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.


Saturday, August 24, 2013

New Quilt Top Finished!

I've been plugging away at my sewing pile... somewhat.  With the schedule being so hectic, my sewing time is almost non-existent right now.  However, when I simply can't stand it anymore, I carve out some sewing time.  Here is the most recent top:

I've got about 4 or 5 tops to quilt right now, so I had better get at it!  



You know you are on vacation when you are driving up Long Sands, and your crazy wife grabs your arm, and says, "Let me out here!  Puhleeeeeze!!!!!"

You know you are on vacation when you step onto the beach, and immediately time seems to stop, and you breath in the salty air and the busyness of life simply falls off.  For the first time in a long time, your head is clear, and you take in a deep, wonderful breath.

Ahhhhh..... welcome to Maine.

Of course, after all the above, I chase the three kids that got out of the van with me down to the water and we strolled the length of the beach and went to Grandma and Grandpa's.

After unpacking the van, we spent a couple hours on the beach, had a delicious supper, then crashed and burned.  We had left the house just before 6 in the morning, and had had VBS closing the night before, and were worn out.

However, the next morning we awoke to wonderful sunshine, and the day's agenda was to spend as much of the day on the beach as we could.  That meant boogy boarding, sand castle building, and relaxing.

Asleep in the van after a very early wake-up on the day we left.

Look!  Dale with no socks or shoes on!  

Boogy boarding addiction passed on!  I had him boogy boarding proper-like the next day, but didn't get any pics as I was in the water with him, and Grandma was swimming out further with the older kids.

Now this is how you train children.  Sure hope they can get out before the tide comes in.  Or before they get hungry.

Ah, Grandma to the rescue.  I would have just left them.  :P

One thing about being in the ocean a lot is that the locusts are ALWAYS hungry!  Grandma packs the BEST lunches!  

Not a bad way to have a cuppa in the morning, eh?

 So, show of hands, who can tell me what plant this is?  Yup, it's an aloe plant.  And what do you use it for?  Yes, burns.  *Sigh*.   Unfortunately, Dale, whom I have been begging, teasing, cajoling to walk barefoot on the beach with me for over 20 years finally did.  Rolled up his jeans to his knees and everything.  Got in the water some too, played with Isaac on the beach, and enjoyed it.  Until later.  When he realized that his legs, which haven't seen sunlight in like 30 years, were burnt very badly.  Feet and legs, actually.  He had to take ibuprofen, have cold compresses, and I smeared him up all the while with fresh aloe.  Poor fellow!  He couldn't even hardly walk!  So, the second day we were at the beach, he and Benjamin (who also got a pretty good sunburn on his back ... despite my warnings to keep his t-shirt on because he would burn, but what do I know????.....)  stayed home with my Dad, who doesn't really do the beach, and the rest of us went off to boogy board and enhance our not-so-bad pinkness.

On Thursday we went down to Mass., to visit my mom and grandmother.  Dale couldn't drive, so instead of working on some knitting, I was the designated driver (now that doesn't sound good, but you know what I mean!).  I noticed, however, that when we went out for some awesome Chinese food, he managed to come along, even if he had to wear a pair of Ben's shorts and slippers!  Poor fellow!

There was a park nearby that we took the kids too.  My mom and I that is.  Dale was visiting with my grandmother, feet up, smeared with aloe goop. The park was fun, and had lots of neat equipment!

On Friday my Mom, Jerusha, Isaac, and I went to the Butterfly Place.  It was so cool!  Jerusha was old enough to do a scavenger hunt, checking items off a list they gave her when we got there.  The other kids stayed back at the house and played games and stuff with Dale and Grandmother.  Dale, still unable to drive or walk much, spent most of our visit with his feet up smeared with goop.

This is a baby Chinese quail.... I think they are camera shy.  I had a terrible time getting a pic of them!

Here Jerusha was looking over her scavenger hunt list, and the paper with pictures of all the different butterflies on them.

This moth nearly scared 10 years off me.  I had taken Isaac out to go potty, and when I got back I was talking to my mom  and she said, "turn around".  I saw this moth.  It's wingspan was about twice the width of my hand.  How would you like that to hit your windshield at night?

Moths feeding on bananas.

Another pretty butterfly

Memere, Jerusha, and Isaac.

Since vacation I have been up at school a lot finishing up getting ready for the new term.  We've also had eye appointments, and physicals for everyone.  August 15th and 16th we had a two day horse camp from 9 to 5, then open house at the school from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., which made it interesting for getting home and getting cleaned up. And believe you me, after spending the day with horses, on horses. around horses, I needed some cleaning up!  For the Open House we had to be in uniform, too.  

Dale's legs and feet are healing up.  He's been able to wear pants and shoes and stand and walk for a while, and the big blister that had formed finally popped.  He is peeling something terrible and is wicked itchy, so we've been putting all manner of lotion on him. 

Volleyball practice started on the 13th, and we've had it several times.  Our first game is at home on September 5th!  Ack!  

We had our friends, the Graham's over, last Tuesday.  It was a wonderful visit, and the kids had some swimming time and biking time.  Unfortunately, just before they were to be home from the skate park, around 8:30 (our home, that is), Regina's oldest son appeared at the back porch, where she and I were sitting and chatting, and informed us that her other son had hurt himself.  She took off in her vehicle to go see how bad it was, and drove him back to the house.  

It wasn't great, but could have been worse.  Apparently he had somehow gotten his foot under the fencing and received a nice little puncture wound.  Right through the top of his sneaker, down into his foot.  Now, this boy is the same one who, when they were here back in the late winter, while playing flashlight tag, ran into a tree out back and scraped up his face a bit and gave himself a black eye.  

They left, and ended up taking him to the ER the next day.  They are waiting until Monday to do X-rays.  He said it feels like something is still in the wound, though the nurse cleaned it really well.  If there is something in there, then some minor surgery will be done.  Oiy vey.  

So, that about ends our summer vacation.  We have the rest of today, Sunday, then bright and early Monday morning we are up and going to school.  Woot!  


End of Summer Vacation

Well, in just a couple of days we will be embarking on our new school year.  New school, new routines, new everything!

Since my last post we have been, predictably, very busy.  We had VBS the last week of July, going into August.  We were cordially invited by the Greene's at God's Adventure Camp to take the VBS kids up riding.

We had this cute little cut out to take pics of the kids with.  Everyone had a turn, even Dale, but this one was super cute I think!

Benjamin was in charge of the games with some help from a few others.  I don't really know who had more fun: Benjamin or the wee ones!

Josiah trying to tag me during one game.

A couple of afternoons it got pretty hot, and I took the kids down to the swimming hole where we swam with some friends.  I think the water was FREEZING but that didn't stop them from enjoying the time!

The county fair was the same week as our VBS but we set aside a few hours on Friday to check it out.  It was a lot of fun!  Crafting shows, the Horse shows, rides, and animal contests.  So much fun!  I wish we could have stayed longer, but we had VBS that night and had to get back to get ready for it.

While I was off at a Horse show, Dale let Jerusha and Caleb ride this thing.  See those cars?  They go around, and around, like all the way upside down!  My BABIES were in that death trap!  (Oh yeah, they LOVED every moment of it!  Crazy kids...... )

Isaac was too small to ride some of the rides but Dale went on some of the more age appropriate ones with him.  Whadda ham.  

Jerusha and Caleb rode this one solo.   Later the twins and I rode it too.  

August 3rd was the annual birthday bash for friend's of ours, and we went and enjoyed ourselves. After the busyness of the summer, and VBS, we were glad to kick back and watch the kiddoes haves some good, clean, if somewhat we fun.

This was a water balloon slingshot.  Anyone who wanted to try got a turn.

The traditional water fight.  Hehehehehehe!

Me:  "Smile Isaac!  I'm taking your picture!"
Isaac:  "No.  I all wet."

Forget the little bitty squirt guns and water balloons.  Moving on to bottles and buckets!

Sisterly love, eh?

"Ohhhhh mother!"

 After a point, it just doesn't matter if you get all wet anymore!  I have no clue if Jerusha was trying to fill a bottle, or go for a swim.

And this, my friend, is what happens when you go after Mom in a water fight when she is still holding the camera and doesn't want to get wet.

End of part one.  :)