Thursday, September 12, 2013

Wonderful Goodness!

Finally!  After all those years in Willseyville, trying to get some corn to grow AND be edible, and never being able to, we have corn!  And you can eat it too!  We planted some Silver Queen as an experiment in our little garden plot. The seeds were given to us, and after treating the soil with lime and some fertilizer, and with a hope and a prayer, we planted corn.  We watched through the summer as the stalks came up, and hoped.  So far so good.  When the girls and I came home from volleyball practice this evening Dale had corn husked and cooking to go with supper.  YUM!  Our very own corn!  It was delicious.

Another wonderful gem we have added is farm fresh milk.  Just so happens that when I drive to school, I go right past this farm, and they sell their milk.  For just $2 a gallon, we get the rich, creamy, real stuff.  

We had black bean sloppy joes tonight, but the real stars of the meal were the corn and the milk.  We really gorged ourselves on those!  

The last few days have been hot, and so very muggy!  Today has been rainy, thundering, and more rain.  It is supposed to be ushering in a nice cold front.  The high just a day ago was 90, and the dew point was around 70.  Tomorrow the high is supposed to be in the 50's!  Needless to say, I am breathing a HUGE sigh of relief.  

Many blessings!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Does That Come With Earplugs? Please?

We are nearly three weeks into our school year, and I've already learned to expect the unexpected.  Like, two hours before our very FIRST match of the season being told that Mr. Greene had to officiate and I was the head coach for the day.  Oh yeah.  I went from wicked excited to a bundle of nerves.  It wasn't as bad as I thought, though I felt like a bull in a china shop most of the time.  Some of my instinct on what to do when were right on, but I kept second guessing myself.  I need to trust and make the decision more quickly.  At any rate, despite winning the first game in the match, we lost.  The girls were tight, and got frustrated and soon discouraged.  I could watch their countenances falling and their playing go downhill as a result.  They would make an error, and they let it get to them.  They need to learn to let it go, and press on, and not allow themselves to get flustered.  That comes with time and experience.  We had our second game this past Monday up in Buffalo, NY.  We are in for a lot of driving this season as we are the new kids on the block in the league so we have to go to the away games, but they don't have to come to us because this is merely a probationary year.

They lost the match on Monday, as well.  But, overall, I saw improvement.  They seemed more relaxed, and yes they made mistakes, but there were some really good plays too.  They are growing and learning as volleyball season progresses. 

Last Friday was our school retreat.  What fun that was!  We spent the day with horses, hiking, playing, and eating.  And it counted as a school day.  It just doesn't get any better than that.

"Buggy" on Thunder the mule

Isaac on Thunder.  He also rode Ginger (who is definitely preggo, yay!).  I had a hard time getting him off when it was time for lunch.  The big kids were going on a trail ride after lunch, and Isaac kept asking "Can I ride the horse again?"  Oh boy.  Another riding addict is born!

Emiliee on Thunder.  She is used to horses.  She has a pony named Charlie, and I got to see her ride at the Fair back in August.

When you have a group of teens together, there is always some sort of tomfoolery.  This time it started with Benjamin (almost 6 '6") asking "Hey Mr. Greene, can I ride a sheep?"  He told him "sure if you can catch one."  Let the games begin!

What is good for the goose (sheep) is good for the gander (pigs).
By the way, that muck right in front of the kids spread eagle against the wall is knee deep liquidy goo.  They were waiting for Benjamin to chase the pigs out of the door on the right.   

This one got out, and then the chase was REALLY on!  

Playing on the fort.

This is a mini golf course (all 4 holes of it) based on the story of Jonah.  The devotional I did after lunch was on the book of Jonah, so I had the kids (Pre-k through 7th grade) sit in the boat.  It was called the USS Ninevah.  :)

Swinging!  Who doesn't love a tire swing? 

While we were at the fort, the older group came back from their ride.

Benjamin on King.  They look alike.  Tall and bony.  I don't know if you can pick it out in the picture but Benjamin is eating an apple.  Quiet a few of them were.  They must have raided the orchard on their ride.

We also had school pictures last Wednesday, so grandparents, be prepared to receive something new for your dartboards.

Today I got a new student!  Matthew is joining our little group.  He is 4, will be 5 in November, so he is almost exactly the same age as Isaac.  But let me tell you, he is a big boy!  Very tall, and quite robust.  I found out very quickly, that as hard as it is to understand Isaac sometimes, Matthew is even worse.  Also, his mom speaks a lot of Spanish at home because of her boyfriend, so apparently he knows a lot of his colors and numbers in Spanish.  Not so much English, though he does speak it fluently.  Except for colors and numbers, apparently.  No one told me I had to be bilingual for this job!  Good thing I took four years of Spanish in school.  

I quickly discovered that Matthew does not like to sit at a desk.  He does not like to color.  Or write.  Or sit still for a story.  He isn't big on crafts either.  Oh, did I mention his broken arm?  Thankfully his cast comes off next week, and then maybe I can get a clear evaluation on his fine motor skills, which seem underdeveloped right now.  He didn't break his dominant arm, but I am still giving him the benefit of the doubt, so to speak.  At any rate, I have figured that he is a solid pre-schooler.    So, for those keeping track, I have a sort of pre-preschooler, a preschooler, a K4 student, and a solid Kindergarten student.  Whew!  Anyone want to come help?  Oh, yeah... and I might be getting another one!  But that isn't certain yet.  

So, after a hectic day with a new student, and  Pre-preschooler underfoot, I was looking forward to getting home, putting up my tired tootsies for a few minutes, and enjoying some real quiet time.  

Not gonna happen.

The kids started band this week.  Oiy vey.  Elizabeth started on my flute.  I know, from experience, that learning how to blow into that thing so it makes some sort of pleasing tone isn't easy. Elizabeth is finding that out too.

Josiah is playing trumpet.  Or trying to.   

Caleb is doing surprisingly well with the French Horn.  If you think sounding like an elephant blowing his nose is good, anyway. 

Jerusha started the recorder last year in the second semester.  She is working on that, and learning to sight read this year. 

This classy guy, with the flood water chaps on, is playing a bass clarinet.  It is almost the same as a saxophone, except it uses a reed as the mouthpiece, and the saxophone doesn't.  He has his chaps on because he was going to work to help clear some land right after he practiced.  

Budding musicians.  Glad I'm learning sign language, because the ensuing din will probably cause permanent damage to my ears.

This Saturday we have a volleyball tournament up towards Buffalo, of course, but not as far as we went yesterday.  It will be from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.  We have to leave early from school.  That means we'll be up bright and early... say 5 a.m. or so, on a day off. 


Have a blessed day!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Labor (Filled) Day

Sometimes things just don't go as planned.

At the beginning of last week, the kids and I decided we wanted a "P.J." day.  You know the type: P.J.'s, games, reading... that sort of stuff.  I thought Labor Day would be a good day for that.  On paper it looked good.  In theory it was sound.  Realistically... never happened!

Saturday, after Dale, Caleb, and Benjamin got back from their duties at church, saw some of the family going off to pick blueberries!  An acquaintance, connected to the church and school, offered them to us.  They were ours for the picking!  We filled four of these buckets.  Yummy!

The Greene's had told us we could pick some corn while we were taking care of their animals for a few days.  Yup, we did.  So, I had corn to freeze.  Yummy... er, ditto!

The Greene's got in very late Sunday night.... or rather very early Monday morning.  Late morning Mr. Greene called to see if any of our kids were available to help up at the camp to prepare for the School Retreat this Friday.  So after lunch, Benjamin, Esther, Josiah and I made ourselves useful.  Unlike the sheep, which were out, running around, and shamelessly enjoying some freedom.

I think this one was feeling sheepish.  *snort*

Freaky eyes on these two!

Benjamin driving the tractor full of... well, let's just say the barn and horse stalls look really good now.  They made two runs with the honey wagon filled.  

Friday we were in Olean picking up glasses for Benjamin, Elizabeth and Josiah. This is Josiah's first time with glasses.  And no, he won't let me take a pic.  He says he looks "dorky".  I just told him, "Well, you picked out your own glasses!"    Anyway, while we were up there, we ran a couple of errands, and Dale got me these flowers as a "congratulations on finishing your first week of teaching".  Look at how they turned the water pink!

We are into our second week of school, and there is LOTS going on.  Monday, of course, there were no classes.  Today we had volleyball practice, the last one before our first game.  Caleb wasn't well, so he stayed home with Dale, and I brought home some work for him to do if he felt up to it.  Isaac is feeling suspiciously warm to the touch, so I'll be keeping a close eye on him tonight.  Tomorrow, my ASL class starts up again after school.  The girls are taking it IN school, so looks like I'll be on my own unless they want to join in for the practice.  Thursday we have school pictures, and Friday is the School Retreat.  This week is going to go by in a hurry!

I have to report that my "new" student has been doing very, very well!  And, I found out, I might be getting another little one!  My class will be up to a whopping 4 kids.  That's okay.  I don't think I could handle a whole gaggle of this age.  Whew!

This week are studying the letter Mm, and our story is about Milton Mule.  Handy, as the Greene's have a mule on the farm, so they will get to see and pet (and maybe ride... oh, gulp!) a real mule instead of just reading about it.

Have a blessed evening!

Saturday, August 31, 2013

School Days!

Our first full week is over!  Only 175 more days to go!

Actually, whose counting?

So far the kids and I have been adjusting to our new schedule very well.  I have to admit, adapting our routines hasn't been as difficult as I imagined they would be.  Except for the night before the first day, everyone has gone to bed well, and has gotten up quickly enough.  Dale, had only two days by himself (if you don't count the company of Pumpkin our cat) because he subbed two days while the Greene's were gone, taking their oldest daughter to college in Wisconsin.  Dale was at school on Tuesday to observe and see how things are done, and subbed Thursday and Friday.

Our days start out with taking attendance, then opening in the church auditorium with pledges and announcements.  Then we are dismissed to our classes where we each do our devotions, except for on Wednesdays, when we have chapel and either Mr. Greene, or a special speaker preaches.

During the morning hours I try and get all our PACE work done.  We have break at 10:15 am.  Then, about 20 minutes later it is back to work until lunchtime, which starts at 11:45 for us.  We play in the gym, or outside, depending on the weather and desire of the children.

All our breaks and lunches, and gym class are with Learning Center 2, which is the Elementary age children. So far that arrange has worked out really well!

After lunch, there is Rest/Quiet Time until 1pm.  Now, Isaac has never been a good napper.  E-V-E-R.  Sure, he might fall asleep in the van on a trip, but his usual routine doesn't include a nap time.  There were many times I wished it did, but alas.  You can lead a kid to a blankie, but you can't make him sleep.

Except for Monday, every single day (including today at home, incidentally!  GASP!) that little no-napper has taken a nap!  We have a cute play house that you can pull apart.  You see Isaac here in half of it settling down.  He wasn't really asleep here, but getting sleepy.  Just before he falls asleep he flips over onto his tummy, and snuggles down.  Yes, even in the hot, humid, weather we have been having!

This is my girl Emily.  She definitely doesn't nap!  So, during quiet time I find constructive activities for her to do such as beading, review games for what she is learning, and crafts, or reading to her.  I tried for a couple of days to get her to at least lay down for a bit, but that wasn't going work.  By the way, Buggy, the other little boy who comes on Tuesdays and Thursdays doesn't nap either.  I try to get him to lay down for a bit because he is a little younger than Isaac, but he is up about 872 times a minute to go potty, or needs a drink, or wants to know where "my teacher" is (he hasn't mastered calling me "Mrs. Post" yet).  Usually I am in the other part of the room with Emily, or sitting at my desk.  Little stinker just doesn't want to rest!

This past week we made apple wreaths for a craft.  They stamped apple shapes onto Kraft paper then we little the paint dry.

Then we cut out the apples and glued them onto a paper plate, with the middle cut out so it looks like a wreath.  Of course I forgot to take a pic of the finished product!

Emily was working on hers during quiet time, and I was sitting with her.  I took out some hand quilting and she was very interest in that.

So, I showed her about English Paper Piecing.  She asked, "Can you teach me how to sew?"  Well now, if I help another quilter to be born, then my year has been successful!  So, I'm going to look up some ideas about teaching 5 year olds some sewing, and talk to her mom about it.  If she says it is okay, then I'll send home a list of supplies, and we'll have some impromptu sewing lessons while Isaac is napping.

Much to my delight, a time for a Nature Walk was allowed to begin.  It started with me wanting to take my class.  Then I told the Learning Center 2 supervisor I could take her class.  She was all for it. She stayed behind to catch up on some office work (she is also the school secretary), plus she has hip problems so walking sometimes is a challenge for her.  For this week I told the kids to just bring a small notebook, and some crayons, or at least a pencil.  I then instructed them to pick something to observe something that God made, and use all their senses to record what they see in their notebooks.

This yellow spider was found when we were starting back into the school.  And this is a terrible pic of him!  Or her?  I think that is an egg sack on the back of it.

We had a wonderful first week!  I awarded Emily and Isaac on Friday with a Reward Card to take home that said they had successfully finished the first week of school and had no homework.  They are SO cute!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

First Day of School!

Well, actually today was the second day of school.  :)

However, I have to say, the first day... yesterday... went far better than I could have hoped.  Sure, we are still clear as mud on some of the procedures, but we are learning.

Oh, we have access to a "bus" for some of our transportation.  Every time the "bus" from the school district drives us to and from the school, we save about $10 in gas money for the big van, and around $5 if we used the small van.  Now some times I'll have to drive, like when we have Volleyball practice, for example.  But over all, it is nice to be able to cut a few corners two to three times a week on the gas bill.  Oh, and our "bus" is a 9 passenger new Suburban.  Nice!  And, we are the only family that it picks up.  It's almost like having our own limo service!  The following pics Dale took as I was throwing the last of my stuff together on Monday morning.  They are a little rushed, as the driver was WAY earlier than we expected.

 Everyone smile!  (Psst Josiah! That means you!)

First Day of school!  

I have 3 children in my class, including my own little gremlin, Isaac.  One little boy, who likes to be called "Buggy" started today.  He is very much a pre-schooler and will only be attending the recommended two days a week.  Isaac is in K(4-ish.... long story short, I decided to just see how he would do with the curriculum for Kindergarten and let the chips fall where they may.  Didn't really matter, as he would have been with me in the classroom even if he was too young to start officially, so I figured, why not go for the gusto?)  Emily, my only girl, is most definitely very Kindergarten.  I am fully expecting her to proceed to graduate and proceed to first grade by the end of the term.

Now, let me tell you, that after almost getting comfortable with Isaac and Emily on Monday, I found out Buggy would be joining us.  He and his mother had come up to my room just as "Quiet Time" was ending (you know, that blessed time after lunch when they are supposed to lay down and nap... I don't enforce the napping, but I do enforce some quiet time.  I have audio books I let them listen to, some soothing music if they want, but their little brains need rest after so much learning!  Not to mention the teacher needs a chance to catch up on organizing for a craft, or paperwork, etc.).  Ohhhhhh boy.  I learned that as a baby he had fallen from crib and sustained a brain injury.  His mom told me he has anger issues, and will get a bloody nose when he gets upset.  He hits and kicks when he gets frustrated.

Oh boy.

Well, while she was talking to me, all he did was retreat behind her.  That brought tears to her eyes.  I could just see the foreboding in them.

All the while I am thinking.... I am NOT trained for this!  Any kind of special education, I really have NO clue about whatsoever!  And, I was really concerned that I would just make things worse with my ineptitude.

His mom dropped him off this morning just before we were to go in for pledges and announcements in the auditorium.  Our classroom is right next door, so it isn't a long trip.  Mrs. Greene, who met them at the front door of the school, tried to get the Mom to just let her take him at the door, but she would have none of it.  She had to come up with him to the classroom.  He did the whole retreat behind Mom thing, but in the end, he had to go potty.  While he was in the bathroom, Mom left.  When he came out and discovered she was gone.... it wasn't pretty.

Mrs. Greene took the brunt of it by leading him out.  They were gone almost a half an hour, and we could hear him while he cried and screamed at her in the gym downstairs, on the opposite side of the building.  After a while, he seemed to calm down.  At least, it got quieter.  By then we had all dismissed to our classrooms.  We went about our business as usual (whatever that is... still haven't figured out if that word even applies to my life anymore!) and eventually he and Mrs. Greene came up.  It was about 25 minutes or so.  He wasn't crying, but he wasn't talking to me either.

Then he saw the car set and the play mat with the road on it for the cars.  He was engaged in that activity for a long time.

Isaac and Emily wanted to play with him and I decided that was a good idea.  Let's see how he does with other children playing.  I am happy to say he did great!  In fact, as the day went on, I got to see him smile a lot, laugh a lot (like while we were chasing balls around in the gym on break or gym class).  He got along with the other kids just fine!  He was polite to me, and seemed to like holding my hand a lot whenever we went around the building.  He was a good little helper cleaning up too, when it was time.

And let me tell you, there is no two ways about, this kid is SHARP.  I could see that right away.  So what the brain damage is from the crib accident I don't know.  At least not yet.  All I can say is that after the initial total meltdown in the first 25 minutes, he was fine.  In fact, he didn't seem to want to leave when Mom came to pick him up at the end of the day.  Of course, I think that had more to do with the fact I had allowed them to finish up a few minutes early so they could play on the little playground than anything I did for him.

You just really never know what a day may bring forth!  I pray that when I see him Thursday he will be much better with the transition from Mom to school.