River's Edge Urban Academy

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

Thursday, July 22, 2004

Regarding my quizilla results: I guess the unschooler part fits for the most part. Sounds odd for a homeschooler using Calvert, but it actually fits what my philosophy is. One quick, concentrated dose of academics in the AM and a day filled with unschooling.
We went to a great insect class on Wednesday. Kids each got a big net and the teacher, Grandma Pat, taught them how to sweep it over the grass and it was shocking how many insects we'd catch. The kids caught baby grasshoppers, daddy-long-legs, a cucumber beetle and many more. The older kids then collected their bugs in different containers according to the classifications we learned at the beginning of the class, but our kids just enjoyed observing their insects in clear plastic containers and releasing them. The class was supposed to last one hour, but the teacher just kept going and it finished about twenty minutes late. She was then very kind to stay even longer and answer questions and talk to the kids.
Since then I have just been doing my best to keep on keepin' on, cuz I am in a down mood, but have lots to do for our camping trip. I will have all the laundry done by this afternoon and then will pack the kids stuff. I also hope to get some of the non-clothes items together.
Salvador Dali Melting clocks are not a problem in
your reality. You are an unschooler. You will
tolerate a textbook, but only as a last resort.
Mud is your friend. You prefer hands-on
everything. If your school had an anthem, it
would be Dont Worry, Be Happy. Visit my blog:

What Type of Homeschooler Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Well, today started out promising.  I bolted awake at 7:56 sure that something must be wrong with the baby.  After all, it was nearly 8am and he hadn't woken up crying in his crib yet.  Well, turns out he just slept through the night in his own bed for the first time.  I guess I woke him up when I flew into the room to see what was wrong, but he snuzzled back to sleep with me till 9:30.  The kids and I were both tired from the heat and playing with friends the day before. 
That's where the day went bad and made me think this is a summer of bad luck.  Ryan came in our room with an awful look on his face.  "Kizzy's dead," he said.
Instantly my heart broke for him and the kids.  They are very fond of the dog.  I didn't like her (or dogs in general) much so the biggest emotion I am feeling now is guilt.  She lost alot of weight lately and has been an extremely finicky eater.  So much that we took her to the vet a few weeks ago where they ran some blood test, did a physical exam and pronounced her a dog with a behavior problem, advised us to be very strict about not allowing table scraps and gave some other suggestions for how to retrain her to eat.
Well, I knew she looked terrible, but they prepared us for that.  Said she would eat when she got hungry enough.  Made sense to me.  I knew that when she did get ahold of table scraps she devoured them, so I really thought it was a behavior issue.
Well, we took her in to be cremated today for $80.  They offered us an autopsy but we're tapped and it won't bring her back.  From my observations I think she had a GI bleed last night, but wonder now if there was some cancer or who knows what.
It was horrible being home.  Ryan didn't have time to take her kennel out of the house before he left and it smelled bad and the memories are everywhere.  Unfortunately, we also had dropped off our minivan this am so had no wheels to get out of here.  Fortunately, our neighbor was home and had no plans so we hung with her and her kids, which was good for getting our mind off things. 
When our van was fixed we went to my mom's for the rest of the day. 
The kids are great.  This is really a learning experience for them, and perhaps a blessing in disguise.  They were too little to understand when Grandpa Paul died, and eventually our remaining great-grandmas will die (well, eventually we all die, but y'know) and maybe talking about how the body dies but the spirit lives on now, will make it a little easier when it is a greater loss.
Anyway, I don't know how much longer I can remain an optimist.  This has been a tough summer with the car problems, car accident and now this.  Dealing with the insurance people has really shaken my faith that most people want to do the right thing most of the time.  Anyways, this is just a jumble of my thoughts and I am hot and tired so I will wind this up and go to bed. 

Sunday, July 18, 2004

Hopefully this dumb thing works.  I posted a huge long post the other day that totally disappeared. 
I want to get our Friday field trip down for the record as it is one I am particularly proud of.
On Friday, we headed out to the Mpls Institute of Arts.  I enjoyed going there b4 kids and when J was a tiny baby but haven't been much since.  We went specifically to see the Mississippi river exhibit, which I thought the kids did a great job behaving for.  They really enjoyed seeing the paintings and sculptures and especially enjoyed the computer representation of the Mississippi panorama that was painted in the late 1800s.    They also enjoyed the ancient chinese and roman art. 
After the museum we headed down to our family's favorite spot to hang by the river.  It is a sandy beach near the Lake Street bridge.  The kids spotted egrets and Canada geese, saw a large luxury boat and talked to canoers as they went by.  They explored the beach and discovered shells and pretty rocks.  After they explored and we had snack I laid out a 8 foot long piece of poster paper and broke out the paints, brushes and glue.   I explained that they would paint the Mississippi river and they could glue sticks, shells and sand to their picture as well, if they wished.  Well the 5 kids between the ages of 2 and 11 had  a great time and produced some pretty wonderful art.  After Keian had consumed his daily requirement of sand and sticks we headed home for ice cream cones and some playtime in the back yard. 
A very nice day and a fun field trip.  Interesting sidenote:  It was at that beach about a year ago where I was struck with the inspiration for the name of our school.  As you sit down at the beach by the woods and you see the cars zooming over the bridge it really strikes you what a unique blend of nature and urban life we have in Minneapolis.  Thus our school name:  River's Edge Urban Academy. 

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Aaaaaaarrgh I wrote this super long post and then blogspot had "errors" and it disappeared into the cyber-ether. waaaahhhh
Well, things are looking up. Sorta. On Sunday I was diagnosed with Shingles which seems like bad news but the good news is that once I started the medication for the Shingles a lot of the symptoms that I attributed to the accident cleared up. I'm still stiff and sore but the continuous headache that I had for twenty days finally cleared up and I am not AS achy. Unfortunately, I missed yet another day of work today because I cannot work until the Shingles are all scabbed over. I should be back for my next shift in a week and a half.
Now that I am feeling decent, and the weather is nice I feel so much happier and energetic. We went to the nature center this AM for a class, but it was cancelled. So we checked out a bird backpack and went for a nature walk. Both kids took advantage of the colored pencils and paper in the backpack to draw what they saw. Joss drew an interesting purple grass and Zeff drew the flying car that you can see from the trail. (It is a sign for a repair place across the highway from there.)
We came home for lunch and housework. Baby took a nice long nap so we finished cleaning up and the day's Calvert lesson before he awoke.
After he got up I fed him and Joss and Zeff enjoyed playing with the tape recorder that a neighbor gave them. My little diva-in-training especially enjoyed it. I was getting hot and suggested the pool but accidently said beach. Well, the kids heard that and desperately wanted to go to the beach instead, so we did! We have a very nice one in a state park quite close to us. It is amazing how wilderness-y it is there, yet it is 10 minutes from our house and you can see (and hear) all the airplanes taking off and landing at the airport across the highway from the park. Even so, we saw an egret, downy woodpecker and barn swallows. The kids and baby had a great time in the water. It is a very gradual grade and so is perfect for my kids swimming abilities (or lack therof). The big kids can go in as deep as their bellybuttons and baby of course needs constant supervision and still managed to dip his face in the water a couple times. He has an innate sense of when I have glanced away for a millisecond and takes those opportunities to either dunk his face or eat sand. Zeff also went under water once, but recovered on his own before Joss or I could reach him (seconds that felt like hours).
Yesterday was also nice. Dropped off car (again! for MORE repairs) at 8am and went grocery shopping directly after. I was so proud of what I had accomplished by 9am, considering we are usually just rolling out of bed then. We then went to the pool and to my work. When we got home a friend from hs support group came by with a meal for us. I thought it was sooo thoughtful of her - she really picked up on how stressed I was and when she offered help, I said yes! It was a little ironic, though, that she brought us a meal on the day our neighbor had surgery, and I had decided a week earlier that I would bring her some food that day. So I made cream cheese bread and a fruit salad for our neighbor and my friend brought us enchilada cassserole and a pasta bake. What a sweetie! Really illustrated to the kids (I hope) what a community can be. Even as we help others in their time of need, others are helping us in ours!
Ryan has been working a ton lately, finishing a side job he took to help with the $ problems the accident has caused. I am so proud of him. He worked from 9a-10p yesterday and will do the same today. I asked him to call me when he is on his way home tonight so I can run him a bath and have a beer and a snack waiting.
He is such a sweet daddy. He really misses the kids when he works this much. He calls a couple times a day to hear what they are doing and talk to them. It makes me fall in love with him even more whenever I see what a great dad he has become.
Well, I have squandered all of Arthur and much of the baby's nap, I am afraid, so gotta run do at least a couple chores before he wakes.

Friday, July 09, 2004

Wow, we had a fabulous field trip yesterday. We went to a gorgeous almost-organic berry farm and had a ball with our support group, picking berries, picnicking and playing in the sand. There was 15 kids and 4 adults (and one very helpful 11year old) and it was perfect! The weather was perfect, the farmer was great about explaining things to the kids and the children behaved wonderfully. Of course each of the younger kids had a "moment" or two but overall, it was better than I ever expected it to be. Also had interesting conversations with the other moms about everything including discipline and child-rearing.
School has been good here. Zeff has been very interested in doing "Zeffy" school so we have started a letter-of-the-week approach that a friend of mine has been very successful with. Wednesday we made a poster of letter A and drew pictures and labeled "a" words. We traced letter A with his finger and made sound effects. We also did some counting stuff. Today we reviewed the letter A poster and made an ant out of an egg carton with pipe cleaner legs. Again practiced counting the legs, etc. Zeff is such a little naturalist. He loves ants and watches them all the time and refused to make his ant any color besides black or brown. Speaking of his naturalist-tendencies - he has become quite observant of trees and birds and will identify all I have taught him on his own. I need to learn more about trees as I can only identify birch and maple, but he is very excited to be able to identify the birch trees in the neighborhood and talk about the uses of the bark.
Joss had a fun week at daycamp last week and had trouble the first 1/2 of the week staying on task. That is much better today. We did a fun seed activity where we recorded our obsesrvations, tasted and glued seeds to a poster for science. She has 30 lessons left and is making a paper chain with thirty links to use to count down.
On the car front, we met with the ins guy yesterday who agreed to fix several more things on the car, we are still concerned that the frame is damaged but he keeps saying it isn't. They will be rechecking that when they do the other work, and I will obtain a second opinion if they again state that it is not. My back is still fouled up but I will be attempting to work this evening. I'm not sure I can make it through a whole shift, but I need to try.
Well, that's it from me. Hope everyone else in the blogosphere is doing well. I tried to add a comment thing to my blog but it doesn't want to work.

Tuesday, July 06, 2004


In case you are not sure how I feel: I am a slightly wee bit peeved with my insurance company. Car accidents suck. Claims adjustors suck. Everybody sucks. Sorry, not at my most eloquent as I am so enraged with these fools. We WILL be contacting a lawyer and for the record Progressive Insurance is the devil and everybody should cancel their policies.