Friday, January 29, 2016

Monday, January 25, 2016

For Mark

Thank you for seeing my magic . . .

Friday, January 22, 2016

Colds and Copays and Contest Fees . . . oh my!

It's no secret that I'm not a fan of winter cold and weather. There are things I like about winter - nostalgic things like thinking about Mark and me our freshman year and how we'd stay out in the cold just to be together, our first kiss, walks in the snow, our wedding, the holidays, spending quality time as a family during FMLA leave our first year of residency, Max's birthday, things like that.

But being cold? Not so much. Snow? Won't drive in it. Sickness? I'm a germaphobe.

A couple of weeks ago, Mark lost his voice. He wasn't sick - it was just ridiculously cold (like well below zero with wind chills) and just going in and out of that at two different work locations while talking non-stop to patients all day . . . well, it really messed with his voice. And trying to recover from that when you're going in and out of that at two different work locations while talking non-stop to patients all day doesn't exactly expedite things.

Now, there is a big storm coming. Snowmaggedon! Anywhere from 3-24 inches. Still not sure even though it starts in less than a day. We live in an area where, for whatever reason, it's either huge or nothing and they don't know until it's closer.

Kate started physical therapy this week for her dislocating knee. Apparently, between her flexibility and rapid growth, it's made it easier for her knee to dislocate at times. Add to that all the walking she does at work and it's no wonder she's had issues. They measured her knee caps and taught her some exercises and we're hoping it all works. We have a new insurance plan thanks to the Affordable Care Act (hahaha, that first word is funny) and our rates went up over a hundred dollars a month and it continues to cover very little so it feels like we're paying monthly premiums so that we can pay out of pocket anyway (reference the co-pay for each time we go to PT: $85).

We haven't stopped working on a refi for the new house (my god, it's taking forever!) but it's happening next week for sure and that will save us every month. We planned it all out so we'd have a bit more of a buffer for things like vacations and such, but then our health premiums went up as well as some other expenses and so much of that savings got eaten up elsewhere. So frustrating. This economy stinks.

The kids have been dealing with something flu-like: body aches, hot-cold sensations, fevers, headaches, sore throats, and Max even threw up a couple of times (which he HATES and which really sets Kate off - even on TV, she can't see/hear someone throwing up without getting really icked out herself) and it stinks. I hate seeing my kids not feeling well. They've been wrapped up in blankets and we've been giving them Saltines, drinks, Tylenol as needed, cough drops, more blankets. So sad.

Scout is a joy. She is such a snuggly comfort and also makes us smile and laugh all the time. Oh, how I love our pup!

We have two teenagers now and my head is spinning at how fast the time flies (hence things like trying to get to the aquarium this week, but that's been postponed due to sickness and snow). I love my family and nothing makes me happier than being home together and playing games and eating good food and watching shows together. And we talk a lot, too. I love it. I feel very, very lucky.

Max started piano lessons and he loves it. His teacher is great and he's picking up reading music like a pro. That's why he wanted to take more formal lessons and he is really doing awesome with them. I'm so proud of him. 

Kate won another writing contest and I read her poem today for it today and it blew me away. She amazes me. She entered another contest today. It has a higher fee than many of them ($50), but it looks fantastic and worth a shot. It's so cool - I hope she blogs about it.

And me? I've been busy with all of the above and lots of homeschooling stuff. It's going really well and it's something that we love and don't regret one bit. It's challenging at times, but overall totally worth it. It suits our family and lifestyle and we're grateful. The kids are thriving and things are good. I feel like I've already posted a lot about myself in my New Year's post, so I don't have a whole lot to add.

Just thought I'd check in and post because I really am trying to blog more and Facebook less. So far, so good.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Sometimes Homeschooling looks like . . .

We have two teenagers now. TWO TEENAGERS OMG WHERE DOES THE TIME GO?!? Ahem. Two teenagers. Every once in a while, I step back and take a mindful look at what homeschooling looks like around here sometimes. I've done posts like this before and it's nice to do one every so often - you can almost see an evolution of sorts. I hope so anyway . . .

So here we go. Sometimes homeschooling looks like this:

I love this. She's watching a video, taking notes, enjoying our dog, eating a snack (because she's hungry and not because it's some set, regulated time to eat), and talking to me in our home. We both even commented on how very cool homeschooling is right before I took this picture. It's when I thought to stop and take it in.I took the pictures and then over the next while, this post brewed in my head.

 And sometimes it looks like this:

He'd just finished meditating, as well as doing some video learning about cells, prefixes, and math. He practiced his piano and then organized and set up some Magic cards in a duel. (And he made his bed after I took this picture). :P Yesterday, he and Mark built a bookcase in his room and organized all his books, cleaned up a bit, and formed a To-Be-Read (TBR) shelf.

I took those pictures today at a couple of random different times. We've had a good day. It's been mellow yet productive and it's been filled with learning, and that is something we all enjoy and love.

We do some formal "school" learning, but most of what we learn comes naturally from conversations, outings, things we watch, discussions at the dinner table, sharing articles, reading books together, researching things we're curious about . . . you know, normal life!

We try not to distinguish between "school/learning" and anything else, because we have a learning-is-natural approach and it certainly shouldn't be a tedious chore. Sometimes this is referred to as "unschooling" - a term I once thought was code for 'lazy,' but over time saw was a lot of work and a natural, successful, effective approach.

That being said, we aren't so hands-off that we do absolutely nothing formal/planned (which is the approach of some unschoolers). But overall, our days are filled with learning in a playful, relaxed, natural way.

Here are just some of the topics covered today just in the normal course of the day:

- Cell cycles
- Geometry including congruent and complementary angles
- Prefixes
- A group violin lesson
- A piano lesson
- instrument practice
- Meditation
- The word "clandestine"
- Abraham Lincoln's assassination
- The similarities between Lincoln and Kennedy
- The Illuminati (not kidding)
- The Golden Globes
- David Bowie
- Peter and the Wolf (and how the different instruments represent the characters)
- Liesl & Po (a book the children and I are reading together)
- Read aloud, making a game out of it with dice
- Han Solo
- Benedict Cumberbatch
- Current events
- Feminism
- Gender Issues
- The etymology of the phrase "dark as pitch"
- comma usage
- Forming an X-wing group
- Knowing ourselves
- Handling anxiety and sensitivities
- Time management
- Laundry (collected, sorted, washed, dried, folded)
- Cooking
- Dishes
- Cleaning counters
- Baking
- Recipe following
- Setting the table
- Exercise (Zumba - the kids did this together using the Wii)
- Weekly planning
- History reading
- Sharing stories and things we've learned
- Gratitude
- Book Discussion
- Researching actors
- Galavant
- Catching up with our foreign exchange students
- The Proust Questionnaire and its uses
- Spelling
- Volunteering
- Calendaring
- Emails

Phew! That's honestly off the top of my head. The kids were able to sleep in as much as they needed to, eat when they wanted to, research things at their pleasure, contact their friends via phone or texting or Skyping, help with some house keep up, play, talk, laugh, cuddle with the dog in front of the fireplace . . . life is good. This homeschooling gig is a pretty great thing and we don't take it for granted. We feel very fortunate indeed.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

New Year, More Blogging

Just a heads up that as Mark and I make an effort to blog more, our children are doing the same. Our newly-minted teenager has a year-in-review post on his blog and has updated his picture and bio there, too (I know - he's looking so grown up!).

And then there's our soon-to-be-16-year-old daughter (where where where does the time go?!?) who is always writing and blogging - she has some real gems up. (Seriously, the time thing. We try to be mindful. We spend lots of time together. And yet IT FLIES.)

Then there's this sweetheart. We've had a good holiday.
Hope you have, too!

Friday, January 1, 2016

Two New Posts Below

Welcome 2016! 

Mark and I have both reviewed our 2015s below.
They're pretty honest and raw. 

We're also doing more blogging from here on out. Thanks for reading!