predicament as we were 10 blocks from home, the sun was high in the sky, and the baby's sunscreen was surely worn off by this time (I had applied it nearly 5 hours previous and given him a sponge bath since). But we were in a residential neighborhood with no payphones to call Ryan or anyone to pick us up so I grabbed the ham and eggs from the back of the car and started walking.
We saw a woman in her front yard and I offered her our ham and eggs as I was realizing they would be food poisoning material by the time we got home. She asked what was wrong and insisted on driving us home. She even had a car seat and a car large enough to fit us all despite the fact that she did not have children. We were so grateful to her and God for leading us to her. The kids and I said a prayer of thanks when we got home and Joss made a thank you card (to be delivered when it is much cooler or we have wheels). We could have been on the highway when this happened and been in a terrible accident, or we could have gotten sunburned and dehydrated walking home, but God saved us from both. The van needs work now, obviously, and I'm not exactly sure how we will pay for that but the God has always looked out for us in the past and I have faith he will provide. He has all ready blessed Ryan with a fine mechanical mind so that is in our favor. Well, it is too hot to type so I am going to hand out another round of popsicles and lay with the baby in front of the fan and just give thanks that we are all okay.
P.S. I am really growing up: I didn't cry at all when this happened although I bawled when I got home and it really hit me how my kids could have been hurt or my baby's skin burnt, but I held it together till then. I tend to cry (and yell) very easily, but it is upsetting to the kids so I have been trying not to lose control of my emotions. I guess I owe God a big thanks for that too!

Friday, June 04, 2004

Just wanted to post a link to American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology's position on the so called, "partial-birth abortions" Not going to get too much into my point of view as this is a homeschooling blog, but I will share that I feel it is critical to leave the choice to terminate a pregnancy up to the WOMAN and provide safe, legal abortions for those who make that choice. Those who oppose abortion may wish to consider working with youth and other at-risk populations to PREVENT unintended pregnancies, rather than endanger (through unsafe, illegal abortions that will go on regardless of laws) those who make the difficult decision
to end a pregnancy. Ooops, guess I did share my point of view. Oh well, it's on many minds these days with the latest legal battles.

OK: if the link doesn't work here it is.