"The real winners in life are people who look at every situation with an expectation that they can make it work or make it better." - Barbara Pletcher

Thursday, August 30, 2012

School Ramblings

I've thought to myself about a dozen times this week, "I love this schedule.  This is actually working really well. Oh my gosh. Yay!" all the while simultaneously recalling our first week of school last year when nothing seemed like it was going right.  Let me tell ya, it's nice to not feel like quitting life by mid-afternoon.  Really, really nice.  Rainbows and unicorns nice.

I love our new house, and I'm finally (slowly!) making these spaces feel more like ours.  Love, love love, the huge world map of Mitch's Great-Aunt's travels (the kids' Great-Great-Aunt!) that we framed and hung this weekend.  Even if this room wasn't our school spot, I think I'd love it there. 

We originally set up the school area in the basement near the computer.  The kids each had their own student desk, and there are tons of shelves down there...seemed logical.  Then, it seemed like toward the end of last year we were hauling school upstairs to the kitchen table nearly every single day.  Even with the baby monitors, I just didn't feel like I was close enough to the nappers who were all the way up on the 2nd level.  Plus, I like to multitask.  Don't tell the homeschool police on me, ok?  I like to start dinner, run a load of dishes, write a grocery list, etc. etc. etc. while the kids are working.  I like this whole scenario times one million when it's snowy outside.  It just feels so right to have something in the oven while my big kids are working at the table and my littlest ones are napping.  Homeschool Heaven.

So...I really wanted to make the dining room into the school room.  This summer I moved the desks upstairs, added a shelf, and thought it would work pretty well.  My husband did not like that idea.  He really wanted a table in there.  So, this is our compromise.  I sold the desks, bought a table (actually, he bought a table one night after I fell asleep before 8pm in a West Nile Virus induced 12-hour coma- wow!), consolidated our shelf by about a million percent and left the stuff we don't use daily downstairs.  I think it's working. 

It will be nice to have an extra table for when we have company.  However, just last weekend we had my brother's family over and we ended up eating in shifts and sitting on the bar stools and standing around with plates in our hands while the kids ate at the kitchen table...so...

Rowen and Maeson (on the afternoons he's home with us) are doing legit preschool with Ryleigh as their teacher.  Maeson will sit all afternoon and color, circle things, sort stuff, make patterns, fill out worksheets, make crafts.  He will be an excellent school student next year.  Rowen on the other hand, while very proud of his binder full of work, can tolerate about one worksheet's worth of instruction before he's done.  He will be less of a book learner, is my guess.  All three are in love with this arrangement for now. 

Reise is getting the hang of having to be on more of a schedule during the day as opposed to what she did last year: doing whatever she wanted while Ryleigh and Rugger slaved away working their fingers to the bone at the table.  :)  Ha!  I kid.  But, seriously, she does feel the change.  She's been saying things like, "I'm wasting all my time on this!"  She has things to do like change her baby's clothes or do Alece's hair.  Very important things, and she isn't super fond of being tied down to a schedule of chores and work!  She is very proud of herself for all that's she's learned so far.  I'm pretty confident she'll learn to read.  Eventually.

Four whole days into the new school year, and the three big school'ers are out on an all-day field trip with Gma Sue today.  They did their morning school before they left, and will likely (unless they're out super late, who knows!) finish their afternoon stuff when they get home.  Just sayin'.  If you're going to call the homeschool police on me for being a multitasking slacker teacher, we may as well get everything straight.

This is what the two preschoolers and I did all morning while the baby napped:

I'm told I am the "best train track builder, EVER".  We played several games of Memory Match and Hi-Ho-Cheerio, and ate drive-thru Chinese for lunch.  My charges are all asleep for the afternoon, so without any school to manage, I'm going to go do something crazy like clean all 4 bathrooms in a row...or mop the kitchen floor...or maybe just sit still and eat a Snickers while I scroll thru my Twitter feed.  One of those things!


Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Sunday Fun

Sunday after church, groceries, and Sam's Club lunch (just recently discovered, the Sallingers are big fans!)...a fun afternoon at the apple orchard. 

Mitch had never been, the weather started out awesome (turned warm-ish, but not terrible), and it was do this or peel wallpaper.  No brainer. 

The wallpaper must come down this week, so another mostly-pictures post it is! 

It got pretty sticky/humid/warm by the end.  Everyone was fairly worn out, and we hauled about a million pounds of apples to the barn to be weighed.  Turns out, if you happen to forget that they only accept cash, even if your total is in the $70-$80 range...they will bill you.  No joke!  The woman at the register didn't seem phased in the least.  She whipped out a handwritten note and stuck it in my bag, then waved me on towards the door.  When Mitch, clearly stunned and hesitating, inquired about debit she said, "sweetheart, we don't even have a phone line out here!"   Hilarious!  Only in rural Nebraska, huh?  Love it.  

We threw together two apple pies when we got home, still loving that magic apple peeler ;)  Fun times. Love a good Sunday with my favorites. 

I'm off to scrape my walls!


Tuesday, August 21, 2012


Because, there's not really much going on around here...but so much going on at the same time. Etc. additional odds and ends; extras.  

Clearly, if there's a battle between me having enough time to blog and my West Nile getting enough sleep, the latter is winning.  People have been asking me if I'll wear bug spray from now on, or if I would have skipped that trip...No and No. I am not a fan of DEET, and we had a blast on our trip. We left for that trip knowing it wasn't going to be particularly relaxing. That wasn't the point. The goal was to celebrate a big anniversary, spend time with family, have fun and make memories with our kids. Check. Check. Check. Missions accomplished. It was worth it. The fact that a few things went awry in the end was no big shock or major disappointment for me. It was handled with lots of humor because that's just how I roll. This is life. Thank you to those of you who care and ask how I'm feeling. The answer is, much better. The last few days, I would even say close to normal when I've gotten enough sleep.  The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services is "investigating" our cluster of illness (at least 5 members of Mitch's extended family were infected during that trip!).  I'm hopeful a major news station will pick up our story.  Can you say, Made-For-TV-Movie???!!!  HAHA, I hope you know I'm totally kidding. :)

Last baseball game of the season...

This kid! 

Nice job, Buccaneers!

The kids love my cousin, and his birds.

Cashed in some TCBY coupons before the pool one afternoon...

Last pool days of the summer...sniff, sniff...so sad.

Met my parents in Omaha for some Imax and Zoo action!

Swung thru the Lancaster County Super Duper Hooper Fair on the way home...

Farmer's Market for breakfast, delish!

Met some friends for a Saltdogs game and Ivanna Cone over the weekend.

The kids participated in the Summer Reading Program thru the library, and got to walk in a parade before the game.  Notice, Rowen declined the parade.  Hahaha!  He is so funny.  Just a simple, "no fanks".  I wasn't going to argue!  We sat and watched.

Reise is slowly gaining interest in school.  She was gung-ho for about 45 seconds last year, and really just didn't care enough to stick with anything.  This year it's less of an option, and she's coming around.  We haven't officially started for the year, but she's writing thank you notes, etc. to get some practice.  In her leotard and tights, of course.

In other very random news, our chickens haven't started laying yet, but we're checking every day.  Those girls better get busy.  It's been a long summer feeding, watering, raking and scooping, and it all pays off when we find that first egg!!  At least, that's what I keep telling the kids.  Whoever finds it, gets to eat it! :)

Our daytime house is so quiet now that my summer kids have gone back to school and my school year daycare kids are back.  They all nap.  It's super weird.  We are waiting for a few books to arrive via UPS yet, and will probably start school this week or next, because the kids are ready.  I was hoping to hold off 'til after Labor day because that just seems right :) but I'm not going to discourage them if they want to start now. 

I managed to convince all my kids to nap this afternoon, took a one-hour snooze myself, and finished this post!  Things are feeling pretty normal today ;) YEA!

That is all!  Later, gators,