Waldorf Curriculum Homeschool Blog

Having tried unsucessfully to get Blogger.com to work for me, I suddenly realized that I can easily create journalling pages linked to my site without extra help. This is a very informal page with my personal notes as to how homeschooling is going for my family. Please feel free to email me with comments. Learn more about my preschool curriculum by visiting the Curriculum Packages page.

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October 2006

  • Natalie is 4 years, 7 months
  • Leah is 2 years, 11 months
  • Rebecca is 1 year, 9 months

October 23 - Natalie and her babysitter made a blueberry recipe tonight (Blueberry-Peach Crumbles from the April 2005 issue of Everyday Food -- unfortunately most of these recipes haven't been added to their website yet so I can't link to each specific one. We've been cooking delicious food from this issue for the past week) and are happily reading stories while it cooks. I am practicing for next week's Sunday School class where we'll begin making our Noah's Ark. This entails making an Ark from cardboard -- by the way this book is really expensive on Amazon so check Alibris instead, but it's very very good and I'm thrilled I found it. There are detailed plans for an Ark and then tons of animals, all made of cardboard, paper or wire. I purchased some decorative papers from a scrapbook store today, some wood planking for the interior and some red scallops for the roof tiles. The children will be making a series of animal figures (modeled first out of clay for practice and then modeling beeswax), and somewhere, somehow, we need a Noah (I haven't decided if he will be dry-felted or made out of beeswax as well). I have a student named Noah this year who is completely siked about this project which makes me happy. He insists that he has to be the one to make the Noah, so I guess that means beeswax as I am certainly not ready to give these kids sharp needles. They are good kids but we are progressing slowly, to make sure they respect and understand how to use each material. Last Sunday was the final watercolor painting day and a big hit. That entire series has progressed very smoothly. I get compliments each week on how quiet the kids are when they paint, how involved they are, and how the older students are looking envious, wishing they could do such fun things! I am prepping for a series of newsletters on my mom's trip to Indo-China -- one on Laos, one on Viet Nam, and one on Cambodia. I think they will be fun, and something different for Natalie, but I'm still not sure if they are really appropriate for her age. I'm trying to keep it light and simple, tasting the foods of the region, seeing some currency, learning some words, etc. but I'm sure it is not as Waldorf as it could be. There must be legends and fairy tales from those countries we could learn but I haven't found any. Regardless, it's an interesting opportunity and I just want her to have some context for when my mom comes home with pictures. I think Natalie is old enough to learn that there are other countries far away where people live differently. You can have an understanding that the world is larger that what you've yourself seen without it being too academic... or does causing children to question whether what they know is all that there is constitute too much awakening? Most of the time I find Waldorf really marvelous but sometimes I get frustrated by a limitation. Or at least, it's a perceived limitation. The question of whether something is too academic is a constant one and Steiner's not here so nobody can ask him. Alan Whitehead has a real issue with people who don't teach children anything from the ages of 0 to 7, citing Steiner's views as their reason. He says it is sheer laziness. I haven't read every single thing Steiner has written and I've never had any teacher training -- not that that matters because sometimes the training passes down things that are "because that's the way we've always done it" as opposed to truly being based in what Steiner said or which allow for the flexibility he intended the curriculum to have, foreseeing that it will change at different times and in different places around the world. Of course, the awakening thing isn't a curriculum question so much as it is a child development question and he was pretty clear on his views about that. So, should we learn about Indo-China? I guess I'm still not sure about this because I'm not certain if I want to post the topics to the site. It might be too political. I really want to do the topic though -- I think it's a good idea. At least, part of me is excited and part of me is thinking that I'm just putting my own interests on to her and not really thinking about what is relevant for her at her age. I have to think about this one some more, I guess. Golly, I am feeling exceptionally conflicted this evening. I have to do some book reviews soon -- we've gotten plenty of new books lately -- but I hurt my lower back so I've been avoiding the computer. I'll be more organized shortly, I hope.

October 20 - Leah's new favorite activity is tearing apart the drywall in her closet. I'm in over my head with this one!!!! I've never seen a child systematically take apart a wall. I suppose it is my own fault for not putting any toys in her room. Gotta think this through and come to some kind of decision.

Her birthday is coming up (almost 3!) and I've decided on a butterfly theme. I'll post some notes here in a minute; we're off to have lunch.

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Here are my thoughts about a butterfly themed party. First, the birthday girl can wear her birthday crown and butterfly wings all day. That's a given. It's too cold this time of year to hatch butterflies (we wouldn't be able to release them outside so we'd just have to watch them die -- depressing) so no live butterflies. But we can do a butterfly craft/party game by tearing and glueing pieces of tissue paper into a giant collage. All I'd have to do for that is trace a gigantic butterfly outline on a large piece of posterboard and find some kid friendly adhesives. Tissue paper we have in abundace. So that can be the first activity and stay as a party decoration, plus something to remind Leah of how much fun we had. Maybe we can even add it to the schoolroom after the party. And the children can also make their own caterpillars by stringing beads. That would become the party favor; it's an easy take-home thing. Wooden beads, maybe, which are simple to find (and cheap) -- or the lovely Felt Beads from Magic Cabin, which I would have to order. Those are something I've had my eye on for a while and if I get them under the Birthday Budget that saves some homeschool money; I'm sure we'll have plenty leftover for craft supplies. So a butterfly craft and a caterpillar craft... then the cake can be made up of two dozen cupcakes arranged in the shape of a caterpillar. Licorice for antennae and feet (just six, of course) and M&M's for the eyes. Each cupcake can be frosted a different color. That seems a little time-consuming; maybe we can do white with polka dots. Anyway, easy for a bunch of people. Everyone can just grab a cupcake! I found tons of ideas for The Very Hungry Caterpillar on the Eric Carle website -- apparently he has gathered suggestions from teachers all around the country who use his books. Nice. The link is 10 pages of ideas. I may not use any but thought I'd share the link. I'm not entirely sure if I need a gift which goes with the theme, but I'm still looking around. There's the V.H.C. board game, which looks too academic for Waldorf preschool. Also, the beautiful life cycle of a butterfly set from Anne Moze which I wanted to get for the Insects unit last year but haven't yet. That's a possibility. But I think Leah is a little too young. Maybe I could still get it though, to follow up on the butterfly life cycle thing with Natalie later on. Oh, I have some yoga poses that have to do with butterflies and metamorphosis... maybe I should look back through my Insects unit. As I recall there are wet felting project suggestions which would be fun but I think a little messy for a party. We'll see. I usually go from having NO ideas to having tons of ideas and then having to ramp back down. There will be 20 people at the party (only 5 are kids, all four years old or younger) because so many friends and family members haven't had a chance to see our new house. So I'll be a zoo. I'd like to set out a pile of butterfly books so people can sit and read with kids... I'll make that list and post it here, also add it to Amazon. I rarely have people reply when I ask for suggestions (either here or on the Group) but I always like to because I think it inspires at atmosphere of collaboration. Someday I'll figure out the magic formula to actually get people to open up and share what they are doing with their kids. I mean, we all get up each morning and do stuff with them. Why can't we exchange ideas? Most people in the Group have children that are the exact same ages, for pete's sake. Anyway, back off my soapbox. Sorry. If anyone has a great butterfly book to recommend, please write and let me know.

October 18 - Today Leah clogged the toilet by unloading an entire roll of toilet paper into it; also, she climbed up the dresser, threw all the clothing and coat hangers which were in the closet on the floor, and removed everything from the top closet shelf by standing on the dresser (which I placed in the closet so she wouldn't climb on it, ha ha). I think she actually sat up there on the top shelf for a while but I'm not sure. Scary though; she could have fallen and really hurt herself. So we moved her back into her own bedroom and put the baby back in with Natalie. The experiment only lasted a week and a day, having N and L together. The problem is that Leah can't have a room with any furniture in it AT ALL because she's such a climber. Gym class helps but it is only once a week. By the way, she apparently has superior balance compared to all the other children in the class, and they've all taken this class before and are doing it for a second time whereas this is her first time. So I guess it is paying off, all this climbing, but it doesn't make parenting her any easier. According to Waldorf philosophy, she is a will-driven child and can't help herself and this stage of her life needs to be protected, ie. don't put her in a room of furniture she's not allowed to climb and then penalize her for it. I hate giving her a completely bare room with nothing but a bed. It's so stark! I was hoping she could handle sharing a bedroom but I guess having her own room is a better choice for her right now. She was happy to move back into her old room and N is excited about having all the new stuff I just finished sewing for Becca's room. The new rug for the play area, the sheepskin in front of the bed, the rocking chair, the board books, the wooden toys, the butterfly curtains... all of these things seem to thrill her. Which is great and I'm happy for her and I actually have extra of the bedding fabric so making two blankets (one twin bed size and one crib size) is a perfect solution. But... now two girls will have a lovely decorated room and Leah is stuck with a dungeon? That's not fair. She literally can't have window treatments because she will climb both curtains and roller shades. No dresser -- she'll climb in it and on it. We are talking about a child who does forward rolls off her bed into mid air. So much courage. The book Difficult Children: There is no such thing says that whatever traits our children come to earth with were deliberately given to them and we should nurture them, as they will be needed later in life. So her balance and adventureousness will be assets later on. It's nice to know that... but I want to be able to give her a space that she can call her own, a warm comforting place, which is also not going to backfire on her because she is constantly getting in trouble there. We had to change her light switch to a pull chain for the overhead light because she couldn't keep herself from turning it on in the middle of the night. I want to nurture her and not stifle her, but is this just bad behavior? My heart is telling me that she's a sweet angelic little child, but she's just a climber. Lots of kids are like that so it's no big deal, right? My head is struggling with this because if follow what I believe Waldorf to say and I just think about her angels and leave her be, redo my entire house, and change my expectations for her behavior so that she is indulged and not reprimanded for it, she'll head over to someone else's house and climb all over their stuff. That's not okay with me. I want her to learn manners. Is there a point where this honoring the will-driven child goes too far? I can see if they don't have self control at that age, and I understand the concept of protecting them by removing the ability to be bad, but a completely empty room seems weirdly overdoing it. Plus if she never has the opportunity to learn self control, because she has no way of making any mistakes, isn't that a bad idea? Am I hampering her if I do that? And spoiling her? DRAMA. I am not posting this to the Group because parenting questions cause a lot of tension and it's not particularly on-topic, but if someone wants to write to me with their personal opinion, feel free. I just want to do a good job with my kids and there are so many things to balance and consider. You know? It gets overwhelming.

October 14 - Seems like forever since I've been at the computer! Tuesday we successfully planted our tulips and iris and we set up the clothesline. Wednesday we all went to the hardware store to buy clothespins and got to hang our first load of laundry; however, about 10 minutes later it began to rain so we had to bring the things back inside and put them in the dryer. The rain is good for the bulbs, though, so I didn't mind. It's always nice when you plant something and it begins to rain directly after. Like good luck. Thursday and Friday we did hang a load of laundry each morning and it was dry by late afternoon so that worked really well. I actually loved it! It was so super-easy, saves energy and money, and provides plenty of old-fashioned fun for the kids. They really like the feeling that they are helping around the house and making a genuine contribution; plus the fact that most of what we hang is their clothes so they get so see their own things out on the line, which they love. And our sheets smelled so delicious last night, I was thrilled. When I was sitting out on our big fallen tree picking bark off it, to show Natalie the mushrooms growing underneath (she has been so into mushrooms since that nature program we went to), we discovered a huge slug. Natalie was so excited! We watched it slowly move out of the sunshine and back under another piece of bark and N watched intently the entire time. Probably took 15 minutes. Then I read A Log's Life to her for her nap story to follow up. There are several pictures of slugs in there, along with a description of all the ways that different animals use a fallen logs for their home. There are lots of other books which cover that information, or use the life cycle of a tree as their theme, but that's the only one we own. I should gather a collection of more books about the animals that live under rocks, inside trees, down by the river, etc. I always like to follow up on what we find during our Nature walks.

Thursday Natalie made Roasted Fall Vegetable and Ricotta Pizza with me for lunch and it was so tasty. And it's a great recipe for using up leftover vegetables. Yum. I couldn't believe it. She had a great time putting the toppings on, too. Friday our recipe of the day was Radish Tea Sandwiches which were not as much of a hit. The kids just ended up with bread and cream cheese. Friday was also tea party which we enjoyed and then Steve and I went out for our anniversary and my MIL came to stay with the kids. Tomorrow is Steve's birthday and I'm taking the kids to the Rennaisance Festival so he can have a day to himself. We are doing his birthday dinner tonight. So the plan for the day is to make Ginger Pumpkin Bread. It's not too sweet but still a dessert, and it makes two loaves so we can do 3 candles in one and 1 candle in the other. The glaze makes a nice frosting, not too messy or too sugary but still something to make it special. I hate frosting. Plus I really don't like cakes so I always do a non-traditional dessert for birthdays. Rebecca had a platter of mini cream puffs with a single candle in the center one for her first birthday. Last year we did Steve's party as a beach bonfire thing so he got a plate with 30 marshmallows on it, each with a candle. Then you pulled the candle out and put your stick in the hole it left (very handy) and we roasted them. Anyway, so two loaves of Ginger Pumpkin Bread and we have to make four candles. I think Rebecca is too little to make candles, although she can help stir the cake batter, so I'll have Natalie and Leah each make two. We also bought him a card. I asked the girls what they wanted to give him for his birthday and they were unanimously in agreement that the present should be cake and ice cream. So that's easy, inexpensive, and fun!

October 10 - This morning we did errands (bank and grocery store) and I got some roses for the dining room table. Today is my wedding anniversary. Yay! Leah and Becca are down for their nap. Natalie is coloring on a huge piece of butcher block paper that came in one of our packages. That's one of the reasons I love shopping at Nova Natural. Our box from Rosie Hippos came full of packing peanuts but that's all right. I can donate them to the UPS Store and they'll reuse them. In a bit we'll go out and plant our tulips and iris (finally) and hang our new clothesline. Somewhere I have a bag of clothespins so I'll have to go fish that out of the garage. If I can't find them we will buy some from the grocery store. I don't get any homeschool money this week (I actually owe Steve $7) because I'm using this money to pay him back for Becca's music class which was $112. So activities for this week will have to be on the frugal side. This afternoon we're heading up to the farm to pick up our vegetables. I can't wait to see if pumpkins are on the you-pick list yet. Painting pumpkins is one of the things I want to do. I also still have making a dreamcatcher on my list. Maybe that can be tomorrow. I've been hesitating to do it because I don't have any really good books about dreams. The closest is probably The Sleep Ponies; I'll go dig it out from downstairs and make a decision.

October 9 - What's new? Yesterday was Sunday School -- the fourth day of creation -- which went really well. I'm loving teaching that class!!! Steve spent the day with the kids and did a lot of different activities with Natalie while the other two slept. They really got their bonding time. Then my MIL came to pick her up for a sleep-over and a special day today with Grandma. I'm still waiting for them to come back. It was nice for me to only have two today; I felt like I had more energy. We went to the hardware store in the morning to get clothesline. I'd like the kids to start hanging laundry out with me as a school activity. We sort and fold laundry and put it away but I'd like them to be involved with more of the process. They aren't actually allowed to put anything into or take anything out of the machines because that room is off-limits. We keep it locked. Not only does it have bleach and other chemicals in it, it is the location of the cats' litter boxes. After naps I took the children to the park and then Carrie came over to play with them. I gave Leah her new dump truck today and that was a big hit! In my life, I am sewing curtains for Becca's new bedroom -- my first curtains -- and debating what to do about global warming. Friday Steve and I went to the church for our date night because they were showing "An Inconvenient Truth", the Al Gore movie about the science and seriousness of global warming. I already knew the winters were getting so warm that maple syrup may soon become a thing of the past. I didn't know that the influx of fresh water from glaciers melting (like Greenland, which is breaking up) is what caused the Gulf Stream to come to a screeching halt and was the direct cause of the last Little Ice Age. That, you may recall, is what caused the Irish Potato Famine, led to the spread of the Black Death through Europe, and killed off the Vikings. We are looking at a sea level rise of 20 feet which affects nearly every country in the world (in fact, it takes out most of the Netherlands) and which will leave literally millions of people as refugees. Lots of us live along coastlines because that was a logical place for settlements. I'd like to find some maps online which show the projected affected areas. I'm certain my county will be underwater. Did you know polar bears are beginning to drown because it is too far for them to swim to get to the next substantial piece of ice?There had never been any cases of drowned polar bears before but there are now. I have a lot of research to do on this, like finding out contact information for my Congressmen. I don't even know who they are! My kids will be here with this crappy planet if I don't do something soon to fix it. 50 years... hell, I'll still be alive. Even my husband was moved. If you haven't seen this movie yet, SEE IT. Look for big changes to be coming to the website soon as I get mobilized on this issue.

October 7 - Today was a big family event -- a combined birthday party for my mother and my grandmother (all three Rhoda's in a room together; what a treat. I was the fourth Rhoda in a row in my family but my great-grandmother is no longer living) and the kids proceeded to take a 4 hour long nap following that. They are currently in the playroom watching Steve and Uncle Jay work on the construction project. Tomorrow is church with my grandparents at 8:30, Sunday School for Natalie and I (she attends, I teach) at 9:45 and then lunch and naps. In the PM I am going to plant some bulbs with Natalie (good timing because we have some tulips and iris on hand and she's currently fascinated with Planting a Rainbow by Lois Ehlert. She spent the entire dinnertime telling me that we have to go back to the store and buy more plants in all different colors of the rainbow). Tomorrow I also have to get the children outfits (Gymboree "Primrose" line -- I always like to make note of the name so I can search later for matching pieces at cheap prices on eBay) to wear for their Christmas portrait. I'm on the computer now because it's Sunday School planning time and I'm searching for craft ideas for our Heifer International fundraiser (Christmas ornaments in the shapes of the different animals one can purchase). I have a huge pile of craft books all around me, as well as Christmas carols and poems and stories, etc. I wonder how much it is realistic to plan for December since the superintendant already has this pageant thing going on and I know my kids will be involved. Knowing the church, however, I probably won't be given much advanced warning of which Sundays are already committed to other projects. They still haven't given me contact information for each child! And I'm supposed to be sending home reminder postcards each week for children who do not attend. How can I do that without a list of addresses? Not to mention when I asked whether I dropped them off with the secretary to be mailed or if I bought postcard stamps and then requested reimbursement, they just looked blank. Hadn't thought it through at all. I have very little patience for things like that but I'm trying to be less tense about it. It's a new administration so they are still getting organized. I guess it never hurts to plan as long as you remember that you may have to be flexible.

This morning I gave Natalie a new toy. She had the stable but today I gave her a set of wooden figures (her first set) from "The Gigantic Turnip" by Anne Moze. She loves it! We have a large blue silk laid out on the low table, with a brown silk on top to be the ground and a small green silk to be the garden. The stable sits on the ground. The man is bending over the green silk picking vegetables from the garden. The dog, cat, and mouse are hanging out in the stable. She is having so much fun with it and has asked all day to play with her new toy. I'm glad. It's our first set of Waldorf wooden figures and I don't want to have too many because there are a LOT of beautiful Waldorf things out there but at some point you're buying too much and moving away more and more from the open-ended and imaginative play. So even though I shop a lot... more than I should... I always try to remember what it's all about and keep the play scenes simple. Anyway, she's having a blast and I really recommend Anne's work if you're in the market for some wooden figures.

Speaking of Christmas ornaments, I'm checking out cross-stitch possibilities. I'd like the trees to be cross-stitch. Here's a comprehensive list of sites with free cross stitch patterns, if you're looking. Ah, here's a tree. Leave off the bit at the top and it's a perfect little evergreen pattern.

October 6 - Okay, so we woke up this morning to a cold rainy day. Brilliant! I'm so glad I'm prepared for this day with a stack of new books for the children to enjoy. I'm pulling 10 out now to give to them and so I quickly need to document the rest of the titles. Here's the second box:

I also got a copy of Goop Tales for my husband, for his birthday. It's one of the books he fondly remembers from his childhood. 83 books in all which, for $155, is a fabulous deal. I'm really excited!

Today the dryer repair man is coming so we have to stay home all day. I think Natalie and I will make some Cranberry Quick Bread. I have making a dreamcatcher on my list but I want to wait until I find a really good book to accompany it. I also neglected to get the supplies. I have some bulbs to plant -- maybe we can do that tomorrow when the soil is nice and wet. Overall I think it will be a cozy day indoors.

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I just bought a copy of Noah's Ark in Paper and Card by Charlotte Gerlings because I think that will be easier than trying to make one out of wood. It has to be somewhat sturdy but not too much... it will only be holding beeswax figures. I usually link to Amazon but this time Alibris has better prices. I found out about this book because it was posted to the waldorfcurriculum-supplies Yahoo Group. I didn't get it then but it's nice to track down some of the books people are selling, later on when you have more time; I find some good ones that way.

I've been searching back through my past blog entries to find where I wrote about the code for putting a Thought of the Day on my website. I can't believe it was in June! These months are flying by. Anyway, my kids are all sleeping and hopefully I can get that going now to take the hole left on the front page of the website when I removed my Store. There just weren't enough orders for the Store to justify keeping it open, although I appreciate the customers who did support me with that. I have replaced the Store pages with links to suppliers for each item which I recommend. Okay, Thought of the Day... I'm just going to move the paragraph over to this current page to make it easier for me.

    "Well, new things are happening every day with my business. More and more pages are changing over to the new look -- I just discovered my contact form isn't working so I'll have that fixed shortly -- and Steve just recommended a website to me to help me with a quote of the day. There are so many things I read that I'd like to share as inspiring quotes for the website, so if you're working on a website of your own, here's the link to a page from Matt's Script Archive which teaches you how to write code for a "Random Text" program. It's free. (Thanks, Matt!) Soon I'll add a thought of the day to my website homepage! If you have inspiring quotes to share, please let me know. It can be anything related to parenting, teaching, children, or living a whole, happy, healthy, and rich life."

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Okay so no dice. Steve will just have to help me with it later tonight. I downloaded the file but can't figure out the directions. Kids are still sleeping (nice long nap today! Which is good because Betty is coming tonight to give them dinner and this way they'll be good for her) so it's on to writing the 2nd quarter of S.S. I purchased some Christmas materials to review: Christmas Poems edited by John Hollander and J.D. McClatchy and The Christmas Star, from the Singing with Children series by Mary Thienes-Schunemann. I guess we'll be doing an Advent spiral and all kinds of things! This is all kind of new to me... we've done Christmas before in my family but this will be the first time I've done a Christmas Pageant or anything like that. After December, and our annual fundraiser for Heifer International (for which we get to make all different kinds of Christmas ornaments shaped like different animals), I plan to teach the children how to knit and we can use January and February to work on projects such as blankets and scarves for homeless shelters. If I get tired of working on curriculum, there's also the book by my bedside table, Forgotten Arts and Crafts by John Seymour. I'm completely absorbed by it!


October 5 - Today's theme was Book Buying Bonanza. I had a babysitter for the whole day so I could take Becca to the pediatrician (she sprained her wrist) and myself to the dentist and for a haircut plus myriad other errands. In between I stopped by Second Looks Books, our awsome local used bookstore, to look for a copy of the Vegetarian Epicure Book 2 which is out of print and didn't even make it to the cookbook section; I got stuck in Children's. They gave me a great volume discount but I still spent all of this week's homeschool budget plus some of the Christmas money. I guess books will be a part of this year's Christmas gifts! Here's my new stash:

There's more but I'll type them in tomorrow; I'm going to bed.

I can't wait for book swap time, to get some of these new ones out!

October 4 - Not nearly as chirpy as I was last time... now I'm down here completely exhausted. Let's see. Today is Wednesday. So, backing up, Monday afternoon we drove to the church to get my potting soil, which I left behind, and planted our wheatgrass seeds. The kids also each got a little bag of grapes as a snack -- we ran into one of the church women preparing dinner for the Lion's Club and she gave the girls some of the extra grapes -- so that was fun. It's nice to see people who've known me and my husband since we were children. Her daughter was in high school with me. Carrie came Monday night to rave reviews. The children just love her. Steve and I moved the furniture, putting Becca's crib in the little room and Natalie and Leah's twin beds in the other room. I sat with them from 8 pm to 9 pm so they would fall asleep successfully, without keeping one another awake and goofing off until late at night. In the last house, when they shared a room, we had Natalie fall asleep on our bed and then we'd move her when we got ready to go to sleep. They sleep fine in the same room and love waking up in the morning together; it's just falling asleep that is tricky. I'd rather sit in there with them than come back every few minutes to yell at them. So that's what we decided.

Tuesday I taught Natalie how to play Conker Skittles (from All Year Round). I know we did other things but I'm blanking right now. I kept thinking all day yesterday, I have to get downstairs to my blog, but then I didn't. So whatever cherished memory I was trying to preserve is now gone. :-( They didn't go to sleep until 11 pm last night so I was filled with trepidation for today. And things went badly, too, but just not in the way that I expected.

This morning was Natalie's cooking class so we dropped her off and then I took the other kids to the post office and grocery store for some quick errands. When we got back, Natalie handed me a plate of pizza and a bowl of salad, which she had made at her class and wanted to take home for lunch. So as we were walking out of the building, I had only one hand and that was for Becca. The other two took off running down the ramp, headed for the parking lot. As I was calling to them to stop, Becca lost her balance and fell and I pulled her arm trying to get her back on her feet quickly so I could scoop her up and dash after the kids. Well, we spent the whole afternoon in the emergency room because I thought I may have dislocated her wrist. The X-rays show that she's fine but her arm is sore. I guess I yanked it harder than I meant to. Anyway I was frantic all day thinking that I had been such a terrible mommy and my mother had to come get the kids and take them home from lunch, then come back up to the hospital with them to pick us up (meaning the children got NO naps at all). There was no way I could take all 3 to the emergency room by myself. I may have been overreacting -- but when I went to put her in the minivan she was crying and touching her arm and I couldn't get through to the pediatrician so I called my husband and he said take her to the ER. Better safe than sorry. So anyway, no naps for anyone with that hectic afternoon. And then this evening, Natalie and Leah broke their clay bowls into chunks and proceeded to write all over the playroom walls. So if anyone was trying my suggestion of having their children make dishes for the play kitchen out of self-hardening clay, be forewarned! Steve and Natalie are trying to clean it off right now and I am taking a break and decompressing. Tomorrow I'm taking Rebecca to the pediatrician first thing. The ER doctor said there was nothing wrong with her, it was just sore and to give her some Motrin but I still feel like I should take her to her regular doctor as well.

My grandparents are coming into town so I was going to spend the whole day cleaning the house because they haven't seen our new house yet and I know we'll have to invite them over for lunch at some point... but I got nothing done today.

Oh, I know what I was going to say about Tuesday. I had picked a final color choice for Rebecca's new room on Monday (Amazon Moss -- a deep green, very soothing) and wanted to get fabrics for curtains, bedding, throw pillows, and a rug so we all went to the fabric store, Hancock Fabrics. We had a great time! The kids loved examining all the colors and textures of all the rolls of fabric and I got some real deals in the remnants piles. I got a moss green with delicate gold butterflies for the curtains, a demin with embroidered flowers (using the same green plus a dark red) for the bedspread, a perfectly-sized scrap of red/brown for a carpet to go by her bed, and a wonderfully textured cream piece for accent pillows. I am so excited. This will be my first foray into the world of REAL decorating, since we were not in a financial position to do anything more than try to put food on the table when we were first married. Now I'm all gung-ho about my new venture. I plan to make a binder with all the paint chips and swatches of each fabric, plus a graph paper diagram of the room to scale and pockets in the back for receipts and owner's manuals for anything I buy. Like maybe a new light fixture. Anyway, that's my current project. That and writing the second quarter of the Sunday School program. I started buying books for Christmas. I also ordered my Christmas cards yesterday. Every year Christmas takes me by surprise and I'm determined this time to stay ahead of the game. Next I have to make the portrait appointment for the children. Oh, and I also began dry felting a scene to hang on the wall of Becca's room. I am doing a hillside with a sunset behind it and trees and a pond with ducks and so on. I'll take a picture when I'm done if I remember. Dry felting is a wonderful thing! So quick and easy and it's simple to change your design if you change your mind.

Anyway, Steve just came downstairs and said he wants me to do a little rabbit story with Natalie tonight to try and see if something's on her mind, with Becca being at the hospital and so on. Off I go.

October 2 - The beginning of a new month is always a time for new resolutions for me. This month is a new daily/homeschool planner, a new system for keeping track of receipts, and a renewed dedication to doing "school" with my children. Somehow it hasn't been coming together lately so with my new planner taken firmly in hand, I am setting aside times of the day devoted to each of our preschool subjects:

    Music & Movement
    Art
    Nature
    Cooking
    Play
    Handwork
    Helping
    Stories

This morning at 9 am we did a little music lesson with all three girls. We sat on pillows on the playroom floor and sang "Good Day" -- that's the one that goes

    When dogs get up in the morning, they always say Good Day
    When dogs get up in the morning, they always say Good Day
    Woof, Woof, Woof, Woof
    That is what they say, they say
    Woof, Woof, Woof, Woof
    That is what they say.

And so on with other animals. Then we played with rhythm sticks (I have 3 kids and 4 sticks so we did partners -- each of the children and I got one stick and we practiced shaking them in the air, which made no sound, and then hitting the sticks of our partners. I was trying to emphasize how we have to work together to make music). We took turns who was holding and who was hitting and then switched to the other person sitting next to us to play our rhythm sticks with them. That was all I had planned but the kids were still looking excited and expectant so I told them we were going to play a clapping game and then we would be done. So I had them imitate me and clapped slowly, then quickly, over my head, behind my back, on my knees, on the bottoms of my feet, and so on. The whole thing took about 10 minutes. We had a great time! I really felt like Super-Mommy. I called my husband all proud of myself. He gives me a ton of money for school and I get lots of useful books, children's toys, and I pay for all of our family field trips as well as their activities (so it's not like I'm spending it getting myself new clothes...) but sometimes I feel like I'm not spending as much time interacting with them as he would like me to, considering all the money he is spending on school. So hopefully we can make some changes in that department, with more organized activities and a firm daily plan. I always sound so organized on here but that's mostly because when I'm having my disorganized times, I don't have time to sit on the computer and document them because I'm running around like a frantic chicken. :-)

This afternoon the plan was to plant wheatgrass seeds (I'd soaked some for Sunday School but we ran out of time with that lesson so now I have two jars of them on the kitchen counter and I have to plant them before they rot) but I forgot to bring the potting soil home from church so Steve is stopping on his way home from work to get it and then Natalie, Leah, and Rebecca can all plant seeds with Carrie (we've begun the new regular Monday night babysitting) as their activity while Steve and I rearrange the beds. Rebecca is moving up to a toddler bed and Leah and Natalie will be sharing a room. Ha ha. We've done so many combinations of beds over the past four years but, you know, kids are ever-evolving and you have to keep up with them. Janet came over Saturday night so Steve and I could go to Tavern Night at the 1812 Reenactment and she said she had a terrible time getting Leah and Natalie to each calm down, stop coming out of their rooms and to just go to sleep and she wished she had the option to lay down with them both at the same time. I was planning on moving Becca upstairs with a mattress on the floor anyway so Janet's comments got me thinking. We'll see how it goes! I love rearranging furniture, I'm practically a fanatic. When I was a new mom I had a nurse who came by once a month to check on me and answer any questions (it was part of a low-income health insurance program I was in, really excellent) and she would comment that every time she came I had rearranged the living room. Which is true. My decorating budget for October is reserved for the LR/DR/Kitchen area but in the Winter I'd like to paint all of the bedrooms. I guess if we keep things the way they are, Rebecca's will be green and Leah/Natalie's will be pink. That way if we have another baby, all the girls can go in the pink room and the baby, boy or girl, will get the green one which is smaller. I had chosen these two paint colors before but had a problem because the daughter in the to-be-green room requested pink and the daughter in the to-be-pink room requested green. This way I can just tell Natalie that her room is pink for right now and, no doubt, when she gets older the two littlies will share and N will get her own space which puts her back in the green room, no problem.

Of course, the colors of the rooms may change between now and then...

I love starting new months fresh with all kinds of ideas!


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