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Showing posts from March, 2010

La La La La...

la la la... Wait. Is that a camera? I don't want you taking my picture! "NO! Aaaa! Dop it! Nah NO!" *sigh* This mom of mine will not stop, will she? And the church nursery workers keep GIVING ME BACK to her no matter what I tell them, so I guess I just have to live with this crazy lady. I need to make my own accomodations if I want to keep using my marker AND not have my picture taken for my mom's stupid blog. At this rate, my mother will blog my teen years in detail as well and ruin any chance I might have had to have a social life. Can't she just leave me alone??

Fighting Brothers

I'm so tired of it. Elf and Emperor need to knock it off. They are constantly fighting over who gets to read more and who gets more cuddle time with their mom and I get complaints like, "I read a page with a picture, so that doesn't count as a whole page."

And of course, I get responses like, "But YOU went first with the reading time so **I** should get more pages..." followed by, "But YOU got to look at the pictures while you were reading, so **I** should get ten extra pages..."

And that is MYYYYYY pencil. Nevermind that it's a standard yellow pencil just like the other one; I just *sharpened* it. SO it's like you're making me DO ALL THAT WORK for free and it's NOT FAIR! I mean, really, it's five steps over to the electric pencil sharpener. You have to hold the pencil in the sharpener for 30 seconds or so. (I'm really worried about the kid getting traumatized over this horrible loss.)

And I know that the children in Haiti and…

Panda Time

We made ours with Bendaroos. These are wax-covered strings that can be bent, cut and otherwise formed so that one can make all kinds of objects. We found these hard to work with, although the directions were quite simple. It was hard to get the tubes to "stick" together and stay when more things were added. As you can see, we had to go through all kinds of mechanations to occupy Woodjie and Rose whilst making our creations. I had to drag out the puzzles and eventually just fed them lunch so we could keep working. It took that long. After we finished, Emperor wanted to know if we could do a zebra next. As in, right now? Nope.

Feminism?

I'm quite pleased to live in an area that has regularly scheduled homeschooling programs in the local library as well as the usual preschool and toddler storytimes. Mind you, my children can't go yet; they get too overwhelmed. But it's nice that we have these regularly scheduled homeschooling programs, even if I can't make it there.

I asked the homeschool coordinator of our local library if I could do a presentation of some of the artwork I received from Picturing America. And she said yes! I was asked to do a presentation on the only two women whose works made it into the Picturing America portfolio, Mary Cassatt and Dorothea Lange, because March is Women's History Month.

Well, ok...

So I did some research. And naturally, I found that these were women who went against the cultural mores of the time. They were described as independent, stubborn... that sort of thing. More than one source I cited claimed that their works were instruments for social change, femin…

The Trouble With Tribbles

... is that they really aren't tribbles at all. These little creatures each have their own beds, but in the mornings are often found huddled up next to one another for sleepy snuzzles. Go away, Mom.

What Should We Do With This Kid?

Obviously we love him. And he's doggone cute. But I do wish that there were a good plenty of books with actual, real, tested-in-someone-else's-kitchen (and shopping center!) advice on how to raise a mostly non-verbal autistic child.

Grant you, most run of the mill parenting magazines and books written for standard-issue child raising are stupid. I think I read a zillion of them for a little while. But really, after the first couple of "oh no, my kid is screaming" and "oh no, my kid is quiet and probably dead of SIDS; let's go check" months, you sort of know what you're doing with your children if they're pretty typical.

Usually little tiny people don't have what we term "common sense," but they learn enough of it before they get big enough to open the front door and walk out on their own. Woodjie hasn't left on his own yet, but I know that day is coming, and I don't know how to teach this idea that we don't wander off int…

All About China

Patrick will be going to China in June, as he has raised enough money for his trip. So I thought our next Social Studies unit would be "stuff I pieced together all about China." Emperor and Elf used the stencils of Chinese symbols to design their very own Happy Elf Homeschool t-shirts. (Our school slogan is, "Happy Elf Homeschool: The Home of the Happy Elf," because I'm original like that).
* D, G and I went to the Chinatown market in downtown Kansas City to search for things to share with the family. I bought lychees in a can. Patrick informs me that these are exactly the same consistency as a dissecting frog. Eeew, and they smell bad, too. D is scared that the can's contents could be poisonous, or need to be cooked first, and that sort of thing. SO I had to look it up on wikipedia. It's fine. We just didn't eat it. * I also bought some chili-ginger candies that... well, now that I have 'em out of the wrappers, look like sugar-coated cat poo. And …

What Should I Buy Today?

We're discussing plans for the day. The car is in the shop, requiring $2,250 worth of repairs (yes, you read that correctly), so D and I are figuring out who gets the van and where everyone will be for the remainder of the day.

"I want to get chickens!" G interjects, flapping his arms.

I know D is about to say, "NO CHICKENS!" because not only is he out $2,250 today, but outrageous and/or odd requests like this are made about every five minutes in this house. But I am quicker.

"That would be awesome! You should look into the city code to see if we can even have any in the first place, though. And you need to learn how to take care of 'em, how to feed them, what they need, how much it costs, and all that. *Then* we can get more serious about thinking about it."

"OK! Can we go to the farm store now?"

Well... yes. This conversation likely started because we were going to go anyway. G, God bless him, does not want clothes from anywhere but the far…

Please Leave the Store

If you're in Wal-Mart and like declare to your appreciation for big butts (and you cannot lie), there's a whole section on youtube made by people just like you, baybee. Now somehow, it's "news" that Wal-Mart corporation is "shocked" that someone would use the intercom system to make a racist announcement and is covering its big butt with a bunch of legalese regrets. And it's so tragic that the county offers offended customers grief counselling. I can't believe in all seriousness that anyone *really* imagined an "all black people, leave the store now" quip was a genuine announcement from the management... though... not being there, I couldn't tell you. My question is, given the fact that these youtube videos are widely established, why didn't stores take action to *prevent* announcements like this from being made in the first place?

This Blog Post Brought To You By

Teddy Roosevelt. I don't know why; Elf was very insistent that you *must* appreciate his impersonation. Thanks.

These Are My People

We're going through the Bob Jones Booklink on the true story of Gladys Aylward, the Chinese missionary. The Booklinks have several fun hands-on activities as well as the usual worksheets you'd expect. Here are our "shadow puppets" made of black paper, brads, masking tape and straws. D has set up a large light he uses for leatherworking in the background so that the boys could put on shows for Miss Pretty-Pretty and the Playskool gang.

The Joke That Went Too Far

Usually I try to see the teacher's perspective on name-calling and bullying in the classroom. I know of several oversensitive kids and their parents who really can't get a joke. Sometimes, parents also forget to keep in mind that there is definitely a "cultural" side to the way in which one person jokes with another.

Here, silly people are called Dorcas Brains, as in "you're being a dork" in a friendly, almost Biblical, way. And I know folks who call their children sh*theads and that sort of thing, and they don't mean anything bad toward the little tots. It's not something I'd do, but the kids are used to it and it isn't meant to be demeaning. The tone is teasing, not humiliating.

But now, take that little word to school with you, and it has a whole new meaning to people outside that culture. A teacher calling a kid a sh*thead would definitely be out of line.

Same thing with "loser."

I was kinda thinking before I clicked over…

Family Update

Woodjie

Guess what Woodjie can do? Yup. He can go potty!

Well, a little. He still wears a diaper. He still has to be assisted. He doesn't talk, so I just time about an hour and take him. Like the rest of the boys, he goes wayyyyy off to the right, so you about have to stand him sideways and hold things in place.

He loves to flush. Our water bill is pretty high now, as you can well imagine. But he doesn't understand about the poop thing. At all. I am still working on not doing the "shakeshakeshake... shakeshakeshake... shake your little weeeeener" dance too early for obvious reasons.

Was that TMI or what? I was chatting with one ol' college friend today who told me that nothing can be TMI if you've already typed it on your facebook page. He's a very funny guy. *waves at friend because I know he's reading* :)

Elf and Emperor

They're taking swimming lessons at the local community center with mostly four- and five-year-olds. They haven't noticed yet. Or…

The Job Application

We're reading These Are My People by Mildred Howard. It's about Gladys Aylward and her missionary work in China. We're going to study China as Patrick will be heading out there in June. Right now, we're in the part of the story where Gladys is filling out job applications. Here are the sample job applications, with Elf and Emperor's answers in red.

Name Elf
Date of Birth (given)
Position for which you are applying Pastor
Why do you think you would be good at this job?Because I love Jesus
Last year or grade of school completed Colege
Previous work experience choures
Give the name of one person who knows what kind of worker you are. Mom
Hobbies/Talents reading
Give the name of one person who knows what kind of attitudes you have. Mom

Name Emperor
Date of Birth (given)
Position for which you are applying Police
Why do you think you would be good at this job? beCause I'm strong
Last year or grade of school completed 3rd grade
Previous work experience household chores
Give the name…

More Kitchen Pics

Made some little valances and covered a bulletin board for my kitchen. It looks "busy" again, but at least we have a "blue and white pottery" sort of theme with the busy-ness.

The Shock! The Horror! Letting Tots Watch Baby Einstein!

What on earth is this world coming to? Do these parents not know how horribly they will corrupt the young minds in their charge? Don't you know that precious IQ points begin fly out the window after your TV screen has been on exactly 45 minutes?

But my goodness, I'm just in awe of this mom, who survived spending more than an hour ALONE in the house with her child:

"The thing is, raising a small child involves a lot more than sitting in the playroom, giggling together over a pile of board books. There’s also washing at least three loads of clothes per week, vacuuming up the dust bunnies so the baby doesn’t eat them, preparing healthy meals and chopping them up into tiny pieces, scrubbing the dishes (and the highchair, and the floor under the highchair) clean of all the pieces of food the baby deems inedible."

What an incredibly busy and harried mom! Three loads of laundry a week, I tell ya! Scrubbing things and vacuuming dust bunnies! Wiping up the baby's tray …

Bible Verse of the Week!

I want you to listen *carefully* and tell me who the Bible verses are about and why we might be learning them, ok? Listen:

He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. (Isaiah 53:3-4)

*gasp!*

"MOM!" Emperor jumps up like a little frog. "The verses are about FRANKENSTEIN, the creature FRANKENSTEIN made! THAT's why we're reading these verses this week! I didn't know the Bible had Frankenstein it it!?? Can we read the rest of the book and find out what happens to him?"

Um... sure... we... can... finish... Frankenstein. And ummm, Frankenstein's monster was certainly a "man of sorrows" and "rejected of men," but the verses aren't... really... about that...

Elf rolls his eyes. "It's…

It's a BOY!

Emperor peeled this from a cutie. Elf thinks that it will sell on eBay for at least $11,000. Emperor says he should get alll the money. I told him no, since I'll be paying the taxes on it, I'll be getting some as well. Emperor kindly offered me $4,200 of the total sum. Elf has been dancing about because this means he'll have enough for a Nintendo DS!! YAYYY! "Oh, wait!" he said. "TITHE! The pastor will have enough for a DS, too!"

My Kitchen Before and After!

Remember the Polish pottery I got at the thrift store a bit ago? I've finally found a way to display it! The floral kitchen look was fun while it lasted, but with all our other stuff around, it looked very "busy" and could use a good update anyway. Well, here it is! And what a dusty job that was. My house is *relatively* clean, but jobs like wiping down all the windowframes and cleaning under the microwave during the painting process were a bit... humbling. It took me all morning to complete most of the painting, and a good part of the afternoon hanging stuff and touching up the edges. *whew* Patrick paid me the highest compliment when he told me that the look is so country rustic that he will have to look out the window frequently to be sure he's not in the countryside. :)

Unhappiness.

Dear Reader: I'm not allowed to grab my brothers' glasses and throw them. People yell at me and make me sit in time out when I do that! I can't rip books. Or throw toys. Or get a third helping of cheez-balls. Or go out every day and get expensive items that catch my eye on the Wal-Mart shelves. I'm having a hard time with these mean, rotten people who are trying to teach me "good character and deportment." Perhaps you can come over and advocate for me. Tell Mom and Dad you want to discuss "Miss Pretty-Pretty" when you come over... they'll know who you mean. Bring lots of money and sugar products to keep me occupied whilst you chat. Sincerely, "the Girl."

Odd Stuff Post.

... full of odd things that don't require a whole post apiece.

The Happy Elf Homeschool

In our homeschool, we've been working on typing. Elf and Emperor know the home keys and most of the keys in the top row. I haven't taught them q, p, g, and h as yet. Otherwise, we have the top two rows down letter-wise. Emperor still hunts and pecks when he has a writing assignment on his AlphaSmart. Sometimes I will make him do his typing practice on the computer because I will know if he is "cheating" by looking at his fingers while typing, but he hates this because the computer feels different and the letters are spaced differently. And it isn't his speeeecial machine. Ok, then. So don't let me catch you cheating again, kid. I have seen him think about not looking in the right place a few times, but he hasn't really fallen down on the job yet.

I've also printed out a small "QWERTY Keyboard" picture and hung it under the computer screen for E…

Ducky Math!

I put a couple plastic ducks out to encourage the children to participate in the teaching time during math. When you think you know the answer to my question, pick up a duck, put it on your head and say, "Quack! Quack! Quack!" before letting me know the answer. Suddenly, I have some very eager math ducks on my hands. People who shout out the answer without saying "Quack! Quack! Quack!" get no credit. People who shout out the answer to the entire math problem, but not my QUESTION get no credit, either. Listen carefully! I might ask you what unit the problem is asking for, or how many quarts you STARTED with.

The Homeschool Holy War

I dunno that there is one. But this old post on an Assemblies of God blogring I came across makes me wonder if some people in the ministry might just be taking parenting decisions of others a liiiiiiittle too personally. A children's pastor states that homeschoolers often come in with this haughty, elitist attitude and don't let their kids "mix" with the other kids.

Oh! Her words of advice go vaguely sorta like this: "If you're a homeschooler, you need to be supportive of the church leadership. If the church leadership provides a children's pastor and has children's programs, you should show you're 'supportive' by sending your kids off to them. If you don't like the children's ministry, you can leave the church... but don't take any other families with you! That would be most un-Christlike of you, because those people belong to us. We own 'em."

I'm sorry, there's a line that oughtn't be crossed around here s…