Monday, June 30, 2008

Baby steps

An official announcement!

Oliver--just two days shy of 19 mos.--took a grand total of TWO steps unassisted today. These were his very first attempts at walking alone. Let it also be noted that his goal was reaching Logan and joining in on the soccer ball kicking that is somehow second nature to my husband and two bio boys.

I love this age.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Random thoughts on homeschooling

There's no way I'd know my children as well as I do if I sent them off to learn under someone else's wing all day.

My kitchen counters rival many libraries in terms of sheer variety of literature.

Logan will, someday, pick up a book and fall in love. Granted, it will probably be a biography of a painter.

I love looking ahead to next year.

I can't believe I only get to homeschool Jo for another six years or so.

The next Core is always the best Core.

How come it's summer and I'm trawling the internet, looking for fun day trips ... and they all have educational themes?

Am I the only one whose children take it for granted that when you plant something in the ground, you measure it and chart growth?

I tested Atticus' reading level online and even I'm impressed.

I am blessed.

My kids are fun little people with personality in spades.

Teaching is kind of like breathing. You just do it.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Because I like a good theological conversation as much as the next person...

I present for you this unedited comment, posted in response to my rant on shopping at Whole Foods:

Anonymous said...

I become disgusted with anyone who drives an SUV or other gas-guzzling car, who does not reduce their consumption, etc. Unless you used cloth diapers, recycle just about everything, and grow, preserve, and cook most of your own food, YOU are NOT being a good steward of creation. Stewardship means caring for creation and NOT being wasteful and selfish. Having a huge family and being wasteful and consumptive is just pure selfishness. Oh, and as far as the quiverfulll reasons for having a large family, PLEASE! Who interpreted that part of the bible? I could interpret it in many different ways if I THOUGHT I was supposed to "interpret" it. ALso, you may want to read more of the gospel of Paul, especially where he writes that those who are Chrisitans are best to NOT marry and to NOT have children, as they are distractions from what is the righteous way to live (e.g., a Christ-like life of piety and prayer, whether one was a MAN or a WOMAN, there were NO admonishments that women were lesser than men). ONLY THOSE who were too weak to resist temptation were told that marriage would be an option, but clearly Paul indicated that being unmarried and childless was preferable. DO any of you people read those parts of the scripture???? NO, your kind only want to interpret those pieces that uphold your selfish, wasteful ways of life.

While I have a handful of comments I'd like to make in regards to the finer points of Paul's directives for living in a Christ-like manner, I'm most interested in what you all have to say. Yes, that means I want a novel out of you, Angi! I'll post my own thoughts later.

NO SHOW... take 2

I haven't posted much about Oliver's bio visits lately. Yesterday, however, his Bio Mom missed her second appointment. No call, no nothing. The agreement with the previous social worker was that missing two visits would automatically bring her privileges to an end, thanks to her earlier history of hit or miss visits. No word on whether the new social worker seems inclined to enforce this.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

"Math is one of my best subjects"

You have no idea how long I have waited to hear Jo say this.

Today, she did.

She is just three short lessons away from finishing Math-U-See's Gamma program. Yes, she is ten. Yes, she is so painfully gifted in the areas of writing and literature as to require virtually no actual instruction in those arts. But no, she is not a math phenom.

But suddenly, she thinks she is.

Oh, she knows that she's behind most of her peers. She can feel Atticus nipping eagerly at her heels--especially since I purposefully slowed him down in MUS so that he wouldn't overtake his sister. A few well-timed rabbit trails into astro-physics kept him occupied (and educated) enough to lull him into a near-trance while Jo forged ahead, memorizing multiplication facts and learning how to work problems.

Jo is a smart enough tack to know this.

But she also doesn't care. She thinks she is good at math now. And she's enjoying it. Math-U-See has conquered her hatred and fear of math. What else matters?

Monday, June 9, 2008


There are very few things in life that I accept as-is. My husband says that this is one of his favorite quirks in my character; the desire to customize, tweak and otherwise establish ownership is as much a part of who I am as is my somewhat unsettling ability to turn my accent on and off. The fact is, I've never been too keen on anything that claims to be one-size-fits all. Just about anything, I figure, can be made better by taking into account the particulars of my own family. Just ask anyone who has ever tried to copy a recipe from me. By the time I finish my list of disclaimers ("It says 2 cups, but I use 2 and a quarter.") the whole recipe has, in essence, gone out the window.

This overarching theme fits in with my style of homeschooling just fine. While Sonlight has been our mainstay since our disastrous stint with Calvert, over the years I have taken from or added to the IG with resources gleaned from both our wonderful library system and the internet. I have combined Sonlight with WinterPromise on more than one occasion. And I've always made room for rabbit trails when the interest arose.

Even with this as my background, deciding what to do this fall was so difficult that I finally resorted to a family poll. Should we do SL Core 5 as a family ... or should the boys get their own, separate curriculum: WinterPromise's Children Around the World? The end result was all in favor of a family-wide study of the Eastern Hemisphere. Which has, of course, put me on a "Quick! Find the resources!" kick.

The fact is, Logan is way too young for this Core. The easiest thing to do would be to simply whip out SL Core K and make a decent stab at it while putting most of my effort into the bigger kids and the older Core. But--and this is a big but--Logan loves being on the same topic as his siblings. The interaction between the three of them when they are all on the same page is phenomenal. Their imaginative life, their play, their banter ... it is all so rich, and so laced with the topic that they are currently studying. Frankly, it makes me wonder how families with kids in three different public school classrooms manage to find much common ground to cling to when playtime comes around. But I digress ...

I was blessed, blessed, blessed to find a SL forum friend who gifted me with her already test-driven schedule for combining youngers in on Core 5. I'm slowly walking through that, but without the full IG in front of me, I can't make much sense of the whole thing. So I'm concentrating on locating other resources until we can place our order. Thanks to the fact that our area boasts a large population of Asian-Americans, cultural field trips are only a short ride away. My bf's mother lived in Australia for a time. I'm hoping she can impart some Aussie flavor to our study of that area. And, of course, there's the missions connection. DH travels throughout SE Asia. We know several field missionaries in that region personally.

This is how the modifying begins for me. I'm still in the gathering stage. Who knows how many potentials I'll find out there. This is the fun part. The easy part. After this, it's the winnowing down and the prioritizing. That's when it gets hard for me--seeing all of those good ideas set aside in favor of better ideas.

Friday, June 6, 2008

sooooooo ... I got that bumGenius order

I am
so hooked. Addicted. Obsessed. I'm even trying to get others sucked in. (How is that working out for you, j?)

Cloth diapering is a disease, ladies! RUN AWAY!

The bumGenius order arrived. Oliver's already-too-cute-for-words bum is now sheathed in the softest, coziest fabric out there. But how does it look, you ask? Let me quote Jo for you here:

"That is the cutest thing ever! It's like ... like ... the Hanna Andersson of diapers!"

Note to readers: Hanna Andersson underwear is the gold standard in my household. We discovered it when Atticus was 3 and undergoing SID therapy. The genius behind Hanna unders is that there are no tags, and the stitching is absolutely flat. This is a big bonus for SID kids. Now, all three big kids swear by the stuff. I like it, too: the cuts are perfect, the fabric is like butter, the things hardly show any wear, and they fit my kids for years, not just seasons.
Not to mention the fact, of course, that they are cute. That's a definite plus.

Anyhow, back to the smaller bottoms in my house ....

The bumGenius is well worth the money. I bought six of the One-Size pockets (the 3.0s). The inserts are plush but not bulky, and the covers are such a nice, touchable fabric. The lining, which sits next to the baby's skin, is positively heavenly. BumGenius are pricier than the pre-folds and bummis, no doubt. Cost alone is enough to ensure that I will not be making these little wonders the mainstay of Oliver's cloth diapering wardrobe. No--I think that the pre-folds are clearly the workhorse of cd'ing. Since I have a "work horse" kind of budget, that's where the bulk of my investment will be. But, if money were no option ... or I knew for certain that another baby or two were in my future ... yeah ... I'd buy more bumGenius.

UPDATE on hearing

Oliver's hearing was postponed (continued) yesterday due to a full calendar. Dh was present for the better part of the day and was able to meet and greet with the new social worker. He also observed Bio Mom in action. He was not, unfortunately, impressed.

The new permanency hearing is June 25. Please continue to pray!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Permanency Hearing

Oliver has a permanency hearing scheduled for today at 1 p.m., PST. Prayers for the judge's wisdom greatly appreciated.

Permanency hearing means:
(1) The hearing required by section 475(5)(C) of the Act to
determine the permanency plan for a child in foster care. Within this
context, the court (including a Tribal court) or administrative body
determines whether and, if applicable, when the child will be:

(i) Returned to the parent;

(ii) Placed for adoption, with the State filing a petition for
termination of parental rights;

(iii) Referred for legal guardianship;

(iv) Placed permanently with a fit and willing relative; or

(v) Placed in another planned permanent living arrangement, but only
in cases where the State agency has documented to the State court a
compelling reason for determining that it would not be in the best
interests of the child to follow one of the four specified options

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Cloth, day #1

Thus far, no leaks. No blowouts. Oliver napped in a single Chinese pre-fold with a Bummi cover and didn't require any change of clothing other than the diaper itself.

So far, I'm satisfied.

Monday, June 2, 2008

You never know what you'll try

It only took four children to get me to try cloth diapers. I realize that a few great minds jump on the cloth train with their first wee one, but alas, I am not quite as intelligent as some folks seem to think I am. I am, after all, the very same person who sent approximately $6,000 directly to the landfill in the process of diapering babies #1, 2 and 3. This is only an estimate, of course. I'll never know how many diapers I used in each child's pre-potty career. My children were all early trainers (22 mos., 23 mos. and 19 mos., respectively), thankfully. Otherwise, that number would have been much, much higher.

I'm not sure exactly how committed to this whole cloth diapering thing I am. I like the idea behind it; we'll see if it holds its romance when I'm swishing one of Oliver's squishy diapers in the toilet. That, I'm sure, will be the true test. After all, better for the baby, saving money and helping out the planet are one thing. Overcoming laziness and my gag reflex are another thing altogether.
To get us started on the journey to a greener bum for Oliver, I ordered the Try It Kit from Cotton Babies. For a little more than the price of a case of disposables, I got enough supplies to get me through a day. That seems sound enough to me, financially speaking. But here's the rub--the secret thing that no one tells you:

Cloth diapering is one of the cutest things ever. Yes, it's true. I have been smitten by the adorable options that I can now wrap around Oliver's already adorable little bottom. So what's the financial problem behind this? Cloth diapering can be one expensive little habit.

I've figured this out already, and I am only in possession of a day's worth of diapers. Granted, two of those diapering items are too cute for words:

See? I told you they were cute!

I'm waiting on my bumGenius order, which I am absolutely not going to tell you about until it arrives. Why? Because I am far too excited over a delivery of diapers, for goodness sakes. I can only embarrass myself so much in one post.

Off to dry and fold ...