Tuesday, July 24, 2007

A Need for Speed

J has a need for speed. He's normally a pretty docile boy, but let him loose on something with wheels and his face lights up and his smile gets bigger in direct proportion to how fast he can go.

Last night after dinner, we all went out front so the boys could ride their bikes. I'm not quite sure how it started, but while I was talking to our neighbor Cr sat J on Z's bike. Not too much later, while I was still talking to the neighbor, I noticed Cr taking the training wheels off of J's bike. Then, during a short phone conversation with my mom, J figured out how to balance, and now knows how to zoom around on a two-wheeler. This entire process took less than an hour. He's also good at not getting hurt when he does fall--he doesn't even have a skinned knee. Before we came in for the night, J had figured out how to slam on the pedal brakes to skid his back tire.

He may never be allowed to get his driver's license.

L's Eighth Birthday

Yesterday was L's 8th birthday. We celebrated on Sunday, though, because J had a doctor's appointment yesterday and it interfered with L's lunch plans for his big day. L told me several weeks ago that he wanted pancakes for breakfast, steak for lunch, and Chuck E. Cheese for dinner, but J's doctor's appointment (which had to be on Monday) surrounded the lunch hour. L was easily persuaded to celebrate on Sunday as soon as he verified it would be 1 day earlier. He changed his plans to Chuck E. Cheese for lunch, steak for dinner (these on Sunday), and pancakes yesterday morning.

We went to church Sunday morning and then went straight to the parental torture chamber known as Chuck E. Cheese. You know, they are brilliant advertising on PBS--otherwise my boys would know nothing of the place. We paid way to much for some cheap pizza and then we divided the tokens between the boys and the real fun(for the boys) began. Cr took charge of N, J, & Z and I took charge of M & L. The most disappointing thing that happened was J sat his cup of tokens down (he only had 3 or so left) on a game and forgot to pick it back up when he left the game. J told Cr where he left it, and Cr went to get it. All he found was an empty cup, and then he remembered seeing another dad, who was playing the game with his daughter, empty a token cup into his cup. Hrmph.

Once all the tokens were gone, we came home and L helped me ice his cake and put the cookies on top. I was thrilled that he wanted this super-easy cake instead of a decorated one. We ate cake, opened presents (pirate sword, origami book, magic trick book, Spiderman football, bug vaccuum, clay, cowboy rope, and a bike), had steak for dinner, and then watched Spiderman.

Yesterday morning I made him pancakes for breakfast, and we went to Judo where everyone threw him because it was his birthday. I think L enjoyed turning 8. While the time is passing too quickly, I'm so thrilled with the boy that my baby has become.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

N is Twenty Months Old

and I think we can now call him an official biped.

He now walks more than he crawls, unless he's in a hurry.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Our Starting Schedule

I've got our starting schedule figured out (if you click on the picture it should open up a full size document you can read more easily). L & Z have the basics down, and I really feel like I need to step it up a notch with them this year. J will be doing "official K" this year and I think M will thrive having a bit of structured schooling time with me for PreK. And in case you're wondering about N's presence on the schedule, he loves to color with his brothers. This just reminds me to actually give him paper and let him sit at the table with them.

The darkest gray boxes show me where I am needed for teaching. I make the schedule based on worst-case scenario times, so many of our days will be shorter than the schedule (I hope). For example, while Z has 1 hour scheduled for Math, he's usually done in 30 minutes, and history usually only takes around 30 minutes. But I like the extra cushion built in so I don't feel like we're rushing through our days. Also, I keep moving along to the next thing I need to teach-the times are just a guide to make sure I don't spend all of my time teaching L & Z Latin and neglect to teach J & M to read. So if I finish L's math lesson in 5 minutes, I tell Z to get to a stopping point on his handwriting and give him his math lesson. After I'm done teaching he can then finish his handwriting (either before or after his math worksheets). Our core subjects are listed in the morning, which helps me to reschedule our days if we lose a morning or afternoon to an appointment. We will only do history or art on Wednesdays and Fridays. We will probably do 10-11 weeks of History, stop and do Art for 9 weeks, and then restart History for another 10-11 weeks. If we finish on time with History and Art, then we'll have time for a 5 week science course. If not, then all science this year will be informal learning and reading (I'll pad our library book basket with various science books).

Clear as mud?

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Eye Appointments

J had a blood draw this morning to recheck a level that was low on his last draw. After 3 years of nary a peep when getting his blood drawn, last time he cried. When he woke up this morning and I told him he had to get blood drawn, his face started to squish up. I caught him before he started to really cry and told him that all of his brothers were going and he'd have to show them how brave he was. His face lit up like a Christmas tree and at the lab he sat in my lap, with his audience of brothers, and stoically watched them draw his blood.

We all went for this blood draw because L, Z, & J all had eye appointments. L & Z had appointments this morning, and J's was supposed to be after lunch. When I walked in with a herd of boys, though, they took pity on me (or got scared) and were somehow able to fit J's appointment in the morning as well.

The results are they are all farsighted but L & Z have great focusing abilities so they don't need glasses. I'm supposed to do some eye exercises with Z because he can't draw his eyes in. Basically he can't cross his eyes like he's supposed to...I think that's what the doctor said. M was busy repeating loudly over and over that he had to go potty. L has eye allergies and we've got a prescription for drops. J ended up with glasses, though. He's been complaining of headaches, so hopefully the glasses stop them. He's got almost the exact prescription as I do (it's not strong at all), and I get headaches without my glasses. J was bummed because his glasses won't be in for 2-3 weeks.

We're headed up to the Children's Hospital tomorrow to see J's rheumatologist. I'll post if we learn anything interesting, although I don't expect we will.