Thursday, July 24, 2008

I'm a Cleaning Fool

Today, because the mess in our bedroom was getting so out of hand, I decided to clean. I got quite a bit done - I can even see the floor. Now, what I have to do is clean out the front porch storage area so that I can buy a few totes and put the winter stuff away properly, and maybe have all of the clothing put away for once! This is a very strange house. There are no closets (!) so we have to store everything in drawers. We are trying (for the last 10 years) to get the upstairs of the house cleaned out, fixed up, and usable as bedrooms. We have to build closets into to a couple of the rooms just so everyone has a place to put his or her stuff. Anna will have a room to herself, and it is just too small to put a closet in, so she will have to share some space with the boys. I think it is a small concession for her to make.

Our heifer, Esme, may have finally freshened. We aren't sure, but she did go off by herself the other night and was gone for two days. We are just going to watch her out in the field to see if we see a wee one. She is a Milking Devon, and we are hoping that she was bred by our Devon bull and that she has a heifer. That would be the one very bright spot in this not-so-fabulous summer.

I have to go out to see if the ducks made it back into their pen, and then I must knit. It's been a very long day.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Ugly Homeschoolers

I have to say that today I saw the ugly side of homeschooling. We had a program at the library today for the summer reading program. My kids always look forward to going because they get to get new books, they get to see their friends, and they have fun playing the games. There is a family there, though, that makes it difficult to have a good time. The boy is about 12 or 13, and he is a great big bully. He shoved my #2 son out of the way when he went to pick up a blanket the librarian asked him to get. I looked at the librarian and asked her what that kind of behavior was all about. She said that she has had other problems with that kid and would have to talk to the parents. I said to a girl whose mom I know, "This is why we homeschool." She said, "Oh, they are homeschooled, too." Now I know, for sure, that not all homeschooled kids are sweet and nice. The girl of this family is around 10, and I watched her drag a kid to the ground and skin his knee. That kid actually had the guts to tell the mother that her daughter accidentally pulled him down. I was nursing Henry and I wanted to yell, "It wasn't an accident, and you know it, B!" I am hoping the librarian will tell this family that if they cannot control their kids' behavior in public that they shouldn't come to the reading program.

What makes all of this really awful, in my view, is that they are supposedly a deeply religious family. They have a JESUS front plate on their van and everything. I think they should reflect on their behavior, in light of the teachings of Jesus, to see if they really are as Christian as they think they are. Super religious people who act like barbarians drive me crazy. They in no way practice what they preach. For some reason, they think that they have some sort of license to behave any way they want because they pray, or whatever. God is probable rolling his eyes right now.

I did get good news regarding Noah's homeschooling. I can do whatever I want with him, without having to have him evaluated by a school psychologist or a special education teacher. I will make his objectives based on a first grade curriculum and see how far we get. If he completes that by December or January, I will just submit new ones to the school for second grade work. He is doing so well with his reading. We read a book this morning while I was feeding Henry, and he needed very little help. I am just so amazed. I am going to put words on index cards so that he can put sentences together. That will help him learn how to construct a sentence without having to worry about writing it. We will work on writing, of course, but that is going to be a long hard row to hoe.

I must go knit. I have had a very long day, and I need to do some serious unwinding!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Family News

I had a very good time at my family reunion yesterday. As it turns out, my Uncle Dick and Aunt Helen were not there, which was a bummer. However, I did get to see my cousin Andy, whom I have not seen for at least 15 years. He is our family historian, and had some very interesting new information about our relatives in England. As it turns out, our last name was misspelled when the first group came to Philadelphia sometime in the 1800s. He is going to send me the information when he gets back home to Florida. I'm very interested in seeing what he has. There was some bad news, too. My cousin Julie has a tumor on her brain stem. There is no definite news yet as to what the course of treatment will be. She will let me know more after she has some more tests in September. Please keep her in your prayers.

Mostly, my dad's sister was driving me crazy! She kept saying, with pity in her voice, "You have your hands full." I really don't get it. She had five children, too! She didn't have a farm, nor did she homeschool, so I guess she thinks this is just taxing me no end. Let me state loud and clear that I love my life, and I have no regrets about having five kids, living on a farm, or homeschooling! I asked a friend of mine today if I look like I'm miserable. She reassured me that I look fine. Yes, I suppose I'm a little tired, but not raked over the coals by any means.

Lots of people said that they loved talking to my kids because they are smart and polite. I always thank them for the lovely compliments, and I usually credit homeschooling for the fact that they don't behave like animals in public. I think that being at home in a cooperative atmosphere has helped them to know how to behave. They are also expected to be polite at home. They thank me for the meals I prepare and they always add a "please" when they ask for something. I wouldn't take less. I also ask them to do things in a polite way. We all give as good as we get.

I made the most amazing dip today. It's called brocomle. Here's the recipe:

1c. cooked brocolli - whirled in the food processor
1/4c. lowfat sour cream
1/4c. lowfat mayo
1/4t. salt
1/4-1/2t. corriander
2T parmesan cheese
1/4c. grated chedder cheese
onion to taste

Honestly, you would never know it has brocolli in it. We all eat brocolli here, but I have so much out of the garden right now that I was looking for something different to do with it. This is great with crackers or veggies.

Time to get the babies to bed!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Eaten Again

I had yet another post eaten by the ether gods, so I am trying again. I have been so busy lately, that this is the first time I've had enough time to get something down. We have finally had some good weather, so I have been mowing the lawn, working in the garden, and just generally trying to get things cleaned up. The lettuce and other greens that I planted last week are coming up, which just makes me smile. Some of the tomatoes have blossoms, and I even saw a cherry tomato the other day. The peppers are a little anemic looking. We've had so much rain that they just look washed out. I'm hesitant to fertilize them because I don't want big plants with no peppers. The rain has done the onions a world of good, though. They are looking really nice.

I decided to definitely delay the start of school. I have too much to do right now to worry about getting schoolwork in on top of everything else. If we aren't finished until the end of April, that's okay. I do have to get the objectives written out for all of the boys by the end of July. Then, we can get started on the 4th of August without a problem.

We took Noah to Rochester for his annual cardiac check up last Monday. His doctor said that he still hears a sound that tells him there is still a little bit of a hole, but it isn't anything serious. He will have an echocardiogram next year to see if the hole is still there, or if it has been enveloped by scar tissue from the device placement. Either way, he won't have to have surgery again. After his appointment, we went to Target where he got a 5-pack of Matchbox cars. That is just the biggest treat in the world to him. Well, that and eating at Burger King. On his doctor days, it's all up to him because he is so well behaved. He's been doing this deal since he was five weeks old, so he knows what to do by now.

I had the grave misfortune of putting my back out yesterday morning. I turned very slightly to put a toy in the toybox, and my back just siezed. I went to the chiropractor and he said that I may have torn a couple of fibers in a disc. It's hard to believe something so small could hurt so much. I got an adjustment, and I have to go back on Monday. Surprisingly, I am feeling much better this morning. I'm hoping lots of rest this weekend will speed the recovery.

Today we are going to my family reunion. It is really a party for my uncle's 80th birthday, and my parent's 60th wedding anniversary. My mother will be a bit miffed that I know this is a party for them and I didn't tell her. She really hates it when anyone fusses over her. She will have fun, but she'll be cranky for a while. I, personally, don't know what the problem is. She will be seeing lots of people that she wants to see. Her brother will be there, and maybe some of their old friends. It should be a great day. I'm hoping to have pictures to post later.