Friday, February 27, 2009

Weird Like Me

"Mom, can we please take the test? We're begging you!"

That was what came out the the mouths of my children yesterday. No joke.

I ordered CATs (California Achievement Tests) for Timothy, Andrew, and Melinda, and they arrived on Wednesday. I'm not required to test, being a private school in California, but I wanted to have an idea of where they were in the scheme of things. The private school that they attended before being homeschooled did not do any testing, so this was their first experience. They actually enjoyed it. It got them out of doing their normal studies, and they got to fill in little bubbles. What more could they ask for? Audrey joined in the fun by working on her Explode the Code books, and Juno (the cat)...well, he's just weird.

Are they obviously homeschooled? Or are they just weird like me?

Friday, February 20, 2009

I Know This Much is True...

...this book is LONG!

One of the good things about being back down in Southern California is the opportunity to rejoin the book club I was in. It was a fairly small book club, consisting of 6-8 members. The choice of book cycled through each member, so each person would get to pick a book 1-2 times a year. Many times the book picked was one that I would not have chosen, but most often I ended up glad to have read it. It expanded my horizons. I tend to stick with American and British historical fiction...not so well rounded.

"I Know This Much is True" is the first book that I'll be reading with the book club, and I'll admit that I'm a little daunted. This thing is listed at over 900 pages! Not that I've never read a book this long, (or longer,) and not that the writing looks difficult to read (from what I've previewed on Amazon), but the subject matter doesn't look to be something I'd want to spend any time on, much less 900 pages. I don't have the book in my hands yet, and perhaps everything will change once I do, but just the thought of this hanging over me has completely sapped any desire for me to read. I haven't read anything since I found out about this book. I've been on such a roll with reading this year (and last) that I'm worried about the book club killing my natural motivation. In previous years the book club was motivation to read, because I wasn't making myself do it otherwise.

I may have to end up being selective in which books I join the book club in reading. I'd rather not do this, but that may be a better option than having my motivation zapped. I should have the book by Monday...we'll see how it goes! (Maybe I'd better make a goal of finishing my current books this weekend? ...goals always help.)

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

things that cheer me up

When I'm in a funk, down in the doldrums, or when I've got the mulligrubs, these are some of the things that cheer me up (and despite the last item on the list, I'm doing just fine today!):

-depressing songs
-monochromatic meals
-digging in the dirt
-watching icicles grow
-making lists


Opening eyes
Freshly ground
Flaming hot
Energy burst
Everything is beautiful

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Middle School Preview

Chris and I toured a private Christian middle school recently, with the aim of finding a place to enroll Timothy for 8th grade next year. The school actually serves Pre-K through 12th grade, but on 3 separate campuses. The middle school campus holds 7th and 8th grades. There are currently around 130 kids enrolled in those 2 grades.

We think we will be moving ahead with the admissions process. The staff that we met was all very friendly, enthusiastic about the grades they teach, and dedicated to helping the children grow in Christ. Their first goal is to help the students find their identity in Christ, and figure out how everything they learn fits with God's plan and character. The school has many music, art, and sport opportunities, as well as lunch and bus services.

It's so odd to be moving into this next stage of life, where my oldest starts the journey that will lead him through high school and eventually out of my house. I'm unable to comprehend how much he will change and grow in the next 5 years. I'm definitely not at the stage where I can contemplate how my other children will be hard on his heels in the race for adulthood. I am, however, finally beginning to understand empty nest syndrome.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Aquarium of the Pacific

We had a nice family outing to the Aquarium of the Pacific yesterday. We all had a good time. Melinda really wanted to see an octopus (he was hiding) and Audrey really wanted to see a whale (of which there was one, but he was a piece of artwork hanging from the ceiling). Timothy especially love the diving birds, and Andrew...I'll have to go ask Andrew what he liked most. He enjoyed everything until his feet wore out and his blood sugar ran low.

The kids especially liked being able to touch the stingrays. Audrey was nervous at first, but the stingrays were very friendly. They'd swim by, reaching out of the water. I told Audrey that they were waving at her, so the next time she reached in and felt it. Her reaction was adorable! She giggled and laughed and said that it was slimy. What a cutie!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

I'm Branching Out

Today I did something that I've never done before. I expanded my artistic tendencies and painted a couple of pictures for my girls' room. I've painted walls before, (actually just got done painting the girls' room,) and I've made art pieces before, but never with paint. Using paint creatively has always scared me; my medium of choice has been textiles or paper. It was scary, intimidating, and very unknown, but it was also rewarding--I'm pretty pleased with how they turned out.

My inspiration--I saw this print (on canvas) at Target and thought it'd look great in the girls' room (it's about 11" sq):I was further inspired to make something similar. I bought 2 canvases at Michaels and made 8x10 paintings with their initials on them. I did Audrey's first (looks much more experimental and unpolished, but hey):Followed by Melinda's (a little better already):Lot's of imperfections, but not too shabby for a first attempt I think. Here's a picture of some furniture I put together to help organize the room (you also get a better idea of the paint colors). Their room is BRIGHT, (a bit brighter than is showing on my computer screen,) but fun too, and the yellow on the walls is a great color. The trim I can live with, for now (they like it--I guess their room isn't ALL about me...)