September 30, 2009

Worn Out Wednesday

We've been running around for the past two days, both Hannah and I with colds. We've had fun, but we're ready for some rest!

Here are some pictures to hold you over until we're sociable again!

September 25, 2009

I've got a secret....

And I won't tell.


Not even if you make me giggle.

My lips are sealed.

And I won't listen to you.

You can't make me spill the beans!



If you say "Pretty Please" and promise to buy me a chocolate milk shake.


You win.

My secret is......

I've got a new smile!

My doctor said I was the best kid he had all day! I was worried a little bit, but it wasn't so bad! It only took 35 minutes, and it didn't hurt at all.

My lips and cheeks are a little tender now. But that just means I get to have more raspberry sherbet. Thank you very much.

September 24, 2009

Fall Baseball Season

Hannah's on the Phillies again this fall! She was excited to have her cousins come to cheer her on when they visited last week!

However, that didn't stop her from sitting down on the job in the outfield!

And here she is, getting her groove on.

(I don't know why there is a sideways shot. Not to worry, the video is
oriented correctly.) (Not that there's anything wrong with that.)

September 23, 2009

Numicon sampler

I've had many questions about Numicon, so I thought I'd make a little video from our first day back at school. Everything in the video is review for Hannah, but she really had not touched any of it for nearly 5 months.

When we bought Numicon, we had to order it from England, but Hooray for Downsedusa! They are now a re-seller of Numicon, so it's available for sale here in the states. It's still pricey. The Firm Foundations kit that we use is $173 plus shipping (but it's currently out of stock). We also have the Conversion to Kit 1, which is what we'll primarily be using this year.

For those of you coming into the thread late, I suggest you look at my previous Numicon posts (found on the "Label" menu to the right---> ).

This is a pretty long video, and only you die hard readers and potential math teachers will want to watch it in entirety. Sorry for the poor video quality--I grabbed Hannah's digital camera since that's what was nearby. I will probably do some more of this kind of thing, since it's really difficult to understand how Numicon works by just reading about it.

Hannah gets a little silly for the camera. And, towards the end of the video you can hear a little bit of her newest speech issue--a slight stutter on the letter N. "N-n-n-n-numicon emergency!!!"

September 21, 2009

First day of school!

Good Morning Student!

Here are some of your subjects for this year.

Let's review Numicon shapes while I prepare the rest of the lesson.

Now, make all variations of 10.

Our day went well, and we did manage some enthusiasm! We reviewed lots of old stuff, and started on the new as well. Hannah chose to begin with her new Health books (of course). Then she chose reading, geography, Numicon (video coming soon), spelling, penmanship, Thinking Skills (love these books), fine motor (made/colored/cut a puzzle), and piano (always last). She cooked her lunch (Annie's Macaroni and Cheese), and now she's painting. We have dance this afternoon, and then we're done!

If only I can make it a routine, then we'll be set!


A funny:

Hannah chose four colors for her puzzle. One was a yellow, labeled "canary". We briefly talked about what a canary is.

When she was done coloring, I was glanced over and saw that the yellow was so very light.

Mom: Oh, that yellow is very light.

Hannah: Yes....(thinking) light as a feather!

September 20, 2009

Back in time...

What a busy week! My mom, sister, nieces and nephew came to visit. We spent the week commuting to Colonial Williamsburg and Jamestown. Whew! I drove nearly 800 miles...that's crazy! But we all had a great time.

Hannah liked the Millinery shop, where she got to see some lovely gowns.

The Silversmith and the Wigmaker were also favorites.

We didn't have much trouble with the kids behavior once they had a taste of the stocks...

Hannah explored playing a harpsichord.

And we were all interested in the historic garden, from pathways and interesting plants....we learned that cotton is in the hibiscus family.

Mary didn't mind toting water from the well! Really!

Here is Stevie, a little revolutionist!

Maggie liked dipping candles.

And Hannah liked the shopping. Here, Mary and Maggie are choosing a doll for Hannah. Do you think it's a little large?

Chris was able to sneak away from college for a little fun too!

It was a great week, and we're all exhausted. It's hard to believe that tomorrow is the First Day of School! I think I can, I think I can, I think I can....

September 12, 2009

Amazing Company 'd'

I saw this on E is for Everything. I just love it! I hope that Hannah's dance movement class will grow and grow to be as wonderful as this is. It makes me want to move to Memphis! I'm not a really sentimental person, but this actually got me a little teary.

September 11, 2009

Weather and Dinosaurs

Today we're talking about dinosaurs.

Did you know, according to Hannah, that the full name is Iguanodonald? They just call him Iguanodon for short.
Yesterday, we went outside and it was blustery. I said, "It's really windy". She said, "Yes, just like your good friend Windy Saunders!!"

September 9, 2009

Gittin' my schoolin' on.

Not yet.

I think I am procrastinating on starting school with Hannah because I want to live in the past! We had such a whirlwind summer that I'd like a second summer to enjoy lazy days in the sun. But clearly that isn't going to happen...the weather is turning cooler and it's been raining for 24 hours (a glimpse of sun this morning, but more rain on its way).

I have been preparing for school, really. Kinda. It's just that we just haven't actually started school yet. We're not changing much in her curriculum, but I am adding a unit on Health. I decided on a 3rd grade program from Alpha and Omega. This is the first non-secular bit of curriculum that I have purchased in over a decade. I'm not opposed to religion-based programs, but I found that they generally aren't as academically rigorous as other options. And I prefer to take care of spiritual/religious education needs without having to filter out the more conservative points of view many Christian homeschool products include. (Yes, I am a Christian theological liberal.) So it's a little odd to use the Alpha and Omega health curriculum. I chose it because there aren't that many options for Health curricula, and, it was inexpensive, so if it turns out to be lousy, I won't have lost much in the deal. (Gee, so optimistic, aren't I?)

Hannah is "technically" in 5th grade this year. Her academic skills are scattered. I'd guess that she's reading on a solid 4th grade level, but she has trouble with chapter books because of the concentration of text. She is using more and more phonics for unfamiliar words (which is amazing because I haven't really taught her any phonics). For math, it's harder to guess where she'd fall, since we're still not doing paper and pencil arithmetic (we quit that 2 years ago--see here for more information). I have been pleased with her growing ease with numbers this summer. We have not done ANY formal academic work since May, but she mentally adds and subtracts when needed. Hannah wants to learn cursive this year, which we will probably start in January. She'll need some review, plus she needs more focus on spelling so she has something to actually write! She has great print penmanship, and she still loves to draw and color.

Next week my sister and her three youngest children will be coming to stay with us! We will all be studying colonial times, with field trips to Colonial Williamsburg, Jamestown and Yorktown. My mom is coming as well, to be an extra set of hands! It should be lots of fun; Hannah is very excited to host her cousins (she breathily whispers their names, "Maaaary, Maaaggie, Steeeevie", then gives an excited grin)! For you homeschoolers who don't know about Colonial Williamsburg's Homeschool days, it's a great opportunity to enjoy the area very inexpensively (admission $5 each). Jamestown and Yorktown have similar discounts and special classes for homeschoolers during the two week period. They have homeschool days in the fall and again in the spring. We live about 90 minutes away from Williamsburg, so we'll be commuting, but there are area hotels that offer discounts for these weeks as well.

This fall Hannah is going to be doing many of the same extracurricular activities as she did last year, though, because of our schedule, I did not sign her up for the homeschool co-operative classes for this fall session. We hope to join in during the winter session--she really loves her art and science classes there.

Piano lessons, swim lessons (new teacher, a recreational therapist!), theater class, dance movement, Miracle League baseball, TOPSoccer and Girl Scouts. She thrives on this stuff--she loves to be busy. It's a good thing she's an "only" child too--we definitely didn't keep up this pace when the others were younger!

Hope everyone else is having a good start to school! We'll catch up to you one of these days. Maybe. In the meantime, don't be too jealous that Hannah and I get to spend the day picking raspberries and making banana bread.

September 7, 2009

Happy Birthday Kate!

Whoohoo! 21 years!!!

It's hard to believe that 20 years ago she looked like this:

And now she looks like this:
Ever since she was about six years old she has shunned Birthday Cake. Instead, she gets a Birthday Pie! Her birthday is really on Friday (yes, 9-11), but we celebrated early because Kate is heading to Minnesota to celebrate her birthday with her college friends!

P.F. Changs was delicious. I think that she ordered her final Shirley Temple for the rest of her life!

Happy Birthday Kate! We love you!

September 4, 2009

Kate's Departure

This week Kate got her final paperwork from the Peace Corps. It was exciting and overwhelming at the same time! She will be leaving home on October 22nd, heading for Washington D.C. for two days, and then flying to The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan!

Once in Jordan she will be attending language classes for three months along with other new Peace Corps volunteers. She will live with a local family which will help her learn Arabic and acclimate to the culture. After she completes her training, she will be sent to a rural or semi-rural area to help teach at a day-care/school or residential setting for children with physical or developmental disabilities. She will remain in Jordan for a total of 27 months!

Kate will need a new wardrobe, since women in Jordan keep themselves covered with loose fitting clothes from their neck to wrists to ankles. Form fitting clothes are not acceptable there, and she will wear a head-covering (not a burkha, but a hijab or scarf). This will be an interesting transition for Kate I think, since she is somewhat into fashion.

We are proud of Kate, starting out in the world, working to make life better for children who need help! This is a HUGE adventure, with the real possibility of having limited communication (what young American adult can imagine not having internet or a cell phone???), and limited news from the rest of the world. We might even have to resort to old fashioned letter writing!

We'll (she'll) have a busy seven weeks to prepare and pack...she'll need winter clothes (yes, it gets cold there), a new laptop (power source? Unknown), and oh, I can't even think it through!

September 3, 2009

Today was Hannah's first orthodontic appointment. They needed to get records, so she had x-rays, photographs, and finally molds of her teeth. She was cheerful through all of it until the molds. The tech surprised her with the cold mucky putty. Hannah immediately teared up. She did NOT like it. Fortunately it didn't take long for the mold to set, so she had some time to recover before they did the upper teeth.

I think she didn't like it because it had a minty scent/taste. She can't stand mint at all. (I get to eat all the Thin Mint Girl Scout cookies!)

She cried through the upper teeth mold too, but settled down with a little distraction with a Rainbow Fairies book.

Here's the finished product:

She goes back in a few weeks to get braces on her upper teeth. They'll add the lower braces in a few months.


We've been raising some caterpillars from our garden. I had been waiting and waiting for them to show up on our parsley, but I never saw them. I figured that the butterflies just missed us this year. Then I decided to clear out the carrot patch, and midway through I discovered a couple dozen caterpillars on the carrot tops! I never grew carrots in the summer before (and won't again--too bitter from the heat), so it didn't occur to me that they were also good nursery for black swallowtail butterflies.

We gave some to friends, and the rest we brought in to grow and transform in an aquarium.

Here is a picture of three chrysalides on a stick. It's interesting that two of them turned brown to match the stick, but the lower one remained green.

Today we had three butterflies emerge! It's so much fun to set them free!

Listen carefully--Hannah whispers to the butterfly, "You're beautiful."

And today I found tiny baby caterpillars on my parsley!! So we'll have another round of caterpillar daycare. (Any locals who would like to have some bugs, just let me know!)

September 1, 2009

Not so

Well, I knew there would come a time when someone would be mean to Hannah. Everybody gets their feelings hurt on occasion. It's bound to happen.

Today was Hannah's day.

I don't have all the details, because Hannah couldn't or wouldn't explain very much about the situation.

We went to the gym this morning for the first time in many weeks (travel, guests, my back injury). There is a Kids Zone at the gym, and Hannah usually hangs out in the habitrail tunnel climbing thingy and stakes out an upper corner where she gets a good view of whatever DVD is playing. There are many activities for the kids, generally divided by age grouping, but she usually prefers to get in some free screen time in the big room. She stays in the kids' area while I do my cardio, then I usually have her join me for the weight machines. She likes to do the stationary bike (very slowly).

Today there were many many kids--it's only one week away from public school starting and I think the parents are starting to get antsy and want to get some space! The bigger kids were in the kids' gym playing games, but Hannah chose to stay in the main play room with the younger kids.

When I went back to get Hannah, I couldn't see her in the crowd, nor up in her regular crow's nest perch. The workers called out for her, and found her in the depths of the tunnel labyrinth. I could tell that she had not had much fun.

When we went into the locker room, I asked her what was wrong. Her glasses were filmy with dried tears.

She said, "They called me an Alien. They said I was an Alien. I'm NOT an Alien." Then she cried.
I tried to find out if the kids were playing outer space or something, but apparently not.

From what I can piece together, there were a couple of boys, probably around 6 or 7 years old, who decided to harrass her. They repeatedly called her an Alien. Of course, the first thing I thought was that it was their way of describing how she is different. But I don't know that. It could be that they were playing Buzz Lightyear. She said, "No, they weren't playing. They were being bad."

I guess it's time to start working on come-backs so she has a script to use in cases like these. We usually do role playing--lately we've been working on getting her to recognize when someone is playfully teasing, and what an appropriate response should be. We'll have to broaden that to include ignoring people who are rude and mean.

We left the locker room, and went out to the pool. It's been chilly the past few days, so I let Hannah take a dip at the gym instead of freezing at the neighborhood pool. (I am so dang nice like that.)

Right after she got in the pool, a girl about her age swam up and wanted to play with her. They played together happily for nearly an hour! It was just the remedy we both needed. It also didn't hurt that I witnessed Hannah win an informal swimming race, fair and square.

Tonight we talked about what to say and do when someone is bothersome. We'll keep working on it. Hopefully the next time she feels marginalized she'll have a way to stand up for herself a little more. I considered telling her that she could respond by saying that she was a legal US citizen, but what are the chances that someone else will call her an Alien???