River's Edge Urban Academy

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

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Another great homeschooling day and an epiphany.
Woke up very late and had a hard time getting going because I was coming off a four day stretch (am I the biggest baby about working 4 days in a row or what?)
Since there wasn't enough coffee in the world to make me an effective preschooler entertainer/baby wrangler/1st grade teacher rolled into one we took a walk to the neighborhood garden store hoping to get some tomatoes and herbs to plant. Unfortunately they didn't have any and the walk made us late to our fun picnic/playdate with two other homeschooling families. Joss also filled in her June calendar, which has become an excellent monthly activity. I print off blank calendar pages and she fills in the dates and then all her activities and whatever else she wants to. She marked the days I work, our upcoming vacation and Tuesdays as N for nature days. She has done this for the last three months and she loves checking her calendar everyday and knowing what's coming up.
We had a an awesome time with our friends at Woodlake Nature Center. We had a picnic outside amongst the drifts of cottony seeds. We then took a leisurely stroll around the marsh and stopped to see many cool sights including: red-winged black birds, toads (I got peed on by one), Mallard duck daddy, mama and babies, egrets, and several painted turtles in the water including one little baby all covered with duckweed. We also saw a ton of the most beautiful little blue fuzzy caterpillars. They had the most amazing design on their back and I would have loved to have taken one home but didn't have a jar and wasn't sure what they were eating. Also not sure if you are allowed to do that, so should check next time. Joss had two riding on her dress which she gave to a small class of kindergarteners as they walked by us. The kids had a great time playing together and enjoying and learning about nature.
After we came home Joss wrote a short report about the nest she found on our morning walk. She plans to turn it in the collector's corner at the Science Museum for points. We talked about the 5 W words: Who, what, why, where, when and made up a fun song about it.
She then answered those five words for her report about her nest. Her spelling was perfect, though I did help when asked. Her writing is also getting very clear. She also did a nice drawing of her and I finding it and wrote her name, age and "homeschool" on the back because she said she wanted them to know she was homeschooled!
Here is her report:
Who? Joscelyn and Katy
What? a nest
When? May 31st
Where? in a pine tree
Why? because it fell out of the tree
We stuck the nest in a plastic bag (because I really feel like it is absolutely crawling with germs) and she can't wait to turn it in!
While she worked on that Zeff played an educational computer game. I was able to relax and do a little picking up with relative peace other than helping J out from time to time.
Then the neighbor kids spent a couple hours playing with our kids. J and their 5yo girl paired off and had a great time using pinecones, leaves, first-aid-tape, glue and sequins to make fairy furniture and parts of a fairy castle. Zeff enjoyed watching sports with the 7yr old boy and the next door neighbor in his garage and occasionally running around the neighbor's yard with his light saber.
After supper J and baby and I walked to the playground and Z and daddy mowed the lawn. Now I'm off to read chapter 2 of Kaya (an American Girl book).
The epiphany: I should quit fighting the wild energy my boys have in the morning. We will go on outings, field trips, whatever in the morning and have sit down quiet school time in the afternoon while the baby naps and when Z and J's excess energy has been burnt off.
This will be great for the summer as we can get out while it is still relatively cool and have quiet time indoors in the A/C during the heat of the day.
Anyways, I am feeling very thankful and content and hope others are enjoying their life and kids as much as I am today.

Monday, May 30, 2005

Good unschooling day!
We were over at our neighbors when Joss asked why she was so hot, even though she was wearing a T-shirt. I pointed out that it was black and that black clothes felt warmer. Her and the neighbor boy felt how his light colored shirt felt cooler to the touch than her black one. So I ran back to my house and grabbed sheets of black and white paper and a couple ice cubes and went back to their house. We put one ice cube on white, one on black, one on the driveway in the sun and one on the driveway in the shade. We then made predictions which would melt first and decided to check back in a 1/2 hour. We were surprised that the ones on the driveway melted first, but that the one on black paper was indeed faster than the one on white paper. We then felt the ground and realized how warm it was, even in the shady spot.
Back home we spent more time with maps. Looking at our fishing guide map and our metro transit map we found the lake they were planning to bike to and go fishing at later. We also found our house and my mom's house. And spent quite a while discussing the LRT and the various stops that we have been to. It was so cute when the kids and I were laying on the floor looking at the very large map and Keian kept laying down with us and pointing to things on the map like we were. (canNOT remember if it should be laying or lying - bad homeschooling mom!)
Then the kids and I went for a walk and spent quite a bit of time observing one tree in particular. We were discussing the characteristics of its bark and the way the leaves were sprouting off of the branches. We then brought home a small fallen branch that had several leaves on it. We did our best to identify the tree from our tree book and leaf poster but I am not sure we got it right. Joss really didn't think it looked like the Siberian Elm in our tree book, though I did. She thought it looked more like the Black Cherry tree on our poster. J and Z both made rubbings of the leaves and then later I noticed that she had written God Gob (Good job) on his rubbing.
Then I went to work for my last evening of a 4 day stretch. I got lucky and had 4 very easy days in the nursery in a row. Almost but not quite slow enough to get bored, but plenty of time to do a good job and actually take my breaks. Heaven! And many very adorable babies born. This one baby had the longest curliest eyelashes I have ever seen on a white baby, although Somalis are known for their long dark eyelashes. I've actually seen Somali babies with eyelashes so long they get tangled. They have these sooty black lashes around big shiny dark eyes and usually dark skin with pink cheeks and little pouty mouths. They are the cutest things. And while I am rambling about cute Somali babies, let me also mention the most adorable little Somali boy, just a month younger than Keian. He decided he loved me and would run up to me and put his arms up to be picked up whenever he saw me in the hall. One time when I was checking his baby into the nursery he hugged my legs. He was so precious with this crazy head of gorgeous wild curly hair and of course the big shiny dark eyes.
If I have another girl I want to name her Zubeyda, which is a Somali (actually a Muslim) name. So I have Somali envy or what?

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Note to self...
When you call the Y to sign up for a class and they tell you there is a Yoga class at 11:15, ASK IF IT IS LEVEL 1 or 2!!!!!
Because level 1 is challenging and I can almost keep up. Level 2 was insane. I hurt all over. But I am kind of proud. And the pain reminded me to work it into conversation frequently (the real reason I work out) so that was good.
I worked in the nursery tonight. The big excitement of the night was that we were expecting a baby to be born to a mother that has Hansen's disease (otherwise known as leperosy) and the meds she was on were supposed to cause the baby to be blue-colored at blue. Not blue as in hypoxic but just colored blue. I was happy for the family but disappointed for myself that the baby was perfectly beautiful with very nice coloring. (It was an exceptionally gorgeous baby in fact.)
Other than being busy and at full capacity it was a nice night. I have been getting very wimpy about going to sections ever since I had that icky one. So I forced myself tonight, and it went fine.
I also started the night using my way gorgeous cardiac littman (way nice stethoscope) that my bro gave me but decided it was wasted on the babies and put it away. I have a feeling that all of my adult patients are getting full lung and heart sound assessments for the next several weeks. (We often don't on healthy postpartum pts) I totally can't wait.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

And now for something totally different...
There are all kinds of posts in our workplace newsletter. The kind that invite you to be a part of this "fun" committee or head up this "important" initiative, but are really just more work and more time spent around the people I spend my time trying to avoid (managers,higherups,etc). But then I saw the one about "Anyone interested in becoming a lactation consultant, please contact..." and first I thought, "yeah right, like I have time for that!"
But it stuck with me. And bugged me. And I thought about how much I like helping with breastfeeding and how some days I wish I could just do that and not be pulled in so many directions. I thought about how much the LCs I work with had helped me with my first, and then with many questions about the other 2. I thought about how I do lots of things for other people, but spend almost no time on my own interests. I am embarassed to tell people my hobbies, cuz I hardly have any. Maybe pursuing my IBCLC would be fun and a good project for me.
I started thinking I might want to work for this. I reviewed the requirements on the website, "45 continuing education hours and 4000 hours breastfeeding consultation" I knew from previous discussions with the LCs at work that I could count 2hours of each shift as breastfeeding hours. I'm not a great one at numbers. I knew 4000 was a lot, but I work alot darnit! I really got excited and thought I could work towards this in the next three years. I left a message for the lady and talked to her today.
It seems my employer wants to pay a bunch of us to go to a full week breastfeeding workshop. Fantastically expensive and almost all the CEUs I would ned to meet my continuing education hours.
Then we sat down and crunched the #s to see how long it would take me to get my hours. Working a .6 it would take me at least 5 more years to even get 2500 hours. My heart sank and I realized that this definitely would not happen in the next three years. If I have a bachelor's degree 2500 would be enough, though. So now I am actually entertaining the thought of going back to school to finish my bachelor's, so I can then work towards my IBCLC. I swore I wouldn't go back for my BSN before the kids were grown. But now that I've had this thought, I'm not sure I can unthink it.
Hmmmm Is it any wonder I can't sleep tonight?

Thursday, May 05, 2005

This Morning:
Zeff is drawing a picture of a magic treehouse he is designing. Joss is helping him by labeling things such as the magnit and the midl room. They will have to give their "seerit nams" (secret names) to gain admittance. She is also teaching him to hold the marker the way she does instead of his dagger-death-grip. He is more receptive to her than to me on the topic so I'm glad she's on my side!

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Urban Track n Field

We ran over to the neighbor's to play for a few minutes last evening. The other two moms and I, and the total of 9 children were milling around the yard. Suddenly the moms and I noticed that the 8 big ones (not Keian) were all standing around SOMETHING in the yard in the kind of semi-circle that tells you they have found something nasty. Well, it wasn't a maggoty mouse or anything, just a pile of dog poop.

As my neighbor ranted about the neighbor who didn't pick up after her dog, the 8 big kids organized themselves oldest (10) to youngest (3) into a line and took turns running and jumping over it. They were having a great time and the moms just about peed their pants. We tried to act adult and tell the kids to stop but it was pretty hard with the tears squirting out of our eyes and gasping for breath.

We said it was sad that the suburban kids had nice tracks with hurdles and our poor city kids had to jump over dog poop.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

4th Post in One Day!
Answers to my interview questions as posed by Anne Basso
Rules to the interview game posted below

1) What is the most romantic thing your husband has ever done for you?
Hmmm, he bought me a diamond ring once, but I made him take it back. When we were young and dirt poor and living in a crappy apartment in the 'hood he sold his bike, his only means of transportation to buy me a birthday present for my 18th birthday. He also sold his Pink Floyd The Wall CD so we could buy food another time in that same era. He's a good guy. And were we ever broke!

2) If you could buy any one thing without worrying about cost, what would it be?
A big fat gorgeous RV to travel the US in with the kids.

3) What is the one thing you haven't done, but you hope to before you die?
Visit Europe.

4) If you could be another person for a day, who would you be?
Darn, I just like my life. I really can't think of anyone else except maybe my oldest. I think she's got it going on. Except she has TWO little brothers. But she gets more enjoyment out of life than anyone I know. Keian too, but it is too frustrating to be a toddler.

5) What is the one thing that you wished people knew about you, but don't?
How could anyone not know any detail of my life? I share way too much! Some people may not know enough of my struggles (running away, drug and alcohol abuse, living on the street, etc) to realize how goddamn lucky I am to be alive much less the happy, healthy, blessed and successful person that I am now.

The way the interview game works is if you want to be interviewed just comment and I will think of 5 questions for you. Answer them on your blog and the fun continues. Kinda like a chain letter but you get to talk about yourself, something I always love!
Peace out yall.
Only a mom... can be picking up the living room quickly while everyone is occupied and feel guilty about it. Guilty that she's not including her kids and teaching them to pick up and feel involved, etc etc etc.
I can't believe I just wasted energy feeling guilty about that. I'm cleaning for cripe's sake!
Back to work...
And BTW, what do you think of the three posts in one day? I better be careful that I don't sprain something.
I am a good homeschooling mom.
Read on for proof. We are having our 3yr old neighbor over this morning and he is a great friend of Zeff and Keian's. Zeff and Ben and I made pudding together, with each boy taking turns pouring milk and pudding mix, then each counting to 5 out loud for our turns stirring. After we got it in the fridge I presented each preschool boy with a plate of pudding mix and they are drawing pictures and letters (zeff made g, i, b, e, n and z) while the baby fingerpaints on his highchair tray with yogurt. It is 9:30 and J's school is 2/3 done and she is outside riding her bike for her 20 minute recess. Aaaahhhh.
Wow! It's been a really long time since I posted. The biggest and best news I can share is that MY BROTHER IS HOME!!!!!! Well not quite home, but in Ft. Mc Coy Wisconsin, but he will be home by Wednesday!!!! Alleluia!!!!!!!!!
We haven't done much that is new, but have just been coping without our minivan. To that end we have been riding our bikes aLOT. Joss can regularly do 3 miles and with some breaks can do 5 miles. I have been hauling both boys for trips of any distance, but Zeff has enjoyed riding his two-wheeler for the shorter ones.
I have also been working on several things as we have been sticking much closer to home than we usually do. One is baby naps. He has always just fell asleep in the car on the way to or from our many activities. I never minded this and figured he was getting enough sleep. However, he had not learned to lay down in the middle of the day and go to sleep, so we have accomplished this. Now 1 o clock is my, I mean his, guaranteed naptime and I can count on at least 1 1/2 hours and sometimes over 2! Which helps with accomplishment #2...
Which is cleaning my house! I am not a good housekeeper. Not. At. All. I always hope that my incredible cooking and flawless childrearing (shut up) will make up for my failings in the housecleaning department. However, with baby's guaranteed naptimes we have been getting the house much cleaner than usual every single day. I am teaching the big kids to help more and have made great strides in my own personal Mt. Washmore. Also discovered that if you wet the mop in hot water and run it over the tile floors in five minutes it looks almost as good as if you spend 40 minutes scrubbing it. An important and revolutionizing discovery for me as washing the floors is one of my hardest chores to get done.
3) Baking and cooking from scratch. I have been doing much more of both. Jossy and I invented the yummiest bread ever! We made a whole-wheat-oatmeal bread dough in the breadmaker and let it do two rises in there, then rolled it out flat and spread a cinnamon-butter-brown sugar mixture over it, then rolled it up like a jelly roll, tucked it in a loaf plan and let it rise. After it rose, we brushed egg white on top, and sprinkled it with oats and cinnamon sugar. Well the sugar on the crust turned all pretty and crystally and the butter-brown sugar mix turned to CARAMEL! So it was like a whole-wheat caramel roll. MMMMMMMMMM
The only other big news that I can think of right now is that Joss and I marched in the Mayday parade for the third year in a row. We were unicorns this year, and our masks were probably the most beautiful we've ever made. I dyed J's hair candy pink (it actually turned out sorta magenta) and mine turquoise (just the bottom 1/3, or so). Because it is semi-permanent the color might last up to 6 weeks.
Oh yeah, we had a neat outing when we got the hair dye. Because I was carless, I took Malcolm and my kids, on the city bus, to the LRT station, to the mall of america, back home via LRT and then walked from the station to our house. I cost 1.25 on the city bus and J and M cost .50 and since we did the whole trip in less than 2.5 hours (the length of the transfer) we did that whole trip for 2.25!
We also went to the science museum yesterday with my dad and saw Stomp's world beat again. What an awesome movie! The kids and I had such a nice time with my dad. We had a lot of fun playing with air pressure by the Chomp cafeteria.