Friday, March 23, 2012

Feathered Friends

The sun was shining this morning, so I took my camera outside to get a few pictures.
It quickly became a bird-themed photo shoot.

...Wait a minute, what's that?!?

Sure look like chicks, don't they?

That's because they are!

We got 15 of them to start with...we'll see how many actually make it to adulthood!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Kindergarten Plans

On Monday I told Isaak that he will be starting Kindergarten next year. He was very excited that he will be finally starting school just like his sisters, and for the rest of the day we heard all about his ideas for what he is planning to do once he starts Kindergarten.

On Tuesday I spent most of the day on the computer, searching for and researching books for 5th grade (but that's another story), and every time I went downstairs for something, he would ask me, "Are you working on my Kindergarten?"

On Wednesday morning, as I sat at the table correcting Math and Grammar for the girls, Isaak brought up the subject again. "Mom, I don't think I'm ready to start Kindergarten yet." I told him that was OK, that we could wait a while. He sat quietly for a few seconds then responded, "OK, maybe tomorrow."

This evening I asked him to get out some kid plates for dinner, and he told me, "I got two plates and then two more so there would be four, because two plus two equals four." I thanked him and had him set them on the counter for me, and he asked, "Mom, am I supposed to know that already, or will I learn that in Kindergarten?"

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The Fight Against Fuzz

I do not regret reading any of the books that I read in my childhood. At least not that I can remember at the moment!

I'm sure that some of the literary choices I made were less than stellar, but none were really awful, bad books. Part of that, I'm sure, is due to the fact that I was finding my reading material in our little library in Peru (yeah, that would be the little library on the missionary base), and therefore must also partly be due to the fact that any book I checked out had to make it past "Aunt" Teresa*, the former-nun-turned-missionary-librarian.

Aunt Teresa scared all of us kids, I think. She was a tiny woman even from a child's point of view, with short cropped gray hair and a no-nonsense attitude. She ran that library. She might have even been officially in charge of it. NO ONE crossed Aunt Teresa. If she didn't approve of a book I was trying to check out, she would call my mom to make sure it was OK if I walked out with it. It drove me crazy, and eventually Mom told her that I could check out anything I wanted and they (my parents) would look at it before I read it. And yet, although I was in awe of her, there was a certain sparkle in her eyes that made me feel like I was her favorite among all the kids that passed by her desk. My speed-reading, book-devouring little self certainly kept her busy, at least!

My girls read just like I did as a kid; fast and often. And, just like their mother, they read far above their grade level, which is where my battle begins...and where I begin to appreciate Aunt Teresa's efforts at a whole new level.

Our school curriculum is heavy on reading. (Imagine that!) We have multiple books for each subject, as well as "free reading" books and scheduled literature. We have books for Kindergarten through 5th grades on our shelves, and I've started collecting books for 6ththrough 12th grades as well. It would be an understatement to say that we have a lot of books.

And it is precisely because we have a lot of books that I keep a list in my purse of all the books on our school shelves. It's printed in a font about this big, and it's currently 9 pages long. I started it a few years ago because I kept coming home with books I was looking for...only to find a copy already sitting on our shelves! I am constantly updating the list: when I pull a book off the shelf to get rid of, that book gets deleted from the list, and when I find a new treasure, it gets added to the print-out before it gets shelved. It's a system that has worked well for me, and I've successfully kept it to "only" 9 pages. (So far!)

The other day I entered some new books into my list, and in the process decided that one of the books, although harmless enough in subject matter, wasn't worthy of "living" on the school shelves. (I call these kinds of books "fluff" books. They are books that are mindless, quick reads, with nothing to grow on. They have little, if any, educational value and contain nothing worth thinking about later. They are books with no "meat" to them, only "fluff".)

I told the girls that I had decided that it was a "fluff" book, and that if they wanted to keep it they had to squeeze it onto their shelves. They kept it, and later, one of them asked me why I had called it a "fuzz" book, yet put a similar book on the school shelves.

I asked her if she had learned anything from the fluff book (hereafter known as a "fuzz" book!), and she said, "Well, no, but it was fun!" Then I asked her if she had learned anything from the other book. "I already knew about most of it...but in the end Mr. X learned that he shouldn't be rude to strangers, and ... OH! I get it! One of the people in the book learned a good lesson that we can learn too! That's why it's not a fuzz book and the other one is!"

I think Aunt Teresa would approve!

*All of the kids on the missionary center called the adults "Aunt" and "Uncle". It was like having one really big family. :)

Monday, March 19, 2012

Four-year-old Theology (In a Nutshell)

Discussing his Pre-K/K Sunday School lessons (with disgust in his voice):
"The week behind, we learned that God made everything. But I knew that already! Today we learned that God made plants, but I knew that already too!"

"God is the boss of all the bosses."

Isaak: "There is only one God, Mom."
Me: "Right. But He is at the same time three-in-one; the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit."
Isaak: "Ah ha! So that's how He can see everything at the same time! The other two help Him!"

Peasant, Pee-sant, Pheasant

Playing dress-up, Jaela asked me:

J: Mom, don't I look just like a princess?

(She's wearing two dresses, three layers of shawls, and a scarf tied over her straw hat...)

Me: Actually, you look more like a peasant girl.
J: Really?!? (runs back upstairs to tell her sisters...)


J: Mom, did I really look like a pee-sant?
Me: No, you looked like a peh-sant.

Macey, a few minutes later:

M: Mom, wasn't that funny when Jaela asked if she looked like a pheasant?
Me: No funnier than when you called her a pheasant instead of a peasant!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

The World is Not Enough

Anya got a globe Puzzleball for her birthday.
(We ignored the "for ages 12-99" label on the box.)

She worked on it a little Saturday night...
a little bit more early Sunday morning...
more on Sunday afternoon...
and after her schoolwork was done on Monday...
she finished it!
And now she wants the moon...

Monday, March 12, 2012

Anya is EIGHT!!!!

Happy Birthday Anya!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Lofty Progress

It's not done yet, but remember the loft we were using for storage?

I covered the plywood floor with blankets from Goodwill (a temporary fix until we get around to putting in actual flooring), and we moved the music room/office up into the loft.
With all of the electronics moved upstairs, what was formerly the guest room/office/music room is now just a guest room,
except that we moved the (rarely used) TV in there too, along with all of Stella's paperwork, cleaning supplies, and spare parts.
Now that the TV is no longer taking up space in the living room, there is room for our favorite chair and a lamp!
I'm not sure which is the best part: the newly created favorite reading spot in the living room, or the fact that I now only get on the computer once or twice a day. It's not so convenient to "just check email really quick" when I have to climb two sets of stairs and a ladder to do it!

Thursday, March 1, 2012