Learn the dance.. Live the dance.. Teach, talk and dance the dance!

"I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth." 3 John 1:4

Friday, December 30, 2011

A breakthrough of sorts

"The child who craves social interaction the most, may be the very child we need to protect the most from peer dependence. "  (Credit will be given at the end of the blog).

The sentence resonated with me.  I have been on the homeschool fence yet again, because I am struggling with a HUGE case of Mommy-guilt.  Caitlynn likes her school so much, the toys we don't have here, the friends, the painting abilities (cause mommy doesn't want to deal with the mess that accompanies everyone painting...namely a two year old brother..), the sense of independence... 

Through reading this article, and a couple more like it, I have realized that my fears about homeschooling are only because I am a product of the education system.  It is so ingrained in me that I try to make sure my homeschool will line up perfectly with any school in the States (which is impossible, since none of those school are alike).  I worry about when I should teach a certain subject, instead of realizing that as my kids ask questions or read new things, they will find out the information when it matters to them, and when they will be more likely to retain it.  Let's face it, I don't remember much of the schooling I memorized back then. 

"How much worse spending the best of one’s waking hours in a government school which teaches us to ignore God all day long, among teachers who cannot even mention God’s name; and among students who, if they do mention God’s name, do not mention it with reverence."

Another one of my pros for HS.  I want my children to know that God has everything in His hands- that everything we have and are is from Him.  What better way to teach this than to have them at home where I can explore with them and teach them what the Bible says about situations, people or places?

"Our children are to be well-honed in God’s commandments, sharp and accurate in applying them. Sharpening our children helps keep us sharp as well."

I know this is more about teaching our children God's ways, but it also made me think about how excited I am that I will get to refresh my memory on so many things that my kids will learn in the next year. 

Source-  http://www.triviumpursuit.com/articles/7_und_trs_hsing.php 
© Copyright by Harvey Bluedorn. All rights reserved.

Anyhow, I just had these thoughts racing around in my head as I read, so I thought I would set them down so I could re-read in a few months.  (Most likely when I will need a pick-me-up, or have a day where I wonder why I decided to homeschool).  :D

Monday, December 26, 2011

Quick picture update

I had to take a couple more pictures of the kids for the modeling agencies.. So far, Jamie has been called twice now, once as an alternate that we had to turn down, cause Jon was working that day, and we would have had to leave at 5 am to get there on time.  They just called this afternoon and asked for Jamie to work 6 January.. lol.. we will see how it goes.  Anyhow, here are the pics. :)

My favorite! <3

They thought I had all boys, so I had to send one that showed her hair better..lol

Friday, December 23, 2011

Let it snow! :)

Ok... so I made it further through the December Dailies than I thought I would.  Life got in the way, as usual, and while I continued to take pictures, I never had time for a whole week to sit at the computer.  None of them got edited or put onto a cute page, so I'm jumping back in with yesterday's. :) 

A little backstory-  we were down in Yongsan (1.5 hours south, close to Seoul) at the PX eating lunch, and a lady came up, bearing a business card.  She asked if she could take our children's pictures (which isn't uncommon here, although it doesn't really happen that much).  Its not awkward like it would be in the states.. lol.. Anyhow, she takes a few iPhone pics and asks me to email her some good pictures of them later.  Turns out, she's a modeling rep looking for children to do clothing photos.  lol.. She points straight at Jacob and says, " I have an OshKosh shoot, and he is the perfect size and age, could you come to Yongsan soon?"   (Insert dropped jaw here). 

Anyhow, about an hour later, Jacob and I were heading to meet Jon and the other two in the book section of the PX, when a second lady came up behind us and did the same thing, just from a different agency! :D

I got a call on Wednesday, actually, because they had a toddler shoot the next day, but the one lined up was slightly sick, and they needed a backup.  They needed us there at 7am, though, which wouldn't be possible, since Jon has the car that early in the morning.  Also, I'm lazy and didn't want to get up at 5am to catch a train with 3 sleepy kids at 530am.  EEk!

So anyhow, these are the pictures that I'm going to email to both ladies (NOT on the scrapbook page, though)!  :D

Saturday, December 10, 2011

not back to the regularly scheduled post...

Just a quick note to myself... slow down!!

Thursday was spent getting ready for the IPR and planning an entire party.. which wasn't actually needed.  Urg.  Things got misconstrued, and basically we wasted alot of time, but hey, good things did come of it.  Now we know what we are doing, so we can move forward. 

I do have pictures from each day (even if its only one, like today's)!  I will work on them tomorrow, since I will be spending the day in my pajamas!  (Well, hopefully).  I had a fairly good newborn session today that I will be working on also. 
My new class starts Monday, I'm volunteering in Cait's class Wednesday for a little bit, and then Jacob's class Friday.  He has a breakfast with a movie deal going on.  Cait's class party is Friday at noon, and then the whole school has an assembly at 1.  Not sure how much of that we will actually DO, but it all sounds fun, and is fairly short.  We will be home right after Jamie's regular nap time, so hopefully we can get most of it in.  Jon will be off that day, so he will get to be with us for it all. :)

Anyhow.  Its late, the lunar eclipse is pretty much over (I'll post my 2 photos tomorrow), and I'm going to curl up with my new book (123 Magic) and watch The Santa Clause 3 with Jon.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Decision-making time

Once again, our family has to make a decision.  Well, Jon and I do.  The kids will be able to voice their wants, but ultimately, it will be Jon's decision.  We are supposed to leave here mid-March.  My kids are in 1st grade and pre-k here, but in the new state, they would have gone to 2nd and K (because of how late their birthdays are). 
So.. do we let them stay in school and make a rushed trip home before heading to Carson?  We will fly into NY to get my car and visit family, then make the 3 day drive to TX (and that is straight through with hardly any stops), and spend a couple of days visiting family and friends there before making the 2 day drive to CO.  We would have to rush to CO in order to get them registered during the last week of March (which is CO's spring break) so they could start up on 2 April.  They would have all of April and all of May to finish 1st and pre-k, unless they were bumped up into the higher grades due to their age.
Do we pull them now (since school ends next week for winter break), and homeschool them in the 2nd and K grades that they might get to go into in CO? 
Or do we homeschool them slowly (from January til August, or possibly just March-August) through 2 and K, and then let them enroll into 3rd and 1st in August 2012? 

This is all frustrating for me, because in spite of much praying and weighing pros and cons, nothing is clear.  And getting not-so-great reports from Jacob's teacher regarding his inability to focus, sit still, etc, doesn't really help. He is distracting his classmates by wiggling, crab walking, trying to sit on his head during carpet time, etc.  Each day he comes home with a not so good color (yellow, orange or red, the 1, 2, 3 strikes you're out basically), he doesn't get to play games at home (meaning the computer, his DSi, or the iPhone apps we let him play).  Which means that he only really plays games on weekends, and occasionally 1-2 days per week. 
And yes, before anyone thinks that I don't want the rules to apply to my kids.. I know that they need to be able to listen to other authority figures than just Jon and I.  For the most part, my children do not have a problem listening to other adults- as long as that adult has made clear the rules and that they will not get away with breaking them.  As for socialization, I don't really give a fig if someone thinks my children need to be around huge groups of kids their age in order to be well-rounded.  That's just dumb.  They get a better feel for how to deal with people of all types and ages by going places with Jon and I, paying rent, grocery shopping, being out in public at all, etc.  And they get plenty of time around other kids their age, as well as older and younger, by playing on the playground or seeing other homeschoolers.

All this stress over school isn't something I expected to feel.  I grew up thinking that when your kid turned 5, they went to school, and graduated around age 18, went to college, etc.  Knowing that most homeschoolers do better on tests than public school kids, though, and knowing that my kids don't conform to 'average' or 'normal', knowing that our day doesn't have to be 7 hours long to finish a day's work, being a military family that might be moving every couple of years, other things like that lean me towards homeschooling. 
But worrying about whether or not I will miss teaching them something important (like national holidays and their significance or how to read music, how to diagram sentences, proofreading, etc), or thinking about all the fun things that I got to do in school that they won't (choir, spelling bees, field trips with friends, etc) makes me want to suck it up and let them attend school.  On the other hand, I know that if we had a homeschool co-op, the kids would be able to attend most of those things I just listed.  We never really fit in at our last duty station, and there isn't a co-op here.  There are several families that HS, but half of them are about 20-30 minutes away, and the other ones have older kids.
Yes, its easier when its just Jamie and I at home- I accomplish more chores faster, but then sometimes, we really just sit around the house and play for a bit, watch a cartoon, play some more, read a book, eat, nap, and it feels so purpose-less (even though I know the one on one is great for Jamie).  There are always things that can be done around the house, but I admit, a good book distracts me pretty easily some days.  When I had the kids at home, we had a purpose, and a loose schedule to the way we did things.  I guess I miss the schedule- maybe I need to tweak the one I have now.. Ugh.. I don't know.

I don't know if its just being homesick, or stress about figuring this school stuff out, both, or maybe I am just depressed, but sometimes, I just want out.  I just want to be able to sit around and do nothing all day but read, have a good snack, or just do whatever I want for once, without 5 million intrusions.  I don't want to do that repeatedly, but man, once would be nice.  I feel like life and I haven't really 'clicked' lately.  I'm still interested in my activities, but I feel like I'm a shell sometimes. 
And this is a really long and rambling post, so I apologize if you were expecting to see my December Daily for the last couple of days.  I do have the pictures, but I ended up working on another project last night, and I'm about to hit the hay for tonight- I have an early start to make tomorrow. 

Anyhow.. if anyone made it to the end of this, pray for me, will ya?  I don't know what end is up anymore, and I'm starting to drag. 

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

December daily #7

We didn't really do much today, just got to hang out at home and catch up the laundry. James helped me make a snowman, I added the tinsel to the tree, and I'm going to go finish sewing Jacob's pajama pants for tomorrow's Pajama Day at school.  He doesn't own any since he outgrew the last pair.  :D

 Tomorrow we get to go on post to the Education Center to get my paperwork signed, and then we have an IPR for the Christmas social and the orphanage party. :) Should be fun.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

December Daily 6

Here is what we did today!  We started out early by taking the kids to school (shoot me, I wanted to sleep in, and NO ONE was awake at 715 when I stumbled out.  They have to catch the bus at 725- not happening this morning). Then I came home, took Jon back to work, and headed to the Ed center to find out that my college was closed today.  Urg.  Picked up Rachel, went back to the school, filled out alternate guardian paperwork (yet another reason I'm starting to hate dealing with this school), and finally headed out for CRC (another Army post about 30 mins away).  Get there early, stop at the 3 story Daiso, find flat tire on the way out.  Gah.  Change tire (picture included at the end.. lol), meet with client (booking for a newborn session), go to McDonald's for lunch (HEAVENLY)!  BACK on post, this time to the gas station (can we say $3.98 per gallon for diesel, instead of 1,716 Korean won per LITER?) and to the vet's office for Rachel to pick up paperwork.  Whew.  Then, looking for my college branch located on this post, we stumble on the thrift store, which is (gasp) open!  My friend found a jogging stroller for $15!!  I got a pair of new sneakers for James for $3, two pairs of fleece lined overalls for James (score!), and a new pair of jeans for Cait, since she has busted the knees of almost every single pair of jeans.  Oh, and two new kids books and a pair of jeans for Jon (for $.50!!).  We decided to skip the commissary, since we now had three cranky children (ages 1, 2 and 4).  On the way home, they all crashed.  Surprise, surprise.. lol
Anyhow, we barely make it in time to get Jacob from the bus, and she calls to let me know they won't let her get him off the bus. I am literally 2 minutes from home, and she said the monitor wouldn't talk to me on the phone, and that since she already called the school, she HAS to return Jacob to the school.  GRRR.  So I turned at the light I was at, and made it to the school in 3 minutes, where the VP tells me that since it wasn't the correct stop (we use the bus stop at the 200's buildings, and she was at the second bus stop at the 300's, where she lives, which is about 200 yards away from ours), that it was for safety concerns, and the transportation policy states that children can't get off at a different stop.  Well, I read the policy when it was given to me back in August, and don't remember reading that at all.. so I asked them to email me the policy. Phooey. 
Anyhow, we play at home for about an hour (me folding laundry and straightening my room, the kids decompressing with a bit of Nick Jr.com and horsing around with each other)... Go pick up Jon, go to the tree ceremony, come home, eat dinner, and the kids were in bed half an hour later. :)  Jamie put himself to sleep tonight with barely any fussing.  WOOHOO!!  Its been a struggle to get him to stay in his bed and not ask to nurse every 5 minutes.  (and as I write this, I went to my room to get my phone, and found him stretched out under the covers on MY pillow, in my bed.. :D oh well, at least he put himself to sleep, right?).

Ok, I think my ranting is over.. I've run out of things to recap for myself. :)  Now, for the pictures.

Jacking up the van.
Happy December, ya'll!  I hope you're having fun this holiday season! :D

Monday, December 5, 2011

December daily- part two from yesterday, and Day 5

Here are some shots from our tree decorating last night.  I also took some random shots of some simple Korean decorations we picked up last year. Not that you can really tell they are from Korea, but hey, it works for me. :)

I made two items on my Pinterest Food board today.  First was the homemade hot chocolate. I tweaked it a bit, since it tasted heavily like unsweetened cocoa, and added another cup of powdered sugar. We made it with milk the second time, and it was delicious! Even better with a candy cane as a garnish! :)

Homemade hot chocolate
3 cups powdered sugar
1 cup cocoa (I used Hershey's, since its what I had)
2.5 cups powdered milk
1 tsp salt
2 tsp cornstarch
1 pinch cayenne pepper (optional)
hot milk

Heat your cup of milk in the microwave (60-90 seconds) and add 2 heaping TBSP's (for a full cup).  Stir with a candy cane or add marshmallows for an added treat.  Yum!

Dinner was Crockpot Orange Chicken.  I'm not going to re-post the recipe, because sadly, we didn't care for it too much.  I will make it again another time and tweak the recipe.  This one was WAY too much orange and a bit salty.  The kids ate it, but not as well as my friend's manicotti the other night! :D

Yay! I've made it to day 5 on the December Dailies! :D  Tomorrow night is the Camp Casey Tree Lighting Ceremony- this year, we are taking hats, gloves, and blankets!  We FROZE last year, even though they were handing out hot chocolate and treats.  I'll have to look through and see what I can come up with to bake for tomorrow. :)

Santa letter (free printable)

I am dipping my toes into making printables to share.  I have been extremely blessed to be able to decorate my house with some of the beautiful printables that I have found online, and would like to give back in the same manner.  Please let me know if it doesn't work on your end- my printer is out of ink, so I haven't been able to print it myself.  I hope its sized correctly! :)
Just right click and save the picture. Enjoy!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Catching up on my December Dailies

PSE didn't want to work for me the other night, which is why I blogged just the photos. But it has been working now, so here are my last two days, and today's pages.

I'm pretty sure that we will have a few more pictures when we decorate the tree after dinner, but I haven't decided if I will scrapbook them or just post them.
So far, the kids really like the felt tree- they get to stick and re-stick all the decorations.  Alpha (local Korean craft store) sells ready made kits with various items in it.  I swiped the Santa with a sleigh, and 2 little houses.  Next time I think I might go get the snowman, and we will cut out our own ornaments, too. 

Well, the manicotti is ready, so off to eat.  Then we will decorate the tree, and I plan to make some yummy coconut macaroons for dessert. :)
Maybe I'll even get around to sewing my Christmas pillow cover. Hehehe..

Thursday, December 1, 2011

December Daily- Day 1

Well, my PS Elements has decided it hates me tonight, I tried 3 times to create my scrapbook page, and it kept freezing up. So I am blogging about our evening. :)

After school, the kids got to play a bit and have snack.  We headed out before dinner to pick up Hillma and head on post for the Unit Christmas Tree Decorating Contest.  We had a paper chain, several types of Christmas ornaments from the local Korean dollare store Daiso, handmade crossed cannons, gingerbread men, Santas and colorful yarn hats.  Oh, and glittered up stars and snowflakes.  LOTS of decorations, as you can see above.  We got to go pick up Daddy afterwards, and he stayed home long enough to do our first Advent reading. 
It wasn't exactly the reading I was thinking it would be (I thought we'd be reading pieces of the Christmas story- that'll teach me to forget to look up the verses beforehand)! In all, though, the kids sat still and listened while we read John 3:1-21.  After Daddy headed back to post, we read day 1 of the Countdown to Christmas and then the kids got snuggled down in bed. 

So that was our fairly eventful but fun evening. :P  I had lots of cute little papers and decorations for the scrapbook page, but oh well.  Simple is good. :)

I was able to order the Elf on a Shelf and the Little People Nativity Set for the kids today- I'm excited for them!  I have a few creative ideas on where the Elf can be found, but I want to find a better explanation for him than "he's here to watch how you behave and he will tell Santa whether you've been good or bad."  I don't like thinking that my kids will be anxious over it, wondering if they will still get presents, etc.  Better behavior would be great, but not at the expense of their minds. :)  So far, I think he will have a snowball fight with cotton balls or marshmallows, and he will make a snow angel out of sugar, and make a little tent in the kids' rooms out of their clothes that are laid out. 
The nativity set will be for their play, but we will keep it set in the living room.  I can't wait to hear if they will retell the Christmas story with it. :)