Life With Nine Kids

Monday, July 6, 2009

And July takes off in full force...with chicken pox

We got the chicken pox at our house. The older 4 kids already had them all at once years ago, so only Penelope and Sebastian need take a turn this time. Penelope had a easy time of it. She calls them 'bug bites.' She didn't even get a pox on her face! And only 1 that I could find on her head. She mostly got them on her backside. Sebastian is still in the throws of a high fever and hasn't broken out yet. Poor little guy. He's resting in the crook of my arm right now dazing in and out of reality. I do give fever reducers, just not continuously. I usually give it only if they can't get comfortable. It's also amazing how much you can reduce a fever by cool rags and a light fan in the room.

The older kids recently finished a 3 part art class at the library. Over the past week Ricky had a birthday, cousin Echo came to town, we lit fireworks, we went to six flags, we watched some family themed movies, we had a nice cool rain storm and unseasonably cool days, and we also ate lots of ice cream and homemade apple pie. Ricky took a few days off work so he actually was home 5 days in a row. Now that it's Monday it sure is hard to get back into the swing of things. Oh wait... was I ever in the swing...?

The older kids are at their theatre camp this week (with their cousin). Luckily I have wonderful family taking them to and from the majority of the camp so I don't have to go out with sick kids. Sebastian seems miserable. It's going to be a long day. A long week. I have a mountain of things to tend to. Really.

I can't wait for Charlotte to call and tell me how camp was today. I told her, "I want the full, full, full report."

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Our first outdoor oven




Yesterday Charlotte and I built our first outdoor "oven" to bake potatoes in. We wanted salad and baked potatoes for dinner but didn't want to heat up the kitchen. So we built this lil' oven outside. They cooked faster than in the indoor oven. It's great that every little and big project is 'homeschooling'. Of the cinder blocks we used only one square has an air hole. The other three holes are packed with dried mud or concrete. This kept the heat from escaping

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Lately...


My Family from WiddlyTinks.com



GREAT news! The public school down the road finally got with me on enrolling my kids in classes. I can enroll them without problems in things like music, P.E., art, Etc.
The principle was extremely friendly and nice to me. He is checking into how he can get Sage into some reading classes for extra help. So I am very happy about this. This fall/winter will be a busy one for us! The school is only a mile away though so it will not be too bad. I looked into homeschool sports programs like we had before, it was double the price. That was disappointing. So while we won't be connecting with as many homeschoolers as I'd like at least I can get them in free P.E. for the time being. This is especially good timing since Sebastian is so little and it's hard to travel much further than our own backyard.

The Chester Comix came!! 8 pounds of history lesson comic books in a box on my porch when I got home yesterday! They look great! With thicker harder type covers than I had imagined. They will hold up through many kids this way. We haven't gotten too into them yet, but the teacher manuals/printables are GREAT too! I'm really glad they look so cool. We will start on the first one today.

Sebastian walks and claps now. Not all at once though. He is SO cute I can hardly stand it. What a happy baby.

Layla is writing letters and enjoys practicing that lately. Penelope following her lead asks to write letters to, or more often asks me to write letters for her.

I recently unpacked the computer educational games. Ethan finished a CD about fractions, time, and money. The time and money was review. But the fraction section served as a intro for him as we have not done fractions yet. We are starting them now. Sage started the CD the other day too.

Charlotte has a new workbook she started on. Sage is still doing studydog right now for reading.

We have been spending most evening exploring the cemetery across the street and catching glow-bugs. We have a lot of fun.

Gardening is slow going right now. I have over 40 tomato plants planted, lots of peppers, and a few other things like cucumbers, cantaloupe and watermelon planted. But I haven't done any of my fall crops yet. I'm probably still ok, but how much longer can I push it!? I just don't have the time.

A tiller would sure help speed things up. Next year I have to get one. I WILL get one. Not because I can't do the physical work (I want to for exercise) but I have to have it for the speed. A tiller could do in one day what it takes me 3 weeks to do (maybe 6 weeks!). And when I have mouths to feed, baby to nurse, laundry to do, homeschooling, mowing....well it just is not working out.

Time to go I have a baby to change and waffles to get ready.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Summer is in full swing...go go go go

Yard work, Six flags, back to back birthday parties, sleepovers, Renaissance faire, a second move (we never moved the contents of our basement), library programs, laundry, dishes, kids, school work...what's school work?

We do manage to get reading/journaling/spelling in somehow. Oh and basic math about 3x a week (we need more progress here!). Just today I ordered these history comic books ! I'm really excited (Join the homeschool buyers co op for free online for 65% off the set)!! Our plan is to cover one comic book a week together with the kids. I also just saved a zillion instant viewing educational movies on netflix to keep the kids busy for quite a long while. I'm going to compile a list and post it someday.

GOALS FOR SUMMER:
Math with dad on weekends! Must do this!
Comic Book history every week w/corresponding movie/lesson
Netflix educational movie 2-3 x week (at least 1-2 as a family movie)
WRITE EVERYTHING down (log better than ever)

IN OTHER NEWS:
-The public school down the road is ignoring my phone calls (I'm requesting supplemental classes (art, music, P.E. for all, and reading for Sage)
-Layla will go to half day pre-k this fall (only 0.4 miles away from our house!)
-I finally signed up to be a HSLDA member
-Kids are signed up for drama camp!

Monday, May 11, 2009

earthworm mama

Monday May 11, 2009
I'm trying to get in a bath to wash the black soil from my toes, scrub my nails and feel clean again! But some little one wants me to rock him. I spent the day doing yard work. Planting is slow going for me since there is SO much other yard work that keeps us sidetracked. But I do have to say things are coming along great. The strawberries we planted are starting to flower already! It's great! I had used some black weed out cloth around them, but that wasn't working as well as the ol' lasagna garden method. So the kids and I spend Saturday afternoon pulling up the black and then laying newspaper and straw down around the plants. When we were working Ethan found the biggest earthworm any of had ever ever seen! The picture doesn't really even do the worn justice, it was even bigger than this.


Tuesday May 12, 2009
I never made it to the bath last night. I fell asleep with Layla and Sebastian. I never even changed my clothes! Ricky thought it was so funny. So this morning I was ready to garden again, why even bother. It was a rough go this morning though when Sebastian decided to be super needy/unhappy. I got a few things done but not nearly enough. I worked until I was tried of him on my back in the backpack. I think his gums must have been sore. He was quite cranky. He finally took a nap this afternoon and I made better headway. I transplanted some ornamental grass to a different spot, planted a salad bar of baby greens in a partial shade garden bed and tended to the lavender I had planted yesterday. I also dug a huge "trench" of sorts along a fence to eventually cover with paper/mulch/compost (lasagna garden) and plant something in. I planted 6 cauliflower starts, and 5 cabbage starts in the "main garden" area. Do I even have a main area anymore???? I've got Shtuff planted EVERYWHERE. I have no clue how I'm going to keep up with all the watering. This is the hardest I've ever worked outside.

Trying to make serious plans for some big projects: chicken fence, ripping up carpet in house for the wood floors, planting area for large vining plants; pumpkins, watermelon, cantaloupe.

I have another BIG thing hanging over me too though; we have to finish getting the rest of our stuff out of the old house! Eeeep. So little time, SO much to do.

New chickens (baby chicks) arrive the 20th!!!
I'm insane.

Other Various:
We took snapshots of a nest of baby birds and put the pictures here We tracked them until they left the nest.

Kids "homeschooling"


The girls who light up my life and make me pull my hair out

Sebastian eats soil more than once a day

Thursday, April 23, 2009

week in review : kids home, earthday, homeschool

The older kids are home! After a crazy 12 hour plane delay in TX due to two days of bad weather in he area. Poor kids! They made it home though. They had fun in Mexico and they came home with tans, stories, and a boat load of dirty clothes.

Earth day was yesterday. We spent it with good friends at the annual Earth Day celebration we go to in Rolla. The kids made pine cone bird feeders, and such. It wasn't as entertaining as last year (every year the booths dwindle to less & less), but it was good to see our friends and watch the kids play.

We found yet another early reader website! I swear I try them all. It's http://www.sightwordswithsamson.com/ I like it because it's focus is on sight words and not phonics. We found another site I'm thinking about buying the software of at http://www.readinghorizons.com/ . It teaches real reading rules in easy to understand format (and has games). One of their free movies is about why/when do words start with K/C; like why isn't Kitten spelled with a C? It's very interesting and I think it will help even older readers. I'm having fun learning too.

This week we tried a new homeschool "format" in the mornings after breakfast I have the little girls (age 2&4) do two letter of the day worksheets. The older three kids (age 9,9 & 12) do worksheets together. Monday they did a series of geography, latitude & longitude, map skills worksheets. On Tuesday they did a packet of about 6 worksheets on pollination (earth day related). The sheets were educational and also had mazes, word searches, Etc.

So now what to do today...

The dormant strawberry plants/roots we planted while the kids were gone are doing FANTASTIC! They have tripled in size! I hope I muster up the energy to garden today. I need to get a bunch of household stuff done first. I need to accomplish several things today since we'll be gone all day tomorrow again. I need to drop off the older kids to sleepover birthday parties back in Rolla again. So there goes our Friday. (Charlotte and the boys each have different parties to go to).

And people wonder how homeschoolers socialize. They should be wondering when homeschoolers have time for school work.

Friday, April 17, 2009

100 strawberry plants are a lot

Well I miss the older 3 kiddos. But not as much as I thought I would. I think they are finally getting old enough that I don't obsessively worry about them. Oh I worry...Just not as obsessively. Plus I know they are having so much fun. Away they come home tomorrow. Then it's back to homeschooling, a schedule, Etc.
I'm going to joke with them and say I missed them because I had to do the dishes while they were gone :D

I'm disappointed that we didn't end up taking the little girls somewhere really fun. We got really caught up in buying fruit trees, gardening, mowing, Etc. They had loads of fun in the dirt, on their playground, at the farmers market, digging up worms and having worm races. But still I feel bad. We were suppose to do something special with them. Maybe we'll come up with something.

I'm discovering that gardening is exercise. I'm exhausted. My leg muscles are sore. And planting 100 strawberries does not sound like or look like as much work as it is. Yesterday we also bought more fruit trees than we have room for. I think we have a plan though.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Spring has sprung

Ahh. That was a nice long weekend. My parents came to town to help put together the playground they got the kids for Christmas last year. Other family came over to help as well. 4 main adults helped with the assembly of the playground while the kids helped with some sorting of hardware (good to see them involved), and us other adults fetched food, drinks, beer, coffee Etc. for the "workers." The playground took 13 hours to assemble. (the instructions said it would take 2 workers 20-24 hours to complete) My grandma, aunt and I cleaned up the sun room and the yard. We also planted rhubarb and blueberries. Digging around in my yard this weekend revealed tons of juicy fat earthworms (some as thick as a little snake!)and thick black soil throughout. I've NEVER lived anywhere with optimal planting conditions and I'm thrilled! Heck I've never lived anywhere where I could even dig.

The older kids left for a Mexican cruise this morning with some of my most trusted and loved family members. Charlotte cried because she was going to miss me. I'm going to miss them all too.

The younger kids and I are going to go to the magic house and maybe the zoo this week. Ricky took Thursday and Friday off this week. I hope the weather gets nice this weekend because we have a lot of gardening/yard work to get done. I should receive 100 strawberry plants in the mail tomorrow.

Easter was nice. We went to a divine brunch at this little french bakery place in St L. We gorged on homemade french treats and had a brunch fit for royalty. Very yummy.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

I'm pregnant again! ...............APRIL FOOLS!

2 months ago Ricky randomly had the B52's song Rock Lobster stuck in his head for 2 weeks. He said it was horrible and all day at work he was thinking, "Rock Lobstarrr!" LOL! So last night the kids and I downloaded a rock lobster ring tone to his phone and this morning while he was in the shower I hid it under his car seat. As soon as he left this morning I started calling his phone. He called me back eventually (after he pulled over to find the phone) cracking up. He said he totally couldn't figure it out what it was at first.

Last night I froze bowls half way full of water to serve the kids cereal in today. So when they stuck their spoon to the bottom it was rock hard. lol. That one was Sage's idea, actually. It was great.

Charlotte taped a piece of paper over my computer mouse sensor so when I went to use my computer it wouldn't work. When I flipped the mouse over to take a look a little paper read April Fools Day.

When the kids came down for breakfast this morning Charlotte had Ethan's pajamas on and Ethan had hers on. I did a double take. They are SO hilarious!

Happy April Fools Day

Monday, March 23, 2009

settling in to everyday life

Doing spelling before breakfast (www.spellingtime.com) seems to be working well for us right now. Charlotte loves that spelling program. She says it really works.

Getting on a new schedule in a new place is going well. The new house is great. it seems like it's so much easier to live here. We seem organized and things are coming together regarding a routine!

Sage is doing better with reading bit by bit. It's still a slow process, he still is taking his own sweet time...but I actually saw him enjoy reading today! It was just a short few passages, but it was great! Him and Layla both do readingeggs.com which I highly recommend.

Charlotte has been doing paper quilling lately. She's doing a great job! These are not hers, but hers are just as cute examples: https://www.customquillingbydenise.com/shop/images/274Jungle.jpg

Little Sebastian decided to crawl at 6 months old, and pull up and stand at 7 months old. It's darn cute. But also darn sad. I want him to stay a baby. Why is he acting like I'm giving him extra growth hormones!

My camera's battery charger is lost. In the move I guess... so I can't take any pictures. totally annoying.

The rest of the kids are doing well. Earlier Layla asked me if I wanted to know how to be a good spy. So she takes me around the house showing me how to sneak and look around corners. Then she takes me in the kitchen and tells me how to hide under the table until everyone leaves and then sneak to get cake. Later on tonight (about 30 min later) she asked me for a snack. I tell her we just had dinner and it's bedtime soon. She then says in a very practical voice, "Buuuut mom, if you don't let me have a snack I'll just have to sneak something like I showed you."

Good point. LOL!

Today was really busy. I had people stopping by all day (pool estimate guy, water purifier estimate guy), homeschooling, company over, and housecleaning to do.

Everyday is a new day. I'm going to jump in a hot jet tub and wait for what tomorrow brings.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

We love the new place

We have moved into our new house. The move was exhausting, but once in our new home we felt peaceful and completely thrilled. My dear husband has a 3o minute (sometimes 40 min) commute now to work. It used to be near 2 hours. Life is good! He helps me cook dinner in the evenings, and we have time to see the kids, have a glass of wine or 3...relax!

Most boxes seemed to unpack themselves as our lives unfolded into a new house. Our stuff fits so well. And we do too. The kids act like they have found a missing piece to life as they explore inside and out, play basketball outside on our blacktop driveway, and run up and down the stairs to their bedrooms. We all also look dreamily at the swimming pool hoping we can come up with the money to fix it up for summer! :)

I personally love all the windows in the house, the butlers closet in the kitchen, and my bathroom with jets in the tub. I don't love doing laundry in the basement however --but it's so old fashioned I tell myself I should try and like it ;)

We are now a hour and a half away from some of our closest family members. Family that we lived on the same property with for years. We are a long way from our closest friends as well. It's a little strange, and at times will be sucky...but it's also delightfully perfect to be where we are. It's good for us. And we are having a lot of fun. Our 82 year old house is full of surprises. Nearly every step creaks, each door has old skeleton key holes and crystal door knobs, the thick wooden crown molding throughout is dreamy, and the old feel is homey. I love my country kitchen.

"School" has to wait we are busy exploring newness...

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

pictures

Sebastian is sitting up now, he also loves cooing and gurgling away at us.

Below is a recently acquired New Years 09 pic
We had a fun little party.


I've metioned how I love to melt all over this little guy before, yes?


I can't wait for Spring. The real Spring. Not the cold one day then kinda warm the next March rainy days. The true go out and plant stuff spring. I swear we didn't have one last year. It just rained till it flooded and then snowed in April. Below Charlotte builds an impressive snowman. It took her quite a bit of work. I had to help put the middle ball on. I don't know how we did it. No kidding that middle ball had to have weighed 60lbs.


Today...
I have been packing with the kids all day and took a break to nurse the baby.

Humm, Penelope and Layla are mooning each other right now. The dog is barking loudly indoors. I'm being told it's snack time. So I go....

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Math & Why I Homeschool

We have this book called 50 Mathematical Ideas you Really Need to Know. It's my husbands book and it's a great little bathroom reader almost laid out like a miniature for dummies book... except for this book is not for dummies. It contains everything from probability to topology to fractals to Fermat's last theorem.
In the introduction of this book I was happy to read a true statement of mathematical faith from a homeschool (unschooling) parents eyes; "The time and pressure of school does not help either, For mathematics is a subject where there is no merit in being fast. People need time to allow the ideas to sink in."

I wish I had been granted such leisure in all areas of "math." If so, I may not had grown up with such the distaste I had for math. The drudgery of repetition and memorization killed all practical need I had for math in my life. Forbidding me to use a calculator to help me learn concepts when memorization failed me made me bitter. It also made it hard for me to use calculators as an adult! Computing is no good if you don't understand the concepts!

Real life allows for people, adult people, to explore and express their interests freely. I so wish children had this luxury. Math scared me, haunted me, pressured me. So when I fell behind (in just the forth grade) I fled from it like one would flee a burning building. Throughout my public school career I'd gain some speed, only to be left in the dust over and over again. There were times I didn't even try, but there were also many times I tried so hard I thought I was finally getting somewhere...but, just more dust appeared.

I can appreciate math for what it is now. A richer companion to arithmetic within a complex world of numbers, methods and theories. A mysterious subject I've never scratched the surface of.

Unschooling Math
So, we unschool math. We take it all painfully slow. Or not so painfully I should say. I want every concept, every number, every method to make sense to the kids. My husband backs me on this and since he's really mathematically smart (and the one with two degrees;) I trust his opinion in this unschool venture of our own regarding kids and math. So the other day for some reason (can't remember the context now) I mentioned while talking to the kids that 1/4 was half of a half. I didn't think I was heard so I repeated myself. Sage pipped in, "Yeah mom that's 25%."

Another one of those stunned homeschool/unschool moments. Simple? Yes. Third grade appropriate? I don't know, perhaps. But the stunned part is because we do basic arithmetic still. We do money and time practice. We do some conceptual stuff like multiplication, but in a small scale. All in all the boys do basic stuff. They learn from it. They explore it. It's still fun for them, and most important not drudgery. The point is math is everywhere and they say things like this and pick up "education" like this from everything! And that is why I love "unschooling" so very much.

The First Three Reasons: Why We Started Homeschooling
1. I was told Charlotte (at age 7-8) may need to be tested "LD" in spelling.
Are you kidding me? "Learning Disabled" in spelling? This is idiotic. Like, can't she just grow up and be a self proclaimed "bad speller"? Do they really need to label her so that she has a bona fide excuse that will help to get her to pass classes? Big whoop you're not a great speller, my family is full of them.
Not to mention telling her at age 7 or 8 she's "LD" is setting her up for a lifetime of I'm not good so I'll never be good or a "why try then" attitude.


2. I found out Charlotte was being pulled out of regular class for extra reading help.
The real kicker: She was being pulled out of class when the rest of the class was practicing for spelling tests. This explained how poorly she was doing in spelling! And I'm the one that had to point it out to the teacher! What's even more, I found out she was missing recess time for not finishing work. When was this work supposed to have been done? ...wait for it... while she was at extra reading help! (No Child Left Behind Program sponsored.)

3. Charlotte started coming home crying everyday. She didn't want to do homework and I wondered what in #!%& they did all day long only to have homework at night.
I was done with the nonsense. When taken out of public school she turned back into my happy go lucky bright eyed child again almost overnight. Within 2 years a kid whose teacher said she wasn't reading chapter books yet so that made her behind had read the whole entire 7 book Harry Potter series herself.


Tuesday, January 6, 2009

much needed update -click to enlarge picrures

I'm not happy when I spend time online when I have so many other things to do. BUT, I'm not happy when I don't spend time on my blog or website because not only do I enjoy it, it also stores bits of my life here and there that will one day only be a glimpse of me and these days past. I want my kids to be able to read my blogs (which I print up and store in notebooks) and see what mine and their lives were like.
~~~
So lots has happened. Pretty fall days and Thanksgiving came and left.
I perfected my homemade organic pizza and learned how to make good home made tortillas finally (Which my kids dubbed better than the ones they had in Mexico --very flattering lol! Not sure they are that good, but okay!)
I also made and perfected homemade apple turnovers.
We switched all our flour and cheese to organic! yay! (buy through a co op)
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Christmas came and left without a trace ... well there are toys and lots of new bills too pay..sigh...
We had a beautiful time with Ricky home for lots of days in a row. And I'm wishing for a replay of all the wonderful family fun time.
Pictured here is our X mas breakfast -all 8 of us are in there. Sebastian was nursing, so you can only see his super white bald-ish head in front of me. Look at us...Mom and dad are having having mimosas :)
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Sebastian is a happy joy of a baby still. BUT teething has struck our household early. He is fussy this month. He is pushing on 5 months old (not until the 23rd) and he is unhappy about the havoc being caused by teeth buds. :( It's making this mama tired and the house fall apart a little bit too.
Oh well such is life. Poor little guy. We use hylands teething tablets, Boiron teething drops, homeopathic Belladonna, and Motrin.
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I am proud to say my husband passed the Series 7 exam! for work. Which is a big deal. (We read online only 30% of people pass it the first time --so it could have gone either way)
He spent a lot of time preparing for it. Actually, he was only home about half the month of December. It sucked. And his studying obviously paid off.
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Enough is enough
The commute to the city for Ricky to work is just enough now. He says he'll do it longer, I say hell no. The money we are spending on rooms overnight, gas, Etc. adds up. I'd rather spend that on a mortgage.
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Well, we finally found the perfect house for us. We made an offer and it's been accepted. Now we deal with costly home inspections, the process of getting our pre approved loan actually approved, and blah blah blah.
The home is lovely. The best we could do given what we want (better would be more land, but this is okay!)
We would be on 1 acre, have a old historic style house that sits right across from a old peaceful cemetery dating back to the 1800's. It has a 20x40 ft in-ground swimming pool surrounded by a fence of grapevines! It also has a small pool storage house, 2 detached garages, good trees ... one old tree particularity worth mentioning as it is huge and perfect for climbing and/or for a tree house.
The home is 4bed 2bath +2 extra small rooms, full basement (unfinished but in good shape to finish), sun room off kitchen, oh and tons of lush creeping ivy outside. I love it. We love it. It looks like home. Let's hope all goes well. Our closing date is actually set for Jan 31. Talk about getting stuff done.
...we will see...
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Penelope is crying at me and this is exactly why I don't blog any more...too much to do, too many kids to sit still ;)