Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Summer School

One of the negatives of home-schooling for the kids is that, in a lot of ways, school never ends. Don't want your non-math loving nine-year-old to forget how to reduce fractions? Work on math throughout the summer. Afraid your seven-year-old on the cusp of realizing he likes to read won't continue to make progress? Keep reading together over the summer.

Schoolwork over the summer is only a negative inasmuch as it's one more thing to check off our to-do list every day, but it always ends up being a positive. I rarely have to go over major concepts they've long forgotten in summer heat once school officially starts in the fall. Doing so allows us to have more free time around Christmas to bake cookies and do other (fun!) things in anticipation of the holiday. A multiplication drill here and there helps beat summer doldrums and boredom if it's too chilly to swim (which it has been!) and neighborhood friends are not about.

We don't do much schoolwork; just enough to keep our heads in the game to to produce a small amount of grumbling from the students. This is the first summer we've attempted any schoolwork and, so far, I like the change.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Ten Months

I'm not going to lie; I wasn't exactly doing cartwheels when I found out I was pregnant with Caroline. I am sure I muttered a curse word or two. I may have even cried. But, darn it, this little girl has totally snookered me, heart and soul, and I cannot imagine our lives without the little monster.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Elisabeth's Day

Elisabeth has attended friends' birthday parties in the past, but they've always been invitations extended to our whole family, or to her and her siblings. Saturday she was invited to a preschool classmate's party and only Elisabeth was invited. It ended up that Joe took her to the party, but she was positively aglow from all the "tea" (juice), cake and party games by the time Joe brought her home.

Madeleine and Hank grew out of the baby and toddler stages gradually, or so it seemed to Joe and me at the time. Elisabeth has seemingly sprouted overnight, both physically and emotionally, and it's taken some time for Joe and me to realize that she wants the same things the other kids get: activities, time alone with a parent, special things that only they get to do.

We forget these things because, to us, Elisabeth is still a baby. But the excitement about this party and that look on her face that is very little-almost-big -girl-esque tell me that Joe and I need to do a better job of remembering.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Just Jump

Oh, to be young and jump with such reckless abandon.

I remember those days well. I wouldn't want to re-live them, but I remember them, and it warms my heart to see my children run, jump and explore and learn that they might hurt themselves jumping from high spots by actually hurting themselves instead of me telling them that they might. Parents are fallible beings; our children will not always believe us, even when what we tell them is true, unless they figure it out for themselves.

My children climb trees. They jump off ledges at the beach. They are given age-appropriate responsibility and freedom.

I am, I have discovered, a Free Ranger. Go ahead; check out the website. You may not agree with much (or anything) she writes, but she is interesting and, I guarantee, some of the statistics she talks about will astound you (for instance, your child is at no more risk of being kidnapped on a solo walk home from school than you were when you did it).

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Understanding Elisabeth

I love this girl. Elisabeth is easygoing, yet she is stubborn and strong-willed. She is loving and sensitive and, yet, she is ferociously independent. She is quiet and introspective but she is also loud and the most un-shy child I have ever met. She is a tomboy who loves sparkly, girly dress up clothes.

All of these things that make her our little Elisabeth I get. I understand them. I understand her.

It warms my heart when others get her as well. It warms my heart even more when it's someone Elisabeth spends significant amounts of time with, like her preschool teachers. I received a letter from both her teachers the other day that said a lot about our girl and the everything they said pointed to the one thing they didn't say: they get her.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Father's Day 2010

We're one of those families that never makes a big deal about Mother's Day or Father's Day and, as a result, we don't have anything we traditionally do on those days.

Yesterday Chris and Erin invited us to spend Father's Day with them and their four kids taking advantage of the Pioneer Village's open house (read: free) Sunday afternoon about a half an hour north of here.

What a wonderful place! I mentioned we recently visited Old World Wisconsin and Pioneer Village is definitely very similar, though on a much smaller scale. But because it's smaller there are also less people so the kids were able get their hands dirty and do a lot of interesting things, like vote,

grind coffee,

experience a one room school house,

wash clothes,

and make rope.

The kids even took a turn at attempting some old-fashioned games.

And then Chris and Joe decided the kids shouldn't have all the fun, so they warmed up their hoop rolling skills and eventually raced.

Joe took off gang busters, but Chris eventually prevailed.

And, though rarely photographed, the babies were there too. Caroline and Gus spent their time together swapping boogers and illnesses on the grass while everyone else played.

I know yesterday was supposed to be all about fathers, but our whole family had a really fun time.


What is going on with all the spam in my comments? What good is word verification if the spammers can easily circumvent it? Any advice from those more knowledgeable than I?

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Monday, June 14, 2010


Too much. Lately it's been a good too much, but our lives have been busy.

Some highlights from the past few weeks.

A trip to Old World Wisconsin with Dad and Diana. Our group is shown here at a stagecoach inn in Crossroads Village.

Later that night it was off to see the Milwaukee Symphony perform Mahler's Third in their season finale. The tickets were a birthday present and Bob and I had a nice time seeing the concert together.

There was a year end soccer party. Cooking. Cleaning. Late nights at work for Joe. Squeezing a run in here and there.

A trip to Six Flags Great America with the two older kids. Here they are about to board their first roller coaster.

Soccer practices. Riding lessons. Laundry. A year end preschool picnic.

Madeleine's first non-school show put on by the Wisconsin Hunter Jumper Association.

A fun family birthday party (thanks again, Tammy and Jim!). Doctor's appointments.

Our calendar is still more stuffed than I would like but, like I said, it's been a good busy.

UPDATED: Oh, and I forgot to mention-- a certain baby is CRAWLING!

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Birthday Kickball Game

There are times where there is so much going on that I don't even know where to begin, blogging-wise. The everyday activities we busy ourselves with have kept us... well, they've kept us busy.

A birthday (mine). Gatherings with old friends. Kid activities. Laundry. Schoolwork. The fun and the mundane; we've been doing it all this past week and it has kept us on the move.

And so, a highlight: my birthday kickball game in Silver Lake. I mandated participation by all family members and all complied. My team, The Destroyers (Bob missing from photo),

was, ultimately, completely crushed by Pretty in Pink

but along the way we had a lot of laughs (check out my sister's outfit),

some injuries (Joe pulled a hamstring)

and a whole lot of fun.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Nine Months

Nine months. Well, nine months and three days, if we're counting exactly.

Nine months and still sweet as can be. And, lately, as busy and as curious as can be. She can grab the tiniest little objects and, of course, inspects them by shoving them into her mouth. Perfect when the object is, say, a piece of cut up banana. Not so perfect when it's a dust bunny or another piece of garbage missed during a not-frequent-enough sweep of the floor.

Nine months and soooo close to crawling. The desire and strength are there. Soon the know-how will be as well. Too soon, I suspect.

Nine months and still generally laid back, but starting to have opinions and, despite not having a vocabulary, finding ways to assert those opinions. Her cries, grunts and whines are becoming distinct and decipherable. Some mean what cries traditionally mean (Mom! I'm dirty! Change my diaper!) while others are more demanding and specific (Mom! I see my pureed carrots right there! Please spoon them into my mouth more quickly!).

Nine months. *sigh*