Saturday, August 30, 2008

Prince of Peace Academy, Week 2

I had to go double-check my blog to make sure we're actually just finishing up week two. LOL! This was a BUSY out-of-house week so we didn't do nearly as much book work as last week. Let's see what we did instead.

Canaan was stung by another fire ant, and I was very glad that I'd already scheduled him a well-baby visit for Tuesday because boy that thing flared up. It had two little stings and a decent bump underneath, and a warm red area for 3" around. So, that was pretty bad. I did start him on Benadryl and hydrocortizone right away. We saw a new (not new to the practice, just to us) PA this time and she agreed that his reaction was really bad. She suggested topical Benadryl, which I didn't use. But the next day it was looking a lot better anyway, so that was good.

Now, the reason we switched PAs. Ok, there's this one guy who totally misdiagnosed Canaan when I thought he had a peanut allergy. He said it was just heat rash. And he was smoking crack when he said that because it didn't look anything like heat rash, and obviously that particular PA did not pay attention when he studied dermatology in medical school. He has an awesome sense of humor but I don't really need that as much as I need to know what's wrong with my kids on the rare occasion that I take them to the doctor.

Then there was this other female PA who doesn't have a stellar personality but her diagnosing skills are the bomb diggity. However, the last time we were in for a well baby visit, she really did act like I was not a smart parent for choosing to selectively vaccinate. I just really don't want to hear that attitude every time I go to the doctor. I respect that they have their point of view and I expect the same in return. If we are having some sort of medical *issue*, I'll probably choose her. For well baby/child visits, probably not.

Ok, so the PA I chose this time seemed to be close with the PA we originally saw in this practice (and loved and LOVED and loved!!) who had to quit to be with her ill husband. I figured hey, maybe if they're close they're similar in their medical thinking, right? Also, she's a Christian. She was really pretty awesome! She related very well to my kids, which is obviously very important. She went over all the developmental stuff with me which I enjoy. She checked him out thoroughly. And then she looked concerned and said that he is "way behind on his immunizations". I took a deep breath and said, "No, he isn't. We're not going to do any more vaccinations until he's at least 5, and even then it will only be a couple." She asked my why and I chose to ignore that and said, "Before we switched to this practice, I spoke personally to Dr. and asked if it would be a problem that I had Canaan at home, and also that we selectively vaccinate. He explained his point of view on the vaccinations and said that ultimately the decision is mine and he's fine with whatever decision I make." She completely relaxed then and said, "Oh, of course it's your decision! As long as we know what you're planning on him having, we can just put that here in your chart and then it won't be brought up at every visit." WHEW! After that she talked to my kids for a while and when Caris said that asparagus is her favorite food, the PA gave me an asparagus recipe that sounds divine. It was nice leaving on a pleasant note.
We had soccer practice all week, of course. And I had an outing with my Mom to her oncologist's office. Graham threw a bring-your-stuffed-animal party and that was major fun. We played hopscotch, bowling with Gatorade bottles (Canaan's favorite activity), danced and Graham even drew us pictures of our stuffed animals.
We also helped my Mom move yesterday. I don't know how much "help" we were since I locked my keys in the car and she had to call AAA to bail me out, and then Canaan locked himself in her bathroom and he was stuck for several minutes while we tried to figure out how the HECK to get him out of there before he drowned in the toilet and ultimately Malachi bailed us out. Silent prayers of thankfulness that my eldest son was blessed with his Daddy's mechanical abilities.

So since we didn't do anything particularly exciting that was actually *school* related this week, I'll leave you with Malachi's basic weekly schedule of book work:

Monday: Grammar (First Language Lessons), Latin (Prima Latina), Handwriting (A Reason for Handwriting), Phonics Pathways, Spelling Workout, Math (Math-U-See) and music appreciation (Color the Classics: Godly Composers)

Tuesday: Grammar, Latin, Spelling, Handwriting, Phonics, Math, History (various sources - History Odyssey, an outlining book, Internet-Linked Encyclopedias, maps, etc.)

Wednesday: Very light on book work since he'll have enrichment classes on Wednesday mornings starting in September. Handwriting, Phonics and Math

Thursday: Grammar, Latin, Spelling, Handwriting, Phonics, Math, Science (the reading part - right now we're doing sea creatures)

Friday: Project day! History projects (right now we're doing a pocket book by Evan Moor), Science projects, Color the Classics and drawing lessons (I have the book Drawing with Children somewhere and can't find it so right now I'm just using what I can find online. Last week we drew frogs and boy did they turn out CUTE!)

Friday, August 29, 2008

Caris' New/Old Shirt

My friend Sarah-Michelle has been linking me to all kinds of sewing tutorials lately, and what fun I've had checking out all her cute creations! One in particular looked really cute to me, and as soon as I saw it I thought of an old sheet we had lying around, totally new in its very old package. Well, I whipped this up for her today and I think it came out so cute! I know, she looks 25 in this picture. She's a thin 5-year-old. LOL

I also sewed a few more covers for a friend of a friend in size small. I want to keep them and have a tiny heiney to put in them! LOL

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Saturday Night Life

We're not so exciting this Saturday night. Alif worked on a friend's cabin out of town today and I sat around eating licorice and sewing and reading e-mail and blogs and oh yeah, I did play with my kids & read to them quite a bit. Can you guess what my house looked like at the end of today? We'll just name her Fay and leave it at that.

So as we sit here watching all the fit people in the entire world running, jumping and huffing and puffing their way to gold medals, I'll just share a few pics from this week.

Someone kindly shared their Wal-Mart-brand Crystal Light with Canaan. Looks like he really enjoyed it.

Caris refreshing herself at soccer practice. She looks so CUTE playing soccer that I haven't even noticed whether she actually has any SKILL yet. LOL

I'm back in the saddle! I sewed a couple covers this week and hopefully many more to come. And a bunch of pajama pants and other cute things. I hope to stay motivated . . . ;-)

Friday, August 22, 2008

Prince of Peace Academy, Week 1

The name of our home school is Prince of Peace Academy. We chose it because we really wrestled with educational choices for our children, and once we finally felt sure that God wanted us to home school, we felt such a deep, restful peace.

To start the week we went to the museum. This was our third year celebrating "not back to school day" with a couple other families, and it's always such a fun way to start the school year. The kids played in the children's museum while the mommies visited (and chased toddlers) and then we headed outdoors for a picnic. We had a nice lunch that unfortunately ended with two of the kids having ant bites. Poor Canaan actually got over 20 ant bites. Those things were MEAN. They swelled up right away but he didn't seem too upset about it. By evening they were all calmed down and just little red dots remained. He woke in the night crying, "MAMA! MAMAAA!" and he sounded scared, so of course I ran in and got him. He nursed and went back to sleep, and didn't wake up until about 8:30 which is way late for him. When I got him out of my bed I had QUITE a shock. The bites were VERY swollen, as was the skin all around them. I called the doctor and they said to bring him in. It turns out the poor baby is allergic to ants! No wonder they swelled so badly! We gave him Benadryl all week and put hydrocortizone on the bumps and today, four days later, they are settled down to the point that they look like normal ant bites. Still bumps, still hard, but not scary, crazy big.

So we do school in a chronological fashion, moving through history starting in ancient times right on up through modern times. Having spent four years in this cycle, we are now back at the beginning, in ancients. We studied archaeology this week, which was very interesting. The boys especially liked all the creepy skeletons and body casts (pictures in books, not real ones). For science we looked at lots of cool books and websites about sea creatures - mostly deep sea creatures. Friday is project day and so far today we learned how to draw a frog and we listened to Vivaldi's Four Seasons and colored pictures about his life. Later we'll do a history and a science project.

My most enthusiastic book-learner this week was Caris. She absolutely loves workbooks and blasts through them at record speed.

So there's a little summary of our week! I'm going to try to do this every week just as a little record of what our weeks are like.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Chef Graham

Me: Graham, why did you take all the sprouts off of your sandwich?

Graham: You know how sandwiches are supposed to be a combination of tastes? Well, the whole thing tasted like sprouts.

I guess I can't argue with that.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

The Stand

Each Sunday morning, we drop Caris at her Kindergarten Sunday School class. Alif & I and all our boys head in for worship. It's my favorite part of church. No, it's my favorite part of the week. Babe in arms, boys by my side, worshiping together - it is such a sacred time.

Canaan nestled in, his head heavy on my shoulder, and we sang. A few songs in, one of our worship leaders started off solo. He's a strong, young, cowboy type in Wranglers and Ropers, and his deep voice with its slight country twang gives this song such a feeling of realism.

I'll stand
With arms high and heart abandoned
In awe of the One who saved us all

I'll stand
My soul Lord to you surrendered
All I am is Yours

After the first verse we all joined in. At least half the church really was standing with arms high, which isn't unusual in our church body. I mean these words when I sing them. I want God to have every part of me. I want to hold nothing back from Him. I want to be but a tool for his glory every moment of my life. Maybe it sounds strange to you, but standing there with my family, singing these songs of surrender to the Lord I love so dearly, my womb came to mind.

I do not consider myself Quiverfull. If you were to ask Alif & I if we plan to just naturally conceive as many children as the Lord blesses us with, we would probably say something like, "I'm not sure." So please know that I am not of the mind that if a person doesn't surrender their fertility to the Lord, they are somehow unholy or not quite mature or anything of the sort. It's not a "hill to die on", as our pastor would say - not an issue of salvation. I'm just sharing with you what is on my heart.

Alif & I always wanted four children. He's from a family of four and it seemed perfect to both of us. All the kids are grown now (two with children of their own) and my mother-in-law and father-in-law's house (directly across the street) always has someone around. Holidays are full but not chaotic. There are enough people that several rooms have conversations going, card games being played, a movie running. But when it's time to eat, we can all still enjoy a meal together.

When I was pregnant with Canaan, our own #4, I was "so done". Anyone who asked got the same answer: no, we are NOT having any more after this. I had a lot of bleeding in my pregnancy with him and that was very scary. I was nauseous and had a hard time functioning. My back hurt so much there were nights I literally could hardly walk. Even in labor I said, "I am so glad I don't ever have to do this again."

Then he was born. And he was sweet. We breathed him in day in and day out, couldn't get enough of him. My older kids loved and adored him. I started to grieve the loss of his newborn phase when he was still very much a newborn. I think it was during this time that the Lord started whispering to me, first through my dear husband. I was just miserable one day with the thought of never having a newborn again and he said, "It's not like we have to be done." Oh - yeah. I guess you're right! LOL For a long time I had serious peace in just that! I didn't want any more children, certainly didn't plan to ever try to conceive again, but just knowing that we weren't completely opposed to having more gave me the peace to really enjoy Canaan's babyhood, to rejoice in his milestones instead of grieving through them.

I receive a magazine called Above Rubies, and I'm also on their yahoogroup. This group is very quiverfull-minded. At first I just thought it was awesome how many of the families had lots of kids. Then I realized that to varying degrees, these women feel that it's holy to surrender one's fertility. To take absolutely no means to prevent pregnancy. My mind reeled against this way of thinking. It is uneducated, I thought, high and mighty. I still feel that many of them twist Scripture to mean something it wasn't intended to mean. However, they have challenged my thinking in many ways.

If I say I'm "so done" having children, what are my (personal) reasons? I don't want to be sick. I don't want to get pregnant and have something go wrong. I don't want to drive a passenger van. I don't want to have 3-4 children in each bedroom. Then I think about those reasons, and every one of them is selfish or based in fear. Children are a reward - anyone with a child knows that fully. We are so completely blessed by our children, why would we limit ourselves to just four of them?

Granted, I may never get pregnant again. I'm still nursing Canaan and I didn't get pregnant with him until the month I weaned Caris when she was almost 3. I'm 33 years old and my fertility is likely waning at this point. And you know what? I have four awesome kids and I am so completely content with that.

But if, someday, you see my belly swelling? Please know that my heart is swelling too. My ministry is to my husband and my kids, and if the Lord chooses to grow that ministry, I welcome any children he may bring us.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

If you haven't tried the library lately . . .

When I was a little girl, the library was a big deal. My Mom took us to the library all summer long to take part in the summer reading program, and it was a fun tradition for my Dad to take us on Saturdays to pick out new books. I loved it so much that it was even used as an incentive for good behavior: "If you can't behave, you won't go to the library on Saturday."

As an adult, though, I've neglected the library. I've gone to story times here & there with my little ones. I've gone a few times just to check out books. And those few times I've gone, I've incurred fees to the point of throwing up my hands and deciding I'm simply too irresponsible for the library.

Well, this year we re-start our four-year cycle of studying history chronologically. I really want to be able to just give Malachi & Graham actual books to read and let them explore on their own. On top of that, I finally had to be a good steward (and a good wife) and delete my credit card from's stored information. It was simply too dangerous - every time my cart would get up to their $25 minimum for free shipping threshold, I'd order. That might happen once in a month. Or it might happen once in a few days. :-X Sometimes, I'd just order a book on a whim and not even like it when it arrived. So, with a big sigh and a bad attitude, I headed off to the library to pay off our fees and check out some books.

I approached the desk and presented the two cards I needed to pay off: mine and Malachi's. Malachi's fee was $20, just what I was expecting. No problem. I got out another $20 to pay off my card, and the face behind the counter said, "yours is $160." :::eyes wide open::: "$160?" Holy cow, friends! How in the world did it get so HIGH? She ran down the list with me as I listened in shock. I paid $20 and thought about how long it would take to pay the rest of that fine.

Malachi was gone at camp, but Graham, Caris & Canaan carefully chose the two books each I said they could check out. They looked long and they looked hard, and they had their favorites in hand. We approached The Face again and handed her Malachi's card. She asked if Malachi was present and I told her that he was not. Oh - well, we couldn't check out the books on his card without him present. I started to get anxious and said that I would just go ahead and get Caris a card, then. Right. Can't do that without a photo ID. Of *course* I have recently LOST my photo ID. She said to bring in a bill or something with my name and current address on it. We left feeling defeated - the kids disappointed at not leaving with the books they'd chosen and me feeling like I am the world's biggest idiot.

As we left the library, I realized that I had a check in my wallet with my name & address on it! Oooh - hope! I went back in and asked if it would be ok to use that and The Face said, with a Smirk, "yes, with a photo ID." I wanted to scream. I wanted to yell at her. I wanted to disturb the Public Library Peace. And most of all, I wanted to cry. But I didn't. I went home and pouted.

A few days later, Malachi returned home and Graham realized that we could now use Malachi's library card! Hip-hip-hooray! We loaded up and went to a different library, found some books and checked out with no problem at all. During quiet time, I made a few phone calls to library personnel, and guess what? Mrs. Very Nice at the library nearest me? She reduced my fines by HALF! HALF!! I told her I would be in that day to make my next payment.

That afternoon we went back to the library by our house, returned the books we'd just checked out that morning, and got more books. I have to tell you, as I watched my children perusing the hundreds of tempting titles, my baby looking through the baskets of board books, choosing one, and heading over to the pint-sized tables to "read" . . . I fell in love with the library again. I thought, "I cannot BELIEVE we haven't been taking advantage of this all these years."

As I planned out the first weeks of our new school year last week, I asked my friend Liz to walk me through reserving books online. She did, and I requested like 20 books to be sent to my local library. Yesterday 5 of them came in and how awesome was that to just walk in and have my selections waiting for me at the counter?? My kids exchanged books too. As we went through the books they'd been holding for us, Mrs. Very Nice commented on our book selection and I told her that we homeschool and that the books go along with our history lessons. She said, "we have a large homeschooling contingency here! If you ever think of a title that you think would benefit you and your homeschooling friends, please let me know. I'm in charge of ordering for this library and I'd be happy to stock whatever you think would be of benefit to the homeschooling community." WOAH! Thank YOU! She even gave my kids pizza hut coupons that were left over from their summer reading program!

:::swoon::: I love the library!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Fall really is coming

Well, it's really just fall activities starting up. Fall itself is months away. MONTHS. It's over 100ยบ all week. I'm a little tired of the heat and just about ready to start thinking about fall. I love you summer, but I'm sort of over you for now.

Soccer started up this past week. Caris kept whining every time I brought it up and I couldn't figure out why. Finally I pried it out of her: she's afraid she'll get hurt. Why didn't I think of that? After all, she's spent years watching her big brothers play, and those boys get aggressive - and nearly every game someone gets a minor injury. I assured her that she would be playing with other little girls and no one is likely to get more than a bump. In the middle of her first practice she ran over for a water break and said, "Soccer is actually fun!"

I went to the team parent meeting last night and it was HALF the time they'd told us to expect. How's that for a big woo hoo? I had one of those "wow, my child is growing up" moments because I had Malachi & Canaan with me and Malachi ran right out onto the field behind the meeting and started playing with another boy. He used to be so shy - not any more!

Alif really likes his group of parents - he's coaching Malachi's U12 team this year. Graham's team doesn't have a coach, so I jokingly asked Graham if he'd like me to coach him. He said, "YEAH, CAN YOU??" Ack! Let's pray another parent steps up, because I am SO not confident in my ability to coach boys his age. :-O

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Heaven Help Me!

Malachi is 10 years old, so you know, I kind of knew we'd be going through some pre-adolescence kinds of things sooner or later. I've noticed some behavior at times that seemed - well, like he was overreacting or whatever. Today though, oh my. I know he's probably just tired and everything from camp, but man is he emotional! Everything I say seems like a personal affront to him. Right before quiet time it seemed like he might have a complete breakdown, he was so upset at me. I looked at him with his eyes completely full of tears and just wished I could like, meld our minds or something. Doesn't he know how much I love and adore him? Doesn't he know I would do anything for him? That I want him to be happy? That I am not his number-one enemy?

Help, Moms of teenage boys! How do I make him feel loved while also requiring him to be a productive member of our family?

Or am *I* just overreacting? LOL Hoping and praying this improves as he catches up on sleep . . .

Friday, August 08, 2008

I've missed you

There were so many times I wanted to write you this week. I wanted to tell you that I was lonely. I wanted to tell you how much I love my Mom and my best friend Lynette and my dear friend Liz because they care about me and kept me busy all week. But I couldn't!

Because see, you knew Malachi was at camp . . .
But you didn't know that Alif was gone with him!
Ohhhhhh I missed my husband. SO much. Canaan missed him, Caris cried for him, ugh, it was sad. BUT! Graham, though I'm sure he missed his Daddy & brother, shone this week. He took the opportunity to be the oldest very seriously. He taught himself to jump rope and he learned new words (incognito and flabbergasted were two favorites).

Caris & Graham switched off nights sleeping in my bed, and on Wednesday night we had our friends Ellie & Emma over for our first sleepover ever! Those girls had SO much fun. They giggled and read and in the morning we made soaps from a glycerine soap kit I got for free on Freecycle. I am still not caught up on my sleep. It's what I get for the dozens of sleepover nights I surely kept my parents awake at all hours! LOL

I take my husband for granted a lot but after him being gone for a whole week, I am SO happy to have him around!! He talked about camp nonstop from when he got home until 30 minutes ago, when I sent him out the door to get toilet paper (he offered, I promise).

Yesterday & today Graham and Caris and I buckled down and got their room completely cleaned out. I wanted it to be nice for Malachi's return so I figured we'd spring clean it. Once I got in there and started pushing things around with my foot, I realized the situation was far worse than I'd imagined. Nothing would do but that I rearranged the entire room. We seriously took about 8 bags of trash out of that room. How in the world can that much trash fit in one little bedroom?? Right about the time that the room started looking livable again, I started to panic a little. Malachi is a creature of habit. He likes his environment to stay the same. I was doing all of this to provide a comforting return home from camp, and I wondered if this might not be such a welcome for him. Sure enough, when he walked into his room, he looked around, put his stuff on his bed and started to cry. "Someone put all kinds of stuff on my bed and took apart my Legos!" I wanted to scream! Hours and hours of work and that's his response! Ah well, he'll come to appreciate it once his system adjusts to his new configuration.

One time a realtor told my Mom and I that it takes about a week to "get used to a new configuration". We still laugh about it.

We laugh about some very stupid things, my Mom & sister & I. Also Lynette. We all share the same goofy sense of humor. Thankfully.

Also - this ice cream is very good. It's so good that *some* people (ahem) might consume large amounts of it over a two-day period and then lie awake all night long . . . ummm . . . being kind of glad that their spouse wasn't lying in the bed. I'm just trying to be a good neighbor here. Consider yourself warned.

Rock on!

I don't think many homeschoolers were too worried about that crazy ruling that tried to make homeschooling illegal, but this was still a nice victory for us:

In a unanimous decision, the California Court of Appeal for the Second Appellate District today ruled that “California statutes permit home schooling as a species of private school education.”

Today’s decision stands in stark contrast to the opinion this same three-judge panel issued in February, which would have made California the only state in the union to outlaw home education had it remained in effect.

“It is unusual for an appellate court to grant a petition for rehearing as this court did in March,” said HSLDA Chairman Mike Farris, “but it is truly remarkable for a court to completely reverse its own earlier opinion. We thank you for your prayers and give God the glory for this great victory.”

When the court vacated its earlier decision on March 25, 2008, it invited interested organizations to file friend-of-the-court briefs. “I have never seen such an impressive array of people and organizations coming to the defense of homeschooling,” said Farris, who was one of the attorneys who argued the case on rehearing along with Alliance Defense Fund attorney Jeff Shafer, who represented the father. The father was also represented by Gary Kreep of the United States Justice Foundation.

California’s three largest homeschool organizations, California Homeschool Network, Homeschool Association of California and Christian Home Education Association joined together in one brief to defend the right of all parents to homeschool. HSLDA, Family Protection Ministries and Focus on the Family also joined in a separate brief. Numerous other private organizations came to the defense of home education as did California’s governor, attorney general, and superintendent of public instruction.

The freedom to homeschool is a precious gift from God. But keeping it free requires vigilance and perseverance. We must continue to work together diligently to preserve this precious freedom in California and elsewhere.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Aaaaaaand, they're off!

Last year when I went Malachi off for camp, it was his first time ever. He was nervous and so was I! I was sure he'd have a great time and be quite safe, but still - sending your 9-year-old son away from you for a week is a harrowing experience.

This year I honestly am just plain excited for him. His buddies Christian & Daniel are with him, he's experienced and it's just neat to see him go. Still, we all miss him. Per Caris' request, we have a chart on the refrigerator to mark off the days they're gone so we can watch the time tick by.

We've planned a busy week to distract us. Today we went to Lynette's for the most divine breakfast - caramel baked french toast (omgosh), pan potatoes and perfectly crispy bacon. Paula Deen ain't got nothin' on you, lady! The kids had a ball playing together, and then we ran a couple errands and came home for quiet time and naps. Even I napped, since I only got about 4 hours of sleep last night.

This afternoon I cleaned and listened to Graham's random utterances, which probably are mostly shared with Malachi. For example, he wondered what it would be like if he could sew tiny ice skates and scarves and jackets for two ants and then let them skate around on an ice pond, which he would make out of a glass of water that he would freeze in the freezer. I misunderstood and thought he said skis and told him that each ski would have to have three boots, so that took some clarification and a drawing in order that I might have understanding. He also wondered how batteries are made and how big is the biggest mushroom in the world? It's pretty big.
Also today I got a message from the electric company that said that the reading I gave them over the phone is not correct, and that I do indeed owe the original bill. Oh friends, please pray that she is mistaken. I don't know what we will do if our electricity bill is $600.

So - do I sound tired? Because I am, and I'm heading to bed now. Love you!

Saturday, August 02, 2008


Woah, harsh picture! LOL! I checked Google Images for something that said 365 to go along with my post and this came up. Is there someone out there who seriously wants us to make a committment to gymming every SINGLE day of the year? Wow.

ANYway. I was talking to my friend Liz about her eBay business. She was bummed because she'd only made a dollar that day, and it occurred to me that even one measly dollar a day earns a whole $365 in one little year. I'm sure we could all find a way to spend THAT chunk of money!

Then this morning as I lay in bed the air kicked on. I pulled the covers up a little higher and thought about how making sure the air is only on when we really need it could save a dollar a day, probably. Boom! There's another $365 in our pockets!

DUDE! Little changes on a daily basis could seriously impact our income & outflow. What ideas do you have to save or earn $1 a day?