Pretty, Happy, Funny — Real Life
Last week was fair week, so we took off Wednesday and had a grand time at the county fair. The kids got to climb all through a fire engine, watch all sorts of animals both at the petting zoo and in the 4H buildings, claim candy and trinkets from booths, eat elephant ears, and – through the sponsorship of my parents – ride their first rides. We had a good time, the kids were good and enjoyed themselves, and I was exhausted all the next day.
My dad’s business (high risk car insurance) is a sponsor of the fair’s demolition derby, so he and Mom took Hans and Jaeger to that event, too.
It was a week full of experiences!
Funny: Someone gave my daughter a kazoo at the fair. She tooted on it merrily as we went along, and when I would admonish her to keep a hand on the stroller, she replied, “I’ll just walk behind you and make this noise so you always know I’m behind you.” Great plan. She did walk behind as we left the fair and made our way back to the car along the sidewalk, clearly tired out but not willing to give up. She hummed Crown Him with Many Crowns on her kazoo, walking right behind me, all the way back to the car.
Real: Housekeeping had deteriorated quite a bit over the last few weeks, and I toyed with the idea of just living with it for the next three or four months until I’m back on my feet after baby. I considered that maybe I’d get a nesting burst in another month or so and tackle it all then.
Finally, though, I got fed up enough to turn off the computer and get off the couch and make a difference and actually get the kids to put things away instead of just slowly move stuff around. We cleaned the play/school room. We picked up the main level, even moving the furniture. And then Saturday I actually scrubbed down the kitchen while Matt vacuumed or swept and mopped all the floors! He also scrubbed the toilets. Monday I caught up on laundry and now I feel so much better! Now I just need to keep up a maintenance mode – and keep up on taking my vitamins and iron supplement!
Right now I am counting as a “school day” any day where we accomplish math and circle time. Those are our non-negotiables. Then we usually accomplish one other “category” on top of those, whether it be listening to history and writing sentences about what we listened to or doing independent work. The boys read, too, but I don’t have to make them and I don’t really track it too closely. In our house, reading is just a given; it’s what we do. It’s not “school,” even if you’re reading a book about Egypt.
Whether it is listening to history or independent work, both boys are doing written narrations. This is the first year I’ve required writing from either of them, and I’ve been quite pleased with their beginnings. This year we’re just focussing on complete sentences, proper capitalization and spelling, and 2 (for Jaeger) or 4 (for Hans) sentences all on the same topic. They write their sentences, bring it to me, we go over it and I mark corrections to make, then they correct it. So every day they write and correct one or two written narrations.
So, then, though not all the plans happen each day (that is, each day is about a 60%-70% of what I’d originally planned out), every day they are doing math, memory work, reading, and writing.
And, uh, still no Latin. Sigh.
Hopefully we’ll ramp back up at the beginning of the year, when the baby is a couple months old, and hit 80%-90% days. Half a school year of the basics only won’t hurt them.
Several months ago – actually, I think it was before Christmas – I got absolutely fed up with books, books, books, all over the house, on every surface and under every cushion and every which way in any bin. So I kept a very small number out and put away in storage most of our 5 bins of picture books. Well, in the storage room clean-out, I finally pulled the picture books back out. I culled a box out (I had already done one cull when I packed them away), and now we have two and a half bins of picture books.
So now they are fresh and new and Hans and Jaeger both volunteer throughout the day to read to Ilse and Knox. They read with good expression, giving characters voice and using good inflection – unless, that is, they find the book too funny, in which case they can’t get more than a couple words out before collapsing in giggles, usually because they know what’s coming. It’s a pretty entertaining sight. And a huge help to me, as well!
What’s for Dinner this week
My other blog, Simple Pantry Cooking, has our weekly menu posted. I’ve been putting up a few freezer meals this week so that I have easy dinners during the last couple weeks of pregnancy and to fill in postpartum (our church is quite generous about providing meals after a baby). I’ve done no marathon “once a month cooking” sort of ordeals; I just picked a few meals that freeze well for this week and made a double or triple batch – one for dinner, and one or two for the freezer. Not that much more effort, not any additional mess, and, uh, not much room in my freezer, either, since we just bought a whole beef. I cleared out our fridge freezer and I’m eyeing our home, wondering where I could put a chest freezer. Two freezers for a family isn’t overkill, is it?