Friday, January 21, 2011

Fabulous Fun (Freakin' Cold) Field Trip Friday

We reserve Fridays for "not-in-our-curriculum-plan" activities...and one of them is field trips.  We had plans to visit the Plymouth Ice Festival with some friends from our beloved Mom's club.  And then the day dawned--frozen.  Temps of 10º when we started out, with a promised high of 15º later in the day.  Seeing that our children were all 5 and under--in fact, all but my children were 2 and under--a few of our friends questioned the intelligence of moving forward with our plans.  My response?  "Pfft!  Don't be wimps!  15º during a Michigan January is balmy!  We'll bundle the kids up and they'll be fine!  They won't even notice!" 

Upon arriving to the festival, and spending a solid 10 minutes applying snow gear to my children in the back of our van, it did not take long for Mother Nature to cheerfully ram those bold words right back down my throat.  We admired some lovely ice sculptures for approximately 4 minutes before the kids all started losing it, despite multiple tiers of protective clothing.  I fully admit to being the first in our small but brave group to say, "Ok, I've had enough...who's ready for lunch?!?"  And off we went to a nearby burger joint. 

We spent a mere 4.82 minutes marveling at the ice sculptures, about 23.92 minutes bundling and then de-bundling our children, and then about an hour and a half in the (nice and warm) restaurant.  It was delightful to relax, enjoy each other's company, and have a (nice and hot) meal while the kids played and enjoyed being out of the house. 

Now for our next mission, I suggest a visit to (nice and non-frigid) Florida.  Who's with me?!?

Wedding Cake ice sculpture

Unicorn ice sculpture

All of our would-be human Popsicle offspring
in front of the dinosaur ice sculpture

We saw one team of people working on their sculpture as we were passing by (quickly) to the warming tent

Pennies frozen in the ice sculpture by the bank.  Funny, guys.

Liesl and Ava with their buddy S1. **
(Can you hear them saying, "THANK YOU MOMMY, for letting us come inside!!!!")

S2 and O1--the babies in the group. 

O1 and his parents (and a sibling on the way!)
(*Names altered to protect the children of the pure and naive)

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Semi-Wordless Wednesday

How can you resist this face?!?

Liesl's grocery shopping list

Monday, January 3, 2011

And...we're back. Um...I think.

Hello blogland.  I have missed you.  Due to the wondrous waste of time communication device of Facebook, I sort of ignored my blog for a year.  But there are some people who refuse to get on Facebook (because they live under a rock or something), and I miss writing longer passages about the fun, craziness, and chaos that is my life.  (That 420-word limit on Facebook is a real creativity killer.) 

So in a nutshell, here is the last year of our lives:

Liesl is still playing violin.  Ava is still playing violin.  (I, surprisingly, still have all of my hair, to say nothing of my sanity.)  We are still homeschooling.  Our first curriculum of choice, Five in a Row, did not work--partially because my kids are sick of listening to me pontificate, and partially because I am sick of pontificating to my kids. (*see disclaimer below!)  We are moving on to a completely different curriculum of a completely different genre; stay tuned for news of that.  Liesl has completed the Primer program of Math-U-See.  Ava is 3.  Ava is 3.  Ava is 3.  Why do I repeat?  Because Ava is 3 in every sense of the word.  I seriously did not know a child could scream this loud or tantrum this long.  Yet, when she does not feel the entire world is out to destroy every bit of her happiness as I disallow access to the Cookie Crisp, she is a delightful little child.

Liesl proudly displaying her "Alpha" books from the Math U See curriculum.
She completed "Primer" a day before her 5th birthday.
Tom works full-time for Chrysler.  He traveled last year.  A LOT.  (If you think that means a temporary taste of single parenting for me, you're right.  But I digress:  this paragraph is about him.)  After 10 months on the job as a contract employee, he was hired directly into the company, which means we stopped paying for our benefits and he got paid vacation time.  This is wonderful, because paying $1,000 a month for health insurance, along with our children's extracurricular activities and music lessons, was putting a huge strain on our budget.  His gardening, grilling, and smoking (er, as in smoking food,, you know, smoking stuff) knows no equal. 
Ava practicing her G major scale

We have a gerbil, Midnight, whom we adopted from a family member.  Between his external tank heater and my friends who provide me with an endless supply of toilet paper tubes to feed his chewing habit, he is the most spoiled rodent alive.  We also have a betta fish, Sushi (ok, the name was my idea), whom I purchased as a congratulatory gift for myself back in March for landing my new job.  Between his 5-gallon filtered, heated tank, and his LED nighttime lunar lighting, he is the most spoiled fish alive.  It is nice to have living things (besides the obvious implication of children) in the house again.

I have a wonderful part-time job as a video relay interpreter, and I love it.  I work a few times a week at most.  I am known to run, skip, and sashay out the door for every shift...then come home in a much better mood to deal with my kids, having spent time with other educated, rational adult-type people who don't wipe their boogers on my pants.  We cook and bake a lot.  I knit like CRAZY.  Not perfectly, and nothing too complicated, but having taught myself over about a year and a half, I'm pretty impressed with some of the projects I have turned out--hats, simple sweaters, teddy bear clothes, purses and ponchos for my girls. 
So there you have it.  Here we are.  Enjoy.  Run for cover.  Tell me how you've been the last year or so!

* Disclaimer!  For what it's worth, I still think Five in a Row is an amazing program, and am sorry that it is not a good match for our family.  After spending about 3+ hours a day organizing, overseeing, and participating in violin practice with two spirited, tenacious children under the age of 5, they are really done with listening to me.  And frankly, I am really done with them...and Five in a Row requires much more hands-on teaching than we are all able for.  A more patient mother might be able to handle that load--not me.  (Just keepin' it real.)  We are 99% decided on a classical education curriculum that I will post about once we have sunk our teeth into it.  :-)